“There’s no way.” All of Ethan’s stings seemed to have been cut. “We can’t make it, we won’t.”
“We’re not.” Jackson looked at Lina, jaw set, expression serious.. “Okay, you’ve gotten some food in you, that’s a good start. Dylan, you gotta go way over to that side of the parking lot. Ethan, over there. And we need someone else, we’re gonna need more power. Are you ready?”
Lina blinked. She blinked again. “Ready?” She swallowed hard. The power plant… “Ready to stop – what a nuclear explosion?”
“The power plant’s not nuclear. It’s – ah, I promise I’ll explain later. But here. Get the forcefield started with those two, and once it’s visible, I’ll see if I can get some more people in. If I can’t, I’ll be right back here. I promise.”
The other two had already moved where he’d pointed. They clearly thought Jackson had an idea — they thought, they all thought she could do this.
She was going to have to try it.
Lina leaned on the shopping cart and reached for them. She obviously couldn’t touch them from here, but she closed her eyes and imagined what her fingers had felt like on their necks.
She heard one, than the other of them gasp as she connected. She pulled up the shield. Something like a straight line, she thought, curving just a little. She wanted to put it up as high as possible and then deflect the power backwards so that it didn’t keep going. She pictured it, got it ready, and then found someone taking her wrist.
“Ready? This is Asok. He checked us out. Asok, Lina, go.”
Lina touched her fingers to the neck – it was warm – and pressed until she could feel the link of the power. “He – he knows?” she whispered.
“He knows enough. You’re about to save his life. Okay, other hand, this is Yolanda. She was on the corner.”
On the corner.
She put her fingers to the next neck and linked in.
“Kids!” The police officer shouted. “It’s going to be here in – shit, okay. How can I help?”
Suddenly there was a police officer next to her and Jackson was sending another person and another her way. She forced the shield stronger and wider and longer and just let Jackson steer the things that didn’t involve the actual shield. People. Directions. The power flowing into her.
She took their power and made a second breakwater on the other side of the grocery store, wondering if it would work, if it would send things going around or over the plaza, and why she cared. She put more into the wall. There were people depending on her.
“Almost- Almost – no, shit, Lina, now.”
The police officer shouting here it comes from further away than Lina had thought she was and other people were muttering and screaming. Lina grabbed hold of everyone of them and held them, held the power, and pushed it forward just another foot. She could feel the shape of it. If she’d done this right, whatever was coming would kill its momentum on her shield and not go rushing right back to the source.
She wished she’d paid more attention in physics.
“Lina.” Jackson was right next to her. Or it least it felt like it. She had her hands out to either side, fingers splayed, and the power was shooting out of everywhere. “Lina, you gotta see this.”
She opened her eyes. Her shield was a wall of blue, thick and strong and mostly transparent. To either side of her were people in a very wide semi-circle. And right in front of her – “Shiiiit.” She braced her feet. A wave of something bright and neon and white-blue was coming at them, no, was on them, pushing against her shield, riding up it and getting stuck, crashing down again.
“What – what is that?” she whispered.
“Power plant.” The police officer’s voice was tight. “The power plant blew. Is blowing, I mean. It’s uh.” Her voice shifted. “Dispatch this is Car 47, this is Officer Dean, I need to know what’s going on. Repeat, what’s going on? I’m at the Stop-and-Save on Rist and Jackson, we’ve got a blue wave, Dispatch, come in?”
As if it had run out of momentum, the white wave slowly began to settle down. As it did, Lina could see how it had almost entirely missed the plaza. She really should have paid more attention in physics, damnit.
A long moment later, the radio buzzed. “Dean, Dean, your status?”
“Safe. Safe, Dispatch, alive and safe. You’re – uh. I’d say you’re not going to believe this, but damn, if you saw that wave I think your belief is already getting stretched. Anyway, a bunch of ki – teen – locals set up a shield of some sort of force. It held the wave. It held it. Seems to have stopped it, too. Any word on if that’s it?”
“Jackson,” Lina murmured.
He was there, to her right, actually letting her arm rest on his shoulders. “I’m here.”Want more?