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by on September 25, 2019

“”All right,” Maggie said, as her arm stitched itself together again, “What killed me this time?”

The raven-bot chittered a stream of information at her. Maggie swore. “They’re using lasers now?”

The raven-bot chirped an affirmative. Maggie sighed. She shrugged on her cape and started for the door of her small apartment. It was almost time to go on patrol again, and the bad guys were still out there, like they were every night in Edison City. “And now I’ve got to evolve some new shields too,” she complained to the raven-bot. “Because they’re using lasers now. Can’t stick with guns, now, oh no, they’ve got to step it up to lasers! The idiots!”

Working herself up into a fine bad mood, Maggie decided that the best way to defend against a laser was a solid skin of impenetrable diamond, and evolved herself accordingly. This took several minutes of concentration, and gave her a splitting headache, but at the end she felt like she could stand up to the lasers. “Right,” she said to her faithful raven-bot, her voice sounding tinny as she opened her apartment door, “let’s go pound some bad-“

Then she paused. Her head was still aching. What if the bad guys had figured out how to blast through the diamond? What if they came up with something else? She’d been doing the cape thing for a year plus, ever since the government had found about her superpowers and outfitted her with a uniform and the raven-bot. Yet, even with her abilities to resurrect herself and evolve super-abilities at will, even with her constant patrolling, the streets didn’t seem like they were getting any safer. There were always more bad guys, more crimes, more problems. Worse, she kept on getting herself killed. She was on her seventeenth murder now. Suppose one day her super-ability failed her and she stayed dead? What then?

“Screw this,” Maggie said, and turned on her diamond-skinned heel. She marched back inside, the raven-bot following hesitantly afterwards. “Power down, buddy,” she said. “We’re taking a break.”

The raven-bot dutifully powered down, and Maggie went in search of her microwave and a popcorn bag. For once, she was going to enjoy herself. Edison City could take care of itself, surely, for one night, couldn’t it?

Then she paused again. Maybe it couldn’t. The last time she’d been off duty for an extended period, the Rogue Jaywalker had struck without warning, wreaking chaos in the streets. She’d promised the government after that she’d always be on watch. She had a responsibility, didn’t she?

Maggie swiveled to face the outdoors. “Fine. We’ll head out again.”

The raven-bot powered back on in nervous excitement. “I don’t care if they’ve got lasers. Lasers can’t cut through diamonds, can’t they?”

The raven-bot beeped uncertainly. Maggie froze. “What do you mean they can?”

The robot flashed more data at her. Maggie swiveled back and forth uncertainly. “Carbon. No. Steel? Too clunky. Rock. No. Um. Graphene? Maybe. Erm….”

In the end, she whipped up some spider silk and looped out uncertainly into the dark.

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  1. Eventually the offense will develop weapons the defense can’t stop… and then she’ll need some other tactic. But what? I can totally relate to her instinct to stay home and let the world take care of itself for a day!

  2. Robert Reed permalink

    I’ve always liked your writing Mike, but could never put my finger on it. I think that maybe because the edges are not so hard, the rooms are not so dark and the characters are not so shadowy. Still, the story is engaging, the characters are endearing and that when I leave your stories, I always feel like smiling. Thank you.

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