92 Cauldron.


Something slammed against the warehouse forcefield as a voice echoed across the city.


Everyone turned to see a young blonde slide off the forcefield, while Alexandria floated over, like a serene goddess, her cape fluttering in the wind.

But it was apparent to anyone looking in that she was anything but serene, her eyes betraying a silent fury.

"GameBreaker! You have peddled enough conspiracy for the day! Surrender now or I'll be forced to take drastic measures." She warned.

"Oh? Drastic measures! Big words for someone that got stripped naked, helplessly by me just weeks ago!"

"No one believes your lies, GameBreaker." Alexandria scoffed.

I snorted, suppressing a chuckle, while sending a stream of my nanobots to stealthily cut through her helmet straps.

"Lies, are they, Alexandria? Or should I call you, Director Rebecca Costa Brown?" I said.

"Heh! Before you at least sounded credible, GameBreaker, but now that's just laughable!" Alexandria waved my argument away.

"Is it now? Then why don't we see for ourselves?!" I smiled, activating the telekinetic module on my glove, and flipped off her helmet high into the air, revealing her face for all to see.

A shocked look lined her face as she made to catch the helmet only to find it turning to dust in her hands, my nanobots chewing through it at the molecular level.

Now with her face laid bare, everyone could see the truth for themselves.

There was a moment of silence as tension hung taut in the air, before someone muttered.

"That's ....PRT's Director Costa Brown. I've seen her before."

Alexandria's head swerved, dealing out a death glare at whoever it was before another one pointed it out.

Soon many voices rose in agreement, leaving Alexandria to grind her teeth in frustration.

"Now I don't know the law around here, but isn't it illegal for a parahuman to hold multiple positions, much less the seat of the Director of the goddamn Parahuman Response Team?

Talk about leaving the dog to guard sweet breads! Hah!" I mocked.

"But then again, I expected nothing less from your kind.

And by the way, for the viewers watching this, perjury is the least of her crimes. At least when you compare it to the genocide she has committed or the people she kidnapped from parallel realities to experiment on them, turning them into what you call Case 53s." Suddenly, everyone's eyes were on me.

Alexandria slammed into the forcefield again to no avail.

"Oh? Desperate aren't you?

What? Don't want me to reveal your little secret, Alexandria?

Don't you think the poor Case 53s deserve to know what you and your Triumvirate did to them? Don't you think the world deserves to know the truth?"

"You will shut your mouth or I will shut it for you!" Alexandria shouted in rage, as she slammed her fists into the forcefield over and over, while the people below especially the Case 53s looked up, their eyes passing between me and Alexandria.

Case 53 parahumans. Abominations. Demons. The Branded.

Case 53s are amnesiac parahumans, usually with severe physical alterations, marked with a "C", for Cauldron. They were the test subjects for Cauldron's early experiments with their power granting vials.

When the experiments failed or were completed, these people were wiped of their memories and thrown into an inconspicuous alleyway somewhere, with no identity, no memories, trapped in a mutated mess of a body.

And now, it was time to reveal the truth to the victims. And set them against their oppressors.

I couldn't help but break into a sinister grin as I thought about it!

"But I'll give you a choice, Alexandria!" I said, suppressing a grin.

"If the Case 53s don't want me to reveal the truth of their condition, about what you did to them, I won't!

After all, truth is wasted on those who don't want to hear it!

So....Let's take a poll!

Show of hands from all the Case 53s present here.

Do you want to know how and why you became the way you are? What Alexandria and the Triumvirate did to you? What that 'C' branded onto your bodies means? If you want to know the truth, raise your hands or hand equivalent appendages!"

Alexandria's pounding became more desperate as more and more hands rose in the air, hateful glares leveled at her than before.

Finally, seeing no leeway, she gave up and resorted to begging.

"GameBreaker! Please! I'll step down from the post of Director! Just ...you don't know what you're doing!"

"Did you just admit to being the Director?

Wow. You're not even denying the accusations now, are you? But that doesn't matter now. What matters is what the Case 53s want." I said, gesturing at the parahumans below.

Alexandria looked down at the heroes below, and let out a stern glare as if to shut them up.

"No one raise your hands. I will answer all questions later. Once we have dealt with him." She said, commandingly, as of expecting unquestioning obedience.

