Thursday, 12 May 2016

Maths Vs The Gang: Dawn of Heroes (part 2)

Chris awoke and saw a square of shining light. He was momentarily blinded and so, like any normal human being, he instantly assumed he must be in Heaven. For a second, he reflected on how alright-ish his life had been and that he was glad he'd eaten in his final moments. Then he sat up and, with a mixture of both disappointment and relief, realised he was still alive. Either that, or all his mates had died with him.
The five of them were lying in identical trolley beds, arranged along the length of a discreet side room in what he assumed was their local hospital. Each of them had a plethora of cables leading from their bodies into various machines, one which measured heart beat and the other which led to a small plastic sack suspended from an IV stand. He'd watched more than enough Holby City in his life to recognise the set up, and he knew it probably wasn't good.
"Guys." He whispered. "Guys! Wake up!"
Steven rolled over in his bed, his lips fluttering. He moaned something quiet and incomprehensible so Chris sighed. It would take more than words to wake him up. Climbing out of his bed, Chris hurried over and gave Steven a shake. He moaned something again and then gradually opened his eyes. "Is it PE today?" He muttered.
Chris stepped away, over towards the others' beds. He shook Freya, who woke up immediately, and then Ali who was as groggy as Steven. Sophie was difficult to wake up but when Freya suggested they got a bucket of water, she was out of bed in a shot.
Once Ali and Steven had managed to wake themselves up, sleep still clinging to their eyes, Freya said, "What the hell happened?"
"I don't know." Sophie said. "It looked like an explosion."
"I think it was Dr Palmers' experiment." Chris said. "It looked like it blew up, sent some sort of new radiation out. We're lucky to be alive."
"That is amazing." Steven said.
They all looked at him.
"Well," he said, "it is if you ignore the life and death bit."
"I reckon we should go get a nurse or a policeman or an adult or something." Ali said. "I mean, we need to know what's actually happening. We might be contaminated. You never know."
"Don't make this into a science fiction movie." Sophie said.
Ali climbed off her bed and headed towards a door. "I'll go find a nurse."
She took a single step forwards and exploded. All of their mouths fell open. It hadn't been an explosion of fire and energy, just a swirl of purple energy and she wasn't there.
"Oh my god." Steven said. "She's been abducted by aliens."
There was a purple blur on the other side of the room and Ali reappeared, hitting the ground. "What the hell was that?" She said, her hair looking the very definition of windswept.
Chris stood up and walked towards her slowly. "How do you feel?"
"Really hot." She said, running a hand through her sweaty forehead.
"It's killing me not to make a flirtatious comment." Sophie interjected.
"Walk towards that wall." Chris said, gesturing to a wall on the other side of the room.
"Why?" Ali asked.
"Because I want to see what happens."
Ali took a deep breath and then nodded. She stepped forwards and there was once more that blinding purple flash. She hit the other wall within seconds, leaving a crack down it. She looked up, a bruise forming on her forehead. "How can I go that quick?"
"Hang on." Chris said. "Look at your bruise."
"What about it?" Ali said.
"It just formed, turned blue, turned green and then disappeared." Freya said.
"That is freaky." Ali replied.
"Freaky? It's awesome!" Steven cried.
"You are not taking this seriously at all." Chris said. "We might be aliens or something."
"Hang on." Ali said. "Let me test something."
She stood up and stepped, as carefully as possible, towards the far wall. Very slowly, she began to walk down it. She added some speed, increasing from the hobble of an old person to the crawl of a Year Seven on their way to PE. Then, as she went a little quicker, she exploded into a purple haze. They watched in terror as the haze continued around the exterior of the room. There was silence for a second and then they heard Ali's disembodied voice say, "I can't stop!"
"Damn." Chris said. "How can we stop her?"
Steven went to stand in the way of the purple haze but the very waves of force blasting out of it threw him off his feet and towards the floor. "I'm fine!" He shouted, but nobody cared.
"How can we stop her?" Chris repeated.
"I don't know!" Sophie cried.
Steven stood up, itching his head. "Come on guys, there has to be something! There has to be a solution. We just need her to slow down."
