Posts Tagged ‘Micheal’

Honestly, I found today the most relaxing in recent weeks.  I guess that’s the irony in this whole situation, with everyone tense enough as it is.

“One ham and cheese toastie, one 5 peice breakfast and one soup of the day,”  said the waiter.  I thanked him with a nod as he placed the food on the table where I, Maxine and Derek sat.

“Kinda miffed we can’t eat with the others outside,”  said Derek, blowing his spoonful of soup.  “I like Maxwell, he’s a cool dude.”

“It’s to be expected, seeing as how well we are known,”  Maxine replied.  I made a small glance and saw that attention was slightly directed towards us from a few random tables.  “I mean, all of the people like us are.  You know, people who were caught by the Hu-”

“Anyway let’s change the subject,”  I interrupted a little louder than I should.  Maxine gave me a glance and I noticed I put too much pressure on my toastie, crushing it a little.  I wiped my hands on a napkin that wrapped my cutlery.  “We should maybe try and call Micheal and Ricky.  They’d like that, and they haven’t talked to us at all yet.”

Maxine and Derek relaxed a little.  I stopped tensing up.

“I mean,”  I continued,  “I’m pretty curious to as how they are doing right now, aren’t you?”

Derek swallowed a spoonful of soup and put the spoon down, before pointing at me.  “You know, you are right about this.  I’m actually missing Ricky.”

“They might get homesick, or we might get homesick,”  said Maxine, interjecting as she cut a fried egg open.  “I’d check up on the news, first.”

“You know where they are stationed?”  I asked.

“They fucking told us you moron,”  said Derek, kicking my shin from under the table.  “They are in New York, how’d you forget that?”

I thought for a moment in between chews of ham and cheese.  “Fuck me,”  I said.  “I actually forgot.”

We continued talking about irrelevant things, both to distract ourselves and because we hadn’t done so properly in a long time.

“So, about what happens soon,”  said Maxine, interrupting my daze.  “I mean, The Holidays ends in a week, what do you think?”

“Maybe we have a deal cut in with a nearby school?”  Suggested Derek with a little too much optimism for my tastes.

“I don’t think so,”  said Maxine.  “I’m thinking private tutoring, if we are lucky.”

“I don’t think we will stay here actually,”  I said.  “I mean, Pivot said to me we were only here because of the kingmaker thing. Once this blows over, We’ll all go home.”

Derek took a last spoonful of soup.  It was cold by now.  “Most of us.”

Right.  I forgot.  Ellen.

“Let’s check up on Ricky and Micheal,” said Maxine.  We paid, tipped and left.

 

***

 

“Bullshit,”  I said to everyone.  “This is bullshit.”

“Relax Ryan, you are too stressed lat-”

I interjected, louder.  “That’s total fucking BS, what the fuck!”

“Don’t swear so much, you sound like a thug,”  said Maxine.

“Yeah, but it’s totally unfair!”  I said again, pointing at the screen.

“That’s how things go,”  said Derek, trying to keep a grin hidden away behind his hand.

“Fuck that! Gimmie a phone or something!”  I looked around the desk for a mobile, tossing papers aside from the desk.  They looked like blueprints from Pivot.

“Hey!”  called out Maxine, bending over to pick them up.

I walked into my room, remembering my old cellphone.  I found it in a drawer, untouched.  I rummaged through the contacts list and put it on speakerphone.  Ricky answered as I walked back to Maxine and Derek, who has keeled over laughing by the time I got back.

“Hey there, Captain Cockblock!”  said Ricky in a rehearsed deadpan.

“Fuck you man,”  I replied, trying to hold in my own laughter.  “I could have lost an arm, and all you do is give me a shit name!”

Laughing occurred in the background.  Micheal was there.

“And fuck Micheal too.  Take turns, go fuck each other.”

“Dammit Ryan, let me speak,”  said Derek, taking the cellphone and placing it down.  “Sup, Maxine’s here too by the way.”

“Hey there!”  Maxine said.

“Sup Maxie.  How are you all anyway?”

“Blocker is mad cause he tried to block a car last month, Maxine’s alright and I’m fine.”  replied Derek, before grunting as I jabbed him in the side with an elbow.

“How are you guys doing?”  interrupted Maxine, pushing in between me and Derek.

“Hey darlings!”  yelled Micheal over the phone.  “I’m fantastic!  They have this amazing Pizza place three blocks away, and a cinema!”

I was great to hear them, I was right.  “We miss you all,”  said Ricky, quieter than before.  “Visit us soon.”

“We will.”

“Goodby,”  said Micheal.  “Thing came up.  Some cape thing.”

“See ya,”  replied Derek.

“Visit soon,”  I said.

The phone turned off.  I picked it up and turned it off, turning to Maxine and Derek.

“That was great,”  I said, smiling while shaking my head.  “Remind me to punch that asshole.”

“Remind me to give him a hi-five,”  replied Maxine.

A siren interrupted our fun.

“God damn it,”  I said, heading to my room to put the phone away.  I tossed it in the drawer, opening my closet and taking my costume out.  It was new, the old one was ripped when my arm broke.  After putting it on, returned to see Unperson and Latency sitting in chairs, already dressed.  Pivot and Stacker had entered in the meantime while I and the others changed.  Maxwell walked out of his room, fully geared.  Event Horizon entered last of all.

