Gen-S: Superhuman Society of Earth

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Chapter 15

Sabrina wiped the sweat from her forehead as she led the team through the hot and sweaty rainforest. She looked down at the GPS unit in her hand—they were less than a kilometer out from the cave.

The hike from the jet to the cave was long and strenuous, but Sabrina preferred it to the nerve-wracking flight down. Very few words were spoken as the gravity of their situation had now been given enough time to sink in. At least hiking provided them a way to occupy their bodies and minds, distracting them from the fact that their odds of success were alarmingly low.

“We’re almost there!” Sabrina called back to the group, spinning around to make sure they hadn’t lost anyone. She was pleased to find that everyone was able to keep up without too great a struggle.

“Make sure you remember to turn on your comm!” She instructed, placing a clear plastic electronic into her left ear and turning it on.

When they finally reached the entrance of the cave, Sabrina took a deep breath before turning around to address the team.

“This is it,” she told them in a hushed yet still audible tone. “Stick to the plan and we’ll be back at Jason’s house—with him there this time—before you know it.”

“How do you know he’s still alive?” Laura asked her.

Sabrina stared at the ground a moment before answering. “I just know.”

She knelt on the ground and reached into a backpack full of supplies that Jason had left on the plane for her. She pulled out a pair of high-tech suction cups made for climbing and strapped them onto her hands. The bag also contained two long, sharp blades that she strapped onto her boots.

She looked up to a small hole in the rock above. “That’s where Mandy and I will go in. Blaze, turn invisible and go in through the main entrance. I’ll signal the rest of you on the comm once I’m inside.”

The team nodded in affirmation as Mandy evaporated into gas and Blaze concentrated on disappearing. Sabrina watched footprints appear in the dirt as Blaze made his way toward the cave entrance.

“Blaze!” she called in a loud whisper.

She saw the direction of the footprints change as the invisible surfer turned to face her.

“Be careful—footprints,” she said, pointing at his trail in the dirt. She assumed he got the message because the footprints turned back around and continued making their way to the entrance of the cave.

Sabrina threw her bag back over her shoulders and buckled it in the front. She then jumped up and slapped her suction cupped hands against the rock wall. Through the magic of engineering, they stuck firmly to the rock. She then used her upper body strength to pull herself up a bit before bending her knees and jabbing the blades on her boots into the rock. They sliced through the stone rather easily, offering her a platform on which to climb higher. She squeezed on the back of the right suction cup, triggering it to release the wall. Once her hand came free, she reached up higher and stuck it back on the side of the cliff. She continued the process, slowly climbing her way up to the hole.

Once she was inside, she scaled along the wall of the cave, hidden in the shadows. She reached into one of the backpack’s pockets and pulled out a pair of orange tinted sunglasses. She pushed a small button on the side of the glasses and her vision suddenly turned to infrared. She continued pushing the button, switching between infrared, x-ray, ultra violet, thermal and night vision. For the moment she decided to settle on thermal imaging.

Down below, Sabrina was able to read Blaze’s heat signature on the opposite side of the cavern. She continued scanning the cave until she found two more heat signatures near her own eye level. She quickly pulled off the glasses to see who else was could be up as high as she was. What she found was a hole in the rock that must have led to another cavern.

She put the glasses back on—the two heat signatures were still there, meaning Bryan and The Insider had to be in that cavern. She also noticed a collection of tiny, hotter readings that looked at first like a swarm of insects. Sabrina guessed that what she was seeing was most likely Mandy Tune. The vapor girl must have found where Walter and Bryan were hiding and was probably waiting for the others to draw them out of the room. She wouldn’t be able to answer her comm while her molecules were scattered about in gaseous form.

Sabrina reached up and pushed on her earpiece. “Alright guys, I think Mandy’s found something. Time to start the show.”

A few seconds later, Sabrina saw Jeremy, Tommy and Laura stride in through the door. The looked very nervous as they surveyed the inside of the cavern, waiting for something bad to happen. Sabrina began climbing her way over to the opening that led to the other cavern. As she got closer she noticed something peculiar about a certain spot at the rear of the cave.

She reached up and flipped her glasses to x-ray vision. There was in fact something different about that particular section of the cavern wall.

“Blaze,” she quietly said into the comm. “I think there might be a secret door along the back wall of the cave. Walk over there and see if you feel any airflow.

She flipped the glasses back to thermal and watched as Blaze walked the perimeter of the back wall. He stopped right near the spot where she had noticed the anomaly.

