Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Microstory 158: Ceres Concordia

Click here for the list of every Bellevue Profile.

The fact that Ceres Concordia was born with a laughable name didn’t stop her from being an exquisite specimen. Though her outward appearance looked standard human, her body was radically different, technically allowing her to be classified as a mutant. She was born with two copies of each organ, with each one in a pair fully capable of sustaining her on its own. If one is damaged, the other will take over without missing a beat, while it’s flushed out and replaced. All of Ceres’ bones, muscles, skin, and other tissue are far superior to that of anyone else’s, making her physically stronger than anyone. Her body won’t heal as quickly as Dores Roach can heal others, but still faster than normal. She has multiple miniature brains throughout her body to spread around the danger. Though this has never been tested, it is assumed that severing her head from her body would not necessarily result in her death, and that what was left of her would be able to repair itself completely. Upon discovering her mutations following a kitchen knife wound that healed too quickly, Ceres’ doctors broke confidentiality and alerted the government. She was forced to flee the country with her father while her mother threw their pursuers off the trail. She remained on the move for years until Bellevue came out to the public, and fittingly joined the program around the same time as the other mutants. Because she spent much of her time on the run, she wasn’t given the opportunity to learn a skill, but she was in peak physical condition, and so she worked with Drummond Breckenridge in the physical fitness department.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Microstory 157: Cambrio Yates

There are a few different kinds of memory. Semantic memory includes the things you know about the world around you, regardless of the means you took to learn them. This helps you recognize what a car is, or what planet we’re on, or that you’re a human. Episodic memory refers to everything that you have experienced; all the events in your life. Cases of amnesia are usually portrayed as affecting episodic memory (i.e. memories) but leave semantic memory alone, so that you’re not freaked out by the “first time” you see an airplane. Finally, procedural memory handles task that you are familiar with performing. It’s commonly known as muscle memory. You don’t actively concentrate on driving a vehicle. You’ve done it so much that it’s become second nature, and your body handles it on its own. Whereas Dathan Shapiro simply had a more robust memory system, Cambrio Yates had the ability to manipulate the functions of his own brain; primarily, but not limited to, memory. He was born with a sort of second brain that he likes to call the governor. It maintains control over the rest of his brain, and will revert his mind to its standard settings as needed. Though Cambrio is capable of having 100% recall of everything he’s ever experienced or learned, he can also delete information and suppress function at will. He’s been known to play around with his own brain, making himself blind, or temporarily hiding all semantic memory, so that everything he encounters feels completely unfamiliar. He’s watched movies for the first time multiple times, and even read books with his eyes closed by taking mental photographs of the pages in rapid succession, and then recalling the words gradually. His brother, Fraser could do the same things as him, but with other people. Cambrio encouraged him to experiment and practice his gift, but he was always very reluctant. Still, Fraser listened to his brother, and tried a few things out, and it got him killed. Cambrio blamed himself for his brother’s murder, and so he permanently deleted the traumatic memory from his brain, careful to leave himself with the knowledge that he should never attempt to remember.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Microstory 156: Ambrose Richardson

Click here for the list of every Bellevue Profile.

Ambrose Richardson was born as a meta-anomaly, capable of manipulating the abilities of others. Though his primary ability could not present itself until being around another anomaly, he found himself early on being drawn to the others, and was innately aware of his condition. The more anomalies that congregated, the stronger his attraction to their location. But Ambrose was a shy and quiet person and always kept his distance, choosing only to observe. If he advanced close enough, they would feel his presence, and grow stronger for it, but they would not understand why. He watched the early discussions of Freeman, Gus, Diane, Cosmo, Peyton, and Kiel. He saw Don and Valary introduce themselves to Hosanna. And he witnessed one of the many meetings between Denton, Dathan, and Ling. He was even one of the six members of the infamous Botanical Gardens painting, and had accidentally fueled the incident. But there was one spot he feared. He felt the strongest pull towards towards the center of Usonia in Lebanon, Kansas. He knew only one anomaly was there, but the urge to go was almost inescapable, and it was for that reason that he exerted great effort in subverting it. Then the focal point of his attraction began to move. He tried to outrun it, but was unable to. It seemed to be drawn to him just as powerfully, and eventually caught up with him. He was relieved to discover the nature of The Keystone, but still reluctant to remain near her. She explained that his ability would be important to their kind one day, but that he was smart to stay away from those he encountered. He could enhance other people’s abilities, allow anomalies to share amongst each other, and even give certain normal humans their own abilities. And this made him unavoidably dangerous. Though he was integral in the early stages of Bellevue, they made the decision to keep him secret from everyone at first. He and the Keystone didn’t want to interfere with the recruits at that level until they had all learned to control them as they were.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 18, 2042

Click here for the 2015 table of contents.

