The cabin was rather drab. Amelia and Jason had given up the idea of luxury for some time. Even though their powers allowed them to make the log cabin into a mansion of opulence, they had lived without it for so long they didn’t care about it anymore. The wood fire crackles behind them, the heat lapping at the blanket covering their backs. They stare up through the old window at the stars. They had managed to find such a remote place to hide and did so without any government finding out.
“The earth has quieted down some.” Amelia says her tone very sweet as she looks over at Jason. He continues to stare up at the stars through the window. The gesture saddens her a bit. “What is it? I figured you’d be happy here, just the two of us.”
“Something has changed. I can’t tell if we were the cause or not. Perhaps we just didn’t feel it.” He pauses looking up then down at Amelia. He smiles at her before continuing. “No this is something different. That’s a problem.”
“We’ll be able to handle it.” Amelia says nestling her head onto Jason’s chest.
“I worry we will not be able to protect all of the Earth with just us. We’d protect some, sure.” Jason says leaning his head on Amelia’s forehead. “I don’t think it’s right if we can’t protect them all.” Amelia hums in thought. Jason raises his head again to look out the window. Amelia smiles looking up and giving him a kiss on the cheek.
“Who would you give this power to?” Jason asks.
“My best friend of course!” Amelia says looking up at Jason as if he was crazy to even ask the question. He looks down at her with a sad face. Seeing his face she realizes what he is thinking about. “I forgot. You’re right.” admitting it makes her very sad. She lays her head back on Jason’s chest thinking deeply for anyone in her life that would work. “I need more than that. What are we even looking for in a person?”
“Loyalty.” Jason responds back.
“No.” Amelia responds raising her head again to look at him.
“We don’t want loyalty. They can’t just be loyal. They have to believe in what we do.”
You’re right. So what we believe in; protecting.”
“Not just protecting. It has to be basic. They have to not just protect some but want to protect everyone.” Amelia says standing up.
“Someone who is adverse to the abuse of power. With great power comes great responsibility!” Jason exclaims standing up with fist raised. Amelia’s expression changes to slight disdain.
“Did you just quote a movie?”
“No.” Jason responds sheepishly.
“I can’t. Just no, no no no no.” Amelia says finishing with a turn. Jason chuckles a bit causing Amelia to turn and continue. “For that you can sleep on the floor I get the bed.”
“You assume we’re sleeping here.” Jason says smiling nervously over at Amelia.
“Oh come on, I spent a lot of time trying to find this place!” She says stomping her foot. The loud sound causes something to skitter loudly out from under the house. Her eyes go wide instantly. “Ok I’m fine with that.”
“You can take out a starship from the surface of a planet.” Jason says pausing briefly to look at the wall that the animal was last heard by. “But some small creature makes a sound when it is fleeing and you freak out.”
“It’s hard to break learned behaviors!” She yells back.
“So you originally planned to sleep with a royal shield active the entire time?” He replies inquisitively as he grabs a clean shirt from their suitcase and puts it on.
“Maybe I was. You never asked.” Amelia responds sharply.
“Ok we’re side tracked now. Qualities.” Jason says sitting down at a chair in the corner near a small table.
“Someone who understands sacrifice.”
“Absolutely. Someone who can get the big picture.”
“Yeah.” She says a bit sad.
“Oh come on, please don’t be like that. We need this quickly. Things are moving so rapidly out there we can’t wait for someone to develop these skills. You know how powerful some of the Coalition’s best soldiers are. They have to take everything in all at once, predict, decide and execute what will happen.”
“You’re a freak of nature. No one is going to have all of that.” Amelia says.
“But at least the first one has to have a basic idea of it.”
“You’re talking about Ryan right?” Amelia says staring at Jason’s back.
“He’s the only one.” Jason replies unsure of how she would reply
“Not your father?”
“No, that battle is already done.” Jason replies.
“You’re right, on both accounts.” Amelia sighs lightly looking around the room before continuing. “Ryan might be the only one that fits right now.”
“Listen, I do agree Sophia is a great friend, and she might have everything we need. We don’t know yet. We have to approach her, see how all of this information hangs around her neck.”
“You don’t have any others?” Amelia asks sitting down on the bed, almost afraid to commit to having her friend gain this kind of power and responsibility.
