Heroes Legion: Year Two: "Ryker's Crusade"

By Maskedhero100

Chapter 1: The Quest Begins...

High Line Park, Manhattan Island: September 18th, 2014: 11:30 AM

It had been a month and a half since the harrowing events of The Siege of Manhattan and the Battle of New York which brought the Dark Elite's occupation/Reign of Terror over the borough to a definite end.

One would have thought that once that was over, when the metahuman terrorists and their armies had been torn asunder and imprisoned that that would be it.

That afterward the city would have returned to normal.

The person or persons who had assumed that must have had stars in their eyes.

Manhattan was still sealed off from the rest of the world, but not by way of any superpower.

It was under quarantine by order of the US government until ALL metahuman Terrorists remaining in the city were captured or re-captured.

The city's access ways were still limited thanks to the Siege of New York.

Until they had been drained and repaired from any water damage sustained, all tunnels in and out of Manhattan were inaccessible.

Only the bridges provided a way to get on/off the island.

On the bridges armed and armored soldiers manned checkpoints that had scanning stations like in the airport…only they were M-Gene scanners based off the type that Heroes Links: One had used.

Only smaller, WAY smaller than the original M-Gene Scanner was.

At noon and midnight exactly they allowed people who wanted to leave the city for better pastures until repair crews were allowed to go in and repair the borough.

Until the remaining metahumans from the Dark Elites army were found and captured, no repair crews, police or anything would be allowed to go back in.

If you didn't set off the M-Gene scanners you would go through the checkpoints just fine, if not and you were revealed to be a potential metahuman and forced to register with the list being made to determine the exact amount of metahumans in the New York area…and be detained until you were processed and fit with a tracker for the government to keep tabs on you.

Outside the island, similar checkpoints and military enforced inspections were being used for this same exact purpose.

Soldiers were going door to door, forcibly searching homes and people block by block, dragging suspected or proven to be potential metahumans that their suits scanners detected them to be to the containment pens set up to be processed.

They could do this because Martial Law had been declared in the New York state; as a result of this a curfew was also in effect.

New York would be the start; soon there would be more of these happenings around the country.

There had also been talks recently in Washington DC about what was to be done to deal with the "metahuman problem" since an unknown number of people in the country or beyond could very well be or had the potential to become Metahumans, and thanks to the MGA's original detonation…there was still enough fallout M-Radiation blanketing the country that could eventually activate some metahumans.

One idea that seemed to be gaining popularity was a bill lobbying to track down and catalogue every potential and active metahuman in the country, as well as what it was they could do… while also placing the active ones under "watchful eyes" until they could be proven "assets" of the country and or not a danger to civilians.

Metahumans active or dormant would be forced to register themselves to the government to be processed and evaluated, or be branded as terrorists and national security threats if they refused.

Maybe even locked away in some black site or remote location for life away from "normal" people until they were needed to wipe someone, or some enemy combatants or country off the map or some shit like that.

They were calling it the Metahuman Registration Act.

Because of the divisiveness of such an act, and the thought of history repeating itself with a bill that was rushed into office in the wake of a terrorist attack that oversaw the dealing with a group of people who may or may not have been involved in said terrorist activities as well the polarizing effects on the nation thanks to the video evidence of the Heroic efforts of the Heroes Legion which had ultimately saved New York…the bill was still in debate in congress.

But it wouldn't be for long.

The passing of the Metahuman Registration Act seemed inevitable, because the push for it to be passed was backed by a mob of fear, paranoia…and hatred.

The need to control those who would potentially pull a "Meta-Master", and punish those who already had…or just Metahumans in general if a certain group of people who were responsible for the attack were in fact the ones that were spearheading such an act.

Sure, there were some legitimate grievances and fears that would justify such an act being put in place, but unfortunately all it would do would lump the innocent metahumans in with the guilty and give those who would abuse the power it gave them to fuel their own agendas they had for Metahumans with impunity.

But the non-super powered public didn't seem to care.

