Capes 6-III

Luck Favors the Prepared.

The person standing in front of me looked like a stranger. Which was good, of course, it was what I was going for, but a little disconcerting all the same.

I(/we) was(/were) standing in an abandoned warehouse near the docks. The recession of about a decade ago had hit the city pretty hard, especially the shipping industry, and now there was this whole section of the city near the waterfront that was just empty warehouses and deteriorating apartments. One of Sabi’s moms is a lawyer, and when I asked her why the whole place hadn’t been torn down and replaced with some swanky apartments, she told me that there was some super-complicated legal battle being fought over the properties, although she didn’t know the exact details.

The costume had come together pretty nicely, I thought. The cloak had ended up being a no-go, but I’d found something else that worked. It was some sort of asymmetrically-layered poncho type deal, with a hood and everything. I’d spray-painted it in alternate layers of white and lavender, and it covered my head and shoulders and draping down to just above my waist on both sides. The ski goggles went over my eyes, and the scarf covered the lower half of my face and trailed out behind me; combined with the hood hiding my hair, the only distinguishing feature anyone could associate with Hannah Eiling-Kingsford was the height, and that wasn’t exactly a smoking gun. Lacking any sudden bursts of creativity, I’d just done stripes of purple straight down the sleeves and legs and left the boots and gloves plain white. All in all, I think it worked pretty well, especially because I could get a proper, objective look at it, thanks to the other reason I was here.

For whatever reason, I hadn’t been able to replicate what had happened back in the cafeteria, with the… smoke clone operating autonomously as me. It had been the first thing I’d tried actually, though if you’d ask me to explain just exactly what it was that I tried, I’d be at a loss. Project Hannah-drone would have to sit on the sidelines for a while. Way I saw it, it was my fallback, seeing as it had triggered instinctively the last time.

So I couldn’t have another me running around. But maybe if I took the ‘another’ out of it… I closed my eyes and concentrated, again not entirely sure on what, trying to manipulate the humming strings in my core.

When I opened my eyes, my double was gone. Darn it. I’d been going for brain hijack, not turning my power off. Except, why could I still feel the humming…?

And then I noticed that the lighting was subtly different, and remembered the invisibility.

Okay, so maybe not autonomous, but Hannah-drone is a go! I flexed experimentally, and everything felt about the same, if a little bit… lighter. Right. I’d forgotten about the intangibility as well. Really on a roll, Hanners. I tried swiping my hand through the space I was about 90% certain my real body was still occupying, and it just went through it like it wasn’t even there. Unless I’d missed, and I was pretty sure I hadn’t, that was pretty strange, because I could still touch myself-

I mean, I could still touch my body-

I mean, even though I was intangible, I could still clap and scratch my arms and stuff. Geez.

So, effectively, I have a remote-control me with density powers, while the real me is safe and invisible. Not going to lie, that’s pretty sweet.

Speaking of density powers…

I tried shifting back to normal weight, and swiped my hand through the air again. This time, it connected with something solid, and I winced as a jolt of pain went through my hand. So pain was still on the table. Good to know. Though, I didn’t feel anything from my real body, which might be problematic. Until I figured out how to be in two places at once, I’d have no way of checking in on my real self beyond switching back and forth.

Next test. I’d been thinking about the intangibility, and how it seemed to be density manipulation, and I’d started wondering if maybe it might work in the opposite direction too.

I made myself light again, then immediately grabbed the sensation of doing so, and yanked it as far in the opposite direction as possible. If that doesn’t make sense as an explanation, then I’m sorry, but believe me, it’s like explaining color to a blind person, and I’m doing the best I can.

It didn’t feel any different, but neither had the other way, so I did a little experimental hop. Jumping still felt the same, but when I landed, the ground actually cracked a little.

Holy sh- crud.

I waved an arm around in front of me. I definitely wasn’t moving any slower. So then how did I… oh right. “F=ma, right?” I said to the empty warehouse. “The a’s the same, but I’m adding a heck of a lot more m.” I pulled a coin from my pocket, glad to see it had been duplicated along with the costume, and flipped it off my thumb.

There was a small chink, and I looked up to see a small cloud of dust floating down from the ceiling and the tiny gleam of a piece of metal embedded in the ceiling. I gaped up at it.

Awesome,” I whispered. Then, running on instincts I couldn’t place if I tried, I crouched down and jumped. As soon as my feet left the ground, I went light, floating up to the coin, propelled by my mass-altered strength. Once I reached the roof, I went solid, grabbed the coin just as I started to fall again, then shifted all the way down into heavy again. This time, when I hit the ground, the cracks went out for a few meters.

I puffed out a breath, adrenaline flowing through my veins. How the holy heck did I just do that?! I looked around at the ruined concrete. I… should probably not hit any normal people when I’m like that.

Instinct was apparently a more important part of this than I’d thought. If I’d been consciously thinking about it, I wouldn’t have been able to pull that stunt off, and yet I had. It had honestly felt like one of my gymnastics routines, one of the ones I’d done so many times that my thoughts would wander while performing it. But those I’d practiced for years; I’d never done that before. So where had the experience come from? The power itself? But that would mean that… had someone had this power before me?

I found that idea pretty disconcerting, to be honest. I’d barely had the thing for a day, and yet it already felt like part of me. Thinking of it belonging to someone else was like discovering that one of your hands had previously belonged to another person.

I shook my head, willing the thoughts away. Not only were they disturbing, they were also unhelpful. I still had one last test to try. I took a deep breath, and shut off the power-

And I was back in my own body, feeling vaguely nauseous as wisps of lilac smoke disappeared in front of me.  Well, that was good. Hopefully, it would also kick in if something lethal happened to my doppelganger.

I’m not particularly religious. My parents never indoctrinated- sorry, raised me with any, and I didn’t find Jesus or Krishna or Mohammed or whatever on my own. But I’ve always liked the concept of fate, and so I chose to believe that it was predestination that carried the scream over the wind to me.

I spun in the direction it had come from, eyes tightening. No more experimentation, Hannah. This is it.

Go and kick some butt.