Stopping Power

Chapter 1

Alpha of the Omega

by: Firreus
A/N: This story was inspired by Lexi, better known as Layla_District4. Much credit goes to her for permission to create this spin-off! Her group story is currently in production; a link to it shall be provided upon its release.

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"What are you doing to this planet?!" Andreas interrogated. "Tell me!" The ferocity of his blows and the anger in his German accent intensified as he questioned the so-called hero. He stood with his back against a wall, his hands bound to a machine designed to neutralise him.
"I... I don't know! You're wasting-" The hero started as my brother delivered yet another fierce punch to his skull.
"Don't lie to me! I know when you do!" As my brother questioned the broken man that crumpled before him, I found myself wondering if the evidence was indeed tied to each other.

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Five years ago, at the start of the new decade, something unusual happened. Reports originating from Denmark told of a boy with the power to bend water to his will. Control it. At the time, the majority of people dismissed it as a magic trick, a simple illusion. But we were blind. Another report came in from Australia containing pictures of what seemed to be a woman with the ability to survive extreme temperatures that would normally kill a human being. Simultaneously, another report sent from Russia contained numerous witness accounts of a man lifting up buses without any form of external assistance whatsoever.

At that point, we were convinced that this was no mere mind game. Research teams were dispersed globally to conduct experiments on these mutants. Some willingly offered themselves for analysis but there were those who resisted. The ones with less threatening powers were put down with little resistance; the more dangerous ones required... extreme measures. Nevertheless, the results provide by the various teams showed that they had all been exposed to lethal levels of radiation; any normal person would have died from such extremities. The source of the radiation remains unknown; it cannot be fathomed as to how or where they received such doses. It was like they had come fresh out of Chernobyl.

From that point, any and all persons displaying signs of such power were required to hand themselves into government custody. It was advertised worldwide that the mutants would be kept under humane conditions and no harm would come to them. But my God, that was nothing but a pretty picture that was painted to cover up the truth. Subjects were dissected, amputated, mutilated... they were treated like wild animals, taken for granted and disposed of as soon as their usefulness expired. The majority died; men, women, children... they spared no quarter or expense. A select few were weaponised: they augmented their already powerful bodies to become living weapons. They now sit somewhere, rotting in a vault maybe, awaiting the day they're activated. The day we decide to set our plans into place.

Despite the issue of the government's request, people from all over emerged with powers, running rampant across the globe. Eventually, we had to stop pursuing the mutants as it simply required too much effort, too many resources and enough lives to contain them all. However, as time passed, some of these mutants made names for themselves, saving lives and performing deeds for the public. We were reluctant... but we allowed the free roam of these mutants so long as they did not disturb the peace. The public began revering them as heroes. Superheroes, even.

We turned a blind eye to most heroic activity but maintained a constant vigil on such activity. If anybody fell out of line, action would be taken. In the case that the majority of the mutant population went out of control... contingency plans were devised. This would ensure the complete and total destruction of every single mutant in the world; no resistance, no survivors, no mercy. The government may have approved, but I sure didn't.

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Half an hour had passed and the man had not revealed anything. It seemed likely that the man truly didn't know anything.
"Andreas, let him go. He knows nothing." I insisted, placing a hand on my brother's shoulder.
"Nothing? I take that as an insult," The man retorted, "I know that two plus two is four." Suddenly Andreas delivered a blow with such blind fury that he knocked the victim out of the mechanism he was bound to. I love my brother, I really do, but it's moments like these where I want to kill him so badly. "Thanks for the endurance training boys!" He jested, quickly regaining his footing. He generated twin blades composed of pure energy, excess power crackling through the red tinted weapons.

"Galen, this is Sigfried," I radioed through my communicator, "The prisoner has escaped, requesting armed intervention."
"Copy that Sigfried, standby for backup." The agent replied. As I turned towards the prisoner, he charged at me, blades thrusting. I attempted to avoid the attack but he struck my left leg at the last minute, creating a cauterising injury. I yelped in pain, holding my leg in agony as the mark imprinted on me. I looked up to see the man holding the twin blades, ready to finish me off.

