Ernie sighed and eyed the three angry government officials.
Lenna Faulkner, the Director of the Department of Superhuman Monitoring and Detention was the low woman on this totem pole.
Richard Davis was the head of Homeland Security, and Lance Proctor was the President's right hand man.
"We didn't kill Doctor Inferno, because he was busy Saving the World, and as you noticed, it was a close shave." Ernie eyed the trio. "Tell me. When did you realize the asteroid was going to hit, and why didn't you take immediate steps. I'm sure every physicist at NASA told you that the further away we were when we deflected the asteroid, the less angular deflection would be needed to make it miss."
Three cold stares.
"International politics, right?" Ernie shook his head. "No body trusted anybody else, and they probably all wanted the credit. But when Doctor Inferno went up to take care of the problem? Boom! Every space-capable nation threw everything they had at it. Does that strike you as rational behavior?"
Eyes narrowed threateningly.
"Worse, despite him shifting the asteroid in the fashion that would most efficiently remove the problem, you ordered us to attack him. And until we disobeyed and helped him . . . you very nearly aided and abetted the destruction of civilization, and possibly of humanity."
Definitely threatening posture, glares, and he thought there might be a subliminal growl with it.
"So . . . who gave you the order to destroy the Earth, and did you realize what you were doing?"
"That's enough, you inhuman . . ." The head of Homeland Security rose to his feet and loomed menacingly, biting off his insult, and taking a deep breath.
A ding form the desktop. They all glanced at the display.
"Bring him in." Davis growled.
The doors behind them opened, armed guards reluctantly parted, and Will shuffle-clanked in. Wearing quite a remarkable collections of chains; they hadn't missed an opportunity to wrap or clamp anything. Natty day glow orange pants and shirt.
"Well, well." Davis gloated. "How the mighty are fallen. Give me one reason I shouldn't have you killed on the spot."
Will raised his brows. "On this rug? Damn, man! Have you no appreciation for art or history?"
"It would be worth it."
Will shrugged. "Then I suggest you ponder the question of who sent those robots, and what you're going to do when those senders come trotting along, expecting their robots to have finished off any of those pesky natives who were left after the asteroid impact."
"You sent them."
"Oh, go fuck yourself. Please. This is not an election, and I'm not the average voter who will believe anything they hear on the screen. You're going to need me, and every other Super you can get your hands on, when the senders arrive. They have to be close, to have shifted that asteroid into an Earth intersecting orbit."
"You expect us to believe an evil creature like you?" Faulkner looked him up and down.
"Evil? Tsk. Neither your bio or reputation run to religion. I suggest you consider the game concept of Chaotic Good, instead. Why don't we discuss it over dinner?"
Ernie looked him over. He's tired. Pissed. And playing them along, acting like he's really constrained.
Well, could be. I don't actually know how much he's got back . . . although he looks like a Normal in his sixties. A healthy sixty. He's got a whole lot more hair, but it's still gray. Still got wrinkles.
I'd warn them to not underestimate him, but . . . they're being idiots. Will can twist them around however he wishes, for all I care.
"We know how to control you lot. We're going to bury you deep and keep you there for as long as we think we might need you."
Will nodded. "Well, that'll sure encourage our enthusiastic cooperation."
"Take them away."
Them! "Hey! We're the Good Guys!"
Will laughed. "Oh, Ernest Man, they don't fuckin' care. They've had a bad scare and all the Supers are going to the special prison." He tossed a glance over his shoulder. "I guess Faulkner's white, er, normal enough to pass."
The guards shoved him, and Ernie and Scotch were grabbed and marched out with him.
They each got their own armored van, and the army escorted them down the interstate then off into the hills, and up to a huge door in the side of a small mountain. The army escort stayed outside. The three vans drove through the vault-like door and then further down a long ramp.
This is really depressing. No fresh air and sunshine in this prison.
At least the only chains I've got are these in the van. And I hope to hell they take all the restraints off Will.
And if they're keeping Supers for years . . . decades . . . down here . . .
I hope the accommodations are nice.
Ten by ten cells. Three concrete walls, one plex, with a metal grid in it. Faraday cage, so no Supers can project energy.
It was a smaller size version of the Super prison in California, six cells on two sides of the common room. Metal screened plex covering the walls, the big TV screen and the overhead lights were behind the clear plex. The door another vault style.
They walked past two occupied cells . . . Travis Burngarner . . . Mike Mckenna. Bloody idiots! Turning on their own.
They were lined up in front of the first three cells of the other wall.
The warden eyed the three of them. "You will be in your cells from 10 PM to 7 AM. Any violence among you, and all of you will spend all day in your cell. Attack a jailor and you five men will get a week in your cells."
"Inferno. Every week you behave, one shackle will be removed. Every time you misbehave, one will be added." He turned to a big beefy guard. "Remove his leg chains."
He eyed Ernie, then Scotch. "I expect you two will be released after the panic Doctor Inferno has caused quiets down. Don't give me any reason to recommend otherwise."
"Now step into your cells. Dinner will be served shortly."
Ernie turned and walked into his new home.
This is really shitty.
Will made himself as comfortable as possible and started experimenting.
Super Vision was mostly an annoyance. It was all well and good for teenage boys to snicker about being able to see through women's clothes, but a true connoisseur of women found style, grace of movement, personality, and wit all more important than raw physical attractiveness.
And when used frequently it got hard to turn off. And seeing everyone walking around naked was a rather horrifying experience. And with that in mind, he wasn't going to fool with it until after dinner, when he had plenty of time to turn it off again.
Gravity--sensing, not manipulating--showed five hundred meters of rock over head and all around. Full of holes, clearly man made, all the square corners . . .
If I can see through all this stuff, I'll find out how many other Supers they have locked up in here. Crap, can't imagine being stuck here for years.
Mind you, it'll probably take me a month and a half to work out the best way to do this.
He turned his head at movement. Female trustees in yellow, bringing in dinners and setting them on the tables. He narrowed his eyes.
Kelly Winters and Cari Burngartner don't surprise me. But those other three . . . hot damn. That old lady . . .
He stood up and stepped closer to the plex to look carefully. And started smiling.
That's Fanny! I don't recognize the other two . . . but they look pretty young. Probably born after I started going downhill twenty years ago. Well, looks like this escape is going to be a little bigger than I'd thought.
But he was smiling as he clanked out to sit alone at a table and eat.
/// Now if I wanted to do a series of novellas, I'd probably stop right here. And pick up with the Super Escape for the starting sequence of the next one. Right now, I'll keep on writing.///