Excerpt for Emily Monroe is NOT the Chosen One: Unchosen by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Emily Monroe Is Not The Chosen One: Unchosen

By Erik Schubach

Copyright © 2018 by Erik Schubach

Self publishing

P.O. Box 523

Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026

Cover Photo © 2018 Maxutov / license and Makyzz / license

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, blog, or broadcast.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Manufactured in the United States of America


Chapter 1 – Lightning Bug

I tightened my grip on the spatula in my hand. It had been two days since a bombshell had been dropped on me. That I was the twin sister of Big City's superhero darling, the Chosen One. Just a day before that, I was simply Emily Monroe, night manager here at Big Burger who looked so freakishly like the Chosen One that supervillains regularly attacked me here at work to make a name for themselves. It didn't matter how adamantly I professed that I was NOT the Chosen One.

No... I am not the Chosen One, don't look so skeptical.

I now know that I am just the unintentional leftovers from a secret grand experiment by Big City and Genesis Labs to genetically engineer the perfect superhero, or Prime, to combat the rise of super-powered individuals who chose to use their abilities for nefarious purposes. Supervillains outnumbered superheroes almost three to one in most cities and Big City had been no different until years after the experiment began and the Chosen One finally stepped out into the daylight to combat evil.

I used to hate the Chosen One for looking like me, it had ruined my life. Nobody would hire me for fear that villains would hunt me down and destroy their business because I looked like the city's hero, even though I go through great pains to change my appearance. Dying my blonde hair dark, and changing my eye color, and hoping one day to be able to afford plastic surgery to take more drastic steps.

That was before, but now... I didn't know what to think. I mean, she's my sister. I was the unintentional byproduct, the scum that floated to the top when they made her. They were going to destroy me when I was born when they couldn't detect any power in me. They would have 'terminated' with no second thoughts if it hadn't been for Doctor Maria Aki who had absconded with the bassinet with the EM1-LY342 label affixed to it, and left me at the doors of the Big City Orphanage.

Doctor Aki had been the surrogate who had gestated the experiment and gave birth to the most extraordinary individual... and me. She has been hiding in plain sight from the people running the project, changing her name and running the same Big Burger I worked at. Imagine my shock in learning that the kind woman who hired me when nobody else would, and didn't seem to care that because of who I looked like, her business got trashed every few days, was... my mother, Mrs. Yamamoto.

I'm still trying to process all that I have learned in the last few days. My life isn't what I thought it was. And even my girlfriend and my roommate have their own secrets. Violet, my best friend since our days in the orphanage, has been hiding that she is the city's biggest vigilante superhero, the Blue Canary.

My girlfriend, Agent Heather Sams with Containment, had inadvertently exposed the fact to me that she was one of the three most powerful heroes in the city, Photon. She covertly works in Containment to make sure that anti-powered rhetoric and animosity doesn't corrupt the agency.

The entire Containment force is made up of Norms. Normals are nonpowered individuals, though some powered people use the Zeroes slur instead.

I myself am powered, though I may as well be a Norm for all the good my lame-ass powers do me. I have the capability to change my eye color and the color of my nails. On the Peltier Scale, where zero is unpowered, and fifty is what they call Prime, the most powerful people in the world, I'm a zero point one, the Chosen One is a forty-nine point nine.

I feel bad now, knowing that I'm the reason my sister, Wendy, is not a Prime. When our egg split, I took that tiny bit of power from her. And she can manifest just about any power now, but she cannot change her eye or nail color when she morphs her form.

Heh, just a month ago I would have relished knowing I was the reason the Chosen One was not little Miss Perfect like I thought she was. Now here I am feeling guilty for... well for existing. Just how messed up am I now?

And I'm worried now. My sister, Wendy, hasn't been seen since the night a couple days back when a group of villains had converged on Big Burger to put an end to their nemesis once and for all. After a huge battle that almost leveled the place, we had learned that Mrs. Y was our mother and Wendy flew off.

