Other Fan Fiction ❯ KISS Next Generation ❯ Dissention ( Chapter 20 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

KISS Next Generation
She's a Killer
Part 2
By Trynia Merin
Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. I don't own KISS, or its members or their mentioned family members herein, and this story means no harm. It's a work of a devoted fan for the enjoyment of other KISS Army soldiers. Some of the ideas in this book come from Christine Criss (forever_a_kissgirl@yahoo.com) whose character appears in this story.
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Gene felt the pounding of something like a thousand elephants stampeding through his head. Paul had a way with hitting him hard and fast, rendering him helpless. Granted it was necessary, but he was only defending Jeannie. Who was that vampire that drained him so? Between her sucking out his strength and Paul's relaxation ray, he was not feeling very good right now. Make that very comatose. At least till he had enough sleep, and a few dozen rounds of food from a synthesizer. Thank God that Jeannie had brought it up to him, he didn't even want to think of moving save to take care of the most basic of natural calls.
Mumbling he found himself thinking about the woman who had attacked him, and then groaned. It wasn't fair, he realized. Two women had slipped through his fingers, and the third hadn't been around in dog's years. Mumbling to himself he saw the shifting of his robe and lay on his side to attend to matters so Mr. Happy would settle down like the rest and drop off to sleep.
No sooner had he turned on his side then he heard the door open, and heard the sound of someone walking inside. Closing his eyes, he shifted under the blankets, and reached for himself. He tried to summon images of a likely inspiration for the task, since it was the only action he'd get for a while. No, it would be worth it to bed the girl, even if she HAD tried to kill him. There was the sound of someone stopping, and the soft hiss of clothing dropping to the floor. He felt the bed shift as someone sat on it, and heard the thump of boots falling to the floor. Someone moved toward him, and he was intrigued. There was a guess among a few which it might be, and he was glad for any company.
"About friggin time," he thought as he felt a woman's body press up behind him, and felt a soft kiss on his ear. Let her play a bit, he thought. Hadn't he earned it? Hands reached around his and slowly rubbed over his chest, lower and lower till they undid the belt of his robe. Fingers slipped down and moved over the hand clenched on himself, and moved his hands aside.
He tried to suppress the moan as she began to caress him, and press her breasts to his back, rocking against him as she kissed his neck. Gene sighed with relief, letting her work on him before he turned over onto his back and saw Raina in bed with him, without her glasses.
"Figured you could use some company," she said with a look of apology.
"Lady, you came at the right time," Gene murmured. The amount of chikara she'd absorbed had transformed her into a woman in her late thirties, early forties. Yet she had put on makeup, and brushed her copper hair so it shimmered. She'd let it grow a bit, and her green eyes were identical to their daughter's.
"I need something from you Gene, and you need something from me," she purred as she slid into his arms, and Gene let her open his robe and spread it apart. Laying her on top of him, he accepted the soft and mature kiss of a woman who knew him well. Lifting herself off, she straddled him, and he reached up to squeeze her breasts between his hands before lying back with a moan at her soft touch on his chest. Passion exploded between them like a match thrown into gasoline.
Much later they remained together. He whispered, "Thank you.”
"I should thank you," she sighed.
"Ready for more?" he asked.
"As much as you can give me. I'm sorry I've been away Gene. When you needed me," Raina whispered as she kissed him. Gene relaxed for a moment.
She gave him a deep kiss, and Gene thrust his tongue into her mouth, pinching one breast in his hand as he turned over and laid her on top of him. Raina sighed blessing the fact that he had the vitality of his younger self, and that the new woman hadn't drained him too much. There didn't seem enough time with him as she recaptured and satisfied his needs in different ways.
Hot from their lovemaking, she dozed in his arms as Gene softly kissed her and caressed her body. "Don't move," he mumbled. Gene pulled her to lay with him.
"Sleep here with me?" he whispered.
"As long as you like," she whispered as he locked his lips to hers. They remained together, with contentment, while they dropped senseless into hibernation.
***
Tamara had shed much of the accumulated weight over the years. In the last four months she had gone through there was food to be had, and it was a cruel joke to think that was the reason for her loss of weight. Nature's curse had been her blessing for she had lived for two days without food in that shelter before food was provided, and another had died. She had given her food to Cinnamon, electing to take the medicines instead that was offered. Paul sensed the emotion in the memory.
"I'm sorry, I didn't realize," he whispered, turning so they stretched alongside each other in the large bed. They felt more comfortable in this position that wasn't so awkward.
"It's not just you, it's something else," she whispered.
"Let me take away the pain, please," he whispered back. "I only want to make you happy. I love you."
"I love you too, my dearest love," she whispered as she leaned down and Paul captured her lips in a deep kiss.
"Distracted you didn't I?" he winked as she gasped and looked at him, her body quivering in a massive rush of positive feeling burning through her with blinding force.
"Yes… oh god, that was intense," she whispered.
"We can't let GENE have all the fun, can we?"
"It isn't Christine…"
"No, it's not," he winked, and she leaned down to kiss his nose softly.
"Are you making EXTRA sure I'm carrying your children?" she joked.
"You are, believe me… and no, having sex doesn't hurt them, despite whatever nonsense you may have heard as a child. Sex isn't just for making babies; it's for married people to enjoy."
"Amen to that," she said with relief. Sliding his fingers into her mouth she sucked on them, and Paul let slip a small moan. Around his neck glittered the choker studded with rhinestones, and it matched the daintier one encircling hers.
She was built like one of those female statues herself, with the right proportions. Ideal in many ancient communities for childbearing. Was that why Paul had chosen her? Practicality? But even if that WAS the initial cause, many societies in the past didn't just merely rely on sex as a determination of marriage. No, he wanted a wife, not just a lover.
"A mother for my children, and a woman to stand by my side," Paul's thoughts echoed. "And I'll protect you."
"All right, Adam," she chuckled. "But you'd better not blame ME if I slip some forbidden fruit YOU want to try…"
How many women he'd know, she realized, and yet to bear children seemed so sexist, and at the same time was a great honor. Out of the last women in the world he'd chosen HER to impregnate, but he didn't stop there. He'd married her, and she resolved to do what she could.
"I'll carry as many children as you want," she promised.
"Four?" joked.
"Six or eight," she shrugged. Paul's eyes widened and he laughed.
"It's NOT just a Catholic thing," she said as she bopped his nose playfully. "I'm only thirty. If I have twins every time, it's only four times…"
"Are you sure?"
"WE both have to do our part to repopulate the earth. And one woman and one man CAN have upwards of ten children at the least… after all my grandfather was one of ten…"
"God bless you," he laughed.
"I'm not afraid of children," she said softly. "I'm just afraid of losing you."
"Even if that happens, and I don't wish it to," Paul said. "You'll be taken care of. Elliot will make sure of that…"
"I don't feel right him calling me Mom. I'm only ten years older than he is…"
"Still he hasn't HAD a mother for a long time. His mother's dead…"
"I'm sorry for that."
"You don't mind do you?"
"If you don't and he doesn't, I don't," she shrugged. "But I'm not the same."
"No, but he just calls you Mom. He called his mother Mommy."
There came a bellow, and Tamara shivered in Paul's arms. It sounded like Gene or someone like that, and Paul rolled his eyes. She made to move, but Paul held her gently down. He whispered, "I've played peace maker long enough. Let 'em sort it out…"
"Is this part of your test?"
"Someone's pissy over the replicator. Gene and your buddy Christine."
"Oh great," sighed Tamara.
"Let 'em sort it out. Apparently Elliot's telling me via psilink that Christine's hogging the thing, and he's pissy cause the power's drained, cause Raina wanted some chemicals for something, and he's stuck in the middle."
