Rated: R for, language, drug use, and adult content.
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After three long teleports intermixed with two flights Archon and Reaver arrive in Australia. Stepping off an airplane Archon checks his watch to see that there's still two hours until the rest of his team start to arrive. He goes to a payphone and after putting the right about of coins in, he dials the number for Skyler's cell phone, but there's no answer.
Looking over at Reaver he expects a question, but instead Reaver is walking towards the ruins of a building down the street. Archon decides to follow closely having expected to have to force Reaver to go there.
Entering the building Reaver starts to talk as he walks around, Archon only listens, never joining in, "Their screams are still here, bouncing off the walls, most of them didn't realize they were dead when the last of life faded." he point to a spot on the floor where there had previously been a body. "This one loved nothing more than her unborn child; but she hadn't been sure about the father."
Tears roll down his face as he points to another spot and kneels down next to it "This one was burning with despair; he wanted to die." He falls backwards from being overwhelmed by a series of others that weaken him too much for him to describe. Staying in the trance, he holds in more pain than he's felt before in his entire life and says, "Their lives were so full, why did it have to happen? Why did they have to die?" he starts kicking his feet along the floor going towards the round indent in the center of it all. Upon reaching it he smiles and laughs, "The freedom he felt doing it, the rush of joy like a boy trapped down a well getting rescued...god it's incredible!" the smile is still on his face. He opens his eyes and from the one spot he sees the pain that the freedom caused lining everything so clearly that he can actually spot the cracks on the wall and broken glass on the floor. "One life died, followed by all the others, just so that one could be free from a prison; it should never have happened." He wipes the tears away.
The wind pushes against her skin, the smell of fish has come with her and the beast named Hybrid, whose arms are wrapped tightly around her to allow this method of transport after the plane stopped in midair fifty miles out to prevent their arrival being detected.
The sight of land is in the distance is more than welcome to her, even her companion tires of the harsh flight. Soon they push over miles of land following a river, and then a large cluster of buildings comes into view. They glide above them for several minutes and Hybrid pulls her arms out letting Echo fall a few feet to land on a balcony belonging to possibly the best hotel in the city.
Even as Echo gets to her feet very-slowly, desiring little more than a warm nights sleep a feeling rises through her, she ducks over and spends most of the next hour trying to force the sickness out of her stomach by puking. Near the end of it she giggles from the fact that she can hear a couple on their money-moon two floors below quite possibly managing to add a third member to the family.
Before Echo can get properly settled in she hears doors inside opening on her floor, she looks over to see an aging blond man helping a young man into the main area of the hotel room and places him on the couch. She notices the blond man open a chilled glass-bottle full of a clear liquid and pour a small amount into the other person's mouth.
"What're you doing?" Echo asks as she walks in.
"His powers vere getting out of hand, so I gave him something to calm them down." Archon looks over her after answering and continues to speak "It's good to see you again Alicia, I just vish it had been under less dramatic circumstances."
"Yeah, same to you...how'd Patrick die?" she only pretends to know who Patrick is.
"His skeleton vas melted."
A short time later, Archon appears in a cheap hotel room on the edge of town. Skyler had rented the place for just one night, and house keeping is probably on their way to empty it by now. Archon only finds one thing of importance; a file on Fordon Addison, the U.N. have labeled him to blame for the massacre at the nightclub, but orders from above are to hold until his powers have been properly profiled. Once that is done they will attempt using counter-power mutant against him, of course thatís highly doubtful, but procedure limits their actions until they know exactly how his powers function.
Archon nearly laughs when he sees that they think Fordon is a power-level-9.1 mutant, and he realizes that they'll probably raise that by only .4 if they ever discover his other abilities. Archon looks on the back of the file to find a note in Skyler's handwriting about a bar.
Succubus and Tracker arrive at the temporary base of operations they will be staying at, the same hotel that some of their companions have already arrived at. Tracker carries two heavy duffle bags, and Succubus carries a large backpack. Entering the penthouse from the elevator, they see Reaver sleeping on the couch and Echo practicing martial arts while whispering different odd sayings she should have memorized already.
"What the hell is he doing here?" Tracker asks expecting Archon to be there to explain.
"Archie left him here," Echo responds referring to Archon "He told me that Reaver is vital to the battle that lies ahead."
Echo resumes a series of punches, each marked by her exhaling. Succubus's soft features become lined with anger when she realizes that Echo used a nickname for her man.
"Don't call my man Archie!" Succubus demands while stomping forward.