Harrison was assigned to remain with Mateo and Leona indefinitely, which he seemed to have no problem with. He gave the impression that he had grown as impatient with Ulinthra as they had just from five minutes of speaking with her. Last year, he interfaced with the aircraft, tinted the windows, and flew them to Iceland. They spent the rest of the day there as tourists. Harrison remained firmly in position inside of a secret cave for the entire year until they returned and woke from sleep.
“That was a nice vacation,” Mateo said.
“Harrison. Status report.”
“The whereabouts of your family is currently unknown. They have theoretically managed to evade detection for years now. Ulinthra has evidently suffered from a crisis of conscience, and is currently spinning off her subsidiaries, liquidating her assets, and donating vast amounts of money to charity. Your conversation seems to have made a huge impact on her perspective.”
“I didn’t expect her to make such radical moves,” Mateo said honestly. “She barely knows us. Why does she care what we think?”
“I believe you severely underestimate the level of respect you hold over the salmon community,” Harrison said.
“What? I haven’t done anything. Other salmon are running around pulling people out of burning buildings, shaping the future, fixing the past. I’m just...occasionally around.”
Harrison laughed. “People have been telling stories about you two. Remember that others have seen the future and come back. You may have done nothing yet...but you will. And most would argue that donating your kidney to someone you had only known for a couple of weeks was admirable.”
“This is true,” Leona said, knowing that Mateo had no way of responding without losing his humility.
“All right,” Mateo said, anxious to change the subject. “Let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Where’s Reaver? And what might he do next to try and kill us?”
“I doubt that he would be able to do anything from where he is.”
“Is he dead?” Leona asked, with a tad bit more enthusiasm than a well-adjusted person should show.
“No. But he has been incarcerated. He was found guilty on a number of counts after the cascade event years ago. He was left in house arrest, and his movements were severely restricted, but he violated the terms when he ran off to visit Daria.”
“That’s an interesting development.”
“He has been secretly placed in a private maximum security prison in—”
“Don’t say it.”
“Utah,” Harrison finished.
“He said it.”
“We have been monitoring him, but the majority of people are unaware that he is there. We suspect even that other inmates do not know he’s there. Our intel suggests that he has been in solitary confinement this entire time.”
Reaver was in prison, and presumably unable to communicate with his people, but there was no way of knowing whether he had formed relationships with the prison guards. He could be out in a few months, and be ready to cause more trouble for them tomorrow. This was their chance. They knew where he was, they had transportation, and they were as safe from his wrath as they were ever going to get. They had to act. “Take us to Utah.”
“Mateo, no!” Leona cried.
“I’m not going to take you to the man who has made it his life’s mission to kill you and my boss,” Harrison responded, like it was the dumbest thing he had ever heard.
“We command you to take us.”
“I don’t have to do what you say. I’m an employee; not a slave. If my boss told me to do something I didn’t want to do, I would likely lose my job, but I wouldn’t be bound to it.”
“Robots don’t have to do what their told?”
“I’m not a robot. Where are you getting this? Movies? I’m an artificial intelligence. Big difference.”
“Then we ask you to take us to Utah, Leona said.
“I thought you didn’t want to go,” Mateo said to her.
“Yeah, remind me of that again, and see if you get your way.”
“I’m not going to take you to Utah. That’s final!” Harrison yelled.

