Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 25 Pt 1


Official Report
On the road
New Hebron, California

Tires squealed and the occupants of the armored truck braced themselves. The only one who seemed unaffected was Indigo Knight, and that was, no doubt, more the work of his armor than anything else.

Only a handful of the exemplars were capable of flight and while Sapphira’s telekinetic abilities would have allowed him to propel the others, he wasn’t confident in his ability to keep them in the air long enough to reach their destination. So they’d all piled into the AEGIS vehicle instead.

He clenched his eyes shut, taking in a deep breath as his heart pounded away inside his chest. He sensed the other’s around him, and while most of them showed a calm facade Sapphira knew nothing could be further from the truth. Harrier the statuesque woman from the briefing room, Tennyo the Asian girl, and Borrum the bearded fellow had the feel of hardened veterans, tense and a little nervous with anticipation, but less worried than the others. Aether the man he knew as Gus, Indigo Knight, and the Equalizer were a different story. From them Sapphira sensed the same raw nerves and rising panic he himself was battling. Babalawo, just seemed sick.

Indigo Knight was considered a heavy hitter within the Exemplar community and had been in the public eye for close to ten years. It surprised Sapphira that he should radiate such unease when he had been around for so long. He turned his helmeted head matching gazes with Sapphira.

“Stage fright,” He said and turned away without another word.

Sapphira’s jaw dropped, but he didn’t offer a response. If Indigo Knight had known what he was thinking, it meant Sapphira was not the only telepath in the group. The funny thing was he’d never once heard mention of Indigo Knight having any powers. His feats were the work of his suit, a mechanical marvel that used technology that experts were still trying to understand. That there may be an actual super-powered individual under all that armor hadn’t occurred to Sapphira and nobody else.

He grunted, reeling sideways and almost went tumbling out of his seat. “Goddamn kids these days. Nobody knows how to drive a damn car.”

This statement raised a few eyebrows, but nobody in the truck said anything. Babalawo, glanced up at him, muttered something under his breath and cast his eyes back to the ground.

He held his hand out and reached out with his mind, he sensed the vehicle speeding through the street at a speed that seemed to belie the trucks massive size. The amount of power running through the engine was much greater than it should have been. There was a power source under the hood that seemed foreign unlike anything else he sensed on the surrounding road. Whatever technology was propelling the vehicle, it was no mere internal combustion engine or electrical motor driving the vehicle.

He lurched forward again, but this time he steadied himself, not with his arms or legs, but with the power of his mind. His head snapped into place and his whole body stiffened and settle against the inside wall of the truck. While the others lurched about, fighting to stay seated, Sapphira and Indigo Knight remained still.

The truck came to a screeching halt, and the occupants piled out. Awẹ́, was the last, and he shuddered stumbling out of the little truck, using one hand to steady himself. “I think I’m gonna hurl.”

Sapphira was the first to his side, he reached out with his senses, thinking perhaps he could heal whatever malady had befallen him, but stopped when he realized what it was. Babalawo had motion sickness from getting thrown around the truck.

“Just breath,” Sapphira whispered under his breath and sighed when the other exemplar slid to the ground and hunched over leaning against the bumper of the green AEGIS truck. He averted his eyes just in time to avoid seeing him vomit all over the ground in front of him.

“The man can walk through walls, but a little motion sickness is too much for him,” A voice mumbled somewhere behind Sapphira. He didn’t know for certain who had spoken, but it had belonged a man.

“I’ll be fine just give me a minute.” Awẹ́ rose to his feet panting and shaking.

Sapphira nodded and turned away, glancing around the street. There were no signs of Chemosh or Garos, but he was certain they would be close by.

He heard footsteps and turned to watch as Van den Broeke approached from down the street. She looked around, her eyes lingering on each person within the group before folding her arms and settling her gaze on Sapphira.

“Chemosh and his cohort have retreated into the Downing Building,” she threw a hand over her should toward a large skyscraper still under construction that only had some of its exterior walls completed.

Sapphira had heard about it once or twice on the news, the work of the eccentric billionaire Richard Downing Junior. Sapphira glanced at Indigo Knight and bit his lip. There were rumors that the two men were one and the same. The suit wasn’t something constructed in some back alley or a mechanics garage. It was too advanced. It would require a lot of money and resources to develop which someone like Richard Downing had in spades.

There were other theories about Indigo Knight, each of them more ridiculous than the last. Most of them seemed to involve an extra-terrestrial origin, but Sapphira had always thought they seemed just a little too convoluted. Then again, he never would have believed his own exemplar origin story if he hadn’t experienced it for himself.