"Break it up ladies," Tracker says while stepping between them "I don't have a video-camera on me, and we need to figure out how long Archon's been crazy for." He pauses waiting for one of them to say something, but gives up, "He is letting someone who wants to drink our spinal fluids sleep on the couch, and claims that it's 'vital'?"
Echo stops of workout and looks over at Reaver who is still asleep and says "Ag?"
Tracker explains, "He's a Meta addict. He also has some weird attack that incapacitates people." Not wanting to seem weak avoids mention of falling victim to it.
"I'm sure Archon has reason to be giving this guy drugs." Echo says trying to reason with the strangers that she is supposed to know.
"Archon wouldn't do that!" Succubus yells while thinking of weaknesses she can exploit.
"I'm going to go get a shower. Maybe Archon gave this skelm something other than Meta." Echo walks away just after saying that, feeling proud for using two odd words that her double would have used.
Archon appears inside a bar, he glances around finding everyone dead. This time it wasn't so sloppy like last time, it was concentrated at each one of their hearts until the targeted organ in each person exploded. On one wall the word; 'Cabal' is written in blood.
He ignores the open cash register knowing that it was broken into after the killer left. He starts with the face down bodies and flips them one by one searching for Skyler preying that he's not among them. While flipping one he spots Skyler's recorder in another ones hand, the clothing tells him it's not Skyler, but he goes over to it anyways and feels the wrist for any wires, not finding any he pulls the tape recorder out and finds that it's already been rewound; he presses play and finds a different message than what Skyler recorded.
"You almost had me, but now you're getting sloppy. I gave your pawn a quick death, hardly any pain. Unless you agree to a truce, the others won't be so lucky. I can become anyone, you don't want this fight, and neither do I. Just let things be and I will spare you."
Archon pockets the recorder and kicks the body to its front. The sound of the pressure plat being relived fills the room and the fire of the explosion spreads outward destroying everything in its path.
Somewhere underground, a very young looking man sleeps; he is completely submerged in liquid-oxygen with over a dozen pieces of medical equipment around him, which provide the only light in the room. His hair and fingernails are extremely long because of him only being groomed once a year.
He is the Seer; sometimes he will go for months without moving an inch, because of that some of his caretakers have believed they are just paid to keep a corpse from rotting. But today something happens: he stirs as if from a nightmare but doesn't wake, a silent alarm on one of the monitors goes off activating a camera, his mouth begins to move as if slowly talking, the words his lips form are "Remnants, in Australia, we, are, too, late." and with that he becomes motionless again.
Archon appears in the top floor of the hotel him and his people are staying at, his hair in singed, and his skin looks to be sun burnt. While they all look at him, he looks back at them to see Hybrid standing guard over a still unconcise Reaver.
"Archon," Succubus says with a deep sign of relief. "What happened?"
"Skyler's dead. The Remnant's are back." Says Archon while slumping down on a chair.
"You betrayed my trust!" Tracker shouts, "My father was killed for someone to make a batch of Meta. Not only are you harboring an addict, you gave him a shot of it!"
"Shut up, I saved you from being used to make the same drug. You should know me vell enough to know that I vouldn't provide for such an addiction if it veren't necessary."
"Fine, but as of now we need to know everything...otherwise you can find someone else to wear my armor." Says Tracker not meaning it as an idol threat.
"Understood; vhen the telepath vakes up I'll explain it all."
"You mean this druggy's the telepath you mentioned."
"Yes, I've already seen enough to know he can trace them for me."
In an old factory, Fordon goes to a recently opened trap door and climbs down to find a small storage room with a set of weapons and armor that look alien to him. He hears a voice in his head telling him in great detail how to assemble the weapons.
As he works he glances at the armor on it's stand being perfectly displayed, a second stand is next to it without any armor or dust from the absence of armor. The coloration is basic black all over with several red markings, the helmets have no markings other than a bulky targeting system sticking out over the left eye, and the rest of the face is sheer but not see-through. The only thing he wonders is why he ever bothered resisting.
Echo dials a number from a payphone on the street, an answering machine for a garbage truck company comes up; it's a basic tactic used by some spy agencies incase anyone is listening. After the long detailed answering machine message ends she hears the beep and starts talking "I'm in Australia. Archon has secured a telepath named Reaver. Also apparently, someone named Patrick is dead, same with Skyler. And something called Remnant's aren't dead. We're staying at the penthouse of-"
"Alicia!" Succubus's voice shouts from only a few feet away.
Echo hangs up the phone and says, "What is it?"
