I remember when I was a boy I had many fantasies. Industrial Engineer won out but when I was 12, and below I was a cop fanatic. Cop shows, documentaries, Miranda rights I was obsessed with it all. However, when I spend hours on TV, I always wondered why the bad guys did what they do? Well, one thing is for sure I never thought I would be one. My name is Ivan Petrov, and I'm currently a wanted man living in a world gone mad. But to fully understand my tale you must understand something about a little Russian city called Volgograd. Volgograd was a town birthed from making one's history. It draws strength from its long history of metallurgy, war, and manufacturing. However, compared to the rest of Russian it was still one of Russia's poorest cities. But the title I felt like holding the most weight was merely home. It was the place that I had Christmas with almost all my family. The place where Panorama museum was my favorite elementary field trip. Memories brimmed with every street I went through.
But still with the economic standing of I took every opportunity I could to get a free education while my mother stayed at home to deal with my two almost baby twin sisters. I was lucky enough to land a school that was very close to where I was but sadly life had different plans. My father's factory, a place that he had spent 20 years working at finally ran itself out of business. It was a devastating blow for him, and he couldn't find a job that would pay the same amount. And in a desperate attempt for him not to spiral out of control, I decided to step up for my family. I cheated off any chance of going to college so that I could make a stable income for my family. After all, there was always a saying amongst my family.
"Семья - это свет, который объединяет и толкает нас вперед."
Four years whizz by as I spent most of my day being a museum guide rather than my dream as an engineer. I kept most of my small circle of friends as even in college they still find me the only responsible one they knew. It was stressful work, and every time I walked through the halls of the museum that celebrated the heroes of our country. I look at my hands merely realize that I could physically be making my own at that very moment if things were different. I felt trapped. I was asleep when Genesis started and when morning came, I opened my eyes to a brand new world. Many of my friends and some of my distant cousins and perished during the event and with them gone the world felt so much colder. Like a tether had been lost as I entered a world gone mad. And with the blizzard of chaos that was the NDA swept through. And after another aimlessly stressful night I went to a place embedded my memory. A little forest that my friends and I spent years wondering about the future that we would like to have. From a time where we thought the world was at our fingertips. When we didn't realize how cruel this world could be!
I screamed in frustration with tears welling up in my eyes. And then "it" happened. I felt strands of my hair that stiffened white, and my hands generated a tempest of cold wind that lashes out against a tree causing its surface to harden to frost. I looked at my hands that grew suddenly very cold as wisps of the blast still trailed off my fingers. And with the stunning revelation came at least a little mercy in my new life.
After the NDA things started getting a little better, crime had died down to a peaceful quiet. And I had now found a new reliever for my stress in the form of my powers. I didn't tell my parents as I felt that it should keep my powers to myself as I wanted to learn control over them a little more. I researched it, and I have cryokinesis. From my hands, I could unleash an endless winter and later on making my constructs of ice. In the privacy of the woods, I would explore the depths of my powers while talking about my day to the friends. I even had made a new friend after Genesis that time was a girl named Nadia. She was a girl that suffered from migraines with a lot of attitude towards her and rebellious nature that I liked. Still, I felt like we had a kinship as friends.
Unfortunately, we didn't stay that way. I remember around April she had finally convinced me to get a drink with her. She was ranting about the children and parents she had to deal with while I patiently listened. I went to the bathroom only once, but it was already over. All it took was a couple of sips and the world blurred into nothingness. Next time I wake up I find myself zip cupped to a chair in a lighted room that made my eyes wince. And I was glad for those first few seconds of blurriness for what I saw generally made my freakout. For I was face to the snout of a bear man with white eyes and a towering presence stood over me almost comically in a calm expression as I looked to make sure that I wasn't dreaming and attempting not to freak out. My captor spoke.
"Go ahead get it all out. Trust me you're not the first. Just the one that is taking it the best."
I quickly silenced my greatly accelerated heart and tried to remain calm with very little avail.
"Who are you? Why did you have me zip-cuffed here? What do you want from me?"
