“Adam… Hey, Adam!”
Brandon’s voice echoed inside Adam’s head. He had told Brandon on countless occasions to only wake him up if there was an emergency.
Adam opened his eyes, ready to grab hold of Brandon’s throat.
“Dude! You’re awake! What the hell happened to you!?”
“Huh?” Adam’s hand lowered, falling onto his chest. It was then he noticed the state of his clothing and how torn apart it was.
Then it all came rushing back to him. He jolted upward, almost smashing his head against Brandon’s.
“Shit! What did happen!? I’m alive!? I’m back in my house!?”
Brandon took a few steps back, uncomfortable with the unusual amount of energy his friend was displaying.
“You went somewhere?”
Adam was breathing heavily, trying to gather his thoughts. Brandon approached him, making sure he was all right.
“I… Yeah. A lot happened. I need to tell you guys about it. But, uh… What are you doing here?”
“We’ve been trying to find you since last night! Did you get caught up in all the shit that happened in town?”
“Huh?” Adam moved to the edge of the bed. “I… no. I was kidnapped, and—”
“Kidnapped!? Huh!?” Brandon let out a massive sigh. “Well, come out into the living room. Jerry’s out there. Before we discuss everything… there’s something more important we have to deal with.”
“A-All right…” Adam stood up, following Brandon out into the hallway.
“Something happened here? Did Muraco come back after I got dragged into the portal?”
As the two entered the living room, Adam noticed Jerry sitting in what had become his chair. Although this time, he was not on his laptop. He had his focus on something else. Adam looked over to the couch, his eyes widening.
“Charlotte!? Are you okay!?” Adam rushed over to her, realizing that his body ached from the sudden movement. Charlotte was sweating and breathing heavily. She looked up at Adam, returning his concern.
“Adam… Thank goodness. You’re okay. I was worried that those guys got to you while we were off fighting in the forest.”
“What!? Those Derek and Chris guys? Did they come back? Is that why you’re in that state right now?”
“Not them…” Charlotte coughed a few times before continuing. “Although, the person who I fought seemed to be working with them. He’s the reason why I’m weakened… I used up a lot of power.”
“Something… entirely different happened to me last night.” Adam sat down next to the couch.
“Yeah, he said you were kidnapped!?” Brandon turned from Adam to Jerry. “What the hell? Both sides seem serious. But first… what do we do about Charlotte?”
Jerry was silent, clearly deep in thought. Brandon looked at the couch, concern all across his face.
“She needs some rest, that’s all,” Adam reassured him. However, Brandon shook his head.
“No dude… It’s more complicated than that.”
Before Adam could respond, Charlotte let out a small yelp. Adam quickly turned his attention to her, noticing that for a moment, she had become entirely invisible.
“It’s… tough to remain in the world of the living.” Charlotte paused for a moment to steady her breathing. “Even with my blood, it’s turning out to be too difficult. I think…”
Adam knew what Charlotte was about to say, yet could not prepare himself for it.
“...I think I might disappear…”
“No!” Adam quickly grabbed her hand, surprising her. “Everything is just beginning! We’re gonna figure out the secrets behind your lost memories! Behind the World Mirror! We’re gonna stop whatever bad nonsense happens in the future!”
“Yeah… I know. That’s what I want to do, obviously, but I’m not sure if—”
Brandon suddenly shouted, tipping and falling onto the floor.
“Uh, Adam? What are you doing!?”
“Huh?” Adam had no idea what Brandon was talking about. The frightened boy slowly pointed at the ceiling. A mass of blue energy had emitted itself from Adam, floating high above his head.
Before anyone in the room could respond, the strange aura descended, and merged with Charlotte. Adam tried to swat it away, but it had already done its job. Charlotte gasped loudly as if she was impaled by a sword.
“Dammit! Dammit! What’s happening!? Why is so much random shit happening!?”
Charlotte raised a finger in Adam’s face, silencing him. She had a dazed look on her face, yet had seemed to calm down from her previous symptoms.
“That… wasn’t your power, was it? Someone gave that to you, right? What happened to you last night?”
Adam paused, glancing at Brandon and Jerry. The three sighed simultaneously, expressing relief for Charlotte, yet annoyance at everything happening. Jerry pulled out his laptop, seemingly out of nowhere.
“Yeah, let’s catch each other up, please.”
“Al!? Is that really you!? You’re actually home!?”
An irritating voice awoke Alexander from his slumber. He was facing a ceiling that seemed somewhat familiar to him. Before he could move to investigate, a face had blocked his vision.
“Al, are you okay!? Your clothes are a mess! What kind of stuff has Rizzo been making you do now?”
“Laura, get out of my face.” Alexander pushed his younger sister off of him. She immediately retaliated, going back to where she just was. This time, her long, curly hair that matched Alexander’s filled his face.