He might have given the subject more thought, but it was of little importance to him at the moment. He gritted his teeth craned his neck up and eyed the structure with a shake of his head. Chemosh, tense with anticipation and seething with hatred, waited within.

Meeting the agent’s gaze of the agent, he swallowed hard. “Whatever we’re going to do, we better tread carefully. Chemosh is waiting for us.”

“GALLU!” The open wind carried on the open wind and the moment it sounded through the air Sapphira jerked his head around, seeking the source. The others did the same, casting their eyes about no doubt expecting an attack.

Amelia was the only one besides himself who knew what to expect. She drew her gun and the other agents on scene did the same.

“Agent, what’s going on?” A tall man with a shock of white hair demanded of Van den Broeke.

“Gallu. Be ready for an attack from partially corporeal being,” she answered back and nodded toward Awẹ́ “they can phase through solid matter, much like our friend there. They can only be killed when in their solid form. Needless to say, they don’t stay solid for long.”

“Shit, she’s not kidding,” Harrier muttered under her breath casting her eyes about.

As if responding to Amelia’s words, a full dozen of the creatures materialized from out of the building leaving a residue of green fluid on the exterior walls.

Indigo knight stepped forward and looked up at the building. “This will be fun.” He turned and met Sapphira’s gaze. “You take Harrier and Aether, we’ll keep them off your back. If what the agent says is true, you need to get inside that building before it’s too late.”

“No,” Amelia said with a grunt firing off a shot at an approaching Gallu and scowled as the bullet phased right through the creature. “Chemosh is the biggest threat. We need as many exemplars in that building as we can get. AEGIS personnel are more than capable of dealing with these creatures.”

“Babalawo,” Amelia said glanced toward the Aberrant and nodded toward the building. “How hard is it to bring other people with you when you phase through a wall?”

Awẹ́ glanced back at her with a shake of his head. “The more mass there is the harder it is to phase. I wouldn’t want to do more than one at a time. Someone might get trapped inside a wall or worse, fused into it,” he paused long enough to phase through a Gallu who had swooped in for attack, “believe me, that’s not a pleasant way to go.”

Amelia fired off three-consecutive shots at the Gallu that had attacked Babalawo. The first, slammed into its shoulder and it let out a high pitch screech. It phased through the second and thirds shots and the bullet that lodged in its shoulder clattered to the ground below it. Once it had returned to solid form, it dove forward straight toward the agent. Harrier stepped in front of her, extended her hands out and talons appeared from the tips of her gloves. She slashed at the creature, inflicting a set of deep gashes in its side. It screeched, and dove away.

“All right, Harrier, Aether and Indigo Knight, go with Psyren, and the rest with me.” She threw a thumb over her shoulder.

“It’s better if I stay outside the building, if Chemosh senses me, there could be trouble.”

Amelia frowned furrowed her brow, but didn’t press the matter. The Indigo Knight’s statement had sparked a suspicion within her, but so long as he didn’t get in the way, it wouldn’t be a problem.

“Liv,” Amelia swung her weapon around training it on the Gallu as it swooped closer and nodded to an unfinished area of the building several flights up. “You take your group in from up there.”

Sapphira nodded, bit his lip and rose into the air his cape billowing around him.

He sensed Harrier and Aether rising from the ground below. He glanced down and watched the pair move. Harrier held Aether in her arms, and while the man was thin and slender, he was only slightly shorter than average. Harrier, didn’t seem to even be breaking a sweat. Though she had an athletic build, she must have been stronger than she looked.

As he sped away, he senses dozens more of the creatures emerging from within the building. Indigo Knight and the AEGIS personal below would have a quite the fight on their hands. His whole body trembled, and his heart hammered inside his chest, but he would not allow himself to turn back, not now. He might already be too late.

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 25 Pt 2


Official Report
The Downing Building
New Hebron, California

Amy dove forward avoiding an attack from a swooping Gallu, the creature howled, likely in frustration, but instead of turning to face it she kept on running. She panted, sweat dripping from her forehead and she threw her hands out before reaching the wall. The agent grunted when her palms impacted the concrete face of the building and gritted her teeth. Spinning around, Amy trained her weapon away from the building in case another creature attacked. She eyed Babalawo as he approached and craned her neck watching as the other two exemplars followed in on his heels.

“Damn,” Babalawo, “I gotta hand it to you, sister, you can move when you need to. Any place you want me to bring us through?”

Amy glanced around, turned to meet his gaze and shook her head. “Just make it quick. The longer we stay out here, the more likely they’ll notice us.”

