Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 62 5/28/22 (WIP)

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behrinthecity
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 62 5/28/22 (WIP)

Post by behrinthecity »

Hot off the presses! I guess one benefit of my computer woes is that I ended up adding more between Max and Liz, and have decided to separate the other scenes for part 63.

I didn't want to delay this any longer. So apologies if there are any typos I missed. I will respond to feedback in the following post.




PART SIXTY-TWO

“They can control my powers.”

Liz’s hands slipped off Max’s arms and lay slack at her side as she tried to process his words.

They can… they did… they put

Her thoughts stuttered from the absolute horror of having her suspicions confirmed.

The abuse Max suffered at the hands of the Special Unit was more encompassing than she had ever thought. This chip could literally make Max their puppet. The last shred of will that he may have held on to would be destroyed by them sending a signal… likely by a mere push of a button.

Registering Max’s taut form, she noticed him intensely staring down at his hands that lay palm up in his lap. The slightest of trembles were visible in his neck and arms.

A shadow of sorrow cast upon her face at the sight. In her mind’s eye she replayed the moment they had found Max—his head adamantly shaking his head in panicked disbelief and his limbs rattling his restraints. It physical hurt her to see him in such distress, such pain. She just wanted to hold him close and for a moment, at least, shut out the world.

And just as she had done back then, she reached out to offer a touch of comfort.

Max jumped in place; head snapping up.

Looking with frantic eyes, he slowly registered Liz’s concerned face.

His hands balled up into firsts as he pulled them in towards his chest. His voice was as tight as a wire about to snap as he warned, “Don’t.”

Liz’s hand hovered near Max, trembling with indecision.

She admonished herself for once again pushing him too far. Max had endured unspeakable violations for the past year. The fact he let anyone come close to him was astounding. But now, she could see him withdrawing into himself.

She had vowed that she would make sure Max knew he wasn’t alone. That no matter what she would be by his side. About to speak, she took a breath. But Max spoke first, his voice low and rough.

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

Liz instantly shook her head, her ponytail lightly glancing across her shoulders. “You won’t.” Grabbing one of Max’s clenched fists, she affirmed, “I know you won’t.”

An indiscernible sound escaped Max at her words. It was the sound of a wounded soul unable to believe but yearning for it to be true.

His gaze, however, stubbornly remained trained on his hands.

After a beat, Liz sighed out his name.

Still not looking at her, Max spoke again his voice shaky. “How can you be so sure?”

“Because you’ve always protected me. Remember Clayton? When he was taking over, you managed to break through and save me from him.”

“He didn’t access my powers, though,” Max countered n a morose tone.

Frustrated, Liz chewed on her lip.

Her voice soft, Liz asked, “Did you actually hear something when you covered your ears?”

Max lifted his head, but his gaze looked past Liz. “I…” Max seemed about to nod yes but became lost in thought.

“Max?” Liz coaxed.

Finally meeting her gaze, Liz could see how lost and confused Max felt. Lowering his eyes, he admitted in a dejected voice, “I can’t be sure.”

A quiet sigh escaped Liz. Max was still mentally trapped in that white room. She made a mental note to talk to others on engaging Max in activities that would show he was free. But in this moment, she needed to assure him that he wasn’t a danger.

But how?

Watching Max take back his hand, her gaze locked in on Max’s arms. Her eyes widened with realization. Pointedly, she asked, “Is this… chip… how they suppressed your powers?”

Max finally faced Liz directly. “I—” Max trailed off as he glanced down at his arms. They had been littered with track marks in there.

With a nod Liz remarked, “Why would they need to give you the serum if the chip worked?”

Max moved his mouth as if to answer. Momentarily, he was transported in his mind to when he was strapped down to the metal table as faceless men in decontamination suits injected him with different chemicals.

Anxiously rubbing at his arm, he responded, “I don’t know what they injected me with. I assumed some of it was the serum, but…” Shrugging, he trailed off as he became lost to the memory of his interrogations.

Liz’s pursed her lips, swallowing the anger rising within her. Her stomach churned and her throat burned from bile over what was done to Max.

Crossing his arms protectively, Max tucked his hands away from sight.

Liz took a deep breath to calm herself down. Max needed her to be level-headed.

But just as the silver handprint had dumbfounded her back on that fateful September day and how seeing her face devoid of features in the mirror had shaken her to the core, she had no words.

Despite Max’s desire to be a normal human, she knew his powers were a fundamental part of who he was. Whenever he had revealed his true self to her, he had displayed a magical array of powers. His healing. His protective shield. His declarations of love—painted on her brick wall or carved in a tree. Without them his amazing soul was once more hidden from the world.

