/simu/ - Simulacrum

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>Date: July 30th, 2017
>Location: Subterranean Base
>Time: 9:00 PM [UST]


>Ouranos says, as he tosses another set of damaged circuitry boards to the floor. He stands in the middle of a large research laboratory, flanked by several scientists.

"Lord Ouranos, we are not making any progress with the Meta-Gene mapping project! The data has been empirically derived multiple times!"

>A scientist with blonde hair continues scrambling to show information to Ouranos - moving quickly through images on his datapad as he continues speaking.

"The codon sequences inscribed in the Meta-Gene have been catalogued properly! Decades of research, with the same general conclusion!"

>Holding up the datapad straight to Ouranos's mask, the scientist then shouts:

"The Meta-Gene has been properly sequenced! The entire codon structure is known!"

>Silence fills the air for a moment, with only the mechanical whirring of servos and motors faintly emanating from distant corners of the laboratory. The rest of the scientists look on in concern, as Ouranos remains silent.

>The armored leader of Eukaryon continues to cross his arms, as he's slowly flanked by his magitek soldiers. They then assume positions, standing behind him with their arms crossed.


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>As they stand behind him, he then finally speaks:

"Then how are we to explain them?"

>Ouranos then flicks his finger towards an empty monitor display - seemingly springing it to life. The monitor then begins to display news feeds of various beings in costumed attire.

"The vigilantes? What of them?"

>Shaking his head, Ouranos continues speaking:

"Not all of the vigilantes."

>Ouranos remotely stops the video feed, seemingly with his mind - as it begins to focus on a pair of figures. One of them draped in red and black - the other in gold and black.

"…Them. Mosaic and Omnius."

>The scientist stares at them for a moment, before stating:

"….They remind me of the two who attacked the facility in northern Europe. Different armor, but similar contours. Similar…energy streams in their armor?"

>Squinting his eyes at the image of the two vigilantes, the scientist then says:

"What of their technology? How is this a concern to you, Ouranos?"

>The armored figure shakes his head again, stating:

"You misunderstand, Doctor Bolivar. It is not the equipment that I find confounding."

>Tapping the side of his helmet with his gloved finger, he elaborates:

"Rather their capabilities. They elude my psionic suggestion - mental scanning. One of them more so than the other. In fact…."

>Rubbing the bottom of his helmet around his chin, Ouranos muses:

"I could've sworn that I have encountered that one before……"

>Silent once more, Ouranos then states:

"Immaterial. To the subject at hand, the capabilities of the Meta-Gene must exceed the preliminary analysis you have shown me."

>Waving a dismissive hand, he then continues:

"To say otherwise would be to imply that they possess a power beyond that of your measly genetic mutation. That is preposterous - therefore the extent of their Meta-Gene must be understood and catalogued. Am I understood, doctor?"

>Doctor Bolivar is silent for a minute before sighing and muttering to himself. Out loud, he then says:

"Of course, Ouranos."

>Ouranos then slightly turns his head - looking behind him at his retinue of soldiers.

"You three, with me."

>All three of the magitek soldiers nod as they begin to accompany Ouranos out of the laboratory.


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>Ouranos soon finds himself in a larger industrial factory - a command center of sorts. Armored soldiers routinely patrol checkpoints, as important materials are slowly offloaded into the production facility.

"As inefficient as ever. I wonder how my predecessor justified the lack of investment in his infrastructure."

>Still musing to himself, Ouranos then walks up to a large table, in the center of the factory. Already present are a handful of Meta-Humans, known to him.

"Ah, master. I have been waiting for you to arrive! I am truly honored for you to grace me with your presence-'

>Ouranos tosses a small keycard chip at the figure, and does so at surprising speeds. He then watches as the figure catches the keycard chip in his outstretched hand - curling his fingers into his palm.

>Flattery holds no sway over my assessment of you, Hollow. Returning from the dead is a task not completed lightly."

>Hollow gives an amused shrug as his eyes remain concealed behind his visor. Smiling, he then says:

"Yes, of course, master. I am yours to command, nonetheless."

>Rolling his eyes behind his helmet, Ouranos then activates the hologram projector at the table. Immediately, a series of small holographic maps appear, with various UI details manifesting around key points.

"I need two people from you - captured or 'removed'. The means matter not to me, only the outcome."

>Raising an eyebrow, Hollow then says:

"Two measly bags of meat. It seems simple enough."

>The woman next to Hollow shoots a glare at him, stating:

"Is that why you 'lost your head' the last time? Or was that performative show as well?"

>The woman, clad in armor with flowing red hair - gives Hollow a stare of irritation.

"Esper. I did not summon you to bear witness to your emotional resentment once more."

>The psionic Meta-Human sighs as she then states:

"….Understood. Who are the targets?"

>Ouranos then makes a gesture with his armored gauntlet - causing two holographic pictures to appear.

"Aiden Grayson and Hiyuki Hoyokazi."

>The room falls silent for a moment as Esper then speaks:

"…..Grayson and Hoyokazi? Two of the most high profile people on the planet?"

>Hollow turns his attention back towards Ouranos and states:

"With the most heavily reinforced security imaginable? I admire your confidence in us, master - but-"

>Ouranos holds up a hand as he then says:

"Precautions have already been made to assist you."

>Ouranos then gestures behind them, as another figure walks into view.


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>The figure wears a fitting black and red jumpsuit, with a black cloak. Unnaturally pale white skin provides a sharp contrast with the form-fitting black clothing. In addition, the man has jet black hair, and pure red eyes.

>As the man slowly walks down the steps - he then says out loud:

"Do not concern yourself with the boy. I will handle him."

>Hollow raises an eyebrow, stating:

"I insist that you remember your place with us, Chiral."

>Chiral turns and gives Hollow an unnerving smile, stating:

"Oh our shared benefactor has been very clear about his terms."

>Chiral then holds out a hand and makes a gesture in Ouranos's direction.

"In exchange for my revival from the dead - I assist him in his work to destroy all other Meta-Humans."

>Ouranos interjects, clearly annoyed.

"To suppress Meta-Humans. At least until the full nature of their abilities may be understood. I only usurped control of this barbaric organization for their pre-built infrastructure. It makes the plan easier."

>Scoffing underneath his breath, he then says:

"I detest the principles the organizations founders - though I do not disagree with their methods. Sometimes absolute power is only shown through complete, overwhelming force."

>Gesturing back at Chiral, Ouranos then elucidates:

"You will find that your capabilities have been enhanced, through our research into your 'Meta-Gene' as they call it. Your body is uniquely attuned to its power - for reasons that I cannot fully ascertain yet."

>Chiral holds up a hand, watching as glowing red sparks move between the webbing of his fingers. Giving another wry smile, he then says:

"Of course. I appreciate the improvements."

>Ouranos then takes one look at Chiral and states:

"If you so much as even consider an attempted betrayal, the nucleotide-binding nanites in your body will do the rest."


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>Ouranos then looks at Chiral and says:

"Your enthusiasm for the mission is noted once again, Chiral. However, I am not risking my greatest asset on a mission as minuscule in importance as this."

>Hollow feels his brow furrow slightly at the statement, resisting the urge to glare at Chiral - who can seemingly sense his irritation.

>Giving an amused chuckle, Chiral then states:

"Of course, Ouranos."

>Chiral then rests his cheek on his palm as he sits at the table - while Ouranos addresses Hollow and Esper once more.

"Attack both targets simultaneously. A delayed approach will give the other side time to prepare. If they cannot be captured - eliminate them instead."

>Chiral's wrist instinctively twists in response to the term "elimination" - clearly focused on Aiden.

"If you kill him, I will personally feed you to the sharks in the nearest sea."

>Hollow raises an eyebrow, stating:

"I would not steal your kill, scientist."

>Chiral then looks Hollow dead in the eye, as his voice becomes monotone.

"You misunderstand me, reprobate. You will not' harm the boy in any way. Only disarm him."

>Taken aback by the conviction in Chiral's voice, Hollow steps back instinctively, saying:

"…..Fine. Knockout gas or tranquilizer instead. Or, if Esper can do the honors - telepathy."

>Ouranos then gestures to the magitek soldiers behind him, stating:

"My magitek troopers will assist you with Aiden's neutralization. They are equipped with tranquilizer rounds."

>He then states:

"One more thing. We need a pretext for the attack. Something to remove a direct connection to us."

>Thinking for a moment, Chiral then says:

"Find a buffoon with corporate aspirations who has more money than sense. It worked out well enough for me….."

>Chiral says, as he adjusts his wrist carefully - paying no attention to the eyes staring at him.


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>Ouranos turns his attention back towards the holographic maps - stating:

"Indeed. Now that are core affairs are settled - we move to the task at hand. Both of the targets."

>Ouranos points to the holographic map of Sanctuary City, stating:

"Hollow, you will deal with Grayson. Requisition the aid of whatever Meta-Humans you need from The Spire. You have experiencing infiltrating Meta-Human containment facilities, do you not?"

>Hollow nods, as Chiral stands up and walks beside him, saying:

"I'll be needing this, thanks."

>Before Hollow can respond, Chiral places his hand on Hollow's shoulder. Immediately, bright red lights flare from Chiral's fingertips and course through his body - infusing him with a seemingly ethereal form of energy.

"Hey! Remove your hand!"

>Hollow states, irritatedly as Chiral removes his hand. The red light immediately fades as Chiral smirks, saying:

"A very convenient ability. Psionic conversion of nucleotide-based information into physical matter."

>Stunned, Hollow says:

"How did you even know that?"

>Chiral gives a wry smile as he states:

"My secret, of course."

>Ouranos sighs externally, as he continues:

"As for Hoyokazi? Flank her at her abode. More remote and isolated from mainland Japan."

>Esper picks up, stating:

"You sure there's no traps or anything waiting for us there?"

>Ouranos then elaborates:

"Of course there are, but I trust your judgment in finding your way around them."

>Looking at the collaborators before him, Ouranos then concludes by saying:



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>Date: July 31st, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City - Archeon Incorporated
>Time: 10:00 AM

"Uh….boss. You need to see this!"

>Amber says as she pushes open the door to Aiden's office inside of Archeon. Somewhat confused by her behavior, Aiden adjusts his sunglasses as he sits at his desk. Looking up at her, he then says:

"Something wrong, Amber?"

>Amber looks at Aiden with an incredulous look on her face. Dumbfounded by his calm demeanor, she then shouts:

"Aiden, the entire city is going into lockdown! There's a full scale fight going on in the Downtown Sector of the city!"

>Aiden, looking completely unphased by the statements, continues typing at his computer.

"I assume the Spire's seen a jail break as well?"

>Nodding slowly, Amber then says:

"….Yeah. I guess you read the news already?"

>Aiden shakes his head, stating:

"This is about what I'd expect from a full scale attack on the city. If it really is as you said, then the best source of able-bodied fighters to combat the MRD's forces would come from the MRD itself."

>Amber, continuing with Aiden's logic, says:

"…..Which means that keeping the MRD preoccupied with its own captured criminals would leave a free opening for a direct attack somewhere else!"

>Aiden nods as he then points at her phone, stating:

"Where are the hotspots of criminal activity currently?"

>Amber takes out her phone and looks at the MRD public data - narrowing her eyes as she does the calculations in her head.

"Averaging out the most frequent sightings and adjusting for the time scale……Downtown, like I said."

>Aiden then leans forward in his chair and stares at Amber behind his sunglasses to ask:

"Now show me where the area with the least reported activity is."

>Narrowing her eyes, she then finds the area - only for her eyes to widen again as she lowers her phone. Now panicked, she them stammers:


>Aiden closes his eyes behind his sunglasses again and then sighs, stating:

"I knew it. They're after me."


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>Amber spins her head towards Aiden in confusion, raising an eyebrow as she asks:

"What? Why would they be after you?"

>Aiden then responds to Amber while finishing up his typing at his computer. Now standing up and walking from behind his desk, he then says:

"Because they could've come here late at night, or far earlier in the morning before I arrived here. They're not after technology. They're after staff."

>Adjusting his wrist after rolling up his jacket sleeves, Aiden then continues:

"Ergo, they're likely after confidential information held by an employee - or rather, an employee themselves. Someone high ranking, for some reason. All signs point to me honestly. I can't rationalize it any different way."

>Amber then looks at Aiden, saying:

"…..You're gonna ask us all to evacuate then, aren't you?"

>Aiden looks at Amber and then states:

"I would, but I'd imagine that our culprits are already here. Likely due to supernatural means."

>Location: Archeon Lobby

"Get down on the floor! Now!"

>Armored troops continue to beat Archeon employees with the ends of their rifles - sending them spiraling and falling to the ground. As this occurs, on premise security begins to engage in a fight with the troops.

"Everyone move! Emergency exits! Go!"

>The armored security provide cover fire for the employees to begin running to the exits, as the fight continues in the lobby. Due to their advanced and experimental exo-skeletons, they're able to repel the gunfire and stay alive.


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>Location: Biogenetics Division

>A set of hired mercenaries are webbed to the ceiling by Arachne, as she checks their personnel cards. Examining them closely, she then mutters to herself:

"DiamondOps? What kind of name is that?"

>Looking at one of the mercenaries still conscious - Arachne watches as they scream obscenities at her, albeit muffled by her webbing.

"Shut up."

>Flicking them in the face with her wrist, Arachne then knocks them out as she begins to crawl on the ceiling - deeper into the building.

"This isn't good. If they got in this quickly? Then they must be here for a reason….."


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>Deeper in the biogenetics division, the main laboratory facility is being held up by a large group of mercenaries. The majority of the research staff are on the floor, with their hands behind their backs.

"I'll ask you again, is Aiden Grayson at the premises or not?"

>Dana and Daniel Desmond are both kneeling before the questioner - who turns out to be Hollow. As they both remain silent, he then sighs and says:

"Now, Mister and Misses Desmond. I would not prefer to leave my employer empty handed. Tell me where the CEO of the company is, and I'll spare you both."

>Daniel remains completely silent, while Dana stares daggers at him - stating:

"You'll never get a word out of me, you piece of gutter trash."

