Psirene walked into the conference room where the rest of
The Nameless had gathered. Casually, she tossed the unwrapped gift
into the table’s center and slid into her seat. The sparkling metallic
red paper covering the box glittered in the pale light shining overhead.
Those sitting around the table looked at it apprehensively.
the fourth one this week. Who brought it?” asked Nightbringer, his
features dominated by the shadows.
“Yankee Pryde brought it. He said
one of his neighbors brought it to him. Then he said that he couldn’t
look into it himself since he was part of the task force selected
by Statesman to go to Siren’s Call.” Psirene rolled her eyes in disgust.
“Name-dropping bastard.” she muttered.
“Personal feelings aside, he
still brought another one of these things to us.” Madam Medusa reminded.
She was often the voice of reason within the group, and made sure
that everyone stayed focussed during missions and meetings. “Any clue
as to what this one does?”
“Unfawtionately, Gamestuh said nuthin’
bout nuthin’ in that radio address of his.” slurred LiveWire, who
looked out of character bouncing his son on his knee. He and WhiteDiamond
had just returned from an extended stay in southern Mississippi and
New Orleans, where both heroes were from. Being back in his native
Diamondhead for two months had completely revived his thick Southern
accent, and even his wife had a more pronounced drawl. “Just open
‘em and see what Fate has in store, was all he said.”
scowled. He knew this was going to be the start of something big,
but he, like no one else, had no clue what it all meant. A new supervillain,
an enigmatic figure known as The Gamester, had bedeviled both heroes
and police with diabolical puzzles and riddles hinting at future capers
and crimes. More recently, The Gamester had commandeered a radio broadcast,
and in his pirate message to the city, announced he had left shiny
red boxes as “prizes” to the citizens of Paragon City. After a few
tragedies occurred following the opening of some of these packages,
the people were encouraged to turn in any of the boxes to either the
police department or any heroes living in their neighborhood. Since
The Nameless made no secret about the house being their headquarters,
many residents of Silver Lake came to them.
He sighed deeply. By some
bizarre twist of fate, he wound up the leader of the group, and all
looked to him for direction.
“We’ll take them down to City Hall. Likely
the Directors will want to have them in their possession for analysis.
Besides, there’s too much temptation to open the things. I don’t want
to take the risk that could lead to anyone dying.” He made eye contact
with each of his teammates. “When we get down there, we’ll go to our
separate Departments, and then try to find out from the Directors
what is known about The Gamester and his associates, if he has any.”
A sudden shrill beeping went off. Psirene grabbed the tiny cell phone
at her side, the source of the noise, and answered it. While she was
talking, the rest of the group discussed strategy among themselves.
“Have you talked with anyone else, like Top Ten or Onami?” Solanum
asked, drumming black nails on the polished table top.
“All I got
were answering machines. You know how busy both those groups are.”
Nightbringer sighed again. “I got a call from Tragic Johnson, though.
He said he heard rumors of mixed bands of gangs roaming around.”
bands? What did he mean?” asked Vision, leaning forward to get a better
look at Nightbringer. He stole a quick, concerned look at Psirene,
who stood up and walked away from the table, still talking on her
“Like Lost with Trolls and Vazhilok. He said he even saw Skulls
running around with Hellions last night.” Nightbringer explained.
“That’s impossible, those two hate each other!” exclaimed Stingray,
Solanum’s younger brother.
“That’s what Tragic saw.” Nightbringer
held up his hands defensively. “I don’t know how true it is, or if
it’s even connected with what’s going on with Gamester.” He saw that
Psirene had finished her conversation, a look of profound worry on
“It’s the kids at Sussex Academy. They’ve all gone!” she
said, a note of hysteria in her voice.
“What do you mean gone? Is
Delilah missing too?” Beguiler asked, rising from his chair quickly.
His concern for his niece was almost as strong as if she were his
“What about Carlito?” asked Solanum, standing up just as
quickly. “Is he gone?” She had become a foster mother to the young
teen ever since LiveWire had brought him back from Chicago. Part of
her mothering came from the fact that she had been very close to Bluedragon,
Carlito’s older brother.
“All of them are gone! They just stood up
and walked out of class!”
The group looked at each other worriedly.
Sussex Academy, one of the most prestigious prep schools in New England,
also had a reputation among superheroes as the place to send their
children, if they had any. Due to the high security that wealthy parents
demanded for their children, as well as the intense privacy protection,
it was considered one of the safest schools in the state, if not the
country. For someone to have infiltrated it…
“Who called you?”
new teacher, Mr. Hamlin. Delilah raves about him. He tried to close
the room off, but the children overwhelmed him and left. The faculty
has been calling parents since it happened.”
fast. He knew Psirene, Beguiler, and Solanum would not be of any use
until they found the kids. “LiveWire, you and Prismatic go with those
three. Medusa, Vision, Stingray and I will take the boxes to City
Hall. White Diamond…”
“I get it. I hold down the fort.” She scooped
up JT from her husband. “We need to get you a good sitter!” she said
playfully as she tickled her son’s belly. “That way, Mommy can get
out on her missions!” she winked at the others and left the conference
Solanum’s cell phone suddenly rang. She quickly answered it.
“Yes, I know the children are missing….Yes…No…Wait! Slow down, will
you?…When did this happen?….I see. Are they still there?…Ok, we’ll
be there as soon as we can.”
Solanum looked at the heroes. “That was
Detective Wright. A group of kids dressed in Sussex Academy uniforms
just robbed Van Briesbock’s. Two of the kids involved matched Delilah
The group looked stunned. VanBriesbock’s was Paragon
City’s oldest, most respected, and most wealthy diamond brokerage.
The place was secured not only against regular robberies, but also
against modest super-powered attacks.
“How much was stolen?” whispered
“Approximately eight million dollars’ worth of diamonds.”
she looked at her team, a puzzled look on her face. “What the hell
is going on?”