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PSIn: Scientia Potentia Est [Always Open]



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LongLiveLife

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The still of artificial, cabin-crew air pressed against every surface of the aircraft as it cruised, 39,000 feet above sea level, at seven hundred miles-per-hour, a metal bullet in the glint of moonlight. A careful concoction of ozone, lemon-scented disinfectant and the fragrance of used diapers permeated the vents of the hindmost cabin in the Boeing-777. Most of its passengers lay asleep. Still two in the morning in London, where the plane had disembarked an hour earlier, who could blame them? Many were families returning home from their vacations; a fair few were executives whose employers had spared the luxury of Business Class in light of recent budget cuts; but the ones who made their presence most known were the babies to the front—two of them—who bawled and cried for no apparent reason, with parents too exhausted to care.

Among the two, maybe three, passengers still awake was the man in aisle seat 54F. Light from a single bulb overhead streamed onto the Motorola Xoom on his lap, but his eyes were fixed, away from the screen, on the infinite blackness that—paradoxically, despite of the aircraft’s sub-transonic velocity—seemed to stagnate outside the window. He was probably the only man on the plane who had Internet access (a perk of being a national security operative was access to communication satellites unknown to the public, which ensured continuous global connectivity) though there was no real need for it now: his instructions were clear enough, and his mind was elsewhere.

‘The directive could not be made simpler, Demetrius,’ Liam Marcus, Chief of Psionic Affairs at MI6, had instructed twelve hours earlier. Overweight and greying, Liam Marcus was clearly a man of the desk, not the field. ‘Enter, isolate and remove. Do whatever you must—we want him alive, and we want him now.’

The chief had been talking about Doctor Niels, pioneer of the Psionic Synthesis Initiative, who, like Demetrius, wasn’t a practicing doctor, at all (although for different reasons); who had all but vanished from existence for the past half-decade after selling patents for the PSIn virus; and who MI6 had grown a peculiar penchant for in the past year.

‘Our COMINT analysts have intercepted emails from North Korea that have fired up the PSIn keyword filters; someone is talking to the commies about psionics. And the only person enough of an idiot to do business with them, who stands to gain anything from it, is Niels.’ Liam had slammed a fist on the table, paused for emphasis, then continued. His voice was no louder than a whisper, as if afraid to let his secrets slip past further borders. ‘And you can bet that if we’ve picked up on it, every goddam country in the G20 that greed-infected scientist sold PSIn to will have also.’

Demetrius had only nodded at this. He needed no further explaining to understand the global consequences of North Korea acquiring PSIn technology. After all, they had been the first and only to break the almost-decade long period without nuclear tests in 2006. And though the media had harked the success of South Korean fuel aid in initiating its denuclearization schedule a year later, Demetrius was inclined to believe that the threat of an international psionic assault took a bigger cut of the cake. PSIn was the only upper hand anyone really had at preventing a nuclear event.

‘The commies’ last nuke was in 2009. We’ve been on high alert for PSIn since then, because it’s the only thing that’d give them enough balls to whip out their missiles in public and play with them again.’

Demetrius remembered perking up at the implausibility. ‘And you think Niels has been in contact with the North Koreans since then, all the while slipping our net, before ending up next door to them in Russia.’

‘Earlier. We just haven’t been able to pick up their communications until now.’ Liam had rotated the computer monitor around, so Demetrius could see the picture of a stretch more traffic than road in the twilight. For every car in sight—and there were a fair few at peak hour—at least four pedestrians took to the sidewalk. ‘Eight minutes after the last email was intercepted, IP address identified and geography localized, we found this image in the Russian hidden street-cam databank.’

At first Demetrius hadn’t made out what he was supposed to see. Then Liam had pointed a finger at the screen; his clubby fingernails were larger than the blurry faces on it. The realization struck him with all the force of a heat wave in the Mediterranean sun. The features were hazy, yes, but there was no denying it: the elusive Doctor Hermann Niels had finally been caught, even if only on camera.

‘Why Russia?’

‘That, Demetrius, is what you are going to find out.’

A sudden jerk in the airplane threw the man sitting in seat 54F out of his reverie. The jet had hit unforeseen air turbulence, and the usual cascade of events followed: seat belt lights switched on, crewmembers scurried back to their stations, the speakers announced the self-evident and the babies to the front cried that much louder, as if attempting to drown it out. Through all this, the man continued to stare out of the window, at the flashing red light on the plane’s wingtip that darted up when the cabin fell, and down when it rose. He marveled at the strength of the aluminum and wondered what would happen if—between the fourfold pressure difference inside the cabin and out, and the paroxysm that wracked its wings—it decided to give way in one terrible snap.

He perished the thought and found himself once more in Liam Marcus’ office.

‘And one more thing,’ Liam had said, just as Demetrius’ hand touched the bronze handle. ‘There will undoubtedly be other PSIn agents present. While we would prefer to have him in our custody, we don’t care who brings him in—his unsupervised presence is a global threat. Until further instruction, cooperate with, not eliminate, them.’
 

Mistearea

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You are to eliminate Rhashid Naga and Arlo Steinburg any way you see fit.

The only specified part of his orders plays repeatedly in his mind as he stares into the faces of twenty something men. He takes special notice of the increased perspiration of the men, primarily the Arabian men, and looks to his watch. The time of the meeting still strikes Laurel as being odd due to the fact that it's currently four in the morning. He quickly throws the useless thought out of his mind and looks to the elevator door leading into the room. In exactly one minute of waiting a small bell dings once to signify the arrival of the metal box. This instantly alerts the group of men in the area to an unexpected visitor.

The metal doors slide open and what appears to be Laurel stands with a simple pistol held ready. The men instantly begin shooting at the apparition only to have the bullets phase through the image. It's during the confusion that the image vanishes only to reveal that a smoke bomb sits where the fake Laurel once stood. Before the men have the chance to bark out orders in the two languages the device releases a plume of black smoke. At this moment the one eye of Laurel's begins to glow red as his vision begins to only pick up on the infrared spectrum. The shapes and body heat of the men suddenly becomes clear to him even through the smoke as they begin running around in a panic.

Laurel secures a small mask over his mouth and takes out a pistol that can found anywhere these days. He quickly removes the safety and slides the first bullet into the chamber. He pulls the metal object to eye level and takes careful aim at the nearest man. The silenced pistol sends the first round through the air and into the skull of the first man. Laurel quickly does this for the next eight rounds until the clip is empty. He takes the clip and slides it into another pouch only to replace it with a fresh one. By this time the sounds of the gun have alerted the men of his location. The glowing red eye didn't help that part either. Laurel reacts quickly to the new targets and notices the AK-47us in the hands of many of the men.

The young man concentrates on the weapons and smiles in accomplishments as they vanish from sight. This startles the more inexperienced ones into dropping the now invisible weapons, but the ones still holding on were the real problems right now. Laurel empties another clip of rounds into the skulls of the experienced soldiers and looks around for anyone that might be trying to escape. His targets are found when he notices a group of five trying to run out of a side exit only to run into another image of Laurel. This time the image fires at the two men as the real Laurel times his own shots perfectly. The two targets fall to the ground and leaves only the remaining soldiers.

This is where Laurel tries to finish things quickly so that he many report to his superiors. He cancels out the invisibility of the weapons and instead begins to focus on the remaining guards. The men quickly morph from being human to being demons with glowing red eyes and hair burnt from fires of Hell all over their bodies. Several of the men scream in fear but all of the men start shooting at each other. Laurel quickly takes cover behind the bar and hides in silence until he notices that only one man is left. Laurel raises to his feet and cancels out the illusion on the man only to concentrate on himself. His visage vanishes even to himself as he looks to the man now acting confused and scared. Feeling out where his arm is in relation to the rest of his body Laurel takes aim and fires once into the skull of the man.

With the mission now finished Laurel scan through the bodies to locate any survivors as he pulls a black cell phone from his pocket. He flips the device open and dials a certain number from memory alone. The one on the other end quickly picks up the phone but doesn't say anything. "Mission abzuschließen."
 

Eva

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"Waiting sucks."

The comment was said outloud, to no one in particular, though no one would probably understand what she said. She was in what, Korea? Egypt? She couldn't care less, or bother remembering, the point was that she was bored. Very bored.

Extremely bored in Russia, to be precise.

Michiko Ayumi was waiting. What she was waiting for was unknown to anyone, including the bodyguards her oh so overprotective father had sent to accompany her. They agreed that until whatever she was waiting for came, they would be by her side. Of course, a girl like her surrounded by some big guys wearing black was more than noticable. She had hoped to go incognito, but tha idea was little more than an idea.

