Archive for the ‘Machine’ Category

Nightmare was constantly prodding at my awareness, trying to keep me lucid.  It was helping me more than I would like to admit.

Then again I was almost paralysed with pain and possibly dying so I had no real reason to complain about the guy making sure I wasn’t going to fall into a coma, or worse.

The hallway was changing as we progressed down it, occasionally breaking down a wall or two.  The face worked as a shield and protected us from the debris that came down as we essentially ploughed through a building.

“Hold on, we have some disturbance here.”

I moved a little to try and see ahead of us from behind the shield and regretted it instantly.  It was apparent that my burned skin did not like to even have a gentle breeze over it.

I winced and moved to hold my side but stopped.  I could see the disturbance.

The hallway condensed a little as a small but obvious black pinprick hovered in the air, creating a clear event horizon around it that blocked the hall.  It looked like a wormhole.

“Dead Metal, be prepared to back up,”  Nightmare said.  He dropped his act and was more focused now, even his voice was a little changed.  “I don’t like the look of that thing.  We’ll have to go around and hope it isn’t hostile.”

Just before our ride reversed the wormhole un-collapsed and an almost entirely black silhouette of a man unfolded so that he was standing in the hallway.  He wasn’t entirely black, as he looked more like an empty spot in the world.  He had stars and galaxies cover him in the way the sky would be covered, and as I moved my head, wincing I could see that the stars changed depending on his position.  He was what I would be looking at if the earth and the sky wasn’t there, a living window into space.

Nightmare grunted in irritation.  “Dead Metal?”

Wordlessly, Dead Metal fired something at the Wormhole making man before us.  He recollapsed and took the hit in his black hole form, then decompressed.  The rocket was growing smaller inside him.  I smirked internally, I was right to assume he was a wormhole.

He charged right at us.

“Back up, back up!”

Dead Metal followed Nightmare’s order and moved into reverse immediately, stopping the patient from closing the gap as he tried to approach.

It was no use.  We were losing the ground we covered.  I tugged on Nightmare’s shoulder.

“I’ll counter him,”  I said weakly, at the limits of staying awake.

Nightmare looked at me, studying my resolve with a gaze.  Whatever face I was making was good enough, because he nodded.

“Dead Metal, Stop.  Our new friend would like to aid us on our quest.”

The vehicle stopped, and the patient who I’ve dubbed Wormhole followed. He cocked his head to the side and shrunk down, pulling pebbles of rubble into himself.

I slowly hopped off and limped to Wormhole.  I knew his power, he was functioning as a one way trip to outer space.  One that I wasn’t going on.

I reached my range and the Wormhole folded in on itself before vanishing.  No distortion of light, no nothing.  Wormhole was gone as soon as I walked towards him.

A brief thought of an absolutely normal person floating in the middle of space flashed in my mind, and I nearly fell over.

Nightmare caught me.

“That was interesting, pray tell us how you were able to defeat such a man without touching him?”

“I stop powers from… From working,” I explained, my breathing even heavier.

Nightmare nodded and dragged me back  onto Dead Metal’s vehicle.  I wondered why there aren’t any seats since I was essentially laying on the top of the hood of a very, very small tank.

And it was very, very painful.  Every jolt, every bit of rubble we drove over and every wall we crashed into was distracting.

Now that I thought about it, this facility was improbably large for psychiatric uses, even if many of the patients had powers.

“It’s taking a while,”  I said to Nightmare.  He nodded at that, glad that I’m making an effort to stay awake.

“This building has a unique feature dwelling within it’s walls,”  he said.  “It is larger than it appears.”

“I guess it has to be, with people like Wendigo,”  I paused for breath. “And the Wormhole guy back there.”

“Indeed, my boy.”

We got closer to Samantha.  The walls were fading into a skin like colour, the sharpness of the corners disappearing.  An eye opened up on the ceiling, looking at us as we drove by.

Even the cells and doors changed, exactly like last time.  The rooms filled with stomach acid, trying to digest the occupants.

The only problem was that most of the occupants were trained for this and the rest had powers.  We stopped again.

The ground became too soft, too fleshy.  We were caught in a puddle of blood, piss and flesh.  The tracks only ripped away more skin at the ground and let it bleed even more.