>Dana then spits up - directly into Hollow's face. As he wipes away the saliva from his visor, he then sighs and smiles, stating:

"Very well then."

>Hollow then kicks Dana in the chest with enough force to send her spiraling across the room - slamming into a nearby wall.


>Daniel says, enraged and now seeing red. As he turns around - he then stands up and rushes towards Hollow, screaming in anger.


>Hollow casually sidesteps Daniel and then grabs him by the head, raising him up.

"Hey! Leave him alone, asshole!"

>Hollow turns around to see the voice of a young man rushing towards him.

>Catching the man by the neck with his other arm, it's revealed to be Joshua - Dana and Daniel's lab assistant. Hollow watches with amusement as the man hovers powerlessly in his grasp. Laughing to himself, he then states:

"Well then. Aren't you brave?"

>Looking at the facility doors behind him, Hollow then states:

"A reward for your bravery then!"

>He then throws Joshua out of the room and through the doors of the nearest laboratory.



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>Joshua then falls to the ground, bloodied and bruised by the continued impacts of his throw. Unbeknownst to him, the shattering of a nearby container has caused an amorphous black substance to slowly fall to the ground.


>Realizing where he is, Joshua thinks to himself:

{"The testing lab! He tossed me here?!?!"}

>Looking around with his head weakly, Joshua then sees another unexpected sight. A broken glass container, with an amorphous black goo seemingly moving around on its own. As the goo slowly consumes the dead carcass of a spider - it then slowly begins making its way to him.

{"The genetically recombinant spiders! Is that the Virion protoplasm?! Oh…..that's……not good. I think?"}

>Slowly and weakly, Joshua closes his eyes and breathes deep - as his Meta-Gene begins to activate.

{"Come on….Generate the right signaling pheromones…"}

>As his unique power of biomass manipulation begins to activate, Joshua begins slowly attracting the Virion protoplasm to him.

{"Haven't done all of the testing….but with my broken bones and shattered organs? I guess now's as good a time as ever for a field test…."}

>Slowly, Joshua raises his hand out - as the amorphous black goo begins to rapidly cover the entirety of his body. Almost immediately, he can feel the mending and healing properties of the protoplasm activate. His bones begin to mend, as his internal organs rapidly regenerate lost tissue.


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>Arachne remains hidden on top of the ceiling, right outside of the laboratory where Dana, Daniel and the rest of the staff are being held at gunpoint.

>She watches as Dana slowly rises to her feet, struggling to keep her balance. As she does so, Dana then shouts:

"Let him go! Please! I….I'll tell you where he is!"

>Daniel's eyes widen as Hollow turns his attention towards Dana.

"Dana, no! The company's finished if they kill Aiden!"

>Hollow casually drops Daniel to the ground as he then says:

"Well then? Where is he?"

>Dana looks between herself and Daniel for a moment, with genuine fear in her eyes. Gritting her teeth, she then stammers slowly:

"H-He's in the-"

>Arachne then quickly rushes down from above - smashing through the glass to catch everyone off guard.

"What the-"


"Where did she-"

>Before any of the mercenaries can react, Arachne reaches out and fires webbing from her fingertips - incapacitating all of the armed mercenaries with high impact webbing. As they're all knocked out cold in a split second, she then turns her attention to Hollow and the woman beside him.

"….Esper. If you may?"

>Esper then reaches out a hand, beginning to use her psionic abilities on Arachne.


>Arachne then falls to the ground - on both of her knees as she begins to scream in pain.



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>Suddenly, a mass of black tendrils suddenly appear from behind Esper - dragging her back.

>As this occurs, the remainder of the scientists get up and begin running away in fear.


>Hollow turns around, only for him to get blasted back by a swarm of black tendril masses as well. Taken aback, he regains his balance and staggers to his feet - now using his other abilities to fend off the tendrils.

"What in the world is this?!?!"

>Daniel runs over to Dana and helps her to her feet, stating:

"Honey! Are you alright?!"

>Nodding, Dana continues grasping at her chest in pain - wincing as she states:

"I-I'll be alright."

>Then, they hear the bloodcurdling scream of Esper - and look on in horror at what's happening before them.


"Christ almighty. Is that……"


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>Arachne then slowly regains her footing as she looks on in shock. Her eyes widening behind her lenses and mask, she then says:

"…..Holy shit…"

>Esper is caught in a massive entanglement of black tendril masses - each of them seemingly draining her of her life force as she continues to scream.


>The black mass then continues to consume her even further, now consuming half of her lower body.


>Arachne instinctively fires a web line from her wrist, grabbing onto Esper's top half. As she does so - she then slowly begins pulling her out of the black tendril mass. Gritting her teeth, she then says:

"It's not enough! Shit! I'm going to need help-"

>At that moment, a figure in a black bodysuit and helmet leaps into the scene.

"Sorry! There were more mercenaries on the way here! I couldn't-"

"Focus, Matrix! Help me pull her out!!!"

>Arachne shouts as Matrix turns towards the woman.

"Right! Sorry about that!"

>Hollow finishes fighting off the last of the animated black protoplasm, before looking on at the two vigilantes in silence.


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"Got it!"

>Matrix then makes a pair of duplicates of himself, watching as they go to work.

>The first clone immediately begins generating a vacuuming effect that begins moving air pressure away from the black mass of tendrils.

>The second clone uses telekinesis to rapidly pull Esper out of the black mass - and onto the ground.

>After a few more seconds, Esper finally begins to move again - as her body spasms uncontrollably. Sobbing loudly, she begins to whimper with a sense of dread in her voice.

"S-So cold. E-Empty. Stuck….Felt…so…stuck there…."

>Arachne kneels down before the woman before turning her attention back to the black mass across from her.

"….Whoever you are - you're out of control, and you need to stop!"

>In that moment - Hollow then says:

"You could be a valuable asset. Whoever you are-"

>Suddenly, the black mass solidifies and rushes towards Hollow at blinding speeds.

"What the?!"

>The black mass, now in the form of a humanoid - slowly turns towards Arachne as it passes by her. In that moment, a series of intricate patterns start to form around its body - complete with a white spider emblem.

>Then, the black mass kicks Hollow out of the building, as they both fall to the ground, from hundreds of meters in the air.


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>Arachne then turns back to Dana and Daniel, stating:

"Are you two alright? Mister Desmond? Misses Desmond?"

>Both of the scientists nod slowly as Daniel says:

"Thank you. If you hadn't shown up, Aiden might very well be dead. Along with us."

>Silent for a moment, Arachne then replies by saying:

"…..Well, in that case. I appreciate the statement. I'm here to help - despite what the MRD might say."

>Arachne then rushes back to Matrix and says:

"Where were you?"

>Matrix puts his hands up in the air in front of him, stating:

"Hey! It's as I said! There were loads of these guys on the way here! Armed and swarming the buildings! It took me ages just to get to you from Engineering! Last thing I was doing business as usual, and suddenly - boom! Armed mercenaries everywhere!"

>Arachne places a hand to her chin as she thinks carefully for a moment. She then says:

"Someone planned this. Whoever that guy was working for? They're likely the culprit behind this mess."

>Then Arachne and Matrix look outside the window - seeing the altercation as it occurs down below.

"….Who do we help?"

>Matrix asks, looking back at Arachne.

>Silent for a moment, Arachne then grits her teeth and says:

"Both. That's what the boss would want us to do. Everyone deserves help."

>Nodding, Matrix then says:

"Let's go help them then!"


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>As they continue falling, the black suited man and Hollow continue trading blows.

"Who. Are. You?!?!"

>Hollow says, attempting to blast the figure with fire. As he does so, however, the figure dodges out of the way and grapples to him with white webbing.

"I'm your biggest mistake so far."

>The figure says with a somewhat obscured voice - functioning like a masked voice.

"If you insist!"

>Hollow says, as he then teleports away from the figure - reappearing on the ground below.

>In response, the black clad figure shoots more web lines to the ground at surprising speeds - giving him the traction to launch himself forward to the ground in record time.

>As he lands on the ground, the black clad figure makes a shockwave that sends Hollow back a few feet.

"…….Well then. You are clearly not a normal Meta-Human. Perhaps I underestimated you-"

>In an instant, the figure closes the distance between himself and Hollow and punches him in the face *so* hard as to send him skidding on the ground for dozens of meters.

>As Hollow's face grinds against the pavement, leaving smear marks - he barely recollects himself long enough to look up - with the black clad figure standing above him.

"You asked me who I am? One name then."

>Leaning forward and looking down at the bruised face of the man, the figure then says:


>Tarantula then grabs Hollow by the neck and grabs him - slamming him into a nearby car repeatedly as he then says:

"How's it feel, prick?!"

>Tarantula repeatedly shoves Hollow's head into a car window - shattering it and causing his face to appear bloody and further bruised.


>Tarantula then brings Hollow close to his mask, his seemingly cloth mask and lenses narrowing as he does so.

"I bet a lot of people in your life told you that. Did you listen to them?"

>Tarantula then punches Hollow in the gut with such force, as to knock the wind out of him.

"Thought as much."

>He then tosses Hollow to the ground - watching as the Meta-Human attempts to crawl away, bruised and beaten.

>Without hesitation, Tarantula picks up the same damaged car with one hand - and effortlessly tosses it at Hollow, causing it to explode in a massive plume of fire.


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>As the plume of flame engulfs Hollow, it begins to burn his skin rapidly as he screams in pain.

>Silent, Tarantula instinctively keeps their distance, as the flames cause his protoplasm suit to become aversive in nature. Understanding the response, he thinks to himself:

{"So this is the suit's weakness. Good to know."}

>Looking over, he then sees more mercenaries rushing out of the front of the building - examining the commotion.

>Immediately, Tarantula instinctively wants to avoid detection - causing his entire costume to become completely invisible.

{"Woah…Didn't know it could do that. Probably camouflage from one of the spider strains we used."}

>Taking the opportunity to reposition himself, Tarantula then leaps out of the way and into the air. Landing on the edge of the doors, he then leans down and de-cloaks himself, stating:

"You ever think about taking down people for a noble cause? Instead of making yourself easy statistics for me?"

>Stunned, the mercenaries turn around and begin opening fire - panicked and shocked at Tarantula's sudden appearance.

>Leaping up into the air, Tarantula fires more webbing from the back of his wrists - arcing it out into a larger web net pattern. The webbing then completely envelops the mercenaries and restricts their movements.

>As he lands on the floor, Tarantula rises to his feet and points at them, stating:

"The only reason you murderous pieces of trash aren't buried in the dirt right now? Is because the vigilantes who've saved my ass countless times wouldn't do that."

>Turning his attention back towards Hollow, who is slowly healing his body as the flames die down - Tarantula makes a taunting motion with his hand, stating:

"Come on, coward. Or are you done already?"

>Tarantula then jumps up and swings into the air, circling the area around Hollow in order to further the taunt.


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>Hollow grits his teeth as he stands up, fully healing the damage. Thinking to himself, he then says:

{"Not good. I'll need more clones. Or at the very least, to sacrifice these ones while I deal with Hoyokazi."}

>Hollow then creates three more clones of himself, who then begin to rush at Tarantula in mid-air.

"That's the best you can do? Alright then!"

>Tarantula pulls himself up by his web strand as he backflips over the first volley of hyper compressed air - barely dodging it as it completely pulverizes the lamppost behind him.

"Bad shot! As usual!"

>Webbing the Hollow clone's visor with gunk, Tarantula then zips towards them and kicks them in the chest, causing them to fall to the ground - injured.


>The Hollow clone is then knocked out cold, as Tarantula turns his attention towards the three remaining Hollows.

>Two of the Hollows then generate massive surges of magma from their hands - launching the combined stream at Tarantula - who effortlessly dodges them.

"Hold still you imbecile!"

>Tarantula then grabs onto a nearby lamppost and swings around it effortlessly - before vaulting himself up into a crouching position on it. Looking at his hands for a moment, he then says:

"No, I'm good, thanks. Besides, I might just be too fast for you. That's really embarrassing, you know that?"


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>Meanwhile, Arachne and Matrix are watching the entire altercation from afar - on a nearby rooftop.

"…Everyone's already been evacuated to the MRD right?"

>Nodding, Arachne says:

"Through the emergency passageways? Yeah. The underground transit network was a good idea after all - apparently."

>Matrix then states:

"I wondered why boss spent so much money on that before I got hired here. Now I got my answer."

>As they both look over at the situation, with Tarantula seemingly moving at speeds that are barely perceptible, Matrix then asks:

"….Can you track his movements, Mariah?"

>Arachne focuses for a long moment, before saying:

"…..No. He's too fast, even for me. Only ones I know who are that fast are Arachnid and Mosaic."

>Turning to face Arachne, Matrix feels his jaw drop behind his helmet as he says:


>Nodding, Arachne then elaborates:

"Remember, I wasn't bitten by a spider. Just had some freaky genetic experiments done to me by Chiral with spider DNA. But Arachnid was actually bitten by a gene recombinant spider and…"

>Then, it clicks for Mariah. The sudden appearance of Tarantula. The strange, black goo like phenomenon in the laboratory. All of it.

>Cursing under her breath, she then says:

"Fucking hell…..Joshua? Is that you?"


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>Looking up at the swinging form of Tarantula, as he continues to make a mockery of his efforts - Hollow bares his teeth in anger once more as he shouts:

"Impudent buffoon! I tried to establish a dialogue with you earlier, in recognition of your strength. But now you leave me no choice-"

>Blood gushes from Hollow's mouth as a swift right hook completely dislocates his jaw - knocking out a few teeth.

"Save it. I don't have time for your bullshit."

>Hollow staggers backwards - falling to the ground as he writhes in pain. Stunned by the current strength of his opponent, he can only watch on as his duplicate is grabbed by the shoulder and slammed into another car.

"Besides, what's one more criminal in the dirt where they bel-"

>At that moment, Tarantula then sees his left arm get webbed to the side of a nearby bench. Surprised, he looks up and sees another figure swinging into view. Narrowing his eyes, he then says:


>As Arachnid lands on a lampost with a swift and graceful motion, he narrows his eyes, stating:

"Yeah, me."

