From the very beginning of human history, it seems, there have been tales spun, myths and legends woven, and prophecies bolted forth regarding the time and circumstance of “the end of the world.” There were flavorful differences in them all, of course – a battle between the Gods will ravage the earth and leave it a frozen waste… The God will return (after having left us to our own devices for millennia) and, after winning a battle with some great Evil, judge us each for our own sins, casting the wicked into a lake of fire and welcoming the cleansed to Paradise… “The Commies’ll push ‘The Button’”… a meteor will hit the Earth… Global Warming… December 21, 2012 – but, in the end, they all heralded the same thing, didn’t they?... The world as we know it ends and humankind dies out… “The End of Days.”
For as long as there have been tales and legends and prophecies put forth by some and piously adhered to by others, though, there have been still more… from narrow-minded “shouters” to high-brow scientists through the ages… who sought to dismiss or even debunk these predictions in one way or another… And, don’t you know it, dear readers, in almost every single case thus far (save for those few that can, by the very nature of their mythos, neither be confirmed nor denied) and despite the fervent beliefs of the adherents to the various prophecies, the naysayers have managed to prove themselves right by simply waiting out the foretold event. Oft times they’ve even had parties to “celebrate their impending doom.” So it has been throughout time and so it was with the most recent prophesied extinction event in our history, the end date of the Mayan Calendar, December 21, 2012. The thing is, the cynics may just have actually missed the mark on that one. Maybe it was because they failed to realize that the Mayans didn’t predict the end of the world, just the end of an Age. Maybe it was because they were expecting the “world ending event” or, at least, it’s spectacular beginning to occur on that specific date
You see, it was another supposed doomsday event that was the inception of it all. Another end of the world theory to which many were hungry to espouse and, conversely, found just as many (or more) who seemed fervently sworn to discredit. The Nibiru cataclysm.
The Nibiru cataclysm was a supposed disastrous encounter between the Earth and a large planetary object (either a collision or a near-miss) which certain groups believe would take place in the early 21st century. Believers in this doomsday event usually refer to this object as Planet X or Nibiru. The idea that a planet-sized object could collide with or pass by Earth in the near future was not supported by any scientific evidence and had been rejected as pseudoscience by astronomers and planetary scientists.
The idea was first put forward in 1995 by Nancy Lieder, founder of the website ZetaTalk. Lieder described herself as “a contactee with the ability to receive messages from extra-terrestrials from the Zeta Reticuli star system through an implant in her brain”. She stated that she was chosen to warn mankind that the object would sweep through the inner Solar System in May 2003 causing Earth to undergo a pole shift that would destroy most of humanity. The prediction subsequently spread beyond Lieder's website and was embraced by numerous Internet doomsday groups, most of which liked to link the event to the 2012 phenomenon. Of course, aside from those aforementioned groups, most people thought Lieder was a “kook” and that her prediction was just as “kooky” as she was.
Until it came true.
More or less.
On May, 27 2003 “Planet X” did, in fact, pass very close to our solar system. It didn’t quite sweep through as Lieder foretold, nor did it exactly cause a pole-shift on Earth. But the object was of such mass… such size… such gravity that it’s near grazing of Sol’s little family of planets did have some life altering effects on the “Third Rock from the Sun”. From Earth, Nibiru’s passing was first perceived as an exceedingly bright “star,” streaking across the sky in a curious arc and trailing what can only be described as a ribbon of cosmic dust in its wake. The star itself was there and gone in a matter of moments, really, but the ribbon lingered… and grew. What had begun, on that May evening, as a fine, undulating stroke of reddish, cosmic paint across the canvas of the night sky, soon bled out into an amorphous fog-like stain on that celestial backdrop… and the more it grew, more changes came to light.
In the summer of 2003, humans had parties under the rippling ribbon that Nibiru’s passing had scribbled across the heavens, reveling in its beauty. By the winter of that same year “Nibiru’s Ribbon” had bloomed farther across the heavens. It was still a thing of beauty and wonder, of course, but eyes that framed it might have done so, then, with a spark of suspicion… especially when the stars in the constellation Aquila increased several orders of magnitude in brightness and turned red on Christmas Eve. By Groundhog’s Day of 2004, Nibiru’s Ribbon had increased its size fifty-fold if half, and it, along with the stars of Aquila which, now, outshined most others in the sky at night, were visible to the naked, human eye, even in the day.
