Casey stood up and adjusted her desk to match with a touch of a button. Once the desk stopped moving, she stretched her back then her sides. “I should have learned by now that a double shift is hard.”
A beep sounded on her monitors. “Thank you!” She reached for the mouse and clicked the on break button. Her screens blanked, and she left her work station.
Walking down the hall, she found a vacant office, walked in, shut the door, and turned on the light. A grimace dashed across her face as she sat on a nearby chair. Casey adjusted her right uniform leg and then detached her leg. A quick inspection showed nothing was out of place, so she wiped it out and put it back in place.
She repeated the same process for her left arm. This took longer since she had to do it one handed.
Once everything was back in place, she went to the break room and munched on her snack of fresh fruit and a class of juice. The display panel on her uniform beeped and displayed a one minute countdown. “Yeah, back to the grind.” Casey hefted to her feet and walked back to her workstation.
“See ya, Karl.” She waved to the speedster on her way out.
At her works station, Casey logged in and checked the time left. There was another four hours to go until her second shift was over. Hopefully the rest of this shift goes like the first part. Quiet.
Match is off mission.
The message flashed across her screen, covering Match’s vital stats. She now had three clients to monitor for the remainder of the time.
Kevlar is on mission.
This message appeared and Kevlar’s vital stats took over the spot where Match’s were.
She looked at the headshot that occupied a small square next to the new vitals display. “I would love to meet you, but not on the job.” Since she was a super powered EMT, meeting her idol on the job would entail something going wrong.
Casey picked up her scanning routine. She also plotted the location of each of her active clients. Two were nearby, twenty miles. If she traveled her maximum capable speed she would get there in two, possibly three, minutes. Kevlar wasn’t so close. At her maximum capable speed, she could be there in under ten minutes. Hmmm…Better keep an eye on him, just in case.
Casey checked her prosthetics and found them secure. She also checked for her bag to carry them, in case she needed to go faster. The bag was used to carry her prosthetics if she needed to crest mach two. Her manufactured limbs were able to handle mach one. Her maximum speed reached mach three. The limbs would break down at mach two. If she had to go full out, she would put them both in the bag and fly.
Casey trained to accomplish removal and reattachment of her limbs. She knew to put her leg on first, and she could walk, or run, and put on her arm. So far she used her bag once in the past two years of working as an EMT. This was a good thing in her book.
Klink is off mission.
The vitals with a robot head and a female human face disappeared. Casey let out a breath. Only three to watch for the next hour and a half.
She noticed that Kevlar’s heart rate was up and so was his adrenaline levels. They were consistent as the next several seconds went by. Casey tapped on the map screen and checked Kevlar’s current location. He was closer, but just by a mile or three. She leaned in closer to watch pulse rate. If it went up, or dropped rapidly, she would have to deploy. She clutched her bag and licked her lips. “Com’on Kevlar!” Her teeth ground together and her lips whitened as the thin green line crossed the screen.
BEEP! Decker is off mission.
Casey jerked back with a gasp. Now she only had two clients. Neither being a gold member, but that didn’t matter to Casey. One was Kevlar. New to the scene three years ago, and on his way up the ladder. Casey had all of Kevlar’s clippings and some video on her computer at home.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
“Shit!” Kevlar’s heart rate spiked along with other vitals.
Casey snatched her bag and dashed to the launch area. “EMT First Class Casey LeClair departing for possible pickup of Kevlar. Location, northern Chicago. ETA, seven minutes. Using bag.” She shouldered through the double doors and outside.
Casey’s prosthetic arm slid into the bag. She shifted her weight to her left leg and detached her other leg. Launching into the air she sealed the bag and slung it over her back.
Cleared for maximum speed.
This message appeared on her wrist display. She nodded, fisted both hands, and took off with a sonic boom.
Casey cleared the county line and then a great spanse of land. She glanced at the map on her wrist panel. Her dot, blue, was getting closer to the red dot. The ETA adjusted as she flew. Currently, she was listed as five minutes. Just a few more seconds.
Casey angled towards the buildings as they crested the horizon. She slowed, picking out a landing spot. As she approached the ground, Casey fished out her leg. When she landed, she fastened the three clips and adjusted her uniform to hide the seam. Walking a few paces, she glanced at her wrist panel. The blinking dot was on the second floor of the building across the way.
Casey took to the air again, keeping her speed slow, and she fastened her arm in place. She covered the seam and connections as she hovered into the open window.
