Once inside, the guard left, going back to wherever they went. Elias was sticky still, so he grabbed some clothes and a towel and went to take a shower. After a through scrubbing all over, he felt clean enough to get out.
He dried off and put on his clean clothes and got out of the shower, only to jump and let out a very unmanly yelp when he found nurse Peg waiting at the table.
“So, I hear your first day went okay,” she said.
“I guess,” he replied.
“Well, that’s good. Tomorrow you’ll start with the actual testing.”
“I don’t know. It’s not part of my job. My job is to make sure you stay healthy and to look after your needs,” Peg said.
Elias sighed. “So when can I go home?”
“Maybe soon. It depends on the tests and how you act. Once you’re no longer needed, then you’ll be free to leave. Until then, I’d suggest you try to make the most of it.”
“Yeah, easy,” he mumbled.
“Well, I see you’re getting settled and seem to be adjusting, so I’ll leave you to it. Oh, remember to select your meals or you’ll get generic stuff, which you may not like,” Peg reminded him as she went to the wall to leave.
Before she did, Elias asked, “Who’s the girl next door?”
Peg paused. “Her name is Enyastasia,” Peg said with a hint of a smile on her face as she left.
Elias went over to the table and turned on the computer that was embedded into it. He found the menu and selected what he wanted for lunch and dinner, then started going through it to see what was available to him. It was a basic Unix or Linux type system, customized of course.
He spent the time before his lunch arrived looking at what was available to him and what was removed, trying to mentally note what was missing and could still be there accessible by other means.
Linux mostly worked off of rights which could be given to each user or to the system in general. These user rights could be superseded by a superuser account. All he had to do was find a way to gain superuser access and he could do almost anything he wanted to in the system.
He wasn’t going to rush things, however. It had to be done smartly. First was to search the system to see what’s what.
He spent the rest of the day just looking through the system, poking and prodding, taking breaks to play some music, watch some movies and playing some simple games.
Elias ate lunch and dinner at the table, still slowly going through things. There was no clock in his room, and they had taken his watch, so as it got later, he called up the system clock on the computer. He had no idea if it was set properly but if the timing of the meals were any indication, it had to have been close.
That or they made the meal schedule match the system clock. It was getting late, and he had probably found out as much as he was going to for the day.
He shut off the computer but left the table and stools up. Might as well, the room was pretty baron without them. He got into bed and dimmed the lights and fell asleep.
A buzzing alarm woke him and the lights in his room brightened. Elias groaned and pulled the pillow over his head. Not long after, he heard a voice.
“Rise and shine. Time to start your day.”
He raised the pillow and looked out. Peg was standing at the table where a tray of food sat.
“Too early,” he mumbled.
“Be that as it may, it’s time to eat before you head off to the labs. Although you could skip breakfast if you want. Either way, you’ll be heading out shortly, fed or not.”
Elias sat up and stretched before he got out of bed and walked over to the table and plopped down. He uncovered the food and began eating.
In between bites he asked, “So, what’s in store today? More of nothing?”
Peg shook her head. “Today you get to try out your talent,” she replied.
“And I keep telling you that I don’t have any talent you’d be interested in, unless you’re looking for a world class e-gamer.”
Peg just smiled, while Elias went on eating. “You might be surprised,” she finally said to him.
He hoped that whatever they were expecting was going to be a big let down for them. There was no secret superpower that he had, although he was pretty good at hacking and coding.
If I am stuck here for any length of time, they might find out about that the hard way, he thought.
When he finished eating, Peg reminded him someone would be there shortly to get him and took his tray as she left.
He used that time to use the bathroom, wash up, brush his hair and teeth, and had just finished up when the guard in all black showed up to get him.
Elias walked out of the room and said, “You guys need a new clothing guy. The all-black thing just isn’t working. It’s so… 90’s.” He didn’t bother to stop, but kept on walking, slowing down as he passed the divider between his wall and his neighbors.
His eyes scanned the room, looking for the girl within, but was disappointed when he didn’t see her. She had probably already been taken to wherever she was being tested like a lab rat, just like he was going to be.
