In Alex’s office on the seventeenth floor Charles was holding a paper in his hand, and looking at the clock with a smile on his face. Ten seconds had passed, and he knew what this meant. “She’s probably going to bring him back here isn’t she”. He thought and sighed. He stayed frozen for the next moment, and hoped that Alex would figure out that the paper in his hands was for him. It would be hard to not figure it out. He had little time to prepare it when Alex was away, and he even hurried over to the window and scribbled on the paper as fast as he could. “He’s not stupid. Remember what you read about him Charles. Anyone could figure this sign out even you!” He chided himself. The sign simply read good luck on your journey with a small code on the bottom, which was Charles signature. It was a pretty good sign for the time he had. He noticed a light swimming through the room, and he smiled trying very hard to stay frozen. “In just a few hours he will be back here, and we will find out how he did.” A wrinkle creased on his eyes as a genuine smile swept across his countenance. The light in the room disappeared moments later.
The shining light was Alex. He arrived in the office and he immediately noticed Charles in the corner of the room. There was something different about Charles since the last time he saw him. He noticed the sign and Alecia pat him on his back lightly.
“He left you a sign sweetie! Isn’t that so sweet.” Alecia consoled
Alex walked up to him, and looked at the sign in his hand before waving in front of his face.
“Is he alive Alecia? What happened to him?” Alex asked
“He’s in a different realm them you sweetie.” Alecia patted him on his back. “Your using a powerful Second identity, a newer, rarer one, and compared to Charles time just moves a bit faster for you darling. He must have figured this out and made you a sign. I love the sign by the way he even left his code. Now you can find him if you ever go to the future, Alex! I’ve never heard of anyone traveling to the future before from the past. Alex, you would be the first. Furthermore, you would enjoy the time in the future, as the food there is too amazing. I’ve never eaten it, but I’ve seen the joy of others while they were eating. Oh, I guess you might have questions. Ask me anything Alex! Charles told me to serve you well.”
Alex kind of stopped listening to Alecia after two sentences, but when she finished he waved her off. He leaned in to Charles and could kind of see his pupils slowly dilating. His eyes were facing towards where he arrived in the room, and his eyelids slowly began to close. It was a weird site seeing someone so slowed down. The window was still fogged up, and Bart was still frozen in the middle of the room. Behind him his boss – his name is Frank - seemed to have a firmer grip on his shrinking hairline, but that was about it. He looked back at Alecia, and she was smiling with her beautiful teeth.
“Alecia, what do you mean I’m a bit faster? He’s the time keeper right, so shouldn’t he be the faster one?” Alex asked
“We all have different reactions to different things darling. Some people can’t handle a drink, while others need a few bottles to get going. You just happen to handle time like an excellent drinker, Alex.”
“Well we are back at the office now, so tell me what you want me to do Alecia. Also, I have a time limit, right?” Alex questioned
“Well, I guess I can look at your second identity stats and figure it out for you darling. I have your window open right here. Hmmm, your attributes are amazing, you’re a lucky devil. I guess I should tell you what they are first and what they do darling. It’s time for the great unveiling! Do you want to hear darling?” Alecia walked over to him with an excited expression. She breathed on the back of his neck and put her chin on his shoulder.
“Do you have to get so close to tell me, Alecia?” Alex responded
Alecia giggled and then put on a serious face.
“I hope you don’t mind that I start my lecture. Today class we will talk about speed, strength, stamina, and transformation, which are the stats in Alex’s amazing window.” She did a twirl off him and continued “Every person in Second Identity is put in a category darling, and compared to each other. To start speed is your ability to make use of your energy when you move; Strength is the power of your spells; Stamina is your ability to take a hit, and transformation is your ability to change the shape of your body with your light form.”
