Society of Justice 3: Crisis on the Earth

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"It's alright," Garrus told Tommy quickly before his attention went completely to alternate Tyson as he explained the history that caused the war briefly. While the lesson was interesting, it was the name of the man currently leading United America that really caught his attention.

'Patriot is ruling this place? And he's seemingly an evil, blood-thirsty dictator? This is certainly not good,' Garrus thought, following the group as they were led down an elevator. The elevator ride down was awkward as he listened to alternate Tyson stating how rude they were being, and asking for an introduction from each of them. 'He's right, we have been a bit rude expecting everything,' he realized as the elevator opened up, the large room before them looking like a resting area.

'Not as nice as our lounge...well maybe nicer when it's not been torn up by the disaster of the week,' Garrus mused, figuring that now would be a good time to introduce himself. "My name is Garrus Arreos, and I can create and control shock waves. This guy standing next to me is my little brother, Ethan Claidt, and he's a cyborg," he explained, looking over at Ethan who raised his hand to wave and make a grateful beep. Garrus thought over about asking more questions, but figured that anymore would have to wait. 'This introduction is good though; means we might be able to find out what's happening to our alternate halves.'

Tommy gave up trying to understand what was happening to his eye, he'd have to wait until he could talk to someone with more knowledge of mystical arts to find out what was happening. He turned his attention to the conversation.

"I'm Tommy Stitch, sometimes called Golem, I've got super-strength, durability, and a little bit of magic know-how. Thanks for the help by the way, it's certainly appreciated." Tommy said, he wasn't entirely certain how necessary that help was, but his parents hadn't raised him to let a good deed go unthanked.

" Actually, why did you come for us? Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it seems like a huge risk for the sake of some people you've even met."

Brian tried to take this all in, but it was still a bit much. So what, Canada is just gone now? Taken over by a bastardized version of America? Beauty. Just beauty. Everyone began introducing themselves up and down, so he figured he might as well join in.

"Hey, so uh, I'm Brian MacKenzie," he offered. "I'm the healer guy, I guess. I heal people and myself, plus I got this pretty nice death scythe here that Taryn and Levi rigged up for me. May look shiny but I guess she gets the job done there, eh?"


Briān was getting impatient. Since he had arrived at the base, the two people had done nothing. There was no word of any others arriving, or any more battles being fought, and they seemed to be stuck at this relatively small base. "So, wen are we going to zis other base zen? I see enough of zis abandoned wasteland set-up at 'ome."

The Catherine clone stood silent for a moment, as if listening for something. "I believe the rescue group has arrived now." He could begin to here it. As the noise grew louder in the main room, Briān looked over at the clone and what specifically she represented. Catherine...it's been so long. I know you say you still love me, but do you really mean it? Do you really believe it? Or are you just using my damn emotions against me like others before you? For your sake, I 'ope it is ze former.

"I think it's time to go out and meet them." Catheclone opened the door and walked out, Briān followed after her. There were a bunch of people clustered around Bishop, but Brian only spotted one thing; the gold patch on the sleeve of the Catherine standing in the group. She was here. They appeared to be talking about something so Briān waited by the door for them to finish up.

"That's not exactly the name we gave it." Taryn commented quietly in response to Neo's weapon description. Though she remained close to Levi she turned to address the alternate versions of Tyson and Katie. Taryn hadn't fully processed the 'history lesson' yet but introductions she could handle.

"My name is Taryn. I'm a technopath and can also manipulate electricity." Taryn held up one hand and summoned a small spark that crossed over her fingers before vanishing. With that same hand she reached over to lightly grasp Levi's arm. "This is Levi. He's an inventor and magnetic." Taryn smiled briefly at her significant other in a silently apology for including him in her own introduction. She tilted her head as a gesture for Levi to take over if he wanted.


(Elsewhere...)

"What do you mean you've lost it?"

A series of beeps and chirps sounded in response to the question. Several lines of text appeared behind the cracked glass of a computer monitor.

"You were designed for one purpose. One! To track my signature. Mine. How difficult can that be? They're the same. You find mine you find hers. Mine. It! Why is it the same?"

The lines of text began to repeat.

New Target cannot be found.
New Target is no longer in the System
New Target cannot be found.
Found [1] entry matching Primary Target. Returning location. Location Designated 524-D48L-2KF0-

*Hzzzzt* With the irritated flip of one hand, or it could have been the glare, sparks erupted from edges of the monitor. The remaining characters skewed into an unrecognizable blur. The screen shorted out, blinking twice before fading to complete black. The seated figure let out a low laugh. After a few seconds the monitor re-lit. A simple blinking cursor displayed. But no text.

"Do I have to do everything myself?" There was no answer. Save for the low hum of machinery and the constant rainbow of colors emitting from the diodes. Another short laugh cut through the silence. "No...no of course not. That's what I made you scripties for. So I need this imposter to access the system. Easy enough. Let's see. If it were me and I were it and we were missing where would I be? Assuming I'd just broken out of a ultra-high clearance prison with the help of some shady looking-wait a microsecond I know those people."

The second desk drawer was thrown open, revealing several stacks of different-sized paper. "It's here. I know it is." The first few stacks were pulled out and tossed aside. On the monitor screen the cursor disappeared. A series of ellipses displayed before revealing a question.

...Continue searching for Target?

"Yes. Do that." An unnecessary key press instructed the program to continue searching. A new window was opened with a thought. "And give me the readout from those cameras I was looking at before. I need everything from cellrrryaAA-!"

The seated figure was suddenly wracked with violent tremors. Shaking fists slammed down onto the desk, sending papers flying, as the female struggled to remain upright. "004A006F0073006800750061" The nonsensical code fragment was recited in a monotone despite the grimace of pain on her face. Jagged arcs of electricity rose in fluctuating waves from the shaking form. Unhindered by the thin layers of white clothing, the arcs latched onto any nearby surface. The desk, chair, and even floor were all subjected to the undirected attack. For six agonizing seconds the seizure continued. More sounds, unrecognizable as any language, were uttered in the same toneless voice.

When it was over tendrils of smoke were wafting most visibly from the desk, where several new scorch marks appeared. And the monitor...

The monitor was toast. Smoke and the hiss of melted solder were unnecessary. The screen was dark and would never light up again. Another casualty.

"Damn...it." The curse was spat out in between heavy pants. Lowering her head to the desk, Taryn closed her eyes and waited for the room to come back into focus. She took a deep breath, just one, before continuing her complaint. "That one was supposed to last. Another month. Guess I'll have to track another delivery truck tomorrow. Maybe they'll have a flat-screen." They never did, but there was always the hope. What day was it? Maybe they had flat-screen deliveries on the weekend...'that would be nice.'

'This chair is actually quite comfortable.' came the next idle thought.

"This is not productive." Shoving her chair away from the desk Taryn stood up. With careless ease the monitor was detached from its cables and dropped onto the floor. Another just-as-old CRT monitor was located, dusted off, and carried back to the desk. Cables were reconnected, jacks were jabbed into sockets. A power cord, stripped of its protective plastic coating, was plugged into place. Monitor XI powered on.

...Continue searching for Target?

'Yes.'

The search continued.

Jason kept relatively quiet through the transitions, taking mental notes of the new area he was moved to, all while exchanging small quips with Erebus. The explanation Second Lieutenant Bishop gave to the team was a seemingly lengthy one, and Jason did his best to listen to the important parts, interests perking slightly at the mention of Patriot Punch.

"Hm. Guess his 'Americaland' concept saw its true fruition in this universe." Jason thought with a unseen smirk. As the story ended, the introductions began. Once Taryn finished introducing herself and Levi, Jason thought best to speak up next. As he talked, the Key removed itself from his face, blue irises shimmering duly against his black eyes in the light.

"I'm Jason. Jason Rojas. Considering the fact that the Key Corps became a staple to the United America's military, I'm guessing you can figure out what kind of powers I have. But, uh, about that...were there any Resistance fighters that were Keyholders? There had to be at least one of us that thought that integrating with an axis power was a wrong move." He asked, looking in the direction of the Resistance Lieutenants.

"The Key Corps... Yes. One," Catherine answered Jason. "One member of the Corps defected to our side when he got the chance. A young man by the name of Takashi Jinrou. After proving his loyalty to the Resistance without question, because we cannot afford to take chances - especially with a Keyholder - Mr Jinrou has been operating from a base camp under my command. He and I have worked together on occasion. That base is our next destination, once we can be sure that the teams searching for us have been..."

Catherine paused. Out of the corner of her eye, she had spotted two figures emerging from a room off of the main hall. One was a clone, plain and simple, dressed in civilian attire unlike her armed and armoured counterparts. The other... she did not need to guess who that was. Instinct alone told her the identity of the man standing with her clone. But Catherine remembered that the strangers were of a slightly higher priority than reuniting with Briān. She immediately turned her attention back to the escaped prisoners, the Keyholder - Jason - in particular.

"My most profuse apologies. As I was saying: the base in which Mr Jinrou is stationed is our destination, once we are certain that the teams searching for us have been recalled," she finished up. It was not often that Catherine made an obvious mistake such as trailing off mid-sentence. She mentally berated herself for doing so in front of both an audience and her fellow Resistance members.


