Illuminate: Giants

    Kill Kalr.  

    Kill the giant bitch who had fought a super-powered, crystalline Eldritch.  

    Kill the Trillodan warmachine who had laughed at two of the most powerful things Menagerie had made while fighting with Mutant.  

    Yeah, Dragoon, let’s just kill her.  No problem.

    Mutant, however, didn’t have the same reservations I did.  He took a few steps forward, his skin dissolving as a fur coat materialized and his face reshaping to accommodate a snout filled with razor sharp teeth.  

    Dragoon turned to him, “Mutant-”

    “I’ve fought her once, I know how she works now,” he snarled, making it very clear that he wasn’t about to back down.  “I’m no good with crowds, let someone else take them.”

    Our leader looked around, seeing what was still at her disposal.  Parasite was still down for now, the blast leaving him out of it for now.  Adamant had allocated a goal and Dragoon wasn’t sure how much time he’d need to reset it.  Distortion was not the best for dealing with a crowd since there was no way for her to not simply dissect people willy-nilly.  

    “Mutant, Eldritch-” Dragoon started and then cut herself off in a mix of horror and awe; she had assumed the crowd charging us had been rigged to blow in order to deny providing Eldritch with additional mass.  She hadn’t been wrong, but Dragoon was definitely not predicting the countermeasure in place.  

    The whole crowd glowed a radioactive green, all of them stopping in place to howl and scream in agony as they literally disintegrated.  Tools and weapons clattered on the ground as people clawed at their own throats and guts as green cracks appeared in their skin before a disgusting ooze drained from their fractured skin.  In a matter of seconds, all of them dissolved into a green puddle that began collecting itself into a massive slime, much like the ones Adamant had destroyed to rescue Parasite.  

    “Eldritch, deal with that!” Dragoon shouted.  

    He nodded and hit all fours, his clothing being chewed apart as he erupted into growths, the slimey, black tendrils growing over each other in a massive lattice at record speed.  As the slime lurched forward, an expanding Eldritch slammed into it, letting out a roar.  

    “Adamant, I need you to help deal with that,” Dragoon commanded, “You can still burn it away, right?” 

    “Sure.  But, there’s…a lot of it to get rid of,” he pointed out. As the slime collected, it seemed to enlarge, towering over us.  Eldritch was still getting larger, but as it amassed properly, it was basically the size of a building.  What troubled me was that I saw Eldritch dig his legs in, bracing himself to stop the slime, and it was still pushing him back.  

    “Just make it happen.  We can’t have that thing roll over us.”  Dragoon’s head snapped to the side and I followed her gaze: thanks to my perfect night vision, I saw the figure in purple armor strutting along the rooftops.  “Exchange, change of plans for you, get that bitch!”  

The blonde teenager nodded and touched his fingers to the piece of paper in his pocket to bind himself before racing away, giving chase to one of the Trillodan operatives warring against us.  

“Lightshow, help Mutant!  Distortion, if you get a chance to take a limb off the bitch Exchange is chasing, do it!”  The Projector’s bitchy and arrogant demeanor vanished and was replaced with a vicious laser focus, one that was sure to yield results.  

It didn’t change that almost half of Rogue Sentries was out for the count right now.  Menagerie had nothing left in the tank and her animating anything from her notebook was risking Overexposure.  Parasite needed a minute to remember which way was up, and Dragoon could only put on a strong front.  Out of all of them, she was arguably most hurt and spent, even before taking into account one of her arms was barely intact.    

“Lightshow,” she whispered to me, “Don’t let Mutant down.  You can do this.” 

Even if I couldn’t believe in myself, I could let myself believe in Dragoon and her faith in my new ability.  

Reaching out into the air, I felt those resonating frequencies push back against me.  I closed my fingers and selected a familiar frequency, a familiar form that I had known for a long time.  Strands of light rapidly danced from my fingers like some kind of 3D printer as a new copy of my oldest friend who was still breathing.  He turned to me, his mess of black hair obscuring his eyes a little as he waited for direction.  

