Season 1:6 ‘International Man of Mystery’
by P WIlliam Ross
This is our first true crisis as a team.
Dragonette and I sit in silence on the couch. Reading someone’s mind is kind of like navigating a hedge maze. I never know where the next turn might take me. She knows which memories I had touched since I exited in a hurry.
“Listen,” I say, but then Ingot interrupts.
“Guys, you’re going to want to take a look at this.”
A few of the files from the robot’s hard drive are up on the monitor. Notes on each of us and photos of the events from last night. It looks like they only had enough information to identify us and our powers.
“So someone reads the newspaper, what’s the big deal?” Dragonette asks.
“Don’t you think it’s weird that they were programmed to anticipate only our arrival? There could have been seventy other metas, or regular cops, showing up at the warehouse.”
“Is there anything on where they were made, or who programmed them?” I ask.
“Nothing so far. They’re all made from plastic to negate my ferrokinesis.”
“Seems like we’ve got fans,” Dragonette says. She goes to sit back on the couch.
Ingot taps away at the console and opens a few more of the files. The robots were only programmed to protect the stolen cargo and anticipate our arrival. Without warning, all of the windows shimmer and turn into one large monitor.
“Did you do this?”
“Desmond, Jason, Samantha, Chase, and Janice. Welcome to the big leagues. I admire your first foray into the heroic lifestyle.”
Our photos fade in and out on the screen; high school yearbook pictures, college graduation, christmas cards. Then a tall figure standing in a plain white room appears on screen. His face is concealed by shadows despite the harsh lighting.
“At this point you’ve cracked into one of my drones. Feel free to read a little bit about yourselves. You might find it boring, but I’m sure the press would eat this all up.”
The screens click off. Light streams back in through the windows.
“This seems bad,” Ingot says.
“You think? Some creep knows all about us,” Dragonette says. She gets up from the couch and paces by the window.
“Progenitor Labs. That’s what it said in on the doorway,” I say. It’s a trick I’ve used before; reading my own mind to revisit something I’d just seen and get a closer look.
Chase and Jason are back from their training. If I had to guess, I’d say Jason tried to lift the heaviest thing he could muster and Chase ran a couple thousand laps somewhere. They look a little worn out. The three of us look at each other before Dragonette speaks up.
“We’ve got a situation.”
“What’s up?” Jason asks. The video won’t play again, so Ingot explains what had happened.
“Field trip,” Chase says.
“Guys this is serious, who knows what else this person plans on doing. I mean, I’d rather not have a robot army showing up at my aunt’s house,” Ingot says.
“Well I don’t think we can stop him from releasing this stuff to the press now,” I say.
This is our first true crisis as a team. Mystery man seems like a normal, maybe a little strange, person who happens to have a lot of resources. Someone could’ve followed us after the press release and noticed a slip of the lips. Or our parents were being watched. Either way, our origins would come to light sooner or later.
“So are you Desmond or Jason?” Samantha asks.
“Why can’t he be Chase?” Chase interjects.
“Please, it’s too much of a pun for your name not to be Chase,” she says. His shoulders droop at the retort.
“Desmond,” I say.
“Well knowing your real names is easier than thinking of you both as Gemini.”
“I named them Brains and Brawn,” Janice says.
“I’d been thinking of them as thing one and thing two,” says Chase.
The three of them laugh. Jason and I just stare at each other; he shrugs.
Brawn wouldn’t be bad if I went solo.
Yeah. But why are we Gemini?
We work together. Or at least that’s what mom and dad said.
“No telepathy during the team crisis,” Samantha says.
Janice pulls up the three office locations for Progenitor Labs; two in the United States and the other in Sweden. My memory provides no detail which would rule out any of the locations. There’s also the possibility of a secret site built for the purpose of harassing us undetected. All of the robot’s files have corrupted themselves beyond repair.
“We can’t just launch an attack on this guy. He’s probably got this plotted five ways to pluto,” I say.
“Not a planet,” Chase adds.
“Anyway, we need to see what his next move is and learn from it. We might get another clue. And we’re not splitting up until we know who we’re dealing with,” I finish.
No one offers a counterpoint. For now we resign to wait and see what our mystery man has in store. As a precaution, we stay in The Hive instead of returning home. He probably knows where we live. He probably knows where The Hive is too. We don’t have apocalypse-proof windows at home.
Mom and dad never had to face a crisis like this. Or at least, they never spoke about one where the identity of our family was in danger. Our garage was crushed by a giant robot two summers ago. That was because the fight happened to spill over into our neighborhood. Those bent on world domination or revenge against metas have heavily favored robots for the past five years. I think Jason and I will be able to fend for ourselves.