“Unfortunate,”  grumbled Nightmare.  “Dead Metal, this ground is too dangerous, we-”

“It’s safe-ish,”  I said, stumbling of and yelling in pain on my soft landing.  “Fuck!  It’s fine.  Samantha’s doing this.”

“I see,”  replied Nightmare, walking around the vehicle.  Dead Metal popped out of the hatch.  “I can see why she could help your predicament, with this… power.”

That, and if I was going to die, I want to at least say goodbye to somebody.  I’d have chosen Michael or Ricky or Derek or Maxine any day, or even Ellen if she wasn’t…

Right now, I only have Samantha.

I was braced against Nightmare, struggling down the putrid halls.  I could see fights of all types and hear them.  The rumbling and burning of flesh, Wendigo laughing as he snuck down a hallway, freezing three guards who had guns levelled at him.  The last one tried to get out the way too late and his foot broke off with the momentum.  He fell like a statue.

Luckily, Wendigo was too obsessed over his own art to notice us, and turned into the corner behind the three guards.

Metal spikes erupted from the floor, puncturing a converted pipe that began to leak fecal matter.

“C’est -”  Nightmare muttered something but I didn’t quite catch it.  It sounded foreign.  French?

It didn’t matter.  He picked up the pace as we got to more patients and guards.  This time it was one former patient protecting a few guards from a second.

The second patient walked away without a fight once one of the guards stepped forwards.  Lovecraft.

Now that I think about it, Lovecraft wasn’t a common name at all.  Was she a metahuman, too?

“So any clue on your friends location?”  asked Nightmare.

“She was in her cell last time,”  I said, grunting as I stepped into a softer bit of the flesh floor.  “She’ll be in one this time too.  Suspended in a cocoon.”

Nightmare nodded.  “Dead Metal, Check the cel-”

“No,”  I blurted out.  “She makes things, traps.  bone spike pits, drowning pits, even guards.  I’ll guide you.”

Dead Metal looked up at Nightmare, then me.  An unspoken agreement was made and Nightmare dragged me to the cells from the hallway.

We took a pause every two or three cells to look around for anyone who would attack us – be it the staff or the numerous powered and clearly insane patients – as we progressed from cell to cell.  We eventually saw our first womb room.

Dead Metal stepped forwards.

“Be careful,”  I said, making her pause mid step.  “She makes guards.”

Just as she was about to resume I saw Firespitter run around the corner, screaming.  He was back up.

Nightmare gracefully swerved us out of the way as he fired a flaming ball of liquid at us from his trunk.  It went wide and I turned to look at what he fired at.

Two Fingerfaces stood nearby.  Dammit.

“Nightmare, let me go!”

He complied, and charged Firespitter before stopping.  A wall of icicles sprouted from the ground.

Wendigo must have been Firespitter’s ally.  No wonder he left me for dead, I thought.

One of the Fingerfaces charged, pointing with many indexes, middles and rings.  I was weaker than last time; I didn’t have a knife.

Still, I had to fight.  Hands outreached, no less than fifty small fingers stretched like tentacles of a squid.  I stepped to the side, grabbed at the shoulder and put my foot out.

Momentum guided it into the door.  A door that was lined with spiked of bone, leaning outwards.

The second Fingerface wasn’t as stupid, and tackled me as the first died.  I landed on my good side, but it hit me in my burned hip.

I screamed out and punched its head repeatedly.  Four, five, six times.  No use.

I shot a brief glance up.

Wendigo and Firespitter were a team with surprising synergy.  They created impassible terrain each time they attacked anyone and missed, they always created splash damage, and most importantly, they were able to fire nearly constantly together.  They did so perfectly.  Wendigo freezing ground, launching icicles.  Firespitter lobbing balls of flame, burning the flesh on the ground.

Nightmare and Dead Metal were already separated, with Firespitter and Wendigo creating a deep gash of fire and ice in the middle of the hallway.

That’s when the Belching Screamer threw up over them from an upper walkway.

I could hear the anger from Firespitter, covered in something that was purely rancid.  “Dammit.”

He wiped some off of his clothes with his hand.  Then he saw that it was eating through the cloth.

“Wendigo, Freeze me!”

Wendigo turned and Nightmare tackled him down in the short time he exposed himself.  Firespitter shot a blast out as Nightmare tumbled, holding onto Wendigo.  Wendigo took the brunt of the blast.

Nightmare then kicked Wendigo back as a maw opened in the few unburned and unfrozen patches of floor.  It ate Wendigo as he stumbled, then froze.

