Heroes Legion: "Year One": Book Two
"Brave New Students"
Written by Maskedhero100
United States Congress Room, Sept 1st, 2013: 1:12 AM
"Doesn't anyone even sleep around here?" M-Leader muttered to himself as he and Arcane walked down the halls of the Hall of Congress, leading to the debate room where a secret meeting between himself, general Arcane and the members of the senate.
He had been using his mental powers to cloak his abnormal visage from the eyes of the congress staff that they passed on their way to the debate room.
"It's the government, they all live off of coffee…" General Arcane quipped.
"I still think this is going to end in failure, I'm a scientist these are politicians and senators" M-Leader groaned, "They and I…We don't get along to well"
"Look, they have already been briefed by me before and the ones that did believe what I told them have a very for lack of a better term "vague" idea about what "Metahumans" are…I decided it would be best to show them, and who better than the leader of the "Heroes league" himself"
"Legion" M-Leader corrected "Heroes Legion"
The two of them then entered the room, M-Leader could swear that he could smell the sulphur in the air of the congress room…he was in hades, this MUST be hades!
This was going to be a repeat of that last time he met with dignitaries and senators, he knew it!
His mind then picked up a disturbing mental "ping" coming from the top row of the circular room's stands.
He followed the "bad signal" with his mind and his eyes bugged out as he recognised the source of the signal.
"Bad Idea Arcane…" M-Leader said turning right around, "let's try the N.S.A or the president directly instead!"
"Hey!" General Arcane said grabbing M-Leader by the back of his cowl "you know I can't do that, we need to go through these guys first before we even get to you talking to the president or the N.S.A"
"Trust me, we're better off skipping all that and going straight to the N.S.A and the president!" M-Leader insisted.
"What's wrong, you were fine with this idea until now" General Arcane asked concerned.
"Top row to the left…." M-Leader said glaring up the direction he had described to General Arcane.
Arcane looked up in that direction, and then rolled his eyes in disbelief.
Of all the times for him to show up in any of the congress meetings that Arcane had called together, Senator Ennis had to show up at this one?
"We could have him evicted" Arcane suggested.
"Really?" M-Leader asked hopefully.
"No, I just wanted to make you feel better" General Arcane said.
"Fine…but the first sign of trouble, I'm mind wiping the whole room" Said walking forward with General Arcane.
"Marcus…" General Arcane warned, "We talked about that, no "mind wipes" unless it's absolutely necessary. You're not THAT good with that ability, we don't want you erasing something you shouldn't in any of these senators and congressmen. Now do we?"
"Okay fine, just Senator Ennis then" M-Leader shrugged.
"That I don't have a problem with" Arcane said sharply.
As General Arcane talked to the members of congress who had been asked to attend this meeting, and one who was there out of principle, M-Leader was busy secretly listening in to their thoughts and reactions to what Arcane told them.
"Senators…" General Arcane said, "I know that things have been very erratic these past few days what with the terrorist attack on New York and the attempted bombing of Washington. But the matter I need to discuss with you all which pertains to those events. As you are all aware, my Organizations TechNet division had been working on making a cure all for diseases and sickness. SOME of you already know this because you were privy to witnessing that experiment in progress. You all know that thanks to enemy espionage that the project and the lab were both destroyed in an explosion. What you don't know is that the Radiation that we had spent the past two years containing…wasn't as contained as we all thought"
"What do you mean by that, General Arcane" asked a female senator.
"We contained the deadly Radiation, but a different kind of radiation, a "Fallout" if you will escaped us and according to a reliable source, it now covers all of our country and most of the southern areas of our neighboring country Canada. This radiation is harmless to us, unless someone possesses an extra set of D.N.A in their bodies. And also, that several people known and unknown have already been affected by it"
"What do you mean "Affected"?" asked one senator from the front row.
Arcane then threw out from his pocket a holographic disk, and everyone present watched as the disk began to show images and newspaper clippings of The Heroes Legion.
"These kids are a group of them that the man behind me who came to me with this information found and has trained, for the past two month his and my unit have been working together. These are the so called Vigilantes of New York." General Arcane explained, "But for their safety I won't disclose their names or where they are currently located in."