"Stop!" Freya shouted, the purple haze flying around her bed in the corner of the room quicker and quicker. "Stop!"
The haze did just that. Rather than bursting past at the speed of light, or whatever it was that she was moving at, Ali began walking again. "Woah." She said.
"Are you alright?" Freya asked, stepping forwards.
"Yeah, just really, really tired. I imagine this is what triple PE feels like." She wiped the sweat from her forehead but before she could complete the motion, she stopped. "What's happened to the others?"
Freya looked around and saw that the others were standing still. No. Not still. They were moving, just ridiculously slowly. Like movie characters in a slow motion sequence, but slower still. "Guys! Stop being so stupid." She said.
"Look at the clock!" Ali cried.
Freya turned and saw that the second hand was hanging halfway between one second and the next. Her eyes flashed towards Sophie, who was still hooked up to her heart monitor. She was sat there between two heartbeats.
"Freya," Ali said, "I think you managed to stop time."
"Oh my god." She said. "I am going to pass all my exams from now on."
"Can you unstop time, please?" Ali said. "I feel a bit sick."
"I don't know." Freya said. "Give me a second. I'll see if I can."
They both stood there. Freya closed her eyes, concentrating. Her face screwed up, her fists tightened, and she really hoped. When she opened her eyes, nothing had happened. "Oh."
"How did you stop it?" Ali asked.
"I just did. Like, I really wanted you to stop and time stopped instead."
"Do you really want time to start going again?"
"Say it like you mean it."
"Yes!" She cried, and time commenced to pass once more.
"Freya, are you okay?" Chris said, hurrying over and putting his hands on her shoulders. "It looked like you started moving at the same speed as Ali!"
"No, I didn't." Freya said. "I know this is going to sound really stupid but I reckon I can freeze time."
"That does sound really stupid." Steven said.
"I think we should go tell the nurse." Chris said.
"No!" Steven cried. "What if they want to dissect them?"
"What if they can help them?" Chris argued.
"Help them? Haven't you ever seen any movies? Authorities never want to help kids with extraordinary powers! It's like Common Sense 101."
"Life is not a film, Steve!" Chris cried.
"Guys! Calm down." Sophie said. "Look, why don't we just ask those two, seeing they're the ones with powers."
"They're not powers." Freya said. "They're radioactive anomalies."
"That is not a catchy name for a comic book TV series." Ali argued.
"I think we should tell the nurse." Freya decided.
"I disagree." Ali said. "I'm with Steven."
"Well, that was conclusive, Sophie." Steven grinned. "The final vote's down to you."
They all turned to look at her. She crawled back in herself. "Please don't look at me like that!"
"Just make your mind up already." Chris said.
She itched her head and then said, "I agree with Steven and Ali but-"
"See, what did I say?" Steven said. "Evidently, that's the only logical answer."
"Let me finish." Said Sophie. "I said I agree with Steven and Ali but I don't think this should be a democracy. I reckon if we want a really fair choice, we flip a coin for it."
"God." Steven said. "You sound like Mr Jordan."
Chris nodded. "That might be a good idea. Have you got any coins?"
"I've got some." Ali said. She hurried towards the end of her bed, where a bag was sat. She opened it and took her purse out, pulling a nice fifty pence piece out. She tossed it to Sophie who closed it in her palm. "Choose a side."
"Team Cap." Steven said.
"I'll take Heads." Chris said, rolling his eyes.
"Tails it is for Steven then." Sophie said, flipping the coin. It landed on her hand and she looked at it. "Tails."
"Best of three?"
Sophie flipped it another two times, and both times it landed on tails.
"Let me flip it." Freya said, taking it off her and flipping it three times. All three times it landed on tails. "Can we swap sides?"
"Sure." Steven said, feeling slightly cocky.
The next four times she flipped it, it landed on heads. "How's that possible?"
"I don't know." Sophie said. "It's just incredibly lucky."
"Maybe that's your super power!" Steven cried. "Maybe you're really, really lucky!"
"Didn't they just have a TV program about that?" Ali said.
"Pick a number between one and one thousand." Sophie said.
"What?" Steven replied.
"If I'm really lucky, I'll be able to guess it. So, pick a number between one and one thousand."
