Interface By EMW

Part 7

Chapter 13


I got some more work done on my new suit in the morning. I missed breakfast as a result and had to go without. When I got into school I was already regretting it feeling really hungry. Vicky came in shortly after I arrived and she was very keen to talk about the old suit. As far as I was concerned it was old news but I wasn't ready yet to reveal my new and improved model.


“That was so awesome with the jumping last night. I was jazzed about it for the whole rest of the evening. I wish I'd had my camera so I could video you disappearing into the sky like that and landing with that almighty thump. It was so cool!” she gushed.


I giggled a little. It was amazing how excited my friend was about having seen my suit in action. I was proud of how it came out but I figured it was pretty crude compared to what a professional might have done.


“How was your guitar lesson?” I asked.


“So, so, I was a bit distracted. Plus, using my power earlier had made me a bit tired.”


“That was really great when you did that. My dad was totally fooled.”


“Yeah it wore me out though. I couldn't have managed it much longer.”


I thought about my own abilities and how the more I used them the better control I had, “Maybe if you practised with it then you would be able to last longer,” I suggested.


Vicky looked thoughtful, “Hmmm I'd never really thought about it before but I guess you're right. I'd just sort of ignored that ability since I didn't want people to know about my other changes and that was part and parcel of them. A bit of practice would probably make them more useful.”


While Vicky was thinking on that our teacher came in and the day got under way. School work took up most of our time from then on. I did get into trouble for daydreaming a little in one class. I had been sketching a design for something for my new suit some smaller jump struts. The teacher gave me a telling off and I stuck my tongue out at her when her back was turned which made Vicky burst out laughing and nearly got the two of us in worse trouble. Come morning break we went to the library. I was keen to get as much work out the way as possible and it was a safe haven from Tara.


Some more lessons then it was lunch time. I was absolutely ravenous by this point and had seconds of everything. Colin was looking better his face was a little bruised but some of the swelling from the other day had gone down. When we left to go to the library Tara and Co. were waiting for us. There was a bit of a scuffle and we got pushed around a bit but nothing too bad. A teacher came and they ran off before they could really get into it. Vicky had gotten pushed to the floor so I helped her up putting my arm around her to help her stand.


“Damn Tara. I say we find out where she lives and then you turn up in your armour suit and beat the living daylights out of her. BAM! How d'ya like me now!” Vicky said as she limped along.


“I'm not that sort of villain. I'm more the where's the money sort of villain,” I said with a smile.


“I know, it'd be nice to wipe that smirk off her stupid face though.”


I thought about my new suit and figured I'd do exactly that. I grinned to myself at the thought.


The three of us took a seat in the library. They hadn't done Vicky any serious damage and after a rest she was fine. I got stuck in to my homework. Vicky noticed my mad focus and got a thoughtful look on her face.


“What are you up to,” she said stroking Kittybot.


“What d'ya mean?” I asked trying to act innocent.


“OK Lexi, can the Miss Innocent act. You don't like homework this much. The last time you got this focused was so you had time to build your armour suit. What gives?”


She was very perceptive. “Nothing, I just don't want to spend all evening working on homework.”


“Alright have it your way, but I hope that when what ever it is you're working on is finished you show me.”


I smiled at her, she was top of my list of people I wanted to show the new suit to when it was done. Maybe after Tara but the demonstration for her would be of a quite different nature.


Colin just sat there, trying to pretend not to hear the conversation. I had no doubt he knew what I was up to. I didn't mind him knowing something of what I was doing. It wasn't his fault he could pick up my surface thoughts but I wanted it to be a surprise for Vicky. I was glad he was keeping quiet about what ever it was he had gleaned from my brain.


The rest of the day went quite smoothly and soon it was home time. Vicky came back to my house for a bit and she taught me a bit more about the fine art of dancing. She couldn't stay for dinner but it was nice to have some good time away from school with my friend.


