Written by happiest_in_shadows :: [Sunday, 16 June 2013 17:40] Last updated by :: [Wednesday, 17 July 2013 14:42]
“You know you're not suppose to be in here.” As she spoke Sarah set with her back turned to Jason. She didn't dare look at him for fear of what might come. The sound of metal banging against metal and some grunts of effort hit her ears several times. She didn't need to ask what he was doing. She could see his reflection in the steel mirror hanging on the wall. When no response came from him she puffed out her cheeks and took in a deep breath. She needed to do her best to stay relaxed to keep something regrettable from happening. “Are you even listening to me?”
“Sarah why do you have so many bent handles? We can fix them back in the machine shop.” As he spoke Jason looked towards Sarah. Currently she was setting on a steel bench her binding suit holding tightly to her form. It had to. While for the most part the suit was smooth following the contours of her body there were a few ridges in the material. This was tubing filled with high resistance gel. It's purpose was to absorb the force the wearer tried to exert on the outside world. He was certain that Sarah currently had her suit turned up to the max. It didn't even appear to bother her as she continued to look at him through the mirror.
“I have so many bent handles because some people won't provide me with a better suppressant gas.” As she spoke Sarah surprised herself whenever she felt her lips forming a smile and a slight chuckle came from her. This wasn't the first time Jason had come into her containment cell. It also wasn't the first time he ignored her whenever she tried to get him to leave. He didn't always ignore her but it most assuredly wasn't the first time. That didn't mean she could relax as she looked into the mirror. “Jason you know this is a bad time. The gas isn't helping me as much as it used to. You're holding the proof. What are you doing?”
Before continuing Jason turned to face Sarah completely. While she didn't need them Sarah still had some oven mittens in her chamber. He'd put one on. “Sarah those handles are like knives in some places! I swear I still think we should give you a brittle handle that will fail instead of becoming a cutting edge whenever you squeeze it to tight. Then you'd have to let us replace the handle.” As he spoke Jason looked into the mirror. He could see Sarah pastel pink lips formed into a smile. Her auburn hair was done up in a messy pony tail mostly to keep it out of her way rather then for appearance while her almond shaped hazel eyes were looking at the mirror.
It wasn't in Jason's nature to invade a woman's home. Especially whenever that woman could kill him with less then a flick while wearing a binding suit and dosed by suppressant gas. He could tell by Sarah's smile, her tone, body language and a detailed psychiatric evaluation that she needed these little visits. He couldn't help but watch as she fought with her own face to remove the smile. Her right hand came up to cover her mouth and moved over it several times as if trying to wipe the smile away. It was a shame to see her trying to wipe off such a beautiful work of art but he turned back to his task at hand.
It took far longer then Sarah would have liked to remove her smile. Upon completion she couldn't help but give a sigh as she placed her hand back on her lap. “Don't you dare. Those handles work just fine for me and after all the trouble I go through to get anything in one of those pans I may just have to come out of this room if some brittle handle causes me to drop it in the floor. Jason if you're not going to get out would you at least tell me what you're doing in here?”
“I was just thinking about the issue you're having with your power and how I might help.”
“By getting me a stronger suppressant gas.” As she spoke Sarah looked towards the tiny bottle and mask. They looked like an emergency mask but it wasn't air in the canister. Rather a very powerful sedative was contained within.
This was an old conversation. At one time Jason's response would have been to leave the room and go to the lab to prepare a sedative for her. Then she had reached a point where he had to ask for help preparing the sedative as the basic ones he could make would no longer do the job. Now what they were using was far less of a sedative and far more of a poison to most. He had to check before entering the containment room to insure there wasn't any in the air or all his organs could have ended up being shut down. “Sarah if we go any further we're just going to be using a poison gas on you. We need special permission just to deploy that stuff and to use it on a human being.”
“Fine!” A sigh escaped Sarah. She had heard this answer before and didn't want to hear it again. As she responded though she put a bit more power in her voice then she meant to. A fact that was clear whenever she noted the metallic mirror vibrating and watched Jason stumble from the reflected pressure waves. Immediately her body locked up as her training kicked in. While many people trained their body to respond offensively Sarah had trained herself to take on a relaxed form whenever surprised. “Are you okay Jason?”
“Wow! That felt like I was standing right next to a cannon and I don't mean one of the little ones. I'm talking I'm on the main deck of a battleship whenever the big guns go off. Kind of glad I have these. I'm also very glad you were talking into the wall from the way you shook it up.” As he spoke Jason tapped his ears indicating the sound suppressors.
A sigh escaped Sarah thought she couldn't help but look at Jason's reflection a little funny. “What are you talking about? A battleships main guns don't generate any radiant pressure waves.”
“I'm talking about the classic ones that floated on water.” Even if his words were calm Jason knew that he would be laying on the ground likely badly bruised if Sarah had been facing him whenever she spoke. The inner walls of her containment cell had been designed to soak energy. As powerful as the pressure wave he had felt was it didn't compare to the pressure wave that had slammed into the wall and continued to vibrate the metallic mirror upon it.
“Oh yeah. You went to the museum of Kenzan. But come on Jason you have to realize how dangerous it is in here with me. If I hadn't been facing the wall then there would be an emergency crew in here taking you out. I don't want to hurt you Jason. Well actually I do want to hurt you but not that badly.”
“I know. You put in a requisition order for a stun probe. If I remember you even included a little note that you needed it to chase unwanted guest out of your containment cell and the last time I checked I'm the only unwanted guest you get regularly.” As he spoke Jason was actually having trouble hiding the laughter in his voice. The fact that Sarah had actually put in such a request was what truly made it hilarious. He had no doubt she would use it on him if the request had actually been accepted.
“I was amazed when Cathy put that part down.” Once again Sarah found herself chuckling. She knew that laughing and smiling wasn't going to convince Jason to leave. If it wasn't for the emergency response team she doubted yelling at him would make him leave either though that would have consequences she didn't want to deal with. “Hey now wait a minute. How do you know about that? You're not authorized for that level of security.”
It was impossible for Jason not to grin. He was after all only a laboratory technician. He was one of a much larger team dedicated just to studying Sarah both for what they could obtain from her and in hopes of getting her power under control. “Michel told me about it. He said the physiology team was seriously considering it. They feared your inability to retaliate to teasing without seriously injuring or killing someone might be causing stress to build up. Letting you have a little attack probe seemed like it could serve as an important release.”
Was she showing that kind of strain? The thought wasn't comfortable to Sarah especially when she looked towards the window leading into the lab. She could close it but she left it open most of the time. “Well that just makes me feel strange. I'm not sure if I'm more scared that I might be nearing such a breaking point or that's how they actually see me.” As she was speaking Sarah began rubbing her hands together looking at the gloves that covered them. Her cooking items weren't normal. They were high grade krysteel and yet she regularly needed to replace them despite her suit and the gas. What kind of damage could she do if she lost her head? “At times I think they should have.”
“No!” As he spoke Jason made sure to put as much authority into his voice as he could. He knew where this talk was going. Sarah had on more then one occasion expressed the thought that perhaps they should have killed her before her power reached this danger zone or perhaps they should kill her before she became more dangerous. Normally he would have listened to her but he didn't want her going that path. “That option was never even considered.” As he finished Jason once again looked at Sarah he was actually surprised by the expression on her face. “You look cute when you're looking all rebuked.”
Sarah's first response to Jason's comment was a sharp snort. “I'm going to apply for that drone again and see if they think I'm close enough to the breaking point to get it this time. So do you know why they didn't give me my drone?”
“Well procedure requires that they consider anything you ask for. Some things are considered more carefully then others. No one who knows you believe that you're nearing such a breaking point Sarah. We all know that if you really want it you'd just have Cathy carry out your revenge. I think Michel would help you if you asked him.” By now Jason had managed to get his cooking instruments out and began to lay out the ingredients.