"That still doesn't answer the question General Arcane" one senator pointed out, "What does "affected" mean?"
"It means that due to the fact that these individuals, in some of them at least, bear possession of the gene in question, the Meta-Gene…which was activated in them by the same type of exotic Radiation caused by the explosion in the Nevada Desert. They now have possession of…extraordinary abilities. This one, Shadow Knight has the ability to manipulate darkness as well as hide and teleport himself and others with darkness as a conduit. Yes you heard me right, "Teleport". Robo-Warrior is in possession of a suit of armor fitted with all kinds of advanced technology and weaponry. A pet project of Carlos Benson of Benson Industries in Technogopolis. Atlanta here, hails from the mystical city of Atlantis, she was part of its guardian league before coming up here to join our team. And Raven…."
General Arcane was suddenly interrupted by Senator Ennis.
"This is the same horse pucky I heard from you and your mad scientist two years ago Arcane" Senator Ennis scoffed, "you expect us to believe you that there are "Comic Book" heroes out there in our country?"
Arcane then motioned to M-Leader to remove his hood.
And the crowd gasped in surprise at the strange figure before them.
"Show them what you can do" Arcane said, "But try not to make it too much of a spectacle of yourself, just do something simple"
M-leader then raised his arm towards the table in the middle of the room, and lifted it up with his mind before setting it down.
As all of the audience of senators starred on in amazement, and a bit of fear at the strange sight they had seen, Senator Ennis wasn't convinced.
"Big deal, I saw Sigfrid and Roy do a trick like that in Vegas" He said unimpressed, "You called us all here at this hour of the night to waste our time with cheap parlour….."
Senator Ennis suddenly found he couldn't speak, he was shocked, what had happened to him?
It felt like someone had a grip around that part of his mind that allowed him to speak!
The "Hooded man" with the weird contact lenses on turned his head to look directly at him.
"How's that for a magic trick you arrogant prick!?" M-Leader said glaring at Senator Ennis, "I didn't have a way to shut you up when you were there at my experiment presentation…things work differently now".
M-Leader then released his telekinetic grip on the arrogant senator.
Who now free to talk could say the one word that went through his mind after the "hooded Man" revealed who he was.
"You?" Senator Ennis said in recognition, this hooded freak…it was that crazy scientist who nuked rats in Nevada!
"Senators…." M-Leader then approached the bench, "My name is Marcus Masters, I was the lead scientist working on Project: M. A series of Unfortunate events and circumstances lead to my own Meta-Gene being activated, what you see before you is the result. But this isn't what everyone with a dormant M-gene will become, as you can see with the information presented to you by General Arcane: the possibilities are unknown and varied in what kind of abilities that the Awakened M-genes would produce in the resulting human host. These "affected" I call meta-humans. They are six of the activated ones I have found in the world, mostly in our country. It's because of slow exposure or direct exposure of their M-genes to the Non-Lethal radiation, M-radiation, that both their powers and genes have activated….and more will come. More already have, the terrorist attack a few days ago was caused by…" Marcus then stopped speaking when suddenly his mind began Picking up all the thoughts of everyone in the room.
And they were all not good!
The things he heard a good portion of Congress think about in regards to "Metahumans" wasn't what he had hoped to hear, but it WAS what he had expected to hear.
He couldn't go through with this.
To reveal the secret right now would be more damaging to innocent people and Metahumans than it would be to keep it a secret.
He then concentrated his powers and everyone in the Room froze.
General Arcane was no fool, he could easily figure out what M-Leader had did.
He looked at M-Leader in shocked disbelief.
"Don't worry…" M-Leader assured, "they're fine, they just won't remember anything that had happened or had been revealed to them here. They will leave, get in their cars, go home or do whatever they would be doing if they didn't have to come here to be briefed on a "Situation". Before you get on my case, I did give them a chance…but I was also testing them. They failed. I couldn't let them or this briefing go any further….I just couldn't, not with what I heard in their minds".
"You mind wiped them?" General Arcane asked in disbelief, "I thought we had agreed to let them think about this when we explained the situation to them!"
