Disclaimer: I do not own InFAMOUS. Sucker Punch does, I believe.
The air filled with the smell of ozone as Cole grinded down the wire across rooftops, before spotting his quarry. A few of the straggling Reapers had finally decided it was safe to start shooting up the place. Idiots. This was his city, he watched over it, he kept it safe, and he would die if it meant nothing would threaten these people ever again. One of the Reapers held an RPG, a bulked up red sweater/hood that Zeke affectionately called 'Fat Communists'.
He nailed the guy in the face with a lightning bolt, the electricity frying his brain and sending him down as the rocket he had loaded shot straight up into the sky. With this, the other Reapers - a dozen or so with pistols and oh God, a conduit, noticed how the 'Electric man' had found them. Any civilians around? No? Good. He didn't want them getting hit in the cross-fire. It was good that they had hidden. It'd keep them safe. Cole jumped off the wire and began to build power, residual momentum sending him flying right into the middle of the Reapers, where he landed with a devastating shockwave that electrocuted all of the shooters half to unconciousness, except one. A bullet struck Cole in the arm. For normal people, this would be a big issue and very painful, but for Cole, it was little more than a minor annoyance as the electricity in his body melted the lead and dripped it out of the hole, which had already begun to slowly close as tissue fibers reached over to each other.
The Reaper conduit had teleported out of the blast range and currently held a blue aura around it.
Crap, not that again.
That shockwave tracked him, and Cole absolutely hated it. Quickly forming a sphere of electricity in his hands, he lobbed it into the middle of the recovering Reapers and got the hell away before it detonated, catching them in arcs of binding electricity that held them imprisoned. The shockwave released, but Cole had lots of practice dealing with that power. He rolled out of the way and shot a colossal blast of spherical blue lightning into the air, and blasted the ground at the conduit's feet with a quick lightning bolt a few seconds later. Said conduit laughed - the terrible, chills down the spine laugh that only Reapers seemed to be able to produce - at the way he had 'missed', unaware of the impending danger.
The redirected 'Megawatt Hammer', as Zeke referred to it, devastated the entire eight feet around the blast, melting pavement and knocking the white-hooded reaper into the air where residual electric energy held it suspended, flailing hopelessly. Cole covered the bastard in grenades, and let them do the rest. Now for picking up the pieces. Already civilians began emerging from hiding places; a woman maybe just out of high school from behind a dumpster, an old man dressed in a jogging outfit who had jumped into a trash can. Several other laid around the area injured from bullet wounds, and it was them Cole tended to, using his electric power to vaporize the bullets and force their bodies to close the injuries. They all thanked him, took pictures, and had him sign a few autographs...
It felt good, hell, it felt great, but that wasn't why he did this. It was his duty to keep this city safe, and however cliché it sounded, with great power came great responsibility.
"Hey, I'm just doing what I can," he said to his latest patient, a boy who looked to be about fifteen, someone who would return to his friends and family today. With that, he climbed a building, and resumed gliding across the power lines to the occasional flash of a camera as someone spotted him. Not even before the blast was Empire City so crime free, so clean, so orderly and lively. People walked with their heads up, and his greatest fear, that he couldn't be everywhere at once, was perfectly understood...
He needed to learn that cloning ability Kessler had. After all, if he could do it, then being literally the same person, so could he. For a moment he was tempted to disable a transformer grid just to reactivate it for another power, but shoved the thought aside. The voltage that heated these people's homes was worth more than gaining another shiny superpower.
He slid across the bridge to the Warren; even that hell-hole was rebuilt, almost as good as the Neon before the blast. A few Dust-men wandered around, but he quickly dispatched them before they could cause more trouble, and following their trail he healed anyone they had shot. Cole continued his patrols around Empire City, since now that there wasn't the mystery of the Ray-sphere to resolve, his future self dead, all he could do was stay vigilant for The Beast, and keep the city protected. A flyer flew into his stomach as he slid to the crackle of electricity, and he pulled it off. Him, standing on a ledge holding up a lightning bolt, bathing people in blue, hopeful light. He smiled.
People are hanging up posters, got your face plastered all over 'em. Now THAT'S publicity!
