Jared was bored. He should probably be concerned about how much harder it would be to escape this prison than he thought it would be. But from what little he could glean from his interrogations, Patrick was alive and May was most likely safe somewhere, at least for now. She was still communicating through the surrogate she left here to keep the ruse up, so her new core body must be doing okay.
The grief for his sister was great, but he could only focus on it for so long. And his eyesight was very slowly returning, bit by bit. He knew from Mirkov that Kevin’s powers tended to be long-lasting, potentially even permanent. So he was grateful that his own powers must be helping his mind slowly realize that something was wrong and that the parts of it Kevin shutdown were turning back on.
It’s only been a few days and I’m already going crazy. Same questions, over and over. Then they leave me for a few hours with nothing to do. I can’t even stretch in this damn contraption they have me in. Can my muscles atrophy?
He knew he didn’t have it in him to hold out much longer before he at least tried *to escape. But once he did, he’d blow any element of surprise he might have. He needed to cooperate as fully as possible to get them to lower their guard as much as he could. He didn’t want to hurt anyone during his departure and that would be much harder if he couldn’t slip out relatively unnoticed. He also knew that as long as his vision kept returning he’d be stupid not to wait. *Soon though, soon we’ll see if this metal can withstand Patrick’s powers.
“Looks like they have you locked down pretty tightly kid,” said a vaguely familiar voice. Jared would have had a hard time seeing the speaker through the mask even if his occipital lobe were functioning properly. He knew it was probably just Director Levitt again, but the voice sounded off, slightly deeper maybe. But he was having a hard time placing where he’d heard it before. Unless…
“Well, apparently killing one of the nation’s greatest heroes is a no-no. Though I think the reports of your demise are greatly exaggerated. Aren’t they, Mr. Hargrave?” Jared smiled. It worked. Somehow it worked. I just wish…why didn’t it work for Lilly? Why did she have to die? Jared knew this train of thought was silly. It had worked for Lilly, or almost had. But the trauma had triggered her nearly getting a gift, and her body’s rejection of the ability had killed her. Jared knew this, but couldn’t shake the sense of absolute failure. It was something he would have to live with for the rest of his probably very short life, but he also couldn’t let it stop him from moving forward.
“Unless you wish to fix that now. You probably could if you tried,” Hargrave said.
“I don’t want to, but I doubt I could even if I did. Most likely you’ve asked Yves to stand outside the door to restrict any sudden bursts of flame coming out of this suit your folks have put me in.” Hargrave chuckled, a surprisingly light-hearted reaction to his would-be-killer. “Very astute, Mr. Butler. Though I’ll admit your answer rather defeats the purpose of the test. Now I don’t know if you won’t try to kill me because you really don’t want me dead or because you don’t want to play your hand.”
“I suppose my assurances that it’s the first one won’t be sufficient?” Jared asked. “Sadly not. You’ve cost me a hand, finger, and a couple of toes. Though miraculously there is no evidence as yet that I’ve suffered any brain damage. Something I’ve heard I might owe to your quick thinking and Doctor Marco’s brilliance, though my own powers might have something to do with it.” “I’m sorry to hear about your hand,” Jared said. “Feel free to use my cells to try and regrow one. You might be able to if they adapted to your heart muscles successfully. I’ve done that myself on occasion.”
“Yes, and the last time I hear you grew a whole new body to go with.”
Jared paused a moment, grimacing at the memory. “That was unexpected, and completely unintentional. Was… was anyone killed by that thing? Director Levitt won’t tell me and I escaped before anyone was. May said she saw them incinerate it by unleashing Patrick’s full power on it, but she didn’t mention if it’d killed anyone.”
“Would you really care? You escaped without a second thought.”
“I do care… I just, couldn’t at that moment.” Jared replied. “I had to try to….”
“Save your sister?” Hargrave prompted. “Bobby told me about her, I think. Your name as well. I woke up with your name in my head, which was quite a shock when I found out you were the one who shot me. Though everything from that place with the doors was rather hazy, what with the being dead and all.” “You met Bobby?” Jared asked in surprise. “Guess that makes sense. I remember it fairly clearly. Perhaps because of my powers. I assume he’s another special, like us. Oops, sorry, guess they use giftedthese days over here.”
“Some do. A lot still just call us freaks. So there’s something I find interesting, Jared. All of you have claimed that Redarctica put pain chips in your heads. Yet not one of you still has one as any proof, as far as our scans can tell. Plausible reasons for that given I blew half your head off, May claims her original body died, and Patrick’s temperature went volcanic on the boost. Even without those reasons, this Krieg Mirkov you’ve mentioned can apparently cloak things quite effectively from scans, as the bullet through the chest I took attests to. Still, you also all claim Black Rain is the real culprit, yet don’t have any real proof of that either. What I find interesting is that I’m still inclined to believe you, because none of you have any other motives for what you did that any of us can determine. On the other hand, I don’t get to decide what happens to you and there’s no real proof you three didn’t do this all on your own for laughs and giggles. You’re smart enough to be aware of how dire your situation is, yet you seem to be perfectly at ease. Why is that?”
“Because sooner or later Black Rain will try to kill me for talking about them. And when they do, they’ll have to go through this metal suit you’ve imprisoned me in. And when that happens, I’m going to beat whoever does it to a bloody pulp and figure out where as many of those bastards are as I can. Then I’m going to leave this prison and kill them all.”
“So is this all about revenge? You say that my beliefs about Sunlight City are correct. I know your family died as a result of that. So you’re doing all of this just to try and get revenge?” Hargrave asked.
“If I don’t do it, who else will? I can take their powers and use them against them. I used to be weak, always in Steve’s shadow, which was fine with me. He wasn’t perfect, but he was my friend and he looked out for me. I didn’t need to be strong back then. But everyone I ever used to love is dead. Everyone. Black Rain might not have killed all of them, but they got the majority. Family, friends, favorite teachers. Didn’t ever have many and they wiped them all out. And the only ones I care about now are already targets. But now I’m strong. And I can get stronger. The more I fight them, the stronger I’ll get until not one of them remains.”
“Rather ambitious, Mr. Butler. But I actually think I believe you. Unfortunately, I’m afraid you might be waiting a while. This facility is The Locker, one of the most heavily guarded jails on earth. Given their apparent infiltration abilities, Black Rain might get someone to you eventually. But until then, you’ll have to leave hunting them down to me. I’d like to continue our conversation soon, but Doctor Marco didn’t want me to exert myself even this much. If I don’t go rest he’ll most likely kill me himself. Now wouldn’t that just be ironic?”
Hargrave excused himself, leaving Jared once again to the insufferable boredom of being alone with nothing to do. But ten minutes later he heard a sound he could only think of as being an earth shattering explosion. Or at least an earth shattering something, given how the walls around him cracked apart. Well Mr. Hargrave, this seems a little flashy for Black Rain, but it seems I won’t have to wait that long after all.