Body of a Man, Mind of Machine – The Series

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Sorry for any typos.

Just a reminder: Light of Hellfire has been published, and the updated version, Hellsteel, features all new characters, monsters, and themes, and has an overall much deeper storyline. You can find it on Amazon. I’ve also published stories from my previous account, The Man of Sin and My Dear Sweet Slave. Buy a copy today!

Body Of A Man, Mind Of A Machine

Chapter One:

Somalia, one of the poorest and most chaotic countries in the world, sits at the Horn of Africa, when at one time it was a beacon of the worldwide shipping economy. It now suffers from an ongoing civil war, between the struggling government and the Islamist group Al-Shabaab. In the capital city of Mogadishu, piracy thrives in the chaos as people struggle to survive the violence and turmoil. In essence, it is perfect for someone with certain needs.

A strange sound to be heard in this area, the hammering of nails and crying of drills, so similar to the calls of combat normally echoing through the ravaged streets. Outside of the city, houses are being built, nice ones, standing out like islands in a sea of squalor. A new plumbing and electrical system is installed, providing clean water and power to all the new homes, which strangely sit vacant. The men building these houses are not Somali, their varying skin tones and languages confirm it. They do not associate with anyone besides their coworkers. They simply build during the day, eat food that they brought with them, disappear at night, and then reappear the next day to continue their work. Nobody knows who hired them or whom these luxurious houses belong to. Now, movers are showing up with trucks full of furniture and appliances. People come out from the city to watch, wondering what in the world is going on. They are now surrounded by what looks like American suburbia.

Today, a man approaches a local tavern with a metal briefcase in hand. His posture, his clothes, and his haircut give away his identity as the foreigner, at least to this city. He is a mercenary from Egypt, armed with a handgun and even some grenades hooked to his belt. He steps inside, momentarily pausing to acclimate himself to the smell of bad cigars and cheap booze. The dank bar is filled with men, openly carrying assault rifles and talking amongst themselves. Everyone here is a pirate and everyone here has killed before.

The mercenary walks over to the counter, ignoring all the cautious stares he’s getting. He stands out too much to not raise alarm. Setting the briefcase on the counter, he turns to face everyone. “I’m looking for Mahmud Hussein,” he says, speaking Arabic.

Nobody answers him, but everyone is preparing to grab their weapons should they need them. Annoyed, the mercenary draws one of his grenades, sending a shiver of terror through the room as he pulls the pin. He keeps the spoon pressed, preventing the bomb from going off, but should he release his grip, there will only be seconds to get away. A dozen men get their feat and shout at him to return the pin, pointing their AK-47 rifles at him.

“I repeat: I am looking for Mahmud Hussein.”

He eases his grip on the spoon, starting the countdown.

“I’m the one you want.”

The mercenary turns to the one man not pointing a weapon at him, sitting in the corner amongst his bodyguards. He seems amused by the situation, more curious than fearful. His target found, the mercenary returns the pin to the grenade and stows it, replacing it instead with a cellphone. Set to speakerphone, he dials in a number, walks over, and places it at Mahmud’s table. Without saying another word, the mercenary departs, leaving his briefcase on the counter. From the cellphone, a voice is heard, distorted by a modulator.

“Hello Mr. Hussein, it’s nice to meet you.”

The stranger’s voice has a slight accent, unavoidable to anyone who doesn’t speak Arabic as a first language, but the way he speaks was otherwise perfect.

“Who is this?” Mahmud demands with everyone listening in.

“My name isn’t important. Am I correct in claiming you are the one in charge here?”

“That is right.”

“Good, then my sources are accurate. Allow me to get to the point: I have a business proposition for you, all of you. Work for me and I’ll give you all a future beyond your wildest dreams.”

Mahmud laughed at the offer. “And what would be we doing?”

“Bringing stability and prosperity to Somalia. Unfortunately, the instability and volatility of your country stands in the way of my endeavors, so I’ll have to fix it, and you’re all going to help.”

“This joke is wearing on my nerves.”

“It’s not a joke. The man who approached you left a metal briefcase on the counter. Have one of your men open it.”

All eyes turn to the briefcase, setting off alarms in everyone’s mind as to what could be inside. Enough C4 could be crammed into it to reduce the entire building to dust. They felt like it was staring back at them, daring them to make a move.

“You honestly expect me to fall for that?”

“If I wanted you dead, I would have leveled the building with all of you inside, and I could have done it with the push of a button. Might I add that that is still an option for me? The young man by the counter, Elijah, have him open it.” Standing closest to the suitcase, the emaciated nineteen-year-old looks like he was about to faint. “That’s right, I’m looking at all of you right now. You’re surrounded by eyes, many of which are behind sniper scopes. Open the case.”

Having forgotten the last time he had felt such fear, Mahmud hesitates and then nods to Elijah. The young man slowly approaches the case and unfastens it, the unclasping of the locks sounding like gunshots to everyone in the room. He at last works up the courage to open the case and gives a sigh of relief when nothing happens. Everyone gives similar gasps, having expected to be wrapped in a thunderous fireball.

“Boy, what’s in it?” Mahmud asks.

“Keys, sir. It’s full of keys.”

“My gift to all of you,” says the stranger. “Each key goes to one of the new houses that have been built. You can move your families into them whenever you want.”

The men gaped in amazement looking at the keys set out for them. Was this really happening? This was too good to be true!

“Why are you doing this?” Mahmud asks.

“There is no reason for my subordinates to live in squalor. I need people to help me save this world and one of the first steps in ensuring that countries like yours are stable. You’re all just the start. Besides, the lives you’ll be living will set the standard for the new era.”

“We’re just fishermen and pirates, we can’t fix this country!”

“Well then let’s change that, shall we? There is another building being set up, I’m sure you’re all aware of it. It’s the large facility on the other side of town, a university I’ve opened. Tomorrow at 8:00 am, all of you show up there and you’ll be given a free education to help welcome you into the 21st century. I’ll even pay you to attend classes so that you can focus on studying rather than work. Until then, take your keys and show your families to their new homes. Your country is about to be rebuilt from the ground up.”

On the other end of the line, Adrian turned off his phone, satisfied with the results, but without his face showing even a glimmer of joy. Stowing his phone, he got out of his car and made his way to the high school entrance. First period would start soon.

His name was Adrian Ashford, eighteen years old and a high school Junior, but by no means was he like any of the other guys his age. With an IQ of 300, he was regarded as the smartest man alive, past, present, and possibly even future. The only reason why he attended public school was because students at gifted schools were too competitive and desperate to beat him. To him, they were little more than arrogant little lap dogs, nipping at his heels as if they were his equals.

Since he was ten years old, he had always preferred to be left alone and his cold personality was proof of this desire. He saw no use in human socialization and found it to be a hindrance and did whatever could to avoid it. Love and friendship only got in the way of his goals and Adrian wanted neither of them. He had closed off his heart so that he wouldn’t feel lonely and mastered complete control of his hormones and physical desires so that he wouldn’t feel attraction or arousal.

Having recently transferred in at the end of September, he already had a reputation. Most people at school couldn’t stand being around him, because his logic and focus on reality basically crushed all of their dreams and beliefs. He could scientifically explain why their religion is false, why the habits that they think help them actually serve no purpose, why their views go against logic and reason, and he can list all of the flaws in their arguments. When someone asked him how he could possibly develop the views he had, he replied by saying that he simply came to conclusions by looking at problems the way a machine would. This tendency to crush their human traits had earned him the nickname ‘Adroid’, since he was basically the closest thing they’d ever come to meeting a robot.

The world knew him only for his record IQ and his groundbreaking inventions, but no one on Earth knew just what he was capable of and how powerful he was, intellectually, physically, and economically.

“Hey, Adrian!”

Clasping his hand as he reached the front doors, a girl seemingly appeared beside him out of thin air. Jenny Sinclair, her appearance meant nothing to his cold heart, but his opinion was of no concern in the unquestionable fact that she was exceptionally beautiful. She had a well-tanned complexion, bright blue eyes, and long blonde hair. It caught the light beautifully with a deep full golden shade. Her figure was… womanly, to say the least. Were he a normal teenager, Adrian would have gone into a stupor at the sensation of her hand touching his, but with his emotions and desires sealed away, her appearance meant nothing to him.

She asked him questions as if he was an all-knowing magic 8-ball, but she always picked her questions carefully, because his harsh logic was like fire: it’s comforting if you keep a safe distance, but you’ll get burned if you come too close. She sought him out for guidance and wisdom, using his inhuman logic in a human world. She was a social goddess, a celebrity to the other students, so why, of all people, would she so much as say hello to someone like Adrian? If anything, he just considered her an annoyance.

“So, Adrian, how about having lunch with my friends and I?”

“Why in the world would I ever do that?”

“Because you need to spend time with people. Think of it as like a social psychology experiment. You get an up close and personal view of how people interact.”

“You’re just going to keep badgering me until I say yes, aren’t you?”

“Not badgering you, encouraging you!”

“Ugh, fine, whatever. Now leave me alone.”

Most of Adrian’s day was spent on his phone, silently taking care of business while his teachers droned on. After all the books he had read, there was nothing they could tell him that he didn’t already know. He had mastered all academic subjects years ago. The people he was texting weren’t friends; they were subordinates. What was going on in Somalia was nothing out of the ordinary for Adrian. He was in the process or reformatting dozens of countries around the globe, with his oldest factions boasting thousands of members. There were also several other people, subordinates in charge not of countries, but corporations. Whether it was taking over companies or starting them himself, Adrian had used his intellect to build up a corporate empire, one that the world knew nothing about, and the profits from these companies funded his endeavors.

There was something new being muttered by the students in the halls, something that almost seemed to scare them. Normally ignoring everything around him, Adrian began to get curious. For once, he was glad that Jenny trailed behind him at every chance.

“Jenny, do you know what is going on? I’m only picking up small pieces of the story.”

“A bully named Logan is coming back from suspension. He was almost kicked out of school on the first day because he and his friends slashed the tires of all the teachers’ cars and set off fireworks in the halls.”

“Oh great, just what this school needs.”

“Well you’ll get to meet him, we have the same English class for fourth period.”

“Huzzah,” Adrian groaned sarcastically.

“So you’re the new kid,” Logan mused.

He was six feet tall, had short blond hair, a sadistic look in his eyes, and he was dressed like a cliché bad boy from an 80’s movie. Jenny was sitting in the back of the classroom with her friends, watching him.

“No, I’m just a figment of your imagination. As the kids would say, you are ‘totally tripping balls’ right now. Is that the answer you were looking for?” Adrian asked sarcastically.

“Very funny, prick, very funny. You must have been the funniest guy in the mental hospital.”

Adrian just rolled his eyes and sighed. The teacher had yet to show up, and until he did, Logan saw no reason to stop. Everyone was watching as if this was a sporting event.

“So fag, how do you like the new school? I bet a scrawny little bitch like you fell apart on the first day.”

“Your sense of assumption is far from correct,” Adrian said as stood up.

“Well you’ll find that my aim is better!” Logan laughed as he reached out to punch him.

With little effort but lightning-fast reflexes, Adrian blocked his fist with the back of his hand, completely halting his attack.

“Who the fuck are you?” Logan hissed, pushing as hard as he could, but finding Adrian’s arm to be as strong as steel.

“I already told you, I’m a figment of your imagination.”

Without warning or hesitation, Adrian bolted forward and stabbed him with his hand, straight in the solar plexus. The attack had been so fast that Logan didn’t even feel the impact, but the pain was so intense, that just a fraction of a second later he couldn’t even scream. Adrian had stabbed with his fingers folded halfway and his hand between a fist and being completely flat. Had his fingers been straight, Adrian could have pierced his skin, with his whole hand coated in blood and a gaping hole left in Logan’s chest.

Adrian pulled his hand back and Logan fell to the floor, gagging in pain and gripping the place Adrian had stabbed him. “Before your talk to me again, you had better learn respect, for I will not tolerate such insulting behavior. You are nothing more than a misbehaving dog that needs an attitude adjustment, and I will continue to treat you like one if you continue to act like one. Do I make myself clear, or am I going to have to put you in your place?”

Everyone was staring at him with disbelief as Logan slowly got to his feet, chuckling like a serial killer. “Go fuck yourself. You’re no better than the rest of us, no matter how much you want to be.”

“I’m not saying everyone is below me; I’m saying that you are below everyone. Like I said, you are nothing more than a misbehaving dog that needs an attitude adjustment. A pathetic sub-human like you deserves to be treated as such. You had better learn respect, because I won’t be as merciful next time.”

“You condescending son of a—”

“Sorry I’m late, everyone take out your textbooks,” the English teacher said as he stepped into the room, cutting Logan off. He immediately knew something had just being going on. “Logan… Adrian… what were the two of you just doing?” he asked, waiting for a reason to start handing out detentions.

“Nothing sir,” Adrian said as he brushed his messy black hair out of his face. “Since you weren’t here, I thought it would be entertaining if I gave the lesson until you arrived. As you can see, everyone in class found the subject very interesting. I can only hope that Logan was paying attention and learned his lesson.”

Logan began to laugh with a psychotic smile on his face. “Oh, I definitely learned something. And maybe soon, I’ll be able to teach you something.”

“It seems you’ve already forgotten the lesson,” Adrian replied as he sat back down.

“Everyone sit down and take out your textbooks,” the teacher ordered.

As Logan moved towards an empty seat, he came to a stop in front of Jenny’s desk. All of her friends clustered around her, as if trying to scare Logan off. He was unfazed by their attempt. “Hey Sinclair, I missed you while I was gone. Or to be exact, I missed you every night.”

Jenny blushed with anger. “Why can’t you just leave me alone? I hate you and the only time I’ve ever came into contact with you was to slap you. I don’t like you and I never will.”

“Your mouth says “no, no”, but that very lovely cleavage of yours says “yes, oh yes”.”

Jenny instinctively tightened her shirt and she and all her friends glared at him.

“Logan, sit down or you’ll be drowning in detentions,” the teacher warned.

Logan just laughed and sat down at an empty desk. Adrian turned back to Jenny and their gazes met. As she looked into his eyes, the anger and frustration in her own was replaced by calmness and comfort. She even gave him a dreamy smile.

“So what’s that guy’s problem?” Adrian asked as he made his way to his next class.

“He’s just always been a total asshole. Even as a Senior, he hasn’t matured at all. He throws a temper tantrum whenever someone tries to tell him what to do and he loves to torment everyone around him. He’s like a magnet for all the delinquents in the school. He and all his friends are part of a gang that hangs out in a warehouse in the city and everyone knows that he sells drugs. There is also a “rumor” that he raped a girl at a party, but the girl was so devastated and traumatized that she moved away without even testifying against him.”

“And what’s his problem with you?”

“He’s after all the pretty girls, but he taunts me the most, ever since middle school. I’ve always been terrified of yelling at him to leave him alone, then when I turn me back and walk away, he comes up behind me and covers my face with a chloroform rag, and then… you can imagine. Everyone knows he raped that poor girl, and I don’t want to end up as his next victim.”

Adrian gave no reply.

Her scowl then turned into a small smile. “But it was really great seeing you stand up to him like that, and even knock him to the ground. It was like seeing a tyrant being overthrown. I had never seen someone verbally assault another person like that, was that some sort of strategy?”

“Yes, it’s an argument tactic that I use when my opponent refuses to be logical and just wants to cause harm. I attack the source of their pride: the delusion they have they are equal or better than other people. I subjugate and crush their view of themselves by saying that they are inferior sub-humans and should be treated as such. Calling someone a monster or a parasite does nothing, but treating him or her like one is like a dagger to the heart. If Logan tried to get into another fight with me, I could weaken his mental foundations by referring to him as “it” or saying something like “I can’t believe things like you are allowed to vote”. That way, I can take away his power as an individual person and psychologically crush him like the cockroach that he is.”

Jenny’s smile was again filled with admiration. “Adrian, can I ask you a favor?” She asked, going from happy to nervous.

“What is it?”

“Will you protect me from him? If he comes after me, will you stop him?”

“If you stay by my side, I will.”

Lunch had arrived, and Adrian was sitting at a large round table in the middle of the school cafeteria. Jenny’s friends paid no attention to him, and Adrian just sat back and ate his lunch. Normally they would have refused having someone like him, but after his encounter with Logan, he had gained a temporary hero status. The girl were gossiping about the boys they were dating, and as he listened to them, a question began to form in his mind, one that he couldn’t help but ask, due to the situation.

“Can I ask you all a question? I’m hoping that you can give me the answer that I can’t find on his own.”

There was an awkward silence for a few seconds.

“Sure, what is it?” Jenny’s friend Amanda asked.

“What is the purpose of your relationships?”

There was another awkward silence as everyone tried to figure out the meaning of the question.

“What do you mean?” Jenny asked.

“What is the purpose of the relationships you have through dating? I don’t understand why you bother.”

“We do it… to find someone to love,” one of Jenny’s friends said, trying to pick her words carefully.

“But what comes out of it? Say you find someone that you actually do love; do you have any idea how high the chances are that you will break up? It’s practically inevitable.”

“No it’s not,” another girl piped up.

“Yes it is. Statistically speaking, one of the greatest cause of all divorces is because the man and woman had been dating since high school or college and got married in their twenties or even their teens. Being in your teens is a death sentence to any relationship, and marriage isn’t the long shot, life is. Do you really think your relationship can last throughout the rest of high school, your college years, and your twenties? Basically, if you’ve lasted until college, unless you both go to the same universities, that relationship is more doomed than it already is.

Even if you say to yourself that your relationship is “special”, and you and your partner will maintain your romantic bond for the rest of your lives, you have to realize that every single couple that failed thought the same thing. What makes you think that your relationships are any different than all of the others? Why do you enter relationships when failure is practically unavoidable, especially at such young ages?”

There was yet another awkward silence.

“We do it… for the memories? For the enjoyment? For practice?” one girl shrugged, telling herself more than she was asking him. All around the table, all of the girls were being affected by his words, and were beginning to contemplate the value and point of being in a relationship.

“What kind of answer is practice? How would you like it if you were dating someone and they just said that you were practice to them? How would you like it if we were dating and I told you that I’m just using you as practice for when someone better than you comes along? But if everyone considers their teenage relationships to be practice, then that must mean that all teenagers know that they are nothing but practice, and are in denial. If you weren’t in denial, then why would you put any emotional effort into a relationship if you know that you both consider the other one to be practice for a more meaningful relationship later, and it will inevitably fail?

And what memories? What enjoyment? Relationships in this part of your lives are nothing but emotionally strenuous bonds with the illusion of something new and exciting. Your minds aren’t fully developed and stabilized, making it so that hormones and the fear of being alone cause your feelings towards the other person. The whole time you’re with them, your instincts and hormones are making you look at other people the way you originally looked at your partner. This wandering gaze causes you to devalue your relationship, because you convince yourselves that your heart is telling you that you aren’t where you are meant to be, when really, its because your hormones are telling you to be with other people.

Eventually your relationship—which had briefly burned with such passion—will be nothing but ash, as you both try to hide your contempt for each other out of the fear of being alone. Soon, your doomed relationship shatters, and you are left emotionally barren and exhausted. And during the time it takes to recuperate from the emotional strain, you look back at that relationship and curse yourself for wasting all of that effort on something so insipid as a high school romance. The trial leaves you with more emotional strain than happy memories, and your youth is wasted while your heart and mind heal, only for you to repeat the process with someone else. Even without knowing the statistics, you must surely know what I am talking about, and have experienced it first hand.”

All around the table, the girls’ eyes gained a sad grayish hue and their complexions became pale as sorrow lined their faces. The impact of his words had broken their illusion of reality. Jenny’s eyes showed the most pain.

“But what about you? What would you seek in a relationship?” a girl asked.

“I do not want to be in a relationship.” Just before she could ask, Adrian answered her. “You assume that like all other teenage boys, I only desire sex, which is the largest reason why males enter relationships. Even after all I have said, your experience with boys tells you that I am just a horny fool looking for someone to screw. At eighteen years of age, when my anatomy is supposed to be saturated with hormones, I have learned ultimate self-control. I have severed logical thought from sexual desire, as sexual desire serves no beneficial purpose outside of reproduction, which has no place at this stage in his life. It is illogical.

There was a time when I might have wanted a relationship, but I have cast off the desire. A relationship is too dangerous for me anyway.”

His words shook all of the girls from their dread-dazes, and they stared at him with disbelief.

“Dangerous?” Jenny asked.

“Intimate and romantic relationships require effort and compromise, and even if you desire not to change, your identity subconsciously conforms. This is something I cannot allow. Since basically all relationships in your teens and early twenties are pointless, sex is nothing but a hollow act of perversion, compromising the purity of your identity as you give away a piece of your soul for a doomed romance. Our species is so desperate for love at such young ages that we compromise our identities without any consideration of the future. By accepting my limitations, studying the facts of reality, gaining control of physical desire, and embracing my urge to have solitude, I have achieved enlightenment and come to accept and embrace the fact that I am going to die alone. So I ask again: After everything I have just told you, what purpose do you find in relationships?”

No reply came. Everyone had the same look of sorrow as before and Jenny was clutching herself and shaking.

Adrian gave low sigh and stood up with his back to them. “What I just showed you were my last few strands of humanity from back before I cast my humanity aside. I am glad they are gone, as they serve no purpose in a rational mind.”

He stood up to leave, and after taking only a few steps, Adrian stopped as he heard one of the girls jump to her feet. It was Amanda. “What the fuck is wrong with you?! What could have possibly twisted you into such a cold bastard? Just because something doesn’t help you in the long run doesn’t make it pointless. Some of the smallest things make people the happiest.”

He turned to her and gave a small quick sigh, almost like a chuckle. “Tch, how illogical,” he scoffed before walking away.

As time went on, Logan continuously harassed Jenny and Adrian. When he wasn’t trying to grab her or making lewd comments, he was trying to make Adrian angry and insult him. His attempts to bait him into an argument where he would become angry or frustrated were completely futile, for trying to rile him was like trying to get blood from stone. When her schedule allowed it, Jenny stayed with Adrian even more often then before, afraid of Logan showing up but comforted to have Adrian with her. Whenever Logan did make an appearance and try to force himself on Jenny, Adrian would step forward and protect her, scaring him off like he was a hyena.

It was mid October and Amanda was hanging out with Jenny in her bedroom. She was happy she was finally able to spend time with her friend, for Jenny had been spending almost every minute with him since they met. As always, she was trying to convince Jenny to stop hanging out with him.

“Will you stop it already? I already told you that I like him and that you can’t change it,” Jenny said with frustration from how Amanda resembled a broken record.

“But does he like you? He said that he doesn’t want a friend or even a girlfriend. He even took control of his hormones and physical desires—which I still think is impossible and that he’s lying to you—so that he wouldn’t be attracted to girls and distracted from whatever the hell he’s doing.

Jenny, you’re gorgeous, you’re so gorgeous that all the girls are jealous of you. But when it comes to Adrian… it would be easier for you to seduce a gay guy. At least a gay guy has feelings. Seriously, this guy isn’t heterosexual, bisexual, or a homosexual; he’s anti-sexual.”

Jenny just held a confident smile. “Not for long, we’ll start swimming in gym this week and I have a new bathing suit to show off.”

“Trust me babe, unless you got that bathing suit for a wardrobe malfunction, I doubt that will work.”

Next to the gymnasium was a building holding the school pool and all of the students were sitting on bleachers along one side of the room. Among them was Jenny, constantly shifting in her seat and biting her lip. Her new one-piece bathing suit was clinging to her curved frame, exposing almost as much of her body as if she were wearing a bikini. All of the boys in the class kept on staring at her from the corners of their eyes.

Adrian was sitting in the boy’s locker room, mentally preparing himself for what would happen next. He had shown up after everyone had already changed and now everyone was waiting for him to come out so that the class could begin. Like all the other boys, he was wearing a pair of swim trunks.

“Come on, Adroid! Get out here!” the gym teacher barked.

Adrian took a deep breath and walked out of the locker room. The second Adrian was in sight, Jenny shifted again, trying to find a sexy pose.

“Oh Jenny, do you want to borrow some high heels?” Amanda teased.

Jenny just elbowed her in the ribs and tried to regain her composure as Adrian approached.

As he got closer, everyone’s eyes widened and they covered their mouths to hide their gasps of disbelief. The gym teacher took off his sunglasses, hoping that they were causing the sight before him. “Holy shit,” he muttered.

Jenny stared at him with her mouth hanging open, almost on the verge of tears. “Oh my god.”

Adrian’s legs, arms, chest, and back were all covered in burn marks, scars, and permanent bruises, all ranging in different sizes. The most recent ones were only a few weeks old. With all the scars and healed injuries, his whole body looked like the skin on a carpenter’s palm. Even from across the room, the healed injuries were as clear as day. Adrian was much more muscular than anyone expected, like a young bodybuilder, but even with his physique, it was difficult to see his muscles beneath all of the scars and injuries. Adrian ignored the stares and gasps as he walked past everyone. He took a seat on the bleachers and looked at Jenny. Her whole body was shaking as a single tear rolled down her cheek.

“Adrian, wait!” he heard Jenny holler as he climbed into his car.

Behind her, students were climbing onto buses and walking out to their own cars. Adrian lowered the window while she approached. Reaching him, she gripped the window frame of the door so tightly that her knuckles were white. Adrian looked at her face and realized that she had been crying.

“Adrian, I’m begging you, please talk to me,” she whispered.

“You want to know, don’t you?”

In reply, she reached into the car and grasped his hands.

“Very well, come with me.”

Jenny nodded and rushed to the other side of the car, climbing into the passenger seat. Adrian pulled out of the school parking lot and began driving, with he and Jenny stone silent. After ten minutes, they arrived at his house, having not spoken a single word.

“Follow me,” Adrian said as he grabbed his backpack and climbed out of the car.

He led Jenny to the back of the house, where the basement exit resided. He opened up the double doors and they stepped down into the darkness. Adrian turned on the lights and Jenny gasped as she realized where she was. The house had been built with a finished basement with its own bathroom, and the whole level was his. One half of the room was filled with power tools and machinery for metalwork. Along one of the walls was his workbench, covered with his hand-tools for when he needed to work with wood. Adrian used the tools for building and inventing new machines of all shapes and sizes, all of which covered tables spread throughout the half of the room.

The other half of the basement was his bedroom. Against the wall was a large bed with a nearby TV, set up on a mini-fridge. There were several bookcases, all filled with textbooks and almanacs on everything from surgery to engineering and each page was recorded to memory. In the corner of the basement was the bathroom door and steps leading up to a second exit. The walls of the whole room were not covered in pictures or posters, but pieces of hardware from dismantled electronics. Hundreds of circuit boards and screens had been tied together and hung across the walls, creating a wallpaper of metallic green. They were used for both decoration and spare parts to cannibalize for his work. There were also many pieces of exercise equipment spread throughout the basement.

Adrian put down his backpack beside his bed, took off his coat, and removed his button-down shirt and the t-shirt underneath. Jenny slowly stepped up to him and put her hands on his chest, looking at the scars and injuries that covered his body. She tried to fight back tears as she examined them with the fluorescent lights above.

“I did all of this to myself, every scar and injury.”

Jenny stared into his eyes. “Why? Why would you do this to yourself?”

“Because that is the cost of power. This is what I had to do to become the man I am today.”

“What do you mean?” Jenny asked, wiping away her tears.

Adrian took her hand and they sat down on his bed. “I was not always like this; I used to be a regular boy. I had fun and was emotional like all children, but when I was ten years old, I was in a lethal car accident. EMTs struggled to keep me alive, but my will to live was not powerful enough. My heart stopped and my body shut down. I was legally dead for almost three minutes before they were able to stabilize me on a heart/lung machine. I don’t know how long I was in that coma, but after my body recovered, I was declared brain dead because my heart and lungs would not work on their own. It’s a good thing my parents decided to wait to see if my condition would improve, because that saved my life. Time passed, but my condition didn’t.

One night, a gas mane within the hospital exploded and the whole building was set ablaze. Firefighters and the hospital staff worked desperately to evacuate the patients, but they themselves had to flee before I could be rescued. They believed me to already be dead and the building was too unstable to send in any more people.But in that massive funeral pyre, I was far from dead. I was more alive than I had ever been before. When my bypass machine shut down from the loss of power, my mind reactivated and my body began to work again. I remember the intense heat lashing at my skin and the thick smoke filling my lungs as I opened his eyes, finally awake. I stepped out of bed in an enlightened state that I had never experienced before.

I could see the flames moving in slow motion, I could smell and taste the individual chemicals and ingredients in the smoke, I could feel the rumbling of the building and the creases between the floor tiles beneath my feet, and I could hear my own heart beating and blood rushing through my veins. You know those stories about people being brought back to life minutes after death, about seeing a bright light and often returning to the world with an ability or talent they had never possessed? I had done the same thing, but on a much greater scale. When their minds entered the precipice between life and death, the barriers that stood before total neural awakening are brought down, and they are able to reach out and expand the parameters of their mind before coming back. However, I remained in that state for much longer. I was neither living nor dead for months on end, and because of that, I was able to unlock the potential that had been forgotten by our species.

With the building around me breaking apart in a fiery cataclysm, I walked down the halls, completely at peace. Rubble and shrapnel were flying in all directions, but I was able to avoid them as if they were floating bubbles, and I could tell when the flames were going to erupt through a door or a floor just by feeling the pressure changes in the air. By rewiring my entire mind, I gained full mastery of my senses, and was able to sense more than humans had ever dreamed. At last, I stepped out of the flames and into the rain. I stood as still as a statue, letting the water cool my body and wash away the soot and ash. Never in my life had I felt so awake, so alive, so… enlightened. All of my senses were working at unbelievable magnitudes and my entire mind was surging with energy and ideas.

On the day of the car crash, the old Adrian died, but from death, a new Adrian was born. I stared into the shadows of death and stole something from the darkness. I stole power, and that power was rushing through me as I walked out of the building and stood in the rain, reborn into an ascended being. I was seeing behind a curtain that no one even knew existed, but I knew that there was more. I was desperate to take this euphoria farther, to bring myself to the limits of my existence and shatter those limits. Ever since then, I have been working myself to go farther in every way possible.”

“But these scars and burns… why would you do these things to yourself?” Jenny whispered as tears fell from her eyes.

Adrian stood back up and turned to her. “I did it for the pain. For six years, I’ve been testing my mind and body to try and break every known barrier, and the greatest barrier humans face is the barrier of pain. Pain is both a curse and a blessing; the more pain we feel, the stronger we become, but pain is also the barrier that keeps us from getting stronger. Many of the greatest leaders and prophets only gained their wisdom and experience through great suffering at some point in their lives, for it is pain that lets us see through the curtain of unnecessary distractions and become truly wise.

I’ve cut, burned, and battered my body both to harness the benefits of pain and become immune to it. Pain forces the mind to focus and set priorities, it clears away all useless thoughts and can allow humans to work at their peak when used correctly. But by also learning to block out pain, I have learned to use this body at its maximum potential, allowing me to push onwards until the laws of anatomy force me to stop, and not just an illusion of the senses.

By combining enlightenment, pain, and physical mastery, I have ascended to the form that mankind was originally meant to reach. I will do anything to break free of the weaknesses of this body and mind. I have already forsaken companionship, emotions, physical desires, and everything else that makes me human. These scars and injuries are nothing more than superficial markings, having no real affect on my body, and therefore are unimportant.

I need to be sure that my mind and body are ready… for the day when I can truly make my move.”

Jenny averted her gaze and looked down at the floor, letting her tears fall.

In an act truly against his character, Adrian crouched down placed his hand on her cheek, wiping away her tears. “Do not cry for me, Jenny. This is what I want.”

Jenny gained a sad smile and pressed his hand tighter against her cheek. “I’m not crying from sadness, I’m crying from joy. This is what I’ve wanted since I first met you: I’ve wanted you to open up to me. I’ve wanted to find out everything I can about you. Thank you, Adrian. Thank you for trusting me.”

They both stood up and Adrian put his shirt back on. “Come on, I’ll drive you home.”

It was Friday, and Adrian was getting his textbook for the last class. He closed his locker door and turned around, standing face to face with Jenny. She was wearing a black miniskirt that wrapped tightly around her tan thighs, a white tank top that exposed her cleavage, high-healed boots, and a large belt that went around her stomach instead of her waist. She had her hands behind her back, and was constantly shifting her weight and biting her lip.

“Adrian, I know that this isn’t really your thing… but you know that the Autumn Dance is this weekend, right?”

“Yes,” he said, like the beat of a drum.

“Well I would really like to go, but I have no one to go with. Would you like to go with me, as friends?”

“I would prefer not to.”

“Please? I really don’t want to go with just my girlfriends,” she pleaded, giving him the Bambi eyes.

Adrian gave a very loud and annoyed sigh. “Very well.”

The dance was just as Adrian expected it to be; the gymnasium was dark, the music was trashy, and the people were degenerates. The chaperones weren’t really paying attention, so as long as the room was dark, people could basically do whatever they wanted. On the gym floor, people were grinding against each other as if they were in the first stages of an orgy. Along the walls, guys were drinking from a whiskey bottle hidden in one of the flower bouquets being sold outside. In one of the corners, a couple were making out. The girl pulled down the straps of her dress, revealing her tits, which were round and full for her age. She gave a silent moan as her boyfriend started sucking her on her nipples.

“Perverted fools,” Adrian muttered.

He was sitting at a table in the corner, trying to keep his temper in check as he watched the endless parade of degeneration. Jenny was with a group of her friends, who were constantly looking at him in disbelief, amazed that she was able to convince him to show up.

She walked over to him and sat down on the other side of the table. “Why don’t you go dance?”

“Do you honestly expect me to?”

Several moments passed by, with the only sound being Jenny drumming her fingers on the table and the music in the background. “Adrian, there is something that you said a while back that I didn’t quite understand. It was when you were eating lunch with my friends and I, and you said that you couldn’t let your mind be compromised by others. I’ve never heard anyone say something like that.”

“When two people interact romantically and/or sexually, they trade parts of their identity. It’s like that health class saying, ‘When you have sex with someone, you’re having sex with everyone they’ve had sex with.’ Though it also works at the emotional level. When two people kiss or have sex, they forever carry a part of each other. Those with impure identities don’t realize how important their identities are, and they give their bodies without hesitation. All the guys my age hate their virginity, but I value it, because it symbolizes my intact identity and my morality.”

“So it’s sort of like celibacy to a priest.”

“Not exactly. They are abstinent for God but I am abstinent for myself and for the preservation of my morals and identity. Even after you lose your virginity, your identity can be further corrupted through romantic contact with other people.”

He looked around for a few seconds and pointed to the couple standing in the dark corner. The girl had her knee lifted, letting her boyfriend finger-bang her. The dim lighting of the dark gymnasium just barely reflected off the pussy juice that coated his fingers. Their lack of self-control and decency disgusted him.

“See that couple right there? Neither of them has any sexual ethics left, because they’ve both had countless sexual and romantic partners. They each give each other their physical forms without hesitation, and for the wrong reasons. As I grew older, I became more logical and noticed the inevitable failure of young relationships. I looked up relationship statistics and found that an incredibly vast number of marriages that start before you’re both in your thirties are doomed to fail. I realized that even if I were find someone I had romantic feelings for, my relationship with her would inevitably fail and would have been a waste of time and compromised who I am. If I waited until I was old enough to have a chance at a lifetime relationship with someone, they would have already compromised their identities.

I shut the door for any future romance and turned my attention on myself, working to eliminate useless desires and find peace in solitude. Those realizations made me the man I am today.”

Jenny stared silently, until the sound of a slow song make her perk up like a cat spotting movement. “I know you said that you don’t dance, but do you think that…”

Adrian was silent for a few moments. “As you wish.”

They walked out onto the gym floor, where all of the couples were slow dancing. With Jenny’s hands on his shoulders and his hands on her hips, they began to dance.

Jenny had a warm smile as the song progressed. “What are you, Adrian?”

“What do you mean?”

“You are far too logical to be human, but you have too much heart to be a machine. You think that rejecting other people makes you a machine, but it’s your fear of relationships that shows that you still care. Ever since I met you, I’ve tried to figure out just what you are, but every time you speak, I’m more confused than ever.”

“I am just a man who is wiser than most others, even those that are older than himself. I am merely what others should be.”

Jenny chuckled. “It is people like you who have the power to change the world. People like Jesus and Gandhi always start out this way.”

Adrian was hesitate before speaking, feeling like he needed to say something. “You look beautiful tonight.”

She gave a soft laugh. “That is probably the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me. You know, to be honest, I wouldn’t have dressed up this much if I went with anyone but you.” Adrian was again silent as she slowly placed her hand on his cheek. “I think… I’m ready to go home,” she murmured.

The car came to a halt in front of Jenny’s house. True to what her mom said, the lights were out and one of her parents’ cars was gone. Jenny said that they had gone out with friends and wouldn’t be back for a few hours. Adrian and Jenny stepped outside and he walked her to the door, the two of them rushing to escape the cold.

“Goodbye,” he said without emotion once they came to a stop on the porch.

“Adrian, wait, there is something I really need to talk to you about. Can we please talk inside?”

“Very well,” he said, prompting her to unlock the door.

They stepped into the dark house and she grasped his hand. “Come with me,” she whispered in the darkness as she led him upstairs.

The stairs were layered with shag carpeting, muffling their footsteps so that the only sound was the swishing of Jenny’s dress. Pictures of family and friends were spread out across the wall along the staircase, allowing Adrian a brief view into Jenny’s life and history. They reached the second story and neither of them spoke as he followed her to her bedroom. Jenny closed the door and then walked to the other end of the room, not saying anything and keeping her back to him. The room was dimly lit by the streetlamp outside. Adrian looked around the room, using the low light to study the surroundings that had created the woman before him.

Against the wall next to the door was a desk with a mirror. The surface was covered in schoolwork and makeup, with the drawers below half-open. There were two windows perpendicular with the door, and between them was a white bureau, filled with clothes and acting as the pedestal for Jenny’s athletic trophies. In the opposite corner of the room from the desk was a bedside table, and next to it was a twin bed, in line with the door. Between the door and the bed was Jenny’s closet. Hanging from the ceiling was a fan and covering the walls were more pictures of friends and family.

“What did you want to talk about?” Adrian asked as his eyes lazily drifted from corner to corner.

Jenny turned to him and her eyes seemed to glow in the faint darkness. She slowly reached up and brushed the straps of her dress off her shoulders. She pulled it all the way off, letting it fall down to her ankles and showing that she was wearing nothing underneath. With Jenny standing naked before him, Adrian struggled to find something to say. Even without physical desire clouding his mind, he would be lying if he said that she didn’t have a beautiful body. Jenny’s eyes were filled with fear and nervousness.

“Adrian… I love you.”

He could see a shiver run through her body once the words were whispered, and the relief on her face from finally speaking the words almost made her glow.

“What?” he asked, her words having shaken him to his core.

“I love you, Adrian. I decided that I want to lose my virginity, and you are the one I want to give it to.”

Without saying a word, Adrian turned around and grasped the door handle. Jenny rushed over and put her hands on his shoulders. “Adrian, please wait.”

“Why? You can only offer physical gratification, something that I have no need for. I have no reason to be here,” he said with as much feeling as a computer.

“Please, don’t stay here for yourself, do it for me. I want to give myself to you.”

“Why in the world would you want that? Have you listened to nothing I have said?” She stepped back and Adrian took his hand off of the doorknob. “Let me tell you what would happen if we were to be intimate: It would be a mediocre experience compared to what you expect it to be and we would both contaminate our identities. We have no chance of forming or even sustaining a relationship, and even if we did form one, it would inevitably fail. Once that happens, any positive feelings we have for each other will be reduced to loathing and all memories will bring nothing but pain.

I would hate myself because I would have doomed my path to transcending the human plain by compromising my ideals and morals and sabotaging my clear-headedness. You would hate yourself because you would realize that you would have given your purity and innocence to someone that didn’t deserve it, and you would have nothing to give if you met someone else. Your heart would be broken and your soul tainted, and I would be a hollow shell, unable to find joy in this human world but unable to break free of it. We would both walk through this world as impure beings, forever regretting the mistake we made and hating the curse of youth.

If we were to be intimate, there would be no love and happiness afterwards, just pain and loathing. That is the curse of the human race and I have worked hard to make sure that I don’t endure that same empty fate. If you have any respect for yourself, you will get some self-control and wait for someone who is actually capable of sharing your feelings.”

Jenny’s eyes darkened and she clutched herself as if his words had struck her naked form like a frigid breeze. A single tear rolled down her cheek. “I don’t care about that, I don’t care what happens afterwards. Adrian, when we were dancing and I told you that you had the power to change the world, I meant that you had changed mine. You may not feel the same way about me, but I love you and I just want to be with you in any way that I can.”

“Tch, how illogical,” Adrian scoffed.

Jenny walked over and placed her hand on his cheek. “Please, if you care about me at all, you’ll stay. As much as you try to run from it, you are human. I’m not telling you to be like everyone else, no. Your uniqueness is what I love most about you. I’m just asking you to open your heart and accept me. I don’t care if you don’t love me, just please let me show you how much I love you. You don’t have to give me anything, just let me give myself to you.”

“How could I even consider touching you, knowing that you had probably touched someone else before me? Even if you are a virgin, if we were to kiss, your mind would flash back to whoever you dated before me.”

“Adrian, I’ve never been with any other boys. I’ve never even dated or kissed anyone. For as long as I’ve known what love is, I’ve been looking for someone to share it with. But I haven’t just been going out with any guy I find attractive; I’ve been looking for someone like you. I told myself that I would only give my heart to a man that completely amazed me. Ever since our first class together, I’ve admired and been astounded by everything about you: what you say, what you do, what you think, and who you are! Adrian, you told me that you wanted to be more than a regular human. Through my eyes, you are already more than a regular human, and that is why I idolize and love you.”

Adrian stepped away from her and looked out the window. His mind was tearing itself apart, trying to figure out what to do. As much as he wanted to leave and forget about Jenny, something in his mind had bound him to her, and he could break that bond between them no easier than a steel chain locking them together.

It was over a minute before he spoke. “I can’t let myself get distracted. I can’t let anyone get in the way of my goals. If we do this, Jenny, I will erase the memory of it and this whole night. There won’t be any part of me that was intimate with you. You will never be the same, but this night will have never even existed for me.”

Jenny took a deep breath. “Does this mean you’ll…?”

“Yes, if that is what will finally put you at ease. This night will not exist for me, but you will be unable to take back what happens. You said that you don’t care if I don’t love you. You just want to show how much you love me. Do you really want to waste your heart and virginity on someone who won’t even remember it?”

“With you, it will not be a waste,” she whispered with a small smile.

She walked over to Adrian as he undressed and gently grasped his hand, then guided him to the bed. She walked over to Adrian as he undressed and gently grasped his hand, then guided him to the bed. They sat down and Jenny put her hand on his cheek, looking deep into his eyes. “Is something wrong?” she asked.

“I’m just unsure of how to proceed. I only know the standard mechanics of intimacy but no actual protocol.”

Jenny gave the smallest of laughs. “Don’t worry, I’ll guide you.”

With her hands on his cheeks, she leaned forward and pressed her soft lips against his, as gently as a falling leaf. They held that kiss for a few moments, each becoming familiar with the practice. They kissed again, mirroring each other’s movements. For several minutes, their lips joined and separated over and over again, and Adrian had to admit that it felt better then he thought it would. Not only was the physical enjoyment far beyond what he expected it to be, but there was another form of pleasure that he was experiencing, one that wasn’t coming from any nerve endings. Adrian mentally searched his body, trying to find where the feeling was coming from, but he couldn’t identify the source.

As the kiss continued, he could smell the hormones in the air as Jenny’s levels of arousal skyrocketed. She moved her hands from his cheeks to his shoulders, using her soft fingers to find and count the endless scars that pocked his arms and chest. Replicating her actions, Adrian explored her body with his hands, finding comfort in the warmth and softness of her skin. This was a very peculiar experience, and this desire to find the answer to the nature of this puzzling feeling felt almost at good as the feeling itself. Adrian could feel memories of each action being imprinted in his mind in the form of experience, he was learning.

He wanted this feeling to continue, he wanted to keep learning. This lack of knowledge exhilarated him, having finally found an unexplored area of study. It gave him something to strive for, something to work to understand, something to be challenged by. He had studied every field of knowledge from mechanics to astronomy to the languages of the world, but this was something he truly had no experience in. He was facing the most obvious and yet most intricate subject of them all: the essence of a sexual bond. Jenny’s body was like a piece of art from a culture he had never even known existed, and he wanted to examine it as such. He wanted to find out everything he could, he wanted to learn the things that he had always dismissed, and he wanted to finally find something that would require every aspect of his mind to understand, a true challenge to enjoy.

With his arm around her, Adrian gently laid her down and resumed kissing her. As they kissed, his logical side fully gave up and his emotional and hormonal sides took full control. He was becoming more involved and enjoying it more than he thought he would. He already had an erection that was as hard as a rock and seven inches long and was exploring her body with his hands while using his left arm to stay suspended. Her breasts were round and soft, but had the perfect amount of firmness. Her areolas were the size of quarters, with nipples like pencil erasers. She moaned and hummed with each squeeze as he massaged every inch, using every muscle in his hand as if he were controlling the strings of a puppet.

He moved his hand down, with his fingertips brushing against her slim belly. He could feel his heart-rate skyrocket as he reached her pubes, which had obviously been trimmed. She had been planning for this. He placed his index and middle finger on the two lips of her pussy and gently rubbed them, causing Jenny to tremble and hum loudly. With each stroke, the lips would become wetter and wetter as she became more aroused. He slowly inserted his middle finger and her thighs clamped around his hand like a vise grip, but the soft wet insides of her pussy seemed to be inviting him further. He pushed his whole finger in, and Jenny’s moans became louder as he worked it in and out, loosening her virgin pussy.

She put her hand on his and pushed down on it, encouraging him to go even further. He cautiously obliged and pushed in his index and ring finger, then began pulling them out and pushing them back in. Her insides were incredibly tight, but she quickly loosened up as he worked his fingers in her like a piston. He could just barely feel her hymen with his middle finger.

Jenny suddenly pulled her lips from his and whispered in his ear, “Adrian, I’m ready.”

Adrian didn’t have the courage to respond, but when Jenny spread her legs, he grasped his manhood and pressed the head against the soft lips of her pussy. A drop of pre-cum oozed from the tip as his self-control became more erratic. He slowly pushed his cock into her sleeve and they both shivered from the physical ecstasy. Jenny dug her fingernails into his back and her humming turned more into a moan with every centimeter he delved. The head of his cock was pressed against her hymen, receiving no words from Jenny, he gave one large thrust and deflowered her. She gave a shrill moan and dug her nails into his back so tightly that he had to completely block out the pain.

He pulled his dick out six inches and then forced it back in, causing Jenny to give another, deeper moan. They began to move back and forth in rhythm, and with every thrust he gave, Jenny would moan. She wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, holding onto him for dear life.

With his face buried in her pillow and the sweet smell of her hair filling his senses, Adrian realized that this was nothing like what he thought it would be. He always figured that since he was so different from everyone else, sex would give him only a hollow feeling, but this… this was the opposite. He could feel physical and emotional bliss saturating every fiber of his being. It was a form of enjoyment that he had never thought possible.

Jenny’s pussy felt like a mix of the interior of a grapefruit and soft bubblegum. True, that is a horrible and inaccurate comparison, but he couldn’t think of anything else. Jenny’s hot wet insides hugged his manhood tightly, soaking it as he explored every corner of her pussy.

He wrapped his arms around Jenny and then rolled onto his back, swinging her up. She leaned back and moaned as she rode his cock, moving back and forth and up and down, trying to find some area of her pussy that his manhood had not yet probed. She had a thin film of sweat, which caught the light of the street lamp outside and almost made her glow.

He ran his hand up and down her chest, relishing the feel of her body. In his mind, his hormonal side was howling like a wolf, happy that it was now being fully released. Jenny leaned forward and gripped the headboard for support, and he reached up and began kissing her breasts, sucking on her nipples in pure joy. As she bounced up and down on his cock, Jenny’s body began to tremble and her moans became more and more shrill. She gripped his shoulders and gave a mix of a scream and moan as she had a gushing orgasm. He came moments after, sending thick streams of semen up inside her.

Jenny collapsed beside him, and for several minutes, they just stared at the ceiling as they tried to catch their breath. Once his body had calmed itself, Adrian sat up. “I should head home, my parents will be worried if it gets too late.”

As he got dressed, Jenny sat up and looked at him. “Thank you, Adrian. That meant a lot to me. Did you enjoy that? It seemed like it was good for you, but you are always so hard to read.”

Adrian finished buttoning his shirt and slowly turned to her. For the first time in years, he had a true smile on his face. It was not a wide ear-to-ear smile, but it was a warm one. Adrian was in a state of awareness that he had not felt before. He couldn’t tell which part of his segregated personality was currently dominant, but all he knew was that he felt… happy.

“Would you maybe like to go out to dinner with me tomorrow night?”

Jenny gained the same warm smile and gave a small sigh of relief. “That would be a dream come true.”

As Adrian opened the door, Jenny spoke up. “I love you, Adrian.”

He then turned to her, never losing his smile. “Tch, how illogical.”

Adrian walked out of her bedroom and left her house. Halfway from the door to his car, he looked up at Jenny’s bedroom window. She was standing at the window with a blanket wrapped around her. She blew him a kiss and Adrian winked at her in reply before climbing back into his car and driving away, happy for the first time in six years.

Chapter Two:

“What’s the emergency you called me about?” Amanda asked with worry as she climbed into Jenny’s car.

“I need to talk to you and I can’t do it in your house or mine,” Jenny said sheepishly as she pulled out of Amanda’s driveway.

They drove out of the suburbs and deep into the woods, stopping at the side of an unpaved road. They were half an hour’s drive from the nearest house or real building and only after being absolutely sure that both Amanda’s and her own phone were turned off an out of reach did Jenny finally pull over.

“Ok, do you need to talk to me, or are you going to kill me? I’ve never seen you this nervous.”

“I just need to tell someone about this but I have to make sure no one else finds out,” Jenny said, taking a deep breath and gripping the steering wheel so tightly that her hands were white. She then turned to her friend. “Listen, I don’t know how to say this delicately, so I’ll just be blunt… Adrian and I made love last night.”

Amanda shifted through so many facial expressions so quickly that she looked like she had opened the Ark of the Covenant. She didn’t know whether to be happy for her or be horrified. Jenny just waited for Amanda to respond with a guilty look on her face.

“So… how was it?”

Jenny gained a nervous smile. “To be honest, it was better than I expected and I had really high expectations.”

Amanda was almost taken back by the response. “Really? He was good? Wow… I don’t know what to think anymore. Seriously, I can’t decide if this is luck or skill, or if you’re just trying to sabotage yourself. This is like if you got pregnant and I couldn’t tell whether to congratulate you or suggest an abortion. Speaking of which, you are on the pill right? Because you might really need to get an abortion.”

“Yes, I’m on the pill, but this is serious! I don’t know what to do!”

“Well do you regret it?”

Jenny smiled. “Not at all, it was the greatest night of my life. I just don’t know what to do now.”

“Well what happened? I need details!”

“Well my parents weren’t home when he drove me back, so I told him there was something I really needed to talk to him about. I brought him up to the bedroom and I told him that I loved him and I wanted to give him his virginity.”

“Well while I think that it’s stupid that you actually love this guy, I’m glad you had enough sense to give your virginity to someone you love.”

“At first he was really defensive, you know how he just wants to be alone… He thought it would be a really bad idea, he said that we would both regret it, he warned me that if we started a relationship it would inevitably end after a short while and we would hate each other, and he thought I was being an idiot for wanting to give his virginity to him. Finally, he told me that he would follow my wishes, but he would erase the memory of the whole night so that it would have never even existed for him.”

“How romantic,” Amanda said with sarcasm drier than the world’s greatest martini.

“I know… the build-up was less than desirable. But when he finally agreed and we had that first kiss… I’m still shivering. And then after we kissed… well I already told you that it was the greatest night of my life.”

“I got to say, that last part does sound pretty romantic. So what happened afterwards?”

“Well he got up, got dressed, and said that he had to go home. I was worried he was going to be true to his word and erase the memory, so I asked him if he enjoyed it. Instead of answering, he turned to me with the warmest smile I had ever seen and asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner tonight. I told him again that I loved him, he teased him a little, then he winked at me on the way back to his car.”

“Damn, you are good. You brought him back from the brink and made him human. So are you really going out with him tonight?”

“Well I don’t have his number so I’m assuming he’ll call me. I just hope he really will call. I know he was pretty shell-shocked afterwards and wasn’t quite in his normal state of mind, I’m worried he could crash mentally. I don’t know whether I should give him space or stay close and keep an eye on him. He went from emotionless robot that just wanted to be left alone to being physically intimate with someone that loved him. I’m actually really scared for him; his identity completely changed over the course of an hour and that’s not good for someone’s psyche.”

“Wait, over the course of an hour? Does that include…”

“No, neither of us was quite confident enough for foreplay, but there was a “transition” between kissing and the actual sex and we were intimate for over an hour.”

“Wow, he’s got some serious self-control. I have to say, I’m kind of jealous of you now.”

“Thanks, but remember, you can tell no one about this. If Adrian and I are in a relationship, then it won’t take long for people to find out. I just don’t want them to know we were intimate.”

“Your secret is safe with me.”

Adrian was sitting in his bedroom with his mind set in a self-induced trance. For what he planned to do, he needed to fully work together with his subconscious. Having achieved a perfect meditative state, Adrian delved deep into his mind and created a space for his consciousness to solidify into a projection of his physical body, the same as in a dream. He constructed the background of the dream into something fitting the situation, choosing the form of a nightclub. The walls were dark purple and decorated with lit candles and the ceiling was covered in mirrors and the tiles had intricate patterns. There were no tables, just booths lining one side of the room opposite to the bar, with a small lamp dimly illuminating each one.

Adrian was sitting at the bar, looking at himself in the mirror.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I weren’t desperate, so let’s at least get this over with.”

Two copies of him appeared, sitting on the stools on his left and right. One was the embodiment of Adrian’s physical desires, an entirely separate personality that he kept locked away. The other was the embodiment of his emotions, which according to Freud, kept desires in check and applied meaning to them.

“Id, Ego… it sure has been a while.”

“Wow, you really are desperate,” Id laughed.

“Let it all out,” Ego said.

“I just have no idea what to do. What can I possibly say when I see Jenny again? I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

“Tell her that you want to screw her on every possible surface and in every possible position,” Id grunted.

“She loves you, stay with her and it won’t take long for you to have the same feelings. When you see her, I want you to wrap your arms around her, kiss her, and tell her you want to be with her,” Ego said, patting him on the back.

“You guys are completely useless, could you at least try to be unpredictable?”

“What the hell do you expect? I’m pure emotion and he’s the sum of your physical desires. You haven’t given us much to work with,” Ego replied.

“Enough talk, just rip her clothes off an fuck her!” Id yelled in impatience.

“You love her, tell her that.”

“Id, shut up. And Ego, YOU love her! That’s your job! I’m the Superego; I’m a separate personality with my own desires. I exist as my view of myself and what my identity is, and I’m not sure I want to identify myself as the guy that loves her.”

“Well did you regret rocking that tight body of hers?” Id asked.

Adrian hesitated before answering. “No, I don’t regret it, at least I’m not sure that I do. I have no idea what to do now. Do I just erase the memory as planned and go back to the way I was before and continue on to my goal of transcending the human race? Do I keep the memory and try to have a relationship with Jenny? On one hand, statistics show that our relationship would inevitably fail, but on the other… I was happy. Every aspect of my night with her was like… it was better than… I hadn’t felt so good since I walked out of the hospital and stood in the rain.

I remember everything so vividly and can’t help but go over it over and over again in my mind in an attempt to relive it; the feeling of our bodies melting in perfect harmony, the warmth and softness of her naked form pressed tightly against mine while we held each other in that sweet embrace, the way she ran her fingers through my hair when she kissed me with her rose petal-like lips, and that nearly spiritual euphoria of the simultaneous climax we shared. Just thinking of it all makes my body tremble like it did when we finally separated.

But I don’t know what to do now. Do I forget about her? Do I just go along with it and enjoy her as long as I’ll have her and try to endure the pain after it ends? Do I try to fight the odds and make the relationship work? Do I forsake my goals to be with her? I just need a voice that isn’t my own to tell me what to do. I haven’t felt confusion in years and I don’t know how to face it all. I need help, but there is no one that can help me.”

“It doesn’t matter who you get involved with, the plan must come to fruition.”

He turned around, facing another copy of himself. He was wearing a bulletproof overcoat and all of his clothes were made of Kevlar. Protruding from the back of his waist was the hilt of a weapon, hidden in its sheath that hung diagonally from his belt.

“The other half of my Superego, the symbol for my world plan. I was wondering when you would show up.”

“Id, Ego, and Superego; you divided yourself up into those three mental forms in order to help you achieve your goal of transcendence. However, I have a personal stake in this too. You created me for the sole purpose of completing your ultimate goal of changing the world,” the ominous entity muttered, staring at Adrian with those same calm steely eyes.

“Tell me something I don’t know. I’m well aware that she could get in the way of my plan and I don’t need you reminding me of that. Either give me something I can use or vanish,” Adrian cursed, wishing he hadn’t even bothered contacting his alternate personalities. For the first time, he actually wanted someone to talk to.

“Hey, we’re all you got. You’re the one that doesn’t want to have friends, remember?” Ego reminded.

Adrian’s eyes widened. “Damn it, you’re starting to respond to my thoughts. You’re reminding me that I don’t want friends while I’m regretting not having anyone else to talk to. We’ve been in contact for too long, we’re starting to merge back together. This discussion is over.”

Adrian banished Id and Ego back to the confines of his subconscious, leaving him alone with the other half of his dominant personality.

“You want my advice? Very well. Trust her. Take a risk. Should she get in your way, you can always eliminate her the way you’ve eliminated so many other traitors and obstacles. You have enough money to hire an army of subordinates and have them do anything you want them to do, anything except trust and follow you. She on the other hand is completely loyal to you, and that could greatly come in handy. If she loves you then she will follow you. Mold her into something that you can use.”

“I refuse to merely use her. She is not my subordinate. I won’t take advantage of her like that.”

“Well if anything, she can serve as both the barrier and the cushion between you and I. You are well aware that as you move forward in your plan, it will be harder and harder to separate us. To the people around you, you are Adrian Ashford, a youth focused on breaking his own physical and psychological barriers. But there are so many names for me, the commander of your legions. The question will eventually become which of us is actually the mask.

You have already killed many people, both through orders and by your own hand, and I am the prison that keeps your sins contained and protects you and the plan from your conscience. If you keep her close, then she can help you bear the sins you must commit, and she can make the transition between us easier as well as make it easier to stay separate from me.

The plan must be brought to fruition; there can be no excuses and no failure. In order to change and save this world, we must be successful. You and me, two goals, the two sides of the same coin that will act in tandem, two of multiple personalities that share this mind and work together. We can do it if we don’t let ourselves get trapped in this farce that is known as “your life”. It all comes down to what you are willing to cast aside and what you are willing to bring with you when we finally make that leap and reveal ourselves.”

The entity turned away from Adrian and slowly disappeared as the dream melted like a painting on thawing ice. Adrian opened his eyes and took a deep breath. He was back in his room and his body was sore from maintaining the meditative position. He took another deep breath, stretched, and walked over to his desk to retrieve his cell phone. This was actually the first time in years he had called someone other than his parents, clients, or subordinates. He took another deep breath and typed in the number. Adrian tried to maintain his composure as the phone rang. At home, Jenny was picking out an outfit with Amanda helping her. Both women exchanged glances when Jenny’s phone began ringing on her bedside table.

With shaky hands, she answered. “Hello?”

“Hey Jenny, it’s Adrian,” he said, afraid that he wouldn’t be able to speak.

“Hey Adrian! How are you?” she asked, instantly lit up.

“I’m good, I was wondering if you were still open for dinner tonight?”

“Of course, I’m always open for you!” Jenny replied, regretting her choice of words before she was even finished speaking.

“You sure are, slut! You sure are!” Amanda laughed.

Jenny gave her the middle finger before continuing. “I mean I wouldn’t miss it for the world. So when and where do you want to go?”

“Well I know a great restaurant in town, so how about I pick you up at six?”

“That’s perfect. I’ll meet you outside so that you won’t have to lock horns with my dad.”

“Thank you. All right, I’ll see you then.”

“Bye,” she said before hanging up.

Adrian turned off his phone and released a huge sigh of relief, while Jenny and Amanda jumped up and down and squealed in excitement.

Between hanging up and leaving, Adrian did everything he could to keep his mind preoccupied and relaxed, while always keeping an eye on the time. He worked on his laser to use up his time, he filled his body with relaxing endorphins with exercise and self-control to keep his nerves steady, and he tried to come up with dinner conversation, seeing as how he had absolutely no idea what he and Jenny would talk about. Twenty minutes before six, Adrian stepped out of the shower, got dressed, and went upstairs into the house. He stepped into the living room, where his parents were watching the news. They almost jumped in surprise at his footsteps, as he rarely came up from the basement and talked to his parents even less.

“I’m heading out, I don’t know when I’ll be back.”

Adrian could see Jenny sitting on her front porch as he came up the driveway. Regardless of the dropping temperatures, she had chosen an outfit that complimented her body beautifully. She was wearing high-heeled shoes, a short black skirt that hugged her tan thighs, a large belt around her stomach, and a white top with lace around the collar. Her beautiful smile and bright eyes were fully illuminated by the setting autumn sun, with the light shining through her long blonde hair that flowed smoothly in the evening breeze. Jenny stood up and walked slowly towards the car with her hips swinging from side to side, trying to hide her excitement.

“Hi,” she whispered simply as she climbed into the car and kissed him on the cheek.

“Hello,” Adrian replied, not knowing what to say.

“So where are we going?”

“I set up a reservation at a fancy restaurant in town, I think you’ll like it.”

“How can I not?”

They locked eyes, and her smile became less ecstatic and more heartwarming. “I’m really glad you called.”

Adrian could not help but smile when he responded and said, “I’m really glad I did too.”

Dinner was awkward to say the least. They were sitting on opposite ends of a table, waiting for their food to arrive and trying to think of something to say. Adrian was tightly wrapping the corner of the white tablecloth around his fingers, trying to stay calm. While his mental balance was in turmoil, Jenny’s beautiful smile had not waned. She just looked at him with her eyes full of love as she ran her finger around the rim of her perspiring glass of iced tea. In front of him was a glass of water, already close to empty from nervous drinks. Between them was a bowl of untouched biscuits and a narrow vase with a few roses.

The restaurant was brightly lit, with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and lamps set up on the walls to look like candles. Outside, the last few strands of light from the setting sun were lost in the noise barrier of trees and bushes, shielding the restaurant from the sounds of the nearby street. While the building was packed, it was very quiet, for few people were talking. Except for kids dragged by their parents, Jenny and Adrian were the youngest people in the restaurant.

Desperate to end the silence, Adrian said the first thing that came to mind to lighten the mood. “We’re on our first date and we’ve already been intimate. Normally this would be preceding a shotgun wedding,” he mused with a nervous smile.

Jenny chuckled. “You’re actually the second person to say it’s like I’m pregnant.”

“Really? Who did you tell?”

“My friend Amanda. Don’t worry, she’ll keep it a secret.”

“So… how did you sleep?” he then asked, trying to regain his conversational momentum.

Jenny blushed. “It took me forever to fall asleep. I was just so excited and in disbelief. I wish you had been able to stay, I know I would have been able to fall asleep with you holding me. Maybe we can spend the night together next time.”

“Next time…” Adrian murmured with uncertainty.

Jenny’s smile faded and worry filled her eyes. “You want to do it again, don’t you?”

“I don’t know… I’ve never been so unsure of something in my whole life. I don’t know what I want, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, and I don’t even know who I am anymore. I don’t know if I should forget my goals to be with you or end this relationship before it’s too late and try to pick up the pieces of what I strived for.”

Jenny reached forward and slipped her hand beneath his.

“Adrian, you don’t have to forsake your goals to be with me. You can still break free of the human race and the fact that you have a human lover should not hinder that fact. Besides, if you somehow can transcend to the level you seek, you will still be in a human world. My heart doesn’t have to get in the way and you and your goals, my heart can be your home when you achieve them.”

“But what possible chance do we have when nobody our age can keep a lifelong bond? To be honest, I have no faith in this relationship.”

“You’re the last person I would expect to compare us to a regular couple. Besides, you have no idea how much it warms his heart that you just said we’re in a relationship,” she said with a small chuckle, her reassurance rekindling his own smile.

The waitress showed up and gave them their food.

“Listen, let’s stop talking about such glum things. Tell me, Adrian, what do you want to do when you grow up?” she then asked with a smile and her chin resting on her hand, while using her other hand to pick up a fork-full of spaghetti.

Adrian hummed for a moment while he tried to come up with a response, stirring his soup and looking into the swirling ripples for the right answer. This was the moment, this was when he had to choose his words carefully and see how much he could truly trust Jenny.

“I have plans. You told me last night that it was people like me who have the power to change the world, well I sort have been working on it already. For years I’ve been collecting the power I would need to finally make my move.”

Jenny’s eyes widened with interest and amazement as she tried to figure out what he meant. She was suddenly remembering why she had fallen in love with him in the first place. “What you mean by that?”

“I’ll tell you later. What about you, what do you want to do?”

“I’ve always known what I want to do as an adult. I want to become a florist. I want to run my own flower shop or even a whole botanical garden. Last year, I had one of the top grades in Biology class, and it was because of how much I love plants and how interesting they are.”

Seeing the smile on her face and hearing the soft light-hearted tone in her voice filled him with warmth and made his grin widen.

“You know, you are the one person that can make me smile. I can’t remember the last time I was in such a good mood for so long.”

“Well that must be a good omen for our relationship,” Jenny said warmly.

“Then with that omen, I think I want to give this relationship a try.”

With Jenny’s hand wrapped around his, they walked out to the parking lot and climbed into his car.

“How about we go find a dark and empty parking lot?” Jenny suggested with a coy smile.

He instantly understood the meaning, but his enthusiasm was far less than hers. “No.”

A look of fear crossed Jenny’s face. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong, I just don’t want to do it in a car. Jenny, I don’t know what my feelings are for you, but I don’t want us to be intimate like this. I want every time to be special, not just for physical enjoyment. If we do this for the hollow physical feeling, then the act looses the emotional meaning and just mirrors what everyone else feels as pointless sex. The act would loose its individuality and so would our relationship. I don’t want to insult the bond we shared last night by reenacting it for sake of pure physical desire.”

Jenny’s face was radiating with admiration. “How is it that such an emotionless robot can have such a big sentimental heart? Hold on, I have an idea.”

She then reached into her purse and pulled out her phone, quickly typing in the number. “Hey mom, Adrian is going to drop me off at Amanda’s. She is going to want a lot of details, so I think I’ll just spend the night at her house. …Ok, bye.”

She turned to him and put her hand on his thigh. “I have an alibi and a whole night to spend with the man I love.”

“So are you sure that your parents won’t notice me?” Jenny asked as they moved to the back of his house.

“Don’t worry, my parents give me complete privacy. Even if they open the door, they never even come down the stairs. We won’t be interrupted,” he said as he opened the double doors and they stepped down into his bedroom. Adrian turned on the light and went back to close the doors.

“Your bedroom is just so cool.”

He walked over to his stereo and turned it on, filling the room with calming white noise. He didn’t want any sounds to reach the rest of the house and the white noise would capture and muffle anything audible. Adrian walked over to Jenny and could feel nervousness filling his heart. Would this be as good as the first time? Would it be awkward? Was he doing the right thing by deciding to continue this relationship?

“Don’t worry, darling. You never have to be intimidated by our bond,” she whispered as she placed her hands on his shoulders and pressed herself against him. He couldn’t believe that she was able to sense his worry even through his constant melancholic expression.

“How is it that you can read me so well?”

“I can read you because I love you. Even if I’m not completely in your heart, you are in mine, and I can see into your soul with that bond.”

“My heart wants to be with you, but my mind is screaming at me to be logical. I don’t know who I am anymore and I won’t ever be able to find out once this relationship ends. I’m happy with you, but I will not able to rebuild once this bond is severed. Whatever you say to me, someone somewhere has said the same thing to the one they love and their relationship failed. How can I put faith in your words and feelings when they will falter with time? I can’t open my heart and protect myself from the future pain.

I’ve sacrificed everything to achieve my goals, and now if I make a single mistake, all that sacrifice will have been for nothing and I will be left with nothing. I will be unable to move forward or back, trapped in the shattered remains of the world that I created. I’m gambling my life on a relationship that is practically doomed to fail, but I cannot stop myself. I want to end this now, I want to erase my memories of you, and I want to go back to way things were when I knew my path in life… But just as much as I want those things, my heart will not let me do them. I don’t know what my feelings for you are, but some aspect of my consciousness will not let me abandon them. I can see myself making a mistake, but I can’t do anything to stop myself.”

