Notice: This is a fan fiction of based upon the stories in Lilith Langtree’s “Comics RetCon Universe”. The story is mine, but some of the characters are not. Mystique from Marvel Comics’ X-men are trademarks of Marvel Comics. All rights reserved. The Riddler, Joker and Green Arrow are trademarks of DC Comics. All rights reserved. To the best of my knowledge, all the other characters are fiction. Any resemblance to a living, dead or undead person is completely random.
Note:I'm starting to feel guilty about Whisper. So, I talked myself out of ending this one with a big cliffhanger, more of a little cliffhanger in case it took me some time to get the next chapter out. :) A special thanks goes out to Lilith and all of the real CRU authors for providing such an interesting Universe to play in. Hope ya all enjoy. Thanks to djkauf for editing. Enjoy!
** Chapter 6 **
“Oh my god! So you really are a vampire!” Jen says, recoiling away from me as far as my couch will allow without her jumping out of it.
Just to mess with her, I hiss at her and bare my fangs as I raise my hands up in a clawing motion. “Mmmm, blood, more blood, so hungry.” I say. It is really hard not to laugh.
Jen forms a cross symbol with her fingers. “Back! Back, you foul beast!” She says with a fierce whisper instead of a scream, which tells me that she’s not really scared of me. She’s just acting.
“I’m melting....melting...” I say as it is now my turn to recoil away from her.
“You brat!” Jen manages to get out just before she starts laughing.
Her laughter causes me to start laughing and I don’t want that to turn into giggles, so I pour myself another few sips of wine to distract me while Jen regains control of herself.
“Phew! So, you’re not a vampire, right?” Jen asks.
“Nope.” I say shaking my head.
“Okay, then you’re just a Dragon’s Bane Dark Elf?” Jen asks.
I contemplate pretending to be zombie for a split second. “Yep, just a DBO Dark Elf who happens to be a carnivore and nocturnal by nature, but supposedly, I should be able to change myself to diurnal with a few weeks of working at it.” I say.
Jen tilts her head inquisitively. “Diurnal?”
“Yeah, it means slave away at work during the day and sleep at night like normal people versus the cool vampires who sleep all day and party all night.” I say with a laugh.
“Ahh, being nocturnal for real sounds like it could be kinda nice if you work the night shift somewhere, but what else did she say?” Jen asks.
Dr. Keller blinked with surprise as she contemplated how to give me the bad news. “Why would you think that?” She asked.
“Well, I’m nocturnal, I have fangs, the light hurts my eyes and I seem to only like meat now, just like a vampire.” I said.
“Valerie, you are not a vampire.” Dr. Keller said.
“But...” I said.
“Your body is just optimized for hunting at night.” Dr. Keller said.
“But...” I said even though I wasn’t entirely sure why being a vampire would be so bad. In the movies, the vampires were always the cool ones. Well, except for that sparkly one.
“You’re not dead. You have a heartbeat. Unlike a vampire, your blood is perfectly normal with the right ratio of white and red blood cells that are working exactly as they should.” Dr. Keller said with an amused smile.
“Oh. Okay, I guess I just sounded a little silly there, didn’t I?” I asked as I struggled to contain my embarrassment.
How does she know what a vampire’s blood looks like?
Dr. Keller chuckled. “Oh no, not at all Valerie. I completely understand. I’d probably be thinking the same thing if I were in your shoes.”
“I doubt that, but thanks.” I said with a reluctant smile. “Well, I guess I will get some lunch now. Thanks again.”
“No problem, Valerie. See you in a little bit.” Dr. Keller said as I closed her door.
I managed to walk back to the front desk all on my own. I was still feeling a little out of sorts due to the exam, so I used that as an excuse to briefly stop at that “Maintenance Use Only” door. I don’t know why I found the door and what could be behind it so captivating. I just knew that it led to somewhere deep underground. I considered trying to sneak a peek inside, but decided that might get me in trouble, if it wasn’t locked. Plus, I was starting to get hungry and I wanted to eat something before my next exam.
I picked up my two wardens in the lobby area.
“How did it go?” Agent Fergusson asked.
“Uggh. The MRI, I slept through, but the pelvic exam? Just be glad you’re not a girl.” I said with a grimace.
Agent Fergusson laughed while Agent Kramer looked away uncomfortably. “Oh, I am. Trust me, I am.” Agent Fergusson said. “Well, shall we get some grub?”
“Yes, let’s. Lead on my trusty squire!” I said with a happy grin. It felt good to only be worried about food and not the life and death stuff.
We arrived in the cafeteria and unlike in the morning, the place was packed. As a result, I got more than a few double and triple takes. I also noticed more than a few people who couldn’t seem to get away from my general vicinity fast enough while muttering not-nice things under their breath like, “I can’t believe they would let those kind of creatures in here!”
On the plus side, no one attacked me with a knife. Muttered words, nasty glances and OMG’s, those I could take and even find some humor in.
This time, I went straight for the burger line and ordered three cheeseburgers, hold everything. The burger flipping dude looked a little surprised that little ‘ole me would want three greasy burgers instead of something healthy, like a salad.
“Can you cook them medium too?” I asked.
Now he looked even more confused. Burger dude looked at Agent Fergusson for confirmation and that sort of irritated me. Like, I needed permission from someone else to order some food? What in the hell?
I felt Agent Fergusson’s hand on my shoulder, so I looked back to see what he wanted. “Valerie...” He said with a slightly reproving expression.
That irritated me a little more until I looked back at the burger dude and noticed that he looked petrified of me. “No, no, it’s okay ma’am! I’ll just cook them for half the time on each side.” He said with a weak grin.
I tried to smile at him, but that just made him look even more nervous. “Oh, my god! I’m so sorry, dude. I didn’t mean to, ya know?” I asked, hoping that would make him feel better even though I wasn’t so sure I liked being called referred to as a “ma’am” either. I guess it was better than, “miss” though. Why do young girls get called “miss” while boys are “master” or “mister” no matter how young or old they are? It’s just so demeaning!
I guess that thinking about gender inequality made me look a little pissed. “Here are your burgers, ma’am!” The burger dude said nervously as he handed me my plate as fast he could.
“Thanks!” I said with a smile, but that didn’t seem to help any. What was his problem?
