Fear of Power: The Origin of Powerburst




Note: This origin story is rather detailed and in depth(but intriuging and epic ). It was first posted on the pre-release boards before the wipe. The prologue is in two parts, setting up the story, with the real action beginning in Chapter 1. I filled the prologue with a scientific theme and human interaction to keep it interesting until Ch.1. Hope you enjoy it.

Fear of Power

Prologue pt.1

“What are you doing?”


“What are you doing?”

“Oh. Isn’t this incredible? It spins!”

“Yeah, umm, we already know that, that was found out like two years ago.”

“Well, yeah, but it never ceases to be just amazing.”

“Nick, you are just too easily impressed.”

Nick Sullivan had always been that way. As a matter of fact, that’s what got him into science, his boundless curiosity, an interesting contrast to the trademarked cynicism of his younger research partner, Drexel Jones.

At 28 years Nick would’ve easily been the youngest scientist on base if Drex didn’t have him beat by about another 4 years.

“This is by far the strangest thing we’ve ever examined,” Nick said, marveling at the multi-faceted blue orb before him as it spun on one of its points.

“It’s reacting to the laser somehow,” remarked Nick.

“Duh,” Drex snidely replied, looking on as a thin, moderately powered laser was beaming down from the ceiling, acting as the axis for the orb’s spin on the lab table.

Nick and Drex are rather bright scientists, perhaps Drex had more potential but it was Nick that had the most drive, the most dedication, the most desire to unlock the secrets of any puzzle laid before him.

“But how? And why?” Nick wondered.

“Well, you’re not gonna find out the answers by asking it,” stated Drex.

“I know. In fact, I have quite a number of tests I want to perform starting tomorrow,” Nick said with noticeable excitement in his voice. “It seems to respond in different ways to various forms of concentrated energy. With radio waves, it hums. With microwaves, it oscillates. With infrared or heat, it rocks. With light…”

“…it spins,” Drex finished.

“Right, and at different speeds for different wavelengths, or colors,” Nick continued, “I hear this thing was found amidst the debris of a strange ship that was tracked crashing down in Alaska, amongst other items.”

Nick suddenly went back to studying the orb. He was extremely curious to know what was inside it, to find out what made it tick. He pondered over its design, its twenty hexagonal plates, composed of some unknown substance, faceted together in the shape of a jagged sphere. The deep blue metallic surface shimmered and nearly entranced Nick as he examined it.

“That’s enough of that,” Drex said as he snatched the orb from Nick’s gaze and, with one hand, started flicking it up in the air a few times. “Y’know, I bet we could play a nice game of mini-basketball with this thing. All we’d need is one of those hoops and I guess some cushioning on the floor,” Drex joked.

“Hey!” Nick exclaimed, “I was looking at that. For God’s sake, stop playing around with it like that. You’ll…”

“…what? Break it?” Drex interjected, “C’mon, you know that won’t happen. This thing’s been put through enough stress testing to know that it ain’t gonna break just from being dropped.” As Drex was speaking, Nick made a few attempts to snatch back the orb, only to be thwarted by his partner’s quick hands.

Nick, realizing that Drex was right, responded, “Okay, tell you what. If you can get to the wall behind me by getting past me, within 10 seconds, you can keep it for now. If not then I get it back.”

Nick and Drex grinned slyly at each other and Drex accepted, “Alright Big Man. Show me what you got.” Drex took a starting stance and asked, “What are we playing here basketball or football-style?”

“Football-style” Nick replied.

“Weeellll, we are in a competitive mood today, aren’t we?” Drex jibed, somewhat surprised at Nick’s choice.

“I’m gonna need to back up for a running start in that case,” said Drex, as he jogged to the other side of the lab. Drex knew he was a bit too small to barrel through his opponent, so on his approach, with the orb tucked tightly in his arm, he attempted to juke Nick to one side and dash past on the other. However Nick, being somewhat quick-footed himself, was not fooled and latched onto Drex, one arm around his waist and the other pulling his knee inward and back, dropping the wily young scientist to the ground, while trying to break his fall on the hard floor as best he could.

Nick then clasped his hands around the orb and attempted to wrestle it away from his fallen adversary. “Looks like I just took you down a peg or two, you cocky son of a..., whoa?!” his blusterous words were cut short by a sensation he never felt before emanating from the alien artifact. A strange energetic wave shot through him, giving him goosebumps and causing his hair to stand on end.

“Do you feel that?” Nick inquired.

“What?” Drex responded.

The sensation was then gone as suddenly as it came and Nick gently pulled the orb away from a confused looking Drex and looked in awe at the object.

Drex then said, “I didn’t feel anyth…”

“What’s going on in here?!” an angry voice demanded in a somewhat hushed tone.

The two young men, still on the floor, looked up to see a man in his late 50’s, wearing a white lab coat and a rather stern expression on his face, standing at the door.

“Oh. Hi, Dr. Warfield,” Drex said in an innocent tone, “We were just…taking a little morale boosting break. You know what they say about all work and no play…”

“I’m sorry about this Dr. Warfield,” Nick apologized. “It was my idea to goof around. It won’t happen again.” Nick said, as he and Drex picked themselves up off the floor.

“Unacceptable,” said Warfield, “I will not have infantile antics by my so-called scientists performed around…and with…delicate equipment. I hope for your sakes the orb is undamaged.”

“It’s fine,” chimed Drex.

“I demand progress!” snapped Warfield “…and you have made none.”

“Well, we’re in a brainstorming phase right now…” Drex began.

“I don’t want to hear it!” Warfield shouted, cutting him off, “Having you two here due to the interference of this insufferable, ill-conceived Youngblood program is enough of an insult to the careers of long established scientists already, but to top it off with your immature attitudes and behavior and your lack of any kind of useful data to speak of is just too much to bear.”

The Youngblood program was originally developed to cultivate and utilize the creative resources of brilliant young men and women early in their scientific careers. The intent was to allow their fresh minds to theorize and experiment without the preconceived notions forged during a lifetime spent in the scientific community. The hope was that the work produced by their unfettered perspectives would take them in directions that their older counterparts would have never imagined. However, it would seem their current supervisors do not share in the vision of the program.

“Dr. Warfield, honestly, we are making progress,” a worried Nick stated, “We’ve outlined some exciting ideas about the directions we can take this thing into. If you’d just give us time to use our own techniques to explore all the possibilities this object might imply…”

“All the possibilities? You were told to focus your efforts on one possible application, and that is the extraction and channeling of the energies we suspect lie within,” scolded Warfield.

“Channeling,” stated Nick, “This is intended to be used as an…offensive weapon of some kind, isn’t it?”

“Likely, we are working for the military after all, young man,” answered Warfield, “Do you have some kind of problem with that?”

“Uhh, no, it’s just that there’s some evidence that, once fully understood, we could use this as some kind of clean reusable energy source. If we could reproduce these things they could someday power cities, space vehicles, nuclear subs…” rattled Nick, “To limit ourselves to only one option seems a bit…um...short-sighted.”

“That is not your call to make,” observed Warfield, “You will abide by the directives of your supervisors and that is it. Am I understood?”

“Yes, sir,” Nick responded.

“Good. Now clean up this lab. Your shift is almost done,” ordered Warfield.

“Oh, goody. Now we can go grab a beer. How ‘bout it Chester?” Drex asked insincerely.

Warfield sighed. “That's ‘Dr. Warfield’, to you; and most assuredly not. I’ve wasted enough time with you two. I simply must get back to my own work,” said Warfield.

“What are you working on, Dr. Warfield?” inquired Nick.

“That’s on a ‘need to know’ basis,” replied Warfield, “...and you don’t. Good night, gentlemen.” With that Warfield left, shutting the door behind him.”

“There’s something about that guy I like,” mocked Drex, “...I think it’s his shoes.”

“That did not help with gaining any respect from him,” sighed Nick, “We’ll never be taken as serious as the other scientists.”

“Who needs his respect?” questioned Drex, “He’s not the ultimate word on whether we work here or not, and you with your ‘yes, sir’. Y’know you’ve got a real fear of authority figures. You should stand up for what we believe in some more. I mean, you are the senior partner here.”

“I know,” Nick agreed, “It’s just that whenever I’m around someone with any kind of power over me, I sort of freeze up and I just want to make sure I please them. Y’know?”

“Uh, yeah, I guess,” said Drex.

“Daddy issues,” Drex followed with a grin.

That made Nick smile and lightened his mood.

“Now c’mon. Let’s get outta here.” requested Drex.

After the lab was cleaned, the orb was locked away in its special containment unit.

The two young scientists left the lab several minutes later, and the highly secure building, soon after. Blissfully unaware that this would be the last routine night of their top secret careers, for nothing is ever truly routine when you work at a place like Area 51.



After clearing out of the research building, Nick and Drex walked to the officers club to get a few beers before heading home.

“I wanted to tell you about this computer program I’ve been working on,” Nick said.

“No lab talk, Nick,” interrupted Drex, “We came here to unwind.”

Being the workaholic that he was, this made Nick uneasy.

“Now tell me about this girl you met online,” Drex inquired. “Did she send you any pics yet?”

“Well actually, we already knew each other from high school,” Nick explained, “Her name’s Stacy and I saw her on one of those old classmate websites and sent her an e-mail.”

Nick seemed slightly uncomfortable with sharing what was going on in his poor excuse for a personal life, but continued.

“She then sent me an e-mail and we started sending them back and forth. Eventually we started talking on the phone and talked a lot about our senior year, when we started dating, and what a shame it was that we couldn’t continue it because I went away to school,” Nick finished.

“So are you gonna see her again?” Drex inquired curiously, “Where does she live now?”

“She's living in Vegas,” answered Nick, “She’s currently a blackjack dealer but she’s also an aspiring singer. She’s been trying to convince her bosses to let her sing a couple nights a week, no luck yet.”

“Aspiring singer, huh?” said Drex, “Ok, but just tell me she’s cute.”

“Oh she’s cute alright,” replied Nick with a grin.

“Sweeeet, so when are you gonna go pay her a little visit?” asked Drex.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Nick said, “You know how this place is about leave time.”

“Well, well, well,” a voice boomed from behind Nick, “Looks like we got ourselves a couple of eggheads who think they can drink with the officers.”

Nick swiveled around to see who the voice belonged to. He saw a big ox of a man, at 6’4, still in his camouflage uniform looking menacingly upon Nick and Drex. The man was Captain Jacobs, the officer in charge of their area’s Military Police unit.

