Master PC – Mind Magi
Part Six—Tangled Web
Chapter Forty Five—The Power of Fiona
Fiona was at a computer terminal when I returned. The room was filled with server cabinets and many systems. I wondered if everything in the room made up the server.
“A server is a single computer, Ral,” Fiona said without facing me.
“So, on top of manipulating Dragons and House Lords, you can read minds too?” I asked softly.
“I can do many things,” she said. “Please, don’t try anything to stop me Ral. I have been working on this for a very long time and would hate to have to put you down in order to complete my goal.”
Her threat was subtle, but there. Could she put me down? Was there anything I couldn’t recover from? Well, there were probably situations, like having my head removed, that would keep me from healing on my own. So, instead of replying to her threat, I decided to focus something else.
“Your goal?” I asked shaking my head. “Your goal is to put everyone under your thumb. You’re not bringing humanity together, you’re stripping it.”
Fiona turned. “I am not.”
“Really?” I asked. “Prove it.”
She glanced back at the terminal and then turned fully to me. Leaning against the desk and crossing her arms she said, “All I am doing is helping everyone understand the direction the world is heading.”
Knowing enough about Master PC I asked, “And what command are you using to accomplish that?”
She shook her head. “It’s more than just one simple command,” she said. “It’s a complex array of commands designed to bring understanding to everyone.”
“Whether it’s one command or a thousand, they are still commands.”
She rolled her eyes. “Yes, anything you type in and send is a command as the terms of the program go. However, I’m not telling anyone anything. I’m giving them understanding.”
I shook my head. “Giving them understanding? You’re forcing your ideas into their minds.”
She sighed. “If you insist on breaking it down to basics, yes.”
“And you don’t call that control?”
She shook her head. “No, I don’t. It’s no different than giving someone an additional skill, the understanding of how to do something new.”
“Ah, but an individual would probably understand the benefits of such an act. However, entire groups, or regions of people would generally have a different perspective. Given that any group will never totally agree on any one subject, I would say that you would not find them accepting of any change.”
“I’m not asking,” she said simply.
“And if you’re not asking then you’re telling, or commanding,” I said, nodding at the terminal.
“And why does that make any difference?”
“The fact that you have to ask that question answers itself,” I said. “Commanding any individual or group is taking away they’re inborn disposition to be who they are. Any change, no matter how small, changes who they are.”
Fiona stood there shaking her head.
“You’re taking away people’s rights to be assholes, if it comes down to it.”
She smirked at that. “Yeah. I am. Because I’ve seen what this world has been. I’ve seen what humanity has done to its self, and quite frankly, I’m tired of suffering through that.”
I wanted to say, “Theodore found a solution to that, didn’t he?” but didn’t.
The look on her face told me she heard me anyway.
Trying to ignore her reaction, I trudged on. “So, it’s better to force everyone to be what you believe they should be instead of letting our natural evolution dictate where we end up?”
“If it comes down to it, yes.”
I shook my head. “I cannot allow that.”
“And you can’t stop me,” she replied.
For a few minutes we both stood there, staring at each other. I didn’t want to make the first move and apparently neither did she.
What did happen was completely unexpected, at least to me. The door burst open.
I spun around to see what was happening. Fiona simply looked in that direction.
The same FBI special forces I had faced back in Lord Morehouse’s office stormed the room. Among the armed and armored soldiers, someone shouted: “Freeze!”
How had they found us? Well, the fight I had had on the roof with Mr. Brick Wall had probably been a clue. With the city mostly under the influence of Master PC and docile, the sounds of that short skirmish could have traveled some distance. Since I had traveled through shadows rather than on foot, I wasn’t sure how far that was. It could have been a block or several miles.
“Both of you get your hands up, now!”
I glanced over at Fiona. She was still leaning against the desk with her arms crossed over her tummy in defiance. Looking back at the officers, I held up my hands.
“You’re such a hypocrite Ral,” Fiona said. “Conforming to their will, but not allowing me to impose mine on everyone else.”
“Has it escaped your attention that these men are not under the influence of your server?” I asked in return.
“As if they pose a threat,” she said.
The men were spread out and each of them had a weapon trained on either me or her. Of course, her statement caught a majority of their collective attention.
The room was already well lit. Plenty of phosphorous lighting overhead made sure everyone could see what they were doing. However, the room lit up more. I turned to see Fiona crackling with electricity.
With trained precision and only the need to squeeze triggers, the elite squad opened fire. And it wasn’t just her they shot at.
Anticipating that I might get shot, I threw up the same defensive shield that had protected Sally, her father and me earlier from Maelstrom’s storm. Bullets ricocheted off the invisible barrier.
Across from me, Fiona was flailing with the barrage the special unit unleashed.
Something in me snapped. The sight of Fiona falling, possibly mortally wounded or dead already, caused a tide of anger in me that felt foreign. Theodore’s memories were accompanied by his emotions and he had always loved her, regardless of her faults. Anger is anger, whether mine or someone else’s and I reacted accordingly.
With all my will I shoved every member of the unit into the walls behind them and screamed, “NO!”
All of them flew back into the walls. Only a couple took the hits badly and fell to the floor. I didn’t care whether they were alive or not, just that they weren’t moving. The rest had been protected by their armor and got up immediately.
Rushing the squad, Theodore’s anger blurred my vision. I was swinging at them, using my considerable strength and speed to cause damage beyond their armor.
They attempted to subdue me with the butts of their rifles, but each hit only brought my attention to each of them in turn.
One soldier flew past the server banks and hit the far wall of the room. He slid to the floor. I turned to find the next one.
