Death of a Hero, Chapter 62- Alexander

Ferne’s gifts were the only thing allowing me to keep a clear head during this sham of a negotiation. They were out to get me from the beginning, and their body language screamed it. The District Attourney and my public defender gave each other the casual regard that meant they were friends. They even looked a little alike, both being somewhat overweight, middle-aged white men. I was willing to bet money after work they’d go out for drinks, or golf, or whatever they did.

The mystery in the room was the teenage girl in the blue sun dress and party mask, the police hero known as ‘Sympathy’. Ferne’s augments gave me no insights into her mind. Something about her unnerved the hell out of me, reminding me more than a little of Ferne. They even had pretty much the same skin color, although Sympathy had to weigh another thirty pounds over what Ferne did.

My so-called lawyer pushed the paperwork into my hands. “It’s as good a deal as you’re likely to get.”

I shoved the papers away as best I could. “In what world is life in prison the best deal?”

They had my arms chained to the table, a precaution in case I had Brawler powers. Not knowing exactly what Ferne gave me, they just assumed I was equivalent to an expert in every combat field. There were even times, like when I was giving training to Zach, where that was true. Everything came back to what he did.

My lawyer’s eyes briefly turned toward the DA, as if he wanted to apologize instead of actually doing his job to help his client. “The one where it keeps the death penalty off the table. A trial would only-”

“A trial for what!? All they have is me arguing with a god damn Imbued and a tape that’s so questionable that a dead chimpanzee could make sure it’s inadmissable in court.”

“Be that as it may,” the DA interrupted. “Our investigation is ongoing, and all we need is to find that singular bit of circumstantial that connects you to even one of these murders.”

I knew it wouldn’t work. Ferne had the same perfect memory she gave to me, so we never wrote down anything incriminating. “And when you can’t, you’ll plant it, right?” It was rhetorical, and I didn’t bother waiting for an answer. I’d be making an argument of that nature in court anyway. “I helped Ferne find recipients for her powers, but that’s not a crime. We’re going to trial, I don’t care if I have to represent myself.”

“You can’t represent yourself,” Sympathy spoke for the first time during this meeting. “Whatever power Ferne used on you is still in your system. I estimate sharpened senses, perfect memory, cold reading skills and probably even tweaks to your body language. Or maybe you just used the advanced learning powers she gave you to pick those other skills up unnaturally.”

She can learn all of that? What is her power? I said nothing.

“Her power will continue as long as you want it to, right?” Sympathy asked. “A voluntary bond that lasts until either party wishes it dropped.”

Either party? I had always thought only I could- no, she’s just trying to make me suspicious of Ferne and force the bond to break. Either her power told her that weakness, or she talked to Zach or one of Ferne’s other partners. I kept my mouth shut and watched Sympathy. Now that she was talking, maybe I could get a read on her.

After seeing I wasn’t buying her bullshit, she continued. “In any case, it’s explicitly forbidden by I don’t even know how many laws to use powers to circumvent the natural proceedings of the court. You easily qualify as Infiltrator 1.4, so you may not defend yourself in court.”

What I would not give to punch her right now. “Your average non-powered talk show host could be ranked at a 1.4 and we both know it.”

“A trait they’ve acquired through years of effort and training.” Her retort was without malice, but the accusation was there. “Can’t risk your powers cheating the system.”

“Yeah, you should only be allowed to cheat the system through the power of money. A kid from the poor side of town like me gets nothing.” I looked directly at my supposed advocate. They knew this was a sham, I just wanted them to know I knew it, too. I took the papers they’d offered in both hands, and relished the sound as I tore them in half. “I think we’re done here.”

The DA sighed as he stood. “Have it your way.” He tried to act tired, but in reality he was quite nervous. It was so achingly obvious that they didn’t want this to go to trial that I expected they would drop almost all the charges just to hush it up.

I waited until my lawyer stood before clearing my throat. “Oh, and I’d like access to some law books. I know the deck’s stacked against me, but I’d at least like to know the rules of the game.” If nothing else, maybe I’d get an appeal on the grounds that my lawyer was corrupt.

“I’ll have the basics to you in the morning,” he said as he waddled after his buddy.

The guard, a mountain of a man named Roberts, approached. “You know the drill, Bennett.” I put both my hands palms down on the table, allowing him to clip the cuffs together before undoing the chain. Even if I tried to fight back, it’d be useless. Even if I had my combat or lockpicking skills, there were still men armed with guns and walls made of concrete and steel to stop me.

