22,028 / 50,000
With a jump, Alphonse moved away from his friend, somehow miraculously still living. He couldn't bring himself to believe it. For a moment, he almost felt as if he was in some kind of dream, forced upon him by a mind unwilling to accept Brendan's passing. Or he was still somewhere down the hall, maybe after tripping and hitting his head. Or the worst option yet, the emitter had exploded, and taken the entire lab down around his ears, burying him in the wreckage, and knocking him out.
Brendan looked around the room, stopping when he saw Alphonse, disbelieving what he was seeing as well. Surely this was all some fever dream, or is what death was like, reuniting with old friends.
He couldn't take it any more, and his body still felt as if it had been dropped into a vat of industrial strength acid, causing his senses to overload, and he passed right back out again.
Alphonse watched his friend bob up and down from conciousness, catching him as he fell back down. The doctor's sense of helping his friend overrode any thoughts that the experience may not be real.
Not being an overly strong man in the physical sense, Alphonse struggled with Brendan's prone form. He hooked his arms under Brendan's shoulders, and dragged him over to the chair, dragging his legs along the white, pristine floor.
Alphonse noticed a strange warmth coming from Brendan as he lugged him across the width of the room. He sat him down in the chair, not bothering with the straps, as they were unnecessary, but his hand still moved towards them out of force of habit. He made a quick assessment of the situation, and checked over Brendan as he lay there.
His pulse was racing, but not within the realm of being a danger, at least not if it came down soon. After what he had been through, an accelerated heart rate was to be expected. Despite feeling warmer than would be normal, a rudimentary check of Brendan's temperature felt normal, if only a little spiked from the ordeal. Checking his pupil response, Alphonse determined that he was still there, if out of it, and he noted the eyes were back to Brendan's usual smokey hazel colour. He dismissed the earlier colour to a trick of the light, and maybe wanting to see something more occurring in his friend's biology. Alphonse noted it in the back of his head, but dismissed it for now. All that mattered was that he was alive.
Once he had assured himself that Brendan was alive and well, or at least functioning with no signs of bursting into flames, Alphonse went over to the intercom system, and called for the emergency medical team that was on hand around the clock, just in case of such an emergency. They were a bare bones crew in these final days of the project, but provisions had been made to keep someone on staff, just in case.
True to form, they were within the room in a matter of minutes. Brendan had remained out of it on the chair the entire time, and hadn't even flinched in his unconcious state. The two-man medical team picked him up from the chair after it had been adjusted to a more uniformly horizontal position, and moved him onto a gurney they brought with them.
They wheeled him through the empty hallways, some with half the lights shut off to conserve power, one of the many cost-saving measures that had been enacted once the end was within sight of the project.
Brendan was unconcious for two whole days. The sense of warmth pouring off his body never ceased, but no one could find any reason for it. All of the doctors who looked him over gave him a clean bill of health, and attributed the state to an enhanced and lengthy period of rest.
With the unforseen test, and the even more unforseen survival of someone being exposed to the room, Project: Lightbringer received a last-minute stay of execution. The test that had been scheduled for that morning was postponed, until it could be determined if Brendan was indeed ok, and would not have serious delayed reactions.
Doctors were with him all the time, making sure this was no hoax being perpetrated by Alphonse to keep his pet project going. Eventually they concluded that the affliction was real, and the government pressured Alphonse for his findings.
As much as Doctor McKenzie may well have wanted to give those over, he had no idea what to report. His friend had survived where no one else had, and Alphonse was unsure if he could ever replicate just what had happened that morning.
When the tea spilled over the laptop, it had caused an electrical surge that fried the mother board. Under normal conditions, the data would otherwise be recoverable, but a small fire had damaged the hard drive. Any data remaining on it would be spotty, at best. On top of that, Alphonse had failed to save the last round of changes he had made to the code, so had no idea just what he had put in, and thus was not saved to the laptop, or even to the lab's mainframe.
Once he got ahold of code that was more recent, hoping that a backup had made it onto the mainframe of some of those evening's earlier changes, there was a chance that he could recreate what he had done before.
Even then, he held little hope. Alphonse was no code master, and he didn't have the best of memories. The code for the emitter's processes were complex, and very detail oriented. He was positive that he was unable to recreate it flawlessly. If there was any difference between what had run the machine in that freak accident, and what he recoded into the system, there was every chance that it would not have the same results, if even just one variable was different.
