This post was updated on .
The advertisement in the free newspaper called for a handyman to perform various tasks at a residency. Ric was getting tired of not eating, and what money he had was diminishing quickly. He decided to spend a couple of bucks at the government office in New Amsterdam for map of the area which contained the address listed, and relied on directions from citizens as he walked along. It took him the better part of the day to reach his destination.
A block or so away from where the large house set was an all-night diner, where he managed to convince a young lady allow him to relax until morning came. That was easy to do since he had encountered a gentleman several months back who had the power of persuasion. That, coupled with Ric’s natural good looks and charm, enabled him to convince many people to acquiesce to his desires. His sense of morality prevented him from using that for undesirable purposes.
The young lady was sufficiently taken with Ric to provide him breakfast and much desired cup of coffee. She refused to accept payment, but he did leave her with a substantial tip as a thank you. She thanked him for coming in and suggested he come back, along with providing him with her cell phone number. He was suitably embarrassed.
Ric left the diner and walked to the house. It was in a gated community, but showing the newspaper ad to the watchman – adding a slight tweak of persuasion – gained him admittance. He found the house, a two-story, spacious home belonging to someone who obviously possessed the means to own an abode of such stature.
He knocked on the door. It was answered by a middle-aged lady of striking beauty and a lustrous shock of flaming red hair.
“Can I help you,” she asked.
Momentarily flustered, Ric stammered, “I – I came to see about this.” he held the paper out to the lady and shuffled his feet uneasily.
“I see,” the lady smiled. She gestured to chairs on the large porch and invited him to sit. “What’s your name?”
“My name’s Ric ‘Shea, ma’am.” His Irish brogue was unmistakable. He dtected a slight accent on her part, also.
“Well, Ric O’Shea. You’re not from around here, are you?”
“No, Ma’am. I’m originally from Ireland. I came to New Amsterdam just recently.”
“I see,” she smiled.
She possess a power also, Ric thought. And it’s really a significant gift, he concluded.
“Do you have any references,” she asked him.
“No, I don’t. I’m sorry for bothering you.”
He started to rise and she quickly said, “Sit. We’re not done.”
“You’re an honest person, Ric O’Shea, I can see it in your mind. And your soul.”
He sat back down rather sheepishly.
“My name’s Fiona MacGregor, and my husband and I are in need of a capable individual to assist here and at our other home.”
Perhaps you’ve heard of my husband. Most people know him as Highlander. He’s a member of Star Force. We work for BADGE.”
Yes, ma’am I’ve heard of both of you. I didn’t know you the ones advertising.”
“Tell me more about Ric O’Shea.”
He found himself telling her his life story. Before he realized it, the morning had passed and it was lunch time. He had become so relaxed he had lost complete track of time. When all was said and done, he had secured a job, one which paid much more than he had anticipated, or even hoped. In addition, it was with two individuals he hoped could mentor him in the usage of his powers. He just hoped they’d become more comfortable with before inquiring how he had obtained his power. It was often a subject that would subject him to ridicule and derision.
This post was updated on .
Ric O’Shea made a favorable impression on Fiona and didn’t even use his acquired power of Persuasion. He was just himself, which left him with a good feeling and boosted his self-esteem considerably.
Fiona watched as he tackled his first assignment, doing some miscellaneous yard work in the substantial yard behind the house. She called up a contact on her cell phone.
“Krystal? It’s Fiona. He’s here and he’s eagerly working. Deep inside, there’s a very good soul in that young man.”
The voice on the other end agreed, “The monks told us just after he was left at the monastery that they knew he was unique. He had natural power but they were unable to determine what it was. Were you able to detect anything?”
“Only that there is indeed a power there. I can’t determine what it is exactly, but he seems to draw something from things around him. It’s very strange.”
“Hmm. One observer thought he could appropriate powers from others, but he couldn’t – or wouldn’t – fully utilize it. Astra observed him for some time and said she saw him attempt some acts, but his power seemed so weak. We left him alone for awhile when the Legion threat arose and when we resumed observation, he seemed able to fully utilize some powers. Not sure what changed, but he’s been approached by some BADGE agents and even in casual conversation, wouldn’t divulge anything. It’s clear something did happen. Has Highlander met him yet?”
