The Breaking

Chapter 15 Invasion Rex

In the Nevernever, Firework meets with Caretaker & Dr. Brennan. He has brought Rosa, #7 of the Power Corp, with him, to keep her safe while the team dealt with the rest of the Corp. Soon enough, the rest of the team joins them in the “Hotel Lobby” of The Lair.

Rosa chats with Dr. Brennan, mostly about how she would be willing to help AEGIS understand the Power Corp’s motives, as well as their power armor, for pardoning her past…incidents (re: crimes). Dr. Brennan gets into business mode and they have a long discussion.

While they do so, Caretaker pulls Firework aside. He makes them a drink and has Firework pull up a barstool. He tells him he knows about what Firework did with the space shuttle, how he’s being so open about helping. Caretaker says he’s used to The Chosen working much more subtly, less in the spotlight. He doesn’t think it’s a bad thing, helping as they have been. It’s just…

He worries. He worries because people tend to react differently to change, some better than others. But change that comes on too rapidly, that tends to bring out the worst in people. Slow changes are easier to swallow. Fast changes, they tend to be met with more resistance. What Firework has done, hell, what the team has done, could be considered a rapid change. How people will respond remains to be seen, but Firework, and the others, need to be ready for anything.

The rest of the team show up in the lobby. Rosa flirts with everyone present, especially War, who stays as far back as he can. Wildheart takes a disliking to Rosa, distrusting her immediately. She tries to win him over with a bit of sass, and gets him to not want to punch her in the face, though that’s about it. Firework, on the other hand, takes a liking to her and they immediately become besties. At least, that’s what Firework tries to convince Rosa of.

Dr. Brennan asks Caretaker to get Rosa and herself back to AEGIS. There they will continue the negotiations, though Rosa seems willingly to cooperate, if for no other reason than to get protection from The Power Corp. Caretaker does so, leaving the team in The Lair.

Back in San Jose, Jesuit has a long conversation with Archbishop Theodosius. Jesuit is unsure how to handle the fact that the Archbishop is essentially a living nexus of Nevernever energy. The Archbishop showcases all the good his church has done, how those who have been “blessed” with abilities have put their powers to good use, and those in his congregations have gone out to spread the good word by performing charitable acts.

He sees the members of his congregation, those who have been blessed, talking with the recently empowered Paranormal. They had a few forms in front of her, and Jesuit saw they were registration forms for AEGIS.

Jesuit scanned the Paranormals and saw the same spiritual light within them. Though very hesitant about the whole situation, Jesuit can’t ignore the good they are doing, nor can he find they’ve broken any laws, including AEGIS sanctioned ones.

As Jesuit is about to take his leave, his uncanny senses smell smoke. He follows the trail to the side of the church, where a lawn is, with a few benches and trees. On the lawn is a wooden structure, in the shape of a Thunderbolt, on fire.

The Archbishop sighs, walks over to a nearby fire extinguisher, and puts it out. Some of his congregation start to take it down.

The Archbishop says that they’ve had these incidents occur in the past week, always a burning effigy on their lawn. Luckily, no one has been hurt, though the police have no leads either. Though they say.

“There is a another congregation, one that has recently set its sights on Paranormals, called The Holy Church of The Seven Thunders. They were a small congregation out in the midwest who have grown in numbers, and notoriety, in recent months. Their reverend, Luke Butler, has spoken out against Paranormals, saying they are demons, spawn of the Devil himself. His word has spread, and like minded individuals have taken it upon themselves to…defend humanity. Each time they commit a hate crime, they cannot directly tie it to the Church, but more often than not they were members. We believe the Thunders have set their sights on our congregation, but alas, without proof of who’s doing it, the police come, take our report, send out a few patrol cars for a while, and then nothing.”

Jesuit says he’ll personally see that an AEGIS detail is sent to watch over the church, for the protection of the churchgoers, as well as to keep an eye on any potential breakouts.

