Martel and Carl (the Dark Captain)

She had known Carl for four years and seven months and nothing like this had ever happened, in fact nothing like this had ever happened to her before.
They was in the lobby, at the annual Christmas party. He was smoozing with Jameson in shipping and Maxwell in Engineering and her. They were talking about something boring when the new kid in accounting came through the door and put his hand on her sleeve. Carl was beside her instantly.
She had only recently learned to Timporshift, a technique for speeding or slowing time. To the best of her knowledge he was the only one, other than her capable of using this technique, but he and the kid both went timporial in a heart beat. She pushed to her limit and joined them in Fast Space. She couldn’t keep up so both of them seemed to be wavering into and out of Real Space.
Then she saw what he was doing. It looked like transparent tentacles were extending out of his body in all direction, not just Three Dimensional Space. And they were moving fast. The kid was growing a similar array but it was nothing compared to his and she thought, “The kid is way out-classed.” Both of the men knew it and the kid kinda surrendered, Carl didn’t attack.
He shifted into different shapes and all of them seemed to be in the same place at different times.
Then he spoke to the kid, “You may not touch me here. Return to you tribe.”
“Please know that I carry a message.”
“Then why are you arrayed as a warrior?”
“It was estimated that I might actually survive in this configuration.”
“It occurred to none that this might provoke me?”
“It was estimated that everything provokes you, I merely wanted to get your attention and live long enough . . .”
“Your masters breach our agreement and if this is of no import than I will extract payment.”
“This is understood. Therefore let me speak. This one,” and the kid pointed to her, “is not of the kind. What is your intention in assisting her?”
“My business is my own.”
“Still . . .”
He was on the kid before anyone had a chance to think. His eyes were . . . there are no words. “Young one, your masters owe me. I will remind them of this and also remind them that they are in no position to renegotiate their debit. As for this one, if I ever scent even a whiff of you or your kind within parsecs of her I will go to your masters in person and show them the extent of their error. They will not like what happens next.”
He backed away from the kid who was visibly shaken. With his physical hand he patted the kid on the shoulder and all of them returned to Three Dimensional Space. It was rather like being on a conveyor belt that suddenly stopped.
She noticed that the kid didn’t say a word but turned and exited through the door, never to be seen again.
She looked at Carl and despised him. He had never said anything about this to her. “You did not have to protect me,” she spat.
“Technically I was dealing with old business and I must admit I might have enjoyed watching him kneel under your hand, but such amusements are reserved for another day.”
She hurled her cup into the trash and stormed out. He followed. She turned on him wondering if he would shift into something dangerous. She was afraid.
He approached her cautiously and looked sheepish. “Martel, I am sorry. I was acting purely on instinct, no one was hurt.”
“Is that some kind of excuse?”
“No, it isn’t.”
“What happens if I hurt you, are you going to do that to me?”
“No, never.”
“How can you say that?”
“Time isn’t linear . . .”
“I hate when you say shit like that!”
Silence.
She stormed away into the ladies room and cried, not even sure why she was crying. She saw herself in the mirror and noticed something she had noticed before. Her eyes were changing color and shape. She was becoming . . . Oh God, becoming one of them?
“I’m sorry.” He was suddenly there beside her.
“You are not supposed to be in here.”
“I’ve always wondered what it looked like in the Ladies . . .”
“Get out.”
“Yes, but first a promise. Next time something nasty comes by, you can deal with it yourself. I have never considered you a lesser . . .”
“Get out,” but her voice had softened. He was already gone.
To no one in particular she asked, “Why do you care so much old man? I’m just a girl . . . just any girl.” but then she saw her own eyes again.

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Chyfrin the Celtic poet

Artist, Poet, Electrical/Biomedical Engineer, Actor, Playwright, Set construction, Educator, Lover of womankind and single malt scotch

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