“So it was the management. I feel better about that. For a moment I was wondering if I should be offended or worried. Okay Jason. You mentioned something to help me control my power but all you've been doing is working in the kitchen what are you doing?” As she spoke Sarah finally turned to face Jason. It was dangerous but she was officially in host mode at the moment. She was thinking before speaking and keeping close track of her movements. It struck her as a shame that she wasn't more practiced at the thinking before speaking then she was.
“I was just thinking earlier that your power keeps increasing. I was also thinking of what we've done to help you refine your control. You're doing well by the way. As well as what's been used to restrain your power. The suit, the gas the room and yourself. Then I began to wonder what we might be doing that could be hurting our efforts to help you gain control and then it hit me. You're eating too healthy.” By now Jason had began to lay out the bacon, hamburger, cheese and assorted vegetables. None of the vegetables would be mistaken for healthy by the time he was done with them. He couldn't resist giving Sarah another look to see the expression on her face. Seeing her beautiful eyes looking back at him was so much better then looking at the mirror.
It took Sarah a moment to respond. It wasn't that she was thinking but rather all thought had left her mind. Her mouth had fallen slightly agape giving the slightest view of her teeth and the expression on her face was simply stunned. As that shock fade she felt her face twisting into a massive grin she couldn't resist despite her best efforts. “You idiot.” Even as she grinned Sarah gave her head a slight shake.
“Hey now I have a bachelors degree.” By now Jason was beginning to warm up the oil.
“Yes and I have a PhD in physiology, psychology and a bachelors in business.” As she finished speaking Sarah stuck the very tip of her tongue out at Jason. It was a guilty pleasure of hers. She was a telekinetic soldier but she was more educated then many of the people examining her. At least she was suppose to be a telekinetic soldier. At some point she had transitioned into a self aware weapon of mass destruction it seemed. “So let me get this strait. You're going to cook something for me that's so staggeringly detrimental to my health it'll cause my telekinetic powers to weaken. Is that what you're trying to do?”
“Hey you have no idea the type of damage this thing can do to you. My uncle loves them and he has to go have a nano cleaning of his arteries every three months.”
”That's because his body has trouble oxidizing the cholesterol and you know it. If he would just go in for a few organ modifications that would be solved. Still what are you planing on putting on this food of yours?” As she spoke Sarah felt fairly certain that Jason was preparing a hamburger but she wasn't entirely certain.
“Well I have two pounds of grade A Gadlen hamburger meat here we start there. Then we wrap it in bacon, I'll be preparing you a nice omelet to go on top with two types of bacon in it and three types of cheese, some deep friend onion rings, fried tomatoes and peppers all with a special spiced ketchup for a little sweetness.” As he spoke Jason gave the hamburger meat a slight pat. Gadlen cows weren't just raised to be eaten they were pampered and fed so that the fat would soak deep into the meat giving it a rich flavor that couldn't be matched by any lean ground beef. Now Jason had to turn to look at Sarah again. He wasn't surprised to see the somewhat stunned look on her face.
“Are you going to be eating one of these?” Could she even eat one of these? While Sarah didn't doubt her ability to do so this hamburger seemed designed to send people to early graves. Jason had forgotten to mention what kind of bun he would be using but she didn't want to ask. She imagined that it was loaded with butter.
“Naturally. There is no way that I could make one of these and not enjoy one myself.” The look that Sarah gave him actually surprised Jason. It wasn't shocked but rather concerned. He wouldn't have thought of it as the concern one shows when someone is about to do something life threatening but perhaps when you expect someone to injure themselves.
“No wonder you think this might weaken me a bit. It's practically poison. When was the last time you had a nano cleaning yourself? It's a wonder your uncle doesn't die after just eating one of those things. Wait. Are you. Oh my god you're battering the vegetables?” A slight chuckle escaped Sarah even as she lowered her head and shook it. Typically vegetables were considered one of the healthiest things someone could eat. Now Jason seemed intent on fixing that for his stroke on a bun. “Stroke on a bun. That's what you're cooking right now not a hamburger.”
“Come on Sarah. I receive a good nano cleaning every six months just like everyone else that works here.”
Immediately Jason's words struck Sarah as wrong. “Wait a minute. You're working with my medicine which means you're handling the toxic chemicals. You should be receive a cleaning every thirty days just to be certain. Jason have you been neglecting your cleanings.” Instead of waiting for a response Sarah had already stood up and began to walk over to her desk. Before she could even reach it a holographic display popped up. She would have preferred to look at Jason's medical records herself but she didn't have that type of clearance fortunately she knew someone that did.
Jason had said the wrong thing and he knew it. Unfortunately there wasn't anything that he could do about the situation. Sarah wasn't the type to be talked down whenever she'd set her mind on what she was going to do. A standard nano cleaning only took about an hour to finish but undergoing it every thirty days was simply bothersome. Jason tended to skip them from time to time if he could get an extension unless there had been an exposure warning or a warning within the last two hours he had been to the rooms or before going to. For the moment he focused on getting his vegetables frying.
“Contact chief researcher Michel.” Sarah was actually a bit surprised whenever imagine displayed before her immediately switched to that of a private room. One that was actually half the size of her own. Yet she couldn't see any people within. It wasn't long before a voice came over the communication. Apparently he was in the room but not in site. This surprised her. While she knew the connection would be instant there was always the human delay between receiving the communication and accepting it. It was likely that Michel had set his to instantly confirm communications from her.
“Good morning Sarah. Do you need something?”
“Sir I have reason to suspect that you've been granting Jason extensions between his nano cleanings.” As she spoke Sarah kept a calm professional tone. As project leader Michel was her superior in many ways. At least he would have been if she was an active telekinetic soldier. Due to her status as medically disabled the regulations became a little unclear. She wasn't surprised to hear some laughter coming over the line.
“Wow. Strait for the throat Lieutenant Commander Kasrin. Jason you really need to start watching what you say better. Okay Sarah I'll make sure that Jason goes in for his schedule nano cleanings no more delays for personal reasons.”
Sarah knew that the probability of contamination was less then point one percent. The probability of life threatening contamination was even less and given their location the probably of death was reduced even further. Sarah still didn't like the idea of someone risking their life whenever it only cost then one hour out of each month and included other health benefits. Michel apparently disagreed and Sarah wasn't truly happy with his response. If he allowed Jason such personal extensions then what about the others? For a moment Sarah turned her attention to Jason. If she made a fuss and they were all cracked down on it's likely they would realize it was Jason's fault. “That will be sufficient Sir.”
The delay in Sarah's response told Michel all he needed to know. She wasn't happy with how the situation was being resolved but she would tolerate it to avoid some kind of loss. Now exactly what that loss could be was the interesting question. “Very well. Now more importantly what are you preparing Jason?”
Sarah, “A stroke on a bun.” There was no way that Sarah was going to allow what Jason was preparing to be called a hamburger. Given how much bacon he was stuffing inside of it she doubted hamburger was even the primary meat being used.
“A stroke on a bun? That sounds delicious!” It didn't surprise Michel whenever he heard an annoyed snort come from Sarah. The expression on her face told him she disapproved of his response. He was kind of glad she couldn't see the look on his face. He knew that he was grinning.
It was tempting to admonish Michel for such behavior. She had no doubt that the lead researcher was trying to annoy her. The fact that he was trying to annoy her knowing that Jason was inside her containment cell was a bit troubling. Either he had a great deal of confidence in her or he wasn't showing his subordinates the proper concern. “Thank you for your time Sir. I believe that has all the issues needing addressed taken care of.”
“Before we stop Sarah. How is the new gas working?” As he spoke Michel doubted that it was working. Unfortunately there was little he could do at this moment.
“I need something stronger Sir.” The fact that Michel had asked gave Sarah some hope. She knew that there were strong suppressant gases available. She was simply having trouble gaining access to them.
