Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 10 Pt 1
AEGIS Agent Amelia Van den Broeke appears on scene to witness the wreckage caused by fight between individuals with extraordinary abilities. There she finds Everett Howard, an ordinary old man, unconscious, the only living witness to this attack. What follows will change both of their lives in ways neither could have ever foreseen and forever intertwine their fates.
February 16, 2016
AEGIS Field Office
New Hebron, California
Amy folded her arms across her chest and stared out through the two-way glass in a vain attempt to get a better read on Everett Howard. Unfortunately, the former old man didn’t budge a muscle. He sat there, bubbling and brewing under the surface and wearing clothes that were at least two or three sizes too large, both arms folded across his chest and staring down at the ground, taking no notice of the people around him.
The Agent had seen it before, an exemplar transformed by his or her abilities, who withdrew into themselves unable to cope with what had happened. The key was helping them adjust to their new predicament and draw them out before they got stuck in a rut.
As she watched an agent and several other exemplars approached him, attempting to strike up conversation. Everett barely said two words to them and they quickly abandoned their efforts.
She bit her lip and sighed as the newly minted woman slunk further into his seat. Everett sat along the outer perimeter of what had come to be known as the Green Room by the AEGIS personnel, but was officially named the Athletic Center.
Like any athletic center, it was a place where Agents could come to work out, but unlike other such facilities, the Green Room, above anything else was a place for Exemplar’s to practice and learn control over their abilities whether agents or not. It had been given its nickname for the simple fact that the walls were coated with a specialized material that helped neutralize certain Exemplar abilities.
Normally, Everett would have been waiting at the medical facilities, another exemplar seated beside him offering up a sympathetic ear, but the recent attack had made that all but impossible. Most of the medical staff had been put on paid leave and the only person available who might have been able to play had a particularly large workload already. Not surprising considering the state of the medical facility.
So, Amelia had settled for the next best thing and Everett had sat there like a lump refusing to interact with other human beings. She shook her head, dropped her hands, then slipped out of the door, just to the right of the mirror and stepped out into the green room.
Everett didn’t look up, or speak, not even when she sat beside him. She studied his features, once again, startled by the contrast between his new face and the old. The young woman, who sat beside her looked barely old enough to have finished high school perhaps no older than twenty one. The young woman’s skin was smooth and flawless, a healthy dark ebony that contrasted with the pale and pasty pallor of someone who seldom went outside. It was hard to believe that two people, who differed so drastically in appearance, could, in fact, be one and the same.
“Mr. Howard, how are we doing today?” Amelia said placing a hand on Everett’s slender shoulder.
Finally, he looked up and met her gaze, revealing a startling set of sapphire-blue eyes. “About as well as you might expect, Agent.”
He practically spat out the last word, a look of undisguised contempt on his feminine face. If that had been the full brunt of it, she might have had an easier time dealing with his attitude, but the accompanying surge of anger and resentment that came slamming at her through their empathic bond left her breathless. She messaged her temples feeling a stab of pain cascade across her head at this pronouncement. Her vision momentarily distorted by a flash of white as she attempted to force her way through the pain.
Amelia, paused, gritted her teeth as her vision cleared and withdrew her hand from his shoulder. “Mr. Howard, you should know, I’ve been chosen to serve as your transition specialist. That means I’ll be the one to–”
“To help me adjust to my new predicament,” Everett finished and scowled at her as a second wave of anger, this one much easier for the agent to bear, flowed through the bond. “I’ve already heard the spiel, so place spare me the bullshit.”
The whole thing had been director Malcolm’s idea. She was fully certified after all, and had originally joined AEGIS with the intent to serve that very role, but her abilities had seemed to lend themselves more toward a more investigative role within the Agency. It had taken some convincing, but eventually she’d been persuaded to take the Agent’s Exam and from there she hadn’t looked back.
“Okay,” Ameila paused attempting to compose herself as she stared back at the facade of the fresh-face young woman who concealed the angry old man behind her lovely features. “Look, I’ll be completely upfront with you. If you keep this attitude up, you are going to land yourself in trouble. AEGIS is here to help people like you and me, but we can only do so much when you sit and wallow in self-pity and bite the head off of everyone who tries to help you. My superiors are worried you might end up on the wrong side of the law. They’ve seen it dozens of times before. If you don’t want to find yourself labeled a potential-aberrant, you need to start playing ball.”
Everett surprised, Amelia instead of shooting off some angry retort, he smiled, and she felt an odd sort of relief through the bond. “That’s the first honest thing anyone has said to me since I got caught up in the middle of this mess.”
The pain dissipated and Amelia smiled back at him, confused by the sudden turnabout, but also relieved. “You should know, that in order to get your new life underway, you need to pick a name. We can give you one, but most people prefer picking their own out. A surname will be assigned at random, but where first or middle names are considered it’s your choice.”
“Figures,” Everett grunted glancing down at his hands and back up to the agent. “There’s no going back, is there?”
“I’m sorry, no. Why don’t we go get something to eat, and we can talk about it someplace else?”
She smirked and met his gaze. “I believe AEGIS will be flipping the bill.”
“Good, I’m famished.”
Without further word the Agent lead the soon to be former Mr. Howard out of the green room and toward the promised meal.