All it took was a thought, an inclination on my behalf, and my reproduced copy of Mutant charged to help out the original in his duel with Kalr.  

Mutant had ten forms to choose from: Scorpion, Wolf, Bird, Lizard, Sl;ug, Beetle, Porcupine, rhino, Spider, and whatever fucked up monster was grey with the tentacles.  While three of his forms were entirely for utilitarian purposes, the other seven were all apt combat forms. It was no secret that my friend was most fond of his wolf form as it was likely the most well rounded.  It dawned on me that as my duplicate of Mutant charged, he wasn’t picking any forms; something whispered in the back of my mind that I would need to pick them for him.  

I watched Mutant dance around Kalr, rapidly swapping forms to stay one step ahead of the Trillodan giantess; a scratch along the back of her leg as a wolf before shifting to the bird to fly around her fist before shifting into the beetle to to slam a fist into her face and actually make her stumble a bit.  Before she could mount a counter attack, he shifted back to the wolf form and left gouges along her torso; as she kicked, he changed into the grey tentacled form and threw a tentacle around her neck, pulling himself away from the kick and landing behind her. A yank pulled her back a step before she could try and seize his elastic arm.  It vanished before she could lay a hand on it; Mutant had already shifted back into a bird and was dive bombing, swapping to beetle right before impact to send her staggering to the side.  

Staring at my copy, I compelled him to assume the following arsenal: rhino, spider, beetle, bird, scorpion.  Two of Mutant’s forms had poison as part of their arsenal and I wanted to see how well Kalr could cope.  The tank of regenerative sludge on her back already indicated that she wasn’t going to go down easily thanks to sharp trauma, so we had to change our plan of attack.  

My duplicate flew forward, transforming into the scorpion and dove towards her knee, pincers slicing into tendon as the tail jabbed forward and delivered a toxic payload into a dense hunk of muscle.  The copy seemed to pull from my memories of watching Mutant fight and immediately leapt away, shifting back into the bird to lessen the area for Kalr to hit. Flitting away, it dove forward and transformed into a form the size of a mid-size car.  His rhino form was a bit more monstrous than the original animal: among the leathery hide was a smattering of bone deposits that protruded like spikes from his skin, he didn’t have a horn so much as a wedge of bone over the front of his snout that acted like a battering ram, and the whole form was blue instead of grey.  

Kalr turned and absorbed the impact, bracing herself and catching my copy with a grunt; my eyes widened as she started to lift it off the ground, grinning as she overpowered his form most dedicated to running over opposition.  But, the original Mutant dove down, his wolf form sprouting from the bird as his claws raked over her underarm, severing tendons and causing an arm to go limp for a moment.  Seizing the opportunity, my copy changed into the spider form–which looked like an chalk-white version of my friend, but with an arachnids face and a pouch attached to his lower back that carried web–and jabbed his mandibles forward, injecting another poison into Kalr’s system.  As soon as it bit, the copy shifted to bird and narrowly avoided Kalr’s attempt to restrain his arm.  

There was a flash of blue light that caught my attention from the rooftops.  The purple figure leapt across the gap and Exchange was hot on her tail, narrowly missing an attempt to get a hold of her.  As she landed, the Trillodan operative abruptly adjusted her movement as a chunk of a chimney was ripped from existence. Beside me, Distortion swore as she raised her hand, a trickle of sweat running down the side of her cheek as she focused.  As he landed, Exchange tapped his hand to the top of the roof and left a trail of golden threads from his fingertips as he bound himself to that surface.  He darted around her first explosive before adjusting weights; his punch tossed the Trillodan nearly to the edge of the rooftop, but she’d clearly been able to roll with the blow.  