"Chemicals, I'll take care of that," Tamara said as she gestured, and suddenly she was in her costume. Paul moved to stop her, but she gestured, and suddenly was able to slip through the molecules in the floor. Grabbing Paul's hand she pulled him through, and he shivered.
"I'll never get used to this," he muttered. Both landed in the lower chamber,
"It's not her," Paul mumbled. "Something's blocking me…"
"Tamara!" yelled someone. It sounded like Raina, and Tamara glanced at Paul.
***
In the kitchen, several were gathered to eat breakfast. Christine had been passing out donuts and coffee for everyone, including herself, and apparently Raina had walked in shortly after most of them were eaten, and tried to replicate something. But the blinking red light indicated all she could get out of the synthesizer was sugar water. The next thing she knew it was a shouting match, where Fr. Atomique was trying to interceded, and Elliot had to get him to stay out of it while Jeannie and him tried to mediate. Then to make things more interesting, Gene wandered downstairs wondering what the hell the noise was, and decided to take charge. Which meant stepping between Raina and Christine, who was about to reach the end of her fuse after calmly explaining to Raina that she was simply trying to do a favor.
"But I needed raw materials for my experiments…" said Raina. "I was TRYING to set up a new more advanced lab here… so me and the chemist could work…"
"Her name's Tamara," said Christine. "And excuse the hell me, but what was wrong with the old lab? Didn't Ace's robots help?"
"They aren't scientists. We need equipment to predict earthquakes. We're still living on a fault line, which will go at any minute…"
"Raina, surely it can wait," Gene said. "We DO have to eat."
"How can I help protect us when I can't predict what geological upheavals could happen? Ever since the comet fragments hit… the crust is geologically and seismically unstable…"
"What?" asked Elliot. "Could you please say that in English?”
"What I MEAN is that things are getting dicey since the disaster, and they could get worse," said Raina. "And we need to use the synthesizer for basic foods. And requesting complicated forms like chocolate and jelly donuts takes MORE energy than simple bread, and cereal."
"Well, it CAN get boring," said Christine.
"She's right," said Elliot.
Raina was standing tapping her foot while Gene was rubbing his head, and Christine was standing near the food synthesizer, while Jeannie and the others looked on.
"Come on, they wanted coffee and donuts," Gene mumbled. "Sue me."
"We have to conserve power," said Raina anxiously. "You can't go pissing away the power on something complicated like donuts… you use up the power we need to make electronics components… don't' you even THINK?"
"Excuse the hell me, but what do we eat?" Christine asked. "Dry bread and water? Christ, this isn't Alcatraz!"
"Mom, don't blow a gasket," Jeannie sighed as she put her donut down. Tyler shoved the door open with a furry paw, and glared at everyone present.
"What's this racked all about?" asked Tyler. "Mona's having a hell of a time getting the kids to sleep cause of all the fricking shouting…"
"Raina, Christine, I've had zero sleep, and I can't handle this bullshit," Gene snapped at both of them. "If you ladies wanna duke it out between… step outside. Otherwise shut the hell up, and let me get back to bed!"
"Maybe he should make sure she gets some," Elliot said.
"What was that?" Raina glared at him.
"Sorry, I didn't realize I said that out loud," he apologized.
"Elliot Harvey Eisen, I don't comment about YOUR sex life with MY daughter do I, young man?" Raina said sharply.
"Please, can't we just…" Fr. Atomique started, before Gene glared at him.
"Padre, I got this under control… go bless some holy water," he mumbled. "I didn't ask you to play mediator yet."
"You might need to be around to bury the bodies when they're through," Christine smirked.
"You ate some of the donuts too, so don't even talk your psychobabble," Raina snapped at him. "Just because you wear that damn collar doesn't mean that you're any holier or better than me, or any more qualified to act as…"
"Now just a moment," Fr. Joseph said.
"Mom!" Jeannie shouted. "He's a…"
"One fucking argument at a time!" Gene exploded.
"For once I agree with you," Christine said. "We're bitching about donuts. Seems to me the shit you call food isn't good for morale."
"Amen, to that," said Fr. Joseph.
"Get him out of here please, before I commit a deadly sin," Gene tore at his hair. "Or shut him the hell up?"
"Touchy, isn't he?" Fr. Joseph thought as he glanced at Elliot, who nodded. Jeannie rolled her eyes, knowing that the two men were exchanging telepathic pot shots. But she didn't know what was worse, hearing it out loud or guessing what they were thinking to one another.
"He needs his coffee. And Aunt Ray needs sex," Elliot transmitted back, with the telepathic equivalent of a laugh, and the distinct emotion that suggested to Fr. Joseph that he was whistling in the dark. They all had a dour sense of humor lately. If you stopped being able to laugh, then you really WERE doomed.
"I'm only trying to think of the greater good," Ray said angrily. "And I respect your judgment Gene, but you're taking THEIR side…"
"For God's sake Ray, this is NOT the time OR place for this," Gene rubbed his forehead. "I don't' want World War friggin 3 in here…"
"They'll hear it sooner or later, through the damn ceiling if this keeps up, so why not have ringside seats," Christine pointed out. "You two could wake up the DEAD with your shouting. And look, I think she and I were having the talk, not YOU, so butt out, Simmons?"
"So help me Christine, if you weren't Tamara's friend I'd…"
"You'd WHAT?" Christine laughed. "Kick my ass? Name a time and place, big boy, and we'll take it. You think you can take me?"
"Stay OUT of this," Ray snapped back. "This is more than a petty fight. You see what I mean, Gene? It's bad enough that we can't see eye to eye on food! But then…"
"Ray, simmer DOWN!" Gene barked. "And you too, Christine. If you insist on me doing SOMETHING leader like…"
"Yeah, listen to the leader, lady," said Christine, and Ray turned on her, anger written on her face. Was it her imagination or did she feel the crackle of chikara on her skin. As she was able to absorb people's life force for her own appetites, she could sense people's life forces and magic as well. Ray was no exception, but till now; Christine had sensed no chikara of any sort. This was new. She saw that Ray knew about the Talisman, from having been with Gene so many years ago, but since when did she have powers? If she did, Gene had no knowledge of them. Then again, she and Tamara never asked.
"Dad, mom, could we just…" Jeannie sighed. "Don't do this… we're supposed to be getting along. Can't you see this is what Blackwell wants? Us fighting each other."
"I'm sick of hearing about him," said Gene. "We need to find ways to survive. If that bastard attacks, he'll do so through human beings. And we'll fight him then and there. To waste time in conjecture is pointless. We SHOULD be finding practical ways to live and feed ourselves."
"Gene, please," Ray sighed.
"When you get it settled, my wife and me will be taking care of our child," said Elliot angrily. "C'mon Jean, let's let the GROWN UPS settle it."
"Can I see you in the living room?" Gene asked as he grabbed Raina's arm. She let him lead her away, and both exchanged dirty looks with Christine who shrugged.
"What a grouch, what's his deal?" asked Fr. Joseph.
"He's bitching because he actually has to make decisions," said Christine jokingly.
"That's my dad we're talking about," Jeannie said.
"Hey, I'm just joking," Christine said. "Shit…lighten up Jeanne…"
"Christine, breathe, it's not worth getting upset over," Fr. Joseph said softly.
"Calm down Jeannie, we shouldn't let little things get to us…" said Elliot. "Why don't you go out and do some drill instruction… your sister's watching the egg and I think we all could do with some fresh air… how about it, Christine?"
"Sparring might be just the thing," said Fr. Joseph. "You wanted to test your powers, now's the time to do it, right?"
"Sounds good to me. Better than hearing everyone bitch…" said Christine. "And we can pound each other's asses without killing each other…"
"Fine," Jeannie nodded. "Truce?"