There was now more than a little suspicion in the gazes cast skyward… and more people… or, should I say “Agencies”… “Organizations,” perhaps... “They” took a greater interest and began giving the phenomena more scrutiny. And then the storms came… Nibiru’s Ribbon was still growing, still roiling closer and closer towards Earth, it seemed, even as the planet’s atmosphere cloaked itself in clouds so thick they obscured it, it wasn’t difficult to imagine what was, by then, certainly a completely red-washed sky, scattered with glittering, dusty particles, residue from the birth of the universe, perpetually lit by eight, tiny, crimson suns beyond the banks of churning, grey-black clouds that enrobed the Earth on the day of the Autumnal Equinox, September 22, 2004.
Again, the weather oddities that occurred during the Storm Season (as the months between the Autumnal Equinox of 2004 to the Vernal Equinox of 2005 would come to be known) were not quite as cataclysmic as might have been expected of a world-ending… or should I say world-changing… event, but they were odd, to say the least, and, in most cases, just a little more than terrifying… and, in the end, I suppose, they did change things… It started with the meteorological phenomenon of the clouds themselves, of course, and was quickly followed by intense concern and scrutiny of the sudden, erratic tides… the rash of savage thunderstorms in seasons and locales where there should be none… the unrelenting hurricanes that had sprung up in the Atlantic… The west coast of North America literally “cracked off” from the rest of the continent on October 13, 2004 when a major quake tore along the San Andreas, and more devastation ensued as the volcanoes of the “Ring of Fire” that skirted the Pacific all seemed to ignite simultaneously. For several months, it was the same world-over. Fault lines cracked open, volcanoes rumbled and belched smoke and ash and lava, the seas rose and fell with no rhyme or reason, and curious (sometimes nigh impossible) weather patterns became the order of the day…
World-changing… but, again, not world-ending.
… March 20, 2005 marked both the vernal equinox for that year and, also, the end of the Storm Season. Weather patterns returned to their expected norms almost as quickly as they had toppled into chaos, sea levels stabilized, and, at last, the thick, roiling clouds that had enshrouded the Earth for the past six months dissipated and afforded humanity its first look at the long missed sky. And, when humanity looked, it marveled… not just because an unfettered view of the sky had been sorely missed during the Storm Season but, also, because, since the first time since the rogue planet’s passing in 2003, Nibiru’s Ribbon was nowhere to be found – not as the broad, red swath it had been before the storms came, nor even as the distant, delicately undulating crimson ribbon it had been when it had first appeared. The stars of Aquila still shone more brightly in the sky than they had before Nibiru’s passing (although, the reddish cast they had all taken on before the Storm Season was now gone) but, otherwise, it appeared that the world had returned to the normalcy it had enjoyed prior to the events of May 27, 2003…
But we all know that appearances can be deceiving, don’t we, faithful readers?
… Yes, the end of the Storm Season, saw humankind, once again, emerge from the government provided safe zones and their own, personal hidey-holes. Once they had taken a moment to celebrate their “surviving the apocalypse,” their attentions turned to mending the Earth’s hurts. The physical destruction wrought by the Storm Season was addressed with all due urgency – side-by-side, in fact, with the less visible damage that those six months had wrought on individual and global economies – and, within the year, infrastructure, commerce, communications, and travel were all well on their paths back to what they had been before the Storm Season had begun. Even the west coast of North America was well on it’s way to, once again, being reconnected to the mainland by a series of bridges and tunnels (contrary to popular belief and reports during the Storm Season, California did not fall into the ocean; the portion of it on the western side of the fault line had simply shifted a mile or so farther westward after it had broken free of the continent and, now, is separated from the rest of the states by what came to be called the San Andreas Chasm).
New discoveries were made in the weeks, months, and years following the ending of the Storm Season, as well. New islands had begun to appear in the world’s oceans as a result of the volcanic activity of those months – most notably along the Ring of Fire but that zone didn’t hold the monopoly; the Mediterranean spawned a number of new ‘landmasses,’ as did parts of the Indian Ocean – glaciers had accelerated their retreat from the northern parts of Europe, Asia, and North America but, despite this, it seemed, the Arctic (particularly the polar ice cap) seemed to have become colder and even more foreboding than it had been prior to 2004. These terrestrial changes, as curious and awesome as they might have seemed, paled in comparison to the changes that had taken place outside the atmosphere, though, and it was those changes that had the most bearing on what the future held. In late June, 2005, after the people of the world had begun repairing the damage done by the storms in earnest, it was revealed that, sometime during those months in which the Earth’s eyes were blind to happening outside the atmosphere, Pluto, at its apogee, had stopped orbiting the sun.
