Heroes Legion: America's Most Wanted
Chapter 1: Hunted Legion
Two Weeks Later…
CNN Announcer: "Your news, as it happens, this is CNN"
Beatrice Fuller: "Good afternoon, this is Beatrice Fuller, formerly of Channel 8 News in New York City, and this is CNN. Tonight's story: "The Metahuman Menace". It has been two weeks since the destruction of Manhattan Island during Hurricane Andre by the metahuman terrorists known as 'The Legion". Slaughtering millions of people, women, and children that were still being evacuated by the screening process of the quarantine erected around the island to segregate the innocents from the super-powered terrorists hiding amongst them in the once besieged city.
The so-called "Heroes of New York", whom many have said were the reason why the siege happened, in the first place, have been revealed to be as bloodthirsty and subversive as the Dark Elite terrorist group.
Despite the best efforts of SLEET, the Legion escaped and is now hiding amongst us, no doubt planning another terrorist attack.
Thousands of protests broke out across the country, crying out for the government to do something about these terrorists, to ensure that what many are calling 'M-Day' never happens again.
President Huston addressed the nation to assure that everything that could be done is being done following a senate hearing where the implementation of the Metahuman Registration Act was put into action following the destruction of Manhattan.
The Act dictates that a mandatory screening will be placed upon all American citizens for any presence of the Meta-Gene, and any active metahumans in the country will have to register themselves under the MRA under penalty of imprisonment due to non-compliance.
The president added to this by revealing he was also placing the new Anti-Metahuman defense force S.T.R.I.P.E in charge of enforcing this new law, STRIPE will do this with the paramilitary unit S.C.A.R.E.
The commander of STRIPE, Col. Malcolm Talbot, said in a news communique earlier this morning during a press conference regarding STRIPE's plans on dealing with the metahuman menace and the Legion said that STRIPE and it's soldiers will do whatever it takes to keep the 'land of the free' safe from the super-powered tyranny hiding among the population."
Col. Malcolm Talbot: "Plans are already in place to remove this danger from our streets and homes. The Meta-human problem is not a problem, it's a sickness. It inflicts people with power that no human should ever possess, and with power comes corruption. These metahumans believe they are living gods and that they can own the world once they get their powers and can use those inhuman powers to terrorize those who don't possess such luck…STRIPE's mission is to show them that their little 'power trips' are not to be tolerated anymore. We will no longer be afraid of people like the Legion or the Dark Elite…it's their turn to be afraid of us, of humans! We will find the weakness of this disease afflicting our country, and we will cure it…by any means necessary to ensure our nation's safety and our species survival! America is strong, it has endured many attempting to destroy it, and it will purge this new brand of terrorism from its system, and STRIPE will be the antibodies! The destruction of Manhattan was not an attack, it was a declaration of war…and for our survival, we must be willing to do what it takes to win it. We must show these terrorists that the powerless are not powerless! I have my order's directly from the president to do whatever is necessary to find these terrorists and end this war on our native soil. That being said, it must be known that at this point 'Operation: Vengeance' is now activated. Martial Law is in effect until the situation is resolved. The United States and its borders will be closed and locked down, placed on heavy guard by the SLEET air force to ensure that these terrorists do not escape by land or by air. We will lock them in this cage with us, and then we will come after them with everything we have in our arsenal until the threat is neutralized. There will be a SCARE unit in each city, in each town, until there is nowhere left for them to run. To aid us in our hunt for the Legion, I am offering a 10 million dollar reward to any citizen that can help us find them. If you see them, do not engage them or attempt to arrest them; call the emergency number listed in the phone book to report such suspicious activity and a SCARE unit will be there promptly to deal with them. To the Legion, and those traitors that dare help them, I say this, you're days are numbered! We're coming for you. Start running."
Beatrice Fuller: "While the majority of America has praised this bold move by our government to contain the metahuman menace, some have asked if this borders on the same kind fascism that lead to the rise of the Nazi's in WWII. In this anchorwoman's opinion, I think this is a necessary step for our government to take when there are psycho's out there who can lift buildings with their minds and send them right into a school of innocent…."
