|Among Us Hide...|
|Season 6, Episode 6|
Millions of years ago, when humankind was in its infancy, an alien civilization called the Kree experimented on ancient Homo Sapiens. The experiments created a new race who called themselves Inhumans, an evolutionary leap over their cave-dwelling brethren. When one of these Inhumans discovered a chemical called Terrigen that unlocked secret super powers buried in their DNA by the Kree, it fragmented Inhuman society. Some Inhumans stayed in their home city of Attilan, some mixed in with regular humans and some just disappeared…
Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jiaying, the leader of a society of Inhumans who lived in Afterlife, had a war, which ended with a Quinjet filled with Terrigen Crystals falling into the ocean and contaminating the sea life with its Terrigen Mist. The contaminated fish were unknowing turned into Nature Max Supplements Fish Oil pills and distributed to stores worldwide. Though S.H.I.E.L.D. was able to pull some of the product from store shelves, what was not caught, the public consumed…
Des Plaines, Illinois. Twenty miles northwest of Chicago.
-Okay, momma. You rest now. I’ll be back soon.-
-You’re going out, Dante? So late?-
-Don’t worry about it. You’ll never know I’m gone.-
-I just wish you could get a daytime job.-
-You and me both, momma.- Dante kissed his elderly mother goodbye, as she rested on her bed.
-She’s not wrong, you know. All these wedding gigs you do… You hate it.- Gabriela, his pregnant sister, told him after closing the door behind them.
-I don’t love it, but I don’t know that I’ll ever hate playing. It’s still music.-
-Don’t you worry that you’re burning up all your talent on those stupid songs? All your time?-
-The money’s good, Gabby, and we need money. For momma, and you’ve got the baby on the way. Besides, I’ll find another band for originals soon. Bands always need drummers. Speaking of which…- He slid his hand inside his backpack and pulled out a pair of pink drumsticks. -Never too early to start!-
-Oh, Dante, what the hell is she going to do with those? The best you could hope for is that she only pokes one eye out.-
-I’d be a terrible uncle if I didn’t give my niece stupid gifts. That’s one of the best parts of being an uncle, I assume.-
-You’ll be great.- Once they got to the door, Gabriela stopped suddenly. -I’m sorry, you know. I don’t want you to think I don’t think about it.-
-What are you talking about?-
-All this… After John died and momma got sick… Some brothers wouldn’t have given up their lives to take care of their families. Knocked up sister with a dead husband, mother who can’t get out of bed, maybe never will again…-
-You’re an idiot. First, momma’s going to beat it, and second… It’s family. All those cliches, until it’s your family. Then you get it, and you step up. You grow up. Now, Gabriela, gotta run. Hit time’s soon, and I got an hour drive to get there. Don’t stay up late. Little baby Bonham needs her rest.- He kissed his sister’s head.
-I’m not naming her Bonham.-
-Just think about it! Let it grow on you!-
Unexpectedly, a loud shriek came from upstairs.
-Momma!- Dante exclaimed.
Once they got there, they found a large cocoon where her mother had been.
-Oh God, momma…- Gabriela cried out.
-What in…- Dante muttered.
-No, no, no…- Gabby ran to her bedside. -Dante! Help me! Call an ambulance! Dante! What the hell do you think you’re…-
Suddenly, her brother was in the cocoon as well.
Part of a wall was burnt down by a blue light, and a huge, monstrous figure walked inside the room.
-Hm…- The figure said, examining the cocoons.
-Who are you? What did you do to my family?-
-Child, what is your name?-
-Good. I am Lash. How long since the Terrigenesis?-
-Terri-what? This just happened… I… Please, don’t hurt me. I’m going to have a baby.- She begged.
-Do not fear.- Lash said calmly. -I have no interest in you or your child.- The Inhuman examined Mrs. Pertuz’s cocoon. -Mmm… Terrigenesis does not always run to completion. This one must have held enough Inhuman DNA to trigger the cocoon, but not enough for transformation.-
-I don’t understand… What do you mean? What’s happening to my mother?-
-The Terrigen has judged her. It found her wanting.-
-What did you say about my mother?- Dante asked, emerging from the cocoon.
-Your mother underwent Terrigenesis, just as you have. She did not survive. While you had enough of the Inhuman genome to enter a cocoon, but not enough to change. That will not spare you, sadly. The word is the word. The law is the law.-
-GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE!- Dante yelled, as his body was engulfed in flames and his skin turned red.
