Flash: N is for Natalie (Mom Eyes 4)

Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

“What have we got?” Major Heart asked, setting his coffee on the conference room desk.

Lightning Bug rolled her eyes. The empath asked that question every time, even though everyone got the agenda before.

Wolfman growled. “It’s a Tuesday after a holiday weekend.”

“At least all the emergencies have been cleared.” Natalie, a Sleepless One, covered the office twenty-four six, getting Sundays off. Each state had the normal uptick, about double normal, for the four-day weekend.”

“What were the emergencies?” Major Heart asked, the official leader of the Powered Review Board, due to being an actual retired Major from the Air Force.

Natalie called up the view screen. “Emergent Energy, Fire, in California.”

“Thank god it wasn’t fire season.” Wolfman’s altered vocal cords adding a permanent roughness to his voice.

“Small favor.” Natalie mechanically changed to an overview of the state, “We still lost over 50,000 acres. The human, we still don’t know who was at the center, couldn’t turn it off. Kill order required.” She clicked to the next. “Mental Emergent, sleeper. We found him in the center of Middleboro, Kentucky with all the residents asleep around him. We sent in two Sleepless Ones, who promptly fell asleep.”

Lightning Bug raised an eyebrow, Natalie’s voice, normally emotionless, sharpened with jealousy.

“Mistress Mental, with Booster’s help, woke Charles Hewitt from a distance of four and a half miles. Age fifteen. His parents agreed to a nanobot injection. Mistress is now back in the hospital.”

“She is pushing, what, seventy?” Lightning Bug, the youngest of the group, asked.

Major Heart responded. “Eighty-two.” He studied his coffee as he thought about one of the heroes he grew up with reaching the end of her career and life. “We don’t have anyone her equal. Best second is Tasmanian Telepath in Australia.”

“And he is a very distant second at that.” Wolfman commented.

“And then …” Natalie paused, knowing how the next would affect the others. She didn’t bother reading the report aloud.

“A kid.” Lightning Bug shook her head. “I fucking hate it.”

“At least no one was hurt trying to save them.” Wolfman said softly. “It looks like it was contained.”

“Only three million dollars in damage.” Major Heart read. “So that it for the emergencies, right?”

Natalie nodded. “As for the rest, 343 potential registered, higher than our average 50 per day for the United States, but holiday stress tends to bring out those hiding things and a lot of others wait until after the holidays, just to have that last moment with family. The state Review Boards sent us seventeen as potential powerful Powereds. First one is Chuck registering at the New York City Center.” She brought the file up on the screen. “Energy. Heat. Displayed powers, with control so the man has been practicing, likely in an upstate fishing shack. Age Twenty-five.”

Everyone reached for their tablets. The newly registered Powered just got engaged, likely had to register because their fiancee required it. Family members were the best resource for getting people registered. Chuck not only raised temperature and produced flame, he could snuff them out and reduce heat to 0 degrees Celsius in an enclosed space.

Lightning Bug quipped. “I love switches.”

Wolfman barked a laugh, while Major Heart ordered Natalie to keep an eye on the registered as he moved through testing. “He could be useful in fighting forest fires.”

Next was a toddler from Georgia developing invulnerability, but with full physical manifestation.

“Another kid.” Lightning Bug shook her head.

Major Heart reviewed the initial findings. “He’s been separated from his family, of course.”

Natalie confirmed.

“Chances of … Billy … surviving the transformation?” Major Heart swiped through his tablet trying to find the details needed.

“Typically transformations this drastic have a ten percent survival rate, with the majority suffering irreparable social and emotional damage during the process.” Natalie recited from memory. “Individuals under the age of five when the transformation started represent half of those that survive to twenty.”

“How about to age forty?” Lightning Bug asked, her voice teasing.

“The oldest full physical manifestation alive, Earthmover, is thirty-three. Her body effectively changed to stone when she was three months. Lizard was the next oldest, living to twenty-nine and twelve days. His change happened when he was four. I have no data on anyone surviving to forty. ”

“Damn it.”

“Invulnerability, mass increase, developing scales and claws. Lots of potential if he makes it.” Major Heart nodded. “He will need full training. We need more like him.” The empath looked around the table. Lightning Bug nodded reluctantly. Natalie made the notes.

