Having rescued Recon 542 and retreated to a safe distance from the S.S. Bakron, our heroes decided what they would do next.
“I want to go back to my shop,” complained Witch.
K12 was curious about what Sy had said earlier about unlocking his powers and memories, so he went over and asked. “Yeah, I think I can probably definitely get your Allauron powers back. There’s this moss – Molarian Moss – that grows on the planet Gaiana that I think will help. Gaiana’s super cool, it’s basically alive! It’s completely covered with moss and mushrooms and fungi and other kinds of—”
“Wait,” K12 interrupted. “You mean you haven’t done this before?”
“Not really, no. Nobody’s done this before,” Sy replied.
“Well, that’s comforting,” replied K12. “What are we waiting for, let’s go to Gaiana”.
“I want to go back to my shop,” Witch stated again.
“But I want to go to Gaiana. Can we like, drop you off or something?” asked K12. The rest of the team felt that it would probably be a good idea to check in with the city before heading off to another planet. They decided to take a pit stop on Earth for a few days before heading out to Gaiana. The crew of the Hive was fine with this, as they had no pressing missions in the near future and could use the time for ship maintenance.
So Witch went to her shop, and the rest of our heroes hung out in Dr. Tau’s lab. K12 and Hoenheim were kind of hungry, so they order a pizza. Vegetarian, no onions, spicy peppers. Then Doctor Tau checks in with Alexis.
“Finally, where have you all been!?” exclaimed Alexis. “I’ve been trying to call you for hours!”
That can’t be good, thought Tau. “Well, we’re here now,” he replied. “What’s up?”
Alexis reminded our heroes about the group Humans First, which campaigns against superhumans. They argue that the city is worse off with the Protectors, and that the reason so many bad things come to the city is because we have them. They want to stop the use of Adamantite, regulate superhumans, and ban the use of superhuman abilities.
It seems that with the recent wave of anti-Protector sentiment following the Yomi incident, Humans First has become radical. Undoubtedly they want to put themselves in the spotlight to attract more followers.
The group had taken the entire TAISAR building hostage, demanding that they cease their research on Adamantite and hand over their entire stock of Adamantite to Humans First to be “destroyed”. An ominous shadowed figure appeared on several public television monitors stating these demands, and rambling about other changes that they would later be demanding of the city. They said the entire TAISAR building is rigged to explode. If any police or Protectors were detected snooping around, they would detonate the building. Thomas Arkman would have one day to give in to these demands.
Doctor Tau called up Shadow asking if she could trace the source of the transmission to the city television network. A little while later, she called back saying she wouldn’t be able to do it in the amount of time they had. The double-layer 4096-bit SHA-4 encrypted firewall was just too much. She would, however, be able to hack into the security camera network at TAISAR to give our heroes vision of what’s going on, as well as to loop the video feed if our heroes wanted to enter without detection.
Our heroes then spent an (understandably) unprecedented amount of time deciding what to do. They were unable to see anyone on the security feeds, but were unsure whether invisible foes were lurking about. Witch wanted to try to communicate telepathically with someone inside, but they were unsure how to tell whether the person would be a friend or invisible enemy. After much discussion and deliberation, our heroes set upon their task.
They reached the forest outside of TAISAR, and Witch began telepathically communicating with a random person inside the building. Witch pretended to be a reporter. The scientist was very confused, but told Witch how a voice on the PA system told everyone they need to stay in their offices and labs or the building would be detonated.
Eventually the Protectors told Shadow to start looping the video feed, and tunneled into the first basement floor of the building. Doctor Tau diffused the first bomb they found, and then showed Hoenheim how he could also diffuse this bomb using his alchemy. The rest of our heroes began evacuating the building through the tunnel, so as not to arouse suspicion of anyone who might be watching from outside the building. It turned out that Humans First had been doing everything remotely, apart from inconspicuously placing bombs throughout the building.
Soon our heroes had everyone evacuated, except for the top floor which held Thomas Arkmann’s offices. Our heroes were worried about what Arkmann might be doing with his Kawaii secretaries during the commotion. The office had been placed in lockdown.
Hoenheim attempted to transmute the blast door of the office, but found he was unable to do so. He couldn’t even identify the material the door was made out of! He attempted to find a weak point in the office, but the whole thing was surrounded by this impenetrable material. Nobody was responding from inside the office. Eventually our heroes left the building.
Soon after, Humans First figured out what our heroes had done. The silhouette on screens throughout the city began to rant, “Curse you, Protectors! We promise you, this will be the last time you thwart the will of the people! We’ll be back!”
Will our heroes be able to identify the perpetrators from Humans First? Will K12 regain his Allauron powers and memories? Will the Kawaii secretaries be safe? Find out next time on Protectors of Emerald City!