Last time: Local hero Cliffhanger met the amazing Tesla Girls, science heroines of Convergence City. Together with Kate and Marina Tesla (and Kate’s ex, Big Shot) they attempted to rescue Emilie Tesla from her nemesis Asylum, only to find that she didn’t need rescue after all.
Part One (of Nine)
“Okay, that’s just rude,” Marina Tesla said, pouting. Her lipstick was a dark enough shade of crimson to make the pout noticeable from at least fifty yards distance, which was just about how far she stood with her two sisters-in-invention. The three were facing a large stone castle in the middle of downtown Convergence City. Marina took out a small cube of bubble gum and put it in her mouth.
“I’m not actually sure what the etiquette of replacing the Convergence City Fun Zone with a medieval castle is,” Emilie responded, tapping one white finger against the side of her pale nose. “Someone really ought to write a book of paranormal manners.”
“I wanted to see the new Ghost Cat movie,” Marina continued.
“Like, ‘never turn someone into a domestic animal that they are allergic to in human form.'”
“Is that where you got those cyborg plague rats you have building the electric chair in the basement?” Kate Tesla asked. Her long hair was twice streaked with white and held back in a floral scarf that matched her long skirt.
“No, they started that way,” Emilie said, brushing her long white hair out of her face. “Rats, I mean. I added the cyborg parts.”
“And the plague?”
“It’s a cyberplague.”
“It’s gross,” Marina chimed in. “They keep sneezing.”
“At least they have those little handkerchiefs and the robot arms to use them,” Emilie pointed out. “If I had known we weren’t going to see the Ghost Cat movie I would have brought them. They love the Fun Zone.”
“Guys?” Kate asked, absently biting her lower lip as she watched the anachronism. “Don’t you think we should do something about the castle? I mean, other than talk about it?”
“There’s another theatre at the CC Mall,” Marina suggested.
“No, I kind of agree with Kate,” Emilie said. “I would like to know who parked their castle on our outdoor entertainment center. Even if just to point out the social faux pas.”
“Fine, fine,” Marina grumbled. “Stupid majority rule.”
Kate took out her Universal Remote and began to scan the stone structure. Emilie pulled at a seemingly loose lace on her corset and from beneath the gothic folds of her outfit leather plating edged with bronze flipped out, armoring her from choker to heels. It somehow seemed to make her taller, too, but that might just have been levitation. Marina took out a compact and checked her makeup. Unlike her two partners, she was dressed in a fashionable one piece white dress and didn’t have a stitch of steampunk on her.
“Radiation levels within normal range,” Kate offered.
Marina glared at her. “The first worry you have about a magic castle appearing on top of my movie theatre is the radiation level?”
“Give her a break,” Emilie chastised the youngest Tesla Girl. “She only recovered from the mutation two months ago.”
Kate sighed and tapped a quick line of code into the remote. After several seconds, a red light lit and it started beeping.
“Goblin level at two thousand percent above normal. Better?”
“I knew I should have brought my rats. Goblins hate rats.”
“I hate rats and goblins… and missing the previews,” Marina added as an afterthought.
Emilie smiled instead. “I like kicking goblin ass.” She pursed her lips, whistled a three-note tune, and large brass cannons unfolded from her gloves and armed themselves.
“I keep telling you, one of these days we’re going to meet some goblins who aren’t horrid little homicidal maniacs and we’re totally going to miss it because you two are smashing them,” Kate said.
“You just don’t want to go in the castle first,” Marina said.
“Neither do you,” Kate insisted. “You know the rule.”
“Are you two still going on about that?” Emilie sighed. Sometimes it was hard being the senior Tesla. Any time Kate and Marina started arguing about the “first in, first out” rule was one of those times.
“It’s totally true,” Marina said, taking the gum out of her mouth and wadding it up in a tissue from her silver purse. “The first one who goes into the unknown lair is the first one who gets knocked out.”
“I hate to agree with her, but she’s right,” Kate agreed.
“You’re both puerile,” Emilie sighed.
“Then you go first,” Marina suggested.
“I’m DPS,” Emilie said, waving her arm cannons. “I come in last to mop up.”
A dark verdigris goblin crossed across one of the castle’s ramparts, stopping momentarily to look out at the gathered citizens. He made a rude gesture with one arm and wandered back into the upper levels of the castle.
“I wish Cliffy were here. He’s good about getting knocked out,” Kate sighed.
“If I had my rats, they could go in first.”
“Oh my GOD, shut UP about your rats!” Marina whinged.
“Excuse me,” said a young blonde man in a business suit he hadn’t quite bulked up enough to wear without looking like it was his dad’s. “Are you the Tesla Girls?”
“Why yes,” Marina smiled, turning and folding her hands behind her back.
“I mean, I was wondering because that castle appeared, like, twenty minutes ago and you’re just, um, standing there talking about it.”
Emilie glared at him through slitted eyes and frowned.
“We’re reconnoitering,” she said.
“Whatever,” the young man said, and walked off into the crowd.
As he moved on between the spectators and gawkers, his features changed. His hair darkened and his skin grew paler. As he changed, his pace picked up to a jog until he was across the street. Pushing open the door to the McDonald’s that used to overlook the Fun Zone, he finished his transformation by letting his ears recover their faerie points.
Seated at a table on the second floor balcony were his two brothers. The grimmer of them, Cassidy, frowned and waved to get his attention. Donnie took the stairs up two at a time.
“So are they ever going in the castle?” Frankie asked, his unkempt red hair hanging in his purple eyes.
“Maybe in twenty minutes or so,” Donnie said. He glanced out the large glass pane that made up most of the front of the McDonald’s. The three girls were still standing on the sidewalk overlooking the castle. “Who knows with them?”
The Boys of Summer picked at their fries while they watched the Tesla Girls across the street.
“Worst nemeses ever,” sighed Cassidy.
© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.