I can't remember exactly how long I laid there, waiting. I found that I really wasn't thinking about what they would do next, so much as when they would do it. I hated the waiting. It let my mind wander. And in this situation, imagination wasn't my friend.
Eventually, all ten of us were branded with our "IDs" and brought into this room. As the others came in, I started taking note of them. I had a feeling I should. I noticed the two Fire Bases didn't seem to be in as much pain as the rest of us. Which kind of made sense. Same goes for the Life Base. Now, normally, a Life's healing abilities could get rid of almost any scars, especially fresh ones. But, for some reason, her back looked just like the rest of ours. I wasn't sure if she couldn't heal them, or if she didn't want to. When the Shadow guy was brought in, she rushed over to him.
"Selvik!" She dragged him into her arms, which caused him to grimace.
"Oh! Sorry..." She let go, worry in her eyes. "Turn around, let me see what I can do." Selvik nodded and did so. The wounds looked strange against the tattoos that covered him. Trace closed her eyes and held a hand over the area for a bit, concentrating. It didn't look like they were healing any, but his face showed less pain.
"That's all I can do. I don't know why, but I can't seem to get rid of them." Trace looked disappointed in herself. Selvik put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Hey, you did what you could. That's fine, Trace." Trace nodded a little. Then she moved around and did the same for the rest of us. I felt relieved as the pain went away. The area was still sore, but leaps and bounds better than it was.
Just as Trace finished helping the last person, the locked clicked, and the door opened. The guards came and dragged us out, guiding us further down the hall. We were brought into a large room that had ten exam tables set up. We were dragged onto a table and strapped down tight, barely even able to breath. When finished, the guards took positions near us as the doors opened again and a group of scientists and doctors paraded in. Each one looked like they'd never spent time at a gym. They seemed excited. Which worried me.
"Hello, hello, and welcome!" The head doctor looked towards the ceiling as he spoke. I followed with my eyes and saw several large mirrors where the walls met the ceiling. I was willing to bet they were one-way mirrors. "Yes, welcome to the first stage of our experiment in enhancing the Base Abilities. Now, as you are well aware, since the Rebirth, every single person on the planet possesses abilities tied to one of the ten Bases." As the doctor spoke, the others wheeled over trays to our sides. The trays all had various tools and needles and other stuff that made me nervous. I could hear the sounds of a few people struggling, but it was obvious we weren't going to escape. Not now, anyways.
"And since then, the strength of a person's abilities was based on a combination of natural talent and training. But, even with the highest amount of talent and the best training, one can only go so far. What we hope to do is break that barrier. We hope to push the abilities farther than they have ever gone before. And, if luck should smile on us, we may even achieve the long sought goal of having multiple Bases in a single person."
"Now, we have here ten subjects with various Bases. We chose the strongest, most desirable subjects from our initial pool. We could not grab one of each Base, however, that could change easily in the future. We were fortunate to attain both a Life and a Kinetic Base, which are rare indeed. So, without further delay, we shall begin with the first step in the process."
And with that, it started. The doctor attending to me rubbed almost my entire left arm with rubbing alcohol before giving me a series of shots of various chemicals. Now, I'd never been much of a fan of needles. What was going on here was just ridiculous. I had a total of ten needles of various lengths shoved into my arm, all in different spots. I was still kind of dazed from the branding, so these shots didn't help that at all. I wasn't really paying attention to what the head doctor was saying anymore. He mentioned something about discovering chemicals that affect the natural balance of Base powers and other sciencey stuff that went over my head.
I felt myself wanting to blackout again, but I stayed awake. I wasn't going to pass out. I refused. Sure, slipping unconscious may have taken away some of the pain. But, I didn't care. I wouldn't do it.
When the shots were done, the doctor wheeled the tray away. I thought it was done.
"And now, to activate the chemicals in the body, we must send current through the subjects. This helps the molecules of the solutions to move through the body, and to bond to their cells. Once bonded to the cells, the chemicals can use the cells to reproduce themselves, thus securing their constant presence in the body."
I felt my eyes go wide and my jaw drop at that. We were gonna be...electrocuted?
I started struggling in my restraints. I'd put up with shots, but I wasn't gonna let them electrocute me. Not that I could really fight it off.
The doctor returned with some machine on a cart. He lifted straps that had wires running back to the machine and started applying them. One around each ankle, one around each wrist, and one around the head. Then he applied sticky pads, also with wires, and laid them in various spots on my arms, legs, neck, and torso. Then, at the word of the head doctor, he flipped a switch on the machine.
Pain. More uncontrolled pain. Not quite as much as the branding. But, instead of just being on my shoulder, it was in my entire body. I swear I could feel it in my eyeballs.
Try as I might, I couldn't stop myself from falling unconscious this time.