Book 3 – 11: Born Leader

Wormhole Island - Interior.

Door Room.

 

A storm forced its way through the crack in the newly opened door. Formless, intangible, existing only in the mind. A psychic gale of gigantic proportions.

It tore across the open chamber, lifting up everything in its path and tossing it aside. All thoughts, all intentions, all resistance. Taking over and focusing on the one thing it cared about — organics.

Figaro’s body warped with pain, as though he was being turned inside out. His head shook till it felt like it would explode and his right arm hurt so much he wished someone would cut it off at the elbow.

The power within him was growing to a level beyond anything he had ever experienced. The wind streaming through the door was many times more forceful than what he had experienced on the surface. Here, it filled him up with a divine energy that was irrepressible and unbearable.

A wave of heat spread into his abdomen, like a torrent of lightning that had suddenly burst outwards in all directions, stretching his senses to far outside his body and spreading a tearing pain through him.

Figaro clenched his teeth and did his best to remain standing. He felt like even the smallest step back would begin the loss of control and there would be no way to reclaim it.

Only the bracelet on his arm seemed to be preventing an immediate capitulation. But even now he could see, through his tears and shaking vision, that the bracelet was falling apart.

Once he lost the shackles Dr Yune had placed on his body, there would be no stopping the organic from overwhelming him.

He looked at his father, the one person who had the ability to suppress organics, even his. His father’s unique ability had always provided the ideal counter to his problem. Ramon Ollo didn’t like to use his ability on his son. He had always seen it as a blunt instrument that would weaken Figaro’s ability to overpower and contain the organic in his body. The struggle was a necessary part of the process.

But in an emergency, his father could shut him down using brute force. It might injure Figaro, but he would only take that course of action if the situation was dire enough to warrant it. Figaro accepted that this was one of those situations.

His father, however, was not using his ability.

Figaro was very familiar with how his father’s power worked and currently there were no signs of Ramon Ollo inflicting his ability on his son.

In fact, Ramon Ollo looked like he was struggling to stay on his feet. He looked weakened and distraught. He was shaking his head with a helpless look upon his face.

Another surge of energy pushed through Figaro’s body with even greater intensity. The bracelet on his wrist was fighting a desperate struggle to hold on. The clash of opposing forces brought him unimaginable pain.

“Shut him down,” shouted PT. He didn’t seem to be affected. He didn’t have an organic, an advantage for once.

“I can’t,” replied a weary Ramon Ollo. Figaro had never seen his father look so tired. “All organics are being boosted, except mine.”

Figaro immediately understood the problem. His father’s organic didn’t work like other organics. It couldn’t since it did the reverse of what they did. His ability to diminish and negate the power of other organics came from pushing in the opposite direction.

This fearsome wind that was blowing everyone’s organics to their apogee, was at the same time sucking the life out of his father’s organic. Which not only didn’t bode well for Figaro, it would also make his father powerless in the face of the Seneca Corps once they arrived.

Figaro’s mind began to fade. It wasn’t just about his body being unable to handle the immense power building up inside him. His organic had a special origin. It had once belonged to an amazing person, but a person who had committed some of the most deranged acts of violence the galaxy had ever seen; and not only against his enemies.

The organic affected the mind, removing inhibitions and morality, replacing them with certainty and relentlessness.

Figaro had seen the footage. He knew how powerful it could be in the right hands. His father called it the God Seed, but it was not a benevolent god.

None of that mattered right now, though. His body was in no condition to host the insane level of power coursing through him. He would simply explode, taking this island with him, and doing unfathomable damage to the wormhole.

His consciousness was slipping away. He looked up and saw Chukka come running towards him, her supercharged organic causing her eyes to glow far brighter than before.

She was making a last-ditch effort to get to him, to save him. But no matter how much her own powers had been elevated, his organic had been powered-up even more so. Her actions were pointless. Inconsequential. Insignificant.

He casually waved an arm at her and caught her in the chest, his hand sweeping up to strike her chin, sending her flying backwards. Her body bounced a few times before slamming into the far wall, causing stone debris to fall as she finally came to a halt, sprawled out on the ground.

The bracelet finally broke and fell off his arm. Now there was nothing left to hold him back.

He didn’t see PT, he just sensed him descending.

Figaro turned as PT’s fist landed square on his face, accompanied by the sound of bone breaking as his mouth filled with the taste of blood. Dazed by the blow, Figaro was knocked onto his backside.

When he was hit by this fist, Figaro was shocked to find that his body, swollen with power, did not offer any protection. PT’s hand had ploughed through the field of energy that had started to surround him, and penetrated his bones, shattering them in the process.

He felt no pain. His mind, which had been in the process of severing all connections with his consciousness, couldn’t work out what to do. It had already been on the way out, and the new proprietor had yet to arrive.

A hand reached out from in front of him and gripped the back of his neck before slamming his face into the ground.

Figaro gasped for breath, his eyes becoming dark as they filled with blood, the malevolent energies stored within his body erupting like a volcano. He shrugged his shoulder and PT was sent flying.

