Shadow’s confession sparked an uneasy glance between the two Ferals. After the short trip they experienced to get here, there was no doubt in their minds that being trapped, alone in that empty void for any length of time would have been pure torture, but if the rumours were true, Hyperion had spent years in that hell! To think that Nico was willing to subject his own best friend – his brother – to that solitary made the Ferals wonder about their own fate. Nico was still untrusting of the two and there was a very real possibility that Delta and Raven were one small wrong move away from sharing Hyperion’s fate. Raven’s untrusting sideways glance showed she had no intention of allowing Nico to get that close. Delta, however, tried to live by his previous words. If they couldn’t at least attempt to trust Shadow, how could they possibly expect him to trust them in return?
With a simple nod to show Nico he accepted the man’s words, turned his concentration to the task at hand. It was very different working with the Elemental as opposed to any teams Delta had been on in the past. Eaven after joining the Sanctuary, Delta often requested to be teamed with other Ferals, trusting how the pack dynamic would play out on missions. Each Feral had the same skill set, the same strengths and weaknesses, and each could follow the instincts and motives of the pack. This meant that a pack of Ferals could operate almost wordlessly, relying on their bond to keep the entire team in silent synchronization. With the Elemental, silent cues and instinct-driven movements wouldn’t cut it. One more than one occasion, the Ferals were already in the process of slipping into hiding to avoid approaching guards, when Nico’s safety came as an afterthought. To their merit, both Delta and Raven took the initiative to warn the Elemental about the dangers they sensed, or simply pulled him back from a couple close calls. In return, Shadow showed them the same consideration when he managed to catch something the Ferals missed. It was a full team effort to get the three of them across the halls of the Organization undetected, and once they finally arrived at the elevator the Ferals both seemed far more at ease with Nico then they had when this mission began. That was the only reason the Ferals were able to swallow back their fear when Nico dragged them into the Shadows once more.
[#005500 “If we get out of this alive, I’m never so much as giving you a high-five again.”] Raven growled, trying to mask the quiver in her voice with sarcasm and smart-ass remarks as she pulled her hand away from Nico’s. The Shadow Realm clearly made both Ferals uncomfortable, but Raven was never one to boast her weaknesses. She shared a glance with Delta – both making sure the other was alright after their frightful experience – before turning her eyes back to the Elemental.
[#005500 “Woah.. easy there Shadow, you don’t look so hot. Are you sure you’re up for this? Because I’m telling you now, from what I smell coming from that room… this isn’t going to be easy.”] Raven’s tone was mocking and sceptical as usual, but it was the underlying note of concern that caught Delta’s attention, bringing him to cast Nico a worried glance as well.
[#880088 “It’s hard to tell… the scent of blood in that room is overpowering, it’s distorting many of the other scents. The blood – or at least most of it – doesn’t belong to the Telepath. There’s someone else in there who is in much worse shape than your friend.”] Delta explained, trying to concentrate on distinguishing the scents behind the unyielding smell of blood.
[#880088 “I have no clue how we’re going to get through that door, but once we do, we’ll have a small army of highly trained, lethally armed forces waiting for us. I think our best chance is for you to fill that room with as many shadows as you possibly can. Raven and I can see reasonably well in the dark, it might give us an advantage over the guards. We can keep them busy while you get the hostages out of there.”]
[#005500 “One thing’s for sure, we’re not getting in there undetected. Better hope Janessa’s ready to move on her side.”] Raven added. Fortunately, Janessa’s voice in Nico’s ear carried good news on that front. She and the others were in place, and could get to Dylan quickly if their cover was blown… and considering that alarming chime of the elevator, that may be far sooner than they’d hoped.
On an instinct, both Ferals crouched into a fighting stance, prepared to defend from whatever new threat stepped out from those elevator doors. Neither was prepared to see Hyperion standing in front of them, especially not with the air of authority that the Ferals instantly recognized as the stance of an Alpha. Raven was quick to put the pieces together: everything Nico had told her before about his concerned for Janessa’s new Alpha and his questionable allegiances, Janessa’s explanation before the mission that it was too little notice to contact her Alpha, and finally, the ease at which Jason was able to waltz into this secured wing of the Organization – Hyperion was not here as Janessa’s Alpha, he was here as an agent of the Organization, and as far as Raven knew, his loyalty to Janessa didn’t exactly include all of her friends.
[#880088 “You… you’re Tigress’ Alpha, aren’t you? I thought she couldn’t reach you? Did she send you to help us?”] Delta asked with an uncertain tone, looking to Nico for his insight on the sudden appearance of this man. Raven had already drawn her own conclusions and stepped defensively in front of the others with her Feral eyes returning Jason’s cold glare.
[#005500 “I guess we’re about to find out what’s more important to you: your Organization or your Pack.”] Raven challenged, bracing herself against the imposing authority of the Alpha. Hyperion had already proven his dominance months ago when he first claimed his place as Janessa’s Alpha. Raven wasn’t sure she was strong enough to fight him for that title. If it came down to a show of dominance and she lost, Nico could be finding himself alone, facing Hyperion’s newly enthralled Pack!
[b "It's alright Delta she's right. I did trap Hyperion in that darkness for years and believe me in that situation it was the best option I had. I'd do the same thing again, but I have never and would never trap Janessa in that place."] The dark elemental said nothing more about some of the more nefarious moments from his past. He had mostly moved past his decision to trap Jason in the shadows, he had punished himself about it for years and the guilt had almost broken him once but he did what he had to do. He wasn't going to let him hurt Kate, he had never let anyone hurt Kate if he could help it and he had never entertained the notion of killing his best friend. The only way he could ensure Kate's safety and keep Jason alive was to hold him in an impregnable prison and those Shadows were the best prison that he could think of.
Nico followed the two ferals through the immaculate corridors of the Organisation, he was reminded of the brief time that he was forced to work for those vile people in order to help Kate. It was one of many low points in his life but he had gotten through all of them. There were a few close calls with guards patrolling the place but with Nico's abilities to delve into the shadows and the ferals' natural stealth they were easy enough to avoid even if they were far closer calls than Nico was comfortable with. This wasn't like other missions they had been on, previously if they had been discovered there was always the option to fight their way out or if things got really rough just melt into the Darkness and run. This time it was different, if they were seen at all then it was all for nothing, Dylan and Andrew would probably be moved again, maybe out of the City and then they would never be seen again. Soon enough the three of them came to a locked elevator door.
[b "Well this is less than ideal. You say that Andrew is down? That makes things complicated, if only we had Dylan he would be able to make short work out of this. I've got an idea but it's not going to be fun."] This was something new that Nico was about to try, he had done it only twice before and only with himself so he was unsure how this new use of his ability would work. Messing around with elemental abilities could be dangerous especially if it involved the possibility of being trapped in an endless abyss of darkness. Nico took Raven and Delta by the hands and held on as tight as he could before he started slipping into the shadows, but he didn't take it all the way, he needed to leave part of himself in this plane of existence while he moved through the shadows in order to get past this security. It almost felt like his mind was being severed from his body. It was an intricate matter, and quickly enough he found himself sweating despite the oppressive chill of the realm of darkness. It took what felt like an age but eventually Nico managed to manoeuvre themselves through the Shadows and they found themselves in another eerily sterile hallway but now even Nico could tell that something was wrong and he was desperately worried about Andrew.
[b "Sorry about that but it was the only way that we were going to get past that elevator quietly."] The lights of this corridor were brighter and Nico could feel that he was weaker than before, as was to be expected when he was exposed to light, but that wasn't all. At the end of the corridor was a single door. Nico could see from here that security was tight, there was a retinal scanner and a keypad to input a six digit passcode along with however many people were inside the room. Even Nico thought that he could smell blood and hear hoarse moans of pain, almost as if the subject could no longer scream. Nico hoped that this wasn't what Andrew had been forced to endure.
[b "Raven, Delta how many people are in that room, can you pick up any scents and how should we get past that security?"] Just at that moment Janessa's voice came out of the communicator, a welcome sound that meant that so far she was safe and that everything was going to plan.
[b "We don't have eyes on him yet but he's close, Raven can tell us that much, maybe only one room ahead but we've hit a bit of a problem. We're not sure that we can get through the door quietly. I'm sorry Dylan is just going to have to be tough for a little while longer. Until we can get through this door and save to Andrew you can't move for Dylan."] It was at that moment that Nico heard a sound that made his heart sink, he had been so caught up talking to Janessa that he hadn't even been paying attention to the elevator and now that would prove a costly mistake. The elevator opened with a chime and outstepped Jason, eyes cold and looking directly at the Dark Elemental and the two Ferals. The only question that remained was would Jason help them or raise the alarm.