“Can you phase through it?” she asked over the earpiece. Her question was quickly answered as Blaze’s thermal figure appeared to move right through the wall of the cave. His reading became more difficult to see as he moved further away.

“Nice work,” she told him. “Let me know what you find.”

As soon as she reached back up to turn off the glasses, The Insider appeared on the ledge outside the upper cavern. He was wearing a long black trench coat with purple on the lapels and collar. Bryan stepped out of the opening behind him.

“What a surprise,” The Insider said, holding his hands out to welcome the three young heroes to their doom.

He turned to look at Bryan, “Friends of yours?”

Bryan nodded slowly, a look of angry betrayal plastered on his oily face. “The others are no doubt with them.”

Jeremy, Tommy and Laura stood still, awaiting whatever punishment The Insider decided to bring down upon them.

“How many?” The Insider asked Bryan.

A female voice suddenly came over the earpiece. “I’ve found the Assembly. They have them strapped to some kinda stone slabs in another cavern below this one.”

“I see them,” Blaze interjected.

Bryan and The Insider’s conversation continued.

“Three,” Bryan said. “One is invisible, another is most likely in either gas or liquid form, and the third is just plain sneaky.”

The Insider considered for a moment before nodding at his young apprentice. “Have them come join our little party.”

“Mandy, Blaze,” Sabrina spoke into the comm-link, “can you free them?”

There was a moment of radio silence while Sabrina watched The Insider take control of the minds of her teammates. Their bodies went completely stiff and their stares went blank. They were no longer thinking for themselves.

“I’ve already got a pretty nice collection of super people in the back,” the evil telepath announced to the three individuals now under his control. “But I suppose I could always use a few more.”

“Not from down here,” Blaze called back over the comm. “These cuffs are indestructible. The Eagle says the controls are upstairs.”

“I see a control panel,” Mandy responded. “Maybe this…”

Sabrina saw the hidden door at the back of the cavern suddenly slide open. She looked over at The Insider and Bryan—somehow neither had managed to notice the door opening. The Insider was too busy with the three on the ground while Bryan had his eyes closed—deep in concentration as he searched for the minds of the other three team members.

Sabrina immediately deactivated the suction cups and dropped onto the cavern floor. The impact of the landing stung her feet and knees, but she ignored the pain.

“Mandy and Blaze,” she called over the comm, “first thing you need to do is find the ENBs and put them on now.

“ENB?” Blaze questioned.

“The little devices that keep The Insider out of your head!” Sabrina called back.

“Right, The Animal and The Eagle just said the same thing,” Blaze responded.

Sabrina exhaled. She was glad to hear they were still alive.

Her relief was short lived however as she saw Mandy step out onto the ledge above.

“Oh good,” The Insider said in response to her appearance. “Just in time for tryouts.”

“Blaze, find those ENBs now! They’ve already got Mandy.”

Sabrina took a deep breath and did her best to clear her head. This proved a difficult task once she saw Mandy levitating to the ground from up on the ledge. Once she was down, Bryan went back to searching. Sabrina started sprinting for the open door while the two telepaths were still distracted.

“As I was saying…” Bryan could hear The Insider continuing his pointless monologue while he searched for Blaze and Sabrina’s minds. Why his master insisted on lecturing a group of people whose minds he was firmly in control of was beyond Bryan, but that wasn’t any of his concern. Right now he needed to find the others in order to prove his worth to his master.

The Insider continued, “Before you will be allowed to join my team you must prove yourself to me. You all now understand your purpose here, so prove yourselves worthy of my cause by fighting each other to the death. The last one standing shall have the honor of being my number two sidekick behind your friend Bryan.”

Without warning, Tommy Tune turned to steel and punched Jeremy square in the jaw. Jeremy spat teeth and blood everywhere as he fell to the ground. He picked himself up, completely unfazed as his jaw began to heal itself.

Laura jumped high into the air, just touching the ceiling of the cave before coming down hard and crashing to the ground where Mandy was standing. Thankfully Mandy was able to turn herself into a liquid just before Laura was able to crush her. Mandy’s liquid body splashed everywhere as Laura made contact, completely shattering the solid rock floor beneath her feet.

Tommy took a swing at Laura. Noticing the giant steel fist coming her way, Laura sank a few feet further into the ground, causing Tommy’s fist to sail overtop of her. She then leaped upward, back flipping in the air and landing on the far end of the cave.

