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Author’s Note: Oop! Nearly forgot to put the playlists in! Here we are! Casper’s Groovez and Bex’s Songz!
Doctor’s notes, Subject #24235. Samantha De-Lorrie. Session 2.
Notes and recommendations of attendant therapist, Natalie Sharpe:
In the two weeks since her kidnapping during the elvish incursion, Samantha has been making positive steps with adjusting, both to her manifestation (Type two: Significantly enhanced internal and dermal durability, thermal resistance, mild strength increase) and to her experiences while in the elves’ captivity. Samantha has noted that the group sessions are particularly helpful in this. However, problems have been noted, including continual concerns over loss of dermal sensitivity. Next session not originally scheduled for another two days, but an earlier appointment was booked on short notice after the apparent manifestation of additional metaphysical abilities.
Upgrade of classification from type two to type three manifestation is pending based on the findings of this session.
Transcript of audio-visual session recording taken down by supervisor Pearson is as follows:
A knock sounds at the office door. Doctor sharpe looks up from her case notes.
Doctor Sharpe: “Come in.”
The door opens. Samantha enters.
Doctor Sharpe: “Hello, Sam. How are you feeling today?
Samantha: “I’m uhh. I’m fine, I think. Sorry to come in at short notice like this.”
Doctor Sharpe: “It’s not a problem, Sam. I’m glad you told us so quickly. It was the right thing to do. Telling me promptly helps to minimize the potential for harm, and allows for you to reintegrate back into your life much more safely and easily. Now. Would you mind telling me exactly what happened?”
Samantha: “R-right. So I uh. I was studying. Trying to catch up on assignment work and stuff. C-can’t exactly ask my teachers for an extension on grounds of secret evil kidnapping, you know?”
Doctor Sharpe chuckles.
Doctor Sharpe: “I could actually provide you with a medical certificate to give to your professors, if you’d like. Nothing about evil kidnappings, per-se, but I could write up something analogous. There’s no need for you to be placed under extra stress after what you’ve been through.”
Samantha: “Y-yeah. If you could, t-that’d be kinda great. Crunch time’s sorta the worst possible time for this to be happening, you know?”
Doctor Sharpe: “I do. So, you were studying?”
Samantha: “Right, yeah. So I was at my computer, trying to get out a couple hundred words on the fall of Carthage. Underlying factors and stuff. A-and I had some tea next to me; chamomile… it’s supposed to be good for stress.”
Samantha: “A-anyway, I r-reached out to grab it, a-and it was cold. I guess I must’ve lost track of time or something.”
Doctor Sharpe: “It happens.”
Samantha: “Yeah. S-so I just kinda sighed and figured I’d drink it anyway, but when I try to, it’s hot.”
A pause. Doctor Sharpe makes a note in her pad.
Doctor Sharpe: “Your tea got hot?
Samantha: “Yeah. But I mean, like, really hot. Like, hotter than when I boiled it, hot.”
Doctor sharpe makes another note in her pad.
Doctor Sharpe: “I see. And then?”
Samantha: “Well, I mean, then I just kinda stared at it for a second, before I guess it must’ve superheated or something, because that’s when the mug exploded. Steam and pottery everywhere.”
Doctor Sharpe appears concerned.
Doctor Sharpe: “Oh. Oh dear. Are you okay? Did it burn you?”
Samantha: “No. I guess my other powers were good enough to save me there. No burns, no cuts. It ruined my laptop, though… I think I still have a couple shards in my hair.”
Note: Samantha’s manifestation was previously shown to allow her to withstand around five hundred degrees centigrade temperatures without sustaining damage, with skin durability slightly below that of unreinforced aluminium.
Doctor Sharpe nods a few times, before setting her pad aside and retrieving a hand recorder from her desk.
Doctor Sharpe: “One moment, Samantha.”
Doctor Sharpe activates the recorder.
Doctor Sharpe: “Patient name: Samantha De-Lorrie. Patient has displayed potential mid-level metaphysical ability; some form of touch based thermal manipulation. High priority testing required to determine whether this is a physical trait. If not, recommending immediate recategorization to type three due to conjunction with pre-existing type two traits. If metaphysical, I am recommending provision of basic metaphysical instruction to prevent possible dangerous incide-”
Samantha interrupts recording.
Samantha: “U-um… Doctor Sharpe? Uh… What’s a type three?”
