Phase One (Part 2)

It was a few hours before either of the two Daniel had helped to stitch and bandage properly began to stir.

They were in the safe house Carmine Falcone had provided now. Daniel was sitting quietly with his father on the couch, occasionally glancing up at the two beds on the other side of the room. Neither were talking much.

Daniel was feeling unbelievably stressed by it all. Half of him wanted to go home and forget about it. The other half wanted to see this through.

Lyra blinked several times before fully waking up. She sat up and looked around. The last thing she remembered was watching Adam die or well; she thought he died. As she caught sight of Casper, all thoughts of looking for Adam vanished, she was still very much alive. She glared at Casper. "What do you want” she snapped.

Casper spoke gently. “I know it's difficult for you to see it, but I am trying to help you. How are you feeling? Better? Your friend is still unconscious. He did lose quite a bit of blood.”

She stared at him for a moment before she saw Adam thank goodness he was breathing.” Why should I trust you. How many more of us have to die in your laboratory, I don't believe for a second that your are trying to help us. How many more of us have to die before you people are happy ” she said coldly.

“Dear, I don't need you to trust me. You can judge me and my actions for yourself. I admit I've been far too inactive, passively allowing things to take their course, but no longer. I'm not going to stand idly by and let Luthor and all of his little friends continue to get their way. Unfortunately, as powerful as they all are, things aren't very simple. There's no single decision- no quick and easy solution. Right now, right here, I just want to help you two reach some semblance of a stable state. You need a foundation to stand on if you hope to accomplish anything. At the very least, I'm not going to harm you, and I'm not going to turn you over.”

Lyra glared at him. “ I don’t believe you I cannot trust you or any adult, ” she said. Tears streaked her face. She desperately wanted to trust someone she felt so alone. She did like Adam but was not totally sure she could trust him. She had quite a deal of pent up anger and rage some of which was directed at Casper for the horrible thing that had happened in the Lab.

Daniel spoke up. “Some things shouldn't be forgiven… or forgotten. But sometimes… people still deserve a chance to make things right.” It was a thought he'd been holding onto for a long while now. This was the first time it had left his mouth in its entirety.

Casper stood by quietly, letting him talk. He didn't want to be a tool to his father. He wanted no part in whatever it was exactly that Casper was trying to do. Right here, right now, he just wanted to help make this girl feel better. It was a simple longing and desire of strong empathy and compassion.

His voice was quiet. “I know you probably don't really trust anybody right now,” he said. “but… for now, just for a few minutes… try not to worry about what could happen tomorrow. I know you have no reason to believe any of us, but today, you're safe. Nobody here is going to hurt you.” He had no reason to, but it felt like a promise he had to keep. If he couldn't keep somebody in a protected environment safe for a day, what could he do? He had no other agenda. Just this one task.

“I-I can try” she said finally responding to Daniel. She had a strange feeling that the boy really did want to help. She sat back down. “What exactly is your plan. You can keep us hidden you work for him” she said.

Casper joined back in. “I've kept plenty of things hidden from him. Don't you worry about that. As for my plans, let's wait for your friend here to wake up so he can hear it too.”

Daniel approached Lyra cautiously. “Are you feeling alright? You're not still hurting or anything?”

“ I’m ok I think it takes a lot more to hurt me then most humans” she said. It was unfortunate without her parents she had no idea what she actually was. No one had ever told her all she could remember of her parents was that they loved her. She had no idea why they had wings or that they were not actually from earth. “ how do you know him” she asked.

Daniel spared a glance at the man lurking behind him. He almost felt ashamed of the answer. “He's my father… sorta,” he admitted.

Casper sat back down, giving them just a bit of room, if not privacy.

“Sorta?” she asked. Though the way she asked the question made it seem more like she did not understand the word, as a posed to asking for more information. She was definitely confused as what he meant either way.

“It's just… a little complicated,” he said. He wasn't really willing to explain it properly. It couldn't be done in only a few sentences without raising more questions. “He's basically raised me since I was like six years old.”

“Did you know? “ she asked. She was referring to the lab she wished to know if Daniel know what his dad did.

“About his job? What he does? The lab?” He sighed. It was a little awkward to talk about right in front of Casper, but it didn't really matter. “My earliest memories are all from the lab. I was there for a few years. Starting before it all happened, actually...” He was technically born there, but that was a whole different level of complicated.

