Disclaimer: The following is a work of fan fiction based on the television series, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. It is not intended to infringe on the copyrights of Landmark Entertainment Corporation or anyone else who may have legal rights to the characters and settings. I do not own the characters. However, I am putting them into an adventure since the show was cancelled and the writers/producers/directors/actors can't put them into any new adventures.
Author's note: There are many ways to change what happened in Retribution through fan fiction, and some of those plot bunnies just won't leave me alone. They demand to be written. This one pestered me for quite a while. The end result isn't exactly the way the original bunny dictated, but as I wrote, I realized the original idea needed a lot of tweaking to make sense.
In this story, the original Power Base was in Colorado.
Big thanks to Jen for taking a look and putting me on the right track.
Waiting For The Sunrise
Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise.
I must think of a new life,
And I mustn't give in.
When the dawn comes tonight will be a memory too,
And a new day will begin.
Memories from the musical Cats
48-07 Mark 22
(July 22, 2148)
Overmind's voice boomed through the speakers, echoing across the throne room. "Doctor Stinson has not been truthful in his findings, Lord Dread. He is withholding information."
Dread's throne room, now modified to accommodate his biodread body, bore little to no resemblance to its previous design. His metalloid body never tired, so there was no need for a throne to sit on any longer. He required only a platform to stand on in order to maintain the illusion of mechanized regal nobility when an organic entered. Computers no longer had keyboards since he could plug an arm extension into a data port directly. A power access port was easily accessible in order for him to recharge his power cells. The room looked more like a robot maintenance facility, one that had become more of a personal chamber he ruled from rather than a throne room he reigned from.
"He believes that his experiment is more important than following my orders," Dread answered back. He looked at the latest reports from Stinson's experiment. There was some information useful to Dread's plans. The rest of the report contained confirmations or refutations of Stinson's research. Dread couldn't deny the fact that if Stinson's experiment was successful, it would give the Machine Empire another weapon to use against the insurgents and resistance movements that already existed as well as those that could rise up against them in the future. However, there were more urgent requirements that needed to be met that far surpassed any type of new weaponry or a scientist's vaulted experiments.
"Why would he withhold information?" Overmind inquired.
Dread considered the question. Stinson was a scientist, and proving his theories as fact was a prime motivator. Stinson's desire to prove his methods were successful had become a necessity to him. If he was withholding critical information… "He is buying time, Overmind," Dread told him. "He wishes to keep his experiment active for a longer period of time, possibly because his results were not what he anticipated."
Overmind processed the information which caused a momentary lull in the conversation. "His reports have shown a high percentage of success with the test subjects. Why would he require more time if his methods have been proven?"
"Only certain tests have been successful. He wishes to prove all his theories as valid," Dread surmised aloud. "After all these months, he has merely concluded that his primary technique has yielded an expected but not a satisfactory result. That is not adequate for our plans or his research. Having this many test subjects at his disposal may not occur again. He is taking advantage of the situation."
"You are not surprised," Overmind concluded.
"No," Dread answered dismissively. "He is a scientist with an ego and a point to prove. I would expect nothing less."
Overmind made a slight noise, one unfamiliar to Dread. It was if the supercomputer was musing over a problem and sighed impatiently. "Overmind?"
"I find human behavior illogical," Overmind answered.
If Dread could have laughed, he would have. "In this case, I find Stinson's behavior completely rational."
"What of the vegetation currently growing in the area of Power's former base?" Overmind asked, changing the subject slightly.
"It is useful for Stinson's experiment," Dread answered. "The organics involved require sustenance, and that is found in the forest surrounding them. It is necessary that it remain intact for now."
"Sensors indicate that it is growing at an exponential rate," Overmind's voice sounded strange. Was he trying to catch Dread in a verbal trap? "Its growth pattern has only recently begun to slow and stabilize."
"Yes," Dread agreed. "Once Stinson's experiment is finished, we shall send in our own researchers to determine the source of its origins and such rapid growth. Whatever the cause, it could prove useful to our own purposes."
"In what way?" Overmind asked, this time his voice was serious and curious.
"Until we know the cause, we cannot know the potential uses," Dread explained.
Again, there was a pause, then Overmind observed, "You were aware that this project would take longer than computed or would generate results that were not expected?"
"I was aware of the possibility," Dread told him casually. "We are dealing with organics and the study of human behavior, Overmind. Humans are rarely logical and as you have already stated, do not behave in a logical fashion. Not even a scientist intent on proving his theories. Since behavior cannot be predicted with complete accuracy, I took into account that the experiment would take longer than expected and adjusted our plans accordingly."
Again, there was a processing pause before Overmind stated, "I understand. You took logical precautions to amend the illogical behavior present in this project."
"A necessary step, I assure you." Dread's sensors indicated an overunit approaching the door. With unique precision, Dread opened the door just as the overunit reached the intercom to request permission to enter.
"My lord?" the overunit walked hesitantly into the throne room to see the biodread sitting in front of the computer, his arm extension plugged into the data port assimilating information. Dread knew he still created an intimidating impression on anyone who entered his chambers. Such an impression instilled fear and awe in anyone who saw him, a situation that he used to his advantage to keep control of his army.
