Foresight and Planning
Tactician: superior (rank 2)
Bright, flashing light seeped through the cracks in the boarded up windows, casting a pulsating glow across the man's face. The police were here. The man looked down at his shirt and remembered that it was covered in blood. He looked at the gentleman who was, at the moment, nonchalantly wiping his monocle on his shirt lapel.
"You have six and a half minutes before three police officers will break down the door to this place. I know that you think you are clearly insane and that if you surrender yourself, they will show mercy. You are wrong. As of today, you are a slayer of children. Should you remain where you are, you will be shot five times, three times in the chest and twice in the head. They will say you assumed a threatening posture and had to defend themselves and while no one will believe them, all will understand. You must not let this happen. Here is what you must do."
Six minutes later, three officers approached the building, guns drawn. The first looked back at the two behind him and nodded before taking a deep breath and kicking the door. It didn't budge. He kicked it again. The sound produced was dull and heavy as if something large was blocking the way. He sighed and told the other two officers to grab the battering ram from the cruiser.
A few minutes later, the three finally broke through, the officers moving aside debris of shattered door and what appeared to be a set of boards that had been braced against the entrance. One of the cops scratched his head. If these things had just been stacked against the door, he thought, wouldn't they have just fallen over when he kicked them? He looked around, then, and saw one board that had remained whole. It was actually, he noticed, angled against one of the support beams. The beam shuddered as if giving its dying breath.
The man was running down along the docks as the building collapsed, crushing all three officers inside.
Danger Sense: superior (rank 2)
Six months later and the man had somehow broken into a highly secured lab in the middle of the night, the gentleman telling him when the guards made their rotations and where the lasers for the security systems were. He had no idea what any of the things he was furtively stuffing into his bag were but somehow knew that they were important. He had been doing this, at various labs, over the last few nights and each time, despite his confidence that this was the night he would finally be caught and turned over to the police, he continued to sneak away and build a horde of objects he could not understand. He now had the same neatly trimmed mustache as the gentleman and his eyes had developed the same hard, determined quality as well. Right as he placed the last object in his bag and zipped it up, the gentleman whispered in his ear.
Three shots rang out and whizzed right above his head, sparks flying from the their impact. He ran toward the exit, more shots following him as the guards raced forward, the man getting out of the way of each one at just the right moment. He turned a corner and immediately rolled out of the way of the baton of a guard who had been waiting for him before making his way out the building, alarms drilling into his ear like a panicked pulse. By the time he heard dogs barking after him, he was already a good quarter mile from the facility, where a pipe that led to the sewer tunnel where he had been making his home lay waiting for him. He was gone, once again.
"Good. Good," said the gentleman as the man gasped and wheezed against the wall amid the sounds of flowing water. "Soon, we'll have the parts that we need and we can begin the work of actually building the device."
"What," said the man, "will happen when the thing is finally assembled? What are you making me build? What are we going to do with this thing?"
The gentleman gave a shrug.
"The truth? You have no idea. So why should I? All I know is that it's vitally important and that you should spend more time thinking about how you're going to get the rest of the components so we can find out for sure."
"There's something you're not telling me. You know more than you let on. Tell me why we are doing this."
"You think I have some sort of ulterior motive, but in truth my motives are no more or less than what you, on some deep level, want anyway. Have wanted your entire life."
"What do I want then?"
"All you want is for you to be who you are truly meant to be. And we have made remarkable progress toward that goal lately. But it's not over. There is still much that needs to be done. While I do not know for sure what it is that is at the conclusion of this whole affair, what I do know is by the time it is done, you will finally, for the first time in your life, fulfill your potential. You will be the best you that you can be."
A Sense of Time
Reaction Speed: superior (rank 2)
His eyes flickered awake and his hand jutted out to grab a wrist before he even knew what was happening before, smoothly, connecting with a soft gut with his other hand. A knife clattered to the floor next to his stinking cot. Finally registering the situation in his mind, he saw an intruder doubled over in pain, moaning.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?"
The intruder took a few breaths and smiled.
