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Uno and Fog: Blackened

June 4, 2019

From the Cadre’s base, a helicopter took me and Powerstriker upstate to what was still referred to as the blackened district where religious fervor of the nineteenth century flared during what was called then the New Grand Awakening, I don’t know what the old grand awakening was, or if there were any lesser ones.  I wasn’t sure if there was any significance to that fact and that an old god had chosen to reside in that area.  Perhaps it was just irony that burned out hippies lived there.

The Comet had streaked away in a blur, preferring to run than to rely on man made equipment.  I wondered if running felt the same for him as it did for me, or if it was significantly different.  If I got the chance, I would ask him.  His powers had more to do with the control of inertia and for some reason he lowered the ambient temperature the faster he got, thus the name.  When he was going quick enough, ice formed on his body.  So it could be a completely different experience for him than me.  The idea of running all the way there made me tired.

Luminary soared away as well which left Powerstriker with me in the chopper heading north.  Powerstriker was an amiable companion, he laughed and joked with the pilot and it was obvious the two knew each other.  He enjoyed talking about almost anything except for two subjects: his companions in the Cadre and his own powers which I found annoying since they were the two topics I had the most interest in.

It took us several hours to reach the outskirts of the tiny town of Shenandoah, population a little over ten thousand.  I adjusted my mask, I know its weird but I felt more like me when I was wearing it, along with the leather jacket, work shoes and jeans.  I know there is an area of psychology dedicated to studying the effects masks have on people’s personality and behaviors.  There are endowed that have a complete personality change when they put on a mask, or end up identifying with the mask more than their own face.

We land in a field near the southernmost check point.  Several of the national guard watch us land but don’t approach, The Comet shoots out of nowhere, leaving a trail of frost covered and wilted grass, “took you two long enough.”

“I prefer the scenic route,”  Powerstriker replies, “what’s it look like?”

“No change.”

“Where’s the big guy?”  Which I find amusing, since Powerstriker is physically larger than Luminary.

Comet points up towards the clouds, “doing his own recon.”

“Might as well get started then.” Powerstriker stretches his shoulders and then jumps up into the sky making a leap at least hundred feet into the air before sailing down again to land almost twice that distance to hit the ground before leaping forward again.

“You just going to stand there gaping?” Comet asks.

I start running toward the town, The Comet keeps pace easily, which I find mildly annoying.

Now I’m going to say from the get go that the Cadre aren’t much for planning operations.  Their go to strategy is to get where the enemy is and neutralize it.   Which worked for them, but then Powerstriker could pick up and throw a tank, Luminary could supposedly fly into the sun and survive and The Comet was fast enough to create a sonic boom.

The other members of Cadre that weren’t here weren’t much better, Burning Heart could melt anything with her flames, even Doctor Forlorn with her armored suit preferred to blast first and ask questions later.  Don’t get me started with Windfall, the luckiest (and most reckless) man in the world, made thrill seeking extreme sports look safe.  He once jumped out of an airplane without a parachute to see if he could survive which doesn’t seem like much for an endowed until you remember he can’t fly or teleport.

He wasn’t part of Cadre anymore, the rumor was he had a terrible cocaine habit that Luminary wouldn’t tolerate.  Apparently risk taking behavior bleeds into every aspect of your life.

That left Ms. Teri and she had been neutralized.  Which didn’t give me a lot of confidence in the march in and confront the baddie plan.  Not that I had much choice, when Luminary asked for your help, you don’t say no.  I hoped that Luminary had left the rest of his team behind as a back up and not because he was over confident.

Not just overconfident.

I hope.

The Fog was here somewhere sneaking around.  I’m not sure what he could do that the big leagues couldn’t, but I was glad he was here somewhere nonetheless.

We reach main street.  Powerstriker is waiting.  The buildings are an odd mix of structures built at the turn of the twentieth century with the boring, and sometimes grotesque, modern structures of the sixties and seventies.  It is absolutely quiet in the town, a traffic light hanging from powerlines at the intersection at the center of town cycles through the three colors, I can here a click with each change of in the lamp, and a slight ticking sound.

I’d never heard those sounds before, they were always masked by the ambient sound.  I didn’t like it.

In the distance is an old style white church, with the brick foundation, steeple with a bell and the black marque. I feel my sight drawn to it.  There are people in the buildings, they’re alive but they’re cerebral cortexes are lit up like I’ve never seen before.

Luminary lands before us.  “We should head to the farm and commune.”

I nod, but I can’t take my eyes off the church.  That’s where I need to go.

“See you there,” Powerstriker leaps as Luminary launches in the air.  The Comet is gone before his sentence is finished.

I run to the church instead.

The wood double doors are open.

I enter the darkness beyond.



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