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The Daily Bugle

Senator Hines has revealed how mutants will be handled: Sentinels.

A rumor traveled the circles of the supernatural. Mutants heard a safe, underground railroad was being started, inquire at the Summit. The beyond sought the strange power said to rest at the Summit of New York City. The gossip flitted amongst the rest: valuable information was to come to light when dawn broke over the Summit.
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 Striving for perfection -training-part 4

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Join date : 2012-05-22

PostSubject: Striving for perfection -training-part 4   Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:24 pm

Nameless's hands ran over the pictures in the book, his eyes wide and staring. Nameless Smith was seven years old, and the sword of the stone was his most favorite book. Dragons, heroes, wizards. It had them all. Every night, before bed, Mommy would come upstairs and sit on his bed with him. He'd be tucked up in his pajamas, and she'd read his favorite parts, naming all the pictures for him and giving all the characters voices. Her voice was soft, gentle, and it always made him drift off to sleep.

Merlin was his most favorite character. That was because, like Merlin, Nameless could do magic. Ever since Daddy found out, he never talked to Nameless any more. Mommy and Daddy shouted at each other a lot now, and sometimes when Nameless went into the kitchen for a juice box, she would be crying into her apron, but would never admit it. Nameless's young eyes were fixated on the powerful looking image of Merlin. Magic helped people, it saved them and made the heroes stronger. Why was his magic making people unhappy?

He looked over at the flowerpot that was on the highest shelf in his room- a single flower growing out of the top of it. Nameless didn't know what kind of flower it was, but it was very pretty. It was Mommy's favorite kind, she had only planted it this morning. But Nameless's magic made it grow so quickly, it was now huge and pretty. Mommy hadn't seen it yet, but he would show her when she came to read her story. Nameless lifted a little hand and waved it in the air, two little daisies growing out of the flowerpot either side of Mommy's favorite. This would make her happy. Everything would be normal again.

Nameless shut his book and cuddled it close to his chest. She was taking a long time. He put the book down on his blankets and used both hands to pick up his glass of water, sipping it gently and looking around his room for something to do whilst he waited for her to come upstairs. He had left his crystals out on the floor. When everything was happy a long time ago, Daddy had driven them to the beach, and they visited a cave where they sold bags of crystals and gold. Daddy had said it wasn't real gold because it was for fools. Nameless flicked his hand again, and a small group of the crystals scattered across the floor. He was getting better at magic. He lifted his hand into the air slowly, his fingetips pointed towards the crystals. A shard of quartz, Namelesss favorite stone, rose into the air with it. As Nameless flicked his hand in mid air, it floated over to him and he plucked it from the invisible grasp of his magic, and put it down on his book.

"We've done enough talking! He's not going anywhere!" Mommy's voice shouted, echoing up the stairs. Mommy was probably fighting with Daddy again. Were they talking about him? Nameless climbed out of bed, carefully padding his feet on patches of carpet that were clear of toys and crystals. His arms crossed on the book, clutched tightly to his chest, and his quartz in one hand, Nameless opened the door and walked out onto the landing. The voices were clearer, but Mommy sounded so different. Her voice wasn't gentle and sleepy anymore, not like when she read to him.

"My son is seven, how could he possibly be a danger to anyone? He cried when he couldn't bring my rosebush back to life properly. Does that sound like a killer to you?" Mommy's voice cried. It was shaky, and it sounded like she was crying, like she was unhappy again.

"I'm sorry M'am, but this is for public safety. What he can do is not safe to leave out in the open. He needs to be properly trained in order to be rehabilitated into society."

"You aren't taking him anywhere. Where do you think he got his powers from?"

"M'am, are you telling us you also have an anomalistic ability?"

"If thats what you call it know, then yes. I have an 'anomalistic' whatever. I'm going to do everything in my power to stop you taking my son."

Placing his book on the floor of the landing, and putting his quartz into the pocket of his green pajamas, Nameless gently tiptoed down the stairs, until he reached the lower half that had a banister. He gently rested his head against the carved wooden supports, looking through to the argument that was happening. Daddy was there- but he was behind another man. This man was bald, he had thick glasses on and he spoke with a very rough voice. Daddy looked ashamed, shocked. He was in his work suit, and had a badge on that was very similar to that of the bald man. Mommy was crying, and she was standing at the bottom of the stairs, stopping them from going up. Nameless held both the bars tightly. Were they going to take him somewhere?

Daddy stepped forward and raised a hand at Mommy. He wasn't pointing, his hand was open and his palm facing towards her, but something strange started to happen. His hand started to glow, and then electricity was all over it- little arcs that were jumping all over his hand. Then he held one big spark in the center, and pointed it at Mommy.

"Please, honey, move." Daddy said, his voice was different and shaky like Mommy's. Was Daddy magic like him? This was great! Mommy liked Nameless's magic, and now that Daddy had some magic too it meant that they could be like they were before.

"How could you do this?" Mommy said, tears streaming down her face, wiping her blonde hair back behind her ears. "How could you rat us out like this? Break up you're family? Destroy everything we had spent all this time building?"

"Don't cry Mommy." Nameless whispered gently, and all three adults's heads snapped up in unison, staring at Nameless hiding behind the banister and staring through back at them. Daddy's hand snapped back to normal and he put it in his pocket, faking a smile up at Nameless, and the bald man did the Same.

"Come here, baby." Mommy said, wiping her tears on her sleeve and giving Nameless a short embrace before pushing him to hide behind her. He held onto her sweater tightly, burying his face in it and taking in the smell. It was the Same as it always was, a mixture of the perfume Daddy liked and the stuff Mommy washed the clothes in. Beside them, the potted houseplant's leaves were growing to incredible lengths, reaching the floor and piling up.

"Ma'am it may even be only a few months before he is properly trained. Children are fast learners." The bald man said through his teeth as he grinned down at Nameless, trying his best to be friendly but coming across as plain creepy. Daddy was silent.

Then, like a flash, the man was on the floor and was holding his nose. Blood was coming out of it, and he was making strange noises as he touched his nose and looked at the blood on his fingers. Mommy had moved faster than Nameless had ever seen anything move, she had just turned into a blur and then reappeared again a split second later. She must have magic too! Everything was going to be alright, and they could all live together magically. Just like in the book. Nameless clung to her again as she stepped back to him, and she put one hand behind her back to hold his. Daddy took both hands out of his pockets. They were making lightning again.

"Please, honey, this is the only way.."

"Only way for what? For them to take my seven year old son into that... that... company, train him to be a weapon, then spit him back out again? That isn't going to happen."

She became a blurr again, and managed to hit Daddy's arms just before he fired, so that they were off aim and the lightning arcs fired into a display cabinet, shattering the glass and spraying wood chips across the floor. Nameless ducked into a corner next to the plant. He watched as Daddy fought with her, she was holding his wrists, and then he hit her in the stomach. She keeled over, gasping for air, and Nameless ran out of his corner and started to kick and punch Daddy's thigh, tears streaming down his face.

"Stop it! Stop it Daddy you're hurting her!" He wailed, and he swung out an arm, not hurting him- Daddy would never hurt him- but pushing him down to the ground some feet away.

"One day, Nameless, You'll thank me for helping you like this." He said, and turned back to look at Mommy. But she wasn't there. With a gust of wind and a blur, she had hit him around the head with his signed bat that hung above the couch, and Daddy fell to the floor unconscious. Mommy looked over at the bald man. He had some kind of gun, and he was pointing it at Nameless.

"No!" Mommy screamed as it fired, and she became a blur again. She ran over to Nameless, and for the last time, she hugged him. For that split second, he was holding her. He could smell her beautiful smell, her hair was in his eyes, her warmth made him feel safe. For the last time, he held her. For that split second, their love was their strongest protection. She held his shoulders and smiled at him. Nameless wanted this to last forever. That one hug was better than any story she could ever speak.

Her eyes closed. "Mommy?" Nameless said, a hint of fear in his voice. She fell over onto her side. "MOMMY!" Nameless screamed, his voice shaky and petrified. A tranquilizer dart stuck out of her back, but Nameless had no idea what it was. She must be dead. That man had shot his mommy.

Tiny tears streamed down his young face, and the seven year old's face was full of hate and contempt.

"YOU KILLED HER" He screamed, half out of desperation and anguish and half out of deep hatred. He was crying so much he could hardly breath. Cracks started to shoot across the ceiling. The walls started to fracture, and the floor begain to shake. The man tried to load another tranquilizer into the gun, but a piece of rock from the wall flew towards the gun and knocked it out of his hands, pinning it against the opposite wall. Pieces of the ceiling were starting to fall, and dust was flying out of the cracks in the walls as they widened and multiplied.

"Look, Nameless, Stop. Calm down-" The man tried to explain. But Nameless wasn't listening. He was a seven year old boy. He hadn't loved anyone in the world nearly as much as he loved the two people laying unconscious on the floor behind him, and to him, it was entirely this man's fault. Pain, sorrow, anger and hate were all taking hold of Nameless's ability. Huge pieces of the wall started to fall down, parts caving in. A huge chunk of rock flew off the wall, and the sharpest edge flew into the man's head, his blood spattering out over the floor and his limp form falling to the ground.

Nameless crouched in place, holding his knees. His head was tearing in half, he had gone to far, he couldn't control his magic any longer. It had gone over the deep end. Nameless sobbed into the knees of his favorite pajamas as his house, his world, his memories, crashed down around him. The foundations became to weak- and the entire structure collapsed. Nameless screamed. He just wanted the hug back. He wanted to be hugging Mommy. He just wanted to be in his bed, his duvet gently holding him, and his Mommy's sweet and gentle voice reading him The Sword and the Stone.

His powers had protected him from being crushed. But the seven year old boy waited there in the pitch-black silence and darkness for hours and hours, waiting for his Mommy to pull a piece aside, cast light into the darkness, and hold him.

The tired and broken window panes of the worn down old warehouse just outside New York shook in their frames as the bass of the music inside grew stronger. Young men and women were approaching from all directions, some in groups, and some alone. People who were walking alone were wary- it was the dead of night, and it wasn't a good neighborhood. But those who were with friends were laughing, having a great time, exitedly waiting for the evening's unofficial dance competition. It was monthly, they called it B-Ware. Ironically named after it's warehouse location, it was the peak of the local underground dance scene. And inside, with a small group of friends and finesse for dance, was Namelessan Bellarosa.

"Nameless, girl, You wanna Drink?" Asked Geri, one of her closest friends. She was the one who got her most, understood her, because Geri's dad had been shot down in a drive by not very soon before Nameless's mother had been diagnosed with cancer. Nameless felt closer to her somehow for this reason. It made her feel like they had a connection.

"Oh Geri, I dunno. Its ten thirty already, my curfew was at nine. My dad's gonna crap a house, I'm already on probation after last week." Nameless complained. The week before, she had gone to a similar party at an abandoned factory, and got into a spur of the moment competition, ending up not leaving until the early hours of the morning. It turned out she didn't get much sleep that night at all, as her dad had waited up for her and had a few things to yell before Nameless could get to bed.

"To hell with that dude, girl." Geri said, snapping her fingers in the air. "He doesn't understand this talent you got. You leave now, we'll never survive the next round! You're here now, enjoy the thing. You can deal witch yo' dad later!"

Nameless laughed as she was dragged away by the wrist, clutching hold of her cap with her other hand as she was pulled through the crowds. Maybe Geri was right. Whilst she was here, she should just enjoy the party. After all, it did only happen once a month. Dad would be sore for a few days, but he'd get over it. He always did. In fact, the amount of times that Nameless had been easily convinced to stay out was getting stupid. But every time, he eventually caved in. Nameless didn't know why this was, but it might be that she reminded him of Mom. She hoped this wasn't true- she didn't want to be hurting him.

As they eventually reached the bar, Nameless frowned. This was a warehouse, why was there a bar? But as she got closer, she could see that it was far from a real one. It was slapped together with various pieces of wood, street art and graffiti sprayed all over it so that it fitted in. Were they had managed to get the warehouse's power turned back on, a few fridges and a cocktail mixer were all wired up behind the bartender, who was dressed no differently from anyone else here. The only was you could tell he wasn't just another kid was the way he was polishing glasses- trying to fit the part.

"Hey Nameless, a drink for me and dance royalty next to me, ok?" Geri called, waving one hand in the air to draw the bartenders attention and the other to point to Nameless. She blushed. Geri always did this, just because Nameless was pretty good at dancing.

"Hey Geri. You not going to introduce me?" The bartender said, who Nameless now knew was called Nameless. He pushed two plastic cups over the wooden surface and Nameless took it up straight away and started to drink from it. She really didn't like beer, but it meant she could avoid introducing herself and seeming big headed. He was kind of cute.

"Oh yea, Nameless, meet my girl Nameless. She's the one who's going to help me and Carla wipe the floor with all this trash," Geri boasted, flicking back her hair and shaking her hips to the music as a little display of what was to come. Carla was the third member of their little temporary dance group, but they were not as close to her as they were to each other, so she had gone to spend some time with some friends for a while.

"Is that so." Nameless answered, smirking and looking Nameless up and down. "I can't wait to see that. Hi Nameless."

He held out a hand to shake, and Nameless took it. He gripped pretty tightly, so she did the Same back. He grinned, and she did the Same. "Hey Nameless." She answered confidently.

They made idle conversation with Nameless for another half hour, and he seemed like a really genuine and funny guy. It was only on their way over to the centre of the warehouse that Geri pointed out he was already married, and had two little twin boys at home- he did the bar jobs here every month for some extra cash for himself. It didn't surprise Nameless that he was already settled down, he was a nice guy and any girl who knew what she had would latch onto him.

As they reached the centre of the warehouse, people were already starting to part and a rough empty circle was forming. People were still dancing, but there was tape on the floor that marked out a kind of arena- anyone who wasn't part of a group had to stand behind them. It was easy to notice how badly prepared they were- other groups had entirely matching outfits or the Same colour scheme. Some even had printed hoodies, their names and logos printed across their backs. Nameless, and Geri weren't wearing anything alike.

"Hey you two!" They heard a voice calling. Nameless spun on the spot and Geri did the Same. It was Carla, running toward them and tieing up her long blonde hair into a ponytail. She was carrying what looked like a huge red blanket screwed up into a ball.

"Hey Carla, How late you wanna be?" Nameless laughed, giving her a playful push into the shoulder. "What the hell is that?"

Carla grinned. "These are our new image, girls. Check."

She unballed and revealed three red hoodies, sleeveless, cropped short so that they only just came down over the ribs, and showed plenty of stomach and hip. They were nice- and now it was obvious that they were all dancing together. After pulling hers on around her shoulders and zipping it up at the front, she looked over each shoulder, trying to picture how she might look in it.

"Thanks Carla!" Nameless and Geri chorused, and they laughed together. Carla finished zipping hers up and pulled the hood up over her head.

"Yea don't forget me when you're famous. These things were thirty dollars each, but I'm gonna let that slide 'cause I like you." She laughed, and put an arm over each of their shoulders. "Lets kill it."

Carla had always been the weakest dancer, but she was great with style and graphic design. If they ever got this group serious, then she would definately be their image designer. She had already made them a poster and and edited together a video for them all, which were really great looking and features a lot of artistic effect. She was incredibly far from a bad dancer, at all, but she made her best contribution to the group with her other work.

As the registered troups were called out over the dj's microphone, they found out that they were third. That was good- they weren't last, so they wouldn't be after all the good people, but they weren't first, so they had a good chance to scout the competition. As they watched the first group walk on- all male, in white vests, and in baggy blue jeans and a black bandanna- they were in awe. They were world class dancers. They all moved perfectly in time, in the exact Same position, as if they were all on the Same puppet strings. Each movement was perfectly and seamlessly linked to the next, and they linked with the music so well that it made the hairs on the back of Nameless's neck stand on end.

Nameless looked to her left, and to her right, and noticed that Geri and Carla were both staring with their mouths open. Carla's hand rose to her mouth and she covered it over. They were nowhere near that good yet. Nameless wasn't big headed, but she knew she was easily close in a freestyle, but they just weren't that well choreographed in a group yet. They were just starting out, and these men had obviously been at it since they had first learned to walk. Carla was the first to speak.

"You two. I just don't think we can compete yet." She said, downtrodded and dissapointed. "Lets just go. We can compete in the next one. We need a lot more practice. We ain't never gonna get respect for our group if we bomb at something as big as this."

All three of them knew she was right. But they waited for the next display, and their fears only grew more. This group was small, just three like theirs, but they had two girls and a boy. The girls were in perfect sync, doing a variety of awe inspiring dances whilst the boy freestyled and performed alone inbetween them. Then when they all danced together, it got even worse. They were perfect- like they were the Same mind in three different bodies. Nameless looked away. If they were going to drop out, they would have to do it before they were due up or everyone would watch them leave.

"Lets just go." Nameless said, and started to push through the crowd.

"Nameless, no!" Geri said, grabbing her shoulder and spinning her around. "You're world class, Nameless! You can do this without us if you wanted!"

"I'm not going to. We're in this together, I'm not going to do it alone."

"Nameless.."

"No." She said, putting her foot down. "Girls I'm leaving. I'm going home before my dad gets his baseball bat and comes out to find whoever has me."

It was easy to joke about, but it still hurt. They were probably right. If she just waited until the freestyle competition, she could win them the respect and the prize money. But they had come here together, and she wasn't leaving them to get glory for herself.

The friends walked out of the warehouse together, and danced and laughed home, stopping at each other's houses. Nameless's house was furthest away, so she was going to have to walk a short distance by herself, at- checking her watch- one in the morning. Four whole hours after curfew. She hoped to god that her dad wasn't still up, that for some wierd reason he had gone to bed before nine, trusting her to be in by that time.

As she got to the front lawn of her house, she looked up at her dad and Anna's room window. The light was off, which was a very good sign. She couldn't see the lounge from the front lawn, and that was were he would be waiting for her. She wasn't out of the woods yet. Reaching the regal and majestic front door, she took her keys out of her pocket and let herself in, slowly shutting the door with her eyes squeezed tightly shut, trying not to make a sound.

James woke with a start, as he rubbed his head. He must have bumped the window. He was still on the coach with Jake, but nobody else was.
James stood up and left the sleeping Jake to check for a driver. Empty seat. James, frustrated, kicked the drivers seat and threw himself into a seat behind him. The driver would have meant well letting them sleep, but now they would have missed their job interviews. Some new life this was turning out to be.
James hadn't realised at first, but when he kicked the chair he had woken Jake. James pressed the button to open the coach door before he had to engage in conversation, and walked out to lean against the coach.
They were in some kind of warehouse, which he guessed must be the coach station because there were so many others. The smell of petrol was strong, as he walked around looking for an exit his footsteps echoed. He found one and started to walk back to the coach to his brother.
Jake opened the door and walked down into the Coach station. His brother was walking back to the coach and as he spoke his voice echoed like their footsteps.
'Stupid Coach driver, should have woken us up or something' he spat.
'Yea, there was a coach full of people, you'd have thought one of them would have tried to wake us' Jake remarked. 'Lets get our bags, I've just found out something much more important'
'What's That?
'Im hungry' Jake grinned, grabbing his bag and bolting for the exit, closely followed by James.

"Are yiou sure what you thought happend did happen?" A voice said, the calm, crips and nice voice. A Shrinks. "Yes, i'm sure of it, why don't you beleive me!" Nameless snapped, laying down on the sofa, which wasn't really a sofa made it all seem so stupid.

"The medication you're on can sometimes induce hallusinations, this might be one of them" The voice argued, but this wasn't an arguement, it was Nameless rgueing with himself. The man wouldn't admit to him being wrong, and the fact that his brother died through shock from electricity and Nameless survived. "It happend, a hallusination isn't real, but my brothers death is!".

Anger had, for a long time been bottled up in Dogulas, anger from the fact that he had an ability to channel electiricty through him, angry that his brother couldn't, angry that his brother died. "Why wont you understand, I'm not depressed anymore, just angry" Nameless said plainly, like the day he was allowed not to go to the Shrink, he was happy. But this, this was a new low.

"You get this impression, that i'm not ok, when I am, i'm prefectly fine. What will it take for you to understand!" Nameless shouted in rage. "You've been to the police station 6 times in a month for starting fights in clubs. Tried jumping off a bride 3 times, only to end up here. And you say you're ok." The shrink said, calm, but he was insulted. His eyes said it all.

"I'm leaving, and if, I swear to god. If you come after me again, I will kill you." Nameless said, standing up from the Chair-Sofa, thing. He took one last look at the place he had been sent to so many times over so many years, the books on science which eh had read when left alone here, the candle on the desk which he had set alight with his ability, the sofa he had scorched through at the bottum. "It'll be nice not seeing you." Nameless said coldly.

"Nameless, Wait." The shrink said, surprisingly, a hug was what Nameless didn't expect, but it was nice. "You'll do well, Just stay out of trouble." The shrink said, Holding Nameless in an embrace.
"Yeah yeah.." Nameless said, walking away. Never to look back at the hell hole that is, Richards Shrink Services Ltd.

Date: 3/5/1982


You clean that up now you Dirty scheming hoe! A voice shouted, Jessica's fathers voice. Jessica sat there, watching in the front room chair, watching her mum get kicked and punched all over spilling a cup of tea on the floor. Cries, moans. Hits. Was all that filled Jessica's ears. It should have been noises of balamory and big cook and little cook. But dreams don't come true that easily. Crying and wailing, hitting then crying. Crying. So much crying. But Jessica watched, taking note of every little thing what was happening.

For a long time it seemed that Jessica slept with her eyes open. Afraid of what could happen to her if she shut them, shut them to sleep. But this wasn't so. The happy-go-lucky girl that Jessica was, Aged 7. Was no more, ceased to exist. Wiped off the face of the earth. Gone. No more "Sweet Little Jess". No, No "Isn't she so cute when she smiled" No. None of that.

Date: 17/9/1992


18. Jessica's stomach ached, pained. Hurt. Why don't you give us a little.. show. the elderly man said, choking on the smoke from his cigar he blew it in her face. She turned away. Go on! Git' the man ordered. But Jessica was shut off. Not having any of the treatment she and her mother had been having for more then 10 years now. The man placed a hand on her leg. Jessica got up, from the old, rickety chair she was sat. "Touch me and I will hurt you" Jessica said, her eyes flashed with evil. The man moved his hand up her leg. Then. Bang. The man had Jessica pinned down. "Woo hoo we've got a feisty one here." The man said, with a fake cowboy accent.

Jessica struggled for air, normal, none-polluted air. The man's face lingered over hers. "Get off me! Help Help!" She shouted.
"No ones in remember, bingo" he laughed. Jessica was alone. Alone with this freak of a man. But no more. The man began ripping off her clothes. "No please!" Jessica begged. The man continued. "Now!" She shouted. The man didn't listen. The feeling of his flesh on her. Brought anger into Jessica. An Anger in which sh had never felt. Jessica laughed. "You honestly think this would work! Ha, you're more pathetic than your dying wife." she snapped. The man looked confused. This wasn't the Jessica 5 minutes ago

"Oh I'm sorry, how's the cancer?" sh laughed. Slapping the man's face he flinched but didn't move. Jessica hit a nerve. "You filthy whore!" the man insulted. But Jessica was away, away in her on world of thoughts. Focused thoughts. The man punched her arms. The arms which she was holding onto him with an iron grip. But Jessica didn't care. The anger flushed out of her. A smell of smoke, a smell of burning flesh.

The man shouted, in agony and in pain. Till one last breath and bang. A burst of flames, a shower of ash. The man was no-more. Combusted into nothing but mere ashes on the rug. Jessica laughed. Manically. There was nothing she could do un-do what she did. The anger was gone, the pain was gone. Jessica stood up. "I told you to get off me." she said plainly, to nothing but a collection of ashes.

"What happened? Where's burny?" An elderly woman asked. But no-one else was in the room. No-one else in the house. "Burny?" she shouted. No-reply. That's all Jessica could have heard from down the street. The dimly light banking off the cul-de-sac gave her the perfect cover.

Then she was Gone.

Nameless arose from his small apartment bed. Hungry for some cereal, even though he knew it was only 5am. The nightmares he had been having a lately lead him to keep waking up. However, every time he arose. He built up a ball of electricity in a palm, lighting the area with a blue tint. Even thought Nameless didn't know why. "Is it me?" he thought to himself, For some reason every time he walked into a dark room he wanted to bring up electricity.

"Cereal, Cereal, Joy oh! cereal..!" he sang. As he began eating his favorite UK Sugar puffs. Crunching away, in the dark Nameless dropped his bowl. Even though to any person it looked like he did it on purpose. But Nameless knew otherwise. "The nightmare." he mummed. Scarce in his tone. If you followed Nameless's eyes you would see the tall Dark Figure stood in the corner of the room. "This is just a dream." he thought to himself, Curiosity overwhelming him. Forgetting about the cereal Nameless willed his ability into action. However this time it worked over time. A bright, blue ball of electricity built up in Nameless's palm. "This is just a dream." he repeated.

The dark figure began to creep forward, no sound coming from each step he took. Nameless took small steps away. "Get back, I will hurt you." Nameless shouted, His voice firm. But the figure crept forward. Nameless released his grip. The beam of electricity landing at the figure until. Hit. Nameless held the beam of electricity, driven by fear and rage. But he couldn't keep it up for long. Nameless stopped the beam. Swaying side to side. Too much energy wasted.

There the figure lay, Smoke entering up Nameless's nose. But how would he explain this? He couldn't. And what if someone herd the beam hit the wall behind the man. What would he do? He couldn't run. "Out.. Of." The idea snapped in Nameless's head. Yet, he wouldn't understand how to. Flicking the light switch the room filled with light. But it was the switch, Nameless ripped away at the plastic. The wires exposed.

Thinking and various plans whipped through Nameless's head. "If i.." but before Nameless knew it, To a normal person they would have been shocked. But this was Nameless. The small bits of electricity dimmed the light. Nameless was happy, The blue energy surged through his body like a drug. But then stopped. Fully absorbed. A weird yet awkward smile crossed Nameless's lips.

Nameless – or Gabriel, as he was ‘reforming’ to be – walked down the wide, marble corridors of the Kirby Plaza facility of the self-empowering Company. He had been here twice before and neither had ended well. Not for him and especially not for the Company. Twice he had been stripped of his powers – first permanently and then temporarily – but both times the Company had lost valuable members of their ranks. On his last visit he had taken the brain – and thus the ability – of Bob Bishop, the forerunner of the Company and its main financer. How ironic it would be if he was next approached to supplement their dwindling funds. And if he was? Well, how could he refuse? After all, the better resources the Company had – the better the resources he had. Even with his rather limited security clearance, he was but an inch away from a handful of files that would give him access to everything he ever wanted and so so much more. In fact, behind the door to his left was a main archive. Cabinets full of nobodies who had been bagged, tagged and release to the wild to frolic in their natural environment; either unaware or afraid of the power at their finger tips. They wouldn’t have to worry for long – he would alleviate them of their burdens soon enough.

The next corner: the place where he had taken a magnificent ability from one of the Company foot soldiers. She had been able to find him amongst the chaos, sensing his presence and power through wielding her own. When he had cut her head open she screamed as though possessing all the voices of all the people she could feel. Oh the happy memories! Too bad things had went sour so soon afterwards. Peter The demon and a curious shape shifting blonde had tricked him, infecting him with the Warp virus and stripping away that magnificent power and all but one of the others. Following his recovery from the Warp virus – thanks to the ever helpful Claire Bennett and her blood of tricks – he had retained his acquired ability of telekinesis. Even with his innate ability of intuitive aptitude, it eluded him why he had retained that ability beyond the others. Still, it aided him greatly in his quest for reclaiming what he had lost. Cutting open heads with a tradition blade could be such hard work sometimes. Then, he had only done it once. Perhaps there was something in that?

A hard knock to his shoulder snapped him out of his inner thoughts. An agent of the Company – wearing the Same black suit and tie as he himself did – eyeballed him from over his shoulder as Nameless looked over his at the man. Apparently the man had gotten the reaction he wish, a satisfied grin twisted on his lips – he had gotten Nameless’s attention, that much was sure. What would follow might not be to the man’s approval.

“Got a problem?” The man asked roughly as he turned to face Nameless properly, squaring up to him. “I have a corridor of us that say you don’t.”

One of us. One of them. That was the Company motto, wasn’t it? Though Nameless could tell he wasn’t referring to the Same biblical ‘us’ at that particular slogan. Those of the Company, and those that aimed to bring it down, to watch it burn in flames while they reaped the spoils of the grand entity that was. Nameless might have been alone – his only ‘protection’ afford to him by Angela on an official basis – but if this man expected him to shy away, he was sorely mistaken.

“No problem at all.” Gabriel replied calmly, “Though I might suggest you have your eyes examined…” he added in a level voice as he cocked his head at the man.

Was he special? Did he have an ability? Was it worth ripping from his inadequate head in a corridor full of his friends and allies? The hunger within him lurched at the thought. It had been so long since had fed the Need within him. Corrine, the Welcome Home gift of his so-called mother, had gone a long way to satisfying the hunger that had built up through his incarceration, but it was far from enough to quench it entirely. If this man had something worth taking…
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PostSubject: Re: Striving for perfection -training-part 4   Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:25 pm

Wetness struck Nameless’s face as the man spat at him, a twist of disgust and self-righteousness contorting the man’s face. He felt invincible, Nameless could relate to that, and in a building full of people would happily kill the man he had just spat on, why shouldn’t he? It was a power play if Nameless had ever seen one. Spit on the nemesis and get away with it – instant fame, instant glory and the knowledge that you had stepped on the tail of the wolf and walked away unscathed. After that, the wolf would never seem as scary again.

Nameless wiped the man’s spit from his face as he fixed him with a dark stare, his eyes boring into the very soul of the agent.

“What?” The man barked in defiance, “Going to do something about it? Going to prove Dear Mommy wrong about you? Go on, I dare you.”

A nice trump card. Word had got around that he had been trying to make a good impression. Playing on that need – it was a fine strategy. Of course, it was based on the assumption that he gave a damn what Angela The demon thought about him. While he did – or pretended to – for the time being, he was more than aware that the old crow was no more his mother than a woman with a snow globe obsession was. Whatever Angela The demon’s reasons were, she wanted him to believe that he was her son. Ironically the very gift she had given him in the form of Corrine had let him see into her past, had let him see that he wasn’t from the Same family tree as the The demon’s; not Angela The demon at the least.

Nameless smirked as he snapped his hand sideways towards the nearest wall, the man who had assaulted him following a similar path as he collided brutally against the cold, hard marble. The unholstering of guns echoed through the corridor as the friends he had bargained with drew their weapons; only to have them yanked from their hands and spun to face themselves an instant later.

“The last time I stood hear, I tore the brain out of a young woman.” Nameless growled at the man’s face, “She screamed and begged for mercy, but I took her ability anyway. I would ask you if you have one too, but even if you did, you wouldn’t tell me. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t rip it out your skull and have a look for myself?”

Nameless raised his hand, preparing to cut across the man’s forehead. His eyes bulged in fear as he stared down what could be his final moments. Defiance had ignited in them at first, though began to seep away as he struggled to break free and failed. He could take what he wanted, Nameless knew that, but there was so much more to be gained in patience. He could pull the lock off the door holding the files any day and be gone before anyone even missed them. What was one hapless man compared to the treasure trove that awaited him? Besides, he had made his point.

Snapping his raised finger down sharply, a gush of blood sprayed from the man’s face as a strip of flesh was telekinetically tore from his face, taking the best part of his eyelid with it.

“Something to remember me by.” Nameless snarled, cutting off the man’s screams as he turned to walk away, the suspended guns pistol-whipping their respective owners to the ground.

No one would challenge him again, not so passively anyway. Next time might be a lot… messier. That was, of course, if he waited around long enough to find out.

I won't come with you, Adara... not now. Not ever."

Jane's words echoed in her head. She had expected more from the young woman. Adara had seen kindness in her heart from the time they had spent together and now, even when faced with the possibility of bumping into a stranger and devastating the entire country, Jane had opted not to go with her and be 'disarmed' of the ticking time bomb she essentially was. Instead, she had followed the misguided interpretations of the Company offered to her by Peter The demon.

"I'm sorry." Adara breathed in response as the world seemed to suddenly sink into slow motion.

Her hand whipped at the sidearm behind her back, pulling it around and aiming directly at Jane's head in one, single, fluidic motion. Jane had been a friend - or at least the closest thing Adara had to being called a friend - in the past few months, but now she was a liability. The continued, unchecked, free reign of her ability was no longer acceptable. With her rejecting the chance to come peacefully for her power to be removed safely, the only option remaining to Adara was Jane's death. A task that would be made infinitely more difficult by Peter's presence.

The gun was aimed squarely at Jane's forehead, a fatal shot when fired. Adara's finger hovered on the trigger for a moment, a brief fraction of a second of hesitation where there should be none.

Then, she fired.

Blood exploded into the air, spraying gore across the otherwise pristine apartment. Peter stood motionless at the falling body's side. Adara ran over and, through the red splashes of blood, her own face stared back at her.

The room suddenly seemed colder and what had once been a bright apartment was now shifted into an ethereal blue. Adara's eyes snapped up towards where Peter had been standing, now replaced by the figure of her father.

"You're either fast, or you're dead." Her father offered as coldly as ever.



Adara snapped up in a cold sweat in her bed. It was a dream. Of course it was a dream. Still, it seemed to seep into her soul, chilling it and leaving crystals of a cold frost within. She hadn't dreamt of her father for years, not since she had accepted her responsibility and justification in her shooting him. She had always lived by his mantra, though. That only the slow die young, that you either die, or you're fast enough to live another day. It was that simple in his eyes. It was something that he had beaten - quite literally - into his daughter at a young age.

For all his faults as a father, it was one of the few things she could honestly say he was right in. She had hesitated in shooting Jane, what emotional links she had with the woman had saved Jane's life.

And it might have cost Adara her own.

There was only one solution. Only one way to restore peace to her troubled mind. Jane had to be killed.

Short black hair, deep dark hazel eyes; Big buff muscular body. This was the hieght before Kyle's son was adopted. He was young, healthy, wealthy and not a care in the world. He had jst completed his a-level in psychology and Spanish with English Lit and English langage; yes, it was in england, and not in the capital. But life was good, life was werth living.

Walking down the bright high-street kyle found something that caught his attention; this 'something' was an ad in store looking for a representative for them. yes, the store wasn't a multi-national but it was something. Stepping inside kyle looked at the layout of the clothes store. "Nice" Kyle said; he had never been in this store, and didn't care. Pacing up to the counter; he gave a look at the counter clerk. "Urgh yeah; i read your notice outside and was wondering whether that was still going." Kyle's voice spoke. "No," The person replied. without thinking, kyle just began to leave. his hopes was let down once more.
The next day, coming back from College; kyle saw the Same sign out of the Same store - this obviously agrovated him, resulting in him storming into the store. Looking at the Same clerk. "I demand to get an interview for that job.!" Kyle ordered. Instantly; the clerk's face lit up. "You don't need to." the clerk paused. "You have it." he followed up. Having nothing to say was the first time this had happened for Kyle. "I have the job, already?" Kyle then replied.

"yes, you was the only person to come back after being rejected, it's just like a movie." the clerk said; partly going off into his own world. "Cool -" Kyle paused. "what do i do?" he then asked; he had no time to pre-pare for anything. i guess this is just one of those things. Kyle thought - mesmorized by what had just happened.
"All's you have to do is right a review and stick it on any good website; obviously you'll have to say your 'River islands' first consultant." the clerk said. "Oh My God!" Kyle gasped. "You have to be kidding me." he then said, knowing it wasn't a joke.
"I want it in by tommorow; and i want it atleast 5 pages." the clerk said. "here the criteria" he then passed him it. "Go; be free." he then sad; urging kyle to get back onto it.