"You got a nice place here. Lot of prime merchandise," said the intruder. "I been watching you come in and out of this place these last few days. Took me a while to find where you were actually going. Thought at first you'd be somewhere in town, not down here. But, no, you sleep down here too. You know it's not safe down here. Lots of shady characters. Folks who wouldn't think twice of slicing your throat and taking all that shiny stuff you got here, know what I'm sayin'?"
The man stood up and faced the intruder. He spoke with a voice he didn't know he had. A voice that was contemptuous and snarling, as if addressing the figure before him were a bothersome chore that he was none the less roped into doing.
"No. No I don't. And neither do you. Because if you did know, you'd have never come here to begin with. You'd have stayed far, far away and have gone on with your pathetic little life until you die of an infected cut you get in a knife fight two years from now. But you've come here and you've threatened me and my work and you've moved up fate by just a little more." His inflection and pitch matched that of the gentleman who, from the corner, looked on silently.
The intruder smirked. "You some sorta tough guy now?" A scraping sound, quiet at first but growing louder, began filling the room. "You better hope you are. Because if you haven't noticed, I'm a tough guy too. Maybe the toughest one around." The intruder's teeth grew into a row of needle fangs that he
tapped with fingers that ended in pointed blades. "And I don't need a knife to kill you."
Super Speed: superior (rank 2)
The intruder lunged with his claws. He was fast. But then, something odd happened. Suddenly, he wasn't that fast. In fact, the man noticed, he was actually quite slow indeed. He watched as the razor claws appeared to practically inch their way to his throat. If the man had just stood there, they maybe could have slashed him eventually. He didn't. He reached up with his hand and grabbed the intruder's wrist. The man thought that the intruder would have reacted but it seemed like he just stood there, not even realizing what had happened. Thinking of what to do, the man angled the intruder's wrist down and then, changing his grip, pushed the claw toward his gut.
When the pinpoints connected, blood didn't start spurting out. Red dots began appearing where the punctures entered but nothing spread as far as the man perceived. The man, still holding the intruder's arm, then pulled the claw upwards, creating a canyon across his torso. It was then that time sped up
and the blood gushed forth like a fountain. The intruder couldn't even scream so much as gargle as everything that he was spilled out onto the floor below him. He thrashed for only a few seconds before finally he was still. The man looked blankly at the corpse as the gentleman in the corner clapped with white gloved hands.
"Bravo! Bravo!" said the gentleman. "You were a regular iron gem, possessed of more mettle now that you ever did as a milquetoast office clerk! Did you ever think, processing spreadsheets a year ago, that you'd have ever bested such a predator? A year ago, you were prey! But now? Now you have what it takes to remove obstacles in your way. How do you feel?"
The man looked at the blood slowly pooling by the side of the corpse. He searched inside himself for something to say before offering up "Nothing. Nothing at all."
The gentleman smiled. "Good. You are improving." He walked over to the body and ineffectually kicked it, his foot passing through the dead flesh, but not appearing to really care. "This will not be the last obstacle in your way as you walk down the path upon which we tread. Today was but a simple predator, but I can guarantee you that there will be more sophisticated opposition as we draw closer to our goal. You must be ready. Are you ready? Ready to do what needs to be done?"
The man thought about his dead family, their looks of horror and shock as he plunged in the knife, guided by a compulsion he could neither understand nor resist. That night was only a half a year ago but already it felt centuries away. He realized it was the first time he had thought of them since this whole ordeal began. Intellectually he knew that he should be feeling disgust, remorse, shame, all these things and more. He willed his mind to summon these feelings to punish him for his indiscretion, to flay his soul like they would any other human being. But nothing came. Playing the scene in his head was like watching a movie of someone else, and a badly made one at that. All he could force himself to feel when remembering that night was a feeling of tightness, like wearing a suit two sizes too small, and a feeling of ease when he saw the last one dead. He looked at the body now, the blood creeping toward his cot on the floor. Proof of his power. Like finding a word for a concept that he had always known but never named.