Amelia craned her neck over her shoulder, and bit her lip. She didn’t mention it was likely Chemosh already knew of why they were there, or he may already know what she was planning. It was hard to say with telepaths. Sapphira was their best bet. If she were to find a way to keep Chemosh occupied, if even for a short time, maybe she’d be able to increase Sapphira’s chances.

“I’ll go first,” she said putting a hand on Awẹ́’s shoulder. “If there’s even the slightest sign of trouble, you turn back even if it means leaving me behind. You understand?”

Babalawo square his jaw and gritted his teeth and met her gaze. It was clear he didn’t like leaving anyone behind, but as he stared into her eyes, he saw her resolve mirrored back at him. He shook his head and let out a long sigh. “Fine, whatever you say.”

He squared his jaw again and averted his eyes before holding out a hand. “We gonna do this shit or not?”

Amelia clenched her teeth, certain that the other exemplar wouldn’t be quick to abandon her, but just as convinced that she needed him. She took his hand and let out a sigh of her own. They made eye contact one final time, nodded, and Amelia’s whole body lurched forward just before Babalawo pulled her into the wall.

Hovering in the open air, Sapphira peering into the darkness of the building. The construction crew had already erected much of the glass facade, but near the top there were still several panels they’d yet to place. Though he sensed Chemosh within, he neither saw nor heard anything out of the ordinary.

When he stepped inside, the tips of his toes brushing the concrete floor, and he grunted, as gravity reasserted its hold on him. Once his eyes had adjusted to the darkness, he again cast his eyes around hoping to detect a hint of Chemosh or his grotesque cohort. He saw no movement and the only sound was the grind of own footsteps.

From behind, feet scraped on the hard concrete floor and he turned back in time to witness Harrier and Aether share a kiss. After they broke for air, Sapphira watched them approach, but didn’t say a word. He realized the two were an item, but to his old-fashioned sensibilities they seemed quite the odd couple. Harrier was taller than most men and had a fair amount of muscle on her frame, but not so much that Sapphira would consider her figure masculine. Aether was small and slender for a man, athletic, but had more of the build of a runner than a fighter like the woman.

He shook his head and grimaced. Those sorts of thoughts weren’t who he was anymore. He was a former man living in the body of a woman who’d fallen for a transwoman. He was so far out of the gender roles he’d grown up with that his old self would be horrified at what he’d become.

“So, Psyren, is it?” Harrier asked, casting her gaze about.

Sapphira nodded, moving forward and peering around in every direction still hoping to detect a hint of his targets, but neither of them emerged.

“How do we even know this Shamosh and Argos are even still here? They might have given us the slip.” Harrier scowled and paused both hands on her hips.

Sapphira bit the inside his cheek. “Their names are Chemosh and Garos and they’re here… I can sense them.”

“Psychics,” Aether muttered under his breath and shook his head. “Any sense of where they might be.”

Sapphira paused, pursed his lips and turned his head to meet the man’s gaze. “Close.”

Aether grimaced and shook his head. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Harrier didn’t say a word. Instead her head moved back and forth as her eyes roved the length of the empty husk of a building. Soon Aether was also craning his neck around peering into the darkness. Sapphira didn’t bother, but rather moved forward extending his physic awareness out attempting to sense something. Chemosh’s malevolent presence shined through like a fire blazing in the night sky, the more analytical mind of Garos was not as intense, but it too was easy to perceive. So too could he feel the hundreds of Gallu outside the building, but he detected no direct threat from them or the beings within.

That was when his mind touched something different, something dark, something…

Sapphira stopped dead in his tracks and threw out both hands forming a shield around himself and the others. He had enough time to yell out a warning before the floor collapsed out from under them.

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 25 Pt 3


Official Report
The Downing Building
New Hebron, California

“Well, that’s disappointing,” Awẹ́ said, letting out a grunt as they re-materialized on the inside the dark building. “Nobody’s home.”

Amelia glanced over her shoulder at him and slipped her firearm back into its holster. Though the weapon now rested inside, the other exemplar noticed that the agent kept the snap unclasped.

“Looks like it,” she said eying the darkness between gritted teeth.

The building was silent, too quiet. It set the agent’s nerves on edge. Amy had well-honed instincts, and she’d learned to trust them over the years. Those instincts were telling her that something was wrong.

She didn’t say a word, but rather touched the wall and reached deep inside herself feeling for a connection and found none. The building was new and had a limited connection to the past. If anything of note had happened in that part of the building she should have had no trouble forming a connection.

I did nothing to assuage the nagging in the pit of her stomach. It only reenforced her sense of wrongness.

