Hard to Breathe
Violet is faced with raising Jack Jack on her own, and Syndrome, the one that was locked away and should have been out of her hair forever? He wanted to talk to her. But there was a worse threat out there- the trouble was finding it.
Note: Again, sorry for the wait. I've been caught up with school and Dragon Age Origins. And Skyrim. And school.
Also, sorry for deleting the chapter then updating it again- I noticed something and had to fix it. Im sure there are plenty of other mistakes I missed, but it was one I wasn't too fond of...
Violet handed Jack Jack over to Ophelia. "Are you positive you don't mind? I could always call Rick or E to watch him." Ophelia waved her suggestion aside.
"Vi, I offered. Of course I don't mind. Now you go on and save the world again." Violet rolled her eyes. She wouldn't call it saving the world. She just had a small assignment from Rick- it wouldn't take her very long to get back to Ophelia and Jack Jack. Violet sighed and planted a kiss on her little brother's forehead.
"Well, alright. Good bye Jack Jack. Be good for Lia." Jack Jack nodded solemnly. Violet bid Lia goodbye and Ophelia shut the door behind her. She sighed and brushed her fingers through Jack Jack's hair.
"Well, what do you want to do, sport?"
"Mm, Mario Kart!" Lia laughed. "Why don't you go set it up while I make a phone call. I call Princess Peach, you hear?" He made a sound of disgust while she set him down on the ground.
"You can have her," he said, and ran into the living room. Ophelia watched him for a moment. He was a sweet kid, and was Violet's entire world. Ever since her family died she had become very protective of the kid, and Lia couldn't blame her. She didn't want to lose another family member. Lia leaned against the wall and sighed. Guilt weighed heavily on her heart, but she knew she didn't have a choice.
Lia took the phone in hand and dialed the number. Her brother picked up on the third ring. "Hello?"
"Hey. It's Lia." She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Let me talk to Dad."
"Alright, hold on."
"Hello?" Her dad was a cold man, and his voice was rough. No matter how much she loved him, he scared her to death. And she was about to hand Jack Jack to him.
"Daddy, I have him." She could feel the smirk playing across his face.
"Good. Bring him over."
It was not a search and rescue, but reconnaissance. All she had to do was infiltrate the facility, if there was one, slip past the guards and figure out if this was indeed where Dia, a Super who had gone missing, was located. Then she was to give the signal to Rick, and get the hell out of there. But as everyone knew, things rarely went as planned.
Violet was fully prepared with the knowledge she might not make it out of there alive, but she would die fighting tooth and nail to escape. Jack Jack would be well taken care of, with Ophelia, Rick, and E to look after him. She didn't want to leave him without his big sister, but it was a risk she had to take on missions like these. Besides, it was worth it. Dia was a friend from hers at the NSA. She was a good woman, with a family. It was only right that she bring her back to her family.
Vale slipped on her mask and tied her hair back. With a nod from Rick, Vale jumped out of the plane. She didn't have a chute, but she didn't need one. Violet recalled the hours of training for this moment. She angled herself down, arms at her side and legs straight- a bullet ready for landing. Vale's eyes narrowed. Her hair whipped wildly behind her, but her suit stuck to her skin. After a moment, Vale became invisible, like cool water rushing down her skin.
She didn't know what she was going to find, but she hoped that she would fine Dia quickly, so Rick could send in the troops.
When she neared the ground, Vale enveloped herself in her shield. She avoided the trees as best she could and landed on her feet and continuing with a run until she slowed down. Vale paused to take in her surroundings.
She was in the Brazilian rain forest where Dia had been sent by request of the Brazilian government. Trees filled the area, vines hanging from nearly every limb. She was glad E decided to make her a suit that covered all of her skin. The mosquitoes were killer around here. According to the local government Dia had never reported in, but Vale knew personally that it wasn't like her. Dia was a responsible super, she always reported in.
And the NSA had received her report and assignment given to her. She was supposed to take down a local guerrilla group and dismantle the rebellion's leader, and had completed the assignment. But after she had reported once again to the Brazilian government, they hadn't heard from her. 72 hours had past, and Rick wasn't willing to allow more time to slip through their fingers.
