Shane would have liked to lay down and relax for a bit after his public, and surprisingly both enjoyable and stress, date. But alas, it seemed the day wasn’t quite done with him yet as a yell reached his ears from down one of the base’ many side-halls.
“Styx, shits going down!”
Shane looked down that side hall, silently happy Pulp hadn’t shouted his name while so close to the public entrance, and surprised to see everyone, sans Greg and Hugh, running along behind her.
“What’s happening?” Shane asked but still fell into step with them and followed his teammates without hesitation.
“She’s exaggerating.” Spectrum grunted. “But based on what little she told me after getting back from the interrogation; this is something the whole team will want to be in attendance for. We’ll need to wait a bit for Greg and Hugh to finish their debriefing though.”
A few minutes later, and after a bit of explanation; Greg, Hugh, and Maria had joined them in the main meeting room.
“Where’s Steve?” Shane asked as soon as everyone was seated.
“I’m already partly briefed on what Pulp has discovered, but from I’ve heard already; this information is a little too classified for someone that is technically just the representative for a third party company assisting a Hero team.” Maria explained succinctly before muttering. “Shame, he doesn’t like it when I need to hide things from him.”
Thankfully for Maria, Spectrum cut in before she was forced to explain her accidental slip up. “Pulp, would you mind explaining what’s so important that we all had to rush here on short notice.?”
“Of course.” Pulp said. “But I should probably ease you guys into it, all the news can become a bit jumbled if I just laid it all out in a stream, so feel free to ask questions to break it up. First things first; The White boars are planning a dual base assault.”
“So, they’re an even rarer breed of stupid than I thought.” Elizabeth commented. “Heroes rarely ever get an opportunity to have a home field advantage, so this fight should be easier than the rest.”
“Hmmm, it’s been a while since we’ve had one those.” Hugh said. “Be mindful though. When they’re feeling this confident they either think they’ve got a numbers or power advantage. Or both.”
“How many Supers and humans will we have to deal with and who’s the other team they’re going after?” Spectrum asked, though he had already guessed who the other team might be.
“No humans, mostly Supers and a few Powereds. We don’t know the exact ratio, but it’ll be two groups of ten, each one has a teleporter; one going after us and the other going for Landscape Unit.” Pulp said. “And before you ask, yes, the combat ones, admittedly based just on rumors, seem to all be above standard class.”
“Doesn’t mean much.” Amy said simply. “They obviously don’t value the importance of learning how to fight other than just throwing more raw power around.”
“True enough, but the fact they’re bringing that kind of fire power around is going to be trouble.” Rikki cautioned. “We’re in a relatively isolated part of the city, so we can fight a little more freely than usual here, but we can’t totally wreck the surrounding area too much.”
“And~” Pulp drew the word out to catch everyone’s attention. “As a special “Fuck you.” to Styx, they’re timing their attack specifically for when it’s nice and bright outside and the weather is a bit less cloudy, because they figure he’ll be at his weakest then.”
Everyone looked at Shane after that and he nodded his head in agreement. “It’s not a bad idea; I’d have less shade and darkness to work with, but I’m not defenseless and you all know my shadows aren’t any less sharp or strong during the day.”
“Let’s err on the side of caution and expect and assume they’ve got another trick up their sleeve to nullify Styx.” Spectrum said before turning to Pulp. “But as appreciative of this warning as we are, this doesn’t seem like something that warrants a high alert meeting, you could have just told us this through Dispatch.”
<The information Pulp procured was deemed too sensitive for anything but an in person meeting with all relevant Heroes and DVA representatives.> The voice of Dispatch suddenly coming from their ear-pieces made everyone stand up a bit straighter. It was one thing to hear it from a trusted teammate; but direct confirmation of how confidential this was from who was usually the highest authority a Hero interacts with was on a completely other level.
