Weaving using powers required a different kind of attention than catching objects with his awareness, or healing people. Weaving required endurance.
Alex inhabited a circle of ropes. He was each rope, snaking under and over other ropes which were also himself. This was his third attempt to weave a bowl. So far, he'd gotten a lot further than his previous attempts, but he didn't dare think about his vast improvement, or he would remember that he was Alex instead of a messy network of ropes. The only way to keep it up was to fall into a rhythm. Snake under, snake over, pull through, wrap around, and again ... times fifty, simultaneously. His messy ropes were knotting into a tidy bowl.
Music would have helped his concentration. A few villagers chanted in a distant part of the cave, but it sounded mournful and atonal.
He'd caught Margo humming earlier, one of the songs he missed from Earth, while she made a nest out of blankets. She had a sweet voice. And she'd looked so cozy when she snuggled into those blankets, it made him yearn to be normal, or at least acceptable to someone like her. His mutant genetics were both a blessing and a curse.
She'd built a separate, bigger nest for him, though. Alex wished he didn't have to rely on the villagers for blankets and everything, on top of the risks they were taking. Living on charity made him feel like a thief. They had so little to share. Their blankets were patched up and ancient, full of alien odors. He'd slept well.
And when he'd woken, refreshed, his hand lay near Margo's open palm. It looked like they'd almost held hands in their sleep.
He realized that he'd completely lost track of what ropes were supposed to go where. Adolescent ummins giggled, watching his bowl devolve into a knotted mess.
"You've been practicing nonstop forever." Margo touched his arm. "What do you think of taking a break?"
"I'm making up for years," Alex said. "I should have been been practicing since I was small."
If only he'd known what he was capable of, on Earth. He felt like a gigantic fool. By now, it seemed obvious to him—if not to anyone else—that a day or two of battle practice was not nearly enough for him to face a Torth army. The Torth would wear blaster gloves, surely capable of shooting microscopic bullets full of inhibitor serum.
One tiny drop would render him powerless, the way he'd been in the prison arena. Only this time, Margo, and his mother, and the rest of his friends would get dragged away in chains, while he was slaughtered.
More than anything else, he needed to practice shielding himself and other people. He'd gotten good at blocking any number of objects thrown in the air. That was easy. Even blindfolded, he could sense what was coming and stop it before impact.
Bu he wasn't sure he could stop bullets, and even if he could, he might not be able to stop them while also shielding other people.
He wanted to ask Pung or Margo to try shooting the single blaster glove they had, for practice, but blasts seemed dangerous inside a cave where Alex didn't even have room to stand up. Someone might get hurt.
Besides, it seemed pointless with only one glove. How many blasts and bullets could he keep track? That was what he needed to explore, and why he was experimenting with complex tasks. The Torth Empire surely knew every limitation he had. They would exploit his weaknesses, if they could.
"I think you're trying to teach yourself too many skillsets." Margo's tone was more serious than usual. "You just need to master one thing." She pointed towards a rock he had accidentally cracked in half.
Alex tried to guess what she meant. Surely not ...
"Don't wait for the Torth to attack. Act before they do." Margo shivered. "Use your powers to sense wherever they are, and break them. Throw them against rocks. Snap them in half."
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Colossus Rising [#SFF] [#Galactic] [#Complete]Science Fiction
All spacefaring civilizations are absorbed by Megacosm users, or else enslaved by them. Anyone who dares to question the elected rulers of the Megacosm--or worse, defy them--will suffer death by torture. Only Thomas escaped that fate. He severed hi...