Christine sighed and accepted the hand. They both shook, and Elliot sighed with relief, his silent mental thanks received readily by Fr. Joseph. Thankfully Nate and Susan were occupied with babysitting and patrolling.
"What about you and Mona?" Elliot asked.
"Good by me," Tyler said. "But the kids…"
"I'll help Mona with the children, if you need a hand," Fr. Joseph said.
"Thanks, I could use a break," said Tyler. "Besides, I need the drill time also… Mona said she was ok watching the kids…"
"All right it's settled then," said Elliot, and Jeannie nodded. They each finished their donuts and exited, without further incident.
***
"Gene, aren't you in the LEAST bit interested in…" Raina started.
"Look, I know you need to do your science, but we gotta prioritize. Is what you're doing in that lab in any way gonna help us survive?" Gene asked.
"Yes it is!" Raina said.
"You've been using a lot of power with those computers… in the last few days. Mona's been complaining she's got none to use lately with the robots…"
"This is why I need to have research. I need to adapt the generators to take geothermal power…"
"True, but Ace's beaming some down from space," Gene said, frustrated.
"That can't last forever. They need it up there… and you STILL haven't told me just WHERE it is… I can't find it on the scanners…"
"How the hell should I know," Gene shrugged. "Look, what's really bugging you?"
"How can we trust these newcomers," said Raina. "We don't know them…"
"Tamara's friends with them and the other are her brother. And that's good enough for Paul, and what's good enough for Paul's good enough for me," Gene said firmly. "Besides, if they turn, we'll know…"
"Gene… your family, our family."
"Paul's with Tammi. And her brother's a Padre. That at least stopped the Criss contingent from bitching. And when Peter comes back, he'll be glad of it. And besides, since when did you worry about…"
"A priest isn't the paragon of virtue, especially a…"
"Just because you got issues with Catholics doesn't mean they're all bad. Any more than Jews. Besides, isn't it a bit LATE to worry about that shit? We're trying to stay alive…"
"Gene, trust me. I'm a scientist… I can…"
"Tamara's a scientist. So what's your point? Is this about the fact that we're not smart enough to understand the significance of what you're doing? Just because we aren't some kinda researchers doesn't mean we're stupid Ray…" Gene snapped. "Our daughter knows just as much about nursing as you do about geology, and Tyler knows about first aid thanks to her, and others. And Fr. Joseph had done some Peace Corps or whatever helping people in South America giving shots and stuff. He has SOME medical training… and medicine IS a form of science. So just because I'm not a PROFESSOR like you…"
"Gene, that's the point. Scientists are going to get the human race running. We can't forget…"
"What about art and music?" asked Paul as he stood there.
"Dr. MacLaren, what's going on?" Tamara asked.
"I was just reminding them the importance of science…"
"Yes, but that's not all there is to life," Tamara said. "I don't live it every second of every day. Besides, learning to read and write is just as important. I'm no good at building things. Also I'm no warrior. And computers are way beyond me. Mona's an engineer."
"With what degree?" asked Ray with a laugh.
"Ace taught her, that should be enough," said Gene.
"What the hell does ACE know about computers? If that Talisman hadn't given him the powers he'd be…"
"A dumb rock star like us?" Paul asked angrily.
"Don't put words in my mouth, Paul!" Ray snapped.
"What are you saying, Ray?" Gene asked.
"I'm saying we shouldn't forget the importance of…"
"Then why don't we start teaching everyone?" Tamara asked simply. "I mean that's what you and I also can do. You're a teacher… like me…"
"A professor," said Raina, correcting her. "I don't forget the fact that you teach chemistry yourself… and you seem to neglect the distinct honor of your masters…"
"I'm teaching myself the equivalent of a Ph.D. And I taught Cinnamon about how to use chemistry in the lab. Bruce and Eric were having me and Chris teach the children basic science. Otherwise they couldn't have spared me," said Tamara softly. "WE have all the accumulated knowledge our fingertips. Instead of complaining, why not teach Gene and Paul, and the others what we know."
"That would take years," Ray said.
"We have time, don't we?" Paul said. "I'm not some meat head. I'm a psychic. Knowledge can be transmitted telepathically if we must."
"That's cheating," Ray angrily snapped. "You can't just zap experience into someone's head!"
"It's a way to survive, if we have to," said Gene angrily. "Tamara, you're a chemist right? Find out what PROFESSOR McLaren needs, and see if you can whip it up."
"I'll do my best. What do you need?"
"Are you up to it? Remember," Paul said.
"I'm fine," she said, and realized he wasn't mentioning the children. Why was he being wary around Gene and Ray? Did he suspect his best friend and his best friend's one time lover?
"I'll use all the help I can get," Ray sighed.
"Gene, there's a simple solution to the power crunch. Remember that fuel oil I found?"
"The one you had Ace's robots build some sort of refinery… for Bruce's group?" Gene asked. "Yeah…"
"Your backup runs on diesel. If you crack the fuel oil, you got diesel," Tamara nodded.
"That's the kind of science we need Ray, science to survive," Gene pointed at Tamara.
"Fossil fuels?" Ray groaned.
"That's all they know about," Tamara said softly. "And with less people to use fuel, there is more for us. People understand gasoline, and diesel. And you could help us find coal to burn… get one of those power plants working."
"True," Ray said. "Gene is right. I'll tell you what I need."
"It's okay," Paul mouthed to her, and she glanced at his nod.
Gene watched as the two women left, and entered the wing where Ace had set up a chemistry lab for Tamara, and Raina had co-opted Ace's old lab, turning part of it into her geology base. Mona had taken over the computer station, and they all took turns monitoring. Gene glanced at Paul, who cast a concerned glance at his friend.
"What are YOU looking at?" Gene snorted.
"The same thing you are, apparently," Paul said. "Don't tell me you don't think its fishy how Ray's acting."
"C'mon you know her as well as I do," Gene snorted. "She's always been arrogant, just like me."
"An intellectual snob?" Paul shook his head. "That's not the Raina I remember…"
"You weren't around her in grad school," Gene winced.
"I was," Paul said, and Gene mumbled.
"You would bring THAT up," Gene cursed. "What about when she became a scientist and university professor full time? You can't say you didn't notice how she suddenly cut ties to rock and roll, and gave me shit about using my wealth for more 'worthwhile' pursuits…"
"I know," Paul said. "But she's always had her heart in the right place. This is a NEW Ray Gene, and she scares me…"
"Then why let your woman alone with her?" Gene snorted.
"Because, I trust Tamara," said Paul. "But I don't trust Ray."
"Gimmie a break," Gene snapped.
"I don't," Paul answered.
"And you got into her brain?" Gene demanded.
"I did… but in the past few days… aw forget it."
"Paul, what's eating your ass?" Gene snapped, grabbing his friend's arm.
"C'mon Gene, let's fly around," Paul said as he took Gene's arm, and pulled him toward the door. Gene conjured up his Destroyer armor, and grudgingly moved after Paul. Elliot watched them as they exited the door, for he had just come into the room with Fr. Joseph.
"It begins," Fr. Joseph said.
"Yes. Where's Christine?"
"Sparring with Jeannie," said Elliot. "Remember? And Tyler's watching the kids while Mona takes some calls from Ace… and checks in with Jendell. Nate and Susan are with the egg, and they're all with Tyler and his kittens."
"What now?" asked Fr. Joseph. "IF my sister is in danger."
"Keep watch on 'em. You and Christine both," Elliot said. "I'll be in rapport with Ray and Tammi. It's probably nothing to worry about… but…"
"You know I have my suspicions," said Fr. Joseph.
"All too well," he said slowly.
