The heroes of the past are dead. Now, hundreds of people all over the world have been exposed to a genetic-altering radiation that has given them special powers. Some are heroes, some are villains, most are somewhere in between. The heroes of this story will not only be fighting against other super-powered humans, but also trying to avoid being captured by The Organization –a government run team assigned to contain super human abilities by whatever means necessary.
to allow for maximum interaction in this roleplay, I would suggest everyone being on the same side. This doesn’t mean you have to be a good-as-gold hero type. It would make things far more interesting if we had some characters with questionable motives . Eventually, most characters will form a cooperative group and fight together .
Please read through the rules and create your character based on the skeleton below. My character is posted as an example. Try to make your characters interesting and unique.
I want to keep this roleplay small, so I will be accepting 1-3 writers . This is NOT first come first serve. I will pick people based on who I believe will make the most interesting characters.
Fill out the profile and post it below OR PM me with your profile. Also, send me a url of your picture if you have one.
As a feral, Janessa has heightened senses and sharp instincts like a tiger. She has cat-like agility and can communicate with animals.
Janessa is a skilled fighter, experienced in several martial arts including sword work. She is clever and resourceful, able to apply her skills to both head on confrontations, as well as stealth missions.
Janessa's heightened senses can make her vulnerable to overpowering odours, noises, and bright lights. Although she has plenty of skill when fighting, Janessa is not physically very strong, which can get her into trouble if she is ever overpowered by her opponent.
Janessa is kind-hearted, with a strong sense of morals. Although she does have quite a temper, she's usually able to channel her emotions into something productive . Janessa herself is friendly and sociable. She is light-hearted, but unafraid to stand up for herself or others. As White Tigress, her carefree attitude is usually replaced with a more somber persona.
When she was young, Janessa stubbornly freed a young white tiger cub from a travelling circus that was notorious for abusing its animal performers. She was caring for the young cub when she was exposed to the radiation from the blast, causing her to absorb some of the cub's natural abilities, making her a feral.
Four years ago, Janessa and her little sister Keelyn were attacked and held hostage by a gang of criminals. The gang had planned to kill both girls after their ransom demands were met, but Janessa used her abilities to fight them off. Tragically, Keelyn didn't survive. Adamant that she would not let anyone else suffer like she and her family did, Janessa created the heroine White Tigress and did her best to cleanse the streets of these horrific crimes.
Janessa lives with her parents, the wealthy animal rights activists Teven and Mirya Pierce, on their estate at the Pierce Wildlife Refuge. She attends the local university, planning to graduate in the spring. Meanwhile, Janessa spends her time training in her martial arts, alongside her companion: a white tigress named Kyrah. So far no one, including her parents, know about her identity as the White Tigress.
A slow regenerative healing ability, a heightened sense of hearing and smell, and extra-human strength.
Wolf is great with people, and can work undercover amazingly. He is also a chemist, and is great when working with numbers and physics.
Wolf's strength is hard to control, and he breaks things easily. He's also very scatter-brained, and easy to distract.
He is loyal to his friends, and trusts others easily. He's friendly but a bit shy, as opposed to his alter-ego, who is almost a polar opposite of Wolf. Wolf himself is kind but a little condescending to others, especially those who can't keep up with his scientific talk.
When he was young, Wolf always pretended he was his namesake, and attacked other kids, who excluded him from all activities. As a loner, he turned to science, and stuck with it for the rest of his life. He joined the police academy and became a forensic detective, but quit when the radiation changed him. On one tough assignment, he'd been shot, and developed a small case of PTSD. He'd always wondered if there could've been more that he could have done outside of police jurisdiction. So, he donned the wolfsmask, to help those who can't help themselves.
Wolf spends his days teaching as a substitute for Biology, and spends his nights at a bar, drinking himself into a haze.
Nico has the ability to control and manipulate darkness and shadows, being able to use them to hide himself, travel through it and even turn them tangible and use darkness itself as a weapon. On occasion Nico has been able to manipulate fear in others, but this rarely happens and only when he himself is extremely worked up. Nico himself does not know the true extent of his abilities as he doesn’t really understand them and in truth they frighten him.
Nico’s only real skills are those of stealth and deception. Nico has had much practice sneaking about and hiding, and the way he makes others uncomfortable often allows him to talk his way around people and trick them into believing him.
Bright light can weaken his initial power and make it much harder to control effectively leaving him defenceless, although because bright light casts the darkest shadows if he does somehow manage to control his power it is often to devastating effect. Arguable Nico’s greatest weakness is himself as he is often reluctant to use his abilities as they frighten him and he doesn’t really understand how they work.
Nico is a shy boy who feels that he should try and do the right thing although more often than not this doesn’t always happen. He would prefer to be alone not only because he is uneasy around others and that others often find him unsettling but he also fears that he may hurt others. He is a guarded boy who is difficult to read and his motivations are never really clear, however, if you are able to get past this and get to know him he can be fiercely loyal to those he cares about. Fighting would never be Nico’s first choice of actions. Shadow is bolder and more confident and instills a certain amount of fear into others because of his reputation.
Nico was an only child and was lonely as a child. He found it hard to make friends and as a result learnt only to rely on himself. When he was 16 his parents died in a car crash leaving him an orphan. This did nothing to help his loneliness. After this Nico started to hang around the streets more as he truly didn’t care about what happened to him. He was sitting in a dark alley alone when he was exposed to the radiation from the blast. He fell into the shadows in the alley and reappeared on the other side of the city. While this frightened him it also made the young boy exhilarated and excited. Since Nico really didn’t have any other marketable skills he decided to try and use his new found powers to make something of himself. He ws able to master shadow travelling as a result able to at least use his abilities to survive on the rough streets.
Nico lives alone in an abandoned apartment building, often doing odd jobs for anyone who can pay, the nature of the work that Shadow does has led to him becoming somewhat of an urban legend. Nico spends his spare time trying to master his powers but has had little headway with this.
Ashni has skills in using a bo staff. In order to capitalize on her ability, she wields a metal staff that conducts electricity. Ash is also fast on her feet and quick witted. Although she seems rash and impulsive, she is actually quite calculating, and has proved to be a skilled strategist and a tactful thief. Ashni is also an excellent liar, which helps to hide her true intentions from those around her.
Electrokinetic abilities are vulnerable to water and metal . These weaknesses have developed into a severe fear of water. Her abilities are also strongly tied to her emotions, so if she is upset or angry, she may lose control.
Ash is playful and spirited, often coming across as a bit childish. She seems impulsive and careless, although she’s far wiser than she lets on. Ashni’s spirited nature hides a darker side. Ashni is selfish and spiteful. She is not a villain, but she’s definitely not a hero either. The biggest mystery about Ashni is trying to determine who’s side she’s really on.
The night before the radiation wave, Ashni had been out on the streets in the middle of a fierce storm. Lightning struck her metal bo staff, conducting through her soaked clothing and shocking the young girl. She was rushed to the hospital by kind bystanders, although the doctors had little hope of her surviving. When the radiation struck, her body welcomed the electricity and adapted to it, giving her the ability to control electric currents and survive her wounds form the night before.
Now armed with superhuman abilities, Ashni uses her powers to survive on the streets. Her motives depend largely on her mood. Sometimes she’s the hero fighting crime, other times she’s the criminal.
Ashni was orphaned at a young age, and after running away from a foster home when she was 8, she’s been living on the streets ever since, developing her skills as a thief and a liar, but she was still vulnerable. Eventually she learned how to use a bo staff to defend herself, fending off anyone who tried to do her harm.
Ashni spends her time on the streets, having no home to go to. She has had several confrontations with other superhuman, villains and heroes alike, but can usually play her ambiguous moralities in such a way as to avoid getting on anyone’s bad side.
Jason felt a sharp, stinging pain as one of his hands suddenly filled with blood as cuts sprung forth from his flesh, in response all he did was give a condescending grin, it seemed that Keelyn wasn't one to roll over so quickly. The scolding tone of Nico made it abundantly clear what he thought of the squabble and Jason was happy to let it lie there, he had made his point after all. Jason could see the look of confusion in the young Technopath's eyes but Jason knew exactly what Nico was doing, he had done it himself to the dark elemental once, albeit under different circumstances. Nico knew that he couldn't force the kid to stay. that would only lead to more bad blood between them all so he was going to let Dylan make his own decisions for once. After Nico had trapped Jason in that god forsaken pit of darkness the dark elemental had no one else to turn to, Jason was gone and Kate was in a coma so he had to learn to make it on his own. Jason suspected thats what Nico was doing now. The kid had to learn to survive on his own and once he cooled off a bit he would realise what was going on here, that Nico had only ever been looking out for him and while Nico had never really been great at showing affection he was trying in his own subtle way.
Nico was surprised that it was Keelyn of all people who gave him a parting gift as she returned the chip and mended the injury to his arm before giving a few kind words and sending him on his way. The two had never been particularly close but the dark elemental could see now that maybe their shared experiences at the hands of Bennett and the Organisation had given them more in common than they had first realised, maybe they weren't so different after all. Now that Dylan was gone the obvious issue was Raven, Nico could see that she was still seething at letting the kid go, she wanted vengeance and right now it didn't really matter who she got it from. he couldn't exactly blame her, from what he understood the pack mentality was strong and with Delta injured she would likely be like this until either Delta had completely recovered or she had brought those responsible for his injuries to justice.