“It’s Texas.  The borders have opened,”  she said grimly.  “We are at war.”

“So we do what?”  asked Stacker, before Unperson could raise her hand.

Event Horizon pointed at one of the walls in the room.  It was actually a screen, embedded and hidden away so that it did not distract people, I assumed.  The contents were more important than what was used to create and embed a screen behind the wall.  We saw the view of the Texan army, descending on Mexico.  Capes and soldiers clashed on the battlefield in a flurry of fire and many other colours and shapes.

“We do nothing, Mexico is the country in trouble,”  said Event Horizon.

“What about them?”  asked Unperson.

“The NHN is already en-route.  They’ll attack from behind with the aid of a few other factions in an attempt to assist Mexico.”

And take whatever technology they can find, I thought to myself.

 

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2 | 4 : Road Trip

Posted: 06/03/2014 in Road Trip
Tags: , ,

We won’t be seeing Ellen again;  she won’t be seeing her family.  It was hard to let sink in.  I was standing outside the room where we just had our final meeting before being assigned as Juniors and having to deal with PR.  I wasn’t looking forwards to it.  Sure, I might see Ricky – or Plural, as he calls himself – but my thoughts were firmly with Ellen.  Maxine couldn’t have gotten anything higher than 3.  That was the criteria.  Seven.  What the fuck did she do?

Micheal was the last to leave the conference room, his lawyer covering his eyes behind him.  He walked up to me and the dim yet persistent glow faded away to nothingness.

“You ok Ryan?”  he asked, taking a seat on the bench next to me.

“I guess so,”  I lied.

We didn’t say a single thing for what felt like an eternity.  I eventually got up and walked off to the toilets.  Maxine and Derek were already called down to PR over the intercom, and Micheal really didn’t have anything to say.  I still remembered Agent Williams hesitating when Maxine asked him about Ellen, his reaction when I asked him to tell us something.

His fear when he mentioned that she was classified Risk Level 7.

“Ryan Anderson, Report to Room 207.”  the intercom buzzed.  I got up to leave, not even saying goodbye to Micheal.  He was too deep in thought like I was.

The hallways in the NHN HQ were surprisingly homely, albeit still fulled with office-like buzz.  Armed guards filled every hallway along with clerks, researchers and other people hired for everything under the sun from secretarial duties to cleaning toilets, as the halls were filled with idle chatter from videogames to who is going out with whom.  I was rather surprised at how easily they’d let us walk through the building.

Room 207 was evidently on the second floor, after a little guesswork and a quick moment to pause and ask for directions.  I was about to knock when the man at the other end when the balding skinny man at the other end opened the door and I nearly tapped him on the head.

“Ah, come in!”  he said with surprise.  I entered the room.  Costumes and newspaper snippets lined the walls, with three desks in the middle of the room.  Two were absolutely a total mess and the last was unspeakably neat.  There was a swivel chair at both ends of the neat desk, one of which I sat on.

“I’m Donald Darling. Call me Donald,”  he said as he sat behind his desk.  He wore a coat, stained with inks and paints.  He didn’t look like a person who was hired to deal with people at all.

“Sure thing, Donald,”  I said casually.

“Well, like I said to your buddies, you’ll be a doozy.  It’s not every day four Incontinents are given probationary contracts with the Junior Group.  Hell, it’s not every day the Hunting Party doesn’t cause a massacre with their formula!”

I clenched my teeth.  The Hunting Party.  Hate was to weak a word to convey my feelings.

“You’ll probably be under stress from the media, so I was thinking of breaking you up.”

“Si-”

“Buuut…”  he interrupted me. “You are the only thing that can reverse Derek and Maxine’s powers on the fly.  Or, as they are called now, Latency and Unperson.”

Wait, what?  I shot a confused stare.

“Here,”  he said, handing a bracelet from under his drawer.  “put this bad boy on.”

I snapped it around my right wrist. If glowed and shrunk, squeezing tightly for a moment.  I almost panicked and it stopped.

“That’s a Hudlet, according to Interface.”  said Donald, pointing at the shiny silver bracelet. A small bunch of screens appeared all over it, similar to a touchscreen phone.

“Interface?”

“Some Genius type guy in the East coast.  He’s good with designing CLI’s, GUI’s and whatever else.  Made this little ditty.  It’s powered by body heat and gives us a reading to your teammates and the main server back here.  All nifty in my opinion,”  he explained.

It dawned on me that my ignorance of the world of capes is going to become a real problem for me.  I looked at the screen shown and noticed a prompt.

Enter your callsign: _

I sighed deeply and harshly with disappointment.  I’m not a kid.  I don’t want to do this.

“Can I put my own name in this thing?”  I asked Donald.

“Why’d you ask?”

“Because everyone will know my name anyway.  I’m on youtube for fuck’s sake,”  I responded.  Donald smiled coyly at me in response.

“And?  Many capes have been outed and still go by callsigns, it’ll happen eventually,”  he said, waving his right hand like a magic wand.  “It’s better to choose a callsign you like or get one labeled by the people.  They are pretty awful.  Hell, most of the ones people choose are still awful, but that’s my opinion.”

