Posts Tagged ‘Alliance’

11 | 1 : Machine

Posted: 10/22/2014 in Machine
Tags: , ,

An hour later and everyone was saved.  Forget-me-not was detained and NHN agents were called to take her away.  The town still had resentment to what the mayor easily described as “a false product”, and the schedule was altered but no casualties were created.

However, I’d gotten in trouble.

Alliance, Aim and Vortex were the agents sent to take Forget-me-not, and Alliance was not happy at how I handled the situation.  I can understand that.

“…sing NHN agents as hostages the a reckless and irresponsible move, Ryan!”  Alliance finished.

I didn’t quite catch that, but I understood the point he was making.

“We’ve been bending our backs trying to help you, and you not only take advantage of it, but do something like this?  Hold on, let me list what we’ve done for you.  The Sacrifice situation;  you  and I agree on that, she’s unfit for trial.  The war incident three years ago is still yet to be resolved, but until today we were looking at an official pardon for you!”

He was flustered.  I didn’t say a thing.

“Finally, there is the three villages project and the Expedition.  You’ve already fucked up this by doing the worst thing ever, and now I’m seriously considering cancelling your partic- no.  I’m considering heading to the board to incarcerate you.”

I didn’t answer to his comments.  Somehow, the only thing that was going through my head was the fact I hadn’t done the worst thing. I could have pressed the button at any time.

“Tell me why I shouldn’t?” Alliance asked, his tone more calm now.

“There isn’t,”  I replied.  “I don’t have a reason or an excuse, sir.”

“Then why do it?”

I thought, opened my mouth to speak, closed it and tried again.  Nothing.

“I… I don’t have a reason.”

“Ryan,”  I could hear the fatigue draining in the sigh that followed my name.  “This is the sort of thing that we were worried about,”  said Alliance.

I had a clue what he meant.  The masked man looked unlike his PR photos;  he was tired here, not triumphant.  There were no mounds to stand on with his short cape flowing behind him, no babies to hold.

“I’m not a sleeper agent,”  I said.  “I’m not.”

Alliance took a breath.  “Then what are you, Ryan?”

I didn’t say anything, which was worse than what I could have said.  I guess I fucked up again.

***

Alliance… Didn’t do anything.  I don’t know why.  I was taken off the expedition team and sent away for rehabilitation.  There was a risk, they said.  They already were worried that I was a sleeper agent, and the distinctive scar on my chest isn’t helping.  That and my almost murder of seven people.

I wished I was.  Then everything could be explained away and it would all be normal, I’d be back as me.  I could actually grieve over my parents without feeling like it’s a hollow chore, or I could face Michael and Ri- No.

No.  I’m just hiding behind my faults again.

I sighed and slumped back in my chair.  Jackson Correctional Facility had a few staff, but the wait for one to see me was getting irritating.  After shifting my position again, almost getting out of my seat the door opened and somebody finally came in.

“Apologies for the wait Mr Anderson, one of the patients was acting dangerously.”

I thought about spreading my power, but didn’t.

The staff member was a guy with short hair.  His uniform was reminiscent of the scrubs surgeons wear than a trained ward.

“Hey,”  I said.

He sat down, opposite me.  The folder was thin, but I knew what it had.  I’d grown accustomed to seeing my existence held on a clipboard or file.

“It seems as though you were doing fine up until recently,”  he said, clicking a pen and pulling out a notepad.

“Things don’t go perfectly,”  I responded.

“You are right, but that’s still understating what you did.”

Some part of me thought it was amusing how the NHN were so negligent at some things and so strict with others.  Maybe that’s the result of government sponsorship?  Maybe the fact that the army, the police force and many other government institutions felt as though capes were taking over, the only supported avenue was crippled in very specific places?

Actually, nevermind that, I’m here for a reason.

“Can we get to the important part…”  I left my sentence hanging, prompting his name.

“Dr. Wiles.  Call me Dr. Wiles.”

“Okay, I can do that,”  I said.

“Okay.  You understand why you are here right?”

