Agent Alicia Richards brushed a strand of her auburn hair away form the high-tech monocle covering her right eye. The lens was in the process of zooming, and the scrolling movement threatened to tangle with her wind-blown locks. What she saw brought a sense of satisfaction, betrayed by the softening of her face. Squinting her right eye, she reopened her left to view the scene unaided by technology. A slight smile played across her face, like the sun peeking out from behind stormy clouds.
Six security soldiers, dressed all in black plasti-armor, were entering a brownstone tenement in Galaxy City. She knew that six more were entering from the back, all armed with high-tech capture gear instead of their usual assault weaponry. The goal after all was NOT to kill the targets on this particular mission, but rather to force them out of this little hidey-hole and into the light, all under Agent Richard’s watchful eyes. Each of the soldiers had been hand-picked by Richards, individuals in Crey Security that had in one way or the other angered, annoyed, or just didn’t fall into her idea of what Crey Security soldiers should be. She didn’t expect them all to live, and any pain garnered on this mission was well deserved in her opinion.
Resuming her vigil, she listened to the team’s chatter over the cybernetic internal commlink in her ear. Standard clearing operations, moving to the second floor where the safe house was located, entering… Manticore’s booby-trap, some sort of incendiary device, incapacitated three of the soldiers, before rapidly burning itself out. “Wouldn’t want to harm the civilians now would we,” she thought with a grim smile. Truthfully, she counted on Manticore’s heroic sensibilities to make her job easier, casualties in bystanders were harder to cover up.
The team penetrated further into the safe house, a spacious three bed-room apartment. Two more booby-traps disabled the rest of her team, and no doubt removed all obvious evidence that Manticore, or his partner, Swan, had ever been in this locale. Activating the voice-link set in her jaw with a flick of her tongue, Richards sent the mental commands to dial in a set of commands to achieve a safe-line to a very busy branch of Crey Biotech’s P.R. Department, the Cleaners. When the line went active, she spoke, “4210 Lincoln Street, Apartment 14, Galaxy City. Spin-doctors needed.” Needing no confirmation as the Cleaners were renowned for their efficiency, she tongue-clicked her com’ to end the call. Voice-recognition software would provide her updated security clearance. She estimated less than fifteen minutes before the team would be on site, and all of this would go away. Before then, she had more to do.
Vaulting from the third-story rooftop she had been standing on, Agent Richards flipped out a foot-long cord from her sleeve and looped it neatly over the phone lines heading from a nearby transformer into the building her quarry had so recently inhabited. Dropping from her slide, she neatly rolled to a stop on the desired rooftop, and quickly moved to the roof access way. Moments later she was in Manticore’s old safe house.
The security squad lay about the apartment unconscious. Flash marks on the wall indicated that Manticore had used contained incendiary “flash” bomblets, something he was fond of attaching to the arrows he favored in combat. The squad would survive, most would need treatment for concussions and several would no-doubt be blind… nothing that Crey’s Medics couldn’t fix. It amazed her that Manticore, well-known for his paranoia, had not destroyed more of the area to conceal more of his doings. Glancing about the apartment for clues, Richards found what she was looking for. The smaller bedroom had been used recently, and shreds of a Crey Security uniform provided all the proof she needed for authorizing this little raid. She scooped the scraps into an evidence bag, and then paused, her heightened hearing picking up an ultrasonic whine increasing in volume. Taking no chances, she dove for an open window… and then rode the shock wave of the explosion she had been waiting for.
Picking herself up and brushing away the gravel that was ground into her palms from skidding down yards of pavement, Agent Richards looked back down the alley to what was left of Manticore’s safe house. “Impressive. Contained blast, explosives set in the walls, must have placed them inside of some sort of shielding to keep from leveling the entire building. The Cleaners won’t have much to do when they get here.” Without a thought to the team burning inside, she watched flames bellow from inside the safe house with something close to satisfaction as she considered her options.