Jenny moved her hands from his shoulders to his cheeks and stared deep into his eyes. “I told you that I would never love someone unless they could completely amaze me, you told me that you couldn’t break free of humans without becoming the greatest human on Earth. Adrian, you are the greatest human on Earth through my eyes. No one will ever amaze me more than you do, so I will never love anyone more than I love you. I know you don’t trust the human race and you have no faith in relationships, but we are not all failures. If you were able to become what all humans were meant to be, then maybe our bond can become as strong as all others were meant to be. Statistics don’t control their fates, we do!”

“No, we don’t. Our futures are out of our control. We only do what time tells us to do and statistics allow us to see into time.”

“They are only that, statistics! Reality and time doesn’t only bend to probability and patterns. The world isn’t just data and possibility, and even with all the data in the world, there are things that not even you can predict! If there is one person you can have faith in, it’s me. If there is one bond you can have faith in, it’s ours. Use your mind to see the world and use your heart to change it. You don’t need to prepare for the end of the relationship if your will is strong enough to protect it.”

Jenny then pressed her lips against his and they maintained that sweet embrace for several seconds. They began to slowly and gently pull off each other’s clothes, while refusing to end the kiss for even a moment. With their lips still touching, Adrian swept Jenny off her feet and she pressed her hand against the center of his chest. Holding her beautiful naked frame in his arms, he carried her to the bed and laid her down.

Jenny took her top off after several minutes, showing her full teenage breasts, which were barely being held by the red lace bra. Adrian reached behind her back and unclasped the bra hook, letting the red lingerie slip off her. His hormonal side had smashed through the psychological barrier and had shoved his rational mind aside, and indulged his desires by licking Jenny’s round tits, causing her to gasp and hum in bliss.

As he sucked on her nipples, he moved his hand down and unfastened her skirt. She slowly pushed them down her smooth thighs, along with her panties.

“Adrian, I want you to lick me, I’ve always wanted to know what it feels like,” she said as her whole body trembled in arousal.

“As you wish,” he said dryly.

She looked into his eyes and gained a warm smile, apparently seeing something within him, regardless of his empty tone. “So you are human after all.”

He silently crouched down as she spread her legs, showing him her pussy. He held his face just inches the soft lips, which were already wet with arousal. His primal hormonal side was savoring the fruity aroma and the proximity. He experimentally reached out with his tongue and brought it up between the wet lips, causing her to arch her back and moan in ecstasy. The taste of her juices was a very peculiar one, both bitter and sweet.

He gave a broad lick, thoroughly enjoying the taste and feel of her lips on his tongue. He worked in a rhythm, exploring her hot wet insides as much as he could with my limited reach. Jenny was gripping the edges of the bed, giving a continuous high-pitched moan and blushing all over.

“Oh god, Adrian! You’re driving me crazy!”

He stood up and undressed, standing over Jenny. He gripped his erect manhood and guided it to her pussy, slowly pushing it in. Jenny emitted a crystal-clear chime, like that of a bell. With his hands on her hips, Adrian began moving back and forth in a steady pattern, sending his cock deep inside her. With the two of them perpendicular, he was able to get great penetration, thrusting his cock all the way in and give her unparalleled euphoria.

Strangely, Jenny seemed much more calm than before. She had a look of sleepy bliss on her face, only giving the softest of coos with each thrust. Her eyes were closed and she was gently running her fingertips along her smooth skin, almost as if she was just waking up from a nap. It almost looked like the ecstasy that had stimulated her body before was now relaxing it, almost like a massage.

Deciding to go further, Adrian reached down and picked her up with his hands beneath her back. Surprised and unbalanced, Jenny wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. He fully held her up off the bed, using only his arms to bring her up and down on his cock. Just from being in his arms, Jenny knew that Adrian was far stronger than he looked. In truth, she was light as a pillow to him. Jenny had a tired smile on her base and was blushing as he moved her.

“I love you, Adrian,” she said tenderly as she ran her fingers through his hair.

In reply, he held her up against the wall, and reawakened by the resulting thrust, Jenny reached up and held onto a pipe above her head for dear life. She resumed her hymn of moans as he used the angle to probe a new corner of her pussy, relishing the feeling of her hot wet insides. Everything on the wall rattled with each thrust as he put every drop of strength he had into satisfying her. Nearly an hour later, Jenny’s stamina was on the verge of giving out. They were back on the bed, this time in cowgirl position, and while Adrian was still full of energy, Jenny looked like she was about to pass out.

“Adrian, I’m going to cum,” she panted.

Using the springs in the mattress to take the burden off her, Adrian began thrusting upwards at top speed, sending his cock into her as hard and fast as possible. Finally, they both had a simultaneous orgasm, just the last in a long line, and once again soaking each other in DNA. Jenny collapsed on top of him, gasping for air but continuing to run her tongue and lips across his scars. Her long blonde hair was stretched across his face, and every breath he took brought with it the sweet smell of her perfume and sawdust from the table. They were pressed together to the point where they could feel each other’s heartbeats, and their combined body heat was as intense as a furnace.

As Adrian’s erection lost its luster, so did his Id’s control over his body. It slowly went back to sleep, returning power to his logical mind. With his semi-hard dick still inside her, Jenny pushed herself up, her hair hanging down around her angelic face. She had one of the warmest and sweetest smiles he had ever seen, and her eyes seem to glow as she gently ran her fingers through his hair.

“I love you, Adrian,” Jenny whispered as she put her hand on the center of his chest and felt his heartbeat. Adrian did not give a reply, for he did not know what to say.

“Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell me you love me. I know you’re confused; I sure was before I knew that I loved you. Take all the time you need to figure everything out, I will never run out of patience.”

“Thank you.”

“You don’t need to thank me, just hold me,” she said before kissing him and rolling on her side. He wrapped his arm around her and held her close with her warm back against his chest and the smell of her hair filling his senses. It would have been perfect, but Adrian could feel a headache forming.

Jenny and Adrian walked out of the parking lot and towards the entrance of the school. It was the first day of the new semester and their schedules had changed. Both of them were nervous.

“So should we just wait until after school to be together or is there some sort of protocol? I don’t want our relationship to be a secret, but neither do I want us to be one of those idiot couples that stand in the hall and make out to display to everyone. You know, they act like going to separate classes is such an impossible distance and length of time for them to be apart and just jump all over each other after class because being away from each other for an hour is “such a strain on their love”.”

Jenny burst into laughter as they walked through the front door. “I hate those exhibitionists too. They always act like Romeo and Juliet because classes are keeping them apart, and then just show off their relationship in the hall while acting like they don’t care what people think. How about we go back to the way we were before, but with one small difference…”

She then gave him a very quick and modest kiss. It was not a regular, teenage, over-exaggerative “I’ll be counting the seconds while you’re gone” kiss, but a simple “have a nice day, honey” kiss. Everyone that saw them gasped in disbelief, unable to process the sight of a cold emotionless recluse kissing one of the most popular girls in school. Just his reputation as Adroid made it impossible to accept; everyone figured he would be dead before he entered a relationship.

“Ok, I’ll see you later,” Jenny said with a smile before walking off to her new first-period class.

“Bye,” Adrian said with a smile of his own as he walked off in the opposite direction, leaving people to gawk at what they had seen.

Throughout the day, Adrian was on his phone at every opportunity, not for work, but to study. He was looking up relationship tips and advice on how to interact with romantic partners. Academically, he has mastered the study of human psychology, but now he needed a crash course on casual human contact.

“I’m not going to be in school tomorrow, I have to meet with my clients,” Adrian said as he zoomed through his math homework.

“Oh, you’re going to sell one of your inventions?” Jenny asked with excitement as she worked on her science work next to him. Jenny was in his room, the two of them doing homework before they could switch into relationship mode.

“Yep, I finally finished it, tested it, and I’m ready to sell the designs. Let me show you what this thing can do.”

Adrian reached under his desk and pulled out the finished creation. It was a surgical laser, as large as a remote control, and could easily be held with one hand. In the back of the base was a plug for an extension cord, and the nozzle was focused into an adjustable cone shape. It used inductors made of gold leaf to increase the charge supplied by the cord, making it capable of cutting through steel with the power of a standard wall socket.

Adrian plugged an extension cord into the base of the laser and then secured a pencil into the brace of his workbench. He held the laser steady, set it to a low level, and activated it, sending an invisible beam of light that sliced through the pencil like a blowtorch through paper. Jenny gaped in amazement.

“That was the low setting. A higher setting could let me cut through metal. With all the clients I’ll sell it off to, I estimate I’ll be able to make thirty million dollars and still keep the prototype.”

“Wait, THIRTY MILLION?!” Jenny exclaimed.

“Technology like this is worth a lot, depending on who you sell it to. Yeah, I already have well over a hundred million dollars in my bank account now from all of my inventions. In fact, I even offered to buy my parents a mansion with all the money I make, but they said they didn’t want to be even farther from me than they already were.” In truth, that one bank account was pocket change compared to the combined profits of all of his corporations.

Jenny gained a coy smile, walked over, and sat down on his lap. She leaned down and gave him a small kiss. “You’re smart, strong, handsome, sentimental, rich, and you can read my body like brail. I swear, my friends have been asking me all day why I’m with you, but I don’t dare tell them because they’ll all try to seduce you. Maybe when Spring Break comes, the two of us could go on a romantic vacation, maybe the Bahamas?”

“Maybe,” Adrian said simply. He turned his attention to the clock. “I have to get you home, I don’t want your dad to kick down my front door.”

Jenny gave a sad laugh and kissed him again. She stood up but he didn’t.

“Adrian?” she asked when he didn’t get out of his chair.

“There is something I want to show you.”

Jenny raised one of her eyebrows as Adrian walked over to his bed and pulled two metal cases out from under it. One looked like it was used to hold a billiards cue while the other was a metal briefcase, both of which were sealed with six-digit combination locks.

“Machines and inventions aren’t the only thing I build down here. There is a class of metalwork that I specialize in: the forging of weapons,” he said as he opened the two cases.

Lying in the briefcase were twenty metal shivs, all eight inches long and as thick as pencils. The tips were as sharp as needles and the slope from end to end was flawlessly straight. There were handle grooves near the base of each shiv, but other than that, there wasn’t a single mark in the metal. They could be used as daggers and thrown like darts. Sitting in a bed of velvet was a meter-long spike, like a pool cue, made of steel, titanium, and several powerful metals, all blended together into a whole new metal compound. It had been made with more skill and precision than the blacksmiths who forged Japanese Katanas. The shaft was sloped at a flawless angle and was perfectly straight from end to end. The tip was sharp enough to draw blood with the slightest touch, but so powerful that it would never break or dull, no matter how it was used on or how much strain was put on it. The whole weapon was more durable than a nuclear flask and would stand the test of time.

Jenny stared into the two cases with both fear and amazement.

“This lance and these darts are weapons I’ve created merely out of hobby and fascination. While they can be used for self-defense, I built them mostly as an art form. I focused them on an icicle-shaped spike instead of a blade, because I think that the unconventional weapon design fits his personality best.”

He picked up one of the darts and threw it at a target board on the far wall, striking the very center with little effort. Even without fins to keep it steady in the air like a regular dart or arrow, the shiv was able to fly as straight as a laser beam and strike the intended target without missing by a single centimeter.

“You know, many people would be concerned with the idea of someone like you making these weapons.”

“I have no reason to use these on other people. The action would serve no purpose and only create meaningless pain and cause negative consequences. I create these to act as merely hand-made trophies and concealed self-defense tools. The spike form represents their difference to traditional bladed weapons, much like my difference to other people. The only ones who have anything to fear from these weapons are those who mean me harm. Plus, it’s not like I’m going to bring them to school with me.”

“These are really incredible, Adrian. How did you make them?” Jenny asked with amazement as she picked up the lance. It was quite heavy, but with it’s weight came unbelievable durability.

“I forge them with automatic hammers and then cut them into shape with lasers. However, the metal I use is far greater than any other known to man.”

“What do you mean?”

“These are all made of an incredibly powerful metal I have developed. I call it Demium.”


“As in demigods. All metal workers dream of someday creating or working with an alloy that is virtually indestructible, just like in science-fiction movies. In truth, nothing is indestructible, only immune to specific layers and means of destruction. However, Demium is the closest you can get to immunity to all physical damage. If indestructibility is a god-like level for metal, then Demium is the demigod of all metals. Being its creator, I’ve personally tested it to its breaking point, and I can attest to its durability. The tip of this lance, which is as sharp as a needle and thin as a nail, I could use it to carve through several blocks of concrete and none of the sharpness would be lost.”

“But how did you form this metal?”

“By planning out and simulating how the atoms would bond, I was able join together the most powerful elements together into a crystal lattice structure that would be unparalleled in its strength. By figuring out the exact structure of the molecules and the number of atoms needed to create as many of these molecules as possible, I was able to calculate the exact mass required of each individual ingredient. The key to producing Demium is to know that once it is achieved, its melting point skyrockets.

Having discovered this, I melted all the ingredients together and mixed them into one smelting container. After that, it was all a matter of waiting and watching while the atoms and molecules moved around in the molten metal stew and bonded together and split over and over again. As more and more Demium was formed, you would see small clumps of the metal floating around in the molten mixture, completely immune to the heat. Once I had enough pure Demium, I extracted it and hammered out any weaknesses, then finished with a laser-lathe.

Unfortunately, this lance and all of these darts are far from perfect. Not even my eyes can see the minute flaws before its too late to fix them, and the melting method I use does not guarantee 100% pure Demium. It seems that until technology evolves to the point where we can manipulate atoms and molecules themselves, these are the best I can achieve.”

“Why do you choose to create this shape? A simple spike without a hilt, guard, or blade?”

“It mirrors my personality. I find blades to be too flashy. You don’t need three feet of flopping metal with a sharp edge to get the job done; you only need a single sharp point. The simple spike shape signifies pure desire to do what is required, and not waste a single moment or ounce of energy. Handles are for weaklings without strong hands, guards mess up the weapon’s balance and aerodynamics, and blades just create messy slashes.

Weapons reflect the soul of their wielder, and I can’t find a traditional weapon that fits me. I don’t like Katanas because they are too imbued with Asian culture; anyone with a Katana is merely a samurai wannabe. I also don’t like the curve of the blade; it looks wrong and it shows the curve in a person’s train of thought. I don’t like rapiers and sabers because they are not nearly strong enough. Sure they can stab, but they have pitiful blades and they bend and warp under pressure, something that the wielder must not do. I don’t like broadswords, because as the name implies, they are too broad. They are too bold and flashy with the size of their blade and the elegance of their guard. Besides, broadswords are double-edged, and those who prefer double-edged weapons have double-edged minds, something that disrupts goals and mental balance. I don’t like machetes because they are too exotic, cliché, and improper. It’s a tool that is intended for hacking through foliage, it is way too obvious of a weapon—not to mention its existence in movies, and the blade is too short and improperly curved for accurate damage. Axes are too blunt and barbaric, with the energy involved in using it erratic to say the least. I don’t really like any bladed weapons, because along with the metal, the soul of the wielder favors one direction. Blades are inefficient, and their poor direction and messy results are mirrored in the soul of their wielder.

Most of all, I don’t like guns. True, it takes a lot of talent and skill to able to use a gun properly and have good aim, but the action of firing a bullet takes away the real skill. It distances you from your enemy, less of an attempt to protect your psyche than to make you seem less guilty. When you use guns, your strength isn’t measured in will power, physical dexterity, or spirit; your strength is measured in the size of your bullets.

A lance or a dart is like an elegant bullet, and it reflects your unstoppable desires. With a lance, you don’t care about flashiness, the thrill of combat, or your reputation; you only care about your goals and the fastest way to them. You aren’t going to slash and chop your enemies to get past them. You’re going to go straight for the kill because they are obstacles in your path that must be removed for you to reach your goals. A lance doesn’t have any distractions in the form of an edge, just like its wielder shouldn’t.”

But while Adrian spoke, the lie he had told did not sit well with him. In truth, he had used these weapons before, several times. When dealing with his factions growing in the third-world countries, there were occasions when he had to act in the real world, and not from behind a phone or computer. During times like those, violence was always no more than one wrong word away. In the dozens of firefights he had been in, no fist, bullet, or blade had ever struck him, and no enemy had ever survived.

“Ah, Mr. Ashford, come in,” Adrian’s client said as he stepped into his office.

His name was Mr. Lamar, an Indian immigrant and the CEO of one of he greatest engineering companies in New England, however, he was not one of Adrian’s puppet figureheads. Adrian shook his hand and sat down in one of the chairs in front of his desk. There was a large bay window behind Lamar’s desk, two long rows of cabinets along the walls, and a leather couch with a glass coffee table in the back corner. The walls and cabinets were covered in pieces of art, pictures from office parties, and business awards.

“I trust that your newest project is complete? What do you have to show me today?” he asked with his thick Indian accent.

“I’ll let you try to figure it out for yourself. I’ll give you a hint: once it’s plugged in, I only have to push this button here and I could kill you,” Adrian said non-threateningly as he pulled the device out of his coat pocket and set it down on the desk, pointing towards Lamar.

He stirred uncomfortably in his chair at his words. “Is this really…?”

“Yes, it is a handheld laser. It can either be set so low that it is on par with a child’s laser pointer or set so high that it can carve through the hood of a car with ease. If you would like to see it in action, choose something in this office you are ok with losing and I will show you what it can do.”

Trying to maintain his poker face, Lamar pointed to a large ceramic vase in the corner of the room. With his target in mind, Adrian plugged the laser into a floor outlet and raised the level of its output. He pointed it at the vase and held down the firing button. Without anything in the air to reflect the light, the high-powered beam of energy was invisible to the human eye. A burn mark appeared on the surface, and with a quick slash of the laser, the entire vase shattered from the beam thermally cracking the ceramic.

“How much do you want for it?” Lamar asked cautiously.

“Ten million for the blueprints.”

“That is completely absurd!”

“Fine. If you don’t want it, I’ll sell it to someone else. This is revolutionary technology with applications in engineering, surgery, and mere entertainment. You could make billions with this before the end of the year.”

Lamar gave a sigh of frustration. “Very well, the money will be deposited in your bank account by tomorrow. But how can I be sure that you will give me the designs?” he asked, hiding his face behind his tented fingers.

While Adrian’s face maintained its normal cold scowl, his voice gained a smug tone. “Because I need you. You of course know that I have more clients. People will pay a lot of money to own the first of something, but they’ll pay even more when they see that other people have it. I’m counting on the competition between you and other companies to increase the demand. This is a win-win situation: you can compete with other companies with his machinery and I get more money from those companies. Everyone wins and everyone gets rich. You’ll get the blueprints when I get my money.”

“I can’t believe I’m getting extorted by a punk-kid like you,” his second client said.

They were having a business lunch in the most expensive restaurant in town. Unlike the restaurant he took Jenny to, there was a band playing classical music in the background at all times. Adrian would have taken Jenny here, but he simply couldn’t find anything on the menu that was appealing. His second client was younger than the first, just over twice Adrian’s age, but his hairline was already starting to recede. He was taking out his frustration on a glass a shrimp cocktail.

“Get over it. If your engineers deserved even half of the money you paid them, they would be able to build machines like these,” Adrian said coldly as he put the laser back in his pocket and replaced it with a CD.

“All of the blueprints, designs, and instructions are on this disk. Once I get his money, you get the disk. Remember, ten million dollars,” he said as he stood up and walked out of the restaurant.

Adrian deactivated the laser and put down the sheet of paper. He had written his name on it in cursive with a continuous burn mark, but the singe was so light that it hadn’t even cut through the other side.

“Far more delicate work than a scalpel. Imagine the possible uses in surgery this thing would have: cleaner incisions, flawless cauterizations instead of stitches, and the ability to separate flesh from muscle without slicing and dicing,” he said to his third client.

He was a very wealthy businessman that was on the board of directors of every hospital in the state and was the CEO of a pharmaceutical company. His office was smaller than Lamar’s, with wood-paneled walls and vast bookcases of medical textbooks. The window blinds were only letting in a small amount of sunlight.

“Jack, if you can get it now, then you can hire other engineers to replicate it and you won’t have to buy it from the other companies for a lot more.”

“And I can’t convince you to go less than ten million?”

“A single MRI machine costs just a fraction of that.”

“Very well, deliver the blueprints once you confirm you have been paid.”

“Pleasure doing business with you.”

As Adrian left the building, his phone began to ring.


“This is Leman, sir. I’ve found the man you’re looking for.”

“Good, continue to monitor him, and make sure he knows that disobedience will mean death.”

Chapter Three:

“Sir, Akim Yellas has just fallen to the ground in the parking lot. He’s dead, sir,” stated Adrian’s subordinate in Russian, talking through a cell phone.

The man was crouched on a rooftop in St. Petersburg with a sniper rifle pressed against his shoulder, practically invisible in the winter night. Down below was a quaint diner with a dead body lying sprawled out on the snowy parking lot. Scared onlookers surrounded the corpse, one of which was trying to perform CPR. Inside, the staff was watching nervously.

“I’m not surprised. It seems your services are no longer required. Thank you for your time, you’ve already received your payment. However, I may call upon you in the future, so don’t completely cast my name into the trash bin of your memory,” said Adrian, countering with a flawless Russian dialect.

“Yes, sir.”

Adrian hung up and sat back in his chair, staring at his computer, which was open to Akim Yellas’ hacked email account. Akim Yellas was someone with a fair amount of brains but no morals. Having always been a gifted student, he had amassed a large ego and made a living as an identity thief, both for financial support and entertainment. Genius and a worthless life, just the combination Adrian needed in a pawn that he planned on sacrificing. With blackmail as his leverage, he had forced Akim into working for him, serving as his mask in the meeting that had just taken place in the diner.

He had ordered Akim to pretend to be interested in a deal with a man he met in the diner, rehearsed the conversation with him, and had made him establish a rule during the meeting that no names were to be used, so as to keep Akim from learning anything more than he needed, in case Adrian’s assassin failed to end his life. Under the excuse of “anyone could overhear us”, the meeting had used as vague references as possible, with Akim ordered to just play along and make the deal.

The reason why he had picked Akim Yellas to serve as his mask as his scapegoat was simple: he had above-average intelligence, meaning that he was easily capable of seeking out Adrian’s true targets. However, he wasn’t using pawns’ capabilities to find the targets, no, he was already well aware of them. Instead he was using their capabilities as a cover so that the rest of the members in the client’s organization wouldn’t get suspicious as to how the organization itself had been discovered. He had to use people who could be expected to operate on their own, at least in the eyes of his targets. If he used puppets that weren’t smart enough to appear to be independent, then the strings would be easily visible, and the last thing he needed was for his targets to consider the possibility of a puppeteer in the darkness with his eyes on their group.

But as he had seen, the meeting hadn’t gone over so well. His subordinate had been denied, and even more, he had been assassinated, most likely something that he had eaten or drank in the diner had been spiked with something. Of course the autopsy would reveal it had merely been an unfortunate aneurism or blood clot, or even a delayed allergic reaction, as it was meant to look like as an accident. To his targets, Akim knew too much and could serve no beneficial purpose to their group, so he had to be eliminated. Adrian had planned something similar if the deal worked; he would get what he wanted, and the identity thief known as Akim Yellas would be forever silenced.

Adrian leaned back in his chair and sighed. Failure was always an option in this stage of the plan, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t frustrating. Every time he failed, his opponents raised their guard and became tenser, but that also meant that he would cause less of a shock and reaction if he ever had to reveal himself and make his move. He rubbed his temples, trying to ease the headache bubbling behind his eyes. He had been suffering from migraines and stomach problems lately and it seemed like they were just getting worse and worse.

Confusing, that is the word Adrian would use to describe his relationship with Jenny. It had been a month since they were first intimate, and ever since, his mind had struggled to regain its mental bearings. His hormonal and emotional sides were fighting against his cold logical side, something they hadn’t done in years. His machine-like logical side was what made him unique to everyone else; it was like a soul made of gears and circuits. He did not want to lose it, because it meant giving up his identity. But the other half of his mind was arguing that he could not be a cold machine and be with Jenny. He could be alone and focused or be a human with the woman who loved him.

Ever since the two of them had been intimate, he had struggled to find a name to give the resulting combination of his emotions and hormonal desires. The most fitting title could find was to call it his heart, pardon the corny cliché. Having a heart was a very peculiar experience, one that he had never felt. Before, the heart was merely an organ with the purpose of pumping blood, with the poetic meaning as little more than a human construct, an illusion to justify an empty existence. Now Adrian could actually feel the purpose of that poetic definition, though he understood it as much as he did the relationship itself. The reason his heart was fighting his logical side with such passion was because of Jenny. Adrian had spent years studying humans, but she was different. She was always trying to get him to open up and be more social, but gently. She had learned to read him and now knew what to do to get the best results.

She wouldn’t drag him out of his seat to talk to other people, but instead ask him what he would say to them and how he would interact. It was almost a form of social simulation. She knew and admired that he was an antisocial person, so she would only take him to his limits of tolerance and then never take him farther. It was as if she knew there was a line Adrian would not cross in terms of socializing, and she just wanted him to be as close to that line as possible while still being happy. She wasn’t trying to change him; she just wanted him to go as far as he could.

She had a form of patience that Adrian had never seen before, a way of understanding that he didn’t think others had. What would have normally driven a girl away seemed to draw her like moths to a porch light. He had not told her that he loved her because he wasn’t sure what his feelings were for her. He definitely cared about her, but he could not figure out what actually constituted love. This did not detour her from every day saying that she loved him, and the fact that he had not returned the statement did not drain her patience, it increased it.

Jenny understood him in ways that he didn’t think were possible and could read him like a book. Everything Adrian did seemed to make her love him more, from his tendency to rarely smile to his quiet statue-like presence in social situations. She was his link to the human world, and it was as if she was studying him as much as he was studying her. They were intimate a few times every week, but Adrian could not decide whether it was sex or making love. It was both and neither of them, and every second, his mind would be filled with bliss and confusion. He enjoyed being intimate with her, both for the strange physical and emotional feelings that it created. He saw every session as an opportunity to study these feelings like specimens in a lab, and she saw it as an opportunity to bond herself with something that was more than human.

However, there were times in which Adrian knew that his words or actions were having a negative influence. Being so bright and full of life, Jenny could not fully protect her heart from the harshness of his logic, and more times than he would like, Adrian would answer her question with what he thought was the best answer, only to realize that brutal honesty didn’t fit well into most conversations. Even if it was the slightest of reductions to a smile or the momentary avoidance of his gaze, he could see that like all people, it was impossible for her to become fully used to his bluntness. He tried to pick his words carefully around her, but after the years he had spent by himself, he had atrophied in the skill of telling people what they wanted to hear. He knew only how to tell the truth and how to lie, but he did not know how to combine the two into the etiquette-concoction required for a romantic relationship.

School was let out for Thanksgiving vacation, and all of the students and staff desperately needed it. The fall was proving to be a mild one with a similar winter soon to follow, but even with the climate stepping out of line with its Maine reputation, the trees had no less finished shedding their leaves, the overcast gained a permanent gray tinge, and everyone’s clothes changed to protect them from the crisp breeze that seemed to roll across the school campus, carrying with it the smell of snow as if traveling back from the future.

“So do you have relatives coming for Thanksgiving?” Jenny asked as she looked out the passenger-side window of his car.

“Yes, but my house is too small for them to stay, so I’m putting them up in hotel rooms as always.”

She turned to him and smiled. “For someone with so much money, you certainly aren’t cheap.”

Adrian only bit his lip in the bewilderment of if he was supposed to smile or not and merely nodded.

“I have relatives coming as well, and living in the suburbs, I’m sure you can imagine we have a hard time finding space for everyone when the holidays come. Even if they are stressful, Thanksgiving is so much fun.”

“Are you sure that you’re actually remembering it as being fun?”

“What do you mean?”

“The human mind naturally adds a positive spin to memories. It’s why people always long for the past. High school could have been a boring waste of four years in which nothing good ever happened, yet ask an adult if they miss it and if they were good times and they almost always say they were. It’s hard to know if you were ever truly happy, for your mind is always devaluing the meaning of happiness to make your memories brighter.”

He looked over at Jenny in the corner of his eye and saw that her lively smile of tired joy had been diminished as she mulled over what he had said and gleamed over her memories, wondering if she really had been “happy” during the ones that were the brightest.

“You’ve been working on this thing for so long, what is it?” Jenny asked as she watched Adrian.

On the wide table by his desk, he was working on a large piece of machinery, almost resembling the interior of a remote-controlled battlebot like the ones seen fighting on TV with saw blades. It was about the size of a mini-fridge and filled with cable systems and gears that were hooked up to computerized winches.

“It’s a surgical robot, meant to replace human doctors in the operating room, at least in terms of who is touching the patient. The surgeon will be controlling the robot, but I’m considering making a version where the machine can be programmed to act on its own and perform specific operations as told.”

“Really? That’s amazing!”

“Yeah, but I’m disappointed with how long it’s been taking. I’ve been at this for a month and a half and I’m only three quarters of the way to completion. Oh well, big machines like these are always the slower projects,” he grumbled under the crackle of the ark welder.

“What kind of other big machines have you made?” Jenny asked, wondering how the finished creation would look.

“Probably my biggest project was a full-body scanner. It was like an MRI, but it didn’t use radiation or magnets, meaning that there were no health risks and people with metal in their bodies won’t be in danger. Plus it was accurate enough to give a 3D image of the patient’s cells. It was about half as large as a regular MRI, but I still had to dismantle it after it’s completion so that I could actually get it out of my room.”

“How much money did you make?”

“A fair amount. All I really care about is making enough money to keep building and to be known for my skills in engineering.”

“You never seemed like the prideful type.”

“I’m not, I just want to make sure my name comes up when people need a bigger job done. They can misspell my name for all I care, all I want is to be the one that they call.”

Adrian kept the door to his room locked and the white noise blurring from his speakers at their top volume to drown out the sounds of relatives talking above him and cousins running around the house. Already, his bedroom door had been knocked on so many times it was as if he lived down the street from a church of Jehovah’s Witnesses with Alzeimers, but he saw no reason in leaving his room. He would much rather work on his machines than talk to his extended family for an hour. Ringing beside him, Adrian’s phone caught his attention. It was Jenny.

“Yes?” he asked as he answered it.

“It’s been three days and I don’t even get a hello? Come on, just because you’re on vacation from school doesn’t mean you’re on vacation from me,” she teased.

Like Adrian, she was in her room with the door shut and locked, desperate to get away from her pesky cousins and finally realizing the truth in what he had told her in the car.

“Very well.”

“I was wondering if you would like to come over for dinner tonight. My whole family is desperate to meet you.”

“I would prefer not to. I have work to do and I get enough questions here at home.”

“Come on, you’ve never even had a real conversation with anyone in my family, except for my dad when you asked to spend the night. I want to show you off.”

“I said no,” he replied, not angrily but forcefully.

Jenny winced at the harshness of his answer. “Adrian, we’re dating. We’re supposed to spend time together other than when our schedules put us in the same classroom. We haven’t talked in three days. Come on, just five minutes and then we can lock ourselves in my room and be alone until dinner.”

Adrian took a deep breath. “As you wish. I’ll be there in ten minutes. Just try and answer most of their questions before I get there. There is no point in waiting for me to tell them things that you already know.”

Adrian kept his look melancholically bland as usual as Jenny brought him into the house. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents all wanted to get a good look at him, while young cousins battered him with questions on whether or not what Jenny had told them was true. He kept his answers short, asked no questions in return, and looked dead ahead without consistent eye-contact whenever possible. It was clear that Jenny had already warned everybody about his “social level”, as even his uncaring behavior failed to evoke so much as a sigh or look of disappointment. As per the conditions, Adrian answered questions for five minutes before Jenny allowed him to escape, bringing him up to her room where they would have relative privacy.

“I’m surprised, you didn’t swear or lose your temper once,” Jenny noted as she sat down on the bed.

Adrian walked over to the window and gazed through the cold glass, already fogging from frozen condensation. “That took a lot of self-control. You know I hate being badgered by people.”

Jenny giggled. “Yes, but from what I’ve learned, if they badger you long enough, you grow fond of them. After all, we’re only in a relationship because I refused to stop annoying you.”

Before answering, Adrian walked over to her shut bedroom door and slammed his hand against it, scaring off her young cousins who had their ears pressed against the door. “Unfortunately, your family is no less irritating than mine. I loathe getting visited by relatives.”

“Sure it can be a little stressful, but can you honestly tell me you feel nothing for your family?”

“I love my immediate family, but even that is limited. Blood relation means nothing; you see your friends more than your extended family. Why should it matter?” said Adrian, staying by the door.

“Why are you standing over there? We don’t have to be speaking to each other from across the bedroom.”

Without so much as a nod, Adrian walked over and lied down beside her, the two of them looking up that the ceiling the same way they had after they were first intimate.

“What about when we get married and have kids? Won’t blood relation matter then?”

“It is unlikely we’ll last that long, and it’s illogical for you to plan that far ahead.”

Jenny gave an undeterred shrug. “You should know me well enough to expect this. After all, I wouldn’t be with you if I didn’t want us to spend our lives together. Like you told my friends, there is no point to a relationship if it serves as only practice.”

Adrian gained a small smile, which to Jenny, was a huge achievement for her. “And I wouldn’t be with you if I didn’t admire you for that,” he said.

Jenny smiled and rolled on her side, wrapping her arms around his. “Imagine if we do get married and have kids, what then? Will blood relation matter?”

“Of course it will matter.”

“Then tell me, would you be interested in marriage? You say that it is likely we won’t last long, but it certainly isn’t impossible. If that possibility exists, then are you interested? Say that in our future, if it was guaranteed we got married as long as you proposed, would you be interested? I’m not asking if you would or wouldn’t, I’m asking whether you would consider it.”

Adrian bit his lip, repeating the same question in his mind over and over, even though it was the same thing he had been wondering ever since that fateful night. He didn’t even know if what he felt for her constituted love, let alone if they would truly spend their lives together. And there were more than his personal feelings to consider, after all, he had his plan to think about. Were a life with Jenny and the steps he would need to take to achieve his plan compatible? Could he move forward to complete his plan and be sure that Jenny would stay by his side?

“Dinner is ready!” Jenny’s mom hollered from the kitchen, putting the conversation on hold to Adrian’s relief.

The dining room was cramped with everyone gathered around the dinner table. Another table even had to be brought in and added so that everyone could take a seat. Even with the regular meal, the amount of space in the middle of the table was almost nonexistent, meaning that Thanksgiving dinner would be like a giant game of Tetris. Adrian kept his eyes on his plate as he ate, hoping that he would be asked as few questions as possible. The meal was spaghetti and he was eating hungrily, already on his third helping.

“My, someone loves my cooking!” Mrs. Sinclair laughed.

“I’m glad you made spaghetti, pasta was just the fuel I needed,” he answered before wiping the sauce off his lips with his napkin.

“What do you mean?” one of Jenny’s cousins asked, a ten-year-old boy.

“Pasta is rich in starches, which is made of polysaccharides, which is made up of long chains of monosaccharides, which is essentially glucose. I need all the glucose I can get to function at my peak. Unfortunately, the fridge in my room is empty and I couldn’t go into my parent’s kitchen without being bombarded by questions from my relatives. I figure with enough pasta, I can go until 2:00 am before I need more sugar.”

“You even need to wake up to get more sugar? That sounds almost like an addiction to me,” one of Jenny’s uncles joked.

“No, I don’t wake up because I don’t sleep. I stay up every second night and continue on into the next day. This way, between school days, I get about fifteen hours of uninterrupted work time. I’ll go to sleep tomorrow night.”

Everyone looked at each other with raised eyebrows.

“So are you going to college after you graduate?” Ed asked, leaning back in his chair with a look of defensive skepticism on his face.

“No, I have no need. I’m already quite wealthy with the money from my inventions, so I don’t need to go to college for the sake of finding a career. Besides, I already know more than any university could possibly teach, so college would only serve to rob me of more time that could be spent working,” he answered without looking up from his plate.

“So that’s what you’ll do for your career? You’ll keep inventing?” Mrs. Sinclair asked.

“That’s correct, that’s all I plan on doing.”

He looked around at everyone and noted their expressions, but what confused him was the quizzical look on Jenny’s face.

“Goodnight,” Adrian said, standing with Jenny on her porch.

“Wait a second, Adrian, there is something I need to ask you. But first tell me if there is anyone listening in?”

“No, I sense no one else around.”

“Why did you lie to my family? On our first date, you told me that you were going to change the world. You said that you’ve spent the last few years acquiring the power you would need to make your move, and you never even told me what you meant. I have to know, Adrian, what are you planning?”

“I’m afraid I can’t answer that at this time.”

“But why not? There is no one listening to us, why can’t you tell me?”

“Jenny, I told you before that I trusted you. That is true, but I meant that I trusted you with my past. What I’m going to do, I can’t afford to leave any loose ends in my wake. I need to make sure my future is assured, and right now, our relationship is the largest variable. I trust you with the knowledge of my past, but until I’m absolutely sure that you will never leave me, I can’t trust you with the knowledge of my future. I must make sure that my plans are never released, or everything I have worked to accomplish will have been for nothing.”

Jenny’s face paled as she tried to imagine what he was planning. “Just please, tell me what your goal is. You don’t have to tell me what you’ll do, but tell me what you hope to achieve.”

“I’m going to put an end to the conflicts of mankind. I’m going to completely reshape civilization and create international equality. While the phrase is cliché, there is none more fitting than to say that I will create a new world order, in which the power is truly given to the people and those who hold authority are made responsible for their actions. This plan will either recreate the world or destroy it, the choice is up to the people.”

“It always surprises me when you offer to take me shopping. I know that the mall is your idea of hell,” Jenny said gratefully.

“Well you know I’ve been watching television to try and study human interaction and behavior. From what I’ve learned, women like to shop, and I figure that is something that I can use. Besides, I have plenty of money.”

“All right, just don’t think that you need to buy my love and happiness. I don’t want to look like a gold digger.”

Clinging to his arm, Jenny led Adrian into just about every clothing store in the mall. The stadium-sized building was packed full of people moving down the wide corridors like salmon through a river at spawning season. The hallways were wide enough for vast crowds of people to walk through, or stop and rest at the benches in the middle. Endless stores stood side by side on each hallway, while a mixture of electricity and a skylight kept the entire structure lit. It was true that Adrian absolutely loathed the mall, but he did his best to hide his contempt and put on the appearance of being in a good mood. His arm was hooked through the loops of more than half a dozen shopping bags, his credit card was warm in his pocket from the friction of being handled so many times, and Jenny’s neck was beginning to redden from the constant application and removal of clothes, not to mention the small scratches left behind by the edges of the tags.

In each store, he would stand beside her while she picked out clothes and then wait by the dressing room while she switched in and out of different outfits. She would step out and ask for his opinion, and he would wear an empty smile and say something nice, no matter what she wore. To him, there was no real difference in quality of appearance between the different outfits, so he just tried to play along and come up with different compliments and descriptions. It wasn’t that he didn’t think she was beautiful, but he was never one to articulate it, and certainly not with a smile. Just revealing this much emotion was causing his headache to reappear and was making his stomach hurt.

Jenny quickly wised up to his efforts towards authenticity, and while she said nothing of it, it did make her happy to see him really trying.

“Do you have the time?” Jenny asked as they set down their bags on an empty bench.

“It’s 3:47.”

“Been counting the seconds since you last saw a clock? My, you must be really suffering,” she teased.

Adrian just gave a wry smile and the smallest of laughs. “Very well, I’ll check.”

He drew his phone, and as he pressed his thumb against the screen and released the bio-recognition lock, he heard a click in the distance. Even through the roaring of thousands of footfalls and hundreds of conversations echoing down the large hallway, the click was crystal-clear to Adrian and he recognized the sound as coming from a camera.

‘Just as I thought, every time I draw my phone…’ Adrian mentally concluded as he read the time display and then turned off the device.

With the screen black, he used it as a mirror to look over his shoulder. Across the rivers of shoppers moving in opposite directions, he saw a man in his late twenties putting something in the breast pocket of his coat, and from the size, it was obviously a camera. The man had short hair and a thin, shadowy beard, and was looking straight at Adrian, just as he had been since he and Jenny entered the mall.

“I was right, it’s 3:47,” Adrian calmly said as he lowered his phone.

“All right, how about we leave at four? We have time for one more store.”

“Where would you like to go?”

Adrian was keeping his mind focused on the man following him, but made sure to convey nothing to Jenny through his expression or tone.

Looking around, she gained a coy smile. “How about we go into the Victoria’s Secret? I’m sure I could find something that we would both enjoy,” she said softly, giving Adrian a legitimate smile and causing him to laugh softly.

“Tell you what, I have to go to the bathroom so I’ll meet you in the store. I’ll let you surprise me.”

“Ten minutes, the changing room door will be unlocked. You’ll know which one,” she purred as she took the bags and walked off.

With Jenny now gone, Adrian resisted the urge to glance back at his tail and instead looked around, pretending to be searching for a sign that would tell him where the bathroom was. Moving at a brisk pace, he started walking through the sea of people towards where he knew the bathrooms were. Immediately, he could hear the faint disruption in the other stream of people as the man tried to cut across to Adrian’s side of the hallway.

The hallway leading to the bathrooms was a long and empty one, being on the other side of the mall’s largest department store. Striding down the empty corridor, Adrian went right past the bathrooms and passed through the emergency exit nearby. Outside, the sun was already setting and the clouds were blocking off what little light was being released. With only the parking lot lights on and the lot itself devoid of people, Adrian stepped outside and waited by the door, knowing that the conditions were perfect. He didn’t sense anyone around, and even if he did, it was dark enough for any action he took to be hidden.

A minute after he stepped out into the cold, the door opened and the man came outside, a cigarette in his hand so that he could pretend he was coming outside to smoke. Lunging out from behind the door, Adrian grabbed the man by the throat and slammed him against the wall. The movement was made without a single audible sound, and continuing with that silence, Adrian reached out and pressed the small button hidden in the collar of the man’s coat, turning off the voice recorder.

“Don’t even think about lying to me, I am well aware of who you work for. I admit, you are a skilled tail, but no human can completely hide from me. Your car was parked eight to the left and across the lane from mine; you were driving a red Subaru. You came through the mall entrance seventeen seconds after Jenny and I did, consistently staying about thirty-four paces behind us and always near something you could hide behind. You took five pictures in total: one in the parking lot, one in Macy’s, one in GAP, one in the food court, and that last one when I was standing at the bench. Basically, any time I drew my phone, you took a picture.

Now you and I are going to have a conversation and you are going to answer every question fully and honestly. I might even answer a few of yours if I feel like it. If you try to run or draw a weapon, I will kill you. First question: What is your name?” Adrian demanded, releasing the man’s throat.

“Frank, Frank Bartley,” the man panted while rubbing his throat.

Adrian kept his eyes focused on his hand, making sure he didn’t touch the button in his collar and reactivate the voice recorder. “What happened to Gordon Pike?”

“I don’t know, we are never told who we replace or who replaces us. I was just reassigned here.”

“It seems that your superiors suspected him of being won over. How much are you being paid?”

“Five grand a month.”

“That’s almost twice what Gordon was being paid. It really does seem like they are afraid of you being bribed. However, I’ll pay triple if you’ll work for me.”

Frank’s eyes widened. “What the hell are you talking about, kid?”

“I need you to continue taking photographs of me when I’m out in public and sending them to your superiors. However, there are times when I’ll be moving around and I can’t have your employers knowing of my actions. Your job will be to take extra pictures of me and then alter the dates during those times when I need to “disappear”, so to speak. I know you speak into a voice recorder to make a list of my actions and the times. I need you to fake those records when I’m gone. Essentially, your superiors must never know that I have left or gone anywhere out of the ordinary. Every time I take such a trip, I will pay you fifty grand to make it seem like I am still present and to keep silent about this deal and my true destination.”

“You had this deal with the last guy, this Gordon dude?”

“Yes, but like I said, it appears that the organization suspected he was being bribed. Will you accept the deal?”

“For fifty grand, sure. You have a deal.”

Reaching the dressing rooms of the Victoria’s Secret store, Adrian quickly spotted Jenny’s blouse draped over the door of the room at the end of the hall. With a small smile, he walked over and opened the door. Looking at Jenny, his eyes widened and he almost jumped. She was wearing a lacy black bra and panties, with a pair of stockings.

“Well? What do you think?”

“Well, you certainly know how to surprise me,” Adrian said, suddenly feeling his Id fighting for dominance of his mind.

“I’m guessing you like it then. Let’s buy it and go home, but first, how about you help me take it off?” she offered, pulling Adrian in and then closing the door.

As the door closed behind them, Jenny and Adrian locked lips. They had never done this before, had sex in a public place. If they made so much as a sound, they would be discovered and things would not end well. Considering that Jenny was already down to lingerie, there was no point in taking things slowly. The lacy underwear was discarded and Adrian pressed her against the mirror on the back wall, kissing her breasts while he worked his fingers inside her. He liked to think that after all this time, he had finally figured out this whole crazy sex thing.

With nothing but a thin door preventing them from being seen and nothing hiding her voice, Jenny had to stifle herself so that her whimpers of bliss would not be heard. Her melon breasts were immensely sensitive, sending shivers through her body as Adrian sucked on her nipples and painted her porcelain skin with his tongue. At the same time, he was moving his fingers inside her pussy as if hacking into a computer, sliding them back and forth at different rhythms and hitting different places with a powerful randomness that could not be defended against.

Once he had turned her velvet sleeve into a water slide, he unfastened his pants and pulled out his manhood, not hesitating to force it inside her. She let out the slightest chirp when he entered her, the look on her face of sensual euphoria and excitement. Once again kissing him, she wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck, letting him pick her up and hold her against the mirror like when they made love in his bedroom. With perfect fluidity in his movements, Adrian thrust into her like a jackhammer and used his lips to keep her voice from escaping.

Jenny had her first orgasm after only a few minutes, but Adrian had maintained control. Not done, they changed position, this time with Jenny’s back to Adrian, bending over with her hands against the wall, looking directly into the mirror. Sexual desire having replaced logical thought, Adrian mounted like an animal and began slamming himself into her. Jenny was struggling with all her might to contain her voice, but with lust ruling his mind and migraine throbbing behind his eyes, Adrian couldn’t care less about the sound of her ass against his lap. Both their eyes were on their reflections in the mirror, all grace and dignity lost as the two teens gave in to their primal urges. Jenny’s mouth was open, panting like a dog, eyes rolling while her breasts bounced and jiggled. Behind her, Adrian looked utterly focused, almost angry, watching the muscles in Jenny’s back contract and relax every time he thrust into her. Relying on just one hand to hold her, he reached out and slid his fingers into her mouth. Too engrossed in pleasure to be surprised, she sucked on them gluttonously, wrapping her tongue around them and using them to help contain her voice.

After a few minutes, they both came, Adrian flooding her womb with his seed while Jenny covered her mouth, wanting to moan like an opera singer as ecstasy washed through her. They both waited to catch their breath and then got dressed, no longer interested in buying the lingerie and simply wanting to just get out of the store.

Night dominated the sky when Adrian and Jenny walked out of the mall, with Jenny pressing herself tightly against Adrian for warmth while they walked.

“Thank you so much. My friends will all have heart attacks when they see all the stuff I have.”

“It sounds almost like making your friend’s jealous is the sole purpose for most of your outfits and jewelry.”

“Hey, I’m a woman, that’s what I do. But thank you, Adrian, you truly are a sweet man.”

“Well you know I care about you. You truly are important to me,” he said, digging into his emotional side to pick the right words.

However, as he reached into his subconscious to let the influence of his Id and Ego reach his Super Ego, a rush of blinding pain flooded his body, aiming for his stomach and brain. Gripping his head to try and ease the white-hot pain stabbing his brain and leaning forward, Adrian threw up on the sidewalk, emptying the contents of his stomach and shaking to the point where he nearly fell to his knees.

“Adrian!” Jenny fearfully cried out as she dropped her bags and wrapped her arms around him to keep him from collapsing.

“I’m fine, I’m fine… It’s just… just something from the food court that my body didn’t agree with. I’m all right.”

This was the first time he had lost control in front of Jenny. He had always been able to keep his sickness hidden until now.

“Come on, let’s get you to the car. I’ll drive and just spend the night at your place.”

“No, I’ll bring you back home. I’ll be fine, I just need to get some rest.”

‘Come on, body. Hold together. I can figure this out, I just need a little more time.’

Adrian and Jenny were walking down a hallway at school, with Jenny clinging to his arm and leaning her head on his shoulder. Adrian strained his ears to hear what everyone was talking about, for there was a piece of news floating around, and it was obviously important. With all of the hushed mutterings smothering each other and getting mixed up, not even his hearing could clearly make it out.

“Well if it isn’t the fucking Adroid!” a course voice laughed.

Adrian cursed as everyone looked down the hall. Adrian recognized the voice and the disrespectful tone. At the end of the hall was Logan, his unwanted rival. He had been under suspension for more than a month after snapping another student’s arm. Everyone was silent as he approached, stepping back and opening up the hallway. Jenny didn’t take a single step, but her grip on Adrian’s arm tightened and he could feel her shaking. His mind was running countless scenarios, planning out every possible choice of action.

“Jenny, don’t tell me you’re dating this loser now. If you want a robot dick to fuck, get a vibrator.”

“Your words carry no purpose other than to cause distress. Only sadists seek to inflict harm without reason. Are you saying that you are a horrible person, as defined by the term ‘sadist’?” Adrian asked, cocking his head to one side.

“Shut the fuck up you emo freak.”

“Your use of the phrase emo is incorrect. Emo is someone who portrays his or her emotions excessively, and according to what people say about me, I am almost the exact opposite. Will you continue or would you like to rephrase your last statement?”

Adrian could feel Jenny’s grip around his arm becoming more relaxed. She was feeling relieved, watching him turn the school bully into a yipping lapdog. Logan just chuckled and began to walk by him. Adrian remained calm as Logan approached, having already planned out every possible scenario for a very likely physical confrontation. He was ready to do whatever the situation required, whether it was to keep Jenny safe or to counterattack. There was no need to get worked up; using even a single molecule of adrenalin would be nothing but a waste on someone like Logan.

As Logan took his second step past him, Adrian heard him take a sharp intake of breath, commonly preceding a fast or aggressive movement. As fast as Adrian could, he pushed Jenny out of harm’s way and ducked. Logan’s fist flew right over his head, and before he could react, Adrian spun around, reached up, and slammed him in the nose with his flat palm. He staggered back, gripping his broken nose and giving a muffled howl of pain. Adrian turned so that his left side had optimal reach and then kicked him in the stomach, making him buckle.

Adrian stepped back, making sure that Jenny was safe. She was standing on the sidelines with her eyes full of worry. He turned back to Logan as the lunatic charged with his fist pulled back and stepped to the side to dodge his punch, then with his right hand on his left fist, he jabbed forward with his left elbow. With time basically moving in slow motion through his eyes, Adrian calculated and adjusted the angle of his elbow, ensuring that the force of the impact would be fully directed to his forearm instead of the joint. He slammed his elbow against Logan’s chin, sending him sprawling back.

“A mongrel mutt like you should know its place. Maybe it’s not too late for you to learn about how to show a little respect for your superiors.”

Logan gave a sadistic laugh. “It’s funny that you call me a dog, because after I’m through with you, I’ll have your girlfriend on all fours in my bedroom, wearing nothing but a dog collar.”

“Silence! You will speak only when spoken to!”

“I’ve had enough of you looking down on me!” Logan roared as he charged forward.

Swinging wildly, he began throwing punches randomly at Adrian, but the young genius dodged them so easily that he even appeared bored. Everyone watched in amazement as he swerved effortlessly from side to side, avoiding the punches as if they were fluttering moths.

“I was merciful the first time we met, but now I will force you to show respect. You can’t beat me, Logan. It’s impossible for you to ever hit me.”

Logan sent his fist rocketing towards his face, but Adrian easily dodged the attack and jabbed him in the chest with his spread fingers. Logan gagged in pain and staggered back with five bloodstains growing on his shirt, while Adrian held up his hand, showing the blood on the tips of his fingers from the five shallow holes he had just drilled into Logan’s chest.

“That was a warning shot. The only reason why my fingers didn’t go in all the way was because I kept them separate and used only a fraction of my real strength. If you attack again, my next stab won’t be so weak. Submit now and apologize or my hand will pierce your chest like spear,” Adrian threatened, bringing his fingers together and straightening his hand out.

“Hell no, I’m having way too much fun!” Logan cackled as he charged towards him.

Adrian clicked his tongue several times in disappointment of his choice and got into a defensive stance with his hand pulled back, ready to lash out like a striking snake. The second Logan was close enough, he reached out with his fist and Adrian reached out with his flat hand.

“What the Hell is going on in here?!” a voice boomed, stopping Logan and Adrian before their attacks could connect.

Everyone turned his or her attention to the principle. He was standing at the very back of the crowd with the veins in his head bulging from anger.

“Merely an argument that took an unfortunate turn, Principle Smith. Nothing more than a physical disagreement,” Adrian answered calmly as he wiped the blood off his hand.

“I’m going to be questioning several students after you, so if you tell me a single lie, I’ll have the two of you suspended for the rest of the year. Now, tell me what happened. Adrian, you go first,” the principle warned.

Logan and Adrian were sitting in two chairs in front of his desk. Adrian had his arms and legs crossed with a calm look on his face, while Logan was slouching in his chair, holding one ice pack against his jaw and another against his busted nose.

“Jenny and I were walking down the upstairs hallway and Logan called out to us. We exchanged a brief argument and Logan attacked as he was walking past Jenny and I. I got Jenny out of the way, dodged his punch, and then counterattacked, hoping that I could scare him off or incapacitate him so that he couldn’t attack again. After a second brief argument, I warned Logan to stand down but he refused. He attacked again and I incapacitated him with a cautionary counterattack, causing those five bloodstains on his shirt. He refused to leave Jenny and I alone and I was just about to defeat him, but you stopped us.”

The principle nodded and turned to Logan. “And you?” he asked with disgust.

“Ok, you know what? Fuck this shit! I don’t even know why I’m here! I’m the victim! I was just minding my own business, making up for lost time with my friends, and this motherfucker suddenly starts insulting me! I ask him to leave me alone but he just freaks out and starts attacking me! I tried to fend him off, but this fucking psychopath just wouldn’t stop! If you hadn’t stopped him, I would have really had to kick his ass to protect myself. You have to believe me! This crazy fucker just came out and attacked me! If this son of a bitch isn’t expelled, I am going to sue this school!”

Adrian looked at him in shock. Was he being this stupid on purpose?

The principle gave a sigh and turned to Adrian. “You can go.”

Jenny was waiting on a bench beside the principle’s office when Adrian stepped out. She immediately bolted up and wrapped her arms around his neck.

“Adrian, what happened in there?”

“Don’t worry, everything is fine. I doubt I’ll get any punishment but Logan will basically get the chair.”

“Oh, I’m so relieved,” she sighed with her head on his shoulder. She then pulled away from him with an excited smile on her face. “I know you consider it idiotic when people say stuff like this, but I am so hot for you right now.”

The principle barely questioned any other students, since he already knew who was guilty and who was innocent. Adrian was left off the hook, but Logan was put on probation and would be expelled if he crossed the line by a mere inch. For the rest of the week, Logan didn’t come near Jenny or Adrian. He was a stupid psychopath, but he was smart enough to know that this was his last chance to actually graduate from high school.

It was a cool Saturday night with the chill of late autumn lingering in the air and a strong continuous wind. Jenny and Adrian had just stepped out of the movie theater and they were making their way back to his car. The air was damp with fog, creating a distorting aura around every light source and stirring endlessly under the power of the wind. It was quite late and there were few people on the sidewalks or driving down the street. Wanting to enjoy the cool air and the quiet of the night in the normally bustling town, Jenny had suggested that Adrian parked the car far away.

As they came to the entrance to the town park, Jenny playfully tugged on his arm. “Come on, let’s take a quick detour.” Adrian kept his arm tense so that his hand stayed in his pocket. “I really wish you hadn’t brought that thing,” she sighed, losing her smile.

“I’m sorry, but I just wanted to test its portability.”

To cheer her up, Adrian wrapped his other arm around her and kissed her on the forehead. Jenny looked at him with surprise. “You’ve never kissed me anywhere but the lips.”

Adrian gave a small smile and they entered the park, but in his mind, his headache was throbbing. The park was empty and but far from silent. The continuous wind was making every leaf rustle loudly. The only light was coming from the few streetlamps, spread out along the pavement path. Regardless of the cold air, Adrian’s headache refused to fade and it was growing to the point where his senses were weakening. That also wasn’t counting the growing feeling that he was about to throw up and the pain now starting to throb in his muscles. They were halfway through the park, walking along the precipice of a small plot of woods.

“So how did you like the movie?” Adrian asked as they breathed in the cool night air.

“It was good, but I hate how people who wake up in hospitals automatically rip everything away from their arms and stagger out into the hall. There is a reason why hospital beds have call buttons. It’s so illogical.”

Adrian chuckled, almost making her jump in surprise. “You’re becoming more like me.”

Just as Adrian spoke the words, a hard object slammed into the back of his head, knocking him to the ground. He heard several footsteps along with a scream from Jenny as his face hit the cold pavement of the sidewalk. With his senses scrambled by the impact, he struggled to get back to his feet. Logan and two of his friends were standing in front of him, with Logan ripping off Jenny’s shirt. He wrapped his arm her neck with his hand over her mouth as he pulled her shirt away, leaving only her bra. Even if she could scream, the park was completely empty and no one was wandering the streets. Adrian took a step forward but stopped as Logan pulled out a knife.

“It’s payback time, motherfucker. If you take another step, I’ll cut off your girlfriend’s clothes and you can watch us take turns having a little fun with her.”

Jenny gave a stifled scream and tears rolled down her face at Logan’s words. Adrian stood still as a statue with his heart racing and his body drowning in adrenaline.

‘Damn it, this sickness is ruining my senses. I should have picked them up before they could have even gotten close to us, but I’ve been completely weakened. Unless I take control of the situation, I’ll be dead and Jenny will be worse.’

But as the words passed through his mind, he began to feel something, something new. The best word he could find to describe it was… rage. His rage was focused on Logan for touching Jenny and using her to threaten him. Adrian tried to suppress this new emotion, because he needed his mind to be as clear as possible, but the conflict between his logical side and this burning emotion was just making his condition worse.

“Are you really so psychotic that you would attack us? Are you so quick to throw away your future?”

Logan laughed. “There are more people who will buy drugs from you then job opportunities if you graduate. I just wanted to finally get a taste of this whore and I thought the best revenge would be to make you watch. I didn’t hesitate for a moment when I decided I wanted to hunt you down and make you suffer. True, you are too smart for me to predict what you’ll do. Instead, I just have to predict what this stupid little whore will want and be assured that you’ll do whatever she says. This dumb blonde has got you completely whipped!

Jake, Sam, go ahead. Asshole, if you take a single step, I’ll rip off her clothes, cut her throat, and the last thing she’ll feel before dying is me inside her.”

Adrian took a deep breath as his two cronies walked over to him, chuckling sadistically. Jake pulled back his fist and punched him in the side of the face, knocking him back to the ground. The impact completely jarred his mind, making it almost impossible to think. Adrian slowly stood up, using every second to build up tolerance to the next attack. Sam kneed him in the stomach with enough force to make him cough up blood and Adrian swayed from side to side, struggling to stay on his feet. He also made sure that his right arm did not become straight. Jake punched him again and Adrian spat out a mouthful of blood. Jenny quietly cried as Sam crashed his elbow down onto his back, knocking him once again to the ground.

Adrian did not give a single groan of pain or expression of discomfort. He just got back to his feet with his chin up, over and over again. Sam and Jake continued beating him, punching him wherever would hurt the most. Adrian just focused on Jenny’s tear-filled eyes, finding comfort in them. Her muffled sobs could just barely be heard through Logan’s hand. As long as the knife was next to her throat, trying to fight back would result in death.

“Sam, take this and carve up his face,” Logan said as he reached into his pocket for another knife.

The second his knife was away from Jenny, Adrian acted. He reached into his pocket and pulled out one of his darts, always making sure to have them when he wasn’t at home or school. He threw the spike, and even with his battered body, his impeccable aim lodged it one of the pressure points of Logan’s arm, causing him to drop the knife. With that quick opportunity, Jenny bit Logan’s hand as hard as she could. Logan threw her to the side, howling in pain from the two inches of metal lodged in his arm and the bleeding bite wound on his hand.

With Logan’s cronies distracted, Adrian reached down with his right hand, finally straightening out his arm. There was a cracking sound and a metal spike slid out of his sleeve and into his hand, measuring two feet long. The middle of the lance had a hinge under high tension, and it would instantly lock into position if the two parts were straightened out. Not only was this function perfect for concealment, the entire weapon was made of Demium, so the hinges, locking mechanism, and needle-sharp tip were so strong that the spike could support his full weight. The weapon was kept in the sleeve with the owner’s elbow next to the hinges. The owner only had to point their hand down and straighten their arm and the secured lance would slide into their hand.

Along with his lance, something else was released as well. The rage that had been created when Logan grabbed Jenny was erupting in his heart, as well as the killer instinct he used when there were obstacles in the way of his grand plan. The result was an icy desire to slaughter his enemies, with all aspects of remorse and guilt being crushed under its fury. With the Demium lance in his hand, Adrian could barely control the urge to kill.

He lashed out and slammed Jake in the throat, causing him to fall to his knees, gasping for air. He then smashed him in the back of the head and he fell flat on the ground. Adrian turned around as Sam tried to punch him and blocked his fist with the shaft of the lance, busting his foe’s hand. As Sam roared in pain, Adrian raised the spike and stabbed him in the foot. Before he could scream, Adrian pulled a right hook to the jaw, shattering several of his teeth and ripping apart his lips. He delivered the knockout move by slamming him in the middle of the chest with his palm, striking with enough force to shatter all of his ribs.

Gasping for air, Jake slowly got to his feet and stumbled towards him. Adrian raised the lance and brought it down, slashing him from shoulder to hip. Even though the weapon had no blade and the wound was shallow, the tip was sharper than a nail and sliced open skin and muscle like wrapping paper. He would live, but wouldn’t be getting up any time soon. Adrian turned as Logan charged towards him with his knife in his hand.

He jabbed forward with his knife and Adrian held up his hand, letting the blade stab him through the palm and send drops of blood splattering on his face. Logan stared in horror at the lack of reaction on Adrian’s face and the coldness in his eyes. His rage and mechanical mind were completely blocking out the pain, granting him the power to continue fighting. Without making a sound, Adrian stabbed him through the shoulder piercing the thick muscle and breaking his bones with ease.

Logan screamed in pain, and before he could step back, Adrian released his lance and jabbed forward with his good hand, stabbing him in the chest with all of his strength. With his fingers straight and the muscles reinforcing the bones, Adrian was able to pierce his torso all the way, with his hand bursting out of Logan’s back. Logan vomited blood as Adrian pulled his hand away, leaving a huge gaping wound just below his ribcage. Had he wanted to, he could have grabbed any number of organs and ripped them right out.

Adrian retrieved his lance and twisted Logan’s arm, forcing him to his knees. Adrian kept twisting, dislocating his other shoulder. He then stepped back and slashed him several times across the back, leaving deep bloody gashes. Logan was gagging in agony, unable to even scream.

Adrian raised the spike, about to deliver the killing blow, but Jenny rushed over to him and grabbed his arms. “No Adrian, please don’t!”

In his blood-drunk stupor, Adrian did not hear her.

“Adrian!” she cried out again, somewhat shaking him out of it.

“He’s in my way, and anyone in my way must be removed.”

“You’ve done enough! You don’t have to murder him! You aren’t a heartless killing machine!”

Adrian gasped as her words fully broke through his bloodlust and his hands slackened around the spike.

She stepped in front of him, standing between him and Logan with her hands on his cheeks. “If you kill him, the police will lock you away forever and I cannot bear to be without you. If you kill him then you will have to kill him too, because I don’t want to live without you. Come back to me, come back to me, Adrian.”

His breathing was hoarse as Adrian slowly calmed down his mind, separating his rage from his logical side and extinguishing the fires of anger. The lance fell out of his hand and imbedded itself in the ground.

After several seconds, Jenny’s expression softened. “Why did you react that way? Why did you become so angry?”

Adrian looked at her in confusion, trying to understand why she was asking this question here and now.

“You have never been this angry before, so what changed now?” she asked, almost as if she were trying to pull his mind from his body.

“I… I…”

“Just say it, not for me but for yourself. Why did you react like this? Why did you do this? Why were you so upset and desperate to protect me?” she asked with tears running from her eyes but with the smallest of smiles on her face.

“I did it because… because I…”

“Say it, say the words that I know you want to say. Say the words that are truly in your heart.”

“I got angry at them for attacking you… because I love you,” Adrian said softly.

Jenny’s smile widened and she gave a deep sigh of relief, finally hearing what she was trying to get him to say.

“You are not a machine; you are a man, the man I love and man who loves me. It feels so good to hear your feelings for me.”

“I am sorry, Jenny. I am so, so sorry. I wanted to kill them all and I wanted it so badly that I couldn’t stop myself. If you hadn’t intervened, I would have slaughtered three people tonight,” he murmured with his whole body shaking.

“It’s ok, my love, it’s ok. Come on, let’s get your hand fixed and go home. We’ll call an ambulance for these losers.”

“As you wish, my love,” he said, repeating what she had said to him.

Speaking the words, Adrian immediately fell to the ground, gripping his head and vomiting. His whole body was overwhelmed with indescribable agony as his consciousness and subconscious collided like two meteors, brought on the emotional epiphany and causing his mind to begin tearing itself apart.

“Adrian!” Jenny cried out as he struggled to stay awake and not pass out from the pain.

“Please, we need a doctor right away. My boyfriend has been stabbed through the hand and he’s lost a lot of blood. He’s also suffered from some sort of seizure,” Jenny said desperately to the receptionist.

Adrian and Jenny were in the emergency room of the hospital and their parents were already on the way. The room was filled with chairs and brightly lit by fluorescent lights. A bookcase and a magazine stand were set up against the wall and a TV had been installed up in the ceiling’s corner, turned on to the evening news. Across the room were the receptionist desk and the double doors leading to the rest of the hospital, with the hospital entrance between the two sides of the room. There were only a handful of people there with Adrian and Jenny; two of them were security guards and the rest were people that had been injured from a car accident or were just clumsy in the dark night.

“All right, fill out this information while I get a doctor,” the nurse said.

She handed them a clipboard with an admittance sheet and picked up nearby phone, quickly dialing a number and notifying one of the doctors in the hospital. Jenny sat down next to Adrian, who had somewhat recovered from his episode in the park and was at least awake, but his whole body ached and his thoughts were sluggish.

“I should have retrieved my lance… or at least gotten rid of it so that the police couldn’t find it.”

Jenny turned to him, her voice shaking. “The police won’t take you away, you were just acting out of self-defense, nothing more.”

“I practically butchered them. I’ll be lucky if I can stay out of jail.”

“Adrian, everything will be fine. If something goes wrong, you can find a way out of it. It’s what you do best.”

Adrian gave a small smile. “I love you.”

“Ditto,” she replied jokingly.


Everyone turned to the hospital entrance as Logan staggered in. He was covered in blood and barely conscious. While one shoulder had been stabbed and the other dislocated, a gapping hole sat in his chest, and the muscles in his back had been torn to shreds, but he had somehow managed to follow them.

“DIE, YOU BASTARD!” he said as he raised his hand, holding a gun.

He pointed it at Adrian, and before the young genius could react in his weakened state, Logan pulled the trigger.

Chapter Four:

The room was quite large and well lit, with the walls made of yellow marble and the floors decorated with intricate tiles. Adrian was sitting on a bench on one side of the room, facing a maze of velvet rope walkways, leading to a series of counters. The room was filled with people, but only a fraction of them were talking. Adrian assumed the building was a bank, but that was all he could do, because he did not know how he got there. He couldn’t remember how he had gotten to the bank, when he had gotten there, what happened before it, and he didn’t even recognize the bank. This was not a simple matter of “forget what you’re watching during the commercial break”; he literally couldn’t remember anything.

“My mental stability has been compromised,” Adrian said softly to himself as he searched his empty memory for answers. His heart rate rose as he considered the possibility. If his memory had just suddenly failed, then other parts of his mind could follow.

Calm down and think logically. Your memories may be gone but the rest of your mind seems to be processing everything at its regular pace.

Adrian repeated the phrase out loud, hoping that the audio reception would trigger something in his brain. He channeled all of the energy from his physical reaction to his mind, checking every aspect of his consciousness for anything else that had experienced damage.

“My name is Adrian Ashford, I am eighteen years old, and my birthday is July 5th, 1994,” he said out loud, coming across a scrap of his memory and trying to stimulate his mind.

He could remember personal information such as his identity and who he was, but no actual events. Adrian thought back to what he knew about the human brain, and while the information was there, the source of where he gained that information could not be found.

“Interesting, my Limbic System seems to be functioning casino oyna only partially, but I can’t find any other part of my mind that is changed. Whatever is going on, I need to make a mental map, should my mind be impaired even further.”