Casey’s wrist panel zoomed into a map of the building she entered. Kevalar’s vitals displayed off to the side. They changed for the worse on her journey here.
As she moved to where the map indicated, she followed protocol and activated her forcefield, then her belt light. “Kevlar. I am EMT LeClair. If you can safely signal me, let me know where you are located.” She waited.
Her blue dot was on top of the red dot on her map. This was an office building situated over a parking garage. The floor she was on looked to be a cube farm. Her map took her to a wall that would be a major walk way. Casey landed and looked around, then found it. There was a dent in the wall, and a hole in the floor. In the hole lay a man-shaped shadow.
“Kevlar, are you conscious?” Casey knelt down. The hole was deep enough that she had to lean in to check for a pulse. She found one and noted that Kevlar was warm to the touch.
The hole was not big enough for her to get in and pull him out. Casey searched her rescue belt and found a carabiner and retrieval cord. Next she tied the carabiner, then fastened it though Kevlar’s utility belt. She planted her feet, gripped the cord, and pulled.
The EMT board was concerned about her prosthetics and this was the reason. They did not add to her strength, in fact they took away from it. She couldn’t use both legs or both her arms to their fullest. She only had one of each of real limbs.
Wrapping the durable cord around her left arm, Casey planted both of her feet and pulled. Kevlar’s body budged. The movement was small, but for Casey it was a full step with her feet. A grunt followed by a baby step and Kevlar’s body was out of the hole.
As the Hero’s body rolled on the floor, it tugged the rope. The force yanked Casey forward, and she felt her left arm slip from it’s connection.
Casey scrambled to fix her dislocated prosthetic and heard a moan from Kevlar.
“Kevlar, I am your EMT and I am going to get you out of here.”
One of Kevlar’s eyes fluttered then popped open. The other was black and a trickle of white fluid flowed from it.
“Thank you.” Blood rolled down his chin, and he grabbed her left arm and pulled himself up.
The added weight, along with the disconnection, pulled Casey’s arm from her shoulder.
“Wait!” She fumbled for the prosthetic arm with her real one.
Kevlar fell back, holding the arm in his hands. “What the hell…?”
Kevlar looked at the arm, then up at Casey, then back to the arm. “They sent a cripple?”
Casey lurched forward, reaching for her limb. “I am a fully qualified super powered EMT. Not crippled.”
“You got a fake arm.” Kevlar looked at the woman tugging at the arm in his hands. “You can’t even carry me.”
“I am capable of carrying you any distance that is required.” Casey snatched the arm back from Kevlar’s dark gloves.
The man looked around. “Did you see anyone when you came in here?”
“No!” Casey seated the arm in place and fastened it in place. “Not even when I pulled you from that hole.”
Kevlar looked at the hole. It was narrow and perhaps four feet deep. He pursed his lips and cocked an eyebrow. “Impressive,” he muttered.
“Good.” Kevlar stood. “Without that nullifier around, my abilities are back on. My healing will help me out in a few minutes. So, sweetie, you can go back to the half-way house and save your abilities for small kids and raising money for those in need.”
“Fine with me, you arrogant jerk!” Casey turned away and took several steps.
“I see that Kevlar’s personality is winning more friends.”
“Shit. He’s back,” Kevlar spat. “Get out of here. You can’t do anything in your condition.”
“My condition…?” Casey spun around to face the Hero. Her lips tight, face red, and eyes narrowed to thin slits.
Seeing the small man wearing dark sunglasses gave her pause. Looking at Kevlar, she spotted him clutching his abdomen and bent over. She didn’t hear any contact, just his voice.
“I turned his abilities off again.” The short blond man said. “You may call me Unplugg. That is what I do. I unplug powers. Right now, Kevlar’s powers are off. No more invulnerability and no more healing. His strength is mostly his, but it is augmented by his powers. So that is off too.”
“But, he’ll die.” Casey’s eyes were wide as she slid a small step back. “I can get him out of here, but I need to use my powers to do it.”
“I know.” Unplugg shrugged. “I turned them off and all of your other powers too.” He walked towards the woman. “You see, I don’t like super powers, even though I have them. Most people misuse their abilities or worse, don’t use them at all.” He reached for Casey’s shoulder. “My power let’s me even the playing field. Even your strength is slightly augmented by your abilities. Your health, everything.”
Casey did notice her arm felt heavier. The pain at both stumps also intensified. The doctors said that her powers would help her, she just assumed that she could hover or fly instead of walk places.
