Loose Ends, Part Four: Bathed In The Light

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(July 3rd)

“It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. McTavish. I'm Aiden Nashville, attorney for Mr. John Whitby.” The man on one side of the viewing glass looked over the man he was visiting with a slight smile. Not very tall, with short black hair and a baby face, but muscled under his prison jumpsuit and sitting cautiously on the edge of his chair. “You're not quite what I'd expected.”

“I've been working out.” Edward McTavish, formerly known as Overkill (The Ten-Kiloton Vigilante), frowned at the stranger sitting across from him, and glanced over at the guards. To his utter lack of surprise, they were not paying very much attention to him. The Herondale Superior Security Prison was a prison for super-powered inmates, and the sad truth was that as long as his powers were suppressed by morning doses of anti-psychic drugs, Overkill was harmless. Rogue supervillains mostly left him alone – although he was an Antihero, he wasn't worth the trouble to harass, especially since the other Antiheroes in the jail had banded together for protection, and considered any insult or attack against one of them to be an attack against all. Since a few of the guards supported their goals, at least in part, they were more likely to turn a blind eye to Antihero reprisals than they were to the initial hostilities. The result was that the guards weren't interested, the other inmates weren't interested, and beyond a vague sense of kinship, the Antihero inmates weren't interested.

Lonely, sure. But it meant no fights in the prison yard, so Edward had no complaints.

The man sitting across from him smiled thinly. “I see.” He said noncommittally. “I suppose you're wondering why I'm here, Mr. McTavish.”

“The guards said it was something about a dead relative and legal matters, Mr. McTavish. But I have to admit that I'm not exactly sure how I'm related to Mr…. Whitby, you said?” Edward raised an eyebrow, studying his visitor equally. Nashville was well-built for a lawyer, tall and firm with greying blonde hair. He wore thick black-rimmed glasses, which worked well with his grey suit, but less so with the checkerboard tie he wore.

Nashville considered the statement, and then smiled. “I'm sorry, Mr. McTavish – can I call you Edward?” Edward nodded, and he continued. “Thank you. As I was saying, there must have been a miscommunication. Mr. Whitby is not dead, although there is a dead relative – several of them, in fact. Mr. Whitby has, in fact, engaged me to secure your release, as he badly needs your help with a project he is working on.”

Edward snorted. “Good luck with that. I'm up for parole in about five years.” He shook his head. “Maybe four with good behaviour. They aren't letting any Antiheroes out of prison any time soon. Like it's our fault that exactly what we warned would happen, happened.”

“Indeed.” Nashville lowered his glasses, peering over them at Overkill. “And that is why I am here. I have to confess that I engaged in a small deception when I requested to see you. The 'dead relative' I wished to discuss is only a relative in a metaphoric sense. Brenda Shaw was killed two weeks ago.”

“Typhoon.” Edward whispered. The Antihero commander had been the fifth-highest ranked Antihero at the time of the Battle of Patchwork City, behind Judgment, Fathom, Cataclysm, and Skew. With two of those dead, she was the highest-ranked captured, and the last that he'd heard she was in jail. “How?”

“Psychic assault in her cell in the middle of the night.” Nashville answered bluntly. “There have been four identical Antihero deaths in the two weeks since.”

Overkill frowned for a moment before the information clicked. “Psiborg.”

Nashville smiled. “Correct on the first guess. There have been a few Antihero jailbreaks recently. Rex Mundi seems to be taking action to forestall any more, starting with the highest-ranked prisoners and work his way down.” He paused. “Which is where you come in. The next target is in Herondale right now – Jack Colby, otherwise known as Calamity.”

Edward frowned. “He's a good guy. I wouldn't want him to get hurt… but I can't stand up to Psiborg. Even with my powers, I couldn't. What do you want me to do?”

Nashville stood, picking up his briefcase. “As I said, I am here to expedite your release. I hoped to release Calamity directly, but even without the SEA's presence Herondale is too well defended. Of course, if someone who could convert inorganic matter directly into energy were to focus his attention on a jailbreak, well…” He trailed off, glancing at the guards, who continued to be paying no attention to the conversation. “I imagine that Skew would be onhand to move all of the prison's Antiheroes to safety.

“That sounds like a good plan. Just one problem. I don't have my powers anymore.” Edward pointed out.

“Mm, yes, the drugs. They take three days to completely flush out of a patient's system, I believe?” Nashville smiled, and for a moment his glasses flashed with internal red light. “Coincidentally, I have exactly three vials of anti-psychic drugs in my briefcase.” As Edward's breath caught, he continued softly. “They seem to have replaced the three placebo vials I placed in there three days ago. I wonder how that could have happened?”

“Skew.” Overkill whispered. The new leader of the Antiheroes. The teleporter who had stood beside Judgment from the first day of his crusade, saved his life on at least three occasions, and held the organization together in his absence. One of the great heroes of the last thirty years. If anyone could slip something through Herondale without being spotted… He slowly began to smile. Pulling his hands together, he did something he hadn't tried for months – reached for his powers.

Deep inside, he felt a moment of resistance, and then soft orange light started to form between his hands. Quickly, he banished it, looking up. “Give me an hour.” He said firmly. “What happens afterwards?”

“Afterwards, we go on a cross-country tour.” Skew answered. “When our brothers and sisters are released, well… Rex Mundi has his hands full with the remnants of the SEA. He correctly realized how dangerous we could be in addition to that, but not quickly enough. And he's given us everything that we ever fought for.”

As Overkill frowned at him, Skew smiled triumphantly. “Doctor Ecchs built a device that can control reality, Edward. When we find his base and take it from him, we will finally have the world that we dreamed of. A world where villains are punished and beaten down, and we never have to make another concession to them or those that would let them live. A paradise on Earth, and across the universe. All that we need… is you.”

“You can count on me.” Overkill swelled with pride. He was wanted. Better, he was needed.

The Antiheroes were back.

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