Call To Power: Tough Love

By Jave Harron

Notes: Paradox and Pandora are from my story Shores of Eternity, and are also known as Jord and Alecto from my novel In The Eyes Of God. This is how they show their affection and friendship to each other.

It seemed to be a normal day in a normal downtown area of a normal city. Every person was doing what their job demanded. Lawyers were chasing ambulances, politicians were catering to special interest groups, and businessmen where selling their grandmothers for a quick buck. It was a normal day, except for one major difference.

That one exception was walking down the street, clad only in a green shirt and gray sweatpants. His casual attire was quite different than the sharply dressed capitalists around him. With his bald head and dark sunglasses, he was hard to miss. The man stood out like a sore thumb, but that was part of the game he was playing.

His current name was Paradox. He had many names before that, but Paradox was the name he had chosen recently. He had developed a new identity, so a new name was in order to signify it. Now, Paradox was playing a game with his best friend, Pandora.

Paradox had highly trained senses. He could hear the pigeons above him squawking, the traders around him talking about market forces, and the engines in the cars now jamming the street. However, a new sound soon entered the aural hodgepodge. It seemed like a rhythmic humming, like a near-silent cross between a helicopter and a generator.

The man knew what this signified. Pandora was starting the game this time. From the direction of the sound, she seemed to be perched on a nearby building. Anticipating what would happen next, Paradox ducked into a small alley.

At that same moment, the sniper was watching her prey. Pandora was aiming with a weapon new to her: the rifled rail gun. The weapon was the size of a conventional sniper rifle, but it had a small generator in the stock. This device allowed it to generate a powerful magnetic field to propel the bullet to near-light speeds. However, her target had noticed the distinct charging of the weapon. No normal human could hear it, but she and her target were not normal humans.

She saw part of Paradox's arm sticking out of the alley, and aimed for it. Hitting the arm was better than hitting nothing. She pulled the trigger, and the magnetic round burst out of her rail gun like a lie out of a politician's mouth. Pandora saw a bloody crimson spot appear on Paradox's arm, and prepared to fire again.

However, Paradox was not about to let his attacker win this round. Focusing his remaining energy, he pulled out a Skorpion submachine gun for each hand. Realizing his opponent would need to reload and charge for another shot, Paradox took his chance to go on the offensive.

Using his enhanced reflexes, Paradox ran out of the alley. He leapt up, and kicked off the nearest building with both his feet. Reverting his center of gravity with his nanotech implants, Paradox flew across the street and landed on the rooftops opposite to where he had started.

Opening fire at his reloading attacker, he saw his 7.65 millimeter rounds riddle her body. She fell down, and dropped her rifled rail gun. Pandora had another surprise, however. Paradox moved in for the kill, a shot to the heart. He had lowered his guard somewhat, and was vulnerable.

Using her last bit of strength, she pulled out dual Colt handguns from concealed holsters. She aimed them both at Paradox's chest. Both she and Paradox pulled their triggers at the same time. Their bullets both hit each other in the heart at the same time. The game was a draw this time.

"Good shooting," Pandora said as she struggled for breath.

"Same here," Paradox commented as he breathed heavily.

Within a few seconds, the microscopic machines in both their bodies repaired the damage the bullets caused, so they were good as new.

"You did the right thing by taking cover, but when you went on the offense, you dropped your guard a bit," Pandora said to her companion.

"I know. However, I have an issue with you bringing that rail gun along," Paradox added.

"What? You think it was unfair of me to snipe you from these rooftops?" Pandora asked.

"No. The rifled rail gun is too advanced for this society. The reason you chose this world for our game, after all, was to test out its own military hardware. Doesn't it defeat the purpose to bring weapons from home along?" Paradox noted calmly.

"Right. Now, how about we get out of here? This was a fun game, but let's talk about it after we get back home," Pandora responded.

With that, the duo, their weapons, and every trace they had been there vanished in a flash of blue light. The pedestrians on the street soon had no memory of what just transpired, for it was part of the game.

Paradox and Pandora were soldiers. They would enjoy testing their skills against each other in different parallel universes. After they were done, they would always clean up any trace they had been there. This included weapons, bullet casings, and even the memories of any witnesses.

While other couples might bond by seeing a movie, going out to eat, or buying gifts, Paradox and Pandora loved their own, unique way. They enjoyed their friendly rivalry on the 'battlefield.' The first one to shot the other in the heart was the winner.

No matter what weapons were used, no one was killed, no property was permanently damaged, and no bystanders were casualties. If the near impossible happened, and anyone was killed, they would just be revived when the duo cleaned up after they were done. It was tough love, but it was quite an enduring relationship. It was five thousand years old, and still going strong.