Rise of the Pheromaster Pt.1

Rise of the Pheromaster Emblem (Text Black)

Inhibitors

Reflex/Jun Naegi

Mentalist/Fabiana Pereira

Granite/Kathy Preston

Titan/Wendell Hoffman

Chaos/Karen DeGroat

Nature/Wei Jin

Miles Shephard

Degree/Raina Dahmani

Sasha Boone

Construct/Rory Tymchyshyn

Geralt Hoffman

Mach/Stephanie Balboa

SWAT

SWAT-Spider/Steven Kessler

Haze

Five days have passed since the Jun, Kathy, and Stephanie returned from Silver Plains*, and life has returned to the same slow routine between missions. No new members had been found after Wendell was recruited and the search for a new trainer remained a fruitless venture. There weren’t many Inversions with years of experience, let alone ones willing to be open about it. Until the Inhibitors got up to full steam, it was still a largely unsafe and uncertain world for Inversion. There still weren’t proper laws to deal with Inversion crimes or even ways to protect them. Which left ushering in and enforcing the new laws a duty for the team of nine. But with the cool and relaxed atmosphere in the Recreation Room, all these issues seemed far away.

*Blessed Inversion Inhibitors Chapter 7

Calming ambient music played throughout the Recreation Room while a cheesy B-rated invasion movie played on the massive television. Fabiana sat on the couch leaning against one of the vibrant throw-pillows with Kathy on her left and Raina to her left. Geralt leaned back in his chair watching the terrible film with them. Wendell was smart and avoided even acknowledging the film’s existence while in the hot tub. Choosing to watch the sitcoms on the smaller television kept by the workout area instead. He had no idea what was going on, but the people exercising seemed to enjoy it. With a staff that reached close to 100, every part of the Recreation Room always had someone enjoying it.

“Can you believe someone thought this was a good idea?” Fabiana asks somewhat intrigued by the movie they watched. Between the acting, low budget, and the questionable plot that went from a simple invasion film to a time traveling ghost subplot was painful to endure. Yet you couldn’t turn away from Invasion from the Dimension of the Grays.

“I think it’s hilarious.” Raina chuckles at the insanity.

“I don’t think that’s what they’re going for Raina.” Fabiana rolls her eyes with a sigh.

“That’s part of its charm.” Geralt scoffs defending the film.

“I’m not a sure a whole genre based on insanity and camp is charming.”

“The 60s were a dark time Fabiana.” Kathy adds on.

“We thought it was great when it first came out.” Geralt tries to maintain his stance. The people playing pool nearby try their best not to laugh at his forced attempt at standing his ground.

Fabiana shakes her head as she receives a phone call. “I’d hate to miss this award winning film but I have a call.” she hastily exits the Rec Room, checks the hallway, and picks up her phone when the staff passing by get out of view. “Yes?”

“I’m on my way. Be a dear and make sure everything is ready when I arrive.” a male voice says from the other end.

“I’ll get right on it. Anything else I can help you with?” she asks seductively.

“Get Boone ready for a special meeting.”

“I’ll get right on it.” Hanging up her phone, Fabiana runs her hands through her hair with eyes aglow.

Fabiana psychically reached back into the Recreation Room and began to mind control Wendell. Prompting him to get out the hot tub, turning his skin to metal, and turn his attention to the nearby exercise room. Each footstep shakes the ground with a metalling clang, catching the notice of the few swimmers and the woman running on her treadmill. Wendell pulls his arm back and punches through the wall separating the pool section from the workout area and steps into the room.

“Wend?!” Geralt shouts as he runs to his grandson. “Wendell what’s wrong?” his first thought goes to concern for his grandson. Did something happen to him when he wasn’t paying attention? Did someone say something to him? He would never receive his answer. Wendell doesn’t sign a response, opting to simply turn and punch through Geralt’s chest. It was quick and painless as if he was made of paper. Geralt’s body had no time to process the pain. He just felt nothing as his body slumped down onto the floor. Not even the tears running down his cheek were felt by him in his final moments.

