A/N: Alex’s powers and new knowledge will make more sense if you go read the first story in this series: “The League of Extraordinary Women”. The disclaimers, spoilers, and other information are all in previous chapters.
‘Mister Jones’ stood where he could watch the computer screen, the video feed, and also Maggie Walsh’s face. He knew The Collective had hired her for specific reasons, and he knew she was extremely talented, but he didn’t trust her.
In a matter of days, Walsh had bullied Ristersen and Hamarthi into changing the fundamentals of their approach, and as a direct result, they had a very interesting success on their hands after over a year and a half of abject failures. And now, Walsh was directing the two men through a series of tests on the product of their labors.
Walsh muttered, “What idiots. Trying to create life from amino acids! A monumental waste of time when it was easier to start with available DNA and simply modify the gene sequences.”
Mister Jones looked at the reddish protoplasmic lifeform in the Pyrex container. It looked to him like some sort of slime mold, but it was a lot more mobile. He asked, “And what is the point of this next test?”
She gave him a nasty smile and didn’t explain. The reddish lifeform ‘leapt’ as Ristersen jabbed it with an electrical prod, and it landed on his gloved hand. He began screaming as it ate its way through the glove and began devouring his hand.
Hamarthi panicked and tried to run out, but Walsh had already sealed the door. It took a long time for the protoplasm – or whatever it was – to consume Ristersen’s arm. Then it spread, covering his chest and head. Once it covered his face, he stopped screaming and finally collapsed. But the absorption process wasn’t finished by a long shot.
Hamarthi begged, and cried, and desperately tried to get out of the sealed lab room, but it did no good.
Walsh finally marked the time. “One hour and thirty-seven minutes to complete consumption and absorption.”
He said, “That’s not particularly useful.”
She gave him a glacial smile, “You fail to see where this experiment is heading.”
He had a brief moment of understanding, and he finally gave her a genuine grin, “Dr. Walsh, I have to admit, I have underestimated you.”
She said, “Notice that our lifeform is now roughly the mass of its original mass, plus that of Ristersen and all organics he was wearing, minus some small amounts converted in chemical reactions into other compounds. For example, the CO and CO2 readings in the lab rose significantly, mostly due to side reactions of the absorption process. Now that it has a suitable initial mass, I predict that the next absorption will take far less time.”
Hamarthi began to scream in panic as the mass moved after him. He scrambled about the lab, but there was nowhere to go in a small, sealed room. Eventually it cut him off by sliding under a table instead of running around it, as he was doing. The mass pulled him to the floor and flowed up his legs…
Mister Jones glanced at Walsh’s ruthless expression and softly said, “I really, really underestimated you. I apologize. I shall endeavor not to do so again.”
He didn’t say so out loud, but part of that estimation was going to involve never turning his back on her again.
A/N: If you have figured out the crossover here, I’ll go ahead and state that I don’t own it either, to which you are most likely mentally replying ‘Duh!’