WoP: Chapter 19

Orpheus touched down outside Sage’s house in the mountains. He hadn’t bothered to announce himself so Speed arrived before he could take another step. “What are you doing here?” The fastest hero alive asked with the threat of what would happen dripping in his words. Orpheus was doing his best to keep his anger in check at the idea that the super soldier put into his head and ignored him. A million blows that could break through walls rained down on him as he walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. The weight of so many blows in such a short time sent him flying back into the sky but he stopped himself and landed at the door.

“Orpheus, why didn’t you call ahead?” Sage greeted him as he opened the door. Speed stopped his next flurry of blows when he heard Sage greet Orpheus by name and looked at the two.

“Wait, Orpheus as in John’s brother.” The hero looked at Orpheus in confusion “John said you had powers now but he didn’t say anything about you being able to shrug off blows like that. Though we haven’t had the meeting to discuss your capabilities yet so maybe he was going to say something there. Anyway, how have you been? I heard you were training some elemental heroes. Wait didn’t John say something about you threatening to kill us if we all came at you?”

“Hello Samuel, you should come with me the questions I have for Sage may concern you too.” If Orpheus had had to choose one word to describe Samuel before the event, he would probably have chosen troublemaker. Samuel was the kid who wrote on the walls and smoked after class when he had been normal. After the event, he had channeled all of the energy to act out into training. He had been the third person to master their abilities, the first two being John and Lianne, and had started doing jobs for the government since then. His ability to move very quickly had also made him ideal for protecting Sage.

Sage ushered them inside and out of the cold mountain air, it wasn’t snowing due to it being early fall still but by the time October hit Sage’s house would be surrounded by several feet of snow so there a place near the door where liquid would drain into the pipes below and there was a wall of heaters pointed at that spot. “Pull up a chair and tell me what brought you here without calling.” Sage instructed them as he sat in a chair not unlike the one Orpheus sat in at his house.

“I did call, you didn’t answer your phone and I couldn’t wait.” Orpheus grumbled as he began to pace. “Down to why I’m here. I know when asked who did the attack you have said you don’t know the answer, like something is shielding the information. I know this is also the case when you try to answer why the attack took place but I have a question that might have been overlooked. What was the gas supposed to do?” Samuel was looking uncomfortable since the attack was being brought up, it was a sore spot for all of the survivors but Orpheus needed to know something.

Sage called on his power and answered “I can actually answer this one. The gas was designed to call out the latent power word in people who breathed it in. It was not one hundred percent effective though since it was supposed to draw it out fully but didn’t.” Sage shook his head to clear his mind of his power “Interesting, that would explain why your power got so messed up. Other powers might be able to handle being called out partially but it broke your power. There were also probably some people who died because they got something like Sonic but without the resistances that go with the power.”

“Wait what do you mean his power is broken.” Samuel asked. Sage had forgotten he was there and looked nervously at Orpheus.

“I can only access a portion of my overall power. I wouldn’t tell that to John if I were you though because he will either get cocky or terrified, depends how smart he has gotten over the last few months.” Orpheus turned his attention back to Sage and asked another question “Who would be capable of making such a gas?”

“I can’t access that.”

Orpheus huffed and asked a different question “Did the people who called for the attack benefit from it?”

“Yes.” Sage shook his head again “I don’t see how that helps us though.”

“It will if this works. Who benefited from the attack?”

The words hung heavy in the air as Sage accessed the information “The International Government, Supers division, all weapons manufacturers, Northern Metro hospital, The Monsters, The Coalition of Powered People, The Resistance, the survivors, me, Tank, Wizard, Warlock, Lily, Jane, Sarah, Katherine and a man named Jason Tennant. That is everyone there is nothing blocking my power.”

“Now we shrunk the list of possible suspects from everyone on the planet to less than a thousand people.” Orpheus sat down and drank a glass of brandy that Sage offered. “We can safely eliminate the survivors, you, Tank, Wiz, and the girls. I would probably say we can eliminate Northern Metro too since that is where we all were taken. I know for a fact that the press helped keep it open.”

Samuel chipped in “I can tell you that it isn’t Jason Tennant. I was there when they questioned him. He had bet on a super science attack on that day and made out like a king. He profited while we were miserable but he didn’t do it.”

“Glad you didn’t try to stick up for the government on this.” Orpheus said to Samuel “The thing that got me on this tear in the first place was someone mentioning how much they profited from it.”

Sage realized what he was getting at “True, they didn’t have any people with powers to back up their authority and now they have twenty-six of them.”

“They even have the two most powerful words.” Samuel added. Orpheus and Sage laughed and shook their heads “Well then who is the most powerful?”

“Wish” they answered in unison. “Wish breaks all of the rules when it comes to powers. It can only be used once before it moves to a new host and often gets used without knowing but the things it has done is astounding. The thing we can specifically trace to it is super science. Powers can’t increase your intelligence but a super scientist gains a temporary increase to intelligence whenever they are designing something fantastical.” Orpheus explained.

“Fine, I forgot about him because he just locked down the power and can’t do anything with it. But I’m certain that if don’t include him…”

“Nope” Orpheus interrupted “Second most powerful behind him is a tossup between me and Wizard. After that is Negation. Then it is all based on the metric. For raw destruction, the top tier elemental powers as well as, Bomb, Quake, and Storm can easily level cities. Railgun can destroy the planet at full force but it will kill the user and Command hasn’t ever shown how powerful the last Command they can give is. If you are talking fighting than a skilled fighter can take someone with an objectively more powerful ability if they know what they are doing. Raw speed is you so you are the strongest in your category. Endurance is Tank because he knows how to spread out blows across his power, I don’t even know what that means. Strength is a little odd since Champion is technically the strongest thing alive if all the criteria are met for his power, but that only happens for one minute a year.”

“Fine you win.” Samuel said exasperated “I think the big wigs are going to make a scale based on damage sometime soon. They were talking about basing it on how much damage could be done in one attack with as little prep time as possible. There were City Enders, Block Enders, People Enders, and Potential loss of life.”

“Not a bad scale but it needs two higher levels. Country Enders for people like Lily, Wizard, and Warlock who can all wipe whole countries away with some proper planning and a well place hit. Then there should Extinction level for things like Plague that can potentially wipe out whole civilizations.”

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