Folie à Plusieurs V. The Watchmaker I

A figure shrouded in black leaves a building.  He, for it is, in fact, male, makes his way across a human encampment, teleporting, running, and jumping incredibly quickly.  As he approaches his targets, a demonic energy increases in power.  When he encounters the drug dealers, the demon’s presence is indistinguishable from his own.  Though he could defeat a thousand of them in seconds, he draws a fight with three of them to last for five minutes.  He throws the first blow at four minutes and thirty one seconds, without drawing either of his swords.  He reaches out with one hand and lightly pushes on one of their heads. With five eighths of a second left to live, the dealer starts to turn and adopts a shocked expression.  His head, no longer attached to his body, flies forward, smashing into one of his comrades.  The shocked expression of his disembodied comrade is the last thing he sees as his entire body is electrified.  The last of the triumvirate attempts to flee.  He discovers that his feet are frozen to the ground.  His terror increases as he notices the ice is creeping up over his body.  He dies before it reaches his crotch.  The killer begins to feast upon the bodies, an unnatural jaw taking chunks out of their flesh.  I turn around to leave.  This one does not need interference.

A muscular boy is speaking to a reporter.  The boy is not very intelligent.  The reporter is.  One’s name is Oliver Goldberg, but he is often called Everest.  The other’s name is Andrew Myers, but he is frequently called Asshole.  The reporter is angry.  His son is sick, and he blames metahumans.  He is correct to, though not for the reason he thinks.  If he spoke about his son’s illness to anyone, his problem could be solved. Instead, he takes out his frustration by ruining careers.  He is trying to do that now.  He will fail.  Though he will accurately show the lack of intelligence, the muscular boy has a following that is not founded on his depth of character.  The following will be sorely disappointed in less than one month, though not because of the reporter. The reporter’s troubles are drawing to close.

A boy who is almost a man is fighting.  He is sitting in his room.  He, more than any other on his team, is in conflict.  He has great potential, but how he will use it is uncertain.  I will talk to him when he is a man.  Neither of us is in a rush.  We have all the time in the world.

The two I have come here to talk to have just stopped fighting.

The two I have come here to talk to are about to fight.

The two I have come here to talk to are fighting.  I pop up and stand in between them.  The Destroyer’s punch, intended for the Wise Woman hits me, instead. Though I slow the punch before it hits me, my jaw will be pulverised. I wait for it to happen, then reconstruct it, reverting my body to how it was four seconds ago.  To them, it will have appeared as regeneration.

“Hello,” I will say.

“Who are you?” asked the Wise Woman.

“A chronoton is a unit of time that represents how far one can predict or travel in the past or future based on the amount of variables in play.  In the average one on one fight, in a close environment, with no air flow or outside interference, no weapons, no powers, just fists, a chronoton is approximately five minutes,” I say, answering his question.  The Destroyer frowns, then will have an epiphany.

“So, you’re The Watchmaker, huh?  What’s a chronoton?” He asks, looking at me expectantly.  For once, the Wise Woman is confused.

“The Watchmaker,” I will have said.  A look of realization dawns across her face.  I realized the problem.

“Nice catch,” I said, altering my appearance slightly, changing my clothes to fit the time period, “I hadn’t even realized I was off.” The Wise Woman nodded.

“Rune told us to expect you.”  I laughed.

“Oh, Rune!  That ol’ dog! Did he ever tell you about that time he and Bash inspired the Greek legend of Damon and Pythias?”  Seeing their faces, I paused.  “No, then.  Ah.  Right.  He wouldn’t have.”  I looked at the two of them and shook my head, smiling a bit.  “Oh, you two.  You have so much ahead of you.  Exile, you’ll become greater than you can imagine.  Nidh- no, wait.  That’s not your name yet. Well, you’ll see.”  They stared at me in confusion.  “Anyway, I didn’t come here to reminisce about the fun we’ll have.  I want to help you defeat King.  Both of them, though the latter comes later.”  The Destroyer waved his hands in the air vaguely,

“Aren’t you supposed to be some sorta…  benevolent but bound guardian of mankind?  Policy of non-interference?”  This time, the confusion belonged to me.

“Why on earth would you think that?” I asked, furrowing my brow, “I do whatever I want.”  The Destroyer laughed.

“Alright, I can get behind that,” he said, “Now, how are we going to kick King’s ass?”  The Wise Woman looked at him.

“Wait,” she said, “Who’s the second King?”  Without moving his head, the Destroyer replied.

“We’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?  Besides, it’s best not to ask more questions than you need to.”  The Wise Woman nodded.  I walked up behind them, and put my arms around their shoulders.

“What’s up, guys!” They jumped and spun around.

“Fuck!” The Destroyer cried, relaxing.  “Weren’t you ahead of-  Oh, for fucks sake.  Of course you would use godlike mastery of time to play stupid jokes.”  The Wise Woman stopped walking.

“Hold on, hold on.  Zeta.  How did you know his power was godlike mastery of time?”  We both looked at her.  Before The Destroyer could open his mouth, I responded.

“It’s best not to ask more questions than you need to,” I said.  She fumed, but didn’t say anything else.  As we walked out of the gym area, The Fool entered.

“Oh, hey, Jay, Sar- Ah!  Zeta and Exile!  Umm…  How goes the crime fighting?”  The two of them rolled their eyes.  The Destroyer took my shoulder and guided me out, bringing me to his quarters while the Wise Woman made her excuses to the Fool.

“So,” he said once we had reached his room, “while Sarah is explaining you to Oliver, what’s the deal?  You have some questions to answer.”  I thought for a moment, tapping my chin.

“Okay.  What you need to know about me for now…  I am called The Watchmaker.  I triggered about six thousand years ago.  Since then, I’ve perfected the use of my power and lived eight trillion years, three months, twenty-four days, three hours, fourteen minutes and fifty three seconds.  I am functionally immortal, invincible, and unkillable.  I am omnipresent, omniscient, and fairly close to omnipotent.  And… I will be your friend.  If, of course, you survive that long, which you will.  But barely, and not without effort and my help. I know about your powers because I’ve seen you in action… with your real power, and I’ve talked with Khan.”  At that, he reacted.

“Where is Khan, then?  He normally likes to be here for things like this.”  I looked at The Destroyer seriously.

“He is not you.  He is not your friend.  Do not forget that.  I have blocked him for now, but I cannot help you with him.  But…  do not be fooled.”  He stared at me and shook his head.