Jeremy began kicking and splashing in the puddle that was Mandy Tune. The liquid suddenly came together and retook the form of a human female. Just as she finished transforming, Mandy delivered a fierce uppercut to Jeremy’s lower jaw which had just finished healing after being pulverized by metal Tommy.

As a battle raged below, Bryan continued searching for the others. He had found the presence of a foreign mind in the control room—it was Blaze. He was looking for the devices that had kept The Insider from controlling the Assembly, and he had come dangerously close to finding them.

Bryan reached out and began yanking on Blaze’s mental strings, summoning him to the front cavern. Once he was finished with Blaze, all that would be left was Sabrina. He had saved her for last because the powerless girl presented the smallest threat to Bryan and his master. Their victory over the world’s super humans would soon be secured.

A strange sensation pulled Bryan away from his moment of glory however—it was Blaze. Though he was in control, Bryan could still hear some of the invisible one’s thoughts. He was questioning why Bryan would do something like this to him and the others. Blaze had considered Bryan a friend, and friends didn’t control each other’s minds.

Bryan shook away any regret he may have been about to feel. Blaze simply hadn’t come to understand the importance of Walter’s plan yet. Soon he would understand why their sacrifice was so important the way that Bryan did.

As Blaze walked out onto the platform, The Insider took control of his mind away from Bryan. Bryan closed his eyes and went back to searching. For some reason Sabrina was proving infinitely more difficult to track down than the others.

Sabrina sprinted across the cave after coming out of the tunnel. All six members of the original strike team were strapped to stone slabs on the far side of the cavern, just as Blaze and Mandy had reported.

“How do I get you out of this?” she asked Jason through panting breaths.

“Don’t get us out, join us,” Harry told her.

Sabrina turned to Jason with a curious look on her face.

“Ignore him for now,” he told her.

Sabrina nodded and turned to look up at the opening in the cavern above. There appeared to be a staircase leading up to it.

“The controls are up there,” Jason explained. “Blaze went up there a few seconds ago, but I haven’t heard from him. Bryan may have got to him.”

Sabrina nodded before sprinting toward the makeshift staircase. She did her best to keep her mind clear as she climbed up one step at a time.

Once she was inside, she found three monitors facing away from the opening that looked out over the captured Assembly members. The two screens on the side currently displayed security camera footage from outside the cave, while in the center was the image of a paused video game. Sabrina also noticed a computer attached to the same monitor as the game and a keyboard sitting on top of it.

She quickly found the remote sitting on a chair that was facing the monitors. She picked it up and changed the input until the computer desktop appeared on the monitor. She hastily picked up the keyboard before realizing that she had absolutely no idea what she was doing.

Just then she felt something echo in the back of her mind—Bryan was getting close.

She tried again to empty her mind but at the moment it seemed impossible. She threw down the keyboard and stood up from the chair. She noticed a small control box of some sort sitting on top of a round wooden table behind her. She immediately ran over to it and began pushing at buttons.

She pushed the first button she saw and the lights suddenly shut off in the back cavern.

“Wrong button!” She heard The Animal yell from below. She pushed the button again and the lights came back on.

She wrapped her hands around the control box as she took a closer look, hoping to figure out what buttons controlled what. As she leaned against the box with her bodyweight, she noticed it rock to one side. She quickly lifted it up and found five quarter-shaped objects underneath, a small light in the center of each one.

Sabrina felt a sudden tug at the back of her mind. It was urging her to come to the front of the cave.

Knowing that she didn’t have much time left, she grabbed the ENBs and ran over to the opening that overlooked the rear cavern. She tossed the devices out of the opening and watched them land on the cavern floor below.

“Those aren’t going to help us much if we can’t get out of here!” Jason called up to her.

Another tug pulled at her mind, trying to take control. She shook her head violently, fighting desperately against Bryan’s influence. He was locked on now—she wouldn’t be able to hold out much longer.

She swung her head back and forth, frantically trying to find a way to free Jason and the others. That was when she noticed a small plastic box with two antennas lying in the corner of the room. Sabrina recognized it as a wireless router. It looked to have been unplugged from the wall.

She began hearing Bryan’s thoughts in her head, beckoning her to come to the front of the cave. She dropped to a knee, trying to fight it. She dove toward the powerless router, picking it up and following the power cord to the plug.

Bryan continued to pull at her mind. She was beginning to think his thoughts—telling herself that she needed to go to the front of the cave and join the others.

