After the team’s encounter with the twisted dog, the specimen was sent to Project Eden headquarters where it was found to be highly radioactive. A full workup was performed to discover the creature’s origin. Meanwhile, a lead from the rave, a new street drug called Phreak was linked to the rave the team attended a few nights before. They tracked down a drug dealer who dealt in Phreak. Their interrogation was short lived as they learned this dealer knew little more about the new drug, where it came from, or how it was made, than they did. In order to follow him to the source of his supply, the team wiped his memory, staged a mugging, and dumped him into an alley to make it seem like his supply of Phreak had been pilfered, all the while sending several samples of Phreak to the labs at Project Eden to be analyzed.
The dealer, Marty, went to an abandoned basement floor of a brownstone walk up where he picked up his supply of Phreak. They ambushed the man that came to meet Marty. During the encounter, Marty spontaneously combusted in a giant fireball wounding several team members. As the fire receded, Marty’s screaming went on as he continued to burn seemingly to death. The door from which the informant had come lead down into the substructure of the building. Just before deciding to follow the new path, the team noticed that the room was covered by cameras. Armed with the knowledge that whoever was watching on the other side, likely knew they were coming, they followed the underground path to disused part of the old city sewer.
In this quarantined area of the city’s infrastructure they found a charnel house. An underground lab was stocked with bodies, some in body bags, others just stacked in corners. In one corner were two live bodies on operating tables. The backs of their heads had been surgically drilled out and the fluids were being collected in bags by the bedside. Somehow the two were still alive but as Cara examined them, she knew there was no healing their condition. One of them was the kidnapped teen who had erupted just a few nights ago. She channeled her powers to ease the pain of the survivors. She gritted her teeth in anger as she euthanized this young man. She was more angry than she’d ever been in her life, at the futility of his death, the brutality, the pain he’d suffered, the fact that there were evil men in the world who would do this to other humans without so much as a thought.
Then something happened.
Cara felt a throbbing pain in her head and the halo of golden light that normally accompanies the use of her powers began to grow and intensify until it filled the room. Her head began to hurt just like when she had erupted but far more intensely, the pain that had been stretched over 36 hours before was now compressed into just a few seconds or minutes, it was hard to tell. She was driven to her knees by the pain in this filthy slaughterhouse next to the dead boy, she reached out for something, down, and her hand closed around something new… but familiar.
When the light receded Cara was changed.
She didn’t seem any larger physically but she stood taller and more erect. Her pragmatic, mousy blond hair now hung thick, long, and golden, nearly to her waist. The clothes she had been wearing had changed completely, she was wearing flowing alabaster robes that rippled gently as she moved. From her back there billowed two feathered, diaphanous wings.
She was holding a sword.
More than her clothes, her hair, or even her sword, her eyes changed. They were hard-bitten, pained… resolute.
The team was dumbfounded but had no time try to make sense of what had just happened, and Cara gave them no chance for questions. She moved from the room quickly, driven by some new purpose. The team eventually found the team of novas responsible for Phreak. The Harvesters. Phreak was made from an extract that had to be taken from a live nova’s cerebrospinal fluid. The fight with the Harvesters was relatively brief but brutal. Nico was nearly killed and for the first time in a long time, Knuckles was hurt. Cara, with her new found battle prowess, became jury, judge, and executioner to several of the Harvesters. They managed to take one of them alive and package him back to Project Eden HQ. Over the next few weeks, lab work confirmed the origin of Phreak. The Eden executives took some time to perform some tests on Cara as well. This 2nd eruption was unheard of.