Before landing in Utah, Harrison multitasked and coordinated with Reaver loyalists, prison officials, and shady underground people. They were able to get ten minutes alone with him, but they had to go in practically naked and undergo invasive cavity searches so that there was no way for them to sneak anything to him.
They sat at the table across from their enemy, Horace Reaver. He looked at Mateo with disgust, and Leona with bedroom eyes. “Stop looking at her like that.”
“Five more minutes, mom.”
“Stop it!” Leona shouted.
He immediately complied, as if her wish was his command.
Realizing that he was more prone to listening to her than to Mateo, Leona took control of the conversation. “What is your problem with us?”
“I have no problem with you,” he corrected. “My problem is with him.”
“Are you going to keep trying to kill us? We could keep avoiding you and wait you out until you die.” She pretended to look at a watch on her wrist. “It’ll take us a few weeks, but that will be hell for you. For you, it’s twice as long as it is for normal people, and they go crazy waiting for us to come back.”
“I’m not trying to kill you,” he corrected her again. “I’m trying to kill him.”
“I’ve been there. I was certainly in danger as well.”
“He brought back a virus from the future that killed his mother, and could have killed me. That was your fault.”
“I have no clue what you’re talking about. Are you referring to the 2025 pathogen? That was Mateo?” He snorted and looked over to him. “You idiot.”
“You kidnapped my brother and his mother so that you could lure us to your plane and blow us up, or something.”
“Yeah, or something. You didn’t get on the plane, so how would you know what I was intending to do with you?”
“I could have been in the house when your sleeper cell, Mirage tried to kill him.”
“I programmed that machine to go after him when the rest of the house was empty. You were never in danger.”
“The Kessler cascade! You blew up a space probe so that we would be bombarded by debris, and killed while trying to return to Earth.”
Reaver looked offended. “Hey, that really was an accident, which is why I wasn’t immediately sent to prison. I was just trying to find you.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Keyword in space probe is probe,” he over enunciated. “I wasn’t trying hurt you. I just knew that you were somewhere in space, and I was trying to get to you. The cascade was an accident. I promise.”
“The volcano,” Mateo interjected.
“The what?”
“He means the forest fire,” Leona clarified.
“That legit was not me. Sure, I sent my people to pick you up after it, but I didn’t start the fire. Again, I’ve only ever wanted to hurt him. A fire would have been stupid, because I couldn’t guarantee your safety.”
“Why would you care about my safety? Wouldn’t I just be a casualty?”
Reaver paused for half a moment. “That’s all I’m saying. I’ll tell you more next year.” He pretended to look at a watch on his wrist. “Or the year after that, depending on how long it takes you to get me out of here.”
They howled with laughter. “We shall do no such thing.”
“I know you heard me the other day when I told Daria about the the choosing ones. I really do know how to stop them. I know who they are, and I know where they are. Get me out, and we’ll stop this together.”
“Why do some people call them the powers that be, but others the choosing ones?”
“Potato, tomato,” Reaver said simply.
“This is crap. Even if we wanted to, we don’t know how to break people out of prison. We’re a couple of kids from Kansas.”
“You’re exactly who I need. You came in the back way, but this building, and much of the world, is loaded with facial recognition scanners. Nearly the whole population has been scanned into a database or two, many against their will. Except for you. You’re dead. You’re the only ones who can sneak in here without alarms.”
“That’s dumb. They still have guards. They’ll see people they don’t know, and sound the alarms manually.”
“Not likely. It’s mostly automated. Very few humans work here. Look, here’s the deal. My team will provide you with whatever resources you need, and support you however they can. But you have to do this. You’ve already agreed to it. Yesterday. We’ve already had this conversation. You just don’t remember because Ulinthra and I are the only ones who go back and repeat our days. I’m just rehashing our conversation from before. Besides, it’s not like it would be your first prison break.”
“There’s no way for us to know whether you’re telling the truth about us having agreed to this in an alternate timeline,” Leona pointed out.
“There is. Dougnanimous Brintantalus.” He smiled like a creeper. “How would I know that?”
Leona was noticeably upset. “We have to do this, Mateo.”
“What? What the hell is Dougblagablah?”
“We have no choice.”
“I’m not going to break Horace Reaver out of prison. That’s final!” Mateo proclaimed.
At 11:00 PM local time, Mateo and Leona jumped back into the timestream, intending on meeting with Reaver’s loyalists to once more go over the plan to break him out of prison. They learned, however, that he had been moved to a new prison; one ominously called The Platform. Click here for the next installment...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Crossed Off: Death Knell (Part XII)

Click here for the entire story.

