What Rocket Scientists Want

Part 2.5

by Verve
9/23/01

The evening wore on without any events. Everyone had found a chair to lay back into, and let boredom mold them into its form. Garth sat back with his feet up on the table, magazine in hand. Mack was catnapping over schematics, a light puddle of saliva forming over several sketchy exhaust valves. Jo had long since abandoned her activities in favor of poking Mack in the flab on his neck, disturbing his sleep enough that he grumbled and hit himself lightly where the offending poke had been. Dwayneís head was clearer now; the voices in his head had seemed to disappear. But he was no less bored than the others, chuckling along with Jo as Mack continued to hit at himself sleepily.

However, Jo decided that the neck poking wasnít enough and took a nearby stack of cards in hand. Mack settled in a few seconds, and the lieutenant eyed the situation with a crooked smile.

"Ladies and gentlemen, hello and welcome to the first annual Build a Card Deck House on Top of the Sleeping Guyís Head, extravaganza!" She had learned long ago that adding personal commentary to any ordinary situation made it a little less tedious, a lot less boring and a heck of a lot more amusing for the spectators; which at this moment applied to merely Dwayne. Garth gave none of the events around him a moment of consideration, nose firmly in the pages of his digest.

"Jo, I wouldnít if I were you," Dwayne interjected with a worried grimace. "You know heís not the cheeriest guy after he wakes up."

"Dwayne," she chided. "Relax. Heís a grump no matter what time of day it is. Waking up has nothing to do with it." With a mischievous sort of focus she turned back to her subject and continued her annotations. "The tension here is high at our continued live coverage of this spectacular event. The crowd has hushed as our contender places the first card upon the potentially cranky cranium."

Dwayne couldnít help but grin at her commentary and focus.

"Anything can happen folks as the next two cards are leaned against each other. Thatís right! It seems sheís adopting the difficult task of building a support for several layers! This is astounding; Iíve never seen anything like it."

"Glad to say the same." Dwayne added dryly. The stacking went on for minutes, some moments actually becoming tense as the palace on Mackís hat tottered precariously. But it settled each time and soon the deck in Joís hand was nothing compared to the number actually surrounding Mack.

"Hey guys! Check this out!" Garth let the feet of his chair fall with a loud bang to the floor, instantly waking Mack up with a start. The cards began to tumble around Mack, who swatted them away, shrieking something about enemy fire. He beat at the cards in the air as Jo, Dwayne and eventually Garth, laughed until tears came to their eyes.

Mack was not amused.

"You bunch of hyenas... think youíre so funny." The older man finally caught one of the fluttering cards in his hand. He threw the card to the table sharply and slumped into his chair, pouting. "A man canít even get a decent amount of sleep around here."

"Sorry Mack; couldnít resist." Jo was still gasping through her tears, face streaked and red. "You're just so cute when you sleep." Her laughter came harder at her own joke, that really wasnít even that funny.

However, Dwayne settled a bit more quickly and did his best to draw attention from the red-faced Mack, whose ego looked very hurt. "Garth, you said something?"

All eyes were on the tall black man. "Yeah, actually," He was still chuckling when he held up the tabloid in his hand. "I was reading this, and ran across this article. Thought of you, actually, Dwayne, given your current accident."

He held up the page and under the small letters that read ĎNational Enquirerí, huge print shouted out, ĎMan Gains Psychic Powers After Lightning Storm.í

Mack ripped the page away from Garth and studied it carefully. "Bull," he shot with a low growl, thrusting a stubby finger at the tabloidís name. "Real credible, too."

"Hey!" It was Garthís turn to look hurt. "Itís possible. Anything is possible."

Mack looked at him flatly. "Right, and Iím Elvis."

"Sorry, Mack." Jo had finally settled down, but still spluttered an occasional giggle. "That would require talent, and charm. Two things you have in short supply." Mack just stared at her flatly.

"Here, Iíll prove it." He turned to Dwayne. "Read my mind." Mack leaned very close to Dwayne, his face floating inches from the lieutenantís. "Give me a number one through a hundred. Use your psychic powers." His tone was scornful but teasing.

Dwayne backed away from his nearness, but still tried to focus on some sort of number in the faint hope of supporting Garth. He winced. "Sorry Mack -- guys -- Iím not getting anything." And then he heard it again.

Not that thereís anything up there to get in the first place....

"Jo, I think Mackís had enough of your jokes for one day." Dwayne looked at her sharply. Three sets of eyes stared back at him.

"Man, settle down, I didnít say anything. Did I, Mack?" She batted Mackís shoulder for backing.

"The girl didnít speak a word. Her big yap was zipped for once." Mack scratched his head under his cap.

>I swear to god if he calls me a girl again Iíll strip his parts....

This time Dwayne was looking squarely at Jo when he heard the voice.

"No one heard that?" He scanned the two others, who shook their heads to the negative. He rested his gaze on Garth. "What all did that article say?"

"Not much," he shrugged. "Just psycho-mumbo jumbo mostly. I think the gist of it is that the electricity does something to your normal brainwaves, making you understand the thoughts of others. But that couldnít've happened to you," he pointed out. "You canít even tell what number Mack is thinking."

"No, no, I canít," He turned to Jo, meeting her eye to eye. "But Iíve got a strange hunch...." She looked as uneasy as he felt. His stomach churned, with a mix of instincts telling him something serious was wrong, and the acidic fear that something serious was wrong.

"Your fighter instincts creep me out, Dwayne. Can't you see this is all bogus stuff?" Jo shrunk into herself, not liking the sudden attention she was getting. "Dwayne, why are you looking at me like that?"

"Jo, pick a number between one and a thousand." He closed his eyes for a moment, but the calm on his face quickly disappeared as his lids flickered open. "7411...7412...Jo, you need to make up your mind." Mack and Garth both shifted their gazes immediatly to Jo to see her reaction.

"Holy...." Her eyes went wide. "Whatís going on here?"

"Your guess is as good as mine." Dwayne shook his head that had begun to throb again.

On to Part 3!

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