I’m pathetic.

….

I took another shot, but the basketball bounced off the rim and off into the yard. I’m useless. I don’t have the coordination. I glanced back at my house, I knew Dad was in there watching me, making sure I didn’t slack off. He doesn’t get it, I’m not an athlete. I jogged after the ball, the cold air hitting my lungs as I breathed deeper.

“Hey,” a girl’s voice from the other side of our privacy fence. “You need to learn to be more gentle with the ball. Handle it like a fruit, not your dad’s face.”

I stood up straight, my head barely came up over the fence so I stood on my tip toes to get a look at the voice. She was small, at least a couple years younger than me, perhaps as young as twelve, her skin a light shade of brown. “How’d you know?”

She looked up at me and brushed the hair away from her face, revealing some nasty looking bruises and a black eye. That gesture told me everything I needed to know. Her thin lipped smirk asked if I had any more questions.

I looked up at the neighbor’s house. “I didn’t think Mrs. Sinclair had any children, let alone grandkids. Besides, I’m not seeing the resemblance.”

“You mean the Asian chick living with the black woman?” Ferne’s smirk never left her face, but she didn’t seem offended.

“That, and she’s like six-one and one of her arms weighs more than you.” Pretty sure one of her legs weighs more than I do. “But while we’re on the subject, what is your ancestry? I mean, Asia’s obvious, but you look different than what I’ve seen.”

Ferne just shrugged. “Hawaiian and French, actually.” Ferne licked the cut on her lip. “I don’t have any family, and the foster system’s complete shit, especially for mutts like me. Mrs. Sinclair’s my caseworker, says she’ll look after me for a few days until she can find something more stable, but I think I can convince her to let me stay here.”

“Ah, okay,” I wondered what words I could offer her in comfort. I decided there weren’t any. “So, what do you know about basketball?”

“My dad was a fan.” She jumped up and caught the top of the fence, then easily pulled herself up and over, all in a matter of a couple seconds. “I think I’m more cut out for gymnastics, myself, but I can give you a few basketball pointers.”

How did she? “Uh-umm,” She was already walking to the hoop. “My parents are pretty strict, maybe you shouldn’t-”

“Do you think they’re going to mistake me for your girlfriend?” Her voice didn’t change in tone, keeping the same even level as always.

“Uh, no, I don’t have a girlfriend,” I admitted. “It’s just my parents are big on school and sports. I don’t exactly have free time.”

“Then I’m just a neighbor that’s going to be a classmate. You go to Adams, right?”

“How’d you know?”

“No one who can afford a better school lives in this neighborhood.”

She had a point. “So, you’re a freshman?” She barely looked old enough to be in middle-school.

She just raised an eyebrow, the one that wasn’t bruised up. “Soph, actually. Yes, I am well aware I look younger. My dating life will consist exclusively of closet perverts. Guess if they’re hitting on me, they’re not hitting on real twelve year olds.”

“That’s taking life’s lemons, making lemonade, and dumping it into your own eyes.” Yeah, she was small, but she wasn’t ugly by any stretch. The parts of her face that weren’t sporting bruises both new and old suggested she was very cute. Maybe she’d never be a classic beauty, but she had a wit and confidence to her that made her seem more mature than most of the adults I knew. “But it’s not really going to help with my parents.”

“Then I’m your basketball coach,” she answered smoothly. “If your dad doesn’t believe me, we’ll see how he does in a game against me.”

“You think you can beat me?” I tossed her the ball. “Tell you what, I’ll let you take the first shot.”

An hour later, and I was ready to throw in the towel. Getting your ass handed to you by a little girl was humiliating. “How are you so good at this?”

She shrugged and offered a half smile, what seemed like the only smile she knew how to make. “Well, I’d say practice makes perfect, but that’s a lie.”

I waited for a minute, wondering what I could do to unlock this girl’s mysteries. “Well, if practice making perfect is a lie, then what’s the truth?” I smiled, and probably looked like a dork for it. “Speaking as someone who’s only ever heard that lie. Well, and steroids, but you don’t look like the type.”

“The truth is, I made a wish, and it came true.”

The girl was weird as hell, but it just added to her charm. I laughed at her joke. “I’m pretty sure wishing is the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do if you want to succeed.”

“Maybe,” she said. “But I didn’t wish for success.”

“Oh, then what did you wish for?” I moved a little closer to her and whispered the question. It felt like the right thing to do. I was hoping it was something I could compliment her on, maybe give her a kiss. Just on the cheek, innocent enough.

