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 HEROES Chapter 7

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KasaiYoukai
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:40 am


Grey felt the presence behind him and whipped around and fired with such speed that it was almost as though time had warped around him. Unfortunately, there was nothing to the drug addict's frame or abilities to keep him from being launched through the air by a sudden gale so fierce that he could only watch in shock as the ground flew away from him. The world spun and the air rushed in his ears for a good few seconds until his entire body shook, jolting with the impact as a wave of ache and fire pulsed through him over and over. Grey let out a grunt and for a second seemed to be completely disoriented. Even Seizure was startled when the young man literally dropped out of the sky and cut her connection of searching around in his brain.

Pain thrashed his every movement, yet Grey forced himself with gritted teeth to get to his feet and quickly turn to his surroundings, even if his vision was, momentarily, blurred and spinning. Poised within a second, Grey darted to the side away from Seizure and fired again in Wraith's direction. He then dove, albeit more carefully, behind a shrub and tried to spy out Sigma. Finding Sigma, he fired again and shifted to a different bush before he turned towards the other two. Seeing two people of minority races did little to help and he gave himself a fast headache trying to force the racial slurs back down. Ducked behind the bush, Grey's body throbbed and while he was still faster than the average human, there was definitely a dent in his speed and movements.

Then, something hit him, as though he'd been splashed with something. He didn't feel anything actually run into him, but the world no longer made sense. Everywhere he looked, it was like being on a different planet, as much as he told himself everything was normal. He suddenly had no idea where he was, no idea who he was. Blinking, Grey stumbled and teetered backward with awkward steps out from behind the bush. He tried to stumble away, but somehow couldn't make heads or tails of his very plain surroundings. The very ground beneath him seemed to warp and change. The shadows twisted and he could see no path to anywhere. He looked up and saw two figures which triggered him to raise his gun and fire. The bullets whizzed past Kekoa and Seizure, though not without leaving them a little surprised at how close they managed to come.

As she approached him, Seizure looked to Sigma and held up a hand. "Don't!" she said, urgently, knowing her message likely never made it to him, "I've got him. He's got something to do with all of this! We need to keep him alive!" Grey squinted at her and tried to stumble back, firing a few more shots that went erratically past them, their faces suddenly broke the haze and Grey couldn't have stopped himself if he tried.

"N#$%er!" he screamed at Seizure, making her cock an eyebrow in mingled surprise and amusement. The word exploded from him and he could only stumble again, helpless to stop it. He finally tripped over his own feet and barely managed to run through the tangle, trying in vain to get back to the others. It was like running through a tunnel in a funhouse . . . in the twilight zone. Everything should have made sense and yet nothing did and now his face and head were twitching and his mouth was spewing every despicable word for a black person that his mind had in storage.

He stopped when his body seemed to shrivel. His mouth tasted like sand. His breath caught and seemed stuck as though petrified. Grey's vision quickly went from dim to black as he dropped to the ground, his breath coming in shallow, desperate gasps of dry rasping. Kekoa stepped around from behind Seizure, a bubble of pure water hovering about his hand. His face was impassive, blank even as he looked down at the young man who was beginning to convulse on the ground at his feet. The bubble then elongated into a kind of stream which directed itself into the young man's mouth until most of the bubble was gone and the hit man lay still but unconscious on the ground.

Seizure already had her to back to him though, her dark eyes darting around the shadows.

"Don't get too comfortable yet," she said quietly, "there's still two more out there."
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:37 am


Wraith had learned not to take any chances with the gunslinging meta-human and vanished just as quickly as he appeared. Even as Grey flew through the air he managed to squeeze off at least four rounds in his direction and Wraith could feel the bullets rush through his non-corporeal form with deadly accuracy.

"Christ!", Thought Wraith, "I should propel that bastard into the upper atmosphere and drop that sack of shit!"

Wraith was angry. He was actually angry a lot, but he managed to contain it most of the time but once in a while somebody came along that got his goat. Grey was one of those people and usually, despite his best efforts to uphold the law, they ended up a grease spot. He had just about had his fill of this meta's crap and it was time to end it.

Even as Grey was flying haphazardly through the air, forcing his body to react to the turbulent air currents around him, Wraith was upon him. His wind form had hitched a ride on the very gale force blast that he had conjured and as Grey helplessly spun through the air the wind mutant materialized above him. Even the hit man couldn't react to nor predict that his opponent could have moved so fast, but in his ghostly form normal physical laws did not apply to Wraith; laws like inertia and gravity force.

How Wraith wanted to drive his fist, full force into Grey's face but instead he rotated in the air and threw his lower leg hard into his back driving him down to the pavement. The force of the blow literally diverted Grey from his present course causing it to appear as if he dropped out of no where to Seizure's surprise.

The hitman had landed near the docking bay but still had plenty of fight left in him. Wraith watched him from his invisible world, swirling around in the existing air currents around the meta as he dove behind another hedge. A row of shrubberies ran the length wall of whatever box store they were near and the hitman had fell into the white gravel bed of the heavy bushes.

Sigma was closing in, gun drawn and whip ready. As Grey fired a few more rounds in his direction he hit the ground and rolled away like a newspaper in the wind as the bullets ricocheted off the ground mere inches from where he had been. He was up like a shot and trained his weapon on the hitman, who didn't seem to be as spry as he normally was. No matter, thought Sigma, guess the wolf new he was caught. He aimed for the head and squeezed the trigger. That's when, Seizure screamed, "Don't!" and instantly the masked crime fighter and loosened his grip on the trigger but when the meta fired once more at Ayana, Sigma fired.

The shot went wide as Wraith appeared just in time to push his arm aside.

"What the f#$%^ are you doing!" Growled Sigma who was ready to brain the big costumed hero.

Wraith ignored his partner and turned to Seizure. "You better have him." He said, "Otherwise I'm going to let Sigma make some art with his brains. You got me?"

The anger in Wraith's voice was evident. He was done playing around with this character and he was dead serious about finishing him off. The scuff on his forehead of his mask was still visible from where Grey's bullet had struck. If it hadn't been for his reinforced suit, meta-human reflexes and his hard head, he'd be six feet under and that just didn't sit kindly with him.

Sigma and Wraith stood by while Seizure penetrated the hitman's mind. The moment, the telepath lost control, they'd finish this cracker off once and for all but until then they tried to trust in the woman's unseen skills.

It seemed that Grey was under control and both Wraith and Sigma relaxed. They couldn't tell exactly what Kekoa was doing but their attention was diverted by Seizure when they mentioned that their were two more lurking about. At that moment, police sirens could be heard in the distance. Someone or more appropriately, many people, had called the cops. After all, they were having a gunfight in the parking lot of a popular mall across from a well-to-do apartment complex in the suburbs.

"Hey, the party crashers." Announced Sigma as he walked toward his blue Cordoba.

Wraith sighed and looked up at the twin towers across the street. They still had no idea, whether or not they were indeed the location of the array. Looking around, there were many other buildings tall enough to support the equipment necessary to triangulate the signal and with the cops on the way the search would have to wait. He considered flying up right then, but it occurred to him that the array they were looking for wouldn't be fluorescent green with a big neon sign over it saying 'destroy me'. It would blend right in with all the other crap that littered the tops of buildings.

Wraith looked over at the unconscious meta. The secret lied in the mind of that whack-job killer, unfortunately, Seizure wouldn't have the time to fish around his noodle for the answers while the cops were closing in.

"You got him, Kekoa?" Wraith said to the Polynesian-looking man in regards to their prisoner.

Wraith looked over at Seizure. "Well done." He complimented, the anger in his eyes now subsiding. "I really wanted to kill that kid." He commented rubbing his forehead, "Glad you stepped in when you did."

The shitty blue Cordoba pulled up beside Wraith. He opened the heavy door and put a boot inside. The police sirens were growing louder now and Sigma was starting to get a little anxious.

"Com'on, Wraith." He called.

"Give Sigma a call when you learn something. He knows how to reach me.... unfortunately." Wraith joked, "You and Kekoa take care of yourselves."

Wraith got into the car and Sigma peeled out.

_____________________________________________


During the fray the sleek black clad villain had slipped away. By the time, Seizure had learned of her presence she was already heading back up to the penthouse to report what had happened to Snow Angel. They were safe for now, but that freak, Grey Pyre had been captured and that did not bode well for them.

Apex Fusion was very disappointed when heard the news. He had high hopes for the hitman. He would have been quite the asset to Umbra.

"Well, looks like I made a mistake." He admitted to Door Knocker over the phone.

Jenny did not comment. It was enough that Apex would bother to confess to an error on his part, but in truth their leader believed in owning up to one's mistakes.

"What should we do?" Asked Door Knocker.

Apex checked the time on the wall and did some quick calculations in his head.

"Move the array to the secondary location." He instructed, "You'll have an hour to make the transfer. Don't be late."

The first of the morning light was on the horizon now, turning the sky a pale purple as the two woman began to clear out of the penthouse. Moving the array was a quick process, it was the drive that would take some time.
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:02 am


Ayana sat in the back seat as Kekoa drove, her hand hovering over their prisoner's head. The young man was in bad shape. He lay in a twilight, somewhere in between consciousness and unconsciousness, in an uncomfortable looking position diagonal across the back. The young man's weapon lay on the passenger seat along with two bottles of medication they had found in his pockets.

