Chapter 16: The Extendes (Primary complex)
The platform was wider here and Artemis found this slightly more inviting than the two person wide path which was meant for the dormitories. He felt even more at ease knowing that Gig would be there for him during this unusual introduction to the group. Gig stood in front of Artemis, grabbed the handle and opened the tinted sliding glass door. Artemis felt a burst of cool air conditioned air, he inhaled, glad to be coming out of the oven, and widened his gaze so he could see and notice ever detail in the building.
The Common Room, as it was called, was in fact the complex’s kitchen, entertainment, and gathering area. It was a large rectangular space, easily over 1,000 square feet, which had been painted a relaxing shade of dark blue. The room was split into two main spaces, a living space, which housed a wide flat screen TV on the far right wall, comfy tan colored couches lined this space with matching dark brown tables, video game controllers of all shapes and sizes littered the table couches next to empty energy drink cans, and balls of tin foil from previous meals, and finally a kitchen. The kitchen was large enough to feed at least twenty people. Artemis noticed that all of the appliances were top of the line Viking products. The refrigerator was a French door styled with a freezer drawer, as well as the oven, with microwave that could easily fit a small Black bear. The kitchen had a modern Hispanic flare with different colored broken tiles on the splash boards, Saltillo tile floors, and terracotta counter tops. The kitchen was empty except for some dirty dishes on the counter and empty soda cans. The kitchen was separate from the rest of the room due to a giant bar; compete with stools, which cut the whole space in half. Artemis noticed as he entered the room modern pictures on the wall; however on the far wall in front of Artemis were pictures of different teenagers. Each of them were smiling or laughing, they lined the wall, and below each one of them was an eternal flame, flickering lightly. The living room area was currently occupied by two young men playing a video game using guitar-like controllers in their attempts to complete, what looked to Artemis, like a very difficult song.
The young man closest to Artemis had a tall stoic build, with straight dirty blonde hair long enough to grow past his eyes. He was wearing a graphic T-shirt and dark jeans, and was clearly winning, he seemed to be a very skilled player. The blonde turned to look at both him and Gig, needless to say, he nearly dropped dead. Artemis, now able to see his face, noticed he had horrible acne and pale skin. Gig held up a strong hand and the young man motioned to his musical adversary to take notice as well. The other young man seemed to be of the same caliber. He was a little shorter than the blonde, however he was a tad thicker and slightly more hunched over in figure. His thick black curly hair engulfed his face like vines over a shady wall of a house, the windows of which hardly seen. Both had surprisingly light skin, and as Artemis fully entered the room, Gig closing the sliding glass door behind them, they both looked at him like he was the anti-Christ. Gig looked annoyed at their lack of understanding.
“Oh’ come on you all heard she got’em right?” Said Gig, both of them nodded, and the blonde straightened up.
“We just didn’t think you’d let ‘em down here, does Spin know about this?” The other young man said nothing instead finding the paused video game screen much more entertaining.
“Don’t worry about it, Artemis’s cool right?” Gig looked at Artemis expecting a “cool” response. Artemis was reminded of similar senses in movies where the main character is inviting one of the supporting characters in a local bar for a drink. The main character always ended up talking their way into the bar because the supporting character wasn’t of age, or wasn’t “cool”. Artemis could think of no response which would be enough to support the idea he was “cool.” Gig saw that Artemis wasn’t sure what to do, so they dropped the subject, and told them both that he was okay for him to be here.
“Oh okay then, are we getting acquainted now or something?” Asked the young man looking at Gig, Gig nodded, and as he did so the young man held out a hand. “Good afternoon Mr. Fowl, you can call me Nerv.” Nerv looked at Gig for guidance. Gig looked slightly taken aback, Artemis thought, did Nerv always act so compliant, or was it because of who Gig was standing beside? Gig looked at Artemis and then the TV; Artemis saw a grin emerge onto Gig face like a sinister crack in the earth’s crust after an earthquake. Gig gestured to the couches and Artemis walked around them and sat down. Artemis could tell that the couches were used to video gaming purposes. The back of the seats seemed to look and feel brand new, while the edges of the seats were severely broken down from leaning over during battles and such.
The coffee table was a slab of white stone Artemis didn’t recognize, and as Nerv picked up his guitar once more, sitting on the edge of couch, Artemis decided to turn to the other young man who had avoided him from the beginning. Gig, recognizing this made his seat in-between Artemis and the other young man. He sat down heavy in his seat, as if he had been on his feet a long time.
“That’s Fro,” Said Gig turning to his left where the young man was now losing at the guitar video game again. “He’s a little quiet, don’t take it personally.” Artemis didn’t, nor did he truly care.
When the game was done Gig decided to get in on the action and challenge Fro to a game. Nerv switched places with Gig, sitting next to Artemis.
“What is this game?” Asked Artemis, Nerv was shocked at Artemis acknowledging his existence.
“Well this is Guitar Hero . . . ummm you play the guitar according to the notes on the screen, you get your score by accuracy and stuff . . . you wanta play?” Asked Nerv, thankfully Artemis didn’t need to answer him because two girls slid back the doors and walked in the room.