Cole didn't know what to think of Zeke. Sure, he had betrayed him for Kessler, but he had come through in the end, distracted him long enough to pick himself back up. For the moment, neither of the two spoke to either one, afraid of bringing up an awkward situation.
The Electric Man continued to slide into the Historic district, which had been entirely abandoned by the First-sons. Bastards probably knew Kessler's entire plan inside out, since now that it was done and their leader dead, they had vanished off the face of the Earth. He jumped off onto a building, and settled for just standing there, looking across the sea to the Neon, watching the perpetually sunny districts rebuild. He thought of Kessler's lightning. He hadn't been particularly evil, he knew that now. When weeks ago, he had thought of frying one of those civilians to get all that food, weeks and weeks of food for themselves, the sparks coming off his hands turned blood red for just a moment. Kessler's lightning had been yellow and white. He had not done anything particularly evil; he had simply been working for the greater good through questionable means.
Or maybe that was just a result of that mechanical arm and ab machine.
A whoosh sounded behind Cole, prompting him to whirl around with lightning crackling between his fingers, but held back lest it not be an enemy.
Instead there stood a man maybe thirty years old, dressed in a calico blue shirt and faded jeans. His blonde hair was cut short, but his fingernails were painted black. Neither person said anything, before Cole broke the silence.
"How the hell did you get up here so fast?"
The man smiled, taking a few casual paces towards Cole. He shouldn't have been afraid, but he took a step back towards the ledge. Not like a fall could hurt him anyhow. "That doesn't really matter to you, Macgrath. All you need to do, is disappear." He moved his hands to his face and pulled them apart, leaving a lingering black void that faded within seconds.
"I'll give you one warning." Blue lightning began to crackle along Cole's hands and up and down his arms. "Before I fry you like a piece of bacon."
The man just smiled, and punched the ground with a hand filled with black mist. Cole instantly blasted him with lightning, but the man zipped to the side with speed that would make Kessler jealous, leaving a black ripple in his wake.
Damn it, why can practically every conduit EXCEPT me teleport?
He looked down at his feet at the solid black rope that had formed around his feet, pinning him to the ground. A few zaps of electricity destroyed them, but by then it was too late.
The conduit held out a hand, creating a monstrous black void the size of a car, pulling in the air with a horrible growl, pulling in Cole. He tried to fire electricity out of his hands to fly out of the way, but it wasn't enough. He fell inside the black hole.
Cole woke up in the same place, but everything was wrong. There was no man, no black hole. The ground was bathed in red light, and looking up, Cole saw that the reason was that the sky was overcast with rumbling clouds the color of blood.
"What the hell?" He looked over at the city. Buildings on the verge of collapse, dead and dying people littering the streets, not a single car moving. What the hell had happened?
Cole jumped off the building, landing with a dust-creating thud at the bottom next to a woman with a veiled face. She backed up, falling over herself. "Oh God, oh God, it's him, it's, it's, AH!" She ran screaming off into the distance.
Her reaction baffled him. Why would she be so afraid of him? Maybe she was a former Reaper he had fought? Sasha had turned women into Reapers, not caring for gender, but how could the effect possibly be reversed? He needed answers, and he wouldn't get them by standing there with his mouth open to catch flies. One of them came dangerously close.
Walking through the Historic District, he was greeted with the same response wherever he went. People ran away from him, screaming things like 'It's Macgrath, run!' or 'Run, he's going to kill us!', and even the occasional attack via rock coupled with 'We have to stand up to him!'. What had he done to make them fear him so much? Last he checked, the people here loved him. Gliding across the wire to the Warren, everyone gave him the same response, and whenever he tried to ask someone what was wrong, they bolted at inhuman speeds, and he was fairly certain they weren't conduits. Finally, walking into the Neon, he snapped. Normally he would have never done this, but these people were pushing his patience. He had given up on the theory that this was a dream created by the conduit, since it was too sharp and detailed, and his next best guess was that he was in Hell.
He grabbed a random pedestrian off the street; a twenty year old woman who looked around like she could be shot at any moment, and pinned her to a wall in an alley ignoring her screams of 'please don't kill me' and 'Oh God, this is the end'. "Why is everyone so afraid of me? WELL?"