Of course, she already knew that was coming. No precognition needed on that part.

The girl lay on a chair, her legs propped up as her hair trailed on the ground, looking almost like a dressed up porclean doll. A rabbit plush toy layed on her lap, a lollipop between her lips, and a bored expression on her face. She had come a little too early, but that was to avoid going on a flight that would get delayed. You'd think that being able to see into the future would be, you know, awesome, but alas, this was reality. Nothing's awesome.

Taking a look at her watch, she sat up properly. "He'll be here any minute, leave."

Without a word, the bodyguards left, leaving her alone in the airport. Her instructions were clear; do whatever it took to bring Niels down.

And to do that, she would have to trail a certain PSIner on his way here.
 
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Orion

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Bingo.

Lightning erupted in a brilliant spark - bright and hot as burning magnesium, tearing around the most intricate network known to man, with more connections than a thousand times the human population, past and present. The cavernous darkness exploded with light as fantastic coils of fluctuating electricity tore through piece after piece after piece of the unimaginably intricate system, racing for memories that were recalled perfectly and in an instant.

As the inside of Didact's head bore out one of its relatively calm explosive moments - calm being entirely relative; that moment of activity alone would be enough to fry a human mind and send the victim into a permanent coma - his face hardly changed. His pupils dilated by a barely-readable margin, and flicked for a moment aside, then redoubled their focus as sharp as lasers on the blank television screens in front of him. Sitting at a desk in a darkened, underground room, the array of monitors stood five high and eight across, all in black and white, with measurements not even into the double-digit inches mark.

The thumb of his left finger bore a strange ring around it, just below the nail - a silver chunk of metal a centimetre long, with wires carefully wrapped down its length in engraved lines. A second strip of metal, this one copper, only a few millimetres thick, sat gripping the circumference of the silver ring and holding the wires tight in place, which all fed into a blue plastic cable, which itself trailed down to a standard network port at the back of the computer. And through it, Didact was watching and hearing - in proper quality, colour and sound that was beyond the decades-old televisions - everything that every camera in the airport had witnessed in its life.

Didact was fortunate. Ignatyevo Airport, sitting in the Russian region of Blagoveshchensk that shared borders with China - was big enough to possess a sizeable array of cameras and similar equipment, which was considered sufficient security measures, and at the same time was small enough that no one would ever considering better-equipping its surveilance systems and security staff. As it stood, Didact hadn't even needed to pass through metal detectors or x-ray machines to get access to this secure room, and the only thing that amounted to any resistance when he tried approaching it was now standing with a limp mouth, wide-eyed and drooling in the form of a burly, even-more-stupid-than-usual looking man of six and a half feet tall. Didact hadn't needed to even touch him to render him useless.

Fortunate in more ways than just the airport's lacklustre security. It had also seen a single, very special man pass through its scanners and terminals. He had flashed his identification - fake, of course - and had his photo taken, and been caught on surveillance footage. He even still possessed his distinctive (to Didact and close associates, though the former was certainly not part of the latter) gait, very slightly favouring his right leg more than his left, and it showed not only in the slow rise-and-fall of his body as he strode, but in the swing of his arms, the just-barely frantic looking-about and turning involved.

Doctor Hermann Neils. To a group of people certainly numbering no more than two thousand, he was the most important person in the world. Eclipsing the president of the United States of America, of more interest than the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and the North Korean Kim Jong-Il and all the activities of their rogue nations' schemes, and more heavily srutinised (at least in attempt) than any member of the UN or EU. Had he been a public figure, and had his work not centred around the development of the most deadly weapons known to man, he would have been hailed in the same league as Galileo Galilei, Alexander Flemming, Albert Einstein and their ilk.

Didact didn't care for what the world thought of him. Opinions were more or less meaningless to Didact (unless he willed them to hold weight), a man who held held one of the most - if not the most - objective mind in the world. Opinions were filtered, coloured, flawed, based on incomplete pictures that were always out of date to some degree. Didact cared only for the facts that surrounded the man, and though they were quite literally impossible to find for the standard man, Didact was still able to dredge up enough information on the mastermind behind the Psionics Synthesis Initiative.

But he wasn't hunting Neils for revenge or ransom. Neils was probably one of the few people Didact could have been said to 'love', and the two hadn't even met. Didact wanted the man for his knowledge, as he wanted almost anything and anyone else in the world for. It wasn't heat that Didact's body radiated. It wasn't blood that pulsed in his veins. It wasn't bioelectricity that shot down his nerves. It wasn't food that he consumed.

It was knowledge.

Every aspect of Didact's being was dedicated to and entirely centred around knowledge, and his ability to better read and manipulate it came with the more he absorbed, but it was slow. The process was immensely scattered. A trillion numerical facts, quirks of psychology, strange phenomena in physics could fill up a thousand books, but its sheer spread made it almost useless to Didact. Maybe in future, when he could dedicate his perfect mind to a whole plethora of tasks in every technical and scientific field. For now, his quest - and its lack of success thus far - had led him to the source, to someone who knew the PSIn project and its inception inside and out, and from whom he could find more experts. People who knew the mechanics of his powers would absolutely be able to further develop them, Didact reasoned.

In hindsight, reasoned was a funny word, Didact thought as his boarding pass - fished from a bin at a terminal that had received a flight from China and been rewritten - was scanned without error. His mind didn't work in trains of thoughts and webs of ideas. He just... arrived at conclusions, a subconscious process in his mind that truly did work faster than was possible for even him to understand it. It scared him at times, but the answers to questions and the confirmation or denial of propositions had always petered out to be correct. Why should now be any different?
 

Alaude Drenxta

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There was a thick wetness to the air, which, when combined with the oppressive heat of the area, made the African jungles around the Congo a difficult place to thrive and settle. The lush forest all around not only made navigation difficult, but provided thousands of hiding places for predators and dangerous animals, and this jungle was certainly filled with its share. It wasn't just green, it was many-colored and often confusing to the eye. However, amid all this organic chaos, a small tribal village was carved in a swath through the dense overgrowth, and straw and reed huts dotted this open area sporadically. It certainly didn't help Arcadio's heat problem, sitting by a raging inferno adorned with the meat and hide of an animal he hardly recognized.

He'd come to this area, against the pleas of his Holy Father, to spread peace, goodwill, and the word of The Lord. It was, at first glance, a simple missionary job, however The Cardinal never did things simply. He'd come to this village in search of something, a key of sorts, that he believed would aid him in a lifelong search to the secret of his history. Nonetheless, as he stayed with these people he'd learned many things, seen piety that was unrivaled even in the hallowed halls of The Vatican City, and felt the purity of heart and strife that came with tribal life. Their population was low, their mortality rate high, and yet still they struggled and enjoyed their otherwise peaceful life.

*Perhaps God is not truly in Heaven. Perhaps he lives in this place, with these simple and content people. There is beauty in their humility...*

As he playfully jabbed at the boar-like beast roasting on the spit, his contemplation was interrupted by a slight humming sound in the air. It seemed miles away still, but as he focused, blood began to rush into his ears, and the acuteness of his hearing amplified. The humming sound became clearer, due in part to his amplified sense and the fact that the helicopter he heard was coming closer, directly toward him even. Then, just like that, he realized his peaceful solitude would be broken. The chopper swooped in low and the trees around them seemed to almost bend away in obedience of the powerful whirring blades. The berating wind decimated the spit and flung the roasting boar across the village through the dirt. Arcadio would make certain that whoever interrupted the roast would pay for their trespassing.

The chopper landed in a small clearing near the center of the village, and the ground seemed to shake as the steel behemoth set down abruptly. As the shaken up dust and dirt began to settle around them, Rizzo gave a pointedly grim stare at the two men who climbed down from the chopper's cabin. Both were men he knew well, each for separate reasons. The man in front, a tall gaunt man with an empty expression was a 'brother' of his, a member of his order who shared rank within the Church, likely a representative of their sent to accompany the second man. This one was equally tall, but at least twice the girth, a self-satisfied and complacent man who'd often been a contact Rizzo held with the Italian government. He felt he already knew why they were here, and he was not yet prepared to go.

Speaking in rapid fire Italian, he harshly criticized the larger man, "Dino, you have intruded here, and knowing your operations, you have done so without sanction or proper cause. You have destroyed their hunted meal, and shaken up their lives irreparably. If you expect to walk away from this place, you WILL decide on equivalent reparations, without delay. I know why you have come, and I have no interest in leaving."

