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By Christopher Allen Guidry
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Christopher Allen Guidry
All right reserved.
March 12, 2008
SOMEWHERE IN ARIZONA, FOUR small cities all of a sudden lose power simultaneously. The blackout was not long, only two hours. But when the cities' power came back on, many people dwelling in the town were shocked at what they saw. During the blackout, something had slaughtered twenty-eight people and fourteen animals spanning across the four cities. Authorities searched for an answer to why it all happened at once and what kind of killer was skillful enough to commit such an act.
Elsewhere, at the headquarters of Team Avalon in Chicago, Britney Brawner was thinking of the life she had assumed in the last year. Up until almost a year ago, she had been Justine De La Rocca, had escaped the horrific island and changed her entire life to make good use of her abilities. She had moved from her home in Utah to Chicago to assume the identity Britney Brawner and her Guild of Faith codename, Amazonness.
She had taken more than a couple of classes and seminars from the specialized government task force. The first was about the origins of The Guild of Faith. Britney enjoyed the video because it taught her a lot about a lot of things she didn't know about.
Basically, the video was about the founding member and other original members. The founding member was Captain Nova, a God that came from his own world and fell in love with humanity. He helped the world until the United States Department of Defense asked him to be an agent of their government. He accepted and gave many people faith in the dark times after the war.
Nova was in love with the amount of faith that humans had. Thus, the president named the organization The Guild of Faith (TGOF). The other original members were Ace Carver, Jet Miller, and Tigress.
Nova of course was born of the sun, so his powers were varied. Ace's was wind, Jet's was super speed, and Tigress had a powerful sixth sense, super agility, and quick reflexes. The first team broke up because Jet was captured by a group of white supremacist anomalies, tortured, and killed. Ace and Jet had been best friends. They had watched each other's backs.
No one had liked Ace because he associated with the blacks. When Jet was killed, Ace left TGOF and went after the murderers. He killed most of them, but was killed by one of them eventually. He left behind two sons and a daughter. Tigress went back to her native country. Captain Nova stayed in TGOF and more incarnations were in order. This eventually led to making of more than one team.
By the eighties, there were four teams. Teams Zephyr, Genesis, Solstice, and Valiant were the final decision of the government. Captain Nova fell in love with an anomaly on one of the teams and he had children with her. When the kids were still young, the mother was killed.
Captain Nova was later faced with an even greater dilemma. Scientists were discovering that the sun was about to lose it energy, or "go out," in simpler terms. If that had happened, the world would freeze over and oxygen would fade. Nova knew that the only way to save the universe was to fly to the sun and keep it alive.
His power was endless because he was born of the sun and Death itself. He left and kept the sun powered. What a story, thought Britney. Now eight months and twenty videos later, she was fitting in to the new job. She had mastered the training room and the whole procedure and protocol thing.
In the eighties, the government had adopted a system for dealing with anomalies. It was a system that placed the anomalies into the right category so that TOGF members knew what they were dealing with before sent on the mission. There were eight different categories that anomalies could be classified under. The first was called the H Category. This category was for the harmless anomalies, the one that caused no harm to the population. One example is the forecast prediction ability.
The second was the S Category. This category was for the protective anomalies. They were the anomalies that could protect just about anything, even if it was a terrorist organization or nuclear madman. One example is an anomaly that can produce energy shields. The next category was the C Category. This category was for the anomalies whose abilities could be concealed easily. Shape shifters are a good example of this category. The first three categories were the less hostile categories. The other categories were the more hostile ones.
After that was the M Category. The anomalies in this category were the ones that had manipulative abilities. Once such example is telepathy. Next is the A Category. This category is for the aggressive anomalies that pose a small threat to the population. One example is an anomaly that can morph into an animal, especially carnivores.
The sixth category is the D Category. This category is meant for the destructive anomalies. They were the ones that were a hazard to large groups of the population at one time. One example would be a pyro kinetic anomaly. The next category was the U Category. This classification meant that the anomaly was extremely difficult to control, and posed an imminent threat to the WORLD population. Extreme caution was always taken when dealing with Category U anomalies. One example would be an anomaly with the ability of terra kinesis. The last category was known as The Zero Category. Category 0 meant that the anomaly was all the categories or worse. It was usually used to classify a God or Goddess.
White Sonar had been trying to talk to Britney a lot lately. She didn't mind that he was flirting, but the job that they had to do was important and she couldn't be distracted. Plus, she hadn't been prepared to tell the rest of the team her true identity. She had always changed before showing up to the headquarters.