***
"It's incredible what you can do with your powers," commented Ray as she watched Tamara transmute something to silica, and germanium, from other base metals. Ray was putting together a seismograph unit, and Tamara was providing the raw electronics materials for her.
"Dr. MacLaren…"
"Call me Ray, we're peers," Raina said, touching her arm.
"Raina," said Tamara as she watched her friend pick up a soldiering iron, and try to turn it on as she pulled out an electronics panel. "I didn't realize you knew about computers and…"
"You learn to make do, in the field," Ray said with a laugh.
"Walking on volcanoes," Tamara said. "That's serious stuff."
"Someone has to do it. You work with dangerous chemicals."
"Yes, but I wear the proper protective equipment," Ray said.
"That's just it. You're the only other scientist around her… other than Mona, and my daughter who's slowly learning about things… and you're a professor like me…"
"An adjunct and part timer…" said Tamara.
"But you've taught at University… and you know that I have a point…"
"Yes," Tamara said slowly. Raina cursed when the power flared down. Tamara walked over and glanced around for the source, and saw that she had plugged a car battery in. Slowly Tamara concentrated, opening the battery acid compartment.
"You recognize the significance of preserving human knowledge," Ray said. "We're saddled with a hefty challenge. To rebuild the world…"
"Just as long as it isn't a brave new one," Tamara said, glancing at Ray.
"SF fan too, huh?" Ray raised an eyebrow.
"Japanese animation and Star Trek," Tamara said, seeing the gleam in the other's eye. "This battery's lost its charge. But I can reverse the process…"
"Interesting," said Ray as she watched Tamara's power at work. A golden scarlet aura surrounded her, and there was a strange misting. The battery charge flared on, and her soldiering iron was working again.
"I reversed the reaction," Tamara said. "It's scientifically impossible… but if I concentrate, and don't have to transmute elements, I can reverse a chemical reaction…"
"You have no idea what the limits of your powers are, do you?" asked Raina. "You're an asset… and Paul's treating you with kid gloves…"
"Yes, but I bet he's like that with all his women…" said Tamara.
"Don't you hate it when he treats you like fine china that would break if you breathe on it?" said Raina. "I've seen the times where you wanted to go out on patrol, and he insisted you stay behind…"
"It's because he's my husband," Tamara said. "So what? It MAY seem sexist, but he has a point. If I'm gone… the children… I mean all of us… could suffer the loss. And I haven't learned to fight yet. My powers are defensive…"
"But you could learn to fight," said Raina. "He's holding you back."
"Maybe so, but you can't expect someone to hit the ground running… I only just realized I had these powers," said Tamara.
"My point is that you and I are starting society anew. We have a responsibility to make sure that what's passed onto future generations is what will most help them. Think of the power we hold…"
"Yes. And we'd better not screw up, right?" Tamara met her gaze again.
"Exactly. Gene bless his heart has every right to try and lead, but he forgets the importance of science."
"Seems like someone has to make decisions," Tamara shrugged. "I'm no leader. And besides, he's respected. Like Bruce and Eric."
"Why are THEY the leaders where you lived?"
"Because people respect them."
"They're celebrities, right?" Ray snorted. "What do THEY know about surviving?"
"They know about leading people, and the importance of having fans is like being a leader…" said Tamara. "And they WERE elected as the Chairman and Co chair."
"Tamara, why haven't they taken in any others? Like scientists and… there is a whole WORLD of people that could be surviving and what are we doing? Hiding like RATS down here…"
"Peter and Cinnamon went to find help. Ace left to join some astronauts who were looking. We are all trying. But we have to survive and we can't help others if we can't help ourselves," Tamara said.
"Exactly. Didn't you realize that I've been in contact with some scientists?"
"Mona had mentioned it. But who are they?"
"A group that I used to associate with. They survived like I did. WE all went into the bunkers… I alone out of my group survived…"
"So because you worked for some hot shot academic research facility, you survived?" Tamara asked. "I know what you do, Professor. You're a renowned expert on Geology. Like some Carl Sagan of geology. You've got more money in grants and research labs out the gazoo with grad students working for you… and other geologists. And because of your clout, those fortunate enough to be working on your research teams were the only ones who did survive, right?"
"They and their families…"
"Because of government funding?" asked Tamara.
"Because of private corporate backing. I used a lot of my rock star earnings to fund scientific research. You respect that about me…"
"Yes, but you could have predicted this disaster… done something…"
"I did do something, but the government wouldn't listen, till it was too damn late," said Ray angrily. "I and a whole network of scientists were trying to…"
"The near earth group… I know…"
"Not that group. I belonged to another, that used their data… the data gathered by amateur astronomers, and used by the team I worked with… for just such an emergency plan… just in case the world did end… and the comet did hit. We were one of the firms that actually put money into space travel. Not that pie in the sky stuff that sent probes to Mars. But practical research. In reversing ecological damage. Because I'm a geologist I've seen how ecosystems revive after a volcanic eruption. I know about ash blanketing the earth. All over the world we've been working on building shelters so some would survive…"
"What?" Tamara asked.
"You didn't know," Ray shook her head. "Of course not. You should have been one of us. Had I known…?”
"Sounds like some bad SF movie," Tamara said, feeling sick to her stomach. "Do the words When Worlds Collide mean anything?"
"Yes. That's the sort of thing I'm discussing. I worked with NASA and private science firms in aeronautics to design an asteroid repellant system. Some of my colleagues are planetary geologists. I myself worked on the nuclear winter teams that would predict the geological impact of such aftermath… case scenarios. WE tried to sell our work to NASA…"
"But they didn't believe your project was worth funding," Tamara said. "They said they already had a system through the Space station Freedom to handle any such near earthers…"
"Comet Damocles was a random thing. The fools ended up hitting it with nuclear missiles. And we knew that would be the case. We knew that there was a close chance this would happen. We prepared for this… funded shelters all over the world. Tried to convince people to invest in asteroid tracking technology…"
"And many did," said Tamara. "Because of you."
"It wasn't enough. And this is the result," said Raina bitterly. "Private industry funded who survived. Those who listened…"
"Or those fortunate enough to have connections, you mean?" Tamara said.
"Yes, but some did survive. You did…"
"Because of dumb luck," Tamara said. "And something else…"
"We had contingency plans for survivors," Ray said. "You're alive because of that…"
Tamara's eyes popped open. Her analytical brain was screaming the pieces didn't fit. Ray was the missing link. IT was fishy, and so much like a B movie she wanted to spit. Since when did this scientist she admired seem so… cold-blooded?
"What do you mean?"
"The shelters in the university where you were employed. The hotels… Bruce and Eric… you all went into shelters that were designed by the company I was talking about… and they're trying to help us now…"
"How so?" Tamara asked. She wasn't sure she'd like the answer. "What's causing all these mutations? Radiation?"
"Yes," said Raina. "And only by the modifications made to you and the others… you and Paul spoke of a lab where you all were? Well, this group found you. And if not for those same mentioned mutations, they could have completed their work…"
"So… you're saying that I was in some… experiment… and they forgot about us? What the hell?" Tamara asked.
"No, Tammi, I mean that my group survived the blast. WE went out to look for survivors. A lot of us found some of you, and brought you in. But the place we'd chosen as a safe zone… to help the survivors… and you were among them… you and Bruce and Eric, and the others at the hotel, and many others around the country… were cut off because of the damn mutations, and some other crazy things. Those misbegotten freaks from Blackwell or wherever. The walls between dimensions were breached."
"You know something about how Mona, and your daughter and the others tried to change history," Tamara nodded. "Is that what you mean? Could that have caused the cracks…?”
"For extra dimensional beings to slip through yes," Raina nodded. "There are physicists in my group that predicted that. And there were those of you who survived like yourself who weren't under our protection. We've been helping them… with a special cocktail that's enabled you to survive…"
"Slow down here…" Tamara held up her hands.