“I don’t want my armband calling me anything other than my name,”  I replied, punching my name into the prompter on my Hudlet.

“So I’m going to assign you, Derek and Maxine to Oklahoma City,”  said Donald once I finished.

I shot a look up from my Hudlet.  It was a nifty little thing with all the features of a phone, and a few small status indicators measuring stuff like my blood pressure and heart rate.  “Oklahoma?  Why?”

“King of Texas.  He’s started acting up after an attack by Conquest and we can’t fight him normally without his powers going off on our regular armies, so we need some capes around the border.  Also, we need beefing up on our junior unit in the south after a few gangs popped up.  There are a few other reasons but those are the main ones,”  he explained casually.

I nodded at every point he made.  He eventually waved me off after giving me a card for a tailor.  I initially refused but he told me that it’s more for utility than cape culture.  I took it before he finished the story about Hammerhead’s bikini and the shotgun.  It sounded painful, and I saw the images.

 

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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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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.

 

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2 | 1 : Road Trip

Posted: 05/22/2014 in Road Trip
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I was both relieved and rather frightened at the fact my Nullification aura could cover the whole pickup truck.  Was there any point we would stop progressing?  Would I cover a city, or the state with my aura?  What would happen if I died?  What would have happened to Allen if I didn’t stop Derek’s powers?

Micheal broke the silence.

“So we are going to Virginia City, right Ellen?”

“Yes,”  Ellen replied, quietly.  “We will go to Virginia City.”

If there is anything I had an achievement in, it wasn’t knowing shit about the metahuman scene.  Sadly, I’d have to grow more proactive about what we’d be dealing with until we could take our revenge.

“What’s Virginia City like, Micheal?”  I asked.

He was busy on the road.  He took a turn off the motorway and I glanced at the dashboard, low fuel.  “It’s okay, my dad took us down there once.”

“Really?”

“Yeah,”  he said.  “Low tier cape scene though, which makes it all easy.”

“Low tier?”  I asked.

“Yeah, the teams aren’t that good.  First of all, there is some guy named ‘Stacker’ who multiplies and victories or losses, but that goes for himself as well.  He has two underlings called ‘Firecracker’ and ‘Heavy Metal’.  If you can’t tell, all the good names were taken.”

I could tell.  God knows what callsigns the National Heroes Network will give us.

“Oh, that’s all?” I asked.

“There’s another incontinent type metahuman called ‘Pariah’, there’s a branch of the National Heroes Network, A branch of NHN Minors, three or four other metahumans who work alone and a gang called the Dark Warriors, who are just a bunch of whiny middle class teens with powers,”  he said, sounding angrier as he talked on.  “Oh, before I forget, there’s also a bunch of racist fucks called the White Society or some shit like that.  Everyone else doesn’t have a single power, are hiding it or were taken out by Pariah or the NHN and Juniors, which isn’t saying much when the branch in Virginia city sucks ass.”

Micheal really has an issue with racists.  They didn’t really go down in membership since the sixties, mainly because the civil rights movement ended with Martin Luther King being thrown into the sun on national television.  The event Invigorated racist states and politicians who saw the event as protection by supers.  It also caused a shit ton of legislation on the use of powers, most notably the Political Neutrality Act and the Incontinent Powers Detainment and Analysis Act.  I guess being mixed race in Virginia city will be an issue for him when he isn’t glowing and people can see his half black skin.

We sat Silently while Maxine and Derek chatted away in the back, holding on to our bags of clothes.

Micheal interrupted the silence after 15 minutes of boring road.  “We need to stop soon, low fuel,”  he said.

“Okay,”  I replied.  We pulled into a conveniently located gas station, diner and motel hybrid.

Maxine was first to say what we were all thinking.  “Do we have enough for food everyone can eat?”

We reached into whatever wallets we had, thankful we were actually going to spend a day out not long ago.  It was surprisingly late, when we thought about it.  looking at our money, we had about $467.50 dollars.

“We’ll also need a room or two,”  I said.

Micheal looked at us all.  “You think they have a five bed room?”  he skeptically asked.

Shit, I thought.  “Family room?”

“Really, Ryan?  You gonna be the big daddy to wikkle baby Micheal?”  joked Derek, nudging him.  Micheal punched his shoulder hard enough for him to stumble.

“Shut up idiot,”  Micheal responded.  “I’ll have to sleep near Ryan anyway.”

I nodded and went inside, everyone following behind.  The building was called the ‘Long’s Way’, according to the neon sign above the door.  There were a few stragglers about, almost all eating food with the occasional one or two leeching wi-fi.  The cashier at the counter was a rather cute blond if I say so myself, who was busy reading some romance novel.  Everybody has their hobbies, I figure.  I walked up to the counter and she sprung to attention.

“Can we rent a family room for the night, and some gas?” I asked, followed by Derek interjecting after me.

“Food too,” he said.

“Sure, the Bed is $80 a night, Gas is $14.06 a gallon and Food is on the me-”

A gunshot ripped through the ceiling and broke a ceramic tile, bringing it down to the ground.  Three men stood with handguns, two of whom were pointing from person to person, with a last focused on the cashier.  They all wore jeans, a simple jacket than similar black shoes.

“Nobody move, this is a fucking robbery,”  the one with the gun pointed at us and the cashier stated calmly.  He eyed our money.