The pompous Italian man's face turned to a cherry red color, and it seemed as if he would simply explode from the rudeness he'd been shown. However, moments later he seemed to compose and subdue himself, and addressed Arcadio with moderate respect, "I will apologize, on behalf of the Italian CPD, and upon my return we shall discuss the, as you've put it, reparations. In the mean time, I believe once you've heard what I have to say, you will know that it isn't within your power to choose whether you leave or not. Hermann Niels, ring any bells? We leave immediately, we will discuss en route to the embassy in South Africa."

"No, we will not. We will show due respect to the hospitality of our hosts, and discuss this in a calm manner inside." He stopped, turning to point to a small hut, looking even more shoddily and hastily made than the rest, one Arcadio had built himself under the direction of the local tribe. "Dante, if you would accompany us, I'd like to hear your take on the situation."

As the three vanished into the hut, Arcadio cast an apologetic glance at the tribal people who had encircled, with awed and shocked faces, curious as to what had just occurred.

It was Dante who spoke first this time, he was generally a silent man, however Arcadio knew him to have a clear and noble heart and tongue,

"The case is simple. We have spotted Niels, and we are not the only ones. He has slipped into Russia. We lost him in Bulgaria a few years ago if you recall, but the Holy See has detected his passage, and our agents have traced many other psychics traveling toward his suspected location. Currently confirmed are the British and American forces. There were rumors of the Australian native Didact being present within Russian national borders, however this is currently unconfirmed. If you encounter any of them, blend. We are currently unaware if your multiple identity is known internationally. You will go under official order of the Vatican, not the CPD. Keep it that way until absolutely necessary."

Dino interrupted quickly, "You ARE, however, still a representative of the Italian people, so be sure to remember THAT. We will not have a repeat of Bulgaria, Hermann is not to be negotiated with. His crimes are not excusable, consider that an order from your Pope. Also, we have begun contact MI6 in London. We are attempting to negotiate coordination with their field operative in Moscow. We will contact you if international cooperation is approved, however, do not initiate beforehand. We do not yet understand his nature. Also, if you see Didact, we ask that you apprehend him. Both the Australians and the Chinese are offering top dollar for his delivery."

Arcadio gazed at Dino for a few solemn moments, his face an expressionless mask. Dante managed a thin, hairline smirk as he imagined exactly what would be going through Arcadio's head at just this moment. Rizzo did not appreciate the fact that his government was still as corrupt as ever, and he knew not only the Holy Father, but the Lord himself, would never approve of these actions. Therefore he, also, would not approve.

"I will not. That is the final word. Now, we'll leave."

The three departed the hut in solemn silence, and Rizzo gave a smiling farewell to the tribal people who stared with blank faces as he boarded the chopper, heading back to the civilization he knew was not nearly as civilized as they claimed to be.
 

Datomix

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“And then, the other muffin says, ‘Woah! A talking muffin!’ “

If the soft melodies of the grand piano harmoniously conspiring with the roaring thunders outside wasn’t a miracle on it’s own, then surely the fact that a man of this caliber was even being indulged by a member of the opposite sex must have been a divine act of God. But fortunately for the tourist (Or, perhaps, unfortunately.), when it comes to Veronika, personality was not a factor. A forced laugh erupted from her lungs, seemingly disturbing the otherwise soothing and calm ambience of the high-class restaurant.

“Wow, you Americans are so…entertaining.” The words came out sharply, no doubt she enjoyed the vastly different pronunciations and patterns associated with the seemingly inferior yet complex English language.

The man was young, perhaps a year or two below Veronika herself, wearing a simple black tee shirt stretched and ripped with blue jeans to match. A far contrast to Veronika’s elegant black dress, long white leather gloves ran to her elbows.

She had held the urge to sigh, she didn’t expect it to be difficult to get him home, three days of fanatical dates that most could only dream of, one would think the man would be the one to skip the foreplay. She pressed the wine glass against her lips, eyeing the mans glass with a predatory glare.

“So enough about me, I wanna know everything about you!” He rose the glass and nearly gulped the extravagant contents whole. The very thought of a true relationship with the rodent that sat across from her tore knots through her stomach.

“Well, there is not much to know…I am just a regular girl, looking for someone I can climb between the sheets with.” She replied with a wink. She could see the slight grin spread across his face. Речь идет о времени все стало перемещение, She thought.

“Heh…well aren’t you the frisky one?” He finished the remainder of his glass and signaled for another. “I’ll be right back, gotta take a leak, after that we can discuss those sheets you were talking about!”

“Sounds like a plan.’ She smirked as he stood from his seat, and turned to the restroom at the far end of the restaurant. She finally let out the long held sigh as the waitress filled the vermin’s glass. The waitress gave a curious gaze, noticing the incompatibilities between Veronika and him.

“Что интересного человека ... вы двое ...?” She asked.

“свидание вслепую ... Я ненавижу мои друзья.“ Veronika replied with a sigh. The waitress sympathetically patted her on the back, before going about to other nagging customers.

Veronika rested her arms on the table and rubbed her temple with her fingers, it was happening again. The short flashes in her mind dulled the reality that surrounded her, loud bursts of incomprehensible, non-existent audio, static, the waves crashing on a deserted shore, a lonely elderly woman watching TV in a cramped apartment, a teen couple kissing in the rain, a all too familiar limousine, a man in a black suit opens the door, pulling out a umbrella into the pouring rain shutting the door behind him. A look of annoyance was etched into the features of his face. As the view pans the large marble doors of the restaurant is clearly visible a few feet in front of him.

Damn it Dimitri, what do they want now? She thought. Her head began to pound as a influx of images and sounds began to pour even faster into her mind. She opened her purse, pulling out a bottle of purple capsules, she quickly opened the bottle and downed three of them. She was distressed in the fact that it could take nearly an hour for the pills to take effect, and even more so in the fact that she wasted three days of her life for a kill that wouldn’t occur. Or would it? A public kill? The thought had crossed her mind before. But there would obviously be witnesses, but as far as that is concerned, the FSB needs her, surely they wouldn’t incarcerate her. She smiled at the opportunity, and seized it.

She took a small vile of a white, powdery substance and poured it’s contents into her dates glass, the drink fizzed as the chemicals reacted to each other, the once olive-green color had contorted into a orange-red hue.

She quickly scribbled a note onto a napkin, tossed the vile into her purse, and stood up, pushing in the chair behind her as she turned, Dimitri stood only a few feet away, his stern and tensed look indicated something major was going on.

“Veronika, come, we have urgent matters to attend.” He stated stiffly. Without a word, she left with her purse hanging on her slender shoulder as Dimitri led her to the door, holding the umbrella over her head as they quickly made their way to the limousine. He opened the door for her, and she stepped in without a sound. It wasn’t long until Dimitri had led himself in and the limousine hastily took off.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing? You are a publicly wanted figure! You know you can’t be seen in the streets!” He shouted in their native tongue. He quickly avoid eye contact, scattering around the limousine searching for something among the boxes next to him.

“Go to Hell, Dimitri! Life in a underground bunker isn’t exactly fulfilling.” She retorted, she leaned her head against the tinted window, gazing at the night skyline, a sight she only gets to see on missions or any other official FSB business. She felt something heavy land on her lap, a laptop no less, she sighed, another debriefing it seems.

She opened to see the balding head of Alexander Bortnikov, the director of the FSB. She rolled her eyes at the sight and pressed play.

“Greetings, Ms. Burkov, it would have been more professional for me to debrief you in person, but it seems you’ve taken another unannounced vacation, but nevertheless, that will be discussed later. We have intelligence of a possible terrorism threat, Doctor Hermann Niels, was last sighted at the Blagoveshchensk airport, a security camera outside the airport detected him conversing with a man, after which the man handed him a package before departing. It is the utmost importance that these men are caught, alive. I have provided you stills from the camera to give you a a point of focus. I have no doubt in my mind that you can find and capture them swiftly and efficiently. However, be wary, other countries have apparently dispatched operatives with talents of their own, please, if run into them, please cooperate fully unless they are hostile or noted otherwise, we’re trying to prevent war, not cause one. Dimitri will fill you in with the extended details. Good Luck, Ms. Burkov”

Veronika, snapped the laptop shut, staring grudgingly at Dimitri. He had hoped she wouldn’t have caught on to “Talents of their own”.

“Talents of their own? Now what would that mean, Dimitri?” She snarled.

“Heh, well, This doctor…he essentially created the virus that gave you your gift…and to others…we didn’t find it relevant to tell you…”

Veronika could feel the instinctual impulse to smash Dimitri’s face in with the laptop clenched in her hands, but nevertheless, she relatively kept her cool.