So that explained the copies of Catherine around the place, and why one of the silver-patched ones had referred to 'Ms Southe' as the original. As people continued to talk, Katie zoned out a little. She wondered how her counterpart in this universe had gained such a power. Back at home, someone with a power like that would need to be watched, or at least given strict ethical schooling when discussing self-cloning. There would be much to discuss, Katie thought, when she and Catherine got to talking.

"This is Levi. He's an inventor and magnetic."

Levi returned Taryn's smile. "Yeah, that's pretty much me," he added on top of her introduction. He was actually rather thankful that Taryn had taken care of the formalities, because he was currently wrapped in thought. The alternate Tyson's brief rundown of the history of the world was rather sobering. If Patriot was in charge of country, Victor in a position of considerable authority, and Keyholders in league with the government, then it was safe to assume that super powered individuals were key players in the United America regime. It painted a disturbing picture. An entire nation under the iron fist of a superhuman dictator. And that was ignoring the fact that the world has been sitting on the brink of a three-way world war for years.

The sooner they found a way out of this universe, the better.


A team of four Ares Squad soldiers stormed into Lector's quarters, performing a well-rehearsed sweep of the room. With the area deemed clear, the men kept their weapons up and moved forward.

"This is where the transponder signals originate, Sarge," one of the men announced over their personal comm.

The Sergeant at the front of the formation nodded. "Move forward. Stay alert."

At his signal, the squad moved forward into the room containing the General's personal interrogation cells. Something had obviously gone wrong here. One door had been somehow blown off its hinges, although there were no signs of explosives. The second door was simply left open.

"Split up. Inspect those rooms. Four, you're on me."

As the other two cautiously entered the cell with the ajar door, the Sergeant and Ares Four stepped through the gaping hole in the wall of the other cell. Two bodies lay sprawled on the floor, with blood splattered along the walls. One of them the two men instantly recognized as General Lector. He lay unconscious, with a gunshot wound to the chest and blood pouring from a severe head wound. Caked blood formed a trail from his ears down his neck. Despite the injuries, he was still faintly breathing.

"Four! Check his vitals!"

Ares Four knelt down next to the fallen General and withdrew a small rectangular device from a pouch along his belt. He waved it over Lector's body a few times and the device responded with a faint beep.

"He's alive, but barely. Severe head trauma and a bullet lodged in his right lung," he responded.

The Sergeant changed comm frequency.

"This is Ares Two, General Lector is down! Repeat, General Lector is down! Requesting immediate medivac!"

"Copy, Ares Two, we have a fix on your position. Medics are on the way."

Briān smiled as walked up towards the group. Catherine almost never lets 'erself get sidetrack during one of 'er little speeches. I guess zere is someting in zere after all. "Wat is zis I am 'earing? We 'ave Key'olders in ze Resistance now? Zat is a development wert ze extra travel, I suppose. Ah, Qu'on m'excuse. Je m'appelle Briān MacKenzie. I am a fighter for liberation from Qanada, and my aim is to see it rise from ze miserable conditions imposed on my 'omeland and culture by zis merde-manger Patriot, and 'is little lackeys. I assume we are allies by common enemy, non?"

The guy walking up to the circle of people looked kind of familiar to Brian, but he just couldn't place his finger on it. Something in the face? Then he started talking. "Hey, no way! You're name is Brian too there? Or least it sounded like it, I couldn't tell all the French you were talking there."

Briān gave this kid a look of disgust before noticing the similarities between the two. Wait un minute... He looked around. Catherine, Bishop, Spoon. They had doubles present, which meant that this could possibly be... Merde. Please do not tell me zis imbecile is supposed to be moi in some strange universe. Zis 'as got to be a joke...

Tyson was making mental notes of each person's name and power as they went along. Plant manipulation and shapeshifting were odd powers to say the least in his mind. When the shock wave controller, Garrus, mentioned the Cyborg's name, Ethan Claidt, it made him raise an eyebrow. His last name was something that he'd have to inquire into later. Still he continued to pay attention as the super strong, and apparently magical Tommy introduced himself, and asked a question.

"Actually, why did you come for us? Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it seems like a huge risk for the sake of some people you've even met."

"Because you weren't they only people in there we needed to save," Tyson answered, as he indicated towards the lineup of soldiers waiting to get into the changing room. "The men in the prisoner uniforms are my soldiers. They were captured in a raid of one of my bases and needed to be broken out. The fact that some mysterious people showed up and caused a lot of noise on our Government channels was enough to warrant breaking you out at the same time," Tyson finished, not exactly telling the complete truth of what happened; but left it close enough that it wouldn't matter.

As soon he finished the introductions continued. He had given a slight nod to the rhetorical question posed by Brian, before the next person continued. He noted the oddly fitting powers of the couple, Taryn and Levi, and gave them a small brief smile. Tyson had already known about the keyholders, having had to fend off and fight a few of the tough to kill fighter before. But other than that he didn't know much and was happy that Catherine covered Jason's question; even if she did abruptly stumble through the answer.

The grating accent and splicing of the English language that followed wasn't nearly as pleasing. It was recognized right away that this must have been the person Catherine called. At any rate he wasn't interested in Canadian and the feeling seemed mutual as he was busy being disgusted with himself, so to speak.


As the introductions continued, Tyson found himself to be the last one to do so. "My name is Tyson Bishop. My designation is Sound Check. As you likely already found out earlier, I can manipulate sound waves," he stated, before continuing after a brief pause. "I have some questions for you, and I know you have some for myself as well. Let's talk in someplace private for the time being."


Bishop was on the same page and did indeed have some questions as well. It was only natural to be curious about someone who looked exactly like you, and shared the same name. "Alright, let's talk then. Although I have to ask your leader something quick first," replied Bishop as he turned and walked over to Garrus in the main room. Tyson had followed in tow.

"Sorry if this is a bit personal, but my I ask you who your and your brother's parents are?" Bishop asked in a polite tone, when he got to Garrus.

The sudden inquiry about who his and Ethan's parents were startled Garrus, but he shrugged it off as just a simple question. "Well my father was Roman Arreos, and my mother is Camille Claidt. Ethan here was adopted by her quite a number of years ago in our universe," Garrus answered simply, hoping that was enough information for alternate Tyson's question.

Bishop simply nodded at the answer and said, "Thank you." He quickly turned around and headed for a room off of the main hall. This is something that will need further inquiry. Still it's well above my head for how to determine the full truth at this point. However, maybe Rent will be more curious about this situation. She can always get truth people know when she wants it.

Before he realized it both Tysons were across the main hall and into a private room off to the side. Bishop locked the door, and they both took a seat across from each other at a table. There was a cold silence between them, as neither of them knew where to start. Finally after a few minutes of silence Bishop spoke up, "Do you want to know more about my life, or this universe?"

"I guess your life. Mine had some fucked up things happen in it. I lost some people I knew and loved to people that I trusted and swore to protect. So I'm really wondering, how did you get to where you are now?"

"Well like most people I was raised in this brainwashed society. When I was seventeen, I was stupid and in love. I got the girl who I loved that I loved pregnant. Before she gave birth I had turned eighteen and had graduated from high school. I was going to join the military, like a lot of other people who want to show their patriotism as soon as they can. However having a child made me not want to take a risk with resistance movements so I found a normal job instead.

Things were good for the next two years. My job was stable and my family was healthy. Then fate turned cruel. A peaceful protest was occurring in downtown Washington, but any protest here isn't considered peaceful. The military opened fire upon the protesters and they ran. My wife...and daughter. They were in the direction that the protesters fled. When they were caught up in stampede they were mistake as protesters and were shot.

The murder of those you love; for being in the wrong place, at the wrong time is a big shock. I was devastated for a few months. In that time it was hard but I took a new look at where I was living. I saw what was driven into as normal for what it really was. I was saddened, I was disgusted, and above all else, I was angry.

My anger and want for revenge was the only thing that kept me alive at that point. So I did what any reasonable person would do. I went and joined the people who felt the same way and did everything that I could to fuck things up for the United America government. Apparently I was pretty good at it as they kept promoting me. That brings me to here and today. Is there anything else that you would like to know?"

The story was clearly tough for Bishop to tell. Tears were held back by a hardened face. It was hard for Tyson to tell, if it was harder or easier for Bishop to tell him this; since they were essentially the same person. It only made him feel worse but he did have a few more questions to ask.

"What were the names of your wife and daughter? I'd also like to know, what were your parents were like?"

"My wife's name was Erica and my daughter's name was Emily. As for my parents, I didn't know who my father was. My mom never told me and she raised me alone. Her name was Mary-Ann. She worked herself to the bone to provide for me and was disappointed when I had gotten Erica pregnant. Still she was supportive until they Erica and Emily died. After that I had blocked out even her in my sorrow. I regret it but I never went and talked to her again before joining the resistance. Now I can't contact her or else I will be seriously endangering her life."

Bishop stopped. A few tears were slowly flowing down his cheeks. It was a tough thing to do. To bring up what pains you, drives you forward, and holds you down in regret. His time to answer was clearly over. He knew it and Tyson knew it so the next thing he said came as no surprise.

"What about yourself?"

"I was raised by my father, Johnathon, and never knew my mother. Because my dad was a military official I always grew up on military bases throughout my life. Because I was homeschooled due to constant moving I ended up finishing high school two years early. I signed up for the military with my father's approval when I was sixteen. After basic training I signed up for an experiment to that was supposed to make soldiers better and allow for a higher survival rating.