The room stood in shock and fear at what just happened. Kathy didn’t know or care what made Wendell go crazy, only that she had to keep him from doing something else. She creates a rock prison from the ground up to try and stop Wendell in his tracks. If he didn’t have enough space to move he couldn’t use his nigh-unstoppable strength. Seeing their opportunity, the non-Inhibitors all flee from the Recreation Room for safety. “Raina, get be…behind…” she struggles to remain standing. Wooziness begins to set in and her vision blurs. “…me…” Unable to continue, Kathy collapses to the floor. Her consciousness fades as the last thing she sees is Raina standing over her. While she was so focused on stopping Wendell, she didn’t realize Raina was using her thermokinesis to give her heatstroke.

With Degree & Titan under Mentalists control already and Granite unconscious, it was time to act on her months of planning. For months she was gradually invading the more persuadable Inhibitors. Weakening their resistance to her when they weren’t realizing it. Now not just Degree & Titan were at her command but so was Nature & Mach. Mentalist reaches out once more and takes control of the pair, bringing her rampage to the other portions of the Cell. Mach raced through the Cell at blinding speeds, attacking any poor soul in her path. Thankfully, all non-fatally. The staff who ran into Nature weren’t so lucky. She turned her body into fire and turned anyone she came across into ash. With the Inhibitors being the only actual Inversions in the Cell, there was little they could do to prevent it. It takes two agonizing minutes for Director Boone to realize what’s happening and activate a red alert throughout the facility.

“This is a Code: Onyx! Repeat, Code: Onyx! Inhibitors, take down Titan, Mach, Degree, and Nature! Use whatever means are necessary! All other personnel are to evacuate immediately! This is not a drill!” Director Boone shouts across the facility wide intercom.

As the warning reaches every corner of The Cell; the final Inhibitors,  Jun & Rory catch wind of it from her room. “Shit, how many people did she get to?” Jun was prepared to deal with Mentalist and maybe one or two other Inhibitors. But two-thirds of it? Even with Rory by her side, it’d be a tall order.

“We still have Karen, we get to her and we can turn this around.” Rory replies confidently.

“Right, we can do this.” Jun nodded as she walked to her closet. Inside was her old jacket, several spare Inhibitor uniforms, and a set of gloves which she retrieves. They were a pair of taser gloves designed for her by RajTEK to deal with hostile Inversions. Unfortunately, before now there was never a chance to actually try out them out. She secures the gloves as she walks towards Rory. Grabbing his wrist as she passes him and activates her gloves. The sudden surge of electricity is enough to knock him out as she had hoped. “Looks like I’m on my own.” she thought to herself. Mentalist was good with mind control but Jun caught her incorrect wording. Rory remembered each Inhibitor and wouldn’t leave Kathy from their list. Without her being listed among the Rouge Inhibitors, it was safe to assume she already got caught.

The moment Jun steps out of her room, Mach races from the opposite side of the facility just to make sure she didn’t escape. Even with her future sight, Jun was unable to react to the unceasing barrage of punches Mach delivered to her face and torso. Normally Mach would just run away or deal with recon and was by no means a fighter. But under Mentalists mind control, there wasn’t anything holding her back. A painful reminder how much of a threat she could be. Unable to get her bearings, Jun falls to the floor and struggles to get to her knees as Mach finally stops moving.

“I really wish I could be doing this myself Jun. But I’m on a deadline.” Mentalist says speaking through Mach.

“But you can still gloat about it…” Jun taunts. If she’s going to go out she’s going to make sure Mentalist doesn’t get to enjoy it.

Before Mach can respond she’s blasted down the hallway by a beam of light. Chaos had arrived to save Jun. “You okay?” she asks helping Jun to her feet.

“Not really. We need to get to the Director.”

“Fuck that.” Chaos says darkly. “We’re getting out of here while we have a chance.”

“We can’t leave her.” Jun shoots back. She knew just how important Director Boone was. If they captured her the information she had could be used to hurt a lot of innocent people. If she got killed then the Inhibitors would be set back years.

“Like hell we can’t. If they wanted her or you dead, we wouldn’t be talking right now. Now shut up and let’s get to Miles before he’s killed too.” Chaos orders, taking Jun with her whether she liked it or not. Jun didn’t like abandoning her friends, but Chaos was right.

“Miles?” Jun asks surprised.

“Yeah, I was with him when Ms.Boone started the alarm. He said I should run to you as fast as possible.