"Hey Kekoa, you may wanna give him a little more, he doesn't look so good," said Seizure as she looked down at Grey Pyre; the hitman was gasping in rasped, shallow breaths and his body was beginning to twitch again, his eyes rolled back in his head. The Polynesian rolled the window down and stuck his hand out towards the water until he held a bubble of pure water hovering above his palm. Ayana silently thanked whoever above for the road being empty. Sometimes she really wondered what planet her partner lived on. Without taking his eyes off of the road, Kekoa transferred the water to his other palm and snaked it around between the front seats. He then glanced in the rear-view mirror to direct it into the hitman's mouth. Grey involuntarily gulped it down, apparently mostly unaware of his surroundings at the moment. "That's enough, thanks," said Ayana. She then resumed her position, digging into his mind. As she relaxed her mind, her body settled into the seat and she fell still.

Images flashed, fuzzy and blurred at first, as though they all ran at once before they separated and replayed. There was a big man with a strange accent that came out warbled in her struggles to dig deeper. She couldn't make out his words but there was a mission, an important one, a dangerous one, and a lot of money. That seemed the most important part in Grey's mind. The dangers to himself, and especially to everyone . . . no . . . not everyone . . . the humans. He didn't seem to care. There was another with him, but Grey didn't seem to care about that either. Grey . . . Pyre . . . Greyson Pyre . . . that was the young man's name . . . so young . . . 25 years-old, and yet his entire life seemed embedded in crime. His personality was so cold, a pure killer . . . and he was good at it . . . She tried to guide and re-direct the floods of thought. She could dig into his life later, for now she needed to know about the big man and the dangerous mission. But the images seemed jumpy, skipping like a scratched disc, as though his brain was interrupting them.

"N#$*@r!" The abrupt shout jolted Seizure back out of his mind and she scowled hard.

"Shut your mouth, you racist jerk!" she snapped only for her scowl to quickly melt into surprise. The man was by no means cognizant enough to even speak any sense let alone insult her so specifically. His head lolled and he seemed to be unconsciously fighting a losing battle to keep his eyes open. They rolled unseeingly around, rolling back into his head every now and then, and periodically squinting with the pain of what was no doubt a serious headache. After another moment, the hitman's head jerked diagonally toward the back of the seat only to lull limply towards his shoulder again.

"Asshole!!" he screamed suddenly, the volume, while drowsy, in no way matching his pitiful looking state. At this, Seizure's eyes widened and she slowly looked up towards the mirror where Kekoa was peering with a furrowed brow.

"Oh my God," she said in a voice that was low with disbelief, "Kekoa . . . you don't think . . . " There was a slight pause before Kekoa shrugged and turned his eyes back to road again until they stopped at a red light.

"I've never seen anyone do that when I took their water away," he said, turning a little to look at the both of them. Seizure seemed to consider this more a moment before she whipped out her cell-phone and hit Sigma's speed-dial button.

"Sigma!" she exclaimed when he answered, "I've gotten a little bit on this guy. He's apparently a low-down criminal to the core, but he's working for someone, I couldn't get a good look at him but he's behind all of this. This punk was part of this lunatic's plan to do . . . something to the humans in this city, I'm not sure what. The images are really weird. They're . . . jerky . . . like static or interference, you know? There's interruptions and I think I know why," she glanced back at the young man again, shaking her head in disbelief before she continued. "Sigma, you're not going to believe this. This guy is an assassin and a meta and . . . and I think he has Tourette's syndrome."
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:35 am


As the blue Cordoba sped toward the streets of southeast Lakeview, Sigma's phone went off. "It's Seizure." he told Devon checking the display before receiving the call.

"Hey, what's up?" He answered and she immediately relayed what she had discovered about their captive villain.

"Well, looks like your little theory is pretty close to the mark." Sigma informed Wraith, "Straight from that bozo's brain, and there's something else. The guy's got Tourette's. Y' know, like that freaky, swearing woman that Rob Schneider was dating in that movie where he's a man-whore."

Wraith just grinned and shook his head. "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo." he replied.

"Yeah. That movie... Y' remember the girl?"

Devon nodded. "Yeah, yeah, I remember, but there's a little bit more to the syndrome."

"She also said the guy's a $%^&ing assassin workin' for the guy who set all this shit up."

Wraith nodded as he forced back a yawn. Things were just starting to get interesting but he was blasted and worse yet he had to work in three hours. A slight smile tugged at the side of Sigma's mouth as Wraith finally began to show signs of fatigue. Lack of sleep was beginning to catch up with him as well but he had been forcing back, awaiting to see when the powerful super-hero would finally break.

"Thanks, Seizure. You guys be careful with that freak now, y' here me. Don't be taken any chances with 'im. Let me know when you find out anything else... great... you take care now... see ya."

"Shit!" Exclaimed Sigma after he ended the call, "What the #$%^ are we supposed to do now?" he asked as the Cordoba pulled up in front of the Sheridan Barry apartment block.

Devon grabbed his duffle bag containing his costume and opened the door. "I'm not sure. All I know is that I need to get some sleep." he said wearily. Stepping out of the car, he closed the door and leaned down looking through the open window.

"Surely the world isn't going to go to hell in the next three hours. I'll talk to ya later."

As Sigma pulled away and continued south toward his garage, Devon trudged up the stairs and unlocked the main doors to the building. He let himself in and made sure that he didn't have any blood or anything else sinister on his person. Waving one last time, Devon shut the door and made his way to apartment 302. He unlocked his door and made a bee-line straight for his bedroom. Tossing his bag aside, he flopped down on his king-size bed and hardly stirred. As Devon slept, little did he suspect that all over the city people were beginning to rise with mild forms of the deformities. In time they would become worse. Right now the mutations that the Humans suffered hardly effected them, but still, not a one would arise and not be able to tell something was wrong with their appearance.

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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:21 am


The sun was slowly creeping up over the city and most people were beginning to stir and stagger out of their beds. Just another typical work day, unfortunately there was nothing typical about this day. Already the emergency rooms were flooded with frantic parents and there now deformed children. Many of them were showing growths on their faces, but eventually the signal would begin to reshape their bones causing permanent damage. Damage which could only be reversed through a series of surgeries, or by taking the antidote that Apex Fusion was prepared to share for a price.


Devon awoke to an annoying, steady droning noise. His eyelids fluttered then opened wide when he realized that the sound was his alarm and he recalled acknowledging it what seemed like hours ago before he fell back asleep.


"Shit!" He exclaimed as the time on his bedside clock came into focus. He was two hours late! His first week and he was already having trouble maintaining a normal nine to five job.

With a wide yawn, Devon threw himself out of bed and made his way to the bathroom. He quickly jumped through the shower, tossed on a towel and headed to the kitchen for a quick breakfast. As he popped a couple of pieces of bread into the toaster the blinking message light on his phone caught his eye. He didn't recall any messages last night and he figured it is was probably work wondering where in the hell he was.

He was incredibly late anyway so Devon didn't see what difference it would make if he took the time to make himself some coffee. He prepared himself a couple of cups, then walked over to this phone and hit the message manager button.

"Devon, this is Doctor Reinhardt. Don't bother coming in today..."

Devon shook his head. Well that didn't sound good at all.

"... I had to rush my kids to the hospital and many of the other staff members had to do the same. There's some kind of deforming virus, I've never seen anything like it. I'll keep you posted."

Devon was glad he was off the hook with work, but what was his boss talking about? Quickly, he ran into the living room and turned on the tv and found that every local channel and even CNN was focused on Chicago. The signal was already effecting the population and the city was in a panic. Not knowing what they're up against the CDC had declared a state of emergency, and FEMA is now in control of the situation. All exits out of the city haven been blocked and the airport shut down. Until they can confirm that the deformities are not viral no one can travel in or out of the city.

"Holy shit!" Was all Devon could utter when it was announced that a meta-human organization calling itself, Umbra had claimed responsibility for the affliction that had begun with the children but would attack all within the next twelve hours.

During an emergency press conference the mayor and head of the Chicago police department revealed that they had been in contact with the leader of Umbra and were currently negotiating their demands. Nothing else was said then of the terrorists that had brought the city to a stand still and Devon could find no other information on any channel. All he could find were interviews that were being conducted with specialists who believed they had the answer to what they were already calling a 'plague'.
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:29 am


Slate wandered into the coffee room that served as his kitchen and poured himself another cup of joe while listening to the TV he had on echoing through the garage bays. A news anchor was reporting the latest on the 'terrorist-plague' and informed the public that the organization known as Umbra is demanding twenty five million dollars in exchange for an antidote that will temporarily negate the effects of the air born toxin that causes deformities in Humans.

Leaning back against the orange countertop, Sigma sipped his black mire and pondered the demands of Umbra, which he himself considered chicken feed in comparison to the magnitude of the situation. Why not a hundred million? Hell, why not a billion? Umbra had a major US city under its thumb and the authorities couldn't do a thing to stop them. Slate doubted that they even realized yet that there was no toxin and it was a signal that was causing the spontaneous deformities to occur.