Keelyn watched the group as they discussed their plans. She felt a bitter sense of guilt that she couldn’t accompany them, but as she was still not at full strength, Keelyn feared she would be more of a liability on this mission than an asset. She would have to wait at home and prepare herself – if any of her friends came back injured, then she would do her part. Until then, all she could do was wish them luck and watch the exchange. While most of the group passed along a few well wishes and reassuring glances, it was Nico and Janessa’s more-than-friendly farewell that drew her attention. Before she had fallen into a coma, the relationship between Nico and Janessa had been turbulent. In fact, from what Keelyn remembered, Nico had just told Janessa that it was too dangerous for her to be with him thus putting a rather painful stop to their romance. Janessa had been broken hearted and Keelyn could sense that Nico was in pain from his own decision as well. She remembered snapping at the Elemental, chastising him for making such a stupid and selfish decision. She had guessed that the two had found a way to put that pain aside during the recent months based on their behaviour towards one another after Keelyn woke up, but she didn’t realize just how close these two were. Keelyn’s eyes narrowed at the two, feeling a protective disapproval over how they were acting. She didn’t want her sister to get hurt again, but her feelings regarding Shadow and Tigress’ relationship would have to wait until after the mission. Saving Tech and Andrew was far more important than her own judgements.
With a bid of good luck, Sarah and Keelyn watched as their friends and teammates disappeared into an equal contrast of Light and Dark. Janessa and Cody at least had prior experience to guide them, but from the moment the darkness enveloped the other ferals, Delta and Raven grew alarmingly tense. Uncomfortable and disorienting didn’t even begin to cover this terrifying experience. Sensory deprivation was frightening for an average human but to be deprived of a feral’s heightened senses for what seemed like hours, was almost more than the two could bear! It was a good thing Nico kept a tight grip otherwise the animalistic instinct to run might have been too bold to ignore!
Once they finally emerged, it took several long seconds for Raven and Delta to regain their bearings. Both instinctually flinched away from Nico, not ever wanting to experience that cold, detached feeling again. How Janessa managed to acclimatize herself to that Shadow Realm, her pack will never know!
[#550055 “I guess we know what all the fuss was about… rumour around the Sanctuary was that you trapped your best friend in that Shadowy Hell for years.”] Raven remarked feeling a little uneasy now that she knew just how horrific that fate would be.
[#008800 “Don’t believe everything you hear Raven. Rumours also stated that he trapped Tigress in there too, and that she lost her senses because of it. Well, her senses seemed to be working just fine, so that obviously wasn’t true. We can’t expect these people to see the good in us, if we don’t try to see the good in them.”] Delta, always the voice of reason in the pair, made a valid point despite being wrong on a few details. Neither of the Ferals knew about Janessa’s years in the dark nor her deal with the devil to get those senses back. Raven had guessed, by the questions Nico had asked her, that Janessa’s Alpha was less than trust worthy, but she had no idea how much danger her former pack mate was in with the Director.
[#005500 “Let’s just keep moving. We need to find the Telepath before Janessa finds the Brat, or else this whole mission falls apart. If our timing is off, people will die and I don’t want that blood on my hands.”] Raven’s bitter tone held a sense of determination as she stepped forward, taking in her surroundings. Both Ferals raised their heads, allowing their heightened senses to take in all they could. Above the sickeningly sterile scent of the chemical cleaners, they could make out the scents of several guards, far more concentrated in one particular area down the hall. Heightened hearing picked out the low murmur of conversation, the heavy footsteps of passers-by, and the faint but distinct sound of screaming coming from the same direction.
[#880088 “I smell the Telepath, but he’s not the only one. Someone is definitely in trouble down there. The security is tight… impossibly tight. Whoever they’re guarding must be pretty important to the Organization. We’ll have to get closer to check it out.”] Delta reported, pointing down the hall towards the source of the commotion. The small group was about to find their task was more dangerous than they intended. Andrew was currently being tested – threatened to use his abilities to get more from Lucas’ visions while the man faced his daily routine of torture.
Taking a moment to shake off her disorientation from that overly bright form of travel, Janessa instantly set to work on tracking Dylan. Having pretty much raised the kid since he ran away from home years before, Dylan’s scent was nearly as familiar to Janessa as her own. It took very little time to catch a brief whiff of the Technopath, able to overcome the same sort of hardship that her fellow Ferals were having finding Andrew. Unfortunately, the smell that reached her nose wasn’t exactly reassuring and the metallic tinge made Janessa cringe.
[b “Blood…”] Janessa muttered, hardly realizing she had spoken aloud until she felt Cody’s hand curl into the shoulder of her cloak.
[#112288 “What?! He’s hurt? Where is he?!”] The Density Shifter, understandably lacking his usual patience, felt his grip harden to stone with worry for his little brother. He had to take several breaths and calm himself enough to release Janessa, trying to reign in his panic and let his friends do their job.
[b “I know you’re worried Phaze, but try to stay calm. The blood might actually help us, it’s more potent… easier to track then Dylan’s normal scent. He’s definitely down there, towards the labs… looks like Keelyn was right. This reeks of Bennet.”] Jnaessa hissed, letting her senses lead the way. With Cody’s ability to slip through walls, Janessa’s natural stealth, and Laura’s ability to disappear into the light, the three were able to make a quick, yet undetected pack towards the labs. Each step brought more tension to Janessa’s shoulders, and as they grew closer, the sounds and smells that were once only evident to the Feral became more pronounced to the others: The infuriating clash of metal against flesh, the gritty taste of blood in the air, the occasional grunt of pain that managed to slip past the young teen’s lips… Dylan was being beaten by the guards and despite how much they wanted to help, if they acted now their presence would be known and Andrew would be killed! For once, Janessa was actually relieved to hear Bennett’s shrill voice above the commotion.
[#666677 “Easy now boys, we don’t want the runt to puncture a lung. What do you think Tech? Have your friends noticed you’re gone yet? You and I both know it’s only a matter of time before they show up here. Pathetically predictable. They’ll try to save you: Tigress will jump in to take out the guards and Shadow will whisk you away into the Shadow Realm… Which is why I had those floodlights installed in your cell. The instant they step inside, the lights come on, leaving the Feral blinded and the Elemental powerless. Youre brother won’t be able to save all three of you. Once again, your friends will be rendered completely helpless, and it will be all your fault.”] Bennetts voice echoed through the thin walls, giving the team a fair warning of what was planned. Fortunately, this time her trap might work in her favour: while it would weaken Shadow, it would only strengthen Starform!
[b “Shadow, we found Tech. He’s in rough shape and the guards aren’t letting up… we need to get in there soon. Have you found Andrew? We can’t save Tech without putting him in harms way!”] Tigress whispered into he communicator, knowing by the tension in Phaze’s body that it was taking every ounce of his self-control not to burst in and save his brother right now!
Keelyn raised a very good point about Bennett, of course she would keep Dylan close, she was vengeful and petty, she would want to be able to lord it over the young Tanner boy that she had caught him. Nico hadn't even considered that Bennett would want to keep Dylan by her side, it was a great piece of information from Keelyn and one that was likely to make their jobs a lot easier. What was more if she was right about Pascal having Andrew then this might just be able to pull this off. They had a starting place for both of the teams to look and that might just be invaluable.
[b "Thanks Keelyn. Janessa's right timing is absolutely everything and everyone will need to be on the top of their game, one wrong move and all of this is over, definitely for Dylan and Andrew and maybe for us as well. Of course I'm sure Janessa, Dylan's like a brother to you which means he is to me as well. As for you, Raven, I don't think you're the bad guys as you put it and I never have. It's your boss that I despise. That doesn't matter now though...all that matters is that we get Andrew and Dylan to safety."] Nico knew that nothing he could say or do would ever stop Raven from making her little snide jabs and more often than not Nico thought that they would be directed at him but that was nothing new. Jason had been making jokes at his expense for as long as Nico had been with him and he had dealt with far worse in his life than a few mocking words. Nico returned the kiss to Janessa and gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. Nico echoed her sentiments before sparing a quick glance towards Keelyn. The transference healer hadn't been told that Janessa and Nico were dating but that kiss and Raven's retorts would spell it out simply for her. The dark elemental pushed the thoughts of whether Janessa's little sister approved of her choice of boyfriend before he turned tot he other two ferals in the room.
[b "You've probably never travelled with an elemental before, so I'm going to warn you now, it's going to be uncomfortable and very disorientating. Whatever you do, don't let go of me."] Nico took Raven and Delta by the hands and looked over to see Starform doing the same to Cody and Janessa, the two elementals gave each other a nod before blinding light and deepest darkness engulfed the two groups. The familiar cold and endless abyss covered Nico and he tightened his hold on Raven and Delta just in case they panicked and tried to break his grasp, if they were stranded in this darkness they would never get out and as the agonisingly slow seconds ticked by Nico eventually brought them all out inside the Organisation and continued to hold the other two steady while the disorientation passed and the two ferals could regain their balance and track down Andrew. Nico wasn't sure where int he Organisation they were but his part was over for now, he had gotten them in. It was up to Raven and Delta to catch Andrew' scent now.