“Everybody toss your wallets and shit in this bag here,”  he instructed while pulling out a black rubbish bag from his back pocket and holding it open. He walked over to us, and I glanced at the other two men who did the same to the other customers.

I tossed the money into the bag, and looked to see everyone’s reaction.  Derek was antsy.  Everyone else begrudgingly was okay with it.  After a few tense moments as the robbers moved throughout the motel, everyone had their money, jewelry and other important belongings of worth collected.

They gathered up together. One robber took the three bags. Another walked over to us while his partner pointed his gun from customer to customer.

“One last thing,”  he said firmly.  “I’m taking a hostage.”

He grabbed the cashier by the wrist and pulled her over the counter, to everyone’s outcry.

“What the fuck!”  yelled Derek.  He was almost greeted by a bullet to the face as the masked robber pointed his gun at him as Micheal held him back.

“I’ll kill anyone who fucking tries to stop us!”

They left for the door.  Several seconds of stunned silence as the screaming cashier grew fainter and fainter.

“Fuck this,”  muttered Derek.  He burst out of Micheal’s grip and ran for the motel door.  Crossing half way, he left my aura, turning to his glitching, blinking form.  The crowd of customers let out gasps and small screams of shock, then they all turned to us.

“It’s them!  The kids from Norfolk!”  shouted one customer from the back.

We’d been caught out.

 

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1 | 4 : Entry

Posted: 05/21/2014 in Entry
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“Who has a suggestion for leaving town?”  I asked everyone.

Micheal spoke first.  “Larry still leaves the keys in his porch.  We could take that.”

“We’re not stealing Larry’s fucking truck,”  interrupted Derek.  “We could walk.”

“Walk? are you kidding?”  Micheal looked at Derek incredulously.

“You honestly think driving a pickup with a fucking confederate flag on the bonnet is a good idea?”

Micheal paused for a moment to think.  “We could cover it in paint.”

Derek took a moment to think.  “Ellen might blow it up.  We don’t know what she does.”

“If she’s holdi-”

“Ryan can’t hold all of us,”  interrupted Derek.  “You know that, Micheal.”

“Okay Derek,”  said Micheal who was now slightly peeved at him.  “Let’s not leave town and spend the rest of our lives at a cape asylum.  That’s a great idea.”

Another camera flashed.  “Can we stop the fucking presses, guys?”  I asked with a barely hidden tinge of annoyance.

Micheal moved out of the huddle and lit up.  “Everyone, no more pictures.  This is a warning.”  He said, with a voice that was loud enough to prompt Derek and Ellen into covering their ears.  I figured it must be part of his powerset, because it hurt enough to give me tinnitus for several seconds.

“-loud and bri-”  I could barely make out what Maxine said.  Micheal looked at us and gave a thumbs up, I think.  I couldn’t really look at him.  He held onto my shoulder.

“The Hunting Party is probably going to go southwest, to Elizabeth City,”  he remembered.  “We can get there before them easy.”

Maxine cut in.  “He’s right, they won’t attack for a month now.  If we skip the other places they’ll attack we can ambush the fuckers.”

“Road trip, Anyone?” I asked.

 

***

 

We all ran to Larry’s house.  It was in the suburbs nearby, where both Micheal and Derek stayed.  I held onto Maxine’s hand, Micheal, Derek and Ellen ran freely, with Micheal in the back so as not to blind us.  He’s been getting brighter the whole time we’ve been running, I thought to myself.  Derek carried a tub of paint we looted from a nearby store.  Surprisingly, the Hunting Party’s event hasn’t caused much chaos at all.  Micheal would have pegged it on Norfolk being boring.  I pegged it on the short time frame of the event and how it only affected us.  A thought came to my mind on how odd we all seemed to agree with this plan, but I didn’t mention it.  It’s too late now.

“Here we are,”  said Derek as Micheal grabbed onto me.  I turned my head and saw not a single person outside.  Figures, after what power incontinence can do to people.  Even I saw news stories on the TV about Biohazard’s debut.  Derek put his hand on my chest.

“I’m going to get some clothes,”  said Derek, handing over his tub of paint to Ellen after opening the lid.  “Get the keys and paint up the bonnet.”

Ellen nodded and Micheal and Derek ran off.  I turned as Micheal lit up from letting go of me.  It’s going to blind me eventually.  Ellen poured white paint all over the Bonnet of Larry’s car.  Larry had always yelled about how that black so and so wanted to wreck his ride, but I guess he never figured everyone else did too.  Well, everyone but Ricky.

Maxine had torn a strip of her knee-high denim skirt, and made an impromptu blindfold.

“Hey, don’t let go,” I said.  “You could’ve messed me or Ellen up.”

Maxine finished tying her blindfold on and smiled in my general direction.  “It’s okay,”  she explained.  “If I’m not looking, no powers.”

“Good,” I said.

Micheal returned and placed his hand on my shoulder.

“Got a bag of all sorts of clothes,”   he said while tossing them into the back of the truck.  “Anyway, where’s Derek?”

“Didn’t he come with you?”  asked Maxine as she slowly felt her way around the truck, touching wet paint and wiping it on the remainder of her skirt.

Micheal shook his head.  “No.”

