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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stand Alone 2

Sapphire looked back to the Archivist. "How did I see all of that?"

"Through me. I am able to project it into your mind directly. The Knowledge is a database and I am... the USB cord link to us, to use your common tongue." The Archivist stepped away from the mineral.

"So the Knowledge contains everything ever?" She asked.

He shook his head. "Long ago one of our order corrupted the Knowledge to remove information. It was much like a virus, and the infection ran deep. It destroyed decades, targeted around specific sections."

"What was in the sections?" Her eyebrow cocked, her curiosity peaked.

"Unknown. We Cataloguers know much, but even our mortal memories are finite. The Knowledge is our reserve; the hard drive of the Universe. The oldest of us attempted to correct the infection and it cost her everything... her sanity and then her life. The traitor had made sure that information would forever be lost to us." The Archivist looked sad.

"Have you ever tried anything else? I know that time travel is... different now that the Cascade is  gone, but it is still possible. Just difficult. I know that Spectacular did it many times in the past, but that was before The Event."

He shook his head. "We do not possess such a skill, and for the most part we try not to interfere with the sentient species of the Universe. We have met this Spectacular, and found him...irritating at best. He is however, very intelligent, but lacks a aspect to his personality."

She laughed. "I agree. Genius, but dumb when it comes to people." She turned back to the Knowledge, so what's next?"


She clenched her fists tightly at her sides. Anger filled her mind and her eyes glazed over, her power filling her inside, and the ground before her iced over, the molecules in the soil and air forming a thick layer that surrounded her opponent. He glanced around at the ground and then back at her. The radius was perfect, and the edges seemed to haze with an unseen heat, and then the inside. Soon the air was swirling with a mist and heat and then a gigantic storm erupted within, fire and ice in unison attacked her opponent driving him to his knees as he gasped for breath, each one harder to inhale, and even harder to exhale. He cried out in pain.

"Sapphire STOP!! You're killing me!!" Dune's voice rose over the cacophony, as he grew heavier.

Her eyes snapped back into focus, and immediately the storm died down and dissipated. Her brow furrowed and then she realized what she had done. She ran to her mentor's side. He looked up at her and smiled weakly. "You're a bit too bad-ass in the powers department, Mercedes. You need to watch yourself when we train together."

"I'm sorry." She mumbled under her breath.

"It’s okay, that's why your mother has me training you. Someday you'll be a great hero... strong and confident, and both your parents will be proud of who you've become." The young Mercedes Whitman smiled.

"I love you, Dune." She nodded and hugged him, her little arms barely making their way around his chest.

"I love you too. Now let's get back to the meditation technique." He walked her back to the training dummy. Its armored form was dented in places. "Remember to still yourself and find the weakness in the armor and you will damage the form beneath."

Mercedes Whitman, Age 9


"Congratulations Sapphire. You have mastered my style of martial arts."

"Thank you, Sensei." She bowed before Dune. Sandra and Alex stood by quietly, her mother’s eyes misting a little. Her father looked bored. Under his breath he muttered, "I still don't see how this will make her a better hero." Her mother shushed him.

"Alex, what I have taught your daughter is discipline and control. She is an excellent student and will be an impressive hero, but without control she will be a danger to us, others and possibly the world." Dune had returned the bow and now stood before her father.

"Your 'style' of martial arts is destructive and dangerous, Dune. You built a form of fighting that forces the user to attempt to kill his or her opponent. It's bad enough that you taught it to my wife, but you created it to show off your prowess against that Michael guy, who's long dead by the way." Dune looked away.

"It's not that simple Alex. Michael was a dangerous person and he needed to be stopped, I didn't create this to kill, but to maim and wound; to maneuver around an opponent’s own armored defenses and take advantage of their weaknesses. Michael was a master of all the same styles as I, and when he began to hunt down and take over the schools of the master that he slew, I had to act. I'm not proud of what I became to stop him, and that's why your daughter and wife only know a bastardized version of my fighting style." He turned away and looked towards the setting sun. "I would never do anything to endanger your family, Alex. Perhaps it’s time for me to return to Tibet. I feel that some time meditating will clear my head."

"No, Dune, you can't leave me!" Mercedes grabbed his hand and pulled at him, he easily slipped the grab and spared one short glance at Sandra, and disappeared into the sunset.

Mercedes Whitman, Age 12


Black Sapphire jammed her palm into the female crook's nose. It cracked and split, blood pouring forth instantly. She growled and pulled a semi-automatic pistol from her waist band. "For that you die, bitch!" She pulled the trigger and a short three-round burst hit the wall near the Black Sapphire's head.