Doctor Sharpe deactivates her recorder.
Doctor Sharpe: “Right. Fair question. This was going to have to be explained to you at some point. Well, basically, the government classifies superhuman abilities into three categories. We have type ones, like me, who are effectively able to use stored energy to cause some metaphysical effect to happen when we want it to.
Doctor Sharpe waves a free hand, demonstratively allowing a small burst of electrical energy to manifest between her fingers.
Doctor Sharpe: “In terms you’ve heard before, type ones are mages. We learn to cast spells, but our bodies are otherwise human.”
A pause. Samantha appears to be staring at Doctor Sharpe’s hand.
Doctor Sharpe: “Then we have what we thought you were: a type two. In the basest sense, these are people who tend to have advanced physical abilities because of the presence of magical genes in their DNA. In layman’s terms, they’re crossbreeds; people with superhuman abilities because they have non-human genetic ancestry. Based on the type and strength of the powers you manifested, we believe that in your case, one of your grandparents was probably some variant of golem. That would certainly explain the increased durability.”
A pause. Samantha continues staring for several seconds.
Doctor Sharpe: “As I said, however, I believe you should now be classified as a type three. Type threes are fairly simple. While a type one means a mage, and a type two means a crossbreed, a type three simply means both. You manifested a supernatural physical ability during your time in captivity, and have now demonstrated what seems to be a fairly straightforward case of an entry level enchantment. We’ll need to do some further testing to make sure, of course, but this does seem to be the most probable present diagnosis.”
A pause. Samantha remains silent, continuing to gaze at Doctor Sharpe from her seat.
Doctor Sharpe: “… I can see you’re going to need a moment. There’s a coffee machine in the hall. Would you like anything?”
Samantha nods, but remains otherwise unresponsive. Doctor Sharpe places the recorder into her pocket, then presses a button on her desk console.
Doctor Sharpe: “Leah? I’m sorry to bother you, but would you mind heading into the hall and grabbing my patient a latte? She’s just had a bit of a shock.”
Doctor Sharpe thinks for a moment, then adds:
Doctor Sharpe: “In an insulated cup, please, Leah.”
A voice on the intercom replies in the affirmative, and both Samantha and Doctor Sharpe wait in silence. After a few minutes, Doctor Sharpe’s receptionist steps in, and passes Samantha a cup, before excusing herself again.
Doctor Sharpe: “Thank you, Leah.”
After a few seconds, Samantha takes a sip of her coffee.
Doctor Sharpe: “I know this may well feel a little too big to handle all at once.”
Samantha makes a single short chuckling noise, before once more falling silent.
Doctor Sharpe: “But I want you to bear in mind, this is something that’s entirely under your control. Once you’ve been provided some basic schooling, it should be easy enough to avoid accidentally activating your new power. From there, you will be free to either continue to pursue magic as a vocation, or to simply ignore it completely for as long as you like. This doesn’t need to be anything stressful. Remember that.”
Samantha slowly nods, and takes another sip of her coffee.
Doctor Sharpe: “Is there anything else that you’d like to discuss with me today?”
Samantha shakes her head.
Samantha: “I… I think I’ve had enough knowledge bombs for one day, thanks.”
Doctor Sharpe nods.
Doctor Sharpe: “I’ll organize the tests and have someone call you to arrange a time when you get home. Would you like to have someone see you home? You seem a little unsteady on your feet.”
Samantha: “Y-yeah. That… That’d be good. Thanks, doc.”
Doctor Sharpe: “That’s quite alright, Sam. Leah will have someone ready for you.”
Samantha chuckles as she pushes herself upright.
Samantha: “Yeah. Heh. I guess Leah’s awesome like that.”
Doctor Sharpe smiles.
Doctor Sharpe: “She is. Until next time, Sam.”
Samantha exits the room and Doctor Sharpe sighs.
Doctor Sharpe: “Well, that was a bad move. Longest goddamn day.”
Doctor Sharpe takes out her recorder, and resumes recording.
Doctor Sharpe: “Personal notes, patient number 24235, session two. No significant notes to record at the present time. Patient responded with shock to the nature of her manifested abilities. Response is not unusual. Magic is a word that tends to have that effect on people, as does the realization of partially non-human genetic backgrounds. It would have been preferable to present that information to her at a less stressful time, but given that she was likely under the impression that her touch randomly caused things to explode, I thought it best to provide her the full explanation to alleviate those concerns. Attempt may have backfired. Will observe closely to ensure this knowledge does not hamper her recovery in the coming weeks.”
