The Aftermath Academy - CH49 (Olivia)

“How long do you think it’ll take before Void is drawn out?” I ask as another building is obliterated. Bodies rain down from the wreckage, to be replaced by thoroughly confused people as Hope’s immortality field restores them back to life and health. A few people rock back and forth on the ground in pain from non-fatal wounds.

Abe shrugs, watching Bone and Chain throw someone down the street. The holographic projection he’s wearing right now has darkened his hair and skin, and has added at least half a foot to his height. More than that, I think he’s changed some basic features beneath the holo-tech using the shapeshifting Transfer gave him.

Abe’s not being very talkative while controlling his bone puppets, which is annoying because I’m bored. And really, what’s even the point of us rendezvousing if he’s not going to entertain me. I met Abe here at least two minutes ago and no one’s come to play with us yet!

Another building is vaporized by Abe’s bone puppet. Or more accurately by whatever trigger Krieg’s tech induced in the guy. Abe’s just pointing the weapon while Krieg is making it fire. It’s a good combination. Krieg can only fully control a few people at a time with his spiders, one of which is currently Bone and Chain. But with Abe taking control of a small army of people’s basic motor functions, Krieg can jump back and forth on triggering abilities as needed.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised this part of the plan is happening without a hitch. We tested Abe’s ability to control multiple bodies on some of our associates before sending him here, but it was a bit of a gamble. In the past, area or multi-target attacks used on The Butler don’t consistently allow him to fully utilize the techniques in the same way and Abe is no different. Fortunately, whatever his base power might have allowed, the perma-boost he’s got going sidesteps that limitation a little bit. As far as we can tell, Abe can control an excessive number of bodies just like Bone and Chain.

Which is great for us since Krieg can’t hijack a power that requires the sort of mental finesse the bone puppets do. So Abe infiltrated the Bastion months ago and started shaking hands with lots of folks, most of whom thought nothing of the super thin needle of bone Abe developed scratching a finger bone here and there. Now we’re rampaging through the city with hundreds of people, many of whom have some fun powers.

Eh, ok, rampaging is a strong word. Until Void is dealt with, Abe and I are keeping a bit of distance. The clock won’t really start until we’re forced to fight ourselves and even then as long as no one figures out who Abe really is we might have some leeway. He’s disguised in two different ways with the holo-tech and shapeshifting. Plus, Hai’s blocking communications, so even if someone does put the pieces together we might have some time before The Butler is alerted.

“Bone Puppets down a half mile to the west,” Abe chokes out.

“Void?” I ask eagerly.

“Or they’ve been killed,” Abe says. “My control should remain even if her field resurrects them. We tested that just a few minutes ago. Well, maybe if enough damage was done for a full body reset though… more likely she just withdrew her protection and offed them.”

“Would they really go so far?” I ask. “All we’ve done is cause some property damage and injuries. Little extreme to go around vaporizing the puppets when Void can just sever the connection.” Abe just shrugs. It was a rhetorical question anyways. Of course Hope would butcher innocent people if it was more convenient for her. Hell, convenience aside, if she has even the slightest inkling of what we’re up to it’d be the smarter move. Not like our hands are clean since we put them in the cross hairs, but what a bitch! My hatred of her burns and it’s all I can do to restrain myself from flying towards her tower.

If it’s Void, we should send a bone puppet that’s also infected with one of Krieg’s spiders. If it’s not Void and we get a spider vaporized, we’ll be at a disadvantage. Krieg was only able to send a limited supply and we can’t go wasting them until the main threat’s dealt with.

“I’ll check,” I tell him. I close my eyes and voracious wisps of avarice begin flooding through the street in the direction of the missing bone puppets. If it’s Void, they’ll simply disappear once they get in his range. I can see damage done to the streets by the looting bone puppets, but no sign of any bodies, living or dead.

Peculiar…we started so soon ago I wouldn’t expect an evacuation to have taken place this quickly. Where are the culprits? Mohinder Gupta should be occupied with the distraction, and Krieg’s convinced he’d side with us if he learns what’s really going on. So it shouldn’t be possible for them to have been teleported out. Unless she’s changed her mind, Alysa Killjoy has Reed contained, so it’s not like he’d have copied Mohinder’s abilities again.

My voracious avarice keeps swirling through the streets, covering several blocks, until I spot a figure in the distance. Then there’s a flash of golden light and my power is obliterated. I move tendrils there again, trying to get a glimpse of my opponent and then another flash of light and my powers been burned back again.

“Solitary opponent. Not Void. But potentially problematic,” I say to Abe.

“Could definitely get rid of all our toys. I’m going to go engage.”

“You sure?” Abe asks. I can appreciate his concern. If Void is hiding somewhere with this guy around, then I’m done for. The combination would kill me in a split second once Void takes away my powers. I come at the opponent from several angles, trying to get a better view, but none of my wisps get a good look before being destroyed in a flash of light. It’s nothing like Void’s ability and I’m certain there’s only one guy.

“We’re all risking our lives here. I’m way too awesome to just sit on the sidelines if there’s a real threat to the plan. You think this guy can get through my Pride? Hell to the no, I’m gonna’ eat his ass,” I say, opening my eyes and preparing to fly towards the enemy. Wisps of voracious gluttony aren’t very strong, but if he’s able to react so quickly to ones coming in range then this might just be fun.