After dinner I got straight on with making my new suit. I now had all the bits cut out and just needed to fix them all together. I had made what amounted to a small body suit in the black material. It was structured more elaborately than for just coverage to allow me to use the materials properties both for protection and attack. Even then it still looked like a slightly goth punk cat suit corset crossbreed. I had the idea to wear some of my mums old work boots with it which after some adjusting looked like big clompy combat boots, which did fit the image. I had modified the boots to incorporate a scaled down version of the jump struts from my armour. They were a lot smaller and not as powerful but I was only lifting my weight rather than a load of scrap iron so it would probably work OK. On my arms I had what looked like bracelets but they were actually coils I could use to generate a shock. On the other arm I had a device that spun really fast creating a blast of air that depending on the focus could knock someone down or distract a group of people. All my weapons looked like bits of jewellery of the sort girls could get away with wearing. I doubted anyone would realise their true purpose. I slipped my school uniform over the top of my suit and the illusion was complete, I looked normal.


I did a quick test powering up my suit, I had designed the structure to deflect and absorb with honey combing. As a test I had wrapped an egg in a small section then whacked it with a hammer. It protected the egg from the damage more than adequately. Other parts of the suit were designed more to augment my strength than protect. By selectively applying my power to different parts of my new suit it could increase my strength quite impressively. I single handedly lifted my bed. I nearly spoiled the achievement by not having a good enough grip and applying too much stress to a single part of its structure which nearly broke. Luckily I managed to grab it with the other hand too and stop it from falling, which would have probably alerted my parents to my antics. I also tried punching an old bit of wood to see if I could break it.


This turned out to be a mistake as I had nothing to protect my hands, they went smashing through it, but it really hurt. I decided I needed some mittens to protect my fingers and spent the rest of the evening making those. By bedtime I was all tooled up and ready to go to war.


I looked at myself in the mirror and grinned, “Look out  Tara here I come!” I said to my reflection.


Chapter 14


Next morning I woke washed and got ready. I put on my suit, surprises, and school uniform camouflage. I looked at the girl in the mirror when I was done. She looked a little goth-like but not at all dangerous. I felt dangerous.


A healthy breakfast, I would need the energy if I had to power my suit, then into school. I decided I would give Tara a chance. I would not go looking for trouble but if she started something I would finish it. One thing that bothered me going in was that I truly hadn't had a completely successful test of the suit. I blamed myself but what else could I do?


Vicky was waiting for me when I got in. She looked me up and down noticing the suit or at least parts of it.


“I like the new look Lexi. A bit rebellious. Where did you get those funky bracelets?” she asked.


“Oh I made them myself,” I said smiling.


“Cool, those boots are great too.”


“They're my mums old work boots.”


“Nice, what's that plate there for?”


She had spotted part of the jump strut mechanism, “I think it is a safety feature like a steel toe cap to protect your feet.”


Vicky looked at me doubtfully. I just beamed back, I figured I would demo the suit at lunch when Vicky, Colin, and I could go somewhere away from prying eyes.


We chatted about some TV programs we both liked and then about music. The classroom filled up around us and eventually our teacher turned up to take registration. After that it was off to class. I began to notice that all the additional metalwork in my already quite heavy boots made them a little hard going. I didn't want to start using the suit now to augment my strength since I didn't want to give away that I was wearing it. I hadn't had the practice with it to use it subtly. I managed to make it to lessons a little more out of breath than I usually was.


“You alright Lexi?” asked Vicky concerned.


“Not used to wearing heavy boots,” I said honestly.


“The price you pay for looking so sexy,” Vicky said, but then looked away blushing, I guess she was embarrassed by her joke.


Morning lessons seemed to go slowly dragging on. I guess I was keen to show off my new invention to Vicky and Colin. Morning break came but there wasn't enough time so we stayed in the library. Vicky really did seem to like my new look as I kept catching her gazing at me when she thought I wasn't looking. A few more lessons and it was lunch time. I wanted to be in and out of lunch as soon as possible. I told Vicky and Colin I wanted to show them something, Vicky had to go pick up a form for some musical thing she was joining and Colin had to drop off something to his photography club. We agreed to all meet outside the library then I would take them somewhere quiet for my demo.


I polished off my meal and then went to the meeting place to wait practically hoping mad with excitement. Several agonising minutes went by while I waited for my friends to arrive. I was so hyped up that when Colin came running over I didn't really notice his agitation till he got quite close.


