Nico could see that the young technopath was still terrified by his ordeal at the hands of Bennett and the Organisation, maybe he would never be the same. Whatever the boy had been through had deeply scarred him. [i You can’t fight them, you’re not strong enough!”] Those words rang in Nico's ears and for whatever reason it got through to the dark elemental and he knew what he was dealing with. He knew that feeling of not being strong enough, of having no hope and being powerless to stop whatever you were up against and while he had let himself believe that for far too long he was not going to allow Dylan to feel that way when he didn't have to.
[b "Bennett has known what you are capable of for a long time now and she's always wanted you for herself. That's nothing new. You're probably right Dylan, we probably aren't strong enough to win but if that's the case then we'll lose together."] Nico was a pragmatic thinker most of the time and would usually try and do the sensible option in any given situation but family was more important than anything else. Nico had resigned himself to a life that was most likely going to be cut short by death or being captured by the Organisation but if possible he would stop that reality for Dylan. The group was stronger together and whether that was enough to survive in the end was questionable but in the end it didn't really matter, as long as they were together was all that was important.
Delta spoke up in defence of the youngest Tanner sibling and did what he did best and calmed the room a bit Nico shot him a grateful glance and gave a nod of thanks. Sometimes he wondered how Delta and Raven could ever get along, one was hotheaded and completely ruled by her emotions while the other one was calm and collected. It was incredible and maybe the feral had talked Dylan into waiting for a small time and not to go off running right now, if not well Nico had another idea, one that he himself used to calm himself down. With the revelation that it was a super called the Catalyst that had caused Janessa and Dylan to lose control was a major cause for concern, after all if this figure was there when they went after the organisation again then they risked being a danger to themselves and their friends. If Janessa went feral again, if Cody got stuck in a wall or disappeared completely, what if Nico was stuck in the shadows and couldn't escape and what the hell would happen if Jason came into contact with the Catalyst...that was a disturbing thought.
[b "At least now we know what we're dealing with, and that people are not just randomly losing control of their powers and that there is a reason for all of this. In any case we're all safe for the moment and I'd like to keep it that way."]
Michael was relishing his new promotion to Bennett's position while she recovered from her savaging at the hands of White Tigress. Everything was going well for the undercover super while he rose through the ranks of the research team at the Organisation at a phenomenal rate. With the Catalyst Project a resounding success and Bennett not able to closely monitor his choices for the next stage of the project Michael had chosen another two supers that were completely loyal to him and the Sanctuary and would be useful to his eventual plans of overthrowing the Director. He had been pushing for a meeting with the Director almost as soon as he had assumed his new post and taken responsibility for Bennett's duties. This was an opportunity that could not be allowed to pass without being seized. This was the greatest gift that the leader of the Sanctuary had been given. Michael knew that Jason had access to the Director but that was not an option for him to exploit, the Empath was too close to Janessa Pierce now and her feelings for the Charmer were far from friendly, maybe once he could have exploited their past together but that ship had sailed, there needed to be a different way to gain his meeting. Maybe his new role would gain him that meeting sooner rather than later. All it would take was one meeting for Michael to weave some charms onto the Director and get an opportunity to turn the man into his puppet. He was so close to his endgame and having the entirety of the Organisation at his fingertips. Shadow and the other members of that ragtag group might pose a problem but once he had the power, and more importantly the information that he had searched so long for, there would be nothing that could stand against him.
Dylan backed away from the group, looking almost like a cornered animal. His eyes darted between the others and his exit as if calculating his chances of making a run for it. Knowing it was pointless- he’d never lose them unless they let him go - the Technopath’s only chance was trying to bring them to reason. His head was still pounding from the effects of the Catalyst and the residual data that burdened his mind made it hard to stay focused. The poisonous combination of Bennett’s manipulation and the Catalyst’s abilities left the once calm and collected young teen in a state of pure panic!
[#ff6622 “You don’t understand! Bennett saw what I could do! She wants that power for herself! As soon as she’s back on her feet, she’ll send them after me! You can’t fight them, you’re not strong enough!”] Dylan argued back, realizing by the mixed expressions that only Cody, Janessa, and Laura would understand what he was talking about. They were the only ones, aside from Andrew, who had faced the super-charged Supers back at the Organization, and only they would know that these Supers were on a whole other level! Unfortunately, those who understood the dangers were far too loyal to Dylan to cast him out, and those who didn’t couldn’t fathom the danger they were in, which meant that despite his warnings, none of his friends were safe!
[#ff6622 “It’s not an oversight Nico, I know the risks of going out there on my own. I know they’ll find me and drag me back to that Hell, and I know… I know what they’re going to do to me once I’m there. But at least it’ll just be me! I’m the only one that has to get hurt, and if I’m there, then I won’t be here screwing things up for the rest of you!”] Dylan could see the objections on the lips of his siblings, but was a little surprised when his main voice of support came from someone he hardly knew.
[#008800 “The Kid’s willing to put his life on the line to protect his pack. That’s admirable and loyal, and takes more courage than a kid his age should even need. And for any of you hypocrites that think it’s a stupid play, it’s exactly what any of us would do if we were in his shoes.”] Delta stated, casting a hard glance across the crowd, almost daring anyone to correct him. He’d heard stories about each of the risks they took for their friends and family, with Janessa and Nico both having run from the group at one point or another to protect the people they cared about. Delta didn’t particularly want the kid to run off – he still felt a little guilty about his own part to play in Dylan and Andrew’s capture – but he knew that pressuring the Technopath was only going to push him out that door faster. Judging by what Dylan was saying, the kid’s confidence was shot and it was going to take a different approach to make him feel like it was alright to stick around.
[#008800 “Leave, stay, it’s your decision, Tech. But we’ve got time, at least a few hours until the Organization can track us down. Why don’t you tell us what you know? Shadow’s got a point, they’ll come for us whether you’re here or not, so you might as well tell us what we’re up against.”] Delta asked, seeing the subtle changes in the kid’s expression that told him he’d won. Tech was only leaving to keep his friends and family safe, so if he thought that staying long enough to share his knowledge would help them, he’d do it.
The Technopath shifted uncomfortably under the watchful eyes of the gathered crowd, trying to sort through the overwhelming mass of data swimming through his mind until he found the information that would help them. Dropping his eyes to the floor, Tech did his best not to shudder at the memories as he began to speak.
[#ff6622 “Bennet’s got a Super locked up in her lab. She calls him the Catalyst. I’ve never seen anything like him... he can amplify the abilities of any Super around him. That’s what he did to me.”] Tech explained, unable to keep from wincing as he recalled his first experience with the Catalyst. Still rather traumatized from his exposure to the mysterious Super, Tech couldn’t bring himself to share what he went through with the whole group. He wasn’t ready to tell them how terrified and vulnerable he’d felt. Instead, he shook away the memory and tried to focus on the facts.
[#ff6622 “The Catalyst makes Supers’ abilities stronger, making them into perfect, unmatchable weapons for the Organization. But if they ever step out of line, the Catalyst can overload their abilities and actually turn it back on them. Imagine Nico getting swallowed by darkness, or Cody fading into nothing… the Catalyst can do that with a single thought!”] Dylan admitted. Had his eyes not still been firmly glued to the floor, he would have seen the glimpses of understanding spreading throughout the group. This explained the fight back at the Organization: the speedster that was so much faster than Emma was and the Illusionist who could make visions so real you could feel them. It explained what must have happened to Janessa. If she had been affected by the Catalyst, she would have felt that surge of power before inevitably losing control of her humanity. It also explained how Dylan was able to reach every piece of tech in the city and get his warning out to the group. Even without admitting it aloud, the group would know that the ability overload Tech mentioned must have been from personal experience.