“I wanted to know why my parents did what they did,” she whispered back. It was the first time she didn’t seem to have complete confidence.

“Oh.” The hope for that kiss was gone, and in its wake I had more questions than ever. What can I say? What can I do to make this better, to help her? “And did you? Get your wish, I mean?”

She nodded. “All that and more.” Her eyes started to glow, a soft red-orange light.

She’s Imbued. I moved back on instinct, she could probably kill me with just a thought. A moment later, I scooted back in, hoping she didn’t notice my moment of stupidity. “Well, at least I don’t have to feel so bad about losing now.” I hoped acting casual about it would help make her feel at ease.

“That, and you’re just bad at basketball,” she added.

“Ouch.” I smiled and laughed it off. “So, what can you do?”

“I can give other people powers,” she answered. “I’m not sure how it all works yet. I think I can do improved strength or healing or intelligence, but I haven’t had them long enough to know for sure. In exchange, I get to be just a little bit stronger than my strongest partner, a little smarter than the smartest.”

“That… sounds like quite the ability…” So she has others already. I found myself disappointed; I wanted to be her first.

She smiled at me, a bit wider than usual. “Would you like to do it?”

For a moment, I thought she meant something else. “Uh. Doesn’t powers mean I can’t be in sports?” In a way, that was part of the appeal. Dad would have to lay off if I got powers, and if they were too minor for me to be a real target for PREP, then I could just go through school and have a normal life.

“I’ve thought of a way around that,” she said. “As long as I don’t boost your body, and you don’t have powers during a game, no one should notice a thing.”

“Y-yeah, I guess you’re the expert,” I agreed. I still wasn’t too bothered by the idea of it not working. I just wanted to be part of this brilliant, weird, beautiful girl’s life. “So how do we do this?”

“One thing, though. Nature didn’t give you a basketball player’s genetics. You’ll be much better off playing football.” She reached her hand out to me. “I’ve got so many plans.”

I didn’t see my dad caring one way or another, long as it was a sport and I was good at it. “I accept.” Her hand was unnaturally strong for something so small and soft.

….

We were supposed to save the world together. I was supposed to be the shield, using my career and celebrity to save children before the cycles of poverty and substance abuse could claim them. Ferne was supposed to be the sword, culling those who didn’t deserve to be saved. That’s impossible now, I have nothing left. I couldn’t even get justice for her.

You still can.

It was a thought, a possibility, an insight into possible futures. I didn’t know where it came from, just that it wasn’t me and it wasn’t the spark of Ferne’s power left within me. I waited, walking dumbly along in front of Roberts.

The possibilities rippled before me; I could have my justice, I could make Zach suffer the way he made me suffer. There were other, vague possibilities of career and fame and power. I searched only long enough to know there was no hope of bringing her back to me.

I accept. If I cannot have the woman I love, then I will have my revenge on her killer.

Ferne’s power dissipated, leaving me cold inside, only for something new, vibrant, and vastly more potent to take its place. Is this what Ferne felt when she gained her abilities? I still had my intelligence, and I could feel my muscles gaining in strength with each given step. Luckily, I was already big and my clothes were baggy so it wouldn’t tip off the guards.

“Hey, man, I know it’s against regs a bit, but I’ve got a bitch of an itch on the back of my neck,” I lied with perfect expertise. “Do you mind if I?” I lifted my hands a bit, slowly enough to avoid pissing anyone off.

“Keep them down,” Roberts demanded.

“Dude, it’s fucking bad, just a second is all I ask.”

“No.”

“Then…” and here’s where I deserve the Oscar. “Do you think you can do it for me?”

“Fine.” His fingers hit the back of my neck and a map of his memories snapped into my mind. He has two daughters, one nine and one twelve. He has a wife, Margaret. Their sex life is abysmal so he often hits a bar after work hoping for a quickie from whatever girl might be into jacked, dark and authoritative. Failing that, there was this bar next to a bowling alley that always had a working girl hanging out in the lot. “Happy, now?”

“You have no idea,” I agreed. With my newfound abilities, I nudged his emotions in the direction of the bar, just for a night cap, not something sleezy. From there, it was a matter of the waiting game. I stared up at the ceiling thinking and counting away the hours until roughtly nine at night.

Will Mom and Dad cry? Dad wouldn’t, as far as he was concerned I was already dead. Mom might, but never in front of Dad. It’d probably be the last bit of stress that caused their marriage to break in half. In a way, I was even happy to hurt them; they didn’t even bother coming to my arraignment.

