Able opened his eyes and found himself staring up at a ceiling he didn't recognize. It wasn't the warehouse, it wasn't the safe house, and it was a different off white than the color of the Facility infirmaries….
He tried to move, but found he was restrained. An IV ran into his arm which he guessed was muffling his ability to control the machines around him.
Or a sedative.
He looked to see if there were any other machines that he could control, but other than the bed and the IV, it was bare.
Oh they knew who he was….that wasn't good…
He saw a camera in the corner of the ceiling and glared at it, "You can come out of hiding now, I'm awake."
The door opened and an old man with a cane walked through. He didn't seem to need the cane; Able's work in the Facility infirmary during the combat trials gave him the experience to see immediately that the limp was all wrong. It wasn't bad enough to warrant a cane in some steps and in others he was greatly exaggerating it in others.
"Hello Mr. Stewart. My name is-"
"You're Starkson," Able hissed, "The head of all the Facilities. Or...pardon me, you were the head of all the Facilities until you gave the command to have them destroyed; killing several innocent people in the process."
He smiled a little, "At least you stayed long enough at the Warehouse for Naomi to describe my appearance to you."
"Yeah, too bad that didn't seem to help my situation any."
"It could be worse."
"Can't see how that would be possible," Able muttered, "What do you want me for?"
"I think you know," Starkson told him, "if you've been doing as much research as I've been led to believe, then you know exactly why you're here."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"You're a horrible liar," Starkson scolded, "I can see why you weren't in the field a lot."
Able glared at him in defiance, "I won't help you with whatever you want me for."
"I think you will once you see what we have for you then you'll disagree."
"And what's that?" Able demanded.
Starkson smirked, confidant that he had Able's attention. Two guards came into the room, "Come and see."
Able didn't show them any emotion as they brought him into the room. In the two months that they'd been apart, Able had done his research. He knew exactly what they were going to show, but it was surprising to see it in the flesh as it were.
Or this far advanced.
He looked at the body floating in the tank, "This is impossible."
Starkson smiled proudly and looked at him, "Nothing's impossible."
Able could think of a few things, but that was hardly the point, "Something like this would take twenty weeks."
"Not anymore," Starkson smirked.
He stared through the glass at the clone floating in the tank, hooked up to several tubes that were feeding her and making sure she stayed alive and healthy.
It was Jane in a sense. But it wasn't. She was alive and aware of what was going on around her gaze followed their every moment, but it wasn't her. There was no spark in her eyes; there was no curiosity, no recognition. It wasn't her.
The body was empty. No soul.
He felt himself choke with emotion, he knew the answer to what he was going to ask, but he did so anyway, "What do you want me for?"
"Make her like she was."
"You do it."
"We can't. We still can't figure out how you did what you did, but then again, you're an electrician. There's a chance we'll never be able to copy anything you do."
"No," he refused, "Jane told me what it was like for her in there and I'm not going to put her through something like constantly changing her personality while trying to figure out the right mixture of what made her like she was. And I programmed her in like five minutes! I don't remember what it took to program her. I can't do it and I'm not going to torture this being because you can't-"
"Oh, I already figured you'd refuse because of that." He nodded to a technician who pressed a button. The rest of the room lit up and he saw several other clones were watching him as well, trapped in their own water tanks. Most were stoic and dead-eyed like this…remake of Jane, but a scattered few were screaming and clawing at the glass.
He turned angrily to Starkson, "What have you done?"
"Let's just say that the more recent attempts to program personalities have been abysmal failures by the other electricians."
"It looked successful to me."
"Not when the only thing the electricians can think of at the moment is of pain and fear."
"And I'll be different?"
"You'll have no other choice."
He looked at them and remembered how angry Jane was when they were considering destroying the clones in the Facility, "Stop it."
"We can't. What about that didn't you understand?"
"Why do you even want this anyway?" Able snapped. He wanted to focus on anything BUT what was surrounding him, "I always thought you'd be happier with the idea that the clones can't question anything you say or develop any sense of morals. Why are you making one that would be free of that?"
"Of course we don't want them to have minds of their own. But thanks to you, that ended up happening and now I'd like to research it and find a way to prevent it."
"I won't help you," Able hissed, "Not for any price. Not with what you did to all of us; my family, Joseph, Naomi, Lisa, Kyrie, everyone in the Facilities that you destroyed…I won't do it."
"Then it'll be a sad day when your wife finds your dead body in her backyard. Now won't it?"
He cringed but tried to keep a straight face, "I don't have a wife."
"Emilia and your son will be so broken hearted that you're ignoring them. I hope your son doesn't find you first"
Able stared him down "You wouldn't."
"Well, other than restoring Jane back to her original glory in a new updated body, I can hardly see any more use I'd have of you.
He tried not to let Starkson's threats affect him, but he could feel the anger welling up inside, "You forget something Starkson; your threat is that you'll kill me. And several people will tell you that that's a very complicated thing to do."
Starkson's cool gaze never wavered, "Have you ever tried to survive without your abilities? I think by taking away your electrician ability I've removed most of what's made your death difficult."
"Then how do you expect me to reprogram Jane?"
"Oh, you'll get back a little bit of your ability, but not enough to really do anything with it except said reprogramming."
"You're still crazy if you think that I'm going to help you."
"Then I guess you'll die. And I suppose in ten years from now, when we start rebuilding our Facilities, your son will be the first we drag in to receive his brand new abilities. I think we'll give him the ability of an Electrician in honor of his father. It's only fitting."
Oh he did it.
Able took a step forward towards Starkson but a guard stepped forward and hit him in the gut with the butt of his rifle.
Able hit the ground, and wrapped his arms around his torso.
"Get him up."
