Heroes Legion: "Year One": Book Three
The Next "Contestant"...
Ryker's Island, "Special Cases" wing: January 14th, 2014: 8:30 AM
Spellbinder's head hurt like someone had taken a sledge hammer to it when she finally regained consciousness.
She was dazed and confused for a while, but only temporarily.
Once her head stopped spinning, and her eyes adjusted to the light.
She found herself in a strange room somewhere.
The room had a bed and a bathroom as well as a sink, but all of its walls, the floor and Ceiling appeared to be made out of reflective glass.
It was like being in one of those fun house mirror rooms on Coney Island.
Only after examining the room with her own eyes carefully, that she took notice of no presence of windows or doors anywhere in this bizarre room.
She was trapped.
"Well…." She heard the voice of M-leader echo through her mind, "you're finally awake."
"What is this place? Where am I?" Spellbinder demanded.
"The place where the most dangerous Metahuman criminals we find are kept, so that they can't cause any more damage than they already have" M-Leader answered.
"Show yourself you coward!" Anna L'mour/Spellbinder spat out looking around at the reflective mirrors trying to find M-Leader, realising she was in the place that was speculated to be where all other "Villains" like herself were sent to after being captured by the Heroes Legion "you can't keep me here!"
"I can and I will" M-Leader said sharply, "until either the reform program we have for prisoners here is successful with you, or we find a way to neutralise your powers permanently. Either way, you won't be using your powers of hypnosis on anyone ever again."
"And what makes you think I can't randomly "Zing!" a guard or someone who passes by this cell, make them open the door and escape that way?" Spellbinder asked smugly.
"Because that glass you see before you that makes up your cell is not only too thick and hard for even your metahuman strength to break, it's reflective and shaded on this side to prevent your powers from affecting anyone" M-Leader explained.
Spellbinder slumped onto her cell's bed in disbelief, and then she looked out at where she believed M-leader to be at, staring at her through the reflective walls of her cell like a cop in an integration room.
"So…" Spellbinder said, almost impressed "you figured out how my power worked enough to build a cage good enough to contain me."
"Indeed…" M-Leader's voice responded, "your eyes first emit a strong strobe like flash to stun you victims minds, while sending out a pulse of pure psionic energy that inhibits their conscious minds via eye to eye constant, placing them into a "highly susceptible to suggestion" type state of Hypnosis. Basically you take control of a person by going through the eyes as they are the shortcut to the brain where the mind resides. The hypnotic energy that assimilates itself to the victims brainwave energy giving you complete psionic control over them…able to make them do things that they wouldn't ever do in their right state of mind. Sort of "Hyper-Hypnotism" if you will."
"What can I say?" Spellbinder shrugged nonchalantly, "I'm a charmer."
"You were also a spy" M-Leader said unamused by Spellbinders apathy to her situation, "you used two of my Legion students to steal something very dangerous from S.L.E.E.T and give it to Meta-Master."
"Students?" Spellbinder scoffed, "what you think you're their teacher? Your nothing compared to Meta-Master. You make Metahumans stupid and subservient to the weak, he gives us purpose."
"At least I don't brainwash my teammates like Meta-Master does" M-Leader shot back, "and your one to talk about loyalty…I know what you were planning. We found out during the two days I kept you in a coma why my powers of mind reading or Shadow Knight's memory absorption never worked on you."
Spellbinder lay back on her bead, bored of the conversation already, "oh…you did? Too bad…I put so much effort into making you all blind to why you couldn't figure me out."
"Meta-Master had very powerful mental blocks put onto your mind and if that didn't work, you also had surgery done to put a "cap" made of the same metal that has the Anti-psychic properties that make up his armors helmet. We found stiches concealed in the back of your head underneath your pink hair indicating this, and then an X-ray later confirmed this for us….and Shadow Knight himself discovered that the reason why he didn't absorb/copy any of your memories when you and he first shook hands was because you were wearing a very well done facsimile layer of false skin which looked real enough to fool anyone…and prevented Shadow Knight from making actual skin contact therefore keeping your secrets to yourself"
"Nobody likes a nosey Nellie!" Spellbinder pointed out, "Girls got to have her privacy."
"The device he had you make Raven, Murdoch and Velocity steal" M-Leader's voice continued, "It's very dangerous, but it's in a state of uselessness unless he knows how to repair it and work it…or has a way to make it work like it did before. Why steal it? What's his plan? Where is he hiding?!"