Kyle left the store with a smile on his face, he began to read the crieria; he whizzed through it knowing what he was going to put on everything. on the bus home Kyle began; taking out a notepad and pen jotting things down.
The next day; at 9.00am Kyle awaited the clerk. "here" kyle then spoke to the clerk. "eleven pages on why your store is the best etc." Kyle smiled.

Months later Kyle had been recognised for being the best preformance on a consultation the highstreet had ever seen! This; is the beginning of the Head of Chief of a good newspaper. This was just the beginning.

CHAPTER ONE
"THE HIGHWAY HOME"


I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.
-- Robert Frost --


March 19, 2003



The road was barely more than a stagnant stream. Like quicksand, it would devour any creature that dared to cross it. The clouds hung heavily over the earth. Even though they had emptied themselves of their fill, they still remained, glaring down on the countryside with an angered stare. The long green grass tossed violently in the breeze.

It looked like a scene from one of the Victorian Gothics. One could picture Jane Eyre stumbling haplessly through the moors or perhaps Pip Pirrip making the arduous journey to London. But this story had no hope of a happy ending, not even in the next one thousand pages. No, there was little hope for the protagonist of this story.

Nameless Gould pulled his thick winter jacket tighter around his trembling, wet frame. His hair was matted and plastered to his scalp. His shoes were filled with the coarse, filthy mud from the road and his toes were going numb. His fingers, too, quivered in the cold. He had lost all sense of direction and hoped only that whatever this road led to could offer some shelter and safety.

Who was he kidding? This road could lead to heaven and even there he would not find the comfort he sought. No, he had been reduced to a mere shell of a human life. All in the space of two days…

Every second of every moment, his mind was consumed by thoughts of Helena. He had buried her last night before he had set out along the road. He had buried her near the top of the cliff by their house that overlooked the seaside. It was his sister’s favorite place to sit and watch the vibrant colours of sunrise. And now, that was where she would rest.

She shouldn’t have died. It wasn’t her fault what had happened. It had been his. He’d trusted Frank Adams and then the man had stabbed in the back. He had stolen away the one thing that mattered. And now… What purpose was there left? Grief consumed him as he wandered slowly along the muddy path.

A sudden blast of cold wind flew down the plains, barreling into Nameless. He struggled to keep upright in the face of the torrential gust, but it soon passed. He trudged on slowly, his breath becoming short. His legs were sore and no doubt, he would soon collapse by the side of the road. And if he did, it was quite possible he would not rise again.

In the twenty-four hours of his trek, he had not seen a single sign of human life. Except…

In the distance, there came the low grumbling of a motor. And then, through his tired eyes, bright headlights. The motor choked suddenly and the sound died. A vague semblance of hope was renewed and Nameless continued down the road. Perhaps these people could help, even if he couldn’t care less whether he lived or died.

The light came closer and soon, voices carried on the winds. People were there, alive. Not mirages or figments of a grieving imagination. No, they were flesh and blood. Nameless opened his mouth to cry out to them, but all that escaped his throat was a hoarse whisper. He waved his arms madly to gain there attention as he stumbled closer. The mud tried to pull him into the road, but he wrenched his foot out of the shoe and trudged along in his socks.

He was not more than fifty metres from the bogged car when his body gave in to the physical exertion. He collapsed face first into the mud.

“Hey!” came a deep voice. “There’s someone up along the road!”

Nameless, however, drifted into silence and sleep. The last sound he heard was the motor jumping back to life – and the quiet recollection of his sister’s voice.

I forgive you…

CHAPTER TWO
“ONE LUMINARY CLOCK”


And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
-- Robert Frost --


June 9, 2003



The grandfather clock in the hallway chimed the second hour of the morning. The house was dead silent and the subtle sounds of the night creatures wafted across the silent hills. The night was unusually warm and the very air felt thick and oppressive.

Nameless lay awake on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. His body was damp with sweat brought on by the sultry night and he had already discarded his blankets, sheets and shirt. He swallowed hard to clear his mouth of the spit and turned his head slowly to glance out into the hallway, where the great clock stood solemnly.

Could it really be two o’clock in the morning? Surely not… Nameless outstretched his hand towards the clock and its face glowed with a warm orange light. The ornate minute hand pointed straight up and the intricate hour hand angled 60 degrees to the left. It was two o’clock.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have been surprised. He had barely slept in weeks. What had caused the sudden change in his sleep patterns surprised him. For the first month or so, there had been no problem. But now he was practically an insomniac. And there was no logical reason to explain it.

He had been at this house for about two and a half months. Whether it was pure chance or some divine act of mercy, the man who had found Nameless’s exhausted form on the muddy road had a room for rent. He took him in for free for the first month – taking pity on him for his sickness and his story. But come one month, Nameless had insisted that he was the wages. For the husband and wife to be so generous, they deserved something in return.

Nameless spun on the mattress, sitting up. He brushed his hair back off his forehead and scratched at the stubble on his chin. His feet made contact with the wooden floor and he stood. After searching for his shirt – which had somehow made its way under his bed – he left his room and descended the stairs slowly to the kitchen.

He found it without a worry – the trek had become a frequent one over the past weeks. Groping blindly for the fridge door, he finally laid hands on it and pulled it quickly open. The bright light blinded him momentarily, but he quickly adjusted and extracted the bottle of water.

Placing a glass on the counter, he began to pour himself a drink when he heard a meek voice behind him.

“Are you alright there, Mr Nameless?”

It was Jemimah, the wife and housekeeper. She was probably in her mid-forties, but her eyes had a sparkle to them that suggested she were not past twenty. He voice, however, was quiet and somewhat strained.

“Yeah, I’m…” began Nameless apologetically. This was the first time he had woken one of the proprietors and he was deeply sorry to have disturbed their much needed rest.

“If you want, I can bring you a glass of water when I get up in the night.”

“Sorry?” asked Nameless, somewhat surprised.

“Insomnia isn’t particularly appealing in any circumstance, but believe me, it gets more bearable after a while.” She moved into the kitchen, smiling softly. “I would offer you some sleeping pills, but I don’t have any in the house and they’ve never worked for me anyway.”

Nameless stared blankly at her, in complete disbelief that she had known about his midnight ventures for longer than he had ever imagined. Why she had waited until now to confront him was beyond his comprehension.

“Would you like me to go to the chemist to get some for you tomorrow?”

“No, it’s… It’s fine…” He paused. “How long have you known?”

“Since you started climbing out of bed for a drink about three or four weeks ago.”

“And you never said anything?”

“Why would I?”

Nameless opened his mouth to answer, but no response came. She was a peculiar woman, Jemimah. She had odd ways about her. And her logic, simple as it was, could never be challenged.

Moving back out of the kitchen, she smiled over her shoulder and spoke. “Good night, Mr Nameless. Do try to rest. The past is the past. There is nothing you can do to change it. You must move on.” She paused, casting her eyes to the floor. “Or try at least.”

With that, she turned and left the room in silence.

TO BE CONTINUED...

“Take it.” Nameless looked up at the old woman imploringly. She shook her head slowly and her repeated himself. They sat on old wooden chairs, a worn table between them. Sun shone through the kitchen window and illuminated their faces. On the table before Nameless sat a pile of notes – fifty, sixty pounds maybe. It wasn’t a whole lot – but it was something, though not nearly enough to repay that deeds the old woman and her husband had done for him.

Over three months now he had been living in the spare room upstairs. Not once did Jemimah or her husband ask for monetary compensation. But now that Nameless was preparing to leave, he had no intention of leaving them empty-handed. They had blessed him and he believed firmly that he should do his utmost to return the favour. She, however, was not particularly willing to take the money. She had a truly pure heart.

Perhaps it had to do with the fact that they had formed a friendship, bound together in their own grief and through each other they had managed to progress. Nameless, at least, had begun to regain a sense of normality, though he still quivered at the mention of Helena’s name. There were bad memories that he wished he could repress, but knew would haunt him for eternity. Jemimah, too, suffered from a sense of grief. She had lost someone very dear to her in recent years and had still not fully coped with the dilemma. When pressed, she refused to elaborate on circumstance, and her husband had done the Same.

“Please,” said Nameless, with beseeching smile, “Take it. I know it doesn’t make up for the expenses, but it’s the least I can do.” She looked up at him, her eyes beginning to gloss over with imminent weeping. “Please.” He slid the pile of money across the table. It sat there for a moment, before Jemimah pushed it back.

“I didn’t help you for this. I helped you because I knew what you were going through. I...” She stopped, her voice suddenly catching in her throat. She turned her head to gaze thoughtfully out the kitchen window. Nameless cast his eyes to the floor, racking his brains for some way to get his hostess to take the money. His thoughts were interrupted when she spoke. Quietly, in a slow, solemn voice. She seemed distant and yet there was a strength in her tone that conveyed a sense of hope and love.

“It was my daughter.”

“Sorry?” said Nameless, glancing up to see her still gazing out the window.

“I lost my daughter almost two years ago. If she was still alive, she’d be your age.” She paused momentarily, but continued with dignity. “She had fallen into a relationship with a young man who was new to the land. I thought it strange at the time as he had a distinct British accent. Nevertheless, they were growing close. It concerned me – as I knew very little about him and he did not have the courtesy to introduce himself. I simply knew him as Adam.

“I voiced an objection to their partnership and she brushed me off, telling me that she loved him. And it was true. I could see it in her eyes. They grew closer and closer. One evening he took her out to the nearest city. To a club or a... something or other. I’ve always hoped it had just been to an innocent dinner at a restaurant and I hold to that belief. On the way home late at night, they lost control of the car and crashed.

“She was killed instantly. That’s what the police said, anyway. They said Adam should be dead as well – he had left substantial amounts of blood in the car. But he was nowhere to be found. They didn’t even find him in the surrounding fields and they searched for weeks. He simply vanished. And left me with a dead daughter.”

Her recollection completed, she breathed slowly and turned back to face Nameless. “I know what it’s like to lose someone close to your heart. Try to move on, as I’ve said, Nameless, but never, ever forget Helena. I never want to forget my Heather. They may be gone in body, but they will always be with you in spirit.

“I have no need for the money. It was enough to help you in this difficult time. To counsel you in your difficulties. That’s all I need. Keep your money.”

She smiled and stood. Walking slowly around the table, she embraced him in a warm, motherly hug. “Take care Nameless. And God bless you.”

TO BE CONTINUED...

To: Geoff Makoric(g.makoric@amblerpublishing.com)
From: Erin Pasdar (ELilly.Pasdar@gmail.com)
Date: 01 April 2008
Subject: Hope I didn't miss much
Attachments: 02/ 04/08Article.doc

Hey,

I suppose you've heard about the accident I had; hit by a car, two week coma ... I know, I'm pretty accident prone I guess. Well, I've missed a lot, so I was hoping to catch up on everything. I just came out of it two days ago, so I've been trying to get back in the groove of things.

I know it looks terrible for me: missing a week in January because of family, and missing two now. If you want, I can make up the time this month, or another time if you need me to. So, I just wanted to apologize for that.

I heard I missed another of the Helix Kills, but I got a tip off about a scene earlier today and I managed to get there with the rest of the crowd. I already had Colin look over the draft, and I just wanted to send you a copy to hear your thoughts on it. The article is the attached document in the e-mail.

- Erin

----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Erin Pasdar (ELilly.Pasdar@gmail.com)
From: Geoff Makoric(g.makoric@amblerpublishing.com)
Date: 01 April 2008
Subject: RE:Hope I didn't miss much

Hey,

I'm very sorry to hear about your accident - but I'm glad you've recovered well and that you've already jumped right back into the midst of everything.

Well, it certainly seems that while you've been MIA, all we seem to have gotten was a series of copycats - so not much there. However, your article is good - solid. I don't think there's much I really need to fix. Congraulations there.

However, I just want you to have one more look into the victim. He may not be important, but the name struck me as familiar. You may not be aware, but one of the founders of Ambler was a Gould. Although I had little to do with him, his son was set to run a new branch, but that was called off after a family tragedy. Point of the matter, however. I seem to recall that there was an Elliott in the family who lived here in the States.

It may be coincidence or it may simply be that I've misremembered a detail, but I would like you to try to have a quick look into that before the article goes to print.

Once again, glad to have you back.

Geoff

----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Geoff Makoric(g.makoric@amblerpublishing.com)
From: Erin Pasdar (ELilly.Pasdar@gmail.com)
Date: 01 April 2008
Subject: RE:Hope I didn't miss much

Well I did some research; turns out Elliot Gould was related to one of Ambler's founders. The son of the founder you mentioned who was going to run a branch of the company is named Nameless; his father was Elliot Gould's first cousin.

Turns out Elliot's father is dead - died of cancer, and Elliot's been estranged from most the family for quite some time. He came over here to go to med-school, but became a mortician instead. He was convicted of one count of assault and one count of harassment back in the summer of 2005, but he was only put on four months house arrest. Apparently they couldn't prove intent - it was an older man he attacked, by name of Clifford Wentworth.

I don't know how close he was to the rest of the family; not very, from what I could dig up - he hasn't had much contact with any one of his relatives for a while. Still, I'm not sure if the extended family already knows or not ... it might be good to notify them.

Are you concerned about having to make a retraction or a reprint? I did mention the charges against Gould from three years ago for their relevancy to the police investigations in my article, but I've had times when families don't want that sort of thing printed about their relatives.

- Erin

----------------------------------------------------------------

To: Erin Pasdar (ELilly.Pasdar@gmail.com)
From: Geoff Makoric(g.makoric@amblerpublishing.com)
Date: 02 April 2008
Subject: RE:Hope I didn't miss much

Thanks for tracking that down - I really appreciate it. I'll try to get in touch with the family. I know I've got contact details for Nameless somewhere. I'll try to get in touch and see if he knows.

I have no idea how well he may have known Elliot, but we'll soon find out.

Better safe than sorry I suppose. Perhaps just hold off that detail until I can get in touch with Nameless. I'll try to do so ASAP so that we can get the full article to print. But we'll see.

Thank you again for your hard work as always,
Geoff.

Nameless Gould answered the door still rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He lifted the chain and clicked open the lock. He sighed and opened the door the slightest amount possible. As he blinked through the opening, a deep voice greeted him.

“Hello Nameless.”

He sighed once more and pulled the door open further. Without greeting the visitor, he turned on his heel and walked back into the apartment. He grabbed a shirt from on top of a pile of folded clothes and slid it on as he addressed the man. “When you called me last night to say that you had something to tell me, you failed to mention you planned to do so at 7:30 in the morning.”

“Well, I was up early and I thought I’d catch you before I had to go to work.” The man offered a slight smile and took a few steps into the apartment and stood awkwardly in the middle of the floor. “Are you working, Nameless?”

“That’s not your business,” Nameless replied coldly.

“Just remember that the door is open at Ambler…”

“I’m fine, Geoff.” Nameless shot the man another cold glance before walking across the wooden floor and collapsing into a chair. There was an awkward silence between them. From back in his bedroom, Nameless heard his alarm clock give its first chime. Of course, the 7:30 alarm had never been a signal to actually get out of bed. He swallowed and glanced back to his guest, Geoff Makoric.

Geoff was still standing in the middle of the room. With every second, he was feeling more and more uncomfortable. He really didn’t want to tell Nameless this news, but he would find out sooner or later. And the fact that he was the only known relative within easy contact, it was important to talk to him about what had occurred.

Nameless stirred, and brushing a hand through his hair, he leaned forwards. “So, what’s so important this early in the morning?”

Geoff paused, clearing his throat. “Do you mind if I take a seat?” Nameless nonchalantly gestured towards the other chair in the room. Geoff shuffled across to it and then sat down. He perched on the very edge of the seat – not out of anticipation, but out of complete nervousness and indecisiveness about how to actually tell him the news.

“Nameless,” he began cautiously, “It isn’t good news…”

Expressionless, Nameless replied, “It never is these days.”

“Your father’s cousin – your first cousin once removed… He’s been murdered…”

Nameless’s eyes widened and he leaned forward in his chair. His mouth had tightened and he stared in disbelief at Geoff.

“Elliot Gould was killed about three days ago. It’s believed that he was murdered by the Helix Killer – I’m sure you’ve heard about that….” Geoff’s voice trailed off into silence. He couldn’t help but feel as though he’d been to upfront about it. Perhaps it had been too quick; too much of a slap in the face. But what could he do now?

Nameless continued staring at Geoff. The longer he gazed in disbelief, the more his eyes unfocused until he was just staring blankly across the room. Another death… Another violent death… Even though he hadn’t known “Uncle Elliot” particularly well, he did have a few fond memories of him. One Christmas, he had given Nameless a cricket bat that was grossly disproportionate for the young boy’s size. It was one of those strange memories that you could never quite figure out why you remembered it, but it was still precious.

And now Unlce Elliot was gone. At the hands of some madman – not too unlike Helena’s demise all those years ago. And just as he was finally getting to a point where he could begin to move on, in waltzed another tragedy. But at least there wasn’t a trace of blood on his own hands…

“Nameless?” Geoff asked quietly. He gripped his hands tightly together and chewed on his lip nervously. “I know it’s not particularly…”

“Just go,” interrupted Nameless. It wasn’t harsh or angry. He wasn’t mad or anything. But Geoff had relayed the information – his purpose was done. He could go.

Geoff held up a hand to protest, but Nameless repeated his comment once more. Slowly, the bearer of bad news stood and made his way to the door. “If you want more information or anything, feel free to give me a call.” Geoff took out a business card and placed it on the table by the door.

A meek thanks came out from Nameless and Geoff left, closing the door behind him carefully to avoid any squeak.

Nameless still gazed blankly across the room, trying to allow it all to sink in. But it was just so sudden, so unexpected… Then, blinking back the forming tears, he stood. He cleared his throat, closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

What could he do? What was done was done. He didn’t want to have to take it; to bear another family death. But what could he do? The show had to go on…

“Punk!” shouted the boy named Lance standing over Gene. His fist connected with Gene’s face, bloodying his nose. “Don’t you ever show your sorry face around here again!” he said kneeing him in the stomach. The kid who had thrown the punch laughed and he and his friends walked out of the alley, cheering each other on. Gene Fisher pushed himself off the ground and wiped blood from his nose. He looked to Chipper, the three-legged dog at whom the other kids had been throwing rocks. Gene had tried to make them stop hurting the dog and received quite a beating in the process.

“Hey, boy.” Gene’s voice cracked. “It’s okay. You don’t have to be scared." Chipper was backed against the side of a building with fear in his eyes. Gene stood to pet the poor dog, but Chipper snapped at him. Gene recoiled and watched the ungrateful dog hobble out of the alley. Gene sighed and limped out of the alley. Hopefully, his father wouldn’t ask what had happened, but Gene knew he would. He would already be in a bad mood. His father had started chemo.

The next day, Gene found himself walking by the Same alley and saw the Same group of boys trying to coax a homeless man into buying beer for them. The homeless man refused and the boys spat on him. “Hey!” Gene said to Lance, who seemed to be the leader of their group. “Leave the man alone!”

“Well lookie here, boys.” Lance said tapping the shoulder of the guy standing next to him. “If it isn’t Mr. Hero. Come for seconds, huh? Well we have a busy schedule, but I think we can pencil you in.” He crossed his arms and his flunkies shrieked with laughter.

“We’ll see who comes out of this one.” Gene said to Lance, who was two years is elder. Lance’s flunkies “ooh”ed in delight and began chanting “Fight, Fight, Fight!”

The fight was on and Gene was actually doing well and landed a few good punches on Lance, who quickly became agitated. “Harold!” Lance said dodging one of Gene’s punches. The boy who Lance had called for came over and grabbed Gene’s arms and held them behind his back.

“Hey!” Gene said struggling to get away. Lance punched him in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. Gene shut his eyes, readying himself for another. In his ear, he heard Harold shriek in pain. Gene opened his eyes and saw that Lance’s fist had gone straight through him. He could only guess that it had hit Harold.

“Oh my god! Freak!” Lance said running from him and the rest of his posse not far behind.

Gene looked to the homeless man, who looked dumbfounded. “How’d you do that, boy?” he asked in a drunken whisper.

“I don’t…I don’t know.”

“What’s your name?”

“Gene."

“Well that ain’t normal. That ain’t normal, Gene.”

Victor Trent walked into the nearly-empty room clutching two files. “Pratt!” he shouted and a wiry man who had been busy typing on a laptop jumped. The office belonged to this wiry man and was kept rather messy due to all the work he had to do dealing with “specials.” Kevin Pratt was in charge of keeping up with the new specials who surfaced so they could keep tabs on all of them.

Kevin rubbed his eyes, “What is it, sir?” Victor had been his superior for only a year now and he was quite tired of his sudden outbursts.

“Another one has surfaced.” Victor said walking over to Kevin’s disheveled desk. He tossed a file onto the desk and Kevin immediately opened it. “In New York. An eyewitness saw him phase through another boy’s punch.”

“Phasing. That’s a nice power. Who was the witness?” Kevin said not looking up from the file.

“A homeless man.” Kevin gave Victor a skeptical glance, “Don’t give me that look, Pratt. The man said that the boy was in a fight with some other teenagers and he phased through one of their punches.”

“But, how can we be sure this man is telling the truth? Or that he wasn’t completely off his rocker?” Kevin asked looking through Gene’s file. He read the names of his parents and he recognized one of their names.

“Because there is another special in the family.” Victor said tossing the second file onto his desk. Kevin opened it.

“David Fisher.” He said reading the name on the file. “Gene’s father. I remember this guy.”

“Yes.” Victor nodded. “This man has the ability to take away any disease from any other person and eradicate them. It is known that people who possess this ability can take diseases such as AIDS from others, but they cannot erase them from their own body. Most of the more terminal diseases act in this way.”

“Fascinating.” Kevin remarked reading further into David’s file. Something caught his eye and he looked to Victor with his mouth agape. Victor nodded with a smug smile on his face.

“That’s right. It seems that David has cancer, but it wasn't originally his. Want to know who originally had it?” Victor asked grinning from ear to ear.

“Ginger.” David Fisher whispered to his ex-wife. The two were standing in Ginger’s living room. It was very late that night and it was storming outside. He had come down to Connecticut to give his ex-wife some very bitter-sweet news. A tear-stricken redhead named Ginger began to cry. David brought her into a tight embrace.

“Thank you.” She sniffed. “You didn’t have to do that, David. I would have never asked you to do anything like that.”

“Ginger, he’s our boy. There wasn’t any other choice, in my eyes. I had to take the cancer away.” He whispered into her ear. “Even if that means I have to go through it.”

-----------------------------------

“Trent!” Kevin said rushing into Victor’s office. He loved that he could be the one to shout for a change. “You’ll never believe what I just learned!” He rushed to the other side of Victor’s oddly-neat office and tossed a folder onto his desk.

“This had better be important, Pratt,” Grumbled Victor, who had been busy reading a file about a woman in Washington who could manipulate water.

“It is. You remember Gene Fisher and his father, correct?” Kevin asked opening David’s file for Victor and turning it to the final page. “Well it turns out that David made a stop to Connecticut to see his wife, and you’ll never guess what happened.” He pointed to the letter he had received that morning from St. Francis Medical Center in Connecticut. Victor read the letter, which was from one of the many, many doctors all over who monitored pregnancies of possible specials.

“She’s pregnant?” Victor asked Kevin with a grin of wonder

Ginger smiled and looked down at the tiny baby boy in her arms. “Hello, Nameless.” She whispered to the little boy. “You look so much like your father.” She said moving the blanket away from his face so she could see it.

There was a knock on the door and Dr. Brian Lawson and one of his nurses entered her room. “Hello, Ms. Prather.” He said walking over to the woman. “It’s time for little Wes to come back to the nursery.” Ginger frowned, but did as she was instructed. The nurse took Nameless in her arms and exited the room.

“He’s in good hands, Ms. Prather. You have nothing to worry about. Now, I suggest you get some sleep.” Dr. Lawson said and he exited the room.

He closed the door and spoke to the nurse. “Thank you Nurse Stutts, but I can take it from here. "I'm on my way to check on another patient and I can stop off by the nursery." Nurse Stutts was confused but nodded and handed Nameless over to him.

Dr. Lawson bid her farewell and walked towards the nursery. When he reached the nursery, he looked around and made sure no one was coming and disappeared into another room down the hall.

----------

“The test results are negative, sir.” Kevin said to Victor a day later. “Nameless Prather does not show any signs of having received and ability from his father.”

“Dad!” A seventeen year old Gene shouted, “You said you would stop! The doctors said if you don’t stop smoking the cancer will get worse!” Gene situated himself in front of the door so his father couldn’t get out of the kitchen without confronting him.

“I’m fifty years old and I will do whatever I please. Now move out of my way!” Gene thrust his arm out in front of his father before he could leave. “Boy, I’ve smoke for years now and I’m not quitting. Ever since your momma…” Gene grimaced at the mention of his mother and David stopped talking. Gene never liked to talk about Ginger. He felt that Ginger abandoned him and his dad.

“I’m sorry, Gene.” David walked over to his son and put his hand around the back of his neck giving it a few light squeezes and making shushing noises, something David had done when Gene was a child and had awoken with a nightmare.

“I’ve already lost mom.” Gene said in a whisper. “I don’t want to lose you too.” He exited the room and sought comfort in his room.

David sighed and looked at the cigarette in his hand and tossed it out the window. He felt really bad pretending to be addicted so his son would not learn of the origin of the cancer, but he knew that it was for his own good. If Gene ever learned the truth, he would be devastated. David knew it was best.

“David Fisher is dead.” Pratt said entering into Victor’s office. “The cancer finally got the better of him.” He made his way across the room and walked to Victor’s desk. Over the years, the two had begun to understand each other and Kevin had been promoted to his partner.

“How is Gene reacting?” Victor asked looking up from the papers on his desk.

“Our sources say he’s acting like any normal person would. I don’t think David ever told him that the cancer was really his. Actually, I don’t think David ever told Gene he was special, at all.”

-----------

Ginger hurriedly entered into Nameless’s room and told him to get dressed. The six year old boy sat up in his bed. “Where are we going, Momma?” Nameless stood and looked around his room. Not long after Nameless was born did Ginger and he move from Connecticut to El Paso, Texas.

“To New York, sweetie!” Ginger said rushing around his room and picking clothes out of his dresser. “Isn’t it going to be fun?” She asked pulling out a black button up shirt. Though going to New York sounded like a blast to Nameless, Ginger seemed less enthused. Actually, she seemed sad.

--------------

Dressed in black so they could see the “grown-up play,” Nameless fidgeted in the back seat of the car. “Settle down, bud.” Ginger said. Though she had spoken to Nameless, he couldn’t help but feeling that her mind was somewhere else. She was dressed funnily. He marveled at the way his mother shielded her eyes from the sun. It looked like one of those white things he saw brides wearing, except it was black. He giggled and wondered if his mother was going to marry Superman, his current idol.

The car pulled to a stop and the two exited the vehicle and walked towards a place where a lot of other people were sitting. They were looking at a large polished box, and Nameless quickly recognized this place as a graveyard. He was slightly nervous that there was a ghost there that could go through any solid object, but he laughed at how silly he sounded. He couldn’t help but wonder what kind of play they were coming to see in a graveyard. It must be really something if they have it out here, he thought.

He went to go sit down by the polished box, but his mother stopped him. “Let’s stand over here in the shade, okay?” she said to him. Though it was a question, Nameless knew that she was really telling him they were going to stand there.

The play was really boring and everyone was crying. Nameless wondered why. It didn’t seem like a sad play at all.

After the play, Ginger told Nameless to go wait for her in the car. Nameless figured she was going to go talk to some of the people in the play, because she thought they did a good job.

--------------

“Gene.” A soft voice whispered. Gene had expected to see another one of his father’s coworkers who would probably say how good of a man his father had been, but he, instead, was met with the past. The sight of the red-head sent anger up his spine and malice filled his eyes.

“What are you doing here?” he spat acidly as he stood in front of the grave, as if protecting his father from the woman standing before him. The woman took a step forward but Gene shot her a piercing gaze.

She spoke, her voice shaking, “Gene, I know I’m not the person who you want to see, especially today, but--”

“You’re right, Mom!” Gene interrupted, “I don’t want to see you. You didn’t give a damn about him when he was alive so why should you care now? I haven’t heard any inkling of your existence for ten years!” Ginger seemed genuinely distraught over this fact and Gene took a morbid delight in her sorrow. “Did you know he only started smoking because of what you did to him? And that the only person who stood a chance at making him stop was off in El Paso? And now he’s dead, Mother!” He filled the last word with spite. “All because of you.”

Ginger, tear-stricken, opened her mouth as if to say something, but, instead, took a step forward towards her son and reached out to him. A sudden pain stung Gene’s face and when he had realized his mother had slapped him, it was too late. She was gone.

He wasn’t supposed to be in there, but he knew she was hiding his big birthday surprise in the closet. Nameless hurried and pulled opened the closet door. He saw a box high above his almost-eight year old head. He, with the help of dining room chair, brought down the box.

Nameless looked around the bedroom as if his mother would enter any moment. He knew she wouldn’t, because she was at work. He turned back to the box and eagerly opened it. He sighed when he saw the box was filled with nothing but old pictures.

He abandoned the box and stood on the dining room chair again. He looked through the closet and brought most of the boxes and things down, but didn’t see whether or not his mother had gotten him the new Super-Soaker he wanted. Defeated, he went to put everything back to the way it was when he came into the room. He came to the box filled with pictures. He looked to the clock on the nightstand beside his mother’s bed. Ginger wouldn’t be home for another two hours. Nameless decided he had time to look though it.

About halfway through the box and with pictures scattered all over the room, Nameless came to another picture. He giggled because it was of the day he was born. He went to throw it aside onto the growing pile of pictures, but something caught his eye. The date was wrong. It wasn’t just incorrect. It was dated thirteen years before Nameless was born and a different day and month altogether. Actually, his mother seemed much younger than in the other pictures of his birth. He frowned and turned the picture over. There, written in his mother’s handwriting, were the words, “Ginger and Gene Fisher.” Shocked, Nameless looked up from the picture. “I have a brother?” he whispered to himself.

The pain from David’s death still hadn’t left Gene.

“Gene, I haven’t heard from you in a while. I just wanted to see if you were okay. Umm…everyone is getting together at Beth’s place on Friday. You should come. You really need to--” The pressing of the Erase Message button stopped the message.

“Gene,” the next message said, “We missed you at Beth’s I—um—I guess you were busy or…” The voice dropped its sentence, “Gene, I really think you should get out of your apartment. I know it can’t be good since you dad lived there, too. Why don’t you come and stay with me for a while. Okay. Give me a call and let me know. Please. I’m worried about you.” Gene erased the message.

Eventually, Gene began erasing all of the messages he received before he listened to them.

-----------

“Are you Nameless Prather?” The policeman asked Nameless. Ginger had always told Nameless that he should never lie to a cop, so he nodded. “I’m sorry, son. There has been an accident.”

------------

“Pratt!” Victor said walking into Kevin’s office. Kevin, now immune to Victor’s sudden outbursts merely looked up from his paper work.

“What is it, Trent?” he asked cracking his knuckles.

“Ginger Prather has died.” He said taking a seat in front of Kevin’s desk. Kevin had placed the chair there because Victor had been making many stops into his office recently.

“Gene Fisher’s mother? How is he taking it?” Kevin removed his glasses and leaned forward.

“He doesn’t know. Ginger and Gene haven’t spoken since the day of David’s funeral.”

“Well that’s too bad.” Kevin said going rubbing his eyes. “Is that all?”

“No. Not even by a long shot.” Victor said with a smug smile that told Kevin that something was up. “You’ll never guess who I just received a message from.”

“It’s my twenty-first birthday.” A drunken man whispered into the ear of the bartender. “And you see what I get? A bar full of friends!” Gene cheered drunkenly and the other bar patrons dismissed the disheveled heap of a man as just another drunken person among many.

“D’you know who should be here on a man’s twenty-first birthday? HMM?! His father!” Gene chuckled loudly. “But my…my dad is gone. He up and died on me. Poor sap.”

“I think you’ve had enough,” the bartender said mentally counting the number of beers this man had in him. “I think it’s time you head home.”

“And I think you are wrong!” Gene shouted. “It. Is. My. Birthday.” He chuckled. “And I’m going to spend it like any man should.” He paused and took a long swig of beer as if that was the proper way to end his sentence.

“I figured it would turn out something like this.” The bartender said. He motioned to a guy in the back to come forward. Gene was then “escorted” off the premises.

Gene picked himself off the ground, with difficulty, and loudly cursed out the bartender. He teetered into a nearby alley and tripped over an overturned trash can, scaring a black cat out of it. “Damn. Garbage.” He whispered. His eyes fell upon the cat. “Here, kitty, kitty.” He laughed.

The cat paused with one paw in the air and looked curiously at the drunken man before her. Gene persisted and grabbed at the cat but she hissed and scratched at him. “Now, I ain’t going to hurt you."

With many minutes of this, Gene finally had the cat in his arms. “Now this ain’t so bad, now is it?” He said stroking the cat in his lap. The cat’s ears perked up and a dog appeared around the corner. The cat tensed, but quickly relaxed. Gene furrowed his brow, because the large German Shephard was growling at the cat. Gene said, "Get out of her, mutt!" he commanded.

Gene looked down and saw that he was massaging the back of the cat’s neck and making shushing noises, an act David had done to Gene whenever he had a nightmare as a child.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Gene said, “That’s just like Dad.” Gene released the cat and stood. So Dad's gone. And I couldn't have done anything to stop that. Cancer's a big deal and I don't have all the answers. It's not like I could magically take it away. I would have if I could. But I guess that he'll have to live on. Through me and my actions. I guess that he's not really gone, if you think about it. Gene walked home with difficulty and was finally able to cope with David's death.

Brian Lawson sat in his office going over a patient’s charts. The poor old woman had some ailment that he had deemed “House-worthy.” Grinning at his ability to make a pop-culture reference at a time like this, Brian leaned back in his chair and placed his hands behind his head. God, I need a break.

The door burst open in front of him and he found himself quickly on his feet. Then he recognized the two men standing before him. “Oh. It’s just you two. Well come in and have a seat. I wondered how long it would take for you two to come see me.”

“You’re damn right, Lawson!” Victor Trent said ignoring the doctor’s request at taking a seat. “You lied to us! You said the Prather child showed no signs of acquiring an ability!”

Victor’s partner, Kevin Pratt, did take a seat as was recommended and he sighed. “We just want to know what on earth possessed you to do such a thing. Lying to us? You’re better than this, Brian.”

Brian took a seat behind his desk. “It’s rather simple, really. If you knew the ability the child possesses, you’ll be amazed. It’s quite something.”

Victor narrowed his eyes. “Quit taunting us. Either tell us the kid’s power or…”

“I believe that you two came to see me, Agent Trent. So, you will wait patiently for me to explain.” Doctor Lawson said. Victor thought this was pushing his luck, but Kevin gave him a warning glance as to say, ‘Don’t do anything rash.’

“As I was saying. I did do the test, Trent. The child did possess an ability and what an ability it was. I became the child’s regular doctor until the mother moved them out of Connecticut and I am pleased to tell you that he should exhibit his abilities any day now. He has made phenomenal progress over the years. And at such a young age. I know you two must be dying to know what it is aren’t you. Well I simply can’t do…”

BANG!

