“As you probably know, most of the Thunderist funds are derived from donations from… influential benefactors. What you probably don’t know is that these benefactors have decisions as to what should be released to the general public and what instead should be kept in reserve.” Victor said with a smile as he leaned his back against the glass.
Skott, however was still speechless, his eyes locked on the hospital bed through the glass. Victor, sensing that he was still listening, continued. “You may not be aware of this, but Dalthon have seven seats on the Thunderist board out of a meagre twelve. They have the power to overturn any decisions made by the inventors. So, needless to say… with your signature finalising this agreement, we can finally administer the treatment. What do you say?”
Skott opened his mouth and tried to speak, but the smile that pulled on his lips answered his partner’s question. Victor grinned to himself as he too turned and looked into the hospital room to see a young teenager pacing around whilst stretching his arms in various directions.
“He doesn’t look like he’s in pain at all, how is this possible?” Skott asked slowly, his fingers touching the glass as he looked in at his son.
Victor reached out and hit a few buttons on the left of the glass, causing the entire pane to tint a darker colour. Skott took a step back to watch the display. Victor dragged a few images to the centre of the screen where they enlarged to show a male figure.
“This is your son’s body after the treatment, the suit that he’s wearing straightens his limbs. As for the pain, there is small doses of concentrated drug being injected into his bloodstream to allow his body some ease.” Victor said as he pressed another button on the glass.
Skott watched as the figure rotated and separated from the suit. “Is that metal?”
Victor nodded in confirmation, “Yes, we added a tougher alloy to the suit to give your son a stronger exoskeleton. It reduces the amount of effort he needs to keep his limbs in the correct positioning.”
Shaking his head, Skott frowned. “That cant work, his body would need time to adjust to such a change… you saw what he was like last year, curled up into a ball unless the doctors stretched him out.”
Victor smiled, “Another perk of the operation was that his muscles have been completely relaxed. The exoskeleton will substitute completely until the time that his body recovers from the treatment. However, there is something you should be aware of. When his muscles recover, the exoskeleton should be replaced with a lighter alloy, otherwise your son’s physical attributes will be amplified to an inhuman level.”
Skott turned to look at the man questioningly.
Victor frowned, “You thought that the Thunderists made this suit for you? No, this was for modern warfare. A number of years ago, the government wanted super-suits to be commissioned. But after yet another breakthrough in technology, no human needed to be recruited for war when androids could do it with less risk and higher performance. The suits were decommissioned and until now, there was no use found for them.”
Looking through the tinted screen, Skott studied his son who was being embraced by his mother.
“What about his mental condition?”
Victor noticed the more serious tone in his voice this time and decided to chose his words carefully. “We would recommend that you take him to therapeutic sessions, however I think that it would be more considerate towards your son if you gave him a memory wipe of the last few years. His pain and suffering has probably emotionally scarred him.”
Skott whirled around on Victor, “I will not subject him to that! You know that there is a percentage chance he’d never come out of it, worse than that, he might come out of it and not know who his own parents are.”
Victor frowned, “But you’ve seen first hand the extent of the damage? He’s not of stable mind, Skott, I think you should make the decision rationally, and not as his father.”
Skott turned back to the screen, only to see his son throw his mother’s arms away, before walking over to the other side of the room.
“Imagine he did that when the exoskeleton was fully activated…” Victor said as he gauged his partner’s expression. Skott sighed, “Are there anymore risks I should be made aware of?”
Victor looked at his notes one last time before shaking his head, “Nope, everything should be fine, just remember to replace the alloy and you should be fine. You should probably go in there and be with your son.”
Skott smiled at the man before he made his way to the door, but before he put his hand on the button he turned back. “Victor?”
Looking up from his notes, Victor smiled, “Yes, Skott?”
Opening the door and looking in towards his family, Skott smiled, “Thank you for everything. Gryffon Tech… and Dalthon, it was all just too much for me, but now I’m sure things will be okay for us all. Sorry about giving you such a hard time, I know you were just looking out for the business.”
Victor smiled warmly, “Don’t worry, I’m sure if I was in your position, I would have reacted the same way. It’s all in the past now… we’ll go over the contracts tomorrow.”
Skott smiled, “No problem.”
As the door slid shut, Victor twisted the metal bracelet he wore and held down a button. “Dalthon, Edgar.”
Moments of silence passed before a voice sounded in his ear, “Did you get his signature?”
Victor peered through the tint to make sure that Skott was occupied with his family before answering, “No, we’ll get it from him tomorrow. He’s overjoyed with the results. He’s emotional now, so we’ll get him tomorrow when he has a steady hand.”
The voice in his ear raised slightly in annoyance, “I take it that you didn’t warn him about the side effects of the suit?”