"Don't know" Spellbinder admitted, "but whatever he's planning, it's coming. And not you or the Heroes Legion will be able to stop him when he makes his play. I don't need to try and escape M-Loser! This prison of yours won't keep us out from the rest of the world forever. Eventually he will come here, and all prisoners will be released…or one of the humans running this place will screw up allowing some if not all of us to make our escape. Either way…you won't be having me here as your prisoner forever. So all I have to do is wait for that time to come, and then you'll be sorry…oh GOD yes…you will be sorry you ever stood up against the Dark Elite."
M-Leader then turned and walked out of the room that contained Spellbinders cell, running into General Arcane who had been eavesdropping on the whole conversation.
He had heard everything.
"Is she lying? Does she really not know where Meta-Master and the Dark Elite's sanctum is located?" General Arcane asked him.
"I'm afraid so…" M-Leader sighed in defeat, "one of those mental blocks I mentioned was designed to wipe her memory of key bits of information regarding the Dark Elite's location and plans, and it would only be trigger by a the presence of a powerful psychic minds intrusion past her other mental defuses."
"Which you triggered when you shut her mind down before she could make Silicon, Murdoch and Atlanta kill themselves" General Arcane deduced.
"Indeed…" M-Leader nodded in confirmation, "the metal cap on her brain kept out my Mind reading ability from probing her mind for answers…but it didn't keep out my other mental abilities. Meta-Master knew this, and made sure that if she was ever captured she would be useless to pump information out of."
"He's learning…" General Arcane said in dismay, "and now we're back to square one."
"At least we got her before she could blow up half of Queen's" M-Leader pointed out, "Ryker's Island will keep her from using her powers to hurt people again."
"For the time being" General Arcane added cynically.
"Pardon me?" M-Leader asked concerned at General Arcane's statement.
"We can't keep holding these people here without trial" General Arcane warned, "Some of them are young adults. There's laws against this kind of stuff. Eventually someone in Washington who doesn't understand what's really going on here is going to find out and demand we set them all free and or turn them over to the courts or something. You know how politicians think."
"I know…" M-Leader nodded, "But until we find a way to fully reverse Mutagenesis, we have no choice but to keep them here. Normal jails won't hold them, and we can't build public prisons for metahuman criminals without revealing to the world that superhumans exist…but so far we've been finding Metahumans, helping them cope with the change and stopping the bad ones that pop up before they do any harm to New York…so far it seems to be working…maybe even enough to…"
"You're going somewhere with this?" General Arcane guessed wisely.
"We were never going to be able to keep this a secret forever Arcane" M-Leader explained, "And it was foolish to think we ever could. One way or another the secret is going to be out there. It's just a question of whether or not it gets revealed during another incident like this…or we reveal what we're doing to the public while assuring them that we have a way to deal with the metahuman villains who will always be there. As far as I can see it at this point those are our best options. It might curb any potential backlash if the public knows that there are already some good Metahumans out there and they have been protecting New York for quite some time now…"
"You suggesting that I go convince the Government that you think now is a good enough time to reveal the existence of Metahumans to the world?" General Arcane looked at M-Leader with surprised disbelief.
"I'm saying we should consider it" M-Leader corrected, "Metahumans are already appearing in different places in the country. The stories in the tabloids and urban myths about people with powers that have begun to surface through the media lately can't all be made up junk…we might end up regretting it if we don't reveal it before things get out our hands to keep it all "hush, hush" and the people make up their own minds about Metahumans themselves from possibly bad examples without knowing any better."
"And we might end up regretting it if we do" General Arcane countered, "if we reveal all of this, what's to stop the country from going into the same level of paranoia that gripped it during W. with the Japanese, The McCarthy hearings of the House un-American Activities, and the fallout of 9/11 on innocent Arab immigrants? People are dumb, paranoid, easily misled and dangerous animals when they are afraid and you know it! It would be the cold war and all of the above all over again."
"Yes, I agree…the "Mob Psychology" is a variable that puts me off on the whole idea every time I've ever considered it…" M-Leader nodded, "But what made people feel safer during that time of the cold war when paranoia of the "other side" and their Nuclear "Superpowers" posed a threat? It was that we had "Big Sticks" of our own…nuclear deterrents. The Heroes Legion and any Metahuman who decides to take up the cause of good like we did, or even join our cause…THAT's our deterrent! Against the Dark Elite and whoever else threatens the safety of the country or the entire world. That is what I believe we need to push out there upon the ignorant masses to avoid and possibly curb any Cold war paranoia and McCarthyism that would sprout from people being afraid of people because they have powers and "Look just like them" or "they don't look like us" or whatever….I wish I could tell you that I knew doing this now would provide positive results. But that's not my power."