Without warning, a blast of electricity from the left was discharged into my aggressor, pulsating throughout his body. The blades dematerialised, a hint of red lingering in the air where they once existed. Within seconds, the man was incapacitated and dropped to the floor. I turned to my left to meet a rather short man with slick black hair and suit to match - match me and Andreas' uniforms as well -, his skin tanned by the sun. In his hands was a weapon I couldn't quite identify, but I knew that was where the blast must have come from. He lowered the gun, revealing a face that could be none other than Galen's.

"You okay?" He asked, his tone strong and firm.
"I have a burned leg, you expect me to be okay after that?" I asked. He stopped to think for a moment, dropping the weapon to his side.
"Yes," He stated, grinning as he did, "You could've been decapitated. I think you should consider yourself lucky." Galen was a natural joker, always looking at the bright side. It didn't seem opportune, but I'll admit that it did help in raising morale around the place.
"Well this never would have happened had it not been for Mr. Angry As over there." I looked at Andreas disapprovingly, disarming him of any comebacks. "Easy little brother, that doesn't mean you did a bad thing. You were just doing your job." I tried to lighten the situation myself by smiling, although the pain coursing through my leg made it seem more forced.
"What did you expect me to do? Sugar coat him in flowers and compliments?" The three of us laughed at his joke, taking the importance of the current matter at hand out of the picture.

As we calmed down, my mind turned back to the man. "Wait. Is he...?" I started to ask.
"No, he's just asleep. He'll wake up. Although the charge of electrons that flowed through him might make him a bit negative when he comes to." Galen explained, chuckling. That was reassuring; many of the mutants the government had experimented on died under their custody. I didn't want to be counted among the murderers.
"I see. Technology's come a long way." I remarked, fascinated at the aspect.
"Indeed. All thanks to our leading scientists." He raised the weapon higher to give us a better look at it. The barrel was metal coiled and crackled with electricity, the stock transparent and fizzling with the same blue-tinged voltage. "This is the power of mankind right here. We're a lot more determined than those mutants, no matter what they say about them. When the time comes, we will bring them down." He said with a sense of pride.

"Well, we should get you up on your feet. Come on Andreas, help me lift your big brother up. He's too heavy for me alone." He requested.
"I could agree with you there, you should really eat a hot dog. I find it a miracle you were even able to carry that gun." I replied, not missing a beat. As the two men helped me to my feet, my communicator crackled with life.
"Agent Sigfried, what's the situation? Did you successfully interrogate the prisoner?" It was the leading agent in charge of our division, Mikael. He was a hard man, not tolerating weakness or laziness in any form. He could really do with a sense of humour. I really didn't want to respond, but sadly, I had an obligation.
"No sir. The prisoner didn't know anything and somehow managed to escape," I stated, staring my brother cold in the eye, "However, we successfully contained him and now poses no threat." I could feel a dribble of sweat trickle down my forehead. He really was intimidating; his voice, infused with a strong Finnish accent, alone could make you nervous.
"I see. Very well, you have permission to exit the room. We will send a recovery team to retrieve him safely."

From down the corridor, I could hear the ping of clearance as a green light illuminated the steel mechanical door at the end. I nodded to my colleagues as we headed down. "In the meantime, the Chief wishes for a word with you. Get back to the Command Centre immediately. Mikael out." Oh boy. The daddy of all operations wanted to see me? It must've be important.
"Sounds important." Andreas claimed, a hint of excitement rising.
"That's what I just thought." I scolded him mockingly.
"Well how am I supposed to know what you're thinking?" He replied, berated.
"You're not supposed to. That's good; it means you're not a mind reader." Galen explained, understanding the point of my comment. My brother let out a grunt and refused to speak on the way out.