Victor stood over Brian’s body. “TRENT!” Kevin shouted as he stood from his chair. “What the hell did you do that for?!”

“We weren’t going to get anything from him. He wouldn’t be telling us about doing regular tests on the kid if he hadn’t already destroyed all evidence he had done so. Now let’s get out of here.”

“Gene Fisher, this is Janice Norman from El Paso Child Services. I’m calling to tell you that Ginger has passed and left you custody of her son, Nameless. We’ll be coming to New York to discuss matters further. We should arrive some time Thursday. Thank you. Good bye.” The woman looked to the boy next to her with a pitying expression. She had only gotten the machine. “I’m sure he’ll be there, sweetie. I’m sorry.”

Nameless sat in the front seat of the ugly van, watching Janice intently. Though she had no direct association with the passing of his mother, Nameless felt a strong animosity towards her. Janice, obviously, noticed this and said, “I’m sorry we have to drive all the way to New York, too.” Nameless sighed and turned to look out of the window at the lack of scenery passing by. They had been riding for what seemed like forever! “You’ll have to talk eventually, Wes.” Janice said patting him on the knee. “Have you seen the picture of Gene?” she asked. Nameless nodded and pulled out the picture of Gene she had given him two hours ago. He didn’t look at it and pocketed it again. Nameless shrugged in response. He’d talk whenever he had a reason to talk. And he only talked to his mother and Rusty.

At the thought of Rusty, Nameless looked down at his feet. There was a plastic container with the word “Rusty” written in permanent marker on the top holding a lizard. Rusty had been the gift Nameless had been searching for when he learned he had a brother. The lizard had a slight red tinge to him, hence Rusty. Rusty was currently sleeping under a piece of wood. Rusty was his only friend now. Nameless sighed and tried not to be too scared. So, he dealt with terror the way any eight-year-old would: he went to sleep.

SCREECH!

Nameless forced his eyes open and found everything upside down. The passenger airbag in his face, he was disoriented for a bit. He fumbled for his seatbelt and unbuckled it. He fell to the top, which was now on the bottom, of the car. He crawled out of the broken windshield. He saw Rusty not too far away and crawled over to his reptilian friend. The lizard seemed unharmed. The Same couldn’t be said for Janice, although. Nameless, frightened at the sight of her lifeless body, began running through the darkness.

“But he’s just a kid, Trent.” Kevin said trying to reason with his partner. The two were sitting in a poorly air-conditioned van somewhere out in Texas. The scorching heat coupled with hours spent sitting in a van with a radio that doesn’t work had made Trent very irritable. In his lap, Kevin held a remote control with a blinking red light.

“For the last time, he’s not just a kid. He’s one of them now. He’s ‘special.’” Trent wiped sweat from his brow. His eyes were focused out of the windshield.

“Why can’t we take him back to the lab to do tests on him?” Kevin said picking up the binoculars for what seemed like the millionth time that day.

“Because he’s become too much of a liability to us and The Company. Do you know what they will do to us if they ever find out that one of them slipped by us undetected?”

“We’ve tied up that loose end, Trent. I’m sure the superiors will understand.”

“Like hell they will. Listen, all they care about is that one slipped by us. They won’t care that some doctor lied to us about whether or not he has an ability. They won’t take into account or reputation. There will be no questions asked.”

“But…” Kevin began, but he was interrupted.

“Shh. I think I see something.” Victor took the binoculars from Kevin and looked off into the distance. There was an ugly blue van coming down the road. Kevin’s smile widened. “It’s show time.”

Kevin sighed and pressed a button on the remote in his lap. Somewhere along the road, a motion-sensitive laser turned on. When the tired of the van broke the connection, spikes would appear from a sliver of metal in the middle of the road which Kevin had placed many hours ago.

The two agents watched as the woman drove over the spikes and lost control of the van and it flipped and rolled multiple times and eventually fell off of the road and into a ditch. Trent grinned and said, “Let’s get out of here.”

A heap of a boy was curled up on the ground. Face-down in the dirt, he seemed lifeless. He, although, was very much alive.

His eyes opened slowly and he sat up. Where am I? He looked around. How’d I get here? Terror struck him. WHO AM I? He noticed he was holding a container close to him. The only word on the container was “Rusty.” Nameless, for that was his name, looked at the lizard with the reddish hue. “Hi Rusty. Do you know where we are?”

Nameless, though he didn’t know that was his name, looked around, the sun bearing down on him. He stood up and stretched and felt something in his pocket. He pulled out a picture of a man. He furrowed his brow. Who is this man? He decided to keep the picture of the mystery man in Rusty’s cage.

“Hello?” his voice cracked. He cleared his throat. “Hello?” Is anybody out there? HELP ME!”

Victor and Kevin had just returned from Texas. “I still think we could have greatly benefited from bringing the kid back here for testing. Maybe we could have figured out what ability he has.”

“Had.” Trent corrected, “And what’s done is done. Nameless Prather is dead along with his mother and father. And his brother has no idea of his existence. It will be as if he never existed.”

“I guess you’re right.” A knock came from the other side of the door and a tall slender woman opened the doorway.

“Agent Trent, you have a visitor.” She told him.

“Did he say who he was?” Victor asked.

“He wouldn’t tell me his name, but he did say he had information on the Prather case. He said you would know what he was talking about.”

Though this bit of information came as a shock to him, Victor remained stolid. “I’ll be right down.” The woman closed the door.

“Who the hell could that be?” Kevin asked bewildered.

“I’ll tell you when I get back.” Victor exited Kevin’s office and walked down the hallway and into his own. There, to his surprise was none other than Brian Lawson. “How unforeseeable. I thought I shot you.”

“You did.” Brian said standing. “You just didn’t kill me.” Brian quickly took out his own gun and shot three times, each time sending a bullet through Victor’s chest.

Kevin heard the gunshots, like many people in the offices and was first to the scene. With his gun drawn he opened Victor’s door to see his partner’s lifeless body. He looked to see Brian Lawson standing over him. “You son of a…”

BANG.

Kevin shot Brian and this time, he made sure he was dead. “Try regrowing your head, bastard.” He said spitting on the doctor’s body.


It was raining, believe it or not. The temperature was just warm (if one could call it that) enough that the falling snow could not make it to the ground frozen. Instead, intermittent nearly-freezing drops of rain were falling rather heavily and gave the asphalt of the nearly-deserted street a good soaking. Young Nameless Prather, a boy of only eight, was standing for protection from the precipitation underneath the awning of a delicatessen, which seemed to be rather low on business since the owner of the deli had already tried to get the young boy to buy a few slices of ham two times. Eventually, the shop owner stopped asking and locked up his store tightly before heading home. It hadn’t occurred to Wes that the man could have been trying to help him by inviting him inside. He was too preoccupied with his own thoughts and troubles.
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PostSubject: Re: Striving for perfection -training-part 4   Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:25 pm

For months now the only thing on Nameless’s mind had been his brother Gene. He had been through too much and nearly died five times in order to find his brother. Now that he finally knew that he lived in New York City, Nameless couldn’t believe that finding a man in a city would be the hardest part of his journey. He had fought Nameless, Rage, and Maury, teamed up with The Company, survived an attack on The Hideout, escaped from NYU and the police, and flown thousands of miles to find Gene. There was no way he was going to give up now. He had been in New York for about a month and he had met a few new people at a coffee shop. They were nice, but they weren’t his brother.

The young boy shivered and he was brought out of his thoughts suddenly. How long had he been seeking shelter underneath the awning of the nearly-doomed delicatessen? At least an hour, Nameless surmised. Across the street, which was deserted due to the fact that he was in an old part of town, Nameless saw the tiniest of coffee shops. Thinking that a big cup of hot chocolate sounded like it would do wonders for his cold and shivering body, Nameless reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny wad of cash, which he had earned playing the saxophone in various locations around the city.

Nameless quickly jogged to the coffee shop and pushed the door, which squeaked obnoxiously, open with a bit of difficulty. It was apparent that no one frequented this particular spot, since it was nearly deserted save for a couple of men. Nameless walked to the counter and ordered his hot chocolate from the man behind the counter who gave him quite a look for being out in the city alone; especially during the rain. Nameless didn’t feel the need to explain himself to the man, so he turned quietly to find a good spot to sit. He always favored the window.

Unfortunately for Nameless, the only window seat was currently occupied by the only other person in the coffee shop, who seemed to be enthralled by the day’s events in the local newspaper. He heaved a deep sigh and decided he’d rather not bother whoever it was behind the paper. He turned to take a seat at a nearby table to allow his drink to warm his body. He heard the man cough and, out of the corner of his brown eyes, saw the man put down his paper for the relief of a drink of coffee.

Nameless’s young eyes widened and the hot chocolate fell from his hands and splashed against his pant legs. Quietly and with his mouth slightly agape in a curious mixture of awe and fear, Nameless moved toward the man, who had looked up at him curiously whenever Nameless didn’t react to the warm liquid spilling down his pants. Nameless’s voice cracked and he looked at the man, “Gene?”

Gene blinked at the little boy standing in front of him, and he leaned forward out of curiosity. How did this little kid know his name? “Hello there,” Gene said trying to sound as friendly as possible to make the kid feel a little less embarrassed about spilling his drink down his pants. However, the kid didn’t seem to be embarrassed whatsoever, in Gene’s opinion. Actually, he didn’t seem like he noticed at all. The man behind the counter had, and excused himself to go scour the place for a mop. “How do you know my name?”

Nameless’s eyes were like saucers when the man said that his name was Gene. He couldn’t contain his excitement and his tiny arms quickly wrapped around the brother for whom he had been searching for what seemed like ages now. “I finally found you! After all this time!” Nameless felt Gene’s body tighten as if he was unsure what he should be doing. Nameless looked up into Gene’s eyes and quickly recognized them as his own. “Don’t you know who I am, Gene?” Nameless asked curiously, “I’m your brother, Nameless.”

Gene’s face contorted into an odd expression of confusion and wonder. How could this kid be his brother? His father had never mentioned another child to him. Yet there was something about the kid that looked familiar. Nameless’s eyes were the Same glassy brown as his. Gene’s heart began racing and he felt like everyone could hear it. “Nameless?” he said surprised that he could speak at all. The child before him nodded and buried his head back into his chest. “You say you’re my brother?” Gene took Nameless by the shoulders and pushed him backwards a little to gage the kid’s reaction.

“Yes.” Nameless said clutching his brother’s arms with his hands, which were shaking a little from the excitement. “My mother. Her name is Ginger Prather. She’s your mother too. And my father. His name is David Fisher. He’s your dad too. Momma didn’t tell me about you. I guess Daddy didn’t tell you about me.”

Gene’s mouth fell open whenever Nameless said the names of both of their parents. Could this kid actually be telling the truth? “What are you doing out here? Where is your mom?” Gene couldn’t bear to bring himself to say that Ginger Prather had been his mother. Not after she did what she had done to his father. The man behind the counter entered again and seemed quite angry. He muttered something under his breath about a stolen mop and told the brothers that he would be going to another coffee shop, whose owner he “knew” took the allegedly stolen mop. Neither of the brothers tore their eyes away from each other. Nameless’s mouth quivered whenever he tried to speak.

“Don’t you know?” Nameless’s shuddering voice uttered, “Mom’s dead.” Nameless watched as Gene’s expression did not change. He did, however, release Nameless’s shoulders. “I thought you knew. We called you and left you messages. She left me to you.” An odd feeling swept over Nameless whenever he realized that Gene was all Nameless had in the world. Gene and a hat full of cash and a saxophone.

“I don’t check my…” Gene’s voice said trailing off. He hadn’t checked a single message since his father had died. He would simply erase all messages out of fear that it would be another mourner who would say how great of a man his father had been. It had been an irrational fear, but Gene often found himself to be irrational. “Are you sure though?” Nameless nodded. “You’re my brother.” Nameless nodded again.

“I found a picture in Mom’s closet one day,” Nameless said after clearing his throat, “It was a picture of her and a little tiny baby. I thought it was of me and her, but when I turned it over it said ‘Ginger Prather and Gene Fisher.’ I knew I had a brother then.” Nameless paused and Gene closed his eyes as if he was trying to mentally see the photograph of which Nameless spoke. “Then when Mom…” Nameless couldn’t bring himself to say ‘died.’ “Her will said that I was going to go live with you in New York City.” Gene didn’t speak and Nameless’s eyes filled with tears out of fear that Gene didn’t believe his story.

“If you don’t believe me,” Nameless said, “I’ll prove it. When I was little, Mom and me came up here for a funeral and I didn’t realize it until a little while ago that it had been Daddy’s funeral. He died of cancer, right?” Gene’s eyes forced themselves open and Nameless could see that he was holding back tears. “What’s wrong, Gene?”

“I saw Mom that day.” Gene said nearly inaudible. “I drove her away and told her that I didn’t want to see her. I blamed her for Dad’s death. She just wanted to tell me something.” Gene looked to the young boy in front of him and a small smile graced his pale lips. “Now I know what it was.” He looked out the window at the rain falling and trickling down the side of the glass. The sun was setting and dotted where there were no dark grey rain clouds were a few clouds that were an odd mixture of pink and orange. The sun peaked out from behind a cloud for just a moment, before a rather ominous cloud covered it up. It was enormous and one of the darkest clouds he’d ever seen. Its color was nearly the Same as the jet black cat that liked to hang around his apartment every now and then. Gene couldn’t help shake the feeling that the cloud would never go away and he’d never see the sun again.

Nameless’s quiet voice brought Gene out of his irrational fears. “If you don’t want me, I’ll understand.” Nameless said taking Gene’s looking away from him as a bad sign. “All I ask is that you help me get back to Texas. I want to see my friends again. But I want to stay with you more.” Nameless said his eyes filling with tears. He wiped them away as Gene turned to look at him.

Gene hesitated for just a second, the severity of taking in a young boy (not to mention his long lost brother) finally sinking in. He then took Nameless in his arms and whispered in his ear, “Of course you can stay with me.” His hand went to the back of Nameless’s neck and massaged it gently. “Everything is going to be fine, little bro.”
Gene was dead. Rain was falling hard as Nameless ran down the deserted street away from the coffee shop. Just when he thought that everything was going to be alright and he would finally have a family again, Nameless’s world fell apart. He wondered if witnessing his brother’s death would cause him to lose his memory again. He welcomed the amnesia. He wanted to forget everything. Nameless. His ability. The Company. Gene. Everything. But he knew that life wouldn’t be fair to him. He had already been through too much. Now he would have to face his problems head-on.

The tear-stricken child made it to a main street with many people. Though he knew Nameless wouldn’t attack out in the open (he sure hoped he wouldn’t.), Nameless continued running as fast as he could. He had to get to Ian. Nameless knew that after their brush with the Company and Gene’s death, Ian would run away with him. Nameless had to get them out of the city. It was no longer safe.

Out of breath from the attack, crying, and running, Nameless slowed to a jog. He had to keep moving. A young couple stopped him and asked if he was lost. Nameless didn’t answer the couple and pushed passed them. He was lost. But not in the way they meant. Nameless didn’t know where to go. He didn’t know what he should do. His world was spinning. He was so dizzy. He just wanted to sleep.

He finally made it to Ian’s apartment and forced open the door, which banged against the wall loudly. Nameless’s jaw dropped when he saw the scene. Ian’s apartment, which had been his home for the past few days, was ransacked. “Ian? Sarah?” Nameless called as he ran passed the threshold of the door.

He ran through the living room, which was littered with ripped pages from all of the books which used to grace Ian’s shelf that stood upright instead of in shambles on the floor. The television was smashed and through the screen, electricity licked the sides of the broken glass every few seconds. The kitchen was just as bad, the refrigerator was barren of all foods and the door was hanging off its hinges. There were broken plates, cups, and bowls everywhere. Nameless dared not go check the back of Ian’s apartment. It was probably worse than the front.

“What happened here?” Nameless asked himself. He leaned against the wall of Ian’s kitchen and slid down, emotion finally taking over his adrenaline-filled body. His whole body convulsed as the tears came. He tried to shout, but he found that he couldn’t breathe. For a few seconds, he sat there trying to breathe as tears rolled down his white cheeks. Suddenly, air reached his lungs with a large gasp. He placed down on the floor, unable to cope with how he was feeling. He was so terrified of what was happening. He didn’t know how to react. He didn’t know what he was going to do. He was alone again.

He shivered. He couldn’t close his eyes no matter how much he wanted and needed to sleep. He was terrified that something else would happen to him. As the crying continued late into the night, Nameless began to dehydrate. He had been crying for hours now after running all over the city for the past two days. His mouth felt like cotton. This only terrified him more, but he managed to get himself to stand and drink graciously from the large leak that had sprung from Ian’s kitchen sink.

He wiped his mouth and inhaled deeply. His knees wobbled and he had to hold himself up on the counter to keep himself from falling. He looked outside the window. The sun’s first rays were peeking just over the other buildings and Nameless wondered what time it was. The sky was still dark and was a strange purple-green. Nameless turned from the window and looked to the door, which was still open like he had left it. Neither Ian nor Sarah had come during the night. He wondered where they were.

Something caught his ear for the first time. It was a small whirring sound which was familiar in the depths of the child’s young mind. His curiosity led him across the room and he came upon the record player, which oddly enough had survived whoever tore apart Ian’s apartment. His hands automatically reached out and moved the stylus onto the record. After a moment, the Beatles began to play, and Nameless heard the song “Yesterday” begin to play.

"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it seems as though there here to stay,
Oh I believe in Yesterday."


Nameless’s bottom lips quivered and he moved away from the record player as the song continued to play. His eyes touched upon the overturned book shelf. His mind was brought back to the night where Nameless had met Sarah and Ian. Ian had mentioned a book. What had it been? That night seemed so far away now.

Nameless searched his mind and eventually came up with a name: Suresh. He had to find Dr. Suresh’s book. He began moving books and pages around to find it. He got dangerously close to the television, but moved away when he realized how close he was. He picked up his hand and saw he had been sitting on it. He picked it up and looked at it. The book was navy blue and had a strange light blue design on it that Nameless swore he had seen before. The book’s name was Activating Evolution.

Somehow, getting his hands on the book and listening to the Beatles instilled within the child a desire to get away. He had hoped that Ian would have come during the night, but it seemed like he wasn’t coming. He looked out the door. He had to leave. But where was he going to go? Texas. He’d go back to Texas. There he would see his friends again and he could stay with them in The Hideout.

Nameless stopped the music and picked up the record along with the only other unbroken record, which was also by the Beatles. He put the book under his arm along with the two records and walked out the door. He was bound for Texas.

Nameless couldn’t believe what he was doing.

After leaving Ian’s apartment with the records and Dr. Suresh’s book, Nameless began walking along the highway. He would make it to Texas even if he had to walk there. Unfortunately for him, he had forgotten his saxophone and his hat full of money in Ian’s apartment. He wasn’t turning back now.

A truck eventually stopped, a black 2005 Chevy Silverado with tinted windows to be exact. The passenger side window rolled down to reveal a young woman in the driver’s seat. “Hey honey, what are you doing out here all by yourself?” the woman reached toward the dash board and turned off the radio.

“I’m…” Nameless meek voice croaked. He adjusted the book under his arm. “I’m trying to go home.”

“Where is home?” The young woman asked him. “Did you run away or something?” Nameless nodded. It was much easier to say that he had run away rather than tell her what really happened to him. To her first question, he didn’t give an answer. It didn’t matter where he said home was. She would never drive him all the way to Texas. “Well I’m going to New Jersey. Is that where you’re from, buddy?” Nameless nodded. “Okay. Well get in and I’ll take you home. I’m sure your family is really worried about you.

Nameless scoffed when she mentioned his family. She had no idea.

“I’m Stephanie,” said the woman, after they had driven for a while. Driving sure interested the child. She looked over her shoulder and switched lanes. Nameless muttered, “You should have used your blinker.” Stephanie cast him a strange look.

“Oh dear,” Stephanie said. Nameless looked at her curiously and saw that they were low on fuel. Stephanie pulled into a gas station. “Honey, do you mind running in for me?” she asked as she pulled out her purse and handed him two twenties. Just tell the lady that you want forty on Pump Two. Nameless nodded, having not said anything more to the woman since he told her about using her blinker, and went into the gas station.

After paying the lady, Stephanie was pumping gas. Nameless got inside the truck and buckled his seat belt. Suddenly, Stephanie cursed. She opened the door and asked, “Did you tell the woman to put forty on here?” Nameless nodded. “Well she only gave us thirty. I’m going to go talk to her. Stay right here.” Stephanie shut the door and ran inside the gas station.

Nameless closed his eyes. How was he possibly getting to Texas? After a moment, his eyes forced themselves open. The keys were sitting in the cup holder. His breathing increased. He couldn’t possibly.

Nameless inserted the key into the ignition and turned. The truck sprang to life.

Nameless’s hand gripped the wheel of the truck. Driving sure was an interesting feeling. Of course, he was a much better driver than most of the people on the road, knowing everything about road etiquette and safe driving.

He had felt pretty bad about taking Stephanie’s truck and money, but he had to do it if he was going to get home. He laughed when he thought of the strange looks he had gotten when he had to pump the gas. He had told each and every gas station cashier that his mother was handicapped and he had to do it himself. Luckily for him, the tinted windows were dark enough that the people couldn’t see inside to confirm his story or see him as he drove along the interstate.

Nameless found himself in Louisiana. He was so close. Only one state to go. The truck dinged to let the child know he was low on gas. Nameless reached into Stephanie’s purse, which she had left in the vehicle after going to talk to the woman in the gas station. His heart dropped when he realized that he had used the last of the money to buy his last tank of gas.

Nameless took the nearest exit and the truck sputtered to a stop. “Great,” he said. “Now what?”

It was night once again; new york had been good to the winter, s much snow, so much cold. the clouds covered the sky once more, no lunar light being emitted through it. having all day of working, James stood outside of his parents house.
There was one thing he needed to do; walk in, and kill hi father. Yes, very cliché; but james knew why. The murder of his mother had never been 'explained' and finally james new why. The media stories said the house burnt down in the room his mother was sleeping in; but she didn't dye of smoke in hailation. I knew it; my power must've decended from one of them. james thought as he started upon the fluight of stairs in the old apartment block.

After walking up several flights of stairs he came to the apartment ' Woodland (108) '. He couldn't hide forever. james thought. He toggled on the door several times, it was obviously locked. James thought of breaking the door down; but that obviously hurt himself. Instead he ignited his ability; even though he had little control since he was determined to kill his father with it it seemed to have listened to his commands. James' hand glue a blue colour as he tapped the door handle several times. The ice from his hand consumed the door handle and seemed to make it weak. Using his other hand; james repeatidly punched the door handle; it broke off, unlocking the door.

Entering, james noticed that everything had relevance to fire, the poster his father had infront of the television, chared remains in a pot. "Father," he spoke out-loud. "father..." he said in an almost evil way. he stormed through the 2 bedroom flat. "Hmmm..." he said as he entered the bedroom...
Instantly - there was bold bright light flying towards him. "Ah!" james yelped as he ducked this very fast. He looked back up to see his father. "yes James, you've got my attention" his father spoke. "Yes; thanks" he said, his arm began to become ice, it wasn't just his hand. Instantly; james ran at his older father. His father attempted to fight him off by launching fire at james, But james used his arm to stop the fire burning him. he was now alsmost inches away from his father. "This is the end" he then spoke. Grasping his father by the neck. "Goodbye, Jeremy." he said, using his father's name to reveal how insignificant he actually was to james. The ice spread from james' hand to his father's neck, consuming it in ice; then ice from his father's nexk spread all around his body, he father froze, but not completely. james withdrew his hand.
"Now you can stay; and dye of hypothermia, just like mother died of 'Smoke inhalation' ". James said to his father. "n-no please" James' father said. "Goodbye dad." james said as he left.

Nikolai walked out of the doctor's office with a glum look on his face and a wrinkled prescription sheet in his hand. Ever since he had come back from his second war, the War on Terror, he had been having bad dreams, if he chose to sleep. He didn't have to sleep, since his ability relieved any feeling of fatigue and was resistant to the elements. But he did have what he called day-mares. He would be minding his own business then, like he was watching a movie screen, these images would just appear in front of him. His perception would change and he would often get strange looks from people. It's not everyday that you see a guy looking at things that aren't there and shouting orders to invisible soldiers. This was all very embarassing to Nikolai, so he decided to get a check-up.

The doctor told him he was probably suffering from a moderate to severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. This depressed Nikolai, so the doctor gave him some medicine to combat the effects. Problem was, the pills were highly addictive, so the directions given for taking the pills had to be followed by the letter. If not followed, then Nikolai would become an addict and probably end up dead. The withdrawel symptoms were terrible, too. The intensity of the problem he was currently experiencing would most likely increase. That could drive him crazy if the pills didn't kill him first.

He traveled to the nearest pharmacy and got the order filled. The pharmacist gave him a bag with the pills in it. He paid for them and walked out. Opening the bag, he removed the bottle and took off the cap. He read the instructions printed then dry-swallowed one of the capsules. He was tired. It was time for a vacation.

Nikolai ventured to a quant little shop called "Micky's Garage:Tune-ups, Upgrades and More!" He entered by way of the garage itself, which was next to the office quarters. Micky's large frame was emergine from underneath the body of Nikolai's vehicle: a brand-new black Dodge Challenger. Micky had upgraded it with reinforced windows and chassis, making it eligible for driving away relatively fine from nasty wrecks. He stood up and lurched his 6'6"-self over to Nikolai, smiling.

"Well, Nikky, got your baby all fixed up. Ready to go, my man."

Nikolai began to bring up the cost of the upgrade but Micky shook his head.

"No, you get it to me when you can. It's fine that you don't have all of it now. Just...whenever you get it, okay?"

Nikolai thanked him and retrieved his keys. He got in the car and cranked up the engine. Listening to its "voice" as it roared to life, he backed out of the garage and drove away to his apartment, while honking at the waving Micky.

Nikolai arrived at his modest four-floor apartment complex a little later than he would have liked. Traffic was bogged down, due to the homeward-bound rush of the daily commuters and white-collars. Locking his car, he nimbly bounced up the main steps and entered the building. Waving at the evening watchman, he strode to the nearest elevator and entered, pressing his floor's button. Once arriving at his floor, the top, he wandered through the maze of hallways till he came to his door. He unlocked the door and entered.

He dropped his keys on the shelf next to the entrance, kicked off his shoes and sat down in front of the computer. He searched for an available hotel in Florida, preferable near Pensacola or Destin. Finding a nice one in Destin, he booked it and then began to pack.

Nikolai removed a large duffel bag from his closet and began to pack the necessary clothes and whatnots for the trip. He thought about taking his hunting rifle, but decided against it. Just one of those waning thoughts that made no sense. He had those a lot. They seemed to come and go more often since he had gotten back home. Most of the time they were just sudden flare-ups of anger thaat he couldn't put a finger on.

He wrote down the directions to the hotel in his car map and stuffed it in his bag. Lifting the bag, he left his apartment and locked the door. Once that was done, he left the building, waving at the night watchman as he left.

Throwing his bag in the backseat, he sat in the driver's seat, started the engine then drove off to his well-needed vacation site in Destin.

Nikolai arrived in Destin a few hours later. He only made three stops along the way and that was just for gas. He explored for a bit then tracked down his hotel. He parked in the lot outside the hotel and exited his car, grabbing his bag as he got out.

It was early morning at this time. The midnight crew must have recently left, because the man standing behind the counter looked new and fresh. He was smiling. Nikolai greeted him and asked for his room. After going through all the formalities, he grabbed his room key and began to search for it. He found it shortly and entered, locking the door behind him. He threw his bag across the room and leaped on the bed. He stared at the ceiling, relaxing for hours. It was time to cool down and let the lack of responsibility seep in.

Nikolai waited peacefully in his room until the morning sun began to peep through the bedroom shades. He listened to the gradual increase of noise and movement from the early risers. Satisfied with his "sleep", he got up and took a shower. He had been wearing a mildly-worn t-shirt bearing the smiling visage of Bing Crosby with some blue jeans the past two days, so he decided for a change. He slipped on his military fatigues and looked at himself in the bathroom mirror, gingerly brushing his hair. Finished, he left his room and ate some very good bacon and eggs, then left the hotel. He had spotted a park near the hotel and decided to people-watch there, so he walked, ready for whatever the day may bring him.

(Note: This thread is continued in "Welcome home, soldier (Pepper)"). This one is now finished.

Nameless sat down on the soft hotel bed and sighed. What did he do now? For nearly ten years he and Emily had been together, driving across the southern American states and often into Mexico and beyond. Together they had killed, tortured and destroyed, driven on by Emily's ability to take the powers of other specials.

Emily had always been unstable, her desire to obtain the powers of others had finally overwhelmed and she had tried to take his power and kill him. He had retaliated. Nameless didn't know if she was dead but he had left her behind. That was it. This had happened before but Emily had always been able to control herself in the end.

Nameless no longer knew what he was to do with his life. Even before the incident with Emily he was tiring of their life. He needed something more. That was, of course, why he had started documenting what he and Emily did.

Nameless had a great deal of scientific training in his old life and he had put that to use in writing about what they did. He turned on his laptop and checked his last entry. He and Emily had found a man in Nevada who super strength, they had taken him by surprise and Emily had killed him in seconds. Nameless turned the laptop off and put it away.

The hotel he was staying was very expensive. He had decided he needed to reevaluate his life and this seemed like a nice place to do it. After so long of staying in terrible motels and often sleeping in the car this was a nice change. Nameless had tidied himself up, back to wearing his expensive suits and having his neatly combed hair and he certainly looked like he fit in here. Nameless had even used his real name and credit cards to check in, something he hadn't done in a long time. He longer felt like Christopher Lawrence, now he was just Nameless.

After reviewing his work Nameless decided he did need to change. No longer would he stick to out of the way towns, small sparsely populated areas. No, now he was going to make more of a visible impact. Even without Emily Nameless had no intention of giving up his current lifestyle of death and destruction. He enjoyed it and he felt like he was learning a great deal.

Nameless was a systematic person and tried to develop a plan of what to do. There were an obvious choice; the Company. It had been several years since his last encounter with them and he did know the state of that organisation. Nameless thought of a few more ideas and wrote them down and then decided it could wait. For the next few days he would relax and enjoy himself. Then he would get back to work.

Nameless certainly did not look anything other than a well dressed businessman. But today he planned to make an impact, Nameless wanted something to do, something to further his studies of mankind and wasn't really concerned about what he would be doing.

Nameless hoped today he would cause ripples that would make important people take notice of him. Nameless was planning to visit a very special bank, this was a bank used by only a small number of people. A bank that discouraged people from just popping by. It also had a large safe deposit box area where many things could be held, no questions asked.

Nameless opened the door to the bank and walked in. He had taken care to look his best. As he walked in the security guards stood up, two were inside the door. There was a security checkpoint with a metal detector and two more guards. All of them were armed.

"My name is Mr. Nameless, I have an appointment to see Mr. Loudon." One of the guards checked the list and nodded to his colleagues.

"Through the metal detector, please Mr. Nameless," Nameless stepped forward and through the metal detector, it beeped. Nameless smiled and sighed and reached inside his coat, his hand closed around his gun and he drew it quickly. He fired twice into the nearest guard. With his other hand he plunged his phased fist into the guard's head and pulled it out, leaving a bloody mess. Nameless phased quickly as the guards returned fire. The bullets passed through him but not harmlessly, the kinetic force hit him and he felt the effect.

The guards were stunned for a second, each had emptied their guns firing at him and quickly set about reloading. Nameless could have shot them but this was a demonstration. The nearest guard he smiled as he plunged his fist into his chest and focused, the deatomization process beginning. The final guard stood in horror as he colleague died, satisfied Nameless removed his fist, his victim's heart decayed and broken, the rest of the guard fine. The final had reloaded and raised his gun, Nameless caught it as he broke down the atoms he focused the released energy and then he walked away. Seconds later the gun exploded.

Nameless left the guards and walked through the heavy security door slowly. Phasing his entire body through an object was not easy and it required concentration. Through the wall safely he continued on his way. The fight with the guards had alerted the rest of the bank and he could hear commotion all around him.

Two guards burst through a door and he dropped them both quickly with his gun. He phased through another wall and smiled. Ahead of him was the security office. Inside would be a security team. Nameless smiled, this would be fun. He walked up to another heavy door and pressed his fist against it, again breaking the door down and causing an explosive reaction. Nameless backed off and the door exploded. Nameless walked in amongst the confusion and finished off what remained. He quickly deleted most of the security footage of him and disabled the rest of the cameras.

Nameless walked out of the security office and towards his final destination. The Box Room contained hundreds of small safe deposit. Nameless phased into the room and surprised three guards and a very frightened looking middle-aged man in a suit. The three guards died quickly, each in slightly different ways.

The middle-aged man cowered in the corner, a small pistol shaking in his hand and then Nameless turned to him, "Mr. Louden? I am Mr. Nameless."

"What are you doing?" asked Louden.

"Making a name for myself," said Nameless. He grabbed the gun and as he phased his fingers through it he quickly turned it to dust. "Stay quiet." Nameless then set about opening every box. Some he blew open, exploding the box doors, some he deatomized the entire door, some he even left locked but removed the contents. Satisfied he then turned back to the manager.

"Now, you will remember my name?" he asked the manager, he nodded. Nameless knelt beside him, "Just to make sure," Nameless reached into the man's arm and used his powers on his arm, breaking down the atoms in his bone. The manager started screaming and then Nameless stepped back.

Nameless again phased through the wall and decided to leave. First he walked into the bathroom and checked his appearance; blood. He sighed and quickly washed his hand and face, removing most of the blood. Nameless was sure his demonstration would get a lot of attention.

Nameless could hear the sirens as he strolled through the bank. Because of the illegal nature of much of the bank's business he had guessed they wouldn't immediately call the police. Evidently he had caused enough chaos for the police to be brought in.

Nameless walked up the wall of the bank, on the other side of the wall was the office of a firm or lawyers, beyond that a doctor and beyond that the street. Nameless phased through the wall as he heard the police burst into the bank.

Master Nameless had many titles he could have put out on his board. Master of Feng Shui, specialist in Mah Jong fortunes, Ninth degree Tai Chi Master, Wizard of the ancient magics, and secretly the Guardian of the spirit of the Chinese Emperors & Caretaker of the Goddess of the Imperial Palace (though he had little information about her as she had been a very carefully concealed secret). All together they made a very impressive set of both knowledge and life-long mastery few could compare to, even if taken individually. Unfortunately none of them had given him much insight about the events of the last twenty-four hours nor could they; any time the divine messed in the lives of mortals all rules went off the table and the normal resources for possible information tended to come up blank.

It had taken several hours for him to come to terms with what had happened, not the least of which was a total loss of dignity and a touch of madness around eight in the morning which he had managed to finally beat down. If one of the underworld's assassins had shown up during that time he would have laid down and bared his throat with relief, but Eli had kept him from self-destructive tendencies and he was now in a frame of mind to thank her for her efforts at the very least. Similar to the mental effects of the last 'incident' which had been caused (he still suspected the Goddess, but who really knew?), that time he had been saved by having his family around him and Eli now counted far more as family in his life now as of everyone he knew, she now qualified as one of the few people who could relate, understand, and perform the demonic things he now could as well.

