Previously on Blessed Inversion Rise of the Pheromaster…
Pheromaster has finally been stopped. Everyone who followed him and didn’t escape now put in a cell where they belonged. Now it was just a matter of dealing with the fallout…
Several minutes have passed since Pheromaster was finally sealed inside a prison cell. The Pathogen has finally begun to return to some degree of normalcy. The resident staff finally felt safe enough to return to the essential areas. Doctor Khonshu waited off to the side with Black Ice, Jetstream, Raja, and Miles for their friends. SWAT-Spider, Reflex, Chaos, Titan, Degree, and Director Boone were focused on more important matters. After seeing to the Pheromaster and his followers were put into cells, they had to deal with the fates of Titan & Degree.
Despite the victory, all had looks of defeat on their faces. Titan, being unable to even look at any of them. They may have saved the world but only two Inhibitors remained. Two had uncertain fates, one was a traitor, and five would likely never be the same as they were before this ordeal. Pheromone manipulation was a particularly troublesome power to deal with. If someone was mind controlled they are prisoners within their own body. Able to witness all the horrors they cause but not stop themselves. But when you’re under the effects of Pheromone Manipulation, it’s not that you can’t stop yourselves. No, you want to do what they’re asking you. You’re compelled to serve them loyally and even if they stop controlling you. The effects can linger for the rest of their life…
“This isn’t right.” Chaos says upset at having her friends locked up.
“I know, but life isn’t fair sometimes. You should know that best of all.” Director Boone says somewhat unintentionally coldly. “If it was just her doing.” she motions to Mentalists cell as she sat with legs crossed and a satisfied look on her face. “We could explain a lot of this away. But they were controlled by Pheromaster. After all this, they still want to follow him. It’ll take quite some time to undo that.”
“See, even if we lost we still did our job. The Inhibitors are dead and RajTEK will be taking a huge hit with it.” Mentalist laughs to herself.
“If you think this is going to kill us you really don’t know us.” Reflex crosses her arms. “Besides, you’re main plan failed. Whatever smear campaign you had planned didn’t even get to start yet.” Mentalist just smiles proudly to herself while remaining silent. A fact that concerned Reflex.
“How long were you under his thumb you murderer?!” Chaos interrogates surging with darkness.
“I was never under his thumb you bipolar freak.” Mentalist stands up and walks towards the cells hard light door. “I did everything with him on my own.”
“Why? Why would you turn on your friends like that?”
“You don’t know a thing about me so don’t pretend we’re friends. You were just like them.” Mentalist motions towards Director Boone. “You know what I learned growing up? Inversions are just tools to do Humans dirty work. Nobody cares when you’re just a poor girl on the streets but if you can give them something they care. Did anyone care about you when you went into a coma?” she asks Chaos. Unlike the other Inhibitors, her powers manifested while she was in a coma from an unpleasant car accident.* “I didn’t think so. He didn’t care…I was always a partner to him and we helped each other. He didn’t need to use his powers on me. But we’re just disposable toys for the Directors. The Inhibitors thought you were dead and nobody even said a thing about it to the news.”** she motions to SWAT-Spider. “None of us matter to them. We’re just a means to an end.” Mentalist returns to her bed and lays down. “At least with Jason we wouldn’t have just been tools.”
With nothing left to hear from Mentalist, Director Boone leads them several feet away. Just far enough so they can’t be heard by the prisoners. “You were right Kessler.”
“About what?” he asks somewhat confused.
“When we first started the Inhibitors we wanted a way to better handle the rise in Inversion crimes. To do that we picked people with convenient powers or we considered were at risk of going rogue. You said the UN was making its own army but instead we almost gave one to Pheromaster. I’m honestly not entirely sure how we can recover from this or even how long it’d take.”
“You just need to try a new approach. You still have Jun and Karen. You’ll figure it out one step at a time.” SWAT-Spider reassures her.