"They WERE thinking about it! And they all were thinking of Registering all Metahumans or potential ones, locking them away, deporting them from their own country, turning them into soldiers and WMD's or secret Black Ops units" M-Leader said scowling at General Arcane.
He then pointed to four senators up in the stands.
"Only these four met the criteria of understanding the scope and responsibility of the secret of Meta-Human existence and its impact on the world if brought public…." M-Leader then pointed around the congress room, "That one thought about using Robo-Warriors suit to create a platoon of mechanised warriors to wipe "America's enemies" of the map, that one over there thought of the espionage potential of Shadow Knights shadow powers, and that one was doing a "Cold War" style paranoia fit in his mind about the existence of a Foreign country underwater, not too far from the U.S, with an unknown military power behind it…only these four Arcane…Only these four understood."
Arcane wanted to say something, but he couldn't find the words to put up against what Marcus had just told him.
His reasoning for wiping the memory of this encounter from congress's minds was too sound.
"They're not ready for us, they think of nothing but war…all these people can think of or find a "Good use" for Metahumans…is for war. This proves I was right. The government can't be trusted with our secret any more than they can with some of the secrets that S.L.E.E.T keeps. Two idiots in office found out about the secret of M-Radiation and its potential to activate Metahumans and in the process created the supervillain called Brawl, all in the pursuit of exploiting the M-Gene for "America's security". A damn arms race on a genetic scale….God knows how many more like him (Brawl) that these people would have made if they still knew….No Arcane, I'm sorry I ever decided to get my hopes up about human nature!"
"What are you going to do?" General Arcane asked the leaving M-Leader, "What are WE going to do?"
"We continue doing what we were doing before, our little "Men in Black" tricks. If we can't rely on the government to help us without labeling us or adding us to the arsenal…" M-Leader said solemnly, "Then we'll have to clean up the mess ourselves, and hope when the time comes again…they will be ready, and we will have enough to back up our claim that were are not dangerous…not all of us."
"Is this about them being ready…or you?" General Arcane asked suspiciously.
M-Leader didn't answer, "There's still a situation to deal with in New York, I need to get back there and help my team find the M-50"
Realising he wasn't going to get M-Leader to talk about what had happened here in the congress room, he relented and asked "how many have you found?"
"432" M-Leader answered.
"How many do you think are left in the city?" General Arcane asked concerned.
"There was enough M-50 in that cargo bay to fill up a twenty story building from top to bottom and it was all spilled over a wide area of the city. The locations ones that didn't explode are unknown as are if they haven't been picked up by people or anything else of the sort"
"What about the bombed areas?"
"Their M-radiation is slowly diminishing in those areas, people who have meta-genes in that area or who are now passing through those areas after they've been cleared by the N.Y.P.D and the Bomb Squad must be absorbing the M-Rays into their genes…it's the areas that should have M-radiation that don't have them that worries me. That means all that Radiation went into the nearest Meta caught in that area and might have activated them"
"But if it did, wouldn't they just be 50% activated like the Made-Men were?" General Arcane pointed out, "and only possess super strength and durability?"
"Not necessarily at this time" M-leader said, "some people who were already 50% but didn't know might have been made 100% if they were caught in the blast of the M-50 bombs…and some that might have been close to being 100% activated and receiving powers in the process might be activated already…even possibly way before the bombing"
"What are you saying?" General Arcane asked concerned.
"I'm saying that all the spilled M-50 that did detonate may have only just speed up the inevitable" M-Leader answered, "as long as the M-radiation from the Activator is around our heads at this very moment other Metahumans were going to appear anyway in New York and the country. Even without the M-50. But due to the fact that exposure to M-50 can cause a secondary mutation or even further mutation with each crystal used…we need to find as much of it or all of it as soon as possible"
"Do you think any of the ones who won't stay quiet are already in the city?" General Arcane asked.
"I'm not sure yet" M-Leader said, "Heroes Links: One is having trouble locking onto M-Ray signatures in New York due to the surge in M-Radiation's presence. Until Silicon tweaks its programming, the M-Gene scanner would be showing us nothing but an "Inkblot" of M-rays mixed with activated M-genes"
"But do you think there are some out there in the city already?" General Arcane pressed.
