The alarm on Steampunk’s nightstand brayed insistently and for the first time, succeeded in its purpose of rousing the girl. It had taken a solid week to get her to the point that an alarm clock that didn’t sound like an emergency signal awakened her, but it was a step forward.
With precision one wouldn’t associate with someone just awake, she reached out and turned the alarm off before sitting up on the edge of her bed.
She’d never needed an alarm before. The first fourteen years of her life had been strictly scheduled by the Project Lead and carried out by various uniformed and helmeted staffers at the Generations Project facility concealed inside a Woodbridge Township, NJ factory.
Waking up there was different depending on which staff members were assigned to take her through her morning routine. Uniform attire and a rigid routine was meant to keep her from differentiating them from one another, but their voices and general attitudes toward her varied enough that seeing faces was a formality.
Some mornings, she would be shouted awake and led through her morning ritual by a steely grip and barked orders. Other mornings, she would be cautiously prodded awake and … Continue reading
“Rita!” Betty’s voice carried across the common area that separated the boys’ wing from the girls’ wing. She was sitting on a sofa with Hightower. “Ready to go?”
Mindful of the discussion she’d just had with Joy, Rita stood there, waffling for a moment. “Er…” She managed. “Is it just going to be the three of us?”
“Might be.” Hightower shrugged. “I’ve seen a few other kids around here that might be able to hang with us. But you can never tell.”
Betty’s laugh started somewhere genuine and ended just south of vindictive. “I know, like that guy from this morning?” She turned to Rita to explain, her hair lightening as she remembered the altercation. “This guy came up to us at breakfast and tried to trick us into thinking he had a really shiny power, but it turns out it’s nothing but a psychic carry-all.”
When Rita didn’t laugh right away at such an obviously unfortunate power, she decided to continue. “So he’s not prelate material at all, he’s just a packrat.” This time, her laugh didn’t stop at vindictive, it went right on across the border to cruelty and set up camp.
With extreme effort that was completely … Continue reading
Phil Simms was used to the brief moment of confusion that comes with waking up in an unfamiliar place. After all, he’d been spending the summer at camp since he was seven, and with five aunts and uncles, he rarely spent a holiday at home.
Still, it took him a moment to remember where he was; the Liedecker Institute in Mayfield, Virginia. It was a long way from his home in Belleair, Florida. In fact, it was much further from home than he’d ever been.
Unlike many of the students there, he had never been to the Academy in Langley. Neither he nor his parents felt it was really necessary, seeing as how his power wasn’t particularly dangerous and how he never had any trouble controlling it.
That had changed after the Academy had been exposed and rumors abounded across the nation about kidnapping attempts on young psionics. His parents had insisted on sending him somewhere they felt was safe; namely the school in Mayfield that was protected by the prelates known as the Descendants and endorsed by a noted philanthropist.
Rubbing sleep from his eyes, Phil slipped out of bed. His clock radio read ten o’clock, but classes wouldn’t … Continue reading