"Nath! Nath! Get out here." I awoke to shouts coming from the living room. Pretty much a normal day. "Fucking Zack" I thought as I reached around and grabbed my mobile off of the floor. I clicked a button and the time appeared, "7:23". "Fucking Zack!" I thought again. It was the last straw in a long line of early wakeups. I jumped out of my bed and rushed out, flinging the door to the lounge open and then shouted, "What the hell is important enough to wake me up at bloody twenty three minutes passed seven Zack!"
The blonde haired guy, sitting on the sofa looking incredibly innocent grinned, "Hey Nath. I made you breakfast."
"Fuck off." I muttered as I glared at him, "Why did you wake me up?"
"Oh, yeah. I just finished the coding project." He was still grinning, a grin that made me want to shove his face into the TV...well apart from then that would damage the TV. Maybe the oven was a better place, "I managed to fix the hole in the security program. It means big money will come in soon."
"Fantastic." I said with the most sarcasm I could manage at this time in the morning on my tongue, "Can I go back to sleep now?"
"Well…probably not." Zack answered thoughtfully, "You find it difficult to go back to sleep if you've been woken up, so you probably won't be able to get back to sleep."
I want to hit him.
"Exactly. Well bloody done." I applauded, continuing to glare at the guy, "So. You woke me up to tell me something that I could have found out in a few hours, when I would have had enough sleep, and there'd be no change in the situation…because?"
That grin. "Because I solved it."
"Great. Just…great." I muttered as I walked over to the kitchen. To be fair to him, there was a plate of a fried breakfast and a cup of coffee waiting on the side. I brought them into the lounge and sat down on a chair and started to dig in. It was luke warm, but it did taste pretty good. I can never criticise Zack's cooking, he does an excellent job...and he knows that this will make me forgive him. Fucking bastard. After eating half of it, I looked up from his meal at Zack, who was typing something onto his laptop, I let out a sigh knowing that he had won "So. How did you do it?"
Zack turned and grinned (bloody grin), "Well. First they had left in tons of lines of redundant coding, so I cut through all of that and simplified it. Once I had done that it was pretty obvious that they had a problem, so I just followed the story until the point where it started sounding like gibberish and played around with it."
I chuckled. Zack had just managed to fix the security flaw in one of the top bank's of the countries security system. I had started to grasp that what he was saying was what he was doing, but actually it was several thousand times more complicated. Getting rid of redundant coding sounded simple, but what he probably meant was getting rid of about half of the code in something that was made up of millions of lines of code, remaking it so that it worked more efficiently, and then finding that parts of the code that were making it easy to exploit and changing the code so that those parts could not be exploited. What he had done was something that would be impossible for almost everyone in the world, yet to him it was like playing a game.
Of cause he did have an advantage. Zack Skylar. He wasn't meant to be here.
Zack was from another planet, a planet where the people were dying out. I had tried to get my head around this for a long time, and I sort of understood it.
Zack was from a planet where people were essentially like gods, infact some of them probably lead to some of the mythology about gods that was in our culture. The planet was initially filled with people who were immortal, could control the physical elements of the universe and even the fabric of reality itself.
But for some reason their genes were breaking down. After a few generations they started to notice that they had lost their immortality. By the time that Zack was born, they had slightly shorter life expectancies to humans. Not only that but their abilities had gradually grown weaker.
That's not to say that they aren't strong. Zack was gifted to control electricity. His brain was wired (irony) towards it. He naturally understood about electricity, about technology and about how currents existed in everything. With this understanding and something strange that his physiology allowed for, he was able to create electricity. He could also transform himself into electricity and use this to travel long distances through currents.
He was also incredibly hyperactive, and a bad speller.
But in comparison to the first generation, this was nothing. Zack hadn't met anyone from that generation, but the tales were told to him like legends. People who could control life and death with a click of their fingers. People who could change the memories of an entire planet. People who could obliterate galaxies, just by breathing. He had stated that some of these were exaggerated a bit, but it was a possibility.
However, what is important is how Zack ended up here. There were some people who were trying to stop the genetic breakdown, before they got to a point where children would die upon being born, while there were others who thought that their time had come and it was time to let it go. Zack's mother and father believed in that inevitability. However they wanted to leave it as a choice for future generations, so they tried to develop a way of halting the breakdown. They found a method that could be used, a method that would stop the genetic breakdown at the price of them losing their abilities. However there were obviously people that thought that was wrong, and there were people who thought that they could develop a technique that would not get rid of abilities.
These people decided the best way to protect their research and give the best chance to their people to stay as powerful as they should be was to get rid of the other method, which meant getting rid of Zack's parents.
Zack's father was killed first, dying to let Zack and his mother escape. However they caught up with them, that was when Zack's mother used her ability to save him.
