“The Army?” I blurted out.
“Yes. My resources have informed me of a nearby research facility that is currently running experiments on several of our people. The facility itself is funded by the DoD and staffed almost entirely by Army personnel save for the civilian scientists running the various projects.”
I sat back in my chair and shook my head in disbelief. The government was experimenting on us? This was insane. It’s funny that I wasn’t surprised, but the truth still hit me hard. I couldn’t help but think how much my life was going to change. How much my parent’s lives would most likely be affected. I wondered if I was stepping into a world that I didn’t want to be a part of. Or had I stepped into it the day David Marco threw me into the janitor’s closet.
It all came down to needs. The team needed me to get them inside. The people trapped in that facility needed me to get the team inside. I couldn’t really let them down, could I? I didn’t want to be the person that left my fellow man to rot in misery. Hopefully, if my parents ended up seeing my face on the nightly news, they would come to understand that it had to be done.
Suddenly, I was aware of Jacob’s voice again. He hadn’t stopped talking while I daydreamed. I figured I should probably pay attention. He was talking about the layout of the facility and where the prisoners were being kept. He turned to me to layout exactly where I would need to drop the team off and wait for their return. I was impressed with how many details he had acquired for this mission. When Jacob said he had resources, he meant it.
That thought lead to even more thoughts on where his sources came from. Were they people with powers? Either way, I had stopped paying attention, again. He had been saying something to Summer, but I hadn’t caught it. This meeting was starting to remind me of sitting in class. Important stuff that I needed to know and my mind would wander. Still, I knew where I was going and what I was doing.
Before we finished, Jacob informed us that we would be using our codenames. Summer rolled her eyes. She apparently didn’t care for that kind of thing. I wasn’t sure she cared for any kind of thing. Dark and Pulse preferred their codenames over their original names. Reeve’s codename was Crucible. Summer was known as Serumm. I was later told that it had to be spelled with two m’s cause it was an anagram of her actual name. I’m pretty sure that’s a large part of why she hated it. Never dared to ask though.
Finally, they all turned to me.
“What would you like to be called, Michael?” Jacob asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve thought about it before but I’ve never been able to come up with anything that I liked.”
“If you’re not careful,” Summer interjected. “You’ll end up with something stupid.”
“Are there any suggestions?” I asked.
“I’ve been thinking about this, as well.” Jacob said. “How does ‘Void’ sound to you?”
It had a nice ring to it and it fit with my powerset as well as anything. I wished I’d come up with it.
“I like it.”
“Then it’s settled, your codename will be Void. Alright then, Dark, I will hand the reins over to you. Good luck to you all. See you when you return.”
Dark turned to me and said, “If you would be so kind.”
I walked over to the light switch and turned off all the lights except for Jacob’s desk lamp. Its light was just soft enough to leave plenty of usable shadows on the walls. I moved to the nearest one and set my hand against the wall. I activated my powers and my hand entered the shadow but I didn’t step through.
“After you.” I said as I gestured for the group to enter the portal I had opened. They all hesitated as they first walked up to the shadow. I tried to imagine what it might feel like for them. It was probably pretty strange, if not terrifying. Suddenly, I remembered the Dangers and rushed to get in before anything happened. I stepped into the shadowverse to see Dark, Pulse, and Reeve or Crucible or whatever standing in front of Summer ready for action as Wolf and Gorilla and all the rest towered over them.
“Enough!” I shouted. The Dangers immediately loosened their poses. “These people are my guests, and as such, will have safe travel throughout my realm. Is that understood?” The Dangers bowed in genuflection, some more than others, and blinked away.
“Sorry about that guys. Forgot to warn you about them.”
“Idiot. You could’ve gotten us killed.” Reeve yelled.
“Crucible! He took care of it. Nothing happened. Let’s move on.” said Dark.
“Yes. Let’s move on to whatever the heck those things were and this being your realm?” said Summer.
“Well, it’s kind of a long story. Let’s just say that this place came with my powers and from my mind. And as for the Dangers, Aria and I think that they kind of represent the darkness inside us all.”
“So they bow to you?” Reeve asked.
“Well, not always-“
“This is all very interesting, but we have a mission to complete. Get us inside the facility, if you would.” Dark interrupted tactfully.