Chapter 1: Boze
“You have to tell me more about this new federal job you have!” Tiffany suddenly squealed.
Boze took her time chewing and swallowing the final bite of the sandwich she had just taken. She was only stalling a little bit to gather her thoughts. Finally, she finished and answered her Old friend, “Its mostly desk work, not that really exciting. It pays well though, and my coworkers are really cool.” She was only half lying.
“Well, it can’t be that boring since you spend all of your time in the office. Sierra moved a month ago, and she said the two of you only hung out twice.” Tiffany argued, a slightly suspicious look on her face.
“well it's not boring for me, but I doubt you would find it interesting.” Boze tried, but the look on Tiffany's face told her that the other girl wasn’t gonna give up. Alright, time for her to pull shit out of her ass, “Well I get to categorize analytics and compile reports on my findings. I get to make calculations about previous Census’ that could end up in scientific journals. Just last week I finished a 30-page report on- “
“Ok, Ok, I get it.” Tiffany cut her off, and lucky too because Boze was running out of things to bullshit, “Nerd stuff. I’m glad you’re enjoying it though!” Tiffany smiled and Boze knew it was genuine. As much as Tiffany wasn’t into some of the nerdier things Boze found interesting, her old friend did genuinely care about her and wish her well. Which made it all the harder to lie to her. “Listen, Ericka, I’m only in town for a few more days, what say we grab dinner on Saturday, Hmm?”
“That sounds great! Maybe Sierra could come too? Its been so long since we all hung out.” Boze said, having finished her soda.
“That’s a great idea! Ill text her.” Tiffany smiled.
“Unfortunately, I do have to go back to work,” Boze said standing up, the two of them had gotten lunch nearby on Boze’s ‘Lunch break’.
Tiffany stood up too, and came around the table for the hug, “I had a lovely lunch! I’ll see you on Saturday!” she squeezed Boze a little harder than necessary, pulling her close. "I'm really glad things are so much better for you," She whispered softly into Boze's ear, squeezing even tighter before finally letting go, “Go have fun analyzing those Census’!” She called after her as Boze made her way away from the outdoor seating at the café they had eaten at.
“Bye!” she called backward, smoothing her uncomfortable pencil skirt down, as she moved through the lunchtime crowds back toward the building. She pushed through the revolving doors and waved at security as she walked toward the elevators. She passed up on entering an elevator that only had a few people in it, the lady had held the door for her, and waited till it had gone to press the button to call the elevator.
She thankfully was able to get the elevator by herself, and as soon as the door closed, put her finger over the hidden finger scanner. A panel under the regular buttons open, revealing the secret floors beneath. She pressed B5 since she had every intention to change out of these ridiculous office clothes she had to wear whenever she left or entered by the main entrance.
Being a part of a super-secret government organization of, essentially superheroes, had its upsides and downsides. Learning how to use her power to its potential was great, working with some of the most amazing people she had ever met didn’t hurt, and the workout regiment had her the fittest she had ever been in her life. It was the secret part that wasn’t so fun. Having to lie to family and friends, having to disguise herself when walking around, even just the fact that living a normal life like the one she always wanted, just wasn’t possible. If she had gotten to make the choice to be here, maybe she would think differently.
The elevator moves slowly and when it finally stopped the doors open to reveal an empty hallway going as far as she could see. She began to walk past the doors of the rooms that belong to her many coworkers. Seeing as she was one of the more recent additions to the team, her room was pretty far back. She reached her door and held on to the doorknob and allowed it to scan her. The door opened easily, and she quickly closed and locked it behind her rushing to her dresser to find something more comfortable to wear. Her room was mostly plain, a few pictures of family members littering the walls, a king size bed with cream and white covered dressings, a metal desk, 2 dressers, and a vanity, were the only things in her room. She didn't need much, and she didn't have much from her old life, that she felt the need to bring along with her. While some of her friends had plenty of posters and trinkets from things in their past, she didn't feel the need to fill a room since she didn't spend nearly as much time in there as she was probably supposed to.
She quickly changed out of her dress shirt and pencil skirt and dressed in a simple pair of black stretchy pants and a comfortable T-shirt. the plan was to head down to the training rooms to see if anyone wanted to spar with her. If there was no one there, she would likely just do a usual workout. You had to stay fit in their line of work, so she expected to see at least one of her friends down there. Unless they were all having lunch.
She grabbed a small towel from the top dresser and finally left her room. On her way down back to the elevators, one of the doors she was walking past opened to reveal her friend Wes who was wearing a similar comfortable likely workout attire. “Hey, Wes, I’m heading down to the training room. You wanna join me?” she greeted him as he joined her walk back down towards the elevators.
“I was heading down there anyway. Do you need a spot on the weights?” he asked.
“I was hoping I could have someone to spar with,” Boze asked, already knowing the answer.
“You already know that's a bad idea” he responded.
“Maybe you could try going easy on me?” she tried.
“The last time I tried going easy on someone, I broke Courtney’s arm”
“OK, OK I guess I can find someone else to practice with,” she sighed.
“I’m pretty sure Keith is down there if you want a challenge,” he helped.
“Yeah, I could work with him. I might get whiplash again though and that's always fun”
They both laughed as they made their way into the elevators. Wes pressed b6 for the both of them, and they continue to giggle about how difficult it was to spar with their other enhanced friends.
“While controlling my strength is hard, when Olivia’s fighting she almost always shocks me. While it usually doesn't lend me on my ass, it's not exactly a fun experience” Wes continued.
“Well last time I sparred with Keith, I seriously considered becoming a cheetah to keep up with him. The only reason I didn't was because, Tim was not in the building, and I didn't wanna risk slicing my friend in half without a healer.” they both left as the elevator doors opened to reveal the main gym. There were a few other friends getting their work out on, Boze and Wes noticed as they walked into the room. Courtney was running on the treadmill in the corner, Olivia was on the leg lifts machine near the front, and all the way in the back Sohinki was using the punching bag.
Boze separated from Wes and went toward Sohinki. He had his headphones in and seems to be really concentrating on what he was doing, so it took him a minute to realize that she was standing there. He pulled out his headphones and looked up, “What’s up?” He asked.
“wanna go spar? Get some practice in with something alive?” He rolled his eyes at that but nodded and followed Her into the sparring room. It had pads on the walls and a wrestling mat on the floor along with some hooks on the walls for towels. Boze hung up her towel and Sohinki put his phone and headphones on the side.
“Before we start,” he said walking toward the middle, “Let's establish right now, that turning into a 500-pound gorilla, is considered cheating.”
Boze snorted at that, but faked disappointment, “Damn! However, will I win now?”
The two laughed as they took their stances, growing serious after a moment as they started to circle each other.
Sohinki was her favorite person to spar with. Like hers, his power didn’t endanger her in any way while fighting. He has Super-fast cell regeneration (that’s what Ian calls it anyway), so if anything, she can really lose herself in these fights because nothing she can do, could hurt him. His power was arguably cooler than hers. Sure, shapeshifting into different animals and people she has seen in real life, is cool, but if she decides to be a fly and gets swatted, she is fucking dead.
They were also the most evenly matched. Both short, skinny and all muscle, both relied more on speed and dodging then powerful punches. The two now moved around the mat, striking at each other and doing the best to get the upper hand. They both got a few good punches in before Boze got the upper hand, and suddenly had Sohinki pinned to the floor. They paused like that for a moment getting their breath back (super cellular regeneration doesn’t mean unlimited stamina), and finally, Sohinki spoke, “You’ve gotten really good at that. It’s almost like I haven’t been here like 10 years longer than you. Which is a little embarrassing.”
Boze laughed and went to get off of him. Once she is standing, she offers a hand to him, and in a move that she should have expected because this wasn’t the first time he had done this, He pulls her down onto her stomach and gets on top wedging his knee into her back. She let out a yelp of surprise and then a noise of protest as he applied a little pressure to her back, not enough to hurt but enough to know that it would if she tried to move. “Hey! We were finished!”
“Did I say, ‘I give’ because I don’t remember saying that.” He said with laughter in his voice, and though she couldn’t see his face she knew he was smirking.
She tried to throw him off, but he was balanced and didn’t budge, as soon as he started leaning on her knee, she surrendered, “I give! Fuck” He laughed as he got off her and helped her up. As Boze dusted herself off, they heard laughter from the door and both looked to see Mari standing at the doorway.
“You fell for it, again, didn’t you?” She asked, moving to hang up her small towel next to Boze’s.
“You would have thought She would have stopped falling for it at least by the 4th time.” Sohinki laughed and Boze hit him on the back of the head, only egging on his laughter.
“when I do it for real, the persons usual dead or unconscious so I don’t have to wait for the ‘I give’” She protested, grabbing her towel to wipe off her face.
“Can I get a turn punching Sohinki?” Mari asked
“Go ahead, it’s a lot of fun.” Boze replied
, "you know I’m right, here right?” Sohinki said incredulously as he folded his arms.
“I was aware.” Boze smiled as she walked out of the room. She walked back into the main gym, intent on running a few miles on the treadmill, and Nearly walked right into Courtney.
“Sorry, I was just going to ask you something.” Courtney said, her voice going lower to almost a whisper, “Do you want to go flying tonight?”
A big smile grew on Boze’s face as she nodded. “12 on the roof?” Boze asked at the same volume and Courtney nodded.
Its important to note that they were definitely not aloud to fly around at night. Any use of our powers in a non-controlled environment, where danger is not eminent, was forbidden and a part of the list of rules that you were given when you joined any government Superhero task force. Saying Joined doesn’t quite work however, seeing as you don’t really have a choice in the matter.
It all started years ago, when the government started spraying a new chemical over cities and towns during the summer to get rid of some of the bugs. The chemical worked extremely well and so they continued to spray. What they didn’t know till the next year, is some people with the right genetic makeup, who were exposed to the airborne chemical, would mutate. The longer someone was exposed, the more they would mutate. While someone who just got a little bit exposed might experience one of their regular abilities super enhanced, someone who got a lot of exposure would be able to do something that no one could do otherwise.
As soon as they realized that they had produced bout 100 mutated humans across the country, the government knew they needed to regain control. Of course, if they stopped using the chemical they would have to explain why, inducing mass panic. So, they didn’t, they just got smarter about where they sprayed it and monitoring the people in the area. See they couldn’t just let these people live their lives, they had to prevent anyone from using their powers for evil. It didn’t hurt that they also got a bunch of people to add to the FBI and the army.
Ian and Anthony were discovered to have powers at the age of 12, when a teacher (someone who was trained to uncover any hidden supers) planted a listening device on them and discovered that the two boys had been using their powers for over a year at that point. Ian could read minds, while Anthony could control them. While Ian would get them answers on tests, Anthony would keep teachers from telling their parents about any mischief they got up to.
They were captured and brought to the Facility in Sacramento, where the remains of their childhood were stolen by government officials that kept them locked up in the facility training until they could trust them enough to help on missions.
Ian and Anthony however couldn’t stand how they were treated, them or the friends they made along the way. They ended up ‘convincing’ a government official to let them take some of their friends and make their own branch. They called it the Smosh Superhero Task force. They gave them a facility that hadn’t been used yet under a government building. Sure, they still had officials coming to inspect them and make sure they weren’t violating the rules, but they got away with treating their friends like humans and not criminals. They even started taking on new supers in an attempt to keep them from being treated like shit.
To think that 10 years ago Ian and Anthony had to be monitored day and night and today, Ian could do pretty much whatever he wanted, as long as he didn’t get caught. The rest of the group followed in that sentiment, breaking rules, but not being stupid about it. That was why that night, at 12pm, Boze and Courtney found themselves standing on the edge of the roof. Joven had joined them up there, having a technopath around was always good when cameras couldn’t see what was about to go down.
Silently the girls looked at each other and smiled before allowing gravity to pull them off the edge of the building. They didn’t fall long before Courtney had the wind catch her and bring her up higher. From Boze’s position below he,r she could barely see the other girl in her black catsuit. Boze didn’t wait much longer before transforming into a crow. Her black body also blending into the Night as she flew up to join Courtney above the city.
They flew like that, side by side, until Joven called Courtney saying they should come back. They didn’t turn around right away, instead opting to take a wide circle back toward the building. Boze glanced over and caught a glimpse of the euphoric expression on Courtney’s face, an expression that would likely be on Boze’s face if she had been in a human form.
This was the one thing she wanted.
This was complete freedom.
Chapter 2: Damien
Damien's story that got him here was difficult, but it seems that, to get anywhere near as in control as his friends, will prove harder.
“You got this.” Sohinki urged from a few feet away.
Mari, who was a little bit further away from him, and in a defensive stance (likely holding up a forcefield he couldn’t see), also encouraged him, “If you’ve done it once you can do it again! Try to feel it, as if its palpable inside you, and push it through your hand.”
Damien nodded and turned his attention back to the stuffed dummy in front of him. He tried to feel his power, but it didn’t feel quite like Mari described, it was more coursing through every fiber of his being, rather than one lump he could exude from his hand.
He still tried, and put his hand on the mannequin’s shoulder, and tried to will the power he could feel, through his hand. However, nothing happened. Just like every other time he had tried today. After a full minute of trying he took his hand off the mannequin and ran it through his hair with a sigh of frustration. Mari and Sohinki made their way closer to him, Mari offering him a supportive shoulder pat. “Listen, controlling your powers is hard. I wasn’t able to do this overnight.” Mari offered.
“Maybe I just have to be angry.” Damien offered, but Mari shook her head.
“Most first experiences are caused by very strong, usually negative, emotions.” Mari reminded him, “Both me and Sohinki’s first experiences were because we were terrified. Yours’s as well as Wes’s and Lasercorn’s, happened because you were incredibly angry. Everyone described took time to control their power, so it was at the mercy of them, rather than the other way around.”
“Does Wes, really have full control of his strength?” Sohinki asked, “if I had a dollar for everything he has broken, not to mention how last month he broke Courtney’s arm”
“Well, when he is fighting that is debatable. But he can hug people and hold delicate things without breaking people and mugs, so I think he has control. When we first met him, he had to literally barely touch or put pressure on anything, because if he did he would break it. I would say now he has way more control.”
Damien thought about when he was first brought in a few months ago. He was scared as all hell and had a right to be. The whole experience was overwhelming and confusing. Anyone else would feel the same way.
He had been on vacation in New York. He had gone with a couple buddies and had separated from them to go check out a small souvenir shop, while the others continued down the block and said they would meet him at the hotel.
Its worth mentioning that he hadn’t been having the best day. He had gotten his credit card stolen, Luggage lost on the way there, and just before the trip the previous morning, his girlfriend had dumped him point blank with no explanation. He was trying to be positive and enjoy his trip, but it was hard. A moment alone with the city traffic as background noise was a nice break from all the activities they had been doing that day.
It was walking through that store, looking at the various items, that he accidentally bumped into a Man. He of course immediately apologized but the fellow was clearly pissed and started yelling at him in a language he didn’t understand. He tried apologizing again and saying that he only spoke English, but every word he said seemed to rile them up more. The man was about Damien’s size (with maybe a little more muscle definition), but his whole demeanor was intimidating. Thinking, that there was just no calming this dude down, he said sorry one more time then started backing away quickly, fully intending to leave the store and just go back to the hotel. The man clearly wasn’t having it and grabbed Damien’s arm, and yanked him back. At this point the store owners were swiftly making their way over to them, trying to tell both of them to calm down.
Damien was having enough of this situation and yanked his arm from the foreign stranger’s hand. It was with that the man quickly wound back and punched Damien in the jaw. The punch knocked him back into a display, and he landed hard. Damien had had enough at this point. What the hell had he done to deserve this? Why the fuck did this man think that it was in any way ok to just punch a guy because he was angry? Damien could feel the red-hot anger rip through him, the rage boiling in his veins as the man approached him. He reached down to grab Damien’s shoulder. Whether it was to yank him up, so he could punch him again, or some other reason, Damien would never know. Because the moment the man's hand came in contact with him, everything went red. He could feel himself being thrown back and something landing on top of him, but all he could see was red. After the dust settled he realized he was laying on rubble and a display case was on top of him. His first thought was that someone had set off a bomb in the small store, and him being in the place at that time was another example of nothing going in his favor. One thing he couldn’t understand was, why was he conscious and why did nothing hurt? Well, his ankle hurt a little, though it was probably because it was currently under the edge of the case above him. After a few moments of trying to make sure he could move all his limbs, and everything was intact, he tried to ignore his confusion long enough to push the case off of him.
When he finally succeeded, he looked around at the devastation. Both the store he was in and the two stores on either side, were flattened. Rubble littered the streets and he could see a few bodies under the rubble of people less fortunate than him.
Most of what happened next was kind of blurry. He heard the ambulances, so he stayed put, but ahead of them were three black vans that pulled up completely blocking him from all the people who had come to see. Out of the middle van came two guys dressed in all black who grabbed his arms and started dragging him toward the vans. He was so scared and confused, he started grabbing at the guys to get them off of him and next thing he knew there’s another explosion. While this one doesn’t throw him back, it does exhaust him, and he can’t do much but allow them, now only one, government official or whoever he was, to throw him in the back of the middle truck. Someone was waiting for him in the back and the last thing he notices before he passes out is something cold clicking around his wrists.
When he woke up he was in what couldn’t be described as anything but a prison cell. There was a window with bars and a reinforced steel door with a small opening that was likely for looking in without letting yourself be vulnerable. He was now sitting up on a small super thin mattress on a wire support in the corner of the small room, that you could barely call a bed. On the far wall was a toilet and a sink, classy. and that was it.
He took a quick inventory of his body and couldn’t register any injuries. The only thing he noticed is they had dressed him in a grey jumpsuit, his clothes had probably been ruined by the explosions, and he had purple glowing handcuffs on. He had never seen anything like it and wondered why they glowed in the first place.
After a moment he heard heavy footsteps coming down the hall. He was surprised at how easy it was to hear what was going on outside. He could also hear that two people were talking, though he couldn’t understand what they were saying. When they got closer it was clear that one of them was heated and once they were outside his cell, he could hear the loud guy clearly.
“He isn’t uncontrollable, you guys just went about it all wrong!!!” Damien heard clearly, they seemed to have stopped in front of his door. Were they talking about him? “Of course he blew up one of your officers! He was scared out of his mind and you guys bum rush him and start dragging him to an armored truck, without any explanation??? What the fuck did you think was gonna happen?! You’re lucky the second explosion wasn’t as devastating as the other, or you would have lost more officers! I mean where’s the common sense!? You see a man blow up 3 stores with his body, and you decide that further confusing and scaring him is safe?!”
He blew up the store??? With his body???
“Listen, we have a long-time member of our force, who knows him personally. He can attest that the guy is usually a lot more chill and will not be a threat if we treat him with common human decency.” There’s a pause in the conversation, and Damien strained to hear the other side of the conversation, but it was too muffled. “I know you guys have to approve everyone who joins us, That’s Why I’m here asking you!?... Yes, Shane can provide proof that he knows him, I have a bunch of pictures, and they’re recent.”
Hearing Shane’s name confused him even more, but now, more than anything he hoped with all of his heart, that the loud guy would win this argument.
Whatever the man he couldn’t hear was saying, seemed to not be in agreeing with the loud man. The loud man, however, seemed to have calmed himself down and responded in a much lower voice, so low that Damien could barely make it out.
“Listen, I know you have the power to have the man transferred to my group. And I’ve done a lot for you in the past or have you forgotten?” After that the rest of the conversation is too hush for Damien to hear anymore, so he just sits and waits. After a few minutes, the loud man is no longer quiet, and his tone seems happier. “I’m glad that changed your mind! Don’t worry about delivering him to me, I’ll just bring him with me. Oh, don’t worry, I always follow protocol. Hey, what’s so funny???”
Before Damien could wonder any more about the loud man, he heard a metallic scraping noise as the little sliding door in the door was opened, he watched a pair of eyes scan the room. When the eyes settled on him, the small door closed, and he heard as someone unlocked the door. In burst a man that he had never met before, a man of average height with blue eyes and short brown hair.
He takes Damien in, gray jumpsuit and all before he finally speaks. “Hi, Damien. My name is Ian, and I promise we are gonna explain everything and get you out of those cuffs, just come with me.”
Ian brought him in the back of another Armored truck but as soon as the security closed the doors, he pulled out a key and unlocked him. Ian spends the whole ride to wherever they were going explaining everything, from what happened at the china shop to where they were going. Even now, months later, Damien was still having trouble comprehending everything. It was a lot, and a change in worldview like that isn’t done overnight.
Seeing as it was getting really late, they had been practicing for a while, they packed up the dummy before heading out of the power-proof room, heading to the elevators, when Mari got a text. “Hey, Courtney and Boze are about to go flying! let’s go watch!!!!”
They all ran to the elevators where they took it up to the top floor, but they didn’t bother to go to the roof, they just ran through the abandoned offices till they reached the right windows. They had gotten there just in time because they watched as the girls freefell. Damien watched in awe as Courtney caught herself, but found his eyes were drawn to Boze’s figure as it fell further before her body was suddenly a bird that was souring straight up. It was breathtaking.
There was only one thing that bothered him. Boze had only been there 2 months before he had gotten there, how did she have such good control of her power.
Would he ever?
Chapter 3: Boze
Despite the stress that comes from a supervisor visit, Ian is finding more reasons to be concerned.
Your guy's reaction to the story so far makes me really happy! I'm glad you're enjoying this!
The next morning Boze woke up to somebody shaking her. It didn't matter if the mechanism on the door, only allows people she programs into the room, at that moment she panics. Her heart starts beating in her chest hard and she automatically rolls off the bed to get away from whoever it is that’s there as if that would make a difference. When she registers the face as Mari’s, it still takes her a moment to calm down enough to say something to the concerned face above her asking if she was ok.
“I’m fine. I was just half awake, and you scared the crap out of me.” Boze lies, well mostly, she had scared the crap out of her, but Boze had been deeply asleep, well as deeply as she could. “What’s going on?”
“A new supervisor is coming today, we have to be at breakfast by 8,” Mari said, offering her hand to the girl who was still wrapped in her blanket on the floor.
Boze sighed loudly but let Mari help her up. They had a supervisor who made his rounds every day because it was his job to make sure we were following the rules, but over the years he has become such a good friend of the group, that Joe Beretta barely follows the rules himself when he’s there. See, Ian likes to let a lot of things go lax like, there’s no strict call time to meals, or you can wear whatever you want unless you're going out, and the like. He didn’t feel the need to enforce such arbitrary rules. Someone at the main organization must have gotten wise, because once a month on a random day, they send someone completely new to come and check in on things and have meetings with the supers, 'to make sure they are mentally in tip-top shape' or whatever they really wanted to know.