She was able to manipulate the timeline of one person and place them into the timeline of another. I had asked lots of questions about this. From what I could gather it came with a few rules. She was able to make it so that a specified person was able to meet another person at one point in history. She was able to specify the part of the timeline that they met, but not the circumstances leading up to it or occurring after it. Once she specifies that one person meets another then everything else in reality bends around that. The timeline of the person who is being inserted changes completely to allow for the timeline of the other person to stay as stable as possible up until the moment that they meet, then the future can change completely for them.
She was able to use the ability every 51 Earth days, but after she used it she would spend the next 50 days forced to plan who the next person would be. If she did not use it on the 51st day then she had to wait another 51 days before she could use it again. From what Zack stated she had made it so that she was able to finally settle on a person she would insert three days before she had to use the ability, then at that point she was able to see people who are compatible to that person. She could see the story of those people, different aspects of their lives, different aspects of their personality, and something about their future and what they would become if they didn't meet this person. I have asked tons of questions on this, though Zack's answers were always really vague. He didn't know how much she could see. He stated that she couldn't see what would happen if two people did meet, but every time that I thought about this I wasn't sure. If she had all of that information then she must have known something. She must have known a bit about what would happen; otherwise you wouldn't force people together. But who knows? It's one of those thing's that I didn't think I'd ever find out.
Zack's father had found out that they were going to be assassinated. At this point Zack's mother had started making plans to save Zack. What happened next made Zack state that it was somehow 'fated' to happen, as they managed to escape on the 50th day. Then when they got to the dawn of the 51st day she used the ability, and she inserted him into another's life so that he was never there when they came to kill them. She inserted him into the life of Nathan Timothy Wells. Me.
I was just a normal guy, but I was deeply unhappy. My parents didn't understand me, I was bullied basically every day, and I was starting to feel like there was no real reason to anything. It was a pretty bleak time. At this point I got a foster brother, Zack, and things started to turn around (even though at first I wanted to kill the little idiot). I felt like I could trust Zack, and through Zack I was able to open up to his parents a bit more and our relationship started to get better. My life got better.
And I found out who Zack was. I was the only person on the planet who knows who Zack really is.
Zack was able to remember his past timeline and his current timeline. He knows what his mother did for him. The reason why is again a complicated one, Zack liked to explain it in some romantic way with the true past of someone always staying locked away in them somewhere and that he was able to unlock his through the electricity flowing through his body reactivating his synapses to restore them to their original form. I didn't know, but Zack was here and does remember them both so I can't really criticise it.
That is the basic story. Zack became a part of my life and we saved each other. Zack's mother picked me because 'I was the person who would best be able to look after her son out of everyone in the galaxy' or something like that, and that Zack would be able to save me from what would have happened if his life continued as it would have. Zack hadn't told me exactly what that was, but I knew that it didn't end well.
She had also left Zack with a way to get all of the research that his parents had done. It was incomplete, but he was left with the choice of whether he should complete the research (or find someone who could complete it, it wasn't anything he could understand particularly well) or if he would leave it buried. He hadn't made his mind up about it yet. Instead he was living on Earth like anyone else…well, apart from his abilities.
Six years had passed since we met. We were twenty year olds, living in a flat in the middle of London. Zack worked as an independent IT specialist, getting contracts from anyone who were able to fix the issues they are having with their systems. It provided him with something to do and did make a reasonable amount of money, which kept us living comfortably enough. Meanwhile I was at UCL studying Medicinal Chemistry. I justified it as trying to help Zack out in trying to understand his parents' research, however I had been studying for three years and wasn't much closer to understanding what they were going on about. The science they were using was decades ahead of what we were currently capable of on Earth, and I'm not that good anyway. I decided to carry on, just incase I could learn something that may be key, something that I could use to help Zack out. But so far I had squat.
In the meantime I finished my breakfast. I put his plate in the sink on top of the many pans and sighed. Washing up was my job apparently, "Zack." I thought, his breakfast had removed the expletive, but I was still a bit irritated. I switched the hot water on and then walked back to my room. I threw on a black t-shirt with 'Fender' written on it and a pair of blue jeans and then pulled my laptop up from the floor near his bed. I swung it open and then looked through a few course notes.
While I was doing this a text box appeared on his screen and words started to appear across the screen, repeating the phrase 'the old fox and the antelope went to the beach and got trashed', "Get off of my computer Zack!" I shouted. The text box then disappeared leaving me looking at his notes...but then I sighed again, "Stop messing with my work! I'm pretty sure that my lecturer wasn't explaining about the chemicals used to create a cyborg."
"But it would have made everything much more fun!" Appeared on the screen. I shouted, "Trying to revise!"