"My name is Paul, but four months ago it's of little importance. I'm sorry for the roofing you but I prefer direct meetings, and with an appearance like mine it's hard. Is it just the world we live in the right? And what I want from you is quite simple. I know your secret Ivan, and I think we could become very close allies in arms.
"How did you know I am a helix?"
"I told him," a voice cried out.
I then saw Nadia looked with a remorseful look and a disgusting mix of anger, confusion, fear, and despair all casts over my face.
"Do not be mad at her Ivan for she was following orders. For you see, I was fortunate enough to have her for the goals that I want to achieve. Nadia here is a helix that can sense if other individuals are helixes around her and when she finally managed to tail you using your abilities, and I realized you would make a perfect addition to our brotherhood."
It all clicks into place.
"You want me to join the Bratva?"
"Yes, I do Ivan. As you know, we live in a very different world — a very dangerous one to especially for people like us. Groups like the Purifiers, rogue Helixes grow stronger and ever-present seemingly every day. And it's not like this is going to blow over anytime soon. But this new age could also offer a lot of firsts if we pioneer in this mass of chaos and even control it. During the NDA I managed to stride in the chaos and take control Bratva here and now in the wake of Genesis I want to pioneer once again and be the creator of a new age in crime. In following months I want to stage a series of robberies with trained Helixes like you to suck Volgograd dry. With the pounds we would have accumulated by the next year we will rule Volgograd like kings, completely untouchable by those who seek to hurt us. Nadia has told me of your economic strife Ivan. Join me now, and your family will be like royalty and under my protection for the rest of their lives."
I thought about his offer for only a minute before I instantly give my answer.
"I refuse your offer. I may be desperate, but I will never be a criminal or a tool."
Ursa then got up, and his rage was palpable enough to have a creeping fear in my bones. He then quieted down and explained in a hushed and careful tone his counterclaim.
"After my... transformation I had looked into some of the abilities that I had access. And it painted a very explicit picture in my mind. I want you to imagine a man, scared for his life as he tried to escape a predator that hadn't existed when everything used to make sense. Run as he might he can't escape something that moves at 80 miles per hour. Try as he hides he couldn't escape from the nose of something that can smell him from over 40 miles away. Struggle as he might he couldn't stop something with jaws that rip into him with 3.5 times more force than that of a lion or crocodile and doesn't stop until he is an unrecognizable pile of flesh. And I want you to imagine Ivan that this man was your father, mother, friend or sibling. Tell me Ivan do you think that you would be able to delay me from that outcome for even a second? That earlier speech wasn't an offer young man; it was an order."
The answer was written all over my face and then my family dying ringed out in my mind.
"Family is the light that unites and pushes us forward."
So I give in to the Ублюдок(bastard) demands and became one of his servants. Hiding my secret was relatively easy, but it was harder on me. In the coming months, more helixes joined the cause of humans as subordinates. With each new member, we were first to experiment and push ourselves to the absolute limit. Every other week I had run the risk of getting hypothermia or frostbite. My body after Genesis felt... not like my own. It was more used to the cold, but still, I had a limit to how much it can take. To compensate I had to use heat packs to at least warm up faster. Over time more of my hair started to grow white with my abilities grew stronger. By late June we officially had our crew set up, and we engaged in our raids.
Our main crew involved five other helixes apart from myself. сканер(scanner),камень(stone) шпатлевка(putty)подчистка(erasure) and myself. All of them were hasty and temperamental with me the only thing keeping them together and keeping our fatalities to zero. In a little over two months, we had engaged in a rhythm that managed to robbed the city blind. With every new conquest, guilt would clasp my throat. I hated every second of it and worse yet our power truly was starting to rise with every conquest. It pained the very soul that I was stealing from the city I once loved. My options were minimal with Nadia watching my every move I couldn't even blab to the police, and even then traitors would suffer a price too hefty to pay. I thought I would be doomed to a life of crime forever. Until on one particular heist, my life entered an all-new chapter.
