Archive for the ‘Supplementals’ Category

“Trauma, you should put down the phone and listen already,”  said the Kaleidoscope Man, holding his head in his left hand and a glass of wine in his left. “I’m your senior, show a little respect.”

Trauma smiled, placing the small device on the table as she looked at him.

“Apologies,”  she shrugged.  “I was talking to a new friend in Europe.”

“Europe?”

“Why not?  Can’t I have friends?  Will you lock me away in a cage on June the sev-”

“Enough,”  interrupted Richter, his fist cracking the table as it rests.  “Kaleidoscope man, stop provoking the newbie.  Trauma, learn your place.”

Trauma sighed, dangling her legs under the chair and patting down the skirt of her dress.  She chose her new outfit carefully.  Nobody can resist a young girl.  Mothers and fathers want to protect, children want to be friends and Handyman, the fourth member of this round table of evil…

Some things are left better unsaid.  Handyman wouldn’t stop staring anyway, so leaving it unsaid is merely leaving the elephant in the room.

“Now,”  Richter finally said.  “I’m sure you all understand the goal of this meeting?”

“Plan methods to bring chaos to the NHN and promote your group over it?”  suggested Handyman, raising a hand.

“Correct,”  replied Richter, almost moving a little.  “But that’s our long term goals.”

“So there’s a complication, right?”  asked Kaleidoscope man, picking his left nostril with his top hand.

“Yes.  Trauma?”

Trauma coughed and stood.  “The NHN has a trump card, and one I’d like to get my hands on,”  she said, standing straight.  “A nullifier, and one that can create permanent fields.”

The fifth member of the group, Cosmos, spoke through his visor.  “What, that kid you knew, Blocker?”

“Yes, my irradiated Russian!  That guy.  We need him.”

Handyman scoffed at the notion.  “Why? Why do we need him?”

“Because he is a promised gift from my benefactor, Handyman.  I can assure you, good things will come to pass.”

Richter smirked, his crimson cape floating behind his armour, his face unprotected as a beard of brown sprouts forth valiantly, and his head of hair flows long.

“I must gave thanks to Taker, who did this to me,”  said Richter, taking the attention of his fellow members.  “Without this power I would be nothing, but now I can have everything.”

The table shattered as he stood, marble splintering as if an impressive weight broke it.  However, the cause for such an impressive display of destruction was not a weight of incredible mass, but the tap of Richter’s fingers as they drummed against it.

Trauma rolled her eyes at her new comrades as the meeting adjourned.

 

***

 

“Olympian, any words on your fight with Chasser?”

Olympian was wading through a crowd of reporters, each for different news papers. French, English, Dutch, Italian and Portuguese voices called out, overriding each other.

“Olympian! Olympian!”

Olympian sighed as she disappeared into the sky with a whoosh, shocking the reporters and press.  She hovered, her golden hair draping across her silver cape in calm air, her magnificence seen only to those who look up. She wore a White skintight suit, with an O in clear red covering the front of her body. Her gloves and boots were coloured the exact same as the O.

Her phone beeped, and she took a look inside.  As much as being as powerful was easy, it was hard.  Every day, every conversation, every second was emotionally taxing.  No true friends to rely on as you were the backbone for so many, no chance to rest or break down.  These are normal problems for capes as famous as Olympian, but Olympian has been at it for centuries.  Her current name?  A homage to her former friends, whom she once talked and argued with many moons ago.  Friends and allies she watched wither to bones and dust as she lived on.

Her only true friend is a girl she contacted online about a year ago, somebody who seemed so sweet and nice to talk to.  She was actually happy she had a friend as nice as Ellie Grey.  She was caring, she listened, and they helped each other with their own personal problems.  Ellie was an absolute stranger but had that sort of naivety and joy that made you trust her like family.

Ellie Grey was a great friend, and was a light in the darkness of eternity.  Sadly, ‘was’ is the word to emphasise here as Ellie hadn’t called in weeks, and this was the first text since she left.

The message stood out in Olympian’s mind as she read it, and the history:

 

“Ill b going now!  Im taking a drive 2 the campsite so Ill b out of range because of my phone.  Will call l8r I promise

“I can’t wait!  Lets talk about our weekend soon.  😀  p.s.  I was wondering if I could visit soon, that would be great.”

“rlly? Can’t wait.”

Then the next message.

