The Bad Guy Wins in This One - Chapter Fifty Five (Eric Choi)

Eric Choi was having a bad day. It was starting to be a trend. It could be worse, he supposed, given he was surprised that he was still alive. He’d been knocked out and taken to Alan’s mansion, where Transfer tried to take his power. He’d tried to overload her abilities by boosting her with all of his might the second she touched him. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. What it did do, however, was temporarily give her the power to copy abilities instead of stealing them, leaving him with his boosting power.

Not that it’d done him much good, locked in a room like this. He wasn’t sure Transfer realized what he’d done, but he knew Alan would be able to tell he still had his powers. So why am I still alive? She gave him my abilities. He doesn’t need me to boost anyone anymore. And I wouldn’t boost anyone for them anyways. Not ever again.

But for now all he could do was sit around in this room. The door was six inches of solid oak, maybe more. He’d tried as hard as he could to get through it, but it didn’t budge a bit. So now he just lay on the bed, trying to think of book ideas. Everything he came up with though was just a straight derivative of his bizarre life. Would it be too much to ask to boost my own creativity?

After staring at the ceiling for what he imagined was hours, he heard a sound at the door. Come to finish me off then? The door opened and at first he thought no one was there before realizing he was looking too high up. He lowered his gaze and saw a short boy, no more than nine or ten years of age by his estimation.

“About damn time,” the kid said. “You’re the Booster, right?”

“The hell are you doing here kid?” Booster asked, wondering if he was losing his mind. There was no way some ten-year-old just picked the door to his room in the middle of Black Rain’s base. “Short version? I tried to kill Alan Killjoy and lost. Been hanging out ever since. But Alistair left the mansion and I’m pretty sure Jared’s attacking it. He’s the only one who stands a chance against Alan, so I came to get you out to boost him.”

“You tried to kill Alan? Who the hell are you?” Eric asked incredulously.

“I’m Krieg Mirkov. Now stop lying around like a dumbass and get the hell up,” Krieg replied. “I shorted out the security, but no telling how long before someone reboots it. Assuming Alan even lets us get that far. I’m just hoping he’s got enough better things to do that he’ll risk letting us get to Jared before trying to deal with us. But for all I know, he’s left us alive because he already knows we’ll be stumbling around lost for the next hour and never even find the guy.”

“Or he’s already taken precautions to bump us off if we get in the way. Why bother doing anything?” Eric asked. Wondering around aimlessly in a mansion with absurd powerhouses duking it out seemed like a good way to get killed even faster than he already would be. Though maybe Alan’s distracted enough by this to let me escape? Not that it would matter, he can find me again any time he wants.

“Are you retarded?” asked Krieg. “Only way we lose for sure is doing nothing. You really think Alan’s just going to let you go when this is over?”

“Maybe not, but how do you know Alan doesn’t want us to go try and boost Jared?”

That made Krieg pause for a moment. “I don’t, I just can’t think of why he would. He’s got TV’s running showing Alistair tearing apart military planes like they were made of tinfoil. If he’d boosted more of his allies, he could take over the country in a few hours. But instead it’s like he’s sent almost everyone who might have helped him away. He’s in a uniquely vulnerable position and I don’t know if it’s intentional or if he’s just too arrogant to have realized it. What I do know is that Alan threatened my family and destroyed my battle suit. I want that asshole dead and the only one who might be able to kill him is Jared.”

“And how do you figure Jared can beat him?” Eric asked. Is Krieg a dwarf? He just looks like a kid, but I’ve never heard a kid talk like that. Guess if he made some battle suit he must be a super genius but it’s really weird hearing a child talk about wanting to kill someone.

“Because he told me he can’t see Jared clearly anymore. He can’t perfectly predict what he’ll do..” “He told you, huh? Sounds like a reliable source,” Eric replied sarcastically.

“Oh shut up,” Krieg said. Eric leaped out of bed in pain. Krieg had a device in his hand. He saw another couple of sparks come out of it. “I’m not really a people person, so guess I need to stop trying to persuade you. I made this little Taser out of a remote and a camera I took apart. But I promise you I can kill you with it. So stop being a fucking baby and march.”