End of recording.
Notes and recommendations of supervisor Pearson regarding case #24235:
No additional notes to record. Will observe further before material conclusions are drawn.
Natalie sat back in her seat and let out a groan. It had been another long day. The last two weeks had been full of them. Ever since the incursion into New York and the only broadly explainable attacks by the birds, every department had been pressed to the grindstone, delivering press releases, constructing cover stories and, in her case, tending to the traumas of the dozens of victims they’d left behind.
In the back of her head, Natalie started counting the seconds. It would take around two minutes for someone to arrive and escort Samantha back to her home. Natalie waited for exactly two and a half minutes in the blessed quiet of her office, before pushing herself out of her chair and grabbing her empty cup. Then, she stepped towards the door. She needed coffee.
The day wasn’t even done.
“Clocking off early today, Leah,” she murmured as she passed the receptionist’s desk. “If I have any other emergency appointments, can you redirect them for me?”
“Sure thing, love,” she heard the older woman reply from behind her. “You got a hot date planned?”
“Heh,” she chuckled. “I wish.”
She swung the door closed behind her, and moved to the coffee machine. She placed the cup in the slot, punched in her code, and slid the coins into the slot, leaning her forehead against the surface of the machine while it poured, taking the few seconds she could to rest her eyes.
“Hello, Natalie,” came a voice from somewhere to her left. “Ready to go?”
She didn’t reply, holding up a hand blindly towards the speaker, silently telling him to wait. She held that point until the machine had finished making her coffee. Then, she picked up the cup in her free hand, raised it to her lips, and took a long drag.
“Okay,” she muttered, shaking herself. “I’m alive again. Ready when you are, Peter.”
She opened her eyes once more just in time to see Mr Toranaga grin.
“So,” he murmured, turning to stride back down the hallway towards the car park. “The rough days are universal, huh? Good to know.”
“Yeah,” she replied, falling into step behind him. “Those civilians you guys rescued took a pretty bad hit, you know?”
“I’m aware,” Peter replied. “You should have seen them when we first got there. One of the kids they’d picked up was mid-manifestation. Longest night of my life.”
“I heard about that,” Natalie nodded, pausing to take another long drag of her coffee. “Uncontrolled biokinesis, right? How’s he doing?”
“The doctors say they’ve removed the last of the tumors successfully,” came the grunted reply. “He’s been put in isolation while we formulate a training regime. His parents are taking it about as well as can be expected.”
“God,” she let out a humorless chuckle. “Those poor people.” They reached the door to the carpark, Peter stepping forwards to hold it open while she slipped out past him. “We are so lucky this whole thing didn’t make international news.”
“It did,” Peter groaned. “We had to crush the story. The higher ups are calling it the worst secrecy breach in three years. A major event, in a major city, with over a thousand anomalous avian predators released into the streets and four different cell phone recordings of lightning bolts rising out of Central Park; one of which caught a frame or two of something that honestly looks like a flying kid. It’s a clusterfuck.”
Peter’s voice was beginning to rise steadily as he vented.
“And that’s not even going into all the damage the female did on the bridge before she put one of our goblins in the hospital. Did you know she blew up a truck? She blew up a truck.”
“… Did you say a flying kid?”
“Yeah,” he muttered, raising his hands to his face. “I have a specialist looking into it. Frankly, that’s the biggest worry of all. An unknown party strong enough to be capable of unassisted flight? That’s a walking, breathing secrecy breach.”
Peter left Natalie to stew on that in silence as they made their way to his car and climbed inside. It was an effort, thinking on all the potential implications and risks, not to mention the addition of yet another dreaded layer of complexity. Eventually, she opted to set it aside.
“So,” she asked. “How’s Casper settling in? You’ve had him staying with you for, what, two weeks now?”
“Since the day after the attacks, yeah,” came the reply. “He’s doing okay. Still won’t tell us where he went or who he stayed with. Guess he doesn’t want to get anyone in trouble. Thanks for agreeing to talk to him, by the way.”
Natalie shook her head.
“It’d be better if it wasn’t me, you know,” she muttered. “I mean, his mom’s my supervisor, after all. I’m supposed to be an unbiased party.”
