After David is caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, his entire life changes in ways he never could have expected. This is a fan fiction taking place in the Whateley Universe.
I grimaced as I began removing the hot and steaming dishes from the dishwasher, knowing that I had to be quick about it since I had another load that needed to go in. The diner was always busy during the lunch rush, which meant that it was the time of day when I was needed most but least wanted to be here. I much preferred the quieter periods where Dad and his cook Henri would sometimes take the time to give me cooking lessons.
Once I’d finished reloading the commercial dish washer, I leaned against the edge of the sink and let out a sigh. I wiped the sweat from my forehead, looked down at my wet shirt, and was thankful that I’d brought a change of clothes. I just wished that we had a shower here at the restaurant because I felt like I needed one even more than I did after gym class in school.
“David,” Henri called out to me, giving me a flat look. The big hairy man could be pretty intimidating when he wanted to be, especially with his arms all tattooed up. However, I knew that underneath that rough exterior, he was actually as soft and cuddly as a grizzly bear. “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.”
“Yes sir, mister bossman sir,” I responded, giving him a salute, and intentionally doing a very poor job of it. Henri used to be in the Navy and I liked to mess with him about it a little, though I knew better than to argue and was already moving to do what he told me.
“Smartass,” Henri muttered.
By the time the lunch rush was ending, I was tired and eager to get out of here. However, I didn’t bother complaining since my six hour shift was nothing compared to the hours that Dad worked. In fact, I hadn’t even seen him take a break the entire time I was here. He just kept moving around the kitchen like a man possessed, putting out hamburgers, omelets, and bowls of his spicy chili, as well as numerous other items from the menu.
“I’ve got a job for you,” Dad told me.
I let out a sigh and asked, “Am I gonna need a mop for this one?”
“No,” Dad responded with a chuckle. “Just your feet. I need you to drop the check from that catering job off at the bank on your way home.”
I grinned at that, immediately catching the implication that I was done for the day. I went into the back room and changed into my clean clothes, then came out and poured myself a cup of coffee into a ‘to go’ cup, adding a good amount of cream into the mix. Once I was ready, I grabbed the check and deposit slip from Dad and hurried out the door.
Dad’s diner was downtown, just three blocks away from the bank he used. It wouldn’t be a problem to walk to the bank, and from there I could catch a bus back to our apartment. With my coffee in hand, I began my walk.
The bank was located on the intersection of Main street and Third, occupying the entire bottom floor of a seven story building. I had no idea what other businesses filled the rest of the building, nor did I really care. All I had to do was deposit Dad’s check, then I was done for the day.
As soon as I stepped into the bank lobby, I suddenly felt a pressure forming in my head, one which made me wince at what I knew was coming. This headache wasn’t bad yet, but that was going to change very soon. There was no mistaking the beginnings of one of my migraines.
“Just great,” I muttered in frustration.
While I stood in line, waiting for my turn and silently wishing it would go faster so I could get out of there before my migraine fully formed, I slowly looked around at everyone else present. There was the bored looking security guard who stood near the doors, an obnoxious woman who was loudly complaining to a man who I assumed was her husband, and an overweight guy who was taking his time with the teller. Of course, there were other people as well, some customers and some employees, but none of them really stood out to me.
When I got to the front of the line, I silently handed the teller the check and deposit slip. My headache was really starting to hurt now so I wasn’t in the mood to talk or be friendly. I just wanted to get out of here and back home as fast as I could.
Suddenly, a woman’s voice yelled, “Nobody move!”
I snapped around to see the source of the yelling, as did everyone else in the bank. There was a woman standing at the entrance, one who would have immediately drawn my attention even if she hadn’t said a word.
The woman was about six feet tall with long red hair and a body that was sexy and athletic. The term ‘statuesque’ immediately came to mind. But even more noticeable than all that was the fact that she was wearing a spandex costume that left very little to the imagination. Her costume was red with white trim and covered her entire body from the neck down. The only skin that was visible was on her face, though even that was half covered by the red mask around her eyes.
A moment later, the security guard began to react, but she grabbed him and lifted him off the ground using only one arm. She didn’t even look like she was straining. In the process, the security guard dropped the gun that he’d been in the process of pulling from his holster.
“You can call me Pinball,” the costumed woman exclaimed, casually tossing the security guard towards the center of the lobby, well away from his gun. “This is a robbery. If everyone cooperates, no one will get hurt. I’m only interested in the money, not in any of you. So if everyone will calmly sit down on the floor and remain there without causing any trouble, I’ll get my money and be gone in no time.”
