Issue #2 The Kin

This entry is part 3 of 15 in the series The Descendants Vol 1: Welcome to Freeland House

Part 4

Acting against the heartfelt demands of her brain, Tesser’s body turned toward Noah. She felt her muscles tense and her power beginning to build within her unbidden. In the few months she had spent at the Academy, she had heard of some of the powers possessed by psionics that allowed them some form of control over others.

Powerful telepaths could simply make someone decide to act. Some empaths, Noah excluded, could change someone’s feelings to the point that they acted in a given manner. At some point, she had even heard rumors that one of her classmates had the ability to possess other people outright.

Despite knowing all of these different methods by which her mind could be usurped, Tesser hadn’t been prepared for this. She had always assumed that when one was mind controlled, one would be ignorant of the fact until some time later, after waking up from a daze. But whatever the Enforcer was doing to her wasn’t mind control at all. She was completely in control of her mind, but her body was no longer answering her will.

Taunt muscles sprang into action, power flowed and Tesser’s body launched itself at Noah. Tesser wanted desperately to close her eyes, buy even that was beyond her at this point. Her body began its dash toward him. A quick mental calculation told her that she’d slam into him at eight miles per hour.

Josiah smirked to himself. It took only about as much mental effort to hold control over a person’s motor functions as it did to breathe, so he found himself thinking more about the rest of the psionics before him then the one he was currently launching at the bizarre demon thing his compatriot had already injured.

He had files on Tesser and Incubus, both of whom were soon to be out of the equation. He also had files on Kevin Quaid, known as Blank, but Impact had already taken him out as well. That left the two unknowns that Impact had followed to the facility. He decided that his next move would be to close on the woman – he rather liked the idea of forcing women to carry out his will…

Pain suddenly blossomed in his thigh. Looking down, he realized that he had left out part of his calculations.

Tears in her eyes, Rain held the pen she had just jabbed into the Enforcer’s thigh so tightly that her knuckles were white. She didn’t know much – didn’t remember much – but Tesser and Noah and Blank were her friends and this man and the blonde woman were hurting them. She resolved not to let go until she could think of some other way to help them.

Halfway to Noah, Tesser stumbled and fell, tumbling into his legs and toppling him over.

Shouting in pain, Josiah lifted his hand to give the rain maker the punch in the head Impact had wanted to deliver. A sudden gale kicked up and he was struck solidly in the chest, spinning him around and breaking the pen off in his thigh.

“You two are a couple of real pieces of work.” Ian said, preparing to launch another fusillade at Josiah. “Seriously, attacking a kid? Helping people that do this kind of stuff to kids?” he spat the last part, his disgust apparent.

Josiah braced himself against the wall, his mind still reeling with pain. “You don’t know the half of it, guy.” He said, with a feral expression. His free hand traveled inside his jacket and touched a toggle. Instantly, the pain ebbed as a cocktail of chemicals increased his production of adrenaline, endorphins and temporarily accelerated his healing. “Whatever you came here for, it wasn’t worth what you’re in for.”

As this was going on, Impact regained her senses. Everything above and including her lumbar region was aflame. In fact, she thought for a moment that her hair was bleeding. She was tired of those kids. In fact, she had been tired of them since the first week she had spent searching for them.

Rolling to her knees, she spied the little bitch that had put her on her back. She was going to tear her… her…

Impact shook her head. Everything hurt. She felt like wretching from the pain. Worst, she didn’t even remember getting on her knees like this. What had she been doing? Gritting her teeth, she spied the girl, Tesser, who was the source of this… this…

Blinking, Impact wondered why and when she had risen to her knees. She was in incredible pain and not yet willing to waste her Apollo unit on temporary relief. What was going on? She knew she hadn’t been knocked out, so why did it seem like time had passed? Wherever she tried to put two and two together, she came back drawing a… Blank. “Son of a bitch!” she exclaimed, snapping her gaze onto Kevin, who lay on his side, watching her and counting backward.

Impact’s mind raced. Kevin Quaid was a low level telepath. So low, in fact, that he had only one ‘trick’ in his repertoire of mentalism – he could erase eleven seconds of a person’s memory. He could do this at will, but to be of any use, he’d have to use it on his foes every… every…

Impact groaned. Her skin and muscles burned and knotted. Why was she on her knees? And why was she staring at the telepath known as Blank? Even more strange, why was he counting backward from eleven? Then it clicked. “Stop that!” She demanded, lashing out with a kick to the boy’s head.

