"The Wild Storm – Chapter Eighteen": Miles Craven needs a minute, but Jackie King, who has an appointment with him, insists that he do his job as the head of International Operations. Based on the data her team recovered from their illegal hack on the computers of Skywatch, Cole Cash—the former
The Wild Storm #18 is an issue of the series The Wild Storm (Volume 1) with a cover date of December, 2018. It was published on October 31, 2018.
Synopsis for "The Wild Storm – Chapter Eighteen"
Miles Craven needs a minute, but Jackie King, who has an appointment with him, insists that he do his job as the head of International Operations. Based on the data her team recovered from their illegal hack on the computers of Skywatch, Cole Cash—the former IO operative they presumed dead but who showed up as part of a wild CAT who interfered with an assassination—is not working for Skywatch, but they now have a positive ID on one other member of the wild CAT, who was an astronaut who died decades ago. She thinks they can investigate more.
Miles Craven lists off his problems: Jacob Marlowe, the tech billionaire whose death he ordered, is still alive. Angie Spica, the rogue IO engineer whose capture he ordered, is missing. Mitch Saunders, the IO office worker who was the victim of a Skywatch phone bug, is dead, and when he attacked the Skywatch office in New York in retaliation, the two heavily-armed teams he sent were singlehandedly shot to death by Skywatch agent Lucy Blaze. Michael Cray, the IO assassin who he ordered to be "retired", is alive and working for a San Francisco division of Skywatch. Hightower, the IO research station, was hacked by parties unknown, and then destroyed from orbit by Skywatch as a show of strength. Craven is left feeling like someone is pulling a con on him, and that they are winning at his expense.
Angry, Jackie responds that Craven only feels like this because he is weak. Craven is angered by this, but becomes defensive, saying he has to be proportionate in his actions. Jackie recites the speech he gave when he took control of IO, about how the agency was beholden to a mission to save the world from chaos and anarchy, and in the service of that mission, they would do great and terrible things. Now chaotic events are assailing the world... and Miles Craven is sleeping in his office and complaining to her. If he cannot be equal to the burden of the times, she says, he should give the job to someone else.
On Skywatch's satellite, Henry Bendix, the agency's head, is talking to Dr Ragnar Helspont, the head of the agency's posthuman experimental research office. Helspont has good news—Christine Trelane sent him the medical readouts about Michael Cray, who Skywatch secretly implanted with something years ago which activated recently due to a surge of electromagnetism he received while trying to assassinate Jacob Marlowe.
Helspont boasts that he has been watching all the people Skywatch perpetrated posthuman research on, and says that his mind-control implants will perfectly when the time comes. Helspont wonders why Bendix does not keep these slave posthumans on this space station, to be teleported to Earth on his whim, but Bendix shoots down the idea, saying that if one got free, they could easily rupture the hull and kill everyone.
Helspont mentions that he used to work as part of Project Thunderbook, but left with all his research when John Lynch shuttered the program. Defecting to Skywatch, he was able to create fascinating—and controllable—human variants. Skywatch's previous subjects were prone to neural damage, but Helspont is confident in his work. "Everything in Heaven is fine"
In Jenny Mei Sparks' London flat, Shen Li-Men has recovered from trying to treat Jack Hawksmoor, who is in the shower with a shaving kit and a bag of new clothes. She says he has neural damage which is causing his amnesia and his eccentric actions, and while she can treat the symptoms, she needs to find the cause. Jenny says she just needs to know if Jack is able for the vigilante actions she plans to start, or if he needs to be somewhere quiet, to recover. Jack, clean-shaven, emerges from the shower and defends himself—though he may never fully recover, he is absolutely ready to get revenge on the people who gave him amnesia.
On a country backroad, John Lynch is driving. When he comes across Marc Slayton with, he responds fast, firing a flashbang from a grenade launcher to stun Slayton, and then another to further incapacitate him. Exiting the car, he spells out his position—the whole time Slayton has been trying to track him, Lynch had a tracking device on Slayton's car. Before, Slayton was able to surprise him, but that advantage is gone now.
Lynch pulls out his handgun, and explains how fearsome his bullets are. Slayton pulls out his coils, and prepares to lash back, but Lynch fires first—and shoots a hole in Slayton's car's, from the engine to the license plate. As Slayton pauses in confusion, Lynch spells out his position—he does not want to kill Slayton. He does not care about Slayton. But if IO is coming for Project Thunderbook, then they will strike at him from their New York headquarters, and the only way for Slayton to defend himself is with an offense against IO and its head, Miles Craven. Confused, Slayton looks to "the Carer", the hallucinatory embodiment of his alien implant, and it agrees with Lynch. Wishing Slayton good fortune, Lynch gets back in his car and drives away.
In the wild CAT's safehouse, Angie is writing a goodbye letter, explaining her respect for Adri, how she is leaving all her data on Kenesha's computer, and how she hopes to meet them again but will not come looking for more favors. That done, she puts out a message just as Jenny Sparks told her... and Shen appears appears and invite to walk through a doorway in space. Perplexed, Jenny complies and finds herself in Jenny's London apartment. Shen introduces Jack, who Angie immediately recognizes as the New York homeless man known as "the mayor". Angie explains that what finally convinced her to join Jenny's gang was a phantasmagorical visitation from a being whose likeness she produces—who Shen recognizes from her magical knowledge—and who referred to Jenny as having "the authority". Jenny accepts this news without blinking.
On a train somewhere in America, Michael Cray is explaining to a fellow passenger that his former employers were all jerks and he is travelling to New York by train to give one in particular a piece of his mind. She accepts this information at face value, but in the reflection of the window, the face that represents Michael's superhuman implant is smiling...
In the wild CAT's safehouse, Jacob Marlowe, the team's patron, is reading Angie's letter in mild frustration, but before the team can read it, Kenesha bursts in and informs them that an IO research station has just trapped a cosmic particle of immense power, and they need to raid the facility at once to stop any research.
At an open air cocktail bar in Los Angeles, a pair of aliens whose faces resemble the true face of John Colt—and the faces of Slayton & Cray's implants—are ordering drinks and complaining about how difficult it is to manage Earth. They are both glad that nobody else can perceive as as strange—especially when Lucy Blaze walks into the bar and orders a water. The aliens recognize her as "Zannah of the Khera", a former underling of Emp, the rebel who sabotaged the Kheran mission to convert Earth into a slave state. Zannah in turn rebelled against Emp, and so today, the two aliens have to balance Emp & Zannah's agendas, and IO's, and Skywatch's, all in secret, just to give the humans a chance at evolving naturally. And for this thankless job, they have rewarded themselves by choosing to get drunk on this, their night off.
On the Skywatch satellite, Bendix and Pennington are looking out over a view of Earth and a backdrop of stars. Bendix is considering giving Helspont a higher budget. And doing something radical to make Earth more "useful". And killing Miles Craven. As he considers, he sings a children's song and grins maniacally...
Appearing in "The Wild Storm – Chapter Eighteen"
- Midnighter (Flashback only)
- Apollo (Flashback only)
- Michael Cray
- Priscilla Kitaen
- Cole Cash
- John Colt
- Adrianna Tereshkova
- Lucy Blaze
- Christine Trelane (Mentioned only)