[b "Enough Raven!"] Nico barked the command and while he knew that the feral didn't need to comply as he was not her alpha it would be wise of her to heed his words. Nico couldn't, wouldn't, do anything to harm Janessa on the scale as monumental as killing Jason would cause. Nico had accepted that a few small hurts to her were unavoidable and probably necessary in the long run, especially with Jason's involvement, even the simplest of matters involving the Empath would complicate matters. Nico watched as almost faster than he could have followed Janessa slammed Raven into a wall, her eyes burning brightly with resolve. Nico felt a flood of appreciation towards Janessa as she defended him but he had no need of her help, if it came down to it Nico could destroy her by exposing her to the Shadow realm if he so wished. The dark elemental respected Janessa's devotion to her alpha and he wasn't so sure that Jason was as big a hinderance as Raven believed. Jason was dangerous, there was no doubt of that and he was constrained by his relationship with the Director but was he corrupted? Nico doubted it.
Thankfully Cody seemed to have a cooler head than either of the two arguing ferals and tried to deescalate the situation or at least move the topic of discussion away from Jason and onto Michael. The density shifter was right Michael was in a prime position to seize control of more of the Organisation. He would naturally assume Bennett's position and likely with his abilities and new influence he could probably advance himself to within a stones throw of the Director himself. If Michael could gain that kind of access and charm the Director...that was almost too unbelievable to think about. How much damage could Michael do with the Organisation behind him. Nico was snapped out of his dark musings by Janessa, prompted by the baby Jackson, and found the still injured Dylan trying to make his way down the stairs and away from them all, it was refreshing to know that some things never changed, Dylan still thought that he knew better than everyone else when it came to looking out for everyone else.
[b "Come on Dylan, you're smarter than that. They'll come after us whether you stay with us or not so you might as well just stay."] if everyone was being honest it didn't matter one bit what any of them did, maybe Laura was the only one that had any bearing on the situation. She had Michael's ear and his confidence, the rest of them were a band of outcasts and misfits that were all just trying to survive. Michael was making a play for one of the most powerful entities in the world; The Organisation.
[b "Besides you're making one very crucial oversight, it's not safer for everyone if you go, it's more dangerous for you."] Nico might still be angry with the boy and if he was honest he still believed everything that he had said to the boy and he wasn't sorry about it. What the boy said might well be true, the rest of them probably would be safer without the youngest Tanner sibling but whatever the reality of whether they would be safer without him, Dylan was one of them. He was one of them and there was nothing that could be done to change that. Nico's biggest fault had always been his loyalty to his friends and while Dylan might put them in danger he was still one of the group and Nico would defend him every time that he needed to, he would fight against everyone and anything that threatened his friends and nothing would ever change that.
Nico’s tone was final and his words were firm, which would have been enough to dissuade anyone in the room to drop their argument at that moment… anyone aside from Raven. The arrogance of the young Feral took Nico’s words as a challenge, daring her to press the issue far enough to see his resolution break. She knew his reluctance to kill Jason was born out of care for Janessa, and he was right to worry about her. Violently tearing the pack away from their Alpha like that would be torture for Janessa. It would rip her soul the same way it had the day their old pack fell. What’s worse, if Hyperion died by Shadow’s hand, then the betrayal alone would crush Janessa’s spirit. But even broken and shattered, Janessa would find a way to pick up the pieces. It may take years, but she would pull herself together again, just like she had before. She would survive… which was better than the alternative. If the Director took charge of Hyperion, and he in turn gave his orders down the line to his Pack, who knows what Janessa might be forced to do. She might recover from losing Jason, but would she recover if she was forced to kill her friends? Her sister? Nico? Raven wasn’t willing to put their lives and Janessa’s sanity on the line for one two-faced Super. If they couldn’t break the Director’s hold on Hyperion, then he had to die.
[#005500 “If there is a cancer, growing in your body, you cut it out! No matter how painful, no matter how scarring, you obliterate the threat before it spreads!”] Raven hissed back, though her metaphor shed some light on what she was suggesting. In instinct, she sensed the other Feral’s attack before it happened, but she still allowed Janessa to shove her against the wall. Whether it be the after effects of the Catalyst or the intensity of the Pack bond, Janessa’s eyes shone with an animalistic fury, taking extreme effort to maintain her control.
[b “Don’t you dare raise your voice to Nico and don’t you EVER threaten my Alpha!”] Janessa growled, infuriated by the smug look that flashed through dark-haired Feral’s eyes. Raven glanced over Janessa’s shoulder and met Nico’s eyes, seeing Janessa’s extreme instinct to protect Jason as confirmation to her own stance. Tigress would do anything for her Alpha which was incredibly dangerous if her Alpha was as corrupt as they’d been led to believe.
[#005500 “If only you felt this loyal to your first pack.”] Raven taunted back, getting in a sharp dig while she could. The two were rather forcefully separated by Delta and Cody, both men recognizing that this was not the time nor place for their petty grudges.
[#112288 “Nico’s got a point. We’re all under a lot of pressure right now, we need to relax. Let’s try to calm down and see where the pieces fall. Hyperion’s not a threat to us, at least not right now.”] Cody pointed out. Jason was powerful and incredibly dangerous, but while he sided with them, those qualities would work in their favour. As much as Cody distrusted the man, even he couldn’t deny that Hyperion had helped them out of numerous tight spots in the last several months. If he did one day turn on them, he’d be an impossible force to face, but they would just have to cross that bridge when they came to it.
[#112288 “Thanks to Janessa, I think Bennett will be out of commission for a while. Michael is deep undercover in the Organization and Laura says we can trust him. With Pascal still struggling for power, this fiasco will shake him. Bennett and Pascal aside, this may be Michael’s chance to do some real damage from the inside.”] A youthful cry interrupted the discussion and several eyes turned towards the youngest member of their team. Even so young, Jackson’s abilities were strong enough to pick up the shifting emotions in the room. He had covered his eyes seconds before Janessa had advanced on Raven, and relaxed into the soothing tone of Cody’s explanation, but now the child seemed agitated. He whined and pointed towards the hallway, not having the words to tell the surrounding adults about the wave of fear and desperation hat he felt there. With Andrew resting and the rest of the group all huddled together in conversation, there was only one person these strained emotions could be coming from.
[b “Tech?”] Janessa cast a concerned glance towards Nico and Cody before stepping towards the hallway. Dylan had already made his way down the stairs and staggered though the hallway, passed the living room which held his family and friends, and was only a few shaky strides from the front door by the time he was caught. Had he not been slowed by the pain of aching muscles and cracked ribs , he could have been out that door and disappeared by now.
[#112299 “Dylan wait! You can’t leave, Kid, you’re still hurt! Come on, Little Brother…”] Cody tried to coax the youngest Tanner back from the door, being as gentle as he could, but the Density Shifter was caught completely off guard by the fear and anxiety in the young teens eyes when he turned to face the group. While Dylan’s eyes were clear and lucid – no longer dazed and confused like his first few hours here at the safe house – he still looked almost as fearful of his friends and family as he was of Bennett back at the lab!
[#ff6622 “No, it’s not safe! They’ll come after me… they’re too strong! They’ll kill you if I stay! Just like Emma… just like Kate… I can’t let it happen again! I can’t let anyone else die because of me!”] Dylan pleaded, wanting to run and risk being out there on his own rather than risk his friends, just as the Pierce sisters predicted. Dylan wasn’t a fool. He knew if he ran he wouldn’t get far. His sister could find him no matter where he tried to hide, and Nico could simple Shadow Travel him right back here to the safe house if he wanted. But if they saw how desperate he was, maybe they’d let him go? They had to know how dangerous he was to be around. Maybe they were too soft to admit it, but they had to know! They were good people… too good to simply abandon him for their own protection, but if he was desperate to leave anyway, why would they stand in his way? Dylan’s eyes combed the group until the fell on the one person he thought would understand.
[#ff6622 “Tell them Nico! Tell them it’s too dangerous for me to stay! It’s safer for everyone if I’m not here! You know it’s true!”] Dylan pleaded, even going so far as to reference the fight they had just before he and Andrew were captured. But his words held none of the bitterness and sting that was present during their earlier exchange. This time, Dylan was speaking as if he truly believed what he said. Just as Keelyn feared, something had broken the boy’s spirit and all he wanted now was a way out.