"Look at your arm. Don't you see the needle mark?" Ray pointed. Tamara rubbed her forearm and glanced at Ray, who showed her a similar mark.
"What are you saying… that your friends… you know somebody who's been working behind the scenes like some benevolent… if that's the case then why…"
"Why did they wait? What are they doing? Tamara, I'm trying to explain it all to you. What I mean is that we were starting to round up people and treat them with an anti radiation cocktail. You as a chemist should appreciate the complexity…" Raina said. She pulled up a computer file, and showed Tamara the mass of symbols that flickered over the screen.
"A genetically engineered protein," Tamara said shaking her head.
"Designed to give us resistance to radiation. The talisman that KISS has… it does the same thing. But its basis is in magic. Which is basically psychic energy channeled through the natural abilities all humans possess. But they don't have a clue how to use the power."
"You acknowledge that this magic exists," Tamara said. "But why hasn't it before…"
"The dimensional gaps," said Ray. "This dream world they call Astron Tellar, is another dimension. Another parallel universe that Jeannie unwittingly opened when they tried to go back in time and fix a problem. Those Destroyers who were invading the past did damage. But Jeannie wedged the door open, and all this energy is spilling from that reality into here. This Blackwell is basically energy. If you want to see it scientifically, it's negative energy. The 'souls' and higher mental energies of all of you were able to slip between realities. And it's polluting this world. Space and time are being shredded. Ace was keeping it a secret. That's why he and Mona aren't using their time travel power."
"Time must heal, you mean," said Tamara.
"Yes. And we have to use our scientific knowledge and these powers to figure out how to stop the shredding. And how to convert energy from geothermal power. And refilter the atmosphere. Ace's group has that challenge. And how to adapt humanity, and preserve knowledge for future generations. By rounding up all the scientists and intellectuals, and having them in contact…"
"True," Tamara nodded. "Only through collaboration can we survive."
"Exactly. Gene and Paul don't get it. You do. And we can't pass up the chance to let my friends help us. They've got a shelter in the Nevada Mountains. I had hoped Peter would go there, but he and Cinnamon HAD to go NORTH instead," she shook her head. "Stupid."
"That's because Paul sensed…"
"His psychic powers stem from his Talisman. They need to be studied by experts, to find out what makes them tick. And then perhaps we can use that to save the human race."
"If they can make genetically engineered proteins to make an anti radiation medicine, then what do they need the Talisman for?" Tamara asked.
"The energy," said Ray. "Tamara, we have to convince the others to contact my friends."
"So, I wasn't in some lab with some mutant race," Tamara said. "I was in this shelter, with your friends, who were in radiation suits…"
"Yes," nodded Raina. Tamara's eyes opened wide.
"No wonder… and Gene said he found you… wandering around…"
"I wasn't with Bruce and Eric. They were smart keeping everyone where they were. But not smart in cutting themselves off… and Gene and Paul are doing NOTHING…"
"We didn't know you were alive. Paul didn't sense…"
"Paul's power doesn't work on everyone, as you have noticed," Raina said. "And he has to sense psychic energy, by how it disrupts the natural background energies of the earth's EM field. The shelter's underground, so he couldn't sense us anyway. Not through miles of rock and concrete."
"But he can sense minds across great distances," Tamara said. "I'm not stupid. I know about quantum theory. How a particle can spin one direction on earth and on the OTHER side of the galaxy the counter particle spins opposite. And that's how Paul's power works. They must be blocking his powers."
"You are thinking like a scientist," said Ray. "And that's why I must convince you to help me convince Jeannie, Elliot, Mona, and Tyler… and yourself to come with me. If Gene and Paul don't' wise up, and let me contact my friends…"
"What's stopping you? Haven't you already made contact?"
"Gene told me NOT to tell them about us," Ray said. "But I did. They want us to move to a safe location. And Bruce and the others…"
"Why should we move? Bruce and Eric said the same thing to Gene. And he respected their wishes even if he didn't agree," said Tamara matter of fact. "So why should he expect…"
"You can't survive on the surface with mutants. You all need a reliable source of power. You need real food. We've got a hydroponics garden that's growing enough to feed everyone, if we work together. WE can use that alien technology to adapt to feed everyone. But we can't take everyone there. Only a few and we can teach them."
"Wait, you said us… didn't you mean everyone?"
"Not everyone. Just those that have the knowledge… the education to understand. Then they can in turn help the others…"
"I don't want to leave Paul alone…" said Tamara.
"You should consider the safety of your family. And you should consider the importances of what I have to say… because like it or not, you will come to us in the end. And it's easier if Gene and Paul are on board. Because if they aren't, then we have to leave them. And bring the children."
"Why?" asked Tamara.
"You can honestly stand there and ask me that?" Ray asked.
"Yes," Tamara said. "I can. I won't leave my husband. And you didn't mention my brother or Christine."
"They aren't scientists, or intellectuals. They have no practical skills. Not until you and I return to train them…"
"Excuse me, they are human beings. What if we weren't here, and the mutants attacked, or Blackwell's disciples? And we weren't around to help them with our knowledge?"
"They're warriors. If they want to fight let them fight. But we must save ourselves. Only those best adapted will survive…"
"That's bullshit," Tamara said. "You'd leave people vulnerable while we are in our think tank… what if people need medications and I'm not here to help them… my responsibility is HERE. And besides, aren't you forgetting we can use radios and computers to speak across distances…"
"Just because they're stupid enough to prevent the children from a better future doesn't mean that we should. We would of course take the children, to educate them…"
"Now you're really scaring me," Tamara said. "I don't like this; I don't like this at ALL."
"Think about it. It's to protect the future," said Ray. "You and I have a responsibility…"
"Excuse me, I think I'm going to throw up," Tamara muttered.
"Are you all right… I know it's a lot to think about. Try and convince Paul to work on Gene. He refuses to see reason…" Ray said.
"That's where I'm going," Tamara called back.
***
She wandered through the door, and bumped into Christine who was standing just inside, unseen by Ray. Mona was sitting by the computer console, a frown contorting her face, as Elliot too was looking over her shoulder. "Excuse me… I didn't see you there…" Tamara said as her friend steadied her.
"I heard everything," said Christine. "Is she for real?"
"That's what I'd like to know," Elliot said angrily.
"I won't leave my children in her care," said Mona, wiping at an angry tear.
"You heard it all?" Tamara asked. "God."
"She sounds just like Blackwell's disciples," said Mona, sniffling. "They wanted to steal our children. Make us like them…"
"Dear lord in heaven," Tamara shivered.
"Sounds like she's been reading too many SF novels," said Christine.
"Without a doubt," said Mona. "God she… can't be the same woman who's Jeannie's mom…"
"She's not acting herself, the Raina I remember… she wasn't so…"
"Ruthless?" added Christine. "Excuse me, but post apocalyptic futures DO have that affect on some people?"
"Not ALL scientists are out to rule the world," Tamara groaned.
"Exactly. And Ray's been feeding you all a line of shit, and you've fallen for it, hook line and sinker," said Christine. "You didn't read some of the emails did you?"
"What?" Tamara asked as Christine turned her toward the console where Mona was sitting, stabbing buttons.
"These are the communications she's been sending back and forth. They were encrypted. I've traced the source. She's sent them all sort of data bout us…"
"She said that she was angry that Gene wanted to keep us a secret," Tamara said. "To her friends…"
"The silver suits, you mean," said Mona bitterly.
"If they're her friends, who the hell needs enemies?" Christine muttered, her eyes flaring red.
"IT was them, wasn't it?" Tamara said softly. "Good god. They've been playing us for fools."
"Jerking us around," Elliot nodded.