I felt bad for Karen. Hopefully, one day, she’d forgive me.

With that thought, I vanished in a swirl of yellow and red light, my clothing falling onto the bunk.

The air was thick with smoke and the smell of alcohol. So close to the Christmas season, and this place was packed. “After five years, your job will still suck.”

I searched Roberts’ immediate memories. Something about a joke comparing jobs with wives. Right. “Ain’t that the truth,” I muttered, chugging the entire glass of beer. “Speaking of, I’m gonna go talk to Jen about her Christmas bonus.”

“Yeah, I’d better get going before it starts raining again anyway,” Allen said. Truth was, he was a cheapskate, and if Roberts wasn’t paying for the occasional drink, he didn’t have much reason to stick around.

“Hey, lover, long time no see.”

~FIN

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28 thoughts on “Death of a Hero, Chapter 62- Alexander

  1. Fun fact: significant chunks of this chapter existed at the same time as Chapter 2… and 2 was written before 1. Jesus tapdancing Christ on a cracker… do I ever play the long game when it comes to Chekhov’s Guns.

    And that’s the final chapter of the book. Tomorrow, I’ll put up an “Afterword” post detailing my feelings on this book, things I’ve learned, stuff I plan, and what the next project is going to be…

    Oh, and I’d REALLY appreciate the votes. I had 71 once, now I’m down to 50. Where did all my peeps go? :(

    http://topwebfiction.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well fuck me, Zach life will go down the Drain, Cassie will go psycho on him, and now he has an enemy that will probably be as bad Jokes is too Batman.

    Also, you didn’t put the pov name in the title.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Personally, I think Kitten made for a better Joker, and died the way DC would kill him if they had the artistic integrity to do so.

      Alex is more the Harvey Dent role. Whom I always found was Bat’s best villain. Well… him or Freeze, depending on which writer’s on the case at the time.

      Like

  3. Hmm… I think this is it, for me.

    The quality of your writing is good – so are the characters, and the world building. The story makes true on the promise in the summary, a world where there’s truly a hefty price for powers.

    It’s just that when reading, I do so for fun – and I like, if I can’t have an actual happy end, at least some sort of silver lining for the characters I’ve invested myself in. For most of the book, the reader could still think that there might be some sort of good-ish outcome, but now it’s clear that everything sucks for everyone. And since Zach won’t even be in the next book, there’s no more deluding myself into thinking that it might get better.

    To be honest, the last few chapters felt like… well, depending on how one wants to see it. Either it’s a cleanup of any misconceptions that might still exist, or just a giant “F* you” to any optimists in the readership, clearly stating “the good deeds you thought you saw were actually horrible, any character you like will have a miserable life ever after, and btw santa isn’t real”.

    Like I said – but I think it bears repeating since I think I come across as very negative here – price is still a good book. It’s just part of a dark genre that I personally do not enjoy. The only thing that I could complain about is that this darkness was hidden fairly well until it was almost over, luring unsuspecting people who might not enjoy the ending you had in mind into reading it. Sure, there was the whole “dead girlfriend” thing, but that’s just your everyday tragic origin story. A few slightly dark moments in between, normal for gritty superhero stories these days. But these last few chapters read completely different from the whole rest of the book, almost as if the author looked back and realized too late that things COULD be seen in a positive light, and then went on a frantic writing spree to make sure nobody would leave with the impression that there’s any happiness to be had for characters in this world.

    Anyway, thanks for an interesting read, it just wasn’t for me. And now that I know what to expect from the price universe, I won’t be back to invest any emotions into the punching bag characters of the next book – so don’t feel like you have to pull any punches on my behalf :P

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fair enough. I tried VERY hard to make sure the tone was set with chapter 1…

      I mean, when the first chapter STARTS with the main character being physically mutilated and tortured for fun by a cheerfully psychotic rapist… well, that’s why I have chapters 1 and 2 in that order…so readers know in right away “Hey, this story is the kind where the main character can and will be mutilated and tortured *on screen* by a rapist!”

      Other books in the series won’t be that much happier. Maybe some will, but I absolutely favor realistic outcomes over happy ones. And the nature of powers and who gets them makes truly happy endings impossible.

      But I am confused on the “the good deeds are actually bad” thing… I don’t think I ever put that message in there….

