1965-04-23 - The Silver Bullet
Summary: A would-be diamond thief is stymied by the efforts of the FireHawk and Rosemarie gets startled. All's well that ends well, however, and no one is burned except the bad guy.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
lorraine-reilly rosemarie 

In two decades, Cheap Trick will be doing the theme song.
But it is 1965, and there is no instrumental music for this aerial fight.
A man with a pouch attached to his belt is flying through the valley between the streets, heading south as he waves between the skyscrapers. His method of flight is a bulky-looking-but-highly-functional jetpack, the designer apparently having built a jet that burns cold instead of hot so as not to fry the pilot's legs.
But the heat is behind him, and gaining. A flying woman with nuclear wings is closing the distance. She's also yelling at him.
"JUST GIVE UP, ALREADY! I'm not going to run out of fuel, unlike you! Just stop and give back the diamonds!"

And ensconced on a park bench in a notably quiet section of Central Park, screened from most of the world by trees, is Rosemarie. The brunette is involved in a novel, as per her usual habit this time of day, and the soft quacking of nearby mallards in the small pond is of no consequence to her. Redwing blackbirds trill from the cattails and she turns a page, smiling to herself.

But yelling, distant as it is? That's enough to cause her to look up, squinting in the general direction of the sound. Her eyes go wide as she sees what appears to be a small comet trailing after something silvery in the air, disappearing behind buildings and appearing once again.

"Oh…my…" she whispers to herself, slowly committing to sliding her book back into her satchel-purse even as she stands up, placing a hand over her brow to shade her view. "What…on earth?" She blinks and squints, the cinnamon-brown of her eyes slowly beginning to bleed to gold. Already, the Otherness within her is perked and glaring, twinkling through her blood. This is weird. This is foreign. Safety of the host is paramount.

The Silver Bullet (as he called himself) angled towards the park, hoping to lose her in the trees. He was hoping to go to full burn once he hit the south side.
The winged woman bit her lip. The guy was basically flying around with a fuel tank on his back. She couldn't risk hitting the wrong place and turning this Silver Bullet into a red fireball.
She looked closer, pondering how the vents opened and closed as he maneuvered. She saw him angling down, and took a chance.
She aimed her right hand at the man, and a pencil-thin beam of plasma lanced out to strike the right-side vent, melting the metal and cutting off the airflow.
She was aiming for the exhaust, and was about to swear under her breath when the engine suddenly flamed out, realized she had starved it of oxygen.
The Silver Bullet arced down as his flight characteristics suddenly matched a set of thrown car keys. He fails to "feel the Force" and augers into a thicket.

A yelp of shock follows his impact. Rosemarie's hands are up in front of her mouth, face gone milky beneath her freckles, and she begins carefully jogging over to where the disturbed turf begins.

"Hello?! Are you — EEEE!!!" That rather avian sound comes from realizing that the comet is actually a living person, rather than something celestial. Her eyes, now raptor-gold, go wide as she looks at Lorraine. "Oh m-m-m-y g-god," she stutters, taking a wobbly step or two back. From behind her ears, the crests unfurl in their pheasant-like arcs of azurine; her shoulder-blade itch madly. The wings are all of seconds away and one more tic up in blood pressure.

Instant bump up in the blood pressure? Sure says the universe, why not?
The Silver Bullet jumps out of the thicket, useless jetpack smoking, but with a silver Colt 1911 pistol in each hand. He looks around, then spots his pursuer floating over the treeline and towards him, and points both guns at Rosemarie. "Stay back, chickee, or I'm going to blow this bookworm right out of the WORLD!"
The one he calls "chickee" descends slowly. "You don't want to make this worse for yourself, Silver. Just drop the guns."

Why, thank you, universe, you delivered.