The New supervisor visits are supposed to be a surprise that Joe can’t tell them, but Joe has given Ian explicit permission to read his mind once a day to be prepared. One time the next supervisor came the next day and was shocked when were all behaving the same way as the last supervision. Some of us worry they are gonna stop telling joe, but Ian isn’t worried, he says he has other connections at headquarters.
Now, Mari leaves the room, so she can get dressed. She takes the quickest shower then jumps into their ‘uniform’. It basically consists of super comfortable, form-fitting, utility pants and a tucked in a black tank top. While they all have more protective things when they go on missions, this is what they are supposed to wear around the building.
Boze runs out the door and to the elevators because its 3 minutes to 8 and she doesn’t want to be the last one there. Luckily when she arrives the supervisor isn’t there so Boze quickly jumps on the line for food, which only has Sohinki and Shane on it currently.
Their supervisor, however, is prompt and at 8 on the dot a lady with silvery blond hair slicked back into a tight bun, wearing a navy-blue suit, walked in carrying a clipboard and looked all business. She stands there for a moment taking in the group, before walking over to Ian with quick business-like steps that sound across the quiet dining hall because of her loud ass heels. Boze can tell instantly she is not going to like that woman.
Ian is sitting at a table on his own, pouring over papers and occasionally taking a bite of his breakfast and she sits down directly across from him. When she walked in its almost like all conversations in the room were paused and when she sat down, they were resumed, but on lower volume. Boze took her food and sat down at her usual table with Wes, Damien, Courtney, and Sohinki. It wasn’t like the tables were assigned, Mari occasionally joined them when Lasercorn dragged Sohinki to his table, they just sat at the usual tables out of habit.
Breakfast today is Eggs, bacon, and home fries (with a fruit salad option of course) and Boze scarfs it down, she didn’t realize how hungry she was that morning. She slowed down her pace when she was almost done because she wanted to savor what little food she had left. And while she is taking her last bite of egg, Ian walks to the front of the room and the room goes quiet, all eyes on him.
“Good morning everyone.” He says, and the group echoes the good morning back, “This morning we have a visiting Supervisor from headquarters, her name is Lily Marston and she will be heading up a mandatory meeting for the entire group in the conference room. Exceptions will, of course, be made if someone has a prescheduled important mission, or if an emergency arises. The meeting is in 20 minutes, so please take your time and finish your food.”
As he finished, he packed up his things, and he and Lily made their way to the elevators. Boze waited until she was sure they were gone before turning to her tablemates, “I thought these evaluations were always one on one? At least that’s how it has been all the ones I’ve been here for.” Damien nodded in agreement, just as confused as she was.
"Well, it depends on the supervisor. I think one on one meetings are the norm, but once in a while well get a supervisor who thinks they can find out more with different techniques.” Wes answered.
“I’ll never forget the guy who gave us all questionnaires, so he didn’t have to talk to us.” Sohinki chuckled, “he told us to make them anonymous and Lasercorn totally bullshits the entire thing. Complaining about only getting bacon for dinner and sleeping on hot coals. We found his questionnaire in the trash when the guy left.”
“What about the woman who insisted we meet in the training room and asked us questions while we were lifting weights?” Courtney added
Wes laughed at that, “That one was my favorite because I was the last one she got to and the whole time I pretended to be struggling, so when she asked my power, before I told her I tossed the 50 pound weight in the air and caught it perfectly without my arm even dipping a little and told her to guess.”
The group continued telling fun stories as they cleaned up and made their way to the elevators. The main elevators, that were connected to the top floors were usually too busy at this time of the day, to come all the way down, so they had an elevator that just went around their floors. The group squeezed in there with a few others who had finished eating and they headed to B3.
As they walked into the meeting room, Boze noticed one distinct difference, someone had taken out the table. Now the room had a large oval of office chairs and a blank smartboard at the head of the room. As long as no one brought in the weights though, Boze was fine with anything.
At what Boze is sure is 20 minutes on the dot, the lady calls for everyone’s attention. She stands up and everyone is silent as she begins. “Hello everyone. As Ian pointed out, my name is Lily Marston. I am your guest supervisor for the day. Now, while I do have the information about you provided when I got assigned this job, we are going to go around, and I want everyone to say the following things. Your full government name, your power, how old you were when you joined, and the nature and status of your last mission.” Lily sat down and crossed her legs, it was that moment that Boze realized how good this lady’s posture was. Lily Continued, “I’ll go first to get us started, however, I will not answer the last one due to none of you being a high enough clearance for that information. Then we will go clockwise, and no Ian you are not exempt,” She said with a smile as if that was funny, “I am Lily Marston, my power is Surface Adhesion, Meaning I can climb walls unassisted, and I was 16 when I joined.” The group politely clapped and then Lily turned to Ian expectantly.
“I’m Ian Hecox, I am a mind reader-” Lily shoots him a look, so he backtracks, “I Tele-receive thoughts…” When she seems satisfied, he continued, “I’ve been in this particular program since its conception, but I’ve been in the superhero task force since I was 12, And I no longer take standard missions, I mostly administrate, and or help with interrogations as necessary.”
“Hi, I’m Courtney Miller, I have air manipulation abilities, I have been here since I was 19, it has been about 4 years, and my last mission was a find and rescue and it was a complete success with no casualties,” Courtney said easily. And the rest of the group fell into an easy rhythm.
“I’m Olivia Sui, I manipulate electricity, I’ve been here since I was 19, I've been here for 6 years, and my last mission was for acquiring information, and it ended up being a failure, but the information was found at a different location the next day.”
“Hello, I’m Shane Topp, I have superhuman enhanced agility, I Joined when I was 21, Its been 5 years I'm pretty sure, and my last mission was the Find and Rescue with Courtney Miller, which was a success”
“I’m Noah Grossman, I have Invisibility, I joined when I was 19, Its been 2 years, and my last mission was an armed robbery that was stopped with no casualties on our side and minimal on theirs.”
“I’m Keith Leak Jr., I have super speed, I came when I was 21 about 6 years ago, and My last mission was the apprehension of a rouge superbeing, which was successful.”
As people went around, Lily took consistent notes, seemingly mostly paying attention to the name and the information on the last missions.
“Hi, I’m Mariko Takahashi, I have Barrier Generation or forcefields, I joined when I was 23, It must have been 11 years now, and I was a part of the acquiring of information with Olivia Sui, that resulted in failure.”
“Hey, I’m Wesley Johnson. I have super strength, I’ve been here since I was 27, about 3 years now, and my last mission was Backup for the rouge superbeing capture.”
“I’m Joshua Ovenshire, I am a technopath, I joined at age 20 around 11 years since I've been here before this branch was built, And I mostly help on base with the technology, but my last mission, over a year ago, was for acquiring information and it was a success.”
“I’m Matthew Sohinki, I have super quick self-regeneration, I joined at the age of 21, which means I've been here for 10 years, and my last mission was the armed robbery with Noah Grossman which was a success.”
“I’m David Moss, I have fire Manipulation, I joined when I was 27, about 7 years ago, My last mission was the apprehension of a rouge superbeing, which like Keith said, was successful.”
It was suddenly her turn and Boze waited for the polite applause to end, before beginning, “Hi, I’m Ericka Bozeman, I can-“ she struggled for a moment to think of the technical term for what she could do, “make self-transmogrifications, or shapeshift, I joined when I was 26, which I still am, and My last mission was a solo, find and rescue, that was successful.” Boze felt like she did something right with the smile on Lily’s face as she clapped.
Now it was Damien’s turn and he looked worried, and Boze knew why. “Hi, I’m Damien Haas, I blow things up, I’m sorry I don’t know how else to say that, I joined when I was 28, which I still am, and I have not yet been on mission.”
Lily had a sour look on her face, and she turned to Ian, “Why have you not sent him on a mission yet, even if just to shadow?”
Ian took in a breath before answering, “He is very new, and he hasn’t yet been able to get a firm hand on his ability quite yet.”
The unhappy look on her face seemed to look worse as he finished, “I would not call 3 months, ‘very new’. Has anyone gotten hurt, or nearly gotten hurt?”
“The only ones allowed near him while he is trying, are our two main defensives Matthew Sohinki and Mariko Takahashi, and while both are usually there, neither were ever harmed,” Ian said quickly and while her face calmed a little, she still gave Damien a look that had Boze worried for him.
While Tanner talked about his telekinesis, Tim talked about his Healing, and Sarah shared about her water respiration, Boze was focused on Damien, who seemed extremely worried. When for a moment they met eyes, Boze sent him a reassuring look but it didn’t seem to help.
When the remaining 3 finished, Lily stood up again and thanked us for our honesty. However, as she went to continue, Ian’s watch sounded, and he quickly excused himself. Of course, now, everyone was barely listening to what Lily was saying, Ian had gotten the emergency call and it wasn’t long before he assigned some of them to the case.
Sure enough, not even 5 minutes later in walked pam, Ian’s secretary, “Excuse me, sorry for interrupting but Ian needs Joven to meet him in the debriefing room and Boze, Olivia, and Mari to get mission ready and meet in the debriefing room as soon as possible.”
Lily nodded and the four ran out of the room. Boze didn’t need much to be mission ready, so she just threw on a protective vest over her t-shirt from her room quickly before heading to B3. She was the first one there and watched as Joven helped Ian monitor a bunch of surveillance cameras of a young girl being dragged by 3 large men into a car. This couldn’t be good.
Less than a minute later, Mari and Olivia arrived, Mari in her super flexible thin pants because she didn’t need armor and Olivia in her super conductive jumpsuit. The minute the two were in talking distance, Ian started debriefing them.
“We have a mega important find and rescue on our hands. The Daughter of the head of our entire department was kidnapped out of her school 5 minutes ago. A janitor who witnessed the little girl being dragged off called 911 and alerted the principal. Mr. Raub wanted you 3 specifically because his daughter, who is only 7, will trust girls a lot more. Here’s the plan,” Ian handed each of them a small tablet with a GPS on the screen, “She has a tracker in her necklace, this is how you will find her. We are monitoring the GPS as well and using security cameras of passing buildings and places they stop to keep tabs on them for you. We have no idea where their heading, but we can’t let them get there,” Joven passed out earpieces that each girl put in their ears immediately. “Here’s the plan, Boze you go ahead and fly straight to the car, find a way into the trunk with the little girl, there are 3 cars with thugs in them so don’t try and break her out on the middle of the highway without backup, just be with the girl until these too can arrive. Take the fastest car we have, Now go.”
The three ran toward the elevators. Olivia and Mari got off on b2 for the secret parking lot while Boze headed straight for the roof. The moment she reached the roof, she put the tablet on the floor before transforming into the fastest bird she could think of, the Peregrine Falcon. She looked at the tablet to get the general direction she needed to start on and grabbed it with her talons as she dove off the edge of the building. She flew like that for about 10 minutes, occasionally stopping on top of a building to check the tablet.
“they’re stopped at that gas station to the right of you, she is in the black car in the middle,” Joven said through the earpiece and Boze softly chirped back so he knew that she heard him. Boze landed on top of the gas station and hid behind the sign before transforming back, she only did it for a moment, so she could stick the tablet in a large zippered pocket in her pants before turning into a Gnat. The now super tiny Boze buzzed her way to the car and found her way into the trunk.
Inside the trunk was dark but Boze could just make out the girl, curled up at the other end, her eyes closed and her hands shaking as she waited for whatever these men had in store for her. Boze, assessed the space and decided she would be able to fit, so she transformed back, growing to her original size, now on her side within an arm’s reach of the little girl.
Sensing the change in the room, the girl opened her tearful eyes and before the girl could fully register what had happened, Boze covered the girl’s mouth with her hand, “I’m here to help you, don’t scream.” She whispered urgently. And though the girl looked terrified, she didn’t attempt to scream and Boze moved her hand away, “I work for your dad. Me and my friends are going to get you out of here as soon as we can, ok?” She whispered calmly. As soon as Boze mentioned the little girl’s father, she seemed to calm down a bunch, nodding at Boze’s question. Before Boze could fully react, the child had closed the gap between the two and was hugging Boze tightly, Boze wrapped her arms protectively around the child. “Are you hurt anywhere?” Boze whispered softly into the girl’s ear and she shook her head against Boze’s chest.
Suddenly she heard a voice in her earpiece again, “What did she say?” Mari’s voice came through, “We are a minute away.”
“She said no,” Boze whispered and the girl looked up at her but didn’t question who she was talking to. “We are in the middle black car on the right side of the parking lot, the gas station is mostly abandoned, so set up a roadblock for this exit and we can engage here,” Boze said and Mari made a noise of confirmation.
“Hun, what’s your name?” Boze asked not even a moment later, once she realized she didn’t know.
At first, she didn’t know if the girl was gonna respond, then she heard in a very low whisper, “Emily”
Suddenly, they could hear footsteps and She could feel Emily’s heartbeat increase. Just then she also heard a car pull into the parking lot followed by a “backup has arrived,” from Olivia.
“Emily, move over to the corner ok? It's time.” Boze whispered softly and then carefully started separating her self from the girl who reluctantly moved to the side. Boze waited, in the best position she could manage in the small trunk, while she started hearing fighting noises above them.
Sure enough, next thing she knew she heard someone wrestling with the keys to the trunk. Likely trying to take the girl away while the two other goons were distracted, not, of course, knowing what was lying in wait. Boze thought quickly and transformed into a squirrel and as soon as the trunk opened, jumped out, attaching herself to the man's face before turning into a human and bringing the man down. The man had hit his head, though not fatally and Boze quickly got up and went back for the girl. Mari and Olivia had their guys under control and Boze’s priority was to Emily.
Boze pulled the girl out of the trunk and the girl clung to her as she started her way to the car Mari and Olivia had brought. Boze felt the sensation as Mari used a protective forcefield on the two of them as they closed the distance between the cars. As soon as she reached the car, she threw open the door, that opened at her touch, and placed the girl inside before slamming the door behind her and turning to help her friends.
However, as she looked on, the two remaining men who had been fighting, stiffened and keeled over, both landing face down on the concrete. The girls were confused as fuck as to what just happened but used that opportunity to tie up all three of the men’s hands, also taking their guns. Once they knew no one could attack, they checked the pulses of the men and it appeared they hadn’t dropped dead.
“what the hell just happened?!” Mari finally said, and no one could answer that question. They called for some help and a van arrived for them to load up the men in the back and Wes arrived with them, lifting them up 2 at a time and putting them in the back of the van.
The girls drove back with Emily, Boze in the back seat, the girl still attached to her side, and Matt Raub himself was there waiting for them when they arrived in the parking lot. The girl ran out of the car and right into her father’s waiting arms.
After they left, the three girls joined Ian in his office to fill out the reports and upload the data. And while Matt Raub had showered them in commendations for their success, something didn’t sit right for Ian in the story.
“They all just dropped like flies and then, when they were in the truck with Wes, they came to and claimed to not to know where they were or what was going on. I haven’t sat down with them yet, but I need to. This whole thing doesn’t add up.” Ian said.
That new information definitely intrigued Boze as well, maybe they were memory wiped by someone nearby that they missed? All Boze knew is that this was going to prove to be interesting.
Chapter 4: Damien
Damien is given an ultimatum and see's a side of Ian most don't get to see.
Damien isn’t sure he ever wanted to be where Boze was more than that day. While the meeting with Lily Marston, the supervisor from hell, was nearly over when she left, Lily seemed to spend most of the morning, squinting at everything he did. Sohinki told him it was all in his head, and that she was watching all of them as they worked out, as they did various work around as they sparred and as they practiced their power. But even Sohinki couldn’t deny the look on her face when his abilities in the gym were merely average, or when he lost to a spar with Noah, or even worse, while he worked again with Mari and Sohinki that afternoon in the power room. Every time he attempted and failed to blow up the dummy, he would see her disapproving face from the observation deck.
The whole situation at first made him embarrassed, but by this point, in the day he was getting angry. Why did she need to stand on the sidelines and stare at him with disapproval all fucking day? He got the point at the meeting that morning. He knew he was behind, he knew he should be better with his power, he knew he should at least have a basic grip on it at this point. It was eating himself up enough inside without seeing her disappointed face, Every time he turned around.
He tried to put all of that anger he was feeling into his hand, tried to use every ounce of contempt for the woman watching, through the palm of his hand, but nothing happened. He knew he shouldn’t have looked up at her, but he couldn’t help himself. He looked up and Lily was writing something down while shaking her head disapprovingly, and he lost it. Once again, the world went red.
The blast didn’t throw Damien this time, he remained standing. Mari also stayed where she was, her forcefield keeping her in place. Sohinki wasn’t so lucky. The blast threw the dummy into him and the two went flying into the far wall and then falling down in a heap. Damien ignored that his clothes were not in the best shape and that his shoes were in pieces, he ran with Mari over to the pile that was Sohinki.
“Dude are you ok?” Damien asked worriedly.
“I’m gonna be ok.” Sohinki reassured them, “My body is fixing itself. It would just be nice if I could be impervious instead you know? That way I didn’t have to feel the bones in my arm and ankle break, even if it's only for a few seconds, those were not fun seconds.”
Once Sohinki was able to stand and walk with them toward the exit, he looked back up at the observation deck to see that Lily was no longer there. That couldn’t be good.
Just like before, he was thoroughly exhausted and wanted nothing more than to have dinner then go to bed early that night. As he sat with his friends, eating his chicken salad, Boze, Courtney, and Mari(who had joined them for dinner) told them about the mission they had left for that morning.
“That’s weird. Do you think they were mind wiped?” Damien asked.
“That’s what I thought at first,” Boze said before taking a long sip.
Wes continued for her, “but then I told her that the last thing they said they remember was from an hour before. They had been at work, on a construction site, and the next thing they knew they were tied up in the back of an armored truck.”
“of course, they could have been lying. Ian said he was going to sit down with them this afternoon, so we have to speak to him.” Courtney concluded.
Just then pam walked up to their table, lightly tapping Damien on the shoulder. “Ian needs you in his office immediately.” The nerves in his stomach grew exponentially. His friends shot him reassuring looks as he got up and followed pam to the elevators. He briefly heard Boze say she would save his food if he didn’t come back in time.
Pam didn’t say a single word on their way to the office and went to her desk as they passed it, without so much as a goodbye. Damien walked into Ian’s office and had seemingly interrupted an argument with Ian and Lily, who were standing in front of his desk.
Ian seemed genuinely surprised at Damien’s entrance, “I’m busy at the moment, can it wait?”
Before Damien could voice his confusion, Lily spoke up, “I sent for him. Please, Damien, have a seat.” She gestured toward one of the chairs facing them.
Ian looked absolutely furious, “You can’t undermine me like that! I told you he didn’t need to be here for this discussion. As the one in charge around here, I am the only one allowed to-”
“I know what I am allowed to do.” She cut him off, her voice sharp as steel, “And I am fully allowed to share my decisions and concerns with both my higher-ups and with your supers. If you would rather I talked to him alone, that can be arranged.”
Damien watched Ian physically attempted to calm down. “Have a seat Damien.” He said through nearly gritted teeth. As Damien sat down, he could see the shit eating grin on Lily’s face.
“Now, as I’ve already told you, Ian, I think that your technique, while unorthodox, clearly works. You have some very powerful supers here. For example, someone not even 2 months more experienced than him headed a mission today.” Lily began, pacing in between the two men, and Damien wanted nothing more than for her to cut to the chase. “While your freeform technique works really well for some, it seems it does not work well for all.” She said pointedly looking at Damien. He did not like where this was going. “Our militaristic and more straightforward approach over at LA’s headquarters has never failed anyone.”
“I’m sorry I’m going to have to stop you there. Your approach kills the creativity and freedom inside of a person. It makes them feel like they are only worth what their powers are worth. People who have aggression there, repress it until they explode. And while in this case, I mean figuratively, in Damien’s case I mean literally.” Ian says, and Damien can tell how hard he is working to not yell.
“We have ways of keeping all our supers safe until people prove trustworthy,” Lily says easily.
“What you mean is you will lock him up, isolate him, and constantly monitor him until your sure he has a grip on his powers.” Ian argued, “which is what you did to Anthony.”
“That is not a matter to discuss in front of your super. Regardless of what you believe, I talked to my higher-ups and they agree with my course of action. We think its best if Damien comes back to LA Headquarters, where he was supposed to be in the first place.”
Damien is filled with 2 feelings, one of fear, at what will happen to him, and one at relief at the fact that he wasn’t angry. This would be the worst place to lose his cool. “Do I get any say in this,” He asked cautiously.
“You may make any request you like, but ultimately it's my choice,” Lily said.
“I think I need more time. I understand I’ve already had plenty of time, but you see it took Ericka Bozeman 2 more months before she was heading missions. If you could give me 2 more months, you could see that Ian’s method works for everyone.”
She seemed to genuinely contemplate what he was saying but not entirely convinced so Ian stepped in, “We will redouble our efforts, I’ll even personally work with him when I’m able.”
She acknowledged Ian with a look then turned back to Damien. “I’m feeling generous, you have 1 month. Not a day more. When I arrive on that day, I want to see an example of your full range of power.” Lily conceded, and Damien wasn’t sure if he wanted to laugh or cry.
“You will.” Ian said, glad for the argument to be over, “now may we return to our private conversation?”
“Yes, Damien you are dismissed,” Lily said, turning back to Ian.
She didn’t have to tell him twice, Damien was out of there as quick as he could. When he got to the table, Boze was one of the few people still in the dining hall. “I was about to bring the food to your room and leave it there. How was the meeting?”
Damien smiled as he sat down next to her, “Thanks, I’ll tell everyone in the morning, I just really want to finish this food and crawl in bed.” When he saw the look of concern on her face he continued, “You know, explosions take a lot out of me.”
“Oh, I didn't know you exploded today. Well, I’m gonna take a swim before bed, sleep tight.” She said getting up.
“Good Night!” he called after her.
Damien finished his food quickly, cleaning up the table before heading back to his room, not even bothering to put on pajama’s, stripped to his underwear and climbed into bed. He was out like a light before any of his worries to make their way into his head.
“Maybe we’re going about this all wrong,” Mari said as she and Damien stared at the dummy that seemed would never blow up. Sohinki was on a mission so it was just the two of them currently. They had been at it for hours (Mari was determined to help Damien stay with them), and Damien would honestly try anything.
“How do you suppose we go about this then?” Damien asked, skeptical.
“We keep having you just try and immediately explode the dummy, maybe we need to set up a scene instead. Maybe you need to really want the dummy dead, for it to work.” Mari suggested.
“Seems worth a shot.” Damien conceded, “So how exactly do I do that?”
