Nox @time_parad0x
Chapter 08 - Queen Administrator

I don't own Worm

This chapter was edited by nags.

Chapter 08: Queen Administrator

Sustained by the euphoria, I felt at having found a way to help Dad. I jogged to the hospital. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to keep my pace and had to make more than one pause, during which I slowed down to a walk. Despite this being my first attempt at getting in shape, not counting those instances I ran for my life, I already got the impression that it was beginning to make a difference.

And if I happened to get into any more life and death situations, every little advantage could mean the difference between walking away or being sent to the morgue.

I reached the entrance of the hospital out of breath and slightly sweaty. I tried my hand at a final sprint by running up the stairs to Dad's room.

As a result, no small amount of disapproving glances were sent my way. To my great relief, no staff member I came across had the time, nor the inclination to reprimand me.

I didn't slow down until I was standing next to Dad, still lying in his bed. With the receding adrenalin, I started noticing the state of my body, my leg muscles being sore and hurting, and my body being close to exhaustion.

A little rest right now wouldn't be the worst idea. But first, I had something to do that allowed no delay.

He was unconscious and in a worse state than when I last saw him. Considering that it was only a few hours ago made it quite clear what a precarious situation he was in. They added some more equipment to the machines, which were already present this morning while I was gone; All monitoring his health in one way or the other.

I repeated the process of searching the room for any surveillance system. But I had to admit to myself that if there were any such devices present, they more than likely would be installed into the machines surrounding Dad's bed. Meaning there was nothing I could do about them, let alone being able to find them.

Nonetheless, doing it, at least, gave me peace of mind - that I did all within my capabilities. When I finished looking around, I used a chair to block the inward opening door. Trying to prevent a repeat of what happened last time I was here. Following this, I curtained off Dad's bed.

I couldn't help but notice how utterly vulnerable he looked. A state I would never have thought I would see him in.

Returning to a position standing next to him, I summoned Mom. She stepped out of my shadow. For a moment, she placed her hand reassuringly on my shoulder and then moved to his headrest out of his peripheral vision in the event he should awaken. It would allow me to unsummon her before he could get a chance to see her.

At least if I still retained the ability to do so, there was a high chance of his power influencing me to a similar degree to what happened to him and Mom, which could even result in me ruining this attempt at saving his life.

I took a deep breath. Fully aware that it wouldn't be nearly as easy as with Alabaster.

I shook myself violently in the hopes to get rid of my doubts. Then I focused on the task at hand and tried to invoke the determination necessary to succeed. Because I was expecting quite a fight to be lying ahead of me to get his power under control and the Abyss to do only what I demanded of it.

A short glance to my right at Mom, and with a nod from me, she touched Dad on his forehead. She regained her bearings faster than in the previous instance and initiated the next phase of our venture by touching my shoulder.

Without delay, I felt the effects of being gifted this power. It was just indescribable the new Horizon opened in my mind. The closest comparison I could make was being blind and deaf from birth and then suddenly being cured of it, opening your eyes for the very first time, and looking at the most beautiful thing imaginable while listening to divine music.

It was just, wow, this is how it must feel to be granted godhood. It was simply addicting. I felt like being embraced by warmth, pure love, and caring. Nothing I had ever experienced came even close compared to the depth of it. To be so much more than before. It was a hundred a thousand times grander than being fused with any one of my Shades.

It took all my willpower to come back to my senses, to not lose myself in this kaleidoscope of impressions. It was incredibly hard to say no to those feelings, to step back from something that was everything I could have ever wished for.

If not for a small part of myself anchored to my sense of responsibility, clinging to the memories of Dad. Combined with the knowledge of what would be the consequences of my failure kept me from succumbing to it.

I opened myself to the Darkness within me, and with no effort at all, I found the shard that elicited such wonderful feelings. The Darkness reached for it, and faster than I could even process it, the Shard was loose, severed from all the connections, and dragged deep down into the Abyss.

There was no resistance, whatsoever. On the contrary, it was as if the Shard wanted to be consumed. I got the impression it couldn't cast away Dad fast enough, not thinking him worthy. Instead, it was more than overeager at the prospect of becoming one with me. I probably needn't do anything for it to stay with me.