I understood clearly.  Even if I didn’t want to admit it, every now and then thoughts would pop up, asking me questions.  Why don’t I tell them about why I have the scar on my chest?  I ask myself.  Why do I neglect to tell anyone that New Austin will open up soon?

“Because I’m a sleeper agent,”  I finally admitted.  “I’ve got something in my head that’s hiding away, and it’s subtle enough that I don’t notice it.  There are these rules and commands I’m following, but not hearing.”

Dr. Wiles nodded at me to continue, writing down what I said on the notepad.

“I um…  I guess I had an idea, but I put it off.  I didn’t think about it, or avoided the subject.”

“You didn’t want to consider the idea?”  Dr. Wiles clarified.

“I still don’t,”  I responded.  “The idea that he still has a hold over me, I don’t…”

The words drifted off and out of my mind.  Dammit.

“What can you do?”  I finally asked after a long silence.

Dr. Wiles was stoic.  “With your powers?  Nothing legal.”

Ah.  My awareness.  Taker bypassed that, and I can’t nullify it while being aware due to the fact he’s not easily accessible.  Any mind tinkering that they’d do here is a no go, due to the fact that my required consent means I’d be aware for the most part.

No, that’s not right, I still have range limits, right?

“What do you mean?  I still have range limits on my powers, right? Just create a distance?”

“We’ve actually tried accessing your mind already.  It seems Taker has specialities in creating nearly impossible to remove psychic suggestions, not without his help, or help from…”  He caused to consider his next words.  “More dangerous sources of aid.”

“There’s nothing, right?”

“We are trying to trigger it in a controlled environment. Most sleeper agent triggers are built around one time activations, especially when the victim is unaware they exist.”

I was dumbfounded. “You’re saying what I need to do is actually set it off?”  I asked.

“No,”  Dr. Wiled answered.  “We need to set it off, in a place you cannot do harm.”

“How long would that take?”  I asked, taking my hands off my chest and putting them on the table.

“It could take years.”

I looked away and smirked.  “Damn,”  I said.

Dr. Wiles gave a nod and left, gesturing to let me leave the room and collect my stuff.  I was thinking of leaving the building and fixing myself the fast way, but there are things that need to happen first.

I need to see Samantha.

Prev                                                                                                                                      Next

Advertisements

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.

 

Prev                                                                                                                                      Next

There was a circle of disdain and fear around all of us.  They had distanced themselves enough to be out of reach but they had still clearly formed an impressive mob.  If I was in their shoes, I’d have done exactly the same thing.  Incontinents are dangerous.  We are dangerous.

“Lets go,”  I said to everyone.  We walked out as they pierced us with their eyes.  I looked over to Maxine.  She wasn’t taking it well at all.

We saw Derek in the car park outside the motel.  He’d caught up with the robbers and he’d frozen them just like his parents at his house.  One drew his gun over and over. The one who had grabbed the cashier was turning around, with her over his shoulder..  The one holding the bags of loot was still running.

We all half jogged half walked over to Derek.  He turned to see us and began to speak when we reached him and my power turned him to normal again.

“Look, I know thi-”

Maxine struck him hard in the face.  He fell right on his back.

“Holy shit, you knocked him out!”  yelped Ellen in surprise.

Maxine kicked Derek in the stomach.  He began coughing.

“Why the fuck would you do that!?”  she screamed.  Another kick, this time to the crotch.  I squirmed internally. Micheal gave a small grunt.

“What the fuck is wrong with you!?”

Micheal grabbed Maxine and pulled her off Derek, who was clearly trying not to throw up.  I didn’t move.  If anything, I wanted to kick Derek myself.  He’d fucked everything up for us, after all.  Maxine struggled relentlessly against Micheal’s hold.

“Max, calm down,”  said Micheal.  “This isn’t worth it.”

“Let go of me Micheal!  This fucker is only causing problems!”  Maxine screamed at everyone, tears welling up.  “First Ricky gets caught in Norfolk, and now this!”  Ellen slapped Maxine hard across the face.

