Two weeks had passed since Defiance had been turned over to federal authorities. In light of private hearings which had reviewed Freedom Squad’s testimony, the testimony of Carlos Ruiz who had been believed to be Psionicist, the evidence supplied by Agent King and most importantly, a surprise confession from the Ace of Spades, Defiance was being granted a pardon.
However, explaining the existence of the Ace of Spades to the public was considered highly dangerous. Defiance’s role was also going to be difficult to explain. For now, he was forbidden to use his costume and a new identity was being constructed for him. He had also been assigned to work with Agent King.
Stacy King assumed that Defiance was the reason she had blindfolded and taken to a top secret government facility. She wasn’t sure which division of the government wanted to talk to her, but the whole thing had a very CIA feel to it. She passed through what must a have been her twelfth security door and entered a room with smooth black walls. Her escort pulled the door shut behind her.
Light came down from the ceiling panels. There was no smell to the room either, not even the antiseptic of cleaning fluid.
A black table stood in the middle of the room with a single chair pulled up to it. Stacy sat down to face a wall.
She wondered how many people were behind the wall. She felt a touch of dread. What if the Ace of Spades had somehow fooled them all?
“Agent King, in your opinion, has Defiance been completely freed from the Ace of Spades’ influence?” asked an unseen voice.
“Yes,” she answered.
“How did this occur?”
“Rigel, also known as Corinne Dandridge, used her telepathic abilities to remove the Ace’s control.”
There was a pause.
“Could Rigel establish the same level of control in others?”
“I’m uncertain. Based on my assessments of her, she is more of a telekinetic and less of a telepath than the Ace of Spades. Additionally, it wouldn’t fit her psychological profile. She’s the daughter of the hero Orion.”
There was a longer pause.
“Has she made telepathic contact with you in the past, Agent King?”
“Yes. I allowed her to see into my mind so that she could have as much information on the Ace of Spades as possible.”
“Did you also provide her information on Matt Johnson, now known as Velocity?”
“Yes. That was well within my authority.”
“In your opinion, if Rigel and Freedom Squad turned rogue, what checks would we have to control them?”
“I believe that the Ultra Task Force, coupled with the Megalopolis Police’s Renegade program would be able to apprehend Freedom Squad. If our abilities proved insufficient, we would call in other hero teams, such as New Citadel or the Wardens. Arguably, we could request the services of the United Nations’ hero, Defensor. In an extreme situation, Wildside, Inc. has clearance to operate as a government contractor. However, I wish to reiterate that I believe it is unlikely in the extreme that Freedom Squad would go rogue.”
A long pause followed.
“Thank you, Agent King. You are dismissed.”
Stacy King stood up and quietly left the room. As her escorts rejoined her, she told herself that the questions were well within reason. Once she had a new identity for Defiance, the Ultra Task Force should be ready to handle almost anything.
After she had departed, one of the men hidden behind the one-way glass wall spoke, “So, what did you think of her answers regarding Rigel and Freedom Squad?”
“I didn’t like them. The President should have let us seize that alien, Starlight, in the first place, and I certainly don’t like the thought of anyone with the power to alter minds running around. Especially not in charge of a superhero team. I don’t care who her Dad was or what he did.”
“So, have we decided how to solution this?”
“If what we are doing gets out…”
“Sometimes sacrifices are necessary for the greater good.”
“Do we have a test subject?”
“And what are the chances that something can go wrong?”
“Go wrong? Almost zero percent. Remember, the prototypes for this were invented by the CIA. But as a precaution, we need to make sure that this Rigel character never gets close to one of our operatives.”
“Unless she has to be eliminated.”
TO BE CONTINUED
Nothing but Epilogue left after this. Thanks for coming with me on the Nanowrimo journey. I know the writing’s rough, but I hope everyone’s enjoyed. I especially want to thank all the new visitors who’ve come from the various WordPress.com sites. I wish you all the best in your writing. – Harry
In another section of Ace’s under-mall base, Defiance was struggling to defeat his invisible foes. A metal wrap surrounded him and it was being using to spin him around while thousands of volts of electricity surged through him. He couldn’t keep himself oriented enough to find a way to fight back.
Nightstar watched Defiance spin even as he dodged energy blasts and missiles. Fortunately, he had a psychic sense that made him aware of dangers and tended to have an unnatural luck in these matters.
Coupled with the ability to teleport and lots of combat training, he was still standing.
Velocity had been the first victim of invisible electrical enemies, smashing into an invisible force field at full speed. Nightstar had gotten him out to the parking lot via psychic sword teleport. Solaria had fallen to a sonic blast next, but Nightstar had retrieved her as well. The only other member of his team standing was Defiance.
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Cori felt as if she were running out of time.
She tried to tell herself that the mayor was the Ace of Spades, and that he had been hiding in front of her eyes. She tried to believe that the Ace felt that by being close to Freedom Squad that they would never suspect him. She tried to believe that it was possible that the Ace hadn’t considered the physical danger posed by walking around next to superheroes.
All she did believe was that somewhere, the Ace of Spades was escaping.
Her communicator buzzed. A text message came from Starlight. “I will be delayed in my return. What is the situation?”
Rigel used her telekinesis to text back. “Fusion defeated. Return to Headquarters when possible.”
She had let her team head back to base. Everyone was hurt, and they needed treatment. Jake Lord had returned to Freedom Squad Headquarters and was ready to help. The Homeland Security Ultra Task Force had people in radiation suits sweeping the area with Geiger counters. Rigel wanted to leave, but someone from Freedom Squad should be present. She was team leader, so she was the choice.
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The mayor rubbed his temples. He couldn’t believe what had happened. He was inside Freedom Squad Headquarters in Protector’s room sitting in a chair. Protector was lying in a bed only a few feet from where he was sitting, and Starlight stood over him.
“What just happened?” asked the mayor. “Defiance was about to crush me. Now, I’m here?”
“As mayor of this fine city, you should know that you are in safe hands. The noble heroes of Megalopolis are currently outwitting the foul villains outside,” stated Starlight flatly.
The mayor stared blankly at Starlight.
The mayor stood up. “Starlight, how did I get here and please use standard English?”
“My apologies, sir. Velocity brought you. I am to defend you if the battle goes poorly, however, it appears that Freedom Squad has triumphed.”
“Who is, no, wait, by Velocity are you being scientific or… never mind, I need to make a call. Afterwards, I want a full explanation from Rigel,” he looked over at Protector. “What happened to him?”
“I believe it was the work of a super-villain known as the Ace of Spades.”
“Fine, Starlight, stay here with Protector. I’m going to have a talk with Rigel.”
The mayor stepped out into the hallway and began walking toward the front. As he walked, he typed a single word text into his encrypted phone. “Nuclear.”
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