Scientific fingers were quick to point at the, now, seemingly dead planetoid where it hung (and had begun to slowly sink) in space, and name it as, at least, one of the catalysts for the Storm Season. Nibiru’s Ribbon, the brilliance and curious color changing of the stars in Aquila, and the inexplicable cessation of Pluto’s orbit simply had to have had something to do with it all, didn’t they? There had to be answers there, somewhere, didn’t there? With the proper funding and study, the scientific community was sure that they could piece those answers together. Unfortunately, the government resources required to fund such research were, at the time, tied up in more urgent, earth-bound concerns and lobbying for funds from the private sector seemed equally as futile. Most organizations who could have bankrolled the research were, like the governments of the world, more interested in leveraging their capital against the repair efforts in search of profit and power in the end, you see?
But not “Them”.
No, “They” were just as interested in the happenings at the edge of the solar system and beyond as “They” had been when Nibiru’s Ribbon first appeared… perhaps even moreso. As most governments and private sector agencies focused their attentions on repair and recovery, “They” sought answers to the questions that people were really asking and, even though “They” weren’t sharing any information, it is easy to presume that “Their” quest was far from fruitless… Easy because, shortly after New Year’s Day 2006, Nancy Lieder disappeared… and, over the course of the next few years, numerous engineers, physicists, geneticists, and others of scientific renown, too, simply (for lack of a better term) vanished into thin air. At first, as is usually the way of such things, these disappearances were regarded as little more than news fodder – curious and interesting little snippets used to flesh out nightly broadcasts and fill space on media websites. As years passed, though, and the repair and recovery of the world’s infrastructures and economies fell from the forefront of peoples attentions, these still continuing disappearances kindled to life a string of conspiracy theories that, before long spread like wildfire across the internet and, before long, found their way into the mainstream, inspiring news stories and specials all their own…
Had our governments known something about what was going on this whole time? Had they used the rebuilding that followed the Storm Season as a distraction intended to keep the populace occupied while they huddled in their secret chambers, had their secret meetings, and toured their secret facilities? What did they know that the rest of us didn’t? Who had the real answers? How could those answers be found? What was it that they were hiding? The governments of the world, along with the corporate giants who, in the years following the appearance of Nibiru’s Ribbon, had started to become like governments unto themselves, refuted any conspiracies that had been laid at their doorsteps and denied any involvement in anything beyond the status quo.
…Yes. The world had pretty much returned to exactly the way it had been before the Nibiru Cataclysm. The people of the world were “fat and happy,” again, and their governments, having spent trillions and trillions of dollars to make them so before slipping back into the tedium of global politics, once again became the objects of suspicion and mistrust. And so it was from early 2009 until the next prophesied doomsday event; December 21, 2012.
Again, the foretold “end of times” was a less than spectacular event for most. The day dawned like any other. People went about their lives as if it were any other day and, aside from an almost lighthearted nod to the Mayan End Times in the news, very little transpired here on Mother Earth… unless you count the fact that ISAR (the International Society for Astrological Research) happily announced that Pluto had started orbiting again (now, though, in a pattern in line with the other eight planets of the solar system, save that it travelled around the sun in reverse of the others)… and that the first instances of metahuman activity were reported that day.
December 21, 2012 was not the end of the world, dear readers, any more than was the Nibiru Cataclysm almost ten years earlier, bit it did mark the dawn of a New Age for mankind… An age in which once-ordinary people suddenly found themselves capable of extraordinary things… An age in which the answers to the conspiracy theories that had cropped up since the Storm Season would begin to find some validation as answers were shaken loose from low-hanging branches of leaked information.
This was the dawning of the Age of the Prometheans…
Benton Ashcroft blinked and turned in his seat but found he was unable to tear his gaze from the view beyond the Gulfstream’s window; something about the way the icy waters of Baffin Bay winked up at him, perhaps, or the glimmering of the late morning light off of the snow that perpetually blanketed Greenland had him transfixed. He blinked, again, still unable to let go of the glittering vista until its hypnotic effect was dispelled by the jet suddenly carving its way through a cloud bank. He was relieved to have been released from the spell, of course, but, at the same time, somewhat disheartened that those rare few moments of blissful, mental silence had been interrupted. “Yes,” he couldn’t help but sigh as he finally managed to train his eyes on the young technician who had addressed him, “what is it?”
“We’ve located several more, sir,” the tech answered, gesturing briefly at the bank of monitors that curved around his console.
“Really,” the tinge of dejection that had been evident in Ashcroft’s voice a second ago had, now, been completely overrun by an almost excited tone. He tossed his tablet almost carelessly onto the seat adjacent to his as he got to his feet, and didn’t even bother to straighten his tie as he moved toward the forward part of the cabin; “How many?”
“Yes, sir.” The technician’s fingers were flitting across the keyboard as Ashcroft came up behind him and gazed upon the monitors…
“Any of them close?”
