the same accident that caused the loss of his leg at age six also stimulated the latent genetics that ran in his family to trigger a mutation. Although becoming one of the ‘exo-humans’ the government monitored would prove to be the least of his worries once he stumbled upon his family’s secret.
The kidnappers switched vehicles twice more before arriving in Kansas City, the final switch done inside an empty warehouse where several other vehicles waited. Once they transferred the unconscious David to one of the vehicles, all left in different directions to further confuse any possible tail they may have. For the diminutive coyote the fact that they had used SUVs once again was a relief since there was much more room under one of those than there had been under a sedan.
Eventually the SUV came to a stop, Poking his head down from the undercarriage the coyote saw a vehicle stopped in front of them with some men walking around it. One of the men had a large mirror on the end of a metal rod the he was using to inspect the underside of the vehicle in front of them. Looking around for a better place to hide under the SUV, the coyote's small AI processor calculated the chances of being spotted by the man being very high.
Carefully watching the men inspecting the vehicle in front of the one he was hiding under, the coyote dropped to the ground. Crawling out from under the SUV and off the side of the road where the small coyote stayed low as possible, crawling on his belly until he made his way into taller grasses and bushes that were unkempt.
From his new vantage point in the weeds and bushes the coyote watched as the men performed a thorough inspection of the SUV he had stowed away on. The area appeared to be surrounded by two fences, the shorter outer fence at least ten feet tall was topped by barbed wire, while another fence lay inside the first by about 30 feet was twice that height and topped by even more deadly razor wire. This inside fence also had danger signs spaced evenly every fifty feet stating it was electrified. The entrance the SUV had pulled up to had a small windowed building just large enough for two people to stand in located to the left of the gap made in the outer fence for the road.
A man in that building seemed to control the operation of a large red and white arm that swung down to block the road. Another larger building full of windows lay inside the tall electrified fence but on the opposite side of the opening. The opening to this fence was a motorized chain link gate that from what the coyote could see was operated by someone in the second building. Beyond this a very large building stood, no less than 3 stories in most places but maybe five stories in one section that was covered with windows nearest the gated entrance. The rest of the structure, which encompassed several acres, held a flat roof broken by a couple of smoke stacks and other things the coyote was not familiar with.
The coyote contemplated various means of getting past the guards and fences as he watched patiently. If the first SUV had not ruined his portable flying device he could have used it to easily fly over the fences and get in, and scavenging the parts to make another one would take too long, if even possible. Visions of a large slingshot came to the forefront of the coyote's thoughts, but where to get the giant rubber band he would need, it wasn't like he could order one from ACME and have it rush delivered within the next ten minutes like his cartoon counterpart always did. With a large sigh, the coyote drew back further into the brush, "I imagine a reconnoiter of this place is in order," the coyote spoke in his distinct British accent as he began to walk around the compound looking for a weak spot he could possible pass through.
David woke to the worst headache he had ever experienced. Slowly opening his eyes, he found everything very blurry and impossible to focus on. He could see what appeared to be a couple of figures standing near him. "Mom?"
"He's awake," David heard an unfamiliar male voice and tried to sit up only to fall back in pain to the bed he woke up in.
"The effects have not worn off yet," another man spoke, "we need to let him rest." David heard footsteps walking away and no other voices. Curling up on his side trying to ignore the pain David eventually fell back asleep.
When David woke again his vision had cleared and the headache had reduced to a dull ache. Sitting up in the bed he took in the strange room he found himself in. It was about ten feet square, with the single bed he found himself in, located in the corner. Bare concrete floor, walls and ceiling only broken by a heavy metal door gave the room a prison cell like quality with its only adornments, the bed David woke up in and a small table with a lamp that gave the room its only light.
In the upper corner of the wall to the right of the door a single security camera was mounted and along the wall to the left of the door a ventilation grill was the only other thing in the room. David slowly went around the room inspecting it for any clue to where he was or anything that may help him escape. Once under the security camera David jumped several times trying to reach it, but never managed to quite touch the camera. On David's second circuit around the room he noticed that they had used an extension cord to power the lamp since its cord was too short to reach the table it was placed on. David also noticed the heavy pressure that was building up in his bladder.