>Both arachnid based Meta-Humans are silent for a moment, before Arachnid speaks first.

"Mind telling me why you turned the front entrance of Archeon into a makeshift bowling alley? Or is this a film set now, and am I interrupting?"

>Tarantula makes a waving gesture, stating:

"I'm Tarantula - and I'm new around here. These idiots were attacking the facility and-"

"And you decided to respond by nearly killing the instigators - broken windows and all."

>Taken aback, Tarantula says:

"How did you know-"

"I know a lot of things, and I have a lot of eyes in a lot of places, rook."

>Both of them are silent for a moment, before Arachnid then says:

"Turn yourself in, and save us both the trouble."


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>Tarantula stiffens up, hands curling into fists as he then lashes out:

"Easy for you to say when YOU WEREN'T EVEN HERE!!!!"

>Waving his hand to the side, Tarantula generates a mass of large black tentacles. The tentacle mass then whips around - slashing through yet another car like butter.

>Narrowing his eye lenses behind his mask, Arachnid then watches a playback of a live feed from one of his miniature spider robots.

>The feed depicts Esper's pleas for help, as Tarantula almost swallows her up whole.



>Back to the view before him, Arachnid then points an accusatory finger at Tarantula and says:

"You lost control of yourself - and this is the result. People could've died because of your recklessness you fucking idiot! Did you think about that?!"

>Silent, Tarantula then starts laughing hysterically - which doesn't phase Arachnid one bit.

"Sure. Lecture me from your ivory fucking tower. Where the fuck were you when people's lives were in danger? For someone who's got 'eyes and ears everywhere' - you don't seem to see or hear shit!

>Still not speaking, Arachnid only watches as Tarantula gets more and more erratic.

"You don't even know what it means to protect people! You're a complete fucking fraud!"

>Arachnid then finally speaks.

"That's not you talking. It's the suit. You need to take it off. Now."

>Tarantula then scoffs as he looks down at the suit, feeling the strength and the energy pulsating through him. He feels invincible. Unconquerable."

"And why in the hell would I ever do that? This power feels good. It feels real good."

>Arachnid then fires a web shot at Tarantula - narrowly missing the side of his face. The web shot is even faster than Tarantula's own - which shocks him.

"Because you don't know what real power is - or the responsibility that comes with it. That's something my boss taught me."

>Arachnid then flips down onto the ground, standing meters apart from Tarantula as Hollow looks on - weakened.

"….Real power comes from within - not from any power boost or ego stroking. It shows up when people need you tp be powerful, not when you want to be powerful."

>Slowly pointing at Tarantula, Arachnid then says:

"You have no idea what true power is - and I'm going to prove that, right here and right now."

>Arachnid then uses the same mocking hand taunt to Tarantula, that the latter used towards Hollow mere seconds ago.

"Come on then, copycat. Show me what you can do."


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>Scoffing, Tarantula then states:

"If you insist, web-for-brains"

>Tarantula then pulls back with his hand - before firing it forward, generating a mass of black protoplasm tendrils that surge across the floor.

>To Tarantula's surprise however, Arachnid stands in place. As the mass of black tendrils rushes towards him, his body begins arcing with a bright gold light and radiance.

"What the hell…"

>Then, a massive discharge of bio-electricity leaves Arachnid's body - causing the tendrils to immediately react. Upon contact with the high voltage electricity, the tendrils immediately begin to rush back towards Tarantula's hand - sending the feedback signal of pain to him as he does so.


>Grabbing his right hand in pain, Tarantula clutches it as Arachnid closes the distance - at a speed even Tarantula can't register.

"When did you-"

>Arachnid then hits Tarantula in the chest with a charged blast of bio-electricity.

"Consider this a test run. I've never needed to use my Voltage Surge before. First time for everything then."

>The charged and condensed blast of incredibly high temperate and high energy bio-electricity rips a hole in Tarantula suit - causing his toned physique to show through, stunning Tarantula outright.

{"He blasted through the protoplasm's defenses just like that?! What is this…."}

>Arachnid then charges a second blast of his Voltage Surge with his other hand, blasting Tarantula in the face - and causing the protoplasm mass to violently react, unfolding to reveal Joshua's face beneath it as he screams in pain.

{"Just as I thought. It really is you, Josh. I'm sorry it had to come to this."}

>Out loud, Arachnid then pulls his hands back and charges a blast of bio-electricity between both of his palms, saying:

"I think I saw this in a show once….."

>Moving both of his hands forward, Arachnid then blasts Tarantula with a surge of bio-electricity powerful enough to completely knock Tarantula back and damage his cellular integrity.

>As the smoking and charred form of Tarantula lands on the ground - barely conscious, he can only look up as Arachnid walks towards him. Now standing before him, Arachnid says:

"I told you. Real power is something you haven't achieved yet. Remember that, when you're making up for your mistakes."

>Arachnid then turns around and walks away, leaving Tarantula on the ground, in pain and wincing as the aftereffects of the blast remain in his body and his senses too.


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>Hollow slowly stands up and gets to his feet. As he does so, he looks between Tarantula and Arachnid - before considering his options.

"…..I don't suppose I can talk my way out of this?"

>Arachnid shakes his head, stating:

"Not at this point, no."

>Silent, Hollow then nods slowly, saying:

"….Well, if I can have a request, can you hold back your strength with your-"

>In an instant, Arachnid rushes forward to Hollow and punches him into the ground with such force as to completely rupture and open up the concrete floor below.

>As Hollow is completely knocked out, Arachnid adjusts his wrist, saying:


>In that instant, Arachnid feels a tap on his shoulder, but his ESP doesn't go off - letting him know the identity of the person.

>As he spins around, he then finds himself face to face with Mosaic.

"I'm very proud of you, Damian."

>Silent, Arachnid looks around for a moment, before stating:

"….You knew this was going to happen?"

>Mosaic nods slowly, stating:

"Not with absolute certainty, but yes. Event prediction and temporal projections are some of my abilities."

>Arachnid then looks down for a moment, before saying:

"….But my mom. My dad."

>Mosaic puts a hand on Arachnid's shoulder, stating:

"If they were ever going to die, then I would've intervened from the very beginning."

>Considering Tarantula's words in his mind, Arachnid then says:

"But I was barely able to get here in time, Aiden."

>Mosaic keeps his hand on Arachnid's shoulder, saying:

"But you did get here in time. That's what matters."


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>Mosaic then removes his hand from Arachnid's shoulder and places it back in his cloak pocket, stating:

"You're getting stronger, Damian. Faster. More durable."

>Looking down at his gloved hand, Damian then says:

"Yeah, I've noticed. I almost broke the faucet in my dorm room when I woke up this morning. Just by tapping it."

>Now looking back up at Mosaic, who looks on casually, Arachnid then directly asks:

"….What's happening to me, Aiden?"

>Mosaic replies clearly and succinctly:

"Your powers are evolving. As your core Meta-Gene is kicking in."

>Arachnid looks confused as he says:

"Wait. I thought my Meta-Gene was the spider stuff I got after I was bitten."

>Silent for a moment, Mosaic looks Arachnid straight in the eyes behind his mask and says:

"Damian….Your spider powers are a byproduct of your abilities. They aren't the main event."

>Mosaic then casually walks past Arachnid, as the revelation leaves him stunned and reeling.

"What the….hell……"

>Still completely shaken by the statement, Arachnid quickly jogs behind Mosaic as the latter casually walks to Hollow's unconscious body.

>As he kneels down, he then taps two fingers against Hollow's forehead as Arachnid then asks:

"…..So what's my power then, Aiden? If the spider stuff is just….a side effect…..why train me to be Arachnid? Why bother with all of this smoke and mirrors?!"

>Getting the information that he needs from Hollow, Mosaic then rises up and walks back towards Arachnid, saying:

"It wasn't smoke and mirrors. They were training wheels necessary for you to understand the importance of power - and the responsibility that comes with it."

>Gesturing to the knocked out form of Tarantula in the background, Mosaic then says to Arachnid very clearly:

"As you have more than demonstrated here. Power and Responsibility."

>Sighing, Arachnid then crosses his arms and looks around as he then says:

"…..So what's my power then, Aiden? What is it?"

>Mosaic keeps his hands in his cloak pockets as he walks past Arachnid, stating:

"Nigh-Limitless Evolution. You grow in power by virtue of existing - like me, in a manner of speaking."

>Arachnid then continues moving behind Mosaic as he then asks one final question:

"…..Remind me to ask you about the details of that later. But for now? What was Hollow after here? What's his goal?"

>Mosaic says in return:

"….He was after me - and at this very moment, he's on his way to attack Hiyuki Hoyokazi."

>Mosaic then thinks for a bit before he says:

"Though I would imagine that your interference here, as well as that of your friends - created a tangent outcome that he didn't anticipate."

>Stunned, Arachnid then runs up to stand in front of Mosaic and shouts:

"Well then we've gotta go help her!"

>Mosaic holds out a hand to prompt Arachnid to hear him out.

"She'll be fine, Damian. I've said it before to myself, but you are severely underestimating Hiyuki Hoyokazi. She's a lot like me and the others, if you understand what I mean by that."

>Eyes widening, Arachnid says behind his lenses.

"….So she's….powerful like you?"

>Mosaic nods as he snaps his fingers - and reality bends itself to begin repairing the property damage caused in the area.

"As far as I can tell? Yes. I could sense it the first time that I met her."

>Mosaic then makes a gesture with his hands, appearing casual and humorous while doing so.

"But enough about my former crush, let's go get these three to the authorities."

>Mosaic pats Arachnid on the back, as the MRD vehicles begin arriving at the Archeon front entrance in the distance.


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>Date: August 4th, 2017
>Location: Northwestern United States - Daedalus Manufacturing
>Time: 9:00 AM

>A large limousine slowly pulls up to the gates directly in front of the large manufacturing facility. Light rain has been pouring for a few hours at this point - though it seems to be finally abating, opening the way for overcast skies.

>After a few seconds, the gates open, allowing for the limousine to drive on through.

>Inside of the facility, an adult man in his late thirties looks down at the expensive watch on his wrist.

"Right on time. Good."

>Looking behind him, the man then says:

"Make sure the cargo's secured with the identification tags provided. I'd rather not lose two of the biggest clients we've ever received."

>Nodding, the shipping workers begin to magnetically attach identification labels to the large metallic crates - as they're slowly brought in with large magnetic crane-like devices.

>At the same time, dozens of armored guards patrol the premises, on multiple levels and multiple floors. As they peruse the metallic gratings and stairs of the facility, they brandish their high powered energy rifles - slowly scanning the area for potential threats.


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>As the limousine slowly parks at the edge of the facility's entrance - the man with blonde hair makes his way outside. Adjusting his tie, the man then realigns his sunglasses as he looks up at the limousine with a smile. Briefly, he turns behind him to his female assistant to whisper.

"Make sure everything's in proper form. We're not losing clients as valuable as these two."

>The limousine doors then open as the man quickly turns his head back to face it. Now appearing slightly more laid back and less formal, the man holds up his hands in the air as he walks forward.

"Ahh! There's the man of the hour!"

>Exiting the limousine, Aiden slowly stands up and dusts himself off - ensuring that his own black jacket looks presentable. As he adjusts the white cuffs of his suit underneath the black jacket, he then adjusts his sunglasses as he turns behind him.

"Appreciate it, Alphonse."

>The family butler then nods at Aiden from the driver's seat, as Aiden turns his attention back towards the man before him.

"Aiden, my boy! How've you been?"

>Rolling his eyes behind his sunglasses, Aiden then gives a polite but reserved smile as he shakes the man's hand.

"Good so far. I wouldn't want to disappoint the great David Monroe."

>David shakes Aiden's hand in return with a strong, but fair grip - as he says:

"I haven't seen you or your siblings in a very long time. How are they? Your father as well?"

>Aiden responds after thinking for a moment:

"They're doing well themselves, Mister Monroe. Thanks for asking."

>David nods as he replies:

"Good. I've been a business partner to your father for decades. I wouldn't want to compromise our business relationship with Archeon when it comes to the new blood."

>Looking behind Aiden, and then around the area of the open pavement for a few seconds - David then says:

"I assume your business partner will be here shortly? Miss Hoyokazi, correct?"

>Aiden nods, stating:

"We both would like a more comprehensive tour of the manufacturing facility. My father can attest to your quality and consistency as an independent, third party manufacturer - of course. However, both I and my business partner would like direct evidence of your handiwork and efficacy."

>David then says:

"Of course. I would expect nothing less from two accomplished businesspeople. Once Miss Hoyokazi arrives, we can begin the comprehensive tour of the facility."

>As Aiden and David wait outside of the facility, a series of shadowy figures watch on in the distance.


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>The sound of a helicopter flying overhead interrupts the conversation as one swings around the facility, the black paint of it cutting a striking silhouette in the morning sun. Finding a clear spot, the vehicle sets itself down, the blades coming to a complete stop before Hiyuki Hoyokazi steps out, making her way over to the two men.

"Mr Monroe, Mr Grayson. . ."

>Hiyuki eyes over the pair.

"I see you two have made acquaintances of each other."

>As Hiyuki finishes the sentence, the helicopter sets off, kicking up a cloud of dust behind her.

"Almost enough to make the claims of independence from Archeon seem shaky, perhaps?"

>Hiyuki is silent for a moment, letting the sentence lie.

"I'm assured by Mr Grayson that your facilities are quite impressive, Mr Monroe, but I'm not one to put stock into idle talk, so I insisted on this tour being arranged, I hope you understand. If you will."

>Hiyuki indicates for David to begin.


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>Aiden has his hands in his jacket pocket as he looks over at David, saying:

"More or less what she said. I haven't worked with you personally yet, unlike my father. But you're known as arguably the best in the business, so….."

>Giving a nod, David then turns to Hiyuki and smiles, stating:

"Of course, Miss Hoyokazi. Right this way."

>As David escorts them both into the facility through the main entrance, several armored guards look silently at the both of them.

"Oh, don't mind the guards. They're Meridian Inc. Best security that money can realistically buy."