PT was skilled and fast, but he had nowhere the same level of power. The wind blowing through the door, causing a surge of organic energy to madly pour into Figaro’s body, had no effect on PT, or on Ubik, who was standing to one side watching. They couldn’t match him, or stop him. That would take someone who could surpass him, and there was no one capable of that now.

Bashir suddenly stood up. He had been huddled against a wall ever since the door had opened, but now he was standing tall, his eyes burning with a ferocious light, his arms flailing wildly.

His organic was forcing his abilities to a level of sensitivity Bashir had never had to deal with before, and he wasn’t coping well.

“They’re coming, they’re coming,” he shouted, before passing out and slumping to the floor.

Figaro heard them, too. The footsteps keeping perfect time. Marching towards him.

The Seneca Corps were coming, their engorged organics pumping power into their bloodstreams.

Unlike Bashir, their training and discipline would allow them to make use of the extra power. They would come at him and, if there were enough of them, maybe even overpower him. But it would take too long and his organic had nothing to limit its growth. They were only coming to join him in death.

But as the figures emerged from the darkened passage on the far side, it wasn’t the Corps who came marching out, it was VendX.

They formed a wedge formation as they crossed the room, with a giant of a man in their centre. A huge, bald man who was clearly blind — his eyes both milky white. He rested a large hand on the shoulder of the man a step ahead of him, who acted as his guide.

“Who’s there?” the huge man bellowed.

“Ramon Ollo,” responded the guide. The unit continued to move closer.

There were more of them at the rear of the wedge. And what was more surprising was that they were Seneca. Following obediently, taking no control of the situation, under the command of VendX. Even General Sway was among their number.

It made no sense.

“Mr Ollo,” bellowed the blind man. “You will cede to me.”

His father’s shoulders slumped. He struggled to resist but couldn’t.

The blind man had some kind of ability to control others. The amplification of powers had served him particularly well, it seemed.

“And there,” said the blind man, turning towards Figaro, head slightly tilted. “Who is that?”

“Ramon Ollo’s son,” said the guide. “I believe he has an unstable organic.”

“Irrelevant,” said the blind man, and waved a dismissive hand in Figaro’s direction.

He felt an influence flood his body and invade his mind. Perhaps he would have succumbed under other circumstances, but it was too late. If anything, this was only hastening the inevitable.

Figaro’s body rapidly inflated. This was it, the final moment before the end, before everything died.

“What’s happening? What is this energy I’m sensing?”

“Mr Chairman, we must leave this place,” said the panicked guide, trying to turn his people around.

Too late, much too late.

And then it stopped.

Like a switch had been flipped, there was no longer any wayward energy overflowing in Figaro’s body. Even without the bracelet, he felt the power was in check. In addition to which, he couldn’t move.

There was a sound in his head. It wasn’t human, at least, it didn’t make sounds by any physical means. It had a familiar shape to it, but without sounding at all familiar. It reminded him of laughter. Cold, heartless, mocking laughter.

Good, good. Almost ready.

It was in his head and he understood it, but they weren’t words, and there was no voice.

Figaro felt the hold on him tighten and then he was lifted off the ground and drawn through the air, towards the door which was opening wider.

“We found the prisoner,” said Ubik, sounding delighted. “Or he found us.”

“Stop him,” shouted PT, staggering as he got back to his feet.

“No, no,” said Ubik. “This is good. He likes Fig. He’ll keep him alive.”

“We can’t just let him go in there by himself,” said PT.

“Trust me,” said Ubik, “we just need to let Fig get some face time and turn on the charm. Everyone loves Fig. He’s got the cute face, the family connections, the tight body…”

PT’s body language clearly indicated he wasn’t buying Ubik’s bullshit, but that didn’t mean Ubik was wrong.

“Alright everyone,” said Ubik to the descending horde. “Why don’t we all take a moment and give the young prodigy a chance to sort this out? You’re all feeling pretty pumped, I know. Maybe take a breather, yeah?”

“Get out of the way,” said the Chairman’s guide. The wedge showed no signs of slowing down. They were intent on following Figaro through the door.

“No need for any unpleasantness,” said Ubik. “Although, my friend here is happy to take you on in a one-on-one deathmatch round-robin, if you want.”

“Ignore him,” said PT. “He doesn’t speak for me. You can fight him, though, if you want. I’ll even help.”

“You will both do as I say,” bellowed the Chairman of VendX, his eyes glowing.

PT and Ubik hesitated for a moment, bracing themselves for some kind of blow, and then relaxed, looking at each other and shrugging.

“Are we supposed to be intimidated by the evil eyes?” said PT.

“He’s blind,” said Ubik. “Probably thinks we’re VendX employees who crap themselves whenever he speaks.”

It seemed the Chairman’s ability to control people only extended to those who had organics. Figaro’s two friends were the only ones unaffected by both sides in this confrontation.

“All of you,” said the Chairman, his eyes flashing, “take those two down and bring me the Ollo boy.”

The Seneca Corps fanned out from the rear and surged forward. He might not be able to exert influence on the two of them, but he could have them beaten to a pulp.

Figaro watched them being swarmed from all sides as he was pulled through the door.

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