Like the Arabs after 9/11 the majority saw metahumans as a whole as walking weapons, terrorists waiting to strike at anytime from anywhere in the country.

They saw Metahumans as destructive monsters, and they had the Siege of New York to prove that sentiment as fact to anyone who said differently.

People would always be so quick to blame and sacrifice a group of peoples essential freedom or their own to purchase security for themselves…and as a wise man once said, those people who do so they are those who deserve neither freedom or security.

As fascist, backsliding and paranoid as things were becoming on the outside, the situation inside the island of Manhattan wasn't any better.

SLEET had originally been in charge of overseeing the search and seizure of the locked down borough's remaining superhuman terrorists, but in less than a week they were replaced by this new paramilitary unit of SCARE soldiers (Special Corps for Apprehending Resisting Extremists" all working for STRIPE.

A new organization that had been given presidential approval to come in and help deal with the Metahuman problem in New York…and the country, alongside SLEET…although under both the declaration of martial law and emergency powers act they had been given full jurisdiction over handling the situation…with SLEET only working as a glorified backup group.

This was THEIR show now; SLEET no longer was in charge of dealing with rogue metahumans…or metahumans in general.

These were the exact same paramilitary group whose soldiers were manning the bridges, enforcing the push for martial law across the country looking for potential "metahuman terrorists" and also maintaining the quarantine line around Manhattan Island.

For some odd reason they neglected to move any of their military hardware or forces inside the city to enforce their hold around Manhattan and squeezing it to smoke out Meta-Masters remaining forces that had gone underground like in that movie 'The Siege' so that relief and repair efforts could begin.

They just remained on the bridges, enforcing the quarantine.

And as a result since they remained on the bridges, they were NOT the biggest problem for the people and innocent metahumans still inside to worry about.

They just kept anyone trying to escape what was going on inside with no way out without potentially ending up in an even worse situation.

On the High Line park walkway, two metahumans walked their way towards the brownstone safe house on west 23rd street.

Having just come back from witnessing a medical and food supply drop in Chelsea Park from the back of a Hercules plane which had flown over the city hours ago that had been allowed to do so by the SCARE soldier's permission.

The two metahumans were in fact Ravager and Silicon of the disbanded Heroes Legion.

"You think any of them spotted us leaving the area?" Ravager asked looking over his shoulder back at the entrance staircase to this park they had come through.

"If they did they'd be on our heels by now, I think these puppies are working." Silicon said pointing to a metal bracelet on his wrist.

Ravager had a similar bracelet on his wrist.

"Thank god…" Ravager sighed in relief, "I'd hate to have to deal with those guys now when we're so close to leaving the city."

"I'm not thrilled about this Lucas" Silicon said warily, "The last time we left, all hell broke loose."

"That doesn't really count; we didn't CHOOSE to leave the first time. Besides…you didn't leave remember?" Ravager corrected.

"Yes I did, my mind was on another planet." Silicon pointed out, referring to his second bout of brainwashing by Spellbinder.

"Isn't it always?" Ravager joked.

"Hardy har har!" Silicon said sarcastically, "come on, we have to get back to the safe house. Stephanie and Techne are probably wondering what's taken us so long to get back from our last recon before we leave."

They had elected to take the high line to avoid the roving patrols that were now operating in this section of the borough.

They briefly looked over the side of the railing and watched as one such roving patrol drove down the street.

Armored masked goons with military grade gear and weaponry, with M-Gene scanner modifications placed on their gear/weapons speed away in the re-purposed NYPD patrol cars and trucks which had been fitted with heavy weapons like rocket launchers, machine guns and riot shields.

They looked like something out of "Mad Max" or "Escape from New York"…both them AND the vehicles.

It was because of these masked goons having these M-Gene scanner modifications to their vehicles and weapons that both Silicon and Ravager were wearing special bracelets that blocked them and their active M-Genes energy signature from their radar.

Since Silicon had a hand in building the second generation of the M-Gene scanner that had been used on Heroes Links: One…he was able to build something to protect him, his teammate/friend Ravager and his girlfriend Techne from these people.

