Part XVIII – What the Flux? or Flux You!

Ted’s face practically screamed ‘Evil plot coming to fruition!’. No, it didn’t actually scream but it felt like there should be a dramatic soundtrack – the kind that echoed through right before some super hero busted into the lair. He probably hoped for just that or at least something interesting that would result in money and attention. He had five ex-wives to pay after all.

Hans managed to corral the flying camera onto a dull flat docking station. How or why it listened to him was beyond me. No one else seemed to have much control over the dimension hopping construct. I mean, it recorded footage I guess. That was something.

“Sure as shit, that ain’t good. That ain’t good at all,” Hans said.

“My dear sir, whatever could be the matter?” Ted stepped over – all casual like. Only he wasn’t even remotely suave looking. The lingering villain grin discolored his face. I worried that maybe he had acted as Telegraph one too many times.

“Nothing. Everything. Rotten ham sandwiches and shit nut butter.” Hans’ curse was worth a four of five in shock value but the sunny disposition ruined the whole line.

“Can I trade it in for a puppy? I’ve always wanted a robo-dog. These come with laser beam eyes right? Maybe a warranty against accidental reverse laser-” my words trailed off as I realized the other two were staring at me like I belonged in a mental ward. I mean, really. Ted clearly had the insane one position all locked up. My role in a trope filled movie cast was clearly the leveled headed speaker of reason.

They both shook their heads in unison. I blinked at the synchronicity. The pair of them had either known each other forever or simply thought alike despite their different situations. That or the only way to respond to me asking for a puppy dog was head shaking.

“So, no?” I asked.

“I need to take this and study it,” Hans said abruptly to Ted. He waved both arms rapidly to shoo us off. “You two milksops get your dingleberry riddled assholes out of my store and go fuck your mothers!”

“Hans, once again, a bit much my friend,” Ted said to the larger man.

I closed both eyes then took a deep breath. The robots ignored me. Having a dog no longer felt like a good idea if they were just going to let Hans say such foul things. One of them should have bit him on the ass or crapped bolts in his face.

Hans no longer smiled. His eyes were unfocused and cheek pulled back on one side. His jaw hung slightly open and deep panting breaths came out. It only took forever to see him being anything but cheery.

“I’d wager twenty thousand you have an idea what’s going on,” Ted offered with a smile.

“That’s a rolling pin up your ass stupid bet. Why would I hand money to a man that can’t lie? What kind of flat headed Neanderthals did you fuck out of their money upstairs?”

“As many as I could find. What can you tell us about Mister Millard’s recent stalker?”

Hans pointed his calculator at a corner of the store then pressed a button. Light flashed. Ted opened his mouth and started to speak but a glass dome dropped down. It landed over him and the man froze mid-babble. A second one hit the ground four feet to my left and trapped a mechanical dog. It too sat with yip with legs partial extended.

I debated throwing objects but chose not to. Hans was busy slamming the next button while cursing under his breath. A third cage slammed down hitting four feet in the other direction. Then a fourth slammed into a the row of cursed devices. I crossed my arms and stared at the store proprietor. He waved at one of the dogs. It latched around my pant leg nearly pinching flesh but a rack, destabilized rapid fire person sized domes, fell over on top of it. The collapsing object nearly missed me but pinned the dog to the ground. It attempted to pull itself forward.

“What in the name of Jesus fucking himself?”

“Stasis fields?” I pointed in turn at all four containers. Clearly, Hans wanted to inspect the device in peace, or kick us out, or steal it. I didn’t know for sure but whatever he was doing probably won’t work right. My abilities included annoyance at being suppressed in any sort of way. Murphy’s law worked for me as much as it worked against me.

He pressed the button again then sparks fell from the ceiling. The entire system above shorted out and lights flickered. One of the dogs collapsed into dried pasta. I stared at the sea of noodles spilling around my shoes then laughed. For once things were going my way.

Unless of course they weren’t. The doors behind me slammed shut. Another woman who I hadn’t even noticed stood frozen with two swords out slashing upwards. I looked at her dome and wondered when the fifth landed.

“Don’t bother. My power prevents that sort of thing most of the time. Unless I’m lost in space,” I said. “I once sat in a deep freeze for two days circling Mars before someone rescued me. That one probably got by because it would keep me living, but down here when I’m fine then cages like this, probably not going to work.”