The brain remembers what the body experiences better than what thoughts actually take place, so he had to keep talking to himself to increase the chance that he could retain what little memory he had. He looked around at the people in the bank, trying to decide whether he should try to interact with them. On one hand, his mental health was obviously in jeopardy, but on the other… how was he supposed to explain this? Would he just walk up to the counter and ask ‘Ma’am, could you please help me? I can’t remember how I got here and I’m probably going to start hallucinating soon’. Most likely, anyone he spoke to would think he was either on drugs or about to rob the bank.

Besides, it was very likely that he was already hallucinating. Did the bank exist? Did the people in it exist? Or was it the other way around, and everything existed but he was perceiving his own actions wrong? If he went up and tried to say something, would it be possible for him to think he had asked for help but instead just shouted a bunch of swears like he was drunk? For all he knew, he could think he had gotten up and asked for help, but that was the illusion, and in reality, he had never gotten up from the bench.

It would be best not to draw any attention to himself or try to talk to anyone until he fully assessed the situation. Adrian looked to his left and saw a desk with several pens and a stack of application forms. He took one of the forms and laid it down on the bench with a pen in hand. If his logical side were the next to be affected, then he would need a psychological flash drive to compensate. He began writing on the back of the paper, saying out loud whatever he wrote.


“Partial memory loss is most commonly associated with dreams and hallucinations,” Adrian muttered before writing DREAM and HALLUCINATION.

“But knowing my psychological history, sudden memory loss is also an undeniable symptom of mental illness, possibly brought on by trauma,” he said before writing down MENTAL ILLNESS/AMNESIA.

Adrian then dug his fingernails into his palm as hard as he could, letting the pain reach his mind instead of blocking it while beads of blood started to drip from his hand.

“If this is a dream then it is a vivid one, vivid enough to trick the Thalamus. If I’m able to feel pain in this dream, then the chances are extremely low that this is a dream at all. Either that, or I’m not asleep exactly. This could very well be a drug-induced coma or some kind of unconscious hallucination. I shouldn’t try that ‘death wakes you up’ option since my body may very well be in the real world instead of my mind.”


“Hallucination or a mental illness, maybe even blunt trauma to the prefrontal cortex or other areas of the brain. Whatever is going on, I need to find out what is going on before my mental state deteriorates even further.”



After Adrian finished writing, he folded up the paper and stowed it and the pen in his pocket. From the size of the bank, he was obviously in a city. Because his mental stability was already compromised, he would need to try and induce a seizure in the hope that it would knock him unconscious and his mind could reboot like a computer. He had to get out into the streets and use his surroundings to confuse his senses, similar to an epileptic seizure.

Through the glass doors, Adrian could see cars passing by in the city streets and crowds of people walking down the sidewalk. But as he stepped outside, every moving object disappeared. The cars and people had completely vanished, leaving the street empty and silent. It was as if the glass of the doors had been TV screens, showing him a recording. Adrian looked back into the bank, but like the street outside, the entire room was suddenly empty.

“I’m running out of time, either I’m losing control of this dream or my hallucinations are worsening. Damn it, I should have asked for help when I had the chance!”

He stepped out into the empty street and looked around. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky and the sun was directly overhead. He looked at the buildings on both sides of the street, trying to recognize something. As far as he could tell, he had never been in this location before.

“This city could very well not exist and very well be a product of the hallucination or the dream, whichever it is. However, the city could be real, but my subconscious is filtering out the people and they really exist, meaning that they could be walking right past me, but my mind won’t let me detect them. I could still try and make contact, but if they are real and do exist, they would most likely try to ignore me.”

Adrian took out his pen and laid out his mental map against a mailbox.




As he wrote the words down, noise suddenly reached his ears. He looked across the street at a nightclub. The dark windows were dimly flashing with different colors and techno music was pulsing through the panes of glass. Just a moment ago, the building had been quiet and calm. Adrian ran across the street, knowing that the road could still be filled with people and cars, but his unstable mind was not processing them. Regardless of whether he was hallucinating or not, he still had to be logical, and he had to protect himself from things that should have been present, whether he could detect them or not.

He stepped into the nightclub and checked his surroundings. The walls were dark purple and decorated with lit candles. The ceiling was covered in mirrors and the tiles had intricate patterns. There were no tables, just booths lining one side of the room opposite to the bar, with a small lamp dimly illuminating each one. A bolt of dull pain shot through his mind as a quick flash of a memory entered his consciousness. This nightclub was the same setting Adrian used to talk to his Id and Ego.

The club was filled with people, all talking and dancing with each other. He couldn’t make out a single word anyone was saying, and as he walked through the crowd, everyone seemed to move away without even glancing at him. Taking a deep breath, Adrian stood in the middle in the room and shouted as loud as possible, yet no one even turned to him. They were all hallucinations. Out of options, he came up to the bar and sat down on one of the stools. He looked at himself in the mirror, contemplating his journey through this mental maze. His sensory overload idea wasn’t working at all and he didn’t know what to do next.

“This is way beyond a mental illness or a hallucination, but I’ve never experienced a dream that was vivid and complex, and even let me feel pain,” Adrian muttered to himself, looking down at his hands.

“That’s because you’ve never dreamed this deeply before,” a soft voice cooed as a martini was placed under his face. Instead of a toothpick, the olive was skewered with a tiny Demium spike.

Adrian looked up at the bartender. “Hello, Jenny,” he said dryly.

The blonde beauty gave a coy smile. “’Hello, Jenny’? That’s all you say to the woman you love?”

“You’re an illusion, there is no point showing any emotional attachment to a figment of my imagination.”

“Only you could be so cold,” she pouted.

“Are you going to tell me what the hell is going on, or not? If you’re my subconscious, then you should know I am becoming aggravated.”

“That, my love, is for you to figure out. Hallucinations are the brain’s way of trying to solve problems, and as you can see, this is one serious hallucination.”

“I thought you said I was dreaming.”

“I never said that. I said you’ve never dreamed this deeply before.”

“So this is a hallucination?”

“You figure it out.”

“Well of all the things that I’ve encountered in this dream of mine, you’re the only one that I’m actually able to interact with. Everything else disappears because it is unimportant or could break the dream, meaning that my subconscious wants me to stay here, at least until I accomplish something. Plus, isn’t it strange that in the most vivid dream I’ve ever experienced, my sense of logic hasn’t been affected in the least?

You and logic, the two greatest forces in this dream… I wonder what that could mean?” he asked sarcastically as he downed the martini.

“Bingo. Something has happened and you must make a choice now. You must choose between your love for me and your cold logical side. For years it has made you more than human, but if you wish to keep the woman you love, you must become human.” The martini glass snapped in his hand. “Will you give up your soul or your heart?”

“This isn’t a dream, it’s a nightmare,” Adrian cursed. He then looked up and yelled, “Id! Ego!”

Regardless of his call, his alternate personalities did not appear.

“Why can’t I summon them?”

“Because you can no longer identify them. The barriers you set up between your three personalities are breaking and their influences are leaking out erratically, causing growing psychological trauma. You are the Superego, correct? Basically, you’ve been letting your Id and Ego affect your actions as the dominant sentience, but then disregarding those actions and trying to maintain your identity as a cold and emotionless robot. Basically, you’re scrambling your mental stability by constantly switching from machine to man without properly handing control over to one of the other personalities.

As I said before, you created the Superego to be cold and logical, but you also want to be with Jenny. You can’t be with her without showing emotion and physical desire, but you are too afraid to let any of the other personalities take over, so you are trying to use your Superego in ways you never intended it to be used for and putting massive amounts of strain on your mind. You’re basically trying to drive a Prius like it’s an ATV.”

“And the only way to protect my mental stability is to choose between my Superego and Jenny?”

“Correct, and you can’t leave this dream until you do. For the sake of self-preservation and as your subconscious, I will not allow you to continue this corrosive tendency. You know what I’m talking about; you’re driving yourself into an early grave because you are too stubborn to give up something! You can’t gain something without giving something up! You need to quit torturing yourself and make a choice, but before you can make your decision, I will show you the results of both paths. Pull out the sheet of paper in your pocket.”

Adrian pulled out the paper and unfolded it. It was no longer the application sheet/mental map Adrian had gotten from the bank. The earlier print and writings had been replaced with a line of coordinates, but with each second that passed, the numbers seemed to change with Adrian unable to remember what they had been previously. It was as if he had misread it, but every time he tried to go back and read it again, he just made bigger and bigger mistakes.

“That is the location of your goal, the key to changing this world and ending all conflict. However, the only way you will ever achieve your goal is if you defeat your opponents, and that will be impossible without your intellect.”

She then grabbed the stem of the broken martini glass and stabbed him in the center of the chest. Adrian fell off the bar stool, snarling in pain. He hit the ground with blood streaming from his chest, spurting from his mouth, and leaking from his ruptured heart to his torn left lung. He pulled out the long glass shard and the pain instantly fell away. He felt his chest but could not find the wound. His clothes weren’t even torn or bloody.

“If you keep your logical side, your relationship will shatter. Every day after, you shall feel that pain in your heart from losing the one thing that truly made you happy. You will sacrifice yourself to help the rest of the world,” Jenny said as Adrian climbed back up onto his stool.

“So I can be a martyr and save the world, or…”

“You can give up the one thing that truly makes you unique. If you give up your mechanical mentality, you will be at risk of your emotions running your mind and causing physical damage similar to the placebo affect. As your subconscious, I will be forced to shut down your fulfilled potential to protect you from such harm, at the cost of your intelligence. You would most likely have a normal IQ, right around 100 points.”

As she spoke the words, the shattered martini glass repaired itself. The walls of the club began to change, losing their dark violet shade and gaining a shifting orange hue, with blobs of color swerving just beneath the glassy surface. The walls of the club almost resembled the inside of a lava lamp. The people in the club began to change as well; they lost their physical bodies and became merely holograms of their former selves, passing through all the physical objects and each other. Blobs of colored fire began wafting up from all of the candles, hovering in the air before turning into liquid and popping like bubbles.

“Can I have another martini?” Adrian asked, even though the first one tasted like bug spray.

“I’ll try.”

Adrian watched as she went through the process of making the martini, putting all of the ingredients together in the mixer and then shaking it vigorously. But when she poured it into his repaired glass, it came out as orange juice.

“Sorry, it looks like luck was not on your side,” Jenny mused.

With a calm expression on his face, Adrian picked up the martini olive that had fallen on the table when the glass broke. He pulled out the tiny Demium spike. “Cute,” he said sarcastically before eating the olive. “What is the purpose of this world? Of all dream sceneries, why a city? It seems rather cliché.”

“Ah, now you know what to look for. This world is your mind, as dictated by your mental state and personality and chosen by your subconscious. Before you met me, your mind looked like the inside of a supercomputer, with electric synapses passing through the circuits at speeds far above regular humans. But when we began our relationship, you became more social, even if it was just with me. Your mind is shaping itself around this new social behavior and your new emotions, gaining a very ‘human’ influence.

The circuits have been replaced with towering buildings, which represent your tendency to cling to stony organization. The electric synapses have been replaced with people, moving through this city in a pattern similar to their predecessors, but in a more social form. Consider this the “user-friendly” version of your mind.”

Adrian held up the martini glass and flicked it. As the ripples moved through the orange juice, it turned to soda. “If this is my mind, then why is all logic and reason being cast aside for random anomalies?”

“Because I’m trying to show you the risk of choosing me. If you surrender your abilities of logic, you will lose much of your ability to predict outcomes and understand things that happen before you. Your ability to think analytically would be nearly crippled. Even worse, your emotions and desires may run rampant. Everything is as random here as it would seem in the real world. You are all about self-control, Adrian. You suppress your emotions and choose when you let physical desire show, just to remain clear-headed and balanced. If you choose me, then you will have to give up your plan of a new world order, resulting in the destabilization of your inner world. And if you fall too far, then you will lose Jenny and you won’t be able to go back to the way you were. Your self-control with continue to disappear until you end up like this…”

Adrian turned around in the stool and raised one of his eyebrows. All of the men and women in the club had ripped off their clothes and erupted into an orgy. They were all writing on the floor, with each person having sex whoever was closest. Adrian jerked as he could suddenly feel soft human skin against his own and turned back to Jenny. “Ok, you’re going to have to elaborate.”

“Just turn around,” she said with a smile. Adrian turned back to the orgy and Jenny wrapped her arms around his neck. “All the male apparitions are you in the life of debauchery that could possibly happen if you give up self-control to be with Jenny, but fall so far that you lose her and become like Caligula. They are all you at different times in this possible life path. Every act of hedonism is being compacted into this one scene, letting you feel every woman, every orifice, every sexual experience in your future if you fall. Everything that they feel, you feel. Consider it the ultimate sexual euphoria. Enjoy the show…”

Adrian sat on the bar stool, watching the orgy. He could feel every woman as if he were screwing them himself. He could feel the endless number of breasts against his palms, each with their own unique dimensions, from A-cup to D-cup and from pointing nipples to small ones. He couldn’t keep his tongue still, because his sense of taste was saturated with the taste of all the women he was going down on. They were all similar, yet each had a hint of individuality. Having all of the kinky tastes combined made him think of a wine-tasting party. He could actually feel the orifices around his tongue as the apparitions explored the women’s insides. Like his tongue, he could feel the mouths, pussies, and asses gripping his manhood, all combined into a single experience. He looked over to one male apparition, fucking one of the women anally in the doggy style. He could actually feel her asshole gripping his cock tightly, as if he were the one hammering her. He looked at another apparition that was getting a blowjob, and could actually feel the woman’s tongue, gums, and cheeks soaking he manhood in saliva.

Adrian had the largest erection in his life and he could feel it being used to fuck the women anally, orally, and vaginally. Every square inch of his body felt like it was pressed against the soft flesh of one of the women, almost like a physical Nirvana. His whole body jerked as he felt over a dozen orgasms all combined into one simultaneous feeling. He looked down and realized he had ejaculated and dampened his pants.

He turned around back to Jenny as all the apparitions disappeared, leaving the two of them alone. The club returned to its normal form, with the only illumination coming from the lights above the bar’s mirror. The bar itself was sitting in a pool of light, surrounded by darkness.

“If you fall too far, you will become what you hate: a mindless player who uses women for no reason and lives just for pleasure. You will become a modern-day Caligula and end up dead either from a drug overdose or suicide because of self-hatred. But there is only a chance of that happening. If you can surrender your machine-like side and balance how much self-control you give up, the rewards would be great,” Jenny said as she motioned down the bar.

Adrian looked down at the corner of the counter, where an elderly couple were having drinks, happy and in love. He watched as both the man and the woman drank from each other’s glasses and then kissed.

“That is you and I, celebrating fifty years of marriage. If you choose love but don’t fall too far, you will have a lifetime of happiness with the one you care about.”

“I can either sacrifice my happiness and try to complete my goal, or I can give up my individuality and risk a psychological crash, but possibly live out my life happy with Jenny,” Adrian said, looking at the old couple. He then turned to the girl before him. “The real Jenny I mean.”

“That is the choice you must make.”

Adrian was silent for several moments before sighing. “I can’t choose either of them,” he said with his face downcast and his hands shaking. “I will lose Jenny no matter what I do. If I stay the way I am, with my cold machine side as my dominant personality, then Jenny will eventually become fed up with me and will seek someone who can give her the emotional support she needs. My personality as the Superego has been changing gradually, but it won’t be enough to keep her. But if I give up who I am… then I would no longer be the man she loves. I would be like everyone else, and she sought me out because I’m different.”

“Then that means you are fated to lose me, just like you always said you were.”

His hands stopped shaking and Adrian looked up at Jenny, showing a small but warm smile on his face. He finally understood. He finally knew what he had to do. “More proof that you aren’t Jenny. I believe that fate controls everything I do, but the real Jenny believes the opposite. So far, you’ve only told me what I already know, even if it’s only at a subconscious level. Well let me tell you something; I love Jenny, and while I won’t cast away my logical soul or my heart, I will cast away my beliefs.”

All of the glasses and bottles on the shelf behind the apparition started to shake and rattle.

“You only gave me two options because they were the only options I had created for myself through my actions, but there is another option, one that you did not mention because of how far it goes against my beliefs. All this time, I have been trying to gain ultimate control over my body and mind. I learned to harness the full potential of my muscles, block pain, and erase all distractions. I kept telling myself that it was because it was the only way to evolve, but really I was just afraid. I was afraid of myself, afraid of my emotions, afraid of losing control. I sealed my emotions because I was terrified of letting them run my life. I sealed them because I thought that I would never be able to control them. I only weakened myself and my potential by ignoring my full self. It’s time to face my fears so that I can truly gain self control.”

The entire nightclub began to shake.

“I am going to create a third option. I will rejoin the parts of my mind that I originally separated: id, Ego, and Superego. I am not as weak as I was when I first woke up. I have become strong enough now so that I can finally control the deepest recesses of my subconscious!”

A huge crack then ran through the counter, with a bright light shining up through. Bottles and glasses began falling from the shelf and breaking while the chairs around the counter all began to shatter into splinters.

“Jenny once told me to use my mind and see the world and then use my heart to change it in my favor, and I’m going to use my heart to change the rules. I’ll do what she said and become the man she wants and needs me to be, but I will not give up any of the aspects that make up who I am. I will be whatever she wants me to be, and she is what will keep me balanced. There will be no going back once the change is made, but I don’t care. I will accomplish my goal with Jenny at my side!”

Everything in the bar began shattering, sending splinters and blades of glass flying in all directions, but none of them touched Jenny or Adrian.

“Are you really willing to gamble your mental stability and your life on your relationship with me?” she asked with a smile.

“I gambled my identity, my soul, and my future to be with her; adding my mental stability is basically like throwing in another poker chip,” Adrian said with a cynical smile.

Jenny’s smiled widened. “Very well, but remember this: if you lose Jenny, everything will fall apart. You could lose your memories, become a completely different person, or go mad and spend the rest of your life killing people. You’ve had no faith in the relationship since it started, why are you so willing to bet your whole life on it now?”

“Because I love her, now let me out.”

Adrian gasped as his eyes bolted open. Bright lights above him kept him from seeing, and every square inch of his body felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. As his eyesight steadied itself, he recognized the lights and ceiling above him; he was in the hospital. As his mind lit back up, he could hear the beeping of the heart monitor beside him and he could feel the blankets of the bed he was in, as well as the breathing tube in his throat. It was then that he realized that there was a bandage wrapped around his head.

Adrian was about to lift his hand to feel it, but something was pinning his arm down. He looked to his side and saw Jenny. She was sound asleep next him, coated in dry tears and holding onto him for dear life. Adrian gave small smile as he looked at her beautiful face. He felt much different than before, almost like after he and Jenny made love for the first time, but even more vibrant and excited. His mind didn’t feel so divided like it was before, split between his sense of logic and his emotions and physical desires. His thought process did not seem impaired in the least by the presence of emotions, and his emotions themselves seemed perfectly under control.

He had really done it; he had combined his human emotions and love for Jenny with his pure intelligence and logic, achieving a flawless balance and combination. He did not need to switch between them anymore, for they were now fused together into one aspect of his personality.

Adrian tried to lift up his other arm, but it was handcuffed to the hospital bed. It seemed some of the details of the night had reached the police…

He gently worked his arm free from her grip and placed his hand on her cheek, which was wrapped in bandages from when Logan stabbed him.

Her eyelids slowly rose and she became breathless. “Adrian…” she gasped, unable to believe what she was seeing. She then wrapped her arms around him and began crying on his shoulder, with her forehead buried in the side of his neck, but while being careful to move him as little as possible. “I didn’t think you were going to wake up! I’ve been here for hours, begging you to come back to me!” she sobbed.

Looking up in shock, she almost stopped him as he grabbed the respirator mask and pulled it off, yanking the breathing tube out of his esophagus and coughing for a few seconds.

“Don’t worry, Jenny. Everything is ok,” he said warmly once he caught his breath. Turning to her, he wiped away her tears and then kissed her on the lips. “What happened?” he asked.

“You were shot by Logan, remember? He and his friends attacked us in the park, but you managed to beat them. We came here to get your hand taken care of and he burst in, covered in blood and waving a gun. He pointed the gun at you and shot you in the head. By the time the security guards tackled him, you were unconscious on the floor with blood pouring from you skull. Oh Adrian, I thought you were dead, I thought you had left me! The whole time you were in emergency surgery, I was praying that you would live or contemplating suicide!

The doctors said that the bullet went straight through your prefrontal cortex and basically pierced everything behind it. No one has ever survived that much brain trauma! They said that you would be a vegetable for the rest of your life if you didn’t just die before morning.”

As Adrian mulled over what she said, he began to chuckle, which turned into a booming laugh.

“What are you laughing about?” Jenny asked with disbelief, both that he was laughing in such a situation, and that he was ACTUALLY LAUGHING.

“While I was unconscious, I was in the most vivid dream I had ever experienced. I couldn’t leave the dream until I made a decision. I had to discard my emotionless logical side or my heart and my love for you. The dream completely changed who I am, the decision I made was real.”

“Which did you choose?”

“Neither. I created a third option. I reunited the parts of my mind, both logic and emotion. The bullet didn’t kill any parts of my brain; it just let me reconnect them. I love you, Jenny, and I’m going to be whatever you want me to be, whether it’s emotional or logical,” Adrian said with the warmest and happiest smile she had ever seen.

Jenny wiped away the last of her tears and smiled. “I love you, Adrian, I love you with all of my heart.”

“Adrian!” He heard his mom call. Adrian looked to the doorway as his parents rushed in and Jenny reluctantly backed off so that they could hug him while shedding tears of joy.

“It’s an absolute miracle, we thought we had lost our only son, this time for good,” his dad said, unable to keep from crying.

“We’re so happy that you’re alive! It was like the car accident all over!” his mom wailed, hugging him again.

“Don’t worry, I’m all right. In fact, I’m more than all right.”

Jenny wrapped her hands around his. “Did you die again, like you did when you were ten? Have you been reborn a second time?”

Instead of replying, Adrian looked out the window, watching as the sun began to come up with the first few slivers of light shining across the sky. “Yeah, you could even say that today is the first day of the rest of my new life.”

Chapter Five:

Adrian was lying in his hospital bed, working on his laptop and checking all of his stocks, bank accounts, and corporate updates. He had already checked them several times, but he was bored out of his mind and wanted some sort of mental stimulation other than just watching movies online and reading articles. It had been a week and a half since he was shot in the head, and he was recuperating at an incredible rate. Having woken up only a few hours after his emergency surgery and regained the ability to walk before the end of the day, many doctors believed that his recovery was the fastest of anyone who had ever survived such an injury, and easily considered it to be a miracle. His case was even going to be published in a medical journal and he could be seen on the evening news.

He still had to stay in the hospital, but only because his parents and the doctors wanted to be safe. If he had his way, he would have been out a long time ago. He felt completely healthy in every aspect, mentally and physically. He had regained his full strength, his mind was working at its peak capacity, and his body and brain were fully healed. Each day consisted of physical therapy and rest, then being visited by his parents and Jenny.

“Hey! How are the plates?” he heard, bringing a wider smile to his face as he looked to the doorway and saw her.

She was referring to the metal plates installed in his head to keep his skull together while it healed and cover the entry and exit points of the bullet.

“Good, I got them replaced today,” he answered as she walked over and kissed him.

“Really? Even after so little time has passed?”

“Well I actually requested it. My weapons aren’t the only thing made of Demium you know, I keep a supply of different pieces and shapes for such occasions. I had actually anticipated something like this happening and prepared plates to go over my skull. I doubt I would manage to survive the process, but I can take an armor-piercing sniper round to the forehead and it would barely break the skin.”

“Really? That’s amazing!” she exclaimed, never managing to ever become used to the things he did.

“Well when I first began trying to produce Demium, I certainly wasn’t going to half-ass it,” he joked.

The sound of Adrian’s laugh and the sight of his smile lit up Jenny’s face with tender love, and the sight of her happiness in turn warmed his heart.

Being with Jenny was now a different experience than it was before. Before, being with her was enjoyable but very confusing and next to impossible to fully integrate himself in, but now that he had combined his logical mind with his emotions and physical desires, he was better able to understand his feelings for her and her feelings for him. He loved her and was truly happy, happier than ever before in his life. This enlightenment also expanded his already proficient mental prowess, letting him enjoy the world more than he originally had, and understand humans instead of just predict their actions.

He had never been very emotional, so this was all very new to him, but by no means were his emotions blocking his sense of logic. He was able to think as clearly as before and use logic with same skill, but he could now relate to humans and know how to act in social situations. He was always in a good mood and he almost always had a small confident smile, almost like a smirk but without any smug arrogance. He looked like a very skilled but relaxed and easygoing chess player declaring checkmate, as calm and humble as could be, but also confident and enjoying the game.

Because nurses were constantly patrolling the halls during visiting hours, Jenny and Adrian weren’t able to make love for the whole time he was there, but even though he was going stir crazy, seeing his parents and Jenny every day made it livable.

Jenny was walking down the halls of the hospital with a smile on her face, excited to see Adrian after another long day of school. As she turned the corner, she saw the Dean of Medicine stepping out of Adrian’s hospital room. Once he was gone, Jenny walked over and stepped into the room.

“Hello Jenny,” Adrian said with his usual casual smile.

“Hey,” she said sweetly as she walked over.

She kissed him on the lips and sat down in the chair next to the bed. “So what did the Dean want?”

“Oh, he comes every day to test my cognitive skills and reflexes. My method of healing isn’t quite standard protocol,” he shrugged, immediately catching Jenny’s attention.

“And what pray tell does that mean?”

“I guess the cat is out of the bag. The reason why I woke up so early and recovered so well isn’t just because of luck or my will to live; it’s actually due to a precaution I set up. Every hospital has a freezer where they keep donated blood for surgeries and transfusions, but that’s not all they keep, at least not this hospital in my case. I keep a large supply of cloned stem cells at this hospital. I’ve been doing it for quite a few years actually.”

“Stem cells? How did you get those?”

“Well contrary to popular belief, the human brain actually does replenish lost neurons through the production of stem cells. I’ve been harvesting those cells and keeping them preserved in this hospital. I’ve actually left very specific instructions that state if I suffer any kind of serious head trauma or brain injury, the stem cells are to be used to replace the lost tissue. During my surgery after I was shot, the Dean of Medicine gave the order and my stem cells were finally used. They were essentially poured straight into the bullet hole where they began mimicking the surrounding brain cells and replacing the lost tissue.

Of course this isn’t quite legal, as the only way I can preserve and access stem cells is if they’re my own. Then of course there is the cloning process, and that’s always a pain in the ass…”

“Wait, you clone them as well?”

“Sure. The human brain does produce stem cells, but it’s in a very small amount spread out across the entire brain. It’s not like you can just crack someone’s head open and suck the cells out like marrow from a bone. Besides if I take too much, then my brain won’t be able to recover from the usual cell death. I can only get a very small amount and then I have to clone the rest.”

“So did you have to bribe them to perform this kind of operation? And to store something like a private stash of stem cells with their blood transfusions?”

“Well let’s just say that my past donations to the hospital have made me a welcomed guest.

The Dean was also here with some good news. You remember that large machine that I had been working on? The one that I said was taking a long time to complete? Well I finished it last month and filed for the patent, as well as getting it approved by the Surgeon General. The paperwork has finally been processed and they are ready to be used on the general public in hospitals across the country. I donated the prototype to this hospital, and since they can legally use it now, it has been fully installed in the surgical ward.

Come on, I’ll show it to you.”

Adrian stepped out of the bed and put on his hospital robe, no longer bound by handcuffs. He had pulled some strings to get his case thrown out before it ever saw the inside of a courtroom. With his connections, the law couldn’t touch him.

“Uh…” Adrian heard Jenny mumble.

He turned around and saw her holding out her hand as if she had wanted to stop him. Adrian smiled and gave a small sigh. Jenny was always worried about him, and him walking around less than two weeks after his injury made her worry the most.

“Don’t worry, darling, I’m fully healed.”

Jenny gained a warm smile, and stood up and grasped his arm. They left the room and walked down the halls of the hospital with the woman he loved clinging to his arm. He brought Jenny to the new addition of the surgical wing (paid for by Adrian’s mentioned donations), with the two of them facing a door with an electronic lock.

“This machine was just installed today, so I’m one of the few people who knows the combination to this room. This room isn’t supposed to be used for a at least a few days, so we won’t be disturbed,” he said as he typed in the combination. The door was unlocked and they stepped into the dark surgical chamber with Adrian closing the door and the lights immediately activating.

Jenny was completely breathless. “Adrian… how… did you really…”

They were facing a large surgical robot. The five-armed spider-like machine stood over a table like a giant hand reaching up over the side and three bright lights shined directly above. Each arm had a tentacle-like reach and flexibility, but with a very nimble thickness, allowing for the limbs to work very close together without overcrowding. Each arm had a different tool, such as a scalpel, surgical scissors, forceps, a flexible scope for interior observation, and a pneumatic jet that would send a stream of air to help open up the body during surgery. The arms could make steady movements in millimeter increments, had an automatic defense mechanism that would keep the arms from reacting to the surgeon’s slight tremors, and could perform tasks as small and intricate as watch repair. The machine had been built with only custom-made pieces and the best materials.

Adrian looked around at the room they were in. The surgical chamber had dark tiles, stainless-steal walls, and was illuminated solely by the three lamps over the surgical robot. While the room was kept at a comfortable 70º degrees, the dim lighting gave the illusion that it was quite cool. The darkness and the temperature gave a very relaxing feeling. Ten feet from the gurney was a table with several computers and hand-controllers for the arms.

“I bet you figured that since I built it in my basement, at least the prototype would be made of a bunch of spare parts from a junkyard. Quite the contrary, this baby was built with top-of-the-line materials and components, but cost only a quarter-million dollars. I studied the designs of its predecessors and was able to build a more affective and inexpensive model. It took months to build, but that was only due to the designing process and actually figuring out how to build it, not to mention all the time lost while at school. Now I can build one of these on my own in just a week.

I even picked the name; it’s known as the Adroid.”

Jenny moved over to the table, gazing at the five master-crafted mechanical arms. It was beautiful, awe-inspiring, and yet undeniably terrifying in its appearance and capabilities. It looked like a giant robotic spider, ready to wrap its prey in a metallic web, and the number of the tools incorporated into each limb only increased the fear it invoked. Yet this feeling of terror exhilarated Jenny and augmented her feelings of amazement and adoration for the genius mind that created.

“It’s funny, but when I showed the blueprints to the engineering consultants working for the Surgeon General, they thought it was all a joke. They couldn’t understand how I had managed to put it all together, even as just a drawing on paper. They told me that to create a machine like this would mean working decades ahead of current technology. It was only thanks to the fact that I built the surgical lasers currently on the market that they actually believed the designs were possible. It wasn’t easy to convince them to go for it; they are still struggling to understand how in the world I even conceived the design. Copies of this are being built in factories across America, but due to the precision required, it will take months to accomplish, even with modern machining tools.”

“Adrian, I don’t even know what to say. This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”

“Do you want to see what it can do?”

Jenny turned to him with an ecstatic smile on her face, as if she was a little girl with a pony at her birthday party.

“Lie down on the gurney,” Adrian said as he sat down behind the computers. Jenny’s smile shrank and he saw nervousness in her eyes. “Don’t worry, I promise I won’t hurt you. I am more skilled with this machine than anyone else on Earth.”

Jenny regained her smile and lied down on the gurney. Adrian turned on the surgical robot and the five arms released a veering sound. Jenny shivered as they slowly lowered towards her.

Adrian was controlling the joysticks with the precision of a watch-maker, ensuring that every movement was as steady as physically possible. Through the camera on every arm, he was getting a perfect close-up view. He moved the arm with the scalpel up to Jenny’s face. She held her breath as he ran the back of the blade slowly down her cheek, almost like a shaving razor, but without leaving the faintest of lines.

Jenny’s breathing was slow and shallow, her body was trembling, and he could see goosebumps on her skin as her body temperature lowered.

“Are you scared?” he asked with a small smile.

“No,” she whispered.

He smiled again and moved the arm with the pneumatic jet. He had it move across the other side of her face, releasing a steady stream of air that caused her to shiver and her long blonde hair to shift.

“Yes you are. There is no need to hide it, enjoy the feeling…” he said, taking control of the surgical scissors.

The arm slowly moved up, slicing off the buttons of her blouse. Her shirt opened up, revealing her round full breasts, just barely being held in by her bra. Her nipples were almost poking through the fabric from the shivers running through her. She continued to shiver as her body entered the fight-or-flight stage.

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes,” she gasped.

“Then don’t worry, you’re basically in the palm of my hand. You’re both frightened and aroused, enjoy the feeling,” he said as he used the scalpel to cut through the sleeves and free her arms. “Enjoy every shiver that runs through your body, every tremor of fear and bliss.” He used the pneumatic jet to send streams of air running along her arms and up her chest. She gave a soft gasp and gripped the sides of the gurney with erotic anticipation. “When you are scared, your senses are fully heightened. Use this your heightened senses to fully enjoy every ounce of pleasure you will experience.”

He used the forceps and scissors to cut away her jeans, leaving her only in her underwear. With only her bra and panties covering her, Jenny became fully aroused. It wasn’t just the physical sensations exciting her; it was Adrian’s new personality. Before being shot, he had been a robot struggling to imitate human behavior, but now he had become suave and masterful. He gazed at her with a smirk of confidence and satisfaction, the combination of his knowledge and emotions granting him the knowledge of how to make her melt. Being toyed with like this, the fingers of this machine stimulating her in ways she never thought possible, she really did feel like she was in the palm of his hand, and that sensation of danger and domination was driving her wild.

Adrian could see every muscle in her body stretching and contracting as they reacted to her feelings. She licked her lips and gripped the sides of the gurney, desperate for more.

“There you go. Open yourself up to me,” he said.

He then used the forceps and scissors to cut away her bra and panties. Her luscious breasts nearly burst out of the sheared lingerie, while she kept her thighs pressed together shyly.

“I can see every single part of you, Jenny, and my god, you are so lovely.”

Using the pneumatic jet, he sprayed her breasts with jets of cool air, almost tickling her. She began running her fingertips across her chest and slim belly, breathing heavily and relishing the teasing licks of the air against her pointing nipples. She then released a mix of a gasp and a yelp as Adrian dragged the forceps across her inner thighs, electrifying her sense of touch with the feeling of the cold metal.

“You’re going to enjoy this next part, Jenny, and I know I will,” Adrian said as he took control of the last arm of the surgical robot.

Stretching from the robotic arm was an exploratory camera, able to move like a serpent through the body with its long and flexible coil-like frame. This would be its first time being used. The long coil touched down on the middle of her chest, and as the arm moved down, the camera slithered across her body and moved between her legs. Jenny released a high-pitched moan as the camera entered her pussy, moving deeper and deeper with its cold outer-frame driving her wild.

Jenny held onto the gurney for dear life as the camera moved through her pussy, and an air stream from the pneumatic jet and the forceps were dragged across every inch of her soft skin. While the camera was quite thin, Adrian was able to use its flexibility to stimulate different areas of her pussy with surgical precision. As he had the camera move back and forth inside of her, Jenny began gyrating her hips, trying to get as much stimulation as she could. She was giving a continuous moan as he overwhelmed her sense of touch with the three arms of the surgical robot. He had one eye on Jenny and the other on the monitor that was linked to the camera.

“Aha, there it is.”

The camera was staring at a small bump, easily missed by men throughout the ages. It was the legendary G-spot. Adrian moved the camera forward, prodding the spot. Jenny arched her back and released a shrill whine. Normally the G-spot would of course be touched during sex, but never directly stimulated like this with pinpoint contact. Adrian continued teasing her, pressing the spot like a button and causing her to have orgasm after orgasm. She rolled onto her side, clinging to the gurney as she lost control of her body, succumbing to the endless wave of climaxes.

Finally, Adrian backed off, and the robotic arms folded back as the machine was shut down. He walked over to Jenny, who was desperately trying to catch her breath. She was blushing so much that her whole body was red, and the light from the lamps above her was being caught by a thin film of sweat.

“So how did you like that?” he asked with a smile.

“Let’s just say that you’ll have to get me a wheelchair, because I don’t think I can walk after that.”

“Are you ready?” Jenny asked.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Adrian hummed.

He was finally in good enough condition for the hospital to release him and was today was his first day back.

“I’m really scared that Logan and his friends will be here,” Jenny said nervously.

“Don’t worry, he and his buddies were denied bail.”

With Jenny holding his hand, they entered the school and looked around. Everyone was jittery with excitement for the approaching end of the year, already dressed in shorts and t-shirts. As the door closed behind them, everyone turned and began applauding. Who Adrian was didn’t matter, but the fact that he had managed to survive a gunshot to the head and defeated Logan practically made him a legend.

One of the students walked up to them. “No one can believe you survived getting shot in the head; how is it possible?”

“Coming back from the dead is easy, especially when you’ve done it once before,” Adrian mused as he and Jenny walked past him.

Every teacher gave Adrian a “welcome back” and every student begged him to describe what happened in the park. He kept his mouth shut and wore only his small but confident smile, which had replaced his constant melancholic scowl. People barely recognized him now; he had completely changed from a cold-hearted machine to a happy man in love, all in the course of one year and while still retaining the intellect that separated him from everyone else.

Once the last class ended, Adrian and Jenny headed back to his house, to enjoy some alone time. After they made love, Jenny, having gotten dressed, went into the bathroom to wipe the smeared lipstick off her face. Adrian was lying in the still warm bed, a content smile on his face, unaware of the ajar wall tile in the bathroom under the sink. His heartbeat didn’t speed up even twitch to the sound of Jenny dropping her lipstick. It would have been impossible for him to hear her silent curiosity, seeing the shadowed tile hanging out of place, but he did hear her remove it. He sat up, realizing what was about to happen, as Jenny reached into the hollow space behind the tile and pulled out a metal box.

“Jenny, wait!”

The box was opened, but there was no explosion, a scream, or any reaction that might otherwise suggest something dangerous or insidious within, at least at first glance. It was filled with diamonds, varying in size from a grain of rice to sugar cube. At first, Jenny’s reaction was a wide smile of amazement, having never seen so many diamonds at once that weren’t behind glass and labeled with price tags, but as Adrian feared, that smile faded almost immediately. While far from his level of intellect, Jenny was still a very bright young woman, and she turned to him with dread.

“Adrian, why do you have so many diamonds?”

“I like to keep some liquidity in the house for dire situations. I also have gold and cash locked away down here,” he said as innocently as possible.

“And where did they come from?”

“I bought them locally.”

“Then why is it that none of them look like they have been processed? They haven’t been grinded or polished at all. It looks like they were mined and immediately fell into your hands.” She picked up the box and approached him, Adrian having never seen a look of such seriousness on her face. “Adrian, where did these come from? Please tell me they aren’t blood diamonds, because the only people who keep stashes of diamonds like these sure as hell didn’t buy them locally. How did you get them?”

Adrian took a deep breath, mentally cursing. It seemed that fate wasn’t going to let him slowly ease Jenny into his plans as he had hoped. He was going to have to let her in on everything now.

“From arms dealing. I’ve sold hundreds of thousands of assault rifles in Africa and the Middle East.”

The box fell from Jenny’s hands and the diamonds scattered across the floor. “You can’t be serious!” she gasped.

“It’s not what you think. Not too long ago, the ATF started Project Gunrunner, which involved dealing weapons under the table that were tagged with GPS trackers, as a means of discovering illegal openings in the Mexico border and finding the trails that the cartels were using, as well as finding the high-level guys. It was a dismal failure, but I’m doing something similar. Every assault rifle I’ve sold has come with a stock stuffed with plastic explosives, that can either be set off remotely or will go off if the stock is opened.

When the time comes, I’ll be able to wipe out a vast percentage of the terrorist population and no one will ever know who did it or how it happened.”

“But what about all of the people you’ve killed to do it? Do you have any idea what you’ve done?! It’s insane!”

“Let’s talk about this somewhere else.”

On an empty road where no one would find them, Jenny and Adrian sat in his car, dead silent. It took time for Adrian to work up the courage to speak.

“Jenny, you must understand, I have a plan in the works and the things I do are so that I can bring about the greater good. Those words are meaningless, I know, spoken by dictators and monsters throughout history. Perhaps I am one of them, perhaps I am only in denial as to what my plan will cause once it is completed. All I know is that it is the only answer I can find to solve the problems of this world. This is something I must do. It’s not the reason why I was born, I’m not stupid, but it is the reason why I continue to live. This is the future that I must accomplish if my life and everything I’ve achieved are to have real meaning.

The arms dealing is merely a footnote, a precursor to what I have planned. When I’m done, the world will never be the same.”

“But what is your plan? What are you trying to achieve?”

Reaching into his pocket, Adrian drew his phone and began typing on it. “I will answer everything, but first you must promise me something. What I am about to tell you, and everything you have learned so far, you must never tell anyone else. This is my greatest secret, and I can only continue if I can trust you with it. Please, I know I have no right to say such a thing, but if you love me, you will take this secret to your grave. No matter how terrible, no matter how frightening, no matter how mind-shattering it will be, you must never tell another soul of this conversation or anything you have learned. Jenny, will you do this?”

Jenny bit her lip, trembling with uncertainty. This was something completely new, the likes of which she had never even dreamed of encountering in her life. Now, here she was, the most mysterious man in the world asking her to make a verbal contract and keep secret something so terrifying that it would change her reality forever. She was literally signing the most important document of her life without being able to read it first. But regardless of her fear, she knew that she would never be happy unless she found out exactly who Adrian was and what he was planning.

“I promise,” she said, so softly that it was barely audible.

Adrian took a deep breath. “I guess I should start from the beginning. I’m looking for a piece of information, probably the deadliest information in the world if used incorrectly. I have spent years searching for it only to come up empty-handed. There is only one final option for me, and that is the possibility that this information is in the possession of a specific organization, one that I will not name. I believe that they have this information because they are the only option still remaining. I seek to use this information and start a new world order, one in which war will become obsolete.

What I am looking for is in essence the key to either mankind’s salvation or destruction, and I plan on sharing that key with the entire world. I simply want to let the people of the world create their own future while I work from the shadows to give them the resources and opportunities they will need.” He stopped typing on his phone and finally turned to Jenny, handing it to her. “In order to get this information, and in order to use it to implement my new world order, I need power and influence, and the easiest way to do that is through wealth. These are bank accounts, all of them mine that I have filled with the funds of all the corporations I have started and control.”

Jenny took the phone with trembling hands, and the second she looked at the screen, her lungs shut down. As she scrolled through the list of accounts and saw their balances, not a single breath was taken or released. Her hands soon dropped, her mind unable to continue moving through the list.

“Adrian, how much money do you have?”

“I won’t give an exact number, but I will tell you that I am the richest man on Earth… by a pretty huge margin.”

Jenny turned to him, her face pale white and her eyes wide. “Adrian, what is the information you are trying to find? What exactly is your plan?” she asked, nearly on the verge of fainting.
“What I am looking for is…”

Heavy with moisture from the changing seasons, dark storm clouds slowly rolled across the sky like thick lava. Below them, the air temperature lowered, the humidity rose, and finally, drops of water began to plummet from the gray folds. At first it was only a light sprinkle, but charged with the energy and temperament of spring, it quickly grew into a roaring deluge, pummeling everything below it and soaking the countryside.

Jenny gripped the handle of the door so tightly that her knuckles were white and she was panting raggedly, as if she had just gone running after escaping from a burning building. “How? How could that possibly end the problems of the world? How could that possibly bring peace?”

“I’ve already told you, I made it as clear as I could. There is nothing more I can say that will influence you or change your mind. I know this is a lot to swallow, but please, try to stay calm.”

“Adrian… I… I can’t…” she panted beginning to hyperventilate.

He reached out and placed his hands on her cheeks, staring deep into her eyes. “Jenny, look at me and breathe deeply, just take deep slow breaths. Stay calm, and take deep, slow breaths,” he said as Jenny’s whole body began to shake with terrifying strength.

“Adrian… I can’t… I can’t do this. I…” she said, burying her face in his chest as she fainted.

Jenny’s eyes bolted open and she sat up, gasping for air and realizing that she was soaking wet. She looked around, finding Adrian beside her and realizing that the two of them were lying on the hood of her car, which was situated at the entrance to the park. With how wet she was, it was obvious that they had been lying out in the rain. However, Jenny was fairly warm, having been covered with Adrian’s coat.

“This is where it happened,” he hummed, looking up at the cloudy sky. “This is where I realized that I love you and I realized that I could not live without you. Jenny, I truly love you with all of my heart. You have turned me into a completely different person and you’ve made me better in almost every way. But I can’t turn my back on my plans; this is something that I must do. This decision and this plan did not come easily; it took months of consideration, weighing the risks and benefits. It is the only solution I can find to end the problems in this world.”

Jenny lied back down beside him. “You know how much damage you’ll cause, right?”

Adrian slowly sat up. “I know that there will be lots damage happening almost all at once, but it will be no worse than the damage that will continue on for the years and decades ahead. You can inspire others and become an idol through peaceful practices and charisma, but you cannot truly reshape the world without getting your hands dirty. If you want something, you must reach out and take it and be prepared to suffer the consequences. I’ve come to terms with the acts I must commit in order to achieve this goal, I have acknowledged the lives I have taken to come this far, and I am ready to do what must be done to save this world.”

“I don’t know if I can go along with this. I don’t know if I can take part in your plan while knowing what will happen,” Jenny said, sitting up and placing her hand on his.

“The night we first made love, you said it was people like me who have the power to change the world. Well that’s what I’m trying to do, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you after I do it. I love you, Jenny, I truly love you, but I can’t abandon you or the world and ever be happy.”

“Still, this is like nothing else we’ve faced, this is like nothing else anyone has faced. Look at it from my view: few women in history have ever had to endure this kind of thing, have ever had to face a man like you. Do you know how much damage you’ve caused? The panic you’ve put this country in? All the lives you have changed as well as ended? Adrian, I love you as well, you are my world, but I can no more understand and agree with your plan than you can understand why I disagree with it. Maybe I’m just missing something, something I can only see and truly comprehend if I have a mind like yours. Regardless of whether or not only people like you can truly appreciate this idea, you’re trying to get me to see from a perspective that I don’t have. For all I know, you could be completely right and this could solve everything, but I just can’t see how it would work and I can’t imagine anyone else agreeing with you.”

“Then does that mean you’re leaving me?”

“I don’t know what it means. I don’t know if I have a place in this future of yours. I know that you truly see this plan as your destiny, and I can’t ask you to choose between your destiny and me, but neither can you ask me to ignore every instinct and thought and just condone or help with what you are going to do. I promised you I would keep your secret, and I certainly love you enough to do that, but I don’t know if there is anything more I can do. I don’t know if I can become your accomplice and take part in ending so many lives and causing so much upheaval.”

A span of silence passed between them, in which a desperate idea entered Adrian’s mind. “Then how about a deal?”

“What kind of deal?”

“I was planning on finishing high school for my parent’s sake before moving forward with my plan, but how about we add some real meaning to it? I propose that we stay together until we graduate, and if I can’t convince you and you can’t agree with this plan, then we’ll go our separate ways after that. Please, just a couple months, just give me a couple months to show you that my plan can fix this world. You don’t have to help with anything unless you agree that the plan could work. You’ll be completely neutral.

Whether you leave or stay, I will continue with my efforts to complete my plan, and even if you leave, the consequences of my actions will continue to take place. My plan will not stop whether we stay together or break up, you will always know of what I have done, what I am doing, and what I will do, so we might as well stay together. If I’m going to go through with my plan, then don’t you at least want a little more time to spend with me? If we really are going to be forced to break up, then shouldn’t we do everything to extend and enjoy the time we have?”

Jenny gained a small smile. “All right, I accept your deal. We’ll have a couple more months, and if I can’t change my mind until then, then we go our separate ways. But until then, neither of us will stop loving the other,” she said sweetly before leaning forward and kissing him.

An abandoned warehouse sat on a pier at the edge of the city, with the choppy waves crashing against its concrete foundations. For years, the building had served as a hangout for high school dropouts and street gang members. They had only a few firearms, but their meth labs were top-notch. Everyone knew that this building was a gang hangout and no one dared enter the area. Inside, twenty of the city’s bottom-feeders were buying and trading different drugs from each other, playing cards, and discussing street politics. They were all sitting on worn-out and makeshift furniture. Every one of them had left school and was little more than a burden to society. All of the gang members turned their attention to the warehouse entrance as the doors opened.

They jumped to their feet when they realized it was Logan. They heard he had been denied bail and was still in the hospital from his fight with Adrian.

“How the hell did you get out?”

“My lawyer convinced a different judge to give me the chance to pay bail. If there is one thing kikes can do right, it’s pull some crafty legal shit,” he said with a sadistic smile. He walked over and sat down on a ratty sofa. “Ah, it’s good to be back and in charge.”

All of the gang members were stone silent, desperately trying to think up something to say.

“You all don’t look very happy. You all thought that if I were locked up for good, control would fall out of my hands. I got news for you retards; I’m the boss, no matter what. But it doesn’t matter now, I’m free as a bird and I got revenge in mind. I’m going to make that bastard suffer.”

Logan’s words were as true as they were chilling. While only nineteen years old, he had won the respect (but mostly fear) of the local bottom-feeders. He was known to torture those who disrespected him and had more murders under his belt than any of them dared imagination. Even the most hardened criminal would shudder in terror when exposed to the evil Logan seemed to radiate. He was a psychopath the likes of which the world rarely saw.

“What the hell can you do to that guy?” one guy laughed. “You couldn’t beat him in a three-on-one fight and you couldn’t even kill him with a headshot. When it comes to going up against that guy, you’re doomed to suck.”

Without hesitation, Logan pulled out a gun and shot him in the temple, splattering blood and brains across the gang members around him. For someone to openly mock him showed that he had to re-instill fear in his subordinates.

“I may not have killed him, but that doesn’t mean I can’t kill. That bastard busted my shoulders and nearly killed me. I’m going to put him down if it’s the last thing I do.”

“What are you going to do, wait in his car than shoot him again when he climbs in?” one guy asked with a chuckle. He had one hand in his coat and he was ready to draw his own pistol if Logan made a move for his. Logan would bury a knife in his skull later.

“No, I’m going to make him come to me. Everyone says that bastard can’t feel emotions, so I’m going to test that rumor. Let’s see if we can draw blood from stone. Tonight I will make them all suffer,” he said with a sadistic smile.

“Hey Jenny,” Adrian answered, instantly knowing whom it was as he picked up his ringing phone. Several miles away, Jenny smiled when she heard his voice. She was gripping the steering wheel tightly, trying to navigate the dark forest road.

“Hey, I’ll be there in a few minutes. I hope your mom is making something good.”

“Spaghetti with meat sauce, the best in the world. Where are you?”

“I’m just about to get onto the bridge. Hold on, some jackass is tailgating me. I’ll see you soon, darling, I— What the hell is he…”

Adrian heard the revving of an engine and his heart rate jumped. “Jenny, what’s going on?”

“He’s pulling up beside me, I don’t know what he—”

She was cut off by the sound of metal against metal and Adrian heard a loud crash.

“Jenny? Jenny!” he yelled as he heard her scream.

The line then fell dead.

Adrian sprinted out of his room as fast as he could. “Mom, Dad, something happened to Jenny!” he yelled before running out the front door.

Adrian dialed 911 on his phone as he climbed in his car and sped down the driveway so fast that smoke was billowing from his tires.

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“My girlfriend has driven off the Pine Bridge. I think someone might have tried to kill her.”

“We’re on our way.”

Adrian drove down the winding roads as fast as possible with cars blaring their horns as he sped past them. He reached the bridge in three minutes and saw Jenny’s car in the river. She was near the bank, where the water was just barely at neck level, but it was slowly sinking below the surface. Adrian parked his car on the bridge and jumped off and into the center of the river, where the water was deeper. The chilly water shocked his body and instantly began to sap his strength, but he swam over to the sinking car and moved over to the driver’s side. Jenny was unconscious in the driver’s seat, with her face half-submerged in bloody water and a large gash on the side of her head.

Adrian broke through the window with his elbow, unlocked the door, released Jenny’s seatbelt, and pulled her out. He carried her out of the water and laid her down on the riverbank. Up on the bridge, two ambulances and several cop cars had shown up.

“Down here!” he hollered.

Adrian then turned to Jenny and checked her injuries. She had a weak pulse and she wasn’t breathing. As the medics tried to navigate down to the riverbank, he gave Jenny CPR, praying to any deity that he could think of that she would wake up.

“How long has it been since the crash?” one of the medics asked.

“Just over two minutes. Her heart is beating but she won’t breathe and won’t wake up.”

The EMTs lifted her onto a stretcher, and with a hand-pump hooked up to her mouth to force air in and out of her lungs, she was carried back up onto the bridge. She was lifted into one of the ambulances, and just as Adrian was about to get into his car to follow, two fire trucks sped past them. He looked towards the forest where the fire trucks were headed. The night sky was turning orange and a pillar of smoke was rising from the light.

“Mom… Dad…” Adrian muttered, instantly knowing that the smoke was coming from his house.

Adrian followed the ambulance back to the hospital, and during the whole drive, his mind was racing. Somebody definitely forced Jenny off of the bridge, and his house going up in flames was no coincidence. Somebody was doing this; somebody was targeting him, and he had a LONG list of enemies. He turned on the radio and flipped through the channels, finally stopping when he heard a clear dull voice of the local news.

“In what is considered one of the most controversial trials in Maine history, the suspect Logan Reed has been allowed on bail, drawing outcries from the public and—”

Adrian turned off the radio and cursed. Logan had gotten out and he was seeking revenge.

Adrian sat in the waiting room of the hospital while Jenny was being examined and taken care of. He was desperately waiting for word of her or his parents. He had tried calling their cell phones, but they wouldn’t even ring.

“Adrian Ashford?”

He looked up and was face to face to a police officer. “Yes, I’m Adrian Ashford,” he said, trying to keep his mind calm.

“I’m Officer Mathews, and I’m afraid that I have bad news. Now this won’t be easy to say, so I’ll just come out and say it. Your parents are dead, son. They died in a fire that destroyed your house.”

Adrian balled his hands into fists with his fingernails digging into his palms so tightly that blood was dripping onto the floor. “My parents are dead?” he asked with his voice shaking.

“I’m afraid so. Now, because of the intensity and the rapid growth of the fire, we think it might have been deliberate. We are currently investigating the possible causes. I’m sorry.”

“Thank you,” Adrian whispered as he bowed his head, telling the officer that he wanted to be alone.

“By the way, I was told you came here with a girl? Jenny Sinclair?”

“Yeah, she’s my girlfriend.”

“If that’s true, then I think you should be the one to tell her this; there was another fire. Like you, her house burned down and her parents were killed in the flames.”

Adrian took a deep shaky breath. “Ok, I’ll tell her.”

As the cop walked away, the Dean of Medicine approached.

“How is she?” Adrian asked.

“She is stable, but it’s complicated. Falling off of the bridge didn’t just give her a concussion, it caused near-fatal trauma to her brain. She’s fallen into a coma, and she’ll either pass away some time tonight or she’ll most likely never wake up. I’ve seen this kind of coma several times before, and it often ends in death. I doubt even you would be able to survive it.”

The words struck him like an icy knife through the center of his chest and his whole body became cold, with every cell feeling like it weighed a hundred pounds. Adrian couldn’t move or breath and his throat was as dry as sand. His parents were dead, his girlfriend soon to follow. His only connections to humanity, the people he loved, had been taken from him.

“C-can I see her?”

“Of course.”

Adrian was brought to Jenny’s room and left alone with her. She was lying in a hospital bed with bandages wrapped around her head and a white gown on in place of her clothes. She was hooked up to a respirator and a heart monitor, which was giving a soft rhythm of beeps. With his whole body shaking, he walked over and crouched down, wrapping his hands around hers.

“Jenny, I don’t know if you can hear me, I don’t even know if you’re still alive in there, but there are two things I do know: I love you and this is the last time I will ever see you. I’m going to get revenge, I’m going to avenge the deaths of my parents, the deaths of your parents, and most importantly, I’m going to avenge you. I’m going to kill Logan, I’m going to kill all of his friends, and once I get my revenge, the police will never stop hunting me.

You told me once that it was people like me who had the power to change the world, so that’s what I’m going to do. I know you didn’t agree with my plan, but I’m going to accomplish it and put and end to the endless fighting in this world. After tonight, I will set out to change the world, no matter what happens. I don’t believe in the afterlife, but if there is one and you pass away tonight, please wait for me. There is a change you and I will be reunited before sunrise.” Then for the first time in years, tears began to fall from his eyes, slowly dripping onto Jenny’s hands. Adrian stood up and kissed her on the forehead. “You were the one thing that made me human and I will always love you.”
Adrian stepped out into the hall and closed his eyes. His tears stopped and his clenched jaw became calm. He opened his eyes, which had gained an icy hue.

Adrian drove up the driveway of his destroyed house and stared at the great black scar on the earth. A strip of police tape surrounded the area, but there was no one around. He stepped out of his car and walked out into the wet ashes. He made his way through the twisted metal and burned wood and climbed down into the former basement. His laptop was on his desk, covered in ash but in one piece, having been built sturdily enough by him personally to survive these kinds of catastrophes.

Moving aside the charred bed, he revealed a floor safe and opened it. Inside, along with his lance, was a set of bulletproof clothes, including an overcoat. Every garment was made of Kevlar with armor plating underneath. There had been a number of times when Adrian had been forced to step out from behind his computer and act in the real world, times when he had to crush his enemies with his own two hands instead of relying on hired guns. These clothes had kept him alive during those times.

Adrian picked up the lance and gazed at the moonlight shining off it. The metal would soon be coated in a layer of blood. Before leaving, he scavenged for anything of use, including Demium, weapons, tools, paperwork, and several floor safes’ worth of cash, gold, and diamonds.

The room was large and dark, with colored lights shining on streamers and balloons. There were several tables, all with white table cloths and decorated centerpieces. In the corner was an unattended DJ station and no music playing. The room was empty, except for one person. Jenny was sitting at one of the tables, wearing a red sequin dress, with a slit on each side that ran halfway up her smooth thighs and a single strap that went across her shoulder, with folded lace that made it look like it was covered in roses. There were diamond clips in her hair and a light shading of makeup on her face. She looked absolutely beautiful.

Jenny gasped as her mind suddenly switched on, as if she were about to fall asleep and someone clapped their hands next to her ears.

“Where… where am I?” she asked softly, looking around the room and at her outfit.

“Hello Jenny,” she heard a relaxed voice say.

She turned around and gasped. “Adrian?” she whispered in disbelief as she stared at the man she loved.

“No, I am merely your subconscious,” the apparition said, leaning back in his chair and straightening his tuxedo.

Confusion flashed across Jenny’s face. “What the hell is going on? Where am I?”

“Why, you’re at the prom of course!”

Jenny looked around, realizing that it was the school gymnasium.

Her subconscious lost his smile. “But that’s not the answer you’re looking for, is it? In truth, you are in a dream.”

Jenny ignored him and held her head in her hands. “What the hell happened?”

“You fell, remember? That guy tailgating you pushed you off the bridge with his car?” Jenny’s eyes widened as all of the memories flashed back. “It seems you’re ready to talk.”

“Why am I here?”

“You are in this dream because something has happened to your real body and you need to make a choice in order to wake up.”
“Wait… this is…”

“This is the same kind of dream Adrian had, exactly. After he woke up, he described to you in vivid detail what happened in his dream, and now your mind is copying it and fusing it with your own thoughts and personality.”

“This decision, it’s whether to stay with Adrian or leave him, isn’t it? But I don’t understand, why do I have to make this decision now?”

“Because you finally have the ability to make the decision and the decision must now be made. All this time, you’ve been subconsciously studying Adrian, and even though you haven’t gone through the same enlightening experience as he did, you are now more aware of your potential and are beginning to reach out to it. You could say that this dream is the result of your mind ever so slowly expanding while you watch Adrian and study him. The subconscious absorbs far more information than the rest of the brain can even comprehend. By being with Adrian, you’re learning to use mind over matter.”

“All right, I understand why I’m having this dream, but why do I need to make this decision now? We were supposed to wait until graduation before I chose.”

Her subconscious sighed. “Well I can only tell you what you have already heard in your unconscious state, and the only real information I’ve gotten was from Adrian. Jenny, your parents are dead.”


“I don’t know how it happened, but Adrian said that his parents and your parents were dead.”

“No, no that can’t be true. This is just a dream; it can’t be true! I want you to tell me the truth! Are my parents dead?”

“This is what Adrian said, word for word: ‘I’m going to get revenge, I’m going to avenge the deaths of his parents, the deaths of your parents, and most importantly; I’m going to avenge you.’ That is exactly what he said. Other than that, I have no more information than you do.”

Jenny wanted to continue demanding the truth and denying the words of her subconscious, but every time she tried to speak the words, she felt like her throat was closing up. Her subconscious wouldn’t allow her to reject the truth. If those really were the words she had heard Adrian say, then her parents really were dead.

Jenny burst into tears, sobbing uncontrollably. For over ten minutes, she was inconsolable, her face buried in her hands with tears dripping from between her fingers and staining her red dress. Her subconscious was silent while she cried, not making any movements.

Finally, Jenny took a deep breath. “You still haven’t told me why I have to choose between being with him and leaving him.”

“Well, like I said, I can only tell you what you have personally already heard, whether awake or asleep. I said that he is going to avenge his parents, your parents, and you. I’m guessing he thinks you’ll die very soon and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. With his parents already gone and you supposedly not long for this world, Adrian said he will seek vengeance. He said that he’ll kill Logan and all of his friends, who I’m guessing killed your parents, and after seeing the rampage he went on the last time he faced Logan, the chaos left behind him will be unimaginable.

Now, like in Adrian’s dream, I am going to show you the results of your decisions. I told you already that this is the prom. What I meant was that this is your future if you leave. You can still have an ordinary life: finish high school, go to senior prom, attend college, get married, have a few kids, and so on. All you need to do is let Adrian think you are dead and rebuild your life while he goes on with his plan.”

“So I can let Adrian seek his revenge, and once he is out of my life, I can try and rebuild without him?” Jenny asked bitterly.

“Yes, or you can be with him. But I can’t show you the repercussions of that choice.”

“Wait, why not?”

“Because you can’t predict where that path will take you, you’re not as good at this as he is. Basically, you can go find Adrian, abandon what’s left of your life to be with him, and flee from the authorities that will surely be after him. Basically, your future will be up for grabs. You will never have an ordinary life. Knowing this, what will you do? This question originally started because you weren’t sure if you could stay with a killer. You didn’t think your love was strong enough to follow him after finding out what he planned to do. You thought you had time to make this choice, but the current predicament has made that impossible. You must now choose: will you hide yourself from the man you love and try to rebuild, or will you swallow your morals and guilt and help him possibly destroy the world?”

Several moments passed by before Jenny gave a small smile. “When we agreed to wait until graduation before my decision was made, I think I knew in my heart what my decision would be. I was scared of what he had done, and I used that time as a way to distance myself from the knowledge of his crimes and keep Adrian. But in my heart, I knew I couldn’t do that. In order to love Adrian, I must accept him, including his crimes and his plans. You said I could abandon what’s left of my life to be with him, but you of all people should know that he is his life.

My mind still tells me that his plan will not work, but considering how smart he is, I think his mind is more reliable. I don’t know if the day will ever come when I will truly accept his plan, but Adrian believes in it and I believe in him, so I will do whatever I can to make sure he achieves it, no matter how much my heart screams at me not to. He is willing to kill and die for me; it would be selfish if I weren’t willing to do the same. I will not leave him. I will follow him, no matter where it will take us. After all, he’s all I have left in this world, and I love him.”

Jenny opened her eyes and took a deep breath. She could feel the bandages wrapped around her head, the warm sheets of the hospital bed, and the respirator in her throat. She looked around at the hospital room, gazing at the machines monitoring her vitals and saw her clothes and purse in a plastic bag next to the bed. She took a deep breath and sat up, wincing as a bolt of pain shot through her skull. She slowly stepped out of the bed and stood up. Jenny took off the hospital gown and changed back into her damp clothes. Retrieving her purse, she stepped out of the room and started walking down the halls towards the exit. As she got closer and closer, people began to call out to her, but she just ignored them.

Once outside, she climbed into the backseat of a taxicab. “Take me to the pier.”

He looked at her with disbelief, knowing that it was the location of the city’s gang hideout. “Ma’am, are you sure?”

“Drive,” she ordered.

Adrian sat parked in an alley near the warehouse, trying to keep his heartbeat steady. On his way here, he had stopped off at numerous banks and emptied all of his accounts, the American ones at least. Better he get as much cash now than let the authorities freeze his assets when he was done. He could see lights in the windows, confirming that Logan and his cronies were there. He grabbed his sheathed lance and stepped out of the car, hooking up the sheath to the back of his belt and putting on his coat. He walked up to the entrance of the warehouse and kicked open the doors. In the center of the warehouse were all twenty of Logan’s cronies, lounging on ratty furniture with makeshift tables between them. They jumped to their feet, all but Logan. He was sitting in a chair with his back to him.

“Logan!” Adrian roared as he walked into the warehouse.

As the cab drove parallel to the ocean, Jenny was deep in thought, trying to prepare herself for what she would find. She wasn’t sure what to expect; she would either find Adrian dead, the scene of a massacre, or both. Her head was still aching, but she ignored the pain and tried to come up with a plan for what she would do regarding what she saw. If Adrian survived, she would run away with him as he fled the police and help him achieve his plan. But if Adrian were dead, then she would take her own life.

“Stop here,” she said to the cab driver once she spotted his car.

The taxi came to a halt and she paid the cost with a handful of damp cash. She stepped out of the car, took a deep breath, and made her way to the entrance of the warehouse. She gasped when she saw him but hid just outside of the doorway, knowing she would get in the way. With his senses focused on Logan and the other gang members, Adrian did not notice her.

“I knew you would show up,” Logan laughed as he stood up and faced him.

“You and your subordinates killed my parents and the woman I love. Before this night is over, you will all be dead and your blood will be splattered across the walls,” Adrian said coldly as he took a step forward.

“So the machine has emotions after all. It’s funny how you think you’ll leave here alive,” Logan laughed.

“Enough talk! For as long as I’ve known you, you have tormented innocent people, relishing in the pain you inflicted. You are worse than a misbehaving dog; you are an abomination that must be crushed! I should have killed you when I had the chance, but now I will correct the mistake I made and end your life once and for all!”

“Like I said, it’s funny how you think that you’re going to walk out of here alive.”

Logan snapped his fingers and all of his cronies reached into their jackets and pulled out handguns. Adrian quickly crouched down and shielded his head with his forearms as the criminals opened fire. Jenny stifled a cry of worry as she saw the bullets pelt his body. Countless rounds struck the ground around him, but many made direct hits. His clothing was made of the strongest bulletproof material money could buy and reinforced with armor plating hidden within, so small caliber rounds had no chance of even leaving a scratch on him, but without Adrian’s ability to block pain, the joined impacts of so many bullets would have been overpowering.

With many of the bullets striking the ground around him, the air was quickly filling with dust from crushed concrete, hiding him in a gray cloud. All of the gang members fired until they ran out of ammo, standing in a pool of over a hundred bullet casings, and once he heard the chorus of empty clicks, Adrian stood up. The dust cleared and everyone had a look of disbelief on their faces. Logan’s eye was twitching as he realized that aside from some bruises, Adrian was completely unharmed.

“That’s impossible,” Logan cursed. “A lot of them missed but he had to have been hit with over a hundred bullets…”

“I am going to kill every last one of you,” Adrian growled as he drew his lance from its sheath and slashed the floor, carving a large crack in the solid concrete.

“Johnny, go bash his head in!” Logan ordered.

One of the gang members was shaken from his stupor and grabbed a baseball bat, brimming with jagged nails. He charged towards Adrian with the bat above his head, trying to fight his fear. Adrian took a deep breath and used the moment to fully awaken his mind’s control over his muscles, harnessing their full strength. With only a few feet between them, the gang member brought down the bat towards Adrian’s head. Wielding nearly inhuman power, Adrian swung the lance and used it to block the bat. With his strength, the jagged bludgeon shattered into splinters. Before the gang member could overcome his shock, Adrian stabbed him through the gut, striking his left side with the spike bursting out of his right. With only a fraction of the strength in his right arm, he tore the spike out and ripped open the young man’s torso. Jenny gave a gasp of astonishment at how easily he killed him.

As his first victim died before hitting the ground, all of the gang members charged towards him, armed with chains, crowbars, baseball bats, lead pipes, and even a few cheap Wal-Mart machetes. Only Logan stayed behind, staring at him in disbelief.

“I will slaughter all of you!” Adrian roared with his voice filled with bloodlust. Jenny shuddered, realizing that his voice was completely different.

The first gang member attacked, swinging at him from the side with a crowbar. He caught the hook with his left hand as if it were little more than piece of falling silverware, then stabbed his foe through the heart with his lance. Adrian knocked body aside and pulled out his darts, throwing them at seven of the oncoming gang members with deadly aim. Three were stabbed in the eye, another three were stabbed in the throat, and the last had it imbedded in the center of his chest, decompressing his chest cavity and collapsing his lungs.