The guard directed him through various corridors until Elias came to an open door. As he walked in, he saw the room wasn’t that big and mostly empty except for a desk with two scientists near the left wall, and on the right was Enyastasia, tethered to the wall with some sort of cabling.
“What the hell?” he said looking at the two sitting at the table.
The door behind Elias slid shut and an older man sitting at the table said, “Mr. Stewart, my name is Doctor Tanaka. This is my colleague, Doctor Li.”
“Good for you. Let’s just all ignore the chained-up teenager in the room why don’t we?” he said indicating Enyastasia. “This some sort of fetish dungeon? Or are you tying to get my to cooperate by threatening her?”
Elias had seen – couldn’t help but notice that is – that Enyastasia was dressed similar to when he had seen her last. She was in a sports top and some spandex shorts that came mid-thigh. It reminded him of the short’s cyclists use.
“It won’t work, however. I keep saying that I have no power like everyone keeps insisting on. So, it’s pointless to harm her… or me for that matter.”
“Mr. Stewart, I assure you no hard will Ms. Longsworth. Nothing substantial at least,” Dr Tanaka said.
“Like I’m supposed to believe that.”
“I guess a demonstration is in order then. You will see that her ability protects her, mostly. Dr. Li?”
Dr. Li stood up. He was tall and skinny Elias saw when he stood. Over six feet tall but might have weighted one forty or so.
Elias took this in quickly as his attention was more drawn to what he held in the man’s hands. He wasn’t sure what it was, but it looked like a larger version of a cricket bat.
The doctor walked over to Enyastasia and hefted the big slab of wood like a batter at home plate.
Elias realized what the man was about to do and yelled, “No!” as the man swung. A crack echoed throughout the room as the bat met the girl’s midsection.
Elias winced and said, “Oh my God,” wanting to be able to do something, anything, to stop the abuse of that poor girl. He looked up to her face and expected to see something other than what he saw.
Her expression hadn’t changed, and she barely twitched when Dr. Li hit her.
Elias stood there with his mouth hanging open, unable to object as Dr. Li reared back and swung again, hitting the girl across the thighs.
He stood there in horror, but he also saw that Enyastasia stood there, unmoving.
“See,” Doctor Tanaka said. “She’s fine.”
Doctor Li walked back to the table and set the bat down and pushed a machine on wheels over near Enyastasia.
“Mr. Stewart, if you would please join us over here.,” Dr. Tanaka said.
Elias shook off his shock and moved over to the table, careful not to get too close.
“Proceed if you will Ms. Longworth,” the doctor said, as a clear wall slid between them and the girl. Elias watched as Enyastasia tensed up and a shockwave came out of her.
He knew that normally one wouldn’t see a shockwave, but this one seemed to distort his vision as it rippled out, hitting the cart, and knocking it over before sliding it back until it hit the clear wall.
Elias looked at the Japanese doctor who was watching him, not Enyastasia. “You see Mr. Stewart, Ms. Longworth has what is called kinetic absorption, to which she is able to redirect it back out after she absorbs it. So, anything with kinetic energy that hit her, and that is pretty much anything, she absorbs it, leaving little or no damage to her.
“And the more powerful the kinetic hit, the more powerful the exit of the kinetic power.”
“So why am I here doctor?”
“To test your abilities,” replied the doctor.
“But as I keep saying, I don’t have any abilities.”
“We shall see,” said the doctor nodding. “Please follow my assistant,” he said giving a little wave and Cael, who had appeared.
The clear wall slid open, and Cael walked over to Enyastasia.
Elias instantly followed him.
“Please step over to Ms. Longworth and take her hand, then step away as far as you can so you aren’t accidently harmed,” Cael said.
Elias looked at the girl, who smiled at him and nodded. He slowly moved over next to the girl and reached out to take her hand. Her wrists were held by the cables and were held up above her waist. He put his hand in hers and she took hold of it.