“Why should I trust you?  He’s told me things about myself I needed to know.  He’s helped me plenty.  And what?  You, a random stranger who could be anyone, is telling me he’s an evil manipulator?  Yeah, sure, I’m being tricked by a serval. Sooo suspicious. That’s fluffy doom, right there.”  He stood up and opened the door. “Get some proof, and maybe I’ll consider it.”

“He’s told you you’re weak.  He’s wrong, by the way.  He’s sealing your powers.  I am who I say I am, simply because there is no one who would dare to claim to be me.  Evil?  Yes.  Demonic.  He is no more a serval than you or I.  He can appear however he wants.” The Destroyer glared at me.  “Use your powers, dragon.  See what you can do without his influence.”

“Out.  Now.”  Despite myself, I grinned.  I knew it would end up like this.

“When you’re ready for your fate, let me know.”  I walked out the door, and promptly disappeared.  Next to Rune, in a different, earlier time, I looked at a rampaging superhuman.  Bash swore.

“Shit,” he said, “This guy’s gotta be stronger than me.  I can’t get near him without risking my life.”  Rune frowned.

“Nothing I can do against his caliber without making things worse.”

“He’s protected against me, too.  Sorry.” I shrugged. Bash spat, narrowly missing Rune’s black Regulator uniform.

“Anyone you know who could take him?  Can you pull someone out of their timeline, pull them back here?”  I thought for five seconds, considering the possibilities.  At last, arriving at a suitable candidate, I nodded.

“Nidhogg could take him.”

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Folie à Plusieurs V. Dr. Barr I

“Miss, please, you’re making a fool of yourself.”  The young psychic sent another wave of emotion towards me.

“Ha!” She screamed, “Let’s see how your mental defences stand up against this, you old fuck!”  Like waves crash upon a rocky beach, her attack briefly pressed against my mind, then failed without making a difference.

“Please, Miss Mirage.  Calm down.  We’re here to talk about your problems, not ineffectually bludgeon them.”  She finally gave up, plopping down on the couch with her arms crossed. “Very good,” I said, smiling indulgently.  “Now, why are you trying to kill me?”  She sulked, and looked away.

“I wasn’t trying to kill you,” she muttered, “just control you.”  I continued to smile, though I was groaning inwardly.  /Fucking control freak psychics.  Was I like that when I was younger?/

“And why is that?  I’m here to help you, not hurt you.” She leapt up.

“I don’t need any help,” she shouted, fists clenched, “and especially not from an old fuck like you!”  I withheld my grin, and leaned forward.

“Is that why I sense death in your near future?”  Suddenly, all the wind left her sails.  She flopped down on the couch, staring at me.

“W-w-what?”

“Mirage, this is basic stuff.  Psychics can use telekinesis, telepathy, forced telepathy, mind control, precognition, and possession.  Each psychic has a specialty, which determines how proficient they are at each of the categories.  The only exception to this is general psychics, which are equally proficent in all of them.  Interestingly, this is what you claimed to be, when you took the name Dagny.  We can go over that another time.  Now, I, like you, specialize in forced telepathy.  My official specialization is stealth telepathy, yours is sensory illusions.  Now, I’m no precognition expert, which is why I can’t give you details, but I sense a lot of death in your near future.”  /Did that work?  Is she going to cooperate now?/  I used my power to worm my way into her mind, trying to get a sense of her emotions. I sighed.

“Don’t fuck with me!” She screamed, jumping up again and mentally attacking me. /Guess not./  I made a note on my pad, then forced her assault back.

“Mirage, we’ll end today’s session today.  I want you to think about how you responded to dealing with someone you can’t control.  I haven’t lied to you today, so I’ll leave you with a few more thoughts.  First of all, you underestimate the mental fortitude and depth your teammates have.  Second, I don’t think your relationship with Crane is healthy.”  She paused for a second, processing what I said.  As it sunk in, I felt the rage build up in her mind.

“Get out of my head!” She shouted, clasping her hands over her head, “AAAAAHHH!”

“Karma’s a bitch,” I muttered, almost soft enough to escape her notice.

“I take it you’d prefer if I kept my voice down?” I looked up at my newest patient.

“I beg your pardon?” I asked politely, readjusting my spectacles.

“Well, you just had a session with Olivia the screamer, I’m figuring your ears are a little sensitive right now.”  Astonished, I stared at the speaker.

“Exile, I presume?  Your teammates spoke, for the most part, highly about you and your deductive capabilities.”  She sat down on the couch, nodding.

“Please, I’d prefer Sarah.  And of course it’s me, I’m your appointment for now.”  /Clever girl… she’s the leader in reality, if not in name./ She continued, “So, Will spoke the highest of me, then Jay, and the ‘for the most part’ is due to Olivia’s scathing report.  Am I right?”  I found myself grinning.

“On all accounts.  Sure you’re not a psychic?”  She mirrored my grin.

“Positive.  I just pay attention.  By the way, your professional demeanor slipped.  You might want to fix that.”  I frowned, straightening my back.

“Nice catch, Sarah.  So, since you seem to be rather knowledgeable about what should be happening, what do you hope to get out of these sessions?”

“Actually, I’d like to talk about my teammates.  I want to get someone else’s perspective on them.”  I paused for a moment, considering her request.

“I’m supposed to have client confidentiality, but I suppose, in this case, I could make an exception…”  She leaned forward.

“Excellent.  I’d like to start with Everest, and his inability to…” As she spoke, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into…

“I dunno, not much for me.  I was doing well in school, good home life, had plenty of friends, and then one of them flipped out and started trying to kill people.  I triggered, and well, the rest is history.”  I raised my eyebrow.

“You are a terrible liar.  You do realize that there is information in your file that directly contradicts what you just said, right?”  He stopped his constant shifting for a moment, and looked at me.

“Really?  What’s my file say?”  I rummaged around in my bag to make it seem like I hadn’t been reading it right before he came in.  When I judged a decent amount of time had passed, I pulled out the file from the front of the bag and flipped through it.

“You lived alone, somehow paying for an apartment despite lacking a legal occupation, estranged from your parents and most of your friends.  In fact, of your closest friends, all but one triggered.” He seemed surprised.  After a moment, he nodded.

“Yeah, I suppose that’s true.  I hadn’t even realized.  Well, no one knows what is going on with Cyner.  He might have been a superhuman all along. And John isn’t a para, but I just met him.  What do you think that means, Freud?”