 

“ellies mom here.  police told me she crashed her car txting a message.  saw the history and figured it was you.  sorry but i dont think shell be able to see you again shes in intensive care and may not make it. had to tell you but they sed she may not live.  accidents happen im sorry. i dont want to outlive my own daughter.”

 

For the strangest reason, the odd timing of the message never disturbed Olympian.  The contents however, the contents stood out.

“Outlive… It was me…”

Somehow, the words clicked.  They found a way into her vast memories of the olden days and dragged deep, personal scenes and thoughts into the front of her mind.

All that came to her was ‘I killed her’ followed by ‘it was me’.

“I-I didn’t…”

Olympian dropped the phone, letting it plummet and smash off a parked car below.

“Why can’t I have someone stay beside me?”

Olympian cried out for the first time in six hundred years, and found a new purpose in life.  Meanwhile, Trauma smiled as she left the meeting hall, holding a small cellphone.  She opened it and tossed the SIM card away, the purpose it was taken for served.

“Ellen, you are truly pathetic,”  ranted Trauma to herself, marking the wall with a pen.  “What was your plan, lie down and just take it?  Hide me away in the City?  Hope nobody comes?”

I’m sorry…

The hallway was the same, confirming yet again the only inhabitants of the wall were Trauma and Ellen.  Trauma passed through here several times in an attempt to escape, an attempt to be free.  Tally marks covered the walls, painted on with cooking supplies from kitchens, pens from offices and whatever else she could find.  The total count for this particular hallway she was in reached to twenty-seven, and she marked it again.

“You know, I’m glad we can talk.  We can just chat.  I’m really happy we can just have a nice long conversation, because I really, really need to get my own plans in order, Ellen.  It’ll be so mu-”

Please stop, I’m sorry…

“Sorry!?  You think you are sorry!?”  snarled Trauma, enraged at the comment from Ellen.  “I’ll show you true, real, physical regret, you pathetic bitch.”  Trauma licked her lips, exited.  The conversation was almost too much, she couldn’t contain her enjoyment.

No no please n-

“I’ll fucking find that love-struck retard who followed me and I’ll grind him into fucking dust,”  she cursed, exaggerated hand movements illustrating her point.  “He’ll be so happy when he finally fucking kills himself.  I’ll make him enjoy it, do it slow.  I’ll ma-”

Shut up! I don’t want to lis-

“I’ll fucking make him shred his goddamn friends apart, with a grin!” Trauma interrupted, furious at Ellen’s indigence.  “He’ll pay a nice long visit to his mommy and da-”

Don’t you dare!  You’ll be so-

“He’ll turn to realize what he just did right as the bitch chokes out her last fucking breath!”  laughed Trauma, grinning wildly.

She opened the door at the end of the corridor, finding the one corridor she was looking for hours and hours on end after running away from the fight.  The corridor with poorly washed the orders from Taker, still attached to the entrance.

“He’ll be so happy when he finally guts himself!”

She smiled at her handiwork.  Taker may have written the orders, but Trauma was the one to deliberately fail to erase them correctly.  Feeling Ryan’s heart slowly sink as she walked down the corridor was delicious.  The tension and heartbreak as Bloodwitch slowly had to steel herself knowing she was going to fight her old mentor to the death?

To die for.

You can’t get away with this, they’ll kill us!  You’ll be stopped!

“I know,”  replied Trauma, grinning.  “It keeps me going, by the way, knowing that as long as I breathe you wish you’ll die.  That feeling I got when you were just begging Sacrifice to take notice of what I did and kill us both, even though it was merely futile because I’m in total control?  Simply Orgasmic,”  said Trauma, groping herself to provide emphasis as she grinned wildly.

Ellen was silent.

“I can’t wait,”  she continued, almost drooling at the thoughts in her head.  “I’ll ses mothers convinced to smother their daughters like it’s the only thing left on a chores list, I’ll meet single men and women ready to grieve over lost loves and end it all, there will be widows who wish to join their other halves that I’ll gladly aid…”

Catching her breath, she slowed down, her breath panting.  “I can’t contain myself, Ellen.  I almost want to skip the family reunion.”

Trauma stopped her hands from moving any further under her clothes, blushing in embarrassment.  Taker may have given her control, but she still has her own issues with self control.

“I can’t wait to make you watch,”  she finished, walking to the less damaged van.