With the small piece of her mind that she had still managed to keep Bryan out of, she grabbed the plug and thrust it into the nearby power strip.

“Sammy!” she screamed at the top of her lungs before feeling her mind go completely blank.

Bryan sighed with relief as he was finally able to gain full control of Sabrina’s mind. He had to give his old group credit—their plan had come very close to succeeding. But, as always was the case, Bryan and his master had proven too powerful for them. Soon they would all see the error in their ways, and they would then be able to work together for the benefit of mankind.

The Insider laughed as he watched Tommy Tune repeatedly step on Jeremy with his metal boot. Jeremy could not feel the pain of Tommy’s assault, but if the attack did not end soon his body would become so badly damaged that it would not be able to regenerate itself. Laura may have inadvertently saved Jeremy’s life when she came running at Tommy, smashing into his body with force great enough to send him flying into a nearby stalagmite.

Then—without warning—the fighting ended just as abruptly as it had begun.

“No!” The Insider cried out. Bryan felt a wave of telepathic rage surge through his mind, causing him to lose his grip on Sabrina’s consciousness.

The fight on the floor had come to a halt—the five combatants now standing motionless in the center of the cave.

“They’re free,” The Insider grumbled angrily.

Bryan reached out to the minds of the captured heroes in the rear cavern of the cave. They were indeed free, and they’d managed to retrieve their mind-blocking devices.

Sabrina suddenly regained control over her consciousness, just steps away from where the control room opened up to the front cavern of the cave. She turned and ran back to the opening on the other side of the room. She couldn’t help but laugh as she saw the freed heroes sticking their Extro-Neuro Blockers on the side of their heads. Harry was the only one still strapped to his slab.

“You must listen to me,” Harry pleaded with the team. “We must be sacrificed.”

Jason slowly walked over to Harry’s slab. “I’m sorry about this buddy, but I can’t take any more of your cultish nonsense.”

Jason held up a device that sent out a small EMP, temporarily shutting down Harry’s systems until they could reboot.

Sabrina quickly ran down the steps to join the team.

“The door on the other side of the tunnel should still be open,” she told them when she was close enough. She-Beast looked a bit shaky, but she refused to stay out of the fight.

“Come on,” she ordered, leading the way to the tunnel.

Sammy turned toward Sabrina before following the others. “Nice work kid.”

Sabrina and Jason brought up the rear as the team headed for the tunnel. Unexpectedly, Jason felt a swift foot kick out his feet from underneath him. He shielded his face with his hands as he fell flat on the ground. He rolled over in time to see Sabrina flip over him, positioning her body between him and the tunnel.

“You two are going to stay here with me,” Bryan called down to them from the cavern above. “When I was in her mind I saw that she had beaten you almost every time you’ve fought. I have a hunch that the great eagle was holding back. Let’s find out.”

Jason never took his eyes off of Sabrina as she stood facing him in a combat-ready stance. She was no longer in control of her actions.

Sabrina came at him with a series of quick kicks and punches. Jason was able to block every one of them, but he didn’t dare counter and risk hurting the girl. It was true that sparring in the basement was not the same as actually finding yourself in a real fight out in the field. Jason’s focus was much sharper and his moves a lot quicker, but Sabrina also seemed to be moving slower under Bryan’s control. He didn’t possess the same instincts that she did.

As Sabrina came at him with another flurry of attacks—drop-kicking and hammer fisting to no end—Jason waited for the opportune moment to subdue her. Finally, as she came at him with a right cross, he quickly stepped to his left and grabbed onto her arm, using his positioning and strength to spin the girl around and trap her in a choke hold. She tried to break free but could not.

Suddenly, Jason felt his arms being pulled open and his body being thrown across the cave.

“Bore-ring,” Bryan’s voice echoed through the cavern. “I have a better idea.”

Jason brought himself to his feet as Bryan disappeared from view. A few seconds later, the boy walked out of the control room and stood on the top step. He carried a long black object in his right hand.

“This should make things a bit more interesting,” he said, throwing up his left arm—a motion which Sabrina mimicked. Bryan then used his telekinesis to float the object into Sabrina’s outstretched hand.

As she held Jason’s katana in her hand, Sabrina moved her other hand over and gripped the hilt before pulling the blade from its sheath. The metal blade made a familiar ringing sound as it freed itself from its leather home.

Jason tried to control his reactions when he noticed the sharpened blade on his once blunt weapon.