“I noticed you used the present tense for Cyner.  He’s the one who disappeared, right?  He was declared dead a while ago. Wh-” He cut me off with a wave of his hand.

“Cyner’s not dead.  He’s not the sort to die easily.”  /Exactly what I wanted you to say, Zeta…/

“He also had an apartment with no income.  Does your certainty of his survival have anything to do with how you paid for your living space?” His eyes narrowed. “I have two theories, Zeta.  The first, and the less likely, is that your proximity grants the potential for powers.  It’s not impossible, but it doesn’t exactly fit with the rest of your powers.  The latter, and Rune agrees with me on this one, is that part of your secondary powerset is the ability to sense latent potential.” He laughed, stretching his legs out in front of himself and resting them on a nearby cabinet.

“Secondary powerset? Do tell.” I leaned forward, eager despite myself to share my theory.

“I haven’t figured out everything yet, but you have your main combat power… or powers, as it seems, though my intuition tells me something is off about those, and a secondary, less flashy powerset.  Rune and I agree you have a type of low level pre-cognition that allows you to see about a chronoton in the future, at least while in combat.  There’s the subconscious sensing ability, and a few oddities in your musculature that dull pain and increase muscular growth.” Zeta idly picked at his jacket.

“Interesting theory.  What’s a chronoton?”  I hesitated.

“I’ll let the Watchmaker tell you about that, when you’re ready to meet him.  I couldn’t do it justice.”  I saw anger flash across his face, and I felt the rage and bloodlust without even trying.  Taking a deep breath, I broached the subject.

“I’ve also been meaning to talk to you about your anger iss-” I froze.  “Another time, then.” He let the fire die away, and rubbed his face.

“Sorry.  Sensitive topic.  I’ll try to talk about it next session, okay?”  Slowly, I nodded.

“Yeah.  Sure.  I’ll await it… eagerly.”

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Folie à Plusieurs V. Everest I

“Hey, Mirage.  Olivia.  Whatever you want me to call you.  What’s up?”  I said, greeting the short blonde.

“Ha, Olivia or Liv is fine.  And actually, I have a favor to ask you.”

“Oh?” I asked, cocking my head. “What can I do for you?”  She reached out and grabbed my shoulders, standing on her tiptoes.

“I’d like for you to talk to Jason for me.  There’s something I need him to do, but he’ll be suspicious if I-  No, that’s not right,” she said.  I opened my mouth to s-

“I’d like for you to talk to Jason for me.  There’s something I need him to do, but he won’t do it if it’s me ask- No, that’s not right either.” I opened my mouth to s-

“I’d like for you to talk to Jason for me.  There’s something I need him to do, but I’m too shy- not quite.  Closer, though.  It’s a good thing you’re so dumb, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do this, no matter how much physical contact.  Shame I’m not a mind-control specialist, huh?”  I frowned.

“First of all, I don’t like being called dumb.  Second, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”  She patted my cheek endearingly.

“I know you don’t.  I know.  Don’t worry about it.” I opened my mouth to s-

“I’d like for you to talk to Jason for me.  There’s something I need him to do, but I’m too nervous to do it myself.  Can you help me out?”

“Sure, of course!  What do you want me to?”

“Well,” she said, “It’s kinda complicated.  It’d be easier to just show you… mentally.  I need you to empty your mind, then completely open yourself to my will.”  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“Okay, I’m ready.”  To my surprise, she grabbed the back of my head and planted a fully-fledged, tongue-included kiss on my lips.

“Wha-”

—-

“Huh, that’s an odd thing to say, Oliver,” he said, narrowing his eyes.

“What?”

“I mean, its not like you to ask me that.”  Jason stopped taking off his costume, and shrugged his jacket back on. “You’re my friend, and one of the most loyal people I know.  You wouldn’t ask me if I’m confident in my abilities as a leader.   You’re the sort of person who would simply trust that I know what I’m doing.  Why the sudden doubt?” /Aww… that’s nice of him to say…  if only I knew what was going on!/

“I… I have no idea what you’re talking about.   I must have just zoned out.  Last thing I remember…  I was talking to Olivia about … something?” He stared at me.

“Do you think she influenced your mind?”

“No!  She wouldn’t do that, would she?  Besides, I’d remember it, wouldn’t I?”

“She would do it.  And there’s no guarantee you’d remember it.  She’s fairly proficient at mind control, I’ve recently discovered.  She’s probably strong enough to  wipe your short term memory, or make you a puppet.  And worse, most likely.”  He ran his fingers through his hair.  “I want you to stay away from her for now, okay?  Until we figure out what she’s after.  Just trust me on this one, okay?”

“Sure.  Whatever you say, chief,”  I said, frowning a bit. /I’m starting to see why he hates psychics…/ He nodded.

“That’s more like you, buddy.” His face suddenly went grim.  “Oliver. Without looking behind you, just go to your room.  Go now.  Pretend everything’s cool.”

“That won’t work,” I heard from behind me, “I can read minds, you know.”  Jason swore.

“Go!” He shouted, pushing me.  I tried to leave, but my body locked up.  I felt an arm curl seductively around my shoulder and heard Olivia say,

“Once a connection has been made, it’s always easier the second time.  It’s even easier with weak minds like his.”  Jason pulled his half mask over his mouth.

“I don’t know what you’re planning, Mirage,” Zeta said, “whose team you’re on, or what you want.  But you can’t mindfuck me like you did Everest.”

“You’re right.  The same methods would get a fraction of the result.  But that’s enou-”

“Uhhhh…  my head…” I heard.  I shook my head, trying to clear my vision and my headache.  I was lying on a roof, in full costume, being helped up by Zeta.  He was groaning too.

“Jesus.  What happened?” he said, rubbing his forehead.

“Dunno.  Last thing I remember, we were talking about something in the kitchen,” I shrugged.

“Yeah.  Me too.  Hmm.  A supervillain?”

“Maybe… oh, hey, XYZ.” /I feel like I should be panicking, but…  well, if Jason isn’t bothered, then I shouldn’t be./

“Wha- Oh,” he said, blushing, then zipping his zipper.  “Oops.  That’s never happened before; I never forget my zipper.”  I grinned.

“First time for everything.  Speaking of time” I said, checking my watch, “It’s 5:00.  We have another hour of patrol before we can head back.  It is our day, right?”

