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 was infuriated at the choice that Janessa had made and her apology did little to satiate his anger but he did at least rescind his order so that she could breathe again. What Jason didn't think that Janessa realised was that he was struggling with this arrangement as well. He was an alpha, he was supposed to protect his pack at all costs but there was nothing that he could do to protect Janessa from the Director. The Empath knew first hand how dangerous the man could be, what he could make you do with a word and now one of his pack was in his clutches. It was painful for the alpha, far more than he ever thought that it could be.
[i "I don’t expect you to forgive me, but I hoped you’d understand.”]
[#1473b7 "Well you're right about one thing, I'm not about to forgive you for this. You knew what I would think of this and you did it anyway."] Jason wasn't about to admit that he could understand her thought process but he was too hurt to express that sentiment right now. Jason knew that Janessa wasn't an idiot, she would have had a plan in place before she went through with this idiotic idea of hers. There were times that the feral let her emotions rule her but Jason was sure that this wasn't one of these times. He just needed to work out what she had planned for him, what part was he to play in all of this? Janessa's next words were proof that she had a plan, or at least that she thought she did, Jason could all but guarantee that whatever Janessa had thought of the Director was two steps ahead of her. The man was devious.
[#1473b7 "I'll make sure to tell him."] It wasn't a surprise that she would involved Nico in this but Jason was willing to bet everything that she didn't tell the dark elemental that she was planning on trading places with her alpha. There was simply no way that Nico would let that happen. As for the rest of her friends...they would be more problematic. Jason had never had a particularly good relationship with any of them except Nico, anytime he had encountered Tech, Phase or any of the others it was as an enemy and an adversary. It would be up to Nico to convince them that what Janessa was doing was for the best, there was no way that they would listen to Jason.
[#1473b7 "I guess that this is goodbye then."] Jason didn't know what else to say with the Director standing there. It would be a surprise to the group to see Jason so soon after he had just left them but there was nothing more that he could do here. Once again Jason braved the darkness that he hated so much in order to return to Nico and the others. It didn't take long before Jason was back in the safehouse that he left what seemed only moments ago and as he arrived he saw Nico's confused face.
[b " Jason? What are you doing here? Did you forget something? Why aren't you with Janessa?"]
[#1473b7 "That's actually why I'm here. You need to gather everyone up. I have some news."] Jason could clearly see the worried look on Nico's face as he said he had news and he knew that the dark elemental's mind would go to the worst possibility immediately but he did it nonetheless and soon enough everyone was together.
[#1473b7 "What I'm about to say isn't going to be easy but I need you to listen. First of all I don't like this any more than any of you, but it is what it is and we can't change this. Janessa is alive but she has made a deal with the Director. She has taken my place in his service. I'm now free of his control and she is at his every beck and whim now. She's no longer part of your little group, she's part of the Organisation now."]
Nico couldn't believe what he was hearing, Janessa was now the Director's pawn? Jason was free? This was all so much to take in...he had lost Janessa just like he had lost Kate. The Organisation had stolen them both from him but this time would be different, he wouldn't let them get away with this. If Janessa could free Jason then Nico could free Janessa, there had to be a way, there just had to.
[b "So...you're free and Janessa is now working for the Organisation. How the hell did this happen?"]
Janessa had predicted Jason’s reaction, but her forewarning did nothing to lessen the impact of the Alpha’s rage. Dropping her eyes and clenching her teeth, Janessa let the Alpha’s anger wash over her. To be the center of his anger and the source of his disappointment wasn’t easy – Janessa was loyal to her Pack and despite her best intentions, she knew this would seem like a betrayal to Jason – but she wasn’t prepared for the sheer pain that split her chest as the weight of the Alpha’s order battled with the binding of her deal with the Director. It was nearly impossible to disobey an Alpha’s direct command and the fact that her bargain forbid her fulfilling her orders was more than psychologically straining, it was physical pain! Janessa felt as if she were strapped to some medieval torture device, pulled her in both directions, with neither side willing to relent.
[b “I’m sorry, Alpha… I’m so sorry…”] She whispered – apologizing for disobeying him, but not for making the deal. Her decision to take his place was neither fair nor selfless, but in her mind it was still the right thing to do. Jason was now free, her team was much safer without the Empath as a threat, and Jason stood the best chance of taking the Director down in the long run.
