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VIII: True or Faux

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Written by   216
1 month ago

It was her voice that woke me up.

I looked around confused for a bit, as her tapping on my thighs continued.

"Wake up, Jermaine."

"Aww, damn it. I'm awake already," I said, yawning heavily and stretching. The cracks all over my body told me just how worn out I'd been all this while, and I sighed.

The sun was just rising.

"Already?" She asked, smirking. "This is such an uncool side of you to present to me, you know that right?"

I wiped off the little drool at the crook of lips. I didn't normally do that when I was sleeping, unless I had passed out from exhaustion. And now she'd seen this side of me. Great. Just wonderful.

"Why are we up this early anyway?" I asked, yawning and rubbing my eyes with the side of my clenched fist. This was one of those moments I wished that my sleep paralysis demon would seize control of the situation, pin me to the bed, and prevent anyone from entering the room.

"You gonna wake up, or do I have to set your hair on fire?" She asked.

I scoffed until I felt the room begin to get hotter. I opened one of my eyes and peeked, recoiling in horror when I saw her pouring out steam from her mouth.

"I thought you could just manipulate fire," I asked, getting up from the bed groggily.

"Meh, it's a little more than that to be honest. I can control the heat aspect of temperature, meaning I can produce heat and use it to do things like heat up the moisture in the air or within my body to produce steam, create mirages, or cause spontaneous combustion - that's how the flames are produced."

"So you're hot in more ways than one?" I asked, going for a cheesy pick up line.

"That was actually quite good. On the borderline between witty and cringe-y. I like it," She said, nudging me towards the bathroom.

"You need to take a bath, get dressed, and come down for breakfast. We'll do all the explaining there, and then we'll get going. So move your ass already."

I sighed and got into the bathroom, turning on the hot water shower before entering the bath. As I stood under the shower and scrubbed my body, I felt the heat of the water waking up the sleeping cells in my body.

That tingling feeling when my nerves finally began registering sensations was divine, and I smiled. That felt good, great even.

I walked down the stairs and looked around, wondering where the dining would be. Or was there a dining around here anyway? I stood for a while before Flames opened a door.

"Right this way."

I walked up to the door and entered the dining. It was a large table with six seats around it, and everybody I saw yesterday was seated there, including some other guy I'd not met yet.

"He's the one?" He asked, his voice indicating that he had little to no interest in any of these happenings. Or he was just tired.

"Yes, that's him." The professor said. "Jermaine, this is Cisco. He is able to connect with technology in extraordinary ways, an advanced form of biotech actually. He can form a symbiotic bond with tech, and right now he's connected to the security cameras in the city, monitoring our friends Meek and Mill."

What? He was accessing and processing that much information? He had to be a Level 5 like Flames. I felt very small and insignificant at this point.

I looked at his hand and sure enough, the wrist band was there. So he could still use that much power even when he was dampening things? I began to wonder how much output Flames could produce with those bands on. Could she still use the lava attack?

"They're on the move for sure, although they've not found us. They were stuck at the last recorded location of this car before Incognito mode kicked in, and they received a -"

"Incognito mode?" I asked.

Cisco looked at me with a bit of disdain for interrupting him. "The professor can manipulate reality to make himself and selected objects disappear. Not exactly disappear anyway, just that security cameras, sensors, and people's minds and memories would have no records or knowledge of seeing him at that point. Since he can use it over a distance of about 700 meters, it means that he could remotely make sure that beat-up Toyota remained unseen once you reached that intersection on 44th."

I nodded.

"They were on a call for a while. They looked pissed then. Trouble in paradise? And now they're riding around the area, in a kilometer's radius, looking around," he said, rubbing his eyes a bit before eating another slice of bread.

"We'll be moving in the next twenty minutes. In a different car, and incognito this time. I'll be with you guys till we're as far as two kilometers away from this place, then I'll leave you to go on. Flames, you already know where you're both going, so you can brief him on the way," the professor said, getting up and leaving.

The girl with the X-Ray vision, whose name was Iris, smiled at me and gave me a thumbs up, while Cisco looked pointedly at me for a few seconds.

"I'll admit that your ability is quite interesting. A lot of use cases too, and you've got a good head on your shoulders too. But that's not nearly enough for all the stress this is, and I'm not sure you're worth it. Get attuned to your ability and become more of an asset to Justice, this isn't a protection program or escort service," he said, finishing his food and leaving.

"Well he's fun to be around," I sighed, losing my appetite.

Iris laughed while Flames smiled. "Eat up. He's a good guy, just has his quirks. Eat up already."

This was no way to start the day, but I had no choice anyway.



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