Heroes of a New World

Episode 3

Against the Rat God

Donald Trump’s Talent Tax has gone into effect. So far it has not greatly affected any of the characters, and they agree to help Damien Xerxes catalog some of the items on the Lachesis Life Boat that is finally going to be returned to him. There has been word that rats have become a big problem in Chicago, and Adam, taking a break from the talk show circuit decides to investigate.

Before they can head to Chicago, Cazimir gets a call from Mercedes. She has been investigating Damien further and found all kinds of strange information. The technology he is using must have been found or stolen, because it is far beyond anything that could have existed previously. Also, Damien’s assistant Alicia Evans has a background that doesn’t fit – she essentially didn’t exist prior to joining the company seven years ago. There was also the issue of the duplicate man on the Lachesis that Mercedes has become aware of. She asks that she be allowed to meet Cazimir sometime. Cazimir agrees to meet her at JFK international airport.

Feeling a bit suspicious after this call, Caz checks his phone and finds TWO separate bugs installed. A normal one, and a quantum one, far beyond any technology that the government or anyone should have. He files this away and gets on the plane. Meanwhile, Norman has been talking to Suji about getting a suit that won’t burn away when he runs at top speed. She has created an incredible industry in only a couple of weeks, building super-science robots that can accomplish a number of tasks. She agrees to design the suit and will even give Norman a free robot once the first orders are fulfilled.

Adam starts looking for someone who can control rats, thinking that might be the answer to Chicago’s issues. He tweets his many followers and they meet him at the park, mostly fawning hanger-ons that are of no use. However, one man Thomas Hilder, an unassuming sort with small spectacles and a vest, says that he has the power to talk to animals and wondered if that was good enough. He says while he doesn’t know what is going on with the rats, the cats have told him to essentially watch his back, as something bad is going down. An animal controller from Salt Lake City also tweets back at Adam, but can’t make it in time to meet.

Cazimir boards his flight, however half way through it, a strange purple ray from the sky lances out and destroys one of the airplane’s engines! He calls for his Anubis suit and manages to save the day, but obviously someone wanted him dead! After an emergency landing in Charlotte, he calls up Norman to pick him up and they gun it to JFK. They meet with Mercedes who gives them all the information she has, and asks them to stay in touch. It turns out she has a bug in her phone as well, deepening the paranoia.

They catch a flight to Chicago and begin to piece through the Life Boat. The skin of the Life Boat itself seems to have changed, the place where Adam punched through it knitting itself back together and healing on it’s own. Inside there is also a radio that plays a number of things. First is a Kennedy speech on the central bank. Next is an April Lane news report that says Adam Cleese has been missing for two days! Wait that hasn’t happened, they just talked to Adam! Then the channel changes again, and they are receiving broadcasts from the German battleship the Bismarck! Further wonders await. The computer console is running without any power, and it has the ability to connect to ANY server, even if it is offline, with superuser access. They use it to explore a number of servers and learn about government talent programs and about Damien Xerxes’ business.

The scientist helping them look over the Life Boat introduces them to the Exchange – an app that lets people ask for whatever they want, in exchange for favors down the road. It is incredibly popular and seems to be almost flawless in its acquisitional ability.

Adam gets a video from a fan who is going to go looking for the rats below the city to impress him. The fan thinks the old coal tunnels are a great place to start. A few hours later Adam gets what amounts to a hostage video, as the fan finds hundreds of rats that jump him on screen. The email with the disturbing video says to come alone. He calls up the others, who warn him of the April Lane seemingly future news report, but he isn’t too worried and heads off. Sure enough he follows the trail into the coal tunnels and even deeper, into a lair cut out by a rat that came back from the Lachesis calling itself the Rat God. It has seen how popular Adam is and wants to be a God of the surface too. It can change it’s size, control other rats, and control the earth to trap Adam! He is put in holding while he ‘considers’ the offer.

Norman and Cazimir begin to search for Adam. The Rat God has been taking twitter training during Adam’s incarceration, and they are able to follow this finally to the Rat Lair, but not before April’s future-now-present newscast! Adam manages to trick the Rat God into wearing some “special clothes” that will make him popular made of rope, and uses this to try binding the Rat and then choke it out. They save the young man who was kidnapped and he is very grateful and excited to meet Adam. The characters come together and debate what to do with the creature. Finally it is decided to take him to Joshua Jones – the most powerful talent in the world according to the data Cara Saudill had collected that Norman and Caz saw on the Life Boat computer. His mental powers are so great that only other mental talents can survive near him. April Lane shows up and asks for an interview, and also gets them to agree to a special expose on talent crime and punishment.

They box up the Rat God and take him to Montana, where Joshua’s ranch is surrounded by a number of warning signs and dead birds. Adam buys cheese and peanut butter for the Rat, and for the time being this seems to be a perfect solution.

The Life Boat is loaded onto another boat and taken to Cupertino, where it will be analyzed by Damien Xerxes’ people. However, the server with the AI in it was not in the Life Boat. Someone else, perhaps the government, has it!

They travel to California and the episode draws to a close.

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