“If you think you can do it, I’m all for it,” I said.
Alex grinned. “Trust me. I’ve seen worse, and it worked out. Now, can you take off your glove?”
I thought about it, checking my HUD for alerts. There weren’t any left. “Assuming the repair systems worked, yes.”
I used my right glove to set the left gauntlet to split and be absorbed into the left forearm. It worked. That didn’t surprise me and it shouldn’t have. It wasn’t the first time I’d tried it after all, but it was the first time I’d tried it after the suit took massive damage.
“Oh,” Haley said, staring at my hand.
Amy eyed it coolly. “That’s bad. I got a few burns like it when we fought aliens, last spring.”
I let my eyes move from the suit’s forearms to my actual hand. It looked terrible. The skin was wrinkled and gray, and made me think of grilled meat. It looked a little browner around the joints, and a little pinker on the top where I thought I might be able to feel something.
I might have been deluding myself.
Alex shook his head. “I guess it’s a good thing we spent the summer putting on muscle. I’m going to be pulling material from your arm, and also from stored fat. Your hand will be a little weaker than you’re used to when I’m done, but that will change over time. Ready?”
“Great,” he said, and my hand began to tingle. A moment later, it felt good, but a little painful at the same time, a little like it might after hard exercise. Alex wasn’t finished though. Both the pain and the pleasure continued, but it didn’t stay constant. It felt like it started at my wrist, slowly moving toward my fingers.
At first my hand didn’t visibly change. Then the skin began to crack and flake off, the gray skin beginning to get a little color at first, but then growing dry and starting to itch.
I gave Alex a sidelong glance. “May I touch it?”
He held up his hand to stop me from talking, and said, “Not yet. I’m not done.”
His mouth a flat line, eyes staring at my arm or maybe at everything inside it, Alex was more serious than I’d ever seen him.
I let him work. A few minutes later, I had a working hand. It looked just like it had except a little more pink. It felt a little sore.
When Alex said, “You’re done,” I set the glove to reform around my hand.
“Good idea. Tomorrow you’ll want to put on sunblock unless you want a sunburn, and you’ll want to keep it up for a while. Oh, and one more thing. You don’t have fingerprints on that hand.”
“Oh,” I said.
“No kidding?” Lee grinned. “I know people who would pay good money for that.”
Alex met his eyes. “How much?”
“Four, or five figures, but it’s got to be both hands.”
Laughing, Alex said, “I’m sure all these guys are totally legit and no one would get in trouble at all.”
“You bet,” Lee said. “Not if you didn’t get caught anyway.”
Half an hour later, I’d parked the van back in the garage and we were inside the foothill. Daniel and the others had moved everyone in to one of the complex’s big conference rooms. Most of the people had been woken up by then, and either sat in the conference room, talking quietly with each other, or had left for their own rooms.
As for myself, I was talking with Daniel near one of the corners. I wore only a stealth suit, having left the Rocket suit back in the van. Hunter and Adam lay on the floor unconscious next to a cart covered with plastic chairs.
“So we’ve got them,” I said. “What did you find out?”
Daniel frowned. “I found out that we’ve got nothing. Hunter was duped. He liked Adam and trusted him, and when Artaxus took over the show he was mind controlled.”
“That figures,” I said. “Well, at least we’ve got Adam. We can find some answers there… And now you’re looking at me in a way that’s making me nervous.”
“Me too,” Haley had been talking (separately) to Camille and then Travis, but she’d walked around the chair cart just then. Or so I assumed. Her ability to sneak up without me noticing had always been unnerving.
“About that,” Daniel said. “Adam’s not Adam. That’s actually–”
“Courtney.” Haley said. She’d sniffed the air as he’d said, “Adam’s not Adam.”
I shook my head. “That’s not possible. I saw them both at the same time more than once. She couldn’t have been him all the time. What happened?”
Daniel shrugged. “Pretty much the same thing as Hunter. She wasn’t deliberately helping Adam like he was, but she was close when he left. Artaxus made her believe she was Adam and change shape. And no, you didn’t interact with her at all. She never went down where you were held. She spent the whole time up here working for Artaxus.”
I wasn’t sure what to say. Well, at least I hadn’t ended up fighting her.
18 thoughts on “Faerieland: Part 46”
Hey folks, I’ll be posting a link to the finished cover of Powers as a vote incentive for Top Web Fiction later today…
Outside of that, enjoy Thanksgiving if you happen to be celebrating it, and if you live in a country where that’s not a thing, I hope you have a good day… I’ll be spending mine with family.
She never when down where
When => went?
Looks like Alex has got the good-quality healing, the sort that doesn’t involve nerves screaming in agony from the pain of regrowth. Does he induce pleasure as well as suppress pain?
