24 – Kickback

Edmond threw the fifth computer to the floor.
“This is ridiculous!” he shouted.

Inside the castle, he was alone. Alone with no communication. He’d spent all day salvaging computer equipment and attempting to get a connection going to the outside world. He hadn’t succeeded. How could Dexterians even survive among this trash? How could they live without even a simple phone? He could only thank fate he at least had electricity.
It had been a week with no progress. He couldn’t just depend on Q to do everything. Q probably wasn’t even doing what he said he was. He probably was out getting a damn music fix.
Edmond shook his head. Even if Q somehow did get the Phoenix and lure her away, how would he contact Edmond with no phone?! The Monte Criston kicked one of the computer monitors on the floor, causing it to roll forward a few times before wobbling to a halt a few feet away.
Edmond grunted and looked out a nearby window. Something didn’t feel quite right. He didn’t know why, but he had the urge to go into town and find Q to see how he was doing.
There was no harm in that.
He gave a final kick to one of the monitors before walking outside and taking the long road to town. It was time for a change of pace anyway.

Inside Sinico, Q’s face was covered in confusion.
“I don’t know,” Shoy said from within the Talvian’s body. “His memory is missing a bunch of pieces. Things don’t make sense. I think Q’s memories of his Resonance Soul have been…” Q’s eyes narrowed.
“Edmond…” he let out a guttural growl.

“Edmond?” Mercain questioned. “Who’s that?”
Q’s head shook. “Nobody important. But it appears that Q here is his adoptive son. They came to the kill the Phoenix.”

Mercain groaned and sat back in his chair, picking up his pen and fiddling with it as he propped his feet on his desk. “So you have no idea if he’s the Soul Stealer.”

Kingsley growled again from within Q’s body. “He is the Soul Stealer!”
“You just can’t prove it,” Mercain mocked.

Q’s hand reached over the office desk and grabbed Mercain’s leg. Mercain was overcome with a warm feeling. As if he were about to pass out, but was happy about it. Another hand yanked the pen from the man’s weakening fingertips and held it up, the pen morphing into a small gun. Q’s hand let go of Mercain and dropped the gun on the desk as he stood back up straight.
Kingsley, inside of Q, glared at the other man, who was only vaguely aware of what had just happened.

“Soul Stealer,” Q’s voice grumbled.

Mercain looked down at the gun that used to be a pen. His own resonance soul was the ability to mold metallics. Kingsley had just used it from within Q’s body. He swallowed.

“Say I believe you,” he said quietly. “What could we–”
The man was interrupted by Q doubling over, his arms holding himself up on the desk.

Mercain jumped up. “Kingsley?!”
He shoved his chair back and grabbed Kingsley’s body, lifting its head up and opening an eye. He looked over to Q, still struggling with the dead weight.
“Kingsley, over here!” he shouted.

Q, shaking and breathing abnormally, struggled to look over to Mercain and Shoy’s original body. Once he had, Q’s body immediately collapsed to its knees and Shoy’s body gasped for air.

Mercain jumped backward. “Damnit, are you okay?”

Kingsley’s hand went to his neck as he coughed a bit. He pointed to the collar on the floor. “Negator,” he hoarsed. “Put it back on him.”

Mercain reached over and grabbed the collar, tossing it to Q, who was dry heaving. He didn’t react when the collar hit him and fell to the floor.

“Put it on him,” Kingsley forced, bringing himself up to a kneeling position. He was trying to get up, but his body wasn’t fully complying.

Mercain swallowed and he grabbed the collar again nervously, then quickly wrapped it around Q’s neck, pushing the Talvian over on his back in the process, where he finally passed out.
Mercain clasped the latch shut and turned to Kingsley, who had only just managed to get on his own feet.
“What the hell was that?” Mercain demanded as he stood back up.

Kingsley rubbed his throat again.”Kickback,” he admitted.
“From his Rez?” Mercain was confused. “Why the hell did you feel it?”

Shoy shook his head, clearing his throat.
“I felt it. The Soul Stealer. It has a personality, like a normal Soul. Like the Phoenix,” he rasped.
“Every time Q uses his Rez,” he coughed, “It tries to absorb Q. It tried to absorb me, while I was in there. That thing is….” He shook his head, his hand grasping his umbrella for support. “That Resonant is evil.”

The Monte Cristons had it right.
The Soul Stealer was bad news. No wonder Q had a negator. That Resonance Soul was an implosion waiting to happen. Kingsley understood now why Q was so afraid of his rez. But at the same time…. To use it… It was exhilarating. Kingsley wanted to try again. To steal a real soul. His knuckles tuned white as he gripped the umbrella. Why would he think that?

“Kingsley,” Mercain’s voice ushered Shoy out of his thoughts.
“Yeah?” he answered, uneasily.

Mercain lifted a brow. He was going to ask what to do with Q, but instead a look of concern passed over his face. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Kingsley was shaking.
“Yeah…” He nodded. “Yeah. I’m fine. Let’s, uh…” He looked around, swallowing. “Let’s lock him up somewhere, before he wakes up.”

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