Grab Your Riot Gear »
"Hurry, Matt. We tape in ten," the female reporter pressed her cameraman, who was fiddling with his camera. "Nine. Eight," she counted down, hand tightening around the microphone that clearly announced what news station they were with. "Seven. Six." The woman kept glancing over her shoulder at the protest going on. People held pickets signs, were sitting, standing, stomping around; plenty were shouting their thoughts and there were protesters for both sides of the argument. "Five. Four. Three," she said anxiously, willing Matt to hurry up. She did not want to get penalized at the station because the cameraman couldn't get his crap together. In an upward sweeping gesture, Matt brought the camera up on his shoulder. The red button flashed on a second after she hurriedly said, "Two." Smiling pleasantly, she immediately went into reporter mode, oozing sugar and professionalism.
"Hello, America. I'm Vikki Hale with Channel 8 News, and I'm here in beautiful Highcrest, Vermont, on the scene of a currently tense protest taking place outside the newly rebuilt and improved Highcrest Police Department. Last year, a terrorist attack left half the department building in shambles, killing ten and wounding fifteen more. It's been difficult for law enforcement here in the past two years, and it's only getting worse. Crime has increased, or so say the county statistics, and the Highcrest citizens are out today to show their mixed feelings on the matter. Many have lost friends and family to this new crime toll and--"
Shouting derailed Vikki from her train of thought as she craned around to catch sight of what was going on. Matt swiveled the camera to do the same, zooming in on a group of people jostling each other and pointing at the sky. That's when they noticed the papers fluttering toward the ground. One was near her, and the long-legged blonde reached out, trying to pluck the paper from the air. She fumbled it twice but ultimately managed to grasp it before it hit the ground. She flipped it over in order to see what was printed on its front. The color scheme was black and red. The lettering was utilitarian, and it read, "United We Stand / Divided We Fall / Equality For All / Gifted Or Non-Gifted / We All Bleed Red."
At the bottom, in smaller letters, was printed a name, perhaps belonging to the person(s) or organization who was responsible for the creation and distribution of the fliers. Mortali Revolutis. Vikki showed it to the camera. "Is that Latin?" she inquired, referring to the name at the bottom.
"Vikki," Matt said, getting her attention first before pointing at the sky in the same motion he tipped the camera upward to record the view. The female reporter looked up, her eyes searching for whatever Matt was so interested in. It took her several seconds, but then she was narrowing her eyes at a dark shape zipping through the sky. It seemed that the fliers were originating from that shape.
"Is it a bird?" she asked, brows furrowing. "Or maybe a plane of some kind?" The shape continued to soar closer. Vikki suddenly gasped. "Is that a person?" She was already shaking her head. No, it couldn't be. But Matt was zooming in when he answered, "Sure looks like it to me. Don't know how but... that's definitely a person." The rest of the people in the parking lot and streets had noticed by now and basically all of them were watching and/or discussing the flying person.
There had been rumors. There were always rumors. Rumors of mutants--the gifted--and Vikki glanced back at the flier in her hand at the thought. "Gifted or non-gifted, we all bleed red," she read aloud. That could be taken a few ways, but the rumors pressed at her. Rumors of people with powers. The mass population didn't believe they existed due to their natural cynicism coupled by the advancement of technology. How would anyone know for sure if video clips had been edited in some way? Moreover, Vikki had her suspicions regarded a massive government cover-up. This could be her big break. The story of the century! Caught on film by an experienced reporter who worked for a reputable news channel. People would have to believe the rumors and leaked recordings of gifted people in action now!
"Matt, you better be getting this," Vikki barked. The cameraman ignored her. Of course he was, but the flying man was now soaring away. No more fliers fluttered downward from the human shape now receding into the distance.
"Looks like he's leaving... or she," Matt amended. Didn't want to be sexist.
"No," Vikki complained, shading her eyes and peering after the shape. She spun around, talking into her mic. "This is Vikki Hale coming to you from Highcrest, Vermont. It appears--"
For the second time, her train of thought was derailed, drowned out by a furious roar coming from behind her... somewhere nearby actually. Just as she was turning around to see what was going on with her own eyes, she got knocked to the ground by a man who had been thrown through the air. Vikki cried out, trying to protect her head as she went down. The weight of the man atop her knocked the wind from her, but the suffocating feeling was gone a moment later when the man sprang to his feet, wholly uncaring toward the woman he'd almost crushed.