Agent Fergusson helped me find a table. Well, he and Kramer more or less picked it for me and escorted me to it, but that’s not important. What is important is that my burger tasted like heaven to me. Way better than the burger that I had yesterday. The little bit of pink in the center made all the difference. “So, am I really that scary looking?” I asked my wardens after I gulped down my first burger.
They both paused with their chewing. Fergusson glanced over at Kramer before rapidly finishing his bite. “Well, when you get pissed, your red eyes and the fangs don’t help.” Agent Fergusson said diplomatically.
I thought about it for a second. “Oh, yeah. I guess that could be bad.” I said with a shrug since there wasn’t much that I could do about that except not get pissed, maybe wear my shades more and not smile at anyone. I decided to just eat my second burger instead of worrying about it.
Since Fergusson and Kramer took the chairs with their backs to the wall and thus forcing me to turn my back to the rest of the room, I didn’t get to see any of the strange looks that I knew I was getting behind my back. I noticed them give a few warning looks to a few people and laugh a couple of times too. I tried to twist around and see what they found so funny, but I always missed it.
“Dude was checking ya out, Valerie.” Fergusson said after the third time.
“Ewww, gross.” I said then decided to just finish my last burger sans bun. The bread just got in the way of the good stuff.
I felt pretty contented after eating. With my stomach full, I just wanted to curl up and fall asleep. I almost fell asleep sitting up, but Agent Fergusson noticed the z-monsters trying to rappel down my eyelids.
“Hey, Valerie, why don’t we head downstairs and sit in the lobby while we wait?” Agent Fergusson asked.
I managed to nod my agreement with that idea. “Okay...sounds good.” I said, slightly mumbling.
I woke up a little during the walk down to the S.T.A.R. labs lobby. Agent Fergusson motioned me over to the couch. I plopped down, leaned my head against the nice and cushy arm rest and promptly fell asleep.
I woke up with Fergusson shaking my shoulder. “Val, it’s time to wake up. Doctor Random is ready for you.”
I was feeling a little fuzzy and I didn’t understand why I was laying down when I knew that I fell asleep against the arm rest. Even stranger was the fact that I was using Fergusson’s leg as a pillow and I even had a suit jacket over me like a blanket.
I instantly woke up and bolted from the couch in a flash. “Oh, my god! Fergusson, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to.” I suddenly remembered that he said Dr. Random was ready for me. “Oh, no! Did I sleep through my appointment with Dr. Keller and Dr. Wiles?” I asked, nearly panicking. “Why didn’t you wake me sooner?”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Valerie. It’s okay.” Fergusson said as Kramer just sat calmly in his chair with an amused twinkle in his eyes.
“But, I missed an appointment! Now what will I do?” I asked, risking a quick glance over to Brenda. I expected her to be upset, but she was smiling too.
That made me start to feel suspicious. “What?” I asked, looking around.
Agent Fergusson casually picked up his jacket from the floor. “Doctor Keller saw you out here sleeping and decided to reschedule your appointment with her after your appointment with Doctor Random so that you could get some extra sleep.” He said as he dusted off his jacket before putting it back on.
“Oh, umm, sorry about your jacket.” I said while trying to forget the fact that I was sleeping on a dude’s leg and using his jacket like a blanket.
Fergusson just chuckled at me. “It’s okay, Valerie.” He said.
“Miss Wilson, umm, Valerie, do you want to follow me to Doctor Random’s office?” Brenda asked.
“I guess so. Now that I’m wide awake.” I said with grin now that I was starting to not freak out over falling asleep on Agent Fergusson. I just hoped that I didn’t snore.
This time, we turned down a different hallway and I didn’t get to obsess over a stupid door.
Brenda knocked politely on a door that simply read “Dr. Random - Magical Studies”. I heard a man’s voice say, “Enter.” Brenda opened the door for me and motioned me past her.
I was expecting a small office like Dr. Keller’s, but Dr. Random’s office turned out to be more like a softly lit library with a black leather couch, dark wood coffee table and comfy looking black leather recliner with a matching ottoman. I noticed a thick manila file folder with my name on it lying on the table.
His appearance surprised me, but I guess that it wouldn’t have mattered since I just didn’t know what a Doctor of Magic might look like. He could have looked like Gandolf with the pointy wizard hat, long white beard, bathrobe and old staff or he could be wearing a tuxedo with the top hat to pull rabbits out of or something else entirely.
Dr. Random turned out to be a dude wearing an expensive looking suit. The only stereotypical “magical” thing about him was his goatee. Well, the goatee plus the fact that I was able to sense the fact that he had a large amount of Essence inside of him, but his Essence pool didn’t feel as large as mine.
Dr. Random smiled warmly at me as I cautiously entered his lair. “Welcome to my office, Miss Wilson.” He gestured around at his library. “Do you mind if I call you Valerie?” He asked as Brenda softly closed the door behind me, trapping me in the room with just Dr. Random.
I liked the fact that the light wasn’t so bright in here. It was a very comfortable feeling space. “Umm, Valerie is fine. Better than ‘miss’, umm, Doctor Random?” I said hesitantly.
Dr. Random chuckled. “Random is fine. Doctor Random this and Doctor Random that can get rather tedious.”
“Oh, okay, umm, Random?” I said. I wasn’t entirely sure about him now. I mean, who has a name like Random anyway? I wondered if it wasn’t really his name. It sounded more like an alias to me.
He just chuckled at my confusion. “Names give others power, well, if you’re into summoning demons anyway, but magic users don’t feel comfortable with giving their real names to just anyone. There is always the fear that their name could give others power over them, but I think it just makes magic users sound more mysterious.” Dr. Random said with a grin.
I felt a little less nervous about him. “Oh, okay. Sorta like Rumpelstiltskin?” I asked.
“Exactly!” Random smiled at me as he motioned me to sit on the couch.
He smiled at me as I cautiously sat on the couch and glanced around the room. There were a lot of books in here and a few strange looking art objects. I guessed that maybe the art objects were really magic items of some kind.
“Now, I was reading over your file there,” He said, point briefly at it. “And I couldn’t help but note that aside from your rather extreme transformation, you also transformed into a form that resembles your, umm, Dragon’s Bane Online game character, correct?”
I nodded my head. “Yes, I think so anyway.” I said.