“I see. That is a problem. Sarah I'm sure you're aware of this but what we currently having you using exceeds the potency for medicine. It is now defined as a weapon. If we give you anything stronger we will be making use of a grade four air born weapon and using it on a human testing subject.” Instead of continuing Michel took a moment to let his words sink in for Sarah.
“In other words you would be violating the treaty of Manxe and conducting human testing. Well darn. I wasn't aware that I had reached that point.” As she spoke Sarah placed her hand on her forehead. Her glove actually felt cool against her skin and that helped her relax a little as she closed her eyes. Was there any loopholes in the treaty that would allow them to help her? “Is there any other option? As I recall the treaty only covers air born weapons that can effectively be deployed. If the agent was to break down when exposed to oxygen or had an insufficient shelf life to be used as a weapon it should be acceptable for me to use it.”
“Clever. I was going to go retrieve some MBG two twenty from storage and say we were disposing of it to get around those regulations but your idea is even better. I remember something from a while back. A very potent suppressant that simply could not be stored for long. It would break down into its base components within a few hours. It was something of a mercy really that stuff was disturbingly potent. I'll have a few test conducted and get back to you on that.”
“Thank you Sir.” As she spoke Sarah had to resist the urge to look behind herself. She could hear several things frying at the moment and smell it filling the air. The fact that she felt herself beginning to salivate was somewhat upsetting whenever she considered what Jason was preparing. How could she claim to take care of her body and then hunger for something like that? This thought was still running through her head whenever the communication was shut down and she turned back to Jason. “If I actually eat that poison you're preparing then the next time you're here you will let me prepare the food. If god is willing I'll help the nano cleaning flush some of that filth from your body.”
As Jason looked at Sarah he couldn't help but grin. He hadn't managed to really eat any of his hamburger because he was currently trying to keep from openly laughing. The fact that several chuckles had already escaped him wasn't helping the situation. Currently he couldn't even say anything as he fought back his chuckles. Big flavor for big mouths was how the burger had been described a few times. He hadn't considered how true that was until he saw Sarah hold the burger up to her face and try to open her mouth wide enough to actually take a bite out of it. It became clear fairly quickly there was no way she was going to get her mouth open wide enough.
After a few moments of fiddling with her burger it was clear to Sarah she couldn't fit in her mouth without crushing it. Fortunately there was another option as she placed the burger back on her blade and went to retrieve a knife and fork. She made it a point not to look at Jason for the moment as she listened to him snickering. “I'd be glaring at you right now if I wasn't worried I would break your bones or burn your skin off.” As she was retrieving a knife and fork Sarah had to admit to herself that Jason was right about the handles of her dining equipment. She couldn't find a knife or fork that hadn't been damaged.
Instead of responding right away Jason continued to snicker though by now he was gaining some control of himself. “I'm sorry Sarah it's just that you looked very cute when you first went to take a bite out of that burger. Unfortunately I really can't make these any thinner then I did and get the right flavor in them.” Jason felt the air ripple whenever he said the word cute. He had expected this but it always brought out a little awe whenever he felt and even saw the affects Sarah's emotions could have on the environment. His place had been pushed several centimeters as had many things in the room.
It had been too long since she had been out in the real world socializing with friends and family in person. Sarah tried not to let on but she liked being complemented and praised. It was nice for her hard work or accomplishments to be acknowledged. If being called cute was having this strong of an influence on her emotional state though it was clear she was hungrier for social interaction then she believed. She didn't need to look at her knife to know that she had compressed the handle further. This didn't stop her from cutting a chunk out of her burger and using the fork to hold it together. “The fact that you consider this thin frightens me on some levels.”
“Now you might want to take a moment to steady yourself before you take a bite of that. Actually I think I'll go stand behind one of your walls.” As he spoke Jason had stood up and began walking towards the nearest wall. Sarah had to be careful to maintain control of her telekinesis or she would end up decimating her surroundings. The furniture and utensils in her holding cell had been designed to withstand a massive amount of abuse but he hadn't. Given that the last time they measured it an unrestrained Sarah generated a bit over seven and a half billion kilojoules of energy it was important to be careful. Effectively she was a living natural disaster when taken out of the holding cell and suit without any suppressants.
Instead of biting into the burger Sarah waited until Jason had taken cover. “Someone is very confident in his cooking.” As she spoke Sarah hated how much her body was siding with Jason. She hoped that he hadn't noticed her practically drooling over the food that had been placed before her. In her mind she was confident that it was the onion rings and bacon that was causing this response from her. As a child they had been two of her favorite treats in part because her mother only allowed such foods during special events. They were a reward for accomplishments. That and for whenever her father and her could get away with eating them. This added the appeal of the forbidden to them as Sarah found herself tempted to look around just to make sure her mother wasn't there.
“Someone gave me a little push when I called her cute.” As Jason settled against the wall part of him wondered if he was about to die because he'd fixed a nice lady a hamburger. He had seen what could happen whenever Sarah's power had grown beyond her ability to control it. The fact that she had maintained a remarkable level of control when it was one billion kilojoules of energy was astounding.
Sarah was actually glad Jason had taken cover so he couldn't see her turn away from him and the burger. She hated to think it but with how flimsy her control was at the moment she actually worried that she would end up breaking something whenever she bit into the burger. Any strong sensation could result in her destroying something. She had to set in a clear room with a heavily shielded display if she wanted to watch anything truly entertaining. She doubted it but the idea of destroying something just because she liked it too much was a possibility. As she placed the bit of burger into her mouth and was hit by the flavor she wasn't surprised by how good it tasted but she was impressed. “I guess anything this bad for you has to be delicious.”
“So it's safe to come back to my seat now?” As he spoke Jason didn't look out from around the wall just yet. The fact that he could hear Sarah shuffling around for a moment was almost enough to make him look around it. Unfortunately if he surprised her or caught her in an embarrassing moment it could be the last thing he did or at least leave him regretting his decision.
The shuffling Jason had heard was Sarah quickly adjusting her seat back to the way it had been. She didn't want to admit that she was so concerned that she had felt the need to turn away from him and the burger before trying her bite. “Yes your caution was entirely unwarranted.” As Jason rounded the corner Sarah was a bit surprised to find out she was salivating even more. Her instincts were to cut into the burger faster but she had to be careful both to keep up appearances and to avoid destroying her knife, fork, burger, plate and possibly even her table. “I'm a bit doubtful that this will diminish my power any but it is delicious.” Sarah found herself grinning even wider as an old memory came back. “Jason did you ever read Vince and Valery?”
“I recognize the name but I never read the comics.” As he took a bite of his burger Jason took note of Sarah's. He was already two bites ahead of her and each one of his seemed to be nearly twice as much as she cut out of her burger. He doubted she would be able to finish it at her current rate of eating. Typically he had to eat very quickly if he was going to finish his own or he would end up being full well before he was done. It wasn't uncommon for his stomach to be upset for a while after finishing.
“This reminds me of one of stories where Vince became convinced that Valery was trying to murder him by cooking him all sorts of fatty foods. Unfortunately he was so weak willed that he couldn't resist eating them or ask her to prepare something healthy. If she had been making him food like this I'm sure she would have ended up killing him. Naturally she was just trying to show him that she loved him by making him what he wanted. In the end he learned this but only after making her so angry that she switched him to an all vegetable and lean meat diet.” A slight chuckle escaped Sarah as she considered the old memory and took another bite.
“What a horrible thing to do! Was she trying to cause him to commit suicide?” Sarah tended to snort or at least crinkle her nose whenever she was annoyed. He wasn't surprised whenever she did so in response to his comment. Jason knew from past conversations that her mother had been a strong believer in natural foods especially vegetables and fruit. “I bet your father empathizes with that fellow.”
“You, Michel, my father, Timothy, Barton I swear just about every man I know has no respect for truly good food.” Sarah knew taking another bite of the burger so soon wasn't helping her case. The fact that if she was challenged to give up the burger and have a vegetable stew or salad at this point she probably wouldn't be able to didn't help her argument. Sarah actually found herself blushing slightly as she placed the bit of burger into her mouth.
