The continual transitioning of the Society through different universes seemed to come to an end when they were transported into the middle of an empty street. The remnants of the white light that had accompanied them on their journey slowly faded away, letting the bleak city appear before the Society.
Ethan recovered the quickest out of everyone, standing up with a slight wobble as he readjusted himself. He looked around the area for anything that could identify where they were; watching as the few people around ran off yelling about notifying the police. With confusion he looked back at the still recovering Society; his visor displaying question after question about what just happened.
After taking a few more seconds to readjust himself from the travel over, Garrus managed to stand up before leaning over in a sudden bout of dry heaving. "This is just not going to be a good day is it?" he muttered, his throat dry from trying to keep his breakfast down. He stood up straight and scanned the place they had landed at. Grey and brown were the first things he thought of. The murky and dank palette of this city made him think of some sort of dystopian society, and the repeated design of all the buildings did not help with that idea. 'And when it couldn't get anymore depressing the rain begins,' he thought solemnly, turning his attention towards the lightly fall drizzle.
'Now is not the time to dwell on such things though.' Garrus faced the rest of the Society, knowing they'd want some sort of guidance in this chaotic time. "Everyone listen up. I know we're still dealing with what just happened, but we need to figure out exactly where we are. If we really are in another dimension, and I believe we are, than we need to contact the government and explain what is going on. Or at least find someone who can help us get back, which I'm sure is a possibility. So let's all just take a few deep breaths and try to relax," Garrus told the other members, not quite wanting the topic to go to the odd and confusing things that they had witnessed on their transition over.
"I don't think coming into contact with the government or locals is a good idea yet. We should probably lay low until we figure out the state and timeline of this reality. For all we know interacting with this reality could end up being extremely detrimental." Richard said. His main concern was the fact they didn't know where, or even when, they were. Until this could be figured out, going to talk to what was assumed to be a cop and trusting them could be a very bad idea.
As soon as the last of the light faded, Rowan immediately staggered a couple of steps away from the others. Having never experienced teleportation before, much less being transferred through multiple alternate dimensions, he felt like he had been thrown around in a centrifuge while having his insides scrambled. As such, he was in less control of his body than Garrus was of his own. The shapeshifter dropped to his hands and knees and threw up into a nearby drain, hacking and coughing a few times before he began trying to control himself a bit better.
"What... what the hell just happened?" he rasped, cringing at the pain in his throat from the vomiting. The easy way to cure that was to change form, but he wasn't sure if that would have an effect on how he felt.
Katie, too, experienced a considerable amount of nausea, but it was by no means as bad as Rowan's ailment. Having a magician for a boyfriend had its benefits, but even though she was somewhat used to teleporting alongside Leland, she felt considerably sick and had to sit down to recuperate. She retracted the plant armour covering her head, and loosened the material covering her chest, in the belief that it would help her to breathe a little easier. It seemed to work.
For now, she waited both to get herself back in shape, and for the others to make sure they were alright.
A middle-aged man stepped briskly through a hallway, his pace and expression urgent. At the other end stood two armed sentries, who cautiously watched the his approach with their assault rifles at the ready. As the man drew near, he produced a badge from the inside of his uniform showed it to them. The guard to his right examined the badge briefly and nodded, stepping aside to enter a code into the keypad fixed to the door. With an affirmative tone, the door opened. Both guards saluted the man before allowing him to step past them and through the door.
The room he stepped into was spartan in its furnishings, with grey metallic walls and a cold, hard stone floor. A single light hanging from the ceiling failed to illuminate the entire room, leaving the corners in perpetual darkness. In the center of the room, a figure sat cross-legged and back facing the door, surrounded by bits and pieces of metal that orbited gracefully in a perfect circle. As if agitated by an unseen force, the various nuts, bolts, screws and plates suddenly sprung to life, accreting into the form of two handguns before settling down to the floor.
"I assume you felt it, sir?" the man said to the figure as the latter stood up.
"We have noticed it, Colonel Ashman," replied the figure after a brief pause. His voice had an unearthly layered quality, underscored by a deep, sinister tone. "What have you found so far?"
Ashman shook his head slightly. "This anomaly is nothing like we've observed before. Our researchers have been unable to identify it is as of yet. We have, however, managed to ascertain its location. The energy spike appears to have originated somewhere nearby in downtown Patriot City. We have also received initial reports of some kind of disturbance in that area. Details are sketchy at best right now, but-"
A raised hand stopped Ashman in his tracks.
"Notify the local authorities that we will be investigating this matter ourselves. They are not to interfere".
"Yes, sir," was Ashman's crisp reply.
"Ready a transport and notify Ares Squad to prepare for immediate departure".
"Right away, sir".
Levi stumbled forward and took hold of a street lamp to steady himself. After taking a moment to catch his breath and settle his stomach, he looked around. They were in some kind of city, but something about this city felt terribly wrong. He couldn't explain why, but the dull and worn look of the buildings and streets gave him a lingering feeling of dread. His unease wasn't helping his still-churning stomach at all, and Levi had to fight the urge to vomit. The feeling subsided and he tried to catch his breath once more.
"I...I agree with Richard. We need to lay low," he said. "Our entrance wasn't necessarily a quiet one".
When the last transition stopped, Tyson felt like he had fallen out of a tree. Getting up slowly he was barely paying attention to the on going conversation. What just happened. What was with that universe? Everyone was alive there, but my old team and the society was fighting. I wonder why they were. And if that version of me was able to turn into that thing, Vesper, and Shrink was able to generate a gravity field without physical contact. Most importantly Marrow was alive there. Is she alive in this universe too? I wonder if there's a universe where only I died and I could join it. It would be nice if that one universe could gain that happiness and my universe lost my sadness.
Tyson shook the thoughts off for now but it seemed to be something he'd have to look into later. Sighing, he looked around at the worn city and noticed video camera everywhere. "It doesn't matter we do right now if you ask me. Hiding will be futile with all these camera everywhere and our less than quiet entrance has made sure of that. We also stick out like a sore thumb in this place.
