Rise of the Pheromaster Pt.6

Rise of the Pheromaster Emblem (Text Black)

Previously on Blessed Inversion Rise of the Pheromaster…

Pheromaster, the current CEO of Acel-Corp Jason McKellen, has finally arrived at the Pathogen alongside his Inhibitors. After a brief conversation, they more or less convince Director Todd to cooperate with them. SWAT-Spider, Reflex, and Chaos arrive to confront their former friends. Despite some of the Inhibitors hesitation, Director Todd misjudges who is friend and foe and easily imprisons the trio. Haze and his team arrive with Raja and Pheromaster has him imprisoned so he can commence his much needed gloating. Meanwhile; Miles, Black Ice, and Doctor Khonshu return to the Cell to pick up Jetstream. Revealing that it was SWAT-Spiders plan to get captured and allow the trio to rescue them…

Inhibitors

Reflex/Jun Naegi

Mentalist/Fabiana Pereira

Chaos/Karen DeGroat

Titan/Wendell Hoffman

Mach/Stephanie Balboa

Nature/Wei Jin

Granite/Kathy Preston

Sleuth/Katerina Sonter

Chadwick Todd

Golden Age

Black Ice/Henry “Hal” Sharp

Cinder/Carlos Sánchez

SWAT

Doctor Khonshu/Kreon Galanis

Pheromaster/Jason McKellen

Jetstream/Gabriel Kessler

Haze

SWAT-Spider/Steven Kessler

Forecast

Raja Eishner

Sunspot

“That’s dumb.” Jetstream says flatly at the idea of letting yourself get captured.

“The plan is not dumb.” Black Ice defends. “Okay, it’s kinda dumb. But you haven’t heard the little details.”

“Like what?” Despite it being a plan of his dad’s, Jetstream remained skeptical. His mind just couldn’t wrap around it.

“He said a lot of things so I’ll just summarize.” he pauses to clear his throat. “Basically, if we got to the Pathogen and the bad guys weren’t in a cell already that means the Director in charge is a bad guy too. He also happens to be one of the strongest Inversions on the planet and would mop the floor with us in seconds. We also don’t know if Mr. Eishner is even there yet or what Pheromaster’s plan is. So he wanted me, Miles, and Doc K to stay back and get you so we could pull a rescue later. Giving him some time to figure out what their grand plan is and to make sure Mr. Eishner is safe.”

“Huh?” Jetstream asked more confused now than before he asked what the specifics were.

“He let himself get captured to learn bad guy plan. We go punch bad guys after you get energy back.” Black Ice reduces the plan to its most basic form. Cutting out any names or specifics.

“Oh, okay.”

“Just gotta wait for Doc K.” Black Ice sighs before sitting down next to Jetstream with his legs crossed.

Elsewhere in the Cell, Doctor Khonshu floats through the hallways observing the carnage left in the wake of Mentalists betrayal.* The piles of ash that were unfortunate souls who ran into Nature, the dried blood from Geralt’s murder, and random blood stains from Sleuth’s indiscriminate beatings. So many innocent people killed or injured needlessly. But he remained focused on his goal and located the Security Room. Construct was unconscious in the Hanger which meant there was a high chance there was at least one or two other Inhibitors here as well. His caution is rewarded when he locates Degree still knocked out in the cafeteria. Doctor Khonshu then leaves the Security Room and travels to the cafeteria. Inside, the Cell staff remained albeit more relaxed. They didn’t have to worry about Degree until they awoke but in Jetstreams haste they were never informed how safe it was to leave or not.** Doctor Khonshu informs them of their freedom before using the Khonshu Drive to levitate both an assortment of fruits and the unconscious Degree at once. He then flies back to the Hanger without delay.

*Blessed Inversion Rise of the Pheromaster Pt.1

**Blessed Inversion Rise of the Pheromaster Pt.4

“Who’s that?” Black Ice asks noticing the unconscious Degree.

“One of the Inhibitors that got left behind naturally.” Doctor Khonshu replies amidst using one hand to deliver the assorted fruits to Jetstream and the other to trap Construct in a gravity sphere alongside Degree. “It’s too dangerous to leave them unaccounted for. Especially around the civilians.”

“Good plan.”

“Every plan I make is a good plan.” he boasts proudly. “Even when I improvise it’s a good idea.”

“You’re so humble.” Black Ice says snarkily.

“Why thank you. I am humble aren’t I?” he says missing the point entirely.

As Doctor Khonshu and Black Ice give Jetstream time to finish eating, Pheromaster begins his long-awaited monologue. He adjusts his pristine black tie and prepares to gloat to the still-imprisoned SWAT-Spider and the newly imprisoned Raja Eishner.