"Are they working with this… this…? Blackwell?" asked Tamara.
"They might as well be," said Elliot. "But they aren't."
"He uses ANYTHING for his purpose," Christine said thoughtfully.
"It's no accident you forgot your training at the Citadel," said Elliot.
"Paul said you didn't know who we were…" Tamara trailed off.
"My perceptions were blurred," echoed Paul's voice in her head. She realized that Elliot was staring with her, without his lips moving.
"Real convenient, huh?" answered Elliot.
"Could you think somewhere else, or let us in?" asked Christine.
"Bitchy isn't she without her coffee?" Elliot said.
"Excuse me, care to repeat that?" said Tamara.
"Did I say that out loud, I'm sorry," Elliot put a hand over his mouth.
"Someone needs a lesson in psychic etiquette, apparently," Christine snickered.
"Absolutely," Paul Stanley said, as he stood shaking his head. He strode into the chamber that was Mona's lab, and put his arms around Tamara to hug her, and stepped between her and the direction to the door leading in.
"Uh, excuse me, but should we like be standing here with her in the next room?" Christine whispered, shielding her mouth with her hand.
"Good point," said Mona, sniffling as Elliot helped her up. "WE need to talk someplace private."
"She'll suspect," Paul's voice echoed in their minds. "But know this. She will NOT take our babies. Not yours or ours…"
"We've got a problem," Elliot said soberly, aloud, and he clapped a hand over his mouth.
"Such as…"
"Will Jeannie be cool with her mom acting all skitzo?" Christine added.
"That's the ass kicker, isn't it?" Paul mumbled.
"Paul…"
"C'mon Tammi, let's get some fresh air. Elliot, you take care of things here. Christine, you keep an eye out for Gene. Mona, you let Tyler in on this… and get ready for anything. Meet us back here if anything screwy goes down," Paul's thoughts echoed.
***
Tamara felt the wind against her hair as she felt Paul carrying her, and mumbled, "Why is it everyone can fly but me?"
"Elliot can't, and Tyler…" said Paul.
They saw Christine as she conjured her wings, and spread them. Slowly she flapped them, running along the courtyard to get up enough to fly. With a mighty heave she thrust herself into the air, and they heard the flap of the bat wings against the air as she took to it, in search of Gene. Paul's body was surrounded with a wreath of purple chikara that encased him and Tamara both.
"I feel like Lois Lane," she muttered.
"Speaking of," Paul said. "How about a flying lesson?"
"Are you nuts?" Tamara asked as he swung her out gently letting go of her legs and then swinging her gently so she was beside him, his arm around her waist while his other was stretched ahead of him. Now she was flying alongside of him, gasping as he took them out over the ruined city, and out over the sea. Away from the land, with Christine circling in search of Gene.
"Hey you jerks wait up," came her voice as she followed. Out of the ruins Gene saw them flying, and got an idea. She didn't see him as he flew noiselessly behind her, without the need of wings in this form. His armor gleamed with red chikara, wreathing him as he flew along. Granted the bat wing cloak seemed to increase in size till it resembled a gliding membrane, but that was a secondary dramatic flare. Somehow he felt pretty stupid without some sort of a cape to flap like Superman. It was for the image.
Paul circled around, and they were flying over the sea, in slow lazy movements that defied gravity. Tamara felt his hand holding her close, and the shimmer of his chikara moderating the temperature so she wasn't shivering. "Telekinesis?" she asked.
"Something like that," Paul answered in his mind. "You'll see what good flying can do… watch…"
The star covered eye flared purple, and she swore a beam of energy swept out like a searchlight. IT dawned on her that it wasn't really there, but Paul was enabling her to see visually the extent of his psychic probes. Translating it into visual light, like the effects in that Phantom of the Park movie. He could see things miles away by his powers, but not in such an obvious way.
"Open your mind, and you'll see what I'm seeing," came his telepathic chuckle. Tamara concentrated, letting more of his mind into hers, that common bridge they shared, and it seemed as if the air just before her became closer, like a view through a telescope. She saw Gene slipping out of view as Christine flapped around, looking for him.
The smirks on Gene's face as he kept pace with her, flying just above so his shadow was obscured by hers. How she ducked and wove, swearing she felt something there, and Gene drifted just out of her sight. It was silent, and yet eerie, but comical. However Tamara saw the smile on Christine's face because she knew Gene was there.
"That idiot,” Tamara laughed telepathically. "She knows he's there. She's a psychic vamp. She can sense him MILES Away…"
"Exactly," Paul chuckled back. "This is getting interesting…"
Now Gene let loose a cloud of smoke, cocooning him. Christine swerved, and then dipped down, to circle up in a barrel role and swept the cloud way. Gene was nowhere in the smoke plume, and traces of it clung to her body as she dispersed it.
A burst of fire flashed, and hit her in the back. Tamara winced, but Paul shushed her. "He can control it. He won't hurt her. Especially if her chikara's anything like his… it won't affect her at all."
Around her body surged a stream of flame, and Christine batted it back, unaffected. It stung like a brush burn, or when someone rubbed your skin really hard in play wrestling. If he had wanted to hurt her, this wasn't the way to go about it. With a grin she absorbed the energy of the fire, soaking it in through her skin instead of through her mouth like Jeannie would.
"Cute, I didn't know she could do that," Paul muttered.
"Makes sense since she's some sort of vampire. Heat is energy, and why not? You said she wasn't affected."
As she circled, she whipped past Gene, letting something escape her lips. A long sinuous threat stuck to him, and she began to circle faster and faster as he felt a thin cord wrap around him. Great, this was pretty disgusting when he thought about it. She's wrapping me up in a giant lugie, he chuckled to himself. As it solidified into a thin band stronger than steel cable, he realized it wasn't something to laugh about. Spider silk was much stronger, and this was human scale.
"Eww," Gene mumbled as he strained against it. He heard her laugh as she circled by, and he was wrapped tightly in three bands that snared his arms to his sides. He opened his mouth to breathe fire, and then Christine literally passed by and spat in his face.
"Way to go, Gene," Paul guffawed as Gene's mouth was gagged with a wad of sticky silk.
"I'd say THAT was a significant improvement," Christine laughed, as she saw Gene flying wildly about, trying to break the strands of silk.
"Should I translate his thoughts for you?" Paul teased as he tugged Tamara long with him, towards the bay where Gene was zipping randomly from one place to another, struggling against the bonds. At the same time, Christine was tracking and mimicking his screwy flight path in more straight lines, unable to wipe the smirk off her face.
"I think we'd better step in… he looks pissed," Tamara glanced at Paul, letting her thoughts fill with concern.
"Gene can handle it," Paul laughed, his whole body shaking as he panted for breath. He almost lost his grip on Tamara he was guffawing so hard. "You gotta admit it's damn funny."
"Yes… but what if…" Tamara got out. Apparently Gene's flight wasn't QUITE so random, because as he seemed to blunder almost into a building, he suddenly jerked upwards. Tamara's eyes widened in horror as Christine, who was following behind to see her handiwork, didn't. There was a crash and smoke billowed out as she slammed into the side of a building.
Paul instantly pulled Tamara along with him as he streaked to the rescue. If she was anything like Gene, she was nearly invulnerable. Yet still, it had to smart, powers or not. Gene was struggling out of his silk, flexing his muscles to snap the strands one by one. They whirled out, hitting the ground around him as he broke free, and whisked down to see if his adversary was all right.
"Shit Gene, what did you do?" Tamara yelled at him, using Paul's telepathic rapport with Gene to echo in his mind. "Dammit if you…"
"Easy Atomic Girl, don't go nuclear," Gene telepathed back as he landed where she had fallen, and Paul flew after him, landing nearby. It wasn't soon enough for Tamara, who ran after him.