Truthfully, Vale was glad for the distraction. Six months had passed. Five visits. The information Syndrome had given them had been invaluable, and had saved millions of lives. And countless more would be saved. But that wasn't what was getting to her.
She was... attracted to Buddy. Very much so. And she liked him a lot. Too much, even. Six months ago she had hated him. But, goodness, she couldn't believe such a thing had even occurred to her. Syndrome liked her too. Or at least, she thought so. There weren't signs... but the way he would casually ask about her day, or the way his eyes lighted when she smiled... Something just told her.
Vale shook her head. Now was not the time to think about him. She had a Super to look for. Determined and focused at the task at hand, Vale didn't think on Syndrome for the next two months.
The needle sunk into her skin. Violet sobbed, not Vale, Violet, waiting for the pain to end...
Her throat was raw from screaming... Dia... you've got to hang on, Dia...
Jack Jack, please, be a good boy... please be a good boy...
Oh gods, Lia... I'm sorry. I'm losing too much blood. They like to cut me open before injecting the poison, now... I'd think you'd approve... gods I miss you...
Mommy, it... it hurts.
It was like a thick, heavy coat on her skin. Warm and soothing. Wet, but, Violet didn't mind. She drank it on her tongue. It was bitter. Sickening. Thick, but ran like water.
If only a little.
It hurts so much... so goddamn much.
make it stop make it stop make it stop make it stop MAKE IT STOP-
Syn, I'm sorry.
Syndrome drummed his fingers against the tabletop. He'd read Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon and Hannibal Rising already. It was Saturday, and he was growing bored. It was the third Saturday, and he was really growing bored.
Where is she?
It wasn't like Violet to be late. Well, Vale. Same difference. Just because she wore a mask didn't mean she was a different person. Usually she was here promptly at two. And it was three o' clock. He listened to the drumming of his fingers for a moment before he got bored of that, too.
"Any sign of her, Freddy?" Syndrome demanded. Not for the first time.
Now he was sure something was wrong. Had to be. Violet had skipped out on their meeting last month. She'd never done that. Ever. Not without calling him. Not without letting him know what was up.
He began to pace. Back and forth. Back and forth. He wished he had some sort of music. He had a lot of his usual comforts, but music wasn't one of them. Money was an invaluable tool. Not to mentioned he owned the building. Created it to. Would've escaped eons ago, but he actually wanted to get out of their normally.
Well, as normally as one could, with the deal he had made with the FBI and NSA. Either way he'd walk out of the doors a free man. Which was good. He could re-establish his business in weaponry. Most of the weapons would have to go to the U.S. Army, but he could sell to other countries too. If he did any underhanded deals he'd be thrown back into jail, however. Didn't want that to happen.
"Syndrome, we have a problem." Rick Dicker appeared before him through the bars. His eyes looked tired and heavy, like he had a lot on his mind. Syndrome's eyes narrowed.
"I'm afraid that's the problem. She was sent on a mission to Brazil two weeks ago. She reported in once she arrived, but not since. Every NSA Super is given a tracking device since your little tryst a few years ago, and when it's smashed, it sends an emergency signal."
There was a sickening feeling churning in Syndrome's stomach. He didn't like where this was leading.
"Vale's device didn't send an SOS, but an audio message. It only says one thing, your name. I warn you, it's hard-"
"Play it," Syndrome demanded. He needed to hear it with his own ears. Rick clicked play on the recorder with a sigh.
Screams filled the room. Violet's screams. And she was calling for him.
"Your orders are clear," Rick told him. Syndrome would've thought stepping out of prison after nearly four years would have been more invigorating. It wasn't, not when Violet's life was in danger. "Do whatever you can to retrieve Violet Parr. I mean it, Syndrome."
"You have my word," Syndrome said gruffly. He meant it, though.
Now Syndrome was currently inside the facility that held Violet. It'd taken two months to clear everything with the Warden and the NSA, but the President had confirmed the pardon so long as the Supers were retrieved safely. Syndrome didn't care about that. He had to find Violet.
Supers would have infiltrated through the ventilation shaft or something similar, but not him. He wasn't a Super, no matter how much he'd dreamed of it as a child. He was a villain, and as one he had connections.