A gang member with a baseball bat charged towards him, swinging it wildly. Adrian easily dodged his attacks and swung his lance, slamming it against the back of the man’s head with enough force to shatter his skull. He turned around as an attacker raised a cheap Wal-Mart machete, and as quick as a flash, Adrian stabbed upwards, sending the spike driving through his opponent’s lower jaw and bursting out of his skull. He pulled it free as he heard the ringing of chains, followed by the tugging feeling of the metal coil wrapping around his lance with a scrawny gang member holding the other end. Thinking he had accomplished the ultimate movie fight move, his opponent tried to rip the weapon out of Adrian’s hand. With his strength, Adrian was able to keep from moving an inch, and instead grabbed the chain and pulled the gang member over to him. Before his victim could let go, Adrian stabbed him through the right side of the chest.

Five gang members grouped together, all attacking from a different angle. Not even out of breath or breaking a sweat, Adrian crouched down to dodge their weapons and swung the spike, slashing them with the needle-sharp tip. While the weapon had no edge, he was able to completely rip them open and essentially disembowel them. He looked over to Logan and saw him putting his cell phone away. Who was he calling?

Adrian ran through the crowd of gang members, moving in quick rotations and attacking as fast as a striking snake. No matter what his prey did, they could not block, dodge, evade, or survive the tornado of attacks, and Adrian was moving too quickly for them to counterattack. Bodies were knocked off of their feet from the bone-crunching strength of his bludgeon-strikes and blood filled the air from every slash and stab. Gang member after gang member came at him, either working alone or joining with others to attack, but no matter what they did, he was able to evade their weapons and kill with ease, ending their lives with a stab, a slash, or with a bone-crushing impact. After only a few minutes, every gang member was dead, with a growing pool of blood covering the floor

Hearing the sound of a revolver cylinder loaded, he turned around to Logan, his final victim. As the mortal enemies locked eyes, Logan pulled back the hammer of his gun.

‘Calculate the angle! Compensate and deflect!’

Adrian imagined a beam of red light shining out of the barrel of the gun, telling him where the bullet was going to land. In milliseconds, he calculated the angle, adjusted for recoil and distance, and swung his lance just as Logan pulled the trigger. With an instantaneous flash of ignited powder, the projectile was launched with speed greater than even Adrian’s eyes could perceive, but with his calculated prediction, he managed to deflect the bullet with his lance. For a fraction of a second, Logan was shocked beyond words, unable to believe what he had just seen, but that narrow moment was all the time Adrian needed to get his lance back into position and deflect the second round.

After successfully blocking the second bullet, Logan moved his gun to aim for a different spot, but Adrian was already in position. Two more rounds were fired, one for the corner of his gut, the other for his shoulder, but both were blocked with little effort. Finally, Logan raised his gun and fired straight for the center of Adrian’s forehead, but in the moment in which the trigger was pulled and the hammer struck the back of the round, Adrian moved his head out of the way and completely dodged the shot.

“You… you really are a machine…” Logan gasped.

As fast as his body would move, Adrian bolted over to Logan and stabbed him just above the collarbone with his hand, tearing his windpipe and almost every vein. He pulled his hand free and blood sprayed from the lethal injury like a showerhead. “And don’t forget it,” he said as the corpse fell to the ground with all of the others. Adrian swung his lance, spraying off the thick layers of blood, and removed his gore-soaked glove.

“Adrian?” he heard the soft voice say as he put the lance back in its sheath.

He turned around and his whole body froze. Jenny was standing just ten feet from him with a small smile on her face.

“Jenny,” he gasped, unable to believe it.

He had to be hallucinating, that was the only explanation. Jenny rushed over and wrapped her arms around him, holding him tightly. With her warm body pressed against his, Adrian knew that she was real.

“Jenny, I thought that I was never going to see you again, I thought you were dead,” he said as he held her, savoring the feeling of her against him, the smell of her hair, and the sound of her breathing. “How is it possible? Your wounds…”

“Don’t worry darling, I’m fully healed,” she said with a slight amount of humor.

Adrian smiled at the joke; they were the same words he had said to her before showing her the Adroid. While they both knew her injuries were far from healed, she was going to be fine. Jenny pressed her lips against his and they kissed for several seconds, trying to communicate how happy they were and how much they loved each other. They parted as the sound of sirens reached them.

“Damn it, Logan called the cops. He wanted to drag me down any way he could and he definitely told them I was the one who did this. Jenny, I have to get out of here, run before the cops see you.”

“Adrian, I’m coming with you.”


“I had a dream, just like yours, and I had to decide between leaving you and being with you and helping you with your plan. I love you, Adrian, and I am going to be with you. I will follow you forever, no matter what happens. I don’t care where this path takes us, but there is nothing for me here. You are my life, and I just want to be with you. In my heart, I’m not sure if I will ever truly believe in your plan, but you believe it and that is more than enough for me to give my life to see it happen.”

Adrian looked down, savoring the moment. “I love you Jenny,” he said with the same soft tone before kissing her.

Adrian collected his darts they escaped the warehouse before the cops burst in. Reaching his car, they sped off, trying to get as far away as possible, as fast as possible.

Chapter Six:

More than thirty people dead, all killed by one man without the use of firearms. It was being called one of the worst mass-murders in American history. The shear magnitude of death, gore, and heartless killing that had gone on in that one building was baffling the police, and the FBI were now being called in. It had been eight hours since the massacre, and Jenny and Adrian were moving upstate to an undisclosed location. The sun had just risen, and the highway was mostly empty. Much to Adrian’s relief, Jenny was sound asleep in the reclined passenger seat, with his coat wrapped around her as a blanket. After her head injury, he knew that she needed rest above all else.

This time of silence and solitude gave him time to process everything that had happened and come up with steps for his plan. Everything about their current situation had already struck him, though it had little affect, even the massacre he had left in his wake. He had already killed countless people as Logan and his cronies, his vengeance had been justified, his parents were the only ties Adrian had to his old life, and with his wealth and intelligence, he didn’t have to worry about surviving. Adrian had no regrets of his actions, there was guilt in his heart that he could not eliminate. He kept on looking over to Jenny.

Had he ruined her life by taking her with him? Would her view of him change once the crimes he had committed truly sank in? She said that she would ignore every instinct and thought and do everything she could to help him achieve his plan, but that meant that there was still doubt in her heart, doubt that could resurface and shatter everything. Would she even be afraid of him? Were they going to end up going their separate ways, bitter and alone, just like Adrian had predicted before they were first intimate? Were they just going to end up like Bonnie and Clyde? Were they either going to live in hiding, split up, or die at the hands of the authorities? Or was there a chance that his plan could work, and her love and loyalty to him was as strong as she said it was?

Adrian was listening to the news on the radio with the volume set low so as not to disturb Jenny.

“According to the one who placed the call, the killer is recent trauma-survivor Adrian Ashford. Police have tried to find Ashford, but he seems to have disappeared, prompting the FBI to label him as the prime suspect and a dangerous threat to the community. At the scene, forensic investigators found two sets of footprints leading away from the scene, but the call to the police described no accomplices. However, the suspect’s girlfriend, Jenny Sinclair, was reported to have gone missing as well. After surviving a car crash and being brought to the hospital, Jenny escaped, and her whereabouts are now unknown, but the FBI says that she is most likely with Adrian Ashford.

The forensic investigators are currently trying to identify the weapon used by the killer. While there are lacerations and blunt trauma found on the victims, they do not seem to have been caused by a bladed weapon or common bludgeon, and no bullet wounds or powder burns can be found. Under normal circumstances, a crime such as this would be considered low priority, as the victims are known felons and the motive is theorized to be revenge. However, due to the large number of victims, the manner in which they were killed, and the capability of the suspect, a full-scale hunt for the killer is now underway.

If anyone has any information on Adrian Ashford, please call—”

Adrian turned off the radio as Jenny began to stir. She gave a wide yawn and sat up.

“Good morning,” Adrian said.

She gave a sleepy smile and kissed him on the cheek. “Good morning,” she replied as she readjusted her seat. “So what is the plan?”

“Well for now, I think we should lay low. I want to give you plenty of time to recover, and I need time to fully organize my plan. I have some property in the next town that we can use, but it’s not quite ready for habitation. I figure we’ll use what I have there, get some new clothes and food, find a motel, and rest for a day or two.”

“That sounds perfect. I can’t wait to get out of these muddy clothes.”

They stopped off in the mall of the next town to get some change of clothes, though they were longing to just drive to the nearest motel, lock themselves in a room, and go to sleep in a warm slightly-clean bed. They were parallel-parked far away from the mall and Adrian put up some false license plates he kept stashed in the car. Even if the authorities did somehow track down the car, they would have to search a much greater area to find them. Adrian was standing with Jenny in a department store, trying to keep from falling asleep on his feet. Unfortunately, the night before last had been spent working, so even he was running on fumes. Jenny was picking out clothes that would fit her, yawning after every third or fourth blouse. She was wearing a pink knitted hat to hide the bandages around her head. Beside them was a cart full of clothes they had picked out, and both of them desperately wanted to change.

Adrian gave a wide yawn and looked around to make sure that they were alone. “Do I frighten you?”


“We haven’t spoken about what happened in the warehouse. Jenny… you know I’ve killed before, but I didn’t mean for you to see me like that. Now the FBI is after me because I’ve massacred dozens of people. I don’t want you to fear me or for your view of him to change. I—”

Adrian was cut off as Jenny kissed him on the lips. “How is it that you have forsaken your machine-like alter ego, but you still don’t understand humans? Adrian, I don’t fear you; I love you, I adore you, and I am amazed by you. My view of you has changed; you aren’t just a part of my life anymore, you are now my life. Besides, the people you killed were the ones who killed my parents and I wanted vengeance as well. Adrian, I would kill for you, I would die for you, and nothing can ever change that.”

Adrian smiled and leaned back against a rack of clothes. “Nothing in this universe is perfect, humans especially. But Jenny, you are as close to perfect as reality will allow.”

“You are so sweet. All right, I got all the clothes I need,” she said, putting three blouses in the cart.

“Great, let’s pay and find some motel to pass out in.”

“Sounds like plan.”

It was just after 8:00 AM when they pulled up to the Forest Motel, a small inn partially hidden by the woods along the turnpike. They climbed out of the car, carrying their bags from the mall. Hidden among them was a duffle bag full of money and Adrian’s lance and bulletproof clothes. They stepped into the motel office and rung the bell, summoning the owner.

“How can I help you kids?”

“Can we have a room for tonight?” Adrian asked.

“Ah, young love, it’s always sweetest in a two-star motel. Just don’t leave any used condoms around. Room 4.”

“Two stars? Don’t flatter yourself,” Jenny teased as they were given a room key.

They made their way to the fourth motel room and stepped inside, both giving a sigh of relief. The room consisted of shag carpets, 70’s style wallpaper, a small TV on a bureau against the wall, a queen-sized bed, two bedside tables, a closet, and a small bathroom.

“I’m going to take a quick shower,” Jenny said as she put down her bags and walked into the bathroom.

Adrian turned on the bedside lamp, lowered the shades, and sat down on the bed, wincing in pain. Only with endorphins and pure will had he been able to endure the pain from his bruises, but now that he could finally lower his guard, it was all rising up. Adrian slowly pulled off his jacket and shirt, showing the fist-sized black marks that pocketed his arms and chest, plus there were plenty more on his legs. Several of them were even bleeding from being hit in the same place multiple times. Taking that barrage of bullets had been a stupid move, but he wanted to invoke fear and powerlessness in his opponents. Sometimes theatricality was one of the best weapons.

Adrian lied back on the bed, shaking all over and trying to catch his breath. His eyes bolted open and he jerked as he felt a cool wet towel pressed against the bullet wound on his shoulder. He looked up and saw Jenny, naked like him and as wet as the towel. The tender love and worry in her eyes was overpowering.

“My poor darling,” she whispered as she saw all of his bruises and wounds.

She went back to the bathroom and came out with more wet towels and a medical kit from under the sink. Climbing back onto the bed and kneeling beside him, she began gently cleaning his wounds with the wet towels, wiping away the dirt and blood. Adrian softly hummed in bliss and relaxation from the feeling of the wet towels against his injuries and Jenny’s soft hands against his skin.

“Ok, I’m going to have to stitch some of these up. This will hurt,” Jenny warned, picking a needle and line of thread out of the medical kit.

“You can stitch wounds?”

“I took an extra-credit course in health class, and basic medical techniques were some of the things I was taught. But this kit doesn’t come with pain killers, so this will hurt.”

Adrian placed his hand on Jenny’s warm thigh. “I’ll be fine,” he said calmly.

Even with his eyes closed, he knew Jenny was blushing with a smile on her face. His hand on Jenny’s thigh for mental support, Adrian was able to block out the pain as she began stitching shut the torn bruises on his body. For over an hour, she worked tirelessly, tending to his injuries. Once she was finished, she wrapped them in bandages and Adrian sat up.

“Now let me see you.”

He unfastened the bandages wrapped around her head and removed the gauze covering the gash on the side of her forehead. The gauze was bloody, but the wound seemed to be doing just fine and would be fully healed by the end of the week.

Jenny almost looked like she was sleeping while sitting up as Adrian cleaned the wound with sterilizing strips, covered it with fresh gauze, and wrapped her head with clean bandages. After Adrian checked to make sure the bandages would stay on, his hand drifted down from her forehead to her soft cheek. Jenny opened her eyes as he brushed his fingers against the side of her face.

She grasped his wrist and pressed his hand against her cheek. “Come on, you need to get some sleep.”

She pulled him to the center of the bed, and with his whole body aching, Adrian moved under the sheets and put his head down on the pillow. Jenny turned off the bedside lamp and curled up next to him, kissing his chest.

“Goodnight Adrian,” she said softly with her arm across his chest and her head on his shoulder.

“Goodnight Jenny,” he hummed as the soft bed, the warm blankets, Jenny’s body pressed against his, and his exhaustion carried him into the best sleep of his life.

“So what do we know about this Adrian kid?” FBI Agent Hoffman asked, leaning back behind his desk.

On the wall above him were his awards from back when he was just a detective. He was a very large man with a thin white goatee and gray hair. His partner, Agent Mason, had just stepped in with an armful of files. He had a PhD in psychology, and he often used it to provoke his partner. He was much leaner than his partner and had dark skin.

“After what he did to those dropouts in that warehouse, he must be one twisted psychopath,” Hoffman said as Mason sat down in the chair in front of his desk.

“On the contrary, he’s a certified genius. His school records say that he has an IQ of—oh, you won’t believe this—he has an IQ of over 300. He even holds the world record for the highest IQ level, which basically makes him the smartest person on Earth. His teachers have commented that he prizes logic and reason above all else and has been compared to a robot countless times. He’s a very wealthy inventor and his name is constantly circulating the technological industry as some sort of prodigy.”

“Oh goddammit, I hate the fucking geniuses!”

“Yeah, the geniuses are either experts at hiding or try to play games with us, and we’ve got to find him. However, if his girlfriend is in fact with him, that could work in their favor. People on the run will often make more mistakes if they are with others instead of on their own. The fact that he loves this girl should cloud his judgment, if only a little. You have those files on the girl right?”

“Jenny Sinclair? Yeah, I looked through them. As far as I know, she’s just a regular teenage girl. The trauma of her parent’s death must be why she decided to run away with him. Eventually she’ll realize it was a mistake, leave him, and the pain of losing her will hopefully make him mess up and we’ll catch him.”

“Oh, I have Adrian’s school picture. Jeez, look at the mugshot on him, talk about melancholic,” Mason said, handing him the pictures. He then saw a picture on Hoffman’s desk. “Is that her?”

“Yeah,” Hoffman said as he looked at Adrian’s picture.

Agent Mason looked at the picture of Jenny and chuckled. “Damn Mike, you would be out of the job if I weren’t here to help you. This girl isn’t normal.”

“What do you mean?”

His partner showed him the picture again. “Quite the looker, isn’t she? A girl like that is at the top of the popularity pedestal, a social goddess in the halls of high school. I know that strange couples can form, but from everything I’ve heard, these two are polar opposites of each other. Either their relationship has always been one bad day from breaking up, or these two have a much deeper relationship than they give them credit for. I don’t think they’ll just split up.”

It was 7:30 AM the next day at the motel, and Adrian closed the door as quietly as possible, but he could not stop Jenny from waking up. With a wide yawn and several cat-like stretches, she sat up and looked at him. “Where have you been?”

Adrian placed three bags on a nearby table and handed Jenny one of two cups of coffee. “I just needed to get a few things. We were asleep for an entire day, and I wanted to make up for lost time.”

Jenny took a drink of the coffee and grimaced. “I had always hoped that his first coffee would be sweeter.”

“Oh, that was your first coffee? Well if I had known that, I would have made sure that you didn’t lose your coffee virginity so disappointingly in a cheap motel,” Adrian joked, causing Jenny to laugh.

“So what exactly shall we be doing?”

“I’ll give you a hint: before coming back here, I stopped off at the local hospital and did a little bribery to get some drugs we’ll need. I also got something that we’ll REALLY need…” Adrian said as he reached into the third bag and handed Jenny a packet of birth-control pills.

“Oh, you’re a mind-reader. This is a huge relief. But you said you got some drugs from the hospital, what kind of drugs?”

“Anesthesia, several different kinds. We’re going to need them.”

“What are we going to be doing?”

“I am going to be training you. I’m a wanted criminal, and if you’re really going to come with me, I need to teach you to protect yourself. Things are going to get dangerous, and I won’t always be around to keep you safe. For the next two weeks, I’m going to expand your mind as far as it can go. Your intelligence will skyrocket and you’ll later learn my logic-based fighting style and achieve complete control over your body.”

Jenny gained an ecstatic smile on her face. “Really?”

“Yes, and trust me…” Adrian began as he wrapped his arms around her naked form. “That’s not all we’re going to be doing.”

The office was silent as Agents Hoffman and Mason read through Adrian and Jenny’s files. They needed to memorize every scrap of information they could find if they had any hope of finding them.

“There is one thing that keeps tugging at his mind…” Hoffman said. Mason looked up at him. “The bodies in that warehouse have been searched over and over again, and they can’t find any powder burns, poison, or signs that the victims were somehow weakened before they were fighting. An eighteen-year-old killed over thirty full or near full-grown men, all at peak strength and armed with guns and melee weapons. This is the kind of thing you only see in Kung Fu movies.”

“I know; I can’t stop thinking about it either. As far as I’ve learned, this kid has never been to so much as a single karate lesson and brainiacs aren’t typically experienced street fighters.”

“Which makes it possible that he didn’t do it. In fact, he could actually be dead. From what the Dean of Medicine said, he was told that his girlfriend was either going to die or never wake up from her coma. After the death of his parents and learning about his girlfriend, he could have easily killed himself and they just haven’t found his body. We were also told his girlfriend disappeared. It’s possible that she woke up, found out about her parents, found her dead boyfriend in a place she knew he would be, and decided to follow him to the grave. We could easily be looking for the wrong person.”

A man stepped into the office, holding a long cardboard box and three files. “Detectives, I have something you should take a look at…”

Hoffman took the box and opened it. “Holy shit.”

Mason looked through the files and gave the same curse. In the box was Adrian’s lance from when Logan and his cronies attacked him and Jenny, the one designed for concealment. It was supposed to be used as evidence in Logan’s trial. In the files were the medical and forensic records of Logan and his friends from when they were treated. The injuries confirmed that the lance was the cause, and the fingerprints linked it to Adrian.

“This proves it, it was Adrian. Similar weapon, similar injuries, a motive, and the same target,” Hoffman said, holding up the lance. He tried to fold it, but the hinges were locked in place. The weapon was strong enough to be used for chin-ups without the point bending or breaking.

Mason leaned back in his chair, deep in thought.

“Look at this grisly thing,” Hoffman said in amazement, “there are no serial numbers, company logos, or labels of the manufacturer. There are no signs of it being cast from molten steel but neither are there any imperfections. This thing was somehow made with the precision of a samurai sword.”

“This is bad, really bad.” Mason sighed.

“What do you mean?”

“Without any sort of fighting lessons or experience, he was able to take down dozens armed men with a single melee weapon. We aren’t dealing with a normal kid on the run. Not only is he the smartest person on Earth, he may be the deadliest.”

“Basically you’re saying that we’re dealing with some sort of prodigy?”

“I would prefer a less provocative term. But what I’m saying is that we need to catch him soon, because we can’t let someone like this run around the country, especially if he decides to strike again…”

“All right kids, that will be about twenty bucks,” the motel owner said as he put out his cigarette.

Standing in the motel office, Adrian and Jenny were about to pay for their night, but as Adrian pulled out the money, the owner looked to a TV in the corner of the room on a shelf. It was the morning news.

“Oh hold on, I want to hear this,” he said as he turned up the volume.

Adrian’s heart sank when he realized it was a story on the Warehouse Massacre.

“With the disappearance of the prime suspect and the discovery of a mass transaction from his bank accounts, the FBI has decided to release information on the supposed killer. His name is Adrian Ashford, he is eighteen years old, and he is considered armed and extremely dangerous. He is most likely traveling with his significant other, Jenny Sinclair. If anyone has any information on these two, please contact the local police,” the news anchor said as copies of the teens’ driver’s licenses and school pictures were put up on the screen.

In less than a second, the motel owner recognized them from their pictures. He turned back with his eyes wide, but before he could reach under the counter and activate the alarm, Adrian leapt over the table and grabbed him by the throat, moving as fast as lightning. Adrian slammed him against the wall and punched him in the stomach, finishing him with an elbow to the back of the skull to knock him out. Jenny stared at him with eyes as wide as the owner’s from the speed of the response.

“Come on, we have to go. It won’t be long until he wakes up and calls the police,” Adrian said as he jumped back over the counter.

Jenny ran out of the office but Adrian stopped. He gave a small smile and reached into his pocket, pulling out one of his darts. He slammed it down onto the counter, lodging the tip in the wood and leaving it standing up. He then wiped the counter with his sleeve and pressed his fingers down on the surface, leaving five perfect fingerprints. He followed Jenny out of the office and they climbed into their car, speeding off the second the engine kicked to life.

The building was essentially a small warehouse, with its only luxuries being electricity, a bathroom, running water, and a mattress on the floor. It stood on the very fringes of the town, at the end of a gated driveway leading off into the woods. Upon releasing the heavy padlock on the front door, Adrian and Jenny stepped into the large dusty room and looked around. The concrete floor was covered in wooden crates and cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes, some of which were open with brand new tools and medical equipment standing by, waiting for use.

“Ok, now before we do anything, I need you to make sure your bowels and bladder are completely empty. You have to be certain that there is absolutely nothing in your digestive system. There is a reason why I had you skip breakfast, in fact, I probably shouldn’t have even let you drink that coffee.”

Jenny looked at him with unease at the strange request. “I don’t understand, what does that have to do with my training?”

Adrian simply smiled. “Oh, you’ll see.”

Jenny and Adrian were sitting cross-legged on the mattress in the warehouse, facing each other. Standing next to the bed was an IV rack with a bag filled with a saline solution, as well as a bypass machine and a neural activity scanner for observing and recording the different waves and patterns of her brain.

“Before we can even begin your training, you must learn to use your entire brain. You know that cliché myth about people only using 30% of their brains? It’s of course false. It’s not like the majority of your brain will be pitch-black if you’re in an MRI or getting a PET scan. Instead, people use their entire brain but it’s the wiring of the brain that’s holding everyone back. Your brain is working at 100% constantly, but because of poor neural pathways, it only functions at 30% of its full potential. Humans also use only about 30% of their muscles as a way to protect themselves form overexertion, but I’ve found a way around that.

My brain has been completely rewired, which lets me think, calculate, and solve problems countless times faster and easier than regular people. Here, I’ll show you…”

Adrian reached into a bag beside the bed and pulled out a Rubik’s Cube, sixteen squares on each side. He had bought a few of them earlier when he went out. “Now close your eyes.” Jenny did as she was told and Adrian shuffled up the puzzle. He handed it to her and she opened her eyes. “It’s been scrambled with thirty moves. After an hour, tell me if you think you’ve made progress. If not, we can stop.”

Jenny looked at him with self-doubt.

“Don’t worry, this isn’t some standardized test at school. You can do nothing wrong,” he said reassuringly.

Jenny smiled confidently, but it quickly dropped after she looked down at the cube. For an hour, she shifted the levels while biting her lip, often stopping for a minute or so to try and come up with a strategy. Keeping time in his mind, Adrian kept his eyes closed so that Jenny would not feel nervous, and at the one-hour point, he told her to stop.

“So, do you want to keep going?”

Jenny sighed. “No, I have no idea what I’m doing. I can’t figure this out.”

Adrian looked at the Rubik’s Cube and chuckled. “Actually, you weren’t half bad. You were thirteen moves away from solving it. Most people either get to the high teens or actually scramble it up even more,” Adrian said before solving it in only a few moments.

He then reached back down and revealed a new Rubik’s cube, much larger and more complex than the first, barely fitting in Adrian’s hand. Each of the four sides was split up into nine sections, each section with a different color, and while unsolved, all sides looking exactly the same. Each section was comprised of sixteen squares, making the toy look like one giant stack of smaller Rubik’s cubes.

“I invented this years ago after getting bored with regular Rubik’s cubes. I got the idea from a Sudoku puzzle. Since it has nine colors, you don’t solve it by making one side entirely red, one side entirely blue, and so on. You have to make nine perfect sections on each side. Of all my inventions, this one has the worst sales, simply because no one can solve it but me, at least without cheating and having a computer write an algorithm for it. I’m glad I was able to find a place that sold them.

Scramble this in thirty moves and I’ll show you what 100% of your brain can accomplish.”

Jenny quickly scrambled up the puzzle, making it as difficult as possible with exactly thirty moves. Adrian kept his eyes closed so that he couldn’t see what she was doing. Once she was done, Adrian opened his eyes and she handed him the cube.

“All right, it’s been a while since I used one of these things, so I’ll probably be a little out of shape.”

He studied it for the first couple seconds, memorizing every side and forming a mental copy in his brain. Once he had it memorized, he began solving it, shifting the levels as fast as if he were instead trying to scramble it. Jenny watched him wide-eyed as the puzzle quickly began take its original form, with him only stopping occasionally to contemplate for less than a second. Once it was solved, he held up the cube.

“15.3 seconds, spread out across thirty moves. Now, as you have seen, there is a colossal difference between 30% and 100%. Each percent doesn’t increase your intelligence by an actual 1/100th of your full potential; the one before it basically multiplies each percent. It’s why even at 30%, you weren’t able to just solve the Rubik’s Cube three times longer than I did. If you can learn to harness the rest of your brain, mental tasks will take only a fraction of the original time and effort, because the work will be outsourced to more areas, instead of just the parts of your brain you are currently using. I will teach you how to unlock the rest of your mind and transcend normal limitations.

However, the expansion of your mind does not equal an instant IQ boost. It will take a while for you to learn how to use the awakened areas of your brain. At first, your senses will just be enhanced, then you’ll learn how to process moments in time faster and react, and finally you’ll gain foresight, logic, and high intelligence. At the third stage, you’ll be able to plan things out fifty steps in advance, you’ll be able to see through even the most complicated situations, and you’ll be able to outsmart anyone in your path.

In order to understand what we will do, you need to understand what we are trying to replicate. Imagine the human brain as a TV, specifically an older one. Your regular thoughts are the programs, your dreams are basically that public broadcast channel that shows only a single image with elevator music, static devoid of content is if you are in a coma, and turned off is death. When you turn off an older TV, you know how the image basically collapses in on itself in flash of light? Basically, the mental state I was in after my car accident is similar to that fraction a second in which the entire screen lit up.

You always hear those stories about people who had near-death experiences, where they see a bright light and feel a sense of euphoria. Afterwards, they may come back with a new talent that they never had before. What they believe to be a look into heaven is actually the brain shutting down and every single neuron firing at once in a colossal synaptic thunderclap while drowning in chemicals. It’s like if every single power line in the country experienced a pylon-destroying power surge. In this sudden flash of brain activity, new neural pathways are allowed to form and the process of myelin production increases by a hundred fold, linking the neurons together in entirely new ways. These new super-pathways are what grant the sudden talents; they’re the brain unlocking a part of its potential.

In order to rewire my whole mind, I basically had to die in that car crash. My brain wasn’t just a TV set on a static channel; it was caught in a moment of shutdown without beginning or end, just complete neural synchronicity. It’s a miracle that I was actually able to use that accident to unlock my mind, not to mention the even greater miracle that I woke up. As you can imagine, we can’t reenact that car crash with you in my place and just hope that you can survive like I did.

In order to do this effectively and safely, we’ll use hypnotism and drugs from the pharmacy to replicate the mental affects of lethal trauma and put you between life and death. I’m going to knock you out to the point where you can no longer control your internal organs or body and your brain will think you’re dying and trigger that near-death flash. Then, before you die for real, I’ll activate the bypass machine and put you on life support, basically taking care of your body while your brain completely reshapes itself while waiting for death.

I’ll put you under for a week, with a saline solution and nutrients injected intravenously to keep you healthy. But before I do anything, I need to tell you that there is a very high probability that you could die. I need to make sure you are aware of this and I need your full consent. I’m sure this method will work, but I’ve never been able to try it on anyone,” he said, speaking the last sentence with a shaky voice.

Jenny took a deep breath. “I want to do this, I want to help you achieve your dream and I want to fulfill my potential. If there is even the slightest chance that I can play some beneficial part in your plan, then risking my life is no question. I love you, Adrian, and I would do anything for you.”

Adrian sighed and nodded. “I’m going to begin the sequence of fluid injections, but do not lie down.”

Jenny nodded and Adrian plugged the IV into her arm, causing her to give a nervous shiver at the prick of the needle. He began the saline drip and plugged a syringe into the line, pressing down on the plunger and injecting the first drug.

“Now, close your eyes and clear your mind.” Jenny took another deep breath and closed her eyes. “Clear your mind of all thoughts and emotions. Imagine you are falling through darkness, and let my voice be the only thing in your mind. Let every word I speak ripple through the darkness, but let everything else fall away.”

Jenny gave another deep breath and Adrian placed his hand on the center of her chest, measuring her heart rate. The anesthesia was calming her down, but her body was woken back up with a shiver of arousal from his touch.

Adrian injected the second drug. “Calm yourself. Separate your mind from your body, forget the bed beneath you, forget my hand on your chest, forget the air against your skin, forget it all and let all of the feelings fall away. Do not fall asleep but do not wake up, set yourself on the mental precipice with only the void around you. Focus only on my voice and let everything else fall into darkness.” he murmured as he injected the third drug.

Adrian repeated this again and again, both verbally and with more injections, and over the course of a couple minutes, Jenny’s heartbeat slowly lowered as she entered a trance-like state, brought on by hypnosis and the drugs. As he had instructed, she was neither asleep nor awake; she had entered the subconscious level of her mind. Adrian took his hand off her chest and moved over to her carefully. It would be very difficult for her to wake up from this trance, but he did not want to risk ruining their progress. He sat next to her and brushed back a lock of her long blonde hair, and unlike before, she did not shiver at his touch. He then hooked up the hoses of the bypass machine up to her veins and injected the fourth drug, as well as placed electrodes on her scalp for the neural scanner to keep an eye on her brain waves.

“Keep falling, forget everything else, ignore all worries or cares. Forget about your body, forget the past, forget the future, forget me; just keep plummeting into darkness. Dive, dive as far down into your mind as possible and abandon everything else. Fall between life and death and exist on the very fringe of your own understanding. Give in to the empty darkness and cease all awareness and sentience. Abandon who you are and become one with the void.”

He wrapped his arms around her and caught her as she fell back, laying her down. She had completely relinquished all control of her body and the process had begun. Adrian activated the bypass machine and hooked up an IV bag full of chemicals, erasing the danger of her now unmoving heart and lungs but without preventing oxygen from being absorbed into her blood and moved throughout the body. Above her head, the monitor of the neural scanner was showing skyrocketing activity on all wavelengths as every neuron in her brain was firing at once and forming massive pathways and networks.

It was done, the bypass was keeping her body stable and fully oxygenated, her brain was reaping the benefits of being between life and death, her saline solution was full of nutrients to protect her health, and her condition was easily reversible. He had done it, the process was working, now all he had to do was give her mind time to recreate itself, and until he deemed it ready, there was work he had to do.

Adrian laid the strips of metal in the smelting drawer and pushed it into the kiln. The pool table-sized smelting oven had been made by him and was the hottest on the planet, able to sustain and tolerate temperatures that no other device could endure. It was made of another material of his own creation, Ignium, one that was so powerful at reflecting heat and maintaining its shape that it made the shields on space shuttles and satellites look like wet towels. He had made only a few of them and kept them hidden across the globe, for they were the only smelting ovens that could produce Demium.

The strips of metal he had inserted were all ingredients and had been measured down to the centigram for the perfect ratio in order to achieve the molecular structure and ensure the creation of the desired compound. The oven itself used a revolutionary design, blasting the metals with lasers and turning the air into plasma so as to melt the metal and keep it from forming any compounds except for Demium. There was even a piece of Demium in there, a “seed”, which would allow the metal compound to replicate over and over into crystal lattice structure. Locking the drawer into place, Adrian cranked up the heat and stepped back. Inside, the metals were all immediately fired down upon with a barrage of laser beams, each beam separated from its brethren by only a millimeter. After only a second, the metals began to liquefy and the air temperature skyrocketed, almost burning as hot as thermite.

With Jenny still held in suspension and the kiln melting the metal, Adrian had nothing left to do but wait and prepare for when he brought Jenny back. He had about a week until then, and he had to prepare for when she became fully aware, as well as create her lance. It normally took about three days of nonstop firing for enough Demium to form to create a lance, each molecule forming one by one in the stew of molten metals could even be compared to the formation of the first proteins and life forms in the primordial ooze. Until they formed that perfect Demium molecule, the atoms would float around, momentarily fusing together only to be broken back up. Once the structure was formed, the melting point of the combined metals would skyrocket and the structure would become permanent.

Pulling up a chair in front of the kiln and opening his laptop, he prepared for the long wait.

Detectives Mason and Hoffman stepped under the police tape that stretched around the perimeter of the motel. Cop cars and precautionary ambulances surrounded the building, with officers streaming out of the fourth room and the office. One of the forensic investigators walked up to them.

“I’m Detective Mason, and this is my partner Detective Hoffman, FBI,” Mason said as the two agents held up their badges.

“I’m Agent Madison,” she replied, pulling off her rubber gloves and shaking their hands.

“What do we have here?” Hoffman asked.

“The owner of this motel said that he was attacked by Adrian Ashford. Apparently, he and his girlfriend rented a room from him last night and he saw them on the news while they were paying.”

Madison led them into the motel office and Hoffman cursed, spotting the dart lodged in the counter and the five fingerprints glowing under a black light. “Oh shit, he’s gamer.”

“He’s baiting us,” Mason said as he stepped towards the counter, where pictures were being taken from all angles and evidence tags set up.

“What is the condition of the owner?” Hoffman asked.

“He’s fine, just a minor concussion. He was brought to the hospital just a few minutes before you two showed up.”

“Wait, he was alive? Were there any lacerations or stab wounds?” Hoffman asked.

“No, just some bruises. Ashford just knocked him out.”

Detective Mason stepped behind the counter and moved over to the cash register.

“Don’t bother, we already checked it. There were no signs of any money being stolen,” Madison said.

Before Hoffman or Mason could say anything, a cop stepped into the office. “We just received a call from the station: a hospital worker was arrested for selling drugs to a young man now believed to be Adrian Ashford. He confessed to selling anesthesia, saline, and IV nutrients, lots of them. The description he gave us matches the description of Ashford.”

“Interesting, very interesting. Did you find anything in the motel room?” Mason asked as he looked over the list in the officer’s hands.

“Just some empty Dunkin Donuts coffee cups and bloody gauze and bandages. The medical kit in the room was almost completely empty.”

“So we can be sure that they are both injured, but that doesn’t explain why he got that stuff from the hospital. Painkillers I can understand, but anesthesia, saline, and IV nutrients? What the hell are those two doing? How many Dunkin Donuts are there near this motel?” Hoffman asked.

“Just one, and a second one on the other side of town,” Madison answered.

“Can you get us the surveillance tapes of all the stores between this motel and the nearest Dunkin Donuts? If they bought anything else, we might get a clue as to what they are doing.”

Madison nodded and stepped outside while talking on her radio.

“A public encounter, no deaths, not even any real injuries, and no money stolen,” Mason said, taking the same stance as Hoffman. “But on the other hand, we’re dealing with a mass-murderer who has brought more death and destruction than Jason Voorhees, and he left one of his weapons and five perfect fingerprints just to tease us. We’re dealing with a psychopath with morals.”

“Well remember what we read on his file? His teachers said that he prided logic and reason above all else, and only did what was necessary. Maybe he didn’t kill that man because he didn’t have to,” Hoffman suggested.

“But that doesn’t make sense. He’s trying to bait us, but leaving a witness alive raises his chances of being caught. Could it be that maybe he’s guilty about his crimes and part of him wants to be caught?”

“I doubt that he would regret his vengeance. Let’s look at this another way: he leaves bait but no new victims. He obviously wants attention, but not attention from a new crime. He just wants to keep the trail hot.”

“Which means that the chances of him killing again are low, but he’ll still want us to focus on him. That means that while he did kill all those people, it was for vengeance, and it doesn’t make him a serial killer. He wants attention and he wants to be known, but not as a serial killer. But if that’s true, then it’s quite possible that we’re not the true targets in his search for attention. This is bait for us, but we could be the real bait. He could be using us as bait for someone else’s attention.”

Wearing a heat-resistant suit with full tinted facemask, Adrian turned off the kiln and pulled out the drawer of the smelting oven. He looked down into long pool of molten metal, growing brighter than fire itself. Amongst the gold-shaded liquid, specks of silver could be seen, the growing seeds of Demium. He pushed the drawer back in and reactivated the laser shower. It had been six hours and the development was going along quite well.

While waiting, Adrian had checked popular news and email sites, scanning for any story that had a picture of he or Jenny. More than half of all of the stories were about the massacre, but with its uniqueness, he was not surprised. Murder on this scale of brutality and numbers by one man was unheard of. So far, every article just repeated the facts of the one before it.

“We have only one piece of footage. A young man resembling Adrian Ashford entered a hobby shop near the Dunkin Donuts and purchased some Rubik’s Cubes and board games. That’s all we have,” Agent Madison said, handing a folder of security camera screenshots to Hoffman and Mason at the local police department.

“Rubik’s Cubes and board games? What the hell are they doing?” Hoffman muttered, looking over the pictures. Mason examined the receipt from the store, listing off everything that had been bought.

“Rubik’s Cubes, chess game, solitaire game, mahjong game, Go game, etc. These are all brain and puzzle games. Could this just be some entertainment for him, some quirk of his, something that geniuses just like to keep around?”

“Puzzle games, anesthesia, IV nutrients… We’re missing something, some key variable that links them together. Whether it is something he bought or something he knows, we need to find it if we are to have any chance of figuring out what he’s up to. Madison, could you please expand the search to all stores in and around this town?” Hoffman asked.

Madison nodded and stepped out of the room.

Back in his full heat suit and with a pair of Ignium tongs, Adrian dumped out the block of Demium onto a stone table, letting it cool momentarily. The block was about as long as a pool cue and as thick as his arm, but it wasn’t nearly ready to turned into a lance. The metal was still full of impurities, compounds and elements that hadn’t joined together to create Demium and were instead held in suspension. With the block glowing white-hot and practically melting through the stone table, Adrian worked quickly to activate his band saw-sized automatic hammer and his industrial cutting torch, used to bore through the thickest armor plating ever made. The former had been outfitted with Ignium surfaces, since anything that the Demium touched while hot was normally melted, and the latter was only powerful enough to keep the Demium hot, by no means could it melt it.

Holding the block in place, he cranked up the automatic hammer to its top speed and began pummeling the Demium with the weighted head. Moving faster than a jackhammer, the Ignium head crashed down onto the Demium over and over again, sending chips of impurities flying off the surface. He ran the entire block underneath the hammer, twisting it over and over while occasionally running it through the jet of high-pressure fire from the cutting torch to heat it back up to the point of being malleable. He put the block back under the hammer, knocking off as many chips of non-Demium as he could. He then brought both ends under the hammer for an extended time, slightly flattening them.

After another bath of fire, he brought the block over to a specially made lathe, built for this one and only purpose. The motor had been retrofitted to move slower and with far more torque, while the brace on the opposite end remained stationary. He locked in the white-hot bar and activated the lathe, twisting the bar while spraying it with high-pressure flames. With each rotation of the metal, more chips and specks of impurities from the interior were exposed and flicked off.

Upon the completion of the metal’s winding, he brought it back to the automatic hammer and continued smashing out the impurities. For fourteen hours he repeated this process over and over, stopping only to eat or drink, go to the bathroom, or switch out fuel tanks for the cutting torch. This was the same process he had to go through to create all his lances, and this certainly wouldn’t be the last time. With the moon high in the sky and the sunrise due in a few hours, Adrian lowered the block of Demium into a tub of water and waited through the created cloud of steam.

Once the bubbles stopped, he reached in with his bare hand and pulled out the block. Now that it had been hardened, the Demium was in its final form: it was harder than diamond but would never crack, crumble, or bend. A needle of this metal could support his full weight and the formation of the molecules produced a nearly-unbreakable crystal lattice structure that would resist oxidation. It could only be melted with a heat source on par with an atomic bomb or high-power laser. The only metal that could surpass it was a truly perfect one. There was only one final step.

Walking across the warehouse, he approached a machine that was covered in a dusty cloth. Pulling the sheet away, he let the fluorescent lights of the warehouse shine down upon one of his most useful machines: a laser-lathe. As the name suggested, it was essentially a regular lathe but with a vertical laser ark in place of a blade, as a laser was the only thing that could cut through Demium. The laser was the size of a stage light with a protruding handle and held up on a track so that it could move either left or right, with the track itself capable of moving forwards or backwards to the control the depths of cuts on whatever was in the lathe. An added bonus was that with a laser taking the place of a blade, the lathe could also be used for cutting like a table saw, and it had a built in computer for carving the smallest of details.

Locking the block in place in the two braces at the end with half of the block protruding the long way, he turned on the lathe and activated the laser. Up above the block on the track, the laser moved into position like the inscriber of a computer printer and fired down a beam of focused light into a receiver, creating an invisible line that could cut through just about anything it touched.

Knowing that every piece of Demium was priceless and that he would probably be needing more darts in the future, Adrian initially held off using the computer and manned the laser himself, cutting off thick strips of metal near what would be the needle-sharp tip to be recycled. After which, he let the computer take over, having long since programmed the design for his trademark lances. With precision that not even he could match, the laser slowly moved across the surface of the spinning bar of Demium, shaping it with a perfectly-level incline from base to point, as well as carving in grooves for a handle.

Within minutes, the lance was completed and a true work of art. Even if one were to argue the unfair advantage of modern machinery, no critic could deny that the lance in Adrian’s hand was the most well-crafted close-combat weapon in human history. It could handle a chop from a broadsword without receiving a scratch, be hit with an armor-piercing pullet but be free of any dents, and go tip to edge against the greatest katana and split it like a lightning bolt through a tree. It was a true masterpiece.

Raising the lance, Adrian plunged it straight down into the floor, shattering the concrete as if it were packed dirt and drilling a small hole into the surface. Dislodging the weapon, he examined the undamaged tip and smiled in satisfaction. Every surface and material, no matter how strong, was filled with miniscule defects and weak points. These weak points were normally too small to affect the integrity and strength of the materials, but easy target for Adrian’s weapons. Even if he couldn’t see them himself, the needle tip of this lance was fine enough to strike those points, causing the target to essentially buckle like liquid with little force. With just his weight behind it, Adrian had once drilled through the side of a tank during a firefight in Pakistan and killed the driver.

The lance complete, he made several darts from the Demium scraps, as well as several dozen from simple carbon steel and other metals. With how precious Demium was and the fact that he used them as long-range weapons, he needed plenty of expendable spares for when he was in a situation in which he could not retrieve a dart once it was thrown. After completing his work, Adrian gave a sigh of relief and accomplishment.

With the sun beginning to rise, he walked into the warehouse bathroom, washed up in the sink, and changed into some fresh clothes. His weapons completed and his body aching, he walked over to the mattress on the floor, where Jenny was still suspended in near-death state, completely stable and safe. With a tired smile on his face, he lifted up the thin blanket of the bed and lied down beside Jenny, quickly drifting to sleep with his arm wrapped around her.

Adrian kneeled by Jenny’s bed with a syringe in his hand, filled with epinephrine. The time had come, a week had passed and now it was time for Jenny to wake up, as well as see if this purely theoretical process would even work. He had already slowly weaned Jenny off the drugs, now it was time to give her a full jumpstart. Unplugging her from the bypass, he inserted the needle and gave her a small dose of epinephrine, just enough to get her heart racing and fully awaken her from her coma.

Jenny’s eyes bolted open and she arched her back while taking a loud and desperate breath, as if she had just narrowly avoided drowning. Looking around wildly, her body began to twitch and jerk as her mind discovered all of her senses all over again. Everything from her sense of touch to her sense of smell felt ten times sharper, when in reality, they were as sharp as they had only been, it was merely the amount of sensory information that was actually being processed that had changed. In her mind, all the sounds that would normally be interpreted as inaudible background noise was now like having front-row seats at a symphony orchestra. Her mind was better interpreting the light passing through her eyes, letting her see every line and imperfection in the ceiling above. She could still taste the toothpaste in her mouth from when Adrian had her thoroughly brush her teeth before putting her under, as well as any food particles she had missed. She could smell everything in the room, from the oil, dust, and even the rat droppings in the walls. Her sense of touch was now so potent that she could measure the humidity in the air, as well as the temperature. Even more, she could feel every single weave and thread in her clothes and the sheets of her bed, as if every single cell was a tiny nerve ending.

“Welcome to the transcended realm,” Adrian said proudly but softly.

For several seconds, Jenny was silent as she tried to come up with something to say, but she was too distracted by everything around her to think of anything. As well as her senses being heightened, her mind felt like the world’s largest supercomputer, taking in information and processing it with greater speeds than ever in her life. Her mind was moving so fast, she was able to recount her entire life in a single second, down to the smallest details, as well as understand everything that had ever confused her.

Jenny sat up and wrapped her arms around him, holding on for dear life as if she were trying to learn how to walk. He could tell that this new experience was frightening her. With her senses energized and her mind bouncing around in the new space, she was desperate to get a hold of something stable, like a seasick person focusing on the horizon.

“It’s ok, Jenny, take a deep breath and relax. Just breathe,” he whispered in her ear.

Jenny took a very shaky breath, almost as if she were crying.

“That’s right, just become accustomed to everything. Keep breathing and let everything come back gradually.”

Jenny continued taking deep breaths, and once she had relaxed, he laid her back down.

“Oh my god, Adrian… Is this… is this really how you see the world?” she gasped with disbelief, barely able to speak.

“Basically. This is how everything looks through his eyes. Listen to me: in a minute or two, you’re going to start getting a headache. It will feel like your stomach is inside your head and you’re starving. Your brain will literally be hungry for content and information beyond just sensory information; it will want data and knowledge. Listen to this as long as you want. As for food, this is all I’m comfortable letting you eat after a weak of being on death’s door,” Adrian said, holding up a bag full of everything from yogurt to mashed potatoes and a pair of headphones leading to his laptop. As Jenny nervously put the headphones on, Adrian activated the recording.

All week, Adrian had been collecting information online converting it to an audio file. Educational texts on physics, politics, mathematics, biology, chemistry, engineering, history, psychology, language, and even philosophy had been gathered and converted into a single track, played at high speeds. As a whistle-like stream garbled words played in her ear, Jenny began ripping open the containers of food and eating ravenously, using her fingers in place of any particular utensil. Watching her, Adrian couldn’t help but laugh.

“Now as I said before, this isn’t an IQ boost quite yet; your senses are better processed and your brain has been activated. It will take a while for you to actually learn how to use your awakened mind. Your training hasn’t even started yet, this trance just made training actually possible. Now that you’ve awakened the rest of your mind, you now have potential, and now the real training can begin,” said Adrian as the recording came to an end, two days later.

“I just can’t believe it, I can’t even describe what I’m feeling. It’s almost like a migraine that feels really good,” she whispered, just staring at the ceiling.

Adrian chuckled. “I guess that would be a good description. Come on, let’s stretch our legs and go get something to eat. You and I have been cooped up in this warehouse way too long.”

The sun was setting and there were only a few cars out on the road as the two lovers walked along the edge of the woods towards town, a couple miles from the warehouse. Adrian watched with a smile as Jenny would constantly dart her head in different directions, like a cat trying to catch the dot of a laser pointer. With her cleared senses, she was sampling every taste, smell, sound, sight, and feeling, almost as if she were experiencing them through a new body.

“All right Jenny, now for a test. For every car that passes by us, I want you to take all of the numbers on their license plate, multiply them by each other, and then add it to the sum of the next plate. But don’t try and cheat, I’ll be counting them too.”

Jenny smiled and she and Adrian began working the calculations as they walked down the street, enjoying the evening and the cool fresh air. They finally picked a restaurant, and just before they stepped inside, Jenny whispered in his ear, “1274895.”

Adrian smiled and whispered in hers, “Close, but it was actually 1274863.”

Jenny scowled at the tease but regained her smile as they stepped inside and were given a booth.

“So how do you like the new world?”

“It’s unbelievable. I knew that you saw the world differently, but I can’t believe how high you were above everyone else,” she said with amazement before a waitress came and took their order.

“Well, since we were so late in our training, you’ve lost some of your potential. I imagine that your IQ will be about twenty or thirty points below mine, but don’t be disappointed. In one day, you have surpassed all geniuses in terms of mental prowess. Be proud of yourself, for you have become more than human.”

Jenny blushed from the compliment and smiled as two cokes were brought out, later followed by their dinner: a cooked salmon for her and pork tenderloin for him.

“Perfect, I’m starving,” Jenny said, savoring the smells emanating from the plates.

“Now, while we eat, I’m going to show you two great abilities that comes with it: enhanced memory and senses. When I say memory, I don’t just mean mental memory, I also mean muscle memory. Muscle memory is the body’s ability to adapt to things that you do over and over again, allowing you to do them easier and more efficiently. But it also works with your senses, letting you memorize the physical aspects of the things you touch, like weight, viscosity, temperature, and how rough or smooth it is. By becoming enlightened, you have the ability to remember memories more clearly, including muscle memory.

Think back to science class, when we were taught the metric system. Remember when we were each given a weight that was exactly one gram? Remember that weight, think back to how it felt in your hand.”

Jenny closed her eyes for several seconds, pressing down on her palm with her fingers to simulate the weight of a single gram.

Adrian reached out with his fork and skewered a piece of salmon from her plate, holding it up. “Now take a bite, but don’t swallow.”

Jenny smiled and seductively pulled the salmon off his fork with her tongue. Adrian chuckled. “You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?”

Jenny just replied with a wink.

“Now that you have familiarized yourself with the weight of one gram, how much would you say that piece of salmon weighed?”

Jenny chewed for a few seconds before saying, “5.7 grams?”

Adrian raised his eyebrows in surprise, not expecting her to come that close on her first try. “That’s absolutely correct.”

“But how did you know how much it weighed when you were…” she said, trailing off as she looked at the fork in his hand. “You knew the weight of the fork?”

“A habit of mine is to weigh whatever I touch. I knew the weight of the fork the second I picked it up, and I just subtracted it from the combined weight of it and the piece of salmon. Now here is something a little trickier. Using the piece you just ate as a control, create a weight-to-mass ratio in your mind of the salmon and try to figure out how much it weighs just by the sight of it.”

Adrian picked up another piece and held it up to Jenny. She stared at the piece for a few seconds, analyzing every thread of tissue and trying to come up with it’s total mass, then comparing it to the piece she had just eaten.

“0.37 grams per square centimeter?”

“0.38 actually, but you were incredibly close for your first try,” Adrian said before eating the piece.

He picked up the saltshaker and sprinkled some on his pork tenderloin. As he began chewing on a piece, he handed her the saltshaker. “Very few people would be able to calculate the weight of those pieces if they had been holding it in one hand and a one-gram weight in another, let alone comparing it to memory. You were able to because your sensory perception has been enhanced. With your entire mental potential awakened, more electrical impulses are traveling through your nerves, allowing your mind to better process what you are feeling.

Just by touching it with your palm, count the number of holes on the top of that salt shaker.”

He continued eating and watched as Jenny pressed down on the saltshaker with her palm, trying to count the holes on the top. “Eighty one?”

“Bingo,” he congratulated as he pushed his empty plate to the side.

“All right, now let me eat, I’m starving!” she snapped, but with a smile.

He chuckled and leaned back, sitting silently as Jenny filled her stomach. He didn’t have to wait long; she really was starving. It was like watching a snow blower being pushed through a fresh layer of powder. He wasn’t surprised, she hadn’t eaten solid foods in more than a week and her body was now burning through its calorie reserves at an enhanced speed in order to power her newly awakened brain. She was finished in less than sixty seconds and gave a very unladylike belch.


“Very,” she hummed in bliss.

“Do you want desert?”

“No, I’m exhausted. I’ve barely done anything but lie in bed, but my whole body is tired.”

“Well we left after you completed a mental marathon. How about we pay the bill, maybe pick something up on the way to the motel, and fall asleep while watching a movie?”

Jenny gained a look of tender love and peace on her face. “That would be perfect.”

They stepped out of the grocery store with Adrian’s arm around Jenny and both of them holding a plastic bag. Jenny had two small tubs of ice cream in hers and Adrian was carrying food for tomorrow morning in his. The night was warm and they wanted to get to the warehouse before their deserts turned into sticky puddles. They walked along the side of the road, trying to decide what movie they would watch.

“Are you sure I can’t talk you into an action movie?” Adrian asked.

“No way, let’s just watch a nice romantic-comedy.”

“I’m ok with that, do you have anything in mind?”

“I don’t know, let’s see what we can find.”

“With the entire Internet at our disposal, that doesn’t really narrow the list down.”

“Ok, but that laptop isn’t very big, so I’ll have to snuggle up close so that we can both watch,” she whispered in his ear.

They were lying on the mattress, pressed together like two puzzle pieces as they watched the movie on Adrian’s laptop. Two empty ice cream tubs were sitting on the floor beside the bed, and they were both using each other for warmth against the chills crawling from their stomachs. Jenny had her arm across his chest and her head on his shoulder, and Adrian was relishing the sweet smell of her long golden hair.

“This is so nice,” Jenny said without notice.

“What is?”

“Just this, where we are, what we’re doing. Being on the road on our own, going out to dinner and then coming back to our own place (even if it is a warehouse with a single mattress). I just feel so… independent, like I’m done with school and I’m ready to start my own life with you. This is just a warehouse, but to me it’s like our real home. We’re running from the law, but to me it’s like we’re finally free to go wherever we want. Our old lives are gone, but to me… it’s a chance to start our new life together.”

“I’m loving it too; the freedom of being in control of our own lives, and in our case, we literally can do whatever we want.”

“Well… I know what I want to do,” Jenny said coyly as she slowly closed the laptop. Adrian smiled as she put it down on the floor and then climbed up on top of him.

She leaned down and pressed her lips against his as gently as a falling leaf. The gentle kiss lasted only for a few seconds before becoming much more passionate. As they kissed, Adrian unbuttoned Jenny’s blouse and she pulled it off. Her white bra was holding her breasts well, but it wouldn’t take much for them to pop out. He reached behind her and undid the clasp, and the lingerie instantly lost it’s grip on Jenny and hung slack. Adrian’s heart was beating quickly from the tease. Even though he had seen them countless times, her voluptuous breasts always excited him.

Jenny pulled off the clinging bra and tossed it across the room, letting the light and fresh air bath her glorious tits. She leaned forward and suspended herself over him, with her breasts just inches from his face. He reached up with his tongue and traced her nipples, causing her to hum in pleasure. As he switched between her boobs, he worked his hand underneath the waistband of her skirt and into her panties. Jenny’s pussy was already wet with arousal, and it only took the slightest touch to send shivers up her spine.

Adrian slowly pushed his fingers in, rubbing her hot wet insides. Jenny’s humming turned to moaning, she had her cheek pressed against the top of his head, and she began grinding her pussy against his hand. Adrian wrapped his arms around her and rolled over, switching their positions so that he was on top. He kissed her and she slipped her tongue between his lips, licking the inside of his mouth. After a few seconds, he moved from her lips and started kissing her neck, her collar bone, down the middle of her chest, her slim belly, and finally reached her wet pussy.

He flicked his tongue playfully between the pink lips and Jenny’s whole body quivered. He licked again, this time more broadly. Jenny gave a soft moan with her hands constantly moving, either gripping the bed or her breasts. Adrian kissed her pussy while sending his tongue deep inside her, just like how she had French-kissed him. She was delicious beyond description He brought up his hand and pushed his fingers back inside her, using them to probe her cunt while he licked every corner. Jenny’s moan became more shrill, echoing through the warehouse with her whole body shaking uncontrollably and her smooth thighs pressed against the sides of his face.

Just when she was about to cum, Adrian pulled away, filling her with sexual anticipation.

“Oh god, Adrian, don’t stop! You’re driving me crazy!” Jenny groaned with her whole body blushing.

“Don’t worry, honey, I won’t,” he said as he pulled off his clothes.

Adrian suspended himself over her and pushed his manhood up into her pussy. Jenny gave a very familiar moan and he sat up. With their bodies perpendicular, he began forcing his bulging phallus deep inside her, gripping her hips and trying to keep the bed from lessening his momentum. Jenny had her legs wrapped tightly around his waist and was holding his hands for dear life.

Jenny’s pussy wasn’t just accepting his manhood; it was practically inhaling it. He could actually feel suction on his cock from the soft lips gripping it hungrily, as if her body was begging for his seed. Jenny’s expression constantly changed, switching from aggressive nymphomaniac to sweet and gentle.

Without warning, Jenny grabbed him by the shoulders and rolled over, switching positions so that he was back under her. With his cock driving straight up into her, Jenny gave a shrill moan and began rocking back and forth. She was moving her hands all over his body, gripping his shoulders, rubbing his chest, and leaning back on his legs for support. She would often place her hands on his cheeks with a look of tender love on her face, and he would reply by gently kissing her wrists.

Adrian had his hands on her hips and was using the strength in his arms to lift her up and slam her back down, driving his cock deep into her pussy. Jenny leaned forward and gripped the corners of the mattress, again with her breasts just inches from his face. With his manhood being forced into her like a jackhammer and his tongue sweeping her breasts, Jenny could barely keep her moans from shattering glass. She was hollering like an opera singer, with her body as hot and red as burning coals. Finally, Adrian gave one great thrust and sent several thick streams of semen into her. It had all built up in his body over the last week and was now released in a load so great that it was overflowing out of her.

Jenny became limp and collapsed next to him, gasping for air. Her whole body was blushing, with her pussy and inner thighs completely plastered with sperm.

“That was one of our best without a doubt,” Adrian panted.

“How is it that every time with you is as fantastic and magic as our first time?” Jenny hummed as she pressed herself against me.

“Because it’s always best with the one you love. I glad you liked it Jenny… Jenny?” he asked when she didn’t reply. He looked down at her and realized she was sound asleep.

“Goodnight baby,” he chuckled before turning off the nearby lamp.

Adrian was woken up by the rising sun shining through the window blinds and the chirping of birds outside. It was just after six in the morning and Jenny was in a deep sleep, pressed against him in the same position as last night. There was a small smile on her lips and every soft breath she took seemed to have a cat-like purr. He smiled and kissed her on the forehead. She hummed in reply and buried her face in the side of his neck, as if trying to warm herself.

“Nothing in this universe is perfect, humans especially. But Jenny, you are as close to perfect as reality will allow,” Adrian said softly, repeating what he had said to her in the department store.

Jenny gave another hum, and with her pressed so tightly against him, he could feel her heartbeat quicken as she began to wake up. She opened her beautiful eyes and gave a third hum, wrapping her arms around him.

“Good morning,” Adrian said softly.

“Good morning. So what’s the plan for today?” she asked, kissing his chest.

“Quite simply, we’re going back to the Rubik’s Cube.”

Like the day Adrian put her into her drug-induced coma, the two genius teens were sitting on the bed in meditative positions. They had just eaten breakfast and were about to resume their training. Adrian was holding the Sudoku Rubik’s Cube in his hand.

“Thirty moves, just like when I solved it. Now if your IQ has increased, you’ll be able to at least solve it this time.”

Jenny took the puzzle and bit her lip.

“Take your time, Jenny, you have all the time you need, all the time in the world. And… go.”

Jenny gained a confident smile and studied the six sides of the Rubik’s Cube. After four seconds, she began shifting the different levels of the puzzle, and Adrian could see in her eyes that it was really starting to make sense to her. He could see her planning out several moves ahead of the ones she was making, using the mental blueprint she had established instead of turning the cube over in her hands, and not having to turn back moves she had made. Three minutes later, Adrian applauded as Jenny handed him the solved puzzle. The fact that she had actually solved in, in minutes no less, was a huge testament to her new abilities.

“You have no idea how proud of you I am,” Adrian said, making Jenny blush.

“So what now?”

“We do the Rubik’s Cube again and again and again, as well as use the other games and puzzles I got to exercise your mind.”

From then on, Adrian scrambled the toy a dozen times, handing it back to Jenny each time for her to solve it. Each time she solved the puzzle, it was clear to Adrian that her processing skills were sharpening and quickening. She was mentally playing it through in her mind, running through different scenarios and paths with her hands always five steps behind.

“Ok, done. Now can we take a break?” she sighed, handing him the Rubik’s Cube.

“Sure. Maybe we could take a walk, go see a movie, or go shopping at the mall, it’s your choice.”

“Actually, I know what I want to do.”

Before Adrian could say anything, Jenny pounced on him.

Jenny and Adrian were panting like a pair of dogs on a hot summer day, with the sheets tangled around them and a thin film of sweat covering their bodies.

“How is it that every time with you is as fantastic as the first?” Jenny gasped.

“Because I love you so much, plus you said that I can read your body like brail.”

He then held up the scrambled Rubik’s Cube.

“When did you scramble it?”

“Oh come on, you weren’t exactly watching me like a prison guard. I don’t know how you can notice anything while moaning at the top of your lungs with your eyes locked shut,” Adrian teased.

“I don’t act like that!” Jenny laughed, playfully smacking him.

“Yes you do! I always feel like an alien is about to burst out of your chest!” he said, prompting her to playfully smack him again.

She took the Rubik’s Cube and instantly began solving it. Adrian could see the level of improvement in her eyes as her skills exceeded her previous tries. He just lied beside her, constantly switching his gaze from her to the puzzle. Less than two minutes after she started, Jenny handed him the solved Rubik’s Cube. Before he could even congratulate her, she pounced on him again, kissing him wildly.

While they caught their breath after their second fling, Jenny solved the Rubik’s Cube for the third time, this time completing it in forty-five seconds. To celebrate her progress, they decided to stretch their legs and go out to lunch.

“So what now, more Rubik’s Cube solving?” Jenny asked as they stepped back into the warehouse.

“Yes, but it will be a little more complicate now,” Adrian said as he closed the door behind them.

“What are we going to do?”

Adrian smiled and reached into one of the plastic bags on a worktable, pulling out three more Sudoku Rubik’s Cubes. “Now that we have your record as a control, I’m going to train you to solve multiple puzzles at once by using different areas of your brain and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to strengthen their mental teamwork…”

Jenny and Adrian were lying on the warehouse floor with their legs locked together, each doing rapid sit-ups and solving a Sudoku Rubik’s Cube.

“So what is the purpose of this exercise?” Jenny panted as she shifted her cube and lied back down.

“It serves two purposes actually, the first is purely for the workout. Before I teach you how to combine logic and fighting, I need you to be in the best shape possible. The second is stress training. So far you’ve just solved these things while relaxed, but in order to achieve your potential, I need you to be able to solve this thing while under stress. Military training is built on this principle,” he said while doing sit ups and solving his own puzzle just like her.

“And why are you doing it?” she asked, trying to catch her breath.

“Just to stay in shape.”

“Now what about this exercise?”

They were sitting on the bed and Jenny was taking turns with three Sudoku Rubik’s Cubes. She would shift one, switch to the next, shift it once, move to the third, shift it, and repeat.

“The purpose of this exercise is to teach you how to solve multiple problems at once. Now that you’ve woken up your mind, we have to work it to its limits. With three cubes, you have to retain three times the information, plan three different paths at once, and learn to divide your mind into three different processors. If you can not only split and harness your brain, but also strengthen the pieces so that each is almost as powerful as an entirely separate brain, your mental prowess will be augmented by countless magnitudes.

With three cubes, it’s like your mind is a human embryo and they’re trying to split it up into three pieces that will grow into full triplets. Once you are done, you’ll be able process and plan things at nearly inhuman speeds.”

Adrian and Jenny switched from puzzle to puzzle, only making a single move before moving on. She was biting her tongue and had an expression on her face like she was trying to squeeze a Hummer into a tight parking space, but he could clearly see the learning process.

“So what’s the purpose of this one?” Jenny asked as she shifted a Rubik’s Cube and handed it to him. They were taking turns with a cube, each making a single move and then switching it off to the other.

“The purpose is mental teamwork,” Adrian said, handing it back to her. “Like I said before, things are going to get dangerous…” Back to him. “And in order for us to fight and survive…” Back to her. “We’re going to need to be completely in tune…” Back to him. “And come up with the same plans and strategies… Back to her. “Without talking.” Back to him. “We need to be able read each other’s thoughts…” Back to her. “Act like mirror images of each other…” Back to him. “See the world through each other’s eyes…” Back to her. “And act how the other would or predict how the other would.”

Adrian made the last movement, completing the puzzle.

Adrian opened up the cardboard box and poured out the ten-thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle onto the floor, following by spreading them out so that every piece was visible and there were no overlaps.

“All right, make sure your eyes catch every single piece and then trust your memories and spatial reasoning skills.”

Looking out over the vast puddle of jigsaw pieces, Jenny tightened the rags she had tied on her legs for kneepads, stretched, and took a deep breath of initiative while Adrian tied a bandana over her eyes. Three hours and two breaks later, Jenny stood over the completed mosaic of New York with a look of pride on her face.

Every complex board game that Adrian could get his hands on was laid out on the floor, with he and Jenny moving along them in rotation, each taking their turn on a game and then moving onto the next one. There were even multiple copies of the same games, each one with a different strategy being played out.

For two whole days, they went through the different games and puzzles. Adrian would work and train alongside Jenny, often combining the exercises. Many times, she would get frustrated and would refuse to do any more, so he would stop the training so that they could take a break and clear their heads, then she would dive right back in. At 7:00 am on the third day, they were both exhausted and desperate to fall asleep. Jenny had blisters on her hands from the edges of the Rubik’s Cube, and Adrian could tell that she was really sick of the puzzles.

“Ok honey, one more time, and we’re done,” Adrian said calmly as he handed her a jumbled Sudoku Rubik’s Cube.

“Do you promise? Because I’m about ready to stomp on this thing until it’s nothing but plastic splinters.”

“I promise.”

Jenny smiled and looked down at the puzzle. She studied the six sides for three seconds and then went to work, moving with incredible speed. Twenty-four seconds and thirty moves later, she was done.

“Congratulations Jenny, you’ve almost filled your potential. There is still more training to be done, but you’re basically done with the Rubik’s Cube.”

“Good, now let’s go out to eat. I’ve been going stir-crazy in this warehouse.”

Chapter Seven

“Hey, we just got a call. Apparently, a woman spotted two people that fit the profile of our culprits,” Madison said, stepping into the temporary office of the two FBI agents.

“Did she give any details?” Mason asked.

“As well as matching the photos that have been put out on the news and in the papers, she said that the woman had a scar on the corner of her forehead that looked very recent, maybe two weeks old. She also said that they didn’t arrive or leave the restaurant by car, they walked.”

“Put out a search to the area surrounding that restaurant, have every building, parking lot, and camp ground checked. If anything seems suspicious, call us,” Hoffman instructed, nearly jumping from his chair.

“I already have a place in mind. There is a warehouse in the middle of the woods, out just a few miles from the diner. It’s private property but no one has any idea who it belongs to, we can’t even find the ID of the owner. The only people who ever go there are delivery trucks and professional movers. But get this, I did some investigating and found that it recently began drawing a heavy electric bill, starting around the time Adrian Alexander showed up. I already talked to the ADA about the warrant.”

Mason stood up and grabbed his coat. “Come on, Hoffman, you and I will take care of this ourselves. Have the police begin their search of the surrounding area, we won’t need backup and if he is there, we don’t canlı casino want to spook him into running.”

Adrian and Jenny both heard it at the same time, the sound of a car rolling up the long overgrown driveway to the warehouse. Someone was coming and they knew exactly who it was. Adrian’s cell phone was beside their chess board and carried a built in radio, letting them listen in on all police radio frequencies and track their movements, just in case someone had figured out where they were.

“Jenny, you know what to do, it’s time for us to move. Checkmate,” Adrian said calmly, moving his bishop within striking distance of her queen.

“Well at least we got to finish our game. But don’t start thinking that this means you get to weasel out of a rematch!” she said without a care in the world.