Starform on the other hand brought Cody and Janessa into the Realm of Light and it was as different from Nico's dark abyss as could possibly be. Starform was navigating them through the brightest white possible and instead of there always being a slight chill in the air it was pleasantly warm inside this world of light. Time itself seemed different, while it dragged in the shadows it almost seemed to speed up inside the bright lights. It was disorientating but in a different way to the shadows. Starform navigated them into the Organisation, as she had never been in the Organisation personally she had no idea how the building was laid out. Cody had given her a rough layout of the place and an idea of where she had to head to.
[#19701e "Ok we're in now where do we go? Tigress I guess the ball's in your court now."]
A few short weeks ago, Cody Tanner would have sworn he had cut all ties with the Sanctuary and everyone involved. He would have insisted that there was no more trust between him and Starform than there was between two strangers. Now, Cody couldn’t fathom how he had ever come to think that. Laura had proven time and time again that she still cared for Cody as much as she did when he lived at the Sanctuary – that they were still close friends despite the distance between them. Hearing that she would drop everything to help him save his little brother was proof enough of that. The relief and gratitude shone clearly in his eyes before Cody slipped back into the shadows with Nico and returned to the safehouse with Laura not far behind.
With everyone gathered together, they filled the room: the Ferals, Janessa, Raven, and Delta, the Tanners, Sarah and Cody, the Elementals, Nico and Laura, as well as the weary Keelyn, clearly disheartened that she couldn’t take part in the actual rescue. As much as having the transference healer would be an asset, she was still too weak from the coma to take part in the mission. Besides, Keelyn wasn’t prepared to leave Sarah and Jackson alone and defenseless just in case whoever took Dylan and Andrew was able to trace them back here. Fortunately, there were other ways Keelyn could help, since she was the only one of the group that had spent any considerable time in the Organization.
[#aa0000 “Bennett probably won’t let the Kid out of her sight. She’s vengeful and arrogant, she’ll keep Tech close so she can have complete control over what happens to him. As for Andrew, you said he was a telepath? That sounds more like Pascal’s territory. He was always looking for those rare Supers – Seers, Telepaths – to give him an edge over his enemies. Their offices are in opposite wings of the Organization’s main building. I’d suggest you start there.”] Keelyn offered. Basing her lead off of all she’d learned while working under Bennett. There were no guarantees, but it would at least give a reasonable place to start looking.
[b “Once we’re in the building, Raven, Delta, and I should be able to catch Dylan and Andrew’s scents. But it won’t be easy slipping past the Organization’s security. There’s still the risk that either Andrew or Dylan could be killed if the guards find out we’re trying to save them, so we have to be careful. Timing is everything.”] Janessa agreed. As Nico said, they would have to be in constant contact. If either group acted too soon and alerted the guards to their presence, it could very well mean the death of one of their friends.
Nico had his reasons for dividing the teams as he did, and for the most part, the group agreed. Delta and Raven merely exchanged a pointed glance at having to be paired with the man who had kicked them out of the safehouse mere hours before, but neither was willing to let old grudges get in the way of their mission. Michael had ordered them to free the captives by whatever means necessary, and the Ferals had no intention of failing. Cody was grateful for the opportunity to work with Starform, having missed their partnership in the years he had been gone from the Sanctuary. But the Pierce sisters seemed far less comfortable with the arrangement.
Knowing it wasn’t her place, Keelyn bit her tongue, refusing to cast doubt on an already shaky alliance, but she knew her sister shared her same concerns. First, while Janessa was still fearful and uneasy in the Shadow Realm after her scarring experience, she was able to force her way through it because of her trust and love for Nico. Travelling into an equally threatening Realm of Light with a woman that, until now, had been an enemy to their cause was enough to shake the Feral’s confidence. More importantly, however, the division left Nico alone with Janessa’s old pack. She may have agreed to work with Raven and Delta, but that didn’t mean Janessa trusted them. She knew they wouldn’t do anything too drastic since they were both good to their word. Still, Janessa’s warning to Jason still came into play: Raven and Delta were bitter and hurt, and would take their opportunity to get back at Janessa one way or another. Nico could look after himself, just like Jason could, but there was more than one way to hurt Janessa through her loved ones. Tigress just had to hope they could set their vendetta aside until the mission was over.
[b “Are you sure about this Nico?”] Janessa asked, catching the Elemental’s eye to make sure he understood the risks. She wasn’t at all surprised to have her concern cut off by a scoff from her old Packmate.
[#005500 “Relax Tigress. We’ll make sure your boyfriend comes back to you in one piece. Despite what you and Shadow think, we’re not the bad guys here.”] Raven retorted in her typical, snide fashion. It didn’t exactly put Janessa’s mind at ease, but it did silence any further protests the Feral may have had. Following the tradition that had developed over the years, Janessa gave her typical goodbye to Nico before the groups split – a light kiss, a reassuring glance, and a pleading phrase:
[b “Be safe.”]
With that, the groud split off as Nico had directed. Raven and Delta stepped towards Shadow, while Phase and Tigress took Starform’s hands and prepared to slip into the light. With a quick warning from Cody, Janessa used her free hand to shield her eyes in every effort to protect her heightened senses from the Elemental’s abilities. Within moments, the groups disappeared, leaving only Sarah and Keelyn to wait impatiently for their loved ones’ return.
It had been hours, but Dylan finally managed to fight his way out of his daze. The young teen was still jumpy, not able to focus as clearly as usual with the lingering effects of the Catalyst. His mind was still too rattled to use his abilities – not that that was an option with the distinct lack of technology in his cell – but he was becoming a little more aware of his surroundings. At least enough to know that Bennett was watching him intently from the other side of the glass.
[#777788 “I can’t say I’m not impressed. The data from the Catalyst trials showed remarkable abilities. With the Catalyst’s influence, you were able to reach every device in the city and surrounding area. You made direct contact with every piece of technology in a 20km radius simultaneously! If we could train your mind to process that much data, to harness that magnitude of information, we could…”]
[#ff6622 “I will never work for you.”] Dylan had nearly screamed himself hoarse during the Catalyst’s attack, but he did his best to force as much courage and rebellion into his tone as he could. It still came out as little more than a harsh mutter, but that was enough to cause Bennett’s expression to fall from excitement to malice.
[#777788 “If I were you, boy, I would be jumping at the chance to earn some lenience. Keep up this stubborn rebellion and I will let the Catalyst rip your mind to shreds until there’s nothing left of you but a blubbering mess on the floor.”] Bennett spat harshly, satisfied when she saw the flinch in Dylan’s eyes, clearly terrified to meet that fate. Yet despite his evident fear, the young teen forced his features into a bold glare and tried to convince Bennett, as well as himself, that there was still hope.
[#ff6622 “My friends know I’m missing. They’re going to save Andrew and they’re going to get me out of here, long before you can break me.”] Dylan insisted, sounding a lot more confident than he felt, especially when Bennett’s response was simply to smirk at her young captive. She knew she could break him before his friends came, all she needed was the right combination of physical and psychological trauma. He wasn’t as strong as he thought he was.
[#777788 “You’ve seen my new Supers, you know how powerful they can be with the influence of the Catalyst. Your friends will be dead the moment they set foot in this building. That is, if they even think it’s worth the effort to save you. Seems to me, there’s been a lot of blood shed in your group recently Tech, and most of it can be traced back to you.”] Bennett’s words alone wouldn’t have been too detrimental had Dylan not been thinking the same thing himself. Nico’s words echoed in his mind, melding with Bennett’s, as well as his own, creating a chorus of self-doubt and consuming guilt.
[#777788 “You’ll know one way or the other. If they are idiotic enough to come after you, I’ll have my Supers drag them here before they’re executed, so you can see the damage you caused first hand. Either your friends will die because of you, or they’ll let you rot. Either way, you would have been far better off just surrendering.”] Bennett taunted before beckoning in three of her trusted security team. The boy would soon learn not to rebel. Defiance would be met with violence, each and every time until it became a conditioned response. As she watched, the three guards entered the boy’s cell, threw him against the back wall and proceeded to beat him without restraint. Angry shouts quickly turned to painful cries and whimpers the Technopath’s resolve was literally beaten out of him. It was only a matter of time now. Bennett wouldn’t stop until there was nothing left of Dylan Tanner but shattered, broken fragments… then she could mold him to her needs, a weapon to serve the Organization.
Starform was certainly surprised to see Cody and Nico suddenly appear in the middle of the safehouse she was in, it was a different place from where they had been taken to with Emma's body and there no reason that they should know where the hell this place was...but of course they did, Sarah Tanner's ability to find anyone in the world would make finding Laura easy. She should have known better. Nico stood a little further back than Cody did watchinG Starform intently, she thought that she saw his fingers twitch occasionally, readying himself just in case he ever needed to attack Starform, it shouldn't be a surprise how he acted after all the last time the two had gone head to head they had both been injured and the battle ended in a stalemate. Laura didn't think that either was eager to have to find out who would win if they had to fight again. It was clear to Laura that Cody was frantic and clearly panicked and as soon as the density shifter mentioned his little brother, Cody was always protective of his family and it had only gotten worse since Emma Tanner had been killed.