Definitely a curse in his mind, there would be no joy in his new power and his only recourse back to being in balance and harmony would be to turn them upon his people's self-inflicted disease of criminal cancers. And maybe that was what the Goddess wanted him to do, but surely he had already the perfect weapon for such in Eli, why curse him into an eternity of despair and frustration? Yes, at this time he far better understood why Eli thought of her powers as a curse at times, not a blessing. And after a lifetime of devoted service, to be used in such a way--- No, he would resist that mass of twisted thoughts again. It would get him no where except throwing himself from the nearest rooftops and failing whatever test this was to his soul. Damnable gods, playing games with his lives again...

Whatever. His purpose might be clear, it was only the path which needed thinking upon now. If he, like Eli was now a type of predator on others, he needed someone to perform as the cover to their secret plans. And with the new place coming to a completion (Placing the Goddess in her new home yesterday (had it really only been a day??!!) had for Nameless been the completion of the building itself) then it was time to let others know about their choosing to be in his plans. Accordingly he had collected all of his final possessions, directing his nephew and Eli in helping him pack his arm strength no good for the task no matter how much he tried. His more sacred tools and carefully planned formulas having been saved for last in the move. With the upstairs emptied out (even his stove bathtub already installed in the new place) and secured in the new building he returned for one last task before his niece and her family moved into the upstairs of the building.

Standing in the empty apartment he looked around one last time in the bedroom, remembering the assassins who had entered, especially the one he had fried on the old stove. A slight feel of satisfaction that this part of his life had, at the very least, been successful in it's purpose of enabling his family success and security. The door opened and the stubborn girl entered, carrying the tea tray. before she could set it down he motioned her into the bedroom space and pointed to the middle of the floor where two pillows remained, both royal purple silk with gold threading and very very fine. When she knelt on the floor and reached for the tea he touched her hand, stopping her. Her expression was calmly neutral as befitted her ancestors, but she was surprised when he motioned for her to sit on one of the cushions.

With perfect poise and slow movements he performed the proper tea ceremony as she watched, serving her first before himself in direct opposite of what she had been taught, unless for one you wished honor upon. The conversation was in Cantonese and very quiet with many pauses after each sentence. If a linguist had listened he would have noted very archaic inflections in the young boy's words, as if the boy remembered the time of his ancestors much more clearly then most which would have been entirely correct.

A few moments to remove her shoes (which were hideous things with tall platforms) and slip on slippers Nameless had left out. The girl then put the shoes in her pockets and picked up the tray, having trouble balancing it unlike earlier. A check to make sure nothing was left behind and she collected the scroll & key from behind the pillow Nameless had been sitting on a minute ago. Putting it on the tray, she took the pillow tassels in one hand under the tray and awkwardly made it out the door closing it behind her. Downstairs she carried things and entered the restaurant, nodding at Nameless's niece and handing her the scroll (sealed and ribbon-ed with gold) as she put the cushions down long enough to take the tray into the kitchen and put together a to go box of a family order of the bananas before she returned, picking the cushions back up and giving her former boss a head bow of respect, which was returned. Outside a rickshaw waited which was called earlier and deposited the young teenager outside Nameless's new place, as yet unopened.

Opening the back door next to a street seller's stall, she entered and slid the bar behind her before going halfway up the steps. The new stairway was heavily decorated in rich red and shiny brass luck charm symbols scattered all over the walls, a hundred different types. She reached out and turned one around so it formed the opposite symbol meaning curse and then pushed it in. Bending down she slipped her fingers into the hidden crack in the step in front of her and lifted up, revealing a hidden entrance under the steps Nameless could never have managed with his child's strength. Once through it was lowered into place with a click and the stairway symbol reverted to it's original position. Unlocking the second door as well, the girl walked into the main floor which was filled with a large collection of construction tools and paneling still being placed and chose a stairway to the side, half finished, and made her way up carefully.

In the new office she acted rather curiously however. First, she was careful to only walk on the cleared top of surfaces, avoiding all parts of the floor.

Pushing aside certain things to clear the floor, she stripped down to her underthings with awkward fingers and hung these clothes up on a hanger on the far end of the room. Unrolling a special small carpet in the middle of the space (and leaving the shoes with the outer wear), she carefully slipped off the slippers and with careful aim, tossed them over the table to the far corner where they fell into a bucket. Using the Kleenex that had been rolled up in the small carpet, she wiped the bottom of each foot carefully clean before placing it on the carpet, then cleaned her fingers and tossed the bundle far away as well. Kneeling, she took the jewelry which had been left in the Kleenex and put them on, her wrists, neck, and ankles. Finished, she ran her fingers over each piece to make sure everything was ready and then bent over, putting her forehead against the carpet carefully.

Nameless stepped out of her back onto the front of the carpet and jumped lightly about three feet away, turning so he landed on his feet roughly facing her. Quickly pulling out a red pocket laser he aimed for a spot on the carpet to the side of her where the girl was suddenly dizzy and slightly disoriented. After about ten seconds the fuse went off and as she opened her eyes getting her vision back, there was a great cloud of red powder on all sides, an old magicians trick for entrance and exits in front of an audience. Clueless of these tricks, she sat up slowly with a disbelieving glance around before she even realized she was herself changed. As she felt the necklace with wide eyes and looked up, Nameless merely looked at her with a stony face and said (This is now your new place of work. You will attend me here everyday and as soon as you have moved your things, you will be here every evening as well.)

Her look was one of dawning amazement at his power and deep respect mingling with excitement! In her mind she had just been transported across the city, redressed, and presented with the proof of Master Ge's supreme powers as a being of extreme importance. She knew she never wanted to disappoint him nor anger him in any way! The last few years she had wanted to be his girlfriend, secretly desiring to be part of his rising legend in the Chinatown public, and secure herself a position of respect for her daring. That now mixed with this fresh display into a close-to-fanaticism that she had achieved her desire of the legend and held it by her Lord's will alone! She bowed deeply and moved forward on her hands and knees kissing his foot and saying (Yes Master...) with a voice tinged with devotion.

Nameless smiled.


In his bedroom were two sleeping mats now, something that felt odd to him. For so much of his life he had been an older man, single and a bachelor that having company felt like an odd note in the middle of a stanza, jarringly it caught one's attention. And yet her presence, despite the attending issues of modesty and manners and small difficulties of gender - - well she felt comforting. As if her presence changed the way he looked at each day. Ever single in his life, he had no way of knowing, but he wondered if marriage was a touch of something similar; something to contemplate after this time passed. It was, after all, for a short time and soon the modified restaurant would be finished and ready to go. Even tomorrow he was to go see the final progress, and the arrival of the 'special' trademen who would come to change what the first crew had done.

The first crew was long gone actually, having finished the remodeling of the structures and the inner walls with stairs, ladders, plumbing, electricity, and the security system. The second crew worked hard to finish the inside areas with paneling and rough finish to each living area with the tiles and utilities needed. Tomorrow the third crew would arrive, a pair of men from Australia flown in to put in the secret panels and covers over the different entrances and locations, specialized in their work and by their own advice brought to the building to work never seeing the outside nor knowing the owner's name. Clearly they had worked for some very particular clients who wanted the best in secrecy! Finally would be the fourth crew which would include the painters and the interior decorator to install all the rest. The parlor/business areas would be her entire domain actually as the real living spaces were already well hidden by then.

Shan had seen to that yesterday. The small dumbwaiter lifts for between the floors would serve them well for moving the small amount of furnishings from the basement storage to the upstairs apartments and Eli was strong enough for three men to begin with. With her help the upstairs would be well furnished long after the secrets were concealed, leaving the downstairs "storage rooms" to have doors fitted already in a crate down there turning them into soundproof cells, ready to act as Eli's larder while they carried out their plans. And the upstairs apartments (each with four rooms; bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living space) would serve well for their occupants to decorate as they wished in secret. Half of what he owned he already had in the downstairs storage and everything left here was portable. Even Eli did not know about the very secret move of the goddess's things to their new sanctuary between the floors under his apartment and centrally placed above the business where she could observe the occurrences that happened below her in her new dominion.

He had the impression last night at his devotions she was particularly pleased with his work. He certainly hoped so, although for the merry hell she had turned his life into, he should have done something far less, but he had been charged by the Emperor himself and he would carry that charge till the end of his days which he earnestly prayed would not be many lifetimes. To go on as Eli had, stuck in that age for so long and unable to live life instead just surviving it was a type of hell he would not allow himself to descend into. Now his relatives could continue after him and under a new type of protection by removing himself from their vicinity. It felt very wrong to remove himself from his family, centuries of belief and tradition screaming out against it, but he had finally realized how much danger they were in from him and he could not allow it any more. besides, with him gone maybe they could bring themselves to have children again, ones not at risk from the games of the gods.

As he lay on his pallet in the darkness, his eyes were open as he watched the ceiling, thinking through how many things were left to be finished. As the American's said (he had never gotten used to his citizenship here; at heart he would always be from China and a faithful servant as he had been raised, his culture one of an ancient past), it was 'the home stretch.' Crazy Americans and their odd belief systems! A powerful people who disconnected themselves from their own power and handicapped themselves in their daily lives with artificial rules which argued against human nature, disabled by their mind sets as much as by their voluntary restrictions. Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement and his eyes latched onto it, trained by a wave of assassination attempts to pay attention to even the smallest of details.

The Sacred Grotto Crickets, known to outsiders as a type of cave crickets in China and elsewhere, was a much larger creature then many expected, blocky with chitin looking like an old warriors armor. Many who saw them in China considered them to be a special creature even in the culture which dealt with their fascination already. Ever since the switch in which he inhabited the body of his nephew locals had called him the Cricket Boy, coming unnervingly close to a hidden truth he had kept concealed for nearly a hundred years. He had not, in fact, laid a hand on a cricket carrier since he was in China. And now here in the rafters was the largest Grotto Cricket he had ever seen, climbing like an elderly man down the support beam to the floor. But as surprising as that was, that paled in comparison to the most surprising feature of this creatures decent.

Every part of it's body glowed clearly in the dark as if it hid a fire from the gods themselves inside it's body.

Somehow he knew Eli was awake, maybe it was her changed breathing, but neither of them moved as it approached the floor, moving slowly and in no way alarming. Maybe they shared an awakening dream, one of those where you were both awake and dreaming at the same time, but he could not have looked away for anything on this earth. In a slow eternity he sat up at the waist to keep it in sight as it hopped not at all but walked arthriticly across the floor towards his space, passing by Eli's form, only hesitating to wave it's antennae in her direction as if in friendly greeting before it approached him as unerringly as if it had a built in GPS system in a maze of roads. Master Ge Nameless's eyes grew larger as it approached, never having seen the will of the Goddess in direct full manifestation before, though he knew it was her creature in all ways. It had the 'feel' of her indeed!

And outsider would have seen nothing except Nameless and Eli suddenly intent on the same space in the pitch black, following it with their eyes. As he observed the approaching phenomenon, Nameless began to chant a blessing to the goddess in old Cantonese, preying for restful sleep after such a long service and thanking her greatly for all that she had done for her most worthless servant who managed greatly still after so much time. Thoughts of family and China and his devotions fell away like years and for a moment it was easy to see the old man in his features as he greeted 'old man cricket' with respectful tones, tired of his days on this earth and ready for a reward of peaceful sleep without end. It stopped, sitting about two feet away waving it's antennae to him as if it listened carefully to his words, considering all his life in it's temporary Omnipotent nature as one of Her servants.

For her own part, Eli could feel the air charged with power, expectant like a thunderstorm about to break a very long pregnant drought. The smell in the air was that of freshly created ozone often found with lightning storms and it's passage brought a fresh air like spring flowers with it. There was little doubt to either of them that there was anything they could do that whatever was about to happen, would, without any influence from them on either part.Nameless had not so much forgotten as pushed aside the reminder that Crickets were the sign of ancient immortality amongst his people, preferring to think of that as a representative of the Goddess herself instead and the private symbol of the many Emperors of the past millennium how he served as a type of priest.
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PostSubject: Re: Striving for perfection -training-part 4   Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:26 pm

Then it jumped into his chest the light vanishing into Nameless as it did so, lighting his features frozen on the word of "" which meant 'life' as it passed like a hot knife through butter into his flesh, vanishing as quickly as it had come. Only Eli saw a sudden rush of light and energy come up from Nameless's form which washed over an invisible form for an eternal second to her eyes like a beautiful Chinese Princess of wispy light (a sad smile as she looked at Nameless with regret) above his head before it too vanished as if it had never been. As Nameless fell over, his head fortunately hitting the slim pillow he allowed himself for sleep, his eyes were wide as dinner plates stared straight up at something no one else could see on this earth as chilly knowledge fell into his mind giving him the full extent and detailed usage of his new powers suddenly fully awakened and trained in his form. He tried to finish the words he had been about to say, the words in Chinese vanishing from his conscious mind for a moment as only one word could occur to him to express his feelings at this moment of immortal and divine experience, the abrupt knowledge straight from the Goddess into his mere mortal existence.

"Wēnshén."*

And then he did something she had never seen before, but fit his flesh all too well. Nameless rolled onto his side going fetal and began to cry, his sorrow at his fleshy prison being extended into an unforeseeable ending nightmare as if he was a small child suddenly awakened from the scariest boogieman back into the reality of a sunless day of pain. It was a rather heartbreaking scene, a surrendering of dignity earned to subside into the simplest expression of deep sorrow and horror one could feel.


Master Ge Nameless had many titles he could have put out on his board. Master of Feng Shui, specialist in Mah Jong fortunes, Ninth degree Tai Chi Master, Wizard of the ancient magics, and secretly the Guardian of the spirit of the Chinese Emperors & Caretaker of the Goddess of the Imperial Palace (though he had little information about her as she had been a very carefully concealed secret). All together they made a very impressive set of both knowledge and life-long mastery few could compare to, even if taken individually. Unfortunately none of them had given him much insight about the events of the last twenty-four hours nor could they; any time the divine messed in the lives of mortals all rules went off the table and the normal resources for possible information tended to come up blank.

It had taken several hours for him to come to terms with what had happened, not the least of which was a total loss of dignity and a touch of madness around eight in the morning which he had managed to finally beat down. If one of the underworld's assassins had shown up during that time he would have laid down and bared his throat with relief, but Eli had kept him from self-destructive tendencies and he was now in a frame of mind to thank her for her efforts at the very least. Similar to the mental effects of the last 'incident' which had been caused (he still suspected the Goddess, but who really knew?), that time he had been saved by having his family around him and Eli now counted far more as family in his life now as of everyone he knew, she now qualified as one of the few people who could relate, understand, and perform the demonic things he now could as well.

Definitely a curse in his mind, there would be no joy in his new power and his only recourse back to being in balance and harmony would be to turn them upon his people's self-inflicted disease of criminal cancers. And maybe that was what the Goddess wanted him to do, but surely he had already the perfect weapon for such in Eli, why curse him into an eternity of despair and frustration? Yes, at this time he far better understood why Eli thought of her powers as a curse at times, not a blessing. And after a lifetime of devoted service, to be used in such a way--- No, he would resist that mass of twisted thoughts again. It would get him no where except throwing himself from the nearest rooftops and failing whatever test this was to his soul. Damnable gods, playing games with his lives again...

Whatever. His purpose might be clear, it was only the path which needed thinking upon now. If he, like Eli was now a type of predator on others, he needed someone to perform as the cover to their secret plans. And with the new place coming to a completion (Placing the Goddess in her new home yesterday (had it really only been a day??!!) had for Nameless been the completion of the building itself) then it was time to let others know about their choosing to be in his plans. Accordingly he had collected all of his final possessions, directing his nephew and Eli in helping him pack his arm strength no good for the task no matter how much he tried. His more sacred tools and carefully planned formulas having been saved for last in the move. With the upstairs emptied out (even his stove bathtub already installed in the new place) and secured in the new building he returned for one last task before his niece and her family moved into the upstairs of the building.

Standing in the empty apartment he looked around one last time in the bedroom, remembering the assassins who had entered, especially the one he had fried on the old stove. A slight feel of satisfaction that this part of his life had, at the very least, been successful in it's purpose of enabling his family success and security. The door opened and the stubborn girl entered, carrying the tea tray. before she could set it down he motioned her into the bedroom space and pointed to the middle of the floor where two pillows remained, both royal purple silk with gold threading and very very fine. When she knelt on the floor and reached for the tea he touched her hand, stopping her. Her expression was calmly neutral as befitted her ancestors, but she was surprised when he motioned for her to sit on one of the cushions.

With perfect poise and slow movements he performed the proper tea ceremony as she watched, serving her first before himself in direct opposite of what she had been taught, unless for one you wished honor upon. The conversation was in Cantonese and very quiet with many pauses after each sentence. If a linguist had listened he would have noted very archaic inflections in the young boy's words, as if the boy remembered the time of his ancestors much more clearly then most which would have been entirely correct.

“We weren’t going to get anything from him. He wouldn’t be telling us about doing regular tests on the kid if he hadn’t already destroyed all evidence he had done so. Now let’s get out of here.”
“Nameless Fisher, this is Janice Norman from El Paso Child Services. I’m calling to tell you that Ginger has passed and left you custody of her son, Nameless. We’ll be coming to New York to discuss matters further. We should arrive some time Thursday. Thank you. Good bye.” The woman looked to the boy next to her with a pitying expression. She had only gotten the machine. “I’m sure he’ll be there, sweetie. I’m sorry.”

Nameless sat in the front seat of the ugly van, watching Janice intently. Though she had no direct association with the passing of his mother, Nameless felt a strong animosity towards her. Janice, obviously, noticed this and said, “I’m sorry we have to drive all the way to New York, too.” Nameless sighed and turned to look out of the window at the lack of scenery passing by. They had been riding for what seemed like forever! “You’ll have to talk eventually, Wes.” Janice said patting him on the knee. “Have you seen the picture of Nameless?” she asked. Nameless nodded and pulled out the picture of Nameless she had given him two hours ago. He didn’t look at it and pocketed it again. Nameless shrugged in response. He’d talk whenever he had a reason to talk. And he only talked to his mother and Rusty.

At the thought of Rusty, Nameless looked down at his feet. There was a plastic container with the word “Rusty” written in permanent marker on the top holding a lizard. Rusty had been the gift Nameless had been searching for when he learned he had a brother. The lizard had a slight red tinge to him, hence Rusty. Rusty was currently sleeping under a piece of wood. Rusty was his only friend now. Nameless sighed and tried not to be too scared. So, he dealt with terror the way any eight-year-old would: he went to sleep.

SCREECH!

Nameless forced his eyes open and found everything upside down. The passenger airbag in his face, he was disoriented for a bit. He fumbled for his seatbelt and unbuckled it. He fell to the top, which was now on the bottom, of the car. He crawled out of the broken windshield. He saw Rusty not too far away and crawled over to his reptilian friend. The lizard seemed unharmed. The same couldn’t be said for Janice, although. Nameless, frightened at the sight of her lifeless body, began running through the darkness.

“But he’s just a kid, Trent.” Nameless said trying to reason with his partner. The two were sitting in a poorly air-conditioned van somewhere out in Texas. The scorching heat coupled with hours spent sitting in a van with a radio that doesn’t work had made Trent very irritable. In his lap, Nameless held a remote control with a blinking red light.

“For the last time, he’s not just a kid. He’s one of them now. He’s ‘special.’” Trent wiped sweat from his brow. His eyes were focused out of the windshield.

“Why can’t we take him back to the lab to do tests on him?” Nameless said picking up the binoculars for what seemed like the millionth time that day.

“Because he’s become too much of a liability to us and The Company. Do you know what they will do to us if they ever find out that one of them slipped by us undetected?”

“We’ve tied up that loose end, Trent. I’m sure the superiors will understand.”

“Like hell they will. Listen, all they care about is that one slipped by us. They won’t care that some doctor lied to us about whether or not he has an ability. They won’t take into account or reputation. There will be no questions asked.”

“But…” Nameless began, but he was interrupted.

“Shh. I think I see something.” Victor took the binoculars from Nameless and looked off into the distance. There was an ugly blue van coming down the road. Nameless’s smile widened. “It’s show time.”

Nameless sighed and pressed a button on the remote in his lap. Somewhere along the road, a motion-sensitive laser turned on. When the tired of the van broke the connection, spikes would appear from a sliver of metal in the middle of the road which Nameless had placed many hours ago.

The two agents watched as the woman drove over the spikes and lost control of the van and it flipped and rolled multiple times and eventually fell off of the road and into a ditch. Trent grinned and said, “Let’s get out of here.”

A heap of a boy was curled up on the ground. Face-down in the dirt, he seemed lifeless. He, although, was very much alive.

His eyes opened slowly and he sat up. Where am I? He looked around. How’d I get here? Terror struck him. WHO AM I? He noticed he was holding a container close to him. The only word on the container was “Rusty.” Nameless, for that was his name, looked at the lizard with the reddish hue. “Hi Rusty. Do you know where we are?”

Nameless, though he didn’t know that was his name, looked around, the sun bearing down on him. He stood up and stretched and felt something in his pocket. He pulled out a picture of a man. He furrowed his brow. Who is this man? He decided to keep the picture of the mystery man in Rusty’s cage.

“Hello?” his voice cracked. He cleared his throat. “Hello?” Is anybody out there? HELP ME!”
Victor and Nameless had just returned from Texas. “I still think we could have greatly benefited from bringing the kid back here for testing. Maybe we could have figured out what ability he has.”

“Had.” Trent corrected, “And what’s done is done. Nameless Prather is dead along with his mother and father. And his brother has no idea of his existence. It will be as if he never existed.”

“I guess you’re right.” A knock came from the other side of the door and a tall slender woman opened the doorway.

“Agent Trent, you have a visitor.” She told him.

“Did he say who he was?” Victor asked.

“He wouldn’t tell me his name, but he did say he had information on the Prather case. He said you would know what he was talking about.”

Though this bit of information came as a shock to him, Victor remained stolid. “I’ll be right down.” The woman closed the door.

“Who the hell could that be?” Nameless asked bewildered.

“I’ll tell you when I get back.” Victor exited Nameless’s office and walked down the hallway and into his own. There, to his surprise was none other than Brian Lawson. “How unforeseeable. I thought I shot you.”

“You did.” Brian said standing. “You just didn’t kill me.” Brian quickly took out his own gun and shot three times, each time sending a bullet through Victor’s chest.

Nameless heard the gunshots, like many people in the offices and was first to the scene. With his gun drawn he opened Victor’s door to see his partner’s lifeless body. He looked to see Brian Lawson standing over him. “You son of a…”

BANG.

Nameless shot Brian and this time, he made sure he was dead. “Try regrowing your head, bastard.” He said spitting on the doctor’s body.
It was raining, believe it or not. The temperature was just warm (if one could call it that) enough that the falling snow could not make it to the ground frozen. Instead, intermittent nearly-freezing drops of rain were falling rather heavily and gave the asphalt of the nearly-deserted street a good soaking. Young Nameless Prather, a boy of only eight, was standing for protection from the precipitation underneath the awning of a delicatessen, which seemed to be rather low on business since the owner of the deli had already tried to get the young boy to buy a few slices of ham two times. Eventually, the shop owner stopped asking and locked up his store tightly before heading home. It hadn’t occurred to Wes that the man could have been trying to help him by inviting him inside. He was too preoccupied with his own thoughts and troubles.

For months now the only thing on Nameless’s mind had been his brother Nameless. He had been through too much and nearly died five times in order to find his brother. Now that he finally knew that he lived in New York City, Nameless couldn’t believe that finding a man in a city would be the hardest part of his journey. He had fought Sylar, Rage, and Maury, teamed up with The Company, survived an attack on The Hideout, escaped from NYU and the police, and flown thousands of miles to find Nameless. There was no way he was going to give up now. He had been in New York for about a month and he had met a few new people at a coffee shop. They were nice, but they weren’t his brother.

The young boy shivered and he was brought out of his thoughts suddenly. How long had he been seeking shelter underneath the awning of the nearly-doomed delicatessen? At least an hour, Nameless surmised. Across the street, which was deserted due to the fact that he was in an old part of town, Nameless saw the tiniest of coffee shops. Thinking that a big cup of hot chocolate sounded like it would do wonders for his cold and shivering body, Nameless reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny wad of cash, which he had earned playing the saxophone in various locations around the city.

Nameless quickly jogged to the coffee shop and pushed the door, which squeaked obnoxiously, open with a bit of difficulty. It was apparent that no one frequented this particular spot, since it was nearly deserted save for a couple of men. Nameless walked to the counter and ordered his hot chocolate from the man behind the counter who gave him quite a look for being out in the city alone; especially during the rain. Nameless didn’t feel the need to explain himself to the man, so he turned quietly to find a good spot to sit. He always favored the window.

Unfortunately for Nameless, the only window seat was currently occupied by the only other person in the coffee shop, who seemed to be enthralled by the day’s events in the local newspaper. He heaved a deep sigh and decided he’d rather not bother whoever it was behind the paper. He turned to take a seat at a nearby table to allow his drink to warm his body. He heard the man cough and, out of the corner of his brown eyes, saw the man put down his paper for the relief of a drink of coffee.

Nameless’s young eyes widened and the hot chocolate fell from his hands and splashed against his pant legs. Quietly and with his mouth slightly agape in a curious mixture of awe and fear, Nameless moved toward the man, who had looked up at him curiously whenever Nameless didn’t react to the warm liquid spilling down his pants. Nameless’s voice cracked and he looked at the man, “Nameless?”

Nameless blinked at the little boy standing in front of him, and he leaned forward out of curiosity. How did this little kid know his name? “Hello there,” Nameless said trying to sound as friendly as possible to make the kid feel a little less embarrassed about spilling his drink down his pants. However, the kid didn’t seem to be embarrassed whatsoever, in Nameless’s opinion. Actually, he didn’t seem like he noticed at all. The man behind the counter had, and excused himself to go scour the place for a mop. “How do you know my name?”

Nameless’s eyes were like saucers when the man said that his name was Nameless. He couldn’t contain his excitement and his tiny arms quickly wrapped around the brother for whom he had been searching for what seemed like ages now. “I finally found you! After all this time!” Nameless felt Nameless’s body tighten as if he was unsure what he should be doing. Nameless looked up into Nameless’s eyes and quickly recognized them as his own. “Don’t you know who I am, Nameless?” Nameless asked curiously, “I’m your brother, Nameless.”

Nameless’s face contorted into an odd expression of confusion and wonder. How could this kid be his brother? His father had never mentioned another child to him. Yet there was something about the kid that looked familiar. Nameless’s eyes were the same glassy brown as his. Nameless’s heart began racing and he felt like everyone could hear it. “Nameless?” he said surprised that he could speak at all. The child before him nodded and buried his head back into his chest. “You say you’re my brother?” Nameless took Nameless by the shoulders and pushed him backwards a little to gage the kid’s reaction.

“Yes.” Nameless said clutching his brother’s arms with his hands, which were shaking a little from the excitement. “My mother. Her name is Ginger Prather. She’s your mother too. And my father. His name is David Fisher. He’s your dad too. Momma didn’t tell me about you. I guess Daddy didn’t tell you about me.”

Nameless’s mouth fell open whenever Nameless said the names of both of their parents. Could this kid actually be telling the truth? “What are you doing out here? Where is your mom?” Nameless couldn’t bear to bring himself to say that Ginger Prather had been his mother. Not after she did what she had done to his father. The man behind the counter entered again and seemed quite angry. He muttered something under his breath about a stolen mop and told the brothers that he would be going to another coffee shop, whose owner he “knew” took the allegedly stolen mop. Neither of the brothers tore their eyes away from each other. Nameless’s mouth quivered whenever he tried to speak.

“Don’t you know?” Nameless’s shuddering voice uttered, “Mom’s dead.” Nameless watched as Nameless’s expression did not change. He did, however, release Nameless’s shoulders. “I thought you knew. We called you and left you messages. She left me to you.” An odd feeling swept over Nameless whenever he realized that Nameless was all Nameless had in the world. Nameless and a hat full of cash and a saxophone.

“I don’t check my…” Nameless’s voice said trailing off. He hadn’t checked a single message since his father had died. He would simply erase all messages out of fear that it would be another mourner who would say how great of a man his father had been. It had been an irrational fear, but Nameless often found himself to be irrational. “Are you sure though?” Nameless nodded. “You’re my brother.” Nameless nodded again.

“I found a picture in Mom’s closet one day,” Nameless said after clearing his throat, “It was a picture of her and a little tiny baby. I thought it was of me and her, but when I turned it over it said ‘Ginger Prather and Nameless Fisher.’ I knew I had a brother then.” Nameless paused and Nameless closed his eyes as if he was trying to mentally see the photograph of which Nameless spoke. “Then when Mom…” Nameless couldn’t bring himself to say ‘died.’ “Her will said that I was going to go live with you in New York City.” Nameless didn’t speak and Nameless’s eyes filled with tears out of fear that Nameless didn’t believe his story.

“If you don’t believe me,” Nameless said, “I’ll prove it. When I was little, Mom and me came up here for a funeral and I didn’t realize it until a little while ago that it had been Daddy’s funeral. He died of cancer, right?” Nameless’s eyes forced themselves open and Nameless could see that he was holding back tears. “What’s wrong, Nameless?”

“I saw Mom that day.” Nameless said nearly inaudible. “I drove her away and told her that I didn’t want to see her. I blamed her for Dad’s death. She just wanted to tell me something.” Nameless looked to the young boy in front of him and a small smile graced his pale lips. “Now I know what it was.” He looked out the window at the rain falling and trickling down the side of the glass. The sun was setting and dotted where there were no dark grey rain clouds were a few clouds that were an odd mixture of pink and orange. The sun peaked out from behind a cloud for just a moment, before a rather ominous cloud covered it up. It was enormous and one of the darkest clouds he’d ever seen. Its color was nearly the same as the jet black cat that liked to hang around his apartment every now and then. Nameless couldn’t help shake the feeling that the cloud would never go away and he’d never see the sun again.

Nameless’s quiet voice brought Nameless out of his irrational fears. “If you don’t want me, I’ll understand.” Nameless said taking Nameless’s looking away from him as a bad sign. “All I ask is that you help me get back to Texas. I want to see my friends again. But I want to stay with you more.” Nameless said his eyes filling with tears. He wiped them away as Nameless turned to look at him.

Nameless hesitated for just a second, the severity of taking in a young boy (not to mention his long lost brother) finally sinking in. He then took Nameless in his arms and whispered in his ear, “Of course you can stay with me.” His hand went to the back of Nameless’s neck and massaged it gently. “Everything is going to be fine, little bro.”
Nameless was dead. Rain was falling hard as Nameless ran down the deserted street away from the coffee shop. Just when he thought that everything was going to be alright and he would finally have a family again, Nameless’s world fell apart. He wondered if witnessing his brother’s death would cause him to lose his memory again. He welcomed the amnesia. He wanted to forget everything. Sylar. His ability. The Company. Nameless. Everything. But he knew that life wouldn’t be fair to him. He had already been through too much. Now he would have to face his problems head-on.

The tear-stricken child made it to a main street with many people. Though he knew Sylar wouldn’t attack out in the open (he sure hoped he wouldn’t.), Nameless continued running as fast as he could. He had to get to Ian. Nameless knew that after their brush with the Company and Nameless’s death, Ian would run away with him. Nameless had to get them out of the city. It was no longer safe.

Out of breath from the attack, crying, and running, Nameless sNamelessd to a jog. He had to keep moving. A young couple stopped him and asked if he was lost. Nameless didn’t answer the couple and pushed passed them. He was lost. But not in the way they meant. Nameless didn’t know where to go. He didn’t know what he should do. His world was spinning. He was so dizzy. He just wanted to sleep.

He finally made it to Ian’s apartment and forced open the door, which banged against the wall loudly. Nameless’s jaw dropped when he saw the scene. Ian’s apartment, which had been his home for the past few days, was ransacked. “Ian? Sarah?” Nameless called as he ran passed the threshold of the door.

He ran through the living room, which was littered with ripped pages from all of the books which used to grace Ian’s shelf that stood upright instead of in shambles on the floor. The television was smashed and through the screen, electricity licked the sides of the broken glass every few seconds. The kitchen was just as bad, the refrigerator was barren of all foods and the door was hanging off its hinges. There were broken plates, cups, and bowls everywhere. Nameless dared not go check the back of Ian’s apartment. It was probably worse than the front.

“What happened here?” Nameless asked himself. He leaned against the wall of Ian’s kitchen and slid down, emotion finally taking over his adrenaline-filled body. His whole body convulsed as the tears came. He tried to shout, but he found that he couldn’t breathe. For a few seconds, he sat there trying to breathe as tears rolled down his white cheeks. Suddenly, air reached his lungs with a large gasp. He placed down on the floor, unable to cope with how he was feeling. He was so terrified of what was happening. He didn’t know how to react. He didn’t know what he was going to do. He was alone again.

He shivered. He couldn’t close his eyes no matter how much he wanted and needed to sleep. He was terrified that something else would happen to him. As the crying continued late into the night, Nameless began to dehydrate. He had been crying for hours now after running all over the city for the past two days. His mouth felt like cotton. This only terrified him more, but he managed to get himself to stand and drink graciously from the large leak that had sprung from Ian’s kitchen sink.

He wiped his mouth and inhaled deeply. His knees wobbled and he had to hold himself up on the counter to keep himself from falling. He looked outside the window. The sun’s first rays were peeking just over the other buildings and Nameless wondered what time it was. The sky was still dark and was a strange purple-green. Nameless turned from the window and looked to the door, which was still open like he had left it. Neither Ian nor Sarah had come during the night. He wondered where they were.

Something caught his ear for the first time. It was a small whirring sound which was familiar in the depths of the child’s young mind. His curiosity led him across the room and he came upon the record player, which oddly enough had survived whoever tore apart Ian’s apartment. His hands automatically reached out and moved the stylus onto the record. After a moment, the Beatles began to play, and Nameless heard the song “Yesterday” begin to play.


"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it seems as though there here to stay,
Oh I believe in Yesterday."


Nameless’s bottom lips quivered and he moved away from the record player as the song continued to play. His eyes touched upon the overturned book shelf. His mind was brought back to the night where Nameless had met Sarah and Ian. Ian had mentioned a book. What had it been? That night seemed so far away now.

Nameless searched his mind and eventually came up with a name: Suresh. He had to find Dr. Suresh’s book. He began moving books and pages around to find it. He got dangerously close to the television, but moved away when he realized how close he was. He picked up his hand and saw he had been sitting on it. He picked it up and looked at it. The book was navy blue and had a strange light blue design on it that Nameless swore he had seen before. The book’s name was Activating Evolution.

Somehow, getting his hands on the book and listening to the Beatles instilled within the child a desire to get away. He had hoped that Ian would have come during the night, but it seemed like he wasn’t coming. He looked out the door. He had to leave. But where was he going to go? Texas. He’d go back to Texas. There he would see his friends again and he could stay with them in The Hideout.

Nameless stopped the music and picked up the record along with the only other unbroken record, which was also by the Beatles. He put the book under his arm along with the two records and walked out the door. He was bound for Texas.
Nameless couldn’t believe what he was doing.

After leaving Ian’s apartment with the records and Dr. Suresh’s book, Nameless began walking along the highway. He would make it to Texas even if he had to walk there. Unfortunately for him, he had forgotten his saxophone and his hat full of money in Ian’s apartment. He wasn’t turning back now.

A truck eventually stopped, a black 2005 Chevy Silverado with tinted windows to be exact. The passenger side window rolled down to reveal a young woman in the driver’s seat. “Hey honey, what are you doing out here all by yourself?” the woman reached toward the dash board and turned off the radio.