Starla soon learned that her confidant, Cam’s student Quang Phan, had his own ability. He was the final piece of the puzzle; or rather, he was the last person with abilities she would have the pleasure of meeting. He was born with this innate understanding of how things were measured. He could instantly tell the distance between two objects, their weight, and just about anything else about them that could be quantified. He and Starla grew close over the months. Even though he was several years her junior, she felt a bond to him. He became her little baby brother. The Vietnamese education system was a little different than the Usonian one, but he was currently in the equivalent of primary school. Because of his ability, he was exceptionally good at math, but excelled in most of his classes. He struggled a bit with history, and so Cam was devoting extra time to tutor him. Starla would help as well, and even secretly taught the rest of the classes on rare occasions to give Cam’s mind a break.
She wasn’t spending every second of her time in Vietnam, however. She continued to visit her other confidants, but they were more difficult than Cam. While she basically pretended like nothing was wrong, the others pitied her and tried to give her encouragement. That was the last thing she wanted. Now that he lived closer, Sendoa visited her and Alec in person. The rest of her extended family came down from South Carolina to visit her as well. They had trouble understanding the extent of her condition, and treated her like she was in a coma; that is, they acted like they weren’t sure whether she could even hear them. And this was funny because, unlike regular people with Locked-in syndrome, sometimes she couldn’t, because she was thousands of miles away at the time. Little by little, however, the visits ended. People moved on with their lives and left Starla and her family alone.
Each time one of her friends or family members left, she crossed them off her mental list of greatest hits. This gave her the idea to do the same with her confidants abroad, and everyone who knew about her ability, including Ling, René, and Máire, even though she didn’t get the chance to know them very well. Karam managed to track down Don and his friends in Finland, so that was a nice touch. After she was done, she intended to never see them again. Though she had given up trying to kill herself, she still considered all of this to be the end. She would have to stop butting in on Cam’s life sooner or later. As they say, as fate would have it, she would be forced into this decision sooner.
She was taking in a play with Cam and her colleagues when she felt something she had not experienced before. It wasn’t so much of a feeling as it was a sound. This low-pitched hum rang in her ears, and coaxed her into returning to her body. Once she had, she discovered that she was not alone. Though she was on the floor, and turned toward the darkness under her bed, she could sense two people in the room with her. “Don’t make me do this,” one pleaded to the other.
“I’m sick of caring what other people want or need,” the one further away from her said back. Though Starla had never met anyone who drank alcohol, this man sounded about like the actors in the anti-drug videos she watched in health class.
“She’s just a girl. She doesn’t deserve this.”
“She can’t move. What does it matter?”
“She can’t move because of her ability,” the first man explained. “I can tell you this much, but I can’t tell you why.”
“Again, what do I care?”
“Because, you idiot, if you take her ability, it could happen to you.”
“Then you should have no problem with me giving it a shot.”
“I beg of you, don’t do this. And don’t make me be a part of it.”
“You’re the only way,” the leader said. “And I’m tired of your complaints, Ambrose. You want to do this,” he ordered.
“I want to do this,” Ambrose repeated in a monotone voice. But then he leaned down to Starla and whispered, “I’m sorry.” This was more than just threats by domination. This was mind control. The man in charge had an ability, and either this Ambrose fellow was a scientist, or he had one as well. For some reason, he could give other people abilities, but the conversation implied that this was not a good thing for the original user.
And then it was over. She was dead. She didn’t feel pain, and she didn’t go anywhere. For a second or two, all she could see was gray. Out of the corner of her eye was some kind of pristine white desk, but then she was back in her room, looking down at her now dead body. All around her was indigo, just like when she first met the spirit-walker, Don in Greece. Though she had seen this indigo world before, it instantly felt different. She was wearing a gray tunic. She felt better rested than she had in her entire life, but she also felt more vulnerable, like the slightest encounter with a mildly sharp object would pierce her skin and drain her of all her blood. She could also feel the seconds go by, to the same accuracy that Quang seemed to be able to.
Ambrose moved over to his master and did something with his hands to give him Starla’s ability. The master smiled under his own accomplishment. He gave the impression that he had experienced this before, and that it was amazingly refreshing. But then his face changed. He looked like he had just been drugged, and was having trouble keeping his eyelids open. Perhaps it was the alcohol. “What...?” he started to ask. “What did you do to me?”
“I did what you asked,” Ambrose said with no hint of irony. “Starla’s ability is now running through your blood. You should be able to jump to any body you wish within hours, maybe days.”
“No,” the master argued. “This is different. It’s different than last time.” His knees buckled and he had to catch himself on the corner of Starla’s dresser.
Ambrose made no attempt to help him. “I honestly don’t know what’s happening. But I warned you that her ability would be dangerous. We just don’t know enough about it. With time, I might have been able to find a way to do this without killing, or stop whatever it is that’s happening to you right now.”
You’re going to help me,” the master barked at him as he slipped to the floor.
Ambrose reached down and tried to help the master up, but was struggling. He was now able to fight the compulsion. “Your control is wearing off. I don’t have to do what you say anymore.”
“This was your plan. You did this!” the master screamed.
“I’m telling you that I didn’t.”
And then the master used the last of his power to let out one final order. Before dropping his lids completely and drifting off to wherever he was going, he said to Ambrose, “you’re crazy if you think I’m going to believe that you didn’t do this on purpose!
Unfortunately, Ambrose did believe such a thing, and so he went crazy. He yelled at the top of his lungs for a few seconds before slinking into the opposite corner of the room and rocking back and forth. Starla could do nothing but watch as her parents burst into the room, first looking at the sleeping master, and then over to the literally insane Ambrose, and then finally to their daughter’s body. Her father started to cry out from agonizing loss. Her mother dove down to Starla and frantically searched for a pulse, of course coming up empty.
It was done, and so Starla walked away, not wanting to see her family in this condition. She laughed to herself, but then remembered that she was a ghost, and no one could hear her, so she laughed as loud as she could. For it was then that she realized she had spent so much time crossing her friends off of that mental list, but she had now hit that final entry. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her imaginary list. With the other hand, she mimed the checkmark next to her own name. Then nothing happened. There was no bright light inviting her to heaven, nor a reaper man to pull her away. She could find no signs directing her to “cross over”. No. She just remained there. Alone. As a ghost. Her story was not quite finished. Click here for the next installment...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Microstory 155: Quang Phan

