It's like Bridget Jones' Diary, but with a super-powered vigilante.

June 04, 2005

Green Dragon, Part One

“I'm a man, and I’m torn between vengeance and fashion”
Electric Six "Vengeance and Fashion"


The spot I’ve picked for my rendezvous with Margo is a ten story parking garage at the edge of Midtown near Waterfront Park and the Metro Mall. It’s a good spot – it’s open 24 hours and connects to the Metro building by several sky bridges. There are no parking attendants, just an automated gate. Late on a weeknight nobody should be around up on the ninth floor of the garage. I know this because I often use the Metro garage as a rest stop when I patrol Midtown. It’s good to have places where you can chill out unobserved for a minute and drink some water or change the music on the MP3 player, maybe take a piss.

I hang out on top of an office building across the street from the parking garage. At 11:27 I watch Margo’s silver Nissan enter the garage from Wellman Street. She pays for a ticket and starts driving her car up a corkscrew system of ramps. Doesn’t look like anybody’s following her. After a last glance around for lurking Paracrime cops or Malefactors, I leap over to the parking garage and wait for her.

Margo’s car pulls up a ramp on to the empty ninth floor. She sees me and pulls into a spot near the corner of the parking garage.

Shit! My voice!

Scrambling, I rip the inhaler from a pouch on my utility belt and take a hit. The aerosol affects my vocal chords, and for the next couple of hours I will sound exactly like entertainer Robert Goulet. That’s slack; I should have changed my voice beforehand. I’m an idiot.

Margo steps out of her Nissan on the opposite side of the car and keeps the door open. I don’t know if she’s purposely keeping the car between me and her, but it’s smart of her. She’s wearing a tailored black leather jacket, a white T-shirt, and faded jeans. She looks nervous.

“Ms. Thompson, thank you for coming,” I say in my new voice, walking towards the car. I look around. The place is empty and nobody followed her. Seems okay.

“Sure,” she says, looking around, too. “I, um, I have an envelope for you with some notes and stuff.”

“That’s excellent.” I stop on the other side of her Nissan. “Can I take a look?”

“Right,” she says, pulling a manila envelope out of her car.

I open the envelope. There are pages of handwritten notes, a few pictures, and a floor plan. I scan through the notes – mostly it’s stuff that I already know, but the photos are interesting; low-res images of a guy in a silver radiation suit in a high-tech chamber of some kind.

“Those are from my cell phone,” she says. “That’s a shot of the IT annex for the QuantumWorks project. It’s a restricted area. That’s looking through the sliding doors in the rear of the annex. Sorry they’re not better pictures…”

I hold up the floor plan. “And what’s this?”

“Here, I’ll show you.” Margo comes around the front of the car. She sets the floor plan and photos on the warm hood of the Nissan. “This is a map of the ninth floor of the building. Here’s my office, and here’s the IT area. Okay? There’s a foyer here where people without clearance can talk to the IT guys, some meeting rooms here.” Her nervousness has completely vanished. I have to hand it to her, she adapts quickly. And she smells like shampoo.

“Now take a look at these pictures,” she says, pointing at the blurry shots of the rad-suit guy standing in a chamber of some kind. “I took these pictures here, in the foyer, through two open doors, okay? And –“

“And this guy here in the hazmat suit is standing in a room that’s not on the building’s floor plan,” I say.

“It’s not just not on the plan. It’s not anywhere. I mean, this room would be nine stories above the loading bays, floating in space. I’m not really good at spatial relations, but you can’t tell me that that chamber fits in the building.”

She’s right.

“It’s a tesseract,” I say.

“A what?”

“A tesseract. It’s a space that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. These people you work for are monkeying around with dimensional technology. This QuantumWorks project, it uses proprietary technology, right?”

“Yeah, they’re very secretive about it,” Margo says. “Patents, and all that.”

“And QuantumWorks, it’s like a super-search engine, right?” I work for the same pricks she does, so I know all this stuff, but the Velvet Marauder doesn’t necessarily know, so I have to play dumb. “Mackenzie said it was a meta-historical search engine.”

“Right, it can look up any material that’s ever been on the internet, like ever. Even emails. So you think QuantumWorks is powered by this dimensional technology.”