“close your eyes,” Mari said and Damien obliged, his arms crossed over his chest, “Ok Imagine I’m on a mission with you and our line of communication goes dead,” She starts and Damien does his best to really imagine it, “You can still track me however and you find out I’m on the roof of the building. I’m lying on the floor, bleeding and clearly beat up, but still alive. And a man is standing there, and you watch as he kicks me in the stomach, causing me to groan in pain. What are you gonna do about it?” Mari asked, taking a few steps back as she saw the intense expression on Damien’s face, though his eyes are still closed. When Damien didn’t move she continued, “Oh my god, he’s pulling out a gun and he’s aiming it at my poor defenseless-” Damien doesn’t wait for her to finish, he opens his eyes to grab the shoulder of the dummy in front of him, and watches as the entire dummy shakes. Its only for a moment but it happened and both of them saw it.
“Oh my god something happened. Something actually happened!” Damien said in disbelief.
“That is such a great start. Now we know how you work a little better, It’ll make it easier!” She smiled, “For now though, it is getting late, you should head to bed.”
“what about you?” Damien asked.
“I’ll go to bed soon I’m just gonna grab some more water for my room from the dining hall,” Mari said, helping him drag the dummy back to the closet.
The went their separate ways when the elevator stopped on the floor with their rooms. Damien got off and told Mari goodnight.
As he started walking down the hall, Ian burst out of his room, and Damien was glad because he had news he wanted to share, “Hey Ian! I made some great progress today!”
At the sound of Damien’s voice, Ian looked up and he did not look very good, he had clearly been crying, his eyes big and puffy and his nose red, “Yo man, is everything ok?” Damien asked concerned.
Ian took a moment before responding. “Let’s just say I came to a conclusion I wish I hadn’t. Goodnight Damien, I have some work I need to do.” And with that, he moved quickly past Damien and toward the elevators.
That couldn’t be good.
Chapter 5: Boze
Boze and Damien are awkward and Ian shares his realizations.
Ian didn’t join them for breakfast that morning, which worried everyone at their table. He usually joined said hi to everyone, then sat at his own table and ate while filling out some paperwork or doing some research on his computer.
That morning, they watched as pam grabbed a tray of food then rushed off with it, likely to wherever Ian was, before coming back to sit down and eat herself. Damien arrived later than usual, he said he overslept.
“Did Ian finish his food already? He is usually down here at this time.” Damien asked, and the group looked at each other.
“He never came down for breakfast, apparently he has been in his office all morning. Pam brought him his food.” Sohinki answered.
“Oh shit. He might have been there all night too…” Damien said as he started digging into his pancakes.
“What do you mean?” Boze asked, puzzled
“Well when I came back from practice last night, at like 1, Ian was leaving his room and it looked like he had been crying. When I asked if everything was ok all he said was ‘Let’s just say I came to a conclusion I wish I hadn’t.’ Then went quickly to the elevators.” Damien answered and Wes and Sohinki exchanged looks.
“You don’t think he thought…” Sohinki said, trailing off.
“I mean we speculated, but maybe he found some evidence?” Wes continued.
“What the hell are you guys talking about?!” Boze asked exasperatedly.
Before either could answer, Ian’s voice came on the loudspeaker. “I need Wes, Lasercorn, Sohinki, and Courtney MR and here in 5. I also need Joven here immediately.” The voice stopped as suddenly as it started up and Wes and Sohinki jumped up.
“Clean up our trays please, we’ll talk more later. Wes said quickly as the 4 ran toward the elevators. Joven followed behind a minute later, taking his plate with him.
“Well, that seemed like an unnecessary cliffhanger,” Boze commented after a moment and the rest of the group agreed.
After breakfast, Boze headed down to the power room. She didn’t feel the need to go down there all that often. The whole purpose of the huge room was for dangerous offensive powers. The walls were made of some really strong thick metal, so they could set fire to things, explode things, throw really heavy things around and the like while keeping it all contained to that room. Seeing as Boze didn’t do any of that she kept most of her practicing to the training rooms, or just around the building. Most people had learned at this point if they saw a random animal roaming the halls, it was usually Boze.
She only really went down to the power room, to practice flying. Going out every night wasn’t possible, and flying was her favorite thing. No matter what she was, soaring through the sky felt amazing. During the day, and without her partners in crime, she settled for flying about the power room. The room itself was super tall, about 3 stories, with various things she could land on around the walls and ceiling.
Being things that could fly, especially small ones, like butterflies, or bees or even dragonflies, was her favorite. It made her feel safe and protected, being such a small target that could go almost anywhere. Today, however, she was working on her birds. She started out as a blue jay, like the ones her and her mom used to see when they would stay at her grandmother’s house. She flew up and up, nearly touching the ceiling before she became herself again, allowing herself to freefall for a few moments before switching instead to a pigeon, like the ones she saw when she visited New York as a child, catching herself and flying back up to the top, before letting herself fall again.
She went at it for a while, transforming into every bird she could think of, her strange transformation dance, taking her in large circles around the room. On one particular freefall, she opened her eyes to see the floor rushing toward her and noticed someone was standing at the entrance, watching her. This time when she transformed into a Dove, she flew downward, toward the floor. As she got closer, she noticed that someone, had been Damien. She tried to transform as she landed, to be smooth, but she didn’t quite come in at the right angle and she fell forward on her hands and knees a few feet away from him.
“I was gonna say how that was graceful and mesmerizing, but I don’t think I can say that anymore,” He chuckled as she rushed to get up.
“Was I mesmerizing?” She asked finally upright and only slightly embarrassed.
“Yeah… I mean the way you would fall like your enjoying every moment before catching your self with the wings of the next bird you decide to be, it was breathtaking…” he said softly and they looked at each other for a moment, “I think my favorite part was when you tried to land and pitched forward nearly landing face first-“
“Ok, ok I get it!” She said hitting him playfully on the shoulder, “I was trying something new.” They both laughed. “So, if you want to use the room you can.” She said once the laughter died down.
“Don’t let me interrupt you, I was looking for Mari when I stumbled upon this,” Damien said shaking his head.
“Well I think I did enough for the day, I’m kind of hungry wanna grab an early lunch?” she asked, tucking her hair behind her ear.
“Sounds great, I’m kind of hungry myself.” He said, and with that, the two of them walked out of the room and to the elevators together.
Mari was sitting at Boze and Damien’s usual table, also enjoying an early lunch when they arrived. She looked up from her sandwich and smiled, “Hey Boze! Dames I just got your text sorry, I was so tired. I did a few laps in the pool then took a nap. I woke up like 10 minutes ago ravenously hungry.” Mari explained. Damien told her not to worry about it, and the two of them went to get food.
The three sat down and enjoyed their food for about 10 minutes before more people started piling in for lunch. It seemed like Wes, Sohinki, Courtney, and Lasercorn had returned very recently because when Wes sat down with his food, he was still wearing protective gear and Courtney was also still wearing her usual lightweight armored jumpsuit.
“How did the mission go?” Boze asked and Wes got a look on his face, “What?” Boze asked when she noticed Courtney had the same look.
“It was way too similar.” Courtney started, “A child of an official from headquarters was kidnapped, this time a toddler from day-care. There were 4 men and as soon as the baby was in my arms and away from them, and everyone had everything under control, they all dropped like flies.”
“It was eerily similar. They woke up having no idea what was going on. Ian met us in the parking lot, along with the parent, and he told us immediately that they were the same as the other guys.” Wes continued, “He definitely didn’t seem happy about it.”
Just then, as if their conversation summoned him, Ian came over the loudspeaker, “All acting supers in the conference room in 20 minutes. This is very important, so I’ll repeat, All acting supers to the conference room in 20 minutes.”
They all exchanged looks, maybe they were finally going to find out what was going on with Ian.
As everyone filed into the conference room, Ian didn’t acknowledge them. He was pacing back and forth across the front of the room. The table was thankfully back in there and it no longer looked like a group therapy room. Boze sat in between Damien and Wes and rested her arms on the table, as they waited for everyone to arrive. After a few minutes, Ian finally turned to the group, and Boze noticed that is eyes were indeed puffy, had he been crying more? It was kind of hard to tell exactly with his glasses and the distance, but she saw something.
“Is this everyone?” he asked, and the group looked around and made noises of affirmation. He didn’t speak yet however and walked over to the door and quickly checked the hallway before closing it and returning to his place at the front of the room. He looked around at everyone before speaking. “I’m sure most of you at this point know about the mission this morning, and how similar it was to the mission that occurred during our meeting with the interim supervisor, Lily Marston.” Ian ignored the noises of annoyance at the name and continued, “Seeing as the circumstances were so weird the first time, to have them repeated, definitely raised some red flags. The higher-ups are worried for their children and they want us on it.”
Ian took a moment and began pacing in front of everyone again, Boze could tell he didn’t want to say what he was about to. “Some of you have been here for a very long time,” He began, still pacing, “very few of you were around for the conception of Smosh. Those who have might come to a similar conclusion as I have.” He finally stopped pacing and faced the group. “All of our kidnappers were mostly silent men, who as soon as they were sure to lose, collapsed and awoke minutes later with no recollection of doing what they did.”
Someone from the other side of the table gasped and Boze turned to see it was Mari. Mari had her hand over her mouth and she seemed very shocked, to say the least. Sohinki, who was next to her, seemed to be shaking his head sadly as if whatever conclusion Mari and Ian had drawn, he had drawn before as well.
“These set of symptoms might be familiar to a few of us because they are evidence of a full body take-over by none other than Anthony Padilla.” Ian finally said, and the group was flabbergasted, to say the least.
Though not everyone had been there since the conception of smosh, everyone knew who Anthony was. His story is told one of the first days you spend there.
Anthony and Ian had been best friends since elementary school and both of them had been taken by the government when they both showed signs of powers. Even throughout the militaristic training, the two stayed friends. The way they were treated, however, always weighed heavily on Anthony. Anthony tended to hide his insecurities behind his powers, but when he was in the no power handcuffs for being aggressive or stuck in isolation for not having a good enough handle on his powers, he couldn’t handle it.
When they formed Smosh, Anthony flourished. He loved every bit of freedom they got and tested every boundary. Though Boze wasn’t there, a lot of the current group were around to see Anthony’s slow descent. His decisions getting increasingly risky, He was being more haphazard with his power, and he was less willing to follow the guidelines they had to follow to stay mostly independent.
Rumor was that the last straw was when Anthony used his mind control to force Ian to agree on sending people on a mission they weren’t assigned to. Not only did the two get in huge trouble, but Ian was more than furious with Anthony. He blew up on him in front of everyone at dinner that night and the next morning, Anthony was gone. They searched for him of course, the government wasn’t about to let a super powerful unstable super loose upon the world. But when no sign of him came up and no one could find him, they presumed him dead a year later.
Even though all of that happened 2 years ago, the people who knew Ian best, knew he was still upset about it. He had been so close to Anthony for so long, it made sense he would be beaten up about it. Although, if you could ever convince him to talk about it with you, he would tell you that There was no way Anthony was dead. “he’s probably living somewhere on the other side of the world, using his powers to keep anyone from being suspicious.” Ian had told her one night when they had been celebrating a big success and Ian was drunk.
Now, Ian seemed resolved in his conclusion, though some of the group seemed skeptical.
“I’m sorry Ian but didn’t he pass?” Courtney asked gently, but Ian just rolled his eyes.
“I’ve known him since we were 6. I think I know better than that. His powers make it so incredibly easy for him to hide. All he would have to do is convince anyone who found him they had the wrong guy.” Ian said, dismissing Courtney’s statement.
“Well, what makes you think this is him?” Noah asks.
This time Mari answered, “Anthony usually just forced thoughts into people heads to make them do things he wanted, but rarely he would completely take over them, control every aspect of their conscious mind for a short period of time. We never saw him do it during missions, but as a part of his power training, he would practice with people who trusted him. He couldn’t ever do it longer than an hour and when he let them go, they never remembered anything that happened while they were under control.”
“Which fits what we saw perfectly. Anthony is clearly taking control of these men and having them kidnap these children.” Ian concluded.
“I’m sorry but why would he even want to do that?” Boze asked.
“Well I don’t know for a fact, but I have a few theories.” As he talked he began pacing again. “The first theory is the most obvious, he hated this organization, so he was getting back at the higherups that had him imprisoned for half of his life. The next theory, though a little farfetched is, he is planning something, and he wants to test the limits, see how far he can go. The last one is simple, he is trying to get my attention.”
The group contemplated the theories for a moment before Mari spoke up. “Which one do you think is more likely?”
Ian shrugged and didn’t respond right away, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he was after all 3… I mean, Testing the boundaries of what we can do while getting back at the higherups seems plausible. And knowing we will likely be called in for the front lines, letting them drop like that in front of you guys would definitely get my attention.”
There’s a tense moment, and its clear to the group how upset Ian is by all this. Keith brings him back to the problem at hand with one question, “What are we gonna do about it, boss?”
Those words seemed to rouse something in Ian, he turned toward the group, determination and confidence taking the forefront. “Whether or not its Anthony, we have to stop whoever is doing this. I have a simple plan, the next time this happens, we send 3 of the same people we’ve already sent, to prevent him learning anything new, with the exception, that I will go too. Once I’m in reach of the thugs, I can read their brain and find out what the hells going on in there. And if it is Anthony, and I read their brains, ill get an inside into his and be able to determine where he is.” Ian said, returning to pacing again, “Is everyone on board?”
Everyone made noises of agreement. And Ian nodded, “Ok, you guys are dismissed. I’ll be monitoring the calls and let the appropriate crew know when the plan will be put into motion.”
Ian likes to think he stayed very calm in that meeting. He may have seemed stressed, which was true, but he thought he did a good job keeping himself from revealing what a mess he was on the inside.
That night he had run into Damien, Ian had been a complete mess. At the realization of what might have happened, Ian understandably freaked out. What the hell could have happened to Anthony to cause him to become a fucking villain? It had taken him so long just to accept that his friend was going to live in isolation for the rest of his life, but he had never even considered that he would have to face off against his best friend.
What was he kidding?
Anthony had been so much more than that.
Chapter 6: Damien
Damien makes some progress and Boze finds herself in another sticky situation.
This time, Damien was alone.
He stood in the middle of the training room, staring intently at the dummy in front of him. He had been using Mari’s technique and nothing more had happened. Though most times, He could now cause the entire dummy to shake, his progress had not gone much further than that.
Now, he stood before the dummy, and try to think of a new scenario. He imagined standing on the roof and looking onto a violent scene. In his imagination, he ran and toward the fight but when he arrived it was too late. A big strong muscly violent man was standing and smirking at him and turned to look down at the almost lifeless body on the floor. This time, however, without even thinking about it, he realizes that the girl on the floor was Boze. With the anger surging through his body he clamped his hand down on the dummy in front of him and watch as it exploded in his face. The blast caused him to take a big step back, but other than that it didn’t affect him much.
He didn’t take any time to identify the feelings that had clearly influenced what had just happened, he ran with excitement out into the hallway and into the elevator.
He had to tell someone.
She was going to have that dinner she promised her friend before Tiffany could leave. She was determined to get out of the base for a few hours to pretend like everything hadn’t changed and she was still the bratty nerd who drank wine with her friends.
She didn’t dress too fancy. Yes, she had a few nice dresses from events she had gone to with SMOSH, but they weren’t going to a restaurant that fancy, so she opted for a nice top and some black leggings. Simple but cute. She also went minimal with the makeup and put her hair up.
She looked at herself in the mirror and for a moment, it felt like she had gone back in time. She was just going to grab dinner with a friend after class. No biggie. She chuckled at the ridiculousness.
She grabbed her purse and headed out. Seeing as most of the group were at dinner, she didn’t expect to run into anyone in the hallway. Apparently, neither did Sohinki and Lasercorn, whom she nearly walked into while she turned the corner next to the elevators. They had been talking in hushed tones, very close to each other while looking into each other’s eyes. From how much Lasercorn jumped when she walked up, she assumed it wasn’t supposed to be public knowledge
“Why aren’t you at dinner?” Lasercorn asked, stepping toward her, and conveniently away from Sohinki.
“Why aren’t you?” Boze countered, pressing the elevator button with a raised eyebrow.
“More importantly,” Sohinki interjected, “Why are you… pretty?”
Boze laughed at that, “I’ve been known to be once in a while.”
“Got a hot date?” Lasercorn asked, getting into the groove of the conversation.
“Unfortunately, no. Not all of us can canoodle in abandoned hallways.” She smirked
“Are you saying that some people are canoodling in abandoned hallways?” Lasercorn said, fake shocked.
“She’s probably talking about Sarah and Tanner. They’ve been known to publicly canoodle.” Sohinki added and Lasercorn nodded seriously.
“You two are too much.” Boze said as the elevator dinged and she went to step in, “As much as I’m loving this conversation, I’m catching dinner with a friend that’s in town and I don’t want to be late.”
She stepped in the elevator and the two boys waved at her. As the doors closed she called out, “Have fun with your canoodling!”
She laughed at the “WE WERE NOT CANOODLING” She could hear clearly through the closed doors.
She rode the elevator all the way to the ground floor and waved to the doorman as she left. The restaurant wasn’t far, so she walked down the street. She jumped a little when her phone started ringing. She expected it was Tiffany but pulled her phone out of her pocket to see that the name across her phone was actually Sis. She didn’t want to talk to her sister at the moment, so she let it ring. When the phone stopped, she sighed in relief until it started ringing again. She reluctantly picked up the phone.
“Hello?” Boze said.
“Well look who has been avoiding my calls again.” She heard the familiar voice say over the line.
“I’m not avoiding your calls”
“Well, you haven’t called me or responded to my voicemails in a few weeks.”
“I’ve been busy…”
“Hey if you don’t want to come to Nashville for Christmas its ok. It was just an offer. “
“I mean I want to, I just don’t have the time,” Boze lied through her teeth.
“Sure Bozey…” There was a pause, “How have you been doing?”
“Same as I was last time you asked.”
“Boze, come on. I have a right to worry…”
“You have a right to worry to yourself,” Boze says and there’s a biting tone in her words she had hoped wouldn’t happen in this conversation. “Listen is there anything else? I’m about to walk into a restaurant.”
“Oh, are you going on a date?” Her sister asked, glad for the subject change.
“I’m having dinner with a friend. So, I’ll talk to you later.”
“Wait! Please call me tomorrow. I want us to properly catch up”
Boze paused, and sighed, her voice softening, “I’ll call you tomorrow promise.”
“Thanks, sis, have fun!”
She shoved the phone back into her pocket and took a deep breath before stepping inside.
Dinner started out so great. Both of her friends from high school were a welcome break from her now stressful life. They ate the great food and prattled on about nothing important. It was so nice until her phone rang. She was gonna silence it until she saw who it was. “Sorry, guys I have to take this.”
She scooted out of the booth and answered the phone as she stepped outside.
“I need you here now. It's another kidnapping.” Ian says quickly and Boze immediately went into work mode.
“Teenage daughter of the head of the treasury. Can you transform? They are heading toward the highway and if you could meet us there it would be ideal, so we can get on the move.”
“Yeah, there’s an alley on this block I could transform, send me the location on my cell.”
“Copy” Ian said before hanging up.
Seeing as time was of the essence, she quickly ran into the restaurant and back to her table, “Hey sorry but a friend of mine just called me with an emergency, I need to go meet her at the hospital.”
“Oh My God! I’m so sorry, do you want me to drive you?” Tiffany asked standing up.
“No, I already ordered an uber and its down the block. This really was great ladies hopefully I'll see you soon!” Boze said quickly as she started making her way from the table. She listened to the girls say goodbye to her as she quickly exited the restaurant.
She ran down the block toward the alley, the street was mostly empty at this point anyway, so she should be fine. As she ran, she pulled out the earpiece she always kept on her and stuck it in her ear, as she turned down the alley, sprinting further back to be engulfed in darkness, she pressed the button turning it on.
“Boze online,” She said quietly as she checked for the location on her phone.
“Copy, this is Joven and I have all the visuals, they’ve entered the expressway and we need to get them off. I can guide you while you’re in the air.” She heard crackling over the earpiece.
“Copy, transforming now.” She said as she tucked the phone into her purse and doing a quick scan for anybody in the street. Once she was sure she was clear, she turned into a blackbird, her usual choice for flying at night.
Turns out she was closer to the expressway than previously thought. When she flying above the traffic on the expressway, she heard a voice in her ear. “Ian speaking, how close are we Joven? I can’t sense their minds yet, so I know we are at least 30 feet away.”
“Joven speaking, you guys are a good 400 ft away. Boze, you’re a lot closer though, can you fly in and give us confirmation if you have a visual on the victim? That way we know if she is in the trunk or not? They are in the black SUV with the racial slur on the obviously fake license plate.”
She let out a chirp in confirmation and searched for the car, there were quite a few cars on the expressway, and while the cars were all moving, there was enough that it took her a moment to find it. She flew near the back window to get a visual. And thankfully she saw the teenager. The said victim was trapped in between 2 large men, and though she couldn’t see the girl's face, she could guess what she would see by how much she was shaking. She let out 1 small chirp, which translated to yes, she had a visual.
“Joven speaking, Awesome, how many guys are in the car?” He asked, and she chirped 4 times. “ok. I’m going to hack into a few of the dynamic signs coming up to signal a detour and get some people out of the way, so you can advance, just ignore them.”
“Copy. Ian speaking, Boze you stay near the car, so we have eyes on them.”
She chirped in confirmation and flew higher up, to prevent anyone in the car from getting suspicious.
Boze watches from her vantage point as more and more cars fall for the false detour and Ian’s car, also containing Courtney and Wes, gets closer. And that’s when Boze notices they are speeding up. They start weaving around the cars around them as if they know what’s going on, and it alarms Boze for sure. She, for the lack of a better word, screeches into her headpiece.
“Ian speaking, Joven what’s going on with our eyes in the sky?”
“Joven speaking, Boze just increased her speed, are they actively trying to go faster?” Boze chirped in confirmation, “That’s ridiculous! That means that somehow, they are aware that they are being chased, out of all of the cars on the busy road!”
“Ian speaking, and I agree it's ridiculous, but we were making so much progress we can’t back out now. Is there another sign you can manipulate to help?”
“Joven speaking and yes, ignore the next detour sign.”
It took about 5 more minutes before more and more cars were leaving the road, and Ian sped to get closer to the offending SUV that was also trying to get ahead, but with all the space they now had, Ian’s car was faster and smaller and they advance easily.
“Joven speaking, your about 10 ft away from being in listening distance.”