Nobody has seen her since, and a crime spree has ensued that is keeping Heather and Violet busy almost twenty-four seven to keep Big City safe.

I stepped back, clearing my head and swung my spatula, batting away the small ball of electric potential that Lightning Bug had shot at me. The rubber handle insulating me from the high voltage charge. The errant blast hit the fryer, and the oil burst into flames.

“Awwww man!”

I pointed the kitchen utensil at him menacingly as he rubbed his hands together to build up another charge. Two, three, four. “I told you, you static cling reject, I'm not the Chosen One... and that dumbass beetle suit makes you look like an idiot. Antennae? Really?” Eight, nine...

I dove as another orb of ball lightning whizzed past my head, hitting the grill behind me and dissipating on its broad metal surface.

Ok, ten seconds between recharges, that's a huge window for me. Why do so many supers depend solely on their powers? They think they are unstoppable because of them, they don't think about what happens if someone finds out the limitations of their powers and has no problems being a little more, physical and proactive shall we say?

Where the hell was Containment? I hadn't pressed the button on my ring to call Heather. Photon has been so busy lately, and she needed a rest. This third rate villain could be easily contained by, well, by Containment. I had the new waitress, Jayleen, call Containment after she cleared the dining area of customers.

Normally, Vi would be here drawing the comic books that paid our rent, but she had to run off to the third bank robbery in eighteen hours. Her wondrous nanotech gadgets would have made short work of this ass clown

I started my count again. Two, three... I surprised the man by diving at him as he rubbed his hands together once more. I hauled back with both hands on the handle of the spatula and slapped him across the face with the flat blade of it like I was swinging for the fences. A bright static discharge flashed, and I saw one of his teeth go flying out of his mouth as he spun in place. Home run!

Six, seven... I swung upwards like I was golfing, and with a solid clang, and a yelp from the man, I connected with his... ummm... golf balls as I yelled, “Fore!”

And he was down, whimpering in a fetal position, cupping his junk. I smirked. “That's better. Soprano is more your forte. Here, cool off.” I splashed a pitcher of water on him and watched what little charge he had in his body spark and short.

The fire alarms started screaming, and he started to move, so I kicked him in the face, feeling the satisfying crunch of cartilage as his nose broke. “Stay!”

He looked up from the floor, one hand on his crotch, one on his bloody nose, a front tooth missing, “You brode bye nouse, you bidsh!”

I crouched by him and prodded him with my spatula. “Yes, I did. Do you think it's very smart of you to be calling me a bitch right now?”

He flinched as I patted his cheek with the flat of the spatula.

“Now don't move while I handle this. If you do, you won't have to worry about how much your groin hurts right now, got it?”

He glared at me and nodded.

I backed away and grabbed the fire extinguisher from the wall, pulled the pin, then sprayed the grease fire. It quickly extinguished, and I slammed the big red canister behind me and heard a satisfying clang as it struck Lightning Bug's skull as he tried to dive at me.

I turned and looked at him now holding his swelling eye, one of the stupid antennae now broken and swinging in front of his face. What kind of idiot wakes up one day and thinks, “Hey, I'll dress up like a blue insect, that'll be so cool!”

He scrambled back along the floor until his back was against the grill legs, his hands over his head as I brought the cylinder up, ready to thump him again. I took a moment to mock the jerk who had just shut down Mrs... umm, mom's fast food joint for another night. “Seriously, Larry? What would you have done if I had really been the Chosen One? Your little sparks wouldn't have even tickled her. Idiot.”

He looked up at me, shock on his battered face. I could hear sirens approaching... finally. Then I asked him, “Why so surprised I know your name? You'd be amazed at what you can find on the internet these days. Including a list of villains and their weaknesses.”

I smirked and said like I was reading from a rap sheet, “Lawrence McDougal, aka Lightning Bug. Powers, static discharge, twenty thousand watts. Weaknesses discharges with contact to water or grounding rods. Hand to hand capabilities, average.”

