Beat 12: The Meeting

Joline's office was a small room, only about 12'x15'; the bookshelves on either side of the room brought the visible area to a square. The walls were painted beige, and the floor was covered in brown Berber carpet. A large whiteboard and a small calendar hung on the wall behind the nurse's ornate rosewood desk, which sat opposite the door. On top of the desk were usual things: a lamp, a cup filled with pens, various binders and papers stacked neatly on the sides. In front of it were two matching rosewood chairs, one on either side of the door.

Joline sat in a plushly padded swiveling chair, bent over her desk and with her head in her hands. "So tell me," she said, "What did you want to talk to me about?"

Benjamin was the one to answer. "Why was I... Why were we chosen to have SBIMPs? And what are we supposed to do with them?"

Joline sat upright, took a few slow, deep breaths, and crossed her arms and legs. "Look, I'm going to be completely forward with you; the two of you are test subjects. You were selected because of your exceptional overall health and potential compatibility with this technology. As for what you do with the SBIMPs, we don't really care; all we want is data. Even if you kill somebody, nobody will ever know; that is, so long as we get useful information out of it. This is the power of Freetech International."

Both teenagers were in awe. Unbelievable power, unlimited freedom; it was something everyone dreamed of as a kid. And yet, it felt as if a huge burden had been placed on them, like they were shackled by their own freedom.

This time, it was Mizuko who spoke. "So what do we do now? Where do we go from here?"

Joline seemed taken aback by this. "Mizuko, I'm shocked. You were given your SBIMP almost three months ago, and you're just now asking this question?" She stopped and took a minute to regain her composure. "Well, I suppose you only used it during the initial training... We really haven't gotten any data from you at all; we're all pretty pissed that we haven't seen much of the first projectile model we worked so hard on. But, it was due to your inactivity that the Mk. 13455 was built." She motioned to Benjamin.

"Speaking of," she said, turning to the boy, "Your little fight the other night was extremely useful. The data we gathered from it is of unprecedented value. We never expected it to be so powerful. I'm amazed you didn't break your arm."

"About that," Benjamin started.

"Oh! You're free to use the secondary trigger now."

Benjamin paused to figure out what she was talking about. When he remembered that he had been banned from using the internal trigger, he said, "No, not that... It glowed a strange color this morning. It was aquamarine, and pretty bright."

"His eyes, too!" Mizuko added.

Once again, Joline had to pause in shock. "Well... When we checked you after the fight, we found a small hole in the mechanism, allowing the fluid to mix with your blood, but only in trivial quantities. Also, the SBIMP is directly wired to your nervous system, meaning it is heavily affected by your emotions. It could be that your blood reacted with the fluid and formed a substance that reacts more readily than the fluid... As for your eyes, their color shift could mean that the compound spread through your body more than we anticipated. We'll keep an eye on it, and we'll let you know if you're in danger."

Benjamin sat still for a minute, letting the news sink in. "I know this is strange, but is there any chance that this could affect my emotions, just as my emotions affect it? Ever since last night, I've felt much more... mellow, yet pugnacious."

the nurse's interest was clearly piqued; it was written all over her face. "Well... What happened last night? I doubt you just felt a sudden change in your attitude."

Both youths blushed and averted their eyes. Mizuko shuffled nervously, while Benjamin coughed in embarrassment.

The adult in the room smirked knowingly. "Well, if THAT happened, then of course you'd feel different! The change you're experiencing is a process known as 'maturing,' you may have heard of it. Also, if you guys did THAT, then you're probably in love. Or, at least, I'd hope you are."

She looked down at her Rolex, and her eyes popped wide open. "Oh! I didn't realize this much time had passed! It's a quarter to noon; time for you two to leave."

Joline stood and shuffled the couple out of her office, saying, "Come on, now, I have another meeting I have to get to! Why don't the two of you go get something to eat? It's lunchtime, and I'm sure you two have a lot to discuss!"

With that, the two found themselves outside the hospital, hand in hand.

Author Note: Wow... I just realized I've made a lot of mistakes in this series... For one, I called the Mark 13455 the Mach 13455 up until now, and I don't think I ever said when Benjamin got dressed. DX You see, when I write, I listen to really loud music and visualize the story in my head. I tend to get distracted by the music (which fuels my muse) and leave out parts, thinking that I put them in since I imagined them happening. I think I'll have to rewrite everything sometime to fix it all. :C