And with that last transmission, Boze watched as all 4 thugs in the car went limp. Just like that and suddenly things were a lot higher stakes. She screeched to signify something was wrong before quickly deciding what she should do, as she watched the car lose control. She turned into a fly and quickly slipped into the crack on the driver's side window and transformed back, suddenly finding herself sitting in the large man’s lap. She grabbed the wheel to try and gain control of the vehicle all the while kicking the man’s foot off the gas pedal. While it was hard to concentrate with all the screaming from the back she managed, to use one of her hands to push back the seat so she, still sitting in the unconscious’ man’s lap could have full control of the pedals.
“WHAT THE FUCK!?” She heard screamed from the back, as the teenager realized someone new was now driving.
“IM HERE TO HELP PLEASE STOP SCREAMING SO I CAN LET MY TEAM KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON!” Boze finally screamed, already developing a headache from the shrill voice coming from the back. Luckily with that, the car grew quiet. That whole time she had been forced to ignore the questions and screaming in her earpiece, which had also stopped when she screamed at the teenager (Ian would likely scold her for that later). “This is the eyes in the skies speaking, all 4 men collapsed, and I was forced to commandeer the vehicle before a collision. I have it under control and I’m pulling in to the nearest rest stop. It was kind of hard to be discreet during that, so you might want to have someone checking police scanners.”
“Copy, Joven speaking, how is the girl?”
“Hi, Sorry about the screaming. Are you hurt?” Boze asked, glancing at the girl in the rearview mirror.
“I-I think I’m ok.” She heard shyly from the back seat.
Soon enough Boze pulled into a rest stop, pulling the car in all the way at the back. Ian’s car pulled in a minute later, while Boze was tugging out one of the thugs in the back, so the girl could get out. She managed to drop the thug on the ground as Courtney, Wes, and Ian exited the car.
“Annie? I’m Courtney. I have your mom on the phone” Courtney said approaching the girl who had just climbed out of the car. Boze left the two, since that all seemed to be under control and walked over to Ian. They stood in silence for a few minutes, watching Wes pull the bodies out and tying them up on the pavement like he was lifting large coats. Joven broke up the silence over the earpieces. “Joven speaking, so he, or whoever this is, is listening to us?”
“That’s the only thing that makes sense.” Ian says, “Ian speaking,” he tacks on as an afterthought.
“Do you have any idea how he could have done this?” Boze asked.
“No.” He said with a sigh, “If this is Anthony, if he somehow is using his powers to do this, then he is doing something I haven’t seen before.”
It had been so long since he and Shayne had talked one on one and it was refreshing.
In his gusto to find someone to talk to he had managed to run into Shayne who he found exiting the kitchen with a bottle of water. Now the two childhood friends were sitting in the empty cafeteria talking about anything the other might of missed since the last time the two got to catch up.
It wasn’t like the two couldn’t see each other every day. And at the beginning yes Damien gravitated toward Shayne at most opportunities, but they had honestly just got wrapped up in their own social circles. Not talking to each other 20 times a day didn’t make them any less best friends then they had been before. Shane would say that it was because Damien was crushing on Boze, but then Damien would argue that Shayne was doing the same thing with Noah and the conversation was easily dropped.
“So what was so different about your visualization the second time that allowed it to work, do you think?” Shane asked, bringing Damien back to the conversation about his success
“Well, I would like to think it was because I was alone and able to get more immersed in the scenario.” Damien tried but Shane just gave him a look that said ‘we both know that’s bullshit’ so Damien continued, “Ok listen I think we both know what the real answer is so why do I have to say it out loud?”
“Why are you so scared of saying it out loud?” Shayne countered.
“Why won't you say your crush out loud?” Damien tried to counter.
“I will. I have a crush on Noah. And seeing as we have been friends for a really long time and he has in his own way made it clear that he just thinks of me as a friend, is what's holding me back from sharing my feelings.” Shayne blurted out with a light blush on his cheeks, shocking Damien a little bit. “What's your excuse?”
Damien doesn’t answer straight away, taking a moment to let out a long sigh. “First of all, this isn't some job or event where I see a super nice, funny, pretty girl and I can ask her out, take her out on a few light-hearted dates and have a good time. This place isn't exactly the place that nurtures a budding romance.”
“That’s because you take this place too seriously. You’ve been here too long to see everything as a joke but you haven't been here long enough to stop taking everything as a threat.” Shayne said simply, “I mean, that’s part of why Ian started SMOSH in the first place, so could actually live and enjoy our lives in between everything.”
Instead of allowing himself to admit Shayne was right, he voiced his second worry, “Well there is a chance I’ll be kicked out of here in less than a month now so it doesn’t really matter.”
“Hey, I think you’ll do it. I mean you’ve already made progress.” Shayne said positively.
“Yeah, maybe,” Damien said, a lot less positively.
But god, he hoped so.
Chapter 7: Sohinki
Joven and Mari stress themselves out while Sohinki finds himself in a scary situation.
Writer's block is a vicious thing.
I was struggling really hard with putting this chapter together so it took longer than expected, but I got into some of the side characters in this one so I hope you enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Ever since he finished dinner, Sohinki had made himself busy in his room, until he got bored and just laid down on top of his covers still in his clothes staring at the wall. He stayed like that until when he turned to check the clock, he saw it was 11 pm. Most people wouldn’t be wandering the halls at this time, so they would be in the clear. Even if they weren’t, everyone was mostly preoccupied nowadays with all the shit going on, so they wouldn’t even realize anything was going on.
He remembers after the mission he had gone on the other day, as he, Wes, Courtney and Lasercorn (Though he had found himself calling him David more often lately) sat in Ian’s office as he asked them for every detail. He asked if there was absolutely anything that even remotely stood out to them. They told him everything, but when he sent them down for lunch, he didn’t seem satisfied.
Of course, when they had the meeting after lunch, things became clearer. That must be what the mission crew was doing now. He saw them enter and head straight toward Ian’s office. He had been watching over Jovens shoulder while the chase had gone on, so he had an idea of what had happened, but he was very curious about the conclusions they were drawing. While he wanted to know what was going on, he was grateful that everyone was busy. It would make sneaking upstairs a lot easier.
He took the elevator to the top floor. And quickly made his way to the stairs up to the roof. As he opened the door, the first thing he saw was David, laying on a blanket looking up at the sky. David looked over and smiled, “Hey”
“Hey,” Sohinki said making his way over to him. He laid down next to him, only about an inch of space separated them. “So, was this an attempt to be romantic, or were you just tired and didn’t want to lay on the cement?”
“Definitely the latter, but hey if it seems romantic, I’ll take the credit” He laughs.
They have no real reason to be hiding this, but they still do.
“Wow. Hold on while I swoon.” Sohinki says looking up at the night sky, allowing his hand to rest between them.
Neither of them ever said they should hide it, both of them just did it automatically.
“You better swoon” David said as he smoothly moved his hand over to hold Sohinki’s.
It probably said a lot about the shit they went through when they were younger, the fact that both of their first instincts were to hide.
Eventually one of them always pulled the other closer till things stopped being pg, and this time it was David.
They were fucked up, but they were fucked up together.
Mari’s feet on the treadmill pounded out a rhythm that she tried to focus on. With the loud music pouring out of her headphones, she tried to drown out most of the thoughts that were in her head, but it was hard.
She knew Anthony well, maybe not as well as Ian but still pretty well. She had been a part of the origin story for smosh, one of the friends that Ian and Anthony managed to take with them when they finally got their own office. Back then, of course, it was only 2 floors and not so well kept.
In the beginning, it was her, Ian, Anthony, Joven, and Sohinki, all staying in the 2-level basement they essentially had. It felt more like they were roommates then starting their own government group. They cleaned up the place by themselves, did all the cooking, and did basically all the work themselves.
It wasn’t until they had been doing it for a year that they got enough funding to get a better facility. They couldn’t ignore SMOSH anymore since they were kicking bad guy butt. And while after that they expanded more and didn’t have to do a lot of the smaller things and started growing as a group, those first years really cemented them as a group. They were so close it felt like nothing could ever split the core 5.
Anthony leaving was really hard for them too. And now, the idea that they might have to fight someone they cared about so much was weighing heavily on all of them.
One thing Mari knew though, feelings about fighting Anthony aside, if they were going to fight him, they would need a lot more than luck on their side.
She knew what he could do, they would need a miracle.
He was supposed to be ‘the guy’. ‘THE guy’. ‘THE GUY’. The one who had full visuals on everything could pull up recorded evidence of almost anything that the opposition tried to do. He could fucking just think and pull up any evidence of tampering from any technological device, yet as he sat and waited for everyone to get back to the base, he found absolutely no evidence of tampering. No one hacked the comms unit, there were no bugs planted in the room, he couldn’t find any evidence of anything and it frustrated him to no end.
He was quadruple checking for viruses hiding on the computer when Ian walked in. “everyone’s waiting in the conference room, come on.” The look on Jovens face must have been something, because when he turned to look at Ian, the other man stopped and turned fully toward Joven, “Your stressing yourself unnecessarily aren’t you?”
“I don’t understand how I can’t find any evidence of any tech that could have relayed them any info!”
“I do, it means there isn’t any”
“That’s even worse!” Joven said throwing his hands in the air exasperated, “That could mean he has a super on his side that we don’t know about that can listen really well or read minds. Or, and god forbid, maybe someone was in the fucking base!” he looked up at Ian, just to see a mildly amused expression at Joven’s anger, “I don’t understand why you’re not more stressed!?!?”
“Trust me I am but sitting here and blowing a fuse about it isn’t gonna do anything but give me a headache,” Ian said and Joven let out a sigh.
Of course, he was right. So Joven took a moment before standing up, he shut down the computer without even glancing back as he walked toward the exit. “Fine, let's go to the conference room so I can blow a fuse and get a headache in there and surrounded by friends.” Ian chuckled at that as he closed the door behind both of them.
The hand on her shoulder made her jump and nearly fall right off the treadmill, and strong arms catch her as she grabs onto the side and move her feet to the sides to avoid getting thrown off the back of the treadmill.
She yanks out one of her headphones and turns to see who it is to see Wes with a concerned-but-holding-back-laughter face. “I was calling your name over and over again. Sorry, I startled you.” He said, the laughter sounding in his voice.
“So, you grab me? If I didn’t almost get myself thrown off, I would have punched you in the face.” She said as she pressed the button to stop the treadmill. She semi-gracefully walked off the stopped treadmill.
“Well I’ll know better next time,” He says semi-mockingly, “I just wanted to see if you were ok. You were running on the treadmill when we got here at like 11.”
“What time is it?”
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.” He said pointedly.
Since she usually did the endless mode, mostly on the light jog mode for a while and stopped when she was ready, she had lost herself in her mind and completely ignored how long she had been on there. Of course, as soon as she noticed it, she realized how sore her legs were. She took a step forward and attempted to gently stretch out her legs and watched Wes’s concern grow as she hissed in pain. “I guess I lost track of time. Nothing some Advil and sleep can’t fix.” When we just looked at her with an ‘are you serious’ expression she continued, “I’ll visit Tim in the morning to make sure I have full function of my legs.”
Wes seemed satisfied, so she started walking in the direction of the elevators, but quickly realized this was gonna be a slow and sore walk. Noticing her pain, Wes, without any warning or even asking for permission, lifted Mari up into his arms as if she was as heavy as a thin piece of fabric and carried her bridal style toward the elevators. She swallowed her indignance about being treated like that with her gratefulness at not having to walk.
He purposely didn’t allow any feelings to surface as he walked alone down the corridor toward the door to his room. David’s room was closer to the elevators, so he had a little bit of lonely stroll before he reached his room down the hall.
As he closed the door behind him froze for a moment, a little bit of dizziness causing him to stop and shake his head as it cleared away. Once he regained composure, he leaned against the door.
He and Lasercorn had actually had time to talk. They had poured out their feelings and the main think that had come from that unnecessarily scared him. They had agreed to stop hiding. The next day they were gonna be honest with their friends and it was a lot.
He took a deep breath and tried not to think about the last time he came out. Well, the first time…
At that point, he wasn’t ever planning on coming out to his parents. He knew where they stood. His brother had promised not to tell, and he had trusted him. His brother had also left his phone unlocked on the dining room table while the two of them had been texting. His father had conveniently picked up the phone as Sohinki had sent his brother a picture of him and his boyfriend.
When he got home for thanksgiving, he though all was well until he sat down for dinner and his parents started lecturing him about how he was selfish and a whole bunch of other stupid ignorant things homophobic people do.
Sohinki discovered his powers later that night after he walked out on his parents and stared wandering the town. See wandering a dark and quiet town late at night by yourself was never a good idea and someone stabbed him and took his wallet. You tend to realize something is different when a stab wound disappears 30 seconds after you get stabbed, and the only proof it happened was the blood on the hole in their shirt.
A glance at the clock told him he should go to bed, so he went to walk toward his bed when another wave of dizziness hit him. It hit him so hard that he nearly pitched forward to the ground but managed to keep himself up with a hand on the dresser.
He didn’t cry out or yell for help as he stood there trying to clear his mind. This time, his vision didn’t clear up. He didn’t know what was going on, but something about the sensation was familiar and kept his mouth shut.
As the last wave of dizziness hit him, he began to lose consciousness. The last thing he felt his body do before he went under was starting to turn around.
Then everything went black.
Things had gotten complicated. Feelings that were supposed to be eradicated were coming up. He wasn’t going to let those feelings get in the way however, maybe they could even help.
His plan was already in motion, shit was gonna get real. It would take a lot more than a few well trained supers to take him down. And now he was gonna even take a few off their hands.
Nothing was gonna stop his revenge.
Not even the one person who mattered.
Hey so just a heads up, I went back and edited chapter 3 a little. It’s nothing that really alters the story, but It was bothering me how un-organized the ages were when they all talk about how old they were when they joined so I fixed that whole section, so they are the ages that the actual people in real life are in the present. I mean no one probably cares but now if you look at chapter 3 you will know for sure how long everyone’s been here.
Chapter 8: Boze
The whole group is on high alert and more things go down.
It took them longer than it should, to realize something was wrong.
They were all eating breakfast when Boze heard casually from the other side of the room, “Where’s Lasercorn and Sohinki?”
Boze looked up to see the empty chair across from her where Sohinki often sat, surprised she hadn’t noticed he wasn’t there. After a quick glance, it turned out that everyone was there besides the two. “They must have overslept,” Wes said, unbothered.
They all went back to eating as they heard the clack of Pam’s heels as she went to go fetch them, likely on Ian’s orders. The conversation continued until she returned alone. “I banged on both of their doors, but nobody opened either.”
Ian let out a sigh of annoyance and stood up, “You can keep eating your breakfast pam. Boze, Sohinki gave you access to his room, right?”
“Yeah,” Boze said also standing up. Everyone gave a few people they trusted access to their rooms in case of emergency and Boze had been honored when Sohinki just cavalierly gave her access.
“Come with me, Mari you too,” Ian said as he started toward the elevators. Boze and Mari quickly went to follow him. Chatting about everyday things as they took the short elevator ride. Boze was sure she knew what was about to happen. Mari and Boze would open the respective boys’ rooms and wake them up to find they had both stayed up way too late. Boze even wondered if they would find the two of them in the same room.
When she reached Sohinki’s room she put her hand on the doorknob and felt the lock mechanism unlock, she quickly opened the door to the unfortunately empty room. Even though she knew what she would find, she still checked the bathroom that was also empty. She stepped out into the hallway and saw Mari also emerge from Lasercorn’s room.
“Are they both in there?” Boze asked as she walked over to Mari and Ian looked expectantly at her too.
“What? No… his room is empty, I thought both of them were in there…” Mari said slowly and the look on Ian’s face turned worried.
“I have a bad feeling about this,” He said pulling his phone out of his pocket and dialing something quick before putting it to his ear. Mari and Boze watched Ian’s face tensely waiting for him to breathe a sigh of relief. And that’s when they hear Lasercorn’s ringtone, clearly coming from his room. Ian doesn’t say anything he just dials another number and puts the phone back to his ear. When they hear Sohinki’s phone ring from his room, Ian is officially worried.
“You two start searching for them, I’m gonna go get everyone else to help and have Joven check the security footage,” Ian said and all 3 started moving quickly toward the elevators. As Ian got in an elevator that was going to go up, he stopped and held the elevator open for a moment, “If you find them and they passed out somewhere or some shit, tell them I will personally whip their asses for worrying us like that.”
All of that had gone down about 30 minutes ago, where they still had hope that the two supers were still under their nose. Now, however, everyone was in full panic mode. The building had been in the process of being searched when Joven had announced over the loudspeaker that the search was no longer necessary. Thinking that the two had been found, Boze made her way to the main floor to find out how much trouble they were in. It turned out, however, that the search had been called off due to the surveillance footage, showing the two walking straight out of the building.
The footage was incredibly strange. In the video, that everyone got the opportunity to review, the two of them walked into the elevator without acknowledging each other and stared at the door until it opened. They both stepped out of the elevator completely in sync and they walked out of the building together. The outside cameras caught them both getting into a car without a license plate before the car went out of view.
After watching the footage everyone just sat there in silence with the same thought. It was obvious what had happened there, no one even needed to say anything. They all knew.
“This footage is from around 2 this morning. That was 7 hours ago. The two of them could be in fucking Canada by now.” Ian said breaking the silence.
“Well maybe if We’re lucky, and they took anything from the armory, I might be able to track them,” Joven said suddenly, bouncing out of his seat.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” Ian said bouncing up as well, “while you're doing that I’ll put out a message to alert us if anyone with their descriptions tries to go through any security checkpoints. If they haven’t made it to their destination already.”
And then the two of them ran urgently back to their respective offices.
They had all been told to resume business as usual while they saw if they could find any leads. And Boze tried, she got dressed in some workout clothes and started on the treadmill. She only ran for about 10 minutes before she found herself walking into Jovens office. He was standing in front of his computer monitors, his chair on its side behind him. His hand was on his face and he seemed to be trying to visibly calm himself down.
Deciding that this might not be the best time to ask him how it was going, Boze started to close the door back so she wouldn’t disturb him. “its ok, I’m fine.” He said before she could close the door, so she stepped back in and closed the door behind her. Despite his reassuring words, the tone told her he was lying, but he probably wanted someone to talk to.
“No luck?” She asked softly, and he turned to look at her.
“It’s worse than no luck. It is the opposite of luck! It's so incredibly unlucky, that it’s ridiculous!!!” He yelled, throwing his hands in the air out of frustration.
“You don’t sound very fine…” Boze says, leaning against the closed door.
Joven took a deep breath before speaking again. “I’m sorry but this whole thing is a mess. I mean they didn’t bring anything with them. ANYTHING! Not a single gun, not a comms unit, not even lightweight armor.” He said, his voice going up in pitch with each thing, “Even the knife that we got Lasercorn for his 30th birthdayday, THE ONE HE KEEPS WITH HIM EVERYFUCKING PLACE HE GOES, WAS LEFT IN HIS DAMN ROOM!” Boze watched as he tried to calm himself again.
“We are gonna figure something out, ok? We are gonna find them and then kick whoever’s ass.” She said, “And when I say beat their ass, I mean to break them into pieces then set fire to each piece individually.”
“I know,” He said, righting his chair and sitting down, “This is just the second time that Anthony’s knowledge left me and my powers useless.”
Before Boze could respond Ian came over the loudspeaker. “ALL HANDS ON DECK, I REPEAT, ALL HANDS ON DECK.”
Boze and Joven, looked at each other for a moment before both of them ran out the room and down the hall to the main room, where the giant monitors where displaying some intense destruction on the screen. Ian didn’t seem to want to wait for everyone to arrive, he thankfully didn’t have to wait long, because everyone ran in in various states of prepared for whatever was going on.
“Ok we don’t have a lot of time, Lasercorn is destroying downtown LA. Either he is being mind controlled or he has finally gone insane. And though we are pretty sure we know which, headquarters doesn’t give a shit. They want him taken down now.” Pam was handing out special comms units as he spoke, and everyone took them grim-faced, “Here is the protocol, as long as he is in that square, you try to detain him or somehow convince him, if it's possible, to get the cuffs on. The second he starts escaping, you have to shoot, and shoot to seriously injure if you can since we can have Tim on standby. If worse comes to worst and he is getting away… you know.”
Boze didn’t even let her mind go to that place, “What about Sohinki?” She asked, waiting impatiently for pam to get to her.
“Sohinki has not been spotted in the area, we have no idea.” He said simply, “Lastly, not everyone will be going on the mission. Sarah, Damien, Boze, Mari, and Joven will be staying on base and keeping high alert mode while the rest carry out the mission.” Before Mari or Boze could voice any protests, Ian gave the arm signal, and everyone started sprinting toward the elevator that pam already had open and waiting for them. Pam was also handing out power cuffs to everyone as they entered the elevator, and Ian grabbed him but let the full elevator go down without him as he attached them to his belt.
“I think you made a mistake,” Boze said urgently. “Me and Mari are needed- “
“You and Mari are needed right where I tell you, you are needed. I am the one in charge here.” Ian cut off Boze and she fought every urge to continue to argue, “Now I know very well what great fighters and defenders’ you guys are, however, I’m almost certain this is gonna be a distraction. Anthony wouldn’t set up a battle right in the middle of a literal square in front of the public if something else wasn’t going on.”
An empty elevator opened up and Ian went to step in, “Joven you’re in charge, keep an eye on the receivers. I’m telling you something is gonna happen.” And with that, the elevator doors closed and Boze was left indignant.
As Wes drove the car way too fast down the streets of LA only one thing was on his mind. How much he hoped he wouldn’t have to kill one of his best friends.
He thought they had a pretty good shot at this going well, however. Ian had separated them all into 4 different cars and had them coming at the square where LCorn was wreaking havoc at all angles. They had to keep him in the middle to keep him from escaping or spreading the damage. In the garage, they had been handed fire-proof suits, but Wes knew that it was kind of useless. If Lasercorn was shooting a fire blast at one of them, a little fireproof clothing wouldn’t keep them from getting burned everywhere they weren’t covered and being blasted back into a building.
When they screeched to a stop behind the police line, everyone burst out of the car and made their way to the police officers who let them in. Of course, they could see what was going on before they had even parked. It was kind of hard not to see the cannons of fire that occasionally flew through the air, the same fire that probably set the buildings along the square alight. The fire trucks seemed to be blasting at those buildings in earnest to keep the fire from igniting any of the buildings next to them, to keep the situation under some sort of control.
There were also some supers from headquarters who seemed to be focusing all of their energy on keeping Lasercorn contained. It was good that they arrived when they did because it didn't look like they would last like that much longer.