“I’m…” Nameless meek voice croaked. He adjusted the book under his arm. “I’m trying to go home.”

“Where is home?” The young woman asked him. “Did you run away or something?” Nameless nodded. It was much easier to say that he had run away rather than tell her what really happened to him. To her first question, he didn’t give an answer. It didn’t matter where he said home was. She would never drive him all the way to Texas. “Well I’m going to New Jersey. Is that where you’re from, buddy?” Nameless nodded. “Okay. Well get in and I’ll take you home. I’m sure your family is really worried about you.

Nameless scoffed when she mentioned his family. She had no idea.

“I’m Stephanie,” said the woman, after they had driven for a while. Driving sure interested the child. She looked over her shoulder and switched lanes. Nameless muttered, “You should have used your blinker.” Stephanie cast him a strange look.

“Oh dear,” Stephanie said. Nameless looked at her curiously and saw that they were low on fuel. Stephanie pulled into a gas station. “Honey, do you mind running in for me?” she asked as she pulled out her purse and handed him two twenties. Just tell the lady that you want forty on Pump Two. Nameless nodded, having not said anything more to the woman since he told her about using her blinker, and went into the gas station.

After paying the lady, Stephanie was pumping gas. Nameless got inside the truck and buckled his seat belt. Suddenly, Stephanie cursed. She opened the door and asked, “Did you tell the woman to put forty on here?” Nameless nodded. “Well she only gave us thirty. I’m going to go talk to her. Stay right here.” Stephanie shut the door and ran inside the gas station.

Nameless closed his eyes. How was he possibly getting to Texas? After a moment, his eyes forced themselves open. The keys were sitting in the cup holder. His breathing increased. He couldn’t possibly.

Nameless inserted the key into the ignition and turned. The truck sprang to life.

Nameless’s hand gripped the wheel of the truck. Driving sure was an interesting feeling. Of course, he was a much better driver than most of the people on the road, knowing everything about road etiquette and safe driving.

He had felt pretty bad about taking Stephanie’s truck and money, but he had to do it if he was going to get home. He laughed when he thought of the strange looks he had gotten when he had to pump the gas. He had told each and every gas station cashier that his mother was handicapped and he had to do it himself. Luckily for him, the tinted windows were dark enough that the people couldn’t see inside to confirm his story or see him as he drove along the interstate.

Nameless found himself in Louisiana. He was so close. Only one state to go. The truck dinged to let the child know he was low on gas. Nameless reached into Stephanie’s purse, which she had left in the vehicle after going to talk to the woman in the gas station. His heart dropped when he realized that he had used the last of the money to buy his last tank of gas.

Nameless took the nearest exit and the truck sputtered to a stop. “Great,” he said. “Now what?”
The rain pattered on the window frame. In the summer sunshine, it glinted as it slipped down the glass. The droplets traced lines as the fell under gravity's command. They etched a beautiful, tranquil image through which the dampened streets of Vienna could be seen. But the raindrops were not beautiful to Phillip Cormac. They were a cruel reminder, and the trails they left as the plummeted downwards were lines of anguish.

He sat facing the window, gazing out of it blankly. His hands moved of their own accord, his right pulling the bow back and forth, his left directing his fingers along the strings.

The sounds that resonated out from the wooden hollow of his cello were steeped in sorrow. This was not a time to play pizzicato, nor Eastern European folk dances, nor songs of love and joy. This was a time for mourning.

Phillip's face was expressionless, but his mind was hard at work. There was no music placed before him - this was a memory exercise. If he was to ever make the Philharmonic, he would need to be very proficient in such skills. He was more determined than ever to make that dream of his a reality. He not only owed it to Sal, but he owed it to Dominic too.

He'd never been described as an optimist. He was dour, serious, prone to seeing the downside of everything. But that didn't make him an emotionless stone. Within, he was a turmoil of passion and energy, but less than two weeks ago, that joy had been sapped from his veins. It was beginning to replenish but it would take a long time. A very long time.

The resonant baritone of his instrument echoed off the walls of his sparsely furnished apartment. These melodies, these harmonies. They were the only way he could say what needed to be said. He couldn't formulate the words, but this... this was his elegy. An elegy for a colleague. And elegy for a friend.

He sniffed and tried to focus on the pitch of his notes. On the eleventh of the month, everything seemed to have stopped. He hadn't expected it. How could anyone possibly expect something like that? To find your closest friend in a pool of their own blood, the bread knife still clasped loosely in their fingers - no one could possibly anticipate that. Not even if Dominic Høgh had been diagnosed with depression and suicidal tendencies could he have expected something so terrible. And Dom was not diagnosed.

Why then? Why had he taken his own life? Phillip had no idea, and the time he'd spent trying to answer those questions had yielded nothing. There was no answer. It was an unsolvable riddle. This was it: he would never know why his friend had taken his life, and it would haunt him forever. The question would trail him everywhere.

His hands were beginning to shake and so he ceased his playing. The sudden silence was unsettling. How could it have happened? Why? His brown eyes crinkled. Why, Dom, why?

His tears traced wrinkled lines of anguish down the body of the cello.
Phillip pulled his coat closer to his body, shivering. It was still summer, but the nights were cold, and even moreso when it rained. It seemed to have rained non-stop since Dominic's death. It was almost as if the sky was mourning with Phillip, letting its tears fall on earth. He hesitated, asking himself if this was the best course of action to take. But who else could he possibly talk to? His knuckles rapped on the doorframe. Once. Twice. He was beginning to think there was to be no answer when the hinges squeaked and a face greeted him.

"Phillip?" Sal Brideshead, his ex-wife, observed him with an undefinable blend of emotions. Pity, scorn, confusion. They were all there. Her long blonde hair was tousled - she'd clearly risen from bed to answer the door. Phillip suddenly felt the urge to turn and walk away without an explanation. But he needed... some consolation.

He scratched at his beard - it needed a trim, or just a plain shave - before answering. He answered in the simplest terms, and his voice was quiet and unassuming, but laden with sorrow. "Hi." Her eyes flicked from side to side, as if she were waiting for something to be added to the monosyllable. His eyes remained locked on her. He slouched, driving his hands into his pockets. It was both a practical action, for his fingers were turning purple, and one of awkwardness.

Sal's eyes drooped, and she spoke in German. They were both native English speakers, she from America, he from England, but after living so long in Austria, it was habit to speak the local tongue. "What are you doing here?" She squinted, her tiredness evident. Phillip stole gNamelesss up and down the hallway of her apartment block. He sniffed.

"I need to talk to you."

She slouched, and her voice grew the tone of exhaustion. "It's the middle of the night." She had become fed up with Phillip and his single-minded drive to make the Philharmonic, and his seeming lack of interest in their relationship, and his odd impulses such as these. That was why she'd filed for divorce. Phillip knew she wasn't happy to see him on her doorstep, and he knew that she didn't really want to see him at all. But the divorce had torn at his heart: he had loved her, he still did love her. Seven years on, he'd managed to dispel the infatuation, but something still lingered. He at least wanted to be able to say hello.

He blinked and turned his head away, as he often did when he didn't know how to explain something well. "I know, I know..." His voice sounded defeated. "But I need to talk to you." She raised her eyebrows to ask for further explanation. "You didn't mind talking at midnight when we were married." He attempted a smile, but it didn't succeed.

"That's because we were married."

Silence engulfed the hallway, and Phillip again took to glancing up and down the row of doors to other apartments. The fluorescent light was cold. He shifted his weight and mustered the courage to once again look her in the eye. "It's just... Dominic." Her brow furrowed, puzzled. "He... he..." He couldn't say the word. To say it was to make it fact, and Phillip didn't want it to be fact. It was Sal's growing impatience that convinced him to give it up. "He died. Last Tuesday."

Her eyes widened, and her delicate white hand traced up to her heart. She had only known Dominic briefly, but she knew that he was her ex-husband's closest friend. She remained silent. Phillip again gNamelessd away as he added, "I just need to talk to someone." A foetal half-smile in the corner of his mouth. It pleaded for company and consolation.

"I..." she began, but a movement from inside her apartment distracted her attention. Phillip craned to see inside, but her apartment was shrouded in the dark. No huge surprise, really. It was almost three in the morning. A dry tenor voice came out of the shadows, followed by a man wearing a singlet and a pair of boxer shorts.

"Sal, what is it?"

Phillip took a step back and gNamelessd at his shoes. He hunched his shoulders, as if boxing himself up might allow him to simply vanish from sight. If this wasn't awkward, he didn't know what was. He didn't need that sense of displacement piled on top of the tragedy that kept him awake. "Look, I'm sorry, I didn't..." he mumbled, hands still in pockets.

Sal seemed to become torn, and offered a weak call after him. "Phil..." But the cellist had already turned, and was heading towards the elevator. She sighed, pained, and the door slid shut. Phillip's steps echoed in the corridor and he sniffed as he pulled his coat still tighter. He didn't want to have to face this alone.

He couldn't face this alone.
He sat with his face in his hands. His eyes stared down at the table from between his thin fingers. The tiny lines of text on the onion-skin paper were fading in and out of clarity, and he strained his eyes to see the words better. So do not fear, for I am with you. Phillip breather in deeply through his nose and closes his eyes for a moment. He was feeling stronger now. Perhaps he was coming out of it.

Almost a month now. Almost a month since Dominic Høgh, trombonist and best friend, had taken his own life. The suicide had hit Phillip hard. He wasn't a man of many friends, and to lose his closest left him in a pool of isolation. He'd spent night after night walking circles in his apartment - or crossing town to his ex-wife's - trying to deal with the matter. To figure out how and why it had happened. But now, even though the image was still vivid in his mind, Phillip could feel that he was turning the corner. He was finding his strength yet again. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

He'd drawn strength from his faith - it was always there for him. To comfort him in his troubles and give him hope. This had been a great time of need, and Phillip was so grateful for the solace he could find in God. I will strengthen you and help you. He might not be the model Christian with the evangelical heart and unwavering passion, but he was intellectually sound in his beliefs and his love for God was always in his heart. He often asked why, then, he seemed to suffer so much. The divorce, the endless brick walls between him and his dreams, and now Dominic's death. But he found he could put them out of mind. Perhaps they were a necessary evil to strengthen him. Perhaps they would be instrumental in leading him to a purpose. Who knew? That was up to God.

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Phillip's eyes continued to scroll across the narrow column. The morning sunlight trickled in through the window and bathed him in a sensation of warmth. He just needed to move on. He wasn't alone in his trials. There was someone there, looking over him. And even if his best friend's death still loomed in his mind, it wasn't the end. He had to keep his chin up. He had to keep going.

He couldn't let them down. Not now. Not ever.
The list. There was something strange about the list.

Phillip pushed back, his dining chair scraping across the wooden floorboards. He stood quickly and hurried through his small apartment. His feet padded loudly on the floor, and were probably stirring the tenants downstairs from their sleep. It wasn't Phillip's fault that he awoke early. At least he'd given in to their complaint about his practice. Surely it couldn't be a bad thing to wake up to a solo cello every morning, but for some people, it was.

But it wasn't music that ran through Phillip's mind at this moment. It was the list. Dominic Høgh's list. The one he'd left in his suicide note. The list that had befuddled Phillip for days whilst he'd tried to come to terms with what had happened. He pushed open the door to his bedroom and, as though in a fervour, he rushed to his bedisde table and wrenched open the drawer. It fell with a clang to the floor, spilling his Bible, his paracetamol and his collection of blunt pencils to the corners of the room. He reached for the Bible and thumbed through it quickly. He knew the place.

Isaiah.
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PostSubject: Re: Striving for perfection -training-part 4   Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:30 pm

It was there - a single sheet of paper, the edges a bit worn from too many nights turning it over in his palm. Phillip clenched it in his fist and raced back to the dining room, leaving the spilled contents of his drawer strewn across the room. He'd made a discovery - perhaps it would shine some light onto everything. Perhaps it would explain it. Maybe. Somehow. He could hope, at least.

He reached his dining table and began to smooth out the piece of paper. It was Dominic's suicide note. Obviously not the original - the police had taken that - but a hasty copy Phillip had made. The note had puzzled him too much. He didn't like mysteries. He liked knowing things for certain, and he didn't want to leave something like the suicide letter of his best friend in the realms of ambiguity. Not that Phillip could make much sense of the note. Twenty-seven names - all completely unrelated, all completely unfamiliar save for his own. The twenty-seventh name.

Phillip brought the note near to the morning's paper. The article in the bottom-right hand corner of page seven. He exhaled in disbelief, his eyes flicking back and forth between the newspaper and the list. There it was. The second name: Malcolm Schwartz.

The article reported that Mr. Schwartz was found dead yesterday evening in his own apartment. Four times the legal limit of painkillers had been found in his body. He'd overdosed. Committed suicide. He didn't leave a note. His family and friends had said that he hadn't been acting himself lately. Surely that was to be expected before the act of killing oneself.

But Malcolm Schwartz was the second name on Dominic Høgh's list. "It has to mean something. Something... Can't be a coincidence." Phillip spoke aloud, quietly to himself. Speaking aloud helped him put his thoughts into coherent form. "Jeremy Davy." The first name on the list. "That makes sense. He died three days after surgery. After Dominic blacked out at the wheel and ran into him." Phillip tapped Davy's name on the list.

"Makes sense. Dom was sorry about..." His voice trailed off as he descended into thought. He was sorry that he'd caused the poor guy to die. It would make sense to mention him in his note. But Schwartz? Phillip ran a hand through his thick brown hair. How does that fit together.

He bit the corner of his mouth and stpped back from the table. His breath had become irregular, spurned into gasps by the prospect of uncovering a clue in this strange web of mystery. But he'd hit a brick wall now. So Malcolm Schwartz had turned up dead. What did it mean?

Jeremy Davy. Died due to complications from surgery following a car accident.

Malcolm Schwartz. Committed suicide by overdose.

The first two names on the list. Dead. Through unrelated circumstances. It couldn't be a hit list. That didn't make sense. But what did make sense? What did the list mean?

And what did it mean for the other twenty-five names? What did it mean for Rebecca Taylor? Or Reese Beckett? Kacy Keiley or Hans van der Merke or Brigitte Bourbon-Margaux? Or Phillip Cormac?

Phillip cupped his hands over his mouth, lost in contemplation. Somehow, he didn't think this would ever make sense. But that couldn't stop him asking.


What did the list mean?

James could tell that the men and women before him were not pleased to see him, apparently they had not anticipated that he would make the long journey to the Alaska Facility (it had no other name) because of the incident. It had been a bad week. Three of the occupants, this was the current preferred term, had died, two of them during various tests being conducted on them and one had committed suicide. James was not happy, even worse some of his employees seemed confused that he was at all concerned. “I made it clear that the occupants were to be treated as well as possible,” he said, his tone was controlled and his body language neutral but inside he was very angry. “And yet two have died during the tests and other committed suicide. Three people are dead.”

One of the scientists coughed, “Mr. Nameless, we have many more occupants and we learned a great-“

James cut him off, “Quiet. This research is a regrettable necessity and just because we have to do it does not mean anything goes. I fully intend to release as many occupants as possible and I take their wellbeing very seriously. The research gained from the deaths of the two occupants has been destroyed, I have never seen it and I don’t want it mentioned again, this is to show you how serious I am.” James had always had a vague idea that eventually he would release the specials that he had kidnapped but he had never really had a plan. It had been a growing concern and then, almost miraculously, he had employed a special with the ability to alter memories. It was too good to be true, erase their memories and release the poor people and no more would be said. It was the best he could do for them. “I am beginning to think you are not the right people for this job, you lack a delicate touch.” If only James could have moved here permanently, he longed to take direct control of the project but that was not possible. People were already asking questions about what he was doing, what he was spending money on and he did not want more scrutiny. If what he was doing he was ever discovered, especially at this stage, he would be finished. For now he had to continue working from his offices in New York.
“Because of these and other failures I have decided that the five of you shall be taken off this project,” said James, “You’re all being reassigned. As well, this facility is being closed and a more permanent one constructed.” There was a murmur amongst his five employees, “I shall remind you of the terms of your contracts, you shall never mention a word of what happened here.”
Dr. Braune suddenly started speaking, “Mr. Nameless, you can’t be serious, we are the only people who can do this work. You need us.”
James got up from behind his desk and walked up to Braune, “Dr. Braune, I understand you were conducting the tests where both the occupants died…you’re lucky I don’t make you walk back to New York. You are not as indispensible as you think, your position has already been filled.”
Dr. Braune started to argue about breech of contract and what he would do, he got so wound up he did not notice Mr. Mason walked up behind him. Mr. Mason grabbed the doctor’s shoulder tightly and pressed down. Braune cried out in pain and fell to his knees, “I do not respond well to threats Dr. Braune, and I do not have patience with people who fail me so utterly and do not even acknowledge their mistakes. That’s enough Mr. Mason.” James’s head of security took a step back, “Dr. Braune, you will continue working for me in New York. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Mr. Nameless.”
“There, I hope we can put that unpleasant incident behind us,” said James, “In around an hour a team will arrive and begin the process of moving everything to the new facility, assist them in their work.” James walked out of the room followed by Mr. Mason, “I want you to stay here, just to keep the fear of god in them, keep them in line and accompany them back to New York.”
“Yes, sir,” said Mr. Mason, “The research from the tests that killed the two occupants is inside the helicopter for you to read, sir.”
“Excellent,” said James, despite his assurances that the research had been destroyed, he couldn’t do it. They had discovered valuable things and James was not giving up any information. James checked his watch, he had a board meeting later that day, he should make it if the weather permitted. He stepped out into the cold air and towards the helicopter, Alaska was too remote, too far away from him. The new facility would be much nearer, much more under his control.

James stared at the rather large and unsightly piece of equipment before him. He was used to being presented with sleek and shiney pieces of technology, whereas this was cobbled together out of various different machines and still wires sticking out of it. Even worse than that, it was broken, that was the first thing he had been told about it. The second was how much it had cost. While James’s funds for this project (now named Project Insight as it was a distinct second phase) were almost limitless he didn’t like throwing away and being told how much this broken machine had cost him did not please him. It was for these reasons that he was slightly surprised at how pleased the research team who had brought it all the way to him were. They were positively glowing with pride.

“Please tell me why I should be impressed?” said James finally.

Dr. Nameless stepped forward, he was head of this team, “Mr. Nameless, this is it. This is what you asked us to do.”

James frowned at Dr. Nameless and then he shook his head, “I know it was some time ago, Dr. Nameless, but I did not ask you to bring me broken tat that costs millions of dollars. Please explain yourself.”

Dr. Nameless’s confidence and pride seemed to quickly vanish and he took a moment to compose himself, “Mr. Nameless, this machine has the power of a special. Or it did, after some initial positive tests the whole thing seems to have stopped working.”

James looked back at Mr. Mason in shock, had he heard Dr. Nameless right? This was the breakthrough they had been waiting for. “Dr., are you saying this is it? You’ve managed to recreate the power of specials in technology?”

Dr. Nameless’s confidence quickly returned and he seemed very eager to explain, “Yes, Mr. Nameless, I am so glad you understand, yes, that is it exactly. After extensive experiments were conducted on one of the test subjects…” Dr. Nameless paused, he knew that James was sensitive to the treatment of the specials they were holding but this time James was too excited to care about what they were calling them, “In which we analysed their DNA and physical properties and so on…I won’t bore you with all the silence, but we managed to get an approximation of their powers.”

James was stunned, his mind already racing. This was only possible because of his deal with Helen Boxwagner and North Central Positronics who had conducted the original research on this and he would be sharing this information with her. She probably already knew, a number of her people were working on this project as well, but it would be important for him to inform her personally. “Who was it? What was the power?”

Dr. Nameless rushed forward with a file, “The powers came from Raul Sorenaz, a twenty-two year old from California, he could control magnetic fields, moving metals around at will. He was very powerful, Mr. Nameless.”

“I see,” said James, flicking through the file, “He’s dead?” asked James, suddenly noticing the small deceased label underneath his photograph.

Dr. Nameless nodded, “Unfortunately, he did not survive some of the more invasive procedures, Mr. Nameless, I assure you every care was taken to limit the harm he…to protect….” Dr. Nameless trailed off.

James closed and file and pushed it away, “It is okay, Dr., I understand. I am sure you did all you could.” The bodies were beginning to stack up and James did not like that and normally he would have made his feelings clearer but they were finally seeing results! And James was now very excited.

“We have footage of the tests, Mr. Nameless, if you would like to see it,” said Dr. Nameless. James nodded and the television screen against the wall flicked on, he heard Dr. Nameless’s voice clearly, “Test thirty-two, date 18th November, time, 19:21,” the screen showed a clean and sparse laboratory, machine that was before him now and several scientists. There was also buckets filled with metal, nails, screws, coins, anything, “Activating Device 3221 Gamma.” One of the scientists turned on the machine and then quickly stepped back. For several seconds nothing happened, James looked at Dr. Nameless who looked back happily, “Watch the bucket of nails, Mr. Nameless,” then a slight ripple seemed to go through the bucket and some of the nails began to move and lift into the air. Then it was over, Nameless paused the footage.

“Is that it?” asked James.

“That was the first test, Mr. Nameless,” said Dr. Nameless, “We conducted six more successful tests. Obviously, Mr. Nameless, this does not look very impressive, after all, magnets can do much more, but there are no magnets in this machine.”

“Do not worry, Dr. Nameless, I understand what you are showing me,” said James, and he did. This was it. James drummed his fingers on the desk, “What now?”

Dr. Nameless smiled and looked relieved, “We want to see if we can repair this particular device and get it working, control it more, but we also want to try with other subjects.”

James nodded, “Of course, of course, you have free reign to do as you see fit,” he said, “But Dr. Nameless, I don’t want any more deaths, it is better for everyone involved if we can prevent that. After all, Mr. Soranaz is no longer available in your research and I am sure he would have been helpful.” Dr. Nameless nodded. James looked back at the footage, he noticed something he had missed before, in the corner of the screen was the edge of an operating table, and what might just have been Raul Soranaz’s arm. “Yes, Dr. Nameless, no more deaths, please.”
James Nameless looked at himself in the mirror, he was old. He filled the sink with cold water and splashed it on his face, he was old and he was tired. Things were progressing well with his work with specials, security had been tightened and there had been no further deaths or accidents or unfortunate incidents. Since his attention had been shifted away from his actual businesses things were a bit shaky, but he believed most of that was from the change in leadership. For decades he had been Nameless Enterprises and any change would make people nervous. He left his bathroom and looked at some of the reports from his various businesses, he was eager to take more control but the specials took up so much of his time.

And, perhaps, more importantly, he didn't have the time or the energy. He had been all over the country finding specials and meeting important or significant individuals who could help and it was draining his energy. Yesterday, he had collapsed. It had been a shock. His doctor had assured him he was fine, just tired, but James could feel old age upon him. Twenty years ago he went through tougher times than this and it never really phased him. Whatever happened there would be no new challenge, this was it. He had a good few more years in him but he was not immortal and he didn't want to be. A man needed an end to his life, it gave him perspective. People who never thought they would die achieved nothing.

While the incident was nothing and he was fine, it had effected his thinking. He needed to speed things up. It was not something he wanted to do, speed meant mistakes, not doing things properly, more danger. But it could also mean results. Results that could change everything. He picked up his phone, "Get me Dr. Nameless." There was a click and a tired sounding doctor answered the phone.

"Nameless here," he said.

"Dr. Nameless, this is James Nameless," he said, he picked a file Nameless had given him a few days ago, "The recommendations you sent me that I rejected...I was wrong. You can do everything except for what is in section five."

"Thank you, Mr. Nameless," said Dr. Nameless, "I assure you this will greatly help the research."

James sighed, "I want results, Doctor. I don't want to do all this and get nothing, do you understand?"

Dr. Nameless was a sensible scientist, he did not promise things he was not sure he could deliver, regardless of the money and even the lack of restraints placed upon him could guarantee results. "Mr. Nameless, I cannot promise you anything, research is difficult, but this will make a huge difference."

"Excellent," said James, "Dr. Nameless, for the next week I shall be mainly concerned with my other business interests, but I want daily updates." James put the phone down. Concerning himself with his actual business seemed like a holiday, just worrying about share prices and lobbying for less regulation in the Chinese economy seemed easy in comparison to all this.

James Nameless looked round at the table at a team of some of the brightest minds in the world, the top scientists in the world (or at least the the top scientists who could be bought off to committ terrible acts on fellow human beings in the name of research). Only a few of them could meet his stare.

"So," said James quietly, "What you're telling me is you've made no progress?" There was a murmur of agreement from around the table, "After months of work, a fortune in funding, the pain and suffering of the people in the facility, the deaths of several, and we have nothing." James did not like failure, he hated failure on this level. The worst part of all was that they had initially had some success replicating the powers of specials. Now even that device seemed to have failed them.

"This is unnacceptable," said James, "I demand progress."

"Mr. Nameless," said a middle-aged and distinguished scientist, "This is unlike anything before...you can't expect miracles in a few months."

James sighed, "Dr. Harrow...all I want is some progress." He looked thruogh a stack of papers on his desk, "I believe your team told me four months ago you were nearing a breakthrough...well?"

Dr. Harrow looked less confident, "I'm afraid we were mistaken."

"Ladies and gentlemen, please remember, we have committed terrible crimes for this research. People have died. We need something to show for it." James disliked and regretted the deaths of the innocent specials he had kidnapped. But he knew that great achievements required great sacrifices. Still, it was regrettable.

The project was shaping up to be a complete disaster and he was thinking about abandoning the whole thing. Of course, that could lead to some very unpleasant consequences. He couldn't just let the specials he had taken go.

James stood and slowly walked round the table, "Here is my solution. We shall redouble our efforts. I am instituting a lockdown on the institution, when you return no one shall leave, there shall be an end to outside communications not concerned with your work." As he moved round the table he looked at some of the more senior scientists, "Also, I am imposing a deadline. Two months. That is all we have. With no progress the project shall be abandoned." James nodded to his assistant at the door, ten of his security personnel slowly entered the room. They were silent but an air of quiet menace entered the room.

"Finally, it has been brought to my attention that rumours have begun to circulate about this project. I shall explain again, secrecy is paramount," said Nameless. "If I discover who has been doing this the consequences will be severe."

"Are you threatening us, Mr. Nameless?" asked Harrow.

"Dr. Harrow, I am not threatening you with violence," James said, adding a slight laugh, "I shall simply destroy your career and your lives. Violence won't be necessary." He returned to the head of the table, "This project has been a fiasco and when it is over I shall be making a careful review of the personnel involved and who really tried to succeed. I shall be sending an extra contingent of security to ensure my instructions are followed."

Nameless looked around the now ashen-faced scientists, "Get it done," said Nameless, and walked out of the room.
Nameless sat down on the soft hotel bed and sighed. What did he do now? For nearly ten years he and Emily had been together, driving across the southern American states and often into Mexico and beyond. Together they had killed, tortured and destroyed, driven on by Emily's ability to take the powers of other specials.

Emily had always been unstable, her desire to obtain the powers of others had finally overwhelmed and she had tried to take his power and kill him. He had retaliated. Nameless didn't know if she was dead but he had left her behind. That was it. This had happened before but Emily had always been able to control herself in the end.

Nameless no longer knew what he was to do with his life. Even before the incident with Emily he was tiring of their life. He needed something more. That was, of course, why he had started documenting what he and Emily did.

Nameless had a great deal of scientific training in his old life and he had put that to use in writing about what they did. He turned on his laptop and checked his last entry. He and Emily had found a man in Nevada who super strength, they had taken him by surprise and Emily had killed him in seconds. Nameless turned the laptop off and put it away.

The hotel he was staying was very expensive. He had decided he needed to reevaluate his life and this seemed like a nice place to do it. After so long of staying in terrible motels and often sleeping in the car this was a nice change. Nameless had tidied himself up, back to wearing his expensive suits and having his neatly combed hair and he certainly looked like he fit in here. Nameless had even used his real name and credit cards to check in, something he hadn't done in a long time. He longer felt like Christopher Lawrence, now he was just Nameless.

After reviewing his work Nameless decided he did need to change. No longer would he stick to out of the way towns, small sparsely populated areas. No, now he was going to make more of a visible impact. Even without Emily Nameless had no intention of giving up his current lifestyle of death and destruction. He enjoyed it and he felt like he was learning a great deal.

Nameless was a systematic person and tried to develop a plan of what to do. There were an obvious choice; the Company. It had been several years since his last encounter with them and he did know the state of that organisation. Nameless thought of a few more ideas and wrote them down and then decided it could wait. For the next few days he would relax and enjoy himself. Then he would get back to work.

Nameless certainly did not look anything other than a well dressed businessman. But today he planned to make an impact, Nameless wanted something to do, something to further his studies of mankind and wasn't really concerned about what he would be doing.

Nameless hoped today he would cause ripples that would make important people take notice of him. Nameless was planning to visit a very special bank, this was a bank used by only a small number of people. A bank that discouraged people from just popping by. It also had a large safe deposit box area where many things could be held, no questions asked.

Nameless opened the door to the bank and walked in. He had taken care to look his best. As he walked in the security guards stood up, two were inside the door. There was a security checkpoint with a metal detector and two more guards. All of them were armed.

"My name is Mr. Nameless, I have an appointment to see Mr. Loudon." One of the guards checked the list and nodded to his colleagues.

"Through the metal detector, please Mr. Nameless," Nameless stepped forward and through the metal detector, it beeped. Nameless smiled and sighed and reached inside his coat, his hand closed around his gun and he drew it quickly. He fired twice into the nearest guard. With his other hand he plunged his phased fist into the guard's head and pulled it out, leaving a bloody mess. Nameless phased quickly as the guards returned fire. The bullets passed through him but not harmlessly, the kinetic force hit him and he felt the effect.

The guards were stunned for a second, each had emptied their guns firing at him and quickly set about reloading. Nameless could have shot them but this was a demonstration. The nearest guard he smiled as he plunged his fist into his chest and focused, the deatomization process beginning. The final guard stood in horror as he colleague died, satisfied Nameless removed his fist, his victim's heart decayed and broken, the rest of the guard fine. The final had reloaded and raised his gun, Nameless caught it as he broke down the atoms he focused the released energy and then he walked away. Seconds later the gun exploded.

Nameless left the guards and walked through the heavy security door slowly. Phasing his entire body through an object was not easy and it required concentration. Through the wall safely he continued on his way. The fight with the guards had alerted the rest of the bank and he could hear commotion all around him.

Two guards burst through a door and he dropped them both quickly with his gun. He phased through another wall and smiled. Ahead of him was the security office. Inside would be a security team. Nameless smiled, this would be fun. He walked up to another heavy door and pressed his fist against it, again breaking the door down and causing an explosive reaction. Nameless backed off and the door exploded. Nameless walked in amongst the confusion and finished off what remained. He quickly deleted most of the security footage of him and disabled the rest of the cameras.

Nameless walked out of the security office and towards his final destination. The Box Room contained hundreds of small safe deposit. Nameless phased into the room and surprised three guards and a very frightened looking middle-aged man in a suit. The three guards died quickly, each in slightly different ways.

The middle-aged man cowered in the corner, a small pistol shaking in his hand and then Nameless turned to him, "Mr. Louden? I am Mr. Nameless."

"What are you doing?" asked Louden.

"Making a name for myself," said Nameless. He grabbed the gun and as he phased his fingers through it he quickly turned it to dust. "Stay quiet." Nameless then set about opening every box. Some he blew open, exploding the box doors, some he deatomized the entire door, some he even left locked but removed the contents. Satisfied he then turned back to the manager.

"Now, you will remember my name?" he asked the manager, he nodded. Nameless knelt beside him, "Just to make sure," Nameless reached into the man's arm and used his powers on his arm, breaking down the atoms in his bone. The manager started screaming and then Nameless stepped back.

Nameless again phased through the wall and decided to leave. First he walked into the bathroom and checked his appearance; blood. He sighed and quickly washed his hand and face, removing most of the blood. Nameless was sure his demonstration would get a lot of attention.

Nameless could hear the sirens as he strolled through the bank. Because of the illegal nature of much of the bank's business he had guessed they wouldn't immediately call the police. Evidently he had caused enough chaos for the police to be brought in.

Nameless walked up the wall of the bank, on the other side of the wall was the office of a firm or lawyers, beyond that a doctor and beyond that the street. Nameless phased through the wall as he heard the police burst into the bank.

The sun was shining and it was a warm and beautiful day which was the norm in L.A. On this particular day Nameless was roaming the street’s the only one his age around and the reason for this was they were all in school. He often decided himself that he wasn’t go into school which just happened to be all the days he didn’t have a computer lesson as it was the only subject he was interested in.

“Hello sir, could I talk to you about the wild life preservation group for a moment?” A tree hugger had come over to Nameless and was trying to get him to donate some money and perhaps sign something on the clip board he had, not feeling up to answering a bunch of annoying questions he pulled $5 out of his pocket and put it in the pot the guy was carrying.

“Not today pal” He said looking at the persons face and nodding, as he walked away he wondered why the man hadn’t given a second attempt at getting Nameless’s attention but he was grateful the he hadn’t. Walking around the next corner his face was met with a particularly bright stream of sunlight, pulling his aviator sunglasses from his chest pocket he pushed them over his ears and smiled as he passed a group of people walking towards the gym which he had just past for there was a group of particularly attractive people in the group.

Deciding that it was time to have a spot of lunch Nameless walked into the nearest super market shop and headed straight for the sandwich section, he picked up a rather nice and rather expensive looking wrap thing along with a can of his favourite soda he stowed them away in his jacket and walking back through the CD section he noticed the new Chris Daughtry album and decided that it was his, he picked it up and taking a quick look around to make sure he was alone in the isle he snapped off the plastic security chip and checking the CD was in its case he put it in with his other items and at a quick pace headed out of the store.

As he walked through the open door’s a high pitched beeping started and looking over his shoulder’s he knew the security guard had seen him and recognised him and within a second he was running after Nameless who had started to run down the street.
Running around the corner the security guard close behind Nameless ended up tripping over someone and stumbling to his feet and it is just his luck that the person he had crashed into was a policeman. A couple of hours later he was sitting at a desk being talked to by the same policeman he knocked over, as the policeman talked Nameless was reminded of all the offences he had committed and the penalty he was given and he was also informed that after so many offences the police had decided that he would be assigned a parole officer and that he would have to attend mandatory councillor sessions. He was then escorted back to his uncle’s house where his uncle was waiting with a stern hand and his sister was staring from over her book looking concerned for her brother.

Though his sister was clear of bruises and scrapes and hand print’s Nameless wasn’t so lucky, his uncle was quite the drunk and viewed Nameless as a play thing to take his anger out on while his sister was a dainty fNamelessring princess who needed to be protected and kept out of trouble. Nameless was forced to endure a lot of abuse from his uncle which he never told anyone, including his own sister though if anyone say Nameless without his shirt on and perhaps without even more on they would take note of the bruises and the hand mark’s most notably on the under side of his biceps.

That night with a fresh black eye Nameless was sitting in his room on the windowsill watching the sun disappear behind the distant hills wondering how much more of this he could take and almost as if to confirm that he would have to take action soon as the sun had finally disappeared and the sky was black Nameless’s bedroom door creaked open.
“Pass the orange juice please Uncle Leon” Jamie said as she took a glass from the cupboard and sat at the table and poured cereal into her white china bowl. Her uncle who was a tall and well built man with short and tidy dark brown hair passed her the carton of juice and kissed her on the head as he went over to the toaster and retrieved a small stack of toast and placed it in the centre of the table before sitting down and continuing to read the morning paper.