“A couple, sir,” the tech answered over a clatter of keystrokes that caused the world map dominating one of the monitors to light up in several locations. “Looks like we’ve got three currently in the States…”
An icon flashed over what would be south-eastern Michigan, one flickered in central Tennessee, and another appeared on the Western side of the San Andreas Chasm, right about where Los Angeles would be…
“…and one more in South America.
That one was in Bolivia at last look, sir, but was moving at a fairly good clip towards Paraguay.
All of them are registering A-3 at a minimum.”
“Do we have teams available,” Ashcroft asked, rubbing thoughtfully at his chin as his eyes devoured the map.
“Delta Sigma Three is currently on stand-by at the Chicago office,” the younger man answered, “they could likely be on site in Ann Arbor within the next couple of hours and then re-direct to Tennessee, afterward. Our California group currently has Alpha Echo Six tasked with an op underway in New Mexico…”
Ashcroft scowled; “That green thing, again?”
“Call them off and redirect them to L.A.,” Ashcroft ordered, “It would be a banner day if they could lock that New Mexico problem down but I have a feeling the resources would be better spent on the A-3 in California. Easier to acquire, I think.”
“Yes, sir,” the tech nodded, his fingers dancing over the console. “Unfortunately, we don’t currently have anyone available in South America… We could have dispatched the Sao Paolo office ,” he continued, “but one of their tethers went rogue on Thursday and…”
There was an impatient nod from Ashcroft; “I’m aware of that. Options?”
“Uh,” the technician’s fingers clattered over the keys, “we do have some local resources we might dispatch to, at least, get eyes on the subject…”
Ashcroft was absolutely beaming, now, and the tech was sure he could hear the man’s hands rasping together as he wrung them anxiously. “Make it happen. Round them up and have them delivered to The MARSH. In the next seventy-two hours, if possible. If the local resources in South America have problems, send Overwatch,” Ashcroft commanded, backing towards his seat. He found himself transfixed, again; this time by the glowing, flame-shaped icons that danced on the monitor.
It was July 4th, 2017, Independence Day. Brea Williams was on Summer break and had been enjoying it very much with Wind Surfing, Base Jumping, Whitewater Kayaking, and just hanging with her friends. She also spent some quality time with exploring her powers; since learning that she had them about 17 months ago, she spent a lot of time alone experimenting and learning her limits and abilities.
She first found out about the change one day, on campus while riding her bike to class and a car had swerved and almost run her down. The car would have struck her head on and possibly killed her, but instead she had somehow moved out of the way; quite a distance out of the way. She had suddenly found herself about 100' across the nearby park with her bike in hand. One second she was there and the next she was here. She had sensed movement, very fast movement, so it wasn't as if she had teleported, it was as if she had run, very quickly.
Brea returned to the apartment she shared with her roommate Suzie Lefferts, and sat for a long time pondering what had happened. She came to the conclusion that she must be one of those Metahumans she had read about on the Net. She thought the Metas were all myths, but apparently they weren't and she was one of them.
For months afterwards she had spent her free weekends going to the country where she could be alone and practicing with her speed. Brea realized that she was fast, very fast; so fast, that should could even run up walls and across them as if they were level ground. She had even tried to run on water, but so far she hadn't perfected that just yet, but she felt she was getting close.
She began to notice too that strange things were going on with the light around her. At first the lights would brighten or dim in her apartment depending upon her mood. On a whim, she tried concentrating and found she could manipulate the light around her; even bring into being light where none was before. With continued practice and experimenting, she found she could summon light 'daggers' and throw them at things causing damage.
Brea kept her powers a secret, not even her closest friends or roommate, were aware of what she could do. Oh, there were probably people who had seen, or felt, something flash by them at high speed, but mistook it for a strange breeze or gust of wind. There had been a few instants where she may have been spotted from a distance when she seemed to disappear in a blur of motion, but so far she had managed to avoid anyone identifying her, or at least she thought.
But today, Independence Day, she wasn't going to be able to practice with her powers, she had just left her apartment on the U of M campus, to meet with some of her friends for lunch and to spend the day with them. They were going to hit up a few 4th of July cookouts/parties and conclude the day with a Fireworks display tonight down at the Park on the river in Trenton. It was a partly cloudy day in the mid to upper 70s, a perfect day, and Brea was planning to enjoy this with her friends.
Posted on 2017-07-03 at 10:00:31.
Bromern Sal A Shadow RDI Staff Karma: 144/11 3864 Posts
Tuesday, July 4, 2017 – 13:05:10 GMT
“Take care of it,” Afton orders with a tired aire, his steely blue-gray eyes focused on the programming hieroglyphics being displayed across the forty-eight inch monitor in front of him.