“No, after you tell me what happened! You never come home, and I find you collapsed on the couch this early in the morning with clothes all torn up?”
“Don’t ya have something else to do? You need to get ready for college, yeah? I know it’s all a cinch for ya, but ya gotta at least pretend to show some effort.”
“Hmph! I’ve been doing college work for a few years now. Actually starting isn’t gonna be that much different. Why can’t you tell me what happened?”
“Cause, it doesn’t concern you.” Alexander sat up as Laura moved onto the cushion next to him.
“You… You don’t have to keep protecting me, you know.” Laura paused for a moment. “I’m an adult now, so you don’t have to—”
“Ya know this is more serious than that. This is the deal he and I had with each other. I keep investigating the disturbances the Nexus Network is causing to form using my Psycho Matter, clearing any spirits that are around here in the Blue World. Ya stay alive, capable of doing all your research, just like good ol’ mommy and daddy did.”
“It still doesn’t make any sense… Simply clearing the spirits won’t help fix the issue the network’s causing. Why isn’t he…” Laura clenched her hands. “Why isn’t he using you for something else?”
“Yeah, it’s all pointless for me,” Alexander smirked. “He’s just trying to get some kind of bullshit information out of it. I go to report all the calculations I took, yet nothing changes. Obviously, it’s to try to hold me back from getting stronger.” Alexander stood up, starting to chuckle.
“He’s scared of what I am! And you’re too vital toward Phantonic research for him to off you! I could just charge into his office and end all of this right now!” He paused, slowly pointing toward Laura.
“Yet… that’s not how it works. I might have great power, but as things are at the moment, Rizzo has absolute power. That’s what I need… Absolute power. I can’t risk the chance that he’ll still come after you if I make a move.”
“I… I’ll get stronger! I’ll—”
“Ya just keep doing your research, ya smart ass. I’ll work on what I need to do. Once I understand how my Psycho Matter truly operates, Rizzo is dead. All the Brown Suits are dead. Anyone who fucks with my sister and me is dead.”
Alexander started walking away, entering a hallway to the left of the couch. Laura sprang up, clearly pissed off.
“And where do you think you’re going!?”
“Gonna shower. I smell like shit.”
As she watched her brother enter the shadows, Laura flopped back down on the couch.
“Why do you have to deal with all of this on your own…?”
Alexander slammed the bathroom door behind him, leaning against the door.
“I wonder if that kid survived… He was looking to be a great source of info. Yet… What happened at the end there…” Alexander gritted his teeth.
“It might be a reach, but… If it’s how I think it is… Rizzo might not be the only one with absolute power right now.”
Adam was walking toward Prelude’s police station at a quick pace. Brandon followed close behind, as well as Jerry, who was struggling to keep up. Adam took out his phone and look at a message he had just received.
“Faith and Winona are okay. They’ll probably be coming home later tonight, actually. They just need to go through some questioning about what went down.”
“Well, that’s a relief.” Brandon glanced over his shoulder to see Jerry, who had his phone out as well. “Did you find anything?”
“There’s nothing on the news about what happened here at all,” Jerry responded. “The main headline is the weird light that appeared above Nexus City last night. And they’ve already concluded that it was some kind of… joint test? By the Requien Military and Unity? Haven’t heard that one before.”
“Did I really use that much power as to where it was seen in the real world?” Adam seemed somewhat fidgety. I noticed that my power ripped right through the Blue World… and then everything went dark.”
“This ‘Blue World’ you mentioned…” Jerry put his hand on his chin. “I’ve honestly never heard the phrase before. And that Alexander Strauss guy… I’m not sure who that is. Although the last name is familiar…” Jerry shuddered for some reason.
“Well, I was in some kind of bizarro world, that’s for sure. And the guy had some kind of powerful Ability… He grabbed me right through this portal that formed and dragged me right in.”
“After a mutant white rabbit kidnapped you?” Brandon did a quick chuckle. “Honestly… stuff is starting to seem more and more believable. We always knew weird things like Abilities existed, but after seeing all that sort of stuff up close for almost a month now? It changes ya.”
“It has been crazy…” Adam sighed. “We gotta be careful. I’m not sure what that weird bunny’s gonna do next. He was keen on throwing me into that Blue World, so maybe he thinks that seeing me go in means his job is done?”
“Are you sure leaving Charlotte alone is a good idea?” Jerry looked back toward the other side of town. “What if something happens? The stuff about him against the Ouderkirk family does raise some questions for me.”
“Charlotte wanted to make sure she got some rest. Before I could say anything, she passed right out. Guess that weird power’s gotta sink in.”
“Right…” Jerry put his phone in his pocket. “You two keep heading to the police station. I’m gonna go check on how my home computer’s doing at processing something. Be careful though, I’m sure Unity’s swarming the place right now.”