>Looking over at Hiyuki as he speaks, David then says:

"Well, within the United States, of course. I wouldn't mean to presume."

>Aiden looks at the guards with a neutral expression, as he thinks to himself:

{"There's the gut instinct. Sitting ducks, all of you. I'm sorry in advance."}

>As Aiden continues following David into the facility, along with Hiyuki - the armored guards then slowly begin to press their hands to base of their necks.



>Slowly, the armored guards begin to slowly lean against their positions on the wall - and slink to the ground, after the three have entered the facility.


File: 1695932688504-0.jpeg (498.98 KB, 1920x759, Daedalus Manufacturing.jpeg)

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File: 1695932688504-4.jpeg (288.71 KB, 850x1202, David - 4.jpeg)

>After 30 minutes of methodical exploration of the facility, David brings them to the large distribution center. Massive numbers of metallic crates - each imprinted with an ID insignia, begin to get loaded onto large conveyor belts.

>As the large magnetic plates continue carrying the crates into the conveyor belts, David then turns around to face both Aiden and Hiyuki, before saying:

"The magnetic induction generators allow us to power the facility using auxiliary power. Combined with the pneumatic pressurized chutes, we've been able to double production efficiency over the past few years."

>Looking at Aiden, David then says:

"Daedalus is far more efficient now than when I worked with your father, as well as with your late uncle - back when he headed Grayson Industries."

>Seeing the expression on Aiden's face darken slightly, David quickly says:

"I am sorry about what happened to your uncle. I didn't mean to bring up bad memories."

>Aiden shakes his head and gestures with his hand, stating:

"It's fine."

>Looking up at the manufacturing chutes and the magnetic plating machines as they continue their work, Aiden then looks back at David and says:

"Doubled efficiency leads to lower operational costs while maintaining the same margins. The technology I provided you for this joint venture may require more careful handling - and more sophisticated packaging. That could potentially eat into your margins, Mister Monroe."

>David shakes his head, stating:

"We've been investing into more sophisticated packaging methods over the past year, in preparation for deals such as this. We'll handle the manufacturing and shipping here as promised - then work with our liasons stationed with our Southeast Asian partners."

>Aiden keeps his hands in his jacket pockets as he says:

"Due to regulatory concerns over foreign ownership, I presume?"

>Nodding, David then turns to Hiyuki and states:

"As I stated to Mister Grayson, we'll maintain operational margins and provide your share of the profit. Since credit isn't being used, a markdown on your accounts receivable won't be necessary. Then we'll coordinate revenue sharing with our partners as they provide the goods and services in those territories. "

>Looking at his watch, he then looks back up at Hiyuki, saying:

"I don't wish to take up too much further of your time, Miss Hoyokazi. We'll conclude the tour in a few minutes, unless there are any outstanding questions that you may have?"

>Now looking back at Aiden, he then says:

"You too as well, Mister Grayson?"


File: 1695933577908.gif (845.57 KB, 500x281, tumblr_pvku1x1nfq1s307p6o1….gif)

>Hiyuki's eyes trace the moverment of the crates along the conveyor belts.

"All very impressive, theoretically. . ."

>Not looking over at David, Hiyuki stops following the movements.

"But it's not enough."

>Hiyuki turns around to address David.

"To simply be told this, I mean. Simple words can mean little, Mr Monroe. Take your security for example. . ."

>Hiyuki looks beyond the man for a second, then looks back the way the three came from.

"You claim that they are the best around, but by my calculations, they have already been dealt with, which leaves only a few moments before our unwelcome. . . well. . ."

>Hiyuki turns back around.

". . . unwelcome to you. Where was I? Oh yes, a few moments before your unwelcome guests make their way to us."

"So, Mr Monroe, I will need more solid evidence before I can make a decision in your favor."


File: 1695934003863-0.jpeg (337.76 KB, 715x1000, Aiden - 51.jpeg)

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>Aiden sighs as he then says:

"In all fairness, he couldn't have known that would happen."

>David looks between Aiden and Hiyuki with a confused look on his face, before stating:

"That's….concerning. Meridian's forces have never been taken by surprise."

>Aiden then takes one hand out of his pocket and makes a gesture, saying:

"They're not dead, and I made sure of that. You don't need to press him for circumstances that are directly because of us, Hiyuki."

>David, still looking confused, tries to process the situation.

"We're under attack? If so, then I need to get both of you out of here, immediately."

>David turns around to get the attention of a pair of guards - waiting for them as they begin to make their way over to his position. As they do so, David turns back to Aiden and Hiyuki, before asking:

"Wait, what do you mean 'directly because of us-'…"

>Then he understands as the realization kicks in.

"….The attack last week. Oh no. Mister Grayson, Miss Hoyokazi - I need to get you two to safety, now. I can answer more questions about our business efficacy once you're both safe."

>Aiden puts his hand back in his jacket pocket as he looks at Hiyuki, stating:

"I'm curious if you have a plan."


File: 1695934509846.png (48.92 KB, 200x275, 85653.png)

"Then, quite simply, they're poorly trained, Mr Monroe."

>Hiyuki sighs in response to David's comment about the security.

"Evacuation won't be necessary, however."

>Hiyuki looks down at her hand as she continues to look out at the assembly line.

"I have multiple plans, Mr Grayson, which one ends up being the one used depends on how this situation unfurls. For now, we wait until the guests of the hour arrive."


File: 1695935044702-0.png (1.56 MB, 1920x1080, Space-Time - 2.png)

File: 1695935044702-1.jpg (1.31 MB, 1988x3056, Chiral.jpg)

File: 1695935044702-2.jpeg (70.16 KB, 433x650, Hollow - 4.jpeg)

File: 1695935044702-3.jpg (113.03 KB, 900x1200, Esper - 2.jpg)

>After a few seconds, everyone in the facility then suddenly drops to the floor - unconscious. Everyone from the factory workers, Mister Monroe himself - is suddenly knocked out comatose. A few more seconds pass before a disembodied voice then speaks:

"There you are, my boy! You've been keeping yourself in good spirits, I hope?"

>Aiden's ears perk up as he immediately recognizes the voice. Groaning internally, his mind then begins to formulate explanations.

{"….Time travel? No, too disruptive. Supernatural summoning? Too impractical. Clone?………..Clone."}

>A small fissure in the fabric of space-time then appears, as a pair of figures slowly walk through. The more regally dressed of the figures then gives a wry smile as he says:

"I hoped I wouldn't ever meet you under extenuating circumstances…."

>Chiral stands meters away from Aiden and Hiyuki, and is flanked on either side by Hollow and Esper. Looking behind both of them, he then says:

"After seeing the….less than admirable performance of these two - I decided to present myself instead."

>Placing his gloved fingers together, Chiral begins tapping them as he gives an amused chuckle.

"Your business partner we decided to spare a visit to. How terrible of us it would be to arrive at such a late hour in the night…."

>Hollow gives an annoyed glare at Chiral, while Esper looks uncomfortable - almost as if she's looking for an excuse to turn heel at this very moment.

>Chiral then claps his hands together, stating:

"Well then! On the matter of business."

>Making a gesture with his hand - and a motion for Aiden and Hiyuki to walk past him, Chiral says:

"If you would both please accompany us. I would rather avoid a confrontation - especially with you, my boy."

>Hollow, now irritated, snaps out loud:

"Why do you insist on showing care to the Grayson man?! He is our target! Not our guest!"


File: 1695935690373.png (622.47 KB, 539x1031, Hishiri_Rail_Zeppelin.png)

>Hiyuki makes no move to leave.

"Somewhat polite, by kidnapping standards. But I suppose you don't wish to harm your nephew."

>Hiyuki continues looking at her own hand.

"I imagine you would betray your benefactor over him, in fact, families are meant to be like that, after all."

"I suppose that's why the other two are here, to act as your keepers? Not important enough to be sent by themselves anymore, but also you're far too important an asset to be allowed to run free, so they get reduced to being your accessories."

>Hiyuki sighs.

"A long way for an MRD hopeful to fall. . ."

"And then the second accessory looks in place with the other two now, why else would she be here?"


File: 1695936409349-0.png (124.74 KB, 250x330, Chiral - 5.png)

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File: 1695936409349-4.gif (497.92 KB, 500x281, Beam Blast.gif)

>Hollow's eyes widen at the revelation - and he then spins around to face Chiral, stating.

"…Your nephew?! WHAT?! You double crossing, traitorous-"

>Chiral flicks a finger in Hollow's direction - causing the fabric of space-time to heavily bend around the Meta-Human. As he does so, he pays Hollow no attention as the figure becomes discolored and monotone in appearance - while no longer moving, seemingly stuck in place.

"Now, now. This is indeed a family matter. One you wouldn't understand, 'reprobate'."

>Turning his attention back towards Hiyuki, Chiral then gives a courteous nod as he states:

"Indeed I am the great Elias Nathaniel Grayson. Risen from the dead once more."

>Narrowing his blood red eyes at Hiyuki, he then says:

"Very astute you are."

>Esper, who is equally shocked by the revelations, states:

"Aren't you supposed to be dead? How the hell are you still alive?!"

>Looking between Hiyuki and Chiral, Esper then says:

"I'm only here because of the job. I don't agree with this asshole on anything that he says. He's killed people! Including me!"

>Chiral sighs and rolls his eyes, stating:

"Now, now Alisa. I didn't kill you. More of an experimentation process gone awry. Your body was quite resistant to the gene matrix infusions, however-"

>Angry, Esper then jumps in front of Chiral and fires a psionic bolt at him - somewhat catching him off guard.

"Ahh. Defiant as ever."

>Firing a far stronger psionic bolt back at Esper - he sends her flying backwards a few meters, landing directly in front of Aiden and Hiyuki.

>Esper winces as she slowly rises to one knee, clutching her arm as she feels the psychosomatic pain of the psionic blast.

"Bastard…..You took everything from me!"

>Ignoring her, Chiral turns back towards Hiyuki, stating:

"Hmm. You remind me of your mother. Not as cutthroat though, I'd imagine. Where is Katsumi nowadays? I haven't kept up with her."


File: 1695936812174.jpg (73.06 KB, 1200x675, ep5_01.jpg)

"We don't keep in contact, I prefer to keep better company. Although I see you're not the same as me in that regard."

>Hiyuki finally turns around, looking Chiral up and down.

"I fail to imagine that simply resurrecting you would be enough to earn your loyalty, so what did whoever is pulling your strings offer you? Or what is he threatening you with?"


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>Chiral makes a motion with his gloved hand to lightly trace his neatly cut facial hair. As he does so, he then looks quizzically up in the distance, as if to place himself in contemplative thought.

"Oh, not much. The implosion of the Meta-Human Response Division that was tasked with assassinating me. The eternal torture of my old friend William."

>Lowering his hand from his chin and curling it into a fist, Chiral's voice grows dangerously monotone and threatening as he says in an human cadence:

"The destruction of all Meta-Gene research done with my work!"

>Now looking back at Hiyuki, he then says:

"And most important of all."

>He then points at Hiyuki, stating:

"The opportunity to correct the mistake that was my trust in 'normal' human beings. Such as yourself."

>Esper then shouts and generates a surge of psionic energy in her hands as her eyes glow with bright light.

"Will you shut the fuck up you sadistic sack of shit!"

>Esper then fires of much more powerful psionic bolts than before - clearly amplified by her enraged emotional state.

>Chiral swats away the energy blasts, which are much larger in size now. However, he's now requiring effort to do so unlike before.

"Tch. Wanton animal instinct. I should've ripped that weakness out of your mind, Alisa."

>Chiral then makes a pulling motion with his hand, as he telekinetically grabs onto Esper's body by her neck - slowly raising her up and beginning to choke her. Esper begins coughing and struggling to release the grip - as she instinctively reaches for her neck with her hands.

"Now come quietly, Hiyuki - or I add another corpse to your ledger."

>Esper continues struggling as her face slowly turns blue. All the while, Chiral is smiling as he says:

"Heavy is the head that wears the crown, is it not? To bear all that responsibility. Your choice."

>Turning to Aiden, Chiral then says:

"You too, Aiden. I will not lay a finger on my own flesh and blood - but I can use your good nature against you. Same as with Silas."

>Esper looks to be close to the verge of passing out entirely - and close to death as well.

"You always were your father's son. I only wish I could've been a better uncle to you - to avoid this outcome."


File: 1695937861791.jpg (22.8 KB, 225x350, 384271.jpg)

"I won't have killed her, Elias, that blood is on your hands."

>Hiyuki responds, unblinking.

"Besides, death may be a relief to her, it certainly is for some."

"Still, I am awfully unimpressed, I was told that you're an intelligent man, Elias."

>Hiyuki looks up at Chiral, keeping eye contact with him.

"Even with what little I know of the one who brought you back, I can tell that they won't destroy the Meta-Gene research, it would simply be more valuable to them than you are."

"After all, they can likely make a thousand of you, each time feeding them the same lie of destroying work that they can use to make more like you, to replace you if you get too problematic."

"Had you not considered that, Elias?"


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>Chiral is silent for a moment, as he looks between the choking form of Esper, and the frozen form of Hollow. In his mind, thoughts ring to the surface once more - continuing with his instinctual response to her question.

>Out loud, he then says:

"Of course I have, Hiyuki."

>Dropping Esper down with his telekinesis, he relinquishes his hold on her as he says:

"I suppose I should not have underestimated you."

>At that moment, Hollow breaks out of the space-time distortion trap, panting heavily.

"Indignant, traitorous trash! You've embarrassed me for the last time! I will-"

>Chiral then casually flicks his finger across Hollow's face - removing two discs from his face as he does so. One of the discs is black and red. The other is white and blue.

>As he does so, Hollow falls to the ground, unconscious.

"Hmph. I suppose Ouranos can make another mass produced puppet of you, now can he?"

>Turning back to face Aiden and Hiyuki - Chiral tosses both of the discs at Aiden, stating:

"You already know what they are and what they can do. So I entrust you with that responsibility."

>Catching the discs effortlessly between his his index finger, middle finger and thumb - Aiden examines them and says:

"….Ouranos? So he's still out there then. I figured the sorcerer got rid of the main body. Apparently not."

