You are Ruled by Criminals – Chapter 7

METRops was born in blood.  One of the first (primal) actions committed by one of their members using their newfound abilities was the shooting of Javier Rodriguez.  This event actually began at the precise instant when they gained their abilities- altering themselves, our world, and the very fabric of reality, indefinitely.  A single bullet was fired by Raymond D’Rome Ishmael via the barrel of his prized 9mm pistol.  The projectile’s trajectory shifted, it’s velocity increased erratically, and it collided with the head of Javier Rodriguez as he fled his botched attempt at robbing Walter Berlin.

The First were, mostly, normal people.  They had goals, hopes, aspirations, and little chance at succeeding with most of them (as it was for most of their class at that point in time).  While most groups of people would have tended towards the heroic spectrum, or gone over to complete villainy if given such abilities, they instead chose a completely different course, a winding path; the First decided they would adopt (or adapt to) a looser construct of morality and play both roles.


* * * * *


“Well, I’m not usually a fan of fancy inspirational speeches,” the sarcastic grin plastered on Walter Berlin’s face filled Joe with fury; he found the hypocrisy intolerable, “so I’m going to keep this short and sweet.  You’re here to be the new heroes of the United States, and that’s a heavy burden,” he paused for emphasis before continuing in a far graver tone, ”but the people of this country are willing to let you do your job in peace, as long as we do ours properly, and that is to turn you into responsible, respectable, law abiding manifesters.  Only if you are deemed psychologically, physically, and ethically fit to fill the role of a government sanctioned hero, will you be allowed to retain full rights and privacy as a citizen of the United States.”

Joe’s mind jumped back to his mother back home, wondering whether she would be there when he returned, if he would even have a home to return to.  If he was successful, it was very possible he wouldn’t, but if he failed that would be irrelevant soon anyways.  The paradoxes inherent in the lives of light-bringers usually left them unusually unattached to their home realities, but Joe’s had so far been left untouched due to its dubious claim to fame of being the home of Sharher, the first of the light-bringers.  No one wanted to potentially alter the course of history in the very world that had spawned them.

The door in the back of the auditorium cracked open, breaking the silence in the momentary pause in Berlin’s speech.  Joe glanced quickly back towards the latecomers, committing their features to memory, before looking back towards Berlin so as to study his reaction.  Berlin’s face momentarily flashed a micro-expression of joy, before mechanically pronouncing a false expression of disapproval.  As far as Joe was concerned, this lent far too much credence to the conspiracy theories of his home, but the key would be discovering how far back this conspiracy had existed.

Berlin cleared his throat, bringing the attention of auditorium back to him, before saying, “I could tell you some bullshit about how this all has something to do with power and responsibility etcetera etcetera, but honestly, this is about fear.”  His words had brought silence across the entire room, as people stopped fidgeting and commenting to their neighbors, Berlin’s words having torn all their focus and energy towards him, “They are rightfully fearful of us too.  There are some among our kind, some even in this room with us now undoubtably, who will use this…” Berlin paused as if looking for a word, though based on what Joe knew of the man he suspected this pause was contrived, “gift, for purely personal gain.  We no longer live in a world that can allow this sort of behavior, too many have died to make it otherwise, yet despite our success over the last decade, they are still at the gates, demanding that we all publicly register, so that we can be open to their harassment, their prejudice, and their open hatred.  There are no laws protecting us from them, we who are gods among men, so this Academy is your one chance for, at the very least, freedom of anonymity.”  With these final words spoken, Walter Berlin turned away from the podium, and the auditorium turned to a complete audial vacuum.

As Berlin began to dismount his high-horse and depart stage, Joe began to surreptitiously examine the latecomers.  There were six of them, three of whom were clearly not students.  He did not immediately recognize one of the older gentleman, his features so bland and regular that they seemed to nearly slip from his eidetic memory, and the young man that stood next to him seemed very much out of place, almost a sheep amongst wolves.  Those two stood apart from the other four.  The two students in the larger grouping looked naggingly familiar, yet he couldn’t quite place their features upon anyone he recognized from his lifetime, but it was likely due to him never having seen a picture of either as a youth.  Of course, he did recognize the other two.


* * * * *


Ever since that first night, I felt the coming of this “other”, someone who would redefine the possibilities of this reality.  I did not sense this as I did all other things in my existence, it was almost a preternatural itch of precognition.  Paradoxes, the bane of any who attempt to manipulate the future, surround and coalesce around those who have somehow managed to escape the human condition of moving through time in a linear fashion.  Ermen’s inability to factor in the possibility of this “light-bringer” named Joe Donovan, caused quite a few failures in the Revolution’s plans, though recently Ermen told me, “The instant the ‘light’ blinded ‘God’s Eye’ it was apparent the ‘bringer’ must fall, but, after ascending to the plateau of omniscience, I craved the unknown.  This, my lone human desire, is why all of our previous predictions and machinations slipped into convolution.”  Ermen Episkopos gained a god-complex the first day he manifested, and who can blame him; he would come to know the future in the same way the rest of us know the present, possibly to a far greater degree.


You are Ruled by Criminals - Chapter 6
You are Ruled by Criminals - Chapter 8
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