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Preview of Power Play

Miscellaneous By: xfmcdougle
Science fiction



A preview of the second book of the LEVELS series. As Prince, Fleana, Katrina, and Marion prepares for their new school, They encounter their grandparents for the first time who gives them a nasty surprise.


Submitted:Jan 17, 2014    Reads: 11    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   


~~LEVELS
POWER PLAY
BY XAVIER MCDOUGLE


Chapter 1
Prince:
Katrina thrusted out her hand launching out a ball of lightning and destroys one of the dummies we had set up around the junkyard. The ball lightning looked bigger than usual. In that moment I thought Kat had probably been eating her veggies or something and maybe I should try her mother's cooking. May have helped me out with my little problem.

Next, Marion thrusted out his hand and launched a rocket of a fireball at another dummy. The flames roared as the dummy was burned to a crisp. Then Fleana thrusted out her hand and launched a stream of air that sent another dummy sky high. You might be wondering why we were abusing a couple of poor, defenseless dummies. Even more importantly, you may wonder how a couple of teenagers have superpowers. Well, keep up! I don't have all day to catch you up on how all this nonsense, which is still new to us quite frankly, happened. We're what you call BioticAbiotics-living nonliving things. This stuff comes naturally. Why? It's the natural physics of our world. Don't worry, if you care to follow this story, you'll catch on.

Anyway, Fleana asked me. "You sure you don't want to try this?"

My pals have been trying to convince me for a week to try using my abilities.

I said. "I don't know guys I'm just not feeling it."

"It's been three months now, Spikes. You have to try," Katrina said. "We have to practice for the new school we'll be attending in two days."

I guess I should explain. We'd be attending Levels Academy-A school our parents and older siblings attended for BioticAbiotics. How delightful a school full of hormonal teenagers that was just like us. Certainly wasn't looking forward to it after what happened just three months ago. I'm going to make this short and simple: Three months ago, my friends and I had no idea what we were despite the obvious clues, so when our characteristics showed up, it freaked us out. Don't get me wrong, it was cool for a while, but we manage to get into serious trouble with them. When our parents told us what was going on…it was the most embarrassing thing ever and no doubt everyone at school knows it so we were preparing to make a good impression, which by track record we suck at.

Attending Levels means that my friends and I would help sustain natural life one day, but the problem with me was my characteristics hadn't developed fully yet. What can I say? Some people mature slower than others even if you were born at the same time.

"Okay, I'll try." I told them.

I thrusted out my hand but nothing happened as it usually did at times. On my second try, a ball of concentrated cold struck a dummy and started to cake it in ice. Despite it working sometimes, my power was meager. Nowhere near as big and powerful as Kat's.

I turned back to my friends. "How's that?"

"Not bad," Fleana said encouragingly. "but it needs a little more oomph!"

Fleana was a part time cheerleader of the group. She's always positive and that's how she often gets away with things. You wouldn't suspect her to do any wrong. That time was no exception, in terms of motivation. I went to try again with much better results. The dummy was now a popsicle.

Fleana clapped merrily. "There you go! Try again!"

So I did it three times, which was more effort than I did in three months, and made the dummies into miniature snowmen while my friends cheered happily, but the moment was short lived. On my next try, nothing happened. I tried several times but no luck. I shooked my head at my friends.

Kat came up to me and patted me on the back. "It's okay. It'll show up again. It's better to try than to not to try at all."

That's Katrina for ya. Always sensible, always responsible, but at least she always have a sweet spot to show.

"I know, I know," I said. "I just wish it would show up before school."

"When it happens, it happens." Marion reasoned. "You can't rush these things."

If you ever needed a level head then Marion's your man. He always seems to be on top of things.

Fleana looked at her watch and her eyes widened. "It's late! I have to get home or mom will be mad!"

So she jumped in the air and flew straight to our apartment.

"It is getting late. We should get going," Kat said and then muttered. "Mom would be checking for supplies.

And we marched on home, prepared to face the challenges of packing for school.

When I walked through the doors of my apartment room, my dad looked up from his paper and asked. "Where have you been?"

I told him. "With my friends at the junkyard."

"Getting in some training before school, huh? Good thinking you might wanna bulk up. Standards are higher since I went there."

Oh, perfect that'd made me feel much better. Don't get my dad wrong. I had lied earlier about my abilities development days ago. I was hoping they'd show up at any day so that it wouldn't be a lie. Obviously, that wasn't the case.

The phone rang and dad picked it up. "Hello…yes…oh, okay."