He also considered the witch hunts that this would bring about. Anyone that didn't develop the deformities would be pegged as a meta, as if their kind wasn't already having any problems maintaining a low profile before. In twelve hours all hell would break loose. It was basic Human nature, Sigma knew it well, just like he knew that the distribution of the antidote would not be a quick process. Priorities would have to be set, clinics organized, all of which would be too slow for Joe Public. Eventually, tempers would start to heat up and when they began to boil over the first thing people would do to ease their frustrations is take out their anxiety on the unaffected portion of the populace who according the news broadcasts would be meta's.

Sigma strolled back into the center bay which had been converted into his work shop and grabbed his phone.

"Hey, Devon. So what's the plan?"

"You hear back from Seizure yet?" Posed Wraith as he considered what their next more should be.

"Nope. Hard to say whether she'll get anything else out of the guy, his brains seem like their pretty scrambled."

"Yeah, maybe." Considered Devon as he stared out of his window, surveying the eeriely quiet, normally busy street below. "I'd suggest we head back to those two towers on the other side of town, but realistically after last night they'd be long gone. They would have relocated the array and by now have probably adjusted the signal so that it's next to impossible to detect."

"$%&#! Aren't we just the optimist this morning." Commented Sigma as he was already doing a cell tower sweep of the city and getting no where, fast.

"Say," mentioned Sigma, "what do you think of Umbra's demands? Seems a little fishy to me, maybe we should try and get our hands on some of that antidote.

"Way ahead of ya." Answered Devon as he surfed the net, searching to see if any clinics had been set up yet.

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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:54 pm


The captured assassin and Seizure were having a glaring contest. Kekoa stood by with the young man's gun, and the drugs and PDA they found in his pocket. One of the containers held vicodin and the other clonadine and from what little Seizure knew about the two, she figured he was telling the truth about the clonadine being what he needed to control his increasing tics. She maintained their distance from him, however and stood over him, handcuffed at the wrists and ankles to a chair. Still, he wasn't talking and it was getting harder and harder to read his mind with the incessant jerks in his waves. Now as she paced across him, she glanced at Kekoa out of the corner of her eye with a quizzical look which he returned an encouraging shake of his head. He knew the look. Her conscience was starting to twinge. By then she had been digging for a couple of hours, keeping the exhausted man up all night, and because of the broken control over what she saw, had begun to see a person within the cold killer. Not to mention, his medicine was completely out of his system and the severity of the young man's disorder was echoing loud and clear.

Both of them had heard every racial slur in the killers' repertoire and Ayana wasn't completely sure one of his body-shaking jerks hadn't injured his arms which were pulled tightly around the back of the chair. She wasn't the tough one. She never was. It was always Sigma's or Zoe's or anyone else's job to do the harsh tormenting questioning. She was just along to read minds. It was against her nature to hurt people unless she had to and even harder when she couldn't escape the lingering humanity in everyone. The downside to probing someone's mind, was you sometimes began to see things their way, see where they were coming from, and whether she agreed with them or not, it was only that much harder to see him as just an evil criminal. Still, their treatment of him was beginning to show benefit. After who-knew-how-long without sleep and the constant ticking that sometimes jerked his whole body and caused him to shout at the top of his lungs, Grey Pyre looked like he would simply collapse to the floor if they were to release his restraints. The closer he got to sleep, the more relaxed his mind would get.

Sighing, Ayana turned to Kekoa, keeping the hitman in her peripheral vision just in case.

"Any luck with that PDA?" she whispered; the Hawaiian shook his head.

"I think It's coded to lock anyone but him out," he replied. Seizure nodded, the disappointment and fatigue showing on her dark face as she turned with disdain back to their captive. "Keep going," said Kekoa with a smile. Ayana nodded and turned to look back at Grey again. The assassin tried to glare at her but ended up making faces, twitching and making sounds instead. He then looked away in tired frustration, his lips tightly shut.

"Look," she said for the umpteenth time that night as she loomed over him and leaned in close to his face, "you've got nowhere else to go and I can see you are suffering." Backing up, she took the clonadine from beside Kekoa and shook it in front of Grey. "I'll give you this if you just tell me who this Umbra is and where they're hiding. Or, you can stay quiet like this twitching and screaming and I can find out anyway." Grey just raised his eyes to her and stared silently for a moment.

"N#*%er bitch..." he muttered finally. Then shouted, "N#%&er bitch! N#@$%er!!" His body jerked painfully and in his exhaustion the young man grimaced but said nothing else. Ayana sighed in frustration and slammed the pills back on the table. They hadn't heard a voluntary word out of him all night. What made her think she would hear any now? Trying to clear her mind of the pain she'd dug up from his childhood, Ayana moved purposefully up to him and tried to hover her hands on either side of his head as another wave of twitching and jerking pulsed through him.

The tall man was in clear focus now . . . and messages from someone extremely fast and extremely impatient and extremely annoying . . . Grey was supposed to meet them . . . the place where they had fought appeared again, superimposed over the quote of a staggering amount of money . . . echoing in her mind, she heard his instructions not for the first time . . . keep the reactor unstable long enough for Highwayman to do his thing . . . she never could quite understand it . . . but how was he keeping a nuclear reactor unstable? And where was that man calling from? That man . . . he ran Umbra . . .

Seizure dug a little further, breathing deeply and trying to sink back into her relaxed state and ignore Grey's tics.

They needed Grey . . . his powers . . . so much potential, they said, that he hadn't used . . .

She gasped when another curtain of fog seemed to clear but kept her mind focused. She was getting closer, she could tell. Forcing herself to stay alert, Seizure focused harder bringing a fatigued whimper from the young man as the images flew before his eyes along with hers.

The man wasn't unknown . . . the name . . . he'd heard it . . . even in New York . . . not the real name, but the code name . . . A . . . Fission . . . Fusion . . . Fusing A . . .ex . . . Apex Fusion!

Seizure severed the connection and Grey's head dropped back over the chair, breathing as hard as she was as she whirled around to look at her partner with widened eyes.

"I got it!" she announced, "first of all, take that PDA out of here! He's the one screwing it up! Second of all, I've got the name! Apex Fusion! Go wake up Zoe and Cassius, I'm going to call Sigma. Zoe should be able to get through that PDA if we can't." Kekoa nodded and headed off to Zoe and Cassius' bedroom while Ayana closed the door to the little room where they kept the captive man and leaned against it, pulling out her cell phone.

"Sigma," she said, "I've got some information for you. First of all, this guy's name is Greyson Pyre and he's been a troublemaker pretty much his entire life for some of the lowest scum of the earth, until this guy, Apex Fusion found him. Apex Fusion . . . I've never heard of him, but apparently, he's in charge of this Umbra place. This guy has the power to disrupt things, machines I think. He was sent into the nuclear reactor to de-stabilize it so that they could use it to project this wave all over the city! He wants to turn all of the humans into metas. This Apex Fusion has an antidote apparently and he's going to use it to control the world. Also, look up Highwayman. Dunno his real name, Grey didn't know it. Grey also doesn't seem to know exactly where this Apex Fusion guy is, but I figured this was a good start." She let out a tired sigh and scratched her head in between the cornrows over her head. "I think that's honestly all I'm gonna get outta him tonight. We're both exhausted. I think I need to get some sleep, but Kekoa's gonna see if Zoe can crack his PDA. If they get anywhere with it, he'll call you."

As she hung up, she started to walk away when she heard "hey" come from behind the door. She paused and furrowed her brow. That was one tic she hadn't heard yet and after all that time alone in the room with him, Ayana was fairly certain she had a rundown of all he had. When she heard it again, louder and more deliberate this time, she cracked open the door and peered cautiously at him.

"What do you want?" she asked coldly.

Grey forced his tired head up to look at her and let a malicious grin slide across his face. "How much you gonna pay for my help?" Ayana furrowed her brow and glared at him.

"What're you talkin' about?" she demanded. Despite looking like he was ready to pass out, Grey let out a low snicker.

"I could go take out Umbra . . . " he rasped, "but only if you make it worth it."
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:45 am


When Slate noticed that he had a message on his phone he opened up another window and started up his video conferencing software so that he could continue conversing with Devon. The program opened up in one of his many other monitors and in moments, Devon had answered his call.

"What's up?" Inquired Wraith.

Slate just held up a finger, turned up the volume on his phone and let Seizure's message play. As they intently listened to the information she relayed, Umbra's plan was starting to come more into focus. Everything she had extracted from Greyson Pyre was accurate with the exception of her assumption that Apex Fusion was attempting to turn Humans into Metas. The hitman's mind was a minefield and even he wasn't sure on the specifics of what the signal did to the populace. His interpretation was close, but in actuality the signal was causing a mutation in Human's that generated deformities if only to strike fear in everyone. A fear that would make them react rashly and eagerly accept the antidote he offered; a serum engineered to fool even the most fastidious of bio-chemists. The plan was to ensure that the population demanded the antidote before any clinical trials, and with the speed at which the signal started to cause permanent damage this would most likely not be a problem. In reality, the signal itself was a diversion and the real goal was to get everyone taking Apex Fusion's bright green coloured serum which was highly addictive and mind numbing. Once the majority of the city was hooked on the serum, Apex would have his control, then would he unleash his true demands.