On the second day of his convalescence, Brendan's eyes hesitantly blinked open, taking in the lights and bright white walls around him. At first, he believed he was still within the chamber he had been trapped in, but soon felt the soft bed beneath him, as well as the tubes poking into him. Instead of staying in the targeting chamber, he had been moved from one white room, to another. At least this one had windows, even if it was dark outisde.
As much as he could manage while still attending to his duties around the lab, Alphonse had remained at Brendan's side, and he was there when his friend's hazel eyes fluttered open. Brendan squinted them shut for several minutes, the light still too bright to him, after so much time unconcious.
He tried to speak, despite his mouth feeling dry, and the words barely croaked past his lips. "Wh - what happened? Last I remember - emitter? Was real?"
Alphonse nodded, and handed Brendan a plastic cup filled with water from a picture beside the bed, which he consumed with great pleasure, quickly swallowing it down, and holding out the cup for a refill.
The doctor nodded as he refilled Brendan's glass. "It was indeed," he said, speaking in a hushed tone, to accustomed to doing so in hospitals. "Are you feeling all right, lad? It's been two days, you realise."
Brendan's eyebrows shot up, and his eyes went wide in surprise. "I was in the emitter, bathed in the energy, and still here two days later?" Even saying the words aloud, he could not bring himself to believe it.
He sat up in the bed, leaning forward and resting his hands on his knees, now that his curiosity was piqued. "Do you have any idea how? Why? What did you do?"
Alphonse saw that inquisitve fire burning within Brendan's eyes, that light that had shone so bright upon their first meeting. He shook his head at the question, causing the light to dim for a moment, from disappointment. "The laptop was ruined, and we've been waiting to see if you actually survived, before doing an in depth investigation, if such a thing is even possible. If you had not made it, and the reaction was only delayed longer than most, they did not want to waste the time investigating. If you survive, however...the project may yet have some life left in it."
The young man listened, seeing a similar fire within his mentor's eyes that was seen in his own. In addition to that, he could see just how much this man cared for him, and was glad to have his young friend back.
"It was quite the fight to even get them to allow you to stay here. They wanted to move you back to the targetting chamber once you'd been checked out, just in case you were still volatile. And with the possibility of shutting the place down, they also wanted to relocate you elsewhere. Fortunately, they can keep a better watch on you here, for national security measures."
"Was it real," Brendan asked. "Did you do something that maybe stopped the energy from processing correctly, and you accidentally created the worlds largest light bulb?"
Alphonse shook his head with a smile. "No, lad. The sensors you'd left in place after your radiation study showed that the energy did process properly, and was in fact spiking at a higher level than normal. That much at least went as I had planned."
A shocked look flowed over Brendan's face as what he had been told sunk in. "I survived."
"And we have no idea why, yes. How do you feel?"
Brendan's hands felt his chest, squeezed his biceps, and inspected the rest of his body, poking and prodding as he went. "I feel great, honestly. All my fingers, all my toes. It felt like I was on fire when I was trapped, but now... Well, I don't want to say I've never felt better, but I do feel quite good. The only thing of note is a slight tingling I can feel. Not as bad as if my hand had fallen asleep, but definitely similar."
Nodding, Alphonse listened with interest. "As far as the doctors can tell, you are in perfect health, but we have all noticed that you do seem to be eminating an aura of unusual warmth, which does concern us. Epecially when coupled with that tingling feeling. Do you have any loss of sensation?"
Brendan shook his head, looking over his hands. "No, everything feels normal, but not, at the same time. It's hard to describe, really. Ever get that sense up the back of your spine, that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end? It's like that, but everywhere. Do you think it's significant, Al?"
Only a nod came as an answer to Brendan's question. "Any changes from the norm are significant. You're alive, and unpowered, when every indicator says you should be a lumpy pile of cancer ridden cells right now. Not that it doesn't lighten my heart to see you're not, mind you."
"Yeah, you have a point," he muttered, starting to absently scratch at the point where the intravenous needle entered his skin, just inside his elbow. What at first seemed like a normal reaction to something strange within you, taped to you, became something more. Brendan was scratching his arm red, and raw at that spot, and Alphonse grabbed his hand and stopped him.