“What the hell?!” Megan’s eyes went wide. She looked from Dennis to the doctors who looked unmoved by what was happening in front of them; and then she looked back at the teenager still on fire on the other side of the see-through glass.
This can’t be real, the thought raced through her head, or can it? It was like her mind couldn’t settle on any conclusion and the effort it was taking to try caused her pain.
“Miss Months, please calm down,” Dennis said when it looked she might soon suffer a panic attack. Surprisingly, he had a little smile on his face, almost like he had expected the reaction from Megan from the start.
“But how can you expect me to calm down?” she returned. “Someone just lit on fire right in front of my eyes.”
“Technically speaking, what you’re looking at isn’t fire,” Dr. Barnes cut in, “just a manipulation of energy.”
“What?” She shot him a confused look.
The doctor sighed, taking a while to organize himself before he launched into the explanation properly. “As you probably know, Miss Months, everything around us has an energy,” he began. “Electrical, magnetic, kinetic, potential, visible or invisible; energies are all there.
“Now, what Jay can do is tap actively into these energies and wield them as he wishes; and when collected in enormous amount, they take on a visible spectrum around him; a “fire,” as you called it.”
So, the kid wasn’t on fire, Megan realised, just freakishly more conductive than most people.
In truth, that didn’t make her any less freaked out by the phenomenon, but it did put some things in perspective in her mind and brought on a very new question to its forefront. What in the world is a covert threat assessment and response division like Olympus- if I can even keep believing that after what I saw- doing dealing with superpowers?
“Miss Months,” Dennis cut into her thoughts and she snapped back to the present, “if you’ll allow us-” he gestured at the door “-we still have somewhere else to be.”
“Of course, Director.” She followed him as he led her out of the room, and the lab in general, back into the corridor.
But instead of heading back towards the elevator like Megan had thought they would, Dennis led her deeper down the corridor until they reached a point where the ground sloped steeply downwards into a dead end.
“Open,” he commanded, and the slope rose up with an electric whirr, transforming into a staircase that led out into the open when it leveled up. “I hope you’re ready this time around for what’s to come, Miss Months,” he said to her before they walked out.
As it turned out, Dennis hadn’t been exaggerating when he had called the division Olympus. It was, in fact, an Olympus.
From what Megan could deduce from the chilly, seemly thin air that greeted them immediately they stepped out into the open, the building was actually constructed within a mountain to open at its top through the passageway they had taken. Everywhere she looked, bright blue afternoon sky stretched as far as she could see; a great silence reigning over the environment to punctuated every few seconds by the sound of waves crashing against rocks below.
An island, she realised. Olympus is located within a mountainous island.
Olympus’s location wasn’t the only thing Megan found to marvel at as the open space where they had emerged was the size of a football field. In fact, it was built to resemble a football field.
Now, there weren’t any green turf or white marked lines to be seen; or even the spectator seats, for that matter. But anyone with half an architectural sense would see that the bowl shape of the space which seem to fold at the top, plus the spherical openness at that top was a definitive homage to the famous sport structure; and there were actually track lines drawn in the sand.
“What do you do here, Director?” Megan asked. “Really.”
“You have to wait and see, Miss Months,” he replied just the same way he had the last time she asked.
Just then, a large shadow suddenly swished over their heads and Megan squinted her eyes to catch it, but she wasn’t quick enough and it passed before she could see. But she didn’t have to wait for very long for it though before it passed again; and this time, she caught a proper view.
The first thing Megan saw was a pair of wings. They were long; so long, in fact, that they could easily be the length of a semi-truck. They were also slender, streamlined enough for presumably a smooth glide through the intense winds at the mountain top. Coming closer to the grounds, she saw that the wings sparkled in the sun like pieces of silver; several rainbow colours dancing off their edges whenever they caught the light properly.
Attached to these wings was a very young boy; about the same age as Jay or slightly older. His hair was a dirty shade of blonde; blackish brown at the tips. He was close enough for Megan to see that his eyes were brown; but unlike Jay’s, his spoke of gentleness that allowed her to extrapolate that he was used to being more relaxed than the latter.
“D., you came,” he said in a thick East Slavic, almost Russian accent as he landed on the ground in a raise of dust that had the duo shielding their faces for a few seconds; and his wings furled up to disappear behind him like they were never there.
Natural wings can’t do that, Megan thought when she saw the disappearance, but she kept it to herself.
“Well, I told you I’ll be dropping in as frequently as I could, Adolf, didn’t I?” Dennis returned, going for a strong handshake that the teenager was more than eager to return. “Plus, I wanted to introduce you to my friend Megan.” He gave way so that he could see her.
“She’s pretty,” he remarked at the sight of her, smiling boyishly when he gave her a wink.
“I’m so glad to meet you, Adolf.” She returned the smile and wink, which, to her surprise, elicited a blush from him and she smiled even more.
Underneath everything, he’s still a boy, she deduced. He was a very young boy who wasn’t quite comfortable with his sexuality yet, or at least the sexuality of others in contact with him.
Anyway, Adolf shook off his embarrassment and said, “You guys are actually in time to see me train.” His wings stretched back out behind him without him seeming to have moved a muscle at all and Megan marvelled again at their nature.
“We are?” Dennis had a pleasant smile on his face. “Well, that’s great.” He turned to Megan with a whisper, “You’re going to love watching this, Miss Months. I assure you.”
Adolf urged them a couple of steps backwards and as soon as they complied, an electric whirr resounded through the field with Olympus’s AI voice coming up over some seemly invisible speakers in the area. “Ready to commence training sequence,” it said. “Please confirm your identity whenever you’re ready.”
“Adolf,” he returned and flapped his wings so hard on the takeoff that they raised dusts as high as four feet into the air.
“Identity confirmed,” the AI responded, and immediately, different sections of the ground opened up to admit drones into the space. Their entrance was followed closely behind by the activation of four automatic ballista guns holding what looked like mini-missiles at the top of metal pillars in the far corners of the space.
“Jesus!” Megan gasped when she realised what was about to happen in front of her. “This is going to kill him.”
But Adolf didn’t look at all afraid as he brought himself to an eye-level of the drones and guns. It was almost like he was going for a leisure swim and not a face-off against what might as well be the world’s deadliest computer-controlled assault.
The AI piped up again. “Please be advised that the training sequence will commence in five… four… three… two… one.”
And everything descended into chaos in the space.