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He could taste the tang of metal in his mouth. His skin was dry and every inch seemed to be buzzing with a light itch. He opened his eyes and the lights slowly began to brighten as his eyes grew more accustomed. He was naked as usual and his skin was a pale near transluscence. It would be another 5 minutes before the UVs warmed up and began to slowly acclimate his new skin. He sat up in the near dark into the lotus position. He forced his stomach into the wretch he knew was coming. Doubled over his crossed legs he spewed the supplement packs onto the floor before him as he had done 32 times before. This was the part he hated. The memories. They would be fuzzy at first. Lost in a haze like waking from a dream. Only this was in reverse. The were flooding back. A spin of colors dashing across the dark. He could see the jungle foilage now and remembered the chafing moist wood smell of the moss and bark. He had held himself motionless for hours, he remembered, waiting. Then the drones came. Strange mixes of zoology and machine. Expensive robotic guards modeled after the finest attributes that nature has to offer. These particular models were "Griffins", probably Japanese manufactured. Deadly feline attributes combined with an impressive 8 foot wingspan made them an imposing mechanical monster. "I've dealt with them before," thought Alec to himself as he watched the memories coalesce. He remembered releasing a small interceptor drone and watching as the Griffin circled its prey and suddenly grabbed the drones attention by taking to a high position aloft of the drone. Alex thought how strange an action that was and then in his minds eye he saw the reason. It was merely a distraction as out from the jungle treetops a second Griffin launched itself up at the drone, ensnaring it, and began to quickly slice the drone into wafer thin layers as it scanned and documented its find. Having finished its set task, it resumed its sentry duty, diving back to be lost in the shadows of the underbrush. Its mate also resumed its flight, to scan, in ever widening arcs, over the jungle canopy.

A virus," he explained, as he stirred the eggs, adding measured dashes of pepper."An adenonine retro-virus actually, with exclusive genomic redundancy, particular to your own genotype." He now carried the pan off the stove and ladeled out a generous portion to Alex. "Eat up," he continued as he placed his own portion on his plate, and took the pan to the sink, lightly laughing as he said ," you're not only eating for yourself you know." He now took a seat across the table from Alex, and began to cut parallel lines across his eggs, and a single down the center, till they were multiple bite-size portions. Having never eaten eggs himself, Alex imitated Doctor Seyah. When Seyah finished with the pepper, he placed it back on the table. Alex picked the shaker up, and brought it to his nose inhaling deeply. A burning wave of grains assaulted his sinuses, and Alex reeled back, releasing a violent sneeze directly on the table, covering it, and Dr.Seyah's food, in particulate saliva and mucus.

Seyah looked at his food and then up at Alex and smiled. "What doesn't kill you....," he let the sentence trail off as he speared a piece of egg and greedily shoved in into his still grinning visage. Alex cocked his head to the side as to say he didn't understand. "...only makes you stronger." he finished, after noting Alex's confusion. "It's an old saying. Meaning you gain experience as long as you're alive." He now looked at Alex's plate, and his face took on a look of slight dismay. "Alex, I know you've never had solid food before, so this is a new experience for you, but I think you should just do as comes naturally to you, and eat the way you want to eat. You don't have to mimic me. I know you're a smart boy. Hell, you're probably smarter than me by now. You can figure out your own way to eat your breakfast."

Alex stared blankly at Seyah for a moment, and then looked quizzically over his plate, and then back up at Seyah and smiled. He placed his hands on either side of the rim of the plate, palms up, and brought them together into a rudimentary cup. Having gathered nearly his entire breakfast in his hands, he tilted his head back, and methodically poured his meal into his mouth. Pour, chew, swallow, and repeat; till it was all gone. Seyah watched in silence, mouth slightly agape, until he finished.

He realized that Alex's smile wasn't one of mischievousness, but of sheer joy. Seyah had given him permission to act for himself. Creating his own choice. Seyah realized that this could very well be the first time anybody had given him that opportunity. With that realization, a pang of guilt lifted ever so slightly off of Seyah's heart. "No matter the consequences of my actions, helping this boy escape was the right thing to do," he thought, as he watched Alex finish licking his hands clean. Smiling again he, half pleading, half anticipating asked, "More?"

An hour later, Seyah had made a few phone calls, bargained away a good portion of his retirement fund, and hopefully arranged a secret flight to smuggle him and Alex out of the state. Seyah looked around his room assuring himself that he hadn't overlooked something he would miss. After all, he didn't know if he would be returning here anytime soon, or if ever. Seyah glanced down and noticed a small red dot creep up his stomach and make its way to his chest. Alarms rang in his head, and he instinctively threw his body to the floor. In his fall he saw the muzzle flash from a neighboring condo, and his window shatter. The bullet caught him in the shoulder, and spun him, so that he landed hard on his back, nearly knocking the air out of his body. Not a second later, holes began to burst sporadically in the drywall, as the sniper opened up on his condo. Like a child during a tornado Seyah drew in on himself and covered his head yelling.