Once they were done listening to the message, Sigma called Seizure straight away while he was still online with Wraith so he could be in on the conversation.

"Seizure. Sorry to wake you, you're probably exhausted. Great work by the way. You wanna get Zoe to run a background check on Mr. Pyre and while Kekoa's working on the guy's PDA, Wraith and I are going to track down the Highwayman, and follow up on this 'miracle cure' being offered by Umbra."

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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:56 am


The rooftop was vacant. Silhouetted in dawn's golden light a few pigeons waddled along the edge then their carefree morning was disturbed by sudden gust of wind that blew them off the building. A man now stood where a second ago there was nothing, it was the Highwayman and he was breathing hard.

"Alright, last one." Lance said into his hands-free phone as he procured a cell phone sized device from his satchel and approached radio tower.

WIIT, 88.9 FM, the Illinois Institute of Technology's radio station tower was the third and final stop for the speedy meta-human who had been running from location to location as fast as his legs could carry him. Struggling to catch his breath, the Highwayman swore he would never again volunteer his powers to Umbra's cause; he was wiped out! Apex had utilized his talents to help him transfer the signal to more covert sources.

He magnetically adhered the device in a non-descript location on the tower then entered the security code to engage it.

"Code entered." Announced Lance, "You can proceed with the triangulation."

"Thank you." Said Apex from his penthouse apartment and immediately began to transfer the existing signal to its new location.

The idea was to abandon the existing towers which would eventually be traced and transfer to the signal to three existing radio stations in the Chicago area. Once he finished the programming, Apex set in motion a transference that would prevent the signal from being discovered, now no one could interfere with his plans.

"Give me a reading off the regulator." Requested Apex, which Lance promptly offered. "Great," Praised Apex "the signal is strong. Well done Highwayman. Now if you would please return to your tower."

"Why?" Asked Lance, there's nothing there anymore.

"Ah, I know. They are decoy's now and I need you there to maintain the realism."

"Yes, sir." Answered the Highwayman.

Apex Fusion smiled and sat back in his chair. Everything was going according to plan and all he had to do know was to remind the mayor of Chicago of his demands. The signal was now hidden and even the most sophisticated machinery would not be able to differentiate it from the common radio waves. Only he and Lance were aware of the switch, which would make the defenses of his Umbra agents all the more realistic.

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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:56 pm


Kekoa had just barely descended into the basement where Zoe and Cassius often liked to sleep when the PDA lit up and his eyes went wide.

"It was him," said the Hawaiian, holding the PDA up to Zoe who was lighting a cigarette and peering over at him. "The password is Greyson Pyre," said Kekoa with a calm smile. Another set of footsteps made all of them jump to attention only to relax when Seizure emerged, dark circles enshrouding her eyes.


"I just talked to Wraith," she said, "he's going to go check out some of the stuff I pulled out of our little prisoner's head. In the meantime, Killswitch, see if you can dig up anything on him." Killswitch immediately turned and started on the computer, a stream of gray-blue smoke drifting over her head. Seizure sighed and rubbed her eyes. "I'm not sure I can spend too much more time around that guy," she said, "it's hard, when you're in someone's head, not to see them as . . . you know . . . people. He just tried to buy me off, offering to kill his own boss." She sighed again, rubbing her exhausted eyes. "I don't know, the fact that I even listened to what he said kind of worried me."

"Go to bed, Seizure," said Zoe, "you did fine." Seizure sighed, letting a relieved smile cross over her.

"Someone definitely needs to stand guard over him though," Seizure added, "I don't trust him. There could be more to his--."

"It's covered, Seizure," Zoe cut across her. Now Seizure peered over at her and Zoe managed to pull her eyes from the screen long enough to glance back at her. "We sent the Helen Keller kid to watch him." Seizure blinked at her, not quite sure if she should laugh or what.

"You . . . you sent a deaf-blind kid to guard an assassin?" she asked. Zoe didn't respond but Cassius laughed.

"That dude can handle himself, no prob," said Cassius, "worry not, dudette, go get some slumber."

Seizure blinked for a moment before she decided to just trust them and turn to head drowsily to bed.

Meanwhile, Zoe had already pulled up Grey's personal files from childhood to present and was dialing Wraith on the computer's phone.

"Wraith, it's Killswitch. I've got information on this Grey Pyre guy. He's been a real contribution to society his whole life. He's got all kinds of arrests for basic stuff. Drugs, assault, theft. Nothing really special. No murder charges, so he's gotta be good at what he does. The last record is from about 5 years-ago when he was ordered into rehab and never showed. I'm guessing that's about when he started doing the big time stuff because there's nothing until he was reported by some low-level organized crime boss as a meta and now he's on RAID's watch list. Only thing that's really interesting here is he's the son of Stan and Natasha Pyre, you know, the entrepreneurs? They own ComCo. That company makes and distributes everything from shampoo to power tools. They're f#*%in' millionaires. From what it looks like, their 6 other kids are all on the straight and narrow. Just twitchy up there I guess went sour."

She listened for a little while, nodding unnecessarily until she was about to hang up when she noticed Kekoa approaching and holding out his hand to wait.

"Hold on," said Zoe through the cigarette between her lips, "Kekoa wants to tell you something." She pushed the rolling chair away from the computer so Kekoa could move up to the mic.

"I got the PDA working," he said, "the password is Greyson Pyre. It's got all of the plans in it."

"WHAT?!" Zoe exclaimed, rushing over and snatching it out of his hand. Kekoa's face remained impassive and his voice betrayed nothing in the way of his thoughts or feelings on the whole thing.

"Just thought you'd like to know," he said and hung up.
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:38 am


Later that morning the President of the United States made a formal address on the situation in Chicago. He dwelled for a time on the 'meta-human' issue but in the end he did not point the finger at them, a wise move since America was not ready to wage an all out war against the metas. It was widely suspected that their numbers vastly surpassed the census and already the immoral and the weak-minded were everyday creating witch hunts if only to serve their own agenda. The last thing the government wanted on their hands was the blood of an innocent child wrongly accused and killed for being different. Their country had already endured such ignorance in the 50's and 60's and less they forget those children and honest, hard working people, murdered for the color of their skin. Were they walking down the same path yet again? The President at long last spoke his mind before a nation and beckoned his people to take the path less traveled

Already some of the adults were showing signs of the deformities. Right on national TV, during a live broadcast a pretty, young broad caster actually began to transform right before the eyes of the country. Her forehead began to grotesquely grow and the right side of her face began to sag. The station cut the feed but it was too late. If people were not already beginning to panic, the sight of the newscaster transforming on the air most certainly pushed them over the edge.


"Ladies and gentlemen," Birkshire began as he paraded around the room carrying a syringe containing the bright green antidote to Umbra's plague, "Experts have tested the serum and can verify without a doubt that it is an antidote to this plague that is effecting Chicago. Unfortunately, many tests are yet inconclusive as they require a twenty-four hour period to yield results."

The tall black man stopped before a table and stared down at the agent seated before him. She was already beginning to show signs of the plague, even though they had been in RAID's environmentally controlled sub-levels of their Chicago field office building since the early morning. He twirled the syringe in his fingers as he unsympathetically observed her.

"It would seem that what ever this plague is, this facility which has been designed to safeguard against all manner of outbreaks has not spared us. Each of you have been granted a dose of the antidote. Use it at your own discretion and those of you with families may apply to agent Barnsby for additional vials after the briefing.

"We the members R.A.I.D. and the F.B.I. have been assembled here for one purpose and one alone. To locate and destroy Umbra. Now, currently our biggest leads in the case lie with these two unregistered meta-humans."

Birkshire moved to the side of the large screen he was standing in front of and the images of Wraith and Sigma Seventeen appeared.

"We are all aware who these men are and the crimes they have committed." Continued Birkshire, "Currently they are our prime suspects for the leadership of Umbra. Director Adams and myself will oversee the entire operation from here. You have already received your assignments and I urge you to follow them. Local law enforcement will see to the citizens and I cannot stress how important it is that all you concentrate at the task at hand. Thank you."


Henkel pushed his chair back and leaned forward as he tucked his syringe in his breast pocket. Quickly checking his face in the reflective surface of the glossy black table he was relieved that wasn't showing any signs yet. While the deformities were only supposed to be cosmetic, Henkel had heard that some of their doctors speculated that the malformations might internalize, thus causing serious health issues. Whether or not this was part of Umbra's plan couldn't be known at the time, but so far they had not alluded to the plague symptoms being lethal, just deforming of one's appearance.


"Guess you won't bee needin' one of these, hey Garret." Stated Jameson holding up his syringe in front of the registered meta-human, "Membership has its privileges."


"Just what the $#@& is that supposed to mean, Jameson!" Snapped Garret, aggressively stepping toward the smaller man.

Henkel stepped between them and gave Garret a light shove back. "Jeezuz Christ! We're on the same team here!" he growled, "Garret cool off! And Jameson... stop being an asshole! If its possible."

Birkshire paused for a moment before exiting the room and cast his eyes toward Jameson. He immediately took note of the Supervising R.A.I.D. agent's interest in their situation and fell in line. "Yeah, I got ya." he complied.