With what only could be called an evil grin on his face, David quickly stripped the pillow case off the pillow from the bed, went over under the security camera and began jumping, trying to hook the camera with the pillow case. If anyone was paying attention to the camera feed they would see what he was doing, but David hoped he had time to do what he planned.
Finally on the fourth try David managed to cover the camera with the pillow. Quickly he ran over and unplugged the lamp, then using the cord to guide him, followed in the darkness to the outlet, where he plugged the lamp back in without the extension cord. Taking the now unused extension cord, David used his teeth to separate and strip the ends of the wire of each lead. One lead he wrapped around the hinge of the heavy metal door, the other he laid under to door in the gap between the door and the floor.
Standing at the door David pounded his hand against it, "I need to go to the bathroom!" he yelled. Hearing no one answer, he beat on the door again and screamed. "I need to go really bad!"
"Tie a frigging knot in it kid," David heard someone outside the door.
"Please, If you don't take me to the bathroom, I'm gonna piss my pants!" David yelled through the heavy metal door.
"My heart bleeds for ya!" The man laughed.
David immediately pulled it out and began relieving himself along the crack under the door, covering as much area as he could along with the exposed end of the extension cord he had placed on the floor. David then jumped and half slid over to the wall outlet and picked up the male end of the extension cord.
"GOD DAMMIT!" the voice yelled from the other side of the door, "I'll teach you to piss on my fucking shoes!"
As soon as David heard the door begin to open he plugged in the extension cord.
"Arrgh!" the man screamed as all the lights went out. In the darkness David heard the thud as the man's body hit the floor.
Stumbling past the guard David kept one hand on the wall and slowly crept out of the room in the darkness. 'God what I'd give for a flashlight right now', David thought, but he knew this was nothing more than negotiating a simple maze. Keep your hand on the wall and eventually you will find your way out and that is what David did, his left hand never leaving the wall eventually finding a flight of stairs that lead up.
Going up the long flight of stairs, David could see traces of light above him. Carefully going up the steps the light revealed itself to be the light escaping from under another door. Holding his breath, fear all but paralyzing him, David watched the light that spilled in under the door for signs of movement while listening for any signs that someone may be on the other side of the door.
David knew that he should assume they were already looking for him, and sitting here in one place would only get him caught. There was that camera in the corner of his room, someone somewhere in this building would have been monitoring that and would know that something was wrong. Knowing the logic of the situation did not help David overcome the fear that he felt, the fear that was causing his hand to shake violently as he reached for the door knob.
Ever so slowly David cracked the door open, trying to see what lay beyond, trying to see if anyone would spot what he was doing. Slowly he pushed the door open further, enough so he could push his head beyond and look around. The place looked like some kind of large warehouse. Giant metal shelving units formed neat rows that held cardboard boxes of various sizes, the smaller boxes seemed to be stacked on wooden pallets and wrapped in some kind of clear plastic which was possibly meant to hold the stacks together. Not seeing anyone, David went through the door and started to gently close it trying to keep as quietly as he could.
"Hey you!" David heard a man shout from below him, looking around he saw the beam of a flashlight pointing up at him. No longer hesitating, David let go of the door and ran down the aisle way between the nearest shelves full of the palletized cardboard boxes.
The door flew open that David had come through and two men ran out, quickly looking around determining which way David had run before pursuing, "Hey kid, get back here!" One shouted as David reached a gap in the boxes and ducked under a shelf to his right and into the next isle emerging right in front of a forklift carrying a load. The forklift driver slammed on its brakes causing the cartons loaded on the pallet it carried to spill forward. David barely managed to jump out of the way, then around the forklift sprinting down the new isle he was in.
"What the hell is a kid doing in here?" The driver yelled seeing the mess in front of his fork lift that he would have to clean up. The driver had only begun to climb out of the fork lift when the two men chasing David scrambled through the gap David had come through. Stumbling and shoving boxes out of their way, the two continued the chase, although the mishap with the forklift had given David a considerable lead.
