Fiona Major never asked for her powers. She never asked to wake up one day with a disturbing memo, a headache the size of Great Britain, and a huge gap in her memory. She doesn’t know anything about superheroes and has no idea where to start looking for answers. With a little resourcefulness, she sets about finding her alter-ego Aquila’s place in the world–whilst fending off parental inquiries and hunting for a babysitter …
I first invented Fiona/Aquila for a short story, and she has since inspired a television series I am planning to begin work on for my third-year project. Until I have planned when and where the revelations in the short story will take place in the series, I am only making the opening of the story public. See below.
Opening of “Aquila” Short Story
The wind whipped Fiona’s ponytail as she crouched atop Le Méridien, her sharp blue eyes scanning the pedestrians up and down Piccadilly. Up here, she could see all, from the passcode one woman input into her phone to the words on the page of an open book in Waterstones’ window.
Her eyes swept the crowd for someone slipping their hand into a pocket, or slitting a bag. Piccadilly Station was notorious for pick-pockets. The man she was waiting for was known to prey in the whole area. She had it covered from St James’ Street all the way to M&Ms World.
With a speed and fluidity that still took her by surprise, Fiona turned over the turret and landed gracefully on her feet on the pavement, the equivalent of four storeys below, startling the pedestrians nearest her landing spot. Fiona slipped immediately out of their field of vision and through the throng until she found the man she had been looking for, all in less than a second, his fingers still in the pocket of the passing suit.
As he laid eyes on her, his hand retracted quickly, empty, and his would-be victim continued on, unaware of any interruption. The man’s eyes widened in trepidation behind his thick glasses. “Subject Nine?”
“Aquila to you,” she corrected.
Most passers-by ignored her, but one Japanese couple snapped a photo. Fiona pushed her target up against the Starbucks window. “You’re an idiot, Clive. You must have realised I’d find you again.”
“Look, sweetheart, whatever grudge you have with Redthorn, that’s your business. Naught to do with me. Can’t you just let a man work in peace?”
“No, I can’t. I need to know what Redthorn did to me and you’re my only lead.”
“They made you a kickass superhero, I wouldn’t complain if I were you.” Fiona tightened her grip. “Bu-but if you wanna complain, that’s f-fine, just please don’t drag me into it, they’ll kill me.”
“If you help me, I won’t let them.” Fiona loosened her grip again, just slightly. “They don’t have powers. Who would you rather align yourself with?”
“Hmm, let me think. Two of the country’s top mad scientists with unimaginable resources who probably know of infinite ways to dispose of a body, or one homeless kid with superpowers …” Clive trailed off. “Actually, that’s not an easy choice.”
“Well make a choice. Right now. You’re the cleaner. Let me into their lab and I promise I’ll make sure they don’t kill you. If you don’t help me, there’ll be one more pick-pocket in the cells tonight. Well?”
Copyright Alex Harlequin 2012