Chapter – VIII
After Tom left to head back to the locker room, the match that coach Alex was watching in an adjacent cell ended. The two combatants had stopped their own match after the resounding crash shook their cell. Alex had to get on the address system and remind them that their match was still under way and they were being graded.
The young American Indian reacted first and struck while his opponent was still looking around as though waiting for an aftershock. It might not have been strictly fair, but part of being a hero was coping with the unexpected. Besides, he was ahead in the fight and probably would have outmaneuvered his opponent before long.
Turning away from the window he addressed his dean. “Do you really think he’ll be okay?”
“To whom are you preferring? Mr. Hall or Mr. Porter?”
“Take your pick. Porter seemed pretty shaken, and damn few supers could take a hit like Hall took.”
“I think Porter will recover. His power gives him an advantage over most people in processing what he experienced. At some instinctive level he knows what his power does. Its possible that what he saw might help him better understand his abilities. As for Hall… From what I could see, his field stood up to the force of the hit. My worry is internal injuries from the sudden stop. There have been reports of normal humans surviving one hundred horizontal gees for short durations. I don’t think its anything our healers can’t handle. Though I suspect he will be in the infirmary for a while. Tell me, what do you think of our matches so far.”
Coach Alex considered the dean’s words before answering. “They’ve shown promise for the most part. Locklear appears to have some talent and mental flexibility. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t finish top ten. Danielsen has a legitimate shot at coming out on top. He’s a load when he gets a head of steam going, and I don’t know if anybody is ruthless enough to put him down fast enough. At least not yet.” That last bit was said with chuckle and a wry smile. Alex had no illusions about what he was training these young supers to do. “Kearney might, though. He’s one efficient son of a bitch.”
The dean acknowledged this information with a curt nod and turned toward the opposite row of viewing windows.
“Helen” he called “a moment of your time if you don’t mind.”
A figure standing in front of one of the window the next cell down turned and walked over to the dean and Coach Alex. She was a small women, clad in simple, yet functional black attire. What skin showed was pale and her hair was chopped short. While her skin was pale, her hair was white. Not a platinum blonde, but a pure white, as though her head was crowned in spun snow.
“I suppose you want an update on the women’s matches.” She said as she approached.
“Indeed. Alex has informed on the progress of the men’s matches. I would like to know how the other half of our student body is doing.”
“About as expected” she answered promptly. “Rodriguez, Bennett, Shaw, and Ross are still in it. Bennett and Rodriguez are the next fight up. A girl who can control the arena versus one who can shatter it with a touch. It should be interesting.” She stopped to consider her next words before continuing. “Shaw and Ross are the other fight. Shaw has potential and her power is flexible, but I don’t know if she can take Ross. She has too many ways to come at an opponent, and that girl is just pissed at the world. On that note, I suggest we keep an eye on her. Ross, that is. I know her anger is a big reason why she was accepted, but we have to keep an eye on that fire and make sure it doesn’t consume her. Anyway, my money is on Ross and Rodriguez for the top rank. That fight should be fun to watch.”
At that Alex reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty dollar bill, and held it up between his index and middle fingers. “You’re on” he said, with a half smile.
Helen smirked as well and reached into her own pocket as the dean rolled his eyes. They did this every year, despite knowing how strongly he disliked the idea of wagering on the outcomes of students’ fights.
“I suppose that would depend on your definition of ‘fun’” the dean said, pretending to ignore the coaches’ actions “But I imagine Ms. Ross would prove to be a difficult opponent for a great many supers. Her mother certainly is. Her talents do make preparation and planning for battle problematic. Ms Rodriguez is talented and stubborn, but straight forward. For her, every problem is a nail, but in this case that won’t be enough. Ms. Shaw might someday have a chance. I would agree with Helen though, today likely will not be that day.”
“SHIT!” a healer in white exclaimed. “I got nothing, I can’t make the connection. This kid’s unconscious, why hasn’t that shield gone down yet?”
“Nothing?” that came from a voice behind the senior healer. It didn’t belong to another student, instead the voice belonged to Doctor Jeremy.
“No, nothing.” the senior replied “We can’t even get the EKG electrodes to stick to his exposed skin.”
“Interesting. Even though he’s unconscious, his body must still be trying to protect itself. As long as his force field is up, I doubt any healer who manipulates energy will be able to help him.”
“So what should we do?” the senior asked. “We can’t even use any imaging equipment to get a look inside of him. But at the speed he hit, he has to have some nasty internal injuries.”
“Yes…” The doctors eyes went distant for a moment, before snapping back into focus. “Call up to dean Smith and have him send Robin King down. Tell him I said that it’s urgent.”
A short while later a young woman with strikingly red hair walked briskly through the infirmary door, and addressed the doctor after looking around for a few moments. “Hi, doctor Adams right? The dean told me to hurry down here. What’s wrong?”
“Its against protocol to involve an underclassmen healer in treatment this early in their careers, however, we find ourselves in an unusual situation. Young Mr. Hall here has a force field that apparently works on a broad enough spectrum to keep healers who manipulate energy from helping him. I’m given to understand that your power works along different lines.”
“Yeah. I produce active stem cells that can give someone a temporary boost to their natural healing. I suppose you want me to try and heal him?”
The doctor nodded.
“Okay, I’ll see what I can do. Can you get his shirt off?”
The white uniformed senior nodded and grabbed a pair of stainless steel scissors and cut open Max’s shirt, bearing his chest under the harsh lights of the infirmary. It wasn’t the torso of somebody who had much exercise of any kind, let alone seen the inside of a gym. While the skin was unbroken, bruises were forming as blood pooled under his skin.
“Talk about fresh meat” the senior scoffed. “Professor Marshall is going to chew him up and spit him out.”
“Hey, if you’re going to insult him, at least wait until he’s conscious to defend himself” Robin shot back, taking a mental gulp. The senior’s words suddenly made her acutely aware that she could probably stand to lose five… Okay, probably closer to twenty, pounds herself.
“Enough.” Doctor Adams said. “We have no way of knowing how injured he is, so let’s get to work.”
“Right. Working.” With that she took a deep breath and clapped her hands together loudly before rubbing them together briskly. Before long, a translucent powder began to drift down and landed on Max’s chest. She then laid one hand on top his chest and the other over his mouth and nose. After a few minutes of breathing the powder in, Max’s shallow breathing began to deepen and the bruises began to fade.
“Okay” Robin said “try it now.”
The senior stepped up and laid his own hands on Max’s body. His eyes began to glow an electric blue, that glow was soon matched by a nimbus around his hands, which grew to envelop Max. His breathing deepened more and the bruises quickly faded from his skin.
“Okay, I’ve got him. Doctor Adams, could you start an IV? You were right he is really banged up inside, and he is going to have a monster-sized hangover when I’m done. He’s going to need some hydration.” Turning to Robin he said “Thanks for coming down. You’re pretty good. I think you just saved this kid’s life.”
“You can head back up to the observation room now.” Doctor Adams said to Robin “and let Dean Smith know that Max will be fine. I know he’ll be concerned, even if he doesn’t look it.”
“Umm… Would it be okay if I stuck around until he wakes up? I don’t think I should leave my first patient.”
“That would be fine” Doctor Adams responded warmly, then glanced over as a girl with straight black hair cradling an obviously broken arm. “Besides, I think we are about to be busy again.”