“Pat, Patrick, for the moral, ethical stuff sure, but I’m not sure if his rigidness would allow him to really adapt to this kind of thing.” Jason says waiting a second, Amelie thinks about it briefly before Jason continues. “From my friends Jack is the only other one that is close and quite frankly he has the exact opposite issue. I think in combat and improvisation, and just simply adapting to this would fit who he is, he even has something to protect, but something deep down makes me wonder. I almost wonder if he would let half the world burn if he knew what he cared about was safe.”
“I know that feeling. I hate to say it but I thought the same way about him.” Amelia says nodding, her face showing the worry.
“So Ryan is the only one?” Jason says
“The only one we can trust that will hit enough of the key points. Sophia second. By that point I think we should have enough time we can work on Pat and Jack. Oh and maybe Sophia’s sister. We may have to go on loyalty there.” Amelia says.
“Loyalty to us doesn’t mean anger won’t end in innocent bloodshed.” Jason replies.
“I was able to handle it, they will too.” Amelia responds.
“I trust Sophia, it’s Sophia’s sister, uh, Eveline, I have no idea what will come from that.” Jason says worried about those situations happening regardless. He was already nervous that Ryan would be able to handle the gate.
“It’s decided. You should grab him now. I will create the site outside.” Amelia says staring at Jason. He looks up at the stars, so much was going on that scared him. He turns back to her and nods. He moves to the middle of the room generating black, white, red, blue and golden energy around his palm. The energy comes together to form an eye that floated in the air. The eye moves around a bit before stopping facing southwest. With a target transmitted to the eye it floats above Jason. Thin black lines appear out of the sides of the eye eventually hands appear at the end of the lines. As if unrolling a blanket the air beneath the black lines and hands fades to a black color. Jason steps into the portal and is gone in an instant.
Amelia sighs lightly. She grabs the thick coat she had brought with her. She had hoped to never actually use it but was glad she had just in case. Putting it and her boots on she opens the door. The harsh wind gusts in to the house dropping the temperature quickly. She cringes from the cold before taking a step outside. She shuts the door so Jason and Ryan would have more time to adjust to the cold when they got to the cabin. She generates a small shield walking down where the path should have been. The foot of snow was a bit refreshing to Amelia but when she realized she would have to clear it from where they would perform the ritual she becomes depressed. Finally making it to the small parking area for the cabin she looks behind her to see the nice even path she had left behind her. She smiles briefly remembering the times she had to shovel by hand.
She walks to the center of where the ritual will be held. She generates a small dome shield slowly expanding it until no snow was left within the 30 foot diameter. She turns to see the path that she had made was now covered with the snow she had removed from the circle. She generates a four square foot metal plate. The metal plate falls to the ground in front of her. Happy with the plate she generates a chain of subservience attaching it to the end of the plate. Grabbing the chain she commands the metal plate to move under the mountain of snow blocking the path. With the metal plate under the snow she raises her arm a bit while commanding the plate to move in the air. The plate slowly moves up keeping all of the snow on it. She moves it over the rest of the pile of snow and dumps it off leaving the trail and the circle clean of all but the most minor amounts of snow.
Going back to the center Amelia begins to suck up any energy around her convert it to small white energy spheres until the center six feet of the circle was entire white spheres. Stepping out of the center circle she uses a thin beam of fire to scorch a circle three feet from the center, another at six feet, then nine, twelve, and the final circle at fifteen feet was already surrounded by snow. Moving back to the six foot ring she gathers or converts all of the energy to blue spheres. She moves to the nine foot ring repeating it with green energy, twelve foot ring was red energy. The last three foot ring was a mix of gold and black energy spheres, the hardest to pull in or convert, especially in such a large quantities to keep other spheres from corrupting the area too much. As Amelia finishes back at the pathway she walks onto the pathway dropping to her knees breathing heavily as sweat pours down her head. She unzips the jacket and throws it on top of the snow next to the pathway. The cold breeze gulps at the heat emanating from Amelia.
“Perhaps I should have prepared this.” Jason says walking down the path. She smiles a bit before shaking her head.