I was simply puzzled at what just happened. Because this shard clearly showed intent. Are those powers sentient beings? If they are, what did this mean? Why are they granting humans powers? To what end?

I couldn't help but chuckle, and here I was hoping to finally get some answers, but what I got were just more and more questions. If this continued, I probably should start looking into ways to become immortal, just to have enough time to answer them all.

I ended my introspection, and the first thing I noticed was that I saw my Dad from two separate perspectives. I was confused and moved my head to make out the new point of origin of this new viewpoint, which was looking down at Dad from an angle slightly above his headrest.

What I saw was Mom in her pantsuit, standing there frozen, her eyes fixed on Dad.

"Mom? Is everything alright?" I asked, concerned. She didn't respond. She didn't even move. My heart rate accelerated, and panic seeped into my mind. It couldn't be. Did I do something to let her personality regress and turn her into one of those puppets, all my other Shades were, without me knowing?

No, this couldn't be happening. I refused to accept this. We were just reunited. I wouldn't be able to survive losing her again; I just wouldn't.

In my desperation, I reached for her only to feel the touch twice. Once through my fingertips and at the same time through her upper arms. The place where my fingers made contact with her as if those arms were mine. Surprised by this, I halted my actions and didn't attempt to follow through with my original intent to shake her awake.

"Okay, calm down Taylor. Think!" – I told myself. "The moment you stop thinking, you have already lost."

I took a deep breath and followed my own advice. Thinking straight, it wasn't hard to discern that the only thing different prior to this change was absorbing Dad's shard. Hence I suspected it to be the very reason for it. Furthermore, I concluded, that this must be one of those evolved abilities of the Abyss, because I wasn't actively using the Shard, at least not to my knowledge. Hell, I didn't even know if it was possible to use a non-bound Shard.

In an attempt to get a better understanding of what this new ability entailed, I summoned Iron Rain. She stepped out of my Shadow, and I immediately gained full access to her sensory perception the instant she fully materialized. Unfortunately, this didn't free up Mom from the effect she was under. There was no change. She was still held in the grasp of this power. But what else could I do? - I asked myself.

If I could feel what they felt, could I direct their actions?

It took me a few attempts, but as I found out. I really was able to move their bodies. I even had complete access to their powers.

I summoned another Shade, one I hadn't before. It was one of the male Shades I collected during my cemetery visit. He, too, immediately fell under my control. There was no prompting of my power necessary, to learn what his powers were. Just by summoning him, I knew. This allowed me to effectively side-stepped the whole `fuse with them method´ I had to use before in order to find it out.

But I still wasn't able to remove my control over Mom or the other Shades. Given that it extended over more than two of my Shades, I considered it a safe bet to assume that all of them would be awaiting the same fate if called upon.

So the question was, how do I get Mom back?

This new power allowed me to puppeteer my Shades as an extension of my body, even going so far as granting me an inherited understanding of their powers. While being a great ability, it was unwanted.

I tried to withdraw myself, my presence controlling them from my Shades. An undertaking that, proved to be difficult. Because I didn't know how I controlled them in the first place. As far as I could tell, nothing changed in regards to my connection to my Shades.

Something that simply couldn't be true. But for some reason escaped my notice. I really should have invested the time and gotten more familiar with my power, then I wouldn't struggle with this now. Well, Hindsight is twenty-twenty. I just hoped I would do better in the future. It was really cringe-worthy how many mistakes I already accumulated in the short time since I decided to use my powers.

I stopped with my futile attempts and took a step back from the problem. If my presence in the Shades didn't change, something else must have changed. I recalled the way it felt being one with the new Shard and tried to find anything resembling it. It took me a while; I was just about to give up my search as another failed attempt when I found it.

There was something new, piggybacking on my own connection. It resembled thin spider threads, barely noticeable, wound around my own. It strangely fit my mental image of this power, allowing me to puppeteer my Shades, because the strings on puppets weren't visible either.

With some prompting, I was able to get one of them to withdraw back into the Abyss, where they came from. I immediately noticed the change by losing access to the sense of sight of Mom. I restored this connection and withdrew another one. This time I lost my grip on her hearing. The next one I tried resulted in me losing the ability to control her body. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to return her to her previous self, her own devices.