“Yeah.  But it’s going to be slow going until Crane gets attacked.  The only thing we’ve had to deal with since he gave his message is those tinkerbots.”  I looked at him curiously.  He slapped his forehead. “Oh, that’s right, you haven’t been at one of those.  King occasionally releases a small, foot or so high robot that builds other things.  It builds more robots, which build more robots, and so on.  They’re weak, but you need to take them out quickly, before there are enough of them to start building weapons.  Apollo and Selene accidentally let one group of them build a small cannon.  It demolished an entire building.  Just keep an eye out.” I shuddered.

“Let’s hope we don’t run into any.  I just want to go back to the base and sleep off this headache.”

“Agreed.  Let’s get moving.”

“Wake up! Wake up! Get your fat fucking asses up!”  I groaned and turned over.  From outside my room, I heard all the other members of the team stumble out of their doorways and grunt at each other and their alarm clock, Rune, in the hallway.

“Go to school and let me sleep,” I muttered into my pillow.  Luckily for me, I had graduated from high school last year, and was just sticking around for the team.  All the others had stuff to do during the day.  Diana and Will went to a small private school to get their senior year in, while everyone else went to South Haven High School.

“You know, for someone so mad about being weak, you seem to take training rather lightly.”

Almost everyone, that is.

“I need my beauty sleep, Alex.”

“With that ugly mug?  Not likely.”

“You’re composed enough to be witty.  Not wearing the mask, then?  How’d you get in my room?”

“Maybe I walked in with it, then took it off.  Ever think of that, Sherlock?”

“Yeah, you took it off.  Cause that’s always worked so well before.”

I heard him shifting around.  Hiding my face, I grinned.  “There’s a trade off, Crane.  The weaker the power, the more sane we stay. Compare me and Diana to you and Jason.  Apollo, to a lesser extent.  I’m quite comfortable as I am, thank you very much.”

“Then leave.” My grin faded.  “I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now,” he continued,  “This isn’t a place for weaklings.  Not this town, not this state, not this world.  Zeta told you your options.  Become strong, or leave.  This team isn’t for people who can’t even control their own powers.”

I flushed.

“It’s a temporary thing!  I’ll fix it soon! I just need to train a bit more!”

“Which brings us right back to you, being asleep, in bed, while everyone else is up.”

“Fine!  Fuck!  Don’t know why you’re getting up early, you don’t have school either.”

“I have an assignment.  I’m doing some grassroots destroying.  You’re being a lazy piece of lard.”

“I’M GETTING UP!”

“Ninety-nine… One.. Hundred!” I let the weights drop with a clang, just as Exile and Apollo walked into the gym.  Apollo walked over and nodding at me, picked up the dumbbells I had just dropped.  Frowning, he put them back down, then walked over to a rack and picked a pair seven sizes up.

“Why are you lifting so light?  Literally, everyone on the team can go much heavier than that.  You should be trying out the ones we can’t even get our fingers under,” he said.  I sighed.

“I can probably tell you two this…  just don’t tell Zeta, okay?”

“Sure,” Will replied with a shrug.

“No promises.  I will if I have to,” said Sarah, folding her arms.

“Well, I can’t control my powers.”  Instantly, I regretted opening my mouth.  Their faces instantly went cold and stony. “No, they work fine while I’m fighting!  I just haven’t been able to activate anything outside of combat!” Sarah frowned, thinking.

“Fine,” she said at last, “I won’t tell Jason.  But if you don’t fix it soon…”

“Where is Zeta, anyway?” I asked, looking around, “He’s usually here by now.”

“He’s getting lunch with a friend of his.  John, his name is.  Frankly, he gives me the creeps,” Will said, “He seems normal half the time, then I turn around and he’s staring at my back like he’s going to eat me.”

Sarah sighed.  “That’s the point.  All of Jay’s closest friends are… off. You never met Cyner, because he disappeared before you came, but he was similar. Not quite so hostile, but he always made my hair stand on end.  Gave off this… aura, I guess, of being on a different level than all of us.  I’m not really describing it well, but it was like standing next to a reactor.  I don’t know how to describe it better than that.  Jason is the same way sometimes.  I remember, one time, back when we were freshmen, some upperclassmen were picking on him.  One of them pushed him in the hallway, hard enough to make him fall over.  I expected him to jump up and attack the guy.  Then I looked at Jay’s eyes.”

She paused, taking a deep breath.

“I thought there was going to be a death count.  I thought he was going to start killing people with his bare hands and teeth.  He looked less like a person and more like… a wild animal.”  I recoiled a bit.

“He’s…  he’s not that bad, is he?”

Will nodded, ignoring me.

“I know what you mean.  I’ve seen him fight.  It’s brutal.  He fights like a rabid dog. And one day,” Apollo continued, a determined look in his eyes, “he’s going to have to be put down.”

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Zeta Profile

Real name: Jason Leigh

Alias: Zeta, SVRA Agent# 2112

Age: 17

Sex: Male

Body Type: Lean

Height: 5’10

Weight: 153

Hair Color: Brown, streaked with blonde

Eye Color: Brown

Power: Power-switching. His companion is unknown, but he has a separate consciousness which possesses his personality and knowledge. The consciousness can take one form; that of a serval. It refers to itself as a ‘temporary jailer,’ rather than a companion.  Zeta’s powers are:

1. Pyrokinesis

2. Fulgurkinesis

3. Flight

4. Regeneration

5. Super speed

6. ?

7. ?

His first power allows him to generate and control fire, as well as granting him immunity to extreme temperature. His maximum temperature is slightly over the average of type 5 (Ki-based) fire, at 1,250ºC (2,282ºF).  His second allows him to generate immense amounts of power within his body, and let it out in the form of lightning. Though one of his more powerful offensive abilities, it’s limited by the danger of overflow.  His recorded maximum is approximately 90 million volts. His flight generates a insular layer around him at high speeds and altitudes.  His max flight speed is 350 m/s.  His regeneration is unusually strong for a Power-switcher, and he can heal from anything that doesn’t kill him.  While on the ground, his super speed has not been timed.  It does not give a great stamina boost, so his fifth power is mainly useful for basic combat.  It grants enhanced reflexes and movement speed to an extent that his body would be a blur to a normal human.

Power rank: Variable, A-S

Origin: Seen in Chapter I

Status: Hero, High Turning Chance.