Janessa grabbed her own wrist to stop her hands from shaking under the weight of her Alphas orders. She had hoped for a moment alone with Jason to say her goodbyes and justify her actions without the prying ears of the Director, but it seemed she wouldn’t be granted that luxury. Janessa had to be careful what she said – although she could already feel that wall I her mind barricading any small, treacherous thoughts or plans of attack. She wouldn’t be able to share any of her former plans or strategies with Jason, she just had to hope that he could find a way out of this on his own. Fortunately, having just been in her position, Jason was uniquely qualified to understand her selective silence. The others may misunderstand her current stance as a betrayal, but Jason would know that she was no longer permitted to speak – or even think – against the Director or the Organization. He’d understand her choice of words and know there was more beneath the surface that she just couldn’t express.
[b “I did what I had to. I don’t expect you to forgive me, but I hoped you’d understand.”] She told her Alpha, raising her eyes to meet his after a struggle against her own guilt. She had put contingencies in place, she had prepared for this, but all of it would be for nothing if her Team didn’t play their own parts. It was too late to tell Jason her plan, she just hoped he’d listened to everything she’d let slip over these past few months.
[b “I asked you to promise me something… you never did agree to it, but I hope now you might reconsider?”] Janessa asked. Weeks ago when it seemed that her plan was narrowing to this, she had asked Hyperion to promise he’d return to Nico and the team if anything ever set him free from his deal. She needed Jason and the Team working together. She needed them protecting each other and planning to take out these new threats now that she wasn’t with them.
[b “I make Nico promise me something to. Can you remind him for me? Tell him he gave me his word, and I’m counting on him to keep it.”] Janessa’s second promise was that Nico would do anything it took to stop her if she tried to hurt their friends or family. If she became a threat to them, he had to use whatever means necessary to stop her – even if that meant trapping her in the horrors of the Shadow Realm.
[b “Nico will be hurt… I just hope he knows me well enough to see why I had to do this. Phase and his sister will understand, Keelyn will have seen this coming, and my old pack – Raven and Delta – they’ll kno, better than anyone, that I didn’t have a choice. Raven acts hostile, but she and Delta will help you with anything you need. You don’t owe me anything Jason, but if you could ever forgive me enough to do me one last favour… can you make sure Tech understands? Of all of them… he won’t take this betrayal well.”]
Even though that he was in that wretched, cold empty abyss of darkness Jason could feel that something had changed, and he knew what it was immediately. The feeling of freedom that he felt even in this place was incredible, he no longer felt compelled to protect the Director or the Organisation, he could do whatever he wanted but that could only mean one thing. Janessa had done the thing he had feared she would, she had struck a bargain with the Director for his freedom but what could she have possibly given up to buy him his life back? Whatever it was it couldn't have been cheap. As he was spit out of the darkness that he hated so much and arrived back at the Organisation he practically sprinted towards the Infirmary and where he hoped that Pierce still was. he crashed through the doors to see her still there and the Director in an immaculate black suit sitting in a chair near her bed. For the first time he was able to think about hurtling a fireball at the man or snapping his neck, his deals had prevented all thoughts of harm against the man but now that he was free...he could have those thoughts. As fun as watching the life bleed from that man he didn't know the conditions of the Bargain that Janessa made with him. If he attacked, he would likely end up fighting her, or maybe she would die if he did. There were too many variables to consider so he had to make d with gritting his teeth and giving the man a cold hard stare.
[#1473b7 "What did she give you in order to buy my freedom? Whatever it is I'll give you more. Leave her out of this!"]
[#ce0d27 "I'm afraid not Mr Jackson. While I can't go into the details of my new arrangement with Ms Pierce she was quite explicit that we have no further involvement."] Jason couldn't believe what he was hearing, what could Janessa have given the Director in order not just for his freedom now but also to keep him out of the Organisation forever? It couldn't be good. As angry as he was at the Director for this he couldn't help but rage at Janessa as well, she knew that he didn't want her near the Director, she knew that he thought the man was dangerous and she knew that he would rather be in servitude than her and she ignored his wishes anyway. He had done everything short of ordering her as an alpha to never be in the same room as the Director.
[#1473b7 "I can't believe you did this Pierce! Fix it now. I order you as Alpha to stop whatever arrangement you have going on right now!"] Jason knew that ordering her likely wouldn't do anything, he knew first hand how invasive the Director's influence on a person could be. He couldn't even think about doing anything that would harm the man so it was likely that Janessa had the same conditions in her bargain. She had just put Jason in a position he never really thought he would be in; he could now take action and revenge on the Organisation for the death of his sister but doing so would put him against his packmate. he never thought he would have a pack, hell he didn't even know it was possible until recently but here he was.