"This is exactly what the President's speech was about. Now you two keep it together." Henkel continued to lecture, "Now, let's get outta here and try and track down these 'masks'. I'm pretty sure they're not Umbra, but I'm betting they now how to find them."

_________________________________________________________________


"WHAT?!" Shouted Wraith almost in unison with Zoe, "No, no, no... Kekoa!"

The line went dead and he knew better than to try and call back too soon. The lines were secure but too much activity could still compromise the silence and R.A.I.D. was always listening, probably twice as hard at the moment considering the meta-human caused plague and all.

"Shit!" Devon silently cursed. Change of plans.

He and Sigma were both in plain clothes, checking out one of the clinics that had been set up downtown. Already the lines were down the street and security was tight. Well armed cops were everywhere, dressed in riot control armor and carrying high powered rifles. Some, R.A.I.D. agents and enforcers were present, but obviously they were spread thin throughout the city.

"Kekoa cracked that psycho's PDA." Devon told Sigma.


"So what's the scoop?"

"Nothing yet. Zoe ended the call for some reason, so I'm heading down there. You concentrate on getting a sample of that antidote."

Slate nodded.

"And watch your ass, eh? It's getting nuts around here." Mentioned Devon, alluding to the few skirmishes that had broken out in the lines.

"Desperation makes monsters." Replied Slate unsympathetically, but of course he couldn't empathize with the people, or anyone, not really.

Devon nodded and made his way back to his apartment via public transit. During his ride home, he pondered what exactly, Sigma meant but then he just chalked it up to the fact that the guy was creepy. He trusted him, but the guy was definitely a little off and not in a good way. Wraith had heard the stories of Sigma Seventeen, the serial killing vigilante and had always wondered if they were exaggerated by R.A.I.D. in order to generate fear in those who might sympathize with his cause. Now that he had gotten to know the guy he still wasn't sure but he was leaning toward the fact that there was some validity to the rumors.

An hour later, Devon was back at his apartment.


He threw on his costume and filled a bag with a change of clothes. He then strapped it round his body nice and tight then headed for Green Street. He traveled by wind form and caught a fast current of air that took him quickly to the underground base. A little over half of an hour later, Wraith knocked on the North door and was buzzed in by whom ever was monitoring the security cameras, Zoe he guessed.

Wraith made his way through the common area and stopped in the kitchen to grab himself a gatorade out of the fridge. As he drank it down, he considered checking on Greyson Pyre who he assumed was in one of their two prison cells near the East door passage. Where ever they had him, Wraith prayed they had that nut-job locked up tight.

Wraith made his way down to Zoe's dungeon and rapped heavily on the door.

"Hey Killswitch, its Wraith."

Once more the door remotely unlocked, and Wraith entered a stairwell with several landings descended downward into Zoe's computer underworld. Wishing to save some time, Wraith leaped over the railing and lightly descended down through the open area in the middle of the stairways. There he found, Kekoa and walked straight for him.

"Good work on cracking Pyres, data-assitant. So where's, Zoe by the way? I am assuming she has the unit. You wouldn't believe it out there. Its getting scary, people are getting ready to blow."
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:11 am


Slate waited in line for his ration of the serum. For this first round of the antidote the federal government was picking up the tab and all doses thereafter would come out of the pockets of the private citizen, because of this everyone and there dog had lined up. It was some time before Slate could even see the end of the line and during his wait, he had seen three fights break out as tempers got over heated. People were angry, and rightly so, Slate figured but instead of turning that rage into something positive they were beginning to turn on one another. Like rats fleeing a fire, the citizens of Chicago were attacking one another if only to ensure that they got what they needed.

When Slate got a good look at the tent they were headed toward he spied a medical technician drawing blood samples before administering the antidote; no vials were being given out. This wasn't good. One, Slate had a feeling that R.A.I.D. was taking advantage of the outbreak to run a city wide screen on meta-humans (could they sink any lower?) and two, he wasn't sure what kind of effect an antidote meant for humans would have on him. It was definitely time to bow out of line and come up with another plan.

"Why ya steppin' outta line? We're almost there. Not afraid of a little needle are ya?" Asked a rather attractive woman with a playful smile.

She had been behind him the entire time but he hadn't really noticed her, but now recall those few times she attempted to make eye contact while he scanned the crowd for plain-clothed officers. Slate really didn't have time for such non-sense, not that he ever did. Interacting with a 'normal' woman was simply out of the question and so the crime fighter did not even acknowledge them.

"Don't try and be a hero, man. You should get the shot." Recommended another man in line who had over heard the woman and thought to make Slate's retreat his business.

"I'm good." Slate assured them as he turned away. Only he didn't it make it two steps before another man, this one somewhat larger and more rough and tumble barred his way.

"Hold it a second there." He ordered, holding a hand up to Slate's chest, "We're ALL infected here, why in the hell would someone up and cut out of line when they're only twenty or so people away from the shot?"

"Yeah!" Seconded the young attractive woman.

Shit! Slate thought to himself. The situation was suddenly becoming intense. His eyes flashed toward the tent, focusing on the R.A.I.D. and Chicago Police officers. Making a scene would not be in his best interest, he had to get away without attracting attention which shouldn't be hard.

"Look, I forgot something and its real important. That's all." Offered Slate with the best warm smile he could muster.

"What the #$%^ could be more important than this numb-nuts?" Questioned the larger man who for some reason was getting agitated.

"Hey, I don't want any trouble." Peacefully requested Slate.

"Well you found it." Stated the man, "Y'know something else. You don't seem sick at all."

Slate could see where he was going with this. These people were afraid and so often as animals do not distinguish between fear and pain they were lashing out to subdue it.

"Hey, there's a lot of people around here who look just fine." Slate stated the obvious.

"Yeah, but they don't seem as calm as you."

Slate considered trying to explain to the man that a psychopathic mind just doesn't react to things the same as normal Humans but some or another he didn't feet that go over very well.

"In fact, there's something different about you, boy." Growled the man as he shoved Slate back.

As soon as the man touched him, something snapped inside of Sigma. Nobody pushes him! At that moment, he didn't care anything about the cops and couldn't care less about all the people desperately waiting in line, all he wanted was to get away. He was sick of being around the crowds, all he wanted to was get out! Before he could stop himself, Slate grabbed the man's wrist and twisted, putting him down to his knees, then brought his knee up and knocked the taller man on his ass.

"He's a meta!" Screamed another man who had been observing the argument and without thinking, Slate drove his palm in the squealer's chest and threw the man into the air.

Two R.A.I.D. officers looked out into the crowd and watched as an average sized man was sailing though the air. He flew a good twenty feet from a hit that a person of Slate's build just should not have the strength to perform. Instantly they recognized the heightened strength, and began to make there way through the crowed to get to Slate.
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:59 pm



As Slate began clearing his path to get away from the crowd he was being observed by someone he likely had never thought would be watching him. Jennifer Milan happened to be in the crowd that had gathered outside the tent but she wasn’t dressed like she normally looked in her personal life or her alter ego. She was wearing her hair pulled into a floppy hat, black rimmed glasses that screamed “nerd” and baggy, mis-fitting clothes and hardly any makeup. She looked like she belonged there instead of doing any kind of investigating. Like Slate and Wraith, she had her suspicions and she wanted to look for herself. What she saw when she reached the inoculation area was nothing short of controlled chaos. This whole thing reeked of RAID.

As she heard the sound of a heated argument happening near her, she turned to see what was happening. As soon as the others started accusing the man of being a meta, she watched in amazement as he started clearing a path to get away from the people. Quickly assessing the situation she saw how the RAID officers began to make their way towards the area and knew things were going to get bad real fast.

Pushing her way towards the man she sent a few people backwards until she finally ended up next to him. He turned to get her out of his way as well and her eyes grew wide and she quickly put her hands up to pretend surrender.

”Don’t hurt me! I’m here to help! Come with me….I can lead you out of here. I swear”

She saw the doubt in his eyes and without thinking she reached out and grabbed a hold of his hand and tugged him away from the crowd and away from the RAID officers. When he started following on his own she let go of his hand and started leading him through the throng of people, shoving them out of their way roughly.

Glancing over her shoulder to see where the RAID was and make sure Slate was still behind her, she kept moving them away from the crowd and RAID. Jorge was waiting for her a few blocks over. All they had to do was reach the jeep and get the hell away from here.

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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:09 am


'What a loud of crap!' Slate thought to himself as the angry mob converged on him. The fear of the meta-made plague had fueled their hatred for his kind and average men and women — family people, were venting their frustrations on the suspected mutant. Most of them weren't even sure he was a meta, but they didn't care, that was mob mentality and it was catching.

Slate expertly dodged and defended against their feeble attempts to grapple or strike him. Maybe if any of them actually had any fight experience they might have gotten close but as it were he easily avoided their punches. That is, until they began to close in and trap him. When the circle began to shrink, Slate had had enough. Bodies began to fly and he didn't discriminate. First, he tossed a tattooed biker through a wall of weekend warriors. Next, he socked an irate soccer mom right on the mouth then threw her into the crowd. Usually, Slate didn't feel much from inflicting pain but for some reason that one felt good.