She stuttered incomprehensibly, tears flowing down her face. He let her go. God, what had he just done? He had interrogated an innocent woman who's biggest crime was probably getting a ticket for going six miles above the speed limit. A man ran into the alley after the woman had bolted. "Quick, run! Macgrath's on the move, he's coming from the park, he's - " The man saw his face and ran, screaming, "Oh God!"
Wait a second. The park? He hadn't been in the park the moment he got to this strange Empire City. Finding a discarded sweater, he pulled the hood over his face so nobody would recognize him and scream bloody murder. Cole walked out into the streets, determined to get to the bottom of this. He didn't have to go as far as he thought he would. Walking down the streets, people fleeing from him like they were fleeing the plague, was a man in a faded jogging outfit, skin gray and clammy with black streams at the base of his neck, black arcs crackling around his arm as he loosely walked down, the only person in the entire street with a raised head and confident expression, but his expression was one of crazed, malevolent confidence. A bolt of black power flew out and struck a random civilian in the chest, causing them to fall down to their knees, and another blast finished them. The familiar smell of ozone reached Cole, but he hadn't been releasing any electricity at all. The man continued walking, and Cole could only stare at that face - his face - as it came closer.
The other Cole turned towards him and zapped him in the chest with an arc of black lightning for seemingly no reason other than the fact that he was there. Cole knew what it felt like to be electrified; between Kessler's bolts and him sticking his fingers into an outlet as a kid, he knew the vibration feeling, the sensation as your muscles constricted. But on top of that, he felt the taste of blood from this bolt, like the electricity was made of blood stolen from innocents. When he did not fall down, the twisted Cole's eyebrows raised, but before he could fire another bolt Cole took off his hood.
"What the hell?" Both said at once.
Cole continued. "Who the hell are you?"
"How the hell could you not know me? I'm Cole Macgrath! I own this city. Everyone here bows to me. Have you been living under a rock? Who are you? One of those Reaper conduits disguised as me?"
"No, I'm Cole Macgrath. What the hell is wrong with this city? All I remember is standing on a rooftop, some conduit pulling me into a black hole, and then - " Suddenly it all made sense. He wasn't in Hell, he wasn't in a dream. He was in a parallel universe, where he was a villain. That was why everyone ran from him in fear. He had the power to rebuild Empire city, why couldn't he, if he wanted, have also brought it to its knees? Turned it into a hell-hole. "Oh you gotta be kidding me!"
"Wait wait, you got pulled into a black hole? That means you're..."
He finished the thought. "Your alternate self. Let me ask you this, then. What. The. Hell. How could you have done all this?" Cole spread his arms to the sky, to the ruins of the Neon, even worse than right after the blast. "These people need help, and you're running around zapping anyone that moves? Kessler gave me, gave you if I'm right, these powers to protect people, and you're, and you're..." Cole's blood pressure began rising.
"Using them for all that they are good for. These powers are only good for one thing. For letting me take what I want, when I want. I am the strongest person in this city. Nobody can challenge me and get away with it."
Fire began to burn in his chest. "How could you do this? We're the same person, and I'd never imagine doing that. You are going to get this world to end because of The Beast. What about when everyone's dead? What then?"
He chuckled. "Look, I'm not afraid of some Beast. It ain't stronger than me at first. Kessler's memories showed me that. I'll fight it right away, crush it while it's young so it doesn't crush me, problem fucking solved."
"Then I come back here, to my city. I rule this place. These people..." He electrocuted a civilian watching the exchange from a distance. "Are mine EVERYTHING here is mine. I'll continue to rule this place."
No. This was all wrong. A parallel universe where he was evil. But this was still Empire City, and he had sworn to protect that city from all threats. Even himself...
"I can't let you do that." Lightning began to crackle across his arms even as black electricity began to arc across Evil-Cole.