“Seriously?” Jun was caught by yet another surprise. Something that was becoming increasingly common since she joined the Inhibitors.

“He’s really cool if you actually take the time to talk to him outside of a mission. He’s kinda like my dad. You know, before he stopped looking at me.” Chaos both defends herself and sidesteps the negative context of her previous statement entirely. Surprisingly, the hanger remained untouched by Mentalists rampage. “Good, looks like everything’s still safe.” Chaos says moments before Nature appears in a flash of lightning between her and Miles’ VTOL.

“You just had to jinx it.” Jun snarks.

“It’s rude to leave a party early.” Mentalist speaks through Nature. The electricity that made her body making each word echo and reverberate.

“Oh be quiet for once.” Chaos shines her illumination as brightly as possible. Blinding both Nature and Mentalist who was seeing through her eyes, giving the trio a chance to escape.

“Whatever, we can deal with them later.” Mentalist rubs her eyes trying to see again properly. Even if they weren’t her eyes, the pain was all the same. Calling Titan to her side, she has him punch down the door to Director Boone’s office. “Hello, Sasha.”

“That’s Director to you Mentalist.” Director Boone clasps her hands together and asserts a formal aura despite the situation.

“Please, call me-” Mentalist begins as she sits across from Director Boone. Titan stood to her left with arms crossed and body still metal.

“What do you want Mentalist?” she asks to reaffirm the irreparable tear between the pair.

“I want you to talk with someone.”

“Let me guess, you want me to talk to the master holding your leash?” she says with a calm voice that belayed the seething fury boiling below the surface.

Mentalist takes a deep breath. “We’re partners Director. Next time you forget that I’ll have Titan rip something off.” she swings her left hand behind her to tap against Titans metallic abs.

While Director Boone waits for whatever fate awaits her; Jun, Miles, and Karen fly for destinations unknown. “So today sucks.” Miles nervously jokes.

“No shit.” Jun snarks.

“Unless you had a plan, I’m taking us to RajTEK.”

“I was actually gonna suggest that myself.” Jun notes. “What was your idea?’

“Oh, my old buddy Kreon works there. If anyone will know what to do it’ll be him.”

“You worked at RajTEK?” Jun continues her string of questions.

“You really know how to make a guy feel important. How do you think I got this job in the first place?” Jun remains silent at Miles question. Miles sighs and continues. “I’m not just a background character you know. If we all survive this we need a serious talk about how you guys treat me.” An awkward silence fills the VTOL. No idle chatter or music, just the hum of the engines and their thoughts to keep them occupied.

“What are we gonna do if we can’t get help?” Chaos asks fearfully to end the silence.

“We do our job and go back anyway. Hopefully, we survive.” Jun responds as the new official leader of her team of three.

In Silver Plains, Steven Kessler tries his best to sleep but his mind remains uneasy. Since his return home* he’s done what he could to avoid straining himself. But the inaction was starting to wear on him. It wasn’t in his nature to just sit and do nothing for such long periods of time. It didn’t help that there wasn’t anything on television in the day and his bed wasn’t the most comfortable for extended periods of time. Gabe was going to be at school for several more hours which meant he was stuck home alone. Just him and a woefully under furnished bedroom for one.

*Blessed Inversion SWAT Chapter 8

“Nice room, it screams single dad who puts work before pleasure.” Haze muses as he materializes into existence before Steven.

“The hell do you want Haze?” Steven glares at him sitting up in his bed and throwing off his covers. He knew Haze meant no harm but he didn’t like leaving himself any more vulnerable than needed.

“For you to uphold your end of our deal. Pheromaster has made his move against the Inhibitors. Right now, he’s on his way to pick up your old coworkers. No idea what he’ll do after but now is your one chance to get to him.”

“And how do you expect me to do that?” he asks not letting his guard down for a second.

“Because some of our old friends are going to be paying a visit to Raja. If you were to hitch a ride with them you’d get a free pass to Sweden.

“I’m not going to leave my friends out to dry like that.” Steven stands defiantly before his illusory guest.

“No, you will. Because we both know your family comes first. Good luck SWAT-Spider.” Haze echoes as he disappears.

Next Issue

Rise of the Pheromaster Pt.2

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