The boys in black and cops were getting closer. It was time to high-tail it, but dammit if he wasn't tangled up in one angry mob. It was going to be close. He had to fight his way clear before, the R.A.I.D. enforcers got involved. Those boys knew how to fight, and with so many distractions around it was too risky to tangle with them.

Right about the time that Slate was about to resort to pulling out his whip and start hacking his way though the crowd (a move that would definitely betray his identity) some tall woman got up in his face. She looked like the poster girl for Value Village. Perhaps she believed that her outfit would protect her out of sheer pity, but she was wrong. He reached out to throw her out of the way and that was when she started spouting something about leading him out of the mob.

"Look, lady. I need more on my side right now than bad fashion sense." Slate told her.

When she took his hand, Slate tried to resist, but damn she was strong! That alone, prompted him to follow and as he trailed behind the woman smoothly plowed through the crowd, like an ice-breaker through a frozen sea.

Soon, the mob had dispersed and left the chasing up to the professionals. Three enforcers and four cops maintained the pursuit but they found themselves lagging behind when the two meta-humans stretched their legs. They both moved well, a trait one could chalk up to being athletic, but Slate of course knew better. As he and the stranger sprinted down an alley that took them onto a side street a few blocks away from the temporary clinic they had just about lost their pursuers.

Slate slowed up. He noted that the woman seemed to be focusing on one of the vehicles just down the block. There were three and he figured she was heading for the jeep as she just didn't seem like the type to drive a Camry or a Civic.

"Look. Thanks for the help, but this is were I get off." Said Slate as he looked back the way they came, searching for any signs of R.A.I.D. or the police. "People are going freaking nuts over this plague!" He added while he touched his hand to his bloody lip, checking it as he looked back to the tall, unfortunately dressed woman.

"Can't believe they thought I was a meta. Can you believe that?" Grumbled Slate thinking it best to maintain his cover. He had no idea who this person was and the crime-fighter didn't trust anyone.

"You better get the hell outta here. I heard these guys don't give up easy and they'll probably charge you with aiding and abetting, or some crap like that. Hell, these jokers would probably toss me in jail just for lookin' so good." Joked Slate, cracking a small smile with his busted lip.

Slate felt it was for the best they parted ways. The woman might be a meta, she was certainly stronger than average but truth be told he really didn't care. All he wanted was to get a sample of that antidote, but it would be twice as heavily guarded now. He was damn curious to see what, Doc would learn from a sample, so he guessed that he would have to risk hitting another clinic. First, though, he had have to get back to his car which was parked a good ten blocks in the opposite direction from where they had come. The area was going to be crawling with cops and he wasn't looking forward to hoofing it back.
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:10 am



Jennifer wanted to smirk at the man for his comments but she held herself in check. Any trait she would normally show in her alter ego would surely give her away and that was the last thing she wanted. As he reasoned with her about leaving the area and parting ways, she wasn’t about to change his mind, however, she would try to reason with him, if possible.

”Yeah, well, they can’t charge me if they can’t find me now can they? Or you for that matter. And you stick out like a sore thumb with that busted lip and ripped shirt. Look, just jump in the jeep and you’ll be dropped off where ever you want. Honest. Consider it my good deed for the month. Especially considering I could easily make things really difficult for you right now. C’mon. What have ya got to lose? Except….oh….your freedom? I’ll have ya dropped off where ever ya wanna be dropped off at. Scouts honor”

Crossing her heart and holding up her index and middle finger in the Girls Scout honor symbol, she quirked a brow to see what he would do. She loved playing this card. It was one of the things that gave her something to smile about. Even now the corners of her mouth tilted up in a small grin as she knew she had the upper hand. Of course it was totally up to him to accept her help or not but she was swaying more on the side of at least a begrudging acceptance. Even as she opened the back door to let him see there was an empty back seat and a dark haired driver with dark sunglasses on looking straight ahead.

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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:26 am


Slate had to admit the woman had a point. His bloodied face and tattered shirt would raise suspicions and he wasn't in the mood to have to fight his way the entire ten blocks to his car.

"You don't look much like a Scout, but I'll hold ya to it anyway." Said Slate as he scanned the back seat of the jeep for anything out of the ordinary. If there was something out of place he'd know it. He was a meticulous mechanic and had trained himself (or at least he believed he must have been trained) to be observant at all times.

The coast looked clear, and so Slate decided to take this stranger up on her offer. That's where he had parked his Lexus. Slate never drove the Cordoba, unless he was on official 'Sigma' business. To maintain a secret identity one couldn't let the lines fade, they had to be kept bold and defined. A lesson that he would have to clue Wraith in on.

Slate took one last pause if only let the woman know that he really didn't need her help, but since she was offering saw no reason not to take advantage of it. Leaning in, he glanced over at the driver. The man just sat there like a robot; a chauffeur or some kind of assistant, Sigma figured. Now what the hell kind of woman has a man drive her around in a jeep?

Slate looked back over his shoulder, let his eyes wander to the street then back to the woman and finally spoke. "Drop me off on 29th, by McGuane Park." Gruffly requested Slate as if he were stepping into a taxi.

He made himself comfortable, nonchalantly looking around at the interior.

"Nice jeep. Hybrid?" He commented, just to make small talk and put the woman and her driver more at ease. Slate was always ready for a fight and had learned to live with his paranoia. He always made sure to take the proper precautions, such as busying people with mindless conversation while he studied his surroundings. He sure as shit didn't care whether or not the vehicle was a hybrid but it was a typical yuppie question and it made him seem more like your typical citizen, at least through his skewed perception. Play the role. That's all, Slate did, everything he said was a series of planned moves, simple gestures that the typical person took for granted, but for a psychopath they were as foreign as Antarctica.

He didn't offer a name. Slate usually waited until he was queued for it. If he didn't have to provide an identity he didn't, but the crime-fighter always had an alias in his back pocket.

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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:01 pm



“Something like that, yeah.”


Jennifer grinned when the guy finally got into the jeep. Knowing Jorge heard where he needed to go, she glanced behind them as the jeep pulled away and was glad to see the RAID officers turn the corner when they were a few yards away. With a smirk, she turned around and sat back low in the seat and let out a heavy sigh. As the jeep rumbled down the street, she looked over at him.

I never said I was a Scout. I simply gave a Scout’s honor. What the hell happened back there? It was like you just started freaking out. Needless to say, I don’t think that was a good way to get on any ones good side. You might wanna try a little m ore diplomacy next time. Then again, if you try to show up at that place again, RAID will be on you like stink on shit. But hey….you don’t need me to tell you that.”

The jeep took a few turns and the driver didn’t seem to look in the rearview mirror. Not that it was obvious anyway. Still, Jorge drove the vehicle at the posted speed limit and never once made any erratic moves of any kind. In a matter of a few more minutes, the jeep pulled up to 29th Street by McGuane Park and came to a rest. Raising her head and peering out the windows, Jennifer realized they had reached the destination the man requested.

”Well….looks like this is where you get off. Try to place nice with all the other kiddies, hm? It would make things much easier for you in the long run.”

She paused a moment then started laughing.

”Who am I kidding? Anyway…..you’re welcome.”

____________________________________________________________________________________
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:21 am


If Wraith went completely by Kekoa's face, he would have thought that the young man either didn't care or didn't understand what he had said. He looked back at Wraith, impassive, his dark eyes glistening with a slightly distant expression as always before he responded.

"I bet it's interesting," then he turned to look towards the room where the security cameras were kept and said "Killswitch is in there. She has the PDA. Interesting plan those Umbra people have." He then turned and led Wraith unnecessarily across the room and reached up to knock only to stop midair when the door opened in front of him. If Kekoa was at all startled, he gave outward sign. "Wraith's here," he reported.

"I know," said Zoe coldly, "go check on our captive. Make sure he's still alive. I don't think it's been fed yet." With a quick nod, Kekoa turned and floated off back up the stairs, disappearing into the main part of the base. "I swear there's something wrong with that guy," Zoe muttered, looking after him and shaking his head before she sighed. "But I guess he gets the job done. Anyway, take a look at this." She reached into the tiny room illuminated only by a computer screen and brought out the PDA and handed it to Wraith, letting him examine it as she explained. "Apparently Umbra is led by this Apex Fusion guy. He somehow managed to use the nuclear reactor with the help of Twitchy up there to send a wave all over the city that's causing all the humans to become deformed. Dominic's basically in lock-down down here and he seems to have escaped it so long as he stays underground. This Apex Fusion guy has the antidote and he's basically going to sell it to the whole population. Not only is it temporary so you have to keep it up, but it's addictive." Zoe paused, glancing up into the big man's face with her cold eyes. "He's basically managed to control the whole city."

She waited another few minutes for his input before she sighed and lit a cigarette.

"So you wanna try digging around in this punk's head in between Seizure's probes?"
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Grey wasn't sure how many times he passed out tied to the chair, but he must have managed to build up some accumulation of sleep as he was at least conscious. His entire body ached from being stuck in the chair for so long, not to mention his own body's undying attempts to jerk and twitch even while restrained. Sighing, he shook his head and blinked over at the kid they'd parked in front of the door. He was sitting with a book in his lap but didn't seem to be looking at it, just rubbing the pages and doing this weird little sway with his head.

