KAT & SALLY IN: Vanbushed! Chapter 2
Spoiler alert: When people spray you with stuff that knocks you out, they don’t really care about the side-effects.
I wake up to overwhelming nausea and some nasty vertigo. I’m restrained, head to toe, in what I can only assume is some sort of bed. I can rock my head side to side, but that’s about it. The room around me is a sanitary shade of white; everything looks like it’s scrubbed six times a day. I can’t see a door from where I am, but since I can only see the top half of two of the walls, there might be one literally right in front of me and I don’t know it.
I notice I can’t feel my crystals. No, that‘s not true; I can feel them in my chest, but their power isn’t working. Fortunately, my organs and such seem unaffected.
More worryingly, I can’t see Kat anywhere. Are they holding her somewhere else? Is she alive?
I hear footsteps. I pretend to be asleep.
“No need to pretend, Sally.”
A man’s voice.
“We do not wish to harm you.”
I open my eyes.
“Oh, dammit,” I say.
“What is the matter?”
A robo-dude with all his wires and stuff showing is standing in front of me, his plastic face a neutral expression that says “I’M TOTALLY A ROBOT YO” and nothing else.
“Nothing, I just… nothing,” I say. “Where’s Kat?”
“Katrina is resting next door,” Robo-Pal says. “We will allow both of you to leave soon.”
“Then why did you knock us out and bring us here?”
“We wished to evaluate your powers. Now that we have analyzed the crystals, you shall be free to go once you have recovered your energy.”
“Hang on, you understand the crystals?” I ask. “Who are you, anyway?”
“We are part of an interdimensional agency in charge of regulating power shifts,” he says. “Think of us as a sort of United Nations.”
“So… You’re really impressive, but you don’t actually get anything done?”
“Sort of. We have a bit more power behind us than that.”
“Y’know, we haven’t run into any real challengers yet,” I say. “Even Aegis and what’s-his-demon-face were kinda pushovers. Are there real bad guys out there?”
“It is not the place of the agency to place such labels as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ on individuals.”
“But yes. You will be tested. Soon, most likely. You would do well to prepare yourselves.”
“Right, thanks,” I say.
“…And I hope we might meet in person some day.”
“Wait, you’re not really a weird robo-man?”
“No,” he says. “This is a facsimile. Physical interdimensional travel is costly, but data is fairly easy to transmit. I look forward to watching your progress.”
I blink. “Um. Thanks?”
“I shall release you now,” he says. “But please, wait another forty-five minutes before attempting to use your powers. You may also want to find a place to eat between now and then.”
“Hang on, what’s… What’s your name?”
“Call me Atomsk. It is not my true name, but it will do for now.”
“Right,” I say.
He undoes the last of my restraints and I sit up, rubbing my wrists and rolling out my neck.
“I do apologize for the inconvenience. This will be the only time we treat you in such a way.”
“Better than being properly kidnapped,” I say, smiling. “Hey, do you know who’s coming? I mean, can you give me a hint?”
“…It is against agency policy.”
“…But?” I try again.
“No ‘but’ this time,” he says. “You must develop your skills on your own. Any interference on my part would be to your detriment.
“…But you might want to work on teleportation. Since you already have your energy beams perfected.”
With that, Atomsk’s robo-body walks away, servos whirring and twitching to keep himself from falling over.
I exit the room and find myself in a similarly-white hallway. It’s not that long — thirty, forty feet, maybe. No visible exits. I look to my left and see Kat, also seemingly disoriented.
I now notice we’re back in our street clothes instead of our superhero outfits. Just how powerful is this agency?
“You OK?” I ask.
“Yeah,” she says. “You?”
“Yeah. How was your guy?”
“Yeah, the one that talked to you,” I say.
“I just got a pre-recorded message,” Kat says. “Something about an agency and scanning our crystals or whatever. Why, what did they tell you?”
“Oh, pretty much the same thing,” I say.
“Uh-huh,” Kat says.
“…Listen, I had… I dunno, it was a robo-dude, but he said there was a guy on the other end of it, talking through it. Talking interdimensionally.”
“Why didn’t they do that for me?” Kat asks.
“…I think he had a crush on me.”
Kat blinks. “Well. Definitely good thing you got him and not me, then.”
“Yeah,” I say. “He said I — we? He said working on teleportation would be a good idea ahead of whatever’s coming.”
“Do you have any idea how to teleport?”
“No, but I bet we can figure it out,” I say.
“Food first, though, right?”
“Right, let’s get outta here.”
As soon as she says it, a flash of light envelops us; a second later, we’re standing outside her apartment.
“Huh,” I say. “I guess that’s how it works.”
End of Chapter 2