“ did they treat you the same why they treated me” she asked now she was really confused. If he was from the lab how and why did he trust Casper.

It hadn't been pleasant, but “No,” he admitted sadly, his voice laden with guilt. There were many times he'd been treated as sub human, but never so blatantly non-humanely as a lab rat. “I… it wasn't great, but… Casper kept me safe… from other scientists.”

“You were lucky ” she said.

It was a well known fact to every single person who worked in that lab that Casper's personal little project was off limits. The other subjects were all considered lab rats, but not “Grey” (as his name had been then.) Grey was special; it didn't matter how or why. Grey wasn't a rat. He was Casper's pet.

She watch Daniel for a moment. “ At least you have a family I would give anything to have mine back. After Luthor killed them it did not take his men long to find me and trap me in that horrible lab. I lost my family and my freedom that day.” She said. She had been brought into the lab a frightened little kid. She had no way of knowing the hell that waited for her.

He always wanted to argue that his life was horrible, but he knew it really wasn't true. He was a spoiled, sheltered brat. At the lab, Casper kept him far away from all of the terrible things. He hid the truth about the 'others’ for quite some time. Even once he was allowed to see the outside world, it was only from high up in that tower and from behind the tv screen. He knew the world was in a bad state, but Casper had built up a wall for him to stay safe behind. He'd been so stupid to try to leave it…. Casper had even tried to expand that wall somewhat, but no… it just wasn't big enough.

He sighed sadly, letting out some of his own pathetic sorrow to make room for empathy. “I'm so sorry…” he said. He'd had a taste of it himself recently. He'd finally experienced first hand what real suffering was. He knew better than to try and compare. It wasn't a matter of who had things worse. All that mattered was that he understood at least some of it. “I'm so sorry about… about everything. I wish…” he sighed. There wasn't much to say. There wasn't anything either of them could do about it.

” it's not your fault,” she said then turned and looked at Casper. ” it's his fault.” she added. She looked back at Daniel. ” why is Luther so afraid of us it's not like we could hurt him were just kids why target us” she asked it was apparent she did not understand why they were a threat to Lex Luther.

Daniel decided not to argue with her. She wasn't entirely wrong. It was just… complicated. Like everything was. Casper kept quiet as well.

He sighed. “He's smart about some things and dumb about others. I dunno… I think he's scared of anything that has the potential to be stronger than him that isn't on his side.” The politics of it all… the more he would think about it, the more annoying it got to him. Who let this tyrant get so powerful in the first place? “He just wants to… pluck out all the little weeds before there's too many of them, I guess.”

” I guess that makes sense, but I was pretty harmless locked in his lab. Also without are parents to teach us how could we possibly rise up against him. I think he a paranoid lunatic” she said.

“Well, it's not easy, but you can figure out quite a few things on your own if you have enough time. Some of his fears are founded, but you're still right. He is absolutely a paranoid lunatic.”

Daniel spotted a small smirk from Casper at his words.

Lyra simply noted she could not think of a response at the moment. She looked over to Adam for a moment. ” where exactly are we” she asked.

Daniel let Casper answer.

“A bunker,” he said. “We're nicely hidden in the warehouse district right by the docs.” He pointed his cane at the sturdy, almost vault-like, door. “That leads out into a nice big storm drainage tunnel, then right out into the river. They used to hide all kinds of things here back when they needed to. It's one of the places that was never found.”

The bunker itself was little more than an old brick tunnel, but it was surprisingly… almost homey… in a hidden tunnel bunker kind of way. There were three beds with clean sheets, a rug, a small table and some chairs, and a couch. Somehow the place even had electricity for the lights, fridge, and microwave. The door in the back even lead to a functional and not too horrible bathroom complete with clean water and a shower.

“It's not much,” admitted Casper. “But it's well hidden. Not many places in the area are. This is what we had access to on short notice. As soon as we have better accommodations secured, then- I'm getting ahead of myself.” He stood up and went to Adam's bed. “I'd rather explain it to you both at the same time than separately.” He gently took Adam's wrist to feel his pulse.

Adam snaps up, gasping. His eyes go crazy until he realizes where he is. He groans and facepalms, “Can I stop passing out now?”

“There he is.” Casper gave him a small smile. “Well, if you take it easy for a bit, have some protein- sure, It would be reasonable that you won't pass out again for awhile. How are you feeling? Light headed, probably… any bad aches or pains coming back?”