Elias noticed her hand was warm and soft, while his was cold and clammy. He felt himself blush and couldn’t look at her. She didn’t seem scared or nervous at all and he was not so much scared as worried. Not only for him, but for her as well.
As if sensing his discomfort, she squeezed his hand and said, “Relax, you’ll be fine.”
Elias, who was six inches shorter than the girl, looked up at her.
Due to her current restraints, they were standing like they just crossed a finish line together – hands raised in victory.
She didn’t seem worried. He gave her a little smile and looked at Cael, who asked, “Ready?”
Elias just shrugged since all he was doing was standing there.
Cael picked up a wicked looking bat and took a stance. He pulled back and swung at her stomach.
Elias flinched but he didn’t think it would hurt Enyastasia.
She however, left out an oof and said, “Ow! Damnit, that hurt.”
In response to the pain, she tried to grab her stomach, but she barely moved, stopped by the cables.
Elias stood wide-eyed, watching her stomach muscles contract in pain and a few spots of bruising starting to show.
Enyastasia looked at Elias and gripped his hand harder. “You. You did this to me,” she said.
Scared, Elias pulled his hand free from hers and stepped back away from her, knowing what she could do.
Without waiting, Dr. Tanaka said, “Elias, stop where you are.”
Elias, not sure who to be afraid of, stopped, and the doctor said, “Again.”
Cael immediately swung the bat thing, hitting Enyastasia across the thighs. There was a meaty thud, but nothing else.
“Mr. Stewart, if you would be so kind as to approach Ms. Longworth. Get as close to her as you can without actually touching her.”
Elias looked at the girl, knowing that she had just absorbed energy and could release it, possibly hurting him.
She looked at him and let out an exasperated sigh. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
He scooted closer to her, and she said, “Look, I’m not mad. It just surprised me. I’m not used to actually being hurt. But these are tests, so I should have expected it. They even warned me. So come on, let’s just get it over with, shall we?”
Elias gave her a small nod and moved closer.
“As close as possible,” Cael said.
Elias moved back against the wall and Enyastasia moved up some so he wouldn’t get hurt, then moved together. They did as they were told, moving as close as they could without touching.
Elias was so close to her he could feel the heat from her skin. Up close he could see through the skimpy spandex to the outline of her underclothes, and he blushed again.
She seemed to be warmer than she should be. He knew he was.
Cael pulled the slab of wood back and swung, hitting Enyastasia in the thighs again.
Elias closed his eyes, waiting for her to cry out in pain again, but she didn’t.
Doctor Tanaka cleared his throat and said, “Mr. Stewart, if you would, please simply touch Ms. Longworth. One finger, directly on her skin.”
Still behind Enyastasia, he looked at the girl, trying to figure out what to do. He was looking at her back, her arms, and her neck, trying to pick a spot.
She turned her head towards him and said, “See anything you like?” with a grin.
Elias turned scarlet.
“Ah, how cute. You blushed. My back.”
“Huh?” Elias said, not understanding.
“It’s out of harms way. Touch my back.”
Elias slowly put a finger on the skin of her back. Again, he thought it felt warmer than it should have.
He was too busy looking at the exposed small of her back to notice Cael begin to swing again. The wood hit her thighs with a thud and the girl cursed.
Her legs gave out and she slumped down, being held up by the cables attached to her wrists.
Without thinking, Elias said, “Stop, she’s hurt, and stepped around her. In doing so, he blocked Cael from hitting her again, not like he was going to, and bring shorter, he didn’t have to bend down much to take her around the waist and lift her up, so she wasn’t hanging by her wrists.
“That’s enough for now,” Dr. Tanaka said. “Cael, if you will.”
Elias heard something go snick and felt more of Enyastasia’s weight on him. Her arms went around his neck and her skin was even warmer than before.
Elias heard the squeak of wheels and then Cael said, “Set her down.” He glanced down saw a wheeled stool Cael had brought over.
Carefully, he set her on the stool and squatted between her legs, which she was rubbing.
“I guess this means we’ll be working together more. Now that you’ve touched my boobs, you can call me Enya.”
