As the team races after The Probot, itself heading towards San Francisco, we take a moment to look in the mind of Jesuit.
Jesuit had tried to scan The Probot with his Angel Eye. His team mates saw him yell out in pain and collapse. But in reality, something much more serious occurred.
Jesuit’s consciousness was ripped from his body. He felt himself thrown into a dark abyss, hurtling through an empty space for what seemed like ages. He eventually saw a small speck of light on the horizon, his mind unable to change course. As he gets closer he sees what appears to be a solar system, with various planets circling a massive metallic sphere, larger then Earth’s sun. The planets are all connected with a fiery trail of energy, looped together, or chained. He sees a hundred or more, but is unable to stop and observe as he’s thrown towards the metal sphere.
There are no stars in this void. The only objects that Jesuit can see are the planets and the metal sphere. Everything else is just darkness.
As he gets closer, he sees the whole sphere is teeming with life, with various building, structures and life forms, all going about to and fro. He sees a massive citadel, he guesses the size of New York City, with a towering spire piecing the sky, going up miles and miles. He can “feel” himself being pulled to the citadel, as if the spire itself was calling to him. He lands just outside the doors to the massive citadel, themselves being skyscraper size. He sees dozens of armored figures, some humanoid, some not, all, all patrolling around the entryway.
Jesuit gazes down and realizes he doesn’t see himself. His body is not there. He tries to “feel” himself, but only gets the “impression” of having a physical form. He is conscious thought only. He decides to go exploring.
He wanders the citadel for what seems like hours, trying to make sense of where he is. No one pays him any mind, as they don’t seem to see him. He sees alien lifeforms all around, some look to have stepped off a Star Trek episode, others don’t look remotely alive, but move around to and fro. He realizes that he was unconsciously heading towards the center of the citadel, where the giant spire is.
He also realizes he can “fly” so he travels up and fast.
He arrives at a room as large as several story building, spreading out all around him. On one wall is a giant black banner with a flaming skull etched in. In front of the banner is a throne, that hurts to look at, due to the way it’s constructed. It has jagged edges going in a manner that is hard to look at, made of some substance that Jesuit cannot identify. It is also massive, several dozen feet tall and wide.
Before the throne are a number of beings, all clad in various states of armor, all militaristic looking. They seem to be squabbling in an unknown language. Jesuit tries to make sense of what they’re saying but then “feels’ the ground start to shake. He sees the squabbling aliens stop talking and get in formation, standing at attention.
From behind the throne, from a hidden door underneath the banner, steps out a massive, 20 foot tall being, clad in a onyx colored armor. His head is underneath a glass dome. Where his face should be is a flaming skull.
The creature stomps into the room, looks at his minions and begins to sit down upon the throne. Before he does so, he stops, and stares right at where Jesuit is.
“Did no one else notice the intruder?” the creature speaks, in a deep echoing voice. Jesuit is able to understand the creature, though its not speaking english.
The creatures all start to squabble again, pointing at each other, some arming themselves.
“Silence.” it says, in almost a whisper. But the fighting immediately stops.
The skull creature looks at “Jesuit” and says, “Where do you hail from?”
Jesuit tries to flee, but the creature reaches out, grabbing him. He pulls him up to his face. Jesuit can feel the heat emanating from within the glass helmet.
“Where do you hail from?” it asks again.
Jesuit tries to speak, tries to tell him that he is Jesuit, and that he comes in peace, that he was sent here by mistake, and that he means no disrespect.
He tries, but the creature squeezes too tightly, “hurting” Jesuit.
The creature says, “Very well. Maybe you’ll talk to my subordinates.” The creature throws Jesuit to the ground, where the minions scurry over him, dragging Jesuit away.
Jesuit’s consciousness is then tortured for a year and a day.
Jesuit, though lacking form, is poked, prodded, torn apart, stitched back together, and ripped open again and again and again. When he’s not being broken, he is in isolation, in a dark void, by himself. When his captors come back, he’s taken to various rooms, where other life forms are similarly being tortured.
Over time, Jesuit learns the basics of the alien language that all the creatures here seem to speak. It seems to be the equivalent of the “common” language, where as all the creatures speak their own. He learns it far faster then he expected.
Every torturer asks various questions as they get to work. Some are about the torturee’s origins, where they hail from, what solar system or planet or dimension. Others are about the creature itself, what’s its favorite color, who is its family, what is its favorite foods. The questions seem random, but they all involve pain. The pain “lessens” if they answer, and increase if the creature doesn’t answer. Often times the creature cannot answer, due to the pain inflicted, which just causes it to be hurt more.
Jesuit learns that Skull creature is in charge, and that his minions, his lieutenants are called The Annihilists. He does not learn the skull creatures name since no one dares speak it.
Jesuit tries to comfort himself with the thought that his team would come and save him, they would not abandon him. After months, he relied on his faith, his God, that he is being tested but that he will be saved. Then as that spark faded, he translated The Father’s Prayer into the common language. He would say it as he was tortured, say it as he was interrogated, and say it as he was dragged through the room of the others being tortured. He didn’t get it quite right for a long time, but kept at it, the only thing keeping him from being completely broken.