Drex stood up before the Captain and said, “Well I went over to yo’ mama’s for a drink but she had already cleaned out the whole liquor cabinet.”

Nick’s eyes widened at Drex’s response, as did Jacobs’.

“Hehehe,” Jacobs chuckled, “Good one.” The two men shook hands.

“How’s it goin’ there, Nick?” Jacobs said, extending his hand, “How’s the lab work coming along?”

“Pretty good, Rodney,” Nick responded, shaking his hand, “As well as it can go with Dr. Warfield on a rampage every so often.”

“Oh man, I don’t know how you put up with that old fart,” Rodney questioned, “If he’s such an accomplished scientist, how come he can’t figure out a way to remove that stick up his butt?”

“I think he’s starting to warm up to us, he only threatened to have us kicked out one time today,” joked Drex.

“Well if you ever need help dealing with that old windbag, you just come to ol’ Rodney,” he offered, “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks,” Nick replied.

The next day, Nick arrived at the lab only to see Drex standing by the door with a concerned look on his face. He stepped further in to see the source of Drex’s anxiety. Dr. Warfield was standing by one of the computers at which sat a man dressed in a green suit. The man was bald and in his early-fifties, broad shouldered, almost as big as Rodney, and when he spoke his voice sounded like thunder. He became instantly recognizable to Nick even from the back.

“What, in the name of all that’s holy, is the base commander doing here?” Nick whispered to Drex.

“I think Dr. Warfield had another little chat, concerning us, with General Mason there,” Drex whispered back, “no doubt prompted by last night’s shenanigans. So he’s decided to have a little spot inspection of our work so far. Yay.”

“Sullivan,” Dr. Warfield called out upon noticing him.

Gen. Mason immediately swiveled around to lock eyes with the senior of the two research partners. Drex observed that Nick became noticeably tenser as the eyes of their two bosses gazed upon him. Drex imagined that if Nick had a fear of authority before then right now he must be ready to vomit. As a matter of fact, Drex himself was surprised at his own overwhelming nervousness.

“Dr. Sullivan,” greeted Mason in his booming voice, “Do tell me, what have you been up to here?”

“Excuse me?” a confused Nick asked.

“No, excuse me,” Mason shot back, “I didn’t realize we’d come under that new innovative method of research, where everybody just does their own thing and answers to no one. Far be it from me to hinder your sensitive creative juices with my directives.”

“...I’m s-sorry, sir,” stammered Nick, “What is it exactly that you h...”

“Y’know, when this Youngblood program was first handed down from the Pentagon; I saw it as a minor pain in the neck. I figured it was just another of those goofy ideas that those think-tank einsteins like to cook up to keep themselves on the payroll,” Mason explained, “Hell, I even gave it a chance. When Warfield’s other scientists came to a dead-end with this thing, I figured 'what the hell', let these young boys have a crack at it. So, I had most of those geniuses re-assigned to less enjoyable assignments and here you two stand...AS A TOTAL WASTE OF MY TIME AND RESOURCES!”

With that, Nick turned white as a ghost with Drex not looking much better. Warfield stood back, keeping out of it with a sick smirk on his face.

“Now you two little punks listen to me!” commanded Mason, “When I tell you to move your research in a particular direction, I expect it to be done. Crazy, huh?”

“Y’see, Area 51 is not like other bases,” Mason continued, calming down a bit, “You’ve got Army, Air Force, scientists, and a few other groups all mixed together on a mythical place that’s not supposed to exist, and you know what keeps all of these flowing forces working together?...Me. And if this base doesn’t keep moving in a productive direction, I tend to get a little cranky.”

Nick and Drex stood there dumbstruck as the General went on with his rant.

“Now I wanted a way to be found, to see if this object could be utilized toward a specific function,” Mason continued, “Yet when I went through your files and notes all I saw were all sorts of fanciful notions and experiments pertaining toward..um..the nature of its energies, power applications, underwater properties,...its effect on plant growth?…All kinds of useless crap. What I don’t see is one shred of evidence that you boys were trying to obtain what I asked for: the extraction and channeling of the immense energies that may be inside.”

“I don’t think these two boys are quite ready to take the reigns of their own assignments, General,” Warfield chimed in, “Perhaps they’d be better suited back where they were;..um..cataloging radiation levels of debris fragments, I believe.”

“Oh, Jeez,” said Drex under his breath, echoing the sentiments of Nick.

“My thoughts exactly, Dr. Warfield,” replied the General, “I’ll just have to tell the Pentagon to shove their program. As of tomorrow, you boys are off the orb research, I expect a full wrap-up report of all your data and your theories, as if I gave a sweet Jesus what they are. Have it on my desk by the end of your shift.”

“Nick, say something,” Drex whispered to Nick in desperation.

“Uhh..,” attempted Nick.

“And then report to Capt. Jacobs. I’ll have him ready to have your security levels lowered,” ordered Mason.

“General, th-there’s actually one more experiment I really wanted to accomplish…,” Nick finally said.

“No more experiments,” Mason interrupted, in near disbelief at the request, “Wrap it up. It’s over. Have everything ready for the next team to take over. Dr. Warfield, I trust you won’t let me down this time.”

“Actually, sir, I plan to take over this research personally,” Warfield responded, “My research on our other…item of interest, has reached a stopping point. I plan on exploring the connections between the two.”

“Uhh...yes, that’s fine,” said Mason.

Nick so desperately wanted to plead his case to his superiors but felt completely helpless to their whims. Drex was just seething with anger over the whole situation, and not wanting to step on the toes of his senior partner by arguing for him.

“Well boys, what can I say; it’s just not you time,” concluded Mason, “Have a nice day.”

General Mason then left the room, taking with him his intimidating presence and Dr. Warfield. The last thing they saw was the look of smug satisfaction of the wrinkled face of the Doctor, as he looked back at the two one last time before the door shut behind him.

“This sucks!” shouted Drex, “Who do they think they are?”

“Our bosses,” replied Nick, answering his rhetorical question, “There’s nothing we can do about this.”

“We have to try,” pleaded Drex, “Let’s go to his office after he’s calmed down a bit. I’ll back you up.”

“No,” said Nick, “Let’s just let it go.”

“Fine,” sighed Drex, “But I sure ain’t happy about going back to cataloging debris. That’s so boring! This was supposed to be our big break.”

“I know. I’m sorry,” said Nick, grimly.

Later that night, Drex was finishing up packing the personal items from his desk, while Nick was still going through computer files.

“C’mon man,” Drex called out, “Quit messin’ around and finish packing, we’ve only got 20 minutes till end of shift.”

“Yeah,” responded Nick, “I was just going through this computer program I put together. This could have been it. This could have been the means by which we finally convinced this orb to show us its secrets.”

“Huh?” Drex asked, “Oh, yeah. You mentioned something about that. What is it?”

“Well, we know that the orb responds in different ways to different forms of energy,” Drex began, “But is it possible that there may be some combination of energies or energy patterns that could trigger it into its originally designed function, its purpose? What this program does, is it will control all of the functions of our multiple energy inputs, at the same time, taking constant readings of the orb’s energy output. The program will alter its standard pattern of inputs until it finds a higher energy output pattern and therefore defines a new, better standard of inputs and continues onwards from there in the same manner, repeatedly. So each time the program finds a good combination it immediately starts looking for a better one, a higher one, one that the orb really likes.”

“Do you think the orb is transforming the input energies into its outputs?” Drex wondered.

“No,” Nick answered, “the output energies are often higher than the inputs. I think the orb is responding to our energies as though it’s looking for a trigger, some pre-designed pattern. I believe that once we give it that, it will show us…whatever it’s gonna show us, perhaps the nature of its true energy source.”

“So what you’d be proposing is, in effect, to prompt this thing to jump to a higher energy state, kinda like an electron?” Drex summed up.

“Exactly,” Nick confirmed, “Unfortunately, we’ll never get that chance now. I guess I’ll just have to leave it for...*sigh*...Warfield, when he takes over.”

“Seems a shame,” Drex stated, with a look of concern, “I mean, this was your baby. To me, it was just another toy, but I could tell how much you really wanted this. Sorry, dude.”

Nick looked up at Drex and said bluntly, “Sometimes forces just align against you and there’s nothing you can do.”

Nick wondered if there was a way this could have been avoided. Was it there immature behavior, their lack of valuable findings, or were Warfield and Mason never going to give them a real chance regardless?

He then glanced over to the orb sitting in its containment unit. He thought back to yesterday and that bizarre feeling that briefly emanated from it. Nick couldn’t stop thinking about it, since then. It was almost as if, in that moment, it formed a strange sort of connection with him and it pained him to think that this would be the last time he would ever see it.

Nick suddenly became entranced by the deep blue geometric orb, lost, not in thought but in feeling. Lost in the feeling of wonderment, excitement, and fulfillment, of what could have been, the possibilities of, metaphorically, cracking that thing wide open. Nick was lost in the question of ‘what are you?’.

“Nick!” Drex yelled, snapping his fingers.

Nick snapped out of his trance, looked plainly at Drex, and said, “I’m goin’ for it.”



There comes a time in every person’s life when they must take a daring risk to realize their dreams and dive head-first into what they believe in. For physicist, Nick Sullivan, that time was now.

For months now, Nick and his junior research partner, Drexel Jones, had been studying a mysterious blue orb retrieved from a crashed alien ship. Nick was fascinated by it and was close to discovering its true purpose. Unfortunately, their research project had just been terminated by the combined influences of their stern supervisor and the intimidating base commander of Area 51. Nick, however, was not about to give up so easily.

“What?” Drex asked, “What do you mean you’re going for it?”

“I have to unlock that orb,” Nick said, “I have to know.”

Nick got up and quickly started gathering the equipment he needed.

“I need to utilize every form of energy that can be thought of, including cosmic rays.”

“Cosmic rays? Nick, we can’t produce that kind of energy here. The only way we can produce cosmic rays on this base is through the...particle accelerator.” Drex informed, realizing Nick’s plan by the time he finished his sentence with ‘particle accelerator’.

“Oh, no. Nick, we don’t even have access to that level.”

“Just let me worry about that,” Nick requested.

“What you’re suggesting; it’s crazy,” Drex advised, visibly concerned.

“You’re the one who’s always saying I should take risks,” Nick pointed out.