-Well, look at you, young one. Perhaps I was… Mistaken.- Lash jumped at the new Inhuman.
The two Inhumans tried using their powers on each other.
-You, child, could be something. Come with me to Orollan. Let me show you what you are. What you can be.-
-Screw you! You killed my mother!-
-Very well.- Lash stopped fighting. -The work is done. The work…-
-Step away from my subject.- Medusa walked into the room.
-Ah, the Queen. I was wondering when we’d meet.-
-Who are you? What are you doing here?-
-I am trying to salvage something good from the disaster caused by Jiaying.-
-What do you salvage by killing this one?-
-He cannot control his gift. He would die in any case… I offer him mercy.-
-That is not for you to decide. He will not die unless you kill me first.-
-No. The work is not yet done. I cannot waste time with you. Another day, Queen of Nothing.- Lash said, before vanishing.
-I… The flames… Can’t stop!- Dante yelled.
Medusa grabbed him and his sister with her hair and jumped out of the window, landing safely. The Queen wrapped her hair around Dante.
-What are you doing?- Gabriela asked.
-Smothering the flames.-
Soon enough, Dante was not on fire anymore. -T-Thank you. Who…?-
-I am Medusa. Queen of the Inhumans.-
-I don’t understand. Queen? Of what? A kingdom?-
-What is your name?-
-Dante. My name is Dante.-
-Well, Dante, we used to be a kingdom. Now, it seems we are a world. A world at war. And the time is coming, my friend… when you will have to pick a side.-
One more year. One more. I know… Broken record, but as that 18th birthday gets closer, it’s all I can think about. I know what living in the States has given me… I’m not one of those ungrateful monsters whining online about getting the wrong iPhone for Christmas. But Minnesota isn’t exactly me, either. Hell, I didn’t even see another black kid in person until I was eight. Parents took me to Duluth… We went to the zoo. Feels like that here sometimes, but I’m the only exhibit. I’ve been here for seventeen years… Everyone knows me, everyone knows everyone. This place is tiny. But I’m still the only guy like me. No one’s awful about it, but no one forgets, either. So, yeah. One more year. Then I’m out of…
-What the hell, dad? I’m not going anywhere. What are you talking about?-
-I am not screwing around, Jason! We have no time. Please, just do it.-
-So we’re just going? Where? For how long? I’m not just some accessory you guys get to shove around to assuage your white guilt. I have a life.-
-This is not the time for that argument. Why can’t you just trust me? I’m your dad. When have I ever…-
-Now, you know that’s not the right card to play. Dad.-
Martin looked down. -All right, then. Something terrible is coming, and odds are everyone in this town will die. If we want any chance at survival, we need to go now. Whether you believe it or not, you are my son, and I love you, and I want you and your mother by my side for what comes next. Your decision. We’ll be out front in three minutes.-
A group of buses was heading away from the city, as a blue cloud followed them.
-I can’t believe this. It was supposed to hit hundreds of miles south of here.-
-I know. That swing north… It’s like it’s purposefully aiming for us.- Another man said.
-Let’s stop talking about how surprised we are.- A woman intervened. -This day’s been a long time coming. Ten thousand years. We’ve lasted this long… We aren’t going to give up now.-
Running out of luck, the community found the road cut off by a torrent.
-Must have been a late spring thaw. Runoff washed the road out.- A man commented.
-Any other way?- Martin asked.
-Nearest bridge I can think of is twenty miles south, and these buses won’t get a hundred yards if we take them off-road.-
-So that’s it, then. We’re done.-
-Seems so. At least we’re together.-
-What are they talking about, mom? What’s going on? Can’t you just tell me?- Jason asked, inside the bus.
-I’m not sure it matters anymore, Jason.- His mother replied.
-All right, everyone. We did our best, but now it’s time to try to accept this. Hive has won.-
-What are you talking about, Martin? We have to try. Maybe we can swim the river.- A man suggested.
-That’s up to you, Raymond.- Martin replied. -Me, I’m going to take my family and go meet this thing with nothing but the sky above us.-
-Why is this…? Please, you have to tell me something? Why are you so scared of that cloud?- Jason wondered, as everyone had gotten off the bus.
-There’s… A being. He wants to create an army to serve him… An army of special people.-
-But… We are regular people…-
-Jason, we aren’t regular people. None of us… This whole town… We’re special. Maybe not special enough, but special. And so are you. We adopted you from a group in Africa… They’re like us.-
-What does that mean?- Jason asked his mother.
