In this week's Flash Fiction, out of 20 subgenres, I got to pick two from the list, then write a short story that mashes up those two subgenres.
I got the combination of Superhero and Biopunk.
Derrick poured water into the bowl and slid it into the cage. He stood there and watched. Nothing happened.
"Is she up?" asked Sam, Derrick's supervisor.
"Oh yeah, she's just playing. She'll get thirsty and come out. She can't hide in here forever."
Sam snorted. "Ok well get her ready. I want to have a full proof of concept demonstration this afternoon. This project is finally going to see the light of day. This'll be an offer we can't refuse."
"What?" said Derrick, "already? Who's coming?"
"Defense contractors and Senator William McGee, he wants to make sure the tax dollars haven't gone to waste," Sam smiled, "this could finally put us on the map, will have funding for years."
"What about Sarah?"
"Oh how cute, you gave it a name," Sam snapped, "if this demo goes as planned, then she'll be shipping out. We've got a pretty good prototype here, they put her in the battlefield and it's a whole new game."
"Sam wait," Derrick said chasing after his supervisor. "This isn't what we talked about. Sarah was supposed to help us develop responses to inherited genetic conditions..."
"That's what we need more funding for," Sam said. "You stumbled on a little gem with this pet of yours, she's more than just for separating gene codes. Now get things in shape, showtime's in 3 hours."
Sam flashed his card at the scanner at the door, leaving the lab. Derrick started to pace back and forth. He went over to the clear glass wall of Sarah's cage. The bowl of water was empty. Derrick looked around.
"Sarah, Sarah," said Derrick, "come out, let's talk ok?"
Through the high window a shaft of sunlight illuminated the space. A thick clear wall covered one side of the cage. The rest was empty except for small nest in the corner.
Suddenly in the shimmer of the sunlight through the window, a large furry creature appeared in front of Derrick. The creature had large muscular legs, and arms. Looking closely at the heart the creature was reminiscent of the shape of a human, but with features from a bear and lion.
"I heard everything," said the creature.
"Sarah, I'm sorry," said Derrick, "I didn't know. This ties up what we talked about. With your powers, with everything you can do, you can be a crimefighter or hero."
Sarah sat down in the cage. She looked up. "It was inevitable. We were too successful."
Derrick swung around. "We?"
"It was a collaboration. Maybe your insight created me but we made this work. Otherwise I'd just be another lab rat chasing her tail."
Derrick pounded the glass. "He doesn't understand. You're no weapon, you're a medical breakthrough."
"You'll always have that, Derrick."
The intercom blasted into the lab. "Attention. Attention. In preparation for today's demonstration, a security team will be stationed at the lab."
Derrick looked around. "We've got to get you out of here! You can be so much more."
"No Derrick, it's too risky."
"She's right," Sam said over the loudspeaker. "Everything is recorded here. You can't do whatever you want with our experiment." A strobe light started flashing by the exit door. Sirens sounded throughout the building outside the lab. Derrick heard the harsh footsteps of booted soldiers running down stairs. A red light blinked near the ceiling over the door.
Derrick pulled at his hair. "They'll be here soon. Goodbye..."
Derrick looked around the cage. It was empty.
"Sarah? Sarah? You there?"
Over the intercom, there was scratching sound, like a chair falling over.
"Derrick are you fooling with me?"
Derrick picked up the infrared lens and swept across the cage, looking for a heat signature. Nothing appeared. He hit the computer outside the cage and looked at the dashboard. The sensors showed everything in the cage: heart rate, heat sensor, weight, position and more. The dashboard came up empty. No signs of the creature that they had created.
The lab door flew open and the security troops ran in. The troops lined up against the wall, weapons charged and ready - all pointing at the cage.
"Derrick? Derrick! What's happening," the intercom blasted.
"Sam," said Derrick pushing a button on the computer, "look at the dashboard, you can see for yourself. Sarah's gone."