“Are you ебля kidding me? You people keep me underground, use my ability beyond it’s limits, and you don’t even have the decency to tell me the damn truth? You know what? I’m done, the world can go to Hell for all I care.”

Dimitri sighed, banging his head against the glass separating the driver. He opened up his cell phone, punching in a few numbers and putting it to his ear, But Veronika paid no attention, her mind was elsewhere, she closed her eyes, she could hear the piano playing, the smell of cigar smoke, she opened her eyes, but squinted at the sudden burst of light, she sat across the table from her date, whom was gazing at the note she had written:

‘Darling, went to the ladies room, thought I’d let you know so you wouldn’t think I abandoned you like last time! xoxo - Helga’

“Damn Russian chicks, she better put out tonight.” He gazed at the crimson colored drink “Hmm, looks expensive, maybe I should hang on to this chick!” He chuckled as he gulped it down, Veronika grinned at the sight.

“What the hell are you smiling at?” And in a instant, her focus was lost. She sent a punch in Dimitri’s direction, his head recoiled, cracking the glass behind him. Everything beyond screaming and obscenities were unintelligible.

“Must you ruin everything, Dimitri?” She scoffed at him, sitting quiet while he finished his cursing and yelling, unsettling cracks and snaps were heard as he snapped his jaw back into place.

“I talked to the director.” He said in gruff, angry tone. “He is willing to reconsider your past demands…”

Her eyebrow raised.

“And which demands are those?”

“The five-million ruble, upon the mission’s success you will be pardoned of your past crimes, and will be able to roam freely as long as long as you continue to operate within the FSB, and-”

“And the free apartment, no payments?”

Dimitri smiled.

“A penthouse in the Imperia Tower, no payments.”

Veronika could feel her jaw drop, this must be one bad guy, She thought.

“One more condition, I want the truth, I want all there is to know about the virus, the doctor, and these other gifted individuals.”

He sighed, again, but looked at her dully.

“It will take the director some convincing, but it will be done.”

“Well then, let’s get started, shall we?”
 

Ordeith

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"Good Evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is Gavril Belikov, your pilot for this flight, here to report that we're expecting departure exactly on time, and to remind you to keep your carry-on items stored safely away as we begin taking off in about fifteen minutes. One of our flight attendants will be at the front of the cabin shortly, to instruct you in a few brief safety measures before our departure. Once again, thank you for flying with us; have a pleasant flight."

With that, the Russian pilot returned the intercom receiver to its neat little module on the cockpit's interface. "And that's just about all we need to do for the next four hours or so," he remarked with a grin. "It's amazing how far planes have come, eh? Just sound professional on the speaker, put a few switches in the right places, and enjoy the in-flight movie."

The copilot chuckled and nodded in agreement. "It's a beautiful thing," he replied. "I'm surprised haven't given our jobs to trained poodles by this time." The two of them both chuckled a little bit more at that. They were the same tired jokes that passed between pilots on long flights, none of them had ever rising above a beer commercial in terms of humor, but they laughed anyway. It was part of how the blurred hours passed tolerably--and like a badly rehashed light beer commercial, it was preferable to silence.

Gavril took another gulp from his thermos of coffee, then offered a sip to his new copilot, who politely refused. "So," he said in an attempt to keep conversation alive, "Where did you say you were from, again? Local area?"

The copilot shook his head. "No, I've been a Moscow boy my entire life. HR sent me here to fill in for a few months, since it seems like there's a bit of a shortage of pilots in these parts lately. I won't lie; it's a bit of a drag, but I'm sure it gets a hell of a lot worse. Besides, it's nice to take a break from the norm every now and again. Paid vacation, right?" His face seemed noticeably careworn, but Gavril was surprised to note just how lively his expressions were, as though he had freshly woken up from a long nap.

"Well," he said, "sounds like a good deal to me. I can't say I'd ever be able to do that for even one month."

The copilot laughed once more, and stretched out in his chair a bit. "You'd be surprised what you can get used to after a while, Ganya." He kept eye contact with Gavril, but for the entire duration of their conversation, he somehow seemed to be looking at something else entirely, something far-off.

__________________________________________

- Several Months Earlier -​

The other men in the room, all scientists and politicians, remained tense and rigid like a coiled spring. Each word struck them like a blow, but they still remained silent as the conditions of the contract were being presented. The Australians weren't merely fearful and unsettled--but desperate, having been crippled by the failures of their two PSIn projects.

The gray-eyed man continued to orate as if there wasn't a cloud in the sky that day:
"...and this will, of course, be in addition to the standard fee. Furthermore, as a special operative of Alcides, I must be able to work uninhibited by your standard protocol, and independent of your own troops, except for when they're needed."

His fellow smart-suited representative nodded in assent. "It's all included in the PSIn contract; retrievals are far more delicate than simple elimination, so some allowances must be made." He slid the electronic tablet down the table, with the stylus crossed over the screen. The seated Australians glared at the little tablet as if it had the potential to rear up and bite them. None of them spoke, or made any motion, until one tubby executive councilman finally stuttered out a reply that roughly equated to "no". The others fixated their glares upon him instead, but still said nothing.

Zimmerman smirked, shrugged, and gladly swept the tablet up from the table and into his jacket pocket. "Perfectly understandable," he said, "considering how thinly spread your resources are already. Even still, I think that I can speak on the behalf of Alcides Corporation in wishing you gentlemen the very best in reacquiring your...lost assets. Glad that we could discuss this opportunity together!"

It took a moment for them to process the message beyond Melvin Zimmerman's tone to realize that he was swiftly terminating the deal. Before the Aldcides representatives could turn around, however, another official quickly repaired the damage dealt by his colleague: "Mr. Zimmerman, we can assure you that we're very much interested in doing business with the Alcides Corporation; we just require a bit more...exposition into the contract, is all."

"Oh, we told you everything in the contract; there isn't much more we can say. If you'd really like to look over the details one more time, though, I'll have our offices email you a copy."

"Well, what I meant to say--er, what I thought you might be able to do, is, well, a demonstration. It hadn't been known to us for some time that a private psionic operative....well, existed, let alone.....um..." He seemed to regret having continued speaking.

"Let alone one who conducted company business? Hah, let me assure you that the safety of potential clients is always one of our firm's top priorities." You're safe as can be: I'm a drugged-up marionette, but frankly, I couldn't care less. Apathy is bliss. Melvin continued, "If you'd like to see a live demonstration, though, we'd be happy to oblige." At this, the lenses of one of the minister's glasses spilled out as liquid, fell into his lap, where they evaporated and re-solidified back inside the frames. He blinked, startled, and nearly fell out of his chair.

"That same process can be enacted on nearly any material," Zimmerman narrated, as if the ministers hadn't each made fools of themselves in their own way. "Wood, steel, plaster, water, air--and flesh, among other things."

"...And, if need be, on #00376? Or a jet plane?"

"Absolutely."

__________________________________________​

The copilot stretched his legs as the plane readied to take off, keeping his voice and eyes engaged talking to Gavril the pilot in Russian. Speech wasn't an active process for #00527-02; like a basic motor function, he could uphold a conversation without actually being present in it. He enjoyed staying in his gladder, brighter world, interacting with the bleak outside without being trapped inside it. Chase all those cares away...

He knew, vaguely, somewhere, that crashing a Boeing 777 would be far too predictable a move--but that the plane could be used in a subtle gambit. Already, a message so encrypted that it required weeks for a computer to write was being received by a cell phone planted in a passenger's bag, near the man known as Didact. Zimmerman was counting on Didact's ability to decipher the encoded message by the end of the flight. Get ready.

When the plane landed due to an unexpected leak (thanks to a weakened fuel tank), he would no doubt be expecting the Australian government to close in. Thanks to the "intercepted" message, his range of movement would become much more narrow as he attempted to avoid the Australian agents "hiding" there. Get happy.

#00527-02 was weaving a realistic tapestry on which Didact safely escapes the reach of the pursuing Australian government--behind which a massive claw was waiting to snatch the fugitive back up.

Get ready. Get happy.
 

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At the first shuddering thud that marked the arrival of flight UN195 to Blagoveshchensk, Demetrius Xylas’ eyes flung open and his hands shot to his pockets. He didn’t know when he lost consciousness, and that was his first mistake. Because this was a one-man mission he needed to be both the frontline and the back up; he had done neither. It was the first in a series of mistakes that, he would later reflect, had led to his failure to obtain the target. But now, in his half-asleep, half-awake, fully compromised delirium, one thought rang clear in his mind: Find Niels.