He got into his position in front of the police line while everyone else who had been in his car got into theirs. As all the cars arrived Wes watched his friends all get into their places as Lasercorn’s voice boomed throughout the space from his spot in the middle (was he hooked up to a fucking speaker?) “Took you guys long enough! Now the fun can really begin”
With that, a flaming car was sent flying straight toward Wes. Wes stopped it easily with one hand and tossed it aside where Courtney used her wind to blow it out and Before anyone could celebrate, there were more flaming objects headed their way.
This would be some fight.
Boze sat with Joven in the control room, fidgeting with her phone while Joven kept an eye on the fight. She had been watching with him for a while, but the group hadn’t been making much headway, no one was getting hurt, but they hadn’t gotten to him yet. Nothing they were doing was quite working.
That was when the phone rang, and Joven grabbed it before it could ring a second time. His face went white and Boze put her phone down. “Yes, sir. We’re on it right away.”
Now Boze was up and looking at Joven worried as he put the phone down. “What the hell is happening?”
Joven took a deep breath before responding, “Ian was right, it was a distraction.”
Chapter 9: Joven
Damiens first mission doesn't exactly start off according to plan.
I honestly don't have an excuse for why this took so long. but I hope you enjoy!
The voice on the phone was frantic and Joven had to listen very closely to understand what they were saying, “The whole daycare! All 10 children! Gone! My daughter was in there! I know you guys are handling things downtown, is there anybody you could send?”
“Yes, sir. We’re on it right away.” He said before hanging up the phone
Boze, who had been beside him and watching what had to of been a journey of expressions on his face was now standing up, seemingly bracing herself for what was to come, “What the hell is happening?”
Joven took a deep breath before responding, “Ian was right, it was a distraction.” The second he got that off he headed toward the door heading toward his office, which was right next door, motioning for Boze to follow. As they entered his office, he turned on all of the computers with his mind, and before he even got to sit at his desk, he had two monitors showing the GPS signals they had from the trackers on the children. “Get everyone in here now, we have to move fast.”
Thankfully Boze didn’t question him and ran out of the room. He heard her announcing over the loudspeaker for everybody to come to Jovens office but focused on flipping through street cameras to get a visual while pulling his comms unit out and sticking it in his ear. “Joven online. Ian, we have an emergency. The new daycare that they put together specifically to protect the children that kept being targeted has been infiltrated and all 10 children are missing. I have intermittent visuals, but they are in an unmarked van and speeding down the highway.”
“Shit.” Joven heard Ian say as the door opened and Damien, Mari, Boze, and Sarah burst in. “Copy, Ian speaking, send out all 4 of them. Have Mari take point-” There were some loud noises over the comms and Joven waited as patiently as he could while signaling everyone to hold on. “Sorry, Ian speaking, we are swamped over here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lasercorn use his powers quite this recklessly it's insane. But yes, have Mari take point and Sarah be driver and backup, Send Boze ahead and have her infiltrate the vehicle as soon as possible, and Let Damien help with defense. If we find ourselves able to spare anyone, I’ll send them your way but otherwise, do the best you can.”
“Copy,” Joven said and he turned to the group of people in front of him. He explained as quickly as possible and saw concern grow on Damien’s face. “I know you’ve never been on a mission before, but we are kind of short on people right now, just help protect the children at all cost and if your powers in there decide to help us out, then awesome.” He threw comms units at them as he let some of his mind focus on viewing the street cameras available as the van sped down the road. “Take a fast car, when you pick one, I will send you the GPS location. Boze, you go ahead from the roof, something small and unassuming, we don’t know how much they got from Lasercorn and Sohinki, but they might be prepared to protect against birds flying close to the car.”
With that everyone left and Joven sat back at his desk, hoping to god that this wouldn’t go as badly as it could.
She started off as a falcon, a fast bird that could fly high in the sky and would get her there hopefully fast enough. She didn’t focus much on her thoughts while in the air, she decided to focus on the occasional directions Joven gave her in her ear and the wind ruffling her feathers.
The car had gotten a police escort to get them to the highway as fast as possible so fewer questions could be asked and weren’t too far behind Boze, but neither of them was close enough. According to Joven, they were likely heading out of the city due to the direction they were speeding, and it made Boze even more determined to hurry up. This situation seemed like it was planned out too well, like the other kidnappings were just a lead up to this one, like the other ones were supposed to fail so this one could succeed.
Jovens voice brought her back to herself, “Joven speaking, Boze your gonna want to get a little lower, you might be able to see them now, they had to slow down because of traffic so this is the best opportunity to infiltrate. And this might be the best opportunity you get because they are trying to move to the exit lane.” Boze chirped so he knew she heard, and she went down a little bit to see if she could see it and sure enough he saw the unmarked white van, she went back up enough that she wouldn’t be seen and transformed into a smaller bird, one that people wouldn’t freak out if they saw flying down near their cars, and she dived down.
“Sarah speaking, Joven how close are we? We are running into some traffic back here.” Boze listened halfway as she got closer to the vehicle, once she was close enough, she turned into a fly and landed on the inside ridge of the bumper, the only place she would be able to stay without the wind blowing her off the van, and she started looking for a way in.
“copy, Joven speaking, You guys are still over a mile behind, the van made a lot of headway before they slowed down, turn on to the lane to your right, the one you’re on is only gonna get slower up ahead.”
“Copy.” She heard Sarah say as Boze made her way down the bumper inspecting the bottom of the door and seeing if she would be able to squeeze in there. “Joven speaking, Boze, are you in?” Realizing that she was being talked to, she buzzed her wings, seeing as that was the only way she would be able to communicate. “Joven speaking, so you’re a bug got it. So, two buzzes for yes and one buzz for no, have you made it in?” Boze buzzed once, and Joven continued, “Are you trying to find a way in?” Boze buzzed twice. “Got it, buzz when you get in, so we know you are. You probably shouldn’t transform right away because the kids might scream and get the people in the front very suspicious, which is the last thing we need.”
It was just then that Boze finally found a spot that might work. She changed into a gnat, the smallest thing she could, and just managed to squeeze into the back of the van. She landed on the wall and walked her way up toward the ceiling. She turned into a fly again so she would be a bit bigger but still found it difficult to really see much in the dark back of the truck. There was a little light from the tinted windows on the back doors but that was pretty much it, and her fly eyes weren’t made for seeing in the dark.
She buzzed once to let them know she was in, then started walking quickly across the ceiling to get closer to the kids who were all huddled as far from the door as possible. “Mari speaking, Boze is in. Boze, stay hidden and in position, until there are loud noises, or something happens that can excuse them screaming or yelping when you transform. I’ll keep a look out for you. For now, there should be 10 children there, remember 2 for yes and 1 for no.”
She looked as hard as she could from her new closer point of view and was able to count 10 children. She buzzed twice and waited for the response. “Mari speaking, that’s great! 1 buzz if you see any injuries, 2 if you don’t and 3 if you can’t make out any but you can’t be sure.” She buzzed three times, seeing as her eyes could barely see more than the 10 huddled figures, let alone see if there were any injuries. “I guess there probably isn’t much light in there.”
Sarah started asking Joven more questions about the route they were taking, and Boze started tuning them out when she heard some noises from the children below her. “I miss mommy” She hears from a child that can’t be older than three, who was snuggled into one of the older children, muffling the words a bit.
“I miss my mommy too, but it's ok because all of our parents have these really awesome superheroes that work with them, and they are probably already on their way to rescue us.” Boze hears in a familiar voice. While trying to place the voice, one of the girls who were curled up against the other of the two bigger kids everyone was huddled around, turned toward the small child, and put a reassuring hand on the child’s shoulder, “One of them saved me once and they were super cool and nice.”
There was silence for a moment when another small voice spoke up, “Like Batman?”
“Cooler than Batman.” The familiar voice said and Boze heard a little gasp at that statement.
Just then Boze had her moment as the truck made a very aggressive turn, ruining the moment and throwing all the kids against the side of the truck, causing the children to scream and giving Boze her moment to transform. She landed on her feet before the screaming ended and with the sudden appearance of an adult in the back of the truck, the screaming continued as the kids freaked out.
Before Boze can reassure them there is a loud banging from the cab of the truck, followed by a “SHUT THE FUCK UP, BEFORE I COME BACK THERE!” At that, the children went silent.
“I’m here to help ok? I’m gonna make sure you guys get back to your parents.” Boze said softly and reassuringly. After a moment of silence, one of the children, the girl with the familiar voice, ran at her and hugged her tightly. And after a moment, the rest of the children followed suit.
To say he was freaking out would be an understatement. Not only was this his first mission, ever, which was a big deal on its own, but he wasn’t getting eased into it as most had. He wasn’t shadowing behind someone or even being sent on a routine mission just so he could get the feel, he was there because everyone else was occupied and they needed more bodies. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was gonna happen. At the very least he knew he would be pretty useless. Sure, he could fight, they were all taught that within the first month, but he had yet to fight an actual enemy yet.
It didn’t help that they were in the slowest possible car chase ever to exist. While they had made some headway, Joven had found ways to defer some of the traffic, the development had been slow. Since Boze was in the back of the truck with the kids, they knew that the children were ok and well protected, so they weren’t too worried. They just needed to intercept before they arrived where ever they were going.
Damien found himself, while everyone else was frantically talking over intercoms and trying to make headway, quietly looking out the window at the other cars and thinking about who would likely already be named the ‘Hero’ of the mission. Heroine? It didn’t matter. Boze always seemed to be the VIP of whatever mission she was on. Even when someone else was the leader she found herself in the position with the most responsibilities. What still blew Damien’s mind is that she had only been there 2 months more than he had. Not even a total of 6 months and she was already irreplaceable.
Damien admired her skills and discipline. As far as he knew she didn’t have any sort of military background. Come to think of it, he didn’t know much about her past at all. Though Boze seemed like an incredibly open person she really never talked about her past. He thinks he might have heard her talk briefly about having a sibling or two, about how she wishes she could have gone away for college, but that was all she told about her past. Damien found this odd as he recalled it. He had shared enough he liked to think. They all knew he was an only child and a theater kid, had all of the classic gaming consoles, that he used to ride bikes with his neighbor, just general stuff he had revealed in funny childhood anecdotes. Boze was clearly way more private than he had realized.
Damien had found himself wanting to get to know her better more and more lately, and now it was starting to dawn on him why he wasn’t making any headway. Maybe that was the key, hold everything in and let it out with your powers. Before he even finished thinking the thought, he knew what he had just said was super unhealthy.
“Joven speaking. They are getting off on the next exit. Sending back up to help you ambush off the highway.” The announcement interrupted Damien’s thoughts. He was glad that they would soon have some action, though he would be mostly useless.
“Copy, Mari speaking. Boze, everything ok in there?” They all waited a moment for Boze to respond, when they didn’t Damien’s bad feeling came back. “Boze? Do you copy?” Mari tried again with still no response. “Joven did her Comm stop working?” Mari said an edge of panic in her voice.
“Joven speaking. No, I’m still getting background noise from her mic. Boze, if you can’t talk, tap the mic.” Still silence.
“Well,” Sarah said as she started speeding toward the exit they were approaching. “That can’t be good.”
No, it can’t.
Chapter 10: Wes
Everyone is united on a task that just got more personal.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The fight could have been going better.
They kept the damage inward but of course, the damage in the square just got worse. While Lasercorn hadn’t yet really landed any hits, none of them had gotten any closer. He was untouchable, nobody could sneak up behind and he had almost perfect aim. It was a miracle none of them had gotten more than a small burn or some burnt clothing.
It made Wes think about how Anthony must have planned this out to a T. From this battle alone, it proved Lasercorn was probably one of the most powerful of the whole group. It made him wonder what Sohinki was gonna be used for.
They had been fighting for maybe 10 or 15 minutes when he started hearing the helicopter. He was a little too focused on blocking the fire blasts that where being thrown at him, to focus really on the noise. When he had a breather, he stopped behind what was left of a car for a second and Courtney landed in a crouched position beside him. “Hey, did you see that chopper?”
“Oh god are they sending police choppers in? He is just gonna use that as another flaming hunk of metal to throw at us!” Wes said exasperatedly, glancing over the car to see that Lasercorn was still preoccupied.
“It's not a police chopper. It's armored and it might have a mounted gun.” She said quickly, and Wes looked up. It was coming right toward them, but still staying up high enough that it didn’t look like it was coming in for a landing. “I would go up to investigate but I would be too much of a target.”
“WES AND COURT MOVE” They heard through their comms and acted quickly, Wes jumped out of the way and Courtney shot herself up. She also might have propelled him a little as well because he flew farther then he expected. Luckily, they both got away quickly enough as the car they had been hiding behind blew up.
“getting tired?” Lasercorn laughed as Wes jumped up on his feet from where he had landed on his side, “Stopped to take a nap mid-fight? Isn’t that pathetic.” Lasercorn said still facing Wes as he blasted fire behind him, causing an approaching Shane to roll out of the way.
The helicopter finally stopped, hovering in place high above Lasercorn’s position. A ladder dropped and Wes heard in his earpiece, “Hold positions until he is up in the air, we can’t let him escape, no matter the cost.” Wes tensed at Ian’s words but didn’t move, watching the ladder unfurl to right next to Lasercorn, when he doesn’t immediately grab on Wes instinctually looks up, and low and behold he watches as someone starts sliding down the ladder. Yes, sliding, rather than climbing. They were loosely holding onto the sides of the rope ladder and all but free falling, grabbing on tight enough before hitting the ground, to land somewhat gracefully, next to Lasercorn and Wes hoped for their sake they were wearing gloves.
Wes knew it was gonna be Sohinki the second he saw the figure start sliding down. But Wes was confused, why were they bringing Sohinki in now? What was the purpose? Lasercorn interrupted his thoughts as he yelled over the helicopter noise “As much fun as I’m having here, it looks like our time is up. We have what we need, so I’m gonna bounce. But you guys please feel free to try and clean up my mess.” And with that Lasercorn hopped on the ladder, followed by a Sohinki who hopped on his back.
Anthony’s whole plan for the person in their group who was essentially Deadpool, was as a human shield? Wes felt offended for Sohinki himself. When they started climbing and the helicopter started flying away, some people tried to shoot at them but any of the few bullets that landed on the hard-to-hit target hit Sohinki. Olivia even sent a lighting bolt their way and Wes had to turn as Sohinki’s whole body shuttered at the shock.
When Courtney flew up, even Wes could tell it was gonna be a bad idea, the ladder was being pulled up as they climbed so they were almost inside. Courtney’s plan might have been to try and throw a tracker in the copter or talk to Lasercorn, whatever it was Courtney didn’t get to do anything, cause while she was dodging bullets from a shooter on the Copter, she flew right into a fire blast Lasercorn managed to shoot quickly before pulling himself and Sohinki into the vehicle.
If Lasercorn hadn’t been racing up and only half trying, he could have incinerated her, or at the very least, burned her way more, but lucky for her, the blast hit her more like a ton of bricks than burning fire, though she was left with a few burns, the problem now was that she was unconscious and falling headfirst back toward the ground.
They all ran, and time seemed to go in slow motion. Everyone pretty much held their breath as she fell, hoping to god she was ok. Keith clearly reached under her first, but it was Shayne who stood in the exact right place and caught her. Shayne handed her to Keith who ran her over to Tim who was waiting on the sidelines.
Wes watched the helicopter make its way quickly away and he wanted nothing more than to grab a nearby piece of metal and hurl it at the thing. They weren’t supposed to let them get away.
But Wes didn’t care. He still held hope they would get their friends back.
Courtney was gonna be fine. Tim healed her relatively quickly and though she woke up not long after and felt better, he said she had to rest for a little while.
Tim went to drive her back while the rest of the group went to look around to make sure no one had been left in the nearby buildings and gotten hurt. They didn’t have long to look before an almost frantic Mari came along on the comms.
“Mari speaking on all comms, guys we have a problem. There was another kidnapping and we are in hot pursuit, but we lost contact with Boze. She had confirmed that she was in the van a few minutes before she went dark. “
“oh my god it was a fucking distraction,” Wes said as he stopped what he was doing and nearly slapped himself in the face. at how stupid they were. “Lasercorn said they had what they wanted; the plan must have been to distract us so they could take Boze.” And he remembers belatedly to say who he was as he started heading toward the car, “Wes speaking by the way”
“Ian speaking and like hell, we are gonna let them get away with that. We still have a tracker on her and I’m pinging the locations to all of you. I need everyone except Courtney and Tim in pursuit now. If running is faster for you then run, everyone else in cars. Do not approach once you’re in sight, we don’t know who’s in that van.”
Wes sprinted toward the car he was already on his way toward and saw Keith and Shayne bolt past him, off to lead the way on foot. Seeing as he reached the car first, he automatically got in the driver seat and as other people reached the car, he started the engine, turning out of there the moment the last door closed.
The drove in silence, the radio off, no one saying a thing, the only noises the occasional update over the comms. Everyone only watched the GPS, to see how close they were. None of them were surprised when they turned on the GPS and the dot where they were headed to was on the opposite side of town and only heading further out. Of course, Anthony would have them far away from each other.
The first time he speaks since entering the car is when a voice on the comms speak to him directly. “Joven speaking, Wes do you copy?”
“Yes, I copy.”
“Joven still speaking, I’m sending you a new GPS Location. One of our trackers from the van is no longer on the van and is on the side of the road. You’re the closest to it, all you got to do is take the next exit. Approach with caution I don’t have any visuals on it.”
“Wes speaking, Copy. Do you know which tracker it is? Like could it be Boze?” Wes asked, changing lanes for the exit.
“Joven speaking, the only thing I can be sure of is that it's not Boze. Her comms unit is easily distinguished from the parent trackers the kids have. But like I said, proceed with caution because they could have dropped a tracker just so some of you would split off. Only approach if it seems necessary.” Wes sighed at that fact but said he copied as he flew down the exit ramp.
As they approached the dot, the other 2 people in the car with him, Olivia and Noah, all got on high alert. As they pulled up, however, they didn’t have to do any searching to see the child only half concealed by a tree, crying loudly into her arm.
Wes pulled over and left the car running as he opened his door, “Cover me, I’m going in”
Everyone got out behind him to stand guard as he made his way over to the crying child. He kept his guard up as he made his way diagonally toward the tree so she could see him coming. Just as he was in earshot and was about to call out to her she turned and saw him, and she froze a terrified look on her face.
Before she could run, he spoke quickly, “Hey it's ok, I work with your parents, I’m just here to make sure you get home safe.”
At his words, her expression turned confused and then suspicious, but at least she wasn’t running. He didn’t move while she contemplated him so he wouldn’t scare her off. She turned her head to see where he had come from and saw Olivia, and Noah standing guard by the car. She suspiciously eyed Noah but when she got to Olivia when her face lit up. “Wait I know her, that’s the electric one that fixed my broken lamp!” Wes mentally sighed with relief and started walking toward her again as she continued, “You guys are from smosh!”
“Yes, we are.” Wes said smiling warmly, “Now why don’t you come with us and we will keep you safe until we can get you back to your parents.” Wes said finally reaching her and holding out a hand.
At the mention of the word safe, Wes watched her face change from hope to distress as she started crying hysterically. The girl, who couldn’t be more than 7 or 8, was clearly trying to tell him something but he couldn’t make it out with all that crying. “Hey, I know it’s a lot, ok? let’s just get you in the car, and we can talk about it if you need.” He said calmly reaching toward her.
She batted his hand away from her, still hysterical, yelling ‘NO!” and some more words that he couldn’t quite comprehend. Feeling a little defeated, he shot Olivia a look and she made her way over to help.
“Wes what did you say?” Olivia asked as she reached the two of them.
“All I did was say she should come with us where it's safe!” Wes said defensively and the hysterical girl started yelling at them again in unintelligible yelling and crying.
Olivia knelt down next to her, “Listen, we can’t understand you so we need you to take some deep breaths so we can understand what’s going on.” Olivia said calmly and the girl nodded.
She seemed to be physically trying to calm herself down, with much difficulty and finally, she got out a sentence they could understand, “You can’t stay and take me home, you have to go save them! This is all my fault! You can’t waste time on me!!”
“Woah Woah Woah, none of this is your fault.” Wes said kneeling on her other side, she seemed to be getting hysterical again, so Wes reminded her, “Breathe”
“It's not my fault we got taken it's my fault everyone isn’t safe by now!” She got out, still with some difficulty and Wes and Olivia shared a look.
“What do you mean by that?” Olivia asked gently.
The girl seemed scared to answer so Wes prompted, “We promise you won’t get in trouble; we just want to know what happened.” He said softly.
She drew in a shaky breath before responding. “I was the last one still outside before we were all in the truck and one of the scary men, the big one, held me by my arm and said he would make a deal with me. He said…” She took in another deep breath before continuing, “He said a lady with powers was gonna find a way into the back with us. He said if she broke us out, they would hunt all of us down and kill us.” Wes and Olivia shared another look, there was no way this would turn out good. “He said, if I put these special handcuffs on her so that they could take her, he would let all of us go free because they only wanted her!”
“So, you put the handcuffs on her?” Wes said, finally understanding the girl’s hysteria.
“Yes! And she was really confused and also angry but, I just kept telling her and the other kids that it was the only way we would be safe. The older kids tried taking them off her, but they were too strong and then the van suddenly stopped, and the big guy opened the back and he told me I did a good job. She tried to fight him with the cuffs, but he hit her hard on the head and she fell, and everyone was screaming. I didn’t look, because” Quick inhale of breath, “I was just waiting for him to let us out. But then he said, “As I said, you’re gonna be safe now, and he grabbed me by the arm and threw me onto the grass on the side of the road and it hurt and by the time I got up they were driving away!” she kept talking but she was hysterical again Olivia gently wrapped her arms around the small shaking girl, who gladly wrapped her arms back around Olivia.
Wes stood up as Olivia reassured her that she thought she was doing the right thing and some other words that would hopefully calm the hysterical child as Wes stepped away to address the voices in his ear.
“Mari Speaking, At least now we know why Boze isn’t responding and that she is likely, not dead.”
“Joven speaking, and we also know that he somehow has power proof cuffs, because that is the only explanation of why she didn’t just turn into something small so she could slip her hands right out.”
“Wes, speaking, if his plan is to take our strongest players to his side, he is definitely succeeding so far.” His statement was met with grim agreement.
“Hey, Ian speaking, and as far as we are concerned, she doesn’t quite have her yet, just his lackeys. We have to get to her before he does.”
“Joven speaking, the van has stopped. The location looks like nothing on the map at all and I don’t have any visuals, but it stopped.”
“Sarah Speaking” Sarah’s voice came out strained, “And how far are we from where they are?”
“Joven speaking, if you break some more laws, you’ll reach them in about 5 minutes”
“Sarah speaking, good thing I was never a rule follower.”
