Heroes Legion: Year Two: "America's Most Wanted"
Chapter 8: A Dark Tomorrow
New York City, 2014
On the eve of July 22nd, 2011 in the Nevada desert region… a revolutionary genetics' experiment funded by the international counter terrorism organization S.L.E.E.T working on experimentation with an anomalous form of radiation exploded in the desert…unleashing "M-Radiation" onto the country.
As a result, a new sub-species of Human beings was revealed to the world: Metahumans.
People possessing an extra-normal gene that grants them the ability to gain superpowers upon sufficient exposure to the radiation or even through exposure to elements and or enduring situations that would normally kill a normal person.
In the middle of June of 2014, the city of New York comes under attack by a terrorist group called "The Dark Elite" and the island of Manhattan is put under siege for several weeks.
The Strategic Response to Insurrectionist Powered Extremists (S.T.R.I.P.E) is formed as a response to deal with the remnants of The Dark Elite and other metahuman terrorists that were sure to appear.
An attack on the white house a few weeks later by the traitorous "Titans" lead to the death of several cabinet members including President Huston, leading S.T.R.I.P.E director Malcolm Talbot to be sworn into office as the new P.O.T.U.S and the senate to vote the Metahuman Registration Act into effect.
This act dictated that all US citizens had to be screened for the M-Gene, and be taken to be registered in STRIPE and SLEET's database before being fitted with tracking chips and inhibitor devices planted in their necks to prevent them from using their powers.
Decreeing that only the terrorists hiding among the citizens would refuse registration, it was believed this would allow an acceptable and bloodless end to the metahuman menace.
This act also allowed STRIPE to arrest anyone who refused to register or was confirmed by concerned citizens to be a dangerous unregistered or potential terrorist with impunity…as a result of the passing of this act; metahuman crime and riots broke out all over the country.
Any metahumans that willingly register and join the SLEET/STRIPE initiative against are referred to as "Registrants" and are used in tandem with SCARE soldiers to police metahuman insurrections in the country.
To both contain and punish all "Metahuman Terrorists" who resisted, the wrecked Island of Manhattan that had been destroyed by the metahuman terrorist group 'The Legion' becomes re-purposed as the one maximum security prison for the entire country for captured metahuman criminals.
All bridges are blown, and the flooded tunnels are sealed and fitted with underwater based automatic turrets on the mainland side just to keep prisoners who can swim out from doing so.
The river ways are mined and fitted with attack drones to further enforce the quarantine line.
A 400 ft containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline, across the Harlem River and down along the Brooklyn shoreline, completely encircling the island in the same manner as the water wall of the Dark Elite used.
Prisoners are fitted with neck implants that will detonate if they attempt to fly out or climb over the wall.
The SCARE Troops and Registrants, like an army, are encamped around the island on the containment wall to further enforce against any escape attempts.
There are no rules, no law, and no guards inside the prison…only the prisoners and the worlds they have made.
Once you go in, you don't come back out.
35 Years Later…
East-side Manhattan Island, July 11th, 2049: 10:00 PM
All was quiet on the streets of New York's FDR, until the peace was broken by the sound of a thunderclap.
Followed shortly thereafter by three flashes of light that were preceding the forming of an inter-dimensional wormhole that hovered just above the FDR's pavement.
From out of the portal emerged Raven Ducard, followed by Atlanta, Silicon, Velocity, Robo-Warrior, Murdoch, Ravager, and Techne.
They had landed out of the portal hard, some harder than others.
"OW! Man!" Velocity grumbled, "I forgot how much the landings hurt the last time we went through one of those. What the hell was that? Was that what I think it was?"
"A wormhole? It sure looked like it didn't it" Atlanta agreed, "but that's impossible. The Mirage could never travel through time or space."
"Why don't we ask Spooky if it can or not, it's his car" Velocity suggested, "Spooky?"
"Don't bother speedy, he's not here with us." Ravager pointed out.
"Hey he's right. He's not here...where did he go?" Murdoch said in realization, drawing the team's attention to the Knight of the Night.
Raven Ducard looked around frantically, "Shadow Knight? Shadow Knight! Where are you!?"
"Even more important, where are WE?" the now armorless Andrew Griffin asked, looking around at the sight of the ruined buildings and the ruined roadway they were on.
"It looks like were standing on the FDR…" Ravager answered, "We're back on Manhattan Island. We must have been slipstreamed all the way back to this spot or something".
"Then how do you explain that?" Silicon asked incredulously, pointing out towards the east river.
The Heroes Legion turned to look at what Ravager was pointing at, only to balk in disbelief at what they saw.
Across the east river, running along on the Brooklyn shoreline was a massive electrified barbwire fence topped metallic wall, with watchtowers built every 200 hundred feet into it jetting up into the dark night sky like some kind of feudalistic castle battlement…or a modern day version of the Great Wall of China.
Atlanta looked back and forth at the wall, "That wall, it cant be. That cant be the same wall we saw being built around the rivers of Manhattan's ruins."
"It's not possible…" Raven Ducard said, eyeing the massive wall on the other side of the river with narrowed eyes of suspicion "But it is, it IS the same wall!"
"What on earth is going on here?" Techne asked as she stared out at the massive containment wall, "this doesn't make any sense."