“Well, yes, but not like this,” expressed Drex, “The General would have us drummed out of here quicker than you could blink, or he could do worse to us.”

“No, not ‘us’, Drex...‘me’. I don’t want to involve anyone I don’t have to. I appreciate all you’ve done with me up to this point, but we don’t both have to risk our scientific careers. Don’t worry. If the Nobel prize committee comes knocking I’ll make sure to give you credit.” Nick joked.

“Nick, please,” begged Drex.

“You can’t talk me out of this Drex. Just wish me luck”

“*Sigh*...good luck, Nick.”


Nick took the elevator to the main floor and made his way to the only man who’d be able to grant him the access he needed.

“Rodney, I need to speak with you,” Nick requested.

“Yeah, I know, Nick,” Rodney acknowledged “General Mason told me about his decision. Doesn’t seem right to me. I’m sorry I’ve got to play a negative part in this.”

“Um, yeah, about that...” Nick began.


“Well, before you transfer my security clearances out of this area, I’ve got to ask you a favor,” Nick said with unease.

“I don’t like the sound of this,” stated Rodney with suspicion.

“I need access to the particle accelerator for a little bit,” Nick requested.

“What?!” Rodney exclaimed.

“Just for an hour, that’s all I should need.”

“No, no way, Nick. I’m supposed to be lowering your security levels not giving you more access,” refused Rodney.

“And you can do that right after I’m done,” pleaded Nick.

“Do you have any idea what you’re asking for? The General, himself, gave me these orders,” Rodney warned, “If he found out I didn’t follow through when I was supposed to, we’d both be in a world of hurt.”

“Rodney please what I’m asking for, it means everything to me. It concerns what me and Drex have been working on the past few months. It’s of earth-shattering importance. The General and Warfield, they won’t even hear me out.”

“Oh Jeez, don’t put me in this position, man,” Rodney pleaded.

“You can even be there with me, every step of the way, to watch over my work and keep me out of trouble, if that makes you feel better about it,” offered Nick, “I know what I’m doing.”

Rodney merely let out a sigh.

Nick continued, “What I’m trying to discover with that thing, it represents my life and the ultimate goal of why I became a scientist. If I don’t do this I’m always going to regret it. Rodney, please.”

Rodney sat silent for a moment. That moment seemed liked an eternity for Nick.

“You have one hour,” Rodney said.

Nick grinned from ear to ear.

“But if I see this getting out of hand in any way,” Rodney stated, pointing a finger at Nick, “I’ll call this whole thing off and pull you out of there.”

“I understand.”

After assigning a sergeant to run the comm area, Rodney proceeded with Nick down the corridor and entered an elevator. As the elevator doors shut, Rodney remarked, “Y’know you really are a pain in the a--”

Nick chuckled.

After a brief stop to retrieve the orb, and the equipment Nick had gathered, Rodney entered his keycard and engaged in a retinal scan. The elevator then proceeded to sub-basement 5, where the main operating center for the particle accelerator was located.

As they walked down the hall toward the accelerator, Nick took the orb in his hand. He once again admired its shape. It was beautiful geometry, twenty interlocking hexagons of a deep blue metallic hue, in the form of a jagged sphere.

He couldn’t wait. As they made their way, Nick’s heart began to thump. He could barely contain his excitement. And then he felt it; the same waves of energy coming off the orb as yesterday, not as intense, but still there. It was as if the orb was alive and calling out to him, begging him to proceed.

Nick and Rodney entered a large room with rows of computer equipment lining the walls. The accelerator itself was massive. In its entirety, it was a circular structure composed of a length of copper tubing that ran underground, beneath the base.

“Nick, are you sure you can operate this thing by yourself?”

“Uhh, yeah, I used to be an assistant down here, I’m pretty sure I can let this thing go automated, for my needs. It’s a pretty advanced accelerator,...as accelerators go,” Nick stated, apprehensively.

“I just have to make some preparations,” Nick informed, “It should take me about twenty minutes.”

When Nick was through running up the accelerator, he loaded up his special computer program and set the stage for his experiment.

He was inside a sizeable chamber. Lead-lined glass enclosed its front half, with a concrete wall at its back. Nick had hooked up all sorts of energy producing devices around the orb which sat at the center, on the ground. There was something almost ritualistic about what he was about to perform.

Nick stepped out, and then closed and sealed the chamber. A few more computer adjustments, and he was finally ready. Butterflies were about to burst forth out of his stomach.

He looked at Rodney with a raised eyebrow and said, “It’s go time.”

Rodney gave him a simple nod, giving him the ok to proceed.

Nick first applied to the orb electromagnetic energy. To which the orb responded by levitating, as it always had in the past. He then applied all manner of other energy; from heat, to light, from radio waves, to gamma rays.

It was shot with a stream of electricity. The artifact acted as a perfect ground. Nick applied sound waves to represent kinetic energy. He even brought along a gravity producing device also scavenged from alien technology. He had been given permission to use it for his experiments a few weeks ago. He was putting it to good use now.

As Nick was applying these energies to the enigmatic object, he and Rodney watched as it began to vibrate, spin, and orbit. The computer program calculated its movements and kept the energy producing devices locked onto their roaming target.

It was now time to apply the last form of energy that Nick felt was needed. He opened up a path from the accelerator to bring forth the cosmic rays.

At that point, the orb really started to go. Nick and Rodney watched in awe as a blue blur went about in a spherical orbit within the chamber. It was much as one would imagine an electron orbiting an atom.

Nick then began the final phase. He executed the part of his personally designed program that would begin to look for a pattern. The program altered the frequencies and amplitudes of their input energies and looked for a higher output pattern from the orb as it responded.

“It’s working!” Nick exclaimed, “The energy I’m reading from the orb is slowly increasing.

The two stood witness as the orb steadily accelerated around its orbit. The orb itself was no longer visible but a complete blur, although Nick could swear that the object was beginning to glow. One thing was unmistakable; whatever this thing’s true purpose was, it certainly wanted to be in motion.

Next, Chapter 2: Breakthrough



Suddenly, Rodney’s radio squawked, “Hawkeye 4 / Comm 4”

Rodney answered, “This is Hawkeye 4, go ahead”

“You’ve got an urgent phone call waiting for you up here.”

“I’m kind of busy right now,” Rodney responded.

“You’re gonna want to take this. It’s the commander. He doesn’t sound happy.”

“Sh**!” cursed Rodney, to himself. He thought a moment, looked at Nick, and then lifted the radio back up to say, “I’ll be right there.”


“Rodney, I can’t stop now,” Nick begged, “I’m so close.”

“Alright, stay here!” Rodney commanded, noticeably shaken, “I’ll be right back.”

Nick was concerned about the commander but he wasn’t about to turn back now. For the first time in his memory, there was a force within Nick that was more powerful than the fears that held him back. Neither Dr. Warfield nor General Mason, would scare him away from this. For once, Nick had overcome his fear of power with his thirst for knowledge, and that gave him a sense of power, and it felt exhilarating.

As Rodney darted back up to the main floor, Nick continued to observe and hope against hope as the alien artifact climbed level after level in power. It whipped faster and faster around its orbit. He wondered if perhaps some sort of ‘Star Wars’ styled holographic message would appear to him as he reached the end, but what Nick wanted most was the knowledge of something that would allow him to change the world.

Rodney picked up the phone and said, “This is Captain Jacobs.”

“Capt. Jacobs, it’s about time,” said Mason, “I was going over the files of Doctors Sullivan and Jones and I see that their security levels have yet to be lowered. Why is that?”

“Well, uh, I was just about to get to that, sir” Rodney fibbed, “Packing up took a little longer than they expected.”

“Really?” Mason asked, “Well are they there? I’d like to have a word with them.”

Rodney happened to spy Drex anxiously waiting about the front doors for Nick to finish performing his experiment and come out.

“Drex!” Rodney called out, covering the receiver, “It’s the General. Keep him busy till I can get up here with Nick.”

After a worried look of exasperation, Drex agreed and took the phone.

“Something is wrong,” thought Nick.

After steadily climbing up in energy levels, the orb had suddenly peaked. The program could no longer find a pattern that would raise its output anymore. Nick wondered if there was some form of energy that was needed but left out. Perhaps it could even be some form of energy that the human race had yet to discover, a sort of failsafe to keep out those not ready. Nick was started to feel frustrated in his moment of discovery.

Nick stared at the illusion of the larger sphere that the orb had created in the blur of its orbit. Once again, he began to be entranced. It called out to him stronger than ever now.

With a somewhat blank expression on his face, Nick went to another terminal and began overriding the safety protocols on the chamber. He then walked over to the door of the chamber and unsealed it. Before opening the door, he stopped and thought of the radiations inside.

Nick thought to himself, “This is suicide.”

Again he looked to the artifact, raised over 6 feet in the air, twirling at the height of its energies. With a connection to Nick that could not be explained, the orb seemed to speak to his mind. It almost seemed to say, “Trust me. No harm will come to you.”

With that, Nick opened the door and immediately felt waves of heat pass over him but they did not hurt.

“Jones, what’s going on!” Mason shouted, “I wanted you two cleared out of that building an hour ago and where’s that report I ordered you to have on my desk?!”

“Sir, we’ve hit a few...snags,” Drex explained, “We’re gonna need a few more minutes.”

“Unacceptable!” Mason barked, “Now you listen to me you little snot. You and your buddy are so on your way out of here. You won’t be able to find jobs at research facilities as janitors, once I’m through with you two. And where is your senior partner? Put Sullivan on the line!”

Nick approached the orb.

“This is it,” he thought, “Time to take that leap into the unknown and have it become known.”

Rodney began to race down the long corridor of sub-basement 5, cursing the expanse of the place.

As Nick inched closer, the orbit of the orb shrunk toward its center, granting Nick accessibility. Nick raised his hand up to prepare to touch the glowing blue orb.

“Wait...,” said Mason, accessing his computer, looking for answers, “Why is the particle accelerator running! That level is supposed to be locked down for the month! Jones, I want to know what the hell's going on right now!”

Drex desperately struggled to come up with an excuse, “There’s, uh, been some...unexpected developments...breakthroughs, really. I...uh”

Nick was now directly beneath the orb. His outstretched fingers just inches from the, now humming, object.

Nick knew what was missing. He knew what the last form of energy was that was needed to unlock the mystery of the orb:

Conscious will.

Nick touched the orb. Contact.