Great Lake's Motel, Buffalo: October 14, 2014: 10:00 PM
In total disgust, Shadow Knight closed the news app on his IPhone.
He then walked across the floor of the hotel room, careful not to step on any of his friends who were sleeping on the floor, opened the door to the balcony.
He took off his mask and hat, and then looked out at the night sky and the shoreline of Lake Eire in the distance.
Sure enough, there was a picket line of SLEET ships and the Air-Fleet lined up over the area where the Canadian/USA border was located, stretching as far as the eye could see from end to end.
A picket line that went all around the borders of America itself, Kagae couldn't help but scoff at the irony.
The last time he had seen a picket line like that is was back at the Manhattan Quarantine, right before the corrupted SLEET had bombed the place and every innocent person inside it, metahuman and human, to hell.
Their new allies, Lynx, Marionette, the NYPD resistance…they were dead, murdered.
Now the entire country it seemed was under a similar type of quarantine, and he could help but wonder if that meant that the conspiracy that was running this whole matter might start blowing up cities and towns just to get at them.
How far would this corruption have to have gone to get this bad, who was in on it, and what were they planning?
Was STRIPE behind this, or was it just a select few individuals inside that organization with their secret agendas using the organization and SLEET as a tool to accomplish those goals?
Had they been able to capture Ryker alive instead of allowing him to transform into that monster and then having to kill him in self-defense, would they have figured out what was going on?
Could they have pumped him for information, was he a member of the conspiracy or just a pawn like the Dark Elite had been initially.
Was this Malcolm Talbot one of the conspirators, the mastermind of the whole affair, or was he just a pawn in a larger shadow game?
He wished he knew the answers, he wished that his future self-had told him that information before he had vanished, he wished…he wished he still had his powers.
He knew he shouldn't regret what he had done during the final battle with Meta-Master in central park, there had been no other choice, but if he had known what the future had in store for him and his friends…maybe he shouldn't have sacrificed his powers to defeat that monster.
Because now he had no way to fight back against an enemy that had in actuality taken over the country…and the people they were supposed to protect from people like them and the Dark Elite, they were more than willing to sell them out and get them arrested.
It was like 9/11 all over again.
Metahumans…and by extension, the Heroes Legion… were the new 'terrorists', a minority collectively blamed for the actions of a few extremists, and in the middle of this paranoia, people in power were exploiting the frenzy to accomplish their goals and agenda. Labeling those people as terrorists, locking up, marginalizing, registering those people who were different from the rest of the populace as living human weapons, and other means of de-humanizing…all in the name of security and protection.
A country that had always preached about being a land of tolerance and freedom, which had once, went to war to defend such freedom in other countries…and its people were now calling for the same racist xenophobic fascism that they had stood against thinking that it would make them and their families safe.
"Hypocrites…" he muttered under his breath, "cowards and fools!"
Benjamin Franklin was right when he said 'those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary security, deserve neither safety nor security'…as far as Kagae was concerned, that applied to those who would sacrifice other people's freedom just because they were different and felt threatened by their existence.
The founding fathers built the country to be based on liberty and freedom, under the notion that 'all men are created equal'…he wondered how those men would have felt if they could have seen how liberty had died…with thunderous applause from the very people of the country they founded.
He kept trying to tell himself 'they are just ignorant and frightened, they don't know any better', but it was really hard for him to not start to wonder if maybe the people in this country didn't deserve him and his friends help or protection, that maybe they should just get their friends and family and get the hell out and leave these ungrateful morons to go screw themselves!
Raven Ducard awoke from her sleep.
She felt the cool air blowing through the hotel room that she and her friends, The Heroes Legion, had managed to procure for the night.
She could see Murdoch sleeping at the foot of her bed, with Celeste sleeping beside him.
Everyone seemed to be fast asleep on the beds or the cots that had been brought up after Kagae had insisted that they all stay in the same room for safety reasons, and yet the window veranda of the room was open.
She could see Kagae there, standing against the railing, looking out at the night sky.
Curious and concerned, she stepped out of bed, careful not to wake anyone as she made her way over to Kagae.
"Kagae?" she asked.
He turned around to face her, "Raven, what are you doing up?"