She opened the doors, happy that the keys were still in the ignition.  She sat in the front seat, hands on the driving wheel and feet struggling to reach the gas and brakes.  She imagined for a moment the pure unfiltered sound of loss that would cry out if she plowed through a group of children crossing the road.

Stop that, hands where you can see them, thought Trauma.

Ellen all but gave up.  Trauma had enough time to work on her.  After all, Trauma knew everything about her.  She knew everything about Everyone.  She knew who people were cheating on whom with, she knew the size of your debt, she knew how unrealistic your dream job is…

She knew what to say to crush people as painfully and thoroughly as possible, in as few words as necessary.

Taker was kind to her for that reason,  because she was ‘fun’.  She’d have to visit taker sometime in the future.  She’d love to see how fun Taker was to her.

“Taker was like a father,”  she lied to herself, starting the ignition and reversing the car slowly.  It was harder than she thought, really.  She had to exert so much effort to drive, just because she was so small.

“I guess that means I have more of a family than you, right Ellen?”

Please, she’s your mother t-

“She’ll be nobody’s mother soon enough, sweetie.  Just sit back and let me take care of it.”

The Car reached the road, turning slowly and clumsily.

Don’t do this to me! You’ve done enough alr-

“The fact that I’m not hearing you say ‘kill me’ over and over again suggests that I’ve not done enough!”  shot Trauma, trying to adjust the side mirror of the van.  “Just sit back and enjoy the show.  I will.”

The van was difficult to drive with her height, but she figured she was going in a mostly straight line anyway.  She’d worry about it when she got to the city.  When she got to people.  Happy people.  People with families, jobs, friends and so much more.  People who will just go crazy with despair when it is yanked out right from under them.

People who just can’t handle dealing with trauma.

 

 

Sacrifice sat at the mold-ridden desk, feasting on stolen food while figiting with one of her new projects.  The outskirts of Oklahoma City had become a den for drug addicts, the homeless and other unsavory denizens with the sheer volume of derelict buildings and the cripplingly small police force, making it perfect to hide in.  Their only issue was not being reported on by civilian, supervillain or even superhero.  Most problems could be solved easily enough, with heavy hitters like Glutton, Jawbreaker and Kumo on the team, but sometimes she needed the oomph only she herself could provide.

She prodded the dissected brain with another electrode.  A spark flew out and struck a ruined chair nearby, leaving a singe on the exposed stuffing poking out.

“Not good, I missed the correct spot,” she muttered to herself, picking up a pen and taking more notes.  ‘Another failure, this time caused because of human error’  she wrote down, before taking a moment to think and rewrote her note.  ‘Human error, and unsatisfactory working conditions.’

The door knocked, and Taker entered the room.  He was one of the few un-costumed members of the Hunting Party, along with Trauma and Kumo.  He had long, greasy hair and a pair of thin glasses he always wore on his face.  His clothing was stolen from wherever he could find it.  It wasn’t like he could go and buy from stores with his reputation.

“Sacrifice,”  he began.  “Apologies for my intrusion.”

“It’s fine,” she said, tossing the brain across the room and out a broken window.  It audibly landed in a bush.  “I can’t work with this stuff here anyway.”

“Really?”

“Yes.  The electrodes are too thick and rusty, my hand is too shaky and this area of town is filthy.  I hate this.”

Taker rubbed his hands and pressed his glasses to his face.  “Maybe Texas will have a solution in there, after yo-”

Before he could finish, Sacrifice was inches away from his face, almost touching him.

“I don’t like it when you do that, you scheming liar.”  she snarled.

Taker smiled, unmoving.   “I have no idea what you mean,”  he said confidently.

“Your powers, for a start. I know the truth.”

Taker took a step back, turning towards the door.

“Then you know who would win, right?”

He closed the door quietly, as to not disturb any of the other members of the Hunting Party as they slept.

 

***

 

A young man walked down the streets of New Austin, Texas.  He walked along the centre of the road, and all the residents gave way, stepping to the sides of the road onto the pavement as he passed, mostly out of respect.  There were no cars in Texas, only four trains that looped from town to town in different directions.  The roads were merely ceremonial at best, made for the men and women of the army of Texas to march during parades.  Vine looked up at the castle before him as he strode; the castle where the King of Texas prepared for war.

The throne room had a massive, circular table.  The king sat on his throne, and seven others sat on benches, robed and hooded.  Vine pulled his hood over his head and sat down, looking at the small scale replica of Texas that covered the table.

