Friday, 24 June 2016

Maths Vs The Gang (part 7)

Bank Holiday Monday. Somewhere, someone was eating an ice cream. Elsewhere, someone was watching a James Bond rerun. Steven was doing neither of these things, although he would have preferred to be doing both. No, instead he was stood in the middle of the school playing field, wondering what he was doing with his life.
Every single Bank Holiday up until that precise moment, it had rained and stormed but this time the sun was shining down with full power. He could feel it burning the side of his face, infiltrating the forest of facial hair he'd been growing and making him wish he'd shaved. Some light was glinting off the corner of English block, blinding him. He blinked a few times in discomfort but dared not move in case he got hurt.
It had been Mr Phillips' idea. They needed some time to train, to get used to their costumes, but they also needed somewhere to practise. Where better than the school field? When better than Bank Holiday Monday? How about during double Maths, huh? I'd love to get out of that.
Ali exploded into existence next to him. She was wearing the Flish uniform, the one that Mr Phillips had made. He said his boyfriend worked in the Wearable Technology department of an important company so making the costumes had been a doddle. Ali's was one of the best. It was light weight and reinforced meaning she could move as fast as she wanted without it slowing her down or breaking. To stop her hair from burning, which Mr Phillips reckoned was a serious problem, the costume had a hood that covered most of her face, apart from her mouth and eyes. Not surprisingly, it looked similar to a certain television character's costume.
"How many laps?" She asked, bent over, panting. Steven, who couldn't even run five yards at normal speeds without getting to that condition, couldn't judge.
"According to sir's device," Steven said, looking at the confusing contraption that Mr Phillips had given him, "twelve laps. And you've been running for thirty seconds. So, if the track is eight hundred metres, twelve laps would be..."
Ali watched him failing at Maths for a second and then intervened. "Three hundred and twenty metres per second. That's an awful long way."
"It's 0.2 miles a second." Freya said, hurrying over.
"How'd you work that out so quickly?" Steven asked but he already knew. She'd frozen time and used a calculator.
"Have you done any practise yet, Steven?" She asked.
"I'm waiting for everyone to be finished so that I can impress you all at once." He said. "Do you like your costume?"
Freya looked down, as if to remind herself what her costume looked like. She wore a black top with a bandolier going across the middle. It's for catching bullets, Mr Phillips had said. Not that I would willingly take you anywhere with bullets.  She also had a pair of red lensed goggles and a stopwatch which hung around her neck. She grinned. "What's not to like?" She asked. "It's brilliant!"
"Cooler than mine." Steven sighed. "I look like Doctor Strange."
"Oh yeah!" Ali grinned. "That is hilarious."
Steven wore a verdant tunic with a huge red cape hanging over his back, connected to his front by an emerald. His face was partially obscured by a red mask and his hands by red gloves. According to Mr Phillips, the Summoner costume like all the rest contained small sensors that studied heart rate, breathing and various other boring logistics. The suit was comfortable but he was worried that it looked a bit silly.
"Use your powers." Freya said. "Your sensors need to acclimatise to you."
Sighing, Steven raised one of his hands towards the rounders court to their side. The grass had grown since the court was marked out but if you squinted slightly and used your imagination you could still use it. "What do you want me to summon?"
"A better costume?" Ali laughed.
Freya stifled a giggle. "How about a Swing Ball set?"
Steven didn't like Swing Balls- not after the summer of '08. Instead he suggested, "How about an Ice Cream van?" Grinning, he wiggled his gloved fingers. He felt the taste of sweet ice cream, felt the run of sticky liquid running down his cheek and disturbing his hairy chin. The sensation of the flake nearly flying up his nose was so vivid he thought he'd managed it. Instead, what he created, was a swirling vortex of purple energy. It was like a Black Hole in the respect that it seemed to be drawing air in, forming some sort of vacuum. He concentrated harder on the jingling of the siren, on the taste of the ice cream. The vortex popped and a single ice cream cone, as well as the ice cream itself, appeared in mid air. He grinned for a second, rushing forwards to catch it, but it just continued to tumble until it hit the ground with a soft squelch. Within a second of hitting the floor, it was consumed by masses of ants.
"That's a beautiful metaphor for life." Sophie said, wondering over. Her costume was a medieval tabard but coloured in the gleaming purple and blue of retrofuturistic space age. Her cape was split up into three tendrils that flew out behind her in the breeze from the sea.
"How's it going?" He asked, squinting as light glinted off her 3D glasses.
