Dragon Chronicle: Part 11
"I'm bored. Bored, bored, bored, bored."
"I get it," Neeka replied to my mostly rhetorical and utterly unnecessary outburst. "You're bored."
"Maybe 'bored' is the wrong word. I have needs that aren't being met."
"You can't need to get laid. You spent most of last night letting Jeff fuck you stupid. He succeeded, by the way."
"Did we keep you awake?"
"No, I was up anyway. Birdlistening."
"Don't you mean 'birdwatching'?"
"No I was awake and listening to the love song of the large-breasted boyfucker."
"You're just jealous."
"I'm just sleep-deprived. Ignore my ramblings. What 'needs' are you talking about?"
"Read my mind and see."
"Pass. You might infect my brain with whatever weird malaise you think you've got. I'm probably susceptible at the moment, so just tell me."
"I feel that I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing."
"Oh right. You haven't saved anyone in a couple of weeks. You're going into superheroine withdrawal. Poor Sam."
"Save the pity. I need to do something. Something useful."
"I understand. I even approve. But after that fiasco in Nevada, Solomon probably thinks it's best if everyone kept their heads down for a while. He's not going to send anyone out unless it's a dire emergency. That means no proactive black-ops and especially no personal crusades. So forget about trying to track Bernie down just to satisfy your curiosity about what he's up to."
"He's got himself a freaking flying-saucer and who-knows-what alien technology! Someone should be worried about that!"
"You told Mr. Solomon we'd find out soon enough what Bernie is planning. You also seem pretty sure he's given up on his Apocalypse fixation."
"Yes, I am. I convinced him that it was redundant. He said he'd find something else to occupy his time. Only no one seems interested in finding out what that is."
"Except you. Waiting is."
"What's that? Yoda?"
"Heinlein. How about 'patience, grasshopper'?"
"I need to be doing something!"
"I'm guessing that's different from 'I need something to do'. As in, helping with the housework."
"You want to go out looking for trouble again? Like we used to do when we started?"
"Not me. I need to stay here and study for my Military History exam."
"You still planning on getting a PhD in that? I thought you were just taking tech courses."
"Maybe someday. Bachelors first. I got interested in it, and the credits transfer. Besides, we're living with the world's leading authority on the subject. I'd be a fool not to take advantage of that."
"Even if what she tells us contradicts what the books say half the time? And puts a different spin on things the rest of the time?"
"Haven't caught her being wrong yet. The books are based on hearsay and other books. Leonora is the horse's mouth when it comes to this stuff. She lived through most of it. Heck, she's probably responsible for a lot of it."
"Yeah, but when she says Dracula was a righteous dude who got a lot of bad press, it makes me wonder."
"That the world isn't the place you thought it was? You mean that actual place without metahumans in it?"
"Touchè. Look, I'm going for a walk. I'll be back ... whenever."
"Going to look for trouble or stir some up?"
"I haven't decided."
"Don't forget your phone."
I was already reaching for my fanny-pack. It was sitting on the end of the table behind the sofa where I could grab it on my way out. In it was my phone – in an unknown condition of charge, my collection of IDs – the usefulness of which was questionable for the moment since there was a possibility Solomon's moratorium might extend to getting me disavowed if I pulled one out; one tightly-folded, custom-made and little-used fighting suit; several energy bars, and an assortment of wickedly-sharp throwing-stars that I really needed to practice with more. I would have picked it up and strapped it on without thinking, except Neeka's reminder to do just that suddenly made me question the habit. Was there anything in there that I really expected to need? Probably not. Anything I couldn't do without? I sniffed at the idea and in a rebellious snit I swept on out the door with nothing but the clothes on my back − and the absolute minimum of those.
In this case, said outfit included one pair of denim shorts that I'd butchered with a pair of shears while trying to make them look cooler. I'd inadvertently reduced the crotch to just enough seam to keep them from being a micro-skirt, which meant I had to wear them low on my hips or that seam would ride up and make me walk funny.
My top was an also-mutilated t-shirt that I'd cropped right through the logo for a local bar that I probably wouldn't be welcome in, if I ever went back there again.
Overall it was basically the same stuff I wore most of the time. Easy on, easy off, easily trashed with no regrets if it became necessary to strip-down so I could Change into another form. Usually mythical, since I didn't want to be mistaken for some escaped zoo creature. Always fearsome, since that was the whole point. And frequently scaly, because ... well, scales rock. Hey, I'm not called The Dragon for nothing.
The bane of being barefoot at the beach is hot sand and sharp seashells. Neither of which bothered me, since I could scale-up the soles of my feet. Walking around on armored tootsies is proof against everything up to - and possibly including - land mines. Which means that my favorite black cross-trainers are also unnecessary.
Clothes in general are an optional item for me, required only when societal norms need to be followed and to prevent people from being distracted at inopportune moments. On the beach, it's normal to wear as little as possible. Going topless is common on the private sections and total nudity only attracts the attention of the telescope and binocular crowd, who somehow never feel the need to complain about the view.
On the public side of the street, there are rules and expectations that are mostly followed, although I have seen other girls push the limits pretty far. So far, I have managed not to appear in public stark- naked, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before some local law enforcement officer asks me where my clothes are, and I can't answer the question because I honestly just forgot to put any on before venturing out.
Also, so far, we've managed to avoid contact with the local constabulary. Not because of any particular policy on our part or of Mr. Solomon's, but simply because we never thought there would be a reason for them to be aware of our presence.
The same was true for the base personnel. Need-to-know kept everything compartmented and unless we ran into people we'd worked with, or somehow managed to 'out' ourselves [me] to, no one knew there was a team of superheroes close by. Well, at least no one pointed and shouted. I'm sure more people knew than anyone really wanted, but the ones who did, were able to keep their pie-holes shut about it. Score one for professionalism.
So when the cruiser appeared ahead of me and slowed down as it approached, I was reasonably sure it hadn't been sent to find me. The way the driver stared as he rolled slowly past, then did a U-turn in the middle of the road to come up behind me probably didn't have anything to do with who I was underneath my skin, but more-likely just the skin and the contours thereof.
"Hello, Officer!" I said, brightly, as soon as he'd rolled his window down. I bent over to look inside. The first thing I noticed was that his sunglasses didn't quite hide the fact that he wasn't looking directly at my face, but somewhat lower, at the considerable amount of cleavage I was displaying.
"Morning Miss. You're not lost, or anything, are you?"
"No, just out for a walk."
"Most folks walk on the beach. This isn't a real busy stretch of road here, but the tourists can come flying through without realizing they're coming up on a town."
"I live down the road. I've done the beach. I thought I'd walk up here for a change."
"Uh, well, I just ... thought I'd make sure you were OK."
"I'm fine. Really. I appreciate you checking, but I'm all good. I've even got half a bottle of sunscreen on so I won't burn."
"Yeah, I was ... nevermind. You have a good day, OK?"
"Same to you, Officer..." I tilted my head over and peered at the tag on his chest. "Halpern."
I always tried to get a name when I ran into a LEO, even someone I never expected to see again. One, it made things more personal for the both of us. And two, just because I didn't expect something didn't mean it was automatically impossible. Halpern flashed a quick smile at my attempt at being friendly and pulled away.
.... There is more of this story ...