“What's wrong?” I asked.


“I saw Tara and her gang grab Vicky! She came out of the side entrance of the main block and they ambushed her. I was over at the main entrance so by the time I got there they were gone. I've no idea where they took her!” he said frantically.


They had Vicky and we didn't know where! This was terrible! Just like those cowards to ambush us one at a time. I knew I had to do something! All my efforts in making my suit had been to prevent Tara hurting my friends. First things first I had to find them. I needed to get somewhere high so I could see the whole of the school. I hoped they weren't inside somewhere. It was time to live up to my chosen villain lifestyle.


I quickly put on my gloves and fastened them to my suit then began unbuttoning my shirt. Colin was blithering on distractedly about going for help until he noticed me undressing and stopped suddenly shocked. I pulled off the shirt revealing my new suit in all its glory and shoved my school shirt back in my bag.


“Hold this for me, look after Kittybot!” I said shoving the bag into his hands.


“What are you doing Lexi?” he asked.


“I'm not Lexi, I'm Interface! And I'm going to save my friend!” I declared in my best Villain voice.


I then charged my new jump struts and aimed for the tallest building in the school and leapt into the air leaving a bewildered Colin behind. I rocketed up several stories but I could tell, not quite enough to make it up onto the roof so I deployed my secret weapon. I had cut slits in the back of my suit so my wings could poke through, my wings on their own were too small for flight or even gliding but extended by some shaped sections of the fabric that made up my suit I could make them into something useful. My new wings unfurled dramatically and I beat the air with them using my actual wings to control them. I hadn't been sure they would work and to be honest they didn't really give a lot of lift. They did allow me to add just a little control to my previously ballistic trajectory and glide a bit, allowing me to reposition my landing on a smaller building and jump again to gain more altitude. I flapped my wings and brought myself into a controlled landing on the roof of the languages building, the tallest in the school at three stories. I scanned the school using my enhanced vision like a pair of binoculars.


Some of the people had seen me a winged black shape and were pointing. I guess they assumed I was a MORFS survivor showing off as a lot of people just ignored me. I looked for areas that were quiet away from the places teachers would patrol. After some searching I saw a scuffle round the back of the art block between the school field and the bike sheds. I zoomed my vision in and could clearly make out Lump holding someone who was struggling like a wild cat to get free. It had to be Vicky. There was no way my friend would go down without out a fight no mater what the odds. They had her in a small area enclosed by walls on three sides some of them guarding the entrance to keep her in. I leapt in that direction making use of a combination of jumps and glides to swiftly cover the ground. When I got in range of the area they were holding Vicky I used my wings to glide in silently using the element of surprise while they were fighting Vicky.


I charged up my electric zapper and got my air cannon ready. Amy Zap and Tempest were standing at the entrance to the area jeering, while Lump and Tara wrestled with Vicky. I shot Tempest with my electrical zapper and Amy Zap in the back with the air cannon. Both gave a startled yelp then crashed to the floor. Tara spun at the noise and stared at me in shock. I made sure my face was all no nonsense.


“You!” she cried, “GET HER!”


A groggy Tempest ran at me, I powered my suit and caught the running girl, using her own momentum to throw her at Amy Zap who was just getting to her feet. The two collapsed in a heap of arms and legs.


“Useless, all of you!” screamed Tara.


I didn't wait for them to regroup, so I ran up and kicked Lump in the shins. He cried out in pain and let go of Vicky.


“Run Vicky!” I cried just as I was grabbed from behind by Tara.


She turned me holding me toward Lump, “Hit her!” shouted Tara.


I struggle as Lump lumbered towards me and then smashed me hard in the chest. My armour meant his punch didn't hurt, but it smashed me backwards along with Tara into the wall behind us. Tara, taking the worst of the impact, let go of me and clutching her head. Lump looked a bit worried about hurting his boss for a bit but then came after me again. I dodged and weaved, then when he threw a punch, hit him back. He grunted in pain at my blows then came at me again. This time I dodged his punch and grabbed his arm and his belt. Using all the power I could I heaved him up into the air. Lump was too surprised to react as I held him in the air, so I threw him into a muddy puddle. He landed with a messy splash.