Standing up, he put on his coat and walked outside, quickly climbing into his car and moving it behind the building so that it couldn’t be identified. Standing with his back to the wall of the warehouse and its shadow hiding him, he watched as the black sedan rolled up to the warehouse and came to a stop. Cautiously, the two detectives climbed out, each with their sidearm in hand. Having seen the massacre in that pier warehouse, they both knew what Adrian was capable of, and if he really was here, they had to be careful. In their minds, they were both regretting not calling backup.

“Tch, what a bother,” Adrian muttered, reaching into his pocket and drawing a zippo lighter.

One of his inventions for personal use, the lighter actually had a small device installed in place of the fuel container, with the flint as the switch. Flipping it open, he rolled the fake flint and the electromagnetic pulse was silently released. In a fraction of a second, the black sedan that the detectives had arrived in now became useless, as well their radios, giving off a soft blip of static before becoming forever silent. This miniature EMP device had come in handy several times before, especially since Adrian built all his tools to resist such measures.

Hearing the blip sounding off from their hips, the two detectives looked down and Adrian stepped out into the light with a dart in each hand. “Good morning, gentlemen,” he said calmly, causing Hoffman and Mason to jerk and shout in surprise.

“Adrian Alexander, you are under arrest for murder,” Hoffman said, trying to keep his cool.

Adrian turned to him and cocked his head to one side. “From your voice, I’d say that you are Agent Hoffman, which makes you Agent Mason.”

He walked out in between them and the building, coming to a stop and studying them closely while preparing to make his move. There were fifteen feet of space between the three men, forming a triangle with Mason to his left and Hoffman to his right. To the two experienced agents, Adrian gave off an unusual vibe, one that they had never picked up on when encountering a perp. To them, it felt like what they were looking at wasn’t really Adrian, but a something inhuman wearing human skin. There was no malevolence or evil in his eyes, only alienation. Also, the fact that he knew who they were did nothing to quell their fear.

“How did you recognize us?” Hoffman demanded.

“Before you came up the driveway, you spoke to a detective named Madison on your radio, confirming that you had reached my position. You said, “Madison, it’s Hoffman, Mason and I just reached the place, we’ll call back if we find anything.” I also know that you have no back-up or anyone waiting for you down the road. This was purely exploratory, coming here on a hunch with no real evidence.”

A shiver was sent down the spines of the two men from how much he knew.

“Is Jenny Sinclair here with you?” Mason asked.

“Yes, she is inside packing. Unfortunately, you two interrupted our plans and now we have to move somewhere else for the time being.”

Inside, Jenny packed all the essentials while listening in and catching quick glimpses from the windows.

“The only place you’re moving to is a prison cell. Get on your knees with your hands behind your head!” Mason ordered, slowly approaching with his gun raised.

Cracking a small grin of amusement, Adrian stepped forward and brought up his hands, brandishing the two darts to bait the detectives. Appearing to be lunging for his partner, Hoffman opened fire on Adrian, firing three rounds. Using the dart in his right hand in place of his lance, Adrian deflected the trio of rounds, using his predictive abilities to plan the trajectory of each bullet before it was fired. As the three bullets crumpled off the thin spike, Mason began firing as well, but with little effort. Adrian deflected the incoming bullets with the dart in his left hand. The two agents both opened fire, emptying their clips at the same time and even changing their targets, but nothing they did could beat Adrian’s reaction speed and processing power. In just over a few seconds, their guns were empty and the ground around Adrian was littered with crumpled bullets. Both detectives were in awe, unable to believe what they had just seen. This teenager before them, this kid, had just deflected two magazines worth of bullets with a pair of pencil-sized metal spikes! It was completely inhuman!

“If you want, I can let you reload or grab your back-up pistols. After all, we have all the time in the world, and I neutralized your radios as soon as you got out of the car, so you can’t call for help. But tell you what: I’ll put away my darts if you two throw aside your guns, including your back-ups. And don’t bother trying to shoot me again, because you know what will happen, and you both know that if one attacks while the other fires… well, I think you can imagine what I am capable of. Come on, let’s solve this like men.”

Knowing that there was no other choice, the two detectives cast aside their main sidearms and then their back-ups. Content, Adrian threw his darts behind his head and lodged them in the door. “All right gentlemen, let’s see if you have what it takes to arrest me. I promise not to kill you and you can stop the fight whenever you wish.”

Knowing that they were looking death in the face, the two agents swallowed their fear and charged forward, with Hoffman throwing his fist straight towards Adrian’s face and Mason aiming low and to the side. With a confident smile, Adrian grabbed Hoffman’s fist and twisted his arm, forcing him to his knees. Simultaneously, he spun around and delivered a nose-breaking kick to Mason and tossed him back, finishing by then slamming Hoffman in the side of the head with his elbow with enough strength to nearly knock him out.

Mason slowly got up with blood pouring from his face, almost delirious and trying to stay on his feet. Always the muscle of the duo, Hoffman was on his feet first, and without thinking clearly, charged towards Adrian in an attempt to tackle him and knock him to the ground. Adrian ducked down and punched Hoffman in the gut with enough strength to make him cough blood, as well as send his feet flying out from under him. The detective hanging on his fist, Adrian hurled him off, grabbed his ankle while he was in the air, spun around for momentum, and then hurled him at his partner like a discuss.

“Who the hell is this guy?!” Mason gagged, trying to breathe with Hoffman on top of him and wondering how a teenager could just throw a 230-pound man with such ease.

“Would you like to stop this fight? I would greatly prefer to avoid further harming two FBI agents.”

“Not on your life,” Hoffman said, slowly getting to his feet with Mason.

“Keep your cool, you can’t let him anger you,” Mason said, wiping the blood off his face.

“Who says I’m angry?!” Hoffman roared, charging towards Adrian and throwing his right fist forward.

Catching Hoffman’s fist, Adrian darted to his left, almost tying the agent up with his own arm. Hoffman’s momentum threw him past Adrian, but the young genius never let go of his fist, and when he came to a stop to a tango-like spin, Adrian gave a hard pull and jerk of his arm, using Hoffman’s weight and momentum to snap his elbow. Howling in agony, Hoffman dropped to the ground and was finished with a knee to the face.

Reaching into his pocket, Adrian drew one of his darts and spun around, hurling it at Mason and piercing his hand with the strength of a crossbow as the agent reached for his discarded firearm. In excruciating pain like his partner, Mason rolled onto his back and gripped his bleeding hand while Adrian walked over.

“That’s what happens when you break the rules. Unfortunately, I can’t risk wasting anymore time, so to keep you from giving us more trouble…” Adrian began before stomping on Mason’s ankle and breaking it. “Believe me when I say that I am truly sorry for that and all the other injuries I have caused you two. Hurting men of the law is the last thing I want to do, but I must ensure Jenny’s and my safety.”

Hearing the door open, Adrian looked back at Jenny, who was watching him with a pale face.

“I… I got everything ready,” she said, trying not to look at the two agents.

“Great work. By the way, how much morphine do we have left?”

“About a bag’s worth.”

“Perfect, could you do me a favor and fill up four syringes? I just have to move these guys.”

Knowing what he meant and feeling her tension melt away, Jenny nodded with a small smile and went back inside. Humming to himself, Adrian grasped Mason by the shoulders and dragged him away from the warehouse and into the shady of a tree behind their car.

“What are you doing?” Mason asked.

“Trust me, you’re going to want to be a safe distance from the building.” Adrian said, retrieving Hoffman and dragging him over. Awake but in too much pain to move, the agent gave only the smallest struggle as Adrian pulled him over and laid him out beside his partner, checking to make sure that the car would provide good cover.

“It’s a real shame that you two showed up, I had a lot of good stuff in that warehouse. Money is no problem for me, but I had some rare pieces of tech in there.” Adrian sighed before walking away to Jenny, who had come back out with the syringes. “Thanks honey,” he said, taking the needles and walking back.

As calm as could be, he injected both agents with a dose of morphine and handed Mason two more. “Ok, that should hold you over for a while, and use the other two if you start hurting. You might have to help him with his, though. Don’t worry, backup will be here soon, but better safe than sorry. Gentlemen, have a nice day.”

He walked back over to Jenny, who was loading their stuff into the car. Once packed, they climbed in a drove off down the long overgrown driveway, leaving the two agents alone. At the end of the driveway, Adrian pulled out his cellphone and pressed a button on the screen. Instantly, every piece of machinery in the warehouse exploded as blocks of C4 were set off inside them, blowing apart everything, including the laser lathe and the Ignium kiln. At the same time, thermite bombs attached to the walls and support beams were set off, turning the warehouse into a flaming geyser and melting everything but the Demium and Ignium. Mason and Hoffman both winced from the deafening roar of the explosion and the brightness and heat of the flames, but as Adrian had predicted, no shrapnel or wreckage reached them.

“So where next?” Jenny asked.

“Well we need to get this car some new license plates since the feds are after us, then we’ll move deeper into the countryside. We need absolute seclusion in order for your training to be completed.”

“Jesus, you two are wrecks. It’s a miracle that you survived that explosion,” Detective Madison said, stepping into the hospital room of the two agents.

Fire fighters who were responding to the warehouse explosion had found them, and they were now all bandaged up and receiving more morphine. Hoffman had suffered a concussion, a broken arm, and two broken ribs, and Mason had a broken nose, a stabbed hand, a broken ankle and one broken rib. They were both lucky to not have ruptured eardrums after being so close to such a huge explosion.

“The explosion didn’t do this, Adrian did,” Hoffman said.

“And not only did we land a single punch on that punk, but be pulled us aside to protect us from the explosion and even gave us painkillers. Of all my injuries, my ego hurts the worst,” Hoffman coughed, wincing in pain from his broken ribs.

“We should just consider ourselves lucky that he holds such respect for police and federal agents. After what he did to us and all those other guys, he could have killed us both with less effort than it would take to kill two flies.”

It had been a day since they left the warehouse and they were ready to continue Jenny’s training. They were alone in the wilderness, far away from any road, house, or even a hiking trail, and with plenty of camping gear and supplies in the car, they were ready to spend a long time by themselves. Ever since leaving the warehouse, Adrian had continued to train Jenny in the car. As he drove, Jenny would solve his Sudoku Rubik’s Cubes blindfolded so that she would have to work from pure memory, solve math problems that Adrian would give her, come up with solutions to hypothetical situations, and play chess with him without a chess set. Like solving the cube while blindfolded, playing chess without a set required flawless memory, with both of them having to remember where every piece was without being able to see them, and still come up with strategies. Adrian would beat her every time, but she loved the challenge and constantly wanted to go for another round.

“Ok, our injuries have fully healed, so it’s time to resume your training. You’ve learned how to use your senses to their full potential and think with the same efficiency and power as a supercomputer. Now that our bodies are in prime condition, we can begin the next part of the training: pain tolerance, harnessing the full strength of your muscles, and logical fighting. We’re going to spend a month out here, working nonstop,” Adrian said as he cracked his knuckles and made sure for the hundredth time that they were alone.

Jenny gained a small smile. “Adrian, the night our parents were killed, I got to the pier just before you began slaying Logan and his followers. What I saw left me breathless. I looked past the blood, gore, and killing intent, and I watched the way you moved. It was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen; it was like art in motion. Are you saying that you’re going to teach me that?” she asked with her voice soft but filled with excitement.

Adrian gained a confident smile. “In reality, there is not much to teach. You will learn how to achieve the required discipline, but that is all. Now I must warn you, this part of the training will be incredibly dangerous, and often painful. I would die before causing you harm, but if you want to gain ultimate control over your body, you must be willing to take a lot of pain. I cannot teach you this discipline without being very harsh and strict and you need to learn how to operate under stress.”

Jenny straightened her posture and her expression was one of stony confidence. “I want to learn, Adrian. Please teach me.”

“Very well. The first step to this is learning to activate your body’s adrenal glands on demand. That will give you a taste of what it’s like to have full internal control. Let’s take a seat.”

They both sat down on the ground in meditative positions.

Adrian took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “I just need a minute…”

In his mind, he was preparing himself for the mental strain he would receive by being Jenny’s teacher. He would have to be cold and harsh in order to teach her. He would have to become the machine that he had forsaken to be with her. This would be the ultimate test for their relationship and their wills. Adrian would have to face guilt for what he would put Jenny through and do what must be done, and Jenny would have to accept great pain and keep coming back. Adrian took another deep breath and opened his eyes. They had gained an icy hue, and when he spoke, his voice had a cold metallic sting for the first time since Jenny and Adrian were first intimate.

“Before we begin, I must warn you. This will be one of the harshest times of your life. It’s basically going to be one-on-one boot camp. If we are going to proceed, then our roles must change. I won’t be your lover and boyfriend; I’ll be your teacher and master. You won’t be my lover and girlfriend; you’ll be my student and apprentice. If we are going to proceed, you must seal your heart and commit to this 100%. If you do not finish the training, not only will it be a complete failure, but also the rift that the training created will never close, and we will inevitably split apart.

During this training, I will say things that will make you hate me, I will do things that will make you fear me, and your view of me will never be the same. To be honest, I am completely terrified, because this training could end our relationship. You are all that I have in this world, Jenny. You are why I am still alive. If our relationship ends, so will my life. I am putting my existence in your hands, and it is yours to do with as you wish.”

Jenny stared at him wide-eyed then looked away, with her eyes filled with sadness, confidence, fear, determination, hesitance, and love. Finally, she looked into his eyes with her emotions calm. “I am ready, Master.”

Adrian took a deep breath, mentally bracing himself. “Ok, just remember that everything I do is required for this. I need to be mean and cruel in order for you to learn to work through the pain and stress. If I am kind and lenient, the training will be a failure. I must be harsh. First thing I need you to do is close your eyes, and without moving your body, raise your heart rate with pure will.”

Jenny did as she was told, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. Adrian placed his hand on her chest and counted her heartbeats. She was barely able to raise it all, even after a minute. In order for her to succeed, Adrian would need to push her and be as harsh as was required.

“Come on, get it right! Are you so pathetic that you can’t even control your heart rate? It’s not that hard to figure out!”

Jenny quivered at the tone of his voice, but after only a second, she regained control, reminding herself that he had warned her about this and it was to be expected. But even after yelling at her, her heart rate had barely risen.

Gritting his teeth, Adrian worked up the courage to take drastic measures. He slapped her across the face, filling his whole body with pain from self-loathing. Jenny opened her eyes and stared at him with disbelief. A tear above her red cheek, but the confidence in her eyes was relit. She bit her lip and began taking quick breaths. Adrian looked down and could see her flexing her stomach muscles and working her diaphragm, forcing stress on her body to accelerate her heart rate.

“Good, but not good enough. You need to do it without having to rely on your muscles. You went through all of that mental training and you still can’t control your body?”

Jenny opened her eyes and gritted her teeth, glaring at him with her gaze burning with passion. Her eyes were filled with a desire to succeed and surpass instead of hatred of his training methods or him. She held absolutely no anger, only determination to show that she was strong. She closed her eyes and retook her regular breathing. Adrian could feel her muscles relax and her lungs return to their regular pace, but her heart continued to beat an accelerated rate.

“Come on, faster! If you’ve gotten this far, then you can go even farther!”

With his hand on Jenny’s chest, he could feel her heart rate skyrocket. She was doing it; she was accelerating her heart with pure will.

“Ok, now stand up.”

Jenny did as she was told and they both stood up.

“With your heart now pumping at full strength, come at me and attack.”

“What?” Jenny asked, seeking confirmation.

“Do it!”

Jenny shook her head from side to side as if trying to cast away grogginess and charged towards him with her fist pulled back. She reached out to punch him but Adrian deflected her attack with ease and retaliated with the back of his hand and struck her cheek. She staggered back, dizzy and fighting back tears from the stinging bruise.

“Come on, again!”

Jenny took a deep breath and charged forward with her fist pulled back. But just when she was about to punch him, she jumped to the side and pounced, attacking from his right flank. As she sent her fist rocketing towards him, Adrian spun around, defecting her attack with the completed rotation. As he knocked her fist out of the way, Adrian reached out and slammed his palm against her forehead with enough force to knock her back. It was as lenient as he could be.

“I love you, Jenny, and I’m holding back as much as I can, but you need to put some effort into this!”

At his words, Jenny glared at him with that same passionate determination as before and charged towards him for the third time. Like the second attempt, she attacked from the side, but this time from the left. Again Adrian deflected her attack and reached out to slam her in the forehead with his palm. Before his hand could make contact, she dodged his counterattack and reached out to punch him with her left hand. Adrian caught her fist, put his hand on her stomach, and shoved her back, ending the exchange.

“The only reason why I’ve been able to hit you is because you haven’t yet gotten into the frame of mind of fighting. In reality, it should seem like I’m moving in slow motion to you. That it is due to your processing speed, brought on by the awakening procedure. Your brain is receiving more stimuli and computing it at speeds far greater than ever in your life, making it so that you become aware of things at a faster rate. For instance, if I were to send my fist towards your head, you would be aware of every centimeter of closing space, and you would be able to react to every centimeter with the same speed of a normal person reacting to the entire punch.
When you include adrenaline, your reaction speed further increases, as well as your strength. The state you are in right now is beyond the state you would be in if you were normal and had adrenaline pumping through your veins, but when you combine them, you become invincible. Only a couple times since I woke up from my coma have I ever used adrenaline, even in a fight, because rarely have I been put in a situation where I needed it. Adrenaline is my ace in the hole, the last trick in my sleeve for if I am facing a challenge that I cannot normally overcome.

If you can work yourself up with pure will and not with stress on your body, then you can activate your adrenal glands without straining yourself. Once you learn to combine adrenaline with enlightenment, you’ll be faster and stronger than any other human, including me. Now slow your heart down and let’s try this again. If I you can get your adrenal glands working without raising your heart rate, then you’ll become fast enough where I won’t be able to hit you without using adrenalin as well.”

Adrian spoke with his smile growing and filling with pride and Jenny gained the same smile and nodded. She straightened her posture and took deep breaths.

He walked over and placed his hand on her chest, waiting for it to reach normal levels. “I had you raise your heart rate so that you could learn to charge up your body without moving around, now I need you to do the same thing but without raising your heart rate. If you can activate your adrenal glands without raising your heart rate, it will mean you’re learning to separate your body from your brain, while still being able to control it.”

She looked down as he wrapped something around her wrist, realizing it was a heart monitor.

“I have it set so that the alarm will go off if your heart rate reaches the point where you automatically start producing adrenaline. Now, try to activate your adrenal glands without raising your heart rate and attack me. I’m sure you know the cliché phrase about being able to smell fear; it’s the fight-or-flight chemicals that your body produces that create an odor. With my senses, I’ll be able to smell the adrenaline your body will produce.

Now, begin!”

For the next several hours, Jenny attacked him over and over. She would stand like a statue and then charge towards him from out the blue. With every attempt, her heart monitor would go off before she would attack, or she would attack without having willingly produced adrenaline. With every failed attack, Adrian would knock her back and order her to try again. The whole time, the only thing Jenny would say was either “hold on” or “I think I’m getting the hang of it”. The closest she would come to complaining was just drinking from her water bottle.

By five in the afternoon, Jenny was covered in bruises and gasping for air. She took a deep breath and straightened her posture. After her heart returned to its normal rhythm and her adrenaline wore off, she recharged her body, trying to activate her adrenal glands but not excite her heart. Finally, she bolted forward with her fist pulled back. Adrian could smell adrenaline rushing through her, but her heart monitor wasn’t beeping.

She’s done it, he thought to himself, barely having enough time to dodge her punch.

He countered by sending both fists forward with the greatest speed he could muster, but Jenny easily dodged the two attacks and the kick that followed.

“No regular person would have been able to dodge those attacks. Only someone who is both enlightened and flushed with adrenaline would have that ability. You’ve learned how to activate your adrenal glands without exciting your heart. Had we begun this training before you learned to use your whole brain, it would have taken you weeks instead of hours to achieve. Now I want you to practice with it, and try to hone your skills until you can flood your body with adrenaline at a moment’s notice. If you’re in a bar and a gunfight breaks out, I want you to be able to fully charge yourself before the first body can hit the floor, though once we’re finished, you won’t need to.

If you can perfect that skill, then you can augment your physical abilities at will, along with your mental abilities.”

Jenny nodded and sat down in a meditative position. As she practiced activating her adrenal glands, Adrian went to work setting up their camping gear. He pitched the tent, got a campfire going, and started making an early dinner. He doubted Jenny would be able to keep from passing out before sunset from exhaustion. Dinner was ready as the sun approached the horizon, and Jenny gave a sigh of relief when Adrian told her they were done for the day. They sat in camp chairs on opposite sides of the fire, not saying a word. She was eating with gusto, but he was barely touching his food.

“I’m sorry I had to slap you,” Adrian said softly.

Jenny looked up at him and her eyes were filled with sadness. “Don’t be. Adrian, you told me that this would be one of the most difficult times of my life. You told me to seal my heart because you would not be able to be the man I love while you were training me.” Then, to his surprise, she gave the slightest of laughs. “But I knew you were finding it impossible to not be the man I love. I could feel your pain and self-loathing every second. Ever since we started, I was worried you would put so much strain on yourself that you would start coughing blood. Adrian, you don’t have to worry about me. I’m not the weak little high school girl I used to be! Being with you has made me strong, and I’m going to show you how strong I’ve become.”

Adrian smiled and gave a sigh of relief. “Then it seems much of my warning was unneeded. If you really can handle it, this training isn’t going to be as bad as I first thought. All right, let’s finish eating and get to sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.”

“Hold on, I have a little bit of energy left and I know just how I want to use it.”

Her meal finished, Jenny got up and strode over to Adrian, discarding her clothes with a sultry grin on her face. She settled on his lap, kissing him with his hands on her bare ass. As she licked the inside of his mouth, Jenny pulled off his shirt and unzipped his pants, pulling forth his hardening manhood. He thought that she was going to settle herself on it, but instead she got off him and crouched down, kissing his chest. She continued to move down, running her tongue and lips across his scars, and just as Adrian was about to ask what she was going to do, he jerked as her lips wrapped around his cock.

Jenny had his whole manhood in her mouth and was sucking on it both gently and hungrily, licking away the salt from his sweat. Even Adrian couldn’t put into the words the incredible feeling of her tongue, lips, and cheeks massaging every millimeter of his cock, soaking it in saliva. She would even playfully bite down ever so slightly, gently pressing down on the shaft with her teeth. As her head bobbed up and down, Jenny’s eyes kept flicking up to him, and she would smile as she saw the effect of her work. Adrian knew that Jenny had never done oral before, but she showed remarkable talent.

Straitlaced by nature and not usually open to new things in sex, Adrian protested for a moment or so before giving in and resting his hand on the back of her head, humming in bliss from the softness of her mouth and her diligence. He sat in his camp chair, like a king on his throne, while Jenny worked to please him. Not wanting to trigger an orgasm and drain him of his stamina, she stopped after a couple minutes and got back on his lap, guiding his saliva-coated cock into her glistening pussy. It slid in effortlessly, and with a tender smile on her face, she began to ride him like a pogo stick, moaning from the deep penetration.

As she moved, Adrian moved between her breasts, either sucking on her nipples or licking away her sweat as she had done to him. Soon enough, Adrian decided that it was his turn to put in the effort. As if reading his mind, Jenny wrapped her legs around his waist as he stood up, holding onto him without his manhood ever leaving her sleeve or his tongue ever leaving her tits. He carried her over to the air, laying her out on the hood. She was on her side, her leg across his chest, moaning in joy from the sweeping strokes of this new angle. As if splitting himself into two personalities, Adrian moved one of his hands from her jiggling tits and cupped her cheek, his lower body moving like a piston to drive her wild but his upper body projecting only a scene of tender love.

Jenny nuzzled his hand, her beautiful blue eyes never leaving his grays, her sweet smile displaying her own feelings, be they loyalty, admiration, submission, and even protection. He brushed his thumb across her lips, lips that he had spent so much time kissing. Her lips parted and she sucked on his thumb, not as a sexual act, but of simple playfulness and joy.

They soon changed positions, Jenny deciding she wanted it a little harder. She rolled over onto her stomach, inviting Adrian to mount her like an animal. Bent over the hood of the car, Jenny gave a deep moan with every powerful shove Adrian made, his hands on her shoulders as he threw his weight on her with every slam, his cock knocking on the entrance to her womb, as if threatening to breach it. Adrian leaned down and ran tender kisses across her shoulders and neck, again separating his actions between lustful force and gentle love.

Jenny came after only a minute, orgasm after orgasm rushing through her. They were alone for miles, so she felt no need to stifle her voice, her moans of ecstasy echoing through the woods. Adrian never stopped or even slowed down, continuing to fuck her through the chain of climaxes, heightening each one to the point where she thought the pleasure would render her unconscious. Once her body became limp, Adrian allowed himself to achieve his own climax, flooding her womanhood with his seed. A coy smile on her face, Jenny allowed Adrian to pull out of her with his semen running down her inner thighs, then got down on her knees and sucked him clean.

Again, Adrian felt the urge to stop her, but she dutifully worked him back up to an erection, and just as quickly caused his second ejaculation. She caught it all in her mouth, her taste buds telling her that it was disgusting but her lust and love telling her to slurp and swallow it up like chocolate syrup. She again worked his deflated cock in her mouth, vacuuming out every last glob that had yet to be fired, while Adrian brushed back her hair with a concerned look. True, the physical enjoyment had been great, that had been more sex than making love, and that loss of elegance weighed on him.

For the rest of the month, they trained nonstop. Adrian worked right alongside Jenny, strengthening every muscle in his body and making sure that all of his abilities were still razor-sharp. He was teaching Jenny how to use her body more affectively and efficiently, block pain, use her muscles to their full strength, and fight like a machine. Every meal was rich is fat, glucose, carbs, protein, fiber, and vitamins to restore the energy they were pouring out every second.

Adrian sprinted through the woods with Jenny desperately trying to keep up. They were going for a morning run before breakfast, but they were also training. Adrian was running with a crouch, while Jenny was running with a regular jogging posture. His legs were moving faster and harder than hers, but touching the ground less often.

“Don’t lean back when you run, lean forward as far as you can. Combine running with falling and use your own momentum. If you can use physics to your advantage, then you can double your speed with less effort.”

Panting with exhaustion, Jenny did as instructed and leaned forward, running as if she was carrying something large and heavy and it was falling beyond any point of being saved.

“Good, now don’t use the soles of your feet for running, use your toes and the muscles around them. It will allow you to use more of the tendons in your legs instead of the ones you use when you run like a jogger. If you can distribute the force to more tendons, then you can lessen the strain on them and increase your potential. Scientists believe that humans can’t reach thirty miles per hour without their tendons snapping, but if you can distribute the amount of strain you put on your tendons and combine it with the ability to use the full strength of your muscles, then you can reach twice that without side effects.

When you run, don’t use your legs like wheels that must touch the ground as often as possible. Instead, turn each step into a leap and combine it with your falling momentum. It will allow you to touch the ground less and use less energy, but move with greater speed. Keep your arms to your sides or your back, using your arms when you run is just wasted energy. This also allow you to move through the air easier, working with your low posture to make you more aerodynamic.”

Following his instructions, Jenny used the described form and her speed was increased until she was running as fast as Adrian was. He looked at her with a proud smile, seeing that she was running with less effort and less strain on her body. “Good, we’ve already proven those scientists wrong. Now let me show you what you can achieve once you learn to use the full strength of your muscles.”

He took a deep breath and increased his speed, shooting off ahead with Jenny staring in disbelief.

Jenny and Adrian were hanging from a tree branch, each doing chin ups. Jenny was gritting her teeth and cursing with each one, but Adrian was fine.

“The pain you are feeling is all in your head. Your muscles aren’t using anything close to their full strength, you just think they are because you’re at the limit of the strength you’ve used your whole life. Your muscles have nothing to do with your pain; it is your own subconscious that is holding you back. If you can block out the pain, then you can order your muscles to continue without any backlash.”

Jenny brought her chin up to the branch, gnashing her teeth in frustration.

“Your mind has never been more powerful than it is now, you have never been in more control than you are now, and you have never been farther than you are now! Your body belongs to you, you control what you feel and the pain you experience,” Adrian said as Jenny hung from the branch, trying to catch her breath.

“I know you can do it, Jenny. It’s why I decided to train you. Half of reality is what happens, and the other half is what you want to happen. In your own body, you are God. It’s why the placebo affect works so well. Come on, ultimate control is in your reach, just pull yourself up and grab it!”

Jenny’s whole body shook as she tried to pull herself up, but her body was telling her that it was at its limit and she believed it.

“Don’t listen to your body, listen to your heart! In your body, your will transcends the physical laws. In your body, you have ultimate control. Listen to me and repeat this in your mind: If you can stand then you shall never fall! If you can endure then you shall never die! If you can fight then you shall never fail! If you can charge then you shall never fear! Now pull yourself up and show your strength!”

Gritting her teeth, Jenny slowly pulled herself up, and as her chin was brought above the branch, Adrian almost heard the chime of a bell. Jenny’s eyes widened and she gasped. Like a massive weight being dropped, the agony and resistance surging through her muscles disappeared. It was like her whole body was as light as pillow! She had done it! She had learned to block out her pain! Now she could unleash the full strength of her muscles without being slowed down by pain that wasn’t even real.

Jenny lowered herself down and pulled herself back up, moving with new speed and without any effort. She had a wide smile on her face as she realized her accomplishment. Adrian smiled and they continued their chin-ups, strengthening their muscles for over two hours without nonexistent pain slowing them down.

Jenny and Adrian were running up the side of a nearby mountain. The trail was steep and they were each carrying a huge wooden log on their backs. Now that Jenny had learned to harness the full power of her muscles, they needed to work them into their full potential, similar to how Adrian trained her to use her entire mind after he woke it up for her. With the illusion of pain no longer clouding her control, Jenny was able to keep up with him with ease. While the log she was carrying was larger than her whole body, she was sprinting up the steep mountain trail with a competitive smile of her face, trying to outrace him.

After half an hour, the mountain summit was in sight. It was a rocky cliff that dropped off into a sea of trees, and as they got close, Adrian turned and gazed at Jenny. Just by looking into his eyes, she knew what Adrian was going to suggest. They were so in tune that they could read each other’s thoughts.

“Ok, one… two… THREE!” Adrian called as they reached the summit.

With Jenny mirroring his movements perfectly, Adrian put one hand on the back of the log he was carrying. With his other hand guiding and supporting it, he threw the log as if it was an Olympic javelin. Jenny followed, throwing hers at the same time. Both logs shot off through the air, flying like arrows. While Jenny’s was going a great distance, his was clearly in the lead.

“All right, last one back has to make dinner!” Jenny challenged before sprinting off.

“Focus…” Adrian instructed for the umpteenth time.

Jenny and Adrian were each standing tree stumps with their arms and one leg extended. On their feet, heads, and in their hands, rocks and sticks had been stacked on top of each other in a way that no ordinary person could even set up. Jenny was soaked in sweat from the tension in her muscles, having to constantly readjust to keep everything from falling.

“How is it that you can do it so easily?!” she yelled, trying to keep her head steady when she talked. True to her words, Adrian was achieving the balance without any trouble.

“Because while I’m constantly shifting, I’m doing it in the least-disruptive way possible. Every time you move in even the smallest micrometer, you try to counter it with an even greater movement. The reason why you can’t keep still is because your body has a slight tremor with every heartbeat. It’s normally so small that you can’t notice, but with how steady and balanced everything has to be for this exercise, the smallest tremor creates a whole world of problems.

Use half of your mind to balance everything and use the other half to control the tremors. If you can cancel it out with an equal or opposite tremor, you can maintain balance. This is why I had you do sit-ups while solving that cube and why I had you solve three at once. Just use what I’ve taught you.”

Jenny took a deep breath and Adrian could instantly see the tension in her muscles falling away. “I think I’ve got it,” she hummed with her eyes closed.

“Good, because we’re going to maintain this pose for another three hours and then switch legs for three more.”

“Martial arts are based on fighting with memorized stances, moves, and attacks. However, my fighting style requires little more than speed, instinct, and logic. By using my awakened mind to give me more time to process, I take advantage of openings that my enemy creates and attack with simple or complicated strikes. The only established form in his style is the principle of counterattack, meaning that I try to get my opponent to make the first move whenever possible. When someone attacks me, the number of openings they create is baffling; pressure points, vital areas, vulnerable joints, and so on.

When you first attacked me and tried to punch me, I had the time and the opportunity to dodge and then strike the pressure point in your elbow, jab your eyes, catch your fist and twist your arm, slam your throat, knee you in the stomach, or even snap your neck. Had you been a real enemy, I could have killed you ten times before you would have time to send a second punch. Now, I’m going to come at you the way a regular person would and I want you to fight. The second you begin your counterattack, I’ll begin really fighting, mostly for my own safety.”

The last part gave Jenny a confident smile.

Adrian charged forward and reached out to punch her, the same way a regular person would, but with heightened senses giving her incredible speed and reflexes, Jenny deflected his punch with the back of her hand and reached out to slam her fist against his throat. Adrian stepped to the side, grabbed her wrist, and tried to twist her arm back. Jenny purposefully fell and then lashed out with her foot to kick him. He blocked her kick and let go of her wrist as she gave a second attempt. He stepped back as she got to her feet and charged with her fist pulled back.

Jenny jumped into the air with her fist rocketing towards his face and Adrian caught her hand, but barely had time to block as she tried to slam her knee into his ribs. The punch had merely been a distraction. He blocked her attacks and then shoved her in the stomach, sending her sprawling back and knocking the wind from her. Adrian charged forward and tried to kick her, taking advantage of her curled posture. Jenny blocked his kick and then slammed her fist against his knee, striking both the joint and pressure point. Adrian bent his knee to lessen the impact and smiled with pride. Jenny then reached up with her fist and tried to punch him in the jaw, but he fell back to dodge and rolled onto his feet, catching her fist as she tried to punch him while he was distracted.

“Good, you were able to spot and use every opening I gave you. In less than a month, you’ve gained the basics of the training. We only have a few more days here, and all you have to do is master what I have taught you. That will be enough for today. Let’s eat and rest up for tomorrow.”

It was their last day in the woods and Jenny’s training was complete. Her body and mind were honed to their full potential and she stood before him as more than a human. Every ounce of fat had been burned and every muscle had been worked until it was at full strength, but with her body still retaining its slender womanly figure and without being as stocky and inflated as a female body-builder.

Jenny and Adrian both had wide smiles on their faces. She was giddy with excitement and he was filled with pride. In his hand was congratulatory gift, wrapped in fabric.

“Jenny, I am more proud of you than you could possibly imagine. By completing your training, you have transcended common limitations and have become more goddess than human. I am no longer your teacher; I am once again just the man you love and the man that loves you. For completing the training, I have a graduation gift for you…”

Adrian held up the object and pulled away the fabric, revealing the lance he had created in the warehouse. Jenny was breathless as she stared at it.

“I created this when you were unconscious. It is made with the same materials and skill as my own, it is just as powerful, and like mine it shall stand the test of time. The only difference is that I created this one with my heart.”

Jenny took the lance with shaky hands, admired everything from the perfectly straight slope, to the needle-sharp point, to the grooves in the handle. She raised it above her head, watching how it caught the light. She then brought it down and was silent for several seconds.

“You’ve practiced with the darts and my lance, so I know you are proficient with these weapons. And I think I know a good way to test it out and test your new abilities.”

He became silent when he saw that Jenny couldn’t meet his gaze.

“You know, there were countless times when I just wanted to yell at you to back off and leave me alone. There were times when I was so angry that I wanted to punch you in the nose and drive away. I was angry because I thought you were being a lot harsher than you needed to be and I wanted you to show some compassion. But every time, right when I was about to yell, I would think about the training and I would remember that you went through it too. The only difference was that you had to torture yourself to become the man you are because you were alone. You had to discard your emotions and your humanity and become coldhearted and forlorn.

I can’t even imagine being so harsh that I would treat my body the way you treated yours, being so cold and merciless that you couldn’t even show yourself any leniency. You once told me about how you wanted to be more than human and transcend your limitations. I could tell in your voice that while you admired yourself, you did not love yourself; you even hated yourself because you weren’t happy. Your nature could only let you be bitter and alone, and you were so desperate to leave the realm of humans because you wanted to be happy. You wanted to be in a place where you belonged but were still an individual. You hated yourself for any weakness you had.”

A single tear rolled down her cheek. “And when I imagined what you probably did to yourself as a result of this self-loathing and your desperation to break free from your own existence, when I think back to all of those scars, burns, and bruises across your body… I would have to fight the urge to cry. If I were to see you do these things to yourself now, I would not be able to bear it.”

Adrian’s whole body felt cold at her words, because they were absolutely true. Every injury Adrian had inflicted to his own body hadn’t just been for the search of power, but also out of frustration and self-hatred.

Jenny gained a sad smile and even gave a soft laugh. “Compared to what you probably did to yourself, my training was practically babying. I imagine it would have even been easier if you had been kind to yourself, and learned about what it meant to be merciful. Adrian, I understand now, I understand what you went through. Only through my pain could I understand your pain.” She then walked over to him and placed her hand on his chest. “I’m glad you’re not in pain anymore. I’m just sorry I couldn’t help you sooner. And Adrian, I finally understand you and agree with you on your plan. I now want to help you achieve your goal, not just because I love you, but to help this world.”

They sat parked in front of a biker bar. It was the middle of the night, but the building was dimly lit. Adrian was wearing the bulletproof outfit he always sported in dangerous situations, but he had been forced to improvise in Jenny’s case. He had already placed orders for the creation of a protective uniform just like his, but until then, they had to rely on Kevlar and steel. They had just bought several Kevlar vests at a local pawnshop, cut them up, reinforced them with metal plates, and then wrapped them around Jenny’s limbs underneath her clothes, as well as a full vest protecting her torso. She was wearing an overcoat like him and they both had their sheathed lances at their sides.

“I did some research on this community when I went out to get supplies and gear, and this biker bar is the hangout of some serious criminals. Everyone in that bar right now has a thick arrest record. For your ultimate test, you are going to help me clear this building of vermin. Killing these people will at least leave us with a clean conscience.

I need to know Jenny, are you ready for this? This will be much different than your training; you will be killing people and your life will be on the line. Are you ready for this? Are you ready to hand out judgment?”
Jenny stared at him for several seconds with a tinge of sadness in her eyes. Finally, she leaned forward and kissed him, as softly as a falling leaf. “After we left our old lives behind, I told you that I would kill for you and I would die for you. That hasn’t changed, Adrian, and it never will.”

“I love you, Jenny,” he said as he kissed her on the forehead.

They stepped out of the car and walked across the street towards the pool hall, their lances hanging from their waists. Entering the dank building, they instantly memorized their surroundings. There were six pool tables, several eating tables, a bar, and fifteen men. Thick clouds of cigarette and cigar smoke stifled the light from the lamps above the pool tables. The dregs of society turned to Adrian and Jenny.

“Hey, no kids in here!” a fat man yelled, pointing his pool cue at the teens. Two men approached them from the left and right.

Simultaneously, Jenny and Adrian drew their lances and both swung out like mirror images of each other, slashing the two men from shoulder to hip. Their strength more than made up for the lack of blades on the weapons, carving their enemies open and ripping apart their ribcages. Everyone in the bar stared at them with disbelief, but quickly retaliated as the bodies hit the floor.

As the men all pulled out their guns, Jenny and Adrian flipped two pool tables onto their short sides, turning them into towering barriers. They crouched down behind their shields as the bullets began flying, tearing through the wood and fabric. Adrian looked at Jenny and they both nodded. With every movement as the mirror image of the other, they planted their lances into the floor, reached into their pockets, and stepped out from behind their barriers with darts in their hands.

They unleashed a barrage of the deadly spikes on the bikers, stabbing them in the limbs and chests. Many of them dropped their weapons, howling in pain from their injuries. With their enemies distracted by their wounds, Jenny and Adrian retrieved their weapons and charged into the midst. They moved between them like wraiths, slashing and stabbing their opponents with inhuman speed. By using their superior speed and the dim lighting, they were able to keep their foes from getting a lock on them to fire their guns.

Adrian charged towards the fat man that had yelled at them when they entered. He had a dart lodged in his protruding gut and shoulder and his gun was empty. The man raised his pool cue and brought it down towards Adrian like a hammer, but he blocked the attack with his hand, shattering the cue as if it were made of Styrofoam. He then jumped into the air, and before the biker could retaliate, he stabbed him between the throat and ribcage with his hand. Adrian landed on the ground with just enough time to deflect a bullet coming towards him from the side. He turned around as the shooter tried to load another magazine into his pistol, pulled a dart out of his pocket, and threw it, sending it flying across the room and lodging it in the center of the man’s chest, piercing his heart.

An unharmed biker charged towards him, holding a pool cue like a baseball bat. He swung from the right side and Adrian blocked with his lance and shattered it. He then reached out and stabbed him in the gut, again using only his hand. The man gagged in pain and coughed up blood, and Adrian pulled his hand free, grabbed his lance, and then stabbed him through the jaw with the tip breaking out of the top of his skull. Adrian quickly turned around as a biker tried to stab him with a knife and then jumped back, using the superior length of his lance to slash him across the chest and tear open his ribcage.

Adrian turned his attention to Jenny to she how she was doing. She was a black and yellow blur as she moved through the bar, slashing and stabbing everyone in her path. She was as skilled with her lance as Adrian was with his and she didn’t hesitate once. Her eyes held no sadness or remorse, just dedication and confidence.

In less then a minute, it was over, and all fifteen bikers were dead. After collecting their darts, cleaning their weapons, and taking care of any footprints they left behind, Adrian and Jenny stood in the middle of the room, staring at each other with small but warm smiles on their faces.

“I said it once and I’ll say it again: I am more proud of you than you could possibly imagine.”

“That means more to me than you could possibly imagine,” Jenny replied, both sincerely and jokingly.

“Come on, darling, let’s go.”

Adrian wrapped his arm around Jenny and they made their way towards the exit, but halfway, Adrian stopped.

“What’s wrong?”

“I just forgot something.” He walked to the middle of the room and planted a dart in the center of one of the pool tables. “I just wanted to leave our calling card.”

“Holy fuck,” Hoffman said, taking off his glasses.
“This… this is a national threat,” Mason said, constantly raising his arms and then dropping them.

The two FBI agents had drove down the second they got the details, and they were trying to process the gory scene before them. The air was thick with flies, gorging themselves on blood and dead flesh. Forensic investigators were taking hundreds of photographs and putting down evidence tags.

“It’s like Rwanda in here! This is borderline genocide!” Hoffman yelled, taking it all in.

Mason walked over to take a close look at the dart lodged in the pool table. “The guy who called the police was the owner. He said he had gone down to get something in the basement and when the guns stared roaring, he decided to hide. It seems that Jenny Sinclair really did become his apprentice. She’s become just like him, even in the way she kills.”

“But he didn’t see her, right? There is no way she could have fought with him. Hell, there is no way you can teach someone to do this in less than two months; it’s just impossible. But regardless, Jenny has become a lost cause. There is no way she’ll leave him now. Even if she didn’t fight, we need to consider her as being dangerous. Like you said, this is real national news. The public needs to know what we’re dealing with. So far, he’s just attacked law-breakers and criminals, but we can’t assume that he’ll stick to that pattern. If he turns his attention to innocent people… the death count would be on par with a natural disaster.

I don’t care if this guy sees himself as a vigilante or a hero; we have to stop him!” Hoffman said as he took a close look at one of the victims’ stab wounds. The circular hole was so clean and perfect that a surgeon couldn’t match the skill.

“Yeah, but with this guy, impossible loses all meaning. The bastard beat the crap out of us, threw you like dog toy, and has killed at least fifty people as of now. We have to call this in. They’re going on the Top Ten Most Wanted list.”

“So, what now? You’re done training me and I’m begging to know what the next step of the plan is now,” Jenny said with a confident smile.

“Las Vegas,” Adrian replied with a grin.


“Yep. I’m trying to find and get the attention of some people and Las Vegas is like the portal to the underworld. Let’s just say that I plan on leaving a few business cards there. However, I think we should also take a vacation first. After all, it is summer break. How about we tour the country a little, spend some cash, and have a good time?”

Jenny leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “That would be like heaven.”

“We’re also going to keep ending the lives of criminals wherever we go. I want to eradicate some of the vermin in this country and drive fear into the hearts of law breakers,” he said, his voice then filled with a dedication that was both burning with passion and ice cold.

“Is that the only reason?”

“When my plan is initiated, it will need a signature, someone for the people to both idolize and fear. By the time we’re ready to establish the new world order, the names Adrian Ashford and Jenny Sinclair will command power. It’s all part of the plan.”

Chapter Eight

“Damn it, dude, you can’t be here!” the man yelled.

The two teens were standing in a dark basement, dimly illuminated by several computer screens. The walls were covered in posters and shelves of collectables, the floor was buried beneath dirty laundry, and in the corner was a bed. They were facing a fat man covered in acne and wearing a STAR WARS t-shirt. He looked like he had graduated from college, but it was impossible to tell with the thick layer of zits on his face.

“For shit’s sake, Lawrence, you said you were going to move out of your mom’s place,” Adrian muttered, looking around.

“So you’re the guy that makes fake IDs?” Jenny asked.

“Best in the tri-state area,” the man replied.

“Thanks to me. I’m the one who got you those laminating machines. You would need to rob a DMV to get the equipment I gave you.“ Adrian then began speaking to Jenny. “I’ve had him make more than a hundred fake identities for me. I like to try and keep a buffer between any illegal activities I might be doing and myself. He’s close to home, so I keep him on retainer.”

“And while I appreciate the business, I have to draw the line here! Your face is all over the news and the FBI could break down my door at any moment! I just do stuff for immigrants and kids who want to drink beer, not for serial killers!”

“Lawrence! Take out the trash!” a woman upstairs shrieked.

“Not now, Mom! I’m busy!”

Jenny and Adrian tried not to laugh.

“All I need is one more job. I need you to make at least ten IDs for her, including Social Security numbers and birth certificates. I already have plenty of my own with me. After that, you’ll never see either of us again.”

Lawrence took a moment to weigh his options. “I’m taking a lot of risk here. It would be bad enough if I was arrested for this stuff, but if I’m caught having anything to do with someone like you, I’ll never see the light of day again.”

“Don’t worry about the price. Just get it done quickly and hold the pizza grease.” Adrian then handed him a stack of hundred-dollar bills. “That’s ten grand right there, you’ll get another forty when we get what we want.”

Lawrence took the money and sighed, then turned to Jenny and handed her a digital scanner with a plastic pen to write on the screen. “When I tell you to, sign this with your chosen aliases.”

The scanner was hooked up to Lawrence’s computer and awaiting her signatures.

“All right, sign.”

Jenny took the pen and wrote down the first alias. It was recorded on the computer and then disappeared off the screen.


Jenny wrote the next alias on the screen and it was recorded. The process was repeated eight more times.

“Ok, I have your signatures. Now just come over here,” he said as he got up and waddled over to a pull-down screen.

He turned on a bright projector and the light bounced off the white screen, illuminating the room. Next to Lawrence’s computer desk were the laminating machines Adrian mentioned, all of which were illegal to own unless by the DMV and licensed credit card companies.

“Ok, stand in front of the screen and I’ll take your picture. Ma’am, if you happen to be camera shy, imagine you’re at a Playboy photo shoot,” he said, turning on a camera set up on a tripod.

“Don’t push your luck,” Adrian warned.

“Can you blame me?”

“Honey, don’t get angry over a compliment,” Jenny hummed with a fake giggle. She then gave a pretty grin and Lawrence took her picture ten times.

“Ok, come back in four days and I’ll have them ready,” Lawrence said as he walked back to his computer

“I’ll throw in another ten grand if you can have them done by tomorrow.”

“Deal,” he called as they climbed up the stairs, hoping to get away before having to hear Lawrence’s mom shriek again.

“Wow, these are fantastic!” Jenny exclaimed as Lawrence handed her the IDs and paperwork. They were all perfect, down to the smallest detail. The cards looked like they had been made by the DMV and the paperwork looked completely authentic.

“Well done, here’s your $60,000,” Adrian said as he handed him the cash. With the cards collected, they left Lawrence’s home and got back in their car.

“IDs? Check. Car? Check. Stacks of cash? Big check. I think we’re ready for our vacation,” Jenny said with excitement.

The two lovers sped down the highway as fast as they wanted, only slowing down when they saw a place where a police officer could be hiding. They were traveling again and they both felt more alive than ever before. The windows were all open, so that they could feel the sunlight and breathe the fresh air. The radio was cranked up and they were both savoring the freedom of the open road. They had more money than they knew what to do with, a car, and the freedom to go anywhere. They could do whatever they wanted and they had all the time in the world. They wanted to enjoy their youth and live life to its fullest.

They were in New York, and like Every time they went out in public, they took a few minutes to alter their appearance. Adrian had already gotten a haircut he and Jenny would both wear glasses with fake lenses. Adrian had learned early on that his height wasn’t enough to fool people about his age, so he used a mixture of thin latex and makeup to give him the face of someone ten years older, and some slight padding in the shoulders. Jenny was doing the same, trying not to laugh as Adrian applied makeup to his face.

“What is that?” she asked when Adrian pulled out a metal case out of the glove compartment with several syringes and different chemical bottles. He filled up one of the syringes, and surprising Jenny, he injected it deep into his throat.

“This is a serum I invented for times like these.” His voice was much deeper now, but while sounding completely natural. “Unfortunately, even I can’t escape the scourge of puberty. If my voice were to crack when I’m speaking to someone who thinks I’m in my mid twenties, it would be disastrous. This is a sedative that weakens my vocal cords. It takes more effort to talk, but it deepens my voice.”

Standing at the top of the Empire State Building, the two teens absorbed the magnificent view. The sky above them was filled with dark storm clouds, struggling to hold in the summer rain.

“You know that old myth about how dropping a coin off the Empire State Building will give it enough force to kill someone?” Adrian asked.

“Yeah, the updrafts that surge up the sides of the building make that impossible.”

“I wonder what would happen if you threw in the proper arch. You know, give it enough distance from the building but throw it with a steep-enough curve so that it has plenty of time to fall straight with the maximum velocity.

“Honey, you know we only kill bad people, not even your aim is that good,” she teased, clinging to his arm.

Adrian looked up as a loud crack of thunder shocked the dark clouds above them. The hues of gray, blue, and purple were mixing together beautifully with the transient shifts of light and darkness. The sky was like a piece of art, crafted by a higher intelligence. There was a second crack and rain began to pour down in concurrent sheets of thick drops, without even the lightest drizzle preceding it.
“Come on, let’s head back inside,” Jenny said as the torrential rain poured down on them.

“Hold on, I want to enjoy this,” Adrian hummed.

Jenny looked at him with a twinkle in her eyes. “What do you mean?”

“Before I met you, there were very few things that stirred my heart… machines and knowledge mostly. But one thing that I really loved was summer storms. The warmth of the rain, the perfume-like scent of the breeze, the artistic mural-like beauty of the clouds and sky, and the passionate energy that just fills the air. It’s almost like looking out across the entire universe, with every swirl of the clouds as a galaxy, every wave of rain as a nebula, and every flash of lightning as a supernova.”

Jenny tightened her hold on his arm and kissed him on the cheek. “Come on, Shakespeare, let’s go warm up with a nice hot pizza.”

Adrian and Jenny were sitting in a pair of lawn chairs on a beach at Martha’s Vineyard, enjoying the warmth of the sun. They were in their bathing suits and each holding a glass of wine. In the corner of his eye, Adrian was gazing at Jenny’s beautiful body, barely hidden by her skimpy bikini.

“I can hear your blood rushing,” she teased without opening her eyes.

“No, that’s just a wine and the sound of the waves.”

“Nice try, darling, but you can’t hide from me anymore,” she replied smugly while taking a sip from her glass.

“Yes dear,” Adrian sighed with a smile before emptying his own.

Adrian and Jenny sprinted out of the Boston Museum of Science with the security guards chasing them. They were leaving behind a trail of souvenirs as the paper bags were ripped to shreds in their hands. Police sirens could be heard in the distance as the cops drove as fast as they could in the hopes of catching them.

“Damn it, I can’t believe they recognized us!” Jenny swore as she jumped into their car.

“I know. I just wish we could have at least seen the planetarium first!” Adrian replied as he climbed in and they sped off.

They were in Washington DC, touring the museums. They made sure to not look directly at any cameras or security guards, always keeping their faces hidden behind sunglasses, hats, or cameras. After looking through the museums, they decided to stop off at the largest library on Earth.

“Ah, the Library of Congress, probably the only good thing that has anything to do with Congress,” Adrian sighed in bliss and political humor as they walked through the maze of bookshelves.

“You know, I was never really interested in coming here, but after you trained me to use my whole mind, I would love to read every book here.”

“Me too, I could spend an eternity here. But in a way, I don’t want to read any of it.”

“I know what you mean, I don’t know where to begin and I won’t even be able to put a dent in it, a part of me asks why I should bother.”

Adrian wrapped his arm around her. “Come on, let’s go see if we can start a riot between some democrats and republicans,” he suggested, making Jenny laugh.

“Come on, you need a tan,” Jenny said, trying to convince Adrian to step out of the shade of the palm tree.

They were on the Miami Beach with Jenny in her skimpy bikini and him mostly clothed.

“Darling, I don’t tan. I burn.”

“You tanned with me in Martha’s Vineyard.”

“Yeah, I can tolerate it in the Northeast, but I’d be reduced to a charred cinder down here in Miami.”

“Well don’t even try and gaze at any other women, I’ll know how long your eyes will stray.”

“Jenny, how can you even say that? I thought you knew me! It should be obvious that I won’t be able to resist all of those bronze beauties walking half-naked before me!” he joked.

“Right, like any of those “bronze beauties” could compare to this blonde goddess,” she laughed as she walked off towards the water, shaking her hips from side to side teasingly.

They were in a dark jazz club in Baton Rouge, eating fried shrimp and listening to the band up on stage.

“I’ve never been a real jazz fan, but to not listen to some live while in Louisiana is criminal,” Adrian said as he drank his Café Brûlot, savoring the taste of the coffee and brandy mix.

“The same for tasting a bit of shrimp,” Jenny said happily as she dropped another tail onto the graveyard that was her plate.

“I love it here,” Jenny purred as she stretched.

They were lying on a blanket in Yellowstone National Park, having a picnic. They were up on a hill, hiding from the summer sun with the shade of the trees above them, looking out across green pastures with the forest and mountains on the other side.

“Yeah, it is so beautiful.” Adrian replied as he emptied his glass of chardonnay wine.

Jenny placed her hand on the ground, digging her fingers into the soil. “Can you feel all of the magma underneath?” she asked, using her hand to pick up the vibrations from deep underground.

“I could feel it before I got out of the car. It’s both so faint that I can barely sense it, yet so steady that it feels like it’s just below the topsoil.”

“I hope Yellowstone doesn’t erupt during our lifetime, this place is like a piece of art,” Jenny yawned as she moved out of the thin shade and into the sunlight, taking in the warmth like a dozing cat.

“If it does erupt, America and much of the world will be buried in ash and there will be vast extinctions. But with that death will come rebirth, and new species will evolve to adapt to the new world. In time, the art that is life on Earth will be remade, as beautiful as before but much more different. Peace comes from pain in an endless cycle, with everything that has a beginning also having an end, and every end preceding a beginning.”

Jenny looked at him and smiled. “It’s a shame our life spans aren’t larger, because now I would love to see an end and a new beginning.”

“Isn’t that the very definition of our plan?”

“Why must you torment me? Honestly? You’re going to cause me an early death,” Adrian asked dryly.

Jenny’s smile did not waver. “Come on, just one picture.”

“You know I hate clichés, and just talking about this is making his organs fail.”

They were standing in Los Angeles and behind him was the Hollywood sign. Jenny was holding a camera and trying to get him to do something that Adrian loathed with an indescribable fury.

“It will just be one picture and I promise I won’t show it to anyone. Come on, please?” she asked, giving him the Bambi eyes.

Adrian gave a loud sigh. “As you wish,” he groaned.

He then held up his arms and Jenny took his picture. With the angle of the lens coupled with the position of his arms, the perspective of the picture made it look like Adrian was holding up the sign… one of the most unoriginal and hated clichés in his opinion. He dropped his arms the second the picture was taken and shook his head from side to side as if he were a dog trying to shake of a layer of mud.

“Are you ok?”

“I feel like I just siphoned gas and I need mouthwash. Come on, I need to purge my soul of that horrible act. Let’s get out of here.”

Jenny and Adrian surfaced from the steaming water, kissing passionately. They were in the Alvord Hot Springs in Oregon, making love in a remote and solitary pool. The lands around them were endless fields with the mountains lining the horizon. Steam was pouring from the ponds and rivers that stretched across the plains, with small shacks and walls built around certain few for privacy.

“I don’t know if that’s your hand or the water, but I love it,” Jenny groaned in bliss.

“I don’t even know where my hands are, the water is so warm that my sense of touch is warped.”

“I swear, I want to sleep in this water, it’s just so perfect.”

“That would be nice, but so would not drowning.”

“At least we could die happy,” She cooed as she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him back under the hot depths.

Jenny and Adrian were sitting on a bench in front of Mt. Rushmore, tossing seeds onto the ground and feeding the birds. Beside them were bird watching books and other tourists were walking by without any idea as to the identity of the two teens.

The sights and sounds of the Vegas Strip were breathtaking to Jenny, with the two lovers constantly shifted their gaze to every flashing light and neon sign in view. She was like a cat following the dots of laser pointers. It was late in the evening, but with the artificial sun created by the combination of all of the lights blanketing each building, it was almost bright as day. They were driving down Las Vegas Boulevard with the windows wide open and Jenny snapping pictures. They passed by buildings like Fremont, which was covered in horizontal red lights, Paris Las Vegas, which had a huge hotel and a small-scale replica of the Eifel Tower, both of which were blanketed with yellow lights, the Luxor, which consisted of a large sphinx and a black-glass pyramid, and the iconic tower of the Stratosphere.

“You seem awfully calm. Nothing more than a small smile?” asked Jenny.

“Well this certainly isn’t my first time to Vegas. I own quite a few of these hotels and casinos.”

Their faces and clothes perfect, they stepped into the Bellagio Hotel. With a bellhop carrying their luggage, they made their way through the lobby, admiring the colorful glass flowers that covered the ceiling.

“How may I help you?” the woman behind the desk asked.

“We’d like to rent one of the guest suites, top floor if it’s not too much to ask,” Adrian said suavely. Jenny was standing beside him, clinging to his arm and wearing a beautiful smile.

The woman looked at the two of them with distrust, a small part of her brain telling her that they were minors, but their appearances making it difficult to create sufficient doubt. “May I please see a credit card and some ID?”

“Of course,” Adrian said, pulling out his wallet and taking out one of his fake IDs and a gold card.

Jenny did the same, taking her own ID out of a very expensive handbag. They handed the woman the IDs and she studied them closely, but was unable to find any sign that they were forgeries. “Welcome to the Bellagio, Mr. Carter and Ms. Valentine,” the woman said with a wide smile.

“Actually, it’s Mr. and Mrs. Carter. We’re on our honeymoon.”

Jenny elbowed him in the ribs ever so softly.

“Oh, congratulations! Here, this is your key to the Honeymoon Suite. It’s on the top floor, as per request,” she said, handing back their IDs, the credit card, and giving them the keycard to their room. “Enjoy your stay at the Bellagio!”

“Thank you,” Adrian replied as he, Jenny, and the bellhop walked away. Jenny and Adrian stepped into the elevator with the bellhop taking the next one. The instant the doors were closed, Jenny turned to him. “We’re on our honeymoon?” she laughed.

“I couldn’t resist.”

The elevator opened up at the top floor and they stepped out, with the bellhop coming out of the second elevator with their luggage. Their luggage bags were built with security in mind, having both a combination lock and tear-proof frame, making sure that no one could break into them. They walked down the well-lit hallway, eventually coming to the honeymoon suite with their room number. Adrian opened up the door with the keycard and they stepped inside. He tipped the bellhop and their luggage was brought in before they were given their privacy. Excited, they turned on the lights, gasping as they looked at the illuminated room.

They were facing a living room with several white relaxation chairs, two large velvet couches, a granite coffee table without a single ring or mark, a large flat-screen TV against the wall, beautiful art along the walls, and vases filled with different flowers and incense. They moved through the living room and into the dining room, where there was a long rosewood table with six chairs and ornate silverware, dishes, folded napkins, and silver candleholders. They stepped into the bedroom, which held a king-sized bed with the softest sheets either of them had ever touched, two oak bedside tables, two reclining chairs, and a flat screen TV. The bathroom walls, floor, and sink counter were made of flawless pearl marble, it had a heart-shaped hot tub surrounded by different soaps, oils, and flowers, the shower had several spouts on the ceiling and on the walls, and the toilet looked like it had never been used. The bedroom, the dining room, and the living room all had a vast window view of the Vegas Strip, with large curtains for privacy.

They wandered into the bedroom, when suddenly Jenny turned to Adrian and jumped up into his arms with a squealing laugh. He laughed as well as he fell onto the bed with her on top of him, kissing him passionately. She rolled off him and they both lied on their backs, staring at the ceiling.

“This is so incredible,” she gasped.

“I know,” he said, then turning to her. “But it wouldn’t be nearly as incredible without you.”

Adrian stood by the bedroom window, looking out over the Vegas Strip and the Bellagio fountains down bellow. He smiled as Jenny walked over to him, holding two glasses of Champaign. Adrian took one of the glasses and drank lightly, savoring the bittersweet taste. She looked absolutely gorgeous with the light of the Vegas Strip illuminating her beautiful face.

“Cheers, I thought we should have a little celebratory drink for getting to Vegas,” she said, clinking her glass against his. “And I wanted to try something new.”

Once their glasses were empty, she put her hands on his chest and slowly pushed him over to the bed. They both lied down, kissing each other and ripping off each other’s clothes. Adrian was on his back and Jenny was straddling him, smiling sweetly.

“So what did you have in mind?” he asked, running his hands over her smooth body.

“You’ll see. Just lie back and relax, baby, I’m going to take care of you.” she said slyly as she leaned forward and kissed him.

After licking every corner of his mouth, she began to move down, purposefully running her tongue and lips across every scar on his chest. Adrian knew what she was going to do, but he still took a shuddering breath when she reached his lap and took his manhood in her mouth. Her tongue and cheeks were soft beyond description, and the sound of the forming and breaking suction stirred his most primal lust. While he enjoyed it physically, he had yet to learn to look past the lewdness of the act. Jenny had done this at least two dozen times already and she had developed great skills for it. She stroked his cock with both hands while wiggling her tongue in the slit, she deep-throated him to the point where she would start to tear up, she spat on his cock and used it as lubricant to jack him off, and even used her tongue to play with his balls.

After several minutes, Jenny sat up and straddled his lap. “You’re going to love this, but it will take me some time to get used to it. Just be patient with me.”

Adrian was silent with a stony expression on his face as she gripped his manhood and guided it to her asshole.

“Stop,” he finally said before entering. Jenny stared at him with surprise. She climbed off me and he sat up, facing away from her. “I don’t want to do that.”

Behind him, Jenny wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned on him, with her breasts pressed against his back. “What’s wrong?” she whispered in his ear.

“When we do stuff like that… I can’t feel you. I was never comfortable with the idea of oral and anal sex, because it left the realm of making love and just became sex. I want us to be intimate for the emotional bliss, not the physical feeling. I don’t want us to just have meaningless sex like a pair of horny idiots. I want us to be intimate in way that has emotional individuality, but if we focus more on the physical feeling than the emotional connection, then we become just like everybody else and lose who we are.”

Jenny pressed her cheek against the back of his neck, and he rocked back and forth, sitting in silence.

“Should we just go to sleep?”

He could hear the sadness and disappointment in her voice, and it made his heart ache. “No, you said that you wanted to try something new, well I have an idea…”

The bathroom was filled steam as they stood in the shower, kissing passionately and enjoying the feeling of the hot water running down their bodies. As they kissed, Jenny moved her hands from his chest, to his shoulders, and finally to the back of his neck, sending him the signal that she was ready. Holding her close, he picked her up, with her legs wrapped around his waist and her arms around his neck for support.

Holding her up with one hand, he used his other hand to guide his manhood to her pussy, and then lowered her down onto it. Jenny released a trembling moan as it entered her and looked up, letting the hot water pour directly on her face. With him holding her entire body, he began lifting her up and down on his cock, sending it into the farthest corners of her pussy. Her insides were so loose and soft and he knew she wasn’t so hot and wet because of the shower.

With her bobbing up and down, Jenny ended their kiss and buried her face in the side of his neck, holding onto him for dear life. As she gave a continuous moan, Adrian let the hot water and the thick steam distort his senses, filling him with an eternal bliss. With the hot water running down every inch of his skin and Jenny pressed against him, he lost track of what his nerve endings were actually touching. His body was both numb and in a state of euphoria. He had to hold Jenny’s body with one arm and lean against the wall with his other, just to keep from falling.

Adrian was shaken from his daze as Jenny released a particularly loud and shrill moan. He could feel her pussy clamping around his manhood as she had one climax after another. The euphoria caused by the shower and grip of Jenny’s pussy on his cock triggered an orgasm for him as well, and he countered Jenny’s orgasms but firing thick streams of semen up into her.

Jenny leaned back against the wall of the shower, gasping for air. While her whole body was trembling, the vise-like grip of her arms and legs had not weakened. “I love you, Adrian, I love you so much,” she said, almost hysterically.

“I love you too,” he murmured, brushing back strands of her hair and running his fingertips along her soft cheek.

“Adrian, you misunderstood me in the bedroom. I didn’t want to do oral and anal for the physical feeling, I wanted to try them because I want to be close to you in every way possible. You said you didn’t want to try them because you felt like it separated us. On the contrary, my darling, it gives us another way in which we can be linked. If there is a way I can feel close to you, feel linked to you, and feel bound to you physically and emotionally, then I want to try it. I just want to feel you, my love, in every way possible. Every inch of my body belongs to you, and I want to feel you every way I can.”

Adrian could actually hear the frustration and desperation in her voice, she even sounded like she was on the verge of tears.

“That was beautiful, Jenny. And I promise, I will do anything to make you happy.”

Adrian pulled his still-erect manhood out of her pussy and pressed it between the cheeks of her flawless ass. He guided the head to her asshole and slowly pushed it in, as gently and carefully as possible. Jenny instantly released a shrill squeal as the head of his cock slowly entered her. Her arms and legs tightened around him and she even bit his shoulder.

“It’s ok, baby, it’s ok,” he whispered.

Inch by inch, he slowly pushed his dick in all the way, with Jenny’s body trembling more and more. Once it was in all the way, he held it there for a minute so that Jenny could become accustomed to it. Unlike her pussy, which acted almost as a slit between the muscles of her left and right side, her anus applied pressure from all sides like a ring, and while her asshole was lubricated enough for his manhood to move inside it, it wasn’t nearly as slippery as her pussy. The incredible tightness and friction make it very difficult to move inside her, but he had to admit that it also felt absolutely amazing.

Once her body became calm, Adrian slowly lifted her up and lowered her back down, driving his manhood up into her asshole. Jenny released a mix of a moan and shriek from the movement, but after the second and third time, she calmed down. He took his usual rhythm, using his arms to bob her up and down on the shaft of his cock. Jenny had let go of his neck and had her back against the wall of the shower, moaning like an opera singer as he drove his manhood up into her asshole over and over again.
At last, after five minutes, Adrian and Jenny had a simultaneous orgasm. He emptied the last of his semen reserves into her asshole, filling her up until she was overflowing. Pussy juice and semen from his first orgasm flowed from Jenny’s cunt from her climax, with both their juices running down their legs. They stood in the shower for several minutes, letting the hot water wash it all away.

At last, he turned off the shower and lowered Jenny to her feet, but she fell before she could even stand up. He crouched down, holding her hands.

“Jenny, are you ok?”

She just gave a sleepy smile. “Don’t worry, I’m fine. My whole body just feels like jelly. Could you grab me a robe?”

Adrian opened up the shower door and stepped out into the steam-filled bathroom. He walked over to the towel closet and opened it, finding two guest robes. He put one on and brought the other to Jenny, helping her put it on. With her unable to walk, he put one arm under her back and the other under her knees and picked her up.

Adrian stepped out of the bathroom with Jenny in his arms, the shower tapping out its last few drops. With her hand on the center of his chest and her face buried in the side of his neck, she was almost purring as he carried her to the bedroom. He gently laid her down on the bed and wrapped her in blankets, then climbed into the bed from the other side. He moved over and wrapped his arms around her, holding her close.

She rolled over and looked into his eyes, with her own eyes filled with love. “Adrian, this has been the most incredible year I have ever experienced. The night we first made love was the greatest day of my life, and every day after it has been better than the one before it. I’ve had so much fun traveling with you, fighting with you, and living with you as the center of my world. I love you, Adrian, and words can’t describe how happy you have made me.”

“I love you too. Before I met you, I didn’t know what it meant to be happy, I didn’t know what it meant to feel love, and I didn’t know what it meant to not be alone. I was just existing, but now I can actually live. You have brought me more happiness and peace than any enlightenment or strength could.”

“I love you,” they both said simultaneously. Then Jenny pressed herself against him, Adrian held her close, and they slowly began to fall asleep in each other’s arms.

