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Stories # - L | M - Z | Authors
Fall From Grace
The Capt. Conduit Saga
by Brad Blanton
The cool night air rushed across his face as John Sinclair flew
silently over the filthy neighborhoods of King’s Row. He called
himself Capt. Conduit now, but he didn’t feel like being much of
a hero tonight. He wasn’t even wearing his bright blue and white
costume or cape that proclaimed him to be an avatar of justice. He wore
a plain white T-shirt with a black lightning bolt painted on the front
and a pair of black jeans. Justice was the last thing on his mind
He’d gotten a call from his friend, Barry in Talos Island. Barry
had told him that Joey Marcone had just escaped from The Zigg, and the
police needed his help in bringing Joey back in.
“What the hell do you mean he’s escaped, Barry? I just put
him away 2 months ago!” John yelled into the phone.
“Take it easy, CC, I need you to keep your head on this
one,” Barry advised. “This guy is dangerous. He killed 3
cops when he busted out and another one during the chase over to the
King Garment factory.”
“He did what?” John asked flatly.
“Yeah, he knifed a prison guard and took his revolver”
Barry said gravely. “Then he shot two more guards on his way out.
You ok, CC? You don’t sound so hot.”
John’s mind raced. “I’m fine. King Garment Works, you said?”
“Yeah, he’s holed up there now. It’s a standoff. There’s cops everywhere,” Barry said.
John hung up the phone in a daze without another word. He thought about
the prison guards that had been killed, and he remembered his life
before he came to Paragon City. He had been a prison guard in Alabama.
He’d been a Captain, no less. He remembered his friends and
coworkers that he had grown up with in his rural southern hometown.
Then he thought about the day of the accident that had given him super
powers. He was the executioner, the person who operated the
state’s electric chair, and this time there was a malfunction.
When he threw the switch, he took the shock instead of the condemned
man. That’s when he found out he was a mutant. The electricity
had activated his mutation. He lived, but now he could create
electrical charges right out of his hands. Everyone in his hometown,
the same people he’d known all his life, looked at him as if he
were a freak. Super powered people weren’t so common in their
neck of the woods, and they didn’t know how to deal with him. His
wife had even left him.
John had tried hard to never think about his past again. Whenever he
did, he always wound up depressed for days. But this time, something
happened that had never happened before. His pain, his frustration, his
heartbreak all slowly began to take shape as anger. If it hadn’t
been for that damn accident, he wouldn’t have these powers in the
first place and he’d still be married living in Alabama. But it
HAD happened, and now these cops needed him to use those same powers to
re-catch someone they couldn’t keep locked up to begin with. And
that little slime-ball Joey had killed 4 cops while escaping. Well,
they were going to get him back, John just didn’t know what kind
of shape Joey would be in when he delivered him to the police.
All of these thoughts echoed in John’s mind as he threw together
this makeshift costume and during his silent flight toward the factory.
John approached the factory from above and silently landed on the roof.
He didn’t want the cops to know he was there yet. He entered
through a skylight and silently started looking for Joey. He found the
gangster toward the back of the warehouse yapping on a phone in one of
“I’m tellin’ ya, there’s cops all over the
place. Get me outta here now!” Joey yelled into the receiver.
“Ok, just hurry it up will ya?”
After he watched Joey hang up the phone, John stood in the shadows and said “Give it up Joey! Its over.”
“Well, well. Capt. Conduit. I shoulda known they’d send a
cape,” Joey looked around the room as he spoke, obviously trying
to pinpoint where the voice had come from. “You got lucky last
time, Sparky. I ain’t goin’ down so easy this time.”
“That’s what I’m counting on, Marcone” John
said as he quickly dodged to the side. As he expected, bullets from
Joey’s pistol ricocheted off of the crates he had been standing
behind. John worked his way closer to Joey, keeping in the darkness. He
knew he could drop Joey from this distance with one of his lightning
bolts, but he was in the mood to fight with his fists.
“Yer quick, Sparky, but Mr. Revolver here is quicker than you
are. All I gotta do is get in one good shot and yer goin down”
John had worked his way around beside Joey and was close enough to
charge at him. He took a quick breath and charged the gangster.
“You won’t get that chance!” John’s
electrically charged punch caught Joey in the side of the face. John
had pulled his punch, just like he’d been trained to do by the
Freedom Corps trainers. The punch was still enough to knock Joey
senseless. The revolver skidded across the floor and John kicked it
under some debris laying on the floor.
Joey shook his head and regained his bearings, then realizing he no
longer had the gun, turned around and ran out the back door. John
smiled slightly and stalked out the door after him. Outside the sound
of police bullhorns still squawked demands for Joey to give himself up.
The flashing red and blue lights bouncing off of cargo containers
showed Joey ducking between two stacks of containers. John followed,
like an animal stalking its prey, through the twisting, turning
corridor created by the rusting metal containers.
As he turned a corner, he found Joey trapped at the end of a long
dead-end corridor. He slowly stalked towards the gangster, arcs of
electricity dancing all around his body as his rage slowly began to
build inside of him.
“Its over Joey. Give up” John demanded.
“Why should I, cape?” Joey asked petulantly. “So they
can throw me back in The Zigg? I’ll just bust out again. Maybe
even off a few more of your cop buddies in the process, how would you
John knew he was right. Joey would just break out again. Even if he
didn’t, Paragon City wasn’t like Alabama. They had no death
penalty. Joey would be back on the streets some day, no matter how many
times John put him away. His rage grew, deeper and stronger than ever.
“You’re right. I should just let you go” John said in a low, cold voice.
“What?” Joey asked, genuinely surprised. “I mean,
yeah, that’s right. Hey, you’re not such a bad guy after
all, Sparky. I might just have to send ya a Christmas card, heh.”
“I’d be running if I were you” John stated, even more coldly.
As he watched Joey run past, John’s rage grew even more intense.
Joey represented everything that had gone wrong with his life. All the
pain and anger he’d been caused welled up inside of him and his
hands and forearms began to crackle loudly with electrical energy.
Something inside John snapped. Just as he used to do before he put
someone to death in the electric chair, he whispered one last message
to the condemned.
“Time to ride the lightnin’, Joey”
John seemed to move in slow-motion as he whirled around. He watched as
a blue-violet arc of pure electrical energy leapt from his outstretched
arm and hit Joey squarely in the back. Joey was thrown forward 15 feet
before his lifeless body lay twitching and smoldering in the dirt.
John slowly lowered his arm, took a deep breath and said “May God
have mercy on your soul.” He wasn’t sure if he was talking
to Joey, or himself
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