Victor grinned, “I didn’t think that they were that important.”
Edgar Dalthon’s voice was less than amused, “Your personal vendetta against this man better not jeopardise our acquisition. I have humoured your actions since we took you from his company, but I swear, if you get in the way of the takeover, you’ll be out on your a*s before you can say Laser Tech.”
Victor bit on his tongue and answered in a more calm voice, “You know that I want the takeover to succeed, but you have to trust me, I know this man. He’s going to be suspicious of every action we take, this little gesture won him over for the short term, but if he starts seeing effects that he doesn’t predict… who will he turn to?”
“You’re a sick man, Victor. Get the signature and report back to me when you do.” Edgar said before the earpiece went dead. Victor smiled as he glanced back into the room one last time, yet what he saw made him freeze momentarily. Draike Gryffon was staring at Victor through the glass.
“Don’t be an idiot, he cant see you through the glass.” Victor murmured to himself as he turned to leave, what he didn’t notice was Draike’s eyes that followed every step he took.
“And how does it feel, can you move your arms properly?” Jayen asked as she held her son’s right hand. “And what about the leg, it’s not too stiff is it? You seem to be twitching it a little… is that a side effect? What do you think Skott?”
Skott snapped out of his reverie to meet his wife’s questioning glance, “Oh, what? I have no idea…”
Jayen tried to smile, but the shock from her son rejecting an embrace still stung her. “Is your skin sensitive, maybe that’s why you cant touch others, that’s it right?”
Skott turned to his wife and put a hand on her shoulder, “Stop worrying, he’s fine… he’s just adjusting to his new suit. How does it feel Draike?”
Tearing his eyes from the reflected glass, the blonde boy turned his blue eyes onto his father, “Why only now?”
Skott looked at his wife for a moment, confusion on both of their faces. “What do you mean, son?”
Draike took a deep breath, “Why after so many years, have I been given this suit… why couldn’t you give me this when I was born? The pain…you don’t understand it.”
“Son, the technology, it wasn’t…” Skott began before he was cut off by his son.
“The suit came in a steel box… who the hell uses steel anymore?” Draike said, his voice getting louder as his eyes started to cloud over. “You could have signed out one of these at any time, but you didn’t. You just let me rot in a ball and hoped that I would just cure myself, was that it?!”
“It wasn’t like that, we had no idea that such things existed, we couldn’t have known. Calm yourself, son.” Skott said reassuringly, but Draike was having none of it. “You put my life on the line against your own principles. You didn’t make weapons for over fourteen years, yet now you decide to suddenly change and make a contract?” Draike said as his hands gripped around the bed rails.
Jayen took a step back as she saw lights beginning to flash on all the apparatus surrounding her son. The blue eyes of the angry youth locked onto Skott, “You put me through over a decade of torture for the sake of your own pride… and now you come to me and try to smile and be a family?”
Jayen put a hand to her mouth and turned away from her son, causing him to laugh.
“Do you think that your constant whining about my condition made me feel any better?”
Jayen turned to stare at her only son, tears in her eyes. “I just… I just tried to help…”
Draike’s lip curled up as he sneered at her, “You’re actually worse than him, you were here every day, telling me all about that damn mechanic and his son… do you think I wanted to hear how normal children were having fun and enjoying life? Did you really think that made me feel better?”
Jayen started crying openly, her mouth opened, but she couldn’t find the words. Draike however, wasn’t finished. Sliding off the bed, the teenager landed on his feet and advanced on her. “You were no help whatsoever…”
Skott came forward and put an arm around his wife and extended a hand towards Draike’s shoulder, but before he could, his son’s hand was gripping his father’s wrist. “Don’t touch me!” Draike spat as he flung the hand away. Skott, alarmed by the motion jerked his hand back, causing Draike to be pulled forward and lose balance. Jayen screamed aloud as her son collapsed against the bed, breathing heavily. The contempt in his eyes followed her as she ran to call for a nurse.
Moments later, Skott and Jayen were escorted from the room as Draike was helped back into the bed by the hospital staff.
Jayen was the first to speak, “Is it true, could we have gotten this suit for him sooner?”
Skott grimaced as he looked down to his wife, “No, the arms dealers only wanted my company since it hit rock bottom. I have no idea where he heard all that stuff…”
Tears flowed down Jayen’s face as she clung to her husband, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”
Skott swallowed and tried to hold back his own tears and said quietly, “Give him a few days, he might snap out of this…”
Jayen held onto him tighter as she watched her son thrashing in the bed, trying to avoid the grasps of the nurses around him.
“He might be better in the morning.” Skott said softly, knowing the words were more for himself than anyone else.