Seeing an open garage style door, possibly that of a loading dock, David veered in that direction while still doing is best to stay as far away from any of the workers he saw. Exiting out from in between the racks of boxes David made a beeline toward the open bay doors. To his left her heard a strange whooshing sound, like some type of air cannon firing, then out of the corner of his eye he saw movement in that direction. David skidded to the ground wrapped in a net that had somehow been fired at him. Looking back David saw a man standing where he had heard the weird sound, holding some weird rifle, grinning. "Welcome to my trap, said the spider to the fly," the man chuckled.
David struggled against the netting that had wrapped around him, but found himself trapped with no means of escape from the netting. The two that had been chasing him ran up catching their breath, "Got ya," One said.
It had taken many hours for the small coyote to circle the compound twice, once during the day then again after dark. Finally deciding on a place along the eastern part of the fence line. That area had the least amount of activity and he has spotted a small gap in their camera coverage. While that gap in coverage was too small for a human to take advantage of, something the size of the coyote could slip through. Climbing over the first fence and slowly easing through the tangle of barbed wire along its top the coyote wished he had a means of contacting Sara. While that system proved to be a thorn in the coyote's side most of the time, so much so that the coyote considered the Sara system to be in cohorts with the Road Runner at times. Although this is one time the coyote knew she would use her ternary logic to aid the coyote.
Climbing down into the no-man's land between the fences, the coyote held both his three fingered hands out in front of him and grinned as small claws extended out of the end of his three fingers and thumb of each hand. His claws, while only a half inch in length were made of the same Aegisium alloy that David had used to construct his skeletal frame. While not as strong as adamantine it held properties that adamantine did not possess making it less desirable where strength and indestructibility is concerned but a much better choice for other reasons, including armor.
The coyote was not sure why David had chosen the Aegisium alloy instead of adamantine for his structure, Sara had once explained it because that was the material David had been experimenting with when he chose to upgrade the coyotes internal structure from its what Sara had said was originally created from an old erector set. The coyote had no memories of that or anything prior to the operating system upgrade which the coyote was told, was done at the same time along with several other upgrades to his system. The only upgrade the coyote had any memory of, was his exterior. Prior to that upgrade the coyote had several fake fur coverings that he would have to change so they could be cleaned and often disposed of when damaged to heavily to be repaired. The exterior he now wore had no zipper like the old ones did, it was designed to never be removed, waterproof, and even could 'regrow' the synthetic fur he tended to lose on occasion.
Concentrating on the task at hand the coyote dropped down on his hands and knees and used those claws to begin digging under the high voltage fence. The thought came to mind that if he could be the one that rescued David, maybe David would find a way of upgrading his operating system from binary to ternary without wiping the coyote's memory. David had once told him it was impossible to convert the coyote's binary files into ternary, It had to do with the way ternary systems had that third bit, that could best be described as uncertainty. If the two bits of a binary system could be counted as yes or no, the three bits of a ternary system would be yes, no and maybe, which is much closer to how an organic mind functions.
Crawling out from under the fence though the ditch the coyote had dug under it, the coyote straightened up slightly too early, the coyote jumped with a yelp as his short tail brushed against the high voltage fence. Quickly looking around to make sure he wasn't heard, the coyote realized his covert entry had not been detected. It was then his nose picked up an unusual smell that the coyote was unfortunately familiar with. Twisting around so he could view his tail, the coyote's shoulders fell in defeat. Reaching around coyote pinched out the small flame he saw at the tip of his tail.
The small coyote watched from his vantage point high above the scene as he clung to the metal latticework of the roof supports while several goons extracted David from the capture net. Then David's hands and feet were placed in shackles that were chained together, making it impossible to stand straight up or take a full step. After the goons had determined that David was immobilized sufficiently they led him back downstairs through the same door he had used during his failed escape and into a room small room he had not seen. The furnishings being only a table and two chairs, both made of metal, David thought it reminded him of one of those police interrogation rooms he had seen on TV, except this room did not have the one way mirror you always saw on TV that others could watch what was going on from behind without being seen.