More pressing is that he was left vulnerable.

That thought brought her back to the present moment. They needed to know more about what this chip could do.

Her gaze darted to her laptop bag leaning against the desk.

With her thoughts still dazed at this revelation she had not focused long enough on the chip’s blueprints. She hoped that the schematics were in there so that they knew what danger this truly posed them.

And ideally, provided instructions on how to get rid of it.

“Do it,” Max gritted out.

Surprised by his outburst, she turned to him for confirmation. “Wh-hat?”

Slightly bent over and hands still tucked out of sight, Max clarified, “The files the Unit have on me.”

Max’s voice sounded raw with pain, anger, and shame to Liz’s ears.

Despite her earlier thoughts, the palpable emotion compelled her to reconsider. Her mouth opened about to respond, but Max continued.

“They could use me as a weapon against all of you. You have to find out what… how far they can…” Max’s breaths turned shallow. In a whisper, he admitted, “we… I have to know.”

Liz solemnly nodded and moved to retrieve the laptop.

She positioned the computer so that they both could see.

In moments the interface was displayed on the screen.

She scrolled through the document list looking for anything relevant.

As she toggled down the page, a preview of each file flashed on the right side of the screen. Each document was filled with biostats—records of Max’s vitals and physical reactions to whatever they subjected him to. She had to pause when she saw mention of nearly drowning Max in a water tank.

Nearing the end of the list, the file name was suddenly coded in strange lettering. Peering closely, she recognized some as Greek letters. Looking for the preview image, she realized it was blank with the words, “No preview available”.

Her nerves were on edge knowing that this file held the answers. Sharing a glance with Max she double clicked the file.

An irksome sound was made by the computer as a message appeared prompting her to input a password.

Her shoulders dropped in defeat. How would they ever guess the password?

At this point Max had leaned in closer to her. He murmured in her ear, his voice tickling her skin, “Does your power work on a computer?”

Liz turned to Max in surprise. Her power did help them rescue Max, so why couldn’t she use it to bypass this password lock?

Resolute, she nodded. Her eyes closed as she lightly grazed her fingers on the USB.

In her mind’s eye she saw a series of 0s and 1s flash before her. The stream of binary code suddenly slowed revealing a simple phrase.

Opening her eyes, she saw Max’s concerned and expectant face. His hands were no longer tucked tightly away as she saw him struggling with the urge to place a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

Seeing that spurred her into action. With a nod at Max, she typed the password into the computer.

Trustn01

She smirked at the password as she typed it. It seemed apt, though it reminded her of her classmates’ usernames on AOL instant messenger. Holding her breath, she pressed enter.

A new interface opened. The strange lettering dissolved into English letters: AXUltra/Project Aegis.

Puzzled, she looked at Max, but he was equally flummoxed.

Beneath the name she saw an executive summary detailing the testing done on specimen A5.

“Oh my God…” she breathed out.

Skimming through the text she saw lines remarking on A5’s… on Max’s capacity to withstand extreme temperatures, hold his breath under water, subsist on minimal food and sleep, and that he would be a great asset in the field with his powers of telekinesis, forming an energy shield, and healing.

She raised both hands to cover her gasp. They had begun to shape their perfect soldier in Max.

The last paragraph discussed a control mechanism to wield the powers as needed, and that test-runs on A5 yielded promising results.

Max was right. This chip was meant to turn him into a weapon.

But the way the Unit had physically abused Max it didn’t seem like they were grooming him to be the ultimate super soldier…

Her eyes widened as she remembered her vision of the Max clones. Finding Max, helping him, and the events of the past week had made her forget about them.

“What is it?” Max’s eyebrows were furrowed in confused apprehension over Liz’s reaction.

“The chip wasn’t meant to control you, Max.”

Max regarded Liz warily.

Liz took a deep breath bracing herself for what she had to tell Max.

“They cloned you. And when those clones are old enough, they’ll be a super soldier army.”

Never taking her eyes off Max, Liz saw his face morph from unease to shock. When he closed his eyes, she imagined he was reliving how they took the necessary material to clone him.

When he reopened his eyes, his expression was haunted.

Running a hand against his nose, he cleared his throat.

Timidly, he asked, “a vision?”

Liz nodded, elaborating, “Before we knew you were alive, I saw you dressed in army fatigues. You were stood at attention, your eyes unseeing. And then I realized there were multiple men in that same room and that they all looked like you.” Liz gulped in a breath. “We thought this may have been achieved because Nasedo lied about the samples they took from you the first time.” She pushed a strand of hair out of her face, wiping away an errant tear.