Whoever she was, she was in a league above Exchange.  The kid had a ton of raw power and energy, but he wasn’t able to make anything stick.  What he had in power, she made up for with finesse and aptitude. The way she moved, the way she danced around and rolled with impact, it was like watching Parasite fight.  He’d always insisted that skill beat size, every time.

That wasn’t promising for Exchange if Parasite was right.  

The demolitionist avoided another rip in space from Distortion and ducked under a lightning fast hook from Exchange; as he tried to dart behind her, she threw herself forward and detonated another explosive in his face.  The force was diverted to a wall that Exchange had bound himself to, but the munitions still blew up the rooftop she had circled around on; Exchange cried out as he fell into a building as she landed in front of Distortion, the wounded Sentries, and me.  

Distortion sneered as she raised both hands, making the whole avenue shimmer.  

The purple-armored operative jumped away, just barely getting herself clear in time; Distortion had finally thought ahead this time and smiled in triumph as a torrent of packed dirt and loose gravel came crashing down on the operatives head.  The demolitionist got back to her feet, but not before Exchange zipped into the path, slamming into her and launching the two of them through a wall and into a two story building across the street.  

A savage roar nearly made me come out of my skin as Eldritch warred with the slime that had ambushed us.  Eldritch was a powerhouse, an unrepentant monument to the power of size and weight; this immense slime was beating him at his own game.  Despite the fact that Eldritch was nearly ten feet tall and likely weighed five tonnes, he was being driven backwards. While most things would break when he hit them, this was made to absorb the blow and hinder his movement.  It was like he was fighting a massive wall of glue that refused to slow its advance.  

Adamant was literally glowing red hot, doing his best to carve away at the slime, but it was using a scalpel to cut down a tree.  He was touching his hand to it, evaporating swaths that seemed to be never ending; the best thing he kept doing was burning away the slime that had ensnared Eldritch’s legs to keep our massive beastie mobile and struggling.  

Menagerie watched intently, her fingers scratching at the notepad in her hand like an addict in need of a fresh fix.  Even though she wasn’t saying anything, I could feel her desire to intercede, to involve herself, to try and skew the outcome of the fight.  She wanted to do something, to do anything to help her friends.  I understood exactly how she felt right now, and I wished I could talk to her and empathize with that sense of feeling useless but my attention was snagged by Kalr who was seeming to speed up as Mutant was slowing down.  

For all his flashy antics, Mutant had done little lasting harm to the giantess.  Whatever that regenerative sludge was, it was easily undoing all the damage that Mutant was doing.  Worse was that she wasn’t worried, and in fact seemed thrilled to keep fighting two copies of him. Most would miss it, but I could tell my friend was wearing out and couldn’t do this for too much longer.  He was trying to fight faster than his body was going to let him; the day had been too long and he’d taken too much injury to be fighting like this.  

We needed to get rid of the sludge, but Mutant wasn’t the right one to do it with.  We’d already tried to claw through the tank to little effect.  

I reached out and seized my construct, dashing the resonance frequency and deconstructing the copy of Mutant.  Going into my memory banks, I dug for another familiar form, one I had already utilized. The second time around, it felt easy to replicate all the nuance of her armor and weaponry as a picture-perfect clone of Dragoon printed into existence.  

For all her nonchalance earlier, Kalr suddenly seemed concerned about the form I conjured.  While Mutant couldn’t rip through whatever god-forsaken metal that tank was composed of, her railgun could definitely punch a hole through it.  Mutant saw the change, and immediately changed his tactics; instead of trying to harm Kalr, all he had to do was protect my copy.

Behind me, Dragoon lobbed a concussion grenade with her good arm, detonating it a few inches in front of Kalr’s face.  Even though she was trained to endure inordinate amounts of pain and punishment, it still made the giantess stagger a few paces. Mutant changed to the tentacle form and wrapped his arms around her legs as my copy of Dragoon took aim at her center of mass, looking to punch a hole straight through the giant.  

