Adventure of a Lifetime
Part XV: The Sick, the Wounded and the Worried
The whole class ended up following Allison and the newbies for their fight against the Rook. Rather than the Dojo we’d gone to the last time, the Rook chose an isolated bit of lawn for the fight.
The fights weren’t pretty. Allen and Sage were defeated pretty easily. Allison was the one who did the best, using their power to force the Rook to be on the defensive. Still they were defeated in the end due to one of Charlie’s foam bomb, which she’d loaned to Sage minutes earlier. Jaeger went last and although he had scored a few hits, he came out of it black and blue…
The second the match ended, I went to hide side. Charlie, Sage, Sanjay and Ahti coming with me.
“You okay?” Sanjay asked, prompting Jaeger to roll his eyes dismissively.
“We should take you to Doc Venus.” Charlie suggested. I looked at her and noticed that she wasn’t looking at Jaeger’s bloodied face, instead staring straight into the grass.
Jaeger tried to get on his feet by himself but stumbled back down. In the end, he resignedly accepted Sanjay’s hand. Jaeger took a few steps forward and we followed him except for Sage.
“I don’t need a whole congregation.” He said, looking at us.
“I want to make sure you’re okay though,” Ahti said, their voice higher pitched than usual.
“It’s not like I have a life threatening wound here jeez.”
We walked to the clinic, the doc sharing the same building and waiting room as Max Steel. Since classes were in session, Jaeger went into the doc’s office immediately. While Charlie, Ahti and I waited outside for them.
Next to me, I could see Ahti just shaking in their chair. Hunched over and looking about hyper alert.
“Are you okay, Ahti?” I asked putting a hand on their shoulder.
“Yes, but what about Jaeger, is he going to be okay? What if his arm is broken, is it going to heal, what if he doesn’t? I Jaeger going to leave us? I don’t want him to leave, I just met him and he seems nice. I don’t want to lose a friend…” They said, a few sad whining noise escaping their throat.
“Hey relax, little one.” Instinctively I ran my fingers over their bare cranium and they came closer, snuggling up with me. “I’m sure it’s nothing serious, beside I’m sure the doctor knows how to treat anything.”
“Really? You’re not just saying that for me, right?”
“I know Jaeger’s going to be fine. He’ll just need a day or two and he’ll be back to top shape.”
Ahti kind of looked at me weirdly, like they weren’t sure whether to believe me or not.
Thankfully Jaeger came out soon enough, their face all cleaned up, their lip patched and somewhat swollen. He’d removed his blood stained t-shirt and instead had just buttoned up the red shirt he’d worn over it.
“We’ve missed the first few minutes of Science.” Charlie said, looking up the time on her pĥone and getting to her feet. “But don’t worry. Stanko is more invested in shared interest in the sciences than timekeeping.”
We went out and the others talked for a bit while I just listened. However there was a second of awkwardness when Jaeger mentioned wanting to bring down heroes from their smug attitude… Which was a bit odd.
“So anything we should expect from science class?” I asked.
“The teacher’s a nutjob.” Charlie said deadpan.
“But the good news is that I came prepared.” She said. “I have a defoliant bomb, a vial of protomatter disruption compound, a cryo-liquid spray, self-igniting liquid fuel and a pair of protective gel globs.”
“Do you really need those for science class?” I asked, giving her a look. “Weird teacher or not…”
“Last year the academy had to deal with a giant super fast growing fungus carpet taking over the school, a runaway neogenetic dinosaur, an agnosia gas leak that made everyone forget who everyone else was for a day and a weird group of protomatter doppelganger who then went on to merge into a hivemind intent on replacing humanity.”
“Okay so there’s been a few accidents…” I said, processing what she’d just told me.
“Those are just the things that happened in June like three months back. It’s like that every month. Heck we’re lucky nothing’s happened yet.”
All of that stuff had happened in June? And that guy was teaching us…
We arrived at the lab, on the other side of the school building from Mr. Martin’s class and the teacher let us in. As we walked in, I took a good look at the teacher. He was kind of tall and lanky. Aside from the really bad case of bed hair, he looked normal.
But then he opened his mouth…
“Ah! It seems that our astray students have made their way toward us, most fantastic!” He declared. He had some sort of european accent that I didn’t place. “You’ve joined us just in time too, as I was just about to meticulously explain the wonderful bountiful mysterious world of SCIENCE to your fellow classmates. Please take a seat right over there!” He said, making a broad motion toward the lab stations.
It took us a second the react and we quietly went out and took seats at the back. Charlie and I together while Jaeger and Sanjay sat at the lab station next to ours.
Stanko, that was the teacher’s name, started talking and it was quick and verbose. Immediately, I knew I was going to struggle with the class. His accent, the way and the speed he talked made it difficult for me to follow. Not helped by the distance, although I should have sat in the front, I didn’t dare interrupt him.
After another barrage of speech, he asked what the Von-Neumann gene was. Or I think he did, I’d only gotten about 30% of what he’d said. Nobody however volunteered to answer so I did.
“Uh… It’s the gene believed to be responsible for the appearance of mutants.” I offered, hoping I’d understood what he’d asked.
And according to his cheerful demeanor, I had. Without missing a beat, he launched into a long explanation of something. Until he gave us an experiment. All it required was a scalpel, a petri dish and a clear liquid solution.
Thankfully, I wasn’t shy about blood. When you grew up in a farm in the middle of nowhere, scrapes, bruises and cuts were a common thing. I’d even become the go-to person for first aid since my grandpa’s hands were becoming less and less accurate.
Charlie however looked horrible, her hands shaking. She’d closed her eyes to prick her finger and had turned livid…
“Are you okay?” I asked, putting my hand on her arm. “You’re like really pale…”
“I think I’m going to be sick…” She mumbled, closing her eyes and taking a few deep breaths.
I took out a tissue from my bag and wiped her finger clean before wrapping the band-aid Stanko had provided in our ‘kit’ around her finger.
The next step of the experiment involved putting a drop of the clear solution into our blood sample. Charlie tried to do it first but her hands shook so badly that she couldn’t so I did it for the both of us.
The second the solution hit my sample, it began clotting. Charlie’s however remained liquid. Four of us had experienced a clot; Amber, Allen, Jaime and I. The others, minus Sage and Allison who hadn’t shown up to class, didn’t clot.
“Can I go to the bathroom? I think I’m going to be sick…” Charlie asked. She got the green light and ran out of the room.
Stanko had us pick some manuals and I took one for Charlie who returned a few minutes later.
“Hey are you alright?” I whispered to her once she sat back down again. She was still really pale.
“No…” She answered.
“Do you want to leave?”
“I… Eh… No… I took my meds, I’ll get better soon.”
I wanted to give her a hug so badly but since we weren’t exactly in the best place for that, I settled for taking her hand. Squeezing it gently.
“Get into four groups of four please, be mindful of the grouping as you’ll be working with each other for the rest of this year.” The teacher said.
“So anyone you want to–”
“Hey shortie, wanna team up?” Jaeger interrupting her and coming up next to us. Charlie just stopped, turned around and glared at him, murder in her eyes. I was fairly sure I was the only one who could call her short without risking life and limb.
“I don’t see why not,” she replied. “Batboy.” She then called him. Jaeger seeming taken aback by the nickname.
I could see the tension between the two of them. I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing, but at least Charlie wasn’t about to pass out anymore…