“They want you there, sir,” the speakers embedded into the cushioning pillow of his light tan, leather-wrapped chair respond with a clearness that is usually reserved for people in close proximity.
“What they want and what they get are two very different things, Mr. Daughtry.” Lazily dropping a technology-wrapped gloved hand to the light keyboard being projected on the smooth oak surface of the table in front of him, Afton corrects a database call with swift, decisive keystrokes.
“They aren’t going to see it that way,” Allen Daughtry sounds tired, a condition that his boss pays no attention to.
“I don’t really care whether they do or not,” the rebuke isn’t angry or fettered by emotion. It is a fact stated in a succinct English accent. Narrowed eyes scan the remainder of the code before he strikes the enter key and settles back in his executive lounger. “I’ve better things to do with my time that sit in a courtroom defending Hunter’s methods. I’ve every confidence in you and your team of highly-paid attorneys, Mr. Daughtry, to point out that the law has been broken and Hunter is designed to track down the perpetrators. My presence is neither needed, nor required, to facilitate a positive outcome.”
The floor lurches a little and a red seat belt light flashes on overhead. A very pretty blonde woman wearing a full dark blue pants suit with a red tie and white blouse steps into view further down the cabin and uses her hands to help balance her against the turbulence as she approaches. “The captain says that we’ve about ten minutes of bumpy air, sir. Would you like anything before I buckle in?”
“No,” Afton replies, smiling through his silver and black mustaches. “Thank you, Ann.”
“Where are you?” Mr. Daughtry asks as Ann returns to the front of the plane.
“Somewhere over the continent of Africa, I believe,” Afton replies offhandedly. “How many suits does this make, Mr. Daughtry?”
“Let’s see… three hundred and forty six, sir.”
“That’s all?” A notice appears on his screen indicating that the program is ready to be compiled and served. Afton grants permission without a second thought. “It would seem that Hunter is in need of an update. The black hat community is starting to develop methods of avoidance.”
“Either that, or your win to loss ratio is highly daunting,” Allen suggests. “It’s only been three months since your last update.”
“Years, decades… maybe even centuries in the tech world, Mr. Daughtry.” Bored with the spinning icon indicating a process underway, Afton Pembrook swipes the screen to the left and pulls up his email, accessing a report sent by his V.P. of Research and Development, Don Arring.
“That’s why I stick with the Law,” Daughtry remarks dryly. “There’s only a few hundred new laws issued per jurisdiction every month that I need to keep up with.”
“Hmmm,” acknowledging the comment, Afton furrows his brow at the report he’s now engrossed in. “Is there anything else on your docket, Mr. Daughtry?”
“No. That about sums it up, sir.”
“Have a good day, then.” The stated key words activate the computer’s End Call protocol and the conversation ends leaving the billionaire alone in the luxurious cabin of his private jet. Alone with numbers he doesn’t like.
Shaking his head, the middle-aged man rolls his shoulders back and runs both hands across his skull, further slicking back his already sleek, prematurely silver hair. A practical method for transferring Hunter’s algorithms from a purely online domain to one that can encroach upon the physical world using cameras and cell phones, electricity and water usage, purchases and additional scanning services shouldn’t be this difficult. Allen is intelligent, there’s no doubt about it. Afton wouldn’t have recruited him away from Google if he weren’t. Still, every report he receives from the V.P. consists of setbacks and failures to expand Hunter’s vigilance.
“You have an incoming call, sir.” The plane’s automated assistant’s voice is female with a South African accent, friendly and yet business-like.
“The number is registered to the MARSH, sir.”
Turning his gaze from the screen to the top of the gray clouds outside of his window, the CEO and owner of PemTech International, Inc. scratches at the right side of his beard. He isn’t due back at the MARSH for another week and a half, and then for a quick three day stint to advise on an upgrade to a containment unit protocol. Always sharp and always running multiple possibilities through his categorically brilliant mind, Afton quickly concludes that there’s a pressing need for D.A.D.D.E.
“Put it through.”
“Yes, sir.” A small chirp follows indicating that the call has been connected.
“Yes?” Afton asks.
“According to the dossier, you are correct.”
“We’ve an asset in South America that needs attention. Are you available?”
“I appreciate your polite regard for my schedule,” Afton shifts in his chair just as the plane jostles again and mentally reviews his schedule. “Where do I need to be and what’s the priority?”
“The asset is currently heading from Bolivia to Paraguay. This is an A-3 rating.”