Immediately, the brightest light appeared at the seams of the hexagons, as the hexagons themselves began to separate. Those twenty facets then began to spin individually and swept outward, suddenly. Some even passed through Nick, though harmlessly.

Nick was left in contact with the most beautiful blue and white light source, which seemed to consist of pure energy. It was the most incredible thing he ever felt, almost like...being in love.

Then, without warning, the spark of energy shot down his arm and into the center of his body.

The energy then seemed to say, “I’m sorry.”

Before Nick could wonder why, his body was wracked with enormous pain. It was excruciating.

Nick’s body convulsed and his head shot back.

“AAAAAAHHHHHH!” Nick screamed.

As Rodney rushed into the room, he was momentarily blinded by a bright flash of light, and a second later, knocked off his feet completely.

A powerful EMP shot through the complex. Lights, phone lines, computers, generators, even the particle accelerator, all knocked offline. A rumble was sent throughout the base.

“Jones!” Mason roared, at the lost connection, “JOOOONNEESS!”

Drex wouldn’t have answered him anyway. He had already dropped the phone and dropped to his knees in shock and horror over the thought of what just happened.

At that point, Nick believed he was blacking out, as he found himself repeatedly ‘coming to’ at different spots in the chamber and then in other parts of the room.

Finally, with Nick’s body pushed beyond the breaking point, he stopped, and passed out in the darkness.

Next, Chapter 3: Repercussions



His eyes slowly opened. A white ceiling focused into view.

“What happened?” Nick asked himself.

He continued to lay and allowed his recent memories to come flooding back to him.

“Oh, yeah.”

Nick’s head throbbed a bit. He attempted to touch his hand to his head but found his right arm constrained. Unaware of the chaos that half the base was thrown into, he was quite shocked to find himself handcuffed to a bed.

“This isn’t good,” Nick understated.

Nick took a look around the room, noticing its white and sterile appearance.

“I’m in the medical center,” he figured.

A medical doctor entered the room. Nick also caught a glimpse of an MP standing guard outside the door.

“Good, your up,” the doctor said, “Well you seem to be fine. I believe you just passed out due to exhaustion. When the MP’s brought you in here they really gave me no clue as to what might have happened to you, but your clothes were in tatters.”

“It’s all kind of a blur.”

“Well, you seem to have recouped quite well,” the doctor informed, “I see no reason why you can’t return home.”

“Well there is one reason,” Nick glanced down at the handcuffs.

“Ah, yes,” acknowledged the doctor. He seemed to know better than to inquire into such things on a base where classified matters are the norm.

“I’ll let the MP’s know about your improved condition,” the doctor said, “And try not to push yourself so hard in the future.”

Two MP’s entered the room and unlocked Nick’s cuffs.

“We’re to escort you to General Mason’s office,” one of the MP’s said sternly.

“Great. Don’t I even get a last meal,” Nick quipped.

Nick felt conspicuous walking across base with two MP’s directly behind him. Physically, he felt awesome, rejuvenated despite what just happened.

“How long was I out anyway,” Nick asked.

“About 20 hours. Capt. Jacobs found you unconscious,” answered the soldier, “No more talking.”

The MP seemed upset about something. They finally arrived at Mason’s office. He wasn’t there, so Nick just had a seat and the MP’s waited outside the door.

After a few minutes, the General arrived. Nick could practically feel his presence behind him. Whatever empowered feelings Nick still had from the night before, were now quickly fading. As soon as Mason walked into view, Nick caught view of his intense persistent glare. Nick couldn’t maintain eye-contact with that and was forced to look away. Gen. Mason took a seat at his desk, with his hardened gaze still fixed upon Nick. He might have preferred the General’s ranting and screaming to cold dead silence he was experiencing.

“Well, I see you’ve recovered from last night’s incident,” Mason finally stated, though coldly, “Good. I certainly hope you had fun. I know I did, slamming into every piece of furniture in my office as I scrambled for a flashlight. Do you even realize how much money you’ve cost this base in stop-time, all the flying missions cancelled, all the data lost, the systems damaged?”

“The base blacked out?” Nick asked with surprise.

“It was more than a blackout. They said it was an electro-magnetic pulse. It took out almost half the base, and it would have been all of it had that level not been so heavily fortified underground,” Mason sternly informed, “Capt. Jacobs said the shockwave threw him to the ground before he could get to you.”

“Is he ok?” inquired Nick.

“He is for now,” replied Mason “I don’t know how well he’ll be doing once he’s court-martialed, however.”


“Oh yes,” Mason responded, “I deemed that he committed a severe security violation.”

“Wait a minute!” Nick exclaimed, “We weren’t trying to steal anything or commit sabotage.”

“Oh, but you’ve done both.”

Mason opened one of his drawers and pulled the blue orb out. He then slammed it on the desk.

“I hope you like my new paperweight because that’s all its good for now.”

Nick gave a quizzical look.

“It’s no longer responsive to anything we do. It’s a dead piece of crap. Useless!” The General suddenly shouted, “This was supposed to be my ticket out of here. If I could have used it somehow to produce some kind of incredible weapon for my superiors, that would have gotten me out of here, for sure. It would’ve gotten me my fourth star and a visible job in the Pentagon. I can now say goodbye to that. Thank you.”

Nick attempted to apologize, “I’m sorry. I...”

“Area 51 is a joke. ‘The most famous secret base in the world’ they call it. They’re talking about shutting this place down, dispersing our projects elsewhere, and this incident will only hasten its demise. I can see the writing on the wall. This place is going down and it’s going to take me down with it,” Mason stated, staring into space blankly, then redirecting his gaze upon Nick, “And it’s all thanks to people like you, people who can’t keep their damned curiosity in check and let people like me do what’s best for them.”

“I didn’t mean to…” Nick attempted.

“Of course you didn’t. What you were trying to accomplish, was just oh so much more important than anything I had to say,” Mason continued on, sarcastically, “After all you’re the brilliant scientist. There’s no way a big dumb Army guy like me would ‘get it’. Huh? You think you’re above me.”

“It’s not like that, General. I just...”

“You see, Sullivan, what you’ve stolen is my chance to escape from this place, where barely anyone knows I exist. You’ve stolen my chance to make it all the way to the top. And in so doing, what you’ve sabotaged is the hopes and dreams and careers of you and your friends,” Mason cruelly continued, “I am going to make you pay.”

Chills began to run up Nick’s spine as he realized the extent of the boiling hatred bubbling within the General.

“I thought about trying to have you charged and thrown in prison. But why would I do that when you’re already in a prison, one in which I’m the warden,” The General smugly stated, “So here’s what’s gonna happen. While you help get the energy research complex back up and running, I’m going to think of the most fun and interesting tasks that I can put to a couple of hard-working scientists such as yourselves.”

“Wait. Drex...Dr. Jones he wasn’t involved in this. He didn’t do anything wrong,” Nick pleaded, “There’s no need...”

“Oh he knew! He knew what you were up to and he did nothing to have you stopped. He even covered for you. He’s no innocent in this,” claimed Mason, “The two of you are at the top of my sh** list”

“And don’t even think about trying to quit. Due to the top-secret nature of this base, I can have your requests for release tied up in so much bureaucratic red tape you’ll be here till you’re old and grey while they figure out what to do with you,” Mason threatened, “You are mine.”

Nick began to get a sick feeling in his stomach as he anticipated the pit of despair that he and Drex were about to be thrown into.

“Now go back to that building of yours and help fix the mess you made of it, you and your buddy,” The General ordered.

Nick returned to the energy research complex and assisted technicians in getting the computer systems back online and generators back to operating at top efficiency. Luckily, many of Area 51’s systems were designed to resist the damaging effects of EMP’s, to a point. However, it would be weeks before the complex would be operating as it once was. Many of the researchers heard that Nick was somehow responsible for this. He got a few dirty looks from those that had valuable data irretrievably lost to the EMP.

Nick bumped into Drex midway through the work. He had been avoiding Drex because he was unsure how he would react to him due to the repercussions.

“Nick, hey. Are you ok dude?” asked Drex with a look of concern.

“Yeah, I’m fine, but it doesn’t look good for either of us as far as Mason goes,” Nick warned, “I’m so sorry I got you caught up in this Drex.”

“Look man, I’m not gonna pretend I understand why you needed to go to the extremes that you did but we’re in this together,” assured Drex, “We’ll fix this eventually. It’ll get better.”

“It’s worse than you think, I mean, Mason said he was going to have Rodney court-martialed.”

“Rodney? Court-martialed?! Are you serious?” a shocked Drex asked, “That’s way too harsh. What is Mason’s problem?!”

“I made a big mess of everyone’s lives all because of my selfish curiosity,” Nick stated glumly, “Why did I let it push me this far?”

“I can’t tell ya’ how to handle this thing with Rodney,” Drex said, “Don’t know if we’ll even get to see him again. But he’s tough, a survivor like us. He’ll land on his feet. I’m sure of it.”

“I’ve got to make things right with him…and you too, somehow.”

“We’ll worry about this stuff later,” Drex replied, “Right now I’ve got to get back to what I was doin’. Our slackin’ days are over for a while, I’ll tell ya’ that much. See ya’ later, Nick.”

Later that night, Nick again got in touch with his old high school sweetheart, Stacy…

“It sounds really complicated,” Stacy consoled, “We all mess up bad a few times in our lives.”

“Not like this,” Nick said.

“You have a good heart, Nick you didn’t mean for this to happen and it sounds like you and your friends are being punished a little too severely.”

“Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know,” Nick strained, “But I’d much rather take the brunt of any punishment than to have my friends also suffer because of what I did.”

“I wish you could tell me what happened, exactly. But I know; classified military stuff. I don’t even know where you are,” stated Stacy, “Although, I admit the mystery has been kind of exciting.”

“Yeah, well my life’s become a little bit too exciting lately,” added Nick.

“Y’know I saw your father last night,” Stacy mentioned, “He walked right by my blackjack table. I don’t think he saw me. Doubt he’d even remember me.”

“That might be a good thing,” Nick replied, uncomfortable with the subject, “If you see him again don’t go striking up a conversation with him, especially about me.”

“Right,” Stacy agreed, “It’s too bad you don’t expect to be coming out anytime soon. I’d really like to see you again Nick.”

“It doesn’t look like I’ll be granted leave time anytime soon,” Nick informed, “I’ll be lucky if I’m granted sleep time.”

