Chapter 13A – Freedom Squad Defiance
Protector was asleep. More importantly, he was alive.
Rigel knew that Dr. Lord was going to stay at his bedside, and that whatever the Ace of Spades had done, Alex’s mind was doing its best to heal. She wanted to try and go into his head, but she convinced herself that she needed to trust that the best thing for him was to let him heal.
Whatever the Ace had tried to do, it had failed.
There were other matters that Cori needed to address. She was determined that she was going to redo the code on the Freedom Squad servers and create the world’s greatest firewall. The Ace of Spades wasn’t going to get into their systems again. Afterwards, she was going to check every log file imaginable and determine how the Ace had accessed their systems. She sat at a keyboard with her hands folded under her chin as she watched code flash by on the monitor. The keyboard beeped as it tried to keep up with the speed of her telekinetic typing.
Daniel Hunter came up behind her. She mentally sensed him before she saw him. He seemed a little shaken by the attack, but he was otherwise okay. Like everyone else, he was more concerned with Protector. Though, at this point, she knew that he was worried about her. He had been a team leader in the past, and he had been the one who had supported her when she decided to join Freedom Squad.
Daniel put a hand on her shoulder. In a gentle voice, he said, “I can do that.”
“No,” she said. “This is my responsibility. The mayor even told me to do it. There was an error with our security system before the cameras showed Protector convulsing. I should have taken care of this. Someone’s been accessing our systems. I’ll let you follow up and check the log after I’m done. If there’s another crisis, I’ll even let you take over, but for right now, I’m going to catch the person who’s been causing all the trouble.”
“You know who’s responsible?”
“Yes,” she said. The screen went black, and an Ace of Spades displayed in the center of the screen. “Him.”
“Cori, the Ace of Spades doesn’t exist,” said Daniel.
Rigel nearly knocked her chair over as she stood up. “What did you say?”
“The Ace of Spades doesn’t exist. He can’t have done this,” repeated Daniel.
His brown eyes, usually so intelligent, so sharp, seemed to have slightly unfocused as he spoke.
“One more time… please,” she said.
“The Ace of Spades doesn’t exist.”
Now she was sure about his eyes.
“Oh, Daniel…” she said as she took her gloves off, and before he could react, she placed her head against his shoulder, just as when she had hugged him as a little girl. She felt Daniel shift his weight in confusion as he started to put his arms around her, unsure of how to react.
“I’m sorry,” she breathed as she reached her bare hand up to touch his cheek.
Physical contact made her psychic connections much stronger. He was open to her, not thinking of her as a threat, which made what she needed to do easier.
She went into his mind, searching until she found the mental construct that the Ace had left behind, a mental construct that prevented Daniel Hunter aka Poltergeist from believing in the Ace of Spades. Unlike what had been done to Psionicist, this remnant was much easier to remove, more of a suggestion than full-blown mind control.
“Go to sleep, Daniel, just in case I missed something. When you wake up, just know that I removed a suggestion from the Ace of Spades, get mad at me if you want, and then you can help fix the computers if you’d like.”
Rigel caught him and helped him into one of the chairs. “I don’t like this at all. The Ace is making me do what he does.”
With a faint crackling sound and a burst of blue, Ion was standing beside her. “What happened?”
Telepathically, she said, “I’ve got to turn off our security. We are being monitored.”
Ion shrugged and extended his arms. Rigel felt her hairs stand on end, and she heard a distinct popping noise before the lights went out. An arc of electricity suddenly jumped from Ion’s left hand to his right and back again, providing a small amount of illumination.
“Localized EMP,” said Ion, “I’ve been working on it for a while. Like it?”
“Good, but I can’t fix our computers with my workstation off.”
“I didn’t do any permanent damage. I promise. Listen, I don’t think I know exactly what’s going on, but I’m betting the Ace of Spades is the one who nearly killed Alex.”
“Yes,” said Rigel.
“And we’ve got Defiance to deal with, plus there are a whole lot of others out there. However, I have an idea of how to catch Defiance.”
“What is it?”
“Before you say no,” said Ion, “it was really Nightstar’s idea but we both agreed on it.”
“JR, just tell me.”
“We hire the Destroyers to come to Megalopolis.”
Rigel’s mouth dropped open. The Destroyers were one of the most dangerous teams of super-villains on the planet. The Hornet, Neutron, Chillfrost, Pulsar and Screamer were powerful enough as individuals, but when Future Soldier coordinated and planned their attacks, they were nearly unstoppable. They often found employment from master villains and served as their lieutenants.
The lights began to flicker back on.
Ion stopped arcing the electricity between his hands. “I know, but who would be better at luring Defiance out into the open. Protector always tells the new recruits to seize the initiative. We could have the initiative, and it wasn’t exactly Nightstar’s idea. Think about it. Defiance went to jail for attacking those cosplayers who were dressed as the Destroyers.”
Rigel considered what he was saying. She didn’t like the plan, but no one would expect Freedom Squad to hire the Destroyers. Of course, she’d have to find the Destroyers, have the resources to hire them, and lure Defiance out of hiding. Freedom Squad would need to be able to take down Defiance and crew plus the Destroyers.
“We don’t have enough people to do it. It’s too dangerous,” she said. “But… I think you could be on to something. We still need to bolster our ranks though.”
Ion noticed Daniel Hunter sleeping in the chair. “What happened to Poltergeist?” he asked.
Cori sighed. Rather than explaining, she mentally showed Ion how she had gone into Daniel’s mind, and removed the Ace of Spades’ psychic construct.
“Are you planning to go poking around in all of our minds?” Ion asked.
“No!” she said. “No,” she repeated more softly. “I would never do that, JR. And if you think I am, stop me.”
Rigel looked him in the eye. “Seriously.”
“Sorry, Cori. I shouldn’t have said anything. It just…”
“Disturbed you? It disturbs me. And I can’t tell you how angry I am that the Ace of Spades is using his powers, powers like mine to alter people. And with what he’s done to our computers, I don’t even want to talk about it. He could be listening anywhere, or he could have spies among us, spies that don’t even know they are spies.”
“How exactly are you still sane?” Ion asked Rigel.
“I have several university professors who might argue with you about my sanity. More importantly, security systems should be back online,” said Cori.
Posted on November 22, 2013, in Freedom Squad, HeroNet Files, NaNoWriMo and tagged Defiance, Freedom Squad, Harry Heckel, HeroNet, HeroNet Files, Ion, Megalopolis, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo Novel, Rigel, superhero, Superhero Nanowrimo, Superhero team. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.