Part 9

by CM Towns

   Division 1, the US sponsored super-team, was in the rec room of their base. Evan Daniels codename Audio, Matthew Reinhold codename Mentalist, Sherisse Jenkins codename Lashes, and leader Russell Caine codename The Marine were on a couch catching the news on a giant flatscreen set. Behind them the winged girl Song Yung, codename Muse, was learning pool from team powerhouse Damian Johnson, known as American Made. All while the steel skinned Cynthia Rose, codename Ms. Steel, watched them.
   Russell was soaking in the news reports. First about the giant machine-monsters battling the Guard in Manhattan. The other about Teiwaz terrorist activities in France and how part of the Guard were on the scene. Russell looked around at his teammates. All young, all with gifts and powers yet non over the age of seventeen. Russell was 33 himself and non-powered. He was put in as field leader for this group, picked out of the Marines for his natural talents. Russell was a little over six feet tall, peak physical condition, light brown complexion, shaved head, with stubble on face. He may be the leader, but he was not the face of the team, Damian was.
   Damian was only 16 and once a victim of alien invaders. His experience had given him extraordinary powers which put him on the list of the ten most powerful beings in the world. Damian was a good looking young man-lightly tan skin, blond hair and blue eyes, big smile. American Made they dubbed him.
   “Why haven’t we been called about any of these Teiwaz attacks,” Sherisse asked. Sherisse’s skin had deep brown tone, deep brown eyes, and a stub nose. Her hair was professionally styled and straighten to Sherisse’s chagrin, preferring it to be out and big. Of the young heroes she was in the best shape, taking her training extremely seriously. Her powers-glowing whips that came from out the wrist, was another result of Alien based mutation.
   “Russell, what is this BS,” she asked of him.
“If our bosses wanted us to head overseas they would have told us. Apparently it’s not considered a priority. Maybe the French feel they can handle this,” answered Russell.

   “Or its the bureaucracy of it,” Matthew suggested. Matthew, one of the teams Caucasian members, was bald, working on his mustache and coming along slowly in training. Matthew was a telepath. Not the strongest but he came with much less side effects of the powers than many other telepaths.
   Matthew smirked and added, “Could be the French feel weird about the US heroes coming in and doing their job.”
   “But they’re okay with the Guard?” asked Sherisse.
   “They do not have to answer for the Guard. They have no allegiance to the US government,” Cynthia said from behind them. Russell turned to see her, Damian and Song standing behind the couch now and looking to engage in the discussion.
   “I question that. They must have help of some sort to manage vehicles and have a place to hide,” Song stated.
   Both Cynthia and Song were troubled by their powers. Cynthia was an average teen girl but her mutation, believed to be based on the side effects from terrorist acts with new chemical weapons, gave her metal skin. Incredible strength and protection but no longer able to feel. Her first several months were a dark time for the young woman. Song’s wings are believed to be based in mythology though the truth has yet to be found. While its made her a media darling it’s hard on her back. Special beds and chairs had to be built for Song, as also they had to be built for Cynthia.
   Song was a short Korean girl and was a little overweight before training. She’s dropped some weight and has become quite a physical specimen. Long flowing black hair, rare green eyes, and thin lips. Training her was hard due to her wings but she committed fully. Cynthia’s training was more about technique and form in fighting. Incredibly dangerous for her sparring partners and was definitely a gain for the Division.
   “You got an opinion on this Damian?” Russell asked.
   “Not really. I don’t think too much about it,” he admitted.
   “Must be nice,” Sherisse said.
   “What about you, Evan? You’ve dealt with the Teiwaz and the Guard,” inquired Russell of the one codenamed Audio.
   Evans past with the Teiwaz was that he was kidnapped and brainwashed. When he was recovered he was ten pounds underweight, pale, and deeply disturbed. While his training had been moving along at a decent pace he’s had to do more psych tests than any other member.
   “I… I don’t know. The Teiwaz need to be dealt with. If the Guard wants to do it, let them. They’ve done fine before,” Evan answered.
   “But technically this is our job now. They should just sign up. Make our team even better,” Sherisse said.
   “Trust issues,” Russell said.
   “What kind of trust issues?” Damian asked.
   “Reina and Red Sprite have worked alongside the government before but their relationship was strained. What we wanted to do, how they wanted to handle the situation-our reactions to them especially Red Sprite who is an Alien. We had some people in place at the time that did not leave a good impression. With the removal of former SecDef Blackwell probably did not help,” Russell said.
   “That was then, this is now,” Matthew said.
   “True but look at what we know about their team. Reed Telle was isolated and quarantined by us. We had one of the most powerful beings but talked down to him, treated him like subject, could not get him family time with his frail mother-though that was out of our hands. Still, they treated the situation badly and now he runs with the Guard,” Russell said.
   “They could have detained him,” Matthew said.
   “Then they would not have been able to use him as a hero. Once he would be out of sight he would be gone. Kid Victory is not powered, government is not interested in teen vigilantes. Some of it is attitudes-the punk rocker has a problem with authority. Erica’s with them and she was a wash out. Makes me wonder how they geared her up for battle,” said Russell.
   “So sooner or later we will be in conflict with them?” asked Song not happy about that prospect.
   “Maybe. Maybe not. Official version is they are criminals. Unofficially it is leave them alone unless we have the power advantage. Or leave them alone if they are helping out. When we prove ourselves, grow in size, then it might come to a face off,” Russell said.
   “So basically because this is happening in France and their ‘helping out’ we don’t have to worry? Then what about Manhattan?” Sherisse questioned.
   “The other reason is we’re not truly tested. They don’t want us to roll out and lose in our first battle,” answered Russell.
   “Better to be ineffective than lose, right?” Matthew asked as a joke.
   “So when will we be ready?” Damian asked.
   “The goal is two weeks. But maybe can we speed up the time table,” Russell replied.