“Well, whenever you need me, I’ll be here for you and if you ever do get a chance to visit, feel free to drop by,” said Stacy.


The next day, Nick and Drex arrived at the biological research complex. They prepared themselves for the first, in what was to be a long list of unpleasant assignments handed down to the young scientists from the base commander.

“Why are we even here? We’re physicists, not biologists,” Drex questioned.

“I don’t think that matters to General Mason, Drex,” Nick replied, “I don’t think our specialized skills are going to be put to much use with what he has in mind for us.”

Once reporting to the security office, they received their rather high clearances for the complex, and wondered, after all that’s happened, why they would be granted such a thing. They then made their way through the unfamiliar building. After traveling down to sub-basement 4, they traversed the more sterile corridors of this complex until they reached the office to which they were told to report. Upon opening the door, they were unexpectedly greeted by a most unpleasant sight, General Mason himself.

“Hello boys, are you ready for the fun to start?”

Next, Chapter 4: Punishment



Nick and Drex thought they’d be receiving assignments from the General indirectly, but no. There, before them, stood the man who made perfectly clear that he was out to make the lives of those two young scientists completely miserable.

General Mason was none too pleased when he found out that Nick decided to take it upon himself to solve the mystery of the blue orb which was found within an alien ship that crashed to the Earth a few years ago. Nick’s tampering had robbed Mason of a potentially powerful weapon that he could have used to propel his military career. Now, Mason was in the mood for some payback.

“I hope you boys have strong stomachs,” Mason bellowed, “You’re gonna need ‘em. This here is Dr. Weber. He’ll be your new supervisor for the time being. Doctor.”

“Ah yes,” Weber spoke, “What you two will be doing is assisting in the feeding and cleaning of a few specimens we have here, as well as their...waste disposal.”

“That’s what we’re gonna be doing?” Drex questioned, “Cleaning cages?”

“Oh it gets much better than that, Jones,” Mason replied, with a smirk, “Now go put that gear on.” Mason was pointing over to a couple piles of sterile looking clothes wrapped in plastic.

Nick and Drex suited up in identical sets of white jumpsuits with boots, gloves, and mouth filter masks.

“I feel like an exterminator,” expressed Nick, glumly.

“That’s beautiful,” Mason stated, conveying his joy at the ridiculous sight of the demeaned physicists, “And you might as well get used to it. You’ll be doing this for a while.”

Dr. Weber directed the two to their feeding and cleaning supplies.

“I’ll be back a little later,” Mason promised, “when the show gets good.” Mason then proceeded out of the office.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Drex wondered angrily.

“No point in worrying about it,” said Nick, “We’ll just handle it when it comes.”

Dr. Weber proceeded to explain what exactly they had down here. “You see, young men, whenever a vessel, not of this world, happens to crash down on American soil, what is scavenged from it invariably ends up coming to Area 51, as I’m sure the two of you already know. Now, what are brought here are any surviving biological specimens that may have been found aboard, even creatures cloned from the remains of tissue samples. Very interesting. These are the creatures to which you’ll now be caring for.”

“Freaky,” Drex said.

“This can’t be all bad if we get to see some exotic life from other planets,” Nick assumed.

Nick and Drex spent the next few hours tending to the needs of some rather strange small-sized creatures. Nick’s wonder changed to frustration as he found himself continuously snapped and scratched at by the more vicious of the creatures.

“Having problems?” Drex asked Nick.

“See that thing over there that looks like a cross between a snapping turtle and a small gator?” Nick pointed at the scaly creature, “It bit into my finger. I hope we don’t catch anything weird from these things.”

“You needn’t worry about contracting any strange diseases,” Weber assured, “All of the creatures in this lab have been thoroughly screened.”

“It still sucks,” Nick said to Drex.

“Now that the two of you have become accustomed to your tasks, we can start you the most important one,” Weber informed.

“Here it comes,” anticipated Drex.

“Follow me,” Weber ordered.

They traveled to the other side of the level where they were brought inside a room which was connected to another room with glass walls.

“In there is our largest and most dangerous creature,” informed Weber, “Don’t worry. It’s safely secure to an examining table right now. It was captured in Nebraska after an intense meteor shower a couple weeks ago. Your job is to thoroughly clean its cell.

“Nice,” Drex said simply, surveying the appearance of the inside of its glassed cell.

They entered a small intermediate area between the lab, in which Dr. Weber remained, and the creature’s cell. Once they were at the door of the cell, Nick nervously opened it. As soon as he had done so, a wave of the most disgusting stench hit the faces of Nick and Drex. Even through the filter masks, it was plain to smell. Nausea nearly overcame the two of them and it became clear why Gen. Mason chose this as their punishment.

“Oh God, it’s horrible,” Nick pronounced.

“C’mon man, we’re tough,” rallied Drex, “This ain’t gonna break us.”

Nick and Drex stepped in and immediately went to grab the shovels to get this over with, as they did they took a look at the creature strapped to the table. The color of its skin was nearly black with a tinge of purple and it was slimy and scaly. It had four arms rather than two and they were a bit longer than a human’s with three fingers on each hand which were long enough to be considered small tentacles. But its most distinguishing feature was its jaw which was enormous. It was only slightly smaller than the inner tube of a tire and was much larger than the rest of its head. The creature was secured to the table by metal straps one for each arm and leg. It was apparently unconscious, though it stirred from time to time.

They also noticed an observation window, opposite of the side they entered, looking into another lab. There were about four scientists observing the creature and its readings on their monitors.

After turning away from the creature and the window, Nick and Drex went about shoveling the creature’s feces that was strewn about the cell, into bags. It was only a few minutes into this that they noticed the door on the other side of the observation room opened and in walked General Mason. He was intent on seeing the suffering of these two young scientists. He walked right up to the glass that separated the two rooms and watched.

It was unfortunate for Nick that he was at the breaking point of his tolerance. He couldn’t take the smell any longer. The creature, itself, probably smelled bad enough on its own, but combine that with the stench of its waste products and it was unbearable. Nick suddenly pulled his face mask down and vomited.

The General chuckled with a twisted smile on his face.

“Nick, why don’t you step outside for awhile and get some air?” Drex asked with concern for his friend.

“No I’m fine,” Nick replied, “I’m not going to give him the satisfaction of that too.”

After a few minutes someone else entered the cell. This person got to wear a sealed oxygenated suit with a helmet-type headpiece.

“How come we didn’t get one of those suits?” Drex questioned.

The man in the suit walked up to the alien and pulled out some kind of long syringe. He held it up and tapped it a few times.

At that moment the creature appeared to notice him through its haze. It began thrashing around wildly. The man attempted to inject something into it but the creature suddenly broke free of the restraint of that one arm. It then grabbed the syringe from the man with its three-tentacled hand. The man in the suit attempted to grab the syringe back and restrain the arm but the creature quickly impaled the man’s chest with it.

The man let out a piercing scream, “Yeeargh!”

By now, the attention of Nick, Drex, and everyone in the observation room had been turned to what was happening. A long automated device was lowered from the ceiling. It appeared to be some sort of tazer. The creature was immediately aware of it as if it had been familiarized to it before. Before the tazer could make contact, the creature grabbed hold around its shaft and ripped it down from the ceiling. It then applied the charged device onto the shackle of the opposite arm to which it responded by flinging open.

“What was that?!” asked one of the researchers in the room, “It’s never displayed that kind of intelligence before.”

The researchers in the observation room were in a panic except for the General who just seemed transfixed on the event occurring within the cell. The creature quickly used the strength of its free arms to break the remaining arm straps.

Nick and Drex were already at door at this point, but in the time it took them to punch the door’s code, the alien had ripped the shackles off its legs and pounced over to the door, swatting them both away with one swing of its elongated arms. The force of the blow sent them flying to the corner of the cell.

Nick took a better look at the creature as it growled and hissed. Within its enormous mouth it had two rows of sharp teeth, like a shark, that looked like they could bite a man in half. The creature suddenly noticed the man in the sealed suit struggling to his feet just behind it. It swung around and bit into his shoulder, ripping out a large chunk as he screamed and passed out.

The creature swung back around, mouth bloody. It turned its attention back to Nick and Drex. It crept slowly like a cat ready to pounce. It froze in place and locked eyes with Nick. In horror, Nick knew what the alien was about to do. With death upon him, he suddenly felt very strange, very tingly.

The creature jumped. In a leap, it was halfway to Nick. Nick raised his hand to it in vain preparation to stop it. With its buzzsaw-like mouth wide open, it leapt upon him but as it did the strangest thing happened. A powerful burst of blue and white energy shot forth from Nick’s raised hand. It blasted right into the throat of the creature. The alien then grabbed its throat, gurgled a bit, and slumped to the ground.

Next, Chapter 5: Escape



Nick looked at his own hand in amazement, eyes wide open. He then looked next to him at Drex who was, likewise, staring at him in disbelief. Finally, Nick looked up at the observation window and saw the General standing there, both hands against the glass, with a look of complete shock.

Mason turned to the researchers and said, “Did you see that?”

“What happened sir?” one of them asked.

No, they hadn’t, the General realized. From their positions, their view was blocked by the examination table and the creature itself. They saw nothing but a flash of light. But Mason did see. He saw that powerful burst of alien energy emanate from the hand of Nick Sullivan. He realized what must have happened during that accident with the orb, the other day.

Nick knew it was time for him to go.

He looked at Drex and said, “It’s been nice working with you. I’m sorry for all of this. Take care of yourself.”

Drex was too overwhelmed by everything that just happened to talk, but Nick knew what he would have said if he had the chance. Nick opened the first door. Mason realized what was happening.

“Seal the doors don’t let him get away!”

Mason just got strange looks from the researchers as to why.

“Just do it!”

It was too late. Nick was already in the lab on the side of the cell opposite of the observation room. He passed right by a pair of guards who were on their way with tazer guns to take down the alien creature. Nick was in the corridors when he heard the General’s voice over their radios.

“Never mind the creature!” Mason ordered, “Stop the researcher who just passed you. Use your tazer guns.”

Nick ran as fast as he could down the hall, looking for a stairwell. He turned a corner and found one but the door to it was locked down. Nick knew he had no choice but to try to do again what he did to the creature, in order to escape from this place. He did not want to end up a permanent resident of this complex. Nick suddenly noticed a camera watching the entryway. He wanted no one else to see him using this power. So he raised his hand and remembered the charged feeling it had with the alien. He found himself able to duplicate it as he let loose a small blast, destroying the camera.

