Brayden stops charging his lightning sphere and lowers his arm. Seeing Derrick immediately raises questions. He begins to wonder how much his former friend knows. Did he know about his newly acquired powers or the explosion at his house? It isn’t clear whether Derrick knew the men how murdered his mother. He decides to stick to basics. “What are you doing here, Derrick?” he asks.
“Oh, I’m just looking for an apartment,” Derrick says arrogantly, “But really I’m here to help out my ‘acquaintances’ that you have so aggressively attacked.”
“You sent them after me? You told them to destroy my house and kill my mother?!” Brayden said being surprised and angry.
“Actually, I wanted you. Your mother was just a bonus,” Derrick chuckles wickedly, “I knew the only way to bring you to me was to bring some defining tragedy into your life, besides your father’s death of course. My original intention was to harm you. But unfortunately, you were nowhere to be found so we had to improvise. Believe me, blowing up your house was the last thing I wanted to do. But it worked, and here you are.”
“What do you want from me, Derrick?” Brayden said firmly.
“Payback, plain and simple. I want my payback for what you did to me earlier.”
“Is this what this is about? You want to get back at me for kicking your sorry butt across the hall.”
“That’s right. I’m ready for round two. But before we start, I want to let you in on a little secret. After you booted me into those lockers, I had a suspicion that you had some kind of power. So I wondered how I could get back at someone with that kind of strength. Mind you I’m pretty strong myself. But I needed more in order to beat you,” Derrick said.
“I’ve beat you before, Derrick and I’ll do it again.”
“That was before; this is now. You see my father was not only a tornado chaser, but he was also an accomplished chemist. After getting his funding for storm research, he used some of it to build his own laboratory so he can finally work on his chemistry. Over time he had developed a compound that can increase a person’s strength up to three times than normal.” Derrick reaches into his pocket and takes out a vial containing the compound, “And I’ve already taken one.” He smiled evilly.
“So that’s how you kept winning those wrestling matches at school. It was because you were taking your father’s compound.” Brayden said. Then he smiles slyly at Derrick, “But I don’t think you’re going to last long against me, even after you take that compound.”
“What makes you think that?” Derrick asked arrogantly grinning at Brayden.
“It has a limitation. Last week when you lost that match against Central High, it was because the compound wore off, isn’t it?” Derrick’s smile faded as Brayden went on, “That’s why you won’t last long when you fight me. And that’s probably why you are hesitating on taking the second vial, because you’re afraid it’ll wear off before you have a chance to get back at me.”
“That’s what you think,” Derrick said as he took the cork out of the vial.
“Derrick, I wouldn’t do that. You don’t know what that’ll do to you. Your body might not be able to handle the stress,” Brayden warned him.
“No pain, no gain,” Derrick said bringing the vial to his lips.
“Derrick, don’t!” Brayden shouted.
It was too late. Derrick had consumed the entire compound and he could already fell a difference as it took effect. He had drunk enough of his father’s formula to increase his strength six times over. He throws the vial to the ground and starts laughing maniacally. Then suddenly his laughter stopped and a great pain begins to course through his body. His laughter turns to screams of pain as the compound begins to bulk up his body. Brayden watches in horror, shock, and disbelief as his one-time friend transformed into something terrible before his eyes. Muscle bulge and pulsate with power the bigger they grew. Max and Damon are held fast. With wide eyes and mouths agape, they watch in horror at the transformation. Derrick stretches out an arm. New muscles swell and writhe under his skin. He clenches a bigger fist, feeling the power flowing through it. Then he flexes back. His chest bursts forth with new bulging pectorals. Even his height began to increase. Bigger and taller he grew until he drops to one knee from exertion. His transformation is finished.
“Derrick, what’ve you done?” Brayden said with concern.
After a couple more minutes, Derrick stood up, revealing his new powerful body. What stood before Brayden is not Derrick but a mountain of muscle and power. He looks down at Brayden whom he now easily dwarfs where at one time they nearly saw eye to eye. “Ahh, what a rush,” Derrick said with a deeper voice. Max and Damon quickly run out of the complex in fear after witnessing Derrick’s dramatic change. “Looks like we lost an audience, oh well,” said Derrick, “So are you ready, runt?”
“Dammit, Derrick. What have you done?” Brayden said almost taking pity on Derrick. “But if this is what you want, fine then.” He then charges his body with lightning and drops into a battle stance.