“You may need a napkin to wipe up that drool miss Audrian.” Jason couldn't help but chuckle whenever he felt another telekinetic wave ripple through the air. The feeling reminded him of the first few moments of rapid acceleration on a carnival ride and quickly grabbed his burger to avoid losing it. The fact that Sarah had shielded her own only made his grin all the more intense. He knew that such spikes in Sarah's emotions could be dangerous but he also knew she needed such releases very badly. Some small pushes were a lot better then the explosion that could result if she never had that emotional release.
“Jason it's dangerous enough just being in here with me. Especially right now whenever my current suppressants aren't working very well. At times though you make me think you have no survival instinct with what you say. The fact that you seem to eat these strokes on a bun regularly is good supportive evidence.” They could have sent a synthetic human into the chamber with her or spoken to her with a shield between them. Many times that was what happened. Jason was one of three people who regularly came into the chamber to interact with her directly. Sarah knew that it was dangerous for them and understood why many chose to use such safety measures. She never told them how grateful she was that they would enter the chamber for fear it would encourage such behavior.
“Oh that is just bull crap!” A slight chuckle escaped Jason as he set his burger down and set up strait. “Sarah I want you to think of how many men have stood on ledges, jumped off roofs, picked fights, drove like mad men and risked life and limb just to impress a beautiful woman.” There was another shock wave from Sarah at him mentioning beautiful woman. He was actually kind of surprised he'd said that himself. “I believe that my survival instinct for a male is working just fine. At least as far as men go. Actually considering what you told me about your other male friends it seems like the burger fits to.”
For a moment Sarah said nothing but found herself considering what Jason had said. Barton had actually managed to break his leg trying to impress a woman in the past. She was actually having a great deal of trouble refuting what Jason had said though that was partly because her thoughts were being hampered. He hadn't said it directly but the thought that he was risking his health and life in an attempt to impress her was appealing on some level. At least it was appealing so long as he didn't do anything too stupid. “Well you have some points. So Jason how have things been going on in your world outside of this room?”
Jason's first response to Sarah's question was to shrug. It took a moment for him to remind himself that he really needed to give a better answer whenever a woman showed interest in him. “You could say that it's been going the same as usual. I came in, inspected the lab to see that the maintenance drones had set everything up properly, gave the drones a quick diagnostic and then began preparing some of last nights test for review by the real researchers. It was while number crunching that I came up with the idea of maybe your overly healthy way of eating was the reason your telekinesis had been increasing so rapidly.”
“I see. Well if nothing else I'm sure none of the others came up with that theory. What do you mean the real researchers though. You're a real researcher. The grunt work may not be the most glamorous work there is but without it the army doesn't move and nothing gets done. A bit of a strange thought. Why is it that you have to mix my suppressant gas for me?” Sarah knew that Jason wasn't the only one that prepared her medicine. Given what she was currently using he wasn't even doing that anymore. This was a time when she chose not to be entirely accurate for the sake of conversation.
“An android or a synthetic could do it faster, more accurately and with less risk that's true. The problem with that is it's too close to automating the process. Manxe once again getting in our face and telling us that we have to do things the hard way to avoid frightening anyone.”
“That's more the Omerian's fault then anything else though. I forget the exact name of the gas but they had agreed to limit the amount they had in storage. In order to counter act this they developed a means of such rapid production that they were still able to use it as a very effective weapon. I wish that the makers of the treaty had put a limit on production rate and supply stored rather then saying we can't use synthetics or robotics for the task. That would have achieved the same goal while also helping to improve safety and quality. As things are now it's a wonder someone is working on developing a group of chemist that can work exceptionally fast.”
“That would turn a few heads. How did you ever make it through the navy?” As he had been eating Jason had been watching Sarah. One of the things that he had noticed was that her elbows never came close to wresting upon the table. She set up strait and was very careful with the manipulation of her fork and knife. The cuts she was making to her hamburger struck him as surgical in their precision.
“I assume you're talking about my eating habits. I can adjust how I eat to suit the situation. Eating in a combat situation or out in the field is one thing. Eating with company is quite another. It sounds like you have your routine down quite well.” It was tempting to ask Jason what he thought about the data in regards to herself. It seemed rude to ask him about such things whenever she could find the information herself so she held her tongue. Sarah was also hoping to at least be able to talk about a normal life for a while anyway. “May I know what you have planned after this?”
“Apparently I have a nano cleaning to go to.” As he spoke Jason pushed a little more annoyance into his voice then he actually felt. It was worth it whenever he noticed the grin on Sarah's face turn into an open smile. “Apparently you find that amusing.”
“I'm glad that you haven't forgotten.” Now Sarah gave a chuckle before taking another bit of her hamburger. She was beginning to catch up to Jason which surprised her a bit. Apparently his larger bites also meant he had to take longer between them if he wanted to maintain a conversation.
“There will be some things I need to prepare for the others that we're not allowed to use machines or synthetics for I'm certain there always is. If not I'll be working on breaking down or compiling some data. I'll probably be back to speak to you before long actually. If you don't mind.”
“How about using the communicator instead? Is Michel running out of things for you to do?” How much did Jason's well being depend on her? Sarah had began to wonder this whenever he had began making regular visits. She knew that her higher ups and Michel himself were concerned with her mental well being. She tried to put their fears at wrest but the simple truth was that at times being alone began to get to her. Perhaps they had encouraged Jason to strike up a conversation with her to meet her need for direct socialization. Part of her feared that his behavior wasn't due to actual friendship but orders. The fear wasn't sufficient for her to invade his mind or ask to do so but it was there whispering to her at times.
“We'll see. I know it must be unpleasant having to be so careful the entire time. It's just how things work. During initial testing, preparation or development there is a dizzying amount of work to get done. I don't really ever get to set down and I'm always two steps behind where I actually need to be. Then the equipment is all set up, the test are being run, methods of processing the data are set and experiments have to be allowed to cook. It slows down and you end up with free time.”
It was frustrating constantly having to keep herself in a relaxed state and worrying about any sudden emotions. She wasn't going to complain about having a visitor directly despite that even if she did try to warn them away. “I remember whenever I went in for the surgery to become a TS. Well even before that whenever I completed the trial period and they gave me one last chance to back out. Once they begin modifying the Mizerus tissue with your genetic information there is no real backing out. The cost of making the new organs is just too great. The only way to avoid it at that point is to be locked away for murder or some other serious crime. They always try to make sure the people they choose to become a TS has a lot to lose to avoid such behavior.
They warned me this wouldn't be like any weapon or system I'd been part of before. I would become a living weapon once the organs had been implanted within me and there would be no going back. If I ever committed a crime or even defended myself it would be treated as if I had a lethal weapon. With my training that wasn't a big deal that's already how it was. Then they warn you how this can change even your daily life. People accidentally shattering doors or priceless family items by focusing a bit too much on them while they were adapting. So I boxed up all my breakables, bought the sturdiest dishes I could find and even arranged for my niece to take care of my little Moo while I adjusted over the next few weeks.
I never adjusted though. You know the modified Mizerus organs don't adapt to you. They adapt your body to them even your spinal cord. Once they've been put in and made your body accommodating that is it. They even alter certain sections of your brain. They stop eventually. Your organs still work the same so that in general any doctor should still be able to treat you. Except mine didn't. Now I have organs that humans aren't suppose to be have and several of my supposedly human organs behave so strangely no one can truly examine my health.” As she spoke Sarah found herself getting rather depressed as she considered the warnings. Yet her changes were never suppose to be this complete. None of the warnings prepared her for how much her body had been change. “By Audria I miss my little Moo. I'm sure I told you this already but if I didn't wake up in time to feed him he would climb on top of my head board and just strait on my stomach. Now We're talking about a twelve kilogram cat here.”