I don't think we'll learn much by running away either so maybe waiting for the welcoming committee to show up wouldn't be a terrible idea. It would be easy to see how this place is run based on how they approach us. Based on any military that I've ever seen, killing a person or a group of people who appear out of nowhere doesn't happen unless they are extremely hostile towards you on contact. Rather someone near the top would be interested in who you are and where you came from. They'd want information from you and would order your capture. Things considered basic knowledge in a new area would be easily slipped to use through any questioning or interrogations. Plus taking the odds, I'd bet that whoever they send to talk to us will be civilized and that we'd likely be welcomed after a few questions and an explanation for how we got here." Tyson said lying through his teeth.
Trying to get underground and find out what was going on first would be the best option. They had already made a big entrance and disappearing and gathering intelligence would have been the best process here. Instead he simply knew that the team could handle almost anything sent their way that wouldn't destroy the whole city with them and that whoever is sent will likely lead him to a place where he could check to see if his old team existed in this universe. It was selfish but it didn't really matter to him. Right now the risk was worth its reward in his eyes.
Brian's body stopped its internal battle as the teleportation process seemed to be over. He hesitated to move, wanting to make sure he wasn't to be jerked around into another world, but the white light wasn't appearing this time. This was it right here.
He looked around the desolate world that surrounded them. It reminded him of all those bog-standard shooters he played through on the XBox back home, it was almost as grainy as the original system. There did not seem to be any color to be found in this world. Jeez,there should probably be a rebel battalion of some sort to come charging out of the alleyways for a one sided battle against a giant robot. Or something. I dunno, I can't make heads or tails of this place.
The rest of the team was discussing what they should be doing, and getting out of the immediate vicinity was the most appealing option in Brian's eyes. Tyson was being very pessimistic about any of their options, and in fact wanted to stay and interact with whatever welcome party was sent to deal with their appearance. "I don't know about that buddy," he said, gripping his scythe tighter as he continued looking around. "If I had to guess there, I'd say whoever lives here isn't going to be the most hospitable type of person. I'm with Richard and Levi. I think we should just be looking to find a hideout in the area so we can just kinda assess what is going on here and what we can do about it. Maybe even trying to contact that loopy Doctor there to see about getting us back to his place."
'I could take care of the cameras.' Taryn noted silently. She waited for the road to stop spinning before taking a few steps away from Levi. 'Perhaps not.' she amended. There were a lot of cameras. And if they were each on closed circuits she'd have to access them all individually. Which would take time. Hopefully the equipment was networked to a mainframe somewhere. 'Why so many cameras? Big Brother's watching?' Taryn grinned but it faded when she realized that the group had no idea where they were. Big Brother may just be an option.
With all of the equipment visible Taryn expected to feel a solid, active current. The barely-there indicator of all the electricity, code, and circuits being used. The current at the Promenade was familiar, just one of many indicators that identified the building as her home. But this place was different. Shifting her weight Taryn angled her right hand toward the ground. Her fingers flexed and a controlled flash of energy ran across her palm to disappear into her sleeve. There was something there. A faint current. No, it wasn't just faint it was...muffled? Shrugging off the oddity Taryn extended her senses toward the nearest security camera. Perhaps there was a network she could tap into. 'Please, let there be.'
A high pitched whine, like microphone feedback set on max volume, answered her call. Taryn flinched and put a hand to her head. Though the 'sound' had been purely internal the headache it caused was quite real. 'Ow.' Taryn scowled at the offending piece of equipment. 'What was -that-?' She started to try again when she heard Brian speak. 'Hide now, argue with machines later.' Taryn told herself.
"Whoever 'lives here' likes to see what's going on." she muttered.
"Okay, well I guess we won't try to make contact then with everyone seemingly against it. Does anyone have a clue where to go then? Find a safe place and figure things out? It seems like this place is pretty...let's just cut to the chase, 1984-ish. I have a feeling we're totally being watched right now; perhaps we should try to make it out of this city or something? Might be safer out of this place. Let's try that; we'll split up and use our communicators to-" Garrus stopped himself short, grabbing the Society communicator and taking a look at it. The little light showing that the communicators were online and within range of the satellite they used was off.
"Scratch that idea, they don't seem to be working. Fuck," he cursed under his breath. With being in such a crazy and unknown situation, the options were limited. They had no bearings on where they were currently, and with the way the city seemed they might not want to learn it. He decided that the best course of action would be to simply move out of the street they were standing in for now. As he waved the group over to him he tried to think of what they should do from there.
Garrus sighed, stopping when an idea popped up in his head. "Hey Taryn, Ethan...can you two, like, see if they have an internet here and connect to it or something?" he asked, noticing that Taryn seemed to be in pain and that Ethan was shaking his head quickly as if he didn't even want to try, "Guess that won't work then. Ethan, can you run around a little bit a find anything that could help us?"
Ethan was quick to nod his head and jog down the street, disappearing after turning the corner. "He'll be back soon. So are we all in agreement to find a place we can lay low for now?" he asked the group, getting a newspaper shoved in his face by Ethan before any answer could be given. "This is just perfect; good work! Huh, the "People's Observer"? Okay...hmm, 'Summit Fails After EU Refuses to Compromise'? 'Enlistment at an All-time High'? What the fuck am I reading? Where did you find this?" Garrus asked his brother frantically, tossing the paper to the others as he followed Ethan around the street corner.
Before him seemed like something out of a movie. Large propaganda posters lined the walls of buildings, dozens of security cameras watched every move that was being made by the people, almost all of whom were like drones as they moved down the streets which seemed to go on forever. One of the posters caught his eye, the orange and black monstrosity showing a strong, faceless man firing some form of energy from his hand; the words 'Enlist Now!' written underneath.
"I...think we should go," Garrus muttered, seeing enough of the looking over at Ethan.
"Right," Tommy reached into his vest pocket and grabbed three one inch ceramic spheres. The spheres where in reality magical smoke grenades. He survey the area and spotted an empty alley-way. He dropped two of the spheres to cut them off visually from the crowd.
"Into the alley, we need to get out of sight first." Tommy activated the wind element, as he did so there was a sudden surge in the energy he hadn't expected. It turned what was meant to be a small gust to spread the smoke-screen, turned into a gale which knocked over the crowd. "Was not suppose to do that," Tommy remarked before looking at the gloves, the power appeared to fluctuating wildly. I don't think my gloves are adjusting to the shift very well. There was a sudden flash of pain in his right eye, followed by it suddenly switch to feeling perfectly fine. He walked towards to alley and motioned for others to follow.