"Archon wants everyone back at the hotel. And don't think for a second that I don't know the history between the two of you; if you try to start something with my man I'll change your pheromones to that of a skunk, maybe like that you won't be such a shank."
"What's your gatvol?" Echo steps forward in a confronting tone.
"Stop the funny-talk... You come in acting like you're in charge, well Archon didn't ask for my permission before calling you up."
"I'm only here to help, and if a skunk or any other animal so much as looks at me I'll cut your lips off." She looks closely at the target in question and kisses Succubus then backs away with a clever smile. While Succubus is stuttering unable to say anything from the shock, Echo ends the conversation with "God, I'd miss those lips." Then walks away.
Archon splashes Reaver's face with water to wake him up. Reaver glares at him wanting more sleep seeing how it's not an everyday thing for him. When Echo walks in shortly followed by an angry and confused Succubus the mood in the room changes, Archon fills with courage and self-doubt about what he is about to say.
"First of all, most of you should know each other by now, but just in case..." Archon says and starts pointing to different people saying their names "Tracker, Hybrid, Succubus, Echo, Reaver, and me." He ends with pointing at himself; he stops for a minute to gather his thoughts.
Half of them are at odds. Reaver is able to distinguish the strongest points about their interactions: Tracker is fearful of Echo, but keeps paying attention to her chest. Hybrid is tired of being ignored by the lot of them, but takes well to Archon who gives her orders making her feel useful. Archon seems to care for all of them as if they were his children, and is scared. Echo is hiding a secret from them, possibly something to do with what's making Succubus direct all her attention at her while trying to focus on anything else.
"It's time for me to explain myself..." says Archon getting to the point, "Eleven years ago I fought against a group calling themselves 'Remnants'. They claim to be preparing the vorld for a change, but I never found of what the change vas....
"They vere led by a maniac named Cabal. I gathered a team and half of us died vhen ve ambushed him; after that, the rest of his kind seemed to disappear. Cabal must have survived just long enough to take a new host-body. Skyler vas following a lead on a man named Fordon Addison vhen he died, that man escaped from a mental institution six days ago; five days ago he killed every-von inside a nightclub...today he killed Skyler and twelve others.
"Reaver is a telepath, vith his help ve'll find Cabal, and kill him properly this time." Archon says with pride from having finally found a telepath. "Unlike some other telepaths he doesn't sense anything, he doesn't have intact optic nerves, but it seems that out of the same eye sockets he sees emotions, don't try to understand how; that'd be like vhy people labeled us mutants instead of mutates. Reaver, tell them what you saw."
"Massive freedom," Reaver starts explaining, "This guy hasn't been out in awhile, I think what he did at the nightclub was a result of emerging from someone's sub-concise. If he could walk around doing that he could bring cities to ruin. Who he was is dead now, there were two separate sets of emotional traces, one stopped without so much pain as everyone else, there was this static left from the surviving one, the emotions from this guy was like a bending on other emotions, and held in place after the fact, just like a television there's a static fidgeting left behind. I've never seen anything like it."
"Wait a second," Tracker starts talking, "Archon, you possess peoples bodies, and most often they die when you leave right?"
Archon monitions with his hand in a circular fashion, this tells Tracker to make the point.
"Before Drug-Boy started talking you mentioned that Fordon took someone's body before dying? That sounds like you. Are you a renegade from that group or something?" No one would deny how valid the question is.
"Nine," Archon says in the place of no, "They are a virus composed of nano-bots; they vere vnce human, but they gave that up for power. There could be any-vhere from ten of them to a thousand. I know all this because a former teacher of mine let himself become infected knowing that his mind vould be added to the new conciseness making him immortal. They are more like vampires than anything else."
Their enemy sits inside an airship using his tech enhanced senses to listen to a hundred shifting radio signals searching for the right encoded transmissions; he refines them down while waiting to hear any of the right voices, it occurs to him that the anomalies are likely not using their com units right now. While refining the number down, he hears orders on a United Nations channel to kill the Harii and the informant if necessary.
A female voice enters his mind, "You won't find them that way; they use ever-changing backbone frequencies; by the time we hear them it's gone... Don't pretend to ignore me, we have hoped for your return, in a couple short months the world will welcome it's new masters, but until then you are to stay safe; your neural pathways are still unstable, you can't rely on that host body functioning properly."
"It will do until I take another. This is my hunt, stay out of it!" he replies without a voice.
"We will respect your decision, but if you fail another will take over this hunt regardless of your stained honor."
"The United Nations has sent an attack that should test them most effectively. At my full strength I can destroy cities, having them dead by sunset will only be a small matter."
To be continued...