"Yes" M-Leader answered, "But thankfully, my team and I. we're going to be out there as well"
New York City/Queens Burroughs, Sept 1st, 2013, 1:15 AM
Running down the back alleys of the borough was a homeless man in his 50's.
As he ran he kept looking over his shoulder behind him.
He didn't see the guy chasing him anymore, but even so he kept on running.
He wasn't going to stop until he got to some kind of jeweller or gem dealer in this area if he could find one.
He had found it a few days ago, fell from the heavens like a gift.
A glowing blue gem.
Although he found the gem pretty to look at and hold, he figured a gem this size and glowing like that must be worth a fortune.
He had failed to notice the electronic device on the side of the crystal until now, it must have been some kind of tracking device.
Now the owner of this gem was trying to get it back, and had sent muscle to go get it.
Well there was no way he was going to let this meal ticket slip through his hands this time!
He was underneath a fire escape when he decided to stop and catch his breath.
When he did, that's when a long strand of silver liquid snaked down through the grates of the fire escape above him, enveloped his gem and lifted it quickly out of his hands.
He noticed and looked up to see standing above him, looking down through the fire escape was his pursuer.
Getting a better look at him now that the running had shaken off most of his hangover from earlier in the night, the homeless man could see that the "Hired Muscle" chasing him was no more than a 12 almost 13 year old boy!
But this boy was made of liquid metal!
In his hands he now held his meal ticket, the glowing crystal!
"Hey give that back, that's mine. It's my ticket to a big cash blowout out of this dump!" The homeless man protested.
"Trust me pal…" silicon said, "You don't want to cash this thing anywhere, this baby wouldn't produce the "big blowout" you'd be hoping for"
Silicon then reached into his pocket and threw him some cash, leaving the stupefied homeless man there wondering what they heck was in that liquor he had drunk a few hours ago upon finding that large diamond!?
Then he looked at the cash that the Liquid Metal Boy had given him, and his eyes bugged out of his head.
"50,000 Dollars?!" He exclaimed, "Whoa baby!"
From up on the rooftop he had retreated to, Silicon looked down at his hands.
Holding the M-50 Crystal, this one plus the three he had found already plus the five Shadow Knight had found in the Bronx, the four found by Velocity in Central Park and the Upper East Side, the nine found by Raven in Harlem and the twelve found by Robo-Warrior in Brooklyn made the count of 466 M-Ray crystal bombs recovered out of who knew how much more left in the city somewhere.
They had been doing this scavenger hunt since three days ago, and so far he'd like to think that he and his team were off to a fresh start, but until he could tweak Heroes Links" One's M-Gene scanner to properly differentiate between the excess M-Radiation now in the city due to the M-50's that detonated, and the M-Radiation found in Activated Meta-Humans and un-Activated M-50 Bombs, this was going to be a long search.
When they came into contact with some shady characters who had possession of one of the dropped M-50 yesterday, who wouldn't surrender it without "Something for them" and lead them on a wild chase that almost drew the attention of the police and the media.
Shadow Knight had this time procured for everyone a sum of "Bribe" money, and sure enough it came in handy here.
They had managed to scoop up all the M-50 that this nights M-Gene/M-Ray scanner scan could pick up this night among the "Static" caused by the extra M-Radiation in the city.
He contacted the Legion and confirmed he found another M-50 Crystal, they decided that it would be best to call it a night.
They could only do this search for so long before someone spotted them, and since the city was aware of the Vigilantes existence now, and some people were actually looking for them…. like the Police.
Chief Sterns had appointed a task force on them now.
Not that they would have had a chance of finding them anyway.
Tomorrow night or the following mourning they would try this again.
He then began to head off to regroup with the others to call it a night until the next scan from Heroes Links: One had finished, but then paused in his tracks in heel realization.
"50.000$!?" He exclaimed, "He divided this "Bribe" money amongst the six of us, so that makes it originally a grand total of…woof! Where the heck did Shadow Knight get that amount of cash from?!"
SEVEN HOURS EARLIER…..
Atlantic National Bank, Lower Manhattan, August 31st, 2013, 7:15 PM
Julia Moore, Socialite and model.
