Thanks for the faves, follows, and reviews, everyone. In particular, thanks Ack1308, for coming up with this idea in the first place. Subsider34 and Moon Wolf 96, I'm actually not sure if I'll continue it beyond this; most of the stuff I'd do in the past would be similar, if not the same as what happens in Security!, unless I tweak the starting constraints in some way. So if I do continue it, it'll either involve that, or some more of the aftermath of the world being abruptly saved. Either way, though, I'm probably gonna start writing this idea I had for a Worm/Justice League crossover before anything else. It'll involve Zion ceasing to be a threat, as in this fic, but unlike here, a number of atrocity-committing d-bags may get their comeuppance...
At least they've finally started to take me seriously around here.
The craft which came to retrieve me from London was cloaked, shimmering into visibility only after it landed. They hadn't been stingy with the muscle, either - Alexandria and Eidolon were the first to debark from it; Legend came next, and Armsmaster followed soon after. I could see Weaver, Tattletale, Panacea, and -Christ, they really went all out - Contessa, hanging back inside the craft.
It made me feel rather silly, since upon landing, all they saw was myself, Kevin Norton, and Duke. I could tell that Norton recognized the triumvirate, at least, in spite of the fact that he didn't follow the cape scene much.
At least their presence might help with my current task. It was amazing, the lengths some people will go to punish themselves.
"Is this proof enough?" I asked Norton. "With the resources we have available, we can easily take care of you and Duke. And you two deserve it."
"You wouldn't say that if you had any idea what I'm responsible-" he began.
"By now, you've seen my - ability - let's call it," I interrupted. "Do you really think I don't know exactly what you're talking about?" Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Contessa, having left the craft,was whispering something to both of the triumvirate's more headstrong members. I assumed they were about to say something inopportune.
"So you know, then," He took a deep breath. "I didn't understand much of what you said, but if this is really a turning point - and the world is saved now - I could have done it sooner, if only I'd -"
"You did the best you could with what you had to work with," I said as emphatically as possible. "I doubt I would have done better, in your position." In fact, I was fairly certain I'd have done quite a bit worse. "There's someone right over there who can restore your health easily."
Now, to play the guilt card.
"If you won't do it for yourself, do it for Duke there. Or maybe for the sake of the rest of the world. That's right," I said in response to his suddenly stricken expression, "The world isn't saved yet. If you want to help guarantee that as few people as possible die in the coming years, you'll come with us."
Technically, it was the truth; I'd made a point to ask Dinah about the ramifications of the various actions I could take regarding the most powerful man in the world.
Contessa made a subtle gesture, catching my attention. I stepped back and let Norton consider the matter. Glancing at the others, I observed a general bewilderment. At least most of them were used to that sensation by now.
"All right," said Norton abruptly, "You win. Take us where you will." Duke growled as he said this. I sighed internally; granted, there wasn't anything in my store of knowledge concerning how to heal or win the trust of someone who'd been through everything the man had faced. Nonetheless, I could probably improve his lot.
As the craft took off, I looked around at the expressions of exasperation or confusion of just about everyone. Most of them were trying to avoid staring at Norton, even as they tried to keep their distance from him. Even Tattletale didn't seem to know what was coming next. But, the moment she saw I was ready to talk, she seized the opportunity.
"So, let's see," she began, "You just did something very important, something you didn't plan… And this guy factors into it somehow. You're gonna tell us now, right?"
Of course, she could tell by my body language that I was ready to spill the beans. I cleared my throat.
"Yes," I began, " It's about time that I explained everything." I ignored the general astonishment this statement produced. "First though, I should introduce Kevin Norton," I gestured towards him, "And his dog, Duke. Mr. Norton here has been controlling Scion for the past few decades."
My statement produced something like controlled chaos. Armsmaster's jaw actually dropped; Legend's reaction was a bit more subtle, but he was still briefly rendered speechless. Tattletale began to bombard Norton with questions; Taylor began to get a few in as Lisa began to wind down. Panacea, who had been trying to edge away from him before, now kept quiet, looking vaguely abashed. The three other people aboard who knew the truth about Zion all gave signs of shock at the news. Contessa's path to victory must have reassured her, though, for she kept her companions in check yet again.
I couldn't have gotten a stronger reaction if I'd told them the real source of my knowledge. Or, at least, I hoped not. Now that I thought about it, I really ought to check with Dinah about the probabilities of any particular person going completely insane were they to find out the truth…
Once the hubbub died down, I decided to get a few more words in. "As you might imagine, keeping Mr. Norton alive and safe will have a favorable impact on the fate of the world," I said not-untruthfully. The details, including Scion's true nature, were probably better left unspoken, at least to anyone who hadn't been vetted by a reliable precog.
"On that note, he's probably suffering from several health problems…" I gave Panacea a significant look. The healer immediately got up, and, after a moment's explanation, began to work on Norton. But as this went on, he turned to me.
"I asked you what all of what you said to Zion meant," he began. "And you told me you told him to start dating."
Now there was complete silence. There were multiple forms of lie detection in the room, so I phrased my reply carefully.
"Yeah, I was actually trying to be euphemistic," I said casually. "More accurately, I told him to have lots and lots of casual sex."
With the weight of the of the world off my chest, I was really starting to appreciate just how fun it was to mess with these people.