Part 6

by CM Towns

   George Blackwell was a former general in the military, former Secretary of Defense, now a non-fiction writer documenting the rise of superhumans, a sought after lecturer, and one of the most controversial individuals in all the United States. This man was currently seated in a large office of his host, a thirty-something Caucasian male with well groomed hair, sparkling smile and annoying laugh. This man was named DOUG DWYER and was a Senator out of Illinois.
   “She is taking quite a bit of time,” Doug Dwyer said of the woman they were waiting for. Dwyer joked about their missing attendant while playing with the white stone ring on his right middle finger. Blackwell looked at the one he had put on upon his arrival and back to Dwyer.
   “Has she ever been early to one of these clandestine meetings?” Blackwell queried before he looked over the the office. Proof positive that not all gay men had an eye for interior design. The office was plain with a few certificates and awards. No pictures of family or loved ones. No trophies or collectibles which would show a sense of personality.
   “Good question. So how’s the wife? You guys looked good in the papers the other day at that charity ball,” Dwyer said.
   “Lonette is great. Charity work keeps her busy and she loves doing it.”
   “Good to hear.”
   “I’d ask you about your personal life but I don’t know anything about you Dwyer.”
   “Not much socializing with us all. I have done a little dating lately but nothing serious,” Doug replied.
   A knock at the door and Doug got up from his seat and walked around his desk. He opened the door and a short, plump, woman who looked of Mediterranean descent walked in.
   “Afternoon, Nicole,” Doug said.
   NICOLE STANIS took the other empty seat beside Blackwell before putting on her ring.
   “Let us get to business. It’s not good for more than two of us to be in one place at a single time,” Nicole stated.