"Hey look…" Ravager said pointing out to the East River, "There's someone out there in the water."
"What?" Raven Ducard responded, and then looked with the others over the side of the FDR to see that there was in fact someone out there in the East River.
It was a motorboat it seemed, and it was slowly floating towards the wall on the other side of the river.
"It's a motorboat, one without a motor strangely…" Techne said, detailing to the others what she could make out "there are a bunch of people in that boat, they are paddling the thing with…makeshift paddles made out of junk."
They all grew silent and watched in stunned awe as these massive futuristic flying battle drones the size of a subway car flew up over the wall and hovered over the people in the motor boat.
"YOU ARE VIOLATING THE PEREMINTER OF MANHATTAN PENETENTARY, TURN AROUND AND HEAD BACK TO THE ISLAND" a loud mechanical voice warned, "LETHAL FORCE IS AUTHORIZED FOR NON-COMPLIANCE. YOU HAVE THREE SECONDS TO DECIDE."
The people on the motor boat opened fire on the flying drones.
The strange guns on the drones then took aim.
That was when suddenly a flash of light exploded beneath the motor boat, erupting into large plume of displaced water before crashing back down.
Something else fell down with the water after being sent flying upwards with the plume of water, and it didn't take long for the Heroes Legion to realize that what those objects were…were the dead bodies of those hapless people who had been in that motor less motor boat when it blew up.
"Oh my god!" Techne declared in horror upon realizing this.
"What the hell!?" Velocity declared equally appalled by what had happened.
It was a truly shocking and appalling sight, and they were all stunned by the sight of it.
The way it had blown up like that though, it was almost as if the boat had struck something...or something had struck the boat itself from below.
What could have done that?
A mine or underwater missile perhaps?
But what on earth would either of those weapons be doing in the east river?
"Heh, heh, heh…" a raspy old voice cackled from behind the Heroes Legion, they turned around to see that the cackle had come from a grizzled old man wearing tattered old rags for clothes "ah..the Poor suicidal desperate fools, i see more like them try everyday to cross the river to freedom...they never learn. Nobody Escapes from New York…nobody escapes from Hell. The HUNTER's wont allow their catch to escape the cage alive. Heh! Heh!"
"Where did you come from?" Murdoch asked surprised, he didn't even smell him coming like he should have…especially since someone this ratty looking should have stunk like death!
"Woo! A talking cat, that really was some good stuff jerry hooked me up with…Heh, Heh…" the grizzled old man laughed, obviously high on something and then he looked at the Heroes Legion with interest "Say now…I don't recognize you. You all new to the Deevil's?"
"The Deevil's? Who is that, some kind of punk rock group?" Velocity asked sarcastically.
"Oh…" the grizzled old man wheezed, grinning in amusement "You don't know them? Heh, Heh…well you will. They own this this whole neighbourhood. Odds are you'll bump into them sure enough. They've been marking their territory like dogs for weeks now after securing this hood from that grocer guy and his gang."
The old man pointed while laughing at something on the ground a few feet away from where they stood.
The heroes Legion looked to see that he was pointing at a spray-painted graffiti image of a purple colored devil head on the side of the FDR's southbound concrete dividing meridian.
What was that?
A gang tag?
Atlanta's patience to all this strangeness, and also her becoming aggravated by the old man's annoying wheezing laugh caused her to lose her self-control.
"You better start making sense old man, we need answers…start with the important answer to the million dollar question: where the hell are we?" she ordered, grabbing the old man by the lapels and shaking him.
"Manhattan Island, where else do you think you are? You tripping too?" the old man wheezed in a rusty chuckle, "well if it aint a party going on here now isn't it? Hey lady, am I seeing things? Or are you really got scales like a fish? Groovy baby doll…heh, heh…"
"Oh great!" Velocity groaned, "We've landed in another parrallel universe, or are we back in that sucky universe where we're all the bad guys again?"
"This cant be Manhattan Island" Atlanta pressed, "That wall could not have been completed overnight, and those...THINGS...are WAY to advanced for SLEET or STRIPE. Now where are we!?"
"Forget it Atlanta, he's not going to be much help. He's obviously doped up on something" Raven Ducard said pulling Atlanta away from the old man, "It seems were going to have to figure out what's going on ourselves. Now…if that old man can be believed, we seem to be in the middle of the gangland turf of some gang we've never heard of somehow. I don't know about the rest of you but I'm in no mood to meet these 'Deevil's' or their leader. I suggest we leave before they know we're here."
"Leave to where? I don't know if you've noticed Sabrina Spellman…but something tells me we're not in Kansas anymore." Velocity pointed out.
"Maybe Velocity…but if this is Manhattan Island then it stands to reason that the new mansion would be the best place for us to go. It might very well be the only place for us to hunker down until we get an idea on what's going on here." Raven Ducard suggested.
"I agree. Let's get going. I don't like the feel of this place!" Silicon agreed.
The Heroes Legion headed off down the section of the FDR that wasn't wrecked heading towards the location of the new Heroes Legion mansion.
Hoping that it was still their safe haven away from whatever it was they were now facing here in this strange world that seemed to have transformed overnight around them into an even bizarre and nightmarish dystopia than it had been before.