"She's okay," Paul said. "I hope…"
Tamara didn't listen, because she rushed quickly to where the dust was rising. A large crater was visible in the side of a ruined row house, and her heart pounded as she raced on platform boots towards where Gene had landed. He had reached her first, seeing that the girl had fallen into a pile of rubble, and he was quickly digging through to find her.
"Shit, I didn't mean to…" Gene mumbled as he frantically dug through.
"You son of a bitch!" Tamara yelled at him as she reached him.
"Tamara, calm down, baby…" Paul panted as he ran after her, but decided to levitate and catch her around the waist.
"Now gimmie a break, I'm trying to find her dammit! Hold your horses, Atomic Girl, and you Paul… control your woman!"
"I'm gonna KILL you if she's dead," Tamara gritted, racing towards where he was tossing brick after brick away from a large hole in the ground.
"She's here!" Gene called as he reached in, and held a form in his arms. Tamara felt sick and anger surged up inside her. This was NOT good. Gene turned to face her, and actually wasn't sure if she was joking or not, because he saw her eyes flaring the same bright purple as Paul when he got pissed.
"Christine… is she breathing?" Tamara yelled. Gene gently set her down on a smooth slab of upright wall that he ripped down, and stood over her, his hands reaching for her.
"Honey please calm down!" Paul called after her and she felt Paul's arms seized her and pull her back.
"Let me go, I might be able to…"
"Her heart's still beating," Gene said as he leaned down, and pressed his ear to her chest.
"Paul…" Tamara gritted.
"Relax, it's okay, we can't help her if you aren't calm… think of the babies," Paul soothed, trying to send his power into her.
"Don't even go there," Tamara sent back an acid telepathic sting. Paul let her go, throwing his hands up.
"She's not breathing," Gene said as he tilted her head back, and Tamara rushed over.
"I can generate oxygen," she said. "I can help…"
"I got it covered, she just needs mouth to mouth," Gene said, and Tamara groaned.
"Oh please if you expect me to believe that…"
"Do you mind, I'm trying to save her life," Gene snapped, waving Tamara away as she moved toward him, and leaned down to give her friend the lifesaving breath.
His nose stopped inched from hers, and her eyes blinked open. She was human all right, and she said, "Don't even think about it,"
Gene backed away, as her eyes flashed red, and she sat up, her power surging. "Shit," he mumbled. "That's what you get for trying to help."
"No thanks to you, dammit," said Christine, rubbing her head.
"Thank god," Tamara said as she moved to help her friend sit up. "You ok?"
"I'll live," she mumbled. "And by the way, flying's not all it's cracked up to be, 'k?"
"Gene, are you DONE pissing around?" Paul asked, trying to keep a straight face.
"That's the thanks I get for trying to save her life," Gene bitched as he picked himself up, and walked over toward them.
"You didn't do shit to help her, you put here there in the first place, and I'm sick and tired of your crap!" Tamara got out.
"Tammi, he's not worth it," Christine said. "It's…"
"What is YOUR problem?" Gene asked as he stood with his hands on his hips, and Tamara stood up between them. "I believe this was between me and her."
"Nobody fucks with my friends and then tries to take advantage of them. I don't care how much your libido needs satisfaction, you could have KILLED her," Tamara said angrily. "You think you're so damn smart, don't you?"
"Tammi, calm down, for God's sake," Paul called out.
"Are you quite finished, girly?" Gene asked, folding his arms across his chest. He was actually smirking at her.
"I haven't even begun," she said.
"Tammi, this REALLY isn't necessary," Christine started, and then realized she was missing an interesting show, because Gene wasn't taking her seriously.
"Paul, can't you rein her in? Why don't' you take her somewhere and give her a good screw. She's PMSing…"
"Gene, shut up," Paul snapped.
"What he said, asshole," Tamara barked at Gene. Her eyes flared momentarily.
"It was a joke," Gene said firmly. "And you need to calm down. Period."
"Yeah right. Everything I do is a big joke, because you're in charge," Tamara grumbled. Suddenly Gene's arm swept down to pick Tamara up, and she was hoisted up into his arms.
"Gene, you put her down!" Paul suddenly got out as she kicked and flailed. Gene was laughing as he swung her around.
"Maybe you need a spanking, or maybe a time out, sweetie," Gene laughed as he held her over his head. "Paul, come get your woman. Or shall I…"
Suddenly something exploded in Gene's face, and he was momentarily blinded. The next thing he felt was a kick in his stomach, and someone leaping down from his body as he lost his balance. Tamara stood apart from him, and he blinked.
"Shit… what the fuck?" Gene got out.
"Ohh boy," Paul sighed. Christine began to chuckle, behind her hand.
"I think he underestimated her for the last time," she said. "Get a ringside seat."
"Now, what was THAT?" Gene asked.
"Your wakeup call," Tamara said. Suddenly Gene flailed out, blinking as his sight slowly returned. Tamara was just behind him, ducking out of sight as he rushed around trying to find her.
"Now I've been patient atomic girlie. Paul, can you please get her to freaking stop this? I was only joking…"
"Is this a joke?" Tamara asked. Gene felt something hit him in the back, like a lump of lead. He realized it WAS a lump of lead that had come literally out of nowhere.
"Whatcha gonna do, pelt me to death?" Gene smirked.
Tamara's arm swept across and fine needle sharp pieces of some sort of shiny metal whistled toward him. A quick blast of fire slagged them to molten drops. He rushed her, his arm sweeping down to pick her up harmlessly, but her eyes again flared. Suddenly Gene ran smack into something that clanged like a bell, and tasted iron. Terrific. Something was between him and her, and he realized out of the air itself she'd formed a wall of thick iron.
"Cute," he muttered. "I'm actually thinking you're trying to pick a fight with me. Paul, can you believe this?"
"I can," Paul said, standing aside.
Gene started to rip through the iron like paper. He felt someone tap him on the shoulder, and heard a voice say, "Looking for me?"
The next thing he felt was something slamming into his jaw, hard. And he actually reeled, seeing stars. This was getting serious. She hadn't the strength to hit him, and yet… was he going nuts or did she hit him with a solid lead weight?
"You're pissing me off…" he growled, backing away, and batting at her. "Paul, if you don't stop her, I'm gonna…"
"Do what?" asked Paul. "If you ask me, you're asking to get knocked down a peg…"
"You mother fucker," Gene mumbled, as he felt something making it hard for him to breathe. He could swear he didn't' smell anything poisonous. Yet he couldn't breathe. Angrily he surged fire, but it fizzled out.
"What the fuck…" he panted, dropping to his knees. Over him Tamara stood, her hand flaring scarlet.
"You can't breathe fire in nitrogen, can you?" she asked.
"Good god," Christine mumbled as Gene grasped his throat, out of breath.
Tamara's glow stopped and then Gene felt something truly life saving surging into his throat. Air, pure air, and he drew it in deeply as he took a much welcome breath. Of oxygen. And the scarlet glow told him who was providing it.
"Damn," Gene mumbled. "Now I'm getting pissed… whatever bug you've got up your ass, you'd better pull it out cause this isn't funny."
"Did you hear me laughing when you let my friend crash into a building?" Tamara asked. "You think I'm a joke because I can't breathe fire, and fight with superhuman strength. You and Paul always leave me behind like I'm some distaff and useless thing. I want to remind you that I'm not to be taken lightly."
"Then act like you deserve my respect," Gene said angrily.
"Fine," Tamara said, glaring up at him. "Be an ass. Are you more pissed that I got your attention, or that you actually realize I have a prayer against you?"
"You'd better…" Gene heaved in and out, and Christine moved close, realizing this was serious. She had hurt his pride, and he hated being taken down a peg.
