Not So Fast

By Nibelung
published April 10, 2015
4623 words
Summary

A superfast hero learns to slow down

The Lightning Bolt left a silvery trail down 5th Avenue as he raced between the lines of yellow cabs and limos. He moved so fast that the hero himself was little more than a flicker to the mobs of tourists and well heeled New Yorkers he passed. He was the fastest man alive, a mutant gifted with hyperspeed. Seconds later he was sprinting over the waves in the Upper Bay to Liberty Island.

He couldn’t believe the gall of the Conjurer, to be attacking Lady Liberty herself in the middle of the day? He was a crazy showman for sure but this was almost asking for a trip to the Iron Dome, the prison dedicated to super criminals in the Mojave Desert. The Lightning Bolt was surprised by the number of henchmen and the sophisticated weaponry they were using to take pot shots at the Statue of Liberty but he didn’t pause to wonder, he simply sped through the assembled grunts, casting their electro-blasters into the Bay and leaving them unconscious, neatly stacked in a pile for the NYPD to sweep up later. Not a single one had seen the fist or foot that had knocked him senseless as the blue costumed hero whizzed by.

The Bolt had covered the entire Island without stopping but had found no trace of the Conjurer. Was it one of his tricks, a distraction from some other crime across the other side of the city? No he would surely have been there leading his troops? The Professor had been the one to sound the alarm so the Conjurer had been there. Maybe he’d learned a new trick and vanished in a puff of smoke before he arrived?

The Lightning Bolt criss-crossed the park and raced through every corner of the Statue of Liberty’s interior without stopping. Nothing. Frustrated he finally slowed, pausing to stop on the 102nd floor viewing platform to lean on the balustrade and scan the Bay. Nothing out of the ordinary, whatever the Conjurer was up to he wasn’t on Liberty Island. It was then he noticed the thin haze rising into the air from the park far below. He guessed it was all the dust kicked up by his frantic search. He often deliberately stirred up obscuring clouds of dirt to disorient the low life thugs he battled day in day out.

The hero decided to bail before the authorities arrived and hastened down the stairs quickly vanishing into a blur as his velocity increased. He shot out of the museum and into the park. What appeared as a thin haze from far above was thicker at ground level but at hyperspeed the Lightning Bolt was already deep inside the cloud before he realised the murk was deepening around him. The Bolt increased his speed and charged off into the Bay but the cloud seemed to follow, thickening more by the second. It was the middle of the day yet dusk was descending on the Lightning Bolt. He made landfall and staggered to a standstill in Battery Park. The darkness was total now and the Lightning Bolt feared to move in case he mowed down a pedestrian or crashed into a bus. He tried to clear his vision but the gloom just pressed in. He tapped his comlink built into the left wrist of his suit but it was dead. He could barely see beyond the end of his nose now, he could just discern the outline of two figures moving towards him and tensed up in a fighting pose.

“Hey Bolt don’t worry it’s me Jimmy, lemme help.” The voice was concerned, familiar.

“Wilkes? Stay back” Detective Jim Wilkes was a long term ally in the NYPD who he had worked with to take down the Sargossa Cartel a couple of years back. “You need to stay back, I tripped one of the Conjurer’s traps, there’s some kind of weird cloud following me.”

“There’s no cloud kid but you’re covered in some kind of shiny black goo.”

Somehow the particles in the strange dust cloud his search had kicked up had been attracted to his anti-friction suit and had condensed into a gelatinous ooze. “Really? OK stand back. Maybe I can shake it off.” And with that the Bolt began to spin in place hoping the centrifugal force would throw off the goo but instead the darkness deepened, leaving him totally blind. Worse he could feel the ooze congealing, hardening, tightening around his limbs and torso. He had to stop. “No good, can’t shake it. Only seems to make it worse.” He tugged at the sticky rubbery coating. It was welded to his blue spandex suit and worse sealed him inside, he couldn’t even take his mask off.

“You’re right. Stop moving son. It ain’t helping ya.”

“The Prof can fix this, we just need to get back at the lab.” The Bolt’s voice betrayed his nervousness. He felt vulnerable. He knew this was some plot by the Conjurer to take him down. The strange goo was a devious trap that countered his powers. It seemed to actually draw upon his own super speed to shackle him. “Get us a chopper to take us to the Weir Institute.”