[b "I think he will do everything he can to win her over, which means not hurting her. Janessa asked me not to tell you this but I think it is something that you should all know. The Director is a super, a very powerful one. He can make deals and strike bargains and they are binding but whatever you ask for you get. it's how Janessa's senses were returned. In exchange for getting her senses back she agree to three one time favours that could not be used to hurt any of us. The press conference was the second. He still has one left but he wants her as part of his team indefinitely, like Jason is so he will be very careful about using that last favour. It is his link to her...unless she makes another bargain."] Nico might have been addressing the whole room while he spoke but he was watching Jason for his reaction. The Empath was as still as a statue and that could only be dangerous, he could practically see the cogs in his mind turning, weighing up whether he had to intervene in order to protect the interests of the Organisation, and Nico couldn't have been more explicit in his inference that Janessa would strike another bargain in order to free Jason.
[#1473b7 "I'm not going to let that happen Nico. I won't let her take my place."] The look that Nico gave in return very plainly said that if Janessa had her way then Jason wouldn't really get much of a choice.
[b "You're right Cody, she is strong and stubborn to a fault and that is exactly what I'm afraid of. I don't doubt that she will come through this, I fear what its going to cost her to do so."] Nico didn't want to keep any secrets from Janessa, it had caused them so many problems in the past but maybe Cody was right, she didn't necessarily need to know until she had returned to full strength.
[#1473b7 "Like I said, I better be going."] Jason didn't want to admit it but the talk of Janessa striking another bargain had him rattled, he knew she wanted to and he can't believe that he was only now realising that sending him away was likely just an excuse so she could talk with the Director. He felt so stupid. He gave each of them, except Raven, a nod before he once again slipped into the darkness that he hated so much, that still gave him nightmares so he could return to Janessa as quickly as possible and hopefully reach her in time to stop her from doing whatever it was that she was trying.
The Director came striding into the infirmary not long after a nervous looking doctor knocked on his door and informed him that Janessa Pierce wished to speak with him and what was more, wanted to make another deal. He knew what she would ask for, she wanted Hyperion off his leash and free. He was not completely opposed to the idea but losing such a useful tool was a steep ask, after all, the man had backed himself into a corner with hid pledges of loyalty in order to escape that prison and being able to take the powers of other supers was an incredibly rare thing, the Director had never actually encountered another Empath before.
[#ce0d27 "Ms Pierce, I believe you have a proposition for me. I know what you desire but Mr Jackson is a valuable asset, and I am reluctant to give him up...but not completely unwilling. Make your best offer to me and I shall give it honest consideration. I warn you know, it needs to be exceptionally in my favour, this is not something that I would give away lightly."] The Director moved to sit down in a chair near Janessa's bed so that he could look her in the eye.
[#ce0d27 "Make your proposition Ms Pierce."]
It was a clear testament to how Keelyn has matured over the past few years, that her only response to Jason’s mockery was to dg her own nails into her palms, projecting the sharp pain and tiny scratches to Jason’s hands instead. The old Keelyn would have taken the bitter display to a much grander scale: stabbing herself in the ribs, slashing her arms, or breaking her own fingers and letting Jason deal with the pain and damage, just to prove how fearsome she could be. But the present Keelyn was smart enough to know that Jason was the best chance Janessa had of surviving this ordeal, and she wouldn’t risk that with a petty display.
Keelyn let her frustrations boil beneath the surface, dropping her hostility only when the interaction between Nico and Dylan forced her to do so. Keelyn wasn’t the only one wearing a look of surprise when Nico was so accommodating to Dylan’s desire to leave. Even Dylan looked a little taken back by the Elemental’s consent.
Dylan thought Nico would have put up more of a fight, especially since he had dragged the boy back here against his will. It was a strange feeling – one that the young teen wasn’t entirely sure he understood. One the one hand, he was relieved that he wouldn’t have to fight the group any more than he had. Dylan knew he couldn’t stay here and regardless of his family’s blessings, he’d find some way to sneak out eventually. But he wasn’t expecting Nico to agree with him so easily. Dylan gave Nico a skeptical look, trying to figure out whether this was some sort of attempt to each the tension between the two of them, or whether Nico just simply didn’t want Dylan there anymore. The Technopath tried to push the latter from his mind, disgusted with the ache in his own chest. He shouldn’t be hurt by the fact that Nico agreed with him! Shadow just gave him what he wanted, why should that upset him? It was a stupid and irrational feeling, and the boy did his best to bury it under the bitterness and anger he was already feeling.
[#ff6622 “Don’t try to look for me.”] Dylan said simply as he took his leave. Just before reaching the door, Keelyn told him to wait. She took the bloodied microchip from Raven’s hand, ignoring the swears of protest from the bitter feral. Keelyn rubbed the chip clean on her shirt before reaching for Dylan’s injured arm. Hesitant, though still more trusting than he wanted to admit, Dylan let the healer work. She raised his arm and inserted the chip with a hiss of discomfort from the teen. Once in place, she placed her hand over the wound. It took seconds for the skin of Dylan’s arm to stitch back together as the cells on Keelyn’s forearm tore apart in reciprocation. Once done, the Techopath’s skin was seamless and the chip was perfectly hidden within.
[#aa0000 “I’ve been there Kid. Take it from someone who knows – you can take as much time as you need, but we’ll still be here if you need us.”] She told him, having gone through the same turmoil over the last couple years: to feel like an outsider in his own family, to feel compelled to leave just to keep them safe, to feel like no one could possibly understand… Keelyn and Dylan had more in common than most.
With a wordless nod, Dylan thanked her, and sent a silent farewell glance to his brother and sister before reaching for the door. His last words were muttered beneath his breath, but the sentiment was still loud and clear:
[#ff6622 “Stay safe.”]
As the door closed behind Dylan, Raven let out an incredulous huff. So what if the boy didn’t shoot Janessa? He still stabbed Delta nearly killing the Feral! Raven knew that her Packmate wasn’t entirely innocent. He had sold the boy and the Telepath out to Michael, but Delta had no idea the two captives would have been tortured like they were. Raven was very protective over her Pack and despite Delta’s own faults, she still would have rather taken her pound of flesh from the kid than let him run free. Or maybe her grudge against Dylan served another purpose? Without a focus for her hate and vengeance, Raven risked allowing her mind to wander back to the sound of that bullet striking Janessa. They may not be a Pack any longer, but Raven couldn’t help the fear that struck her as that bullet pierced Janessa’s skin. Now without Dylan as a distraction, the Feral found herself wondering which was more worrisome: Janessa getting shot or Janessa being in the hands of the Director?
[#005500 “You’re kidding, right? You think she’s safe where she is? That Director is scary enough to turn one of the most powerful Supers in this City into his own, personal lap dog. What do you think he’ll do to someone in Pierce’s condition?”] Raven challenged.
[#112299 “Janessa’s stronger than she looks, and a hell of a lot more stubborn. She’ll get through this. Just, don’t tell her what happened with Dylan. She doesn’t need to be worried about that right now.”] Cody asked, knowing Janessa wouldn’t be pleased to know the turmoil her shooting had caused.
[hr ] Despite the Doctor’s orders and her own exhaustion, Janessa didn’t allow herself to get much rest while Jason was away. She was far behind enemy lines and although she knew the Director wouldn’t want her dead, she still didn’t trust lowering her guard.
Janessa knew she wouldn’t have much time – Jason was reluctant to leave, so he wouldn’t delay getting back to her – which didn’t give her much time. Things were getting far too dangerous. Now that the Director had access to the Catalyst and was staring his political journey, rising to power in every way that he could, Janessa couldn’t risk Jason being used like a pawn any longer. As soon as the Director’s patience for their team ran thin, he could easily have Jason destroy everyone he cared about and as the Empath stated: he’d chose the Director every time. Not to mention, Jason had more authority over Janessa than he had ever imposed on her before. If the Director ordered him to, he could pass those commands on to his Pack and Janessa would be just as helpless. No, it was too dangerous for Jason to be at the Director’s side any longer and this may be Janessa’s only chance to intervene.
As one of the medic’s came in to check her stitches, Janessa spoke up, capitalizing on her time before Jason returned.
[b “Tell the Director I want to talk to him. Tell him, I’m interested in another deal.”]
The news about Bennett was troubling, Nico had always known that she was a treacherous person but he did at least think that she was loyal to the Director, after all Bennett seemed so dedicated to his cause but hearing that she was really aligned with Boyd was troubling. It was one thing to know that two of their enemies were scheming together occasionally, it was another to realise that Bennett had been working with Boyd all along to give him information, Supers and likely anything else the crime lord wanted from the unimaginable resources of the Organisation. The Catalyst was a huge problem, whoever controlled him had an enormous advantage over everyone else. Having Supers who had their abilities amplified meant that practically no one else could standup to them. The only option was to send someone who had no abilities against the Catalyst, it was the only way to beat him but what person in their right mind would willingly volunteer for such a mission? It was certainly a problem but Nico had once heard a rumour of something that may be able to help...it was a long shot but long shots were just about all they had left right now.