[b "The truth is that right now all we can do is speculate about what the Organisation has up it's sleeve. It could be some piece of technology or some kind or serum, hell it could even be some sort of unique super or any other number of things that we can't even think about. To be honest there isn't much point speculating when we have so little information, we could end up convinced that it's one thing only to be blindsided when it turns out to be something else."] There were however some of the Pierce sister's points that were true and could not be ignored. Dylan was most definitely a flight risk at the moment, the kid would run at the first chance he got if he thought that it would save his friends. The kid was far too noble for his own good. The hardest thing about Dylan blaming himself was that in a way he was right... it was his fault that Andre and him were captured, and he did bear part of the blame for Emma's death. He was however completely blameless for Kate's death as there were only four people who could take any blame for that; Boyd, Bennett, Pascal and Nico himself.
Janessa sounded out the idea of maybe contacting Jason to find out what was going on with this secret weapon that could force any super to lose control of their abilities when Raven objected in no uncertain terms and Nico had to admit that she made some convincing arguments. If Jason knew, and the dark elemental found it difficult to imagine that Jason had been kept in the dark about anything, then why hadn't he let them know what was waiting for them all. he had had any number of opportunities to tell Janessa or he could have told Nico, Raven and Delta when he helped them rescue Andrew. It was certainly odd.
[i “Raven, he did help us get to Lucas and Andrew. If Tigress and Shadow trust him…”] Delta's voice spoke up and Nico had to fight to keep his face straight. Janessa trusted Jason wholeheartedly but that was part of the pack bond, she was required to but Nico wasn't so sure if he really did trust the Empath. The two didn't try and kill each other on sight now which was more progress than it probably should have been but beyond that Nico still wasn't sure what to think. Yes Jason had helped them when they had needed them in the past but he had also snapped Nico's neck without hesitation and that took a lot to get over. The man had wanted to kill his own sister and Nico had never, could never forgive him for that not to mention that even if they ignored his past and everything that he had done...He was still an agent of the Director.
[i “I was wrong before. There’s only one way to truly protect her from her Alpha. You know what we have to do.”] Nico could not believe what he was hearing from Raven, in the short time they had known each other he had learned that Raven was one for action and the bolder the better but she had been adamant that killing an alpha was out of the question, the risk to the pack was simply too great. To hear her advocate for such action now was jarring and quite frankly frightening. First of all Nico wasn't sure that he could kill Jason, his one time best friend was more powerful than he was, there was no getting around that and even if he managed to beat the Empath in a fight...could he really kill the man? He had been ready to do it once when he had wanted to take Kate's abilities for himself but after everything when it had come down to it he simply could not do it. He trapped him in a hellish prison and that hadn't kept him locked away like it should, somehow he had gotten out and was driven tot he Organisation. What was more was that he wasn't sure if he could bring that pain on Janessa, she trusted Jason with her life and the bond between them was strong. Nico didn't really understand the pack bond but he knew that if Jason died then Janessa would be in unimaginable pain and grief would consume her. It was not an attractive option to take.
[b "Raven that's not a viable option and you know it. I will hear no more of that suggestion. Let's all just take a moment and relax. We wait for Dylan to regain his senses and then we proceed from their. We can't just stumble around blindly, that's what the Organisation wants. As bad as the Organisation are they are at least smart, we won't be able to use this plan to break in again, they will tighten up their security so if anyone gets captured we will need to think of something new. Why don't we all just take a moment to breathe."] As much as he had rebuked Raven's option of killing Jason and as much as he hated it he did need to consider that course of action very carefully. One day it might just be the only option left.
Healing Dylan was a long slow process, yet despite her impatience to have the boy back on his feet, Janessa couldn’t bring herself to rush her sister. She could tell that Keelyn was pouring everything into her attempts to heal the Technopath, even with her own ailments. Kellyn was not quite at her own strength yet after waking from that coma, and her efforts to cure each of the injuries that tricked in left her tired and worn. She hadn’t had enough time to heal herself from Nico’s stab wound before she started in on Dylan, so it was understandable that the Transference Healer was taking longer than usual. If Janessa hadn’t been so worried about the boy, she would have insisted that Keelyn take a break hours ago – let the injured deal with their own wounds for a little while and give herself a chance to recover. But with Dylan’s shaky physical state and his psychological trauma, Janessa was pretty desperate to have the youngest Tanner healed.
The young teen still wasn’t fully recovered by the time Keelyn came to speak with the group, but it was evident that if she kept up this pace, Keelyn would land herself back in another coma. Until her rapid recovery set in and bettered her own condition, Dylan would just have to struggle through the remaining aches, pains, and bruising.
[#aaaa00 “I hope you’re right Nico, but I don’t think it’ll be that simple. I don’t know whether it was the illusionist, or something that Bennett might have said or done to him, but something has seriously damaged that boy’s view on reality. He told me it was his fault I was in a coma. Said it was his fault Andrew was captured, his fault Emma was killed, he even blames himself for Kate… We need to keep a close eye on that boy.”] Keelyn told the group, echoed by her sister’s whole hearted agreement.
[b “Kee’s right, we can’t let Dylan out of out sight. If you guys are worried about me bolting after what I did to Starform and Bennett, just imagine what’s going through Dylan’s mind? If he thinks we’re safer without him, he’ll leave. He’s done it before.”]
With that unsettling thought, Janessa struggled to focus on the rest of the conversation, until Keelyn shared a piece of information that, shockingly, provide a small bit of hope. If Dylan was affected like she was, then whatever caused them to lose control was inside the Organization. It was a person or thing that influenced them, not just their own internal demons. That meant it could be stopped. Then again, Nico was right. Dylan was a tough kid, not scared by much. If he was this alarmed about whatever the Organization had, then it was something they couldn’t afford to take lightly.
[b “If he knows… we might not be able to wait until he’s feeling up to talking to us. None of us want to pressure Dylan until he’s ready, but it the Organization has a weapon strong enough to make both Dylan and me lose control like that – especially with heightened abilities – we need to know about it. For now, maybe I should track down Jason. He might know what the Organization is planning.”] Janessa suggested, not surprised 9though not any less annoyed) to hear a bitter scoff from Raven. It did, however, catch her off guard to see the intensity of Raven’s disapproval and even anger at the suggestion!
[#005500 “You can’t possibly be that stupid! If your Alpha knew about this weapon, he should have told you. The fact that he’s kept his trap shut about this obviously means he’s protecting the Organization! He can’t be trusted Tigress!”] Raven insisted.
[b “I know how it looks Raven, but I trust Jason. There’s a lot you don’t know… it’s not easy for him to act against the Director, but trust me, he’s on our side!”]
[#880088 “Raven, he did help us get to Lucas and Andrew. If Tigress and Shadow trust him…”] Delta tried to chime in. He knew that their standing in this group was shaky at best. Whatever credit they earned by helping in this rescue mission would be wiped away if they put up too much resistance, and so far it looked like Raven was the only one hesitant to trust Hyperion.
[#005500 “Oh, he’s a great guy, aside from the fact that he’s the Organization’s little pet! An Alpha is determined by dominance and strength, and normally with enough will power, a Pack can resist their Alpha and break that bond. But Hyperion? He’s not a Feral! He’s got 10 times the strength and power of a regular Super, far more than he needs to keep his Pack in line. Janessa’s not strong enough to break the Bond just like Delta and I weren’t strong enough to resist it! Hell, if Hyperion wanted, it would have taken just one single word to force us into his pack! If he can’t be disobeyed then his word is law. And right now, his word is the word of the Director!”] Raven argued, knowing by the downturn of Delta and Janessa’s eyes that they couldn’t deny it. All of this would be far less of a concern if Hyperion was free from his binds to the Director. If he was his own man, then his personal values and morals would guide him to protect his pack and his influence over then would be concerning but still manageable. With the way things were: the Director could give Hyperion an order and he could defer that order to Janessa. The Feral woman wouldn’t have a choice but to obey!
