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Peices of Eight:
pacing anxiously sent echoes from his hardened boots reverberating down
the marbled hallway. He was watching his pulse rate race pass eighty in
his heads-up visor display. Struggling to enhance his own calm, he only
agitated the hospital med-tech who was sure the Protector, if angered,
would kill him if he did not hurry with the results.
City of Heroes/City of Villains
Fan Fiction By
“It should be done any minute
sir,” the young technician said fumbling over the word knowing
the process would take several. The Protectors were heroes to the
people of the Rogue Isles, but rumors abound about what happens to
those that piss them off. If the Protector heard him, he did not
indicate it and only paced back and forth at an increasing rate deep in
Mentally turning reality on its side, Norman
manipulated the puzzle before him. He knew her from somewhere, but
trying to remember someone else’s memory was difficult. If it
even was indeed someone else’s. Recalling his childhood easily
summoned forth the day his father died from wounds sustained in service
to Arachnos. It had been a cold day, and a colder one to come when his
mother finally succumbed to her cancer years later. He remembered
joining the ranks of Lord Recluse honoring the memory of his father,
but that is when the fragments began.
Norman stopped his pacing, walked across the hall,
and stared silently at the little one as she slept. He knew this child,
but not why. The dealings with criminals like the Gamester only clouded
the situation. His conclusions had to be accurate, she must be his
daughter and he accepted the idea including what it would entail.
Losing himself in that one happy thought in which the world made sense,
he saw himself as a father. His would have been proud of him at his
success in Arachnos, and he would make her proud of her father.
His thoughts drifting through the numerous facets of
his mind’s eye led him quite expectedly to Thauma Guard. He
sighed deeply at the thought of two important women in his life that he
could love dearly. He would do anything for them. Saving the world, or
destroying it, it did not matter for if they desired it he would
deliver it. He saw Thauma running along the beaches of the Rogue Isles
her black skin glistening as she chased their daughter across the sand
in a game of tag…
“Excuse me sir,” the technician interrupted swallowing hard. “I have the results.”
Reality slammed him harder than a brick wall and he
actually stumbled from the impact. He allowed himself to get lost in
happy fantasies only to be reminded how the world really was. His pulse
slowed to its normal fifty beats per minute.
The technician stepped back surprised to see the
Protector loose his balance. He quickly stepped forward to offer
assistance realizing that it might be insulting to not offer it.
“Hands off me,” Norman said swatting the
technicians hand away. Slightly embarrassed by his momentary show of
weakness he stood firmly at attention regaining his military bearing.
“You have the result then?”
“Yes, sir.” The technician gripped the
printout tightly ready to offer his conclusion, which all three tests
indicated decisively. The Protector made sure all retesting was to be
done at the same time instead of continuing the wait for the result.
What he was not sure of though was whether the results were what the
Protector wanted to hear.
Norman braced himself. From this day forward, things
were going to be different. He was reclaiming a part of himself and a
piece of the puzzle would be in place.
“The results are negative,” the technician finally blurted.
The answer hit him at terminal velocity and a
hundred times harder than that wall. His discipline and military
bearing prevented him from showing the slightest emotion. Rising
temperature in the hallway became noticeable to the nurse station a
several feet away. Norman did not see his pulse rise to sixty as he
summoned the heat of his inner fires. It was always ready and he was
prepared to release it.
Sweat began dripping down the technicians face and
with the long silence he realized something bad was about to happen.
Norman remembered she was nearby and suppressed the
beast. His pulse lowered. He could never hurt her regardless.
“All… all three test negative,” the technician stammered.
‘Very well,” Norman said waving the
technician away and turned into the room of his little one. He fell
into a pit of despair, but the world would never realize it. She was
not his daughter. He removed his metal gauntlets and stroked her soft
hair. He felt a peace and serenity he never remembered experiencing
“It doesn’t matter,” he said
softly. “I will ensure you’re looked after. You will never
be without want or need for I will spoil you as one of my own.”
Norman spent the reminder of the night for a few
short hours living the lie that she was his daughter. When sun shone
upon the hospital that morning he and the Toyster were gone like his
hopes and dreams. So was any trace of his blood test and samples. The
firefighters battling the blaze at the hospital would not ever find the
source of combustion in the blood lab.
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