I apologize. I got a new job and didn't have enough time to make any art this week. However, I will be doing a portrait of Alphadeus this weekend. I'll add it in when it's ready. But I wanted to put the chapter out at the usual time. I hope you enjoy it!
Alphadeus stood up in his tech-lab looking over his newly restored creation. The fully operational super computer ticked and whirred as it came to life. The screen prompt waited for input. This was the first time Alphadeus was able to work with a computer capable of this kind of processing power. The computer was important for two reasons. For one: this was the first computer that could handle the music software he had programmed. His last computer just didn’t have the power. Second: He could also use an external piece of hardware that he’d been meaning to experiment with.
He pulled a piano blade off the wall. The blade nicked the metal shelf it had been sitting on. The blade howled like a tune fork. When he slammed it on his desk the sound abruptly stopped. He pulled a wire from one of the drawers in the desk and he hooked it up to the end of the sword hilt. He then hooked that wire into the back of his new computer. The blade faced away from him as he sat down on a bench. His software automatically installed after being plugged in.
Speakers sat to either side of the computer. The bladeless side of the sword had piano keys. His fingers brushed the keys. The grooves were perfectly aligned. White and black keys fit perfectly with the curve of his hands. His knuckles hovered there for a moment. Alphadeus imagined a scale. He closed his eyes. A familiar comfort swept over him. In his imagination a movie of his childhood played out. On rare occasion he had taken professional lessons. The teacher taught him where middle C was for the first time. She taught him his first scale – his first arpeggio.
There was silence then, in his mind. Usually he had to do something first. A key had to be pressed. Colors were swirling when he started thinking about it. A little bit of this. A little bit of that. Nothing came to him. He told himself to press a key. It always works when I just press a key, he thought. His index finger slowly came down.
He quickly picked up his hand. It was too high. Not the right key signature. Maybe something up here, he thought.
*dunnnnnnnnn dunnnnnnn ding*
Yes, that was it – the perfect melody of this moment. He kept the flow of his fingers up and down the piano blade striking whole chords when he felt it was appropriate. It was simple, the melody. But, it was what he wanted. He played exactly what he wanted to hear. It calmed him.
He kept it up for a while but he was curious. He wondered what would happen if he pressed a random key, just to mix it up. When he did, the flow of the melody changed drastically. He felt different. His mood changed. And along with it, the sound changed. After that, he chose a final chord to end the melody. The chord had the right tone. With the right tone he could set the right frequency. The vibrations in the sword were set to cut an object that had the consistency of wood.
Alphadeus had a new desk waiting. He grabbed the handle of the blade and in front of him sliced his old desk in three parts before the planks of wood fell to the floor. It left a ringing in his ear, but he liked that part of it.
Later on he experimented with the device. And it was a very interesting device indeed.
“Hello James – Hugh” Alphadeus said, turning to Elsa. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure.”
“I’m Elsa.” She said.
“Alphadeus Zarius.” Alphadeus extended his hand. “Charmed.”
Elsa extended her hand. Alphadeus took it and softly laid a kiss on it. Elsa was a bit shocked. She wasn’t used to having a team of people. And she sure as hell wasn’t used to being hit on. She felt the sudden desire to kill one of them just to feel normal. But, she pressed that urge farther down into the pit of her mind.
“And this is Beyamor.” James said. “I hope you have some good news, we could use some.”
“Unfortunately, I have some bad news first.” Alphadeus said. “Mr Andy Dixon is dead.”
“What? How!” Hugh said.
“I don’t know. Miss Alice Dixon stopped by with a man named Wolf. He was heavily armored and had a sword. He has mastered using it.” Alphadeus explained.
“Mastered using it?” James said, thinking about how that could be relevant.
“Yes, she was going to look for the lot of you in Greenvale.” Said Alphadeus. “She’s probably there now. After our meeting here, I suggest you go and try and find her before she gets into trouble. Whoever attacked Andy and his wife will probably go after her next.”
“Where’s the fucking - body!” Hugh shrieked.
“Both of their bodies were buried behind Mr Andy Dixon’s house.” Alphadeus scowled.
Hugh went for the door and slammed it behind him.
“What’s he going to do?” Beyamor asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve… never seen him do that.” James said.
“Okay listen up. That was the bad news. Here’s the good news.” Alphadeus said. “I have new technology. James, hold out your hand.”
Alphadeus took out a contraption connected to his computer. A prompt on the computer screen waited for input. James held out his hand. The device was placed on his hand, and triggered. A needle poked out into James’s hand and retracted. The screen lit on fire with data. Numbers raced across the screen and the device lit up with information.
“Here it says that you have been pumped full of small machines that increase your success rate for just about anything you do.” Alphadeus went on. “You are about sixty to seventy percent luckier than the normal human being. You’d think that little machines in your body couldn’t do this. But, you’d be wrong. They can detect little things, like the part of your brain that can detect the connection between how softly to roll a dice to get a certain number. They can detect and change your brain chemistry so that you hit a nail with your hammer, and never miss.”
“But we already knew I was lucky.” James said.
“Yes! But, what about people we don’t know.” Alphadeus turned to Elsa.
“Oh,” Elsa said. “First you’re a gentleman and now you just want to stick me with your needle.”
“Will you try it?” Alphadeus raised an eyebrow.
“Fine, do it hotshot.” Elsa smirked.
The device pricked her hand and the computer exploded with information. Elsa’s body carried the same machines in her body, but they were set to give her a heightened grace and dexterity. Beyamor’s powers were complicated. He had a combination of two powers. He had the ability to control his own body temperature as well as the ability to affect the weather with subtle actions. The combination of moisture and a sense of how his body temperature can be used to control the weather was extremely potent.
“Beyamor has two powers. So he must have inherited these abilities from his parents. These machines seem to travel that way.” Alphadeus said. “I tried to make a new list of people with special abilities. And my new computer gave me – new – people.”
“How is that possible?” James said.
“I don’t how the software works.” Alphadeus said. “Suffice to say, it can detect these special abilities in their current hosts. James – Andy is gone from the list. What this means, is that we are closer than ever to figuring out why we have been chosen for this. We can contact everyone out there with this list. Here’s a copy.”
“Amazing work.” James said. “We were lucky to come by when we did. Actually, I was hoping you would have good news.”
“Right,” Alphadeus laughed. “But, next time, focus on trying not to have bad news too.”
Hugh dug deeper into the soil until he hit flesh. He laughed and gritted his teeth preparing for a conversation with Andy’s corpse. Trembling, Hugh held his hand out over Andy’s body. And finally, he pressed his palm into Andy’s chest.