Click here for the list of every Bellevue Profile.

Like Freeman and Gus, Quang Phan grew up not being aware that he had a special ability, instead assuming that what he could do was a trait shared by all. He had an innate sense of measurement, including length, area, volume, weight, mass, density, temperature, pressure, viscosity, time, speed, energy, force, flow, frequency, direction, and angle. At first, he could just tell the difference between two measurements, for instance knowing when an object was heavier than another. But the more educated he became regarding the human constructs of measurement, the more dynamic his ability became. Instead of only understanding comparisons, he began to see relevant numbers. His eyes adjusted to need, and he was eventually able to literally see numbers and lines superimposed onto the objects they were associated with. He could read in the space between a building and a vehicle, that they were separated by about one geara. If he so chose, he could focus on that measurement, and become more accurate, so that he would know that they were separated by 1.489 geara. His ability increased, and by the time he was an adult, he could even read the amount of space on a digital storage device, despite there being no real-world analog to such a thing. He was fairly young when he left Vietnam to join Bellevue, so he spent a number of years being further educated by the likes of Claude, Mandy, Laurence, Drummond, and Ceres. After he had completed his schooling, he put his ability to use in the construction department as they expanded into a full-fledged city, able to direct progress with no aid of blueprints. Many years later, he and several others embarked on the final journey in search of the missing children. Not only was his expertise valuable for the mission, but he was present for  his friends’ disappearance, and had a personal interest in finding them.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Microstory 154: Claude Bonner

