As the wheels retracted and her private jet gained altitude, Jury propped her feet up and sipped her French wine. She was anxious to get back home and wash the filth and stain of Indianapolis off her. She could still smell the poor and homeless on her from the hundreds of photographs she took at the end of the JTF celebration, as well as the strong aftershave the Director wore. Now, she just wanted a shower and clean robe. Her only regret was Michael Larson was not on the plane with her. He would have made the shower much more enjoyable.
The military-grade satellite phone lit up and beeped as it received a call. When the GPS and caller ID display displayed, ‘No Info Available,” Jury knew it could only be from one man. She expected the call, but not enough wine had been consumed to temper the anger in voice.
“What do you want?” she asked, but already knew the answer.
“Oh, meine Frau. Did you miss me?” the man on the line asked. He played this game for two and a half decades and it always annoyed her.
“Not really. We just got in the air and I’m a little busy right now enjoying some time off work. So, if this could wait…”
“No, it can’t,” the man said reverting to his American-English accent. “You were scheduled to leave over an hour ago. I don’t have time to wait around for you to report-in, Jury.”
“Lehrer wanted an off-the-record briefing about my scan of Susan Larson. The fool actually thinks I give a shit about his future plans.” She shuddered at the thought of the meeting. She played along, like a good soldier, even when he put his hands all over her. She imagined her powers crushing his skull until he finished.
“You just do your job and keep him on the team. What did you tell him?” Jury sighed. He might be one of the most powerful Enhanced in the world but he had the patience of a seven year old boy.
“The truth – as far as Susan Larson is concerned, Sue Collins never existed.”
“What do you mean, never existed? How is that possible?
“I mean she has no real memories of Michael’s childhood before age ten which she attributed to the shock from Apocalypse and the bottle, and her memories of Los Angeles are completely fake.”
“She didn’t lie at the court hearing, she actually believes Michael’s father was a one-night stand. She has no memory of Thomas Collins at all.” Jury tried to say his name without emotion. She would be the stone-cold bitch like always around him.
“Incredible. Could it be from injury or psychological?”
“No. The memories are too perfect, fit too nicely. For most people, it would make sense but they are not me. From what I found during our training sessions, Michael’s memories were also altered.”
“We have more loose ends to tie up?”
“Maybe. Another Enhanced scanned them at some point during Michael’s childhood and changed their memories.”
“Who? This level of memory manipulation is not exactly a common power or one that stays unnoticed.”
“I don’t have any idea,” she said thinking before dropping her wine glass. No, it’s not possible.
“Only one mentalist was that perfect in memories, Clean Slate.”
“That little Scheiss you caught snooping in our system?”
“Yes. But maybe he was doing more than following rumors on the identity of Herr Metall.”
“What was he hiding? What would he gain by wiping her memories of Thomas Collins and Michael’s childhood?”
The creature that called himself Vengeance, Jury thought. That is the only reason a mother would do suffer like that – to save her child. She had killed Clean Slate before Michael would have turned ten. That meant he had his Reveal, his true Reveal, before Justice or even Judge. He was the weapon of purity Project Evolution was designed to create. They had succeeded.
“I don’t know. Clean Slate’s other powers were pretty weak but he was a reserve on The Old Guard’s roster. Maze liked to use him to interview witnesses before planning his raids.”
“Verdammt noch mal! So Maze could have done this and now knows everything!” he yelled.
“Yes,” Jury said smiling. She savored her tormentor’s agony as he chased the wrong rabbit down the hole. It would give her time to use Michael Larson and kill Herr Metall. Then, she would rule with her Thomas as the savior of the Enhanced race.
“Did you complete your mission?”
“Yes, Michael’s alter-ego has been locked up for now” she lied, not mentioning the second personality she uncovered. No one would keep her away from her only true love, not even Herr Metall. Locking away the personality that called itself Vengeance would require she also lock out Thomas Collins too. Instead, she would free him and they could be together forever. Metall could have the world but he would never have her Thomas again.
“Then perhaps you should turn on the TV,” he ordered.
Jury grabbed the remote from the seat storage compartment and turned on the TV. The LED screen lit up with shots of the Indianapolis east side surrounded by emergency vehicles.
“Police are confirming a quarantine area has been setup in the northeast section of Indianapolis tonight,” reported Indianapolis favorite news reporter. “Witnesses have been telling us that an unknown Enhanced with superstrength powers killing anyone in his path.”
Jury watched as several buildings raged on fire. Smoke poured from everywhere on camera.
“We are just hearing reports from our sources that the JTF has just made an arrest in the case of the recent Enhanced attack in the same area. The JTF has not confirmed if the attack tonight is related to that event, but vehicles have been pouring out of headquarters and every officer in the city has been recalled to active duty.”
“What have you done, Elizabeth?” Herr Metall asked.
“What you always wanted, Heinrich, I’ve unchained a god.”