“I’m sure you’re all tired, and I’m afraid I don’t have much good news for you.”

Ares watched the assembled heroes. Every team leader in the city, and a few from out of the city was in the room. A good portion of the solo heroes were here as well. Also present was the government military liaison, they were bringing in multiple villain killer teams. The room was filled with a nervous air.

“Good news first. Since Jack’s arrival in the city there has been no other villain activity, a number of their teams actually contacted us offering support in hunting him down. We accepted.” Standard for people like Jack, no one was surprised. “Also we have confirmation that the kidnapped medical intern a Ms. Yamada, is alive well and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Until the Jack situation is resolved we are putting the search for her on hold. That brings us to the bad news. Prysim is confirmed to have started human experimentation. As such she is now a kill at will target.”

“She isn’t.”

Ares looked to see who was talking. It was Fey, standing in the back of the room, he hadn’t noticed her before. He wasn’t even sure how she got in. She was wearing a ratty pair of jeans and a new looking shirt with a cartoon cat on it, the same one that had been on Jack’s helmet. On her back was a bright pink backpack, with purple stars on it. And she was sucking on a lollypop, like usual.

“I’m sorry, she isn’t experimenting on humans?”

“Experimentation implies testing, she’s just modifying a single person.”

“That doesn’t change anything.”

“The person volunteered.”

“That doesn’t mean much.”

“Full informed consent, more than some drug trials.”

“How do you know so much about what she’s doing?”

“I like to keep an eye on family.” That statement made the room go still, all eyes darting between him and Fey. Trying to see how this would play out.

Ares rubbed his brow, his headache getting worse, there was no way in hell, and he had been there, he was going to order the execution of Fey’s family. “Fine due to new information Prysim is no longer a kill at will target. Lets move on to Jack. He is believed to be in the city targeting the junior hero Shatter, due to a grudge against Shatter’s mother. Since Fey is here he clearly managed to loose her, however the hell that happens.” Fey didn’t speak up to give an explanation. “The city has been put on lockdown, all public figures and politicians have been evacuated through non-standard measures. High density areas have all been evacuated. All solo heroes you have been temporarily assigned to active teams, team leaders you will each be given and updated team roster and a portion of the city to patrol. Remember killing or capturing Jack is problematic, forcing him to run away significantly less so. So it is the official recommendation of the heroes league to engage with overwhelming firepower. Get moving people, I want this fucker out of my city by nightfall.”

“I can help you know.” 

It was Koi, she had burst into the crisis room where Ares was trying to coordinate just over half the heroes in the state, who were currently in his city. Powers aside this was his strength, sitting behind a monitor watching dots on a map. This number of heroes wasn’t too difficult, he had coordinated many more in different phases of the Kronos invasion. He still hated it, he could much rather be down there searching for Jack. Instead of inside this metal tower. It was easy to empathize with Koi.

“Koi, you’re too young. Besides you’re on Shatter’s team, you’re probably a target too.”

“So let me out there to lure him out.”

“We don’t use heroes as bait Koi. Besides, he’s going to come here at some point.”

“This sucks.”

“I know.”

“I really miss the days were my biggest problem is herding cats.”

Thread and Needle for their debut as full blown villains and no longer Prysim’s minions had gotten creative. They somehow sprayed every person who worked in city hall with a catnip aerosol, then released 500 cats in the building. Since it qualified as a super powered crime it fell to the heroes to deal with. This lead to pictures of heroes chasing cats, with armfuls of cats, or just trying to corral them. It resulted in a very funny couple of news cycles and a musical. As it turned out publicity wise it was great for the heroes. It had been a headache at the time, but looking back it was a lot of fun. 

“I miss those days too Koi. I really do.”

“Fine, so what’s this about Fey being related to Prysim?”

“She said it right in the damn meeting, she apparently objects to the idea of her getting killed.”

“It explains why she took an interest in Keanan.”

“And it means she probably isn’t a fairy.”

“What do you think this means about her relations to Mag Mell?”

“Besides the fact that she and Owl are apparently BFF? I have no idea, and it terrifies the fuck out of me.”

“Alecia doesn’t seem to worried about Prysim.”

“Alecia is apparently off world, in a different dimension, brokering a deal between two warring factions. She clearly doesn’t have much in the way of tech since she had to call us on a glorified clock. Her biggest concern is building a new way home, not the warring factions, and she doesn’t think she needs help. I’m terrified at what her power set might include, and I suspect if I ever find out I will be forced to put her on the restricted ultra list.”

“The what list?”

“There are two hundred and one people on the list, but only the villains on the list are made public. The other names are of people it would be politically unwise to put there.”

“Like who?”

“Heroes that are unstable and have ultra class powers. Political figures, heads of state, like the Kim family. High ranking members of various militaries. My wife.”

“Uriel is on the list?”

“Yeah, Uriel being on the list was one of the justifications to putting Prysim on it too. People that smart live in a world of their own.”

“Should you be telling me all this?”

“It’s not a big secret among the heroes, just don’t tell the press. Besides you’re on a potential ultra team. So you’re going to have to deal with all this crap eventually.”

“I on a what?”

“Don’t tell me you didn’t notice. Gaslight has only had her powers two months, give her six hours of prep and I wouldn’t want to fight her, and they have gotten noticeably stronger. We predict in a couple of years she will be one of the heaviest hitters in the league. Cinder hasn’t gotten any stronger since getting his powers, but they are insanely versatile, he can create any gas or gaseous compound at the current temperature. The only thing holding him back is a terrible grasp of chemistry and physics. Shatter, physical abilities, and origin aside, is an elemental, and they just get stronger with age. You might be the strongest person on the team right now, but that won’t last.”

“Why am I even on this team?”

“You’re considered unstable enough that you had to be put on a team with a heart classification. They were the only one available, needed someone in charge, and you were already friends with Shatter.”

“There is no way I was suppose to hear that.”

“Eh, I don’t think you’re that unstable. Now if you could get to the lobby, we just had a sighting of Jack, and he is coming this way.”

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  1. You should add a “literally” near “herding cats” to emphasize it’s about herding of actual cats, and not an expression.
    Also, still not fully clear on Cinder’s power; can he manifest, say, steam normally, or only in environments hot enough for water to be in steam form?

    1. You’re thinking to conservatively. Water doesn’t have to be hot enough to make steam. Fog and clouds are also gaseous forms of water.

      Just think of all the things that evaporate at room temperature. Hell if he can work with compounds a little chemistry would make him damned scary.

      1. I don’t think fog is a gas as much as an air/water emulsion; if he can do emulsions, he can probably create dust clouds as well…
        If he’s limited to gasses only, then to make fog, he’ll have to first saturate the air with water vapour, then lower the room temperature until fog formed naturally.
        (Even then, you could still argue a lot about what he could actually do.)

    1. Yeah I’m all good. I have a flight to Australia in a couple of hours, and fortunetly no hangover after last nights celebration on finishing the finals. If your wondering about the lack of updates I only had enough written for six weeks of updates three times a week. I’m not sure exacly when I’ll be able to sit down and writer properly again, I’ve got a lot of visiting family to do.

    1. I was planing on posting an update on what is going to happen from here on out in 13 hours (all good news), along with a short story. So I’m going to say yes.

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