[#19701e "Slow down Cody and explain it to me. What's happened to Dylan?"] Cody told Laura everything that he knew, that Dylan had been captured by the Organisation, how Sarah couldn't find where exactly he was, about the strange message they had received from the Technopath himself and that Andrew had been captured. Cody's desperation was evident and it broke Starform's heart to see her friend like this.
[b "We know that they are being held separately, at other ends of the facility in fact. Even with me being able to Shadow Travel there is no way that we can free both of them at the same time, we need another elemental, we need you. Cody trusts you and that's good enough for me but we need to act fast if we are going to have any hope of saving them both."] Nico didn't know how this was going to play out, she wanted to help Cody but whether she would be able to is another matter entirely, Starform looked to be thinking, before she nodded.
[#19701e "Of course I'll help you Cody, I'll always be there for me if you need me to. Let's get going."] Nico told Starform where they were staying, she wouldn't be able to Shadow Travel with them it was just one of the facts of being an elemental. With a nod, Nico took Cody into the Shadows emerging at the safe house, a flash of brilliant light behind them immediately signalled that Starform had joined them. Only a few minutes after they had all gotten back Janessa, Raven and Delta emerged from a room and while there was some tension still there it looked like at least for the time being they were willing to help the Tanners get their brother back.
[b "Alright, it looks like we're all on board with rescuing Dylan and Andrew. The question is how to do it, we know the building that they're in but beyond that we are blind. We know that they are being held separately and as far away from each other as possible to minimise any attempts at a rescue but they won't have counted on all of us which gives us an advantage. We are very obviously going to need two teams to make this work and here is my plan. Each team will have one elemental, and at least one feral with someone else for backup. The elementals take their teams into the Organisation building and the ferals track down Dylan and Andrew, once they lead their team to the target the elemental brings them out, everyone will be in constant communication, remember we can't take either Dylan nor Andrew out until the other team is ready, this needs to be done at the exact same time. Starform, Janessa and Cody will go after Dylan and myself, Raven and Delta will go after Andrew. Does anybody have any questions or suggestions, alternate plans even? We are only going to get one shot at this so everybody better agree on the best course of action."] Nico knew that splitting the party was the only course of action available to them and he thought that those splits were the best that could be managed. Cody would want to go after Dylan which meant that so did Starform, that was shy she was her, she was here to support `cody and for Dylan and wouldn't take kindly to being sent after some other Super, the only other question was how to divide the Ferals. Dylan was like a brother to Janessa so she would probably want to go after him but what was more he didn't want to risk aggravating the tension between Janessa, Raven and Delta. While Nico had a bit of a spat with Raven it was nothing compared to the history that the former packmates had, what was more Nico wanted to keep an eye on Raven himself and it looked like Raven and Delta were a package deal. Splitting them up was not wise. It looked like the two teams had picked themselves. Hopefully Everyone could put their differences aside at least until Dylan and Andrew were safe.
It was a testament to Cody’s love for his little brother that he would take Nico’s hand without hesitation, even despite his strong resistance to the Shadow Realm. The hours spent in that empty void were sheer torture for the Density Shifter after his experience being trapped in that Realm for what seemed like an eternity years ago with Janessa. What was worse, was the prolonged sense of time in that dark abyss, forcing Cody to feel as though they were wasting precious time to save his brother, even though he knew that time flowed differently there, and that in truth they likely weren’t gone for very long at all. With all things considered, Phase was grateful to emerge on the other side.
As the darkness melted away and the two were brought into the shining presence of Starform, the contrast was almost too much to bare. Cody was forced to shield his eyes for a moment in order to adjust to the burning light emitted from his friend’s abilities. When he finally adjusted, Cody’s featured melted into a mix of relief and desperation. It was so good to see his friend again, but in light of their present circumstances, it was hard to be hopeful.
[#1122aa “Star! Please hear me out! I really need your help!”] Cody practically begged as he crossed to room towards his friend, in no way intimidated by the radiant beams emitted from her hands.
[#1122aa “The Organization took Dylan. They took my little brother, Star! You know I wouldn’t be dragging you into this if I wasn’t desperate but… They have Dylan locked up somewhere, not even Sarah can find him. And they took one of our other friends too, the Super that was here with Nico last time we saw you. If we try to save him before finding Dylan…”] Cody let the potential fate of his little brother linger in the air, not needing to state it out loud since all three of them knew what the Organization was capable of.
[#1122aa “I just lost my sister, Laura, I can’t lose my brother too… I don’t think I would survive it. Please…”] Cody asked, reaching out and gripping Starform’s arm as if it were a lifeline. He knew what he was asking was unfair: he wanted Starform to risk her own safety, to work with one of her elemental enemies, to potentially go against Michael’s wishes , and to virtually paint a target on her back as far as the Organization was concerned. But Cody was desperate to save his brother. He would take any risk for Laura – he had proven that when he took on Boyd’s casino single handedly to try to protect her – Cody only hoped that their friendship was still strong enough that Laura would be willing to take such a risk for him.
Michael’s orders came as a bit of relief to the Feral. As much as he was loyal to Michael’s cause and knew that his leader would only do what was best in the long term for their entire kind, it made him sick to think of offering up a fellow Super to the cruelty of the Organization. Hearing the order to save the captured Supers by whatever means necessary only served to strengthen the faith Delta had in his leader. He knew Michael was acting in their best interest and had every intention of bringing the Organization down from the inside. Sparing the lives of Andrew and Dylan was proof of the leader’s conscience and Delta was happy to lend his hand to the cause.
[#880088 “Of course, Michael. We’ll save the hostages. With any luck this will also earn Raven and I some trust within the group. Let me know if anything changes. We’ll be around if you need us.”] Delta reported, assuring his leader that the two ferals were at his disposal should he need their assistance. As he ended the call, Delta gave a confident nod to his Pack mate and saw the relief play across her face as well. Raven had always been one to wear her emotions on her sleeve, while Delta kept his more concealed. It was obvious by one glance at the Feral woman, she was glad for the opportunity to spare her fellow Supers, as well as get a chance at revenge against the Organization.
[b “Delta, Raven, can we talk?”] Janessa’s voice called seconds after her soft footsteps announced her presence. Both Ferals turned to their former Pack Mate with masked expressions – Delta trying to look civil while Raven twisted into a defiant scowl to hide their knowledge of Michael’s plans.
[#005500 “If you want to kick us out Tigress, you could have at least waited ‘til morning. But I guess since you’re precious sister is awake, you have no need for us any longer.”] Raven seethed, tossing accusations so Janessa wouldn’t suspect them of eavesdropping on Dylan’s disappearance.
[b “No, actually… It’s the opposite. I came to ask for your help. I know we have our issues, but I’m willing to put that behind me if you are. I’m offering a truce as well as an invitation to stay here if you help me. I really need my pack for this one.”] Although Janessa’s offer was sincere, both Delta and Raven couldn’t help but scoff.
[#880088 “Your boyfriend made it pretty clear, Tigress. We’re not wanted here. Why should we believe this sudden change of heart?”] Delta demanded, feigning ignorance, though his tone was starting to lose its bitterness. Normally, he would expect Tigress to bite back with some scathing retort, seeping with the unresolved tension the three of them carried between them. Instead, Janessa was calm and sincere, looking genuinely seeking their help with an offer of peace in return. She must really care about the two that were captured if she was willing to put her turbulent past with her Pack behind her.
[b “Two of my friends were captured. One is like a little brother to me, the other a close and loyal friend. Their lives are more important to be than any petty fight the three of us have.”] Janessa admitted, watching as the other two Ferals exchanged a thoughtful look.
[#880088 “As far as I’m concerned, we’ve proved ourselves to you Tigress. Now it’s your turn to prove yourself to us. We’ll help, but only on your word that Raven and I will be trusted and welcomed here once your friends are free.”] Delta insisted, followed up by a predictable retort from his pack mate.
[#005500 “We don’t appreciate being used, Tigress. So you and your boyfriend, Shadow, better keep your word.”]
Keelyn's words abut Bennett's likely treatment of their young technopath ally weren't exactly what anyone wanted to hear, it was difficult to think about the kid that Nico had grown so attached to being mistreated so badly. She was right in one regard, while he might be a little worse for wear Dylan was at least likely to be alive at the end of the ordeal. It wasn't much to hang on to but it was all they had at the moment. If Nico's argument with Dylan was the reason that the boy ended up dead...he wasn't sure that the dark elemental could take it. At his request Sarah wasted no time in getting to work, eager for anything that might help her get her family back.
