2010-03-14: Massive Weapons of Destruction



and a couple of Protocol goons

Date: March 14, 2010


Oh, it's not what you think. It's much, much worse.

"Massive Weapons of Destruction"

Building 27, Governor's Island

The barracks are a lot like what it's called, but at the same time it's more a prison than anything else. Some people get private rooms, some people don't. The amount of those walking the halls with collars have gotten thinner every passing day. Whispers in the hallway about the people leaving, nurses thinking about how soon they won't have to inject them anymore…

There's an air of danger in the building. And the air happens to be smoky.

It's almost as if a furnace has backed up, or someone's using a room to smoke when they shouldn't be. It seeps through the walls, the floor, the ceiling… Out in the hallway two of the guards talk about it, near the door that leads outside the barracks, "Someone really needs to catch whoever is smoking in the building. I know guard duty sucks, but these buildings are non-smoking."

"Second hand smoke isn't going to harm them too much." Not their price, in the end, anyway…

"So which ones are we moving today?"

"Three more for Theta, via helicopter. I don't know why they switched from ferries… It limits the amount we can move at a time. The monk with super vision— he's blind when drugged…" Unless he's rehibilitated, he won't be worth much. He's stubborn too. "Then there's the teenage girl who can make things smell good. There's some really lame powers out there."

"Did you read the file on the last two we moved to Kappa? One could disentigrate matter. Just by thinking."

Grade A Weapon that. Fetch a good price… "The dangerous ones are why we're doing this."


Some distance away, but close enough to overhear at least the high points, Matt blinks - and not just because of the smoke. So that's what they're after. Or what some of them are after, at least. Human trafficking. Or drop the legal jargon and call it what it really is: slavery.

Theta, Kappa… how many different departments is that, anyway? Twenty, at least? Had they used the NATO alphabet like he suspected earlier, he could have narrowed it down with more confidence. Greek is, well, Greek to him; a wild-ass guess will have to do. Whatever it is, it's a big mess, and he needs to share this with someone - anyone - but there are still some major gaps that these two might be nice enough to fill in. For one thing, who are they planning to sell to?


…bastards killed my brother and they're standing around talking about people like they're animals…

That voice is subtle, different. And difficult to pinpoint. Like the voice comes from many directions, rather than one.

"We're going to be swapping the collars soon, with the new ones from Lane. That way we can do this stuff without all the nurses and the doctors."

"What about that rash that started showing up? Some of the… detainees have been scratching themselves a lot. The doctors are worried about sanitation, especially with the collars." I kinda itch too, now that I think about it… There's the sound of him scratching at his sleeve.

"It's not out job. Just means we'll have to get them out more quickly. If they all get sick, we'll just have to take care of it." Eta will clean up after us, even if it means killing all the ones who get rashes. Can't let the crop die.

"I'm not sure how we'll take care of it… What if all of us get sick? A nurse took the day off. Another doctor too…"

"If it's just a rash, it won't be a big deal. They can suffer through it. With their collars on."


Oh, great, again with the weasel words. Eta 'cleans up', meaning 'murders'. It would be one thing if they honestly thought they were defending the country, but these two guys seem to know exactly what they're stooping to. Theta apparently 'rehabilitates' - brainwashes - and Kappa sells the victims afterward. There's no obvious pattern to the names; maybe there isn't one at all, like Mr. Pink and Mr. Orange.

That other voice? Now there's someone worth talking to - if Matt can figure out how. Shutting out the guards for the moment, he tries to focus in on that one voice, figure out at least one place that it's coming from. Wasn't there a comic book character once who could make copies of his own body? Maybe the person he was hearing has an ability like that.


That voice still seems to be coming from multiple places— but the closer that Matt tries to pinpoint, the more it seems like it's coming from the vents.

The same place a subtle trail of smoke.

"Time to walk the halls. We'll be doing the transfer soon. Everyone needs to get locked in their rooms," the one with the interesting thoughts says. There's a click as the doors in the hall start locking, and they begin to move away. But there's one more thought that seeps through before he gets dangerously out of range: As soon as they unleash the Zeta, everyone will know what they're dealing with. People will be afraid… or pay billions to get their hands on…

Silence. Except for that creepying smoke. That voice that peeks back in. I wish there was something I could do besides easedrop…


Well, that isn't ominous at all. If Kappa is the Evolved equivalent of AK-47s, then Zeta must be the equivalent of Fat Man and Little Boy. Someone in this operation is ambitious enough to try to turn the entire world upside down.

Matt squints at the nearest vent, considering. Maybe they're not copying their body, maybe they can turn into gas instead. Which is pretty damn disturbing, considering he might have inhaled some of— Focus! Whatever it is, he should be able to think at it just as well as anyone else in here. « Maybe you can. Can you hear me? »


There's a sudden puff of smoke from the vent, like someone just exhaled a cigar. The mental voice sounds as surprised as a mental voice can sound, nearly gasping inside the vents. What the— // Confusion, mental cursing. Whoever it is has the vocabulary of a sailor. //I though everyone in this shitty place was depowered.

The thought may not be projected, but it's there, confused even.


Matt reconsiders yet again. 'Everyone', including himself? Why would someone depowered be hiding in the air ducts? To do some spying of their own - judging from their thoughts earlier - and/or to avoid being sold off to whoever Kappa is doing business with. Whatever the reason, it's still someone worth talking to. « I had some help. Who is this? We need to help each other out of here if we can. » With a metaphorical nuke on the table, the case for biding his time is rapidly drying up.


There's already a plan to get you out. If you give it away I'll have to suffocate you, the voice things, another stream of smoke coming in from the ducts, filling the room. They're going to get as many of you out as they can, though I don't think it will be many at the rate they're moving people… Then tendril fills the ceiling and starts to make spiral shapes. It's definitely not some unpowered guy in the ducts. Maybe he just doesn't think of himself as among the poor idiots who got locked up and collared. So don't tell anyone I'm here. As far as they know I'm just a smoking employee, or a broken furnace, and I'd like to keep it that way.


« Well, it's about time we got some good news, » Matt thinks back at… whoever it is. « Give it away to who— the other inmates? I'm not about to run my mouth to the guards. And what should I call you? » Deep Throat just said not to mention him to anyone else, not that they couldn't keep talking until the cavalry arrives.


My brother once went by Justice. He worked here, fought to keep these people safe… and they killed him for it. Murdered him in the next building, the voice says, before the smoke starts to move back towards the vents. I guess you can call me Law. That's our last name. Though I was never the lawful one. He was the better one.

The voice seems to come together, going away in the vents quietly, My name's Devon.



He leans back against the wall, making a face. « I think I met him, yeah. I'm sorry. » For losing family, mostly. He knows how rough that was on Molly, and Matt himself has gone through some sort of loss with just about everyone in his own family - none of them actually dead, but his father may as well be, and Janice was pretty much in the same category until pretty recently. And for fooling the agent into thinking he was doing his job, and messing it up at first to boot.

« I'm Matt, » he introduces himself in turn. « If there's anything else, you know where to find me now. Otherwise— well, I hope we get to meet on the outside. » Can't shake the man's hand while it isn't solid, after all.


I guess I hope so too. Voice in my head, the guy says, almost seeming to mentally laugh. As he wafts out of range, the last thought that can be heard is a question: How can I have thoughts in my head when my head is a puff of smoke, anyway…

Oh abilities. How confusing you are.

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