Shit. Well I couldn't reasonably expect that to work anyways. I'll have to find some other way to get what I want later. I guess I should at least keep these people from doing something extremely stupid anyways. Tyson followed the group as they left to find some place to hide. Already knowing that doing so in the city was beyond unlikely since the cameras were everywhere. The city looked like the North Korea capital with proper funding for a camera system. Unless they found a resistance force somewhere getting out of the city or finding a place to hide wasn't about to happen in his eyes either. Keeping a low profile so that whoever is watching us can't get a proper idea of everyone's powers should be our current goal.
As Tyson finished that thought Tommy used his wind magic and sent out an extremely strong wind. Fool! He probably didn't intend for the wind to be that strong. It wasn't even needed since smoke grenades natural spread the smoke and there isn't much wind here today. "Everyone, do not make use of any of your abilities. We're being watched so its just showing them our hand. It could also cause a bigger panic which we need to be careful of. Plus this is a different universe, our powers could very well not work the same way here so it's best to hold off until we have a chance to properly retest them or unless they are completely necessary to our survival. Does everyone understand?" Tyson said as he quickly ran to the alleyway noticing cameras looking down into it from both ends. Turning around he quickly pressed himself to the corner looking for anyone or anything approaching them from where they came from.
A small building with a couple dozen people inside was busy at work. Several people were busy typing away on small home computers, a few swearing every so often before increasing the speed at which they worked. Tactical maps were littered over top of tables and were left hanging from the walls with several pieces of paper and pins attached to them. Stacks of reports and information were crammed into binds, some over flowing and spilling on the floor. A high level of tenseness filled the building.
An eighteen year old man ran across the room carrying a few pieces of paper stopping when he came to a table with a map spread across it. A man five years older than him looked down at the map holding his head in frustration; muttering to himself. "We need to get echo company out of that prison but we just don't have the resources to successfully attack that facility."
"Sir." Said the eighteen year old with a nervous voice.
"Cut that sir stuff out already." Ordered the older man.
"Sorry, Second Lieutenant." Replied the eighteen year old sheepishly.
"That rank shit too. We are a resistance not a government military. Now tell me what you are bothering me with." Replied back a clearly frustrated voice from the twenty-three year old.
"Sorry. We have confirmed reports that a group of mysterious looking people appeared spontaneously in an intense white light. We also have unconfirmed reports that the Secret Police's Ares Squad has been deployed as well. We believe that you should start over viewing and advising the situation Mr. Bishop." The younger man hoarsely announced.
Grabbing the papers from the younger man and studying them for a second he left the table. "This is actually interesting if they are getting involved. Maybe we can use this to our advantage. Relay a command to all resistance members to keep their distance from that group if possible. Also Mr. Bishop is still too formal. Just call me Tyson."
Would someone tell me who died and made Tyson the team leader? Katie thought, indignation crossing her face, as she heard the sound manipulator barking out orders like he owned the place. Someone needs to learn his place... So much for a decent chain of command in this team... She didn't see much sense to his point about powers working differently. Her abilities were genetic, so they weren't normally affected too badly by her location. At least, that was what she surmised. She knew she had minor issues with controlling plant life in colder seasons, but that was by no means an issue in... wherever they were now.
To partially hide herself from the ever-present cameras, and perhaps prevent any facial recognition software that its owners could possess, she resealed the armour over her face with a thought. There seemed to be no change whatsoever in her command over plant life; that was good. Her secondary power she would test later, at a more convenient time. Taking in the familiar scent of her plant life to reassure herself that she was okay after the transition, Katie once again looked to Richard's armoured form for instructions.
"Hiding sounds really good right now," Rowan muttered as he followed the lead of the others, being careful to stay out of sight of the cameras as much as humanly possible. Such a feat, however, was proving to be difficult: the damned things were everywhere. And since the Society wanted to be discreet about their presence, shooting them out was clearly a bad idea.
The shapeshifter was out of his element, having no idea where to go or what to do. He was just blindly following the others, since they seemed to know a bit better than he did.
"Transports six and seven are away, all passengers accounted for," a twenty-year-old woman with waist-length brown hair stated. She wore simple attire one would see on the average businesswoman: formal and effective.
"Good, good. Are the next ones ready to leave?" an identical voice asked. This new voice, however, spoke with a considerable amount of authority in its tone. Its owner sat in a chair with a couple of computers nearby, garbed in near-identical clothing.
"The last of them are settling in now. Morale is somewhat low," the woman answered. "It is already being taken care of, though."
"Excellent. What news from the other headquarters?"
"Nothing right now, Ms Southe."
"All right. You may go," the second woman answered, briefly reflecting on the report before mentally setting it aside. There was much that needed to be taken care of, and many places in which she needed to be. Thankfully, she was.
A lone figure sat shrouded in the shadows, at the edge of one of the many monochromatic buildings. Arms folded across his chest, the man watched the proceedings below, ignoring the down-trodden citizens in favour of the strangers that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Interesting: unfamiliar people just appearing out of nowhere. In my travels I have not met many people that can do such things, let alone so many in one place, he reflected internally as he got up from his perch. The man did not stand, however: instead he hovered, holding himself up with the power of his mind alone, and unfolded his legs from a sitting position.
New mental signatures had been detected not far from his position, and the man had promptly investigated. Strange new minds, different to every other that he had met. They were free of the depression that kept the ordinary citizens down... it was a welcome change, but one that needed to be confirmed as friendly or hostile.
The man, known as Spoon by the few who had met him face to face and were allowed to remember him, turned on the spot and left the building's roof in a quick blink of teleportation and the swirl of a thick royal-blue cloak. He began to jump from rooftop to rooftop as he pursued his goal of observation of the newcomers. Once he gained intelligence on these strangers, he would sell it to the highest bidder.
Garrus and Ethan turned away from the downtown street to look at what was going on behind them; barely having time to brace themselves before the strong gust of wind blew past them. While the people that had fallen over recovered from the strong wind, the two ran back towards the group and the cloud of smoke that Tommy had made. Ethan quickly ran past his slower brother, bringing out his luger and joining Tyson in making sure no one was following them. Once everyone had ran in and they made sure the coast was clear behind them they followed.