Chapter Nine

“So what’s the plan for today?” Jenny asked as she ate her breakfast of fruit salad, brought up by room service.

“We start hunting,” said Adrian, holding up a folder. He tossed it onto the table and several pictures slid out, men and women with the photos taken from varying locations and across years. “These are some of the people I need to get into contact with. In truth, I could easily contact them myself, but it’s better to hide how much information I have on them so that they’ll lower their guard as much as possible. Vegas is a frequent vacation spot for these people, so while I can admit to knowing about them when we meet, it is better that they not find out that I’m actually looking for them. It should just look like a matter of good fortune on our side.”

“So we’ll search the casinos for them, staying just active enough to not stand out. We can’t go on winning streaks because the casino security will be on to us before we can even cash in our chips. We have to win big and lose often. Basically, we just have to act like a young rich couple with more money than brains that can be occasionally lucky,” said Jenny.

Adrian grinned. “Correct. Now let’s finish eating and head downstairs.”

The casino was quite extravagant, with bright chandeliers illuminating the casino floor, which was carpeted with an ornate flower area rug. Placed in key points, marble pillars were supporting the cathedral-style ceiling with a maze of slot machines and game tables stretched out across the floor. Their conversation was almost completely drowned out by the ringing of slot machines, jingling of coins and chips, and the calls of celebration or woe from the gamblers that flooded through the corridors of gambling tables.

“Ok, give me a second to get into character. I need to summon my inner-dumb blonde,” Jenny said, closing her eyes and taking several deep breaths. “Oh his god! This is so much fun!” she exclaimed with an obnoxiously shrill tone and a goofy smile.

“Just remember to surface for intelligence, I don’t want you to drown in the stupidity of the stereotype.”

“Actually, I kind of like it this way. The world is so much happier when you think with your boobs instead of your brain,” she teased as she twirled her hair around her finger.

“Jenny, you’re scaring me.”

“You’re so easy to mess with.”

Adrian had his face in his hands and was giving one sigh after another. He was in the Bellagio casino and had just lost a 100K at blackjack. The dealer had a smug look on his face at his suffering.

“How did it come to this?” Adrian kept muttering. He still had 500K with him, but his recent loss had just left a huge crater in his pile of chips.

“How about you quit while you’re ahead?” the dealer asked.

“Hell no. If I’m going to go out, I’m going out in a blaze of glory. I’m all in.”

“Oh, this is better than TV,” the dealer said as he handed Adrian two cards, flipping them both face-side-up, while he his own two cards facedown. Adrian gave a small but confident smile and tapped the table, having already figured out what the next card would be.

“Are you sure? You have seventeen, it’s a lot more shameful to go overboard then to stop when you know you should,” the dealer asked, giddy with the hope that Adrian would fail.

“Blaze of glory my friend, blaze of glory,” the young genius insisted, tapping again. The dealer sighed with a smile and handed him another facedown card, then flipped it over along with his cards and his jaw dropped when he saw it was a four.

“Twenty-one! Hallelujah!” Adrian hollered, falling to his knees with his fists in the air.

The dealer grudgingly pushed over his one million dollars in casino chips and Adrian poured them all into a plastic bag and strolled off. “Hmm, too easy,” he chuckled, returning to his normal personality.

Jenny and Adrian had spent almost a week in Vegas, working the casinos like hacked computer games. They spent every day and night growing their fortune merely for the fun of it while keeping a lookout. With their genius intellects, they were able to win almost every game that was within their control. They were so good that all the money they purposefully lost was pure winnings. In fact, they had more than tripled the cash they had arrived in Vegas with.

Along with gambling, they spent a lot of time touring around Vegas. They watched the fountain shows of the Bellagio, they went to see the Bodies Exhibit, looked around the Atomic Testing Museum, filled their stomachs at M&M’s World, walked around the Springs Preserve, toured the Titanic Artifact Exhibit, hiked through the surrounding canyons, drank and danced at the finest night clubs, tried their hand at golf, savored the cuisine of the fanciest restaurants, pampered themselves in the spas, and painted the town red. For the two teenage lovebirds, it was more fun than they had ever imagined

Adrian was walking through the casino, searching for his desired targets. He and Jenny would have to leave the Bellagio tomorrow morning to cut down the chances of being identified, so he wanted to make one last sweep to make sure none of his targets were in the building. Approaching the craps tables, he heard a bet placed by someone with an Italian accent and came to a dead halt. He turned to the one who had placed the bet, gaining a maniacal smile.


After Adrian cashed in his casino chips, Jenny met up with him and kissed him on the cheek.

“That was a nice show you put on,” she said, both sweetly and sarcastically.

“In my line of work, you really have to have keen acting skills. But I really got to lay off the drinks. I can’t tell if it makes my acting skills better or turns me into an actual idiot,” Adrian sighed as they stepped into the elevator.

“Well if it does make your acting skills better, then it means we only have to wait for Marti Gras and you’ll be able to take over all of Hollywood. So how much did you make this round?”

“You first.”

“700K” she said proudly, opening up the paper bag with her cash in it.

“That’s good, that’s good… But I made a million.”

“No way!”

“What do you know, women really do make seventy cents for every dollar a man makes!” Adrian joked, causing Jenny to laugh and elbow him in the ribs.

It was two in the morning when they stepped into their room, but neither of them was very tired.

“How about we rent a movie and pig out with some room service?” Adrian suggested.

“That would be perfect,” Jenny said dreamily as she stepped into the bedroom.

Adrian picked up the phone and dialed room service. “Hi, I’m in the third honeymoon suite. Could I get a serving of fried chicken, a bottle of rum with a two-liter bottle of Coke, and a couple of ice cream Sundays? Thank you.”

Adrian sat down on the living room couch and turned on the TV. As he surfed through the list of on-demand movies, he heard Jenny come up behind him. She put her hands on his shoulders and he looked up with a smile. Jenny’s face was hidden by her huge breasts, which were covering his face. Adrian flicked his tongue between them, savoring the taste and softness.

Jenny giggled and began massaging his shoulders. “Come on, baby, get out of those clothes and relax a little.”

“That would be a pretty awkward moment when the food I ordered shows up.”

“Suit yourself,” she pouted as she climbed over the couch and sat down, leaning against him.

Adrian wrapped his arm around her and began working his fingers between her legs, making her hum and purr. Minutes after they started the movie, their food was delivered. Adrian tipped the bellhop and put the food down on the table. As per his unspoken promise, he undressed before sitting down, much to Jenny’s enjoyment. Jenny lied back against him with their naked bodies pressed together like two puzzle pieces, and they feasted while watching the movie. Eating fried chicken with Coke to wash it down while you watch a movie naked with your lover pressed against you in the Bellagio hotel is the greatest definition of Heaven.

“Jenny, could you hand me a couple napkins please?” he asked as they ate their Sundays. As Jenny reached out to grab some napkins on the table, her Sunday fell over, covering her chest in ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup.

“Oh, that’s cold!”

“Are you ok?” he asked, moving out from under her.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m blocking it now,” she sighed, using willpower to keep the stinging of the cold from reaching her mind.

Adrian smiled and leaned down, dragging his tongue up the center of her chest and licking up the ice cream and chocolate syrup.

“Ooh!” she cooed before he kissed her.

Adrian went back down, running his tongue up her chest and licking the ice cream. He wrapped his tongue around her left nipple, sucking on it hungrily. He then shifted to her right, savoring the taste of chocolate syrup that coated her breast. He kissed her again and she slipped her tongue between his lips, slurping the ice cream out of his mouth. Adrian suddenly jerked as he felt his dick submerged in something cold. He looked down and saw that while he had been kissing Jenny, she had grabbed his Sunday and… you know what she did.

“Aw, come on! What did I do to you? Seriously, I wasn’t finished with it!”

“Don’t worry baby, dessert is on me,” she said coyly as she gently pushed him onto his back.

She crouched over me and poured the rest of the Sunday on his chest. She leaned down and took a broad lick, then moved up so that he could take a turn and lick some of the ice cream off of her. They moved back and forth, licking the ice cream off each other’s chests and cleaning each other with their tongues like a pair of affectionate cats.

After Jenny licked every glob of ice cream and chocolate syrup off of his chest, she moved down and ran her tongue up the shaft of his erect cock. She traced the head with her tongue, teasing him, and then wrapped her lips around it, sucking on it gently. Before she could take the whole thing in her mouth, he stopped her and moved underneath her, getting into the 69 position.

Adrian flicked his tongue between the lips of her wet pussy as she sucked on his cock like it was a Popsicle. With the whole thing in her mouth, he sent his tongue up inside her, burying his face in her pussy. Their chests and stomachs were constantly rubbing up against each other as Jenny lathered his phallus with saliva and licked it up in an endless cycle and he probed every hot wet corner of her soft pussy, going so deep that his nose was buried between the flower petal-like lips. As she massaged his cock with her tongue and cheeks, he was rubbing her back and shoulders, trying to give her a massage.

Without warning, Jenny released his cock, leaving it with a thick coating of saliva. Her breathing was quick and shallow with arousal. She moved her pussy off of his face and onto his erect cock, grinding the soft lips against the shaft. They both got up, he on his knees and Jenny on all fours. Adrian guided his manhood to the lips of her wet pussy and forced it in, causing Jenny to gasp as he mounted her.

With his hands on her hips, he began moving back and forth, driving his cock deep inside her. Jenny gave an ongoing mix of high and low moans with each thrust, for this new position allowed him to drive far deeper into a corner of her pussy that he hadn’t been able to explore much. He leaned forward, pressing his chest against her back, wrapped his arm diagonally across her chest, and rested his chin on her shoulder, trying to make as much contact as possible as he drove his cock in as fast as possible.

“Oh god, Adrian! You’re driving me crazy!” she whined, holding onto the couch as if an earthquake was rocking the building. “Oh Adrian!” she moaned as they both had gushing orgasms, spraying each other with their juices.

He leaned back, pulling out of her with a web of semen stretching from the head of his dick to the swollen lips of her pussy. Jenny collapsed, and they were both silent for several seconds as they both tried to catch their breath. Both the couch and they were a sticky mess of chocolate syrup, ice cream, and genetic material.

“Jenny?” he panted.


“I think we need to take a shower.”

Adrian was lying on his back on the shower floor with Jenny on top of him. His erect manhood was deep in her asshole and she was bouncing up and down on it with a high moan passing from between her lips. With the hot water of the shower on their bodies and extravagant erotic feeling of his phallus been driven up Jenny’s anus, their bodies were ecstatic with physical bliss. Jenny had one hand on the center of his chest for support and was running her other hand through her long golden hair, and Adrian was running his hands all over her body, giving her a full massage.

With their bodies filled with both exhaustion and euphoria, it didn’t take much to trigger that last great orgasm. Jenny’s body was shaking like a leaf as Adrian shot countless jets of semen up inside her and she had climax after climax. Jenny collapsed on top of him, and he couldn’t help but softly laugh. Adrian turned off the water, and like with the first time they made love in the shower, he had to carry her to bed because her legs were shaking too much for her to walk. As he put her in the bed and lied beside her, Jenny rolled over to him.

“Adrian, I know how important our plan is and I fully support it, but I would be lying if I said that I wouldn’t also love to just stay here and do this with you for the rest of our lives; play these casino’s so well that it’s tragic, retire to our honeymoon suit, and make sweet passionate love until we fall asleep from exhaustion.”

“Well once the plan is complete, we can always come back here and do that. We can stay here in Vegas, get a nice penthouse, become rich—I mean richer, and give each other their hearts throughout the nights.”

“I’m not lucky to have you, I’m blessed,” she said as she snuggled up against him and leaned her head on his shoulder.

“Speaking of our plan, I was able to find one of my targets.”

Jenny looked up at him. “Really?”

“Yeah, I’m going to talk to him tomorrow if I can find him. Let’s just hope everything goes according to plan.”

Adrian stood at a craps table, watching the game progress. On the other side of the table was his target. He had a shaved head and was dressed in a black business suit.

“Hundred-grand on ten,” he said with his Italian accent, causing hushed muttering throughout the crowd. Several people placed similar bets, but at much smaller amounts. Before the dealer could throw the dice, Adrian spoke up. “I’ll match that bet.”

The dealer raised his eyebrows and the dice were cast, rolling up ten. Loud cheering rang through the crowd as the winners were handed their money.

“You’re quite the high roller,” the man said as they were each given a huge pile of chips.

“You’re one to talk. What do you do in order to afford gambling such large amounts?”

“I am a doctor, Dr. Anthony Alfonse. I am a family physician for wealthy clients all across Europe, and my services strike up generous payments.”

“You’re clients, or CLIENT? Doctors of your skill and profession usually cling to one rich and ailing client, but act as more than just a family physician. For a doctor that makes house calls across Europe, I find it strange that you would be all the way out here in Las Vegas, because that would mean losing valuable business, not to mention the fact that your status as a family physician to many clients binds you to them, and it would be rare for them all to avoid sickness and injury.

You’re on paid vacation, either from the hospital that you actually work at, or from your one rich client that gave you this vacation time. You would never be able to convince multiple clients to all give you vacation time.” No one was paying attention to them as the game continued, but Dr. Alfonse was glaring at him with suspicion. “Regardless of whether you are indeed a family physician or work at a hospital, the money you are throwing around shows that you are indeed well-known and well-respected. I’m looking for a business opportunity, and I’m sure someone of your profession and connections could help me out.”

“And what do you do as a profession?” he asked, trying to figure out if he should flee.

“I create medical and surgical machinery, among other things. In fact, I designed and built a revolutionary piece of technology that is being installed in hospitals around the globe. Someone of your stature should surely have heard of it. It is known as the Adroid.” The doctor’s eyes widened and Adrian nodded just as he was about to say his name. “Tell your client about what just happened here. I imagine he’ll want to contact me. By the way, do you like opera?”

Jenny and Adrian were sitting in a dark theater, watching an opera with dinner.

“Do you think he’ll show up?” Jenny asked as she ate her lobster.

“He’ll definitely come.”

Minutes after he spoke the words, Dr. Alfonse sat down on the other side of the table. “It seems that your technological and medical prowess precede you, Mr. Ashford. My client is very interested in doing business with you, and specifically told me to hunt you down the second I spoke your name. It seems the authorities weren’t the only ones searching for you,” he said calmly, but with distrust.

“I imagine that your client will not be able to come out and meet me here in Vegas, due to his condition?”

“That is correct. I have a limo waiting outside, with a teleconference system set up. He is very anxious to meet you, so if it is not too much to ask, will you please finish your meal and come with me?”

Adrian turned to Jenny. “I’m all set, how about you?”

“I’m ready to go. Just need to stop off at the bathroom and wash my hands,” she replied, wiping the butter from the lobster off her lips.

“Ah, where are my manners? You must be Jenny Sinclair, I have heard that you are exceptionally beautiful, but the rumors do not do you justice,” Alfonse said, shaking her hand. Jenny giggled at the compliment.

They walked out of the theater and climbed into a limo. The vehicle sped off the second the doors were closed. Inside, a computer with a mobile server had been hooked up the limo’s electrical system. It had both a microphone and a set of speakers for the teleconference. Dr. Alfonse turned on the computer and the image of an old man instantly appeared on the screen. He was in his early seventies and sitting in a wheelchair, and while he did appear to be sick, he did not have an oxygen tank with him, but both of his arms were in slings.

“Mr. Ashford and Ms. Sinclair, allow him to introduce you to—”

“Professor Demetri Medici, professor of history at Pontifica Università Gregoriana, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Vatican City. You are also the chairman of the largest bank in Europe,” Adrian interrupted. Everyone stared at him with disbelief.

“How do you know who I am?” Professor Medici asked with a dead-serious tone.

“Because I’ve been watching you, all of you, just like how you’ve been watching me. People like me with genius intellects have been on the watch-list of your group for decades, and I know when I’m being followed. Imagine my surprise when I find your handler here.”

Jenny tried to hide her sly grin of amusement, while both Alphonse and Medici stiffened. Adrian wasn’t holding back this time; hiding the fact that he was well-stocked with information would only incriminate him, but he had to maintain the appearance that this meeting was purely coincidental.

“And what group exactly do you think I am in?”

“The group with the same symbol as your doctor’s ring.”

Jenny switched her gaze to Alfonse’ ring and gasped when she recognized the symbol.

“The Freemasons?” she asked, gripping his arm.

“That’s correct. But contrary to popular belief, the Freemasons don’t do anything to shape this world and never have, but they do indeed keep their eyes open and watch everything. Ever since my IQ topped 300 and I began building surgical technology, the masons have been keeping a close tab on me,” he said to her, making sure that everyone could hear.

“Don’t play innocent. Ever since my IQ reached 300 and I began building surgical technology, the Illuminati have been keeping a close tab on me.”

“Then it seems that the status quo has changed. I will not insult you by denying your claims, but I was told you want to make a business deal, and I would prefer to get straight to business.”

“Of course. Now from my information on you, you are currently suffering from a disease that is causing severe clotting in your extremities. Seeing as how you are already in that wheelchair and both your arms are in slings, I would say that the disease has already progressed and is beginning to cause muscle death. I also know that many of your “business partners” are also suffering from the same disease.”

“That is correct. My disease is the result of an assassination attempt. The CEO of a bio-weaponry company exposed us to one of his diseases because they refused to let him become a member. I’m just glad that he overestimated the power of his disease. Your sources of information are as impressive as you are. How much experience do you have with surgical procedures?”

“A fair amount. For years, I have read and memorized almost every medical and surgical book I could get my hands on. I have also preformed hundreds of dissections on animals that passed away in pet stores, spent ours performing digital autopsies online, and have blueprints of the human body secured in my memory.”

“And your technical skills speak for themselves. Now, as you have said, my disease is creating blood clots in my extremities and causing muscle death. The disease does not affect the rest of my body and the clots break up before they can spread, but my limbs are wasting away. I have already had my feet amputated before they could become gangrenous, and my hands won’t last much longer. I am fine with regular prosthetics on my legs, but to lose use of both my hands would be devastating to the life I live. I would lose the ability to do anything on my own.

The loss of my hands is inevitable, but what can be done afterwards is what is important. Adrian Ashford, here is my business proposition: I want you to remove my hands and give me mechanical replacements, using your skills as an engineer. As you said, several of my “business partners” have the same disease, and they too want the same procedure done.”

Jenny turned to Adrian and saw that he had a small smile on his face.

‘Everything is going according to plan, down to every last detail.’ “And what exactly will I get in return for my services? As you said, you don’t want to lose your hands and with them lose the freedom of being able to do things on your own. I imagine your “business partners” feel the same way. What are you and your friends willing to pay for freedom and physical independence, and even more, your lives?”

“Safe asylum in Vatican City and payment of a hundred million dollars in whatever form of currency you would like.”

“That is a very generous deal, but that isn’t quite what I would like. Instead of the hundred million dollars, I want IN.”

Everyone looked at him with confusion.

“In? In what? You want to become a Freemason? Well there are easier ways to become a Freemason than—”

“No, not a Freemason. I mean higher up,” Adrian said, interrupting Medici. The limo was silent for several moments.

“You can’t honestly mean…”

“You said that you wouldn’t insult me my denying my claims, and I have been correct on every single matter. I wouldn’t even be here if I wasn’t absolutely sure that I was right on this matter.”

“If you honestly think it exists, then you are a lot less intelligent than a thought you were,” Medici laughed.

“Don’t lie to me. You’re almost 160 IQ points short of being able to lie to me.”

Medici lost his smile. “You want to become a member of the Illuminati,” he said with his tone serious.

Jenny gripped Adrian arm. “The Illuminati?! You mean the group that conspiracy theorists have been raving about for decades?”

“The very same. I’ve been watching their movements for years, knowing that they’ve also been watching mine. It’s a myth that the Freemasons control the world, but the Freemasons themselves are under the commands of a tight ring of intellectuals known as the Illuminati. While it is true, there are only a handful of people, including myself, that are not in the Illuminati but know that it is undeniably true and have even seen the proof. Just because those conspiracy theorists happen to say something that is true, doesn’t mean that they themselves are correct.

Just like the Freemasons, they take absolutely no action in the events of the world. They have a strict rule to never intervene, unless it is in the face of complete annihilation. But every member of the Illuminati must have both an incredibly high IQ and be in a position of incredible political or economic power, or have strong connections to someone with incredible political or economic power.

Along with teaching history in Vatican City, Professor Medici here is also a board member of one of the greatest banks in all of Europe. All of his friends with the disease that plagues him are in the Illuminati as well. That bio-weaponry CEO didn’t want to join the Freemasons, he wanted to join the Illuminati. So do we have a deal?”

“I will have to convene with the other members. The limo driver will bring you to an airport where Dr. Alfonse’ jet is waiting. I will have an answer by the time you get there. If you are allowed in, get on the jet and we will fly you out immediately.”

“Before you go, I have one final demand: Jenny must be allowed in as well. I’m not doing anything without her. She and I have been killing criminals across the country. I’ve brought her up to my level of intellect and physical abilities. Believe me when I say she is smarter than everyone in the Illuminati.”

Jenny wrapped her fingers around his hand and kissed him on the cheek.

“Very well,” Professor Medici said dryly before the computer was turned off.

“Dr. Alfonse, tell the driver we need to stop at the Bellagio so that Jenny and I can collect our things

“I hope they agree, I would love to see Vatican City,” Jenny said dreamily as they packed their things.

“Not just Vatican City, we’ll be able to tour all across Europe. Venice, France, London, Berlin…”

“Maybe a quick stop in Amsterdam.”

“Whores and drugs? Eh, not my cup of tea.”

“I just love you so much,” she giggled as she kissed him on the cheek. After the kiss, she just stared at him with a tender smile on her face.

“What is it?”

“I just can’t believe you’ve had this all planned out from the very beginning. Everything has come together so well that it is almost as if you could read the future.”

“Humans are predictable, and the smarter you are, the easier it is to see the root causes of every action that they make. The Illuminati may be filled with some of the smartest people on Earth, but my record is not a mere novelty. Not even they can stand up to me.”

“All this to join the Illuminati. You really are a strange man.”

“Well joining the Illuminati is only part of my plan, and once that plan is finished, they will all become obsolete. Once everything is done, I will rebuild the Illuminati. The current members have become corrupt and decadent, only changing the world in their favor instead of for its betterment. I will rebuild the world and the Illuminati; that is a guarantee. It’s time for a change, and nothing will escape the revolution. I’ll use those fools up and then toss them aside like garbage.”

“I love when you talk like a villain,” Jenny purred.

As they walked through the Bellagio lobby with the bellhop carrying their luggage, the woman behind the desk repeatedly switched her gaze between her computer screen and two teens. She was reading an article on a news website and it was about the string of massacres spread out across the country, with their pictures below the headline.

“Oh my god,” she gasped as she recognized the two teens.

As she picked up the phone, Jenny, the bellhop, and Adrian stepped out into the street. Adrian handed the bellhop ten bucks and he left them with their luggage.

“Adrian…” Jenny began. Only with their fully utilized hearing could they hear the woman behind the desk.

“I know; she’s calling the police. We can’t let them figure out where we’re going,” Adrian said as he walked over to Dr. Alfonse. “The police are on the way, we’ll meet you at the airport.”

Handed Adrian’s car keys, Alfonse nodded and climbed back into the limo. As he sped off, Jenny and Adrian calmly made their way to the parking area. The sounds of police sirens could be heard in the distance.

“I’ll draw their attention and lead them away. Once the coast is clear, get to the airport. I’ll meet you there,” Adrian instructed.

“Adrian, don’t fight them. They aren’t criminals and there is no telling what they are armed with.”

Before replying, Adrian opened up one of their luggage bags and pulled out his black coat. The pockets and interior were filled with darts, and his sheathed lance was wrapped up in it. He had only enough time to put on his bulletproof shirt before wrapping himself in his coat.

“Don’t worry, this will not be my last stand. Go inside and hijack a car. I’ll block the road and then you come out and try to run me over. You’ll just look like a scared bystander trying to get away.”

While Jenny ran off with their bags to find a good car to take, Adrian calmly walked out into the middle of the street, which had been cleared as the police approached. As the squad of police cars sped down the Vegas Strip towards him, Adrian reached into his pockets and pulled out several darts. Once the cars were in range, he took careful aim and threw the spikes with devastating power. The first car that was struck had its lights blown out and the windshield filled with cracks, making it impossible to see through. It crashed into a parked car and the siren fell silent as the airbags inflated and slammed into the officers inside.

The second car that was struck had the left rearview mirror ripped off. The driver instinctively swerved to the left, exposing his right front tire. A well-placed dart popped the tire, causing the front-right corner of the vehicle to sink. With the vehicle’s weight and inertia being focused on that lower corner, the car swerved out of control and flipped over. Adrian threw four darts at the third car, using the first two to shatter the windshield and the third and fourth to stab the cops in the front seats. The darts had only struck their shoulders and the wounds were shallow, but the car swerved out of control and crashed into a parked van. The three cop cars were now blocking the road, and as per his instructions, Adrian could hear Jenny driving towards him at top speed.

Adrian jumped out of the way of the stolen car and watched Jenny speed away, knowing that she was worried about him but also had faith. He took a deep breath and sprinted away from the wrecks, running out onto the next road and fleeing into the alley across the street from the Bellagio. His senses were on full alert as he counted every audible siren and tried to figure out their location and distance. Identifying the location and distance of each was like an equation, with compensations for sound waves bouncing off buildings and cars and being distorted by background noise as the variables. He was working on dozens of these equations at once in his mind, and using them to create a mental map of the city, with the locations of cop cars marked.

Adrian ran out into a busy street, filled with people and cars. Keeping low to the ground and parallel to the road, he sprinted down the sidewalk, shooting past everyone in his path and maneuvering through the crowds. In his mind, he was calculating the fastest route to the airport while avoiding the police. In a matter of seconds, he plotted out the full route and formed his plan. He needed to cut across the next intersection, but it was filled with cars moving at fast speeds. Adrian stepped out into the street and used his sense of hearing and sight to identify every car in the four streets leading to the intersection.

After plotting out the course and speed of every car and creating a mental simulation of distance-to-speed ratios, Adrian took a deep breath and climbed up onto a parked car. People on the sidewalk stared at him as he stood on the roof of the car, looking down the street. As a car passed by, Adrian jumped into the air and landed on the roof. Before the driver could slam his feet on the brakes, Adrian jumped to the next car, and then a third. Moving as fast as lightning, he jumped from car to car, moving before the drivers could come to a stop.

At the intersection, Adrian jumped from the roof of a sedan, to a van, and then up onto a tourism bus. He ran across the roof of a bus and jumped onto the next car. Down the street, a police siren lit up on the roof of a black mustang. However, it was a single siren that could be placed and removed at any time, not a pair of sirens like on a police cruiser. Inside were Agents Mason and Hoffman.

“Hmm, interesting, so they were able to predict I’d be here,” Adrian smirked.

He jumped off the bus and onto the next van as the traffic opened up for the disguised cop car. Jumping from car to car, he ran away from the two FBI agents as they tried to get through the chaotic traffic. In only a few seconds, they broke free of the intersection and sped after him, driving down the middle of the road with all of the cars moving out of the way. He smiled as they approached and jumped into the air, landing on the hood of their car. They stared in disbelief as Adrian looked down at them with a devious smile. Before they could react, he drew his lance and pierced the windshield, reaching down and piercing Agent Mason who was behind the wheel. Adrian stabbed him in the gut, intentionally missing all of his internal organs and innards to slow him down.

Coughing up blood, Mason stomped on the brakes, sending Adrian flying off the hood of the car. In midair, he took control of his trajectory, altered his flight pattern, and landed on his feet. He winced from the sensation of a twisted ankle. Landing on the hood of the speeding car and then on the ground like that had done a number on his joints. Adrian was lucky it wasn’t broken, but he would need some time to ease the strain before being able to run again. Blocking pain was one thing, but he always had to be aware of injuries that could slow him down or increase in severity if ignored. Moving as fast as his ankle would allow, Adrian fled down the street and ducked into the next alley.

“Go after him, I’ll be fine!” Mason said, gripping his bleeding stomach.

“You aren’t fine, that bastard stabbed you!” Hoffman yelled as he pulled a first aid kit out of the glove compartment.

“Listen, he was limping away. This is our best chance to catch him! He ducked into the next alley, go get him while we still have the chance!” Mason said, spitting up blood. Hoffman finally nodded and climbed out of the car. With his gun in hand, he ran down the sidewalk towards the alley.

In the alley, Adrian was sitting on a trashcan, trying to loosen up the muscles in his ankle so that it wouldn’t hurt to run on it. A bullet struck the brick wall above him, missing his head by only a few inches. Adrian jumped to his feet and looked down the alley, spotting Agent Hoffman.

“You’re under arrest for mass-murder and aggravated assault against my partner.”

“Your partner will be fine, that was not a lethal wound. He was an obstacle in my path and I just needed him out of my way. I don’t want to kill the innocent, especially law enforcement. However, I cannot allow my plans to be detoured by the FBI,” Adrian said calmly as he slowly drew his lance, with Agent Mason’s blood still dripping from the end.

“I don’t care what your plans are, this ends tonight,” he said as pulled the trigger of his gun.

Adrian had more than enough time to react and defend himself in the split second between when Hoffman tightened the muscles in his finger and when the hammer of the gun struck the bullet. Like countless times before, he imagined a beam of red light shining out of the agent’s gun, telling him exactly where it was aimed. With inhuman speed, Adrian moved his lance in the bullet’s path before the firing pin could even strike the primer, compensating for recoil and other variables. The bullet was fired, moving through the air so fast that not even his eyes could catch it, but it did not matter. The bullet struck his lance and was deflected, falling to the ground as a piece of crumpled metal. Agent Hoffman desperately emptied his entire clip, but Adrian’s reflexes allowed him to block and deflect every one.

“You are out of your league, detective. I have evolved to a point where your guns are useless against me. While we are of the same species, we are worlds apart in every aspect. I suggest you leave to tend to your partner, before you end up like him.”

Releasing a roar of anger, Agent Hoffman drew an extending police baton and charged towards him, about to swing it from the side.

“You’re full of openings,” Adrian muttered as he reached out with his lance.

As the agent swung his arm to strike him with the baton, the tip of Adrian’s lance pierced his elbow, driving between the bones and cartilage, completely stopping his attack like a wrench thrown into an engine. Hoffman shouted in agony and fell to his knees.

“Had I been serious with that counterattack, I could have sent the lance in all the way and completely severed your forearm. The bones in your elbow would have been crushed, the nerves torn, and the muscles ripped apart. No surgeon would be able to reattach it. I’ll say this again: leave before you end up like your partner. My plans are too important for me to be wasting time with you.”

As Adrian walked away, Agent Hoffman pulled out a stun gun and pulled the trigger. Two barbs were launched from the end, connected by long wires. They lodged themselves in Adrian’s coat but there was no effect. Adrian turned back to the agent.

“Nice try, but I made this coat to not just stop pullets. It’s also fireproof, airtight, and it insulates me from electric charges. And even if those barbs hit me, I can block pain, so the most you’d give me is some harmless muscle stimulation.”

“What the hell are you planning?” Hoffman cursed as he got to he feet.

“I can’t tell you. If word were to get out as to what my plans are, my associates would never let me continue,” Adrian said if he walked away.

“Tell me what you’re planning, goddammit!” Hoffman yelled as he charged towards him, about to punch him with his good hand. Adrian turned around and caught his wrist, completely stopping him. Hoffman was a very large man, with a great amount of strength in his punches, but his power was nothing compared to the adolescent’s.

“You want to know? Fine,” Adrian said before stabbing him in the thigh with his lance. He howled in pain and fell to the ground, holding his leg. “However, once I tell you, I will kill you. As I said, I can’t afford to let my plans be known by anyone, especially my associates. For the price of death, are you still willing to hear his plans?” Hoffman was silent. “Very well. Agent Mason, I hope you heard that, because you’re my witness.”

Adrian then stabbed through Hoffman’s coat on his right side, destroying his radio, which had been set to receive and transmit the conversation. Hoffman cursed at how easily Adrian saw through his ploy.

“Now that no one can listen in, I will tell you the truth. I have recently become a member of a very powerful society, one that people laugh at as a myth without knowing its true power. The group I am talking about is the Illuminati, the puppeteers of the Freemasons.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“The Illuminati do exist and their influence reaches all around this globe. While they have the potential to change the world, they only use a small amount of their potential, allowing genocides and wars to continue even though they have the means to end them. I will take command of the Illuminati and change that. I will use their power and connections to bring about my plan.”

“And what the hell is your plan?” the crippled detective asked angrily.

“Bringing the world to the brink of death and installing international peace. I plan on crippling the major superpowers of the globe and giving nuclear weapons to every country on Earth.”

Hoffman stared at him wide-eyed. “How the hell will that bring world peace?! It will only doom us all!”

“On the contrary. By spreading power throughout the nations of the world, I will create the ultimate force to prevent war: fear. Anger and greed create wars, but fear can prevent them. Nuclear weapons have taken this role and performed beautifully. For example: after WWII, everyone believed the US and Russia would fight each other, people were making bomb shelters in their back yards before atomic bombs were even invented. The war between America and Russia was inevitable, yet something stopped it, and that something was the atomic bomb.

With the atomic bomb in America’s arsenal, Russia stepped down its aggravated attempts of control out of fear, and when Russia achieved nuclear power, America did the same, bringing the two all-powerful nations to a stalemate. Such was the Cold War, though through my eyes, I see it as the Cold Peace. If it weren’t for the fact that America was more paranoid about communism than Russian nuclear strikes, we could have avoided fighting in Vietnam, Korea, and other countries, and the Cold War would have acted as the perfect example of peace instilled by fear.

I plan on recreating that status quo but on a worldwide scale. After the fall of the Soviet Union, literally thousands of Russian nuclear bombs went missing. Who else would possess all of those bombs other than the Illuminati?
Once I get my hands on those nukes and the Illuminati’s connections, I will distribute them to every country on earth.

Consider this; since the end of WWII, has the US waged any war on a country with nuclear weapons? Russia? Pakistan? North Korea? Ever since nuclear power went up for grabs, no two nuclear countries have declared open war on each other, out of fear of a nuclear exchange. However, America alone has invaded countless countries without nuclear weapons because they had nothing to fear. Few people realize just how many countries the United States actually have troops stationed in, but imagine if I gave all those countries the ability to tell the US we’ve overstayed our welcome.

By giving every nation on earth nuclear weapons, every country will have equal power. No one would dare wage war on another country if there was a possibility of retaliation.”

“But what about countries controlled by madmen, or terrorists taking one of those bombs?! If nuclear weapons become more available, nuclear war will be unavoidable!”
“Along with the corporate world, I have also infiltrated the third world. I’ve stabilized a dozen countries already, using my wealth to replace chaos and famine with schools and infrastructure. More than that, I’ve set up dozens of rebel groups around the world. Armed, trained, and loyal to me, they are ready to overthrow their governments upon my order. The world will think it was simple human strength that overthrew the evil regimes, but it will have all been me, installing my own puppet regimes so I can pull the strings and keep the world safe. I’ve established mercenary armies in Africa, I’ve sold weapons to terrorists that are rigged to blow with the push of a button, and I’ve overthrown several tyrants. Believe me, I’ve thought this through and been working on this for a long time.

I plan on giving every country only a very small number of nuclear bombs, so small that you could count them all on one hand. With only a small arsenal to look after, there will be no chance of any of the nuclear bombs going missing like after the fall of the Soviet Union. Unstoppable security measures will be put in place on each bomb, ensuring that they will never be stolen or lost. If one country outside of my control does indeed decide to wage nuclear war on another country, its number of targets will be incredibly small. Consider all of the major cities in America; the nation would still be able to survive if a few of them were lost during a nuclear exchange. If two countries wage war on each other, the exchange will be very brief, and the will to fight would be crushed under the loss of life.

If a brief nuclear war starts, there will be almost no chance of other countries wanting to get involved. It won’t be like a bar fight where one guy punches another guy and it turns into a domino affect. If two countries wage war, the nuclear exchange would make examples out of them, and other countries would be too terrified to make the same mistake.

I will force the great nations of the globe into submission and forever deflate their overblown egos. With all of the countries equal, war will become obsolete, and peace will be installed, whether people like it or not.”

“But that’s not peace! That’s just fear and pain crushing everyone, all forced to live under your heel and the threat of nuclear war!” Hoffman yelled defiantly.

“Exactly; peace. That is the only peace that can be established in this world of ours. I am not a misanthrope, but that doesn’t mean I’m not aware of humans’ ignorance and barbarity in this modern age and all throughout history. Humans are like junkyard dogs; the only way to keep them from snapping at each other is to lock them up. Your definition of peace is a delusion created out of denial of human nature.

As an agent of the FBI, can you honestly tell me that humans are capable of understanding each other and being happily at peace? Do you really think that our modern societies have a chance at achieving peace, when history has proven us incapable?” They were both silent for several seconds. “Before I met Jenny, my experience in a public high school was a very peculiar one. I was given the nickname Adroid because of my cold logic and inhuman personality. She once asked me how I could be so harsh and calculating, and I replied by stating I choose to see the world and solve problems in the way a machine would. That is the source of my new movement, the movement to put an end to foolish humanitarianism and idiocy. It is time for us to stop letting our emotions dictate our lives and start using true logic. Nationality, religion, and ethnicity can no longer hold any value whatsoever if we are ever to have peace, with or without my plan.

With fear breathing down the neck of every national leader, the desire to wage war will be crushed under the inevitable repercussions of nuclear retaliation, and with the military strength of every nation forcefully equalized, a new world order can be planted in the cracks caused by the revolution. The intention of my plan will flow down into the protocols of every country: use fear to bring peace. Governments will crack down on crime like never before, driving fear into those who break the law and suppressing their urge to destroy, yet they will also be cautious, fearing the retaliation of the public if they go too far with their desire to crush law-breaking.

Humans cannot create peace for a human world; there is too much moronic selfishness and dramatic emotions. Just look in on a session of Congress and you’ll see that we cannot let this world continue in the way it has been. Humans’ faulty logic and humanitarian idealism block the key to true peace, and only with the mind of a machine can those obstacles be removed and peace achieved. You can’t just set the human race off with a new beginning and hope it makes good decisions. You have to set up barriers that will keep it in check long after you have died. For me, those barriers are fear and control.

The human race is like a child; it needs its parents to make the right decisions for it because it is incapable of making the correct choices for itself. Humans may have created machines, but since machines will someday surpass humans, they must act as parents of the human race, and only with machine logic can the safety of the human race be ensured. I forsook my machine side to be with the one I love, but I did not lose my view of this world and my logic. I have the body of a man and the mind of a machine, so I can see the path to peace, and should I fail, then at least the world will be united against me as a common enemy.

That is my plan, Agent, and as I said before, I cannot let you live now that you have heard it,” Adrian said as he raised his lance. The agent looked up at him, trying to think of an argument he could make. “I would have preferred to kill as few innocent people as possible, but you refused to move out of my path. I am sorry, but I must silence you for the sake of peace.”

“You’re late,” Jenny said with a smile as she sat on the hood of the car she had taken. Behind her was Dr. Alfonse’ private jet, ready to take off.

“Sorry, I wanted to play one last round of blackjack, then I got on a winning streak… and now I’m bankrupt,” Adrian joked as he walked over to her.

“I have good news, they accepted us. We’re now members of the Illuminati. All according to plan huh?”

“A few steps off, but pretty much according to plan.”

“Our stuff has been loaded onto the jet. I guess it’s time to get going,” she said with a hint of sadness.

“Don’t worry, darling, we’ll come back here some day. We’ll come back, tour America again, work the Vegas casinos, visit our hometown, and do whatever we want. We have all the time in the world. I know it feels weird to be leaving home.”

“I’m not leaving home. For me, home is wherever you are,” she said sweetly.

“Oh my god, that is so corny.”

Laughing to point that she couldn’t breathe, Jenny shoved him off of the car.

Dr. Alfonse stepped out of the jet and walked over to them. “Mr. Ashford, Ms. Sinclair, I suggest we leave.”

“Of course, we’re ready to go,” Adrian said as he stood up.

Jenny and Adrian climbed up the stairs and stepped into the private jet. They took two seats facing each other and couldn’t help but smile as the plane took off. Dr. Alfonse then walked over to them.

“We’re going to stop on the eastern coast to refuel, refuel again in England, and from there, we’ll head to Vatican City.”

As he walked away, Adrian turned to Jenny. “We’re on our way.”

Chapter Ten:

Jenny and Adrian gave a wide yawn once the plane shook them awake. They had left the US behind and landed in Vatican City, their new home. Outside, the towering cathedrals and obelisks were reaching up to the late-morning sun. Down on the airport tarmac, a limo was waiting for them. Jenny and Adrian looked at each other and smiled, both giddy and nervous. They stepped out of the plane with their luggage, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the fresh air. The limo driver quickly took their luggage and loaded it into the back for them. Dr. Alfonse, Jenny, and Adrian climbed inside, and found Professor Medici sitting near the back of the cabin. The doors were closed and the limo quickly began moving forward.

“I must say, Mr. Ashford, you’re terms were steep. It took a lot of convincing to get the other members to accept you both into the Illuminati without any previous affiliation. However, once we looked into your history and considered what you could offer us, they all accepted. However, if you want to keep your membership, you will both have to continuously have something to offer. While I wish our first meeting hadn’t been so… interrogative, I do believe that you will be a vital key to the future of the Illuminati.”
“Thank you. I’m glad that there are no negative feelings.”
“You’re welcome,” he said as the limo drove down the beautiful Roman streets. “Now, I’m here to inform you as to your entitlements and benefits as a member of the Illuminati, as well as responsibilities. Let me first make it clear that as long as you work WITH the Illuminati, you work FOR the Illuminati. As a member, you will not receive any payment for your services. We’ll have nothing to do with your finances, and unless an individual is giving you a personal loan, you will not get any money from other members. However, as long as you work for the Illuminati, you will have access to the benefits and perks of all members. Such examples include free vacations, flights to any location, tax exemption, medical care, and anything else owned by another member.
In terms of your personal activities, the Illuminati doesn’t care about what you do, as long as there is no way it can be traced back to us. However, if the Illuminati council has a strong disagreement with your actions, then you’ll have two options; stop what you’re doing or leave the Illuminati. We refuse to be affiliated with drug cartels, warlords, slave traffickers, or anything else like that. It took a lot for us to overlook your already… bloodstained… history.
That is mostly all you need to know as a new member of the Illuminati. You will learn more later, but we’ve covered all of the important things. Now, allow us to discuss the procedure…”
“Well I was able to come up with designs on the flight here, so all I need is the time and resources to build them. Once I get the required materials, I can have the pair ready in… a week. But I will also need x-rays and scans of your arms, because I need a lot of details in order to make sure that the prosthetics will fit.”
“Of course, Anthony can have those delivered by tomorrow. Now, in our agreement, I said that you two would be granted safe asylum. Not only will you be protected by both the sovereignty of Italy and Vatican City, but you will also be granted free housing. In fact, ownership of a chateau just went up for grabs…”
Jenny grabbed Adrian’s hands and stopped breathing the second she heard the word ‘chateau’.
“An elderly widower passed away a few days ago in the hospital, but he had no family and no will in which to leave his possessions to any of his friends. Since the property has not been left to anyone, its ownership has fallen to the bank, the bank that I am a board member of. Basically, the house and all of the possessions belong to you two. I have also acquired a serviceman who will run errands and act as a driver.”
Jenny gripped Adrian’s arm and couldn’t help but give a very girlish squeal, causing everyone to laugh.

“We’ll bring the scans tomorrow, use the rest of the day to make yourselves comfortable and do some sight-seeing,” Professor Medici said before the door closed and limo drove away.

Jenny and Adrian were standing in front of a two-story mansion with their luggage beside them. The chateau was situated in and looked out over the Vatican Gardens, was made of white granite bricks, and had a rose window above the door, just like a cathedral. With its location in the Vatican Gardens, it was just a short-walk away from the city streets but granted privacy. It had a large water fountain out front with a long gravel driveway and a gated entrance. They opened up the door and stepped inside, gazing at the chandelier that hung from the vaulted ceiling, the art that decorated the walls, and the flawless marble tiles making up the floor.

Laughing with excitement, Jenny jumped up into Adrian’s arms, kissing him wildly. Adrian was as excited as she was, for not only were they finally safe from the authorities, but they were home. They didn’t have to run anymore, they could live out their lives in Rome. They finally had a home that they could call their own.

They brought their luggage inside and explored the house. In the chateau’s entryway was a large marble staircase in line with the front door. The steps were covered in a red carpet, and at the second level, the staircase split to the left and right at perpendicular angles, and then turned into balcony walkways that allowed access to the second story rooms. There were several large pillars built into the balconies, supporting them and the roof. Along the staircase were wide handrails, with bronze statues set at each corner. There were two doors, one to the left of the main entryway and one to the right.

They stepped through the left door and entered an expansive den, holding several easy chairs, an L-shaped couch, a large fireplace, and a huge flat-screen TV. Bureaus and shelves lined the wall, filled with antiques of several different collections. At the far end of the room was a fully-stocked bar, with a large cabinet filled with well almost a hundred bottles of aged wine and liquor. Near the front windows was a large billiards table. The den was obviously used as a smoking room, because the air had the sweet and musty odor of cigars.

They moved to the back of the chateau and stepped into the kitchen. The kitchen had rosewood cabinets and shelves, onyx tabletops, an island table, a spotless stove, and a spice rack that was the size of a bookshelf. The previous owner either loved to cook or had a very talented chef. There was a door in the front of the kitchen, leading to a room beneath the staircase. It was the downstairs bathroom.

The back of the kitchen had a vast expanse of windows, letting sunlight stream in and granting a view of the courtyard outside. The courtyard was blocked off on all sides by walls, evidence that the chateau was twice as large as they had originally thought. In the center of the courtyard was a large fountain like the one in front of the house, sending up a jet of water. The ground around it was made of yellow sandstone bricks, with moss and grass growing between them. The walls around the courtyard were covered in crawling vines and moss. There were three doors along the back of the kitchen, two of which leading off the other half of the chateau, with the third as the entrance to the courtyard.

They moved to the back-right corner of the front of the house and entered a massive dining room. Like the kitchen, the table was made of red rosewood with a black onyx surface. One wall was lined with windows, letting the sunlight stream in, and along the other wall were shelves and cabinets full of china, silverware, napkins, tablemats, candlesticks, and etc.

They stepped into the front-right corner of the first floor, just to the right of the entryway. This room held the lounge, but unlike the other rooms, it was circular and the ceiling went all the way up to the roof. The half of the circular wall that was part of the building’s outer surface had nothing but windows, all with colored glass. With two levels of colored windows occupying two sides of the chateau’s corner, the room was illuminated with an endless rainbow of different shades and hues.

Across the room from the windows was another fountain, stretching up to the ceiling. It was built to resemble a waterfall, with water running down a surface of twisted blue and purple glass. Down at the bottom of the fountain was a bed of stones, with the drain hidden underneath. The glass surface was slanted ever so slightly, so that the water wouldn’t be sprayed out when it was released from the top and not splash when it reached the stones. The slow rate of the fountain and the grooves in the glass also made sure that the water would not spray or splash. The light from the windows reflected off and was distorted by the wall of water running down the glass, fusing the colors in ways that not even Adrian could describe. In the center of the room was a large grand piano made of ebony wood, with ivory keys and a flawlessly maintained surface. It had obviously been played often, though it had been taken care of so well that its condition was even better than those that had never been played.

They moved back to the entryway and climbed up the stairs with smiles on their faces. Again, they started by checking out the left side of the house, moving from the split staircase and onto the catwalk that lined the side of the second story. Just past the final step of the staircase was an open doorway on the right, granting access to one of the hallways connecting the two parts of the chateau. All of the doors on the left catwalk were entrances to guest bedrooms, each with a personal bathroom, a queen-sized bed, a bureau, closet, and a gas stove for heating.

Jenny and Adrian moved to the right side of the house and opened the only door. They stepped into a vast library, with well over a thousand books on countless subjects. In the corner were two easy chairs and lamps for reading, along with towering windows to let in sunlight. The walls were wood-paneled instead of being made with plaster, between the two easy chairs was a gas fireplace (built with extra security and safety due to its surroundings), and hanging from the ceiling was a chandelier. The library was so large that it made up the whole upper-right quarter of the building. There was a door in the corner that granted access to a hallway leading to the other half of the chateau. In the opposite corner was a narrow spiral staircase, leading up to the roof.

Walking down the hall, they passed the courtyard down below and turned, where the two hallways on either side of the second floor converged into a perpendicular hallway with a set of twin doors at the center. In front of the doors was a spiral staircase, leading down to the first floor. Stepping through the twin doors, they walked down another short hallway and came into the master bedroom. The far wall was a massive bay window that looked out over Vatican Gardens and the ceiling was raised, and set in the middle of the room was the king-sized bed with silk sheets and blankets, each with thread counts of over eight-hundred, all of which brand new and never used, just like the mattress. Behind the headboard sat two bureaus back to back that had originally been filled with clothes, and on each side of the bed was a nightstand. In the far corner was another spiral staircase leading up to the roof.

The short hallway that they had come through passed two smaller rooms within the master bedroom. One was a closet that had originally been filled with the former owner’s clothes, along with blankets, sheets, and towels, all brand new. The second was the master bathroom. Unlike the other rooms of the house, which had been painted with bright colors, the walls of the bathroom had been painted with deep soothing blues, and were even adorned with shells and pictures of angels.

Next to the door was a long marble counter with a wide mirror and silver sink. Beside it was the toilet, and in the back of the room was a combination of a hot tub and a shower. It was a large circular porcelain bath with a wooden foundation, water jets, and seats like a hot tub, but up above was a huge showerhead and in the corner was a drain. The showerhead was large enough to pour as much water as a fire hose. Behind the hot tub was a bay window with curtains for privacy or to just control the light, and around it were candles, soaps, and oils.

Going back down, they climbed down the spiral staircase to the first floor, entering a vast studio workshop for creating works of art of all types. There were several tables spread throughout the room, each covered in tools and paints, as well as blocks of modeling clay that had gone dry, half-finished statues, and bare canvases waiting to be turned into beautiful pictures. Against the wall was a long workbench, buried under tools for woodworking, all sprawled out in a disorganized mess. Next to the workbench were shelves and drawers, filled with more tools and materials. To the side of the studio was the entrance to a grand personal office with hardwood floors, blue/gray painted walls, an oak desk with a comfy office chair, windows behind the desk, and several bookshelves along the walls. Adrian could just imagine himself sitting at that desk, using the room as his private study for any work he had.

They climbed back up to the second floor and then up the staircase in the bedroom. Opening a hatch door at the top, they stepped out onto the roof and faced a large greenhouse, packed tight with plants that definitely needed to be watered. They walked over to the roof of the front portion of the chateau and looked down at a huge swimming pool, surrounded by lawn chairs. From the roof of the chateau, you got a spectacular view of the Vatican Gardens and the surrounding city.

Adrian stood in amazement, unable to believe how perfect the house was. But it wasn’t just the house that was amazing; it was the point in time. Here they were, two genius teenagers who couldn’t legally vote, but they were filthy rich, had a grand chateau in the city of Rome, and he was a member of the Illuminati. This was beyond people’s wildest dreams. Jenny shook him from his thoughts as she pushed him into the pool and then jumped in after him, laughing. Adrian surfaced and gasped for air, but was instantly forced back down as jenny wrapped her arms around him and began kissing him. They kissed for several seconds under the water before coming back up for air, with Jenny’s arms still wrapped his neck.

Under the Italian sun and soaking wet, Jenny was breathtakingly beautiful, especially with the wide smile on her face. “We’re home, Adrian. We’re home,” she said with disbelief.

“We are, Jenny. We’ve finally found our home,” Adrian replied, kissing her.

They spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon clearing out the previous possessions, except for the valuables such as the art, books, and antiques. What they kept would be the beginnings of their own cultivation of personal possessions. After they unpacked their things, they decided to take a walk through Vatican Gardens. They strolled through the expansive park with Adrian’s arm around Jenny, admiring the vast collection of beautiful plants and intricate mosaics of flowers.

“When we first met, did you ever imagine our lives would turn out like this? Owning a chateau in Rome and being rich before?” Adrian asked.

“Not like this exactly, but a little similar. I always knew that you were destined for greatness, and I would dream every night of being your wife and the two of us traveling to places like this whenever we wanted.”

“How long have you been dreaming that?”

“Since out first class together. That was when I first noticed that you were different from everyone else. Just by looking in your melancholic eyes, I knew that you had a path that stretched away from everyone else’s. Although you had resigned yourself to walking this path alone, I knew I wanted to walk it with you.

Have I ever told you that?”

“Countless times. But I love hearing you say it,” Adrian chuckled as he kissed her on the forehead.

They were laid out on the grass, enjoying the cool shade and watching the drifting clouds overhead. Jenny had her arm across his chest and her head on his shoulder, purring like a cat with every breath.

“You’re not the same man I fell in love with,” she said out of the blue.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re so much different from the way you used to be. In a way, I miss your cold machine-like personality. I miss trying to understand you like a puzzle and watching you try understand me. I miss playing the game that our relationship was in the early stages. I miss looking at you and your level of brilliance like you were the summit of a mountain that I could not reach.”

“Do you mean you’re unhappy?”

“No, of course not!” she said, raising her head and giving him a reassuring smile and kiss.

“I’m just saying I missed the challenge, almost like the saying about how finding the treasure is half the fun. Everyone misses the early stages of their relationships, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t overjoyed with the current stage that their relationship is in. In the early stages, I felt alone, even though I was with you. A part of me was lonely because it was hard to get you to show your feelings for me. I was happy and madly in love, but a part of me wished you were different. Then after your fight with Logan, you finally told me that you loved me, and after your dream, you were completely different than before.

Ever since your dream, I’ve felt like this is a true relationship. I can sense your feelings for me, instead of you just trying to mirror my feelings for you. I don’t feel alone in this relationship; I can feel your support and your love. I’m still amazed by you every single day, even more than I was before you trained me. I have reached the mountain summit that is your level of brilliance, and the view of the world is breathtaking. I miss the challenge of the beginning of our relationship, but I am happier and love you even more than I did then.

What was the beginning of the relationship like for you?”

“It was confusing, more confusing than I thought possible. Being in a relationship was like moving to a country that no one had ever heard of, starting a new life, and adopting a whole new language and set of customs. But what kept me in the relationship was curiosity and interest. Being with you made me feel something that I hadn’t experienced in years: happiness. I hadn’t been happy since I was a little kid, and this was a new kind of happiness, one that I had never felt before. I wanted to study this happiness, I wanted to examine it, and I wanted to find out what was causing it. I wanted to find out what it was about you and being with you that was affecting me in such a way, when all other human interactions just caused annoyance.

I enjoyed the confusion, because like you said, it was a challenge. It was nostalgic to come across something that I didn’t understand and have to put work and effort into it in order for it to open up to me. You were an enigma that was so complicated, not even I could figure you out. Eventually, I realized that while it was the challenge that made me keep coming back, I was losing my curiosity as to what was making me happy. I no longer wanted to study and examine every aspect of the relationship from a distance; I wanted to live in it. I didn’t want to answer the mystery; I wanted to embrace it.

And only when I finally lowered my defenses of trying to understand it, did the mystery finally open itself up to me. It wasn’t the challenge that was making me happy; it was you. The only challenge was the one I was creating, because I was unable to understand that you were making me happy. I had been alone for so long that my subconscious could not accept that human interaction was making me happy. It was then that I realized I loved you.”

“And then you got shot in the head,” she joked, flicking the metal plate in the middle of his forehead.

Adrian and Jenny were sitting in one of the restaurants in Rome, eating lemon pasta with grilled shrimp and lamb chops with mint pesto. Outside, the street lamps were lighting up as the sun sank below the horizon. The light bounced off of the water fountains, swerving and dancing on the rough surfaces of the stone buildings and streets.

“Cheers,” they both said as they clinked their glasses together and drank lightly, savoring the taste of the wine.

“So what do you plan on doing now? We have our whole lives ahead of us and we’ve finally settled down,” Adrian asked as he set down his glass.

“Well, I was thinking that I could attend the university that Professor Medici teaches at. I haven’t graduated from high school, but I’m sure Medici could pull some strings so that I’ll be accepted. There are so many things I want to study, especially since you taught me to use the full potential of my brain.”

She spoke with excitement while keeping her voice low, just in case anyone who spoke English could overhear them.

“What about you? I can’t imagine the Illuminati will have you actually work for them in a cubicle,” she then asked.

“Of course not. After I build prosthetic hands for the Illuminati members, I figure I’ll go back to my old job of building and inventing, like back when I was creating surgical tools for the hospital in our town. I miss working with my hands to build new machines and I miss the physical challenges that come with a hobby. However, I’ll be incredibly busy with the plan after we find the nukes.”

“How do you know they even exist?”

“Tens of thousands of nukes were built by the US and Russia during the Cold War, and after the fall of the Soviet Union, a very large percentage of them completely disappeared. Since the Cold War, Russia and the US have been working together to dismantle the vast excess of atomic bombs, but it took a long time for Russia to stabilize. Atomic bombs and enriched uranium were literally up for grabs. There was even a confirmed story of a janitor taking enriched uranium in small amounts over time because he wanted to buy a new fridge for his family.”

“So what is the next step?”

“The next step is to find the nukes. Even if the Illuminati doesn’t have the nukes, using their connections to find whoever does will be easy.”

“And after that?”

“Then we plant the seeds of government destabilization. I know that the world is far too chaotic for my plan to work without problems, especially with certain international tensions. I’ve spent the last several years infiltrating every country and setting up splinter cells that will act when I need them to.”

“To overthrow their governments?”

“Bingo,” Adrian said, leaning forward with his hands folded over his mouth. There was a gleam in his eye, calculating and ambitious, one that made him appear capable to anything. He had this gleam whenever he wore his Machina mask, and it never failed to give Jenny shivers of excitement. “My plan has two parts: the nukes and the ones with their fingers on the button. I know that many countries can’t be trusted with nuclear bombs so I’ll rebuild them into something useful. Remember what North Korea used to be like? Ruled by that madman with the granny glasses? I was the one that wiped out the Kim family, thanks to the insurgent group I developed. It’s now as stable and economically healthy as South Korea, an ally to the United States, and the kind of model nation that the UN wants to replicate.”

“That was you? You did that?”

“I did. I was the one who organized the coup and armed the rebel faction. The new President of North Korea and most of his subordinates work for me, and it’s the same for a dozen other countries around the globe. If something happens and we can no longer remain in Vatican City, those countries will protect us. I just need to drop my name and we’ll get whatever we want. I don’t just rebuild countries, I make sure I have their loyalty and can rely on them at any time. A few countries even have puppet leaders, figureheads that I control completely and use to run the nations.”

“That might just be the sexiest thing I’ve ever heard,” Jenny giggled. “So while all the first-world countries will remain independent, the overtaken third-world countries will all belong to you and do what you say. Everyone on Earth will think that all the countries are held together and have achieved peace through a nuclear stalemate, but in reality, you’ll be orchestrating everything from the shadows, the unknown ruler of the world.”

“It will be the greatest lie ever told, but it will work.”

“Thanks, Clovis,” Adrian said as he and Jenny stepped out of the limo.

After all the wine she drank with dinner, Jenny was struggling to stay on her feet. The limo driver was holding bags of groceries they had picked up before going to restaurant. Clovis was the driver/butler Professor Medici had hired to work for them.

“Of course, sir. I’m at your disposal.”

“Come on, honey, time for bed,” Adrian said, hoisting Jenny up onto his shoulder and carrying her through the front doors of their new home.

“Put me down, I can walk!” she laughed.

“We tried that, remember? You almost fell into the fountain because you wanted to make love underwater. Clovis, please put the food in the refrigerator. That will be all.”

“Yes sir,” he said, making his way to the kitchen.

Adrian carried Jenny upstairs and into the bedroom. He gently laid her down on the bed and turned on the lights. She gazed at him with a look of peace on her face and eyes filled with love. “No matter how many times I look around, I just can’t believe we’re really here. We’re home.”

Adrian wrapped his hands around hers. “I know, and it’s better than I ever imagined. We don’t have to run any more, we don’t have to hide, and we don’t have to constantly move every time we get comfortable. We can finally live out our lives.”

Downstairs, Adrian could hear Clovis walking out of the house and closing the doors behind him.

“I’m going to go turn out the lights. Promise me you won’t fall asleep with your clothes on.”

“I promise.”

Adrian got up and stepped out of the bedroom. He moved throughout the house, turning off the lights. With the only sound coming from the towering fountain in the lounge and the only light shining in from the moon and stars outside, Adrian made his way back upstairs. He stepped into the bedroom and smiled. Jenny was sound asleep beneath the blankets, with her clothes having been lazily tossed onto a nearby chair. Only half of her body was covered, and the rest was reflecting the light from the bedside lamp beautifully.

Adrian sat down beside her, careful not to wake her up. Ever so gently, He stroked her golden hair and brushed his fingers against her soft cheek, admiring her beauty with a small smile on his face. Finally, he stood up, undressed, turned off the light, and climbed into bed. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close, letting the warmth of her body put him to sleep.

Adrian didn’t know what time his eyes opened. The moon was slowly approaching the horizon, casting a pool of light across the floor, broken up by a net of shadows from the window frames. Jenny had woken him up by gently kissing him.

“Jenny?” he asked with a yawn.

“We never got to celebrate our new home. Don’t wake up completely; I want us to give each other our hearts while our minds are on the precipice between reality and dreams,” she cooed, kissing him over and over again, but as gently as a falling leaf.

Adrian wrapped his arms around her in reply and rolled over so that he was on top. He held himself over her, so tired that he could barely maintain his erection. While he kissed Jenny over and over again, he pressed the head of his cock against the soft lips of her pussy. He slowly pushed it in, but instead of a moan, Jenny just gave a soft gasp.

Adrian began moving back and forth in the familiar rhythm, exploring the insides of Jenny’s body with his throbbing cock. But unlike the other times, he was being slow and gentle, as to Jenny’s request. They kissed over and over again, with their lips only separating for the briefest of moments. With every gentle thrust, Jenny would give a soft hum of pleasure instead of her usual nymphomaniac moans of sexual ecstasy, but while the reply was far softer than normal, Adrian could sense that she was enjoying it more. True to her words, with their minds on the precipice between being awake and being asleep, their physical experiences were being transformed into more powerful psychological bliss, with each feeling of euphoria traveling through their exhausted bodies and enraptured minds. Adrian could barely feel his own body, for his mind was turning every experience into an emotional tremor.

For once, he was unable to keep track of time while he and Jenny were intimate. He could not tell the difference between seconds and minutes, as his mind would constantly switch between moving at a snail’s pace and then running at lightning speeds. He knew that it was a long time, far longer than any of their earlier sessions. His only clue was the pool of moonlight slowly moving across the room, eventually coming upon them. With her face and body illuminated by the moon, the look of bliss on Jenny’s face was unparalleled. It was as if her body was mirroring the jubilation of her mind.

At last, the two lovers had a simultaneous orgasm. Though with his mind as tired as it was, Adrian didn’t know if what they experienced was really an orgasm. All he knew was that Jenny arched her back like a gymnast and gave her first moan of the night, and his body gave out and he collapsed beside her. Seconds away from a deep sleep, all he could sense was the sweet smell of Jenny’s hair and the warmth of her body as she pressed herself against him.

There were seven men and one woman facing Adrian, with one of them being Professor Medici. Six of them were in the same state as Medici, with the youngest of the whole group no less than fifty years old. Everyone who was losing the use of their limbs had a personal doctor and assistant beside them. They were in a privately owned building, and he was meeting the rest of the Illuminati members in Italy. The remaining members would be flying in next month.

“Mr. Ashford, I would like to introduce you to Sybil Anniston, Wyatt Abdul, Hannibal Stewart, Howard Porter, Mort Taegan, Clancy Valdemar, and Brennan Delbert. We shall have a formal initiation next month, but I wanted to introduce you to the members in Italy,” Medici said.

Adrian gave a quick bow of his head, since he could not shake the members’ hands.

“This building is the Italian Illuminati headquarters. It has embassy status so that the authorities can’t barge in, it offers emergency shelter and asylum, hosts teleconferences with all other members, and is one of the few locations that hold their servers.”

“Your servers?”

“Yes, they keep all of our data and information on servers in every headquarters. All the servers in an outpost will self-destruct if the building comes under attack or someone hacks our system. Come see for yourself.”

Adrian tried to keep his smile hidden as he walked between the long aisles of servers, all kept in a dim temperature-controlled room. Somewhere in this cyber maze was the answer he sought, and all he needed was to dig.

“Back before the digital age, the only way for our hideouts to be able to share knowledge was to make sure that each had a copy of the same book. Once you are granted full membership of the Illuminati, you shall have access to all of the information in our archives. That is… as long as you hold up your end of the deal and continue to hold up your end of the deal,” Medici warned, sitting in the doorway.

“Don’t worry, my friend. You shall all get what you want. I will give you back your life and make it so that you can return to teaching, as well as defeat Machina for you.”

“I hope so, because no one in this organization trusts you… at all. You’re the youngest member in the history of the Illuminati by more than two decades, you have a bloody past, you’ve been watching us with the same hunter’s eye as ourselves, and you extorted your way into our group. It will be a while until anyone trusts you enough to even turn their back on you.”

Adrian chuckled and walked towards him. “That’s good, I was worried that no one in the Illuminati would give me a challenge if I decided to take over.”

Unfazed, Medici had Dr. Alfonse turn his wheelchair so that he could face him. “By the way, we have what you asked for.” On cue, Dr. Alfonse held up a suitcase and a manila envelope. “The envelope holds scans and measurements of my arms for the procedure. Now that you have everything you asked for, it’s time to hold up your end of the deal.”

“But of course. In four days, you shall be given new hands, and before the formal initiation, all of the other members with your disease will be granted the same gift.”

“Ok, put that laser engraving system over there,” Adrian said to Clovis in the chateau’s workshop.

As Clovis moved the engraving system with a forklift, Jenny stepped in with a crate in her arms. “The materials you ordered have come in. Where should I put them?”

“Fantastic. Just put them on a table,”

Adrian was installing the system of computers that he would be using to control his most advance power tools. They included a laser engraving system, a 3D scanner, and even his own Adroid. The workshop was being updated with new machinery and tools, all top of the line and able to perform with surgical precision. The computer system had several monitors all built in a semicircular formation on the workbench, and could be given voice commands. It was early in the morning and everything Adrian had ordered had finally arrived. The workshop was filled with open boxes and crates.

“Alright, I’m finally equipped to begin production,” Adrian said with excitement as he got out from under the workbench and stood up.

“Great, I can’t wait to see how far you get. I got to go, my first class at the university is going to start soon,” Jenny said before giving him a kiss on the cheek and grabbing her purse.

“I’ll see you tonight,” Adrian replied.

She gave him another kiss and walked out. He turned to Clovis. “That will be all.”

Clovis nodded and left him alone. Adrian walked back to the workbench and sat down in the comfy new office chair. “Oh how I missed this.”

The first day was spent with Adrian hunched over his work bench, tweezers in hand with a magnifying glass under his face, working tediously on the key components of his prosthetics: the computers. These fake hands would be far more elegant than a simple Terminator-style wire-and-gear rig; every movement would be controlled electronically. Each limb had a small computer that would implement the desired movements of their user. The computers would direct electric charges through the hands and fingers, but several button battery-sized transformers would control the length of the charge and how far they reached.

Putting the “micro” in “microchip”, the technological level of these circuits was unparalleled. Not only did they control the flow of electricity, the computers wirelessly controlled them. Essentially, they were half-transformer and half-receiver. He made fourteen of these circuits, and that was only for the first limb. It wouldn’t be until the second day that he would truly able to work. By the time Adrian was done, it was late in the afternoon and Jenny would be coming back from the university. He stood up and stretched, sore from sitting in one position for so long.

Jenny stepped through the front door and was greeted by music. With a smile on her face, she stepped into the lounge where Adrian was playing the piano. The afternoon sun was shining through the colored glass windows, radiating with a vast cascade of different shades and hues, all blurred and mixed together after being reflected off the water fountain on the other side of the room.

Jenny stood behind Adrian, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him on the top of the head.

“How was your day?” he asked, continuing to play.

“Wonderful. My tutor couldn’t believe how smart I was, I had him staring in disbelief in just twenty minutes. He said that with my intelligence, I will be able to learn in one week what it took three months for everyone else to learn. I can’t wait to start the real classes.”

As she sat down beside him on the bench, she winced.

“Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I just stretched the wrong way this morning and the chair that I was sitting in didn’t help. Luckily I’ve been able to block it out,” she said, trying to work the tension out of her neck and back.

“I know the perfect way to take care of that.”

A gentle breeze wafted through the den from the open windows as Jenny and Adrian watched TV. They were figuring out the channels, arranging the TV settings, and looking for any interesting shows and stations. Almost everything was in Italian, so while kaçak casino they needed subtitles, we would be able to learn the language before the end of the week.

“Ok, so take off your shirt.”

With a coy smile of her face, Jenny unbuttoned her blouse and unclasped her bra. She winced from her tight muscles as she removed her shirt and lingerie, but teasingly kept her breasts hidden from me. She lied down on couch and looked back at him.