“Sure kid.” The Bolt didn’t like being reminded that he was still relatively young for a superhero but that was the least of his worries right now. The older detective led the blinded speedster to his cruiser. He had to stand helplessly by as Wilkes called for help. Now he was still the strange coating covering his suit seemed to reach a steady state, tight, uncomfortable but not restricting his steps so long as he walked slowly. He realised that the trap was designed so that if he used his powers the solidification process would continue until he was fully immobilised. maybe even crushed.

A couple of hours later he was back in the laboratory in the Weir Institute lying on a metal examination table. Professor Yukimoto was running an analysis. The Lightning Bolt didn’t like the tuts and sighs coming from the Professor. Worse having to lie still was torture to the hyperactive hero. He was also hungry - his supercharged metabolism required him to eat frequently or he’d start to get cramps.

Huh hmm… really quite brilliant. It seems that the Conjurer lured you to Liberty Island to coat you in Theta particles. He must have had his goons shoot the Statue of Liberty just to turn it into a giant electromagnet. You running around the statue polarised your suit allowing him to trap you inside a cloud of negatively charged Theta particles. He must have had his minions spray the park with the particles in a dry suspension, just for you to kick up when you searched for his false signal. As you surmised, using your hyperspeed powered the forces of attraction causing the airborne particles to coalesce around you.”

“So brilliant but fixable right Prof? I need to get out of this suit. If I don’t eat something soon my body will start to shut down. And besides, I, errr, I really need to pee,” Bobby had been working with the Professor for nearly eighteen months now, ever since he had rescued him from a band of eco-terrorists who had kidnapped him to force him to use his advanced knowledge of physics to build a kinetic bomb that would have flattened Washington DC. In return for his rescue Yukimoto had offered the Lightning Bolt a safe haven at the Institute.

Yukimoto laughed. “Don’t worry Bobby, I think I can depolarise the Theta particles by bombarding them with positive ions. I’ll need to isolate you to keep the particles contained when they’re no longer attracted to that suit of yours, they’re too unstable to just let escape into the atmosphere. I’ll put a force field around the exam table.”

“How long will it take Prof?”

“Hmm… I’ll need to move slowly to safely decontaminate your suit but don’t worry, it should only take a few hours. You’ll still be in time for your date with Cassie. I’m afraid though that if you can’t wait that long to urinate you’ll need to just pee inside the suit.”

Bobby Morton, the superfast Lightning Bolt, lay on the steel examination table and grimaced under his mask. There was no way he was going to piss himself. “OK Prof, let’s get this over with.” In answer Yukimoto activated the force shield enclosing the tabletop in a crackling bubble of amber force.

“Just try to lie still Bobby and we’ll have you out of there in no time. I’m going to start the ion flow, let me know immediately if there’s any discomfort.”

The Bolt listened as the ionizer began to bombard his suit with positive ions. Initially he felt nothing and reassured the Professor that all was fine. Then he began to feel a slight tingling in his extremities as the Theta particles became agitated by the changing polarity. It wasn’t unpleasant though so he said nothing. In fact it was relaxing, like a gentle massage. The relaxation spread as the sensations rolled around his whole body, waves of soothing vibrations pulsed up and down his arms and legs, his belly and chest and even his head. He sighed quietly and let himself relax further.

The Professor watched as the Theta particles dispersed filling the orange dome and obscuring the hero’s form within.In response to his query Bobby assured him with a sleepy voice that he was fine so he continued.

“I’m fine Prof, it actually feels kinda nice. I think I’ll just relax here awhile. And don’t worry if I fall asleep, I could do with a time out.” He realised how exhausted he was. He embraced the unexpected massage and found himself sinking into a deeply relaxed state. All the tension left his body and his eyes slowly closed.

He blinked, he must have actually fallen asleep. How long had he been out? He still couldn’t see anything through the lenses in his face mask and his muscles continued to twitch under the oscillating current so he must still be being processed. Something had woken him though. He became aware of a strange noise, a buzzing in his ears. He tried to call the Professor but found himself held captive by a strange lethargy, it was as though his mind had woken up but his body remained asleep. His limbs felt heavy and leaden. He somehow knew he couldn’t lift them, that it wasn’t even worth trying to move as the effort was more than he could manage. He knew he should be doing- feeling something but the relaxation was total. He was in safe hands and had nothing to worry about. So he just lay and listened to the weird buzz. Were there words interwoven behind the noise? It didn’t matter, he didn’t need to worry. All he needed to do was lie back and relax and enjoy the free massage while his suit was decontaminated.