Raven looked directly to Nico, recalling their conversation the first time they met: there were three ways to break an Pack’s bond with their Alpha. She told him that Janessa could either disobey, that Hyperion could dissolve the pack himself, or the Alpha would have to be killed. Now, she didn’t see any other option if Hyperion wasn’t willing to let Janessa go.
[#005500 “I was wrong before. There’s only one way to truly protect her from her Alpha. You know what we have to do.”] Raven told Nico. What would have seemed cryptic to everyone else in the room, Raven knew he would understand. Their choice was clear: either leave Janessa vulnerable to a corrupted Alpha or find a way to kill Hyperion.
[b "Raven's right Janessa, you better not be thinking about skipping town on us, besides there is no way you'd be able t outrun us. Sarah could find you wherever you went and I could Shadow Travel there in an instant. Whatever happened back there we'll deal with it together."] Nico entwined his hand in hers and held it reassuringly, letting her know that whatever happened he would be there to support her. Nico didn't believe that Janessa could just lose control on her own, she was a good person and it must have been something that the Organisation had done. If anything Nico was more likely to snap and go into a blind rage, he had done it with Pascal when he saw the man, he had lived in a rage for years when Kate had died and he had killed Nightmare as well. Nico believed in Janessa and he was sure that as long as she was with people who cared about her then she would be absolutely fine. He simply would not allow Janessa to believe that she was a danger to her friends and family.
[b "That's the only good thing about it. It's just sad that he had to suffer like he did. It was horrific what they were doing to him and I know the Organisation were bad but even I didn't think that they were capable of that. They need to be stopped and I'm going to make sure that they are."]
Nico stayed with Janessa while they waited for Keelyn to finish her work on Dylan, the boy had had a rough time at the hands of the Organisation and it was taking even longer considering the breaks that Keelyn needed to take for her rapid healing to take effect and allow her to continue healing the technopath. While they all waited Nico made a few Shadow Stones as his previous store of the useful items had been depleted. Time seemed to drag on as if they were in the Shadows waiting for Keelyn to finish healing Dylan and eventually gave them an update.
[b "Keelyn is right Cody you should give him some time. He was put under an enormous amount of strain and he needs to rest. Andrew does too for that matter, he wasn't beaten as badly as Dylan but he wasn't entirely unscathed. After all he did see what they had done to Lucas and that would take a toll on anyone. When Andrew is ready we will let them talk and once Dylan knows that Andrew is alright he will probably be more open to accepting that we're all here and no one is in danger."] The dark elemental was secretly dreading being face to face with Dylan in his right mind again, would the kid blame him for everything that had happened? Nico probably would have if the positions were reversed. It was better that Cody and Sarah spoke to him first anyway, they were family after all and Janessa was practically a sister to the technopath. Then Keelyn said something that piqued his interest.
[b "He knows what happened? If that's true then we absolutely need to find out, we simply can't afford to be caught unawares by that again. What if it happens to me or Cody next time or even all of us at once. It would be disastrous. Dylan's a pretty tough kid and if something has him worried and scared then it's serious."] Nico knew that Dylan Tanner had faced. He had dealt with Hyperion, his parents, Michael and the Organisation, he was a very tough kid and anything that caused him this much distress was serious and Nico would listen to him. The kid might be young but he had a good head on his shoulders. Whatever was happening the group would need to be on their guard.
Ruling out the use of a toxic gas wasn’t as reassuring to Janessa as one might think. Without any other explanation, the Feral was starting to worry that maybe something was wrong with her. If it was something external that drove her to lose control, then simply finding the cause and limiting her exposure would fix the problem, but if this was just Janessa’s Feral instincts taking over…
Janessa took a step back from Nico, suddenly feeling uneasy being so close to someone she loved. What she did to Bennett was horrific and the thought of any of her friends or family falling to that same fate was something Janessa was desperate to avoid. Nico’s recollection was right, the only time Janessa had fallen into a craze like that was at the Organization years ago. Back then, only the orders of her Alpha could reign her in, and Janessa had to assume the only difference this time was that Laura had snapped her out of that frenzy before she had lost her mind entirely. If it happened again and Jason wasn’t around to suppress that Savage side of her, who knows what kind of damage she could do!
[#005500 “Better keep a leash on her, Shadow, I know a runner when I see one. And Tigress, don’t you even think about bolting! You know Delta and I will just drag your Feral butt back here kicking and screaming.”] Raven challenged, recognizing the unease in Janessa’s eyes. No one had any explanation for the Feral’s savage behaviour, but Raven was less willing to believe her former packmate had just lost her grip on humanity. Something had affected her back at the Organization and, like Nico, she figured it had something to do with the Technopath’s sudden burst in powers before their rescue.
Not at all relieved by the insistence in Raven’s tone, Janessa stared intently at the floorboards, wondering if there was someway to distance herself from her loved ones for their protection, just in case what happened at the Organization happened again. The only thing that shocked her out of her deep thoughts was Nico’s next confession. Janessa’s sharp, Feral eyes raised to meet Nico’s as she stared in shock for several seconds. She didn’t know Lucas well, but he had been so kind and generous when they were in need. Sadly, the man’s good nature was never repaid as he was captured, tortured, and now killed. When she finally shook herself from her shock, Janessa rested her hand against Nico’s cheek in a tender gesture.
[b “Nico, I’m so sorry. These last few years, if we had only known… The only grace I see is that he’s not in pain anymore.”] She whispered.
[hr ] It took hours for Keelyn to heal the most severe of Dylan’s wounds. The process should never have taken so long, but not yet at full strength, Keelyn kept having to take breaks from the healing process and let her own rapid regeneration stitch back the damage she was taking from Dylan. So far she had mended the internal damage, the fractured skull, broken arm, and many of the open cuts. He still had several darkened bruises, soreness in his muscles, and the lingering mental daze from his encounter with the Catalyst which, but he was no longer in life threatening condition.
Keelyn left Dylan to rest, rubbing her own ribs as she felt the pain of cracked bones that were mercifully no longer Dylan’s to suffer through. Once again, at the young teen’s insistence, Keelyn stopped her work and took a break to recover. With one hand around her aching ribs, Keelyn made her way over to the others, finally able to give them an update.
[#aa0000 “The Kid went through hell. It’s a good thing you got him out of there when you did. His ribs were broken inward, crushing his lungs, I doubt he would have survived another beating.”] Keelyn admitted, noting the horrified look in the eyes of the older Tanner siblings. Her gaze drifted over to the others – two Ferals and an Elemental from Michael’s Sanctuary that Keelyn wasn’t yet prepared to trust, and the couple that she felt had no business being together. Her younger, more naïve and impulsive self might have brought these concerns to the surface, but for now, she would settle for keeping a close eye on the Santuary’s members and holding her tongue about her sister’s relationship with the Elemental.
[#aa0000 “I’ve taken a lot of the physical damage, but I can’t heal the psychological pain. He’s still pretty dazed – not sure what’s real. Looks to me like he had a bad run in with an angry illusionist. He’s not trusting anything he sees right now. “]
[#112299 “He’s going to be ok though, right? I need to see him.”] Cody insisted, only to be stopped in his tracks by Keelyn’s halting hand.
[#aa0000 “He doesn’t want to see any of you, at least not yet. He said you shouldn’t have gone after him. He didn’t want you risking your lives for him. The only one he’s been asking for is Andrew. I think the Kid wants to make sure the Telepath is alright. He said it was his fault Andrew got caught in the first place.”] Keelyn stated, feeling a slight twinge of guilt at the fear and concern written all over Sarah and Cody’s expressions.
[#aa0000 “There’s something else too… I think the Kid knows what happened to Janessa back at the Organization. He seemed pretty freaked out. Whatever it was, it’s got him scared.”]
[b "It's not too bad, Keelyn has dealt with the worst of it."] The dark elemental was far more concerned with how Janessa was coping, he remembered what he had been like when he had beaten Pascal to a pulp, he had shattered the man's face and left him on the brink of death. Nico always knew he was capable of that, he had a darker side to him as was to be expected given his particular abilities but he had never expected that of Janessa. She might be more in tune with her more primal animalistic instincts than most but even so she had never acted out in such a violent or brutal way. It scared him.
