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InFAMOUS: Legacy of the Beast
Together they marched, the near three thousand of them; not fit to be an army but powerful enough to overtake any adversary. Each one as strong as five men, maybe more.
Together they marched, across the wastelands they had created and across the lush, green fields they would soon reduce to nothing. As was their mission
They were a troupe of destruction, with a single ringleader more powerful than all of them combined. Most of them watched and followed in the back, empty without thought, only acting when told to.
Then there were the few that stood out, above the crowd, alongside their leader. They were not stronger than the others, more hand-chosen by him, trustworthy and loyal. Maybe he simply sensed something more.
There was one with cotton blond hair that marched near the front, then the back, and on the side all at once. One second he was beside the leader, then he was near the peons all in the blink of an eye. "Rush" he had decided to call himself, as he had been given the spontaneous power of teleportation.
The next was a rugged dark haired man with a strong build. His face was solid and stern, yet had a sense of humility. He remained at his leader's side, obedient like a dog. In fact, he was a dog. But he was also a feline of all types, all kinds of aviary and rodent creatures, as well as quadrupeds large and small. Richard was a shape-shifter, an Animagous, able to change form at will into any animal. Because of his dark appearance and the nature of his powers Rush had called him "Morpheus", something that he just seemed to jumble together in his head just because it sounded "cool and bad ass" he said.
The man behind Richard eyed him viciously, also sporting dark hair. The difference was he was clean-shaved and was donned in a tattered police officer uniform. The badge on his chest read "Davis", as in "Torrin Davis" or "Torrent" as Rush had teasingly named him. His power was the ability to control and produce water. And with those powers he had often stared into the distance day-dreaming of one day righting the wrong he had been thrust into.
At his side was a young girl, no older than nine or ten years old. Her expression was timid yet at the same time indifferent. Torrin occasionally slipped his adult hand into her tiny fingers, where they would stay for only a moment until she slipped free, as if to say she need not be babied. Her name was Julia Abrahams, and as young as she seemed, her shoulders carried a heavy load. Her power was the ability to manipulate plants and affect their growth, and was given the name "Florina" affectionately by Rush. And although she was one of the first to become part of the group, she still had some blossoming to do.
At the front, together with Richard, was a woman with skin as pale and cold as death. Her hair had been stained blue from its original black tone, and her arms were frozen over, chilling the air around into a visible frosty mist. Lucy Kuo, his right-hand and most trusted of all, had been with the leader long before she had gruesomely and painfully obtained her cryokinetic powers. As she had once been human, she had also once been noble, working for the greater good and putting people before herself. Now she found herself on the side of massive death and murder, and still in her mind was the righteous duty she had always swore to do.
And finally, at the front of all fronts, the shepherd of the flock. The ringleader of the circus of humanity's evolution. Cole MacGrath, the Electric Man, or so he had once been called. He was the first to be given powers, the first to be granted the gift of evolution, for one reason only; to save the world.
His destiny had come in the form of a man named Kessler, warning him of a monster—a Beast—intent of destroying the world. And only Cole could stop it.
And at the end of his destiny he found a threat greater than the Beast—The plague, an epidemic caused by the Ray Sphere, the object that had given Cole his powers. In the span of a month the plague had already spread to over a fourth of the United States, leaving no living being in its wake.
At the time of Cole's fated battle, he came to learn a new truth. The Beast was not a harbinger of death as he had believed, but a savior and an old friend, John White. He was able to save the few from the plague that could be given powers, but everyone else...most...would die.
Cole had made his choice to abandon his destiny and fight for what he believed was right. In the war that resulted many died and a whole city fell. One of his former allies, Nix, a Conduit with the power over napalm and fire, stood against him. She had always been a rough-and-tumble every-man-for-himself type. And in the end she had put that behind her for the greater good. But Cole had easily overtook her, and electrocuted her with his Amp trapping her by the neck.
And if that wasn't enough, there was Zeke, Cole's best friend...like a brother to him, who had once struggled between knowing the difference of right and wrong then fought as humanity's last hope. But he knew he had no chance, no hope of killing Cole. He was a Conduit. He jumped off of tall buildings for fun, took a whole arsenal of bullets every day, and never ended the day with so much as a scratch.
Cole only stood, knowing that perspective is what drove all of it, as Zeke lifted his pistol and fired a shot right into his heart.
The bullet didn't penetrate his chest. It only felt like a small sharp sting. That was Zeke's free shot. Every other attempt after was violently ended by a bolt of lighting. And by the third try, he was dead. Ended by his best friend's hand.