An emblem was displayed on the sides of the speeding vehicles.

It was a stylized letter "R" with a flaming sword running right through it…and an artistic rendition of the M-Gene.

It looked like a bad joke to the image of the Sword in the Stone.

But to those who knew what that symbol meant, it was a flaming wooden cross.

A symbol of fear for some, but for others it was a symbol of "good", a new force of law bringing hope to the people in the chaotic post 'Siege of New York' borough.

This was the symbol of Dr. Julius Ryker and his Paladin Militia.

As Silicon and Ravager made their way as quickly as they could to the brownstone safe house, Silicon reflected on certain events that had happened in the past two weeks ago that had lead the two of them and Techne to make the decision to leave Manhattan and go re-assemble the team.

It had started two weeks after the Battle of New York when the quarantine went up.

The team had gone their separate ways, after vowing they would reform if they were ever needed again.

Sumo had been revealed to have managed to find and rejoin with his parents on the outside after Shadow Knight had shadow walked him away when he was no longer able to help out in the battle.

They had expected that things would get better now that the Dark Elite was dealt with.

But then the island was quarantined by a military group that wasn't SLEET and when they tried to approach them on one of the bridges out of town to find out what was going on, telling them who they were…they were met with gunfire and attempted arrest.

"We have M-Leader and company, we have M-Leader and company!" they had heard one of the soldiers declare.

It was a miracle that they had even heard that declaration being said over the pinging sounds of the soldier's weapons energy bullets bouncing off M-Leader's psychic energy shield, as they made their retreat back into Manhattan…with the soldiers in hot pursuit.

They managed to outrun them, but every once in a while there would be these drones flying around…obviously out looking for them.

They had the same emblem of the soldiers on the bridge embedded on their chassis.

As a result of this, they had been hiding in one of the few safe houses that M-Leader remembered from his time working in SLEET which were thankfully undetectable and hard to break into.

M-Leader once briefly managed to use the communications of the safe house to contact SLEET, only to find out from Commander Hardcastle that General Arcane was no longer in charge but he was also dead.

He could no longer do anything to help deal with this and neither could SLEET.

They had been sidestepped by political red tape in being given the task of dealing with cleaning up the mess left over from the Siege of New York.

She was still an ally of the Heroes Legion though despite the country's current stigma against Metahumans.

She promised that they would be extracted within the week.

Something must have gone wrong because it never happened.

When they tried to contact them again, they received nothing but static for some odd reason.

With the power provided by the safe houses positronic generators and the secure satellite TV, they soon found out from the Channel 5 News reports of Beatrice Fuller coming from a station in New Jersey that Stephanie Walkers news station had moved to until the all clear was given in Manhattan that SLEET was not coming to get them out.

They weren't allowed to interfere.

As part of the quarantine a massive aerial drone ship had been placed in the skies above Manhattan, emitting a massive Eldritch Felid over the city.

Cutting off all forms of communications to the outside and putting a veritable visual blanket over Manhattan keeping any of the spy satellites of SLEET from seeing what was going on inside the city.

Now they really were stuck on their own.

Thankfully the field didn't keep TV signals out, so they kept up to date on the goings on outside the city.

They learned that Atlas and his crew that had been extracted from Manhattan Island just a few days before the quarantine went up that had been recruited by SLEET had been dubbed "The Titans".

They were being used as a back-up heroes Legion since they team had been rendered no longer sanctioned by the UN or the US Government upon General Arcane's death and as a result disbanded.

As an attempt to ease the rising tensions between Metahumans and humans, and to show that metahumans could be a force of good…and since the Heroes Legion were disbanded and no longer sanctioned by the UN or SLEET Commander Hardcastle had taken Atlas and his team and turned them into this team.

Commander Hardcastle had been sending out The Titans to troubled areas and disaster zones to help with clean up and rescue when they call for them was needed.

While some cursed the idea of "freaks" helping out in any way for any reason, others praised it especially after having seen these metahumans and recognizing them as part of the same group everyone saw fight for the people in Manhattan during the Battle of New York and in turn causing people to think twice about "Meta's" in general.