[b " I'm definitely going to need you there to convince her Cody, there's no way in hell she would do it because I asked. The way the two of you reconciled after Emma's death is the only reason that I'm considering it. She's loyal to Michael, there's no denying it but I think she might be almost as loyal to you. I wouldn't underestimate the strength of your friendship."] Nico didn't want to say anything to get the Tanner's hopes up but he was working out the beginnings of a plan, but he would need Starform for it to work. As far as he could tell they needed to free both Dylan and Andrew at the exact same time for the other to escape dire consequences, that meant having two teams infiltrate the Organisation's headquarters. That was risky enough and involving those that he wasn't absolutely sure that he could trust only made things even riskier but he was willing to do whatever it took to get Dylan back.
[b "That's a great idea Janessa, Raven and Delta would be very useful to have on our side. Say whatever you need to to get them on our side."] If Starform said yes and Raven said yes then Nico's harebrained scheme might actually come together nicely. Sarah eventually found where Starform was and showed Nico on the map, a flutter of nerves briefly rose up inside of him, after all the last time the two elementals had come face to face they had ended up in a very dangerous confrontation, Nico's leg injury still gave him pain from time to time. He would have to be wary of the light elemental.
[b Cody come on, we need to get moving."] Nico knew that the density shifter was still uncomfortable with the shadow realm that he was trapped in for so long but it was necessary and it was those very same shadows that were going to save his little brother. The darkness enveloped them and the cold, silent space surrounded them. They were in that space for what seemed like hours before Nico guided them out of that abyss and standing in front of them with her hands full of radiant, burning, impossibly bright light was Starform.
[#19701e "Cody? What are you doing here?"]
Michael was in two minds over what to do, should he let Delta and Raven help rescue the captives or should he forbid it and deal with the situation personally, there were pros and cons to both sides. He honestly didn't want to leave them to the brutal whims of Bennett, the woman was a monster and needlessly cruel, while if they remained here then he could keep an eye on them personally and work on them himself, not to mention Bennett's fury if the two subjects were to escape her. They had been captured to show Bennett what the Catalyst could do, Michael had chosen the three supers to be enhanced, and he was practically in charge of that small piece of the Catalyst project. Maybe by freeing the captives he could force her to be even more reliant on him, and his loyal Catalyst enhanced supers...
[#cc8000 "Delta I want you to help them free the technopath and the telepath. Do as they ask, I think freeing them is the better play here, it would be cruel not to. I give you permission to do what you must in order to free them. If anythings this might help my plans."]
Nico wasn’t the only one confused about Dylan’s seemingly endless power. There was no doubt the young teen was talented as, despite his youth, he had bested the Organization’s hired technopaths on more than a few occasions. But for the youngest Tanner to spread his abilities to every device in the city simultaneously… Dylan just wasn’t capable of that. Yet the cause wasn’t nearly as concerning as the effect. Tech was undetectable as far as Sarah’s abilities were concerned, leaving their youngest vulnerable to all kinds of trouble without any of his friends or family to back him up. At least he was able to cast out a lifeline: if they found Andrew, he might be able to tell them how to find Dylan. If not… at least they’d fulfil Dylan’s wishes by saving the telepath.
Cody was nearly pacing with worry for his little brother, and Sarah was madly pouring over her map as if Dylan’s location might miraculously jump out at her. Nico’s caution to not be rash was evidently needed as it looked like both Tanner siblings were frantic to get their youngest brother back. Janessa was just as concerned for missing teen, and the loyal Telepath that had done so much for them these past several months, but she was at least a little more rational than the Tanners. Keelyn, despite her shared concern for Tech, couldn’t escape the bitter reality of her persona. Her intentions were good, though her words weren’t exactly comforting.
[#aa00aa “They’ll be fine, we have time to plan so long as Bennett has her hands in this. You said this Andrew guy is a Telepath, right? Bennett’s always wanted one for her research. She won’t kill him if he can be useful. As for the Kid, she’ll keep him alive. She was pissed at Tech for surviving their last encounter – he humiliated her by surviving and Bennett’s not one to drop a grudge. She won’t kill him until he’s suffered enough in her eyes. We’ll find Tech alive… just don’t expect him to be in great condition.”]
Nico’s request caught the attention of both the Tanner siblings. Sarah, anxious to do anything to help their cause, immediately closed her eyes and allowed her hands to hover over her map. Cody turned his pleading gaze to Nico.
[#008800 “You’re going after Star? She knows how important Dylan is to me… but Michael’s working within the Organization, if he’s involved in this, she won’t betray him. Can you bring me with you? Or at least bring her here? Let me talk to her? I trust Star, she won’t turn her back on me.”] Cody stated, just as his older sister looked up from her page. Sarah pointed to a location on her map, indicating that this was where he could find Starform.
[b “We’ll need more help if Starform says no. I’ll talk to Raven and Delta. It’s about time we put our differences aside with those two anyway. They know Dylan and Andrew are part of my Pack, that might be enough to convince them to help us. Stay safe out there Nico. Michael kept up his end of your bargain so far, but I still don’t like the idea of you sneaking into his territory. And Cody, Sarah, don’t leave this house without us! Nico’s right, we can’t afford to be rash.”] Janessa insisted before heading off to find her fellow ferals, both of whom were currently discussing the current matter among themselves in the privacy of the back yard.
After a rather heated discussion leaving Raven in a fixed scowl with her arms crossed over her chest, and Delta with a grimace, holding his cell phone in one hand, the only decision the two had come to was that they couldn’t make this decision on their own. Delta was partially responsible for Dylan and Andrew’s disappearance and both had been cast out by Nico. Neither Feral had any reason to stay and help these people find their little brother, especially if their involvement interfered with Michael’s plans, but Delta and Raven each felt a little sick just leaving the boy and the Technopath to their fate, especially since their family had just buried one of their own. Eventually, Delta raised the phone to his ear and called out to the only person that could tell them what to do.
[#1122aa "Michael, it’s Delta. We’ve got a situation. The group is aware that the Technopath and the Telepath are missing and they’re planning a rescue. We don’t want to interfere with your plans, but we know Tigress… she’ll ask us for help if it means saving the lives of her friends. How do you want us to proceed? Should we help them? Should we leave? We’ll do whatever you think is best, Michael.”]
Nico watched Sarah grab the map and she kept handy just in case anyone needed the use of her unique abilities and Nico already knew where she would end up finding where Andrew, and by extension, Dylan Tanner would be. His fears were confirmed when her finger stopped on a building that everyone there knew all too well. It seemed that the Organisation were once again interfering in their business. It was at times like these that Nico wondered if Michael really would be any worse than the current regime running the Organisation, sure Michael was a manipulative, cruel bastard but at least he wouldn't hunt them down for simply being who they were. It was a stroke of luck that Nico became a super instead of Bennett or Pascal.
[b "What I don't understand is how Dylan's mind can be touching all of the electronics in the city at the same time. I know he's good but he's still a kid and he is simply not strong enough to do that. I couldn't even begin to use every shadow in the city at once and I don't mean to brag but I'm much stronger than he is. Sarah couldn't track everyone at the same time either, even Jason couldn't absorb every ability in the city and he's more powerful than any of us by a long shot. Something is very clearly not right here."] Nico didn't know what it was, it was obviously Dylan who sent that message, no one else was capable of that and he was certain that Sarah was also right about Dylan's mind being everywhere but there was a missing piece of the puzzle there somewhere. He wasn't sure what it was but he was sure he would when he saw it, he just needed some time to think.
[b "We absolutely will get them out of whatever trouble they are in. I promise you that but, I know it's hard, please no one act rashly. That's what they want, they want us impulsive and to rush into their traps. They've done it before when they let us know that Sarah and Dylan were captured and exposed us to that adrenaline gas that caused so much trouble. Don't move until we have an actual plan."] Nico flexed his hand as subtly as he could as he remembered the last time they had sprung. Likely if they didn't have Jason with them that day they would all have ripped each other to shreds. Nico had to suppress a sickening feeling of glee as he remembered the feeling of his fist smashing into Pascal's face, disfiguring it. The dark elemental was adamant that they would not be put in that position again.
Cody's desperate words rang out in the room and everyone began to realise just how tight of a corner they had been backed into, in a way they were the victims of their own success. They had broken into the Organisation headquarters so many times that Bennett and Pascal know how they thought, how they would likely try and approach the rescue. Nico hadn't even thought about them keeping the two prisoners apart but as Cody said it he knew the density shifter was right and he was also right about only having three people who could fight. Keelyn would be a big loss, being able to take and reflect any damage that the Organisation could threaten either Dylan or Andrew with. The problem was that they needed to rescue them both at the exact same moment to ensure that the other wouldn't be harmed as a result. Nico could Shadow Travel to one of them but he simply wouldn't be able to get to the other prisoner in time.
[b "look at me Cody, I swear that we'll bring Dylan home safe and sound. You have my word"] Now that Nico had promised Cody he would do everything in his power to make it happen...the only problem was that Nico didn't actually have it in his power to save them, not on his own at least. Janessa's senses and Cody's ability to walk through walls would be invaluable to getting to Dylan but it would be Shadow Travel that would actually get them out of the building in one piece. If only he could be in two places at once...that was when he had a horrible idea that just might work.
