Portal – Chapter 61

Since the campus was on lock-down, Michael was looking forward to visiting the infirmary for his checkup. Though he woke up before dawn, he was not tired. It was like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders and he was going to enjoy every minute of it. Even the nightmares had stopped.

As he walked, he was still unsure what to do about his feelings for Alaina. He remembered dancing with her for a song but then everything went black. He tried asking the others what happened but they seemed to be ignoring him, quickly finding a reason to be somewhere else. He could not find Net at all after he called Metro.

Michael walked in the testing room, surprised no one was there. Each time before, Trauma was waiting for him with a big smile. It made the testing easier knowing he had a friend helping him. But like everyone else, she was missing this morning.

“Good morning, recruit Larson,” a voice behind him said. Michael turned around to see a petite mundane technician in a lab coat with pale skin and brown hair pulled up in ponytail, strands sticking out all over. He guessed that she got the recall notice and reported to work before brushing her hair this morning. “Please be seated and I’ll get your vitals.” Michael already started to walk to the chair before she motioned to it. He already knew the routine.

As he sat down, Michael spotted part of the wall had been patched, the new grey concrete contrasting against the white paint over the cinder block wall.

“What happened here?” Michael asked. The last time he was in the room, just before the mission to Crawfordsville, the wall was undamaged.

“I don’t know, recruit Larson. The staff thinks one of you Enhanced put a hole in the wall and neglected to tell us about it,” answered the tech coldly. “If you know who did it, please tell them that they are required to report any damage to JTF property immediately.”

“I’ll pass it along to the others. So where is Trauma this morning? She usually does my testing.” Michael hoped a little small talk might ease the tension in the room. The woman was running through the test quickly, obviously in a hurry to finish and leave.

“I do not know, recruit Larson. I was assigned to run your tests today. Your arm, please.”

“Michael”

“Excuse me?” the technician asked confused.

“My name is Michael.”

“We’ll stick with recruit Larson, okay?” the tech replied.

“Sure, technician Kidwell,” Michael said sarcastically as he read her ID badge.

After running through the basic tests, the technician stood up and walked to the door. As she turned the latch, she turn back to Michael

“I was told that you have power test with a ping-pong ball. Please start the test as I let Dr. Dillon know you are here,” she said before leaving the room.

“Sheesh, what a grump.” The door shut with a loud thump.

Michael knew where Trauma kept the 6-pack of ping-pong balls and grabbed one. He felt very confident about the test today. His head was clear and he was ready for anything.

He created the portal on the wall first then the sister portal at his feet. He let go of the ping-ping ball, watching it fall in the space-time hole. Using the momentum from the drop, the ball shot out of the hole in the wall toward him Michael adjusted portal at his feet catch the ball before it hit the ground. When he took the test before, he had trouble keeping up with the ball and aligning his portals at the right angle. He needed to make it more challenging.

Increase the mass, Michael heard in his mind.

Decided to talk again? How do I can change the mass? Michael was not sure if the voice was real but it saved his life in Crawfordsville. It seemed to know his power better than he did.

The only way to create a wormhole is to reach critical mass.

That’s how a black hole is created. Michael was confused.

A black hole ends in a singularity. A wormhole is open on both ends.

If you say so. What do I do? Michael waited.

Hello?

Hello?

Michael shook his head, tired of waiting for his imaginary friend.

“Figures,” he said to an empty room. The ping-pong ball was bouncing on the floor in the corner, having missed the portal while he talked to the voice in his head. He really hoped that would stop soon, it was getting a little creepy.

A portal appeared above his hand and below the ball on the floor. The ping-pong ball fell through, landing in Michael’s hand.

“Okay, let’s see what I can do with you.” Michael dropped the ball again. Before it hit the floor, a portal appeared below it and another on the ceiling. The ping-pong ball continued accelerating in free fall from the ceiling to the floor loop until it reached terminal velocity.

“Well, that sucks,” he said aloud noticing how slow the ball was still moving. The plastic ball was just too light. “Okay, I’ll try it your way.” Michael focused on the ball, imagining the ball becoming more massive.

He was sure he did something right, the ball was accelerating again. Michael continued to increase the mass as the ball increased speed. On a sudden whim, he moved the top portal to the side wall and watched the ball launch across the room, no longer flying straight but arching slightly. Michael quickly created a portal to catch the ping-pong ball, now a blur to the eye, and launch it again from the wall portal. He did not understand why this was so hard for him before, it was as simple as riding a bicycle. He just knew where the ball would be before it got there. He pushed the mass up significantly.

As time started to slow down, Michael created portals at dizzying speeds all over the room, bouncing from the wall to mid-air, ceiling to wall, and even up from the floor, the ball never traveling a path more than a few feet. Michael felt proud of himself for reaching this new level.

Suddenly, the door burst open. The moving blur in the room did not see it, admiring his toy fly all over the room.

“Michael!” yelled a familiar voice behind him. Michael jumped in surprise and turned around.

With his concentration lost, the ball rocketed across the room crashing into the far wall. It barely slowed down as it created a perfect sized hole in the cinder block and buried itself deep in the grass several hundred meters away outside. Michael closed his eyes in disbelief, never turning around.

“Ah, crap.”

Kidwell was going to be pissed.