[#1473b7 "You'll do what exactly Keelyn? As far as I can tell your only power is getting your own ass kicked. Forgive me if I'm not cowering in fear right now."] Jason couldn't help responding to Keelyn's threat, it was just in his nature to never back down from a challenge and he wasn't about to let some kid tell him what to do. Thankfully Cody intervened and stopped Keelyn from saying or doing anything that she might regret.
[b "That's enough Jason."] Nico scolded his old friend firmly as antagonising the Tanners wasn't going to do anyone any good. In fact there was still one Tanner in particular that was causing trouble; Dylan. The youngest Tanner sibling was still furious at Nico and Raven's treatment of him and how they could believe that he could have done anything to hurt Janessa. It was a delicate situation, the Tanners wanted to keep their brother, Raven wanted to punish him for what he did to Delta and while Nico wanted to keep the kid safe it was clear that Dylan didn't want to be anywhere near the Dark Elemental right now.
[b "Yes, you can go."] Nico wanted to say more, he wanted to tell Dylan to stay safe, he wanted to tell Dylan that he could stay, he wanted to tell Dylan that he would always have a friend as long as Nico was around but he did none of those things. He simply answered Dylan's query as simply as he could. Nico could always use Sarah to check up on Dylan and make sure he was alright but for now it might be better for Dylan to leave and figure out what he wanted right now. Ever since being captured he had been a changed person and it wasn't someone that Nico particularly liked. If Dylan wanted to leave short of physically restraining him there was nothing that Nico would do about it. He knew Raven wouldn't be happy but he could deal with her for now.
[#1473b7 "All of this family drama really isn't my concern. I came here to let you know that Janessa is safe and that's exactly what i've done. I don't really want to leave her alone any longer than necessary, so if you want to give her any messages, tell me now and I'll pass them on to her. I know you don't trust me or the Director much but where she is right now really is the safest place for her to be."]
The idea of Bennett leading an army of enhanced Supers against the rest of their kind was reason to fear for everyone in the room. The Woman had repeatedly proven that no act of depravity was beneath her – whether that be to stab a young teen just to drive his siblings insane or tear an infant away from his mother for her own sick experiments. The woman was enough of a threat with just the Organization to back her, but if her plans came to light, recruiting the most powerful Supers she could find and magnifying their powers with the Catalyst, she’d have the artillery to eradicate Supers once and for all!
For now, it seemed that Bennett’s allies were focused on the one responsible for the Researcher’s poor state. Boyd’s men attached Janessa, not the least bit discouraged by the crowds of witnesses and multitude of cameras filming the scene. Janessa wasn’t safe in the public eye. As much as no one wanted to admit it, the Feral was probably safest in the hands of the Director, at least as long as she was of value to him.
As Jason continued, his words brought a mix of emotions to the group. Of course they were relieved that Janessa was safe and would recover, although the thought of her being a prisoner to the Director was met with unease. Most seemed to turn a scowl at the thought of Boyd’s involvement, but none so much as Keelyn. Knowing her history with the man, none could blame her! Keelyn had been kidnapped by Boyd as a little girl, nearly murdered 9if not for her abilities that saved her life), then sold to Bennett for experimentation. These past few years she and her family had been hunted by Boyd, not even her young son was safe! To hear that the same man had ordered a hit on her sister made Keelyn’s blood boil.
[#aa0000 “It’s more than some deal. Boyd gave Bennett everything she needed to get hired into the Organization and has been supporting her efforts for years. I think she’s more loyal to that bastard than she is to the Director. And Boyd won’t be happy to lose his spy on the inside. This won’t be the only attempt he makes on Janessa’s life. You better keep her safe Jason! I don’t care how many abilities you have, if anything happens to my sister under your watch, I’ll…”] Keelyn’s threat hung unfinished in the air as Cody intervened, pushing the young Pierce away from the Empath before things got too heated.
[#112299 “Save your threats for people who deserve them, Keelyn. Jason said he’d protect her and I believe him.”] Cody insisted, hearing his little brother scoff in the background. It was no secret Dylan had issues with Jason, and right now it seemed like the boy was ready to pick a fight with just about anyone!
Dylan thought it would bring him some satisfaction to have his name cleared, but it only added to his frustration. Nico, the man he’d thought of like a brother for years, thought he was capable of murdering Janessa and only Jason, the Super working for the enemy, was the only one that could convince him that Dylan was innocent? The young Technopath caught the occasional glance from the Elemental, recognizing the absence of the hate and accusation that was there mere moments ago, but Dylan’s expression didn’t change. He was still angry, still hurt, still betrayed, and still desperate to get as far away from these people as he could.
[#ff6622 “Of course, all of you would think Janessa’s safer in the company of the Director than she is with me. Now that you know I didn’t shoot my close friend, am I free to go?”] Dylan hissed. The older Tanner siblings exchanged a worried glance, not wanting to lose their little brother again so soon after finding him. Raven had other motives for keeping the kid close – he may have been cleared of shooting Janessa, but the brat openly admitted to stabbing Delta! If Raven had her way, she’d do more than tear into his arm!
[b "I wouldn't have let myself get caught in a snare in the first place. That's the difference between us."] Nico could feel the tension in the room building with every word spoken by either Dylan or himself, if something didn't diffuse the situation soon then the whole room would erupt in a super powered fistfight but Nico couldn't back down, not while he didn't know if Janessa was safe. Dylan's accusation that he would have let Raven hurt him even if the drone hadn't been present washed over him. The Dark Elemental stayed silent but Nico knew that would be more than enough of an answer for Dylan and perhaps the other Tanners as well. Deep down Nico knew that he was in the wrong and taking things too far but Nico couldn't help but think back to when Kate died, she was everything to him and after she had been ripped away. During that time all he knew was rage and pain, if Janessa died as well he knew that he would go back to feeling that again and he didn't think that he would ever recover from it. Janessa had pulled him out of that pit the first time, it would destroy Nico to go back there.
[b "Impressive."] Nico couldn't help but be impressed with how the youngest Tanner sibling's abilities were progressing. He had some a long way since the two had first met. Nico might not be acting like it now but he had always seen Dylan as a little brother much like how the Technopath saw Janessa as a surrogate sister. Nico was growing curious about the Catalyst, every time that name came up trouble followed, it seemed that whoever the Catalyst was it was the Organisation's greatest weapon. A part of the elemental couldn't help but wonder what he could achieve if he had the Catalyst to amplify his own abilities.
[#1473b7 "Yes, I am the expert so shut up and listen. Bennett has been obsessed with eradicating supers for as long as I can remember and she's finally realised that it will take a super to kill a super so she might as well have the strongest ones around. That is what the Catalyst is for. His ultimate purpose is to make supers completely loyal to the Organisation and destroy supers. Michael obviously doesn't want that so he has done what he can to halt Bennett's progress without blowing his cover. So far Michael has only picked supers for the Catalyst project that he knows that he can control, which is a separate worry. If Bennett had her way she would pick the most violent, vindictive supers that she could unleash upon the world in order to achieve her goal. We can't let that happen. I don't like Michael but we agree on this. I don't want to see our kind be destroyed and if we don't stop the Catalyst then that is exactly what is going to happen."] Jason knew that he had to explain calmly what was going on and why the Catalyst was so dangerous. He could read the room and knew the place was practically a powder keg and all it would take was a spark to ignite. Hopefully he could be the one to diffuse the situation. Keelyn's frantic question about Janessa gave him the chance to do exactly that.
[#1473b7 "Relax, she's safe and she will be ok. Right now she is resting and recovering back at the Organisation. She is under both my protection and the Director's personal supervision. No one would dare try anything, I made it perfectly clear that if any harm came to her whatsoever whoever did it would face much worse. The only reason I'm here at all is to let you know that she is alright, well as ok as anyone can be after being shot. She practically had to beg me to get her to leave her side. I'm heading back there as soon as I leave here. I guess this pack bond thing has stuck around, and we're in this together now. She also recognised the shooter. It was one of Boyd's men. Apparently that scumbag didn't like what Janessa did to Bennett, they had some sort of deal between the two of them and wasn't happy that it came to an end so abruptly."] At hearing that Janessa was safe Nico let out a breath he didn't even know he was holding in and the tension left his body. He was so relieved that Janessa was going to be alright he didn't even care that she was in the Organisation surrounded by enemies. He believed Jason and he trusted him that Janessa would be safe. Knowing that it was Boyd and not Dylan that hurt Janessa was its own kind of relieving, he hadn't wanted to believe that the sweet little kid he used to know could have done something so terrible to someone that they both counted as family. Nico wanted to apologise for how he had acted but he didn't know how so he just stayed silent, every now and then glancing at Dylan but with none of the cold fury that had been in his gaze earlier. They might have figured out what had happened but what was going to happen next was an entirely different issue.