Current affiliation(s): SVRA CT Chapter I

Previous affiliation(s): None

Concept Sketch:

Notes:  Zeta is an entirely combat oriented metahuman.  Though extremely intelligent, he uses it only for combat.  He is able to spot weakness and patterns, and quickly learns and adapts to the tactics of enemies.  His powers complement that.  He is the leader of his by default of being the first fighting metahuman in his state, but he adopts a more field commander role.  He delegates most of the office and PR work to teammates Exile (2118) and Apollo (1890).  He is given moderate access to confidential information, despite his High Turning Chance rating.  He is considered unlikely to sell information, or give it to anyone.  He has proven mostly resistant to weak to average psychics.  His abnormally strong psyche is believed to result from anger issues of unknown origin.  He has not cooperated with any therapists, each reporting a completely normal and balanced individual, except for one.  That one, Dr. Frank Barr, is lent credence due to his exceptional telepathy.  His unofficial summary is as follows:

“Zeta is incapable of allowing himself to trust anyone, though the reasons, if they exist, are buried very deep.  He seems to simultaneously have self-esteem issues and an incredibly large ego.  Despite his trust issues, he values the people around him.  He has no concept of good or evil, and he views things in terms of what is acceptable by society.  He believes in a Darwinian survival and rule of the fittest ideal, and this drives him to seek personal power.  It could be classified as an unhealthy obsession.  He spends most of his time either working out, training, playing video games, or reading.  He rarely sleeps a full night.  His biggest issue is indubitably his anger.  It seems to be his strongest emotion, and he uses it to pump himself up for a fight, and conquer his own fear and shame.  The most disturbing thing is that he takes a twisted pride in it.  He probably connects his anger to his power, linking it to his power obsession.  He is capable of forming relationships with allies and co workers, but usually temporary.  His close friends think of him as having a nice side and an angry side.  They have noticed that the ‘nice side’ has appeared less and less.  He scored highly on the Hare Checklist, but I do not believe he is a sociopath, though he may believe himself to be one.  He has demonstrated compassion and genuine sadness at times.  His rough demeanor may be attributed to his belief in his inability to feel those emotions, or that he believes them to be a sign of weakness.  He seems to be developing an increasingly violent and isolated personality.  His companion exerts a considerable amount of influence over him and his social life, but I have not been able to discern the extent of it.”

In the case that he does turn, lock down the facility and avoid contact.  He is capable of incredible brutality, even to the people he appears to care about.  He has killed villains before, and though he does not go out of his way to kill, he will deal with anyone in his path as he feels right.  He is very capable, and has no compunctions.  He seems to find comfort in solitude, but enjoys the company of others.  If he turns, he is expected to find a small, tight knit group of anti-societal, successful, and powerful members.  He does not appear to relish command or control, though receiving strict order grates on him.

Concept sketch:

photo

Oh, look! I’m back, meaning that this is another our-writers-screwed-up post. Flurry to the Rescue! We were stressing for hours last night because SOMEONE *cough cough* Discharge *cough* wasn’t answering us on facebook or replying to our texts, and we needed him to post. I get that there’s school and all, but I do the same sports as Discharge, have musical instrument lessons like Discharge, and I have annoying teachers who give tons of homework too. There’s always SOME free time to write, right? Anyways, sorry we don’t have a new section, BUT… The Mirage post has been updated. Don’t kill us. 

~Flurry, Novice Writer

Tyrant IV. Zeta I

“Hey, beautiful.  How’s it going?” I said softly, gently pushing open the door with one hand.  It had been a week since our fight with Giant and Mouse, and Diana was still in the hospital, despite her Adonis-type body.

“Not so good,” she responded, “That bastard hit me in a weak spot. And not all of us have your amazing physique.”

“Aw, shucks,” I said, faking a blush and a bumpkin accent, “Yur too kaend.” She glared at me.

“I was referring,” she said angrily, “to your high level of muscle growth, innate combat prowess, abnormal regeneration, and ridiculous pain threshold.  Not all of us can pull ourselves together after getting stabbed.  And what?  How many times did Crane run you through?”

I chuckled nervously, running my hand through the back of my hair,

“Oh.  That physique.”

She grinned, her voice suddenly becoming deeper and throatier,

“Though, if you’re feeling up to it, I could give your other physique an … examination.  We are in a hospital, after all, handsome.”

I chuckled and walked over, putting the flowers I had brought next to her bed, along with the other bouquet from a few days ago.

“Let’s wait until you’re recovered, no?”  She pouted.

“You’re lucky I’m not at full health, or there’s nothing you could do to stop me.”

“Hey, what makes you think I’d want to?”

“Just a feeling. I should get Mir- um.  Olivia to read your mind and find out for sure.  Oh!”

“What now?”

“I should get her to just brainwash you into doing what I say!”  I took on a surprised expression to hide the sudden rush of… anxiety?  fear?  … Terror?

“She can do that?” I asked. Diana grinned.

“Oh, yeah.  Forced telepathy and mind control.  Perfect for making boy-toys.” Taking a deep breath to steady my heart rate, I said calmly,

“The two of you would discuss that.  Well, lovely chatting with you about subverting my will in order to abuse my genitals, but I have a press conference to go to.”  Diana, chuckling, spoke in her “seductive” voice again,

“Oh, what we’d be doing isn’t called abuse…  what I’d be doing.  I’m not sharing you.”

“How sweet of you.”

“You really have to go?” she asked, jokes aside.

“Yeah.  But I’ll be back this afternoon.”

“Promise?”

“Promise,” I said, bending down to kiss her.

Two minutes later, we broke off, panting slightly.

“You are such a tease,” she said, watching me as I walked out the door.

“Why the grin?” Exile asked as I pulled on my goggles.

“Oh, no reason,” I said, “Just a song in my heart.”

She glanced at me skeptically, but didn’t press, likely due to the team members just entering the locker room.  I nodded at Apollo.  He ignored me, and went over to talk to Crane, who was lying on top of the lockers.  I started to say “hi” to Everest, but stopped at the look of shock on his face.

“You… and Crane…”

“Thank god!  Finally!” Exile said in exasperation.  “Yes!  Zeta is Jay, I’m Sarah, and Crane is Alex.  God, you’re thick sometimes.”

Grinning, Everest said, “Well, I feel stupid.  It was the faces that made me realize.”  I snorted, and slowly clapped my hands.  Everest dawned his hurt puppy face, and everyone laughed.  I pulled my half-mask up over my mouth and nose, then led my team to face our greatest threat; bad publicity.

“How can you justify the amount of property damage done over the past few weeks?”

 I coughed.