The alley seemed to never end as they followed it, having to go up and down levels before Garrus told everyone that they should stop for now. "Look, I haven't seen any other ways out, and this alley doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. We should just stop here for now and try to figure something out," he said, leaning against the sleek grey wall of a building to catch his breath.
"I know we need to find a place to hide, but does anyone have any idea where to begin? I certainly don't," he admitted, lowering himself down to the floor to sit.
" Let's find out where we are first, the people looked like Americans but this isn't like any city I've ever seen." Tommy stripped off his gloves, and put them back into his pockets, he then put on the his knuckle-dusters. " Alright hold on for a second." With a single jump he launched himself above the building around him. He landed on the roof of one of the building, a took a quick look around, before dropping back down.
"Well that wasn't helpful, it's like this for miles, just uniform housing as far as the eye, also interesting, there are camera's up there too."
"Well underground or just getting out of open areas as quickly as possible might be our best options. Though how much good it will do us we can't be sure. Though the number one imperative should be not to interfere in what is going on in this universe if we can avoid it. Hopefully we'll be out of here soon." Richard said as he kept up with the group.
Jason stayed predominantly quiet since the transition into the drab, new universe, the increase in surveillance keeping him tense and on his toes. Like the rest of the team, Jason wasn't sure of who was stationed at the other end of those cameras, but due to his bounty status he decided that he wasn't too willing to find out, at least not on his own. After Richard gave a suggestion implicating to move underground, Jason cautiously piped up.
"In a city area like this, it's almost natural for them to have a subway system of some sort. If we can find a station, get pass their cameras, and make it down onto the tracks, we'd be able to take refuge there, as well as have access to the subway stations scattered around the city. If that doesn't work, then we could always go through the sewers. It'd serve the same purpose...just at the price of cleanliness." He explained to the team, the plan reminiscent of one he used in New York to stay clear of bounty hunting Keyholders.
Above the streets of Patriot City, a formation of five black gunships flew in low and fast. Inside the lead craft, a squad of ten helmeted soldiers prepared their their weapons. A rhythmic series of clicks and clacks could be heard over the din of the engines as magazines were loaded and bolts were cocked back. It was a professional, rehearsed routine that was performed with machine-like precision.
"We have a visual!" announced the tinny voice of the pilot through the PA. "Smoke cloud less than a click northeast. Thermal sensors indicate multiple contacts in the alleyway nearby".
The demonic layered voice spoke. "Bring us down, Lieutenant. They will not go any further".
"Deltas Two, Three, and Four will accompany us. Delta Five will provide air support".
A series of four acknowledgement sounded through the General's personal comm.
"And remember, they must be taken alive".
The gunships broke formation, two moving to land on each side of the alley and the fifth making its approach to cover above. Commandos stormed out of the four aircraft as soon as they touched ground, quickly surrounding the subjects now stuck in the alley. In only a few seconds, forty heavily armed men had completely surrounded them in all directions with weapons raised. The gunship still in the air hovered overhead menacingly, its mounted machine guns pointed directly at the helpless team.
By the time Levi heard the approaching aircraft, it was already too late. Scores of men quickly bailed out of them and pointed their weapons at them, yelling at them to not move and put their hands behind their heads. Quickly assessing the situation, he realized there was no way he could stop the bullets from all of the assault rifles pointed at them. Neither could he disarm the soldiers anywhere near fast enough. Even with the rest of the team, they were no match for all those weapons, especially the firepower hovering directly above them. With no other option, Levi put his hands behind his head.
"This is off to a great start," he mumbled.
A ripple in the formation of soldiers caught Levi's eye. The men had parted to either side to allow a figure to step through. This man was dressed in a dark grey formal officer's uniform with ankle-height boots that accentuated his every footstep with an echoing thud. When the sparse light of the alleyway finally lit his features, Levi was nearly paralyzed with terror. He was looking at himself. A mirror-image duplicate of himself. But more accurately, he was looking at...
Oh God. Oh no. No. This...this can't be! This can't be Victor!
The alternate-Victor scanned the team of heroes with his soulless black eyes. "We are Lector. You are under arrest and will stand down'.
When Victor first landed Tommy noticed he looked just like Levi, a brief spark of hope lasted until he saw his eyes. Tommy muttered, " Of all the places we get stuck here, why couldn't we have been left with the ice-skating people." He took a look around as he talked, trying to get an idea for how many guns were pointed at them. Way too many... Tommy was tough but enough bullets could still kill him, and those gun-ships had more than a little bit of firepower. Tommy slowly did the same as Levi, as dangerous as surrender to Victor was, starting a fight here could be suicide. Besides, who knows, maybe this is the anti-universe, and this is good Victor. Who is leading a bunch of well armed, black suited men with an ominous name in what looks to be a North Korean police-state. Ya... he's probably just a evil.
" I don't suppose there's any crime we're being arrested for?" Tommy asked Lector, meanwhile shifting himself to cover some of the less bullet-proof members.
Both Katie and Rowan flinched at the sudden arrival of armed and armoured soldiers, the latter more visibly than the former. Easily outnumbering them, the well-trained troops surrounded the whole Society. Not wishing to go up against that many guns ready to rip them to shreds, both of them complied with the order to submit.
Katie, however, had an idea. It had worked against Omoi's armoured troops, and could just as easily be used to jam the barrels of the soldiers' guns. Unmoving, she reached out with her senses to try to detect any spores in the area... what she found was both unnerving and shocking. None of the troopers had anything on them, not even a single spore she could grow into a counter-attack and attempt to apread a little confusion.
Then she caught sight of the leader of the clearly hostile forces. The pure black eyes, the familiar body shape... it could almost be Levi. She blinked in surprise, trying not to stare at the man who called himself Lector. There was a strange duality to his voice... but she ignored it for the moment, trying desperately to think of how to get out of this conundrum without any of her teammates getting hurt.
Aircraft were nearby. Helicopter gunships, judging by the noise. Five of them, judging by the number of minds in the air aboard each one. Spoon shot a glance at each gunship before teleporting again, getting a closer look at the situation below while remaining hidden in the shadows. The dark colouring of his outfit helped: he wore black clothing under an identically coloured floor-length cloak. A balaclava covered his head.