Before the plane had stopped moving, Demetrius had left his seat, retrieved his backpack and moved to the front cabin, throwing aside the curtains dividing his path – much to the disgruntlement of the crew. Their desperate cries for him to remain seated until the aircraft has come to a complete halt and the seat belt signs are switched off chased him cabin to cabin. Not more than a minute later he emerged from the metal construct into a long, narrow corridor – dark walls and dirty carpeting – and then continued his ascent up the slope and into the airport.

The rest of the building was equally unimpressive. A grotesque stain rainbow blotched the once olive carpet and formerly white walls leading him to the immigration checkpoint; there, rubbish poured from broken waste bins in a solid waterspout. Along the way there had been at least a dozen empty wrappers strewn across the floor and cleaners that had simply walked past them, overlooking the mess they were paid to clear. It looked to Demetrius like the place had been left unattended since the second Cold War, and as he stood in line to have his passport stamped he wondered if the rest of the country would be as derelict. Russia had failed to impress so far.

After he cleared customs, Demetrius moved swiftly to the exit and all but placed one hand on the door of a taxi when a thought strayed into his mind: What if Niels had anticipated this? What if Doctor Hermann Niels – father of the organization behind the greatest advancement in human genomics, PSIn, and holder of five PhDs in three different areas of research, who had successfully eluded capture by various government and private intelligence agencies for years – had the smarts to know about the street cameras and used them to lure PSIn agents away from the airport while he made his real move: flying straight into North Korea? It wasn’t a far cry of the imagination for Niels to have hired a private jet and pilot from the underground and then bribed air traffic control to keep his journey off the record. No, it wasn’t a far cry at all.

Demetrius let go of the taxi, vaulted over the metal divider, and bolted once more into the airport. Hands worked furiously on his Xoom to download the building plan, and the eyes of everyone in the queue burned on his back. His eyes, pressed firmly on the device’s screen, missed the Japanese woman, who looked irrevocably out of place with a plush toy on her lap, as he navigated sharp twists and bends to the security room.

Locked. But the primitive system stood no chance against the power of the mutant mind. A sharp telekinetic burst to the door handle instantly and silently (save for a faint click) forced open the lock. When Demetrius entered, he was greeted by an unconscious, drooling man – a security officer – who had collapsed on the floor. Someone else had forced entry before him and rendered the guard useless. Who, and for what reason, Demetrius did not know, but he was confident Niels was central to it. He closed the door behind him but was once again drawn to the body on the ground. It looked almost comatose, as though its brain had been stripped of all higher functions. What if it had? He shuddered the thought away and focussed his attention on the host of glass screens showing real-time footage of the airport. Each of the thirty monitors divided into four quadrants, each changing between two views.

And then came the brick wall. Between Niels’ sighting on the streets and now, there were eighty-six hours. How was he supposed to filter through all two hundred and forty camera angles? And if Niels hadn’t come, the time would have been wasted on a wild goose chase – for a goose that didn’t even exist.

Demetrius drummed his fingers on the table and wished, for a glimmer of a second, for a miracle.

And then he heard the door open.
 

Eva

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"Not conspicous enough?" Michiko asked, watching as the guy she had been waiting for walked (literally) right past her. She knew he wouldn't notice her; didn't mean she could've hoped otherwise. Swinging her legs of of the seat, she got up, and briskly walked behind the man, keeping a safe distance. She let him open the door, only to find the guard down, and let him fiddle around for a bit as she waited outside. Had she decided to go in any sooner, he would've attacked / gone on the defenisve. Deciding that it'd be the time where he'd finally run out of options, Michiko gave a small sigh, twirling around as she opened the door, closing it behind her.

"What, not the miracle you expected?" She asked, making sure the door was locked before continuing. She held both hands up as she spoke, showing that she was no harm to him. "Relax. I'm on your side, too."

Tapping her chin lightly, she walked on over to him, her eyes looking at each screen. Lightly, pushing him aside, her fingers ran over the computer, and sure enough, brought up the image of Niels, with the date and time.

"What do you know? He was here." Michiko frowned at the image, looking back at the guy. She stood up straight, holding a hand up to keep him from interrupting her. "I am Michiko Ayumi, of America. Yeah, I know I'm Japanese, but that's another story. I'm going to accompany you to track down Niels. You and are are sinners--er, PSIners." She motioned towards the door. "I'm impressed with your telekinesis--a lot better than I had anticipated, Demi."

She grinned, stepping back. "I'll follow your lead."
 

Orion

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Didact was wondering how long it would take the guard to snap out of his semi-comatose state. His mind hadn't been wiped, Didact hadn't attempted to harness any degree of control over him. All that had been done - at least what Didact had attempted but not taken the time to confirm its effectivess - was place a temporary block on the man's mind. Didact had simply tripped a nearly-vestigial action in the guard's brain - playing dead, essentially. Had the man been lying down, he would be mistaken for dead unless one felt his pulse. His skin would grow cold and pale from decreased blood flow, and his chest would raise and lower itself so imperceptibly he seemed truly deceased. It was among the first times he had attempted any kind of temporary block on an individuals' mind, and he hoped that he hadn't done too much neural damage. The man might get a demotion, but shouldn't lose his job. At least, not by any direct fault of Didact's.

As Didact was relieving himslelf of responsibility for any great disadvantage that came the guard's way, he was also keeping track of all inbound and outbound communications - phones, computers, and the plane's own systems. A fantastic pulsing wave of inwards and outwards waves of digits weaving through each other as they made their way exactly where they needed to go. All but three systems on the plane were protected in some way - one of those being the plane's own communications, of course, and the other two were from one man's laptop at the back of the plane, and the other in the form of a text message to a seat not too far behind Didact.

Write a letter, and insert it into an envelope. Place said envelope into a padded postage bag, which one then surrounds with bubble wrap. Contain it within a safe, housed in a safe storage warehouse that opens for only an hour a day, the external grounds of which are always patrolled by big scary dogs and big mean men with big bad guns. Add to this that such a place exists in the most remote country on Earth, and you have the physical equivalent of the message whose protection Didact was now seamlessly tearing apart.

Didact was already looking into the man's mind simultaneously as he read the contents. The message was received, yes, but the phone did not sound a tone or vibrate, and the supposed owner of the phone was unaware. Searching through the phone's contacts, Didact quickly noticed that only three of the names on the phone had numbers on them, and there were even contacts unknown to the 'owner' of the phone. The three numbers were the people he would most likely call before having to switch his phone off, and the rest were there for show.

It was clear as crystal to Didact that the phone had been planted in the man's bag, and though he tried not to be egotistical, Didact made the correct assumption that it was planted on the man for reasons that centered around himself. Reading again through the contents of the message faster than eyes could move, Didact thought of the actions others might guess he would take. Agents of a variety would be ready to storm the plane when they land, or to interrogate all who left the plane. Would Didact run for it, he asked himself objectively - In some form, certainly. His only option was to run, so he had to make it as unpredictable as possible, as unlikely as possible. And the solution was simple:

Don't run.

Less than half an hour later, the plane encountered a convenient hardware failure - something Didact read as sabotage - and was forced to land at a medium-sized airport in China. Not hugely problematic, really, it was still a step closer to Neils, who was by now well and truly entrenched in whatever business he was conducting in North Korea. It wasn't a step Didact wanted to take, however it was now unavoidable. Stepping slowly forward with no luggage or bags, Didact moved with the crowd until he came to the front of the plane, where he saw now why there was such extreme holdup. Every passenger was being closely examined as they exited through the forward-left door.

Perfect.

As the agents recognised him, they tried to keep their cool, and as they found themselves still in control of their senses by the time he was directly in front of them, they were confident and emboldened enough to immediately bring him outside and slap a pair of handcuffs on his wrists behind his back. They led him down some stairs off one side of the corridor to the airport proper, all the while oblivious to the fact that Didact was choosing not to sieze their minds yet, he was simply reading them, very carefully, noting the ways in which each mind worked, and understanding soon enough how to exploit them.

Didact was loaded into a dark-silver sedan with deeply tinted windows, and the other four agents occupied the rest of the seats. It was now that Didact decided to sieze them, as invisible neural tendrils snaked out from Didact's body to envelope the heads of all four of them in turn, but first, the driver. He picked up speed and made a turn completely away from his originally-intended destination, instead roaring across the runway to the hangars that housed the smaller aircraft and a few private jets. While the other three agents were distracted, yelling at the driver and asking with raised voiced what he was doing, Didact brought them under his control, each one calming down before sitting back and falling asleep.