My eyes widened at the realization that the bank was being robbed by some kind of super villain, but strangely enough, I didn’t really feel afraid. My headache had become even worse and had entered into the migraine level, but I wasn’t the least bit scared…or much of anything else.
“I think we should all do what she says,” another woman said.
The new speaker looked like she was in her late twenties and was wearing a gray suit and skirt. She had shoulder length brown hair and a pair of glasses that made me think ‘librarian’.
“I don’t want to get hurt,” the librarian said, sitting down on the floor.
“Everyone sit over there,” Pinball instructed, gesturing to the area around the librarian. Then she turned to one of the tellers and said, “Not you… I want you to load up a bag with money. If there are any dye packs in there, I won’t be happy, and if I’m not happy, you won’t be either. And remember, this isn’t your money and the insurance will recoup the loss.”
I sat down on the floor along with everyone else, wincing as my head pounded worse and worse. I looked around, feeling vaguely surprised at how calm and relaxed everyone seemed. Not a single person looked afraid, much less like they were about to freak out and panic. I’d never been in this kind of situation before, but I would have thought that at least one person would have freaked out.
A minute later, the sound of police sirens could be heard from outside the bank, though the loud noise made my migraine even worse, if that was even possible. Migrainezilla had come back, even worse than it had ever been before. Tears began flowing due to the pain.
“They’re here a little sooner than I expected,” Pinball mused aloud. Then she looked around and said, “Everyone stay where you are and you’ll be safe.”
Pinball went to the glass doors, and for a moment, she was suddenly standing in the middle of what looked like a giant soap bubble. The bubble shimmered and then vanished again, though my headache surged worse and I actually cried out in pain. My head felt like it was about to explode. In fact, my entire body felt like it was on fire, which was something new.
Pinball snapped around and stared at me for a moment, then she abruptly gestured to me and exclaimed, “That’s what you get for staring at me.” She looked around at the other hostages and said, “I warned you all not to cause trouble, now it looks like I’m going to have to teach this kid a lesson.”
With that, Pinball grabbed my arm and lifted me to my feet, then drug me out of the lobby and to some office next door. I was hurting too much to fight her or resist, not that it would have done me any good. I’d seen from how she treated the security guard and how easily she’d lifted me that she was pretty strong.
Once we were in the office, Pinball set me down in a chair with a surprising gentleness, then asked, “Are you all right kid?”
“What did you do to me?” I asked, though it came out weak and shaky.
“I didn’t do anything to you,” Pinball answered, staring at me for a moment before abruptly asking, “What color are your eyes?”
I was surprised by the question, and also having a difficult time focusing because of the pain. I grabbed the sides of my head, as though I could push my migraine back down, or at least keep my head from exploding.
“What color are your eyes?” Pinball repeated.
“Gray,” I finally answered, though I was having a hard time focusing enough to even answer such a simple question as that.
“No they aren’t,” Pinball told me. “And unless I miss my guess, you’re in the middle of manifesting…”
It took half a minute for those words to sink in, and even then I was still feeling confused. “Manifesting?”
“As a mutant,” Pinball responded, giving me a rather gentle smile.
I gasped at that, then protested weakly, “I’m not a mutant…”
“Your eyes are definitely NOT gray,” Pinball told me gently. “And you were starting to glow out there in the lobby. Stressful situations can sometimes trigger a mutant’s manifestation, and I think a bank robbery qualifies. I figured that I’d better get you out of there before anyone realized that you were a mutant. If they did, they’d probably assume you were with me, and I didn’t want that.”
I was trying hard to listen to her words, but I was having a difficult time absorbing them at the moment. My entire body still hurt and my head felt like it was going to explode. Tears were coming down my cheeks and all I wanted to do was curl up and make the rest of the world go away.
“You really don’t look good,” Pinball told me, actually sounding worried. “Damn, I hope you’re not going through a burnout…”
With that, Pinball took off her glove and reached out to feel my forehead. As soon as she touched me, I felt as though I’d been shocked, starting on my forehead and then shooting down all the way to my toes. I let out a scream and would have collapsed to the floor if I hadn’t been sitting in the chair.
“What was that?” Pinball exclaimed, yanking her hand back and staring at it. She scowled and gave me an odd look, saying, “At least you don’t seem to have a temperature, so I don’t think you’re having a burnout.”