The dashboard had indicators for all of Sarah's vital signs. Everything was on low. It was like she was gone.
A soldier came over to the computer and pushed Derrick aside. Another soldier grabbed Derrick from behind, restraining his arms. Derrick struggled for a moment. The soldier hit a few keys on the computer.
"Stop!" yelled Derrick.
"Hold him," snapped the soldier. Pushing a button, the main display on the computer showed the oxygen levels in the cage drop, turning the screen indicator to be red.
"No!" said Derrick, "you'll kill her!"
"Just playing with your little toy, trying to get her to come out of her hiding place. Pretty tough little woman you put together here."
The cage remained empty.
"Well let's see how much she cares for you Dr. DuPlaine." The captain gestured, and the soldier holding Derrick tightened his grip on Derrick. The captain pulled out a pistol and pointed it at Derrick's head. "On the count of 3 or the doctor buys it."
He started counting.
"What's going on Captain," yelled Sam over the intercom, "we've got a demo coming up."
The captain pulled the trigger on the pistol.
Derrick looked up at the captain, then looked down, casting his gaze away from the captain.
Sarah suddenly materialized beside the captain, letting out a lion's roar and knocking the pistol from his hand. The other soldiers started shooting, filling the room smoke. Derrick pulled away from the soldier holding him.
The soldiers shot in all directions. Holes covered the walls.
Derrick crawled into the cage and huddled in the corner, protected by the thick glass.
Sarah appeared and disappeared around the room, grabbing rifles out of the soldiers' hands and throwing them across the floor.
Sam yelled over the intercom, but nobody answered him. Sirens went off around the lab, and shielded walls came down in front of the door. A few soldiers continued firing, but their captain yelled to stop.
For a moment, it was silent. Bullet holes filled the walls. Smoke ascended toward vents in the ceiling. Many of the security soldiers lay around the room, their weapons piled in a corner. The captain turned and looked back into the cage, smiling at Derrick who was huddled in a corner.
A slow clapping started over the intercom.
"Bravo. Bravo. This is Senator William McGee," a low voice boomed over the intercom. "This demonstration has been very impressive. I would declare it a success."
Derrick looked up.
The red dot blinked above the door next to the intercom speaker.
Sarah materialized in front of the door.
She looked up at the blinking red dot, where the camera was located.
"Thank you Senator," said Sarah, brushing off her fur. A security soldier started standing up, but Sarah turned around and growled.
"We have a mission ready for you, young lady," said the senator, "get suited up."
"Please report for duty, you will find an escort coming and who will brief you."
"Ready to report sir."
Derrick stood up inside the cage, and went over to the door. It was locked.
"Sarah wait!" Derrick shouted. "Sarah don't listen to them. We can do so much more!"
The shield walls rose.
Derrick's supervisor opened the door to the lab.
The soldiers rose to their feet and stood at attention.
"Well Derrick," said Sam, "did you really have other plans for this project? Plans that you weren't intending to share with me?"
Derrick banged at the glass of the cage wall.
"Feeling a little...stuck?" Sam turned and looked at the captain. "Derrick, oh, Derrick, my boy. A lot of important people put a lot, I mean a lot, of money into this project. Did you think you could just walk out of here with our golden goose. What did you have in mind Derrick, to just convince her to walk out and go and live in the city?" Sam laughed.
Derrick looked out through the glass at Sarah. "She is...she is...was," Derrick stumbled. "She is so much more. Sarah, why. Sarah, you could help people?"
Sarah stepped forward, standing next to Sam. She towered over Sam. She exhaled, but kept a stern, resolute expression.
"I'm sorry Derrick, but they made me an offer that ...an offer I couldn't refuse."
She turned and followed Sam out of the room.
Derrick looked up at the wall of the cage, examining the comics drawings he had made showing Sarah rescuing people from a burning building. He grabbed the page and ripped it off the wall, crumpling it up and throwing it into the corner.