Author: David Dezell Turner

Dr. Kayla Geiger braced herself outside the examination room. She knew there wouldn’t be a superhero in there — at least, not a real one, like Venator or Centuria. Still, that didn’t make it any less infuriating every time she had to swab the throat of an old lady with a malfunctioning telescopic neck or give a toddler with hypercorrosive mucus a tonsillectomy.

Her sister had only been a doctor for two years, but somehow she was already giving Venator post-battle physical therapy and overseeing the surgery to remove deadly ocassite from Centuria’s spine, all while declining interview requests from Paragons Magazine and Good Morning Bentham City. That’s how things always were with Katherine Geiger, Hero of Heroes. Everyone’s favorite Geiger sister.

Sitting on the exam room table was a massive glowing bubble, inside of which was a terrified young girl in a poodle skirt. Kayla sighed. This was the ninth patient stuck in their own force field this week.

“Take magnefexadrin,” Kayla said curtly, already writing the prescription note. “Force field should be back to normal by—”

“Wait,” the girl interrupted. “Something strange happens when I run.”

Kayla gestured for her to continue.

“So my sister and I were at the end of the sidewalk, and I said, ‘Last one home’s a rotten egg!’ and I took off. I got to the house, but it suddenly looked old and run-down, and there was another family inside.” She cast her eyes down. “I still can’t find Mom, Dad, or my sister.”

Kayla smirked. If only she were so lucky.

“And the world is weird now,” the girl continued. “I’m stuck in this bubble. And everything looks like a scene from Buck Rogers. And your calendar says 2023.”

Kayla’s brow furrowed. “What else would it say?”

The girl crossed her arms. “I’m not dumb. I know it’s 1955.”

Kayla laughed. Dealing with a delusional patient was a nice change of pace. She scanned the girl’s medical records for psychiatric disorders. Instead, the listed birth date caught her eye: May 11, 1943.

“1955, you said?” Kayla questioned.

The girl nodded.

“And you ran for, what, a minute?”

She nodded again, looking increasingly concerned.

Kayla scribbled a series of equations on the back of the prescription note. To experience 68 years in one minute, a person would have to travel at 99.99999999999996% of the speed of light. Even Crimson Cheetah wasn’t that fast. It was impossible, unless… of course! The girl was literally trapped in her own bubble of spacetime. Theoretically, as long as she could accelerate, there was no limit on how fast she could go. If she could run even a micrometer per second faster, causality would break down, and she’d be running back in time.

Kayla chuckled. Katherine didn’t have a physics degree. She would’ve been way out of her depth here, for once.

“I want to go home,” the girl said, her voice quivering.

This was Kayla’s chance to be a bigger hero than Katherine ever was. She could help this girl learn to control her powers before they could cause any more harm. And in the process, if Kayla happened to figure out how to reverse-engineer the girl’s powers and create a timeline where Katherine never existed… well, there could certainly be no harm in that.

“Sweetie,” Kayla cooed in her best kindergarten teacher voice, “how about we try to run even faster?”