The Keeper Chronicles by Philip Solomon
Chapter 1 - Continued.
The FBI's New York Division rests comfortably in Lower Manhattan, a far cry from the topic of the day's conversation. Sitting upon a bench in Foley Square just under the building's shadow I find former FBI Special Agent Typher waiting for me.
It's a fairly peaceful day in the square with most passersby simply minding their own business. Yet despite this I see Typher turn and nod reassuringly to someone that I can't see. There's the notable sound of a car starting and driving off giving me the sense that I passed some sort of unknown test I was in no way aware of.
Typher lets me next to him without a word, I got a sense during the earlier phone call that this interview might be somewhat difficult and the man's first words are a confirmation.
"You can listen to me now because I won't be saying any of this again. I'm gonna say what needs to be said and then I'm goin'. I'm not here to dilly dally so keep quiet and listen.
Back in the early 2000s I acted as the FBI's superhuman liaison, I took on those sorts of cases and when needed corresponded with the Dynasty or those freaks over in the Radicals. It was an odd job, they don't really train you for it in the Academy but it's what I ended up with and I was just happy for the money and the work. I'd heard about Keeper obviously. He'd been at his peak in the '90s but hadn't appeared for a good few years by 2003, most people thought he'd retired but we all know now that wasn't the case.
I remember getting ready for work that morning, thinking it was just gonna be a normal day. Didn't know how wrong I really was. At the turn of the century Rikers Island finally got its superhuman wing installed and so far it had seemed to be doing a pretty good job at keeping the freaks trapped inside. There hadn't been a single escape which was why things had been so quiet.
So by 2003 Rikers had its first prisoner released on parole, as you know any crime involving superhuman activity carries a mandatory sentence of at least three years. So three years eventually passed and this superhuman gang banger nicknamed 'The Pounder' gets let out of jail. He'd been arrested for drunk driving back in 2000 but because of his super strength he got locked in Riker's stunning new cell block. Now when he'd gone in he'd been this massive beefcake, like a warthog standing upright. But when he came out... Jesus. He looked skinny, pale and had these awful gashes all over his body.
Naturally we decided to go and see if we could find out what was happening. Me and my partner went over to Rikers to see what we could find out and I have never heard a cell block so quiet before. We went to speak with the warden, my partner went to speak with the inmates in their cells."
(There is a notable pause as he stops to take a deep breath).
"The warden... Warden Thompson had been there since before the block had gone under construction. Sitting in his office and talking to the man I remember thinking how kind he was, a kindly old man who's good nature had managed to somehow win over the most dangerous prison in America. I didn't know then what my partner was just finding out. Prisoners were seeing their cellmates pulled out of their cells and never heard from again, there were screams that could be heard at the dead of night... and there was a strange inhuman element about the guards that even I'd noticed upon entering the facility.
When I asked the warden about 'Pounder' coming out starved and quiet, Thompson told me some lie about him going on a hunger strike that I obviously didn't buy but lacked the evidence to follow up on. Leaving the office I bumped into Special Agent Mayhew, she told me what she'd found out and we decided to go back and talk with Thompson some more. We entered the room without knocking and saw the Warden without his face.
Seeing it lying upon the table I knew that it was just a mask... that didn't stop the shock from filling me. I hadn't known it was Keeper staring at me at the time but I still felt scared out of my wits. His empty eye sockets burrowed into me and even now sometimes I still feel them watching me. My gun was already in my hands, the words 'FBI! FREEZE!' had left my mouth but Keeper wasn't listening and didn't seem interested in getting arrested. He simply mumbled something we couldn't quite hear and then his armor smashed through the prison's walls and engulfed him before flying off. Absolutely terrifying."
"What was it that you found?"
"We still don't know what happened to the real Warden Thompson... we ended up calling for backup. Then we found a secret passage behind one of the warden's bookshelves that lead down to some sort of laboratory, There was an inmate chained up on a surgery table who almost cried with joy when we showed up.
The other inmates down there weren't so lucky. There were corpses piled up in a corner of the room, their chests sliced open and organs yanked out of them. Standing neatly on the other side were some sort of robot bodies, the inmate's organs placed inside of them instead. Don't think I need to tell you what Keeper was planning on doing."
(There is a notable pause as he takes a deep breath).
"It turned out the prison guards had some sort of control chip placed in their heads controlling their actions. Keeper had, had three years of undisturbed peace to prepare and enact his final plan. Which is exactly what happened under my watch. So everything that happened after that was entirely my fault."
"What are your thoughts on the current situation involving Keeper?"
"Now that he's locked up? They really should have just put him down as soon as they nabbed him. It would have been easier. But no, now he's locked up in Rikers and has all the time in the world to just think and plot and plan. More time than he's ever had before."
"You don't think he's safely locked up?"
"The only time Rikers ever managed to avoid a supervillain breakout was when Keeper was in charge. Now the place can barely hold even the weakest super villain and has someone escape weekly. So let's be real, Mister Solomon. How long do you think until Keeper breaks out of his paper walled cell and rains death and destruction upon all of us?"
Special Agent Charles Typher is a former agent of the FBI who served the organization for just over ten years. Working alongside his partner Special Agent Gabrielle Mayhew the two acted as the FBI's specialists in superhuman crime cases as well as the liaisons to various superhuman groups around the globe. Having since retired Charles now lives quietly in Queens with his wife and son.