But Cole had learned that some sacrifices had to be made for the greater good, whichever method or way it needed to be achieved.
In the end, John had given up, tired of the death and killing, and proceeded to pass his immense powers onto Cole, to finish what they had started.
Now, here he was, the Electric Man now the Beast—the very creature he had been given powers to defeat—starting a new destiny to save the world his own way. To speed up the evolution he was meant to prevent, sacrifice the majority for the few that had a chance to live.
And each one he saved he brought with him, to protect them, like a shepherd and his flock of sheep. Already the humans had sent in the army, the air force, the navy. They had yet to learn that machinery blew up or stalled with a single lightning bolt. Even though their main target was him, he knew he had to be responsible for the ones he brought up.
Cole stopped on a grassy knoll, the herd stopping with him. Ahead was a fairly large city, unsuspecting that its end was upon it. At the same time there was hopefully a new beginning like a diamond in the rough.
He turned to his flock, their eyes drifted upwards into the red fires that were once his reassuring blue eyes, corrupted by the Beast.
"I need all the newest Conduits, front and center." He spoke loud and clear, with the tone of a stern leader.
Slowly, one by one, four people shuffled out from the crowd. Their faces were scared and unsure, like a child when a teacher wants to talk to them after class. They lined up in an almost straight line and stared nervously at him.
Cole looked between them, seemingly measuring them up. Then he took a few steps and stopped in front of the first one on the right and lifted his hand. The man flinched and closed his eyes, assuming he was about to be fried by his master's wrath. Then he felt a surprisingly soft touch on his forehead before feeling unusually dizzy.
When he opened his eyes, he saw Cole's skeleton standing before him, with an intense yellow gleam shining within his breast. This took him aback, causing him to jump a bit in shock.
Cole then moved from one Conduit to the next, placing his fingers gently on their foreheads channeling some vibrant energy into their bodies and releasing a red mist. Once he had attended to the remaining Conduits, returned to the sides of Kuo and Richard, then waited a moment for the four to find a comfortable medium of balance.
"Each of you now have the power to see the plague—the effects of ray field energy on the body," Cole explained. "Most of what you will see in the humans is red. That is the plague, inflaming their organs and killing them. But what you see now, in us, is a tint of yellow. That is the gene that makes you a Conduit, gives you powers."
The four looked around. Skeletons surrounded them, replacing all living things, but so did that bright golden glow in all of them. Even in themselves.
Cole continued. "Once we get into the city, every single one of you needs to look for more potential Conduits. There won't be very many, three or four if we're lucky. When I set off the blast, you'll need to stay with them and keep them safe; buildings will be falling, sinkholes opening in the streets, everything. After that you need to report back to Kuo as soon as possible and then we'll get going again."
Many within the herd shuffled their weight uncomfortably, some nodded in bravery while others seemed very unsettled and nervous.
"If anyone has any questions, take them up with someone who's been here a while." With that, Cole turned on his heel, intent on moving on quickly. Their goal was forever getting farther and farther away, no matter how many people they saved. There was no such thing as wasted time in the herd. They were always moving, pure nomads.
When the newest four didn't start moving along with the rest of the group, Rush turned and shouted "Come on, newbies! This gig is a team effort." With that they began to walk slowly without will.
Rush then teleported next to Kuo. "Say, Lucy-lou, you ever get tired of the same thing day in and day out? Doesn't it get under your skin sometimes?"
"There's no point in complaining, Rush," she said with a hint of annoyance. Kuo didn't enjoy Rush's spontaneous teleportation, especially when he appeared beside her without announcement.
"I'm not complaining," he answered lightly. "If it wasn't for you guys I wouldn't be here right now. It's just...everyday, he turns more people into dust. Watching all those people die, it can do crazy stuff to your brain, y'know?"
Now she turned her head towards him and looked at him with cold eyes. "What I know is that if Cole didn't do this, the whole country would be dead. Maybe the whole world. As long as there are a few alive, it's not a total loss. And you know Cole would say the same thing."
Rush only looked forward, trying to find another reason to open his mouth, but finding none. Kuo was stubborn and headstrong, she wouldn't leave room in her mind for doubt that what they were doing was right.
Cole's arms began to emit crimson threads of electricity, and slowly the sun was blocked out by the dark clouds. They formed quickly as he agitated the electrons in their atoms. Soon the sky broke into a cacophony of thunder and strobes of lightning with an ominous scarlet hue. This was his warning to the humans, the declaration of war. The thunder was the trumpets and the lightning was the flares.
