Toxic Asset – Prologue

Spring 2025, Three Hundred Miles Above North America

Three hundred miles above the planet, Lightningirl and I floated as the Earth lazily rotated below us. Blue oceans, green and brown land, gentle wisps of white clouds.

Beautiful. Tranquil. Serene.

Lightningirl actually likes it up here. It doesn’t feel like flying, and the Earth is so far below that any fear of heights is… is… Well, you could certainly be afraid of heights up here, the perspective is dizzying, but it doesn’t feel like flying, which is why she enjoys it.

It is also peaceful, intensely so. And I needed peace. While we were up here, I didn’t have to deal with my problems down below. I didn’t have to delve further into my story which was growing harder to tell, and I didn’t have to deal with our current isolation in the high desert of Arizona.

“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” I signed to her, in an attempt to distract myself from my souring mood. With her coruscating electrical form she looked like a goddess floating there with the inky black of space above her and our planet below.

She smiled and beckoned with her electrical hand for me to come closer. “Come on over here, big boy, and I’ll tell you,” she signed.

In the early days, a little past the story I am telling you, we both learned a modified version of American Sign Language. It was actually the military’s idea. If we were going to be in situations where we couldn’t talk, or we needed to do so covertly, then sign language made sense.

We had drifted a few yards apart, so I jetted myself over to her. I overshot it a bit and ended up running into her. She grabbed me and we spun, intertwined, for a bit before I arrested our motion.

Our bodies did their energy exchange. Electricity flowing from her to me in the form of tiny tendrils of blue-white energy, while neutronic energy flowed from me to her in yellow tendrils.

Up here, it’s me feeding her energy, not the other way around. We were above the atmosphere, and I could receive solar radiation at full strength. It wasn’t the same as sitting inside a nuclear reactor, but it was nice.

As the Earth slowly rotated below and the sun shone above, I kissed her.

Kissing in our q-morph forms is… well, it’s different than kissing in the flesh. It is sharp and insistent. It is strong and passionate. It is not entirely comfortable. But then again, with our bodies that close, that entwined, our energies flowing, the entire feeling is sharp and insistent and passionate.

After a time (I’m not sure how long, but not long enough), Lightningirl pushed me away. I could see the concern on her face. “Is the tank full?” she signed. “We should get back down to reality at some point.”

I hesitated. My tank was full—we had been up here close to a day, and North America was underneath us again—but I didn’t want to go back to reality. I wanted to stay up here with my superhero wife where it’s peaceful.

“Tank is full,” I signed.

“You ready?”


She smiled. It was kind and gentle. I could feel the crisis brewing, though. This life of isolation was wearing on me. Writing our story was, admittedly, helping, but I was beginning to think it wasn’t going to be enough. “We should go,” she signed. “The longer they wait, the more upset they will be.”

I nodded. “And they will be waiting.”

I took her back in my arms and we slowly made our way down to the Earth.

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