-You know, it doesn’t matter, son. Just know that we love you. And we always will.- And the Terrigen Mist covered them all.
China. Hunan Province. Wulingyuan Region.
He barked back affirmatively.
-Whaddya say, Forey? Bound to be something down there? Want to go see what we can see?- He asked, activating his collapsible jet pack and holding his pet in his arms.
The dog sniffed at him.
-Well, yeah… In a manner of speaking.- He smiled, flying off the cliff.
-<The transforming tablets have been supplied to this village not long ago, so we are required to perform an inspection of every residence!>- A Chinese general informed a couple. -<Allow us access immediately or face the consequences!>- He had brought two tanks and dozens of soldiers with him, so the consequences didn’t seem friendly.
-<This is my home. You have no right!>- The man exclaimed.
-<Do not be foolish. The changelings are a risk to the security of the people’s republic. We do not do this to dishonor you, but to protect the nation. Please, stand aside.>-
-<We will not!>- The woman exclaimed.
-<Move them, but be gentle about it.>- The general ordered. -<None of us would do any less for our families.>-
-<NO!>- The man screamed, as he was carried away. -<No, you fools, we were trying to protect you!>-
-<Yes, yes, we will be very caref…>-
As soon as the general walked inside the house, an air pressure force was produced against him, pushing him away and destroying the house as well.
-<FIRE! NOW! ALL UNITS, ATTACK!>- The general ordered, laying on the ground.
Immediately, the tanks fired their missiles at the house. Suddenly, the Reader jumped in front of them and ran his fingers along a card. Written on it was the word FREEZE, in Braille. As soon as he did, everything around him stopped moving.
-C’mere, boy. I need eyes on this.- He read another card; this time it said SEE. The Reader could now see through his dog’s eyes. -Whoah. We cut this a little close.-
The dog barked something in response.
-Yup. Has to be a pressure manipulator. Powerful one, too.- He stood up and started walking towards the spot where the house used to be. -Whaddya say, Forey? Should we say hello?-
Once he got there, he found a young woman on her knees.
-There she is. <Hey, kid. Ain’t you somethin’.>-
He bent over and touched her shoulder, unfreezing her.
-<Who… Who are you? What is happening?>- She asked.
-<My name is Reader. I’m a friend. I just saved your life. What is your name?>-
-<Xiaoyi. How did you… How is everything stopped?>-
-<Xiaoyi? “Little one”? Forgive me, but that is a strange…>-
-<Yes, I know. I was born early. My parents are very literal people. You have not answered my question.>-
-<Everything is stopped because I stopped it. You did not deserve to die just because some people are afraid of what you represent.>-
-<And what do I represent, blind man who can somehow see, white man who can speak perfect Chinese, person who can stop time?>-
-<You are very perceptive, Xiaoyi.>- He extended his hand at her, and she took it, standing up. -<You represent the same thing I do, the most terrifying thing of all to those who hold power… Change.>-
-<How is this possible? Will they stay this way forever?>-
-<No. It will fade soon. We need to be away when it does.>-
-<Away? Away where?>-
-<In time. First, let us attend to your filial obligations.>-
-<I’ll remove the freeze from them, and you can speak with them, try to explain.>-
-<No. Wait. They have never understood me. They wished for a son… Of course they did, this is China. They received a daughter.>- She bent down to where her parents were laying. -<A daughter who brought them only trouble… Always pushing for books, for knowledge, for more than the life they could give me. And now this, this change… And I bring the army to their door. They never understood me, but they loved me. If I just leave, they will believe I died in the explosion. They will grieve, but they will move on. It will be simpler for them.>-
-<Are you sure? This is… You’re making a big decision here.>-
-<Do you have answers for me, Reader? Can you tell me what has happened to me, and what may become of me?>-
-<Yes. I can.>-
-<Then I am sure.>-
Triton emerged from the river, carrying the cocoon with him. As soon as he stepped on the land, he put his mask on, allowing him to breathe outside water for longer periods of time. Immediately after gently placing the cocoon on the ground, it started to crack. Soon, Dinesh Deol came out of it.
-Oh no… Not again…- He muttered as soon as he opened his eyes. He looked at the green being standing in front of him.
-Good morning.- The other said playfully.
-What did you do to me?! Why can’t I feel my hands?!-
-I could state the obvious but I’d rather keep quiet and not waste my breathing mask’s tank.- Triton gestured towards where Dinesh’s hands should be.