"Fine! You're no fun!" Zack shouted back to him as my screen reverted to what I was looking at before Zack started messing with the screen. I continued to revise for another twenty minutes, and then put my laptop down and went out to do the washing up. While I was doing this Zack wondered over to the kitchen and started talking to me about...well a lot of things. He darted from one thing to the other to another.
It was sort of his way of doing things. Zack was on some medication for his hyperactivity, but they didn't always have an effect. It was an inadvertent side of Zack's abilities. He was able to control potential differences in the outside world, which meant that he was also able to affect the ones in his brain. This meant that he often produced a stimulant effect on himself without meaning to. His focus would jump from one thing to another to another without him meaning too. He just found it all interesting and wanted to talk about it all at the same time.
Now he was talking about Firefly. Of cause.
I finished off the washing up and put all of the items away. I switched off the water and turned to face Zack and listened to him for a bit. I didn't need to talk much, something I really appreciated some times. I had also learnt to phase out some of the noise when I needed to (trust me, something you needed to!).
This time it didn't last long. Zack continued talking quickly for about fifteen minutes and then suddenly he stopped and fainted. Exhaustion. I stood there for a minute staring at him and tried to think of when was the last time that he had slept. I hadn't heard him going into his room yesterday, and I don't think I had heard him the night before. If I thought about the time that he had started working on his latest project he probably hadn't slept for fifty hours.
I rolled my eyes and picked him up. I dragged him through to his room and lay him down on the bed. I pulled a duvet over him, drew the curtains and closed the door. I then went over and sat on the sofa in the peace and quiet.
The flat was designed quite simply. There were two bedrooms, which were big enough to have a bed and a wardrobe in them, but not a lot else. They had a kitchen, which was quite small, but had most of things you want in a kitchen in it, and then they had the lounge, which was quite big. It had a dining table and some chairs around it near the kitchen, but they generally didn't use it for eating. Instead they sat on the sofas and watched the massive TV screen that they had. We purchased it for 'Zack's work' of cause.
It was pretty much guy heaven near that TV. We had most varieties of game consoles brought out over the past twenty years (I could never bring myself to get rid of my Gamecube). They had several game and film stacks, holding hundreds and hundreds of CDs. They had a dozen takeaway menus stacked up in a pile and they had enough cables that we were probably able to plug anything into anything else and get them to work – Zack knew what he was doing tech wise. There was of cause surround sound and a decent speaker system that Zack had built into the flat. It was pretty awesome.
I tried to do a bit more revision, but then decided that seeing as though I had to head over for a lecture in the afternoon that I couldn't be bothered to do work before then. Instead I decided to make sure that the place was alright. It was mostly clean (I had learned something from my obsessive mother over the years), but they had accumulated a good pile of washing. I bundled all of it together and into a basket and took it over to the door.
With the laundry tucked under my arm, I closed the door and started to make my way down the stairs. I carefully stepped down, not wanting a repeat of the last time, which resulted in a cracked rib and a hole in a perfectly good t-shirt. I liked that t-shirt. After the stairs I crossed over the landing and over towards the laundry room.
"So far pretty good." I thought to myself as I grabbed the door handle and opened the door into the cluttered room. There were two dryers, two washing machines, a large bundle of clothes across one side of the room and a red haired man sitting ontop of the table next to the only (small) window. It was one of those moments that now I would try to slow down and try and see what was happening...but I can't think of it like that. I can only think of it how it really happened. I tried to keep my gaze down as I brought my washing over to the washing machines. There was one free, so I started to bundle up the washing and chuck it in but as I did I could feel eyes burning into the back of his neck. I turned and noticed the man smirking at him.
"Hey." He called in a voice that filled the room. I smiled slightly, but then returned my attention to the washing, stuffing the last few items in. I stood up to grab my washing tablets but noticed that the man had pushed himself up and off of the table and was walking over to me. I grabbed a tablet and chucked it into the machine and slammed the door shut. I went into his pocket and pulled out his bag of change while the man stood next to him leaning on the next washing machine across. I fumbled the change while I could still feel the heat coming from the eyes staring down at me. I tried to find the right change but was being pretty useless. I then sighed, "Do you have to stare at me?"
The man chuckled, "Don't have to, but I'm enjoying what I'm seeing so far." He replied, his tongue sticking out slightly at the end. Slick bastard. I sighed again as I pulled a few coins out of his bag and threw them into the machine. I swiftly pressed start and then walked over to the pile of laundry furthest away from the man and pushed it to the side so I could sit on the floor between it and the man.
"Cold." The man smirked again as he leant back on the dryer, "Why are you staying? Perhaps you are enjoying th..."
"I am staying," I interrupted, "because I don't trust leaving my washing with you."