Jason knew everything Sarah was telling him but he paid close attention. This was the first time she had spoken to him about her treatment directly. It seemed to be a subject she liked to avoid. Unfortunately he wasn't certain if it was a subject he should ask her about. He could feel the temperature in the room changing and heard the cooling system switching on. Sarah was becoming worked up. “Now how has that worked out with your niece?”
It was impossible for Sarah not to giggle. She chose to delay her answer by taking another bite of her burger before responding. “She claims that he's trying to murder her by suffocation. Apparently he's taken to laying on her face whenever she doesn't wake up when he wants. As you can imagine this makes it a little hard to breath.”
“Wow. And yet she still lets him sleep in her room?”
“She better considering what I'm paying her to take care of my baby. I considered setting him up in a nice pet hotel but I really wanted him to be with family. I tried telling her that the reason he picks on her is because she doesn't give him enough attention during the day. My sister and her husband know that they need to give him lots of attention and he'll leave them alone at night. Really I believe they should be the ones getting the money but my sister is alright with it.”
As he listened to Sarah it was clear she was relaxing. This was a relief as Jason had seen the temperatures her holding cell could reach whenever she became agitated. Even with the cooling system there was no way he could survive those temperatures. It seemed likely that she would send him running out of the containment area before she truly lost her composure as well. “Hold on a moment how much money are we talking about here and what did you do with Moo whenever you were away? Actually you've never told me how you even obtained Moo.”
As Sarah remembered her pet she couldn't help but grin. “I was stationed at Atra base on Brizus at the time. It's very cold there and I was complaining about how with all our technology I was still freezing. My sister said that the cold was all in my head because of my environment and I needed something to make me think warm. Then she suggested a pet. Well I thought she was full of bull but still found myself looking in a pet store and that's where I found Moo. He was and is so cute with his fur pattern that makes him look like a little cow. When I couldn't take Moo with me I would pay for him to stay at a kitty hotel or if I could with family. There were times were I just couldn't get him transported to family.” As she was talking Sarah found herself relaxing again. Moo's antics were often a source of frustration, amusement and emotional release for her.
It was subtle but Jason could hear how hard the cooling system was having to fight the increase in temperature generated by Sarah. At the moment it was no longer fighting her but trying to bring the temperature back down to where it should be. Only a few of the cooling units were currently active. “You still didn't tell me how much you are paying for your niece to take care of him.” The fact that Sarah looked away told Jason that she was paying far more then she wanted to admit to. This brought a large grin to his face.
“I don't pay anymore then some people spend on recreational stimulants and depressants.” Sarah knew the answer was vague and covered a wide range of values. She knew of some people who spend nearly their entire paychecks on such things. She wasn't anywhere near that point but she didn't like to do the math. “It's not like I can spend the money right now anyway and even before this I mostly banked.” Hearing Jason snickering had completely removed thoughts of the doctor's warnings and how much her body had changed from Sarah's mind. Yet now she felt embarrassed and worried that she must seem like some crazy cat lady.
“So you admit you have a cat addiction?” Jason couldn't help but laugh whenever he felt another light shock wave roll through the room. Fortunately it was only equal to a strong gust of wind. The expression on Sarah's face was a mixture of a shock and a grin. Jason for his part found himself having trouble imagining this beautiful blushing woman in front of him as the living weapon of mass destruction he knew she was. He felt happy speaking with Sarah and even taunting her to the point that the risk often left his mind. It was probably one of the reasons he was encouraged to spend time with her. There was a fear there though. Would she have even given him the time of day if she hadn't been starved for interaction for several months?
“Comparing my spending habits to those of potential addicts doesn't make me an addict. Many people use stimulants recreationally not because they're addicted. Your mind just immediately jumped to the worse case scenario because you're looking for something to taunt me over Mister Fidgets.” Now it was Sarah's turn to chuckle as she noted Jason's expression. She had noticed long ago that whenever a movie, game or book Jason had greatly anticipated was soon to be released he tended to fidget. He tried to manage it while he worked but she had seen his excitement almost boiling over at times.
Now it was Jason's turn to feel a bit embarrassed. Typically he could keep such behavior under control especially while at work. It was when speaking with Sarah that it had slipped out. The fact that he could become so relaxed around her actually surprised even him. Even before she'd undergone the treatment to become a telekinetic soldier he knew many men would be uncomfortable around a woman who was beautiful, smarter then them and could probably beat them silly. ”I guess I must look like an addict myself whenever that happens.”
Sarah didn't know the exact cost of the items she regularly broke, the research going into her condition, the cost of her suit, the gas she breathed or her accommodations. She did know that all of them put together was extremely expensive. The military found ways to get their money's worth though from knowledge gained from studying her and hope for being able to use her in actual combat. Yet while she trusted her superiors she still had to prove she was worth the expense and while she didn't believe they would abandon her she knew they would cut the project budget. Now it was time to prove that she was worth that expense and give some combat data.
Currently Sarah found herself on a large rough expanse of land devoid of life due to its use as a weapon's research field and training area. In the distance she could make out some heavy units and knew there had to be smaller ones with them. In her right hand she held a tiny air mask containing a neutralizing agent. Part of her feared breathing it in. What would happen if this was the time her power went too far? Would the gas still work? Sarah knew certain things changed in her body whenever she truly used her telekinesis. Despite these fears she answered her communicator upon hearing it signal.
Michel and several others were currently several kilometers away. Thanks to cameras, unmanned probes and an observation unit built into Sarah's suit itself they could see very well. Michel had also arranged for Jason to observe the test. While it didn't technically involve him Michel always liked for his people to know what they were making friends with. “Sarah we have all the testing equipment set up. Go ahead and take the neutralizing agent and we'll power down the inhibitors built into your suit.”
“Yes Sir.” As Sarah pressed the mask to her face there was a second of hesitation before pressing the release. Once she breathed in the gas it would take a short while for it to fully neutralized the suppressant. She could feel the inhibitors built into her suit powering down at the same time. There was a feeling of relief as if pressure was being released from all around her body. She could feel the ground not just beneath her feet but feel it around her and she could feel it breaking. As she looked around Sarah could hear and see the sounds of the environment heating up. The various specific heats in the minerals around her resulted in thermal stress causing the stones to burst around her. She could hear the popping and crackling. As she shifted her right foot she felt it sink deeply into the earth resulting in a crack two meters in length and several centimeters wide opening up.
What seemed to be an explosion reached her ears and Sarah looked towards one of the mounds of earth that had been formed during some previous test. The top portion of it had been ripped off as waves of force rippled out from her body. This always reminded Sarah of how much her lunges had changed. The minerals being super heated and filling the air as well as the super heated air itself would have been toxic to her before. Yet she had no trouble breathing. At least it felt like she was breathing. Given the changes to her organs she wasn't certain breathing was the right word at the moment. Subconsciously Sarah began to work her right hand into a fist resulting in a massive chunk of earth being shattered along with the simple action.
As they watched the screen Michel turned towards his supervisors and their supervisors. “Don't worry gentlemen the experiment will begin once the lieutenant commander is done warming up. Now I want to remind everyone that Miss Kasrin has yet to complete her telekinetic training for reasons that should be obvious. Jason what is the current read out on Kasrin's energy output?”
Jason didn't expect Michel to call upon him. Fortunately he already knew the information as he had been alternating between watching the screens and the readout the entire time. He'd completely forgotten that there were other people within the observation center. “Currently she is at five point seven six kilojoules Sir.” Jason was barely able to avoid jumping whenever Michel quickly moved to stand next to him in order to see the read out himself.
“That sounds a bit high for this earlier but that's what we're getting across every other meter as well.” Michel knew that the gas Sarah was using to repress her telekinesis was becoming less effective. This meant her body was still adapting. Was the gas not being as effective the reason for a rapid build up of energy though or was it because she'd grown even stronger. “Well hopefully that will level off before it reaches us. As you can see those miss Karsin's abilities have increased since your last visit.”
