Heroes Legion: "Year One": The Manhattan Project
Chapter 25: Broken World, Dissolved Legion
THREE DAYS LATER…
HMS Damocles, Washington DC: July 15th, 2014: 5:53 PM
In on a video conference call with President Lance Houston, the newly sworn in Commander Hardcastle of SLEET closed the book on what had been coded "The Manhattan Project" in SLEET's records after reading Silicon's "death journal" recovered from the Heroes Legion mansion.
It had been left there in case he and the Heroes Legion didn't make it out of the Battle of New York, or save the east coast from Meta-Master's plot.
Since it was important evidence in the investigation into how this whole terrorist attack could have happened…and how Meta-Master even got his hands on a device that was supposed to be destroyed after procuring it from him in Bayville…and hopefully which shadow cabinet had been helping him.
It wasn't FEIND, but it was definitely a group just as shady and potential equally as dangerous it seemed.
She had every intention of giving it back to Silicon when she was done examining its contents, particularly the parts she didn't read out to the president.
She sighed as she reflected on what had happened.
General Arcane had sacrificed himself to stop the rogue nuke from destroying New York City, saving thousands of innocent lives.
Now she was in charge, and she wasn't sure if she could do as good a job as he had done against FEIND and other conspiracy's against world security out there…like this unknown third party for example.
Plus it wasn't a total victory, Dominatrix was still unaccounted for and Judas Black was off planning god knows what having abandoned his team to their fate.
Then there was the mopping up that was still left to do on Manhattan Island.
"Hard to believe that we owe our lives to a bunch of super powered teenagers and young adults" President Huston said in disbelief, "Even more fantastic is that General Arcane, all this time…was The Gremlin. A member of the Secret Seven…someone who should be as old as the few surviving members by now yet somehow he still looks no older than 40."
"Arcane had his secrets, we'll never know for sure why he was still so young for a man of his true age" Commander Hardcastle said sadly.
"So what happened?" President Huston asked curiously.
Commander Hardcastle sighed in annoyance.
"You know what happened sir. With the danger passed SLEET took control of the city to mop up the Dark Elite's mess and re-establish order. The Atlantean's and the mage when the job was done went home as fast as they could, taking Depth Charge with them to be punished for his crimes against both worlds above and below the waves. Survivors of the Battle of New York, we took them and divided them into groups. Those who were brainwashed we placed into containment to await the process of getting themselves depowered by whatever means we have left with our remaining M-50 supply…although the psychological damage and guilt of what they had done under Meta-Masters control may never go away. Even if our best psychiatrist is willing to do what he can for them, but it might not do much of anything. The rest, the ones who willingly joined in and willingly terrorized the populace we are de-powering first and sentencing later…including Sonar. Black Knight is already depowered and awaiting sentencing for his crimes against..."
"No commander, I meant what happened to the Heroes Legion?" President Houston corrected.
"They went home sir…" Commander Hardcastle answered, "The danger of the Dark Elite and the Meta-Gene Activator was dealt with. Meta-Master was taken into our custody, and paced in one of our secret facilities. M-Leader is confident that now that his powers have been taken away that maybe now we can repair his mind and bring back the man he once was…if not, the cell he's in also functions as a death chamber…Especially if he tries to escape. Atlanta took Depth Charge with her to Atlantis to face justice for what he has done."
President Huston's brow crunched in confusion, "But isn't he able to control water?"
"I don't think they intend on imprisoning him anywhere on the ocean floor or near any usable water sources sir" Commander Hardcastle suggested.
On the other side of the world, in the middle of the Rub al Kahli desert. In one of the few and far oasis's in the world's largest desert.
The waters of said oasis began to swirl and form a maelstrom.
From out of the Maelstrom, Depth Charge sans armor flew out and landed on the shore of the Oasis.
The second he landed outside of the Maelstrom Portal, it closed behind him.
Depth Charge immediately upon being cut off from water which he needed exposure to in order to survive on the surface chokingly crawled back to the vast lake of the Oasis.
Once back in the water, he felt his body recover from the lack of water.
He then looked around to get his surroundings.
He found he was indeed in an oasis surrounded by miles upon miles of intense heat and sand in an unknown area.
All he knew was that the only source of food and water for up to miles and miles In any direction was this oasis and it's trees fruit and coconuts, and fish wildlife.
He could manipulate the water here in the oasis, and use it to escape sure.
But with no idea of direction and the vast length of the desert and the heat as well as the sand absorbing the water or cooking it enough to evaporate it outside of the bedrock and sediment of the oasis…he wouldn't get far.