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      1. Well, I think the impression that “good deeds are punished” comes from the fact that despite the hero stopping the evil antagonist, a bunch of new ones popped up as a direct result of his actions that led to the defeat of the evil antagonist

        Situation: Ferne attacks a civilian, hero intervenes and is about to be killed by Ferne
        Result: Hero barely defends himself and is forced to kill Ferne in self-defense, something the entire school suddenly hates him for. He also looses the person he believed to be his best friend and former best friend receives powers with the intention of gunning him down.

        Situation: Hero becomes isolated at school due to Ferne incident, his Girlfriends throws him under the bus without giving him the chance to explain. Later on, she tries to apologise and explain herself, but when the hero brushes her off (something that is very well in his right), she decides to kill herself out of the blue, becoming another powered that will presumably encounter the hero later on.

        Basically, the hero tries to do the heroic thing, and things spiral out of control only to end with at least one new powered who is antagonistic towards Zach. I dunno about Cassie, even though she got powers, she can still be a “neutral” character that is neither friendly or hostile towards Zach…
        All of this happened because Zach tried to get revenge for Emily, in order to stop a villain that many established “heroes” were reluctant to touch… probably because they expected exactly this outcome.

        Because of that “mark of cain” thing you mentioned in a previous chapter it is obvious that “happy ends” are impossible. Whenever a villain or antagonist gets taken down, there will be people who are hurt, either in form of people who loved the person the villain was before or antagonist or because their loved ones became collateral damage during the fight between villain and hero. Add to that the fact that only teenagers (a group of humans who don’t exactly have the best impulse control) can become powereds and you end with an almost impossible to end spiral of violence that can also pop up everywhere just like weeds.

        ——————————————————–

        Maybe it’s because I read c1-60 in one setting and the rest after a pause, but there are a few things I don’t understand:
        Normally, people receive their powers rather immediately: Zach got his when he learned about Emily’s death and Cassie when she was trying to drown herself. Both were feeling rather… emotional when that happened and I got the impression that “powering up” always happens when people are in an emotionally upset state.
        Alex gets new powers because of “Ferne’s death”, but only a few days after the fact, during a moment where he was rather levelheaded. This appears to be in direct contrast to the way it was previously explained and shown:
        The process is basically “Teenager becomes overwhelmed by emotions because something happened, and then they power up in response in order to become able to deal with it”
        Alex breaks that mold. Is that intentional?

        Also, does the last line of this chapter kinda imply that his “lover” is still around? Or who does he address with that line? Because I can kinda imagine that the “Muse” Zach encountered wasn’t Ferne at all, and someone who “trusted her enough” to pretend to be her… but if Ferne was still alive, and if it is implied that Zach knows that Ferne is still around… why does he become a powered?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. To be fair, those “good deeds” weren’t so good. Zach going after Kitten wasn’t about justice. It wasn’t even about stopping her from victimizing others. It was about simple cold-hearted revenge. That the target fucking deserved it changes nothing.

          His directly ignoring his older, wiser, *future seeing* advisor got him into the mess with Ferne… a direct reference to the Merlin/Arthur relationship.

          And it’s not like he couldn’t have been more forgiving of Cassie… then she’d never have gained powers in the first place and maybe, just maybe, they could have both been happy and helped heal each other from their shared trauma. But Zach’s kind of an asshole, so instead he told her to fuck off, and the cycle continued.

          ….

          You make a lot of assumptions about Imbuement that the story does not support. Trauma or immediacy are fanon pollution from a different story, and NOT how Price operates. Alex is one of only three Imbuements shown, and falls well within expectations of the setting. Hell, GL got his powers *because he was a bored rich kid*. More on that in the next story featuring them. And Guardian got his at age 21, about halfway into his second tour of Vietnam.

          Then again, In Triplicate will show Arclight’s Imbuement, and hers wasn’t at all dramatic. What comes after… that sucks… but still.

          Only absolute rule: Imbuement REQUIRES agreement without diminished capacity. Imbued can’t be children (age minimum is at 12 years old), they cannot be mentally impaired either by birth defect or by mind altering substances, and they have to either be stupid or desperate enough to say yes.