“Whoa,” said a guard at the monitor, “He fired some kind of flare at the camera.”

Nick heard the pounding footsteps of the guards. He immediately turned back around and focused on the lock of the door. He charged his hands more intensely and fired a large blast at the lock, as he heard the footsteps just around the corner. Nick threw his weight into the door, breaking it open completely as the guards rounded the corner and raised their weapons at him as he passed through the doorway and barreled into the stairwell, missing their miniscule chance to fire.

Nick leapt up the stairs, four steps at a time with the guards following through the doorway. This time one of them took the chance to fire at him, missing him with an electrical shot as he lunged for the cover of the landing and the next staircase up. Nick ran up this staircase as well, reaching the landing of the next level above. He was about to run up the next staircase when he heard a loud click at the door.

“More guards,” Nick thought to himself.

On pure reflex, he leapt for the corner and crouched flat against the wall just as the door flung open and a couple more guards came through, passing Nick unaware and running down the stairs. They converged with the other guards chasing Nick, at the landing below.

“No, no!” one of the previous guards cried, “He went up!”

It was too late. With both hands charged, Nick crept to a position at the top of the staircase. Before the more recent guards had a chance to turn, Nick let loose with two beams of the glowing energy, concentrating on as non-lethal of a force as he could, hoping it was possible to use this power without killing or maiming. He hit the two newer guards in their backs propelling them into the two previous guards and taking out the whole lot of them. They looked ok to Nick, out of it but ok, or at least he hoped that they were. He certainly did not have the opportunity to check on them.

Nick used his newfound time to traverse a few more levels up, bypassing the main floor where he was sure to run into more MP’s. He was right to assume that, for as soon as he reached the next landing up he heard more guards come pouring through that doorway.
Nick’s legs were burning now but no time to rest. The whole complex was surely alerted by now and aware of his presence in that stairwell.

Nick decided that had no choice but to make it to the roof, above the fifth floor. He was on the second floor now and heard the door of the floor above fly open. Nick charged his hands and fired as soon as he saw legs. The guards were trying to get back up by the time Nick reached their position. He charged his fists again and let them have it with a couple of energized punches. That seemed to work as well.

At this point Nick realized the distinct advantage this stairwell had given him. Had he been wandering any of the levels searching for an escape, he surely would have been overrun by now. Another idea came upon Nick. He began shooting out all the lights as he went along. It sounded like there were a dozen MP’s on the floors below him now. He figure that might slow them down a bit. Nick’s legs ached beyond belief now. He prayed they wouldn’t cramp up on him.

As he ran up the staircase to reach the fourth floor, he heard the door of that level unlock.
Nick was ready. As soon as it opened Nick unleashed another blast and took out those guards as well. Using his powers was becoming easier.

Nick crept as quietly as he could up the stairwell that he was darkening. He shot out the light of the last floor from the landing below and it became pitch black. As he was about to reach that floor’s landing, he heard a click but it wasn’t the door. There had been a guard waiting for him at the staircase to the roof.

“No time for a good charge”, Nick thought to himself.

He fired a simple flash of light to where he heard the noise, moving as he did that. The guard was temporarily blinded and barely missed his shot. Nick charged his hand again and threw a roundhouse right where he saw the guard in the momentary light. It looked like the guard had been wearing night vision goggles. He must have noticed the lights being taken out by Nick on the floors below and prepared himself.

Nick was nearly to the roof. He knew it would also be locked but another blast blew it open easily. Unfortunately, the noise alerted every guard below him to his location. Nick pried open the damaged door and was greeted by the night sky.

Nick was starting to become panicked as he left the relative security of the staircase and wasn’t sure what to do next. He ran to the side and looked down. He searched for some kind of ledge but the walls were bare of any, nor did he see anything on the ground that could break a five story fall. What was worse was that the grounds were now swarming with MP’s. One of them took a shot at Nick as he saw his head, but missed.

Nick ran to an adjacent side, close to the fence of the perimeter of the inner base. He looked out and saw open desert. As he heard the dozens of footsteps racing up the stairwell behind him, Nick felt the end coming. There was no place left to run. Nick wished he was out in that open desert. He wished he was away from all of this, away from the guards, away from the General, away from the mess he had made of things for everybody. Nick wished he could leave it all behind him.

Then something happened. Nick felt all weird and tingly again. Then he felt another charge coming on. Only this time instead of just his hands, his whole body became charged. Suddenly a burst of concentrated energy shot forth from his body and Nick felt himself absorbed into it.

Nick felt normal again and looked around him. He was out in the desert. He looked behind him and saw the building he was just at, soldiers were now swarming the rooftop searching for him. Nick realized he had somehow teleported from the rooftop to the area he was looking at. This was too much.



“How am I able to do this?” Nick wondered to himself.

He realized as he was blasting away at the guards, that his power looked exactly like the energy that he found to be inside that mysterious alien artifact. Nick must have somehow absorbed it into himself and been imbued with these strange abilities. He remembered now; the teleportation. That’s what he was doing right after he merged with the energy; he was teleporting around the room, right before he passed out.

Nick suddenly heard a rustling behind some thick desert shrubbery. He was feeling a little paranoid at this point and felt he was being watched. Nick didn’t want to stick around anyway, so he figured he would attempt to use this newfound power to escape from the base completely.

Nick looked off into to the distance and reproduced the feeling that led to his previous ‘porting. Again his power swept over him and he felt himself dematerialize and rematerialize at the point he focused upon.

Nick did this a few more times, covering almost a mile each time. He was sure he was far enough away from the actual base to be safe, but he was still on Government owned land so needed to be wary of patrols.

Nick noticed his clothing between ports. Just like after the lab incident, his clothes were shredded, as if his teleportation power wasn’t able to extend itself to anything too far from the surface of his body. Now he was left wearing just most of the top half of both a shirt and a pair of pants. So Nick took off what was left of his shirt all together.

Nick halted his traveling for a moment to get a bearing on his direction using the stars in the sky. He knew there was only one place where he’d be comfortable hiding where he could reasonably travel to. Again, he went back to concentrating on teleporting. However, as he was about to port, his attention wavered momentarily back to the sky. He felt an imminent sense of dread and quickly stopped himself.

“Whoa, that was close,” Nick said to himself, “I nearly zapped myself into space! I’d better be more cautious of where I attempt to teleport in the future.”

Suddenly, Nick heard a low humming noise coming from the sky above. He strained to see through the darkness to find the source of the noise. In a moment of fear, it occurred to Nick what it was, but too late. A light appeared from the source of the faint sound and shone down upon him. Nick tried to turn to ‘port away but a force seemed to grab him. It lifted him off his feet and then turned him horizontal, spinning him face-up.

Nick couldn’t move and he was being pulled upwards toward the light. He was caught in some kind of tractor beam. As he was pulled closer, Nick began to make out the form of a large triangular shape with the light in the center.

It was an aircraft from Area 51. Nick occasionally saw them whenever they happened to fly by close enough. These were aircraft, reverse-engineered from the technology acquired from the alien spacecraft. The things were dead silent compared to their conventional counterparts. They were completely black and only flew their training missions at night, so as not to be seen. General Mason must have sent one to search for and recover the fugitive scientist. Nick was now at the mercy of one of the aircraft’s more advanced abilities.

The beam had Nick paralyzed. He couldn’t move his arms to fire and he couldn’t move his head enough to get any kind of view of the ground. All he could see was sky and the aircraft. Another few seconds and it would have him. He had to think fast.

Despite the light shining in his face, Nick could now make out the nose of the aircraft well enough. He focused upon it and teleported. He appeared right under it and grabbed on as gravity took hold. Nick was now out of the grip of the tractor beam but was beginning to slip off the smooth surface of the aircraft. Quickly, he turned himself in the direction he was previously heading, and steadied himself as best he could. He focused out on the horizon and ‘ported. Due to the height he was at, he was able to see, and thus travel, much further than in his previous ‘jumps’. The pilot was clueless as to what had happened and completely lost track of his target.

Nick took no chances. He ported as many times as he could to get out of range of the aircraft. He knew of the incredible speeds they were capable of. So he preferred to give the pilot as much ground to search as possible.

“Very nice,” the woman said admiring her nails with a smile, “I should have painted them days ago.”

She took great pride in her appearance and it showed. Her long blonde hair bounced as she moved and her smile could light up any room. She thought of her looks as an asset in her current job, and more so for her intended career. She kind of wished Nick could see her now. She felt she looked so much better than in high school.

“I wonder what Nick’s doing right now.”

“He’s getting away!” General Mason screamed, “With each passing minute we stand less and less of a chance of finding him.”

“Sir, the pilot said that when he found him, he was already over 5 miles away from the facility,” a subordinate informed, “How was he able to get that far on foot in a matter of so few minutes?”

“I don’t know but he can’t be allowed to escape from us with the…secrets he has,” Mason continued to keep the knowledge of Nick’s newfound power to himself. He couldn’t allow his superiors to hear of what happened.

“The guards said he had some kind of energy weapon on him,” the subordinate stated.

“Yes, I suspect him to be an agent of some enemy organization,” Mason lied, “Well, no more incompetent MP’s or pilots. I want the best after this man. Get me the Black Suits.”

After about an hour, Nick managed to make it to highway 93. He knew there was no way anybody would stop to give him a ride with the way that he looked. So he figured he could easily stow away upon some vehicle going his way.

Nick waited upon a high ridge by the road and waited for a truck to pass by. When one did he ported to the top of its trailer. Nick nearly lost his balance by porting from solid ground to a moving vehicle but he managed to gain his footing. There were certain aspects of his powers that he would have to adjust to.

Once Nick laid down, he fell asleep from exhaustion.

“I don’t know how he does it,” the woman thought to herself, “So much time devoted to his scientific career on some top secret military installation that he can’t talk about, even to the people close to him. Not that he keeps anyone close to him anymore. I was actually kind of surprised that he contacted me after all these years.”

Nick was woken up by a cold gust of wind to the face. He guessed he’d been out for about an hour and a half. He looked up and saw dawn barely breaking in the east. He looked ahead and saw a city, still brilliant even at this time of the morning, a column of light shining up from the Luxor like a beacon in the midst of the desert. He was nearly in Las Vegas. He was home.

“I suppose I should be going to bed,” the woman figured, “I usually don’t stay up until dawn, even with my schedule the way it is.”