Ellen and Maxine hopped in the back of the truck and Micheal walked over to Larry’s doormat to get the keys to his house, glowing again.

“I’ll go check,”  I said to everyone while leaving for Derek’s house.  His house wasn’t far away from Larry’s place, which made everything really suspicious as I looked around.  The streets were still empty.  This was just plain creepy.  Derek’s house was unique in that it was the only door that was pelted in with a golf club.  They’d been too poor to replace it and the damage was superficial anyways.  All the blinds were closed and the door with a ’14’ was open.  Derek must have gotten in.

I walked into the house softly.  “Derek?” I asked. I asked again, louder as I walked into the living room.

Derek’s dad turned to see me.  Derek’s dad turned to see me.  Allan turned to see me.  Allan sat down.  Allan turned to see me.  He wasn’t looking directly at me, but it was almost as if he had.  My face turned white with shock, seeing Allan like this.  He looked worried, sitting down.  He must have been, he loved Derek so much.  Allan turned to see me.  Allan turned to see me.

He spoke one thing.  “Der-”  Allan turned to see me.  Allan sat down.

What the hell did Derek do?  I took a single step towards his dad and he fainted from exhaustion. I walked over to him and checked up on him. He was alive at least, which was a small blessing.  I looked up from the couch and noticed his mother, hands over her mouth, terrified. He was frozen solid, probably due to Derek too.  I took a step towards her with my hands outreached and she slowly fell to the floor.  What the fuck are you doing Derek?  I thought as I walked up the stairs to his room.

Derek was sitting in the corner of his room holding a grey shirt.

I grabbed him by the shoulders and threw him into the wall.  “What the fuck was that!?”

As he began to regain his motion, I saw that he was crying his eyes out, and I hesitated.

“Fuck off Ryan!  I didn’t mean it!  It just fucking happened.”

I took a deep, slow breath.

“What happened?”

Derek began stammering and hiccuping from his crying.  “I-I touched paw an-and he started to lo-”  He couldn’t even finish his sentence.

It dawned on me how terrible our idea was.  Maxine can’t see.  Micheal will guarantee countless attention. Derek is doing something inexplicably awful. Whatever Ellen can do is a wildcard. Worst of all, they were developing.  Micheal wasn’t loud and Derek didn’t do what he did to his parents when Micheal carried him to the mall.

Still, we had already decided on this.  There was no going back.

 

***

 

Both me and Derek took as many clothes as we could and some other utilities.  A first aid kit, some face wipes, mouthwash and a torch.  Ellen and Maxine would have to get used to wearing boy’s clothes, although Ellen would have to moreso than Maxine.  Maxine had bought and worn clothes normally held in the boys isles of clothing stores anyway.  We got back and everybody was all ready to go, with Ellen and Micheal in the front seat and Maxine in the back of the truck.

Ellen noticed us first.  “Hey, Derek isn’t like he should be!”

I turned and Derek was actually moving, which was odd considering he had no body contact with me at all the whole trip back.  I took a few steps away from him and he turned back to his motionless form.

“Well that solves the huddle problem,”  I said to everyone.  I hopped into the front next to Ellen after tossing Derek’s clothes and utilities in the back, and Derek hopped up next to Maxine.

“What happened?”  asked Micheal, as he stopped shining with his incandescent glow and his volume returned to normal.

I looked at Micheal.  “Derek will tell us when he needs to. Just avoid touching him when I’m not nearby, okay?”

We set off for Virginia City.

 

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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.”

1 | 3 : Entry

Posted: 05/19/2014 in Entry
Tags: , , , , ,

I was torn between what to do.  Derek made a stupid decision again, the Hunting Party and the National Hero Network were fighting and we all had the looming threat of an incontinent power or whatever those injections would do to us.  Micheal looked at Maxine for a moment, then looked at Derek who along with the twins was being pounded on by a guy in a green spandex and facemask.  It was very odd having to look at Derek for some reason.  He had no motion at all.  It was like stop-motion, but at one frame per second.

Micheal ran after Derek.  “Ryan, get Maxine and Ellen into the mall!  Hurry!”

I took Ellen by her left hand and dragged her over to Maxine.  I took a breath, then grabbed Maxine’s right hand.  Nothing.  I let out a breath of relief.

“Maxine,”  I said.  “I’m escorting you to the mall, okay.  Don’t worry, me and Ellen are here.”

I could barely hear Maxine.  She’d been crying the whole time.  “Okay.”

We trudged slowly away from the fighting.  We all heard a whirring noise followed by an explosion, and I squeezed Maxine and Ellen’s hands.  Practically nobody was around, apart from one or two bystanders trying to get a view of the fighting from a massive distance.  I sat Maxine on a bench in the mall and put my hands on her shoulders.

“Maxine, what’s happening to you?”  I asked calmly.  I was slightly shaken, but I didn’t want Ellen to notice it.  Maxine moved her head away.  I asked again, firmer.

“I looked at Ricky and everyone forgot.”  she said.  Who the hell is Ricky?

“Ricky?”  I asked.

“You won’t remember.  Everyone forgot who he is.”  I could barely hear her mumbling.

I tried to think.  Ricky.  Who was Ricky?  Then I remembered.  The extra syringe.  Why Micheal had to get a chair at the cafe.  Why I enjoyed English class yesterday.