Then I asked as I moved closer to him, grabbing my spatula again, causing him to try to back farther into the legs of the grill. “And when I'm pissed the heck off, I'm a little better than average, wouldn't you say?”

Then the back door burst inwards halfway tearing it off its hinges as Containment agents poured in, weapons all swinging from me to Lightning Bug and back. Big City Police came swarming in from the dining room, weapons all trained on us as well, “Drop the weapon!”

I looked at the officer, then my spatula, and gave him a “Really?” look as he aimed down his assault rifle barrel at me. I held my free hand up and nodded, moved slowly with the spatula over Larry, who winced and I scooped the burning meat patty off the grill and into a waste bucket and let go of the spatula, clasping my fingers behind my head.

This ain't my first rodeo.

Seconds later a Containment Agent was grabbing my hands, placing power dampening faraday cages over them. I could feel the tingle of my fingernails as they went from pretty pink to normal as my power to them was cut off. What was I going to do? Dazzle them to death with sparkly rainbow-colored nails?

The woman pushed her knees against the back of mine, causing me to go to my knees as the police lowered their weapons. I knew that the other Containment Agents wouldn't until... ah, there it is. I squinted one eye at the voice of Special Agent Harmon Asaunt, “What fresh hell do you have for me tonight, Monroe?”

I sighed and said as I looked back at the big agent with his silvering hair and dumb as heck English driving cap, “Oh, you know, the usual Asshat.”

He corrected me reflexively, “Asaunt.”

“That's what I said.”

The man has been the bane of my existence since the first time he tried to arrest me under the vigilante statutes when I had to defend myself against a villain with delusions of grandeur who had attacked me.

Just because I barely register on the Peltier Scale, that makes me a threat in his eyes, and he has been itching to catch me stepping over the line from self-defense, to vigilantism so that he could throw me in some deep dark hole somewhere. Normally, Heather would be beside him, being his partner, reining him in. But she had the day off, trying to catch some well-deserved sleep.

I asked as I wiggled my hands, “Can you do something about these? We all know what happened here, Assburp.”

He looked at me smugly and shook his head as he stepped up and pulled me to my feet, to lead me to the dining area to get a statement. He nudged his chin at Lightning Bug, and his agents swooped down on him like vultures on carrion. I knew Larry would find himself in a power dampening isolation chamber in a few seconds.

The police parted to let us through as the smug agent said innocently, “Oh, but we can't do that until we determine what happened here and be sure that you haven't broken any laws, Miss Monroe. And it's Asaunt.”

“That's what I said.”

Then I looked at him as he had me sit at a booth, him slipping into the other side as he pulled out his small electronic tablet, droning out almost robotically, “So, Miss Monroe, tell me in your own words what transpired here tonight?”

I sighed and began as he had a technician come over with a quantum decay radiometer and a Peltier scanner to determine if I had used powers tonight. Even if I had, it is legal in self-defense against another powered individual, but he liked anything that was a blow to my dignity. We had a pact of mutually assured destruction.

Chapter 2 – Wendy?

I trudged home at the wee hours of the morning, the sun rising over the towering buildings of Big City and casting an orange hue to the wispy clouds in the sky. Harmon had taken his sweet time interrogating me before unlocking the cuffs and letting me free with a warning.

My, umm, mother – I still can't wrap my mind around that, being raised in the orphanage knowing I was just abandoned as a baby – arrived to check up on me. It struck me how mothering she had been all this time and I never saw it. But she has had the concern and worry of a mother for her child since I met her. Now it was clear as day for me.

I know she had placed me at the orphanage to protect me. It had saved my life. But I still felt hurt, abandoned. Probably because I had imagined my entire life that it had somehow all been a misunderstanding, that my birth parents were out there somewhere, looking for me, and that we would be happily reunited one day. But this had been deliberate, and she always knew where I was.