One of New York's top players in the Fashion district entered the Bank.
As she did she passed by the Newsstands outside that read "Strange String of Bank robberies leave Police and Bankers Baffled".
She was met with a few wolf whistles on the way in due to the red dress she was wearing.
She had a party she needed to get to after, so she was dressed for that occasion as she
Not that that would have stopped the men from whistling at her.
She had been listed as one of the "Top ten sexiest women in New York" recently after all.
Somedays she had to beat the men off with a stun stick.
Her husband was lucky that she wasn't loose and took the advances of her sometimes overzealous admirers, she would see him at the party.
Then after a few drinks, she would lead him to somewhere where they could be more…comfortable.
She walked up to the teller who then began to make her withdrawal for her.
She had come in to cash a check for her Fashion firm, she had employees she needed to pay.
She was greeted by several bank workers who knew her.
She then noticed that her bank teller had the day's newspaper which was talking about those string of robberies befalling several banks both high and low level throughout the city.
She had read that nothing could be found at the sights of the robberies, and the video footage from the security cameras showed nothing but a big bright light that enveloped the screens of the cameras until the robbery was finished.
No one saw anyone, and nobody saw anything.
It was all very strange, and very concerning that all that money could be stolen in broad daylight in front of all those people like that but she doubted that her bank would be the next area that would be on the mysterious Bank robbers list.
The bigger banks were somewhere else, like on Wall Street.
Suddenly the lights flickered out around the Bank and everyone looked up in response.
The Light bulbs suddenly exploded as a powerful electrical surge went through the banks electrical lines, plunging the bank into total darkness.
For a moment there was darkness, then out of the darkness, hanging in the middle of the room was a bright blue light that seemingly came out of nowhere.
Then the lights came on and Julia looked around the area with all the other customers as well as with the bank workers in surprised confusion.
The Bank doors were open when a second ago they had been closed.
The money was gone, save for a trail of the currency leading from the bank vault to the doors and to the outside.
Julie then began to notice something off about herself.
She felt strangely that someone had molested her on her breasts and her crotch area, but no one had touched her.
It had all happened during the Blackout which felt like it had happened in an instant, yet according to the clock on the Bank wall behind them, about three hours had passed!
As Bank workers began to panic about this strange robbery that had happened in a flash of a second, they were all wondering the same thing along with all others present in the bank.
How was this possible?
The Clubhouse/ Heroes Links: One, Sept 1st, 2013: 2:50 AM
As the Heroes Legion slept (most of them anyway) in the Mansion above, down here in the Chamber of the Clubhouse Bunker that held Heroes Links one, sat M-Leader.
Another scan was underway, and he was impressed with the amount of M-50 recovered already.
The recovered M-50 was currently being stored in a secure vault room down the hall until he could figure out what to do with them.
He had also removed the electronic trigger devices just in case, no electric current, no Mini-M-ray explosion.
So far they had managed to find quite a few, but M-Leader was very concerned about the ones that had already detonated and what they might produce in the future.
They knew what it would do to those people who's M-Genes had no M-Ray exposure or whose genes had absorbed only a small amount from the M-Radiation that already covered the country.
It would give their M-Genes a 50% M-Ray charge, and the gene was already 50% charged it would cause them to become 100% charged.
50% wasn't much to sneeze at, mostly that meant they had only increased strength, agility and durability.
They could easily go their whole lives without knowing something was different about them beside their health.
In this day and age, people would explain it as "Obviously" being because of steroids, pills, eating healthy and whatnot in these people.
50% wasn't the issue.
But Metahuman "Powers" activate at 100% exposure only, an exposure which the M-50 crystals and bombs could produce in those people already exposed near or at 50%.
One thing bugged M-Leaders scientific curiosity though, about the Meta-genes symbiotic relation to M-Rays.
People had already been exposed to the non-lethal M-rays for two years now.
So, why hadn't more Metahumans popped up in the two years since the explosion then?
Even with what he knew about it.
The Meta-gene was still in some places a grand genetic mystery.
There was no known or possible way of knowing how or what a Metahumans power would manifest as once fully activated, like they had seen in Gravitron and the Made-Men when they were exposed to M-50 a second time.
