By John Andreula
The Controller struck the keys on his console to power down his abundantly expensive computer. He then removed his round spectacles and placed them on his dark red mahogany desk.
The blue light of his screen was starting to cause his vision to cross. The image in his optics kept splitting and floating before him. He rubbed his eyes between his thumb and forefinger.
Another migraine was surreptitiously surfacing from somewhere just behind his eyes. He was going to have to find another better quality monitor. He also knew his troubles were far more advanced than his computer screen.
Twenty three hour sessions like this one used to be the par. He just wasn’t the same as the young man he once was. The Controller’s mortality was creeping up on him—more and more each day.
His mortality had been on his mind frequently these days. In those brief moments when he stopped working and rested, or took time to process his work and the subsequent results—or lack there-of—his subconscious would inevitably wander to dark thoughts about choices and decisions he had made, or didn’t make, and the few remaining years he had left in his life.
He could no longer ignore the gray, thinning hair that had replaced his browns on his head and body. I was now even coming out of his ears. Each time he gazed into the bathroom mirror after a shower, as the fog would begin to dissipate, he would stare at the spots and folds all over his body.
Even if it weren’t for the obvious physical symbols of his rapidly advancing age, the aches in his joints and limbs constantly reminded him that he was on borrowed time. A mere fifteen years prior and the soreness and fatigue was only present when he first awoke for the day, or after those long, arduous days on his laboratory’s hard gray-tiled floors.
Regardless of the all the things he’d witnessed, learned, and accomplished, he was still no closer to the one thing he desired more than anything else. In his own conceited opinion, it was the only thing left worthy of accomplishing.
Things used to be so simple. As just Seth Stanton, the Controller had discovered the “Effected.” He observed them while under the tutelage of the good doctor, Stephanie Wilkins.
After their untimely split, he branched off to conduct his own brand of experimentations. His way was much more invasive, much much more painful, and definitively permanent. Such was the cost of harvesting the information hidden within the biology of these powerful people.
Things had become so much more complicated recently.
Now the Controller had his multi-national corporation to run. His research and technological discoveries had led to VIM Inc. becoming the world’s first multi-trillion dollar company.
The work at the corporation was tedious and time consuming. Yet it was well suited to the great scientist’s brilliance and skill-set. Plus, automation allowed much of the work to be delegate to others, or to the many machines of his own creation.
The true complications arose after his decision to curb his experimentation on the Effected, and to attempt to recruit some of them to his cause. He seeked out those with powers that were impressive and impressionable enough to suit his needs..
James, or Swelter as he was now called, had been the first. Despite his capacity and resilience in extreme temperatures, the boy had turned out to be a pain in the ass.
Swelter always pushed, he asked too many questions, and he was incessantly present. It seemed the Controller could not escape the young man. Swelter served in testing the Controller’s resolve to not reach into the young man’s mind and pull out what made his ability tick.
Swelter seemed to be working out his abandonment issues in seeing him as some sort of father figure. Young James’ fearless disposition and cool-blood willingness to follow orders negated his general nuisance—for the most part.
He could always “deal” with Swelter if the boy failed him. For now he served symbolically as being the first member of the Controller’s “Family.”
Each member were tedious and repugnant in their own way, but they were more-so necessary. His initiative of using the person, and not just power, could not fail him. Despite the fortune and power they had produced, his experimentation had produced nothing of true value for the Controller.
The Family, his band of misfits and degenerates, served their own unique purposes in his master-plan. Similar in how he organized the scientists at VIM, as well as the company’s paramilitary security force, none were privy to more than the absolute minimum information the Controller decided they required to carry out their task at hand.
The Family was different from his corporate mercenaries and technicians. He had to allow them deeper into his life and world. They were allowed glimpses of the “real” man. They were as close to the real him as anyone had been since the doctor.
He had set it all up as such. Aside for the flame and cold resistant Swelter, he had also found and recruited Alison Jeffries.
Jeffries was dark and charming. She was striking, It was much more than youthful beauty.
It was her black hair and clothing, which was always sheer, form-fitting, and revealing. It was her tall, muscular physique, which she accentuated by wearing pointed stiletto shoes. Perhaps it was her the metal chains and belt she always wore that jingled like Christmas bells as she walked.
That was her power. Anyone near her would hear the ringing of her accoutrements. They would see her hips bouncing back and forth and become hypnotized. Under Jeffries spell, all were extremely suggestible, regardless of their sex or sexual preference.
The Controller had once witnessed Jeffries walk through a crowded convention hall full of federal agents. Each man and woman fell silent and stared as she passed. She calmly climbed the stairs to the left of the stage and approached the speaker on it.
The man stepped aside and gave Alison the floor. Then, with a few words, all in attendance, in their gray, and black, and blue suits, pulled out their service pistols and pointed them at one another.
The ensuing carnage was art to the Controller’s watching eyes. He witnessed the agents emptying clips into one another until each of the several hundred lay bloodied and still on that hall’s ugly maroon patterned carpet. Stanton became aroused at the potential of such a gifted Effected specimen. He knew at once he had to have her.
Alison had chosen the name Bounce. Despite his outward emotions toward her teetering between plain disregard and mild amusement, she had quickly become hie favorite member of the Family. Bounce was always willing and ready to please her billionaire inventor leader.
Then there was Buckets.