I know I'll get over that small piece of insecurity, knowing what was at stake... my life. But for now, I admit I found having an actual mother something amazing that I never thought I'd ever know.

After she showed up at the restaurant and was satisfied I wasn't injured, she called Big City Insurance. They'll have the place as good as new in twenty-four hours or less, or we'll get a free toaster. Nobody in the history of the insurance company had ever received a toaster, they are that good. I swear there has to be something super about how they accomplish it.

I had to grin when I saw a familiar purple haired girl trudging towards our apartment from the other direction, Violet looked exhausted. If she isn't picking up the slack for the lack of the Chosen One in the skies as the Blue Canary, she's working her butt off drawing comics to meet her deadlines to keep our apartment. She paid a disproportionate amount of our rent as flipping burgers didn't pay well. And I loved the short, purple haired wonder.

She looked up and gave me a grin in greeting then yawned. Aw man! I yawned back, the evil wench. I said as I wrapped an arm around her shoulder and we supported each other up the steps, “Hey Vi.”

She looked up and asked, “Sup?” That, for Vi, was pretty talkative and she could stuff a ton of meaning, accusation, and worry in the single syllable.

I chuckled. “Hey! What's with the fourth degree? Why do you think something happened tonight? Fine, I'm sure you were monitoring the police and Containment bands. Lightning Bug lost his spark. I'm fine.”

She grinned and kissed me on the tip of the nose, and I hugged her to me as we entered out third story walkup. I muttered, “Yeah, love you too, brat.”

We both groaned like zombies, slowly stripping down and leaving trails of clothing to our respective bedrooms. I groaned as I closed my door, and had to smile at the returning groan from her room as I fell face first into my bed.

Just before I hit, the room lit up brilliantly as a bright light phased through my window and onto my bed. My smile grew huge as I landed, not on a soft fluffy mattress, but on my delightfully naked, and smirky girlfriend.

I mumbled into her chest, “Hi Glow Stick, you're supposed to be sleeping.”

She chuckled at me and hugged me to her. “I did, all day, except when I had to fly out to take down Mole Dude around lunch time. I just missed you, and had to see you before I had to show up for my shift at Containment in an hour.”

I inhaled deeply, taking in her scent, linen, and ozone. God, how had I been so lucky to have her choose me? I mean she was so glamorous and was one of the most powerful heroes in Big City. And she actually liked me for me, not because I looked like the Chosen One. I found it oddly validating that she saw me as Emily Marilyn Monroe; don't ask about the name, the administrator of the orphanage when I was dropped off had an unhealthy fascination for Marilyn Monroe. And that my Photon thought that of me, made her all the sexier to me.

I wrapped my arms around her and said, “Me so tired.”

She just nodded and held me, and I could tell by the minor motions I could feel as I was dozing off in her arms that she was checking me out to make sure I wasn't injured. I knew that she would have heard about the incident at Big Burger.

I was just about asleep a few breaths later when there was an almost timid knock on the front door. What the heck? It was six in the morning. The knock sounded again. I huffed in exasperation as I sat up and fished around for some clothes on the floor.

Heather said, “I'll get it.” Then she was a blur of light as she went to the go bag she kept at my place that had her spare business suit for Containment. Then she zinged out to the main room.

I grinned at that as I pulled on a nightshirt and padded after her, Vi was peeking out her bedroom door. I froze halfway to the front door as Heather opened it and she hesitated as well as I asked in disbelief, “Wendy?”

The short, pleasantly plump redhead at the door looked shy and awkward as she looked down at her hands. This was the form my sister morphed into to hide the tall blonde with the cute pixie cut who flew around the city with a cape. Nobody would mistake the girl for the Chosen One, and I envied her that since I didn't have the same blessing.

I moved up to her, she looked scared even as she looked at me and she said in a voice that mirrored mine, “Hi... Emily. Can I... can I stay with you? I have no place else to go.”