[#1473b7 "Do you have anything to say for yourself?"] Jason's gaze was fixed on Janessa, wanting for her to tell him some piece of good news in this situation but he couldn't think of any. Jason had been a captive for so long that he couldn't really process the idea of being free from the Director's influence. Jason also couldn't help but think of the house full of people that cared about Janessa and that this deal will impact. Nico would be distraught, losing Kate had been hard on him but losing Janessa as well would crush him. Kellyn would be just as devastated, if not more so, they all knew that Keelyn had issues with the Organisation and abandonment. How would she take Janessa's betrayal?
Janessa stared at the extended hand in front of her and hesitated. She knew that her freedom was gone the moment she sealed this deal. Jason would be furious with her, Nico would never forgive her, Keelyn would want to kill her for risking her son, and the Tanners would have lost all respect for their former friend and ally. Janessa would become a servant to the man responsible for leading the entire Organization against Supers. She’d become a tool, a weapon, a pawn in whatever game he was playing, and she’d be powerless to resist his orders. But the alternatives were far worse:
If She backed out on her deal now, then Jason would be the Director’s prisoner forever. The Director may not have used Jason’s full potential yet, but the truth was that Hyperion would be nearly invincible if he was ever wielded as a weapon. He had more abilities at his fingertips then the rest of the team combines, and would have no problem slaughtering every one of them if the Director willed it. What was more frightening than Hyperion’s abilities was the thought of those abilities super charged by the Catalyst! Janessa had seem what those empowered Supers could do, she’d felt that immense strength herself! If the Director ever subjected Jason to the Catalyst, he’d be unstoppable. It was too dangerous to keep Jason a prison here, and frankly, Janessa couldn’t bear the thought of her Alpha suffering a lifetime in this figurative cage. He had suffered enough in his relatively short life, he deserved his freedom and Janessa had enough faith in the man to believe he’d use that freedom for great things.
With consequences aside, Janessa also saw this as a positive play. Jason would be free along with his in depth knowledge of the Organization and the Director. If he partnered with Nico and the others, they’d be powerful enough to take down their enemies – maybe even free Janessa and Jackson in the process! In the meantime, the young boy would be safe under the Director’s protection and his mother would have her hands free to take out her enemies.
With all of this in mind, the Feral took a deep, reaffirming breath as she took the Director’s hand and sealed her fate. Janessa knew the deal had been struck the instant she felt the heavy weight settle on her shoulders – as if the Director’s authority were a physical burden keeping her down. The Feral wondered briefly whether Jason would feel that same burden lifted now that he was free.
[b “As soon as I’m healed, I’ll bring you Jackson.”] She promised, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to kidnap the child while she recovered from surgery. It might take a few days and a lot of pain killers, but Janessa was sure she’d be able to push through the pain and sneak into the base by the end of the week. Keelyn and the others will expect some sort of a betrayal from her, but likely not that soon. She wanted to get in and out with as little confrontation as possible.
[b “Jason’s probably on his way back… will I be able to say goodbye?”]
Jason stayed silent while Raven put the pieces of Jason's arrangement with the Director together fairly easily, thinking about what the feral was saying about the nature of the pack bond that Jason and Janessa shared. It was powerful, that much was obvious, it had driven both Jason and Janessa much closer together and the Empath had wanted to protect his pack mate far more than he ever thought he would. Jason wasn't an idiot, as soon as he realised what the pack bond meant to Janessa he had wondered what would happen to her if he died. This was an unusual situation that they found themselves in now, maybe no other feral had ever been in the same position before; Jason was the alpha of a feral pack but was not a feral himself. Would him being an empath and lessen the pain of losing an alpha...would it make it worse?
[#1473b7 "I will not let that happen"] Jason's repetition was firmer this time, it seemed that he truly would try and stop Janessa from trying to save him.
[b "You might not have a choice."] Nico had to admit that he agreed with Raven. If Janessa had her way she would strike a bargain with the Director before Jason ever knew what was happening. The only comfort was that she probably had not finalised the deal just yet, he found it hard to believe that Jason would not know if he was released from the Director's service. With the disappearance of Jason Raven voiced her concerns and as hard as it was to admit Nico had to think that she was probably right. He did have a blindspot when it came to those he loved. He had promised Janessa that if she ever tried to hurt any of them he would put her down and he had agreed to that but he didn't know if he could. He had imprisoned Jason all those years ago but he had come a long way since then and if he was being honest with himself he didn't know if he could do the same thing now.