“That’s all well and good but we still have a few problems.” her gaze shifts to the floor briefly with a sigh before looking back up to Reflex and Chaos. “We need to decide what to do with Wendell and Raina. Wendell’s a minor Inversion and he killed his last living relative. Sending him to an orphanage would be dangerous for them and he wouldn’t likely get the psychological care he needs. Sending him to juvenile hall would be just as bad which leaves him in a gray area. Raina didn’t kill anybody but she held a lot of people captive against their wills. Neither of them fell under Pheromasters control so the only crimes either of them did was under duress. We won’t have to worry about them trying to take over the world but neither of them can go back to the Cell. Not anytime soon at least, we don’t want a lynch mob starting…”
“Are you sure they won’t be able to forgive us?” Degree asks optimistically. The smile she normally had forced upon her lips in a vain attempt to remain positive.
“Given how many people got assaulted and killed…I don’t think it will be anytime soon. Not until we can explain what happened at least. Right now, not being there is for your own safety.”
“Oh…I see…” she tries her best to maintain her bright visage but the water welling in her eyes said otherwise.
“I have an idea.” SWAT-Spider speaks up.
“What did you have in mind?” Director Boone asks curiously.
“I can ask Raja if he can put them both up at a hotel, for a while at least.” SWAT-Spider suggests.
“That’s not a bad idea.” she responds.
“I can do that.” Raina says wiping her eyes. “What do you think Wend?” she turns to Wendell who remained in a daze. “Wendell?” she says once more only for Wendell to shake his head no.
“Well, you can’t just stay on your own.” Director Boone interjects firmly with an exhale. Prompting Wendell to move from Raina’s side and stand next to SWAT-Spider.
“What if he stayed with me?” SWAT-Spider suggests seeing Wendell’s unwillingness to remain with the Inhibitors. Giving they were indirectly responsible for turning him into an orphan, it made sense to SWAT-Spider why he’d want to avoid them. “I won’t say I’d be adopting him but he can live with me and Gabe. I’m connected to the Inhibitors so he can still get the therapy he needs, he’ll have adult supervision, and won’t have to directly interact with the Cell and RajTEK. It’s better than leaving him to the system, a cell, or life as a drifter.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“No, but it’s the best option I can think of right now to deal with him.” he says honestly.
“Okay, well thank you. We’ll discuss details about him shortly. There’s also the matter of locating Haze and Cinder.”
“Unless something changed in this whole incident, they’re still based in Silver Plains. I’ll find and deal with them. You guys should focus on recovering.”
“You really are a lifesaver, Kessler.”
“Just doing my job. I just have one request.”
Deep in the bottom of the Pathogen, Jason McKellen the Pheromaster, sat alone. While his cell was every bit as pristine and livable as the higher cells, the isolation he was forced to endure was noticeable. There wasn’t a single thing located there besides other empty cells, an elevator, and a staircase leading back to the upper levels. All non-essential areas were kept on the main and top levels which meant the only staff that’d come by would be if they were giving him food, medical attention, or attempting to give him therapy.
Jason stands up and faces his cell door when he realized SWAT-Spider had arrived to meet him. “How long were you there?” he asks to no response. “Came to gloat I suppose? Go ahead and get it over with.” he awaits a response but SWAT-Spider just stands there. “What? Just going to watch me like a creepy stalker? Basking in my imprisonment?” Once more he receives no response. His frustration takes hold. “Do you think I’m scared of you? Cause I’m not!” he boasts moments before his cell door opens. Before he can even react SWAT-Spider summons his four massive spider legs and stabs the bottom right leg into Jasons left thigh. “OH GOD!” he cries in pain moments before Aranea’s top left leg stabs into his right shoulder blade. “W-whatever you want I’ll do it! I swear!” he pleads helplessly as he’s lifted into the air and brought out of the cell and pinned to the floor in front of SWAT-Spider. All he does is look down at him unflinchingly. “Just tell me what you want!” he pleads desperately as SWAT-Spider kneels.
“We haven’t been properly introduced.” SWAT-Spider finally speaks. The eyes of his helmet squinting menacingly. His already deep and gravely voice amplified by the helmet to sound even more threatening.