“You okay Raja?” SWAT-Spider asks as his old friend is pushed through the one-way hard-light door.

“Head feels…really weird…” Raja struggles disoriented to stand. “Like my brain’s being squished.”

“Poor baby.” Pheromaster taunts.

“Oh shut up.” Raja tries his best to respond but struggles to gather his thoughts.

“Nice one. You know, I was wondering what’d happen to you after your particular Inversion got turned off. Would you be dumber or would you be brain dead? Honestly, I’m glad you’re just dumb and disoriented now. Means I get enjoy gloating to you and watching you struggle.”

“God just get on with it already.”

“You are just intent on ruining everything for me aren’t you?” The vein in Pheromaster’s forehead pulsated at each word. “But that fits your style. Just do what you want and throw anyone in your way under the bus.”

“The hell is he talking about?” SWAT-Spider thought to himself while helping Raja to the bed. He had no idea Raja having his powers suppressed would affect him this negatively. He could only imagine how it’d affect Doctor Khonshu. But right now he had more pressing matters, like letting Pheromaster gloat about more of his grandiose plan. “Let me guess, he threw you under the bus?” SWAT-Spider pry’s ever so slightly with his question.

“Well look at you using context clues.” he smiles sarcastically. “But I’m talking to Raja not you Scotty.” he leans forward with his smile turning into a scowl.

“I’m not Scottish.” SWAT-Spider corrects instinctively. It annoyed him to no ends that everyone kept thinking his accent was Scottish when it was actually Irish.

“Whatever the fuck you are!” Pheromaster snaps. “I don’t care, okay? This is a two-way conversation and you’re just the audience.” he closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and collects himself. “Things used to be so simple. I’d wake up, go to work, deal with boring meetings, and put the seal of approval on new products. Maybe do a press event or two. Hell, it was a fun game to compete with RajTEK and Eclipse Labs. One would come up with a product then the others would come up with one to one-up them and so on and so on.” The memories of years gone by came rushing back as Pheromaster spoke fondly of them. He begins slowly pacing back and forth after the moment passes. “Did you know I literally founded and built Acel-Corp from the ground up with my partner? See, she’s the brains but I’m the…” he pauses to think. “…other brains but also the face and businessman. She’s more the technical aspect.” he turns his focus to Raja. “But that all changed when you came into the picture. RajTEK was always our main competition but then you came out as an Inversion. But not just any Inversion, you were a technopath and in charge of a tech company.” his brow furls. “Funny how life works. She’d always tell me to not use my powers for profit. To do everything normal and by the book. But here you are, using your powers for your own benefits without a care in the world.”

“Sorry that your power isn’t useful for actual business.”

“Everything’s a joke to you isn’t it? You just run a monopoly and laugh it off like you’re the only ones that matter. Guess it doesn’t matter if you don’t see it. Out of sight out of mind right? Guess you need a little bit of that to be a businessman. Can’t get far without pushing others to the brink. Turning a game into a death match with only one winner.”

“Look, I’m sorry. For real this time.” Raja apologizes sincerely. “I didn’t think-”

“That’s right, you didn’t think! And we passed the point of no return a long time ago.” Pheromaster shouts. His sleek hair becoming frayed and disorderly as if to mirror him becoming gradually unhinged. “I’ll admit. At first, I started all of…this.” he motions behind him to his criminal allies who stand guard on the opposite side of the Pathogen. “Entirely out of pettiness. I just really wanted to fuck you like you fucked me. But then I realized something. No matter what happens today you’re going to be ruined. But why stop there? If I’m going to have an Inversion army at my fingertips why not go the extra mile? We’ll be at the Nucleus by the end of the day and then the real fun starts. Then you’ll see what it’s like when someone else uses their power for profit.”

“You’re insane Jason…” Raja can only shake his head in disbelief at everything he’s just heard. He knew Pheromaster was a jerk but this was taking it to an entirely new level.

“Not at all.” he responds smoothing his hair back to normal. “I’m just doing what’s best for business.” he muses before turning and walking a few feet away but stopping. His gloating was complete yet the fury that built up inside him remained. No, he wouldn’t be satisfied with just a verbal beat down. Pheromaster wanted him to suffer and had a good idea how to do it. “Cinder, mind helping me out over here?” he calls the gangster over. The grimace on Cinders face surpassed his own.

“What is it?” Cinder hissed. He hated taking orders from others. Cinder had led the Stars of Doom unopposed since he was in high school before he even had powers. The only person he followed was himself. It pained him to have to submit and kiss the feet of Biohazard but he was currently too small to take on the head of the mafia. Yet when it came to Pheromaster, someone he hated and respected far less than Biohazard, he was powerless to resist. He hated every word he said but he felt drawn to him like a lost puppy.