Silicon found this sadly ironic.

Before the Heroes Legion went their separate ways, they had tried to do just that here in Manhattan.

They had been met with angry mobs, fear and hatred and had junk and whatever the people could carry thrown at them.

It seemed that despite fighting a war against an army of Metahumans on the GW bridge and taking down Meta-Master wasn't enough for the people of Manhattan to trust them or realize that they were the good guys.

Silicon had gotten all kinds of slurs, profanity's and death threats thrown his way as he tried to free people from a partially collapsed building that had been damaged during the Battle of New York.

Someone had thrown a brick at his head while it was in flesh and blood form, just as he was busy helping a little girl out of the rubble.

He was furious about this.

After everything they had gone through, nearly getting killed to save the city…hell…save the WORLD from The Dark Elite… THIS was the thanks they got for saving these people?

He had almost retaliated when Shadow Knight, who had recently lost his shadow powers, stopped him.

He grabbed him by his arm just as it was about to go full liquid metal form on the crowd, while Raven Ducard put up a magic spell shield to protect her friends from the mob as they worked to rescue the people trapped in the rubble.

"Don't!" he had said to him harshly.

"Why not Knight?!" Silicon snapped, holding his hand to the side of his head that the brick had hit which was bleeding, "We saved these ingrates and they want our head on a platter! Look what they did, I'm trying to save this child buried under the rubble and they throw a brick at my head!"

"They don't know any better" Shadow Knight answered, "They are scared, and they are angry. They have spent three and a half weeks under siege in their own homes being terrorized by people with powers. They aren't worth it! You attack them with your powers; you're no different or better than the people who hurt them. So BE the better man you are and keep being that better man. Be the hero... Don't ever sink to their level!"

Silicon hadn't forgotten that.

His friend had been right about that, but that didn't make what people were doing, saying or wanting to do to people with powers…it didn't make it right.

Suddenly the world had become something out of an X-Men comic book.

Metahumans had become a real life version of the Mutants in the Marvel Universe.

It seemed that the damage done by Meta-Master and The Dark Elite was too great to be rectified by a few good deeds, if at all.

People were afraid, and wanted blood for what had been done to them, their loved ones and their homes.

Those who had loved ones that had been rescued by the Heroes Legion in Central Park wanted the Metahumans hiding in the city to go away so they could fully leave the city to rejoin with them and for relief efforts and reconstruction to begin.

It was an atmosphere that was chaotic and disorganized, because despite the mobs looking to lynch anyone with a power…they had no true power or means to accomplish this.

They didn't even have a leader to follow.

That all changed when Dr. Julius Ryker appeared.

Dr. Julius Ryker was a 38 year old man who wore full moon glasses and had crazy wild hair. He could always be seen wearing a dark grey trench coat, who worked as the top geneticist of "Bio-Synch" and who had a military background having served eight tours in the Iraq War.

He had lead several incursions against terrorists and enemy combatants, he knew war time and how people reacted in war torn areas that were just like what Manhattan had become.

Because of this, Ryker was VERY good at assembling followers and establishing leadership among groups of people under his command.

At the end of the first week, Dr. Julius Ryker had taken the angry and turned them into a militia to re-establish order in the "Lord of the Flies" turned society.

At first this was simply a small group of people, but it soon gathered followers and in time it became a movement.

The underground News Network that filled in as Manhattans version of the late "Meta-Voices" propaganda broadcast system soon became just that for what people were calling "The Ryker Movement".

His militia were known as "Paladins"… the names for Knights that were renowned for bravery and chivalry.

To the public they were "Heroes" and their "Guardians" protecting them in the lawless Borough.

What were they protecting them from?


We'll… he and his Paladins were protecting people from "Freaks", "Demons", "Terrorists" or any of the other unsavory labels that Ryker had declared the Metahumans of the city to be.

Ryker had been doing public speeches and broadcasts with his propaganda news network to instill "revolution" in the citizens to "take back" their homes from the "demons" keeping them and their homes in their current state.