   Doug took his seat and started, “Then let us catch up. Blackwell-” he motioned.
   Blackwell handed a thumb drive and Dwyer plugged it into his computer. A moment later the flatscreen on the wall to Dwyers left turned on.
   “So who do we have here?” Dwyer asked.
   “This sickly kid you might remember from the Teiwaz brainwashing program. They called him Screamer but his official codename is now AUDIO. Real name EVAN DANIELS,” explained Blackwell of a picture of a lanky Caucasian kid with wild black hair. Dwyer switched to the next photo of a blond boy with a crooked nose.
   Blackwell continued, “MATTHEW REINHOLD, now known as MENTALIST. He is an actual telepath but unlike the others he needs to have be within very close proximity to use his powers. He also gets less head splitting migraines and night terrors than most telepaths do. If you’ve read my reports most telepath’s have a hard to time of filter psychic noise so they need to be isolated.”
   “How did these two score in physical and academic?” Stanis inquired.
   “Both scored fine in academics. Matthew scored well in the fitness and boot camp. Had a promising track career,” Blackwell answered.
   “Whose this girl?” Doug asked of the winged Asian woman on the screen.
   “An escaped North Korean named SONG YUNG. Codename-”
   “Angel?” Dwyer interrupted.
   “No. MUSE. Scored fine in academics and fitness-though the wings made that hard. Next lady up you all know. CYNTHIA ROSE. Another survivor of the bombing in Raleigh that gave us Huntsman. She of course is MS. STEEL. Been with the program the longest,” Blackwell said. The before and after photos were paired next to each other. One of Cynthia as the tan skinned, short black haired girl and the other as the metal encased counterpart.
   Next photo a teenage girl with dark golden brown skin. Blackwell said, “SHERISSE JENKINS-codenamed LASHES. Creates a sort of energy whip that comes out just under her wrist. Limited range but an athlete and her academics were good. Finally the one they are pushing as their face. Latin-American kid.”
   Dwyer took on the next picture. A smiling light skinned teen boy with black hair and brown eyes. “DAMIAN JOHNSON. Mother is Argentinean and father is a service man in the Navy. His abilities are based around manipulation of molecules and light. Allows him to fly, increased speed, super strength strength, and energy blasts. He’s going to be known as AMERICAN MADE,” Blackwell said.
   Dwyer laughed. “Such a stupid name. How strong is?”
   “I have a bad habit of comparing superhuamns with great strength to Reina Titán. Made has considerable strength but I’m not sure if he’s stronger than Ms. Steel,” Blackwell described.
   “They will be going into the field with a seasoned soldier. Do we have names?” asked Stanis.
   “There are names going about but one has been fitted for a suit of lightweight armor,” Blackwell answered.
   “Watching too much Avengers,” Dwyer commented.
   “They should be functional, at the earliest, in two months time,” Blackwell finished.
   “This information came from Capt. Everett? You trust him?” Stanis questioned.
   “I only trust my wife.”
   “Wise. When the team is activated the police and federal forces will be less willing to cooperate with the Guard. Very likely more hostile,” pointed out Stanis.
   “Fascinating it took them this long. Fascinating they did not keep you in the loop Stanis, seeing your position,” Dwyer said.
   “My inquiries were constantly denied for the confidential nature. I was told I would get a full report upon completion of the team. I should have been on this sense day one, especially as the department running this project keeps demanding files from us,” Stanis said.
   “To your question about the time it took to put this team together, many were not used due to age. Each one had to be at least sixteen. It was optional so that meant others turned down the service. There is also that most superpowers are not what their looking for-or the powers are hard to control. The Guard has succeeded due to using vigilante’s, recruiting by example, and the fact we’ve left them alone for the most part,” Blackwell detailed.
“Yeah, yeah-so how are they doing. You said the team was in training boot camp. It’s been a week or so in, right?” asked Dwyer.
   “I have talked to Red Sprite and she has given me a run down. Very detailed. Three of recruits are going to be reservists due to distance from their base and their secret identities. Their codename’s are Ichi Senshi, Bravado and the vigilante Kestrel got good marks,” he said.
   “Bravado? Which one is he?” Stanis questioned.
   “The one the program did not want. His mimicry ability was deemed not useful to the Division-1 program. The program does not want vigilante’s, or superhumans who are simply just Olympic style athletes, but the Guard has been working with him and think they can make a decent one out of him. The new recruits who are going to be more active with, they feel most confident about Flash-Man, Brown Widow and Gravity Woman,” Blackwell continued.
   “Flash-Man’s background check was interesting,” Stanis commented.
   “Yeah-I skimmed it. Poor kid. Same with Brown Widow. Parents were such assholes,” Dwyer said of April.
   “So the team sounds like they are doing good,” Blackwell said.
   “That is excellent because the organization has been worried,” Stanis stated.
   “Of course they’re worried. They always are,” Dwyer reminded her.
   “Yes. Our Mr. Ash has escaped custody-”
   “Of course,” Blackwell said.
   Stanis continued, “He gave us some interesting information on King. Some new stuff but most we already knew. There are a few tidbits worth mentioning which brings us to a pair of cases. First is Fliopt-the Harkin magician formerly of Mizer’s minions. He has had some dealings with King but has chosen to try and keep out of his line of sight. Fliopt has been a major mover of new, dangerous firearms in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle-East and we now believe he’s in the states.”
   “New market?” asked Dwyer.
   “Its possible but I doubt it. He uses the sale of weapons to fund his search for magic based treasure. What he did in Pakistan bringing those… I don’t know, serpents? Bringing them to life caused much trouble. We need him taken down. Our research points to him in New York at the moment. Probably Manhattan,” Stanis concluded.
   “What is the second case?” inquired Blackwell.
   “The Teiwaz-who we have to thank for helping us get our Guard together, has been running various ops all through out Europe,” Stanis said.
   “That’s not news,” Dwyer replied.
   “Yes, I know. They find an area in one country and commit terrorist attacks while gathering supplies. Medical, scientific, anything. Right now we believe they are in France. The Teiwaz took a serious blow in their US operations which made us believe they would be more cautious but that’s not what we’re seeing. They must be planning something and our counter parts in Europe have had troubles. Their superhumans are not as organized as ours,” Stanis went on.
   “So we shouldn’t let some of the local heroes deal with them? Captain Europe’s around right?” Dwyer said.
   “That’s not his name but I agree. We can’t rely on the Guard to police the entire world. In fact both cases have little to go on,” Blackwell said.
   “Fliopt needs to be brought down. He has been allowed to operate far too long and any information we get from him about King or any of the groups he has worked with would be extremely valuable. As for the Teiwaz in Europe-these people just need to be eliminated and the Guard have had an excellent track record dealing with these monsters. Even if the plans in France are no more than terror shutting them down sends a message,” Stanis expressed.
   “I’ll contact the Guard. Give them the details. Let them decide if they want to take the cases or not,” said Blackwell.
   “There is one more issue that merits discussion. The vote on the nominated new edition to the ILLUMINATI,” Stanis said.