[b "No, Raven and Delta were unaffected. it was only you Janessa. I've only seen it happen once before, the Organisation used a sort of adrenaline gas to heighten everyone's abilities and cause everyone to go mad but I don't see how that could be a possibility in this case. Only one person was affected, Cody and Laura were both fine so it can't have been the gas again."] It was a troubling conundrum, the dark elemental just couldn't see anyway it could be the adrenaline gas again, unless they had found a way to refine it somehow but even that seemed unlikely. From what Janessa and Cody had told him about what had happened when they were attempting their rescue of Dylan even if the gas had been modified so it only targeted a single person there was no obvious way to get it into the feral's system. It was a troubling mystery.
[#19701e "I miss being around you as well Cody. You're right Michael will be at the Organisation for some time yet and while I'll have a lot of work to do to keep things running in his absence a few days rest staying here with you guys wouldn't be so bad."] Laura wanted to make sure Dylan was ok, the kid still seemed pretty spaced out and Starform just wouldn't feel right leaving without knowing that Cody's little brother was alright. Starform glanced over at Dylan and Keelyn who was with him. The kid was extremely agitated and with the injuries that the kid had, he could end up making everything worse.
[b "Janessa I saw Lucas. The Organisation had him captured and tortured. There was nothing that could be done for him, he's dead now."] Nico didn't tell her that he was the one to actually end Lucas Lee's life but it really was the Organisation that had made it the only course of action available to him. As far as Nico was concerned it was the Organisation who had killed Lucas and that was one more person that Nico would bring down the Organisation for. Their hands were stained with blood and one way or another Nico would make them pay for it. It was at times like this that Nico wasn't sure if Michael had the right idea. The Charmer was a manipulative bastard and undoubtedly dangerous but he would never torture someone the way that Lucas had to endure. Even Michael had lines that he wouldn't cross. Dylan's frantic behaviour was getting worse but the dark elemental wanted to stay as far away as possible, after all it was because of him that Dylan was captured in the first place and after everything that Dylan had been forced to endure this torture and whatever had caused him to send out the warning message across every electronic device in the city...
Dylan's message and Janessa's savagery were connected. It couldn't be a coincidence, whatever had cause Dylan's power to increase enough to reach every electronic device in the city was the same thing that has caused JAnessa to lose control of her senses and let the feral side take over. When Dylan was in a fit enough state that would be the first question Nico asked the young boy. It was too dangerous not to know.
Still shivering from a mix of shock and adrenaline, Janessa clung to Nico’s shirt as soon as he was near enough. Following the familiar voice, her wide, savage eyes found the dark swirling orbs of the Elemental – eyes that had once been so eerie and unnerving, but over the years had become a source of comfort. Staring back into those eyes, Janessa was finally able to ground herself, using Nico as an anchor so she could force herself back into control. Her breathing gradually evened out and her shivering grew far less pronounced. Her senses were beginning to lesson as well: the overwhelming sights, sounds, and smells dulling to a far more manageable level for a Feral. It was then that Janessa was able to distinguish the various scents of blood in the room and her eyes fell immediately to Nico’s wounded side.
[b “You’re hurt…”] The Feral’s voice was little more than a whisper, but it portrayed all her worry and concern. She reached out to check on his partially-healed wound, but the sight of Bennett’s blood on her own claw-like nails made her retract her hands. Janessa remembered how shaken Nico was after he had nearly beaten Pascal to death during their last encounter, and now she had come nearly as close to crossing that line with Bennett!
[#005500 “What the hell happened back there?”] Raven’s demanding tone cut in, interrupting the two. Delta was close behind her, both Ferals looking at Janessa with wary concern and barely restrained anger. Something in Tigress’ behaviour had clearly started them.
[#005500 “She went Savage! That doesn’t happen to us, not unless there’re extreme conditions! Tigress, what happened to you?”] Janessa was a little startled by Raven’s question. She tried to think back to the Organization, trying to remember what had sparked her loss of control, but nothing came to mind.
[b “I felt… powerful. My senses were so much clearer than normal, and I could react so much faster. I felt like I was invincible at first, but then… Everything just kept growing. My eyes, my ears, my nose… everything hurt, and all I saw was red. I nearly ripped Bennett to shreds…”] Janessa had no explanation for what happened to her.
[b “I can’t believe I lost control like that! Was it something in the building? Were Delta and Raven affected too?”] Janessa asked. It wouldn’t be the first time Bennett had used chemical warfare to turn the Supers against one another. But the other Ferals seemed perfectly normal – albeit a little unnerved after seeing the horrific fate of the Seer and watching Nico offer him the only mercy he could – a quick and painless death.
[#112288 “Laura, Michael attacked you! He sent those Supers to…”] Cody stopped himself from arguing, since he knew he wouldn’t change her mind. Laura trusted Michael and right now, questioning that trust would only drive a wedge between Cody and Laura. Now that the Density Shifter was starting to build back his friendship with the Elemental, he wasn’t willing to risk that bond for the sake of casting doubt.
[#112288 “Alright. If you say it was all an act to keep his cover, I’ll believe you. I still don’t trust Michael, but I trust you. I’m just glad you didn’t get hurt too badly.”] Cody told her, making a conscious effort to dampen his anger towards Michael for Laura’s sake. Even if she was right about Michael, it still didn’t justify the man’s actions in Cody’s eyes. Michael may have allowed them to escape, but for the past several hours, he had allowed Dylan to be beaten and Andrew to be tormented without lifting a finger to help them.
[#112288 “Whatever Michael’s plan is, it looks like he’s going to be pretty immersed in the Organization for a while. While don’t you stay with us for a few days? We could use the reinforcements until everyone’s recovered from this, and it could give you a chance to get to know the group. To be honest, I really miss having you around.”] Cody offered. It wasn’t long before his attention was drawn back to the couch where his little brother lay.
[#aa0000 “Dylan, calm down! You’re safe! It’s just me!”] Keelyn was spoke softly, trying to reason with the young teen, but since Dylan had regained consciousness, he was frantic! His eyes were wide and unfocused, still disoriented from his experience with the Catalyst, and with his recent encounters with Bennett and her small army of super-charged Supers, he couldn’t seem to grasp that he had been rescued! While Keelyn had taken some of the more serious damage from the boy, Dylan was still sporting several broken and fractured bones, deep bruising, and numerous lacerations that Keelyn hadn’t managed to transfer yet. Her main concern now was that, in his frenzie, Dylan might be causing far more pain to himself.
[#ff6622 “N-no! No more illusions! It’s not… n-not real! Voodoo’s c-coma! T-Tigress’ dead! Andrew taken! My f-fault… my fault! Just leave them alone!”]
The stab wound in Nico's side hurt but thanks to Keelyn's attention the wound was no longer serious, it would be tender for a few days and would leave a scar but beyond that the wound was dealt with. There was no need for keelyn to completely heal all of the damage, after all this wasn't the worst injury that Nico had sustained, he idly thought about the first time that Keelyn and the dark elemental had spoken; Nico and Janessa had just broken Keelyn out of the Organisation and Hyperion had blasted Nico with a fireball and snapped his neck. It hadn't been the best of days but thanks to Keelyn he had survived that particular ordeal. Nico jumped off the couch so that Dylan could take his place and get his healing as soon as possible, the kid looked in a bad way and Keelyn needed to get to work straight away. The dark elemental was incredibly guilty over the whole ordeal after all Dylan ran out after the two of them had an argument and Nico had said some pretty harsh stuff but Nico had other concerns.
He rushed over to Janessa, the feral was shaking and had a strange look in her eye, Nico Wrapped his hands around her and looked straight into her eyes, they were still a little wild but he could see more of the woman he loved in them than he would have seen if he was with her at the Organisation. The Catalyst's influence was lessening but a trace amount of it seemed to remain.