They had been in the Safe house discussing what was going on, right after Stephanie Walker had given her boss the cover story that she had remained behind in Manhattan to be embedded in the story that she knew was unfolding here in Quarantined Manhattan.

He had bought it.

It wasn't a complete lie, but it allowed Stephanie Walker a good excuse for why she was really here in Manhattan.

Stephanie Walker sat down next to M-Leader who was talking with Silicon.

"We can't just sit here; it's getting bad out there. The place is slowly starting to turn into something out of 'The Purge' and 'A Tale of Two City's'… and those SCARE soldiers and STRIPE…they don't give a shit about what's going on in here. That's clear now. But SLEET doesn't tolerate this shit. They said "screw you lot, I'm doing what's right" when they interfered with the Rwandan Genocide when the UN pulled all the peacekeepers out. So it needs to know about all of this before a literal holocaust starts to happen in here." Silicon said motioning to the window showing the outside.

"Silicon's right Marcus…" Stephanie Walker said in agreement, "The NYPD is gone; the survivors have either joined Ryker's Paladins or have been locked up for resisting them. He has full support from half the borough. People are seeing him and his Paladins as the de facto police force. They are going around rounding up people that they've "identified" as having metahuman blood. Those that don't end up being taken to the gallows or the firing squad are taken away to god knows where and never seen again. Plus his Paladins keep on getting more armed and armed every day. They don't just have those M-Ray Scanner guns and M-Ray sensing attack drone things now; they now have missile launchers and body armor. Things that those SCARE soldiers have, they defiantly couldn't have gotten those from inside here."

"If they have that, then that means someone on the outside is helping them…maybe it's the same group that helped Meta-Master perhaps? Now they are working through STRIPE, SCARE and this Ryker guy and his crusade against Metahumans in Manhattan to get what they want. All of us locked up or dead." Techne added thoughtfully.

"I agree." M-Leader said in agreement, "That's why I'm going to go tonight out of the city. I'll try and get the word out to SLEET about what's going on here before this situation spirals even further. I won't allow my father's mess to cause more innocent lives to be lost or for anymore suffering to occur than it already has."

M-Leader had indeed left to try and do just that.

He had been missing in action ever since that day.

Not answering his communicator, and not answering his cellphone.

He had just disappeared.

The whole thing smelled of foul play, but they had no idea where to start to look for M-Leader if they opted to start a search…especially if he wasn't still in the city.

A few weeks later, it got worse.

Late at night on time while out gathering intelligence on the Paladins and Ryker's Crusade, while also testing out the wrist devices to see if they could blind them from the scanner drones and devices of SCARE and the Paladins.

Which so far they seemed to have been doing perfectly as they had passed several Paladin squads with the scanner guns and several drones flew over their heads without a care to their metahuman presence…not beeping like they usually did when they detected M-Ray signature in a human being.

Techne, Silicon and Ravager were several blocks away from the nearest Paladin checkpoint when they heard the sound of children screaming from three blocks away.

They reacted to this as any hero or decent person would; they ran to the area the screams came from to try and aid the children that were surely in trouble.

They ran into a ghastly grizzly sight when they entered the back alley that the screams had come from.

There on the ground, dead and mauled horrifically… were a ten year old boy and an 8 year old girl.

After reacting to this scene with horror and disgust, Silicon knelt down to examine the children's bodies.

He wasn't Shadow Knight, but his team leader had taught him a few forensic and detective tricks.

He noticed that rigor mortis hadn't yet set in, and the blood pool on the ground was relatively fresh.

These children had been killed recently, by someone.

Silicon then noticed the little girl was wearing a necklace.

He detached it, and swallowed back his sadness when he realized that the necklace held a picture of the girl, the boy, and two adults.

So…these two children were siblings, and these were their parents.

Who had they been running from, and what kind of monster would kill two children.

Sure, right now that would be anyone in Manhattan right now…but why?

The children didn't have anything on them, nothing that would result in their death.