Matt shouted at the man and moved to help Vikki, but the blonde waved him off before pointing at the growing mayhem. "You get all that. All of it. Don't worry about me."
Vikki shakily reclaimed her feet, eyes instantly shifting to the mass of people, but they weren't on the masses for long. The man who had almost crushed her rushed by... on fire. Literally. Red hot flamed covered his arms and upper torso, casting a vicious otherworldly glow on his face. A burly man stepped in Fireman's path. There was something off about him, and it took Vikki several seconds to realize what it was. His skin didn't look like skin. It looked like concrete, his features and eyes looking like they'd been carved in stone.
"Calm down and turn the flames off." His voice was gravelly, matching his appearance.
"Or what?" Fireman sneered.
"Or my girlfriend will strike you down with a lightning bolt." A blonde woman was finally noticed as she casually stepped up next to Stoneface. Vikki glanced at Matt, breathlessly asking.
"You're getting this, right? You better be getting this."
There was a short standoff between the trio before Fireman shouted, "Screw you! The Vox Evolutis will rule the humans, and all you traitors to your own kind will get what you deserve!" Flames shot out from his person, forming a huge cyclone that torpedoed at the couple. Stoneface moved forward to protect the woman. Any fascinated onlookers were spurred into action by the display of power... destructive power. Action meaning sheer panic and stampeding.
Police officers had been hampered by the masses and were delayed in getting to the scene, and their authoritative voices were only heard due to the megaphones they were using. Gun shots were fired, but reporter and cameraman couldn't see from where. A shadow slid in over the police department, and a quick glance to the sky revealed a nasty thundercloud beginning to coalesce above them. It was too rapid to be natural, nor had there been many clouds in the sky before. Moments later, rain fell. In fact, it poured. Vikki's hair was already becoming drenched. Fireman sizzled, and the fire he had been bearing down on Stoneface dissipated, a look of confusion crossing Fireman's face.
Miraculously Stoneface was alive, and so was the woman. His shirt had basically been incinerated and his pants almost entirely burned away. His concrete back was severely scorched as it had taken the brunt of the attack when he'd housed the blonde within the circle of his protective arms. Stoneface turned slowly to Fireman. The movement revealed the woman.
"Keep it on them," Vikki hissed before continuing in her reporter voice, "Again, this is Vikki Hale from Channel 8 News coming to you from Highcrest, Vermont. This is no trick of the eye or special effects. Rumors of gifted individuals have been circulating for years, particularly about this very city. You can see for yourselves that the rumors of their existence are true."
Behind Vikki, in the scope of the camera, the blonde woman's hair whipped about her face as a wind picked up. Stoneface spoke, "You pissed off my girlfriend. I hope you're lightning proof." By now, there was a circle cleared of people surrounded the trio battling--the eye of the storm, if you will. The police were still hampered by the panicking people. Matt and Vikki were about three yards from the violence, and undoubtedly there were other people who had stopped to record the occurrence with their phones.
"No, way," the woman corrected. "I think he needs to… chill out!"
That's truly when all Hell broke loose. And it took the police department nearly fifteen minutes to show up in full riot gear and attempt to calm the masses and diffuse the situation. Meanwhile, Vikki Hale made commentary and made sure Matt was recording every second of it.
During the riot, Mortali Revolutis propaganda rained from the sky in the form of vague fliers. The equalist group has steadily increased their efforts to bolster their numbers and inform the public of the war being waged beneath the smokescreen. Those that know about mutants would hopefully know more while those that didn't might or might not have their curiosity piqued enough to begin to believe. A Vox agent was placed among the crowd with the sole purpose of making a scene and starting a riot, if possible. Seven Revo members were present in case anything happened at the protest and perhaps draw the proper attention to the fliers, if necessary.
Elsewhere, the Vox raided a Revo stronghold kidnapping their closest guarded secret. The theft enabled the mutant supremacists to complete the first stages of Project Eden. Although they continue to experiment with methods of power nullification and genetic engineering to awaken dormant mutations in individuals, their ultimate goal is to have the capability to take, transfer, and give powers to whomever they desire. They've created a method of transferring powers, but they lack the final ingredient that will keep the serum from killing the person who is injected with it.
Only time will tell who will reign supreme.