[b "Janessa, focus on me, my face, my voice. Everything is ok, everything is fine. We have Dylan, we have Andrew. Slow your breathing and calm down. Everything's ok."] He was worried about her, whatever had happened back at the Organisation had affected her deeply and he would need to be there for her if she needed him. She was strong but even the strongest of people needed help. While Nico comforted Janessa Cody had gone over to Laura and the two of them were talking.
[#19701e "It's alright Cody you don't have to thank me. You know that I'll always be there if you really need me and that counts for your family as well. I know you're not going to believe me but Michael didn't turn on me, that was just how it was meant to look. Michael wanted to help free Andrew and Dylan but he needed to keep his cover intact."] Laura knew that Cody wouldn't believe it, in fact it sounded so absurd and completely delusional, it sounded like she was in denial but Laura knew it to be true. Laura trusted Michael, she had for a long time and even if he may have crossed the line once or twice the ends always justified the means of his actions. What he was doing was for the benefit of every super in the city, in the country even, possibly even the world. If Michael managed to wrestle control of the Organisation from the Director then supers would stop being captured tortured and killed simply because of who they were, it was a noble cause. Laura saw the necessity of taking a few hits to preserve that cover and with it continue to give Michael a fighting chance at gaining control of the Organisation.
The Organisation was in a commotion and Jason was loving it, a bit of chaos every once in a while never hurt anyone and especially when it would give him everythinb that he wanted. The Director was furious, they had finally managed to capture a telepath and a powerful Technopath and not only are they stolen from right under the Organisation's noses but one of his top researches is badly injured and a top secret programme is infiltrated and compromised resulting in the death of a Seer. it was complete unmitigated disaster.
[#06b9ea "Let's face it Director it's time for things to change. Ever since Pascal had that little run in with Shadow and needed healing he has never been the same, his judgement has been poor and his methods questionable. he's been compromised and in my opinion no longer an asset to yourself or this Organisation. It's time to let him go. Naturally Bennett would be the obvious replacement but she seems...indisposed at the moment. Tigress really did a number on her..."] A hint of pride entered Jason's voice at the mention of White Tigress, after all she was a member of his pack. This was his chance, Pascal had failed miserably and Bennett was out of commission at least for the immediate future, Hyperion and Michael were two of the most senior acting agents currently with the Organisation right now and if Jason played this right he would be able to destroy the Organisation and get revenge on them for what they had done to Kate.
As the guards filed into the room, Cody did his best to keep them away from his brother. Cody could tell by a first glance towards Dylan that he had some broken bones, possibly some internal damage, and was battling more pain than any young teen should ever have to face. It made him sick to this his brother had suffered all of this alone and all the elder brother wanted to do was wrap the kid in his protective arms and make sure Dylan knew he was safe. Unfortunately, any form of comfort would have to wait as Cody couldn’t drop his guard. Under Bennett’s orders, the guards were intent on killing the Technopath, so Cody couldn’t afford to let even one man slip past him. So far, things seemed to be under control. Janessa had gone after Bennett and Starform was keeping the reinforcements as far from the Tanners as she could, at least until Michael and his minions arrived.
Starform may have trusted Michael’s plans, but all Cody saw was betrayal. Michael, working for the Organization, fighting to defend the woman that captured, tortured, and nearly slaughtered his little brother! He couldn’t see the elaborate plans behind the Charmer’s actions, and simply assumed that Michael had turned on them, and worse… he turned on Starform! Cody had hoped the close bond Michael still had with Laura would have kept her safe, the Leader simply stood by while his Feral attacked one of his most loyal followers! Unable to leave his little brother unprotected, Cody turned to Tigress, hoping she could watch out for Starform, only to find that Janessa had completely lost control!
Janessa felt a feral rage building inside her, fueling her every attack as she dug her claw-like nails into the researcher’s skin. The wet, metallic scent of blood was heavy in the air, though it didn’t seem to drown out the other scents in the room the way it normally did. Despite the blood, Janessa could smell everything: the dried mud on Cody’s shoes, the shampoo from Laura’s hair, even the subtle scent of heated fabric from the Speedster as the friction of his movements wore against his clothes. In fact, every one of Janessa’s senses was sharper: the lights were nearly pulsating with current, the alarm, though deafening moments before now couldn’t conceal the softer sounds of footsteps in the hall or Dylan’s raspy breathing. As her senses grew, her humanity lessened. The blaring sirens and blinding lights became more and more painful, only adding to Janessa’s rage and all sense of rational thought was melting away with every strike! If Janessa hadn’t been so far gone already, she would have recognized this transition – she might have even seen the young boy locked in his own cell on the other side of the lab, staring at the Feral with intense focus as his own abilities seeped into her mind.
Under the influence of the catalyst, Janessa was growing more powerful, but also losing all sense of control. It wouldn’t be long before the savagery took over completely and left Janessa just as overwhelmed and lost as Dylan had been mere hours before. Even now, Janessa was having a difficult time distinguishing friend from foe. As Laura tore her away from Bennett, Janessa’s first instinct was to snap back at the Elemental, slashing her claw-like nails towards her with the same ferocity that she had shown Bennett.
As Laura and Janessa rejoined the team, Cody lifted Dylan into his arms as gently as he could, afraid of causing the boy any further harm. Every movement caused another hiss of pain from the young teen and Cody had to wonder how so much damage could have been done in only a few hours! He was so focused on the pain contorting his brother’s face that he hardly noticed the disorienting trip back through the realm of light. For Janessa, however, the intensity of Laura’s abilities hit her hard enough to cut through that savage instinct and snap her out of the Catalyst’s spell.
When the four arrived back at the safe house, Janessa all but collapsed to the floor, shaking and panting with the effort of reigning in her Feral nature. The last time she had lost her grip on Humanity was during Bennett’s cruel experiments, the day Jason took his place as her Alpha. It should only happen in extreme circumstances – the fact that she had lost such control this time was terrifying to the Feral! She would have killed Bennett if Laura hadn’t intervened, and even then she had turned her violence towards the Elemental who was only trying to help! What if her savage side had turned against Laura completely? Or Cody? Of Dylan?! It was a paralyzing thought!
Cody wasted no time in carrying his brother to the couch and resting his little brother on the soft surface so the healers could do their part. Keelyn wasn’t quite finished with Nico’s wound - the blood staining her own shirt proved she had taken at least some of the damage, enough that it wouldn’t be life threatening – but the raspy breathes and tortured moans from the teen called for her immediate attention.
[#aa0000 “I’ll finish healing this later. I need to check on the Kid. Do me a favour and make sure Janessa’s alright? She looks pretty shaken up.”] Keelyn told Nico, excusing herself to go and tend to Dylan. Cody didn’t want to leave his little brother’s side, but Keelyn insisted. She needed space to work, and Cody wasn’t nearly as practiced as Sarah was at tending to wounds. The oldest Tanner would be all the help Keelyn needed and Cody would only be in the way. After a very brief but sharp exchange of words, the Density Shifter surrendered and reluctantly removed himself from Dylan’s side. Instead, he found his way back to Laura wanting to make sure that the guards hadn’t hurt her too badly.
[#112299 “Laura, are you alright? I’m so sorry, I had no idea Michael was going to be there! I can’t believe he sent his Supers after you!”] Cody apologized; anger still laced his tone when he thought about Michael’s ‘betrayal’.
[#112299 “I don’t know how to thank you. Keelyn said, just at a first glance, if we hadn’t brought Dylan back when we did, he wouldn’t have survived. I almost had to burry my little brother right beside my sister… If you hadn’t helped us, we never would have reached him in time. I owe you so much.”]