“Right.” It makes sense. No wonder they’re so paranoid about it; dimensional technology is highly restricted in the States. Too many mad scientists and accidents like the Pittsburgh Incident put the brakes on interdimensional research in the 90’s.

“Can we get back to the tesseract thing?” Margo says. “So this room here, with the guy –“ She holds up the photos. “This room is in another dimension?”

“I don’t know, I’m not an expert on stuff like this,” I say, which is really understating things. “But it’s either in a pocket dimension, or the room itself is dimensionally transcendental and is just bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Like in Dr. Who.”

“Pardon?”

“On Dr. Who, he traveled around in the TARDIS, his phone booth time machine, right? And when he goes inside, it’s huge on the inside and high tech, but on the outside it’s still a phone booth. It is dimensionally transcendental.”

“I’ve never watched Dr. Who,” she says.

“Well, you’re missing out.”

“Apparently.” She grins at me. We have a little moment where we look at each other, and then:

“Okay, well, thank you for the material,” I say.

“Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you. I mean, I hope it’s helpful. What do we do next?”

“Well, you go back to work and forget this ever happened, and I take it from here,” I say, putting the stuff back into the envelope.

“Uh, that doesn’t work for me,” she says. She has stopped smiling.

“Well, it’s going to have to. You’ve already put yourself in enough danger just by meeting with me. You’ve done your part –“

“You wouldn’t even have this stuff if it weren’t for me!” she yells.

I hear something.

She yells, "Now you’ve got your notes and I’m getting cut out of the picture? I’m the only inside person you have in The Company! I mean, aside from Mackenzie, but the point is –“

“Shhh!” I hold up my hand and she goes quiet.

“Hang on.” I walk away from Margo and the car, craning my neck to one side, listening. I dial up the tolerance on my suit’s audio system.

Footsteps.

At the far side of this level of the garage a man in black walks down the ramp from the tenth floor. He points at me. At first I think it’s a ninja – he’s dressed in a black bodysuit – but then I see the green mask.

“Velvet Marauder!” His call echoes through the empty garage. I hear Margo gasp behind me.

I zoom in on him with my goggle optics: He’s wearing a jade green samurai mask with a leering, menacing face. No obvious weapons. Doesn’t look familiar…

He starts walking towards us.

“Your time has come!” he yells, stabbing a finger at me.

“Ahh, shit,” I mutter.

I turn to Margo. “I think you better get out of here.”
(CONTINUED in Part Two)

10 comments:

Zoot Koomie said...

Five gets you ten that sounding like Robert Goulet gives VM the winning edge in this battle. Never underestimate the power of cool.

Zoot

razorsmile said...

About fucking time!! :D

The Chromium Pugilist said...

Sweet merciful Christ, be careful. I was in Pittsburgh during The Incident. It's how I got my powers. The whole thing was more horrible than you think. Four of my friends were eaten by that goddamn dinosaur. My apartment building transmuted to a gelatinous mass that smelled like cabbage. Everyone inside at the time suffocated. I still can't eat cabbage.

That dimension-warping technology is under tight control for a damn good reason.

Stomp these clowns fast, VM.

Anonymous said...

Any word if Wombat was injured in this wreck? I bet his spades really messed that car up ;)

Anonymous said...

Wombat thing with intended linking goodness...
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200506/s1396901.htm

gorjus said...

GOOD GOD, VM!! What happened??

Joel said...

I bet there was some serious whupin' and it wasn't all one sided. That's probably why he hasn't posted yet. He's not feeling up to par.

Quit Smoking said...

Hi, I was looking around some blogger blogs for some ideas to start my own on ebooks and you have given me some great ideas. Good blog. I will check it out every week. Thanks

Jack Naka said...

Cool blog you have going here, I will check in often! I have a similar site about fall fashion 2005. It pretty much covers fall fashion 2005 related stuff.

LuckyLeo said...

You had to mention Doctor Who.

I liked your blog before, but now:

PLEASE, PLEASE COME BACK!!!

You upped your coolness factor up by 5000% with me by mentioning the good Doctor and his TARDIS.

You are DA MAN!!!