Chapter 1: Superpowers
Chapter 1: Superpowers
There isn't a kid that doesn't know the story of how their parents met. Most kids at some point in their lives become curious as to how the two people that raised them became to be the people they call mom and dad. And not every story is romantic or cheerful, some of them are even tragic or sad because let's face it not everyone is brought into this world out of love. It can be heartbreaking and many who lead such lives learn to accept it and make themselves better while others become destroyed by it and live a life of hatred and regret.
For me, my parents, well, one can say they met under rather hostile circumstances. It's not easy when the woman who I call "mom" met the man I call "dad" were people on the opposite side of the law to suddenly announce their union. Especially when the man I call "dad" was then recognized as a supervillain. Yes, a supervillain known as Magnus.
Magnus, a superpowered being from a faraway world known as Vexa had taken refuge on the planet we call home, Earth. Magnus possesses awesome abilities such as; superhuman strength, nigh-invulnerability, flight, and enhanced speed and agility. He instilled fear and brought about much chaos that left everyone with a deep hatred for him. A hatred that even time can't heal.
A hatred that escalated when an organization known as the Planetary Defense and Intelligence Bureau didn't put him in a cage for the rest of his days. Why? Because the woman whose job was to do that fell in love with him, got married, and had a son, me, Jericho King.
My mother, Yolanda King, was a decorated CIA agent. At the time, the CIA worked with the Planetary Defense and Intelligence Bureau to bring down Magnus. Yolanda King was given the order of bringing in Magnus but was captured by him and was held hostage.
She went in not knowing what to expect. All she knew for a fact was that she can come out alive or not at all. She knew she wasn't dealing with a human being and had accepted that her job always invites death. But when she came back to society, something was different, the atmosphere had changed. When she came back, she didn't come back alone.
According to Yolanda King, she was held hostage by Magnus for three months. When apprehended, she had a wedding band on her finger and was two months pregnant. Scott Lane, the director of the Planetary Defense and Intelligence Bureau ordered for Magnus to be arrested for crimes against humanity and to be sent to a maximum-security prison based on the moon called Lunar Republica. Yolanda was fired as a CIA agent and was considered a traitor of the United States and the planet Earth.
The only thing I hadn't known is what she did to keep Magnus and herself out of prison. But it's like the saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it." and that is exactly what has happened to me. I have lived 18 years of my life in a world that has gone beyond discriminating color of skin, but rather origin of species. I am a child of a human woman and a Vexamite. I inherited my father's awesome powers and that has made me a threat. It wasn't just my other half that people feared, it was my power and their ignorance that led them to think that I would repeat history.
It's now my 18th birthday, Scott Lane shows up at my front door. Mom doesn't look surprised and neither does dad. Rather they were expecting it and the only one that doesn't understand is me, the reason why the director of the Planetary Defense and Intelligence Bureau is at my front door with a grim look on his face. I look at my mom's face and I see a woman who is about to cry but at the same time I see a woman who isn't worried. Rather is confident that everything is going to be alright.
"You must be Jericho. I'm Scott Lane." He reaches out his hand, gesturing for a handshake.
"Yes, I know." I replied.
Scott Lane is a tall, Caucasian man with greyish hair and is built like a soldier. Even when wearing a suit, a person can tell he is trained. He wears a scruffy, grey beard and has a deep voice that can often be intimidating.
"Jericho, for the next two years you will be attending at the Planetary Defense and Intelligence Bureau. You will work with others who also possess abilities. You will learn and be trained in your use of your abilities...."
"Sorry, excuse me, I already know how to use my abilities. My dad trained after they manifested when I was 14 years old."
He lets out a heavy, impatient sigh and says, "I don't think you understand, kid. This is not an option. You will attend and you will do as asked or you will be incarcerated along with your father on Lunar Republica."
"Scott." My mother retorts.
"He's an adult now, Yolanda. So, he will be treated like one. There is no longer the need to tip toe around him. He needs to understand these are the conditions that will keep him and his father out of a cage for the rest of their lives."
"These other people with abilities, are they my age?" I interrupt.
"Most of them, yes."
My mother scuffs, "You're just going to throw my son in the same room with those delinquents. You know as well as I do they will go after him and pick a fight. He will be put in a situation where he will have to defend himself, which can lead him to a life behind bars. Are you purposely trying to get rid of my family?"
Scott lets out another long sigh, his grim face becomes soft. "Yolanda, contrary to what you may believe about me, I don't take pride or pleasure in taking kids away from their parents. This wasn't an easy deal to make if you recall. All I'm doing is following the conditions of that deal. Besides, everyone is controlled, they are not allowed to use their abilities for anything other than training and everyone has their own room. If someone tries to pick a fight, they will be dealt with accordingly."
"How often will he get to come home?"
"Every weekend, and every other month he gets a two-week vacation. You'll see your son more often than you think Yolanda, don't worry. Think of this as a sort of a rehabilitation program, except Jericho is doing it as a penalty."
Dad takes me into the kitchen for a private conversation leaving mom and Scott to their own devices. He fiddles around with a spoon that was left on the table while trying to organize his thoughts. After a minute, he finally speaks.
"Jericho, I know you're probably think we've been hiding things from you, but that isn't true. Just that we didn't want you to worry about this for as long as possible and somehow we just ended up losing track of time and lost the window to prepare you for all of this...."
"Dad, I'm not angry at you or mom. I mean I understand why this is happening and I know it's not because of me. But I do not appreciate them treating us like criminals when we have done nothing wrong. Especially you, it's been eighteen years and they still refuse to leave you alone."
He smiles, "You're such a noble boy. It makes me unworthy for a man such as myself to have been given such a kind and understanding son." He notices the worried expression on my face and says, "You're thinking about her, aren't you?"
"We were going to hang out today. She had a whole day planned for us. Yesterday she was saying how she took off work for this day and how there was no other place or person she'd rather be with today than me."
He chuckles, "That girl really adores you."
"Funny thing is when I woke up this morning I didn't feel very excited. I felt grateful but guilty. That stuff she told me yesterday it stuck with me. I can't get over how she just puts everything on hold for my sake. I can't help but to feel like I've been taking up her life all these years."
"Son, let me give you a little bit of advice. When a woman, whether she is a friend or lover, she'll do anything for that one special person in her life. Your mother has done so much for me and has given me just as much. It never mattered to her what other people thought of us, she just wanted to see me and you happy and I want to see her happy. I want to see you happy."
"What about you dad? Don't you want to be happy?"
"I am happy, I've got everything a man can possibly want in life."
Scott knocks on the door, mom is behind him. "Sorry to interrupt the father and son talk but I have to get things moving." He turns his attention to me, "Pack your things, I'll give you thirty minutes."
I head to my room, mom follows behind me. She grabs a large suit case from the closet and hands it to me. I lay the suitcase on the bed and I begin loading my clothes. Mom hands me my toothbrush and I put in the crevice beside my clothes. As I pack my things we don't say much to each other, she just hands me things and I put them in the suit case. I want to talk to her but nothing comes to mind. I don't want to leave and it's obvious she doesn't want me to leave either.
I finish loading all clothes and toiletries into my suitcase and I zip it shut. She then wraps her harms around me.
"I love you so much."
"I love you too, mom."
I meet Scott at the front door. His grim expression has disappeared. "See you Saturday kid." Dad says as I walk out the door.
"See you Saturday, dad."
Scott and I walk to his car, it's a black Mercedes Benz, typical. Of course, he would have that type of car. The man looks like a character straight out of Men in Black. He opens the back trunk and loads my suitcase. We get into the car, before he starts the car he turns and looks at me.
"Listen, I may sound harsh and I may be hard on you in the coming days but I just want you to understand that all of this isn't as bad as it seems. We've had a lot success in training kids your age over the years and many of them now lead decent lives. The world may be harsh on you and your parents but for what it's worth I think someday you may be able make people understand that your dad isn't the man he was eighteen years ago."
"Thanks. I also hope people will one day accept my dad for who he is now and for who he was all those years ago."
Scott starts the car and backs out of the driveway. For the entire ride, we don't say much to each other and before I knew it we had arrived at the Planetary Defense and Intelligence Bureau. It's a large building with a rather futuristic design. It's also basically a fortress, there security is everywhere and all the doors have electronic locks installed so not just anyone can enter the building. The entire area is surrounded by large black metal gates.
We enter the front lobby where there is a desk and a woman behind it. Scott talks to her for a minute and then we go up an elevator. I begin to feel nervous, so nervous that I break the handle on my suitcase. Scott chuckles as he watches me trying to somehow fix the handle.
"Relax kid. You act as if you're inside a prison."
"Sorry, not used to being away from home."
After a few minutes we exit the elevator, we go into an office labeled as Human Resources. Scott gestures me to sit in front of a camera. He takes my picture and fiddles around on a computer, after a minute he hands me a badge. It has the picture he just took on the front with my name, age, species, and a ID number printed in bold black letters on the side of the picture.
Name: Jericho Amon King
ID Number: 061593
"Memorize your ID number. In case you lose it, you can get another one printed out. You're listed by your ID number, not your name."
"Okay." I say simply.
We walk down a large hallway and at the end of the hallway there is a large steel door. The door can only be opened through a facial recognition system. Scott tells me to stand in front of it and let the system do a scan and copy my information into its system. It then tells me to scan my badge as there is a barcode and the bottom of it. The door opens, it's a large room the size of an auditorium filled with high tech training equipment. There are six other students sparring with each other.
Scott gets their attention, "All of you stop what you're doing and gather around." They all stop what they are doing and gather in front of me and Scott. "We have a new member, please welcome Jericho King."
They whisper among themselves, I can already tell a couple of them already aren't happy to see me. I guess it's a good thing it's only six of them and not a class full of them. I've only been here for five minutes and already I feel like I did something wrong.
"You brought the Son of Murder here?" One of them says.
"Alan, watch your tongue." Scott yells in his deep voice. "I will not tolerate name calling and just in case you all have forgotten if you so choose to use your abilities in any way outside of this room you will be met with dire consequences. Understand?" They all nod their head in agreement. "You have anything to say Jericho?"
"Um, whatever effect my father had your lives, I apologize on his behalf. I don't expect anyone's forgiveness but I do hope that you'll at least come to see that I am different and that I only want to live peacefully amongst everybody else and be treated the same as a regular human being."
Scott pats my shoulder and moves in front and faces me. "Let me introduce everyone and what they can do." He starts from the right side of the group. "This tall young man here is Gabriel Oskar Krol, 22 years old. He is from Poland and has the power to mimic the abilities of any animal in the Animal Kingdom."
Gabriel is 6ft tall, a giant compared to me. He is pale skinned and has very short blond hair. He is muscular and has an intimidating aura about him. He walks up to me and says, "You too are a King." He says in a slightly thick accent.
"Excuse me?" I reply politely.
"Your last name is King. Mine is too, Krol means King in my language."
Scott then moves on to the next person, a woman. "This is Amane Kure, age unknown. She possesses superhuman longevity and Kinetic absorption. She is from Japan."
"Kon'nichwa." She says politely and bows her head. Amane is slender and curvaceous. She has long black hair and an oval shaped face and is slightly taller than me.
Scott moves on, "Beatrice Hama, 20 years old and possesses superhuman strength."
"Hey there super-boy. We should have an arm wrestling match sometime." She winks at me and smiles. Beatrice is practically covered in tattoos. Her arms, neck, and legs. She is wearing a tank top so most of them are showing and from the looks of it, her torso is also covered in tattoos. She has several piercings on her hear lobes and a couple of then on her bottom lip.
"Beatrice is almost as strong as you. Maybe you two can spar with each other sometime. Test each other's strength." Scott says before moving on to the next person. "Now, next is Melonie Galvan. 19 years old and has the power to manipulate Earth and Stone. She is of Mexican and Chilean descent."
She scoffs, "Just don't get in my way, that Is unless you want to be buried in a piles rocks."
"Melonie, tranquilo." Scotts warns.
"Que? Es la verdad." She retorts. I don't understand any Spanish so I can only assume I'm going to be getting insulted in English and Spanish.
"Moving on." Scott moves to the next person. "This is Leena Graves. 18 years old and she is what we call a "firebreather"."
She greets me with a big smile, "Hi, nice to meet you." She gestures for a handshake. I reciprocate and shake her hand. I try not to put too much strength otherwise I can break her hand and that's a no-no for me. Leena is my height and has red-orange wavy hair. She is pale skinned, has a face covered in freckles and her lips are red. From a distance, it looks like she is wearing red lipstick but it's an after effect from her ability.
"Lastly, Alan Malory. 18 years old and has the ability of duplication. He can make up to 15 copies of himself at will."
Alan refuses to even look at me and I can already tell he has no intention in getting along with me. Hopefully he doesn't have the habit of being violent. Even self-defense won't help me if he or any of the others decide to try to pull a fast one on me. But right now, it seems only Alan and Melonie are the only ones who aren't fond of me. Leena also seems to be the nicest one of all them along with Beatrice.
"Now that we are all acquainted, we can start." Scott walks around the group to get in front. He first turns his attention to me. "Since this is your first day, I won't have you spar with anyone. Mostly because you're the strongest one here and I need to know if you truly are in complete control of your powers as you proclaimed before coming here."
A woman practically appears out of nowhere and hands him to what seems to be a stack of uniforms. He gives one to everyone including me.
"What are these for?" I ask.
"These are battle suits for training. These are made specifically to withstand high degrees of damage and it will also save you from having to use your regular clothes. So, put these on and come back here, you have ten minutes."
Everyone walks towards the changing rooms, before I can get into one of the stalls, I feel something pull me from behind. I look behind me and it's Alan. Gabriel is right behind him but doesn't say anything and keeps walking towards a booth. Either he doesn't care or he knows Alan won't get very far with me if he tries to do something.
"I don't like you. You and your ol'man should be in cage up in Lunar Republica away from us. Don't think for a second that just because you're some sort of alien I am afraid of you." His eyes are full of anger, he truly doesn't want me around but unfortunately for him were stuck with each other for two years.