It was now that Nameless made his way down the stairs and entered the kitchen with a slight limp.

“Are you ok Nameless?” said Jamie as she swalNamelessd a mouthful of juice and placed her glass carefully on the table. Nameless looked at his sister and her shoulder length slightly messy dark brown hair identical colour to his and his father’s apparently and he nodded, he gave his uncle a fleeting look of disgust as he carefully took a seat at the table wincing as he settled down onto the chair.

“You have a bruise on your neck, are you sure you are ok?” his sister asked with a concerned look on her face.

“I’m fine don’t worry about it” Nameless said and he put his hand on the back left part of his neck where the bruise was, he knew that it must resemble a hand but he didn’t want his sister to see so he picked the napkin off of the table and put it over his shoulder as he leant over to take a piece of toast, noticing the clock he stood up and headed for the door.

“Where are you going?” his uncle said sounding normal, not nice but not how he had sounded last night either.

“I have to go I have an appointment with my parole officer” and without saying another word he picked up his back pack and took his jacket from one of the hooks bye the door.
It had been a few months now and Nameless had cut back on the amount of school he was missing and the items he was stealing, though he hadn’t stopped completely. His parole officer, a Marcus Levier was actually a pretty cool guy and thanks to Nameless’s recent wearing of scarfs had hidden his bruises. Having a parole officer who he actually felt he could rely on and spend time with was also good for the fact he could stay out of the house a lot more and out of the house meant away from his Uncle.

After being caught recently though trying to steal a camera to give to his sister he was forced to go see the counsellor again, this was his third trip to the counsellor and he knew one thing which was that he hated it. And on this particular occasion after suffering an exceptionally drunk Uncle and his sister spending the night at a friends house he was in no mood to talk about anything, and for once since meeting him even Mark.

“Look you need to tell me what is on your mind or else these meetings will be happening once every week” She said with her uptight voice, she obviously thought he was beneath her and that because she worked with the police she was someone exceptional.

“I don’t want to talk, why you can’t understand this I don’t know!” Nameless was yelling at her from his chair without looking at her, a desk sat between them.

“Look at me while I talk to you, what you need to learn is a little respect” she had said the one word to make Nameless snap. ‘Respect’

“It’s about time you learnt some respect!” “You will respect me!” “Respect” it was like a trigger of memories in Nameless’s head and he couldn’t take anymore of it, his uncle or this woman. Looking directly into her eye’s as it got dark outside for some reason he stared into her eyes with pure rage.

“Why don’t you go and throw your self off the nearest f*****g bridge!” He shouted at her then turning and running out of the room he slammed the door behind him.
Marcus Levier was waiting outside the office of Nameless’s counsellor appointment when the door swung open and Nameless came storming out and he slammed the door behind him.

“Nameless buddy what’s wrong?” he asked getting up to his feet and taking a step forward towards Nameless seeing tears welling up in his eyes.

“Leave me alone” Nameless said glancing up at Marcus and even though he didn’t know why he just suddenly wanted to give Nameless some space, probably for the best he told himself. Nameless had swung the front door open and stormed out when the counsellor’s door opened again and the counsellor herself walked out of the door. Marcus watched as she walked out of the room and out the same door as if she had some sort of mission to take care of. Picking up his jacket Mark pulled it on as he walked out of the waiting room wondering what happened in that room, but he would have to figure that out later looking down one road leading to the mall and the inner part of the city was Nameless, in the other direction he saw the counsellor walking towards the river which ran through part of the city and there was a small bridge along this road and Mark could even see the bridge from here.

Deciding to ask the counsellor about what happened in the office because something was telling him to leave Nameless alone for a while he took a left turn and headed towards the bridge, he was about 10 yards away when he saw her climbing up onto the edge of the bridge.

“Wow hold on lady!” he called and he ran forward but before he could make it half way there she had leapt off of the bridge and into the deep fast running shallow water below. Marcus ran to the edge and a car pulled up next to him and the people within got out and looked over the edge as well. Marcus saw the counsellor floating down stream, completely out cold and her head facing an odd angle, he looked over his shoulder and in the direction Nameless had gone but he couldn’t see him anywhere.
James could tell that the men and women before him were not pleased to see him, apparently they had not anticipated that he would make the long journey to the Alaska Facility (it had no other name) because of the incident. It had been a bad week. Three of the occupants, this was the current preferred term, had died, two of them during various tests being conducted on them and one had committed suicide. James was not happy, even worse some of his employees seemed confused that he was at all concerned. “I made it clear that the occupants were to be treated as well as possible,” he said, his tone was controlled and his body language neutral but inside he was very angry. “And yet two have died during the tests and other committed suicide. Three people are dead.”

One of the scientists coughed, “Mr. Nameless, we have many more occupants and we learned a great-“

James cut him off, “Quiet. This research is a regrettable necessity and just because we have to do it does not mean anything goes. I fully intend to release as many occupants as possible and I take their wellbeing very seriously. The research gained from the deaths of the two occupants has been destroyed, I have never seen it and I don’t want it mentioned again, this is to show you how serious I am.” James had always had a vague idea that eventually he would release the specials that he had kidnapped but he had never really had a plan. It had been a growing concern and then, almost miraculously, he had employed a special with the ability to alter memories. It was too good to be true, erase their memories and release the poor people and no more would be said. It was the best he could do for them. “I am beginning to think you are not the right people for this job, you lack a delicate touch.” If only James could have moved here permanently, he longed to take direct control of the project but that was not possible. People were already asking questions about what he was doing, what he was spending money on and he did not want more scrutiny. If what he was doing he was ever discovered, especially at this stage, he would be finished. For now he had to continue working from his offices in New York.
“Because of these and other failures I have decided that the five of you shall be taken off this project,” said James, “You’re all being reassigned. As well, this facility is being closed and a more permanent one constructed.” There was a murmur amongst his five employees, “I shall remind you of the terms of your contracts, you shall never mention a word of what happened here.”
Dr. Braune suddenly started speaking, “Mr. Nameless, you can’t be serious, we are the only people who can do this work. You need us.”

James got up from behind his desk and walked up to Braune, “Dr. Braune, I understand you were conducting the tests where both the occupants died…you’re lucky I don’t make you walk back to New York. You are not as indispensible as you think, your position has already been filled.”
Dr. Braune started to argue about breech of contract and what he would do, he got so wound up he did not notice Mr. Mason walked up behind him. Mr. Mason grabbed the doctor’s shoulder tightly and pressed down. Braune cried out in pain and fell to his knees, “I do not respond well to threats Dr. Braune, and I do not have patience with people who fail me so utterly and do not even acknowledge their mistakes. That’s enough Mr. Mason.” James’s head of security took a step back, “Dr. Braune, you will continue working for me in New York. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Mr. Nameless.”
“There, I hope we can put that unpleasant incident behind us,” said James, “In around an hour a team will arrive and begin the process of moving everything to the new facility, assist them in their work.” James walked out of the room followed by Mr. Mason, “I want you to stay here, just to keep the fear of god in them, keep them in line and accompany them back to New York.”
“Yes, sir,” said Mr. Mason, “The research from the tests that killed the two occupants is inside the helicopter for you to read, sir.”
“Excellent,” said James, despite his assurances that the research had been destroyed, he couldn’t do it. They had discovered valuable things and James was not giving up any information. James checked his watch, he had a board meeting later that day, he should make it if the weather permitted. He stepped out into the cold air and towards the helicopter, Alaska was too remote, too far away from him. The new facility would be much nearer, much more under his control.
James stared at the rather large and unsightly piece of equipment before him. He was used to being presented with sleek and shiney pieces of technology, whereas this was cobbled together out of various different machines and still wires sticking out of it. Even worse than that, it was broken, that was the first thing he had been told about it. The second was how much it had cost. While James’s funds for this project (now named Project Insight as it was a distinct second phase) were almost limitless he didn’t like throwing away and being told how much this broken machine had cost him did not please him. It was for these reasons that he was slightly surprised at how pleased the research team who had brought it all the way to him were. They were positively glowing with pride.

“Please tell me why I should be impressed?” said James finally.

Dr. Franz Nameless stepped forward, he was head of this team, “Mr. Nameless, this is it. This is what you asked us to do.”

James frowned at Dr. Nameless and then he shook his head, “I know it was some time ago, Dr. Nameless, but I did not ask you to bring me broken tat that costs millions of dollars. Please explain yourself.”

Dr. Nameless’s confidence and pride seemed to quickly vanish and he took a moment to compose himself, “Mr. Nameless, this machine has the power of a special. Or it did, after some initial positive tests the whole thing seems to have stopped working.”

James looked back at Mr. Mason in shock, had he heard Dr. Nameless right? This was the breakthrough they had been waiting for. “Dr., are you saying this is it? You’ve managed to recreate the power of specials in technology?”

Dr. Nameless’s confidence quickly returned and he seemed very eager to explain, “Yes, Mr. Nameless, I am so glad you understand, yes, that is it exactly. After extensive experiments were conducted on one of the test subjects…” Dr. Nameless paused, he knew that James was sensitive to the treatment of the specials they were holding but this time James was too excited to care about what they were calling them, “In which we analysed their DNA and physical properties and so on…I won’t bore you with all the silence, but we managed to get an approximation of their powers.”

James was stunned, his mind already racing. This was only possible because of his deal with Helen Boxwagner and North Central Positronics who had conducted the original research on this and he would be sharing this information with her. She probably already knew, a number of her people were working on this project as well, but it would be important for him to inform her personally. “Who was it? What was the power?”

Dr. Nameless rushed forward with a file, “The powers came from Raul Sorenaz, a twenty-two year old from California, he could control magnetic fields, moving metals around at will. He was very powerful, Mr. Nameless.”

“I see,” said James, flicking through the file, “He’s dead?” asked James, suddenly noticing the small deceased label underneath his photograph.

Dr. Nameless nodded, “Unfortunately, he did not survive some of the more invasive procedures, Mr. Nameless, I assure you every care was taken to limit the harm he…to protect….” Dr. Nameless trailed off.

James closed and file and pushed it away, “It is okay, Dr., I understand. I am sure you did all you could.” The bodies were beginning to stack up and James did not like that and normally he would have made his feelings clearer but they were finally seeing results! And James was now very excited.

“We have footage of the tests, Mr. Nameless, if you would like to see it,” said Dr. Nameless. James nodded and the television screen against the wall flicked on, he heard Dr. Nameless’s voice clearly, “Test thirty-two, date 18th November, time, 19:21,” the screen showed a clean and sparse laboratory, machine that was before him now and several scientists. There was also buckets filled with metal, nails, screws, coins, anything, “Activating Device 3221 Gamma.” One of the scientists turned on the machine and then quickly stepped back. For several seconds nothing happened, James looked at Dr. Nameless who looked back happily, “Watch the bucket of nails, Mr. Nameless,” then a slight ripple seemed to go through the bucket and some of the nails began to move and lift into the air. Then it was over, Nameless paused the footage.

“Is that it?” asked James.

“That was the first test, Mr. Nameless,” said Dr. Nameless, “We conducted six more successful tests. Obviously, Mr. Nameless, this does not look very impressive, after all, magnets can do much more, but there are no magnets in this machine.”

“Do not worry, Dr. Nameless, I understand what you are showing me,” said James, and he did. This was it. James drummed his fingers on the desk, “What now?”

Dr. Nameless smiled and looked relieved, “We want to see if we can repair this particular device and get it working, control it more, but we also want to try with other subjects.”

James nodded, “Of course, of course, you have free reign to do as you see fit,” he said, “But Dr. Nameless, I don’t want any more deaths, it is better for everyone involved if we can prevent that. After all, Mr. Soranaz is no longer available in your research and I am sure he would have been helpful.” Dr. Nameless nodded. James looked back at the footage, he noticed something he had missed before, in the corner of the screen was the edge of an operating table, and what might just have been Raul Soranaz’s arm. “Yes, Dr. Nameless, no more deaths, please.”

James Nameless looked at himself in the mirror, he was old. He filled the sink with cold water and splashed it on his face, he was old and he was tired. Things were progressing well with his work with specials, security had been tightened and there had been no further deaths or accidents or unfortunate incidents. Since his attention had been shifted away from his actual businesses things were a bit shaky, but he believed most of that was from the change in leadership. For decades he had been Nameless Enterprises and any change would make people nervous. He left his bathroom and looked at some of the reports from his various businesses, he was eager to take more control but the specials took up so much of his time.

And, perhaps, more importantly, he didn't have the time or the energy. He had been all over the country finding specials and meeting important or significant individuals who could help and it was draining his energy. Yesterday, he had collapsed. It had been a shock. His doctor had assured him he was fine, just tired, but James could feel old age upon him. Twenty years ago he went through tougher times than this and it never really phased him. Whatever happened there would be no new challenge, this was it. He had a good few more years in him but he was not immortal and he didn't want to be. A man needed an end to his life, it gave him perspective. People who never thought they would die achieved nothing.

While the incident was nothing and he was fine, it had effected his thinking. He needed to speed things up. It was not something he wanted to do, speed meant mistakes, not doing things properly, more danger. But it could also mean results. Results that could change everything. He picked up his phone, "Get me Dr. Nameless." There was a click and a tired sounding doctor answered the phone.

"Nameless here," he said.

"Dr. Nameless, this is James Nameless," he said, he picked a file Nameless had given him a few days ago, "The recommendations you sent me that I rejected...I was wrong. You can do everything except for what is in section five."

"Thank you, Mr. Nameless," said Dr. Nameless, "I assure you this will greatly help the research."

James sighed, "I want results, Doctor. I don't want to do all this and get nothing, do you understand?"

Dr. Nameless was a sensible scientist, he did not promise things he was not sure he could deliver, regardless of the money and even the lack of restraints placed upon him could guarantee results. "Mr. Nameless, I cannot promise you anything, research is difficult, but this will make a huge difference."

"Excellent," said James, "Dr. Nameless, for the next week I shall be mainly concerned with my other business interests, but I want daily updates." James put the phone down. Concerning himself with his actual business seemed like a holiday, just worrying about share prices and lobbying for less regulation in the Chinese economy seemed easy in comparison to all this.
James Nameless looked round at the table at a team of some of the brightest minds in the world, the top scientists in the world (or at least the the top scientists who could be bought off to committ terrible acts on fellow human beings in the name of research). Only a few of them could meet his stare.

"So," said James quietly, "What you're telling me is you've made no progress?" There was a murmur of agreement from around the table, "After months of work, a fortune in funding, the pain and suffering of the people in the facility, the deaths of several, and we have nothing." James did not like failure, he hated failure on this level. The worst part of all was that they had initially had some success replicating the powers of specials. Now even that device seemed to have failed them.

"This is unnacceptable," said James, "I demand progress."

"Mr. Nameless," said a middle-aged and distinguished scientist, "This is unlike anything before...you can't expect miracles in a few months."

James sighed, "Dr. Harrow...all I want is some progress." He looked thruogh a stack of papers on his desk, "I believe your team told me four months ago you were nearing a breakthrough...well?"

Dr. Harrow looked less confident, "I'm afraid we were mistaken."

"Ladies and gentlemen, please remember, we have committed terrible crimes for this research. People have died. We need something to show for it." James disliked and regretted the deaths of the innocent specials he had kidnapped. But he knew that great achievements required great sacrifices. Still, it was regrettable.

The project was shaping up to be a complete disaster and he was thinking about abandoning the whole thing. Of course, that could lead to some very unpleasant consequences. He couldn't just let the specials he had taken go.

James stood and slowly walked round the table, "Here is my solution. We shall redouble our efforts. I am instituting a lockdown on the institution, when you return no one shall leave, there shall be an end to outside communications not concerned with your work." As he moved round the table he looked at some of the more senior scientists, "Also, I am imposing a deadline. Two months. That is all we have. With no progress the project shall be abandoned." James nodded to his assistant at the door, ten of his security personnel slowly entered the room. They were silent but an air of quiet menace entered the room.

"Finally, it has been brought to my attention that rumours have begun to circulate about this project. I shall explain again, secrecy is paramount," said Nameless. "If I discover who has been doing this the consequences will be severe."

"Are you threatening us, Mr. Nameless?" asked Harrow.

"Dr. Harrow, I am not threatening you with violence," James said, adding a slight laugh, "I shall simply destroy your career and your lives. Violence won't be necessary." He returned to the head of the table, "This project has been a fiasco and when it is over I shall be making a careful review of the personnel involved and who really tried to succeed. I shall be sending an extra contingent of security to ensure my instructions are followed."

Nameless looked around the now ashen-faced scientists, "Get it done," said Nameless, and walked out of the room.

Nameless struggling PD


In his bedroom were two sleeping mats now, something that felt odd to him. For so much of his life he had been an older man, single and a bachelor that having company felt like an odd note in the middle of a stanza, jarringly it caught one's attention. And yet her presence, despite the attending issues of modesty and manners and small difficulties of gender - - well she felt comforting. As if her presence changed the way he looked at each day. Ever single in his life, he had no way of knowing, but he wondered if marriage was a touch of something similar; something to contemplate after this time passed. It was, after all, for a short time and soon the modified restaurant would be finished and ready to go. Even tomorrow he was to go see the final progress, and the arrival of the 'special' trademen who would come to change what the first crew had done.

The first crew was long gone actually, having finished the remodeling of the structures and the inner walls with stairs, ladders, plumbing, electricity, and the security system. The second crew worked hard to finish the inside areas with paneling and rough finish to each living area with the tiles and utilities needed. Tomorrow the third crew would arrive, a pair of men from Australia flown in to put in the secret panels and covers over the different entrances and locations, specialized in their work and by their own advice brought to the building to work never seeing the outside nor knowing the owner's name. Clearly they had worked for some very particular clients who wanted the best in secrecy! Finally would be the fourth crew which would include the painters and the interior decorator to install all the rest. The parlor/business areas would be her entire domain actually as the real living spaces were already well hidden by then.

Nameless had seen to that yesterday. The small dumbwaiter lifts for between the floors would serve them well for moving the small amount of furnishings from the basement storage to the upstairs apartments and Eli was strong enough for three men to begin with. With her help the upstairs would be well furnished long after the secrets were concealed, leaving the downstairs "storage rooms" to have doors fitted already in a crate down there turning them into soundproof cells, ready to act as Eli's larder while they carried out their plans. And the upstairs apartments (each with four rooms; bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living space) would serve well for their occupants to decorate as they wished in secret. Half of what he owned he already had in the downstairs storage and everything left here was portable. Even Eli did not know about the very secret move of the goddess's things to their new sanctuary between the floors under his apartment and centrally placed above the business where she could observe the occurrences that happened below her in her new dominion.

He had the impression last night at his devotions she was particularly pleased with his work. He certainly hoped so, although for the merry hell she had turned his life into, he should have done something far less, but he had been charged by the Emperor himself and he would carry that charge till the end of his days which he earnestly prayed would not be many lifetimes. To go on as Eli had, stuck in that age for so long and unable to live life instead just surviving it was a type of hell he would not allow himself to descend into. Now his relatives could continue after him and under a new type of protection by removing himself from their vicinity. It felt very wrong to remove himself from his family, centuries of belief and tradition screaming out against it, but he had finally realized how much danger they were in from him and he could not allow it any more. besides, with him gone maybe they could bring themselves to have children again, ones not at risk from the games of the gods.

As he lay on his pallet in the darkness, his eyes were open as he watched the ceiling, thinking through how many things were left to be finished. As the American's said (he had never gotten used to his citizenship here; at heart he would always be from China and a faithful servant as he had been raised, his culture one of an ancient past), it was 'the home stretch.' Crazy Americans and their odd belief systems! A powerful people who disconnected themselves from their own power and handicapped themselves in their daily lives with artificial rules which argued against human nature, disabled by their mind sets as much as by their voluntary restrictions. Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement and his eyes latched onto it, trained by a wave of assassination attempts to pay attention to even the smallest of details.

The Sacred Grotto Crickets, known to outsiders as a type of cave crickets in China and elsewhere, was a much larger creature then many expected, blocky with chitin looking like an old warriors armor. Many who saw them in China considered them to be a special creature even in the culture which dealt with their fascination already. Ever since the switch in which he inhabited the body of his nephew locals had called him the Cricket Boy, coming unnervingly close to a hidden truth he had kept concealed for nearly a hundred years. He had not, in fact, laid a hand on a cricket carrier since he was in China. And now here in the rafters was the largest Grotto Cricket he had ever seen, climbing like an elderly man down the support beam to the floor. But as surprising as that was, that paled in comparison to the most surprising feature of this creatures decent.

Every part of it's body glowed clearly in the dark as if it hid a fire from the gods themselves inside it's body.

Somehow he knew Eli was awake, maybe it was her changed breathing, but neither of them moved as it approached the floor, moving slowly and in no way alarming. Maybe they shared an awakening dream, one of those where you were both awake and dreaming at the same time, but he could not have looked away for anything on this earth. In a slow eternity he sat up at the waist to keep it in sight as it hopped not at all but walked arthriticly across the floor towards his space, passing by Eli's form, only hesitating to wave it's antennae in her direction as if in friendly greeting before it approached him as unerringly as if it had a built in GPS system in a maze of roads. Master Ge Nameless's eyes grew larger as it approached, never having seen the will of the Goddess in direct full manifestation before, though he knew it was her creature in all ways. It had the 'feel' of her indeed!

And outsider would have seen nothing except Nameless and Eli suddenly intent on the same space in the pitch black, following it with their eyes. As he observed the approaching phenomenon, Nameless began to chant a blessing to the goddess in old Cantonese, preying for restful sleep after such a long service and thanking her greatly for all that she had done for her most worthless servant who managed greatly still after so much time. Thoughts of family and China and his devotions fell away like years and for a moment it was easy to see the old man in his features as he greeted 'old man cricket' with respectful tones, tired of his days on this earth and ready for a reward of peaceful sleep without end. It stopped, sitting about two feet away waving it's antennae to him as if it listened carefully to his words, considering all his life in it's temporary Omnipotent nature as one of Her servants.

For her own part, Eli could feel the air charged with power, expectant like a thunderstorm about to break a very long pregnant drought. The smell in the air was that of freshly created ozone often found with lightning storms and it's passage brought a fresh air like spring flowers with it. There was little doubt to either of them that there was anything they could do that whatever was about to happen, would, without any influence from them on either part.Nameless had not so much forgotten as pushed aside the reminder that Crickets were the sign of ancient immortality amongst his people, preferring to think of that as a representative of the Goddess herself instead and the private symbol of the many Emperors of the past millennium how he served as a type of priest.

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PostSubject: Re: Striving for perfection -training-part 4   Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:31 pm

Then it jumped into his chest the light vanishing into Nameless as it did so, lighting his features frozen on the word of "" which meant 'life' as it passed like a hot knife through butter into his flesh, vanishing as quickly as it had come. Only Eli saw a sudden rush of light and energy come up from Nameless's form which washed over an invisible form for an eternal second to her eyes like a beautiful Chinese Princess of wispy light (a sad smile as she looked at Nameless with regret) above his head before it too vanished as if it had never been. As Nameless fell over, his head fortunately hitting the slim pillow he allowed himself for sleep, his eyes were wide as dinner plates stared straight up at something no one else could see on this earth as chilly knowledge fell into his mind giving him the full extent and detailed usage of his new powers suddenly fully awakened and trained in his form. He tried to finish the words he had been about to say, the words in Chinese vanishing from his conscious mind for a moment as only one word could occur to him to express his feelings at this moment of immortal and divine experience, the abrupt knowledge straight from the Goddess into his mere mortal existence.

"Wēnshén."*

And then he did something she had never seen before, but fit his flesh all too well. Nameless rolled onto his side going fetal and began to cry, his sorrow at his fleshy prison being extended into an unforeseeable ending nightmare as if he was a small child suddenly awakened from the scariest boogieman back into the reality of a sunless day of pain. It was a rather heartbreaking scene, a surrendering of dignity earned to subside into the simplest expression of deep sorrow and horror one could feel.

Master Ge Nameless had many titles he could have put out on his board. Master of Feng Shui, specialist in Mah Jong fortunes, Ninth degree Tai Chi Master, Wizard of the ancient magics, and secretly the Guardian of the spirit of the Chinese Emperors & Caretaker of the Goddess of the Imperial Palace (though he had little information about her as she had been a very carefully concealed secret). All together they made a very impressive set of both knowledge and life-long mastery few could compare to, even if taken individually. Unfortunately none of them had given him much insight about the events of the last twenty-four hours nor could they; any time the divine messed in the lives of mortals all rules went off the table and the normal resources for possible information tended to come up blank.

It had taken several hours for him to come to terms with what had happened, not the least of which was a total loss of dignity and a touch of madness around eight in the morning which he had managed to finally beat down. If one of the underworld's assassins had shown up during that time he would have laid down and bared his throat with relief, but Eli had kept him from self-destructive tendencies and he was now in a frame of mind to thank her for her efforts at the very least. Similar to the mental effects of the last 'incident' which had been caused (he still suspected the Goddess, but who really knew?), that time he had been saved by having his family around him and Eli now counted far more as family in his life now as of everyone he knew, she now qualified as one of the few people who could relate, understand, and perform the demonic things he now could as well.

Definitely a curse in his mind, there would be no joy in his new power and his only recourse back to being in balance and harmony would be to turn them upon his people's self-inflicted disease of criminal cancers. And maybe that was what the Goddess wanted him to do, but surely he had already the perfect weapon for such in Eli, why curse him into an eternity of despair and frustration? Yes, at this time he far better understood why Eli thought of her powers as a curse at times, not a blessing. And after a lifetime of devoted service, to be used in such a way--- No, he would resist that mass of twisted thoughts again. It would get him no where except throwing himself from the nearest rooftops and failing whatever test this was to his soul. Damnable gods, playing games with his lives again...

Whatever. His purpose might be clear, it was only the path which needed thinking upon now. If he, like Eli was now a type of predator on others, he needed someone to perform as the cover to their secret plans. And with the new place coming to a completion (Placing the Goddess in her new home yesterday (had it really only been a day??!!) had for Nameless been the completion of the building itself) then it was time to let others know about their choosing to be in his plans. Accordingly he had collected all of his final possessions, directing his nephew and Eli in helping him pack his arm strength no good for the task no matter how much he tried. His more sacred tools and carefully planned formulas having been saved for last in the move. With the upstairs emptied out (even his stove bathtub already installed in the new place) and secured in the new building he returned for one last task before his niece and her family moved into the upstairs of the building.

Standing in the empty apartment he looked around one last time in the bedroom, remembering the assassins who had entered, especially the one he had fried on the old stove. A slight feel of satisfaction that this part of his life had, at the very least, been successful in it's purpose of enabling his family success and security. The door opened and the stubborn girl entered, carrying the tea tray. before she could set it down he motioned her into the bedroom space and pointed to the middle of the floor where two pillows remained, both royal purple silk with gold threading and very very fine. When she knelt on the floor and reached for the tea he touched her hand, stopping her. Her expression was calmly neutral as befitted her ancestors, but she was surprised when he motioned for her to sit on one of the cushions.

With perfect poise and slow movements he performed the proper tea ceremony as she watched, serving her first before himself in direct opposite of what she had been taught, unless for one you wished honor upon. The conversation was in Cantonese and very quiet with many pauses after each sentence. If a linguist had listened he would have noted very archaic inflections in the young boy's words, as if the boy remembered the time of his ancestors much more clearly then most which would have been entirely correct.



(I know of your wishes, granddaughter, but what you seek has a high cost.)

A sip of tea, a pause to savor.

(Is that still your desire? You will have to give up the life you knew.)

Stunned silence from the girl.

(Y-you noticed? Grandfather, I did not mean to reach above my station, please you-- )

A move of his hand cut her off.

(The time for that is past. What you desire will cost your independence and your innocence.)

She looked into her cup, at a loss for words.

(Nothing of the old perception of the world will remain, you will have to work hard.)

Her eyes showed her confusion as he sipped again, unsure what she should say.

(...I do not understand. What path must I choose? )

Silence, drawn out for a full minute.

(If you choose the path I take, you must give up your individuality in service.)

She bowed her head, her mind clearing as she thought of what she wanted, more then anything.

(I must have nothing by absolute obedience in all things. That is the price.)

A nod from her as he sipped, savoring the tea which made his soul feel centered more then anything else could.

(My Lord, I will follow you to the center of all things.)

She bowed low, her forehead touching the floor where she held it, listening without breath.

(Then I accept your service beginning now.)

And Nameless leaned out and touched the back of her neck...



A few moments to remove her shoes (which were hideous things with tall platforms) and slip on slippers Nameless had left out. The girl then put the shoes in her pockets and picked up the tray, having trouble balancing it unlike earlier. A check to make sure nothing was left behind and she collected the scroll & key from behind the pillow Nameless had been sitting on a minute ago. Putting it on the tray, she took the pillow tassels in one hand under the tray and awkwardly made it out the door closing it behind her. Downstairs she carried things and entered the restaurant, nodding at Nameless's niece and handing her the scroll (sealed and ribbon-ed with gold) as she put the cushions down long enough to take the tray into the kitchen and put together a to go box of a family order of the bananas before she returned, picking the cushions back up and giving her former boss a head bow of respect, which was returned. Outside a rickshaw waited which was called earlier and deposited the young teenager outside Nameless's new place, as yet unopened.

Opening the back door next to a street seller's stall, she entered and slid the bar behind her before going halfway up the steps. The new stairway was heavily decorated in rich red and shiny brass luck charm symbols scattered all over the walls, a hundred different types. She reached out and turned one around so it formed the opposite symbol meaning curse and then pushed it in. Bending down she slipped her fingers into the hidden crack in the step in front of her and lifted up, revealing a hidden entrance under the steps Nameless could never have managed with his child's strength. Once through it was lowered into place with a click and the stairway symbol reverted to it's original position. Unlocking the second door as well, the girl walked into the main floor which was filled with a large collection of construction tools and paneling still being placed and chose a stairway to the side, half finished, and made her way up carefully.

In the new office she acted rather curiously however. First, she was careful to only walk on the cleared top of surfaces, avoiding all parts of the floor.

Pushing aside certain things to clear the floor, she stripped down to her underthings with awkward fingers and hung these clothes up on a hanger on the far end of the room. Unrolling a special small carpet in the middle of the space (and leaving the shoes with the outer wear), she carefully slipped off the slippers and with careful aim, tossed them over the table to the far corner where they fell into a bucket. Using the Kleenex that had been rolled up in the small carpet, she wiped the bottom of each foot carefully clean before placing it on the carpet, then cleaned her fingers and tossed the bundle far away as well. Kneeling, she took the jewelry which had been left in the Kleenex and put them on, her wrists, neck, and ankles. Finished, she ran her fingers over each piece to make sure everything was ready and then bent over, putting her forehead against the carpet carefully.

Nameless stepped out of her back onto the front of the carpet and jumped lightly about three feet away, turning so he landed on his feet roughly facing her. Quickly pulling out a red pocket laser he aimed for a spot on the carpet to the side of her where the girl was suddenly dizzy and slightly disoriented. After about ten seconds the fuse went off and as she opened her eyes getting her vision back, there was a great cloud of red powder on all sides, an old magicians trick for entrance and exits in front of an audience. Clueless of these tricks, she sat up slowly with a disbelieving glance around before she even realized she was herself changed. As she felt the necklace with wide eyes and looked up, Nameless merely looked at her with a stony face and said (This is now your new place of work. You will attend me here everyday and as soon as you have moved your things, you will be here every evening as well.)

Her look was one of dawning amazement at his power and deep respect mingling with excitement! In her mind she had just been transported across the city, redressed, and presented with the proof of Master Ge's supreme powers as a being of extreme importance. She knew she never wanted to disappoint him nor anger him in any way! The last few years she had wanted to be his girlfriend, secretly desiring to be part of his rising legend in the Chinatown public, and secure herself a position of respect for her daring. That now mixed with this fresh display into a close-to-fanaticism that she had achieved her desire of the legend and held it by her Lord's will alone! She bowed deeply and moved forward on her hands and knees kissing his foot and saying (Yes Master...) with a voice tinged with devotion.

Nameless smiled.

He waited for his victim, wondering what was taking him so long. Normally the man would be home by now, at least by the last four weeks of observations by his contact who had been hired to jot down his daily itinerary. And this was not a good spot to remain, waiting for the victim to return and release the alarm system allowing access to the records he needed. Currently he was tucked up in a cramped ceiling space over two pipes, all that was keeping him from falling through the thin waferboard below him by inches. In fact it was just this security which Nameless was counting on as no one would expect someone to manage their way through this particular ceiling; the space just wasn't there!

On a more particularly alarming note, Nameless really needed to pee.

No, definitely not a good place to think about such a thing. And despite his genetically enhanced bladder and endurance stuff tucked in there, he would be up against his limit in the next while, a disastrous situation. Over the past two decades he had done quite a lot of tinkering, perfecting this particular part of his anatomy to the delight of many of the female persuasion, but it occurred to him now maybe he should spend some more time on alternatives to this situation which, unfortunately, he could focus on enough to fix with his power because[ of the distraction inherit in his biology. Which while he could fiddle, he couldn't really massively change in any speed at the very least which meant he might be giving away his hiding spot soon because of mother nature's call.

In an effort of distraction, he tried to send his mind down the intellectual side of the problem. How many phrases had he heard, anyway? The more obvious ones such as number one or pee pee used by small children, take a piss, drain the lizard, see a man about a horse, and take a leak all sprang to mind. Unfortunately. But then there were odder ones, the more unusual ones which caught the ear and made your eyebrows rise as you contemplated how that one got in the language. Like the one a young boy had used, 'I have to squege bad.' You had to wonder if that came about from the idea of squeezing the sponge on a squege or what? And really now, 'hang a yoo-ee' and 'throw a piss' were just ridiculous! How were you supposed to throw it in the first place unless you had managed the dexterity to spell your name in the snow to begin--

Okay, that was not helping at all!

Even worse, he was wearing a sealed suit, a biological type which would prevent leaving any hair or skin cells behind, but if he had to piss, they could get samples from that. He would need to use something to destroy any samples behind and you couldn't do that with a toilet which often had built in 'traps' that plumbers could get stuff out of sometimes. So that left the toilet out. The shoes he had wrapped carpeting around would destroy any prints from those, though awkward, so he really needed to figure out an alternative method... Nameless's face grimaced as he felt the pressure and fought to find a way to keep it at bay. A safe subject. Yes! Horses! No! Not horses! Trees! No, he'd been camping too many times. Flying pigs? No, nothing with wings since birds piddled everywhere. Ceiling fan. There was one going in the room below he could see it's electrical box from here, feel the slight vibration as it turned.

That was continuous constant motion, soothing. For a moment he allowed his mind to think about constant motion to avoid the feeling of cramped space he was in now. Constant motion turned to other things in constant motion which led to waterfalls. No good. His original intent to leave the man alone and slip in and out preferably undetected was beginning to fall apart slowly with the mental battle happening in his mind. He heard movement at the front of the house, the door possibly...