General Arcane sighed, and looked up at the celling "I'll consider it. Revealing the existence of Metahumans to the government was one thing, this is a whole new level. If we decide to do this…there will be no turning back from whatever it will be that we will have set in motion. I hope your right about the "Deterrent" part…but I'm more concerned about whatever Meta-Master has in store for the Meta-Gene Activator's remains that he had your team steal for him."
As general Arcane left the hallway via his own slipstream drive device, leaving M-Leader behind to contemplate what he had told Arcane, he seemed to be looking out…into the unknown future, contemplating the same thing.
What was his father's plan had to do with the remains of the activator?
Heroes Legion Mansion, Queens N.Y.C: January 14th, 2014: 9:15 AM
When M-Leader returned to the mansion, he found the Legion in the Common room with Stephanie Walker watching news reports on the events of two nights ago.
While the Last Resort squad had been successful in getting people out of harm's way in case the battle with Spellbinder did spill out onto the streets, S.L.E.E.T had to give a cover story to explain why thousands of Met's fans had to be evacuated from the Citi stadium during a big game.
They had said that a group of disgruntled baseball fans had tried to disrupt the game by setting off a bomb in the stadium.
When "bomb parts" were found underneath the stadium, the public bought it.
S.L.E.E.T's last resort squad was commended and no one was the wiser on what really went down there save for the Last resort Squad and the Heroes Legion.
"You know what?" Silicon said as he and the others listened to the news broadcast about the "Baseball game bombing", "I like this Last Resort Squad…a BIG improvement over
"That's because that ass in the senate didn't pick this group Silicon" Shadow Knight reminded, "Arcane did, and I have to say…the make a nice backup if we can't handle things like evacuations on our own. But let's wait to see how they do in combat situations before we agree that this government spawned idea is working."
"You know…" Stephanie Walker said reflecting on the whole caper that she had been told about from the others, "it's a good thing I wasn't in the city, and she might have "Zinged" me as well. I'd hate to think what she would have done."
"You wouldn't even have remembered what she would have had you do, Steph" Raven Ducard pointed out.
"We all who were hypnotised by her don't even remember what she had us do when we were under her spell" Silicon admitted, "not a single bit."
"It's all like some kind of strange dream" Atlanta added, "I hate to think of what we were like while under her control!"
"You would have hated yourselves!" Shadow Knight declared, and then looked at Atlanta "You kissed Velocity right on the mouth for starters."
"I DID WHAT?!" Atlanta screeched in disbelief and revulsion.
"She did what?!" Velocity asked in disappointment that he didn't remember any of it.
"You heard me, you guys were kissing and gushing like a teenage couple on their second date on Valentine's Day" Shadow Knight said with a smirk behind his metallic mask.
"Ugh!" Atlanta cringed, "Unforgivable!"
"Hey!" Velocity said hurt, "I'll have you know the ladies I kiss say I'm a good kisser!"
"Then they have no sense of standards or taste" Atlanta shot.
Shadow Knight and the others laughed as Atlanta and Velocity bickered amongst themselves, yep, everything and everyone was back to normal.
M-Leader wouldn't have it any other way.
Then he grew serious, and made his presence known to his team and Stephanie Walker.
"I'm just glad that you all were okay in the end" M-Leader said as he entered the room, "we really got into a mess, and most if it was my fault. I should have keep a better eye on her and tried to figure out why I could read her thoughts. Maybe if I did…"
"No Marcus…" Shadow Knight sighed, "It was my fault this happened. When I left the Mansion while keeping an eye on Anna L'mour to make sure she didn't try anything to help rescue people who were trapped in an apartment fire…she used that time to take control of the team. I'm the one who should be apologizing for putting the team in danger."
"Hey enough of that you two!" Raven Ducard said sharply, "this wasn't anyone's fault, with what Meta-Master had done to her there was no way you could have known she wasn't legit. She played us all for fools, not just you."
"Raven's right…" Stephanie Walker agreed, "Besides, from what I've heard regarding this whole "Spellbinder" incident you did good shadow Knight."
"She's right Knight" Atlanta said punching her teammate in the arm friendly like, "you saved us from ourselves. If you didn't, we would probably be working for the "other team" right now, and I'd still be kissing Velocity."
