"The Road to Hell": A little over three months in Bermuda, Holden Carver is on the run and being chased by Federal agents. After subduing the agents, Holden recalls that ever since leaving the United States he has been stealing money and going from country to country to escape from the authoriti
- Because when the Tactically Augmented Organism looked at life, he saw only chaos and order. And humanity's denial of chaos appalled him. So he would tear it all down and fill the whole world with chaos, if only to watch mankind cling to their illusions as they burned around them...would he destroy the world at the same time? It's certainly a possibility.
- — Tao
Synopsis for "The Road to Hell"
A little over three months in Bermuda, Holden Carver is on the run and being chased by Federal agents. After subduing the agents, Holden recalls that ever since leaving the United States he has been stealing money and going from country to country to escape from the authorities and Tao's Syndicate, and even places where he wouldn't likely to go.
After killing a CIA agent, Holden knew that escaping the island wouldn't be simple and decides to make a desperate run to an airfield to hijack a plane. Once holding up one of the maintenance crew to charter a plane out, Holden is confronted by Tao, Peter Grimm, and their new Torpedo the Blue Meanie. Holden fails to attempt to kill Tao and is subdued by the Blue Meanie's power. Tao then has Peter Grimm finally have his way with Holden, making him experience the nightmares of the memories of the deaths, feelings, and betrayals he had caused. Finally Holden's nightmares stop and gives Tao the chance to talk with Holden. After sending his men to guard the perimeter, Tao calmly informs Holden that he didn't come here to kill him, but wants him to come back to "where [he] belong." Holden is very skeptical, but Tao lists out the reasons why he belongs to him such as recounting the file that could cleared him that Holden destroyed, the interrogations that he refuses to acknowledge himself as a double agent, and concludes that Holden is simply punishing himself; furthermore, after considering of the list of crimes Holden committed, Holden had given up on his life until he took the chance to escape from I.O. which places him to accepting himself as within outside of the law.
Tao then decide to recount his origins and life to Holden and reveal his true intentions.
In the beginning the experiment known as the Tactical Augmented Organism was created by the Optigen Institute. It had no parents and was researched by Dr. Ruark and his scientists. TAO, as they called the baby, began to speak when he was a week old, which terrified the scientists as they had underestimated TAO's rapid evolution nor its sense of self would be firmly formed. The wisest of the researchers decided to want it destroy but the others persisted against it. By the time TAO was a year old, he was already an adolescent, and he didn't know about the men working around him nor would they fearfully avoid looking at him. With no one looking, TAO escape his cage at night and looking through Optigen's computer systems and secret government databases, he was able to learn the world. By the time he looked like an adult, he already looked through forbidden texts and history. What he learned made him to disdain the human race, and considered that mankind "lied themselves to give life meaning."
Having tired of his captivity, TAO engineered an escape. He was given to the WildC.A.T.s and he himself don't know what to do. But he soon realized it was not about being a costumed hero as it was a "life of empty gestures" that kept fighting the "symptom and not the cause". He manipulate his team to fight against other heroes, and faked his own death to escape.
While hiding, TAO learned of the existence of the Secret Monarchy. Seeing them as potential peers, TAO infiltrated the organization. He discovered, much to his disappointment, that the Secret Monarchy's members were beset by human weaknesses and flaws, which, in his opinion, made them unworthy of ruling humanity. He decided to destroy the Secret Monarchy from within. To this end, he established the Syndicate and committed a series of surgical strikes at seemingly random targets. The people, such as John Lynch, had been frustrated of what Tao wanted in his goals, which some believed that he wanted to rule the world. However, this was far from the truth. What he really wanted was to shatter the lies and status quo of the world. Because, from his perspective, he wanted to replace it and fill the whole world with chaos at the same time in possibly destroying the world.
After hearing this, Holden is beleaguered and concludes that Tao's entire plan was simply to "tear down the world" for his own amusement. Tao points out to him that his actions are not different from Holden and wants him to elevate himself than as a pawn to his government and beyond the petty concept of good and evil. He also notes that Miss Misery wants him back and given his status as fugitive, he offers Holden to be sheltered safe inside his organization. As Federal soldiers arrive on the scene, which are being taken care of by Grimm and Blue Meanie, Tao has Holden released and offers him that chance. Holden then realizes that the CIA agent he killed and Tao's timing presence was planned from the beginning. But believing that there are no other options and knowing that Tao is right, he rejoins the Syndicate.
Marc Slayton is informed of the events that transpired in Bermuda, resulting in the entire deaths of the soldiers with the exception of two whose minds are gone. Marc is also given with a satellite photograph of Holden Carver, who displays a very uncertain and meaningful look at the viewer. Slayton is then interrupted by a doctor who needs him and is then surprisingly brought before a fully awaken John Lynch.
Appearing in "The Road to Hell"
- John Lynch
- International Operations