One of the men on the ground, not one of the newcomers, had a strange, almost fragmented, mentality, from what Spoon could 'taste' on the quick pass he made at the man. He recognised it: Lector. A General in the army of Patriot City. Spoon wanted nothing more than to crack open that man's mind and short-circuit his nervous system. Maybe pop open his ribcage with a blunt wrench of telekinesis and get a look at the shriveled black mess that was his heart.
In the few seconds that passed between Spoon's initial thoughts and his following actions, he weighed up his options. Joining these newcomers and getting arrested with them could take him to the heart of the matter... or an interrogation facility. Many who entered those places against their will did not return. Spoon did not wish that on the unfamiliar people, and he could get them out given time and mental fortitude... he did not know them, though that was easily fixed.
The black-clad man teleported into the Society's little group, causing some of the troopers to aim their guns at him. Some looked like they were ready to open fire as a reflex action, though they held their fire for some reason. Spoon had thought ahead, though, and placed his hands on his head and knelt down before moving into the Society's area. He reached out to the strangers' minds, sending all of them a telepathic message simultaneously, thought-speaking quickly to get the message across as fast as possible:
±Don't worry, I won't hurt you. In fact I may be able to help. My name is Spoon. If you are hearing this... I don't know how to say it, but think at me and I will hear you.±
Rowan's eyes widened in shock as a voice entered his mind: as well as teleportation, hearing a voice in his head that wasn't his own was a new experience. As words entered his mind unbidden, he tried to make sense of them. Presumably they were coming from the man in the black cloak, who had just teleported into the middle of the Society: none of his fellow team members could do such things, except maybe Leland, and the communicators were all inactive. But one thing stuck out above all else.
The voice invading his mind was his.
"That could work Jason. The sewers sound like our best bet when it comes to finding a good place to hid-" Garrus started, getting cut short when dozens upon dozens of men dropped down and pointed guns at everyone's heads. His hands immediately shot up in the air, slowly putting them behind his head as he realized just how bad the situation was.
'Dystopian society, getting arrested by guys with guns pointed at everyone's heads, a guy appearing out of nowhere talking in our heads, and learning that someone like Victor was commanding said guys with guns. We really got the worst universe,' he thought to himself when he got a good look at 'Lector'. The man in a cloak that had joined them sounded familiar, but he couldn't quite place it. 'Help is help I suppose.'
His ears perked when he heard a few of the men yell for someone to put the gun down, turning to see Ethan pointing his luger and MP-5 at two disarmed soldiers. "Ethan? Ethan put the guns down!" Garrus seethed, not wanting anything to escalate right now.
Ethan had moved slightly away from the group when he heard the incoming gunships, keeping his hands close to his guns as the men dropped below. Two had immediately aimed their guns at him, both of them telling him to put his hands up. The disarming was quick, both men finding themselves on the ground with a gun pressed up against their heads. Ethan didn't fire upon them though due to assault rifles now being pointed at him by half a dozen of the soldiers, all of whom yelled for him to drop the guns. He stayed still, keeping the guns pointed on the two soldiers as he thought over what to do.
There goes not interfering. Richard thought as two men tried to grab his arms and put him on the ground. He easily shuffled the both of them off thanks to his armor.
"I will stand thank you. I'll go with you willingly but I'll do it with some small amount of dignity." He said as he stood still, not bothering with any of the weapons on his suit. He knew doing anything more than what he had already done would escalate things further.
"In fact I think I speak for all of us when I say we'll all come quietly, so what you are doing is entirely unnecessary." With that he allowed one of the troopers to restrain him.
Tyson might have laughed a little about how what he wanted to happen actually did but, the appearance of Lector stopped that from happening. Tyson wasn't exactly confident with his own odds against that man if he had powers and strength near what Victor had in their universe. His metal armor wasn't the best thing to be wearing as well and gauging the looks of the other members it looked like they were thinking along the same lines.
Breathing slowly Tyson ejected the magazine from his gun, pulled back the bolt releasing the chambered round, and dropped his bag on the ground before placing his gun on top of it. The man suddenly appearing out of nowhere and Ethan's stunt of disarming two of the soldiers and holding his weapons to their heads didn't help as Tyson was deciding what he wanted to do. Okay I want to distract this Lector guy away from Levi if possible and get Ethan to step down if possible. Here's to hoping I don't fuck this up. I shouldn't forget about that dude who just popped in here with a lack of a reason either.
±Dumbass who teleported in the middle of our group. Just so you know that was probably the stupidest thing to do at this point in time and you really could have caused some problems for us.± Tyson though to the man as he took a few steps forward. "Golem if you couldn't tell already they don't need a reason to arrest us. It would be best if we just went with the flow for now. We'll be free soon enough anyways. Requiem drop the guns, these aren't the type of people who will hesitate to kill you if it resulted in a teammate's death. You're just making the situation worse for everyone else." Tyson stated as he turned towards Lector.
Before Tyson could make a statement to the man a gun butt slammed into the side of his face. This sent him back a few steps as someone else kicked out the back of his knee and removed his mask. His arms were pulled behind his back and his arms were cuffed using zip ties.
"Sir, we though it was his voice. It looks like we caught Second Lieutenant Tyson Bishop, the Ten of Spades, Sir." Came a voice from one of the soldiers. "Everyone be on guard, this could be a trap!" Ordered another as Tyson realized that he clearly had a version of himself here who wasn't on friendly terms with these people.
±You are in no position to tell me what is smart and what is not, stranger,± Spoon shot back at Tyson, unruffled by the comments. ±I may be the only friendly face you will see today, and you clearly know very little about this city or its people. Your lives could end at any moment; these men are uncompromising, ruthless and highly effective, their leader even more so. If you have even a scrap of intelligence about you, you will comply with their orders.
±Especially since they appear to know you better than me,± he added upon hearing that they knew the outspoken stranger's name. The man was clearly distrusting of anything and everything until it had proven itself useful. He would need to change that to see himself through even a single day in Patriot City, Spoon thought to himself.