-WHAT DID YOU DO?! WHY DID YOU CUT THEM OFF?!-
-Do they look like they’ve been chopped off?-
Deol calmed down and shook his head.
-That’s just a side effect from Secondary Terrigenesis. The first one usually doesn’t change your physical appearance. Second one… They generally look like they’ve got out of a Godzilla movie.-
-Did… Did you…?-
-Oh, I wish. No, my father just wanted to experiment with aquatic mutations.-
-What happened to me? The last thing I remember is… My own sister shooting me and pushing me out of a moving helicopter…-
-Wow, that’s rough buddy. There’s a large amount of Terrigen in water ever since the incident with Jiaying, so that’s probably why you underwent a Secondary Terrigenesis. You’re probably super excited to test what powers you got…-
-No, I’m not.-
-Come again?- Triton turned around.
-I don’t want to be like this… I don’t want to be different.-
-Who ever does?- The other scrunched his face. -But lemme tell you… Being different is way more fun.-
Looking down at his hands, Dinesh aimed them at some nearby trees and fired an electromagnetic pulse at them. Excited, he laughed and did it again.
-Oh, children.- Triton rolled his eyes.
His hand emerged from the cocoon and Jason sat up, freeing his upper half. -W-What? No… This can’t… Dad?! Mom?- He was surrounded by dozens of other cocoons. -AAAAAAUUGH!- He screamed, breaking the cocoon apart.
-They are dead, child, but you are not.- A figure walked behind him and put his hand on Jason’s shoulder. -Do not be afraid.-
-The river is so quiet at night. So deceptive.- Medusa said to her dog, Lockjaw.
Suddenly, the doors behind her opened, as Elejea walked in. -Sorry… Am I interrupting something?-
-No, nothing. I was just looking at the water and thinking… Never mind.- The Queen shook her head slightly. -What happened?-
-They’ve found a young Inhuman patrolling Jersey City. Apparently she’s got no idea what she is.-
-Another one… They are so many now… So many…-
-They say this one is different. Special.-
-They’re all special.-
-Not special enough to have gotten so many calls and pictures. She must have made an impression.-
-I’ll send someone to bring her here right away. She’ll need protection, training…-
-I don’t think that’s wisest, your Majesty. They say she’s determined to figure out things on her own. Apparently, she’s stubborn.-
-I can see why they like her. This one is special. She needs a companion. Someone to help her, and to be my eyes and ears while she grows into power.-
-Excuse me, but you are not going to send him, are you?-
-There are few I trust more, Elejea. I have a job for you…- She turned around. -… Lockjaw.-
Australia Square, Sydney.
-Guided bus tour! Cocoon remains! Maybe get lucky and catch a transformed Inhuman! This is the new Pokemon Go!- A guy yelled, holding a sign that read “Terror Terrigen Tour!”.
-Just blocks away! Can you believe it?!- Jack Terraerton, a member of the Watchdogs, hovered down next to a covered cage. Surrounding it, Anti-Inhuman activists were gathered. -Your government officials have the audacity to welcome alien half-breeds to our backyards just hours after they unleashed a chemical attack on us! One designed to corrupt and transform the few, dwindling, pure human beings still left on this diseased, forsaken planet!- He yelled through his megaphone. -Now, they will try an’ tell you that anyone perverted by their tablets was actually one of them all along! That regular people might have a bit of Alien DNA from what got down ta their great-great-great-caveman granddad! But you tell me…- He uncovered the cage, where a blue Inhuman was held. -Does this look human to you?!-
-If you’re asking me… All of this looks pretty inhumane.- Crystal said, displaying her elemental powers. -I am Crystal, of the Royal Inhuman Family, and a visiting dignitary. And I REALLY don’t think you want me to show you what it means to be Inhuman.-
-That’s her, brothers!- Jack yelled. -The alien mongrel trying to take our nation! To take our humanity! If she wants us to believe their blood is our blood… Let’s have a look for ourselves! Let her blood run like…-
He was interrupted by a water stream that emerged from Crystal’s hands. -Sorry. I’m just really not one for speeches. But if you release this woman… I’ll take her back to my people. And I’ll leave you boys to enjoy your freedom to speak ignorantly.-
-No.- Jack stood up, his Watchdog mask covering his face now. -NO! You don’t get to decide for us! To define our humanity!- He leapt forward, ready to punch Crystal.