Max looked off to the side, his gaze unfocused.

His voice sounded faraway as he revealed, “The first time they did that… I wondered. But after so many times, I stopped thinking of why. I just wanted to not think about what was happening.”

“Oh Max…” Dismayed, Liz held a hand to her heart.

Clearing his throat of a sudden knot, Max redirected their attention back to the computer. “So, what else does it say?”

Liz tried to shake off her emotions so she could focus on the document with a clear head.

Pressing the arrow key, she moved through the report until she finally came across the blueprints she had seen in the flash. Looking closely at the screen, she was relieved to see no tracking element was incorporated.

Reading on, she released a breath in relief.

The signal was tested to 150 yards.

“Max the signal can’t reach beyond 150 yards. This was all about creating a way to control your clones.”

Max’s tongue peeked out to wet his dry lips. “Can it be removed?”

Looking at the blueprints, Liz wasn’t sure. She gestured to Max to let her connect so that she could see how it was implanted. He acquiesced, holding his neck out.

Seeing the notes on how the chip would connect to the central nervous system, she held her hand at the base of his head.

Images flashed before her eyes interspersed with flashes of blinding white light.

Surgical tongs held up a tiny chip before being lowered.

*flash*

Blood and sinew swallowed up the implant.

*flash*

A radio dashboard came into view. A red needle pointed to a frequency.

“Try to make a shield, Mr. Evans,” a disembodied voice instructed.

Shimmering green energy cast an eerie glow on the machine.

*flash*

The needle toggled to the left, and the familiar green light of Max’s shield dissipated.

“Very good.”

“Stop now.”

The needle moved the other way and the green light returned albeit fainter.

*flash*

On a screen was footage of the surgical site. Gleaming surgical tools cut further in to embed the chip.

*flash*

Suddenly, a brilliant green glow filled Liz’s vision.


Liz’s hand slipped from Max’s neck, a sharp gasp escaping her.

Immediately, Max placed his hands on her arms. He asked in an urgent tone, “Are you ok? What did you see?”

She knew the Special Unit was despicable. Just moments ago, they discovered this chip could control Max’s power. But to actually see how they did it… Liz could never have fathomed the utter horror the Unit inflicted on Max.

She screwed up her face trying desperately to stop the tears. After shaking her head a few times, she gave in and let the dam break.

Burrowing her head into Max’s chest, her tears flowed freely.

“I’m sorry, Max. I’m so, so sorry.”

She felt the warmth of Max’s arms as they wrapped around her.

Soothing murmurs from Max only made her cry harder.

After all he endured… and what he was still suffering… he still looked out for her. In between her sobs, she gasped out, “It’s not right… how could they…it’s not…” Her cries swallowed her protesting words.

She didn’t know how long she cried into Max’s chest.

As her sobs subsided, she became aware of the steady beat of Max’s heart.

“Why don’t you go to sleep?” Max suggested, as his hand tenderly stroked her hair.

Slowly blinking, she pulled herself off to face Max. Embarrassed at her lack of composure, she swiped at the wet trails clinging to her cheeks.

Before she could say anything, Max reassured her, “It’s okay. The documents prove they need to be close to activate it... you said they can’t track me with it, and as far as they know I’m dead.” Max’s voice wavered on the last word.

Liz mentally berated herself. Despite his words, Liz could hear Max’s false bravado. She needed to be strong for him. She wouldn’t let him continue to be terrorized by the Unit.

Straightening her back, Liz shook her head, “No.” There’s no way she could sleep until this was resolved.

Releasing a heavy sigh, Liz admitted, “I saw them implant the chip… and test it out on you. They embedded the chip deep in your brainstem. I’m not sure how we could remove it safely.”

Liz hated herself even more at Max’s crestfallen face.

She looked away, frustrated that she didn’t know what to do.

Looking down at her hands which had settled on her lower abdomen, she was suddenly struck with an idea.

“When you healed me, what happened to the bullet?”

Confused, Max stammered when he began to answer. “I… I just focused on healing you. I guess I must have altered its molecular structure…” Max trailed off as he met her gaze in realization.

Nodding in encouragement, Liz held her hand out. “Want to try together?”

Max released a startled shaky breath. A moment later he placed his hand on hers. He bent his head forward as they moved in tandem to cover his neck.

Liz’s eyes closed as she pulled up the blueprints in her mind, while Max searched his anatomy for the anomaly to fix—the chip.

Their vision filled with veins and tissue. A silvery glow snaked through searching for the chip.

Liz remained awestruck watching how Max’s energy flowed through, but then she saw a glint of metal.