Their hits didn’t faze me. I took the shots and put them down one at a time. They never had a chance. I had warned them before.
By the time all of them were laying unmoving on the floor, I noticed that Fiona had gotten back up.
Relief swept through me. I went to her without realizing the potential danger. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “I have a power similar to yours. I can borrow an ability from anyone around me, but I don’t have to share mine to get it.”
I realized she had borrowed my ability to heal, or at least she had done it unconsciously. The desire to survive can be very strong.
Fiona reached up and caressed my face. “Thank you for your concern Ral, but it wasn’t necessary.”
I started to nod but then felt her power course through me. Every nerve ending in my body felt like it was on fire. My muscles contracted, all of them. The light in the room was bright and brighter.
I had to get away from her. I had to break the connection. Responding instinctively I used the same push I had used on the soldiers, and since Fiona was right in front of me it took nothing to know where to aim...
The pain, the near seizure, subsided immediately. The blinding white light took a minute for me to recover from. Once I could see, I thought my eyes were having problems. I was seeing weird light. Brighter than the overheads. I looked at the ceiling and realized that many of those lights were out, the bulbs broken. Looking around for the source of light I found Fiona dancing with electricity again.
Arcs of power reached out to the walls, ceiling and computer components in the room. Her face was twisted with rage. I wasn’t sure if her power hurt her, if it took effort to maintain it, or if she was simply that angry. She answered my question: “I told you to not try to stop me Ral. I warned you.”
Wary of what she could do, I said, “I did no such thing. You attacked me.”
She held out a hand, pointing at the soldiers. One of the arcs followed her movement and touched several of the soldiers. Their bodies twitched at the contact. “You led those damned soldiers here. How else would they have found me?”
Witnessing what her power would do to the unconscious and possibly even dead, I turned back at her. Fear was there, running along the edges of my skin, but her anger was strong and started feeding me as well. “Well if your friend, Mr. Brick Wall, hadn’t tried to throw me off the roof our little get together might have gone uninterrupted.”
A maniacal look crossed her face. “It doesn’t matter anymore!” she screamed. “The computers are ruined. The Master PC server is down and now... now I’m going to put you down. I’m going to kill you just like I should have done centuries ago.”
Her anger was clouding her judgment. She had been angry that the soldiers had found her and she tried to defend herself with her power. However, the attack must have shorted out her control and she, in turn, fried the computers. However, now she was mixing me up with Theodore. “You’re talking about Theodore. I’m not Theodore!”
“Shut up!” she screamed and threw one of those electrical arcs at me.
Having barely dodged a lightning bolt earlier in the evening was one thing. Trying to do it again wasn’t so graceful. But then, who cares about grace when you don’t get hit?
Grateful for having something to hide behind for the moment, I looked up over a desk.
Fiona was walking toward me.
I ducked. Scared and angry, I looked for an exit but realized that I was cornered. Once she had me in plain sight, there would be no where for me to go.
I had heard that when you’re near death, you relive your life. I hadn’t lived that long, as age goes, but my life had felt full and rich. I had more going for me than almost anyone could claim. Thoughts of my family, my mom and dad, my sisters, even my estranged grandfather flittered through my mind.
Then I saw the faces of my girls, the women I called mine and who claimed me as theirs; Renee, Erin, Nadia, Jeri, Yvonne, Tabitha, Chloe, Linda, Li, Alexandria, Mandy, Tanya, Carrie, Charlotte, Savannah, Anna and Sally.
So many faces to go through, yet it felt as if I hadn’t thought of each of them enough. So many things to say. So many things yet to do. I had promised them weddings in our shared dreams the night before. I knew some of them were pregnant with my children. The love they felt for me filled me at that moment. With a thought I sent them my love as well.
Just as quickly I felt their responses. The need for me to come home. The desire to have me with them. The grief they would face should something happen.
As strong as Fiona’s anger had been, the collected emotions of my women were stronger. Unlike Fiona, I had never failed them. I would never fail them.
Fiona stepped around the desk.
I stood up.
She didn’t say anything. The build-up of power that she displayed said it for her. She was going to hit me with everything she had, and should I recover from that attack, she would still be there to bear down on me again and again.
“I’m sorry,” I said.
Fiona thrust out her hands and all of the electrical arcs that played around her converged at her direction.
I didn’t feel fear. I didn’t feel anger. I felt the love of my women and pity for Fiona. Then I braced for the strike.
The pain of the electrical current flowing through me was horrendous but short.
I had collapsed to the floor, coughing and spitting up blood. My skin felt raw and brittle. But I was healing already. The smell of burnt hair and clothes filled the room.
Fiona had fallen too. She was on the floor and looked weak from the effort she had put into her power. “How... How can you survive...?” she asked.
I looked at her. “Because Fiona,” I said and then coughed. “Because I have too much to live for. I have a full life ahead of me. Unlike Theodore, I have yet to live. I have children on the way. Weddings to plan and see through and women who are waiting for me.” After more coughing I added, “And I survive, because Theodore wanted to die.”
She shook her head and collapsed. Holding herself up on her elbows, she sobbed.
I got up on all fours and crawled over to her.
She looked up at me.
For a moment we stayed there looking into one another’s eyes. Then she reached out and hugged me. I probably looked like a horrible sight. She didn’t look much better, but not from physical pain. No, her damage was emotional. I was fortunate that my body turned off any pain I was feeling at the moment. I didn’t think there was anything I could do for Fiona.
However, that didn’t stop me from the obligation I was still faced with.
I sat back and cradled Fiona’s face in my hands. “Fiona...”
She opened bleary eyes and looked back at me.
“... I banish you.” I said and poured my power into her.