24: Recombination (part 5)

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24.7 Power Trip

Alternate One and elsewhere: 22 May 2128

"It won't work," Mila said. "He's already too strong."

She looked at each of the candle-lit faces around the table. Garter huffed visibly at her. She suspected he'd had enough of her insolence. Well, it worked both ways. In her opinion, the man's proposal that they should form a mind pyramid to cage Rick the next time he returned was ludicrous. Her eyes fell upon the sparkle in Alin Yan's expression. He had said nothing so far to indicate where he stood on Garter's idea, but Mila felt he would be an ally.

Hartmann had considered the idea worth trying but was at a loss as to how they could control the young man should they manage to secure him. Charles Moore, on the other hand, looked tired – the washed out expression he wore showed he was reluctant to expend further energy on what he had already deemed to be a fruitless task.

The room shook and Moore's expression turned from exhaustion to pained concentration. At the same time as attending this emergency meeting he was also trying to coordinate the efforts to mitigate the constant tectonic upheavals, especially the Yellowstone build-up. Mila lent her own energies to his, and his mind accepted her support and brushed her own with a short 'thanks'.

"Well, we can't damned well just sit here and wait for everything to fall apart," Garter shouted, as if ignorant of the other battles going on around him.

"Alec," Krista Hartmann said. "Maybe Mila is right. She is the only one who has had the opportunity to fully probe the boy. Trying to cage him would surely negate any hope of procuring his assistance."

The earthquakes subsided as Moore's influence overrode their insistence. Mila watched his face relax and then his eyes opened wide as he stared past her. She felt that same tingle again – the one that she'd already felt twice this night.

She spun around and stared straight into Rick's eyes.

"You, young man. Rick," Garter shouted. "You need to listen to me."

"No, I don't," Rick said, calm against Garter's onslaught. His eyes returned to Mila. "You're the one I need."

Her heart fluttered.

"Maybe you two as well," Rick said, pointing first at Hartmann and then at Yan. Mila's sudden elation evaporated. "Come with me."

Mila felt herself wrenched from the room, her eyes blind to whatever surrounded them. There was a sensation of movement, of being dragged somewhere and then silence. She was blind, though she could sense that Rick was still beside her.

"Can you see it?" Rick asked.

"I can't see anything," she said, though no sound escaped her lips.

"Not a thing." That was Alin Yan's voice in her head.

"Me neither." Hartmann, this time.

"It takes a while. Try now," Rick said.

There was a flash as something seared through all corners of her mind, lighting up all her senses simultaneously. She tried to make out what she was seeing. But she wasn't just seeing with her eyes, this was like seeing with her ears, her tongue and her fingers all at the same time, while touching with her eyes and ears, and hearing with the entire surface of her skin.

She heard gasps from the others and finally saw them, if seeing was the correct term. As she took in all that she could sense around her, she felt a renewed level of energy, back to how it had been when she was a child, before the powers had started to fade.

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