Rapidly completing a mental calculation, Afton returns his gaze to his computer screen. The program is fifty-three percent through with its compilation process. “I can be there in roughly nine hours. What is the most likely travel path for the asset?”
MARSH delivers the trajectory in addition to the estimated time of arrival in Paraguay. By the end of the conversation, Afton has all of the information he needs as well as local assets assigned to observe and report. A carnival is being routed as well. However, Afton Pembrook is not one to break the rules and thusly waits until the seat belt sign is turned off before he unclips his and rises from the comfort of his chair.
Pulling down on the gray tweed vest he’s wearing over his open collar, light blue Oxford shirt, Afton starts rolling his sleeves down over his tattooed forearms as he walks towards the back of the plane.
“Are you going somewhere, sir?” Ann calls from the front of the cabin.
“I am,” Pembrook replies without stalling. “Have the plane continue on course.”
Pressing his black gloved hand against the activation panel at the back of the cabin, Afton waits patiently as the biological scanner he designed checks his DNA and confirms his identity. The door slides open revealing a room just large enough to change clothes within. Gray and unassuming with grating for the floor and small slate tiles along the walls and ceiling, the space at eye level with the executive and to the right flares to life as he walks into the chamber displaying the readings from the initial scan including levels of radiation. At a glance, Afton can tell that the repressive capabilities of D.A.D.D.E.’s nerve system that he always wears is functioning as it should.
“Activate delivery,” he orders the system.
“Acknowledged.” The word heralds a flurry of activity as wall panels separate and slide away revealing drawers and containers filled with sleek black objects and clothing. D.A.D.D.E.
Dressing in the skin of the suit, Afton pulls the ballistic material over his everyday wear. The nerve system immediately interacts with the circuitry contained within the suit, melding the purposes together. Once the skin is in place, the armor is mechanically applied. Skeletal robot arms extend and fasten plates of smooth highly protective ebony armor all about his body, the last of which is his helmet. After the full-face headgear is slid over his head, Afton opens his eyes to a variety of holographic displays responding to his thoughts and eye movement.
“System check,” he orders.
“All systems are go,” the suit replies in a smart, British man’s voice.
“Access the navigation telemetry from System Alpha-Two-One,” Pembrook instructs and turns about to face the rear of the plane through the walls of the changing room.
“Open her up,” Afton flexes his hands, the thrill of the beginning of personal flight in D.A.D.D.E. is always fresh.
The black tiles on the wall separate like a series of felled dominos revealing a length of fifteen feet of grating and the howling opening at the end. Ominous clouds fill the narrow mouth of the door and as though to announce Overwatch’s activation, lightning flashes dramatically through the billowing nimbus.
“I trust that there will be a restaurant with decent empanadas when I arrive,” with the help of the suit’s infrastructure, Afton walks steadily down the gangplank.
“I will locate a restaurant for you, sir.” replies the suit.
“Then,” stopping at the exit, the executive closes his eyes for a moment and offers a silent prayer to God before grabbing the sides of the portal. “Let’s fly.”
Pushing away from the plane he feels his stomach jump into his heart as the weightlessness grips him. Turning and twisting, he sends his body into a spiral spin, arms clasped to his side, and plummets into the clouds like a missile shot towards the earth. Engines in his boots flare to life as do the discs in the palms of his suit’s gloves. Emitting a hellish red streak of light behind him from hands and feet, Overwatch streaks away from his private jet towards the South American continent.
Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul to waste
And I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a general's rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
(Woo woo, woo woo)
I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
(Woo woo, woo woo)
I shouted out,
Who killed the Kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me
(Who who, who who)
Let me please introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay
(Woo woo, who who)
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
(Who who, who who)
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
(Woo woo, who who)
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
'Cause I'm in need of some restraint
(Who who, who who)
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah
(Woo woo, woo woo)
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, mm yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, mm mean it, get down
(Woo woo, woo woo)
Oh yeah, get on down
Tell me baby, what's my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, what's my name
I tell you one time, you're to blame
Woo, who, who [x2]
What's my name
Tell me, baby, what's my name
Tell me, sweetie, what's my name
"Amazing!" exclaimed one of the men in a white lab coat, jotting down notes on a clip board, as fast as his pudgy little fingers could fly with pen in hand, across the secret document. "Simply Amazing!"
"That makes Seven manifestations of his former Code Names!" chimed in another.
The others nodded their heads in agreement.
Several minutes of excited comments and theories were exchanged with one another among the group, before a tell-tale warning light and alarm began to sound from the interior of the containment cell.
The onlookers witnessed once again an all-too-familiar scenario, as an electromagnetic disturbance within the sedated subject mounted to ever-alarming levels!
