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Heroes World - Chapter 8

K.S. must face a difficult decision.
The following morning, the group arrives at a small wildlife area in east Rhode Island, a couple of hours from Billy’s hometown of Boston.

The Jahns estate is the current base of operations and home of the Patriots. The eight hundred square-feet home was condemned and seized by the government many decades ago. It later became a safe house, used by federal agencies, on covert missions. Having stayed at the house many times in his pre-vigilante career, Kronos arranged for this place to be the groups dwelling.

Having heard about it many times over the years, Billy is excited to finally step foot inside.
"I know right… it's totally swagnificent in here. This is the old conference room," Arrancar says as he shows Billy around.

The house brims with a rich history, having the world’s bravest champions congregating here. The tour continues through the hanger, and the two separate gymnasiums. The house is funded by large donations from private investors, allowing the group access to state-of-the-art technology.

Billy is shown the memorial hall, a room dedicated to the Heroes. Large holo-banner vids of the original Patriots like Quick-Shot, and Ms. Colossal. Billy then spots the image of Slayer fighting back tears. She takes it all in, with a deep respect and an inner joy, feeling at home.

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In the kitchen, they grab something to eat and Billy learns more about the group. The cadets still question her, fascinated by Billy’s life.

"…So what’s it like, fighting on your own like that?" FlashVolt says not taking her eye off the light-brown skinned Kid Supreme.

She smiles as she answers. "It's great. I don’t answer to anyone. It's just me and my mech." Billy notes not being fully honest.

She loves the mask, but it’s really lonely at times, especially when she’s getting over an injury.

"What was Slayer like?" Argus asks. After a long pause, she answers. "Majestic."

The others all sit in silence, reflecting on the stories they have been told of his bravery. The cadets can’t wait to branch out on their own. To become the Heroes that they are destined to be.

There moment of silence is broken a rising hum is heard.

"Slayer was the finest Hero I have ever known. He was resourceful, strong, and determined. Kronos even asked him to lead this team." A tall woman says as she enters.
"Azimuth, is my name. I know my appearance can be… alarming." She says greeting Billy.
Over seventy percent of Nadira Ansari’s body is pure energy, due to a miscalculation in the procedure that gave her powers. Her appearance is hard to forget. Having a layer of human skin over her energy essence that resembles a body, giving her an unnerving look.

"I am honored to meet you Kid Supreme." Nadira says with a monotone like voice accompanied by a whisper like echo. "I hope that these cadets will be as valiant as you are Kid Supreme."

Argus scoffs. "I already am. I’m just waiting for you and Kronos to make it official." He says with a sarcastic wave.

The kitchen soon gets crowded as Kronos steps in. "You’ll be the only cadet left in this house, if you don’t change that attitude."

The others laugh and mock the young hero. The group joke and chat, telling stories appearing more as a family than a team of vigilantes.

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After the pleasantries end, Kronos pulls Billy aside. He walks her through the halls, and up a staircase to the roof. The mansion sits in a wildlife area, to remain hidden for their protection. Billy breathes in the air, enjoying the experience.

"Nice, isn’t it?" Kronos says, then explains the estates location and other details. Billy admires, acting like a tourist but is familiar with their situation. Slayer kept her well informed on the Patriots business.

After a couple of more minutes, Billy gets down to business.
"It's awesome here Kronos, but I still don’t want to join." She says bluntly, catching the big man off-guard. She remembers what he asked her five years ago, and can tell he is going to ask the same today. He visibly goes in thoughts, being slow to respond.

Billy is impressed with the group, but still wants to follow Slayer’s admonition. However she didn’t reach this conclusion easy. She would love to work with them, fighting side by side with these iconic heroes.

"I’m not used to being a team player. No offense." She says quickly realizing her words, wanting to take them back. Kronos holds up a hand, laughing it off.

"I understand, and I agree. It wouldn’t be best, permanently that is." And that gets her attention.

"Slayer… was very dear to me, even though we would disagree on many things. Looking back I wish I had listened more. In fact, you remind me of him, strong and independent." He pauses and then gets serious.

"I need help. Most of the other ranking Patriots are.. .retired so to speak. We don’t really have a team. Mr. Colossal quit. QuickStrike and Claymore are both... difficult to put it lightly. DraeKon has been missing for months. For us to be heroes there’s all this red tape. If we are spotted we face legal charges." He begins to pace around.

Billy can tell that there is a lot riding on this man. She doesn’t remember him like this, being worried and weighed down. The Kronos she knows gets the job done, charging in head first, getting results.

"Gen. Shelton came across some Intel to suggest that my enemy, the leader of the Hierarchs may still be alive."

The words send a chill down Billy’s spine.
The Hierarchs are an international criminal empire led by the notorious Diablo Prime. Each of the underbosses is a super-powered fugitive, wanted in many countries. Only the Patriots have been able to match this organization. She fought alongside Slayer as they battled Super Zulu and his militia in West India.

"If that’s true, local authorities don’t stand a chance. The Patriots are the only ones who can stop them but we are broken and divided."

Billy finally speaks after a long pause. "Even if I join you guys, it won’t be enough."

Kronos then responds. "I need you to verify the Intel, follow the leads on the Hierarchs while I rebuild my team. We will need the cadet’s but they aren’t ready. They don’t have enough field experience. You and Jessica will take them with you and show them the ropes."

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Billy runs a hand through her hair as she takes in the large request. She is conflicted, not wanting to get wrapped up in something that she doesn’t need to. Then another part of her is yearning for this. Something deep inside is telling her that this is what she has been preparing for these past five years. She wants to do more than beat up gangbangers and drug dealers.

When she was with Slayer, they would tackle terrorist and foil political assassinations. It's not that she isn’t proud of what she has been doing, but it always felt what she’s doing is on a smaller scale.

Kronos places a hand on her shoulder. "I need you. If we do go to war with the Hierarchs, I need warriors."

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His words send a spark in her, motivating her to want to get involved. She instantly decides to join, but pauses as she notices Jessica nearby. The brunette hero stands with arms folded, knowing what this conversation is about, having been informed of Kronos' plan.

She speaks up as she notices the silent tension, wanting to sway her new friend. "Come on kid, you use to ramble on for hours about being a Patriot." Jessica says with a smirk.
"Well, I don’t know, it seems like I have to babysit four rookies." Billy says looking away getting Jessica irritated.

"Four? I ain't a rookie..." She says in a hurry noticing the sarcasm. The three join in a laugh and the mood eases.

Kid Supreme decides to help out, but only on a temporary basis. She knows these villain’s may be too much for these heroes to handle on their own.

K.S. will join The Patriots.
By
Published: 3/20/2014
Bouquets and Brickbats