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Friday, February 25, 2022

F³ Experiment

             “Um, I don’t think this is what I signed up for.” Half a dozen science-y gizmos were strapped to me, and another dozen pointed at me in a threatening manner.

            “For once I am in complete agreement with Reilly,” Jack said, facing his own gizmos.

            “We must determine the level of energy from the photons to verify the presence of positron interaction.” Dr. Keller’s voice came over the intercom, behind a sheet of impressively thick glass.

            “Listen to the Doc,” Nat said. “And next time maybe don’t go doing whatever it is you did to do this thing.”

            “Yeah, that’s helpful,” I muttered.

            “I really want Hulk powers out of this,” Jack said.

            “I’m afraid gamma rays do not cause that kind of mutation of—”

            “No offense, Doc,” Jack interrupted, “but a few hours ago you would’ve said what we could do is impossible, so come on Hulk powers!”

            “Ja, this is true. Well, I cannot promise such. Now, please remain calm. When I ask you to, produce your positron stream as we discussed.”

            “The what?” I asked.

            “Your freaky lightning,” Nat clarified.

            “Oh. You know, I passed on being a science experiment in college. Back then they were at least paying.”

            “Quit your bitching, guinea pig,” Kate said.

Friday, February 18, 2022

F³ A Really Smart Person

            “From what Anna Maria has explained to me,” Dr. Ursula Keller began with only a touch of a German accent. “You people all possess the ability to directly influence the weather in some manner. She even demonstrated some of her abilities to me, which I find rather extraordinary.” She stood next to a whiteboard and had written down a list of what storm riders could do. Apparently, she had taken a lot of time to question Anna Maria.

            “She said you needed someone who knew about antimatter. But why is this?”

            “Reilly,” Nat said.

            I stretched my thumb and forefinger, then let loose with the crazy backwards lightning. Sure enough, the fuzzy arc of miniature explosions materialized again.

            For good measure, Jack did the same thing, though he made it more spectacular by stretching it between palms about six inches apart. Firecracker explosions went off repeatedly along the arc, making it chaotic.

            “Madre de Dios,” Anna Maria breathed. “You didn’t tell me that something was wrong with you, too,” she said to Jack.

            “It’s his fault,” Jack nodded his head at me.

            “I did shoot him,” I admitted. “Because he asked me to.”

            “Joaquim!”

            Jack shrugged.

            “Fascinating,” said Dr. Keller. “That really is not lightning as you showed me, earlier. And you suspect that this is positronic lightning, annihilating with air molecules to produce photons and gamma bursts?”

            “Um, yeah, we totally suspected all of that,” I said.

            “We really need more smart people that we can talk to,” Kate said.

            “Definitely.”

 

Friday, February 11, 2022

F³ Pre-emptive Strike

             Switzerland, land of skiing and chocolate, or so I believed. At one point in time coming here would have been a lifelong goal, but being able to ride lightning I had been to most places around the planet, at least in passing.

            But what if that’s done? What if I can never ride lightning again?

            “I think this is it,” Nat said.

            She stopped us at a small house, the kind with the sharply pointed roof. From the snow on the peaks, I could understand why they made roofs like that.

            “You’re not sure?” Jack asked.

            “I don’t read German so well.”

            “Well, you should—”

            Jack cut off as Kate smacked him upside the head.

            “What was that for? I didn’t say anything.”

            “You were about to.”

            “Absolutely,” I said.

            “Yep,” Nat added.

            “I think I’m going to start just preemptively smacking you upside the head because you’re going to say something offensive on a regular basis.”

            “Absolutely,” I said.

            “Yep,” Nat added.

            “There’s Anna Maria. She’ll side with me.”

            “Nope,” I said.

            “Doubt it,” Nat added.

            Kate cracked the knuckles on one hand menacingly. “Sure.”

           

Friday, February 4, 2022

F³ The Next Move

             “Really? Watch fucking Star Trek reruns?” Jack said. “That’s his advice?”

            “It is pretty weak,” Nat said.

            “Like any of you geniuses have anything better to add. He’s a paranormal detective, not a rocket scientist,” Kate said.

            “Particle physics,” I said.

            Kate pointed at me, “That!”

            “So do we go find one of them?” Nat asked.

            We all looked at one another with a variety of shrugs and frowns.

            “Sounds good to me,” I ventured.

            “How do we even find one, just start cold-calling universities?” Kate asked.

            Jack suddenly chuckled, his smile becoming wicked. He pulled out his phone and dialed.

            “Who’s he calling?” Kate asked. “Jack, who’re you calling?”

            “Hey gorgeous,” Jack said into the phone. “Where are you? Well, finish up your schnitzel, We need you.”

            “Anna Maria?” I whispered to Nat.

            She nodded.

“Yeah, Reilly fucked things up again.”

Yeah, I think Kate needs to hit him again.

“No, not out here. Need you to go to Switzerland. No, not for chocolate. We need you to talk to a scientist. I don’t know, one of the physicists, someone who knows something about anti-matter. Yeah, we’ll come out to you, but it might take a while. Riding lightning is kind of FUBAR, right now, for Reilly.”

“And you, you jackass!” Kate yelled.

“Nothing. I’ll explain later. Just get a head start softening this guy up for us. Yeah, he’s going to need to know what we can really do. Yeah, see ya.” Jack hung up.

“What’s in Switzerland?” Kate asked.

“CERN, and that superconducting thing.”

“Supercollider,” I corrected.

“Nerd,” Nat said, smiling.

 

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