While this wasn't the first time that Cody had used her abilities on Starform, it had happened on a few occasions when they were both back at the Sanctuary, she had never gotten used to the unpleasant sensation of being moved through solid matter, it was certainly worse than moving through the light. As the three supers burst into the observation cell, the fight was on. Cody barrelled through the first three guards knocking them to the floor while Janessa moved over to the small, twitching body of Dylan Tanner knowing that her senses were compromised due to the bright lights. Laura took out two other guards with enhanced blasts of light from her hands, knocking them against a wall with a loud thud. Dylan Tanner looked terrified that Janessa was here to save him, it didn't make any sense until the kid started talking about how they should have gone after Andrew instead of him. It was incredible, most people would just be glad that they were getting out of a place like this after being beaten brutally. He was just like his big brother.
[#19701e "Cody, let's get out of here now!"] Laura shouted at the same time that bennett called for reinforcements and the alarms started going off, the sound was deafening, as skilled as Janessa was in combat, the loss of both her sight and hearing would severely impact her ability to contribute her, thankfully all that really needed done was to get Dylan out of the Organisation. Out of nowhere a black blur flew past Bennett and slammed into Laura knocking her clean off her feet, she landed hard as a groan left her mouth. The blur stopped moving to reveal an all too familiar face, Tempo, one Michael's trusted supers and a friend of Satarform's. This was confusing until three more people burst into the small observation room; Zeke, Mirage and Michael himself. What the hell was going on here? These three were part of Michael's inner circle, Mirage was an excellent spymaster using her illusions to extract every relevant information from anyone Michael required while Zeke and Tempo were frontline soldiers. Out of the corner of her eye Laura saw Michael give her a quick wink and while she might not understand what was going on but she trusted Michael, he always had a plan.
The only saving grace was that as a feral Zeke was as debilitated as Janessa was with sight and hearing taken away from him as well. As Laura picked herself up from the floor she rose to a most unsettling sight, Janessa was savaging bennett. She was like a wild animal, totally given over to her animalistic urges as she ripped the researcher apart. It was frankly sickening. This had gone far enough, Laura might hate the woman because of all they stood for but she wasn't about to stand idly by while a person was murdered. Starform took a few hits from Tempo that hurt but would do no lasting damage but to anyone watching it would look like the super was doing all in his power to stop the light elemental. Starform dived through the light in order to get to the other side of the cell so she could interfere with Janessa's mauling of Tara Bennett. With all her strength around Janessa's arm she pulled the feral off the woman and had to fight to keep the feral off the bleeding woman, it wouldn't stay that way for any length of time, Tigress was physically stronger than Starform and in a minute or less Janessa would be able to break her grasp and finish killing Bennett right here and now, although given the severity of her wounds she might die anyway. Laura did a complex weave of light and threw Janessa through a portal landing her back next to Cody and Dylan before diving in after her, and in a deft movement took Janessa and the two Tanners in her grasp and sped them back through the light landing in a crumpled heap on the floor in front of Sarah Tanner.
Laura was bruised and sore from her ordeal but at least the could see that Andrew was being tended to by a healer, Nico was with Keelyn who looked to be healing a stab wound to his side, hopefully now that Janessa was away from all that stimulus in the Organisation she would calm down and get back to normal. Nico was surprised by the sudden appearance of the other team but at least they brought Dylan back, the dark elemental felt like he could sleep for a week and his side where he was stabbed was on fire with pain despite Keelyn's help at healing the injury.
[b "Dyan, Laura, Cody, you're back! Are you all ok?"]
[#005500 “If you think we’re going to leave a packmate behind just because it’s a little dangerous, then you clearly haven’t been a Feral for very long.”] Raven retorted with an arrogant smirk. The immediate threat dissipated slightly, now that she could get a good read on their guest. Hyperion was well known in the Sanctuary so both Raven and Delta were very aware of how deadly the Empath could be. The fact that the three of them were still breathing now was evidence enough that this man didn’t intend to hurt them… at least not yet. Still, the potential was there. Despite Raven’s daring retorts, she didn’t dare let up her defensive stance. She could still sense the authority of the Alpha emitting from the Super in waves and she refused to drop her guard and leave both herself and her team vulnerable.
[#005500 “Well then, you’d better find a way to break those shackles, Hyperion. You can’t be a leader when someone else is tugging on the leash. You can’t be Tigress’ Alpha AND the Organization’s pet.”] Raven hissed, ignoring the cautionary warnings from Delta.
[#005500 “Take my advise, Hyperion, either find a way to sever your ties with the Organization, or sever your bond with Janessa. You’d be doing her a favour. The longer you keep up this charade, the more danger you put her in. Trust me, if she dies because of you, you I‘ll never forgive yourself. Consider that a ‘thank you’.”] Raven returned, findally falling silent once she spoke her mind. Delta pulled her back away from Hyperion, not wanting to test the Empath’s patience and certainly not wanting him to renege on his promise to open the door. Right now, Hyperion was their only way in!
As soon as the door opened, the Ferals turned their full attention to the fight. This would be the first time Nico would have seen the Ferals working as a Pack, and their teamwork was flawless. Raven and Delta were perfectly in sync, instinctually knowing where the other was in the room making it seem like the fight was choreographed! Aided by the darkness and their heightened senses, the Ferals were easily able to keep pace with the hindered, red-clad women while Nico made his way towards the hostages.
Once their enemies were down, the Feral closed ranks around the others, constantly guarded in case reinforcements arrived. Neither interrupted the solemn scene as the Seer begged for the mercy that he had been deprived of so many times before. When Nico granted his wish, ending his suffering with a single, painless strike, Raven and Delta shared a mournful glance. They knew the Seer’s death would not fall easily on Nico’s conscience and wished there had been a way to spare both of the hostages lives. Not wanting to make the scene any harder on the Elemental, neither Feral made any fuss when he reached for their hands and pulled them into that terrifying world of darkness. They left the overbearing smell of blood behind and returned once more to the comfort of the safe house.
[#ff00ff “Andrew? Thank goodness! Are you ok? And Dylan, did you see…? Is he alive?”] Sarah was the first to great the returning rescue party, followed closely by and the healer that had accompanied the Ferals from the Sanctuary. While the Healer went straight to Andrew, prepared to take care of any wounds the Telepath may have, Raven was quick to grab the attention of the Transference Healer.
[#005500 “Hey Blondie, you should probably take a look at the Hero, over there. Shadow went and got himself stabbed. And don’t you dare deny it Nico, I can smell the blood from here.”] Raven pointed out, not letting the Elemental hide his injuries from the group. Keelyn hurried to his side, ready and willing to help.
[#aaaa00 “Take a seat Nico, let me heal you. What happened back there? You look like you just went through hell?”]
As the minutes dragged on, Janessa grew more and more concerned about their plan. She could tell by the tension in Cody’s stance that hiding here and listening to his baby brother getting beaten was worse than torture, and she feared for Cody’s self-control. He flinched at every strangled cry and pained moan that escaped the cell, and Janessa wasn’t sure how much longer the Density Shifter could last before he took matters into his own hands and Phazed right through that cell wall!
[b “Starform, we don’t know what condition Tech will be in once we get in there. If it’s bad… you need to get him out. Phaze and I can hold out until you or Shadow can come back for us, but the Kid… he’s our priority. If things look bad, get him to my sister as quickly as you can.”] Janessa asked, though her request sounded more like a plea than an order. It was clear that she was just as affected by Dylan’s pain as Cody was and the thought of being too late to save the boy was killing her. Still, Janessa knew that Dylan would never forgive her if she acted too soon and risked Andrew’s life in the process of saving him. Needless to say, Nico’s voice echoing through the communicator came with an overwhelming sense of relief.
[b “Be safe Nico. We’ll see you soon.”] Janessa answered back, barely managing a nod to her partners before Cody rushed ahead. He grabbed Janessa and Laura’s wrists and shifted all three of them straight through the wall of the observation cell. As expected, the instant the rescue party arrived, Bennett’s began screeching for security. Janessa threw her arm over her eyes, trying desperately to shield them from the blinding light, while the unaffected Density Shifter sprinted for his little brother. Fueled by rage and desperation, Cody shifted his entire body into stone and barrelled into the three of guards surrounding the young Technopath. He wouldn’t be able to hold them all off for long, but at least he gave his brother a few brief moments of reprieve.
