'There has never been a doubt that we are not alone. When we look to the stars, we see endless opportunity for life, extraordinary life, to be out there, somewhere. But not once did we think that such incredible life could already exist, on our own planet.'
Dr. Lyra Scozzi, Head of Biological Research at Valorous Institute of Science, London.
a series written by Omniscience.
Squad after squad of police cars screech into the evacuated flat’s parking complex. It’s a Code Green. Within minutes the whole area is surrounded by militant troops, and the QUAD Team are poised at the ready. Standing for the Quarantine of Unidentified Aggressive Delinquents, this special unit are geared up to deal with far more than your average criminal. [Critical Temperature] Cryo-Grenades. [5000mm Radius] Lightning-Projection Paralysis Rods. [1000K Heat] Reinforced Plasma Shields. And of course the famous QUAD Armour worn by every member of this force: Reactive Hyper Resistant Nano-suits capable of enhancing a man’s strength and speed twenty-fold. QUAD takes down what no other penal force can. Super-humans.
‘We have the place surrounded! Surrender yourselves calmly, hands above your heads, or our forces will engage!’
No answer. Taking no chances, Chief Hanford signals the QUAD into the build, and like ravenous guard dogs they burst into the block of flats. Special Commander Brett leads the team of twelve, as they make hasty work of searching the seven storey block of flats.
‘This is your last chance to disclose your position and surrender! Do this and your arrest will be peaceful!’
Peaceful. If only his life could be summed up by that word. All Joshua wants to do is be normal, like every other 17 year old. But he has nowhere to hide. And soon, he’ll have nowhere to run. If QUAD gets a hold of him, they’ll test on him. Make him unleash what power he still has control over. They’ll turn him into a monster. His stress levels are rising now. In the room that he is hiding in, bits of wallpaper are beginning to peel; the pictures on the wall are starting to shake; and after a short while, small bits and bobs appear to float in mid-air. If he doesn't escape now, there’ll be trouble. For everyone.
Brett takes a team of two with him to the seventh floor. One of his men infiltrates an otherwise empty room. Nothing. His other man does the same. And still nothing. But opening up the room at the very end of the hall is down to Brett- and just as he reaches to knock down the door…
‘LEAVE ME ALONE!’
The door (and half of the surrounding wall) smashes into him with unearthly force, throwing him half way down the hallway. His armour holds. Removing the rubble, his men deploy shields and sling their Cryo-Grenades towards the source of chaos. The sound of rapidly forming ice shards splinters across the hallway, and his two men jump into action. Brett’s visor is compromised, and he can’t see clearly. But he can hear the screams of his men all too well. A wailing cry rushes past his vicinity, followed by an abrupt thud. Then the crackle of the old lightning Rod. The deafening sound of electrical sparks spread rampantly through the halls. Then, another hound like yelp, followed by the crumbling roar of a wall being pulverised- by one of Brett’s men being thrown into it.
‘Get me some back up in here!’
Brett gets to his feet. He makes out a shadow, bursting past him with incredible momentum. This very motion sends Brett careering through the opposite wall and into the Custodian Station behind it. Whatever is moving is fast, and powerful.
Josh runs for his life. His stress levels are climbing too high. Escaping the seventh floor he races down to the sixth and the fifth, only to be greeted by more QUAD troops. They fire things at him, though he doesn’t know what. Not wanting to hurt them, all he can do is run. And so he does. But despite his best efforts, he can still hear the agents scream as he blows past them. And with good reason. Even in their armour, sustained contact with the destructive field of energy around Josh's body could kill the QUAD troops. To add to matters, this field of destruction is growing. At an exponential rate.
‘He’s on the second floor!’
Brett chooses to take the stairs. Putting his life in his armour’s hands, he launches himself from the seventh floor to the hall of the ground floor. The descent takes longer than he expects, but sure enough he lands squarely in the entrance hall, shattering several metres of ceramic tiling beneath his feet in the process. The fall is heavy, but his armour holds. Just. He removes his visor, opting for clear sight rather than mediocre head protection. Deploying his shield, he waits for the target to reach.
Josh is on the second floor. If he wants to avoid the outside police force, he has to go through the back exit. Seeing the entrance hall, he jumps neatly onto the tiled surface, and turns his back from the entrance doors and faces the exit down the passageway. But as soon as he prepares to make his way, he finds himself trapped in ten feet of ice.
A smartly thrown Cryo-Grenade freezes the target, and everything near it, to in excess of 200 degrees below zero. Deploying his lightning Rod, a massive bolt of electricity ignites the block of ice encapsulating the target. He launches it again, and this time the block of ice cracks and falls apart. The target is a boy, probably about sixteen/seventeen, with ice white hair, light orange skin, emerald green eyes, and a special kind of black clothing on. But the target is still moving about. Not taking any chances, Brett plunges his lightning Rod into the boy to paralyse him entirely. As the bolt strikes him, the boy hollers in agony.
This time the pain is too much. In the instant Josh loses control, all of his facial orifices become overtaken by light and ambient energy. It is a fearful sight to behold. With a piercing scream, a gigantic pulse of energy rips across the entire flat complex, shattering all the glass within it, and breaching all of its main supports. Like a controlled detonation, the building begins to collapse in on itself.
The force of the pulse has thrown Brett far away out onto the street. Squad cars are flipped onto their roofs and sides. Police officers are sent flying in all directions like matches in a storm. Some of Brett’s men jump from the collapsing building. Others are crushed beneath the tonnes of cascading concrete and rubble. In the hours ahead fire-fighters gather to assess the damage and search for survivors. One QUAD agent is dead on arrival. Several others are critical, including Brett. This super-human was not what they had been trained for.
As for Josh, he is nowhere to be seen.
The story hits the media with a vengeance. Every paper details the breach of civilian safety, the humiliating defeat of the QUAD resulting in the death of one Agent, and the sheer destruction caused by the failure. Hundreds are left homeless. Millions are taken out of tax payers’ money. And the whole race of super-humans is once again tarnished by the acts of one misguided yet powerful teenager.
But even in the face of all this, a select few see in Josh the potential for greater things. Halfway across the world, in a rather more cold and dreary country, he is being watched. Carefully.
‘That will be all Psyon. I've seen enough.’
Released from her mind, the Doctor resumes sipping at her now distinctly tepid camomile herbal tea, still immersed in thought and contemplation. Her student looks at her attentively.
'I saw a boy, Psyon. Someone scared, and confused, frightened and ruled by his own power. Power that destroyed an entire building without remorse. That killed a man in the line of his duty. He lacks control, he lacks restraint. I saw a boy, and nothing more.'
'And yet... your mind lingers upon him...'
'He intrigues me, though I don't know why. I mean, you saw what I saw. Unless I missed something.'
‘That his intentions were pure.'
'Perhaps. But that kind of power is dangerous. It would be absurd to consider... there I go again, thinking about him when I know I shouldn't...'
'It is because you know that you could help him. Like how you helped me.'
'Psyon... I... believe you are right.'
'I did help you, and it's been far too long since I've helped anyone else. Perhaps you could do with some company...'
'You want me to bring him here...'
The Doctor pauses momentarily, her porcelain cup of herbal tea suspended next to her mouth.
‘I never thought I was going to say this... but yes.’