Heroes Legion: America's Most Wanted
Chapter 2: The Plan
Interstate 90, Pennsylvania: October 15, 2014: 5:00 AM
Cloaked and undetectable as a result, the Battle-Falcon rode down the Interstate.
There strangely wasn't much traffic on the road, although that might have been due to the early morning hour.
However, it also might have been due to the restrictions that the SCARE soldiers and STRIPE had placed on travel between cities as a result of both the witch hunt for unregistered metahumans and also the manhunt for the Heroes Legion.
Whatever the case was, the Heroes Legion was currently encountering no obstacles on the road as they made their way towards Cleveland.
Marty Osmond was driving, meanwhile behind him, the Heroes Legion were struggling to wake up or stay awake.
"Remind me again, why we had to get up so early?" Velocity grumbled from where he sat in the crowded APC, wishing he had a cup of black joe in his hand.
"Because the maid service of the hotel sold us all out" Shadow Knight responded, not a stranger to early mornings, "apparently, she saw a 'blur' zoom in and out of the room during the early morning and called SCARE's emergency terrorist hotline!"
Those who were still awake turned and glared at Velocity who cringed in response.
"I'm sorry, I had to go! Like really bad! It wasn't my fault" Velocity said in his defense, and then looked knowingly at Atlanta, "Someone was hogging the only bathroom!"
Atlanta just glared at him.
Sure, his immature attempt to shift the blame of exposing the Heroes Legion onto her bothered her, but truth be told she was angrier at the situation she had found herself in with her friends.
When she had gotten the message sent by Velocity in Atlantis that there was trouble brewing in Manhattan and the team needed to re-form following their disbandment after the Battle of New York, she had to nearly beg her parents and the Grand council of Atlantis to let her help.
Now things had spiraled out of control, the surface world seemed to be going nuts with fear and hatred towards those with powers, a bunch of thugs with guns pretending to be guardians were running around, and the Heroes Legion were seen by the people they once protected as much of a monster as Atlantis saw Depth Charge…only the Heroes Legion were innocent of the murders committed, as she had been.
It made her sick to her stomach.
If she had her way, she would have led the Heroes Legion into Washington DC, enter the white house and make that idiotic president who put STRIPE in charge see that they had been played and set their hounds on the wrong people.
But as much as she wished it was that simple, she knew it wasn't.
Nothing was anymore, the surface world changed for the worse when the Manhattan Occupation happened…and on their watch no less.
She had no idea how they could resolve this situation without invading the white house and forcing a conference.
Surface world politics were never as simple as Atlantean politics.
Atlanta wasn't the only one who was perturbed by the situation.
"This is ridiculous!" Hardcastle said in exasperation, "SLEET has been compromised, I have been stripped of my humanity, and now I'm playing the nursemaid to Commander Arcane's metahuman task force of immature teenagers with an entire country at our heels! How could I have allowed this to happen?"
"As I recall…" Shadow Knight pointed out, "We didn't know STRIPE was the conspirators behind everything from the Ryker Island Penitentiary breakout to this latest atrocity. Now we do. It may not be much, but it's an edge, and if there are only some rogue elements in SLEET and the whole organization isn't corrupted by this lunacy, that gives us an edge."
"How," Marty Osmond asked.
"We know who is hunting us, who has framed us for their mass murders" he responded, "Now all we have to do is find a way to expose them, incontrovertible evidence."
He then took a deep sigh, "But that also means one other thing…"
"What?" Raven Ducard asked him concerned.
"Hardcastle, you were…are the former commander of SLEET. If your position is compromised, would our identities be compromised as well?" Shadow Knight asked.
"What do you mean?" Hardcastle asked confused as to what he was referring to.
"I mean do you have some kind of database somewhere holding information about us, about our powers, our strengths, our weaknesses…or our friends and families?" Shadow Knight pressed, making his query clearer.
"No…" Hardcastle shook her head, "Commander Arcane made sure of that. He didn't trust any secrets he couldn't contain inside his head being placed in our database."