"Well then, let's see if being a goody two-shoes is worth it." But Cole had raised a shield of electricity in front of him, absorbing the dark bolt of lightning and retaliated with his own. It was a little disconcerting to see himself being electrified, but he pushed past it and continued to unload zaps, keeping his evil self from retaliating. Sadly, eventually he got control of his muscles enough to raise a shield to block the bolts, and then punched the air. A red whirlpool exploded from his fists, overtaking Cole and knocking him back, with that taste of blood in his mouth that meant he had been caught by the black lightning. He looked up just in time to see a huge black shifting mass rocket at him, the concussive blast knocking him into the air. He felt something on him, six balls of voltage stuck to his clothes, and before he could shove them off they exploded, knocking him further into the air. Luckily, he caught a ledge protruding from a building and raised his shield beneath his feet to counter another lightning bolt.
But it wasn't a lightning bolt he got, it was another Megawatt hammer, and the force made his shield shudder. This worried Cole. Nothing had ever so much as perturbed the shield, not bullets, RPGs, not even Kessler's own lightning bolts. The evil Cole began to climb another building, blasting him with lightning bolts at such a pace he didn't dare lower the shield.
He was going for the high ground. Like hell. Lowering his shield and ducking below another bolt, Cole surged power through his brain, feeling the familiar sensation of time slowing down and his senses attuning. Before his counterpart could fire another bolt, he shocked him in the head causing him to lose his grip and fall to the ground, but apparently, just like himself, his evil counterpart was invulnerable to pavement smacking him in the back.
He threw several grenades down at his counterpart, who recovered fast and tried to roll away, but not before one detonated, the blast forcing him to his knees and giving Cole the opening to stick a grenade on his chest and then jump down, gathering power to end this quick. He looked down at the grenade, then up at the descending man filled to the brim with blue lightning. "Oh sh - "
The grenade, combined with the splash of his drop, send Cole's sinister counterpart flying, coughing up blood. It didn't matter who you are, a grenade exploding on your chest hurt. Just as he was about to finish it, the evil Cole stood up, betraying his injured condition and singed clothing, and held up a hand. A stream of black lightning sailed past Cole, but another part of it arced off the main branch into him, constricting his muscles and seemingly filling his mouth with blood.
Come on Cole, move. Shield. Shield!
After what felt like hours, the agonizing assault ended, the pale Cole standing up and running. Power. He must be drained dry, Cole thought, forcing the pain into the back of his minds and following his quarry, jumping over a car, and finding the Cole who had stopped in front of a lamp post and began siphoning unnatural black and red power out of it, no doubt for a repeat of the lightning stream.
"I don't think so!" he yelled, firing a shockwave at his counterpart, only for it to be blocked by a shield, and to be knocked back by a similar shockwave into the car. He smelled smoke, and turned around to see the car flickering with black lightning.
Red flames filled his vision and a force like a battering ram crashed into his chest, sending him back and forcing him to his stomach. Raising his head to look at the evil Cole, he saw him throwing grenade after grenade from alternating hands at a building, black orbs hitting the structure to bounce toward him and -
Crap, they split!He tried to jump away from the cluster of twenty eight or so grenades surrounding him, but one by one they blew up, knocking Cole into another blast behind him, and all he could do was move over one and pray to whatever god watched over this place that it was not about to explode, and meanwhile the alternate Cole finished filling his vast reserves of power.
He heard the other Cole step over to him, battered and bruised from the concussive blasts, spitting out blood that seemed to fill his body but didn't exist. He drew his hand back, no doubt for another shockwave that would pummel him into the ground.
Quick as a viper Cole whipped his feet under the other one, knocking him to his feet, giving him the time to stand up and use his ultimate, well, penultimate attack. He fired several dozen spheres of blue lightning into the air, and with the last of his power shocked the ground near his now standing counterpart, who smirked at the miss.
"Oh come on, you missed?" He looked up at the approaching Megawatt hammers. "Why can't anything be simple?" He tried to jump out of the way, but he was too close. While he was busy being barraged by the hammers, Cole grabbed a wire exposed during the grenade volley and sucked it dry faster than he had ever drained anything before, healing his injuries. This was himself, but they clearly had different mindsets. Looking up, he saw that his counterpart had floated above the train rails, and quickly climbed up to wait for him.
