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.
The place Jackie had chosen for the meeting was the Silver Lake Overlook, a restaurant with a large back patio that looked out over the lake. The two of us had arrived an hour early, partly so Jackie could keep an eye out for suspicious activity and partly so we could have lunch before the actual meeting.
I had my hair pulled back into a pony tail and was wearing a pair of sunglasses to hide my eyes. Jackie was wearing a pair of sunglasses as well, though hers were less about hiding her eyes than about fashion.
I ate my lunch in silence, feeling a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Ever since Jackie had made that call last night, I hadn’t been able to focus on anything else. Would my parents apologize and say they wanted me back, or would they tell me I was a monster they never wanted to see again? Part of me wanted to just go find a place to hide so I wouldn’t have to get the bad news, but I reminded myself that whether the results were good or bad, this was something I had to do.
“What if they changed their minds?” I asked Jackie nervously. “What if they don’t show up?”
“But what if they do?” she reminded me pleasantly.
However, I knew Jackie well enough to know that she wasn’t quite as optimistic as she pretended. For one thing, she was watching our surroundings very carefully, even if it was difficult to tell through her sunglasses. And for another, this meeting place was at least an hour
drive for my parents, and had been even more than that for her.
Eventually, my Dad arrived in the patio seating area, and though I started to get up the moment I saw him, Jackie put a hand on my arm and indicated that I should stay. We remained where we were for several minutes, watching as Dad sat down at a table and then looked around nervously. There was no sign of Mom or Becky.
“You stay here for now,” Jackie told me quietly. “I’ll indicate when you can come over.”
With that, Jackie stood up and walked around the patio before sitting down across from my Dad. “Hello Mister Michaels,” Jackie greeted Dad pleasantly. “Or may I call you Gerald?”
“You’re the one who called me,” Dad said, staring at Jackie with a nervous look.
“I am,” she agreed, her expression serious.
“Where’s David?” Dad demanded.
Jackie just smiled as she responded, “Nearby. He’s very nervous about seeing you like this, especially since he’s changed.”
“What do you mean by changed?” Dad demanded.
“As I told you last night,” Jackie explained patiently, “David’s mutation caused his body to change. He’s very self-conscious about that, especially as far as you and your wife are concerned. After being turned over to the MCO merely for having odd colored eyes, he’s afraid of what your reaction might be to this…”
Dad looked shaken at that, and for a moment, I thought he was going to get up and leave. Instead, he gave Jackie a firm look and said, “I want to see my son.”
“All right,” Jackie agreed. “I just wanted to prepare you first.” Then she gestured to me.
I took a deep breath, then stood up and went over to Dad’s table. Dad stared at me with a look of confusion, though I just smiled nervously as I removed my glasses and sat down.
“Hi Dad,” I said quietly.
“David?” he blurted out with a look of stunned disbelief.
All I could do was nod at that and stare down at myself in embarrassment. “I’m going by Dana,” I finally said, not able to bring myself to look him in the eyes. “It seemed more appropriate.”
“What?” he gasped. “How?” Then he stared at Jackie and I could see the flash of recognition and then suspicion. “You look like her…”
“It’s my mutation,” I tried to explain, not sure how much I could tell him. “I sort of imprinted on her when I manifested, which is why I look so much like her. If I’d run into a different mutant, I probably would have ended up looking like them instead.” Of course, that only would have happened if the other mutant was an exemplar too, but I thought that might be a bit too much information at the moment.
“We’ve already talked to an expert,” Jackie said. “Her new appearance is permanent and can’t be reversed…”
Dad just stared at me, making me extremely uncomfortable. I thought he was going to yell that I wasn’t David and that this was just some kind of trick. Instead, he quietly said, “Your eyes… They’re the same as they were the night before you left…”
“I didn’t…leave,” I spat out bitterly. “The MCO came in, beat the crap out of me, murdered Mister Harris, and then chained me up like I was some kind of monster...” I gestured to Jackie and added, “She was the one who rescued me.”
Dad stared at me with a look of disbelief, then protested, “You must have misunderstood. The MCO don’t do that kind of thing…”
“The SHOT me,” I yelled, gesturing to my shoulder which had long since healed without a trace. “They tried to kill me...”