“Shut up.”  she ordered.

Several seconds passed.  Maxine finally broke down in tears, no longer struggling to break free.  She stopped after five minutes.

Ellen was the first to break the silence.  “We should just go to Virginia City.”

Maxine picked herself up.  “I’m not going,”  she said softly.

“What?”

“I’m not going, Ellen.  Why should I?”  It was clear the toll was too much for her.  Her powers, Ricky, the mall, the motel…  it all culminated in her.  “Why the fuck should I go and do something I never really wanted to do?”

I couldn’t respond.  This whole revenge plan was poorly thought out, by both me and Micheal.  Ellen was the first to try and convince her otherwise.

“You want to spend the rest of your life locked up?”

Maxine only gave a curious glance at Ellen in response.

“We’re all going to be locked up regardless of anything,”  she explained, shrugging.  “It’s the law.”

“I don’t fucking care anymore!”  yelled Maxine as she turned and ran for Larry’s truck that we had stolen.  I quickly recalled we had forgotten to take the keys with us. That, and she was about to leave my range.

“Shit,”  I muttered to myself, running for Maxine.  Micheal and Ellen reacted too slowly and a glow shot out of nowhere from behind.  Maxine reached the door and was about to open it when I tackled her to the floor.  She punched the side of my head as I held onto her stomach.

“Stop it,”  I said while she pounded me in my temple with her fist.  She hit me one last time and I grabbed for her arm with my left hand, missing entirely.  She struggled free.

“Fuck off Ry-”  she yelled before a look of shock came across her face.  “Fuck.”

I got up and grabbed her by the arm. She pointed behind me to where I guessed Ellen and Micheal still stood.  I turned around and saw them.

Alliance and Queen ware behind me.  Queen tossed a pair of handcuffs at the ground in front of us.  “Put them on.”

Maxine picked them up instantly, and then hesitated.  I just looked at them, almost reaching.

“Put them on.”

Maxine clicked the cuffs around her wrists.  I tried my hardest to refuse, but a deep feeling of dread was building up within me. I reached again, slowly, and picked up the second pair.

“Put them on, Ryan”

If I don’t put these cuffs on, she’ll kill me.  I snapped the handcuffs around my wrists and suddenly relaxed.  Queen’s power is the most unnerving thing I’ve experienced.

I looked over to Ellen, Derek and Micheal, squinting to get the glow out of my eyes.  They’d been caught too.

 

***

 

We’d all been thrown into a convoy of vans.  Me and Maxine in one, Derek and Micheal in another and Ellen all by her self.

There were two rather well masked guards in each van holding funny looking guns, and from what I could guess from our situation, a hero from the National Heroes Network sat on the bench the opposite side of us.  Our van had the grace of Alliance with us.  I turned to look at where the driver’s compartment was and noticed the LCD monitor embedded on the wall.  I could see our reflection in it.

Both I and Maxine looked like shit.  Her face was red from crying, her shirt dirty from falling over and punching Derek in the face and her denim skirt was both ripped and covered in white paint.  I was both covered in dirt and tired.

“Hey, you know you might not get locked up,”  said Ricky as both of him took off their riot masks.

Ricky was both the faceless goons.  Maxine shot a look of surprise.

“What the fuck,” she exclaimed with shock.

I looked at Alliance.  He smiled.

“You can tell them, Plural,”  he said to Ricky.  No, not Ricky.  Apparently he’s called Plural now.  They are called Plurals?  Clones are weird.

Both Plurals looked at me and Maxine.  “You should know the Incontinent Detainment and Analysis Act only covers the procedures of what will have to happen when someone gets powers they can’t control,”  said both Plurals simultaneously.  “After that, what happens is essentially up to the National Heroes Network.”

Maxine didn’t say a thing.  She didn’t need to.  This is what we all needed to hear.

Alliance crashed the celebrations early.

“That’s if you are not deemed dangerous,”  he said.  “If any of you are deemed a passive threat there is the NHN Containment City.”