"Yes, Overunit Stevens?" Dread didn't get upset over the continual interruptions as he once did. As a biodread, his mental capacity had doubled-tripled-quadrupled-quintupled to the point where data could be absorbed and tasks could be performed at a startling rate. Multitasking had become second nature. That meant that interruptions by overunits did not cause an interruption in his work.
"We have just received word from the prison. The identity of the prisoner Doctor Stinson sent there has been confirmed. She is not the organic you ordered to be reintegrated and delivered to the facility."
Dread stopped accessing the data. He withdrew his mechanical arm and turned toward the overunit.
"The prisoner in question was sent there some months ago. Why has it taken this long to confirm that she is not the organic I ordered Stinson to deliver?" His voice was calmly curious, tinged with annoyance. Intimidation aside, he wouldn't get his answers if the overunit became too nervous.
Stevens cleared his throat and took a deep breath. Reluctantly, he answered, "With respect, my lord, the prisons are operating beyond capacity, and the numbers of interrogations are higher than anticipated. The organic in question has been imprisoned in the high security section of the facility for the past five months, but reports show that she was not questioned immediately upon arrival. It appears that there was some confusion due to her being processed through Identification at the same time as a large group detained from an eastern settlement. She was recorded in the records as being a member of that settlement and not the prisoner you requested."
Dread's head tilted as he wondered incredulously at the overunit's statement. The prison workers were too busy to follow his simple orders? "Are you saying that this prisoner was lost in the crowd?"
The overunit cleared his throat again, nervously. "Yes, my lord. The prison overunit sends his apologies and is coming here personally to resign."
Having a biodread body had its drawbacks. A metal body meant no oxygen was necessary to sustain him or for speaking. He had no need to breathe, therefore no way to inflect emotion in his voice. Verbal cues were also lost, and intent expressed by facial expressions or sounds was no longer an option. He couldn't scowl at the news that an overunit had failed completely was coming to resign. He also knew that becoming angry was not going to help matters any. In a steady, synthesized voice, he asked, "Who did Stinson send to the prison?"
"A genetic scan confirms that the prisoner is an overunit named Christine Larabee. She identified herself when she was delivered to the prison, but the prison overunit believed she was lying until he initiated interrogations. She was placed under intense questioning and it was through that process that she repeatedly identified herself. Her testimony convinced the overunit to run the genetic scan."
Christine Larabee? Freedom One? She had been captured and held in a resistance prison after her failed mission. How had she been digitized? Was the resistance prison attacked by Blastarr without Dread's permission? Did she escape? One of his most faithful soldiers had been imprisoned wrongly in one of his prisons for five months? She was interrogated by Dread's own people? The questions ran rampant through Dread's mind. This so-called misdirection put him months behind schedule! If he could have taken a deep breath to calm himself, he would have.
Dread's attention was focused solely on the overunit. "The prisoner I demanded to be sent there was to have been interrogated, her will broken and her mind reconditioned. What is Commander Larabee's condition since the prison overunit believed her to be the prisoner?"
"Barely responsive, my lord," Stevens answered in a quiet voice. "Her mental condition has deteriorated due to the intense questioning."
Deteriorated? His loyal overunit had been interrogated to that point? "Was any information of her situation or location before she was digitized determined from her interrogation?" Dread asked.
"Yes, my lord," Overunit Stevens replied quickly. "We know that at the time she was captured, she was on a mission to bring the Resistance leadership together. Her activities were discovered by Power, and as she was attempting to shoot Power, her weapon was shot out of her hand by the pilot for the Power Team. She was taken prisoner by the Power Team and held in an enemy prison. She escaped during a prison riot a few days before Blastarr found her travelling through the wastelands."
So it was the pilot who had thwarted his plans that time? Not just Power? That was another realization that he had not expected. Without hesitation, Dread ordered, "Have Commander Larabee returned to Volcania immediately. I will not have one of my most loyal soldiers left to rot in a prison fit only for the animals that live outside. Our physicians may be able to restore her mental faculties." He turned his head and focused on the overunit. Again, his voice a steady synthesized version of what it used to be, he demanded, "Now tell me this, where is the organic I ordered to be reintegrated and interrogated?"
"I don't know, my lord," the overunit answered lowly. "The prison overunit did an inventory of all prisoners living and dead and there is no one matching the particular organic's description."
In a raw anger, Dread's biodread eye gazed menacingly down at the overunit. "Take a squad of troops to Doctor Stinson's research laboratory. I want to know where my prisoner is. One of the few remains of Blastarr recovered at Power's former base was his digitizing storage unit. Retrieve it and transport it back to Volcania. He was a loyal warlord and no part of him should be left in the custody of one who cannot follow the most basic orders."
As Stevens hurried out of the throne room, Dread tried to regain control of his temper. Getting angry would serve no purpose, and emotions were not of the Machine. The Power Team continually thwarted his plans. Project New Order, Project Charon, Project Styx, the destruction of the resistance leadership – every attempt to destroy the enemies of the Machine Empire was disrupted by Power and his team. Over the last months, things had gotten worse. Dread's forces were being annihilated battle after battle with resistance forces, and Dread had no doubt that Power was the one who planned and orchestrated those attacks. Once Dread got his prisoner that Stinson promised him, the Power Team was going to pay - every single one of them, starting with Jonathan Power.