Silicon suddenly noticed holes in the boy's shirt, reminiscent of the kinds made from bullets going through clothing.

He had Ravager and Techne look around for any stray bullets on the ground of the crime scene, they found nothing.

What Silicon found interesting was that despite the bullet holes in the boys 'Spiderman' shirt…there were no bullet wounds on his back where the bullet holes in his shirt were located.

There were however three deep gash holes in both the brother and the sisters sides and back, made from maybe a three bladed knife…or…wait a minute.

Silicon examined the wound further, he couldn't believe it.

These wounds, the ones that had ultimately killed these children…they had been done by a claw.

Had they been mauled by one of the escaped Lions, tigers, bears or any of the predator animals of the Central Park zoo that had been set free during the first week of the Siege?

He had thought they all had been hunted down and eaten for food a long time ago.

Silicon then noticed that there were also traces and signs that something had…lapped up at the children's blood.


What kind of predator animal attacked its prey, and only lapped up the blood its dead prey left behind pouring out from its wounds?

The blood was fresh, which meant that whatever had done this must not have gotten very far away from this grisly scene.

Silicon had a theory about why this had happened, and he hoped he was wrong.

He gathered a sample of one the children's blood on the ground for analysis back at the safe house.

"Let's get out of here, I don't like how quiet it is here…it's almost as if…" Techne began.

That was when the three of them heard a beastly sound that didn't belong to ANY animal found in the central park zoo.

Techne and Silicon barely had gotten a beat on where the animal sound had come from when some kind of THING leapt down from the wall of the building overlooking them.

It landed right on Ravager and pinned him to the ground.

"…Like we're being watched!" Techne shrieked.

Silicon and Techne were frozen in both fear and shock at what they saw.

The creature attacking Ravager was humanoid; it looked like a combination between a Predator and a Velociraptor.

It had strange sinewy like dreadlocks for hair, and razor sharp teeth.

It's glowing cerise colored eyes looking at the two of them briefly, before it tried to bite Ravager's head off.

He quickly turned into his plasma fire form and blasted the creature off of him before it could.

The creature was thrown back to the other side of the alleyway, but quickly recovered and came after the three of them again.

Ravager let loose his full kinetic plasma beam power onto the creature, and the beam entered the creature through the mouth…and blasted out the other end.

It dropped to the ground with a straight through hole in itself, it twitched, and then it stopped moving as its glowing yellow blood spilled out onto the pavement.

"What the hell was that!?" Ravager exclaimed in horror at the sight of the dead creature.

"I don't know, but let's get out of here before another one or maybe even an entire a pack shows up." Techne said in fright.

Before they left, Silicon took a sample of the creatures yellow blood for study as well.

They managed to get back to the safe house and tell Stephanie Walker about what had happened.

After analyzing the two murdered children's blood with the SLEET equipment in the safe house, Silicon's theory was proven to be correct.

The two children were metahumans, or would have been if they had lived long enough for exposure to the fallout M-Radiation that wouldn't disappear for ten years and their own development into teenagers to occur in order to activate their dormant genes.

They hadn't reached puberty yet; the M-Gene only activated or had the potential to be activated only when maturity was achieved in its host.

This meant that whatever that creature was, it had attacked them and the children because they were metahumans.

The analysis on the creature's blood wasn't as quick; its DNA was a jumbled mess of genetic mutation.

It would take days for the computer to completely analyze the genetic makeup in the blood to get a clear diagnosis on whatever it was they were dealing with.

Silicon and the others then attempted to use the safe house communicator system to contact Commander Hardcastle or someone to tell them about this, but they soon realized that as long as that drone was in the sky they couldn't call for help.

Through the TV they found out that Commander Hardcastle was busy with The Titans overseeing evacuation of Florida as a Typhoon approached.

They couldn't even come to help them even if they contacted them.

This was the final straw that broke the camel's back.

Whatever it was that was going on here, they couldn't count on SLEET to help them like before…and they sure as hell couldn't go to the SCARE soldiers on the bridges or STRIPE either.