"Freak!" Grey shouted uncontrollably. The kid didn't move. Blinking and sniffing, Grey's eyes quickly found the little bottles sitting beside the kid on the table. Fixing there, his mouth almost watered and he almost uncontrollably shifted in his chair trying to get at them. His muscles ached but also seemed to crawl, as though they were so desperate to move that they had begun to beneath his skin. Sniffing again, Grey twisted his neck to wipe his nose on his shirt and some of the sweat that had begun to bead on his upper lip. "Hey," he said finally, nodding to the kid with the book. "Hey, you." The kid didn't move and Grey felt irritation immediately swell in him. "Hey! What're you deaf? I'm talkin' to you!" When there was no other reaction, the hitman had to conclude that he was just a huge asshole and proceeded. "Hey, you see those bottles over there! Bring me the one on the left! . . . Hey! You get it? What're you -- ASS!-- retarded or somethin'?"

Leaning forward in the chair, Greyson glared at the kid waiting for some kind of response. His skin was moist with sweat and yet his spine seemed to quiver with chills. His eyes ticked back and forth between the kid in the chair and the bottle on the table so quickly it was a wonder he could focus on either of them. When the freak with the book remained engrossed in rubbing the pages, it became that the only thing he wanted close to as much as the bottle of Vicodin was to kill this asshole. The chair jerked forward as Grey tried to lunge at him. His face and head jerked and the ache in his muscles seemed to worsen with every minute.

"Hey you asshole! Gimme that bottle! F#$(! Shit!" The chair rattled again as he tried to move forward but Seizure and Kekoa had taken the added protection of shackling it to two metal rings bolted into the wall. The tics weren't helping the restless quiver in Grey's muscles nor the growing ache in his body. He didn't remember the last time he'd gone this long without Vicodin, all he knew was that it was all he wanted. If they never fed him again, he didn't care, he just needed those precious blue pills.

Grey was too busy obsessing over it to see the tiny curl in the corner of Shawn's mouth. The floor had become a chaotic rumble at his feet with waves of increasingly panicked pounding emanating up through his legs and spreading over his body. He found himself drifting away from the words of his teachers that penetrated from his fingertips and getting more and more lost in the sheer amusement of the other side of the room. Shawn didn't expect to find babysitting the twitching freak to be quite this fun.

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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:40 am

Tim pulled into Tee Pee Motel, just across the Oklahoma / Texas state line. He checked in and went to his room. As he passed the small television on the dresser, he turned it on and then went to the small bathroom. Hearing the news of the incidents in Chicago, Tim came out of the bathroom and sat down on the bed. Staring at the small screen he said to himself "Well shit that ain't good, an it sure as hell puts smoke in the hornets nest." Tim reched in his back pack and removed a cell phone. Tim dialed a number in Naples, Florida that dialed a number in San Diego, that dialed a number in Charleston, South Carolina, that dialed a number in New Olreans, Louisiana that dialed the Dallas Police Department Narcotics Division.


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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:19 pm


Sitting in the back seat with the woman, Slate was silent. He only slightly smirked when she took the time to make the distinction between being a Scout and taking their oath. She was right in her assessment though. He couldn't go back, but there were other clinics through the city, unfortunately his description was probably being circulated through RAID at that very moment. Damn, if he hadn't royally screwed up.

Glancing out the window he saw McGuane park, and there down at the end of 29th street he could see his car amidst many others.

Slate grabbed the handle, opened the door and stepped out and looked over his shoulder, "Thanks for the lift." The words rolled off his tongue like sand.

Slate thrust his hands into his pockets and made his way to the sidewalk. He stood by some later model car until the jeep pulled away and only then did he proceed down the street to his black Lexus. As he opened the door to the sedan, Slate felt there was something familiar about that woman but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. He'd seen her some place before though, he was certain of it.

Slate eased back into the plush leather seat. The car was definitely not his style, but then he really didn't have one. The car was an extension of one of his more popular identities, it definitely suited R.A.I.D. agent Carter Wilks.

_________________________________________________


Wraith didn't know quite what to make of Kekoa. Hell most meta's were nuts and those that weren't definitely had their quirks. Zoe was a perfect example, although he was pretty sure she might fit into the other category.

As Killswitch gave him the 'Coles notes' version, Wraith looked through the information on the PDA himself. The first thing he checked was the address book. Blank. Probably would have been the first thing the cyber-kinetic would have went after, and Wraith could rest assured that if there was anything in the device that could lead them to Apex Fusion she would have found it.

What he was interested in was the way the signal worked. It was all there, but why? Why would Apex have provided this dough-head hit man with the blue prints to his master plan? Unless the guy believed that what was set in motion could not be stopped, but already several holes had been revealed. What was Apex up to?

Wraith's theory had been near the mark. The data revealed that a triangulated network of three arrays generated the mutating signal. In order to get it all to work they needed a massive power boost, which was provided by the nuclear plant. They had to temporary destabilize the reactor to do this and that's where ol' 'twitch and shoot' came in. Somehow he could mess with machinery and used this ability to provide a window for one of the fastest meta's alive, the Highwayman. He installed something in the reactor that allowed them to siphon power, bounce it off a satellite and feed the array. Once set in motion the power supply was no longer required, the array only perpetuated the signal. Holy crap! It was needlessly complicated, Wraith considered, there had to be something else to this! Where the hell was Slate with that serum, that was one of the puzzle pieces. Why was it so addictive? Wraith had to know.

"So you wanna try digging around in this punk's head in between Seizure's probes?"

The request pulled Wraith out of his own thought, not because he was particularly interested in interrogating the murderous hitman, but simply because Zoe had extended an invitation.

Smiling at his own little musing, Wraith shook his head. "I'm good. I've no patience for such things. Personally, I think you should dump that punk with the rest of the garbage."

Wraith held up the PDA, "This is all I need. There's also a complete chemical break down of the serum on this, which I suspect is a phony. Still it'll give me a leg up, all I need is a sample of the antidote.

"This generated signal is quickly producing Proteus Syndrome in humans. The syndrome that some doctor's believe that Joseph Merrick suffered from. According to what's on this its only a matter of time before Cassius succumbs to the effects. The signal penetrates everything its just a matter of range, but layers of rock do slow it down, which is why it's taking longer in his case."

If Zoe was emotionally disturbed by this news it didn't show. It wouldn't, but that Wraith still kicked himself for informing the girl so coldly. "Hey, I'm sorry about —"

At that moment, Wraith's phone rang and he quickly retrieved it from the form fitting belt pouch in his costume. The specially designed phone was unlike anything on the market, a gift from Beacon long ago. A PDA with no magnetized metal in it that would countermand Wraith's dematerialization.

"I gotta take this." Wraith said to Zoe in a tone that denoted it was a personal call.

The costumed crime fighter put the phone to his ear and walked out of the room to speak with his boss. "Yes, Doctor Reinhardt. How are things going?"

"Devon. How are you doing? How are you faring this 'plague'?" Asked his boss.

"I'm doing well." Answered Wraith truthfully. By his calculations it was realistic that a good portion of the population was not yet suffering the effects of the plague and why couldn't he be one of those people.

"That's great to hear! Look, I need you to do something for me and I need you to keep a low profile on this."

Devon could tell by Reinhardt's tone that this was serious. "What ever you need." He said without hesitation.

"Good. Good, that's great news. You're the only person I can turn to on this, everyone else has been... well... overwhelmed by all of this."

"Understandable."

"So, I need you to get to the lab. I've acquired a sample of the serum, don't ask me how, but I got it. I want you to analyze it. Rip it apart and find a way to replicate it. Those bastards working for the government say it can't be reproduced from a sample, but I say that's bullshit! Get there as fast as you can, Krystal's on her way already, seems she's as resilient as you. She has the sample."

"On my way."

"I can't thank you enough, Devon, and be careful. You see any 'men in black' poking around destroy the samples and deny everything. Good luck."

Wraith couldn't believe it. A sample dropped right in his hands. He had to go.

"Zoe." He called, "I have a sample of the serum, I gotta jet." And Wraith literally did. He flew straight up the stairwell and only when he outside of the base in the secret tunnel to give Sigma a call.

_________________________________________________

Slate still hadn't moved. He was just leaning back in his seat, thinking, when his phone went off. "Yeah." he answered.

"Did you get a sample?" Asked Wraith excitedly.

"No." Groaned Sigma.

"Well, I got one. Meet me at my apartment pronto!"

Wraith hung up, dematerialized and headed out. He would make a quick stop at his apartment to change then he figured he'd take Slate with him to work. Just in case.
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:15 pm

On the third ring a voice came on the line Tim was using "Narcotics, Valdez here, talk to me." Tim said "Valdez .... dial 202-753-6789." he then hung up.

Seargent Valdez, help the phone to his ear for a moment before hanging it up, the muttered "Well I'll be a son of a bitch." He then stood up, grabbed his jacket and sighned out. Went down to the garage and climbed in his unmarked Dodge Charger and sped out of the police gargage, north down Ervay, turned right on Wood, left on Pear and north down US 75. He then turned east on Royal to the Silver Spur Lounge, where he parked, got out and walked inside. Valdez sat at the bar for about twenty minuites, he then went to a pay phone and dialed the Circle T Ranch in Arnet.