"Yet you allow yourself to be stuck in a room with me. I don't know but that looks like mixed signals to me." He pushed himself up and sat on the top of the dryer facing me, "So, what's your name?"
I pulled my phone out of my pocket and started to load up the internet to check my mail, trying to ignore the fire staring down at me. After a minute the man laughed again, and pulled out his phone. We sat there as the washing machines span onwards. After a while, Nathan glanced up from my phone at the man, who now seemed to be amusing himself with some video. He was always difficult to explain properly, the best way to start is to image that he is a bit unusual looking. He had short crimson hair, which was parted off to one side. I had identified him as a man, but really he was only just about there...I'd imagine he'd hit me if he heard me say that. I'd best make sure that he never reads this. He was very skinny, wearing a white t-shirt that showed exactly how thin he was and brown baggy trousers. He was pale, appearing like he could use eating a little more red meat and going out in the sun a bit. But the most obvious features were his eyes, coloured a deep orange like a sunset. "Contact lenses." I had thought as the man smirked again. Crap. I knew that I had been spotted.
"I'll try again then." The man declared, "My name is Lucian. What is yours?"
After a few more seconds of silence, I, now defeated, looked up at the man, "I'm Nathan." I muttered. Lucian then smirked and kicked back on the dryer so that he was pushed into the air and down onto the floor infront of my puzzled expression, "Excellent. It's a good name. It's good to meet you." He smiled and I was about to stand up and walk out of the way when Lucian pulled a small box out of from his pocket. He opened it and revealed a pack of playing cards, "Want a game? It gives us something to do to pass the time."
I was aprehensive, but I nodded and we started to play a game of poker, which I found I wasn't great at, especially against this guy when I couldn't tell if he was bluffing or not. He was completely confusing. One second I thought I had figured out some sort of a tell, but then Lucian's personality seemed to bounce and everything changed. It was a bit like talking to Zack, but Lucian seemed to be doing it doing it very much intentionally.
"You are pretty bad at this." Lucian teased, "And so incredibly easy to read."
"In what way?" I glared at him, not liking the idea that this man was able to figure me out.
"I'm not telling you, I'll loose my edge." He laughed, "However as a hint, I'll tell you that you do something with your face when you are bluffing."
"Not a great hint." I thought, "That's essentially the same as 'I'm not going to tell you how to drive this car but as a hint, you've got to do something inside of it.'" Lucian smirked as if he could tell the thoughts flowing through Nathan's head. Nathan frowned and shuffled the deck for another round, I then started to complain out loud "Even worse that could be a total lie! You could be making me do something with my face now. Overall, that's a mean thing to do." I was about to deal the cards when Lucian's hand went over the deck.
"How about we make this a bit more interesting?" Lucian smirked and I prepared to run over to the door knowing what this man was going to say next, "Every time I win you have to tell me something about yourself." He didn't say what I thought he was going to say, again he had won the game. I breathed out a breath of relief, "And every time you win I'll take off an item of..." There it was. I stood up and started towards the door when Lucian laughed and grabbed my leg stopping me from moving.
"Relax. If you win, unlikely as it is, then I'll tell you something about me. What do you say?"
I nodded and returned back to sitting down on the floor and started to deal the cards.
One game. I lost. Lucian learned about his current living situation. Another game, another loss. He learned about my degree. A third game, mysteriously a third loss. I revealed some art, or some project that I'd been working on in my spare time. This continued for another fifteen minutes until the first washing machine made a sound to interrupt the laughter as I told a story about mine and Zack's first day in the building. Lucian then transferred his items from the washing machine to the dryer. "Would you like a hand?" I asked.
Lucian smirked, "Don't know if I trust you." Again his tongue came out and he stood back allowing me to come over and grab an armful of laundry that I did not inspect (...well, not much). I pushed it into the dryer as Lucian skilfully flipped a few coins out of his pocket and slid them into the machine to start it up.
Eventually the card game died down and we started to just talk. After a while I realised I had revealed far too much information about myself and knew nothing about Lucian, so I tried to get some information. After ten minutes I finally got him to reveal that he lived on the ground floor. He was a student at City studying Philosophy while working part-time in a restaurant as a porter. He liked playing games on his computer, but didn't find much time for them and he enjoyed reading tabloid newspapers online to laugh at the ridiculous stories. Trying to get any more information was like grinding a stone with a piece of paper. After a while my washing was in the dryer and Lucian's was finished.
"Of cause," He retorted, "There is one more thing I like." I raised my eyebrows curiously, "Cute guys with dark brown hair." He smirked as I blinked, suddenly paralysed. Lucian then pulled his washing basket up under one arm and opened the door, he leant against it and grinned while staring intently at me, "Catch you later." He then slid away and the door shut leaving me alone wondering what I had just gotten himself into.