On August 9th A.G. we were sent to invade the Vozrozhdeniye Bank. We made our move in the dead of night maybe 4 in the morning. At that point, our routine had been copied down to a science. Scanner the day prior had managed to use her powers to scan the schematics of the buildings even the directions of snack room, and its contents. Directions that proved very effective as we rode in 2 minivans and moved out. Moving in first I quickly freeze the doors of every police car I see shut. I put up two large walls of ice to prevent further back up from arriving. Five heavily armed men and women and Stone guard the place against further resistance as we got to work. Putty using his adhesive abilities made strands of a powerful glue-like substance outside of the camera's field of view and completely cover them in the substance blinding them. I then use my powers to break through the door and destroy the remaining cameras. Erasure takes her turn by activating her power. The ability to disintegrate three objects at a time regardless of size. The bigger the object the faster it comes back. With the vault gone we grabbed as much money as we could carry and made our way off.
It was around then that we got a call that something was wrong. A series of clamoring voices overtake our comms with Stone talking up a storm of Russian curses. We ran out of the door to see an absolute massacre. A red blur with flames alight had knocked all of our men to the ground and destroyed our surrounding vehicles. Only Stone was left, his ripped clothing revealing his granite-like skin.
"C'mon you hit me again you Ублюдок(bastard)! I'll take everything you got!."
Out of the blue, the blur rocketed towards him and crashed into him with a blow that tore up the street. Stone looked hurt, but he smiled a malicious smile as he managed to grab the unseen opponent. The dust revealed a man cloaked in red that radiated fire. Immediately he tried using the insane speed he had before to try and throw himself off of Stone in contrast used one of the principles of the Russian fighting style Sambo. He controlled his momentum and advanced his grip ever further in their almost dance-like struggle. It was barely a stalemate as while the opponent was catching every blow; he was chipping away at his skin with every brutal punch. As much as I enjoyed Stone's beatdown I couldn't afford to spend my life in jail. I was the only thing protecting my family from Ursa.
"Stone throw him up, Putty glue him!"
Stone followed suit with the next punch sending both of them rolling, but Stone took control and kicked him upwards as a ball of putty sticks him to the wall. Putty was about to suffocate his face, but I forced him to focus on finding a vehicle. My wall of gets eviscerated by a digital blast from Eraser. The rest of us managed to disable the oncoming police with Erasure cleverly using her powers manages to get a truck without too much trouble. As we frantically escaped while Putty, I were in the back chaos like a parasite sucks away our confidence and our cool. They bickered at each other like hounds while I had tried to r\ub together my hands that started to feel stingily cold. Still, we were making an active getaway until from the back I saw a woman with lighting licking off her body. As the electricity coiled up her hands her eyes lit up and sparked as a quick, concentrated blast of electricity makes 2 of our tires combust. We swerve out of control as both of us tumbled onto the oncoming blacktop. Before I met impending death, I put my powers on full blast, enveloping the ground in snow as I also propel myself into a softened fall.
I turn to see the aftermath of the crash. Putty had found a way to stick himself to the wall. Erasure was the driver and so was knocked unconscious. Stone, however, was still very much active as he struggled to get out. The lighting woman turned her attention to me but I quickly able to make a smokescreen and again I take flight upon blasts of snow that proper on a nearby rooftop. A literal chill went up to my spine as I fell to my knees shivering. I broke out my emergency heat packs as I looked upon the continuing situation.
Stone managed to get out the door and charge at the mystery woman. He embedded his fist into the pavement, but she rolled just in time. But before he could crack her head open like an egg, A large blur suddenly takes Stone in a vice grip, and my eyes adjust to see a dragon-man of sorts forcing the mighty, struggling man to eye level.
"I suggest you stop struggling and peacefully turn yourself in. We could resolve this with peace."
In response, Stone punched him in the eye.
The draconic man screamed and howled in pain as in almost tantrum like rage he threw him into the sidewalk causing him to tumble into the oncoming wall that cracked on impact. Once the strange man recovered while holding his eye as he started to freak out. He made a short string of I believe Italian curses with the lightning women approaching from behind.
"Blackout did, I just killed someone didn't I? Oh, god I don't want to go to jail."