          Oh, and Zach made physical contact with Muse… and she wasn’t in costume when she died… so…

          Like

          1. In many stories, the “villain” decides to do “good”, but believes that something atrocious like genocide is the only way to do it. Do “bad” deeds to achieve a “good” goal… but in the end the results are still “bad”.
            Reading Zach’s story, I don’t really get the impression that he’s out for revenge, that’s he’whatever he’s doing in these last 60 chapters is to get himself closer to his revenge against Kitten. Maybe I already forgot a few details about the story, but his set-up with Mawuth is depicted as something he “had” to do in order to prevent crime, because if something like that had existed before, maybe Emily would still be alive. I don’t see how this is related to revenge against Kitten. One might argue that this helps him find her whereabouts, but then agains he can just broadcast a message via radio or TV, like his “I remember!” after the incident at the bank.

            He establishes himself as a “do good” hero who acts when the “real” heroes won’t act because of reasons. They have valid reasons, but in the end there are still people left behind… there are quite a few chapters where Kitten completely vanishes into the background.
            He does “good” in order to achieve a “bad” goal, but in the end… the result is something positive, isn’t it? Thinking back on the stuff, he starts out seething for revenge, gets his ass kicked, decides to become stronger, sees injustice that no “hero” is doing something against and in the manner of a generic idealistic hero he sets out to “fix” the world… his desire for “revenge” fades into the background until it’s time to remind the reader “Hey, wasn’t there something important?” and for the final showdown.

            ———————————————–

            Also, I based my comment on the assumption that since two people got imbued while experiencing emotional stress, they were the norm. I also got he feeling that everyone else who became a powered had a similar, not-so-pleasant experience… instead of brooding in a cell and deciding that “now” they will pay the price to become someone with super powers.

            On a last note, what exactly did Zach loose in exchange for his powers? He already lost his career as an athlete, and he only really cared about his sister a bit, so the loss of family (due to becoming a criminal) can’t be it. And no idea if Ferne really is dead, what with the last sentence in the chapter.
            The only thing I can imagine would be… that his powers turn him into an incorporeal telepathic parasite. Someone who lost his body (Unless he can reconstruct it after un-possessing that poor guard).

            Like

            1. It’s Erica and Muwth, incidentally. Mawuth is… I don’t know… and I have no idea where you got Emily from. Kinda gives me the impression you weren’t paying close attention.

              And his encounter with Muwth was him trying ever so hard to convince a couple powerful allies to help him so he has backup fighting the psychopath who tore him to shreds quite literally.

              It wasn’t until after he killed Ferne that he started thinking that maybe the whole “hunt someone down and kill them in cold blood if at all possible” thing might not be such a good idea. And despite that, he STILL kept going down that path.

              Oh, and Zach was *never* an athlete- asthma is a bitch like that. So he didn’t lose that at all. What Zach lost was 1: Erica. She’s dead and he never even got to say how he felt. 2: Privacy, by having his identity blown. 3: Bunch of other “identity public” problems. 4: Rumors accusing him of pressuring girls into sleeping with him… 5: almost all of his friends, 6: his girlfriend, and 7: the guy who helped him become a hero… Also, 8: he was literally raped… think that’s enough?

              Oh. And the last sentence? Go back and read the first chapter. See if you catch it.

              Like

            2. Thanks for answering, but I just noticed that maybe I shouldn’t try to write comments when I haven’t slept… thats probably why I mixed up almost all the names… sorry for that.

              The rest is more or less clear, but my last note wasn’t supposed to be about Zach, it was about his “BFF” Alex.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Two colors for Alex, does that mean he is stage two right off the bat, like Zach? I know the particulars of this were explained in detail more than once but im blanking on the exact details at the moment.

    Also it has me wondering if these powers inherited through “the mark of cain” tend to start stronger to begin with? Kind of like pre-developed/evolved shards in Wormverse.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So the cycle of revenge continues – I really want to slap Alex upside his head. Do these people not ever learn what that means? Young + impassioned + super powers = tragedy. Anima’s no-kill stance is starting to look better in these circumstances.

    And it looks like Alex got possessor powers. Yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You know I see everyone hung up on Alex’s power Possession, analysis of People’s mind same way Zach does with their bodies and mindfuck aspect which are quite terrifying but seem to miss the self buff aspect of it:

    Not only did he retain the Mental Boosts Ferne gave him(and maybe even got the all set of them in the process including the combat skills, Lock Picking Skills and all the other niceties)but also got a Physical boost, which most likely is a blend of all the ones Ferne could give.

    So in short the guy is even more terrifying:not only can he read/fuck with minds but he is also very very smart and capable AND quite possibly enhances the bodies he posses.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 2 colors, maybe Ferne’s power was giving a subtle first surge ? Explains why she couldnt give any kind of power to Zach and 2 colors of power from Alex

    Liked by 1 person

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