Yeager was able to find the rundown farm in a depressingly poor part of rural Michigan with relatively little trouble. Monitoring the place was more complex, but he’d made a custom surveillance drone specifically for this kind of work. It was nearly silent, had incredible range, and was almost impossible to see at night. It had good optics as well, though that was for recording only. Yeager had his own sensory abilities to call on when using it.
It took days of high altitude night time observation, but Yeager had finally pinned down a routine for the families that lived there. That was the first challenge he faced. This wasn’t one family in a farmhouse. It might have been once, but now the property could only be described as a compound. There was a continuous parade of low lives, rednecks, meth addicts, and motorcycle gangs in and out of the place. There was, however, a relatively predictable gap in traffic through the junk yard behind the place in the early hours of the morning.
There was also a kid who did all the tinkering on the weird science device in the middle of the place. A kid who was very clearly the victim of abuse. Yeager knew himself to have grown up in a rough situation, but at least he’d never been a super in a family of Humanity First zealots. Twice Yeager had to hold himself back from intervening when the kid was beaten by other members of the family.
Despite being a super, he didn’t consider himself a fighter.
Yeager decided that he would be God damned if he’d let another super suffer like that if Mister Summer and Mister Stitch’s overlords decided to leave things as they were, or take the kid for their own. Before moving in on the compound, Yeager sent emails to various contacts, and made some anonymous tips to the DVA, FBI, and a few social service agencies along with video footage of one of the kid’s more horrific beatings. If things went bad for Yeager when he went in, at least someone would save the kid.
Then Yeager got to the business at hand, which was to find out what the poor little bugger was building for those bastards.
The machine was much bigger than it was in the photos Mister Summer had shown him. The piles of refuse and machines scattered around the place had also changed. Yeager assumed that this clan of bigots were probably stealing the stuff from curbside pickups, and maybe also raiding abandoned factories or junkyards. If he’d needed any more evidence that the kid down there was a super, what he’d managed to do with the trash piles confirmed it.
To say nothing of the exotic weapons that the goons were playing with in the woods. It was all frighteningly close to what Yeager had described to the two suits back in Boston. The kid’s genius showed an obsession with taking down supers. There were guns that fired exotic projectiles, a sword that could cut through anything, and mechanical fists that could smash a tree in a single blow.
Yeager would have dearly loved to get his hands on some of those toys, but he was here for just one task, to see what the big high energy physics experiment in the middle of the scrap yard was for. Yeager brought the drone down for a landing on top of the big weird machine, emerged from the drone briefly, and then discorporated himself almost immediately to ooze into the giant junkyard mad science machine.
Many people had theories and opinions about how people got abilities, and why it was that powereds and supers had such a wild and weird range of different powers. Yeager’s theory, which was hardly a new one, was that all people started with the same twist in their brains and bodies; a seed which grew to match the personality and obsessions of the person. All the advanced minds he knew were insatiably curious observers of the human condition. All the supers with speed and brute strength were jocks and thugs, and every single advanced mind was an obsessive nerd fixated on fixing or improving some aspect of the world.
Growing up, Yeager was absolutely crazy for anything that moved. He’d built models of planes, trains, and automobiles. When he grew up, he was going to drive for a living. If he couldn’t be a race car driver, he was going to be a firefighter, so he could race through the city in a big truck with all the sirens going.
At age of eleven, Yeager’s father knocked him into the family car as a punishment for some infraction or another, but instead of getting a knock to the head, Yeager merged with the poorly maintained old heap. When he immediately jumped out of it the beatings stopped for a while, but then started up again. Mom eventually divorced the worthless sack of crap, but Yeager’s newly discovered power had already destroyed all his childhood dreams.
Supers weren’t allowed to race for NASCAR.
If powers were a form of wish fulfillment, then Yeager’s fondest wish landed on him as a punishment. Though over the years, the ability to merge with any sufficiently large and complicated machine, and run it from the inside, had turned out to have some nice benefits. One of those benefits was to be able to understand the things he merged with even better than most people could understand their own bodies.
The machine was indeed a physics experiment of some sort. It turned electricity, a massively huge amount of electricity, into an exotic energy of some sort. Yeager probed deeper into the machine’s guts, trying to identify what the machine was creating. It sprayed the energy wildly all over the place, and it wasn’t lethal as far as he could tell. But if the kid was obsessed with taking out supers he could take an educated guess.
Time to get the hell out of here and report back as soon as humanly possible. Yeager emerged from the machine near where he’d left his drone, only to find it smashed to bits with a grinning redneck standing over it with a baseball bat that’d obviously been augmented by that kid.
“Time to die freak!”