Newt was carried into area 50 on a stretcher. She was still bleeding. It shouldn't much of a surprise that she was unconscious.
At least she was alive.
I wanted to watch her battle, but it was interrupted by another battle. A more "important" battle. And of course, I had dinner duty that night, so I couldn't go to the arena. As she was deposited unceremoniously on the floor, the spoon in my hand fell to the floor with a clatter.
The guards turned to leave, but I ran after them and shouted,
"Hey! Doesn't she get any healing injections? Look at her! She's hurt!"
"She has been examined, and has shown no life threatening injuries."
"No life threatening injuries?! I'll give you life threatening injuries!" And I shot a bolt of lightning at one of the guards. It was shot out of the sliding door, and the second one soon followed his companion as I used my telekinesis to shove him backwards and lock the doors behind them.
I ran to Newt and started to pick her up but hesitated. Was that weird? I mean... she was unconscious and stuff and I was just helping but... no. I stood back up and used my telekinesis to lift Newt and bring her to room.
I watched her as she lay on her bed. She looked so... small. I mean, I was about a foot taller than her, but it was more than that. A vulnerability that I felt obligated to defend.
Not that you could really defend her against much. You can barely lift 100 lbs.
I scowled. A week ago, that may have been true, but now... the serums had boosted me slightly. And I had power. Power that wasn't controlled by how much you could bench...
But by how much you cared.
Newt stirred and I leaned back in my chair, suddenly aware of how close I was. She opened her eyes and sort of looked at me. I couldn't hold her gaze long, such was my interaction with girls. So I coughed, stood, and started to leave. I stopped at the doorway and looked back over my shoulder,
"Right... um. No problem." I flashed her a smile that I'm sure looked incredibly stupid, and I excused myself to the kitchen.
Where dinner had been burning for the last 30 minutes.
"Ah crap" I said and started taking things off the stove and throwing them away. I went to the food replicator and punched in what I was supposed to have made. As the food appeared I set the food on the table. No on would know the difference.
For once, it seemed like everyone in our area was present for a meal. We all sat around the large table eating and saying little. After non-stop fights for the past few days, no one was really too thrilled.
Except for Tiamone.
"Well I checked our standing today. You guys aren't going to believe it! We are number 23! You know what that means?"
No one answered.
"Since we are in the top 50%" Tiamone said with a flourish, "We are eligible for duo battles!"
"Only duo battles?" asked Shard, "I can't really think of anyone in here that I'd prefer to fight with over going solo."
Apex was unsuccessfully trying to ignore Shard's comments. The two of them were always at odds. Tensions were getting high... if nothing happened to calm them, something bad was going to happen.
"No. You will still have an occasional solo battle, but they won't be as frequent. Our next week is a busy one. Apex, you have a duo battle on monday. Vis-"
"Who is my partner?" interrupted Apex.
Tiamone enjoyed other's misery, but even he hesitated before announcing,
The two of them swore explosively and began shouting at the same time,
"IF YOU THINK FOR ONE SECO-"
"PLEASE! I COULD TAKE ON HIM AND THE OTHER TWO-"
"THAT'S A LOAD OF SH-"
"OH REALLY? YOU WANNA SETTLE IT RIGHT HERE?"
"IT WOULD BE MY PLEASU-"
A high pitched scream tore through my head and for a moment, I thought my brain would explode. Apex and Shard had frozen, along with everyone else at the table.
"Jeez! We don't need to fight other areas if you two are going to act like children!" communicated Newt, signing furiously. "Pull it together or something!"
Shard straightened up and walked away from the table. A moment later, the doors to the training opened and closed. Apex sank slowly back into his chair.
"I'm sorry" he said. "But I wouldn't mind if he had a very unfortunate accident."
I was reminded of my parents for a brief instant, but then Tiamone cleared his throat.
"Well, now that Shard is gone and the testosterone level has dropped by about 33%... no offense Visp," he said with a snicker "I'll continue with the sched-"
"You say something like that again, and you'll gain a new a power" Apex uttered quietly.
"What power might that be?" Tiamone said with a roll of his eyes.
"The power to stain multiple walls at once."
The color in Tiamone's face faded along with the snide look on his face.
"And by the way, the food is delicious Visp. Did you make that yourself?"