Firespitter was already gone by the time I turned to look at him.  His clothing was discarded, burning from chemicals.

“This reminds me of our employer,”  remarked Nightmare, patting out a small singe in his clothing as he stood up and walked over to me.

The Fingerface stopped moving and was mostly limp now, but it still held onto me and I struggled to shove it off.

“Dammit,”  I muttered.  “I’m here for Samantha.”

It looked up.

A second later it let go and got up.

“Where is she?” I asked.

It pointed at where the Belching Screamer was.

Okay.  She was on the second floor.

I could meet her.  Then I can deal with Trauma.


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11 | 3 : Machine

Posted: 11/27/2014 in Machine
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If I didn’t get out of this hunk of Ice, I’ll die.  I knew that.  The frozen flames affixed me to the spot, and I coud barely move at all, however.  A part of me curses my lack of thinking.  I should have gotten up and away instead of letting Firespitter attack, even if I thought I knew how his powers worked.

Still, I have priorities right now.


“Yes?” he answered.

“I’m just-t if you c-could f-f-free me?” I asked him.  I think I lost a few words and my teeth were chattering like crazy, but I think he got the message.

He pondered the request for a few moments, then walked around behind me.  I was freezing, and in pain.  The fires that thoroughly wrapped themselves around my body were frozen solid and my burns were being licked by ice.

“No, you look fine where you are, American boy.”

God damn it.

He walked off and as soon as he was out of range of my hearing (which I admit wasn’t clear due to all the rumbling and scraping of metal) I redoubled my efforts to not freeze to death.

No use.  My only hope was somebody less crazy decided to help me, which was unlikely with the emptyness of the hallway.  Just me and Wiles.

The metal sound grew louder to deafening levels, prompting a moment of panic.  I imagined a giant monster of metal rampaging down the hall, shattering Wiles’ corpse and crushing me with the ice.

I could hear the thumping grow louder, and a metallic roar.  I closed my eyes as the walls broke apart under the force of something not at all human.


The ice around me was broken, but I lived.  I was actually laying down, and a combination of a human face and a small tank made from scrap looked at me.

“We came to pick you up instead, since you were unable to contact us.”

The voice of my saviour walked out from behind the vehicle and looked at me.  He was dressed in all black. Black cloak, black shoes, black trousers, black mask, black hat.  Even the cane in his right hand was black.

Corvus,  I thought.  He looked exactly like him, but without the bird theme.

I nearly threw up.

“Hey,”  he said, running over to me.   “Are you alright? You seemed to have a close encounter with two nasty extremes, my boy.”

I waved him off with my right arm and grimaced as the pain came back.

“Let go!”  I said.

The man in black took a step back.

I asked two questions.  “Who are you?  Why are you after me?”

The man and black took a bow, removing his top hat and giving an exaggerated bow.

“I am known and revered as the mighty and powerful Nightmare, my boy,”  he said.  I shot him a look that was a mix of ‘that’s not a name anyone good would use’ and ‘why do I attract the people who go all out with the crazy’.

“Fret not!  I am here to assist you!”

I held out a hand.  I needed an ally right now,  and Sacrifice was probably pre-occupied with both the guards and other patients until I can find her.  That, and the only patients I’ve seen so far have been hostile. One tried to kill me and another left me for dead.

Nightmare took it and pulled me up, painfully.

“You seem hurt, dear boy.”

“For a friend, you don’t use names much,”  I said as I limped towards the vehicle.  “You never even asked m- ahh.”

Pain from my body didn’t even let me finish my sentence.  I keeled over and grabbed the metal face with my good hand, shaking in agony.

“Dead Metal, we need to take the boy and find someone who can procure medical assistance!”

A hatch on the vehicle opened up and a young girl clawed her way out.  She was wearing a dress that was stained with oil and grease.

It hit me.  These two are from the nightmare I had.

Dead Metal looked at me from her metal mask that covered her face.  The mask itself had the appearance of an older, more feminine woman.

Nightmare picked me up by my good side.

“Anything you wish to do before we leave?”

This was it.  I could see Samantha.

“There’s a friend here,”  I panted out.  “Want to see her.”

Nightmare nodded as Dead Metal jumped back into the vehicle, and after her hatch closed it began to move again, tearing through walls like they were paper as it turned and drove down the hallway.