Drawing up nearly thin as a rail at the sight of doubled black chambers pointed at her, Rosemarie has time for another soft and raspy "Eeeeep!" before the final click in necessity. The Otherness ain't having this level of panic in its host. Wings blow out and wide from behind her shoulders, blessedly not tearing fabric — it was a new habit, wearing the keyhole and drop-back shirts for her, but she learned — and long peach-colored talons begin to curl where fingernails once were.

Ignoring the courier-bag strapped across her body and the fact that she's wearing low heels, the brunette semi-crouches with wings mantled and then SHRIEKS!!! It's a feral sound, something heard millions of years ago when flightness raptors roamed the continent, something to inspire gut-watering fear because she sincerely does seem to want to follow through with the threatening display.

The Bullet rears back. So does Firehawk, but she recovers and blasts the pistols, turning the barrels hot enough to melt. The Bullet yelps and drops them, backing away from the human raptor, eyes going wide as he can't seem to look away from Rosemarie. "Jesus, she's crazy!" he blurts out.
"Drop the diamonds, Silver!" FireHawk warns, and the robber quickly does so.

The Otherness recognizes a foe shocked beyond immediate retaliation, and so with another softer shriek of warning, Rosemarie stands up tall in place. She doesn't approach further; she simply watches the would-be robber let fall his stolen gems into the grass beneath them.

Those golden eyes are hard as they glare at him, something decidedly alien within — an intelligence not of this world. The deep-blue wings, catching the falling sunlight to reveal peacock-like hues, flap once or twice, but remain mantled in threat behind her. The crests behind her ears arc high and forwards, all the better to look larger, thank you very much.

A beat cop approaches, then stops at the tableau before him. "What the Sam Hill…?" he says wonderingly.
"That's the Silver Bullet. He robbed a jewelry exchange uptown. The stolen diamonds are in the pouch at his feet. Go ahead and take him into custody."
"Who the Hell are you?"
"I am FIREHAWK. And I am on your side."
The cop grabs Bullet and immediately cuffs him, and his partner arrives to get the swag and take it and the criminal away. He actually looks relieved.
FireHawk waits until the cops leave before saying, "You certainly surprised me there, young lady."

She's coherent enough to recognize the authorities once they arrive, one and then two. The wings get drawn close to her body, accenting her tall build, and almost look more like a cape than proper plumage. The crests fall back nearly flat, all the better to hide away…as best they can, given their obvious nature. Rosemarie watches the errant thief be led away, her golden eyes never leaving his figure, and once he's well and truly gone, she release a shivering sigh.

"He certainly surprised m-me," she replies quietly, reaching up to carefully scratch behind one ear, where the feathers have grown from her skin. "And y-y-you're…on f-f-fire," she adds, wincing at little at the obviousness of the statement.

Firehawk smiles. "And you have feathers. Very lovely plumage, too." She steps closer. "Don't be wary…I will not burn you." She chuckles. "You can touch my wings if I can touch yours." Her smile is wry and curious, intrigued. That alien nature is still there, even behind the uncertain voice.

The wings azurine remain tightly folded about the librarian's body. She eyes the fiery plumage before meeting Lorraine's eyes again.

"I d-d-don't know, that l-l-looks like f-fire…and y-y-you m-melted his g-gun," she adds, certain to keep her hands tucked away under her feathers now. The talons are terribly sharp, enough to gouge metal with relative ease, and she's wary of accidentally cutting someone.

Firehawk chuckles. "I can control the energy. Much better than I used to. You can see I'm not scorching the grass under me, young lady. I promise they will be warm without burning anything." She looks around. "We seem to have this patch of the park to ourselves right now."

Rosemarie pales a shade at the comment, in regards to other people around, but the fear is misplaced. Indeed, there's no one around to point or throw stones or shout about the horrible nature of her feathers, and she brings her attention back to Lorraine. A swallow and she nods.

"That's a g-g-good thing. L-Last t-t-time…this h-happened," and one hand emerges to gesture at the flight feathers of a wing; " — there w-was almost a m-mob. I scared p-people b-b-badly." Her golden eyes fall to the flaming plumage once more and back to the other woman's face. "…r-really? They w-w-won't b-burn m-me if I t-t-touch them?"