I just sat there, feeling dazed but oddly pain free. It was as though that odd shock had somehow released all the pressure in my head, making my headache vanish instantly. I didn’t understand how that was even possible, but I certainly wasn’t about to complain.
“You stay here kid,” Pinball told me. “Out of sight and out of trouble. Once I’m gone, you can tell the cops I roughed you up or something.”
With that, Pinball put her glove back on and left the office. I just watched her leave, feeling confused because that certainly wasn’t how I’d expected a super villain to behave. She’d almost been…nice.
I remained where I was, feeling worried and confused. I didn’t know why I’d felt so calm and unafraid out in the lobby when I was being taken hostage, but that was now gone. It wasn’t Pinball who frightened me at that moment, but it was what she’d said. She thought I was a mutant.
My migraine was completely gone, vanishing faster and more completely than it had ever done before. However, I still didn’t feel right, though I couldn’t quite explain it. All I knew was that I had a strange certainty that something was different.
“My eyes,” I suddenly blurted out in realization. “She said something about my eyes…”
And then, I remembered that Pinball had also said something about me glowing. I looked down at myself and saw no sign of any glowing, much to my relief. Maybe Pinball had imagined it. Or maybe, she was just trying to mess with me for some reason. After all, she was a bank robber and super villain so she didn’t exactly have a lot of credibility.
After a few minutes, I hesitantly got up out of the chair, a little nervous that Pinball would come back and catch me. She had told me to sit there after all. But then again, she hadn’t really seemed worried about leaving me alone.
I looked around the office, smiling when I saw a coffee pot sitting in the corner. I grabbed a paper cup from a stack that was sitting next to the coffee maker, then helped myself to some of the go juice.
“Being a hostage isn’t really that bad,” I mused as I took a drink. I just wondered if it was safe to come out of the office now, though it would probably be best to remain here until the cops came.
Then as I looked around the office, I noticed a purse sitting on the floor next to the desk. I wouldn’t have given it much thought, but I saw a makeup compact sitting right on top. That reminded me again of what Pinball had said about my eyes not being gray.
“She’s full of it,” I told myself, though I reached for the makeup compact anyway. After all, there was only one way to know for sure.
I popped open the compact and looked into the small mirror that I knew would be inside. I couldn’t make out much, but it was enough to see my eyes clearly. And to my surprise, Pinball had been telling the truth. My eyes weren’t gray anymore.
“No way,” I blurted out, adjusting the mirror and trying to get a better look at my eyes.
My eyes...the irises were no longer gray in color. They were golden and almost seemed to glow faintly. I was absolutely stunned by the sight, feeling worried and even more confused.
“I’m not a mutant,” I whispered, my voice shaking. “I can’t be…”
In spite of what my parents thought, I didn’t think that mutants were diseased freaks who were a threat to the human race. After all, there was a girl at school who I’d really liked who was a mutant, not that I’d ever told Mom and Dad that. However, the idea of ME being a mutant… The idea seemed ludicrous.
When Pinball came back into the office a short time later, she musing almost to herself, “There are a LOT more cops out there than I’d expected, and this whole thing has taken longer than I’d planned. I guess getting out is going to be just a little more challenging…”
“What did you do to me?” I demanded, suddenly feeling angry and glaring at her as though this was entirely her fault. In fact, it was her fault. If she hadn’t robbed the bank, none of this would have happened. “What did you do to me? What did you do to my eyes?”
“Like I told you earlier, I didn’t do anything to you,” she told me in an almost gentle tone. “Sorry kid, but you can blame your own DNA for those eyes…and whatever else your body is doing.”
“But I’m not a mutant,” I protested, swinging from angry to terrified again. All I could think of was what Mom and Dad would say if I was. “I can’t be…”
Pinball just stood there for a moment before shaking her head sympathetically. “Sorry kid, but it doesn’t work like that. Whether you like it or not, I’d say you’re probably a mutant…unless you got exposed to alien radiation or something like that.” She chuckled at that. “Either way, it probably isn’t a good idea for you to stick around here.”
My entire body was shaking and I wanted to scream and deny that I could possibly be a mutant. But instead, I picked up my half-finished cup of lukewarm coffee and took a careful sip, trying to act as though I was calm and in control, when the truth was that I was anything but.
“What do you mean?” I asked quietly.
“You’re starting to glow again,” Pinball pointed out. I stared down at my hands and was startled to see that there was a faint golden glow around them, though it stopped a moment later. “Between that and your eyes, it really isn’t safe for you here…”
I gulped at that, remembering what she’d said after she brought me into the office. “You said they might think I was with you…”
“A definite possibility,” Pinball agreed. “And when it comes to mutants, the cops tend to shoot first and ask questions later. However, I think we’ll have worse problems than the cops.”