Out of the twenty people in my test group I was the only one who survived the experiments. Although it they weren't the intended results from the experiment, I gained my powers from it. Actually my test group was supposed to be able to use echolocation like a bat, so it was easy to see where they stemmed from. In the end most experiments like the one I was in were failures in the general sense. From an unknown number of experiments, there were only ten survivors.

Then ten of use were put on a team and trained to be the best. Well we became the best and things were good for the next few years. Along the way one of the female members, Eva, and myself fell for each other. Well we found out she was pregnant and we were going to leave after we finished our last two assigned mission. What was never expected was that a few Senators found out that they had some ties to the experiments that gave us our powers.

What was once the strongest sword in the military, the people who cleaned up their dirty laundry, were now a liability. The experiments that made us who we were, broke more laws than could be ignored. If it got out everyone, even those who blindly gave backing or funding, were going to burn for it. Well what does a politician do when their towers are about to fall? Simple they burn and destroy the cause and bury it like it never happened. So to them issuing the order to kill off those who survived and the burn all of the evidence was easy.

The last time I talked to my father he was trying to warn me of the attack. I wasn't in range of the first several shells to hit us and managed to get away. Someone how our team leader, Daniel Johnson, survived the artillery strike. This wasn't good news because he wants my head and is convinced that I set everyone else up to die. I can't really blame him but it still isn't a pleasant reality.

After that I found out what happened and why. I searched out and found all of the evidence that I could. Then I waited for the hunt on my head to die down. I joined the group I'm with now to gain a public face, even if they don't actually know mine. With the backing from this group, I know the people who killed my team and the one I love will not be able bury the truth. They won't be able to stop me as I tear down their political towers and have them dragged off for their crimes.

Beyond that being part of this group can drive one insane. We've had more insane and ridiculous things happen since I joined the group, than the rest of my life in total. I don't expect you to believe the whole dimensional jump thing since I still find it hard to believe myself. Although the bad luck surrounding these people is enough, that I suggest you find someplace else for us soon.

I was also going to ask you about knowing the old members of my team, but I think it's best if I leave old ghosts be."

With dry tears on his face Tyson wiped them off and left the table in the room. Sharing his demons with himself was sobering. He had hoped his other self, had felt the same as he unlocked the door and left the room.

Bishop had relocked the door after Tyson left. He had reassembled himself and was focusing again. It seemed things were bad for everywhere. His gut told him that the man he was just with was telling the truth. It wasn't any official confirmation but it was good enough for him. With so many people with powers appearing out of nowhere, it was too much for the time being. Plus if what they were saying about being from another dimension was true, he knew someone who should at least be interested.

With that he pulled out his cellphone from a pocket and dialed a number. He didn't speak when the phone was answered as an encryption can between the lines. Even after it cleared there was a silence as we waited for the challenge.

Serdar Koryo was not enjoying his night. Between catching the flu that was affecting half the refugees coming in, and the attempted hit on his boss earlier his day was not going well. 'At least we won't 'ave to go back to zee import base for quite a time,' he thought, a smirk forming on his face at the idea. The smile vanished as a cell phone started to vibrate and ring loudly in his coat pocket; the phone being hastily brought out. Serdar looked at the number on the screen, cursing under his breath as he recognized the number and opened it up.

"F-P. Cherbourg. Verde," Serdar practically yelled into the phone, the loud electronic music of the club making it hard to be heard.

"Six-W. Cambridge. Libra," Bishop replied loudly, as he got an earful of loud music with the challenge. "I would like to speak with your boss, if she is available."

"When is it anything different?" Serdar muttered under his breath, curious as to what this call was for. It was not his business to know, though he was usually told about it anyways. While he was his boss' head of security, he was also one of her oldest friends. The two had met many years ago back when they were in mandatory military training, and they had stayed friends since then.

"She is. It will be but a moment," Serdar told Tyson, covering the phone with his hand as he made his way to his boss. He was never very far from her, always having to keep an eye out for potential danger. She could fend for herself pretty well, but a bullet was faster than words. He walked past a few people who were done talking to his boss and making their way down the stairs, waiting until they were down before tapping her on the shoulder.

"Second Lieutenant Tyson Bishop on the phone for you," Serdar told her loudly, handing over the phone before stepping back.

"'Ello there Second Lieutenant. I was not thinking I'd be hearing from you anytime soon," Renee-Thierry Claidt said into the phone after Serdar had given it to her, taking a sip from her drink and looking over to the dance floor below, "To what do I owe the pleasure for this call?"

"And hello to you Renee. I can understand the sentiment of not talking very often. You'd almost expect that a resistance officer, and a weapons supplier would talk more than once in a blue moon. Now this rare occurrence is happening because of some people, who happened to cause a lot of confusion today. It seems they appeared out of nowhere and were captured by the United America government. Now I'll skip past a lot of trivial details and just thank you for the helicopters, which helped break them out of the prison that they were taken to.

Of course you are currently wondering what the hell this has to do with you, and why I am wasting your time. Well I've had a chance to talk with them and they are a pretty interesting group. The majority of them have powers that no one to my knowledge processes on this planet. One of them is a keyholder, which is strange upon itself. But I think the real topper, is that two of them claim to be your siblings.

Now you are still wondering why I'm wasting your time with this. Well the strange thing is that not only do they not appear to be lying, but they claim that they are from a vastly different dimension. What's worse is that I'm starting to believe them. Now even if that isn't true, I know that having several people with a wide variety of powers under you control would be a tempting thought. You are also the best at determining whether someone's full of shit, so I was hoping that you would take them off our hands," Bishop stopped talking. He must be sounding insane to a very important sponsor. He was putting his rank and future on the line for people he hadn't even known for a few hours. He very well was insane in some right.

Renee was not entirely sure what to make of Tyson's spiel. She glanced over at her head of security to see if this was some type of joke, the blank look on his face showing he was not in on the joke if this was the case. Her interest was certainly peaked when Tyson mentioned that two claimed to be related to her, and that they were supposedly from a completely separate dimension from her own. "This is quite some story you've got 'ere Tyson. Part of me thinks that this is an elaborate joke, or just you trying to make small talk with me again. 'Owever all of me is quite curious about these people that you've broken out of prison. On that note, you are welcome for the 'elicopters," she told him, a dull ache in her right leg telling her that her night would be over sooner than she wished.

She looked back over to Serdar and told him that they'd be leaving after the call before continuing, "My father informed me of an odd flux of energy that 'appened earlier today, it seems we might 'ave found the reason for that. If I take these interesting people off of your 'ands, do I get anything in return?"

"A Black Market Devil like any other. Even when curious you want more out of a deal. I guess with a story this ridiculous, asking for something extra is justified. The only thing I really have to offer is the services of myself and my soldiers.

This wouldn't be much except I know, that you have valuable things that need to be transported, retrieved, or stolen in my fair land. I also know mercenaries and organized crime syndicates aren't the most reliable with such tasks. Now our resistance group doesn't normally deal with such jobs, however I'm willing to go blind to that fact a few times," Tyson was leaving his offer in the air. He knew she would likely pry for something more, but he was willing to hope that this would appease her.

The offer was mulled over in Renee's head a few times before she decided that she could get something better than that. "You drive a 'ard bargain there Tyson. It is almost worth it, but with my other work reaching a deadline that I 'ave yet to meet and the fact that I might 'ave to bring in other people to help verify the truth...it just isn't worth it to me just yet. Is there anything else you can offer?" she asked with a grin on her face, finishing off her drink and putting on her coat to leave.

The greed of some beasts is unknown. "I have a good idea of what you are looking for, but I'd rather hear the request come from yourself," Tyson replied. He actually had a few vague ideas. None of them were pleasing for himself. It was looking like the warnings about Renee were correct, "asking for a favour, was selling your body and soul."

The grin widened on Renee's face as Tyson's reply reached her ears, the poor man not knowing exactly what was in store if he accepted the terms. "One, along with everything that you 'ave previously offered I want you to personally oversee the collection of an A.A. mech that the U.A. 'ave 'oled up in one of their many secret armories. Two, should I need someone broken out of a U.A. prison cell I want you to be the one that gets them out. I was contemplating adding another term, but I think that this is fair enough," Renee responded as she was escorted down the stairs of the club by Serdar.

The request was a lot more forgiving than he had imaged. This was generally more pleasing to Bishop, but forgiving wasn't the same thing as easy. "I'll accept the terms before you change your mind about the third term. My only request to the terms is of course any information that you have in regards to the location mech, and the prisoners that you want broken out," Tyson replied to her offer. His request was reasonable. Turning it down was just shooting him in the foot; with him doing the manual labour.

"I shall throw you a bone and wait until after you send the group before giving you the mech information. The prisoner one doesn't need to be fulfilled yet; it's simply a precaution. I think we 'ave a deal 'ere Tyson. I look forward to seeing these people, and I'll be sure to take good care of them should they prove to be truthful," Renee replied, lighting a cigarette as she left the loud club and walked out onto the quieter street.

"Of course. Of course. I'll take the bone, and I wouldn't expect anything less from you. I'll contact you again after they leave, so you know when to expect their arrival," Tyson paused as heard the music fade away in the background. He could pick up that she was leaving a club. "Have a save trip home, and good night's sleep Rent."