"So far you been one hell of a pain in the ass kid!" The man who had been sitting quietly watching David finally spoke. Looking at the way the man was dressed in a suit and tie, David figured this was no ordinary goon, no this man was higher up on the food chain, but since the suit didn't look real expensive he was not the boss. "You took out seven of our guys when we picked you up and another today when you tried to escape."
"I hear you can get a discount at Minions R us if you buy in bulk?" David deadpanned.
"So you wanna be a smart-ass?" The man's voice raised in pitch.
"I been told it's better than being a dumbass."
"Well I gotta admire your balls kid," the man chuckled, "You got a pair of brass ones on ya. But this ain't some stupid game. The boss wants that formula for that damn special armor and he ain't good at taking no for an answer."
"All this is over aegisium?" David seemed stunned, "You got to be kidding!"
"This is serious kid, and yes the egis stuff formula is what the boss wants."
"Crap, I would have emailed that to you if you would have asked!" David almost shrieked.
"What?" The man's composure seemed less confident now as he straightened in the chair, his eyebrows furled and his lip curled.
"The formula is no secret!" David exclaimed, "Get me some paper and a pen and I'll write it down for you."
"Whadda you mean it isn't secret?"
"Just like I said, it is not a secret. I'll give it to you and your goon, minions, whatever you call them can play with it to their heart's content."
"What's the catch?"
"I wanna go home."
"I think that can be arranged," The man lied, "But of course we will want to make sure the formula works."
"Of course you do," David rolled his eyes.
"I think we can arrange for a better room while you wait, one that has an attached bathroom this time?" David cringed realizing the man knew exactly what David had done to escape.
"I want full battle load out this time Doug," The heavily muscled dark haired man said as he paced back and forth across the stone floor.
"OK Ryan," the other man didn't look away from the small device held in a vice on the workbench he sat at., "I get it, it's David, you want to be loaded for bear. You do realize that it takes time to set the shift points on these since the shift is unnatural."
"Your point is?"
"Yes, They will open with the same imprint, although the gate will be unstable and only last around five seconds at best." Doug explained, "One other thing you should consider before using one of these, that unstable singularity has been growing for years. Depending on how much matter it has consumed in that time, the shift may open inside it?"
"There is no way that can hold the shift open?"
"Correct, These work off our technology, gravity has no influence on our tech, but it will affect everything around the shift while it is open."
"That is exactly what I want them to do," Ryan's smile sent a chill through Doug.
Doug worried that the name the media had given Ryan's alter-ego had gone to his head. When they arrived here so many years ago, Ryan had been the most dedicated one among them. Since his father had died he had changed, although he still went at everything with the same single-minded dedication, he seemed so callous and uncaring at times.
Doug knew the turning point for Ryan was when his father had stopped that mad scientist in Georgia eighteen years ago. The lunatic had built a singularity reactor, while such a reactor would have been ground breaking, that reactor was a highly unstable devise. When Ryan had arrived the containment was breaking down and the singularity would have began expanding quickly destroying not only the earth, but eventually the entire solar system. And now Ryan had him build devices that would open a portal to the same time-space Ryan’s father had thrown the unstable singularity reactor into as it had lost containment.
Ryan’s father had almost failed when the super team out of Atlanta became involved. To them it appeared that Ryan was trying to destroy a national landmark, what they did not realize was that the mad scientist’s lab was located under their beloved Stone Mountain. When Ryan’s father had screamed, "I am trying to stop an apocalypse," the media either did not get everything or they edited the tape, in the end Ryan’s father was heard on national television saying, "I am Apocalypse!" Of course the super hero's fell right in line with the media, they received great publicity at stopping the new super villain, "Apocalypse," from destroying the world. The complete destruction of Stone Mountain and much of the park only helped to fuel the public’s hatred toward Apocalypse.