Just as it seemed as if the imprisoned man was about to break free of his bonds, a soft burst of gas enveloped the containment cell, resulting in the prisoner slowly slipping back into a docile state!
"That should immobilize him for an hour or two," stated one of the onlookers, "so we may as well reconvene later after we all have had a bite to eat and updated our notes."
The group mumbled and nodded their heads in agreement, as they began to disperse and go their separate ways.
"Miss Foster!" exclaimed an older scientific-looking gentleman with an I-pad under his arm.
The shapely 5'4" brunette in a matching white lab coat stopped, then spun around on her high heels with an inquisitive look on her eyebrows.
"Are you sure this assignment to observe Preston Smith is not an unpleasant experience? I do understand that you were once close out on the field."
Her face flushed a bit at the remembrance.
“I assure you sir,” she responded, “that there is nowhere else I would rather be assigned.”
"Very good," was the clinical response. "Carry on."
The young woman smiled and nodded, before making her way through a series of labyrinths and tunnels. When she was satisfied that no one was following, she let herself into an unassuming room that was hidden from the view of the security cameras.
"How did it go today Myriem?"
Gunther 'Gunny' Morgan had a grim expression on his face.
"We must get him out of here as soon as possible Gunny!" was her agitated reply.
"The three of us have been in some tight spots before," replied Gunny.
"That was before!" snapped Myriem.
Gunny stepped forward and embraced her with a reassuring hug.
"I finally found Dweeb," he whispered in her ear. "He has agreed to help us!"
Location: Present Day [Somewhere between the Bolivia and Brazil borders]
Date: Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Preston Smith reached the apex of another prodigious leap, as the voice of his best friend, Delbert 'Dweeb' Watkins, crackled in his ear-piece:
"Myriem and Gunny will meet you at the extraction point on the other side of the Brazil border!"
"Getting an increasing surge of electromagnetic disturbance inside my body!"
"How do you know?" asked Dweeb.
"Got that itchy-crawly feeling under my skin!" was the familiar reply.
Dweeb took note and let out a loud whistle that seemed to pierce the inside of the helmet that Preston Smith was wearing.
"Your last jump covered four miles!"
"You still tracking me?"
"What Do You See?"
"Looks like your next leap will take you through a thunderstorm!"
Preston Smith responded rather cheerily:
"Guess I Better Introduce Myself to the Thunderstorm!"
Aly sighed in boredom as she flopped onto her bed and had just covered her eyes with her arm before a voice cut through the once silence of the room
“Penumbra?” Aly didn’t remove her arm just lifted her other hand in confirmation “You and your team are needed. You are to go to Air Arbor to recover an A-3 then re route to Franklin.” Aly slowly removed her arm and eyed the woman standing beside her bed before sighing once again before slowly sitting up causing the woman to tense slightly,
“We’ll leave now, call the others to the Carnival.” The woman readily agreed and removed herself from Aly’s presence. Aly stood up and grabbed a jacket and narrowed her eyes slightly at the emblem stitched onto it before leaving the room and heading to where her team would likely be waiting for her.
A team of four stepped off the Carnival, walking towards the last known location ping they walked towards the campus while one stayed behind slightly walking slower than the rest. Spotting a young girl with the general description that MARSH gave them they slowed down and followed her for a time.
Brea had left her apartment at University Towers on S. University St and headed up Church St and along Geddes Ave towards N. University and then on to S. State St. to the Red Hawk Bar and Grill. She was planning to meet her friends there, as it was one of their hangouts and close to most of their apartments. From there they were planning to catch an Uber over to the home of Mike Timmon's parent's which was South of campus, where the first of the 4th of July BBQ/Parties was to begin.
As she walked along she saw quite a few people; U of M campus was interwoven throughout Ann Arbor and even though it was the Summer break and no classes were in session, there was always a lot of people walking about the streets, especially on a beautiful day like today. Brea walked along casually, but even then she was alert. U of M wasn't without it's crime and a young college girl walking alone had to always be on her guard. Therefore, it was one of her alert glances she had noticed a group of people that seemed to be following her since the got onto N. University and was passing the Chemistry building across the street. Brea glanced at a a window in Hill auditorium and saw they were still there. She couldn't tell much about them but they seemed be a bit strangely dressed for Ann Arbor, or the University; it was as if they were wearing some kind of uniform. She decided to quicken her pace just a little, to see if they too sped up to keep up, or gain, on her.
Posted on 2017-07-03 at 16:04:14.
