Not so Happy Birthdays
“How can someone close off their mind?” I wondered just as Jillian asked her question.
Varick shrugged. “I’m not sure they knew exactly, but I think she had to be somewhere within a few hundred feet of her target. Part of her training when she turned six helped her get past basic things that kept minds closed to her previously, including certain drugs and very high emotions.” Varick stopped, clearly reluctant to go on.
“Then the really unpleasant lessons began, right?” I asked. I kept my tone soft, partly dreading what he would say.
“Seven and eight were respectively physical and emotional pain,” he said, his voice quietly dangerous. “She also practiced medium proximity manipulation of people’s thoughts.” Varick cleared his throat and forged on. “Nine and ten had her reading people’s physical and emotional states and manipulating them from afar. During her ninth year, they dabbled a little in predictions, but that never went far.”
“Why?” Jillian and I asked in unison.
“Too many variables,” Varick replied. “When Nadia turned eleven, they had her creating complex scenes and illusions inside others. At twelve and thirteen, she was taught how to seek motives and deal with hostile minds. She’ll be fourteen in a few months. As I’ve said, she’s had some problems around her birthday before but never this early.”
“Do you know what she’s supposed to learn next?” I inquired.
Varick shook his head in frustration. “I wish I did. I think that would answer a lot of questions.”
By this point, I didn’t know what Jillian thought of all we had just learned, but honestly, I was reeling. I like Nadia. Hearing her story from her closest brother made it somehow more painful. Maybe you can explain that to me. Again Devya’s dual nature reared its ugly and beautiful head. On the one hand, Nadia’s a victim, a slave to Devya’s scientific whims. On the other hand, Nadia’s one of the most talented and finely crafted humans ever born. Her life could indeed lead to those scientific breakthroughs Dr. Carnasis once promised.
I feel like I’ve been here before.
The Mildly Depressed One,