“And, your game character was not only a Dark Elf, but also a Death Priest, correct?” Random asked, looking at me very intently.
He made Vylencia sound a little evil or tainted with his description of her. I hoped that he didn’t think that I was evil. “Umm, well, Vylencia wasn’t always a Dark Elf. Most of the time she was a High Elf and a Life Priest. I only switched to Death Aspect to solo her and very rarely for PvP.” I said, trying to explain things.
“PvP?” Random asked.
“Oh, yeah, sorry. Player versus Player.” I said.
“Ahh, okay. That’s like a form of “dueling”, correct?” Random asked.
His term made me wonder how old he was. Duels went out of style over a hundred years ago. “Umm, yeah, except PvP can be team versus team too.” I said.
“I see, very interesting concept there. My, how times change.” Random said, grinning at me with excitement before he grew more serious. “Anyway, I performed some research into this Dragon’s Bane game, its mythology, its interpretation of magic and I must admit that I am concerned.”
That made me sit up with alarm. “Concerned?” I asked.
“Yes, it appears that this Dragons Bane Online is more informed about the true nature of magic than I would have expected.” Random said as he steepled his hands together while he focused all of his attention on me.
His constant use of ‘Dragon’s Bane’ was starting to get annoying to me. “Umm, DBO. We just call Dragon’s Bane, DBO, but umm, what about the magic?” I asked.
“Ahh, DBO, yes, I can see how that would also be less tedious.” Random said with a quick grin before his expression turned more serious again. “Anyway, this DBO game’s documentation and symbolism regarding magic is disturbingly close to how magic really works.”
“Really?” I asked, feeling stunned, alarmed and amazed all at the same time.
“So, I should be able to cast a spell?” I asked.
“Perhaps, with some training. A person just can’t wake up one day and cast spells that they saw in a video game; no matter how close to real that game appears.” Random said with a trace of authority.
Well, I guessed that he was the expert. He sounded like more of an expert than I am anyway. “Oh, so why do I have Essence then?” I asked.
Random stood up with alarm and looked at me with disbelief. “What do you mean by that?” He asked.
“Well, ummm, last night when I was sitting in my room and looking out the window, I felt something from the moon and after awhile, I noticed that I was full of Essence. At least, I feel like I am, but I’m not sure because I can’t cast any of my, I mean, Vylencia’s spells.” I said while feeling less and less sure of myself as I tried to explain things to him.
He relaxed and sat back down in his chair. He was silent for a few seconds and I was starting to get worried. “Hmmm, if true,” I started to object and he waved it away. “No, sorry, if accurate, then that certainly is an interesting development. It may indicate that one of Doctor Wiles’ theories regarding that quantum stuff he is so found of is true.” Random said.
“What is that, sir?” I asked. I don’t know why I felt like calling him sir, but it just came out.
“Well, Doctor Wiles believes that your body may allow you to store magical energy, or Essence. I initially discounted his theory, but if what you say is accurate, then he may actually be right about that.” Random said with slightly scandalized expression. “Yes, imagine that. Modern science and magic coming together over this Quantum Physics thing that has gotten so popular this decade.”
“Oh.” I said. I wasn’t sure what else I could say about that.
“Well, there are ways that we can test this observation of yours. Would you be willing to allow me to attempt a simple evaluation on you?” Random asked.
“Sure?” I said with a little bit of hesitation. If he pulled out an altar, bloodstained or otherwise, or even worse, Dr. Keller’s exam table, I was totally going to run.
Dr. Random led me to an adjoining room that was empty of any furnishings. All that it had was a highly polished granite floor with a circle that contained lots of intricate symbols etched into the granite. The sight of that made me a little nervous too.
Random chuckled at my hesitation. “Nothing to fear, my dear. I will go first and show you what to expect.” He said as he stepped into the circle and stood in the center.
I decided to ignore the fact that he called me a ‘dear’.
“Now, what I am going to cast is a simple cantrip that based upon the target’s Essence, will generate a wind. The more Essence that the target has the greater the wind. Understand?” Random asks.
I nodded my head, yes. I was unable to feel how much Essence he had now that he was inside the circle, but from what I felt when we first met, I knew that he had a lot. He waved his hand in a simple gesture. His clothes and hair immediately began to blow around as if he was standing in front of a very powerful fan, but I was unable to feel even the slightest of breezes.
Random waved his hand again and the motion inside the circle stopped. “See, harmless.” He said as he stepped over to me.
“Now, simply step inside the circle and stand in the center.” Random said, with an encouraging smile, as he noticed my hesitation.
“Umm, okay?” I said as I cautiously entered the circle. I was a little worried. I knew that I had even more Essence than he had. What if his little cantrip caused a tornado when it hit me?
I watched anxiously as he repeated the gesture with his hand. I felt something stirring and closed my eyes, anticipating a gale force wind or something. Instead of that, I only felt a faint trickle of wind that barely even made my pony tail twitch. Someone could have just turned the room’s heating system on for all I could feel. I cautiously opened my eyes and looked at him. “Did you cast it? I hardly feel anything.” I said.
Random frowned with thought. “Hmm, it appears that either your ‘feeling’ full of Essence isn’t what you think it is, your full Essence is a small amount or there is something else going on here.” He said as he waved his hand again and the faint tickle of wind stopped.
Disappointed, I followed him back into his library room and sat on the couch. I glanced at him expectantly as he picked up my folder and thoughtfully paged through it. “Hmmm.” He said after a few minutes.
“What?” I asked, feeling more than a little disappointed. What if I didn’t have any super magic powers? What if all I got from my meta-gene was to be turned into a 16 year old girl who looked like a Dark Elf? I felt sure that there was a crappy t-shirt joke in there somewhere. Well, on the plus side, at least I would have a sort of normal life. Okay, I was still a Dark Elf chick. How normal of a life could I really expect to have?
Random sighed and I looked up at him to see what more bad news he had to tell me. “I can see that you’re a little disappointed my dear.” He said softly. “But the path to magic is a long and sometimes difficult journey full of many twists and turns. Fear not, you have just placed the first foot upon the path.” He smiled at me and that gave me some hope.
“Umm, thanks, but I guess it was really too much for me to expect. I guess that I should be happy to just be alive.” I said feeling a touch grateful about something. Now I just wanted to call Kim, but that would have to wait for later.