[b "Sarah I need you to find someone for me, a woman about my age called Laura, I don't know her last name but she is better known as Starform."] Starform was a risk, she was absolutely loyal to Michael but at the same time she knew Cody, she was friends with Cody and that might be enough to get her to help saving Cody's little brother. She could travel through light just as quickly as he could with darkness and that advantage might be enough to get their friends out of the Organisation's clutches relatively unscathed.
The experiment with the Technopath went just as Bennett had anticipated. She knew that the human mind – especially one as young and fragile as Dylan Tanner’s – could only process so much information at a time. Having instantaneous access to every piece of technology in the county, even for only a few seconds, would overload young Dylan’s mind until it simply shut down. It wasn’t necessary to prove her theory so violently, but Bennett couldn’t deny herself the satisfaction of watching that defiant little Technopath squirm. He had already made a fool of her more times than she could count. This time, she wasn’t prepared to show him mercy.
Of course, the boy would recover eventually. Now that the Catalyst’s influence had ceased and Dylan was severed from any contact with Technology, he would gradually regain awareness and recover from her experience. It was, however, useful to know that the boy could be entirely incapacitated by a few mere seconds’ exposure to the Catalyst. It would be a quick and effective way to remove him as a threat if he ever did escape, or simply as a punishment if the young Teen refused to cooperate further. Ideally, the Technopath’s skills would be put to work for the benefit of the Organization, but that would require time and hard work to break the boy’s loyalties to his friends. Until then, Bennett was more than happy to take out her frustrations on one of the souls responsible for her failures in the past several years.
Bennett was just finishing her reports when Oliver entered the room with an update on his current tasks. It seemed that, for once, the Organization had struck gold on their mission to capture the Supers. Not only was the Technopath at her mercy, but they had managed to apprehend the rare and incredibly valuable Telepath as well! Bennett could only hope his loyalties were more easily broken than Tanner’s were.
[#ff00ff “Excellent work Oliver. With a Telepath at our disposal, we can quite literally see what’s on out enemies’ minds. And, if ,my theories are correct, our Telepathic friend will help us clarify what our Seer has been trying to tell us about the future. The Director will be pleased.”] Bennett agreed, her eyes alight with a greed as she considered the benefit of having a mind-reader at her disposal. Not only would she be able to take advantage of his abilities, but this would surely impress the Director of the Organization, maybe even enough for that promotion! Pascal’s days were numbered, all Bennett needed to do was prove that she was far more valuable to the Organization than he was!
[#ff00ff “The shock collars are an excellent idea. Ensure that he Telepath is wearing one at all times and that no acts of defiance will be tolerated. But if we want to utilize this asset to its fullest potential, we will need his cooperation. Start by forcing him to question his loyalties. Make sure the Telepath knows that it was Tanner’s fault they were captured, and that his fugitive friends won’t be willing to risk their lives for his rescue. We want as much turbulence between that group of Supers as possible.”] Bennett advised, she was already working her magic with Dylan. In only a few short hours, she had the boy convinced that his friends would abandon him – who would risk their lives for someone who had cost them so much these past few years? That was one of the reason’s Dylan’s cryptic distress call to his friends only mentioned saving Andrew.
[#ff00ff “I will review the files Oliver, however I do have concerns about broadening this project too quickly. We don’t want more pets than we can handle. Especially since this is only temporary. Once we rid our dear city and all those surrounding it of our infestation of Supers, then we’ll have no need of these super-charged agents anymore and they’ll be executed along with the rest of those vermin. The last thing we want is for the Supers to turn on us. I’ll take a look at the files and see if I think any in particular would be of value, but for now, I think we should focus our efforts on securing the three agents we currently have. Have them guard the Telepath and Technopath carefully tonight – if any rescue attempt is made, it will be sooner rather than later. If your team successfully fends of the rescue party, assure them that they will be rewarded. We can NOT afford to lose Tanner and the Technopath, Oliver. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you how important they are?”]
The commotion, as well as the cryptic message on their communicators brought Janessa and a rather weary-looking Keelyn into the room. Keelyn leaned against the wall, refusing to leave until she knew the Kid and the Technopath were found safe, and Janessa was just as desperate for news. Sarah did what she could to find her brother. She brought out a map of the city and smoothed it across the dining table, closing her eyes to concentrate on her youngest brother’s whereabouts. Sadly, Dylan’s mind was too scattered to pinpoint.
[#005500 “My abilities are tricky… it’s more about locating someone’s mind and soul, rather than their body. That’s why I need to know details about the people I’m looking for: names, birthdays, hobbies – that sort of thing. If I can find their mind, I can find them. But Dylan’s mind is scattered across every device in this city! He’s never done that before.”] Sarah explained, trying and failing once again to find her little brother.
[#880088 “Sarah and I were talking about this last night; I think it’s why she can’t find Lucas Lee. If his mind is in the future, he’d be almost impossible for her to find in the present. Sarah had the same problem when you Shadow Travel. As soon as you enter the Shadow Realm, she can’t tell where you are. But she’s never had this kind of trouble finding Dylan.”] Cody added, his voice thick with worry about the young Technopath. Cody was starting to regret letting his brother confront Nico alone. At least if he had been at Dylan’s side, he could have talked the kid out of running away after the fight! Or in the very least, he could have followed him!
[#005500 “I’m not as familiar with Andrew, he’s a lot harder to find, but I think…. Yes, he’s here!”] Sarah called out. Her eyes were still closed but her hands hovered over the map. As her abilities cleared and Andrew’s location was revealed to her, Sarah’s finger dropped to the page, falling directly over the Organization’s main building.
[b “That’s the Organization. The last time Bennett took Dylan, she stabbed him three times and left him to bleed to death. And Andrew… all he’s ever done is try to help us and now Bennett and Pascal have their hands on him. We have to get them out of there.”] Janessa chimed in. Her only concern was where exactly their two friends were being held. Jason’s order was still hanging overhead: [i “I know how you think, and you can't break into this place, it's simply not possible. I forbid you to even try it.”] If Dylan or Andrew were being held anywhere close to Lucas, Janessa won’t be able to go anywhere near them! She knew Jason’s order was meant to be for her protection, but he may have inadvertently forbid Janessa from saving her friends’ lives!
[#880088 “Bennett and Pascal aren’t stupid. They’ll keep Andrew and Dylan separate – harder to rescue all at once. Which means saving one could put the other one’s life at risk. Keelyn’s still too weak to fight, Sara’s too vulnerable in the field, and we don’t have time to track down Jason. Are the three of us going to be able to pull this off? I can’t risk losing my brother again. I won’t burry another sibling!”] Cody stated desperately, not sure that he, Nico, and Janessa would be enough to break in, save Andrew, find Dylan, and get out without turning this into a blood bath.
Michael had not been surprised when his followers had brought back Dylan Tanner so quickly after being dispatched, the influence of the Catalyst was obviously a powerful boon to any super but he had not counted on the other super that had been accompanying the kid. This was the guy that had been with Shadow when the fool had bartered for the Tanner's lives after their sister had gotten herself killed. Michael had of course known that he was a super and obviously one with useful abilities, Shadow wouldn't have brought him along otherwise, but seeing as how the man had stayed silent during their exchange he had never found out what abilities the man possessed. That was about to change today. Bennett had taken the Tanner boy for herself, no surprises there, she likely wanted to get the kid back for the last time they met but Michael had far more important things to worry about. Michael had started interrogating Andrew almost as soon as he had been brought in. This was of course a task uniquely suited to the leader of the Sanctuary.
[#cc8000 "We meet again, of course it would be best if no one knew that we have ever had contact before. I don't want to hurt you, and if you cooperate I will do my best to ensure that no one else does either. Why don't we start with a few simple questions. What is your name? How did you fall in with Shadow? What are your abilities?"]
Andrew was already on guard aware of who and what Michael was, being on guard protected him a little from the Charmer as Michael's abilities worked best when the person he was trying to influence were not aware of what he could do. To Andrew's credit he actually managed to hold out for a few hours before Michael managed to break the telepath and learned everything he wanted to. In the end Andrew just couldn't continually resist the commands of the Charmer...there were few that could. As the telepath couldn't help but speak, spilling every secret, answering every question that Michael asked and what he learned brought a smile to his face. He had never met a telepath before and he wanted to have one, it would be exceedingly useful to have one in his pocket. He would be able to manipulate everyone so much easier than he already could if he could know their thoughts at any given moment. Michael only just managed to give the command to never read his thoughts, reveal what his plans were or tell anyone who or what he could do before a few guards came into the interrogation room and sent him to report to Bennett. He was more than satisfied with what he had learned from Michael but how much should he tell the researcher?