I kicked around some noodles listening to them scatter. The he uttered the longest, most foul string I’d ever heard from another human being. I won’t repeat it but the line ended with, “who in the pig humping shit choot are you?”

You wouldn’t believe how hard that made me laugh. Someone didn’t know me and was actually surprised when their mechanisms went wrong. I laughed so hard my knees gave out and my body slumped against a rack. I laughed so hard I wondered if the dog noodles were held together by laughing gas.

I eventually recovered but Hans had already moved on. He sat at his counter with a pile of weird looking wrenches and took turns smacking an inert stalker camera. I chuckled weakly trying not to abuse side muscles that hadn’t recovered completely. The man looked up and scowled at me then hit it even harder.

“I’m Adam Millard, walking disaster magnet.” Hans didn’t look up after my introduction. He looked utterly focused on the device. “What’s with the dirt camera?”

“Its name is Flux, and it isn’t made of dirt,” he responded without a curse. Maybe the earlier failures jarred him or he burned out the curse with his string of foulness a moment ago.

“Noodles then?” I crunched one under my food. A mess of red cores lay under the fallen shelving and he didn’t care in the slightest.

“No. Air. It’s made of empty as shit air. If I can get to the fucking core!”

Yet another wrench was lifted then Hans started banging on the camera’s hull. The device sat there indifferent to the beating being delivered. I crunched a few more noodles under my shoes while running through the list of possible disasters.

Choice one, all these orbs activate at once in a rush of insanity and the room became crammed with dungeon walls, props, clothes and death rays. Choice two, they all rushed together and formed up a mega robot of doom which promptly went on a rampage until some tight wearing asshole showed up. Choice three, I got so bored someone hit me with knockout gas and I woke up six hours later strapped to an operation table without clothes.

The fourth possibly was Hans picking up three wrenches, one in between his large teeth, and whacked away awkwardly with the trio. My eyes went wide as focus slipped. A cacophony of noise drove my brain to numbness. Hands pressed into ears to drown out the sounds.

“I’d rather have the death robot!” I shouted.

Hans paused then looked up with a cocked eyebrow. I pulled one hand away in time to hear him ask, “What are you on about, you ugly tree reject?”

“I asked what you were doing?” I lied while poking at the camera. For a moment I contemplated trying to get a few choice curses out like Hans did but the idea faded quickly. He was too good at coming up with unique ones, even though they were hit and miss somehow.

“Look, I don’t know how it happened. I’m not sure I want to know. But listen up you freakish piss spawned devil, this thing is one of mine.” He whacked away with two other wrenches with limp arms. A deep sigh later he said, “But Flux should only be theoretical because I haven’t figured out how to make the midget fudge packer yet.”

“You haven’t made it yet? That’s a neat trick.” If he hadn’t made it then that thing must be from an alternate reality or something. I mean, I’d tripped through a few then come home. Most were about the same as normal reality except everyone had mustaches or talked with a Texas accents. They were more annoying than Wonderlands in most ways.

“It’s from the future. I checked, and it’s bitches in heat bound to you.” Hans dropped the wrenches and pressed a button on the table top that beeped annoyingly.

A display popped into existence with all sorts of information. It turned out the device had been produced six years from now. Why six years, I didn’t know at the time. That bit of information I wouldn’t figure out until much later.

At the moment, my heart thumped loudly. The taste of hard cider lingered faintly. The itching on my arm grew in intensity and a million minor aches all presented themselves at once. I tried to focus on the larger man’s rolling mouth but couldn’t. The only coherent thought was ‘I hate time travel.’

“You said theoretical?” Mad science messes were the worst messes. Mind you, those very same people would argue up and down the universes walls that mad science was the only way to fly. “What. Does it theoretically do. That it shouldn’t?”

“Time travel, you squinty eyed twat, apparently.”

It would do more than that. Nothing that came from the future could be as simple as ‘hur, I’m a camera, beep beep’ – nothing. I messaged my shoulder with the opposite arm and groaned for a moment before figuring out what kind of an ass to be in response.

“Right, because you tinker types think small and stop at time travel. Why break one portion of reality when you can invent something that breaks them all?”

“Listen you crotch staining tampon, who are you to think that time travel is so simple?” Hans threw one of the wrenches then slammed both hands on the table.

“Adam Millard, small mobile hurricane of super powered disasters.” I paused then decided to be honest with at least one human being in my life. It would be good practice for when Alice started asking real questions. “I’ve done pretty much everything at least once, mostly unwillingly or while high so parts of it may have been in my head.”