Officer One: Right over here, Lieutenant...
Detective: Next to the desk?
Officer One: Yes sir, you can see the outline in the carpet. Suspect was found by the owner lying unconscious, face down.
Detective: -looking up at ceiling- Well it's clear there was two of them at least.
Officer One: Yes sir. Unconscious suspect was covered in ceiling wafers, but the trail leads from here to the bathroom. -leads way around forensics-
Detective: Wait a minute. What is the deal with the ceiling fan?
Officer Two: No fingerprints sir, just checked.
Officer One: They think whoever the second suspect was he ripped it out, sir. Lots of signs of force, must have used their weight.
Detective: Curious. -puzzled over the destruction of the ceiling fan, parts lying around all over-
Officer One: Trail leads into the bathroom sir, but no detectable trail back out that they could find. But look here in the shower sir.
Detective: Odd. So the second suspect knocks out the first by falling on him, destroys the ceiling fan for some unknown reason, then goes to the bathroom, pulls out a bottle of bleach and pours it into the shower drain.
Officer One: That's what it looks like sir. And then he disappeared.
Detective: -mumbles- I hope this isn't some kind of vigilante thing...
Officer One: Sir?
Detective: Never mind. You said you had three sites to show me?
Officer One: Yes sir. -leads way into hall and points-
Detective: -stares at smashed picture of two girls at petting farm with pigs-
Officer One: And no trail here either sir. They've been looking for tracks, but somehow he didn't leave any. The carpet looks like it has been cleaned though, see?
Detective: Hmm. So the owner can't shed any other light? Nothing else has been disturbed?
Officer One: No sir. He said he had files in the back bedroom, but he didn't find anything odd with those and no other evidence in the house of an intruder. And Jones tried a step ladder to look in the ceiling space, there's no way a grown man could have gotten in there without removing parts of his body to fit. It's very tight. A child might have managed it.
Detective: Hold on, come back here. -leads way back to ceiling hole, squats and points at the carpeting-
Officer One: Ah, good eyes sir. I missed that.
Detective: So, he must have entered the ceiling from here and cleaned his tracks off the carpet with something, then climbed up above. Light weighted then, maybe a midget or a kid?
Officer One: Probably a good guess sir.
Detective: And the smashed picture, he might be making a threat against the man's kids. Or maybe this suspect was a teenager, in their school, thought bleach would cause a problem like vandalism and mess up the pipes?
Officer One: ....uh.
Detective: Right too weird. This is a bizarre scene. I'm going to have to wait for more forensics I think, but put out the word we want any information on known small-sized cat burglars working the area... But get me information on the girls, what school they go to, could be a juvenile connection here.
Officer One: -salutes- Yes sir...

Will glided forward and through the fence, passing right between the motion detectors without hesitation. While she wasn't opaque, her form was easily seen through by electronic devices and this one proved no different then other ones. Besides, the idea of the government using the top of the line models on a prison wall was laughable. At the main building though she turned and glided along nearly a hundred yards before she chose her entrance spot. The totaly jerkface who had interupted her mission last time had been deftly avoided this time and it was nearly a month later. The public outcry when someone had found out about the prison release (which she actually had nothing to do with) had put the project on total hold for the moment giving her plenty of time for a second attempt. If she had known the police were on the trail vagually, collecting evidence to make a link to some of her past attacks she might not have been so open, but she really didn't have a clue at this moment so it caused no delays in her thinking. She sank into the wall and passed through the four foot thick walls slowly, oozing out into a cell having missed the wall corner by nearly ten feet. Damn. Ah well, too late. Turning to the four bunks in the small cell she noted they were all fast asleep being it was nearly four am; perfect. She stepped out through the bars into the hallway and turned the corner moving slow. She was not on the side with cameras, but in another thirty feet she would enter the hallway for death row. Going solid again, Will took out a hood and slipped it on giving her face the look of a half-zombie half skeleton and pulled out two arm sleeves as well and slipped into them finishing the effect. Ready now for the attack, she turned mist and went through the wall into the main coridor across and almost instantly got picked up on the cameras as she glided straight into the first cell and put her hand directly into the man's face and eyes.

The instant scalding was enough to seer his eyes and throat and as he half-woke starting to scream his lungs seered themselves as well eliminating any sounds except his gut wrenching hiss as he expired rapidly. It was noisy enough to wake up the man across, but not an emrergency alarm. However, the camera had already blinked the image to security central where three officers were staring in horror, paralyzed as to what to do next as she left that cell and went after the man awake as a rolling fog began to form in the cell. That man's horrified scream as the fog began to scorch his skin was enough however to wake most of the rest of death row as the fog cover began rolling past their cells. As the alarms were finally sounded she was on her way to another cell and so on. The response time was fast and only held up by their own lock down doors as the nearest officers had to call in for doors to be opened to allow them access. But by then she had already left three rolling on the floor in death throws. By the time they managed to get into the fog itself they had to back off and try fire extinguishers to get the hot steam away. By that time, half of the twenty-two men on death row were already either on their way to their final destination or dead already. In as little as fifteen minutes she had already saved the state nearly a million and a half for solitary and executed twenty plus men who should not have ever been let free, diseased creatures that they were. When she reached the end of the row she let the fog roll forward and the guards fled behind the protective doors (not that she would have hurt them as they were innocents) and used her power to short out the hallway mains, sending this end of the prison into complete darkness and starting a real panic amongst the prisonors who could clearly hear something was going on on death row, something horrible evil sounding. Going through the wall she made her way down into the far end and started through the wall, the last thing she saw on the inside was a guard shrunk back against the wall arms in front of his face sure she had come to kill him and terrified.

Now for the difficult part, the escape itself.

Unbeknownst to her, the outer perimeter guards had broken the rules and congregated at each tower for communications, trying to find out what was happening inside and getting mostly shouts and panic from inside Ward C. Thus when she exited in the darkness and crossed the field, no one saw her or spotted her misty form till she was nearly at the fence. And watching a ghost glide up to and through the fence without hesitation was not only a jaw dropper, but as she faded into the night she would have been highly amused as one guard turned to the next and said "If you think that's going in the log, you can forget that sh!t. I didn't see a damn thing." The other guard just nodded, pale as paper as the call came through for the warden's car to be sent for even tho it was so early in the morning. The cover up began the next day as the Liuetenant goveneor, three state senators, and the state corenor had a hurried afternoon discussion and then began closing down any stories that were out there. A small news article released a week later reported on an accidental food poisoning and firing of the food service supplier for the deaths of twenty-two inmates following a state investigation. No outsiders were allowed into the suspect investiagtion despite local protests and no more details were released. Long before that, Will had been through two clothing changes, used two taxi's, and ended up in a train leaving for the first run of the morning into the big city. A deep sigh that everything this time had gone better, she drank from a flask as the train barreled into the morning commute and saluted the stations as she passed through, a great feeling of accomplishment in her mind as her brother's spirit celebrated more demons gone from the earth. She would end up calling it an early day later on when her boss noted her looking rather bad and sent her home from work around noon.

But that was just the normal crash, nearly eight hours later then normal. Will lay on her bed, morose and wailing about the travesty of justice that was her brother's killer's trail and how she needed more information to catch him, track him down. Thus she was not in the office when her boss had an order come through from the governor that he was to ask no more information about the situation under direct orders. Her boss would complain about being handled by the politicans for weeks afterwards to her amusement and sympathy. Life continued for the moment as always, with a sudden benefit of extra monies in the system for the reshuffling of prisoners by the new directive. Oddly enough, the story never appeared in the papers again and eventually the prisoner release happened though in other parts of the state then the local scene to avoid publicity. She would be insensed when she found out later as three of the men releassed were on her list. This would require her to expand her search for them and risk some discovery to find out where they had disapeared too...

Will returned to her hide out, carefully sure of no one following her to the apartment. The only person who had been slightly interested in her passage from mid-town was fairly unconscious now, upside down in a trash can, the lecher. Trying to feel her up had been a lesson she was sure he would not forget for a very long time. It was therefore with great satisfaction that she closed the door and did up the locks and multiple chains before slipping off her costume to change into something more comfortable. Within a few minutes she was in her command room, carefully altering her map detail on the wall to match the fact another target was gone off her radar now. A shred of his files and then toss of them in the burn unit removed anything tying him to this place.

Of course, all of the files had been copied at work so nothing was technically missing. A single roll of film she took out of the camera and put it in her bag to drop off on her way to work tomorrow. A fruitful evening, it might be some time before they discovered that particular criminal duo, not that either had the same ending of course. The two were both pedophiles she had been tracking separately who had somehow turned up at the same place to work. Although she had found no connection between them (as neither appeared to know the other's background), she had managed to forge a change on the work schedule one night to set them both in the same place same time. Tonight had been that night.

Being able to toast both of them one at a time (blinding them with a blast of super-hot steam till they passed out from it), then stuff them each into barrels and cover their unconscious forms with brine solution had been a work of minutes far more difficult had been to try and seal the lids with the machines, finishing one, but only part way through the other before she heard someone returning. It being near the end of the shift she had watched with some amusement as the man who had come looking for one of them had snarled and finished the job, loading the two barrels with the forklift into the storage area to sit for six months aging.

Even now she could imagine the headlines the bad newspapers would write if they were ever found. More likely would be the people in the particular stores wheeling out the barrels and empty them into the New York Harbor quickly so as to not destroy the company's reputation. "Half pickled Pederast found in Harbor." It was then, sitting back in her chair sipping a glass of wine she remembered one of the men had been hiding under the assumed name of "Robin Tink" and she barely managed to stop from snorting as her mind rearranged the headline to read "One Pickled Tink."

Bad humor and Vengeance. What a fun combination!

Finishing off her drink, she poured another and settled down to work on the next case, her humor disappearing as the hours rolled past and the inevitable depression began again. As it did every night, her brother's influence of anger and impotence worked it's way into her work, turning her search into a depressive and driven search.

There are many ideas brought to mind by the title ‘Ninja’. One, of course is the classic image of the illusive figure, dusky clothes masking their identity and endearing them to shadows. Another, the almost inhuman stealth with which they move, possessing feline elegance and unnatural silence even in motion. There is their uncanny ability to appear as if from nowhere and vanish equally as enigmatically. And the knowledge that each one is capable of delivering a swift and lethal fate to their unsuspecting victims. So far Sephy had accomplished only the costume part, though he was working on the silent but deadly factor. His first step towards that was to acquire something else associated with ninjas, a katana sword.

Unfortunately it wasn’t as easy as walking into the local store; you couldn’t just pick up a good quality katana from anywhere or so Seph had learnt over the last few days. Besides, even if they had been easy to come across they were incredibly expensive for a student living off his sparse savings. He’d turned to his computer and favourite search engine for help and found out that there was an auction house in the city which was selling a large quantity of swords the next day. A visit and some poking around gifted him the knowledge that the swords were being held there overnight. That was how he’d ended up standing in his bedroom dressed as a ninja.

Looking around his room he made out the familiar surroundings from the blur of colours he was seeing. If he squinted he could just about make out the ninja turtles on his bedspread but if he’d not known what they were he might have mistaken them for dinosaurs. It was no good; he was going to have to wear his glasses. Grabbing them from the desk he carefully slid the arms beneath the black headscarf and pushed the spectacles back over his eyes, bringing the world into sharp focus. A glance in the mirror told him it looked lame and resolved him to invest in some contact lenses for next time; he could have a Clark Kent thing going on.

Apparel decided upon he turned towards one of the four walls of his room, from which he had cleared all clutter. He’d even dragged his chest of drawers away from it to clear space; his aim wasn’t quite perfect yet and he needed his escape route to be clear, just in case. Taking a deep breath to clear his head he held a hand up in front of him and walked towards the wall, then through it, emerging the other side in a large room he recognised from only that afternoon before. He had a few moments of peace in which to look around, it was dark, only lit by the amber glow of streetlights through the high windows but once his eyes adjusted it was more than enough to see by. He took a step forward and a scream pierced the air.

Sephy’s heart leapt into his throat as he realised he must have set off some sort of motion detector. He had half expected as much but for some reason he’d not been prepared for how loud it was, it must have been audible from blocks away. His time was limited now and so he broke into a run. The swords were on the other side of the room last time he’d seen them, locked in a glass cabinet. Sure enough he caught the gleam of the transparent surface and inside the swords. Without pausing he skidded to a halt and reached out for the one he favoured, his gloved fists passing through a portal spanning the glass and seizing the sword and sheaf.

A beam of light swept the room. Sephy’s head whipped around in time for his eyes to be dazzled by a flashlight.
”Hey!” The thief grinned, though his getup hid it from the guard, his adrenaline pumping as he ran out of the light towards the wall, jumping and slamming straight into it. He bounced off, hit the floor and leapt up again, too scared to think about the pain. This time he aimed for the right wall and dived through before the torchlight caught up with him. He landed heavily on his bedroom floor. It was a few minutes before he could move, his heart thumping in his chest and his eyes squeezed tightly shut. However the grin stole once more over his face and he looked to one side to where the sword lay gleaming on the carpet.

He realised how lucky he’d been not to be impaled on it but as the thought turned his stomach he pushed it away. Moving up on to his knees he sheathed the sword and then pulled it halfway out again to admire the shining blade. Thin lines engraved it to made out Japanese characters which according to the online description read ‘justice’. That was why he had chosen it, that was its purpose. Now he just had to learn how to use it. Yanking down the cloth which covered his mouth he got up opened his door just a crack.
”Mom! Do you know anywhere that teaches swordfighting?”

They’d seen him today. For months down he’d been trailing them, finding out where they hung out, where they lived and how they got home. At night, always at night, dressed in black and keeping out of sight. He thought he’d been stealthy, they couldn’t have glimpsed his shadowy figure more than a couple of times. But today they’d seen him, on the train heading back from the university. He’d not been expecting them to be there, why would he have? But whether it was through chance or design they ended up on the same train, on the same carriage at the same time.

***


Sephy braced his feet against the backrest in front of him as he leaned back into his own chair. It wasn’t the best use of space afforded to him by his seat on the subway train but he seemed comfortable in the position. Large blue headphones covered his ears, the image on the earpieces branding them as Skullcandy. Outside his personal bubble all that could be heard of the music he listened to was the thumping bass to which he bobbed his head. His bag rested in the seat beside him, between him and the window, it was a bulky backpack that was as heavy as it looked. He fiddled with an iPod, turning the screen light on and off in an absent minded waste of batteries.

It wasn’t until the hairs on the back of his neck rose that he stirred from his daze and realised he was being watched. Looking up sharply he instantly locked on to the narrowed eyes staring back and his breath deserted him. Their faces were immediately recognisable. Even if he hadn’t spent the last few months stalking them they haunted his dreams, his nightmares. They were that faces which woke him up coated in cold sweat and tasting the salt of his own tears. The last time he’d seen them this close Daniel had been dying in his arms and they were the reason. The shock and fear his expression had assumed by reflex shifted to cold, hard hatred prompting their glares to change into sneers.

They weren’t afraid of him, they’d killed his best friend and they obviously thought he would be equally easy to do away with. He dropped his gaze after a few moments, his dark eyes staring at the blank screen as the thought. He knew what they’d done and they were aware of that, maybe this wasn’t a coincidence. Perhaps even as he’d been tracking them by night they’d been looking for him by day. The thought scared him; he admitted to himself that he was afraid of them but that just made him hate them more. He kept his eyes down for the rest of the journey passed his stop until the train reached its point of termination. Jumping off he glanced over his shoulder to see them darting through the doors at the last moment.

He didn’t run, he was thinking of them like dogs, if he started running then they’d give chase. He just needed to find somewhere where there were no people around. He took a brightly lit tunnel which led away from the station and on towards the next stop. Their footsteps echoed behind him but the men themselves were silent. A few people walked the same way but they were taking turnings off up to the surface, it wouldn’t be long now and they’d be alone. Sephy sped up and heard they were doing the same. There was a sharp turn in the tunnel up ahead; once he was round that he would be hidden from view. They broke into a run. Sephy didn’t even have to look, he launched himself forward, his bag bouncing painfully against his back, sprinting the last few metres turning round the corner and then into the wall. By the time his pursuers reached the corner the tunnel was empty.

He’d waited too long. Seeing them had rekindled his anger and made him realise he needed to take action. He had been putting it off, who knows whether he would have even done it as his best friend’s memory began to fade. The thought made him hate himself. He owed this to Daniel. He was ready; he would take the first one in two night’s time before they could come after him again.

The darkness makes monsters of us all. Innocent shadows become crouched figures, ready to spring upon you as you pass. A slamming car door is the sound of someone breaking in; no effort to be subtle as it won’t matter if you try to run. And that movement you catch out of the corner of your eye becomes an assassin stalking you through the night. However the figure swaggering down a dark alley, leaving the streetlight lit sidewalk behind him, was familiar with these things and had long ago stopped jumping at shadows. He dismissed the rattling of the bins as a rat chomping on the garbage, that shadow which moved across the wall was probably no more than the effect of a car driving passed the alley entrance and that figure crouch in the cage of the fire escape…

The man stopped, gazing up at the dark shape which his mind couldn’t decipher. He was a big guy, 6 foot at least and solidly built. It wasn’t a stretch of the imagination to picture the muscle and sinew beneath the grey tracksuit he wore. He was obviously aware of his physical prowess as there was not a sign of nervousness as he stood alone in a back alley of New York. He regarded the shape for a few moments but when it didn’t move he looked away, only to catch something out of the corner of his eye. His head snapped back but the patch of darkness was gone, only brick visible through the grill. That made him pause a minute, but only long enough to convince himself that nothing could get up or down the shaky metal structure without him hearing and that what he’d seen was just a trick of the light.

Sephy flattened himself against the wall crouched behind a set of metal bins, his heart hammering in his chest. He was certain he’d been rumbled on the fire escape, the man had been looking right at him. It seemed this costume did more than just look cool. His target continued through the darkness, a silhouette against the light at the far end. His pace had picked up a little, maybe he was slightly unnerved by the disappearing shadow. Seph smiled at the thought. He wanted the man to be scared, to be terrified like he had been. Backing up the ninja kicked one of the bins before slipping through the wall. Emerging ahead of his victim he saw him looking back over his shoulder. Seph jumped up and ran across the alley, jumping through the wall on the opposite side.

The hooded thug was certain that was no rat. He gazed back the way he’d come but could see nothing in the darkness. It was nothing. He told himself. He turned his head just in time to catch sight of ‘nothing’ darting across the alley, silhouetted against the light. A lithe, dark figure dressed in black. It disappeared into the shadows but before he had time to call out something clattered above him. His head jerked up to see someone looking down on him from the fire escape, there were more than one of them.
”Who’s there?!” He reached round the back of his pants, hand closing around the hard, comforting shape of his gun, the metal warmed by his skin. The figure remained silent but back towards the wall and seemed to disappear within the shadows.

Sephy could hear him breathing. Smiling to himself he crept up from behind only to see the man make a sudden movement to pull out his gun at the same time as twitching his head. The ninja dove through a wall, emerging the opposite side of the man in time to hear the gunshot ring through the night. Time was up. Sephy drew his sword at the same time as he ran towards the man, the blade glinting wickedly. Hearing the metallic ring the man began to turn, raising his gun again. Their eyes met and the man’s widened in shock. There was a clatter as the gun hit the floor, followed slowly by its owner as he slid off of the sword which impaled him.

Staring down at the man Seph’s heart near stopped before restarting at triple time as a scream of pain pierced the air. His expression hardening he crouched down beside the dying man who was now staring at him in utter terror, covering his mouth roughly with one gloved hand.
”I want you to know why.” He whispered ”You’re dead because you killed Daniel. You killed my best friend.” He would have liked to think understanding dawned in the man’s eyes with his words but it was unlikely he comprehended anything as death closed its cold fingers around his mind. Another scream ripped through the moment but it wasn’t from his victim. Looking up Sephy saw a woman at the end of the alley staring at him. He put a finger to his lips and stood up, backing towards the wall. He melted into the shadows with a single word.

”Hush.”

“Drip.”

The clarity of the sound was piercing and, relentlessly, it had worn through the cushion of unconsciousness to stir the mind of the man beneath. It took a few minutes and the breaking of another droplet before the correct neurones fired to inform the mind that somewhere a tap was dripping. Granted that the sound could have had some other origin but he had always been a family man and, even now, he associated that noise with fetching his tools to tighten the faucet. It would be shortly after he’d returned from his last tour, not the first night, that was not a night for thinking on chores, not with his Molly lying beside him, but in that first week. He would be lying in bed, the softness of his wife within the cradle of his arm, and he would hear that sound.
”Tap’s dripping again.” He would say, and Molly would inform him that it had been that way for the past two months or so. ”I’ll get right on it in the morning.” He’d assure her and she wouldn’t reply because she knew that he would.

The memories kissed him sweetly and slipped cruelly away, dragging the fragments of slumber slowly with them. The pool of messages delivered by his senses began to trickle in through the ever growing gaps. The dryness in his mouth was first in the queue, a curious thing when all was considered. Had he precognition he might not have taken the time to suck saliva from his cheeks nor lick his lips. He was informed next of the prickling in his knees, and the cold breeze which whipped across them. It was an automatic response to try and draw them into the warmth that encompassed the rest of his body. Here, however, he encountered a problem in discovering his space was restricted, his back pressed against something smooth and solid, the balls of his feet in the same predicament. This was certainly not his bed. The wash of water as he tried to move only further confirmed this to him.

The last remnants of oblivious sleep were torn away and a barrage of information assaulted him. The chill on his bald head, the tickling of water on the back of his neck, the moisture on the air that he drew in and the slight metallic taint on his tongue. This last clue was the killer; it chuckled as it danced away with his ignorance and reminded him who he was. Jimmy squeezed his eyelids tightly together, pleading denial, before slowly peeling them open. A red, weeping handprint on a pure white tile. The image held a sense of foreboding which raised its voice in harmony with the gap in his recollection to beg him to close his eyes again. However he’d already been gripped by that too familiar fascination, the one that, shamefully by side effect, had him keep count of his sins over the explosive years. It was within this fascination’s grasp in which he lowered his muddy brown eyes to the pink water in which he lay.

Cutting off a curse he seized the sides of the tub and damn near leapt from the water, seizing the basin as he landed on the tiles to prevent himself slipping on the greased surface. He didn’t need to puzzle over what had dyed the water, he knew with a certainty that it was the same substance which marked the wall and slicked the surface beneath his feet. It was the taste of which that had roused him. Shuddering, from more than the cold, Jimmy tried not to think about what was coating his body and instead seized a white towel from the silver rack on the wall, wrapping it around himself. It was not without recognising the irony that he unlocked the bathroom door before turning the knob and stepping out into the hallway.

He found himself beside the front door and the temptation was there to run from the room in nothing but his towel. However the suspicions that would arouse were unlikely to yield a positive outcome, it was therefore best he found some clothes. If he satisfied the nagging curiosity at the same time then so be it, he refused to admit it was the primary concern. There was a wide arch before him which led, from what he could see of the sofa, to a sitting room, however from here it appeared to be empty and the deathly quiet seemed to confirm it. Tread soft; though he was unsure as to why, he instead first crept to the door to his right. It rested ajar, inviting him, it was an invitation he did not trust, not least for the silence inside his head, but one which he could not resist.

Pushing the door gently open his eyes were immediately drawn to the pale figure stretched across the bed. He retreated sharply, finding the corner beside the door and leaning into it, fighting back the gag reflex. He’d seen worse scenes before but he’d always been a spectator at the preshow, they’d not held the same shock effect. A faint ding shattered his stupor and he looked up sharply to the front door as he heard voices beyond it. He was in a hotel. How hadn’t they heard? He knew had much Hyde loved to hear them scream. Pushing away from the wall he turned and looked once more through the door, this time with more pity than revulsion. She must have been gagged. The least he could do was cut her loose.

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PostSubject: Re: Striving for perfection -training-part 4   Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:31 pm

Striding through to the sitting room with purpose he had to admit the second victim caught him by surprise. He came to a sudden halt, staring at the corpse tied to a chair in the centre of the room. At least he assumed it was a corpse, the amount of blood soaking into the carpet around it seemed to suggest as much. A knife lying within the perimeter of the pool caught his attention which was immediately stolen by the arrangement of extremities beside it. Jimmy had screamed a good many times as a grown man, but not in a number of years. He had started to think he was completely desensitised to situations like this, it was almost a relief to discover he was not as he choked on the scream to keep it down with the bile that was once again threatening to rise. Prying his eyes from the gruesome, smiling face he paced slowly over to the man, he now knew without doubt that this victim had been male, though he’d assumed as much from the fact he wasn’t naked. Despite a lack of any other boundaries Hyde was distinctly homophobic.

Plucking the knife from the floor he backed away several paces before spinning round and returning quickly to the bedroom. With apprehension in his throat he walked hesitantly to the bed and reached out to touch a bare ankle, relieved to find it frigid cold. He cut the rough rope and curled the corpse on its side, peeling the tape away from the mouth, all the time trying not to look at what had been done. His worthless act of charity complete he found his clothes folded unusually neatly on the dresser and dressed with mounting anger at the silence in his head. He didn’t know how the bastard had done this but he had no doubt it was him.

He closed the hotel room door firmly behind him and strode briskly to the elevator, jabbing at the button with venom. The doors pinged open a second later and Jimmy stepped inside. As he turned to face the door he caught the eyes of a gentleman hurrying to catch the door and shook his head slowly. The faltering in the suited man’s step at this sight was enough for the door to slide closed, leaving Jimmy in solitude. It seemed he found himself on the 18th floor of a quite fancy hotel. This assumption had been arrived at from the standard of the rooms, the apparent calibre of the man he’d seen and the pretentioussound the lift made. In his jeans, army issue boots and leather jacket Jimmy must have looked rather out of place. God knows how he’d got in.

As the lift glided downwards their hand reached inside of the jacket and pulled out the tin always kept there, with increasing urgency a roll up was retrieved from inside of it and placed swiftly between their lips, a muffled bang inside the shelter of their hands lighting it with minimum fuss.
”You are still there then.” He mumbled before they drew in a deep, burning breath and held it until the elevator doors opened. He stepped out into the lobby and strode across with hurried steps toward the door.
”Excuse me sir, you can’t smoke in here.” Jimmy held up a hand to the disapproving voice and a moment later they passed out of the front doors, taking a right.

’Bike keys are in our pocket.’ Gritting their teeth Jimmy pinched the cigarettes between his thumb and forefinger, blowing out a plume of smoke.
”Maybe you can tell me something I don’t already know, like where the f*ck*ng bike is, or why the hell I don’t remember where the f*ck I am.” He scowled at a passing woman who was looking at them like they were insane. Fancy that.
’Did J get a bit of a nasty surprise?’ The mocking tones were there but weak and there was a nervousness beneath it which sent chills down their spine. Hyde never sounded nervous.
”You think this is funny? It’s not a joke! What the f*ck did you do?!” They’d come to a standstill in the middle of the sidewalk and were drawing more than the one look now. With a gentle prodding from his mind he began to walk again.
’It wasn’t me J.’

Jimmy laughed; a choking, humourless chuckle which rattled with the revenge of a thousand cigarettes.
’Try another one; I know your handiwork when I see it.’
’I know it looked like me, I think it was meant to… I don’t remember it either… I think we were framed.’ This time there was no helping it. They stopped again and bent over double, choking a laughing at the same time, their throat aching.
’We’ve been branded a f*ck*ng terrorist, they’ve got more evidence against us then f*ck*ng Osama! Why would anyone want to frame us?”
’That’s selfish thinking J,’ His alter ego mocked, ’think about it, maybe we’re covering up someone else’s crime?” He did think about it. Hyde couldn’t hide anything from him for long, they were in each others head. What he was saying was true.

’So what then, what do we care, just one more crime.’
’You’re not looking the whole picture…’
’Welcome back doc.’ The sarcasm was worth of Snark.
’What you should be asking is not who did it but why we don’t remember.’ They turned into the carpark at the end of the road.
’You reckon they drugged us?’
’Or something else, people explode, fly, make ghosts of themselves, why not take memories too?’ They stopped in front of a familiar red bike.
’So we should find out who did it?’ They nodded.
’Before they do it again.’


Rubble crunched beneath heavy black boots, grinding like broken bones. Danko came to a halt on the edge of the plot which used to boast the towering structure of Building 26. However the skyline had been altered, deprived of the once solid block which instead lay broken at the soldier’s feet, a pile of twisted metal, fractured stone and shattered glass, spreading out from the crippled foundations. Few bodies lay in the ruin, buried deep and unquestionably deceased, most had time to escape. It was a pity; at the very least this could have been a convenient disposal rather than a total waste. No one but conspiracy nuts would even dare consider that this destruction could have been the fault of the government, not when ‘terrorists’ were involved. The common enemy united the people; unfortunately they were unaware of the true threat. Though in his mind terrorists and these ‘evolved humans’ were not two separate things so it made little difference. Unfortunately the freaks had not only instigated the attack, they had also facilitated the escape of the rest of their kind who were imprisoned there. It left few mercies for Emile.

People swarmed over the wreck, dogs sniffing for life amid the corpses. Danko was a single stationary figure amongst the rescue effort; it held little meaning to him now. He felt very much like the Captain who should have gone down with his ship. He should have defended the headquarters to the end, been there when the explosion tore through it and reduced it to dust. But he hadn’t been, he’d not been there at all, he’d rushed back at the news of the assault only to find the smoking carcass, the clean up already beginning. It wasn’t just a matter of the skip and the diggers which rumbled past, the government were trying to make out like the whole operation had never existed. They’d tried to tackle the mutant threat with kid gloves and red tape, ignoring his warnings. Then when the freaks bit back the bureaucrats ran scared like they always did. Abandoning their troops to their own accountability whilst they tried to make the big scary problem disappear.

The whole thing had been an embarrassment. It turned out the figurehead of the operation not only had a family full of them but he was one himself. Danko knew there had been a reason he’d never really trusted the man. What sort of conspiracy was this anyway?! Danko was all that was left now, last man standing. The politicians would probably want him to vanish too. Well he would, before they could get to him. Whether they would just demand a signature or use a more definitive method to ensure his silence, he wasn’t planning on making it easy for them. He’d had enough of being under the government’s thumb, having them watch and criticise his every move. They didn’t seem to realise that only when he did things his way was any progress made. It was because of him that they’d captured all those ‘special’ people. It was because of the government they’d been alive to be freed and cause this destruction.

That was why this time he was going to do it all his way. He wasn’t going to shuffled back off into the shadows and be forgotten, he didn’t have anything to go back to. Not only had they taken his family but now they had taken his career. He doubted he would going to be given any position of authority in the services following this fiasco, and arguing about whose fault it was wasn’t going to change that. No, he was on his own now; it was just him and his vendetta. He’d gotten so close to what he wanted, getting rid of those freaks, he’d even thought the government was on his side. They’d given him finances, effective weapons and men, good men who’d lost their lives to this cause. Well now he was going to make use of all that, there were survivors, there were supplies at the warehouse, he had even made it a priority to withdraw the cash before they took it back. And best of all there was the laptop, the laptop to which he’d downloaded their database, just in case…

A smile crawled across his pale face as he turned his back on Building 26 and strode away, rucksack on his back and case tucked under his arm. This was when it began.


It was a room which uninvited. The blank walls stared at him accusingly, the smell of drying, white paint suggesting a cover up. The grey curtains across the window cast a suspicious light over his activities, occasional breezes through the crack he’d left it open stirring them to intrude chimes of warming sunlight into the cold room. Paying them no mind Emile sat crossed legged on the hard, rough floorboards. It was unusual pose, one that reminded him of a childhood long since lost, of school days and Chinese burns. That he could still adopt the position was somewhat of a comfort however, the years had not yet caught up to him. It was not for nostalgia or sense of achievement for which he took up this pose mind you; the simple explanation was that there was not yet any furniture in the three room apartment. With the exception of the bathroom it was bare, no fridge nor table, no wardrobe or bed. Just a sleeping bag in the corner of one room, a couple of bags, empty paints tins and rollers and the laptop on the floor in front of him.

Even for Danko this could not really be considered an abode. He was not a man who insisted on many luxuries but even he could not pretend this was a suitable place to live. The advantage of it had been that the landlord took his false name, measly amounts of rent and swore on his mother’s life that ‘there ain’t no rats.’ In exchange the soldier had received this blank canvas with what had previously been a filth ridden bathroom, a floor you could black your face with and walls suffering a severe case of floral wallpaper. He had cured that within a 24 hours hard labour however and was now satisfied with the multiple exits from the room, the vantage point over the street below and the secluded location. All he needed to do was furnish it with a mattress, a couple of desks, chairs, whiteboards and one hell of a lot of pins. It would have been nice to obtain a fridge and a stove however the budget had to be saved as much as possible and they weren’t essentials.

As the laptop finished loading Danko returned his attention to the bright screen, at least this place had electricity and plug sockets not deemed a health hazard. Launching a data storage program he had stolen from the government (they could consider it his payoff) his fingers hovered over the keyboard. He longed to begin tracking them down, picking them off one by one. But he knew he wasn’t ready, no doubt he could get a few of them but he wasn’t looking for the scraps, he wanted the big fish, Sylar, the Petrellis. He typed in a name from his memory and stabbed at the enter button, the green and black immediately bringing up all the information he could require alongside a picture of the man who’d been occupying his thoughts almost as often as those freaks nowadays. The Building 26 database had not just held the contents of all Mr Bennet’s ‘Company’ files, the Homeland Security employment records were here too and they were a perfect place to start when seeking out recruitment.

This particular individual had caught Danko’s eye from the very start for the promise he’d shown. He’d had a career that came with warning tags, use of excessive force and risk taking were tagged in his private file, for Danko these were the ear marks of a good agent. It suggested that the man would do anything to get the job done. On top of this, and the reason he’d originally requested the man for Bulding 26, this individual had learnt of specials before the project began. It was an impressive accolade to have taken down a pyrokinetic singlehandedly with nothing but a fire extinguisher and a garden hose. The thought of it brought a grim smile to Danko’s face. During his time working under Danko he’d continued to impress, being part of one of the most successful teams and one of the few who had failed to bring in all of their suspects alive. How convenient it had been to put their deaths down to ‘resisting arrest’. There was an address beneath the name and a couple of phone numbers and known email addresses. It was a shame that the man had died but Danko had always considered his death had been a little too certain considering the lack of a body...

He pulled up his email and typed a simple message.
'ND. Job? ED'


The apartment was beginning to take shape, it didn’t quite have that official ring to it yet but that would come with time, information gathering and some squiggles on the whiteboards. There were 3 whiteboards in total; two large ones along the longest wall, positioned end to end and another smaller one on the wall opposite. The rest of the wall space was swiftly being covering, revealing the reason he’d used the cheapest paint he could find since very soon it would not be visible. A large map was the biggest and brightest feature; it focussed purely on the U.S. for now, though transcending international borders certainly wasn’t off the table. The pins had already started going in; each had a number which corresponded to those on the wall opposite the window, where the front door was. This was the ‘messiest’ of the walls, though the order to the chaos of pictures and papers was obvious. Beside each number was a picture of a target, their basic details and a list of their known locations and contacts. The scattering of documents on the floor at its foot made it clear that it was a work in progress, though there were already many faces.

The click of a lock drew the attention to the door and held it as the noise was followed by the disengaging of a multitude of different security measures. Danko was under no pretence that the door would stop even half the people he was going up against, they’d probably just go through the wall, but if it stopped the other half, the local thugs and any intruding authorities then it was good enough. He stepped inside his apartment with a grocery bag tucked under one arm, key held in the other. The door was swiftly kicked shut behind him with a heavy boot and he left the shopping bag on the floor in order to turn the various keys and draw across multiple bolts. It was a nice heavy door, and since he’d reinforced the hinges on the other side he knew it would pose more than a pickle for anyone normal trying to break in. They would be better off coming in through the windows, though unless they could fly, unfortunately a very real possibility, they would have trouble on that front, Danko’s escape route was for getting out, not in.