"Hey!" Velocity protested.
"Hmmm…" Shadow Knight thought, and then smirked slyly "Then it seems that I've done you and the team a favor it seems Atlanta."
"Great, now Shadow Knight's ribbing on my "Lady's man" status!" Velocity groaned in annoyance.
"It's not hard to down when one doesn't have said status" Cyber-29 said through the Robo-warrior suit.
"Just one question though Shadow Knight?" Raven Ducard pressed, a little nervous as she did "When you captured both Murdoch and myself…why did you snap me out of my trance and not Murdoch?"
Shadow Knight seemed frozen in place when Raven Ducard asked that question, before finally "Answering" her question.
"It was a calculated decision" he lied, "I wasn't sure if I could de-hypnotise Murdoch in time to stop Spellbinder, so I chose you because I knew I could snap you out of it quickly."
"Oh" Raven Ducard said with a small twinge of disappointment in her voice, but she smiled as she leaned in to kiss the Dark Avenger on the cheek of his metallic mask, "Well…it was very sweet that you did."
Shadow Knight seemed to blush under that mask, but soon after composed himself "you're welcome Rave…anytime."
He then noticed the looks the rest of the team was giving him, and then scowled "what? I can't say "you're welcome" to a pretty…I mean….to Raven all of a sudden?"
"When it's you saying it to Raven?" Velocity said with a sly smirk on his face, "and having the Freudian slip of "Pretty" in the sentence…I don't sound like you did it because it was a "calculated decision" now does it, Knight?"
"Velocity?" Shadow Knight said with narrowed eyes.
"Yeah?" Velocity answered, now a little wary as Shadow Knight giving him that look didn't mean anything good.
"Shut up!" Shadow Knight glared.
"Shutting up!" Velocity said giving Shadow Knight a mock salute.
M-Leader then interrupted the conversations, "if you all don't mind. I need to discuss a few things regarding some future developments with you all down in the Clubhouse's War Room."
The Heroes Legion and Stephanie Walker looked at one another and got up and began to make their way down to the Clubhouse, when M-Leader stopped Shadow Knight.
When the team and Stephanie Walker had left the room, M-Leader engaged in conversation with the young hero regarding his actions with Raven and on the rooftop.
"You didn't do it because it was "logical" or whatever reasoning you would bring up to cover why you did it…" M-Leader guessed wisely, "You did it…because of Raven and Raven alone."
"What do you want now?" Shadow Knight asked annoyed, "if you pulled me aside to talk to me about…certain "complications" that I have been having in regards to Raven, it's not what you think."
"No Shadow Knight" M-Leader said, "I think we both know what's going on between you two, you're just too afraid to admit it due to your self-loathing and Loss of loved ones issues . But that's not my concern, it's yours. No…I wanted to talk to you about what happened on that rooftop."
"If you're going to tell me that I shouldn't have threatened Spellbinder with death if she didn't free the others from her control…" Shadow Knight began to get defensive.
"No" M-Leader shook his head, "I'm referring to the choice you made when SHE threatened to kill them…by making them kill themselves."
Shadow Knight then looked at M-Leader with a confused look in his glowing red eyes.
"Remember when I said to you that you are a "Good Man" and a "Hero", and you said that you didn't consider yourself one because you take pleasure in punishing the guilty and making the bad guy suffer for whatever atrocity they performed on the innocent. Back there on that rooftop you could have just let her drop…but you instead decided to spare her life. If you were every bit the monster you think you are, you would have dropped her in order to satisfy your compulsion to Punish the evil people of the world that fall within your sights…but you didn't. And why…because you were afraid for you teammate's lives, so you when you chose to spare Spellbinder…you chose their lives over your "Compulsion" as you called it. You put their lives above your thoughts of vengeance…in that moment you proved how much of a hero you really are."
Shadow knight seemed conflicted, but then he grew stoic again "Nice try! But as I told Spellbinder and you included…I'm not a hero…I'm something in-between."
Shadow Knight then turned around to walk away and follow the others downstairs, when M-Leader called out to him.
"Maybe not Shadow Knight" M-Leader's voice said, "but you are a good man…and I don't doubt that eventually you will eventually someday be the hero that your city needs…and deserves. You think you don't belong here? Among heroes? You're wrong."
"Nice try" Shadow Knight said in disbelief.