"Good." She said. "Mr Phillips is just fitting Chris up now. I like your costume. It's really Doctor Strangey."
"Thanks." He smiled. "I like yours. It's really Lucky Catty."
"We need a superhero team name." Ali said. "The Avengers, the Justice League and the Radioactive Anomalies doesn't sound right."
"It sounds like a really bad indie rock band." Steven pointed out.
"Chris is coming!" Freya interrupted.
They all turned and saw Chris' head poking out from the ground, next to Mr Phillips'. There was a lift in the underground base that led up to the field, emerging from an oversized manhole cover next to the Jumping Pit. The lift continued up until they were in line with the playing field. Whereas Mr Phillips was just wearing one of his ordinary suits, Chris was wearing the outfit of Captain Jaffa Cake. It was much too big for him, composed of various different shades of orange with a huge Jaffa Cake symbol in the middle of his chest. An amber cape cascaded down his back, swirling around his feet. On his utility belt- he had a utility belt- was a box that looked suspiciously like a Jaffa Cake container. He flipped it open and revealed it to be just that. Taking a Jaffa Cake out, the two of them finally reached the others.
"Bit big for you, isn't it?" Steven said. "Not to be rude or anything."
"It's meant to be." Mr Phillips said. "He'll grow into it when he eats a Jaffa Cake."
"Let's see then." Freya smiled, encouragingly.
Chris sighed. "Stand back everyone. The suit is apparently meant to dampen my transformation but you know what they say about British craftsmanship."
Everyone took a couple of protective steps backwards for a few seconds, then stepped back forwards to get a better view. Chris shook his head and then took a bite of his Jaffa Cake. There was a sudden roaring sound like the immediate burning of gas flying out of a bunsen burner. Then, there was a bright flash of light, like a sprinkling of magnesium had been put onto that very bunsen burner. When the luminescent trails had cleared from before their eyes, the Radioactive Anomalies were treated with the sight of Captain Jaffa Cake, splendid in all his muscular, shining glory. Light glinted off his chin, sparkling with full power. When he spoke, it was with the authority and power of someone you automatically loved and respected. "That was bleedin' brilliant!" He cried.
"I don't think I've ever heard you say 'bleeding' before." Steven said. "You've changed!"
"Personally, his vocabulary wouldn't be the change I'd be concentrating on." Freya said.
"Concentrating on changes, huh?" Sophie shook her head. "You sound like a history paper."
"Everyone comfortable in their costumes?" Mr Phillips asked.
They all nodded. The costumes were indeed comfortable, if not a bit odd.
"Good. Let's see if you can take out that massive, rampaging robot in them." Mr Phillips said, turning them around and revealing that, indeed, a massive, rampaging robot was stalking towards them. It was maybe eleven foot tall and as muscular as Captain Jaffa Cake. In the palms of its massive hands were laser blasters. Steven shot a glance towards Mr Phillips. The computer science teacher shrugged. "Blame the Year Sixes." He said. "They built it in summer school!"
Steven turned back and saw the others bracing themselves. Captain Jaffa Cake ran his eyes over it, studying it quickly before turning to the others. "We need to short circuit it. Tempus, Summoner, make some sort of trap for it. Lucky Cat, change the probability of a sudden thunder storm. Flish, let's distract it!"
The Flish, in her purple body suit, grabbed Captain Jaffa Cake's orange body suit. They exploded into a haze of orange and purple, whilst the others ran in all directions. Tempus dropped her goggles and clicked the button on her stopwatch. Her energy flowed into it, swirling out in a glow of powerful blue light. The robot stopped moving. The replacement clocks broke. Time was frozen.
The Summoner threw out his hands. He knew he needed to dig a massive hole for the robot to fall into. The swirling vortex opened up in front of him. Give me a JCB. Give me a JCB. 
Instead, he accidentally summoned seven hundred and seventy seven dwarves. They were all under three foot with massive beards and gigantic pickaxes. The Summoner pointed at the rounders pitch and smiled. "Please?" He said.
When Tempus unfroze time, the Summoner had unsummoned the dwarves, leaving nothing to prove they were there besides a massive hole where a part of the sports field had previously been. Having performed their duty, they stood back and watched Captain Jaffa Cake and the Flish at work.
Travelling at 320 metres per second, they exploded into existence on the other side of the field. The Captain took a Jaffa Cake shield from his arm, preparing to throw it. "Full speed, yeah?"
"One second." The Flish replied, choking. "I think I swallowed a fly or something."