If he tried to escape, he'd be trapped out there and die within minutes.
It was the perfect prison for an Atlantean revolutionist terrorist with water manipulation abilities.
Now he understood what Atlanta meant by ordering him to be imprisoned to an island with no water surrounding it, she was talking about this oasis.
It was literally an island that wasn't surrounded by water, especially to someone like him who needed water to survive.
He screamed in defiance at his sentence and his imprisonment.
No one heard him.
"Atlanta returned home, her quest finished. But she assured that if she needed to return or if her team ever needed her again…all they had to do was call her." Commander Hardcastle explained.
"How do they call her?" President Houston asked, "Do the Atlantean's have satellite phones or something?"
"That's for Velocity to know and for us to find out I guess" Commander Hardcastle shrugged, "As for Raven and Shadow Knight. Shadow Knight went home to wherever it is that he lives, depowered. No longer able to fight even if he wanted to…while Raven Ducard returned to New Orleans."
Coming down the passenger loading/offloading ramp of the plane he had rode to return to Lunar City.
Kagae Kishi walked with his duffel bag containing his clothes, both civilian and Shadow Knight with him.
He paused when he felt his phone beep in his pocket; he pulled it out and read the photo message.
It was a picture and text from Raven Ducard, showing her back in New Orleans with Eudora and Becky, with the words "I'm home, stay in contact okay? XXOO"
Kagae smiled, and texted back "I will rave…I promise. I'll call you later. J"
He then put his phone away and headed for the end of the terminal where his family would be waiting for him.
Before he managed to clear the area on this side of the airport where the food and shops were located, a commotion happened that caught his attention.
Three airport security guards were chasing a guy who had just stolen someone's luggage and was heading towards the exit leading onto the tarmac.
"Fucking Lunar City…"he thought to himself, it hadn't changed…criminals were still finding ways to be criminals.
The luggage bandit made a mistake of trying to run past Kagae, because out of reflex the second the bandit got close enough.
Shadow Knight knocked the guy down with a karate move.
The guy didn't even see it coming, or see Kagae sneak away into the crowd before a crowd assembled itself around the scene that was unfolding as the airport security cops caught up and arrested the guy.
Kagae would learn later on that the man hadn't just stolen someone's luggage as he assumed.
The guy had tried to sneak a bomb disguised as a suitcase, which was an ingeniously designed casing which could fool the luggage check…but not the smell of a dog.
The second the bomb sniffing dog had detected the smell of explosive materials it had started to bark.
Instead of using a gun, the man had used a custom made (possibly with a 3D printer) plastic Taser gun he had hidden in his jacket padding to subdue the luggage guards and grab his bomb.
Apparently the guy was one of those 9/11 paranoid nutjobs trying to prove that the "system" put in place to protect airports and planes from bombs and terrorist attacks wasn't safe enough by sneaking in a bomb and blowing up people.
Even though he didn't know this, Kagae reflected on what he had just done.
He hadn't even thought about doing that to the bandit, he just did it…like it came naturally.
Without fear, without hesitation, and more importantly…he did it without powers.
Maybe it wasn't over; maybe the Knight of the Night still lived?
He shook his head, that wasn't important right now.
What was important was that his family, who he hadn't seen except on holidays and skype chats were desperately waiting for him…glad that he was alive.
Shadow Knight didn't matter anymore, only Kagae Kishi did.
He just hoped that one day he could tell them the truth about what really happened in New York, and what really happened throughout the course of the year.
Maybe someday, but not today…but someday, someday he would.
"Robo-Warrior went home as well, M-Leader, Techne and Silicon stayed behind in Manhattan to do what they could to help with Stephanie Walker. When she was able to, she presented her video of the battle with Meta-Master to the press. She's now scheduled to get a Pulitzer prize on Friday…that probably pissed off Beatrice fuller." Commander Hardcastle continued.
"What about Velocity?" President Huston asked.
"Who knows where he went, Pittsburgh, St. Louis?" Commander Hardcastle shrugged.
"So they've disbanded" President Huston said in realization, "what if there comes a chance if we need them again?"
"I've already been working on that sir, I've been using Atlas's group and forming them into a secondary Heroes Legion. We're calling them the Titans." Commander Hardcastle answered, "Besides…just because they've disbanded doesn't meant they won't return. They made a pact that if the time came when they were needed again, they would return."
"Even that Shadow Knight guy?" President Huston asked, "He has no powers anymore…and also you said 'again'…what do you mean again? The danger has passed."
