Part Six: A Shining Joule

From the Story Arc: The Body Electric

Previous Story in the Arc: Part Five: In Your Name by Krasniy Oktyabr (Wednesday, August 09, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Part Seven: For the Love of You by Krasniy Oktyabr (Tuesday, August 15, 2006)

(posted Friday, August 11, 2006)

Aleksandr wasn’t sure how long he had been running. The sun had set long ago and a full moon shone down between the trees. He hadn't stopped since fleeing the warehouse. It didn't feel like far enough. His legs threatened to buckle with every stride. His chest heaved as he labored to breathe. The cybernetic arm hung limply at his side, bringing excruciating pain to that shoulder and burning rage to the synapses damaged by the Freakshow drug Excelsior.

He ran on. Still not far enough.

Aleksandr had traveled through these woods before, but never like this. Chased like a wounded animal, the predator relentless in the hunt. He wanted to stop and rest. He wanted all of this to be over. But there was only one way that that was going to happen. Aleksandr just needed more time.

Fatigue finally won out and he fell to his knees. Aleksandr panted heavily and crawled towards the nearest tree and sat down with his back against the trunk. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, trying to call upon the meditation techniques that Victoria Victrix had begun teaching him. But it was no use. The pain was too much.

Aleksandr grabbed the cybernetic arm and gritted his teeth, as if that would help alleviate the pain or make it start working again. The thing didn't have so much as an access panel. It had to be removed from the artificial ball joint to be worked on. It was a tempting thought to tear the thing off and be done with it, but Aleksandr realized it would be more of a burden to carry around and too valuable to risk losing.

With nothing better to do, Aleksandr checked the residual charge on the gloves. His biorythmics had given them the priming energy to let Tesla's radical and revolutionary device start building up their own charge again. Aleksandr could only imagine how powerful they must have been--and would be again, if Kurt had his way--when attached to the suit. The energy would be self-perpetuating and never run out. He'd always joked that the gauntlets alone could power a small city. The whole armor probably could.

Somehow this musing brought to mind the unusual occurrence during the fight. After the huge explosion of electricity, a small portion of the burst remained behind. The more he thought about it, the more Aleksandr realized that there was a sensation from the gauntlets that he had never experienced before, and it had been due to the proximity to the armor--like two magnets against a third, opposing polarities simultaneously, pushing and pulling against each other.

Aleksandr raised his hand and pointed off into the distance. He released a steady stream of electricity, as he did now without so much as a passing thought, but this time he clenched his fist and attempted to draw it back. To his surprise, Aleksandr could feel the current returning and at the farthest point that the energy had traveled before being pulled back, a ball of electricity formed.

"Well, isn't that something?" he mused aloud.

The ball bobbed several feet off the ground, slowly closing in on Aleksandr. He regarded it curiously as he slid up the trunk to his feet. The crackling orb stopped about a meter from his head, floating serenely, and Aleksandr could almost imagine that it gazed back with a curiosity of its own. Aleksandr looked around to make sure that no one was approaching before turning back to the electric ball.

"Quite the unlikely companion you are," he said, and suddenly feeling sheepish for talking to the thing. It wasn't as if it could answer.

But Aleksandr saw the ball of lightning pulse just a little faster, vibrate a little more. It was more than likely just his imagination but somehow no matter how unlikely, it stood to reason. The brain was little more that electrical impulses, synapses firing constantly. Who was to say that this free-standing anomaly didn't have a modicum of intelligence?

But Aleksandr didn’t' have time to ponder it. Kurt could be on him at any moment. He began shuffling along, kicking up twigs and dead leaves in his wake. The electrical orb followed along, stopping every so often to zap a leaf that dared to climb more than a few inches off of the ground.

Aleksandr turned and stared, letting out a laugh despite everything. "So, you are a brave warrior, then? Smiting down both fearsome foliage and menacing giants?" The ball simply bobbed in response. Aleksandr laughed again. "I think that Quixote is a fitting name for you, little friend. Come, Quixote. The giant is on his way."

Aleksandr had only taken a few strides when the sound of discharging static faded to nothing, He looked behind and all around, but not a trace of the orb could be seen."

"Hmph. Perhaps more like Quixote than I imagined, off on its own little adventure without me," muttered Aleksandr. He shrugged. Knowing the trick of it, summoning another would be no problem.

The beginnings of an idea, a plan that might aid in his fight, formed in Aleksandr's mind. He looked around, assessing his surroundings with every last bit of knowledge gleaned form his paramilitary training and time in Paragon City as a hero. This spot would do. It would be his final stand. The time for running was over. Aleksandr would live up to his legacy, fighting not only for himself, but also for his family. Only one thing was certain; whether it be Krasniy Oktyabr or the Electric Knight, one would fall this night.