"I was about to ask you the same thing." She responded.
"I'm…just, enjoying the night air, that's all" Kagae answered.
"Kagae…" Raven Ducard said smartly, she could tell he was dodging the subject of telling her the truth.
Kagae sighed in defeat, he just couldn't lie around her, and they'd spent too much time together as friends to be able to.
"I was thinking about how much I miss The Dark Elite," Kagae answered.
Raven Ducard gave him an incredulous look.
"No, hear me out…" Kagae insisted before turning his attention back towards the night sky, "At least with them, we knew our enemy and how to fight them. But now we face a potentially unconquerable enemy..."
"The future?" Raven Ducard asked rhetorically, understanding what he was referring to.
"Not just the future, but the symptoms that caused that future." Shadow Knight corrected.
"What do you mean?" Raven asked confused.
"If I'm right about what my future self told me, and everything that has happened so far. That future came to be not just because of the Heroes Legion's death, but because of the xenophobia in the people living here that allowed such a regime to be put into power. Many times in other countries such regimes were put into power because people foolishly believed that putting such people into power was a good thing…only for it to lead to things like war, genocide, and other such nasty things. The rise of Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the internment of Japanese citizens after Pearl Harbor…I guess it was always an inevitability that America would go through its own time of becoming a country ruled by fear and hatred of a minority that they willingly put the worst of humanity in charge. We say that we learned from the Second World War's atrocities and swore what happened there will never happen or be allowed to happen again, and yet I look around at what has happened after the Siege of Manhattan…I see that the truth is we haven't learned anything and as a result, the darkest parts of history are repeating itself. The worst part is…the people we are supposed to protect, they are eating this shit that these bastards do, say or tell them like candy."
He took a deep breath and let out a sigh.
"They are on the road to Armageddon, and they are all for it. I wonder if they knew about what we saw, what we know about what happened in Manhattan… would they tear those posters down and rise against STRIPE, or would they continue to support the regime that has taken over? The country has been turned into a modern-day Nazi Germany, and they are thrilled to death about it. I don't think we can stop this and save the world again, looking at all of that down there, and the crap I see in the news on my IPhone about SCARE soldiers rounding up anyone with an M-Gene, forcing them to be registered in that MRA database…doing god knows what to those who do. I'm wondering if we even should." Kagae said in disgust as he looked down below at the visible STRIPE propaganda posters plastered on the buildings below.
"See anything strange, report it! It's your civic duty." One said.
"Help us protect you from the metahuman menace!" another said.
Raven Ducard had to agree, it was disheartening to see such things, such demonization of a group of people who had done nothing wrong…all because a terrorist group and the human conspiracy that helped them had shown the world the worst side of Metahumans.
People were so afraid and full of hate towards the "Metahuman menace" that was 'lurking' among humanity that they couldn't seem to fathom that not every metahuman was a monster like Meta-Master and his ilk.
They couldn't fathom that most metahumans were like everybody else, they just wanted to live in peace among humans...just like the witches and wizards had wished once.
Fear and Prejudice towards a group of people because they were different.
It was something that Raven Ducard knew all too well; even her people were not exempt from having their prejudices.
She had spent half of her life enduring such prejudice.
"Oh trust me Kagae…" she said sadly, "I know what's it's like to be hated and feared by other people. My people did it to me. We just have to remember the most important thing, no matter how dark things get from this point on."
"What's that?" Kagae asked.
"That there are innocent people out there, human and metahuman, who are being brutalized by these bastards and their fan club. If we don't help them…then who will?" Raven Ducard said wisely.
Kagae gave thought to this, and then he nodded in agreement with a small smile on his face and looked at Raven Ducard, "Thanks' Raven…I needed to hear that."
She hugged him, and they both looked up at the sight of the night sky for a minute.
The country may have been clouded in fear, but the sky was clear and bright with stars.
It was pretty.
At least the night sky was friendly and peaceful tonight...for now anyway.
M-Leader wasn't sure how long he had been here…weeks, a month perhaps?
All he knew was whoever these people were that had locked him up in this place, they had done their homework.