>Chiral raises an eyebrow in interest:

"Oh? You know him?"

>Aiden looks at Chiral and says:

"I've beaten him before. I can easily do it again."


File: 1695938778965-0.png (124.74 KB, 250x330, Chiral - 5.png)

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File: 1695938778965-2.jpeg (182.33 KB, 891x1482, Aiden - 52.jpeg)

>Chiral can't help but smile once more as he says:

"Oh…if only father could see you now. What a wonderful grandson you'd be in his mind…."

>Aiden narrows his eyes behind his sunglasses as he states:

"You don't get to mention Grandpa Amadeus. Not after everything you've done."

>Chiral looks genuinely hurt by the statement, and then responds.

"Come now, Aiden. No matter what, I'm still your uncle. Your family."

>Pointing at Hiyuki, Chiral says:

"I will be there for you when all else recedes - fades away. Do you believe this woman would consider helping you for anything beyond her own self interests?"

>Aiden doesn't look at Hiyuki as he pockets the discs in his jacket - saying:

"She has no reason to treat me any differently than the average person, so the question is disingenuous. But that's to be expected over someone who chose revenge over his family."

>Now irritated and slowly growing in frustration, Chiral then shouts:

"You have allowed this woman and her ilk to poison your mind, Aiden!"

>Chira's voice begins to distort heavily, the same supernatural cadence returning in his voice:


>Chiral begins marching towards Aiden as he shouts:


>Energy begins to build around the facility as Chiral now stands before Aiden - staring his nephew in the face. His voice then lowers once more as he asks:

"What worth has trust in anyone other than one's own flesh and blood ever given them?"

>Aiden crosses his arms as he stares his uncle directly in the face - stating:

"It gave my father me, for starters. Because he stopped listening to Katsumi. But he also stopped listening to you."


File: 1695939345462-0.jpeg (221.78 KB, 850x1013, Aiden - 59.jpeg)

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>Chiral winces as his face contorts into a fit of rage. Now angrier and more frustrated, he then shouts:


>Aiden then holds out a hand as he begins whispering something.

"They also gave me the greatest gift they could've given me - even if it took me decades to learn it."

>He then taps Chiral on the chest - causing a massive surge of mana to appear from Chiral's body. He begins rapidly flickering with rainbow color lights as his voice distorts even more violently.


>Aiden then places his hand back in his jacket pocket as he states:

"What Hiyuki alluded to. I gave you what you were really looking for this entire time."

>Chiral then slowly begins to disintegrate - seemingly on an structural level.

"This won't destroy you. I already made that mistake in assuming that once. But it'll do the next best thing. It'll set you free."

>Chiral's body continues to disintegrate rapidly as he then shouts in pain and frustration.


>Chiral then reaches out his hand - as his appearance gradually shifts back to that of Elias Grayson, with more patches of his skin dissolving away into magical energy.

>Aiden looks on, remorsefully at the slowly decaying form of his uncle - before stating:

"I know, Uncle Eli. But I can't keep letting you do this to yourself. I'm sending you off - permanently, or as permanently as I can."

>Aiden whispers another phrase softly - as reality itself seems to ripple around Chiral.

"Maybe in your next life, you'll do better. I'd like to meet that person - whoever they are. Goodbye, Uncle Elias. I hope this doesn't happen ever again."

>Chiral then screams in pain as he's then ripped apart on a molecular, then atomic - then subatomic level. Now scattered into dust - a powerful ripple of energy appears around the area where his body once was - now rippling outward with force as it fades into non-existence.

>However, the shockwave of the blast is so powerful that it's felt across the facility, then the entire Northwest - then the world for the briefest of moments.


File: 1695939550742-0.jpeg (73.71 KB, 707x1000, Aiden - 61.jpeg)

File: 1695939550742-1.jpg (113.03 KB, 900x1200, Esper - 2.jpg)

>Silence fills the area as Esper slowly stands up. Looking around, she then says:

"….Holy shit. Did you-"

"Kill him? Yes and no. It's hard to explain but…he's not coming back - ever. At least not as the same person."

>Confused, Esper squints her eyes as she says:

"What does that….mean?"

>Aiden makes a gesture with his hand as he states:

"The same thing as what his identity was."

>Blinking, Esper then tries to recollect.

"Chiral's identity? Wasn't he…….Wasn't………He was………Was………"

>Thinking hard, Esper then sighs as she states:

"I can't remember……"

>Smiling, Aiden then says:

"No, I didn't think you would."

>Putting his hands in his jacket pockets, he then turns to Hiyuki and asks:

"You OK?"


File: 1696011102286.png (153.39 KB, 669x1296, Chr_11.png)

"Well, I wasn't expecting you to kill the man. But otherwise, why would I not be?"

>Hiyuki arches an eyebrow.

"Do you think me some shrinking violet who can't handle situations like this? That I was worried about someone who have no connection to being killed in front of me?"


File: 1696012301657.jpeg (94.68 KB, 850x1159, Aiden - 48.jpeg)

>Aiden blinks behind his sunglasses as he states:

"I appreciate you being able to talk him down - but that wasn't going to stop him from trying to take us both in. I have to assume that you knew that."

>His expression then darkens a bit as he says:

"….I won't deny that I'm a bit disappointed that you weren't willing to at least bluff though - to save her life. You instead gambled with her life on the off chance that he'd see reason - but he could've easily snapped her neck to make a point."

>He then looks at Hiyuki, still with a disappointed expression on his face, stating:

"Killing someone isn't as easy or as effortless as they make it seem. Especially when it's someone who you thought you heard was a good person growing up."


File: 1696012698074.jpg (22.8 KB, 225x350, 384271.jpg)

"It was simply the first step. And I don't live for your approval."

>Hiyuki takes a step away, ignoring Aiden's expressions.

"And I wouldn't know, I wasn't told anyone was a good person growing up, everyone is flawed in some way."


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>Aiden now has a look of genuine annoyance on his face, as he says:

"I'm not asking for you to treat me as some moral benchmark. I'm asking for you to not be as needlessly cutthroat and apathetic with people's lives. Especially people who aren't too far gone."

>Taking out both of Hollow's discs, the blue and white one as well as the black and red one - he then alters them, as they shift in color slightly.

"That's because your mother is….'different' - at least according to my father. I'm not surprised she's drilled it into your mind that people don't have the capacity to be truly good."

>Walking over to Hollow, Aiden then kneels down and inserts the discs back into his body. Esper tenses up for a moment, as Aiden looks to her and holds out his hand - stating:

"I've modified them. He's not going to have his memories, and his powers are muted. As far as he's concerned - he's a normal person now."

>Stepping back, Aiden then looks over Hollow once more.

"Unlike Chiral, he actually relented the last time."

>Looking back at Hiyuki, Aiden then says:

"So at least try and not be an unemotional and detached person who doesn't consider people's feelings or their lives."

>Turning away from Hiyuki, Aiden then waves with a gesture, stating:

"Or not. It's your choice and your life - and you don't 'live for my approval' as you clearly said."

>Aiden then walks over to David, sitting him up and checking his pulse at the base of his neck and collarbone.

{"Still alive. Good."}


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"Your request is noted."

>Hiyuki says, impassionately.

"What is also noted is how quickly the security fell apart at this facility, and the repeated references to a previous working arrangement with Archeon. That is not a neutral manufacturer, Mr Grayson, so I'm afraid that Mr Monroe will have some bad news to wake up to."


File: 1696016036565.jpeg (182.33 KB, 891x1482, Aiden - 52.jpeg)

>Aiden scoffs at Hiyuki as he says:

"Sure. Find me a conventional security force that can withstand the intellect, versatility and general tenacity of someone like Chiral - and I'll agree with your statement."

>As he rests David's body back on the ground, for him to slowly come to his senses, Aiden then states:

"Besides - I wouldn't suppose you have any other suggestions for manufacturing? I feel as though you would've mentioned them at the start if any of them were sufficient."

>Making a gesture with his hands, he then states:

"Especially since we're still technically in the crosshairs. Are we not?"

>Aiden then looks at Hiyuki - still clearly annoyed.


File: 1696021485609.gif (845.57 KB, 500x281, tumblr_pvku1x1nfq1s307p6o1….gif)

"Both can be found, in time, I simply had not done much research on parties outside of my usual sphere due to trusting that you provide a neutral third party."

"I'll have my people do the research, and provide you all of the information they gather."

>Hiyuki remains looking away from Aiden.

"Some advice, Mr Grayson, when trying to coerce someone, try not to overplay your hand."


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>Aiden, half-paying attention to Hiyuki, then says:

"Mhmm. Sure. I bet my dad's gonna be thrilled to know that he's had bad taste in neutral third party vendors for around…."

>Aiden feigns effort in counting the years in his mind as he pauses for a moment.

"….Twenty years now? Give or take?"

>As David slowly comes to his senses and wakes up, Aiden helps him up to his feet - saying:

"Hey Mister Monroe. Sorry about the mishap, but it's been resolved."

>Still feeling somewhat uneasy and disoriented, David rubs his forehead above his sunglasses as he states:

"….Aiden? Is that you?"

>Looking around, David becomes more alarmed.

"How long was I out?!"

"A few minutes. Not too long, but we've handled the situation as I said."

>David then looks at Hiyuki for a moment, as Aiden says:

"Sorry to say this in advanced, Mister Monroe - but I don't think Hiyuki's convinced that Daedalus is the best potential supplier."

>David's face darkens for a moment, as he sighs and exhales. Slowly regaining his footing, he takes out a cloth from his jacket pocket as he cleans his sunglasses.

"Well, I suppose it can't be helped, then. We weren't able to anticipate this attack, so the response is logical. Thank you for your time though, both of you."

>Aiden nods at David as he slowly begins walking away - motioning to his guards to start maintaining their patrols again. The guards have slowly woken up as well, now making their way around the facility to maintain their patrols.

>Aiden then turns his attention back to Hiyuki, saying:

"So is there a point to the half-hearted comments, or are am I just wasting my time with this?"

>Aiden places one hand on his hip, while the other arm leans against his side.

"Because if this is too much of a bother for you, we can amend the deal and go our separate ways. You can find someone more your speed - and I can work with a different corporation and supply them with the technology instead."


File: 1696023542724.png (48.92 KB, 200x275, 85653.png)

"Oh, I have no doubt that Mr Monroe is an excellent supplier, these facilities are truly impressive. But a company with a prior working relationship with Archeon but not Hoyokazi is not neutral, Mr Grayson."

>With Aiden's comment of amending the deal, Hiyuki turns around.

"Don't take this as Hoyokazi wishing to back out of the deal, although if you wish to, you are free to pay the exit fee and do so. But I can assure you that Hoyokazi won't accept the agreement being voided outside that scenario."

>Hiyuki gives Aiden a smile, a false warmth in it.

"I would imagine you prefer a corporation such as Yoshimura in such a scenario, although I would imagine they would have difficulty getting the proper legal approvals, unlike Hoyokazi, and you would be down a large amount of money from paying the exit fee - Hoyokazi has a legal responsibility to ensure the contract is executed on, after all."

"All that is to say, Mr Grayson, Hoyokazi believes that it is still the most optimal strategic partner for this contract, even with minor disagreements such as where the technology should be manufactured to contend with. We are just being cautious at the end of the day, it isn't just our revenue that we have to consider here, but yours as well."


File: 1696024235561-0.jpeg (94.68 KB, 850x1159, Aiden - 48.jpeg)

File: 1696024235561-1.jpg (113.03 KB, 900x1200, Esper - 2.jpg)

>Aiden raises an eyebrow behind his sunglasses.

"You're more genuine and believable when you're not trying with the false pleasantries."

>Obviously referring to her false smile, Aiden then sighs.

"But you're not wrong about the inconvenience that would come from the breakup fee."

>Esper finally speaks up in that moment.

"So umm….What are you going to do with me?"

>Aiden looks over to Esper and says:

"The MRD will arrive shortly. My driver likely called them after the guards outside were incapacitated. Just explain your story to them and ask to speak to Director McIntyre. I have a feeling he'll take an interest in your situation."

>Esper nods and walks off to wait outside of the facility - while Hollow remains knocked out on the floor.

>Aiden then turns his attention back towards Hiyuki.

"I'll be frank, Hiyuki. The only reason I even went through with this is because someone convinced me it was a good idea. If this goes south under any circumstances? I'm not obliged to keep the olive branch out for business - and neither are you."

>He pauses for a moment, before turning to walk past her.

"So while you're finding a better supplier - I'm going to go deal with our 'Ouranos' problem. Let Archeon know when you've found a more suitable supplier."

>Aiden then walks off - towards the entrance of the facility.


File: 1696024934876.png (153.39 KB, 669x1296, Chr_11.png)

"But of course, Hoyokazi has every desire to see this agreement completed. When we sign contracts, we ensure that we follow them to the letter."

>Finished, Hiyuki begins walking out of the facility herself, keeping enough of a pace to not be caught walking alongside anyone else.


File: 1696026221737-0.jpg (100 KB, 640x480, Spire.jpg)

File: 1696026221737-1.png (329.82 KB, 1000x563, Hallway.png)

File: 1696026221737-2.jpg (113.03 KB, 900x1200, Esper - 2.jpg)

File: 1696026221737-3.jpeg (5.5 MB, 2480x3508, Valkyrie - 3.jpeg)

>August 5th, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City - The Spire
>Time: 8:00 AM

"….Like I said. I don't remember much about where the location was. It was underground. I know that much. Pretty dark, dreary. Lots of water. Cavern system too."

>Inside of an interrogation room in the holding facilities, Esper continues answering the questions - being aware of the recording being done by the security camera.

"Eyewitness reports have you attacking Archeon Incorporated last week. Yet you have no recollection of that."

>Looking around from side to side for a moment, Esper then sighs as she puts her hands together.

"That's because you captured a clone. Not the real me."

>Raising an eyebrow, Valkyrie then looks puzzled.

"….A clone? As in, a living, breathing genetic clone of yourself? Not a temporary duplication power?"

>Esper nods.