Hans stared at me for a moment while waving a wrench back and forth. He shifted focus with a cough then scratched his arm. Large layers of flub covered muscle weaved a frantic circle. He picked up two more wrenches then threw them, denting displays and breaking his product. The man paced back and forth slowly while glaring at the sitting camera. It clearly perplexed him.

“Your name rings a bell,” Hans admitted after a belch.

“You’ll figure it out. People eventually do.” I shrugged. “What I care about is your love child of madness that shouldn’t exist stalking me, what does it really do?”

Hans hesitated a good ten seconds. I figured pushing him was useless. He’d answer or a slime monster from dimension X would be summoned at one of these stalls and cause an evacuation. I once met a slime monster from dimension XX who insisted he was at least twice as good. Hopefully dimension XXX slime monsters ended up at least being visually attractive and not looking like regurgitated barf.

“It’s a forge. A mobile forge that can adapt anything to anything,” Hans said.

“It makes items,” I asked slowly.

There was no way I wanted to deal with a portable item creator. You may think it’s a great idea to have one about, but in my experience people tend to stab each other over this sort of thing. Since I wouldn’t die, that meant people near me would constantly be in danger. Really, you wouldn’t expect me to wander around with a voyeuristic camera that created items out of air and try to have a psychotic romancing fling with Alice, would you? I mean, she would probably stab people back, but the idea still sounded terrible.

“It was fucking intended to make my shitty job a snore fest. I could reduce space, stop taking up more room than two fat whales in a sixty nine during each convention. The thing could store it all the display work and set it up for me with the right amount of time.”

“That sound like a good reason for people to try and kill me.” They wouldn’t succeed and more people would be caught in the crossfire if Hans’ colorful explanation went public. “Take it back.”

“I can’t.”

A chill washed through my body which made me shake. I ventured a question that couldn’t possibly have a happy answer. “Why?”

“Because according to the log,” Hans scrolled up to the top of a long list of items. “I bound it to your sorry ass across all time and space. It will always find you.”

“Why?” I asked again.

“Because something went tits up wrong. That’s what it says here in this portion before someone started screwing with the logs. Here, something went wrong. The device was brought online before testing could be finished, and I wrapped around your spirit like a bound it to you. How that equates to breaking through the abused rectum of time and space is beyond me!”

Let’s ignore that part where someone tampered with the logs. We’ll get back to it eventually, right? I bypassed it at the time because my hands felt clammy and mouth numb. Moving my jaw took real effort and I wanted to tear down the store then run away at a frantic pace.

Instead, with what I considered to be reasonable decor, I asked, “How did it get here? You said bound. Like I can’t get away from it.”

“You can’t. It’s bound. Only, I don’t know, full on god level or something far too high up the fecal covered dildo from my ball basin could break it. If this is theoretically impossible without six years, then that would take the rest of my life. Knotting crap is always easier than undoing it.”

I raised my eyebrows in disbelief. Hans’ face wavered as he stared at the camera. The thing was the size of his head and clearly worried the shit out of him. I replayed what he said and tried to picture something higher up the power scale. Anything of that magnitude of ability would be downright scary. The few that I had met didn’t care about me and my own powers, they simply put me in a corner then worked around to do whatever they pleased.

“If, for fuck’s sake this isn’t the kind of horse cock donkey penis I would-” He cut off and banged the table with one of the wrenches that hadn’t broken or been thrown. “Look, I remember who you are now. You’re a walking fucking fiasco, but if you ever hit a wall, something you can’t solve, tell Flux here ‘Show me the good stuff’.”

The machine whirled around then focused directly on Hans. It didn’t waver or record the area as normal. Both of us held our breath. He waited for Flex to settle back down on the plain looking cradle.

“The good stuff. Who wouldn’t want the good stuff?” I said slowly.

“Because it comes with a curse,” Hans responded.

You know my luck. This thing probably came with a lot more than some simple curse.

“Which is?”

“Haven’t the faintest eye raping clue. It could be a tooth ache that never goes away. It could be muteness. It could be the urge to molest dead corpses.”

Luckily I already had the urge to pee on villains when they got out line. Doing so was another matter. It wasn’t like I actually enjoyed the thought, but god dammit there were only so many ways to fight back.