Including to the facility. It was owned by General Greyath. Greyath was native to Australia, where it was said that Supers had originated. Syndrome didn't believe it for a second, but that was what was said. Grayath owned a large amount of stocks and was invested in nearly every super villain plot. If they didn't have the funding, or needed more, he was the guy to go to. But he always took what he was owed, no more, no less. He'd had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with him a time or two, though he'd always paid him back.
"A generous benefactor paid for their kidnapping," Grayath explained. "He'd needed test subjects on something, and we offered our services."
"What kind of things is this guy testing?" Syndrome asked.
Grayath shrugged. He was no doctor, but he had his fingers dipped in every pot since he was only a boy of sixteen. He was not someone to be trifled with.
But neither was Syndrome.
"Super immunities," he replied, as if it wasn't important. But Syndrome carefully filed this away in his mind. Immunity. Usually related to diseases or poisons, virus'. He wondered if there was more than one thing they were testing against, or just one.
"It is a nice facility," Syndrome said, looking around. He looked for weak points to be exploited later. There were a few. There weren't any key cards to open doors. Cameras resided in every other corner or so. Weaknesses in the patrol. How was it that Violet had gotten captured? Then again, these didn't seem like something Grayath would allow.
"Short on men?" He asked, nodding to the patrols. It'd been a good thirty minutes or so since the last group had passed by. He'd never allow even fifteen.
"The girl we captured was a tough one. Young, but tough. She took out a third of our men with the help of her super friend before they were overwhelmed." So she had almost succeeded. What had happened then? Did she grow tired? Syndrome nodded in response. Doesn't sound like her, though. Violet doesnt give up too easily.
"What do you wish of me, my friend?" Grayath finally asked. They stopped but everyone else kept moving around them. He could hear the clicking of keys and the low groans of computers that needed an upgrade. Grayath wasn't one to beat around the bush. Not usually.
"A few things," Syndrome began. "I want the Supers out of here and in my custody, for starters. And I want to know who payed for your services, and all the data you sent to him, I want delivered to me."
"You ask a lot of me." Graylath said harshly. Syndrome raised a brow.
"And I have the paycheck to go with it," He returned. Despite, or maybe due to, the fact that Violet was here, getting hurt, Syndrome's tone was clipped and all business. He wasn't the type to go barging into a place like an idiot, even if Violet was concerned. That was Mr. Incredible's area of expertise.
"No. No amount of money could possibly betray our client. Not even from you, Syndrome." There was a flash of fear in his eyes, and Syndrome understood. Well then, time to go another route.
"Good. Our mutual friend wouldn't like that."
Graylarth looked at him in disbelief. "He sent you?"
"How do you think I escaped from prison, hm?" The man nodded, agreeing with the lie. It was easy. Almost too easy. Then again, Graylath was an idiot. Still... Something was bound to show up sooner or later, Syndrome knew, but he would deal with it if the time ever arrived. He couldn't prepare for suspicions that could very well be unfounded.
"Well, I do have a business proposal- but it is late, so it will have to wait until tomorrow."
Graylath nodded. "You may stay in the residential wing. Here, I'll show you the way..."
Twenty minutes later, Syndrome was unpacking his suitcase. Inside was his gear- his gauntlets and boots, carefully hidden from metal detectors, and his suit and mask. It'd been awhile. He picked up the mask gingerly and realized that it would be the first time he would wear it to save someone- rather than destroy them.
But first, he had business to take care of. Syndrome quickly took out his laptop and pushed through the encrypted fire walls. Amateur, really. He connected to the base's network and was soon to hack into the security system. The idiot had every system connected to one mainframe. A college student could get through the mess within an hour, less if he was particularly gifted.
Syndrome set the cameras to loop he went into the mainframe and retrieved the data Graylath had refused him. What was so wonderful about the plan was the fact that his computer was so fast that they wouldn't even notice he had been in there until he was long gone.
Once the schematics for the facility had been downloaded and memorized within his brain, Syndrome withdrew and shut his computer off. Violet was still alive. The woman she came to rescue had not survived, but Violet had. Good. He didn't think he could forgive himself if she died.
He suited up and adjusted his gauntlets. It was late. He needed to go find Violet. They would be making out of the place alive.