But there was a more practical reason for the storm than simply instilling fear. But this was a secret he only trusted to Kuo. Not even Richard, the first Conduit to join their small group, knew the full purpose of the storm.
All they needed to know was it was all part of the routine. Everything had a purpose and meaning. Nothing was just for show.
Dylan sat on the couch, flipping through the television channels in a bored, slow pace. There was nothing to watch; there hadn't been for a few days now. Every channel was covered with static or invaded by those colorful bars with the annoying high-pitched sound.
And it wasn't because the TV was fifteen years old and still ran on cable. Every TV in the city was down. Every time Dylan went out for a bike ride he'd hear people complaining about missing their favorite Sunday-night drama or missing the latest news.
Even the radios went silent.
There was supposed to be a storm—a hurricane or something—moving through the area soon. It was unusual for a hurricane to head north into the New England states rather than West into the Gulf of Mexico but every now and then something slipped off course. Everyone just assumed they'd have their satellite and cable back once it blew through.
Then again, Dylan didn't care if the news was out. He stopped keeping track once they started talking about some terrorist wacko blowing up six blocks of Empire City with a bomb. All they ever talked about was the war and terrorists trying to kill Americans, now they found something else to base every story off of. The only difference is that they finally hit home.
A few weeks later he heard people talking about how the terrorist had electric superpowers. He only laughed, wondering how professional grown adults could believe in the stupidest rumor ever. It wasn't even as solid as the rumors of the world ending that sprouted up every few years.
Now with the blackout there was some peace and sanity. However the internet still worked to some extent. Most days it worded but most websites had been offline with that 404 error popping up. Th email service Dylan used still worked and that was all he needed.
The young man sighed and ran his fingers through the tuft of black hair on his head. He stood and made his way behind the couch to the small desk with a laptop sitting on it. He opened the screen and sat in the wicker chair as the computer came to life.
When it awoke it was already on the homepage of his e-mail service. His account had already been logged out due to maintenance. He started type in his user name and password but then paused when he considered that no one ever sent him a message on that account. It was a waste of cyberspace.
He deleted each area then paused for an even longer moment before entering the information for an account he had not used for months. He had stopped using it once he ran away from home with his best friend Mitchel. On the day they escaped, Mitch's older brother Brian was heading home to Revere City in Massachusetts and they managed to convince him to take them with him.
Now the three of them lived together in Brian's apartment. Brian managed to scrap together enough money to support them for the month by working at the local pizza parlor. Mitch helped out a little, getting minimum wage working at a fast-food restaurant. Dylan, however, had refused to work because he had dropped out of high-school and therefore had no proof of education, which also prevented him from obtaining a driver's license until he was eighteen.
When the e-mail account finally loaded there were over fifty messages that had been waiting for him since he left home. Most of them were from his father, and each of them were angry and enraged.
He proceeded to call Dylan many vulgar names as well as ungrateful and worthless and a waste of space. He then started to mention his mother, who had divorced his father sometime before Dylan had decided to leave, saying that he could live without both of them and life would be much easier.
In the final batch of messages he began to beg for Dylan to come home and bring his older brother with him who had also vanished after his graduation.
This same attitude was exactly why he had left. With his brother still there he didn't care how his father treated him as long as there was someone else there for him. Once he left, Dylan became the punching bag, and so did his mother. She eventually left as well, but lost the court case for possession of Dylan, leaving him stuck alone with his father, until finally he couldn't take it anymore and followed suit.
Dylan then selected all of the messages and deleted them. He knew that they were waiting for him all this time. Only now did he decide to face them.
He saw that the time had just passed three o'clock. Mitch had been in the hospital for the past week with some sort of virus and his condition continued to worsen. Visiting hours had just started for the patients in the intense care unit.
He picked up the land line phone and dialed the number to his room. After a few rings the phone was answered.
"Hello?" Mitchel's voice was weak and sickly, barely above a whisper.
"Hey, Mitch," Dylan replied. "Are you scheduled for any scans today?"
"Not until four-thirty. They're going to try an MRI." He coughed a few times.
"Great. I'm on my way." Dylan started to put the phone down from his ear.
"Actually, man," Mitch said quickly," I don't want you coming today."
"What? Why not?"
"Have you seen the sky? That storm is right over our heads."
"I don't care," the other said smugly. "I can get there way before it picks up."
"Come on, D..."
"I'm heading out the door, Mitch. I'll be there in a bit."
Dylan hung up and closed the laptop into its quiet slumber. He made his way out the door, locking it behind himself, and wheeled his bicycle onto the sidewalk from the porch.