“Late again, Vine,”  said one voice.  A girl.

“Phoenix, I had an appointment.”

“So you are saying the King is less to you than yourself?”

The king shifted to the side in his throne.  He loved this.  He loved watching his eight generals bicker and argue, and he rarely stepped in.

“No, the king is above any man and all gods.  You know this.  You also know how important I am to the war effort.”

Phoenix shut up, growling under her breath.  The king smiled and began to speak.

“This is our second last meeting before he war.  I expect all eight of you generals to fight with the vigor and strength that I expect from my eight personal guards,”  he stated proudly.

“Phoenix, you will guard the far north in Dumas.  Vine, cover Fort Wichita.  Aim, go to Sabine City.  Kelpie will watch the coast.  Brownsville will be covered by Ester.  Our armies will invade the south led by me, so you five are our defensive forces during the war.”

Phoenix, Vine, and three other hooded figures bowed in agreement.

“You may leave,”  said the King.  They got up and left.

Vine picked up his pace significantly, He didn’t like any of the other seven generals, let alone the Kings personal guard.  He reached the front door and was pulled back instantly, falling over.

“Don’t fucking disrespect out king!”  shrieked Phoenix.  Her robe was cast aside and her flaming body, ensnared in chains floated off the ground.  Kelpie, Ester and Aim backed away.

“I have no time for this!”  shouted Vine. He smacked his hand on the ground below Phoenix and she darted away, as a small, intricate building rose from the ground, patterned like the mosaic on the floor.

“You are this weak and you still insult the king!  How dare you!”

A bell tower formed at the tip of the dollhouse sized tower, wrapping around the chain she held that bound Vine.  Phoenix cocked her head to the side.

Ester interfered.  He walked up to Phoenix and pulled on the chain wrapped around Vine, pulling her into and through the tower.

“You shouldn’t say that, when you both attack another in the beautiful King’s castle and even bring your weapon to a meeting,”  he said sternly.  “The royal guards should kill you for this.”

He turned to Vine, who was picking himself up as phoenix released the chain, which no longer burned.  His robe was singed.   “You too are disgusting.  Do not disrespect our King again.”

“My apologies,”  said Vine.  “It was my mistake.”  He quickly bowed, and left the castle.

Phoenix picked herself up.  She patted away the dust and rubble on her body, before picking up her robes.

Kelpie looked away, walking to the door.

“What about you, Kelpie?  Why so silent?”

Kelpie turned her head around, opening the door.

“He’s not my type.”  she said, letting the doors close behind her.

Aim sighed, following behind her.  “I hate violence,”  he muttered to himself.

He could see his mother.  Her hungry face, covered in fluids.  Vomit.  Blood.  Pus.  He saw her sink her teeth into his sister’s flesh.  He struggled, and a binding broke.  Daisuke could move a single leg.  He struggled again and used it to leverage another leg free, then a third.

After enough struggling, five of his legs were free, and he snapped the webbing holding him up.  Toumei ran for his life.

After seconds that seemed like an eternity, he could hear his mother’s screeching.  “I’m still hungry! I can’t stop it!”

He panicked, tripping over a rock.  Not a single sound left the forest, nor did a single whimper or cry reach any animal.  There was nothing in his mother’s lair.

“Fuck,”  said Daisuke, picking himself up and running again.  He knew that he was going to be next.  He was the only one who was left.

The trees were a bit denser as he pressed on, his mother gaining speed as she thundered through the forest like a wave.  He needed help, he needed something, something that would save him.  Daisuke looked up and saw the canopy.  I could climb up to there,  he thought.

Aoi was behind him, her face still covered in her children.  Daisuke’s siblings.  The sisters and brothers he failed to protect.

 

***

 

“I think we should leave,”  said Hanako.  Daisuke had to admit that she was right;  it’s been a week and their mother was looking ill.  She hadn’t eaten in days.

“Sister,”  said Daisuke with a soothing tone.  “It’s all okay, we are just making sure mom is okay.  We will leave soon, I just want her to be okay.”

“But there is barely any food anywh-”

“I promise you,”  Daisuke put one of his legs to his sister’s mouth.  “We’ll go together.  You, me, Toshiro… everyone.”

Hanako paused, not speaking for what seemed like an eternity.  Then she spoke.  “Okay.”