The tension was clear in the room, seeming to radiate from the three Tanners as each of them reacted to Nico’s accusations in their own ways. Cody’s entire body tensed but his stern eyes never left his little brother’s bloody arm. Cody had known Nico almost as long as Dylan had and he knew that the Elemental was struggling with the fact that Janessa was injured and missing. It was obviously a challenge for the hot-headed Density Shifter to keep his emotions locked in, but shouting back at Nico when he was this distraught about Janessa would not make matters any easier. It was best to keep this as civil as possible until they could get to the truth. Even Sarah seemed to realize this as she conceded to Nico’s retorts and turned her attention back to her wounded brother. Unfortunately, Dylan was in no state to follow his siblings’ leads.
[#ff6622 “It’s called self-preservation Nico. Let’s trap you in a snare and feed you to the wolves and see if you’d try to protect yourself!”] Dylan muttered bitterly, tearing his injured arm away from his brother and squaring off against the Elemental. There was a dark look in the boy’s eyes, one he never thought he’d be directing towards Nico. Shadow was right about one thing, Dylan wasn’t just some innocent little kid, not anymore. He’d changed ever since his time with the Organization and not for the better. The fear and pain from his captivity had mutated into rage and spite, and though he may have noble intentions at his core, Dylan was done playing the innocent kid. He wasn’t going to let anyone, especially not Nico, stand in his way.
[#ff6622 “Quite the bullshit Nico, you would have let Raven hurt me either way! You think I shot Janessa so whether I attacked you with that drone or not, you would have been happy to see me bleed! This is exactly why I didn’t trust you to protect me in the first place! This is why I ran away! You pretend to care about the rest of us, but the truth is, if Janessa’s in trouble the rest of us can go to hell!”] Dylan snapped, needing to be shoved back towards the couch by his older brother. Sarah and Cody sat on either side of Dylan, keeping him in place and trying their best to prevent Dylan and Nico from any further fighting. Both of the older siblings were visibly tense, stuck between taking the side of their little brother and the side of one of their closest friends. It made for an awkward stretch of silence before Nico asked his question. Several sets of eyes settled on Dylan who, for a long, agonizing pause held his tongue, debating whether or not it was worth his while to cooperate. Eventually, Dylan came to the conclusion that hiding his sources now would only make him look more guilty.
[#ff6622 “You didn’t believe me when I told you Bennet would come after me, so I went looking for proof. I hacked into the Organization’s mainframe an sifted through incoming and outgoing calls, emails, and texts from the Organization’s head office.”] Dylan answered bluntly, provoking a confused and concerned look from his siblings.
[#112200 “Wait, Kid, I thought you couldn’t access that much info at once… at least not without being on site at the Organization. How’d you manage to hack into it from outside?”] Cody voiced his concerns, silently begging his brother not to announce that he tried to break into the Organization. Fortunately, even Dylan wasn’t reckless enough to try to infiltrate the Organization on his own.
[#ff6622 “I can’t…couldn’t. The Catalyst showed me what my powers could do. I wanted to see if I could get that strong on my own, so I’ve been pushing my limits a little. I’m nowhere close to where I was with the Catalyst, but I have gotten stronger. It hurts, but I can extend the range on my abilities if I really concentrate. I was looking for updates on Bennett when I stumbled across correspondence between the Director and the local new stations, setting up the press conference. I should have hacked the broadcast before she even went on the air, but I didn’t want to piss off the Director and get her killed!”] Dylan admitted, glaring back at Nico with cold eyes, as if daring him to call him a liar. The fact that Nico believed he was capable of hurting his own surrogate sister hurt a lot worse than the cut in his arm. Dylan wasn’t sure whether to feel bitter or relieved when Andrew cut in, supporting his statements after reading the young teen’s thoughts. On the one hand, Nico was far more likely to believe the Telepath, on the other hand, the fact that it took a mind reader for Nico to have any faith in what Dylan was saying was am insult to everything they’d been through. Dylan didn’t have much time to ponder his own feelings, however, as another guest entered the scene.
[#ff6622 “Well, you’d be the expert on following orders , wouldn’t you Hyperion?”] Dylan spat venomously. Dylan’s scorn was promptly ignored by most of the room as Keelyn spoke up to voice the fears she and Nico both shared.
[#aa0000 “Where’s my sister? Is she ok? Is she alive? We saw you take her on that news cast; where is she?”]
Jason nodded as Janessa focused and seemed to remember what had happened, and she gave him some good information, something that he could work on. The shooter was a part of Vincent Boyd's operation, that was good to know and not entirely surprising. It wasn't exactly a secret that Boyd and Pierce had an ocean of bad blood between them and while Jason knew that Boyd and Bennett had some sort of agreement he also knew that the Director had never liked the crimelord. He felt Boyd was too emotional, small minded and vindictive, not traits that the Director considered to be desirable traits in a business partner. He had allowed Bennett to work with Boyd secretly as an experiment to see how the man acted, and he had not been impressed.
[#1473b7 "You're right about that, as long as you're alive Boyd won't consider the score settled. You've been a thorn in his side for too long and every second that you're breathing is an insult to him."] Jason was beginning to realise just how far Boyd would go in order to take Janessa out, the man hated her more than anything else in the world. Jason couldn't quite believe what the next thought through his head was; maybe Janessa being part of the Organisation wasn't such a bad idea. He knew Janessa was capable and could take care of herself but eventually she would slip up or luck would go against her and she would end up dead. If she was part of teh Organisation properly Jason could watch over her and she would have the personal protection of the Director. Boyd might well make a move against Janessa while she was an outsider but had a few tenuous links to the Director but would he be bold enough to strike against one of the Director's personal favourite and a key part of his inner circle?
[#1473b7 "No, he's not going to keep you here as a prisoner but he will keep you here until he feels you're strong enough to go home. That's not the worst thing in the world. He's an honourable man and he gave me his word that nothing bad would happen to you while you are here and for what it's worth I believe him."] Jason wasn't exactly wild about leaving Janessa alone despite what he had just said, he had spent a long time with her and right now his protective alpha instincts wanted to stay and make sure nothing could happen to her but Jason knew she was right. Nico would be going out of his mind with worry and he was likely to do something stupid if he didn't find out she was ok soon. He always had been too emotional.
[#1473b7 "Fine, I'll let him know what's going on. I'll be back as soon as I can."]
Nico was prepared for the anger that he knew would inevitably greet him as he brought a bloodied Dylan back to his brother and sister. It was somewhat surprising that Sarah was the one to really take Nico to task for the way that he acted but the Dark Elemental had his answer ready.
[b "He's not a kid anymore. He's no younger than I was when I left to live on the streets. He's only a few years younger than Keelyn and no one is calling her a child. Being a kid isn't an excuse, not anymore. Not after what we've all faced. Everyone else has grown up so why hasn't he? By the way we wouldn't have had to hurt him if he hadn't set a bloody drone on us. He's not exactly innocent either Sarah."] Nico might act a lot older than he actually was but at the end of the day he was only 22 himself, hardly an elder statesman but he had grown up quickly and he expected the same of everyone that chose this life. They simply didn't have the luxury of naivety or to act like a child.
[b "Do I look like I'm joking Sarah?"] Nico wanted to know that Janessa was safe and until he got that he was willing to believe almost anything. Janessa was in danger, she had been shot which was bad enough but now she was likely in the Organisation and they knew all too well what that place was like. Nico paused for a moment, Dylan had said something suspicious and Nico wasn't sure if anyone else had caught it. He only did because he was already thinking of Janessa an what had just happened.
[b "Dylan, how did you know what Janessa was about to do...how did you know that Janessa was going to endorse the Director?"] Janessa had only told Nico that she had struck a bargain with the Director. Nico knew that Janessa had been summoned by the Director shortly before the press conference but Janessa hadn't told him what it was she was doing, she didn't even know and Nico doubted whether the Director would have publicised what was going on. As far as the world's media was concerned Janessa pierce was holding a press conference but no one was sure why. So how did Dylan know?
[#7d01f9 "He's telling the truth, or at least he believes that he is."] Andrew's voice added to the conversation as the telepath also entered the room, a look of concern on his face for the injured technopath. Andrew wasn't exactly used to seeing blood. Nico frowned at Andrew's revelation, it cleared up a few things. The telepath had said that Dylan was telling the truth, so he wasn't responsible for hurting Janessa and it seemed that he definitely believed that Michael was responsible for capturing both Andrew and himself. There was obviously more to this situation than either Dylan or Nico knew individually.
[#1473b7 "You're half right, it might have been Michael's men that picked you up and he might have told them to do it but that's not the whole story. Michael was just following orders himself. If you want someone to blame, look no further than Bennett."] Jason strode into the room to Nico's incredulity, what was he doing here and why wasn't Janessa with him? He was sure that the Empath wouldn't leave her side and what else did he know about everything that had happened.
Janessa closed her eyes, willing the muddled mess of images in her broken memory to fall into place. With Jason’s prompting, she concentrated on the shooter, trying to recall how he looked, the sound of his voice, the familiar expression on his face. The more Janessa focused on those particular memories, the clearer her recollection became.