As he rode down the street and turned onto a populated cross-section, he noticed that the sky was darkened into an evil group of storm clouds. Lightning struck once or twice every few seconds and Dylan swore it flashed red. He didn't think much of it as he was aware that lightning could appear almost any color depending on the weather conditions—purple on a normal day and orange when off-shore.
Soon he came into the downtown area, where traffic rushed by quickly in larger numbers. He continuously looked about himself to make sure someone hadn't lost their control on a four-ton vehicle, as more accidents tended to happen in a storm. Then he realized that there was no sign of rainfall. There were no puddles on the sidewalk or in the gutters, nor had it started to sprinkle tiny raindrops and there wasn't even the slightest tinge of humidity.
Now Dylan began to wonder if this was a hurricane or any off-shore storm at all. It was strange, supernatural, even. Certainly he wasn't the only one who noticed this. There must have been some people high-strung about it.
He kept his eyes forward, watching the on-coming traffic beside him cautiously.
Then he heard the cawing screech of a bird overhead. A crow had latched onto his hood, tugging the collar of his jacket against his throat. Dylan shooed it away with his hand, thinking that he had simply come into the boundaries of a very terrestrial bird's home.
He reconsidered when the bird came back for seconds, this time pulling his hood over his eyes, blocking his sight. Birds didn't chase people down an entire block if they only came too close to a tree.
The animals were going insane quicker than he expected the humans to.
"Get off me, you stupid bird!"
He struggled again to blindly swipe it away. Then came a blare of sound in his path. The crow fluttered away as Dylan pulled his hood back, only to find a semi barreling towards him. He couldn't swerve right as there was another car beside the humongous steel death-trap, leaving the same lack of options.
He leaned to the left in a desperate attempt to return to the sidewalk. His front wheel jammed into the crevice of a sewage drain, the force of the sudden stop ejected him from his seat and onto the pavement of the sidewalk. The palms of his hands screamed in pain as he tried to catch his fall, the concrete ripping some skin from them, and his elbows rang in agony as he knocked them against the ground.
Dylan seethed and laid flat on the ground. He didn't want to move, he had enough moving for a moment. His heart was racing and adrenaline rushed through his veins. He had managed to cheat death and end up with only skinned hands and elbows all because of a very angry bird.
Other cars passed by since the near-collision. Not one of them stopped to check on him as they were supposed to. And as for his bike, it was a tangled mess of aluminum framing twisted into the vague shape of a pretzel.
Although, someone did eventually come to his aid—or something, rather. He felt hot air snorting onto the crown of his head. When he lifted his eyes he found a husky Labrador Retriever sniffing him as if checking to see if he was okay and began wagging its tail as Dylan continued to move and look the dog over.
It was not strange to see an alley-dog in this part of town and dogs were naturally friendly unless given a reason to fear humans. This one seemed well mannered enough as it let Dylan pet it on the head while dazedly moaning "Good boy..." and "Nice dog...".
But when he attempted to scrape himself off the ground, the dog changed its colors and growled while baring its teeth at him. Dylan, taken aback by this, eased back into the position he had fallen into. All the animals were acting weird. Was it because of the weather? Or maybe this dog really was scared of Dylan after all.
Even stranger was the next thing the dog did—lowering its front while keeping its rear in the air as if it wanted to play, but instead covered it's eyes and muzzle with it's paws as if hiding its vision from something. Dylan stared at the lab, nearly on the edge of laughing since it seemed to be trying to communicate with him, playing a game of charades. The canine lifted a paw and a curious ear to see if Dylan had mirrored its pose. When it saw he did not, it whimpered and resumed its pantomime.
When Dylan stifled a laugh, a much louder noise muted his sound. It was louder than a Bowing 7-47 on a landing approach flying just overhead, maybe louder then a sonic boom. The concussion wave of the eruption shattered windows and rocked the very earth he touched. And with the sound came a light, a bright light in the form of a swirling blue dome, racing to encase the entire city from downtown.
And even with all of this, the Labrador seemed completely ignorant to the chaos. It wasn't even shaking in fear. It just held it's pose as it had before, as if it knew the explosion was going to happen.
Dylan's jaw dropped, heart stopped and his eyes propped open in fear. 'A bomb', he thought, 'like the one in Empire.' The terrorists had struck again. What would happen now? Would he die along with the rest of the city? Or would a few be spared and left to claw and fight to survive in the scrap that remained?
He didn't have enough time to finish even this thought. He cowered and bowed his head into his arms as the light swallowed him whole.