Suddenly there was a loud banging on her door. She wondered what kind of person would be knocking at this time. She went to the door and looked through the peep-hole.

“Oh my God,” she exclaimed, opening the door, “Nick!”

“Hi Stacy.”



After a hard night’s work at the casino, a weary Stacy Stone was looking forward to getting some rest, after her nails dried, of course. However, her sleep would be delayed a bit due to the arrival of an old flame.

“Nick, what are doing here?” Stacy asked, “And why are you half dressed?”

“Can I come in?” Nick asked.

“Um, sure,” agreed Stacy.

“I’m sorry for dropping by without warning,” Nick apologized to Stacy while entering her apartment, “It’s just that...something’s happened.”

“What?” Stacy inquired.

“I...can’t really go into it,” Nick explained, “But I’m in trouble. Y’know that place I’ve been working at.”

“Area 51?” she replied.

“Uhh, yeah,” he answered, somewhat confused, “you knew?”

“Well, I suspected,” Stacy responded, “Area 51 is talked about a lot in pop culture. You should really get out more.”

“Right,” Nick responded.

“Every time I got a call from you, my caller ID always read Nellis Air Force Base,” she continued, “I assumed they routed the calls through there.”

“So tell me what happened,” she asked, her face wrought with concern.

Nick sighed, knowing that he dared not tell her too much of what happened, He preferred to keep her at a distance.

“I did something I shouldn’t have and now they want me back,” Nick explained, taking a seat on her couch.

“Is this about what you were telling me of the other day,” she prodded.

“Yeah, that’s a big part of it,” Nick answered, “They’re none too happy that I’m out on the loose.”

“You know what to do,” General Mason said into the phone, “I want him alive if possible.”

“And if not?” the voice on the line asked.

“Then bring me his body,” Mason answered.

“We’ll take the next Janet aircraft out to McCarren,” the voice stated.

“Excellent,” Mason replied.

“So how are you doing?” Nick asked

“I’m a little shaken by all this,” replied Stacy.

Stacy looked at Nick still wondering why he was wearing no shirt and shredded pants. She admitted to herself that it wasn’t an unpleasant sight. He had filled out a bit since she saw him last. Stacy figured that Nick had more than enough time to work out, being on a military base in the middle of nowhere. She noticed that he was wearing his jet black hair forward now, and kind of short. He still had the tanned skin and big brown eyes.

“Oh here, let me get you a t-shirt...and some shoes,” Stacy said, snapping out of her admiration.

Nick looked down and remembered that he teleported right out of his shoes that very first time.

“Here you go,” offered Stacy walking from the hallway, “I hope these old shoes will fit...” Stacy came back to see that Nick had already passed out on her sofa. She laid the clothes by him and let him rest.

Three men walked through an airport terminal, all dressed identically. They wore black suits with ties, dark sunglasses, and fedora hats. They walked in perfect step with each other. The men walked outside to a black Cadillac awaiting them.

Nick awoke with a start.

“What’s the matter?” Stacy asked, startled by his sudden pop-up.

“Oh my God,” Nick exclaimed, “The emails, the phone calls, they can all be tracked back to you. What was I thinking?”

“I shouldn’t have come here,” Nick said, scrambling to put on the t-shirt and the tight tennis shoes while heading for the door, “This was a mistake.”

“Wait, Nick,” Stacy said, “Where are you gonna go?”

“I don’t know yet,” he answered.

“Promise you’ll stay in touch with me,” Stacy pleaded.

“I promise,” Nick said while exiting her front door warily.

“How strange,” Stacy mentioned to herself.

Mere moments later, there was another knock at her door. She looked out her peephole to see three men dressed in black. Cautiously, she opened the door with the chain still connected.

“Mz. Stone,” the lead one asked, “We’re with the government. We’d like to ask you a few questions. Could you let us in, please?”

“I suppose so,” Stacy responded, nervously allowing the men into her home.

“Thank you,” the lead one responded, “My name is Murdoch Grey. These are my associates, Agent Johnson and Agent Williams.”

“How can I help you?” inquired Stacy.

“I...wish I could be a sympathetic ear to Dr. Sullivan as you are, Mz. Stone,” Murdoch expressed, “It certainly would make my job easier.”

Murdoch began to take a personal tour around her living area.

“Excuse me?” Stacy asked, acting preplexed.

“You have been in personal contact with Dr, Sullivan, have you not?”

“Well...I spoke to him on the phone the other day, yes,” she answered.

“I see, and have you seen him in person recently?” Murdoch asked.

“No, I have not,” Stacy covered, “Why? Is he in trouble?”

“Oh, he’s proven himself to be trouble,” replied Murdoch, “I’m afraid he’s walked off with some government information that may be invaluable to foreign nations or enemy organizations.”

Agent Grey and his men moved mechanically, almost robotically. Murdoch’s voice was monotone and their faces were emotionless and somewhat flat. Their skin was pale. They had high cheekbones, thin lips, and pointed chins. The only thing that distinguished Murdoch from the others was his slightly larger frame and a black, artificial-looking goatee.

“What government agency did you say you were from?” Stacy inquired, suspiciously.

“Oh, a little of this one, a little of that one,” Murdoch slyly answered, “Mz. Stone, Nick Sullivan might be a traitor to everything this nation holds dear. It’s imperative that we find him. I’m sure we can clear this whole thing up if it’s just some sort of...misunderstanding.”

“If you can’t tell me who you work for exactly, I’m afraid I have to ask you to leave,” insisted Stacy.

Without the notice of Stacy, one of the Agents picked up a strand of cloth material from her couch. The agent subtly nodded at Murdoch to which he responded in kind.

“If he does try to contact you, I trust you’ll do what’s best. Here’s my number,” Murdoch handed her a card.

“Thanks,” she expressed, coldly.

“Have a pleasant morning,” Murdoch said, leaving the apartment with his men.

“Oh Nick,” Stacy worried, “What have you gotten yourself into?”

Nick wandered around town, admiring sights of the city he had long forgotten about. Eventually, he came across the frame of a building in the process of being constructed. It seemed to have been left to itself for a while. He figured it was as good a place as any to hide out for a bit, until he could figure out what to do next.

Later that night, Stacy was hard at work dealing cards yet still worrying about Nick. She wondered what those men in black would do to Nick should they catch up to him. As she was walking through the casino, she felt a strong hand grab her wrist and pull her behind some slot machines.

“Nick!” Stacy exclaimed,

“Hey,” Nick greeted, “Sorry for all of this cloak and dagger business. Has anyone shown up looking for me?”

“Yeah, right after you left, three creepy looking dudes dressed in black came around asking questions,” she informed him, “I didn’t tell them anything.”

“Thanks. I’m so sorry for getting you involved in this,” Nick apologized, “I just had no place left to go. I tried to withdraw some cash but my accounts are frozen.”

“Oh no, you must need a place to stay. Here,” she began to go into her purse.

“No, I can’t take any of your money,” Nick refused, “I’ve already imposed myself enough.”

“It’s no problem...”

“I can’t,” he insisted.

“Well, what about your father?” Stacy asked, “I’m sure he could help you.”

“I have to go before I’m seen. I just wanted to let you know where I’m hiding out. Here’s the location,” Nick hands her a crumpled cocktail napkin, “Memorize it and tear it up. If you decide to visit, make sure you’re not followed.”

“Be careful, Nick”

Nick hurries off, making sure to hide himself within large crowds.

Later that night Stacy decides not to waste time in prying some answers out of Nick. She was determined to get to the bottom of this. She makes a roundabout journey to drive to Nick’s hiding place, looking out of her rearview mirror to make sure she wasn’t being followed.

Meanwhile, Nick decided to test out his teleportation power around Las Vegas. He ported about town, from the top of the Stratosphere to the top of the Luxor and everywhere in between. People gasped in excitement as they witnessed Nick’s trail of bright blue and white light as he zapped from building to building. They thought that it was part of some kind of Vegas light show. Despite all that’s happened Nick was having a little fun. However, it was time to head back.

Stacy arrived at the dark desolate construction project. She hesitated, but then hopped a fence to get into the site. She trotted into the semi-constructed structure and began climbing a staircase.

A black Cadillac pulled up along the site.

“I think we have him,” Murdoch stated.

Next: Searching



Stacy Stone came looking for answers. She was going to find out why her high school sweet-heart that she had not seen in ten years was back and on the run from some mysterious government agents. Nick was being hunted by men in black, but they were no Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. These guys were creepy and menacing and she feared for Nick’s safety.

Stacy reached the top of a six-story high construction project. This was the address that Nick gave her. After checking out the other floors, she had lost hope that he was here. She looked around and she saw on the floorboards the sneakers that she had given him to wear. She scanned around some more and saw a dirty blanket and some candy wrappers. Stacy was troubled by the thought of Nick living like this even if it had only been a day so far.

Nick had an awesome time seeing the city at night, teleporting from rooftop to rooftop. It was magnificent. While some might view it as gaudy, Nick believed Las Vegas was one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Nick had his amusement for the night, however. He was now on his way back to where he had holed himself up for the time being. He teleported toward a part of town a bit more dark and less populated than the Strip.

“Let’s move,” Murdoch ordered.

The three mysterious men were still dressed in black but they had traded in their perfectly pressed suits and hats for commando gear with skullcaps. They silently crept into the construction project and up the steps that Stacy had climbed moments before.

Stacy looked out to the cityscape and thought perhaps she should just wait for him. After all, without any money there was only so much that could keep him busy. It’s not like he was out there gambling.

“She’s up there,” Murdoch whispered, pointing the next floor up, “He must be with her.”

Nick was nearly ‘home’, on a rooftop across the way. He focused upon his final destination, when suddenly he noticed a shadowed figure there. He realized it was Stacy, waiting for him.

“Let’s snag him,” Agent Johnson said, moving swiftly up the stairs. He pulled out something on his person.

“Wait!” Murdoch exclaimed as quietly as he could.

Too late. Johnson had tossed up a concussion grenade to incapacitate their intended target.

Stacy heard a noise somewhere behind her. *Tink. Tink. Tink.*

As Nick stood on the roof across the way, figuring out how to get around revealing his abilities to her, it happened. An explosive force went off on the rooftop sending Stacy tumbling over the edge. She began to fall.

“No!” Nick yelled.