“So what’s so special about me? I’m just an average guy working at an office in Manhattan.” Alex stated
“Well your stats are based on your body and mind honey. You can’t be bad with stats like this. Your speed is 15, which is based on your ability to think and solve problems quickly. In second reality it translates into you being able to move quickly! Plus, you have that neat acceleration, Alex. Your other stats are all similar and way off the charts – 14 strength, 15 stamina, and 12 transformation. Just for your reference sweetie the normal would be 8. Charles was right about you, darling. I’m so proud to be your host! Now I hope you don’t mind I show you a few things, and get you all warmed up for your mission. Now go walk up to your friend over there. He’s so sweet walking over to you when you’re on the floor!” Alecia shooed him away.
Alex stumbled over to Bart, and held on to him. He was real, but oddly frozen to the ground. This didn’t seem to be a dream. He was wondering if there was the option of taking the blue pill and waking up in a different world. Nope, he was sure, this was real. He looked over at Alecia who was playing with a little ball in her hand. She had a mischievous expression on her face, and struck out her foot in patterns. She danced in place with the ball in her hand doing a fairy like wind up while spinning. She moved smoothly and tossed the ball swiftly across the room before it briskly disappeared into Bart’s frozen body. Bart began glowing seconds later. Alecia had a content look on her face, while spinning around playfully. Alex was aghast.
“Are you crazy?” Alex yelled “What did you just do!” Alex patted his friend where the ball went in making sure he was okay. “Where did it go Alecia! He’s not some robot you can toss stuff at.” Alex admonished “Wait, why is he glowing?” He nervously asked
“Just watch and see darling. He’ll play with you in a minute.” Alecia replied
“I promised to do your mission, but I didn’t promise to let you mess with my friend. He’s a person Alecia! Doesn’t your code keep you from doing stuff like this?” Alex yelled
Alecia giggled before raising her hand to point to Bart. “Nope, my maker likes girls who can be tough darling. He’ll be with you in a second Alex. It’s for your mission., and I promise you’ll have a lot of fun duking it out with your best friend. Isn’t that how you human men make friends? Now Good luck, Alex. I’m going to go check on Charles.” She strutted off.
Alex turned around pissed and looked at Bart. His friend was glowing with an ominous flickering light. It was like a fluorescent lightbulb that needed to be changed. Bart’s body seemed to send out rays of light as a silhouette of a man broke free from Bart’s body. His foot touched down on the ground, and an odd shadow outlined his eyes, ears, and mouth. Chains were connected to his arms and legs like anchor lines. The next second the constraints started to crack.
“What is this? Where am I? Did you do this Alex.” Bart asked. “You couldn’t just leave me alone for one minute can you Alex!” The shadow seemed indignant and resentful. The chains holding him back were fully destroyed a minute later. They burst into the air in parallel directions before falling onto the floor like a series of sparks from dying fireworks. The angry shadow laughed madly and pointed towards his friend siting over at the desk.
“Ha hah, oh yes I was walking towards you wasn’t I. Look at you staring at your daughter’s picture. I can’t believe how upset you are Alex. What you can’t handle looking at the clock? She’s such a cute girl Alex. It’s a shame you’re her father. I guess she left you to keep that little girl safe huh Alex.” Bart cackled and cracked his neck
Alecia giggled in the background. Alex turned over his shoulder, but kept his guard up.
“What did you do to him Alecia!? He’s usually not this honest.” Alex hounded
“What are you talking about he seems perfectly normal darling. He’s a fine minuteman. They are sort of like primal animal’s sweetie. Luckily, they are so honest. They don’t really have feelings Alex. Feel free to hit him as hard as you like. I promise it won’t hurt him, and it might even help him. Moreover, I told Charles I would train you, so here you are darling. I bet you will look so good when you get the hang of this whole thing. Now I’ll be over here fixing Charles shirt, and you stay here and give your friend some attention. You really need to take better care of yourself Charles. Saving the world is too big of a job for one man.” Alecia sighed.
“Wait a second, Alecia. Why do I have to hurt my best friend? Couldn’t you have chosen someone like my boss?” Alex was clearly upset. She just had to have no knack for social interactions. He wanted to say more but he gave up after noticing Bart’s evil doppelganger starting to move in his direction. He cracked his fists and turned towards the silhouette. The shadow looked smug and laughed. The next moment it pulled a chain from its arm and began spinning it around.
