Breed Book 4, Part 58


“You think this will work?” Tucker asked, nervously eyeing the advancing federal force.

“This is a metro area,” Mikaela said with a smirk. “Do you have any idea how many reflective surfaces there are? I could pull ten thousand dupes without having to think hard about it.” Mikaela reached out for her reflection in a nearby car’s side mirror. Her reflection didn’t reach back. Mikaela turned to Tucker. “You still wear that locket I gave you.”


“It wasn’t a question, and I don’t have time to be delicate.” Mikaela felt around his collar, and fished out the chain, with a locket attached. She opened it, revealing a mirror on one side. She couldn’t pull a duplicate out of the locket’s reflection, either. “My ability isn’t working.”

Tucker closed his eyes. “Mine either,” Tucker said, frowning. “I thought I was just caught up, in the moment, when you grabbed me, but the world went dark for me, too.”

“For all of us, or nearly all,” Stephen said, tapping on Mikaela’s shoulder. “Come with me.” He turned back towards the crowd, and started wading through. Huddled in a small alleyway were several students Mikaela recognized, including Ryan. They were standing in a makeshift circle, all with their eyes closed, struggling to concentrate. It reminded her of her physics class, where the instructor brought a device that passed enough current to painfully seize the hand of everyone in a circle. She couldn’t remember what the lesson had been, only that it hurt, and quickly became an endurance test.  

“Hey,” Ryan said, opening his eyes for a moment before closing them again, his lip twitching with effort.

“What is this?” Tucker asked.

“I’m not a technopath,” Stephen said, “so this is all second-hand, but apparently they’ve been working to reverse engineer the device the militia used on the campus, the one that shut down our abilities.”

“And definitely came from the Federal government in the first place,” Tucker said.

“Yeah. Part of what they were studying was whether or not they could counteract the device, especially remotely. Resisting its influence, essentially.”

“And the verdict?” Mikaela asked.

 “Bit of a mixed bag,” Ryan said, opening his eyes. “We’ve been able to keep it from completely shutting down our abilities, but it’s like tensing a muscle- you can’t do it indefinitely, and it gets harder with each passing second to keep it up.”

“Can you shut it down?” Mikaela asked.

“I don’t think it’s that simple. It’s like I’m already fighting every cell in my body. I don’t just taste blood, I smell it, see it,” a bloody tear wept from his eye. “Trying to disable it remotely might kill us.”

“Faster than they will?” Tucker asked, pointing at the police line, now stampeding towards them through the vulnerable protestors as their defensive lines crumpled. The loud report of a gunshot rang over even the yelps of pain and the cacophony of the protestors and the rioting federal agents.

“We’ll try,” Ryan said. “But you might want to start working up a plan B, for if we all start stroking out.”

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