The only conclusion I could draw capable of explaining this suggested that there had to be a thread taking control of her mind.

After some lengthy trial and error, I was able to identify the ones controlling her powers and mind and removed them. Additionally to the one controlling her body. The first thing out of her mind were the words:

"That was... different."

"I would suspect so. Are you alright Mom?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said, relieved. "I was never on the receiving end of some master effect. I heard of how master effects can take control of somebody previously to encountering this one. But there never was any mention of one even coming close to the absolute grip you had on my every action; even my thoughts weren't my own."

"I can see how alarming that must be; to be nothing more than a passenger in your own body. I can only imagine how I would have reacted if I would have found myself in the same situation." I freely admitted. Losing one Free-Will was a horror scenario for a reason.

"That's just it," she retorted. "I'm not disturbed. I'm not scared out of my mind, given the prospect of being at the complete mercy of somebody else, not being in control of my body, my thoughts, and my power. Honestly, it should scare me shitless; that such a thing is possible even if you are the one having this power over me. But there is nothing, no feelings of disgust, fear, or fright. I... I just accept it."

"That is ... Wow." I was at a loss for words. "Do you think that this disregard is somehow connected to the suppression of the personalities we already established for Shades not loyal to me?"

"Yes, it has to be." She mulled it over. "Another safety measure, I mean it would be strange if some of your abilities would lose you the loyalty of your Shades. Nonetheless, it is strange, hearing your mind telling you, you essentially should be in the middle of a panic attack while being totally calm. But I guess it is just one more thing I'm gonna have to adapt to, given a little more time."

Hearing her say this was disturbing on a fundamental level. In what my power was capable of doing to those I reanimated as one of my Shades. But similar to Mom, I had to accept it. Simply because I didn't think I was able to do anything about it. And I was well past the point of no return. After some thought, I kept the threads granting me access to her senses in place. It wouldn't hurt. On the contrary, I could come up with over a dozen scenarios in which having access to her senses might be useful, one way or the other.

In the same vein, I decided to give the same treatment to all my other Shades. For one, they were already following my orders. In addition, it would allow me to take note of if something in their behavior restriction could change after they were made into Shades. After I had identified what each thread did in the case of Mom, it was fairly easy to match the individual threads to their function. As a result, it took no time at all to do it for all of them. I didn't even need to summon them first.

I unsummoned Iron Rain and the man, who I realized possessed a very useful power. He was a Shaker that could phase any non-living objects solid and liquid out of our reality leaving only a vague ghostly image of the objects behind that no longer could interact in any way with objects or persons not being phased.

If I would have known I had a Shade possessing such a power, which allowed one to walk through walls, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble back in the E88 warehouse. And here I thought myself lucky for finding the Shade I fused with Mom when I did because it allowed me to survive the events back there when I could have found him instead.

Well, no use in crying over spilled milk. It could have gone better. But given the fact that I only had time to learn about a few of my Shades before the Empire arrived instead of finding more useful Shades, it could have been just as well been the opposite, shades less useful in the situation I found myself in. I shuddered at the thought of what might have happened.

"Mom, would you be so nice," I said, pointing at dad.

Following my prompt, she touched him again. Only this time, instead of taking something from him, she granted him regeneration. She had to refresh the regeneration a few times over a period of roughly ten minutes until Dad finally stirred. While being antsy waiting for specifically that to happen, I not only paced up and down the whole time but also removed the chair blocking the door. There no longer was a need for it. Since the sensible part of the operation, during which I couldn't afford to be interrupted, was already over.

We weren't sure if he was injured that badly for it to take more than one dose of superpowered regeneration or if it just took so long to wash out the drugs in his system.

In the end, I decided it didn't matter and was just happy. I unsummoned Mom with an unspoken thank you on my lips.

Dad's awakening was a slow process, he regained a lot of color from his previous pale face and fallen cheeks, no longer looking like death warmed up.

On the contrary, aside from a drowsy complexion, he made a healthy impression on me, for the first time in months. I was remembered at a time when our family still counted three members.

I waited patiently for him to open his eyes and take in his surroundings, despite desperately wanting nothing more than to hug the stuffing out of him.

