Afflictions: Part Five

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Vanessa stood outside the dining room doors, mentally preparing herself for a difficult conversation with her dad, just like she did a year ago. She remembered something, and turned around. On the wall was the same painting of her Great Grandfather in his military uniform. The touchup job was better than she remembered. If she looked closely, she could still see the lines running through it, but it was probably about as good as anyone could’ve managed. She stared into his eyes for a moment, but they still didn’t pierce her the same way the did two years ago.

“Is everything alright?” Anastasia came up beside her and looked at the painting.

“Yeah, I was just looking at the painting is all. Let’s go.” Vanessa pivoted, and walked forwards into the dining room. Her heart was pounding, but that was fine. Now was not the time for fear or cowardice, she was in control.

Inside, her dad sat on one side of the table. As she crossed around to the other, she studied his appearance. His hair had gotten noticeably more grey, and it was freshly cut. His face was completely clean shaven, and he had a mark where he must have cut himself with the razor. He smiled, but he looked tired. He had definitely gotten a little thin. She found herself feeling a little guilty, but she stopped herself. He did this to himself.

“Vanessa. I’m so happy to see you.” He smiled, then turned. “You as well, Anastasia. How are you both doing?”

“We’re doing fine, thank you.” Vanessa and Anastasia sat down across from him. “How have you been?”

“Getting by.” He laughed weakly. He looked down for a moment, then back up with a somber smile. “Now, when you called, you said you had some questions for me. I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’ll answer any question you have truthfully, if I know the answer.”

“Yeah.” Vanessa took a deep breath. It was time to find out the truth. “What involvement did you have with the concentration camp in California?”

“Straight to the big one, huh?” He laughed a little, then sighed. “I helped fund it, I was involved in the planning stages, and I sent the names of some people that I came across with powers. We planned to use it as a holding place for dangerous supers who couldn’t be left in society, and also as somewhere we could draw test subjects from.”

Vanessa was speechless for a moment, and turned to Anastasia.

“Who is ‘we’?” Anastasia asked.

“I was in a group of three people, who were concerned about the state of the world with the arrival of supers.” He sighed. “When I joined, we were planning to do good, and it didn’t really matter what means we used. Sure, it wasn’t the people’s fault for getting superpowers, but they were a threat nonetheless. The end justified the means.”

“How long were you involved in this?” Vanessa couldn’t believe what he was saying. There was no ‘end’  that could justify the ‘means’ of using concentration camps.

“We started this group shortly after the green light, and I was involved with it up until I found out they had you.”

“Why did you let me, Jude and Paul stay here, if you thought we were a threat?” Anastasia asked.

“Well, at first I was doing it for the data, but then when we discovered some of the magnitude of Jude’s powers, we decided he had to be carefully monitored and his mental state maintained.”

Vanessa stared forwards in silence. Everything he had done was with an ulterior motive.

“So is that what the DSR is for? To monitor us?” Anastasia pressed on.

“Well, originally yes. However, from what I understand, the new director cut ties with the others. Now they operate independently.”

“Going back to the ‘group of three people’. Who else is involved? What else did you guys do? Were there more prisons?”

“There was me, a man named Mason Vondrasek, and a man named Felix Weston. We were both trying to keep supers in check, and find ways to combat them. Vondrasek worked on replicating powers, and Felix focused on finding what he called ‘artifacts’.” He coughed, and paused to take a sip of water. “There are objects that can grant their wearer powers, they were displaced throughout time and space, and Felix focused on finding them. I don’t think he ever fully worked out what any of them did, but he mostly found things that went missing from museums, and were found in the archives of other museums, much older than they were before.” He took another sip of water. “As far as other camps, I really don’t know. Takeo’s was more or less the ‘prototype’, and he hadn’t hit capacity, so we never made another while I was involved. Seeing as the project was a failure, I imagine they won’t try another.”

“So if ‘Felix’ focused on artifacts, and Vondrasek focused on powers, what did you do?”

“I watched Jude, and when the time came, I worked with the DSR. Jude was…” He paused for a moment, and started coughing. His coughing fit lasted for a moment, and Gregory began to walk over to check on him.

Vanessa stared blankly forwards. Her father had been conspiring with people who thought that she and her friends were threats. He had no compunctions with sending innocent people into a concentration camp, and he was probably the one that sent Ashley and Johan and who knows who else.

“I’m done listening to this.” She stood up from her seat and went towards the door. Anastasia jumped up and followed behind her. She’d had enough of this for one day. She’d look into this herself.

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Hello everyone! I have finally received an offer of employment, so that’s nice! Things that have been moving in the background may soon begin moving into the foreground at this rate. As always, superzeroes will keep moving though, so don’t worry! I always hated when I started a serial and it died. I may have to take another break one day, but barring me dying, I will finish this.

Be keeping an eye out for a couple of tidying up things on the blog, specifically regarding season 3 in varying descriptions and such.

Also of note, I just hit 100 email/WordPress subscribers! Keep an eye out for some kind of milestone celebration. I’m a little busy with work, but I’m about to hit a light patch, so I should have time to work something out. Thank you so much for following, and here’s to another milestone!

Photo Credit: Original

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