Shadow Knight then Shadow Walked himself away, and M-Leader sighed in dismay towards his young teammate.
He knew why he had done so, it was so that he wouldn't hear any more of M-leader's "psychological banter" as he had put it so eloquently one time in the past.
It didn't seem to make any difference what Shadow Knight did time and time again that proved he was a hero through and through who cared about protecting people than just delivering vengeance on the evil beings of the world, he would always half self-loathing for himself due to what happened that night to his sisters.
It was the night he failed...and was reborn as Shadow knight.
All of his angst, his self loathing and anti-social tendencies all stemmed from that failure.
A failure he had vowed never to repeat again.
M-Leader couldn't help him get past that part of him and his pain which was what drove him to be like this, Shadow Knight kept so much bottled up inside, because he was afraid of feeling that pain again…but he had a feeling that there was already someone on this team…who just might be able to herself…if things kept on progressing like this, it was a welcomed eventuality.
Those two…just might be what the other needed in order to fully heal from the wounds their origins had inflicted on their psyche's.
Raven Ducard may be better at hiding her pain, but she blamed herself for an event that wasn't her fault every bit as much as shadow knight did…and like him, she never fully got over it nor came to terms with the truth that what happened that night in the magic realm wasn't her fault.
Two heroes, both scarred by tragedy on dark nights.
They were more alike than either of them knew.
Raven Ducard and Shadow Knight…together…it just might be what the doctor ordered for those two.
HMS Demeter/ The Sanctum: January 14th, 2014: 10:24 AM
In the cargo hold of the Ship that Meta-Master called "The Sanctum", Meta-Master and the Dark Elite were looking upon the wrecked machinery that now occupied the once empty cargo bay.
Meta-Master circled the M.G.A's remains, running his armored fingers around its chassis admiringly.
"She's beautiful isn't she?" Meta-Master said in awe, "This is the reason Metahumans exist, this device…released all the M-radiation contained…in one small M-Ray Crystal. Creating a Blast crater a mile wide in the Nevada desert and blanketing the country and parts of southern Canada in the very form of M-Radiation that is slowly activating more of our kind slowly and surely throughout the country. When Marcus used this thing to unleash controlled dosages of M-Radiation into test animals, he only used an M-Ray crystal the size of a grapefruit. The one we currently have is the size of a Basketball, maybe even bigger."
"Yeah, so?" Sonar said, unimpressed at the remains of the M.G.A "I get that having a bigger crystal means a bigger "Boom!" but look at this thing! It's a wreck, how are we going to get it to work?"
"Leave that to me" Meta-Master answered, "I may not have Marcus's "Know how" regarding his invention, but I know people who will be able to fix it."
"What about that L'mour girl?" Dominatrix said with a disapproving scowl, "why hasn't she returned yet?"
"More than likely it's because she's been captured by our enemies" Meta-master guessed, "but no matter, not only did she produce the desired results…but she won't be telling them anything about us. The second Marcus tries to probe her mind or use any Psychic ability on her that's strong enough to get past the small but effective Anti-Psychic metal cap we surgically put into her skull. Her memory of certain key information about us is wiped."
"So were not going to go and try to get her back?" Black Knight asked surprise.
"No, she and others like her won't be of any use to me until we're ready for "The Project" to begin" Meta-Master answered, "I want the Legion to round up as many "rogue" Metahumans as they can before we're ready to begin. But no doubt the Legion are aware of what she had the two Legionnaires she put under her control steal from S.L.E.E.T's vault. We need to keep sending out distractions to keep them pre-occupied so as to slow down their attempts to find us and give us enough time to complete preparations for "The Project"…so that by the time that they catch on, it will be too late."
"Not going to bring any tears to my eyes" Dominatrix shrugged apathetically, "I'm only sorry I didn't get a chance to repay the little skank for hypnotising me!"
"That little "Skank" will come in handy" Meta-Master said strongly, "when the time comes, you'll see"
"What about these "Distractions" as you call them? You make it sound like you have one in mind all ready to send out at the brats and their Mentor/Leader" Brawl asked intrigued.
"Indeed I do" Meta-Master grinned, "That's the beautiful thing about M-Radiation, it's the gift that keeps on giving. And now one of our "Transcendence Privilege" metahuman recruits has recently awoken from Mutagenesis. Our "New Contestant" so far shows very promising ability's…in fact, if all plays correctly. This one Metahuman will not only give the Heroes Legion a challenge…but will successfully remove them from the playing field as well."