I blinked at her. Nobody had seen her since that night at Big Burger when we all learned the truth. She had panicked and flew away when Mrs. Yamamoto... I mean Doctor Aki, mom, whatever, showed up. My sister is super at everything, including panic attacks it seems.

She, wanted to stay here? What was going on? I rushed forward and reached out to grab her hands. “Of course, come on...”

The moment we had skin to skin contact, that's when I was being thrown across the room as an explosion of power tore through me at our contact. Heather was suddenly behind me, about to catch me as her clothes crumpled to the floor. An instant before I hit her like a runaway freight train I stopped, hovering in the air an inch from her, panicking at the thought I could have hurt her if we impacted.

I looked at her then at my hands as I hovered, feeling more powerful than I have ever felt in my life. I looked up to see Wendy, in her true form, staring at me in complete and utter shock. She looked at herself and almost panicked as she became Wendy again... but... her eyes were brown instead of blue. She can't change her eye color. That was the only ability I had that she didn't. That and changing the color of my nails.

Heather gasped out at her, “Wendy. Your eyes. They're brown!”

In a burst of super speed, Wendy was inside closing the door behind her and leaning back against it as she whispered in awe, “I feel... stronger.”

Stronger? But she was at the top of the scale. Well almost, she was a 49.9. How could she be stronger, and how the hell was I flying? I went to go to her and felt like I almost got whiplash as I moved in the blink of an eye in front of her, looking at my hands afraid to touch her again.

Was it... was it because we touched? Is this how she felt all the time? The power was immense and... She was just staring at me, and I felt a little lethargic as my feet touched the floor, and all my senses I hadn't realized had been working overtime as I heard the sound of all of our heartbeats fade back into the background again while Wendy's eyes returned to the crystal blue we shared.

I felt... less than I was a moment before. Aww, maaaaan, whatever happened wasn't permanent. I could have gotten used to that. I asked, “Fut - the - actual - wuck was that?” Looking around at the dumbfounded faces around me. I looked at my sister then backpedaled, holding my hands up. “Umm... I think that maybe, umm, we shouldn't touch.”

I just about jumped out of my skin when Vi rasped out from beside me, “Ya, think?”

I looked at her, in her cute kitten pajamas, holding a mallet the size of a sofa. I chided her with a smirk. “Chatterbox,” as the giant clown mallet reconfigured to a little Hello Kitty watch on her wrist.

Heather got dressed in the blink of an eye, and then her glow faded, leaving her looking just as shocked and dumbfounded as I felt. I had... I had powers like the Chosen One for a few seconds. Just from touching my sister we had somehow shared our powers for a few seconds. But... that's not possible.

Even the Leech didn't really steal powers, his abilities let him mimic powers temporarily while dampening the power he was mimicking in his victim. After he was captured... by Wendy, the authorities studied his powers extensively to determine how they worked. I'm sure they were hoping they could use them to somehow give their own agents powers to make heroes unnecessary.

I scrambled back when Wendy cocked her head, a thoughtful look on her face as she reached out toward me. Crap on a bagel!

She shook her head and said in a voice that wasn't as confident as I would have liked it to be, “No, I think it is ok so long as we don't make skin contact. I saw some power arcing between our hands when it happened.”

Sure, she could be brave, she was indestructible. I... I think I had been indestructible for a few seconds there myself. I closed my eyes tight waiting for that huge shocking influx of power, and she laid a hand on my shoulder. The fabric of the nightshirt preventing our skin from touching... and nothing happened.

I opened one eye and sighed in relief then was gleeping as she pulled me into a hug. I gasped out from the steel coils of her arms, hearing my bones creaking, “Can't... breath.”

Instantly she was five feet away looking panicked, terrified, and concerned. I held a hand out as I took a breath of sweet air. “I'm fine. You just gotta remember your strength...” I hesitated then smiled and added, “Sis.”