As Didact stepped out of the car, the driver was the very last one to nod off, his target walking calmly away at the edge of his vision towards a silver and black jet with engines directly amalgameted into the wings and its rear stabilising fin. A hand laid againt the outline of the vehicle's door allowed Didact easier contact with the plane's own systems, and without need for a key or the transmission of an activation signal, he simply tricked the jet's computer into thinking it had, and would do so for the next few hours it took to fly to North Korea. As he laid his hand on the console, fingers gliding over dozens of buttons and displays, Didact's understood how to fly this vehicle. Not just this type of jet, but this very jet, with all its mechanical quirks. So far as he could see, the only fault in it at the moment was a non-function water tap at the back of the fuselage.

Didact decided it wouldn't be a problem as the engines whirred to life, tiny pinpricks of light flashing red and blue at the other side of the tarmac. The closes they would come to him would be less than a hundred metres right below him.
 

Professor Ven

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As the fellow boarded the now-started up plane, his mind seemingly busied by other annoying, insignificant things - namely the shrill whirls of authoritative sirens coming ever closer, Jericho simply watched as the man boarded. Handcuffs were rigged to appear locked placed upon Jericho's wrists behind him, his right hand gripped the hilt of the switchblade, a silenced pistol hidden by his coat. The weapon was concealed within an easily accessible inner pocket.

"G'day, mate."

"The name's Didact, inn'it? Thought you might be here; 'd have no idea how many places I've had to break into to figure out where you were going. Then again, you'd know that, wouldn't you? With your little. . abilities." The Dingo simply smiled, a devious glint in his raptor-like gaze, his cerulean eyes watching Didact from behind a pair of aviators, which sat upon a straight nose; his hair was, if he recalled correctly from looking in the mirror this morning, black as pitch.

"Though, I'm sure you might know of me. Hear of any currency liberations in any banks, recently? Or, you could be one of them, couldn't you? Bloody mongrel agents 'dain't nothing but pommy bastards, with their secret networks and their secure underground facilities might as well be milk bars, if you get my lingo. They just store everything exactly where it's expected t' be." There was a pause, as Jericho cleared his throat, leaning back in the chair, arms still behind his back.

"So, why don't we just have a fair go at this, 'ey? The name's Jericho Kern - you might have heard of me from your friends in white. And how's the years been treatin' ya, or was the island barren of pleasure in knowledge or flesh, me chum?"
 

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Hands still rested on the table, Demetrius’ expression remained constant as his newfound comrade’s fingers danced across the keyboard and pulled up the stored footage that had captured Niels. She seemed to know exactly which button to press and, also, to understand the inner workings of the system, though Demetrius suspected this was her first time using it. It was almost as if she was working on some level of precognition, which, in the world of PSIn, was entirely within the realm of possibility.

She was talking.

‘…anticipated, Demi.’

A nickname. His. Definitely psychic.

‘I’ll follow your lead,’ she finished.

Demetrius nodded. It was best to keep the clairvoyant on his side – she would be useful later. ‘We’ll be out of here soon, just have to run a check first. That guy on the floor – out cold. Someone came in before either of us and saw to that. Question is: who?’ He motioned to the controls and rewound the tape for the camera monitoring the aisle adjacent to security room door. It was angled such that the door only just fell in its viewing angle, and Demetrius had an idea that the infiltrator would have neglected it. ‘If not a face, the cameras will at least have captured a decent enough profile for us to go by,’ he said, then thought, And if Mystery Intruder Number One has anything to do with Niels, the PSIn Database will ID him, no sweat.

But before two minutes had passed the once unconscious guard – whom Demetrius had hastily marked for dead – stirred, saw two figures in the security room rifling and reacted. Years spent watching the same eventless mundanities repeat time and time again (the only excitement this airport had gotten was a petty pickpocket in 1996 – and even that he had to hear from his colleagues), and finally something extraordinary. Finally something that would make headlines. He pressed his walkie-talkie to his lips and whispered in frantic Russian: Intruders! In security room!

Demetrius whirled on the balls of his heels. His eyes met the guard’s and then rested on what was in his hand. His heart was loud in his ears. His stomach sank. He didn’t need to speak Russian to understand that his mission was about to become needless more complex. ‘We have to leave,’ Demetrius said, Xoom in hand and running to the exit. ‘Now!’

Possessed by an unseen force, the radio transceiver tore away from the guard’s hand, propelled toward the door, and came to an abrupt halt beside Demetrius, hovering inches from his cheek. He launched through the door, followed closely by the Japanese woman.

Behind them, out of both their sights, the monitor showed rewound footage of a dark-clothed man entering the security room.

The airport looked normal enough outside. There were no blaring sirens, no flashing lights; just unaware civilians in conversation. In fact, as far as Demetrius could see, the guard’s alert had changed nothing. He made a gesture telling the psychic to stay close then grabbed the floating walkie-talkie.

They walked all but ten meters before the speakers overhead chimed to life. Broadcasting through them was a male voice, hoarse, panicked, and Russian, interspersed with hissing attacks from heavy breathing. Still walking, Demetrius needed only look at the reactions of the locals crowding the ticketing booths – their burning stares, the retreating, mothers’ arms wrapped around children, pulling them back – to know the guard they left behind was in the midst of building hysteria. Worse still, about them. Probably that they were terrorists who had planted a bomb of some kind. That was the hot topic on everyone’s lips these days.

With the Xoom as their map and the Japanese woman’s clairvoyance as their guide they navigated the airport, miraculously encountering no resistance in their path, although every member of security on duty now was on the lookout for them. All the while the electronic voice from the speakers blared overhead; all the while civilians fled from them. Demetrius had an idea the guard in the security room was coordinating the others’ movements, but he wasn’t curious enough to stop to find out.

It was still dark when they emerged from the double glass doors. An unattended buggy was near the doors, possibly while its driver went to relieve himself inside; minutes later, it was speeding up the asphalt with Demetrius at the wheel.

They reached the military base to the northwest of the airfield. The place looked deserted. A small lock fastened a loose coil of iron chain that wrapped around a wire mesh gate. Hardly high security. Once again Demetrius worked telekinesis in the metal lock, and it instantly fell open; it was almost too easy. No sooner had they reached a closed hangar, not more than twenty paces away, than three cold, metallic clicks – spaced almost imperceptibly apart – cut through the night air.

‘Ostanovit,’ came a strict voice from behind them. Halt.

Demetrius spun around, arms to his side, palms open. Not so abandoned, after all, he thought. They were military, that much he could tell from their uniforms; still, there were only three of them, and though each brandished a high caliber firearm of some sort, Demetrius had worked his way out of tighter situations in the past.

‘Look, we don’t want to cause a fuss; all we want is to—‘

He raised his hands a fraction of an inch, and all three rifles tore free of their owners’ grips. The butts of the left and right guards’ guns hit each square on the forehead on their trajectory, and both collapsed in a synchronized thud. Now, all three guns circled around the middle soldier, held aloft by some unholy force. Had there been light, Demetrius would have seen the growing dark patch on the front of the soldier’s trousers.

‘—get to North Korea.’ Demetrius smiled, tilting his head to the hangar behind him. ‘You the sort of bloke who can help us out with that?’



Two thousand six hundred kilometers away in the Chunghwa Air Base at Pyongyang-Si, Headquarters of the Korean People's Air Force, for the first time in history a privately owned Yakovlev-42 – a passenger aircraft that today carried particularly expensive cargo, Doctor Hermann Niels – touched down on the runway, once reserved exclusively for Korean fighter jets. Four sentry guards in the control tower provided the aircraft a continuous relay of directions – all in Korean, of course, which was little use to the two pilots in the cockpit: they spoke only Russian.

Also in the control tower this morning was Vice Marshal of the Korean People’s Army Kim Chae Young, Minister of the People's Armed Forces, in his fifties, and very eager to finally meet the scientist, who had claimed to create an army of superhumans, on the plane moving across his window. Through it he saw the first, crimson rays of sunrise; they stained the sky like infected blood.

He whirled around to exit the tower and greet his guest. As he did, he left a clear order to his men, spitting Korean, fast and fluent: ‘Anything foreign that comes into this airspace – do not make contact; proceed to annihilate it. I don’t care if it’s a quail that has taken the wrong turn. Shoot it out of the sky.’
 