I was the hit from behind by something I whirled and saw no one there, but Tara was back on her feet and gesturing with her hands. Each time she made some motion I got a slap or punch somewhere. The slaps hurt but most of the rest got absorbed by my suit to the extent they didn't hurt, the constant prodding me off balance though. I charged my two arm weapons.


“Two can play at that game!” I said and blasted Tara with both. The air knocked her to the floor and the zapper caused her to cry out.


Another hit from behind spun me, Lump was back on his feet, he smacked me square in the chest again. The suit meant the punch didn't hurt but it knocked me into a wall and caused me to bash my head which really hurt. I saw stars for a moment and when they cleared I made a mental note to add a helmet or hat or something to the next iteration of my suit. Lump came at me some more knocking me down. I fended off the worst of his blows and returned some of them but I was tiring. Eventually he picked me up and threw me towards the far end of the alcove, I lay there for a bit waiting for the final blow but it didn't come so I pulled myself painfully to my feet. Tara and the rest of her gang stood at the entrance. Lump backed away towards them Vicky was being held by Amy Zap and Tempest. At a nod from Tara the two girls shoved Vicky at me. She scrambled along trying to keep her feet and ran into me, clinging for dear life.


Tara had her bag out and was rooting around inside for something, “Time to mark you freaks permanently!”


I didn't like the sound of that she pulled out what looked like a flask they used in science, it was filled with some nasty looking liquid.


“A friend of mine who is a chemical elemental cooked this up. When it comes into contact with skin it binds. It gives off this terrible stink a thousand times worse than a skunk and it never washes off. Soon they will be able to smell you two dirty freaks coming from a mile off. No one will be able to sit in the same class as you, ever. You'll have to go live in a cave somewhere away from people. Just you and that horrible smell. I bet you won't even be able to go near each other after this either. I was just going to mark one of you, but having the two of you both stinking freaks is so much better,” she ranted her and her whole gang laughing hysterically.


I had to get us out of here, “Vicky hold onto me as tight as you can,” I whispered.


While they were still laughing Vicky wrapped her arms around me gripping me tightly and I poured power into both my jump struts and my air cannon.


Tara stopped laughing carefully uncorked the flask and said, “Smell you later freaks!” then threw the contents of the flask at us.


I blasted the air cannon at them on it's widest setting, which caught the liquid in mid-flight and knocked it back towards them. Then I grabbed Vicky and unleashed the jump I had been charging. The look of horror on Tara's face as the liquid gunge began flying back towards her and her gang was priceless. Vicky and I soared up into the air away from whatever foul liquid she had thrown at us. I saw the stuff splatter all over Tara, and to a lesser extent, the rest of her gang.


We arced up through the air over the art block, quite a bit higher than I had been expecting, and began descending towards the main quad. Vicky let out a squeak of fear and wrapped her flexible limbs round me more tightly. I unfurled my wings to slow us down and we glided gently to the ground, getting a few surprised gasps from the students around us.


Upon landing, Vicky tentatively unwound herself from me and stepped down. She looked me up and down for a second. “You saved me,” she said simply. The she grabbed me and began kissing me passionately on the lips and face.


I stood there a bit shocked I think I heard some wolf whistles. I probably had a stupid grin on my face. Vicky backed away and looked at me with a smile then said, “My hero!” and gave me another kiss on the lips she then seemed to notice the attention we were getting and grabbed my hand to drag me off somewhere quieter and more private. And just like that, my best friend became something more.


Vicky thoroughly thanked me for saving her. She was very grateful and likes to always do a proper job of such things. After that we found Colin and retrieved my stuff. I went back to my secret identity, Lexi Jones by putting my shirt back on and taking off my gloves. We told Colin all about my daring rescue, and he wanted to go and see what had happened to our arch nemesis. I wasn't sure that was a good idea, but Vicky 'persuaded' me, which didn't seem to surprise Colin at all, as he suddenly had a sort of smug smile on his face. It seemed like I was the last one to realise Vicky had a thing for me.