Adrian leaned over and placed his hands on her shoulders, squeezing them softly. Jenny hummed in pleasure at his touch as he gave another squeeze, easing a bit of the tension out of her muscles. He began massaging her shoulders, working his fingers as if he was preparing dough for baking. He could feel every muscle, vein, and tendon beneath her soft skin with just the tips of his fingers and the slightest bit of pressure. He eased her tight muscles with little more than a soft press and the warmth of his hands. He shifted his attention from her shoulders to the sides of the base of her neck, rubbing the tension away.

As he moved his hands down her back, Jenny hummed in bliss. With the soft breeze from the windows gently kissing her body, the smell of flowers from the gardens outside swirling around the room, the cool leather of the couch against her chest, and the warmth of his hands as he took her pain away, she could not help but purr like an affectionate cat.

His hands on the middle of her back, Adrian could feel her heart beating and the expansion of her lungs with each soft breath. He was fixated on the beauty of her flesh, from its softness that was on par with flower petals to the flawless shade of tan. It was less like he was giving her a back massage and more like sculpting molten bronze into a statue of a goddess.

Adrian pushed his hands up the sides of her back, working out the tension like wet cement beneath a steamroller. Jenny’s whole body stretched in jubilation as the muscles in her back expanded from the blissful pressure and warmth. Not stopping the motion, he brought his hands back up to her shoulders and squeezed, completing the circuit of pleasure.

He moved his hands down once again, pressing down on the sides of her spine with his thumbs. As he reached her lower back, his hands separated and he moved the pressure to her hips. He moved his hands up and down, massaging each muscle while he leaned forward a kissed every square inch of her back and neck.

Very slowly, Adrian hooked his fingers underneath the waistband of her skirt and pulled down. Jenny giggled coyly as he pulled away the skirt, revealing her round tight ass. Her blue panties were barely holding the curved cheeks.

He pulled off her skirt and continued bringing his hands down her body, massaging her smooth thighs. He ran his hands down her long legs and began rubbing her feet. Jenny moaned as he pressed down on the muscles, working out tension that she had never even knew existed.

“Oh Adrian, you are a god,” she groaned.

The pressure from his hands nearly caused the sinew strands of her muscles to come undone, almost like a tight sneaker opening up and stretching once it’s laces were untied. The strain he was taking away had been with her for so long that she had never even noticed it, but now the feeling of it being taken away was almost orgasmic.

“Did you know that the nerve endings in your feet affect every area of your body? Different areas of your foot stimulate different parts of your body if that area itself is stimulated. For instance, pressing here affects your spine…” he said as he pressed down on the inner-sides of her feet. “Doing this affects your sinuses…” he said as he ever so gently bent back her toes, just enough to stretch the muscles but not enough to make her uncomfortable. “And I can even…” he began as he squeezed the front of the bases of her feet.

Jenny’s whole body jerked as an erotic shiver ran through her pussy. The area Adrian had touched affected the genital area, and because Jenny was completely in tune with her body, she had actually felt the stimulation, which otherwise would have not been noticed.

He squeezed again and Jenny gave a soft moan. She reached underneath her body and he could tell she had just slipped her hand into her panties. He continued to massage that area of her feet, causing Jenny to roll onto her back so that she could rub her pussy with more ease. Her nearly naked body caught the dim light from the windows brilliantly and her firm breasts refused to droop to the sides.

As Adrian rubbed her feet, Jenny would stroke her pussy with a soft moan, desperate to both augment the uncontrolled stimulation and to almost stop it, as if it were a hand tickling her and she was trying to grab it. Her panties were wet with arousal within seconds, her chest heaved with every deep breath she took, she was blushing all over, and her moan was becoming more and more shrill as he shocked her nerves again and again.

Finally, she shrieked and held onto the couch for dear life as she had a climactic orgasm, soaking her panties with pussy juice. She closed her eyes and tried to catch her breath with her whole body trembling. While she recovered, Adrian took off his clothes and crouched down, with his face just inches from her soaking wet cunt.

He held himself steady, sampling the sweet smell wafting from the lips. After a few seconds, he reached out and flicked his tongue between the lips of her cunt, sending a bolt of electricity through Jenny’s body. He licked again, savoring the orgasmic juices that trickled onto his tongue.

Jenny gave a loud moan, running one hand through his hair and her other hand through her own. With his own hand, Adrian inserted his index and middle finger inside her pussy, exploring her body with both his fingers and tongue. Jenny could not help but moan as he pressed every unexplored corner of her hot slippery cunt with his tongue, licking up the juices and humming to further stimulate her.

It didn’t take much to force Jenny over the edge. She had a second orgasm after just a minute of licking and his face was coated in juices. He began moving up, covering her flat stomach and chest in kisses and wrapping his tongue around her nipples, sucking on them with gusto. As Adrian licked her tits, Jenny reached down and began stroking his throbbing cock, making sure that it was as hard as possible.

Adrian brought himself up to her face and pressed his lips against hers, kissing her softly. Jenny wrapped her arms around his neck and held him close as she slipped her tongue into his mouth and wrapped it around his own. As they kissed, he pushed his dick up into Jenny’s cunt, but Jenny’s reactive moan was unable to escape their locked lips.

Thrusting with only his lower body, Adrian drove his manhood into Jenny over and over again, stretching her pussy as far as it could go. Jenny gripped his shoulders and wrapped her legs around his waist, moaning shrilly as he rammed her. With every thrust, Jenny’s large breasts would bounce and roll against his chest.

Jenny had to pull her lips from his because she could not moan and kiss him at the same time. She rested her chin on Adrian’s shoulder, moaning and gasping in his ear as he thrust his cock into her wet cunt so fast and so hard that the clapping their flesh could he heard all throughout the house.

Finally, they both had a simultaneous orgasm, splashing even more genetic material onto the couch. Adrian pulled his quickly deflating penis out of Jenny and lied down beside her, kissing her beautiful body as they both tried to catch their breath.

“Nothing like a happy ending after a massage,” Jenny giggled as she rolled over and kissed him.

“So what are you studying at the university?” Adrian asked as he and Jenny prepared dinner. There were several cookbooks, spice jars, and ingredients sprawled out across the counter and island table. Normally this would be Clovis’ job, but they enjoyed cooking together.

“Psychology, quantum and astrophysics, engineering, applied sciences, and botany. With my brain working at the peak of its potential, I want to learn as much as possible,” she replied while stirring the shrimp she was grilling in a skillet for Peppered Shrimp Alfredo.

“Botany? I should have known, you said that you wanted to open a flower shop on our first date,” Adrian said with a smile as he marinated focaccia bread with olive oil for chicken and sun-dried tomato bruschetta.

“Well after I graduate, I’m hoping that maybe I could work at a botanical garden, open up a flower shop, or even create a line of perfumes.”

“Well we have enough money to bring any dream you have into reality. I can just imagine you running a flower shop in the beautiful city of Rome. I’ll always know where to go if I want to give you a bouquet of roses.”

“What about you? Are you ever going to go to college?”

“I don’t think so. I’ve already done enough reading in my free time to qualify for five different degrees.”

“I thought as much, plus I figure you’ll already be busy leading the world,” she said as she kissed him on the cheek.

After an early dinner, Jenny and Adrian sat out on the roof and watched the sunset. They were each holding a cup of decaf coffee that was more smooth and delicious than hot cocoa. They breathed deeply, savoring the fresh cool air of the evening and the cascade of aromas from the Vatican Gardens. Once starlight replaced sunlight, they stood up and turned to their illuminated pool. They took off their clothes and dove in, swimming laps around each other and enjoying the feeling of the cool water.

Adrian and Jenny were in the hot tube/shower of the master bathroom, washing off the chlorine from the pool. They were on the porcelain floor with him on his knees and Jenny on all fours. He had his hands on her hips and was plowing her asshole with his throbbing cock, ramming her as hard and fast as he could. Jenny had her face buried in her elbow like a pillow and was using her other hand to rub her pussy.

“Oh god Adrian, that feels so good! Don’t stop darling, don’t stop!” she moaned in ecstasy.

The torrential downpour of hot water bombarded them endlessly as he rammed her over and over again. The clapping of his thighs against her round ass was louder than the shower and her tight anus was squeezing his manhood like a vise grip. But regardless of the tightness, he was able to drive his cock deep inside her without any trouble.

After ten minutes of violation, Adrian emptied his entire semen reserves in her asshole, ejaculating so many times so quickly that he lost count. He pulled out his aching cock, which was deflating by twenty percent every second. He and Jenny collapsed on the shower floor and he wrapped his arm around her.

“Thanks for that, I know you’re a little shy when we’re… overly… physical,” she said coyly before kissing me.

“It’s funny, with other couples, this conversation happens with the genders switched.”

Jenny laughed and kissed him again. “Funny that the man I fell in love with, the man who at one time was more robot than human, is now so emotional. I love you so much, Adrian, I love that you love me, and I love that you know how to love me.”

“I just want to make you happy; emotionally and physically.”

“Well you sure are good at that,” she laughed as she climbed on top of him.

“Do you want me to carry you back to bed? I know that anal makes you lose feeling in your legs.”

“Yes please, but not yet. I want to stay in the shower a little longer and clean myself off. I don’t want to go to bed with your seed dripping out of my ass,” she said, making him laugh.

Once Jenny had washed up, Adrian put one arm under her knees and the other behind her back and picked her up. He carried her back to the bedroom and laid her down in the bed. He went back to turn off the lights and shower, then climbed into bed beside Jenny and wrapped his arm around her. Jenny turned off the bedside lamp, pressed herself against him, and they fell asleep.

With a cup of coffee in hand, Adrian sat at his computer at the dawn of the second morning and turned on the modem. All of the monitors lit up, and with them came all of the power tools hooked up to the system. Before doing anything, Adrian turned on the computer’s voice command system. He then reached into the manila envelope that he had been given at the Illuminati headquarters and pulled out a flash drive. It held the measurements and scans of Medici’s arms. Adrian plugged it into the computer modem and a flash drive symbol appeared in the bottom-right corner of the monitor in front of him.

“Open extension: Flash Drive 1. Download all files.” A folder window opened up and all of the files were quickly downloaded. “Upload files to desktop.”

A different scan of Medici’s arms appeared on every computer monitor, granting him measurements, muscle structure, rate of degeneration, and all of the information that Adrian required. There was just one more thing Adrian needed. He reached into one of the open boxes and pulled out a CD case that he had ordered. On the cover was a diagram of the human body, and written on the disk inside was a software application holding a 3D diagram of the human body and a whole library’s worth of medical information. Adrian put in the disk and the symbol from the box appeared on the main screen.

“Open extension: Human Map Disk. Download all files.”

For several minutes, the computer downloaded the vast amount of data on the human body. While the information was secured on the modem, Adrian opened up the box of materials Jenny had brought in. It was filled with solid blocks of lightweight carbon fiber plastic, computer components, and containers of specific chemicals, chemicals that he would combine later to create the majority of the prosthetics’ mass.

“Open file on ‘3D Sketch’: Human Map

Taking measurements from the scans Medici supplied, the application ‘3D Sketch’ began adjusting the bone sizes of the 3D images from the Human Map files, creating a detailed copy of the bone frame of Medici’s right arm.

“Copy file: Human Map

The computer copied the image and saved it, making it so that he could create another version later.

“Monitor 5: Open 3D Sketch Tools: Scalpel.”

On the computer screen, the cursor turned into a miniature scalpel.

“Now the real fun begins…” Adrian said as he put his hand on the mouse.

For the next hour, he worked tirelessly on the computer, carving away at the bones of the digital hand with the scalpel, almost as if he were whittling. He was carving down gaps in the digital finger joints, hollowing them out for the mechanisms he would be installing. The bones of the virtual hand would be carved out of the carbon fiber he had ordered with the laser engraving system, creating a skeletal hand to serve as the base and supports for the internal mechanisms. After securing a block of carbon fiber plastic in the laser engraving system, he activated the printing process. Now he needed to create the mechanisms.

With a gas mask over his face to protect himself from the fumes, Adrian began mixing the chemicals he had ordered in a gallon-sized glass container. Like Demium and Ignium, the material he was forming from this chemical concoction was one of his own unique creation, invented mainly for use in prosthetics. It was a special rubbery plastic, one that held the unique trait of reacting when exposed to electricity. When a thread of this plastic would experience an electric charge, it would immediately constrict with great strength, similar to the human body experiencing electric muscle stimulation. Far more versatile, flexible, and compact than a system of wires and electric motors, this plastic would perfectly mimic human muscles and allow for complete and total flexibility, at least as long as it was cut into right strips and supplied with continuous electricity at the exact moments when needed.

While the plastic hardened, Adrian returned to his computer. “Open file on ‘3D Sketch’: Human Map

In a second and third 3D Sketch window, an image of a human arm appeared, consisting simply of the exposed muscles, and another group of images, consisting of all the individual muscles, each in their own empty space and with a label. Looking back through Medici’s personal files, Adrian counted the measurements of his right arm and deduced the measurement of each muscle. Memorizing the required measurements, he returned to the finished plastic and broke it free of the glass container.

Using a modeling knife, he cut off a strip of plastic and laid it out on the table like a piece of bacon. Taking a nine-volt battery and wrapping two pieces of wire around the positive and negative ends, he made a small rudimentary stun gun and pressed the ends of the wires against the strip of plastic. Completing the circuit between the two wires, the cord of plastic instantly tightened up and shortened, almost twisting up on itself but without moving in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. While the speed in which the line constricted was impressive, its current torque potential was low, but that was merely an issue of voltage and the amount of plastic. The completed arm would be able to handle a hundred pounds, easily. Now that the plastic had been tested, it was time to begin the truly tedious part.

With his mind buzzing in an engineer’s euphoria, he went to work on the plastic with a modeling knife, a scalpel, and a focused heat gun. Keeping in mind the shape and size of Medici’s muscles, Adrian began carving away chunks of plastic from the main block, whittling them down to size, slicing them to pieces to replicate muscle cords, and then melting the ends back together with the heat gun to recombine their textile strength. The work was incredibly delicate, often requiring tweezers to ensure that all the cords were brought together at the perfect lengths so that none of them were too long or too short, too loose or too tight.

Similar to human nerves, he also threaded insulated wires through the plastic muscles to activate them, each lined with button-sized transformers he had made the day before to regulate the charge along the various lengths and to various muscles. By the time he was done, he had several strips of plastic muscles, arranged on countless wires like an intricate mobile, and each end joined to one of the computers he had created the day before. Before going any further, he coated each and every piece and wire with a layer of liquid rubber, insulating the plastic muscles so that each one would act as the bridge for its own current, ensuring that no electricity was wasted and none of the muscles would fail to respond to a charge.

By now, the laser carving system had long-since finished forming the individual pieces of carbon fiber plastic that would serve as the bones for the hand. While the insulating rubber dried, Adrian went to work putting the pieces together. Since all of the pieces were separate, he either had to secure them with wire tendons or metal hinges, but due to the flexibility that he was seeking in the prosthetic, he used the latter only on the finger joints. After an hour’s work, the skeletal hand was finished, with the hinges moving effortlessly and the steel wires holding the majority of the bones together.

Now came the final step before testing. Careful to make sure that they weren’t restricted in their movement, Adrian began securing the plastic muscles to the carbon fiber bones of the hand, using fabric-infused rubber bands to act as sinews. Acting as skin, he covered the hand in two layers of surgical gloves, then wrapped the wrist and forearm in plastic sheeting. The interiors were all lubricated, ensuring that the plastic muscles underneath would not be restricted by friction. He then covered both layers in liquid rubber, just enough to protect the plastic underneath but not restrict movement. Last but not least, he secured the bones of the forearm and the ends of all the wires to the hockey puck-shaped computer, then sealed the edges to make it airtight.

Now to test it. Hooking up the arm’s computer to his own, Adrian sent a full charge through the prosthetic and watched with a smile as the fingers all balled into a perfect fist and the wrist bent back and forth. Controlling the hand with his keyboard, Adrian flexed each individual digit, admiring his creation. After only one try, it was flawless. The fingers didn’t lock up, none of the plastic shells were loose, and each movement was easily controlled. The flexibility was flawless, and Adrian could mimic any movement he made with his own hand with the prosthetic.

“It’s beautiful.”

Adrian turned around in surprise and was face to face with Jenny. He didn’t even hear her come in; he had lost all track of time and hadn’t even noticed the hours flying by.

“I can’t believe you created that, it is an absolute work of art.”

“Thank you, I almost want to chop off my hand so that I can be the one to use it.”

“Come out onto the balcony, I think there is something you’ll enjoy,” she whispered in his ear.

“I love it when it get’s like this, I absolutely love it,” Adrian said in amazement as he looked up into the sky.

A huge thunderstorm was moving over Vatican City, with clouds almost as dark as night. There was a crystal-clear border around the storm, with sunlight shining down from the empty sky in the distance. The clouds were a mixture of dark blues and grays, all shifting and swirling with incredible speed and beauty. Watching the spiraling banks of the clouds was like watching an explosion of colorful smoke in slow motion. It almost looked like the sky itself was falling and the clouds were so close that you could send ripples through it with a bottle rocket. The combination of darkness and light and the endless swirling of deep colors were so beautiful that no human art could ever compare to it. It almost looked like a watercolor painting made by a god.

“I love summer storms, they are just so beautiful. They are almost passionate,” Adrian said with a smile on his face. He had to speak loudly, for there was a powerful wind blowing across the landscape and every tree in Vatican Gardens was rustling loudly in the breeze. The breeze was so fresh and moist that it was like breathing in a lovely perfume.

Standing behind him, Jenny wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love them too. I used to think our home in Maine had the most beautiful storms, but here in Rome, it is absolutely breathtaking.”

As the words passed her lips, it began to pour like a hurricane. Thick heavy drops fell from the sky, slamming down on the two lovers like hailstones. Each drop felt like they were large enough to fill a shot-glass. Adrian and Jenny quickly rushed inside as the rain picked up, spraying Vatican Gardens like a fire hose. They spent the rest of the afternoon in bed, drinking delicious coffee and watching the sheets of rain slam against the vast window before them. Finished with her coffee, Jenny moved over to Adrian and curled up against him with her arm across his chest.

“This is so nice,” they both said at the same time.

“Greetings, gentlemen,” Adrian said as he sat down at the dining room table. Professor Medici and Dr. Alfonse were sitting at the other side.

“I trust that the prosthetics have been built and are ready?” Medici asked as politely as possible.

“Of course, I created a deadline and I am a man of my word. While I make it a personal rule to be a man of humility, I must say I can’t remember the last time I was so proud of one of my inventions. Not only is it completely waterproof and highly durable, each hand can withstand a maximum weight of fifty kilos and offers full flexibility. You will be fully able to drive, write, type, teach, cook, and lift heavy objects.”

“Excellent! May I see them?”

“Of course.” He reached under the table and brought up the prosthetics and could see looks of amazement in the men’s eyes. “Take a look for yourselves. I call them the mechthetics.”

Using Alfonse’ hands in place of his own, Medici inspected the mechthetics carefully. He examined every joint and detail, though the layer of rubber of the exterior hid the mechanism’s secrets.

“The muscles are made of a special plastic of my own invention, one that constricts when completing a circuit. The hands are both electrically powered and controlled by the computer at the base, but the real controls behind the movements will be your own mind, via an electronic imprint that will read your brain waves.”

“But if they are electric, what will power them? Batteries?” Alfonse asked.

“That is the most ingenious part of the design…” Adrian said as he held up two metal disks, one side with a tiny power plug that would connect to the computers in the mechthetics and the other side serving as the base to over thirty long strands of an unknown material, as well as an adjustable brace so they could be secured to the stumps of Medici’s amputated hands. They would serve as the connection base for the mechthetics.

“These strands are made of a thermoelectric material, meaning that they absorb heat and convert it to electricity. I’ll run these strands through your arms and they will convert your body heat into usable energy, powering your hands but only when you choose it. I know that you are very concerned as to how safe this operation will be. I assure you that not only is it perfectly safe, but the benefits of these replacement hands are impossible to ignore.”

Medici was unconscious on a table in a surgical room of the local hospital. Alfonse had just finished removing the dead end of Medici’s right arm and was following all of his instructions. Jenny was beside Adrian and they were both wearing surgical scrubs. On a stainless steel tray next to the cot were the metal plates with the thermoelectric cords that would act as a plug on the stump. Medici’s head had been shaved and was wrapped in bandages, due to the brain surgery he had just received. A computer had been placed in his cerebellum, the part of the brain focused on movement and balance, and reading his neural patterns, it would send messages to the computers in the mechthetics on which muscles to move.

“Before you secure the lid to the bones, make several incisions up along his arm and insert the thermoelectric cords. They will draw in heat and convert it into energy,” Adrian said.

“How do you know that his body won’t just reject the cords or try to destroy them with antibodies?” Jenny whispered in his ear.

“While this may be grim, he’ll die before his immune system can do anything about them. His immune system will never be able to damage the cords enough for them to stop working or fully reject and expel the cords. At his age, there is very little his body can do to fight something like this, it’s a miracle the virus he was infected with hasn’t already killed him,” Adrian replied, speaking very softly so that Alfonse could not hear.

Once Alfonse finished running the cords through the incisions along Medici’s arm, he bolted the lid to the bones in his forearm and secured it to the stump. It would take some time for Medici to heal and recover enough to even be able to use the mechthetics outside of a controlled environment, but they could at least be secured so that he could learn to control them, as long as he didn’t try and lift them. The mechthetic was locked into place on the lid and the procedure for the right arm was complete. Now there was only the left.

“Ok, I know how to do this on my own. You two may leave,” Alfonse said.

“Good, call us after he tries out the new hands. If he finds them satisfactory, I’ll begin production for the rest of the Illuminati members that have his disease.”

Jenny and Adrian were lying in bed after having a big dinner. Jenny was reading a textbook for school, but with her mental prowess, she would flip the page once every few seconds. Adrian had taught her how to just memorize the image of a page and let her subconscious decipher it later.

Adrian was using his laptop to take in data on his companies and even the countries he had infiltrated. He had already sent a hundred emails to different subordinates. His cell phone began to vibrate and shake on the bedside table.

“Hello?” Adrian asked, already knowing whom it was.

“Ah, Adrian, it’s Professor Medici.”

Both Jenny and Adrian smiled. “I certainly hope you’re not holding the phone on your own, you need to heal.”

“I could not resist. The stump is throbbing, but I am just too excited not to use these wonderful new hands! Your mechthetics work like a dream; they are the definition of perfection! I’ve already contacted the other members, and after telling them about my new hands, they are desperate for mechthetics of their own. Once they get their new hands, you shall be made a full member of the Illuminati.”

“Thank you for the news. I shall begin production tomorrow. Goodnight, Professor,” Adrian said before turning off the phone.

“All according to plan, huh?” Jenny asked.

“All according to plan, darling.”

For the rest of the month, Adrian built mechthetics for all of the crippled Illuminati. The instant one was created, one of the members would snap it up like the first hyena to a fresh kill. With Alfonse and Adrian providing instructions, personal doctors were attaching them to their clients the second one was in their possession. Jenny helped him whenever she could, building the mechthetics beside him. It was nice having a project they could work on together. Once all of the members had been outfitted with their replacement hands, they began preparing the initiation ceremony in the Vatican City Illuminati outpost.

Delivered from America, a familiar custom hybrid car came to a halt in a parking lot, filled with sports cars and limos. The entire parking lot was hidden beneath a vast canvas tent for privacy. The passenger-side door opened and a woman stepped out with her high-healed shoe gleaming. Her red sequin dress had a slit running up her smooth tan thigh and her long blonde hair was tied up in a bun. Adrian stepped out of the driver door and stood up. He was dressed in a tuxedo with a rose in his breast pocket. He looked over to Jenny and she gave him a coy smile. Adrian smiled in return and walked over. With her clinging to his arm, they made out way to the Illuminati building.

The Black Tie event was filled with Illuminati members from all across the globe. All of the caterers and waiters were Zero Masons, hired because they had already been sworn to secrecy as to the identity and existence of their superiors. A regular catering service and even regular Freemasons couldn’t be trusted. Security was extremely tight; members and agents were searched for listening devices, radios, and transmitters, and everyone in the building had been brought inside with their faces hidden so that nobody identify them. It was impossible to tell how many enemies the Illuminati had and everyone had to be protected.

Regardless of the prison-like security, the mood in the building was light. Under a glass-domed ceiling, the most powerful and intelligent people were talking, laughing, making business deals, and socializing as friends. Jenny was not the only non-member at the party, husbands and wives of members were also present, having been sworn to secrecy as to the existence and actions of the Illuminati. Among everyone, members with his mechthetics were the celebrities. While they were still in wheelchairs, they had mastered use of their new limbs. Everyone wanted to shake their hands and see them in action.

Adrian and Jenny received harsh glares and faux manners from most of the people they talked to, due to the shared belief that not only were they too young to become members, but also they basically bought their way in with the mechthetics, something that they thought they shouldn’t need help in doing. But after seeing his work and learning of his level of brilliance, their view of Adrian changed. He went from a conniving teenager to young prodigy, and the more they talked with Jenny, the more the realized how intelligent she was. They had heard that Adrian had somehow brought her up to his level, but they had struggled to believe it until now.

“Many people believe that the Illuminati control the stock markets, but I believe otherwise. The fluctuations are too illogical,” Jenny said.

She was speaking with a Canadian businessman who ran a vast pharmaceutical company.

“So you think that changes in value are just random occurrences?” he asked, deciding to test her.

“Oh god no. Humans may not control it, but it is not random. If you compare the histories of different national stocks, you will find an algorithmic pattern. I don’t know if it’s a random computer encryption created by the accumulation of bits of scrambled data, but half of the world stock market is controlled by some force that is unaffected by human involvement.”

Adrian tried to keep his smile hidden, but even his will wasn’t strong enough.

“But if you were able to figure it out, then isn’t it more likely that someone of equal intelligence created it?” the businessman asked.

“If someone was controlling the stock market, they wouldn’t use a pattern. They would keep it random so that no one could figure it out and no one else could make a profit off of it. With a random sequence, only a handful of people or even just one will know what will happen next and can use that information in their favor.”

“Come on, honey, stop bragging,” Adrian laughed, pulling her away.

He felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around, facing Dr. Alfonse. “It’s time.”

Adrian nodded and he and Jenny followed Dr. Alfonse to a stage in the back of the main hall, where his “clients” were seated at a two-part banquet table on the stage with a podium between them, and a laptop computer sitting on the podium. As the teens climbed up the stairs and onto the stage, Medici began clinking his empty wine glass. The whole room fell silent, with all eyes on Adrian and Jenny. Medici pulled his wheelchair out from behind the table and retrieved one of the microphones. The whirring and clicking of his hand was picked up and emitted through all of the speakers in the room.

“Greetings, my fellow People of the Light. As many of you know, I am Professor Demetri Medici and I have been a member of this glorious organization for almost twenty years. It is a rare occasion that so many of us risk being in one place at one time, almost always for an initiation. I’m sure we all remember our own initiations. This however, will be a very special one. We are welcoming two new member, neither of which have even left adolescence but are more intelligent than us all. Under normal circumstances, we would never associate ourselves with such young individuals. However, I believe they should make an exception. I believe that these two is a sign that the next generation has a chance of surpassing us. But enough of me jabbering on, I would like to introduce our newest members: Adrian Ashford and Jenny Sinclair.”

Many of the Illuminati members stood like grim statues, but most applauded as they stepped up to the podium.

Medici reached under the podium and pulled out a rosewood box. He opened it up, revealing a USB key on a bed of velvet, gold plated with a small black screen. “As members, you will gain access to the greatest power in the world: knowledge. Before the digital age, new members were given keys to our libraries. Now that our archives are stored in connected servers, we can grant you safer access. This USB key will hook up any computer to our archives and they hold the most accurate retinal scanners, ensuring that only you and you alone will be able to use it.

Adrian Ashford, Jenny Sinclair, do you swear to work with and for the Illuminati for the rest of your lives? Do you swear to follow any order or mission assigned to you by the Illuminati? Do you swear to put your life on the line for the protection of knowledge and the betterment of the human race? Do you swear to use your power and the power of the Illuminati for only good and to only act in the face of extinction? Under punishment of death, do you swear?”
“I swear.”
Medici nodded and opened the laptop on the podium. He plugged in the USB key for Adrian along with his own. The glass panels of the two keys were lit up and Medici held his face over his own. A beam of light shined in his eye for a few moments and a window opened up on the computer. On the window was a button with the word ‘RECORD’. Using his USB key, he activated the other and set them up to receive user data.

“Hold your face above the key and it will record your retinal patterns.”

Adrian held his face over the key the way Medici had and a beam of light shined up from the pane of glass and into his eye. After a few seconds, the beam of light ceased and the key deactivated, having recorded his information. Medici pulled out the keys and handed Adrian his. He then repeated the process with Jenny.

“By the power of enlightenment and for the sake of the human race, I welcome you to the Illuminati.”

As Jenny and Adrian stepped into their car, Medici rolled up to them in his wheelchair. He placed his prosthetic hand on the driver-side door. “We’ll be expecting more from you, as long as you’re with the Illuminati, we’ll be expecting more from you.”

After he rolled away, Adrian closed the door and he and Jenny drove off.

“Poor fools,” Jenny chuckled.

“If only they knew that they were in the palm of our hands,” Adrian replied with the same maniacal tone.

Jenny and Adrian were lying in bed with his laptop between them. His USB key was plugged in and they were reading the files from the Illuminati archives.

“No… fucking… way…” Jenny said in disbelief.

Adrian couldn’t believe it either. “THAT’S what landed in Roswell?!”

“How does something like that even land and make a crater? Who would take that off the ground?!“

“You just can’t un-learn stuff like that… you can’t forget things like that…”

“Let’s see who killed Kennedy,” Jenny said as she scrolled through the files. She opened up the Kennedy assassination file and they instantly burst into laughter.

“Is that a man or woman?”

“I don’t know, I honestly can’t tell. But who would have thought?” Adrian asked with a smile.

“Reality really is the greatest joke.”

“I know, you can’t write this stuff.”

As they scrolled through the archives, their eyes both fell on the same file, labeled SOVIET ARMORY. Jenny grabbed his hand and held it tightly, for both their hands were shaking. Adrian opened the file and they read the wall of text as fast as they could. They reached the end of the document and both gave a shaky sigh.

“So that’s where they are,” Adrian said softly.

“You were right, they do exist,” Jenny murmured, looking at him with disbelief.
“And they’re all within reach, thousands of nuclear weapons up for grabs.”

“So now we move onto the next step?”

“Yes. For years, I’ve been planting seeds of both order and upheaval in the most volatile countries, but those seeds still need time to grow. I know where the nukes are, I can get them any time, and they will still be operational. Handling and distributing these weapons in the right way and with the right timing will require surgical precision. One false move and the plan will shatter and the whole world with it. I have to take every preventative measure possible, and even then, the chances of failure will be phenomenal. My plan may end up destroying the world instead of saving it.”

“I know you can do it. You are the smartest man in the world. If there is anyone who can bring peace, it is you.”

“Thank you, Jenny. With you by my side, I will succeed. In time, my love, we shall deliver the world to peace.”

Chapter Eleven

It had been ten years since the initiation ceremony and Adrian’s plans were coming along without flaw. For employment, he designed and invented new machines for everything from surgery to energy production. After graduating from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Jenny opened up her own flower shop, just as she had always dreamed. She even had her own line of perfumes. Using her degrees in botany and engineering, she studied the anatomy of plants and learned to make them thrive, discovered optimal conditions for each species, and even discovered new uses for plants. She created ways to derive electricity from plants, crossbreed different species into one edible plant that could fully support humans without any other form of sustenance, and discovered countless medical benefits that modern medicine and even his machines were able to use.

To keep their places in the Illuminati, Jenny and Adrian had to always possess something to offer, and these abilities took the form of their medical skills. With most of the Illuminati members being senior citizens, medical treatment was in constant demand. With his ability to fuse man and machine and Jenny able to genetically control the abilities of plants like a pagan goddess, not even the finest hospitals could give the crippled and sick what they offered.

However, their duties did not end there. On rare occasions, they would be asked to go out and greet a future member, secure business transactions, guard valuable objects or documents, and even intervene to prevent mass casualties such as genocides and seismic blood feuds. They were giving the jobs that couldn’t even be trusted to the Zero Masons.

With a cushy job and orders from the Illuminati council few and far between, Jenny and Adrian had more time than they knew what to do with. Jenny used her time to read every book in the library in her never-ending quest for knowledge, while Adrian spent it hacking into every government defense system on earth. In order for his plan to work, Adrian needed to be able to take down the protection of every nation. If any countries were able to stand up against him, his plan would be ruined and the imbalance of power would cause potential annihilation.

Adrian was sitting in his office, watching a status bar load on his laptop. Classical music was playing on speakers set up throughout the room, but the quality was botched by the blipping of binary code and data being uploaded from over a dozen documents and servers. His whole body was trembling as Adrian watched the status bar. He had bags under his eyes and his skin was pale from stress.

Jenny stepped into the room, holding a cup of coffee on a small saucer. Over the past decade, Jenny had become even more beautiful, something that Adrian thought was impossible. Her body had matured its womanly figure, giving her an even more taut and toned hourglass frame, and while she still had a lean and slender build, daily exercise had given her the muscle tone of a bronze statue. Her breasts had grown to above d-cup size and her ass—while firm enough to bounce a quarter off with enough momentum to send it flying across a room—complimented them with its fullness. Her ass and breasts were the only part of her body that held so much as an ounce of body fat.

Her face would make any supermodel scream from jealousy and any photographer sell their soul for a chance to copy her flawless visage. Her long blond hair resembled threads of gold leaf and her blue eyes held both the sapphire-like brilliance of eternal youth and the wisdom and experience of someone who was four times older. Every inch of her body was a sum of fiery sexuality, a sweet and timid heart, and a modest personality. She was as close to flawless as reality would allow.

Adrian had also developed well since aging out of adolescence, now able to properly bulk up his physique beyond his teenage limits. His looks had matured, and while he had always been quite handsome, he could now make any woman swoon with a single glance.

“Thank you,” Adrian said graciously as she handed him the coffee. She stood behind him and began rubbing his shoulders.

“So how is it coming along? I’ve never seen you so stressed.”

Adrian hummed in relaxation as she massaged away his worries. “I’ll tell you once the loading bar fills.”

The bar was filled in less than a minute, with the completion signaled by a ding. Adrian gave a sigh of relief and stood up. “It’s done, I just finished hacking into the US defense network, the last country on his list. With this laptop, I can shut down the entire world. There is only one more major step in his plan, and then we shall have world peace.”

A wide smile spread across Jenny’s face and she jumped up into his arms, kissing him wildly. “You did it, Adrian! You did it!”

“Not yet, darling, there is still a lot of work to be done. But soon, our mission will be complete. How about we do something to celebrate? We could hop on our jet and go to Paris, England, Berlin, Tokyo, or anywhere else in the world?”

Adrian wrapped his arms around her and they began swinging from side to side, almost as if they were dancing.

“I kind of want to go back to Tahiti, the bar of that hotel they went to makes the greatest Suffering Bastards on Earth. But I’m also in the mood for a little skiing in Switzerland. You decide, honey.”

“I’m fine with anywhere. Since neither of us can decide, I suggest we settle this the old fashioned way…”

A map of the world was spread out across the driveway, measuring six meters long and three meters wide. Jenny and Adrian were each standing on one side, holding a Demium dart.

“Ok, we throw the darts and after they collide in the air, whichever dart lands first decides where they go,” Adrian said.

“You know, for anyone else, this could be considered a really bad idea.” Jenny laughed.

“Yeah, for anyone else. Ok, one… two… three… throw!”

Just as they were about to throw their darts into the air, Adrian’s cellphone began to ring.

“Hold on baby,” he said as he pulled out his phone.

As Adrian talked on the phone, Jenny used her dart to clean her nails.

“That was Medici, the Illuminati has a job for us.”

“I’m sick of being the Illuminati’s messengers, they treat us like the Zero Masons,” Jenny pouted.

“You love it,” Adrian teased.

She grinned. “I do, it’s just so much fun. It’s like volunteer work that let’s you travel all over the globe in first class. So what will we be doing?”

“Some hacker managed to get a member list of the Illuminati like I did. He’s threatening to put it back online but more public unless they buy his silence. The Illuminati want us to make the exchange.”

“So where are we going? Germany? Japan?”


“Ten years… we’re going back to America after five years.” Jenny said with disbelief.

They were flying on their private jet across the Atlantic Ocean. Between them was a briefcase filled with the extortionist’s payment. They would be meeting him in New York City. Adrian was excited too, both for the chance to see how things have changed and for the chance to maybe thwart the police if he got bored.

“After we settle this, how about we go back to our home town?” Adrian suggested.

“I was about to say the same thing. My heart rate skyrockets it whenever I think about it. Maybe before we leave, they could even try and find some of our old classmates. We would be over international waters before they could even call in the FBI.”

Adrian chuckled at the thought. Like him, Jenny loved toying with the police. Any time the authorities caught their scent, they would chase after them like cats after mice, but without realizing that the roles were reversed. She liked to thwart them and leave them reeling, always seeking a challenge.

“So what was it you were telling him at the tarmac? You said you knew this guy?” she then asked.

“Well I’ve never met him in person, but we are acquainted. Back when I was searching for information on the Illuminati, I would encounter him occasionally in chat rooms and forums. Like him, he wanted use the Internet to find forbidden knowledge. We would exchange sources, caches of information, and help each other out from time to time. In fact, he was probably the closest thing I had to a friend.

He was pretty bright, I knew it was him once Medici gave him the details.”

Jenny gained a coy smile. “So, the legendary Adrian Ashford had a friend after all,” she teased.

It was just before midnight as they walked through the New York Park, enjoying the spring air. In Adrian’s hand was the briefcase, and because of its important contents, he had it tethered to his wrist with piano wire. With each strand able to hold up to eight hundred pounds and far less conspicuous than a set of handcuffs, it ensured the case could not be stolen without somebody slicing off his arm or bringing powerful wire cutters.

Up ahead was a man in his forties, sitting on a bench in a grey trench coat. Leaning beside him was a red umbrella.

“The umbrella, that’s the sign. That’s him,” Adrian whispered to Jenny.

She nodded and drew a dart from her purse, hiding it in her sleeve. She knew to always be prepared for the worst scenario.

“You must be Mike Reese,” Adrian said with a smile as they approached.

The man scrambled to his feet.

“Do you have it?”

“Mr. Reese, is that any way to talk to an old friend? Or should I call you by your preferred name, Mr. Risen Demon?” Adrian asked without losing his smile.

“How do you know me?” he asked, becoming more suspicious.

“Come now, Mr. Reese, you should remember me. They hacked into the Bohemian Club security system together, remember?”

For a moment, Mike remained skeptical, and then his face went from distrust to shock. “Angel Of Metal? Are you really the Angel Of Metal?”

“Was the Castro Lead a dead end? Yes it’s me, and as you can see, we both found what we were looking for.”

Mike gained a wide smile. “I can’t believe it, I honestly can’t believe it. We did the Bohemian Club job twelve years ago, you had to have been just a kid back then!”

“I was sixteen, but yes. But I’ve stopped skulking around the Internet like a conspiracy theorist, I’ve moved onto bigger things, as you can see.”

Jenny stood by silently with a smile on her face, finally able to watch him socialize with someone else.

“You have got to be kidding! You… you’re really in the Illuminati?!” Mike said, quickly lowering his voice so that no one else could hear.

“Yes, I’ve been a member for the last ten years. Now that the reunion is out of the way, I would like to introduce you to my dearly beloved, Jenny Sinclair.” Adrian said, holding his arm out to her. With a smile, she reached out and shook Mike’s hand.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Thank you. Jenny Sinclair… I can’t stop thinking that I’ve heard that name somewhere.”

“So, how about we get down to business?” Adrian asked, trying to change the subject.

“Ok, but not here in the open. There is a great club I know, we’ll disappear there.”

The club was dark and incredibly loud, much to his dislike. There were colored strobe lights flashing in corners and thumping techno music booming from speakers all throughout the bar. All of the people were dressed up like the entire bar was about to erupt into a massive BDSM orgy. Everywhere you looked, there was gothic make-up and black leather.

“This reminds me of our prom,” Jenny whispered in Adrian’s ear.
“Yeah, the only difference being that the prom charged admission,” he replied, making Jenny laugh.

They were sitting in a booth in the back of the room, waiting for Mike to come back.

“Considering that there is no chance of anyone listening in on our conversation, I guess it is better than the park. With the loud music and the dense population, their sound waves would be lucky to spread past this table.”

Mike finally staggered back, holding a martini. He drank it in a single gulp and then turned to us.

“Ok, let’s get down to business.”

“Really? We’re just going to look past the fact of how much of a freak you are for coming here?” Adrian asked disgust.

“Go fuck yourself. You got the stuff or not?”

Adrian put the suitcase up on the table and opened it, making sure that no one other than the three of us would be able to see inside. The suitcase was completely filled with gold.

“Here you go, the one form of payment literally worth its weight in gold.”

Mike got a greedy smile on his face and reached for the gold, but Adrian quickly shut the case. His tone was icy cold.

“Mike, right now I’m not your friend; I’m a member of the group you’re blackmailing. You’re lucky the Illuminati try to prevent as much bloodshed as possible, because killing you would have been so much easier.”

“How… much easier?”

“The second your message was received, a search was done to find out who you are. You covered your tracks well, but it only took 3.8 minutes for my fellow members to discover every single fact about you. We know names, numbers, dates, associates, school records, your social security number, your pin number, blood type, eye color, every single email, text message, and phone call you’ve ever made or sent, and even your first words.

We had agents watching you hours after you sent the ransom, twice as many when Jenny and I got to New York, and three times as many when we encountered you. You would shit your pants if you knew how many people in this bar were actually subordinates of the Illuminati, ready to kill you at a moment’s notice and make it look like an accident, or just kill you out in the open and buy off all witnesses and authorities.

Even after our deal is completed and you promise to never release the information you have, we will keep a close eye on you for the rest of your life. I was put in charge of this ordeal, and if at any time I decide I want to reclaim this gold, having you killed would be as easy as reaching out to turn off my alarm clock.

We’ll know about every email you send, every phone call you make, every bank transaction you will fill out, every person you talk to, and every activity on the Internet. You have no privacy that we can’t break through. You didn’t send that message to sell your silence for gold, you sent that message to sell your soul for gold, and there is no return policy.

We are the Illuminati, and we are all-knowing and all-seeing.”

Adrian pushed the briefcase over to Mike, and terrified, he grabbed it and ran off, shoving his way through the crowd.

“I am so hot for you right now,” Jenny whispered in Adrian’s ear.

They were on their private jet, flying from New York to Maine. Jenny and Adrian were both silent as they stared out the windows and let memories occupy their thoughts. With the memories came curiosity, curiosity about what could have been.

“Do you have any regrets?” Adrian finally asked, unable to keep his thoughts contained. Jenny looked at him and cocked her head to one side. “Do you regret anything? Do you wish they had done anything different?”

Her eyes darkened with sadness and he closed his.

“I wish our parents hadn’t been killed. Should I have killed Logan and his friends when he attacked us in the park? If I had, should I have pleaded self-defense, covered up the murder, or just ran away? If I had taken care of him then and there, then he wouldn’t have retaliated and I would not have sought out vengeance.

Do you ever wonder what would happen if instead of coming with me, you had gone to live with your relatives and kept living a normal life? Do you wonder what would have happened if your actions had been different? Do you wonder what would have happened if instead of running away with me and the two of us becoming who we are today, I had never killed Logan and we had just stayed in Maine, living like just another couple of teenagers?” Adrian then opened his eyes. “Do you ever wonder what life would have been like… if they had never even met?”

“Where in the world did that come from?” Jenny asked.

“Just wondering.”

“No, no, no, just wondering is when you question how a bee is able to fly. This is like some kind of mini panic attack. What’s wrong?”

“I’m just nervous, I guess. I’m so close to achieving my plan, but not a moment goes by that I don’t wonder if it’s really the right thing to do. I keep thinking back to every day of my life, searching for any mistakes I might have made. It almost doesn’t feel real. If I’m having these doubts, am I really ready to implement this new world order?”

“Adrian, the fact that you would hesitate like this proves that you’ve thought this through, that you’re looking at both the good and the bad and are weighing all the facts instead of just focusing on anything that supports you, shows that you are ready. That is your human side making sure that everything is being done right. Adrian, I love you, and whether or not your plan works, nothing will ever change that.”

Adrian was silent for several moments. “You know, Jenny, I’ve been calculating the time it would take for us to get to and properly distribute the nuclear bombs, and we’ll be able to complete and implement the plan in a month, on May 7th to be exact. I think that maybe on that day… we should also get married.”

A wide smile stretched across Jenny’s face. “Really?” she asked, so excited that she could barely speak.

“I never brought it up before because Adrian thought getting married was cliché and pointless, but on May 7th, we will deliver the world to peace, and I want to live in that new world with you as my wife.”

“I love you, Adrian.” Jenny whispered.

“I love you too, Jenny,” Jenny replied.

Jenny then tackled him and pressed her lips against his, and for the rest of the flight, she stayed curled up in his lap with the two of them embraced in a never-ending kiss.

Jenny and Adrian walked down the streets of their old hometown with his arm wrapped around her. The feeling of nostalgia with every step was almost overpowering. They looked into restaurants that they used eat at when they were dating, walked through the park and stopping at the place where Logan had attacked them but where Adrian had also told Jenny Adrian loved her, and told each other about endless memories.

At one point they snuck into their old school, walking down the halls, looking at the endless rows of lockers, occasionally peeking into classrooms to catch a glimpse of their old teachers, and thinking back to all the people they had known and all of their experiences. After wandering around the school, they knew there was something they had to do. They drove out of town with a rented car and made their way to the local cemetery to find their parents’ graves. They stepped out of the car with melancholic faces and separated, each going in a different direction to find the graves of their parents an mourn in solitude, with the cloudy sky above them mirroring their feelings.

After making his way through the forest of graves and climbing over several grassy hills, Adrian came upon the two tombstones and stood like a statue. He had always believed it to be a childish and delusional act, but he could help but begin speaking as if he was facing his parents and they were alive.

“Mom, Dad… I miss you both. I know I wasn’t the most approachable son, but I love you and I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for me. I doubt you would agree with most of the things I’ve done since you were killed, but I just want you to understand that they were all things that I had to do. I’m working on something big, something that is going to bring peace to the world. I wish you two could have seen it.”

Adrian gave one final goodbye, and feeling at peace, he walked away. He found Jenny sitting on the ground in front of the graves of her parents. He was slow to approach, wanting to give her privacy. Like him, she was talking as if to her parents.

“…And now I run a flower shop in Rome and sell perfume that I make myself. I’m happier than I ever thought possible with my chateau, my business, and my fiancé. Oh! I forgot to mention, I’m getting married on May 7th! I wish…” She then fell silent. Tears began to roll down her face and she gripped her sleeves. “I wish the two of you could come to the wedding. I wish the two of you could have seen me graduate from college. I wish the two of you could meet your future grandchildren. I wish the two of you hadn’t left me!” The pain that had been forgotten for over ten years broke free as Jenny sobbed. Adrian didn’t approach, just waited and listened.

After several minutes, Jenny took a deep breath and collected herself, giving a sad smile. “I hope you’re not worrying about me. Like I said, I’m happier than I thought possible. I love Adrian with all of my heart and he loves me and we’re living the life of our dreams. While I wish you two could see me now, I have no regrets.”

Finally Adrian walked over to her and put his hand on her shoulder as she wiped away her tears. “How do you feel?”

She grasped his hand and pressed it against her cheek, clinging to it like a lifeline. “Much better,” she said, wiping away her last tear.

“Are you sure about this?” Adrian asked. They were parked in front of the mall and Jenny was putting her things in her purse.

“I checked Facebook and she’s working here and her shift is now. I can’t leave without seeing her. Don’t worry, I’m sure she won’t call the cops.”

“Well if anything goes wrong, call me and I’ll come back as fast as possible. There is something I have to do.”

Jenny looked at him and Adrian could tell that she was reading him like a book. “I hope you find the peace you’re looking for.” She then kissed him on the cheek and climbed out of the car.

Jenny walked up to the counter in a department store where a pretty brunette in her late twenties was looking through the cash register. Jenny couldn’t help but smile.

“Whatever happened to moving to Hollywood to become an actress?” The woman looked at her and her jaw dropped. “Hey Amanda.”

“Jenny… is it really you?” her friend stammered. Jenny nodded and Amanda gave a girly scream, jumping over the counter and wrapping her arms around her long-lost best friend. The two women fell on the floor, laughing and hugging. Many people were drawn to the commotion.

“I thought I would never see you again!” Amanda said. She then stood up. “Boss! I’m taking my break now!”

An older woman walked up to her. “What the hell are you talking about?! You just got here!”

“Please, if you let him go now, I will work 10 hours in unpaid overtime,” Amanda begged.

“Fine, get out of here,” her boss barked before walking away.

Amanda pulled Jenny to her feet. “If you don’t tell him everything, Adrian will never forgive you.” She said.

Gulls sailed under the gray sky, calling out as Adrian’s car came to a halt. He was at the pier, facing the warehouse that had been the former hangout of Logan and is cronies. A chain-link fence with barbed wire surrounded the building, for it was permanently closed off to the public.

Adrian stepped out of the car with his sheathed lance in his hand. He hooked it up to hang diagonally from the back of his belt, just like last time. Adrian jumped up onto the fence and climbed up like a spider, carefully trying to maneuver over the barbed wire at the top.

He jumped off and made his way to the building. The doors were hanging awkwardly from when he almost kicked them off their hinges. He stepped into the warehouse and moved to the center of the floor. The concrete was stained from the blood of all of the people Adrian had killed. After who knows how many attempts to clean it and a decade of solitude, the stains were as clear as day.

Adrian stood at the exact spot he had been standing on the fateful night. The ground around him was peppered with old bullet holes from when Logan and his crew opened fire on him. Imagining Logan and his cronies were shooting at him again, Adrian crouched down with his forearms shielding his face, the same way he had done before.

Adrian thought back to the fight, counting the seconds from his memory of how long the barrage had lasted. After the same amount of time, he stood up with the same form and drew his lance with the same speed and movement.

“I’m going to kill you all,” Adrian growled with the same tone, slashing the ground with his lance in the same position and line.

Jenny and Amanda were sitting in a coffee shop, huddled in the corner.

“Ok Jenny, I need to know the truth: what happened? What happened the night you disappeared, what happened afterwards, where have you been all this time?” Amanda asked with a serious tone.

“You remember Logan, right? The bully who was sent to juvenile hall?”

“Are you kidding? I used to wish you would get a stun gun or some pepper spray because I was worried he would rape you like that other girl. What about him?”

“As you probably know, Adrian killed him and all of his friends in that warehouse. He killed him because Logan was the one who killed his parents, my parents, and almost killed me.”

“Oh my god,” Amanda gasped with her hands over her mouth.

“I don’t know if it was him exactly or one of his followers, but I was forced off a bridge in a car crash and was put in a coma. Adrian thought I was dead, and to avenge me and our parents, he went to the warehouse and slaughtered everyone.”

“I know, I heard about it on the news. Adrian’s massacre has become so legendary that it’s now the folklore of this town. Seniors tell it to freshmen to scare them and no one dares use his old locker. Some of the pictures from the scene leaked online and I saw them… I honestly couldn’t believe it. It was like something out of a horror movie. I had never seen so much blood in my life.”

“Well I woke up and found him at the warehouse. I watched from the background as he killed everyone. You might call it gruesome, but I was mesmerized by it. After he killed Logan, I made his presence known. That night, we ran away.”

Adrian moved through the warehouse, reenacting every movement from the epic fight from ten years ago. He could see every gang member, every weapon, and every tremor of fear in his victims. There was blood, oh so much blood, filling the air and covering the floor. He stabbed and slashed at invisible enemies, replaying the scene over and over in his mind. He could feel bones shattering from every impact, muscles being torn to shreds with every slash, and life being ripped away with every stab. He could feel the weight of their bodies, smell the sweat, blood, and fear, and hear their dying screams as they fell to the floor. Did he make any mistakes? He had to be sure that he had done nothing wrong, nothing had been missed.

Finally, Adrian came to the final act of the bloody play. Like an actor on a stage, Adrian reenacted his movements from when Logan shot at him, deflecting every bullet with his lance. It was than that Logan called him a machine. Playing his part, Adrian lashed out with his hand, imagining myself stabbing him through the throat just like last time.

“And don’t you forget it.”

Adrian took his original position and repeated the exercise, replaying the fight again and again, slaying his invisible enemies like a blood-drunk warrior. After the fifth time, Adrian stopped. Panting heavily, Adrian put his lance back in its sheath.

“No mistakes.” Adrian then grabbed the handle as he heard the sound of someone clapping.

“Jenny, after you left… there were more stories on the news of massacres like the one at the pier. Witnesses confirmed that it was Adrian, but they also said he was helped by a blonde female accomplice. Jenny, you tell me right here and now: did you help Adrian kill people?” Amanda asked with fear in her voice.

Jenny gave a sad smile. “Yes, I took place in those killings.” She said with the only regret in her voice coming from the tone of the conversation.

Amanda jumped out of the chair.

“Amanda, relax. Sit down. Do you really think I would hurt you?”

Amanda was hesitant, but eventually sat back down.

“Now as I said, Adrian had a plan in the works, but before we could begin and put that plan into action, Adrian needed to train me,” Jenny said, resting her chin on her tented fingers.

“Train you?” Amanda asked with confusion.

“Yes, for a long time, Adrian trained me to be like him. He helped me unlock the full potential of my mind and become smarter than anyone else on Earth and he taught him the secret to his physical strength.”

“Wait, you mean you’re as smart and strong as him? That’s impossible!”

“Well I am as strong as him, but he’s got a good forty IQ points on me. That’s the cost of training too late in my life,” Jenny said casually as she drank her coffee.

“So… what can you do with all that brainpower?”

“Grab your cell and give him two numbers.”
Excited, Amanda took out her phone and opened up her address book. “Ok, 829-4875 and 829-1384.”

“Good, now open up the calculator app and multiply them without telling him the result.

“Ok, it’s done.”

“Ok, is the number 68775993857000?” Jenny asked smugly.

For the second time, Amanda jumped out of her chair.

“Is there a mirror behind me? Did you see it in a reflection?!” she demanded, trying to figure out how it was possible.

“That was nothing, you should see Adrian with credit cards.”

“So what happened afterwards?” Amanda asked, desperate for more.

“Well, we decided to take a break and tour across the country. Adrian had millions of dollars with him and—”

“Wait, MILLIONS?” Amanda exclaimed, causing every in the store to look at them.

“Yes, millions. So with that money, we spent the better part of a year touring around America, seeing the sites, taking some pictures… and so on. After we were done traveling, they knew it was time to put the plan in action, so we headed to Vegas.”

“Las Vegas?” Amanda said with disbelief. Jenny frowned in agitation.

“Yes, Las Vegas. We got a suite in the Bellagio hotel—”


“Seriously, stop interrupting! You’re making a scene!”

“Sorry… so what was it like?”

“See for yourself,” Jenny said as she pulled out her phone and showed Amanda the pictures she had taken in Vegas. Amanda squealed like a little girl when she saw the pictures of the Bellagio suite.

“Wait until you see my chateau…” Jenny muttered under your breath.


“I said to quiet down, you’re impossible to talk to. So in Vegas, we played the games and allowed our fortune grow while Adrian tried to make some business partners. Eventually, he found who he was looking for and we were able to make a deal. Now, just to be safe, I’m not comfortable telling you where we went and who we were in contact with.”

“All right, so what was the deal?”

“Adrian built some special prosthetics for a few people, and in exchange, we were given safe asylum and our own home.”

“Oh, can I see pictures of your house?”
“Fine, but before Adrian do…” Jenny said as she put her hand over Amanda’s mouth so that she wouldn’t make a scene.

“Have you ever been in a chateau?” Jenny asked as she showed Amanda more pictures. Amanda’s squeals of disbelief and jealousy were stifled by Jenny’s hand as she looked through the pictures of every room in the mansion and pictures of it from the outside, along with Vatican Gardens.

“Now Adrian designs new machinery and I run a flower shop. Oh, and Adrian is a billionaire,” Jenny said after pulling her hand away.

Amanda was nearly hyperventilating as she tried to process everything she had seen and heard. She finally controlled her breathing and began speaking with a very calm tone. “Jenny, let me make one thing clear. I have always envied you, ever since they were young. You’ve always been prettier and more popular than me. But now, if you’re honestly telling him the truth that you do indeed live in a chateau with a billionaire and own a flower shop—one of his dream jobs, I’ll be honest too and say that I’m pretty tempted right now to kill you, cut off your face, and wear it myself for the desperate possibility that I might be able to take your life.”

“Thank you,” Jenny said smugly.

“I can’t believe it, it’s really not fair. Rich kids don’t become as successful as you. How is it that you can drop out of high school, run away with your serial-killer boyfriend, and become the Goddess of Awesomeness in ten years?”

“Actually, it only took one year. We got that chateau ten years ago and I opened up my flower shop after I graduated from college. By the way, did I mention that Adrian and I are getting married next month?”

Amanda slammed her head down on the table and began to cry. Jenny waited patiently for her friend to express her envy. At last, Amanda raised her head and took a deep breath. “There is one thing that I’m really curious about though. You said that you and Adrian were getting married next month and—while I try to ignore the dagger you’ve basically lodged in my back by leaving me behind to have such an awesome life—I have to ask: how are you two still together? Adrian was a cold-hearted machine in high school, how is it that you two haven’t broken up?”

Jenny smiled. “He’s changed. He’s changed more than you would believe.” She said softly.

“Really? What is Adrian like now?”

Agent Mason was standing in the doorway of the warehouse, slowly clapping.

“You’re the FBI agent that I stabbed in Las Vegas, Agent Mason. I see that my aim was correct after all, due to the fact that you are still alive,” Adrian said. While his voice was calm, his senses were on full alert, trying to pick up any signs that there was more FBI agents or police officers. As far as he could tell, they were alone.

“That’s right, I’m alive, but my partner isn’t. I transferred to an FBI station here because Adrian knew that someday you would return. I set up alarms all around the building, knowing that you would eventually come back to the scene of the crime. Now I’m here to avenge my friend.”

“This is not the scene of a crime, it’s the scene of vengeance. In this warehouse and countless other hideouts for human scum, I’ve slaughtered the lowest circles of society. I’ve done the one thing that you people never had the courage to do: I took action.

And once again, I am taking action for the betterment of the world. I didn’t kill your partner because of any personal reasons or because I wanted to take a life; I killed him because he was an obstacle in my path that refused to move. He demanded to know what my plans were, even after I told him that I could not let him live if he heard them. I warned him to let me pass, but he was too stubborn. He had no one to blame but himself.”

“That’s enough!” Mason said as he drew his pistol and aimed it at Adrian. “I don’t know and I don’t care what you’re planning, because it ends here.”

Before Adrian could draw his lance, Mason pulled the trigger and a bullet was launched, moving so fast that not even his eyes could catch it. Without a way to defend himself, Adrian was helpless as the bullet struck his chest, instantly causing blood to soak his shirt. Adrian gagged in pain and fell to the floor, unable to move.

“Rest in peace Hoffman,” Mason said as he put away his gun and walked away. But before he could reach the door, he heard something that made him stop dead in his tracks. With cold sweat, he turned around to face his haunting laugh.

“Adrian… it’s really hard to describe him. Like you said, he used to be cold and emotionless. Back when they were dating, I could see him struggling to try and understand me and get into the whole “boyfriend” role. It was like watching an alien try to blend into a frat party. He was always a little cold with his logic and lack of faith in the relationship, but I could see him trying with everything he had to make me happy and be what I wanted him to be. He really jumped into a whole new world and sacrificed his mental balance just to try and make him happy,” Jenny said softly with a tender smile on her face. “You remember when Logan shot him, right?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“The whole time he was in emergency surgery, I was praying that he would survive, and if he didn’t, I was planning on how I would kill myself.”

“You would have really killed yourself if Adrian died?” Amanda asked, almost as if she were worried Jenny would kill herself right then and there.

“Yes, I would have. Everyone is an individual, but he was truly one of a kind and I knew I wouldn’t be able to find anyone like him or love anyone as much as I loved him.”

“So what happened after he was shot? I remember you telling everyone in school that he was alive and that he had completely changed. You almost cried tears of joy whenever you told someone. Then when he came back, he was all smiles.”

“Well he did. I was sleeping next to him in his hospital bed and Adrian suddenly woke up. He woke me up and told me about this dream he had, where he had to choose between himself and me; he couldn’t wake up until he chose to either remain a cold logical machine and eventually lose me, or reawaken his emotions and give up what made him different from anyone else. He told me that he created a third choice, where he would become human enough to be with me, but be far more intelligent and wiser than any human alive.

After he woke up, he was a changed man. I could feel that he actually loved me now. He went from being a cold machine to a cat purring in my lap. But he was true to his words, and he was as logical and wise as before. He used his mind to see the world for what it really was and then he used his heart and will to change the world in his favor.

Ever since he woke up, I’ve been following him on his quest to change the world. I almost feel like his apostle. And Amanda, we’re almost there. Adrian and I are so close to bringing world peace, I can almost taste it.”

“World peace? You’re kidding right? Just the two of you are going to achieve what no one else has been able to achieve?” Amanda asked with skepticism.

Jenny did not lose her smile. “If you looked at him today, you would almost be able to see reality bending under his will. He and I are going to do it. Amanda, it has been so nice seeing you again, but it’s time for me to go.”

“Don’t tell me you’re leaving again, you just got here!” Amanda pleaded.

“It’s time for me to head home, Adrian is probably waiting for him outside.”

Both women stood up and hugged.

“Wait, please take me with you. I’ll quit my job, please just let me come with you!” Amanda begged.

“Amanda, I don’t know… Taking you with us could be really dangerous and I’ll have to check in with Adrian.”

“Adrian am begging you, his life sucks here. Just let come with you, just for a little while!”

Jenny sighed. “All right, tell your boss you quit and I’ll meet you outside.”

“How is it possible? How are you still alive?!” Mason demanded.

Adrian stood up and cricked his neck, then reached into the bloody wound in his chest and pulled out the bullet. “Oh, with just a little help from my fiancé, the pagan goddess of plants.”
Adrian then pulled off his coat before it could get bloody and opened up his shirt. Around every muscle on his chest and stomach was a surgical scar.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Jenny loves plants, she loves them almost as much as she loves me. Personally, what I find interesting about them is their ability to crossbreed. If you can crossbreed plants correctly, then you can isolate and harness fascinating attributes.

Three years ago, Jenny discovered a very interesting fluid in a plant she was studying. The fluid forms a flexible tear-proof membrane to protect its fruit. The strength of the membranes surprised even me, and after crossbreeding it with similar species, she was able to isolate the strongest chemical.

Adrian was able create a synthetic copy of the chemical and create bulletproof sheets. With help from Jenny and my own inventions, I surgically implanted them into my body, just under the skin. I’ve modified my own body to make myself more immune to injuries in battle. In fact, at home I’m even working on a way to convert my body’s bio-energy into power for a stun gun.

Unless your next round is able to strike my spinal column, you can’t kill me, and Adrian won’t allow you to get such a lucky shot,” Adrian said as he drew his lance.

Mason emptied the rest of his magazine, but as he had done time and time again, Adrian was able to predict where his bullets would land before Mason could even fire him. He deflected each bullet, leaving a smoking mark on his lance and several crushed pieces of lead at his feet. He gave a grim smile, taking delight in watching the FBI agent try to figure out what was happening.

“How is this possible?” Mason cursed.

“Quite simply, Adrian have transcended the limitations that make you and all others merely human. While you and I are of the same species, I am far more evolved than you could ever hope to be. I’m not sure if there is anyone on this planet who is at a higher state than I am, but unless you get a gun that can shatter my lance or can hit me with a missile, someone of your level could never hope to defeat me. Our strengths are worlds apart.”

Adrian bolted forward, moving as fast as physically possible. Before Mason could even form a thought for any form of retaliation, Adrian reached out and stabbed him in the gut with his lance, again missing all of his organs. Agent Mason began coughing up blood and fell to the ground. Adrian reached down with his lance and stabbed the radio at his belt, taking away his ability to call for help, then again in the leg, taking away his ability to walk. The two wounds were easily survivable.

“I spared your life because you do not know about my plans and I don’t want to kill an innocent person. However, if you continue to be a thorn in my side, I will take drastic measures. Those wounds won’t even bleed enough for you to pass out, but it will take you almost a full day just to crawl back to your car. Like I said, I do not want to kill the innocent; I just want to remove obstacles in my path.”

Adrian wiped the blood off his lance, put it back in its sheath, and retrieved his coat. He winced from his injury as he reached for his ringing phone. “Hey honey.”

“Adrian, there is something I want to run past you…”

“Uh oh, what is it?” Adrian laughed as he walked out of the warehouse.

“Do you think we could bring Amanda with us back to Rome?” Jenny asked as if she were asking to borrow her parent’s new car.

“There are so many ways that could backfire on us. If anyone finds out about this, Interpol will be knocking on our front door.”

“Please Adrian? I need a maid of honor.”

“All right, but we leave tonight. Tell her to get her affairs sorted out and we’ll leave. Let’s just say that I don’t want to stay here much longer.”

“Thanks darling.”

Adrian went back to his rental car and pulled the medical kit out from under the passenger seat. He sterilized the wound with rubbing alcohol and secured a patch of gauze over the wound with medical tape. Adrian climbed back into the car and drove away.

Adrian found Jenny and Amanda standing in front of the mall, waiting for him. Amanda was as nervous as could be, but Jenny looked like she was getting ready to show him off. Jenny pointed to him when she saw him driving up and Amanda retreated behind her, gripping her hand. She looked like she was expecting him to climb out of the car with a robot body, a glove with claws on one hand, a devil’s pitchfork in the other, and a hockey mask on his face.

Adrian parked the car and stepped out and Amanda clung to Jenny’s arm the way Jenny would cling to his. As Adrian walked towards them, Amanda became more and more nervous, but that nervousness was replaced with relaxation the closer Adrian got. She studied his face closely and she quickly became more comfortable as she noted the peaceful expression his face.

“Hey honey,” Jenny said sweetly as she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.

“Hi,” Adrian replied softly.
He then shifted his gaze to Amanda and she i ducked behind Jenny. “Hello Amanda, it sure has been a while,” he said politely as he held out his hand to shake hers. Amanda nervously held out her hand, but she became calm when she touched his.

“It’s good to see you, Adrian.”

Adrian held out his arm to the car. “Well ladies, shall him go?”

Both women giggled and they went back to the car. Once the doors were closed, Adrian turned to Amanda, who was sitting in the back seat. His tone was serious.
“I just want to make one thing clear: Jenny and Adrian are criminal. We are on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List and we have Interpol after us. There are a lot of things we will not tell you for the sake of their safety, and if you turn on us, I will do whatever is necessary to ensure their survival, regardless of any history you’ve had with my fiancé.”
Amanda became deathly pale.

“Another thing: I don’t trust you. It will take a long time for you to gain my trust, and even after I’ve warmed up to you, I will have no interest in a threesome.”

A moment of silence passed by, then Jenny and Amanda burst into uncontrollable laughter. Adrian started up the car and drove away, with Jenny and Amanda laughing until they clutched their stomachs in pain and were gasping for air.

Adrian sat parked outside Amanda’s apartment building, waiting for the two women to come back out. Jenny was helping Amanda pack her things and get her affairs in order.

“Nice place,” Jenny said, looking around the apartment.
There was a small TV against the wall, a dirty couch, stuff all over the floor and coffee table, and an open doorway leading to a mostly-empty kitchen. In the back of the room was a door leading to the bedroom and bathroom.

“Must you condescend me? I know it’s nothing compared to your chateau,” Amanda asked as she emptied her fridge of everything that would spoil.

“Sorry.” Jenny shrugged.

She followed Amanda to the bedroom where an empty suitcase was waiting.

“How many clothes should I bring?”

“Don’t worry about clothes, we can buy you everything you need.”

Amanda turned to her. “Now you’re just rubbing it in.”

“Yep!” Jenny said sweetly.

“I still can’t believe how great your life turned out,” Amanda pouted.

“Well it was all Adrian. He had it all planned out from the very beginning and I just followed him. Trust me, he had it planned out so well it was as if he could see the future.”

“So, you said that he trained you to be like him. What kind of training did he actually put you through?”

“Well, after we ran away, we spent some time in a warehouse Adrian owned to rest and recover. Adrian used chemicals to put me in a near-death coma, causing my brain to freak out and begin rewiring itself to try and stay alive. There’s that old myth that people only use about 30% of their brain, when really, they use their full brain, but it’s only wired well enough to use 30% of its full potential.

I tell you, Amanda, it was like a mental orgasm when I woke up from that coma. Afterwards, he had me working nonstop on all of these mental puzzles, teaching me to think like a supercomputer.