Firehawk smiles, but it is a caring smile. "What's your name…or failing that, what do you want to be called? I can't just keep calling you 'young lady' all the time." She takes a step closer, bowing slightly. "I am FireHawk, the Nuclear Woman. Pleased to meet you."

"Rosemarie," the librarian manages to reply, without a stutter. Her wings retreat a little, settling behind her shoulders rather than curling overtop them, and the crests behind her ears rise up, translucent in their projected emotion of avian curiosity. "N-N-Nice to m-m-meet you, Firehawk. Are y-y-you one of the h-heroes then? That p-protect New York? I'm n-not," she's quick to add, blushing a little beneath her freckles.

FireHawk stepped a couple of steps closer, and Rosemarie can feel a gentle warmth from her, and then she slowly lifts one gleaming wing up to Rosemarie's right side. The feathers gleam, but they are no warmer. "Not all are called to it, Rosemarie…but I was made like this…and I cannot do nothing. But it is nothing against you if you are not called. Although you were quite formidable." She nods to the upraised wing. "Go ahead."

The Otherness perks to the heat emitted around the other woman's person and Rosemarie frowns thoughtfully. "Alright," she murmurs once permission is granted. Hesitantly, her motions retreating once or twice even as she extends the fingers still sporting the primordial talons, she finds that…indeed, the fiery plumage doesn't burn at all. If anything, it's akin to putting palms out before a fireplace. "Oh my. That's l-lovely."

The feathers are smooth, almost featureless, but there is a symmetry to them, a flow of energy within them.
The furnace of every star in the universe. They are warm to the touch, tingle slightly, but the human fusion reactor does not let so much as a single alpha particle escape. The talons seem to have no effect on the feathers themselves, the sharp tips moving over the surface that is deceptively unyielding.
"See…? No harm at all. I have been practicing my welding techniques, too."

"Th-That m-makes sense," replies the librarian. Her smile is tentative, wondering in a way, as she continues to feel at the fascinating plumage. The very tip of one of her talons tests at the vein running centrally on a plumge; it doesn't give to the scalpel-fine point and she lets out a small 'huh'.

"Nuclear though…? L-Like the…power p-plants?" A gasp and her eyes widen. "…w-w-wait, that w-was y-you?!" Someone reads the papers after all.

FireHawk smiles. "Someone tried to turn me into a weapon, against my will. They failed, but in the process, I absorbed ALL the energy from a nuclear reactor. Imagine how much power a nuclear reactor can produce, how much nuclear energy…and then realized I drained it DRY." She looks around. "So…I didn't ask for this power…but now that I have it, I have a responsibility to use it to help others."

"..oh my." Her words are quiet, full of awe and pity all at once. Rosemarie quirks her brows and adds, "I think th-that's a g-good w-w-way to g-go about it. If p-people are d-d-doing things l-like that, w-we need others t-to stop them. I…d-d-do what I can, I guess." Her hand pulls away and curls up into a loose fist as it joins its other at her stomach, a proper stance about her now.

FireHawk smiles. "What you can do is all that anyone can ask of you." She peers at Rose's wings. "Can you fly with your wings? They are quite lovely, and they flatter you. The crests behind your wings are intriguing, as well…"

"Oh…thanks," she replies, but her voice has gone softer yet. The crests betray the winsome moue even if the tone of her words have not; they droop a little, angled out to the sides, as flowers might bereft of rain. "No, I c-can't fly. My w-wings are too small. I can glide, I think, but n-not very f-far. Someone explained it t-to me that they w-would need to be…" Rosemarie glances at both of them as they extend out behind her person, reaching their primaries to the utmost degree. "…at least another f-four feet w-wider to c-combat gravity."

