In which Lady Bonitas gains a jetpack. Because America wants one, and this is her superhero after all. Also I thought it would be cool. So I made up a way to let her have one by inventing a sidekick.
There is another sidekick only I’ve met yet, but you can meet that one later cos this first one is gonna be fun to have around.
Also: more on the evil plot of Inpuritia next time 😉
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Bonitas: The Genius
by Lee Hulme
Bonitas stood in the middle of the road and swore softly, watching the motorbike slide through traffic, around a corner and out of sight. Whatever Inpuritia had stolen from that vault was now out of her reach.
Hearing shouts and horns around her, she waved apologetically and trotted back to the sidewalk then down into an alley, emerging moments later as herself.
“That…is getting old,” she muttered to herself. “I need some way of getting around so people can’t escape like that. Even my car wouldn’t have helped with this one. A motorbike, maybe, but it’s not…not…”
“Cool enough?” came a voice from behind her.
Bonitas whirled around and faced the speaker, who took a step back, hands flying up in defense. It was a young girl in ragged, dirty clothing, hair pulled messily back and tied with a piece of string. Bonitas studied her warily.
“I-I’m sorry, I just…I was in the alley. I guess you didn’t see me,” she gestured to her clothing sadly, “I kind of blend in with the rest of the dirt. But I saw – I know you’re-“
“OK!” Bonitas stopped her, thinking fast. “What do you want?”
“Well, I saw the guy – the guy get away, and you said – about the transport thing, and I can help.”
Bonitas couldn’t suppress a doubtful expression.
“I know,” the girl sighed. “I don’t look like much, but I can help, I swear. Let me show you?”
“Show me what?” Bonitas asked carefully.
“Well not here…” the girl looked around and scurried down another alley.
Bonitas followed her behind a row of shops, finding her pressed against a high fence.
“Ok, watch,” the girl knelt down and opened a bag that was more patches than canvas and brought out her hands, cupped around something. “You ready?”
The girl’s grin was infectious, and Bonitas smiled too, “Show me.”
As the cupped hands opened, something fluttered out. It was painted brightly, glinting in the sparse light and Bonitas stared in wonder as it hovered between them.
“What…is it?” Bonitas asked, resisting the desire to reach out and take hold to examine it more closely.
“I never gave it a name,” the girl whispered, “It just…is. It’s what I was working on when…when…but they never knew I’d finished the prototype, never knew I’d taken it, thought I’d destroyed it with everything else.”
The girl and the woman watched the beautiful creature a while longer.
“I can help,” the girl repeated eventually. “I don’t-I don’t have stuff to use, but if I did, I could make you something. “
Bonitas nodded, still transfixed by the creature. “OK. You can make me something. What do you need?”
The girl reached out her hands and cupped the creature again, returning it to her bag, brow scrunched as she thought. “You have a pen?”
“Uh…phone ok?” Bonitas asked, “You’re making a list, right?”
The girl nodded and took the phone given to her, rapidly moving to a note-taker and muttering to herself as she wrote. Eventually she handed it back, “Can you get it all? I wrote down where and everything, you can buy most of it, some of it you gotta ask people I know – knew. They’ll help, they always said they would.”
Bonitas nodded. “I’ll get it all. Where can I find you?”
The girl hesitated a moment, “I don’t really have…”
Bonitas hit her head, “Right! Sorry. That was dumb. Come on, you’re staying with me.”
“What?” the girl asked as Bonitas started to walk away.
“You heard! We’ll get you a bath, some food, some new clothes – and I’ll get you everything you need on this list – and then I’ll always know where to find you. At least for now.”
The girl hesitated a moment, and then followed, catching up quickly, mouth working as if looking for words and finding none. Then: “My name’s Millie. My…brother used to call me Lie for short,” she shrugged.
Bonitas raised an eyebrow, “Lie? Really?”
The girl shrugged again.
“How about Mil? Or Lee? Or even Millie?”
“I don’t know. The guys at the shelter, they call me Millie. That’s alright I guess.”
“Then Millie it is – unless you decide on something better. Come on in, then,” Bonitas opened her front door and ushered Millie inside. “Grand tour now, or after bath?”
Millie looked at the apartment, then down at herself, “Bath, please,” she murmured.
“That way,” Bonitas pointed, “Lemme grab you some stuff of mine to wear till we can get you kitted out properly.
Millie nodded and waited by the bathroom until Bonitas returned with clothing, and opened the door, “Go on – use whatever you like, shout if you need anything.”
Millie nodded and opened her mouth again.
Bonitas waited by the door, patiently.