“I took the liberty of sharpening your famous sword for you,” Bryan mocked from up above. “It was incredibly dull, did you realize that? I don’t know how anyone is supposed to kill anybody with such a dull blade.”

Jason kept silent. Bryan knew damn well that the blade had been dulled to prevent anyone from being killed.

Bryan smirked before lifting his hand and flicking his wrist from right to left. Sabrina again came at Jason, this time swinging the sword wildly. Jason was easily able to anticipate and avoid every strike. Bryan was incredibly sloppy with his sword play.

“Actually she’s the one who’s sloppy,” Bryan yelled to him as the fighting continued. “I don’t think she’s ever used one of those before.”

Jason found what Bryan was telling him hard to believe. He and Sabrina had been trained by the same master. It seemed unlikely that anyone fully trained in ninjitsu would not know how to properly wield a blade. It seemed more likely that Sabrina had been fighting Bryan, preventing him from unlocking her full potential.

“I really doubt that,” Bryan called down, still reading Jason’s mind.

Just like before, Jason waited for the perfect moment to make his move. As she swiped at his head, Jason ducked out of its path. Once in his crouch, Jason punched at the inside of Sabrina’s right knee. This caused her to lose her balance just long enough for Jason to kick at the blade with his left foot. The katana was ripped from Sabrina’s grip as the tip of the blade became pinned between the ground and Jason’s foot. Jason slammed the blade to the ground underneath his foot before spinning around and picking it up by the hilt. He brought the blade up in front of him in a defensive pose.

“This clearly isn’t working the way I had it planned,” Bryan said, rubbing the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.

“Oh well,” he said, extending his arm toward the opening of the upper cavern. A second later a dark metal object flew out of the opening and into Bryan’s hand.

Jason jumped back as Bryan floated the object into Sabrina’s left hand. Once the gun was in her grip, she proceeded to turn it on Jason. He could see the shame in her eyes as she aimed the gun at him. Sabrina was still in there somewhere, watching helplessly as Bryan forced her to gun down her friend and mentor.

Jason held the blade steady out in front of his body. If Bryan wanted to kill him he was going to have to try for a headshot, otherwise his body armor would protect him.

“Fair point,” Bryan said as he held out his hand and started pulling Jason toward him. “Oh crap. That’s really stuck on there,” Bryan commented, realizing that the padding on Jason’s uniform wouldn’t easily be separated from the material underneath.

Bryan lifted his other hand, decided to alter his strategy. Jason could feel as the telepath telekinetically pulled one way on the armor while pushing the opposite direction on the stretchy material underneath.

Jason could not believe it when he heard his suit’s material start to rip around his armor. Amara was the only other person he’d ever seen able to rip the remarkably strong material.

Bryan continued to pull on the armor. Upon finding himself unable to pull the padding free of material underneath, Bryan seemed content to simply rip the material clean off with it. Once the process was complete and the upper half of Jason’s uniform had been sufficiently ripped to shreds, the once great hero was left with only his katana to protect him.

“You’ve been able to block a bullet with that thing twice before, right?” Bryan asked from high atop his perch.

“As far as Harry knows,” Jason yelled back. It was the first time he had spoken through the entire conflict.

Bryan laughed at Jason’s response. “Well it’s a good thing there are a lot more than two bullets in that gun.”

Jason took a deep breath as he set his eyes on Sabrina. She was pointing the gun right at his chest—there was absolutely no chance of her missing.

He saw a tear trickle down the young girl’s cheek. There was no way he was going to be able to deflect any more than one bullet from of that gun. Sabrina was going to have to watch herself kill him in cold blood—something like that would surely decimate her incredible spirit.

Jason’s sadness turned to determination as he glared up at Bryan.

“What are you thinking?” Bryan asked, not quite able to comprehend Jason’s thought process. “You can’t…”

He had to. He understood now why he and Sabrina’s paths had crossed—why Master Shinobi had come back to train her. His time was done. One generation of good deeds was not enough to bring redemption to the ninja. Jason Haze had come to the end of his part of the story—it was now Sabrina’s turn to continue on this journey for him.

Jason blinked as tears of clarity began to well up in his eyes. A shadowy figure suddenly manifested beside Sabrina—it was Master Shinobi.

“You have down well, my son,” his voice echoed in Jason’s mind.

Jason closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He felt no fear, only peace. He knew that his sacrifice would save the life of someone more important than him—someone he had come to deeply care for.

