[December 1, 2021]
The afternoon heat filled the room. The repaired glass roof allowed the bright sunlight to light up the interior.
I stared at the stack of papers before me.
They all request the same thing.
Each page held signatures of various people.
They were written in ink. In crayon.
There was some in blood.
“This is most unusual, Miss Mantega.” I spoke in English. Her file said she was fluent in several languages.
“Supreme Leader. The people are dying under the oppressive government. You are our last resort.” Sofia Elizabeth Mantega’s voice was firm.
I stared at the young woman seated across from me.
Her eyes were hard. She was ready to fight me for support. Her simple suit was a far cry from the best, but it fit her well. I noted that she chose a skirt, and she tracked my eyes as gave her another once over.
She did not shy, and instead cross her legs, allowing her toned legs to get displayed.
I took in a deep breath, and leaned back. I closed my eyes as I felt a headache begin forming.
“What of your government? President Gonzalez has stated that the country is fine. He has told the world to not interfere.”
Miss Mantega stared out into the ocean. As a child she had seen the beach and sea all her life.
Yet in her travels she found that she missed such views. The world was beautiful, but also full of danger.
“To feed people. Save people. I don’t care what the current president says. Men like him will not last long.” Her voice had taken a edge.
I nodded, and smiled. This one had steel and fire.
Something I tried to breed into all the Jade Falcons when I lead them. Something that Candice had embraced and she was continuing that school of thought.
“Food is not an issue. Transportation is not an issue. Supply chain is the issue. I do not have anyone in the country. I have no interest in sending thousands of my people over to move food around.”
Miss Mantega was staring at me now. Her mouth was open. Her brain had derailed.
This was progressing much faster then she had anticipated.
This was easy. Too easy.
“If I can move food to a town, then I need your friends.” I gestured to the pile of paperwork. “To do their part. Is this possible?”
Miss Mantega nodded.
I leaned forward.
“Then its done. You will be our liaison, and we will hammer out the food shipments.” I tidied up the stacks of paper.
“Now we can discuss compensation. It will not be monetary, nor will it be an exchange of goods.” I smiled.
Miss Mantega was now staring at me. She felt her chest tighten. He had leered at her, and she had worn a more revealing skirt for this meeting.
She was serious with this request.
“You were a member of the X-Men, yes?”
Miss Mantega nodded. Her thoughts hitched. She was now unsure of where this was going.
Her resume had also indicated that she had lost her powers. She had skills, and her current identity as Renascence the best she had.
The New Warriors were still around, depowered heroes, but brave none the less.
I had a soft spot for underdog heroes.
“I need a reference. Val Verde has had its first wave of metahuman awakenings. I need guidance on how to teach them. To let them grow in a safe environment.”
I stared at the sea. Val Verde would not fall pray to the fear mongering that the world was being embroiled in.
If need be, I will open the country to mutants for all.
I knew what the most common possibility for metahuman persecution was. It was the end for everyone.
Metahumans were humans.
“I… if you get food to the people, I will get you in touch with the people you want,” she replied.
She hadn’t left on the best terms, but she knew that they would at least listen to her.
At least they wouldn’t turn away the possibility to educate other mutants.
That is if the Supreme Leader was trustworthy.
Val Verde was notorious as a country rife with political corruption.
She recalled classes with Wolverine. He had warned them about ninjas, mercenaries, and the hydra/cobra grunts. Which included this very island nation.
I smiled as I spied her intense gaze.
“I currently have 3 mutants on this island, Miss Mantega,” I turned my attention to her. “As citizens of Val Verde, they are to be given the best education we can provide.”
“At the cost of their freedom?” she said with a frown.
Then she grimaced at the outburst, as she wasn’t here to discuss metahuman rights. She was here to ask for aid.
“Hahahaha!” I leaned back as I broke out laughing.
She stared at me. That was not the reaction she had been expecting.
“I can see your perspective. Please note that the ‘Mutant Dampener’ technology is being worked on right now. The next version will be much more elegant,” I wiped at my eyes. Laughter was always good.
“Elegant, and easy to remove?” she hedged as she recalled seeing that broadcast. It was being circulated online, but no news station had touched it.
“Easy to remove. In case of dangers, I wish for them to be able to defend themselves,” I agreed.
There was many dangers for metahumans today.
At the top was the Purifiers, that rogue group of murderers.
Then next on the list was Sentinels. Though if we had enough time they would get a massive surprise as I had been working with Dr. Akagi on two big projects.
I smirked at the thought. Project MS, and Project BM were already in prototype stages.
“What happens when one of them has an accident, or a villain attacks?” she asked. Her voice was small, her thoughts reliving past trauma.
I sat upright.
I stared at her in the eyes.
“They will be held accountable, like any citizen of Val Verde. As any of my children,” my voice was firm. “Accidents are accidents. Murders are murders.”
Miss Mantega nodded but remained silent.
“It won’t be easy, when accidents occur. Though I will not hesitate to shoot those that seek to kill others without reason. If Purifiers or their like show up…” I gave her a smile.
Miss Mantega shivered as the her feared Supreme Leader revealed itself.
Yet a small part of her wondered what her life would have been like if she had been born here in Val Verde.
Though she had seen too many false promises to say anything
Only time would show her.
My true intentions.
Chapter 23: Wind of Hope