Now: Above The Unity
Klaus von Lichter, whether he liked it or not, had become a man of conflict. In the past week, he'd saved the life of the President of the United States, been promoted to Deputy Director of the CIA, and celebrated what he approximated to be his nineteenth birthday. His hands twisted over his father's Death Ray, which he'd torn from the clutches of Central Intelligence itself. Rather than abscond with the device, he'd elected instead to integrate himself with the system, proving his worth as an agent to former Director Donn and winning the favor of the Equalizers. And now, for this operation, he had been chosen to command them.
A surprise attack on Samuel Washington's capital helicarrier was far from unprovoked. The madman had been hovering nuclear-armed helicarriers over American cities for nearly two weeks, driving up the blood pressure of every sane man and woman on Earth and threatening global war. Somehow, it was as though people had grown accustomed to the intimidating presence of the carriers floating gently above, though evacuations had taken place since they'd appeared. Washington had occupied entire cities without so much as firing a single shot.
And it will end tonight, thought the youth, adjusting his weapon's thermal output minutely. His lithe gloved fingers twisted over silver knobs, his motions unaffected by the turbulence surrounding the Equalizers' stealth jet. He was strapped into a passenger seat, magenta facemask covering his face. He'd rearmed himself with all his most potent weapons, as well as summoned the available members of Julius Jones' personal metahuman strike force.
It'd come to his attention that many in his line of work often opted to open with their most powerful attack, attempting to end the story with a single blow. He also knew it would never work. Life obeyed certain rules; one that reoccurred constantly was the inexorable truth that if one opened with their ace, the ace would fail. It was inevitable.
And so, he kept his cards far up his sleeves. At his fingertips, he had the indomitable power of the Equalizers, the support of Maverick Incorporated, the technological prowess of a certain armored ex-President, the magnetic mastery of a malevolent mutant, the goodwill of Director Tyrus (whose conscience would force her to intervene, were the situation to call for it)...and if need be, the Consortium itself. Klaus had come to America with one singular intent: to surpass his father in magnitude of power. Yet, where Otto had broken the law, Klaus would uphold it as a post-mortem screw-you to his DNA provider, and with relentlessness the world had never seen.
He stood, in the middle of the jet, turning to address his unfamiliar squad. He did not know some, but they all knew him as the Magenta Rogue who'd helped save Quentin. He crossed his hands behind his back, and issued his order.
"No civilian casualties. But the terrorists? Rain hell."