I could feel Maxine’s heart shatter.  The City.  Even I heard of the stories.  The only place in the universe with true power nullification.  I thought about my own powers for a second.  Maybe I’m immune, or I have a similar power as to the Mayor of Containment City…

“But first, you’ll have to be evaluated,”  Alliance stated, breaking my train of thought.  “We’ll be going to Casen City HQ for that.”

I looked at Maxine again.  I’d been paying a lot of attention to her after Norfolk.  She’d taken a lot on her and to be truthful, I’d not be surprised if she was sent to the City.  She probably thought it was all but guaranteed to be her fate.

“What if one of our powers is bad, but not that bad?” I asked while gesturing.

Alliance thought for a moment.  “That’s not my place to decide, but I’ll put in a good word.”

The rest of the trip to Casen City was silent.

 

***

 

As everyone got out of all of the vans in the convoy, we looked at the National Heroes Network HQ.  It was big, imposing, had a front made almost entirely of glass with two statues.  Alliance, Queen, six Plurals and a final cape I could not remember led us through the doors of the building. Me, Micheal, Ellen, Maxine and Derek were all walked through the main lobby, which had a sizable population of civilians and Grunts working for the NHN everywhere.  Some were in a gift shop, some were at reception.  Government sponsorship get you places,  I thought to myself.

Civilians saw us still cuffed as we walked to the other end of the lobby and a few whispers managed to creep into my ears.

“Aren’t those kids from the video?”  said one voice of curiosity.

“Can the heroes handle them if they go berserk again?”  muttered one voice of fake concern.

We were walked downstairs to a temporary holding area.  Probably the jail cells many villains spent their final days in before being moved to the City, Lotus Island or the Basin.  We were given a cell each.  There weren’t any other occupants.

“You’ll sleep here for the night,”  said Alliance to us all.  “We’ll do the analysis in the morning.”

I looked around.  The cell was lit, but not blindingly so.  Just enough light that we’d see.  There was a bed with a pile of clothes on top. I walked over and picked them up.  Cheap prison clothes, dyed an ugly shade of grey.  There was a small desk nailed to the floor and a monitor embedded on the wall.  A shower was in the corner.

I shoved the clothes onto the floor and lay in the bed.  I needed the sleep.

 

Prev                                                                                                                                      Next

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.”

I was tied to a chair in some basement or store-room.  I could hear Derek screaming.  Ellen was tied to the chair to my right, asleep.  Micheal and Maxine weren’t here, I could only assume they were already being worked on, or were killed.  Sacrifice walked in, and sat on top of my lap, facing me.  I’d enjoy being straddled by a naked woman if the person was not wearing a rotten goat’s head and wasn’t caked from head to toe in dry blood, which I could only hope belonged to the aforementioned goat.  I also figure the whole supervillain thing  also is a turn off.

“You know, there are two ways to get powers, dear.”  Oh god she talks like my mother.  I groaned.

“A ‘Want’ or a ‘Give’.  Have you ever heard of them?”  she said as she walked her fingers of her right hand up my chest.  I’ll add ‘reminds me of my mother’ to the growing list of turn offs.

“A ‘Want’ is when somebody wishes for something so hard they are given powers to help them.  For instance, if somebody wishes desperately not to die, they might become invulnerable, or immortal.”  Sacrifice stopped her hand at the top button of my shirt.  I gulped.  She started walking the fingers of her left hand up my chest.

“A ‘Give’ however, is when you are given powers from someone or something else.  For instance, your loud friend here is being given a nice little serum to empower him, like those two black-haired kids you were with.”  she explained as she stopped her left hand at the same button.

“You should see what the girl does, sweetie.  Poor thing.”  She unbuttoned the top of my shirt.  I moved my head away from her.  The smell of dead goat was getting to me.  I looked at the eyes of the goat she was wearing.  They were popping out of the goats sockets, and a fly was crawling over it.

“Shut up!”  I blurted out.