"I didn't ask to be here. If you have a problem with me go take it up with Scott."
As I leave I feel a tug on my arm, "Don't walk away from me, freak. We're not done yet."
I pull my arm away from his grip. "Get off me. If it's my dad you have a problem with, I can give you the address to my house and you can go take it up with him personally. I'm sure he'll like to hear your complaints and your desire to see him locked away in Lunar Republica."
He doesn't say anything and I go change. He probably realized that he couldn't win that argument. He knows he is too much of a coward to ever go stand up to Marcus "Magnus" King. Dad may no longer be the ruthless supervillain he was 18 years ago but doesn't mean he is going take trash talk from some wannabe tough guy. Alan would piss his pants and run with his tail between his legs. Even I would be afraid to go against Magnus in a one on one fight. I may have the same powers as him but I'm sure he can still do some damage. He has decades of training while I only had a year or so of training. Even with the training I'm going to be getting here won't be enough to ever go against him. It would take me a couple decades to get as powerful as Magnus.
We all meet Scott at the spot we left him. A grin spreads over his face when he sees me. I can tell he has something funny to say. I try to act like I'm comfortable in the suit, but I'm simply not. It's a bit tight but I guess it's to be expected. I hope after some time moving around I will get adjusted to the suit. I glance around and land my sight on Beatrice, I blush as I realize with the skin-tight suit makes her bust is more protuberant and hadn't noticed how big it was before with the tank top. I quickly look away but I hear her chuckle as I turn my head. She noticed.
"Okay. Jericho come with me, everybody else take a seat."
I follow Scott to the middle of the room. A couple of employees with lab coats on walk in with an adult sized android. First time I've ever seen one, didn't think such things existed. At least not one so sophisticated and life like. The android has the appearance of a man and towers over as if it were Gabriel himself. The guys in the lab coats turn him on and he begins to move. I look behind me and it everyone looks impressed if not surprised. It seems they never seen this android before either. Scott has probably been holding out on them.
"This is a prototype battle droid. I had him built several months ago to be ready in time for when you got here. He is designed to fight someone with your type of power. This android will help me gage just how much control you have and will help me decide how you will be working with everyone else from here on out."
Scott tells the guys in the lab coat to program him and once they finished they walk and so does Scott. From a distance one of the guys in lab coats carry a touch screen tablet in their hand. Scott give them the go and the android starts to me move. Next thing I know I feel a metal hand strike my face and I fall a couple feet away. I barely felt the punch but not say it didn't at least sting a bit.
I stand up and I charge towards him. I connect my fist to his chest and hit him with everything I got. The android flies across the room and hits the far end wall, a powerful boom echoes across the room. The android gets up with ease, there is barely a dent on it. Scott wasn't lying when he said it was designed to fight with me. I lift into the air and it follows, it has built in rocket boosters on the bottom of its feet. Scott thought of everything.
I propel myself toward the android and I let loose with my fists. Each punch I give, it gives back. We go back and forth for about a minute until it begins to change its tactics and it gets more aggressive. It picks up speed and before I know it I am on the ground. It lands on top with great force and begins to punch my face at high speed. I feel my frustration to swell inside me as it won't let me get up. After a minute, I finally break free and whatever patience I had with it is gone and I become serious.
The android propels towards me again at the speed of a running car. I catch him by the throat. I squeeze it with all my strength until I feel the metal bend and crack beneath my fingers. I throw it into the air and punch it back down to the ground and I break into pieces.
"Stop." Scott yells. He looks at the android and lets out a long sigh. "Good thing this was only a prototype."
"I'm sorry for breaking him. I honestly never went all out like that before, not even with my dad."
"That is why I had you fight a prototype and the not the final product."
I notice that my teammates seem a bit impressed. The feeling is mutual, I hardly broke a sweat. I guess it's a good thing I am invulnerable otherwise those high velocity punches it gave would've left me and my face in very bad shape. Scott hands me a bottle of cold water. It is obvious he is still disappointed as much as he tries to hide it. I guess he thought he really had something with that android. If he and his team of scientists were to succeed in building one that can go up someone like Magnus then maybe people will be more at ease. The only downfall would be that we would keep getting threatened.
Scott let me in on a secret about Lunar Republica and its that no metahuman or even the cleverer of criminals have never succeeded in escaping. He seemed confident even beings as powerful as Magnus or me wouldn't succeed either. Of course, I rather try and avoid ever being incarcerated and I would like to think dad would too. Even if something like were to come to pass, I like to think dad would cooperate. I wouldn't dare try anything as drastic as escaping and making things worse for myself.
Superhumans shouldn't be treated like criminals if they have nothing wrong. But at the same time, it's not to say they shouldn't be watched. Human beings are afraid of they don't understand, but most of all they are extremely jealous creatures and will kill to have what they cannot.