Author’s Note: This post is a bit longer than normal, I couldn’t find a good place to stop the story beforehand.
A few days passed as I avoided everyone. I no longer doubted them, but I needed time to accept everything. A message arrived announcing the time, and place for the test. The excitement, and fear warred within me as made my way there. The divide inside me was quite clear. Some part of me wanted it to be true, to be special, a thing unlike my people. One part could not believe it, how could someone like me be anything at all? And the final part, the smallest, quietest part, feared it.
I met At by the strange cylinder machine. He showed his teeth, in his frightening, but at least familiar smile. The strange elongated head bobbed up, and down. “Come lie down. The machine will scan you, and allow your mind to open, so we may awaken whatever powers you may have.” At’s nose wiggled. “Do not worry, it will not hurt. It may be a bit overwhelming is all.”
That I could believe. My old knees creaked in protest as I hauled myself up the metal slab. I rested against it, as it subtly formed to my body. I nearly bolted out of the room right then. I hoped, if anything, this procedure would cure me of my constant fear. I was growing weary of mastering it. I preferred other companions better.
At furry fingers caressed my arm. “I wish you had less fear, Rilas. I mean you no ill.”
“Has the…” I trailed off unable to summon up a word for it. “The barrier failed?”
At tilted his head back and forth. “No, your fear is strong enough to leak through. Viirra makes strong shields. I can sense her in this one. She dotes on you.” He hooted. “She likes few, that in itself proves you are something other than simple Einlari.”
I failed to see the humor in it. “I’m ready.”
At turned his fingers clicking on a side of the machine. A hum filled the air as I rolled into the cylinder. It is a small relief I didn’t mind small spaces. A warmth filled the air, as a faint yellow light filled the space. The color kept changing to a deep rose, to a pale blue, and to a deep green. The hum increased, and faded over time. The light, and sounded faded. An intense something filled my head. It pounded, and kicked the inside. And, even now I could not describe it to you.
I sat up, and realized I was outside the tube. I gripped my head as the feeling increased. It seemed to burst inside. The world spun as I held the bench with a tight grip. Each beat of my heart seemed too loud. My veins were on fire. As suddenly as it began, it was over.
“Rilas. Are you well? I am worried. You have not responded to anything I have said.” At asked his voice strained.
I lifted my head. “I think so. I don’t think I want to try to stand.” Everything seemed too much, and too little all at once.
At kneeled making his massive height only a bit above my own. “Are you hurt?” His wide eyes nearly big as saucers.
“No.” I didn’t feel any pain. “I feel.” I chuckled. “Overwhelmed.”
He hooted in response a bit of his worry, and fear dissipated.
It occurred to me I could feel his worry, and fear. I blinked rapidly. “Think something.”
At voice boomed around me. “You are a strange, and curious creature Rilas.”
Instinctively, I knew his mental voice was strong. I attempted to think back at him. “I’ve changed. How much have I changed, At? How much?”
At’s face split in half. “A great deal, my friend. We need to get next testing room. “
“I thought we were in the testing room.” I pushed myself up and my knees didn’t lecture me for my trouble.
At patted my leg, before standing. “Yes, but there is another one for testing abilities.”
The details of how we got to the other room were vague at best. But, we arrived. This machine was tall, and it seemed like I could stand in it. I moved over there without prompting. A click and the contraption turned on without any input from me. A ding sound resounded from the side.
With his large strides At stared at the screen. “It appears we have much training to do.”
“Why?” A thrill of joy blazed through me. I wanted to know what I could do.
At clicked something and a neat sheet of paper printed. “Let’s go somewhere else to discuss. It will be a long talk.”
We choose to lounge in the room I had first entered. Full of comfortable furniture and open to space I enjoyed it a great deal. I settled in a round chair, as At sat across from me. He held up the list. “I’m going to show you the list, then you ask questions probably will be a lot easier than trying to do this any other way.”
My hand snapped out fast. At apparently had the foresight to print in Larin, my home tongue.