The same direction as Wendigo ran, I noticed.

“There is a lot of regenerative and organic based power holders this way, my boy.”

I didn’t want to talk, I was in too much pain from being both burned and frozen in the span of a minute.  I wonder if any of the guards had those two patients attack them?

No.  It’s not working.

I groaned as the vehicle jolted, irritating my burned side, and by irritating I mean agonizing.  I seriously was going to die soon without medical help.

Nightmare thankfully noticed my situation as we rode the vehicle, protected by the giant metal face acting as a shield.  “Stay awake and talk to me, boy.”

“There’s a person,”  I mumbled.  “Samantha, she’ll help.”

“Are you sure?  I don’t want you to die without seeing your friend because you thought somebody can heal you,”  Nightmare said with obvious concern.

“The healer…”  I paused to catch a shallow breath.  “…my friend.”

Nightmare gave a curious look, before getting it.  “I see.  And your friend’s other name, perhaps?”

I didn’t want to say.  He wouldn’t understand that Sacrifice was good now, or at least trying.  She wasn’t evil from the start, it was all Taker’s fault.  He manipulated her, and the rest into thinking it was their idea.  He used his powers to control them like puppets, to do everything while he sat on the sidelines and saw her worm her way into a worse and worse fate, and then when he found the chance he spent three years getting slow and painful revenge on her every day for some perceived slight.

“… I can’t say.”

Nightmare nodded.  “I understand.  She didn’t get one.”

I was about to correct him, but I didn’t.  I just hoped that he wasn’t going to get mad.

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11 | 2 : Machine

Posted: 11/25/2014 in Machine
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Talking to or even having a chance of seeing Samantha would be hard.  I was a recent allowance into the facility, with powers that interfered with other patients.  Patients who could become unpredictable if their powers were suddenly revoked and returned due to my presence.

“Ryan, Dr. Wiles is here to see you,”  said a guard.  The door opened up anyway, letting the therapist in.

“Thank you Lovecraft,”  said Dr. Wiles as the guard closed he door behind him.

He sat down on a chair.

“It’ll be pretty hard at first,”  he said softly.  “I don’t think you’ll truly get used to it here.”

I didn’t react to him.

“You know, you’ve seem to have come about a change from our last conversation.  Was it something I said?”

I almost said something.  He sighed and put the clip holder down on his lap.


“Yes,”  I replied.

“We can’t undergo treatment if you are unwilling,”  Dr. Wiles said.

“Doesn’t matter.  You can’t treat me anyway, didn’t you already say that?”  I asked with irritation seeping into my voice.

Dr Wiles smiled and sat back.


“We recently employed a long range psychic, Ryan.  Normally he’d be unavailable due to checks and procedures to make sure he’s not doing stuff, but we’ve found the limits of his power along with other things and concluded that he’s fit to work on cases like yours,”  Dr Wiles explained.  “He’ll be arriving tomorrow to see if there are any imprints from Taker.”

“…If you can’t find any?”  I asked.

“Well, if we can’t find any obvious markers, that’s how things go.  It is unlikely that your terms of confinement will change because of the results of the test.”

I nodded approval.  I also felt stifled.  Ever since the Hunting Party came, I’d spent a significant amount of time talking to professionals in fields I didn’t care for.  If anything, I began to miss the education I was supposed to have.  Nobody mentioned it at all, yet.  I wanted to ask why, but that was on the back burner.

It wasn’t like I’d ever really retain some normalcy in my life, anyway.  All my living friends were either in the Junior Group or Villains.  The conversation ended with relief, relief that was put at the back of my mind.  I had more pressing issues to deal with and I was sticking to them.

A soft rumble filled the air.  Something I didn’t expect.  Maybe somebody’s powers were acting up?

I got off the chair I was in and so did Wiles.  We looked at each other.

“What was that?”  I asked.

He smiled and patted me on a shoulder.  “It’s most likely a patient acting up.  Don’t worry about it. You’ll most likely be fine.”

I shrugged.  I was technically the safest person here who didn’t have super strength of some sort.

“So…” I said, sitting back down as a second, louder rumble hit.  “You want to leave or stay?”

Footsteps, shouting.

Wiles shook his head, tense.  There was too much noise for this to be anything but trouble.  How many powers here, all under their own forms of confinement?  What happens if something sets them off, makes them react?