[#cc8000 "You sent for me Ms Bennett, I have learned some useful information from the captive that we took when we captured Tanner. He is another super and quite a useful one for the Organisation and of course yourself. My interrogation has revealed that he is in fact a Telepath. It will pose some problems initially as I'm not sure if we have the facilities to safely hold someone who can read our every thoughts. One of the mental shock collars will suffice in the mean time."] Michael knew that Bennett would discover what Andrew's abilities were soon enough so there was no point trying to hide them, all he could do was try and make sure that he was involved in supervising the telepath so that he could keep an eye on him. For the first time Michael turned his attention tot he kid lying on the floor of his cell, whimpering and twitching...what had Bennett done to him, it looked like his mind had been shattered!
[#cc8000 "I also left a few files on your desk for the Catalyst program. In my opinion any of those supers would be excellent candidates for the program, after all if the Technopath and the Telepath were captured so simply with just three Catalyst enhanced supers under our control imagine what we could do if we had ten or twenty. In time we will be able to root out the remaining scum opposed to us."]
Nico nodded along to Sarah's words, he knew that the Tanner's had a rough upbringing and that their parents were hardly parent of the year material and it was remarkable how well the Tanners had actually turned out despite their parents. Sarah was sweet and kind, Cody was loyal and usually dependable, Dylan wanted to see the best in people and while he had a little bit of a temper on him he was a good kid. Emma might have had her flaws, she was abrasive but she had been willing to help when they had asked her and Nico was sorry that she was dead, she didn't deserve that. Nico looked down as his communicator just as every single one int he room went off at once and immediately Nico was on edge. It couldn't be a coincidence that this was happening, not to all of them, not at the exact same time. The dark elemental looked down at the piece of technology to find a string of numbers that he couldn't make heads nor tails of but luckily Cody could. Nico was about to tell Sarah to find Dylan as soon as possible but she was one step ahead of him, already searching the world for where her little brother could be...but news was not good.
[b "That makes no sense, how could he possibly be everywhere at once? If it really is binary and it translates into what you said then we know two things for certain. Andrew and Dylan are in big trouble and we need to find them now. Sarah wee need to know where Andrew is right now. If we find him then we find Dylan."] Nico didn't have a clue about what was going on, just what had Dylan done after he had stormed out of this place? It was all his fault, he knew that, Dylan only left this place because they had had an argument but even more worryingly was the tiny voice in the back of his head saying that this only reinforced what he had yelled at the kid. Here he was about ti risk his life again saving Dylan because he had gotten in over his head. It was hard to ignore.
Jason had been thinking about what to do about Lucas Lee, Janessa was trusting him to come through for her and find a way to free the Seer from the hellish existence he now lived through everyday. Jason wanted to do it, he would love nothing more than to hurt the Organisation for what they had done to Kate, he wanted to break them, to destroy them but he was bound to the Director. He couldn't hurt them, he had to make him stronger. He needed to find a way to free Lucas and in doing so strengthen the Organisation but that simply wasn't possible. There was only one course of action left to the empath, he had to do what was right for the Organisation, he had no choice left. He knocked on the door to The Director's office before entering and sitting down in the chair looking at the man who he was bound to.
[#1473b7 "We need to talk about Lucas Lee. There is going to be an attempt to free him, and it's going to happen soon."]
Bennett was thorough. Before locking Dylan in the containment cell in her lab, she had her guards remove every spec of technology from the room. There were no shock collars, no computerized shackles, no testing equipment – for someone of Dylan Tanner’s skillset, anyone of these could be used to get a message back to his friends. The only piece of technology left in the cell was a security camera bolted to the ceiling which was far above the boy’s reach, especially since his hands and ankles were bound and the boy lay somewhat broken in the corner. Bennett’s first task had been interrogation. She wanted Dylan to tell her all about the Super he was captured with – name, ability, weaknesses, ties to the group – and she wasn’t too happy with the boy for keeping his mouth shut. Dylan refused to release any information that might put Andrew at risk, especially since it was his fault Andrew was in this mess in the first place! They young teen’s resistance had earned him a few cracked and bruised ribs, a split lip, several lacerations and contusions, and a rather deep gash above his left eye.
It had been hours since Dylan had stormed out of the safehouse with Andrew, long since time that someone from his group should have been looking for him… except his last fight with Nico pretty much insured that his family would give him space to cool down. No one would be worried about Dylan or Andrew unless he could somehow get a message home. Unfortunately, his only chance of notifying his friends was that camera mocking him from the ceiling. Tech’s abilities were strong, but they had one critical weakness: he had to be touching a piece of technology in order to communicate with it.
After hours of interrogation, Bennett had finally left Dylan alone in the cell. The pain and exhaustion from his beating made the boy dread any kind of exertion, but his fear for Andrew’s life as well as his own pushed him forward. Dylan’s own self doubts mingled with Nico’s words in his mind, taunting him with all the lives he’d ruined for his friends and family so far. He refused to let Andrew be another victim of his own recklessness. After several long minutes, Dylan was able to work his raw fingers around the binds of his ankles and free his legs. His hands were still tied in front of him, but that could wait. He needed to reach that camera! Dylan slit the interrogation table over towards the wall. His ribs groaned in protest as he climbed on top of it, but the pain would be well worth it if he could only reach that camera! Sadly, as a young teen Dylan hadn’t finished his growth spirt yet and was still mere inches too short to touch the lifeline bolted to the ceiling.
Before he could think of another plan, the door to the cell swung open and Dylan felt a pair of strong hands grip his shoulders and violently throw him to the ground. A solid kick to his already-aching ribs kept him down.
[#ff00ff “I’ve had enough of your antics Technopath. I thought you had learned your lesson the last time you were here, but I guess being stabbed three times in the chest wasn’t memorable enough.”] Bennett’s voice was smug, matching that arrogant gleam in her eyes. She stood on the other side of the observation chamber’s glass, while her guards dragged the boy towards the center of the room in full view of the researcher. Dylan couldn’t help but shudder. He remembered her last attempt to kill him very well – who could forget bleeding out on the floor while your loved ones tried to kill each other! It was that incident that stuck him in the coma Keelyn had saved him from and he was desperate not to experience that again. But Dylan forced his fears behind a brave mask and glared at the cruel woman through the glass.
[#ff00ff “Let’s try something a little different this time, shall we?”] Bennett smirked, nodding to the other figure in the room beside her. Dylan watched as the boy, not much younger than himself, stepped towards the glass and placed his hand against it. At first Dylan didn’t understand what was happening. He suddenly felt stronger, more connected. His mind was racing with numbers and data and code, open to a vast amount of information he could usually only access with a piece of tech in hand. He felt his abilities grow and the limitations slip away and Dylan could suddenly communicate with the camera all the way across the room just simply by thinking about it! He reached out, trying to contact his friends, but the mass of information in his mind didn’t stop growing. It was becoming overwhelming, far too much for the human mind to comprehend. The room around him melted away, leaving only the surge of data to consume him. He couldn’t focus, couldn’t think, couldn’t handle the pressure on his own mind. Dylan was hardly aware of the fact that he was screaming, that the camera in the corner had exploded, and the lights had burst as if surged with electricity. Bennett watched with a satisfied smirk as the boy in front of her was effectively reduced to a whimpering mass. Rocking himself back and forth and staring unblinking into the void in front of him. The human mind couldn’t take that kind of information overload. The Catalyst’s abilities had rendered the Technopath completely powerless. He’d be useless, trapped in his own insanity for the next several hours until the effects wore off.
[#ff00ff “Well, that was enlightening. Guards, go check on Oliver’s progress with the other captive. I want to know what his abilities are and how we can use them to our advantage. Leave the Technopath in the dark for now. We’ll see if he’s a bit more cooperative once the effects ware off.”]
Keelyn was well aware that she had missed a lot during her time in the coma, but she wasn’t quite prepared for everything that had happened in her absence. First, there was the uneasy partnership with Michael. Nico would have seen the wary skepticism on Keelyn’s face as he spoke about the charmer. Keelyn had figured Michael would rather have her dead than to help save her, especially since she had betrayed him not once but twice in the past! Whatever deal Nico made with the man, she hoped it was over now that both parties had fulfilled their terms. Keelyn didn’t want Nico or anyone else indebted to that manipulative dictator.
The fate of Nightmare struck surprisingly hard. While Keelyn couldn’t deny her friends and family were safer without the Organization’s flunky on their backs, it was hard to hear the woman was dead. Despite the crimes that Nightmare committed in the past several years, there was once a time where she and Keelyn were friends. They had been imprisoned at the Organization together for years, both subjected to Bennett’s cruel experiments, and both forced to work for the Organization in exchange for relative freedom. Both women had found themselves on the wrong side out of the egocentric need for self-preservation. Both had doubled crossed their allies and friends too often to count. The fact that Keelyn was lying here safe and sound while Nightmare was dead and buried was more a factor of luck than anything else, and the reality of that fact was rather unsettling to the recovering Transference Healer.
Another blow struck that their unified team had lost a member in recent weeks. While Keelyn didn’t know the Speedster very well and was almost certain Emma had detested her for everything she’d done to hurt the Tanner brother’s in the past, Keelyn could recognize the great loss Emma was to her family. Once again, that unnerving guilt flooded to Keelyn’s mind, thinking that she could have perhaps saved Emma if she hadn’t been unconscious.