And he hung up. "That was Dr. Norman. He wants to do one more check up tomorrow morning. You okay going by yourself?"

"Sure." I said.

Dr. Norman was the family doctor for my friends and me since we were born in Solarana Labs as the first ever asexual test tube babies. Weird story. So I had no suspicion going there the next morning. A fatal error.

My older brother, Nathan came from the hallway to give me my backpack, which weighed a ton.

He said. "Everything's accounted for."

"Thanks bro." I grunted.

He was going a T.A at my new school for college credit and well…let's just say he's a bit of an overachiever. Not that I didn't appreciate his help. I don't mind it if he happens to do something for me now and then, but it's tough to live in the shadow of an older sibling.

After dinner I slumped in my bed just hoping things would get better. Spoiler alert: it doesn't.


Chapter 2
Fleana:
I was grounded. The crime: Taking my mother's tablet and lying to her. The punishment: Over three months doing various chores like washing dishes. Before you go labeling me as a criminal, I should explain that the only reason I ever took the tablet in the first place was because I didn't know what I was. Embarrassing, right? Try having to go to school and explaining that or better yet tell my mother. I guess I deserved it because I not only did those things I also helped torched Dr. Norman's lab and basically freaked out the neighbors with my amazing ability to turn into supergirl. Despite my mom's sweet exterior, she was pretty strict about some things and is always consistent (Thanks for being such a good parent, mom.). She's tougher than she looks, sort of like me. Maybe it's a family thing. It wasn't all bad. I did eventually found the answers I was looking for…although I could have done without all the commotion that went on but hey then you wouldn't have had a great story to read. And mom was fair she wasn't unreasonable. It only lasted those four days. However, my troubles with my family had only begun at that point. Later, I realized that punishment was just a speck compared with what I went through.

Anyway, as I did the dishes, my sister, Susan, was checking through my bag to see if I had everything. She was going to be the T.A at my new school and well…if there were ever roles that went on at home, she would star as the overachieving, older sister that the parents would like and I would star as the slightly achieving younger sister that the parents admire for her upbeat attitude but not as impressive educationally and logically as she is artistically. We're talking north-south people or was it northeast-southwest? I don't know. I got a C in geography. But I appreciated that she was helping me. Maybe having her around eased the pain of being new at school. Mom talked on the phone, supposedly to Dr. Norman.

"Alright." She said finally and then called me. "Fleana, Dr. Norman wants to do one final check up tomorrow morning. Can you go to his office tomorrow?"

"Sure, mom." I said.

How foolish I was. Almost as foolish as me thinking I'd be good at writing. Well that was a bit dramatic but, I would find out that morning. Just after dinner, I had off to bed unaware of how my troubles would begin.

The next morning, my friends and I stood outside of Solarana, site of which my friends and yours truly was born. Trust me when I say it's a long story and really do you want me to give you the exact details of how we were born? I thought not.

The building looked like it was doing some repairs, which is odd because we didn't wreck it that badly. Frankly, I don't remember it ever being damaged on the outside.

"What do you think they're doing?" Prince asked.

"Looks like they're repairing something." Kat said not really convinced of her assessment. "We didn't damage it that badly, right?"

"No." Marion said flatly. "But then again we panicked big time. We don't know what really happened. We could have really done a number to it. Every time we been here, it's been an emotional event."

And the emotions wouldn't be stopping at that point.

"Let's just go." I said quickly, rubbing my arms. "I don't wait long if we're going to get another shot."

So we walked in. We asked the clerk for Dr. Norman and she led us back to the Genetic Restructure Room.

In those few gut wrenching minutes, my anxiety and as far as I could tell my friends' anxiety only grew with each passing second. The last time we been there, there was the possibility that something could've been wrong with our genes. And since we're BioticAbiotics…I don't know. Maybe we thought it was worse than cancer or something, and all of this was because of the way we were born so you could see how we had every right to be nervous about being there.

Our anxiety only grew when the door opened. And it skyrocketed because it wasn't Dr. Norman that entered…It was our grandparents.

Chapter 3
Katrina:
I was going through a growth spurt. I would've thought when I hit five-seven I would finally stopped growing, but when you're a BioticAbiotic your body goes through…other changes. My lightning (In case you were wondering, I'm a storm cloud.) was bigger, brighter, and definitely stronger than it was a few months ago. And no matter what I did, I couldn't hide it. In that moment, I kind of had gotten over it quickly. I was used to growing faster than most of my friends and I knew they would catch up…eventually.

Mom was checking off all of my supplies. She was always fussy about me having all my things. In her defense, I did tend forget them sometimes.