At the last second, as if guided by some damned divine prompt, Kalr threw herself to the side.  The shot went wild, tearing a fist sized hole through a building after ripping the night air with a metallic shriek.  As my copy hastily reloaded, Mutant threw himself forward at Kalr and raked his wolf claws across her face, actually catching an eye in the process.  She thrashed, driving him back a few paces as the regenerative sludge cascaded down across her face; all the damage Mutant had inflicted was once again undone in a split second thanks to the Trillodan technology she had at her disposal. 

Behind me, Eldritch was losing ground.  Even with Adamant burning it away, the slime was simply too big and too unwieldy for Eldritch to handle.  For all his strength, he was incredibly ineffective against such an opponent. Whichever Trillodan constructed these things seemed to have almost done it deliberately to combat our gargantuan Druid.  Eldritch roared in frustration as he tried to brace himself and endure the slime washing over him, engulfing him. I could see him strain and shove back against the torrent of green ooze, but to little effect.  

To the right, another explosion tossed Exchange backwards, the wall he had bound himself to crumbling as it tried to soak up the force.  The blonde teenager stumbled, dazed; unlucky for him, the architecture was too feeble to be withstanding the hits that the demolitionist was able to dole out time and time again.  What he needed was a huge hunk of concrete, not worn wood and flimsy metal. The demolitionist smiled as she stepped out of another one of Distortion’s traps.  

Still, it seemed Distortion was starting to get on her nerves; the demolitionist lobbed a Trillodan explosive right at the group who was still in the middle of the road.  

“Lightshow, block it!” Dragoon demanded.  

The world seemed to slow down as I hastily thought through how the fuck I was going to be able to stop a Trillodan explosive.  I had done it once by creating a copy of Eldritch, but something told me that I couldn’t have two living constructs at once; leaving Mutant without the assistance was effectively signing his death warrant since he was exhausting himself.  But earlier, I had made a wall to patch the building up so we weren’t subject to the immense swarm of insects.

Could I create a whole building?  Did I need to? If I made a wall in front of us, would that be enough to deaden the blow somewhat and keep us alive?  

My brain raced through the frequencies of inanimate objects, but it didn’t seem to be that simple.  I couldn’t just make raw material, I wasn’t Repository whose entire gift was to create unrefined matter.  I could only make something I knew, some configuration that I was familiar with, something I had interacted with personally.  I had made the wall at Mother Audrey’s clinic because I had the building there to reference and to mimic. My newfound power didn’t have the ability to create on its own accord; all I could do was construct things I was familiar with.  

I needed the most durable thing that I could conjure.  One thing leapt to mind, one bloody place that I’d spent weeks honing a skill I no longer got to use.  

I grit my teeth and rapidly forced a hunk of the ship that Multi-task had constructed into existence.  It was tough enough to survive debris in space colliding with it, it would certainly hold up to whatever bomb this bitch had.  An eight by eight foot square formed an impromptu blast shield as the blue light erupted from the device she had tossed our way.  The wall did beautifully at absorbing the blast, but the force of the explosive tipped it over. With a wave, I undid its construction, right as my copy of Dragoon let fire another round from the railgun.  

The metal scream filled the air as a chunk of Kalr’s leg erupted in a fountain of gore as a swath of her over-muscled thigh came free.  Chunk of blue skin and muscle strewed themselves across the road as she sank to a knee, growling and baring her teeth at me.  

In her look, I saw something that made my blood run cold.  

Just before Tol had dismantled us, he’d give us a similar change of demeanor.  Where he’d been having a fun time playing with us, the Trillodan captain had turned up the heat when called for and proved he was far better than a handful of kids trying to be heroes.  What I saw in Kalr’s face, what her expression screamed to me was that same lethal intent, that same fiery and unbridled determination.  