[b"Raven's right, we should all move somewhere else. We've been here far too long anyway and while we don't know what's going on with Janessa we do know that Jason is definitely an Organisation agent and we don't know what the Director's agenda is so we don't know what Jason's agenda is either. We can all stay until Delta is strong enough to be moved but then we should probably find somewhere else to lay low for a while."] It was with a resigned sigh that Nico agreed with Raven's assessment of the situation. They had to move and quick, and while he hated thinking of Janessa being used as a tool to track and hunt down her friends but the reality was that Janessa would be doing whatever she was ordered to, regardless of what she thought of her orders.
The Director evaluated everything that he was hearing as Janessa made her proposal and he had to admit that it was a most tempting offer. He would be gaining much. The loss of Hyperion would be hard to take, he was as far as the Director knew a unique super and the ability to retain multiple powers was incredibly valuable but not completely irreplaceable. Janessa offered him both the feral White Tigress and the Heiress Janessa Pierce, both had their uses and would further his cause and ambitions. They were good offers but not enough to let go of Hyperion but then she played her ace and revealed that she was willing to give up her nephew.
Jackson Pierce was an incredible specimen and Janessa was right, with the child in his grasp a whole new realm of possibilities was open to him.He didn't particularly care who cared fro the child as long as he had control over the kid's abilities so letting Pierce care for the kid meant that he wasn't giving up anything. She would even collect the child for him, it was all terribly convenient. Her last terms about keeping her friends secrets did not concern him either, they were small fish and he had much bigger ambitions than them. If he never saw them again it would be of no matter to him. Pascal and Bennett might be obsessed over the group but not the Director. He weighed up the terms of her bargain carefully before reaching a decision...and held out a hand
[#ce0d27 "Very well Ms Pierce, I accept these terms and consider this bargain struck."]
There were many strong reactions around the room – the sister, Keelyn, the best friend, Cody – but the first to lash out at the revelation was Raven. Having already been on a short fuse from Tech’s release and Delta’s condition, the news that her former Packmate had been blackmailed by the enemy and was now considering another deal set her off.
[#880088 “She’s been dealing with the Director since she got her senses back? You’re telling me she’s been working with that creep for months?! My god, that’s why Hyperion’s working for the Organization, isn’t it?”] Raven made the connection easily enough, despite having never been told of Jason’s agreement with the Director. She turned her Feral eyes on the Empath, the anger practically radiating off of her.
[#880088 “You struck a deal with the Director and that’s why you’re working for him.”] It was more of a statement than a question. Raven already had all the confirmation she needed.
[#880088 “We’ve lost an Alpha once before. Janessa made a mistake that got him and one of my other Pack members killed. The pain of severing that bond was almost unbearable, especially since she blamed herself. I at least had Delta but Janessa was alone. She barely survived that loss; she won’t put herself through that again. If she thinks she can save her new Alpha, she’ll do whatever it takes. Chances are, she’s already made a deal with that Bastard.”] Raven growled, once again unwillingly letter her concern for her former pack shine through. She wasn’t quite as indifferent towards Janessa as she wanted the Pierce girl to believe. Her previous distrust for Hyperion was growing. How could he leave his Pack alone with such a dangerous enemy? Did he underestimate just how much Janessa would sacrifice for the sake of her Pack?
As the Empath vanished into the darkness the group was left shaken by the recent series of events. The Tanners watched their little brother turn his back on them and seconds later learned that their close friend could be meeting the same fate. Keelyn was silent, gravely pondering the thought of her sister taking Jason’s place in the Director’s line up. Raven seemed to be the only one able to voice her thoughts as her angry, bitter tone cut the tension in the room.
[#880088 “None of you are safe here anymore. Like it or not, Shadow, you’ve got a soft spot when it comes to the people you love. The Kid nearly killed Delta and threatened Tigress, and you just let him walk out of here without a second glance. Hyperion is actively working for the Organization and you welcomed him into the safe house with open arms. Now, there’s a good chance Janessa’s already being ordered around by the Director. For all we know, he’ll order her to kill us all in our sleep, and by the sounds of it, she won’t have a choice but to comply! If it comes to that, someone needs to take her down and I don’t think you’ve got the nerve to do it. This place isn’t safe so long as Janessa, Hyperion, and the Kid know where we are. As soon as Delta’s strong enough, I’m taking him somewhere those three traitors can’t find us. I suggest you do the same.”]