“True professor. However, as powerful as she may be how has your research into applying what you've learned from her to other candidates progressed? Not to diminish the lieutenant commander's abilities. I would be quite happy to have a human sized unit that can deliver the sustained firepower of a battleship to the front line. I'd even be willing to have her on a battleship simply to double its firepower.”
“Well Captain Anstrom unfortunately the changes happening to Miss Karsin still continues to defy our understanding. We have found however that by using Mizerus tissue first taken from the lieutenant commander and using it on subjects who are a close genetic match we should be able to obtain an increase of thirty to forty percent in those candidates. This increased ability should propagate throughout their development cycle. As for what I mean by close genetic match. Another female and of the same blood type would be sufficient.” Michel could tell that the captain was pleased with the answer. Not because he showed any signs of approval but he showed no signs of disapproval.
“Please tell me that she's O positive.”
“A positive Captain.” Michel actually chuckled a little as did the entire room as Anstrom quickly snapped his fingers looking somewhat annoyed because of the answer. “We believe that we can make retroactive changes to those with the proper genetic matches however as we would still be implanting them with Mizerus organs.” Michel was fairly confident that his funding wouldn't be slashed at this point as he looked around the room. Now it would be up to Sarah to prove to the captains and commanders assembled that she would be worth spending even more money on.
Jason had been watching the gauges the entire time Michel had been speaking. While it wasn't his job to do so he resolved to risk speaking up as he saw them leveling off. “Chief Michel lieutenant Commander Karsin has leveled off. She is currently producing seven point six two billion kilojoules per second. The first, second and third zones engagement zones are no longer habitable by standard marines or any infantryman wearing less then ravager armor.”
Anstrom, “Current generation or next?”
For a moment Jason locked up as the answer wasn't known immediately to him. He most assuredly hadn't expected for one of the captains to address him directly. “Our systems are calibrated for the units we use here Sir.”
“So next generation then. Right? I saw a few of the reapers used to guard the exterior and they looked to be next generation to me.” As he spoke Anstrom was looking around at his peers and even his superiors.
“Yes. You can easily tell by looking at the leg joints.”
Anstrom saw no need to ask Michel or Jason for confirmation as he nodded his head. “Good. So eighty percent of any infantry would be dead upon entering her short range combat zone and she hasn't even began fighting yet. It's a shame that it would also kill our men.”
Nodding his head Michel found himself looking at the readings again. Just above a whisper he turned to Jason. “It seems your plans to reduce her energy output backfired. I guess she's using all those calories.” As he finished speaking Michel couldn't help but grin. He and Jason both knew that the hamburger Sarah had eaten had nothing to do with her current energy output. This was more likely related to her requirements for an increasingly more potent suppressant. “At least her rate of increase has slowed down or her rate of control development has improved. Well then now that our subject is no longer being hindered lets begin the demonstration.”
While the observers had been talking Sarah had been waiting. She held her face steady but as she looked around at the world around her she was depressed. Much of the stone around her was glowing red due to the heat and she noted several small pools of molten metal and perhaps other material flowing around. She could see smoke rolling up from the ground as the heat burned materials off or triggered chemical reactions. She didn't want to think of what her presence would do to a forest or worse yet civilians and allies. Once again her communicator altered her.
“Sarah let's begin by clearing out the smaller units. I want you to use a telekinetic burst starting from your location. Build up as much force as you can manage before the release.”
“Yes Sir.” All telekinetic soldiers began their basic training before they ever received their new organs or were even confirmed for them. It was necessary to make sure the person's mind was elastic enough to adapt to the new organs being placed within it. This training was limited due to them not having the necessary organs but it gave them a starting point and serve as an evaluation method. The training became more intense after the operation. Unfortunately Sarah hadn't been able to complete the training program due to her raw power. She lacked the refinement of those who had and couldn't perform many of the advanced techniques. Those well trained soldiers could easily build up a telekinetic blast twenty times beyond their normal output and some could go further. Sarah was barely able to build up three times her regular energy output before she released. That was enough.
Jason watched the screen showing Sarah's view. He saw her hold her hands together. This wasn't required by the better trained soldiers but for those learning it gave them finer control. The greater number of nerves in the finger tips allowed them to direct the energy more easily. The fact that the hands were used to hold physical objects also helped considerably in learning to hold their telekinetic energy. He was amazed by how rapid Sarah's energy build up was. Typically it took a few moments for the person's efforts to show. The moment Sarah had raised her hand he could see the energy building between them. He could also see her hands beginning to shake almost immediately as she struggled to contain the energy while it was building up. Typically the energies flow was neat forming what appeared to be a spinning sphere. Sarah's build up was a wobbly mess with tendrils of energy jumping from her fingers into a mash of shifting energy she was clearly having trouble keeping control of.
It had been so easy to form these whenever she was first adapting to her new organs. Sarah could form a remarkably tight energy sphere with only one hand that was far more powerful then her counterparts. Then her energy output had exceed her control and she found herself holding this ugly mess. Her efforts to direct the energy properly and failure was simply humiliating. The fact that none of the captains or commanders would care after seeing the results never helped. She felt ashamed. As she released the energy she was happy to have it gone from her site and she waited for the sound to tell her what she felt and saw happening all around her.
A storm of force as violent as a nuclear explosion shot out from Sarah's position. The hills and stones she had seen before were ripped from the earth, shattered and tossed about. The ground below was pushed down and surged up wherever the forces holding it down were weakest so that the force could find release. The friction from the shattering stone and crushed ground generated a massive wave of heat and Sarah felt the ground move out from underneath her feet as she fell into the depression left by her own telekinetic blast. The landscape around her was ripped apart in an instant and now she could hear the sounds of it being ripped apart coming back to her. She didn't know what she was breathing or if she was truly breathing in but she did the reflex to steady herself.
Jason turned his eyes towards the detector read out on the screen. He then turned his eyes to Michel who gave a slight nod. “All units within the first, second, third, four, fifth and sixth combat zones are dead. All infantry not secured in a heavy armored unit in the seventh and eighth combat zone are dead. All moderately armored combat units with the fifth, sixth and seventh combat zone are heavily damaged. All heavy units within the sixth and seventh combat zone are heavily damaged.” Even as he was calling out the score Jason had to take in a few breaths. A telekinetic blast was perfectly acceptable to be used as a weapon of war. What Sarah had just used though wasn't something ground forces made use of.
As Anstrom looked at the readouts and listened to Jason call out the damage done he had one thing to say. “I hope nothing we wanted to preserve was in that.”
To this Michel nodded his head. “There are concerns for when such an attack could be safely used while on the ground. Currently only forces and structures meant to survive orbital bombardment could have survived within the any zone lower then the fourth. I should also mention that unlike atomic weapons there is no danger of Lieutenant Commander Karsin's abilities being hindered by atomic dampeners. Now computer let's show that Sarah can take hits as well as dish them out.”
Jason actually felt his heart skip a bit upon hearing Michel. He could already see that the weapon's systems were coming on line and had already targeted. “Chief Michel shouldn't we warn Sarah that she's about to come under attack?”
Michel was about to say no whenever the first impact struck Sarah's location. If they warned Sarah she was about to come under attack it wouldn't be as good of a display of her durability. Sarah had also been through this before and knew what would be coming. That wasn't something Michel was going to mention though in hopes that the officers would forget it. “As you can see lighter weapons tend to fail before actually reaching Miss Karsin. It's only whenever moving into weapons meant to destroy armored units that they can have some influence.”
The first heavy shell had actually been a surprise. It wasn't because she'd been shot but rather because it had come from behind her. She had been sent stumbling forward slightly but it hadn't been due to the force of the shell hitting her. Rather it was due to the shell disrupting the ground beneath her feet. She wasn't certain of the exact type of projectile that had just struck her but she could guess at its destructive power by the influence it had on her surroundings. There was little time for her to think about this as she felt several more begin to slam into her. She couldn't hear the detonation of single shells but it quickly grew into a roar that pushed out all other sound.