How dangerous is this situation? I could still hear the panicked guards as-

Wiles jumped off his seat and away from me in fright.

“Ryan, the wall beside you!”

I could already feel it, the heat.  Something was melting the wall, and then it stopped.  I guessed a melting touch, and I was correct.

“I figured it out, he won’t be able to attack.”

Wiles face turned from worry to anger and then a mix of both pity and panic.

“No you idiot!  That patient spits a flaming oil!”

I felt an intense burning as he said that.  I was hit dead on, almost my entire right side covered.  I didn’t even have a chance to get up.

“Fuck! Argh!”

I got up and grabbed the back of the chair, turning while I was still on fire.  Wiles already backed up as far as he could, in the doorway.

My attacker was the next cell over.  He was climbing through the cell, his face partially masked by something that should have stopped him spitting whatever it was.  The tube that extracted the source of his powers was ripped out, hanging off his face like a trunk.  He was looking through the hole and tried to climb through.

Tried. I knocked him out with a swing of the chair to his face.  More liquid poured out the mask and ignited the floor.

I dropped the chair since the fires consuming me partially were obscuring my vision and the pain was beginning to show.  It landed in the pool and ignited.  A grim sight.

I turned and saw Wiles already opened the door, and was looking at me.  A rumbling crash filled the air.

“Fuck,” I said, feeling the flames burn me.  I was going to be disfigured by the end of this; that was a fact.

I ran out the room, taking my clothes off and screaming incoherently as the pain reached breaking point before the hallway turned white and I felt a new kind of agony; cold.

The flames that hugged by body were ice, and I was frozen to the floor.

I couldn’t even scream any more.  My breath was taken away by the cold, the ice crushing my naked chest.

“Hey,”  said a voice.  “You are new, right?”

I couldn’t see who it was.  I knew it was a guy by the voice however.

A tear leaked from my face.  Tears of pain.

“Wait, how’d your ears not get frozen?”

The cold was distracting me.  How I was still awake was a mystery.

Still, I shivered out my response.  “Nu-nu-null-lific-ca-ca-cation.”

He was blue, head to toe. His eyes, the whites in them, his hair, his teeth, his skin.  All blue.  I looked to mt left, where Wiles was.  He was dead. Frozen mid step as he tried to run away, as the frost and stiffness of his body could tell me.

The man with the freezing powers stood before me, before looking into my cell behind me and back at my face.

“Wow,” he smiled.  “You got Firespitter.”

I blinked, the cold was driving me crazy.

“I’m Wendigo.”


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11 | 1 : Machine

Posted: 10/22/2014 in Machine
Tags: , ,

An hour later and everyone was saved.  Forget-me-not was detained and NHN agents were called to take her away.  The town still had resentment to what the mayor easily described as “a false product”, and the schedule was altered but no casualties were created.

However, I’d gotten in trouble.

Alliance, Aim and Vortex were the agents sent to take Forget-me-not, and Alliance was not happy at how I handled the situation.  I can understand that.

“…sing NHN agents as hostages the a reckless and irresponsible move, Ryan!”  Alliance finished.

I didn’t quite catch that, but I understood the point he was making.

“We’ve been bending our backs trying to help you, and you not only take advantage of it, but do something like this?  Hold on, let me list what we’ve done for you.  The Sacrifice situation;  you  and I agree on that, she’s unfit for trial.  The war incident three years ago is still yet to be resolved, but until today we were looking at an official pardon for you!”

He was flustered.  I didn’t say a thing.

“Finally, there is the three villages project and the Expedition.  You’ve already fucked up this by doing the worst thing ever, and now I’m seriously considering cancelling your partic- no.  I’m considering heading to the board to incarcerate you.”

I didn’t answer to his comments.  Somehow, the only thing that was going through my head was the fact I hadn’t done the worst thing. I could have pressed the button at any time.

“Tell me why I shouldn’t?” Alliance asked, his tone more calm now.

“There isn’t,”  I replied.  “I don’t have a reason or an excuse, sir.”

“Then why do it?”

I thought, opened my mouth to speak, closed it and tried again.  Nothing.

“I… I don’t have a reason.”

“Ryan,”  I could hear the fatigue draining in the sigh that followed my name.  “This is the sort of thing that we were worried about,”  said Alliance.