“Currently, we are working on driving out the gang known as the Court, which has controlled most of the state since May 2018.  A certain amount of property damage must be expected.”

A bearded man holding a small microphone quietly cleared his throat, but instantly commanded the attention of the entire crowd.

/Oh shit.  A reporter good enough to make an entire mob of Superazzi shut up./

“March 4th.  South Haven High School burnt to the ground.  A local gym with damage to the foundation and floors.  March 18th.  Three casualties, severe damage to the road.  March 26th.  Seventeen civilian casualties, twenty three police officers. Irreparable damage to four buildings.  August 25th.  Irreparable damage to three buildings, severe damage to two.  Two villain casualties, one civilian injury.  Two days ago. Irreparable damage to one building, severe damage to two others.  Not a great track record, huh?”  My jaw clenched.

/I know this guy,/ I heard in my head, /Mr. Myers.  He’s a muckraking journalist with a grudge against supers./

“The issue is, Mr. Myers,” I smothered my grin at his shocked expression.

/That’s right.  I know your name, asshole./  

/Only thanks to me./

“That we are dealing with people determined to kill us.  They have no qualms about wanton destruction.  In fact, my girlfriend is currently in the hospital because of injuries sustained in a recent fight.  In order to beat them and return our state to its former prosperity, we must be just as ruthless as them.”

/Good,/  I thought, /They’ll be too busy writing about the blooming intrateam romance to focus on the actual fights./

He opened his mouth to respond, only to be interrupted by a voice from the back of the crowd.

“S’cuse me, coming through.  Urgent message.  S’cuse me.” After a minute or so of this, a small figure appeared at the front of the crowd.  Dressed in clothes right out of Oliver Twist, it was young boy, cockney accent and everything.  We stared in surprise.  With a dramatic flourish, he presented an envelope, bowing at the waist.

“Well?” He said, “Wat’cha waitin’ for?  Opn’ it, govna!” Without taking my eyes off him, I bent forward and grabbed the envelope.  It was very fine parchment, slightly yellowed.  Carefully, I opened it, and drew out the sheet within.  The rest of my team gathered around me and we read:

Congratulations!  You’ve shown yourself to be strong enough to not be defeated solely by underlings.   Your repeated victories have shown your worth and abilities.  In fact, your battles have given me enough information to compile a list of “stats!”

Team Overall:

Close Combat: 8/10

Long Range Combat: 6/10

Strategic Thinking: 4/10

Zeta:

Close Combat: 10/10

Long Range Combat: 3/10

Strategic Thinking: 7/10

Apollo:

Close Combat: 7/10

Long Range Combat: 9/10

Strategic Thinking: 9/10

Selene:

Close Combat: 8/10

Long Range Combat: 1/10

Strategic Thinking: 6/10

Exile:

Close Combat: 4/10

Long Range Combat: 10/10

Strategic Thinking: 8/10

Mirage:

Close Combat: 1/10

Long Range Combat: 3/10

Strategic Thinking: 9/10

Crane:

Close Combat: 9/10

Long Range Combat: 6/10

Strategic Thinking: 5/10

Everest:

Close Combat: 5/10

Long Range Combat: 0/10

Strategic Thinking: 2/10

Just for reference:

King:

Close Combat: 10/10

Long Range Combat: 10/10

Strategic Thinking: 10/10

Your prospects are bad enough already, but you might want to know:  I know all your real names and addresses, thanks to the informant I have very close to you.  First to go down is the black bishop, Crane.

-King

We finished reading in stunned silence.  As we looked up to stare at the messenger, he gave us a cheeky grin before dissolving into a mass of slowly fading blue polygons.  Mr. Myers, the journalist, was the first to break the silence.

“A ki-construct?  An actual, moving, apparently intelligent being composed solely of ki?  That-that’s pretty high level. What did the letter say?”

Ignoring him, I gestured to the team, and without a word, we all retreated into the preparation building, ignoring the sudden shouts from the press.

“Well, shit,” Everest said, “I’m the weakest, then.”

“What? No way,” Exile instantly said, drowning out Apollo’s own protest.

“Different strengths.  He was only going off of the base attack.  You’re a tank, focusing on defense.  Normally, that would let you attack more, but since your strength comes with a speed reduction…”

“I guess,” he muttered, “still doesn’t make me feel great.”

“Then train.” I said.  “Train to raise those values in the time left before he challenges you.  Become our ace in the hole.”

“I…  Don’t know that I -”

“Try it. If you can’t, then leave.  But don’t give up.  According to that sheet, if you don’t man up, you could get one of us killed.”  I stood up, and ripped of my mask.

“It’s time to get this over with.  My name is Jason Leigh.  I may not be the most compassionate or caring person, but I will never let one of you die while it is in my power.  This is my face, this is me.”

Next to me, Apollo stood up.

“My name is William Alexander.  I may not have the power that some of you do, but I have trained myself to be strong.  This strength is for you.  This is my face, this is me.”  I looked at him gratefully, but he just looked over at the team.

“My name is Sarah West.  I have power, and I’m not afraid to use it against anyone who falters while saving a life.  This is my face, this is me.”

“My name is Olivia Radd.  I’m not strong, but I’m clever.  This is my face, this is me.”

“My name is Alex Roke.  I’m strong, fast, and vicious, but I fight for the boss.  This is my face, this is me.” Finally, Everest stood up.  Clearing his throat, he said,

“And to complete our ceremony of trust and bonding:  My name is Oliver Goldberg.  I will become strong, or I will leave.  This is my face, this is me.” We all nodded at each other, realizing the bonds formed in that moment.

/For now, at least, we’re a team,/ I thought, shielding my thoughts from Mirage.  Crane slumped down on the bench.

“I’ll stay vigilant-e. Get it?  Vigilant, as in, watchful of the promised attack, and yet vigilante, cause I’m working on my own to take out crime in the seedy districts?  Eh? Eh?” I rolled my eyes and turned around.

“Have fun with the pun, Alex,” I said, waving my hand over my shoulder, “I’d stick with you, but I have a promise more important than your lives to follow through on.”

As I walked out, I heard Exile say under her breath,

“Hey, stop joking around, Jay.  It’s not funny.”  I pulled my half-mask over my face, concealing my grin from everyone but me… and Khan, of course.