“His mom was your supervisor,” Peter corrected. “I had you reassigned to Pearson. Sorry, but it was probably gonna have to happen anyways, now that you’re in charge of giving therapy to the kid who lives with her son. Besides, he asked for you.”
“Yeah,” Peter replied. “Asked for the same woman who was helping James. Apparently he says good things about you.”
Natalie wasn’t sure how to feel about that. It was the oddest feeling, being told she gave good therapy.
“James won’t be there, will he?” she asked after a moment, reaching for a change of subject. “I’d prefer he not see me in any of his personal spaces, if possible.”
“Yeah,” said Peter. “He said he was going to catch a movie with a friend this evening. Should be out for the next couple of hours.”
“Good. I think that’s probably for the best.”
The two sat in silence for a moment, before Peter spoke again, oddly hesitant.
“Can-… Do you mind if I ask a question?” He asked, his eyes oddly focused on the dashboard as he started up the car.
“Of course,” she replied, one eyebrow raised. “Something wrong?”
“Wrong?” He laughed. “No. Uh. Just… Not sure how to phrase it.” He paused for a second. “So, a couple months ago, I started getting the sense that James might, uh…” he stopped again, seemingly struggling for words.
“… Might what?” Natalie probed, her raised eyebrow climbing further still.
“It’s-” he paused again, then grunted. “It was little stuff, you know? Looking a little too hard at the men on tv… Getting more excited than normal about his friend, Charlie. Small things.”
“Oh!” Natalie realized, instinctively locking her face into a neutral expression. “You think he’s gay?”
“I-” Peter let out a frustrated sigh. “I don’t know. I had the feeling he might be leaning that way, but then the rape happened, and I…” He trailed off, frowning at the road ahead.
“Have you spoken to him about it?”
“Hah!” Peter snorted. “God, no. I have enough trouble talking to the kid about the easy stuff. I wouldn’t even know where to start on that mess.”
“… Would it be a problem if he was gay?” Natalie once more made an effort to keep her tone neutral.
“Of course not,” he replied immediately, his tone a touch defensive. “That’s not the point. It’s just…” He stalled out again, his eyes set determinedly on the road.
“Don’t know how to ask?” She prompted.
“No,” he grumbled. “It’s-… I’m worried about him is all. I mean, what if he really is gay, you know? His only experience with a man was painful as hell. Wouldn’t that, you know, make it harder for him?”
“Ah,” Natalie nodded, finally understanding. She allowed her face to slip out of its rigorously neutral expression, and gave him a smile. “I see. Well, yeah. I can see why you’re worried about it. I don’t think you need to be, though.”
“You don’t?” He finally allowed himself to glance across at her, his fingers relaxing a little on the steering wheel.
“No,” she murmured. “Your son is still a child, Peter. Whatever sexuality he has, I expect it’s still in the early stages. He might not have even discovered it himself, yet.” Now it was Peter’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “It happens,” she shrugged. “Some of us are late bloomers, after all. Besides, I expect he’s probably doing his best not to think about sex at all right now.” Peter opened his mouth to speak, but she raised a finger to quiet him.
“And yes, I expect he probably will have some problems to overcome when it comes to dealing with his sexuality in the future, but you need to realize, those are problems he’ll probably have to deal with regardless of whether he’s straight or gay or whatever. He’s a rape victim. There’s baggage attached to that, no matter what you end up liking. What’s important, and what I’d like you to remember, is that he has a loving family, some good friends, and-” she chuckled. “-A qualified therapist. He’s a strong kid. You can trust him to find his way, alright?”
“… Right,” Peter muttered. “Yeah. You’re right. Thanks.”
“It’s no problem, sir.”
They were silent the rest of the way to the Toranaga house. After a few minutes, Peter put the radio on. Natalie pulled out her phone and began checking her emails, taking the chance to finish her coffee before it grew cold.
The rest of the journey was undergone in silence, neither of the car’s occupants really feeling any need to talk to the other more than they already had. The house was quiet when they got there; almost empty, but for the sandy haired boy gazing quietly at her from his seat halfway up the staircase, his chin tucked up against his knees.
“You the doctor?” He asked, his voice calm.
“Yes,” she replied. “I’m Doctor Sharpe. Or you can call me Natalie. It’s nice to meet you, Casper.”