Race: Unknown in Database – simple in structure to Mammalian Origin
Age: Mid Range based on Biological Factors
Health: Comparable – based on estimates
Powerful Expressed Physical Manipulation
Powerful Expressed Cognative Restructuring
Strong Expressed Telepathy – Full
Weak Expressed Empathic Absorbtion
Strong Repressed Psychic Presence
The words meant nothing to me. They produced elation regardless. I did find the dour assessment of my physical self to be a bit off putting. It made me grin. “Tell me what is Physical Manipulation?”
“That is a bit hard to explain. It is a rare ability. I need a moment to compose how I would explain it.”
I waited, my heart aflutter.
“Some believe it is a form of moving objects on hearing it. And, you can do that to a certain extent, though not well. Generally, we would call it telekinesis if that was the case. This instead is having complete control over your own body. Having complete control does mean you can change everything. Ah, I have already run into a quandary.” He paused as I felt him gather his immense thoughts. “You can change your body to the limit of your body. You can be the best you can possible be.
“For instance you cure yourself of your common bone aches. Or, make yourself look young again, and repair the internal damage of aging. Eventually you could no longer repair yourself and you would die. Your life span could be significantly increased. How far is somewhat in unpredictable, and the extent in which you change yourself will change the biological factors within your body. We would need to do further testing before you start meddling with anything. If it is truly powerful as the machine predicts you could live many of your races lifetimes. The few Go On Don who have it live up to ten times their base race.” He paused to hold his hand out. He could clearly read my ardent interest. “There is a cost, typically. I must rephrase it.”
The ability alone, even if I didn’t use it to live such a long time had been worth the journey. And there were four more abilities on the list. “Cognitive Restructing?” I was eager to learn more.
At wiggled his nose. “It is an ability my people have. You can force your mind to repair itself, or make new channels to fill it with more information. It is likely you have been using it already to survive all the new information you have gotten. It is a great ability to have. Your mind can never be harmed by another, and you can never fill your mind to capacity. A passive ability mostly, you merely need to practice.”
“If I had a brain fever, or damaged my head, would I be able to repair it?” One of the people in the village had died from brain fever. It had been terrible. Ever since that day I desired to avoid such a fate.
I felt a probing sensation emanate from At. “You would be able to sense it coming, and stop it. You could heal an injury to the head as long as half of it was intact. Otherwise there would be no way to reroute it. Also, the repair might not return all your faculties to normal.”
“Telepathy?” The word meant a little to me. I could speak to one with words in the head, not with the mouth.
“You can speak to others, you can broadcast your thoughts, but you can also hear others who are not telepathic. A common gift in the Go On Don. Many races have it, and some only are telepathic. Still, a gift is a gift.” At race must be telepathic I thought. He seemed extremely unimpressed with it. Among my own people I would be the only one.
Only two abilities left and already I was satisfied. I moved down the list. “Empathic Absorbtion?”
“You can be other’s emotions. And, you can feel what they feel.” At opened his lips enough to run his long, supple tongue across them. “You can take fear, and with your restructuring have it not effect you. It is weak, you can cure any strong emotions, but you can lessen the panic of a large group of people. We will train with it, and learn the edges of your skill.”
A flicker of regret as I wished I had more power. I thought how useful it would keep my people calm as the Jirth claimed my world as their own. I grew angry at myself for thinking to have more. I already had so much, I needed to be grateful for what I did have.
I handed the paper back to At. “Tell me about the final one.”
He rubbed the paper between his fingers. “The ability is currently dormant. I will have to call in a specialist to activate it.” He sat the paper beside him. “The ability will allow you to sway others to your will. When you speak you will sound logical, even when you’re not. When you seek to persuade you’ll have a greater chance of it working. It makes you a leader people will beg to follow. Pirfectia have the ability in abundance. Unfortunately, Viirra does not. I would not bring it up to her. It is a source of great shame for her. She has to rely on the force of her personality, which is considerable.” His dark eyes pierced me. “She does not enjoy pity either.”
I stifled a laugh. “I couldn’t imagine she would. She seems like a proud woman, very regal.” I could see her presiding over a court in a royal court with a fine wrought crown.
“Take a few days to rest. Your power will awaken over the next few weeks without training. Once it is over, we will start.” At shot a look I could not or sense.
I resolved to withstand several for of inner turmoil.