At last the blackness covering his eyes began to break up. Slowly at first the goo began to vaporise. Then, speeding up the particles floated free of his eye lenses to oscillate in rhythmic sync with the pulsing vibrations washing over his body. Distinct eddies and swirls of light and darkness began to form before his eyes. The Bolt lay quiet, relaxed and content. He watched the patterns passive, it was a pleasing distraction and so easy to follow. With the goo finally breaking down he wouldn’t have long to wait now. So he stared as the patterns resolved into a single slowly rotating vortex. He focussed his attention on the spiral, after all what else was there to do while he waited for the decontamination process to reach its conclusion? So he lay still and relaxed further, letting his thoughts slow. He felt like he was floating, floating up into the swirling vortex. The spiral grew larger, surrounding him. He felt small, insignificant as he floated higher and higher. The spiral was sucking him in. He imagined his thoughts, his free will disappearing into the black and white depths. It felt so good to just let go and relax. To let the spiral take over.

The force field winked out of existence. The Lightning Bolt lay still, his bright blue suit spotless. The Professor stood over the prone hero, “Bolt? You awake there boy?” Bobby was silent, still. Yukimoto pulled the spandex mask off the superhero. Bobby’s eyes were closed, his youthful features, more pretty than handsome, were soft and relaxed. Tentatively the Professor prodded the silver lightning bolt emblem in the middle of the young hero’s chest. The Lightning Bolt was unresponsive. “Bobby?” He gently shook the hero.

“Huh, whaaat?” Yukimoto chuckled to himself at the Bolt stirred back to life. “Man that was trippy,” he blinked and rubbed his eyes as mobility returned to his strangely rubbery limbs, “I totally zoned out there…” then remembering what had happened, “Am I, am I good to go Prof? Because I really, really need to pee.”

“Yes the Theta particles have all been isolated and contained but…” The Bolt had already vanished as he raced to the bathroom to relieve himself. As a jet of yellow piss pumped forth into the porcelain bowl the comlink in his left wrist buzzed, “I need you back at the lab, I want to be sure there’s no after effects from your exposure to the Theta particles.” Bobby’s eyes rolled. He shook off the last few drips from the tip of his cock and stopped to admire himself. He’d never noticed before how thick and long he was. He gave himself a little tug and smiled to himself. It had been a weird day, it would be good to jerk one off. He started to rub himself, pulling, stroking harder. His dick swelled. He leaned back against the white tiles of the toilet stall groaning as he pleasured himself. He was getting close. A different sort of drip leaked from the tip of his cut dick to dribble unnoticed down onto his spandex suit which had fallen around his ankles. His eyes were closed now. Behind his lids he could see the spiral again, spinning, drawing him in. His hands were speeding up, rubbing harder, faster. His dick burned from the friction of his assault. He was desperate, gasping, so close and yet somehow he couldn’t find release. Then he remembered that his suit had anti-friction properties, the specially treated spandex would let him stroke at super speed without damaging his manhood. In a wink of an eye he was wrapped up in his tight blue suit. His gloved fingers were a silvery blur as they rubbed his protruding dick. The layers of spandex heightened the sensations, the pull of the spiral grew stronger. His dick exploded inside his suit sending waves of pleasure through him. He slid down the wall suddenly totally exhausted. His head fell on his chest as he passed out.

“Bobby?” The Bolt woke slowly as the Professor gently shook him. He was back on the exam table in the lab.

“Professor? Wha- what happened?”

“We found you in the bathroom. You were passed out on the floor of the toilet cubicle. We… errr… I umm…yes… I cleaned you up. Your suit is in the laundry.”

Bobby’s cheeks flushed scarlet. He sat up and slung his legs off the side of the table. He was wearing a surgical gown but was otherwise naked. He scratched his blonde crop, “Am I sick? I feel fine but I’ve never err… umm.” Embarrassed Bobby was glad the Professor cut in.

“Physically you are in perfect condition but I ran a brainscan while you were out and there were some unusually strong readings in the hippocampus and extrastriate visual areas. Did you experience any strange visual or audial effects during the decontamination process?”