Dad gasped at that, staring at me for a few more seconds. Then he looked at Jackie with a suspicious look. “You’re that super villain, aren’t you? You’re the one who robbed that bank.”
“Yes,” Jackie answered without any shame or embarrassment. “My name is Pinball.”
“Pinball,” Dad repeated, saying the name almost as though it was a profanity. “So you’ve kidnapped David and now you’re trying to brainwash him into being a super villain?”
“She didn’t kidnap me,” I snapped at Dad, angry at that accusation. “She saved my life…”
“Actually,” Jackie told Dad, giving him a flat look. “Between how Dana was treated by the MCO and her own family, she was already being pushed to that. My intention is to keep her safe and give her options…”
“Like I’d really believe that of some mutant super villain,” Dad spat out.
Jackie removed her glasses and glared at Dad for a moment, but she made no threatening moves. I knew full well that if she meant Dad harm, there was nothing he could do. Dad seemed to realize that as well, but he didn’t look like he was going to back down.
“Do you really think this is the life I wanted?” Jackie finally asked, keeping her voice low and steady, but I could hear the strong emotions in it. “Do you think I wanted to be a criminal…unable to live a normal life or even see my own family? I didn’t. I wanted to be an architect. I was even going to college for it.”
“Jackie,” I said, giving her a worried look.
Jackie had told me a lot about her time at Whateley Academy, and she’d told me a few stories about her time as a criminal. However, she’d never said a word about what happened in between, about why she’d become a criminal.
“I’d confided that I was a mutant to one of my friends,” Jackie continued grimly. “Someone I trusted. But she outed me, told everyone I was a mutant. Then a bunch of Humanity First supporters decided to set my house on fire…while I was sleeping. I woke up in time to get out, but I lost my home and everything I owned.”
“Oh shit,” I whispered, not sure which was worse, the betrayal of her friend or the attempt to burn her to death.
“Afterwards, the police refused to do anything,” Jackie said with a deep scowl. “Even though I saw a couple of the people involved. Since I was a mutant, they accused me of starting the fire with my powers. My insurance company went with that story and accused me of insurance fraud. The college kicked me out, saying that because I was a mutant, I was a danger to all the other students. And then, the MCO came to arrest me…”
I stared at Jackie in sympathy, realizing that as bad as I’d had it with the MCO, she’d gone through much worse. Because of that friend’s betrayal, she’d lost everything.
Jackie went silent for several seconds before she continued her story. “After I escaped from the MCO, I realized I had to take matters into my own hands. Since the police refused to do anything, I went after the people who’d tried killing me on my own. They destroyed my home, so I destroyed theirs. And while I was doing this, I found out the police chief was with Humanity First as well. The damn bastard was covering for his buddies, so I went after his house and car too. By the time it was done, I was officially declared a super villain.”
“That’s…horrible,” Dad said, now giving Jackie a look of sympathy as well.
“The law is a social contract,” Jackie told him with a scowl. “It says that if you follow the rules, you will be protected. I followed the rules but I wasn’t protected. I was told that because I was a mutant, I didn’t have any rights and the law didn’t have to protect me. Since the law doesn’t apply to me, why should I obey it? Why should I follow the rules?”
“Miss Pinball,” Dad started, looking awkward and even a little guilty.
Dad wasn’t an official member of Humanity First, but I knew that he’d always sympathized with them and their goals of protecting humans from dangerous mutants. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to care about protecting mutants from dangerous humans.
Jackie shook her head, then reached out and took my hand, giving me a reassuring smile. “When mutants aren’t allowed to live within the law, they have no choice but to live outside it. I’m trying to help Dana avoid that.”
“Thank you,” I told her with a nervous smile. “I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t there for me.”
Jackie smiled faintly at that, then said, “I’ll give you two some privacy.” With that, she got up and walked away.
“David,” Dad said carefully, giving me an odd look. Then he forced a faint smile. “Dana… Becky really misses you…”
“I miss her,” I admitted, then joked, “Even if she is a brat.”