“Agreed. But get him the extra social and emotional help he will need.” Wolfman added.

“As to that,” Natalie raised up the next candidate. “The Physical Manifestation may have already received some through another potential who went through intake at the same center. One Robyn Whittle, age fourteen. Mental ability, empath category.”

“Assumed.” Lightning Bug read. “Why assumed?”

“Initial testing inconclusive?” Wolfman stared at his tablet. “When did that happen last?”

“With Roseman, six months ago.” Natalie answered promptly.

Lighning Bug snapped her fingers, leaving a spark behind. “I remember. What a run-around he gave us recruiting him. How is he doing?”

Natalie used her laptop to investigate. “He was terminated.”


“Of course he was.” Wolfman sighed, rubbing the pads of his fingertips across his hairy eyebrows before pinching the bridge of his nose.

Major Heart didn’t even comment. Basic training wasn’t kind on normals with just normal munitions in the training mix. Powers added another level of danger. And Roseman had been an self-centered bigoted reactionary, with powers affecting molecular bonds. The old air man had signed off the termination order with the tribunal after Roseman injured three of his fellow students with a prank and killed a fourth in a separate incident.

“Her blood work shows Powers, but does not carry any physical traits except eyes.” The empath brought them back on task.

“Meaning her eyes are a channel for her powers, which seem to be a mix of mostly mental and .. unknowns.” Wolfman titled his tablet screen up. “Senorita has very pretty eyes. I bet the high school boys love her.”

“She says her powers ‘Makes people better.’” Lightning Bug commented.

Natalie opened up a video player. “The center sent her initial interview. They said to pay particular attention starting at the ten minute mark.” The Sleepless One clicked play.

Everything was typical intake of an unaccompanied minor. With most states only have one or two Civic Registration Centers for powers, the review board got to know most of those involved in the review of potentials. Hoot Lane, who liked his paycheck more than people however much he pretended otherwise with his clients, said on screen. “It wasn’t a lie.”  Then the small teenage girl gave him a dirty look and he backtracked the statement with, “I may have presented it incorrectly–”

“Wow. Did she …” Sparks danced along Lightning Bugs silhouette, her armor activated for a moment at the potential danger. The interview continued onscreen. “I’ll shut up now.”

“That is some whammy.” The wolfman barked when they reached the end of the video. The by-the-book agent who firmly believed in getting the Powered off the street and into control had carefully explained the whole testing process with the possible Mental after completing the computer intake, making certain the teenager understood every step, both the pros and cons.

Major Heart eyes narrowed. “It isn’t empathy whatever it is.”

“And yet, she isn’t controlling his behavior, not really. He clearly is not a Puppet. The man was capable of breaking down complicated government procedures into terms a child could comprehend.” Lightning Bug pointed out, her voice urgent. Turning from the screen to Major Heart, she said. “I want her. She is a minor. But grab her anyway.”

“She did say her powers are always on.” Major Heart considered. “That gives us a lot of leeway.”

“She already lost her mother and brother. Taking away from her father will work against us.” The furry monster of the group argued.

“Weekend training?” Natalie offered.

Wolfman tapped his fingers against the wood. “She wants good grades.”

“It’s not like she isn’t going to ever go to college.” Lightning Bug sneered, knowing the drill, being snapped up at sixteen herself.

“Illusions are important.”

“Says the story tale monster.”

Wolfman smirked. “Then I know what I am talking about, spark plug.”

A soothing calm came across to both of them, making Lightning Bug roll her eyes. Major Heart was so predictable.

“Weekend training with tutor to help her graduate early.” Major Heart ordered Natalie to arrange. “Get her to Mistress Mental as soon as the Mistress is healthy enough.”

“I think the senorita has spent enough time in hospitals.”

“She’ll get over it.” Major Heart said to Wolfman. “Empaths spend a lot of time in hospitals.”

(words 1,482; first published 1/11/2023)

Series: Mom Eyes

  1. R is for Robyn (12/28/21)
  2. B is for Billy (4/3/22)
  3. H is for Hoot (4/10/22)
  4. N is for Natalie (4/17/22)

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