I screamed as pain soared through my chest.  Looking down, I saw her hand pressed flat against it.  She tensed her fingers and another spike of pain shot through me, making me scream again.  She rose my head with her chin, and looked straight at me from the goat’s mouth.  She has blue eyes.  Angry, blue eyes.

“Listen kid,”  she said.  “Every time you piss me off I’ll take it out on one of your friends here, like that little lady over there.”  She turned my head to face Ellen.  She was still asleep.  I thought of Ellen and how her mother must be feeling.  Hopefully the local heroes will find us soon, or the police.

She stuck her tongue out of the hole in her mask and licked the side of my cheek.  I suddenly felt dizzy as my balance started to give way.  Derek had stopped screaming at some point, I can’t tell when.  I heard a door open, and Sacrifice turned around.

“Druggie, do this bastard next.”  she snarled as she got off me. Sacrifice and a man in a Surgeon’s mask who I could only guess would be ‘Druggie’ dragged my chair to another room. There was a few stains of blood, a lamp and 2 syringes on a table, both containing a silvery liquid.  There were 4 on the floor.  Derek, Maxine, Micheal and somebody else.  I swallowed a little.  Druggie stood in the light, and he looked a lot like a surgeon. He had the mask, the gloves, the scrubs.  I could see that a little blood stained his clothes.  He picked up a syringe and walked over to me.

“This will hurt.”  he said.

He plunged the needle into the side of my neck.

***

At some point I passed out from the pain, and when I woke again I saw Derek, Micheal, Maxine and two others in the same room with me.  It was a bathroom.  Derek sat on the toilet, still as can be.  Maxine was tied up with a bag over her face.  Sacrifice’s taunting came to mind, and I shuddered to think about what happened to her.  Micheal was glowing.  He literally was.  I couldn’t look at him because it blinded me.

One of the other captives was sitting in the walk in shower, and another in the bathtub. Me and Maxine were on the floor.  We were all tied up with rope, but no longer in chairs.

Fractal opened the door.  I could hear crying.  Ellen was crying.  He snapped his fingers, and our ropes weren’t there anymore. He snapped again, we were suddenly in the middle of a street. Sacrifice and two other members of the Hunting Party stood around us.  A short, fat man holding a lamb shank and eating it messily was to my left.  He smirked as I looked at him.  The girl to my right was dressed as a clown.  How cliche.  I turned to look at everybody else.  Maxine was still wearing a mask over her face, and Micheal was still glowing.  I worried about myself and Derek, when I noticed him shift suddenly.  I didn’t even see him move.  I haven’t seen him move at all.

Ellen appeared out of nowhere, right in front of us.  Fractal must have done that.

Sacrifice cleared her throat.  “Listen up kiddies,”  she said.  “The National Hero Network will arrive in roughly one minute.  I have in my hands a special part of Druggie’s serum.”  She held 8 syringes in her hands, each filled with a blue-ish liquid.  “I’ll break them all if you attack me or any of my teammates.”  She dropped one.  It broke on the ground, its contents spilling everywhere.  “If you be good little children and fight the NHN, I’ll give you a syringe.  These are the only things that will stop your powers from going fully incontinent.”  Micheal looked at Maxine.  “I’m not sure you 6 friends would like to live your lives in a cape asylum.”

Wait, six?  There’s me, Derek, Micheal, Maxine and Ellen, right?  What about the other two?  Ellen, Derek and I looked at the two men with us.  They looked the exact same.  Twins?  Why only six then?

A thunderous boom shattered the windows of the nearby houses breaking my train of thought and I instictively ducked along with Ellen who let out a small shriek.  When I looked up, five figures stood before us all.  The National Hero Network.

Sacrifice looked at us and then the five heroes.  “Nice to see you, Alliance.”

The man in the center wore a short cape of white and red, with a large ‘A’ over his chest.  He yelled, his voice booming.  “Nobody move!”

Sacrifice turned to us.  “A free syringe for anybody who kills those capes!”

Only Derek and the twins ran towards them.  The Hunting Party followed behind.

Prev                                                                                                                                      Next