After the mental training was complete, we hid in the woods for a month to do physical training. This… I did not like. It was basically boot camp, but with Adrian with me, it was tolerable, and the benefits… I feel like a superhero now. I can do things with my body that I thought were only science fiction. So are you ready?”

“Yeah, I’m ready,” Amanda said as she picked up her suitcase.

“So since you’re so rich, I imagine we’ll be flying in first class?”

“First class? Ha!”

Amanda stared in disbelief at the private jet sitting on the tarmac.
“I’ve had this one since I was a teenager, still works perfectly,” Adrian shrugged.

Without warning, Amanda tackled Jenny, knocking her to the ground and hitting her over and over again. “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” She shrieked in jealousy with Jenny laughing and trying to block her attacks.

While Amanda explored the private jet, Adrian was talking to Jenny with his voice low. “I’m going to have to head back out after we get home. The faster we take care of all the loose ends, the better we’ll be. I have to secure those nukes and begin sending them out as soon as possible, so for the next month, I’ll be working with the Zero Masons closely. While I’m busy, you and Amanda just go crazy planning the wedding. Get whatever you want.”

Jenny gained a wide smile at the last part. “We’ll be like two kids in a candy shop… with their parents’ credit card.”

“All right, but I don’t want the pope to preside over the wedding. I really don’t want the pope.”

“You’re so mean,” Jenny pouted.

Adrian gave a sad smile. “I’m going to be gone for a long time, I probably won’t get back until a few days before the wedding. I have to secure the nukes before I can even consider letting the Zero Masons get close. This will actually be the longest time we’ve ever been apart.”

Jenny lost her bright mood as well, but retained the same sad smile. “When you get back, I’ll try to keep my hands off you, because I want the next time they make love to be on our wedding day.”

Amanda was bouncing around the Ferrari like a dog on the way to the park. “I can’t believe I’m in Rome!” she squealed over and over again as they drove through the city streets.

“If her voice get’s any higher, I’ll kill myself,” Adrian muttered, making Jenny laugh.

Jenny was in the passenger seat with Amanda, pinning her down and keeping her mouth covered for Adrian’s sake as they drove up the long driveway to their Vatican Gardens chateau. Amanda was struggling to break free so she could return to bouncing around the car and squealing. Adrian parked the car in front of the house and opened the passenger door.

“All right, get out.”

Jenny kicked Amanda out of the car and then followed her into the house. Adrian sat in the car, waiting for Amanda to make her rounds through the house and calm down. After half an hour, he could still hear her running around and squealing. Finally, he worked up the courage to go inside.

Jenny was sitting on the stairs with her face in her hands.

“Honey, did we bring one of your friends to Rome, or did we adopt her?” Adrian asked.

“I should have remembered that she acts like a preteen when she’s excited.”

Amanda ran over to them, panting in amazement. “I cannot believe this is your house! This is so incredible!”

“Have you seen the pool on the roof?” Adrian asked.

Her eyes widened and she sprinted off.

“That should keep her busy for a while.”

Covered head-to-toe in arctic gear, Adrian opened up the large bay doors of the warehouse before him. He was on a rocky spit of land, just north of Antarctica, owned by the Illuminati. It was large enough to have an airfield, a natural harbor, and a bunker that went deep underground, but that was it. This island had been picked because it’s size and location made it almost impossible to find if you didn’t know the coordinates. Adrian was probably the first person to step onto the island in decades.

The warehouse was filled with massive crates, all labeled with the symbol of the former Soviet Union. Adrian pulled out a radiation detector and turned it on, instantly causing the device to emit a shrill whine. The levels of ambient radiation wafting from the bunker were approaching notable levels, but were still in the safe zone.

“I’ve finally found you,” he said with a smile.

With a crowbar in hand, Adrian walked over to the first massive crate and pried it open. Inside was a car-sized bomb with a bulbous missile design. “Hello beautiful.”

Adrian had been preparing for this for years and he had finally found his keys to peace, but before he could call in the Zero Masons to transport the nuclear bombs, there was a lot of work he had to do. The loyalty the Zero Masons had to the Illuminati was like samurai to their feudal lords, but that was only if they were well paid, and that was not a comforting thought. The less people Adrian trusted, the better, which meant that he had to do a lot of work by himself. He had even flown his own jet here because he didn’t want the pilot to know of this location.

For the next three weeks, Adrian stayed on that island and worked nonstop. He had brought all the supplies and tools he needed and was using every possible minute opening up the nuclear bombs and examining the interior. He had studied the Illuminati’s blueprints of the bombs closely and had memorized their mechanical anatomy.

Adrian worked for days on end without sleep, opening up nuclear bombs, cleaning out the interior, making sure that they were all operational, incorporating a remote detonator for every sixth bomb, tagging each with a GPS tracker, and painting over the Soviet emblem on the crates. There were almost two hundred countries in the world, each would get five nukes for personal use, and one would be used to gain national attention and act as a demonstration. Adrian had three weeks to open up and modify 1170 nuclear bombs. ‘Stressed’ was an understatement.

While Adrian worked, he would talk to Jenny and Amanda via satellite phone. He would have it set down in the corner, set to speakerphone. They would chat while Adrian worked, they would describe what they were doing in Rome, and Jenny and Adrian would take turns telling Amanda stories from when they toured across America, hung out in Vegas, and lived in Rome. Amanda would talk about everything that had happened to her in the last ten years, but they could hear the jealousy in her voice from her knowing her stories weren’t nearly as interesting as theirs.

“So what are the two of you up to?” Adrian asked as he marked a defective bomb. So many had become unusable after the decades spent in the cold, the desperation of the Russians clear in their shoddy production.

“We’re buying the wedding dress. Well to be more exact, I’m looking for a wedding dress. Amanda is in the changing room and is crying with a wedding dress on.”

“I’m really starting to get worried about that girl,” Adrian sighed as he moved down the shelf to the next crated bomb.

“I know, when I first talked to her in the coffee shop, she said that she wanted to kill me, cut off my face, and wear it to try and take my life. I know she was kidding, but now I can see why she said it. She’s been a wreck without me.”

“Tell you what, before she leaves, we’ll give her ten million dollars and fly her back home on her own private jet.”

“Or maybe we could just adopt her,” Jenny laughed.

“The way I see it, she’ll either burst into tears and thank us, or be insulted and storm off,” Adrian replied as he pried open the crate.

“That’s true. So what are you doing?”

“I just marked another dud. I swear, almost ten percent of these things would never have detonated, even back in the day.”

“Well don’t spend too much time around all that uranium. I don’t want you coming back as one giant tumor.”

“Darling, I’ve survived a car crash, a burning building, a bullet through the skull, and countless firefights. I’m pretty sure I can beat cancer. Besides, there isn’t enough radiation to cause damage.”

“All right, well just come back safely.”

“I will, I promise.”

As Adrian tapped the nuclear bomb, the echo bounced throughout the entire bunker. He looked out and down the dark aisles between shelves. The cold darkness would have sent shivers up the spine of a normal man.

“Honey, have I told you just how creepy it is here? Seriously, even I’m jumpy. I always feel like my flashlight is going to go out, and when I get it to work, there will be some sort of demonic ghost in front of me with its arms outstretched. It’s… it’s maddening.”

“Like I said, come home safely,” Jenny laughed.

“That’s easy for you to say, you’re in bright warm Rome. I’m in Earth’s cold, dark sphincter,” Adrian joked, making Jenny laugh again.

Adrian stepped out of the bunker and gave a large sigh. By working as hard as Adrian did, he was ahead of schedule. He had ten days until the wedding, but he was desperate to get this finished and get home to his dearly beloved. Adrian climbed into his private jet and retrieved his satellite phone. Adrian called up one of the foremen of the Zero Masons.

“Gregory Smith, this is Adrian Ashford. Get every Zero Mason you can find and have them all meet me at these coordinates, the more the better. I also need cargo planes, freighters, helicopters, and anything for mass transport at high speed.”

“Yes sir, we will be there in three days.”

“Adrian need you here faster than that, Adrian want to get home and get back to his future wife.”

“Ok, there are 1170 crates that I need shipped out to specific locations. The coordinates are stapled to each crate on a sheet of paper. If you can deliver them all to the designated locations before May 7th, I’ll pay you extra. Under no circumstances are these crates to be opened, and if they are stolen or lost, I will know. You will look at no other crates in this bunker and you will tell no other people of what you have seen or done—civilian, freemason, or Illuminati. If you follow my orders to the letter, you will never have to work again for the rest of your lives.”

Adrian was facing several hundred men and women, all dressed in arctic gear. Every one of them was a Zero Mason and would do anything for money, ranging from murder to prostitution, and had no problem with an unmarked grave.

“Before the end of the month, your account balances shall have eight figures. Do not fail me,” Adrian said before he climbed into his jet and flew away, back to see his fiancé.

The whole time Adrian had been gone, Jenny and Amanda had been zooming across Rome like a pair of gas molecules. Not only were they preparing for the wedding like two teenage girls with unlimited money and a bridal magazine, but they were also going on shopping sprees, walking around the city, and making up for lost time.

It took Adrian three days to get back to Italy, after having to stop twice in Africa to refuel. The whole time he was on the plane, he was watching the dispersal of the nukes on his laptop. Using the GPS tracking units he had hidden in every crate, he was able to closely monitor their movement throughout the world. The Zero Masons were following their orders to the letter; all of the nukes were being quickly shipped and flown off of the island, none of them were being distributed to any location in suspicious groups, and none of the crates had been opened since all of the GPS trackers were still sending out their signal. Adrian had rigged each crate with a trap that would destroy the bomb without setting them off, if the crates were opened. He would remotely deactivate the traps once the crates were in place.

Adrian finally landed in Italy, where Amanda and Jenny were giddily waiting for him. Adrian stepped off the plane and Jenny instantly pounced on him, riding him to the ground and kissing him wildly. Laughing and pushing her off, Adrian got back to his feet and gave her a long kiss.

“All right ladies, show me what you’ve been up to for the last month.”

From across the globe, Illuminati members were flying in to attend the wedding of Jenny and Adrian. Not only was a marriage between two Illuminati members unheard of in modern history, but also they were still the youngest members, so they were like celebrities of the Illuminati. The wedding was taking place in the backyard of their home. Jenny and Adrian had lied to Amanda and told her that everyone coming were just business associates.

Furniture and silverware were being rented, caterers and cooks were being hired, and endless flowers were bought. According to the news forecast, the weather would be perfect on the day of the wedding. With each day that passed by, Adrian became more and more excited. Not a single tinge of nervousness entered his mind, for never in his life had hen been as sure as he was when it came to spending his life with Jenny.

It was the morning before the wedding and Adrian was standing on the roof of the chateau, watching everything being set up. Tablemats and silverware were being laid out, delicious food from the chefs was being prepared, chairs were being arranged in front of the altar, and tents were being erected. Behind him, Adrian heard the door open and close, and just from the smell, Adrian knew who it was.

“Are you nervous?” he asked.

“I’m as giddy as a school girl,” Jenny replied.

“I’m serious,” Adrian said with a smile.

“Nervous? No. Excited? More than you can imagine. I’ve been dreaming about this day for years and I can’t stop pinching myself to see if I really am.”

“The wedding is in an hour, don’t you think you should… go change your clothes?”

“Five minutes to put on my dress, five minutes to have a little pre-wedding chat with Amanda, and fifty minutes to get his makeup right.”

“So I’ll see you in an hour?”

“The next time you see me, I won’t be you’re fiancé; I’ll be your bride,” she said before giving him a tender kiss.

Adrian stood at the altar with his whole body rigid with excitement. He looked out over the crowds of chattering Illuminati members, waiting for Jenny to appear. An Illuminati member who was also a registered priest would wed them. Adrian had no best man, but Amanda would serve as Jenny’s maid of honor.

Suddenly, everyone in the crowds became silent as the music began to play. Adrian looked out at the flash of white that was Jenny’s wedding dress and gasped in amazement, as never before had she looked as beautiful as she did now. Her long hair was shining in the light of the Roman sunlight like molten gold, her tan skin seemed to radiate with warmth, and her blue eyes glowed with the brilliance of neon lights. Her dress looked like it was made of silver and pearls and in her hand was a bouquet she had personally arranged, using only the most beautiful plants from her flower store. The light seemed to bend around her, as if her beauty was affecting reality itself.

Jenny walked slowly down the aisle with everyone in the crowds as mesmerized by her beauty as Adrian was. Even Amanda couldn’t keep her mouth from hanging open. Jenny stepped up to the altar and blushed as she looked at him. The priest began to speak, reading out the traditional marriage sermon. Adrian did not hear him or what he said, for he was completely fixated on Jenny. He was finally awoken from his trance when asked if they had their vows and Jenny began to speak.

“Adrian, I love you more than you could possibly understand. The day you first opened your heart to me was the greatest day of his life, and every day since then has been even better than the one before it. I have followed you all these years because of how much I love you and because of the warmth I feel, knowing that my life is in your hands. I have devoted my life to you and it has been a beautiful life, and I know in my heart that the rest of our lives will be even more beautiful. I love you, Adrian, and my body, mind, and soul will always belong to you.”

Adrian took a moment to let her words sink in and enjoy the warmth and love they carried. “Jenny, you have always been my reason to live. Before I met you, I just existed as a hollow shell without a true home, but you gave me a form of happiness that I didn’t think I was capable of feeling. You showed me that being human could be a good thing. I became the man I am today because of you and you have made me into a better person. You are what keeps me alive and keeps my existence and mind from shattering like glass. I need you, Jenny, I can’t live in this world without you. You said that your body, mind, and soul would always belong to me. All I can do is say the same and add that my only regret is that I don’t have more to give. I love you, Jenny, and you are the only woman who I am capable of loving.”

Jenny wiped away a single tear and the priest turned to her. “Jenny Sinclair, do you take Adrian Ashford to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

“I do.”

“And Adrian, do you take Jenny Sinclair to be your lawfully wedded wife?

“Adrian do.”

“If there if no one to object to this union, then by the power vested in me, I hereby name you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride.”

Adrian wrapped his arms around Jenny and she pressed her lips against her, kissing him so gently that her lips felt like a summer breeze. All of the guests applauded as Jenny and Adrian held that embrace.

Jenny and Adrian were sitting at the banquet table of the wedding reception, which was taking place in the shade of a massive white tent. Tables had been set up around the dance floor, with Illuminati members situated around each. They were all talking about the wedding and what they all thought about Jenny and Adrian.

Amanda stood up with a drink in her hand and the whole reception became silent. Since there was no best man, Adrian could only assume that she would be giving the wedding toast. She took a deep breath before speaking.

“I never knew Adrian very well, I never knew what Jenny saw in him, and I never knew how they were able to stay together. However, if there is one thing I know, it’s that Jenny has never been happier than when she is with Adrian. I know that no one on earth could make her happier than he does.” Jenny blushed before Amanda continued. “I envy you, Jenny, I envy you so much. You have a fantastic husband, a perfect life, and a figure that cheerleaders would kill for,” she joked, causing everyone to chuckle. “Adrian, I want you to take care of her. I know you’ll treat her in the way she deserves, because you always have. Thank you for giving Jenny the life she has always wanted, it means a lot to me to see her so happy. I look forward to seeing you two together forever and meeting your future super-genius kids. Congratulations.

Also, I’ve been hitting the Champaign kind of hard. Someone should help me to my seat before Adrian pass out in the wedding cake.”

Everyone laughed and applauded as Jenny stood up and hugged her friend.

The dance floor was filled with people, with Jenny and Adrian in their own bubble of space in the center. Every Illuminati member was dancing with his or her spouse or a fellow member. Jenny and Adrian had their arms wrapped around each other and were moving back and forth, just like at their Prom.

“I can’t believe they’re finally married,” Jenny murmured.

“Yeah, I guess we’re now in a committed relationship. So no more dating other people, huh?”

“You’re damn right. There is a ball and chain hooked that wedding ring.”
“Yes dear.”

“So when do we… do the other thing we were going to do today?”

“Tonight. I have everything set up and ready. World peace will be our wedding present.”

“Speaking of wedding present… I can’t believe we’re finally married!” Jenny exclaimed again.

The wedding reception flew right by, and before Adrian knew it, the sun was setting he was carrying Jenny through their house and up to the bedroom. Closing the door with his foot, he walked over to the bed and laid her down. Careful to not rip anything, they pulled of each other’s clothes as quickly but delicately as possible.

It had been a month since they had last made love and their bodies were starved of the pleasure of that bond. Adrian took his assigned rhythm, letting his instincts and emotions take over. He had missed the feeling of Jenny’s warm naked body pressed against his, the gentle tremors of her heart beating and her lungs expanding and contracting, the taste of her lips as they kissed over and over, the sweet smell of her hair across his face when his head was buried in the pillow, the sound of every shaking gasp she gave, and the sight of her unparalleled beauty and the love she had for him in her eyes.

Jenny was equally overjoyed, longing to again be embraced, be exposed. All her life, she had waited for this day, waited to forever link herself to the love of her life, and finally, truly, this day had arrived. Everything had fallen into place, bringing forth happiness that went beyond description. She was where she belonged, where she had always wanted to be, and life had reached perfection.

At last, their bodies each shared a mirrored instant of blissful completion. Adrian collapsed beside Jenny and wrapped his arms around her, holding her close as they both tried to catch their breath.

“I can’t believe we’re finally married,” Jenny whispered.

“I know; it feels like only yesterday they were dancing at our prom.”

“I love you, Adrian.”

“I love you too, Jenny,” he said as his eyelids began to droop. He kissed her one last time and they fell asleep in each other’s arms.

Adrian woke up a few hours later and looked at the clock. It was just after 11:00 and the moon was shining brightly outside.

“Jenny, wake up, it’s time,” he whispered.

Jenny hummed and slowly opened her eyes. “What?”

“It’s time, it’s time for us to bring peace to the world

Jenny’s whole body seemed to jumpstart at his words as excitement fully woke her up. “Oh, I almost forgot.”

With all of the tiredness brushed away, they climbed out of bed, took a quick shower, and got dressed. They silently walked past the guest room where Amanda was still sound asleep and made their way to Adrian’s office. He sat behind the desk and turned on the computer, with Jenny leaning against the back of his chair. Adrian brought up his GPS tracker and checked the position of all the nuclear bombs.

“All right, they’re all in position and none of them have been opened. The Zero Masons followed their orders perfectly. First, to get rid of some clutter…”

Drawing his phone, Adrian opened up an application and processed an activation button. From his phone, a signal was released, being received and rebroadcasted by every radio tower and transmitter it met. Throughout the globe, tens of thousands of assault rifles exploded. For years, Adrian had been selling weapons laced with explosives to terrorist groups, gangs, and mafias. The stocks of AK 47s and other firearms were stuffed with C4 a detonator, with batteries that could last decades. Even weapons in tunnels and caves received the detonation signal. Now they were all going off, killing their owners and ridding the world of a great amount of danger.
“Now to tie up the loose ends…” Adrian then dialed a number. “Commander Leroy, it’s time.”

“Yes sir,” the man on the other line replied before Adrian hung up.

“Who was that?”

“A group of Zero Masons that I did not hire to move the nukes. They aren’t laborers; they’re mercenaries. Right now all of the members of the Illuminati are being assassinated. I can’t allow anyone who could get in my way to live. I’ve also hacked into their bank accounts and drained all of their funds, as well as transferred all ownership of property and businesses to me. From this point forward, you and I ARE the Illuminati.”

“Brilliant, very well done,” Jenny said without any hint of objection in her voice.

In a hotel room in Vatican City, the electronic lock of the door was hacked into. The door swung open, and several mercenaries garbed in black silently moved into the hotel room. With suppressed pistols, they executed the Illuminati member in the bed, took the body, and removed all traces of their existence.

Just down the street, another member climbed into his rental car, drunk from celebrating the wedding with his friends. After several minutes of trying to put his seat belt on put the key in, he turned on the car and drove away, swerving from side to side down the street. But as he approached the first turn, he noticed that his breaks weren’t working. Stomping on it desperately, he tried to stop the car as it picked up speed, accelerating without him pressing down the gas. He drove straight through a storefront window and a massive fireball engulfed the entire building just a second later.

Out over the Mediterranean Sea, the pilot of a member’s private jet thought he heard the sound of a gasping yell. He stepped into the cabin and found his employer dead and pale white. Her drink had been spiked with a chemical that induced a heart attack, untraceable and undetectable by forensics.

A thousand miles away, the rear fins of a similar private jet were shaking erratically, causing the jet to swerve almost completely out of control. The pilot desperately tried to send out a mayday signal, but the radio was malfunctioning. Only the pilot’s boss considered sabotage as the plane fell out of the sky.

Professor Medici woke up at the sound of suppressed gunshots downstairs. Just as he turned on his bedside lamp, mercenaries stormed in.

“What the hell is going on?!” he demanded as the Zero Masons all raised their weapons. Instead of replying, the mercenary in charge held up a small voice recorder. He pressed the play button and there was only light static, but after a few seconds, Adrian’s voice was played out.

“Hello Professor Medici. I believe it is safe to assume that you are wondering why there are Zero Mason mercenaries standing in front of you with their weapons raised. The reason is simple: I am removing you from the Illuminati, and all current members. Don’t even try to bribe the mercenaries, for if you were to check your bank accounts, you would find that you don’t have a single dime and the deeds to everything you own have been repossessed by me.”

Medici paled with fear at his words.

“As I speak, every illuminati member is being assassinated. However, only a few of you are receiving messages like this one, specifically, only those with your disease. For the years up until we met, I had wanted to become a member of the Illuminati, because I knew that you people had what I wanted. All I had to do was watch the board, move my pieces, and encircle your king without you even knowing the game was on. Since I now have what I want, I figure it’s time for me to explain everything.

I am the one to blame for your illness; I am the one that caused the bio attack against you and your fellow members. The owner of the bio-weaponry company knew how to find you because I gave him the list of members and I suggested he use the virus that took away the use of your limbs. I knew that with my record in the Illuminati, you would already know who I was and what my skills were. I knew that you would seek me about to build your prosthetics. It was merely one of half a dozen separate plots in order to infiltrate you organization. My plans have stretched across almost two decades; you and your fellow members never stood a chance.

I would prefer to not have you all killed, but my plans are too important to risk letting you live. Any Illuminati members left alive could challenge me and I will not allow that. At my initiation ceremony, you said that I was a sign that the new generation was ready to replace the old generation. You were correct; you and all of the other members have now been replaced. Goodbye.”
The voice recorder fell silent, and before Medici could say anything, the mercenary in charge raised his gun and shot him.

Throughout the globe, all of the members of the Illuminati were assassinated with deadly precision, making every death seem like an accident. No one would ever know what had really happened.

“Now, to equalize the world…” Adrian said as activated the computer virus he had planted in every government defense system, granting him complete control of every single country on Earth.

All across the globe, sirens blared in military bases as missile silos were activated. Emergency procedures were implemented to shut them down before the missiles could launch, but the only computer on Earth that could stop them was in Adrian’s possession.

Nuclear missiles flew across the sky but not over national borders. They dropped down, striking military bases that held their country’s supply of atomic weapons. Fiery mushroom clouds blanketed the nuclear superpowers of the world, destroying the weapons that had been built to destroy everything else. In the instantaneous explosions, the stockpiled nukes were destroyed before they could detonate and add more death and destruction. Only Adrian’s private stash on the frozen island was spared. Every government knew to keep their nuclear stockpiles away from major cities, but the death toll was still massive.

“It pains my heart to think of all the people I’ve just killed,” Adrian said softly, gripping the middle of his chest.

Jenny placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “It was only a fraction of the earth’s population and all great movements bring collateral damage. You are bringing peace to the world, so feel pain for the deaths, but do not slow down. Their deaths were needed for peace.”

“Thank you,” he replied, kissing her hand.

Adrian gave back control of each nation’s government, so that aid and response could be organized and distributed. Across the globe, national responders were sent to the areas where the bombs had fallen, to help the wounded and civilians within the blast zone. As doctors and rescue workers tried to save as many lives as they could, every government tried to find out what had just happened. Every country with atomic weapons had been a victim, but satellite reports showed that not a single missile had crossed any country’s borders, meaning that none of them were a case of one country attacking another.

After an hour, Adrian retook control of the world, while allowing every country to still send aid and relief to the damaged areas. Across the globe, a lone crate holding a nuclear bomb sat in every country. They were all close enough to national capitals to be seen upon detonation, but they would not cause any deaths. They were meant only to draw attention. In a separate location in each country, there was a cluster of five bombs that would not go off.

Adrian activated the remote detonators inside each demonstration bomb and set them off. Twice in one night, the world was blanketed in nuclear explosions as the bombs were set off, catching the attention of every government. By now, the citizens of the world were awake and trying to figure out what was going on. They were watching the news, staring in horror and disbelief at the explosions and aftermath. World leaders tried to figure out where the bombs were coming from, for now, every nation on Earth had been attacked, but this time, not a single missile had been launched. Jenny and Adrian watched it all from his computer, hoping they were doing the right thing.

“It is time to make my declaration.”

Jenny nodded and moved away from him. Adrian once again activated his viral hacks in each country, this time taking control of every TV and radio station on Earth. He activated his computer’s webcam with the translation option working, and on every TV, his face appeared.

“Greetings, people of the world. As you may well know, our planet has just been devastated by a nuclear catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen before. I am here to tell you now that I am responsible for what you all consider to be a disaster of biblical proportions.”

Across the globe, governments tried to take his broadcast off the television networks, but Adrian had assumed complete control. They couldn’t even track where the broadcast was coming from. People in their living rooms and bedrooms stared at him, waiting for him to continue. In every country, the broadcast was coming out in the national language, having been translated by his computer. Jenny was standing in the corner, giving him a reassuring smile.

“I wish to make it clear that this is not an act of war or terrorism, but the first step towards peace. The first wave of nuclear strikes obliterated the atomic stockpiles of every country on Earth, ensuring that I am the only one who possesses and knows the location of any remaining nuclear bombs.

Currently, there are five nuclear bombs in every, and they are his gift to the nations of the world. Every country shall receive a message with coordinates as to the location of their own stockpile. If any country tries to own more than five bombs, I will find them and destroy them.

I am sure you are wondering why I am doing this. My reason is simple; I want to bring world peace. By controlling the amount of nuclear bombs every country has, I have brought equilibrium to the world. With that equilibrium will come the greatest war deterrent: fear. With all countries now equal in terms of destructive power, the barbaric act of one nation trying to conquer a smaller and weaker nation will come to an end out of fear of obliteration.

I have watched you all fighting pointlessly and I have studied the history of the human race. Only with fear can I force the world into peace, only with fear can I force your national militaries into submission, and only with fear can I take away the illogical and sadistic option to wage war.

Many of you shall consider him a tyrant, due to my actions and the deaths O have caused. You will compare me to Hitler or Stalin because of all the people that have been killed tonight. I assure you that I would have preferred if no one had died, genocide and death are the last things I want. Blame your greedy and war-mongering governments for keeping nuclear weapons so close to your homes and families. Had they worked more on peace and less on war, no one would have died tonight.

I am sorry for the death and destruction I have caused, but out of pain shall come peace. With fear forcing the countries of the world into equality, world peace will finally be created. People of Earth, you have just lost the option of war, whether you like it or not. The future is now in your hands. You can either live with the newly established status quo, or you can go back to fighting and killing for your own greedy and selfish reasons. Though, you will find that the second choice cannot be made as easily and carelessly as it used to be.

My name is Adrian Ashford, and I am the leader of the Illuminati and the bringer of peace.”

Then Adrian opened up his email account and sent out 195 messages, each to a national leader, giving them the coordinates to their assigned stash of bombs. Adrian stood up and walked over to Jenny.

“Have I done the right thing, or did I just cause the nuclear holocaust?”

“Adrian, you have always known what is best. You don’t need to ask me for the right answer, because you always know what the right answer is. I believe what you did is right and I believe you have succeeded where all others have failed because you weren’t afraid to make the tough decisions. I believe in you, Adrian, I believe in what you accomplished today, and as your wife, I will always believe in you.”

Adrian wrapped his arms around her. “Thank you Jenny.”

“I love you,” they both said at the same time. Then with his arm around her, they walked back to the bedroom.

“Adrian don’t believe it, how is this possible?” Amanda gasped in terror.

They were all in the den, watching the morning news. They had subtitles in the bottom of the screen for Amanda, since she did not know how to speak Italian. Jenny and Adrian had learned it right after they got to Rome. Jenny was sitting to his left and Amanda was sitting to his right, and Adrian was drinking a cup of coffee.

Every station around the globe was giving the status of their country and recycling the same information. Every nation had declared martial law and Adrian was now the most wanted person in the world, though they had not actually said his name yet. On the Roman news station, the news anchor said that they were going to replay the video Adrian had sent out. Now Amanda would finally learn whom she was sitting next to…

The second his face appeared on the screen, Amanda turned to him with her eyes as large as dinner plates.

“Greetings, people of the world. As you may well know, our planet has just been devastated by a nuclear catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen before. I am here to tell you now that I am responsible for what you all consider to be a disaster of biblical proportions,” Adrian said on the TV screen.

Amanda jumped to her feet to run away, but Adrian quickly grabbed her by the wrist and sat her back down.

“Just be quiet and watch. It will explain everything.”

More terrified than ever in her life and with him practically pinning her to the couch, Amanda could do nothing but switch her gaze from the TV to her friend. Jenny’s expression merely told her to calm down and just watch. As Amanda listened to his message, Jenny leaned over and whispered in Adrian’s ear. “It was a good idea to take that shower beforehand…”

“Yeah, I didn’t want to look like a zombie when sent this out,” he replied.

After the video was played out, Adrian turned to Amanda. She was taking shaky breaths and her face was pale.

“Do you want to run like an idiot in a slasher film or do you want to talk this out like adults?” Adrian asked dryly. Amanda didn’t respond.

“I’ll go make some more coffee,” He said as he stood up and walked out to the kitchen.

“I’ll take mine black,” Jenny called after him.

“Oh, adventurous!”

Jenny then turned to Amanda. “Come on, say something.”

“How can you be ok with this?!”

“Ok with this? I helped him do it! I knew about this nuclear bomb thing since we left town. True, we both wish that no one had died for this to come to reality, but that was the cost to bring world peace. Just you wait, there might be a couple brief nuclear exchanges, but after that, the conflicts of the world will be crushed by fear.”

“Do you really believe that? Do you really think that peace can come from all this death?!” Amanda asked, trying to get her best friend to see her own view of reason.

Adrian came back in with three cups of coffee on a tray. “One black coffee for my wife, one black coffee with two sugars—Amanda, I’m pretty sure that’s how you like it, and one coffee with one cream and one sugar for me.

Amanda, humanitarian and idealist views get in the way of true goals. Contrary to the belief of political leaders, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you want to have world peace, you have to give something up. Like Jenny said, I really wish no one had to die in order for this peace to be established, but if government leaders had worked harder on peace instead of war and not kept their nuclear bombs so close to populated areas, then almost every single casualty could have been avoided.”

“But all that stuff about ‘fear’ and ‘forcing the militaries into submission’… Do you have any idea how tyrannical you sound?”

“That is the only way that peace can be created; you have to force it. To fight is human nature, and those in charge will do whatever they can to get whatever they want. It’s easy to choose the option of war when you aren’t the one fighting in it. With nuclear bombs, every country has the ability to make the leaders of other countries responsible for their actions. No leader will dare attack another country if their enemy will just drop a few A-bombs in retaliation,” Adrian explained as he drank his coffee.
Amanda drank hers, and once she lowered her cup, Adrian could tell that she had calmed down. He leaned forward and lowered his voice. “Amanda, I’m not evil, I didn’t do this to kill people and cause destruction, and I only want peace. I know you probably think I’m Hitler-incarnate, but in no way do I believe in anything remotely like Hitler. I don’t want people to die, and if I had to suffer an excruciating death for everyone that was killed last night in order to save them, then I would do it in an instant.”

“Well not everyone, I’m pretty sure some assholes died last night, so you aren’t quite as guilty as you think,” Jenny added.

“I know, I was telling myself that all night,” Adrian chuckled. He turned back to Amanda. “You have nothing to fear from us, we only want peace.”

Contrary to Adrian’s words, not a single nuclear bomb went off in the following days, but that was all according to his plan. Instead, there were vast protest groups and riots throughout the globe, namely in third-world countries and nations suffering from obscene levels of corruption. Citizens fearing retaliation and war were overthrowing their government leaders, removing anyone who posed a danger to world peace with their finger on the button. A nuclear stalemate was still in place and all the countries were keeping their bombs ready, but no one was stupid enough to start anything. In truth, Adrian and his forces were orchestrating all of these uprisings. Instead of using Zero Masons, he had spent years organizing insurgent groups in all countries he deemed unstable, loyal to him rather than loyal to money. They were his private army, helping to implement the greatest lie ever told. To the world it looked as though Adrian’s prediction of mankind was coming along perfectly, but really, he was pulling the strings from behind the curtain. The first world he left to govern themselves, but the third world was under his control. The plan was complete.

Adrian stood in front of a rented car in the driveway of the chateau, facing Amanda and Jenny. Amanda had calmed down, and while she did not agree with what they had done, she was honest when she told them that she would not go to the police. They had already told her everything, from how long Adrian had been planning this to their information on the Illuminati. He had changed his appearance, once again cutting his hair, wearing colored contact lenses, and sporting a pair of fake glasses.

“I have to go to Bern in Switzerland to meet with the guys who helped me move all of the nukes. There are a lot of people who I hired and I own them all a LOT of money. As rich as I am, I am not looking forward to all the checks Adrian have to write.”

“So what’s with the sedan?” Jenny asked.

“I have to drive all the way there and the Ferrari would be too conspicuous. I need to take the long back roads to cross the border.” Adrian cursed.

“Are you sure you don’t want him to come with you?”

“I need you on the outside in case I get arrested. Besides, I don’t trust Amanda alone with our house. She’ll probably barricade the doors to keep us out in an attempt to take it from us.”

“Yeah, I probably would do that. Jenny, you should stay,” Amanda sighed.

“Ok, everyone form a line. Ten million dollars; that is your payment. Take your check and leave,” Adrian said dryly, standing on a crate and facing the army of Zero Masons. They were staring at him with grim expressions, angry at what Adrian had done. They had all been hired to do illegal things, but he had crossed a line by using them to start the next Cold War. They were all standing in an abandoned warehouse in Bern, deep in an empty district of the outskirts. The warehouse had originally been for a train station, so tracks and hundreds of abandoned railroad cars were spider-webbed across the barren landscape around the building.

The warehouse itself was the size of an auto plant, but had not been used in years. The thick layer of dust on the barren floor, the boarded-up windows, and the petrified rat feces could attest to that. However, there were footprints in the dust that had not been there when the Zero Masons arrived. The footprints belonged to Adrian and they were from him setting up traps throughout the building. He had not come this far to get careless.

“Hey, you’re Zero Masons; your job is to ask no questions and do whatever you’re told. Either take the money or piss off,” Adrian barked, seeing the desire to kill him in many of their eyes. He made sure to have his hand on his lance when he gave them warning. Everyone there was armed, but with his record, it was not in the league of impossibility for him to kill them all with only his lance.

Grudgingly but silently, they all moved into a long line that doubled back on itself over and over again as Adrian pulled out his checkbook. He was going have a really sore hand after today…

“Name?” he asked to the first guy in line.

“Fredric Smith,” the man muttered.

Adrian wrote the check and handed it to him. He stormed off and the next person came up.

“Name?” He asked again.


She was cut off as Interpol agents burst through all of the windows of the building. Adrian had heard no cars or helicopters and he had checked the perimeter of the building for any officers lying in wait. How had they managed to show up without him detecting them? They were all wearing black uniforms with Kevlar vests and facemasks, like the SWAT teams of America. As they rappelled down the walls with assault rifles in hands, Adrian noticed something about their uniforms; they were wearing harnesses, but not for their ropes. The harnesses they were wearing were meant for parachutes.

“Paratroopers, how clever,” Adrian said with a maniacal chuckle.

All of the Zero Masons pulled out hidden rifles and pistols and opened fire on the Interpol agents, initiating a fierce firefight. Adrian reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone, linked up to all of the traps he had set up throughout the building. He pressed one of the buttons and the sides of the crate below him burst open. Smoke machines inside kicked to life and began filling the warehouse with a curtain-like vapor.

Even with visibility taken away, the number of gunshots did not decrease. Adrian could hear more paratroopers streaming in from the roof and ordering the Zero Masons to stand down and surrender, but their demands were just met with gunfire. The Zero Masons knew what to do when confronted by a tactical police unit. As reinforcements showed up, the sounds of squad cars screeching to a halt echoed outside, followed by the drumming of helicopters.

Adrian jumped down onto the floor and hid behind the crate to avoid the random bullets flying through the air as the Zero Masons and police officers faced off in the smoke.

“This is more than just being spotted while in town, Interpol knew I was coming and has been planning this. Just as planned, it seems the Zero Masons can’t be trusted after all,” Adrian muttered calmly.

In his mind, Adrian was running hundreds of scenarios on how to escape. He was in a smoke-filled warehouse that had become the scene of open war between the Zero Masons and Interpol, and outside were who knows how many squad cars, and at least four helicopters.

“Eh, I guess I’m going to have to wing it,” he sighed as he cricked his neck.

Adrian stood up with his cellphone in hand and called home.

“Hey honey,” he said brightly.

“Hello dear, I was wondering when you would call. How is everything going?”

“Let’s just say that I’ll be a little late for dinner.”

“So late that I should keep it in the oven or put it in the fridge?”

“The fridge will work.”

“Ok, I’m on his way. I knew something like this would happen,” Jenny sighed.

“I was planning on it. Sorry baby,” Adrian hummed as he walked towards the back door of the warehouse.

“No, it’s fine. I’m just worried about leaving Amanda in the house.”

“Yeah, me too. Tell you what, I drove by a nice-looking restaurant on the way here. How about we stop by for lunch when they’re done?”

“That would be lovely.”

“Ok, I’ll see you soon.”

“You too.”

“I love you,” they both murmured at the same time.

Adrian hung up and opened another application on his phone. “Showtime,” he said to himself before opening the door and stepping outside. Spotlights from the helicopters and squad cars shined down on him with near-blinding intensity.

“Step out of the warehouse with your hands behind your head!” the Interpol agent in charge shouted with a loudspeaker.

“I would prefer not to,” Adrian said calmly as he held up his phone and pressed down on the screen.

The warehouse instantly became an island in a sea of flames as well over a hundred explosives detonated in the surrounding area, having been hidden in the train tracks, underground, and in the vast fleet of old railway cars. The explosions ripped apart the railway cars, sending debris and shrapnel in all directions while the flames consumed everything in their path. The flying wreckage knocked the helicopters out of the sky and the flaming shockwaves ignited the gas tanks of the police cars, adding even more carnage.

Even though the Interpol agents were distracted by the blaze, they were still in his path. Adrian reached into his pockets and pulled out two handfuls of darts. With destructive aim, he threw the projectiles at the police officers before him. The darts pierced the Kevlar body armor like paper and struck numerous pressure points, incapacitating the officers but leaving them alive.

Adrian drew his lance and bolted forward, sprinting into the inferno. The Interpol agents all jumped into the few cars that had not been destroyed and sped off after him. Running at his top speed, Adrian was able to easily escape the agents, even in their cars. However, he could not hope to beat them in a linear race and would have to disappear if he had any hopes of surviving.

Adrian zoomed through the burning wreck of an old railcar and ran out into an empty clearing. Before he could come up with a direction to run in, the flames behind him were smothered as a helicopter flew overhead. Inside was an Interpol agent with a high-powered rifle, something that not even Adrian could stand up to.

Adrian reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver gun, seamless and elegant without any marks or moving parts to it. Pointing at the tail of the helicopter, he pulled the trigger and an explosion blossomed on its surface. The weapon in Adrian’s hand was a laser, based on the one he had built as a teenager. In the handle was a power supply: a piece of active plutonium, sealed in lead and Demium, and then wrapped in thermoelectric plastic. The plastic converted the heat of the plutonium into electricity, powering the laser and giving it enough strength to punch through the side of the helicopter and ignite the tail’s gas line, ripping the craft out of the sky.

Adrian continued running between two walls of railcars that were forming an ongoing alleyway. A line of Interpol agents appeared at the end and raised their assault rifles. Adrian drew his lance as they opened fire, with his brain working at top speed in analyze where every bullet would land. Swinging his lance as fast as possible, he deflected the continuous stream of bullets as he charged towards the shooters. With him constantly moving, the majority of the bullets just missed, while the rest flew in a predictable line, allowing him to defend himself.

Unable to believe what they were seeing, the agents panicked, just tossing their rifles aside when they ran out of ammo and drawing their sidearms instead of just reloading. With that quick distraction, Adrian threw a handful of darts at the agents, striking them in exposed areas and incapacitating them. He threw one final dart at the side of one of the nearby railcars, lodging it in the metal. Adrian jumped into the air and used the dart as foothold, making a second leap onto the roof. He sprinted down the line of railroad cars, trying to make as much distance as possible. He looked up as a vast shadow consumed his path. Falling out of the sky were more paratroopers. They landed ahead of him and drew police batons.

“Oh please,” Adrian scoffed without slowing down.

As he approached, the first officer swung his baton, trying to strike him in the back of the skull. Adrian counterattacked before he could bring it down, shattering the bludgeon in his hands. Before he could retaliate, Adrian kicked him in the stomach and sent him flying off of the railcar. He then dodged the attack of the second agent as he brought down his baton like an axe. Adrian lashed out with his lance, stabbing him in the thigh. He yelled in pain as Adrian threw him off of the roof.

Adrian swung his lance to attack the third officer but he blocked with his baton. Without pulling back for a second attempt, Adrian reached out with his hand and struck him in the vulnerable area of the throat, just beneath his helmet. Gasping for air, the agent fell to his knees as Adrian walked past him. The fourth agent drew his pistol, but before he could even pull the trigger, Adrian switched his grip on the lance and threw it like a javelin, stabbing him the gut. He dropped his pistol and Adrian retrieved his lance before he fell off the roof of the railcar.

Up ahead, Adrian could see the place where he had hidden his car. If he could escape to the city, then his chances of getting away would skyrocket. Adrian jumped off the railcar and onto a pile of crates, covered with a ragged tarp. Only the perimeter of the pile was actual crates, they were just used to hide the car.

He ripped off the tarp and climbed through the driver-side window, then turned on the car and pushed down on the gas, plowing out of the pile of crates and nearly destroying the front of the car in the process. Adrian sped away as fast as possible, while trying to avoid crashing into any railway cars. Behind him, the warehouse and the surrounding area were still burning from the all of the explosions.

As Adrian left the outskirts, more Interpol squad cars and helicopters began to arrive. He entered the city of Bern, speeding down the streets as fast as the sedan would let him. The roaring of the engine was greeted with a chorus of honks from all of the cars he passed by. Adrian was swerving from side to side, trying to evade the cars in front of him.

In less than minute, the sirens of the police cars drowned out the angry honks of the civilians. Desperate to buy myself some time, Adrian made a screeching turn into an alley. He pulled two blocks of C4 with primers out of the clove compartment and threw them out the window. They hit the walls of the two buildings, and before the cops could pass them, Adrian detonated them with his cellphone. The sides of the buildings were ripped apart and rubble poured down on his pursuers, bombarding the first two cars into submission and stopping the rest. Adrian burst out into the next street but came to an instant halt as more cop cars showed up, blocking off the street in both directions. The sedan didn’t have enough horsepower to break out of the stockade of cars and it was too large to fit through the nearest alley. Dozens of Interpol agents had him surrounded on all sides and all were armed with assault rifles.

“I know I went easy on them, but wow, they actually got me,” Adrian laughed.

“Put your hands on the wheel and don’t move!” one of the cops yelled with a loudspeaker.

Another cop approached with his rifle ready and opened the door. Adrian raised his hands and he locked on a pair of handcuffs.

“You are going to rot in jail for the rest of your miserable life!” the officer yelled as he dragged him out of the car.

“So should I slip the cuffs now or do it later?” Adrian asked out of spite.

The officer didn’t reply as he pulled him to a criminal transportation truck.

“Just one question; why couldn’t you show up before I wrote the first check?”

Adrian was sitting in a dank concrete room, illuminated by a bright hanging lamp. Before him was a metal table bolted to the floor, facing a two-way mirror with a steel door behind him. Hen was secured to his chair with two sets of handcuffs, which Adrian found to be very interesting. The authorities were obviously doing everything they could to limit his opportunities, but his only problem was when to break free.

Adrian heard the door behind him open and an old enemy came into view. Adrian gave a small but confident smile.

“Hello Agent Mason. I didn’t think they would ever meet again, let alone so soon.”

“It took over ten years but we finally caught you,” he muttered as he sat down with a file in his hand.

“John Dillinger was caught once or twice Adrian believe.”

Mason was unfazed. “That’s interesting… Tell him, do you regret any of your crimes?”

“Qui pro quo, Clarice, qui pro quo.”

“Cut the bullshit!”

“How in the world was the FBI able to get in on this? This is Interpol business. I’m surprised the FBI even allowed you to actually come in and talk to him. You obviously aren’t very stable.”

Mason took a deep breath. “Just answer the question.”

“Like I said, qui pro quo. I’ll answer your question if you answer me first. How is it that the American FBI was able to convince Interpol to let one of their agents jump over all of their red tape, let alone such an unstable one?”

Mason muttered a curse in frustration but answered. “Until a few of your henchmen came in and confessed, they didn’t even know you had left the country. You did well in making sure that no one you hired knew where you lived. They were able to tell us that you were somewhere in Europe, and that was all we needed to know. You are an American citizen hiding abroad, which involved both the US government and Interpol. They combined their resources and worked together to hunt you down, using the information that your subordinates gave us.”

“I assumed that much, but why are you here? Of all of the interrogators and agents, why did they send you? True, we have had a couple of confrontations in the past, but why are they so comfortable with having you represent them?”

“They aren’t. True, I haven’t myself since you killed my partner, but I was able to pull some strings in order for his superiors to look past it. Aside from that, I’m here because Hoffman and I were originally in charge of your case and I know more about you than anyone else in either the FBI or Interpol.

I’ve answered your question, now you answer mine; do you regret your crimes?”

“I have absolutely no regrets in any of the crimes I committed before they met in Las Vegas. The people I killed in this country weren’t victims; they were garbage. They had chosen their paths in life and those paths had led them to become subhuman hindrances to society. I figured I might as well put my abilities to good use before moving on to bigger and better things.

But before I can go further, I must ask another question. Is there any name for the night when I set off those nukes and made my declaration? Please tell him that they aren’t just referring it to 5/7 like the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.”

Mason sighed. “As much as it pains him to give you the satisfaction, I’ll be honest and tell you that there is a name. People around the world are calling it Judgment Day because they thought you were being used by God to bring forth the Apocalypse. Many people are calling you the messenger of God, the son of God, or God himself, while many others see you as the Antichrist riding on a white horse.”

Adrian chuckled.

“You find that amusing?” Mason asked.

“How could I not? True, my life-long goal has been to surpass human limitations, but never did I toy with the idea that I was or could ever become some sort of god. I may be smart, but I’m not crazy and I’m not narcissistic. Besides, in the world of comedic irony, it never ends well for the people who call themselves God, so I’m going to avoid hanging that sword of Damocles above my head.

But as I was saying, there are many crimes that I regret, and they were all on “Judgment Day”. Specifically, they were all the people I killed. Actually, all the people I killed, minus the people who were assholes in their lives, I don’t mind their deaths.”

“So you do regret it…”

“I don’t regret my actions, not in the slightest bit. However, I do regret the people who had to die in order for my actions to take place, but even though my setting off all of those nukes did indeed kill millions of people, the fault does not all fall on me. True, it’s very unlikely that they would have all died in nuclear explosions without me to press the button, but it would have been impossible for any of them to die that way if the governments had done a better job of keeping their nukes at a safe distance.”

“But why did you do what you did?”

“Hold on, you know the rules: I answer your questions if you answer mine. Now tell me how many people are glad with what I did?”

“Like I said, many people see you as some sort of messenger of God. It’s more complicated than—”

“That’s not what I asked. I asked how many people support my actions.”

Mason was silent for a few moments. “Many more than Adrian would like.”

“That is not a proper answer. If you are not going to give me a number or even a guess, then at least tell me how they are supporting me.”

“A number of people in Rome are demanding that the pope declare you to be a saint, web pages and forums have sprouted up all across the Internet where people who agree with what you did argue with those who hate you, and there are riots in almost a hundred towns and cities of your supporters fighting with the general public. You’ve basically started a cult of people who worship you.”

“I don’t want them to worship me, I do not deserve worship. All I want is for people to understand why I did what I did. Everyone who supports me is able to see the big picture. They are able to toss aside the cloud of humanitarian ideals that block their senses of logic and see that while there was a great cost for what I gave the world, it is well worth the benefit. I want people to understand why I did it.”

“Well why did you do it?”

“While my reasons are in his broadcast, I will explain anyway. I detonated all of those nukes to bring world peace.”

“And how does the greatest genocide in the history of mankind—albeit an unintentional one—bring world peace?”

“I did not detonate those bombs to cause deaths, I did it to prevent them. I destroyed all of those nukes because the nations of the world refused to. I obliterated the advantage of the nuclear superpowers and then redistributed them as I saw fit. That first wave of explosions was merely to clear the board for a new game.”

“And the second wave?”

“That was to get the world’s attention, not just the countries that were struck. I had those bombs placed in very strategic locations; close enough to national capitals for the explosions to be seen, but not close enough for people to be at risk by the blast radius or fallout.”

“You also said that you had given nuclear bombs to every country?”

“Yes. After the first wave of explosions, there were only six nuclear bombs in every country. Every sixth bomb was used for the demonstration, while the other five were my gift to the nations. With every country having five nukes, the status quo in terms of military power has reached equilibrium. It doesn’t matter if some of the countries don’t have armies or air superiority; they have nukes, and that is all they need to scare off their enemies.

Ever since the end of WWII, the nuclear superpowers of the world have used their advantage to bully the other nations, but now that their weapon stockpiles have been destroyed and nuclear bombs have been fairly distributed to the rest of the world, the status quo has been locked down. Every nation will fear its neighbor and that fear will deflate their egos, with no one daring to wage war, attack, or intimidate another country.”

“So this peace will only exist because the nations of the world will be too petrified to make a move?”

“That is the only form of peace that can exist. Humans are incompetent when it comes to building their own peace, especially when you incorporate more and more people into the process. The UN has been unable to end wars because the ambassadors only care about their own countries. All of these selfish ambitions come together to form the useless bureaucracy that they put their faith in.

To be frank, I find it to be quite useless. I don’t want to get rid of the UN, but it needs to learn to do its job and I’m tried of waiting. I did in ten years what the UN has been unable to do in seventy. True, you may not agree with my methods and your humanitarian idealism may keep you from seeing the big picture and agreeing with my methods, but I have established world peace.”

“You said in your broadcast that you were the leader of the Illuminati. Would you care to explain that?”

Adrian chuckled. “Well, I have no other questions to ask, so I’ll just answer you. The Illuminati does exist, though I brought it to the edge of extinction by assassinating all of the other members.”

“How did you become a member?”

“I began my search several years ago, looking on the Internet for information. After sifting through all of the conspiracy theories and rumors, I finally found the pure information I was looking for. I found the list of members and tried to figure out a way I could join. The answer came when I found another person after the same goal. He was the CEO of a bio-weapons company who had been denied membership to the Illuminati. He wanted revenge but he had no real information to go by.

I hacked into his company servers and looked through the weapons he could use against them. I discovered a disease that his company had created, which had the ability to cause blood clots in the extremities and inevitable muscle death. Anonymously, I gave him the member list on the condition that he would use that disease against them. With my technological skills, I knew that I could have collateral against them.

It was in Vegas that we finally found the personal doctor of one of the members, and we used him to get in contact with the Illuminati. In exchange for safe asylum and membership in the Illuminati, I built prosthetic hands for the members infected with their debilitating illness.

I used the Illuminati to find missing nuclear bombs from the Soviet Union, and then distributed them to the countries of the world using the subordinates of the Illuminati, the Zero Masons. I assassinated the other members so that I would acquire all of their wealth and influential power, with Jenny and Adrian as the only members of the Illuminati left. And then I came here, under the guise that I was going to pay the Zero Masons for their services. In truth, I knew that Interpol or some other group would catch wind of me, and I needed to eliminate the Zero Masons so that they couldn’t oppose me or leak any more information. I was the bait to draw you people in and I threw you at them to dispose of them for me.

From this point forward, I’ll be watching the nations of the globe, making sure none of them acquire more than their allowed number of atomic bombs.”

“And how are you supposed to do that when you’ll locked up in a maximum-security prison for the rest of your life or dead from being executed?”

Adrian cocked his head to one side and laughed. “Did it ever cross your mind that maybe I wanted to be captured? That maybe this is fun for me? What happened in the train yard? That was just a game to amuse myself. If I had gotten away, the game would have ended, so I went easy on all of you and now I get to play a little bit longer. You would do well not to underestimate me, it has had dire repercussions in the past.”

The government-controlled building was ten stories tall with a chain-link fence surrounding the perimeter. The area within the fence was filled with parked police cars and patrolling guards. The Swiss government had given Interpol use of the building since it was too risky to take Adrian out of Bern. Jenny was standing on the roof of a nearby building, holding a remote control.

“Someday, honey, your boredom is going to get you killed,” she giggled as she worked the controls of the remote.

Down below, a cargo truck full of beer kegs was moving steadily down the road. The driver was a dressed-up mannequin, but controlling the truck were pneumatic actuators hooked up to the gas, brakes, and steering wheel. Jenny’s controller was directing the actuators themselves, allowing her to regulate every movement and action of the truck.

“Showtime,” she said with a smile as she made the truck accelerate and steered it into the fence surrounding the building.

The guards jumped out of the way as it plowed through the fence and slammed into the parked police cars. The mechanical goliath knocked them out of the way as if they were inflatable and then crashed into the entrance of the building. The fenced sides of the truck broke open and the kegs fell out like boulders in a rockslide. They burst open when they hit the ground, spraying the area with brown fluid. But the air was not filled with the smell of beer; it was crushed under the fumes of gasoline. All of the kegs had been emptied and filled with gas.

As gas poured out across every surface within the perimeter of the fence like a flood, Jenny pulled out a flare gun and launched a ball of fire across the street. The flare struck the waves of gasoline and the entire area was engulfed in a sea of flames, setting off the fuel tanks of the police cars and incinerating everything that would burn.

People were fleeing as fast as they could to escape the inferno, but Jenny took a deep breath and jumped off the building as if it were the edge of a pool. She fell through the air and landed on the hood of a car, shattering all of its windows and crushing the metal sheet. By using her heightened reaction speed, she had distributed the force of the impact through every muscle and tendon in her legs and ankles, taking away the crippling strain and avoiding injury.

Jenny drew her lance as she approached the flames.

The building shook from the impact of the truck and the intensity of the flames, sending vibrations down to the basement. As the lamp swung erratically above him and the door rattled in its hinges, Adrian gave a smile. It looked like it was time for him to make his escape. While his hands were kept away from each other by two sets of cuffs, Adrian didn’t need to use them together.

A thin black line with a bright dot on one end could be found on his lower back, but it wasn’t a tattoo or scar; it was a pin, hidden beneath his skin and just long enough for such occasions. He reached underneath his coat and shirt and pinched the bright spot on the end, which served as the head of the pin. He pulled it out, glad that he had made it as long as he did. Adrian inserted the pin into the locking mechanism of the handcuffs on his right hand, pushing up on the catch until it released the teeth of the cuffs. The loop opened up without anything to hold it closed, freeing his right hand. Adrian quickly turned and unlocked the second set of cuffs, opening them up and setting him loose.

The two-way mirror behind him most likely had a reinforcing polymer that would reflect back most of the force Adrian used against it, so his only exit was the door. Adrian gripped the handle and put one foot on the frame. Using all of the strength in his arms and leg, he ripped the door open, shattering all of the locks.

Adrian walked down the cinderblock hallway, listening to the explosions outside. As he turned a corner, a guard spotted him and charged forward with a police baton. He swung it down towards his head but Adrian knocked his arm aside like it was an annoying housefly. Adrian reached up and punched him in the jaw with enough force to shatter all of his teeth, then sidestepped behind him and kicked his knee, breaking his leg. He howled in pain as he fell to the floor and Adrian walked past him.

Down the hall, two more guards heard the exchange and were running towards him. As the first one approached, Adrian pulled back his arm and then slammed him in the chest with his palm, shattering all of his ribs but not causing any organ damage. He passed out from the agony as his second opponent approached.

The guard aimed a stun gun at him and pulled the trigger, firing two darts that were connected to the weapon by a pair of wires. The barbs clung to his chest and sent electricity through his body, his unflinching will allowed him to block out the pain and remain in control of his body. Adrian grabbed the guard by the throat, lifted him off the ground with one hand, and slammed him against the wall.

“Where is the evidence room? Where are my weapons? Tell me and you will live.” Adrian demanded, speaking in German.

“Seventh floor, room 725!” the guard replied in kind.

Adrian slammed him against the wall again, knocking him out. He turned and continued down the hall, while the explosions continued outside.

Jenny walked through the inferno, slashing and stabbing at anyone who raised a weapon at her or came close. The light of flames was making her hair shine like molten gold and made the blood on her lance look like melted rubies. She walked through the entrance of the building and stepped into the lobby, which was no longer burning, thanks to the building’s fire alarm. The receptionist had abandoned her post and the lights were out. There were two hallways branching out to the left and right up ahead and an elevator directly in front of her.

As a guard in a gas mask ran past her, having been ordered to make sure Adrian was still locked up, he spotted Jenny and stopped. He raised his pistol and fired several rounds, but with the same skill and style as Adrian, she raised her lance before the bullets could be launched, predicting where they would strike instead of trying to follow them with her eyes.

Jenny deflected every bullet as she moved closer and closer, finally coming in range to reach out and stab the guard in the stomach. With the flames outside sizzling out from a lack of fuel, she turned and continued down the hall, figuring that Adrian was in a holding cell the basement.

Jenny pulled out three darts as the echo of approaching guards reached her ears. At the next turn in the hall, three Interpol agents stepped out and pointed their rifles at her.

“Don’t move!” the one in the middle barked.

Without slowing down or replying, Jenny threw the darts, striking the three agents in the throats. They fell to the ground with blood pouring from their wounds. Jenny walked up and knocked them by stabbing all three of them with her lance. She continued on, reaching the elevator. The doors opened up, showing that it was full of agents. Without missing a beat, Jenny dove in.

Adrian stepped out of the elevator and walked down the hall, counting the rooms. From seemingly every door and turn, Interpol agents and Swiss police officers were jumping out and attacking him, armed with batons, firearms, and stun guns. As Adrian got closer and closer to the evidence room, it seemed like their numbers were increasing.

One fully-protected agent charged towards him with a baton in hand. As he swung it down towards his head, Adrian caught his wrist and jerked his arm, turning him around and forcing him to his knees. Adrian let go of his wrist and then kicked him in the side of the head. Even with his bulletproof helmet, the kick was powerful enough to give him a concussion and knock him out.

Behind him, a police officer stepped through a doorway with a shotgun in hand. Adrian picked up the officer he had just knocked out and used him as a shield against the first load of buckshot. The ball bearings tore through the man’s Kevlar, and before the next round could be fired, Adrian hurled the corpse at the gunman. Knocked to the ground, the officer dropped his gun and Adrian kicked him in the side of the head.

Adrian finally reached room 725 and stepped inside. The room was dark and filled with rows upon rows of shelves, all filled with boxed-up evidence. Without turning the lights, he scanned the boxes, looking for the most recent addition. Adrian finally found his lance, darts, and laser, wrapped up and secured in a long cardboard box.

Before Adrian could open it, he jerked to the side to dodge a bullet aimed for the back of his head. Ducking down, he drew a dart from the box and spun around, hurling it at the assailant. The metal spike struck the hand of Agent Mason, forcing him to drop his gun. He raised his other hand, his backup in his grip.

“Stay dead this time.”

Before Mason could pull the trigger, Adrian lunged forward and knocked the gun aside, then reached up and stabbed him in the throat with his bare hand. His hand tore through the skin and muscle with ease and crushed his veins and windpipe. Mason fell to the ground, dying just like Logan.

“I can’t afford to die again, after all, third time is the charm,” Adrian said calmly as he got back to his feet.

With Mason’s dead body bleeding onto the floor, Adrian opened up the box holding his weapons. Adrian stowed the darts and his laser in his pockets and retrieved his lance, spinning it around his fingers. Fully armed, he stepped out of the evidence room, ready to find his wife.

Jenny walked through his path of destruction down in the basement, looking for anyone conscious. She came to a police officer that was beginning to wake up. She grabbed him by the collar and lifted him off his feet.

“Where is Adrian?” she demanded, speaking in German.

“He went to the evidence room on the seventh floor,” the guard said groggily, having been the one who directed him. Jenny slammed him against the wall, knocking him back out.

“What the hell is going on here?!” she heard a voice yell.

She looked down the hall and saw and Interpol agent with an assault rifle. Before he could raise it and fire, Jenny switched her hold on her lance and threw it like a javelin. The lance flew through the air like a bullet and struck the Interpol agent between the gut and the ribs, piercing his Kevlar vest like paper. The weapon lodged itself in the wall behind him, pinning him to it.

Jenny retrieved her weapon and made her way back to the elevator.

Adrian was swinging his lance with machinelike speed and brutality, slashing and stabbing at Interpol agents and police officers that were streaming up and down the staircase. They were swarming towards him in such numbers that it almost seemed to defy logic. There were so many that Adrian had stop knocking them out and just go for the easier kill.

Adrian stabbed one agent in the chest, piercing his heart and ending his life. Another agent charged towards him from behind, so Adrian slammed him with his elbow as he pulled his lance free. The agent fell to his knees and Adrian snapped his neck with one hand. One officer raised his empty shotgun above his head to slam him with the stock, but Adrian stabbed him through the lower jaw, with the end of the weapon breaking out of the top of his skull. Before Adrian could pull it free, an agent ran up the staircase with a stun gun in hand. With his free hand, Adrian drew his laser and shot the man in the face, burning an inch-wide hole through his skull.

Adrian finally pulled his lance free and used the swinging momentum to turn around and slash an officer across the chest, the man lacking a bulletproof vest.He looked down and spotted a door across the staircase. It looked like it was just close enough to reach. With all of his strength, Adrian kicked the handrail, breaking it off and clearing a path. He then lashed out and slashed the two closest enemies, buying him a mere second. With that quick opportunity and a small running start, Adrian jumped off of the staircase, falling through the wide expanse of open air. Barely missing the handrail and slamming into a crowd of police officers, Adrian reached the other side safely.

He quickly wrenched open the door and jumped out into a large room filled with vacant cubicles. He closed the door and jammed a dart into the locking mechanism, sealing it shut. Adrian ran to the nearest elevator and pressed the button over and over again, knowing that Adrian had less than a minute before the door was broken down.

The stainless steel doors finally opened up, and Adrian was face to face with Jenny, wearing bloodstained clothes but apparently unharmed. They both gave a gasp of disbelief and then reached out, wrapping their arms around each other in a tight embrace.

“I’m so glad to see you,” Adrian whispered.

“You too. I was really starting to worry.”

They were shaken from their dream by the rattling of the door near the elevator. It couldn’t hold much longer.

“Come on, we have to go,” Adrian said, grasping Jenny’s hand as he stepped into the elevator. They pressed the button for the ground floor and the doors closed.

“Every cop and Interpol agent is gathering down in the lobby to apprehend us and there are no other exits. However, once we get out, there will be no one to chase after us,” Jenny said.

“We’ll be sitting ducks once the doors open up. They’ll open fire the second they see us.”

“Then they just have to make sure that they don’t see us,” Jenny replied as she held up a smoke grenade.

Down in the lobby, every Interpol agent and police officer had a gun in his hand and was pointing it at the elevator doors. The weapons would shake more and more as the lights above the doors showed that the elevator was nearing the ground floor.

Finally, the door opened, but nobody fired. Smoke was pouring out of the elevator and a hissing sound could be heard. In a single barrage, half a dozen open smoke grenades were thrown out of the elevator and into the hall. As smoke filled the room, everyone opened fire on the elevator, pocketing the far wall with hundreds of bullets but leaving Jenny and Adrian safe. They were hiding in the front corners of the elevator, holding their breath.

“By the way, this doesn’t count as a honeymoon,” Jenny teased over the chorus of firing bullets.

“Yes dear,” Adrian laughed.

The second the sound of gunfire was replaced with the sound of magazines being handled and guns reloaded, Jenny and Adrian dashed out of the elevator. Smoke had completely filled the room and taken away all visibility, but Jenny and Adrian could still sense their enemies.

Undeterred by the smoke, they moved through the lobby like ghosts, stabbing at every agent and cop in their path. The room was far too crowded for them to use their lances, so they were each holding two darts and using them like daggers. People began firing random shots into the air as the sound of people being killed grew louder and louder. All the bullets did was add more death and confusion to the mess.

Bodies continuously fell to the floor with carefully placed stab wounds as Jenny and Adrian would pounce on their targets and either strike the pressure points like deadly vipers or try to power their way through to the organs. Once they thinned out their numbers, they returned to their lances, wielding them with masterful skill and terrifying strength. In Adrian’s free hand was his laser, and with each pull of the trigger, a beam of light would momentarily cross the room, the smoke giving the light something to bounce off of before someone was killed. With every stab and every slash, victory seemed to come even closer.

Adrian felt unstoppable with his enemies unable to land even a single counterattack or find him in the smoke. Against his better judgment, he even felt immortal. He had died twice before and been in countless fights similar to this one, and he had always come back. He knew he could still die, but he just let the feeling continue to burn in his heart, granting him even greater strength and speed.

Even with the smoke blocking his sense of sight and smell and the sounds of battle obscuring his hearing, Adrian could tell that Jenny felt the same way, as if there was an open channel between their minds, letting them read each other’s thoughts. She was enjoying the battle as well and relishing the feeling of superiority they had over their enemies. Both Jenny and Adrian took no joy in the killing of these people, but that feeling of invincibility was like a euphoric amphetamine. The knowledge that they had defeated everyone in their path was giving them a vast boost of power.

Whether it was a street gang, the police, the Illuminati, Interpol, or even the whole world, no one could stand in their way. They had overcome everything in their path and brought world peace. How could anyone possibly defeat them when they had beaten the odds time and time again and even defied death? How could anyone hope to kill them when their physical and mental abilities were so powerful that guns were completely useless against them? How could anyone ever hope to surpass their legend?

In only thirty seconds, every agent and cop was dead and the room fell silent. The only presence Adrian could sense was Jenny’s as they both put away their weapons. Their heart rates slowed and they became themselves again. Trying to catch their breath, they stepped out of the smoke-filled lobby and into the warm sunlight. They both stood still, letting the sun wash away their aches and pains.

“I hope that is the last time we ever have to fight,” Jenny said softly.

“We’ll probably have to continue fighting, since the authorities will be after us forever,” Adrian replied, filling Jenny’s eyes with sadness. “But I put my faith in their bond, so I’m willing to put my faith in a peaceful future.” Adrian then reached out and wrapped his hand around hers. “Come on, let’s go home.”

For the next several decades, an uneasy peace settled across the world. People were afraid of attack, but the attacks never came. Similar to the Cold War, international tensions were reduced to little more than countries holding their fingers over the launch button and bluffing. Now that the Third World could fight back, America, Russia, Europe, and the nations in Asia ceased bullying smaller countries out of greed and fighting pointless wars. They had always operated on the belief that they could do whatever they wanted as long as their enemies couldn’t overpower them, but now the nations of the world were forced to be equal. They could either deflate their egos or be annihilated.

Once everything cooled down, Adrian and Jenny began to rebuild the Illuminati. Individuals who were more than smart enough to see the big picture of Judgment Day and supported him were carefully recruited. They did background checks for everyone they watched, making sure that they would not jeopardize the peace that Adrian had installed.

Those that lacked a hunger for power, narcissistic desires, and double-crossing tendencies were recruited one at a time. With their help and vigilance, they watched the proceedings of the world from their computers, always strengthening their hold on the military and informational systems of the world by hacking and re-hacking their way through every new firewall and defense, making sure that no country could ever lock us out, build a vast number of nuclear weapons, and take over the world.

There was no aspect of any government that they did not have eyes and ears in, and whenever they found out that a country had so much as one more nuclear bomb than they allowed them, the punishment was swift and brutal. Taking control of their missile defense system, they would wipe whatever base the bomb was held at off the map.

As time went on, the rage people had originally felt on Judgment Day was replaced with understanding. National tensions were at an all-time high, but the threat of attack was at an all-time low. Fear was the key to peace and that fear was doing its duties flawlessly. With the powers and wealth of all the former Illuminati members, Jenny and Adrian were able to evade capture with ease. They completely disappeared off the face of the earth with layer after layer of aliases, with only their fellow members and Amanda knowing their true identities. Never in her life did she ever tell anyone about them.

With their enemies unable to find them, and the world in the palms of their hands, Jenny and Adrian lived out their lives in happiness and luxury. They loved each other, never forgetting what they had done for each other, their adventures together, and the peace they had given to the world and each other.

The End

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