Chrono Continuum Chapter 37

Bio of a Thief

By Cain

2025 AD

"How," she asked, confused. "How could you know her? This was her decades back. She must look different now."

Rakin didn't reply. He was too engrossed in the image before him. He looked closely at it. It was her, all right. The hair, the glasses. He blinked. She was wearing the dress he had seen on her when she contacted them at the Beginning of Time. The pink skirt and black tank top. Did that mean that she was the daughter of that Lucca? And if so, who was the father? He flinched as she snapped her fingers before his face.

"Hey, are you going to answer," she demanded.

Rakin nodded, still thinking about the possibilities. He decided that he didn't know enough to make an accurate assumption as to her birth, and if her mother truly was Lucca. "Um, Hotwire, I guess I'm not as sure as I thought. I think I'll need some background on your life. And where you got that cape. And what you meant by 'found,' back there."

Hotwire raised her eyebrow, as if suspecting that his recognition of the woman had been a ruse to get to know her. But she sighed, and closed the locket, putting the chain back around her neck. She stood, and pulled her shirt down a little because it had been hiked up by sitting in the chair backwards. She walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, her back to Rakin, and crossed her legs, clasping her hands around one knee, as she thought. She turned her head over her shoulder to him, showing him the same eye he had always seen on her face. "Well, which do you want to know first?"

Rakin thought for a moment, and told her the first thing that came to mind. "How old are you?"

She laughed a bit. "18. As far as I know. They say they found me in 2009, and I looked about two."

"Who are 'they'? The people that found you?"

She nodded. "Yeah. Well, sort of. It was an orphanage, and one stormy night, when the power had been knocked out, they heard a knock at the door. They opened it to see a man in odd clothing. I'm told he looked really unhealthy. All pale. Anyway, he had me wrapped in that cape you saw me wearing. He was real nervous, glancing about. He shoved me into the hands of one of the caretakers, and ran off. Didn't even say a word. Just... left."

Rakin's brow wrinkled. "Did he have long blue hair?"

She shook her head. "They knew he had long hair, but blue? It was dark. They didn't get a good look at him, because the candle was being blown around by the wind. But they say he was deathly pale, and his eyes looked really red."

Rakin gulped. He knew of only one person that fit that description. But he decided not to jump to conclusions. "And another thing, how did you get your metal hand?"

Hotwire looked at her hand, as if she'd forgotten it was there. She turned her head back to the wall, away from Rakin. "I wasn't alway the master thief I am today." Rakin wisely didn't interrupt to disagree. "In fact, back before the War began, I wasn't all that good. And then I stole a car that looked really expensive. After driving it off, I found a briefcase in it. Inside, there was the fabric for that silver suit you saw me wearing. I didn't know what it did, and started doing research. As a result, I gained a will to learn and began to read up on everything I could involving technology.

"I eventually figured out that it was Chamelion fabric. It was an experimental fabric, designed to be solar powered, and to respond to the thoughts of one who wore a special head device... which I didn't have. It was supposed to render the wearer invisible, through complex scanners and generators within the fabric. But, it was useless without the head piece. So, I tried to find a place where I could sell it. But, one day, I was sitting there, touching the fabric, and I wished that I could make it invisible without the head gear. And, it suddenly disappeared right before me. I stopped thinking in surprise, and it reappeared. After some experimentation, I found that I could make it work without the head gear, and it no longer needed sunlight to power it.

"So, I made an outfit of it. I was the best thief around. No one could see me, let alone catch me."

Rakin finally decided to interrupt. "But what does that have to do with your hand?"

Hotwire ignored him. "But, one someone from the company found me. And the company was quite ruthless when it came to copyrights. I was still at the orphanage back then." She turned to look at thim again. "They blew it up."

Rakin gasped. "The orphanage?"

"Yup. All to keep me from leaking about their fabric, which, by the way, they had been told by the law not to make. I was lying in bed one night, when I suddenly felt something. I just sat up, packed my things, and left. I still don't know why. But as I was exiting through the back door, the bomb went off. I was spared from the worst, but still caught in the blast." She held up her hand. "I lost this, to the fire. It was burned fingerless, and worthless. So, using my knowledge of tech, I built this. Which is a big part of how I earned my nickname with my fellow rogues." She flexed her hand. "It's stronger... but I don't feel anything. It has uses other than strength, as well."

She turned, so that one thigh was on the bed, with the lower part hanging off the side, and the other leg was still off the bed. "And," she continued, pulling her hair away from her face, "I made this."

Rakin gasped. Her face was normal, but her eye wasn't. It was golden, as her hand was, and shined unnaturally. It moved around a bit as she focuse on him, and then she let her hair fall back to cover it, turning back to her original position. "As you can probably guess, I lost that eye in the blast too. There was extensive skin damage, but that was easy to repair with the money I'd made on theft." She, probably subconsciously, flexed her golden fist. "And that's my whole story. Or at least what I know of it." She turned back to him again. "Now, I want to know what you know about me. Or my mother, more specifically."

Rakin sighed. Chances were, it wasn't his Lucca. And he didn't know who the father was, except for a guess that could easily be untrue. He leaned back, and began to tell her, not about his adventures, but about Lucca, as a person. Hotwire was pleasantly surprised to hear that she was an inventor.

She raised her head as she thought of something. "Where are you all from, anyway?"

Rakin shrugged. "Here and there."

Hotwire raised an eyebrow, but respected his privacy. She, after all, kept hers. She blinked as she remembered an earlier question of hers. "Wait a minute here. Now, I wouldn't be alive, or in good condition even if I was, if you hadn't saved me back there. What I want to know, Rakin, is: How did you do it?"

Rakin cleared his throat, trying to come up with a plausible explanation, when a chill ran through him. He looked around. The Black Wind was blowing. He turned back to Hotwire, to see her shivering. He blinked. "You felt that too?"

"Felt what? That chill?" She shrugged. "Yeah. It's not usually that cold in here. Must be the AC acting up again..." She cried out in surprise as they both heard a loud crash from above. They looked up to the ceiling, and another one struck, jarring the entire apartment. She slipped off the bed, and landed with a thump. She got back up, rubbing her behind, and asked, "What the hell?"

"Sounds like explosions."

Hotwire's eyes opened wider. "Oh no. The surface might be under attack!"

"Surface? What do you mean?"

"We're underground, in the sewers."

Rakin's reply was lost in the next crash. He rolled over to the edge of the bed, and got out. He began to pull his clothes on. He looked to Hotwire, who was looking at him oddly. "Well, are you coming?"

She placed her hand to her chin in thought for a moment, and finally shrugged, turning to walk to the back room. Rakin couldn't help but watch her depart. He finished dressing, and sat back down on the bed waiting. In a minute, she came back out, wearing her silver outfit, and the cape. She smiled. "Looks like action time," she stated, somewhat enthusiastically.

Rakin smiled. "Let's hope it's not too much action."

"I'm not worried."

"Why not?"

She walked over to another door, on the opposite side of the room, turning her head back to look at him. She smiled coyly. "I don't know how, but you saved me once. You'll do it again." She opened the door, and walked out.

Rakin shook his head. She was right. He would. As he followed through the door, he wondered just how much danger there might be up top. He ran to catch up with her. They were moving through a dark corridor. She glanced at him. "Well, you seem eager enough now."

"Nah, just following some advice my Dad once gave me."

"Oh, really? And what was that?"

"Use every oppurtunity possible to be around a beautiful woman."

Her laughter echoed through the hall as they continued on.


"Stop the World — I Want to Get Off."
-Anthony Newleyand Leslie Bricusse


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