Random silently studied me for what felt like the longest time, but was really only a few seconds. “I know that you’re disappointed, but that test is not conclusive. You have much to look forward to my dear. The test did show that you have the spark necessary to wield magic. All you need now is the time to learn.”
“How long did it take you to learn?” I asked feeling a little more hopeful about my situation. Maybe after a few months of practice and study, I might be able to cast a spell or two.
“Only a few decades and I sometimes miss the time I spent learning from my master.” Random said with a fond smile.
“A few decades?!” I asked with shock. “I don’t have that much time.”
“Oh, on the contrary my dear. You’re a Dark Elf now. Baring an accident, you have centuries to learn.” Random said.
“Wow, really?” Jen asks me.
“Well, that’s what he said and if you read the DBO manual, it even says that.” I say.
“Okay, so why does the DBO manual, which is crap, have so much real stuff in it?” Jen asks.
I shrug my shoulders. “Beats me, but apparently, the history of the DBO world matches the 4th Age of Magic pretty closely. Doctor Random was very concerned about that.” I say.
“Oh, so what else did he say about Dark Elves?” Jen asks.
“Well, they were Evil with a capital ‘E’ and they got themselves exterminated because of it. They lived really long lives, just like the other elves and they lived underground. It’s all in the manual.” I say.
“Okay, so why didn’t his spell detect your Essence?” Jen asks, looking confused. “I mean, you obviously have Essence now.”
“Beats me.” I say without much concern about the reason why. “I guess his spell just didn’t work the way he expected it to work or something.”
“Oh, so what else did he tell you?” Jen asks.
“Not much really. He taught me how to meditate and he warned me that the surviving races of the 4th Age will probably hate me and try to kill me.” I say, purposely sounding bored to hide the fact that I am a little worried about that. I mean, I don’t even know them and they don’t know me. I am not evil so how could someone hate me? That 4th Age thing was thousands and thousands of years ago.
Jen looks a little worried about me. She pauses to take a sip of her wine. “Okay. I’m a little worried about that 4th Age grudge thing, but what happened with Doctor Wiles and that quantum stuff?” Jen asks.
I think that I was just starting to get the hang of the meditation thing that Doctor Random taught me when he reminded me that it was time for my next appointment. After he wrote a few additional notes in my file, he handed it to me.
“Take this with you and give it to Doctor Wiles, please.” Random said.
I quickly took a peek inside. There was a lot of stuff in there. “Okay?” I said, hesitantly.
Random smiled at me with what looked like suspiciously like a fond expression. “This will be goodbye for now. You take care, Miss Wilson.” He said.
I didn’t even think about feeling upset about him calling me a ‘miss’. He just had that air about him. “Umm, okay sir. I will try.” I said with a quick nod.
Random’s smile grew and a card appeared in his hand. I would like to say that it was just simple sleight of the hand, but with him it was probably real magic or maybe not. “Here. Once you get a chance to get settled, give me a call. I may be able to provide you with some guidance from time to time.” He said.
Of course, I took his card. “Umm, thanks, Doctor Random.” I said, giving him a tentative smile. I actually felt pretty grateful. It seemed like he knew a lot and he definitely knew some magic. Having him teach me could be very handy.
I didn’t know where I supposed to meet Dr. Wiles, so I walked back to the front desk. Agent Fergusson and Agent Kramer were sitting in the waiting room leafing through some magazines. They had to be bored out of their minds. Fergusson glanced up and gave me nod with his eyes before he glanced casually back to his magazine. Kramer never even budged. Brenda sat behind her desk doing with a document on her computer. She turned her head and gave me a friendly smile as I approached her from behind.
“Umm, Brenda. I’m done with Doctor Random.” I said.
“Oh, good. How was your meeting with him?” Brenda asked.
“It was okay...” Brenda glanced at me curiously. “Well, he didn’t find any magic in me, but he did say that I could learn.” I said with a tentative smile.
Brenda looked at me with sympathy. “Oh, I’m sorry Valerie, but maybe Doctor Wiles will have something for you.” She said as stood and gave me a totally unexpected and encouraging hug. “Here, let me run you down to Doctor Wiles’ office.”
Before we left, I glanced back to Fergusson and caught him peeking up from his magazine. Busted, he rapidly looked back at his magazine.
Brenda led me past ‘The Door’ again and this time I kinda understood why I found the door so fascinating. It was because of my Dark Elvishness thing for living underground. I think. It made me extra curious about could be down there. “Brenda? How old is this place?”
Brenda glanced back to me. “Oh, I’m not sure. I think World War Two for sure, but probably older than that. There are some old forts or gun batteries or something like near here. It used to be called Fort Miley.” She said. “Why?”
I felt a little embarrassed now. “Oh, nothing. It’s kind of silly really.” I said.
“What?” Brenda asked.
I shrugged my shoulders and gave Brenda a hesitant grin. “I don’t know, but I just get the feeling that there might be some of the old fort under here, or something.”
“Oh, well, that could be kinda cool, but if it is, I’m sure it’s all sealed up and exceptionally dirty.” Brenda said.
“Yeah, probably.” I nodded with reluctance as Brenda motioned for me to follow her again.
Dr. Wiles’ office just happened to be next to Dr. Keller’s office. Brenda could have just told me that. “Brenda? You could have just told me that his office was next to Doctor Keller’s office.” I said.
Brenda giggled at me. “Oh, it’s okay Valerie. I needed the walk.” She said as she politely knocked on Dr. Wiles’ door.
“Come in.” I head a man’s voice say from the other side.
Brenda opened the door. “Doctor Wiles? Miss Wilson is here to see you now.” She said as I stepped forward.
Dr. Wiles appeared to be in his 40’s with a fringe of unkempt black hair circling his head, but a full beard to make up for the missing hair on his head. He was wearing some rather thick glasses in the classic black plastic birth control frames. Dr. Wiles smiled at me as he motioned me into his lair and pointed towards a chair that faced his desk. “Come, Come Miss Wilson. We have much to discuss.”