He found the other Cole instead waiting with a shockwave, which sent him into the tracks, with the evil Cole pursuing, both gliding across the tracks. Luckily in the time it took for his sinister self to jump onto the rails Cole began unloading dozens of electric rockets at him, each one blocked by a shield but nonetheless distracting him, and with the rail, he had limitless power. They continued on like that for a while, one launching a torrential rain of blue rockets while the other held them off with a black-ringed shield.
Until he saw his counterpart smirk under the glow of the explosions.
Why would he be smiling? Unless... oh no.
Detaching from the rails he leaped to the other tracks, as did his counterpart, as the train flew by, barely clipping the malevolent electric man, causing him to loose his balance. Taking this advantage, Cole fired a shockwave at him, causing him to float over the train and fall down onto it just as Cole also grabbed a hold of the train, pulling himself up.
His counter part ran at him, jagged daggers of crackling black electricity protruding from his fists. Cole pushed out his hands, but his counterpart rolled out of the shockwave's path and continued barreling at him. He sliced down with the lightning blades, but Cole dodged to the side, and when he tried to slice down again, Cole blocked it with his own blue 'Gigawatt blade' as Zeke called the power, sending black and blue sparks skittering across the train's metal surface. He kicked his counterpart in the chest, sending him back as arcs of blue lightning briefly flickered across him. Now it was his turn. Running at him, he intended to stab down into his chest, electrocuting his heart, but his evil self brought his blade up from his chest to his head, deflecting the strike and standing.
The two began to duel, one slicing only to have the other jump back and kick them when they came to attack again, one stabbing in for the other to grab the blade in a hold via both of their own, one gaining momentum and losing it to the other just as fast, and when they began to tire they shoved their opponent away and drained power from a passing electric box.
He's just as good as me. I need to try something different. Sadly, it looked like the other Cole had the same thoughts as both their blades faded as the wind continued to whip at them through the train's momentum, uncaring of the duel taking place above. Both ran at the other, fist pulled back, but it was the sinister, pale version of himself that managed to get the shockwave through first, sending him flying to the front of the train, almost falling down. His counterpart was on him almost immediately, and he barely had time to stand, and grabbing his hand at the wrist was a shear miracle. Both Coles found themselves in a grapple similar to the one Kessler had tried, and both were determined to win, faces set in scowls.
Cole's counterpart, however, began winning, being stronger physically. Of course. He probably punched a lot of civilians, of course he'd be stronger. He could only watch as that hand laden in black lightning slowly closed in on his face, forcing him to shrink back to the drop in front of the train mere inches away. Thinking fast, he stopped pushing with his other hand, the sudden loss of resistance causing his counterpart to fall forward right into his knee, breaking his nose. Getting distance, Cole shockwaved the evil Cole back, causing him to float in the air as he siphoned electricity out of a passing telephone pole while Cole repeatedly unleashed lightning bolt after lightning bolt on him, only to soon find himself blocked by a shield of electricity.
Quickly firing a rocket of blue electricity above his counterpart's head, he continued shocking the shield once it had passed. The megawatt hammer, sensing the electromagnetic disturbance, redirected itself to the target; the shield. But in between those two was a very pale electric man which the megawatt hammer did not care for, and so plowed into mindlessly trying to get to the shield. The evil Cole once again found himself suspended, but before he could raise a shield Cole had rolled next to him and shockwaved him off the train tracks onto a building, jumping off the train in pursuit, sending electricity out of his hands to slow his fall into a hover, both conduits landing on the roof of a building next to the bridge to the Warren at almost the same time.
Before he could do anything more, the evil Cole looked up and fired a blast of black lightning into his good counterpart's head, making Cole seize up and drop to the ground as a force like a, well, lightning bolt seemed to strike him down from above as electricity exploded from him. When his vision cleared, he saw his evil counterpart sliding across the wire to the Warren, making a break for it.
"Yeah, run you bastard." Forcing his sore muscles to run, he soon found himself also sliding on the power line, feeling completely renewed as electricity surged through his body. Sending out a pulse of electricity, he soon regained his counterpart's trail, and began climbing across the near-collapsed buildings of the Warren to get to him, using his static thrusters when the gap was too much and taking advantage of every power rail he could find.
