Adam sat patiently in the tiny gray waiting room, consisting of a few wooden chairs, a rectangular fish tank with a few goldfish swimming about, and—what Adam had his focus on—a blue vending machine.
“T-They’re all out of it…” Adam was staring in dismay at the item slot labeled “B3”, as it was currently empty. Although the majority of the other beverages had plenty in stock, this drink was the only one he desired. “My apple soda…”
A door across from him suddenly swung wide open—a spiky-red-haired man entering the room. Gazing through the sunglasses that he wore indoors—something Adam always questioned—he read something on a clipboard in his hand.
“Let’s see… Adam Grayson? You here, whoever you are?”
“You know who I am…” Adam sighed. “Listen, who do you think you are?”
“Thomas Peck…? Father to one of your best friends? Sounds like you don’t know who I am—”
“I’m talking about the apple soda here in the vending machine. I’m one of the only people you have as a patient, and you didn’t think to stock up on apple soda?”
“Right, right… Forgive me. I’ve been quite busy, you see.”
“And why is that a thing you’re doing now?” Adam pointed at Thomas’ bare chest as he merely wore an open white lab coat.
“Cause I’ve been able to work out a lot more recently, and I want to show off these abs I’ve been working on. Anyway, enough about me…” Thomas’ expression grew serious. “Ready for another checkup, Adam?”
Adam did not respond. He simply stood up and walked into the room with Thomas.
A few minutes later, Adam was putting his shirt back on—the examination already complete. He sat on the exam table while Thomas rolled around the white office in his black computer chair. The man brushed a few pieces of metallic junk off to the side at his desk as he began writing down a few notes.
“Well, physically, you’re fine. That’s normal.”
Adam sat in silence—the scribble of the pen on paper, the only thing audible in the room.
“Have you had any injuries since your last visit? You know, the kind that is enough to leave a mark?”
“Nothing I can remember…”
“I don’t see anything, so if you did, it would have healed. I assume by now I don’t have to explain why I ask you about that?”
Adam took a deep breath. “…If I have awakened to a Concept, your best guess is that it can heal any injuries I take, based upon how I…” He trailed off, glancing at the ground.
Thomas nodded his head while turning toward Adam. “But we can’t be sure about a Concept, based upon the true reason why you come here. You don’t have phantons, Adam. At least, they’re somehow undetected by our equipment. However, based on the tests I’ve done… I truly believe you don’t possess them.”
Adam was silent. Thomas scratched his head, leaning back in his chair.
“When one goes under tremendous stress—physically and/or emotionally—the phantons within them go under a process known as ‘Awakening.’ By Awakening, the person is able to obtain power over something that exists in this universe. That becomes their ‘Concept,’ and can be used much like a superpower you see in TV shows or read in books.”
“Yes, I know.” Adam nodded in annoyance. “Under normal circumstances, my Concept would probably be ‘Healing,’ or whatever.”
“More like ‘Regeneration,’ as we already have someone who can heal the human body. Your ‘Concept’ is exclusive to your body as opposed to their own, which can heal anyone.”
“Right… Well, can it even be called a Concept if phantons aren’t involved with it?” Adam questioned, fidgeting around while sitting on the table.
“Might as well call it that, for now.” Thomas sighed, tapping his desk while pondering. “You really are lucky…”
“Why? Cause it happened to save me…?”
“Well, that. And the fact that you’re associated with the right people.” Thomas chuckled. “You would have been sent straight to the labs for testing under normal circumstances. You do not want to go there—it’s hell. Normal Conceptors are treated like guinea pigs when they’re sent to him. I could only imagine what they’d do in your case. Regeneration potentially means they could afford to be rougher with you, as well.”
Adam shook his head in disbelief. “Man… I have you and Pam to thank, huh?”
“That’s a big part of it,” Thomas admitted. “Yet, the fact that you’re your mother’s son has a huge impact. With how remarkable she was, Unity would rather not take the risk of losing you to lab experiments. If possible, they’d like to see how you’d do on the battlefield. Even if your power isn’t a good match for combat.”
“Mom… She really was a big deal, I guess.”
“I never knew her personally. Talk to Pam if you want stories about her—she has a ton, I’m sure.”
“Wouldn’t it be weird to ask her now when I’ve had eighteen years to do so?”
“Why not?” Thomas shrugged. “Time has nothing to do with it.”
“Well, anyway…” Adam paused for a moment. “…These appointments. Will I be okay as long as we keep doing these? What… will happen when you find out the truth? Cause I know you are actually researching it. You’re not just making up random nonsense that will appease them.”
“Hmm…” Thomas pondered Adam’s question. “Let’s say there’s a potential for something good to come out of this research. What would you want that to be?”
Thomas shook his head. “It’s not something you have to answer right now. But let’s say… you had the power to do something—to change how things operate. How would you go about it?”
“You’re an anomaly, Adam. But that’s not something to be fearful of. I’ll make sure you get the chance to decide on how you want to use this power.”
Adam could not figure out what to say in response, perplexed with what Thomas had said to him.
“Whatever you do, however, don’t do anything drastic. We can figure all of this out. Between myself and Pam… we’ve got your back.”
“Worried, are we?” Adam chuckled awkwardly.
“We all are. Your whole situation has… made us worry nonstop.”
“…I’m sorry about that.” Adam stood up, stretching out his body.
“You don’t need to be.” Thomas sighed, turning back toward his desk. “Like I said, don’t do anything drastic. However, if you have any ideas, feel free to explore them. I’ll keep researching the matter until our next appointment.”
“All right…” Adam began to walk toward the door. “Thanks, Thomas. I’ll see you later.”
With a small wave, Thomas watched as Adam left his office. He brought his attention to the notes he had been taking on his desk.
“Now, let’s see… If I can gain additional access to the network, then maybe I can—”
Thomas paused. Out of the corner of his eye, he swore he saw something.
A quick glance to his left revealed nothing—merely the room in its natural state. Thomas shook his head rapidly.
“…I really need to get more rest, don’t I…?”
At the top of a skyscraper that stood tall in Nexus City, there was a young woman with short hair—jet-black that matched the building. Her sapphire eyes peered down upon the city as she reviewed the information she had just obtained.
“He’s been one I’ve been keeping an eye on… I’ve really narrowed down my list at this point. And I think, maybe—just—maybe…”
Her navy-blue sweater and black pants—clothes one would not be caught wearing in the summertime—rustled in the strong gales blowing around her.
“Should make a move…?”
The girl’s body began to turn transparent. A moment later, she had vanished into the wind.
Next: Chapter 3
Previous: Chapter 1
SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE HEROES OF REQUIEM ON PATREON: