A touch of explanation for this one. This 'Mini', which is a sequel of sorts to Situation Update, once again re-acquaints us with DELPHI (the organization that Kyleton Armalin was a part of during a great deal of his military career) and how they are involved with pre-emptive actions on behalf of the United States and its interests.
One thing referenced several times in LLH are the Bowman Acts. One of the most controversial articles located within the Acts - and the repercussions of invoking that article - comes into play in this 'Mini' as a notable citizen of Lawndale finds his life dramatically changed...
The red-haired male patient lifted the weights with a mechanical motion, his defined arms moving up and down as he kept lifting the heavy barbells.
Off to the side, two men in street clothes with lab coats over them watched the patient as he exercised.
The first man, Black and heavyset, with glasses and the distinguished voice of a pastor, looked the patient over with approval. “Good to see he’s putting on weight.”
The second man, a man who looked like a librarian (but most certainly was not) gave the first an annoyed look. “I’m glad you approve of his exercise regimen. Maybe you could have a word with his trainer. I think that you could drop a few pounds and work on upper body strength. You need to spend more time on the range, as well.”
The first man shook his head. “I really don’t need to worry about that – our security is excellent, and-”
“That wasn’t an observation or a request, Agent Wendell. You’ve been slacking off on your official duties in favor of your work here. Correct that, or we’ll find someone to continue to service our interests here in your stead.”
Dr. Pierce Wendell (unknown to the majority of the people at the Adelaide Gardens Convalescent Center, who simply knew him as an excellent psychiatrist who had a special renown when it came to drug therapy, he was also an agent of the organization known as DELPHI) reminded himself to breathe as the other man looked around the room.
“Your last operations report was excellent.” The way he spoke was a signal that he recognized his earlier comment was unnecessarily harsh. “There haven’t been any incidents or breaches of protocol with the Federal placements at this facility in the past two years. That’s a record for a non-military holding center. Good work.”
“Thank you, sir.” Wendell felt his pulse slow as he regained control of his fear. “I thought-”
“You know our protocol, Agent. If a conversation takes place, everything’s as it should be.”
“Thank you, sir. You wanted to know the status of our Article Twenty-Six placements?”
“Yes. It seems that recent events may cause a change in their status.”
Wendell’s heart leaped a bit at the news. “Conditional release, monitored release – or are we talking about the possibility of full severance from Federal custody?”
“That’s actually why I’m here, Agent.” The second man looked over at the red-haired patient, who was now done with the barbells, and was being led by a physical therapy assistant over to a treadmill. “Your red-haired former pizza guy was Patient Zero – Sierra Echo Sierra for this section of the country, after the first Appleton Labs incident and the upswing of Ferals in the Baltimore suburbs… especially the outbreak here in Lawndale.”
Wendell nodded; the other man referred to how his patient was the very first person who had attempted to make a public report of verifiable instance of supernatural, extraterrestrial or metahuman activity after the Mass Superhuman Empowering Event caused by that asinine animal-rights group and their attempt to free lab animals.
Idiots. They thought they knew what they were doing, got turned into late-night snacks, and made certain that all of us would live in interesting times – as the Chinese would say.
I’m certain that Mr. Reynolds, here, wouldn’t thank you. After he saw that blue-green skunk blow itself and a black bear up and then reform itself, he started his own little ‘Book of the Bizarre’… and if he hadn’t been fixated on those two girls in the Legion who actually did get powers, we wouldn’t have needed to grab him when he managed to get a damned reputable blogger to agree to a meet.
At least that guy was smart enough to take the deal and the cash; he’s living a nice life with his own PearStore franchise and screwing cute co-eds in Miami.
Mr. Reynolds, however, got to spend the majority of the last three years in a constant twilight of medication and bland, healthy food.
At least the regular exercise and good food has helped clear up his skin and give him a normal physique. It’s the least we could do for him.
“There is a very real possibility that the uniform implementation of Article Twenty-Six on these individuals may be nullified due to upcoming events.” The second man allowed a smile to appear. “It looks as if the Legion may go public within the next year, and from everything I’ve been told, their activities since their founding may act as a cushion of sorts towards the general public’s response to metahuman assets in general.”
“So we’ll be letting all of these people go? All of these people, who just had the bad luck to see something and didn’t want to lie about it, or pretend that it didn’t happen?”
“That’s something for historians to debate decades from now, or the lawyers and talking heads on cable TV as soon as someone does talk and we’re not instructed to keep that from happening.” The second man had heard it all many times before. “Our job is to warehouse and service them without harm while they’re in our custody, and process them back into their lives once they’re certified ready to re-enter society and are no longer security threats.”
Wendell nodded. “Yes, sir.”
The second man – the one who looked like a librarian, but was not – patted Wendell on the shoulder. “I’m not fond of this, either. In the meanwhile – I also need to talk to the security director about containment procedures for the secure-care wing. You may have some troubles.”
“External.” The second man took out his smartphone to show Wendell a video clip of a slim yet fit woman fight off a foursome of street toughs – knocking three of them out with a simple wave of her hand and then taking the last out with a particularly violent reverse spin-kick – before she leaped upon a motorcycle and zoomed away.
“She’s a Feral – female, very fit, well-trained and in her late teens, from what we’ve observed. Also has a taste for the tight, wet-leather look. Definitely active powers – we’re thinking she’s a Class Three metahuman with Series Ten abilities - and she’s acting like a caped crusader around the Baltimore area, including here in Lawndale.”
Wendell’s eyes arched as the other man used the U.S. Government’s term for unregistered metahumans under the age of twenty-one. “Series Ten? I didn’t know that there were any of those metas on the books anywhere.”
“It gets better. We think that she’s a Section Six – definitely Section Four, or maybe she’s just using her powers that way because she doesn’t know any better. We’ve confirmed that she’s capable of causing chemical reactions and interactions; she’s almost certainly doing straight elemental conversions, and she may be capable of inducing molecular interactions as well.”
“You said that she’s been active around the city. Why haven’t I heard of her?”
“Because she’s been smart enough to stomp criminals and not get noticed by the news or the regular cops,” the second man said. “As for our people – we happened to notice her during our ongoing observation of the Legion. Apparently, our feisty young night-stalker isn’t much of a joiner. With few exceptions, the majority of the metahumans under the age of twenty-one who were turned locally have made some sort of contact with the Legion, if not joined them outright.”
“Wait a moment. You said ‘under twenty-one’ – how many metahumans are actually in Lawndale?”
The second man smiled. “That’s not something for you to worry about, Doctor. In the meanwhile, pay a bit more attention to the area. I’m going to recommend security maintain a higher security posture until further notice – that’ll include full and randomized sensory sweeps of the entire area, and active measures in all entrance areas. If you know that any of your people are smoking a little weed or getting some action in the storage closets and empty rooms, better warn them that they may be noticed.”
“Why are you warning me about this?”
“The same reason we’ve started giving all of our federal placements these.” The second man held up a greenish-gold gel capsule. “A supply came in with me today. They’re tracers – they’ll allow us to keep track of them. Everyone in your custody is to receive one.”
The second man placed the capsule in Wendell’s hand, and turned him towards the red-haired man.
“Including him – Arthur Reynolds. We’d prefer if no one came in without asking and decided to have a conversation with him.”
“Oh, and if the young lady does make an appearance – she’s not to be harmed, even if it means allowing her to escape. She’s too valuable of a potential resource to be accidentally damaged.”
Wendell nodded. “I’ll inform my people.”
“Very good. I need to make another stop in town before I leave, and I’m running late. Good day, Doctor.”
The man who looked like a librarian took his leave; Wendell filled a paper cup from a water cooler, and walked over to where the therapist watched as Arthur – Artie - walked in a slow, even manner on the treadmill.
“Artie, it’s me. Doctor Pierce. I have something for you.”
Artie turned slowly; he accepted the capsule with an eerily smooth yet robotic manner, placed it in his mouth, and washed it down with the cool water he was offered.
“Okay, Artie. You can go back on your walk now.”
Situation Update On The Detainees
A Legion of Lawndale Heroes ‘Mini’, by Brother Grimace
Legion of Lawndale Heroes created by James Bowman
_________________Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.
-Jon Stewart "We have a right to fight for our country - the same as every other American. We will not go away." -Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard), Red Tails"If we can't protect the Earth - you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it."
-Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), The Avengers"Sometimes you have to spontaneously break into song - right?" - Mack, from Teen Beach 2The PSI Corps is your friend. Trust The Corps.