That sheer arrogance of hers would work against her and to my benefit.

"Why? So you can silence me? Hide the truth? Feed them your version of it? A lie that removes all culpability from you?" I snapped.

"No." Alexandria said, more to the capes below, in a last ditch attempt to save her skin, "We will answer everything, truthfully. Just ... please."

A cape below stepped forward, slamming her shovel into the ground.

It was a hunchbacked girl, with orange colored, welted, scabbed skin.

Gully, I think her name was. Her power was earth manipulation.

"I want to know. From his mouth." She said, standing firm.

"Gully, step back! We will relay the information to you when we need to." Her superior likely, a man in shining armor ordered.

"No!" She replied, "I don't want your condensed version. I want the truth. The whole truth. I want to know why I'm this way!"

Now, there was a murmur in the crowd and other Case 53s stood out too, stepping forward.

"Gully! This is the kind of insubordination that goes on your case file. Permanently." Her superior threatened.

Gully looked at the man, and scoffed.

"I've been passed over for promotion so many times now, that I've gotten the message.

Monsters don't get to be team leader.

Your argument holds no weight here."

Another Case 53, Weld, came up to her, and stood by her side as more and more of them stepped forward.

As one they raised their hands, in solidarity, causing Alexandria's face to twist into something ugly.

I, for my part, enjoyed every second of it.

"Oof! Looks like your attempt to hide the truth won't work, Alexandria! The majority, no... actually, let me count again.

Oh! Ohoho! All of them want to know the truth. What do ya know? They don't like being the way they are! Shocker!" I cackled.

"You can't do this! You'll destroy the institution of a hero!" She pleaded.

"Oh no no no! You don't get to say that Alexandria! Legend, maybe, and even then it's iffy.

But you? You've committed genocide on their home realities. Human experimentation. And countless other crimes against humanity.

You don't get to walk away scott free from here, if at all."

"Will you just tell us already!?" Gully interrupted my monologue, annoyed.

"Yes. Of course. I'll do you one better. I'll show you!" I said, projecting holoscreens all around as multiple videos started playing.

Surveillance footage that I stole from Cauldron.

On one screen a kid could be seen getting strapped to a table by a hispanic woman as another middle eastern woman in a lab coat force fed her a glass full of thick prismatic goo.

The kid's body began to twitch as they swallowed the goo, and their skin cracked and broke, revealing a deep orange tint from within.

Subcutaneous tissue broke out from the skin and hardened into scabs around the girl, as her neck craned up front, forming into a hunchback.

"I don't think I need to tell you this, but that hispanic lady there is Alexandria.

The doctor is a woman from a parallel reality called Doctor Mother.

She is or rather was, before I killed her, the head of the secret society known as Cauldron. They dealt in superpowers, selling that prismatic goo in finger sized vials to the highest bidders for millions of dollars.

Bidders like Dauntless, or Triumph or Battery over there. Or even Alexandria herself, along with Eidolon, Legend and much of the Protectorate top brass.

Oh yeah, it goes all the way to the top.

As is evident, once you drink that, the goo induces an painless, artificial trigger event in people that gives them customized powers that they pre-ordered.

Of course, it goes without saying that for them to be able to customise powers, there had to be test subjects, human experimentation.

That is what you are, Case 53s. The people that Alexandria, Legend and Eidolon kidnapped from alternate realities after they slaughtered your actual families like cattle."

The video changed to one where Eidolon was telekinetically dragging out the subjects onto a tattoo chair.

"And once they were done experimenting on you, when you had lost all usefulness, they wiped your memories, branded you with their logo, a stylized 'C' and let you loose into Earth Bet as dime villains that they sold out to people like Battery and Dauntless. Monsters that were sure to lose to people like them, that they could defeat without worrying about PR and get a foothold in the hero community.

That's what you are to them.

Failed products to get rid of. Slaves to be sold as monsters of the week that the rich can beat up to feel good about themselves. That people like Battery and Triumph can trample on to call themselves heroes."

I switched videos and pointed out.

"Hey, isn't that you Weld. Man you looked handsome before they did this to you. Shame. You coulda become a model or something. But hey, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

In this case however, you have a choice. Alexandria is right here. The one who turned you into monsters. The one who killed your families. This once in life, you have a chance at taking that lemon life gave you and shoving it up life's ass till she pisses lemonade.