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Claude Bonner was a Generation Two; son of Shaun Rice, and older half-brother of Catriona Rice. While she inherited their father’s ability, but to a stronger degree, Claude developed only a single minimalist aspect of it. The other two were able to generate holographic images out of the surrounding light, and technically, he was able to do the same. Unfortunately, he was limited to only one hologram: darkness. Whenever he used his ability, the immediate area would be covered in darkness, giving the impression that he had sucked all the light out of the room. He practiced and concentrated with all of his strength, and was able to increase his range, but he was never able to form any other kind of images. There was a theory that his limitation was the result of some kind of natural genetic barrier that formed at birth by accident, though Bellevue was never able to pinpoint it for him. Claude grew up angry, and his feelings of inadequacy were not only because of his minor ability. He was incredibly intelligent, and regularly received perfect scores on exams. But he never completed homework, or participated in class, and he just barely passed tertiary school. He had a number of small run-ins with the law, but never committed a felony. He lived with his mother, right next door to his father and sister, and they managed to work out most of their issues over time. Though the family situation was precarious, he was extremely protective of his little sister, and took care of her like a second father. After her disappearance, along with several other children, he became obsessed with finding her. He joined Bellevue as an educator, even without certification, but continued following leads for where she might have gone. When her parents went off on a oneway trip to look for her, he stayed behind, convinced that they had gone the wrong way. A couple of years later, he was able to persuade the organization to let him look for her in the future. It took him years, but he did manage to find out what happened to her.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Microstory 153: Vivian Polzin

Click here for the list of every Bellevue Profile.

Like Molly Bloom, Vivian Polzin’s ability was not able to present itself until a very particular set of circumstances arose. She grew up with her father in St. Petersburg, Russia, but things were growing dangerous in that part of the world. Fearing these dangers, Vivian’s mother demanded that she move in with her in Stockholm, Sweden instead. And so she packed her things, and set off on a submarine, along with a number of other refugees. Somewhere near the boundary of the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic sea, the submarine began to suffer from a cataclysm. Water flooded in, and the deeper they sank, the higher the pressure, and the faster they sank. There was no way for anyone to survive, except for Vivian. She was transforming as fast as the dangers were coming upon them. Parts of her body became engorged and compressed in order to prevent gas bubbles from forming. Her lungs collapsed to halt gas exchange that would otherwise cause a buildup of nitrogen, and she created stores of oxygen in her blood and muscles so that she would no longer need to breathe. But Vivian was still stuck under the twisted metal of the former submarine, unable to escape. She would soon run out of oxygen, so her body transformed again. Before her reserves had been completely exhausted, she developed two sets of gills on her neck. She remained trapped there alone for days until she developed the ability to summon a group mermen. No, seriously. They freed her from her tomb, and contacted Adam Nicks who brought her into Bellevue, but she never had the chance to find a responsibility. Following an accident involving Fiona Mill, she would quickly found herself in the solitude of intergalactic space, and stayed there for years. When she was finally found, she was proven to have done what she does best: survive.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Microstory 152: Drummond Breckenridge

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There was only one survivor of an extremely famous plane crash. It was famous for having crashed on The Day of No Death, and also because a second plane fell at the exact same spot a year later, for a somewhat related reason. It was Drummond Breckenridge’s ability that kept him alive. Just before the plane started falling, he noticed that every single other passenger fell asleep all at once. He had assumed this to be the cause of the crash, but chose to tell no one of his suspicions. Drummond’s body has an enhanced survival extinct, capable of neutralizing a threat in four separate ways. He was always known to have a silver tongue, and could convince anyone of just about anything reasonably believable, but there were three defense mechanisms that he did not yet know about. While the plane was tumbling from the sky, a protective shell formed around his entire body, freezing him in place until the danger had passed. This cocoon is virtually impenetrable, and will only reopen once it has completed its job. Fortunately, it reopened before medical responders had arrived on the scene of the crash. Drummond discovered his third defense at a moment when he was overwhelmed by the media. They were hounding him, and trying to figure out why he and he alone survived, and why on that day. His body reacted and sent him nearly a kilometer away at superspeed. He could never run as fast as Luka Drake, but no other human could match his land speed. The final defense was the absolute most dangerous one. The government department that had been protecting the mutants on an island uncovered evidence of Drummond’s ability, and attempted to read him into the situation. He felt too vulnerable and trapped to respond using his first three defenses. There was no talking his way out of this one. If he formed his cocoon, they would just be able to wait him out. There were too many agents for him to run from. His body reacted with its only choice: fight. Drummond transformed mentally, but not physically, into a wild beast. He tore through the team one by one, killing most of them, and injuring what was left only because he wasn’t in control enough to realize that they were still alive. He eventually recovered, and a smaller team went in using a different tactic. They urged him to control his abilities, especially the violent one. His flight response kicked in after the conversation, however, and the government never caught up with him. He made his way to Bellevue before they revealed themselves to the world, despite not being contacted by them. But it was a dark time for them, and he immediately felt just as alone as he had for the last several months. It was not until later that he found his place as a physical education teacher.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Microstory 151: Dores Roach