“It’s all kinda blurry. I felt really tired and just needed to relax. I must have fallen asleep. I do remember waking up and feeling kinda locked in, like I couldn’t move yet I also felt like I was floating.”

“Hmm the Theta particles may well have affected your brain chemistry. That would explain the sleep paralysis” Seeing Bobby’s horrified face Yukimoto hurried to reassure him, “I’m sure it’s just temporary but I’d like you to stay here tonight so I can monitor you.” Bobby sighed, “oh and don’t worry, I’ve already let that girlfriend of yours know you won’t make the movie as you’re sick in bed.”

Bobby groaned. “Can I at least get changed and bring my duvet down here?” At the Professor’s nod, the Lightning Bolt shot out of the laboratory to his room in the west wing of the former girls boarding school that was now home to the Weir Institute. He threw on a pair of boxers, tube socks, grey sweat pants and a black tee shirt. He grabbed a book off the side table and pulled his duvet and pillow off the bed. Seconds later he was back in the sub-basement lab.

The Professor fussed around him setting up monitoring equipment while Bobby swung his legs off the side of the exam table. The Lightning Bolt was busy devouring the burger and fries the Prof had the kitchen send down. He was famished and needed more. With Yukimoto’s blessing he raced back through the house to pester the chef for seconds.

When he was finally sated he lay back down on the table and tucked himself in under his duvet. He’d read for a bit and then sleep he assured the Professor. Expressing his satisfaction that his equipment would alert him of any changes, Yukimoto retired for the night.

But Bobby couldn’t sleep. He lay on the exam table and tossed and turned. Hours past, he had finished his David Baldacci novel. All he could do was brood. He needed to move, burn off some energy. He tripped back to his room and slipped into his spare costume. He wouldn’t go far, just a few laps of the estate. A silver streak vanished into the night as the Lightning Bolt broke his curfew. The Professor watched him go from the window of his study . He bowed his head and turned away. He knew Bobby well enough that he couldn’t sit still for more than ten minutes before he got restless. He shrugged and took a drag on his cigarette. So much for quitting.

The trees flew past as the Lightning Bolt sped along the tracks that criss-crossed the Weir Estate. Thick and tall they cast deep shadows over the track. It was a clear night. Moonlight spilt through between the branches here and there. Everything blurred together as Bobby increased his velocity. He focussed down on to the path ahead of him, the trees and silver moonlight becoming just light and shade. Tunnel vision was normal at very high speeds, his brain just couldn’t process the amount of visual data pouring in so ignored all but the essentials. Bobby’s focus tightened further, he raced on, chasing the horizon. His every tread made him feel lighter, like he was walking on air. He was racing down a tunnel. He felt giddy. He had to reach the end. He could hear a distant voice, the Professor? He couldn’t discern what they were saying. It wasn’t important anyway. He just needed to follow the tunnel to the end. He relaxed and focussed harder. The voice whispered softly, sweetly to him. A voice from his own subconscious. He was doing great, he just needed to forget his worries and relax. Running was so relaxing, helped to clear his head of anxiety. And thought. He realised the tunnel was spinning. That it wasn’t a tunnel at all but a giant spiral. He was racing deeper into the spiral, further into relaxation. The dusty track became a road and then the Interstate. He sped on, a silver streak cutting through the night. He was back in Manhattan.

With a start Bobby snapped out of his trance. He was back on Liberty Island at the foot of the mighty statue. He blinked, confused. He was lying on the ground staring up at the torch.

“Ah here at last my young nemesis.”

The Lightning Bolt tried to move but his body wouldn’t respond. He tried to curse his enemy but his mouth was sealed closed.

The Conjurer laughed, walking around his helpless adversary. “oh it’s just a little sleep paralysis. Ordinarily it doesn’t last more than a few minutes after you wake up. Sadly for you that’s more than enough time for me to deal with you once and for all.” He crouched down beside the prone hero and jabbed him in chest where the silver lightning bolt emblem glowed in the moonlight. “Ah the mighty Lightning Bolt, not so fast now eh? You’ll serve me very well. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Look at this.” With a flourish of his white gloves, the Conjurer swung a crystal pendulum in front of Bobby’s face. The Bolt didn’t so much as twitch, his whole body paralysed. The pendulum danced back and forth. “That’s it watch the crystal.”