"Taylor is that you?" he asked with a hoarse voice while squinting his eyes. Right, he wasn't wearing his glasses.

Hearing those words, took all the load off my mind. Because in the darkest corner of my mind, I waited for the other shoe to drop in some fashion. The relief for it to be wrong was just too much.

I tackled my Dad, lying in his bed, burying my tearing eyes in his torso intent on never letting him go. He groaned at my impromptu attack and said.

"Careful there," he croaked, "my ribs aren't daughter-hugging proof.'' The absence of a response from me caused Dad to reciprocate my hug.

He softly asked, his words barely qualifying as whispered.

"How close did I come to dying?"

Instead of answering, I strengthened my grip on his torso. I wasn't able to discern if his wince was a reaction to my action or if he understood my unspoken message.

Our moment together was interrupted when I heard the curtains around dad's bed being parted, and a stern woman voiced her displeasure.

"Miss Hebert didn't the incident this morning make it clear to you why the curtains are to re ..."

She didn't come any further with her tirade, the next things I heard were fast retreating steps and a through walls muffled. "Get me Doctor Green ..."

I completely failed to notice her coming into the room, let alone getting this close. Either those nurses must have been trained in stealth, that would shame most thieves, or I was just too distracted by bawling out my eyes, again. Since when did I become such a crybaby? I cried more in the last few days than in the last few years combined. To be fair, those were special circumstances with Mom coming back to life and now this whole affair with Dad.

Nonetheless, it left some things to be desired; for god's sake, I was no longer a five-year-old girl.

I released Dad from my embrace and moved out of the way. In the next moment, I heard the footsteps of the nurse with another person in tow. I discreetly made my way over to some chair and used my sleeves to wipe away my tears. Doctor Green and the Nurse had enough decency to not comment on it, and neither did they pay me any attention aside from noting my presence. I handed dad his glasses, which were lying on his bed rest. He put them on without delay.

"I'm pleased to finally make your acquaintance Mr. Hebert." was the first thing Dr. Green said to dad with a smile on his lips while offering his hand for him to shake it. "Ah, a good strong handshake, that's a good sign. How are we feeling today?"

"Water," he croaked out.

"Of course," he said, embarrassed. "Cynthia, would you please get a glass of water for Mr. Hebert."

"Already on it," Cynthia responded, then halfway through the room. Nearing a tablet in the corner of the room filled with some reversed glasses and a bottle of water next to them. She filled a glass and returned to dad's bedside, carefully handing the glass to him. "Slowly and only small, deliberate sips," she ordered, keeping a close eye on dad, to ensure that her words wouldn't be ignored. Hands raised, ready to intervene at a moment's notice.

She waited for dad to nearly empty the glass before she took it from him.

With that taken care of, Dr. Green repeated his earlier question. "How are we feeling today, Mr. Hebert?

"Good, perhaps a little restless as if I lied in bed for too long."

"That is quite a natural reaction given your condition." Dr. Green reassured. "Aside from that, do you have any complaints of headaches, dizziness problems with your sight? Are your thoughts perhaps sluggish or not coherent?"

"No, nothing of the like," Dad assured. "I don't have any of those symptoms you mentioned, and I don't feel anything else wrong with me. On the contrary, I feel great, better than I did in a long time."

"That's great to hear," Dr. Green said. "Given the condition you arrived at, I'd like to act on the side of caution and examine you thoroughly. For that, I'd need you to stay with us just a few days longer, at least until we had the chance to make an MRI of your head."

"I don't think that to be necessary." Dad declined politely.

"Oh, but I think it is," Dr. Green insisted. "Mr. Hebert, when you arrived here you had a head injury, those are seldom to scoff at, but you were an especially bad case. You bleed out of your nose, and you weren't responsive. Honestly, we still don't know what even was the cause for it."

"It was that serious, hmm?" Dad inquired thoughtfully.

"Yes, it was." Dr. Green assured. "I can understand your reluctance to stay a single day longer than necessary in a hospital. It is, after all, a place the healthy avoid like the pest because here we are constantly reminded of our mortality. And our beds cost a pretty penny; still, your health should be more important than a few dollars. As a doctor, I can't allow you to leave with a good conscience. Therefore I suggest that you should get yourself examined thoroughly." After a short pause, with a far softer voice, he added, "Even if it is only to allay the fears of your daughter."