Great, now the ten-year-old is threatening to kill me with a remote and I kind of believe he could. And would. Fuck my life. “Fine you little shit, let’s go.” Eric stood up and left the room with Krieg following closely behind, hands never leaving his makeshift Taser.

Ten minutes of wondering aimlessly around they walked into a dining room where there’d been a battle. The table was smashed to pieces, the floor and walls had cracks in several places, and blood was spattered everywhere.

“Well, think we might have solved the mystery of why Alan doesn’t care if we’re wondering around,” Eric said.

“You don’t know that it’s Jared.”

“I don’t, but whoever it was is pretty damn dead now. And we will be too if we don’t leave right now. Or go back to our rooms and hope for mercy.”

“I’m not the hoping type,” Krieg told him. “Now go over there and boost the blood.”

“What? No. First off, we don’t know if that’s Jared. Second off, I could be wrong about the dead thing. If it was Jared, he could have walked away from this. He’s pretty durable. Which brings me to my next point, I’ve seen what happens when little bits of Jared go about reassembling themselves. It’s not pretty, brat. So even if I can boost blood, which I doubt, I’m not risking bringing another monstrosity into the world that’s just going to rip us all apart anyways. At least Alan can be reasoned with...maybe.”

“Yes, you are going to risk it, because I’m not* in a reasoning mood either and I bet I can kill you as easily as some monster can,” Krieg said. He clicked his Taser and sparks shot off. Eric thought about his odds of success if he punched the kid in the face. Maybe if I kick him. Might feel a little bad hurting some small kid, but it’s not like he acts like one.

“You don’t know what happened. Last time I boosted Jared and he lost an arm, the arm grew into what I can only describe as a demonic killing machine. If that’s Jared, and if I can boost his blood stains and he heals, it’ll probably be the same sort of soulless monster that regenerated from his arm. It’ll kill us in a heartbeat.”

“Well, might kill you in a heartbeat. I’ll shock the shit out of it and run like hell before it heals again.” Krieg went to stand by one of the smears of blood.

“Yeah, because your little Taser toy will work soooo well against a boosted Jared clone. Don’t delude yourself, it will rip you apart and eat you, the same way the last one did to those soldiers. Assuming it doesn’t retain any of Jared’s stolen abilities, in which case it will probably burn us both to death before we get two feet,” Eric said. He was exaggerating slightly, since the clone never ate anyone, but not by much.

“I’m willing to take the chance. Unstoppable killing machine that Alan can’t clearly see coming has a nice ring to it all on its own. Just got to run and hope it’s not inclined to chase us. But I think you really need to stop being as concerned about what a zombie Jared might do to you and be more worried about what I will do to you if you don’t come over here and try to boost this puddle of blood.”

Eric weighed his options. He could make a break for it. He had longer legs than Krieg, so he could probably move faster. Or he could go pretend to try and boost the blood. It’s not like Krieg would be able to tell. But something about the kid gave him pause. He couldn’t quite put his thumb on it. How does such a little kid look so menacing? And why do I believe him when he says Jared can win? And if Jared really can win, and if he’s lying dead here, what if I can somehow give him another chance?

There were so many ifs. So many reasons this wouldn’t work, and would probably be a disaster if it did. But he wanted to believe it would work, and he knew there was only one way to find out. He went over to where Krieg stood and placed his hand on the blood, still slightly moist to the touch. He unleashed his power into it, slowly at first and then more and more until he was releasing it full blast. If Jared couldn’t heal with this, there was nothing Eric could do.

Finally, Booster stopped, exhausted. He was certain he‘d failed. Nothing was happening, the sticky blood on his hands was already starting to dry. But then his skin began to crawl and the blood grew warm. It began to boil, and expand, flowing together into a blob. Guess it was Jared. Booster began to back away, ready to flee at the first sign he’d just created another mindless monstrosity, wondering if he should even wait to see.