Captain Jaffa Cake rolled his heroic eyes.
Once she'd got herself over the fly, the Flish grabbed him again and said, "I'm going to throw you. Okay?"
"I was wondering how I'd use this cape." He grinned and then the Flish ran forwards at full speed, lifting him up slightly with the momentum soaring through her. His feet left the ground and the rest was easy, slinging him forwards and through the air. His orange cape lifted out behind him, forming a triangle in the air as he flew towards the robot. His Jaffa Cake shield slung forwards, rotating through the air over and over until it smashed into the robot's face, obscuring its visual sensors with a sheen of jaffery goodness. The robot struggled and stumbled around a bit before tripping over its own feet and into the Summoner's hole.
Landing, Captain Jaffa Cake cried, "Now, Lucky Cat!"
Lucky Cat took control of the weather's probability. Those wonderful blue skies that Carol Kirkwood had enthused about so happily on the news that morning were gone suddenly, overtaken by a sudden rolling of grey clouds of thunder. A bolt of lightning snook its way from between the clouds, a brilliant fork of pure white energy. It hit the robot's chest dead centre, pulsing through it in every direction. Even under the roaring wind, the fizzle of electricity was loud.
"Is it dead?" The Flish asked, appearing next to Tempus.
"No!" She cried. "Lucky Cat, hit it again!"
"Lightning can't strike twice!" Captain Jaffa Cake shouted.
"It can but what are the chances?" Lucky Cat grinned and, sure enough, a bolt of lightning sliced through the sky and caused the robot to explode.
"Very good work!" Mr Phillips cried, clapping his hands. "That was absolutely fantastic!"
"I'm just saying," Steven just said, "that we didn't get a chance to revise for that giant robot attack and nothing happens in real life that we don't get a chance to prepare for."
Mr Phillips shook his head, sighing. "Everybody come over here and we'll deal with the mess."
Frowning at the fact that they were walking away from the mess to deal with it, the gang joined Mr Phillips who immediately demanded that they all held hands and stood in a circle.
"Someone call Leigh, or is it pronounced Lisa?" Sophie cried. "We're summoning Satan and she cannot miss this!"
Once they were all holding hands, Mr Phillips closed his eyes and seemed to screw his face up. The others exchanged bemused looks and then suddenly the sound of loud, ticking clocks seemed to race out of their computer science teacher. Before Steven could say something sarcastic, offensive or generally ignorant, Freya cried, "Look at the robot!"
They all turned, daring not to break the circle, and watched as the bolt of lightning leapt upwards, watched as the robot stood and climbed out of the hole. It walked backwards the way it had come, a Jaffa Cake flying away from its visual sensor and reforming in the air as it did. Meanwhile, 777 dwarves appeared, filling in the hole before disappearing. Within moments, the robot had retreated around the Sports Hall again and it seemed as if nothing had ever happened.
Mr Phillips opened his eyes. "We can let go of each others' hands now. That was just to stop you five from being reiterated."
"I didn't get a headache." Freya frowned. "How interesting."
"You know what else is interesting? What I found out earlier about the maths students who've gone missing. Very interesting indeed." He gestured to the lift in the middle of the field. "Let's go down to the cave and have a look."
The Gang, dressed in their new uniforms, marched across the field after him, towards the lift. Steven summoned another ice cream, managing to catch it this time. He ate it as they climbed into the lift, the flake almost getting stuck in his nose. Being a superhero did have its benefits.
Although the heroes were unaware, they were being watched. From an office in Maths Block, a pair of seemingly twelve year old eyes stared down at them. An evil chuckle tumbled from the observer's mouth. Once the lift had started going down, he turned away and said, "Soon, they too will fall into my plan."
"You'll never get away with this!" Cried John, who was proving to be a tricky subject. "This is evil, Mr Jordan!"
The Math's teacher laughed as he picked up a hat filled with electrodes and put it on the student's head. "That is not my name, John. Is it?"
John said nothing.
The teacher walked towards a lever jutting out of the wall, pulling a similar electrode hat onto his own head. He grabbed the lever and grinned. "My name is the Calculator!"
He pulled the lever and a spark of electricity blasted around the room, turning on the lights and revealing the other twelve students who had gone missing since the Radioactive Anomaly. They were all chained to their seats, covered in wires and electrodes. Mathematical energy soared out of them, flying through the complex network of cables and into the Calculator's brain. He began to laugh, malevolently.

To be concluded...

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