Chapter 12 - Origin Story

The team does what they can to help The Unmentionables pack up and prepare to leave their underground home. Bouncer calls in backup from AEGIS, who sends in a team of paramedics. Bouncer makes sure they understand that the people there are skittish, and do not trust the government. Dr. Brennan says they will be discrete, and only medical help would be sent.

Pack Rat has a talk with Bouncer and the others. He says that he and his people will go deeper underground, and that this was most likely the last time they’d see them. Pack Rat has to protect those who no one cares about, and in order to do that, they have to go back into hiding. There is a tearful goodbye as the last of The Unmentionables disappears into the darkness.

Firework helps gather all of the junk left by The Unmentionables. Thanks to Dr. Brennan’s forward thinking, one of the guards happens to have a blow torch, which he uses to cover Pack Rat’s tracks. Jesuit says a small prayer as the place is set aglow.

The team reports to AEGIS. They tell Dr. Brennan as much as they can, that they were investigating a rift in time/space, and that they ran into a powerful Paranormal. They tried to stop him, but he easily overcame their attacks, and murdered several of The Unmentionables. AEGIS is on high alert, and they stand ready to try and fight this new threat.

Bouncer reports that Collective has gone AWOL. Dr. Brennan says that it was never her idea to put her on a team, that she thought Colleen needed counseling and help to integrate into society. But it wasn’t her decision to make, and she was given orders. If Collective has indeed run away, there was nothing more that Dr. Brennan could do to protect her. AEGIS will find her, and lock her away.

The team is about to head back to their HQ when Firework turns to Dr. Brennan and asks, “Can we trust you?”

Dr Brennan thinks it over for a moment, and answers, “You can trust me. But remember, I have superiors, and I report directly to them. You can trust me, but that doesn’t mean you can trust everyone.”

The team gets back to their HQ. They take off their wrist communicators and prepare to head back to the Golden Gate Bridge, where hopefully they will get answers.

Johnny 5 alerts Jesuit that the files he requested were ready. Jesuit said to encrypt them and that he would read them later.

Firework pulls out the skeleton key that he found in his pocket earlier and tries to use it in midair. Nothing happens. Jesuit suggests he try it on a door. He does, and a doorway to their secret lair appears. The team steps through. The moment they do, the door behind them become a void.

The Lair is no longer dusty and dark. It is filled with light coming from an unseen force. The cobwebs and dirt have been cleared away, and all the rooms look lived in again. They find Caretaker dusting one of the rooms, with various cleaning supplies around him. Looking out the window, they see a “lilve” scene from another time. Caretaker says it was so that the activated team could feel at home there.

The Caretaker walks out of the room and down the hallway, pointing to the various portraits on the wall. "As you know, these are the chosen that came before you. They were selected, from all over the world and given great power. With that power, they were supposed to help mankind, lead them into a brighter future. And for the most part, they did.”

He stops at the last portrait. In it are seven individuals, including a much younger looking Cain

“Until Cain came along." He doesn’t say anything for a moment.

“So, let’s begin, shall we?” Caretaker says, as he turns to face the group. “What DO you know?”

The team informs him of the pieces they’ve gathered, that they were the chosen ones, they were trained by Caretaker to use their abilities (which Caretaker does not remember), that there is only supposed to be seven super powered individuals, but something went wrong and thousands got the power. They know a bit about the Nevernever (where they were trained) and that time flows differently there.

They immediately ask whether time will still have sped up in the outside world while they were in the lair. Caretaker says, “No, I fixed that glitch. Time moves slower in here, now, so you can be here for a hours, but only minutes pass outside.”

“I haven’t been able to fix the translocation glitch, though, so you can teleport in from any door, but you’ll always leave underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Sorry.”

Caretaker continues walking down the hallway, and says “So you have the basics. That’s good. Here’s the rest.”

Caretaker explains how the Chosen Ones, when called upon, are teleported to the Nevernever, where they are met by a Caretaker. He mentions he’s not the first Caretaker to come around, and that as long as there have been Chosen Ones, there have been Caretakers.

The Caretaker would train the Chosen Ones on how to use their abilities, and explain their responsibilities. The Chosen Ones are given abilities, powers that they are to use to make the world a better place. The first abilities were less flashy. Above average strength, speed, intelligence, and the like. Over time, though, each generation’s powers grew, until eventually they started to become “super powers.” By the time the last generation was called, there were various abilities, including flight, teleportation, energy blasts, and hyper-intelligence.

When the last member of that generation dies, the energy empowering them would return to the Nevernever, recycled and renewed, and sent out to the next generation, manifesting differently each time. Once they’ve found their new potentials, they’re zapped to the Nevernever, and the cycle begins again.

Typically the Chosen Ones would return to their respective countries and live out their lives as they would have, secretly helping where they could. They would meet every few months in The Lair and catch up with each other, establishing bonds that would last lifetimes. When a problem arose that needed the full team, they would gather together, combine their abilities and powers to do what they could to save lives, improve the world, and secure the future.

That cycle was broken by Cain.

Cain originally had the power of teleportation. He could go anywhere in the world by willing it. With that ability, he became a great explorer, going into the darkest jungles and the deepest oceans. Knowing that if he was ever in any real danger he could teleport out of there, he became cocky and kept pushing the boundaries of exploration. But Cain was a coward at heart, and wouldn’t think twice about leaving his associates behind.

Cain discovered something that would change everything. He became greedy, and wanting more power, delved into the tomes left behind by previous generations. He began to ignore calls of help from his teammates and neglected his responsibilities. Eventually, the team had an intervention for him, for his safety as well as theirs.

It ended badly.

Cain’s lust for power drove him to murder his teammates and tried to take all the energy of future chosen ones into himself. Caretaker managed to stop him, but at a great cost. The battle between Cain and the Caretaker caused The Breaking. The energy released was never meant to be let loose all at once, and never without a guide. The cycle was broken, and the world would never be the same again.

Caretaker says how important it is to stop Cain, that if he ever tapped into the full power of the Nevernever, he would be unstoppable.

Caretaker looks at the team and sighs. “That’s the backstory, mostly. There’s just one thing I left , and still haven’t totally figured out.”

“You’re not the chosen ones.”

The team looks at each other surprised. Caretaker goes on, “The power was never meant to go to you. Well, not all of you, anyways. One of you was supposed to be chosen. The rest…right place, right time? The original energy went to the Chosen One, and the rest of you were dragged along for the ride. I’m not sure WHO among you is chosen.”

Firework pulls out the skeleton key and shows it to Caretaker. Caretaker smiles and says, “Only Chosen Ones are given a key to the Lair.”

Firework says, “Also, when you were crazy, you kept saying everyone else was wrong, but I was right.”

Caretaker raises an eyebrow and goes, “Did I? Don’t remember.”

Caretaker continues talking to the team, answering their questions as best he can. He says that only he can teleport to The Nevernever, but since Cain can’t absorb his power, he’ll try and force his way through the dimensional barrier once he has gained enough energy from other Paranormals.

Firework starts to zone out, as his sparks start to whisper to him. They all say, in unison, that he can do it. That HE can do it! Firework is confused at first, until they say, “YOU can go!” Firework concentrates and in a burst of light, disappears from the Lair.

Caretaker’s jaw drops. He goes, “Huh…that was unexpected.” Looking at the team, he says, “We should probably go after him. The Nevernever is no place to be left alone without a, well, without a Caretaker. Take my hand.”

The team grabs onto Caretakers hands, and with a snap of his fingers, they teleport to The Nevernever.

Chapter 12 - Origin Story

The Breaking darkshifter