Dragons: Not sneaky at all. Oh, no. When did Nick think he’d seen Courtney, then? Faery illusions of Courtney? SEP field so everyone either doesn’t think of Courtney, or thinks they’ve seen her, but can’t quite remember where?
“the repair systems work”, should that be ‘worked’?
“we fought aliens last spring”, might it read better with a comma after ‘aliens’?
“mouth a flat line” – might ‘straight’ sound better than ‘flat’?
“put on sublock” – should be ‘sunblock’?
“I know people would pay” – might read better as ‘who’d’?
“talking quietly with each other” – missing comma after ‘other’.
“and when Artaxus took over ” – extra space after ‘and’.
“She’s sniffed the air as”, should have been ‘She’d’.
“She never when down where you were held”, should be ‘went’.
It was mentioned back in the storyline he was introduced in that just being around Alex makes people feel good and be healthier. And make stupid decisions because they feel good about all their plans.
So much for the prosthetic arm full of cool gadgets.
Downside: no awesome techno toys. Upside: no trying to hide an arm full of awesome techno toys. Also he gets to keep his original arm.
I was really looking forward to a robot hand made of the same material as the suit, but at least he won’t have to try to hide a fake arm.
Hey, no reason he can’t end up creating a whole system to regenerate his body like his suit.
I’d lost track of this story in the chaos of life. I’m glad to find it again. Also I’m confused who wasn’t Adam and where is Adam?
Courtney has the power to change her shape so long as her shape is human–making it more the ability to change her appearance. She looked like Adam.
No one knows where he is now.
Nice on a couple of points:
– So Alex needs to use materail from the body of the person he is working on a bit like Worm’s Panacea as opposed to create stuff ex Nihilo, interesting.
– So Hunter got manipulated because he liked Adam and was not truly the guy’s accomplice, well I would say that’s the best for everyone given the guy’s power potential. Wonder how he will take it as he considered Adam as a friend.
– Heh, Atraxus is a Crafty one, using Courtney to Provide Adam with a bodydouble while he is off doing his own thing. In fact this is rather worrying given Adam’s opinon on the state when we saw him way back when and with the presence of all the VIPs that came for the Tornament, I could see the guy go and try to kill one or more of those especially if he thinks/knows(on the off chance the nutjob might be right) that one or more of them work for the nine, in fact this expalins why he did NOT want the Rocket in the tournament and tried to have him benched by using the Therapist.
If Adam manage to kill one or more of the people present this might have dire consequences if you put that together with the whole Turkmenistan clusterfuck, hell the league might get blamed for Adam’s potential murders once their involvement in the Turkmenistan crisis comes out(because for some reason I do not doubt it will)as said murder might be interpreted as retaliation from the nine regarding Turkmenistan.
– There is also the issue of how Courtney will feel about having been forced to change, this might leave a mark on her.
Agreed about leaving a mark, the way Courtney was manipulated here (she must have looked into the dragon’s eyes). I think the mental healing might depend a bit on what she did as “Adam” – if she became an active party, she might never get over it. In particular because of how she wanted the initial change… if she’d never used Nick’s Impregnator, this might not have happened.
Incidentally, Jim, kudos on that reveal. A lot of the twists to this point (using the mech, Lee showing up at the right time), have me nodding and thinking ‘good job setting that up’. THIS one caught me flatfooted. It never occurred to me that Courtney’s abilities could have been used in that manner, even though that had been set up too. Since I tend to overanalyze, it’s rare that I do such an abrupt double take to a plot twist. Again, well done. (I’m guessing it happened while Nick was imprisoned, because Adam came to talk to Nick before the media battle… but then, I’ve been wrong before.)
During the battle someone asked in the comments whether Courtney would show up.
All I could think was, “How will I answer without lying?”
you know dragon scale armour, real thing honest, absorbs and spreads impact over whole suit. Bet Nick coUlrich do something like that with heat. Might make armour thicker a bit but would be worth it.
It was always Courtney. I told you that you could not trust her. She’s a plant (read the past comments and very bad puns regarding her powers in the past comment sections). Couple that with the origin of Hunter’s petri dish of powers and you can see that Courtney can not be trusted. Do you see that big butt? Do you see her smile? She is poison.
I have a question for you does Nick now have nanites in his bloodstream?what kind of effects will that have on him?oh i am enjoying your writing style by the way, I will continue to read your stories and I wish you well.
No, Nick doesn’t have nanites in the bloodstream. The bots he uses in the Rocket suit aren’t the kind the can reproduce on their own or even work effectively outside of the suit.
That’s a good thing–though it’s not impossible he’ll get around that someday.
I wonder if Patrick was thinking maybe Alex used nanites, since he’d mentioned pulling material from Nick’s stored fat and all. My belief is that while Alex seems to operate by touch, it’s more of a magical/supernatural basis. (I could also be completely misinterpreting Patrick’s question.)