“Yeah you should take it back. Or drop it in a void pit somewhere. Maybe take some white out to my name right here,” I started babbling and frantically pointing at the display Hans had brought up. It showed a series of line items that were all broken and garbled. I hoped they could simply replace the part that says ‘owner’ with ‘Adam Dullard’ or something – a man who probably lived in peace with his neighbors.

“You poor son of a futa whore, I don’t think you could get rid of it if you wanted to. Not if I designed the goat porking can opener with half the capability I intended to.”

“And a curse,” I said.

“Comes with the trade. Power always has a price.”

Didn’t I fucking know it. Time travel and curses were things that happened to people around me. Compared to all my other adventures, both items fell under ‘still not dead horses’. I tried to find an upside to this mess and the only thing that came to mind was maybe, maybe I’d finally get a weapon that people couldn’t take away from me. Maybe.

“Now, shitstain duck fart, get out and leave me alone. I shouldn’t have tried to pry the rust bucket open. I shouldn’t have let Ted’s elbow biting ass in here again.” Hans waved me off and reached under the counter. “I’m keeping all this money though, consider it an investment in your fucked up future.”

An absolutely huge looking gun with two pointed barrels and smoke hissing out came into view. My heartbeat almost jumped while both hands with up in quiet surrender.

“Or you’ll shoot me?” I said. My mouth didn’t follow suit with my body’s reaction.

“I’ll shoot Ted,” he responded.

I debated standing in front of the frozen man who acted content to jerk me around in the name of entertainment and profit. The idea sort of bothered me after all Ted had tried to do for me, or himself with me as collateral. I mean we actually used my powers to earn something around one and a half million dollars in an hour. And we were here buying me stuff to do a job with.

Why was it that I constantly felt on the fence about working with Ted? My gut kept trying to say no while desperation to be needed felt good. It was like with Alice, only Alice and I had more of a history. Her motives were simple while Ted felt almost too honest. Simplicity and boobs were far more attractive than duplicity and a job.

Hans shot a blast at the ground and a chunk of his storefront, goods and all, melted away. Zero fucks were displayed at the loss of merchandise. Fresh steam poured out of the gun’s barrel. I flinched as he leveled the large weapon my way. Being unafraid of death didn’t equate to liking pain.

“I’ll go wait outside then. I guess, that’s-” I pointed at Flux “-is coming with me?”

Hans elbowed piles of bills onto the floor. For fuck’s sake, I had been so distracted by the conversation that I didn’t notice Ted had plopped down his bag of cash at some point. Apparently to the shop keep go the spoilers, and the rest of us could eat dirt.

“Yes. Now go out there. Go you slack-jawed cum bubble!”

“No need to be rude,” I said dryly, feeling happy with my sarcasm. Flux, or the red-eyed camera nonsense floated happily ahead, already out and scouting our surroundings for footage.

“Go, sit out there. I’ll ship Ted out with you. Tell him our business is finished.”

A little mechanical device that looked like a cookie sheet with two dozen legs slid itself under the glass dome Ted’s body sat frozen in. It lifted him up with wobbly limbs then trotted carefully out the door. I walked in a brisk manner out the door.

Our third companion was also being pulled out, though her case was treated with far less kindness. Her body sat stiff with both swords  still mid slash as the case tipped over. Some machine with ropes wheeled forward.

I turned to face Hans, who still had the oversized shotgun of steam leveled in my direction. I asked, “He seems addicted to your products. How long does he need to stay out?”

“At least six years,” Hans said as he reached out a hand and pointed toward a small device at the doorway corner. A security grate slid down rapidly. Signs and lights on the outside flashed then turned into equal amounts of packing peanuts and dried elbow pasta.

I laughed once then shook my head. The world was full of nonsense sometimes. Well, for you guys it might be sometimes. If you’ve been paying attention I think we can both agree that it was absurd constantly for me.

The device carrying Ted also fell into pieces. Small red orbs that could have fit in my palm landed on the ground then shook. Their forms quickly elevated to a rocking motion then rolled across the floor and under the last four inches of doorway that hadn’t closed.  Hans’ cursing form could be heard inside as the entire shop started packing itself up. Robots inside were gathering up items. Packing peanuts floated out from under the door.

“Argh!” a woman screamed from the floor, awkwardly completing her slash against tilts. Sparks flew off the sword and metal clanged. I took a few steps back and made sure Ted’s slowly reviving body was out of the way. She kicked around twice with both eyes wide and searching for enemies. Too bad it was just me, Ted, a floating eyeball, and pasta.

