Black Box

Here comes the new boss

Mind-melded with the old boss

Having been designated as the rear-guard, the group is dropped off at what appears to be nothing more than a rundown gas station & garage along a canyon road. The group is told that it actually houses the back exit to the Department. They are to watch for escapees while the main force of the Resistance enters from the front. Blackwood makes sure the group is armed – Vanessa with an assault rifle, and the others with small SMGs.

The group has a sister team in their mission, lead by a non-psychic named Reggie. Phia nominates Pete to be the leader for the group – which makes him the point-of-contact and (nominally) in charge.

Taking cover where they can find it, the two teams begin to wait. Suzie puts up a radar, which lights up with psychic activity. Reggie stays in close radio contact with the main assault, and reports that things are going well. Although Blackwood is injured, he is still leading the charge. Suzie reports that the psychic activity is slowly moving closer – it appears to be a running battle.

Some time later, the facade of the garage opens up, revealing a bunker leading into the canyon face. There are also two machine gun nests, one on either side of the entrance, manned by black knights. The machine guns open up as soon as they have a clear line of fire, and cut Reggie’s team in half – two volunteers and one psychic are lost in a matter of seconds.

Pete and Suzie are caught out of cover, but are able to make it back to the rest of the group without being shot. Covering their retreat, Phia is able to shoot one of the knights and yells at the other team to take cover. Focusing on the main problem, Vanessa tries to crush one of the guns with the force of her telekinesis. While she is able to damage it, it remains operational.

Combining their abilities, Eugene and Suzie yank the sandbags around one of the machine guns off the platform, leaving its knight in the open. At the same time, the other knight manages to clip Suzie.

Perhaps panicking, the knight who lost his cover throws a grenade at Reggie’s team. Pete manages to catch it in mid-air and throws it behind the knight that shot Suzie. He is thrown down to the canyon floor by the force of the explosion. Taking advantage of his inexplicable survival, Phia orders him to throw a grenade at his ally. It is a perfect throw, and the other knight is obliterated. Vanessa punches the remaining guard into the canyon wall, knocking him out.

The firefight dealt with, Suzie feels two powerful processes light up on her radar, moving quickly towards the group. Alerting the others, she also states that it’s likely not Blackwood & Stern.

Aided by the remains of Reggie’s team, the group rebuilds the barricades and points the guns back in towards the Department. The girls and 2 volunteers take one gun, while the boys, one volunteer, and Reggie man the other. In an effort to slow whatever vehicle is coming towards them, Vanessa also suggests they create a crater in the floor. Using guns & TK, she and Pete are able to chew up the cement floor.

Shortly after the preparations are complete, two white knights materialize into view, moving fast, their feet hovering inches above the ground. Eugene yells to open fire, and shoots madly at one of the knights. Most of the bullets bounce harmlessly away, but one does graze the knight. With Eugene manning the gun, Pete tries to force one of the knights to stop, and is only able to slow it slightly.

Following Eugene’s lead, Vanessa shoots the same knight, and is able to land a few bullets. One of the volunteers in the girls’ machine nest seems to go mad, and launches himself at the lead knight. A wall of TK rushes at him, smashing him against the wall before he drops lifelessly to the ground.

The knight that had been slowed sends a similar wave of TK forward. It breaks against Eugene’s shield, but launches Pete and Reggie off the platform. Eugene shoots again in retaliation, and the knight obviously begins to falter.

Fortunately still able to see the knight from the canyon floor, Pete lands a solid TK punch and knocks the knight back. The ring spinning behind him cracks and shatters. As the TK energy fails, it tears the knight apart.

Bellowing in defiance, Vanessa begins to shoot the remaining knight. Doubtful their guns will make any difference, Phia & Suzie team up to pull from the knight. At the same time, Suzie’s radar lights up with psychic artillery – Blackwood & Stern have found each other. Able to concentrate through the madness, she pulls the knight’s identity from its mind. “It’s Ben!”