"Oh, fer crying out loud, C.C... how many times do we have to go over this? I'm better than you, by a whole lot you know. Like, the GPA for this fight has you at the low end of the curve." She dove forward and rolled under the next burst of bullets, stealing their speed and giving it to the refuse nearby. Some cans, a banana peel and what appeared to be a used prophylactic slammed into the gunners face, neck and lower back, driving her forward and to one knee, placing her chin perfectly for the driving force of the power uppercut that Sapphire delivered.

C.C.'s head snapped back and her eyes glazed over, she dropped the gun with a clatter to the asphalt at their feet. She collapsed in a pile. Sapphire kippuped to her feet and brushed herself  off, her finger brushing the comm unit in her head piece as she called 911. "Yeah it's Black Sapphire. I have Crystal Cue wrapped up and tagged for transport at the corner of..." She rattled off the address and finished securing the suspect. These days she seemed to be busting the same group of thugs and lamers, C.C. was the closest thing to an arch enemy she had, and she barely had abilities.

The police arrived on the scene and she gave her statement and a copy of the video feed from her head unit and chest feeds. She glanced up at a nearby roof and noticed a shadowed figure watching the proceedings; she excused herself and slipped away. Soon she was racing across the rooftops and attempting to catch her stalker. She rounded a chimney and was knocked to her ass by a well-placed foot sweep. She rolled away from her attacker and flipped to her feet, she took up a varied kung fu stance, designed to use the opponents’ weaknesses against them.

The clouds moved from their position and exposed her attackers face in the moonlight.

"DUNE!!" She ran forward and hugged him. He smiled and a look of shock washed over his face as she flipped him over and slammed him to the rooftop. "Even Steven, I think." She held out her hand to assist him to his feet. He smirked and she pulled back her hand. "Oh come on!! I've, like, mastered three styles since you left and on Saturday I'll get my black belt in Dragon Form Karate. That's not gonna fly this time. I'm not twelve anymore."

He smirked and got to his feet. "It's good to be home."

Mercedes Whitman, Age 14


Her Junior Prom was upon her. She was only a Sophomore and dating a Junior, of whom who her father didn't approve, which of course made her angry yet happy.  Here she was in a 300 dollar dress that was cut way too low, and very prepared to take advantage of a nearby motel that she had already reserved a room at.

So here she was waiting for her date to arrive.  He had called to tell her that he was running late and that she should head out before him and that he would meet her there, and not to worry. So of course she was worried, it wasn't like George to be late, like, ever. She began to tap her foot unconsciously in irritation. Two of the schools cheerleaders passed by making a couple snide remarks under their breaths as they went into the dance. "Bitches."

A few more minutes passed, and then people were rushing out of the school, tripping over one another in panic. She grumbled under her breath, and rushed towards the school.

Inside she was shocked at the scene that lay before her: several students were down and bleeding, at least two were dead. Hovering on a cushion of air, C.C. floated above the bodies. Her Cue Baller's had several hostages, pinned and grappled with the pool cues that they used as weapons.

"Welcome young lady, to this... your Junior prom!" She cackled, the cross shaped scar making one side of her face look hideous in the faux disco light. She motioned to the ceiling where a young man hung silently, twisting slowly. Soon George stared down at her, tears streaming down his face.

"I don't know who you think you are --" She was cut off.

"Cut the crap, Sapphire. It took some time to figure out who you are. Almost two whole years! But now I get to have revenge! Why do you think you've been fighting the same people the last few months? I've been gauging your skills!  Didn't take a genius to find a girl in this town who used at least six different styles of martial arts!" Sapphire slipped into combat mode, and started to take a step towards the closest Cue crew member. "Ah ah ah, none of that girlie. Today is the day that you die. But first..." George dropped, the line holding him ended at his neck, and she ran anyway. She needed to steal his momentum. She had to save him. She had to...SNAP.

Then it was over. George was dead and dangling from his noose and C.C. cackled. Panic flooded her and she lost control. Rage filled her, and she blacked out.

She came to; her dress burned badly, her skin beneath scorched. She looked up at the paramedic who had woken her; he was telling her that she was lucky to be alive as he loaded her on a stretcher. She looked at the gym... at the bodies of the Cue Ballers and the students, at George's body, and the shattered form of C.C., a fist mist of cooling ice coming of the body. Burn marks and small fires were scattered here and there, frozen patches of ice and spikes jutted from the floor.

She had lost control, and she had killed many people, and she had avenged her boyfriend’s death. It didn't make her feel any better and then she vomited on her 'savior'. The next few hours were a blur in the questioning; she was the only witness to the massacre, the ravaged destruction that seemed to point to the hero of the city Black Sapphire.

Her decision to keep this from the authorities came at the hands of Dune, and a technique that she had refused to learn when she studied Kung Fu. With a heavy heart he assisted in capping her powers through pressure points so that they lay dormant in her, and the hero once known as Black Sapphire disappeared from the public eye for the rest of the world.

Mercedes Whitman, Age 16

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