Pantheon
Lullabies

by ElenaRoan

Alternate ATF Universe: Pantheon

Character Focus: Vin, Chris, Nathan

Disclaimer: Donít own any of them, written purely for enjoyment. Mog created the ATF universe.

Betas: Geris (Grammar and Spelling), Michelle (Comprehension)

Warnings: OC's, but not romantic interests

Summary: An alert sends them on a hunt that has nearly deadly consequences.


Prologue: Not So Ordinary Day

"What's happening, 'siah?" Vin asked as he walked into the office finding Josiah there before him; which was an unusual occurrence but hardly surprising as the oldest member of the team tracked reports and news with his home setup.

The profiler held up a small stack of papers. "A warning to all law enforcement to literally run in the opposite direction if this fellow shows up."

Vin raised an eyebrow and Josiah handed him a sheet.

"He hasn't been seen here, yet, but he has taken down several heroes and an entire team." He lowered his voice to a bare murmur. "I sent a message to Nathan, we'll know tonight what their conditions are."

"Hell, no wonder they're telling law enforcement to run." Vin made no verbal or obvious acknowledgement of the information regarding Nathan but his eyes conveyed the message he'd understood.

As the rest of the team trickled in gradually, the rest of the sheets were handed out.

Chapter 1: The Hunt is On

"What do we know?" Dark Thunder asked as the heroes met in the base before heading out.

"He calls himself Silent Night and has taken down ten individual heroes and a team of five," Ajax supplied.

"All fifteen heroes are in critical condition and quarantined by the Hero Medical Authority..." Medical Marvel added.

"Quarantined?" Dark Thunder interrupted in concern.

"There is evidence of another organism in their systems. They don't know what it is but they aren't willing to take the chance that it's infectious. A young martial arts hero without powers is the most serious off. There have also been a dozen deaths due to whatever this is."

#Heroes?#

Medical Marvel shook his head, "Civilians."

Serious and concerned looks were shared between the other six heroes.

Aerotik tapped some keys on the computer. "United Heroes are planning to go up against him, also anyone who wants to help are welcome to join."

Dark Thunder met each of their eyes before speaking, "Notify them that we'll be joining the hunt."

---

They took less time than others at the same distance would have to arrive in Detroit to rendezvous with United Heroes because of Shadow Mirage's ability to travel through shadows. In the months since they had finally all teamed up together they had found their various powers becoming almost 'attuned' to each other and increasing in strength. In Shadow Mirage's case, allowing him to transport the other six with him in his trips through the shadows.

Scintillation Shock, the leader of United Heroes, looked up as they appeared.

"Good to have you with us," he stated, walking over to shake hands with them.

He had a special smile for the Silver Archer. "Was surprised that you hooked up in a team, you flew solo as soon as you could."

#Turned around one day and there he was, didn't have the heart to send him away,# the Silver Archer replied with a mischievous grin.

Scintillation Shock laughed, "I don't know what it is that you lot have, but whatever it is it was enough to bring back two who had walked away from the game, one who had retired, one who we thought was never going to take the plunge and one who had never even considered it."

The Silver Archer shrugged while flashing a grin at the rest of the team.

#The whole is more than the parts.#

Scintillation Shock inclined his head, "Come, let us show you what we have so far."

As they followed him Aerotik came up next to the Silver Archer.

"Where do you know him from?"

#He was my mentor when I was a teen.#

"Oh!" Aerotik looked surprised and Ajax chuckled.

"I presume there is more to our esteemed archer then he lets on," Shadow Mirage commented in his distinctive English accent.

Scintillation Shock glanced back at him with a wry grin. "Silver Archer is more than just someone with a knack for archery. You ever wondered what his powers are?"

Medical Marvel's stride faltered; they knew and accepted that the archer's problems with medications was due to his powered system but they'd never given a thought to what his associated powers were. His link with Dark Thunder was nearing true telepathic communication and the effects of the elements never seemed to touch him but what Scintillation Shock was referring to seemed to be bigger than that.

The United Heroes leader chuckled and picked up a pen as he reached the table, turning he handed it to the Silver Archer with a challenging smile.

#Scintillation Shock.# Said hero growled at him even as he accepted the pen. The forthright hero knew more about his abilities than even Dark Thunder.

"There's a fly buzzing around here, think you can do something about that?"

The Silver Archer sighed and looked around to locate the fly. Just as he saw it Scintillation Shock waved at it to scare it into flying at breakneck speed. The silver clad hero would have rolled his eyes if it would have changed anything and if it would actually be seen. With a last glare at the United Heroes leader he threw the pen; the agitated buzzing of the fly stopped abruptly as the flying writing implement took it out.

"It's more impressive to see him do that to multiple targets," the graceful lady who was Scintillation Shock's second in command commented as she looked up from the information on the table. Though still human she looked distinctly avian and was their aerial support.