“Right, now for the confidential stuff.” Pulp began. “The member of the gang we interrogated, Todd, revealed that it has three main figures; Immadesco, the boss. Brian, a second-in-command. And Francis, sort of like a very trusted and effective errand boy and recruiter. But while having three confirmed figure heads to track down is useful, he also gave us hard evidence of a possible explanation for how the White Boars are so well equipped and their relatively quick rise to power.” Pulp leaned in then and fake-whispered to her audience. “If it makes you feel any better; We were all half-right at least.” At Spectrum’s barely contained smirk and rolling of his hand in a “Go on.” motion, she continued in a normal voice. “He gave us recordings of, what he thinks are, foreign Super criminals that are funding them.”
At that Spectrum’s expression fell, and after a few seconds of stunned silence, he slowly took off his mask, ran a hand through his silvery-grey hair, then pinched the bridge of his nose. “Please elaborate.”
“Not much to go on really.” Pulp said before turning around and plugging a flash drive into one of the USB ports on the side of the large screen at the rooms’ back wall. “The recordings are all audio and are mostly just live calls between Immadesco and his investors. They were smart and competent enough to never let their location be leak and Immadesco was thorough enough in checking his surroundings when calling that Todd could never keep a bug around for long. So most of them are sporadic; so I’ll show you one of the shorter and clearer ones that’s most relevant to the upcoming conflict.”
While Pulp had been talking, Maria used the remote to bring up the audio file stored on the thumb drive that’d been inserted. With a nod from Pulp she pressed the play button and voices crackled into existence over the speaker system in the room.
<Please get a handle on Jan. We can’t afford additional set backs.>
<I think you’re being rather presumptuous considering we’re being gracious enough to let one of our own fight with you.>
<Y- Yes, but his aura is one of the few things we know that can kill Styx without a problem and get past his teammates. But if he gets too injured or too much attention form the other Heroes, then we won’t be able to deploy him effectively.”
<… I suppose you’re right; we’ll try to curb his more impulsive tendencies.>
<Has he recovered from that gas attack Trap-Master used against him?>
<Jan’s fine. Your men got him to a healer before the toxins closing his airways could kill him. Plenty pissed off though.>
<That’s good; we’ll still launch our ambush to lay on the pressure, but I have a feeling we’ll need him around regardless. Goodbye for now.>
After a few seconds of general murmuring around the table, Jack leaned back on in his chair with a sigh. “I presume the man with the Brooklyn accent is Immadesco and the British sounding woman is the one of the possible foreign benefactors.”
“Yep. Nothing confirmed for sure yet of course, but so far there seems to be more than four and most European with one Russian.” Pulp said.
“So, who’s our help going to be?” Greg brazenly asked and the other interns in the room nodded in agreement at the question. All of them we’re interested in how the DVA would help local Heroes handle a foreign threat… and they were all surprised when Pulp and Maria visibly hesitated before giving an answer.
“Technically? None.” Maria said hesitantly.
“But- What do you mean, “None”?” Vanessa asked, a little flustered. “We’re fighting what are essentially a foreign terrorist cell that have decided to set up shop in our country and kill what’s probably upwards of dozens of people at this point.” The sudden torrent of words was unexpected, but the younger woman didn’t seem like she was going to be content with a half-explanation and Vanessa’s mentor, Elizabeth, didn’t do anything more than raise her eyebrows expectantly when Maria looked her way.
“Because, the DVA prefers to work from the outside going in with these types of situations. Protocol is basically securing all possible escape routes and slowly closing from the outside in order to lower the chances of a successful retreat of suspects If we drop every Hero from Alaska to Texas onto this city; then it would just scatter them and cause a lot of chaos.” Maria explained. “And even when that happens, you still won’t receive direct help-“
“Because we’re just fighting a side affect of their presence.” Styx interrupted, but Maria didn’t seem particularly interested in picking up that buck again. “And maybe possibly one of them at an indeterminate place and time, but the fact of the matter is that the actual members of the White Boars and the crimes they’ve committed are all local matters.”
“So that means the entire gang and those two squads meant to attack Hero bases…” Greg said before trailing off.
“Yeah.” Spectrum grunted. “We and the local Heroes are all still on our own.”