|Hamilton Institute: Prologue
||[Mar. 23rd, 2009|11:51 pm]
Strikers: Survival of the Fittest
8:50 pm EST
The static on the television slowly fades away and images slowly begin to return. Throughout the nation, the familiar flicker of blue begins to illuminate the faces of families who sat in darkness moments before. They sit forward, waiting, some praying to a higher deity, others waiting impatiently for an outcome. “This is a breaking news report from CBN with Kathy Block.” “This is-- Are they receiving this,” Kathy Block turns to someone off camera and appears to receive an answer. Kathy turns back to the audience, struggling to maintain her composure. “This is Kathy Block with CBN. We have managed to return service to most of our markets at this time. CBN has a breaking report about the conflict being waged between America’s costumed heroes and the man responsible for this outage.” A screen appears to the left of her head. The imagery is grainy; static and interference have severely affected the quality of the picture. A few individuals, familiar to the audience across this country as members of their costumed community, are shown fighting robotic constructs. As the battle rages, the camera pans to a man furiously working at a large contraption. It begins to pulse, a green light starting to envelope the area; in response, the images grow worse. There is a scream of pain and the camera shifts back in time to catch one of the large robots hurling a young woman into two others. There is a flash and a collection of the costumed individuals are gone.
The Hamilton Mansion
West Chester, Pennsylvania
8:52 pm EST
“Dad!” Cass Hamilton throws open the doors to his study and bolts into the hallway. He stops short before colliding with the materialized members of his student body, better known to the world as the Strikers. It was Christian’s voice that he had heard; his son stand in front of the others, applying pressure to a bleeding shoulder. It was his gift of teleportation that had brought the team home. Behind him are the others; the individuals who Cass Hamilton had found and trained in the use of their gifts. Remarkable gifts that set them apart from humanity; gifts that he had once had a hand in helping to create. Kelsey Lynne, better known as Blossom, struggled under the weight of her teammate, Monster, as she tried to keep her standing. Kelsey’s gift was the ability to communicate with all the World’s Green: to help make plants grow, bloom, thus lending to her name Blossom. Monster, Kendall Sykes, was a winged gargoyle who’s strength mirrored her ferocious appearance; She could also normally return to a petite size. Cass could tell that she was currently struggling with that metamorphosis. Amara Tamar could alter the way others perceived reality; she provided her own “Slant” to others perceptions. She knelt beside her teammate, Alina Steel, struggling to comfort her. Cass’s eyes rested on the blood seeping from a deep wound in the young woman’s stomach. Amara kept whispering, her eyes glowing as she used her power to try and soothe her friend. Cass moved forward, but was caught by the last of his current student body: Prince Turner or Jetway, so called because of his ability to propel himself through space. “Did you see? Did you see what was happening out there? We were caught off guard! Why didn’t you send for Josh?! Alina’s dying!” Kelsey shot Prince a look, but the young man was too hysterical. Christian grimaced and Jet was gone. “Infirmary,” was the answer to his father’s unasked question. Cass moved over to Alina, who was staring blankly up at the ceiling, her breath shallow. “Alina, Alina, can you hear me?”
8:54 pm EST
In his dorm room, Joshua Bronson sat at the edge of his seat, eyes not straying from the television. The Strikers were gone, but the other heroes were still fighting, falling, losing. His fingers tightened around the knife he was holding in his hand, the blade digging into his palm. Josh didn’t notice the blood that dripped from his fresh wound. His mind lay with a battle that he could only wish he was a part of...
8:55 pm EST
A reporter now stands before the camera, his eyes bloodshot and wide. Every explosion sends him ducking down, his arms thrown over his head in a futile attempt to ward off the superhuman battle being waged. His words come out broken, shouted, desperate. From the studio, Kathy Block watches; from their homes, so does the world. “It appears... that the hero known as Guise has managed to approach the man responsible for this machine. He’s firin-- but the machine appears to be emitting some sort of ray. A green energy and--” Guise fires at the machine and the explosion is audible. Green and then there is static again, the images flickering out. Yet this time, they are back only a moment later. The battlefield is clear: Heroes, Robots, everything. The reporter appears shocked, unable to speak at first; the camera is trained instead on the man who’d moments before been threatened by one of their world’s greatest super heroes. He is alone, splayed across the floor, his machine a burning mess behind him. But the damage has been done. Throughout America, people look out their windows and see the green flash. Those closest to the explosion, somewhere in the deserts of Arizona, are even momentarily blinded. The energy wave races outward, dipping and spreading across the terrane.
West Chester, Pennsylvania
9:00 pm EST
Cass closes the eyes of Alina as her breathing finally stops. For a brief moment, there is nothing but the sound of Amara’s sobs. Then the room is illuminated in a flash of luminescent green. “Wha-” Cass glanced up at Kelsey, “I believe that means . . . we have lost.”
9:04 pm EST
Kathy Block is speaking once more to the viewed, “Police have taken Dr. Ian Devilz into custody. There is no sign of any of the heroes. I repeat, all of the heroes, as well as this Doctor’s army, have simply disappeared. There is no word yet on that strange green flash that we all wit--” The room is briefly illuminated as the energy wave reaches CBN’s New York Headquarters. Kathy appears uncomfortable. . . then she begins sweating profusely. Soon flames overtake her and her screams are inhuman. Her Gene-X power activated, Kathy Block dies from her uncontrollable “gift”. She will not be the last.
A young woman had turned down an alleyway, trying to find a shortcut back to her grandfather’s apartment. She hears the footsteps behind her only seconds before the hands close around her mouth; there is no time to run or scream. She hears laughter and two-three voices. She feels herself being forced down, hears breath against her neck; her hands are pinned uselessly behind her. She feels rage, boiled up inside her, a sense of helplessness, bottled up by pride that refuses to let her shout out. Then a surge, a bright flash in the night that leaves all four startled. Something happens, inside her, a boiling that spreads throughout her body. With it comes a darkness, an oblivion that she can draw herself into and escape: the men, the alley, the change that she is barely conscious of. As Corrine Ryoko slips down into herself, she recognizes another with her. They pass in her mind and she gets a brief glimpse of this other. Twisted, smiling, bent on revenge; a mirror image of herself that startles her. When the police arrive, they find young Corrine sitting among the pools of blood. She stares forward, almost catatonic... but with a twisted smile spread across her face.
Bryan Powel stared blankly down at his hands, suddenly covered in crystal growths. His room shines brightly, trapped underneath a hard, diamond-like shell. Bryan has but a brief moment to take in the twinkling, light blue sight before he passes out from dehydration.
West Chester, Pennsylvania
"He’s managed to activate Gene-X throughout the world,” Cass looks up at his students. “Hundreds, maybe Thousands of people, all at once getting their powers and abilities. Without any hope of control. God help us, without any control at all.”