“Mind filling up that room with some ash? I want them to suffer but I don’t want them to die quite yet.” Pheromaster requests.

“With pleasure.” Cinder cracks his knuckles and begins to release scalding ash from both his arms.

“Leave them alone you psycho!” Chaos calls out from her cell. Her hands beating against the hard light door to try and break it but all it does is waste her time and energy.

“Oh Chaos, I had such high hopes for you.” Pheromaster laments his loss as he walks one cell over so he’s face-to-face with the young Inhibitor. “But you just had to cling to Steve didn’t you? Eh, who am I kidding? You’re so screwed up in the head I don’t think Fabiana would’ve been able to reel you in.” he shrugs his shoulders. “And then there’s you.” Pheromaster walks one cell over to Reflex. He pauses as Cinder begins to let his ash into the ventilation leading to SWAT-Spider and Raja’s cell. The scalding ash beginning to fill it and cause both of them to cough violently. Even the emergency face mask SWAT-Spider kept tucked away in the leg pouch of his SWAT uniform did little to protect Raja from the assault. “Do you hear that sound?” he pauses once more to bask in the symphony of SWAT-Spider and Raja’s misery. Their haggard and pained coughs being loud enough even for the cells on the opposite side of the Pathogen to hear. “Beautiful isn’t it?”

“I have nothing to say to you.” Reflex says in disgust. She couldn’t stand to look him in the face. She never thought much of him beyond being a businessman. But you’d need something truly wrong with you to go to the lengths he has out of pettiness.

“You’re no fun at all. I gotta ask though. How useless is your future sight that you couldn’t see any of this coming?” he leans against his right arm as he rests it on the hard light door with a smug grin. Reflex walks up to the door, puts her Taser Glove on it, and sends a surge of electricity through it. Startling Pheromaster into taking a step back to her amusement. “Think you’re funny? Okay, two can play this game. SUNSPOT!” he turns his head and shouts. He waits about twenty seconds before Sunspot walks over to meet him. Her flaming head of hair lit up the doorway to Reflexes cell. “How much of the human body can you burn and have them live through?”

“Not sure.” she replies with a Russian accent. “But I could find out for you.

Pheromaster looks at the taunting smile on Reflexes face. His paranoia taking hold. “Just keep an eye on her.” he says power walking to Haze who remained at the main entrance observing Director Todd & Boone as they remained in the control room that floated above. Pheromaster stands close enough to Haze so they’re forced to whisper. “Something isn’t right, I don’t like the look she has. Do we know how much of the future she can see?”

“All of our information says it’s extremely limited. Furthest she could see was maybe a minute ahead.” Haze responds unafraid.

“Then why do I feel like I’m the one in the cell and not her? And don’t tell me it’s because nobody decided to disarm any of them.”

“You’re being paranoid.”

“Yeah, and being paranoid was what got me this far in life.”

“Don’t worry, we have all our bases covered.” Haze dismisses Pheromasters concerns.

“You better be right Haze. You don’t want to know what I’ll do if shit hits the fan.” Pheromaster threatens before walking away. Giving Haze the opportunity to walk over to Cinder.

“That’s enough Cinder.” Haze orders Cinder to stop his assault.

“What? Why?” Cinder trusted Haze about as far as he could throw him. There was always something about the way he carried himself that came off shady.

“Are you talking back to me?” Haze tilts his head slightly so his right eye can look at Cinder.

“Fine, whatever. They should live through this anyway…” Cinder retracts his ash and storms off. As the air in the cell clears, Haze can see SWAT-Spider kneeling and holding Raja close to his chest. The only protection he brought with him being used as a second layer to protect the young CEO.

“You okay?” SWAT-Spider manages to ask through bloody coughs. It was hard enough for him to breathe before but now he was barely conscious.

“Me? What about you!?” Raja retorts helping SWAT-Spider to the bed. While both of them were still coughing, the protective mask SWAT-Spider gave him, along with using his own body as a shield, helped to limit how much he was harmed.

“You really pushed your luck this time didn’t you?” Haze sighs as he appears inside the cell. His back leaning against the wall parallel to the bed. “Don’t worry Kessler, you’re the only one who can see and hear me. Assuming you don’t die within the next five minutes at least. Our deal is still on and I’m assuming you have the good Doctor on his way. If you didn’t then I’m really disappointed. But I’ll make it easy just to be safe. Whenever your friends come to save you, I’ll conveniently be nowhere to be found. But you’re on your own for everyone else and remember. You take out Pheromaster, I wipe everyone’s memory of your secret identity.” he awaits a response but only gets a fierce leer. “Pleasure doing business.” he says before banishing his illusion and walking off.