“You are no match for me.” Unplugg indicated Kevlar. “You see, if I can take out someone like Kevlar, you are no match…”
The fist connected with Unplugg at full power. His chin touched his shoulder, there was blood in his mouth, a tooth missing, and he was seeing stars. He blinked several times, held his hands out, and staggered around.
Kevlar was on the ground holding his body, but his head looked up. “Whoa!”
“You are the second person tonight to say that shit to me.” Casey stepped forward and sent an upward shot to Unplugg’s gut. “You didn’t realize one thing.” Casey cocked her industrial strengthened leg back and sent it forward. The toe of her steel alloy foot connected with the shin of Unplugg’s leg. A cracking sound collided with everyone’s ears. Kevlar mustered the strength to flinch. “I am more than my powers! In fact, I am more than human.”
The short man slammed into the thin carpet and hollering.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a job to do.”
She moved over to Kevlar. He still had on the carabiner and cord. She tugged on it until both her and he were near the window she came in.
“Look, dickweed.” She leaned over Kevlar and pointed her prosthetic hand at him. “You have two choices. One, you go with me. Two, you stay here until a replacement arrives. He may be able to do something between now and then, but the choice is entirely on you.”
Kevlar propped himself up on an elbow. “Look lady.” He groaned as he moved. “It ain’t personal. That arm is just creepy.”
“That arm saved your ass.”
Kevlar’s mouth opened, then closed. Opened again, then closed again. “OK, let’s go.”
Casey pulled him to a standing position, then moved to have him grip her over her shoulders. “Hold on. We are going to go fast.”
She launched from the floor and glided through the window.
“Oh, by the way,” she said over her shoulder. “I have a prosthetic leg, too.”
Casey blasted forward at sub-mach speeds.
Casey entered the office. Several days after her transport of Kevlar. While watching her monitor, a message went across her screen.
My office, please – Danforth
Casey locked her station and walked to Mr. Danforth’s office. The door stood open, so she knocked and leaned in. “You wanted to see me?”
“Casey. Come in. Take a seat.” Mr. Danforth looked up from his computer screen. “Fantastic job with transporting Kevlar.”
“Just doing my job as best I can.” Casey looked at her lap, sighed, then back to Mr. Danforth.
“I know he has a reputation for being an asshat.” Mr. Danforth shifted forward, leaning on his desk. “But that asshat signed up to the gold membership and brought two other heroes with him.”
“What!” Casey leaned forward and her mouth opened. “How many is that?”
“You have your five.” Mr. Danforth stood from his desk, picked up a box, and handed it to Casey. “As per the deal, here is your new arm. It is actually a better model than initially agreed upon. It will handle mach three easily.”
“I…I…I…I don’t know what to say.” Casey stood and reached for the box with trembling arms. The box was lighter than expected, even with the padding and wrapping.
Opening one end, Casey slid the new prosthetic from the container and looked it over. Her real arm darted over and unfastened her current prosthetic and placed it on a table. “Mr. Danforth, thank you for making this happen.”
“It wasn’t just me. You did it.”
Casey snapped the new arm in place. It fit like a glove. Casey began putting it through a simple test as tears ran down her cheeks. Once all the fingers flexed and she made a fist, she looked at Mr. Danforth. “I…I…I’m so happy.”
“Good. Now get back to work.”
“Yes, sir.” She sniffled as she picked up her previous arm, the box her new one came. Casey exited the office, then headed for her desk.
When Casey arrived, there was a bigger box with a letter folded on top of it. The label on the box was identical to the box in her hand. My arrangement was for the arm first.
Casey flipped open the letter.
This letter is to apologize for my behavior. I was unprofessional and mean. It was never my intent to insult you or those that are crippled like you.
Crippled! What the fuck!
I was informed that you were saving for a newer type of fake limb.
Your company said they had the arm covered, so I got the next one. I hope this helps you out.
Your friend, Kevlar.
He ain’t my friend. I would rather lose another limb instead of have him as my…maybe…
With a sigh Casey tossed the letter onto her desk. She peeled the box end open. She pulled the device out. It was another prosthetic, this one a leg.
Like her new arm it was lighter than expected. She inspected it as she fitted it in place of her previous leg. Adjusting her uniform over the seam, she sat down and admired the new limb.
Someone let out a wolf-whistle.
Ronald walked up. “This one has a tattoo.”
“What?” Casey jerked forward and arched around her new knee.
“Yeah.” Ronald pointed. “What is that?”
“The mother fucker wrote his name on it!”