Chapter 8: The Hybrid
"This is the place,"
Carl stopped the car as Alex pointed to a small wooden cabin.
"This is where he said he would meet us," he said.
"...This guy has a lot of explaining to," said Nate.
"Agreed...he's sent us all over the country to gather us up for some kind of plan so he better have a good reason for all of us to be involved in this," said Carl.
"I have all the reason I need...Baneford needs to answer for the genocide of my kind," she snapped.
I hadn't heard Fabiana sound so angry before; was her fuse finally reaching the breaking point?
"Are you okay?" asked Alex.
She looked away and folded her arms before closing her eyes.
"I just want justice...no matter how severe it is," she replied.
Alex looked sympathetically towards her and got out of the car before taking out his phone. It was a few seconds before he finally gestured for us all to come out and head inside the shack. Once we got inside, he directed us to a living room where all of us made ourselves comfortable while he went to fetch our mystery man. I sighed deeply, my nerves now going haywire because I was able to smell the pheromones from Fabiana due to her boiling anger triggering her ability to produce and manipulate heat. It was nearly irresistible but I knew that if I didn't remain in control, I could become a grave danger to everyone in the room and then we would never be able to get justice and closure.
Nate for some reason was looking right at me, almost as if he could sense my discomfort. He gestured me to come over to him and I did after a few hesitant seconds.
"Are you alright?" he asked.
"...Fabiana's anger is causing her to unconsciously heat up the air around us...and Eagles are maddeningly appetizing to smell..." I explained.
He offered me a small syringe.
"I made some more of that drug that Carl made for you and I added something to it to prolong the effect," he said.
"So I'm a drug addict now?" I said rolling my eyes.
"Do you want to be able to sit quietly and not risk ripping someone's face off?" he asked.
I sighed deeply and allowed him to inject the drug into my arm. Within seconds, my sense of smell deadened and suddenly, it was a lot more bearable even though I could tell that Fabiana was still brimming with heat.
"Better?" he asked.
"Yes...thank you," I replied.
"My pleasure," he said.
He smiled at me as I went back to my seat. Doan then looked around and sighed.
"I have no idea why the hell I decided to leave...but I guess any chance at avenging my parents was just the push I needed to finally stop hiding," she said.
"Even though you forced me to go get you a soda...I do agree that we all have a good reason to be here," replied Carl.
Doan laughed softly.
"I'm sorry for doing that," she said.
"No you aren't," he replied.
"Well, at least I tried to be polite,"
"It's never been your strong suit,"
I turned around to see that Alex had returned and a man followed him in. He was wearing a black hoodie with a mask over his face. He had golden eyes and judging from the way his body looked through the jacket, he was pretty well built. He was also the tallest person in the room, standing at least six feet tall. Finally, he was wearing black gloves for some strange reason.
"I thank you all for coming here," he said.
"Enough with the formalities...now start talking," snapped Nate.
The man shook his head and looked at Nate.
"Someone's not very polite," he said.
"Start explaining yourself or that swashbuckler is going through your neck," growled Nate.
The man shook his head.
"So much anger...never known you Hawks to be a hateful species but I do owe you all an explanation,"
He sat down and lowered his hood and mask.
"Allow me to introduce myself,"
He tipped his head respectfully.
"My name is Oliver Walsh," he said.
I noticed Fabiana raise her eyebrow.
"Walsh...as in Edward Walsh?" she asked.
He nodded in response.
"He was my father," he replied.
Fabiana shook her head.
"Your father must've been one of the first killed in the invasion; he was a big name in SkyTech," she said.
"He indeed was one of the first...but I'll explain more about myself later because there are a lot more important things to discuss I'm sure," he said.
Carl cleared his throat.
"Start by telling us why the hell we should trust you," he snapped.
Oliver looked at Fabiana for a moment and closed his eyes and once he reopened them, I nearly gasped as I saw two differing eye colors, one green and one amber.
"I have more of a reason to hate Baneford than all of you...because he took my life away and crushed anything that I might've had if I escaped him," he said.
Nate looked almost disgusted but Fabiana looked sympathetic.
"What happened to you?" she asked.
"I'm the result of an experiment...the first attempt at an Eagle-Hawk Hybrid," he said.
I shook my head.
"That's not possible; the Raptor gene variations will automatically negate the foreign one so you should still be an Eagle," I said.
"The Purity is relentless in their pursuit to dominate the planet...and they used my body for years of experiments until I finally managed to escape them," he explained.
"So does that mean that you can assimilate as well has have our senses?" asked Fabiana.
He shook his head.
"I have all of the characteristics of an Eagle except that one of my eyes turn to a Hawk's," he said.
"...Was their experiment successful?" asked Nate.
"I'm supposed to be dead right now; that kind of gene splicing should've killed me but I somehow survived it which brings me to why we're here right now,"
He looked at each of us for a moment.
"I believe that we can wipe out The Purity and bring the Eagles back; the balance of nature has been disrupted with their extinction and we can make it right if we work together," he said.
Fabiana closed her eyes and looked away.
"So two Eagles, three Hawks, a Vulture and a hybrid is supposed to be enough to stop him?" she said.
"We have more help coming...you are all aware of who Kit Matthews is?" asked Oliver.
Everyone for the most part nodded but I wasn't exactly sure of who he was. Oliver seemed to sense my lack of knowledge and cleared his throat.
"Kit's parents are the ones who founded SkyTech with their daughter Cassandra and Arthur's best friend, Miles Baneford," he explained.
"Wait...Miles was Arthur's best friend?" asked Carl.
"He was jealous of Arthur because of all of the breakthroughs he made in research as an Eagle while he, with 70% access to his brain couldn't even accomplish half of it...he grew mad with jealousy and decided that he would seize control of it all himself," he replied.
Nate clenched his fists.
"So...my brother is dead because of some jealous lunatic?" he growled.
"Miles's motives didn't just extend to SkyTech; over time he grew to hate Eagles because he could never fully understand them and that is what Miles hates most...the inability to understand something,"
Oliver rose to his feet and folded his arms.
"That was the reason why he attacked the Americas...that was the reason why he wiped out most of the Eagles and also the reason why he took some of us to be used as guinea pigs in the quest to make himself the most powerful being on the planet,"
"To what end?" asked Doan.
Oliver shook his head.
"He doesn't believe that the world has any room for emotions and acting on passions...everything should be governed by logic and order which is all the more reason for us to stop him in his tracks," he said.
"Stopping some guy who believes his race to be the most pure and trying to speak for them all? I'm down for this," said Carl.
Fabiana faced Oliver and nodded.
"I'm not interested in a world ruled by some asshole who believes his people above everyone else; count me in too," she said.
"He killed my family and experimented on me as well...though he didn't get as far as turning me into a hybrid, you bet your ass I'm going to prevent this from ever happening to other children," said Nate.
Alex stepped forward.
"I have my own reasons for being involved but I too don't wish to see the world become robotic in nature," he said.
"Same here; the world would be dreadfully depressing if it operated on logic alone and besides, where's the fun in order?" said Doan.
Everyone looked to me and I nodded.
"He doesn't seem to realize that all of us play a role in the balance of nature and messing up that balance is going to have consequences...I'm in," I said firmly.
"Then our first task is to find Alex's stepsister who is in a town nearby," he said.
"How can you tell?" asked Nate.
"I developed the ability to sense superhumans and I can pinpoint exactly where she is...it's the way I was able to tell when all of you were going to arrive to the house a few days ago," he said.
"And what we were going to do?" asked Doan.
"No, that was just me taking a wild guess," he said.
She rolled her eyes but Celina immediately interjected.
"Even if we find her...how are we supposed to stop The Purity when we're so few in number?" she asked.
"By igniting the flames of rebellion," replied Oliver.
He looked at his watch.
"Kit will likely arrive back in Ontario in a few hours and he will have others who will answer the call so it's up to us to be prepared," he said.
"What makes Kit so special?" I asked.
Oliver's eyes narrowed.
"Kit's gifts are unlike anything I've ever seen in an individual before; his healing factor completely dominates anything else I've ever heard of and his mastery over psychokinesis only grows more impressive as the days go by...I also read something in the Hawk's archives about him...something contained within Arthur's research that could explain exactly why Miles wants Kit so badly," he explained.
"So he's powerful?" asked Brandon.
"He's more powerful than any of us...he is not someone I'd want to face in the Predatory State," he replied.
"I'd like to see him try and take me on," he said.
"You can take that up with him when he gets here though I expect that he won't take kindly to Hawks and Vultures...so be prepared for the worst when he does in fact arrive,"
Oliver started to walk out the door but Alex immediately stopped him.
"You promised to show them your gifts as a show of good faith...and to prove that you really are an Eagle," he said.
Oliver turned around and nodded.
"Doan, come here for a moment," he said.
She approached him and he held out a hand.
"Put your hand in mine and then try to compel me to do something," he instructed.
She did as he asked. Her eyes became green.
"Could you be a dear and get me some water?" she asked.
Much to everyone's surprise, Oliver didn't even so much as flinch despite looking her in the eyes. She looked at him in confusion.
"My gift allows me to temporarily sever the link between the Raptor gene and the body, which renders the person unable to use their gifts though they will still have their strength, speed, senses and flight," he explained.
"Does it only work if you're touching the person?" asked Celina.
He looked at Carl's sword for a moment. His eyes then shifted to amber and green.
"Hold your sword and try and use your aquamancy," said Oliver.
The Hawk did as he asked and just as Oliver said, he was completely unable to manipulate any source of water.
"Incredible...how long does it last?" asked Alex.
"I can only seal someone off for a few minutes at a time but I've overcome that weakness by infusing the energy into the bullets I fire with my pistol,"
He revealed one side of his jacket and pulled out a classic European marksman pistol. It was decorated generously with gold and jewels with a wooden handle finish and judging from the look of it, it was as good as new.
"Isn't it a little impractical to use a gun that takes so long to reload?" asked Carl.
"When you have superhuman speed and reflexes, do you really think that reload times are an issue?" replied Oliver.
The Hawk shrugged and conceded the point as Oliver replaced his weapon and turned to the door.
"I suggest we get moving; Iris is on the move and it won't be long before she gets out of my sensing range," he said
Before anyone could ask another question, he flew off. Everyone soon followed suit.