The bullet fire stopped and Seyah opened his eyes. The air was filled with drifting down from his pillows. The carpet, and Seyah himself, were covered in shards of drywall. Alex then came bursting into the room. Seyah was about to yell for him to stop, to warn him about the sniper when the barrage of bullets started again. Alex didn't even flinch. As he entered, his hand still on the doorknob, he gripped it tighter, and yanked the door from its hinges. In one smooth motion he jumped with it at the window, and laid it flush against the wall. He turned to Seyah,"To the hallway, stay low. Wait for me." A line of bullet holes appeared in the door and Seyah watched Alex get shot through the jaw, his chest and his abdomen. He blinked, and looked at Seyah," Go."

Seyah half scurried and waddled wildly on all fours till he hunkered on the floor of the hallway. He could still see Alex's back, and he watched as Alex took another shot in the leg and lost his balance. He didn't even let that slow him down, as he just steadied himself, and leaped. Using the same leg that had just been shot, to push off, and land him right in the doorway. Seyah could see that Alex's jaw was almost completely healed already as he reached out and grabbed Seyah by the back of his neck and lifted him effortlessly to his feet.

"You're injured?" he noted as he scanned over Seyah's body. "I'm Fine. Thank you." Seyah stammered through the pain," and you?" Alex stopped and turned smiling at Seyah. He cocked his head and made as if tongue-ing a sore in his mouth and spit a crushed bullet onto the hallway floor. "What doesn't kill you..." he said with a look of spaced disinterest. About that time all Hell broke loose.

Seyah's senses crashed and his equilibrium and grasp of the world was thrown into wild disarray when the explosives detonated. As his vision began to stop wavering he could just make out a multitude of moving human shapes in blurs of gray and black. A Pantheon crash team. The first wave of a manned assault in the Initiatives response against an escaped experiment. Stun bars and "tranqs" would be their weapons. Trained since the programs inception they had only been called into active duty once prior to this assignment. Their one goal; incapacitation of an out-of-control gen-ex. Seyah could see however, as the tally of unconscious (or quite possibly dead) soldiers, that were now lying around the hallway began to mount around Alex, that they were not performing to their given task. Seyah watched as Alex deftly laid out one soldier after another in precise strikes that usually incapacitated a soldier in a single blow. Now Alex had grabbed one in a headlock and spun him into a throw that put him through the door to the spare bedroom. As far as Seyah could tell Alex hadn't even been hit yet and upwards of a dozen soldiers lay in the hallway or neighboring rooms. Finally, Alex struck the last visible assailant with a palm strike to the chin, followed by a flurry of shoulder ligament strikes, and ended his assault with a reverse back hand that broke the mans helmet sending him reeling into the door-jam between the hallway and the living room. Alex surveyed the rooms in a sweeping glance,"Injured?" he asked as he searched the nearest soldier and took his comm set and a gun."Still no," replied Seyah as Alex handed him the gun and comm unit,"You?" Alex took another comm set of a soldier and put it on listening to the chatter. "Stronger," he replied, as he removed a soldier's vest armor," Put this on." He paused again, to listen to the comm unit. "I'll be right back. Shoot anyone that approaches you." Before Seyah could protest, Alex was slinking fast to the front door, and was outside. Seyah could hear bullet-fire and men yelling as he drew the gun up and began to do something he couldn't remember doing in years. He prayed.

Alex made no attempt to stop at the front door and assess his situation. He already had a good idea of the layout of the neighboring buildings and he had a pretty good idea of where any assault teams would be stationed. He just dashed out and broke into a run as bullets whisked by him. He guessed at their trajectories and shifted his run into the direction of the nearest team. With the sun at his back, he leaped into the air as the 5 man unit of soldiers attempted to follow his flight, and were briefly blinded. His arc led him directly down onto what looked like, by the mans pips, the ranking solider of the team. He crashed into the man, leading with his knees, and a resounding crack told him that there was definitely little chance of the man getting back up soon, if at all. Using his momentum, he rolled forward, and into a handstand, sending his heel hard into the chin of the soldier next to him.

She tried to exhale a cry of pain, but it was stifled by her shifting cracked jaw, and she just crumbled back onto another soldier bowling him to his knees as he tried to catch her. Still on his hands, Alex shifted his weight back, and now standing on only one arm, he twisted his body, slicing his free arm across the back of a soldiers knees. While the soldier didn't fall, he did lose his balance, and as he teetered trying to regain his center of gravity, Alex had already planted one foot, and proceeded to snap kick the soldier in the chest, felling him. As the soldier squirmed , Alex rolled across his body and came up on his feet in front of the only untouched soldier batting his gun away and punching him in the throat. The soldier reached to cradle his larynx which was pierced by the pins from two grenades. Alex grabbed the top of his head and used it to push up and over the soldier to pause in a handstand over his head. He then dropped out of it, and brought his legs back against the soldiers ass, knocking him onto the man from whom he had armed the grenades. The man who had tried to catch the fallen soldier must have been oblivious to all this, as he was trying to shoot at Alex as he sprinted away. A loud boom and a rush of air and the man never fired another shot.

It took only three minutes for Alex to dispose of a single team but there were at least

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