From his kneeling position on the ground, the psychic began to analyse the situation. He could easily take the whole group of strangers away from their captors in a few seconds, and guide them to places that would welcome them with less assault rifles and considerably friendlier questioning. But Lector's grunts had gunships to cover a wide area, and mass teleportation took both time and effort. Not a sound strategy. He could turn the soldiers on each other given time, but those that were unaffected would quickly realise the source of the friendly fire. That would be a bad move.
Burning out their minds could work, but he would have to do it to each of the forty soldiers at the same time to pull it off without detection. Each had individual consciousnesses that needed to be worked into gradually rather than forcing his way into them like a sledgehammer through drywall.
For once, Spoon was unsure of what to do.
As the soldiers started emerging from around the corner, Brian just sort of looked up to the sky. I knew it. I totally knew it. Who saw this coming? Place like this? Dystopian future where buildings are drab and there is propaganda everywhere. It could only be like this.
As he continued looking up, he thought he could make out a black dot above the building, but in a second it was gone. Once the men in front of the Society group started lifting their guns, there was a bit of hesitation. Then the voice.
±Don't worry, I won't hurt you. In fact I may be able to help. My name is Spoon. If you are hearing this... I don't know how to say it, but think at me and I will hear you.±
Brian looked around and suddenly a man in black appeared behind them. What's this guy doing? He wasn't hear before. Maybe he can get us out of here...
Ethan appeared behind the men, providing a distraction for a chunk of them. Worth a shot, I guess.
±Hey man, whoever you are, do you think maybe you can get us out of here? Maybe like teleporting or something? Because that would be pretty sweet right now...±
Spoon turned his head slightly to Brian as a Canadian voice entered his thoughts. ±Escape is an option, but it would be incredibly difficult to get away undetected,± he answered. ±Their gunships can easily cover ground, maybe faster than I can move if I take all of you with me. I can't just jump from one side of the planet to another, even if I'm on my own. That is one of my chief weaknesses: even though my psychic power is comparable to that seen in old stories and legends, I have to see where I'm going to teleport properly.±
A safer option would be to deal with the troops on the ground, and possibly the gunships as well. But Spoon didn't think he could handle forty armed soldiers with their guns, even if he began to kill them as quickly as possible: he doubted his chances of stopping bullets once the soldiers started to realise their plight, and some of the strangers looked like they had little to no protection against gunfire.
Rowan simply continued to stare at the black-clad figure, in complete shock at the notion that they truly were in a parallel universe, and he existed on a different plane of reality. Though clearly in a different form, given the monochromatic buildings, propaganda and the man's ability to send messages into his head. He didn't have that power. Perhaps there were far more differences to his home and this unfamiliar place than he could think of.
Either way, there was already a lot to think about thanks to Mordtoten alone.
The weapons in Ethan's hands were violently torn from his hands by a powerful magnetic pull, clattering to the ground some distance away. Before the cyborg could recover, Lector was already on him. He struck the cyborg with a right hook to the gut, followed by a two-handed left strike before finishing him off with a kick to the side of his helmeted head. Ethan was sent stumbling backwards until Lector swept his legs out from under him, causing him to crash hard to the ground. Four nearby soldiers dog piled Ethan and got him secured in handcuffs. Lector then returned his attention to the rest of the team.
"Resisting arrest will only serve to complicate matters," he said as the soldiers went about restraining the others. "We suggest you comply".
The arrival of the mysterious telepathic stranger was unexpected, but ultimately futile in Levi's mind. ±The gesture is appreciated, but I hope you know it's futile. There's no way we can fight off these men. And definitely not Vic...Lector. If you can teleport now, just get out of here. Run.±
Levi did not offer any resistance while a soldier cuffed him and pushed him forward. The odds were stacked too heavily against them to try anything else right now. As he was led towards a waiting helicopter, he realized with a dawning horror that Lector was looking straight at him. He met the abomination's gaze for a brief moment, too afraid to shift his eyes. The mortal fear that coursed through Levi was like none he ever felt before. While Victor was always frightening, he was always inside his mind, never in a concrete form. This time, it was very much real. And it was very much terrifying. If Victor was in a position of power in this universe, what hope did they have?
Lector watched the man until he was thrown rather violently into one of the gunships. Who was he? In appearance, they were completely identical. The energy signature he radiated closely resembled his own as well. How this could be irritatingly eluded him. Perhaps the prisoners would help explain...with sufficient 'persuasion'.
"It looks like we caught Second Lieutenant Tyson Bishop, the Ten of Spades, sir"
Two soldiers presented to Lector an armored man who had been somewhat beaten up. Blood trickled from a blow to the side of his face. He was familiar with the man listed as the Ten of Spades. Bishop's exploits had earned a degree of infamy through the ranks. Multiple convoy attacks and successful prison breaks had served as morale boosts in the Resistance, no doubt. To have him in their custody was a significant step closer to stamping out their insurrection once and for all.
"How nice of you to join us, Mr. Bishop". Lector nodded to the men escorting him. "He will be accompanying us". The soldiers nodded and nudged Tyson forward.
"Once the subjects have been contained, they are to be transferred to Prison Block Theta. Ares Squad will accompany us. The remaining men will stay here to secure the scene and gather witnesses," he announced over his personal encrypted comm before stepping into the ship in which he arrived. The interior was empty save for his doppelganger, who sat dejectedly on the bench, once again making eye contact with him. The curiosity seemed to be mutual.
The two men accompanying Tyson pulled him into the gunship and shoved him into the seat next to the other prisoner. Lector then slapped the stud that activated the cockpit's PA system. "Prepare for takeoff".
Garrus cringed at the swift beating Ethan received, though he was slightly more thankful at the fact that Lector didn't do anything worse to him. A few of guards were now bringing out handcuffs, using them to secure each member of the group before moving them into the ships. He knew that the majority of the Society could easily break out of such simple cuffs, but they knew they couldn't handle to overwhelming firepower they would then have to deal with. 'It's not like we have anywhere to run to anyways...maybe the new guy can help,' he thought as he seated himself next to Ethan, hearing a couple of quiet beeps coming from him.
±'Hey, new person. Spoon right?'± Garrus thought as he turned to look at the cloaked man being moved onto the ship. ±'Look, can you give us some information? We're not exactly from here, and none of us have any idea what is going on or where we are going...though I'm assuming it will be somewhere bad.'±
Katie felt hands roughly tugging at the plant matter on her wrists. Two of the soldiers were trying to tear the vines apart in order to cuff her. She couldn't let them tear off the plants on her hands: they held the Bimini and monkey tree leaves that she needed. In order to compromise, she retracted the vines around her wrists, but extended one from each sleeve and loosely connected the sleeves to her gloves.