 

***

 

Daisuke reached the top of the canopy, glancing down to see Aoi behind him.  He jumped from one tree to the other, nearly falling as a crashing sound occurred from below as branches tore away.  Aoi was right behind him.

“I’M STARVING, I HAVEN’T EATEN IN DAYS!”

Daisuke climbed along the canopy.  He had to live.  For Hanako.  For everyone.

Aoi rumbled through the canopy behind Daisuke, knocking branches and what not into the ground below.  She was catching up.

Daisuke continued to scramble through the canopy, approaching a thick line of branches.  There was a small opening, a hint of webbing surrounding it.  It must have been made by one of his brethren.  He had no choice;  Daisuke crawled into the space, hoping it was a tunnel.

“Dammit,”  he said to himself.  His abdomen was too large.  “Fuck!”

Aoi was right behind him.  She stopped moving.  Daisuke knew what was coming.

A pain shot through his heart as his own mother’s fangs sunk through his abdomen.  I don’t want to die,  he thought.  I don’t want to die, not like this.  Tears welled up as the pain pulsed through him.  Another stab to his abdomen, this time dragging Daisuke as his mother pulled him out of the tunnel, away from safety.

“I must eat!  I’m so hungry I must eat, I’m sorry!”

 

***

“Dai?”  asked Hanako.

“Yes?”

“It’s been a month.  She’s been getting worse and she’s started talking in her sleep.  Most of the family is gone.”

“I know. We’ll leave tomorrow.”  said Daisuke, comforting his sister.

 

***

 

Daisuke struggled to crawl away, pain throbbing through him, venom dripping from the hole in his back.

He struggled to speak.  “I… don’t want…”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry but I’m starving and you look so good!”

Aoi was crying.  She was crying as she ate her own child alive.  Crying as she stuck her fangs into his back, chewing on the remains of his abdomen.  Crying as she crunched his chitinous shell between her jaws, pneumatic fluid and silk proteins spraying everywhere.

Everything suddenly turned to an abrupt darkness.  Daisuke was floating within the void, or what could only be approximated as ‘floating’ by Daisuke himself.

“I don’t want to die, not now,”

Daisuke struggled to look where the voice came from.  Was that from behind me?  he guessed.

“Not like this, not like this,”

Another voice, quiet, closer.  He could nearly tell whom the voice belonged to, it was so familiar.

“Let the bitch starve then, she fucking ate them all!”

The voice was Daisuke himself.

His body erupted in pain and white, and he woke up from his unconsciousness.  His mother, dead.  The trees, decayed.  Himself, healed.  The branches couldn’t take his weight and he fell to the earth.

 

***

 

“Awake, Kumo?”  asked Bloodwitch, smiling.

Kumo took a cursory glance then began to move his legs, testing the fluids which gave him locomotion.

“I am now,”  he said, raising his body slowly from the ground.

“You talk in your sleep too often, Kumo.”

“Well I have an excuse to do so, really.”  replied Kumo, pointing a leg at Trauma, who was sleeping soundly.  He began to walk towards the door.

“Where is the boss?”  he asked Bloodwitch.

She only smiled.  “Don’t know where she is, but she’s hanging with the others, Kumo.  Funny how they don’t seem to trust us three as much as the others,”  she said, gesturing to the three inhabitants of the abandoned living room.

“To be fair,”  retorted Kumo,  “Trauma joined us way too easily.”

“Her powers have heavy influence over her.”

“How’d you figure?”  asked Kumo in a quizzical tone.

“I could feel it in her blood.”  said Bloodwitch, pricking her own index finger with a needle.  Kumo watched as the blood slowly moulded into a shape that resembled Bloodwitch in her costume, and then slowly and visibly congealed to a solid mass.  Bloodwitch broke off the blood sculpture and placed it on the couch where Trauma lay sleeping soundly.

“That is always creepy,”  remarked Kumo.

He turned to leave for good.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you ask, he’ll never take those memories away,”  muttered Bloodwitch, looking down on the sleeping trauma.

Kumo couldn’t tell who that advice was truly for.

Quiet.  Silent.  Everything was Nothing and she was alone with her thoughts.  Who would want to talk to you?  It’s all your fault.  You’re going to cause nothing but misery, forever.  It’s all your fault.  You deserve this.