Bobby desperately willed his limbs to move, to deliver a swift kick, a punch, anything. He tried to turn his head away, to shut his eyes but he was still frozen in place. He was powerless to stop the Conjurer or his crystal. “That’s a good boy.” Bobby had always thought the Conjurer ridiculous in his tuxedo and top hat, like an old fashioned stage magician but while theatrical, he had a reputation as a powerful mesmerist. Bobby’s gaze followed the pendulum flick back and forth He tried to resist but the way the crystal caught the moonlight drew his attention. “Relax boy, just relax. Feel how good it is to sink down, down into a restful sleep. Relax and sleep.” The Conjurer stroked his well oiled black goatee and chuckled to himself. His plan was truly brilliant, with his super speed the Lightning Bolt would become the perfect agent. “That’s it, that’s it, relax! It feels so good to relax. Thinking is so hard, doesn’t it feel wonderful just to let go? So relax, lie back and listen to me. See how the moonlight dances in the depths of the crystal. Gaze deeper, deeper. Relax and listen to your new master.”

Bobby found himself growing drowsy as he slipped into trance but just as his eyelids began to sag the crack of a single bullet shattered the spell. The pendulum dropped on to his chest. Slowly he raised himself off the grass, feeling finally returning to his wobbly limbs. The Conjurer was slumped on the ground across from him clutching his shoulder, surprise and pain etched across his face.

“You alright kid?” It was Wilkes,”The Professor said the Conjurer might come back here so I was staking the place out then I saw him standing over you. What he do to you Bolt? Say something kid!”

Bobby looked back and forth between the grizzled detective knelt beside him and the tuxedoed supervillain not believing what had just happened. He managed to shake off his daze to tell Wilkes he was ok now, thanks to him. The detective moved in on the Conjurer and cuffed him, drawing agonised protests from the mesmerist.

“Gag him make sure he can’t cause any more trouble.” The Conjurer heard the Bolt’s instruction to the cop and shook off his shock. He was the Conjurer, master of the dark arts. He began to mouth the words of a spell only for Wilkes to drive a fist into his jaw. The crunch of bone and the spray of blood cut his incantation short. The Conjurer actually started to cry. Bobby laughed weakly as he rose unsteadily to his feet, “or you could do that.” He walked over to the supervillain and crossed his arms. “Conjurer, you’ve booked yourself a one way ticket to the Iron Dome.”

“The Feds are on their way Bolt. You gonna hang around…” But with the Conjurer well and truly beaten Bobby was already racing across the Bay. He didn’t stop until he was home.

Yukimoto greeted him at the door and hustled him straight back into his lab. “This time I’m giving you a sedative and putting up the force field, there will be no more running around the grounds until I’m completely satisfied with you.”

Bobby didn’t argue. In a flash he was out of his suit and in his boxers, showing off his smooth, hairless body. He hopped up on to the examination table and presented his arm to the Professor. Yukimoto took a hold of his wrist and gave him the shot. Bobby lay back and watched the orange bubble flicker back into existence. “There’s one thing I don’t get Prof, I’ve never known the Conjurer do the whole science thing. How did he even know about Theta particles let alone figure out a way to weaponize them the way he did?”

The elderly Professor stood outside the force field peering in at the superhero from behind his rimless spectacles a strange smile on his face, “just relax Bobby, there’s no need to worry about that. There’s no need to worry about anything now.”

The Bolt frowned. He lifted up his head to look back at the Professor, “Pro- Professor?”

“Just relax Bobby, you’ve had a long day. Lie back, rest, sleep..” The drug was already taking effect. Bobby lay back, his eyes blinked slowly. His features relaxed. Once, twice, then with a final sigh, the blue eyes closed.

Yukimoto chuckled to himself as he tapped a series of commands into a console. “Yes, just relax Bobby.” He lit himself a cigarette.

The Lightning Bolt dreamed. He saw himself floating up into a endless spiral. He was helpless within his own superpowered body to do anything. He was paralysed, trapped between sleep and wakefulness. But he didn’t care. The voice was right there was no need to worry about anything now. It was so much easier to just lie back and relax, to just listen to the words and let go of his worries, his thoughts. So he slept and dreamed on while the Professor studied his monitors and tapped further commands into his computer.

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