“Ian speaking, I know this is serious but that is bullshit, you are one of the most straight-laced people I know.”
“No one asked you, Ian!”
As she came to, she kept very still. She remembered a little of what had happened before, one of the girls had slapped power cuffs on her while she had some of the little ones in a group hug, and the next thing she knew she was where she was now.
She kept her eyes closed, so she wasn’t quite sure where she was. It felt like she was lying on the ground, and it was cold. She also registered pain in her head and on her side, probably from being thrown on the ground.
She could hear voices in the far distance, but it was the footsteps that sounded close that kept her eyes shut.
How the fuck was she gonna get out of this?
I'm just on a roll with these cliffhangers aren't I?
Chapter 11: Damien
Damien gains a problem as Boze tries to get rid of hers
Sarah stopped the car about 30 feet back from the GPS dots that were Boze and the children. They all got out of the car to approach on foot through the trees. They walked silently through the trees in a single file line, everyone keeping their eyes on the surrounding woods, while Mari led them. When Mari stopped everyone sort of bumped into each other as they stopped. They all looked to see what Mari had stopped for. The area a few feet ahead of them looked like an abandoned gas station. The only place everyone could be was a small store at the far end of the lot.
All Joven could tell them was that Boze and the children had been separated. They were in the same general location but both of them couldn’t be in that small building. It seemed that things were not what they appeared.
Mari quietly relayed what they were seeing to the comms as the group spread out a little along the tree line, still keeping their eyes on their backs.
“Ian speaking, this is the plan. Mari and Sarah, both of you are going to enter the building and do your best to quietly locate the children. They are our first priority if you find Boze let us know the location but your first priority is to locate the children. Damien, you stay as the lookout until the rest of the team join you. Wes and them will be last because they are waiting for pick up for the child that was yeeted onto the road- “
“Ian that’s not funny”
“never said it was. Shayne and Keith will be there shortly, and they will start the look for Boze. When everyone else arrives, we will see how many of us are needed, especially if the building is as small as it appears.”
“Mari speaking, copy and me and Sarah are going in”
“Keith speaking, me and Shayne copy and we will let you know when they get there”
There was some more back and forth on the comms, but Damien gave Mari and Sarah a thumbs up as they headed along the tree line closer to the house. Damien watched them enter and kept an eye on his surroundings.
He isn’t quite sure what he expected. Did he think they would send him in as point? No. Did he think he would at least get a little experience out of his first ever mission? yes. But here he was on watch and when everyone else was there they would probably send him home to monitor the base or something else to keep him away for the action till he got a grip. He knows he can do it, and most of them seem to believe him, but even he is losing hope at this point. A month isn’t that long.
His thoughts are interrupted by the sound of a car turning off the road and into the abandoned lot. Damien quickly went behind the nearest tree. “Damien speaking,” he said interrupting something someone was saying about GPS Coordinates, “A car has entered the gas station, and it's driving up to the building, Mari and Sarah be careful.”
“Mari speaking,” Mari said, an exasperated tone to her voice, “Me and Sarah haven’t found the way into the basement yet. we are still pretty close to the front. How many are in the car?”
“Damien speaking, it looks like 4 but I can’t tell until they come out. And they are right out front you guys better hide.”
He heard Mari copy as he watched the car stop in front of the small building. He waited anxiously and watched carefully as the door opened, and Lasercorn and Sohinki each stepped out.
“It’s Lasercorn and Sohinki.” He said, his eyes still trained on the two figures as they closed the door behind them. “It's only them the other 2 people are staying in the car. I think they are gonna drive away.”
Damien heard Sarah mutter ‘shit’ under her breath before Mari spoke “Mari speaking, we copy. Also, we can’t find a way down, so we are finding hiding spots. I should be able to keep us safe, but we need to find a damn way down.”
“Damien speaking, try and follow behind them so you can see the way down.” Damien tried to help.
“Mari speaking, good call, and that was gonna be the plan, but it being Lasercorn and Sohinki makes it all the more difficult. Not only do they know us, but the second one of them see one of us, Anthony will know we are here. Immediately.”
“Damien speaking, do you really have much of a choice.” He said keeping his eyes trained on the two as they walked away from the car that was leaving them there and heading toward the small building, “They’re coming in now, don’t get caught”
Suddenly Damien felt an arm around his neck and something cold and metal pressed to the side of his head. Instinctually he reaches up to grab the arm around his neck but then freezes because there’s a gun pressed to the side of his head.
“Maybe you should’ve taken your own advice.” The unknown person says in his ear in a deeper than expected voice, “If I were you, I would stay very still. We don’t have all that much need for someone who can’t control himself.” He said before dragging Damien a few steps to the side, in full view of Lasercorn and Sohinki who turned toward them at the noise, “Apparently you have some friends in there waiting for you.” The man calls down to them.
“Good job Mark.” Lasercorn calls. “Don’t worry we will take care of them.”
Boze had gotten a look at the room she was in. It looked like it was used as an interrogation room. The walls were bare except for a metal table and 2 chairs in the middle of the room. Her handcuffs were around the bolted down leg of the table (someone must have taken one off and put it around.) She thankfully woke up in a convenient position. When the footsteps had passed, she had peeked open her eyes to see that she was alone in the room. She hadn’t moved at all yet, staying very still, worried there was a camera on her and not opening her eyes fully so they would hopefully not see she was awake. She did have a view of the door though when she saw the door opening with seemingly no warning, she closed her eyes quickly.
“I still think we should chuck her in with the kids. Having to keep an eye on two rooms with the supers after us is stupid.” One of the voices said, and she wished she still had her comm in, someone must have grabbed it and chucked it when she had gotten there.
“Listen the boss said it has to be done like this. If we don’t listen to him, we don’t get paid.” Boze found this peculiar. Anthony was using hired help? Maybe he was exhausting his ability with Lasercorn and Sohinki, so he needed some greedy henchmen with free will. “Anyway, the boss’s pets are on their way to bring her to him.”
“You shouldn’t call them that, remember what the carrot top did to Steve?” There was a pause as they remembered and Boze didn’t want to think about what Steve had done to be incinerated. “anyway, what are we doing again?”
“We gotta get her off of the table and bring her to the lower parking lot, so they can drive her out of here without being followed.” Now she wished more than ever that she had her comms on so they could hear this. They had to remove one of her cuffs to move her though, she had to do this quick.
She made sure her body was completely limp as she felt one of them lift her hand enough to stick a key into the cuff on her right hand. She felt it unlock and fall off her wrist but stayed patient, knowing she wouldn’t get a good shot from half under the table. Sure, enough he roughly dragged her out from under the table by her free hand.
Once she had a shot, she opened her eyes and looked up to see the tall broad-shouldered man who had her by the wrist. Before he could really react, she punched him square in the jaw with her free hand. She heard the crack as his head hit the nearby wall but couldn’t wonder if he was ok or not and quickly jumped off the floor to see the panicked sidekick. He was equally as tall but skinnier and she felt a little bad for him, he had barely pulled the gun out of his pocket when she kicked it out of his hand.
Before he could really defend himself anymore, she kicked him in the head, also throwing him against the wall. Though he didn’t hit the wall nearly as bad as his friend, he was also down for the count. She quickly went to the one who unlocked her and found the key, finally getting the other one off her wrist. She rubbed her wrists for a moment before hearing footsteps. With a little quick thinking, she grabbed the handcuff keys and her abandoned handcuffs and stuck them in her pocket before transforming into a gnat. Landing on the ceiling. She felt like she could finally breathe, now that she was essentially invisible. She could feel better if she could have Jovens voice in her ear though, so he could tell her where she was and where to go.
Someone burst in the door, likely from hearing the commotion and took in the scene, “Holy shit! GUYS SHE TOOK OUT RHETT AND LINK! SHE’S OUT!” the man called out very loudly with an Irish accent down the hall. She quickly flew out the room seconds before he slammed the door behind himself as he went running down the hall. She followed him and boy was she glad she did because he turned the corner and nearly ran into a huge man who had a very indignant Damien over his shoulder.
She couldn’t be happier to see Damien, sure it would be nice if he didn’t have power cuffs on and also in the custody of a man who looked like he could bench-press Wes (even though there’s no way he was also a super, right?). but at least she knew that they had likely found her. If Damien was here, the rest of the crew was not far behind.
“What the fuck do you mean she’s out?” the large man said with an exasperated tone.
“Rhett and link just went to go get her, but I heard a loud noise and I went to check, and they were both unconscious and she wasn’t there.” The loud Irishman said with a scared expression, “Do you think we could find her before they get here, mark?”
“They’re upstairs.” Said the big man who was supposedly Mark, “we got word from this guy, “He gestured toward the indignant Damien, “that we have two visitors who are hiding up there. The top isn’t that big, they’ll be found soon and then they are gonna probably roast Rhett and Link over Lasercorn’s hair.”
She had to find them first.
“Here Jack,” Mark said, dropping Damien into jacks’ arms, nearly knocking the small man over, “Lock him in there with Rhett and link. I’m gonna help them upstairs.”
Mark ignored Jacks’ protests as he turned to go back where he came from. Boze followed him around the corner. She watched as he opened a door to a smaller room with a ladder. She didn’t wait for him to climb up, the trap door at the top was already open so she flew straight up.
She didn’t have to really search. She heard Lasercorn and Sohinki’s voice. She stopped to take in her surroundings and noticed she was in the corner of a tiny and very dirty and old kitchen. Like a break room for a 7/11 (not that Boze would know what that would look like. It seemed like the trap door had previously been under a rug and under a table, both which had been pushed out of the way unceremoniously to the side.
The room looked abandoned like no one had been there in a very long time. Boze wanted to keep it that way so she flew through the small crack in the door slipping out into an equally dirty and abandoned looking hallway. She followed the voices until she could hear what they were saying.
“we know you're in there, we aren’t stupid,” Lasercorn said. She turned the corner to see them and the two of them were standing in front of an equally dirty door. “If you come out now and reveal yourself, I won’t have to kill you” he continued in a very condescending voice.
“Are you sure they are in there?” Boze heard Mark come up behind her and she flew up onto the ceiling, worried he was gonna swat at her.
“Someone put a forcefield around the door. Can’t even touch the doorknob. Which is much stupider than I expected for Mari. Revealing her location like that.” Sohinki said and Boze knew instantly it had to be a distraction. Anthony was even underestimating her even though he had to know how smart she was. And that was keeping them hidden for the time being.
Mari could form force fields from pretty far away, so she was not likely anywhere near them, especially because she couldn’t form multiple forcefields in different places. She and whoever she was with were vulnerable.
As Boze went to fly away, Mark started talking again. “By the way, Rhett and link fucked up. They somehow got beat up by a girl in handcuffs. We don’t know where she is.”
Anything playful about Lasercorn’s expression dropped when he heard that. “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE SHE IS?”
Mark seemed to cower under the fury in the much shorter man’s eyes. “Jack found them unconscious in the room and she wasn’t there,” Mark said quietly, probably regretting being the messenger.
“SHE WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS PLAN! EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS PLAN COULD HAVE FAILED EXCEPT FOR THIS PART! DO YOU REALIZE?” he shouted, and Mark looked down. Lasercorn took a visible deep breath. “where are the incompetent assholes now?”
“I told Jack to lock them in the room with the guy we found outside.”
“good. I’ll deal with them later. Go look for her, we can’t let her get away. If you get her in human form, make sure to use the cuffs on her hands and feet. And if you find her as a fly, squish her.” He said with authority and Boze had heard enough.
Chapter 12: Boze
Boze gets back in the loop and Damien makes temporary 'friends'.
Boze flew into the nearby open door, to find her hidden friends, and she was suddenly in a store. The fact that she had thought the kitchen looked like the back of a 711 made a lot more sense as she flew down the aisles of the abandoned gas station store (maybe a quickmart?).
Suddenly she heard a very quiet whisper from near the counter, so she flew closer listening hard.
“Mari speaking, can I have an eta on backup?” She heard once she was on top of the counter. She flew down behind the counter but at first thought, she must have been mistaken. They were pretty well hidden, tucked behind some moldy dirty cardboard boxes. She made sure she was not in the view of the door before transforming.
“Mari? It's me, Boze.” She said and she saw an eye peek out from between the boxes.
Suddenly a few of the boxes were being pushed out of the way “Boze found us guys” she whispered excitedly as she reached out and pulled Boze in with them. Boze happily squeezed into the dirty dusty spot under the counter and behind the boxes, since it meant she was with her crew again.
“Do you have your earpiece?” Sarah whispered at Boze in greeting and Boze shook her head.
“They must have taken it while I was unconscious,” Boze whispered just as quiet.
“I’m gonna give you mine,” Sarah said, taking it out of her ear. Before Boze could protest, Sarah shook her head, “This is not my kind of mission Boze. They need you in the loop more than me. I’m probably going to end up back in the van when the back up comes and we have back u pieces in there. You need it more.” She whispered urgently shoving the earpiece into Boze’s hand.
“Thanks,” She said softly before putting the piece into her ear and saying, “Boze Online”
“Joven speaking. Thank god you’re alright. He said quickly, “did you see Damien?”
“Boze speaking, they locked him in the room I escaped from. He is awake, and power cuffed.” She said softly and heard audible sighs.
“Joven Speaking. It's good that you know where that is. And speaking of power cuffed I have a plan for how to hopefully get Lasercorn back and at the very least prevent us from getting fireballed as we try and rescue the children and Damien. The only problem is we need Mari to have a pair of power cuffs. Could we get someone fast to go and get a pair?”
Before anyone could answer Boze spoke up, “Boze speaking and actually, I have a pair, as well as keys to unlock them. I took the pair that they had on me.”
“Joven speaking and Joven liking! Give the pair to Mari. As soon as everyone arrives, we can execute my plan”
Suddenly, “Shayne speaking, sorry to interrupt, but me and Keith are here.”
“Ian speaking. Stand by for further instructions, we will be there within 10 minutes.”
Joven went over his plan and everyone got ready to execute it. It was pretty simple and required a lot of the crew that was gonna be there to be on standby but Boze felt like it could work. Her job was simple enough. Find the children and take out anyone in the room with them so she had them alone in a preferably locked room until part 2 of the plan was ready.
As soon as she got the ok, she flew (in the form of a gnat) back down the secret passageway that for some reason they continued to leave open and back down the hallway. As she passed by the room, she knew Damien and the two idiots were in she heard some talking that mildly concerned her, but there was nothing she could do. Not only was there no way for her to safely get in there with the door locked, but rescuing Damien was not her job. Someone else would be getting him and she had to stay on task.
She searched for the children diligently, listening to each door that was locked or peeking into the ones that had vents or weren’t locked. When she reached the area that Joven said they should be near, she finally flew into a room that had a vent on the door to see all of the kids huddled up in the corner.
Like on the van, the bigger of the kids had the younger ones in their arms and were holding them close, unlike on the van no one was crying, they all looked resigned and it broke Boze’s heart because most of them had given up hope.
In the room, there were, surprisingly, 2 women. One of them was rather short with short blond hair and blue eyes, near the children and trying to talk to them (Boze didn’t quite hear what they were saying), and the other one much taller with shoulder length dyed blond hair and green eyes, stood by the door with a gun the size of her, in her arms.
After taking a deep breath, she sprung into action, going back to a human directly in front of the one at the door, easily taking the gun from the unprepared woman in front of her and swinging the gun back on one fluid motion to knock the woman out with the but of it. She ignores the surprised screams from the children and woman behind her as she follows the momentum of the gun she swung to turn around and point it at the other woman behind her, whose eyes were wider than dinner plates. “Get away from them.”
Boze, trying to ignore how fucking badass she felt, watched as the woman raised her arms in surrender and stepped away from the children. She stepped toward the woman who was backing away from her and she heard a small gasp from the children followed by a hushed, “so much cooler than Batman” and fought the urge to smile.
“Put your weapons down and kick them to me,” Boze said, all business. Fully cooperative, the woman took two pistols that were in hidden holsters and put them gently on the floor, kicking them over to Boze who let them go behind her.
She got closer to the lady; the gun still trained on her as she backed up right into a wall. When she was closer, she noticed a familiar shape in her pocket. “Do the same with the cuffs.” She said and the woman, clearly upset that Boze had noticed, reluctantly took out 2 pairs of power handcuffs and kicked them toward her.
Boze wasted no time handcuffing the woman and her unconscious friend, sitting them on the opposite side of the wall then the children were sitting. As soon as they were situated, Boze went to check on the children and they all nearly trampled her in their attempt at a group hug.
“Are you gonna take us home?” A little girl asked into Boze’s ear.
“As soon as the rest of the team gets down here, we are gonna get you guys home.” She said and the little girl squeezed her tightly.
Suddenly there is a noise that sounds quite a bit like an explosion, and that cannot be good.
His day could have been going quite a bit better. He went from being a part of his first mission to being cuffed to a bolted down table in a locked room.
The only good news he got from being where he was is that somehow Boze had escaped. At least that gave him hope for himself and the integrity of the mission. With Boze free, the children would probably be her priority, so at least they were for sure safe.
He, on the other hand, wasn’t feeling so great about himself. He was hoping he could be useful this one mission, but it looked like he was just gonna be a liability.
This is probably why Ian hadn’t sent him on a mission before.
He tried to take his mind off of his feelings of hopelessness, however hard that was, but there wasn’t much to look at in the room. Aside, of course, for the 2 unconscious men who had failed on keeping Boze contained and were therefore also locked in there with him.
As he observed the men, from his weird angle of lying on his stomach so his cuffs could go around the table leg, they started to stir. Damien couldn’t really decide whether he should be worried or not, but as they came too, they seemed very preoccupied.
“Link what the fuck happened?” Said the one with sandy blond hair, rubbing his head painfully.
“well Rhett, I think we fucked up huge.” Is all the other guy said, not making any move to get up.
Rhett, Damien assumed, blearily looked around the room as his friend slowly started. He started slightly when his roaming eyes got to Damien, who didn’t even bother pretending to sleep or anything, just looked at Rhett as he was appraised. “Dude they have us in here with a super prisoner.”
Link looked up fear in his eyes, “Dude they are gonna kill us!” He gets up as Rhett rubs his face and starts pulling on the locked door handle. “Carrot top is gonna roast both of us on a stick because you fucked up and let the prisoner escape!”
“Now hold on Link, it wasn’t just me who failed You fucked up too.” Rhett defended himself, standing up.
“Well both of us are gonna die unless we get the fuck out of here!” Link yells and Rhett just turns away from him, pressing his forehead to the wall. And that’s when link freezes and turns to Damien with a crazed look of hope, “Wait!” He walked over to Damien and Damien wanted to be anywhere but there,
“What’s your power?” Damien just looked at him, not sure if he should answer or not. Link looked frustrated at the non-response, “Ok listen we are both in a bad place here. We can benefit if we work together. If you have a power that can get us out of this room, I’ll unlock you, because I still have my keys, and you can open the door for all of us.” He said hurriedly.
Now Damien didn’t exactly trust these guys at all, but if Boze could beat them up with handcuffs on (how else could she have escaped?) then he didn’t think he had to worry too much. “I Blow things up,” He said after a long moment and hope grew in links eyes, “But I’m kind of new at this and my powers are very, um finicky…” Damien explained.
Completely ignoring the second half of Damien’s statement, Link pulled a small key out of his pocket and crouched down to start unlocking Damien’s cuffs, but Rhett whipped around and grabbed him by the shoulder. “LINK! The kid just told you he blows stuff up and your gonna set him free?! He’ll kill us first!”
Link paused and looked a Damien, “Are you gonna kill us?” He asked, pointedly.
“No. You’re good, man.” Damien said truthfully, “Like I said I don’t even know if I’ll be able to get that door open-”
“Exactly. Rhett, you worry too much.” Link said, still ignoring Damien’s disclaimer as he resumed unlocking Damien’s cuffs.
When he was free Damien sat up for a moment thankful for the stretch but filled with anxiety. He shouldn’t have said anything because now he was gonna fail to open the door. There was no way he was suddenly gonna get that door open, he just had to prepare himself for failure.
After he stretched, he went to stand up and Link was watching him with hope and a small smile, while Rhett was watching him with suspicion and worry, from against the wall. “Alright hurry up, we gotta get out of here.”
Damien went over to the door and put his hand on the cold metal door handle and tried to imagine what he had imagined before, Boze getting hurt, and the person who hurt her standing in front of him. Of course, this time nothing happened.
“Dude hurry up!” Link said growing impatient
“Didn’t you hear him before? He said his powers might not work!” Rhett said annoyance clear in his voice.
“Why don’t you just shut up unless you have a better idea!!!” Link yelled at him before turning back to Damien, “Come on man. We are all gonna die unless you get that door open!”
Damien closed his eyes and tried something that someone from a while ago had told him to do, clear his mind and push with his thoughts through his hand. So, he cleared his mind, the best he could and used his thoughts to somehow push out from his hand.
The blast knocked him back a step and was definitely louder than expected. The door handle was completely gone through, along with a lot of the door, so it looked like at least he had done his task.
Without so much as a thank you, the two pushed Damien aside and ran out the smoking door, and before Damien could follow suit, he felt pressure blocking him from his chest and watched as Noah materialized in front of him. When Noah spoke, it wasn’t to him. “Damien blew the door, I expect everyone to be on high alert, you guys have to start right now.”
God, he hoped he hadn’t fucked anything up.
Chapter 13: Damien
With their plan put into action, how well will it go?
Hey! I feel like I haven't written for this for a while because I was so focused on writing week and then Truth or more, but I'm back! We are gonna be approaching the third act soon (trust me you will know when), and then we will be in the home stretch!
Thanks for all the support on this!
Damien had probably ruined everything.
As Noah pushed him a few steps into the room and listened to whatever people were saying in his ear, Damien prayed that he hadn’t fucked up anything too much. Of course his powers would finally work right when it was most inconvenient because if his powers were anything, inconvenient was definitely on the list.
“Ok, ok.” Noah said after a moment, “Noah speaking, Boze I’m gonna send Damien to you, where are you?” Noah rolled his eyes as someone likely protested, “well Damien destroyed this door so I can’t lock him in here, he would be safer with Boze anyway. I need to send him somewhere before they come down to investigate and I can’t project my invisibility on him so do you have a better idea?” He said quickly. Finally, he has a look of mild satisfaction on his face and turns to Damien. “Your gonna follow the hallway all the way to the end, make a right then the door she is in in the 5th door on the left, ok?”
“All the way to the end, right, and 5th door on the left. Got it.” Damien repeated and Noah practically shoved him into the hallway.
“Hurry up dude, I’m gonna distract them.” Were Noah’s last words before he literally disappeared, presumably turned invisible.