Kane had collapsed near the facility he was being held in, victim of an unknown assailant. Unfortunately, a group of heroes had been battling with a squad of Nemesis soldiers over that particular piece of real estate, and they had carried Kane off for medical attention. Worse, they had been one of the many temporary bands of heroes that Manticore had been commissioning to hound Countess Crey and so had brought their new acquisition to his attention. Realizing the potential dropped into his hands, Manticore had summoned his partner, Swan, a powerful telepath, and taken Kane to this safe house. Knowing that the recent information in Kane’s mind could be used against Crey interests, Richards had summoned the now-deceased strike team to force Manticore to move again. Maybe he would provide additional information that could be filed away for better “handling” later. In the meantime, Swan and Kane needed to be separated. If she could get Kane into a city hospital, then all information could be controlled. Hell, more than 70% of all medical facilities in Paragon City were supplied through Crey Biotech. It was just a matter of manipulating events correctly. And sense Manticore had not gone through the Freedom Phalanx initially, he would not call them in now; pride would dictate he handle this alone or cover it up as much as possible to prevent embarrassing questions from his teammates.
Turning away from the fire, she reactivated her monocle, and tuned in to the spy drone she had following Manticore’s car. He was driving erratically, taking many turns and obviously attempting to lose any pursuit. However, his general direction was heading towards G.C. Memorial Hospital. Walking to where she had parked, some three blocks away, Agent Richards smiled, things were well in hand.
As luck would have it, Manticore did admit Kane to G.C. Memorial. It seemed that something was stirring up the 5th Column, forcing many of them to take to the streets in large numbers. That wasn’t any concern of Agent Richards, she was too busy thanking the crazy fascists for their wonderful timing. Manticore’s obsession with the 5th Column was well-documented. She hid a smile behind the Cosmopolitan magazine she was flipping through while waiting to speak with the doctor handling Kane. Fortune was certainly smiling.
The smile was less natural and more forced six hours later, when Dr. Rudy Nielson tiredly approached. Tall and lean, the doctor’s skin was made even paler by his sterile white jacket. Obviously at the end of a long shift, the doctor still managed to maintain professional courtesy in his voice as he asked, “What interest does the C.D.C. have in my John Doe, Ms…?”
“Richards, Alicia Richards… Dr…” Richards checked the doctor’s nametag though she had already acquired a complete history on the man from Crey Intel while waiting in the lobby, and then continued in her false southern accent. “…Nielson. And the C.D.C. is always interested in potential health hazards to the city. In particular, we received a report that this John Doe was found in Crey’s Folly unconscious from an unknown malady. Lord only knows what kinds of disease is just waiting to spawn in that hell-hole.”
Dr. Nielson nodded, the last of his resistance seemingly seeped away. “Very well, come with me, I’ll introduce you to Mr. Doe. I have already had the lab run his blood samples through a thorough check for anything. We didn’t find anything there. So I ran a few more checks.” The doctor pushed through a door into a room containing a bed, an I.V. drip, and several other machines, all buzzing and beeping softly as they monitored various life signs of the man unconscious on the bed.
“And what did you find Doctor?” Richards put her best concerned look on her face, and implored to the man behind the doctor’s smock as only a woman could do. “I hope he will be ok.”
The door swished slowly closed behind them. The doctor picked up the chart from the end of Kane’s bed and glanced over reports he had written already. “I’m puzzled, Ms. Richards, truly puzzled. The patient’s life signs are all strong, no signs of poisoning or disease… hell, he’s healthy as a horse. ” He looked from the patient into Richard’s hungry eyes. Searching for something that he obviously found, he warmed to her attention. “Where we ran into a fright was on his M.R.I. Ummm, ya, when we found nothing else, I wanted to run a check on his brain patterns. Many superhumans are psychically gifted, so maybe this was a psionic whammy ya know? Lord knows that I have seen enough patients who ran afoul of the Lost, or worse, the Rikti, and needed help unscrambling their brains. Anyway, the patient’s M.R.I. was off the charts, bouncing this way and that, everything was fluxing so badly that he should be having seizures.” Here Dr. Nielson indicated one of the beeping machines, and pointed out the wildly changing status shown by the LED. “Its like his brain is moving at super speeds and bouncing around inside his cranium trying to get out.”