“I’ll believe you.  It may sound shallow, but I’ll believe you.”  I said softly, holding her firmly.

“Thanks.”

I patted her on her shoulders, and turned to Ellen.  She wasn’t crying anymore, she just looked ahead.  I knelt down so I could be at eye level with her.  She glanced at me, and looked at the floor.

“Ellen.”

She looked up.

“It’ll be okay.  Micheal will bring back Derek, and we’ll all take turns kicking him for being an ass, got it?”

“My mom is probably scared.”

I smiled a little.  “Your mom only got Micheal’s call, and she doesn’t know how to contact him.  She won’t know, ok?”

She let out a small sigh.  “Ok.”

The explosions were getting louder.

***

I could tell where Micheal was because his glowing was ridiculous.  We couldn’t even look in the direction he’d come from his glow was that bright.

“Christ Micheal,  That shit hurts you know?”

“Deal with it.  That bitch broke the syringes while I was getting Derek,”  he said, dropping what I could only assume was Derek in the floor of the mall. “Goddamn moron.”

I looked around and could see small clusters of people staring from behind banisters and isles.  A camera flashed somewhere.

“So everything’s permanent.” I guessed.

“Afraid so.”

I combed my right hand through my hair.  “Shit.”

“I saw Ricky.  He was panicked as hell and the National Hero Network took him and that clone of him.”  Micheal said, after a pause.

I looked surprised.  How did he remember Ricky?  “Huh?  How’d you remember Ricky?”

“I don’t know.  For a moment I sorta remembered about Ricky, and there was two of him for some odd reason.  I just took him with me.  How did we forget about him anyway?”

“Maxine’s power.”  I said.

“Ah.  How’d I remember, then?”  he asked.

“I Dunno.”  I didn’t really have a clue, and Micheal could come up with any better solution than I would.

“What about the Network?”  I asked him.

“Hold on a second.  What happened with Maxine again?”  Micheal was already in one of his moods.  It was hard holding a conversation, as he was blinding me even while I faced the opposite way from him.  I pitied Derek, who was lying at his feet.

“I took her and Ellen here and talked with her.” I replied.

“Ellen and you don’t know what your powers are, right?”

“Assuming we got them.” I said.

“So, did anything happen when you got here?”

“No.”

“Anything at all?  Like did you breath on her or touch her or anything, or Ellen?”

“You don’t need to pressure him.”  Ellen interrupted.  It wouldn’t have been of any use, Micheal wouldn’t have stopped anyway.

I sniggered at Micheal’s comment.  Some days I swear he knows exactly what he is saying.  “One: I’m not a beast.  Two: I calmed her down with a pat on the back, she needed one after what happened.”

The light suddenly faded away.  “I see.”  I jumped when I saw Micheal with both of his hands on my shoulders from behind me.  One of the cameras held by the people hiding in the mall flashed again, taking another photo.  It was getting annoying being gawked at.

I pushed him back.  “Micheal!  Watch it with the space.”  He lit up again and I fell over while covering my eyes.  Ellen laughed, and Maxine joined in.  I took Micheal’s offered hand and dusted myself off.  Micheal put his hand on my shoulder again.  I moved to take it off but he shook his head.

“No can do, buddy.  It seems Ryan is the lucky bastard of the day.”  I caught on quickly.  I had power nullification.  I took a firm hold of Micheal’s left hand with my right and we slowly walked over to Maxine.  I placed my arm around her shoulder, and after a countdown of three seconds, Micheal pulled off the bag over her head.

Maxine suddenly began to protest.  “Hey!  What are you doi-“

“Shut up and listen,”  I interrupted her quickly.  “I seem to undo what you do, and turn the worlds dumbest lightbulb into something that is as bright as he is stupid.”  I felt the dope slap before it hit me.  “Ow.  Anyway, hold on to me while the mask is off okay?”

Maxine nodded and I sat down next to her on the bench.  Derek blinked from lying prone to standing.  He hasn’t said a thing since the injection.  Ellen looked over and sat on the ground in front of me, Maxine and Micheal with her legs crossed.

“What do we do now?”  she asked everyone.  I had no answer.  The silence was bitter.

Micheal broke it first.  “I don’t know about you but I don’t want to go to a cape asylum.”

Maxine nodded.  Derek blinked next to us.  Still, like a statue.  I had an idea.

“Derek,  touch me.”  I said.

His face blinked into a quizzical look.  “Trust me.”  I insisted.

He blinked his left arm onto me, and began to move.

“Jesus fucking Christ.”  he sighed.

Derek breathed out a second sigh of relief and rubbed his face with his other hand.  “I’m sorry guys, but this is the worst thing ever.  It’s like everything keeps skipping like in a CD.”  I nodded in agreement.

“You could hear us, right?”

“Yeah.  Can I suggest we get revenge on that bitch?”

Micheal and Ellen and I smiled.  “Sure.  But first of all, who has a suggestion for leaving town?”

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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.

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Posted: 05/18/2014 in Entry
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I was tired and hot.  Summer does that to you.  What also does that is a classroom with no open windows because they are held down with – I shit you not – zipties.  Apparently the hinges are loose enough that breaking them would cause the whole window to fall off.  I honestly believed my teacher, because a building with flood warnings for a hallway after a bought of rain and walls enough concrete and drywall removed you can see the steel supports  usually came with other glorious defects.  Thank god I don’t have to use the elevator.

