Author's Note: It has been too long. Sorry about that. I had been really busy with school and getting everything for Eagle Scout finished before my 18th birthday (which I did get finished) and I had no time to sit down and write. However, this final semester I do have a lot more free time, so I hope to write many more chapters in the near futures. I won't make any promises, though, since I said I would put up something soon, oh, about a year ago and it took me until now to finish this chapter. This chapter is a bit of a recap on some past events, with some more foreshadowing and a couple new characters introduced. As usual, I hope you enjoy and I hope to write more soon!
Chapter 18: The Man with the Microphone
"Whose world will it be?" asked the man standing in the shadows. Finn was standing in a small, gray room. In front of him was a small panel with a red button on it. On the button was an image of the Cosmic Owl. "Like I said before, in the end the choice is yours". Finn looked down at the button, his face stoic and unchanging. Slowly, he brought his finger to the button. He pushed down on the button until he heard a click, then released. He looked towards the man in the shadows, who he heard chuckling devilishly.
The world started turning white, then it turned blue. Not entirely blue, however. There was still a little white in the form of puffs floating across the blue. Finn noticed a slight breeze on his face. He sat up and found that the blue was all around him, except for what he was sitting on, which was cold and metal. He crawled over to the side of the metal and looked down. Below him lay a city; some parts had buildings that were close together, like in the other cities he had seen. There were also plenty of white buildings, with columns and many people gathered around. There was a tall obelisk as well, standing near a large rectangular pool. Finn crept back towards the middle of the metal; an airplane, actually. Finn saw as Jake came up over the side of the plane, bearing two sandwiches. Jake handed Finn his sandwich, then sat down beside him. They unwrapped the sandwiches and let the steady wind carry the wrappers away. The wrappers flew from their hands and eventually into the face of some unsuspecting victim too busy keeping his eyes on his phone rather than the world that he forgot surrounded him whenever he would go for a walk.
"Any leads yet?" Finn asked taking a bite out of his sandwich.
Jake took a bite out of his sandwich, swallowed, then replied "Nope, no trace of Benedict Labs anywhere. But the signs everywhere say that this is Washington DC, so I'll bet my buns that it's around here somewhere".
"Something seems pretty bunked up", Finn said. He looked out along the sky thoughtfully.
"Let's get back down there, bro", Jake said. Finn got on Jake's back. In a split second, Jake stretched himself down onto the earth below, with Finn coming along atop him. They found themselves in front of a gate which, in turn, was in front of a large, rectangular building with a fountain in front. Atop the building was a flag of red, white, and blue. Across the street from them stood a man with a microphone attached to a boom box, continuously chanting the name "Jeeeeeessssuuuuussss".
No one looked at Finn or Jake oddly; most were staring at their phones, whether pointing it to the ground and tapping it while walking, pointing it towards the white building with the gate, or in some cases pointing it towards the strange man across the street. They didn't seem to notice the noise from the dog fight in the sky that was clearly visible to the northwest from that position either.
Finn and Jake walked along the streets amongst the people wandering aimlessly into oblivion. Finn tapped one on the shoulder and asked if they had any idea where Benedict Labs were.
"Sorry kid, don't have time to deal with you", he said without slowing the pace of his walk. The man with the microphone stopped his chanting and looked towards Finn and Jake. When he caught their gaze, he beckoned them to come over with a curling finger. Finn and Jake went over to the odd man.
The man with the microphone was middle aged, with a big brown bushy beard over his chin and a thick, fuzzy mustache upon his lip. His hair was long, dark, and greasy. He wore a graphic tee with a picture of Jesus Christ with one tear falling down his cheek on it. When Finn and Jake got near him, they were struck by an odd smell. It was neither good nor bad, but just odd, much like the man himself.
"I heard you guys asking about Benedict Labs", said the man. His voice was scratchy and he talked in a bit of a slurred way. "Let me tell you something, man. Ain't nobody gonna talk to you at all, and certainly nobody gonna talk to you 'bout Benedict Labs. 'Cept for me, that is".
"Okay", Finn said.
"I dunno, Finn", Jake whispered in Finn's ear. "This guy is giving me a weird vibe". They looked at the man as he fished for something up in his left nostril.
"I been researching Benedict Labs for a while now, when I'm not out here yelling at our Dictator-President", said the man. He picked up his microphone and looked towards the white house. "I'm talking about you, President Xavier!" He yelled. He dropped the microphone and turned back to Finn and Jake. "Sorry about that", said the man. "Now, back to Benedict. Yeah, no one will say anything particularly because nobody knows. It's a secretive company funded by the President himself, man. They have labs hidden here and there around the country; I have located them all. However, all I know about their HQ is that it's somewhere here in DC. I haven't been able to locate it yet".
"Now, let me tell you a bit about Benedict Labs. That company conducts some of the darkest crap in the country, heck probably the world. They don't just study science, man. They are researching magic, like dark magic. Stuff that no one should have any access to" the man said.
"Like what?" Finn asked.
"I don't know, man", said the man. "All my sources seem to forget that part. There has been some talk about monsters and mutants though. And of course they first attracted global attention with their invention of the Fauxridium, or F-bomb. Everyone knows Albert Benedict's name, but they don't know anything about dude, bro".
"You smell fishy", said Jake. "How do we know that you're for real?"
"You can't, man. Not in this world; nothing is as it seems" the man replied. They stood there awkwardly in silence for a while, then the man spoke again. "If you need any more help, I'll probably still be here. Just call me John". He picked up his microphone and kept chanting towards the White House.
Finn and Jake walked down the street, towards the hotel all the Ooovians was staying in. On their way there, they passed a store with television sets in the window. On the screen, President Xavier stood at a podium. He was a tall, trustworthy looking man with a warm smile and short, straight black hair. In his eyes, though, lay something sinister. He nodded to the camera, then turned around and walked away.