I know these rails better then he does, I bet. He can just walk around without a care, he doesn't NEED to patrol. Soon enough, he found his counterpart leaping towards the wire that was strung across to the Historic district, only to see a surge of red light ripple from his head. He looked back at Cole, and put on extra speed, leading him on a chase as he continued to glide across wires, and Cole couldn't zap him because he was putting all his effort into running, since every now and then his counterpart would deliver a blink-and-you'll-miss-it bolt to his head, delaying him while he recovered from the electric explosion that rocked his body and the lightning that fried his brain, trying to get that horrible taste of blood out of his mouth.
He finally caught a break when he saw his evil self jumping across a building halfway into the Historic district and blasted him in mid air with a lightning bolt, causing him to miss the ledge and fall to the ground, where he continued to run like hell.
He kept to the high ground, looking as his counterpart bolted, people clearing a path before him, not wanting to feel his wrath even though he had other concerns at the moment. The chase continued until Cole dropped down in front of Evil-Cole, the electric shockwave sending him flying back, but before he could capitalize another continuous stream of lightning flowed into him, and as civilians gathered to held him by throwing rocks, it arced into them too.
The civilians exploded, concussive blasts knocking Cole about and the black lightning seizing up his muscles. He looked up just in time to see his sinister counterpart raising his hands to the sky, black lightning flowing across them. He knew what he was about to do, and raised his electric shield to the sky just in time to deflect a massive storm of thick black lightning called down from the blood red sky. Never before had he had to endure such a torrent of power, never had his shield been put to the test, and slowly it shivered, and began to contract back into his hand, and then he would endure the full brunt of the tar-melting electrical storm.
But then it cut off, his alternate self kneeling down in exhaustion, just like Kessler had after a volley of lightning bolts. Wasting no time, Cole decided to attack in kind. Raising his arms to the sky, he imagined the thick, heavy clouds obeying him, their electric charges gathering to one spot at his command, and dropped his arms, calling down a storm of lightning onto his pale self, who screamed in pain and flattened out on the ground as continuous volts of electricity pummeled him, and as Cole began to feel his reserves draining, he drew upon that which made him who he is, praying that his good karma wouldn't abandon him this time, and felt the familiar surge of power through his cells, and by the time he was truly drained he had been sustaining the storm for a good minute.
He relaxed his stance, taking in the devastation. People were crowded around, looking in between him and the other Cole, baffled by there being two Cole Macgraths, and wondering no doubt if they should just kill themselves right then. A rang of melted, sizzling tar surrounded his evil counterpart for a good three feet, the road utterly annihilated and pipes that had been breached welded shut just as fast. His counterpart was on his back on an island of solid road, eyes closed and half dead, groaning. Draining whatever residual power he could from the scene of destruction, Cole waded in, ignoring the pain of the burning tar, kneeled over his evil self, put his hand on his face, and fed all his remaining power into his brain, and felt Evil-Cole's breathing stop.
"Good riddance," he said through dry lips, staggering back out of the scene. Before he could go more than five steps out of the molten tar, people stepping back and wondering what had just happened, he collapsed, unconscious.
Cole didn't particularly want to go back to his old world. These people needed him so much more, after what his counterpart had done. Getting their trust was slow going, but he would wait. The overcast skies had cleared, the red clouds disintegrated. Whatever else you could say about evil Cole, he had done a good job wiping out the Reapers and Dust Men; in the months he had spent here, Cole had not seen a single one of either. Perhaps the conduit that sent him here knew these people needed him? Or was that the Beast, and had tried to remove his greatest threat, and was dead here due to evil Cole's massacring of unsuspecting people? It didn't matter. If against the odds that wasn't the Beast, and instead just a conduit that hated him, he would still be vigilant. Slowly, Empire City pulled itself up. Zeke was surprised to see how Cole was different, but didn't question anything, and Cole didn't have the heart to tell him the Cole he had known was dead by his hand.
No, Cole didn't want to go back to his old world, because they didn't need him anymore. The police were back in charge, while the ones here were all but extinct. He would go wherever he was needed, and while the Zeke from his old world would be surprised at his disappearance, he'd get over it. Cole's duty was to go wherever he was needed, and there wasn't a place in the world that needed him more than this Empire City devastated by his own powers.
Review, let me know what you think.