Ellen’s mind raced, and it could only hurt her.  She was not allowed to talk to anyone, not after what she did.  The guards were blocked from even seeing her, she was that horrific.  Confined to a nearly impossible degree, with gags, blindfolds, chains, cuffs and straight-jackets all supported with a complex metal contraption suspending her in place.  All that was was all her thoughts; all her thoughts were all that was.  She waited and hoped for the occasional jolt of the van as it took her to the city kept her awake. Anything to make the Ellen in her mind go away, or be distracted for a moment.

You don’t deserve to live. You killed them.

Ellen couldn’t escape her own thoughts for even a single second.  It hurt.

Did it feel good?  Having her die because you didn’t want to hear me for just a little longer?

A thousand accusations, a thousand spiteful words pierced her with precision that proved to her it was her own mind doing this.  Her very soul was trying to drive her insane.

She loved you, and you said those filthy, evil words.

It was working.

And guess what?  You get to go free.  I’m sure Uncle Jonathon will be proud.

A violent jolt of the van changed her mind for a second.

Oh my.  It appears you’ve caused even more death.

Metal tearing, shouting, screaming, gunshots.  Nothing.

They had kids.  Both of them.

More metal being torn, louder, more pronounced.

And now it’s your turn.  You’ll spread misery forever, without fail.  You disgust me.

“This her?”  a ragged voice asked.

“Yeah, this is the one,”  answered what sounded like a young girl’s.  “Taker, take out the bits we don’t need once I’ve tapped her.”

Pain.

 

***

 

Ellen woke up to find herself alone.

No voice.  It was gone.  She got up and realized he was free.  She was free, and there wasn’t that constant voice in her head telling her how horrible she was every second she wasn’t near Ryan, and she could move and walk and speak and-

“So you took out her will to die?”

Ellen shot around and saw them. Seven Humanoid figures and a giant spider.  She’s seen weirder teams of capes before.  Unlike Ryan she actually bothered with reading cape news and gossip, rather than instinctively sneering and going for the remote.  She recognized them already.  The Hunting Party.  She was back in the clutches of the hunting party.

Sacrifice, Druggie, Fractal, Glutton and Jawbreaker stood in a group.  They were finished off by three of their other members whom the news reported as visiting Asia at the time they attacked Norfolk.  Taker, Bloodwitch and Kumo.

 

“Why are you here?”  she asked.  Or more correctly, that is what she meant to ask.  What she actually said was “Ahh, Munroe.  You think you can save this little girl, too?”

A brief moment of horror crossed Ellen’s face as Bloodwitch slapped her across the face, sending her across the room.

“Taker, she told you to take out all the bits we don’t need,”  Bloodwitch snarled at Taker, her veins visibly popping from her powers.

“Now now, I was only having a joke.  It’s not like you’d kill yourself anyway,”  replied Taker, adjusting his glasses.  “Though if you let me take something of similar value, I’d give you back your death…”

“Back off, you fucking creep,”  Bloodwitch replied, a spear of blood shooting out of her arm and touching Taker’s neck.

Glutton suddenly jumped and bit down on the blood spear, breaking it.  He shot a look at both of them and resumed eating his burger.

“Enough,”  ordered Sacrifice calmly.  “We have many experiments to run in the future.  Taker?  Take these things,” she handed Taker a note of paper.  He smiled while looking at the list and walked over to Ellen, who just managed to stand up.  Ellen turned to run and began to look for a door or a window.

“It’s no use, dear.”  said Taker, slowly walking towards her.  “I took away the exits.”

“Clara, help me!”  Ellen cried.  Bloodwitch clenched her fist and looked away.  “Don’t let it happen!  Don’t just stand there watching again!”

Taker got even closer.  Ellen tried to make another run for it but she froze.  She suddenly fell to her knees and put her hands behind her head.  Bloodwitch was using her powers on her.

Ellen panicked, struggling to speak.  “Clara, please!  I didn’t mean it! You said you’d prote-”

“You aren’t her!”  shouted Bloodwitch, visibly angered.  Ellen shut up, reduced to sobbing.

Taker reached her, and placed his and on her head.

“Loyalty to your friends, family and everyone else bar us.”

A surge of blood rushed through Ellen’s head.

“Please, Danny… It wasn’t their fault,”  she whispered to Taker.

“Your ability to use your power on us.”

Another surge of blood.

Ellen could actually say what she wanted to.  “Please, stop this.”

“Your ability to betray us or rebel against us in any form.”

Another surge of blood, heavier than the last.

“And finally, your will to leave us.”