I took a tentative step towards his desk and noticed Dr. Keller and Dr. Random sitting on a brown leather couch. Dr. Keller smiled at me encouragingly while Random just sat there impassively. I felt a little better seeing both of them here. Random’s presence surprised me because once again, I could have just followed him instead of pestering Brenda, but with him here, maybe Dr. Wiles would be able to shed some light on Random’s observations and have some ideas on my phantom Essence.
That didn’t happen. I ended up leaving the meeting feeling even more confused. Confused because Dr. Wiles spouted terms like quantum superposition, spin anti-correlated, decoherence and qubits.
His two main hypotheses about why I might have some form of quantum entanglement going on inside my DNA is that a) I can turn back into my old self or b) I can change my Aspect and turn into Vylencia’s High Elf form. If either of those worked out, I’d be a happy camper. More happy if the first one was true, because being a) a girl, b) a 16 year old girl and c) a Dark Elf kind of sucks. While the girl part is hard to deal with, it’s even harder to have a normal life when you looked like a human sized Smurf.
That spawned an explanation of Schrödinger's Cat, which hurt my head just as much as it did in college when my physics professor tried to explain basic quantum physics. Essentially, the cat boiled down to a few problems for me with option a). If my body existed in a state of quantum entanglement, then what happened to my current body could also happen to my other body. Things like wounds, aging and the fact that my male body got shocked almost to death. What if I could switch to my old body? Would I want to be burned half to death just to not be a girl? If my body wasn’t burned, then the aging thing could come into play. Why would I want to be an old guy in 30 years when I could be a young girl for centuries? Well, except for the girl part, but still, youth or manhood? Youth, duh!
That is where he brought in the decoherence thing that I still don’t understand, but I think he was trying to say that my other body might be totally separate and not affected by what happens to my current body.
He got all these ideas based on the analysis of my DNA from some scientist dude that he simply referred to as “Hank”. What kind of a real scientist would go by the name Hank? Not even Doctor Hank. Hank sounded like a janitor’s name to me.
However; based upon my ‘Phantom Essence’ and how DBO spell caster characters store Essence , he proposed a third hypothesis. The quantum entanglement thing was a way for my body to store Essence. In effect, my body was a big Essence battery and that might be why Dr. Random’s test failed.
Dr. Wiles was pretty excited about all that stuff and it sounded cool, but it also depressed me because I still didn’t know if I really had any Essence or if it was just all in my head. I did try to ‘flip the switch’ and test the first two hypotheses of his, but nada on that too.
Even more depressing was that Dr. Wiles wanted me to stay an extra day so that they could do a PET scan on my brain while I tried to cast a spell or change my Aspect. The extra tests meant that I wouldn’t get out until sometime Saturday evening. I was really hoping that when I called Kim tonight, I could tell her that she could come pick me up. I think that was the most depressing part. I really missed her.
I wasn’t the happiest camper when I finally hooked back up with my wardens. Fergusson noticed my glum expression. “What’s the matter Val?”
I sighed with frustration. “Oh, nothing and that is the problem. I got nothing. I got the shit shocked outta me and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” I said, gesturing to my body. Did he just call me ‘Val’?
“Ahh, I see. Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Sometimes it takes newly emerged meta’s a few weeks before they figure out what their power is.” Fergusson said, trying to cheer me up.
“Umm, that doesn’t really help, dude.” I said, barely managing to not cry.
“Okay, yeah, that was dumb of me. Sorry. How about, if you don’t have a dangerous power, then you get to move on with your life faster?” Fergusson said with an apologetic smile and a shrug.
“Really?” I asked, feeling a glimmer of a positive in all of this.
“Usually, yeah. The more powerful the meta, the more, umm, oversight they have to deal with to make sure that they aren’t a danger to society and all that.” Fergusson said.
“Oh, well, I guess that wouldn’t suck.” I said.
Fergusson motioned to the elevators with his head. “Come on, let’s go grab a bite to eat. Rollins and Thompson will be here in an hour to take over.” He said.
“Meh. I’m not really hungry right now. Can I just go to my room, chill and maybe call Kim?” I asked, looking up at Fergusson hopefully.
Fergusson grinned at me. “Are ya sure? I think they have steaks tonight.”
“Oh my gawd Ally! You know that you can cast spells now. Maybe you can switch to Vylencia’s Life Aspect now too.” Jen said, bouncing with excitement.
I look at Jen curiously. I know that I talked a lot about the game when we were dating and I just went over what happened with the match that caused all this, but something isn’t adding up. She knows too much. “Okay Jen. Spill it. How do you know so much about the game now? You hated it and wanted nothing to do with it when we were dating.”
Jen turns her face to the side. She looks guilty about something. “Weellll, I ummm, started playing it two months after we broke up.”
“What?!?!” I ask, accidentally yelling a little louder than I planned.
She looks back to me for a second before looking down at her lap with shame. “Yeah. I was pissed for the first month, but then, I had an idea for a column about gaming addictions and how relationships suffer.”
“Okay...and?” I ask while motioning her to continue with her story. This ought to be good.
“Well, I needed to do research, so I bought DBO, purely for research purposes, and started playing it so that I would know more about the subject.”
I think that I could see where her story is going already. “Don’t tell me. You liked it, right?”
Jen grabs my hands and looks desperately at me. “Yes. I’m sorry. I wanted to call you, but I kept chickening out. I was going to call you when you got back to congratulate you, but, ummm, well...” She glances up and down at my body. “This happened instead.”
“What class are you?” I ask, kind of expecting her to say that she is a priest or mage.
“I made a Wood Elf rogue on your server, named her Whisper.” Jen says, totally surprising me.
“Oh...good name. What level are you now?”
“Sixty.” Jen says with a whisper.
Now I am really surprised. “Holy crap, Jen! You’ve been playing a freaking lot!”
“Yeah...” Jen says, looking away for a second.
Now everything makes more sense to me, sort of. “Well, that explains why you knew about the match and more about how the game works and to look for me here, but why were you up so late and how did you even know that I was in the news?” I ask.
“Umm, I was playing and someone in my guild yelled about a chick who kinda looked like a Dark Elf was on the news. Soon as I saw her picture, I knew it was you.”
“Oh, so, why did you decide to come over then?” I ask.
“I’ve been worried sick about you and I just had to know if what I thought was true.” Jen says as her eyes begin to tear up.
