“Right” I said grimly crossing my arms in front of my face and lowering my center of balance.
Against me, behind the protective glass on the other side of the shooting range, the side the shots would be coming from, was Glassmetal, his hand lightly touching a hulking squarish gun, pointed straight at me, thrumming and shining with power.
“It is going to be a sequence of shots, try to hold on.”
I nodded, and the thrumming amped in strength, the weapon the lines that crisscrossed the entire gun glowing brightly.
And then, with a sound of air being savagely moved away, there was an impact into my closed arms.
The physical impact sends me flying back my bones broken behind all my armor I felt a spike of adrenaline pump through my body.
My body sped through the air, making a straight line to the wall, the heavy impact rattling my insides, the wall cracking around I hit in a loud crash. My arms fell besides me, rendered useless.
A chunk of deformed metal cracked the floor falling in front of me, my body hurt all over,mainly my back and arms but then the mutations started.
The pain went away as I grew all around, my armor thickening, the shock absorption under my skin developing different layers to better disperse the kinetic energy
And just in time as heard it again, the loud whump of air, the metal hitting my center of mass again.
I was once more driven in the wall, shattering it with my mass hammering into the ceramic, it was very thick, the piece of iron or whatever it was smoked and sizzled turning into slag on top of my belly as I slumped over myself, the hole on the wall dropping debris on top of me.
I somehow heard a light whizzing sound, and I knew it was the weapon readjusting its aim.
I felt my power going into overdrive, feeling a kind of pull this time, I was scrapping the bottom of the barrel. My skin expanded again; I became more like a blob of defensive layers than a person.
I felt another impact, the layers of defense curving inwards as the bullet lose more and more force, finally stopping almost touching my ‘real’ body inside the mass of hide and gel-like fat.
It happened two more times, each time the structure conforming better to the state it settled ins becoming a better cocoon for my body.
I was attached to the whole mass, but there wasn’t any need to create nerves or anything on it so I just instinctively felt it through my power.
It was definitely weird, but I also felt secure and protected, the shots stopped, and I felt the strain like never before, this size of the transformation seemed to completely push what the power was capable of.
It snapped back, violently this time.
I felt my body reverting back in an astonishing rate, The exhaustion hitting me like another series of attacks as the transformation went away in huge billowing cloud of steam and liquid gushing on the ground.
By the time it was finished, I splayed on the ground, unconscious.
I opened my eyes, a black marble ceiling on top of me, my thoughts hazy and slow didn’t coalesce for a while, I was seeing without really thinking.
Slowly, I started to chain thoughts together, forming a narrative of what was happening, I put a hand to my head.
“OH, so you woke up after all, thought you might’ve died on us” Spotlight voice spoke first not ashamed to just talk whatever in any situation.
“I wouldn’t put it past him” Spyglass also said, surprising me that she even was in the room.
“I feel like shit” I told them bluntly. It seemed that I ended up finding out the limits of my powers, and what happened if they were pushed too much, feeling inside of me I felt my core resting, like it was sleeping more deeply than usual.
“Are you okay? I didn’t realize it would be so destructive man, and I just hit you with everything we got, I shouldn't have assumed you were indestructible or something.” Glassmetal let out quiclly looking ashamed and guilty.
“It's fine Glassmetal, it pushed my limits the way we wanted it to” I reassure him but a thought occring to me. "Besides that, why the hell are you so shy if you can dish out this amount of abuse.”
He brushed it off as he always did with praises and attention, physically shaking his hand as if brushing something aside. “No, it's just situational.”
“So, you’ve found the limits of your powers?” LED asked looking intently at me.
I nodded, my head still pulsing a bit. After holding on the transformation too much, and or, it being too extensive, the change seems to drain out of me whatever it uses, they probably are separate phenomenons tough.”
I massaged my temples, not feeling comfortable telling them about the dormant core, it was probably my biggest vulnerability. Not that if I got to that state during battle I’d fare much better without people knowing.