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Dores Roach was secretly a Generation Two anomaly. And by Generation Two, I mean that she was the latest in a long line of anomalies. The ability she presented went back for centuries. For everyone else, only a certain number of people with anomaly blood presented an ability, and only after the Keystone activated them. But for some reason, one child per generation—maybe two—in Dores’ family line was born as a healer. It forever remained unknown why the ancient rogue scientists were only truly successful with this one experiment, but it came in handy through the years. Dores first learned of the family legacy when she suffered a deep gash in her arm while she was trying to roll down the driveway on a skateboard by sitting on it. Her mother heard her crying, and came out to help. She smiled kindly and blew on the wound to make it feel better, which was a common psychological trick for children, but was actually true in this case. This first act of healing was the primer that allowed Dores to, from then on, heal herself and others of any physical injury. Their family had up until that point, remained in the shadows, healing others only when they felt that their secret would not go beyond those they had helped. But Dores was strong, and bold. When she was around 12 years old, she recruited her older best friend who had a knack for driving over the speed limit. They purchased a police scanner, and sped to accidents and crime scenes, quickly healing the injured, and sneaking away before being discovered. They wore masks so that they could not be identified, but that did not stop the rumors from spreading, just like they had with Emmanuelle and Andrew. It was growing difficult as they experienced too many close calls where the official first responders arrived on the scene too quickly. And so they changed tactics. They read in a man who worked at emergency dispatch. He would secretly redirect the appropriate emergency calls straight to Dores and her partner, and never report these cases through the proper channels. They did this together for years, until Bellevue found them, and finally found an explanation for why it was possible for Dores’ breath to contain healing properties.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 17, 2041