“Really? Why would you be worried about me?” I ask. I know the answer, but I want to hear her say it even though it is kind of a moot point now.
Jen looks down hesitantly. “Weelll, I was kind of sorta hoping that if we got back together that we could team up. Have you show me some high level stuff. You know, for the article.”
“Ha! Article. Right. You’re addicted now too.” I laugh a little at the irony. “Wait a minute; did you say get back together?” I ask, looking at her with shock.
“Umm, I was kinda hoping that we could think about it. I really started missing you a month ago and when the accident happened, it nearly drove me crazy.” Jen says as tears start to pour from her eyes.
Now it’s my turn to find a tissue or something for her. I run into the kitchen and grab a paper towel for her. I silently hand it to her and on impulse, I sit down next to her and hug her to me as she blots the tears from her eyes. I hold her until she stops crying and she sits back up.
“Thanks, I’m so sorry Ally.” Jen says, looking like she might start crying again.
“Not your fault, but you’re not into girls, right?” I ask with the slightest bit of hope that she will say that she is, even though I know that she’s not.
Jen’s dark cloud lifts a little, but she shakes her head no.
“So, that pretty much kills that idea and even if you were, I’m now a wanted criminal and I’m pretty sure that I’m done playing DBO.” I say.
“Oh?” Jen’s face takes on that mischievous and sneaky look that I remember so well. This ought to be good. “If you’re not going to play any more. Can I have your stuff?” She asks.
I can’t stop myself. I break down and laugh which causes Jenny to laugh. We both end up struggling to contain our laughter. I manage to take few sips of my wine. That distraction helps me stop my very un-manly giggles that the laughter has devolved into.
“Okay, so, do you want to hear the rest of my story? Iwas just about to get to the part where shit blows up before you blew my mind with the DBO admission.” I ask.
“Well, I did have a few more questions about your Aspect stuff, but I guess they can wait, for now.” Jen says with mock impatience.
Agent Fergusson looked a little disappointed, which made me feel bad. “I’m sorry Fergusson, I think that I just want to go back to my room and chill for now. I’ve got a lot to think about.”
“That’s okay, Valerie. It looks like today has been pretty rough on you.” Fergusson said, looking a little sympathetic toward me. Agent Kramer just kept his normal impassive stone faced expression. He was definitely the strong and silent type.
“Thanks. So, umm, Agent Kramer?” I asked as I glanced over at him with a smirk.
He just raised his eyebrow inquisitively while Fergusson looked a little concerned about what I might ask his partner.
“Do you two ever play good-cop/bad-cop with the bad guys? Because you would make an excellent bad-cop.” I said while trying not to laugh.
A chuckle sneaked out of Fergusson before he could stop it. I couldn’t really tell what Kramer was thinking. He just coolly glanced over at Fergusson who rapidly composed his poker face under Kramer’s gaze. Agent Kramer looked back at me.
“No.” He said as simply as possible as he hit the call button for the elevator.
I could see his face reflected in the elevator door and I thought that I could see a slight quirk of his mouth that could be a smile. Hard to say for sure, but a quick glance at Fergusson confirmed to me that he thought it was funny.
I went straight to my room as soon as we arrived on my floor. Kramer stopped me from entering so that he could case the room first. He sure did take his job seriously. Fergusson hung out with me in the hallway.
Fergusson leaned over to me. “That was a good one Val, you almost got him to crack a smile back there.” Fergusson said with a whisper.
I couldn’t help it; a giggle escaped me just as Agent Kramer walked back out. He looked at both of us with a bland expression. “Room is clear.” He said.
That just made me laugh more. I rushed past him and into my room to keep from completely loosing it. I jumped onto my bed and immediately opened up my purse to hunt down my phone. I had to try calling Kim.
“Val, we’ll be out here if you need something.” Fergusson said as he softly closed the door for me.
“Thanks Ferg, uhh, Fergusson.” I said, quickly correcting myself as he paused long enough to give me a look.
I managed to find my phone right after that. It was hidden in plain sight, right next to the pad things. I guess that I was subconsciously blocking them or something. I quickly opened it up and hit the memory dial for Kim. The phone rang and rang, before finally switching over to voice mail.
I really wanted to talk to her. Her away message ended and it beeped at me. “Hi Kim, it’s me. Sorry I didn’t call you sooner, but today has been busy. They want me to stay one more day so that they can do a PET scan on me. I don’t have any super powers, but I did learn that I’m now a carnivore and nocturnal, so call me as late as you want. Love ya, bye.” I said. It was a struggle to not break down there at the end.
I felt a little tired, so I closed the curtains, turned off the lights and made a quick bathroom run. I still didn’t like having to sit, but it was starting to get a little easier. Well, not easier, but I guess I was just getting more used to it. I decided to brush my teeth because there is nothing worse than falling asleep with that taste in your mouth that makes you slobber all over your pillow. My teeth were so white and I had to admit that my little fangs did look kind of cute, I mean cool. I growled at the mirror once just to see if I looked dangerous enough. I didn’t. I guess I just wasn’t mad enough because I sure seemed to scar the burger dude during lunch.
Satisfied with my reflection, I took off my shoes and crawled into bed with my clothes on. Yes, I forgot to take off my bra, again.
But, that was the least of my worries because someone literally threw me out of the bed.
“Move it Wilson!” Agent Rollins yelled at me as he yanked me out of the bed by my arm. Sucks to only weigh 135 lbs because there was no way anyone could have done that to me a week ago.
“Hey!” I yelled before I realized I was already half out of my room.
The sound of a weapon firing woke me the up right away.
“What the aaaaaaahhh?!?” I asked as Rollins pulled me into the hallway and forced me behind him against the wall with his left arm while his right held his pistol at the ready.
The shots fired from the nearby lobby area stopped me from asking Rollins why he had his weapon out. What in the hell is going on?
“Wha?” I started to ask before I was interrupted by the sound of a machine-gun firing on full auto.
Agent Rollins pushed me away from him and towards the other end of the hallway. “Run! Down the stairs!” He yelled as he dropped into a crouch, using my partially open doorway as cover.
He didn’t have to tell me twice. I ran, but about halfway towards the doorway to the stairs, I wished that I had a chance to put my sneakers on because running down a hall in socks was a little treacherous. I also realized that I had forgotten my purse. Kim would not be happy with me.