“You do know she’s just following your example,” he pointed out with a chuckle. “She really looks up to you.”
I smiled at that. In spite of the way that Becky was often a pain in my ass, I loved her and had always tried to be a good big brother. Of course, being a big brother meant that I had certain obligations which included but weren’t limited to noogies and teasing.
“That villain,” Dad abruptly said, his eyes darting in the direction where Jackie had gone.
“Pinball,” I corrected Dad, feeling annoyed at him for calling Jackie a villain, especially after what she’d just told us.
“Pinball,” Dad responded with a faint smile. “Is she taking good care of you?”
“She’s been great,” I told him honestly. “She saved me when she didn’t have to. She’s been helping me learn to control my powers…and adjust to all this.” I gestured down at myself. “She’s sort of like the big sister I never had.”
“That’s good,” Dad said, looking a little relieved. “But is she getting you in trouble at all?”
I shook my head at that. “No, she’s been keeping me out of it. She was telling the truth when she said she wasn’t teaching me to be a criminal or anything.”
Dad and I talked for a little longer, with him telling me about what had been going on at home and at the diner since I’d left. I told him a little bit about what I’d been doing, though I didn’t mention Emily and I kept a lot of details vague. There were certain things that he was probably better off not knowing.
Finally, Dad said, “I know I’ve never been very fond of mutants.” Then he paused and stared at me for a moment before adding, “But you’re still my son… Or at least, I’m still your father. This isn’t easy for me to wrap my head around, but I’ll try.”
“Thank you,” I said as tears began running down my cheeks. On an impulse, I gave Dad a hug, feeling better for doing so.
“Does that mean I can come home?” I asked him hesitantly.
“I want you to come home,” Dad told me, though I could hear the silent ‘but’ in that statement.
I scowled as I thought about it, then said, “But the MCO will probably be watching for me…”
Dad nodded at that, looking unhappy. “And your mother,” he finally said, grimacing. “She…”
“She doesn’t like mutants either,” I stated, remembering the look on her face when the MCO took me away.
Dad nodded again and gave me a guilty look. “She honestly thinks you’re dangerous and is worried that you’ll hurt Becky… She does love you, but I think she’s forgotten that at the moment…”
I couldn’t think of anything to say to that, so I wiped my tears away, though new ones were coming to replace them. However, these new ones weren’t tears of happiness like the previous ones.
“I don’t think it would be safe for you back home,” Dad admitted, looking almost like it was painful for him to say that. “Not right now.”
Then Dad looked to Jackie, who was sitting down at table where we’d eaten, and he called to her, “You’d better take good care of him…her…or powers or no powers…”
“I will,” Jackie agreed, getting up and coming over. “I’ll look after her like she was my own sister.”
Dad nodded at that, looking just a little worried but also seeming satisfied. Then he turned to me and said, “I’ll work on your mother, but for now…” He shook his head and let out a sigh before adding, “Just try to keep in contact. Maybe email me on my private account…”
“I will,” I promised him, giving him an honest smile. My Mom might still dislike me for being a mutant, but at least I had my Dad back. And who knows, maybe he’d be able to get Mom to change her opinion…though I doubted it.
Just then, there was a lot of noise coming from a short distance away. I quickly turned to look, then gasped in horror at the sight of men in MCO uniforms. Three men in the SWAT type uniforms I’d previously seen rushed onto the restaurant patio, and a short distance behind them were two more men in powder blue colored power armor.
“Agent Owens of the Mutant Commission Office,” one of the men in SWAT gear yelled out. “Surrender immediately.
I stared at the man who was speaking, shocked to realize that he was the very same man who’d murdered Mr. Harris…and who’d shot me. I recognized one of the other SWAT uniformed men from my previous encounter with the MCO as well.
“MCO,” Jackie cried out angrily.
“I didn’t bring them,” Dad blurted out, looking as surprised as I was.
“Then they must have followed you,” Jackie said grimly, her force field bubble appearing around her.
I just looked at Dad and asked, “Does Mom know you were coming here to see me?”