My teacher, Mr Craig was droning on and on about political studies.  A new class in the school.  Considering the political changes the last five years, it’s overdue.  I stared out the window aimlessly.  I didn’t care about politics at all.

“Anderson,”  I was brought back to reality.  “I repeat, how many nations are there after the Kingmaker incident?”

Oh, Great.

“300-ish,”  I said.  “I wasn’t listening properly, sir.”

Mr Craig sighed.  “Ryan Anderson, answer me properly.  Are there more or less nations now than before the Kingmaker incident?”

I didn’t know.  Honestly, I didn’t know much because most things weren’t in my interest.  How I get the marks I do on tests, I’m clueless.  I must by lucky.  I tried to answer his question, even while I didn’t know what he was on about.

“Less?” I said, unsure.

“No.”

Damn.  No luck today.  Mr Craig walked back to the front of the class to repeat what he was probably saying.

“As you all know, apart from Mr Anderson over there,”  he said, pointing to me,  “The Kingmaker incident is the result of the metahuman known as Kingmaker using his power to rampage through Asia into Europe.  Even after his death, there are still people affected by the Kingmaker aura, including the King of Texas and the Queen of Wales.”  He finished writing a bunch of nations on the board.  Most of them were monarchies, which is what Kingmaker caused.  “Due to this, rather than having just under 200 nations and sovereign states, there are roughly under 300 of them.  Oddly enough, there are only fifteen Kingmaker states.  Many of the other nations are either former kingmaker states or states recognized because of the push towards the recognition of former self-governing communities like Zululand, Scotland and Xinjiang.  The answer is 600, Ryan.  Write that down.”

I wrote down ‘asshole’ on my notebook.  He continued on and on, about how developed nations disproportionately have had history of being ruled, governed or somehow given access to knowledge based metahumans and their produce and more boring shit like the scrapping of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

It’s not my problem.

 

* * *

 

Class finally ended and I sat down to eat with the only two people who can tolerate me.  Michael and Ellen.  Micheal finished his mean in record time, and took it upon himself to lecture me about the previous class.

“Ryan, you shouldn’t go and piss the teachers off all the time,”  he said while adjusting his glasses and closing a tupperware box filled with crusts.  “He’s getting paid to teach you, and it is your problem.  The world changes.  Accept it.”

I ran my hands through my black hair and leaned back on the bench.  I’ve already had this conversation before.  I’m not getting myself invested in the world of lunatics.  I don’t want to hear about heat vision, teleportation, invisibility or all that other crap.  Superheroes and supervillains are not on my list of issues, nor they ever shall be.  I glanced over at Ellen.  She was as intent as Micheal to get me to pay attention.

“…and it’s not just about superpowers or politics. You don’t do math, you litter, you don’t write down notes or keep to times without help…”  Micheal was still talking?  Damn.  I’ll write down a little more next week and hand in a piece of homework or two.  That always works.

“What about tomorrow?”  Ellen asked him after he was done.

“Uh?  Tomorrow?”

“Yeah, aren’t we all going out with Maxine and Derek to Newton Cafe?”  Ellen replied.  “It’s at 3 pm, Mick.”

Micheal turned to look at Ellen quickly then back to me.  “Okay, I remember that.  I think.”

“Maxine and Derek should call later on if they still want to go.” I said.

Ellen shook her head.  “They are fine.  They just decided to not come in.”

“Really?”  I asked.  “Unfair.  I have nobody to talk to now.”

Lunch passed by uneventfully with our topics of discussion alternating randomly from why fast food for breakfast is gross to why burning down a house isn’t a good way to distract a mugging.  I got up and walked to my English class early as Derek and Maxine are not here and neither Ellen nor Micheal have any reason to be in class with me.

I sat in class and wondered about how the day tomorrow would go.  It was difficult balancing what everybody liked and hated enough to avoid causing disaster.

Micheal was the easiest to manage.  He’d do anything me and Maxine were doing anyway.  Ellen needed her parents permission to do anything, but Micheal and Maxine was able to convince them for tomorrow.  Maxine seemed to have similar tastes as me, but she’s a lot more brazen about them, and has her own friends she talks to.  It was lucky that I was able to invite her for tomorrow.  Derek is hated by everybody who isn’t us for some reason.  He has a few issues, but severe bullying does that to a person who’s first friends are in high school.  He’ll just tag along.

I already had an idea of what to do.  There was a nice event happening in a restaurant nearby.  One of the bands Maxine likes was playing tomorrow at about 3:15.  Maxine would say yes, and Micheal and Derek would tag along easy.  Ellen wouldn’t need much to convince her, she likes to rebel from her mother every now and again.

A slam of a book on my desk.  “Ryan, pay attention.”

Damn it.

 

***

 

It was 2:59.  Derek, Ellen and I were sitting at Newton Cafe.  I couldn’t wait to tell them about the band.  Ellen was twirling her blond hair, and Derek was telling Ellen about how his neighbor’s dog jumps over his fence every day for no reason.  I checked my phone again and started playing some small app I downloaded.

