“Good morning, May. Did you have a nice night?” Tasha asked. May wondered what form she’d taken to get into the house. She was quite certain the woman hadn’t opened the door.
“And a pleasant morning, until you showed up,” May replied coolly.
“Ouch, my feelings are hurt. Whatever shall I do?” Tasha walked over to where May sat in her wheelchair, reading a book from the surprisingly extensive library Steve had owned. Knowing from Jared that Steve was more into sports than literature, she wondered if any of the dusty volumes had been touched in years even before Steve died.
Tasha’s finger extended into a claw poised under May’s throat. “If I kill this body, you don’t come back, do you? Or do you keep a spare somewhere?” May just stared at her. Tasha wouldn’t kill her. Not yet, anyways. Making sure her involvement with Hargrave’s assassination became known was too important. She was the strongest link between her group and Redarctica and dying almost a week before the assassination actually took place would put a little dent in the plan.
“Never been eager to find out, but go ahead and see if you want to.” Tasha cocked her head.
“Not today,” she said. Her claw retracted.
“What brings you by?” May asked. “Figured you wouldn’t have any reason to come around until Patrick and Jared at least got an in with Blue Skies.”
“Simple, Booster’s going to be by in a few minutes and we’re going to see what you can do when boosted.”
“Thought you didn’t like calling him that.”
“Just not to his face. Wouldn’t want to give him the satisfaction.”
“He can’t be terribly happy about coming here. What if we’re being observed?” May asked
“He has false plates, tinted windows and can park in the garage. As long as he’s not a dumbass about it, he has nothing to complain about... Though admittedly he’s not exactly our best agent for espionage,” Tasha replied in a relaxed manner.
“He doesn’t seem to want to be an agent at all,” May said.
“He’s a bit bitter about not telling him we were going to blow up a city. But how does he think I feel? I was there on assignment and my own brother gave me a twenty-minute warning to get out the damn city. Good thing I can fly.”
“Assignment in a city they’re about to destroy?”
“Can’t steal priceless artifacts that have been vaporized. Stole a twenty million dollar diamond. Weighed half as much as I did in bird form, which is a pain to haul when not boosted. Glad I managed to hang on to it, but if I’d known the blast radius would be so large I’d probably have dropped it. As it was, I swear I had some singed tail feathers.”
“Surprised the vortex didn’t get you then,” May said, impressed despite herself.
“Just went with the wind till it settled down. Sometimes got to ride it girl,” she said smiling.
“And how much of that twenty million do you get to keep?”
“About four hundred thousand dollars. Pretty good considering you can’t exactly sell a stolen twenty million dollar diamond at market value. And it was only a few hours of work.”
“A few hours, huh? And you guys need to go around blowing up cities?” she asked, trying hard to keep her voice neutral. She despised this woman as much as Patrick and Jared did, but she saw no good coming from making that more obvious than her typical banter would suggest.
“I bought a nice country house. My brother just bought an island. I think it’d be nice to buy an island. Quiet place to soak up some sun.”
Sunning yourself on a private beach. That’s all it takes to want to kill several million people? She thought Black Rain would be an interesting organization to study the nuances and relationships between psychopaths, sociopaths, and extreme narcissists. She wondered if she was any better though. She knew Black Rain would kill Hargrave no matter what they did. But if she was willing to be any part of it to stay alive and maybe someday be free, what did it say about her? She also wanted to help Jared save his sister, to make up even a fraction for being part of his friends dying, but killing an innocent man didn’t strike her as a good method for redemption.
There was a knock at the door and May was glad she didn’t have to continue the conversation. Tasha left for a moment and brought Mr. Choi into the room.
“So we’re going to do a test on you?” Choi asked. “As much as I don’t want to be here, it is probably a good idea. Given the nature of your power… boosting might not be of much use. But we will see I guess.”
Mr. Choi wasted no time, walking over to her and lightly touching her hand. Nothing seemed to happen.
“Are you sure it worked?” she asked.
“Not at all. But why don’t you try using your ability?” Choi said.
May blushed. “Can you… leave the room? My clone is not exactly clothed when I first create it.”
“I see, very well then,” Mr. Choi turned around and walked back through the door. Tasha watched him go, making no effort to leave.
“What? You’ve seen me naked, I think it’s only fair I stay,” Tasha said with a lewd smile.
“That was your own fault!” May exclaimed.
“What’s your point? Come on, don’t be such a prude.”
Good grief, a murderer and a pervert, what a winning combination. May thought about refusing, but the truth was she knew it didn’t matter and was almost as curious as Tasha about whether the boost would have any effect.
She focused inward, feeling the energy flow through her like normal. But in a moment things shifted dramatically. What was usually a several minute process was done in an instant. She hadn’t created a body this quickly since the first time she’d ever done so. And a moment later there was another one, then another, and another.
She had a brief moment of panic, seeing herself clearly through several pairs of eyes. She reeled in her power, fully aware she could have kept making more bodies. No contacts? And… they’re clothed? She couldn’t quite believe what was happening. She experienced each body equally, her mind split between all of them. Her consciousness was fully in each, controlling them as if each one were unique. Am I… even still one person? And are these objects real? She could scarcely wrap her head around the implications of being able to duplicate objects.
“My, my. Look at you! Controlling several bodies at once like a big girl.”
“This is strange,” May said from four mouths. “No diminishment. They are all… me. Just me.”
“You definitely missed an opportunity to use a royal we joke,” Tasha commented.
May concentrated and spoke from a single mouth. “It’s not my first language, so you’ll have to cut me some slack. I’ll try to next time.” She flexed all of her hands, making sure she could operate them independently. Independent coordination and no loss of reaction time. This… this could definitely come in handy. She doubted she could get used to it. But she certainly could use it.