I sat atop the vault, amidst the rubble, and stared into the dark with growing frustration. The warm, moist air venting through my skin turned to mist around me as it cooled.
“Has Savage reported back yet?” I asked, restless.
“Not yet,” Jamisson said over the radio. “But I do have other news. Monitor has reported a power spike somewhere in the city, but it doesn’t sound like he has a specific location yet.”
I kicked up a small gust of wind that swirled the mist around me. “We still don’t know anything about Temple beyond what we got from Myriad. Everything else is guesswork.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Jamisson said. “I’m trying to find records of him. Despite how little we know, I don’t think this is his debut. I’ll let you know when I find more.”
“Shadow, you should come in,” said Guardian Angel through my earpiece. “Temple’s not going to show up, and we need to sleep. Dark Archon and I are heading home.”
He was right. I could feel exhaustion creeping into the edges of my thoughts. I stood and swept my gaze across the ruined area one more time. The first night without the sputtering punctuation of Anchor Boys fighting over the territory, the area seemed less like a war zone and more like an ancient ruin.
I teleported back to the police station. Jamisson glanced up from his tablet and greeted me. I just stood for a moment. I wasn’t any use in the field right now, but I also knew I wasn’t going to get any sleep even if I tried.
“What can I do?”
“At the moment, I’m searching through the ITAB database for mentions of Temple. If he’s an international villain, he should be here in the here, but if not, he’ll be in the UMBRA database.” He pointed to a desktop computer set up at a desk nearby. “Open it up and see what you can find.”
“On it,” I said, and sat down at the desk. The computer was already logged in, and when I opened the UMBRA database software, the username and password were automatically filled in.
Wow, very secure.
I paused. I’d never had access to the database before. Before I could stop myself, I clicked search by name and typed in Shadow, then quickly backspaced. As much as I wanted to know what it said about me, now was not the time. I typed in Temple, and after a few seconds, a result appeared: Closest match: Templar; Hero, San Fransisco; good standing
Definitely not him, I thought. I switched to searching by power and typed paralysis, mind control.
This time, there were more results. My eyes stopped towards the top of the list.
“I may actually have something,” I said as I read through the short descriptions. Bits and pieces started to come together in strange ways. “It might be kind of crazy, ‘cause I’m tired, but this is weird. Part of Temple’s power was really similar to Basilisk’s, but stronger. The, the light coming out of his eyes.” I fumbled for words for a moment.
“That’s not unheard of,” Jamisson said, shifting towards me. “But it’s rare. Even between family.”
“Yeah, but the second part, the mind control, that sounds a lot like a villain called Benton.” I jabbed at the screen with a finger, leaving a black splotch for a moment. “Could imprint suggestions on people by repeating simple command phrases,” I read off the screen. “This says he was one of the first that Tipping Point and his team put away, and, get this, he was also a member of Opiate’s old gang.”
“That’s more than odd, but still a tenuous connection.”
“Yeah, but they both said they got their powers from super juice, and Myriad told me she stole some of his blood. What if that’s what it was? What if the super juice that gave those two their powers was made out of his blood?”
“You shouldn’t put so much faith in her. She’s an enemy of our enemy, but not a friend.” Jamisson rested his tablet flat on the table. “But that’s a disturbing possibility.”
“It’s not like it helps us find him, though,” I said and turned back to the computer.
“It does, actually” Jamisson countered. “It gives us a timeframe. He may have been in Collswell before. When did Basilisk get his powers?”
I looked at his entry again. “2001.”
“Look for unattributed metahuman events prior to that date.”
I applied the necessary search filters to include only events prior to June 2001 in Collswell City or the surrounding area. The list was massive, many results marked as unconfirmed. I sighed and started sifting through them starting with the most recent.
After a few minutes, Jamisson said, “Found something. May 25th in Berlin, someone broke into the local hero headquarters. Heroes who responded were paralyzed by a blinding white light until the intruder left.”
“Why is that familiar?” I asked. “I’ve heard that date recently.”
“May 22nd was the first Dream of Tomorrow event,” Jamisson said.
“Right. Translocator mentioned that.”
“Berlin was almost completely destroyed, so it was written off as metahuman looting, but this definitely sounds like him.”
“Translocator also mentioned that Dream of Tomorrow used to be a German hero who overloaded his power. Temple showed after the Berlin event, and now after Davy Jones went nuclear,” I paused. “Rose of Thorns,” I said. “That’s when he was in Collswell.”
I turned back to the database and scrolled down to September of 2000. It wasn’t long after that I found what I was looking for.
“Found it,” I said. “September 19th, 2000, a salvage team in Bisonet park was frozen in place by a light shining out of the office of Rosalyn Dempsey.”
“Rose of Thorns,” Jamisson said. “Temple shows up after Nightmare events, and he seems to be after Randwulf. Randwulf showed up just before Davy Jones went nuclear, and Dream of Tomorrow used to be a hero, so it’s possible he was involved with that too.”
“So Randwulf is traveling around turning people into nightmares, and Temple is chasing him, trying to stop him?” I asked. “Wait, what the fuck? Is Temple the good guy here?”
“No,” Jamisson shook his head. “Remember, the enemy of our enemy is not a friend. It’s better to assume that they’re on either side of us, bent on destroying each other, and we’re caught in the middle.”
I closed my eyes for a moment, and my exhaustion, which had ebbed to the back of my mind, came crashing back.
Jamisson noticed the change, somehow, and said, “Go get some sleep. I’ll send what we’ve found to the ITAB and get back to you in the morning.”
I nodded and teleported to Guardian Angel.