“You have to step in if something goes wrong. Plus with my power I can only pull in so much gold and black energy, with you, you might drown him in that shit.” Amelia responds as Jason walks up. He picks up the coat she had thrown to the side and hands it back to her. Grabbing the coat she can see Ryan staring out the window of the cabin. “How did he take it?” Jason hums for a second bobbing his head side to side before answering.
“Better than expected, I’m not sure if the conversation could have gone better, which does worry me a bit. He may not be mature enough to really handle this.” Jason replies peering back at the cabin.
“Last chance if you want to do Sophia or Eveline.”
“No, that will take too much work and time. A simple interview will never tell us enough about a person so we can’t pull from anyone that’s not a friend or family member. We don’t have any other people we know well enough.” Jason replies waving for Ryan to come out. Ryan walks down the path to the circle.
“Your last chance to back out.” Jason says turning to face Ryan.
“No, you were right.” Ryan responds. Jason nods a bit happy that it was going forward.
“Ok, Amelia will be on the far side.” Jason says pointing to another clear spot on the other side of the circle. Amelia puts her jacket on, pulling some of the black orbs to her feet and teleports to the far side.
“Wow.” Ryan says mesmerized.
“Hey Ryan.” Jason says pulling his attention back.
“You have to pay attention to this. Each of these rings is saturated with energy orbs that make up everything in the universe, more or less. We can have a more detailed conversation about it later. Each ring is saturated with a certain orb. Each ring out from the center represents a different level of difficulty. Though technically we should have another ten to twenty more rings but we don’t have a dozen assistants here to segregate all of that energy out and keep it that way. Even now we have some contamination between the rings and it is going to be worse as time goes on. I am going to teleport you above this circle and you will drop down into the center to prevent any more extreme contamination.” Jason says waiting for Ryan to agree.
“Ok.” Ryan replies nodding but his voice betrayed the worry he had in his heart. Jason pulls black orbs from the surrounding area but doesn’t touch any in the outer ring. Jumping into the air he grabs Ryan’s arms and teleports both of them ten feet above the center of the ring. As gravity takes hold of the two Jason surrounds Ryan’s body with miniature white orbs of wind pressure as he falls into the center. The orbs gust every second until Ryan lands safely on the ground. Ryan looks around in awe seeing Jason back where he had stood before. He looks up to where he had been then down to where he stood now.
“Alright Ryan, go ahead and close your eyes. Try to picture a black or white room and just that. Try to clear your mind of everything else but that. Let us know the moment you see anything else.” Jason instructs.
“Ok.” Ryan replies, anxiety welling up in him. Jason generates an intricate golden dome shield over the whole circle. Happy with it Jason generates a bottom to connect the sides of the dome to prevent anything from leaving the dome. The thousands of hexagons from the shield sparkle in the moonlight, the glow tinting the snow around it. Jason and Amelia both put their hands on the field pressing until just their palms slipped into the center of the dome. They slowly open their gates further and push raw energy waves out of their hands and into the done. As more of the raw energy wave’s move into the dome more of it comes in contact with Ryan’s body at one time. Jason can see his dormant gate more each passing second. Ryan’s expression changes from a slight calm to a cross between curious and afraid.
‘I see a bright shimmer in the center.” Ryan says. Jason smiles as the energy in Ryan is stoked to life.
“It’s not a shimmer, it’s a door or a window.” Jason says, a bit of happiness in his voice. Ryan gasps the instant Jason says that.
“The shimmer is gone a window is there now. On the other side of the window is a bright light.” Ryan responds. Jason is a bit unhappy that the window was what appealed more.
“Jason, a window?” Amelia says unhappy with how things have turned out.
“If he didn’t accept door first, he never would. You know that.” Jason responds.
“Is that bad?” Ryan asks getting nervous.
“No, it’s not.” Jason says firmly reinforcing Ryan’s confidence. Waiting a moment longer he can see the gate in Ryan fully open to a red energy level. “Ok Ryan, now imagine you are there in the box with the window. You have two arms, two legs, and a body. Grab the window and open it a small amount.”
“It’s a solid window, I can’t open it.” Ryan replies. Amelia leans over and shoots Jason an angry look. He rolls his eyes back at her.
“Yes there is. You just have to find it, that window just like a door has a way to open it. How do you open your windows at home?” Jason asks.
“It has a latch.” Ryan says stopping as if something confused him. “Right there, it wasn’t there before but it is now.”