Her hand shot down to her thigh, to a small pouch on her malleable suit; my eyes widened as she fished out a red disk and slammed it against the tank on her back.  Before I could tell my duplicate to do anything, the tank integrated the disk and a river of red ran through the tubes in her suit.  

Eldritch said that Tol had given her two of those to use like some kind of steroid when he’d fought her; it had made her strong enough to bash through his crystalline form.  

“Oh, shit!” I whispered as she rose, the sludge quickly filling in the wound in her thigh.  The copy of Dragoon raised the railgun to lay waste to the giant, but Kalr threw something that knocked the muzzle aside, skewing the shot.  Where she had fallen, she had gouged a chunk of the packed dirt free to throw back. Her smile changed to an almost demonic expression as she lumbered forward, five massive strides nearly closing the gap between us.  

And then a chunk of metal slammed into her eye socket, forcing her head aside in surprise.  

Parasite ran past me, leaping into the air to snatch his staff as it rebounded off her face; in a flourish of movement he seized the rod of metal and spun himself around as it extended.  Despite the red disc empowering her, she still reeled as Parasite smashed her teeth in with a four kilogram hunk of metal.  

Kalr raised her arms, defending her face from Mutant’s follow up assault; what would have been claws to the throat instead turned to gashes along her forearms.  

Even though the sludge flowed over her face and quickly began fixing her destroyed face, Parasite’s surprise entry back into the fight had bought my copy of Dragoon time to load and take aim at a disorient giantess.  The railgun shrieked as another hunk of metal went flying, ripping straight through Kalr’s guts; most importantly, we heard the sound of metal being perforated.  

With a hole in that tank, her regenerative sludge would run out soon and she’d finally be vulnerable. 

“Lightshow!”

Menagerie’s outcry pulled me back to reality; my copy of Dragoon having success had cost me my attention and distracted me from the demolitionist and her schemes.  When she had knocked Exchange over, I had failed to notice that he’d been knocked into a group of smaller slimes. They were keeping him held still like he’d been glued to the ground, and Distortion alone couldn’t begin to keep her controlled.  A handful of explosives were flying through the air in an arc spread between us and Eldritch.  

I hastily tried to erect another chunk of spaceship wall, but I wasn’t fast enough. 

My vision blurred as we were all knocked over, the blue light from the explosive sending a jolt of electricity through my whole body.  As I hit the ground, I convulsed and seized; I forced myself to keep a grip on the construct I had made as to avoid abandoning Parasite and Mutant.  Rolling my head, I saw that the damage was far worse for one other member of our motley crew.  

The hunk of metal I had pulled into reality had protected us, but I hadn’t managed to get any protection down towards Adamant.  While he was enabled to kill the ooze, he wasn’t bomb-proof. The blast had thrown him and left him in an undignified heap a few feet behind Eldritch.  While our massive Druid hadn’t given a damn about a bomb going off, not having Adamant helping cull the slime meant he was going to lose. I knew from experience that the faster he grew the tendrils, the shorter the duration.  The fact he’d made himself so massive in such a short amount of time meant that he had very limited time. All the ooze had to do was hold him and he’d eventually turn into a defenseless seventeen year old kid.  

The demolitionist walked forward, the black helmet parting to reveal a smug face.  Even though I was no engineer or machinist, I could tell there was elegance to the design of her armor.  It was form fitting and flexible, offering her a full range of motion and plenty of protection as well. Even behind the mask, there was a twisted beauty to the Trillodan, a kind of dangerous allure to the amphibious humanoids.  But, that was all done away when I saw that confident and condescending smile filled with dozens of pointed teeth. “You kids are wasting gifts like these,” she lamented as she nimbly evaded another attempt from Distortion to remove a limb.  “Too narrow in your scope, too shortsighted,” she insisted as she sprinted forward, driving a metal boot into the Projector’s sternum. Distortion fell onto her back, sputtering as she tried to focus enough to do something with her gift.  