Dad’s eyes widened with a look of realization which answered my question. Either the MCO had followed Dad here or Mom had tipped them off. Whichever it was, they were here now and they obviously didn’t mean me well.
A moment later, they opened fire, barely giving anyone else on the patio a chance to get away. Their shots bounced off Jackie’s force field while I grabbed Dad and willed my own to form.
“I’ve got you,” I told Dad, who stared in surprise at the golden bubble which surrounded us.
“What the hell is this?” Dad demanded, looking afraid and confused.
“A force field,” I told him with a self-conscious grin. “It’s my power…”
“Pinball,” Owens called out, “You’re under arrest for bank robbery, kidnapping, attacking agents of the MCO and…”
“Shut up already,” Jackie exclaimed with a look of cold anger on her face. Then she looked to me and nodded. “Sphere, get him out of here. I’ll deal with these idiots.”
“Sphere?” Dad asked in confusion.
“My codename,” I answered grimly. “Apparently there’s some kind of government rule where every mutant has to have one.”
“That sounds like government regulations,” Dad muttered. “But how are we going to..?”
“I’ve got it,” I told Dad, willing my sphere to lift into the air. Dad gasped at that, as did the MCO agents. I began flying us away, trying to get out of range of the MCO.
The guys in SWAT gear opened fire at me while one of the ones in power armor actually launched himself up into the air and straight at me. He fired some sort of missiles that hit me hard and caused my bubble to get knocked back.
“Oh shit,” I exclaimed in fear, suddenly realizing that I couldn’t count on my force field to protect me from everything. Jackie and I had practiced controlling my powers, but I didn’t know how to fight, much less for real.
When the man in power armor flew right at me, I willed my bubble to go straight down, slamming into the ground. Then I dropped the force field, shoving Dad to the side and yelling, “Go… They’re not after you…”
“DAVID,” Dad cried out as I ran away from him, forming my force field again just in time to avoid being hit by a missile.
I looked around and saw Jackie rolling around in her bubble, smashing right through the group of MCO agents and slamming right into her power armored opponent. She was dealing with the bulk of the MCO agents, leaving me with only the one guy in power armor. I grimaced, silently hoping I could deal with him until she was able to help.
My power armored opponent hovered in the air, opening fire on me again. He didn’t seem to care that his attacks were destroying the restaurant and putting everyone else in danger. He just seemed determined to get me.
“Take down these mutants fast,” Agent Owens yelled to his people. “We can’t let them hurt anymore innocent humans…
“Big talk for someone who did all the damage,” I yelled at him angrily.
The man in power armor opened fire on me again and I could feel the pressure against my force field. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep it up for long at this rate and knew I had to do something.
“Time to play catch,” I muttered as I had an idea.
After seeing the way Jackie had run right through the group of agents and slammed right into her power armored opponent, I’d decided to try the same thing. However, I had an option that she didn’t. I willed my sphere to fly up into the air and straight at the agent who was attacking me. I slammed into him as hard as I could and a moment later, his armor dropped from the air and slammed into the ground.
“Gotcha,” I exclaimed triumphantly. Then as he began to stand up again, doing so very slowly and awkwardly, I flung myself at him again, slamming into him for a second time and driving him right into the ground. “Too bad the name Cannonball was taken…”
“You lunatics,” Dad screamed at the MCO, charging right towards Owens.
“Damn mutant loving traitor,” Owens yelled at Dad, turning his rifle on him.
“NO,” I screamed, knowing I couldn’t let him kill Dad.
On an impulse, I tried something new with my powers, dropping my bubble and forming a new one…right around Owens. He shot at Dad, but it didn’t get through the glowing sphere he was now trapped within. I’d turned my sphere from a protective force field for myself into a cage for him.
“Let me out,” Owen screamed, shooting at the force field and trying to break out. Fortunately, my bubble held.
“You asshole,” I yelled, willing the bubble to move. It flew straight out over the lake with Owens held within, then when it reached the limits of my range, the bubble vanished, dropping the MCO agent right into the middle of the lake.
“Get out of here,” Jackie yelled at me as she rolled right into her power armored opponent again. I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t let my Dad get hurt because of me.