Not taking Noah’s advice lightly, Damien ran down the long hallway. Not stopping to look in any of the doors, just trying to get to where he needed to get to as soon as he could. As he ran, while he was reminding himself that had gotten in way more shape than he had realized since he had joined them, he marveled about how big this basement was, and how many rooms were here. How had Anthony found this place? Had he built this place? Was it an abandoned place? The implications were creepy.
When he reached the correct door, he knocked twice, waited 5 seconds then knocked 3 times (The code the entire group used) and Damien was greeted, when the door opened, to a huge ass machine gun to the face. As soon as Boze saw that it was in-fact him, she let the barrel of the gun fall down to face the floor as she grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him into the room, closing the door behind him. “Damien, I’m so glad you're ok, but what the f-” She stopped mid-sentence, probably reminding herself of the group of children Damien observe who are watching them carefully, “excuse me, Heck, did you do?”
“I blew up a door. On command” He said positively, and Boze’s expression looked conflicted.
“That’s great, but that’s probably the most conspicuous way to escape.”
“I don’t think anything about my power is inconspicuous in the slightest.” Damien shot back and Boze had to agree.
“Well on the plus side, I’m glad your power worked. What I need you to do now is go over there with the kids, I’m gonna guard the door, we are gonna take them out of here when I get the signal.” Boze said
What happened next, happened very fast.
One person, a person who had been handcuffed and presumably unconscious when Damien had entered the room, was now standing and holding a gun they must have had hidden, a few inches from Damien’s head. “IF YOU SO MUCH AS MOVE THAT GUN, HE IS DEAD.” The woman is shouting, and he can sense the tension as Boze freezes up behind him. Before either of them could react, the other woman, who had been sitting and cuffed mere moments ago, stood up quickly, pulled out a knife and, in a move no one was prepared for, hit her cohort in the head with the handle of the knife, hard enough to knock her out. As the taller of the two collapsed to the ground like a sack of potatoes, Boze and Damien shot each other a look before Boze lifted up her large gun and pointed it at the person she didn’t quite know what to make of yet.
“Ok… I’m going to need you to explain what just happened, right the fuck now” Boze demanded down the barrel of the gun, at the woman who was now facing them, with a satisfied look on her face (Likely from taking out her compadre).
“Well I should probably start by introducing myself, I’m Hannah, but you might know me by Agent Hart.” She said simply and Damien didn’t see why this would mean anything, but when he looked at Boze’s face she looked shocked and a little confused.
“Why is that name so familiar?” Boze asked, her gun pointed a little down as she looked at the woman incredulously.
“Because I’m also a super that works for the government.” She explained matter-of-factly, “Not as lucky as you as to be snatched up by Ian like you were of course, but we are on the same side.”
Damien mulled over this information in his head before speaking, “I think we are gonna need a little more information than that…” He said and Hannah nodded.
“Before I really finish, someone is gonna want to handcuff her behind her back. When she wakes up, and I’ve lost the element of surprise, it will be more difficult to get her down.
Boze motioned for him to do it, so he grabbed a pair of cuffs that lay abandoned on the ground and bound the unconscious girls’ arms behind her back while eyeing the girl warily, before standing back up and moving back closer to Boze.
“I guess I kind of look like I’m a betrayer, but I was undercover.” She said and Boze scoffed
“We weren’t told of any undercover agents apart of this operation.” She protested.
“Well, I don’t think anyone knew this was gonna be connected in any way.” She started and they waited for her to continue, “I’m one of the lucky ones to still be in contact with my old friends and my old college buddy Grace,” She gestured toward the unconscious woman on the floor, “Called me late last night asking if I wanted to make a quick grand. It sounded sketchy so I sent the details she sent to me to my boss, you might know Matt Raub,” They definitely did, “and he told me to agree and go. He wanted me to try and stop whatever they did if I could, but mostly just figure out what this random thug wanted with a boatload of random last-minute criminals for hire. The second I first saw Lasercorn and Sohinki, I knew this was gonna be a lot bigger than I expected. And even more important that I take it down when I saw Raub’s daughter as one of the kids we were told to hide and protect till we could get them out of here.” She said gesturing vaguely toward the children. “When you came in, I had been trying to explain that to the kids so they would understand I was gonna get them free as soon as I could.”
“But why did you let me handcuff you without even trying to explain?” Boze asked confused.
“Well, even though I’ve heard a lot about you, I don’t know you well enough to be sure you wouldn’t shoot me if I didn’t cooperate.” She said simply.
“I think that’s pretty fair.” Boze agreed.
“Wait, all that’s well and good but how did both of you get out of the cuffs?” Damien inserted, still stuck on that fact.
“Oh that. Grace is a regular Houdini, I’ve seen her get out of cuffs with nothing but a bobby pin in her hair. This time she had a key in her pocket. The second you two were distracted she freed herself then freed me. She made me grab one of the guns for her and I also grabbed a knife so I could take her down easily.”
“How did you even get that gun?” Boze asked confused, “Both of your pistols were over there!” She questioned, pointing to the spot the now lone pistol sat at her feet.
“That’s my power. I’m magnetic.” She said, and then in a demonstration, reached out toward the lone gun and they both watched as it flew up into her hand.
Damien looked at her for a moment, “So this entire time you could have just snatched the machine gun out of her hand before she even could have got you in the first place?” Damien asked dumbfounded.
“technically yes, but I would have to time it perfectly because if I reached up and you pulled the trigger a second before I activated, then I would have bullets going through my hand anyway. And also I didn’t want you to see me as a threat because it would make it a lot harder for you to trust me.” She said a little sheepishly, “Not that I expect you to trust me really.”
“You wouldn’t mind then if I check with Matt Raub about this right?” Boze tried, still suspicious.
“Please check, so you can stop worrying,” Hannah said in relief.
Boze only hesitated for a moment, the gun completely lowered at this point, “Boze speaking, Joven can you check with Matt Raub if an Agent Hannah Hart is currently working undercover under him. And if she is, just confirm her power for me.”
There’s a moment of mildly tense silence as they wait for Joven to get back to Boze, and Damien takes that moment to look over to the kids. None of the younger kids look particularly frightened anymore, they are probably calmed by Boze’s presence, the older kids however still look rather frightened. Since they are probably still aware of the danger all of them are still in.
Boze suddenly perks up as someone talks in his ear. “Boze speaking, thanks Joven. Please tell Raub that Agent Hart is with us and will be assisting us in taking the children to safety.”
“Are you sure it’s her?” Damien asked.
“Matt Raub said he had an agent hart currently undercover at an undisclosed location who was on the shorter side with short blond hair and voluntary magnetic powers. I think we're in the clear.” Boze said simply and Damien watched out of the corner of his eye as some of the teens visibly relaxed a little more.
Suddenly their conversation was interrupted by something Hannah and Damien couldn’t hear. Boze froze for a moment and then looked up.
“Mari just screamed to get the kids out of here. She sounded urgent; we have to go. Now”
That could not be good.
Things had gone better than expected.
As soon as backup had arrived, Sarah had predictably be told to stay in the hiding spot, and Keith had joined her while Shayne joined Mari. Mari was now standing right next to the door of to the small hallway Lasercorn, Sohinki’s and mark(?) we’re standing in. They were deliberating something, probably trying to come up with something that would get Mari out. Mari, however, was waiting for Lasercorn to move. From where she could see near the doorway, with Shayne on the opposite side, Lasercorn was half facing the doorway. As soon as he faced just a little more away, Mari would give Shayne the signal and he would snap the power cuffs on Lasercorn’s hand hopefully before he could react. Mari would use her force field to make sure they were safe as he was getting them on and then again to keep any of Lasercorn’s companions from trying to grab him when they came out. They were not leaving without him.
The distraction comes in a form no one was expecting. Theirs an explosion that startled everyone.
“What... THE FUCK WAS THAT?!” Lasercorn yelled, and neither Sohinki or mark knew, so Lasercorn pointed toward the sound, “SOMEONE FIND OUT!” turning toward the hallway and finally away from the doorway. Mari gave the signal quickly and Shayne lunges through the doorway and grabbed Lasercorn’s wrist from where his arm was in the air, slapped the cuff on it and yanked it around his back. Shayne was fast enough that he was able to get his other wrist in the cuff before he could properly react.
Things moved very fast for a second.
In the same motion in which he cuffed Lasercorn, Shayne yanked him back and wrapped an arm around Lasercorn’s neck, holding him there. The second Sohinki saw that Lasercorn had been captured he started running down the hallway, and Mari seeing this, called for Keith in her earpiece. She waited till she felt the air shift as Keith ran past to put up a force field just in time to stop the bullet that Mark tried to put in Shayne’s head. Mark tried to shoot her too but before he knew it, both Lasercorn and Sohinki were held and he was in between them.
Mari was also pointing a gun at him, so he was royally screwed.
“Drop all of your weapons, now.” She said and mark reluctantly complied as Keith and Shayne also pulled the weapons out of the holsters of their captives and Mari kicked all of them behind her, so Sarah could grab them.
“If I were you, I would let go of me right now. We have Damien and we aren’t afraid of getting rid of the defective punk.” Lasercorn spat at Mari as she cuffed Mark.
“I think that the explosion proved that he is not very defective.” Mari said calmly, “We already have him safe and sound.”
“Well then maybe you should be worrying about those children. Wouldn’t want some of them to die on your watch, would you?” He tried again, not wavering in his confidence.
“I would be a lot more worried if Boze hadn’t already secured the children,” Mari said confidently.
Lasercorn’s confidence wavered and his face became resigned. “You have not won anything yet; I am not the last line of defense. You better hope that those children are already far away from here.” And with that, Lasercorn collapsed in Shayne’s arm.
Mari didn’t waste a second. “Keith and Shayne go help them, me and Sarah will get these guys in the car.” Then into her earpiece, “GET THE KIDS OUT OF THERE NOW!”
Chapter 14: Boze
They encounter a new super and Damien leaves the encounter on edge.
a lot of things happen in this chapter and the next one so buckle in guys!
They didn’t waste a second.
Damien, Boze, and Hannah each grabbed one of the small children and the two older ones helped grab the little ones as they rushed out the door. They didn’t quite know what they were running from but there were a lot of footsteps, so they didn’t feel the point in checking. They had barely been moving for 30 seconds when Keith, followed by Shayne and Noah were suddenly there. Keith and Shayne each hoisted one of the small children into their arms to start running them back.
Noah went back to invisible, so he could see what was going on. And said he would let them know what was going on. Even with the youngest in arms, they could only move so fast. When Shayne and Keith came back, they put the 2 slowest on their backs and sent them ahead again. By the time they reached the first turn. It was only the 3 5-year old’s in Damien Hannah and Boze’s arms and the 13 and 14-year old’s. The footsteps were also getting louder.
Finally, Noah spoke in the earpiece. “Noah speaking,” He whispered, “I snuck into a side room so they wouldn’t hear me, here’s the catch it’s one person. It must be a super, multiplication. It looks like a damn near hundreds of them.”
“Boze speaking, how fast are they? she? He? Going?”
“Noah speaking, she if that in any way helps, A bunch of them are running pretty fast but the rest of them are checking the area pretty thoroughly, to make sure no one is hiding- hold on” Noah suddenly cuts off and Boze gets minutely worried. She quickly relays to the others what was said, and they all put all of their energy into running down the empty hallway while they wait for the boys to come back.
Shayne and Keith load the teenagers on their backs and while Keith immediately leaves again, Shayne also takes the small child out of Hannah’s arms, before running back. It isn’t until they reach the exit up to the surface that all the children are now safely being taken away, and Noah speaks again. “Noah speaking, sorry about that, they were searching the room I had snuck into, they are gonna be to you in a second. You gotta stop this super now because I just heard one of them giving the other instructions on how to follow us. Don’t let them out of here.”
“Ian speaking, you heard him. Boze and Hannah stay put, more backup is coming, Sarah, Damien, and Wes will transport the children safely back to base by car, everyone else will stay to keep this super from getting through. Damien, wait until Mari gets down there before going up.”
Boze relayed it quickly as they heard the footsteps get louder. Then suddenly, they stopped. Suddenly one woman turned the corner eyeing them with a snarky expression. Boze wanted to roll her eyes because the woman was dressed like a sexy villain from a stupid action movie in a leather jumpsuit, and the impression she gave off, is that it was entirely her plan. The long straight blond hair didn’t help either.
“3?” trying-to-hard-to-be-cat-woman said smirking, “That’s all of your defense? Ha!” As she walked toward them, suddenly 2 copies of her were walking behind her on either side, both with the smug expression on them. “you guys are making this too easy. I mean we're already even!” She said now more than halfway down the hallway, and then suddenly 2 more appeared behind the first 2, now a total of 5 women slowly advancing on them down the hallway, “And now I have the majority. See? easy.” As she got closer, she appraised them as they took defensive stances. “And who am I fighting?” She looked Damien up and down and Boze saw a little bit of anger and embarrassment show on his face, “A nerd,” Boze rolled her eyes at the stupid insult as the woman appraised her, “A literal child,” Boze wanted to slap the look off her face, as she turned to look at Hannah but then all five of them stopped walking, now about 10 feet away from them, a confused and angry look on her face, “Hannah?! I thought you were on our side?”
“Well Tana, A lot of things you think are wrong, so I’m not surprised.” Hannah quipped back, and Boze almost laughed out loud at that.
Tana scoffed, “Was that shade? Wow, Hannah, snarky and a backstabber. I’m learning a lot about you, and so is the boss.” She said the last few words like a threat and it was Hannah’s turn to scoff.
“It sounds like your more than just hired help, as the rest of us were, what do you know about the boss?” Hannah asked eyes narrowed.
“Is he the one we are really talking too?” Boze asked before Tana could respond and Tana laughed at that.
“No, it’s all me. See I’m not stupid enough that I need to be mind-controlled to see which side makes more sense to be on. I mean come on Hannah, why are you even on that side? Because the Government kidnapped you out of your life and forced you to? Doesn’t seem like a very good reason to me.”
“Actually,” Damien spoke up, everyone turned to him, “All of us are on this side to protect those kids from whatever plans you have now, and stay on this side to protect all the other civilians from people like you and your boss who think its ok to do the shit you do,” Damien said confidently, earning an eyebrow raise from tana for it. “Maybe what brought us into this should have been more voluntary, but all of us at least recognize the right decision to make in the end.” Damien finishes strong and Boze gives him a smile for it.
“doesn’t that speech end with ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ or some shit?” Tana laughed and Boze was really gonna punch her in the face mid-sentence at this point. “This is the real world, not a superhero movie. You do what you have to do to protect yourself. Trying to save the world from bad guys is worthless and only gets you killed. And at least in those movies, the superheroes get to live normal lives as regular people. At the end of the day, you go home to a government basement. And if you don’t, they track you down and drag you there. Doesn’t sound so super to me.” Tana looked like she was gonna continue but something stopped her and she facepalmed, “You guys are distracting me on purpose! Well, that is enough of that.” And with that, the now 10 Tana’s charged toward them.
It happened all very quickly. Damien was angry and mildly insulted and he knew he was supposed to wait for Mari and then leave but it was almost as if he could feel the power surging in his veins and so he took a chance and pushed past Boze and Hannah ignoring their protests and meeting Tana in the middle, and before she could so much as touch him, he exploded.
This was probably the most controlled one he had done so far. He kept the explosion in the area he wanted it to be in to protect those behind him and it didn’t hurt the building at all. It threw all of the Tanas against the walls though. And next thing they knew there was only one, unconscious Tana laying down in front of him.
He felt a surge of excitement. It had never felt like that before. Like his body was charged up and he just expelled the energy exactly how he wanted. Usually, it felt like he had absolutely no control and it just happened how it was going to. It made him feel so hopeful for the future.
He was quickly brought back to the present at Mari hopping down from the ladder, her face starting out as panic but quickly becoming impressed as she walked past him and to the unconscious woman on the floor “Looks like I wasn’t needed after all.” Mari said as he reached down to grab her wrist to put a cuff on it.
Things happened very fast.
Like they always seem to.
The previously thought unconscious woman grabbed Mari and yanked her to the ground on top of her, catching her by surprise before she could defend herself and wrapping an arm tight around Mari’s neck. And before anyone could jump to Mari’s defense, the two were surrounded by Tanas with smug looks on their faces. “Try blowing up the main Tana now.” One of them spat at Damien.
There was no stopping this fight.
The Tanas were fast, and Damien was certainly not faster. Before he could get out of it, 2 of them had him and a third one was holding a knife to his throat. He tried so hard to find that energy from before, to easily push and explosion right where he wanted but whatever that was before, he didn’t have it. If he exploded now it would be all over the place, probably hurt his friends who were fighting their own tanas beside him. In a matter of seconds, he went from hero to himself and his friends in mortal peril.
“You're too risky. Unpredictable. He doesn’t need you. I hope you had fun while you lasted.” The tana who had the knife said and Damien tried even harder to pull out of the other tana’s grasps, and then suddenly he was on the floor in a heap. Someone, not a tana, was on top of him, it was some sort of large animal, so Boze, who seemed to be putting most of her weight on the tanas on either side of him but keeping him covered.
From his position, he couldn’t really see at all what was going on but the rest of the supers made short work of tana, at least it seemed so, and before long, both tanas that were half under him disappeared and, Boze, now human, was getting off him and helping him up. He saw Shayne with Tana over his shoulder, who was cuffed and loudly shouting expletives and threats at everyone as he went to pull her up the ladder.
Damien followed the group silently up the ladder. Not able to really share in any of the mild celebratory words being shared, feeling too frustrated to do much beside follow behind the people in front of him.
Damien sort of stood off to the side as they loaded the captured supers into the back of a van. Tana’s words kept echoing in his head as they ushered him into a car. “You’re too risky. Unpredictable. He doesn’t need you.”
It was all too much.
Mari noticed his silence in the car and asked him if he was ok. He decided to be honest and told them his frustrations and everyone immediately reassured him pretty much exactly, how he had expected them to. It didn’t do anything to help him feel better this time. No, ‘you’ve made so much progress!’ or ‘For some people, it takes more time than others’ worked at all. He nodded along though and said, ‘thanks’ and ‘you’re right’ until someone changed the subject.
He managed to stay quiet again until he waiting for the elevators with Mari, Boze, and Joven. This time it was Joven who asked if something was still bothering him.
He almost didn’t answer but allowed himself to just say it, he might as well. “I just, I don’t understand why it didn’t work” Damien relented as they walked into the elevators.
“Damien, we won. None of us died and we protected them.” Boze said, a slight hint annoyance clear in her voice. Damien didn’t understand why she was getting annoyed with him over this, but he wasn’t gonna let that just slip by.
“That’s easy for you to say, without you a lot of us would be dead. You fucking saved the day.” Damien said some anger sneaking back into his voice.
The way he spoke, clearly didn’t sit well with Boze, who looked like she was about to quip back but instead she folded her arms and looked forward.
Its Joven who speaks in her defense, “Why did you say that like it’s a bad thing?”
“I’m just saying that she just doesn’t get it. She is a hero and for her to even act like she gets what I’m feeling…” Damien says, spitting the word hero like he was calling her a horrible name.
“Ok I get it, it was a tough night Damien, but you need to calm down. Your gonna say something you regret.” Mari said quickly, sensing the tension.
Boze, agreeing with Mari, worded her next words carefully. “I’m sorry if I seemed patronizing. Your right in that I don’t know exactly how you feel, but I do know, that we still succeeded. And that’s worth something.” She said and Damien could tell it was sincere, but it didn’t help the anger that was coursing through him at the moment.
“Well you’re not gonna be the one who is kicked the fuck out of this program by the end of the month now are you!” Damien says, effectively ignoring Mari’s words as he stormed out of the elevator onto floor B5.
Boze stormed after him and he turned around to face her, “Ok I don’t know who you think your talking too, but I’m not gonna stand here and let you yell at me like that! What the fuck is your problem? Do you wish I didn’t save your life? Do you wish I never fucking escaped in the first place?!”
Damien could feel his body humming with rage as he looked down at Boze and went to step closer to her but found out that something was blocking him. “I DON’T KNOW, MAYBE!”
“WELL, THEN NEXT TIME MAYBE I’LL JUST LET YOU FUCKING DIE THEN. I'M SORRY I HAVE CONTROL OF MY POWERS!” Boze yelled right back and Mari was inching closer. Mari was also saying something, probably trying to calm them down but he wasn’t listening.
“THERE! RIGHT THERE! THAT’S WHY YOU CAN’T GET IT! YOUR LUCKY! YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR POWERS! YOU CAN DO PRACTICALLY ANYTHING! YOU GOT TO FUCKING SEE A FRIEND OF YOURS THE OTHER DAY AND ALL MY FRIENDS THINK I DIED IN AN EXPLOSION. YOU CAN SEE YOUR FUCKING FAMILY; DO YOU KNOW HOW FUCKING LUCKY YOU ARE?!” Damien could tell the second the words left his mouth he had struck a chord. Boze’s face scrunched up and he immediately wished he could take it back.
“YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT MY LIFE! YOU'RE SO FUCKING WRAPPED UP IN YOUR OWN STRUGGLES YOU THINK EVERYONE ELSE HAS IT EASY? WELL, YOUR FUCKING WRONG!” Boze yells back and before anyone can say anything else, she transforms. Damien doesn’t quite see what she changes into, but it’s something that flies, and she flies past him and back into the closing elevator.
Damien must be shaking because only Mari is coming near him. “Damien, breathe. I know you don’t want to hurt anyone. Just, breathe.”
Chapter 15: Damien
Boze fights a battle she isn't prepared for and has a talk on the roof.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
He sat in the middle of the power training room. Legs crossed. Just sitting there. With a dummy in front of him.
When he had left Mari and Joven at that spot in front of the elevators, Mari had worried he was going to blow a fuse, but he assured her he was fine. She still told him this should relax down here.
He was unpredictable.
He wasn’t gonna explode.
He wasn’t angry anymore. He was upset that he had upset Boze. He was insecure about the words she had said. He was sad about the inconsistency of his powers today. He wasn’t, however, angry or on edge. He wasn’t gonna explode like this.
He did, however, feel charged.
Just like before, the second time he had ever noticed, he could feel the power running through his veins, waiting to be used up. So instead of mulling over the argument that still left a bad taste in his mouth, he focused on the power. Memorized the feeling of feeling full of it.
Finally, he stood up. There was a dummy someone had left in here about 20 feet away from him. He walked to it with purpose, and when he was a few feet away he didn’t stop walking, he reached up and did as he had before, sending an explosion just big enough to send the dummy flying into the air to land a few feet away, which it did. He felt empty again as he walked toward the dummy he remembered the feeling of being full of the energy, willed it to fill his veins again.