We made our way towards the main block to see if we could see our enemies and were hit by a really horrible smell. There was a crowd of people all holding their noses watching as some teachers dragged Tara and her gang along. The smell got worse the closer we got. They were stopped by the head teacher who was trying to cover her nose with one hand, her eyes watering from being so close to the now very smelly gang.


Tara glared at me but there was a look of defeat in her eyes, “Get it off me. It was that Lexi Jones! She did this to us, we haven't done anything!”


The head mistress while trying to look authoritative but having to cover her nose and breath through her mouth, “Well. Miss Anderson, in this case I'm afraid I know this is your own fault. The person who made that horrid concoction was caught pilfering equipment from the school science labs, and in an attempt to get off of detention, gave up your name and the details of what he had made for you. I understand it was designed to be almost impossible to wash off. Let's hope for all your sakes, that he promised more than he could deliver. That you were planning to use this on another student and got caught by it yourself is somewhat ironic punishment but still, I really do hope it washes off, or having you four around will be quite unbearable. Take them into the shower and get them some clean clothes from stores.”


They dragged the four of them off. Tara still had some hate in her eyes as she passed us. The rest of the gang just had dazed horrified expressions.


We quickly retreated to get some fresh air. They really did stink to high heaven. The rest of the day the lingering odour of Tara and gang hovered over and around the school. Most of the classes either had the windows sealed shut, or wide open, depending on the prevailing wind direction. In the end they let us go home early since no one, the teachers included, could concentrate. Dad had some work to do, so Vicky and I walked back hand in hand. As we got back to my house ready to do some 'studying' in the privacy of my room, I noticed a strange car parked outside, as well as Mums car. I didn't think much of it, thinking maybe Mum had skipped off work early and had a friend round. She was the boss, and as she liked to say, “What's the point of being the boss if you can't leave work early now and then.”


I walked in with Vicky and called hello to Mum, intending to just go straight upstairs. I heard her reply, “Come into the kitchen please, Lexi!” There was a serious edge to her voice, so I made my way over there immediately. She was sitting at the kitchen table looking serious. Sitting on her left were a man and a woman, and standing behind them was a policeman. They all turned to stare at me with serious looks on their faces, I knew then and there that I'd been rumbled.


Vicky stood came in behind me and seemed to come to the same conclusion I had, as she went pale.


“Vicky, I need to have a talk with Lexi. I think you had better go home,” Mum  told her.


Vicky gave my hand a squeeze, “OK Mrs Jones, I'll see you tomorrow at school Lexi.”


“You can see her to the door, Lexi, then come back here,” Mum said, still very serious.


I nodded and escorted Vicky to the front door, Vicky gave me a quick kiss, “It'll be alright, Lexi.”


“I hope so. If not, will you wait for me to get out of jail?” I asked.


“No I couldn't wait for you,” she said with a straight face. Then she grabbed me in a longer kiss, and whispered in my ear, “I'd have break you out myself.”


I smiled and waved goodbye. I hoped I would see her again really soon. It would be a shame to have finally gotten a girlfriend, only to get put inside on super villainy charges for a million years or what ever. I decided to disarm my accusers by pretending to be harmless, and if I could manage it, cute. I took Kittybot out of my bag and adjusted my hair just a little to make myself more harmless looking. Then I went to face the music.


I walked into the kitchen stroking my mechanical cat gently, as she purred away acting as my evil villain cat. All good villains had one.


“Have a seat at the table. These people would like to speak to you,” said Mum.


I took a seat and continued to stroke Kittybot. Today I had defeated all my enemies and won the girl. Let them do their worst I wouldn't give away anything.


“Hello Lexi,” said the woman, “I'm Alice, and this is Will. We are detectives.”


So it was to be good cop-bad cop, with the woman acting as the good cop. I was on to those games, “Hi,” I replied.


“We know what you have been up to,” said Will.


I noticed they hadn't introduced the officer behind them. I wondered if he was muscle for when I didn't cooperate. They paused for a while I said nothing, they were trying to get me to fill the silence, an old interrogation trick ... I had seen it in films.


“You're not the first kid to do something like this,” said Alice trying to be reassuring. “Often people who gain powers decide to do this sort of thing. It's only natural, the media is always glamorising it.”


“It is against the law though, with good reason,” said Will, the bad cop.