Impact’s personal brush with Groundhog’s Day ended with Kevin sprawling on the floor. Behind her, she heard Josiah mocking the two unknown psionics. Her anger at the teens who had eluded her for weeks abated as her professional mind told her to deal with the mystery element first.

Noah righted himself into a crouching position. Tesser was still on the ground, breathing hard, but not gasping for breath. “Are you okay, Tillie?” He asked, trying to focus his emotion reading ability on her alone, but failing to maintain it for more than a moment.

“Yeah, just got the wind knocked out of me.” She sighed. “We’ve got to stop that guy before he takes someone else over.”

Noah nodded, shaking his horns furiously. “You got it, Tillie. I’ll settle this with one punch.” With that, he gathered himself up and sprang at the rapidly recovering Josiah. The highly trained Enforcer stepped forward, into tap Noah with his power as he flew overhead.

But Noah saw the plot and snapped open his wings, stopping himself short of Josiah’s reach. “I saw what you did to Tesser.” He snarled. “You need to touch me to take me over.” His eyes flashed a brighter green. “Well that’s not going to happen.”

Impact kipped up into a crouched position, ready to give Noah another hard punch. A black flare flashed past her head as she made her move, knocking her slightly off balance. “Don’t even think about it.” Alexis said, willing another bolt of black heat into her hand just in case.

“And I was worried you weren’t going to do anything.” Impact said wryly. With that, she stomped the ground, redirecting the kinetic energy from that back up into her and launching her into the air. Alexis hurled her black heat at the Enforcer, but Impact kicked off the wall and slammed into her. Both women tumbled across the lab floor.

Impact landed on top and raised her fist. “Screw control. I’m going to kill every last one of y—“ At that moment, she was thrown sideways as Tesser barged into her.

“You’re not going to kill anyone.” Tesser said triumphantly as she stood over the fallen Enforcer and the strange woman she didn’t know. Her revelry was short lived as Impact planted a super kinetic kick in her stomach, knocking her away.

“I am SO tired of you people.” Impact said. “Now you be a good girl and writhe in pain while I…” She looked at where Alexis had been lying. She was gone. “What the hell?” she asked, seconds before Alexis slammed her flashlight into Impact’s kidneys. As the Enforcer turned to face her, she smacked her in the face with the implement, stunning her for a moment.

“Invisibility.” Alexis gave a deceptively sweet smile. “Very limited, but luckily, so are you.”

Meanwhile, Noah faced off with Josiah, his out stretched wings blocking the enforcer from Ian’s view. So far, thanks to his realization that Josiah needed skin to skin contact to use his powers, it was one sided. While his claws were unable to penetrate the enforcer’s body armor, he had forced Josiah into a corner. Finally, with a leg sweep, he toppled the Los Angelino and stood over him, claws ready for the kill.

“It’s over, Enforcer.” Noah said, broadcasting terror into the Avatar’s mind. “This is for my friends – my new family. You and your superiors will never haunt us again!” The clawed hand came down, but the sound that followed wasn’t the sound of bones cracking and flesh rending. It was the slap of flesh on flesh.

Noah looked down at his hand – his human hand. He was reverting to human form. Since he had began transforming into his Incubus form, usually in times of stress, or when his blood sugar rose too high, but occasionally voluntarily, he had learned that he had no control as to how long it lasted. At times, he would remain in that form for days, sometimes, minutes – he could neither prolong it, nor end it prematurely. Now, it was ending on its own.

His own shock made him lose control of the terror he was pumping into Josiah who gave him a wicked grin and kicked him away. “And that, my friend is why you’re just a C38.” He watched Noah’s flesh twisting almost painfully as he reverted for a moment, and then took out a cigarette to replace the one he’d dropped when Rain stabbed him.

A gust of wind blew it out. He looked up to see Ian glaring at him, a vortex of air forming around him. “Oh hell.” He said, trying to dodge as a fist of air came at him. He was slammed hard against the wall.

Sliding down the wall, he triggered his second Apollo unit. Training for the device advised not using two within an hour of one another. For this reason, most Enforcers only had one in their tactical armor. Josiah however reveled in the feeling of power and speed he got from it and had three. In practice, he used two at once when fighting very powerful foes and kept one in reserve. At the moment, he was just using the second to stop the ringing in his ears.

Charging Ian, he dodged two more fists of wind and planted a knee in the other man’s midsection, doubling him over. Immediately, he brought his clasped hands down on Ian’s back, sending him to the floor. “Now I’m curious.” Josiah sad, putting a foot on the back of Ian’s heat. “Which other Enforcer almost killed you?”