"Then the only way that our friends and family will stay safe is to stay away from them until this is over...and for them to stay away from us as well" Shadow Knight said looking at Marty Osmond.
Marty Osmond, understanding what his masked friend mean by that, shook his head in firm disagreement.
"I'm not leaving you, any of you, not after all we've been through, as long as your in danger, so am I and everyone else attached to you. Regardless of if I'm with you presently or not. Besides..." Marty Osmond said adamantly "you kids need all the help you can get."
"You're a civilian" Hardcastle pointed out, "What can you do to possibly help resolve the situation?"
"I have imagination, and a tinker's drive to build things, which comes hand in hand with a problem-solving aptitude," Marty Osmond said in his defense, and then motioned towards Shadow Knight "He told me all about you, the adventures you've had…" and then he looked at Silicon and Techne, "and most importantly...the inventions that you've made Silicon. Last night, while you were all sleeping, I was thinking about our situation and how to handle it…and then I had a grand epiphany."
"Such as?" Ravager asked curiously.
"The only one who is powerful enough to set the record straight and make the people in charge of the country see the truth is this M-Leader guy…" Marty Osmond began to explain.
"…who is probably dead" Hardcastle interrupted, "if STRIPE is behind his disappearance there is no way that he's still alive."
"But what if he is?" Silicon suggested. He didn't want to give up on M-Leader yet, not after losing Stephanie Walker.
"Even if he is, there is no way we can contact him or find him?" Shadow Knight pointed out.
"Isn't there?" Marty Osmond corrected, "As I recall, you had a supercomputer that could scan and detect all active M-Gene's on the planet."
"It was destroyed along with the mansion Marty" Raven Ducard answered.
"The control apparatus was" Marty Osmond smiled, "but the other half of the device should still be working up in the sky, right?"
Silicon then shot up from his chair, his eyes wide "Shut the front door! Oh man, that is brilliant! Why didn't I think of this before!?"
"What are you talking about?" Hardcastle asked confused.
"The M-Ray/M-Gene scanner satellite" Silicon explained, "the main upgrade to the 'Heroes Links: One' supercomputer! It could help us find M-Leader!"
"Well done Marty…" Shadow Knight congratulated.
"How did you come up with this?" Velocity asked in stunned surprise, "not even our original techno-geek thought of it!"
"Simple. They don't allow dumbasses into Oxford University's engineering classes, fastball" Marty Osmond replied.
"Guys, this could work!" Silicon said excitedly.
"It's a SLEET satellite" Hardcastle reminded everyone, "the conspirators probably know about it and are using it to track you, to track us, right now."
"No they aren't, they cant…" Silicon shook his head, "it was an off the books project of Commander Arcane, M-Leader and I worked on. It was meant to be used by the Legion and us alone, there is no way they would know about it. Arcane made sure of it."
"Even if that is true, how are you going to access it? It's one satellite out of millions of our 'ghost' network!" Hardcastle asked skeptically.
"I know the IP address signal, and the password to access it." Silicon answered, and then he looked at Techne, "And even if that doesn't work, I have my girlfriend who can be VERY persuasive with machinery."
Techne blushed a bit upon hearing him say that.
Hardcastle wasn't convinced.
"Even so you'd need access to the best satellite transmission technology to be able to access it, and unless this Battle-Falcon APC has had some modifications done to it by you that I don't know about, you cant access it."
The Heroes Legion fell silent in thought, acknowledging that the former commander of SLEET had a point.
Without a way to access the satellite, they were stuck.
That was when Robo-Warrior's head which had been in a thoughtful slump, rose in realization.
"Your right commander, we don't have such technology or capabilities, even the Power Armor I wear, I cant access orbiting satellites…" Robo-Warrior agreed before he grinned knowingly behind his mask "But CYBER-29 and I happen to know someone who does have such a satellite communications network and technology we can access the satellite with, who will be more than willing to help us…and he just happens to be only an hours drive from our current location."