“Yes, but I'm sure given your age and the fact that no one got hurt, we could sort something out,” said Alice quickly.


They wanted something from me. They were dangling some sort of deal. I decided to deny it. I was betting they had nothing, “I don't know what you're talking about.”


Bad cop Will looked at me, though he didn't seem all that angry, then pulled out a small pile of photos. It looked like stills of security camera footage of me stopping the robbery, then some of me stopping the armoured car. Damnit, they did know something. How had they found out, though?


“What's that?” I tried, though even I thought my attempt at acting was pretty poor.


“Look Lexi we know that was you in that machine,” said Alice. “A member of the public identified you.”


I couldn't help myself I blurted out, “How!”


The two detectives had a flash of victory in there eyes, “The person was a telepath. He saw you in your machine and reported you,” said Will.


I bet it was that man walking his dog, I knew his reaction was a bit odd. A telepath would have known I meant no harm to him, “A telepath?” I said thoughtfully, “But in that case you can't use that sort of evidence to arrest me. It was obtained illegally without my permission.”


“We aren't going to arrest you, Lexi,” said Alice.


Ha!' I thought, 'I was right they had nothing without the telepath. The whole investigation into me is illegal, built on that tainted piece of evidence.


Her partner looked a little uncomfortable at the threat being taken away, “This is more a warning. Being a vigilante is very dangerous. You got away with it the first couple of times, but you could end up dead or in serious legal trouble.”


‘They thought I was a vigilante? I guess my actions have given them entirely the wrong impression of my goals, but then I have been a very poor villain.’


“I'm not angry with you, Lexi. The police told me what you did, but you can't carry on. It's dangerous and against the law. You'll end up hurt or in jail,” Mum said quietly.


“We are going to impound your machine to take away some of the temptation. Your mother has agreed it's for the best. Please, tell us where you have it hidden,” said Alice.


I was betting if I refused to reveal my secret hideouts location they would have nothing, but then they would just watch me like a hawk until I went out in the armour again then arrest me. I figured my crime days were over anyway. Besides, I could always build a bigger better exoskeleton if I decided to go back to my wicked ways.


Kittybot rolled over onto her back and demanded a belly rub, “It's in the spare garage,” I said.


Mum looked surprised, “Really? How on earth does it fit in there?”


“Very tightly,” I said petting Kittybot, which brought a whisper of a smile to Mum’s lips before she controlled it, remembering she was mad at me.


I led the police to my secret hideout and revealed my stowed armour. When they found out it was nothing but welded together scrap, and not a suit of power armour they were amazed. Without my power to animate the thing, it was just dead weight.


Eventually they got a flatbed truck and crane to remove it. I offered to just get in and walk it either onto the truck or to the nearest police station but they didn't seem to keen on that for some reason.


Despite herself, Mum was amazed by my armour, and how I had made it all work with just my powers and improvised power tools to build it. She forgot she was supposed to be angry for a long while.


I got off with a verbal warning nothing on my file or anything. I was a minor and I hadn't hurt anyone. Also, the kid I saved turned out to be the granddaughter of one of the police bigwigs which earned me some brownie points. The mother of the baby wanted to see me to thank me. Eventually, when  I went to see her with my parents, she was shocked seeing who had saved her baby repeating, “But she's just a tiny little girl!” constantly. I didn't get punished by my parents, though they did keep a closer eye on my projects after that.


Tara never really bothered Vicky, Colin, and me again. She did eventually manage to get that horrible stink off her. She did get called some pretty nasty names derived from that incident from there after. One day out of the blue, she came over and apologised for what she had done. I guess she’d learnt her lesson, and I forgave her, though I'm not sure Vicky did.


I often think back to my few attempts to be a super villain and how the pigs took my armour away. I occasionally complain to Vicky about it. She just smiles and gives me a kiss, which shuts me up. She knows how to placate me too well. So, I'm no longer a super villain. I have friends, a girlfriend, and a happy new life all thanks to the changes of MORFS, and my life of crime is over. Although if I ever do need to, I still have the second suit that the police and my parents never found out about. So who knows, maybe one day I'll be Interface, Mistress of Machines again.




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