"Pencils?" Mom asked.

"Yep." I replied.

"Pens?"

"Yep."

"Paper?"

"Yep."

"D-cell batteries?"

"Yep."

Prince and Fleana should count themselves lucky that they have siblings that at least take their lives in consideration. My sibling, Caroline, was on the phone chatting with Matthew about how they'll be T.Aing together at our new school. Don't get me wrong. Caroline and I are close, and she does care for me when I need her. Shoot, she even changed my diapers when I was young. I didn't say that, right? Anyway, I just wished that she spent a little time being my big sister. Of course, I was actually bigger than her. Looking back on this, it seemed a little childish.

The phone rang and mom snatched it up. I wonder if she were afraid Fleana, the boys, and me made some plans to do some "other delinquent" thing as she told me right after the lab incident. But no, it was Dr. Norman, which actually was another delinquent thing this time orchestrated by someone other than us.

"Honey," Mom said with those fateful words. "that was Dr. Norman. He asked to do one final check up on you. I won't be able to take you myself, but likely your friends would be with you. Do you feel comfortable going by yourself?"

Now what I was thinking in that moment was "Oh, no something really is wrong with our genes". Sadly, I wished it was something like that.

I looked at Caroline in the other room and finally said. "Sure, mom I'll be fine."

I wish I could jump into that scene and say, "No you won't! Don't go there it's a trap!" but that didn't happen of course.

Certainly, not how I pictured meeting my grandfather for the first time. He looked like me except for the eyes which I inherited from my grandmother. I'd rather meet that grandparent even if she was dead.

"And there's my baby girl." He said walking toward me.

I backed up abruptly. "Mom said to stay away from you."

"It's all right, dear." He said, trying to calm me down. "Dr. Norman isn't here today so we'll be doing the checkup. Besides, it will give us a chance to bond with our grandchildren."

"I'm not sure about the bonding stuff," Prince said. "but why do we need a checkup?"

"To see if you're healthy enough for school, son." His grandfather told him. "You do have faulty abilities, right?"

Prince held his head low. And that's when the anxiety was flushed away. You see we may not be related but we're so close that we might as well be. And nobody picks on my family not even my family.

"That's low!" Fleana defended. "Where do you get off?"

"It is the truth, dear." Her grandmother told her.

"It doesn't matter. Nobody kicks our friend around but us." Marion said which earned him a nasty glare from Spikes. But hey, it was true. "You know what I mean."

"It won't take a minute." His grandfather said. "Come this way."

What made us follow them was an X-files case, but we did anyway. Worst mistake…well, we're still living so we'll just say at this point.

They led us to a room, downstairs, which we've never been to before. Nothing ominous there. Inside were four chairs sitting across each other in an X with a glowing rock in the middle and a giant machine hanging from the ceiling. Our grandparents then strapped us to each chair. Again I don't know why we let them do that. Are we that clueless? Don't answer that. Any person that didn't know what they were is definitely clueless. In fact, it was clueless to ask you that.

"This doesn't look like a checkup." Fleana said nervously. My thoughts exactly.

"Oh, it is. Now hold still." My grandfather kindly said as if we were little nervous kids getting their first checkup.

He hit a switch and a beam from a machine above struck the rock and then four separate beams struck us. We screamed as pain exploded from inside our bodies. Well, at least that's how I felt. In description, it felt like someone was ripping my insides out forcing the abiotic part to the surface. Kids if you have evil grandparents and they tell you to get in a machine that you don't know what it does just say no.

The pain was immense. I remembered letting out one last big scream as energy expanded inside of me and then everything went black. Hindsight, I realized that I caused the blackout with my electricity. Thank you puberty.

The restraints were released from our limbs and we fell to the ground. That machine left us extremely weak but, ironically, made us stronger for later. Let's just say that the thing that hit us had some twisted side effects.

Despite being left very weak, we managed to limp out from underneath our grandparents' noses with grandpa calling my name.


Chapter 4
Marion:
Well, unlike my friends, I already made sure I was packed for school. You see in my house, dad had drilled into our heads that we were responsible for our own stuff and if we didn't do what we were supposed to we suffer the consequences. I'm sure my friends' parents do the same thing, but we did things a little differently in our apartment room.

I went up to my dad and told him. "Hey dad, I have everything."

My dad was at least kind enough to inform me the day earlier that I'd better have everything packed and I made sure to tell him that I did. You know just to show him I was responsible. In case you haven't heard already, my pals and I aren't good on first impressions and we were hoping to change that with the fresh start of our new school. I prayed that they'd forgive me for starting early.

