“Alecia you’re back,” Keanan shouted as he entered the house.
Alecia for her part had taken over the entire living room again, going so far as to put down sheeting on the floors to protect the carpet. She appeared to have constructed a 3d printer out of the microwave and bits of the washing machine. It was printing gold and platinum microcircuitry, which Alecia was then modifying by hand.
“Yup got back yesterday, but I had to deal with some stuff.” She replied not looking up.
“What are you making?”
“Magnetic field generator, trying to manipulate heat exchange.”
“I don’t think physics work like that.”
“Not yet they don’t, by the time I’m done they will. How’s school?”
“Kind of boring, you taught me everything I need for most of my classes.”
“I’m being bumped up to eleventh grade when the new year starts.”
“Good for you. I’m proud of you.”
“Don’t be. Mom. I’m just using preprogrammed information; it’s more your achievement than mine.”
“Soo, any cute girls?” Alecia said changing the subject.
“Right, uh. I’m going to be honest I have no idea what else to talk about.”
“You suck at this.” He chided.
“Gaslight said I just suck, in general, so I guess that’s a step up.”
“You’ve seen her? How’s is she?
“Yeah, I told you I had some stuff to deal with,” Alecia confirmed. “Her powers are getting worse, but I doped her up with enough happy pills to keep her stable for the time being. I’m setting up a more permanent solution, but it’s going to take a while.”
“How do happy pills help?”
Alecia put down her tools and looked up at Keanan. “Did she ever tell you how she got her powers?”
“No, she never talked about it.” With an afterthought, he added “or anything before getting them.”
“Right, what are the four sources of powers?”
“External phenomenon, external magic, an internal event, and innate.”
“Good, I’m innate born this way. You would be innate as well, but the argument can be made for a combination of both external causes, in this case, me. Cinder and Jessica were external phenomenons, mom was innate like me, dad was magically empowered.” She paused, “Gaslight was something different.”
“Yeah, they aren’t powers she was born with she wasn’t given them, and she didn’t take them. Something happened, and she had them afterward, I have my theories about why she got them but nothing I can verify. I can, however, track and predict them to an extent.”
“What happened to her?”
“She didn’t die.”
“Her powers saved her? That sounds rather common, a lot of people get their powers when they’re about to die.”
“No, she got them after she failed to die. Most of those people are innate any, stress can trigger an awakening. Her powers are attached to her mind in a lot of ways, the closer it is to how she was when she got them the faster they could grow.”
“What do you mean failed to die?”
“Not important, at the same time her powers push her from the other direction. Putting her in the same mental state as when she got them, it works kind of like exercise. She hurts herself and comes out stronger. The problem was Jack, she pushed herself too far and broke something. Now she’s trying to put her mind back together with duct tape, as her powers aren’t helping as they keep getting stronger.”
“Wow, am I botching this. Look she has issues, the worse they are, the more her powers grow, the stronger her powers, the worse her issues. I gave her drugs to make her happy, it should slow things down until I can arrange it for one of her core issues to be a non-issue.”
“So you can make her better?”
“God no, but I might be able to help.”
“And then she’ll come back?”
“She’s not coming back, a bit of surgery won’t fix all of her problems. It certainly didn’t fix all of mine.”
“Is that why your skin is all funny?” Keanan asked.
“Yeah, drugs wore off again didn’t they? Although to be fair this wasn’t surgery, but a rebuilding and I forgot some important bits.”
“Then why did you do it?”
“Huh, this goes back to that conversation we had about if I’m evil or not. I spouted some crap about being compelled. I was exploring options; a normal person might do a SWOT analysis. I loaded up on painkillers and jumped into a vat of semi-intelligent slime. It ate me.”
“Did it create more options?”
“Yes, but I cocked those up a bit. Don’t worry I have a new plan, the people who have seen it only cursed me out a couple of times.”
Keanan’s response was cut off by Sophia Marsh arriving home. She was wearing a snow white lab coat over her semi-formal business attire. It wasn’t an actual lab coat, of course, her lab coats never left the lab but was instead something more of a uniform.
“Hi Mom,” The two said in unison. “I thought giving up on heroing was supposed to decrease your workload?” Alecia asked.
She was referring to her mother’s disheveled appearance, indicating that she probably hadn’t been back home in a couple of days. “Trying to find a way to stabilize Gaslight’s powers, I don’t want to say we should just drug her up but it’s one of the only options we have legally, and now your dad is saying to drop it. Which means he has a solution I’m not going to like.” Sophia stopped talking as if she suddenly noticed Keanan was in the room as well. “Are you building a freeze ray?”
Alecia who had decided to help with the sudden change of topic played along, dramatically. “Please, if I wanted a freeze ray I would just use the toaster. This beauty will be powerful enough for a hero to base their whole career on.”
“Villains have based careers on freeze rays before, what’s so special about this thing?”
“Don’t think ray, thing adjustable fields with a neural link. Also solid nitrogen, I’m going to field test it after Adrian and Justin head to Europe.” Keanan quietly left as Alecia and their Mom spoke about rapidly cooled magnetic fields.