#No more parlour tricks, High Flyer,# the Silver Archer complained. #We got a baddie to bag.#

Scintillation Shock chuckled, then outlined what they knew of Silent Night's movements.

Moments later the two teams headed out on the hunt.

Chapter 2: Found

The Silver Archer swore silently as he rolled into a crouched position after the unplanned tumble the villain had sent him on. He'd lost hold of his bow as well and couldn't spare the time to retrieve it. Pulling a stunning arrow out of his high tech quiver he threw it at the super powered menace and dived for his bow. Even as he did so he alerted Dark Thunder as to having found Silent Night.

The villain was just recovering from his arrow when the thunderclap announced that Dark Thunder had arrived, closely followed by the rest of the team.

Working together Dark Thunder, Shadow Mirage and the Silver Archer kept him on the ropes with the rest supporting them; not able to risk closing with the dangerous villain.

It took a while but he finally went down. As the dust settled the Silver Archer could see television cameras hiding around the area filming the action and aftermath. He looked up as High Flyer came in for landing.

"Is everyone ok?" Scintillation Shock demanded as he and the rest of United Heroes stormed into the battle area.

"Looks like it," Dark Thunder said, looking over his team. He inclined his head at Medical Marvel, indicating to the other hero to give everyone a once over just in case.

The tall hero had a sense about whether someone was hurt or ill, a sense that for a long time he had more distrusted than trusted, but the 'attuning' they had been experiencing had made it quite accurate where his team-mates were concerned. Medical Marvel nodded and did his own assessment of his friends. Glancing at one something pricked his senses and he frowned.

"Silver Archer?" The hero in question looked up from where he was inspecting his quiver at the armoured hero quizzically. Both Scintillation Shock and Dark Thunder froze as the hero continued, "Did he touch you?"

#What?#

Medical Marvel crossed the distance between them with long strides. "Did he touch you?"

High Flyer quickly joined them and handed a small box to the armoured hero. "Here, they developed a test for detecting if someone is infected."

The Silver Archer looked at them annoyed. #Guys, I'm fine. Stop fussing.#

Medical Marvel ignored him and pulled a small sampler from the box. Seeing that he wasn't going to back down the silver clad man pulled up his sleeve to let his friend take a sample. The few seconds it took for the device to return a result took forever for the heroes. A small light lit up.

"It's positive," High Flyer stated with a sigh.

#What?! Hell...# The Silver Archer ran his hand over his head agitatedly.

"I'll alert the Medical Authority," Scintillation Shock said softly, moving off.

"What are his chances?" Dark Thunder asked stonily.

"They're fighting it with nanites, but the heroes affected are slowly deteriorating," High Flyer answered reluctantly.

#Hell,# the Silver Archer commented, looking resigned.

"His body rejects anything intruding into his system. Including beneficial ones like nanites. They've saved his life on several occasions but it leaves him as sick as if he were coming off of a week long drinking fest until they go inert and break down," Shadow Mirage added softly.

Medical Marvel was still looking at the Silver Archer. "Let me try something." He pulled out an injector and injected the contents into the lean hero. The Hero Medical Authority arrived at that moment.

"What was that? Nanites?" The head medic asked.

"No...uh...it felt similar to something..." Medical Marvel stuttered. He knew full well the medics of the authority didn't think much of him even though it was accepted that someone like him was needed, that even more like him were needed.

"Felt? It FELT?! We have been the ones researching this thing, not you. You're just someone who takes our technology into battle with you!"

#Guys...# The medics completely ignored the interruption but Medical Marvel turned towards his team-mate.

Dark Thunder barely managed to catch the lean hero as his legs buckled.

The Silver Archer curled into a pain filled ball once his best friend had lowered him to the ground.

"Now look at what you've done, and you portray yourself as a medical hero!" A medic said scathingly to the armoured hero. Medical Marvel took a step backwards, not truly registering the medic's words, his eyes never leaving the form of the archer. Dark Thunder bent over the downed hero trying to offer what comfort he could.

Ajax pulled Medical Marvel away, turning him as he did so; so that the distraught hero couldn't look at the situation.

"Might I suggest that it would be prudent to remove him from public view?" Shadow Mirage suggested softly, coming up to the pair. When the giant nodded he whisked them away to their base. Leaving the two there he returned so that he could transport the rest of the team when they were ready.

The rest of United Heroes had gathered around providing an effective screen for the ill hero, the medics and the rest of the team. Eventually the medics loaded him onto a medical transport and whisked him away, leaving the rest unsure of what to do.

Joculator squeezed Dark Thunder's shoulder in reassurance. "Come on, let's go back to base. They'll let us know how he is."

Scintillation Shock nodded his support, every line of his body showed by the crystalline looking costume conveying the hero's concern.

Dark Thunder nodded wearily, the rest of the team all linked arms and Shadow Mirage whisked them away.

Arriving they only found Ajax in the base.

"Where's..." Aerotik started.

"He went home," Ajax replied sadly, turning to the black clad hero. "Dark Thunder..."