Orion

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Didact felt the immediate compulsion to wipe the man's brain clean as a slate the moment he experienced the presence of another on board the plane. That he spoke out of nowhere was not what truly scared him. That the plane was empty when it took off - or at least, Didact felt no presences on board at the time - and now clearly had an extra, previously-unnoticed occupant was what frightened Didact. He had to resists the temptation of mind-wiping him, because for all Didact currently knew for sure, he was a PSInner. He had avoided detection, or made his way onto the plane without actually opening any doors. A myriad of possibilities flickered into Didact's mind between the time it took Jericho to begin and end saying 'Mate.'

He might be able to camouflage himself, which raised a whole host of possibilities within itself - could he hide because he was physically cloaked in some way, or was it trickery of the senses? If the former, was it based on photokinesis, or could the man absorb himself into a piece of matter to hide within it? If it wasn't camouflage, but the man had been outside of the craft before it took off and was now in it, possibilities yet more powerful popped into Didact's head: Had he phased through the hull of the plane? And what, caught up to it too? Could he fly, could he teleport?

That Didact knew so little about just what the fellow Australian's powers were was the reason he kept his powers inactive. In the half-second it took to read the man's mind, he might blast a laser through Didact's cranium or give him hallucinations to forever drive him insane. So, with agonising slowness compared to what he preferred, Didact learnt about the man, and ultimately drew the conclusion that if his power was a transportative one, it was teleportation. Were it camouflage, Didact still had no way to narrow it down. But Jericho's powers made breaking into banks and bases a piece of cake.

Before he offered to shake Jericho's hand, Didact was determined to satisfy that single, burning question: "Your Psynergy, is it something camouflage or teleportation?" An affirmative response to the latter came, and Didact was very suddenly relievved that Jericho had arrived. He seemed eager to help, and Didact was already churning out a thousand possible plans before the two joined hands in a firm grip that lasted two shakes. "You can make short work of fortresses and their defences?" probed Didact. A nod from the dark-haired new arrival, and Didact continued, "Fantastic. Neils is heading to North Korea, which means at some stage - possibly multiple stages - he's going to be in a big, bad, secret base. I just need some information from him. Along the way, especially since we're not scheduled or properly identified, we'd get shot at as soon as we enter restricted North Korean air space, which is where I hope your teleportative powers are of the sort where you can cancel any prior momentum to a teleportation."

"Anyway, you asked questions, and I'll answer them," Didact already felt himself calming down. He loved the opportunity to sit down and teach people, swap knowledge, stories. "King Island was full of shit, a promising project woefully misdirected from the start. My powers grow the more I learn, and what did those idiotic scientists do? Keep me cut off from books and news and broadcasts and the internet. Worse, the only people I was allowed interaction with were all simple people, rural in the extreme, of no value to me. Made a couple of friends, but they in no way outweighed my need to get out of there. "I got physically close to a guard often en-" A smirk from Jericho cut off Didact mid-sentence, "proximity close, often enough that I managed to exercise my powers on him, and eventually found a way to the board of project directors on King Island, brainwashed the lot of them, took their undeserved paychecks and sizeable bank accounts, and got out of there. Been moving about the place for the better part of two years now."

"So, before this poor bird gets stripped to tatters of twisted metal by AA fire, what's some of your story?" Didact asked as the eastern tip of the Mongolia-China border passed below.
 

Alaude Drenxta

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They'd stopped twice to re-fuel, and each time Arcadio had felt compelled to exit the plane and recount every detail he knew about Hermann Niels. There was very little information, but he'd gotten all he could during the change-over in Italy when they changed from helicopter to jet. If there was any data that might make his next moves more predictable, he would need to figure it out. They had no response from MI6 as to whether or not they would be willing to cooperate, but that, in the end, would really make no difference. He had to find this man, whether he were alone or collaborating. Now was not the time for international diplomatic arguments, Arcadio felt something in the air, as if the very winds of change were blowing. This world would soon be facing a grand event, but who could know what it would be? It was obvious that all the other nations involved were madly scrambling for a clue, directionless and in silent panic while the public sat around in utter ignorance.

"How typical. They assume the black ops era is past, but full disclosure is eons away."

Dante quickly retorted, "It is the nature of man. Sinful beasts."

"Now now, friend. It is not our place to judge them. Niels will face God in due time, and he will see his fate then and only then. In the mean time, when do we take off again? I feel something is amiss, and I would like to arrive as soon as possible. We can not know how long he will actually be in Russia, especially considering we do not even know for what reason he went, perhaps if for nothing aside from hiding."

"That's why I've come, we leave now."

The two quickly crossed the tarmac, slightly disturbed by the presence of a quick, heavy draft in the Ukrainian air. They were perhaps an hour from their destination, and the longer things continued to drag out, the lower their chances of catching Hermann. The Cardinal knew his friend would not be accompanying him once they touched down, but for the time being he felt comforted to know that he was not the only one worried about what may become of this expedition. He couldn't fight that drawing feeling that something just was not right...

The jet took off with surprising force, attempting to push through the heavy winds and get into flight position. Russia was not well known for calm, predictable skies. The cabin air smelled strongly of incense, seemed that Dante had performed ceremonies for the pilots before take off, even they were worried about something, reinforcing Rizzo's intuition. They streaked through the gray skies and tunneled through the heavy clouds for what seemed like an eternity, before landing on a private airstrip just outside Moscow. He would begin his search here, after transferring to the vehicle that was collected for him. He'd vehemently turned down the offered chauffeur, much to the man's chagrin. What undercover agent brought a witness on a mission? It seemed more like a watchman than a driver, and Rizzo did not appreciate the distrust.

"Dino. Contact me immediately if you receive contact from the British forces. I'll be heading toward the security terminal where Niels' image was captured. Perhaps we can discern his path from there."
 

Ordeith

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Zimmerman was so caught up in his HERACLES-induced reverie that he almost didn't notice the loss of his target during the "emergency" maintenance. It came as close to a shock as was possible for him, and he couldn't help but wonder whether he had been misinformed of the extent of Didact's abilities.

The gambit had, after all, been designed to perfectly exploit the runaway PSInner's supposed blind spots--so his only conclusion was that the Australian government had yet again failed to meet the (not terribly lofty) standards as far as intelligence-gathering is concerned. This wasn't out of any sense of pride that prevented Melvin from admitting fault, but from an objective examination of the facts that HERACLES allowed him to make.

It's ironic when you consider just how shocked they were that they haven't been able to catch him. The part of #00527-02 that remained connected to the real world laughed at the humor of the situation, while the remainder laughed for no distinct reason whatsoever. Alcides Corporation hadn't felt any need to allow regret or disappointment to filter through their serum, and Zimmerman was ever-thankful for it. Meanwhile, Melvin had already concealed his pilot's uniform with a pilfered engineer's jumpsuit, and made a few quick aesthetic changes that instantly made for a new identity.

The "disgruntled technician" made his way across the wide, empty runway space towards one of the hangars, the jumbled lyrics of some catchy song rattling in his skull. Quickly locating the control booth and improvising a lie to relieve the other technician of duty, Zimmerman hacked the outdated computer within, and located the flight records for the entire airport. I've got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine...

"I've got a love and I know that it's all mine," he half-sang, his eyes scanning up and down the constantly-updating spreadsheet. There were no recent commercial flights headed in the direction of the one that he'd stopped....but the status of one of the private jets had just been updated as "DEPARTED", on an unscheduled flight, at a time that fell perfectly within the span Melvin had been searching for. For a fellow who thinks on the same level as a supercomputer, you don't cover all of your avenues very well. Zimmerman cleared the computer's history with a smirk, and left with "Pocket Full of Sunshine" still playing in his head. In a few moments, a second private jet would be claimed by wealthy industrialist Art Vandelay, its destination just a few miles west of Didact's--where it wouldn't be seen from the other plane. Melvin's fellow PSInner would soon come to understand the vast extent of his persistence.
 

Eva

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Applauding Demitri's work, she had a big smile on her face. He was talented, far more than she had assumed; she had underestimated him for sure, but the level of power he had far exceeded her expectations. She was pleased, lightly poking one of the soldiers. They had actually gotten there sooner than she had expected; all that was left to do was, well, get into the air.

"My oh my, be careful what you choose." Michiko teased the last man, who was undeniably both cornered and terrified. "Of course he'll help, he knows this place like the back of his hand. Won't you sir?" She looked at the man very seriously, raising an eyebrow.

The woman gave a light and audible giggle, a big smile on her face. Things were going as she had calculated; now all was left was to catch up to Niels. It was common knowledge that he would surely try to cover his tracks, as well as having North Korea back him up. Nope, things wouldn't be so easy once there, and getting there would be half the battle.