“Like my parents?” I responded with a weak smile. “Yeah, if they think I’m involved in your robbery, I’ll wish the cops got me first…”
Pinball chuckled at that, then said, “Actually, I’ve been here way too long. It won’t be long before either some super heroes arrive, or worse…the MCO. If it’s the heroes, they may get a little rough with you at first, but you’ll probably be all right. But if it’s the MCO…” She paused at that, her expression turning grim. “Well, if they don’t shoot you on sight, they’ll probably make you disappear.”
I gasped at that, then protested, “But the MCO wouldn’t do that… They’re the good guys…” At least, that TV show about the MCO protecting the public from dangerous mutants always showed them to be the good guys. However, I had heard a few stories and rumors that they tended to get a little…overenthusiastic about taking down mutants.
Pinball just snorted and said, “Trust me kid, you do NOT want to find out what bastards they really are. I’m getting you out of here before that happens. As far as anyone else will know, you’re just some unknown hostage.”
A few seconds later, Pinball left the office and told me to follow her. I didn’t really to go with her, especially since my super power of common sense said that going anywhere with a super villain and bank robber was a very bad idea. However, her talk about my being shot by the cops or MCO had me worried, especially when I thought about my eyes and the way I’d been glowing a minute earlier. After several painful seconds of indecision, I started after her.
“Everyone remain where you are,” Pinball called out to the hostages in the lobby. “The police haven’t come in yet because they’re afraid of you getting hurt, but that won’t last much longer. Don’t worry, I’m going to leave before that happens, but stay there on the floor until the cops come in and you’ll stay safe.”
A moment later, Pinball slung a large backpack full of money onto her back, then grabbed me and made a show of taking me as a hostage. She pulled me, not towards the main entrance like I’d expected, but to an elevator off to the side. Once we were inside the elevator with the doors closed, she let go of me.
“Don’t worry kid,” she told me with a grin. “I’m gonna get you out of here safe and sound.”
I snorted at that and responded, “I might believe that a little more if it wasn’t coming from a bank robber who just took me hostage.”
Pinball chuckled at that and said, “Trust me.”
“As I just said,” I commented, earning another chuckle.
It was strange riding in the elevator with a super villain who had who knows how much stolen money slung over her shoulder. I knew that I should be terrified, and I was, just not of her. Instead, I was afraid of the cops, the MCO, and of what my Mom and Dad would say when they found out about this.
“I am so dead,” I muttered to myself.
“You know kid, you’re being pretty brave about this,” Pinball said when we reached the top floor.
“My name isn’t kid,” I said in annoyance, wishing that she’d stop calling me that. “I’m David. David Michaels.”
“Well…David,” she said with an amused smile. “It’s a good thing you’re coming with me.” She reached out and touched my hair and added, “Your hair is starting to change color…”
“What?” I gasped in surprise, reaching up to touch my hair, though it felt the same.
We got out of the elevator and then Pinball went to the stairway and continued going up, ending up on the roof. I followed behind her, wondering if she was expecting a helicopter to pick her up. Then again, she was a mutant with powers, so she was probably planning to fly out of there.
“Come on,” Pinball urged me, going to the edge of the building and looking over the edge. “Definitely a lot of cops down there.”
I hesitantly looked over the edge and gulped, deciding that it was a long way down, especially without any railings to keep me from falling. However, I did notice that Pinball was right. There were a lot of cops down there. There had to be a dozen cop cars, police vans, and even fire engines surrounding the bank. And that didn’t even take into account the helicopter that hovered in the distance.
“Trust me,” Pinball said, putting her arm around my waist and pulling me close. “And hold on tight.”
With that, Pinball jumped off the building, taking me with her. I let out a scream of terror as we rapidly fell towards the ground, probably sounding like a little girl but not really caring at the moment. I closed my eyes before impact, but then we suddenly stopped…but not the way I’d expected. There was no sudden stop that ended in death, or even any jarring. It was as though we’d simply stopped falling and ignored the laws of physics and inertia.
When I opened my eyes, I saw that we were on the ground right outside the bank. Cops were all over the place and were staring at us in surprise before they began pointing their weapons at us. Then I noticed a shimmering in the air all around us, as though we were both within the middle of a giant soap bubble.