Suddenly, as if he had turned on a tap, he was filled with he energy again, without missing a beat he reached the dummy and touched it, instantly blowing it up from the inside, all of the insides flying all over the place.
He wanted to jump with fucking joy.
But he had to make something right first.
She waited until she knew most of the group would be in their rooms before going back to human form and making her way back to her room. Some people had tried to reach her of course, but she had stayed hidden and ignored everyone. While she wasn’t quite as upset as she had been an hour before, she was still upset. It wasn’t entirely Damien’s fault though. He didn’t know what she had gone through. He hadn’t known what had happened that night. He hadn’t known what he was saying.
That didn’t mean it hurt less.
She opened her door and let it close behind her, leaning back against the door and taking a deep breath. Suddenly, she heard footsteps in the hallway. Thinking it must be someone come to see if she was ok, she stepped away from the door, waiting to hear the knock. When the steps passed her door, she decided to open to see who it was.
Boze was very shocked to find it was Wes walking down the hallway. Usually, one of them wandering around the facility late at night wasn’t strange, but the way he was walking made Boze’s blood run cold. He was walking even measured, quick strides, like a strong power walk. His eyes were trained straight ahead of him and never wavered, and his arms were straight down at his sides, not in his pockets like they tended to be.
She had seen this exact form in Sohinki and Lasercorn in the video of them leaving.
“Wes!” She called, hoping she was mistaken, but his walk didn’t waiver even slightly if anything she noticed it speed up. She ran out of her room and toward him, trying again, “WES!”
This time he heard her. He stopped suddenly and turned to see who it was, when his eyes landed on her small figure bounding down the hall toward him, a smile grew on his lips, not quite as warm of one as she was used too. “Boze, what are you doing up so late?”
“I did a late-night run.” She said casually, noting how hard Anthony was clearly trying to portray Wes. She wasn’t gonna buy it though. “Why are you up so late?”
“I was just going down to grab a midnight snack. I won’t hold you, I’m sure you're exhausted.” He said simply and started walking back down the hall.
“Actually, I was just down there and there isn’t anything to eat till the catering staff receives a new shipment tomorrow. You won’t find any food down there.” She said quickly and he stopped.
“Well, then I’ll just get a snack from the vending machine.” He said without turning back before continuing to walk toward the elevator.
She quickstepped toward him as she continued. “You mean the one that’s been broken since yesterday?”
He stopped again and she could sense the annoyance. “Well then I’m just taking a walk.”
“Well, I just don’t buy it.” She says finally and he turns around.
The façade has clearly been dropped and he folds his arms in front of him. “So, you’re going to make this more difficult than it has to be then,” He says with a dark voice.
“Do I have another choice? I can’t let you take another one of my friends.” She says, getting into a fighting stance.
“There is one more choice.” He says and Boze remains ready, not sure where he is going with that. “Come with me.”
Boze laughs at that and its dry and without humor, “Do you think I’m stupid?”
“You would be stupid to not see the appeal.” He says in a tone of voice that makes her want nothing more than to smack him across his face. “Think of this, getting the freedom to leave this place, and live your life how you want. Getting to take revenge on those who didn’t help you when they were the only ones who could have. On those who call you every week to try and make up for leaving you behind in the hell they were lucky enough to escape.”
She didn’t want to know how he knew. She just did her best to calm her breathing, because he was doing this on purpose. He was clearly good at manipulating but Boze was clearly good and not being affected by it, for the most part. “Some of us don’t think revenge is always the best choice.” She said and he shrugged at her.
“Have it your way then.” And with that, he lunged at her. Now Boze didn’t fight with Wes for a reason. His super strength and his pretty good reflexes genuinely made him a menace even when he wasn’t using his full strength. However, the way his fist crunched a hole in the wall when his punch missed her, told her he wasn’t going easy on her. She transformed into a gorilla and tried using the strength to her advantage, but the gorilla was too slow, and she took a hit to her arm, she tried a few other animals that were more agile but not much was working, and she was pretty sore already. One thing Boze should have realized was that she was not gonna win this fight on her own, so she did the next best thing, she screamed. Her scream was so ear-piercing that it made Wes pause long enough for her to land a hit, making him stumble back.
He wasn’t stupid, he knew people would be coming to her rescue, so he started trying to make a break for it, and Boze followed, doing her best to slow him down while making as much noise as she could. The first one to come out, in a t-shirt and shorts, hair all messed up and without their glasses on was Noah. He seemed very confused as to why his two friends were fighting and therefore didn’t move right away.
“He’s got Wes’s mind; we can’t let him leave!” Boze screamed quickly and Noah took a beat before jumping to action. To Boze’s slight surprise he ran away from them, she kept holding her own or doing her best to hold her own, but Wes was making headway. It wasn’t until Noah stopped at Mari’s door and started banging on it that she realized his plan.
Shayne and Courtney came out too because of all the noise, and Boze quickly yelled at them what was going on and finally she wasn’t the only one fighting this monster. Shayne was pretty strong, not as strong as Wes of course, but his punches and pushes were doing a lot more than any hit Boze had done. With the three of them there Wes wasn’t gaining anymore ground, but he was still holding his own.
More doors were opening but Boze didn’t need to say anything because Noah had made it into Mari’s room and already caught her up, once she stepped into the hallway the fight stopped. Wes was no longer able to move, his whole body stuck in a tight impenetrable forcefield.
Boze sat down on the floor from exhaustion, and Courtney joined her, but Shayne stayed in a defensive position, all three of them catching their breaths. They watched as an incredibly frustrated look came on Wes’s face. “YOU KNOW WHAT?! THAT’S IT. I WAS PLAYING AROUND, TRYING TO GET SOME OF YOU ON MY SIDE, DOING THIS THE EASY WAY, BUT IM DONE!” Wes screamed.
Boze watched as Ian ran down the hallway asking Mari what was going on, whom was still keeping Wes from moving.
“IF YOU THINK IVE BEEN USING MY POWERS TO THEIR LIMITS, YOUR FUCKING WRONG! I’M GONNA GET MY REVENGE AND I DON’T GIVE A SHIT WHOS SUPER ASS YOU THROW AT ME!” Wes yelled. He looked around at all of them who were watching him with wide eyes then made eye contact with Ian. His expression changed for a moment into something they didn’t understand before Wes slumped and was unconscious.
They all stayed silent for a moment, and its Noah who breaks the silence, “Anyone else hoping he was overestimating himself?”
Ian doesn’t go back to his room. He was very worried that Anthony’s last stand would involve him and since his room was a little separated from everyone else’s, he wanted to stay near the group. He took one of the few empty rooms they had left, that they were waiting to fill with new recruits.
He laid on the uncovered mattress he had thrown a blanket over and stared at the ceiling, knowing he wasn’t gonna be able to sleep yet. There was much too much going through his mind. Not to mention the thing he had heard in Wes’s head.
Anthony had told him that the offer he had given in before he left, still stood.
That was probably the most frustrating thing he had ever heard.
Not to mention that after all this time, Anthony still wanted that? Ian could barely comprehend that. Not to mention even consider taking the offer.
At least that’s what he told himself.
Boze sat on the edge of the building. Her legs dangling off the roof. It was one of those moments when she wanted nothing more than to let herself fall and then catch herself, just so she could soar away into the night. But she just stared at what little stars she could see. Allowing herself to get swallowed up into the darkness.
She sits there for a long time before she hears the creak of the door, and she doesn’t have to look up to know its Damien. She is almost too familiar with his presence now. He sits down on the ledge a few feet away from her and she doesn’t look at him or say a word.
After a moment she looked over at Damien, who was staring into the sky like she was and saw the somber look on his face. What he said before was still ringing through her head. She was lucky. She had control of her powers. She could still talk to her old friends. She could still contact her family.
The statement that had made her go off likely not even 2 hours ago just made her tired now. It wasn’t like he knew. How could he if she didn’t tell him.
After another long moment of silently staring at the sky, he finally speaks. “I’m sorry. Your right, I don’t know. It was so wrong for me to assume anything. It’s tough, trying so hard to cope with this new life and I turn and see this perfect girl who seemed to have a one-up on all my problems. But that doesn’t excuse what I said. I was acting irrationally. The last thing I meant to do was hurt you.” He said softly.
There’s another moment of silence as Boze decides how to start. “I was 13. When my dad got into a car accident on the way to pick up my mother from her doctors’ appointment. He died 4 days later in the hospital from an infection.” She could feel his eyes on her, but she didn’t stop. “She remarried barely a year later, we think it was because she was so sick at the time and she was worried that she would leave her kids alone in this world. She brought him by a few times before the engagement and I thought he was a nice enough guy. My older sister never liked him though, said he gave her weird vibes.”
She paused a moment to look over at Damien, who seemed to be hanging on her every word. She could tell from his expression that he knew where she was going. “When he moved in, he was pretty quiet and never really wanted to talk to any of us, only mom. He took care of her, I think that was the only thing I ever saw him do in the early years. He helped her out more than a bunch of kids could. Because of that, I trusted him. I mean how bad could a man be who took such great care of our mother. But then… 3 years later, mother died. By then, my older sister had moved in with our aunt in Nashville to go to college so me, my older brother, and him, we're all alone in the house. From then on, the only thing I ever saw him actually want to do, was drink. I was a junior and my brother was a senior, so we knew we would be able to take care of ourselves. At least until he started seeking us out.”
She paused for another moment to take a deep breath and that’s the first time Damien speaks since she started, “You don’t have to, you know? If it’s too much…”
She looks at him for a moment, and considers it, “No, I need to do this.” She takes one more breath and continues. “He used up most of his anger on my brother. He only ever hit me when my brother wasn’t home. Even after he graduated, he got a job and stayed home, when he could have gotten out, to protect me. We both stayed there longer than we should have. Neither of us wanted to leave the other alone with him, but with our shitty minimum wage jobs, we couldn’t afford to move out even together.”
She looks back at the sky as she continues, since it was easier to say when she pretends she is alone. “We were saving up though, and we almost had enough to get far enough away from him. We were gonna move to Nashville and get an apartment near where our sister lived. We kept it a secret, of course, if he knew we were trying to leave him, he would likely kill us. That night, I came home to my brother, laying in a pool of his own blood. He wasn’t breathing, and he was so fucking cold, but I still fumbled around and tried to feel a pulse.”
Her voice is ragged now, “He stomps into the room and I can smell the whiskey before I hear him. He is mumbling something about how us ungrateful bastards thought we could leave him alone in that goddamn house just like our mother had. I just start running. He was near the front door, so I run up the stairs. I get in my room and I manage to lock my door before running to my window. Of course, its jammed, so I go to hide in my closet, trying to ignore the sounds of a drunken man trying to break into my room with what sounded like a metal baseball bat. When the final crunch sound of a door giving in sounded, I felt so incredibly lightheaded and I knew that I was going to meet the same fate as my brother. I closed my eyes and tried to keep my breathing even. But when I feel the closet doors open, all I hear is a sigh of disappointment. I open my eyes and find that I’m much closer to the ground then previously. And my stepdad is looking right over me.”
“I don’t even remember when I realized exactly what was going on, I just remember realizing I had wings and immediately took flight, flying past the even angrier drunk man and out the small crack I had been able to get on the window. I flew far, farther than I could imagine now. I remember feeling so tired I didn’t know if I could stay in the sky. I remember watching the ground come up underneath me before blackness.” She said finally looking back up toward Damien.
“I had transformed back as I landed and was sent to a hospital. I woke up in the hospital with a man in a black suit who told me that what had happened was not a dream at all, but my new reality. I didn’t ask about my brother or the murderer, but I could tell from something the man said later, that he knew about them too. It wasn’t until we had been talking for a while when the man finally introduced himself as Ian. And well, we both know where that got me.”
There’s a stretch of silence before Boze speaks again. “While technically I still have my sister and my aunt, my aunt very honestly would rather distance from me than acknowledge that anything happened.”
“What about your sister?” Damien asked softly, and she sighed.
Boze responds after a beat. “She tries to talk to me once or twice a week. But it never sat right with me how she never really put any effort into trying to help us escape. Or really trying to help us at all. I mean I get it now that she was scared and didn’t want to put herself at all in the line of fire, but that doesn’t really redeem her.”
“I’m really sorry Boze…” Damien says softly.
“It’s ok.” She responded just as softly, looking over at him and seeing the emotion on his face, “There’s no way you could have known. In a way I am lucky, and I will never feel the frustration you feel while you’re working so hard, to make your body do what you want it to do. But I know how much you want it to work, and I know you try your ass off. I could have been nicer. It’s kind of hard for me to back down when someone starts accusing me of stuff.”
“It’s ok… we both kind of blew our fuse.”
“Don’t even make that joke.”
They both laughed. And Boze looked back at the night sky.
They sat in silence for another long moment, though, this silence was more comfortable. Boze was so wrapped up in the dark night around her, it surprised her slightly when Damien was suddenly next to her, his arm around her, pulling her into his side. She let him though, relaxing into his warmth and comfort. It’s even longer before they look at each other again. But once they lock eyes, it only takes Damien a moment to lean in and kiss her.
She kisses back right away.
Chapter 16: Ian
Ian sits through a stressful meeting and Boze has an idea.
This was one of those chapters that took me really long to get on paper because I wasn't really sure what I wanted it to say exactly, but I finally figured it out so here I am almost 2 months later lol.
Ian can't decide if the next few days is the calm after or before the storm.
But at least it's calm.
The only things he has to do is fill out paperwork, rehash the exact incidents of the previous days over and over again on various phone calls with the higher-ups, and check his employee’s minds. Its the latter one he dislikes the most. Sure he is completely OK with making sure Sohinki, Lasercorn, and Wes are free from Anthony’s control, and even double-checking that night that no one else was secretly harboring a piece of Anthony was fine, but all the checking he did in the following days didn't sit well with him.
He always enjoyed the complete control he had over his mind-reading. He didn't have to intrude on anyone's mind unless he had to. However, because of Anthony’s power, he found himself checking the mind of everyone that he was having a conversation with, where the topic was any deeper than small talk. The worst part is he couldn't tell if he was getting paranoid or he was right in repeatedly checking his employee’s minds. The more times his searches came up empty, the more paranoid he felt.
Regardless, with the threat they had received, everyone was on edge and preparing for a fight. Although Ian never shared his new penchant for checking everyone's mind, many of his supers had pulled him aside and told him he should, so at least if he was paranoid, he wasn't alone in his worries.
Sohinki had woken up with an incredible headache and power cuffed to a hospital bed. At first, he was incredibly confused, seeing as the last thing he remembered was being in his room. And then suddenly there they were, being told he had spent the past day doing who knows what under mind control. While Ian explained what had happened to them, Lasercorn very loudly expressed his indignation, but Sohinki stayed mostly quiet.
He didn't really know what to say. He felt used and pretty sore and very angry. But not the kind of angry Lasercorn was. Not ‘will burn down the entire city to make sure he burns’ kinda mad. He was mostly the internal kinda mad. The ‘I kinda want to run on the treadmill until I can't feel anything’ kinda mad. Seeing as neither of these activities could actually be carried out, they went down to the power training center and Sohinki sat on the side and watched as Lasercorn incinerated some dummies to calm down.
Eventually, Lasercorn walked over to Sohinki and sat next to him, Sohinki instinctively leaning into his shoulder. They had sat there silently for a moment, staring at the charr on the floor that would be completely gone by morning. It was Sohinki who broke the silence. “Are we still gonna tell everyone?” Sohinki asked tentatively.
“Honestly, we should wait. Just a day ago it felt like things were about as serious as they always were but now I feel like a lot of big things are about to happen and it's probably not the best announcement time.” Lasercorn said slowly and Sohinki sighed with relief.
“I was thinking the exact same thing. We can tell them if we make it out of this whole thing.”
“You mean when.”
“Yeah, sure. When”
“Will Joven please Report to our head super Ian Hecox’s office. I repeat, please report to out Head Super Ian Hecox’s Office.” Pam's voice crackled over the loudspeaker. Some of the people who had also been enjoying their breakfast looked puzzled by the very formal language being used but Joven, as well as a few who had been there for a while, knew exactly what it meant. Joven got up, leaving his breakfast half finished and rushing to the elevator.
Back in the beginning of Smosh, when they had almost constant government surveillance, they had a sort of code. If you were asked to Ian's office in a very formal and unusual way, it could only mean that there was a supervisor present, usually one who didn't want it announced they were there. This method was one thing made necessary since many of the ones close to Ian would walk into his office with an unceremonious “What do you want” when called down. Since they had to have the appearance of a strict military facility, that just wouldn't do.
One thing about that code, however, is they hadn't used it in years. Nowadays there weren't many surprise visitors from supervisors that warranted meetings so a lot of the newer recruits weren't as aware. Which of course garnered the question, why had Pam just used the code? That question wasn't too hard to answer, however. With the other day's activities, this facility was sure to be closely watched and patrolled by government cronies. Since Ian hadn't come down for breakfast and Ian wasn't one to sleep in, so Joven had assumed he was already in a meeting. And could now assume he wanted a high ranking officer to back him up.
It seemed all of Joven's assumptions were correct as he was let into Ian’s office by Pam and walked into a seemingly politely tense conversation. Matt Raub himself was sitting in a chair opposite Ian with a few people in suits behind him. Everyone turned when he entered. And he smiled warmly and told the room good morning.
Ian, clearly over formalities, quickly addressed him. “Yes, morning Joven, can you please tell Mr. Raub here that it is not a good idea in the slightest to take our force off the Anthony case?”
Matt, clearly already annoyed that Ian called for backup, put a hand up, “First of all let's clarify that it's not the Anthony case since we have yet to have conclusive evidence that Anthony is the mind manipulator involved.”
“I think we are all pretty sure about that fact already. I am especially sure since I know what Anthony’s mind feels like and I felt it in the presence of anyone under mind control.” Ian said dismissively.
“And as I've explained to you many times, ‘Feelings’ are not conclusive evidence.” Mr. Raub said tiredly.
Seeing as Ian was clearly about to perpetuate the argument, Joven cut in. “Well then why is it you think we shouldn't be on this mind manipulator’s case?”
“Well first of all, as I explained to Ian, the entire council at the head of our whole branch decided this, it wasn't me directly. You know I put a lot of faith in you guys, but it was hard to play your case at last night's conference call. With all the failures the past week…”
I’m sorry,” Ian interrupted, “I would like to know what failures you're referring to?”
Joven was also very miffed by the statement, “We carried out several missions with very high stakes being the lives of innocent children, precious to the employees here with no casualties or serious injuries on our sides, recovered and saved previously compromised agents and also captured and contained some henchmen hired by the perpetrator. I’m not sure how any of that's a failure.”
“And while all of that is apart of the reasons you've been continued on this case, the main concern is that the situation seems to be getting worse and the only evidence we have that we are anywhere near stopping this super is a ‘feeling’.” Matt explained, “Now like I was trying to say, we are giving you a chance, against a lot of the groups better judgment, mostly since you seem most well equipped against a mind manipulator.”
“My question is why can't we just say its Anthony. We all know my feelings are worth more, considering my power. I know its Anthony.” Ian said indignantly.
“Let's just say, if you wanna stay on this case, us not being sure its Anthony is actually helping you right now. There are some council members who want to take you off the case the moment we find conclusive evidence that its Anthony, because of your past.”
Ian rolled his eyes and Joven spoke up, “Wouldn't that make us more equipped?”
“Well, they are worried your past might compromise your judgment. That he might easily get into your head.” Matt explained and Ian rolled his eyes again.
“We already know that he can’t control my mind because of my powers.” He scoffed.
“They didn't mean with his powers. Didn't you almost leave with him?” Matt said accusingly and Joven looked over at Ian, for the first time, surprised at a new development he was unaware of.
Ian’s cheeks are a little red at the sudden fingers being pointed at him and he immediately went on the defense, “First of all, What happened was, the night before he left he told me he was gonna leave and asked me to leave with him. I didn't know he was being serious but even when I thought he was mostly joking I told him no. And that that entire idea was stupid. Even if I had known he was serious, I wouldn't have gone with him, but I would of tried to get him to stay.” Ian said indignantly but quietly.
Joven wondered idly why Ian had never told him any of that.
“The point is,” Matt said, standing up, “Is if you want to be the ones to finish this case, your gonna need to solve it quickly and all at once.” He started toward the door, his entourage following him closely, “Good luck.”
And with that, he left, and neither of the men felt any better about the situation.
Boze wanted to go to the zoo.
As stupid as it seemed to pitch during the stressfully time they were currently dealing with, she at least had a viable reason. There was a soon-to-be closing exhibit on flying squirrels and Boze had never seen one. Seeing as she could transform into only animals she had seen in person, and a flying squirrels skills would add nicely to her repertoire, Ian had trouble finding reasons to refuse her. Not to mention he knew someone of them could use a little stress reliever. The only caveat’s that Ian gave her was, that she had to go in a small group (Not a problem to her), and they all had to have comms on at all time encase of an emergency.
And that was how Boze, Wes, Mari, and Damien got to go to the zoo at 2 pm on a Thursday in the middle of a huge conflict.
They were on a strict timetable so they made a quick plan on the car ride there. They were gonna go straight to the flying squirrel exhibit then use the rest of their time walking back toward the parking lot on a road with plenty of gift shops and food stalls.
And to be honest, this was exactly the kinda trip everyone needed. They all got to giggle and laugh while eating cotton candy and gawking at animals, they got to take silly pictures that only tourists and people with kids usually have on their phone, and Boze got to spend some time with Damien in a setting that wasn't extremely stressfully or formal. She got to feel like a young adult again. It didn't feel like 4 agents on a strict mission, it felt more like a bunch of friends catching up on a day out. Not to mention she got to spend 2 and a half hours figuring out more about the budding relationship between her and Damien.
When she got back to her room, the first thing she did was put her new stuffed tiger she had bought with Ian's money on her bed, the second thing she had done was tape up a picture of all of them they had bought at one of those tourist trap kiosks (They had also bought that with Ian's money). It felt like her room was finally starting to feel less like a room she slept in and more like her room.
And she liked it.
Ian didn't sleep in his bed that night. He hadn't slept in his bed in 3 days and that wasn't gonna change. He had started changing up where he slept, mostly out of paranoia and no one questioned him. Pam, the only one who knew exactly where he slept each night even encouraged it, though it was probably because she knew if he didn't do that, he wouldn't get any sleep at all.
Either way, that night he went to bed in a room that wasn't his, feeling mostly calm. Hoping to god there would be a break in the case soon, but not quite aware of what was really to come.