No more than 5 minutes out from the Pathogen; a VTOL carrying Miles, Doctor Khonshu, Jetstream, and Black Ice approaches. Black Ice waited in the back alongside Jetstream while Doctor Khonshu worked on his Khonshu Drives onboard computer opposite of them. To his right Construct and Degree sat strapped into their seats. Handcuffs on their hands that neutralized their powers rendering them harmless whenever they awoke. The VTOL comes to a stationary hover before Doctor Khonshu opens the door. Putting the trio inside a gravity barrier and flying them the remainder of the distance to maintain their element of surprise.

“Okay, I’m going in.” Black Ice stretches his arms and legs before skating towards the main area of the Pathogen. There he could see four people standing out in the open standing guard. Sunspot who remained to guard Reflex, Forecast who leaned against the wall lazily, and Mach who stood conversing with Sleuth nearby. “Step 6 through 8 are a go.” he thinks to himself. Creating an ice ramp below his feet he launches himself into the air, firing an ice beam that freezes the unsuspecting Sleuth before she can react, and lands dramatically on the floor in front of Mach. Summoning a light snowfall in the process. “I know I’m the new guy here so let me introduce myself. I’m Black Ice, and you’re about to get punched.” Black Ice smiles as he stands up straight. The snowfall blowing the straps of his bandana mask majestically.

“Are you for real?” Forecast asks getting off the wall. “Hey Director! We got another guest!” he shouts.

“More intruders?” Director Todd responds to the call and begins to float down from his room once more. He turns his attention to Black Ice and yet nothing happens. “Strange, why can’t I move you?”

“Oh, that’d be him.” Black Ice signals to Doctor Khonshu as he floats in next to him.

“Hello Director.” Doctor Khonshu says casually belaying his real feelings. It took a lot of skill to use the Khonshu Drives to maintain personalized gravity fields around him and the others. If he messed up for even a second he risked crushing them at worst or becoming weak enough that Director Todd could use his own gravitokinesis against them.

“Oh shit.” Forecast shudders at the sight of Doctor Khonshu.

“Hello bitch.” Doctor Khonshu glances at Forecast, flicks his finger, and sends him flying into a wall. Dispatching Forecast was an easy feat he could do even while maintaining their personal gravity fields.

“That just leaves you and-” Before Black Ice can finish, he’s punched in the face by Mach. The blow too fast for him to even properly react. “Ouch! Okay, I’m calling for a trade.”

“Is that my cue?” Jetstream asks as he appears on the scene with a shoulder tackle that sends Mach to the floor. “Bet I’m faster than you.” he taunts sticking out his tongue before running off in a blur of blue and white with Mach close behind.

As Jetstream dealt with Mach, Doctor Khonshu lands in front of SWAT-Spider and Raja’s cell. “Your plan worked more or less but I made some improvements.” he says pressing buttons on his Khonshu Drives. With the Pathogen still under construction it wasn’t hard for him to hack into the door controls and release the pair.

“Come on Steve. We’re getting out of here.” Raja begins to help up SWAT-Spider when a wall of fire seals off the exit.

“Did you think I’d just let them just walk out?” Sunspot asks an unfazed Doctor Khonshu. His response is to simply press several more buttons on his Khonshu Drive.

“No.” Reflex begins, her cell doors now open without Sunspot realizing it. “But that’s why I’m here.” she says before grabbing Sunspots right bicep, activating her Taser Gloves and knocking the firey Inversion unconscious and banishing her flame wall. “Thanks for the save Doctor.”

“Oh just doing what I do best. Cleaning up everyone else’s mess.” he sighs as he unlocks Chaos’ door. She steps out without hesitation, returning to her normally distorted form surging with light and darkness.

“This feels so much better.” Raja says as he helps SWAT-Spider out the cell. His intelligence returning alongside SWAT-Spiders costume.

“You know, I suspected you had friends waiting in the wings.” Pheromaster gloats from the opposite side of the Pathogen. “So I got more of my own.” he stretches his arms to his sides as his personal army backs him up. Consisting of the traitorous Inhibitors Mentalist, Titan, Nature, and Granite. The criminals Haze & Cinder as well as two inmates who were left in the Pathogen, Blazer* and a currently unknown heavyset young man. His hair long and straight, reaching down to the middle of his back.

*Blessed Inversion Inhibitors Chapter 6

“Please tell me you guys have a plan.” Raja asks taking a few steps back from the others as SWAT-Spider steps forward.

“Actually we do.” Black Ice steps to the front of the group. “Step 9…” his body begins to freeze and switch into ice mode. “Kick ass.”

Next Issue

Rise of the Pheromaster Pt.7

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