The team approached the house across the well−maintained lawn.
“You sure this is the right place?” Legion asked. “There aren’t any cops or anything.”
“Yeah, I’m sure,” Plateau said. “Look.” He pointed to the door. It hung ajar, wood of the frame splintered near the lock. “Kicked in.”
“No, no, no. You don’t kick doors,” Kismet said. “You put a shoulder into it. Can get a lot more mass behind it that way.”
Plateau knocked on the door and it swung open at his touch. “Looks like an invitation.”
“You sure this isn’t breaking and entering?” Jet asked.
“I’m still legally a law enforcement officer. I checked the database this morning.” Plateau said as he entered the house. “Signs of forced entry constitute probable cause.”
The others entered behind him. A staircase stood in front of them, leading to a second floor.
“This is too big for one person,” Kismet said. “More like a family of five.”
“Be on the lookout,” Plateau agreed. “Anything they want hidden probably isn’t on this floor. Kismet, Jet, Legion, check upstairs,” Plateau said. “Dame Danger, Adam and I will check the basement. Meet me here when you’re done.”
“You got it boss,” Legion said with a salute.
“Come on, asshats, let’s go,” Kismet said. She punched Jet and Legion each lightly on the arm.
The trio marched up the stairs, Kismet in the lead and Jet in the rear.
“Lucky me I’m with both precogs,” Jet said when they reached the landing three−quarters of the way up the stairs.
“And they have both tinkers and everyone with range,” Legion said. “So much for power diversity.”
“Makes sense to me,” Kismet said. “The oldest with the youngest. I’ve got more experience than either of you, and he gets to lead the frosh.” The group reached the top of the stairs. “Which sucks for the two of us, ’cause we both get to play third wheel.”
“What?” Legion exclaimed.
“We’re not-” Jet spluttered.
“Shut up,” Kismet said, cutting Jet off. “I’m just messin’ with you. That’s what you get. No shame in it anyway.” The group walked along the balcony that made up the second floor. Legion started to protest, but Kismet cut him off, “No seriously, shut up. We got a mission, remember?”
Kismet pushed open the door to the room at the end of the hall, moving slowly to let her power warn her of danger.
“It’s clear,” she subvocalized, moving to the more secure means of communication. The trio entered the room and looked around the lavish room.
“Fancy,” commented Legion.
The room was decorated with hanging cloth, which hung around the borders of the room in place of paint or wallpaper and around the bed which rested in the center of the room.
Jet started to speak. “Not what I was-”
“Look out!” Kismet shouted.
Legion felt a burst of pain and ecstasy and the world shifted backwards around him. He cast his eyes around the room, trying to find what had killed him.
“Look out!” Kismet shouted.
He spotted it just in time- a pale figure in a doorway across the hall. He took a step forward, and the energy blast took him in the head. The world shifted backwards.
Legion smiled. He stepped to the side to get out of the way and watched as a clone of himself stepped forward and received a bolt of energy to the head which flung it to the ground where it dissolved. The original turned, hefted up a chair from a nearby table, and brought it down on Jet in one motion. Jet fell to the floor, catching himself on his elbows.
“What are you doing?” Jet shouted.
“That’s not me!” Legion exclaimed.
Kismet stepped in and slammed her Tonfa into the duplicate’s skull. It toppled like a ragdoll.
“He would have killed Jet,” Kismet said to Legion. “And you would’ve let him. Not cool bro. Control your clones.”
“I can’t. It… It should have died,” Legion stumbled over the words, still shocked by what had just happened. He looked at the limp duplicate. “It’s not disappearing.”
“He’s not dead,” she said. “I know how to not kill people.”
“Then let’s kill it.” Legion stepped towards it.
“No!” Kismet stopped him with an arm.
“Because that might be you.”
“I’m me. Trust me, you don’t want two.”
“Guys, who the fuck shot him?” Jet said from the floor.
Kismet looked down at him, then shoved herself and Legion apart. Another burst of energy tore through the air between them and punched a hole in the wall behind them as Legion stumbled backwards. Jet jumped to his feet and blasted through the hall at supersonic speeds, appearing in front of the shooter, who crouched behind a door frame the length of the hall away. Kismet and Legion clutched their ears to shield against the worst of the blast.
Jet grabbed him before the wind could throw him backwards and shouted, “Nobody shoots my friends!”
“What the fuck are you doing in my house?” the man screamed in terror. His close−cropped red hair and short beard outlined his angular face.
Jet hesitated a moment too long, and in the blink of an eye, the man broke Jet’s grip and delivered a punch that knocked him down cold. The man leaped over Jet and ran into the hall, then vaulted off the edge of the balcony to drop down to the first floor.
“Make sure Jet’s okay!” Kismet shouted to Legion after she shook off the lingering disorientation from Jet’s shockwave, then sprinted out after the man. She took the stairs four at a time. She saw the man disappear around a corner just before she landed at the bottom.
One floor below, the other group stood, stunned. Sterile white tiles covered the walls and floor, and in the center of the room stood an operating table. Various surgical tools hung suspended from the ceiling above it by thin metal arms, like a spider made of scalpels. Along the far wall, beside the room’s other door, was a rack of clear plastic drawers containing bits of pre-assembled circuitry in plastic bags. Adam stiffened and took a sharp breath at the sight.
“Oh no,” Jessica said. She ran over to get a better look at the shelves. “This is definitely Metatron’s work. Why aren’t the Feds here? This should have been-” she was cut off by a warning signal from the Wardens-provided cell phones- three rapid bursts of vibration.
“Oh, I can be very persuasive,” said a man’s voice. The hanging plastic sheet that covered the entrance behind them rustled.
Plateau spun, thrusting an arm upwards to create a wall between them and the source of the voice.
“Well, now you’re in an awkward position,” said a woman’s voice from the other door of the room. “Hello again brother.”
Lilith entered the room, followed by her two remaining Cherubim. She flipped her spike of green-dyed hair away from her eyes to reveal the flickering white light in her right eye. She grinned.
“This was a trap,” Adam said, eyes widening.
“Of course it was a trap,” Lilith said. “The feds never even knew about this place.”