"Good." Dad said. "And by the way, Dr. Norman called. He wants to do a final checkup tomorrow. Make sure you go there in the morning."

"Yes sir." I said.

As I was heading to my room, I heard my brother Matthew tell his girlfriend how fun they were going to have T.Aing (Which is not a word. I confirmed it.) at our new school. Actually, I knew how Kat felt about not having a sibling available most of the time. I knew dad stressed self-reliance but still, I couldn't help but wish that he would help. Just to be nice like an older sibling should be. But hey, beggars can't be choosers.

After the painful event we went through in which it felt like our grandparents ran us over with a truck, we limped painfully home. The process did not spare us looks from other people, but we hardly cared. These people had seen us fly, burn things, electrocute things, and even freeze an elephant (Long story) this was pretty normal coming from us. At least up to this point in our lives we thought it was.

When we burst through the door of Fleana's apartment room which was the closest door we laid our hands on, she yelled like a scared little kid. "Mommy!" Embarrassing? Yeah, but who wouldn't cry for their mommy? And it's not the most embarrassing thing that could be done just wait til we get to the part about the school.

Her mother Cloud (Which shows how her mother lacked creativity and how ignorant we are) and her sister Susan came in from the kitchen, looked at us, and screamed causing the rest of our families to rush in to see the damage.

"What happened?" Storm, Katrina's mother, asked.

So we told him. This is unrelated but when it's so painful to even talk, you know your grandparents did a number on you. Just a fun fact.

Prince's dad, Aurora looked frustrated. I've never seen him mad. As far as I knew, neither did Spikes.

"I'm gonna kill 'em." Aurora said steel in his voice.

"Kill them later." Susan interjected. "These guys need a doctor."

Cloud looked at my dad and said, "Call our bosses. We're taking a sick day."

Dad left to get his tablet to make the calls (Phones are so last year) while my brother left Caroline's side and went to mine.

As I was blacking out, he told me. "No, no don't this to me."

You know what he's a pretty good brother after all.

I woke up on the couch with a blanket covering me. My friends were on the other couches. If I weren't hurting so darn much, I would ask why they didn't put us in our own bed. Of course, I didn't hold that question long as Dr. Norman walked in through the door. We were lucky he made house calls.

You would think after the event we would be terrified of doctors or anything to do with hospitals or worse labs, but for some reason, and I'm just guessing my friends felt the same, we felt relieved.

I heard Dr. Norman ask Storm. "How are they doing?"

Storm responded. "Quite fine but they look so ill. Can you look at them?"

Dr. Norman held up his bag. "That's what I'm here for. Now let's have a look."

Contrary to how we felt, we didn't act like little kids as he examined us. Hey, I guess we finally did had that checkup, though I would've wanted them to be in more…favorable conditions.

"Well, there appears to be nothing wrong with them. Nothing missing." He said as Fleana yelped a little. "There just appears to be a little weakness. We'll just give them a night's rest and check again tomorrow. Once again, I'm really sorry about all of this. I had no idea that they would do this. To their own grandchildren no less."

"It doesn't surprise me." Cloud said. "We were lucky to have taken them when they were born than to let them stay a minute longer. Who knows what they could have done."

Good to know seventeen years (Thirteen our years) later.

"Still, I can't believe grandpa would do something like that." Caroline said. You know it had to feel weird saying that's her grandfather considering she was adopted and all.

"Well, he's not exactly a good man dear." Storm said.

"Well, you'd be happy to know that we have alerted the authorities," Dr. Norman said, beginning to pack his things. "We had their assets frozen so they won't be testing anyone with our resources."

"But they're still out there." Susan pointed out.

Normally, I wouldn't want to be a negative Nelly but Susan had a point. And I hate to say it but things were about to get worse for us. What our grandparents did to us was actually the most helpful thing they had ever done for us. Says a lot, huh?

But continuing on, Dr. Norman said. "Yes, but not for long. Illegal experimentation on a person is not taken lightly. Good evening, I'll see you in the morning."

And then he left.

"Well, I don't think our children are in any condition to be moved," Storm observed. "Flare (Who is my dad, winner of the most creative name. Hey got to brag about something), do you mind if we were to spend the night?"

"Sure, blankets and pillows are in the closet," Dad said. "err…Matthew keep your distance from Caroline."

Boy if were healthy enough to laugh, I would've fallen on the floor and cracked a few ribs. So basically no matter what I did I would've gotten hurt. Oh, irony you're so funny.

As our families started setting up air mattresses, I drifted into sleep.





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