[b “The shooter… he’s one of Vincent Boyd’s right hands. He was one of the men Boyd assigned to assassinate my parents.”] Janessa explained, remembering the same sneer that had lit up the man’s face. She didn’t exactly remember what had happened to the man, but she knew he was dead. There was no chance a man would shoot one of Jason’s pack and life to tell about it. Janessa wasn’t a fan of killing needlessly, but in this case, she was glad that bastard was dead.
[b “He said something about Bennett… that Boyd didn’t approve of the Organization taking me in after I nearly killed her. He said, Boyd’s agreement was with Bennett, not the Director. I doubt shooting me was enough to even the score.”] The Feral warned, predicting that this wouldn’t be Boyd’s only attempt on her life. The power-hungry man had been wanting her blood spilt since she survived being his hostage years before and now that he knew the Director had chosen her as his endorsement, Every future press conference became a new opportunity to finish her off.
[b “The Director isn’t going to let me leave until I’m healed, is he?”] It was more of a statement than a question. Janessa knew that if there was any chance of her returning home, she’d be there by now. She wasn’t sure how conducive this was to her recovery: the Feral would hardly be able to sleep with the constant fear of what the Organization would do to her. Thankfully, she could trust her Alpha to watch over her. Dylan may have expressed doubts about trusting Jason, but Janessa had none. She was in good hands as long as he was close… which is why her next request was so difficult to ask.
[b “I wasn’t far from the press conference… there were probably still cameras rolling. If Nico and the others saw me get shot, they’ll be worried sick. Could you check on them for me? Just to let them know I’m ok? Normally, Tech would hack the Organization’s cameras to see my condition for himself, but he ran off not long before the Director called me in.”] Janessa explained. She really didn’t want him to leave – being along in the depths of the Organization with the Director overseeing her treatment was more than a little reason for concern – but she was more afraid of what Nico would do if he saw her shot!
[b “Please Jason? He needs to know I’m ok.”]
[hr ] Dylan glared up at Nico with untrusting eyes, acutely aware of the Feral pacing a few steps behind him. By the murderous glances and the occasional growl under her breath, it was obvious that the only thing stopping Raven from lashing out at the young teen was Nico. While the Elemental had done nothing to stop Raven’s violence so far, Dylan was reasonably sure he wouldn’t let the Feral kill him without at least confirming his story. That didn’t mean he was going to let Dylan off easy. Clearly, Nico had made up his mind about Dylan’s guilt and the Technopath wouldn’t rule out anything short of a death sentence at this point.
Nico’s fingers dug into the bleeding mess of Dylan’s forearm, roughly dragging him to his feet. Despite it being hopeless, the boy still struggled vainly to free himself, growing more and more desperate when Nico admitted his intention of bringing Dylan back home.
[#ff6622 “You won’t keep me there! Last time I was so desperate to get away, I stabbed someone! Bringing me back there is a stupid move, Nico! It’s dangerous!”] Tech argued back, well aware of the double meaning in his words. The truth of his statement was that Dylan still believed he was a target – that Bennett’s allies would be coming for him, willing to kill anyone that stood in their way. Of course, Nico wouldn’t believe him any more now than he did when the concern was first raised. So Dylan allowed his words to be mistaken as a threat, hoping that Nico would prioritize the safety of the group over vengeance.
[#005500 “You won’t be hurting anyone on my watch.”] Raven growled fiercely, looking as though she was barely containing her fury. This kid nearly killed her Pack and if she thought Nico would let her, she’d return the favour right here and now.
Despite Dylan’s reasoning, the three were soon pulled through the vast darkness towards the safe house. Raven was as disturbed by the experience as she always was but Dylan, who had become almost comfortable with the familiar disorienting feeling of Shadow Travel, was far more nervous than usual. Perhaps because this time, he couldn’t shake the fear that Nico might just leave him prisoner in that realm like he did to Jason! As much as he didn’t want to go back to the safe house, it was an immense relief to break through to the light of the familiar living room, even if he was deposited so roughly to the floor seconds later.
Hearing Nico’s call, the safe house’s residents soon arrived, aside from Delta who was still resting from his injuries. Cody arrived first, followed by Sarah with baby Jackson in her arms, and an exhausted looking Keelyn a few seconds after.
[#112200 “Dylan? What the hell happened out there?!”] Cody grabbed a clean towel and rushed to his little brother’s side, pressing the cloth against his rapidly bleeding arm to stanch the blood. Keelyn was too overtaxed from healing Delta to help the young Technopath, so instead she took her son, freeing Sarah’s hands so she could tend to her little brother. It only took one look at the shredded skin to know this was the work of a Feral. Normally Cody was the one with the short temper, but this time Sarah beat him to it.
[#ff00ff “You did this to him!”] Sarah accused, glaring at Raven with a look of disgust before turning that same look on Nico.
[#ff00ff “And you let her! He’s just a kid, Nico! He’s 15 years old and you let her rip his arm into a bloody mess!”] Sarah’s voice wavered with emotion. It had been a rough several hours. Sarah had been restlessly searching for Dylan since the moment he left the safe house, not able to find her little brother due to his powers. When she finally did get a lock on Dylan’s location, she informed Nico immediately, only to find her brother bleeding on the floor with an apathetic Elemental standing over him. Add to that, Sarah had just seen her friend get shot and dragged back to the Organization, needless to say, emotions were running high.
[#ff00ff “You think he tried to kill Janessa? Nico, you can’t be serious!”]
[ff6622 “I didn’t want to hurt her!”] Dylan finally piped up. His arm was trembling beneath the blood-stained towel, but he was doing his best to keep his voice as steady as possible.
[#ff6622 “I wanted to stop her from endorsing the Director. I was going to hack the network and take out the cameras at the press conference, but I knew that doing that might provoke the Director into hurting her! That’s why I wanted you to stop her yourselves, so you could protect her! I knew nothing about the shooter until it was too late!”] Dylan argued, providing an explanation for his threats.
[#ff6622 “I hurt Delta because he sold us out to Michael, but I did not hurt Janessa! If you don’t believe me, then get Andrew to read my mind! Or ask Laura how Michael knew where to find us!”]
[#1473b7 "Try not to move, your injury will still be painful for a good while yet."] Jason was relieved that Janessa had woken up and despite there being no danger of her succumbing to her wounds it was always reassuring to see your packmate recover from an injury. His advice proved worthwhile as he saw Janessa wince in pain as she propped herself up on the bed and took in her surroundings. It certainly wouldn't be what she was used to. It was a good job that Jason was here watching over her, who knows how Janessa would have reacted had she woken up in the Organisation without a friendly face...or what the Organisation would try to do to her if he wasn't here watching.
[#1473b7 "Relax Pierce. You're safe for now at least...and no, I've not made any more bargains with the Director. What happened? You went and got yourself shot is what happened and then I had to go and save you. I want you to think for a moment, did you recognise the shooter?"] Jason wasn't going to waste time asking Janessa if she could think of anyone that would want to hurt her, it would be easier to list the people who didn't want to hurt her. She certainly had no shortage of enemies, neither did Nico or Jason himself which could easily make her a target. The Director himself had made sure that her treatment was being followed, that could be either good or bad depending on what side you looked at it from. It was bad for Jason, the Director was clearly becoming more attached to having Janessa as a permanent fixture of the Organisation, it was clear that Janessa's plan was working.
[#1473b7 "It'll be a while before' you're healed up completely, so take it easy for now. On the bright side the Director was very pleased with the press conference. You did well and if anything the shooting has increased the news coverage of it tenfold. You are being seen as the sympathetic victim who was targeted for speaking out for what she believed was right. The director's approval ratings are skyrocketing. You did well just next time my boss gives you a job try doing it without getting yourself shot. Is there anything you want to know or need me to do for you while you rest and recover?"]
[b "I don't know who you are anymore Dylan! You've been so distant with me lately that I don't know what to think. I don't believe you because your story doesn't add up. You say that Dylan sold you out to Michael but it was him that asked Michael to be allowed to help free you. We couldn't have done it without him. Why free you if he's the one that captured you in the first place?"] Dylan looked like a cornered animal, the panic was evident in his eyes and he clearly believed that Nico and Raven were genuinely going to hurt him badly. In this state he was a danger to himself and everyone else, maybe trapping him in the shadows for a while wouldn't be the worst idea...No. Nico couldn't believe that he had considered that. They would take the boy back to the safe house, maybe his family could talk some sense into him.
[b "I'm not going to do any of those. I'm taking you back with us."] Nico grabbed Dylan roughly by his injured arm and took Raven by the hand before pulling all of them into the eternal darkness. He knew Raven wouldn't like it, no feral did, but it was necessary. Despite the distorted sense of time in the endless darkness they were back at the safe house in no time, Nico throwing a bloodied Dylan to the floor before calling for the others to join them.
[b "Cody, Sarah can you please try and talk some sense into your little brother. He seems convinced that Cody sold him out to Michael and then attacked us with a drone. He claims that he had nothing to do with Janessa's attack but I think we all agree that the message we saw on the tv before she was shot is a little too coincidental. Hopefully you can get some answers out of him."]