I slowed down just long enough to consider going back for them when I heard Agent Rollins fire a shot as someone screamed, “She’s running to the west stairwell!”
That made me completely forget my purse and care about slipping on the floor. I heard the sound of someone running down the hall towards me and I looked behind to see Agent Rollins trying to catch up.
With the sound of someone firing that damn machine-gun down the hallway, I used my sock covered feet slide the last 10 feet into the door’s push bar and enter the stairwell in one smooth motion.
Agent Rollins’ weapon fired two more quick shots out in the hallway. I dropped onto my stomach and poked my head out the door. I ignored the pain of my damn breasts getting smashed under my body. How in the hell do women do this? I mean, lie on their stomachs without smashing their breasts. Agent Rollins was pinned down next to a closed doorway while two men wearing paramedic uniforms and holding what looked like Uzi’s jumped out of a doorway and fired at Agent Rollins.
Agent Rollins got off one shot before he crumpled to the floor as the rounds from the bad guys slammed into his body.
“Fuuuuck me!” I said suddenly realizing that I needed to get my ass down the stairs before those guys got me. I heard the door close on its own, then slam back open after I had only managed to get three floors down.
“The bitch went down here!” A man’s yelled as I concentrated on getting my ass down the stairs as fast as possible without killing myself for them.
“Shit! God damn it!” A different man’s voice said with anger.
Just how many rounds of ammo do those bastards have? I think that Rollins or someone managed to get another shot off at them. I used the precious seconds they wasted on shooting Rollins, again, to get down to the second floor.
“You hear that bitch? Your boy just got splattered!” The same man yelled down the stairs.
I kept as close to the wall as possible. I did not want the dude to be able to just aim his weapon down the open part in the middle of the stairs and hit me. That didn’t stop the asshole from wasting another second to fire a burst down the middle anyway.
I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. I screamed with panic as I heard the sound of him firing down the the stairs and the bullets ricocheting off the railings. His delay allowed me to make it to the fire escape door on the ground level. I hit the open bar on the door and pushed it open.
“There she is!” I heard someone yell. I looked toward the sound of the voice and 30 feet away, I saw four men dressed in black combat outfits and carrying the same Uzi things running toward me.
The bastards up stairs were just herding me. I pulled the door closed as I jumped back into the stair well. I heard the sound one person’s booted feet running down the stairs.
The only way for me to go was down. I got halfway down the stairs just as I heard someone bang on the door from outside.
Shit! Shit! Shit!
I pulled open the basement door and raced down the darkened hallway. I knew exactly where I was since I had spent so much time down here today. I only hoped that the dark hallways would help me somehow and maybe they would give up because who in their right mind would attack a VA Hospital?
I heard the stairwell door open just as I turned the corner that lead towards Brenda’s desk. It looked like they weren’t going to give up so easily.
They had someone, a lot of armed someones, at the back door. What if they had more armed someones at the elevators? The maintenance door! I just prayed that the thing wasn’t locked.
I turned the handle and the door rattled against the bars holding it closed from this side.
Crrraaap! I don’t have time for this!
I slammed the bar open and pulled on the door again. It opened with the squealing of rusted hinges. Without time to think about it, I jumped in and closed the door behind me with another protest from the hinges. I searched for some way to lock it from the inside, but except for the door handle, there was nothing. I guess that is why they had a bar on the other side.
Grrrr. It is not going to take them long to spot this door and the bar hanging down. I abandoned the idea of locking the door and raced down the stairs instead. I needed to find someplace to hide. It wasn’t until I hit the bottom of the stairs and plotted my path that I noticed that a) there were no lights on in the room, b) I could see perfectly and c) everything was in gray scale instead of color. Finally, I found one good thing about being a Dark Elf!
The area down there was huge and full of strange equipment with pumps and dirty pipes that twisted in every direction with narrow paths leading every which way. I figured that maybe I could buy some time for the cavalry to arrive by hiding amongst the pipes and crap.
I just picked a random direction and ran as deep into the pipe jungle as possible. I discovered two benefits of being a trim 135 lb girl. One, I was in shape. Before my change, all this running would have killed me before the bullets and also, I could squeeze past the tightest of spaces with ease. Although, I did manage to pinch my breasts a few times while squeezing through an especially tight spot. I also figured that the tight spaces would slow the bastards down a little. I found a wall just as I heard the door open from above.
“Down here!” A new someone yelled.
Shit! Now what?
I didn’t know what to do now. I started to feel myself start to tear up at the thought of poor Agent Rollins and Agent Thompson getting shot by those bastards. I just wished that I could have cast a spell; any spell would have been nice. Especially, Vylencia’s bubble spell. If I had been able to cast that, I could have protected Agent Rollins while I whipped out some good old fashioned face melting with her Vampiric and Dark spells. Those bastards wouldn’t have stood a chance.
I “felt” something draw me to my right and I found another steel doorway. This door looked even older than the one upstairs. It also had a thick steel bar holding it closed. I was able to read “No Admittance - Authorized Personal Only” painted in a faded white block letter.
“Where the fuck are the lights?” A different someone asked.
Bam! The lights snapped on in the room, well mostly. I think that someone upstairs was looking out for me because the light on my side of the room was broken. I wasted no time. I lifted the bar off the door as quickly and carefully as I could. I tried to not make any noise, but that was clearly the extent of my upstairs help because it clanked when I set it on the floor.
“I heard something! Over there!” Someone shouted.
Where in the hell are the cops? Hell, a SWAT team would be real nice right about now.
“This bitch better be worth it! Why in the hell does the boss want her anyway?” A man said with frustration and a touch of whine in his voice.
“Shut it, Reese! You’re getting paid too much to worry about that.” A different man said. He sounded like the leader of this little group.
“Come heeere little elf bitch. I promise not to hurt ya if ya come out nicely now.” The leader said with a totally fake and cheerful voice.
I prayed that the door would open and it did, but not without some effort...
...and noise. I pulled as hard as I could, but I was only able to open it a few inches before it stopped moving. I desperately forced my body through the narrow opening. Pinching my breasts painfully in the process, but I got through and that is what mattered most.
“God damn it! Get her!” The leader yelled.