"Yeah, a clone. We were sent out on missions in pairs. Ourselves and a perfect clone - that existed on a timer."

>Thinking to herself, Valkyrie then asks:

"What about Hollow? He's former MRD personnel himself, but had records of him dying after his break-in at The Wedge."

>Esper shakes her head.

"There's so many different types of cloning and duplication tricks that he has. I have no idea of knowing if that was ever the real Hollow - or if the one you captured is either."

>Valkyrie focuses on a key point that Esper made.

"You mentioned a 'he' just now. Is that your benefactor?"

>Esper nods.

"Yeah. Ouranos. That's his name. Don't know much else about him - but he's the one in charge."

>Valkyrie then takes a seat across from Esper.

"Tell me more then."


File: 1696026717008-0.png (329.82 KB, 1000x563, Hallway.png)

File: 1696026717008-1.jpeg (177.05 KB, 850x1095, Valkyrie - 4.jpeg)

File: 1696026717008-2.jpeg (330.72 KB, 660x968, Joshua.jpeg)

>[30 minutes later]


>Valkyrie taps on the reinforced glass separating herself and the white haired man in the cell.

"Hey there. You're Joshua, right?"

>More silence.

"…..Look, Joshua. I know you're still reeling over what happened - but you didn't kill anyone."

>Even more silence.

>Valkyrie thinks to herself for a moment, before she then sighs and states:

"Right now, your identity is a MRD secret. No one officially knows what you've done - and we'd like to keep it that way."

>Still silent, Joshua however now looks up from his crossed arms - staring daggers at the woman on the other side of the glass.

"However, we've run some tests on you obviously. Taken some samples of your skin and blood-"

"Without my consent or permission."

>Joshua says - catching Valkyrie off guard.

"Well, you've been arrested by the MRD under the power granted by the Meta-Human Enforcement Act. It allows us rudimentary threat assessment procedures, provided they're in compliance with state and federal laws - which they are."

>Scowling, Joshua then lowers his head back into his crossed arms. Valkyrie looks on with a tinge of pity before resuming.

"Look, Joshua. You're essentially a bio-weapon now. The Virion plasma that you were working on at Archeon has been bonded to you on a genomic level. We couldn't even remove it if we wanted to. At least with current commercial technologies…."

>More silence continues to fill the air of the interrogation room, until Valkyrie then speaks.

"However, as I said. We believe that you're too valuable of an asset to go to waste. You've demonstrated incredible physiological adaptations and-"

"You want me to be an infiltrator on some black ops unit that you have."


File: 1696027187534-0.jpeg (330.72 KB, 660x968, Joshua.jpeg)

File: 1696027187534-1.jpg (36.15 KB, 852x480, Protoplasm - 2.jpg)

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>Joshua slowly looks up from his crossed arms once more - examining Valkyrie carefully.

"Well, yes. As I said, you'd be a valuable asset. You've demonstrated a level of quick thinking, combat prowess and general situation control that could be useful for our infiltrator team."

>Silent, Joshua then thinks for another moment.

"…..So what do you want me to do on this 'team' of yours? Hunt down Meta-Human criminals? Take out supply networks? 'Remove' threats to the MRD?"

"All of the above. Also we'd want you to remove threats to the city, yes. Not necessarily us."

>Joshua looks off to the side as Valkyrie then speaks.

"We could continue with our recommendation to our federal prosecutors to press charges and formally try you before a court. Or you could take a deal from us, and have the charges dropped. You'd be able to continue your civilian life - with the occasional mission here or there. With your capabilities, I'm certain you'd be nearly unstoppable."

>Silent, Joshua then slowly stands up as he looks at Valkyrie.

"…..I don't really have a choice. So let's get this over with."

>Valkyrie nods slowly at Joshua, watching as a black goo-like substance flows through him - seemingly out of nowhere. After a few seconds, his Tarantula appearance manifests.

"….Why was I unable to do this until now?"

>Valkyrie points at the walls of the cell - as Tarantula slowly walks out.

"High frequency ultra-sound generators. Keyed specifically to the frequency that we've found pacifies your protoplasm the most effectively."

>Nodding, Tarantula begins walking alongside Valkyrie.

"So where do I go now?"

>Valkyrie has a smile on her face.

"Now? You get to meet the rest of your colleagues."


File: 1696027786904-0.jpg (709 KB, 1020x632, MRD Office.jpg)

File: 1696027786904-1.jpeg (4.57 MB, 2480x3507, Mosaic - 21.jpeg)

File: 1696027786904-2.jpg (94.79 KB, 600x533, Chase - 16.jpg)

>Location: The Spire - MRD Director's Office

>Chase finishes watching the video feed of the live interrogation of Tarantula - then turns his attention to a figure leaning on the nearby wall.

"….I have to admit, you have a knack for catching strays that are full of valuable information."

>Mosaic remains leaning against the wall, arms crossed as he examines the footage himself.

"It's not particularly difficult. Trouble seems to find me like a bad habit."

>Chase sighs as he begins typing something at his desk and on his computer.

"Well, if it helps, I have a feeling that this 'Ouranos' isn't going to try something this direct again. If only I had more information about him. My powers might be able to intuit something that could lead straight to the source."

>Mosaic then moves off from the wall and starts placing his hangs in his cloak's pockets.

"That's the benefit of having associates, right? They can maybe do the work for you - just for a change."

>Chase gives a light scoff as he begins looking through a book, cross-referencing information.

"You say that as if you don't have an ulterior motive there."

>Mosaic just casually shrugs.

"I don't have a reason to want anything to any particular degree anymore. I'm far past that point in my life, I would imagine."

>Chase nods and then allows the room to fall silent for a moment. Then the major question comes to mind.

"Is Chiral dead now? Truly? He's not coming back in any way, is he?"

>Mosaic shakes his head.

"This time I made sure the removal was permanent. It's hard to explain, and I doubt you'd believe me when I said how I did it. But it's done. He's not reappearing ever again."

>Chase then sighs and closes his eyes for a moment.

"That's good to know then. Now we'll have to deal with Ouranos-"

>Opening his eyes, Chase sees Mosaic gone, but a perfectly legible and neutral type-face note on his desk beside him. Picking it up, Chase reads the note to see the words:

["Trust me, I already know."]

>Shaking his head, Chase then says:

"Theatrical without end, always trying to put on a show."

>He then goes back to his work at his desk steadily.


File: 1696028572772-0.png (295.14 KB, 540x304, Sanctuary City - 2.png)

File: 1696028572772-1.gif (5.15 MB, 720x404, Swing - 5.gif)

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File: 1696028572772-4.png (412.79 KB, 1024x575, Dana Desmond - 2.png)

>Location: Sanctuary City - Downtown District
>Time: 12:00 PM

>A figure in black is seen swinging through the skyscrapers of Sanctuary City - moving at speeds too fast for the human eye to properly register.

>A trail of white webbing hands from the nearby buildings visited by the figure - as they continue making their way down towards the Archeon building.

>After a few more swings, the black clad figure then makes one giant leap into the air - swinging up thousands of feet effortlessly, as they land down on the nearby walls of the Archeon Complex.

>Landing on the side of the biotechnology division - Tarantula begins quickly crawling across the thick glass. Using his extra-sensory perception, he's able to scale the entire side of the building in seconds, without anyone seeing him - despite being in broad daylight.

>However, he comes to a halt, as he finds a figure sitting in a chair in their office - facing away from him as they're on the phone.

"Yes, I'll finish up the paperwork to cancel the Virion project. It's a shame that it went to waste."

>Raising the length of his lens, Tarantula leans in and gets a better listen of the conversation.

"I understand, but it was necessary. I had to ensure that the project was scrapped - so that I could convince Mister Grayson to redirect the project's funds elsewhere - towards more 'useful' ventures."

>Narrowing the lenses of his mask, Tarantula then presses his hands against the wall - focusing intently.


>In that moment, his body cloaks and begins vibrating. Suddenly, he's then moved through the glass and onto the ceiling of the office - without making a single sound.


File: 1696029267498-0.jpg (170.82 KB, 1331x688, Dana's Office.jpg)

File: 1696029267498-1.jpg (55.45 KB, 413x642, Dana Desmond.jpg)

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File: 1696029267498-3.jpg (94.5 KB, 1917x875, Webbing.jpg)

>After a few more minutes of talking on the phone, Dana then finishes up the conversation.

"Yes, I understand. I didn't anticipate an attack from those Meta-Human thugs last week, however. Although the Virion protoplasm being set loose, and later destroyed - made that unexpected attack somewhat beneficial, I suppose."

>Nodding while on the phone a few more times, Dana then says:

"Well, Mister Harbour - we have our arrangement. I nullify the edges of Archeon's more experimental research wing - and you secure me capital for my own off-the-books experimentation."

>Rubbing her temples, she then says:

"Archeon has vast resources - but they're too dispersed across various businesses. It's not like before when we used to primarily focus on physics and genetics research. I applaud Aiden for his work as CEO - but the vision of this company has always been cutting edge research."

>A few more minutes pass, before Dana states:

"Alright then. Of course, Mister Harbour. Thank you. Good bye."

>Dana then ends the call and sighs - sitting back in her chair and humming quietly to herself as she begins to relax.

"You've been lying to me the entire time…."

>Dana yelps in surprise and is startled, seemingly unable to process the voice in the room.

"W-What the?! Who….What was that?!"

>Looking around somewhat panicked, she then finally notices the figure on the ceiling - and yelps again.

"GYAH- Mmmppphhh!!!"

>Tarantula webs Dana's mouth shut - and then webs the door to her office. As he does so, he then lowers himself down on a web, directly in front of Dana - stating:

"Not a single outburst from you. Understood?"

>Dana looks petrified, her eyes widened in fear as she quickly nods.


>Tarantula then slowly pulls off the webbing - with Dana watching as it seemingly jumps back onto the white patch on his black glove.

"What in the world….."

>Looking back, Dana then puts two and two together.

"….The protoplasm! That means you-"

"Survived? Yeah, Dana, I did. Sorry to disappoint you."


File: 1696029765324-0.jpg (170.82 KB, 1331x688, Dana's Office.jpg)

File: 1696029765324-1.jpeg (58.21 KB, 735x705, Tarantula - 4.jpeg)

File: 1696029765324-2.jpg (55.45 KB, 413x642, Dana Desmond.jpg)

>Dana is still reeling from the shock as she tries to process everything going through her mind.

"That means….the protoplasm didn't kill you."

>Looking directly at Tarantula, she then says:

"The cytokine factors weren't fully programmed in its genome yet-"

"Which would've worked to disable immune system compatibility with me - if it wasn't for one little detail that you weren't aware of."

>Tarantula slowly swings towards Dana - his face mere inches from her own as he speaks.

"I'm a Meta-Human, Dana. Surprise."

>Eyes narrowing, Dana then puts the pieces together.

"…..Some kind of biological manipulation ability. Of course. How else could you have withstood a genome decaying protoplasm?"

>Swinging back, Tarantula then speaks.

"So what are you last words before I take this up to Mister Grayson and get your ass fired and thrown in jail for corporate espionage and corporate sabotage?"

>Dana is stunned for a moment, before laughing.

"Ha…..There's no way you would've heard anything! Even if you did, I don't see anything on you that could've recorded-"

>Tarantula looks down, from his perspective - and towards the side of his waist. The black protoplasm of his suit then slowly recedes to reveal a smartphone with the record function showing.

>Closing her eyes, Dana curses to herself, stating:


>As a black tentacle takes the phone and hands it to Tarantula, he then says:

"Give me one reason I don't expose this charade to the higher ups - and expose your fraudulent 'research'."

>Dana is silent for a moment before saying:

"Fine. I'll give you what you want, whatever that is."

>Scoffing, Tarantula then says:

"…..You're a real piece of shit - for doing all of this without batting an eye."

>Dana then gives Tarantula a smirk.

"Oh please. Half of the corporate boneheads I speak to are self-aggrandizing buffoons who care more about their egos than scientific progress."


File: 1696030328811-0.jpeg (440.51 KB, 1920x2400, Tarantula - 6.jpeg)

File: 1696030328811-1.png (412.79 KB, 1024x575, Dana Desmond - 2.png)

>Effortlessly spinning around and flipping onto the ground, Tarantula then says:

"You think that justifies internal sabotage of your own projects?!"

>Dana then snaps, shouting at Tarantula.

"I never believed in your ludicrous project to begin with, Joshua!"

>Silent, Tarantula then waits for Dana to continue speaking.

"Your project goes against the direct principles of the genetic recombination project! Utilizing the body's own stem cells and anti-bodies as carriers for gene repairing proteins - specifically enzymes! The body itself is supposed to heal itself!"

>Dana then waves a dismissive hand at Tarantula, stating:

"Not whatever external nonsense that protoplasm is!"

>Silent for a moment, Dana then looks back at Tarantula - who remains completely still. After a moment, she then looks over his body.

"…..Still. You've demonstrated an unfathomable level of strength and speed….I assume your durability is also greatly enhanced.."

>Tarantula crosses his arms.

"What are you talking about?"

>Dana then eyes Tarantula, looking him up and down for a few more seconds before speaking.

"…..Maybe I misjudged the protoplasm. Yes, while it's not the most effective means of non-invasive healing. It may have more direct physical applications - such as in construction or even armed conflict-"

>Tarantula shakes his head.

"I can't fucking believe you. The first thing you say, after being surprised that I didn't die - is how good of a weapon I'd be? Seriously? That's the best you can do?!"

>Dana casually shrugs while closing her eyes for a brief moment.

"Monetary applications of scientific benefits are always a consideration with me. It's how I even got this far in my career-"

"You mean besides manipulating everyone you meet. Even now, you're thinking of ways that you can just get rid of me and get the protoplasm out of me."

>Dana sighs and leans back in her chair, stating:

"Guilty as charged. Though I would imagine that plan is a mere dream at this point. The protoplasm has likely bonded to you on a genetic level. Meaning I'm stuck with you - as you are the only known sample left."