Across the lab, Impact reeled. Her opponent had wreathed herself in what appeared to be shadow, but the increase in temperature in her immediate vicinity suggested something worse. She wasn’t quite sure how to deal with her without receiving some nasty burns.

Then, she saw an opening. As Josiah put down the other unknown psionic, her opponent turned in his direction – her distraction causing her to drop her protective field of black heat. Impact lunged, but was suddenly taken off her feet.

At twenty-one miles per hour, Tesser tackled the Enforcer, and then increased her speed ever so slightly. “I bet you read my file.” Tesser said to her captive as she dragged her forward. “You know about my speed, the fact I can go through things – but you didn’t know I could take people with me.”

Impact gasped, the air having been driven out of her by the tackle and the sudden change in velocity. She glanced backward, seeing the stasis cells coming at her fast. Suddenly, she realized the girl’s plan – but it was too late.

Tesser shoved the other woman out in front of her just as she cut her speed to nil. She ended up standing just outside the stasis cell. Impact ended up inside. With a flick of her wrist, she turned the locking handle, sealing the cell. “It’s not on, but we’ll be long gone by the time you get out.” She said, heaving a sigh of relief.

“Not talking?” Josiah asked Ian mockingly. The effort of delivering such a beating was evident in his deep breaths. “Oh well, I’d better stomp your spine so you don’t get away.” A series of tiny black flames lanced into him, burning like hot needles. He started and reflexively stepped sideways out of the stinging hail. He looked up to see Alexis, covered in her black heat, sending streams of the painful needles his way.

“I thought Impact had you.” He glared.

“You also thought you were breathing heavily because you were winded.” Ian said, flipping over. Now able to see Josiah, he was able to focus his power on further lowering the density of the air around his nose and mouth. The Enforcer known as Avatar gasped and stumbled as his lungs emptied air into the space. His vision blurred.

“Relax.” Ian said, getting to his feet. “I’m not going to kill you. Unlike you, I’m no monster.” With that, he released a pulse of wind into Josiah’s forehead, knocking the man out. As his foe fell, Ian looked around. “Everyone alright… or at least without life threatening injuries?”

Noah and Rain were kneeling beside Kevin. “He’s okay, just got a little smacked around.” Noah said.

“We should put that guy in a cell too.” Tesser said, indicating Josiah. Ian nodded and started dragging him toward one. Alexis came over to help.

“So who are you guys?” Rain asked, putting words to what was on the minds of all of her new family.

“We’re exactly what we said we were.” Alexis said, opening the cell so Ian could push Josiah inside. “We saved some kids from the Academy a little over a month ago. We heard about the possibility of someone here needing our help, so we came to see if we could give it.”

“Thank you both for that.” Noah said. “You saved just about all we have left.”

“Hey, like I said, we’ve got kin too – the kids we saved have kind of grown on us.” Ian said. “If you want to, all of you are welcome to come with us.”

Noah shook his head. “I said thanks, not that I trust you.” He looked at the others, asking a question that didn’t need to be put in words. Tesser and Rain nodded. “Besides, I promised them we’d be headed to Miami after this… live on the beach, maybe see if we can learn more about everything that’s happened to us.”

Alexis nodded. “Well, we’ll do anything we can to help you guys. A friend of ours is a sort of computer genius – when you get to wherever you’re headed, find an internet café and send a message to beautifuldreamer on the Kingston East Network. She’ll hook you guys up with a place to stay, money – whatever, okay?”

“I appreciate that.” Noah said. “And I think we’ll definitely take you up on it.”

“No problem.” Alexis smiled at the young man. “As long as you guys are trying to take care of yourselves and trying to keep out of the Academy’s – and this Project Tome’s hands, you can consider us kin too.”

“And everything that entails.” Ian added.

***

The sun was setting as Laurel’s SUV left Quinn Bluffs. Ian was driving and Alexis was on her cell phone. “No, Laurel, they’re going their own way.” She was saying. “Really, we’re lucky they’re even accepting our help. If I was in their shoes, I wouldn’t trust us either.”

She shifted the phone to the other ear and settled into her seat. “Anyway, we’ve got plenty for you to look into. Something called a bio-map and a broken voice recorder. Oh, and you better get Vimes fired up on this one – I have a feeling that Project Tome means something far worse for people like us than just the Academy betraying us.”

End Issue #2

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About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter.

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One Comment

  1. I’m interested in the fact that two of the members of that group, Noah and Rain, both have names connected not just with water, but also with flooding. Coincidence? Quite possibly.

    Also, Ian’s my favorite character, ’cause he’s so cool. Just saying.

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