One of the dudes fired his Uzi and I heard the rounds ricochet off the door with a ringing sound. I knew that I hated opening the heavy ass door, but thank god the door was solid steel and at least a half an inch thick.
“Alive damn it! We need her alive you idiot!” The leader yelled.
I think that I was starting to piss them off. I didn’t bother wasting time trying to pull the door closed. I found myself in a very old and very dirty tiled hallway with over half of the tiles missing or broken into smaller pieces. The ceiling used to be a drop ceiling, but all the ceiling tiles had long fallen and added to the dirt and debris on the floor. Amazingly, there was sort of a path down the middle. It looked like someone halfway cleared a path by just pushing stuff to the side.
I ran down the hall as carefully as I could in my sock covered feet. I didn’t want to step on something sharp. Slicing my foot open would slow me down more than just being a little more cautious with my steps. After 20 feet, I passed an open doorway. I didn’t bother looking in, but I thought I saw an old chalkboard with some writing on it still hanging from one of the walls. What was left of the decor screamed World War II to me.
20 feet after the doorway, I found a flight of stairs leading further down and into the complex. I carefully and quickly threaded my way down the stairs. I am glad that I was careful, because one of the steps had the remains of a broken beer bottle on it. Someone had been down here and from the look of the bottle, much more recently than World War II. That meant that there was a way out since I doubted that whoever was drinking beer down here came in via the same door I did.
At the bottom of the steps, there was a T intersection and both directions looked equally promising. I was about to go right when I heard the door hinges from squeal in agony a someone forced it to open further.
“Son of a fucking A! This bitch had better be fucking worth it Simmons!” The man who sounded like Reese said as his voice echoed down the hallway.
Something told me to go left instead right, so I did. This hallway wasn’t as full of debris as the first hallway. There wasn’t a drop ceiling in this part to fall down and make a mess, but there were still a few random beer cans mixed in with other debris. I passed a few more open and broken doorways and an old water fountain before the hallway ended at another T intersection after about 40 feet. Trusting my instincts, I went right this time.
The hallway turned left after 10 feet and it went for another 30 feet before ending at another steel door. Unlike my previous steel doors, this one was already open. I could hear the bastards making noise behind me, but I think that they were taking their time to make sure that I wasn’t hiding in any of the rooms along the way. I kept hearing them say things like, “Clear!”, “Move it!”, “Shit!” and more F-bombs than I care to repeat. A sign was painted on the wall next to the doorway; I was able to make out a faded arrow pointing toward the door with equally faded letters that read. “Battery Chester”
I wasted no time running through the doorway. Inside, I found a small landing that led to a short flight of stairs leading down. I quickly and carefully made my way down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, I found a large concrete room with a slightly rusted steel rail bolted to the ceiling. The floor here was surprisingly free of debris. I saw two large exits in this room and lots of random spray painted graffiti slogans that said things like, Tunnel Rats, Kilroy was here, John <hearts> Gloria, Beer, etc..
Trusting my instincts, I headed for the larger opening that the rail ran towards. That took me to a wide concrete hallway that went to a large set of closed steel doors. Maybe the doors would lead to a way out of this place and to safety. As I headed toward the doors, a narrow set of concrete stairs that lead further down caught my attention. I cast a nervous glance behind me and realized that I could no longer clearly hear the bastards hunting me, but I could still hear an occasional bang or clang as doors where kicked open.
I decided to take a chance and take the stairs down. My instincts had somehow been right so far. The floor here was also clear of debris, so I ran as fast as I could down the hall. I passed four or five broken industrial light fixtures during my dash down the narrow hallway until came across an even narrower concrete hallway on my right. I looked back again and spotted a man’s booted feet walk past the stairs I had just ran down. It didn’t look like he spotted me and I wasted no time taking the narrow hallway. It just felt like the right path to take.
I must have jogged through the tunnels in what felt like a random path for five to ten minutes. It was kind of hard to tell exactly how long I ran, but I never ran into a dead end. I figured that I must have been doing something right. I was even starting to feel hopeful about escaping and finding a way out of this place. With all the graffiti in here, there had to be a way out. That hopeful feeling went away when I heard the sounds of people speaking in hushed tones from somewhere ahead of me. The sounds were coming from the hallway that I was just about to turn onto.
My heart jumped out of my chest as I quickly stopped before I blundered around the corner and right into the line of fire of the bastard’s hunting me. I didn’t hear any shouts from ahead of me, so I decided that there was one advantage to not having any shoes on; I made less noise as I moved. With my back to the wall, I listened for sounds of pursuit from behind me. I heard a clang, but it sounded fairly muted and I might not have even heard it if I wasn’t really paying attention. I guessed that I had a good lead on the group that followed me in from the hospital. Maybe I could circle back and somehow dodge them long enough for the cops, whom I was sure would be swarming these tunnels soon, to rescue me.
Fuck! Just who in the hell are these bastards and how in the hell did they get ahead of me?
Since I could see perfectly well in the pitch black, I decided to risk a peek around the corner to see if I could spot the people ahead of me without them spotting me. Kneeling down, I took a quick peek around the corner. About 100 feet ahead, two men and one woman were exploring a large room with head-lamps and a small handheld video camera.
“This place is amazing Tom! How did you find this?” The woman asked.
“Well, I saw it on some TV show and figured out where it might be, then after a month of me and Roger hunting, we finally found the hidden entrance.” Tom said with a touch of pride.
“Yeah dude, it was pretty fucking awesome!” Roger said excitedly.
I heaved a sigh of relief. These guys were just normal people down here having some fun exploring the place and showing off to their girlfriend.
I needed to somehow get past them without being spotted and find the exit. I doubted that they would spot me if I stayed out of their lights, but I’d have to stop and hide until they went past me. That made me wonder what would happen to them if they ran into the bad guys with the Uzi’s. I figured that the bad guys would probably just kill them. At least, that is what the bad guys on TV would have done to the poor helpless explorers in the same situation.
I couldn’t just leave them down here to get shot, plus maybe they could help me find the exit faster. I didn’t have a lot of time to waste figuring things out or explaining it to them. I had to somehow how convince them to not freak out when they saw me and leave now.
Maybe the direct approach would work? I casually stepped out and walked down the short hallway that led to them. “Hey? Umm, do you guys know how to get out of this place?” I asked from the darkness.
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