Annoyed, “I’m fine, are we all good now? Or are we still enemies?” Adam’s had a long day and even after passing out multiple times, he just wants it to be over.

”We are on the same side for now,” Luna said there was an edge to her voice that made it clear she was not exactly comfortable with the situation. “So what is your plan?” she said looking at Casper.

“Well, put simply… I think it's about time Luthor's turn at the top came to an end. Put not so simply…” he sighed. “Sides and “good” and “evil” aside… things aren't sustainable the way they are. You see, Lex seems to forget that in order for a pyramid to stay supported and standing, you can't only keep the top of it maintained. Once the bricks on the bottom break, it's only a matter of time before the whole thing comes crumbling apart. I give it a century at most until the human population plummets. I went into medicine for a few reasons, you know, and now nobody can afford it. The human lifespan is shrinking. People are dying. Hardly anybody is stupid enough to try and raise children in the world as it is now. I admit, the world was overpopulated before, but that's hardly the priority problem when we're all in a dystopia approaching inevitable apocalyptic territory now.”

He cleared his throat, finishing up his little rant. It was like he'd been holding those thoughts in, unable to vent, for quite some time.

“We all just want to try and return the world to how it used to be, right? I'm in a unique position that I've managed to maintain. I still have some power. I'm trusted. Nobody would suspect anything of me if I just… nudged a few people in the right direction. What I want to do… is slowly and very carefully build a resistance. Luthor unwisely has made many, many enemies. Oppressing and worsening the lives of millions of people is never a good idea. People are capable of incredible things when they rise together for a common goal. The tricky part is motivating them. They need some hope.”

He stopped talking for a moment to let Adam see where he was trying to get with it all.

“And you want symbols, a fall guy.” Adam says, interested, but extremely hesitant.

” Why choose us?” Lyra asked. It was a fairly obvious question and one she definitely wanted answers to.

“Symbols, yes, fall guy, no. More of a frontman- not a scapegoat. Multiple of them eventually. I chose you two because you're the first in the last little while to stir things up in a way the public can see. You don't just want to “fight evil”, right? You want to protect the innocent. You're exactly what we need. I'm hoping to gather up others as they pop up. The focus and the fire won't all be on you. And I and my associates will be helping behind the scenes where needed, of course. Providing Intel, weapons, shelter, medical attention, and protection.”

”How do you intend to do that?” lyra asked crossing her arms. She did not believe what she was hearing.

“What the bird lady said.” Adam said, now sitting up.

“Which part are you referring to exactly? I've already pulled you away from certain capture and or death, healed you, and provided shelter- which I will be improving.”

“So… what? We work for you? Go on missions? Hell, how can you guarantee that we won’t get captured by Luthor’s men the second we go outside?”

“For now, you can do more or less whatever you want. It's up to you to decide your next course of action. I can shoot you some suggestions and aim you at things as they arise. I know you don't trust me, but I'm putting a hell of a lot of trust in you. You can accept my protection in exchange for your cooperation, or you can go back out there and hope for the best. If you did get captured, you can imagine the damage you would do to me if you ratted me out. Whether that's a good or bad thing to you, you can judge for yourself.”

He pulled two slim smart watches out of his pocket and placed them on the table. “Take them or leave them, it's your choice, but as long as you're wearing it, I can pull you out of trouble at any time. Whether you trust me or not, the truth will stay the same. You just can't see it yet.”

“It’s your call.” Adam says, now facing Lyra.

”Do you have a better idea?” she asked.

“That I don’t,” Adam now turns to Casper, “When do we start?”

Casper seemed pleased with the answer. “As soon as you're able. You really ought to rest for at least a few days. You've lost quite a bit of blood. You should take it easy as well, dear,” he said to Lyra. “Head injuries shouldn't be taken lightly.”

”What head injury? I’m fine.” she said confused. Though she had to admit to herself she was tired. She was not willing to go back to sleep she was afraid she would wake up inthe lab.

“You were hit in the head pretty hard back there, dear,” he said. “For the moment, I believe it would be best for both of you to rest. Everything you need is here, but I should have somewhere better ready in a day or two. In fact... I really ought to be getting back to work.” He frowned. “It really doesn't feel right to just abandon you two after all of this, though, does it…”

His eyes wandered to his son who'd found his way back to the couch. Much was communicated in that few seconds of eye contact, and a number of emotions conveyed subtly in a way only the other would understand.

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