It was a couple hours before Janessa was able to shake off the lingering effects of the anesthetic and force her eyes open. Ehen she did, she found herself in a recovery room with thick, white bandages wrapped around her torso. Her hand immediately flew to her side, prodding the bandages and feeling the slight ridge of a line of stitches beneath the fabric. The fact that her wounds had been treated proved she wasn’t waking to completely hostile terms, but the unfamiliar setting of the recovery room did set the Feral on edge. She had become far too accustomed to waking up on the medical cot at the safe house with Nico and Keelyn hovering over her.
The thought of her loved ones stirred desperation in the Feral and despite the painful ache in her side, she tried to push herself into a sitting position so she could look about the room. Catching sight of Jason brought a flood of mixed feelings - on the one hand, she was pleasantly surprised and rather relieved to have her Alpha here to watch over her. The calming effect of having her Pack in close proximity helped to ease her mind, but it also brought an uncomfortable realization. If Jason was here and not Nico, then that meant she was never returned to the safe house. Jason must have brought her to the Organization!
A panicked movement, too quick, too soon, left Janessa with a surge or pain in her healing side, and Janessa felt slightly breathless as she called for her Alpha.
[b “J-Jason!”] The Feral sifted through the flashes of memory from the past several hours, trying to deduce what had happened. She remembered the press conference, the cameras, the reporters; she remembered saying goodbye to Jason and heading for home; she remembered the strange man stopping her at the exit, but the rest… the rest was too foggy to make out.
[b “No deals… tell me you d-didn’t make a deal!”] She stuttered, trying to fight the nausea that washed over her at the thought of Jason bargaining with the Director to save her life. She had worked so hard, sacrificed so much to get in a position where she could demand Jason’s freedom. But if he struck another deal to heal her, all of this would be for nothing!
[b “I don’t… what happened?”]
The pain that flared in Dylan’s arm was almost as disturbing as Nico’s look of indifference as he watched the young Technopath get ripped apart at the hands of the Feral. Dylan knew that the bonds of trust between himself and the Elemental were under far more strain than usual, but for Nico to stand there in silence, passively condoning Raven’s violent attack made Dylan question whether there was anything left to repair. Dylan’s expression shifted from one of fear and pain to one of disgust and betrayal as Nico chose to interrogate him instead of letting him free.
[#ff6622 “Proof? I heard the call! When the Catalyst triggered my powers, I had access to every device… No, forget it! You actually think that I would throw around accusations like that? That I would go so far as to stab somebody without proof? That I would try to kill Janessa, who had practically been raising me like a little brother for the past few years?! Is that who you think I am?”] Dylan shouted in anger. His arms were trembling, but Dylan couldn’t distinguish if it was from the pain of his torn flesh or from the rage that welled up inside of him. Dylan was young and impulsive, he was the first to admit that, but to be capable of the things Nico was accusing him of, he’d have to be as soulless as Bennett! How could Nico believe Dylan was that much of a monster?
[#ff6622 “You just let your Feral tear into my arm, so you must be pretty damn sure that I’m guilty. You obviously don’t trust me, Nico, so why waste my breath explaining something that you’ll never believe!”] Dylan challenged. The anger, pain, and betrayal building in Dylan’s mind was starting to overpower the fear. Nico was terrifyingly intimidating, but Dylan just didn’t care anymore.
Dylan hadn’t been the same since Bennett captured him. Whether it was the isolation, the torture, the Catalyst, the fear… something had shattered in the boy’s mind, twisting him into someone else – someone darker and far less predictable than the young teen Nico and Janessa had known all these years. Dylan’s eyes narrowed into a dark, unforgiving glare that he fixed solely on Nico. He was trapped – his ankle still in the vice of shadows, with Raven prowling nearby to stop him the instant he tried to escape. By now, the blood had thoroughly stained Dylan’s sleeve and was freely dripping around his clasped hand, but despite how much a wound like that must have hurt, any wince or cringe was steeled behind a mask of cynicism and defiance.
[#ff6622 “What are you going to do Shadow?”] Dylan spoke in an eerily calm, dark tone, purposely trading Nico’s name for the impersonal alter ego he had chosen for himself; all traces of comradery gone from his tone.
[#ff6622 “Sick your Feral on me? Lock me away in the Shadow Realm? Leave me trapped here for the Organization to find? Or maybe you’ll just kill me? If you think I’m capable of shooting Janessa, then why shouldn’t I believe you’d do the same to me?”]
Jason couldn't tear his eyes away from his injured pack mate as she ay there bleeding and unconscious. At the suggestion that he wait outside, the Empath only returned a murderous glance, there was absolutely no chance in hell that he was going to leave Janessa right now when she needed him to be there. Jason wasn't naive enough to believe that his involvement was enough to undo all of the bad will that Janessa and her friends had racked up in the past. Janessa was responsible for savaging Tara Bennett who was in another bed in this very infirmary and for causing the Organisation any number of problems. As vigilant as he was, his feral senses were clouded by his worry for his pack mate, and in reality the only person in the world that trusted him implicitly so he missed the medic slipping the tracker by Janessa's ribs. His worry was not the only thing that was distracting Janessa as the infirmiry doors opened to admit an unexpected figure; The Director.
[#ce0d27 "Mr Jackson, I assumed that you would be here, I watched the press conference. It was an admirable display, she did well. I couldn't have hoped for better."] It was clear by his tone of voice that the Director also included Janessa's shooting to be part of the success, as far as he was concerned it was a PR miracle. The heiress of a powerful family who were murdered is attacked and the person who she has just endorsed for political office heroically offers his resources to help her recover from the shooting. The papers would love it, and if anyone doubted the moral character of The Director he could now be firmly seen as someone who would help those in need. A true ally of the Pierce family and that would still carry some weight around the city.
[#1473b7 "How can you be so calm, she could die! I know you only think of her as a tool to be used but even that must mean something to you."] Jason had never been good at hiding his emotions, he wore his heart on his sleeve and likely always would. Jason was intelligent but he was never calculating, that was the real difference between the Director and Hyperion and it was a crucial one.
[#ce0d27 "We both know there is no real danger here, even if the injury was too bad for conventional medicine, which it wasn't, we have any number of healers that could have been deployed. You know that I would never let her die, she's too useful too me."] Jason had to admit if The Director was anything he was pragmatic and White Tigress was too good of an assett to simply throw away. The medics had done their job for now and it looked like Janessa would pull through this, all she would need for now would be rest and Jason would watch over her until she regained consciousness and got her strength back.
As Raven and Dylan scrapped, a drone coming out of nowhere and attacking the feral before her heightened reactions allowed her to dispatch the distraction. What happened next would normally have caused Nico to intervened but the lingering question over whether Dylan had played any part in Janessa's attack caused the Dark Elemental to remain silent and unmoved when Raven ripped open Dylan's skin arm and took out the microchip. It was a smart move by Dylan, Nico had to give him credit for the idea but even if Raven had not found the piece of Technology, Nico had another way to deal with the kid. Nico still had the EMP that Tech himself had given Nico and using it would rend the kind useless, and Nico had been prepared to use it. [i "I didn’t hurt Janessa. I swear Nico…"] Unfortunately for Dylan the kid's word wasn't worth a lot right now.
[b "Do you have any proof that Delta sold you out? It doesn't look good for you Dylan. You claim that Delta sold you out but he then comes and helps rescue you? It doesn't exactly make sense. You claim that you would never hurt Janessa but a warning comes up on a screen from you moments before she is shot, it doesn't add up Dylan. You better explain what the hell is going on right now or i'm going to stop being so polite..."] The truth was that while he wanted to believe that he knew Dylan, right now the Dark Elemental didn't have the first idea what a scared young man like Dylan was capable of. Normally he would be right and he would never hurt Janessa, these were not normal times. People were capable of far worse things than those closest to them could ever expect and Nico would not be caught off guard. Not when Janessa's life might hang in the balance.
The pain had spread. Once a precise tearing directly where the bullet had struck was now a radiating heat that spread across her ribs and eventually her entire torso. Every bump and jostle she felt in Hyperion’s arms sent another sharp stab through the Feral’s body, but she dedicated herself to keeping that pain from showing too strongly on her face. Jason was going through enough without having to worry any more about her. Janessa could sense his feat, which was about the only thing she could sense in the all-consuming darkness of the Shadow Realm. Janessa didn’t even realize that the darkness creeping into her vision was only partially due to the Empathy’s abilities. It wasn’t until she heard the voices of the Organization’s medical staff that she realized she was now free of the shadows and blinded by her own ebbing consciousness.
Janessa was vaguely aware of the sturdy service below her as she was rested on a stretcher. The buzz of voices and machines soon faded as the Feral found herself unable to fight the pain any longer. She silently slipped out of consciousness, leaving herself entirely vulnerable were it not for the protective supervision of her Alpha.
[i “We’ll need to keep her sedated until we can remove the bullet and repair the damage. Mr. Jackson, perhaps you should wait outside?”] One of the medic’s suggested nervously. He certainly didn’t want to cross this intimidating Empath, but he wasn’t sure Hyperion was prepared to watch as they cut into his Pack mate in order to remove the bullet.