Sarah's clothing would have been torn to shreds in an instant if it wasn't for two things. The first and primary reason they weren't torn apart was her wearing them. What allowed this to matter though was her dampening suit worked with her nervous system as well. Effectively the suit tricked her body into thinking it was her skin to an extent. This let her feel things as if it was actually against her flesh. It also meant her telekinetic skin protected it from harm. She was grateful for this fact. The idea of being naked for this experiment wasn't something that she found comfortable.
As he watched Sarah on the screen Anstrom kept turning his attention to her view. The way she shifted with the impacts as the ground beneath her feet was disrupted brought back memories. His unit had come up against some heavy enemy armor. He thought they had won when they baited the enemy into a mine field. He'd seen the enemy vanguard fall and then get right back up.”Professor Michel that suit Miss Karsin is using. You said that it was a dampener but it doesn't look like any of the dampeners I've seen TS training with.”
“It's a special make. Unlike other TS miss Karsin must live within that suit. We also had to adapt it to handle the absolutely massive energy spikes she regularly experiences. It can however be converted to an augmenter with a few hours of modifications. The base design is actually rather old from when we feared that a TS may be killed by their own telekinesis while learning to control them. We don't worry about that with Miss Karsin but her killing other people is a very real danger.”
How powerful where these projectiles? Some of the craters produced reminded her of those created whenever a sentinel class tank with a heavy load out fired. Given the range they were having to fire from that would make sense. It happened so quickly it was hard to tell but it felt like what she would expect from such a tank as well. Whenever the shells struck her there was first a very hard push meant to cut deep into enemy armor. After a moment there was a wide spread push from the shell detonating meant to rip whatever it had went into to shreds. They could also be adjusted to detonate before penetration to destroy several light units. Sarah was certain these were the high penetration rounds.
There was something between these impacts though. Something that was coming faster but less forceful. She couldn't be certain of what they were. Rather then standing entirely still though Sarah took on a defensive pose. It was more suited to hand to hand combat then stopping shells but it helped improve her footing on the constantly shifting earth. She was quite surprised whenever her entire world turned bright white for a moment and heat pushed back her Tskin as if she'd just stepped from a fifteen degree Celsius room to a thirty eight degree Celsius one. Needles seemed to imbed themselves throughout her skin and she gave a slight grunt of pain.
Sarah would have received some light burns and bruising throughout her body and she knew it. As things stood she was quite grateful for her dampening suit taking the damage for her. She had no doubt that had been planned. The fact that her face was exposed worried her to an extent and she reached up to see if any of her hair had been singed off. It it wasn't for the slight stinging she would have forgotten about the attack entirely as she felt of her hair. She wasn't surprised to find that it had fused into cables as thick as her index finger was wide at the base. Several of her organs had been changed and her hair was one of the more unique ones. Whenever she truly began using her telekinesis her hair would fuse together. This was because it now served as a telekinetic projector and detector. It was the organ that truly let her feel with her telekinesis.
Instead of addressing the people in the room Michel once again turned on the communicator. “How are you feeling Sarah? In case you're wondering you were just hit by the main gun of a liberator class battleship.”
“I can't be certain but I believe I sustained some light burns and bruising to my face. My suppressant suit also took some damage from the attack.” While Sarah's voice was calm and relaxed that wasn't what was going through her head. While she knew from the testing Michel had done that she could withstand such attacks to think about it truly amazed her. She could actually feel her body shaking with excitement as she considered what she'd just taken with only light bruises and burns. Such an attack could easily destroy an entire base if it wasn't properly shielded. She could practically feel her adrenaline beginning to pump.
While typically Sarah's biological response would have given away her excitement with the changes that had been made to her organs it was impossible for anyone in the observation center to realize how excited she truly was. At least it was impossible for everyone except for Michel and especially Jason. Jason had looked towards Sarah's hands and could see her fingers working. He could also tell when she was struggling to hold back a smile. She did it whenever he made a joke that she didn't want to admit to being funny. In her room she could only think about how her power put so many things beyond her reach. On the battlefield though she could enjoy a power rush.
A liberator class battleship was a star ship who's main gun was designed for fighting other ships. Effectively it was a weapon of mass destruction with a confined area of effect. The charge its main gun fired was designed to expend all its energy in a very small area. This made it very effective at shredding other ship's shields and meant when used on a surface of the world the area influence was diminished yet the area caught within its blast took even more damage. She had taken one of those hits with only some damage to her suppressant suit. The thought kept running through Sarah's head and she began to lightly grind her hill into the ground to help contain her excitement. How many more hits could she take before she was incapacitated or killed? How many of her attacks could such a battleship endure? She was a single ground unit that could challenge a space ship. Sarah had to look up her entire body to keep her excitement in check.
While the captains and commanders spoke amongst themselves Michel whispered to Jason. “So when she finally has that power under control are you going to go with her as her medical technician?”
“Huh?” Jason actually felt his head spin as he looked towards Michel. He was happy to work with Sarah and had even come to consider her a good friend. He hadn't really started thinking about what they would do once she had actually gained control of her power. Michel's question made sense though. Even once she had gained control of her telekinesis she would need someone to continue to observe her. She was a unique case well worth studying after all but with her power she would also be extremely beneficial in the field. “I would be happy to Sir.”
Michel gave his head a nod. Jason hadn't even given him time to answer his huh. In truth Jason wasn't the most qualified for the task given how much he had to learn. Yet he was the most qualified because of how comfortable Sarah was around him. “I just hope that she never develops a blood lust.” Instead of waiting for Jason to respond Michel once again turned on the communicator. “Okay Sarah we have some imitation units down the line. How about showing us how you handle them up close?”
Imitation units meant cheap knock offs that would do for a demonstration. They would be units that were too old to use or had been built to be destroyed. Despite that it would be nice to move again and Sarah quickly began to sprint. Just as the last time she had removed her bonds the force she pushed off against the ground had been greatly increased. This made running tricky as each step pushed her to speeds she wasn't used to handling. She didn't know how fast she was running at but it reminded her of times she'd spent with her vehicles auto-driver turned off. It wasn't as fast as she could run but it was as fast as she could handle. It would take her a few minutes to close the gap with the units. “Closing on targets now Chief Michel.”
He had been the most vocal of those attending and Anstrom didn't intend to stop now. Especially now that there would be a few minutes delay. “Sarah this is Captain Anstrom. That's quite an impressive display you've put on. I would even go as far to say that should you return to the battlefield you would be as valuable as a battleship that could compact itself down into a human body. I would like to know how you're feeling personally.”
“Ready to serve Captain.” The response came out of her mouth without Sarah thinking. She didn't give her personal feelings during these meetings. In truth at the moment she felt an incredible sense of freedom though she knew it wouldn't last. Soon she would return to loneliness and frustration as she continued to be tested and struggle to control her power. Rather then returning to the battlefield once she was cure she wanted to give each one of her family members a big hug, pet on Moo until he curled up into a ball on her lap and went to sleep then later invite Jason to her home and feed him vegetables until she had expunged all the garbage she imagined him normally stuffing himself with.
The cost of operating a battleship actually exceeded the cost of what had been spent on Sarah to date. This wasn't wasn't lost on Anstrom as he imagined what could be done with just a few years of actively using such a powerful person. He could think of some simmering conflicts that could be resolved in humanities favor. This became even more possible whenever he imagined what she could achieve if her training was completed. “Sarah have you given any thought to what you're going to do in the long term?”
“You mean due to my status as a living weapon of mass destruction? I have considered that I won't be able to return to a regular civilian life. Yet while I am proud to serve I do not wish to spend my entire life in a military position. The constant movement fatigues me at times. I've actually started looking at planets such as Yevhon as a possible place to settle. Due to the plant's development status even a living weapon of mass destruction could find a home there.” It was important for Sarah to make it clear to the captain that while she respected his rank she didn't plan on devoting her entire life to the military.