“My name is SWAT-Spider. The first time we meet, it’s a warning. You’ve caused a lot of people pain with this plan of yours. A lot of families are gonna be broken and my friends won’t ever be the same again. You’ve tried to kill me but more importantly, you pissed me off. Do you know why?”
“B-because I hurt your friends?” he whimpers. His answer only serving to have Araneas legs dig deeper into his thigh and shoulder blade. “AGHHH! I don’t know okay!”
“You hurt my son. Not only that you said you enjoyed it immensely. Now, the SWAT in my name isn’t just for fun. I’m a fourth generation Kessler, a family of cops. I was a vigilante since 15 and in SWAT since 21. I’ve seen bigger and badder criminals then you and I beat them all alone. I know all their sick tricks and I know which ones to do to make you suffer.” he stands and lifts Jason into the air, tossing him back into the cell as he follows. His costume fading away to reveal his normal, and still very intimidating, body beneath it. The veins in his forearms visible in a show of force. “The first time we meet it’s a warning. If I suspect you have a hand in any crime no matter how big or small. If I suspect you have someone spying on anyone I know. If I even think you’re trying to plot another asinine scheme or trying to get out of your godforsaken cell…you’re getting a second visit. The first visit is a warning, but the second? That’s an execution, and I swear on my life that I will make you wish you were dead long before you finally do. I won’t even need my powers to make any of that happen. Do we have an understanding?” he asks giving an intense death leer. Jason just nods rapidly trying to not incur his wrath any further. “Good, let’s never do this again.” his message delivered, SWAT-Spider exits the cell, closing the door behind him. He wanted to do far worse to Jason but he wasn’t going to do Haze’s dirty work for him. If he tried to make a move on him he’d take care of him like he took care of countless thugs before him.
Several minutes later, after having discussed the finer details of taking care of Wendell with Director Boone, SWAT-Spider returns with Wendell & Raina to Doctor Khonshu, Raja, Jetstream, Black Ice, and Miles who awaited him impatiently. Wendell finally being given a proper set of clothing to wear now that he was no longer trapped in his metal form.
“Everyone, this is Raina and Wendell.”
“Hello, nice to meet you.” Raina waves pleasantly.
“Both of them were under Mentalists mind control. I offered RajTEK putting Raina up in a hotel until this situation blows over.”
“I’m fine with helping her but you really should ask before you do stuff like this.” Raja moves his hair out of the way of his face. An awkward silence takes hold of the group. “What did you do?”
“I decided to take Wendell in. At least until he gets the care he needs.”
“Oh, well cool.” Raja says without questioning it. “You had me thinking it was something bad.”
“Just don’t break my stuff.” Doctor Khonshu adds on feeling similarly.
“Wait didn’t he just try to kill me like…20 minutes ago?” Black Ice asks hesitantly having been the first in the group attacked by him.
“He was just Mentalists puppet. He didn’t know what he was doing…Well, he did but he couldn’t do anything to stop it. Either way, he needs a place to stay and we’re the best option. You okay with that Gabe?” he asks Jetstream he remained quiet.
“I guess…” he had yet to properly meet Wendell and for a majority of the fight wasn’t conscious to see him do anything good or bad. The main thing he was focused on now was meeting someone both taller and more muscular than his dad while being half his age. It was intimidating just being around him, even when he averted his gaze and kept his arms close to his body. Making it clear he was uncomfortable being around the group.
“Don’t worry, it’ll turn out for the best. Think of him as a big brother.” SWAT-Spider smiles and rustles Jetstreams hair. “Before I forget, this is for you.” SWAT-Spider reaches into his pocket and hands Black Ice a paper with a number on it.
“Is this what I think it is?” Black Ice asks excitedly looking at the paper then up to SWAT-Spider then back to the paper repeatedly.
“I don’t do team-ups but at least if shit hits the fan you won’t be alone.”
“I promise you won’t regret this!” Black Ice salutes.
“Can we go now?” Miles asks expecting a long series of flights to get everyone home.
“Yeah, let’s go home.” SWAT-Spider says as they finally depart the Pathogen.