“Well shit,” the woman said while getting up. I tried not to make eye contact with the sword wielder but frowned. “Guess he kicked us all out. Must be lunch time.”

“Must be,” I agreed.

She stormed off, seemingly uncaring about the abrupt ejection. Maybe in her mind there was an entire convention of stores and stalls to explore still. The next shop over looked like they sold wristwatches for all occasions. Sword Swinging Lass bypassed it and instead wandered down stairs to, who the hell knew. She vanished before Ted recovered.

After his cage collapsed Ted had stood there unmoving and unblinking. I waited while tapping one foot and glaring at the machine. As I concentrated elsewhere, Ted’s body finally showed signs of life. He feel forward, both knees buckled and Ted crashed to the ground. After two seconds one hand shot up with a finger upright. It faced towards the store.

“I was prepared for that,” he said. “Everything is going according to plan.”

Ted stood up while grumbling. He pressed one hand on his back and pushed himself into an upright pose.

As for his commentary, I assumed it was the truth, which bothered me. Addressing his oddly timed theatrics would probably result in additional confusion so I stared blankly at the hovering Flux.

“Did you get a suit?” he asked.

“I think so,” I answered.

“How about gear, did you get gear?”

If Hans’ told the truth, then yes. Flux probably could make suits too. I worried about the curse that would come from using it to create objects. What if it decided to curse me for a signal booster? Come to think of it, I didn’t know what it operated on battery wise.

And, as a moment of honesty, I’m still a little vague on that whole point.

Ted dusted himself off then flipped his costume around. Once again the Telegraph gear showed up and he let out a bout of evil villain laughter. I slow clapped, because no one else did and he deserved mockery. After a pause, Ted bowed to an audience of one, two if you count the robot, then flipped back to a once against pristine suit.

“Well, here we are Mister Millard. You’ve got what I promised. A way to record shows for us, a purpose. Though you signed the legal paperwork I still want to know, are you with us??

“Asking questions? Recording where I go, telling it like I see it? Yeah. That sounds great,” I said with a half felt smile. My head hurt and the urge to lay down made holding my eyes open difficult The short nap at their large condo or whatever had been nice, but I needed really lasting sleep.

“What about the money?” Ted asked while looking around. He turned and stared at the empty storefront then raised an eyebrow. The man walked up to a now barred entryway and leaned towards the tinted plastic covering. One hand sat above his head like a visor as he tried to look inside.

“It’s been invested in some mutual funds that will take time to mature,” I said answered while silently judging the shit of his attempts at looking inside. There was nothing to see, and Hans had been pretty set on clearing out rapidly.

“Oh? How long?” Ted questioned while turning back to me.

“Six years. In an odd coincidence, Hans says you’re forbidden from shopping at the,” I tried to remember the name of this store but failed. Everything had been packed up already anyway, not even a shadow of the store name remained mounted above. “whatever that was.”

“Yes, well sometimes these sorts of things happen.”

“More than I’d like,” I agreed. Easy come easy go was a motto in my life. I wondered how long before Flux ended up in a mad scientist’s mini-black hole.

Ted hummed while tapping his chin with an extended index finger. His head tilted back and up toward the ceiling as he got lost in thought. After a few minutes, he nodded.

“So, where to from here. Ah, yes. Before I set you lose, I have one more task I’d like your help with, but first perhaps your little friend can get you an earpiece. Something that will dial into our network. Does it have that ability?”

“It’s a regular miracle worker.”

“Tone, Mister Millard. I detest sarcasm and it can lead to trouble.”

My immediate response was squashed. The camera, Flux or whatever, stared at me while drifting in a lazy circle. Apparently it cared about my reactions or our conversation.

“Right,” I said while approaching Flux. It waited for a command while pointing straight toward me. “Flux, show me the good stuff.”

The machine beeped once then did nothing.

“Uhhhh-” I raised an eyebrow and waved one arm. “Form up a headset? Whatever Ted has?”

The device spun in a rapid circle. Bright thick light pointed towards Ted to scan his entire body in two waves. Ted already had a small earpiece out in his hand for the objects inspect. Flux beeped twice then the lights formed again, creating a second version of the small earpiece. I reached out and grabbed it before gravity broke the frail looking thing.

I held a half inch long flesh colored piece and waited for some curse to kick in. Oddly I didn’t feel any different. I put it into my ear while Ted happily observed with his fake as hell looking smile. Noise clicked in the device. There was a bit of static that clicked in and out.

