From under him, he heard the sound of something large and heavy hitting the floor, probably the table. How much protection it would give, he had no idea. He could already hear the crackle of burning wood.
It was up to him. He wasn’t sure how well he’d do against Spitz’ heat after he turned back into a human, but as long as Spitz wasn’t radiating sunlight, he’d be fine.
Crossing the distance, he reformed off to Spitz’ right and a foot behind him. Continue reading Probationers: Part 10
Vladislav knew he needed to talk quickly or talk with the force of undead charisma—not to Spitz, but to Morgan. Opening up to the energy of unlife, he tried to meet Morgan’s eyes, controlling the flow with nearly one thousand years of experience. Uncontrolled, it would leave him a mindless predator in time.
Even as he felt the cold power enter his body, he knew it was too late. She’d pulled out a slim, palm-sized pistol—too slim to fire bullets. Vladislav had seen them before. Based on Abominator tech, the Nine’s elite agents used them. They could pass through metal detectors and burn through almost anything with time.
She’d declared the gun when she joined the team. Continue reading Probationers: Part 9
Agent Spitz stopped talking, “Do you two have something to say? We’re trying to decide the group’s next focus and as the most experienced members of the group, your input should be useful.”
The Atoner gave a wide and innocent smile, “Doc and I were just agreeing that the Devil Coven might be too big for this group, but investigating their activity in Pittsburgh would be worth a try. Doc at least has enough experience with magic to match them. Well, he can match the groups they normally send out–not the entire coven.”
“Exactly,” Vladislav hoped Spitz wouldn’t ask him for details because he hadn’t been listening. Continue reading Probationers: Part 8
Agent Spitz frowned and said, “Let’s get to work.”
Standing behind the lectern, he began with, “As we discussed this morning, you did an excellent job assisting the Heroes’ League. Our people are checking the effects on the general public’s opinion of the team. Morgan? This is something that you should be caring about because it affects what you can do after your probation is over. If you’re generally popular with the public, it’s even possible that a Defenders unit or one of the other big teams might take you.”
Morgan smirked, “How about the Heroes’ League?” Continue reading Probationers: Part 7
“Thanks,” the Atoner’s voice faded for a moment, but then became louder. “Don’t worry about it. I can understand that you want to do something. This is just one of those times that you have to trust your teammates, okay?”
“Understood. I’ll look forward to seeing you this evening,” Vladislav looked over at the other labs through the transparent wall. No one was in them. He’d be able to finish what little was left.
“You bet,” the Atoner said, closing the connection. Continue reading Probationers: Part 6
Vladislav looked down toward the rat’s face, speaking slowly, “No one needs to die this time. In fact, no one should die at all. It will attract attention to the project and that will cause problems.”
The rat picked a bit of mystery meat out from between its teeth, chewed, and swallowed it, “Disappointing. What about in the houses on say the same block? We could choose one that wasn’t too close. Maybe on the far end of the block?”
Not allowing his expression to change, Vladislav reminded himself that despite Boss Scree’s ever-present focus on food, he and his people were very good at what they did, “As I told you earlier, no one should die for this project.” Continue reading Probationers: Part 5
It didn’t take long to get to his laboratory. Though it wasn’t the equal of the laboratory in his castle, Vladislav had brought the essentials and collected substitutes for what couldn’t be moved.
People always stared at it the first time they opened the door. Between the computers, partially assembled sets of powered armor, boxes of spare parts manufactured at his factories, the refrigerators with bags of blood, magic circles on the floor surrounding his anvil and other devices, it looked like no other room in the building.
The shelves were full of books, jars containing powders, preserved creatures, and humanoid and animal body parts, some of which still moved. Continue reading Probationers: Part 4
The voice on the other end said, “Yes, sir,” again with the same, precise intonation he’d used before. It was Florin Ablu. How long ago had Vladislav hired his family? Perhaps 300 years ago. Maybe a little longer.
As Vladislav came to that conclusion, Florin added, “Sir, do you wish me to assign this to your children? Earlier you said they should stay out of the public eye for fifty years, but I believe that Maria and Alexandru regularly feed on a number of the Nine’s employees.” Continue reading Probationers: Part 3
The Atoner frowned, “I don’t think so.”
Time stretched and Dr. Transylvania began to open his mouth to say goodbye when The Atoner said, “Talk in my office, Doc?”
Dr. Transylvania nodded and they got up from the table, walking out of the concrete-walled room as Mistress Madness muttered, “Looks like the grownups are going off to have a private conversation.”
The Atoner smiled at her, “If it’s important, we’ll let everybody know afterward. This is a team. Doc and I don’t run this team. We all do.” Continue reading Probationers: Part 2
Dr. Transylvania could have bought a more impressive headquarters for the Probationers himself. He had the money.
Four stories high with gray concrete and steel beams being the most noticeable pieces of the interior, it looked like what it had been—a warehouse used by the postal service. Even though the building now held offices and laboratories, it still looked like an abandoned warehouse from the outside. It even had a worn post office symbol on the outside of the building, the eagle so light and worn that he couldn’t tell what color it had originally been. Continue reading Probationers: Part 1