That’s it! That’s what I saw she conveyed through their connection.

She heard Max grunt as a golden glow began to surround the chip.

For a brief moment Liz saw their bedroom. Max buckled forward in response to a sharp stab down his back.

Panicked, Liz asked if they should stop. Her hand was starting to lift from Max’s neck. No… keep holding on, Max instructed through their mental link. Her lips drawing into a tight line, Liz focused on supporting Max, her own energy melding with his.

Once more the chip was in her mind’s eye, nestled in the brainstem.

She felt Max direct their energy towards it. The energy bathed the chip in white light. As the light dissipated, she saw the chip no longer had its raised components. It was now a dull matte square.

Liz opened her eyes, feeling chilled.

She watched as Max lifted his head and lowered their hands.

After an extended silence, Liz asked in a hush voice, “Did it work?”

His voice rough and weary, Max answered, “It can’t be activated now.”

Max’s statement implied the chip was still physically implanted in him.

Sensing her protest, Max added, “They used a material I can’t manipulate. But our energy melted the top components… so it can’t receive any signal.”

Liz regarded Max pensively. Her heart ached at knowing a physical symbol of his captivity remained in his body. But at least it was neutralized.

Reaching out, she pulled Max into an embrace.

She wanted to say it was over, but with the clones and Kivar’s army in their future, it was far from that.

Instead, her lips lightly touched Max’s cheek and she whispered, “Rest now.”

In moments they lay on the bed, the computer put aside. As Liz traced her finger along Max’s hand, she soothed him to sleep. His soft breathing began to lull her into sleep. As her eyes started to shut, she made a mental note to talk to Cal in the morning.





A/N: The code name AXULTRA is a reference to a secret government project where they did horrible human experimentation and was later exposed. For those interested look up MKUltra.

Also, one of the meanings for aegis is shield.
Last edited by behrinthecity on Sun May 29, 2022 11:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 62 5/28/22 (WIP)

Post by behrinthecity »

keepsmiling7- :mrgreen:

MP- :mrgreen: Thank you for checking in! I was hoping to get this part soon after your comment and well... we know how that went. :cry:

dreamon- thanks for checking in.
clueless wrote: Mon Apr 25, 2022 6:57 pm What brand is your computer?! I’m willing to write them a strongly worded email on your behalf for this immense inconvenience. Don’t they know that you have fans waiting eagerly for an update!
:lol: I love your comment!! I was so tempted to take you up on your offer. :wink: Though it's moot now, my computer is Microsoft. Turns out the charger had to be replaced, which wasn't in stock at that time adding to the delay. :x
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 62 5/28/22 (WIP)

Post by keepsmiling7 »

Welcome back!
Thanks for this great chapter. I felt the emotion......
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 62 5/28/22 (WIP)

Post by behrinthecity »

keepsmiling7 wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 9:23 am Welcome back!
Thanks for this great chapter. I felt the emotion......
Thank you for the comments, especially on feeling the emotions. I was worried about whether this part was ok given that I had to include so much info.
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 62 5/28/22 (WIP)

Post by clueless »

glad you liked my comment! I wasn’t joking :lol:

Happy to see a new part! And loved the fact that it was dreamer focused. Looking forward to more.
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 62 5/28/22 (WIP)

Post by behrinthecity »

clueless wrote: Mon May 30, 2022 9:30 pm glad you liked my comment! I wasn’t joking :lol:

Happy to see a new part! And loved the fact that it was dreamer focused. Looking forward to more.

:mrgreen: I'll keep that mind! Though it shouldn't happen again before I finish! (At least it better not. :| )

Now that we're entering the final stretch, I plan to incorporate more couple moments, especially Dreamer * happy sigh * <3.
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 62 5/28/22 (WIP)

Post by clueless »

behrinthecity wrote: Tue May 31, 2022 12:47 am
clueless wrote: Mon May 30, 2022 9:30 pm glad you liked my comment! I wasn’t joking :lol:

Happy to see a new part! And loved the fact that it was dreamer focused. Looking forward to more.

:mrgreen: I'll keep that mind! Though it shouldn't happen again before I finish! (At least it better not. :| )

Now that we're entering the final stretch, I plan to incorporate more couple moments, especially Dreamer * happy sigh * <3.
You’re right, it better not happen again! I need my fix lol. I hope we get the new part soon 😉
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Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 62 5/28/22 (WIP)

Post by dreamon »

Always love reading new parts to this! At least the chip is destroyed and I can’t wait to see how the cloning story unravels.
I have a few dreamer challenges in mind if you are looking for ideas so pm me!
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