“I wouldn’t disagree with that idea,” says Janelle after a moment.
“I must deal with the Abby,” says Narszara before hanging up.
I’m silent as I check the stock. I didn’t really need to check the stock. Granddad always kept it ready to fight a prolonged war against a foe with superior numbers and firepower.
“First time we weren’t ready and the second time there wasn’t enough,” I remember him telling me, “The next time, I want to be ready for anything.”
“I’ll make her the offer,” I say to Janelle once I finished glancing over the numbers on the screen.
It is a few minutes before Alex and Fiona return, chatting away with each other.
“Got the measurements?” I ask Alex.
“Yup,” says Alex as she leans against the wall.
“Hey Fiona,” I say slowly, “You know you said you didn’t have any superpowers.”
“I did,” replies Fiona, giving me a strange look.
“Want some?” I continue.
She stares at me for a moment before blinking in surprise. Alex just looks at me intently.
“I got this device called the Awakener, a modified version of a device sharing the same name that the old League captured from a villain in the late seventies,” I tell Fiona, “None outside the League and its trusted and closest allies know about it. It can give someone superpowers, but it’s random. If a family member has powers, yours will probably be the same, but that’s the only way to try and predict what powers someone will get.I can use it on you, but I should warn you it’s painful. It’s also guaranteed not to give you hideous mutations like majority of the other methods.”
“Sure,” replies Fiona, “Especially with no mutations.”
“Well, your eyes could change colour,” I admit, “That’s happened a couple of times.”
“I can deal with eyes changing colour easily,” says Fiona dismissively, “So where is this Awakener?”
“Deeper down in the base,” I answer, “Only a few levels down. Follow me.”
I lead Alex and Fiona further down into the base. The base is really deep. The first level contains the most used areas such as lab, the main room and the kitchen while the next two down are purely residential areas. It is in those couple of levels that the Rileys, Narszara and Alex live. The next three contain more important stuff such as the archive, the Awakeners and the training room. The remaining fifty levels are mixture of storerooms, residential areas and areas need to make the base self-sustaining.
A total of fifty six different levels and the ability to house and internally sustain a population of almost a million.
It wasn’t always so large. Grandpa expanded the base twice, each time after one of the Invasions.
“The first time I we weren’t ready,” I can remember him telling us, “The second time, there wasn’t enough. The next time, I want to be ready and to have enough.”
“So have you used the Awakener before?” inquires Fiona.
“Only four times,” I answer, “Three tests on animals.”
“What happened?” asks Alex.
“At the moment that is a phasing cat, a flying terrier and a bulldog with laser eyebeams all living in Albion Defender’s HQ right now,” I reply, “The bulldog has red eyes by the way.”
“And fourth?” probes Fiona.
“Storm Knight,” I reply, “A member of the League of Heroes.”
“What powers does Storm Knight have?” inquires Fiona.
“He has electro-kinesis, sonic-kinesis and low level gravity manipulation in the form of flight,” I say, “His blue eyes turned grey after he went through the Awakener by the way.”
“Really?” says Alex, “Storm Knight believes he has storm powers.”
“Seriously?” I reply, “He thinks that?”
But that does open up new possibilities. Such as Stefan’s true limitations. His current limitations might not be his actually limits to his powers he hasn’t been attempting to use his powers to their fullest extent.
“That opens up new possibilities,” I mutter before realising where we are, “We’re here. Just through this door.”
The Awakener 3.0 is the middle of the room.
“There is the Awakener,” I tell Fiona, “If you would please sit down in it, I will plug you in.
“Sure,” answers Fiona, “So no mutations?”
“That hasn’t been any known mutations caused by the Awakener other than eyes and hair changing colour,” I reassure her, “But it will be painful.”
“How many people have actually been through an Awakener?” asks Fiona as she sits down.
“About a couple thousand,” I answer before explaining in greater detail, “A Bulgarian arch-supervillain called Black Storm invaded in late sixties. He used the original Awakener to give his soldiers and followers limited superpowers. He and his army were dangerous enough to wage a decade long guerrilla war.”
“That must have been nasty,” says Fiona, “How many supers is that compared to normal?”
“A lot,” I say, “There’s only a few hundred supers in Britain today and less than fifty active heroes. Back then, there were only about a dozen heroes and about three times as many supers.”
I step back as I finish connecting Fiona to the Awakener.
“I’m going to activate it now,” I tell her, “It’ll only take roughly a minute, but will be painful.”
“I can take pain you can dish out,” claims Fiona as I stand behind the control panel.