Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Today found Greyghost and I standing in the middle of a field outside of town. We had stopwatches, fire extinguishers and clipboards, and we were looking at a big rock.

Perseid, in her new silver flying suit, hovering about fifty feet up and to our right, was directing a stream of gleaming white energy at the top of the rock, producing an eyeball-repelling show of sparks and smoke and noise. According to my stopwatch, she had been at it for fifteen minutes. Greyghost was taking readings on the whole extravaganza with some kind of . . . tricorder or something. Every now and then he'd tell me a number and I'd note it down, next to the time. Eventually he stopped.

"That's it?" I said.

"At this point I'm just interested in how long she can keep it up," he said. "What's her time?"

"Twenty-eight minutes," I said.

"Mm." He was still watching her as intently as he had a half hour ago when she started blasting the boulder. I don't know what he thought he was seeing. Sure, it was spectacular, but after the first couple of minutes you pretty much get the idea.

"Everything okay?"

"Yes." Preoccupied.


"Seriously? I'm thinking about how lucky we all are."

"How do you mean?"

He pointed up at Perseid. "Look at all that power."


"How likely do you think it is that she's going to burn her way into a bank vault? Or strafe a schoolyard?"

"No chance."

"That's what I think too. Time?"

"Thirty-one minutes."

"That's enough," he decided, and waved Perseid down.

She cut off her energy-blast and landed beside us. "Did I win?" she asked.

Greyghost moved in to take her pulse and blood pressure (I looked at the clipboard later - same as before she started), and I moseyed over to check out the rock. It had been smooth an hour ago, but was now all cracked and pitted and charred. I took a picture, and reached out to see if it was hot to the touch. It was, too hot to get my hand anywhere near. "You should see the other guy," I called back.
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