by Dan Swanson
Zing the Queen of Quick rushed back to her room; the cash was still there. But now she had other things to worry about. That last escape was too close. If she hadn’t just discovered a new power, they would have had her.
Last night, she’d wondered why she’d been knocked on her can the day before by an electrical charge in the secret facility under the Nike base, and then only instants later, she’d been virtually invulnerable to the powerful electrical shock Captain Midnight had delivered. She took apart her phone and did a little cautious experimenting.
A few years ago, back on her parallel world, a technician from the phone company had come to their house to remove one of the older model wall-phones, the kind with a crank, to put in a new dial phone. He had left some exposed wires while he’d been talking to her mother, and she’d touched one of those wires and been knocked across the room. The technician had explained to her that one of the phone wires carried about fifty volts DC that was used to ring the bell and make the phone ring, and he had warned her to stay away from exposed wires, since that voltage was backed up by enough current to hurt her badly. But it hadn’t. Her parents had threatened to sue the phone company, and they’d received free telephone service for a year.
She worked up her nerve and touched the exposed wire — and she was knocked on her can. When she’d recovered from the jangles the shock had produced, she touched it again, and this time she barely felt it. It was definitely very interesting. She had to stop and think about this for a while. A half-hour later, she’d come to no conclusions, so she tried the experiment again. She got a big jolt, but not nearly as big as before. She tried again, and no shock at all.
Aleny Huong always thought better when she was running, so she went out for a run. She had a theory by the time she came back. Perhaps her body could absorb electricity, and when she was charged up, she was more or less immune to further electricity. But the charge leaked away over time. That explained what she’d observed so far, but she wondered if there be more to it. Could she somehow make use of the electrical charge in her body, maybe make it discharge with a powerful spark, rather than simply leaking away? She headed back to her apartment; she’d touch the wire again, get a charge, and see if she could learn more. But she was surprised when she touched the wire and didn’t get the expected shock. The charge that she got earlier should have worn off by now, so why was she still charged up?
She tabled that question for a few minutes and concentrated on the discharge question. She didn’t know exactly how to go about it, but by moving at super-speed, she could try a lot of different things in a short time. She soon found out that by concentrating, she could release her excess charge instantly in a lightning-like spark. If only it wasn’t so painful to acquire that charge.
The next morning, she’d gone out for a run again, and when she came back, she started experimenting again. And she was surprised when she didn’t get a shock; somehow her run had charged her up.
She wasn’t totally sure of the mechanism, but she knew the results. By running at super-speed, her body acquired a massive electrical charge. Or she could charge herself up by touching a hot wire. If she concentrated, she could release this charge as a small lightning bolt. Or the charge would leak away if she didn’t discharge it violently. And while she was charged she was immune to further electrical shocks. The only thing she wasn’t sure of was why she’d been vulnerable to that shock in the research facility; she’d just finished running at super-speed for miles across Lake Michigan. Maybe that first spark had somehow activated her power.
Even with her new power, she’d almost been captured. With the Super-Villain Apprehension Team, along with the entire Chicago police force and the city’s three resident super-heroes all gunning for her, she decided it was time to leave town. But where could she go?
The two-million dollars — well, now it was actually $1,999,900, but who’s counting? — still weighed heavily on her mind, as she tried to figure out the best place to go. Where could she spend two million in cash without raising any eyebrows? When she said it that way, the answer was obvious.
“Las Vegas, here I come!”