“No, he’s still off on an assignment. I have noticed one thing, Krystal. Every few minutes, he’ll take time to thoroughly clean his hands. It’s like he had an obsession with cleanliness.”
“Yes, that’s been observed also. That’s a change in behavior that’s manifested itself since we resumed observation. Look, be careful what you tell him. We feel he has no idea of his mixed Fae-human background. We don’t want to delve too deeply into his past, except to get some answers as discreetly as possible.”
“I understand. I’ll keep observing and keep you updated.”
Ric had put in a busy week working for the MacGregors. He had met Highlander briefly when the big Scotsman had returned home to prepare for League Wars. He and Fiona had made the trip to the Arena, leaving Ric alone to continue his chores and encouraged him to work a little less and get out and enjoy himself.
Ric took one afternoon to walk back to the diner where he had met the young lady before taking on the job at the big house. He had a pretty good recall for places and directions, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not locate any diner, leaving him to wonder if it had all been a dream.
If it had been a dream, it was certainly one of the more pleasant ones he had in recent months. Ric had been sufficiently fatigued from his work to fall asleep easily the past week, but the dreams he had experienced were, for the most part, less than pleasant.
They were constant reminders of the horrific event that he concluded had triggered the surge in his powers. He was always waking in up in a cold sweat from the those ... those … nightmares. Yes, that’s what they were. Not dreams ... nightmares. And they occurred frequently.
The sense of being buried alive was overwhelming. Over and over and over … again and again. Fighting for breath, struggling to free himself.
Clear your mind, Ric. Think better thoughts. Push away the nightmares.
He stopped suddenly. He recognized a storefront, nest to a well-maintained lot of flowers, other plants, benches and water fountains. It was a high end boutique. He remembered having looked in the window before entering the diner. A diner that he swore was where the garden plot was.
The plot was certainly more than a week old, he realized. Besides, the diner would be out of place in this neighborhood of boutiques and classy stores. He entered the garden are and sat down on a bench. Looking up, he saw … the interior of the diner. It was slightly transparent – no, translucent.
It wasn’t real. It was an illusion. Someone had planted the illusion in his mind.
“Krystal, it’s Fiona. But, you already knew that, right?”
Krystal chuckled, “Yes. I knew before I answered that it was you. After all, that does fall within my powers. You have news for me?”
“I just talked to Ric. He went back to the ‘diner.’ he could sense it was an illusion. Does that make sense?”
“Perhaps. Astra and Futurina compared notes, and I’ve spoken to each of them. I think we have a handle on his power. He’s apparently a mimic. It seems he can appropriate the powers of others, but there may some limitations on his powers. He may have appropriated your gifts.”
Also, our early observations indicated his powers were weaker than other mimics. Now, those powers seem to be greatly enhanced. He also seems to exude significant Morphonic saturation, more so than others who have been subjected to prolonged or significant exposure. Much more than Highlander, who was held captive by Legion for twenty years. We still have many unanswered questions. I have some individuals who I want to pose some questions to him. Silver Paladin, Arcane Ace, Gerri – I want supers from other disciplines to interview him. It may be time to get to the heart of the matter. Something has to explain the unexplained surge in his power. We have to get answers so whatever caused it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”
“I can’t imagine it, Fiona. If that’s what happened to him, it would explain his surge in power.”
“It’s horrible, Duncan. I can understand him not wanting to talk about it. How do we pass the info onto to Krystal? I just saw a mental replay of what he went through. What if it was a false image? What if what I saw was just a dream?”
“You shouldn’t have told me, Fiona. You can’t pass info on based on what you think happened. Ric has to tell his story. It embarrasses him too much to admit it. It takes someone more persuasive, maybe more empathetic than you to draw it out. I think you’re too close to him; if he told you and you passed it on, he’d feel betrayed. He’d never trust you again.”
Highlander casually sauntered up to where Ric was working and greeted him.
“Good morning, Ric,” said the big Scotsman.
“Hi, How … Fiona told you, didn’t she?”
Highlander’s face betrayed any attempt to deny the young man’s disappointment.