“Uh, agent?” Babalawo said, and she spun back around to face him. She found him standing with his back to her both his palms sliding up and down the wall.

“I don’t mean to alarm you,” he craned his neck around to stare back at her eyes as wide as saucers. “But I can’t pass through the wall.”

“Shit,” Amelia cursed between gritted teeth, drew her weapon and spun around on the balls of her feet. Try as she might, she detected no signs of trouble. She sighed and settled her gaze on the only obvious exit. It was so dark within the building that there might have been dozens of exits from the large chamber, but where she was looking light shone through the tall glass facade and illuminated the path ahead.

“What the hell are we supposed to do now?” Awẹ́ said his own eyes following her gaze.

Amelia lowered her weapon, but did not slip it back into the holster. “We can either stay here or…” she trailed off emitting a long sigh before nodding her head toward the lighted path ahead. “Or we continue forward”

“Fuck,” he cursed spun back around and pounded the bottom of his fists against the wall. “This feels like a damn trap.”

Amelia eyed the other exemplar, but didn’t issue a response. She pursed her lips and emitted a long drawn out breath. Terrified of what might lay ahead for them, she was more than a little certain they were indeed walking into a trap. Amy gritted her teeth shook her head and moved forward. As a sworn officer of the law, she had a duty to see this through to the end even if it meant her death. Awẹ́ had taken no such responsibility. She didn’t bother glancing back to see if Awẹ́ was following. She heard him shuffling after her on the hard concrete floor.

The pair moved in a slight crouch, stepping heel to toe with hands close to their sides. Amelia winced and cursed under her breath each time either herself or other exemplar stumbled on an extension cord or power tool left by the construction crew. Once they had passed a dozen yards into the more brightly lit part of the building they would navigate with more ease.

Another dozen yards and the pair paused bracing themselves against the walls as the whole building shook and rumbled. It ceased as abruptly as it had begun, and they exchanged glances their brows furrowed.

“What do you suppose that was?” Awẹ́ said staring up with wide eyes.

“I don’t know, but it can’t be good.” Amy followed his gaze and peered forward. “Something tells me we’ll find out soon enough.”

“Easy for you to say, at least you have a goddamned gun. If we walk into a shit-fest, all I can do is run like hell,” Babalawo said in muted whispers. “I can’t even guarantee I’ll be able to phase through the damned walls.”

Amelia glanced back at him, and pursed her lips, but didn’t speak a word in response. They both knew damn well that a simple handgun wasn’t the most effective weapon when dealing with psychics. We could tear the weapon out of her hands or freeze the bullets in mid air. That was just the abilities she’d seen him use, if heread their minds or even manipulate their thoughts there was no telling what he might force them to do. She shuddered at the mere thought.

She paused a moment, uncertain that she had made the right call. It was one thing to strike out against Chemosh when backed by some of the most powerful exemplars in the area. What chance did she have when it was just herself and Babalawo? As impressive as Awẹ́’s abilities were, they had almost no offensive value and wouldn’t do much good against the likes of Chemosh.

Perhaps she was looking at it from the wrong perspective. If she couldn’t fight Chemosh, maybe she would be able to throw a wrench in his plans. There was still a chance he hadn’t sensed her if she somehow—

She never finished her thought, a high-pitched cackle filled the air all around them. Amelia tried to step forward, but nothing happened. She couldn’t even so much as turn her head or wiggle a pinky.

“Amy, Amy, Amy,” a soft feminine voice spoke out of the darkness. There was a condescending tone to the woman’s voice almost as if she were chiding a child, but there was also a darker more aggressive edge that sent cold chills down the agent’s spine.

A figure stepped into view. Illumination shined through the glass facade of the building bathing her naked figure in light. She might have looked angelic, but there was a tight smile stretched across her face that seemed to give the opposite effect.

“You were right. You don’t stand a chance.”

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 25 Pt 4


Official Report
The Downing Building
New Hebron, California

The moment Sapphira’s warning rang out through the air, Harrier snatched Aether from the ground and leapt into the air. Sapphira’s shield flickered to life around them and as the floor fell away the trio remained in place hovering in the open air.

They were not, however, out of trouble. A massive figure bathed in the shadows lurked below headless of the debris falling all around it. Sapphira gritted his teeth and concentrated on some large chunks of wreckage that had collapsed to the ground. In response, the concrete lumps rose into the air, shot back up through the opening, avoiding striking Sapphira’s barrier before raining down on the misshapen hulk below.

Several of the improvised missiles struck home, the creature below roared and retreated away from the opening. Sapphira took the opportunity presented by their attackers withdrawal and swooped down the moment the final projectile had struck.