On the last day, he was dragged before the skull creature once more. The skull creature looked down at him. It said, once again, “Where do you hail from.”
(ask Jesuit to give him his speech) Jesuit looked at him, in what little defiance he had left. “You will find out soon. My planet, my planet will defeat you. My planet is a threat, and we will destroy you. On my planet, we breathe in toxins, we go to war with each other, and we nailed our God to a cross. We are not afraid and we will destroy you!”
The creature…smiled? Jesuit could tell it was smiling. “I look forward to destroying your world.” The creature waved his hand away, and the guards started to drag Jesuit back to his cell.
Jesuit lifted his “head,” looked at the skull creature, and started to recite his prayer once more.
As the minions dragged Jesuit away, Jesuit’s voice raised higher and higher. He finally got the words right, the inflections correct, and the tense proper. He said his prayer as loud as his strained voice could, reaching out as far as he could.
When he finished, his mind got ripped out off is captors hands, and was once again hurled into the abyss. It was almost a rubber band effect, as Jesuit was slingshotted.
Jesuit raises up and finds himself back in his body. It’s an odd sensation, and the pain and hurt and wounds that he’s been inflicted with are gone. He cries out, “He’s coming! He’s coming!” and stops as he looks around. He sees that he’s in the team plane, with War in the cockpit and Juanito in the co-pilot seat.
Neither of them seemed to be flying the plane.
Juanito came over to check on Jesuit. When Juanito placed his hand on Jesuit’s shoulder, Jesuit lashed out, getting Juanito in a headlock, ready to knock him out. Juanito goes, “Hey! It’s me! It’s me!”
Jesuit comes to his senses, sees people he hasn’t seen in a lifetime, and begins to weep.
Back outside, the team continues to try and stop The Probot. Firework activates aura sight and tries to get a read on the Probot. Its aura is pitch black, as if its a void that sucks in anything around it. Firework gets hurt just looking at it.
Wildheart tries to sniff out any info on the machine. His smells nothing. Literally nothing, as if there was nothing there to sniff out. He smells void.
Melody & Jackson try to block the signal the Probot is transmitting, but it’s a weird frequency that they can’t seem to figure out. Firework comes up with an idea and instead of blocking the signal, he redirects it to the Nevernever!
Bouncer leaps from Wildheart’s back onto the creature and begins to try and smash it open. War leaps from the plane and fires an explosion arrow, getting it between the crack! Wildheart blinds the creatures sensors, while Firework tries to pry the paneling on the faceplate open.
All the while The Probot continues to fly towards the city. It blasts Bouncer with its good eye, hurting him, but Bouncer has a gargoyle like grip on the creature and does not let go.
Aurum has flown ahead and helps AEGIS evacuate the newly opened Golden Gate Bridge, getting all traffic and pedestrians out from around the area. AEGIS positions their army on the city side of the bridge, ready to attack if The Probot advances.
The creature lands just off the bridge, on the Sausalito side. He continues to scan the surrounding area, including the team. The team use team work and go at it.
Firework rips the creature open, Bouncer reaches in to try and pull out the most important looking wire, War smashes his hands into the circuitry, and Wildheart & Juanito let loose with an energy blast.
Bouncer rips out the brain stem and unleashes a torrent of green radiation, burning off his and War’s clothes, and seriously burning them. The creature begins to fall over, and Firework realizes its an environmental disaster waiting to happen. He lifts the now deactivated Probot into the air, and launches it to space. The green radiation continues to spew out, even in space, so Firework takes the creature to Jupiter, where he stashes it in the Big Red Spot.
Back home, AEGIS begins the clean up, including taking samples of the dirt where the radiation spilled out. The plants all around were decaying at a rabid rate. Wildheart tries to sniff out the irradiated dirt, but burns his nose instead. He does get a faint whiff of decay.
War & Bouncer, still naked and awaiting a change of clothes, are taking a breather when AEGIS alarms begin to go off. An incursion has been detected and the team looks up at the Robin Williams Tunnel. A blue portal opens up and out comes what can only be described as a space ship. It flies over the bridge and the city and then turns back to hover above the team.
The team has seen this ship before, though only briefly. From underneath the ship, a hatch opens and from it descends a large figure. Fifteen feet tall, in mech suit, holding a flaming harpoon, surrounded by six car sized mechanical hounds.
The Huntmaster has arrived.
Bouncer sighs and approaches the massive entity. Huntmaster towers over (still naked) Bouncer. He speaks in a booming voice, “I intercepted a communication transmission from a Probot. I followed it here. Are you the leader of this world?”
Bouncer looks back at his friends. He shrugs, “Sure?”
The Huntmaster looks down on him, judging. The hounds behind him snarl but stay where they are. The energy glowing around his spear turns off. The Huntmaster kneels before Bouncer.
“I formally request asylum.”