They didn't know about Britney Brawner, let alone Justine De La Rocca. White Sonar and the others didn't try to hide their identities because they were comfortable around each other. Dahlia and Hank Carver lived at the headquarters and were full time members of TGOF. They didn't wear masks like her, Anna Mae, and Rick. But she hoped that she would one day be able to walk around HQ in civilian clothes.
In a shroud of mountains in northern U.S., close to the Canadian border, a smart and powerful anomaly paces his secluded lab. Dimitri Gustav, better known as Dr. Wild, thinks of what he will do with his new creation, The Decimator. He had succeeded in making the project he had originally designed for Hitler.
He had already begun creating other cybernetic organisms to have an army at his disposal. But there were many more things that had to be accomplished for him to attain a higher ranking in the world. He had only become athirst for power after escaping one of Hitler's secret labs more than fifty years ago.
The way Hitler sought to kill him, opened his mind to the fact that he was a very smart and cunning man. He could have anything he wanted as long as he asserted himself and thought every detail through. Even after recovering from the serums he injected himself with, he was still a hundred times smarter than before. Now all these years later, he knew he had to follow a path and never stray from it, so that he would be able to achieve his goal.
He was in the first leg of the process. He still thought of The Aviator on a daily basis. He wondered if the creature was even still alive, where he was, who, if anyone had taken him. But he had to move on. He had three sons now. Viktor, Boris, and Komodo were all he needed and more. Now that Tundra was on the team, everything was even better. The boys had someone their age and power level to talk to now.
The first phase of his process was to establish an assembly line that would create C.O.s, which would be the first models. Second, he was to work out the kinks. Third he would create a variety so that he had the right type of soldier for any mission. Fourth, he would create enough to establish his own city, which would be the birthplace of his empire. But he knew that he needed the right power core. He knew where it was from his travels. He wanted to retrieve the component, but he also wanted to give two of his sons a chance to retrieve it for him.
It would be his chance to see what his boys could do in the real world. He knew he would send Viktor and Komodo for the first mission. Boris had the hottest temper and it would be better if he stayed, since he was the strongest of the three. When he met with his sons and told them of this, Boris complained about being left out. Viktor and Komodo nodded and were briefed on everything about the mission. Wild hoped his sons would not fail him.
Antonio Catrolli stood on the cliff next to the entrance to Team Zephyr's HQ. He wondered if he should tell Ariana that, with the help of some friends, he had tracked down the clan that killed their mother. He had received word yesterday and had been trying to block her from reading his mind the rest of the day.
Now, it was another day and he wouldn't be able to keep a secret much longer. She always knew when something was wrong with him, even without using her telepathy. He felt it would be even worse to tell her that he had already made plans to leave The Guild of Faith to pursue the clan and get answers. He thought of his mother as he watched the waves crashing against the rocks. The sound they made was colossal, but the rhythm was euphoric. He remembered the first time she and his father had brought him and Ariana here.
Now his father was the fuel source keeping the sun alive and his mother was dead. He sighed heavily and then walked toward HQ's entrance. He stuck his hand inside the hidden rock, grabbed the analyzer, waited for the warm sensation he felt as it read his handprint, and then turned it to the left. Next to it, another rock moved aside, and another machine came out of a hole hidden under the rock. He bent down and put his eye close to the module. It scanned his eye and then with a rumble, the entry doors opened and Tony stepped into the lift and pressed the down button. He went straight to Ariana's room and found she wasn't there.
He went to the bathrooms and remembered how long it had been since he had a home of his own. Their parents died when he was only sixteen. Ariana had been fifteen. Their father was the founding member of The Guild of Faith, so they were offered a home at Zephyr HQ. Tony had graduated early and at 17, was drafted onto Team Zephyr.
He and his friend, Bryan Shaw had both graduated from the same school the same year. They both had been anomalies, and Tony had told Bryan about The Anomaly Training Center, ATC for short. Tony knew it was supposed to be a place that was designed to fully develop any and every kind of ability. He also knew that ATC was one of the hardest training camps in the whole world. No anomaly joined The Guild without braving the camp first
Almost two years later, Ariana signed on too. They had accepted the terms, mostly so they could find their mother's killer and bring them to justice. Once they had all the resources of The Guild at their fingertips, they began researching. They found out that a lot of things did not add up.
They said that all the blood had been drained from her body; all the marrow gone from her bones and her heart was frozen. The rest of her body was dry, cold, and shriveled, but not frozen. The pupils in her eyes had lost their color completely.
He and Ariana knew that only an anomaly could have done something like that. As they dug deeper, they found out about their grandparents and how they were involved with a clan of assassins. They pieced it together and found out that the clan had organizations in more than twenty countries. It was a wild goose chase, but they kept looking for information or clues.