It was all random, genetic variety within the gene or the host themselves that upon exposure to M-radiation, caused the creation of Superpowers in M-gene bearers... or also in Shadow Knight, Silicon and Velocity's case: "Adaptive Mutagenesis".
It was exposure to rare or dangerous elements that caused their activated Meta-Genes to cause Mutagenesis in order to adapt the host body to survive.
A sort of act of Self-Preservation on the Genetic scale.
And the only way that happened was because their genes had already been turned on by the M-Rays of the Meta-gene Activators explosion, but it was exposure that produced their powers.
So there might be two types of M-Genes out there.
One that uses genetic makeup already present to create powers for the host upon activation, and another that uses outside forces and causes of great genetic stress as a catalyst to create powers.
But even if this was true, one factor remained present in all Metahumans "Born" or "Created" and that was the presence of M-Radiation.
It was found in inactivated M-genes, it was found in great supply in activated genes that constantly gave off their own self-regulating M-Radiation, and it was found in M-50 as well.
But without the M-Radiation, Metahumans M-genes probably wouldn't have anything to awaken and sustain itself with. They wouldn't even cause mutagenesis without exposure to it.
So one way to stop Metahuman supervillians from coming to be would be to remove M-radiation entirely from their genes or from the country as a whole.
No M-Radiation, No Meta-Humans.
But M-radiation was energy, it couldn't be removed or destroyed.
And once the Meta-gene was activated it produced its own M-Radiation by some kind of energy recycling ability.
So removing the M-Rays from activated M-Genes was theoretically impossible.
Metahumans were here to stay, there was no going back to the way the world used to be…never was.
And when the world found out….He thought back to the Congress meeting earlier this night and their individual reactions to the revelation of "Freaks" or "living WMD's" walking among them "uncontrolled" and "uncontained".
"It was the right choice" he had to tell himself, "they aren't ready for us, If I let that meeting go the way it went, we would have had the army knocking down doors looking for anyone with "dangerous D.N.A" everywhere the next day!" but even then he wasn't completely sure if he was right about his worry and his choice tonight.
Maybe General Arcane was right, maybe this was less about the world being ready for knowing about the existence of superhuman among them, and more about him not being ready to accept responsibility of the unseen but possibly negative consequences that would emerge from that revelation.
Could he blame himself for that? For not wanting all that responsibility for something that could affect thousands of lives, maybe millions from a choice, his choice to reveal them?
How many lives had already been ruined, changed…because of him?
What if he had told, and he just made things worse?
He remembered what he had "Heard" in the congressmen's minds tonight.
What if that was the inevitable Reactional outcome of the Secret of Metahumans becoming public knowledge to citizens and to the government?
Before he could further dwell on the matter, something interesting and concerning caught his eye on Heroes Links: One's map of Detected M-50 in the city of New York.
He noticed that once again, the M-Gene scanner had picked up traces of M-50 within the George Washington High school in Brooklyn.
Three scans in a row and it produced the same resulting location?
M-Leader had learned from the last time this happened, so unlike the incident with the Dark Elite and the Demeter he wasn't going to wait and mistake this as a "Technical glitch".
Not when after that event it had proved the M-Gene/M-Ray scanner was working fine all along!
A High school.
All those kids, unaware of the dangerous device in the halls somewhere…if the M-50 bomb was indeed within that school somewhere.
They couldn't wait until night to go look for it, someone, maybe a student or a teacher might set it off.
Plus if that was M-radiation it was detecting as well…then a Metahuman presence might be in there as well.
But they couldn't go into that school and search while in the appearance of "The Vigilantes of New York" as everyone called them now, that would not be very conspicuous at all.
They needed a way to blend in, and there was only ONE way M-Leader could think off that would allow him and his "Students" into the school and not draw attention to themselves in the process.
His Heroes legion would hate it, but it was the best cover and plan that he could come up with under the circumstances.
They had no choice.
"We might have to pull an undercover caper…as "normal" humans" M-Leader said looking at the Screen of Heroes Links: One, "in order to find that M-50 bomb before it goes off in that school".