"Gargoyle, take a break, calm down and look over there."
Stone had amazingly got back up but was pretty much on his last legs of stamina with a small spark of lighting knocking him out instantly.
"And then there was one."
About 100 curses ran off in my mind as I run across the rooftops with only the sound of chattering teeth and footsteps. All the while the questions of the swarm of events but the most frightening of all was what birthed from the possibility of them catching him. Those questions were about to be answered as somehow a bola entangles my feet forcing me to the ground as I turn to see a man in black with a woman in a steampunk costume. How many of them were there?
"Stand down; your lackeys are done for."
"I-I'm s-sorr-y, but I can't afford t-t-to," I said through chattering teeth.
I summon up an ice wall in between us as with my other hand I freeze and break the bola. I continue my stride for only a few seconds more until a trail of flame blitzes me, and next thing I know I'm on the edge of a rooftop with the only thing stopping my potential fall was the hand of the man in red. How the hell did he get out?
"Now's best to tell us where the rest of your little gang is before I break your ass to the gulag."
It was then that my struggle was over. For even If I was to make my way down safely, I was too cold to escape these mysterious crusaders effectively. So I gave in to their demands. I told them of how I was blackmailed into the Russian mob and how I survived up until now. I even spoke of how big our operation had gotten over the coming months. And after they finished their tale of how they became known as the Champions, I only asked one thing.
"Please, I'm telling you the truth. Take me with you; let me help you bring these people to justice."
We made an uneasy alliance, and we managed to in an hour return to Ursa's base. During the NDA Ursa bought and moved into a storage unit that had purchased with round the clock protection as I walked towards the base fully warmed but still a little sore from my last encounter. To make a statement as soon as I entered Ursa was there barely fitting into the hallway. As if to market his grand size even more.
"What the ад (hell) happened?"
"We were attacked by a group of helixes powerful ones at that. I was the only one who made it back. All the others are probably in custody right now."
Ursa held in his rage as he started to formulate a strategy.
"I already have a couple of cops in the force so at least at the very worst it seems you will be forced to dispatch some of your former teammates."
"I may work for you, but I will never kill for you."
"You will do whatever I ask of you Ivan, lest you want your family to be gutted like a fish! Our kind lives in a world gone mad, a peaceful life for us is nothing more than a far-flung pipe dream. I will not spend the rest of my life living like some vermin! And I will do everything in my power to claw my way up to supremacy and as long as you still live so will you, young man."
"And you think that rage, fear, and greed will help you achieve that goal? Face the facts Ursa you are nothing but a parasite sucking this city dry for all it's worth. A parasite that greedily devours up the money and powers just to make himself stronger. Well no more, your campaign ends here because I will stop you."
"You and what army?"
"The one I brought to your doorstep."
I fired into his eyes, encasing them in ice. The trick bought me a few seconds to escape as the room exploded from Ursa's rage. He rocketed towards me screaming in a primordial fury. However, just in time, the wall next to me dissolved in the wake of blue lighting as Gargoyle crashed right into Ursa! The stampede of the two behemoths didn't stop as they crashed again and again into various walls until I finally sensed that they were outside. Once there I found that Ursa, Gargoyle, and Wildfire were all staring each other down. I summoned a wall of ice to block any others from interfering. I opened up my heat packs as the combatants started talking.
"You know I never thought that I would fight against the Care Bears ugly inbred cousin, "Wildfire said mockingly.
"There already Care bears cousins. I remember there was like a lion, an elephant, even a raccoon," Gargoyle said.
"You don't say," he said turning to him with genuine curiosity.
"Yeah, you see I had a cousin who used to watch the show-"
"Will you please stop talking so that I may rip you limb from limb," Ursa said insistently.
"And they say I have anger issues."
"As much as I hate to admit it he's right, let's end this, "I said walking up towards them.
"This isn't your fight." Wildfire said
"It is, and I won't slow you down."
"Then let's end this fast."