“My force field absorbed the kinetic energy from the fall,” Pinball told me proudly. “And it can do the same to their bullets. They can shoot all they want and it only makes my force field stronger.”
I wanted to blurt out an ‘oh shit’, but my heart was racing too hard and I was too shaken to even speak. It was all I could do to just remain standing and breathing.
“Keep holding onto me kid…David,” Pinball instructed. “Now I’m going to show you why I’m called Pinball.”
A moment later, Pinball and I began moving forward, though neither of us had actually moved. I gasped as I realized that force field bubble we were inside of was actually rolling down the street like a giant ball, though from inside the bubble it didn’t feel like we were moving at all.
“Are you sure you’re not called Hamster Ball?” I joked weakly as I remembered the plastic hamster ball that Becky’s old pet used to roll around the house with.
“Smartass,” Pinball responded.
“And shouldn’t we be tumbling around inside here?” I asked nervously.
Pinball didn’t answer me and instead seemed to be focusing on all the cops and police cars which surrounded us. She grinned and then we suddenly began rolling forward even faster, completely ignoring the fact that the police were shooting at us.
“Oh shit,” I finally blurted out as we went straight for a cop car.
We didn’t slow down or change directions at all, and instead, we continued going faster until we smashed right into the side of the cop car…and kept going. I hadn’t felt any impact when we hit, realizing that it must be more of whatever effects protected us from falling or kept us from tumbling around while we moved.
Just seconds after we’d smashed through the first cop car, we hit a police van and then bounced off, ricocheting and hitting the side of a building before bouncing off again.
“We’re gonna die,” I cried out in terror, though Pinball actually seemed to be enjoying herself.
The force field bubble shot back and forth across the street, bouncing around like we were inside a giant pinball machine while smashing into walls and vehicles as cops jumped out of the way. In half a minute, we’d hit nearly every police car in the vicinity and then changed direction and began rolling down the street at a high speed.
“When I was about your age and first chose my codename,” Pinball said in a casual tone. “I couldn’t really direct my force field and tended to bounce off everything without control. Fortunately, that isn’t the case anymore.”
She proved that by suddenly making a right turn at an intersection and continuing down the street, rolling between cars and even over a few. When there was a large truck in our path, the force field bubble we were inside of actually leapt over the obstacle before hitting the ground and continuing down the road.
“I love my power,” Pinball commented as we bounced over another vehicle in our path. “Its offense, defense, and transportation…all rolled into one.”
I nodded at that, then joked, “It sounds like a well-rounded power.”
Pinball chuckled at that. “It’s been awhile since I heard that one. You really are a smartass.”
“Better than being a dumbass,” I responded, which earned another chuckle.
“I can’t disagree with that,” she told me. “Now that we got away, I’ll drop you off somewhere safe and then I’ll be on my way. I’ll make sure to create enough of a disturbance that they’ll follow me until I can lose them again.”
A minute later, we went into a parking garage and came to a stop. Once we did, the force field bubble vanished and I was once again standing on normal ground. I felt an odd mixture of relief at that, but also disappointment since that ride had actually been pretty fun, once I’d gotten over my terror that is.
“That was the best carnival ride ever,” I joked, trying to cover my nervousness. “You should go work for Six Flags…”
“I’ll think about it,” Pinball told me with an amused look. Then her expression turned serious and she stared at me for a moment before saying, “Be careful kid. Your body is obviously going through some changes, though I have no idea what kind. Just try to keep it as quiet as you can, and avoid the attention of Humanity First or those MCO assholes. Trust me, you don’t want to be outed as a mutant if you can help it, and you especially don’t want those kind of people to notice you.”
“Um…thanks,” I told her awkwardly. “I think.”
“Being a mutant can be really rough,” Pinball told me sadly. “But a lot of good things can come from it too, if you have an open mind. Anyway, I’ve got to get going. Good luck.”
And with that, the force field bubble appeared around Pinball again. She nodded to me, then rolled right back out of the parking garage and down the street to lead any pursuit away from me.
I stood there for a minute, feeling confused about everything that was going on. If it hadn’t just happened to me, I probably would have thought it was the plot from some movie or comic book. I also didn’t know what to think of Pinball. On one hand, she was a super villain and bank robber, but on the other, she’d actually been pretty nice to me.
“My friends are never going to believe I went joy riding with a super villain,” I told myself with a chuckle.
However, that thought also reminded me of one major problem that I still had to deal with. What in the world was I going to tell Mom and Dad?
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