What most did not know was that it wasn’t Ryan but Ryan’s father that had been there and he had sacrificed his life to get rid of the singularity. It was years later when Ryan’s mother had passed on the armband and responsibility she and his father carried. Only three people on Earth knew that the man now known as Apocalypse, was not the same man that appeared in Georgia so many years ago, Ryan’s younger siblings Wesley and Teri.
The dark bluish arm bands were the ultimate in technology from their home. The technology in the armbands second only to those made for the royal family, and only worn by their most elite guard, who Ryan’s parents had been part of. Doug’s mother was one of the many scientists that had developed and maintained those devices. It was pure luck, a matter of being in the right place at the right time, that Doug and his mother had been able to escape with Ryan and his parents when their home was invaded.
Doug was pulled out of his thoughts when the overhead speaker in his lab came to life, "Ryan it seems they have reached their destination," Sara's voice was heard on the speaker, "I am computing all the shift regions now. I am filtering all those that would force any interaction with an inverse, expanded or constricted realms."
"Just get the damn data uploaded!" Ryan sounded very annoyed.
"As soon as I complete all shift region data," Sara answered, "I am also plotting fastest egress routes since there is a very active Super team in the area."
"Good thinking Sara," Ryan sounded almost apologetic, "If anything were to happen to David, well the only thing that would stop me from tearing this fucking planet apart is the fact that she is stuck on this damn rock with us."
"Speaking of her," Doug cocked his head looking at Ryan, "You ever going to tell Wes? I am pretty sure he knows he isn't your real brother."
Quickly changing the subject, "Have you finished modifying that damn armband yet?"
Taking the silvery blue bracelet out of the device that was holding it while Doug worked, he laid it on the workbench to the right of a similar armband. "Yes it's done, but that was meant for her, not someone else."
"The upload to your shift generator is complete Ryan," Sara interrupted.
Quickly walking to the work bench and picking up the armband before turning and walking away, "If David get injured, one of these will prove invaluable." As Ryan walked away he body began to shimmer in an eerie green glow and a strange silvery blue armor encompassed his body. The blue much darker than the blue in the bracelet held in his hand seemed to swirl along his body giving the armor the appearance of liquid metal. Holding the arm band to his thigh, his armor seemed to almost absorb the item. Ahead of Ryan, now in his armor, the air seemed to distort with a small circle of electricity forming ahead of him, the circle grew as he walked toward it, reaching close to seven feet across. The outer edge of the circle seemed to be made of lightning, while the inner part of the circle seemed to hold a cyclone of utter darkness. The super villain known as Apocalypse stepped into the vortex and disappeared.
Looking over at the workbench, Doug cursed as he realized that Ryan had picked up the unmodified armband by mistake. "Sara are you still here?"
"What are the chances of the kid getting hurt badly enough that Ryan has to use that armband?" Doug held his breath as he waited for the answer.
"David has a nine point three four seven percent chance of sustaining a life threatening injury that would require some form of immediate medical attention."
Doug let out a huge sigh of relief at hearing this.
Agent Scythe quickly picked up the phone on his desk when it rang, "Agent Scythe."
"Hello Wesley," Wesley heard the voice of Sara.
"Sara, do you have any news?"
"Yes Wesley, I have located where the kidnappers are holding David and have taken the necessary steps to rescue him unharmed."
"What!" Wesley tried to stifle the shout.
"I have calculated that DEHA involvement would increase the chance of David sustaining life threatening injuries to forty three point six two percent, while allowing Apocalypse to execute David's rescue only has a nine point three four seven percent of injuring David. Also Apocalypse has a known grievance with the syndicate, which will provide cover for his true reason for being there."
"But he could destroy half the damn city!"
"He has given me his word that all destruction will be limited to within the kidnappers compound."
"At least give me the location so I can warn the Kansas city office."
"No Wesley, I have calculated that would mobilize both the DEHA and the super team and increase the likelihood of David sustaining life threatening injuries to twenty eight point three one percent. My main concern is David's safety. Due this I will intercept any calls made from this area to the Kansas City police, fire, DEHA or headquarters of their super team."
"Sara he's my nephew!"
"He's my creator and my friend," Sara said then the line went dead.
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