The guard forced Able into a sitting position and Able shot him a seething murderous glare. He hoped that Starkson was bluffing.
But he wasn't about to put the future of his son on his hopes that Starkson was a liar as well as a monster.
Besides, if he could get Jane back….
He feigned a sigh and hung his head, "What is it that you want me to do?"
If the situation of Abe's disappearance wasn't so urgent, Naomi would've loved to go back home and take a nice hot shower. She hadn't had a real one on the beach, it mostly consisted of sponge bathing in the ocean and she never felt completely c lean.
However, Able's disappearance took priority and Joseph hardly let them go home long enough to change clothes.
She knew that Joseph and Able had been best friends since they met each other in the Facility. They'd been there for each other when they escaped and tried to make sense of being experimented on and exploited for abilities.
They had been best friends through….everything afterwards. The running, the hiding…they were there for each other in that. Able was there for Joseph when Naomi refused to be, that was the first of many things she owed Able for.
Joseph knocked on the door and stepped back.
"What do you think took him?" Kyrie asked.
"Couldn't he just have done what I did?" Naomi asked, "Had enough of everything and taken off."
"Able wouldn't abandon his family like that," Joseph said.
It wasn't supposed to be an insult, but Naomi flinched anyway. She knew that it was her own fault for her own capture, but it still hurt when Joseph put it like that.
She heard footsteps and the door opened. Emilia stood on the other side of the door. She looked terrible. She looked so emotionally drained and she'd been crying.
"Hi Emilia, I just got your call."
She didn't make eye contact, "He's been taken."
"Are you sure?" Joseph asked.
"He would've told me if he was just going on a vacation, Joseph," she snapped, "Besides, there was something…there was something that was bothering him."
She moved out of the way and let them in, "You're going to have to see it."
They all walked in, the living room furniture was mismatched and looked like it came from IKEA. The furniture would've probably been nicer if they didn't have a three year old son that would probably ruin it.
Speaking of which...
"Where's Shawn?" Naomi asked.
"He's with my sister for a few days. I didn't want him here in case they came for us as well," she led them down the hall and to a door with a missing knob, "Able kept this door locked, he claimed it was his office. When he disappeared, I had to pry it open. Took one look inside and called you."
Naomi saw why as soon as she turned on the light. There were papers everywhere; on the desk, scattered on the floor, tacked on the walls. The only open space on the wall had a world map tacked on with several different colored thumbtacks covering various countries.
Below it there were pictures of their entire team with various bits of information like birth dates, birth places, and guesses on when they were changed to be superhuman.
"This is…" Joseph started.
"Insane," Kyrie finished.
"I was going to say incredible, but I suppose your way works too," Joseph muttered
"He was supposed to stop," Emilia said angrily, "He was supposed to stop, he promised that he would."
"This goes far beyond broken promises," Joseph muttered.
"Well, if he wasn't nosing in places that he shouldn't have, then he wouldn't be gone now, would he?" she snapped.
"Phone number," Kyrie grabbed a post-it from the wall and showed it to him, "Looks like he was in contact with Lisa and David."
"Well that would certainly explain a lot," Joseph muttered.
Emilia muttered something unintelligible behind them and rubbed her forehead.
"They could be in danger too," Kyrie told him.
"Do you think you could run a trace on the line if we were able to make contact? See where they are? Or at least…were?"
"Only if you keep them on the line long enough, I do have a rudimentary understanding of Able's system. It could work."
Naomi looked at him in confusion, "You can't just ask them where they're at?"
"What good is asking if they probably won't tell you? They'll need a quick pick up." he asked, "Don't worry Emilia, we'll bring him home."
"Excuse me," she stepped out of the room.
"Able married her?" Kyrie asked.
"Watch your mouth," Joseph snapped, "She's stayed with him through more than you could ever understand or imagine. She thought she was finally going to have her husband back after years of barely seeing him. But he went back on his word and now he's gone. You don't know anything of what you're talking about."
Rather than look embarrassed, she glared back, "Whatever you say."
"Good, now let's go home. We'll continue the investigation from there."
Lisa was lying in bed when her phone started ringing. With a moan, she reached for it and put it to her ear, "This better be good."
The words sent a jolt through her system and she sat up, "Is this Joseph?"
"Yes, you've forgotten what I sound like over the phone already? Was it the irritated edge in my voice that gave it away?"
Oh yeah, that was Joseph.
"Sorry," she smirked, "You just sound so much like your sister."
He was quiet for a few seconds and she thought that he hung up, but finally he spoke again, "We think that you might be the next target, where are you?"
She lay back down, "You want me to get back in the game, don't you?"
"That's your decision. But whatever you were all looking for probably got Able kidnapped, and if you don't tell me where you are then they'll come after you and you'll be pulled into this no matter what."
"Do you know that for a fact?"
"Is that something that you honestly want to risk?"
"FINE," She sighed, "Give me ten minutes to get dressed and get my things together."
"Get dressed? It's four in the afternoon."
"Not where I'm at."
"And that is…"
She climbed out of the bed, "I'm at the Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, France. It's ten in the evening here."
"Why on Earth are you in Paris for?"
"Because I've never been there and I wanted to see what it was like?"
"Is David with you?"
Her eyes grew, "No! Why would David be with me here?"
"Well, it is the city of love and I've always wandered about you two."
She shuddered, "You're sick."
"Yeah, yeah, I'll come pick you up after I've jumped in the shower, will that give you time to pack up?"
"Yeah," she pulled a coat over her pajamas, "I'll be ready by then."
She jerked up when she heard someone knock on her door.
She paled, she hadn't ordered anything. Just affording the rent was draining her account enough as it was, "Joseph?" she whispered on the phone.
"You might want to make that pick up a bit sooner."