She was shy and bashful again, looking like she didn't know what to do or say. I didn't like her being so awkward around me. I went into motion. “Umm... come on in. Of course, you can stay with us.” I looked a question to Vi who smirked and rolled her eyes at me. She was so cool. I loved that she just went with the flow no matter what weirdness life threw at us.

I think that's when Wensy first realized I hadn't opened the door and there were others in the apartment. She sounded more Chosen-y and sure of herself as she straightened and inclined her head toward each woman, “Photon, Blue.”

I had a mini panic attack, Vi had just outed herself in front of the Chosen One, and Violet was wanted for violating the vigilante laws... a few hundred times. But then relaxed, remembering she had already done that the night Big Burger was virtually destroyed by the group of villains who decided to attack me that night.

If Wendy was going to turn her in, she could have done it then, or on the dozens of times the Blue Canary swooped in to help deal with powered villain incidents with the other heroes of the city. Heather, Wendy, Liberty Lady, and the Rocket Speedster always conveniently say that Blue Canary got away after taking down the bad guys.

It is odd, but I think it is the heroes way of rebelling in some little way. They all work for the city in essence since they have to be registered with both the city and containment and be authorized to engage other powered individuals and deliver them to the authorities. Whether that is Containment or the BCPD.

Another little rebellion is that more often than not, they will either leave the bad guys restrained on the streets for whichever agency got there first, or they would drop them off in front of a Big City police station. Only the villains who ranked 25 or more on the Peltier Scale do they deliver directly to Containment, who has the proper means to detain someone of that power level. All of their power dampening equipment is supplied by Genesis Labs, the same people who made Wendy and me.

That equipment worked on supers of up to about 40-45 on the scale, and only weakened those above. Not even that on a Prime, which my sis would be if not for... well for me, ruining the experiment.

I had to know. “Why are you here, Wendy?”

She looked like she didn't know what to do and Heather told her as she lead her to the couch, “Come on, sit.”

Vi moved over to a chair and perched on it like a gargoyle as she studied my sister. “Expending energy?”

Huh? I went to the kitchen to get some water for... heh... for the Chosen One. What? I had no clue what to do and felt awkward, and you'd be just as awkward if a famous person you recently learned was related to you showed up on your doorstep in the middle of the night. Well fine, it is morning, but for those of us on the night shift, it is the middle of the night.

I came back with the glass of water and went to hand it to her, but instead, put it on the coffee table in front of her to avoid any accidental skin contact. As much as I didn't want to do that again, part of me wanted to, amazed at how real powered people felt. Did they always feel so... powerful? Like they could do anything? I was close enough to a Norm to not know.

Heather, who speaks the language of brevity my roommate is a master of, playfully pushed me onto the couch then prompted as she sat on the couch between Wendy and me as a physical buffer so we couldn't touch. “Violet is right, you don't need to wear your disguise around us, Wendy. You're among friends.”

The redhead nodded and bled into her tall, thin form with the adorable blonde pixie cut. “Sorry. Mom... Mrs. Anderson, tells me to stay disguised at all times, even at home.” She looked at her hands, “I usually always know what to do, and what to say, but I don't know anything anymore.”

I opened my mouth and shut it when she continued, “My mom isn't my mom, I was created in a lab... I have a sister. Nothing was ever real.”

She looked between the three of us. “I... I quit. Then mom threw me out when I refused to do what she said and I told her that I didn't want to be the Chosen One anymore, some God damned science experiment. A freak.”

“She told me that if I thought I could live on my own without her, then she was stripping me of my credentials, that I couldn't use my powers to stop villains anymore or I would be branded a vigilante. If I wanted to be normal, then I'd have to live like other normal powered people did, no more Chosen One. She even fired 'Wendy' as her assistant. Something about tough love.”

I blinked. Holy platypus stars and donut holes, they fired the Chosen One! My heart went out to the woman I had hated most of my adult life as she shrugged and looked between Vi and me. “I didn't know where else to go.”

I was just nodding, looking to Violet for her approval as I said, “You always have a place here, Wendy.

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