"Medical Marvel would sooner chop his arm off than knowingly hurt Silver Archer," said hero interrupted, "I know that."

"We all do, except him. He's blaming himself. I wouldn't be surprised if he decides to walk away from the game," Ajax said morosely.

"If the Medical Authority will let him," Shadow Mirage noted gloomily.

Chapter 3: Aftermath

"Where's Vin?" AD Travis asked as he came into Chris' office.

"Stomach bug," Chris answered. "Nathan's with him."

The medic hadn't come in that morning and while it lent credence to the claim that Vin was sick it worried the blond.

The former judge stepped close and dropped his voice to a soft murmur.

"I'm no fool, Chris. Figured it out the first time all seven of you went out. How is he?"

Chris blinked a few times before answering softly, "Prognosis isn't good. What they're using to combat it doesn't agree with him, which will just make things harder."

"How's Nathan taking it?"

"Blaming himself. Didn't come in this morning, which worries me."

JD interrupted them with a quick knock on the door. "News is on."

Pretty much everyone in Denver had TV's on after the morning news had revealed that the Silver Archer had fallen to Silent Night the previous night. The city was waiting for news on their city's hero.

Chris and Orin exited the office as they were re-screening the footage of the Silver Archer's collapse.

"This was the scene last night shortly after the capture of Silent Night. The Silver Archer had apparently been exposed to the same toxin that has 15 other heroes in critical condition. Medical Marvel had injected him with something, presumably to help the situation, just prior to his collapse.

"It is clear that none of the heroes at the scene blame the medical hero and two of his companions whisked him away from the public eye moments later. However it is clear that the medics of the Hero Medical Authority blame him and sources indicate that Medical Marvel was summoned to Hero Medical Authority headquarters an hour ago.

"There has been no further word on the Silver Archer's condition or that of the other heroes affected."

"Crap," Buck stated succinctly.

"He'll already be blaming himself and now they've dragged him to their headquarters. Without informing his team I'd bet," Josiah rumbled.

They all shared concerned looks for a few moments.

"Ok. Back to work, won't help anything by worrying," Chris ordered. The rest of the day passed in tense silence.

---

It was a sombre group of heroes that met in the 'lounge' room of the base that night, hyperaware of the two they were missing.

Dark Thunder finally squared his shoulders. "Mission room."

Opening the door he stopped short in the doorway, a slow smile spreading over his face.

#Well about time you turned up, storm cloud.#

"Silver Archer??" Aerotik exclaimed, dashing past Dark Thunder into the room that looked like a conference room. Both the Silver Archer and Medical Marvel sat in there.

The rest of the team poured into the room to welcome them back.

"So what happened? The news said that you had been summoned to medical headquarters," Ajax rumbled.

"Yeah...to apologise. Seems that injection was exactly what was needed despite the reaction. The rest of the affected heroes are on their way to recovery."

Both Aerotik and Joculator gave a whoop at that news.

"Ok, let's head out," Dark Thunder said with a distinct smile.

Epilogue: Resolutions

"I figured it out ages ago, Orin," Mary said softly to her father in law. "How is Vin?"

AD Travis sighed, "Not even Chris knew."

"How is Nathan taking it?"

"Didn't see him."

Mary looked worried and Orin switched on the TV in the hope of catching something about the two heroes. It was switched to a channel that had 24 hour coverage of superhero activities.

"...night we're trying to catch a glimpse of the team that both the Silver Archer and Medical Marvel are in. There is a lot of speculation as to whether they will even be out tonight with the Silver Archer so ill and Medical Marvel apparently facing disciplinary action."

The pretty young lady led her team out into the dark streets of Denver.

Mary and Orin watched as the lady, not much out of girlhood to their eyes, nervously went around the streets giving a running commentary as she did so. The night was silent around her.

Just as they were starting to think nothing was going to happen a big fellow with a large electric sword leapt out in front of them. The camera operator barely managed to keep it steady.

"Oh my...!"

"Say your prayers little girl! You're about to meet your maker!"

He raised his sword and Mary, Orin and Eve gasped, sure they were about to witness the young woman's death on live TV.

The villain suddenly jerked to a stop with small lines of electricity running over his limbs. As the villain fell a form materialised out of the shadows and a blur ran in to stop near the downed swordsman. Before the television team had had a chance to do more than catch their breath the rest of the team arrived, rappelling down from the roof tops. All of them, including the Silver Archer and Medical Marvel. The young reporter leapt on her opportunity

"Silver Archer, reports had you affected by the same toxin that has 15 other heroes in critical condition."

#Reports weren't incorrect.#

The young reporter seemed disconcerted for a moment.

"What happened?"

#Medical Marvel isn't just a pretty face.#

Anything more the reporter could have asked was interrupted by the arrival of special force to take charge.

Mary looked at Orin and Eve and saw matching smiles on their faces. Their world was back the right way up.

End

Feedback to: ElenaRoan78@yahoo.com.au