-Whoa! Guy? You want to come at me? I’m an Elemental.- She directed the winds at him, shoving him to the ground. -I’m trying to go easy on you. Winds. Water cannon. Crowd control. But either you let the girl go… Or I start lighting fires and swallowing people into the Earth!-
The Watchdogs opened fire against the Inhuman, who covered herself with a large boulder. Suddenly, Karnak leapt out at the soldiers, effortlessly dodging their bullets and punching and kicking their guns out of their hands.
-Hi. Now don’t…- Naja flew towards the cage.
-Hmmm…- The Inhuman inside it looked at her. -Where did you come from?-
-… Freak out.- She completed her sentence, cutting the bars. -I’m Naja. Crystal had me stay camouflaged by your side until these idiots were sufficiently distracted. I’d say this counts, right?-
-All clear? Everyone okay?- Crystal checked on the other Inhumans.
-… Ruined everything I had… You took it…!- Jack yelled.
-Shush, you. The well-adjusted are talking.- Amaquelin silenced him. -Anyway… I appreciate the gesture, Karnak, but I didn’t need…-
-I’ll kill you a…- Terraerton tried to finish his threat, but the Elemental interrupted him.
-Nope. Not if I pull all the air out of your lungs. Then you just sleep.- She smirked as he fell unconscious.
-Did they drug you?- Naja asked the woman in the cage.
-Not at all. Why do you ask?-
-Probably because you seem ridiculously calm in all this, miss…?-
-Ash. Ash Minnick. And… It’s the strangest thing… But ever since the cocoon… I don’t really feel… Anything. Is that normal?-
-I hate to break it to you, but we’re Inhumans. There’s no “normal”.- Karnak looked at her.
-H-How… Where are we?- Jason asked the man behind him.
-My home, and now yours as well…- He looked at the tribe. -Orollan. It was once a place of peace, and glory, until a prideful king named Black Bolt brought it to ruin. I could have saved it, perhaps. But I was not here. It will live again, with my help, and the help of those like you.-
-This isn’t my home, uh… Lash.- Jason replied. -I’m from Minnesota. What’s happening? I remember that blue cloud, and the next thing… My skin and… My family.-
-That was not your family. If it were, you would be dead too.- The other Inhuman put his hand on the teenager’s shoulder. -You are stronger than they were, and so you lived. I saw what you can do. The gifts Terrigenesis has bestowed upon you. You are one of the worthy, child.-
-I… I don’t…-
-I am here to help you… You have nothing to fear. You have found your people. Rejoice, for you are part of the great work.-
Reader, Forey and Xiaoyi suddenly appeared out of nowhere, falling towards the city.
-Forey! Guide!- He ordered, activating a glider on his pack.
-Reader? What in all the… What are you doing here?!- A man at the base exclaimed after they landed.
-Is that Gorgon? Has to be. I claim the Queen’s Sanctuary!-
-Sanctuary? What do you need protection from, Reader? You’ve always been on your own.-
-Not for me, Gorgon. For her. The girl. Her name is Xiaoyi, Inhuman name is Iso. And as for what from…-
A large vehicle hovered over the city. -Your possession of Enniluxian property is unauthorized! Return the child immediately, or face sanctions!-
-What have you done, Reader?-
-She’s just a kid, Gorgon. And she’s Inhuman. Your Queen said every Inhuman would be safe here. You gonna make Medusa a liar?-
-MAN ALL DEFENSES!- Gorgon ordered. -PROTECT THE CITY!-
Numerous soldiers started parachuting from the vehicle while they tried to shoot at the Inhumans.
-Why do they want her, Reader? What is this all about?- He asked as they both fought the soldiers.
-They were going to put their Capo into Iso’s mind. I stopped the procedure halfway… I think they need her, or he’ll be lost forever. If it makes you feel better, I brought her here because I knew you guys were about the only ones tough enough to handle Ennilux.-
-But we’re about a quarter-strength, Reader. We have most of our members out, recruiting. I don’t know if we…-
A large blast hit the city, as both Gorgon and Reader fell to the ground.
-Shields are down! They’ll rip us apart!- Gorgon yelled.
-Oh, I don’t know, Gorgon…- The Reader whispered, looking behind the other. -I think you’ll be alright.-
Standing firm, Black Bolt was ready for battle.
- This episode is heavily based on the first appearance of many NuHumans, which happened on Inhuman Vol. 1 and All-New Inhumans Vol. 1.