“He’s going to attack now, Alex! I’ll go get you a few more to practice on. You don’t like your boss right? You’re going to love this darling!” Alecia pranced off towards the office in the back. “Oh! I just love that girl’s sweater too!” Alecia mumbled
“I guess I’ll just give him what he wants.” Alex solemnly sprang off his feet. Immediately everything got slower. Bart was staring at him with glowing black eyes that seemed to penetrate through his skull. Alex watched its hands swing down and three long chains lash in his direction. He could literally see the chain approaching like he inherited the eyes of an eagle. He stepped to the right and jumped off his foot dodging gracefully. His jump carried him at least twenty feet and he somehow made it over to his desk. He looked down and both him, and the frozen him faced the picture of his daughter. He smiled before turning to face the next incoming chain. Feeling powerful and playful he sprung into the air, twisted over the line, and cracked his fist. Suddenly a strange force seemed to gather in his hand.
“You are now ready to use the flame of Dichotomy.” A man’s voice declared. Alex instinctively stuck out his hand before a series of bolts of glowing flames swirled and darted toward Bart’s shadow. Bart’s substitute looked up baffled as the force met its chest. The figure shrieked happily and disappeared.
“Only two more to go Alex!” Alecia cheered.
Alex looked back at Alecia who was now back to Charles side fiddling with his t-shirt. He didn’t even think to ask why a man’s voice entered his awareness. It seemed so ordinary compared to the rest of his day. Out of Frank’s office a shadow walked out dragging chains. Next to him seemed to be a girl in similar form. He recognized one of them as his boss, and his hallmark glower was still evident even in that beast like form. He figured the girl next to him was probably the intern Aviana, as she was the one with the beautiful sweater on. He could almost imagine Alecia’s thought process. This girl is so cute let me pick her! It wasn’t far from the truth. Alex glanced at Alecia before she displayed a cheery smile.
“Your doing great Alex! If you can defeat them, we can finally start your first mission! I’ll be there with you darling, and you’ll be able to see a whole new side of New York!” She looked at Charles pants quickly before placing her hand in his back pocket. “I never realized you were the type to keep your keys in your back-pocket Charles.” She fixed his clothes one more time before she was fully satisfied with them, and put on an evil but silly grin.
The two figures walked up to Alex and stopped a few feet away from him. They didn’t seem ready to fight Alex, and he felt it appropriate to not engage until engaged. His boss Frank burped in his shadow form before a chuckle came out of his big, round mouth.
“The little Alex sure handed it to Bart right Aviana. Here I was planning on giving you my job when I retire. I should fire you immediately. Well since that can’t work I might as well beat you black and blue. It’s about time someone did it.” Frank cracked his shadow like knuckles
“I think he’s actually really cute. I’ll just hurt him a little bit, and then take him home to punish him more!” Aviana nodded politely before pulling out a needle that was stuck to a chain on her body. “I think you’re the cutest guy by the way Alex. I kind of like you like you also Alex! Oh, did I just say that out loud? But I am mad at you Alex! You guys never pay attention to me. Is this what interns are for? All you do is mistreat us! I’ll beat you up for all the interns!” Aviana declared
Alex lifted his hands up. “You guys really don’t want to fight do you? Moreover, Aviana how can you like me you never even seriously talked to me?”
“I can’t explain it Alex. Now I hope you won’t put your hands on a little cute girl like me until its time. I’m coming to get you so don’t move!” Aviana flicked her wrist sending a few spikes off her body towards Alex. Frank joined in and flailed his chain filled arms.
Alex didn’t seem to take this situation very seriously. He stepped forward off his foot as the spike slowly passed by his face. It seemed so easy to dodge. He was more focused on Aviana confessing to him. It was hard to not only have to turn her down, but also engage her in some weird shadow vs light battle. Alex noticed her too, but only because of her status in the office. She was considered the work place mascot by all the guys, and they hired her to welcome clients, and keep up team spirit. She also got the coffee for them. He never imagined having to pummel the girl who never forgot he drank the Americano. He turned to the side to dodge the spike, and looked at her evil smile. Was something wrong with this girl that he didn’t know about?