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Tyrant IV. Mirage I

/God, do I love this feeling./ I felt the attention of the hallway gravitate towards the sound of my footsteps as my hips swayed side to side. I drank the attention like the sweet honey nectar of the gods; it filled me with immense pleasure, as usual. Since I love fooling with these ants, I decided to shift their perspective slightly so my body appeared even taller, curvier, and more impossibly buoyant than normal. I remember the power filling me from my toes to the crown of my head.

/Ah, the joys of school. Dear God, these drooling kids are hilarious./

 

Suddenly, I saw Jason out of the corner of my eye. The usual smirk on my face curled even farther upwards as I smoothly glided over to him and his mysterious new piece of fresh meat, some kid named John. As I walked over, my eyes slid up and down John, assessing his physical abilities before probing quietly into his mind. I waited eagerly for the moment when he would look and see me, shocked by the angel’s wings I decided to show him growing on my back.

 

I’ve always loved my power: first impressions are everything.

 

I watched his eyes widen as he took in the clearly impossible sight of a Victoria’s Secret-quality body attached to two giant fluffy white wings in the middle of a crappy high school hallway.

/Poor kid, he never even saw me coming./

 

I became momentarily bored with the new kid upon the sight of Jason. I decided to have some fun with him. He hates it when I read his mind, so I decided to tease him instead. You don’t have to be a telepath like I am to see the sparks between him and Diana. My best talent is finding people’s weak points and applying subtle pressure there. Every person is a weak conglomeration of supports: all my job is is to find the weakest one and either prod at it or destroy it altogether. Or, even better, I can make sure that that support leans on me. You could call me manipulative. I’m sure you’d be entirely correct.

 

“So, Jason, mind telling me what flowers are growing this season?” I murmured.

/Shit, that could have been so much more clever. Whatever./ I watched as Jason maintained a relatively steady countenance, but I knew from experience that he was momentarily flustered inside, his thoughts drifting to fantasies about him and Diana. I was satisfied that the reaction I intended to induce had occurred, so I gave up any further attempt to provoke him. Though he was my good friend, he could be pretty unstable. I knew I needed to handle him with prudence.

 

I left them without another word, completely at ease with my ability to disturb the usual balance, and continued to strut down the hallway until I arrived at my advanced multi-dimensional calculus course. The room, as usual, was filled with a bunch of nerdy looking freaks. These were all the kids with super powered brains, though, unfortunately, most did not acquire the same attractive appearances.

/What shame. I need to find some more people around here with sex and brains, these kids are too easy./

I always love a challenge, so that class passed by quickly as usual. I’ve never had much of a problem with math.

 

Next, I made another journey through the hallway to my favorite class: illusion magic. This was a course I excelled at even more dramatically than Math. That’s why they call me Mirage, I can show anyone any goddamn thing I want them to see. I don’t even need magic to do it: I just love sliding myself inside their heads with no more than a thought.

 

We began class with our usual exercise. Since I was taking an advanced course, we were learning complete immersion. Our exercise began  with our class splitting in half and forming two lines on opposite sides of each other. The teacher, Mr. Coxon, a total dick, dictated that my side was to go first.

 

Well, I shouldn’t write that he did that of free will. I never let him choose the other side.

/I should be teaching this class, these monkeys are completely incompetent./ Instead of immersing my partner in an island paradise as we were assigned to do, I decided to play a little practical joke on the teacher. I brought all the students in the class into a blank room. They knew what to do. I then focused my energy on the professor, showing him a classroom of students diligently working.

 

I guess I felt kinda bad for always doing this to poor Mr. C, but I really wasn’t so concerned with harming the other kids education. They were all more than capable of teaching illusion to themselves, and I wanted my damn day off. Keeping lasting illusions has always been my specialty, so I just walked out of the room.

 

I went to my favorite place in the whole world: my locker. No one knows this, but I love sliding into it and completely immersing myself in my own fantasy location. It’s perfect. Admittedly, my fantasies involve sex 99% of the time, but for now I needed space to think. /Olivia Radd./ I toyed with the name in my head. Even internally my tone sounded deep and smooth, a quality I love. /It seems so innocent. Just two little words. It is my whole privacy and everything I keep secret. Maybe I should tell my friends? I do love a good drama…no. I need my name. My namesake is an extension of myself. I’m an individualist, am I not? I chose this for a reason. I chose to leave my past behind and make my name like everything else about me: a mirage. Fuck, where did my cigarette go?/ I fumbled around in my pocket and drew out the long, 50’s style holder. Smoking illusionary cigarettes was a terrible, yet genius habit. I felt my lungs fill with the smoke that I knew wasn’t there. I was pretty sure that I was the only psychic who could create illusions for herself.

/I need a plan. It’s so stupid that I don’t have utter and complete control over the social structure here yet. It’s my damn friends messing me up. Should I mess with them? No, that would be wrong…I need a distraction./

As usual, my mind wandered back into itself. I started reminiscing about my past. I could still remember so crystal clearly the shame and humility my past carried. My thoughts meandered until they entered that dark tunnel containing everything I didn’t want to admit. I tell everyone that my life is filled with pain and darkness. In reality, the darkness is only within myself.

I spent my whole life believing that I was gifted and beautiful. I am, sure. But it’s all a lie. I’m not a bad person…technically. I’m just an illusion. I have spent my life fabricating a grand illusion for myself. The power I have been given is the power to show people, including myself, what they want to see. I have done just that.

If there is anything I have learned over time it is that the illusion is the truth. The illusion of control is control, and the illusion of love is as close to love as I have ever come.

Sex is the only thing that makes me feel truth. There is no lie in that most basic instinct.

But everything else…it’s all faux glitter and lights. Trust me, there’s no water in this desert. People are easy to control because they so desperately want to drink. I’m not real. I’m a mirage.

I crushed the dropped cigarette beneath my foot, and stepped out of my locker.

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Tyrant IV. King I

The man in the golden armor stood in front of me.  His jūmonji yari was pointed towards my face, its cross a reprimand for my sins.

“It’s over, King.  It ended the moment you ticked the Dragonslayers off.  Nobody escapes us.”

Slowly, I got off the ground.  Spitting the dust out, I said,

“It’s not over till I’m dead.  You can’t deal with my power, Duel.  Not like you dealt with Jormungandr.” Duel laughed humorlessly.

“Dealing with powers is what we do.  We got Port, a member of the SVRA Richmond team, to teleport your underlings away.  We got Tombstone, the bloodless abomination, to fight you.  I’m clad in armour, so you can’t touch me.  Plico is controlling the paper demon protecting the rest of my team.  Need I say more?  We’re destroying you.  Truly, there’s no shame if you surrender now.  Your death will be painless.”