File: 1696030937277-0.jpeg (377.6 KB, 1090x1594, Tarantula - 5.jpeg)

File: 1696030937277-1.jpg (36.15 KB, 852x480, Protoplasm - 2.jpg)

File: 1696030937277-2.png (788.6 KB, 700x1457, Joshua - 2.png)

File: 1696030937277-3.jpg (55.45 KB, 413x642, Dana Desmond.jpg)

>Tarantula then stares at Dana for a moment, stating:

"….How could anyone love someone as twisted as you? Does Daniel even know about half of the stuff you've done?"

>Dana nonchalantly looks at her watch, before saying:

"We're divorced, so yes."

>The figure in black then does a double take.

"….What? Then what's the point of the ring band?"

"Oh, this? Formalities."

>Dana looks at the ring on her finger, stating:

"I got what I needed from Daniel decades ago. The relationship as married scientists is a public image that allows us to maintain our reputations as world class scientists."

>Nodding at Tarantula's phone in his hand, she continues.

"Well, that and the burial of that information you just provided."

>Tarantula then looks up at Dana and says:

"Does Damian know about this?"

>Dana laughs loudly as she then states:

"Of course not! Could you imagine what that would do to him? I won't have his mind be concerned with little trivialities such as 'family'. He is my greatest experiment - and I will position him to succeed me at Archeon in the future."

>Dana looks up at the ceiling as she lays back in her chair - prognosticating as she assumes a thinking position.

"In fact. If I play my cards right - he could eventually end up as CEO. He seems to have a good relationship with Aiden, and that could be useful towards leveraging more control of the business to be shared between his family and my own."

>Tarantula then dispels the black outer suit that makes up his costume. Dana watches as the suit almost immediately folds in onto itself - forming a sleek black jacket, pants and shoes around Joshua's body.

"Yeah that's more than enough for me. I'm taking this to Aiden, and you're through."


File: 1696031229627-0.jpeg (12.24 KB, 149x500, Dana Desmond - 3.jpeg)

File: 1696031229627-1.png (788.6 KB, 700x1457, Joshua - 2.png)

>Dana then sighs and gets up. As she begins to walk towards the door - she then presses her hand against it, keeping it shut. The webbing remains on the door knob, reinforcing its closing.

"You'll do no such thing. I have a very clear plan in place for this company, and I intend to keep it as such."

>Joshua narrows his eyes at Dana and says:

"I can't believe I ever respected you. You're complete and utter garbage. A shallow excuse for a human being."

>Dana shrugs once more.

"Moral platitudes are quite easy to make, when in a position of power. Without that power, however? They're just words."

>Dana then places her hand on Joshua's chest.

"Empty. Words. Bereft of any meaning or weight behind them."

>Joshua remains entirely still, scowling at Dana.

"Oh? Am I wrong? If so, then feel free to correct my assumptions and walk away."

>Dana then leans in close to whisper into Joshua's ear.

["I think we found your price…."]


File: 1696031776916-0.jpeg (12.24 KB, 149x500, Dana Desmond - 3.jpeg)

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File: 1696031776916-4.gif (8.42 MB, 728x408, Swing - 6.gif)

>[20 minutes later]

"I assume you understand the conditions then?"

>Dana says as she finishes buttoning up her jacket. Fixing up her hair, she then checks her watch once more as she thinks to herself.

{"Hmm. Not too much time left before work resumes."}

>Joshua sits up on the other side of the couch - already back in his black clothing, thanks to his protoplasm.


>Noting his silence, Dana then says:

"You keep that information under wraps. I know you won't delete it because you need some leverage over me now - and you won't expose it because….well…"

>Dana looks over her shoulder as she finishes buttoning up her blouse.

"The performance was more than satisfactory, I would imagine?"

>Joshua rolls his eyes and stands up, stating.

"Whatever. I may not be the one to spill the secrets, you two-faced bitch. But someone else will."

>Dana smiles at Joshua and taps his right cheek twice, before saying:

"Good. I'll see you at work next week. You should still be officially 'recovering' from the incident - since you survived. Naturally, you'll have paid leave until then."

>Dana fixes her hair and pops a set of mints - before walking back to her desk.

"I expect more research from you in the future, Joshua."

>Dana says, giving a convincing smile with a cheery tone of voice.

>Almost instantly, Joshua summons the black mass of protoplasm from his clothes - transforming into Tarantula once again. As he moves to open the window, he then turns back to Dana and says:

"Like I said. Someone's going to expose you one day."

>Dana turns back to Joshua and smiles, stating:

"Possibly. But it won't be you, now will it?"

>Tarantula then shoots out a large strand of webbing from the white patch on the back of his hand - and then swings away into the daylight.


File: 1696032458201-0.png (209.26 KB, 750x422, The Prism - 2.png)

File: 1696032458201-1.png (2.89 MB, 998x2000, Mosaic.png)

File: 1696032458201-2.png (1.37 MB, 673x1000, Aiden - 56.png)

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>Location: Sanctuary City - The Prism
>Time: 5:00 PM

>A figure continues typing at the computer in the center of the base - hidden deep underneath Archeon.

"….So were you able to find anything on the group that hired Hollow?"

>Damian says, wearing his Arachnid costume - with his mask folded off and hanging on his jacket.

>Aiden stands beside him, arms crossed as his helmet is dematerialized - leaving his head of white hair and sunglasses visible.

"Wasn't too difficult. It was DataDrive executives."

>Damian stops typing and turns to face Aiden, stating:

"Wait, are you serious?!"

>Aiden nods.

"Yeah, turns out they don't seem to like the fact that I'm partnering up with Hoyokazi Industries on specific consumer electronics devices. The technology we patented seems to have them worried."

>Damian turns back to the supercomputer and begins typing again.

"Enough to hire a bunch of Meta-Human criminals in a bid to take you both out."

>Aiden is silent for a moment before he speaks.

"Well, they were likely nudged into it by our real problem - Ouranos."

>Damian looks back at Aiden.

"The alien dude right?"

>Aiden nods.

"If we can find some connective threads between their internal correspondence and Hollow - we can potentially trace that back to any secondary shell companies and suppliers that Ouranos could be using as front operations."

>Aiden then further elaborates.

"I've suspected for a while now that he's hijacked Eukaryon's infrastructure. They haven't been attacking Meta-Humans nearly as frequently anymore, and the shift was sudden and abrupt."

>Damian then speaks.

"Kind of makes sense, really. From what you've told me, he's trying to take over the world. Hard to do that without a network in place to operate with."

"Which is why he took over Eukaryon for their established infrastructure. It makes sense, now I just need to figure out where Hollow and Esper fit into all of this."


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>Damian then speaks up.

"You said that Esper's interrogation told you that they were dispatched in pairs. The original, and an identical clone."

>Aiden looks at Damian, saying:

"I know exactly where you're going with this, but you can say it anyways."

>Damian then does so.

"….What if they're working with someone who has access to Chiral's old research data on cloning? Ouranos can't use much of his technology without flagging you to his location, right? So he'd need more 'old fashioned' ways of cloning people as part of his plans."

>Aiden nods.

"A more 'analogue' approach would be considered under the radar, yes. Which means there has to be someone who's feeding them information about Chiral's work."

>Damian then interjects with a question.

"You said that your uncle was one of the first to make the breakthrough on rapid cellular stimulation. Basically cloning right? Do you think someone's figured out his work? Sold it to someone for a lot of cash?"

>Aiden shakes his head.

"Uncle Eli's work was too complex for the average person to solve. My father figured out the work and then-"

>Aiden catches himself before finishing his statement.

"….Then more or less destroyed it. He didn't want the data getting into the wrong hands. So that's a dead end."

>Damian sighs and leans forward, assuming a thinking position with his gloved hands.

"…..What if we're going about this all wrong?"

>Aiden looks at Damian with a now intrigued look on his face.

"How do you figure?"

>Damian then asks:

"What if somebody didn't reach out to Ouranos and Hollow - but instead somebody from their side went in."

>Realization fills Aiden's mind as he then responds.

"You think someone at Archeon's an impersonator?"


File: 1696033456381-0.png (209.26 KB, 750x422, The Prism - 2.png)

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File: 1696033456381-2.jpeg (4 MB, 2480x3508, Mosaic - 2.jpeg)

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File: 1696033456381-4.png (2.04 MB, 738x2375, Arachnid.png)

>Nodding, Damian then speaks.

"The timing was too coincidental. They attacked exactly when they knew that MRD activity was concentrated as far away from Archeon as possible. That entire prison break at the Spire was just a pretext - a red herring to distract the MRD from their actual target. To distract them from Archeon."

>Aiden nods, understanding Damian's rationale so far.

"I understand you so far."

>Damian then brings up some documents on the supercomputer - cross referencing their dates while he continues speaking.

"Remember. The reason why Ouranos wants you out of the picture is because he thinks you're making advances in Meta-Gene development. You basically kicked his ass while you were fighting him as Mosaic. So he probably assumes that you're the peak of Meta-Human power."

>Aiden responds.

"Ergo, the Meta-Gene is a threat to his plans of world domination."

>Nodding, Damian continues.

"Right. So if Ouranos thinks that you're getting the Meta-Gene developed further and further to its limits? Then what's he going to want access to?"

>Aiden immediately speaks up:

"…The gene recombination research at Archeon's bio-technology division."

>Damian then nods, solemnly, as he states:

"….And who's the head of the bio-technology division?"

>Aiden and Damian stare at each other for a moment, before they immediately put on their helmets and masks. Then, without a word, they both leave the cave hideout of the Prism behind - moving rapidly up the complex…..


File: 1696034725810-0.jpg (93.01 KB, 1024x576, Rooftop.jpg)

File: 1696034725810-1.png (2.89 MB, 998x2000, Mosaic.png)

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>Location: Archeon Complex - Rooftop
>Time: 5:30 PM

"W-Wait! You have the wrong person!"

>Dana hangs helplessly over the edge of the rooftop, with thousands of meters to fall below. As she looks between the ground and the floor that she's barely standing on - she watches as Mosaic and Arachnid continue to press her.

>Arachnid questions her first.

"We reviewed the security footage. At 9:55 AM, your staff reported sightings of soldiers appearing at the edge of the bio-technology division. That was the place hit first, during the attack last week"

>Mosaic crosses his arms as he continues where Arachnid left off.

"You had multiple opportunities to activate the emergency silent alarm - but you didn't."

>Dana looks taken aback as she then looks around, stating:

"I-I was under emotional duress! I didn't know what was going on! I was worried for my safety! For the safety of my staff!"

>Arachnid then goes silent for a moment.

"Then why did you go for the Meta-Gene research data and secure it onto several thumb drives first - before you went out of your office to see the commotion?"

>Silence fills the air as Dana then speaks in a low tone of voice.

"There's no way you could possibly prove that-"

>Arachnid then holds out his palm, revealing a miniature spider robot on it.

"Official feeds aren't the only form of surveillance available."

>Dana looks between Arachnid and Mosaic in disbelief - as Mosaic says:

"Should've been more careful."

>Dana grows silent for a moment, before beginning to laugh hysterically.

"….Ahahahahahaha! Fair enough! There's no point keeping up the charade any longer!"

>Dana's skin then turns blue and her eyes lose their pupils - revealing the figure of a slender woman with red hair.

"…..You? I thought you'd turned over a new leaf with the MRD?"

>The figure of Capgras then turns to look at both Mosaic and Arachnid, before Mosaic then realizes.

"…Of course."

>Mosaic and Arachnid then both speak in unison.



File: 1696035219831-0.jpg (148.16 KB, 1229x1600, Capgras - 3.jpg)

File: 1696035219831-1.gif (7.91 MB, 720x404, Swing - 3.gif)

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File: 1696035219831-3.jpeg (4 MB, 2480x3508, Mosaic - 2.jpeg)

File: 1696035219831-4.png (2.04 MB, 738x2375, Arachnid.png)

>Capgras then laughs as she begins slowly walking backwards, causing Arachnid to reach out with his hand.

"Hey! What are you doing?! You're going to die if you fall off!"

>Capgras then sneers as she says:

"Haven't you been paying attention? I've got many different powers. More than you realize…"

>Signaling a wave to both of them with two fingers, she then says:

"Well, it's been fun. Later!"

>Capgras then falls off from the side of the building - feeling confident in herself. Suddenly, she then hears a voice as she's hit from behind with a sudden force.

"I fucking knew it."

>Opening her eyes in shock, Capgras looks to see the form of Tarantula - grabbing her and swinging with her in his arm.



>Back on the rooftop, Capgras starts explaining the situation as she's webbed up.

"…..It's as Esper said. We're made in pairs. The original, and a clone."

>Confused, Arachnid then asks:

"….But why would Ouranos make a clone of you? The original's not working for Chiral anymore."

>Looking up at Arachnid, Capgras then says:

"That's exactly why. Ouranos needed an infiltrator who could get him close to the work involving Archeon's research."

>Arachnid then asks the question on his mind.

"….How long."

>Capgras sighs and states:

"….A few days. Nothing long lasting. I didn't have much time to get information - but then Ouranos got impatient. Called the attack less than a week later."

>Mosaic then asks:

"Why couldn't anyone sense your different psychic imprint? There could be psions hired by Archeon for all you know."

>Responding, Capgras says:

"Because no one would have any reason to suddenly suspect a change in Dana Desmond. That's why. Nobody looked."

>Arachnid stares at Mosaic, who then sighs in irritation.

"….Where is she?"

>Capgras then immediately speaks:

"She's in a safe house three miles north. Between Van Buren and Clark drive. It's-"

>Mosaic disappears in an instant - leaving Capgras stunned.


File: 1696035740432-0.jpeg (4.57 MB, 2480x3507, Mosaic - 21.jpeg)

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File: 1696035740432-2.jpeg (440.51 KB, 1920x2400, Tarantula - 6.jpeg)

File: 1696035740432-3.jpg (55.45 KB, 413x642, Dana Desmond.jpg)

File: 1696035740432-4.jpeg (149.86 KB, 776x1200, Capgras.jpeg)

>Mosaic then reappears instantly, with the tattered and weakened form of Dana Desmond. As she looks around in a panic, she then shouts:

"W-Where am I?!?!"