FireHawk nods thoughtfully. "Would you like to fly, Rose?" she says with a wry smile. "I can carry others. Two normal people, before I start to reach my limit. If there is someplace you have to be…I can take you there." She looks around. "Considering you helped me catch the Bullet, it seems a small price to pay."

A small sound of surprise escapes her. The crests fall back to reflect this and the wings shivering through and through, the barely-audible sound of plumage rustling possibly lost in the flickering of the breeze through branches overhead.

"Oh. Um." Rosemarie laughs to herself, blushing deeply. "I d-do need to g-get back to w-w-work. Have t-to return a b-book." Yes, an especial irony to be found in her situation.

FireHawk grins. She stands back a little, stands up straight and erect, her arms and the attached wings spread wide. "Step here, with your back to my chest. I'll carry you…don't want to have you hanging on my back and have the talons dig in." She giggles. "Make sure you have everything. This flight won't take too long, but I intend to make it memorable."

Rosemarie's gaze skitters off to one side for a second before she reaches up to scratch behind one ear again, as gently as she can manage given the talons.

"Any chance t-to fly is m-memorable," she replies quietly, looking up again at Lorraine. "I have…there are others who also f-fly m-me sometimes. Y-You don't have t-to worry about impressing m-me, I'm already v-very impressed," and she laughs in mild embarrassment. "I'm very j-jealous." Still, she steps closer, knowing now that she won't be burned, and carefully tucks her wings flat to her back as she turns around. Her satchel is secured and double-latched.

FireHawk wraps her arms around Rosemarie's body, settling in where she can hold her best, and then, without the barest sound, she is up, up, and…up some more. There is only the sound of the air whistling past them as they rise above Central Park, then she turns slowly. "Whereabouts do you work, Rosemarie? Go ahead and point it out, or just give me the address. I should be able to find it…"

A small and carrying shriek of surprise, more out of habit, and then Rosemarie seems far less flustered. The Otherness is thrilled beyond measure to be airbourne at this point. The flick of oceanic-hued crests reflects avian pleasure.

"The New York Public Library, out…that way?" And she points off in the general direction of the large building, flanked by its classical lion statues.

Firehawk doesn't fly very fast—maybe a sedate 45 MPH. Rosemarie can sense a certain wall of heat, a few feet ahead of hear, acting as a shiels to keep insects and dust and smog from striking them in the face as they fly.
FireHawk also doesn't do any fancy maneuvers, but she does tend to arc wide around buildings, weaving like a slalom skier between flags during once stretch. Enough to keep the flight interesting.

At this speed, it's calm enough for the librarian to indulge in sight-seeing. Below, the cars travel onwards in their ant-like progression along the highways and side-streets. Pedestrians are smaller still. Reflections of fire wink off windows and metal accents on the buildings.

"I appreciate the f-flight," she says back over her shoulder. "This w-would have t-t-taken me m-much longer otherwise."

FireHawk looks down to Rosemarie. "No problem. Is there any place I can put you that won't attract attention? Must give you time to conceal your feathers…" She checks the library, wondering if there is a door for roof access. She hadn't seen much of New York City from the air, which presented new challenges even as she circumvented others.

"The side alley," and Rosemarie points again to the shadowed passage between the library and its neighboring building. "That's the loading dock. No one's there this time of day. It's between shifts," she explains, her crests laid back and utterly streamlined in the wind. They flicker and tremble finely, like the antennae on a moth. The Otherness twinkling through her blood is soothed for the passage by air, by the lift of the zephyrs, and by the lack of attachment to earth.

FireHawk dims the flames surrounding her as he descends, losing them both in the lights of the city. Light pollution, they will eventually call it.
Her booted feet touch the pavement, the wings opening to release Rosemarie from her grasp, and then she steps back to give Rosemarie her space. There is something about Rosemarie, but she does not dwell on it. The girl is entitled to her secrets just as FireHawk is entitled to her own.
"Gate-to-gate service, and no need to tip the pilot." She bows, sweeping one winged arm in front of her.

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