“Are their bodies connected to their personalities or something deep like that, Alecia? Why does Aviana have so many spikes on her body?” He dodged a few more arrow like spikes. It seemed like everything got slower and slower the more he sprang around. Was it the acceleration skill? More spikes slithered past his face like glowing snakes. He watched them ‘burrow’ into the ground before Frank’s chains took a turn at attacking him. He jumped off his foot and spun hoping for the man’s voice to say he could use flames of Dichotomy. He really wanted to fire at his boss. He ran as fast as he could before he hopped off the ground and balanced on Frank’s chain. He looked over at Alecia whose eyes were full of stardust.
“Wow amazing Alex! You’re like a cat! Hmm, I can’t fully answer your question. But that girl might just have a dark past, Alex. I think it maybe has to do with the troubles she’s had to overcome. The pretty ones are always a handful. It doesn’t mean she’s a bad girl darling. She’s probably just been through a lot of tough relationships. Cute girls always go through so much don’t you think? But, I can’t believe she confessed to you Alex! That must me she really likes you!” Alecia giggled. “Oh, you might want to watch out Alex.”
Frank seemed to be getting the hang of attacking Alex. He swung his other chain and was pulled forward after hooking it onto the floor. He darted towards his unfortunate employee who stumbled. “I don’t think you should dodge this one, Alex!” Frank commanded.
Alex disagreed and rolled dodging three spikes coming from Alecia. His hand was strong enough to keep him off the floor. He pushed off the ground and used the momentum to dodge Frank’s chain. Finally, Alex landed right in front of his flabbergasted boss. His beer belly was a few feet away from Alex’s face.
“I hope this hurts a lot Frank.” Alex said. He jumped up and his fist met the side of his boss’s chubby cheek. Frank’s countenance vibrated, and the impact carried him off towards the wall. The boss spun through the space before landing on the other side of Alex’s desk. His belly skid against the floor before he somberly vanished near a plant in the corner. Aviana smiled and suddenly feel down.
“I knew you could do it Alex.” Aviana dropped down to the floor. The last of her spikes had been pulled out of her body, and she seemed to somehow be more conscious.
“What am I doing! Stop it right now Alecia. You can’t hurt the guy you like! You can’t do this! You can’t do this, and you have to stop right now missy!” She muttered to herself. Aviana seemed to have saved Alex from doing the dirty work.
“I’m sorry, something came over me, and I just couldn’t control myself.” She ruefully apologized and vanished into the space.
Alex looked over at Alecia with a puzzled expression. His expression seemed to be saying to Alecia what the hell just happened?
Alecia on the other side of the room sighed and walked over to Alex. She lightly placed her hand on his shoulder.
“You know that girls not a bad choice if things don’t work out with Molly and you.” Alecia smiled. “She’s quite strong willed. Just so you know you did a good thing letting her pull the spikes out of her body. As your trainer and friend, I recommend her to you!” Alecia grinned and faced towards Charles whose expression had blossomed. “Isn’t that wonderful darling. Charles is fully smiling now honey! The plant has finally blossomed! He must really want you to do well! I can’t wait to tell him about how well you did sweetie. I hope your not nervous. It’s perfectly natural if you are nervous. Wait we must leave. I think it’s time we head out don’t you agree darling?”
She pulled Alex by the arm and yanked him towards the exit of the office. By the window Charles finally stopped smiling after the light vanished. The rest of the room was still motionless. Bart would eventually make it to Alex, and Alex might just forget everything. Charles looked down and saw his tidied clothes. He sighed and patted around his body. He couldn’t believe he couldn’t trust an AI. She was an AI! “What did your maker do to you Alecia? Charles thought to himself. “I wish she would at least have to ask before taking my keys.” He walked over to Alex and placed his hand on top of his frozen head. “Good luck out there, man. You’re going to need all the luck in the world.” He quickly sent a message to Alecia telling her to return the cruiser in good condition. A streak of light shot off into the distance down the frozen 42nd street.