“You should be online. Emily said she’d hook any new device up to the headphones your dear Alice has. Apparently she woke up quiet insistent to talk to you,” Ted said.

I frowned then raised an eyebrow.

“No worries, it will be a private line. Just talk. If it’s like mine, it’ll pick up right away.”

The line connected. I heard the sound of Alice dreamily babbling to herself.

“Alice?” I blurted her name. I’d hoped she was still catching up on sleep. Only an hour or two had passed depending on teleportation lag.

There was a fumble of noise and objects banging against each other. It sounded like everything in the universe had clattered onto a floor. There were a few sharp cracks that sounded like glass or something else fracturing. I held my breath and waited for a response.

“Adam? Is that you honey?” Alice’s voice scratched across the line. It sounded like she had the microphone in her mouth. That wasn’t even the worst of it. I heard music, like the crazy sort of sound that came with The Alice – her alter ego.

I looked around and tried to understand where the background music was coming from. We weren’t in a Wonderland, but it sounded absolutely menacing. I turned to find Ted humming to the noise and waving both fingers like a mini-maestro. That meant this wasn’t in my head, but instead came from a source.

“Baby? Can you hear me? I’ve been talking in this thing they gave me for days and days and days.” She huffed and sighed. Something crunched. “It’s so boring here. They won’t let me touch anything after I broke the mirror.”

“Alice can you hear me?”

Apparently, she couldn’t.

“This thing is green, so you should be able to hear me, right Adam? Honey? Oh god the things I want to do to you. I’m a dirty girl Adam. You’ll like it, I swear.” She then calmly explained, while panting, exactly what constitute a dirty girl. My eyes went wide as I took out the small ear bud and tried to get a clear signal, then I could respond and strongly suggest that now wasn’t the right time for this kind of talk. Maybe she had intercepted a porno talk show. Nothing worked, she kept whispering filthy things that made me worry what kind of girl I’d agreed to meet. My face heated and toes flexed from nervousness or strange excitement.

But she still showed no signs of hearing me. I stepped around thinking our poor connection might be a trick of the location. After a few feet it became obvious, the low bongs of noise were coming from Flux, which didn’t help me hear Alice.

“Music off?” I questioned while staring at Flux. The floating device simply brightened, bobbed, then backed up. The machine ignored me and kept up the tune as it shifted into a long drawn out violin piece.

There was a splintering of wood and objects being cast around.

“Adam? Adam they found me. Those two found me! They tried to spike my drink but I’m onto them! Wait!”

The bottom dropped out from my stomach. Heat vanished from my prior flushed face. There was a muffled noise of someone else in the background. I could hear a grunt of male tones as Alice ramped up into hysteria.

“They’ve got something sharp! No needles! No more needles!” Alice’s frantic voice reached a feverish pitch. She took a breath and screamed loudly until my ear rang. “I don’t want. See you soon, Adam-” and her words drifted off abruptly in a fading moan.

“Jesus.” I heard another voice with a flatter tone speak. I pulled out the headset and looked at it in a panic. The light still blinked. Back in my ear it went, but no audio continued to play.

“What was that?” I yelled. Alice had gone from happy to naughty to frantic all in the space of a few insane sentences.

Ted stood there with that shadowy smile. He looked passed me and pursed his lips together and pointed at me. I heard a footstep approach from behind and the crackle of energy as something arched into my back making me bow from pain. Both knees failed to stabilize and down I went. My body flopped to the ground. Arms jerked and hit the pavement in an alternating rhythm. Barely sane teeth bit at my tongue causing fresh pain I couldn’t even scream about. The feeling lingered.

“it’s time we moved into the last act.” Ted approached closer and knelt down and smiled at me. “You’re going to be famous Mister Millard. You and me, we’re going to show the world their heroes aren’t perfect paragons of unquestionable ethics. You’re perfect for it. A witness who can’t die, and they’ll never be able to shut you up Mister Millard.”

“Wha-” I slurred. His words were garbled and made little sense. I tried to understand why he wore that stupid Telegraph costume again but couldn’t piece a thought together. One leg managed work enough to get into a half-kneeling position.

He smiled and talked to someone behind me. “Hit him again, but remember, don’t try to kill him. Mister Millard’s powers are perfectly docile as long as there’s no intent for murder permanent damage.” He wiggled a finger in my direction.