It was done.  As the last pulses of blood ran through her head and she heard the tinnitus slowly pass by.  Even her thoughts changed.  Ellen was still scared, still frightened, but now she feels no need to escape, to try and run away.  She looked up at Taker as he took his hand away.

“Why?”

“We always take a new member from each experiment,”  smiled Sacrifice.  Ellen remembered a small detail about her; she used to be a well known metahuman researcher.  Her experiments have come to this?  Awful.

“It’s a way to keep on having fun.”

“I see.”  Ellen wasn’t disagreeing.  Only loyalty to the Hunting Party remained.  It pained her to admit so, just a little.

Sacrifice walked closer to her, wearing a bull’s head instead of the goat she last saw.  She placed her hand on Ellen’s shoulder.

“You are now Trauma,”  she said gently.  Ellen got up, allowed to move again.  Sacrifice turned to the rest of the Hunting Party. She clapped her hands and spun around in a mischievous manner.

“Who wants to see the current situation of Texas?” she asked.

Kumo was the first to reply.

“Why go Texas?”   the spider hissed.

“Because, Kumo, I want to study the Effects of Druggie’s formula on a Kingmaker victim.  The King of Texas is conveniently nearby, and he’s going to open up soon anyway.  Kingmakers need to wage wars and Texas hasn’t had one in 15 years,”  she replied.

Kumo didn’t respond.

 

Alliance walked into the meeting room of the New York National Heroes Network Debriefing Room.  He looked over at his fellow agents and at down in his chair.

Array stood up and turned on his projector.  “As you all know I and Hindsight have been following the Hunting Party for the last month,”  He said, pointing at his masked colleague.  “They’ve hit Norfolk an hour ago.”

Undertow clenched her fists.  “Why didn’t we hear about this now?”

“I suspect that somebody is allied with their cause.  It’s most likely Agent Jameson, but that isn’t important.”  He said.  “Six teenagers were kidnapped.  We all know their usual MO.  Expect these kids to be highly incontinent with their powers.”  Array handed 6 folders, one to each person in the room who isn’t himself.

“Myself and Hindsight have already written down the best course of action.  I expect you to follow this to the letter, as usual.”

Alliance, Undertow, Vortex, Queen, Water Strider and Agent Mulch opened the folders and read them.

Agent Mulch was the first to protest.  “What the fuck do you mean, only capture the cloning ability user!?”  he said.

Hindsight smirked a little under his mask.  “I’ll assure you that if you go after anybody but the twins, you will die.  This is the only option.”

Agent Mulch snorted.  “If they are dangerous at all, then any loss to prevent another fucking Buffalo City event is perfectly fine.”

Undertow looked at the agent with bared teeth.  She let up after Water Strider but his hand on her shoulder to calm her.

“I assure you,” said Array. “They are all perfectly harmless to normal people.  I do note that they will cause damage only if somebody with powers tries to attack them, however.”  He put his hands up in the air.  “I’d like to catch them all, really.  I hear a professor in Ethiopia came up with a cure to Druggie’s super serum.”

Undertow finally spoke.  “I’m not going to fucking allow you to experiment on minors.”

Array smiled.  “I have full permissions, and you are assuming I’m going to create some godzilla thingy.  Besides, I need their permission to perform any experimental treatment, both from the doctor and the children.”

Undertow looked at Agent Mulch.  “Come on.  Don’t let him.”

Mulch sighed.  “I have to agree with Undertow here.  This stuff is an unproved science, and I don’t think the risks of what could happen outweigh the benefits.” Array opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted.  ” …and before you go to cry about it, I’m not going to allow it this time because Hindsight says it’s okay.  His duration for his ability to see the future is short a majority of the time, and the problems may be long term.”

Alliance stood up.  “We should go.”  Undertow, Water Strider, Vortex and Queen followed suit and left the meeting room.

While they walked down the halls, Vortex was the first to break the silence.  “So when is the honeymoon, newlyweds?”  he asked Undertow and Water Strider.

Water Strider gave him a look and smirked.  “I’m not telling you.  God knows what prank you’d try and pull.”

Vortex shot his hands up in fake surrender.  “I’m not like that all the time, it was only once!”

“You teleported Undertow’s bra onto alliance.”  Queen interjected.  Undertow put her head down slightly.

“At least they fit him,”  said Vortex.  “God know what would happen if Alliance had bigger boobs than Undertow.”

Undertow put her hands over her mouth to stop laughing and hide her embarrassment.  Queen decided to smack him over the back of the head instead.

“Thanks, Queen.”  said Water Strider.

They reached the roof and huddled in a circle. Alliance, Undertow, Water Strider, Vortex and Queen held hands.

Vortex smiled, giddy at the upcoming fight.  “Here we go!”

Thunder struck the roof of the New York building, and they disappeared.

 

***

 

The National Heroes Network stood in front of the Hunting Party.  Sacrifice, Fractal, Glutton and Jawbreaker stood in a circle around 7 teenagers.  One was glowing brightly.  One had a mask over her face.  Two were identical.

Sacrifice was holding several syringes in her hands.  Alliance knew that colour.  It was Druggie’s self destruction formula.

“Don’t let her inject anybody with that formula!”  he ordered.  “Attack the Hunting Party, we’ll deal with the kids later!”

He turned to face the hostages and the Hunting Party.  “Nobody Move!”

Sacrifice yelled something.  Nearly everyone charged into the fight.  Fractal appeared right in front of Undertow’s face.  She waved her hand and he was flung into a building with a crash as the window was broken.  He suddenly appeared behind her and touched her back.  She disappeared.

Vortex teleported himself and Queen in front of Sacrifice.  She tried to stab at them with her syringes, and Queen dodged back.  “Squeeze your hands.”  Queen said.  Sacrifice crushed the syringes in her hands, and leaped forwards to punch Queen.

“Kneel.”  Sacrifice stumbled, missing her punch.

“Kneel.”  Sacrifice stumbled again, almost flipping over.

“Kne-”  Queen was struck in the face with a plank of wood before she could finish.  Fractal then teleported behind Vortex holding the wooden weapon but suddenly shot up into the air and hovered there, floating at the height of a small building.

“Got him!”  yelled Water Strider.  Undertow raced back into the fray riding a small puddle at break-neck speed down the empty road.  She crashed into one of the teenagers who hadn’t run away.  There were two of them, looking the exact same.  How did she not see him?

The two teenagers were yelling at the same time, to a third who was eerily still.  “Derek, listen to me!  The syringes are gone!  We have to go back to the others!”

The still boy pressed on, refusing to listen to his comrade.  Undertow felt a thud as  he hit her.  She tried to punch back, and went right through him.  Water Strider charged into the fray, kicking and punching all three teenagers, somehow hitting the still boy.

“Stop, I’m trying to help!”  Said both twins at the same time.  Water Strider stopped attacking.

“On your hands and knees then!”  he ordered.  The twins acted at the same time.

A glow became brighter and brighter.  “What the hell is that?”  asked Vortex, shielding his eyes.

It began to fade, dimming slowly.  “One of the kids.”  said Alliance as he walked towards the group from his fight.  He looked beaten up.

“Jawbreaker and Glutton got away, as predicted by Hindsight.”  he said.

Alliance looked at Sacrifice as Fractal blinked in and out of existence, taking her with him.  Undertow kicked some dirt into the air and screamed at the sky.

“That was a waste of time!  Fuck!”

Alliance looked at her sternly.  “We stopped a potential disaster, and according to Hindsight’s report, we have a source of useful information from the cloning boy.”

Undertow shot Alliance an angry look.  He was always so calm and by the book, which aggravated her to no end.  Even Vortex couldn’t get him riled up, and that guy has tried many times.  Alliance stood firm in his opinion, and Undertow conceded defeat.

“Okay.  I understand.”  she didn’t.

Alliance picked up the twins by the arms.  “Kid, your name.  And don’t give me any callsign stuff, you are not wearing a mask.”

The twins took a second to think, then explained in unison.  “I’m Richard, but everyone calls me Ricky.”

Alliance relaxed a little.  “What do you know about the other hostages, Ricky?”

“I know them all.  They’re my friends, sir.”

“Really?  You know their names?” Alliance inquired skeptically.

” Micheal Scott, Maxine McKinnon, Ellen White, Ryan Anderson and Derek Smith.  They’re good kids sir.  It isn’t our fault this happened.”

“I know son,”  said Alliance.  “It was just bad luck, really.”

Queen and Water Strider walked up beside Alliance.

“You’ve been injected with a serum from Druggie,”  explained Queen.  “We’d like to run some tests, to get an idea of what will happen to you and your friends.”

Ricky nodded slowly.  “Okay.  I understand.”