“Th-thank you,” Millie stammered.
“You’re welcome,” Bonitas smiled broadly, “I’ll have food ready when you get out – but take your time.
Over the next few days, Millie was fed, rested, warm, and taken to buy clothes. She spent the time Bonitas was out drawing diagrams on the computer, which she politely refused to show.
When all the materials she had asked for were assembled, Bonitas took herself to a hotel for a day or two, promising not to come back until she was called.
True to her word, Bonitas ignored her burning curiosity and stayed away from her apartment. Her frustration with Inpuritia was doubled after a second motorbike escaped her grasp, carrying something from another vault. From what she could work out, Inpuritia now possessed the means to make some sort of delivery system. What that system would be and what the payload was, she had no idea.
The day a third motorbike escaped, carrying batches of – much to her confusion – flu injections – Bonitas called home.
“Hi!” Millie answered, hearing who it was. “I know this is longer than I said – tomorrow!”
“Inpuritia is up to something, Millie. The police keep telling me when something’s going down, but I keep missing her fucking henchmen! Please, please, please be ready tomorrow.”
“I’m sorry – I promise!”
The next day Bonitas returned home to find what looked like a cross between a mad scientist lab and a welding factory instead of a living room, “Millie…what??”
“I know! I wanted to clean it all up but you needed it now, so I couldn’t, but I will, I swear.”
“And I’ll get you your own space, so you can do whatever you like,” Bonitas promised, “If whatever you’ve made me works.”
“Well, I couldn’t test it properly,” Millie grinned, “Cos I mighta got seen. Also it’s built for you, so I’d probably have broke my neck or something. It’s only a prototype, I can make the next one better, but…here,” she moved out of the way and pulled a cloth off a mound on the table.
Bonitas stared speechlessly. In front of her, matching the colours of her superhero outfit, was a sleek, twin-cylindered jetpack. Bonitas moved closer and, at a nod from Millie, put it on. The controls looked adapted from a game controller, and Bonitas’ hands moved naturally and automatically across the buttons and sticks as Millie adjusted the waist strap and stood back, bouncing slightly., waiting for a reaction.
“If this thing works, Millie…” Bonitas shook her head. “Screw it, whether this thing works or not – you are amazing!”
“Only thing is, I don’t know how to make it disappear – like your costume does.”
“My costume is a part of me,” Bonitas told her, distractedly, “They told me…I could add to it and remove from it, when they gave it to me.”
“They?” Millie asked curiously.
Bonitas nodded and said no more, closing her eyes and letting the costume emerge and cover her, then concentrating on including the jetpack as she sent it back again. “There,” she smiled, “Now to find out if it really, really works. I’ll be back. Inpuritia has been working every couple of days so far, so I’m hoping I’ll catch one of her goons trying to steal again. If not, there’s always someone needs chasing down.”
“Have fun,” Millie smiled and began to clean up.
At the same time of the night, just as the morning traffic grew heavy, Bonitas was called again by the police to tell her that Inpuritia’s latest attempt at theft was in progress: at a factory that produced ceramic parts, solid enough to withstand as much as titanium. Frowning, Bonitas asked them to keep away, as she was testing something, and still unsure what the other woman was planning, waited outside for the black-clad figure to emerge. Instead of pouncing on him immediately, as she had the others – cursing herself when her lack of speed let them escape anyhow – she waited for him to climb on, kickstart, and roll out into the road.
With a jolt of nervous anticipation, Bonitas depressed the Engage switch and felt the jetpack rumble gently beneath her – far from the roar she had expected. Fingers moving over the controls, she rose into the air, leaned forwards, and shot out after the motorbike, trusting her well-attuned gaming reflexes to do as she asked of them.
Ignoring the stared and commotion, she barrelled down on the motorbike rider who, seeing her in the wing mirror, attempted to swerve, crashing into a van instead. Bonitas ducked her head and shouldered into him sending him off the motorbike and onto the road where he crumpled.
Flicking off the power and landing, Bonitas hauled him upright and grinned. “Like my new toy? Guess your girl won’t be getting whatever you took this time, hm? And you get to tell me what she’s up to.”
Police were arriving now, still hanging back but three close by, waiting for her to be ready.
“If he won’t talk, let me know, I’ll make him,” she told them as she handed him over. Starting the jetpack again, she hovered a few inches above the ground, “Keep letting me know if there’s any more – I need to find out what Inpuritia is up to.”
The policeman not holding the goon nodded, “Thanks Bonitas. And, er…nice jetpack.”
“Ain’t it just?” Bonitas grinned broadly and shot off into the dawn.