The Hounds

The Protomen

[Hours later, from the broadcasting room at the tower at the center of the city]

Albert Wily was born for this moment. He answered the reporters' eager questions about the disappearance of his partner calmly and evenly with the story he'd rehearsed. Inside he was teeming with contempt for these men who were turning the story from the real headline: the unveiling of his newest marvel. A giant telescreen just above their heads, mounted to the top of the building, would within minutes broadcast information non-stop to every citizen of the city. No matter. Soon these men and their questions would be obsolete. He reluctantly turned his own statements to the media frenzy at hand.

Tonight the streets are red,
The lights are blue and blinding.
No sign of the "Good Doctor,"
But the siren's wail and whining
Tell us he'll be found.

He made his way to the window overlooking the city.

I can almost hear the hounds...

He turned back to the reporters.

What kind of man builds a machine to kill a girl?
No he did not use his hands.
Like a smart man, he used a tool.
But just the same,
How can you question who's to blame?

What was her name?

It doesn't matter.
Now listen...
"The Good Doctor" has to pay!

Stepping away from the throng of reporters, he looked at the digital countdown above the nerve center of his broadcasting controls. He whispered quietly to himself...

When I say he was a monster,
When I set fire to his name,
It does not matter where you hear it from,
Whether truth or lies,
It gets said all the same.

Glancing once again at the countdown, he spoke plainly to the reporters.

Whatever's on the table plays!

1 minute, 46 seconds until the broadcast would begin

Wily shut the door on the tumult of voices continuing to shout questions after him. He walked down the empty hallway and around a corner and into the studio adjacent to his control room. A pane of double-plated glass sealed out the bedlam of the reporters. He watched as their mouths continued to hurl impotent questions.

In the silence of the studio he didn't bother trying to make out what they were saying. His eyes focused on a blinking red light above the digital countdown. He spoke aloud. His words bounced off the soundproofing glass. The cameras weren't yet rolling. The microphones were not yet active. His words went unheeded for the last time.

There is a flame I have been fanning.
There is a fire waiting to catch.
There is a hell that has been building
From the moment we first met.

58 seconds to air.

If there ever was a time,
If there ever was a chance,
To undo the things I've done
And wash these bloodstains from my hands,

49 seconds to air

It has passed and been forgotten.
These are the paths that we must take.
Cause you and I, Tom, we are men
And we can bend and we can break.

40 seconds to air.

If you think that you can run,
If you think that you can stand,
Well you forget who turned this city on.
You forget who plugged this city in!

30 seconds to air.

They'll not switch it off again.

He straightened his tie, knocked the wrinkles out of his suit jacket and faced the camera lens.

One by one they're tuning in.

15 seconds to air.

At this very moment - his moment of glory - he wished he could be out in the streets of the city. He wished he could hear the hum of a thousand tubes, powering the screen, popping to life and warming up simultaneously... wished he could feel the wave of sound as they drew the attention of every person within the walls of the city. His city. He wished he could float above the streets as every person walked from their homes, left their dinners, their polite conversations, their lives. Wished he could be there as they filed out into the streets, fixed their eyes on the giant screen, and waited.

3 seconds...

But Albert's place was here. His time was now. He cleared his throat.

The red blinking light went solid...

Outside, on the giant screen, Wily's face came into focus. For the first time, the people of the city looked to one man. They saw the face of a leader. One man towering above the city.

After a few inspirational opening lines, Wily turned his attention to the matter at hand. Thomas Light. He assured them that the murderer would be apprehended. He promised them that their city would be made safe again. They trusted him completely.

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