I looked at my feet, which had suddenly become very interesting and waited for Tiamone to continue.
"Uhh... R-right. Schedule. Apex and Shard have a battle tomorrow, Visp and I have a duo battle the following day. That's about it."
And with that, Tiamone slunk to his room. The rest of us cleared up the dishes and found separate ways to amuse ourselves. Apex crashed on the couch and sat there for a moment. Newt started to join him, but he flicked the T.V. on to watch a fight, and she hesitated before scampering off to her room.
I wanted to to think about a few things, so I too decided to lock myself in my dorm and enjoy some quiet.
I had my check up this morning. The doctors said things were all fine, and that my synchronization was proceeding on schedule. But that wasn't what brought me back to that point in time. What caught my attention was that girl.
Apex sighed and stood, letting the nurse know who he was. He disappeared into the exam room leaving me and... Lorrie? Yeah. Lorrie.
"How long have you known him?" I asked.
“We’re from the slum, that’s where I met him. The bullies would always pick on little kids and he’d defend them. Of course, he was often beaten.”
“So you followed him around, why?”
“Well, he never told me to go away.”
I nodded. “Area 34 huh?”
“Yeah, maybe it was the greatest mistake ever, to let this girl from 34, Sapphire, to let her have me transferred.”
“You could do that? What area were you previously from?”
"You were supposed to be in our area?!?"
"No I was-... wait... you're from 50?"
"Yeah... me and Apex."
"And that's it? Where is the rest of your area?"
"One of members already had his check up, one flat out refused to come, and the other... I'm not too sure what she is doing."
"Oh ok... So... Visp. I saw your fight. It was a pretty close match. The fire breath thing was pretty... unexpected."
"Yeah. Well I didn't figure out my third power until that moment."
"What? Didn't you choose it?"
I looked down at my feet embarrassed. "No... I couldn't decide, so the nurse picked. And no one, not even the computer, knew what it did."
"Really? It looked like fire-breath to me."
"It's not... well... it's not just fire-breath. I haven't really quite figured out all it can do. But I think I can inhale just about anything and not get harmed by it... and then breathe it back out. The guy used a poisonous combustible gas that I was to set on fire... that's how I kille-... how I won. I think it also increase my lung capacity."
"Wow... that's... weird."
"Yeah. So let's see... you have Phasing, Psychic navigation, and Enhanced Regeneration right?"
"Ok... Apex and I caught one of your fights. That's how he found out you were here. Pretty risky move, trying to leave the arena."
"Yeah... well what was weirder was when I hit I got a sort of-"
She stopped and looked away.
"Got a sort of... what?"
Newt came around the corner just as Apex walked out of the exam room.
"Newt, thought you weren't going to turn up"
"This is Lorrie" Apex said as he took a seat next to Lorrie."Lorrie this is Newt"
Apex leaned towards Lorrie, "She's mute but she talks through telepathy"
"Do you know each other?" projected Newt, with a few jerky hand motions. The way her hands moved, it seemed like she was a little upset by something.
"We knew each other as kids" answered Lorrie.
The nurse appeared at the door, "Visp?"
All I could think about during my check up was what she had been about to say. After about 15 minutes, I was released and I rushed out to see if Lorrie was still there. She was, and so was Newt.
Newt made her way to the exam room, and I sat down with Lorrie and Apex who were talking about the past. I didn't want to interrupt, so I waited until they were both silent.
I was on the verge of speaking when,
Tiamone's shout ripped me back to the present. I blinked and shook my head a few times, while I waited for my focus to return. Then I threw open the door and slid into the common room.
"What's wrong? Why did you shout?"
Tiamone looked up from the computer,
"We're getting another transfer" he spat.
"What's so bad about that?"
"Well, she was transferred because she hurt the rank of Area 34, one of the top Areas in the compound. So Superpowers Inc. is giving her to us. And they're being kind enough, as to transfer her negative rating with her, effectively bumping us to 25th."
"Well we're still able to do duo battles right?"
"So what does it matter?"
Tiamone looked at me in disgust, shook his head, and walked away. I looked at the screen and saw the memo.
Transfer from area 34 to area 50.
Wait a minute... area 34? Why was that so familiar?
I heard the foyer doors slide open, and a familiar voice rang out
"Anybody home? I'm the new transfer... Lorrie."