[#aa0000 “Too many questions to count… but I think more than anything I just need time for it all to sink in.”] She admitted, a little lost in thought after everything Nico had told her.
[#aa0000 “You might not think I have anything to make up for, but you’re wrong. You protected me, saved my son, brought my family back together, and watched over my sister. I won’t take that for granted. Give me a couple days to get back on my feet and I’ll do what I can to help. And if Boyd had any part in Emma’s death… that bastard will be first on my list.”] Keelyn admitted.
With Keelyn awake and Janessa taking care of Jackson, Sarah was taking a few rare moments to relax and read. Hearing the Elemental approach, she set her book aside and gave a warm, appreciative smile in return.
[#550055“I had a lot of practice when Cody and Dylan were young. My parents… they weren’t exactly the nurturing type.”] Sarah said, explaining where her knowledge of child care had stemmed from.
[#550055 “But you really don’t have to thank me Nico. After everything you’ve done for my family, looking after little Jackson is the least I could do. I wasn’t always there for my brothers. You have no idea how grateful I am that you’ve been watching out for them. And for all you did for Emma…”] Sarah paused, still finding it hard to speak about her fallen sister.
[#550055 “Just know that Cody, Dylan, and I all appreciate it. We’re glad to help in any way we can… even if my hotheaded little brother doesn’t always act that way.”] Sarah explained, showing she knew about the fight Nico had with Dylan and that she harboured no hard feelings. She knew that regardless of what was said, both Nico and Dylan cared about each other and no words spat in anger could change that. Sarah was about to ask where her youngest brother had disappeared to when, coincidently, her communicator started to beep with an incoming message from the young teen. In fact, every communicator in the safe house was alerted with the same cryptic message from the Technopath, but all it consisted of was a series of 0s and 1s.
[#008800 “It’s binary code.”] Cody explained, steeping into the room with his own communicator in one hand and Dylan’s laptop in the other. He entered the digits into a binary translator to get to the root of the message, confused at why his brother was suddenly speaking in computer code, especially if the message was so easily decrypted. Equally as unnerved, Sarah tried to locate her brother with little success.
[#550055 “I can’t find him… It’s not like with Emma, she was just gone. But Dylan… it’s like he’s everywhere all at once. I can’t narrow it down. His mind is too unfocused, too scattered… I’ve sensing him from every device in this room, I can’t tell where he actually is!”] Sarah explained in a growing panic.
[#008800 “Well we better find him soon. That message? It’s two words: Save Andrew.”]
[b "It's good to see that you're as perceptive as ever Keelyn, looks like your coma hasn't diminished that much of you at least. You're absolutely right he's not exactly a friend but I called in a favour that somebody owed me in order to get him here. I might as well put all of the cards on the table, he's with Michael but it's not what you think so don't fly off the handle before I explain. The Sanctuary was raided by the Organisation and Boyd, it was decimated and almost everyone was captured. Cody tried to help his former friends at the Sanctuary and Emma was killed in the ensuing struggle. I'm not actually too sure on how it happened but Michael ended up with the two Tanners and Emma's body at one of his safehouses and in order to get them all out of there I gave my word that I would rescue anyone else from Boyd that Cody hadn't managed to free but I would also need an assurance that once that was done he would provide a healer in order to bring you out of your coma. Long story short, I went and rescued the others, killed Nightmare when she tried to stop me and Michael held up his end of the bargain and...well here you are. I know that's a lot to take in but honestly that's the simplest explanation. Any questions?"]
Nico was well aware of the fact that he had basically just dumped everything that had happened to them since that night when the Sanctuary was attacked and everything had changed for the group. There was so much in the story that Keelyn would probably object to, he knew she hated Michael for what he had forced her into, then there was the inclusion of Vincent Boyd in the story as well who was possibly the one person that Keelyn hated most in the world, none of this would be easy to hear. Emma's death would be another shock, she hadn't known the speedster well and in all honesty Nico wasn't even sure how much the younger Pierce sister even liked the Speedster but it would be a blow to know that one of their group had fallen. There were of course a few details that the dark elemental had neglected to mention, chiefly Janessa's new pack relationship with Jason and Nico's own relationship with Janessa. There were far more important things that she needed to know about than his own love life and he didn't fully understand how the feral pack bind worked. That news would be far better coming from her sister rather than him.
[b "I know what you must be thinking and I don't want you to worry about it, it wasn't you that made me make this deal, you have nothing to make up for and if I had to I would do the exact same thing again. I mean it, you have nothing to be sorry for or to make up for either. You really should get some rest and if you need anything at all, we will be here for you."] Nico made his way out of the room to give Keelyn the opportunity to get the well earned rest she needed in order to recover the strength that she had lost by being in the coma for so many months. The dark elemental went to find Sarah Tanner.
[b "Thank you for everything you've done. I don't thibnk that Janessa could have coped with having to look after Jackson on top of everything else that has been going on, I know that I wouldn't have a clue where to begin looking after a kid. You have our thanks and if there is anything that you need then please don't hesitate to ask. We will always be here for you and your family."]
Nico might not realize it – and Keelyn would certainly never dare admit to it – but the fact that he was here with a genuine expression on his face, trading friendly banter, and acting as if he were relieved to see her awake… it meant a lot to the Transference Healer. Keelyn had done some horrible, underhanded things in the past and certainly hadn’t made it easy for people to care about her. If it had just been Janessa sitting at her bedside, Keelyn could have convinced herself that it was simply familial obligation that bound the Feral to her sister, but seeing them both gave Keelyn a spark of hope that maybe she hadn’t burned all of her bridges like she thought.
The relief was evident on Keelyn’s face as Nico explained that Dylan had recovered from his coma as planned. Not only was Keelyn grateful that she could help the kid, but it was good to know her sacrifice hadn’t been for nothing. She wasn’t ready to talk about her experience – and with Kyleen’s typical aversion to expressing her feelings, she wasn’t sure she ever would be – but being trapped alone, in her own mind, with only her own dark thoughts for company was a lot harder on the Transference Healer than she was willing to admit. The respect she had for Katherine grew ten-fold when she thought about the Illusionist spending years in that hell and still waking up the same sweet person she always was. No wonder Nico loved her.
[#aa0000 “I’m glad he’s ok. He’s a good kid, he didn’t deserve what that bitch Bennett did to him. Once he’s back, could you send him in?”] Keelyn asked, feeling her sister’s reassuring hand on her shoulder. Janessa was smiling with a proud gleam in her eyes, unable to hide how pleased she was that her sister was so intent on mending whatever bonds she’d broken in the past.
[b “Of course Kee. He’ll be happy you’re awake. Dylan’s been watching out for you ever since you took his place. And Nico, I know firsthand how hotheaded Tech can be. I doubt he was entirely innocent in that argument you had; he probably said some unfair things himself. Give it time, He’ll be back with apologies before too long.”] Janessa assured her boyfriend, not liking the idea of Nico taking the blame for their squall. She knew that Dylan wouldn’t have been very reasonable or patient with the Elemental, especially after overhearing the news about Lucas.
While the Healer had taken care of any physical injuries, Keelyn was still rather frail from spending months in a coma. Her muscles had atrophied, she was far too thin, and even the small effort of carrying her son would be a trial for the next few days until she recovered some of her strength. Not that these facts stopped Keelyn from trying. As the girl swung her legs around the side of the bed and moved to stand, Janessa’s reassuring hand became far more forceful.
[b “Rest Keelyn.”] She ordered, far too overprotective now that she had her sister back.
[#aa0000 “I need to put Jackson down for a sleep, the poor kid looks exhausted.”]
[b “I’ll take care of that. I mean it Keelyn, don’t push yourself. You need rest.”] Janessa ordered, taking her nephew from her sister’s weary arms. As she left the room, Janessa placed a soft kiss on Nico’s cheek and disappeared into the other room to put the tired toddler down for a nap. As soon as the Feral left, Keelyn turned a far more serious look to the Elemental. Apparently she hadn’t lost the ability to manipulate her sister, as some privacy with Nico was her goal the entire time. Michael’s Healer had long since excused himself to find Delta and Raven now that his duty was fulfilled, giving the Transferance Healer and the Elemental a chance to talk.
[#aa0000 “The man that healed me… I got the impression he wasn’t exactly here on friendly terms. Where did you find him? More importantly, what did you have to trade in order to get him here? And no bullshit Nico, I can tell when you’re lying to me. At least tell me how much my life cost you, so I know how to pay you back.”] Keelyn asked, with a pointed look that silently screamed [i ‘don’t you dare lie to me!’]. If Nico or Janessa had to strike some deal with the devil in order to wake her up, she’d do whatever she could to pay her debts. Keelyn had a long, messy history of taking advantage of those who tried to help her, and stabbing those good souls in the back. This time, she was actually making an effort to make amends.
All posts are either in parody or to be taken as literature. This is a roleplay site. Sexual content is forbidden.