It was disappointing for Anstrom to hear that Sarah planned on serving out her agreed upon time but then trying to return to as much of a civilian roll as she could. The disappointment was slight as he had no intention of giving up on the issue yet. “That does sound nice. They're still introducing animal life there I believe trying to make the ecosystem self sustaining. It sounds nice but I would like to talk to you further later.”
“Yes Captain. Targets will be engaged soon.” Even as she let the conversation end Sarah found herself wondering what Anstrom might offer her. She could think of several ways the navy could make use of her and knew that they didn't want to lose that. What was a living weapon like herself worth to them? Until she could learn to control her abilities she was only worth as much as the information they could obtain from her minus the cost of obtaining that information and seeing to her needs. For now she needed to focus on learning to control her telekinesis and be careful of any agreements.
As she moved across the battlefield Jason watched the display carefully. Sarah's presence could be felt before she reached the imitations. The temperature began to rapidly increase and the resulting pressure waves could be heard as a roar. Turning his attention to the cameras showing Sarah he was amazed by how graceful she looked while running. The fact that she could handle running at such speeds indicated a superb reaction time. How much faster would she be able to run with a neural interface boosting that reaction time further?
She had nearly ended up on her face that time. As Sarah had been running her foot had caught on a stone and while the stone was shattered it was enough to throw her off balance for a moment. Part of her was positively screaming to slow down but she continued to maintain her speed despite that part. It was taking all of her focus to keep from ending up on her face and plowing through the ground. The relief she felt whenever she saw the imitations up close was almost enough to trip her up again. She managed to turn this into a running leap however which she aimed for the largest of the imitations hoping that she'd actually hit it.
Several assembled in the observation room could swear they felt the ground shake whenever Sarah impacted solidly with the siege walker. The machine gave a sharp and violent lurch backwards while a comparatively tiny figure could be seen jumping back from the massive dent left in its armor. A few chuckles came from the room as several of those inside of it half expected Sarah to take down the massive machine in one hit. They had forgotten that such heavy siege walkers were meant to fight destroyers and even battleships as well. The damage was still impressive and the speed with which Sarah delivered another hit was remarkable.
This was not a true heavy siege suppressor. The true thing would have been firing after her long before she reached it and been far too expensive to use for such a demonstration. The armor seemed to be on par with the suppressor though and Sarah was pleased with her results. She knew that the machine would be suffering mechanical failures at the moment requiring the pilot to make adjustments. As she slammed into the machines right leg she felt the metal push forward and rapidly heat up. A grunt of effort escaped her as she sunk her fingers into the metal and quickly pulled backwards. Her telekinetic skin provided the anchor she needed to remove the armor plating from the machines leg rather then to simply pull herself up.
The abused imitation seemed to scream in protest as a good chunk of its leg was removed. As the device began to crumble forward another staggering impact was heard as Sarah leaped upwards slamming her fist into the already damaged chest armor. A horrific bulge appeared in the machine's much thinner back armor plating as he crumbled to the ground. Less then a second later Sarah burst from its back.
“Just how does that imitation model compared to the true suppressor?”
Michel would have to watch the carnage later as he turned to address the officers. “The armor has eighty seven percent of the compressive strength of the actual suppressor. As you can see it's also lacking the weapons. We believed that the display of Sarah's durability would have been accomplished during the artillery barrage.
“Of course. We're here to see her potential not how effective her training has been. You spoke of the increase to the TS'es you can expect using material obtained from her. Is there any hope of reproducing Miss Karsin's results?”
“Unfortunately we have a long way to go before I could say we're even close to achieving such goals. We're not even certain why Miss Karsin's developed the way she did. Unfortunately attempts to clone her have met with constant frustration.”
Anstrom, “They self destruct don't they? I'd be willing to wager that without a mind to guide the body it's own telekinesis destroy it.”
“Yes. Typically telekinetic abilities are primarily the work of the brain while being supported by the body. Each one of lieutenant commander Karsin's new organs have a telekinetic potential of their own and without a central will to guide them they do not endure well. This also extends to blank clones or clones with simple programming. The only difference with a complete clone and a cloned organ is the amount of damage they cause.”
It was hard to think of what she was striking as armor. With the oppressor imitation removed the other units were quickly being ripped apart. As Sarah drove her fist into the siege tank her view of the world around her was temporarily lost as she went inside of the machine. She could feel her smile threatening to spread as she burst out the other side of the device. The sound of torn metal and crushed mechanisms still singing in her ear as she looked over her shoulder for just a moment. She had just torn through a medium heavy ground vehicle with a single punch. The thought made Sarah's hands positively tingle and her breathing increased. Rather then attacking the next unit with her fist she quickly spun around and took hold of the larger half of the machine.
The metal screamed whenever Sarah's fingers first dug into it. Fortunately the metal was able to endure the weight as she lifted it into the air. Sarah's feet shifted on the ground taking on a stance more appropriate for throwing a large volume. The fact that the ground remained stable beneath her feet reminding Sarah of how much of the force her Tskin was truly carrying. Despite her best efforts a cry of relief escaped Sarah as she moved her arm and released her hold sending half the tank slamming into two of the imitations. The sound of screaming metal reached her ears moments before the sound of shattering rock. The feeling of finally being able to truly move after weeks of constant caution truly made her dizzy.
Jason wasn't certain what to think whenever he saw Sarah rind one of the legs from a medium walker unit. The fact that she drove the leg through the cabin compartment of another tank an instant later was even more surprising. She wasn't just trying to simulate disabling these machines. She would have killed the crew in that attack. He didn't know if anyone else had but Jason had also noticed her grin and could swear she seemed to be laughing. If it wasn't for the constant roar of shattering stone and twisting metal he was confident he'd been able to hear it. He knew that some people were talking behind him but he couldn't really hear what they were saying as he continued to focus on the screen.
Metal yielded and pulled like clay in her hands at first as the material was deformed though it rapidly became brittle. As the material was deformed it was first ductile in her hands and then shifted to brittle. Some sections of the machines suffered failure before others but they all failed. Yet this wasn't all she could do she didn't just have her hands and feet she'd proven that earlier. As this thought flooded her mind Sarah felt a rush and began to pull her energies inward she could feel the twisted frames, the shattered armor and the severed wires through her telekinesis. Her hair was made to positively tingle as she lifted her arms up and the machines lifted with them screaming as they did so as they began to collapse inward.
The remains of the oppressor remained grounded and showed little sign of the forces acting upon it in those undamaged sections. There were few of those. The medium machines seemed as if they might endure if they weren't damaged already but the lighter machines were positively caving inwards. As he looked at the readings Jason watched as the pressure in the area was rapidly increasing while the heat was diminishing. The release of the pressure surprised him as did the sound of several of the machines collapsing to the ground as Sarah released a sharp gasp. When he looked towards the screen she had leaned forward placing her hands on the remains of one of the lighter units.
As she tried to steady herself Sarah drove her fingers into the machines armor. She wasn't certain of what had happened but it felt like she had held the entire battlefield in her hands during those moments. Only the oppressor and a few others remained too heavy to lift. Instinctively she tried to straiten up and steady herself once again to avoid showing her fatigue. After spending so much time holding back freely using her abilities took a strain on her. She was still recovering whenever her communicator turned on.
“Very well done Sarah. Go ahead and use the gas and I'll send an evacuation team to retrieve you. We'll activate the inhibitors in your suit again once the environment is less hostile.”
Nodding her head Sarah took hold of a small detachable section of her suit. Bringing the gas to her would have been a nightmare given how hostile the environment around her was. Fortunately by making the container a part of her suit using the same materials that tricked her telekinetic skin into protecting it she could carry it with her. It was surprisingly hard to bring the canister to her face. Part of her simply didn't want to return to constantly having to worry about shattering the world around her.