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*This chapter is unedited. Feel free to point out any mistakes!*


"Pain is a tool that forges the weak into hardened iron."

-Devon Young, life after you

Two days previously...

Screams washed through the tarps hung along the walls and bounced against the tall steel beams of the ceiling.

The Doctor tsked, "I told you this would be painful."

On his makeshift workstation table, the girl blubbered. "Please, please, please, I'm sorry. I don't want to do this anymore."

Across from her, Zekiel spun in the leather desk chair next to his silver tool tray station. He rolled his eyes and came to a halt. "Can you stop? My ears are ringing."

The blonde girl, nary older than seventeen, screamed again in pain and fought the restraints on her wrists. Her feet kicked and bounced, looking for purchase. "Please."

The Doctor watched the monitor setup adjacent to the bed. His gaze traced over the green line as it darted faster. "Calm," he said through her screams. "Calm."

He should have given her a sedative. At least then she wouldn't be fighting so hard. He'd been too afraid to add any additional compounds with the new mixture. It was another factor to the equation, one which could mean additional outcomes other than the one wanted.

The patient on his table squeezed her eyes shut and flinched at a new bout of agony. "No, no, no, no, no, please. Please!"

Zekiel had a small green and copper flecked circuit board in his hands which he fiddled with. Sometimes the Doctor wondered if he knew he often absentmindedly had some type of technological piece with him. As if he naturally sought out what he could control as it gave him power in a way society hadn't. "Breathe. It'll be over in a moment.

As the newest mixture made its way through the patient's system, the Doctor spoke, "You're not going to give up now. That's what they want you to do. They want you to believe that getting an ability is out of your control. But it's not."

Zekiel snorted, ""Fight the man" and all that crap. Let yourself be freee."

The Doctor ignored him, "the road to power is not a painless journey."

The patient whimpered as the Doctor watched the monitor. When her heart rate got abnormally high, the machine gave a rapid succession of beats to let him know she was in dangerous territory.

Her pale blonde locks matted to her forehead as she squirmed. "Please, oh please, make it stop."

"The serum is already in your system," Zekiel said, bored. "Not much you can do now but wait."

The Doctor watched with rapt attention for the remainder of the hour as the girl's internals changed. After decades of study, the Doctor had discovered that an ability formed and naturally changed an Ace at a molecular level. Only once the DNA altered itself and reformed did the ability manifest itself.

He'd adjusted the serum to act as a catalyst and kick start the change so that once injected, the Ace's body would make the appropriate adjustments. The blood sample Zekiel had grabbed had the potential to completely solve his biggest problem--sustaining the change--and he had only enough for this one serum.

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