They had learned that the reason Catrolli sounded like such a fake Italian name was because it wasn't a real name. It was the name given to the surrogate family. Tony's sources gave him enough information for him to know that he would find some, if not all, answers in Italy. There, there was a very high concentration of clan members. He knew he had to get the bottom of it.
Tony walked past his room and stopped in front of the door to his sister's room. He picked his hand up to knock and she told him to enter in his mind, before he could put his hand to the door. He opened the door and walked inside. Ariana was sitting in front of the fish tank again. She had been trying to read the thoughts of smaller animals for the last two years.
Ever since she read the mind of a dog, at an assignment, she'd been convinced that she could read the minds of all animals. "You're at it again? You seriously think you can read the mind of fish. Their brains are probably the size of a nickel." She laughed without moving her eyes, straining to concentrate.
"That dog didn't have a very big brain, but I was still able to make sense of the jumbled thoughts he was producing. Plus, I have read minds of primates, felines, canines, fowl, reptiles, and now I want to read the minds of marine animals. I'm telling you ever since I found out that I could read a foreigner's mind and translate what he's thinking without ever having spoken their language, the power of my mind grows rapidly, especially when I practice frequently. When it comes to us, the possibilities are limitless. So what is that thought I see you trying to hide away in there?" Tony sighed and sat down on the bed.
As he sat down, Ariana asked, "What's in Italy?" He looked at her and said, "I found them. I found mom's killers. Well, at least some of them. I'm leaving to-."
Ariana, like usual finished his sentence, "to Naples to get some answers, and if there's nothing there, you're going to Florence and Catania next."
Tony nodded, "yes. My source tells me that there is a lot of corruption in those cities. I figure that the lead must be somewhere in Italy. I'm leaving as soon as possible. You said you would come with me if I ever managed to track them down."
Ariana bit her lip, "But what about The Guild?"
Tony shrugged his shoulders, "what about it? They can take care of themselves. We'll just tell them to get substitutes and once we've done whatever we're going to do, we'll come back. So are you coming, because I need you on this? You can read their minds, control someone if we have to, or even see what happened in the past."
Ariana thought about it. She knew that leaving all of a sudden wasn't right. But, she also knew that whoever killed their mother was going to get what was coming to them. She said yes, and Tony jumped up in relief and told her he was going to start packing and they would leave tomorrow, only informing their coordinator as they were walking out the door.
Luther Donnelly, tall, dark, and full of radiation was in tip-top shape. Like most African-American Guilders, he kept his hair short, which proved convenient in combat assignments. He was getting more muscular by the week. He felt better every morning, waking up and knowing that the team he started was efficient in every shape and form. He hadn't thought about Team Genesis since he left it four years ago. Now he had his own team: Team Alpha.
He had taken Keith (Overdrive) and Miranda (Upgrade) from the previous team. Later, he had recruited Janet and Terrance Malveaux, better known as K.O. and Heavyweight. He had finally mastered how to keep his body from emitting radiation when he was off duty. But, he still needed his suit when he was on the field.
He wanted to make sure that he didn't hurt, or possibly kill anyone. Things had been quiet for Team Alpha. Criminals with abilities weren't as bold as they used to be. The Guild of Faith was stronger than ever.
Team Zephyr had HQ in San Diego, California. IT consisted of Captain Aristotle (Aries) Baker, Antonio (Pyrastryke) and Ariana (Andromeda) Catrolli, Bryan Shaw (Golden Dragon), and James Skyler (Silver Hornet). Team Avalon's was in Chicago, Illinois. This team consisted of Captain Dahlia, Henry Carver, Rick Mason (White Sonar), Anna Mae Davis (Meteor Queen), and Britney Brawner (Amazonness). Team Alpha was centalized in El Paso, Texas. It consisted of Captain Luther Donnelly (Gamma Man), Miranda Hastings (Upgrade), Keith Gardner (Overdrive), and Terrance (Heavyweight) and Janet (K.O.) Malveaux. Team Genesis was in Raleigh, North Carolina. Team Solstice was in Winter Haven, Florida. Florida had to be watched closely, because a lot of anomalies were born there, or moved there. Team Valiant was in New York City. The Guild had managed to divide the country into zones so that they knew who to call if a man was threatening to blow something up with his mind, or throwing things around with super strength, or something along those lines.
It felt like a long time since the cancer, the explosion, and the creation of Gamma Man. He had done a lot. But he had also done some bad in the world. Dr. Radcliff, his faithful mentor, colleague, and good friend had died five months ago from radiation poisoning. He had simply been around Luther too much.
Excerpted from Anomalies by Christopher Allen Guidry Copyright © 2012 by Christopher Allen Guidry. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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