“It was always there you just had to know it was there to find.” Jason replies.
“There is handles in the window for me to open and close it now.” Ryan says, shock creeping into his voice.
“Grab them and just slightly pull up.” Jason orders. The white clear orbs seem to gather around Ryan as he can see the gate open a bit.
“I don’t understand what is going on. When I open the window the light goes into me. I feel all this stuff. I don’t know.” Ryan says his voice frantic and confused. He moves around almost unaware of what he is doing. The sensation of the gate and the power around him begins to overwhelm him.
“Don’t close the window, let it happens. Feel everything going on, analyze everything. Remember everything that is happening, every bit. You are in no danger. There is nothing to be afraid of. Just let it all go and feel it.” Jason says calming Ryan down a bit. Soon the white orbs stop being sucked in as he gains more control. Amelia nods at Jason admitting they made the right choice after all. “Ok Ryan, we are going to move forward.” The orbs around Ryan go out of control a second as Ryan cuts off Jason.
“I barely have control of this how can we move forward like that?” Ryan says his voice giving off a primal fear.
“Ryan, I am, likely the most powerful gate user in the galaxy. If I forced your gate open to 90% you still wouldn’t be able to weaken this shield. You are perfectly safe, so are we. Even if you lose complete control and unleashed everything imaginable in there, it will be ok.” Jason replies. In that moment that Jason stopped talking Ryan felt Jason and Amelia’s gate. Awe so natural and base overcomes Ryan as he looks at them with the awareness of the gate.
“If they could see this, how could they have even attacked? To know that depth and still come, impossible.” Ryan says.
“They do not train like this. They can use the gate when you come of age or they don’t. The coming of age for them is roughly eight years old. If they do they are sent to academy where the military or the commercial district fight over them. If they don’t open their gate they go to functionary schooling where they learn or are forcibly taught a trade that they do for the rest of their life. It depends a little on the race.”
“What is this then?” Ryan asks his voice still filled with awe.
“This is the cascade effect, amplified. Forcible opening through the use of the energy waves that make up all things in the universe.”
“Like the force?” Ryan asks suddenly referencing a set of movies. Jason laughs heartily.
“Yes. We do have to continue. You have used up most of the white orbs in the center. As your gate opens it will be easier to use the more complex and powerful orbs. White is generally dormant inert energy, ease to manipulate, hard to master. They are the largest amount of orbs and the primary orb used for royal abilities. The blue orbs are densely packed and second most inert. Thinking of the color of the orbs to represent what they may be most used for, say blue for water, would be a huge mistake as it mentally limits how adaptable you are in using the orbs” Jason explains.
“Ok, I’ll try.” Ryan says nodding. He begins to manipulate more of the white orbs using them for gusts of wind. A second later several turn into a piece of metal. He looks down shocked by the clink of the metal hitting the ground.
“Focus on pulling the window open. I’ll explain this all later.” Jason says.
“Right.” Ryan says as he goes back to the imaginary room. He grabs the window and tries to pull at it but it refuses to move. He closes it with ease and feels the energy stops responding to him. The sensation was odd. He could feel it all but he felt like he had lost all control of an arm or leg. He pulls the window open again but no further than it was prior. He grips it pulling with what seemed like all his might. Straining to pull the window for a few seconds and the window starts to move. A sensation told Ryan that while it was his hands pulling at the window, it was by the help of an outside source that it was opening. “You helped me open it.” The words from Ryan were part question part statement. The blue orbs in the next ring slowly move toward Ryan as he gets used to the gate being open more.
Little spirts of water appear quickly freezing into snow, some of the blue energy transfers into various gasses which disperse into the air. Ryan tests things more as he pulls more in losing control for a bit as he fires off dozens of icicles into the shield causing them to shatter. Other blue energy falls to the ground as molten metal. The loss of control and sizzling metal in the snow scares Ryan a bit as he remembers some of the warnings Jason had given him while they talked outside his house. He looks down at his hand realizing how powerful even something of that level was. He imagines what would happen in the wrong hands, the sort of change in balance that would happen in the world.
“Green is a complex orb. It can be used in multiple ways.” Jason says breaking Ryan’s thoughts. Ryan looks over at Jason and realizes he can see the orbs in the air now. Looking around he notices the blue orbs were gone but he could see mounds of snow and ice surrounding him.