The room secure the Hunter retrieved his shopping, the weight of which seemed to give him a surprising amount of difficulty, and carried it over to one of the desks against the wall near the window. To his left was the door into the small but functional bathroom, to his right the bedroom, it almost earned this name now, having benefitted from the addition of a mattress. As he’d left them both doors were shut. His laptop was already set up on the desk nearest his bedroom, the screen blank but a little green light blinking, it was on this same desk that he had set down the bag. Tucking his keys into the pocket of his leather jacket he moved to the window, parting the newly instated blind in order to peer down at the street below. His hard gaze tracked a single passerby out of sight before he withdrew and turned his attention back to the groceries.

Reaching into the bag he pulled out a banana and an apple, both of which were placed on the desk for absence of a fruit bowl. Reaching back in he pulled out a Glock handgun, more than a few cartridges, and a silencer which took their places next to the fruit. Next emerged plastic wrapped sandwiches, claiming to be ‘Fresh BLT’, which were followed by a carton of orange juice and a random tin of baked beans. The bag was folded and carried to the bedroom along with the firearm and paraphernalia. It had been incredibly easy to get hold of this particular item without having to fill in any paperwork, and far easier to conceal than some of his recent purchases. The bedroom into which Danko stepped was unlike any other. It too had a window on the wall to the left of the door. The other two were paint blank white but were far from featureless.

Secured to two of the four walls were black hooks, at present they were sporadic, though there was a pile of unfasten ones in the corner. Upon these hooks rested Danko’s numerous acquisitions. Handguns, shotguns, rifles and Building 26 specials, though pride of place was the sniper rifle he’d managed to get his hands on. The collection was far from complete; he was yet to obtain those military babies. He was on the right track however, his counter terrorist work coming in handy since it was the arms dealers who sold to the very people he’d once hunted who he was hoping to trade with. The notion did somewhat turn his stomach; they were scum, betraying their own country for greed. However priorities had to be kept in mind and in his those he was tracking posed far more of a threat than any man with a bomb.

After placing the new find into its cradle on the wall he moved back through to the other room and sat on the hard backed chair in front of his laptop. Before he’d been interrupted by his ‘meeting’ he’d been tracking down the next potential member of his team. Unlike Donovan this man, to his knowledge, had never before encountered specials, he’d not been a part of the Building 26 fiasco, it was doubtful he even knew about it. He was known to Danko through reputation and a brief encounter about 6 years ago during a counter-terrorism operation. Though on the same side they were with different organisations, this man was CIA whereas Danko had already been Homeland Security. He’d come across as a focussed and determined individual with an impressive kill record. He’d been one of the people considered when recruiting had taken place for Building 26, however, according to government intelligence, the man had since gone into mercenary work. This wasn’t looked upon well and the government was in fact attempting to gather evidence against him, though thus far they seemed to have been unsuccessful at even tracking him down.

Unpeeling the banana Danko typed in the password to his computer with one hand, revealing the same page he’d been regarding before. It was a news story (admittedly the channel to which the site and story belonged was not particularly esteemed, he’d never even heard of ‘Making Headlines!’) about a criminal who had been murdered following his escape from justice due to a technicality. There was no doubt in anybodies mind that he’d been guilty of the murder of that woman and her daughter and there was no doubt in Danko’s that the father had been responsible for the alternative form of justice. However he didn’t think he’d done it himself, it had been too clean, professional. What had really drawn his attention however was the speculation Making Headlines! had made. They claimed that the killer had been seen walking away from the scene and that he’d been wearing a distinctive pair of tinted sunglasses. The claim seemed entirely baseless but the description of the glasses was very familiar and right now it was all Danko had to go on. The crime had taken place that very morning. If Jaiden Alexander had been responsible then Danko knew just where to find him.


It was with some easing of tension that Danko had swept away the fine, undisturbed powder at the foot of his door and beneath the windows. He couldn't help thinking that they were going to find him, and by them he referred to the sort of people who could have flown up to the 4th floor his apartment occupied. There was no plausible way that they could know he was here; no one knew where he was, but these people weren’t plausible. They broke all the rules, they were unnatural, abominations. No one was safe from them, not even their Hunter, the knowledge kept him on his toes. He almost hoped they would find him, however, Donovan had reminded him how sweet revenge could be and he was impatient to continue his task. But it was important he tracked them down, not the other way round, since the predator could so easily become the prey.

Depositing the dust in a bin bag beneath a desk he swept his eyes over the new layout of his apartment turned headquarters. He had decided that the old arrangement was too open and inefficient. He’d purchased a stand alone board to free a wall from the map and removed one of the whiteboards, moving the two that remained to the opposite wall and positioning the map to face them, enclosing a workspace off to one side of the front door. Behind the map and opposite the door a block of filing cabinets, stuff with files on dangerous individuals, parted the room. They were high enough to offer protection to those behind him but not so much that aim couldn’t be taken over them, should it come to that. Throughout the room there were clear lines to the escape routes and also clear work areas. The enclosed space to the left of the door for instance was perfect for planning, the map on one side, the wall of targets on another and the two blank surfaces for notes and plans to be scrawled.

Very soon the room would be cramped, full of lethal weapons with dark intentions. The three prize members of his team – Alexander, Donovan & Virtanen – had been recruited and now Danko had filled up the other positions. He’d needed a force small enough to go unnoticed but large enough to pose a credible threat to the population of those freaks. Five further agents brought their numbers up to 9, an acceptable number. His starting point had been the surviving agents of Building 26, many of them had unfinished business with the species which had killed their friends and brought failure upon them. Two of the team – Collins & Thompson – were ex B26, Scott was ex FBI and Garcia & Richardos were mercenary types from much shadier origins. All of them had demonstrated their expertise in the field and they all appreciated the nature of the threat they were facing. The last thing Danko wanted was a man at his back hesitating to shoot.

In comparison, to finding the first three, the other members of his team had been simple to track down. However the extra time he’d spent on Alexander, Donovan & Virtanen had been worth it. Although a bit lippy at times Alexander was usually incredibly professional, he’d accepted the existence of specials very quickly and with some firm direction had also acknowledged his position in the group below Danko. He had confidence that Alexander could lead one of the small taskforces he would be sending out. Donovan was a contrast; although he did seem to love the sound of his own voice he didn’t make the same attempts to get chummy. He was probably the most passionate of the team, his dedication to the eradication of mutants possibly matching Danko’s own. This was the man he’d trust above any other to get the job done; moral conflicts were not an issue. Virtanen was again unique. He was far more volatile than the others but he too had passion, whereas Donovan’s would ensure they never gave up Virtanen would keep them moving a pace. His anger burnt as fiercely as his new leader’s.

Overall it was a formidable group, soon to be a close knit unit. The weaknesses of Building 26 had been hewn away to leave this lean force which had no boundaries or restrictions. There were no lengths to which they would not go to protect their country and eradicate the threat. Smiling at this thought The Hunter stepped through into the bedroom turned arms room and lifted a handgun from the wall. He took his time to load it, looking through the slits in the blind as he did so. They were out there and they had no idea what was coming for them.


Dyson turned again onto his side, restless with a mind far too busy for sleep. The normal snores from different beds reminded him clearly where he was and why, not a happy thing to remember at any time. The week had been busy as hell, with lots of stuff happening, and several major surprises. Foremost was the discovery there were others who had powers, although far more powerful then his own. Knowing they existed was difficult enough a concept to get his mind wrapped around, more so since he had always thought of himself as a solitary freak, a loner. Ever since he had first discovered that others could not read the world around them he had been different. He had gotten used to playing by himself before he had learned to hide his abilities and it was several orphanages before he got good at it, moved by financial issues at different places. The current situation was one in a long series of different places, fortunately this one near a beach for one. Surfing was one of those few places his ability was fairly quiet as the sand reset itself with the tides and the ocean gave him no reading at all. It was as close to freedom as he got with his skin; he fervently hoped one day he would be able to learn to shut off that particular ability.

A snort in his sleep from Evans in the next bed reminded him again of how different he was from normal kids.

Second with the discovery of others was the discovery there were many of them out there and they were being hunted down. Not a comfortable thought at all. In addition, he had found one on his own, or she had found him, and learned from her clothing's memories the others which she knew about and now he did as well. She was formidable as well and it left him wondering how anyone could jail them all, with so many different skills as it seemed there were. Would they even try to contain his ability or just leave him in a cell if they caught him to read the helplessness and hopeless feelings of those before him? He shuddered and tried turning onto his front side, arms under his pillow cradling it around the side of his face. Dyson had hidden his powers as well for so long because he was afraid of other's reactions and what they might do; it seemed he had been right in that assessment. Being jailed and kept as a freak because he could do something others couldn't, well, it hardly seemed fair for his life to be so full of variation. Through the door top where the glass was, he saw the light approaching and closed his eyes down to slits before the light stopped at the door and he heard the keys being slid into the lock. He closed his eyes as the old man made came in and walked the length of the room, checking all sixty kids were in their beds as was his nighttime routine. He had never wavered in his time in the years Dy had been here which made him easy to avoid, the old fool. As he left Dyson smiled silently, remembering so many close calls he had had over the years. It was barely eleven and he wouldn't be back again till nearly dawn, plenty of time for Dyson's normal working hours, but not tonight. He had far too much to think about that was for sure. Especially the most shocking event of all this week, the offer.

Jesse's offer to send him to school and take him in with an adoption had been a real shock, enough so Dyson had been astonished and agreed easily, eagerly even. The idea of family, like so many other orphans, was a powerful dream and one in which they all secretly hoped even though they knew the odds were against all of them. And having the dream become actually possible even if only with an offer had been like a ray of sunshine thought the clouds after a decade of storms. But now that he thought about it, he saw lots of problems. Frustrated with his lack of the oblivion of sleep, he rolled back onto his back again, one arm under the pillow under his head (funny enough, he couldn't sleep without having at least one arm under his pillow clutching it, who knew why) and looked up into the darkness of the ceiling. One, it was a trick to get him to tell what his other power was and he had almost fallen for that, it was true. Two, he wanted Dy under his thumb for easier control and maybe using his knowledge power to Jesse's advantage. it was true he was a reporter so it could be that way, but the man had seemed genuine. Not that Dyson was a good judge of that. Three, he was s secret abuser and was working to get Dyson to deliver himself into a type of slavery, not likely with that open face, but he had seen a lot of nasty things happen in the hood; this one was actually more likely then most things he could dream up, unfortunately.

Fourth, and probably the scariest, the offer would be withdrawn after a week or so as Jesse discovered how expensive kids were and the system for adopting them. Probably half the kids here would have been adopted a decade ago if people didn't have to pay a lot of money to adopt in the first place. There simply were not enough rich people who were willing to take in kids who desperately needed the support of family. And those who had the money always adopted outside the US cause it was cheaper and they thought the kids lived in worse situations. Truthfully, those were better advertised, but it was the kids in the US who ended up with the short end of the stick. To be honest, Dy had always had clothes and food, not that the food was worth much nor the restrictions and raising pleasant, but he wasn''t set up to die early. Well, not until the orphanage got their full payment for raising them till eighteen and then they would be out on their ear. How many disappeared at that point he wondered sometimes? Kidnappings, prostitution, slavery, etc; there had to be a dozen disappear each year for that alone he assumed. He was sure he had seen Tomas last year in a window of a brothel; the eyes alone had made him flee without finding out more.

Fifth, he was going to lose his Independence. He liked knowing he could take care of himself and work outside the orphanage had been successful in giving him some control over his life. Would all that disappear? Wouldn't Jesse make him stop when he learned about what Dyson was doing for money? Or would he make him just cut back? Hell, just how much control did parents take on children to be real? He had no idea, not a clue. His best friend Becca certainly seemed to have few restraints from her parents, but she was also the only cool girl he knew. So many of the others were make-up fascinated and clothes horses, just counting down the days till they got married and went off to have kids for some guy. he well remembered Becca's long rant on that subject, how girls were owned by their parents until they were given to a boy who would run their lives later as well. She had been rather vocal about that entire discussion and he hesitated to speak at all that time. besides, how would he know he would be any different? Up till now he had figured he was going to end up a criminal living on the streets and taking whatever he could get. Although, remembering the prostitiues' bra and the memories it contained he knew he would never be that abusive, never that cruel. it wasn't his nature for one and for another he had been horrified at what he had learned. On that day he had entirely sided with her on that subject.

For a moment, distracted, he fantasized about her falling in love with him and he whisking them off to... and that was where the dream fell apart. he didn't know what she would want nor what would be better for either of them, not that she had shown an interest in trusting him to save himself much less her.

But if this whole adoption trick, how could he get the best out of it he could? By not trusting and keeping his cards close to his chest? Or by trusting that his friend actually meant well and going along with whatever the new rules would be? It was hard to trust adult to know what was actually right for you, especially after so many failed adults had been his to observe, both in and out of orphanages. How could any kid trust a parent when around every corner was some slimeball waiting to take advantage of other adults and kids alike? Look at the druggies (most barely adults themselves) hooking the innocent early on. The government certainly didn't do much to stop that and how could they anyway when another sprung up to take the place of everyone they arrested or killed. As long as he kept his account hidden (a druggie had helped him set up a false id for the bank) and played the good kid, surely he would learn which way the other shoe would fall and then he could make his own move, right? Being seemingly innocent of what was happening had to be a good disguise for that at the beginning. Not that Jesse would likely fall for it right off, but he might relax his guard enough to let Dy know what was the trick. If there was one. Which Dyson thought there must be somewhere, this was too good to be true.

An hour later he was still staring at the ceiling, trying to see the sandbag falling at his head.


Dyson sat on the roof edge, looking out across the city. There was no point at looking up at the stars; New York made far too much light at night to be able to see much except from the tallest buildings and he wasn't crawling out onto a roof on one of those. Fifteen floors was good enough, in his opinion. The sneak up was easy enough, even with locked doors. The night watchman wandered the halls and fell asleep at a desk on the first floor frequently. All Dy needed was the empty electrical plant room at the back. He had picked the lock, closed it off behind him and repeated three more times then used the stairs. It was one of the least secure buildings he knew of which was why he chose it.

For looking across the city scape, it was just fine.

Out there he knew crimes were happening as the seedier side of the city awoke and got to work, drugs, smuggling, theft, etc. Until this week he had been an active participant in all that although now he had stopped his ads and made some calls telling folks it was time for a last round. Maybe there would be a few more jobs after this week, but most likely not many more. Jesse seemed a good guy and he was going to take the chance and see what came of it. The chance at college was besides the fact; Jesse needed Dyson as well he thought, even if the older man didn't realize it. And he was going to have his own room which had been a mind-blower in itself! Jesse had told him about the place and it sounded more fantastic then Dy could imagine, even though he had seen a few apartments elsewhere, but those he had no chance of living in. In addition, his encounter with June had warned him how close he was to being caught and then there was Becca.

Becca. Now there was a problem.

Dyson had known her for years and they had become fast friends. In or out of school she was one of the coolest people he knew and they did get in trouble together in many different parts of the 'safe' side of the city. They shared secrets, had adventures, and did lots of talking. And yesterday she had blown his mind away by waking up his inner hormones which he had ignored for so long and had really done a number on him. The worst part was she didn't seem to realize how much she had gotten to him, only teasingly calling him a 'perv.' She had even taken his revealing of power as cool and a fun idea, not realizing how much it had played a factor in causing his current confusion. After all, he didn't want to lose his best friend in any way, he had no replacements really anyway.

But he was fairly sure you were not supposed to dream up pulling your best friend into a closet to have sex either.

Not the weird twisted sex he had seen through his hands (which was finally fading from his nightmares) nor what the guys talked about in the gym class or the locker room. Most of that stuff was a mix of violence, trickery, and scoring. If he ever had a chance with Becca, certainly no one else would ever hear about it, that was for sure. But yesterday on the surfboard she had made him see her for once in a new light. He had come so close to telling her how beautiful she was, but had wisely bitten his lip instead. And she was, although she probably wouldn't believe him if he did get up the guts to tell her. For years had been around her delighting in her distractions and enjoying the romps and he had never realized as she grew that she was a woman worthy of notice. Their mutual changes had happened so gradually he had woken up yesterday to quite a surprise; her eyes so full of mischief were attractive now, her hair filled with colors he wanted to run a hand through, and her skin was covered with little scars from the past which he found himself wanting to learn the stories from.

Gods, he couldn't believe how stupid he had been all this time. And now he wanted to act like a fool for some reason unexplained and risk losing his friendship with her over... hormones. Softly he banged his head against the roof vent's brick encasement. No, he would get control. 'Yeah right' he thought 'Like you have control over other things so well, like your power.' "Gah...maybe she won't notice and think it's just my power distracting me." Arguing with yourself had one major flaw; you could never win. 'Oh right, she'll never see the sweaty palms and constantly brushing against her arm. No, you're right, she will never notice. Idiot.' Softly he began to bang his head against the brick again with a despairing look, wondering how he was going to get through the next few weeks.

No, he didn't want something momentary. He wanted the long drawn out seduction, the night on the beach in the sand eating and laughing and then that moment of silence before they kissed, when they each knew it was going to happen. He remembered reading about it in english class for one of their assignments (while mostly the kids rolled their eyes and laughed and made inappropriate comments that made everyone laugh more) and it had sounded silly at the time. Now he wasn't so sure. When he thought about her lips and what they must taste like.... Quickly he stood and walked around the roof fast, trying to get his mind back under his control. "Damnit, hell shit mother...." he went on for a few trying to distract himself and gain some measure of control over his mind. He couldn't do it, couldn't. Risking his friendship with her would be too much, he wouldn't be able to stand it. She meant far too much to Dy to risk it, he'd just have to find a way somehow to stop himself.

Especially since she wasn't interested. She'd cut him off in a second if he did something to make her uncomfortable.


A ferret wandering. Looks in holes. Drinks from a little stream. Eats a bug. Runs from a snake, swims in across a stream to escape.

The ferret enters an old basement vent. Searches. Finds a collapsed corner blocking a little tunnel. Goes out and drags back part of an old rotten blanket and some bugs. Eats, curls up and sleeps.

Playing in the leaves, throwing them around. Hears noise and climbs up a tree to watch out of sight. Sees old snake coming, flees unseen.

Ferret on a roof beam. Watches humans laughing and eating. When they fell asleep, he scampers down and eats from a plate. Drags off chicken leg to hole.

Ferret wakes in cage, trapped. Carried off to truck and taken away. No exit from cage, panic.



Dyson awoke to darkness, but smelled the mustiness which was the boy's dorm and didn't panic. He was in his bed sprawled as normal along his length, hearing the occasional snore down the row. The beds were pushed up against each other like normal, with just enough space between them to weave between the maze of them to the bathroom which is what he did, staggering in the dark by feel, running his shins against blankets while he rubbed his eyes. He wore only the pj bottoms they gave them, hating the feel of a shirt when he slept; the few times he had tried he had woken with lines across his body which irritated him for hours and he didn't need that, not to mention how bad he slept when they got tangled around him. The cold floor of the community restroom space woke up his feet with images of hours earlier and the naked towel fight he had missed. Wincing at some of the hits some had taken with the wet towel ends (a sharp snap which stung as he remembered) he chuckled at some of the yelps as he made his way to the sinks, not needing lights at all even in the pitch black darkness.

It was funny; he couldn't see his hand in front of him, but the mirror's sight told him how ruffled his hair was and how sleepy he really looked without opening his eyes. He poured water and waited for it to clear of rust for a minute, and then dipped two hands in the frigid water and splashed it in his face, wiping his eyes in particular. It took less then half a second to wake up with that, the icy water making his face burn with reaction at the suddenness. What was left of the dream was already fading, but left him very confused. For some reason it was almost like he was dreaming an old nature show they had to watch in class on the old projection screen, that ancient thing which the school wouldn't replace. Most of his classmates would have fallen asleep about half way through so why was he dreaming about one, although not one he had seen from the animals perspective it was true. He tried to think back over the day and think about animals; nope, no clues there. He knew of ferrets but couldn't remember ever seeing one except in a photo before and it had looked much larger then this one. A baby ferret? Didn't they stay with their mother or something? Or was it like him, lost and alone.

Yeah that was it, it felt right.

And now he couldn't even remember half of what he had just seen, only that it was about a ferret and it had been caught. Which was wrong of course, wild animals should be left alone in their own habitat, not ripped away from all that felt familiar and safe. Would he panic if that happened to him? Of course, anyone would. but where did the ferrets that were sold as pets come from? The wild or were they raised? Not that he knew anything about how animals were raised but he assumed you couldn't use the ferret as a pet around kids. So why take it after all that? He felt a chill as he remembered what one teacher had told them about that naturalist groups which objected because some companies tested on animals their products before giving them to the market to sell. They wouldn't need tame animals if they were just shooting them up with drugs and stuff.

Dy stepped to the toilet and got one of the paper covers which had been set aside for little Timmy who was allergic to almost everything, poor kid. One of these days he was going to die suddenly and everyone would be sorry but not very surprised either. But the sheets meant Dy didn't have to read the toilet seat and for that he was truly grateful for little Timmy's allergies. When he was done he stepped back to the mirror and washed his hands before wondering what time it was. There were few windows in the building and fewer clocks, but he had learned to compensate. Stepping back into the dorm he listened this time to what his feet told him which he had ignored earlier. The door had been opened and the night man had checked beds already twice, which meant it must be close to dawn. He glanced at the end of the hall for the one small window he often used to escape this place he had been regulated to and judged the light on it. Dawn couldn't be far away actually, might as well use the hot water now while he could.

Making his way back through the beds, he found his and bent down painfully between the beds trying not to jostle them or make much noise. He grabbed his towel off his locker top and the underwear which he had left out and moved more confidently between the beds back to the restroom. Turning right this time he made his way to the far end showers, the ones where the noise would be least likely to filter out to the sleepers, and chose a stall, hanging his stuff on the hook. Pulling off the bottom he tossed them on the last hook and leaned in, turning on the water careful not to get splashed. While the water ran, he did a few push ups on the floor, a few chin ups on the shower rod (which was set in stone it being a very old building), and a few stretches of his hams against the wall; it helped his body wake up and was good for him. Now he reached in and felt the water, snatched his hand away, and adjusted the knob; way too freaking hot! It took another six adjustments before it wasn't either totally scalding or freezing cold and when he had settled on mildly uncomfortable he stepped in.

Soap and shampoo were like everything here in bulk and the huge bottles of the liquid stuff were hung on the walls of the stalls. He did his hair first with shampoo, working hard to get a bubble. The stuff was extra cheap and barely did a good job and getting any lather was a challenge, but one he set himself every time to see if a bubble would be possible this time and leaning on the shower wall for sight until he could see one form. Successful in at least one small part of his life, he used the rest of the shampoo on his chest, under arms (as he hoped it cut down the smell at least some), and crotch before going for the soap itself. If he didn't smell clean, he would be sent back before breakfast and that was one huge pain in the butt so he overdid it every time now just to be sure. Did ferrets bath? The question in his mind caught him off guard and he stopped, one foot up on the wall so he could wash his lower legs and leaning forward, halted in mid movement. What an odd thought... But a good one. Did they lick themselves like cats, roll in dirt like horses, or actually get in running water? Puzzled, it was a moment before he gave up and went back to his scrub down before the water started to change again.

And it almost did change to another temp before he got done rinsing, running a finger over his teeth since he had forgotten his toothbrush in the shower again. Cups in a boy's dorm were not to be trusted and keeping them out of sight when you had one was important, one of those little things girls didn't have to think of. Mildly jealous of the freedom not to have to guard your every scrap, Dyson stepped to the curtain side and shut off the water, leaning against the wall while the water rinsed away running down his body in a hurry to escape like little ants. He stayed there air drying at least two minutes, feeling it was better for the water to go off somewhere else then into his towel and then got his towel to begin a very thorough rub down of all his parts and places, hating the sticky feeling of clothing on your skin when you could do something about it. Running his hands through his hair since he didn't own a comb, he slipped into the grey underwear and undershirt provided and went out carrying his stuff.

At one point he realized he was leaving wet foot prints and stopped long enough to step on his towel and dry them off before continuing to the dorm, hearing the sounds of people waking up slowly. Quick as a wink he ferreted--- and stopped mentally as he continued on automatic, wondering why that word was in his head again. Was this going to continue all day? If so, maybe he should have had the nickname 'Ferret' instead of 'Ghost' on the street. With a soft laugh, Dyson began to dress for his day, wondering what other oddities might fill it up.


There were four deaths, both accidental and not. The first one Dyson experienced was pretty horrible, not that any death was pretty. In this one he saw the water girl, who seemed to have some odd body chemistry, was injected with the sedation stuff by the doctor which he told her, so Dyson knew what it was. The man was obviously surprised when she began literally burning up, becoming not only hot to the touch, but her body boiling, fluids running from her skin and her heart pounding, until it burst and then she laid there, her eyes sightless as her skin began to shrivel as it dehydrated despite the Doctor's stunned attempts to do... anything. It was obvious it had been an accident, but that didn't stop Dyson from being revolted when the man moved her to a table and began taking her apart with a knife, trying to find the answers he sought. Watching someone be dissected by a rather impersonal man was quite a new disturbing experience for him. And watch it he had to until the body was wheeled away out of range thank goodness.

The second death was much more on purpose. It was a young boy, maybe ten years old and he was angry and scared and frightened. He had also been sedated and was managing somehow to burn it off, getting more active in trying to get free. This time the Doctor was wearing some heavy suit and a hood and someone else was there as well. While the Doctor took samples (and Dy winced big time at the pain he could understand) while whoever the other person was stood over the boy and watched him carefully, a large syringe in his hands. He also had some odd device which kept making clicking sounds as he kept the end pointed at the boy. As he got more frightened, or maybe the pain got to him more, the clicking increased dramatically and a glow came from the boy's eyes. Quickly the Doctor jumped back as the other man (he assumed) jammed the needle into the boy's neck and pressed the plunger all the way down fast. The boy's chest heaved against his restraints as his eyes went back up into his head and the glow cut off as his heart burst in his chest as well, falling back onto the couch quite lifeless. Neither man would approach him until the clicking died down some and then Dy watched another dissection, more horrible in a way because the boy appeared like any other person. And scarier since he was close to Dy's age and they seemed to not care one more then any other victim.

The third death was probably counted as a suicide, but it would be hard to say. It was a large man, extra straps from the back of the couch holding him firmly down. The Doctor was being extra careful which told Dyson he was particularly dangerous. The man tried to get the Doctor to respond to his threats his accusations, but he was being cagey and not speaking back to the man's words, only telling him to show his powers. He had gone to get another syringe, obviously intending to force the man to do stuff and when he had gotten closer was when he had struck. With a mighty heave, he threw himself so hard against the straps, the couch had jumped with him and he had come down on the Doctor's foot, jamming his head at the man and plunging the needle directly into his eye and into his brain, killing him instantly as the doctor threw his arm up in pain reaction and the stopped squirted it's cargo directly into the brain itself. The scene made Dyson throw up just seeing it again in his eye, forgetting how powerful the image had been. It again was followed by a dissection, although by now Dyson wasn't nearly as effected by those as he had been. It was still gross as hell.

The fourth was the worst nightmare of all.

Dyson saw the woman strapped down to the couch and knew with sickening sureness this was going to be bad. He saw the Doctor leave the room and another man enter a few moments later. The man had a glint in his eye which was rather frightening and the very first thing he did was walk to the woman and as she started to say something, he shoved a cloth in her mouth and then tied a gag over it. Without wasting any time, he picked up a scalpel from another table and a collection tray bringing them over and began cutting into her middle chest without any kind of drug or warning. She threw herself against the straps which held her firmly, preventing her escape and blood came up out of her chest while the man made the incisions larger and larger cutting through muscle and forcing her ribs aside. It was a truly horrible thing to see and Dyson felt his stomach start to try and dry heave, having already lost the thin fluid his stomach had contained earlier. The worst part is that whatever her power was, she was kept alive with it even through the pain, kept alive while he stuck his hand deeper and deeper inside of her before he began pulling out organs and putting them on the tray while she continued to jerk until he cut some last thing and her body stopped like a switch cut off.

As soon as it had begin, it was finished, He picked up the tray leaving the scalpel there on her body as he got up and walked out with the tray. The quiet that descended just brought his eyes back to her, the gaping hole in her chest wide open. About twenty minutes passed and the Doctor returned and stopped dead in the doorway, his eyes on the corpse with astonishment. He came over unable to believe what he was seeing and after a moment, he quickly took his normal samples and put them in the machine, cursing as he found the thing he sough was already lost information, unable to be returned from a dead corpse. he seemed to be more upset about the lost chance at the information then about the woman who was now no more and it hardened Dyson against the man even more so. The four separate experiences brought home to Dyson that the evolved humans were not considered human to some people, more like rats to be experimented on, taken apart to find out how they ticked. He had to disagree with what Jesse told him, about how he did not fear the Building Twenty-Six people. They represented the thing that Dyson might have feared the most; people who saw him as a freak to be cured or destroyed, never left alone. The few who had left this room in sedation and taken elsewhere he could only pray for, hoping they were not being just killed but maybe imprisoned. Knowing they might be saved after all this unreasonable tragedy was something he had to believe, to know there was a chance.

It was also one of the only things which might make him become a hero, if a limited focus one...

Feeling a bit lost, Dyson sat in front of the window of his new room, looking out at the sky lit with city lights and the traffic which passed below. Jesse's snores down the hall were not keeping him awake, but his mind was a blur of thought, unable to settle down for sleep. Most people who looked into his room would have found it oddest at night; it's clearly outdoor furniture, photo wall paper of a beach, and sand colored carpet more reminiscent of a beach then a young boy's teenage room. In fact the only thing that looked right for one his age was the picture on the opposite wall, an anime picture of a boy and girl in tight embrace, and the jeans-jacket-socks-shoes-and underwear dropped on the floor next to the closed door. Becca would have snorted seeing them as it was clearly were Dy had dropped his clothes for the next day instead of being truly a mess since the rest of the floor was spotless, but it was an attempt to be less neat.

And like so many other things in his mind tonight he felt more a failure then someone making progress.

Ever since the night after the kidnapping she had been acting a little off, like she wanted to avoid giving him a chance to tell her something serious again. Her reaction to his declaration of love had been to believe he was dreaming or stressed, although it had been the event which had convinced him not to delay any more telling her how he felt. Or at least he saw it as avoidance, but he hadn't been able to convince himself it was a coincidental thing. Since then he had felt out of sorts and not himself, not sure if he had been refused or was being avoided (at least avoided being alone with that is) despite the fact they still did stuff together all the time. He had not tried a second time since she had been more then a tad obvious about being busy when they were alone. Even when she crashed here for the night she kept him busy talking about other stuff or distracted with things she brought over until he fell asleep after which she would at some point crash as well.

Now, those evenings had stopped completely this week with the introduction of another character in the story, a boy Dyson was fairly sure Becca was completely infatuated with from her past and the key to her future as well. Nate was a total goofball of a guy, impossible to embarrass, loudly dressed in a way that even a blind person could detect, and full of more energy then a barrel of monkeys on speed. Just talking about his return at school had her bouncing in her chair with excitement and Dyson's heart had sunk so low it had surely gone through the floor by now. He had no hope of getting her to listen to him now, even if she had been willing to hear his words she couldn't sit still enough to think serious. And he was surprised how much his heart was dominating his thoughts recently. Rather more painfully then he thought hearts were supposed to feel, but maybe this was that growing up stuff all the adults insisted was so good for you.

Because of his sudden free time as the other two planned band stuff and got ready to out and start playing for audiences again he found himself accepting jobs again, pushing the edge of what he would have done before and for higher rates now as if he wanted the danger to keep himself both distracted and feeling worth while. His clients certainly wanted him around and loved his successful jobs and he found himself beginning to live a bit more for the thrill of risky stuff then normal in his life. Besides his evenings with his new father (who he was coming to love more and more) and his afternoon lessons with Claude who always found ways to push him at working his powers), the jobs had taken on new importance for him. Which was probably not a good thing.

Sitting beside him was a large ammo box, one of those old military cans where he kept special treasures that only he could read. It's lock sat beside it (Becca had been caught several times trying to get inside it to no avail he was happy to note) and the lid was open showing he had been thinking about his childhood which was a bad sign as it was not a happy time of his life. The collection was pretty odd for a boy, including a sock, bra, two toy cars, a half brick, small collection of stones, bus token, rolled up tissues, a couple of cigarette butts, and all of the many other items as well all inside plastic sandwich bags and sealed. At the moment there was a broken half a ruler (only five inches of which were still in existence) lying in front of him on the carpet out of it's bag and his index finger was on it. It was from an old discussion when he was six with one of the nuns he had been the charge of in the LA Orphanage. It was not a time he had been beaten (although there were hundreds of those on the ruler as well, most in ways he didn't 'read' much), but this one memory was about him convincing her about surfing practice. A wistful smile played across his lips as he relieved the moment, remembering how he had begged and pleaded for the time as well as promised such hard work on his grades for her.

He had learned today that his 'father' a true blue-blooded bastard, had two sons, twins by his mother who had died during child birth and her sons gone up for adoption. Jesse had been working today on the address for Dyson's aunt who was somewhere north and had promised to take him to see her. Of course, to have gotten this information Dy had to make a big decision as well, allowing the man who was his biological father to 'upgrade' one of his oldest models. It was twisted, odd concept, and definitely creepy to know the man who had created him could "improve" his son with a few hours of time and wanted to purely out of pride at his accomplishments. Sitting there with his shirt off with the man's hand on his back, Jesse hovering worried around, was ..... well he couldn't explain how odd it felt. But when he had finally stopped and announced what good health Dyson was in, he had felt....different. Better maybe, but oddly... different as if he could do more things then he had previously imagined.

For one, he smelled different. Not just his feet or his skin, but like he could smell from a distance much clearer like from across a room and tell what he was smelling. He had found that game very intriguing; was this the way a dog tracked? Standing in the doorway of Jesse's room he was able to single out objects in his room and tell which ones had a scent of a woman on them. Bizarre. And, well.... his manhood had definitely grown in size significantly and not by his imagination. Not to mention how much longer he cold stand *ahem* he changed his thoughts again not wanting to think about that particular experiment for awhile. He was sure it all counted as improvements even if he didn't know how yet. Mostly he felt odd and wanted to talk with someone who wasn't an adult, not that he could talk to bee right now but there was no one else he could. He had pretty much an eclectic group of friends and only bee could he really talk too (not that he was sure he should tell her what some of his newly suspected skills were as surely it was wrong to talk to a girl about that stuff).

The other thing was purely a secret and one Jesse hadn't been able to refuse him for wanting, although he was not allowed to get a real tattoo until he was older, somehow having gone through all of this seemed to need a reward of another kind so Dyson had taken a chance and asked the man to give him one over his shoulder back, opposite the black light one already there. It was photo perfect and quite stunning since no needles were required and it really would stand out when he went anywhere with his shirt off, not very likely but still. After all, most of the surfer guys had tattoos anyway, his first one would just be more spectacular then most people's. It was a Ghost Gecko for several reasons. One, his nickname on the street as a thief was Ghost, two geckos were charming cute creatures everyone liked, three they got into places where others could not, and fourth, he had read the totem description in the public library one time and just.... thought it fit him in a way, it seemed right. So he had to look at it in the mirror, so what? He knew it was there, a companion on his shoulder to be company during bad times.

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