Almost in response, the knight – Ben – shoots a TK punch directly at Phia, knocking her off the platform. Caught in the blast, Vanessa & Suzie are knocked off as well. Flying over the unmanned gun, Ben hovers in the centre of those who were tossed to the canyon floor. For the first time since the battle began, Phia looks frightened.

Eugene shoots Ben in the back, and Pete viciously punches him; both of which appear to do minimal damage. Vanessa leaps towards Ben, trying to grab onto the ring on his back. As soon as she hits the whirling vortex of TK surrounding him, however, she realizes this is not a great place to be. He catches her as blood starts to tear from her skin.

Pushing herself to her feet, Phia shouts “it’s me you want, let her down!” Suzie throws an extra shield around Phia before Ben accommodatingly drops Vanessa (harmlessly) to the ground, and blasts TK out at everyone else. Without waiting to see the result of his attack, Ben tears off down the canyon road.

Their attackers dealt with – more or less – the group wonders what to do next. Reggie urges them to go into the base; Blackwood & Stern are fighting, and agents are closing in. The group obeys. As they enter the base, Vanessa mutters to Phia that “we are finishing this later.”

The activity on Suzie’s radar is beginning to die down, except for two powerhouses; they feel equal in strength to the white knights. With the exception of a couple skirmishes – easily dealt with – Suzie is able to lead the group to the battle without incident. They begin to recognize the hallways from their time in the Department, although they are now dripping with blood and scattered with broken bodies.

The group reaches Director Stern’s office. Prudence is slouched against the wall outside, clutching a gut wound. While it appears she will survive, she’s in no position to stop the group from storming into the office. The office chair turns, revealing Blackwood, a cigarette in his hand. Director Stern is puddled on the floor, eyes vacant, occasionally twitching.

Although obviously exhausted, and with a peculiar new vice, Blackwood seems to have survived his battle with Stern unscathed. He congratulates the group on their efforts, and thanks them for helping destroy the Department. Brushing aside his pleasantries, Vanessa immediately asks after Terry’s whereabouts. Blackwood assures her that he had a team on prisoner extraction, and that Terry will be fine.

There mission completed, Phia asks Blackwood what he expects will happen next. He reiterates his belief that the Resistance will one day reveal psychics to the world, and begin integration into regular society. When asked who will decide when the world is ready for the news, police rogue psychics, and generally manage things now that the Department is defeated, Blackwood demurs that someone else will surely be better suited for the task.

Taking advantage of his exhaustion, Suzie forces herself into Blackwood’s mind. She learns that, while most of him truly believes what he’s saying, a small part knows he will never be able to give up his position as a leader. She also discovers a second consciousness within his mind – it is Director Stern. Although the two consciousnesses are separate (for the most part) for now, Suzie warns Blackwood that he is playing a dangerous game.

While she still has access, Suzie is able to delve into Blackwood’s thoughts on the Triplets. He sees them as a tool, indispensable, and has no moral issues with continuing to keep them alive against their will.

Eventually Blackwood is able to expel Suzie from his mind. Grimly, he informs them that they have done a great service for the Resistance, but it would now be best if they return to their former lives. Vanessa retorts that they are not leaving without Terry, so Blackwood agrees to allow them to speak with their former companion.

Escorted by armed guards, the group is taken to another section of the Department. Although he was clearly ill-treated by the Department, his mind is his own (from what the group can tell), and he is thrilled with what has happened. Vanessa tells him that the group will be returning to Toronto, and urges him to come as well. Terry explains that there is still much to be done, and he can’t possibly leave now. The group bids their farewells, some wondering if they will ever see Terry again.

Good to his word, Blackwood provides the group with clean clothes and a private plane back to Toronto Island Airport. Returning home, their work apparently complete, the group stands in silence. None of them thinks to look, or could even hope to see, The Thin Man standing on a distant roof. Watching. And waiting.

Quotes without context

“Teehee, butts. Over.”

“Leave the heroics to us.”

“I’m going to return fire from my sweet, boys-only fort.”

“We’re fucked.”

“Have a round on me, bitch!”

“I’m a secret puller.”
“So’s Eugene!”

Comments

JCat Bootler

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