Elias looked up from her legs, into her eyes and turned red again. He was about to deny it, but realizing she had been basically lying on him, she was technically right, although the context was using wasn’t.
She pulled the stretchy material up one leg until it was almost to the top of her thigh. Elias knew he should look away but didn’t. He followed the black material up her muscled leg.
Even through the olive coloring of her skin he could see bruising had already started.
“Well, I guess you can stop saying you don’t have any powers. You can apparently negate any other powers with just a touch,” she said, still looking at him.
“I-I’m sorry,” he told her.
She shook her head. “Don’t be. Like I said, I knew what could happen. It’s not like we have much choice here, do we?” She smiled at him.
“It’s time to go,” Cael said from behind them.
“I need to expend first,” Enya told him. “And I might need some help back,” she said, wincing as she touched her bruised thighs.
“I’ll call for help,” he said, but she interrupted him.
“No need. Elias is right here, and his room is right next to mine. He can help me. Can’t you.” It didn’t come out a question.
Elias nodded dumbly, but Cael said, “I don’t think the director would –”
“Would what?” she interrupted again. “Allow the boy who negates powers to help me walk? A guard can watch over two kids, who effectively, have no usable powers, go to nearly the same place? Not to mention one who can’t walk to well? Or do you think the glorious director would rather you call a guard who, I dunno, might grope me in this getup? Is it really even a choice?”
Cael sighed. “Fine. Anything happens, it’s on you.” He walked away and Elias looked at Enya.
“You don’t mind, do you?” she asked, innocently.
“N-no. I’m the reason, so yeah, I’ll help.”
“Okay. First though, you should probably back up, behind the protective wall so I can release the energy I absorbed. I’m getting a little warm.”
Elias stood up and backed up until he was past the wall was. He watched as it slid shut, blocking his new friend from him.
Elias watched as she straightened up a little, and the murky shockwave left her body, rippling out. Once it had filled the room, the clear wall slid open, and he approached Enya.
“Better?” he asked.
“Eh, at least on that front. I’ll still be grateful for the help back,” she said, raising an arm.
He noticed she had pulled her shorts back down when he got under her arm to help her up. The heat from her skin was also gone, and she was back to a normal temperature.
Elias helped her up, and she draped her arm across his shoulders as she limped to the door with him.
“No funny business. Remember what I said,” Cael told them.
“So… no stopping to make out?” she asked innocently.
Cael ignored that and simply pointed at the door.
Elias felt himself go red again at her statement and hesitated before putting his arm around her waist. He wasn’t sure what her reaction was going to be.
It helped give Enya more stability since more of her body was resting against his as they moved, but even though he meant it to help, it was a little intimate he knew. Her shorts didn’t have a high waist, so his arm and hand were directly on her skin, which was now a little clammy.
“You okay? You feel a little cool.”
“I’m okay. It’s part of my ability. When I absorb the energy, I’m like a battery. I get warm. If I keep absorbing energy, I’ll overheat if I don’t get rid of the stored energy. Once I do, my body cools down. I dunno, maybe it gets rid of too much, so I feel cold. That’s okay, not only can you help me back, but you can warm me up too,” she said teasing him.
He wanted to look at her, but at the moment, even his ears were hot, so he knew his face was red.
Trying to play it off, he asked, “So how long have you been here?”
“You kind of lose time here,” she said. “But it’s been a while.”
He wasn’t sure what else to say as they walked, the guard walking behind them, so most of the way back was quiet.
They got to her door, and he was going to help her inside, but the guard stopped him. “Un-uh. Not allowed.”
Elias sighed and started to apologize again but Enya stopped him. “Don’t. It wasn’t your fault, but thank you for helping me back,” she said.
As she stood upright under her own weight, she quickly turned her head and kissed his cheek. “Stop worrying, I’ll be okay in a few days. I’m a fast healer.”
He watched for a few seconds as she hobbled into her room before the door closed and the guard prompted him to start moving. Moving to his own room, he sat on his bed and just thought of all the things that had happened to him recently.