Hero of the Day
Author's note: This is dedicated to those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001.
September 10th, 2001
I had teleported into our New York site that afternoon, after first 'porting to the hotel and checking in. My department loved having a teleporter on staff - it made trips so much cheaper then flying someone somewhere. Henceforth, I usually made up for it by staying a a nice hotel, and eating well. I had verified that the parts had shown up on site, and had gotten everything ready for that night/morning. We still used various shipping companies for moving parts back and forth. It was just easier that way. I checked the pager I always wore before leaving. Combined with the cell phone that work issued, I could be contact-able instantly almost anywhere. the pager was, as usual, quiet. it had gone off a few times after Change Day, and I was helpful in restoring communications and protecting national security during those few months as the world settled back down to what now passed as normal. I had been all over the world. only 8 months after Change Day, I had ported to just inside India and assisted in forcing access into several of the governments systems. This helped to re-open the border shortly afterward to beyond the trickle that was initially allowed before.
I ate a good meal, surprising the waiter at the restaurant when I order vegetables along with my steak. I can still eat vegetables in my morphic form, I just have to be careful. I went back to my hotel room, got a decent couple hours sleep, and got back up around 11:30. I 'ported over to the site, and did both my thing, and a few other little things that Null had asked me to investigate while I was poking around in god mode on the router I was working on. My work knew this, and did not complain because they knew I was doing something that Null was paying for. I finished up around 3:00 AM on the 11th, and tiredly 'ported back to my hotel room and fell asleep.
9:00 AM, September 11th.
My pager blasted me awake. The tone it emitted was something that would not only wake a human up from a sound sleep, but the dead as well. I put my hand on the pager, 'Manced it to shut the noise off and read the message. The message was clear:
TRADE CENTER ATTACKED. S&R IN PROGRESS, REPORT AT ONCE AND ASSIST.
Great Bloody Hell. I quickly dug out my vest, strapped it on, acknowledged the pager even as I 'ported over. The pager was very intelligent. it knew where I was, and also had a general indicator of my health. Hence, it dutifully reported the massive intake of caffeine just after the teleport as I popped a handful of caffeine pills. I found a fire department member and told him that I was a teleporter and here to assist. He sent me up to the floors above the impacts. I started to see people appearing, sometimes with a blue flash, sometimes without. I started to move people out of the building.
An unknown time later
I was starting to get really exhausted. I has been porting small groups by the half to full dozen, depending on how many could norm shift. My warp range was proportional to the weight I could carry. 12 people and an assortment of small creatures was well within my limit, but it still drained me. I had gathered together the largest group yet when I felt the building start to shudder. I yelled for everyone to grab a hold of me, and I warped down to the landing zone that had been set up. This time, the warp took a lot longer, and it really hurt. the Blue of the warp was tinged purple, and then after the blue faded, I collapsed amidst the 2 tons worth of people I had just saved.
I woke up in the hospital. There was a Lion-morph in a doctor's outfit, the familiar bull-morph that was my director, and a odd shuffling in the shadows of the room. I couldn't smell them for all the medicinal scents in the room, but I could barely see an outline of a cloaked person. At some point I had down-shifted to norm, which gave me the enhanced vision to see the outline of cloaked people. Yes, It was who I had thought it was. The doctor had noticed that I had woken up.
"Mr. Cook, it's good to see you awake. what was the last thing you remember?"
"Well," I started, "My last conscious thought was that I had made it out with everyone. I was far over my weight limit, but I knew that I was the only one that could get them out. I had been waiting for another teleporter to show up when I felt the tower start to go. I knew at that point that I had to try, even if it killed me." "Well, that's very good, because it very nearly did. I'm normally based out of California, but some friends of mine teleported me over here to save some lives." He indicated a familiar looking pager. At my rather obvious shock, he said "I venture that you have the same friends? At any rate, you should be almost done regaining the missing electrolytes and such from the IV in your fore-limb."
After further conversation with everyone, I found a few things out. I had been out for a total of 40 hours. I also found out that the group I got out was the last such group out of that tower before it collapsed. I also found out why they brought the doctor in. He had an incredible healing power which didnt work on me, unfortunately. He mentioned something about speeding up the body's metabolism. The doctor left, my boss said that I could take as much time off as I needed. As he left, the outline against the corner wavered, and solidified as a low-degree goat-morph. "The boss sent me over here to keep an eye out on you. The media found out about you, and you are something of a hero." Great, wonderful. "This is a good thing, Tiger." I grimaced at my self-chosen code name. "What I was sent for was to brief you on exactly how to handle the media when you meet them. I've already set up a meeting with a reputable journalist at the Ritz-Carlton, and gotten us rooms. The doctor will be in an a bit to do a final check out, and then we can have lunch."
September 12th, 2001: 2:00 PM
Which is exactly what happened. Two hours later, I found myself in the hotel's restaurant, running up an astronomical bar tab (on Null's expense, of course), and pumping the reporter for more information then he was getting from me. Apparently, due to the actions of the 3 dozen teleporters that arrived, there were less then a dozen on the ground that died. the people aboard the planes, sadly, died, but overall, we had performed a heroic deed. I had told him the carefully constructed version of truth that Ironhead had briefed me on, which the reporter accepted. I was as much therapy as anything. By 5, I had been kicked out of the bar and was practically carried back up to the room by ironhead.
September 13th, 2001 10:00 AM
I woke up with a headache that could kill a horse-morph. Wow, we really got drunk last night, I thought. Stop thinking so loud. I think the pager went off again. I groaned, and looked at the pager with blearly eyes. Sure enough, it had gone off, with a message requesting my presence at base as soon as possible. I acknowledged the page, and, after getting somewhat cleaned up, 'ported off to the next disaster.
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