Shimmer #35 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 5)

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The TV said the city was working with InfiniTech, so that’s where I had to be.

SWAT teams lined the perimeter of the abstract buildings. They trained their rifles in my direction but didn’t fire; probably to protect from flying predators that followed. (At least that’s what I’d like to think.)

I picked a building and phased inside. There I was greeted by wide eyes and slack jaws in lab coats. They stopped their work and stared. It was almost as if they’d never seen a superhero before.

Moments dripped away before I cleared my throat. “I, uh… hi.”

They looked at each other, but still said nothing.

Collecting myself I placed my hands on my hips, pushing an aura of resolve. “I heard you’re having problems with your pets. I’m here to help.”

One lab coat remarked to the other, “we should call Professor Danvers.”

They made the call, and I waited like mold in a Petri dish. My foot was tap, tap, tapping away. Didn’t they know there was work to be done? In all that time I could have been out rounding up animals, pulling people out of their homes and moving them to safety while their goldfish went berserk or something.

Finally someone arrived and asked me to follow. I smiled, strode after them, and took in the magnitude that was InfiniTech laboratories. Hundreds of people of all ages scurried like ants, and okay, I didn’t actually expect them to drop everything because Glimmer Girl showed up; they were all doing something.

Across an elevated platform was a pair of doors. The intern pressed one open and ushered me inside to where a dark haired woman in a business suit, a gruff man in black wearing a bulletproof vest, and another woman with a turtleneck and glasses were having a conference. Closest to me I recognized the Mayor as she whirled around and grimaced.

“So, you’re Glimmer Girl,” she remarked. “Pardon me for saying, but while I’m an admirer of your community work this is no time to play girl scout. We’ve got a legitimate crisis on our hands.”

“She can help us,” the other woman told her and scurried from the other side of her desk.

The man, who I assumed was a cop, folded his arms and snorted. “She’s not an official part of this operation. Involving her is too much risk to the city.”

“I’m-I’m no more a risk than I am on my own!” I meowed. Where had the lion gone?

“In order for a superhero to participate in official operations they must be assessed for public liability purposes, council approved, deputized by the police commissioner, and assigned a liaison officer,” he explained. “Last I checked you qualify for none of these.”

The blonde woman scoffed and latched onto my arm, pulling me into the heart of her office. “You’re all being ridiculous,” she exclaimed. “Glimmer Girl, welcome to InfiniTech. My name is Susan Danvers, and I’m the head researcher and vice chairman here.”

There was a way about her; frenetic, yet direct. She didn’t ask before she’d poured a glass of water, then started the journey back to her desk.

She had me seated. “Hello,” I said at last.

No time for banter. “And now you’re meeting Captain Salvador Ramirez of the Milestone Meta-Crimes Division,” she continued, “and our esteemed mayor, Barbara Redfern, who has called us here today.”

“Most of you,” the Mayor amended, landing her eyes on me.

I shrunk in my chair.

“Regardless, we’re all in this situation together, and it may come that we call upon more private citizens to help. Right now all we can do is keep people calm, and look for possible solutions.”

“How did it happen?” I asked. “I mean, it was all so sudden.”

“It happened on account of last night’s meteor shower,” Professor Danvers explained. “To put it in simple terms the meteors were imbued with cosmic radiation, which spread during their fall and empowered various forms of animal life.”

I looked to the Captain and the Mayor; their expressions remained stern. “If that’s the case, then why didn’t it affect humans?”

Professor Danvers sighed and removed her glasses. “We don’t know yet. It may be physiological differences common in most animals not shared by humans, diet, or perhaps something more deliberate. We’ve got our people investigating.”

“In the meantime every cop, every EMT, every firefighter and the National Guard working throughout the city to keep the situation contained,” Captain Ramirez grunted.

I stood from the chair and tightened. “Then you need all the help you can get. Tell me where I’m needed.”

Silence. Eyes shifted from one person to the next. Was this going to work, or not?

“Hypothetically,” the Captain hummed, “if you received word that the police were struggling to contain the zoo there would be little I could do to stand in your way.”

That was an endorsement as good as any.

“Thank you,” I told him.

“Don’t.”

Professor Danvers clasped my arm before I could leave and leaned in close. “Be sure to check in regularly. Once we’ve isolated the origin of this outbreak it won’t take long to engineer a solution, at which point we will need you; all hands on deck. Understood?”

My jaw clenched and I looked down. Was I up to the task? Captain Ramirez and Mayor Redfern had made their stance clear; perhaps that was to be expected.

“Understood.”

I stepped to the window and looked out over the trees. The city looked peaceful, but it was an illusion. Below, on the street, chaos reigned. Someone had to stop it.

“Thank you,” I told them. “I promise I won’t let you down. Ms. Mayor, I’ll show you I can do this.”

They said nothing as I shot into the sky; they didn’t have to. My actions would speak for themselves.

To be continued…

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