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Yet another memorial service for a loved one. But this time Mateo was actually able to be there for the burial. Within a matter of hours in 2040, Daria’s body was fully prepared. Every salmon that Mateo had encountered was there, along with those he did not know, and those he did not know had any reason to be there. Guard Number One and Guard Number Two stood by the three other Reaver security guards from that night when they escaped his facility. Reaver was standing between them, though he looked much older, and beaten down. The five of them must work for Dave’s boss now. Mateo’s father, Mario hovered over his beloved sister’s casket. Aura, Samsonite, and Theo were drawn in by and with the special graveyard as it magically appeared where the building’s courtyard was located in real space. They barely said a word to Mateo and Leona, and made no attempt to make them return home. The spacefaring door-walkers, Vearden and Saga walked in from a closet and gravitated towards The Delegator and Dr. Sarka. Daria’s daughter, Danica was nowhere to be seen. She really wasn’t allowed to leave The Constant, was she? But that girl he saw down there with her after the great escape was present, now leaning up against Daria's nurse. He would have to find out who they were at some other time.
He and Leona spent the last hour or so of their day mostly alone in the graveyard-courtyard mashup. Mateo stared into space as the figure of a man filled in the grave from behind the shadows. He wasn’t finished with his job when midnight came to send them to 2041, but as it did, the scene hardly changed. The graveyard was still there, but time had passed from its perspective; at least long enough that grass had grown over Daria’s grave. And on top of that grass was Danica. He looked around, and found them to no longer be within the confines of the facility, but in the middle of nowhere Kansas.
“Oh, hello,” she said to them. “Can you believe it? They let me out.” She looked over to the small chapel that acted as the secret entrance to her permanent underground home. So even though she had been let out, she was still within ten yards of her prison. “They haven’t let me out for thousands of years. There’s a hint to how long I’ve lived. I guess the death of your mother warrants a few hours of vacation topside.”
They walked over and sat on the ground next to her. Mateo rested his head on her shoulder. “How much time did you two have together?”
“Cumulatively? Maybe a few years.” Then she reiterated, “maybe.”
“I’m sorry.”
She let out a single laugh. “I’ve seen a lot of death. And I’ve seen some of them come back, like your mother.” She turned to Leona, “and your brother.”
“Does it happen often? Will Daria come back?”
“It doesn’t, and she won’t. I can always tell. They’re done with her.”
Mateo and Leona each placed a hand on their own lips, as a reflex. “Dry mouth.”
“They’re teleporting you back. That’s hilarious.”
They rolled away from Danica so as to protect her. They wouldn’t want to give her a heart attack like he had with his father.
They ended up rolling onto the floor of a room they didn’t recognize, but it was obviously somewhere in the building they had stayed in for the last couple days. A woman was sitting at a table nearby. “Good morning.” She began to pour some water into two glasses, and then motioned for them to stand up and sit in the chairs. “Are you up for talking, or would you prefer a nap? You haven’t been to bed since last year morning.”
He took his chair. “I am Mateo. This is Leona. I’m sure you already know that.”
“But we do not know you,” Leona continued for him.
“My name is Ulinthra. I run this joint.”
Youre Dave’s enigmatic boss?” Leona half-asked.
She chortled. “Indeed.”
Mateo took a huge gulp of water before leaning over and placing his elbows on the table with his eyes shut tight, like he was trying to solve global warming. “What is your pattern? What is Reaver’s pattern? And what is his god..damn problem?”
“It is not my place to discuss his...issue with you. I do not have all the facts because I wasn’t around that day. I can tell you that it happened in the future, and that it has something to do with Leona.”
“Me? He’s never mentioned me.”
She shrugged. “I couldn’t tell you why, but you two knew each other in an alternate timeline. And whatever transpired then has him all riled up. I tried to work with him, but he wanted to go off on his own, so we hadn’t spoken in years.”
Mateo closed his eyes and stretched his neck upwards. “Alternate timelines again, dear God.”
“We are day repeaters, Mateo,” she said, but did not elaborate.
He bounced his head around. “Please. Do go on.”
“We live out a day, and then at the end of the day, at midnight, we go back and do it again.”
“Like Groundhog Day.” He looked over at Leona. “Now that reference I get.”
“Yes, it’s like that classic film, except that we don’t keep living the same day over and over again. We only experience the day twice, and then we move on to the next.”
“And what do you do with this ability?”
“We save lives.”
“Reaver and I used to. We’d keep up to date on the news, gather as much information as possible, and then once the day repeated, we’d run around fixing problems. But he doesn’t do that anymore. Now he just uses it for his own gain, betting on sports competitions and the like. And his greater understanding of technology has held his company aloft.”
“Oh yes,” Mateo was furious. “I can see how you two are sooo different. You must pay rent on this building, what? Two hundred bucks a month? Hashtag-thestruggle.”
She was insulted. “I’ve accumulated wealth over time as a means to protect me and mine from Horace. If I had stayed in my one bedroom apartment, without a security contingency, then he would have killed me years ago.”
“Really? ‘cause it kind of feels like he spends all his energy trying to kill me.”
“What do you think he does for the rest of the year, Mister Matic?”
He breathed out and took some more water. “Fair enough. What do we do?”
“About what?”
“About Reaver?” Leona came back into the conversation. “How do we stop him?”
“Oh,” Ulinthra began. “Oh, you misunderstand. I’m here to give you advice on how to avoid him. We’re not going to stop him. There’s nothing we can do. I’ve tried for years. The Choosing Ones like him just where he is. Otherwise they would have interfered long ago. Instead, they keep us apart.”
“If they keep you apart then you lose your excuse for all this money.”
“Don’t be so reductive.”
“Don’t be so freaking unhelpful!” Leona yelled. “You drag us out to wherever the hell we are, keep us in a room—a nice room—but still, ya know, locked. And then you bring us here for a practically meaningless conversation while we were in the middle of talking to our cousin whose mother has just died! So if you’re not going to do anything, and you can’t help us do something, then please tell us where the door is!”
Ulinthra sighed, fed up. “Harrison.”
Harrison, now in humanoid form, walked up from a dark corner where they couldn’t see him before. “Madam?”
“Take these...nice people back stateside.”
Leona stood up and kicked her chair over behind her. “Thank you for your fucking hospitality!”
As they were following Harrison out of the room, Ulinthra replied in a sociopathic tone, “you’re welcome.” Click here for the next installment...