“The power has a limit on the extend if can transform, and it has a limit of how much time it can stay up, inconclusive if they influence each other. What I know is the consequence of straining the duration of mutation too much, when it forcibly retracts it seems to be incapable of doing it perfectly like it does normally, I feel tired and hung over, probably dehydrated, it could be that I lost a few kilos as well.” I mused looking down at my bare chest.
“The extend of protection it gives you is astounding in any way” Victor commented “and it probably only got so tired because of the multiple different ways it had to adapt”
“So normally you don’t feel as tired because it conserves energy?” Glassmetal asked
“I think so, probably more that it can use the energy it uses to transform to safely revert the transformation of just reclaiming it, and if it's too strained it can't reclaim and it gets lost.” I told them saying aloud my conclusions.
“Hmm very interesting” Victor said, the others nodding along
“Sorry I couldn’t heal you mate, I told you it's safer to keep it for emergencies.” Payback said, reminding me of when I asked him to use his powers in me earlier the same week.
“it's okay Payback I knew the risk I was taking.”
“Is that all?” LED asked me, looking at me with his impassive face, the only hint of his suspiciousness a miniscule closing of his eyes.
I thought about it, these people are supposed to be my allies, right? My friends even. I remembered myself again that trust first has to be given, if I was attacked in a confrontation after having my powers forcible disactivated I would be done for; wouldn’t it be better to have the chance of one of my allies protecting me.
I nodded. Confirming my thoughts by telling them. “Yes, actually. There’s more”
Spotlight chuckled the phrase the same as the first time I told them about my powers in more detail.
“It's seems to be dormant, the core I told you all I feel.” I started saying, putting a hand on my head to emphasis.
“What does it mean tough?” Payback asked.
“Yea, don’t you say its ‘awakening’ all the time?” Spotlight also asked.
“It feels different this time, like it wouldn’t mutate me.” I told them, feeling the dormant sphere, the lights and lines of its matrix stopped and cold.
“Spotlight use your powers on him, we can at least partially confirm things” LED gave the idea.
That was true, if not even the part that dealt with powers that was more passive activated, the active mutation would be a faraway dream.
Spotlight only nodded and his eyes glowed a yellow that overtook the entire eyeball, I turned to the rest of the team, musing about when we were going to be friends, when I would do missions with them. Slowly I felt my power slight shudder, and I realized the manipulation, shoving it aside, I looked at Spotlight feeling that my redirection was way weaker and less sure than the first time I had done it, he stopped, the pressure ceasing.
“It activated but way weaker, like it still tries to do the same but is, well, without any energy.” I shared with everyone what happened.
“If it still activated it'll recuperate” Payback said animatedly.
“True” LED said in his grave voice. “You should rest for the rest of the day if its already back it shouldn’t take too long to be operational again.
“How long was I out?” I asked.
“Uh, about 20 minutes at most?” Glassmetal told me, glancing at the ball still floating at his side.
“Hmm, that’s pretty fast indeed.” I nodded, felling glad I could heal that fast.
“Well, then I'll leave you to recuperate.” Payback said. “I’ll also reassure Swordjuice you're fine, she got worried” he finished pointing a thumb to the door over his shoulder.
He went away, Spyglass going after him, LED spoke to me before going as well.
“I’m glad nothing worse happened, Joseph.” he said the impassive face completely imprenetable now. “You shouldn’t feel invincible, there are always ways of hurting the powered.”
I gravelly nodded, conceding his point but too tired to verbally express myself.
“Yes, yes very true and wise words of our great leader” Spotlight jested around, turning to me to finish. “A great and safe recovery, you'll bounce right back, you cockroach types are really noisy like that.”
“Who's the cockroach u dammed holophote” I chuckled weakly and they both exited the room.
Everyone was gone, leaving me alone in the room for the first time, I looked around and realized was somewhere I didn’t know where was, it looked like an infirmary so probably something like that I’d ask later.
I heard Swordjuice voice asking about the situation from outside, she has stayed out because my clothes were destroyed in the attacks, that weapon was very strong if Glassmetal could make it for other people to use it was possible the fight with the regime would already be over.
It was interesting how a powerful power could turn the tables, I thought, yearning for such power, my core slowly returning to its normal feeling.
One day I’d get there, one step at a time.