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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:49 am


F.B.I. agent Kaleb Mitchell slid the hotel keycard in and out and opened the door to his room. Not exactly home sweet home, but he'd come to appreciate it after a day in the field. This bloody investigation was getting ridiculous, but Henkel was the one calling the shots and so long as he told him to maintain surveillance that's what he was going to do — just him. Mitchell had lost his team, the bureau couldn't justify allowing six men to continue staking out a suspected 'federal criminal' (that's what Henkel called the Chameleon and Cowboy in order to ensure that they were in his jurisdiction) and so he was on his own until such time as he needed back-up.

Kaleb missed his suits and his Rockports. Jeans and t-shirt were comfortable, but he kind of liked dressing the part and blending in with Lubbock was getting old pretty fast. Of course, he didn't spend much time seeing the sights, every day he was out driving to each of his check points where he could spy on the Timbles and Wrangler's place from a safe distance and use his audio amplification device to listen in. The sound device worked well, but it was reliant on good weather conditions, and the wind out there was merciless. He had previously installed micro-camera's around the two areas, but audio had been problem in the beginning due to Henry's vigilant watch for coyotes. Finally, though, even he went to sleep allowing Mitchell to install a few sound device around the ranch, but nothing in the house.

After a shower, Kaleb threw on a clean t-shirt and a pair of Texas Longhorn sweat pants, not that he was a fan, the hotel store just didn't seem have anything else and they made him seem more local. He flopped down on the bed and turned on the TV with the intention of watching something mindless and not checking on any of his remote monitors. As he browsed through the channels he came across the latest news on the Chicago Plague, that last thing he wanted to see. The agent had been apprised of the situation earlier that day and being born and raised in the city the disaster really hit home for him. He was thankful that none of his family lived there anymore, but he still had some old friends and Henkel was there. Last he spoke with him the guy was doing fine but it was only a matter of time, fortunately he had a sample of the antidote. Apparently the bulk of the serum was going to law enforcement personal which made sense but it was still a shitty deal for all the children who already dealing with the first of the symptoms.

Kaleb found a movie channel. He didn't want to be reminded of Chicago, not when there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it. Goddam metas! The organization that called itself Umbra just made it even harder for Mitchell to sympathize with the mutant cause, if that's the way they were going to fight against the government then they could all go to hell. He was worked up now, so much for relaxing. Kaleb shut the TV off and sighed, then as he glanced over at one of his laptops something caught his eye. The Circle T phone tap icon was flashing signifying that a call had gone through which sparked the agent's curiousity. At one time tapping a line meant monitoring every mundane conversation but now they had a program that would analyze every word and prioritize them in accordance to a set criteria. The flashing red icon meant that the Timble's had received a call from a pay-phone, which was flagged, since it was now an uncommon means of calling someone.

Reluctantly, Kaleb made his way over to the corner table that he had turned into his office and surveillance area. He clicked on the icon and opened the monitoring program and found that the call was in progress. The signal was originating from Dallas, a bar called the Silver Spur; probably some second cousin or something calling to talk about the weather, Kaleb figured, but he turned up the volume anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:14 am

"....... Uncle Sosa asked me to call and tell you he was going to stop by and see you on his way to Phoenix. He said if it was not convienent to give him a shout. He said he was having a hard time getting thru on your line." Srgt Valdez said

"I reckon I best have tham thar phone people come by and take a look see at the phone tamara. Well now you tell Sosa that we'll be looking forward ta a visit from him. You come by the ranch yur own damed self sometime." Mr. Timble said

"I'll be sure to do that Uncle Henery. Got a run now., Give Aunt Kathy my love. You take care of yourself." Srgt Valdez said and then hung up
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:08 pm


Kaleb smiled. Just as he thought, some relative checking in, but just out of curiosity he ran the name against the database of Henery Timble's known relatives. No brother or uncle of his came up with that name, but then the title was often a generic one. For all he knew, Sosa could have been a nickname or an old friend who was like family. Nothing worth rallying the troops over, still he'd have stop by later on and check out the ranch and get a look as this new arrival. First, however, he needed to get a little shut eye.
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PostSubject: Re: HEROES Chapter 7   Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:46 am


Slate parked his car near the corner of Sheridan and Barry, got out and made his way to the front door of Devon's apartment named after the two intersecting streets. A few moments after he buzzed 302, an anxious voice responded, "Com'on up."

The unmasked crime fighter literally found the silence of the city unnerving. The streets of the Lakeview district were practically deserted as most people were lined up at the clinics waiting for their ration of the antidote or they huddled in their homes believing that they could escape what they believed was some kind of air born virus. Slate had to admit that Umbra had really taken terrorism to a new level, but then again he didn't believe all the credit should go to them. He had never believed that the meta-human organization was working alone on this, but just who they were in bed with was a mystery, for now.

The door was open. In the short time they had known one another, both men had just naturally developed an open door policy and so Slate invited himself in and strolled into the kitchen to raid the fridge.

"So where in the hell did ya get the sample?" Slate called out as he rummaged through the second shelf and procured himself a beer, which Devon smoothly lifted out of his hand and placed back where it came from.

"No time for a drink, we gotta get to work."

"We?" Repeated Slate, "What d'ya mean we? I don't know jack about chemistry or biogenics or whatever the hell you do."

Devon smiled. "I already got an assistant. I need you for some back up. Seems that the government is being pretty strict with who is allowed to handle the antidote. Surprise, surprise, eh?"

Slate shook his head. "Freakin' bastards. I knew it." he stated.

_________________________________________________________


They walked over to the Science Centre of St. Joseph hospital. At first Slate was reluctant not to take his wheels, but after he learned it was only four blocks away he felt it was more cautious to beat their feet. It was an eerie stroll. Every so often some, malformed face would poke out through drawn curtains and stare at them as they passed by. A few cars drove by, driven by wide eyed citizens who were either infected or waiting to be.

"This is freakin' me out, Doc." Commented Slate.

Devon nodded. "Yeah, me too. Let's hope our analysis of the antidote is promising."

The entrance to the foyer of the Science Centre was locked and there waiting outside the doors was an attractive dark haired woman nervously pacing back and forth. She was still showing no signs of the meta-plague.


"Thank God!" She exclaimed when she saw Devon approaching. "They locked down the entire building."

"Sorry, I didn't know." Apologized Devon as he procured a security card from his pocket.

"Your pass won't work." Said Krystal, "You need —"

She stopped in mid sentence when Devon's card unlocked the doors. "Reinhardt upgraded my clearance." he explained.

"Wow. Two days with the company and you're level five. Impressive." She anxiously quipped.

"You got it?" Asked Devon as he ushered her and Slate in.

"Yeah." Krystal answered, "Who's this?" She asked looking at Slate.

Devon looked over at Slate, stalling for time. He hadn't discussed whether or not he was going to use his real name, "This is..."

"Sam." Slate introduced extending his hand, "Sam Carter."

"Krystal." She presented as she shook his hand, "Sorry to meet you under such circumstances."

"Likewise."

"So, what do you do, Mr. Carter?" Krystal asked as they took the elevator to the fifth floor.

"I'm in security." Answered Slate.

"I asked him to come along. Just in case." Clarified Devon.

"In case of what?" Krystal inquired her eyes widening.

"Don't worry Krystal. It's just a precaution. Doctor Reinhardt explained that the powers-that-be, were trying to keep all eyes off of the antidote accept their own.

The elevator doors slid open, revealing the name, 'Genomorph Laboratories' on the far wall. Devon hastened to open the doors then locked them again. He didn't want anyone, especially RAID sneaking up on them.

_________________________________________________________

Krystal and Devon suited up and got right to work on tearing apart the antidote while Slate patiently stood by. Devon gave him a play by play of what they were discovering in layman's terms, allowing the inventor to conclude that serum in fact could not be replicated.

"Damn, this is a piece of art." Commented Devon who was in awe of the antidote's construction. "It's been genetically designed to repress the effect of the plague, but it can't kill it.

The doctor then ran a test group to determine its nature, and during this analysis he discovered that the antidote had been designed to be highly addictive. He then played a hunch and greatly increased the power of the microscope and located the signature of the creator embedded deep within the code.

"Here it is!" Devon excitedly stated, "The signature."

He made a copy and ran it against the database of those engineers who would be able to produce an antidote that could temporarily negate the effects of the signal. A few minutes later it got a hit.

"I might have known." Said Wraith as he read the biography of the man who made the antidote, "Doctor Ephraim Jacobson, he's the only one who could engineer something like this."

"Great." Said Slate, "So, do you think this guy can lead us to the bottom of this?"

Devon nodded, but then Krystal interjected, "What the hell are you guys talking about? Bottom of what? Reinhardt just wanted to know if we could replicate the antidote or not. We should warn him though that the serum is also highly addictive."

"Right." Agreed Devon, "You do that."

While Krystal was out of the lab to call Doctor Reinhardt, Devon revealed the location of Doctor Jacobson.

"He works out of the Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources."
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