“Hey,”  Maxine said to everybody.  “What’s up?”   Micheal was with her.

“Hey,”  Derek replied.  “Waiting on you two.”

Maxine sat down at the table while Micheal took a chair from the table nearby and dragged it along the floor.  “So are we just gonna drink coffee and hog wi-fi?”

“Nope.”  I said.  “The Open Doors are playing in Basil’s coffee-house.”

“Why didn’t you tell us to meet up there?”  Maxine huffed.

“It’s in March street. Ellen’s mother wouldn’t agree to let us take her to that.”  I said.  “Right, Ellen?”

Ellen shrugged her shoulders and took a sip of mocha.  “Yeah.”

I looked over at Maxine.  She wanted to go there so bad she started figiting with the ring on her finger.

“Who’s coming with me?”  I asked everyone.

Maxine smiled.  “I would have dragged you all down anyway now I know they are in town. You lot need to listen to them.”

Derek stuck a hand up for a second.

Micheal shrugged.  “Whatever, sure.”

Ellen looked at the ground.  “Um, okay?”

I smiled.  Unanimous agreement.  Perfect.  I got out my seat and took my coffee with me.  “I know the way, we’ll be there for the band if we walk over right now.”

We left the coffee shop and left the mall.  We reached the high street when the bells rung.  Ellen screamed out a little.  Micheal looked up at the speakers.  Derek sighed and muttered something under his breath.  Maxine looked at Micheal, and then me.

A screech as the speakers blared out a feedback loop and blared a message.  “Warning, please return to your homes,”  I gulped.  “The Hunting Party has been sighted in the city center.  I repeat, the Hunting Party has been sighted in the city center.  Everyone is advised to return to your homes.  The National Hero Network will lend aid shortly.”

Ellen looked like a puppy died in her hands.  Michael wrapped his arm around her.  “I’ll call Susan,”  he said to her.  “We’ll head to your house, and call our parents and stuff from there.”  Everybody looked grim.

“Yeah, we’ll do that.”  I said.

We jogged the way we came.  There was slight panic, as traffic built up and the warnings still blared out, but faintly enough we could talk.  I swallowed my pride.

“I’ll be honest. I don’t know about the Hunting Party.”  I said.

Maxine shot me a look.  “Ryan, the Hunting Party are a group of supervillains who specialize in creating other superhumans.  The problem is that people who get powers from them usually can’t stop using them, because they are passive powers.”  We reached the end of the high street and jogged on to the suburbs.

“Although, we don’t actually do it the normal way.”  a voice said behind us.  I turned around to see a naked woman wearing a goat’s mask over her head.  Ellen screamed.  Maxine and I jumped back.  Micheal held on to Ellen tighter.  Derek nearly turned tail and ran.

“Congrats, kiddos!”  the goat headed woman boasted like a gameshow host.  “You’ve been chosen!”  She cocked her head at us, watching our terrified reactions.  I realized that the mask she was wearing was a real goat’s head from the smell.

“Sacrifice. Her name is Sacrifice.”  Micheal whispered in my ear.

Sacrifice looked at Micheal.  “Yes?”

“I wasn’t talking to you, I was telling Ryan your name.”

“Really?  Does this Ryan not know a celebrity like me?”

I gulped down my fear and looked her in the eye.  “I don’t pay attention to things that don’t effect me.”

I regretted acting tough immediately.  Her head arched back as she held onto her stomach and she laughed repeatedly with a cartoonish exaggeration.

“You hear that, Fractal?  This kid thinks we aren’t his problem!”  She yelled to nobody in particular.  Derek elbowed me hard in the side.

I turned to face the others and Maxine shot me another angry look while laughing came from all around.  We all huddled closer.  “We are going to effect you.  You won’t forget this day, any of you.”

Sacrifice put her hand on Micheal’s head and he fainted.  Ellen began screaming.  Derek ran away.  A man appeared out of nowhere in a yellow jacket and hit Derek in the stomach.  I pulled on Maxine and Ellen, but Sacrifice caught her and she fainted too.  Maxine and I ran into the main street.

I turned back and Sacrifice was just standing there, waving goodbye.  She was mocking us.  We ran into the mall which was thankfully empty, and we hid in a nearby toystore.  Maxine punched me in the face and I fell over.

“You fucking asshole!”  she yelled at me.  “Why would you piss her off like that?”

“I was being honest!”  I protested.  She kicked me and I grunted. It was a weak kick, as we had both ran half way across the city.

“You don’t know what they do to people!”  She was fuming at me. “You don’t pay an ounce of attention and now they are going to… FUCK!”  She swiped all the toys off an isle and kicked a box across the store.

I lay down from when she punched me.  “Tell me then.”  I said.

It took Maxine five minutes to calm down.  The Hunting Party was still nowhere in sight.  You’d think they would have found us already.

“The hunting party create people with powers, but they can’t turn them off,”  she said.  I nodded in confirmation.  “So people either have to kill them or lock them up before they do something really dangerous.  You know Buffalo?  They caused that.  They also caused Pittsburgh, and Morgantown.”

I didn’t know what she was talking about. I opened my mouth to ask another question.

“And it looks like we’ll cause Norfolk too.”  Maxine let out a small squeak. I didn’t bother turning around.

Everything went pitch black.

 

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