New 25-Vignette

Treating The Symptom.

“How many?” the man known as Ulster asked as she entered the room. He stood with his arms folded behind his back, staring at the six pods sitting in front of him, and there was no way he could have seen her enter. This was not unusual for him, though, so she merely pulled out a lightweight tablet and began assembling the relevant briefs.

“Two, sir,” she answered curtly, doing her best to keep her voice level and neutral.

“Only two?” he asked, sounding mildly surprised. Or, as surprised as he ever did.

“Yes, sir. Jane McClellan, from the Tower, and Miranda Callas, one of the criminal proxies the Americans were deploying.”

“The knight and the teleporter. Both dead?”

“McClellan is, sir. Callas displayed a previously-unobserved reaction to the catalyst. At the time, it appeared to kill her, but her body disappeared soon after. We are assuming she is still alive, until proven otherwise.”

“Do. She might provide valuable data. How did the knight die?”

“Ah, on that count, I have some good news.” She swiped through a few files until she reached a video file, then held up the tablet as it played.

Ulster turned, taking it gently from her hands, and staring intently at the screen. “The Theta sample.”

“Yes, sir. As you can see, it's bonded. I've already deployed Four, but this is the only piece of information they have to work from, so we can't expect immediate results.”

“Do you know,” Ulster said, handing the tablet back to her, “what the original purpose of the Theta sample was?”

“Sir?” she asked, confused.

“Ah,” he rumbled, “I suppose not, then. It’s irrelevant now, anyway. Tell Four to proceed with the utmost caution. Judging from the video, it is still in the initial stages, but the possibility exists of advancement.”

She made a note to do so. “Understood.”

“This is the last of them,” he asked, switching topics abruptly, “correct?”

She flailed for a moment, before realizing he was referring to pods in front of them. “The last six, yes.”

“Any commonality in the storage units?”

“No, as specified. Two from New Chicago, but there’s no other point of connection.”

He nodded, then walked forward to the pod on the very left. “Good. It’s time to begin Phase Two.”

She almost dropped her tablet. “Sir-”

“The leak of a catalyst sample proves that we no longer have time to dally and study.” He reached up, wiping away the condensation from the pod’s translucent front. Inside was a young girl, lean, black hair with a skunk stripe of blonde.

“It’s time for this world to see what their powers truly are.”

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