“Hey guy’s we’re back!” Yelled a girly voice. Artemis immediately recognized one of the girls, the dirty blonde haired girl that had healed him earlier that day; however the other he had never seen before. The other girl, who had yelled, was large with a round features, styled short brown hair and tight flashy clothing. They both stopped and looked at Artemis, then one another. The dirty blonde haired girl whispered something in the ear of the brown haired as if reassuring her. The larger girl nodded, and looked at Gig, his backed turned focusing on not messing up the game. “Gig what the hecks going on? Why is he here?” She inquired, her voice booming over the rock music coming from the TV. Fro immediately paused the game, looking slightly relieved. Gig turned around as if facing a fierce monster, and put his hands up in surrender.
“I thought he should get out more, is that such a problem?” The girl did not look pleased. “Come on Blossom, its only for dinner, he’s got to know what the hell he’s getting into.” Blossom conceded, or agreed, Artemis wasn’t sure. She walked around the couches and sat down heavily next to the healer, laying her bag absentmindedly on the floor. She looked at Artemis skeptically for a minute and then changed into a kinder exterior. She smiled and held out a fist. Artemis ducked thinking she was going to punch him; after all he had been punched once that day. The girl laughed.
“It’s ok! I’m not going to hurt to, gosh, seriously, like, lighten up kay?” Artemis looked at her fist and thought hard. He had seen in music videos people “bumping fists” before but had never done it before himself. Her smile was daunting as he considered holding out his hand instead of a fist, however now as he looked around the room he become conscious to the fact that everyone was watching him, and the last thing he wanted to do was insult them. Artemis subtly held out his fist and they touched. Blossom’s smile widened (if that was possible) and she formally greeted Artemis with a handshake. “What’s up you can call me Blossom, and this,” Blossom put her right arm in-between the other girl’s back and the couch, pulling her forward so Artemis could get a good look. “Is Cross.” Cross held up a hand in hello and smiled weakly.
“Nice to see you again, how are your ankles? Do they still hurt as much as they did before?” Her eyes were kind and sincere and her voice soft yet strong.
“No not at all, thank you.” Said Artemis. Then he remembered Gig saying something about a girl named Blossom meeting Butler. The music began to play again, and Artemis tilted his head down to avoid suspicion, speaking directly to Blossom’s left ear. “I heard you met with Butler.” Whispered Artemis. Blossom frowned.
“He didn’t seem pleased, but you don’t have anything to worry about he’s been informed of the arrangement and has said he will abide by it, though I think he’s doing some investigating of his own with Holly and Foaly.” Artemis felt horrible; after all it was his fault Butler was in this position. “Everything worked so well I almost thought it was a dream.” She said softly. Artemis watched the progress Gig was making until the song finally ended. Now it was the girls turn and as all of the guys sat back and watched them challenge on another to a musical fight, Gig sat back down beside Artemis.
Gig knew that Artemis would have a lot of questions and he was ready to answer all of them. Artemis however had other plans, after all what better way to understand the culture by breaking the ice.
“Nerv,” said Artemis his commanding voice taking the teenager off guard, Nerv sat up, Gig said nothing, and the rock music played. “What ability do you have due to the tampering of your genes?” Artemis didn’t see Gig nodding behind him at Nerv saying, it’s ok, to Nerv. Nerv gulped all the same. He had never met Artemis before and talking to him one-on-one was not what he had signed up for.
“Well I saw you when you got off the plane earlier today, I was on the tarmac, I was in the hotel room next to yours, making sure you arrived safely, and I was outside the Barns and Nobel.” Artemis took every bit of information it stride. Spin had been there the whole time, it hurt badly. Nerv pointed to his temple with his right hand. “No fairy technology can match my eye sight, or any of my senses. If I don’t see, hear, or anything else, no one does.” Artemis sat back slightly.
“I’m not aware of any creature that has such ability.” Said Artemis, suddenly there was the opening of the sliding glass door and a series of slaps and greetings. Artemis turned around to find another young man entering the common room. He was shorter than the two gamers but his arms were long and muscular looking, he had a largish nose and a small head with small brown eyes and brown curly hair, in much the same style as Fro’s, hanging over every part of his face. He clasped Gigs hand continuing to walk toward the empty seat on the couch to the right of Artemis. He sat down and began talking to Gig across the room. The room erupted with conversation and noise, Artemis was outnumbered. Nerv, continuing the conversation replied.
“I’m a cocktail, but it’s mostly pixie from my understanding.” Artemis’s eyes brows furrowed and he heard a loud foot step onto the tile of the living room.
“So far I’ve discovered that the genetic material was engineered in such a way so certain traits from different species would be favorable, such ability doesn’t currently exist in either humans or fairies; however together with some tweaking the trait occurs and a new species is made.” Artemis turned his head around only to see the leader of the Extenededes, Spin looking down at him with loathing in her eyes. “Besides, pixies have superb reflexes and incomparable sensory systems, all of which have been exemplified in Nerv, didn’t you know that?” Artemis didn’t.