The choice, as always, is yours. What will you do with the truth? Will you accept it and seek justice? Or will you deny what's right before your eyes and let the Triumvirate go free, free to kidnap more innocents like you, torture them, experiment on them, and then throw them away like it's a garrage sale.

Or perhaps have I become your enemy now, by speaking the truth?" I asked.

They all looked at Alexandria in disgust, contempt and barely contained rage.

Alexandria on the other hand floated away further up as she defended her self.

"We didn't kill your families. He's lying. We didn't do-"

"Seriously?! Alexandria, That's the one part you're denying? Do you want me to show them more video proof of your crimes? Do I have to detail every single misdeed in a project report like I'm some eighth grader?

Because trust me, if I have to reveal more about this, I can guarantee you won't survive the day."

"We can send you back home!" Alexandria cried out, trying to calm the crowd, and for a moment it almost seemed to work.

Then someone threw the first stone.

No. Not someone. Gully.

She dug her shovel into the concrete path and pulled off a hefty chunk, chucking it at Alexandria, who easily broke it apart with a punch.

"You bastards should be tried!" Gully cried, tears streaming down her face, as Weld supported her.

"These are crimes against humanity! You're no heroes! You're the real monsters!" Another cape cried out.

"What did I tell you? What have I been telling you all along?

Your heroes are villains, your gods are false! Your lives are a lie!

But no!

No one listen to old GameBreaker!

He's just a kook!" I said, in an 'I told you so' accent.

"What do you want?! What is your goal? Why are you doing this?" Alexandria snarled at me.

"Oh dear Alexandria, I haven't done anything yet. I'm only just getting started. Today, I will expose all the evil that your little shadow cabal has done.

Today, I will destroy what it means to be a hero.

Today, I will create a utopia, heaven on earth, just to spite you self righteous fuckers!"

"What do you mean you're just getting started?" Armsmaster asked, worried.

"Oh, yeah. This.." I said, but I was interrupted by the cries and screams of the Case 53s.

Annoyed I looked at them and shouted

"....hey! Hey! You guys, shut it for a minute will you?! I'm talking here! Don't you want to learn more? Don't you want to get justice for their crimes, in full? Or do you want me to end it here and let their other crimes rest?!"

"Everyone. Quiet please!" Gully shouted as a quiet slowly descended upon the crowd, the chattering yurning down to whispers and murmurs.

"Now, where was I?

Oh yes! The other crimes of the Triumvirate heroes. These ones relate to the Endbringers, actually.

Millions die every year to them. It is even estimated that if the Endbringer attacks were to continue, the world would end in the next three years.

Haven't you ever wondered where those giant monsters came from?

Who made them? Why they made them? Why do they attack people indiscriminately?

Well let's find out! But first, we need to call in the culprit!

Can't start the trial with the perpetrators running free, now can we?" I said, smiling, and opened a portal to my side.

"Presenting.....Eidolooooon!" I spun my hand as I did a WWF introduction.

Only, no one came through.

I frowned and looked at the portal.

"Ahehem! I said, presenting.... Eidolooooon!"

"Gasp?" Clockblocker intoned, amused.

"I SAID....."

"Yeah yeah. Heard you the first time! No need to be cranky!" Paige replied, as she dragged Eidolon through the portal.

"Dammit Paige! We had a plan! A schedule to keep!

This just ruins the effect!" I complained.

"Well I'm sooo sorry it took me more than a couple minutes to Master the strongest damn parahuman on the planet! He wasn't exactly being cooperative! What did you expect?" She said, rubbing her temples.

"I expected you to keep to the schedule! I had this whole speech prepped. You were supposed to bring him in on the right time! It would've been so cool! And then someone just had to take their sweet time!" I pouted.

"Well fuck you! You try doing this next time!" She shot back.

"Fuck me yourself, coward!" I spouted off almost instinctively.

"Maybe I will!" She replied.

"What?" I said.

"What?" She replied.

"Kiss kiss kiss!" Clockblocker chanted in the crowd drawing everyone's ire.

This bastard. He's never serious is he?

I sighed.

"Let's just....get to it." I said coughing awkwardly.

Next chapter