Wildfire charged in with a trail of fire as he collided with the predatory criminal with a dropkick that makes the area resound in force. Ursa was pushed back but not out as he flexes Wildfire away. Before the speedster could make his escape, he manages to grab and slam Wildfire into the ground and throws him right past us like a baseball as he turns his wrath to us. Gargoyle takes charge, answering his rampage. Ursa crashes into Gargoyle with thundering power; however, Gargoyle manages to twist him out of the charge. Ursa who was the faster of the two by leading to stomp on his tail. With him cornered and blinded by the pain, he proceeded to slash across his boy and leave marks on it before unleashing a hit that makes him stagger. Still, he managed to get his second wind. The fight that continued was brutality incarnate as they engage in a storm of savage blows every one of them ripping into each other all the more. In a few minutes, they were covered in small cuts and bruises. While Gargoyle was tougher, Ursa could fight better and was the more agile of the 2. Eventually like a real beast Ursa bit into Gargoyle's left shoulder!
A sickening crunch could be heard as blood steamed the air with Gargoyle left defenseless and crumpled below. Ursa was about to go in for the kill, but I intervened using my powers at full force. My hair stiffened, my hands stung with blistering cold wind whipped at my face. But still, I unleash the power of a blizzard onto Ursa and knock him down. I unfortunately couldn't continue for more than a couple of seconds but Wildfire returned with a vengeance. Keeping the pressure up he engaged in a hurricane of hits, but he suddenly started to slow down dramatically until again he gets hit by an enraged Ursa. With him and Gargoyle down and out, I was pretty much left by my lonesome. As Ursa approached ready for the kill I thought, his little image was finally about to happen to me. I quickly push that to the wayside as I would rather have died than allow this monster to come after my family. After my parents who had me at an early age but still loved me with all their heart or my sisters Natasha and Alena who had just turned 5. And after four months of blackmail, I finally wanted to do something for me for once and win over him! Forgoing my safety I decided to risk it all by using my hands to make the earth beneath me cloak itself in frost and as Ursa approached I used the last possible second to slide myself right out of Ursa's charge.
Almost comically we slid across the now icy ground. As Ursa got up, I stayed down with frost overtaking me. My vision became blurry, my nose was stuffed up, and the only movement across my body was shivering and chattering. Ursa tired and was literal seconds from tearing me apart. However, before he could Gargoyle got back up and with a primal rage in his eyes and a speed never before seen he decked Ursa in the face so hard he was sent flying! However, his path was interrupted by the intervention of Wildfire who from a far-flung place was bursting with fire as he hit him with a small explosion! After Ursa bounced across the ground, he finally was knocked out. However, I was already starting to fall asleep with the cold finally catching up with me.
When next I wake I find myself in the hospital. And when I wake up, I see doctors surrounding me. My family comes in when my full focus comes. As they clamored around me an unfamiliar, elaborate voice comes.
"Oh, thank goodness you are alive! I wouldn't know what to do with myself; If you had died."
Sensing that this might be an ally. Trying to play along I ask what had happened.
"Oh, you poor thing! Can't even remember. Well, I decided to take a little vacay with myself, my butler Phil and my precious dog Jeffrey. We were all walking down the Volga River and Jeffery fickle thing he manages to go into the river. Then this young man comes in and saves him from the river! He was probably in that cold river for a good 7 minutes, but he saved my dog and well the rest was history. And repay you for such a kind deed I would like to humbly give you a check after this whole ordeal is over. "
It was a plausible and impressive story, and in only a matter of weeks, I was able to get back with my normal life. The news stated that most of the Bratva and Nadia were now in jail, which put me at ease. We were given a large sum of money from the woman, and I had a new contact. Eventually, I decided to come clean about being a helix to my family and now that we were comfortable money wise. I also told them I wanted to get a GED. In a little place called Philadelphia, hoping that I may one day repay these so-called Champions for saving me from my impossible situation. They agreed, and by September I was in a brand new country and with that, a brand new opportunity to finally achieve my dream. My name is Ivan Petrov, and that was my story of how I survived in a world gone mad. But in the coming months, you may call me after the name of the season in which my friends lost their lives. You may call me Winter.