Another Very Occasional Update – With a Story!

Posted: 16th October 2017 by Jason Kristopher in Uncategorized
Been awhile since I posted, so here’s a quick update:
  • I’m moving to Florida at the end of the year. White sand beach, great weather, small town, good university (I’m studying Marine Archaeology now, too, btw).

  • Yes, I’ll still be writing. In fact, I’ll be devoting much more time to it. Not sure what will come out next – still trying to find THAT project (you writers know what I mean).
In the meantime, here’s something I wrote a few months ago that I think holds promise. Love to hear what you think!

A WOMAN’S WAR

by Jason Kristopher

The massive combat tank was going to fall into the trench, and there was nothing she could do. Even her great strength had limits, it turned out. Superhero or not, biology had its say in the end.

The metal of the tank’s hauling mounts was cold in her hands, colder than she’d expected through her combat gloves. Her boots dug into the ground, and carved furrows as the tank slipped closer to the edge of the chasm. The rift bombs had done their work the year before—or was it two? three?—and had cracked the ground for miles in length and who knew how far down. Farther than she could jump, that was for certain.

“Just . . . hold . . . on,” she grunted to herself, trying to coax more power out of exhausted muscle and bone. If she could manage to keep it out of the chasm for just a little longer, Warwoman would be back and could take over. Assuming she had any strength left, either. Fliers used just as much energy as any of the other heroes, but it was a chance.

A chance that was rapidly, and literally, slipping through her fingers.

The seven men in the tank were unconscious, she knew, or she would’ve had them crawling out long ago. She could hear them breathing, but they hadn’t responded to shouted commands. At least, if she failed them, they would fall without fear, without pain, and never wake up. They would die, but they would die heroes. She would see to it.

“No,” she said, so soft even she could barely hear it. A cramp was building in her right forearm, and she forced her will into those muscles. “No,” she said again, and again was surprised by her own words. “No!” This time, she shouted, and pulled back with all her strength. Something within her snapped, and a flood of energy flowed from her chest to her arms and legs.

The first step back she took buried her boot four inches into the dirt with a loud crunch. And the next. The metal of the tank’s mounts began to twist as the force of gravity warred with the super-strength of Lady Grey.

Another step back, and another. The mounts began to stretch, so she punched her fist through the six-inch-thick metal of the tank and grabbed hold of something on the other side. Something that felt like a stanchion or internal support. Something stronger than the external mount, in any case.

More steps, another punch, and she was walking the tank back from the ledge. As the tank rolled onto level ground, her strength faded, and Lady Grey collapsed to her knees, her hands still stuck in the tank. She no longer had the strength to remove them. She heard herself yelling, and somehow found the will to stop. The sudden silence was oppressive, and as she knelt there with her hands buried in the tanks innards, she bowed her head.

Lady Grey had saved the tank, but was now hanging from the front of the armored behemoth. Her ash-colored uniform blended with the steel of the tank and the rocky ground. She couldn’t move, couldn’t think. Spots whirled across her vision, and she vomited as vertigo spun her senses into madness.

After an interminable moment, the Gods showed mercy on her, and she passed out.

#  #  #

“Will she recover, ma’am?”

Warwoman stood over her friend and stared in shock. What kind of strength it must have taken to punch through the hull of a magna-tank, she couldn’t guess, but it was well over Lady Grey’s power rating. Well over any power rating Warwoman had ever heard of, in fact.

“I don’t know, crewman,” she said to the man standing in the tank’s forward hatch. The crewman held a bandage to his head and a radio in the other, and looked back and forth between the two heroes. “She’s alive, so there’s at least that to be thankful for, not to mention your saving. Do you know what happened?”

“No, ma’am. One minute we’re on the firing line, and we hear a report of an enemy super coming our way, the next we’re waking up and she’s . . . well, she was like that, ma’am.”

Warwoman went down on one knee next to her friend, checking her more closely for injuries. She lay a hand on Lady Grey’s shoulder and concentrated, willing one of her lesser powers into action. Of particular use on the battlefield for purposes of triage, it told her more than she wanted to know, in this case.

She gasped and fell backward, as one outstretched hand saved her from a graceless sprawl into the battlefield mud. It wasn’t  . . . no . . . not Lady Grey! She swore and stood as she toggled the comm unit on her belt. “Command, Warwoman. Come in Command.”

A brief squeal in her ear made her wince, but then the system connected. “Command here, Warwoman. What’s your status?” The steady voice of Command usually calmed her nerves, but not today.

“Command, I . . .” She took a deep breath to steady herself, and continued. “Command, requesting Helix, Code Alpha-One.” Only a few battlefield leaders could call an Alpha-One, with good reason. Warwoman wouldn’t have called for immediate, drop-what-you’re-doing-and-get-your-ass-here-now assistance if she didn’t think it was serious. “Repeat, request Helix, Code Alpha-One. I . . . I think we’ve got a Burner.”

There was a pause, and Command came back, cool and collected as ever. “Alpha-One acknowledged, Warwoman. Helix is en route. ETA 2 minutes.”

“Roger Command, Warwoman out.”

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the crewman looking at her with eyes the size of saucers. Even the tank crews knew what Alpha-One meant. “Ma’am—”

She cut him off. “Close the hatch and stay in the tank, crewman. You don’t want to see this.”

Helix’s appearance was . . . disconcerting, at best, to normals, and had driven more than one mad.

“But if she burned herself out saving us . . .”

Warwoman turned to face him. “She did what we all hope to do, crewman. Save our people, one life at a time.” She looked back at her friend, unconscious with her fists stuck in a tank, powerless and drained.

“I just hope we can save her, too.”

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