Last time: Local hero Cliffhanger visits Tesla Girl headquarters at Wardenclyffe Tower for a romantic teamup with Emilie Tesla, only to find her kidnapped by her archnemesis, Asylum. Fortunately for Marina and Kate Tesla, he’s got a car.
Part Two (of Five)
“So you really call it the Cliffmobile, Cliffy?” Kate asked from the passenger seat, her red hair flying in the breeze, mostly into her face.
“It’s a stupid name,” Marina agreed, but the way she sat up straight on top of the back seat to catch the imaginary speed lines belied her disdain. Even Cliff could tell she had a thing for speed.
The modified Lincoln Continental sped topless down Wagner Street, all six lanes empty at this late hour. Lights changed from green to yellow to red, then immediately to green again as Kate tapped buttons on her Universal Remote.
“I don’t really call it anything,” Cliff yelled over the velocity wind. “Um, where did you say Emilie had been taken, again?”
Marina put her hands up into the air, catching the breeze in her white gloved hands. “Asylum,” she said. “Again.”
“He’s kind of her archenemy,” Kate explained. “He thinks she’s crazy and wants to lock her up for the city’s safety.”
“I think he wants to get in her pants,” Marina said. “Like Cliff here.”
Cliffhanger was an experienced enough hero not to blush, but the edges of his devil-may-care smile turned down a little. “We were just going on a team-up,” he insisted.
“Can’t fool me,” Marina said, one hand puffing her curls into the wind, “I’ve got the Electric Heart.”
“What’s the–” Cliff started, but the flashing red light on the dashboard interrupted him. He reached over to turn on the police band radio, but Kate’s hand had already shot out and hit the right button. The “Adventure Driving” mix automatically paused and the radio started.
“…repeating, ten-ninety-four in progress at the San Diablo arroyo, request assistance, road block planned at…”
“Drag race!” Marina shrieked, before dialing back her excitement to her usual seen-it-all diva range. “We should probably help.”
“But… Emilie,” Cliff said.
“Oh, Asylum captures her all the time, Cliffy,” Kate said, her fingers racing over the Cliffmobile’s GPS computer. “He’s not going to hurt her… well, not physically, unless he tightens the straightjacket too tight, though he seems to have a lot of experience putting them on… I mean, on other people, not himself…” At Kate’s command, the dashboard screen had already calculated the fastest route to the arroyo. She had apparently also somehow cross-linked Convergence City’s traffic cameras to give real-time data on the location offending racers and the police in pursuit. Cliff didn’t even know the car could do that.
“Right, then,” he said. “Uh, Tesla Girls to the rescue.”
“And Cliffy,” Kate added.
“Whatever,” Marina said, leaning forward. “Can this thing go any faster?”
Rather than answer, Cliff pressed the button on the driving wheel to activate the nitrous oxide overdrive engine. If that didn’t impress the newest Tesla Girl, nothing would.
A glance in the rear view mirror showed that apparently, in fact, nothing would.
Kate’s remote kept the lights green all the way across downtown, Convergence City’s glass and steel whizzing by in a blur of relative velocity. Cliff’s years as a driving school instructor had given him both heroic vehicular skills and a complete lack of fear. Convergence City citizens knew from experience to get out of the way when action reared its head. Within minutes, the Cliffmobile u-turned into a skid stop on the Dillan Avenue overpass.
“Remember,” Kate said, stepping out of the car with her remote in her right hand, “the vector quantity of the momentum those cars is going to be pretty big, so watch your first law of motion!”
“Duh,” Marina sighed, flipping herself out of the backseat and landing on her glossy black boots.
The headlights of the cars racing down the arroyo were approaching, police lights following them in the distance. Cliff looked the other way to see red and blues setting up a roadblock further down. The key here, he assessed, was to slow or stop the racers without causing further danger to the police. He climbed up on the overpass railway and licked his pinky to check the wind. It was for effect only; he just went with his gut where action was concerned.
That didn’t seem to be Kate’s style. She had pulled out some sort of sextant to attach to her remote, which was already flickering with patterned lightning on one end. The tip of her tongue poked out of the corner of her mouth as she did advanced mathematics in her head.
Marina, meanwhile, was floating several feet off the ground, some kind of spherical electric nimbus radiating out of her chest and surrounding her petite form. Apparently the Electric Heart wasn’t just a metaphoric name.
The cars were almost beneath them when Kate threw several silver egg-like devices into the air. They flew off under the command of the lightning arcing from her remote.
Trusty grappling hook in hand, Cliff jumped over the edge.
Landing on the hood of a black Mustang Cobra, his suction boots immediately gripped tight. Through the windshield, Cliff saw a teenage boy with more hair in his soul patch than on his head. The kid driver panicked upon seeing a man appear on the hood of his car, turning the wheel hard to the right to shake Cliffhanger off.
“May I see your license?” Cliff said, even though no one was able to hear his banter. He fired off his grapple and the hook wrapped around a metal streetlight. Attaching the launcher to the open driver’s side window, he smiled at the terrified driver before hitting him across the chin. His angle wasn’t perfect, though, and the punch, while knocking out the punk, imbalanced him enough that for a moment he tottered on the edge of the hood.
Breath held, he grabbed at the car roof to stabilize himself. He looked around for a soft patch of concrete to dive and roll onto when his titanium-laced grapple line forced the car to a stop. He crouched and turned off the suction in his boots, preparing to jump.
The line went taut, but instead of the car stopping, the attached grapple tore the car roof right off. The car barreled onward.
“Oh crap,” Cliff said as he flew uncontrolled into the air. “I think I forgot the vector quantity.”
© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.