'That fucking nickname. I'll never 'ear the end of it,' Renee thought, clenching her jaw when she heard Tyson say it. "Thank you Second Lieutenant Bishop. I look forward to seeing this group of people. 'Ave them be sent over as soon as you can, and I'll keep you up to date on them and the information for the other terms," she told him, hanging up the phone and handing it back to Serdar. "We'll be going back to the Cherbourg base tomorrow. There is a group of interest being sent over," she informed him, the curse she got as a reply from him making her laugh, "It is not so bad. This may in fact be one of the more interesting things to 'appen in quite a long time."

As the dial tone sounded a small smile crept across Bishop's face. Knowing that he got to her with that nickname, was almost worth the slave labour he had to agree to. After making sure that no signs of fallen tears were on his face, Bishop exited the room. Things were going to get more complicated for him, but something about this strange arrival gave him hope that a shift in the Resistance's favour was soon to come.

After exiting the room Bishop walked over to Catherine. "I was just in contact with Renee-Thierry Claidt. She would like to meet the mysterious group we just broke out of prison as soon as possible. Since turning down her request is above our heads, when we get to your base we'll have to fly them to her at the first possible chance. I know that this is sudden and will be putting an increased workload on you, but at this point there is nothing we can do," Tyson announced to Catherine, doing a good job of concealing the half truths and whole lies of the situation.

Catherine raised an eyebrow at the development from Bishop. Why had he been in contact with Claidt? She was an excellent provider of arms, armour and funds, sure, and occasionally information to an extent, but did she need to know this? Surely this matter would be better handled by someone a bit higher up in the makeshift ranks of the Resistance, if not herself and Bishop.

"Nothing we can do? Again you force my hand, Bishop," Catherine noted off-handedly. She didn't like how he had done this without discussing it with her; lack of communication among equals led to dissention and fragmentation. The Resistance could not afford to allow such things. "But that will be fine. Once we are free to move, we'll head for my camp. It will, however, take the better part of a day to prepare a plane for the flight." There was also countermeasures to consider, to avoid detection by UA forces. But they would not take too much time. It would be easier to travel by ship, she thought, but Claidt - and by extension Bishop - wanted them to get there as fast as possible. They were pushing Catherine's resources a bit far in this case, but she could make it work. It would just take a little more effort than usual... and a box of Bishop's pride wouldn't do much to help, being an intangible object with little physical value.

Travel by air would be difficult in the beginning, but once they were out of UA airspace they would be free and clear. Catherine turned back to the newcomers to give them the news. "When we can be sure they've stopped searching for us, we'll go. It seems you have caught the attention of one of our weapons dealers." She shot a quick look at the two she remembered being named Garrus and Ethan, the latter of whom shared surnames with Ms Claidt. Perhaps they had a Renee-Thierry of their own where they came from.

Garrus had sat down at the table in the middle of the room after the alternate Tyson asked him about who his parents were. 'It couldn't have been just curiosity now that I think about it, there has to be more to it. Should I ask though? I suppose there is no reason not to.' The sound of a door closing behind him caught his attention. Turning around he saw the alternate Tyson walk over to Catherine and talk to her.

He watched as Catherine stepped forward and made an announcement; indicating that the Society would be moved once the U.A. stopped the search for them. The next thing she said and the look she gave him and Ethan really made him curious as to what was going on and exactly why they were being moved to another base.

'They certainly have some explaining to do once this search is over,' he thought, leaning back in his chair and staring up at the ceiling.


"Clarks deliver this to our leader quickly! It just came in from the front office," ordered a suited man at a desk, barely looking up from his computer as he handed his subordinate a piece of paper. Clarks took the paper and power-walked down the hall, having to stop numerous times to show his security pass before coming to a large set of double-doors at the end of a long hallway.

It was always nerve wracking heading down the long hallway to the Oval Office, and today was no different. Once at the door he lifted his hand and knocked a few times, waiting momentarily before the door opened. Before him was his leader, Collin Smith aka Patriot looking out the window of his office.

"Sir I have an important note from the main office," Clarks declared, walking over after he was beckoned closer.

"I had a feeling something was happening in the city. Let me see," Patriot told the young man, taking the paper out of his hand and looking at it. Clarks was surprised that his leader was in a simple grey suit today and not his uniform, perhaps there wasn't going to be one of his speeches today.

"Tell Roger to have them call off the search for now; it will start again on my orders. That will be all. You may go," Patriot commanded, waiting until Clarks left before placing the paper down on his desk and heading towards the medical office downstairs. 'Tsk, tsk Lector. Getting yourself hurt is one thing, not informing me of something like this is another,' he thought, getting salutes as he entered the medical office. He didn't have to be told where Lector was being healed, this place was small and was only for those of Patriot's regime.

As he entered the room he waved most of the medical staff away, standing at the edge of Lector's bed before telling the remaining doctor to wake him up. The doctor immediately did as he was told before exiting the room, leaving Patriot and Lector alone.

"Lector, I see you're awake now. I'm surprised to see you in this state, perhaps...you could tell me how this happened?" Patriot asked cheerfully, though with the hint of a threat underneath it.


"How long will this trip be?" Garrus asked the driver as he slammed the door shut, the driver giving him a dirty look before replying that it would be almost two hours. Garrus nodded as he buckled himself in, looking as the rest of the Society members got into the vehicles inside the abandoned factory. The Resistance had intercepted a message calling off the search for the time being, and the vehicles were quickly prepped for them to leave.

'Might as well take a nap if it's not that long of a trip,' Garrus thought, thinking over some questions that he would ask before drifting off into sleep.

----

He was awoken by the driver telling them that they were nearly there, slowly sitting up and stretching before looking out the front window. "So where is it?" he asked the driver after he nudged Ethan to wake up, the driver responding that they'll be able to see it in just a minute. "Lovely," Garrus yawned, leaning back in his seat as the vehicles drove them to Catherine's base.

A short while later, the convoy rumbled to a halt inside one of the many old and decrepit buildings in the area. In the lead car, Catherine stepped out of the passenger seat. The place wasn't much to look at - there was a small hole in the roof that needed to be taken care of, lest an aerial observer catch a glimpse of the inside - but it was to be expected. Catherine's base, like the temporary stop they had stayed at for a while, was mostly underground.

The cloner turned to the rest of the group as they exited their own vehicles, and said, "Wait here, please. This won't take too long... and watch out for the jolt." With that out of the way, she strode over to the far end of the room and knelt down at the edge of the floor, where it met the wall. Catherine always preferred to perform this little task herself when she returned from the outside world. She found the right concrete tile, and dug her fingernails into the crack between it and its neighbour.

The 'concrete' lifted away as she levered it upwards: it was a fake tile, identical to the others so as not to arouse suspicion from a wandering stranger. Underneath the tile lay three things: a keypad and two small hollow tubes, over which thin pieces of wood were placed. Catherine had had this security measure installed in case of technological assault: a short communication with the base below informed people someone was coming down, and to be ready. The 'secret knock' was a simple, childish thing, but a secure system in this age of technology and superpowers.

The key-code was the first to be entered: 0506427426. The backlight behind the keypad glowed green after a few seconds, inviting Catherine to enter the second part of the entrance code. She rapped a quick series of knocks on the wood over the tubes: tap-tom, tom-tap, tap-tap, tom, tom-tom-tap-tom. A tap was delivered by one hand's knock, while the slightly more solid-sounding tom was the result of both hands knocking simultaneously. The sounds Catherine's knocking produced were conveyed by the hollow tubing, deep down into the underground base.

Seconds later the keypad's backlight changed to blue. The codes had been accepted. Catherine had ten seconds to return to the group. She expertly replaced the false tile, got up from her kneeling position and casually walked back over to the rest of the group. As she rejoined her fellows, a large portion of the floor jerked underneath them.

Then the floor they were standing on began to sink into the ground; powerful hydraulics underneath them were retracting, bringing the entire group, and their vehicles, into the facility below. One minute later it slowed to a halt, revealing the base in its entirety. A couple of communications suites was the first to come into view, with a raised platform beyond it. A single chair stood in the center of the dais, and various pieces of technology were placed close by. The chair on the dais was Catherine's primary base of operations; however, she had other priorities to consider before retaking her usual spot.

She turned to the drivers, some of whom were clones, and instructed them to park in the garage near the elevator. As they slowly drove away, she turned to the Catherine soldiers that remained. "Catherine, go to the hangar and prepare the largest transport plane we have," she ordered. The soldiers snapped off quick salutes and hurried away towards the underground hangar.

Catherine then turned to the newcomers: they would need direction to a place to rest and recuperate. She promptly closed her eyes and created a new clone, right in front of them. Again she felt the sense of a cold breeze, a tight space and mild nausea. When she opened her eyes a new Catherine clone was standing in front of her, dressed in a blood-red businesswoman's outfit and with her brown hair tied back in a ponytail.

"As I said, it will take a good part of a day to prepare for the flight. Catherine, show our guests to the lounge and help them to get comfortable," she instructed, perfectly comfortable with ordering a copy of herself around in front of the 'guests' as she had put them.

"Yes, Ms Southe," the clone responded with a nod, beckoning to the others to follow her in the opposite direction from the hangar. She made her way to one of the many corridors branching off of the main hall. The original Catherine, however, tapped one of their number on the shoulder as he turned to leave. "Briān, a moment. I would speak with you in private," she said quietly, knowing that the Frenchman would agree to such a request. The two of them stepped off of the warehouse floor and it immediately began to rise back up through the ceiling, now free of passengers.

Catherine led Briān into a small room just off of the main hall, closing and locking the door behind her. Turning back to face him, she took a deep breath before she spoke again. "It's been too long, Briān, far too long." The words were simple, but true. Now that he was back, Catherine realised just how much she had missed him.


Katie was amazed by both how much the Resistance base had available - it would likely take a fair bit of time and effort to set up such a place, especially with an underground hangar - and how Catherine's cloning ability actually worked. The new one seemed to simply step out of the space the original stood in... wearing different clothing. That was impressive. She had seen Rowan do similar things in his shapeshifting, but cloning was totally new to her. It was an interesting ability to have.

Knowing that Catherine would speak with her when she had the time, she simply followed the suited clone for now, looking around and taking in the sights. Close by, she heard a low whistle from Rowan. He too was impressed by the underground base.

Soon enough the clone opened a door and led the Society, plus 2nd Lt Bishop and Spoon, into the lounge. It was a fairly large room similar to the base they had hid in earlier; a kitchen and bathrooms were just beyond the appropriate doors. The former had a fairly large window built into it, so one could look into the lounge from the kitchen and vice sersa. A number of chairs, couches and tables were scattered about the lounge.

"Make yourselves at home, everyone. You'll find refreshments in the kitchen. If there's anything else you need, let me know," the clone said kindly, hovering in the doorway once everyone had passed her and entered the lounge.

Refreshments was all Brian needed to hear. It seemed like it had been so long since he was able to get a proper meal or drink, and he took off for the kitchen in a hurry, not even bothering to admire the facility setup.


Briān followed Catherine into the small room as she wished. He was eager to be able to talk to the woman who he had to leave behind all those months ago. She started though, he should have known. She was always to the point.

"It's been too long, Briān, far too long."

"You are telling me," Briān agreed. "To be 'onest, I did not believe I would be 'earing from you again, after what 'appened. I know you were ze one in pain, but I was truly feeling it inside. I tried to bury it in me over zis time apart, tried watever I could to forget what I 'ad done to you, but I could not. It 'as been a lonesome time back 'ome, but now, seeing you 'ere in front of me again Caterine, I feel better zan I 'ave felt in a long while."

Garrus thoughtlessly followed the Catherine clone to the base's version of a lounge, the sight making him miss the old familiar lounge back at Promenade. 'If this universe is on the same time as our own...yep, by this point the Promenade would have probably blown up since we've been away half a day,' he thought solemnly, realizing that their own universe might have problems when they come back due to their absence.

'If we come back that is. We need to figure out a way back. No way the Resistance can do it, they don't seem to have the hi-tech stuff that Mordtoten regularly makes. I wonder if they have the Professor here in this universe? It's time to ask some questions.'

Looking around the lounge he saw the alternate Tyson with a few of his men. He walked over and asked if Tyson had a moment, to which he responded yes. Once his men were gone Garrus started, "I want to thank you again for all the help you've given us; I really do appreciate it. I would like to ask a few questions though if you'd be willing to answer them. One is where are we going, and why are we going there. The second one was whether or not there was someone by the name of Herkimer Mordtoten living, and if that person was say, a mad scientist. He's the one who accidentally sent us here with a little help from my brother that is."

He noticed Bishop glancing over at Ethan before quickly adding, "Not that one. My other brother, Leland. He isn't here right now. Lucky guy wasn't teleported with us."

After arriving at the base and following the Catherine clone to a lounge, Bishop started issuing instructions to his men. They still had to assess the damage done to the vehicles, and determine what will need to be repaired and replaced. The vehicles were likely going to be needed again real soon. Renee was going to drive his ass hard, but in the end she'd need him for something one day and he'd be able to return the favour.

After Garrus approached him, Bishop dismissed his men to their jobs. "You'll be going over the the European Union. We're sending you there because of three things. Number one is that your entrance into this dimension has kicked up a lot of dust, and one of our weapon suppliers wants to meet with you. Second is that we aren't fully equipped to be able to deal with your group for the time being. Although all of you would be great assets to have, you have no knowledge of this place and the time it would take to update and train all of you is to great. The last one is that we honestly can't fully trust you at this point. The person we are sending you to can determine what's true and what's false, by nothing more than speaking to you.

As for Herkimer Mordtoten, he is currently located in the European Union as well. This works out a lot better for you since we are sending you there anyways. As for the mad scientist part, well he isn't one per say. Rather he's a weapons technology developer if I remember correctly. Most of his actual work is classified so I can't say what he will and will not have researched into at this point. If you're telling the truth, the person you're going to meet might be able to get you to see him as well. However you'll likely have to make a deal with that person." Bishop answered Garrus. If he's telling the truth about his parents he might not even have to make a deal with that she-devil.

Bishop sighed. The time between now and when they left was starting to feel like a long walk to an execution chamber. He needed a heavy drink sometime soon, but his current information role wasn't over yet. "Do you have anymore questions for the time being?" Bishop asked Garrus, hoping that he wouldn't.

Being told that they would be going to the European Union put Garrus' mind at ease, or at least more then it was. The fact that Mordtoten lived in this universe too and they were heading in the right direction was great news to hear. 'Hopefully we can get over there and get everything sorted out so that we can head home. At least we'll be in a place where we won't have people after us like here,' Garrus thought before nodding at Bishop's question.

"Just a few more and then I swear I'm done. What exactly do you mean by making a deal with them? Shouldn't they just help us since we're all kinda on the same side? Why is this person so interested in us if he's just a weapon's supplier? Shouldn't we maybe go to the top of the food chain, or something like that?" Garrus asked, realizing he was sounding somewhat desperate before adding, "Sorry about all the questions. Heh, you know that's all I seem to be doing here; just asking questions."

After stepping out of her plant armour and dusting herself down, Katie left the plant matter up against a wall. Her clothing that she wore underneath was slightly uncomfortable, but she simply adjusted it: a sleeve here, a pant leg there. Free of her armour, she approached the Catherine clone at the door.

"Um... excuse me, but another clone mentioned that the original Catherine wants to talk to me. Where is she?" she asked.

"Ms Southe has some business to attend to with Mr MacKenzie before she can speak with you. I cannot speak on her behalf; she does not wish you to speak with myself or my duplicates before discussing subjects with her," the clone answered.

"Um... why? I don't quite see how that works," Katie pressed.

"Ms Southe does not wish you to go through the same questions when speaking to different clones before talking to her. She believes that repeatedly answering the same questions would tire you quickly. Despite what some fiction would have you believe, Ms Southe's clones do not share thoughts. We are each independent thinkers."

"Ah... fair enough," Katie conceded. "I'll wait for her to call for me, then." Giving the clone a small, slightly awkward, wave she made her way to the kitchen to find something to eat or drink. She found Brian already there, rummaging through the shelves. "Hey," she said in her usual friendly manner. "Still hanging in there?" As a relatively new member of the Society, she reasoned that Brian was likely to still be a little shocked given the events they had all gone through recently.


"I know, Briān. I feel the same way..." Catherine trailed off as she stepped closer to the Frenchman, looking directly into his eyes. The two of them were inches apart, and Catherine longed to be able to close the distance between them. But she couldn't. He would hurt her, even though he wouldn't under any other circumstance. It wasn't his choice... she wished there was something they could do to even temporarily inhibit Briān's power.

It was a cruel dilemma, in Catherine's eyes. Briān MacKenzie, the one man that she truly cared for in this world, was right there. But she couldn't have him, and vice versa, no matter how much she wanted him.

"Briān... you and I..." With her eyes still locked on his, Catherine couldn't find the right words to say. He was the one person that could shatter the formalities that she consistently maintained, turning her into a stammering mess. After a few seconds of silence, she did the only thing she could think of. The one thing she wanted to do above all else.

She stretched up on her toes and kissed him. The kiss lasted a few, heavenly seconds... and then Catherine felt it. The cold. The horrible cold sensation spreading quickly through her body. She began to hurt a second later, but she held her lips against Briān's for as long as she dared, trying her best to resist the pain. Soon she could take no more, and wrenched herself away from him with a wild gasp.

Dizzy, aching, and desperately trying to breathe, Catherine staggered, awkwardly colliding with a wall. A small, insane part of her wanted to do it again, told her the pain was worth it... but she simply looked at Briān for a second before casting her eyes to the floor. "I... I shouldn't have... that was a stupid thing to do. I... I'm sorry, Briān," she said quietly between breaths.


Rowan and Spoon had gotten to talking once more. They had changed from the topic of their activities on missions and suchlike to general preferences, comparing their interests. Many of them turned out to be the same... the subject got old quickly. The two had almost identical preferences, even down to the coffee they drank and how often they drank it.

±Uncanny, really... there are almost no differences between us,± Spoon stated. He sounded almost deadpan, as if it were to be expected.

"Indeed... it does not make for much interesting conversation," Rowan answered. "Um... yeah, I really don't know what else there is to say." He was indeed stumped. They had already covered interests and 'war stories' as it were, so there wasn't much else he could think of.

±Neither. But then, since I usually operate alone, I do not need to speak often... except when I'm threatening UA soldiers into submission, which is also a rarity.±

"Why is that? Do you take them out before they get the chance to fire on you?" Rowan shot a look at the psychic, curious as to his fighting strategy.

±Yes. Most UA soldiers I meet end up dead. Common causes of death include either having their head exploded, their minds broken, or being shot with their own weapons.± Spoon's answer was simple, plain-spoken and direct... the fact that he could speak so easily about men and women that he had killed troubled Rowan.

"That's another difference between us. I get the impression that you've killed many - "

±One hundred and sixty-two, at my last count,± Spoon interrupted, causing Rowan to flinch at such a number.

"Anyway... my point is, I haven't seen blood spilled by my hands," Rowan concluded.

±It is not an enjoyable act, believe me.±

"This world has been in a massive cold war for basically thirty years. Nothing comes free; it doesn't matter if your dropped here for no reason what so ever. You have nothing but yourselves as bargaining chips in this world. You might have to exchange a few duties as security for cargo, or do some less than favourable work in order to meet Herkimer. It's just the way this world works.

As a general heads up, this person is more than just a weapon supplier. As far as the food chain goes this person is right below the top of the E.U. government. You aren't being sent to some street scum, and that's why they have interest in you. Well that and the United America government did as well. Trust me as much as a hell send this could be, you are lucky if what you claim is the truth. If not, may god help you. Things will be more clear when you meet this person, but I want this to be a bit of a surprise." Bishop replied with a face of grimace. The world they entered was far from kind. They were in for some rough lessons if they thought things were going to be handed to them freely.

There was nothing that Lector wanted more than to be out of this damn bed; being hooked up to IV drips and machines was a severe indignity. And not only did he have to deal with the lack of mobility, he would soon have to explain the situation to Patriot. He definitely wouldn't be pleased. As if on cue, his eccentric boss entered the room, adorned in a grey suit instead of his admittedly ridiculous-looking uniform.

"Lector, I see you're awake now. I'm surprised to see you in this state, perhaps...you could tell me how this happened?"

Patriot's outwardly cheery disposition did nothing to hide the veiled threat it carried. It was times like this that Lector wondered why the man even bothered with such a facade. "Nobody informed us that Tyson Bishop was a super," Lector snarled. "He has the ability to manipulate sound waves. There has been a failure somewhere in the intelligence network if he was able to slip through the cracks." He paused, letting his remark sink in before continuing.

"And there is more. When Ares Squad apprehended Bishop and his companions, we came across one who was an exact match of ourselves. In appearance and energy signature, he was perfectly identical. How this can be, we do not know. He presumably escaped along with Bishop after we were...incapacitated, and their current whereabouts are unknown." Lector shifted in his hospital bed. "If we were not so encumbered, we would be hunting them down this second. We believe there is a serious threat to United America security, Patriot. Action is needed, now."


The Resistance had a very impressive setup, Levi had to admit. And a very inconspicuous one at that.

"Make yourselves at home, everyone. You'll find refreshments in the kitchen. If there's anything else you need, let me know."

With a kitchen? That was a luxury that other movements of this nature didn't have, at least in the history of their universe. The Resistance had to have been around for a while and have decent resources to establish a base with such amenities. In any case, offers of refreshments was definitely appreciated, especially after the harrowing escape. The couches looked rather inviting as well; his body still ached from his various injuries.

He turned to Taryn. "Hey, you want to get something to drink?" he asked. "I could really use some water, or something..."

Tommy spent most of the ride trying to understand what was happening with his eye. He continued to see nothing more than fuzzy lights but his vision was gradually getting sharper. He decided to let it be for a while and check it later. In the mean time he wanted to compare notes with his team-mates. When they got inside the base Tommy found Jason.

"Jason, what are you thinking about this situation?" Tommy asked.

"Hmm we better get some new informants than if something of that magnitude was left out. I'll have them add this new information into our network," Patriot replied to Lector, taking a seat at the edge of his bed before continuing. "As for the search for them, I'll take you off of it and have Donovan do it. He's never let me down before, and he always keeps me informed of any important developments that might have happened while I was off ruling this country...unlike you," Patriot said coldly and without a hint of his false cheeriness, clearly not pleased with how Lector had conducted things.

The next second his hand was around Lector's throat, tightly holding on as he said, "Keep me informed of these things as soon as they happen Lector, because if you do not I will make sure this does not happen ever again." His hand stayed around Lector's throat a few more seconds before he let go and playfully patted him on the cheek like a child.

"I'm off to let Donovan know what needs to be done. You stay here and rest for now. Hopefully you'll be back on your feet soon enough," Patriot told his subordinate, his cheerful tone back as he exited the room.


"I...thanks for telling me that," Garrus replied, bidding farewell to Bishop as he dwelled over what he was told.

'Why would he want this to be a surprise for us? Is it someone we know we're going to? Relax Garrus, we don't have anything to worry about since we're telling the truth. Unless Bishop was wrong and this person might not be able to tell we're telling the truth. Crap, should have asked him more questions about that!' Garrus' mind was working over time with all the information he had been given, and he was now worrying more than ever about what was going to happen to them.

'We'll be fine. I can't let them know I'm freaking the fuck out over this; I'm the leader and I need to put on a brave face,' he told himself as he walked over to a vacant chair a bit away from everyone and sat down to think some more.


Ethan was beyond bored at this point. None of his favorite hobbies could be done (except watching Taryn, but due to the size of the area they were in it would be much harder than normal), and he was quickly becoming restless. It was then he noticed a computer over on a desk nearby; and while he was afraid to go on the internet in this strange dimension, he was more than happy to connect to the security cameras he had seen around the base.

After taking a seat in front of the machine, he grabbed the keyboard and placed his finger against the closest thing that resembled a USB port. It only took him a few moments before he found all the cameras. He started to flick through each one; seeing things happen in the base in real time. The base was certainly larger than the previous one. The plane that they would more than likely be traveling in was in full view after changing cameras; Ethan analyzing it for a moment before continuing on to the next view.

Brian turned around, taking a break from the so far fruitless search for something that interested his palatte to answer the voice behind him. "Oh, hey Katie," he answered, shutting the cabinet door behind him. "Yeah, yeah, I guess I'm still hanging in, you know? Bit weird how everything seems so familiar, but it is really different."

He moved over to the fridge, hoping to have more luck in there. "So...what about those people, eh? I mean that guy, he looked kind of like me, and he had my name...do you think that he could be me? Like, without the French part, but he seemed like he was more sure of himself, you know? Really makes you wonder, what could happen if one thing was changed."


Briān thought it would take some time for things to warm up. Some chit chat, some banter, some apologies of some sort, but Catherine took him completely by surprise when she moved for his lips. The few moments that the two of them enjoyed, when they could feel each other again, they were divine. It felt like eating his mother's homemade poutine smothered with the ambrosia of the gods.

But then the feeling, the tingling feeling. Starting at his lips but spreading throughout his system. He could feel Catherine's energy flowing through him, stealing away from it's rightful owner. Briān wanted to fight it, he wanted to make this last forever, but he knew Catherine was being drained. As she managed to escape his powers, she stumbled back, crashing. She spoke, obviously still in a state of recovery.

"I... I shouldn't have... that was a stupid thing to do. I... I'm sorry, Briān,"

"Non, non Catherine," he came to her aid, grabbing her by the shoulders and lifting her up, taking care not to touch her skin. "You do not 'ave to apologize for a ting, mon cheri. It is my curse zat is keeping up apart. Ze fact that you are willing to overlook it and even fight through it, it just proves zat I was foolish for leaving you in ze first place." He leaned down and placed a quick kiss on her forehead, not staying long enough to make a dent in her skin. "You are ze only woman who I ever loved, you know zis yes? Ze only one who saw past my condition, who knows ze real me. I do not care if we 'ave to ransack every last bastard research facility zat America 'as to offer. I will find some way, to rid myself of zis wretched ailment, to give you ze person you deserve. You 'ave my word on my grand-mere's grave."

Yet again, Jason found himself primarily silent as the events performed themselves around him. Lost in his complex psyche, the thought of the Key Corps seemingly merging into this universe's dictatorial military plagued his mind, knowing that the option would've never crossed the minds of his fellow Keyholders in his universe. As the team was moved into the lounge, Jason moved himself towards one of nearest seats before placing himself in it. His mind eventually formed into a new subject: his brother. The confirmation of knowing that Takashi was somewhere around this new base filled Jason with anxiousness. He wondered if he were anything like his initial counterpart, and filled with anger and malice towards his younger brother. Eventually, Tommy approached Jason with a question, abruptly snapping him from his deep, thought-entwined trance.

"I, uh...I dunno. All this stuff...It's a lot to take in. Like, I don't even know where to start. This is crazy...all of it. At this point, i'm just ready to..." He paused as he managed to look up towards Tommy, realizing that there was something drastically different about him.

"Dude, what's up with your eye?" He asked, the query thick with confusion.


The news of the team's entrance traveled swiftly around the base, among the clones and through some of the more, regular, soldiers. One soldier listened intently as his bunkmates casually conversed on the subject, looking on intently as they talked about how there was one that looked like a robot, two that resembled both Second Lieutenants, and one that a soldier could've swore was the General of the United America military in an old-timey getup. One soldier piped up, claiming that one of the individuals looked liked a Keyholder before looking over in the young soldier's direction, he returning the rumor with an intrigued gaze. Once the conversation began to go off tangent, the young soldier decided to see this with his own eyes, excusing himself from his fellows before heading towards the lounge, where it was said for these people were being held.

"I know what you mean... Catherine, or 'Ms Southe' as that clone calls her, might share my surname, looks and voice, but there's a lot different between the two of us," Katie answered, moving out of Brian's way as he wandered over to the fridge. She headed over to the sink, pulling a glass from a nearby cupboard and filling it from the tap: it was nice and cool, doubly so now that she was out of her slightly stifling armour.

"Thing is, though, this place is insanely different from back home. We've never had a super-dictator turn the USA into an Orwellian paradise," she commented after draining and refilling the glass. "And I do hope such a thing never comes to pass in our lifetime." Katie shuddered to think of what life was like for the ordinary citizens of United America: they were likely to be watched around the clock, even in their own homes. The lack of privacy was disturbing: it worried Katie.

"Do you... do you think we'll make it back home?" she asked Brian, uncertain of the answer. Granted, this sort of thing had happened before in the Galactic Battle Royale, but there had been a way out all along. Katie had no idea of whether or not there was such a way in this case.


Catherine looked up at Briān as he spoke, tears beginning to build behind her eyes as he made his promises to her. "Briān... I never should have let you just walk away... but I - I don't know which is worse," she answered quietly. "Being away from you for so long, or having you here with me. I say that because... because I want to hold you, to feel the brush of your skin against mine..." She felt her strength slowly returning as she spoke: the visible vein in the back of her hand had begun to sink back into the skin.

"But I can't. Because of that stupid curse you were born with. Briān, I've said this before, but I'll reiterate. If there were a way for me to take that away from you, I would do it as long as you said yes..." Catherine stopped herself. She was rambling. Instead of saying anything further, she wrapped her arms around Briān and drew him into a tight hug - careful not to touch his bare skin - resting her forehead on his chest.

Standing in that small room, Catherine saw the truth now, of her and Briān. They were almost opposites: he who bore the touch of death, and she who created life from nothing. Granted, it was imitation life and could be ended on a whim, but she cared little for that point. The poetic-sounding comparison seemed appropriate to their situation. "I... I love you," she murmured, a warm sensation spreading through her as the words left her mouth. The coldness she had felt after holding the kiss was gone...

Was that the cure for Briān's ailment? Love? Surely not. That was an insane thought, the rational part of Catherine told herself. It was a genetic condition; the only cure was through some form of modification to Briān's DNA construction.


The Catherine watching the escaped prisoners heard footsteps behind her: heavy boots. By that logic, it was a soldier. She turned in the doorway to see who was approaching the lounge: a young man of Japanese origins, with slightly shaggy hair and Resistance-issue battle armour.

"Ah, Mr Jinrou... no doubt you've heard the news about the newcomers? They'll be staying for a while," she said brightly before Jinrou had a chance to speak. "One of them asked about you, if I remember correctly. Or at least, he asked about Keyholders. You might want to speak with him; go on through. Just... take care. These people are entirely new to United America, and Ms Southe does not trust them all just yet."

"Honestly I don't have a damn clue." Tommy said as he checked to see if his right eye was improving at all, " First I thought it was an infection, but now I don't know what to think, all I can see out of it is blackness except for when I look at people, then I see light." Tommy briefly focused on Jason, like everyone else he could see light emanating from somewhere in his chest, but something was different about Jason's, it wasn't its color or brightness, rather an intangible quality of it that made the hairs on the back of Tommy's neck stand on end. Tommy closed his eye and tried to shake off the feeling, " I was thinking about getting something to cover it, I've been getting some weirder looks than normal. But there was something else I wanted to talk to you about, it has to do with what happened back at the prison. You see when I got there they stuck a suppression plate on me, thing is the glyph they used was the favorite of the Council Agents of New Eldorado. If they're using Council Agent techniques who knows what else these United America guys might know, and considering the Keyholder's roots, I've always had a hunch that there might still be a few of their secrets locked away in New Eldorado."

Katie's question struck up an unsavory reality for Brian. This wasn't like the other missions where there was just a clear result that could end to the status quo. There wasn't a massive zombie army to defeat or a mad scientist to coerce into fixing his damn machine to restore minds to their proper bodies. Hell, that scientist may not even exist in this world. It was looking pretty grim. No. No I can't be thinking that. We're going to make it through this. We're done it before. Why can't we do it again? Oh hey, orange juice. Sweet.

"Yeah," he finally answered Katie as he pulled the carton of OJ out of the fridge. "Yeah, I think we'll make it back home." He went to the same cupboard that Katie went to and grabbed a glass for himself. "Just gotta keep up the faith, you know? I mean, there's been so much that we've been through already there, it's gonna happen. For sure." He poured himself a tall glass of the juice and took a long drink from it. "Just gotta keep going til we find the person to get us to where we need to go, you know?"


Briān held Catherine as close as he could to his body, he never wanted to let go. This was the woman for him, he was sure of it now. Sure Monique was willing to put up with his powers, but Briān could have sworn she was only doing it because she got off on the pain. Like some sick game. With Catherine he only felt the pain of mental anguish over the fact that this was the best they could do. This kind of paradox Catherine eluded to, of being so close yet miles away. It hurt, and the tears soaking into his shirt drove the pain deep into him.

"Caterine," he said, struggling himself to try and keep the waterworks from flowing. "Je...Je t'aime ici." He pulled her even closer. "I....I love you too, even like zis. I do not care anymore. I do not believe zat even ze liberashion of Canada would compare to being able to just 'old you in my arms witout worrying if I am 'urting you. I will stay 'ere, wit you. I just...want you to be strong for zis as well. Given zat I doubt zere is some miracle cure on ze 'orizon, zis may be ze best there is. You know zat I will be true to you even if ze only action I would be getting would be from my left 'and. I just want you in my life. I want you to tell me zat you feel similarly to zis. That knowing zis could be as good as it gets, we will not part again." He looked down into Catherine's eyes, there were tears forming in his own now. "Say it for me."

Jason raised an unseen eyebrow in intrigue at several of Tommy's subjects. The eye, the planning on covering said eye, and at the mode of repression that was forced upon Tommy back in the prison. He began to pipe up, telling his teammate about his fairly similar experience.

"A glyph? Huh. I guess I can say the same thing happened to me. When I got into an little 'altercation' with some of the soldiers, they put shackles around my ankles so I wouldn't fight back. They looked pretty standard, so I tried breaking out of them when Taryn, Katie and I had some free time. Thing only thing was, I couldn't get out of them. When I placed my hands closer to the cuffs, the armor closest to them withered, as if these particular cuffs were repelling my Key abilities. I came up with a theory, that they used the Seal of Mictlantecuhtli to enchant cuffs like those so unruly Keyholders wouldn't be able to break out so easily. I'm kinda glad we haven't incorporated the seal as smartly as that in our universe, or I might've been caught by now." He explained in a somewhat thorough fashion to Tommy, pausing to catch a breath before continuing with a realization.

"You think...maybe our predicaments were one in the same? Considering the Key's Aztecan/Spanish heritage, I always wondered if our magics were related in any way..." He added, his voice wandering to let the thought sink.


Takashi looked at the slightly taller clone, returning her wishes with a small, sincere smile before gradually entering the room. He did a slow scan of the area, the rumors gabbed about by his fellow soldiers seeming to be true. The individuals scattered about the room seemed lost in their own conversations, talking among themselves and not paying much attention to the extra body that entered the room.

The sight of these extravagantly dressed individuals seemed almost too surreal for the young soldier. Then his eyes settled on one spot in the room. It was a Keyholder, shrouded from head to toe in nothing but his armor. Takashi's eyes widened in surprise before narrowing in sheer anger. The shimmering blue cracks, in complete contrast against the jet black coverings reminded him of someone, a particular being that he thought he'd never have to see again. He slowly removed his gloves, hands quivering in anger as dark red tendrils enveloped his hands, claws forming at the tips of his fingers. Still distracted by the giant that stood ahead of him, Takashi rushed towards the seemingly familiar Keyholder tackling him out of his seat and to the ground. With armored hands gradually tightening against his brother's neck, Takashi looked down towards him, leaning in close with a look that expressed supreme malice.

"You motherfucking bastard. You have some nerve showing yourself around these parts, you know that? I don't know what kind of mind games you played on the Second Lieutenant or her clones, but they aren't working for me. You hear that? I can see through your clever ruse Lieutenant Colonel. Or, dare I say, big brother." He spoke in sneers, barely able to contain his anger as his grip around his brother's neck tightened indefinitely, his attack leaving deep cracks in the pressured area as Jason began to desperately gasp for air.

Tommy moved quick as soon as Takashi tackled Jason. Takashi was always slippery but this time he didn't see Tommy coming. He sprung up from his chair, and grabbed Takashi by the shoulders. A fired an electric shock from his gloves, enough to make his lose his death-grip on Jason's throat. He lifted Takashi up then pushed him against the wall.

"Jason are you alright?" Tommy asked, as he continued keeping pressure on Takashi so he wouldn't slip away.

Jason managed to roll to his side, struggling to his feet as he expelled hard coughs, air beginning to refill his lungs. He let out a small "I'm fine" before succumbing to more coughs. As Takashi squirmed under Tommy's grip, Jason looked on towards his brother, a look of disappointment and confusion began to form on his face as darkness repressed from it, revealing his emotions. He was disappointed due to his brother's reaction, yet confused by his words. However, as Takashi managed to get a good look at Jason's face, his expression from one of anger, to one that displayed humility, or nervousness.

"W-who are you? Why do you look so young? What kind of trick is this?!" He said, resuming his squirming fit with a burst of energy. Tommy shoved him further up the wall as result. Jason said nothing, his frown displaying how he felt.

"It's not a trick. I'm your brother, i'm just not from this world. None of us are. Look, Takashi, I don't know what my alternate counterpart's done to deserve such hatred...but..." Jason paused, averting his gaze momentarily.

"But? But what?!" Takashi exclaimed from under Tommy's grasp.

"I'm sorry." He let out, looking back at his brother sincerely. Takashi calmed from that, a phrase such as that hasn't been said to him in years. With the words coming from a person that resembled a younger version of his older brother, Takashi hung his head. Jason signaled for Tommy to let him down as he moved closer.

"He's fine Tommy. Thanks for the assist." He added, giving his fellow an appreciative pat.

"No problem," Tommy lowered Takashi to the ground gently, not wanting to rough him up any further, " Sorry about that," He said as he let go, "I'm Tommy by the way." He added, not entirely sure Takashi was really in the mood for introductions, but always more than willing to be polite. He took a step back then turned to Jason, " Jason, isn't Takashi supposed to be the older one?"

"I dunno, Brian... I think this is far bigger than anything the Society has faced before," Katie continued, feeling that now would be as good a time as any to explain how she felt. "In my time with the Society, we've been through a lot of shit - excuse the language - but this takes the cake. I don't know if we'll make it back... I honestly don't see how, unless we find this universe's Mordtoten." And even that was going to be a challenge, unless he was out in the open and advertising his location to anyone who happened to walk down a street.

Katie's train of thought was derailed by the violent entrance of... someone calling himself Jason's brother? That could only be Takashi, and Catherine had said he was here, at her base. But what was up with his attitude towards Jason? That was uncalled for. Takashi had mentioned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel... Katie drew the conclusion that the alternate Jason was in the United America army. No wonder Takashi was pissed. She watched the events in the lounge unfold with a wary eye.


Catherine would have said what Briān wanted her to say without him telling her to do so. Now that she had said those simple words, all the old memories - and the old feelings - came flooding back to her. The two of them fighting side by side... rest and recuperation in a temporary camp... Catherine treating an injury Briān had sustained in a fight... the horrifying revelation of his terrible power, experienced first-hand...

But she did not fear those memories. She embraced them, just as she was holding the man now. Through sheer force of will, she stopped herself from crying into his shirt. A couple of renegade tears slid down her cheeks as she met his gaze with her own, but she made no effort to brush them away. There was an almost tangible silence in the air before Catherine spoke.

"Briān... my Briān. I don't care what happens, I don't care whether we find a cure for you or we don't," she began, conviction firm in her voice. "But I am not leaving you. Not now, not ever... and I won't let you walk away from me again. I love you, and for as long as I breathe I will still love you. No matter what happens to us, no matter if I get hurt because of it. I don't care. I love you. Now and forever."

The fact that Katie, a veteran member of the Society, was feeling such anxiety over the current situation was an eye-opener. It was enough to make Brian realize that this might not be the simple solution he vocalized, and might be more akin to the previous thoughts he had ignorantly pushed out of his head.

"Still," he was about to answer as the noise erupted from out in the lounge. There was a bit of a scuffle going on but it died down rather quickly. Brian couldn't really see what was going on, but it seemed to hold Katie's attention. This meant his brain was prepared to scare the rest of him. Shoot, what are we going to do if we are stuck here forever then? I don't think this place is going to have XBL...or readily available Keith's. This is going to suck.


Briān looked deep into the eyes of his little fleur-de-lis. He could see the emotion, the clear truth. This was being put in stone. Tears fell from his eyes matching the ones still remaining on her cheek. For the first time in a long time, he smiled. "Merci beaucoup. Merci," he repeated. "Merci, Caterine." He bent down and planted a quick kiss on her forehead, staying barely long enough to have contact with her skin, his hand rubbing against the shirt on her back, just to make sure she was there and he wasn't dreaming.

There was noise coming from outside the door, in the main room. It was an unwelcome reminder that the two were still in the middle of a resistance war. "I suppose we should probably go an 'ave a look at zat racket, zee wat is going on, non? I will not 'ave my little fleur-de-lis neglecting duties just pour moi."

After quietly insisting that Levi sit down while she located some sort of beverage for the both of them Taryn set out to locate the kitchen. She crossed the lounge, noticing Ethan had made his way to one of the Resistance computers. 'I wonder if there are files for our doppelgängers.' Taryn thought. Without breaking her stride she pulled out her phone and made a note to request access to the system. Which, as she thought about it further, they may not be too keen on allowing. 'Could have left the technopath part out of the introduction...' Taryn's phone flashed a warning that its battery was low.


(Elsewhere...)

”WARNING!
New Target has accessed the System.
New Target found.
Designating New Target as T-392.

The words displayed in bright green text, completely obscuring the image of a local bank and its weekly delivery schedule. Beside of the image was a repeating list of coordinates. But the monetary-aquirement job didn't matter right now. What mattered was...T-395. Tango Three Nine Five.

"Good job, scriptie, I won't be rewriting you after all. Show me, show me!" With child-like enthusiasm Taryn clapped her hands together.

Returning location.
Location designation: 395-V91W-9DN8-194820-QZ0FI...
”WARNING!
Signature data may be corrupted.
Printing complete signature.
Continue (Y/N)? _

"This can't be right." Taryn protested as she watched the pages slowly print one by one. She began reciting the data with each new page. The data started coherent but then became messy. Three pages into the recitation Taryn slammed her fist down on the printer. The machine shook violently but continued working. It was used to the abuse. "It's...it's tainted!" the aggravated technopath exclaimed, "It's dissolved! It's....oh wait no this isn't my copycat's signature. This is a tag! Of course you can't recognize it you silly little program you." The hand that had impacted the printer was transferred to the nearest monitor.

The remaining pages dropped to the floor when Taryn spun her chair around.

Continue (Y/N)? Y

"So the copycat has a pet. A little sloppy on the imprinting, this blend should be a flawless separation. And there's no tail. Trail. Rail!" *ahem* "Let's see what you're capable of."

One keyboard, five pages, and eight pencils were shoved off of the desk leaving only a monitor and its spider web of cables. Two hands, half-covered by white cloth, were placed on the either side of the machine. The physical access was unnecessary of course. And the sparks that flew from every port and the sudden dimming of the light fixtures were simply side-effects of an unbridled power.

Nearby equipment began to intermittently come to life, then fade, as Taryn accessed the System. Past the net of firewalls she'd created herself. Over the hills and across the streets in the time it took for the last pencil to stop rolling. And finally past some rather amusing security measures. Really. Who were they kidding.

It wasn't quite what she'd been expecting. In fact it was enough of a difference to make her pause. One finger idly tapped against plastic casing. "Oh, but you're not whole. You're...pieces." Taryn gave a low hum of disappointment. She already had so many pieces already. Pieces and parts and bits and bytes. "But that's okay. Pieces are still worth using. Let's play connect the dots."

On the screen, dots did indeed begin to form. Dots followed by lines and then numbers. Entire brain patterns were displayed, copied, and filed in quick repetition. For use later. Should they be deemed useful later. Taryn realized after the first few hundred that this hands-off approach was simply not enough. Hands-on was better. In fact-

"Come visit me, little machine. I've got some questions for you. Many questions. But first you need to. Obey. My. Command."

Rerouting mechaneural responses. Child's play.


Jason's scuffle with his alternate brother caught and held Taryn's attention. Thankfully the altercation was brief, with Tommy's assistance. "Kitchen is...this way." Taryn muttered, pointing in the direction as she resumed her quest.

"Oh, hey." Taryn greeted Katie and then Brian as she entered the kitchen. Focused on the task at hand she didn't wait for a reply but set about fixing two glasses of water. Dr. Pepper, it seemed, was not a popular Resistance beverage. Taryn didn't dwell on the fact that perhaps there was no Dr. Pepper in this universe.

Taryn returned to Levi and set the glasses down on a small end table situated next to the sofa "Here are these", Taryn drew out the last word as she steadied the table, "and I'll be right back." As long as the team was stationary, she figured she could charge her phone. And maybe get a look at the computers at the same time. Taryn slowly walked up to Ethan. She put her hand on his uniform sleeve.

"Find any USB 3.0 ports?" she asked.

The sensation was odd and fast to Ethan, the stinging feeling running through his circuits before reaching his head. The young man had barely any time to fight back, the few seconds of resistance doing too little before he lost control over himself. Ethan tensed up as he awaited for something to happen, the wait taking forever in his mind before he was told to do come to whoever was controlling him.

There was a sense of familiarity in whoever was controlling him, but his mind was too busy trying to fight against them to identify them. He was given a command to come to them, and he could do nothing but obey. He heard Taryn ask him an unimportant question and place a hand on his uniform, the feelings inside of him barely registering at this point as he stared at the computer screen. An unintelligible beep emitted from him before he suddenly stood up from the chair and started to walk out of the lounge. It was less of a walk and more of an awkward shuffle as his human side tried with little results to fight against his robotic side.

The small and brief fight between Jason and Takashi gave Ethan the right distraction to slip out of the room unnoticed; most of the room still watching even once the fight was over. The cyborg then started to head down a hallway towards an unknown destination.

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