“Isn’t that harmful for the poor dear?” Richards kept the feminine charm at full gear, touching the doctor’s arm lightly, while holding his gaze.
“Yes, it could be very harmful… debilitating in fact. That’s not the worst though. I think I have found out why he is experiencing these erratic brain waves.” Taking a second to puff out his chest and making sure that Richards was paying the proper attention to his genius, Dr. Nielson continued. “I authorized an experimental scan that we have received just recently. Terribly expensive but…” he lowered his voice to conspiratol tones, “We can scan a patient for powers, learn what abilities they have with just one pass! And I don’t mean physical powers, we can scan for psychic powers as well!” He grinned like a child with a secret, then frowned suddenly, seeing the shock on Richards face. “Oh don’t worry! We aren’t using it to report anything, but think of how much easier it makes treating a superhuman patient!”
Nodding her head, Richards allowed her amazement to show clearly on her face. A device such as this scanner was news indeed. She was eager to report its existence to Hopkins, and allowed herself to quickly imagine the rewards in store for this treasure. Coming back to the present, she turned her smile on the good doctor once more. “What did you find?”
Happy to answer, the Doctor continued, “John Doe possesses… Ha! I kill me.. Umm, sorry, John Doe isn’t the only one in there…” Nielson paused long enough to drive his point home, and when he saw Richards eyes widen, he nodded. “Ya… he is carrying some kind of possessing entity in there. That’s why the brain waves are so wild. Well, not the only reason, but we will get back to that… ok, follow me on this. Mr. Doe here has heightened muscle mass indicative of super strength. Usual stuff you see on most of the “tankers’ and “scrappers” in the city. However, interestingly enough, he also doesn’t seem to age. No dead skin cells, no usual hair follicles falling out, nadda. He does regenerate quickly, which is a puzzler.” Seeing he was losing his audience, Nielson hurried to explain, “Normally, if you possess a hyper-regenerative body, you heal just like a normal person, just faster. This means that you are constantly reproducing skin cells, ect. So you flake off more than the usual dead skin, your hair grows faster, and so on… Well, J.D. here doesn’t do that. Its like he has a snapshot of what he is supposed to look like, and his body adjusts to fit that. Right down to…”the doctor pulled back the patient’s sleeve to reveal a scar encircling the left forearm, and then lifted the sheet to show another on the patients right leg. “He’s got several other scars, too… this is significant in that regenerative beings NEVER have scars, they heal completely! So that’s the first oddity.”
Richards nodded, having already activated the recorder attached to her ear implants, and continued to beam at the doctor, her interest real enough now. “What else?” she breathed.
“Well, scanning his brain revealed some interesting things. I can show you the actual holographic recording of our scan, but check this out for now, the Johnny-boy has superspeed too, but not like we are used to seeing. Nope, his powers are psionic somehow. Its like he had this great potential psychically, but instead of turning it into telepathy or telekinesis, he focused it into speed. Now this has a million different theoretical applications, but until he wakes up we won’t know for certain beyond the fact that he has the power.”
“Also, his brain development indicates strong martial training…no kidding, right?” the doctor chuckled before continuing, “but here we get back to that possession. The scans revealed a psychic snarl in his brain, so we picked at it a bit more. Turns out that he has a psionic protection in the form of an active psi-bomb waiting to attack anyone that ventures in there. Well, this just doesn’t seem healthy, and it was also the source of the wildly conflicting brain patterns so we magnified the scan even further in. That’s when we found it… found her to be precise! There is a female brain pattern riding inside his brain… can you imagine?”
Richards nodded her wonderment… Kane was getting more and more interesting. Seemed he fucked with the wrong woman, and the possibility that that could be more true than figurative set her imagination on fire. She had to fight to concentrate to catch the doctor’s next words.