This entire room was like a room-sized version of that power dampening chamber his father had locked him up in for weeks without food and water during the Siege of Manhattan.
At least he had a washroom and meals in this new cell he found himself in.
But the screams he could hear from somewhere outside of his cell didn't exactly make him feel like it was an absolute improvement.
Those screams, made him feel as helpless as when he was helpless to stop the atrocities his insane father had visited on an entire city island.
It made him furious to imagine what was being done to who knew how many innocent people on either side of his cell.
He had tried to find a way out, but outside of the air vents and the slot that delivered his meals, there was no visible or physical exit to this prison.
He had tried calling out to whoever ran this place, but after three days, he figured that either these people had locked him up in here to forget about him…or they would talk to him whenever it appealed to their interests.
He was about to bite into the paper bag breakfast that had arrived through the slot a few minutes ago when suddenly he heard a voice speak to him through some unseen speakers.
"You're lucky that we've hit a snag, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation," a militant male voice said to him.
M-Leader recognized that voice, a voice he hadn't heard since the academy…His old drill sergeant, who was now a Colonel in SLEET's army.
"Col. Edward Fisk? What is this, what am I doing here?" M-Leader asked his artificial voice box collar still around his neck allowing him to speak his mind.
"For protection." His voice answered.
"I can take care of myself." M-Leader insisted.
"The protection is not for you, we're keeping you locked up here with the other dangerous Metahumans who are locked up in here to keep the humans of this country safe from your kind." Col. Edward Fisk said curtly.
"You…" M-Leader paused in horrified shock when the realization of what he had just been told hit him, "Why are you doing this?"
"I made a vow when I became a soldier, to defend this country from all threats Marcus. Foreign and domestic… Your little science experiment unleashed a new and dangerous form of domestic terrorism onto our country. No one should have that much power; no civilian should be more powerful than their country or their government. The tragedy of Manhattan is proof of that. Metahumans are living weapons, and like our nukes, they need to be put under control. No matter the cost or the lines that must be crossed to ensure another Manhattan never occurs. That is the purpose of this facility; we're putting safeguards on Metahumans. We're gonna do what must be done, Turning these living weapons into assets to our country… or get rid of the blight altogether. We will do whatever must be done to bring order to the chaos you unleashed on our great country!"
"Col. This is wrong! What happened in Manhattan was the fault of a conspiracy between The Dark Elite and a bunch of non-powered humans." M-Leader said, trying to explain what had happened.
"I know Marcus…" Col. Edward Fisk responded, "It was my idea to give your insane genocidal father the MGA after it was re-acquired by SLEET after the battle in Bayville."
M-Leader was floored by this.
"You, you're one of them?" M-leader asked in surprise, "Who are you, people?"
"We had a different name set before, but these days we call ourselves the Strategic Response to Insurrectionist Powered Extremists." Col. Edward Fisk answered.
"STRIPE, I knew it! I knew there was something off about you people!" M-Leader exclaimed.
That was when on the nearby wall, a video of a ruined Manhattan Island began to display itself.
"A day or so ago, we were forced to destroy the island to quell an uprising of metahuman terrorists and monsters during the hurricane, but about a week ago, one of our drones caught sight of M-Ray signatures on the shoreline of Jersey. They were a week old, and they were footprints found by the drone's scanners. There were also the tire tracks of a sleet APC found, which ended just a few blocks down the beachside road. Slipstream teleportation. We came to the obvious conclusion. Your team survived, and we believe they are somewhere in the country. You founded them, therefore you know their secrets. Their strengths and weaknesses, you know who they are…who are they?" Col. Edward Fisk asked.
"You've kept me locked up in here for weeks, and you think I would tell you that?" M-Leader said in disbelief, "You people are crazy."
That was when M-Leader screamed in pain as the floor beneath him suddenly became electrified.
He was painfully electrocuted for about three minutes.
Once it had stopped, M-Leader heard Col. Edward Fisk's voice.
"If you don't tell me what I want to know, this will continue…" he said to M-Leader, "Now, tell me what you know about the Heroes Legion."
"I won't tell you anything…" M-Leader scowled in defiance, and he screamed again as the floor became electrified again.