Buckets, formerly Chase Ansel, contained within himself the ability to control air pressure and humidity. He could remove all the air from a room, or remove all the water from within a live human body, and make some very dead human bodies. It was quite disgusting, and beautiful, to witness. Buckets power would be incredibly useful.
Buckets would seem the most normal of the bunch to an outsider. At times he would resist his power’s calling, or the direct orders of the Controller, but Stanton had ways of keeping the waning man in check.
Buckets’ sister Cherise was a VIM executive vice president. She was one of Seth Stanton’s direct reports. Needless to say, Buckets understood the threat the Controller held over his sister and her children, Bucket’s niece and nephew.
This very credible threat to his family held the man firmly in check. The rest were in it for power, reasons of greed, or just for the twisted depravity of what they did, but not Buckets. Stanton knew he needed to keep a most watchful eye on this one; more-so than anyone else.
Finally there was Baby and his caretaker, Agnes.
The Controller didn’t know anything about Baby and his origins. He wasn’t even quite sure Baby was Effected. It was entirely possible that he was just a revolting mutant of some-sort.
A genetic variation caused Baby to never develop physically past the stage of infant, but his mind was that of a fully matured adult genius.
Baby had stubby arms and stumpy, flabby legs. He had a baby’s face, yet it was never what one could describe as cute. Baby’s face consistently wore a scowl, only occasionally betraying a mischievous smirk.
Making matters worse, he wore that god-awful diaper. Stanton understood that the alternative for Baby would to have clothing custom-tailored to his body, or for him to just wear baby clothes off the rack, but Baby wasn’t the least bit concerned with his outward appearance.
The Controller was disgusted by the sight of Baby, but Baby was as indispensable as he was disgusting. The man-child’s intelligence rivaled the Controller’s own. Together the two had improved on much of Stanton and VIM’s technologies and machines. Baby even provided Stanton with a few devices of his own design. They were quite useful in both Stanton’s work on the duplication of the Effected‘s powers, as well as serving to continue to propel VIM forward as the lone standout leader in any industry of technology.
Agnes was Baby’s opposite. Baby spoke a lot. Agnes didn’t speak at all. Baby was small. Agnes was exceedingly tall.
Agnes was Baby’s caretaker. She wheeled Baby around in his—for lack of a better term for the contraption—stroller. She changed Baby’s diapers as needed. He was unable to reach behind himself to wipe with his stubby infant arms. She even prepared his meals. Stanton assumed that huge woman provided Baby with physical security as well.
Agnes wasn’t just huge. She was a giant. She stood about seven feet tall. She was broad shouldered and barrel-chested, and almost masculine in her build. This was only accentuated by the shoulder-padded white nurse’s coat that she wore with her white stockings and shoes.
What made Agnes creepy, however, was not her size. What made the giant woman scary was her face, or lack thereof. Baby’s caretaker didn’t have any face at all. Where her face should have been was only a smooth featureless surface.
Agnes didn’t talk. She didn’t seem to eat. She seemed a mindless automaton that only existed to do Baby’s bidding.
Once the Controller had come around a corner with his eyes completely entrenched on images on his smart phone. Due to him not paying attention to where he was walking, Stanton ran shoulder first into the faceless beast of a woman. As the scientist struck the gargantuan golem he bounced off as he were weightless. He was sent sprawling across the smooth, hard surface of the floor.
Even though the Controller fell so hard Agnes didn’t budge a millimeter. She stood there, stone still. Slowly she tilted her head in the direction of the prone scientist. The Controller rose to his knees and hands and looked up at unscathed Agnes. He’ll never forget the way her featureless face stared directly at him, even without any eyes to see.
Deep down the scientist felt unease and resentment toward Baby and Agnes. Their mysterious presence was something the Controller could not control, but he knew he needed them…for now.
The Controller had assembled quite the extraordinary and powerful crew. What remained now, of course, was to put his menagerie of Effecteds to proper and good use. Like his many tools and inventions, he would learn how each piece fit into its place.
The Controller stared out his office window at the reflection on the surface of the reservoir. He was lost in the brown, purple, green, and gold of the mountains beyond it.
The lab was at VIM’s Summit Park, Colorado laboratory. It was tucked away in the Rocky Mountains. On the surface levels of the lab, everyday VIM technology development went on. It was business as usual.
Below ground, in the building’s covert basement, the Family resided and planned.
The large black leather chair beckoned for the futurist to stay and sleep for a bit. The Controller could feel the bags hanging heavy below his eyes.
He yawned and stood up, and then replaced his glasses on his nose and walked over to the coat rack by the office’s lone door. He grabbed his full-length white lab coat and pulled it over his shoulders, left sleeve first, then right. The Controller fastened the buttons of the coat from the top downward. It was time to return to his task at hand.
The billionaire sighed, as one final thought of his limited mortality finally liberated itself from his consciousness.
There would be no rest now. The ability he required was out there. He was determined to seek it out.
The Controller would rest only when he had achieved his dream of immortality.
Dreams Everlasting is part of an ongoing fiction epic called The Dreamer.
Sierra’s tale is where the whole story started.
The whole story starts here.
Look out for more of The Dreamer coming very soon!
John Andreula is a writer and dreamer residing in the foothills of Colorado.
More of his works of can be found at:
Reach him for commission work or media requests at: