Posts Tagged ‘Agent Williams’

9 | 1 : Re-education

Posted: 08/12/2014 in Re-education
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I sat there, reading excerpts of ‘Awakening and You’ that were marked as important with highlighter.  It didn’t take long before the cross referencing got annoying, forcing me to eventually give up and start reading the ‘National Heroes Network Powers Classification Canual’ that sat next to me.

I gave the three other books on the desk in a pile a stare and sighed deeply.  The lawyer’s meetings were less boring than this.

Three knocks distracted me from my tedium.  Agent Williams.

“Ryan Anderson?”

“Come in,”  I said, putting the book down.  There was a printed copy of a supplemental report I was advised to read, but I hadn’t gotten around to it.

I was urged to read it if I was taking care of Sacrifice, according to the NHN.

Agent Williams closed the door and eventually found a chair to sat down on, with me turning to face him as he did so.

“You look different,”  he began.

“I am.  I’ve grown.  I’m eighteen, for a start.”

“That too,”  he said.

I took a pause.  He’s talking about the other thing.

“That’s isn’t growth,”  I said, placing my hand over my chest.  “You don’t grow from things like that.  I’m not any better of a person.”

“Yet you did.”

I don’t want to think I did.

“Is there anything important to discuss? Or is it all remarking about me?”

Agent Williams put the briefcase on his lap, opened it and handed over a few files.

“We said yes.  A trial period with voluntary members before accepting any more locations, and we agreed on three.”

“The three will be?”  I asked, looking at the details.  Logs of debate and expected costs; timescale; initial feasibility study; survey and population results; the actual allowed budget.

“Vermont, Mississippi and Colorado,”  he answered.  “You’ll be making them in a week.  You’ll also have to create two extra spaces for research and imprisonment.”

Three villages.  That’s more than I expected, but a lot of thinking and sensory capes probably would like to not have their powers dictate everything.

“… How many applicants?”

“At least seventeen families with members who have powers and eight members of the NHN.”

I nodded.  This was good.  It was worth it.

“I just have to serve out my time, right?”

“Yeah, that’s essentially it,”  replied Williams.  “Ah.  Before I forget:”

He pulled out a second file.

“A part of your sentence is to engage in an Expedition to Abio National Park.”

I took the file, skimming it.  Abio national park.  I knew that place well.  It was Biohazard’s residence.

“Why there?”  I asked.

“Well,”  he began.  “Biohazard isn’t a bad person.  He just can’t control his powers, like you or Unperson.  We think you could give him residence in your project.”

I see.  I’ll be giving the man to rendered half a state into an ecological nightmare in a day a home and shelter.  I couldn’t be mad at him, it was never his fault Ohio suffered as badly as it did.  I looked at the Expedition members.  Me, Alliance, Clawtail and Aim.

“I see.  These are copies?”  I pointed as the files.

“Yes, they are copies.  I’ll be going now.  Good luck with your recovery and rehabilitation.”

Agent Williams got up and opened the door.

“Before I forget, I’m sorry to hear about your parents.  We didn’t expect Trauma to encounter them.”

The closing and clicking of locks was relaxing.  Being alone was serene.

Damn, I should get to reading.

 

***

The copy of ‘Awakening and You’ was droll beyond comprehension, yet fascinating with its own naive charm, like a teacher invested in his subject as his students sit dumbfounded and bored.  As much as my own ignorance and boredom with the subject persisted I did gain a newly found appreciation for why this was taught in schools.  It wasn’t a case of teaching people how to name hydrocarbons or how to create macros in spreadsheet programs; it was more along the lines of teaching CPR and fire safety.

I’d already learned that you can’t avoid encounters with capes like you can with chemistry and computer science.  I put my head in the sand, and the little research I did do was too late to help.

I was in over my head three years ago and got punished for it.

Most of the stuff I was reading didn’t truly apply to me, but more towards Samantha who had gotten her powers from an awakening and thus could reawaken at any time.

Reawakening.  An event where one who previously had powers subconsciously alters them in high stress situations in an attempt to gain a beneficial power.  There is no assumed limit to the number of times one can reawaken, as the current record is the English hero Vector, at fifteen reawakenings.

I felt good, memorizing that.  Even if the book was outdated, I appreciated that Maxine gave me this stuff as reading material while I was in here at the NHN Rehabilitation Center.  I’ll thank her next time I see her.

Rehabilitation.  I guess I would have had to go through with it, considering that Margaret told Maxwell and Unperson the gist of what happened.  They insisted I needed it as much as Samantha and Margaret.  I couldn’t really make a convincing argument to the contrary, which I guess is a good reason to stay here for the time being.

Not all scars heal, but hopefully Samantha will have a few less after a while.

I put the book down again after placing a bookmark on it, looking at the two folders Williams gave me.  An expedition.  I smiled at the thought.  I’d be able to help Biohazard.  Maybe I’ll be able to help all the others who are effected by powers, or at the very least as many as I can.

I motioned to pick up one of the other three books, but I held myself back, opting to place them at the side of the desk on the floor instead, where they wouldn’t tempt me to read them too soon.  I was more interested in learning the basics of the super powered world, I’ll catch up on what happened while I was gone tomorrow.

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I was woken up at roughly 7:00 AM.  Not the time I’d normally get up, but I had no real complaints.  I needed every second to think.  Breakfast was served at 8:00.  Sorta okay-ish factory food.  Light and fluffy.

At 10:00 AM, everything changed.

The intercom in my cell buzzed.  “There is a visitor for you, Ryan,”  said Alliance.

I could only guess as to whom it was.  My parents.  I’d only given them a brief thought when I’d been caught in Norfolk.  I guess I didn’t want to have them see me.

The cell door clicked and a pair of guards led me to an interrogation room.  I couldn’t hear or tell if any of the others were in their cells as I was walked by.  In the Interrogation room was my Mother, Father, Alliance and two others.  One was wearing a NHN badge woven into his blazer.  The other was a bald, fat man seated next to my mom, wearing a suit and holding several folders next to a briefcase.

“Mr. Anderson,”  said the man whom I guessed was a lawyer,  “It is a pleasure to meet you.  I’m Sterling Washington, your lawyer for now.”  He offered a hand to shake.  I did so.

My mom stood up from her seat from between dad and Mr Washington and grabbed me in a tight hug.  “I missed you, I thought you were…”  She trailed off and squeezed tighter.  I couldn’t breathe.

“Mom,”  I tried weakly.

“Susan Anderson, your son is turning blue.”  said Sterling.  She let me go and grabbed my head, giving me one last kiss on the forehead.

She nearly broke down.  “I’m sorry, it’s just…”

“I understand, I just didn’t want the boy to faint,”  the lawyer joked.  Mom smiled as she sat back down.  I noticed that my father had been tapping his fingers on the table the whole time, impatiently.

I found a seat at the table and sat down and the NHN agent began to speak.

“Good morning,”  he began,  “I’m Agent Williams of the National Heroes Network.  I’m sure you all have an understanding how serious this situation is for the young Ryan Anderson here.  He is not only going to have to be held for Analysis and Risk Assessment according to the Incontinent Powers Detainment and Analysis Act, but he may also be charged with one account of vandalism, one account of hijacking and five accounts of complicity with Indefinite detainment with a Power.”  Dad looked at me.

“Um,” I stuttered, interrupting Williams. “Can I ask a question?”  I was asking my lawyer more than the NHN Agent across the table.  Washington gave me the go ahead.

“Yes, you may.”  said Agent Williams.

“Does indefinite mean it’s forever?  Like you can’t end it?”  I asked.  Agent Williams looked at me funny.

“Yes, why do you ask that?”

Alliance jumped into our conversation.  “Sources tell me young Ryan here has a form of neutralization that can free the five victims.”  Williams shot a surprised glance at Alliance and then at me, before clearing his throat to bring the discussion back to what he was saying.

“Well, I guess those circumstances may have to be considered.”

My lawyer broke into the discussion this time.  “I do suspect that if you already know about his powers, you’ll have no need to do any analysis,”

“We are actually considering a compromise for Ryan and his friends.  It is the same we offer to every metahuman under 18 we have encounters with; a probationary contract with the NHN Junior Group,”  replied the Agent.

I cocked my eyebrow.  “Was Ri- Plural offered this?”

“Yes, he was.”

“And if my son does?”  my father finally spoke.  “What then?”

“As I said, it’s merely a probat-”  my father interrupted the Agent.

“Not that.  What about the fact that he’s known, that Micheal is known, that all of his friends are currently on the internet and on WANTV?  You do know that one of their classmates was talking about them.  Personal details about my son.”

The agent took a second to compose himself.  Most people did, my father was very threatening when he spoke, and the idea that me and my friends had become famous overnight was actually daunting.

“Nothing can be done, I’m afraid.  Sorry about that, Thomas.”

Dad was stunned, a little.  Reputation wasn’t much for him, but he liked to preserve what little he had gained.  becoming one of the parents of  ‘those kids who became incontinents from a supervillain’ wouldn’t bode well for him.  It wouldn’t bode well for anyone’s family.  Revenge was still in my heart.  I didn’t know why, but hearing dad reinvigorated it.  For the worst reason possible, I wanted to do something.

“I’ll do it.”  I said.

Agent Williams tried to hide his smile.  He nearly failed.

 

***

 

After a discussion with both my lawyer and my parents I’d agreed to join the NHN Junior Group if my results from the Risk Assessment test came back with a number lower than 4.  From my interview and the few tests I’d received I’d only gotten a 2. They also asked me to explain what I knew of my friend’s powers. Maxine and Derek in particular.  I’d stated a little about them, like how Derek’s loops stopped nearby me and Maxine’s power fails when I go near her, and they did a lot of comparing and discussion in some committee while I waited back in my cell.  I was still unsure of where everyone was, but after two days I was brought back for the second test and saw them.

I’d ended up wearing the issued clothing put in our cells.  Shirt, trousers, boxers, and socks.

The Powers Analysis test was mainly a feedback discussion.  I’d been brought to a large round table with chairs along with Mr. Washington.  Micheal was here, I could tell by the glowing.  He was wearing something that made it dimmer, but I still couldn’t look at him.  I sat down on a seat that had a piece of paper with my name on it.  Ellen was nowhere to be seen.

“Hey,”  I said to everyone.  “I missed you guys.”

Maxine looked in my direction.  I noticed her and Derek wore the same grey clothing as me, but Maxine wore a pair of goggles over her eyes.  They probably did something to help her with her powers.

“Good to see you again,”  said Micheal.  He was still loud, regardless of how his new clothes dulled down is piercing glow.

“Good evening,”  Agent Washington began,  “Again, I’m Agent Washington, the Proctor for this discussion.  Your lawyers are here with you because of the nature of what we are about to talk about.  As you already know, we have taken and assembled notes and summaries of your powers and placed a copy of the penultimate revision on the folders in front of your chairs.  These files are the subject of discussion for today.  You all may each ask as many questions as you like.”

“Where the hell is Ellen?”  asked Maxine.  She looked cross, or I thought she did.  The goggles hid her eyes too effectively for me to tell.

“I can not legally tell you.  I’m sorry.”

“What can you tell us?”

“Ellen… failed to meet the qualifications we asked for you all to meet.  On the Risk Assessment test, she scored a 7.”

A seven.

“What?”  I blurted out in surprise.  “How could she get a seven, she had no powers at all!”

Sterling gave me an odd look and put his hand on his chin.  Agent Washington sighed deeply, his head held firmly in his hands.

“I understand your concerns, Ryan.  It’s just that she did manifest powers and those powers did have a dangerous effect.”

Maxine slammed her hands on the table, causing her lawyer to jump slightly.  “I can fucking erase people from memory when I look at them and Derek freezes people in time! What the fuck could Ellen do that’s worse!?”  She was angry.  I would be too.  Alliance tensed up slightly.

“I can’t tell you right now.  I apologize.”

Maxine’s lawyer put her hand on her shoulder, calming her down.  She begrudgingly sat back down, looking at her folder.  My lawyer had spent the meantime ignoring the commotion and reading mine.  He offered it to me.

I looked at the file.

PROFILE OF NATIONAL HEROES NETWORK JUNIORS PROBATIONARY MEMBER

I looked further down, skipping personal details like my age and name.  They were all correct.

Power(s): DETECTION BASED POWER NULLIFICATION.

Activation Classification: INCONTINENT PASSIVE.

Detection based?  I decided to ask.

“Um, Agent Williams, Why does it state my powers are Detection based?”

The agent was relieved to see people actually discuss something other than Ellen’s unsure fate.

“It appears that you can only nullify aspects of powers you are aware of or have been told about.”

“I see.”  The discussion went back and forth several times, with no real changes made.  None of us had made a mention to the fact our powers had grown stronger, or that we were unsure if they’d stop.  I had a feeling they already knew.  I also had a feeling we were too afraid to say it out aloud.

five minutes had passed.

“I see we have a unanimous agreement on the penultimate iterations of the profile folders given, am I correct?”

The lawyers and us all nodded and gave murmurs of agreement.

“Well then,”  he said.  “Congratulations to everyone present.  You are all official members of the NHN Junior Group under probationary contract.  Tomorrow you’ll all be given your assignments and meet with Public Relations.  You can leave now.”

I got up first.  I needed time to think.  To think about Ellen.

 

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