Edited on 2017-07-03 at 16:04:47 by Altaira
One of the men in the group paused momentarily tilting his head then noticed the girl had sped up. They kept pace with her before a slip of shadows moved and a woman appeared infront of the girl, her hair flowing slightly from the breeze her movement had made, all but one man gasped when they saw her. The woman smiled,
“I’m Penumbra.. Enjoying your day?” She had come off as un-intimidating as she could under the circumstances, but she had to round up this A-3 fast to head to the next recovery.
Posted on 2017-07-03 at 17:23:15.
Edited on 2017-07-03 at 22:18:18 by SilentOne
Brea was a little startled by the appearance of the girl in front of her, for the girl had been back behind her moments ago. The way the girl seemed to appear so suddenly, a Meta. She was sure. Had she used super speed like her? No, she didn't think so. Teleportation then.
“I’m Penumbra.. Enjoying your day?” the girl said. Brea glanced quickly back towards the men then back to the girl. Suspicion shown in her eyes. A Meta and more men behind her closing in.
“I was,” Brea said, “what is it you want? If you want to talk then tell your men to back off, cause if any of you come any closer then I'm out of here.” She took a couple steps away from the Meta girl and turned to put her back to the building next to them. In this position she could see all those involved. She was on high alert now, the slightest false move by anyone, would result in her darting out of there as fast as she could. She was, however, intrigued that a Meta would contact her; that they knew about her was a mit disconcerting. How had they found out? Did the government, or some agency of theirs, have some way to detect Metas and track them down. If they did, what were they planning to do with her. The three goons approaching from the East, left her thinking that their intentions weren't exactly in her best interests.
As Brea awaited the woman's reply, she slowly clenched her right fist and began to summon the 'light' in case it was needed. She could see several people on the same street here, a few glanced their direction and appeared to be wondering what was going on over there as it seemed 'tense' for some reason.
(OOC: She will be watching closely, all around her and if anyone makes a suspicious movement, or continues towards her, then Brea will 'speed' out of there. Across the street, and then up the street in the direction she had be travelling. Out of sight and around the corner in a blink of the eye.)
Penumbra lifted a hand signalling to her team to fall back. They listened and took a few steps back. Penumbra smiles,
“What do I want? I want to help you. There is a place that can help you with your… talents. A safe place for you to practice and not be seen.” Penumbra tilted her head and waited to see what the girl would do.
”What do I want? I want to help you. There is a place that can help you with your… talents. A safe place for you to practice and not be seen.” The woman said as she signaled the others to fall back.
Brea relaxed ever so slightly, and her fist unclenched. She would admit she was intrigued by the Meta woman's words. She kept alert in case this was a diversion, she turned to face the woman but kept track of her men.
“Who says I need help?” Brea asked, “you say you wish to talk and help me, yet you bring a team of men. You alone would have been better to come in order to just 'talk'. It looks to me as if you come prepared to take me by force, if I don't see it as beneficial as you say.”
Posted on 2017-07-03 at 22:34:04.
Edited on 2017-07-03 at 22:37:00 by Altaira
Penumbra smiled ever so slightly and eyed the team she had with her,
“Ah.. yes.. Them… They’re more for… incase I decide I no longer want to be here.” She paused slightly before sighing, her tone lowering slightly, “You need help.. Just like I needed help.. Like we all need help, every Metahuman. Nobody can do it alone, and with others who are like you.. You won’t be seen as different, you won’t be an outsider - afraid of letting go and harming someone you don’t mean to harm.”
The woman's words did strike home to thoughts she had herself. Since discovering her powers, she had been afraid that people would learn of them. Treat her different because of the powers. She had heard that in some places, Metas were driven out, chastised and even killed by people afraid of the Metahumans. Brea didn't want to face such things. Her gaze dropped and then returned to the woman; her doubt showing in her eyes.
“What would this 'help' entail exactly?” She asked the woman. She seemed to be wavering and considering the woman's words. It was clearly visible that Brea was afraid of people learning of her abilities and the idea of 'help' was something she just might welcome.
Penumbra leaned against the wall beside the girl,
“A way to control your powers, enhance them. Be part of something bigger, better then the rest.” Penumbra watched her from the corner of her eye, “What do you really got to lose in joining us? Would you really risk everyone in a fight that could kill them?” The questions were an honesty Penumbra had only opened up to with one person.
“I assume we're talking about a government agency that is using Metas for their own ends?” Brea asked, “do you trust them?” She turned to face the woman, watching her closely for any sign of falsehood. Brea felt a little separated from her friends, everyone she knew, since learning of her powers. She felt like an outsider at times, and what this Meta woman was saying, struck a cord with her. A chance perhaps to belong to something and learn to harness the full potential of these powers. She was intrigued and very interested, but she wondered at the government agency behind all of this.