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"But enough of Thurgood," Linda sighed. There's not much else for her to do here. She knows she's abusing this friend of his, someone she only met a few times and this would be the first they were together alon without their very lives under threat. Perhaps she'd been too selfish for her own good. Taking advantage of their familiarity, invading his personal space, even laying claim to his property. Linda Linda now felt bad for Isaac.

"Isaac," she muttered, looking away, her face going scarlet. "I know this is sudden but I don't know how else to repay you. Right now, I have nothing under my name, no properties, no coin. All I have left is what you see before you. This may lower your opinion of me but this is the best I can muster at the moment, all I have is this body of mine."

Linda then raised a delicate hand, offering it to Isaac, her head turned away as if unable to face the man himself. "Take my hand Isaac. Please do this for me. As a friend."

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So many things were running through Issacs mind at that moment that he felt like his head might combust from the friction of all of them moving past each other. Of course there were the standard physical desires that went with being a human being with a functional sex drive. Linda was an attractive woman who seemed to be offering to be physically intimate with him, and his first instinct was to say yes. But there was something else stopping him, the pull of the emotions that he felt in regard to the woman. He knew at this point that he had feelings for Linda, and wasn't sure how this would affect those feelings. Then of course, there was the obvious.

Rising from the couch, he squeezed Linda's hand before pulling away gently and locking the door, mumbling that she could unlock it at any time if she felt uncomfortable. Then he began to undue the clasps for his overcoat, shrugging it off once the last one was loose. As the garment fell away, it revealed an athletic body, slate grey, with green veins glowing under the surface. Finally, he reached up and removed his mask, revealing snow white hair, and glowing green eyes. He walked forward, and took Linda's hand.

"I... I thought you should know what I really look like beneath it all," he said quietly, "And you should know that I care about you a lot. If that doesn't change anything then... then I accept."

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Shock flickered all over Linda's face as her friend laid himself bare before her. This was too much. Too much for a someone like her. She knew it must have pained him to show her the body he has been hiding for so long. Was it a sign of sincerity from his part? Perhaps.

Or perhaps it was Linda who was not sincere enough. Perhaps she should throw all caution to the wind. Unlike him, there was nothing to show in Linda's body. It was just another disposable sack of flesh, one she could easily replace at will and yet here she was taling off her long coat, the very garment that she cannot live without.

Her body was laid bare before the man, her smooth skin. Or what used to be. With her mother's body long reduced to ashes at Shawnee, Linda Linda was forced to use her original body. This was from the time she was Middy, but with appendages adjusted for a more feminine use. With her coat remoced, so too did the glamour of her power disappear. Gone was the smoothness of her skin, replaced with a plethora of deformities. On her the left side of her face was the prominent cut, the one she got when the bastards at Hell's Gate pulled out her eye without anaesthetics. There were the burns from the sacking od Tormo. The bones on her hands were bent, some out of shape. These were her present from that brothel at Izral.There was more numerous cuts and stab wounds all over her limbs and body, each one with a story to tell, but they all accumulated overtime. This body was almost broken and beyond repair, yet this too was her pride- a testament of her resilience, her determination, her ability to overcome death.

"I...I," she stammered as she once more held Isaac's hand, "I guess we both are monsters in our own right." She giggled then, her grip on his arm tightening.

Edited by Thotification

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Issac reached up with his free hand and caressed Linda's cheek, taking in everything about her, "You're not a monster to me."

He leaned in to kiss her, and the moment their lips touched...

"And now a few words from our Valedictorian, Issac Graham!"

The young man nearly jumped out of his seat at the mention of his name by the dean of the college. He had only been half listening as the man had gone through the motions of congratulating the graduating class on their accomplishment. While Issac appreciated the sentiment, he was never the kind of person who liked all the pomp and grandeur that went with such occasions. He was even less the kind of person inclined to give speeches, but he felt he couldn't refuse when he was being given such an honor as valedictorian. So with some reluctance, he stood up, and walked to the podium.

After fiddling with the microphone for a moment, he began, "Uh, hi everybody! I'm not very good at this kind of thing, so I promise I'll keep it brief."

There was a round of polite laughter before he continued, "Well, uh... if you guys are anything like me, you can't believe how lucky you are to be up on this stage. Not that we're here because of luck, but because we are lucky to be graduating now, in this era. The world is changing, and we all have the opportunity to be on the frontlines of that change; to have a real chance to leave the world a better place than we found it. I can't wait to get started. Thank you so much!"

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"Oh Isaac," Linda Linda shuddered at his touch. But that was not all. It seems not even she can control her own self as Isaac's memories seemed to flow into her. She saw him as a young man at the top of his class, reveling in glory. A minor success and yet Linda thought it meant a lot to him. Guess that's another thing she'll like about the man.

But Linda too was not immune to her own power as portions of her memory flooded into Issac...

Middy eyes glossed over the streets of Izral. The brothel was in flames, its depraved services were no more. Justice has been served that day, the Justice that the man named Jericho has promised. Middy was instrumental to this plot as he too hoped to fee these slaves, these children from this perverse and degrading fate. He watched them all file out of the burning brothel, each one finally tasting the freedom they wanted.

Concern flickered on his face as Middy regarded the kids. They would need someone to guide, a semblance of family. Perhaps could give them that. At the very least he could give them a home. At his request, the cartel's ship opened its doors for these poor children and they all flooded into the ship. He'll find these kids a home, consequences be damned. 

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The memories flowing through Issac's mind blended seamlessly into those of a life not his own, of Linda's back when she went by another name, lived as another person. He had always known that her life had been shaped by tragedy and violence, and now he was seeing that first hand. Briefly he wondered what had happened to the others who were standing with her in the memory. Then he felt her pressed up against him, and was brought back into the moment. For the second time that day, he picked her up, and moved over to the house. Carefully, he managed to sit down in such a way that she would be sitting in his lap. As he went back to kissing her, another memory began to take hold.

"Test Log One Two Five. Big breakthrough today! We finally hit upon a mixture that works, combining the newly discovered Alloy One with a number of other arcane materials. We're calling the result Superalloy Zero, a metal with the consistency of mercury with incredible transmugenic potential. If our initial calculations are correct, there is virtually no substance that it can't replicate. The only barrier left is figuring out how to control it, but I already have a few ideas about that. 

Issac held up a vial of green liquid for the camera, "Officially it still just Superalloy Zero, but me and the lab boys are calling it, Aether."

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