The soldier with the handcuffs paused. "Sir, this one could be dangerous. These plants aren't just for show; she can control them," he said quietly, presumably into a communicator or something: Katie couldn't see him from her kneeling position. A few seconds later he spoke again, "Understood, sir." With that he resumed attaching the cuffs to Katie's wrists. As soon as the second one was locked into place the other soldier smashed the butt of his rifle into her head. She collapsed to the ground, barely conscious due to the thickness of her head's defenses and with a considerable amount of pain throbbing through the back of her skull.
Assuming her to be unconscious, the two gunmen hefted Katie into the gunship and roughly strapped her into her seat. They didn't want her falling out and rolling all over the place.
Spoon was roughly shoved into the ship, though not before handcuffs were locked onto his wrists. The psychic almost laughed out loud - an action he had not taken in a long time - at such a notion of constraint: a simple application of telekinesis would shatter them. Even then he didn't need the use of his hands to apply lethal force to a guard's mind. He refrained from freeing himself, however, as he wanted to ensure that the strangers would not suffer because of his actions. The soldiers would probably start shooting if he tried something.
The two guys shoved him down into a seat next to one of the strangers, who turned to look at him and began to send a message.
±'Hey, new person. Spoon, right? Look, can you give us some information? We're not exactly from here, and none of us have any idea what is going on or where we are going... though I'm assuming it will be somewhere bad.'±
Before he got a chance to answer the man, one of the soldiers removed the balaclava covering Spoon's face and casually tossed it out of the gunship. The garment had been a useful tool, since it helped to obscure his face and render him even less identifiable. A rat's nest of short blonde hair was revealed, along with pale skin and bright blue eyes. Other than the hair and eyes, Spoon was shown to be exactly identical to Rowan's original form.
±It is going to get bad, and quickly,± he answered, broadcasting his thought-speak not just to the poser of the questions, but to all of the other strangers. ±They will likely take us to one of Washington's many prison compounds for interrogation. As to what is going on, you have found yourselves in the middle of Patriot City. A disgusting name, given its rulers. 'Patriot' means a person who loves their country... this isn't love in any sense.
±Perhaps I should give you an explanation of the situation as I see it. United America has been engaged in war for the past decade, against both the European Union and the Asiatic Alliance. None of the three factions are willing to negotiate peace... but even if the others surrendered, there would still be no peace. Not as long as Americaland's leaders live on. They are cruel bastards with no qualms about treating their citizens like ants trapped in a glass cage without their queen.
±There is, however, a resistance organisation intended to overthrow this country's government and make drastic changes to the way the world works. The Resistance is considerably outnumbered, even with the special abilities of some of its members,± he continued, remembering one of the high-ranked women among the resistance. ±They've been operating for years, but the best they can do is evacuate refugees and migrants, and try to alleviate the oppression as best they can. I myself am not a Resistance member, nor am I a supporter of Americaland, but I have done work for the resistance on occasion. They perform operations like prison breaks and supply line disruption, but do not have the resources or manpower to launch a full assault and take over.
±If I may ask - it would be rude to intrude upon your minds in such a way - who are you all, and how did you get here?± he asked to finish his explanation.
Rowan let a quiet breath escape his clenched teeth as a soldier slapped handcuffs onto his wrists. They were secured extremely tightly, applying immense pressure but stopping just short of preventing circulation.
The shapeshifter went into the ship quietly, briefly wondering if he could break open the cuffs with a psychic bolt... but then the face of the black-clad man was revealed to be his own with a couple of changes. Rowan let out an involuntary gasp of shock, but whether he was noticed or not was lost on him as his doppelganger, Spoon, began to deliver a short speech into his head about the situation at hand and where the Society had ended up.
Spoon's commentary did nothing to alleviate the shock he still felt at being in an alternate universe... especially since he was looking at a mirror image of himself. Instinctively he shifted to match Spoon's facial features: not much needed changing, just the hair and eyes.
Jason found himself brining up the rear as he watched his friends be boarded onto the several gunships that were in the vicinity. He found himself filling with frustration as he watched some get roughed up by the soliders, hands quivering in anger as he watched Katie be struck down before him, almost as if it were done to invoke raw emotion from the boy. He acted accordingly, the handcuffs rattling loudly at his wrists as soliders pushed him towards the large aircraft. Instantly he erupted, sweeping at the soldier behind him before planting a sharp foot in the one ahead of him. Before he could do any more damage, the remaining surrounding soldiers tackled the boy, forming a dogpile atop of him. After restraining his legs, two of the soliders abuptly dragged him towards the ship as he struggled ferociously.
"Jason, you must calm yourself! Can't you feel that? There's something different about these soldiers!" Erebus said, causing Jason to pause momentarily. He was right. It was a familar sense buzzing at the back of his skull, one that reminded Keyholders of the Key's presence in other humans. As he managed to look up, he realized that the sense was coming from some of the soliders, the buzzing more significant in some more than others.
"K-Keyholders?" He replied hesitantly, His eyes widened at the, revelation. Before he was tossed onto the ship, the soldiers stopped,short, one of the two patching into the encripted comm. The message was targeted towards the one that addressed himself as Lector.
"Sir, what should we do with this one? The Key strain is at it's full potential in him." One of the soldiers asked urgently, Jason still struggling somewhat as he kept his head low.
Garrus looked back and forth between Rowan and Spoon once his balaclava was taken off, doing his best to wrap his head around them and what the group had just been told. 'A war for a decade? I suppose that explains the headline in the newspaper. This place is even worse than I thought,' he thought, not answering Spoon's question about who they were and where they came from, 'And if there are versions of Victor and Rowan here, does that mean there are ones for all of us?'