Even though this operative didn’t have super strength like Kalr did, a metal glove slamming against the jaw was enough to knock a few teeth out, and knock Distortion cold.  

I groaned as I pushed myself up, frantically forcing my brain to think of an arm that I could wear, something that would even the odds since she was arrogant enough to step so close to us.  Gritting my teeth, I re-conjured another tentacle that Mutant would use; the Trillodan was quick enough on her feet to dodge my clumsy attempt to grab hold of her.  

“You are all so obnoxiously determined.  It is what Zellig does love about you though,” she mused as she evaded another attempt to grab her, “And why we’re all so eager to bring back more samples for Vaneel to study.” 

There was a groan of metal as Dragoon stumbled to her feet, keeping one arm tucked into her body, trying to keep the bones together.  “You’re not taking any of us with you,” she growled, defiant. “If you fucking think-“

I didn’t even see her toss the small device that sent an electrical surge through Dragoon’s suit.  My captain went down like a bag of rocks, her suit short-circuited and now turned into a prison. “Even if you manage to stop me,” she muttered, shaking her head, “Do you think any of you is fit to stop her?” 

A gauntleted hand gestured over her shoulder, drawing attention back to Kalr.  Even though I’d put a hole through the tank, she’d had enough left over to patch the tear through her guts.  My copy of Dragoon was trying to backpedal and reload; I looked up just in time to see Kalr lunge forward and wrap a hand around the copies arms.  A single motion and my duplicate of Dragoon was ripped in half. As she faded to nothingness, the giant rounded on Mutant who was trying to dive bomb her again; he was quick enough to transition to beetle, but the hit still knocked him down.  

Before my friend could get up, she slammed a foot into his torso.  When she pulled her leg away, Mutant had been turned back human, his power completely taxed.  Parasite leapt away, fighting smart enough to know that the best thing he could do was buy time, try and wait for the super steroid to wear off.  His agility let him quickly climb atop a building, but Kalr responded by tearing through walls, bringing the place down beneath his feet. Parasite was forced to abandon us or he’d trip and be caught up in her fervent rampage.  As he leapt away, she kept pace, her arm cutting through shoddy architecture like a hot knife through butter while she laughed hysterically.  

The only one who might have been able to fight her was slowly being smothered by that slime.  Eldritch was being folded in half, slowly being swallowed and unable to do a damn thing about it.    

“Give up,” the Trillodan whispered, “There is no need to die.  You can’t stop us, you might as well join us.” 

I dismissed the tentacle I had made for myself and took a deep breath as I stared at the demolitionist.  Much as I wanted to deny her, she was right. None of us could fight her. None of us stood a chance against someone so well trained, someone so clever and deadly.  

“That doesn’t mean nobody can fight back,” I whispered to myself, pushing away that feeling of surrender.  I was still breathing, and Dragoon had told me that I could do this. I refused to disappoint her.    

Her smile turned to a sneer, but her attempt to draw a weapon was thwarted by a horrific, quill covered monkey that threw itself onto her and dragged her backwards.  Menagerie glared up at the Trillodan with disdain, her sketchpad clutched by shaky fingers. “You’re not taking anyone else from me,” she growled.  

Menagerie shot me a quick glance, as if she could transfer what little bit of strength she had left to me; we both knew that she had nothing in the tank and that construct she made was all she could possible muster.  Our quiet Peculiar had given up what little she could to give me a window of opportunity to try and make one last construct. So I dug into my memory, searching for the right resonance. I dug for the most powerful person I could wrap my head around.  I didn’t know exactly how Forest’s anatomy worked, and I certainly didn’t understand the wild intricacies of Infinite’s power.

But Titan was someone I understood.  

The demoloitionist’s eyes widened as his form came into being rapidly.  The short brown hair, the leather jacket, the snide smile, and the confident stance forward.  

“I can’t kill you, but he can,” I hissed.  Steeling myself, I gave my duplicate of our fearless leader a goal: kill these two and the slime.  

