I'm an M-Psy. My chances of insanity are low, but if I do go mad, I might possibly kill someone. However, if a strong Tk goes mad, he will almost certainly kill. And because Tks are disproportionately male, as E-Psy are disproportionately female, he will kill his sister, his wife, his daughter.
That's a burden that crushes the Tks, makes them turn inward. I don't blame all the telekinetics who chose Silence. How can I? When I prayed every night that my child would not be born a Tk. Only the X designation is more cursed, and thankfully, that gene is so recessive it rarely makes an appearance.
"Did you have a genetic chart done on William?" Dev asked his cousin. Things were in flux - there was a chance the Tk gene had risen to the fore once again.
"We were about to when that happened, with Spot. I didn't want to scare him by asking him to come in for tests."
"Do you have a genetic sample? Glen can run the DNA tests with that," Dev said, looking to Connor for confirmation. He continued at the doctor's nod. "We'll have a starting point at least."
"Here." Jack put a sealed plastic bag on the table. "I planned to ask for a DNA chart anyway. Got some of his hair in there, his toothbrush, even a swab of blood from when he cut himself running into a wall." His body jerked, those solid shoulders of his shaking. "It's killing Melissa to watch him literally will himself to death. Yesterday, I had to threaten her with a sedative so she'd get some sleep - we're so afraid to leave him alone for even a second."
Dev walked to stand beside his cousin, putting a hand on his shoulder. "Don't give up, Jack. I promise you, we'll find an answer."
"Silence is an answer," his cousin whispered, but there was a weariness to him. "I wish it wasn't, but it is."
Meeting that familiar gaze, Dev knew what he had to say, what he had to decide. "And if it is the only answer, then we'll find a way to teach William to be Silent."
No one disagreed with him.
Dev considered everything Jack had told him - both during and after the meeting - as he headed down to Katya. She'd volunteered to be confined to an isolation ward in the clinic while he wasn't able to be with her. It tore at his every protective instinct that she'd effectively imprisoned herself, but there was no knowing what grenades Ming had put in her head.
Soon, he promised himself. Soon, she'd be free. Today, however, he needed her help. But first - "How's your leg?" he asked, after kissing her gently on the forehead.
"Healing normally according to Dr. Herriford." A soft smile. "You want to ask me something."
It didn't surprise him that she knew. He knew her unspoken secrets, too. "What are the abilities that can cause death?"
"Pretty much all the strong offensive gifts," she told him, eyes troubled. "Telepaths and telekinetics are near definites. M-Psy, less so - it depends on whether we have an offensive gift we can couple with our M potential. Ps-Psy occasionally - "
"How?" As far as he knew, psychometrics used touch to divine an object's past. Many worked for museums or private collectors, appraising which items were genuine, which fake.
"If an object has a violent past," Katya explained, "it occasionally 'short-circuits' one of the Ps-Psy, causing some kind of a temporary psychic injury. But I've heard rumors that some Ps-Psy can also absorb that violent power purposefully." She turned up her palms. "I never really had much reason to research them so my knowledge isn't that good. I'm sorry."
"You're doing fine. Any other designations?"
"Some of the old texts mention an ability more destructive than telekinesis, but to be honest, I can't think what that would be. Tks can collapse buildings on top of people - the truly powerful might even be able to cause small quakes."
None of which explained William's killing of his dog. There was, Dev knew, a very good chance the boy had been born with a violent New Generation ability. And if so, Silence might not be the cure Jack was hoping for.
"The person you really need to talk to," Katya murmured, "is an Arrow."
"The Council's bogeymen?"
"You know about them?"
"They're mentioned in our records." Dev's own ancestors had been hunted by the Arrows, families torn apart, loved ones forever lost.
"Well, they deal in death. They'd know all about the destructive abilities." She put her hand on his arm. "Unfortunately, I don't know any in the resistance. Ask Ashaya - she has more contacts."
Loath to leave Katya in a sterile environment that had to awaken terror-filled memories, he pressed a kiss to her lips. "One day, you'll be free of him. Then you can walk through any room you want, any place you want."
But as he headed back upstairs, he knew their time was running out at an inexorable pace. According to the text Glen had sent to his phone half an hour ago, Katya had suffered a severe nosebleed that morning. And as he'd looked into her eyes before he'd left, he'd glimpsed a pinprick hemorrhage.
Rage tore through him, leaving devastation in its wake. Forcing himself to the comm panel in his office, he put through a call to Ashaya. Her eyes widened at his request. But all she said was "I need more information."
Dev sent through Jack's notes on his son - and on what William had done. "Ashaya, whoever you share this with, make sure you trust him absolutely."
"Understood. I'll get back to you as soon as I can."
Switching off the screen, he walked to the window. It was a cloudy winter's day, with snow an ominous threat in the sky, but New York moved with clockwork precision below him - there were so many Psy in the financial center of the country that efficiency was less striven for than expected. But even from this far up, he could spot the humans, the Forgotten, the changelings. They wore color. Splashes of bright red, azure blue, even shimmering gold.