She paused a minute, having a blank look on her face as she stroked her toy. Giving a slight frown, Michiko watched as the man led the two towards an aircraft. She lightly tugged at Demi's sleeve. "Niels has landed." She informed him, giving a slight nod.
 

Professor Ven

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"Used to work for some business; young, ambitious, somewhere in the U.K., if memory serves - you know, the whole 'I'm going to rule the world one day' twenty year old philosophy of life. Then some suits came along, said I owed service, and next thing happens is I'm sedated, put on a private airplane, and somehow sentenced to nearly ten years in some laboratory tucked away in the Outback. Bloody infidels."

"Escaped it, seemingly simply enough after I configured the more dastardly side of whatever they did to me, been lurking in the grid ever since. The usual sort of picnicking - breaking into some high security vaults, taking the information meant to be perceived as useless, borrowing some minuscule banks' funds - not really much compared to probably the scarier sort of these . .PSI fellows."

"And as for ol' Niels; getting into the base the first time'll be a bit tricky, but I keep a few jack-in-the-boxes on hand just for any trouble that's brewin'. D'ain't had a problem yet getting inside, and how long do you suppose it'll be until they fire on this beaut? I've got tea time in St. Petersburg which I'd be a little irritated at missing, seeing as how the place has their special soon. Care to join me? And yes, I'll even throw in a booth with a TV to where you can catch up on things; culture shock kills."

Jericho grinned, and then noticed a single flaw in his disguise - a tiny, damn near microscopic, for all he cared, strand of brown hair hung alongside the threads of black in his hair. Mentally his cursed, not allowing his anger at such a travesty to show on his face. He faced to his right, at the wall of the plane's cabin, and a portal began to emerge, twisting and engorging from a tiny tear in the fabric of space and time into a full-blown doorway, revealing a dim alleyway, the wall nearby covered in advertisements and graffiti, all scribed in Russian.

"Tea for two, eh?" Kern gestured to the gleaming, purplish colored opening spoken of by those scientists as a Great Artificial Travel Envisioned Within Abstract Yields, or GATEWAY for short.
 

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Landed?

‘Landed where?’ Demetrius asked without turning; his eyes were pressed on the guard’s back.

A slight pause. And then the Japanese woman told him all he needed to know. Now, to relay the information to their unwilling pilot.

He seemed to understand them enough, but that could have just been nerves from the triplet of guns hovering around him; Demetrius had to make sure it was the former. His fingers whirred across the Xoom’s screen. Letters coalesced to words, words to sentences, sentences to paragraphs. Although voice translators were readily available, text to speech remained the most popular method of electronic language translation for its reliability. Minor mispronunciations that led to major mistranslations were a common source of amusement in trials, but they were quite the opposite in the delicate business of international relations. Before the minute was over a harsh voice emanated from its speakers, streaming coordinates in a monotonous but clear series.

The soldier nodded.

Sparse and undecorated on the inside, as one can only expect from military equipment, the cabin still felt more spacious than most commercial liners. The cockpit, however, was a jigsaw of interconnecting panels with a myriad switches, buttons and bulbs coming from all directions, and it was here that Demetrius, the Japanese woman – whose name he still needed to learn – and their hostage took their seats. In a fraction of the waiting time of commercial flights the stolen aircraft was out of its hangar, on the runway and then off it. Without support from air traffic control, they had to move fast to avoid a lethal collision that would put an end to the mission – not to mention their lives – altogether.

For the first time since they met Demetrius let his gaze fall from the soldier. They were two hundred feet in the air and rising; to where could he possibly escape? His eyes rested on his enigmatic ally. They had much about to talk; but just as the beginnings of words formed on his tongue, his Xoom vibrated. An incoming video message from the chief.

The bureaucracy in this organization is stifling. It only took God knows how many hours for a message from the guys in the Vatican City to reach someone with enough clearance here to pass it to me. Anyhow, they want our help, and I’ve approved it. Relay the intel you’ve gathered to them; their field agent is still somewhere in Moscow.

Demetrius touched the link to Dino’s email address, and a new window opened onscreen. In it he typed:

In aircraft, bound to Chunghwa Air Base, North Korea. Target has landed. Click link to access live GPS data of current position.

Send. The screen faded to black

‘I suppose this is where we exchange pleasantries,’ Demetrius said as he rested the Xoom on his lap. ‘A name would be a good start. You already know mine, so it’s only fair I know yours. Next, you’re going to tell me what relation you have with Niels and how you knew which tape to play, and when, to find him. I suspect it’s clairvoyance, but confirmation would be nice. Also—‘

But before Demetrius could continue his interrogation, the cockpit’s speakers hissed to life, and a male voice barked a string of Russian. Demetrius had an idea it probably was not to wish them a safe journey. Their pilot, however, seemed to understand. Demetrius could see it in his face, growing paler with each word.
 

Alaude Drenxta

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"North Korea? You must be kidding me... It will be hard enough entering the no-fly zone, but what could Niels be doing in North Korea? Probably getting paid to destroy the world, I suppose..."

Arcadio continued staring into his phone with a clear look of shock. If Hermann Niels was in North Korea, and if by the power of God he was not, then it certainly did not bode well for any existing nation, even Italy would be struck, and Roma was no friend of the North Korean dictator. His Holiness had often enough condemned the actions of that mad man, and certainly not without cause. If Il ever got his hands on a group of psionic agents, he would undoubtedly loose Hell incarnate upon the world. Striding swiftly back across the tarmac, he sped toward the plane that had been left behind. Dino and Dante had taken a separate transport and left this Vatican airline behind for just this sort of occasion, but all the same he would have to get clearance to move into South Korean airspace. They had contacts in the country, hopefully they could get him across the DMZ with little to no hassle.

Coming upon the plane, he noticed something was odd. There were far too many soldiers racing about the area, even a few that stopped to eye up his jet before leering at the insignia and deciding they were better off letting it alone. Obviously his potential ally, or perhaps another agent entirely, had managed to stir up trouble already. His own combination of positions afforded him a few generally unquestioned liberties in what were mainly Christian nations, however few other agents would enjoy the same access. There was likely a fight, and far more likely that there would be another one soon enough.

Boarding the plane, the pilot immediately set course for Seoul, hoping to receive clearance for landing and entry before they arrived. Sometime after take-off, that clearance was granted. Pulling out his phone, he contacted Dante, informing them that he was en-route to Seoul and would likely be crossing the DMZ just as his future companions would be landing. He was, however, incorrect.

Somewhere above the coastline of Korea, it seems his pilot was led off-course by a heavy draft, a tunnel of 90 mm anti-aircraft shots tore the hull of the plane apart, casting Rizzo and his pilot down into the beachfront of Onch'on, less than 50 miles from PyongYang...


OOC: I feel it's a little forced, but with my next post I'll be jumping into things a little more smoothly. I wanted to flesh it out more, but much more just seemed too over-drawn.
 

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As Alek Stones, codename Neuro, was meditating in his room, he perceived a beeping sound in the corner of his small concrete room. It was faint at first, but as he was pulled from his trance it seemed to increase in volume. He got up, and used some of the energy from his own body to move the phone up to his head. What the h*** were they thinking, calling him at this hour? They had agreed not to call him during his meditation, so he was in a bad move. He moved the currently empty handles of his PSInergy blades near him, and cleared his throat. "Translation: start. hello, what is it? I sure hope this is urgent, I was in the middle of my meditation." He said, running it through the translaters. He got a reply, clearly having been originally in Scandinavian. It was director Amund Kristoffer "We have a mission for you. We have set made (this grammer error was no doubt a consequence of the sub par translators) agreements with many of the currently involved in human weapons programs. There is a possible threat involving a scientist and North Korea, but you fix that later. right now you are to meet a number of agents currently in an unknown location. Then you are to capture them alive, though they are unaware you are involved. don't tell them what you know, and you should be fine. We are unsure of the PSInergy of the PSInners involved, so use caution. We are unknown of where they are, so you find them (another obvious translation error). Aussies they, one named Jericho." The doors to what was basically his cell opened, and he walked out.
Alek, AKA Neuro made his way up to the office, where he powered up his PSInner blades to the length of his leg using the power outlet (which was the only one in the building, in case Stones went rogue) and left the bulding. He drained the energy of several of the parked cars, and carried it in an orb of rapidly swirling air floating above his shoulder, turning the energy into kinetic to do so. He still didn't have enough, so he broke the power line on the pole above him and drained much energy from the live wire, powering up the kinetic energy in the sphere to incredible levels. So he set out, looking for news of one named Jericho.
 
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