The team meets back at AEGIS HQ, where Dr. Brennan is caught up on what’s she’s missed. She had only been gone about a week in real time, and a lot has occurred, including someone impersonating her to get access to AEGIS files. She has AEGIS secure Rosa’s Power Corp suit, and has her talk to other agents.

In her office, with Mickey at his terminal, the team catchers her up with the various events. Jesuit tells them about the Archbishop, and his concerns. The team agrees to keep an eye on the congregation, since when word spreads about the Archbishop’s abilities, undesirable people will take note.

AEGIS makes a deal with Rosa, though she will be regulated to being under house arrest. Rather than risk her being on her own, AEGIS assigns her to be watched at the team’s home. The team isn’t happy, but they say that it’s the best place to keep an eye on her, while still gaining access to her information.

They meet Rosa outside, where she is talking with Jackson. Jackson says that with Rosa’s help, they’ll be able to figure out how the Power Corp Armor works, and come up with contingency plans against them.

Jackson informs the team that he’s been studying the cubes, the ones left behind by the Hunt Master’s hounds, trying to figure out what they can do, and where they were transmitting to.

Bouncer notices Jackson looking haggard. He pulls him aside and asks him what’s going on. Jackson says that he’s constantly getting visions or potential projects, more so than ever before. Usually the only way he can get them out of his head is by building them, but since he’s one of the few technos on AEGIS’ payroll, he’s busy doing other things, including repairing various ACME devices. Since his mind is constantly racing with new ideas, getting to sleep is difficult, at best.

Bouncer feels for Jackson, having his own issues with insomnia. Bouncer asks why he has to do it on his own, why he can’t get help? Jackson reminds him that only Paranormals can build ACME devices. Bouncer says, “Well, yeah, but does that mean that regular folks can’t repair them? I mean, if they have the specs to work with?”

Jackson thinks a moment and says, “I..don’t know. Never tried it. Couldn’t hurt, I guess?” Bouncer tells him to grab some minions and to get some rest.

Back home, they arrive to find a very worried Melody, and Juanito playing video games with Johnny 5. Rosa makes it a point to flirt with War in front of Melody, “accidently” dropping the fact that they used to be an item.

Firework grabs onto Rosa and Gay Best Friends’ her away.

Melody says that War better get blankets, so he can sleep on the couch that night.

Wildheart pulls aside Bouncer. He tells him, and Juanito, that he’ll be gone for a week or so. Bouncer says, “Okay.” Wildheart tells him he’s going into the Nevernever, and he may come back…different…

Bouncer goes, “Oooookay…?”

Wildheart tells Juanito to stick around, and to keep his training up with the Caretaker. Juanito nods and goes back to playing video games.

Wildheart opens a doorway to Nevernever and steps through.

Rosa walks out of Fireworks room, in a slink nightie. She slowly walks downstairs towards War, when she passes by Jesuit’s door. She ponders a moment, and then knocks. Jesuit opens, in his robe with a glass of wine in hand.

“Are you taking confessions right now?”

Jesuit nods, and lets her in, closing the door.

The spark that Firework sent to keep an eye on her zips back into Firework’s room.

A week passes, with little going on. Caretaker mentors Juanito & Heather on the use of their powers. Firework has gone through the computer logs to check to see just what Melody has done with Johnny 5. He discovers that though she is not at a Paranormal level, she is an extremely advanced computer programmer. She has indeed help upgrade Johnny’s systems, but it was more that she gave suggestions to Johnny 5, and he implemented them. For all of Johnny’s intelligence, he lacks creativity.

Wildheart returns through his bedroom, leaving the Nevernever. He has aged a good 4 years, and after a bit of confusion where Johnny 5 didn’t recognize him, the team welcomes him back.

At that moment, the alarms start to go off. An incursion has been detected, in Marin County. Johnny pulls up a news feed, in downtown Mill Valley. What appears to be mechanical dinosaurs are rampaging through the small town. The camera focuses on what appears to be a anthropomorphic, red skinned Tyrannosaurus, in body armor, with his brain exposed, leading the charge.

The team swings into action.

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