"You'd better WHAT?" Paul asked as his eyes flared purple, and sailed noiselessly forward, landing between Tamara and his friend.
"You'd better keep her under control, Paul," Gene gritted.
"I didn't laugh in her face, did I?" Paul asked slowly, folding his arms across his chest. "She's gone through a very bad time. She's not in the mood for your brand of humor…"
"Then she should butt the hell out," Gene snapped.
"Excuse me for not…" Tamara began, but Paul's hand dropped down, holding her back as he pushed her behind him.
"And you, girly, should listen to your man, and know your place. We bust our ass to protect yours… so don't abuse it!" Gene pointed at her. "You may be his wife, but that doesn't mean you can PMS on me, and not face the consequences! You're not in charge here. I am, and he is. And what I say goes. And if you can't keep a leash on her, Paul, you'd better…"
"Gene shut the fuck up," Paul snorted in disgust. "Stop the pissing contest. She beat you fair and square, and you were asking for it."
"Paul, don't make me hurt YOU…" Gene snorted, his temper flaring. "I'm sick of this shit…"
"Give me a break, you're just pissed cause she beat your ass, admit it!" Christine said with a laugh.
"You keep out of this!" Gene yelled at her.
"I think we all need to cool off," Paul said finally.
"You'd better get her to behave," Gene pointed at Paul.
"When you start, she'll start," Christine chimed in, and Gene let loose a growl as he turned towards her.
"That is the ABSOLUTE…"
"Oh I'm so scared…"
"Crap…" Tamara whispered. By now, her anger had cooled, and she felt a sinking feeling. Maybe she HAD gone too far. She had meant to teach Gene a lesson, but she didn't want him to take it so personally. Paul's body nudged her as he turned, and put his back to Gene, and his arms around her. She felt his power wrap around them both, and levitate them up.
"Easy Tammi," Paul said, as he levitated them at a safe distance.
"Shit I didn't mean to piss him off… I…"
"He deserved it, but you should be careful," Paul said.
"I'm sorry," Tamara whispered.
"Don't be," Paul shushed her. "We've all been on edge. He's not used to having a woman push him around. And you were the cherry on the Sunday. He wanted to spar, he got it, but not how he wanted it. But next time let me know? Because he IS pretty pissed, and you didn't have to…"
"I'm sorry okay?" Tamara muttered. "Sheesh."
"Tammi, calm down, it's all right…" Paul reassured her. "Besides, he DID underestimate you. But it's only because you've let him get to you. He doesn't see what I see. And he does have a lot of respect for you. Why else would he go to such great lengths to protect you? If he thought you weren't worth it, he'd not insist that you stay behind. He'd put your ass on the front line as cannon fodder."
"That's not funny."
"It's not meant to be. And it's not just because you're with me. You're a valuable resource to us all, and you're underrating yourself isn't worth that. You have to believe in you like we believe in you."
"As a woman?"
"Yes, as the mother of my children, and my wife, and as a scientist and teacher," Paul said. "Everything you are."
She wasn't expecting him to turn her around and seal her lips in a kiss that left her breathless. His arms went around her waist, and held her there, floating above the city as his hands ran up and down her back. Only his power held them aloft, and she felt the kiss growing more heated as it lasted. Especially when his hand guided hers to wrap around his waist, and he urged her other to reach lower.
"Touch me there, you know you want to," came his telepathic urge, and she couldn't resist.
"I don't get you, first you're scolding me, and now you're making out with me, and your friend's pissed…"
"Christine's giving him a piece of her mind, to give us cover," Paul's thoughts echoed as he thrust his tongue between her lips, and nibbled lightly on them as his hands roamed down her back.
"You're nuts," she gasped as she surfaced for breath, and Paul again seized her lips in another kiss as he thrust his tongue into her lips, varying the movement.
"Help me out here, love… do us both a favor and wrap yourself around me. I gotta keep us BOTH in the air here… I only have two hands… and I want to touch you everywhere…"
"Can't you just hold me with your mind?" she telepathed back as he nibbled on her neck, and she licked his earlobe. Gripping her rump, he tugged her up, and she got the hint. Paul was about to surface for breath, but he felt her lips against his, and wondered how he could still be breathing. It was a neat trick, because it dawned on him, that she was transmuting the air shared between them as they were locked in a lips caress that he was loathe letting go of.
"Cute," he commented, his low moan muffled by her mouth.
"I wonder what our combined powers could do?" thought Tamara. "We're so different… you're all mental, and I am physical…"
"Mind over matter," Paul's comment returned. He pulled her so she could feel his excitement in just the right place, and felt her body tremble in pent up energy that wanted to be released.
***
Mumbling he found himself thinking about the woman who had attacked him, and then groaned. It wasn't fair, he realized. Two women had slipped through his fingers, and the third hadn't been around in dog's years. Mumbling to himself he saw the shifting of his robe and lay on his side to attend to matters so Mr. Happy would settle down like the rest and drop off to sleep.
No sooner had he turned on his side then he heard the door open, and heard the sound of someone walking inside. Closing his eyes, he shifted under the blankets, and reached for himself. He tried to summon images of a likely inspiration for the task, since it was the only action he'd get for a while. No, it would be worth it to bed the girl, even if she HAD tried to kill him. There was the sound of someone stopping, and the soft hiss of clothing dropping to the floor. He felt the bed shift as someone sat on it, and heard the thump of boots falling to the floor. Someone moved toward him, and he was intrigued. There was a guess among a few which it might be, and he was glad for any company.
"About friggin time," he thought as he felt a woman's body press up behind him, and felt a soft kiss on his ear. Let her play a bit, he thought. Hadn't he earned it? Hands reached around his and slowly rubbed over his chest, lower and lower till they undid the belt of his robe. Fingers slipped down and moved over the hand clenched on himself, and moved his hands aside.
He tried to suppress the moan as she began to caress him, and press her breasts to his back, rocking against him as she kissed his neck. Gene sighed with relief, letting her work on him before he turned over onto his back and saw Raina in bed with him, without her glasses.
"Figured you could use some company," she said with a look of apology.
"Lady, you came at the right time," Gene murmured as he reached up to play with one breast. The amount of chikara she'd absorbed had youthed her to a woman in her late thirties, early forties. Yet she had put on makeup, and brushed her copper hair so it shimmered. She'd let it grow a bit, and her green eyes were identical to their daughter's.
"I need something from you Gene, and you need something from me," she purred as she slid into his arms, and Gene let her open his robe and spread it apart.
"Thank you," he whispered as he lay on top of her. And she let him remain.
"I should thank you," she sighed as she felt him shifting.
"Ready for more?" he asked between pants, and then stopped to catch his breath.
"As much as you can give me. I'm sorry I've been away Gene. When you needed me," Raina whispered as she kissed him. Gene relaxed for a moment and lay buried in her, stretching out to rest his body as he covered her and sighed.
She gave him a deep kiss, and Gene thrust his tongue into her mouth. Raina sighed and settled into place next to him, blessing the fact that he had the vitality of his younger self, and that the new woman hadn't drained him too much. There didn't seem enough time with him as she recaptured and satisfied his needs in different ways.
Hot with his love, she dozed in his arms as Gene softly kissed her and caressed her body. "Don't move," he mumbled and she slid over him with a sigh. Seven must be her lucky number, she realized.
"Once more?" she asked.
"Do you mind?" he asked.
"Not at all. You need it, and I do too," she whispered. They reached their release, and Gene pulled her to lay with him.
"Sleep here with me?" he whispered.
"As long as you like," she whispered as he locked his lips to hers and they remained together. The last time made them both sigh with contentment, before they dropped senseless into hibernation.
***

Chapter 19
Chapter 21
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