>Looking around, she then notices where she is, and sighs. Now crying tears of happiness, she then continues sobbing and weeping - stating:

"Oh..Oh thank God! Thank God that I'm saved!!!!"

>Dana then turns around and buries her face in Mosaic's chest - continuing to ball her eyes out.

>Tarantula turns and stares a death glare at Capgras - causing her to look away in shame.



>After a few more minutes, Dana has allowed herself to calm down.

"…..Oh God…I just….I just couldn't…."

>Mosaic, Arachnid and Tarantula all try their best to calm Dana down - and eventually do so.

"Hey. Hey! M - Misses Desmond. You're going to be alright!"

>Dana then looks up at Arachnid, tears in her eyes. She then says:

"….I was wrong about you all. I never should've seen you all as menace. I won't - not after today."

>Mosaic then looks at Arachnid, then looks at Tarantula.


>Mosaic then says:

"You think I don't know?"

>Silent, Tarantula then states:


>Mosaic then snaps his fingers and remotely knocks Capgras out - before he turns to look at Dana.

"What….What are you-"

"I think it's time we stopped hiding this from you. Wouldn't you agree, Arachnid?"

>Arachnid nods as he then says:

"At this point? Yeah."

>Dana then looks confused - as Mosaic and Arachnid remove their helmets | masks. Then, Dana's eyes widen as she drops to the floor in disbelief.

"….Oh….Oh My God……."


File: 1696036145050-0.jpeg (140.52 KB, 850x1203, Aiden - 50.jpeg)

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File: 1696036145050-2.jpg (55.45 KB, 413x642, Dana Desmond.jpg)

File: 1696036145050-3.jpeg (377.6 KB, 1090x1594, Tarantula - 5.jpeg)

File: 1696036145050-4.jpeg (330.72 KB, 660x968, Joshua.jpeg)

>Aiden dusts off his hair as Damian adjusts his glasses. They both look at Dana - who is seemingly out of words to express her sheer disbelief.


>Damian then sighs and rubs the back of his neck.

"I know it's not what you wanted to hear, mom - but I-"

>Dana then rushes forward and hugs Damian tightly - still crying profusely as she does so.

"I'm so proud of you sweetie!"

>Damian is surprised - then looks up at Aiden who nods.

"I saw this coming, yeah."

>Damian is still stunned as he then asks his mother a question.

"….But…aren't you mad that I kept this from you?"

>Dana shakes her head as she continues hugging her son.

"I had my suspicious - but I could never quite prove it. Not definitively. But now? Seeing you here. Knowing the truth?"

>Dana hugs Damian tighter, saying:

"…..I wouldn't ask for anything else, than for my son to be a superhero. Helping people….."

>Dana then wipes the tears away from her eyes as she turns to give Aiden a grateful expression.

"….Thank you for keeping my boy safe, Aiden."

>Aiden nods as he says:

"I could see a lot of myself in him - and he needed the guidance. He's done the work of getting himself into a better place though."

>Dana nods and then turns to face Tarantula - stating.

"….You, I don't recognize however."

>Tarantula crosses his arms and speaks.

"That's probably for the best, honestly."

>Shaking her head, Dana says:

"No. Any friend of my son's is a friend of mine. Mask off. Now."

>Taken aback by her sheer conviction and the sternness of her voice, Tarantula relents - as his mask slowly peels off his face with the protoplasm of his suit moving away.

>Dana raises a hand to her mouth in shock as she learns the identity of the black suited figure.



File: 1696036335511-0.png (788.6 KB, 700x1457, Joshua - 2.png)

File: 1696036335511-1.jpeg (440.51 KB, 1920x2400, Tarantula - 6.jpeg)

File: 1696036335511-2.png (2.04 MB, 738x2375, Arachnid.png)

File: 1696036335511-3.jpeg (4 MB, 2480x3508, Mosaic - 2.jpeg)

File: 1696036335511-4.png (412.79 KB, 1024x575, Dana Desmond - 2.png)

>Joshua crosses his arms as he looks away, stating:

"Long story short. Accident that happened while you were gone. I thought my day was going to utter shit, given the circumstances."

>He then takes a long silence to turn back and face Dana.

"…..But it's good to have you back, Misses Desmond."

>Smiling, Dana then speaks:

"Of course."

>Looking at the knocked out form of the woman beside them, Dana then states:

"….I've seen her before…"

>Thinking intently, she then says:

"You! She's the one who impersonated me!"

>Aiden, Damian and Joshua then put on their helmets | masks as she slowly wakes up again.


File: 1696036962182-0.jpeg (4.57 MB, 2480x3507, Mosaic - 21.jpeg)

File: 1696036962182-1.jpeg (123.38 KB, 720x540, Arachnid - 2.jpeg)

File: 1696036962182-2.jpeg (377.6 KB, 1090x1594, Tarantula - 5.jpeg)

File: 1696036962182-3.jpg (55.45 KB, 413x642, Dana Desmond.jpg)

File: 1696036962182-4.jpeg (149.86 KB, 776x1200, Capgras.jpeg)

>Capgras wakes up, dazed as she places a hand on her forehead.


>Looking up, she then sees the three vigilantes standing before her and says:

"…OK! OK! OK! I give up! I'm sorry! But I had no choice! He was going to-"

"Destroy you if he didn't?"

>Capgras nods, sighing in sadness.

>Arachnid looks at Mosaic and says:

"History repeats, and it doesn't seem to deviate either."

>Mosaic responds.

"No, it most certainly does not."

>Dana then speaks up.

"…..I remember hearing a man in a suit of armor and a cloak. He was also wearing a hood. He said something about…needing the bio-technology division's research?"

>Mosaic turns to face Dana and asks her a question.

"Was he called Ouranos?"

>Dana nods quickly in response.

"Yes! Yes he called himself that! Why? What does that mean?"

>Mosaic turns back towards Capgras and says:

"It means we have a lead. So I'll offer you this one chance."

>Mosaic crouches in front of Capgras - sensing the trepidation in her voice.

"Either you work with us and tell us everything - and maybe I can get a friend to work things out for you. Provided you're willing to work overtime to make up for what you've done. If not? Then Capgras gets to see herself behind a MRD cell."

>Capgras looks between Mosaic and Dana - as Mosaic presses her for her answer.

"Well? What's it going to be?"

>Capgras then looks at Mosaic and sighs.

"….Alright, fine. I'll do it."


File: 1696039503171-0.jpg (883.63 KB, 1838x923, Sci-Fi Lab Interior.jpg)

File: 1696039503171-1.jpg (171.36 KB, 1000x1467, Mariah - 3.jpg)

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File: 1696039503171-4.png (788.6 KB, 700x1457, Joshua - 2.png)

>Date: August 6th, 2017
>Location: Archeon Incorporated
>Time: 8:00 AM

"Hey! Watch where you're going!"

>Mariah continues shuffling around with a tray of vials in her hands. Her supernatural proprioception and balance allows her to effortlessly carry the tray - however it doesn't help her demeanor that people keep bumping into her.

"What does Aiden pay you people for? Christ."

>Eventually, Mariah gets to the main meeting area of the biotechnology division.

>As she enters the room, she sees Dana, Joshua and a new red-headed woman sitting across from Joshua at the table.

"Eh? Who's this?"

>Mariah says, pointing a finger at the woman.

>Dana looks at Mariah and smiles with a genuine expression of joy on her face. She then walks over and gives Mariah a big hug - stating:

"I've missed you Mariah!"

>Confused, Mariah then says:

"….Ma'am, you saw me yesterday. Didn't you?"

>The redheaded woman looks up from her notes as she stands up and walks over to Mariah. As Dana steps back, the woman then introduces herself.

"I'm Jennifer. Jennifer Harrison."

>Mariah looks at Jennifer for a moment, before taking her hand and shaking it. As she does so, she feels a slight sensation.

{"That's odd. That feeling. It's….familiar…"}

>Mariah then looks up at the woman - who's skin briefly turns blue on one side of her face. She then winks as her face changes back to normal.

"What the…..CAPGRAS?!?!?!"

>Immediately jumping back, Mariah takes a defensive stance as Dana says:

"Mariah! Mariah it's fine! I know about her, and I know about you!"

>Looking over at Dana in disbelief, she then looks on at Joshua who looks back at her.

"I know you already know about me as well. You can drop the concern."

>Irritated, Mariah then groans and speaks.

"Why the hell is she here then?!"

>Joshua sighs and speaks:

"Long story. But she's my responsibility. That was the agreement."

>Confused, Mariah then asks a simple question.

"….Responsibility for what, Joshua?"

>Jennifer just shrugs and walks past Mariah, saying in her ear:

"Use your imagination."

>Taking a moment to process the implication, Mariah then goes ballistic as she begins chasing Jennifer around the meeting table.

"You little bi-"

>Joshua groans loudly and rubs the temples of his forehead with his hands, irritated.

"Both of you shut up and let's just get this meeting over with! Jennifer's our new hire."


File: 1696040071267-0.jpeg (330.72 KB, 660x968, Joshua.jpeg)

File: 1696040071267-1.png (53.43 KB, 266x199, Gadget - 16.png)

File: 1696040071267-2.jpeg (70.14 KB, 850x611, Jennifer - 3.jpeg)

File: 1696040071267-3.jpg (55.45 KB, 413x642, Dana Desmond.jpg)

File: 1696040071267-4.jpg (34.71 KB, 300x460, Mariah.jpg)

>Mariah stops chasing Jennifer around and instead looks between Joshua and Dana.

"OK, there better be a good reason for this. You know who she is, right?!"

>Jennifer gives a casual shrug as she states:

"Well, my counterpart is doing fine work for the MRD - and I would rather not disturb her work with knowledge of my existence so…."

>Rolling her eyes, Mariah then looks at Dana and speaks.

"…..I'm sorry that I never told you that I was Arachne. I was half worried that you'd fire me - and half worried that you'd hate me for being a Meta-Human."

>Dana shakes her head.

"The entire reason the attack happened - was because I wasn't more forthcoming with you both about my feelings on the matter. Had you both felt that you could've trusted me - I likely would've have been replaced by her."

>Jennifer gives a genuine look of regret.

"….Sorry about that."

>Dana glares at Jennifer, stating:

"Well that's why you're here, now isn't it? You're going to repay me back tenfold and work to make this division even more exemplary than it already is! Do I make myself clear?"

>Jennifer nods quickly, clearly terrified of Dana as she speaks.

"Y-Yes ma'am! I promise!"

>Now giving a cheery expression, Dana states:

"Good! I suppose you and Joshua will work well together! You seem to be on the same wavelength."

>Jennifer gives Joshua a wry smile as she speaks.

"Oh we're very well acquainted with each other - aren't we?"

>Joshua crosses his arms and looks away as Mariah puts two and two together.

"….Oh gross! You did that?! Seriously?!"

>Dana looks confused at Mariah's reaction.

"What did Joshua do?"

>Jennifer looks at Joshua with an amused expression - stating:

"Go on. Tell her."

>Joshua instead turns invisible - demonstrating perfect camouflage as he seemingly leaves the room.

>After a few moments, Dana realizes what likely happened - given the time table.

"….Oh Dear Lord."

>Running out of the laboratory after Joshua, Dana then says:

"I'm terribly sorry for that, Joshua! Please don't hold it against me!"

>Mariah then turns to look at Jennifer, stating:

"So I'm supposed to work with someone who likes pretending to be a woman twice her own age - and seducing young men?"

>Jennifer shrugs as she responds.

"Femme fatale archetype has to mean something, doesn't it?"

>Mariah shrugs.

"I suppose so."


File: 1696040752522-0.jpeg (94.68 KB, 850x1159, Aiden - 48.jpeg)

File: 1696040752522-1.jpeg (4 MB, 2480x3508, Mosaic - 2.jpeg)

File: 1696040752522-2.png (281.38 KB, 1275x952, Damian.png)

File: 1696040752522-3.png (2.04 MB, 738x2375, Arachnid.png)

File: 1696040752522-4.gif (897.59 KB, 500x215, Flight.gif)

>Location: Archeon Incorporated - Rooftop
>Time: 12:00 PM

>Aiden stands on the balcony overlooking the city beyond. As he does so, he watches as Arachnid swings onto the railing beside him - landing on both feet effortlessly.

"Sorry I'm late. You said you wanted to say something?"

>Aiden nods and he looks up at Arachnid, stating:

"I'm proud of you. What you did the other day - setting Joshua straight while he wasn't in control of his powers."

>Looking back out at the city's skyline, he says:

"You sorted his behavior out - and now he's adjusting."

>Arachnid then takes off his mask and shows his face - looking down at the mask as it loses its rigidity and becomes cloth in his hand.

"Yeah well, I remember what you told me about your biggest mistake. I didn't want to repeat it."

>Aiden nods at Damian in response to the statement.

"I didn't want for you to repeat it either. Good job. You understand the importance of responsibility, and why power has to be tempered by it too."

>After a few more seconds of looking out over the city skyline, Damian then responds.

"….Aiden? How much longer do you see yourself doing this? Fighting criminals in costume and all that?"

>Aiden considers the question for a moment - before he speaks.

"As long as I need to. It's my responsibility now since I have the power."

>As Damian looks off to the side at a bird that's flown by, he turns his attention back to Aiden - now wearing his Mosaic garb but without the helmet.

"It's also yours now too. For good measure and not for lack of trying."

>Nodding, Damian puts his mask back on and completes his Arachnid persona.

"…..I heard over the comms that there was a potential break-in at the Sanctuary City refinery. Five targets. Probably Brigadiers. Could be Crimson Tide, or even remnants of the Outsiders."

>Aiden conjures his helmet as he becomes Mosaic in full - with Arachnid asking the next question.

"You in?"

>Mosaic looks back at Arachnid, stating:


>Mosaic then blasts off from the balcony - flying off into the distance with his hands in his cloak's pockets.

>Arachnid launches himself into the air with a silk slingshot - flinging himself right behind him, and gliding on the aerodynamic mesh that is his suit's jacket.

>Both vigilantes then effectively fly off into the distance - going on to solve the next immediate problem in the city, as they always do.

[The End]

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