Before he asked anymore questions he felt he should give some answers to Spoon first. There was a pause while he figured out what to tell him; not wanting to give out too much information, yet knowing that it would be hard to explain things without details. ±'Well for starters my name is Garrus Arreos, and the guy next to me is my brother Ethan. None of us are really from here. All of us are a group of super heroes back where we come from; we fight crime and any crisis that comes up. We got here due to a little accident of sorts. Just plopped right down in the middle of...Patriot City, right?'±
He felt that was enough for the time being, now focusing on what to ask next. ±'This Resistance sounds like our best bet when it comes to finding a safe place. Is there a way that you could lead us to one of their bases once we get out of where we're going? It should be possible for us to escape.'±
After Alex has brushed her hair out of her eyes from the wind of the aircraft landing, right after her stomach stopped doing back flips from the trans-denominational trip, she looked up hearing the voice in her head. She was about to respond to it when she saw the face of what seemed to be Victor. "Why is he here?" she said under her breath.
She knew it was best to go without a fight but her anger was showing as gray light danced around her body. "What is this place and why is Victor here?" she said louder.
The solders looked at Alex funny almost as if they knew her. One solder started to walk up to her but stopped.
"What the fuck is going on?" she said trying not to yell.
Eric looked around at the ships and then saw what Alex was looking at. "What? This can't be possible?" he said to himself seeing some of the others being taken captive. He figured it would be best to hand himself over to them.
As a solder approached him he put his arms up. Sadly Eric found himself face down on the ground within mere moments. "What the hell? I gave myself up to you." he said struggling at first but was quickly over powered.
Due to his size four soldiers worked to arrest Tommy. Two of them aimed their guns at his head and neck while another two went behind his back. Just like others these two tried to manhandle him. One grabbed his right arm to try and twist it behind his back, while the other heel stomped the back of his knees to bring him down. Against Tommy's strength all that happened was the one grabbing his arm hurt a rotator cuff, and the stomper stumbled when Tommy's leg failed to give. As the soldiers looked at each other in confusion, Tommy slowly lowered himself to his knees and put his arms behind his back. The soldiers quickly put two pairs of cuffs on him before smacking him in the face with their rifle butts, something that only managed to but a crack in the rifle's stock. Tommy allowed the soldiers to pick him off his knees and drag him to the gun-ship Levi was in.
"Well, this is going swimmingly." Tommy muttered as he took a seat. Suddenly he was smacked across the face again.
"No talking!" Barked a guard. Alrighty then Mr. Big Soldier man. Tommy thought to himself as he examined the dent that last smack had left in the stock.
"Let me go you-" the rest of Taryn's protest was silenced by a heavy gloved hand over her mouth. Turning to glare at the guard assigned to her, she continued telling him, in detailed Spanish, what he could do with his 'friend' for separating her from Levi. Ignoring her muffled ranting the guard pulled out a pair of handcuffs and locked them onto one wrist.
Taryn wanted to be with Levi. She needed to be with him. And only slightly less important then that, she needed to know who was wearing Levi's face in this world. Electricity flared up from Taryn's hands in response to her stress and anger. Instead of jumping back the guard who was handcuffing her simply jerked her un-cuffed arm backwards. Pain radiated from Taryn's shoulder and she choked on a curse depicting inappropriate relations between goats and guards. The electricity fizzled and lost focus, disappearing into the guard's protective gear and gloves.
'We've been here five minutes and already this is worse than an alien planet.' Taryn's mouth was uncovered. Before she could move a pistol was settled on the back of her neck. Taryn muttered a final curse and shuffled forward reluctantly.
"Sir, what should we do with this one? The Key strain is at it's full potential in him."
Lector activated his personal comm.
"Assign two of our Keyholders to escort him," he ordered. "He will not be going anywhere".
The large man escorted into his ship took up a good deal of the remaining room for passengers. Troubling, but there was sufficient room in the other ships for the rest of the prisoners and Ares Squad.
"What the fuck is going on?"
"Why don't you tell us?" the soldier asked rhetorically, his weapon still raised. Another soldier came in from the right and jammed a stun device into Alex's side. The high water content of her body served to conduct the electrical current, inflicting debilitating pain. The moment she fell to the ground, a third soldier was on her, slapping a pair of cuffs and roughly bring her up to her feet.
"You're under arrest, O'Harrus," the first soldier finished.
The arrests were taking far too long. Curious civilians were beginning to assemble around the scene. A perimeter was quickly formed by the men not occupied with the arrests, keeping them at bay. The situation was getting out of hand, and quick. Whoever was responsible for this disorganization would be adequately punished in due time.
Lector activated the comm again and barked out an order. "The prisoners are to be secured and ready for transport in two minutes. Any longer and there will be consequences".
The General's angry tone was more than enough to motivate the soldiers, who processed the remaining subjects and herded them into the other gunships in record time; they all knew what happened when the General was upset. Ares Squad divided themselves up into smaller groups and accompanied each gunship, leaving the remaining men to secure the scene and reroute civilian traffic.
With everything sorted out, the gunships took off. Their destination: Prison Block Theta, Washington, D.C.
Levi sat motionless as the gunship took off. The only noise that punctured the tense silence was the constant droning of the engines. Victor - he refused to acknowledge him by his rank or alias - stood in the back, arms crossed behind his back and black eyes keeping them all under constant watch. Taking his own eyes off of Victor for a moment, Levi looked at Tyson and Tommy. His expression conveyed his utter hopelessness and terror.
"O'Harrus? That's my father's last name now let go for me you asses." Alex yelled trying get free but her legs felt weak. "How do you know about my father?" she demanded her body failing her. "Why the hell is Victor here?" she said being dragged away. Her body was in a mass amount of pain. Ever bit of her hurt as she shook then vomited.
Eric had been loaded onto the ship by the time Alex was shocked and sighing. "Where are we?" he asked himself as he saw Alex being handcuffed and dragged away.
In the office of Marcus O'Harrus he and another Alex were working on more experiments to improve Alex. "Well it seems you've taken to the muscle enhancements well. Now to get that bastard Masterson would add us in our mission." Marcus said to Alex as she sat in a chair across from him. "Father I'll make him come around at some point." Alex said coolly.
"You had better or I will be sure that Lector will punish you for failing me. You are prefect so you should never fail unless time spend on you was worthless." Marcus said standing up and put a hand on his daughter's shoulder gripping it tightly but Alex didn't flinch. "I won't fail father. I'm here to serve you." Alex said coldly gripping her father's hand and pulling it off her.