“All right. And don’t worry, right now we’re just some innocent kids.” Adam reassured Jerry.
“Innocent? I’m not sure about that one.” Jerry laughed, waving at the two before walking off to his house nearby.
Adam and Brandon continued to their destination, which was only another minute away. Jerry’s hunch was correct. Several SUVs with the infamous blue “U” on the side were parked in front of the station.
As the two approached the front door, they encountered two male guards standing outside. They wore brown from head to toe; brown suit, brown pants, and brown shoes. However, they wore a light blue tie that had Unity’s symbol on it in black, along with strange brown cyberpunk-styled goggles with blue lenses.
“Brown Suits? Shit, they’re actually seriously investigating this…”
“What business do you have here?” The guard on the left asked with a stern voice.
Brandon stepped back slowly, clearly nervous. “Oh, uh! N-Nothing! We were just passing through is all—”
“We’re here to see Pamela Roswell,” Adam responded to the guard with no hesitation.
“She is currently in a meeting with Mr. Rizzo. No outsiders are allowed into the police station until the meeting, as well as the events that transpired last night, are investigated thoroughly.”
“Rizzo’s here!?” Adam started to get angry.
Brandon grabbed Adam’s shoulder. “See? She’s in a meeting right now! We can talk to her after—”
“Do you even know how your leader acts? The things he does?” Adam asked the two Brown Suits bluntly. “Working so close to him… You have to know, right?”
“Young man, we’re going to have to ask you to leave the premises at once.” The guard on the right spoke up, as both began to raise their guard.
Brandon, in the meantime, started swatting Adam’s shoulder repeatedly. “Dude, come on! Let’s not start something!”
“Brandon. If he’s in there with her, I can’t just sit back and wait.”
“What the hell are you talking about? They just said it’s a meeting—”
“You’re naive, Brandon!”
Brandon stood in shock at his friend’s words. Adam turned and glared back at him, yet his eyes were different. It looked as though Adam was about to break down and cry.
“Young man, if you have some sort of hatred toward our leader, then you are allowed to put in a complaint at our office in Nexus City. However, with direct threats, we will show no mercy. Leave now.”
Adam felt the World Mirror rising to the surface. He knew that he should not use it, as everything would fall apart the moment he did. Yet, the burning fury within him told him to just do it.
Before Adam came to a decision, the front doors of the police station opened up. A tall, giant man came out, his jet black hair almost rubbing against the head jamb. His empty green eyes glared down right into Adam’s.
“What seems to be the problem here?” The man scratched at his face, which was covered in scars. They extended downward, and one could assume that there were more hidden underneath his black coat.
“Sir, this boy here, he—”
“Your eyes are gray…” The man bent down, getting close to Adam’s face. Adam could not help but freeze.
“No… They’re a certain kind of gray. Yes, they match her eyes… You’re Adam Grayson, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, that’s me,” Adam responded, taking care not to get too riled up.
“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Elliot Rizzo, Leader of Unity.” Rizzo extended his hand out. Adam hesitated, yet decided to shake his hand in return.
“It’s thanks to your mother’s efforts that we’re here today. Great ruin could have fallen upon this country, yet she made the noble sacrifice to save all of us.” Rizzo gave a creepy grin. “She was easily one of the greatest fighters Unity ever had, without a doubt.”
“So I’ve heard.”
Rizzo smirked. “That’s right. You were just a baby when it happened. I apologize that you never got to know her. Truly, she was magnificent. Many people, including myself, thought that she had something in her blood that made her so powerful.”
Before Adam could say anything, Pam walked up behind Rizzo, as well as Thomas.
“Jerry’s dad? What are you doing here?” Brandon seemed surprised at his appearance.
“They needed my help with some data that was collected last night. You do know I just recently became a doctor on the side, right? Phantonic technology is what I’m really good at.”
“Damn! How is the Peck family so damn smart!?”
Rizzo chuckled. “You make a good point, young man. Perfect timing, as it relates to what I was just discussing.” He walked past Adam and Brandon, raising his hands up to the sky.
“This world is filled with so much mystery. Not just regarding phantons and their counterpart, chaons. The world goes so much deeper than that. For example, let’s take Adam’s mother and Thomas here.” He pointed at the group.
“How can one hold such great skill in combat? How can one possess such limitless knowledge? I feel like it’s something that goes beyond what the phanton can do! Thomas’ son is pretty gifted as well, correct? I think it could be something within our genetics… Within our own flesh and blood.”
“Where are you going with this?” Adam asked, gritting his teeth at how much enthusiasm Rizzo was showing.
Rizzo nodded at Adam and turned to Pam.
“Pamela. Mind if I test how this boy is in a fight?”