"No sir it hasn't…" Commander Hardcastle disagreed, "We may not be dealing with super powered terrorists anymore. But a small number of Meta-Master's forces escaped the battle and are hiding in Manhattan still and might be inclined to try and take up Meta-Master's cause. Which means for now Manhattan is under quarantine and martial law till we find them. We will allow people to leave through the scanning stations we're putting on the bridges if they prove to not be active Metahumans. Also you have to consider the damage this attack has done sir. It's 9/11 all over again. People are scared and they are blaming by proxy people of a minority for the attack whether they were involved or not."
"I know…" President Huston sighed, "My office has been flooded with letters of outrage, demanding my cabinet do something in retaliation or my resignation if I don't. People are scared and angry, the American public want justice for Manhattan and apparently capturing Meta-Master wasn't enough. They know there are still metahumans in Manhattan and an unknown number more exist in different areas of the country and could still pop up at any time. That is a scary thought commander, what if one of them becomes the next Meta-Master. We have no defense."
"I understand that Sir" Commander Hardcastle agreed, "But the fact remains that this is exactly what General Arcane had been trying to warn you about. Tell me…did you give the order to launch that nuke?"
"No. I was going to give the decision…but I never gave the go ahead." President Huston confirmed.
"Someone in your organization did. They placed the mole on board the HMS Damocles and sabotaged any method we could have used to disarm the three nukes and the hijacked plane. They worked for the same group that sabotaged Rikers Island and gave Meta-Master the weapons and the MGA in the first place. There is a co-conspiracy going on in the Government. I know you're not in on it sir. But this group helped set up all of this just to make people afraid of metahumans so they could be justified in their existence and their goal. Whoever they are, they are just as dangerous as The Dark Elite and FEIND. We all need to be careful from this point on. The world has changed again, and this time for the worse. You watch your back Mr. President because I will do the same. We need to find this group and stop them before they cause another incident like Manhattan to occur again."
"Agreed Commander Huston… You try and find these people; I'll do what I can from here for as long as I'm still in this chair" President Huston acknowledged, "I don't want any more innocent Americans, human or metahuman to suffer from this or for this act of treason. I won't be party to any decision that will cost innocent lives."
"Okay sir…" Commander Hardcastle acknowledged, "I have a city to clean up and several operations to oversee. We'll talk about this later…"
"At your leave Commander…" President Huston ended the conference call, and a few minutes after he had his secretary informed him that Senator Ennis was on the line.
"Yes Ennis what is it?" President Huston asked.
"Sir, I've been informed that SLEET has been debated to be in sole charge of cleaning up and dealing with the remaining metahuman terrorists as well as dealing with the metahuman problem that has been on the minds of all Americans since the siege of Manhattan. Is this true?" Senator Ennis asked concerned.
"SLEET's been our best bludgeon against the forces of tyranny in the past…" President Huston began to speak in SLEET's defence.
"Sir, with all due respect that may have been true in the past. But the world has changed, and we need to change with it. Maybe SLEET can no longer just be our bludgeon against the forces of tyranny? Maybe what we need is not just a bludgeon, but a sword and shield to go with it? I have a proposition that might help not only us and SLEET save face…but to give us a viable watchdogging and defence against any super powered menaces…and answer to the metahuman problem." Senator Ennis pitched.
"…I'm listening." President Huston said cautiously.
"I'm talking about a secondary paramilitary and response unit for dealing with the terrorists still hiding in Manhattan, and any others that may appear in the future" Senator Ennis explained, "a group that won't just watchdog the metahuman community, but also work on making deterrents against this kind of thing ever happening again. We're calling it the Strategic Response to Insurrectional Powered Extremists… S.T.R.I.P.E…STRIPE for short."
Maskedhero100: "Four Years Later and I'm finally finished, the first series of Heroes Legion...the "Year One" saga is finished.
I plan on working on "Year Two" which will pick up where the first series left off right here at a later time, for now i'm going to take a break.
I hope you all enjoyed this climatic end to the first year of the Heroes Legion's story, all the action, the twists and turns...as well as the ending.
My favorite part to write was the "Battle of New York" segment, having been wanting to write that part so long it seemed like it took me forever to get to it.
Now that the series and this story has ended, feel free to write any critiques, reviews or comments if you wish to do so...or note me if you have any questions about the characters or anything fun like that you want to ask.
All I ask is that any critiques be constructive and polite, and no spam or flames...those i wont tolerate because they are not constructive criticisms or reviews.
I hope you all enjoyed the ride, because I sure did. :)
Until next time, Keep on Writing!
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