“Come on,” I told Dad, running up to him and forming my sphere around the two of us. Then I lifted us up into the air and flew us a short distance away, landing when I thought we were out of range.
“I can’t believe that,” Dad blurted out, looking shaken. “What you did…”
“Jackie’s been teaching me to control my new powers,” I told him awkwardly. “So I can defend myself…”
“Those people,” Dad exclaimed furiously. “We were just talking and they attacked…”
A moment later, a new voice announced, “So, you’re one of the mutants the MCO is after…”
I snapped around and saw that the newcomer was a cop, staring at me with an odd expression. He glanced to Dad, who stepped between us as though to protect me from the cop.
“I didn’t do anything,” I protested, afraid of having to fight a cop as well as the MCO.
“He…she’s telling the truth,” Dad insisted.
“There’s no law against being a mutant,” the cop stated, moving his hands away from his holstered gun to show that he wasn’t threatening me. “As far as I’m concerned, you’re free to go.”
“I wished the MCO thought that way,” Dad said, visibly relaxing now that he saw the cop wasn’t trying to arrest me.
“They’re overzealous idiots,” the cop said with a deep scowl. “Most of the people who join the MCO do it because they don’t like mutants, so having them in charge of regulating mutants is like putting the KKK in charge of enforcing civil rights laws.”
“Is there anything you can do to help?” Dad asked the cop.
The cop shook his head, scowling as he did so. He definitely didn’t look happy. “Being a mutant may not be illegal,” he pointed out grimly. “But bank robbery is.”
I winced at that, knowing that the cop was right. Even if the MCO weren’t complete assholes, Jackie was still a wanted criminal and the regular cops wouldn’t ignore that. I was just lucky this cop wasn’t trying to arrest me as some kind of accomplice.
“You haven’t done anything that I know of so I can overlook seeing you,” the cop told me with a scowl. “But your friend…”
I nodded, then asked, “Can you keep my Dad safe?”
The cop gave Dad a look of surprise, then nodded. “Sure.”
Dad gave me a look of surprise, then demanded, “What are you going to do? You’re not going to go back there…”
“No,” I responded with a sigh. I wished I could go back there, but the truth was that Jackie didn’t need my help. What she did need was for me to head back to her SUV where we’d agreed to meet up if we got separated for any reason. “But I can’t stay here, because of those guys find me again…”
“I understand,” Dad said reluctantly. Then he shook his head and had a look of disgust on his face as he muttered, “And your mother actually gave you to those people. When I get home, I’m going to have a talk with her…”
Tears were beginning to run down my cheeks again, though I wasn’t sure if these ones were happy or not. I was so confused at the moment that I wasn’t sure what I was thinking, except that I was glad Dad hadn’t turned me away.
I grabbed my Dad and gave him a hug, not knowing when I’d get a chance to do this again. He grunted and exclaimed, “Not so hard…”
“Sorry,” I said as I backed away. I’d forgotten that I was a bit stronger than I used to be.
Dad gave me a look of surprise, then he smiled. “Take care and stay safe,” he told me. “And don’t let that Pinball woman get you in any trouble.”
I nodded at that, then told him, “I will.” Then I grinned and added, “And tell Becky I miss her…”
“I will,” he responded, looking like he was about to cry himself.
I stepped back away from him and the cop and willed my force field to form again. Both of them stared at me with a look of amazement as I floated up into the air and began heading towards where we’d left the SUV a couple blocks away.
When I landed again a minute later, I joked, “I feel like Glinda, the Good Witch.”
Since I didn’t want anyone to follow me to the SUV, I’d landed in an alley a short distance away and then ran the rest of the way to the car. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long before Jackie returned, rolling up in her force field.
“Good, you got away,” she said when her force field vanished. “How’s your Dad?”
“He’s good,” I told her with a smile. “A cop is keeping him safe.”
Jackie seemed a little surprised at that. “A cop? And he didn’t arrest you?”
“Being a mutant isn’t a crime,” I reminded her with a faint smile. Then before we got into the SUV to leave, I grabbed her in a firm hug and told, “Thank you. Thank you for giving me back my Dad.”
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