“Are you sure you don’t want to say goodbye?” Reflex asks Chaos as they watch the group leave from afar.
“Yeah, I mean we’re going to see them again right?” she replies taking a deep breath. “I know we got a lot of work to do and things are bad but I feel…at peace. Maybe having my powers turned off for a while helped clear my head a little.” her body remained firmly on the light side of her powerset. Something she hadn’t been able to do for more than seconds at a time in normal conversation
“The old you would’ve flipped at least three times in that one sentence.” Reflex nudges Chaos lightly.
“Would not…well…maybe twice.”
“We’re gonna be okay Karen.”
“I know, we have a bright future ahead of us.” she smiles.
“You got that from Black Ice didn’t you.”
“How’d you know?”
“Lucky guess…” Reflex groans. She allowed herself to enjoy the moment despite the nagging feeling that there was something they missed…
Night has already come by the time the VTOL arrives at RajTEK and drops off the group. Leaving them to return to the Pathogen for one final trip to the Cell after retrieving Reflex, Chaos, and Director Boone. Black Ice, having survived his second major superhero battle, skates home gleefully. This time he’s prepared and retrieves a set of keys he kept hidden in the backyard and opens the front door. Inside Jey sat leaning on the arm of the couch half-asleep. Having waited for Black Ice to return for hours after not hearing from him. The concern wracking his nerves every step of the way.
“I’m home Jey.” Black Ice says removing his Bandana Mask, tossing it onto the coffee table, and sitting next to Jey who switches from leaning against the arm of the couch to leaning against Black Ices shoulder.
“Did everything go well?” he mumbles.
“Yeah, kept the world from being taken over and got a guy’s number.” he replies undermining the seriousness of the day’s events.
“Was he cute?” Jey asks missing the first half of his sentence.
“Yeah, just gotta look past his hard ass personality.”
“That’s good…Hal?” Jey continues to fall asleep as he leans against Black Ices chest.
“I’m proud of you.”
“That’s pretty cool of you to say.”
“I hate you.” Jey groans with a sleepy smile.
“I hate you more.” he says kissing Jey’s head. “Let’s get you to bed.” He says picking up Jey and heading to their bedroom. He felt bad making him worry so much but planned to make it up in the morning.
While the victors returned to their normal lives, one man walks towards changing his future. Haze, the schemer responsible for orchestrating Pheromasters downfall, walks alone down an empty and pristine white hallway. The only sounds were his footsteps echoing eerily. At the end of the hallway, he approaches a large steel door. It scans him and strangely, rather than open, the floor beneath Haze transforms into an elevator that takes him countless levels below the surface into an equally pristine room. As he steps off the elevator the room begins to take form, several mysterious lab tables appearing and a few feet in front of Haze a dark-skinned man. appears His body covered in a closed full-length black lab coat. His head was bald and his eyes a dark brown. A black goatee as the only facial hair he possessed. He stood with his left arm across his chest holding his right elbow. His right hand resting against his cheek as he stared aimlessly into the white void.
“Everything went like you said it would. Pheromaster crumbled with SWAT-Spider, Doctor Khonshu, and Black Ice added to the mix. He’s not dead but he’s dug himself into a hole large enough he’ll never be a problem again.” he awaits a response that doesn’t come. “But I suppose you already knew that.”
“How did Black Ice perform?” The scientist questions.
“He took out Mentalist and Pheromaster in the end, helped hold back an empowered Blazer, and possesses immunity to psychic attacks. If it weren’t for the Director, Titan, and Blazer he probably could’ve handled all the rogue Inhibitors on his own.”
“I see…Good work Haman. Now your position as new Kingpin is firmly secured.”
“Pleasure doing business Engineer.”
With a slight bow, Haze returns from whence he came. Leaving the Engineer to his devices…To him, Pheromaster was a fool with dreams of grandeur. One who, in another timeline, could’ve succeeded in conquering the world this day. But now that he was defeated and soon to be forgotten. He could focus on his own plans. Plans that for reasons unknown seemed to revolve around Black Ice…