"You drive a hard bargain," dad said lamenting. "Are you sure you are a doctor and not a used-car salesman?" At that insinuation, Dr. Green laughed, and I couldn't keep myself from smirking.

"Not that I'm aware of, but if you say I have untapped talent, I take your word for it. Perhaps I should consider it as an alternate career path if working as a medical professional doesn't pan out." Dr. Green said jokingly. Dad reciprocated the laugh at his response and glanced at me.

"Perhaps I should follow your advice on this since you are the professional." He humored him.

"That would be my recommendation, and you wouldn't want to let all the strings I had to pull and favors I had to cash in go to waste for securing you an appointment in the already far too tight MRI schedule."

I could see Dad still wasn't fully sold on it, but I wasn't the only one to whom this looked like this because Dr. Green added. "How about this, if the results come back negative tomorrow, I will personally escort you from the premises."

This got Dad's approval. "You've got yourself a deal," he said with a smirk.

"Good, I will return in a few minutes for some tests. Before I forget it. Do you need a phone to take care of some things?" Dr. Green asked conspiratorially. In response, I received a questioning look from dad.

"Yeah, that might be a good idea." I conceded.

Dr. Green walked over to a Nightstand and took the wireless phone from its receiver and gave in a pin before he handed it over to Dad. "When you are done, place it back."

"Thank you." was Dad's short response, Dr. Green left shortly after together with the Nurse.

"So, Taylor, who do I have to call?" He said knowingly. I winced at that.

"Your work and my school," I confessed.

Raking his hand through his thinning-out hair, he said, "As I feared. Taylor, I know you consider yourself mature, and you aren't wrong in that assumption, to a degree. But you should have sought the help of an adult."

Well, I did, but I wouldn't tell him that, for now at least.

"I know you and Emma have your problems at the moment, but there are others, friends of the family who wouldn't have minded helping you."

He reached for my hand and squeezed it. "Promise me, next time, god forbid there ever is a repeat of that, something happens to me you seek help."

"I promise." I had no problem with giving my word on this, I intended to keep it just not in the way Dad assumed I would. With Mom a thought away, I never would be without adult supervision ever again.

He looked at me closely in an attempt to ascertain the sincerity of my words. Obviously, he was satisfied with what he saw, because he didn't pick up the topic again.

Instead, he said. "Good, I'm gonna call the school, and you young Lady are going there tomorrow."

"But, Dad..."

He interrupted me. "No buts Taylor, it is bad enough that you already missed your first two days at your new school. I want you to go there. There is no reason not to. I'm better and depending on when school ends, you will be here by the time I'm released, so there really is no need for you to waste another day sitting at my bed."

Reluctantly I agreed. "Okay, but only because my school day tomorrow ends shortly after lunchtime."

"That's my little girl, knowing her timetable by heart without even having set a foot in class." He grinned at me throughout the whole sentence, while ruffling my hair. I blushed.

My halfhearted effort in dislodging his hand from my head and outcry of "Dad!" elicited a hearty laugh from him.

"See, I'm all better. There really is no need to worry. How about you make your way home, and go to bed early. You have an exhausting day ahead of you. And I have to make a few calls."

Despite my displeasure of being sent home. I couldn't deny that dad was right. In any case, his having to stay another day presented me with the ideal opportunity to get a few things done.

"Okay, Dad."

I hugged him as a goodbye and left the hospital grinning. There was a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued.

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Chapter 01 - The First Follower 10566 0 0 2. Chapter 02 - Dreams of the Dead 11590 0 0 3. Chapter 03 - A Necromancer's Decision 6228 0 0 4. Chapter 04 - The Shadow of a Mother 6248 0 0 5. Chapter 05 - Second visit to unknown 8486 0 0 6. Chapter 06 - Parahuman Parents 5953 0 0 7. Chapter 07 - A monster in the Bay 11272 0 0 8. Chapter 08 - Queen Administrator 4628 0 0 9. Chapter 09 - Shadow Cabinet 10614 0 0 10. Chapter 10 - Attack on the PRT 6549 0 0