“I feel tired.” Ryan says.
“That’s because you are holding onto control of the energy still.” Jason replies
“What?” Ryan replies.
“Converting energy into permanent matter is very difficult and something that usually only those that have opened 50% or more of their gate can do. The snow and ice around you is energy in flux. It has taken on the shape of snow and ice, but it is still energy. Once you release your grip on it, it will dissipate quickly back into energy. Even though it’s not conscious, the energy is actually shifting to your animalistic side. You can see some of the snow on the ground shifting into ice, while other parts of the ice shift into snow. Some of it is actually water and staying as water because you are telling it to. All items made of energy still must conform to the laws and rules of this world. So that water you created must turn into ice if it is below freezing. Your mind sees the blue spheres as water so it is working hard to make your perception of the spheres be water. Imagine them as the blue energy spheres instead.” Jason suggests. Ryan looks down and notices the various events occurring between the ice and snow. Ryan closes his eyes for a second imagining them all as blue spheres and in an instant the ice and snow is disintegrating back into spheres to float right back to him.
Jason smiles as he senses Ryan pushing to open his gate more. Jason and Amelia pump in more base energy saturating Ryan with it. The green orbs quickly fly towards him as the window opens to nearly half way, far more then Ryan expected. Lightning strikes occur around the shielding as some of the ground cracks and moves around Ryan.
“Natural attacking inclination.” Jason says.
“What do you expect Jason?” Amelia asks rhetorically.
“What’s going on, I can’t control this.” Ryan yells.
“I’m sorry Ryan but we have to accelerate this. The last couple stages will be quick, all for your sake.” Jason says. With some green orbs still surrounding Ryan they bombard him with more energy. Instinctively Ryan was still pulling at the window in his mind. This time the window opens 10% more. Some of the golden energy slowly moves down from the sky but not quick enough to be an issue.
“Pull in more energy!” Amelia commands. The words shock Ryan causing him to pull energy from the red circle. Soon the lightning strikes had sheaths of flame following them, grass on the ground was lit aflame however before Amelia or Jason could do anything Ryan himself used the blue and white orbs to extinguish the flames. The flames are no sooner extinguished and Ryan pulls the remaining red orbs into a massive fireball in front of him. The fireball explodes against the dome spreading out through the whole dome. Ryan uses the green orbs to generate a massive thin shield protecting him. Jason smiles at the instinct but deep down wonders if the choice was right. To use green orbs in a mostly destructive manor, and then combine that with red for an increase in the destruction wasn’t common, or easy.
“Are you sure about that?”
“Have faith.” Jason replies. Amelia nods as she pushes more energy into the sphere. Jason had intended to push Ryan up to 75% but as Ryan is bombarded with more energy he is unable to handle pushing it open past 71%. Ryan’s gate opens to 71% causing the golden and black energy to swarm him. The intense sensation of it was far behind what the others were. Ryan writhes in the center dropping to his knees. The golden crown and cape form on Ryan’s head and back as he grabs his head with his hands. Screaming out Ryan activates the black energy teleporting to the edge of the barrier. Hitting the shield at speed he yelps in pain before teleporting to the other side, this time trying to punch his way out, no longer really conscious of what’s going on. Both fearful and angry Ryan generates multiple shields and pieces of metal around him, some coming close to hitting him as they fall from where they materialize. Jason and Amelia push in energy spheres from outside the dome and activating them to form a mass of water. The water crashes into Ryan pushing back into a slab of metal. Now with the mass of water drawing his attention and it continuing to fill up the dome Ryan’s anger subsides and just fear is left coursing through him. In full control again he grasps whatever black energy he could find and activates it appearing in the cold snow 10 feet behind Jason.
“Amelia.” Jason calls out. They both disengage their abilities causing the water to disappear along with the shield. The metal pieces in the center had disintegrated after Ryan’s attention was pulled to the flooding. Jason walks up to stand behind Ryan. Jason rests his hand on Ryan’s shoulder as Ryan breathes heavily in exhaustion. “Close the window and lock it. It will always be there for you. You are now one of us.” The words cause Ryan to go wide eyed. The recognition of never being able to go back hits Ryan hard. He never expected it to be so different.