I had a clue what he meant.  The masked man looked unlike his PR photos;  he was tired here, not triumphant.  There were no mounds to stand on with his short cape flowing behind him, no babies to hold.

“I’m not a sleeper agent,”  I said.  “I’m not.”

Alliance took a breath.  “Then what are you, Ryan?”

I didn’t say anything, which was worse than what I could have said.  I guess I fucked up again.


Alliance… Didn’t do anything.  I don’t know why.  I was taken off the expedition team and sent away for rehabilitation.  There was a risk, they said.  They already were worried that I was a sleeper agent, and the distinctive scar on my chest isn’t helping.  That and my almost murder of seven people.

I wished I was.  Then everything could be explained away and it would all be normal, I’d be back as me.  I could actually grieve over my parents without feeling like it’s a hollow chore, or I could face Michael and Ri- No.

No.  I’m just hiding behind my faults again.

I sighed and slumped back in my chair.  Jackson Correctional Facility had a few staff, but the wait for one to see me was getting irritating.  After shifting my position again, almost getting out of my seat the door opened and somebody finally came in.

“Apologies for the wait Mr Anderson, one of the patients was acting dangerously.”

I thought about spreading my power, but didn’t.

The staff member was a guy with short hair.  His uniform was reminiscent of the scrubs surgeons wear than a trained ward.

“Hey,”  I said.

He sat down, opposite me.  The folder was thin, but I knew what it had.  I’d grown accustomed to seeing my existence held on a clipboard or file.

“It seems as though you were doing fine up until recently,”  he said, clicking a pen and pulling out a notepad.

“Things don’t go perfectly,”  I responded.

“You are right, but that’s still understating what you did.”

Some part of me thought it was amusing how the NHN were so negligent at some things and so strict with others.  Maybe that’s the result of government sponsorship?  Maybe the fact that the army, the police force and many other government institutions felt as though capes were taking over, the only supported avenue was crippled in very specific places?

Actually, nevermind that, I’m here for a reason.

“Can we get to the important part…”  I left my sentence hanging, prompting his name.

“Dr. Wiles.  Call me Dr. Wiles.”

“Okay, I can do that,”  I said.

“Okay.  You understand why you are here right?”

I understood clearly.  Even if I didn’t want to admit it, every now and then thoughts would pop up, asking me questions.  Why don’t I tell them about why I have the scar on my chest?  I ask myself.  Why do I neglect to tell anyone that New Austin will open up soon?

“Because I’m a sleeper agent,”  I finally admitted.  “I’ve got something in my head that’s hiding away, and it’s subtle enough that I don’t notice it.  There are these rules and commands I’m following, but not hearing.”

Dr. Wiles nodded at me to continue, writing down what I said on the notepad.

“I um…  I guess I had an idea, but I put it off.  I didn’t think about it, or avoided the subject.”

“You didn’t want to consider the idea?”  Dr. Wiles clarified.

“I still don’t,”  I responded.  “The idea that he still has a hold over me, I don’t…”

The words drifted off and out of my mind.  Dammit.

“What can you do?”  I finally asked after a long silence.

Dr. Wiles was stoic.  “With your powers?  Nothing legal.”

Ah.  My awareness.  Taker bypassed that, and I can’t nullify it while being aware due to the fact he’s not easily accessible.  Any mind tinkering that they’d do here is a no go, due to the fact that my required consent means I’d be aware for the most part.

No, that’s not right, I still have range limits, right?

“What do you mean?  I still have range limits on my powers, right? Just create a distance?”

“We’ve actually tried accessing your mind already.  It seems Taker has specialities in creating nearly impossible to remove psychic suggestions, not without his help, or help from…”  He caused to consider his next words.  “More dangerous sources of aid.”

“There’s nothing, right?”

“We are trying to trigger it in a controlled environment. Most sleeper agent triggers are built around one time activations, especially when the victim is unaware they exist.”

I was dumbfounded. “You’re saying what I need to do is actually set it off?”  I asked.

“No,”  Dr. Wiled answered.  “We need to set it off, in a place you cannot do harm.”

“How long would that take?”  I asked, taking my hands off my chest and putting them on the table.

“It could take years.”

I looked away and smirked.  “Damn,”  I said.

Dr. Wiles gave a nod and left, gesturing to let me leave the room and collect my stuff.  I was thinking of leaving the building and fixing myself the fast way, but there are things that need to happen first.

I need to see Samantha.

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