On instinct, Nick focused on her and ported. As he appeared behind her he immediately grabbed hold. Knowing that he could only port himself, Nick did the only thing he could think of. With all of his strength and a bit of his force-producing power, Nick thrusted Stacy upwards and toward the building. She fell upon the third floor down with a thud but her descent was sufficiently slowed to the point that only the wind had been knocked out of her. Nick then ported to ground below.

He waited what seemed like an eternity, waiting for Stacy to regain her senses. If he called out to her too soon he knew he would give himself away to those responsible for this.

Finally, Nick cried up to her, “Stacy! Stacy, are you ok?!”

“Nick?!” Stacy called out, in a bit of pain.

Nick noticed the head of a pasty-faced man suddenly popping into view from the top floor. Murdoch’s shaded gaze locked on to Nick. The head then popped back out of view.

“Stacy!” Nick again called out, “ Stacy, you have to get up! We have to go!”

Stacy stumbled to her feet and looked down at Nick.

“Slide down that girder there,” Nick said to her, “I’ll catch you if you fall.”

The Black Suits started running down the stairs to intercept their bounty. Meanwhile, Stacy had managed to climb halfway down the girder.

“Ok, just fall backwards,” Nick suggested, “I’ll catch you.”

Stacy paused for a second, still feeling woozy. She saw the shadowy figures about to pass her floor, trying to make their way to Nick. She took a deep breath and let go, allowing herself to fall back, trusting that Nick would catch her. She dropped into his waiting arms.

Nick then put Stacy on her feet and said, “Stand back.” He then let loose an energy blast to the base of the stairs. Flying debris and a cloud of dust then engulfed that area.

“That should slow them down. Now let’s get out of here,” he said.

“But Nick!” Stacy exclaimed in utter disbelief at the event she just witnessed.

“We gotta go!” Nick insisted.

They jumped into Stacy’s car and sped off before the Black Suits could give chase.

“I don’t know how they followed me,” Stacy mentioned, looking in the rear mirror, “I was so careful.”

“Maybe they’re tracking you,” Nick proposed, “Did you notice if those creepy guys you mentioned may have planted anything on you?”

“No, I…Wait,” she said, reaching into her purse, “That Murdoch guy did give me this card.”

“Get rid of it,” Nick said, “It probably has an embedded microchip. I’d guess that’s how they followed you.”

Stacy tossed the card out the window.

“Once we stop, I’ll check for devices on the car just to be sure,” Nick assured her.

After leaving the car behind in a parking garage, they quickly found a motel to hide out in.

“I paid cash,” Stacy assured him, “Just in case they try to track my credit card numbers.”

“Thanks Stacy,” said Nick, “I swear I’ll pay you back, every penny.”

“You can pay me back by telling me just what the hell is going on,” Stacy demanded, “First you show up on my doorstep, looking like you went through WWIII. Then, some scary guys in black come looking for you. And last but not least, I see you shooting lightning bolts from your hands.”

Nick tried to explain, “It’s not lightning, it’s--”

“And did you fly?!” asked Stacy, “When I was falling, I felt hands. Was that you that saved me?”

“Yeah, but it wasn’t flight,” Nick attempted, “It was telepor--”

“Wait…just…tell me the whole story,” Stacy asked.


Next: Becoming



Nick confessed his experiences at Area 51 to Stacy. He explained his career and the fascination he had with a mysterious alien artifact. He described his forbidden experiment to unlock its secrets and the moment of breakthrough when the strange energies merged with him. Nick told of the consequences that followed; how his friends Rodney and Drex were punished as a result of his actions. He explained how he escaped the base and the abusive General Mason through the discovery of his powers and made his way to Las Vegas, to her.

“Wow,” stated Stacy.

“Yeah, pretty wild, huh?” Nick said.

“That’s an understatement,” she responded, “So what now?”

“I don’t know. I was hoping you could help me hide out for a while,” he answered, “But now I see that I shouldn’t have come here.”

“No, I want to help,” Stacy offered, “We have history together and you did just save my life.”

“I’m the reason you were endangered,” Nick said, “I screwed up again and hurt one more person I care about. Maybe I should move on to another town or something.”

“No, Nick,” she pleaded, “If you leave now I’ll be worried sick about you out there. I want you to promise that you’ll stay.”

Nick only sighed.

“Promise,” Stacy demanded.

“I promise,” Nick conceded.

“Good,” she said, “Now you’ve gotta stop this moping bit. Things will get better.”

“So I’ve been told before,” Nick recalled, “But I’m still waiting for it. I mean what am I gonna do for income now? My fugitive status might not look good on a job application.”

“Hmm…I’m having a few thoughts here,” Stacy informed, “…Ok I’ve gotta go. I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully with some help to your situation.”

“Wait. You’re going back out there?” Nick inquired, “What about the men in black?”

“I’m not going to let those freaks keep me from living my life,” she insisted, “Don’t worry. That only happened back there because they thought you were there with me. I’ll be fine.”

After Stacy left, Nick tried to relax by watching some TV but found himself worrying for her safety out there. He thought about what he would do to the people that tried to hurt Stacy to get to him, but she was right.

“She has a life to lead and there was no way I can protect her at all times,” he thought to himself as he flipped through the channels.

Despite that, Nick was relieved as she walked into her apartment as he watched over her from a rooftop nearby. “Just this once,” he said to himself.

The next afternoon Stacy returned carrying a case in the hand of one arm and a bundle of fabric under the other.

“Uhmm, what’s all this Stace’?” Nick inquired.

“It’s your extraordinary future,” Stacy responded, “It’s one of the thoughts I had last night. I woke up early this morning and have been working on it since. Now I want you to go into the bathroom and try it on.”

“You want me to try this on?” Nick asked, puzzled.

“Just do me this favor,” she coerced.

Nick conceded and went into the bathroom to change. When he came out he was wearing a white full-bodied spandex suit with a few large blue designs on it.

“What do you think?” Stacy asked him.

“Well it’s very…interesting, Stacy,” answered Nick, still confused, “But why?”

“Why?” repeated Stacy, “Why do you think? So you can be a super-hero!”

“What?!” exclaimed Nick, “Oh no, Stacy. Look, I’m not the type for that kind of thing. I’m just--”

“What are you talking about?” Stacy questioned, “You’ve got the powers, the build, and most importantly, the heart of a hero. You’d be awesome”

“But I don’t like the attention that this implies,” he argued, “I’m not flashy like that”

“Don’t you want to use these powers to kick some badguys’ butts, fighting crime and evil and all that,” she continued.

“I’m not cutout for it,” insisted Nick, “I’ll screw up. I know I will. I’d get laughed at or hurt or worse, I’d get someone else hurt.”

“Nick,” Stacy dropped her peppy pitch and took on a more serious tone, “Last night you were telling me about what prompted you to try to unlock the secrets of that alien object. You said you were hoping to find something you could use to change the world with. Well, that’s exactly what you’ve found, but only if you apply towards that.”

“Yeah…I don’t know,” Nick said, sounding hesitant.

“I’m going to be honest now,” she said, “As long as I’ve known you, you’ve always had this…problem, as a part of you. It’s your low sense of self-worth. You’ve always let people walk all over you. You never feel as though your feelings and ideas are worth standing up for against people that might disregard them. And that probably came as a result of your father’s influence. I know that. But this negative self-image will cripple you throughout the rest of your life if you let it. You have the chance to change all that now.”

“By being a superhero?” Nick questioned skeptically.

“Yes!” Stacy proclaimed, “You have to assert yourself upon this world. Help those that can’t help themselves against people and forces too powerful. Think of it as a form of active therapy. You have to see the positive difference you can make in people’s lives and I can’t think of a better way for you to do that than…well…being a superhero.”

“Look,” she continued, “I don’t want to push you into any kind of situations that are too dangerous for you. If it gets too heavy just pull out. There’s no shame. It’s just smart. But I think you really need this more than anything in this world right now.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Nick submitted, “Ok, I’ll do it…for you.”

“Don’t do it for me, Nick,” she suggested, “Do it for yourself.”

Nick smiled and nodded. “But c’mon…spandex?”

“Well, I was thinking about your problem with the teleportation,” Stacy explained, “From the way you described it, it sounds like only things that fall within a sort of personal aura of yours can come along for the ride. So I snagged one of the spandex costumes that was being used in one of the shows at the casino--they won’t miss it--and I put some designs on it. I’m especially proud of this blue power burst emblem on the chest. But try to teleport in it. Let’s see how it travels.”

“Alright,” agreed Nick. He focused on the other side of the room and ported. “You’re right. There’s not a hole on it,” Nick said, checking over his new costume. “But it just looks a little cheesy.”

“Hmm, I see what you mean.” Stacy said, thinking it over, “Ah, hold on!”

Stacy went into the little case she brought with her and took out a little black bottle and brush.

“Ok, flex for me,” Stacy said to him.


“I’m going to add some shading to accentuate your musculature,” Stacy explained, “Trust me. It’ll look cool.”

After several minutes, and a few awkward moments of Stacy going over every inch of Nick’s body, she was finished, “Take a look.”

“Hey. Y’know, it’s not too bad,” Nick stated, looking himself over in a mirror.

He starts flexing and posing as if he’s firing off a few energy blasts.

“Ok, now you’re getting cheesy,” Stacy said, poking fun, “Oh, you forgot to put on the mask.”

“Well, I don’t really need a mask, Stace’,” Nick said, “It’s not as if I have an identity anymore that needs protecting.”

“You will,” Stacy told him.

“What do you mean?” inquired Nick.

“That’s the other idea I had,” she explained, “There’s this big whig who often comes to my table that I eventually find out is the CEO of a technology company here in town. It also comes up that he gives job opportunities to people who’ve had problems with the law, sort of a ‘second chance’ program. I contacted him and set up a personal appointment. You’ll see him tomorrow.”

“Stacy, It’s not that I have a criminal record” Nick said, “I’m currently on the run.”

“Just give it a shot,” she insisted.

“Fine,” he agreed, “And thanks.”

“Thank you for bringing some excitement into my boring life,” Stacy said, “It’s not every girl that has a superhero for a…friend.”

Some awkwardness followed that last statement.

It was broken with Stacy’s next question, “So what are you gonna call yourself?”

Nick looked in the mirror again, slid on the mask, looked at the emblem on his chest and said, “Powerburst.”



Wow, very well done. I can not wait to see more from this story. Very well written, interesting characters and good dialogue.

@Lunar Lupun
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