A heavy anesthetic was administered, more for the protection of the medical staff than the consideration of the Feral. None of the medics were keen on falling victim to an angry, frightened, suffering Super if she happened to regain consciousness. Were it not for Hyperion’s commands, they wouldn’t be wasting their time with the Feral. She was, after all, the one responsible for putting their other patient, Tara Bennett, into her current fragile state.
Janessa’s procedure was going smoothly, so much so that one particular medic saw no reason why he couldn’t twist this situation to the Organization’s advantage. He ensured that Hyperion couldn’t see his hands – not wanting to face the wrath of the overprotective Alpha – as he took a small, sterile tracer and implanted the device in the tissue surrounding Janessa’s lower ribs. It was close enough to the impact of the bullet that any pain or discomfort would be blamed on her recent injury and so it would be some time before the device was detected. But this would be a chance for the Organization to keep tabs on the Feral and her team of fugitives. Whether White Tigress was an asset or a threat, they would know where she was at all times.
Dylan quickened his pace in hopes of fleeing the scene before his former team undoubtable showed up to rescue their injured Feral. Jason would take care of Janessa for now – Although Dylan didn’t trust the Empath, he at least knew that Jason wouldn’t let Janessa die on his watch. That didn’t mean the rest of the team wouldn’t be racing to find her. With his cell phone clutched tightly in his hand, Tech could see through the eyes of every camera in the area, watching as unnatural shadows gathered within their frames. Nico was here and Dylan didn’t want to be found.
As he took another hurried step, the boy’s foot sank deeper than expected, throwing him off balance and causing the Technopath to stumble to the ground. The sudden fall knocked his phone from his hand, and before he could grab it, he watched the device shatter beneath the foot of a familiar Feral. Dylan cast a frantic look behind him, seeing Nico closing in and he knew there would be no more running. Dylan had rarely seen this degree of fury from the elemental and never directed at him! He tried to hide his nerves behind an unconvincing expression of boldness, and forced as much strength into his voice as he could muster.
[#ff6622 “I didn’t hurt Janessa. I swear Nico…”]
[#005500 “Just like you didn’t hurt Delta? Don’t lie to us, Runt!”] Raven growled, grabbing a fist full of Dylan’s shirt and hoisting him back to his feet. With one ankle still submerged in shadows, Dylan couldn’t run, but that didn’t stop the white knuckled grip the Feral had on his shirt. Raven was just curing her other hand into a fist when she noticed the Technopath’s eyes suddenly shift to something behind her. It was only thanks to her quick Feral reflexes that Raven was able to dodge the new drone that soared towards her head. She was forced to drop the boy to the ground and swing her fists at the drone, swiping it out of the air and leaving nothing left but a heap of scrap.
[#005500 “What do you have?”] Raven demanded, knowing the boy couldn’t use his powers without a physical connection to something technical. She thought by crushing his phone she was leaving him defenseless, but obviously this Technopath still had a few tricks up his sleeve – literally. Raven caught the subtle, but telling shift in the boy’s posture. As soon as she questioned him, he brought his left arm behind him, as if hiding it from her keen, hawk-like eyes. Raven’s hand snapped out and captured his wrist, roughly dragging his arm out in front and tearing his sleeve, revealing a crocked line of messy, unpracticed stitched spanning 2-3 inches of his forearm.
Tech saw the understanding dawn in Raven’s eyes and the minisule curl of her lip that sent him into a panic.
[#ff6622 “No! No, don’t! NO!”] He shouted as the Feral used her claw-like nails to tear through the stitches and into the recently mended flesh. Dylan screamed, unable to contain his pain as Raven pulled away, revealing a tiny, dime-sized microchip in her bloody fingers. It was clever: hide the device under his own skin so Dylan never lost contact with his abilities. Unfortunately, now that it was removed, he was powerless, in pain, and afraid of what his former allies would do. Once released, Dylan stumbled to the floor yet again, clutching his bloody, shredded arm close to his chest. Painful tears welled in his eyes, but the young teen didn’t dare let them fall. Knowing anything he tried to say at this point would sound incriminating, Dylan simply waited for the others to speak.
[#005500 “First Delta, now Janessa. You messed with the wrong Pack, kid.”] Raven threatened, not even realizing she had started referring to Janessa as her Pack once again. It seemed the past few weeks working side by side had healed some of the wounds the Ferals had been harbouring for years.
Knowing he wouldn’t get any sympathy, nor mercy from Raven, Dylan fixed his eyes on the Elemental. He had Nico had been through so much together and yet, by the cold look in the man’s eyes, Dylan wasn’t sure any of that history mattered when Janessa’s life was in question.
[#ff6622 “I did hurt Delta, I’ll admit that. I hurt him because he hurt me and Andrew first! Delta’s the one who sold us out to Michael! He left us for dead, so I did the same to him. It was the only way to ensure none of you tried to follow me. But Nico, I swear, I did not hurt Janessa! You know she’s like a sister to me! I wouldn’t hurt her like that! You know I wouldn’t!”]
The cold, never ending darkness threatened to paralyse Jason as it dulled all of his senses, and since he was with Janessa his heightened feral senses being taken away felt particularly disorientating. It was like he was blind. If he was on his own then the Empath would have floundered, overcome by panic and fear but that wasn't an option. He needed to be strong so that Janessa could live. Somehow he stumbled through the dark abyss, obviously lacking the refined nature of Nico's own practiced Shadow Travel, and found the exit he was looking for. He tried to leave the Shadows but he felt weak and insubstantial, as if he was leaving most of himself in the shadows...he knew that he would die if he tried to leave like this and then Janessa would be lost. He thought back to Nico and all the time that he had spent talking about when he had first mastered Shadow Travel all those years ago, what had he always said was the most important part of Shadow Travel? Belief. If you believed with an iron clad certainty that it will work then it would. His fear of the Shadows and losing Janessa was casting doubt into his mind and in turn his doubt was making it impossible to leave.
[#1473b7 "Pull yourself together Jackson. You can do this."] He was Jason Jackson, he was Hyperion, he was a God. Mere mortals might be afraid of the dark but he wasn't, he was better than them. He tried to exit again, focusing on his mind, forcing himself and Janessa to leave the abyss and as he did the darkness and bitter cold was replaced by fluorescent light that seemed as blinding as the sun. Jason sprinted through the halls that he knew so well and in no time at all he was at the medical wing.
[#1473b7 "Stop what you are doing now. This is your top priority and if she dies I will personally make sure that you share her fate."] Jason was reasonably sure that his threat was not necessary, his position within the Organisation was enough, people knew that he was close to the Director but a little extra motivation never hurt anyone. [i “Jason… No deals… Promise me!... No more deals!” ] Jason heard her pleas but as much as he wanted to he simply could not make her that promise. She was his pack and there was nothing that he would not do to keep her safe. Nothing.
With Sarah's exclamation that she had found Janesaa at the Organisation and that Dylan was also nearby presented him with a choice. As much as he wanted to go straight to Janessa, to be by her side he knew that wasn't an option. There was no chance in hell that Nico could just walk into the Organisation and come back out unscathed. The truth of the matter was that right now Janessa had someone looking out for her and while Jason wasn't always the most stable of people Nico knew that he had Janessa's best interests at heart and would fight for her.
[b "We go after Tech. We need to know if he had any part of this."] Nico gave Raven a location for them to meet at and he went after Dylan, Sarah constantly in his ear telling him where to go. It wasn't long before he caught a glimpse of the kid himself moving away from the scene of the shooting. Raven had arrived by his side by the time that the dark elemental had caught up with the technopath. His worry over Janessa and the possibility that Dylan was somehow involved in the shooting was clouding Nico's mind. Without making a sign, Nico flicked his wrist and a tiny opening into the Shadows appeared just in front of Tech so that when he took his next step his left foot sunk two or three inches into the ground and rooted him in place.
[b "What did you do? Answer me Dylan. What did you do to Janessa?"] Nico spoke the words almost in a whisper as he approached the technopath, cold fury emanating from the Elemental. Nico was at his most dangerous when he was like this, emotionless and quiet. He was the centre of the storm, he was darkness itself. While he was at the safe house he had every intention of hearing Dylan out, he had wanted Dylan to be innocent of stabbing Delta, part of him even believed it but all of that was in the past. All of that was changed when Janessa was put in danger. If Dylan had anything to do with hurting her then Nico would take action and in his current state there was nothing that he would not do, even if that meant ending the young boy's life. He would keep Janessa safe whatever the cost...
This wasn’t the first time Janessa had taken a bullet - getting shot was somewhat of an occupational hazard for vigilantes - but this was the first time that bullet had struck skin without the impact being lessened by the protective padding she wore under her Tigress suit. While she knew the shot wasn’t fatal, the pain that resonated through her ribs as worse than she anticipated. Janessa clutched the wound as tightly as she could bear, taking sharp gasps as the pain made it difficult to breathe. She didn’t remember falling, but the cold, hard ground beneath her was evidence that she had. Her vision blurred tempting her into unconsciousness, but Janessa fought the urge. The gunman stood above her now, aiming his weapon for a far more lethal shot to the head. Janessa’s Feral reflexes were normally quick enough to dodge a bullet, but the pain in her ribs would slow her down. A gripping fear flooded Janessa’s mind as she realized that even blowing her cover might not be enough to save her life! Fortunately, her Alpha was there when she needed him.
