Tear The World Apart, Part 14 - Yelling Match

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Silence settled over the street like a shroud. Amber was transfixed, caught in the glare of Judgment's gaze. His eyes, the real and the mechanical, bored into her, and even though she knew that she should be moving, fighting, anything, she couldn't bring herself to break away. She couldn't even tell if it was some strange power or the horror of what he had related. It couldn't be true. There must be some other reason…

And then, from behind Judgment, there was the sound of clapping. Slow, measured. Judgment turned in confusion, eyebrow raising, to find Eric watching him with a deadpan expression. He clapped a few more times for good measure. “Lovely speech. Very moving. Is that the best argument you can come up with, though?”

Judgment's bafflement was evident in his voice. “I have laid everything out for you. There is no possible conclusion except for my rightness.”

“You idiot.” Eric stopped clapping. As Judgment's face turned red, Eric stormed towards him. The shadows of the street covered them both, casting them into shade. “All of this time, I thought that you had some reason, however insane, for your actions. But that is what you based your knowledge of good and evil on?”

“The fact is…”

Rex Mundi?” The words were roared, and Judgment's mask of superiority shattered completely. At the sheer rage in Eric's words, he found himself backing up without considering the raw power at his disposal. Eric pursued him relentlessly. “You did all of this, killed all of those people, because of something that REX MUNDI TOLD YOU?! You moron!” Throwing up his arms in disgust, he stepped forwards again, and gave Judgment a push; the Antihero staggered another step backwards before recovering. “Rex Mundi is the king of manipulators! Everything he has ever done – everything that any of them have ever done – has been for one purpose, and only one – taking over everything! And you gave it to him! Your idiotic crusade killed hundreds of people that could have opposed him, turned the SEA's attention away from him almost entirely! You were the obvious threat – just look at this here, the entire Agency has arrived to fight you! Because of Rex Mundi!”

“I… no, you are wrong. My epiphany came much later. He only laid the groundwork…” Judgment broke off, his eye narrowing in thought.

“The groundwork. Hitching a ride on heroes to victory.” Eric turned, disgust on his face, and started to walk towards Timebender. “Congratulations, Tom. You may not have caused the last disaster, but I can guarantee that you'll cause the next one. And we won't be able to stop it, because we still have to stop you.”

“You don't.” Judgment's voice was soft. “You could join us. The SEA could see the truth. Manipulators like Mundi cannot be allowed to live. If enough agents changed sides, we could take this town in minutes! Mundi cannot possibly expect -”

“You are blind.” Eric sighed heavily. “I don't even know why I'm talking to you. That's exactly what he's expecting. Suddenly, I'm terrified of what will happen when his people arrive to 'support' us.” He leaned in. “Think, Tom. Imagine for a moment that you succeed, that you take over. You'll have supported a superhuman revolution, in direct violation of the Berlin Resolutions. The Global Task Force will declare war and move in.”

“And we will defeat them if they try, and rally their own heroes against their tyranny.”

“Jesus, you actually believe that.” Eric threw up his arms in disgust. “We have a crapton of supers, but nowhere near that many. At best, you'll kill most of the heroes in the world and leave it free for him.”

“No, you are wrong. Rex Mundi is desperate. That is why he has allied with the Agency – because he knows that the Antiheroes are capable of victory.”

“As it happens, you are both right.”

Everyone turned. Even Lucky rose from his cover and jogged towards Timebender, keeping an eye on the newcomers. Having spoken, Psiborg let the shield he had been using to disguise his presence drop, standing in the road. A thin smile was on his robotic features. “Judgment, you are a threat to Rex Mundi. And the time has come for the tide to turn.”

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