There was a momentary delay where the world seemed to still as the construct raised his hand and the sound like an acetylene torch being lit filled the void; the demolitionist threw a bomb but it found a wall of molten silicon sprouting from his hand that devoured the device mid-flight.  In a frantic rush, she threw herself away and hastily smashed a white vial that was put on her hip. The air around her twisting and warping as she disappeared, narrowly evading the torrent of molten material.  

I could now say that I understood what Atlas felt like in mythology.  Utilizing Titan was like asking someone to put me in a trash compactor; a weight pressed on me as he created the molten slurry, a force that seemed intent on literally squeezing the life out of me the longer I kept him powered.  My vision started to waver as he turned his attention to Kalr. 

Whatever was in those red discs, whatever super-steroid she had pumped into herself, it had narrowed her view.  Her reckless pursuit of Parasite had left her oblivious to her comrades terror and outright abandonment. As Titan sprinted closer, she grew dimly aware that there was a new threat and so she abandoned ripping down the building that Parasite had climbed to the top of.  

As she turned around, an orange flood of death flowed her way.  The giant’s instinct and quick reflexes kept her alive, but it wasn’t enough to get her away unscathed.  Molten material disintegrated her right arm in entirety as well as a good chunk of her side, all the way down to her hip.  Even through the pain-dulling properties of the steroid, it was clear it hurt her in a way that you did not forget. More than that, I took a grim satisfaction seeing that murderous glee wiped away and replaced by complete terror.  

I felt my limbs shake as my copy of Titan let out another slurry, but like her comrade, Kalr grabbed a white vial and shattered it, distorting reality to jettison herself the hell away from my killer construct.

One leg gave out as I moved my Titan to save Eldritch.  Even though there was no more threat from the Trillodan operatives, once Eldritch ran out of time, he was going to suffocate in that wall of goo.  One last use of my fabricated Titan burned away the majority of the slime, enough that Eldritch could tear free and scatter the rest of the malevolent green ooze.  

As soon as he was free, I dismissed my creation and fell forward, emptying what little was left in my stomach onto the packed dirt that constituted a road here.  I then promptly followed suit, face planting into a puddle of my own vomit as all my limbs quit working. While my heart had been hammering in my chest earlier, I was dimly aware of the fact that the same hammering had stopped finally.  

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get myself to roll over.  Mortified, I realized that I was lying limp in a puddle of my own expulsion and I couldn’t summon the strength to move.  It was like I had been shut away in my brain, separated from the rest of my everything.  

Someone slid in beside me, graciously rolling me out of my own vomit.  As my head turned, I saw Parasite above me, looking distraught as he placed a hand to the side of my neck.  

Then he did the strangest thing and put his hands on my chest, quickly feeling around before finally settling his hand between my tits.  He was gay, why the fuck was he trying to cop a feel, and why now? Besides he didn’t seem like the sort to take advantage to take advantage of someone who couldn’t fend for themselves.   

I wanted to tell him to stop as he started pressed down, cracking my ribs with an audible pop.  I wanted to snap at him that it fucking hurt, but he didn’t. What the hell was wrong with him that he was…

It finally dawned on me; the twat was giving me CPR.  

Normally people who Overexposed fatigued, losing control of their power before finally collapsing due to exhaustion.  In extreme circumstances you could kill yourself, but it was typically becuase you tried to do too much over too long a period of time.  Even so, the Adapted was likely to lapse into a coma first since your body would shut down as a means of self-preservation.  

But I was no longer Adapted, I was Altered.  The same rules didn’t apply to me.  

I had skipped any kind of progressive loss of power or even coma; instead I had just induced abrupt cardiac arrest.  To add insult to injury, I was somehow aware enough to watch my teammate frantically hammer away on my chest to try and keep me alive.          

I would be able to die seeing the look of horror on my former comedic partner’s face as he failed to save me.  

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