Alex studied the holographic spheres. A world of doom, a world of ice and bugs, a world of vicious megafauna, a world of slow suffocation, and a world of unpredictable bioengineered monstrosities. Which planet did he want to consign the rest of his life to?
Margo tapped her chin in thought. "The supernova planet? Um, I guess that one sounded sort of okay." She studied Alex. "Is that the best choice?"
Everyone watched Alex with respectful intensity. Weptolyso, Kessa, Cherise, the ummins, even Thomas—everyone ... they apparently expected him to make this decision alone.
As if his judgment was flawless. Had they forgotten his mistakes on the planet Umdalkdul? His mother wouldn't have forgotten.
"This decision will lay the foundation for the rest of our lives," Alex said. "All of us." He included Thomas, hoping for some expert-level advice. "We should all have a voice."
No one spoke.
The threat to Earth must be weighing on their minds, or maybe they still had lingering fears of being captured by Torth. Alex understood. He had to keep reminding himself that the battles were over, and he never needed to use his storm powers again.
"Which planet do you recommend, Thomas?" he asked.
"I couldn't care less." Thomas sprawled in his hoverchair, looking bored.
"Really?" Margo said. "It's your future, too."
"I might care if I had a future." Thomas spoke without emotion. "Just make a decision so I can fulfill my promise and bring you all to a place of safety."
He apparently expected his reward for saving them to be death.
It was one more gross injustice, piled upon a heap of them. Thomas had worked harder than anyone else to secure their freedom. He shouldn't be doomed—especially when a treatment existed for his neuromuscular disease.
According to Margo, an extra supply of NAI-12 medicine was stored in a vault in Boston. Maybe they should take a little detour to Earth. And Alex figured he could try healing Thomas on a daily basis. Healing seemed like a good, harmless use of his powers.
"Keep in mind that none of these planets have launchpads," Thomas said. "Once we land, we won't be able to leave unless Alex uses his powers to get us off the planet."
"Does the tropical option have plants we could eat?" Alex asked. "And fish that we can catch with nets?"
"Yup," Thomas said.
It sounded like a world where Alex could stay in control, and never need to use his powers for defense. He imagined himself sun-tanning on an alien beach and—dare he hope?—kissing Margo under a blue sky.
"Maybe that one sounds all right," he said, tentative.
"Is that your final decision?" Thomas asked.
"Wait. Hold on." Margo settled next to Alex, so close that he felt her body heat. "Do you really want to live on the suffocation planet?" she asked in a low voice.
Alex rested his forehead in his hands. "I don't want to use my powers in a combat situation," he admitted. "Not if there's any way to avoid it."
If Margo was disgusted by what must seem like weakness or cowardice to her, she didn't show it. "You had a lot thrown at you," she said. "I don't think you should beat yourself up about it."
She ought to be avoiding him in disgust. Alex met her gaze, and tried to explain what sort of monster he was. "When I lost control, I lost my human perspective. I wasn't Alex Dovanack anymore. I don't think I was even human." He didn't want to see disgust in her eyes, so he looked away. "I can't keep taking risks like that."
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Nowhere Nation [#SFF] Updates every 5 days [#Galactic]Science Fiction
Thomas has a rare mutation. He's dying and he can't walk, but he can absorb a lifetime of knowledge within minutes. Alexander, the Giant, is capable of smashing entire cities. But their enemies are even more capable. Galactic leaders command tril...