During this time, Daedalus contacted the group again. It was a reminder about the meeting they’d set up. Nico and Knuckles went to the meeting, the others thinking it was a hoax. Also at the meeting were a number of novas from the private sector. Most of them with noncombat abilities. They said they had received the same message from someone called Daedalus and they were here to see what it was about. There were six of them. The only thing that seemed to connect all of the meeting attendees was a trend that each of them were extremely wealthy, respected, if not altogether famous. Daedalus remotely dialed into the meeting from an old computer in the hotel lobby. This time, it wasn’t a pre recorded message but Daedalus himself. He answered what questions he could but reiterated to all of them that they were part of a virtual world, that they were, each of them still imprisoned in an old military base on the Balkan peninsula, where they had been for the last 2 years. He said he could offer them proof and get them out, but he needed their help. He gave them a list of very specific instructions to carry out at the dock of Seattle, in the main control room. He also said they needed to destroy a server farm in the subbasement of a local high rise. The team was felt that it was all an elaborate hoax but Daedalus knew too much about them for them to be entirely comfortable. Knuckles and Nico contacted the rest of the group to let them know how the meeting had gone and the team decided to split up and attempt to carry out Daedalus’ instructions, if only to prove their falsehood. The group split up into two groups. Knuckles and Cara went to the high rise to attack the server farm. While Psyche, Ricochet, and Beguiler went with the five of the civilians to input the commands at the docks.
At the high rise, Knuckles and Cara ran into a security force with incredibly high tech weaponry that shot first without asking many questions. They fought their way to the basement with Glitch, the one civilian who was needed on this mission. The found the server farm and Glitch followed the commands that Daedalus had given him. Just as the security reinforcements were storming the room everything stopped. Men were frozen midstep, some off the ground, hanging in air like a photograph. Convinced that Daedalus was for real, they destroyed the server farm and made their way to the docks.
At the docks, the 3 other team members were overseeing the bizarre instructions given to them by Daedalus. In the middle of the sequence, they were attacked by a strange nova who seemed to be made of liquidous metal. The team of 3 were clearly outmatched on their own, and two of the civilians died in the ensuing combat. Knuckles and Cara (now called Seraph) helped defeat the new threat and allow the rest of the team to finish inputting the code.
As the code was entered, a large tanker out in the slips began to rotate as if on an axis. It slowly spun until the entire boat was capsized. In the hull of the ship, underwater until recently, was a ladder, carved right into the steel hull. At the top of the ladder about halfway up the hull, now out of the water, was a door.
Inside the door the group found a room of light. Inside the room made of light, was Grid, who had been missing for several days. He explained, rather pained, that what Daedalus had said was true, and that he was one of the wardens of their prison. He explained that each of these facilities, he didn’t know how many there were or where they were just that there were others, was run by a telepath and a cyberkinetic. The marriage of psychic thought control and technology wired directly into the brain was what made the prisons work. He apologized and told them that he could not leave with them. His life was in even more danger than theirs because soon it would be known that he helped them escape. The group offered him protection but he declined, saying he would be a much greater danger to them than they knew. He said he would do one last thing to help them escape by unlocking all of the doors in the compound where they were held. The light in the room grew until it consumed their vision and then was gone.
They each woke in a holding tank, no bigger than a coffin filled with some kind of viscous amniotic fluid. As they fought their way out of these steel fish bowls, they saw that they were in a room with nearly 2 dozen other similar tanks. This facility held 42 novas captive in all and soon after the team awoke, small antipersonnel mines inside the tanks began going off, snuffing the life from dozens of novas they were unable to save. They began to make their way to the surface.
Three stories up on the ground, Daedalus was waging a one-man war against the site’s security forces. His battle suit made short work of the baseline defenses and vehicles. As the team surfaced, they cut a path through the base to the Icarus, Daedalus’ transoceanic transport. As they were flying over the Caspian Sea, Nico made an attempt to psychically control Daedalus and force him to take him to Moscow and drop him off. Daedalus, infuriated, set the ship down and kicked Nico off somewhere on the western coast of the Caspian. The rest of the team was too rattled to react and before they knew it they were racing across the Atlantic to Daedalus’ own compound. A decommissioned Titan missile base in the cornfields of the Midwest.
At the present time, the team is staying with Daedalus, revealed to be Jason Langley, an ex-NSA operative who had helped the team in Venice when all this started. Nico is still adrift somewhere on the Balkan peninsula. Cara still has questions about her son, was he alive, was he really a nova? And the entire team was trying to wrestle with the fact that the last 2 years of their life had been a lie. They were not rich, they were not celebrities, they were not heroes. In fact, they were international fugitives and suspected terrorists.