“We have no secrets from each other, Ric. I told her she shouldn’t have said anything to me. But … there’s no reason for you to feel any shame over this. There wasn’t anything you could do about it. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”
“You didn’t see the looks on their faces.” he dropped his trowel to the grass and placed both hands to his face. “They had bullied me since I could remember. I had no family; I was an orphan. They …”
“You have family now, Ric. You have us.”
“You don’t understand. Orphans are second class people in most parts of Dublin. That alone made me a target of bullies. Then they saw me after it happened, and it just reinforced their feelings.”
“How did you know Fiona told me?”
“I could sense it in your demeanor, your thoughts, your face. I could feel it.”
Highlander sighed. “I take it your power is empathy … or something like that, right?”
“No. I’m what Fiona feels is a … mimic … an appropriator. Something like that. I can use the powers of others … watch.”
Ric walked over to the tractor that Highlander owned for use in yard work, and despite his slight stature, reached down and grabbed the front axle, lifting the entire tractor above his head.
“You have exceptional strength. I can use your power.”
“But my power isn’t Morphon influenced, Ric.”
Ric sighed, “It makes no difference, it’s a power. I can appropriate it. Look.” Ric lowered the tractor and grabbed the garden shears, inserting his hand between the blades and slamming the sharp blades shut.
Highlander stared in amazement as the shears closed about Ric’s hand, but left no marks.
“You’re resistant to physical damage, except if it has a truly unusual Morphon influence. I just used that power.”
“Ric, that means you’re the ultimate ...”
Ric cut him off in mid-sentence, “No, I can only use one power at a time. A power will disappear after a period of time. It may only last for a few minutes, maybe a couple of hours, some may last for extended periods of time. There’s no way to predict. Maybe, I’ll acquire the ability to fly. I’ll be flying along, and suddenly it leaves me. I’ll switch to my resistance to damage so I don’t get killed when I hit the ground? And find out I no longer have that power. I’d be killed from the landing. It’s too random to be useful.
“I’m a freak. Nothing more.”
The young man sat on the tractor tire and buried his face in his hands.
This post was updated on .
It was a somber service. Ric O’Shea hadn't known the man long, had talked to him the few times he was at the MacGregor clan estate, and often felt intimidated by his presence. He had an unmistakable air of authority about him and carried himself as a man who had commanded others.
No one seemed to know just how old the man had been, just that it seemed like he had been around forever. He had been the picture of health for as long as anyone could remember. That had all ended several days ago when he had become very ill, and eventually succumbed to the unknown malady.
Despite Ric’s lack of a lasting relationship with the man, he felt a profound sense of loss. He could only imagine the loss Fiona felt at his passing. The strain showed on her face.
Fiona was grieving at the loss of family friend, Sir Arthur MacReady.
Highlander was displaying remorse at his passing, although everyone who knew the big Scotsman knew it wasn’t so. He didn’t regard the death of the MacReady as a great loss. Sure, the venerable Scotsman had been a big help to Fiona during Highlander’s captivity at the hands of Legion, but every person in the surrounding area knew why MacReady had offered so much help.
He hadn’t done it from an altruistic perspective. He coveted the MacGregor estate and all that came with it. He also had his eye on Fiona herself. He wanted the fiery red haired lass for himself and had initiated contact immediately upon hearing of Highlander’s disappearance. Yes, MacReady was high in prestige, but low in morals and compassion for anyone and anything that didn’t belong to him. But he was old and frail, and as much as Highlander desperately wanted to prevent him from ever seeing Fiona or the castle again, MacReady did have his admirers and yes, supporters even.
Ric had sensed MacReady’s motives early on, and although Fiona, despite never encouraging the old man’s advances, never really discouraged them, either. She remained aloof, which MacReady interpreted as hard-to-get. Ric, in his role as Ricochet, had subtly attempted to influence the old man with discouragement. He knew that MacReady had a Morphon-infused ability at mind control, but didn’t realize that it was being subtly influenced by Fiona in a polite manner of neutralization. MacReady was never a threat to Fiona’s relationship because she was in control.
Still, she felt the loss of “Uncle Artie” as she would any relative. He and her father had been close.
|Free forum by Nabble||Edit this page|