Chapter V: Preparations (Part 2)

THE PAIN ASSOCIATED with his rehabilitation was nothing short of a chore. For the past couple months Damien was assessed by countless state of the art robots. Upon arrival he was brought in by a gurney that Radium, the host-like robot from the ship, pushed. He did not remember much of his trip going to there, but he knew one thing. It hurt. He had been required to undergo surgery to repair the tissue and tendon in his quadriceps tendon.

It was quite the painful experience even with anesthesia pumped through his veins.

Cheric had said that her robots were meticulous in their work and haven’t failed in a surgery yet, but that key word caused some anxiety to rise. Luckily, when he awoke again he found himself put back together with over forty stitches, a locked knee brace around his leg, and crutches. It would take him two months to rehabilitate his body physique enough to walk with crutches, and potentially another two to four months with the knee brace.

He wasn’t the only one who had to undergo surgery though. Aden had been taken into surgery just like he did when they first arrived. The deep laceration across his back had been deep and jagged, making normal stitching useless by themselves. If the male was lucky, he would barely have a scar on his back. Fortunately, and unfortunately, Aden’s skin had already been marred and decked with multitudes of scars. While this one would add to his count, it would surely be replaced by another sooner or later.

They did put some stitches underneath the skin so that his muscles that had been gashed would heal, but they still required more. Sutures were used to hold the lacerations together before they finally added the saline and gauze over top. With the way the nurse robots performed Aden was recovering slowly, taking only two to three weeks to fully walk straight.

Damien could still remember that grievous hour when they were repairing Aden’s back because of the way his younger brother was cursing and wincing. He didn’t know if the inventor was tired of the screaming or genuinely cared about him, because when she interrupted the operation by giving Radium a large dose of anesthesia, she exclaimed,” Shut him up or put him down. I have work that needs to be done.”

Needless to say, these were all the memories dancing through the mind of the one hobbling down the hall. He had been granted without his brace finally, and was still getting used to slightly bending his knee. Damien was still using his crutches but at least it meant he was on a road to recovery.

“Yo!” Damien stopped as a familiar husky voice appeared behind him. “Damien, where are you going on that gimp leg?”

Xavier was probably one of the luckiest of them having only a few scratches and cuts. Damien waited for Xavier to walk up beside him before trudging along again with his crutches.

“Cheric called me to her office. She said it would be my rehabilitative workout for the next week until she could find another mindless activity for me to do.” Xavier crossed his arms over his torso.

“Hopefully it is something more lenient. Regardless, I’d hate to be on the receiving end like you are.” Then his older brother laughed. Damien grimaced thinking the same thing as his older predecessor. He was going to reply with something back but that was when the hallway split into two separate ways.

“Well good luck with the Gizmo Queen! Come by the Cafeteria later and we can share war stories!” Then just like that he was gone. Damien stood awkwardly with two crutches under his shoulders with a head hung low.

“War stories, right. You’re supposed to support your brother in times like this you know!” He raised his voice slightly so Xavier could still hear him and was welcomed with a slight hand wave over the shoulder and smirk from his older brother. Shaking his head was all he could do to the bemused reaction he received from Xav and proceeded down the opposite hallway where he knew the genius’s office resided with a moment to think quietly to himself.

He was still weak walking to and from places but at least a majority of the people within the crew and Cheric’s workers did not pity him for his injury. It was the pity and sympathy that he received from those who didn’t know him that really irked him about his injury just because they assumed he would never set sail again.

Aden was in a similar boat, except when people spoke of his injuries he would kick them out with a ferocity no one would want to approach him for days. His temper flared almost every day when he was bedridden, but luckily he was only there for a short time. Damien was still confined to the health quarters for another two months.

Without announcing his entrance into her room, the blonde male pushed opened the door to see piles of paper, empty root beer bottles, and mechanics all strewn messily upon any and all surfaces of the office. Even the floors had scattered pieces of paper and machines that had been discarded in the recent genius’s rampage.

“Cheric?” Damien questioned, stumbling through the havoc with his crutches. There was no movements being made inside the room, but he could have sworn she said she was going to be holed up performing some tests. “Cheric?”

He pushed some of the papers aside on her oak desk to find Olivia passed out with goggles still attached to her head. She looked ragged, having the lab coat she had been wearing for three days over her shoulders. With her short hair and bangs pointing in whichever direction they had decided to go Damien had to stop himself from laughing out loud.

“Don’t… forget the root beer.” She murmured in her sleep before turning her head into her arm.

He looked around the room then back at the girl sleeping, only to find himself awkwardly trying to look elsewhere. He didn’t know how to wake her up without evoking her wrath, but she was the one who summoned him. The last time someone woke Olivia Cheric up from her sleep, they wound up getting kicked by a machine nearby with a cranky inventor drinking her root beer gleefully.

Deciding it best for his current health to leave the girl as is, he stumbled away from the desk to the windowsill. There was a cushion besides the pane making it a comfortable and more probable location to sit at than any other place in the room.

Taking a seat on the cushion, he immediately jumped back up from the pillow wincing. There was something underneath the cushion that was rectangular and hard and Damien lifted the pillow awkwardly with his hand while still supporting his crutches between his arms. Underneath was an old box with a signet of a family registrar. It was clearly one of the royal naval ones, but Damien never was able to mesmerize them all at The Academy.