I cocked my head, appearing to consider his offer.

“No,” I said.

“No?” He asked, looking seriously surprised that I rejected it his proposal.  “Ah well.  That’s too bad.”  He rushed forward, almost faster than I could react.  Almost.  I pushed his spear away with my hand, using my other hand to jab at his unguarded face, trying to get a scratch.  He flinched away at the last moment, jumping back.

“That’s faster than you should be able to go…  What have you been hiding?”  I didn’t reply.  I just sent a quick barrage of long range attacks at him.  Fire, ki blasts, even a few light constructs. Without waiting for the smoke and dust to clear, I dashed at him, sharpening my fingers into claws and hardening my body to the strength of steel.  As I entered the cloud, I turned on my ki-sensing vision, looking for his body.  Right…  Where?

Where did he go? Whe-AAAAAAHHHH!

I sat up suddenly, wide awake.  Looking around, I noticed I was alone, and relaxed. I threw off my opulent comforter and silently padded to the bathroom on bare feet.  As I brushed my teeth, my eyes fixed on my right hand.  As I moved it back and forth across my mouth, I flexed the fingers one by one, to test that they still worked.

In a world with Post-humans, many capable of healing and more of regeneration, you wouldn’t think that the loss of a hand would be too bad.  Inconvenient at first, sure.  But for those with power, finding a healer to restore it would be simple enough.  It was.  I found a healer the week after I escaped.  But, whatever dark power Duel had used to sear off my hand prevented it from regenerating for an entire year.

I screamed in pain as blood gushed out.  Duel walked out of the smokescreen, his armour gone.  Instead, he was surrounded by a dark mist, a sharp contrast to his white hair.

“So many powers.  You have more followers.  They have to be…  Plico.  Bring Port to the basement.  Check for a hidden chamber. Now…  King.  What to do with you…”

I stopped screaming and crouched over, trying to focus any healing or regen powers I had on my wrist.  The leader of the Dragonslayers walked forward, almost contemptuously.  “Our powers make us tools in the hands of God.  Our purpose is determined from the moment of our birth, and it is all we can do fulfill it.  It is your fate to die here. Why resist?  You merely prolong your suffering.”

“Weren’t you listening?  It’s not over…” I grimaced, bending my legs, “TILL I’M DEAD!”  With that, I leapt towards the ranged members of his team, shrugging off their blasts.  With Plico down in the basement, they didn’t have the stopping power to prevent me from tearing through them.  I burst out of my headquarters, blood pouring down.  As I ran, and the building reached the end of my range, I used the only power I had access to that helped.  I detonated my blood.  The explosion shook the ground, covering me in a wave of painfully hot fire, and collapsing the building.  Duel, at least, survived.  My followers…  doubtful.

I sighed, looking down at the scars covering my chest.  That day had cost me everything.  I had to leave the state, burn my bridges just to escape.  I had fled all over the country, running and running until the Dragonslayers moved on to Fafnir.  When it was clear they had truly given up on me, I moved to Connecticut, the place called Villain’s Haven. I built up my power base again, discreetly spreading my influence over the entire state.  I am once again, a true King.  But, I daren’t become too powerful, too influential, lest I attract the attention of the Dragonslayer again.

“Milord.”

“Mmm?  Yes?”

“Iapetus has lost.  He survived, and one of our psychics was able to glean an image of the fight from his mind while he slept in jail.  Would you like to see it?”

“I would.  I shall view it in my throne room, in ten minutes.”

“Yessir!”  The messenger saluted and rushed off.

 

A trio of shapes flew over the buildings, rapidly approaching the combatant.  One in black, one in white, and one in red.  Mirage, dressed impeccably in her dark red, skintight suit gently lowered herself, pushing the dust away from her feet.  Zeta flew down as fast as he could, landing in a dramatic pose and cracking his knuckles.  Everest, in his form fitting white body suit, crashed down on a nearby building, sending bricks everywhere.

“OW!” He shouted, rubbing his head.  Zeta and Mirage rolled their eyes simultaneously, then turned to the villain.

“Iapetus, is it?” Mirage asked, “What are you doing?  Why is this necessary?”  Zeta glanced at her.

“Why do you think?” He said,  “I’ll bet you twenty dollars it’s the same reason Giant and Mouse attacked.  Shadowy boss of the Court, or some other gang, wants to test us.”  Mirage donned a thoughtful expression.

“Giant and Mouse…  those wouldn’t have to be the ones you killed, would they?” Zeta took on a blank expression for a second, then nodded.

“Yeah.  It’s a shame Selene killed them, we might have been able to learn something.”  Mirage shot him a sharp glance, then turned towards Iapetus again.

“So, what’s the shtick?”

“Zeta’s right, I’m afraid.  Another test.”  Iapetus said.  Mirage groaned.

“Damnit, that’s twenty bu-  Everest!” She shouted suddenly, spinning around. “I need your help!  Zeta, fight him for now!” Zeta shrugged.

“Sure.”

I stopped watching Zeta and Iapetus as they flew into the air.  I’ve seen enough aerial battles, one more wouldn’t give me anything useful.  I looked over to Mirage and Everest.

-sion,” she was saying, “We need to evacuate that building.  Now.  I’ll start levitating people on the top floors out the windows, you enter from the front and start warning people.”

“Are you sure they’ll know who I am?” Everest asked nervously.

“You’re not wearing a mask, your face has been all over the news, and you have a picture of a mountain summit on your chest.  I think they’ll recognize you.  Now, go!”  They rushed off.

At that moment, I heard a whistling noise from the sky.  It also occured to me that if Iapetus was fighting Zeta, he wouldn’t have known what was going on here.  Hmmm.  That psychic must have an interesting specialization.  I need to find out more about it.  It sounds like a useful ability.  

The whistling noise was growing steadily louder, like a bomb. Then, just as Mirage levitated the last person out of the fifth floor window, Iapetus’ body smashed into the bottom of the building, Zeta pushing him at supersonic speeds.  The building disintegrated.

The image I was watching began to fade into darkness.  The last thing I heard was a female voice saying,

“Thank God for Precognition.  He’s still alive, let’s get him into the holding cell.”

“Interesting,” I said, sitting on my throne, “Leave me.  I must think carefully about what I have seen.”  My followers kowtowed out of the room, and I was alone in the darkness, once again.

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