Before Bryan could force Sabrina to pull the trigger, Jason turned the katana around on himself. Off in the distance he could hear Bryan yelling for him to stop, but it was too late.

Jason tightened his grip on the hilt and plunged the sharpened blade deep into his own body.

“No!” Sabrina screamed as she was released from Bryan’s control. She sprinted over to where Jason had dropped to his knees after impaling himself on his own blade.

She immediately pulled the katana out of him, causing him to gurgle in pain before falling onto his back.

“Why would you do that?” she demanded through uncontrollable tears. She couldn’t remember ever crying like that before.

Jason’s breathing was sporadic as he managed to speak a few final words. “I was dead either way.”

“You don’t know that,” Sabrina cried, dropping her head to his chest.

“I do,” he whispered. “I’ve killed before Sabrina. It was the worst experience of my life and something I was never able to forgive myself for. I let that day define who I was, but you don’t have to live like that.”

Sabrina’s whimpering turned to sobbing as she locked eyes with her mentor one last time. “I wanted to be like you.”

Jason smiled. “Well I don’t want you to be like me,” he whispered with his final breaths. “I want you to be better than me. In you, I have found peace.”

Sabrina watched with a mix of grief and admiration as the life slowly faded from Jason’s dark brown eyes. She did her best to compose herself and fight back the tears as she reached up and closed his eyelids. There would be more than enough time for grieving when the fight was done. Right now she had to go and join the others to make sure that Jason’s sacrifice would not be in vain.

“Why would he do that?” Bryan whimpered from just outside the upper cavern.

Sabrina slowly got to her feet and wiped the blood from the katana before putting it back in its sheath. She carried it with her as she gradually made her way up the steps to where Bryan was now kneeling.

“Why are you doing this Bryan?” Sabrina asked pointedly. “What happened to you?”

Bryan stared off into the distance as his mind began searching for answers.

“Because—The Insider…” he spoke softly.

“The Insider what, Bryan?” Sabrina pushed, trying to free his mind from the spell it was under. “What about him?”

“He’s the only one…” Bryan spoke the words though he looked confused as to why he said it.

“Only one what, Bryan?”

“He’s the only one able to make the sacrifices that are necessary…”

Sabrina grabbed the hair on the back of Bryan’s head and turned it toward Jason’s body on the ground below them.

“You see that man?” She asked aggressively, pointing at Jason’s body. “Does that not look like a man willing to make the ultimate sacrifice?”

Bryan continued looking at Jason as his bottom lip began to quiver. “I killed him!” he cried, dropping his face into his hands. “I killed hundreds of innocent people!”

“No,” Sabrina said firmly, trying to prevent Bryan from completely losing it before the job was done. “That was The Insider. He filled your mind with those lies—brainwashed you into believing them. He did this Bryan, not you—him!”

Bryan slowly lifted his head as though he were having an epiphany. “You’re right. I always knew it was wrong—I wanted to get away—but every time I thought about running something convinced me to stay. At the time I couldn’t figure out what that something was, but it was him. He got inside my brain and made me believe everything.”

Bryan’s sadness transformed to hatred right before her eyes. “I hate him!” he shouted, a madness burning in his eyes.

“Jason!” A male voice shouted from below. Sabrina turned to see that Harry’s systems had come back online.

“Harry, are you okay?” Sabrina called down.

Harry looked up at her, a look of horror in his face. “What happened?”

“It’s a long story,” Sabrina told him. “He saved my life.”

Harry noticed Bryan kneeling next to Sabrina. “You son of a bitch!”

“No!” Sabrina told Harry. “He was under Walter’s influence. Bryan is not a bad person.”

Bryan looked up at Sabrina, an almost amazed expression on his face as though wondering how the girl he had just tortured into watching her mentor die could possibly say he wasn’t a bad person.

“And you believe that?” Harry cried.

Sabrina put her hands on her hips. “If anyone should believe it, it should be you Harry.”

Harry dropped his head, embarrassed by the fact that he had accused Bryan of lying about being brainwashed when he was just coming out of a brainwashing of his own.

“He’s the only one who can end this, Harry,” Sabrina said in a much calmer tone. She turned to Bryan and asked him to release Harry from his restraints.

Bryan was hesitant—fearing the wrath of Major Justice—but he obeyed Sabrina’s command.

Once freed from his restraints, Harry walked over and kneeled beside the body of his best friend. “We can’t let this be for nothing,” he said softly.

Bryan took in an aggressive breath. “Trust me,” he said angrily, “I won’t.”

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