For a second, Steven thought and then he said, "I've chosen a number."
"442." Sophie said.
"Oh my god. How did you work that out?"
"I decided on the number before I asked the question." Sophie said. "I don't think I'm lucky, I think I can control probability. The coin kept flipping in my favour after all."
"Is it wrong I feel left out?" Steven asked.
"I don't have a power either." Chris said.
"Maybe it's a girl thing?" Ali suggested.
"Girl power!" Sophie squeaked.
"Or maybe your powers haven't developed yet." Freya said. "They'll probably turn up any second."
"Probably." Sophie said. "If I have power over probability, can't I make them hurry up?"
"What if I don't want my power to turn up?" Chris said.
"Why wouldn't you want your power to turn up!?" Steven cried. "We're flipping superheroes!"
"Steve, all I want is to be a nice, normal guy. I would also really like a bottle of water and some Jaffa Cakes. Being hit by radioactive waves is thirsty and hungry work."
"Mm." Steven said. "Jaffa Cakes. I love Jaffa Cakes."
There was a flash on the table and a box of Jaffa Cakes appeared. "Oh my God." Steven said. "I have the power to create Jaffa Cakes. That is the most awesome power in the world."
"Both of you, imagine you really want the book you're reading at the moment to appear in front of you." Sophie said.
Steven raised his hand. "I'm reading Wuthering Heights. Why would I want that to appear in front of me?"
"Just do it."
Both of the lads thought about the book they were reading, concentrating on it in hope that it would appear in front of them. For a second there was nothing and then there was a copy of Wuthering Heights, pristine and neat on the bedside table.
"I can summon things." Steven grinned. "Oh my God. I can just make things appear. That is awesome. Wow. Can I summon people?"
"If you're thinking about a certain actress," Sophie said, "stop. Now."
"Sorry." Steven grinned.
"If that's Steve's power, what's mine, then?" Chris asked. "I really hope it isn't something awful like power over boomerangs or something."
Whilst Ali tried to defend Captain Boomerang, everybody's favourite DC super-villain if you didn't consider any of the others, Chris reached towards the packet of Jaffa Cakes that Steven had summoned. He broke the seal of the cardboard packaging, tore the orange plastic and then took a Jaffa Cake out of it. He teeth slid through the chocolate lid, entering the orange Jaffa, and then he felt a bolt of energy shoot through him. "Sh-" He said, and then he was on the floor, fitting with terrible intensity.
The others leapt towards him, their First Aid training failing them at the one time they needed it. As instinct, Sophie pressed the emergency button but suddenly realised that was the last thing they needed. Steven turned towards the door, splaying his fingers, and made a baby elephant appear in front of it. He decided he really needed to concentrate when using his powers; when he'd decided to summon something heavy, he'd been thinking about a wardrobe or a treasure chest, not an elephant! Could be worse. It could be a whale. 
Sophie concentrated momentarily and the alarm cut out. She'd increased the probability of a glitch in the system occurring at that exact second. She just hoped that it wasn't going to cause any problems for anyone else.
Freya hoped against all hope that time would stop and so it did, preventing the nurses from coming to interrupt them. For some reason, maybe because the five of them all had powers now, that didn't seem to affect them.
"Guys, can you think of anyway in which moving really quick might be of use right now?" Ali asked, feeling ever so slightly left out.
Before any of them could answer, there was a blinding flash and the four of them were thrown back, against the beds and against the walls. Freya's concentration slipped and the clock began to move again. A cloud of steam had formed around Chris but it slowly began to clear as he climbed from his back and to his feet. He looked around. "Guys? What's wrong?"
"I take it back." Steven said. "Compared to that, my power is really awful."
Standing before them was a man who held small resemblance to Chris. He was maybe six foot seven, his arms muscular and his jaw chiselled. His hair was even more wavy and perfect than it was normally, and for some reason he was standing with a massive Jaffa Cake, at least the size of an old fashioned dustbin lid, in one hand. His voice was a little deeper, a little more inspiring and a little more heroic, as he said, "Guys? What're you looking at?"
"Captain Jaffa Cake." Steven whispered, adding, "I want that trademarked."

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