“Well, the oddest thing we found in all of this I believe is the master key to John-boy’s lock. Transdimensional energy was clinging faintly to JD when he was brought in here, indicating recent travel through a portal of some sort.” The doctor paused once more, and looked over his shoulder conspiratorially before continuing. “You know what I think, Ms. Richards? I think John Doe here came through a portal and landed in Crey’s Folly somehow. I think wherever he was from he had an unfriendly telepath attacking him when he made the jump. I think the shock of traveling between dimensions locked this telepath’s mind in Johnny’s head, and being cut of from her body, the telepath panicked and latched onto the only common ground she had available, John’s mind. I think Johnny here fought back, natural if your mind is being supplanted, right? And right now, they are in there, fighting it out for control. Right now, it looks like the telepath has made it into John’s psychic defense, and she is stuck there, unwilling or unable to let go. He should be able to push her out, but the kicker is, as the Transdimensional energy wanes, so does John’s psychic power. I bet the portal somehow leeched allot of his energy… Pretty wild, huh?”
Richards exhaled slowly, sorting through the doctor’s hypothesis. Quirking up an eyebrow she asked, “So he might gain his powers back, but for now they are dampened?” she leaned into the doctor, the line of her body brushing his suggestively. “So right now, he’s basically a vegetable?”
Dr. Nielson was sweating suddenly, as he looked into Richard’s eyes from much closer than he had imagined was possible for one of his appearance. “Uhhh, yes, that is correct. Until that mental activity slows down, he couldn’t put one foot down in front of the other, let along move himself anywhere.” Deciding to push his sudden good luck he asked, “I.. Uhh, my shift is over. Would you perhaps care to discuss this someplace more, uhhh, casual?”
“Why, Rudy, I thought you would never ask” the redheaded beauty chuckled, her throaty tones washing away the weak warning signal that he had never given her his first name. Looping her arm in his, she led the way to the door. “Tell me, have you discussed your theories with anyone else?”
Neither of them saw John Doe’s eyes open, their opaqueness giving way to a steadily growing emerald blaze. The soft tones of the various machines masking his voice as it whispered, “Ohhhh, she will due, she will due… I’ll be seeing you soon Agent Richards.”
Expensive clothing lay scattered over across a smoky Persian rug, and their trail continued down a eggshell white hallway decorated with rare African carvings, giving way to intimate apparel discarded at the foot of a king-sized bed. Silk sheets covered the powerfully muscled hips of a gorgeous woman whose moans were masked by the smoothly rocking sounds of Lenny Kravitz. The bed rocked in rhythm to the lyrics blared from speakers set into the bedrooms walls.
Beneath those powerful hips, Dr. Rudy Nielson lay with the largest grin his face could hold. Nearly laughing with glee, he watched the beautiful C.D.C. agent writhe about on his body, using him for her pleasure. A particularly aggressive thrust caused him to squeeze his eyes shut in joy, ecstasy racing up his spine and squeezing little tears of joy from his eyes.
Lost in the sensation of the oldest act of mutual pleasure known to man, Dr. Nielson missed his partner’s brief pause, and the shudder that ran though her body and into his he assumed to be her peak overwhelming her. As she began to grind down on him again, he kept his eyes closed, sensations building in his own body that were soon to be beyond his control.
Thus he missed the new eyes that looked down on him from his partner’s face. And the smile adorning her face would have shriveled him in terror had he but looked up in those last few moments. Instead, the musical voice which whispered to him his last words brought about the conclusion to their joining. “Create meeeee,” this wonderful creature breathed to him, and with that he gave up his all; his seed to her waiting womb, and as a dainty hand gave a quick twist of his neck, his life.
A voice never heard from Alicia Richard’s mouth spoke to the quiet room, “Thank you Rudy.” she leaned down and kissed the doctor’s bulging eyes closed, “or should I say, Daddy?”
Across the city, in a quiet hospital room John Doe, SPB 3 sat up suddenly in his bed, the violent movement tearing several I.V. lines from his arm. Looking about with wild yes he cursed to his surroundings. “What have you done now, Millicent?”