The lock of the box was open, with the top ajar for any eyes to peer at the inside, and with the curiosity of the unknown Damien lifted the lid. Inside were three different colored stones. The one of the left was a bright hue of blue, the middle was a shade of emerald green, and the one on the right was a darker hue of blue. He lifted up the one on the left staring at the brilliance of it. He wondered where Cheric had found these stones but before he could continue with that train of thought an air bullet gun was placed beside his head.

“Put those back where you found them, now.”

Her amethyst eyes sparkled with some darkness that was normally not there before she poked his head with her weapon. The genius had sworn to herself that she would keep all related information about the stones to herself but after a distressing call from the Deserted Islands where she had picked up Xavier’s crew, she realized that the forces of evil were trailing after something else besides the Relic Stones. It appeared that without their knowledge, they had stumbled upon the chess board like moths to the flame. If they looked at it from an optimistic way, it could have been seen to be the greatest adventure they would ever embark on—but it only was a nuisance to the inventor as she planned for the future.

Though they were overly cautious amongst themselves, everyone continued to work on getting physically fit to move once again. While Xavier and his crew recovered physically with the help of Olivia’s provisions, it would only be a matter of time before the stones brought more trouble to their side.

“Hobble back. Yes I said hobble.” She reiterated for him as he did just as she said. The blonde sighed as he tried not to evoke the rest of her wrath.

“I didn’t even know they were there until I took a seat. If you didn’t want anyone to find them, you should have locked them in the box and hid them elsewhere. What were you expecting?” He retorted with the weapon in his face. Sure if she shot him at this distance, it would hurt but at least he would live. The only damage it could do would be leaving a red imprint of a bruise on his face.

“I was testing one of the stones capacities and it backfired.” She grasped her head with a free hand while keeping her dominant hand holding her weapon up. “I didn’t have time to lock them before you barged in.” She replied calmly before shaking her head. Damien scoffed.

“How exactly did the stone backfire… wait, that shouldn’t even be my question: Why do you have the stones in the first place? Does The State know you have them?” Olivia dropped her weapon from his face and sat down beside the box.

“They were given to me, and as much as I would like to destroy them I can’t.”

Damien felt his eyes bulge. “You’re trying to destroy them? These couldn’t possibly be the stones from the legend? If you destroy them you’d surely make those pirates go ballistics. They want these as if their life depended upon it. If Aden knew you had them, he would have barged in here himself to take them. He…” Olivia fired a shot into the ground, just in front of where he was standing. It had the effect she was looking for and she replied callously.

“You’re a fool. That legend is nothing more than a fabrication, just like these stones are. The stone you are looking for is somewhere else and it was used to create more of its own kind. These are the products of trying to reproduce the original stone into duplicates: power stones beyond comprehension.”

Damien soaked in all of the information. “How many of these power stones exist then? If the stones are being made from the original, couldn’t that mean there are only a few? You’ve got three in your possession; The State has already won half the battle.”

Olivia shook her head. “That’s where you’re wrong. These stones are three of many. Someone figured out the trick to creating power stones without actually having the original stone.” Damien paused.

“Are the materials that easy to get?”

Olivia stared at him before blankly reciting the ingredients as if it was basic science. “These stones are made from a rare ore mined in northern Seriate, some composites from the southern regions of the Deserted Islands and Wilyza, multiple molecules and atoms mixing and coagulating together, with one more ingredient.”

Damien processed the information before staring at the stones in wonder. “How is that even possible? Is that what we’ve been searching for this entire time?”

Olivia nodded before she leaned back breathing heavily. Her head was spinning now and she could barely keep her eyes open. “Like I said, you’re a fool.” She closed her eyes abruptly.

“Oi, what’s wrong? Are you alright?” She could hear the concern in his voice, and processed him hobbling over to the window where she was sitting. The awkward squeak from the crutches informed the girl that he was now sitting right in front of her.

“Remember what I said from before: the stone backfired. I’m dealing with a Relic Stone inside me at the moment.” She grimaced before clenching her hands into tight fists. “I didn’t think I would be compatible with any of them but somehow I managed to sync with this one.”

He grasped her hands, “I’ll call over Radium. I’m sure she’ll know what to do.” Only when he pulled his hands away she reached out to stop him. She looked back outside shaking her head. Her amethyst eyes darkened.

“Don’t. We need to keep the rest a secret. Only you know, but I want to use these stones to smoke out the rat. They’ve been elusive in my investigations, especially after my brother’s announcement about some girl.” Damien blinked. He had forgotten about Lionsheart for a second.

“You’re in no place to speak. You look halfway to death’s door with skin as pale as yours.”

“Don’t you ruin all my hard work or I’ll have you wishing you did die at sea.” She clenched her eyes shut, banging her head hard against the frame once.

Alarm flashed Damien’s expression but Olivia murmured out in pain, “Damn it all. It’s like all of these schematics, designs, and visions from my failed mechanics keep coming back. I’m slowly realizing what I should have done with the stupid little buggers.” She closed her eyes, her body slightly shaking. “I should have used silicon instead of that faux-copper; that probably would have solved the malfunctioning when it transferred fluid. The robots that couldn’t come to life now makes sense as to why they didn’t, I should have done more work upon the vein and capillaries instead of focusing primarily on the nervous system. The respirator system would also been better suited had it been connected with the heart, like real anatomy.”

He gave her one of the strangest looks while she prattled on about her designs, a majority of it he did not even comprehend. It was through these next two hours that Damien sighed and took her shaking hands into his own. He’d let her ride it out, and hope that she regained some color in her pale and shaking body.

“You’ve got time,” he would say, “You can restart those things once you’re better.”

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

Chapter V: Preparations (Part 3)

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