“Cute,” the daintiest voice in the world said from behind me. It made me want to squeeze nitrogen into my eardrums and drown out the lingering sweetness of her tone.

I halfway turned around in time to see one of the eye candy lightning twins. She laughed like a well-paid whore then reached out with a hand that crackled from energy. I stepped back but her hand was quicker. The familiar feeling of electricity running through me ended with a popped blood vessel in one eye and made my bladder losing control.

“Now pick him up. We need to move before Walker gets here,” Ted said while smiling. My vision was nearly blocked by a watering eye and blurred vision.  “You see, Mister Millard, it is with great relish that I stop that nasty wit of yours. I’ve been looking forward to this for years.”

“Truth,” someone else followed up.

I’ll tell you what; my mind couldn’t even begin to process this nonsense.

Two sets of arms pulled at my arms. My feet hung limp. The sound of fabric sliding and a low constant murmur of people from the convention filled a void left by their voices. Vision dimmed down and only showed the camera orb following in our wake. It’s red eye blinked and almost seemed to smile.

My only coherent thought was that perhaps I should have let Hans fire that big mean weapon right into Ted’s face. I passed out with a bubbling chuckle.

 

Character Dossier

Name: Flux
Gender: Highly Trained Robot
Age: ??? Earth Standard Years

Generalized Ratings as follows

Strength: N/A
Intelligence: 3 [Pre Programmed Response Pattern]
Agility: 7 [Annoyingly Mobile]
Luck: N/A
Attitude: Indifferent to the suffering of mankind, responsive to trigger words, interested in chaotic scenes

 Other items of note

This machine is created from a future that may or may not exist yet. Shape adapts to different situation. Mostly flying. Has been seen once with arms used to manipulate a door lock. Absorbs liquor and flies drunk when no one is looking. Occasionally splices in porn scenes into video footage. A hummingbird couldn’t catch Flux at work.x`

Powers

Flux has two major powers. The first and foremost is a nearly unblockable ability to move around. It’s been known to find wormholes that don’t exist, travel through space and time at least twice, and follow teleportation wakes. No one is entirely sure when or how this happens as it always seems to be done just outside everyone’s line of sight.

The second power or know ability is to use matter of the either in order to copy other objects. These creations rarely last long and using them places an unknown burden on the user. So far only Adam Millard has been able to command it to action and use any items – which leads some to speculate that the burden or curse is sudden death, which naturally doesn’t work on Adam. It is also possible that his life is so absolutely messed up that the curse is simply unnoticed.

Some even theorize that the time hoping object is how Adam actually got his powers in the first place, and the entire thing is a self-reinforcing curse. No one knows for sure and most people know better than to try and take either object apart to find out.

 Fun Fact

It wasn’t until recently that Flux separated out from the rest of Ted’s collection and determined to be a device wholly separate from his standard ones. Only Ted can say when the extra object showed up, or if it was there the entire time.

Hans, if asked, would report that he’s smart enough not to sell such a device to Ted or anyone else with half a brain. He would also tell you that Ted barely has half a brain so he might have sold it.

Once, when Flux was tampered with by a very powerful mage that intended to learn its object creating skills for himself. Flux opted to teleport inside of the mage’s chest and ended his life. No one knows this outside of those able to travel to alternate realities because this happened in a future that no longer exists.

Interestingly enough, much like The Alice, and Adam Millard, there is only one known version of this device to ever occur. This does not include events which severely alter time.

 

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3 thoughts on “Part XVIII – What the Flux? or Flux You!

  1. Somehow I misnumbered the one prior – it was really 17. I think. I stared at it, fixed a few things, might have broken others. Who knows! Either way – today’s chapter ends on a cliff hanger (I’m not sorry) – and it might be the last chapter for a while.

    Because!!!: November is coming up!

    That means National Novel Writing Month! I’m signed up – finally – and have  vague idea what I’m doing. (Fantasy Western, Mining Town, Magic Tattoos, and Cat girls, this can’t possibly be sane) I refused to put much ink down – it feels like cheating to write content for the write month before the write month….but oh well!

    Here’s my page if you’re interested – I don’t have many friends or do a ton with it (I’m active over here) – but some people like to network….you strange people you.

    I did it last year and wrote up some feelings on it through one of the Rambles.

     

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    1. You are right on both counts. Sorry – the last few months have been hectic all around for me and the editor. Our baby daughter is winning all fights on sanity.

      I’ll work on getting these corrected at some point – thanks for taking time to let us know.

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