They would just attack them since they either didn't know, didn't care, or did know who they were and had been given orders to capture them should they try to escape.

This meant there was only one thing they could do.

They had to go get help.

The rest of the team, they had to reform the Heroes Legion.

They had agreed to only come back if the situation demanded that they should return.

Did this seem like something to bring the gang back into town for?

A genocidal madman leading his own paramilitary trying to purge Manhattan of the "Metahuman scourge against god and country" who was possibly being supplied possibly by the same people who supplied Meta-Master's siege.

M-Leader vanishing right off the face of the earth after going to get help from the people he figured might be able to help him.

Now there was a possible breed of monsters plaguing the city, preying on M-Gene bearers of all ethnicity or color of skin.

Yeah…this definitely sounded like it counted.

So now in the present time, Silicon and Ravager had made it back to the safe house with a roadmap they had lifted from an abandoned convince store.

Silicon located the co-ordinates of New Orleans, and typed it into the Battle-Falcon's slipstream jump device.

They were going to use the super assault vehicle to break out of the quarantine, get the others, and use it to break back in with no one on the quarantine line being the wiser.

Except for Stephanie Walker who had instead elected to stay here and hold down the fort until the returned with the rest of the team.

So she could keep track on the situation unfolding here in the borough of Manhattan.

"I know you can take care of yourself, but I really don't like the thought of leaving you here with all this. Not with everything that's happened so far out there after we decided to get ready to go get the others" Silicon said as he nervously looked at the metal garage door of the safe house, thinking of the chaos and danger that still existed outside… it was just as bad as Meta-Master and the Dark Elite's attack.

It had a new set of makeup on its face…but it was just as bad.

Maybe even worse, since the thing with Meta-Master didn't ever involve metahuman hunting lizard freaks!

"Me either…" Techne agreed, "Especially since on top of everything we have a crazy horror movie animal act going on out there! Damn it, the image of that thing and its ugly mug still give me the shakes!"

"Don't worry. This place is secure, its one out of three SLEET safe houses that Marcus knew about that he gave me access to. It's also well stocked in food and arms…I'll be fine. I'm not a metahuman so those monsters won't attack me. Besides…no one's gonna come after me anyway." Stephanie Walker assured him.

"I'm not so sure. You're the reporter woman who reported on us for an entire year, the Heroes Legion... a team of superheroes that happened to have metahumans in it. Metahumans are seen as the enemy now…and people that are like or following under Ryker will see you as a way to get to us because you reported stories about us. Not only that but I think he's going to make a move soon to step in and fill in the power vacuum completely, to seize power over the entire borough. His Paladins have already begun goose-stepping down the streets more than usual since the hundreds of thousands of people who hate us have flocked in masses to join his movement and his militia to survive and get 'justice' against metahumans for what happened."

"Indeed…one occupation ends, another begins only this time the people are supporting it" Stephanie Walker said bitterly, "look Silicon, we know that the Titans can't help us with what's going on here. They're too busy with working with SLEET to repair the damage done by the Dark Elite, plus that typhoon approaching Florida will keep them busy for weeks. Plus thanks to STRIPE putting that EDF field around Manhattan to add to the quarantine line we are cut off from calling anyone of them to help anyway. So you have to go out and get us some help! I'll be fine, take Techne and Ravager and go. This might be your last chance to do so before all hell breaks loose here, go…find the rest of the Heroes Legion. Bring them back here as fast as you can… I'll hold down the fort until then. Be careful, and for god's sake hurry up!"

With great reluctance, Silicon hugged his friend and surrogate mother goodbye.

"We'll be back as soon as we can Steph" Techne promised.

Silicon, Ravager and Techne got into the Battle-Falcon and Stephanie watched as it vanished in a flash of golden light.

She then went and did the only thing she could do at this point, go upstairs, work on this current story that was unfolding in quarantined Manhattan and ride this thing out till the Heroes Legion arrived.

Maybe if she was lucky, she might figure out what happened to M-Leader.

Hopefully he was still alive.

She'd be devastated if anything had happened to him.