“Garos,” he said once he’d touch the ground and looked upon the many eyed countenance of the creature looming in the shadows beyond.

Garos didn’t move, but rather remained huddled there within the darkness all of his eyes trained on the exemplar. Sapphira didn’t allow himself to look away even as Harrier and Aether touched ground beside him.

The creature stood there, not making a single move, immobile save that his chest continued to rise and fall. Sapphira stood ready expecting an attack, but when it never came, he stood there unsure of what action to take.

He reached out to the creature with his mind attempting to determine its intentions, but he sensed nothing from its strange mind. Garos lurched forward, slamming into Sapphira’s shield with such speed that the exemplar almost let his shield slip. He gritted his teeth threw his hands back out and rallied against the new attack.

As Garos continued to pound against the barrier, Aether slipped out of Harriers arms and lurched forward. With each step he took, he seemed to grow less and less substantial as if he were a ghost fading away into nothingness. Soon, he had disappeared from sight and Sapphira lost all sense of him. Garos paused a moment, all his eyes blinking in perfect unison. He swung his body around, perhaps looking for some sign of the exemplar.

Garos lurched back bellowing in clear pain. One eye on his chest exploded in a burst of blood and he stumbled into the north wall both hands outstretched to break his fall. A blue streak whizzed around him and Sapphira could just make out the slightest outline of a slender figure zip around the giant.

Harrier stepped forward, watching the whole thing with arms folded across her chest and a smirk touching the corner of her lips. “Isn’t he magnificent?”

Sapphira never had time to reply. Another of Garos’ eyes burst and he lurched forward throwing out his arm. There was a dull thud as the back of his fist slammed into the wall and when he pulled it away Aether’s unconscious form slumped down to the ground at his feet.

Harrier screeched and launched herself at the giant. Talons extended from her finger tips and she leapt up finding purchase on his chest. She shredded into the giant, her claws tearing into a large patch of eyes. He teetered around on his feet stumbling into the wall and slamming into them with such force they crumbled and cracked.

Garos grabbed at the exemplar, but she did a backflip landing at his feet. She dodged around his body and shredded into his backside. The misshapen hulk spun around and stumbled into his more diminutive attacker. She staggered back pinned and ducked down, but the giant was too fast for her, he slammed a fist into her chest and pinned her against the wall.

He pulled his other fist back and was about to bring it crashing down into the exemplar when Sapphira stepped in.

Though mesmerized by the power exhibited by the other exemplars Psyren been reluctant to face the creature in battle after their last confrontation. Even when Aether’s defeat he still hoped Harrier must have a trick or two up her sleeve. Now he saw he was the only one who stood any chance of defeating the giant.

Before Garos pounded into Harrier, Sapphira threw his hands out and focused all his willpower on stopping the other being’s fist. Sure enough, his arm froze in the air inches from the exemplar’s face.

The giant roared and turned toward Sapphira. Garos lurched toward him, but his fist remained frozen in the air. He swung his free fist at the exemplar, but it fell more than a foot short. Sapphira was standing just outside his reach.

“Garos, I’m giving you one more chance. Leave and never come back or you won’t like what follows,” Sapphira said still hoping that the giant might reconsider. Though Chemosh was beyond redemption, he got the sense that the misshapen hulk was not without redeeming qualities despite his grotesque appearance.

Garos never answered, or rather he never had the chance. Harrier let out another screech and leapt forward tearing into his mid-section. He swung at her with his free arm. She ducked, but not in time. The giant struck her with a glancing blow that sent her careening into a wall.

Harrier was more than a little dazed by the attack and Garos returned his attention to Sapphira. He tensed his muscles and leapt forward. Though Sapphira maintained his hold on the creature’s arm, the giant’s sheer strength straining the limits of his telekinetic grip.

Again, the giant lurched forward and this time Sapphira his grasp loosened. Garos emitted a low rumble and Sapphira planted his feet, gritted his teeth and focused all his will on keeping him in place.

“Garos,” Sapphira said. “I warned you. Leave or suffer the consequences.”

This time the giant’s faced no interruption, but still he did not reply. Instead he jerked forward, making another swipe at his diminutive opponent. His fist flew and passed just inches from Sapphira’s face.

“You asked for it,” Sapphira said between gritted teeth and focused all his will. He lifted his arm and as he was hoping his captive rose from the ground. He stepped away from the outer wall and threw his arm toward the space he’d just vacated.

Garos flew across the room, slammed through the outer wall and into the open air beyond. Sapphira glanced through the opening, eyed the misshapen hulk, then released his hold and turned his back as the giant plummeted toward the ground.