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Galen and Andreas left my presence to perform other duties as I entered the Command Centre, which was only a few minutes away from the interrogation room. It was a marvellous spectacle of enormous screens, interactive displays and high-tech computers; a computer whiz would kill for any of the tech on display here. All the greatest plans, all the important surveillance, all the heroic monitoring, everything took place in this room. It reminded me of the Pentagon, to be honest, although even that doesn't compare to what's contained in here. We call this place the Radialis Admonitrix; it's somewhere in France. I'd dare the mutants to find us but we're protected by a stealth field. I doubt their weak minds could possibly locate this place.

I walked down the staircase to the hub, where at the center stood Chief Braken. He's in charge of all activities relating to mutant control, or MC. We like to call him the Master Chief. As I neared him, he kept his gaze fixed on the large screen displaying a map with almost every inch of it colored red. I stood to attention, greeting him formally. "Sir, Chief Braken, sir." I greeted.
"At ease Agent Sigfried." He instructed, not turning around to meet my eyes. I lowered my stance and placed my hands at my back. "Do you know why I called for you, Agent?" He asked.
"Sir, no sir." I replied.

He turned away from the screen to impose his dominant figure on me. He doesn't frighten me as much as Mikael, but he certainly boasts a lot more power and authority. I look at him with a slight sense of awe and reverence.
"Five years. Five years we have tolerated the presence of mutant-kind. But that time has come to an end." He stated. My eyes widened.
"Sir, you don't possibly mean...?" I stuttered.
"Yes, agent. The threat they pose to Earth is far too great to ignore now. Once, maybe, we respected them. Held them in the highest echelons of society. But now, they are a nuisance. They are vermin, laying waste to the Earth with no regard for it. They pretend to act as our defenders when in reality, they will be our end! They are scourges to our very well-being and cannot be allowed to live."

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It was only until a year ago that we were able to prove the connection. When people began mutating, various events across the Earth started happening. The rate of developing a disability or disorder rose significantly, global temperatures went on the rise, the rate of natural disasters have spiked, air quality has been reduced so badly in some places they're rendered inhabitable... Even our own electromagnetic field is breaking apart. There was no explanation for the global phenomena that took place. Until now.

Careful study of the nature of mutants and various events have led scientists to conclude that the only possible reason for the freak events are all due to the freaks themselves. Furthermore, strange activity was reported in the Earth's core. Certain regions deep within the mantle have experienced unusual occurences: temperature changes, small but progressive cracking... readings are unlike anything we have ever recorded before. For four years, we were blind to it all. We respected them, we treated them like royalty, we worshipped the damned things. Religions were formed, temples were constructed. Now to realise this revelation... I still can't process it into my head. Neither do I want to. There are some good people I know who are mutants. To see them suffer...

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"With all due respect sir, are you absolutely certain? This will of course result in the deaths of many-" I tried to state.
"And it will save the lives of many more! So long as the mutants are allowed to live, they will keep us from living ourselves!" He rebuked. There was a long silence in the room; the beeps of the monitors and the clicking of keyboards was the only thing I could hear. "I am confident. Do not question my authority, boy." There was nothing I could do. I was powerless to stop anything from happening. I had no choice in the matter. I nodded my head in agreement, maintaining a silent vigil. Contingency. "Activate the Interneco Protocol."

I walked over to a glowing, bright green button on the wall. There was no label identifying what it was, let alone its purpose. It was enclosed in a glass case, to ensure that nobody touched it. I turned my head to see the Chief pull a switch, which in turn opened the case. I took a deep breath in; could I really do it? Murder a thousand, maybe more? They were mutants... but they're people too. People, for crying out loud. I placed my palm on the trigger, hesitating to begin the bloodbath. "You know your orders Sigfried. Press it." The Chief insisted. Of all the mutants I was killing, all I could think of was one person. Three years ago, a man saved my life in a way I would never have thought of. It was time to return that favour. His daughter was a mutant. I am not without remorse; if anybody was going to make it through this, it was her. I had to warn Addison Blue. Then I moved my hand forward, moving the button into the wall along with it. This should be the part where like any hero in the movies, I have no regrets.

It's not.

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