Dylan was curled up on the floor, barely conscious. A steady drip of blood slipped from his mouth with each raspy breath, his right arm wrapped around his shifting ribs, while his left lay at an awkward angle at his side. The most concerning was the uneven rise and fall of Dylan’s chest, the unfocused daze of his eyes, and the fact that – despite the fighting around him – Dylan was hardly moving! Still blinded by the lights, Tigress used her other senses to guide her to the injured boy, knowing that Starform and Phaze could handle the guards themselves. She knelt beside Dylan and brushed a gentle hand through his blood-matted hair, surprised to find the boy reacted to her touch with utter fear!
[b “Tech, it’s ok! We’re here, we’re bringing you home!”] Tigress whispered, alarmed by the Technopath’s choked response.
[#ff6622 “N-no! N-not… not m-me… An-Andrew… S-save Andr…”] Dylan begged, struggling with every word. If he had any more to say, Janessa couldn’t hear it. Bennett had struck the alarm, alerting the entire building of the break in. Blaring sirens deafened the Feral, now eliminating two of her heightened senses, making her nearly useless in a fight. The alarm would bring more guards, both human and Super, that would quickly outnumber the small rescue party and judging by Bennett’s orders, surrender would not be an option.
[#666677 “Guards! Get in there! Don’t let them escape! Oliver! Where the hell are you?! Get your team of Supers in here now! Kill the boy! The Technopath will NOT leave that cell alive!”] Bennett shouted through her com, so her orders would resonate through the halls of the Organization. Janessa’s eyed narrowed viciously at the woman, just as a strong hand gripped her shoulder and shoved her through the Observation glass. Cody shifted the Feral through unscathed, freeing her from the blinding light and giving her the opportunity to silence the scientist while he and Starform protected Dylan.
As soon as she was free from the cell, Janessa lunged at Bennett with savage intent, letting her humanity slip and giving full control to the Feral inside of her. Sanity lost in the moment of range, Janessa was practically ripping Tara Bennett apart, heedless of the woman’s screams. Even as more guards entered the room and tried to tear her away, Janessa fought ruthlessly to get back to her target. Though she would regret her bloodlust later, at the moment all Janessa cared about was stopping that vile woman from ever harming her family again!
Jason looked out at the three people standing in front of him and he gave that half smirk that only he could perfect, like he was in on a joke that no one else knew yet. The Empath knew that something was going on even if no one else in the Organisation did, he felt Janessa as she entered the Organisation because he was so attuned to her as a member of his pack and then again because as soon as she entered the building his own senses had heightened alerting him to the presence of a feral in the Organisation and when those heightened senses were working overtime he had picked up Nico's familiar scent. At that moment in time Jason might be the only member of the Organisation that knew that they had been infiltrated. He took a lot of pleasure in the look of surprise on the Dark elemental's face. The companions that he had with him were obviously ferals as well, it was the way they held themselves and the look in their eye, and although he didn't understand it he knew that neither of them had an alpha and that they used to run with Janessa. Jason didn't know how exactly he knew that but he was certain that he was right.
[#06b9ea "Look what we've got here. Somehow I knew i'd find you skulking around. You really shouldn't be here, this is probably the most dangerous place you could be, except maybe in the Director's office. You won't like what you find on the other side of that door."] Jason turned to look at Raven, and studied her as carefully as a person could, his eyes taking in everything about her, there was some deep, primal part of his mind wanted to bring these two ferals into his pack but he suppressed that particular urge.
[#06b9ea "This one's perceptive, yes I'm her alpha but she didn't send me. I'm not here as her alpha...and luckily for you I'm not here as a part of the Organisation either. I'm still my own man, even if they have me shackled and bound in chains, I'm still me."] Hyperion had a high security clearance and as a result he knew that the Telepath was being used in conjunction with Lucas Lee and his regiment of torture in order to see if they could make sense of his fragmented visions. Jason felt sorry for Lucas, it was inhuman what those bastards were doing to that innocent man. For nothing more than having an interesting and rare ability he was reduced to barely existing and every waking moment being agony. Nico might not know that Lucas was in that room but Jason trusted him to do the right thing when he saw the man.
[#06b9ea "I'm going to open that door for you so that you can do whatever it is that you are here to do. I don't know what that is and I don't want you to tell me. Consider it a gift."] What Jason said was right on the line of what was permitted by his oaths to the Director, he didn't know absolutely what Nico was doing, he might suspect, but if he didn't know for a fact then he had the finest margin to work with. He had to stop the Organisation from being harmed but as it stood he was not sure that the Organisation would be hurt by Nico's actions...as long as Jason found the loopholes then he might just manage to see this place destroyed. He would do that for Kate.
[b "Janessa, get ready to rescue Dylan, we're moving on Andrew in 3...2...1...NOW!"] Nico relayed his message as Jason punched in the last number on the keypad and the door to where Andrew was being held opened up. Nico gathered up all the shadows he could, which was a good thing he did as the bright lights illuminating the room caused him to falter for the briefest of moments. The room was not what he expected at all, instead of a jail cell and heavily armed guards all he could see were women, in skin tight red leather suits holding knives and other brutal instruments of torture and two other males. Andrew and...Lucas? Nico barely recognised his friend, he was covered in blood and half healed cuts, every other portion of his skin not cut open showed scars. It was horrific. Two of the four women in the red leather lunged at him, knives in hand and tried to cut him down, Nico was used to fighting highly skilled Organisation agents and supers so he didn't expect them to be so fast or skilled with those blades. Nico threw the darkness to cover the lights and plunged the room into darkness knowing that the ferals would be able to see perfectly well without the light. Unfortunately as Nico plunged everything into darkness one of the bitches in red leather took her knife and plunged it into his side, pain flooded the dark elementals body as the steel punctured his body and his blood spilled onto the already bloodstained floor.
Glancing around Nico could see that Raven and Delta were handling themselves well, even if these women were skilled there was simply no way a normal person could keep up with a feral, they could just react much quicker than their opponent and eventually they managed to disarm their opponents and leave them unconscious. With Andrew free and ready to go Nico finally went over to Lucas.
[+red "Nico...It's been a long time. I see you, or I saw you, it's hard to tell sometimes. I see so much. You were surrounded by...light, so bright it was blinding but that wasn't all. There was a choice you had to make. Please, end it all for me. I can't take another moment living in such pain. Kill me Nico..."] The dark elemental's heart was breaking listen to Lucas speak and curious as to what the Seer's vision could mean. While he didn't have time to ponder that particular mystery right now he would have to think on it later but that wasn't important now. The real question was could Nico kill his friend, the kind of injuries that Lucas had were beyond even what Keelyn could heal and stay breathing and it didn't look like Nico could move Lucas and he's still be living in an hour. All it came down to was kill his friend or leave him living to continue being tortured. With a tear in his eye Nico took the shadows and sharpened them into a deadly point before painlessly thrusting it into Lucas Lee's heart killing him instantly. His friend was finally at peace.
[b "Janessa we've got Andrew and we're getting out of here. Get out as soon as you can."] With the stab wound in his side throbbing with excruciating pain Nico took Andrew, Raven and Delta into the shadows and back to Keelyn, Jackson and Sarah waiting for them.
Starform winced as she heard Cody's brother was being beaten badly, she wanted to help, to keep him safe that was why she was here after all. She was getting anxious, after all the longer they all waited the greater the risk that they would be discovered... until, finally thankfully they recieved word form Nico.
[b "Janessa, get ready to rescue Dylan, we're moving on Andrew in 3...2...1...NOW!"] Starform longed to hear those words and once they had been given the all clear she, Janessa, and Cody burst forth and began their rescue of Dylan. As soon as they saw it was Janessa and Cody that were attempting a rescue, the bright floodlights illuminated everything and if Nico was part of the rescue he would have been completely incapacitated...but they were't fighting a dark elemental this time. Brilliant, blinding white light flooded the room and Starform felt her power increase exponentially, a small smile crossed her face. This was going to be fun.
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