The sickening crunch was all Janessa needed to hear to know that the man who shot her would do no further harm. Jason eliminated the threat before arriving at her side to assess the damage. Janessa could sense his concern and urgency through the Pack bond just as clearly as he had sensed her own fear and pain when she was shot. Not wanting to worry her Alpha any more than strictly necessary, Janessa forced herself to concentrate on Jason, keeping herself awake and as alert as possible. With one hand still clasped over her injured ribs, the other tightly gripped Jason’s arm, proving she still had strength in her to fight and determination enough to survive.
As the Shadows collected around her, Janessa tightened her grip on her Alpha’s arm, now more out of fear than reassurance. The Shadow Realm was still the setting for Janessa’s nightmares after she had been trapped within for weeks, losing her Feral senses in the process. She had faced that terror before, but only with Nico at her side – someone she knew could navigate the darkness with ease and would not, under any circumstances, allow his element to hurt her. Facing that abyss without Nico at her side was terrifying for Janessa and she knew, if she felt this way after a mere few weeks in the darkness, then Jason’s fear would be so much worse having spent years imprisoned within.
As always, time was distorted in the Shadow Realm, causing those few mere minutes within the confines of the portal to stretch into an eternity. Janessa concentrated on her breathing, trying to control the sharp gasps and groans at every minor movement. She had lost a lot of blood, making the young woman feel increasingly lightheaded, dizzy, sluggish, and cold. Her hands were shaking, making it more and more difficult to apply pressure to the wound. Still, Janessa’s thoughts were on her Alpha. He had brought her back to the Organization with obvious hopes that their healers and medics could help, but all Janessa saw was a potential for even greater risk!
[b “Jason… No deals… Promise me!... No more deals!”] The Feral’s words broke around her gasps, but her eyes were steady and sure. Everything she had risked so far would be worth it so long as her plans to free Jason worked out. If those plans were compromised because Jason tried to save her with a deal, then all of this would be for nothing!
[i “…appears that a Super arrived on scene in time to stop the shooter. After leaving the armed man dead on scene, the Super then vanished in a swirl of black smoke, taking Miss Pierce with him. Still no word on whether this Super was intending to rescue Miss Pierce or kidnap her, but local police are scouring the area for the wounded heiress and asking anyone with information about Miss Pierce’s whereabouts to contact the tip line. This has been Lisa Borton, ABC News...”] Raven turned off the broadcast, letting the reporter’s voice fall to the tense silence of the safe house. Keelyn was pacing the room, far too exhausted and sore from treating Delta to be able to heal Janessa even if the Feral did make it home. Cody was trying and failing to get his little brother on the phone, while Sarah tried to pinpoint the wounded Feral’s location. Raven couldn’t help jumping to the conclusion that Tech was involved in the shooting, after seeing that incriminating broadcast. The kid had stabbed her Packmate and left him to die, it certainly wouldn’t be above his nature to hire a shooter to take out the Director’s greatest supporter! She was also a little upset that Nico had left them all behind. He disappeared into his shadows, no doubt rushing to Janessa’s aid, leaving the rest of them to pace impatiently around the living room in desperate need for news.
It was several tense minutes before Sarah interrupted the tense silence with some promising news.
[#ff00ff “I found them!”] Sarah took the communicator offered by her brother and quickly made a call to Nico, hardly waiting for him to answer before she jumped right in.
[#ff00ff “Shadow, I found Tigress. It looks like Hyperion took her back to the Organization. I also managed to get a lock on Tech! He’s just leaving the scene of the press conference, heading north! The shooting much have made him drop his guard enough for me to find him.”] Sarah reported, soon to have the communicator ripped from her hands by an impatient Feral.
[#005500 “Whether you hunt the Runt or track the Feral, you’re going to need back up. Tell me where to meet you.”] Raven insisted. Even she wasn’t aware of whether her motives to help were driven by concern for her former Pack or her thirst for vengeance against Tech, but either way it didn’t sound like Raven would take no for an answer.
[#1473b7 "Even though you gave them the answer if anything happened to you in my experience the one thing that you can always rely on is the unending stupidity of humans. The Director is smart, now that you've played your hand and have essentially forced him to keep you in the public eye he'll start working on contingencies to cover himself so your accusations don't stick. I hate to say it but you might just have forced his hand into renegotiating your deal and you know how I feel about that."] Jason simply could not understand why Janessa would continually keep putting herself in the crosshairs for him. Yes he was her alpha but there had to be more to it than that. If she traded places with Jason and became the Director's willing pawn then she would likely have to face off against her pack and the rest of her friends anyway, Hyperion did not know the ins and outs of what being in a pack meant but even he was sure that fighting your pack was a nonstarter.
[#1473b7 "Yeah I'm sure go back to where you are needed, If he's mad about anything it won't be that you didn't come back to say goodbye. I'm sure the others need you more than he does right now. You too Pierce."] As Janessa told her alpha to stay safe, Jason returned the sentiment and hugged the feral in a surprisingly tender moment. It appeared that despite Jason's wishes and against his better judgement he could not fight the strength of the pack bond and he cared for Janessa far more than what was safe. He didn't want to see her hurt and if she kept on going down the path that she was like she was planning she would end up dead or worse.
What happened next was difficult to describe, Jason had said his farewell and Janessa had left but he could still feel that she was close thanks to their pack bond and thanks to that he knew that it was wrong. He sensed the danger a fraction of a second before the first of the three gunshots sounded, Jason sprinted in the direction that he knew Janessa to be but not before a bullet hit her in the ribs and Jason felt the pain and fear from his injured pack member wash over him for an instant before it was replaced with blinding rage. Jason barrelled ahead towards the gunman, his feral abilities enhanced by the adrenaline coursing through his system as his packmate lay injured he lashed out with a super strong fist and struck the assailant in the chest, caving it in instantly and killing the man. Jason cradled the bleeding Janessa in his arms, mind racing for a way to make sure that she survived this. He had no way to get the bullet out and without that all was lost. Jason had no way of knowing if help was coming or even if it was if it would get there in time to stop her bleeding out. None of Jason's abilities would help in this situation, His options were narrowing with every drop of crimson blood that fell from the Feral and as much as Jason feared the idea that come into his head the alternative of losing a member of his pack was infinitely worse.
[#1473b7 "Hold on Pierce, I'll get you help."] Jason didn't care about whether Janessa's cover was blown or not, or whether she would have difficult questions to answer about the manner of her escape from the assailant...all that mattered was keeping her alive. Jason steeled himself and brought forth the shadows into an unsteady gateway in an attempt to Shadow Travel to the Organisation and to get the medical help necessary. It was a weak imitation of Nico's mastery of that ability. Jason still had not gotten over his deep fear of being trapped in that darkness for so long and even considering this course of action was a testament to how worried he was about Janessa.
[#1473b7 "Here goes nothing..."] Hyperion stepped through into the dark portal and sped towards the Organisation, hoping that he would make it out of the agonising, endless abyss and that he could save his pack.
[i If she’s endorsing the Director, she must have a reason.”] Nico knew exactly what that reason was, this must be what the Director wanted from her but he couldn't say anything as the others did not know about that particular arrangement.
[b "Raven shut up! We'll find Dylan and believe me he will answer for what he did to Delta but for now there is no point in backhanded comments like that. I understand you're angry, believe me I do but set it to one side for now."] Nico actually sympathised far more with Raven than Cody right now, he understood her anger, when Kate had died he had slide into an angry stupor, Cody might be right about her having her reasons but voicing that opinion might not have been the smartest of ideas. Their little argument was silenced in an instant with the arrival of a sinister message on the screen and the far more concerning sight of a man raising a gun at Janessa.
[b "Sarah Find her now!"] As Nico didn't know exactly where Janessa was he couldn't just travel to her location and while it wouldn't take long for the Tanner sister to tell him where he needed to go it appeared that even that short time frame was enough for the unthinkable to happen. A bullet hit janessa's body and she crumpled to the floor, Nico's heart sank and fear flooded his body, he needed to be with her, to reassure her that everything was going to be ok, to help her, to save her. Keelyn was still worn out from her working on Delta so he wasn't actually sure that she would be able to help her older sister even if she wanted to but all that mattered to Nico was being by Janessa's side to help her through this injury. What he saw on the screen next, momentarily snapped him out of his panicked frenzy as Jason smashed the attacker and he flew back several feet from the force of Hyperion's blow. Jason crouched down by the bleeding body of the woman he loved and as soon as Sarah shouted a location he was already darting into the shadows and towards Janessa. As Nico emerged from the portal he was assaulted by camera flashes and television cameras as reporters tried to get pictures and video of what just happened, he could vaguely hear police sirens in the background as they sped towards the location but disturbingly what he could not see was either Jason nor Janessa. All Nico could think about was Janessa and hoping that she would be alright, if Dylan really had had anything to do with this attack then he had just made a very dangerous enemy. It was one thing to set yourself up against Nico, it was an altogether worse thing for Nico to set himself against you.
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