[hr ] Janessa had been waiting for this discussion for months now, though she had hoped it would be under far better circumstances. Janessa had wanted to project the image of a strong, fierce, unbeatable heroine that the Director could use as an irreplaceable asset – lying broken and in pain on a medical cot was definitely not the image she was going for. That being said, Janessa had realized over these past few weeks that it wasn’t the heroine White Tigress that the Director was interested in. He seemed to have far more use for the charismatic heiress, Janessa Pierce.
[b “You know I have something better to offer, or you wouldn’t have agreed to see me. It’s also no coincidence I wanted to speak to you without Jason. He won’t forgive me for this… none of my friends will. But that’s all part of the deal.”] Janessa started. She knew that she was an invaluable asset to the Director’s campaign, especially now that she survived a very public assassination attempt and would still be willing to risk her life attending another press conference in support of the Director. But that alone wouldn’t be worth losing Jason as an asset, especially with the conditions she wanted to put in place to ensure he never found himself in that same position again. She had to sweeten the pot and doing so would mean crossing a line she could never come back from.
[b “I know Jason is an asset and that the price of his freedom will be high. I’m willing to pay it so long as Jason goes free, no strings attached and no future deals. He goes free, unharmed and uncommitted.”] Janessa started, not wanting this to turn into a circle of her and Jason making deals to protect one another. This had to end with her, it was the only way to ensure Jason was set free before the Director could use him to eradicate the rest of her team.
[b “In exchange, I can guarantee you’ll get elected for this and any future campaigns. You’ll have White Tigress working for you behind the scenes – I’ve already proven my worth as a mercenary – and you’ll have Janessa Pierce backing your political campaign, using my influence to sway the voters and get you into circles you have no chance in accessing without me.”] Janessa said, knowing that as enticing as this may be, it would not be enough for the Director. He could already have everything she mentioned if he ordered her around through Jason’s Alpha authority. She needed to offer him something he would never have without her help.
[b “Finally, I’ll bring in my nephew. While just a toddler, Jackson has already proven to be a powerful Super. He can influence an entire room of people, manipulating their emotions and motives to his own needs. With a little training, he could make the entire voters’ pool turn to your favour. He could stop your enemies from wanting to hurt you, he could make your followers unwaveringly loyal. I’ll tell the public he’s my son and with the two of us backing your campaign, no one would stop you.”] Janessa stated, putting her own flesh and blood on the line. She did so with a heavy heart and a guilty conscience, but her motives weren’t entirely cruel. She could protect Jackson here. The Director wouldn’t let any harm come to his secret weapon and the boy would be safe from the many people that wanted her sister and her team dead. She just had to ensure certain conditions were put in place.
[b “If you send me to collect my nephew personally, it’ll give you the added bonus of severing all ties I have with my team. They won’t trust me if I take Jackson. They won’t forgive me for taking the boy from his mother, nor will they ever think to rescue me in the future. I’ll bring you Jackson and I’ll coach him myself so he’ll do anything you ask. My only condition is that he stays with me and that I can take care of him any time I’m not on a mission. As long as no harm comes to him and that he’s not treated like a prisoner while he’d here, Jackson will be able to help you get what you want.”] Janessa offered, taking a deep breath as the words left her mouth. It was too last to take it back now, the deal was already on the table. The Director would get two Supers in exchange for his Empathy, both of which able to offer him something Hyperion wouldn’t be able to. The Director would be trading brute strength for something far more subtle and arguably more invasive. But Janessa would have the relief of knowing her Alpha and her team were safe… Nico would b safe. And Janessa would finally be able to shake the nightmares of seeing her Alpha kill the man she loved, the man Jason once thought of as his brother!
[b “That’s my offer… Jason goes free, no strings attached and no future deals. I also get permission to take care of my nephew whenever I’m not on a mission as well as your guarantee that he’ll be treated well, protected, and not caged like those Supers in the cells of the Organization. Finally, any secrets I have regarding my friends, they stay secret. I’m already losing my freedom and my team, I won’t put them at any further risk. In exchange, you’ll get me in Jason’s place – both as White Tigress and Janessa Pierce – and you’ll have access to my nephew’s abilities. You’ll have my guarantee that you’ll win any election you run in. You’ll have my full cooperation – no hidden motives, no escape plans, no revenge plots. Two Supers for the price of one. That’s my proposition.”] Janessa knew they wouldn’t have too long to consider it. Jason would soon realize that one of the reasons she sent him away was so that she could speak to the Director alone. He’d be back any moment and if the deal wasn’t struck before then, he’d simply order her to resend the offer. It was now or never.
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."]
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