Tabitha Jump looked at the device in her hand, and a mass of lovingly rendered wires gazed back. The red symbolized fury, her rage at her ex-lover Zachariah’s betrayal, and how it propelled him to his exalted position in the High Command. Cyan was the color of Demoracorp, the pharmaceutical conglomerate whose injections had corrupted Zachariah’s mind, and which had transformed Tabitha into the woman she was today. Violet meant patience; Tabitha had planned her vengeance for ten years, and if it failed she would plan it for a thousand more. Gray was the cold, functional death that awaited Zachariah, while the yellow it wrapped around was Tabitha’s rebirth. And the green, the wire that would connect them all together? That was Zachariah’s payback.
But she had one more sacrifice to make. The chamber was fused by crackling antimatter and would require payment of its own. Whatever entered would return, but it would no longer be of this world.
Tabitha connected the final wire. Doubt or hesitation would only kill her now. The bomb’s slowly spinning dials showed two minutes and fifty-one seconds. Fifty. Forty-nine.
Tabitha grasped the device in her left hand, and thrust it into the antimatter chamber. Blindly, she found the matter envelope in its core. Touching it incinerated her skin, but she felt the bomb drawn from her fingers into it. It slipped from her grasp into the cocoon from which it would wreak her vengeance.
Two minutes and thirty-seven seconds.
“I always knew you couldn’t resist me,” came a nasally voice from behind. Tabitha spun around, the smoke from her now-withered hand rising in dangerous swirls around her.
“Pity you’re so… weak,” Zachariah taunted. He held his specially designed Omni-gun, an array of ten laser pistols that could blast holes in a five-by-five-foot area with a single trigger pull. He had justified the spending of High Council funds on its developing by arguing that it would be commercially successful among big game hunters. To be truthful, he had smote his fair share of elephants with it in its testing phase, but this moment was its true purpose.
Ten laser beams hummed out of ten pistols—and then stopped. The Flail of Time, which had recently introduced itself to Tabitha as Beroungiat, had found her way into Tabitha’s right hand. She spun ten times and whacked ten laser beams, and had folded herself and leapt back into a loop on Tabitha’s belt before Time began flowing normally again.
Eight of the laser beams shot harmlessly away, as if they were golf balls struck by the galaxy’s worst duffer. Number nine ricocheted directly back to the Omni-gun, traveling straight down one of the central barrels to score a direct hit on the laser generation unit, which shattered and rained down shards of glass and crystal.
The tenth laser beam neatly severed and cauterized Zachariah’s left foot.
“You didn’t kill me,” observed Zachariah.
“We weren’t trying to. Yet.”
Zachariah threw his useless weapon aside. Most of him leapt forward; the boot remained in place, upright and still as a statue.
He made a pair of fists that seemed to grow the size of cantaloupes by the time he landed. “This will bring back memories,” he declared, as he reached back to swing.
“Not tonight, lover,” Tabitha retorted. She sprung into the air, using her good hand to vault over Zachariah’s shoulders. As she did this, Beroungiat decided she hadn’t had quite enough; she unsheathed herself and gave Zachariah a solid thump on the back of his head as Tabitha flew over him.
He fell unconscious, just for a few seconds, but far more than enough. In that time he crumpled to the ground, and when he came to, he found getting back to his feet nearly impossible with just one foot and no other support to get to.
Tabitha didn’t wait around to watch. Dimension Jet 9 was two rooms away; if Zachariah’s guards were doing their duty, that could be trouble.
They were, but poorly. One shouted “Halt!” as she reached the doorway. He shot a ray of some kind of death at her, but she flipped into the room in time to watch it harmlessly pass.
A second ray came when Tabitha had jumped into her craft, but Dimension Jet 9’s shields were more than able to handle that.
The walls began to quake.
Zachariah’s guard discovered the meaning of fear.
Zachariah realized what Tabitha’s blackened hand meant, and that she had beaten him at last.
Dimension Jet 9 faded, became visible again, and disappeared for good an instant before the antimatter chamber exploded. The antimatter it released found a healthy quantity of the matter it so desperately wanted, mating first with Zachariah and then a good portion of the High Command palace, and drawing it into a state of nonexistence.
Dimension Jet 9 materialized. It had found itself a nice-looking place, bucolic in the way of a farm on the outskirts of an idealized medieval village. Dimension number 197. It would be a nice place for a vacation, and if someone needed helping, well, Tabitha was proud of her fate.
And in total darkness, a single vengeful word is uttered: “Jump.” For somewhere, even nonexistence… is.”
Well, this definitely needs some explanation.
In Exile Issues, there are three major characters: Nathan, the titular exile; Marty, the bored slacker who works at his father’s business, and Carla, the IT guru at said business.
Carla is obsessive in her fandom of a (very slightly steampunk) graphic novel, to the point of living vicariously through it, taking life lessons from it, and the like. And this, obviously without the art, is that comic book. (In the first draft, it was called “Golden Girl,” which I think was a pretty stupid joke.) A significant passage from an issue will probably show up in the book—that’s why it’s all ital, to show it’s not what’s actually happening. I’m not thrilled with “Tabitha Jump” as a title either, but it will do for now.
Carla is in one respect the driver of the plot. If not always looking for excitement, she will at least embrace it when it comes along, and persuade Marty to do so as well. Anything that makes her life more like Tabitha’s is OK by her.
She’s also morbidly obese. So in addition to not having any superpowers, her physical abilities are in many fields somewhat less than what an average person’s are.
It’s not intended to be a fat joke, and I don’t believe it ever comes off as one. (If I see any, I will excise them in editing). I think she’s at least a reasonably admirable character, in the way that she will take action without regard to whether her abilities may or may not be up to the action.