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Submitted by: Ura Hero.
title: You're a Hero...
September 28, 1918
Cripes it is cold tonight. It’s ninety degrees in the daytime and below freezing at night. I don’t know why I enlisted in this war. The push on the front is crazy and the fighting is intense. Seven miles in two days, everyone is worn slap out. Three of my buddies are dead and I might be next. It’s so cold I can’t even think of sleeping. Not that it matters, I’m on guard duty in ten minutes anyway. I’d like to see Sarge stand guard just once. It’d serve his lazy bum right to be out of sleep for two hours every night like the rest of us grunts.
No moon, but the sky is clear as a bell. No need to look since I can’t see two feet in front of me anyway. Just sit and listen, get up and walk thirty paces to the west, then sixty paces to the east, then walk back west another thirty, sit for five and do it over again.
Aw geez… The wind’s picked up. Like it wasn’t cold enough before, freezing my butt off out here and I can’t see squat. Jerry could sneak up on me and I wouldn’t know it until he slits my throat. Mom was right, I’m an idiot for trying to impress Sheila by enlisting and becoming a soldier.
What was that? I thought I heard a twig snap over to the left. Sarge said the best thing to do is kneel down and aim your bayonet up at an angle because they can’t see you any better than you can see them. At least that way you have a knife and a gun at the ready in case he gets in close before you can shoot.
There it is again. I definitely heard a crunching sound. I don’t want to be made fun of like Jim was two nights ago for getting spooked by an owl. Besides, the noise isn’t loud enough to be more than one person; it’s probably just a deer. I gotta stay alert and be ready to yell. Geez, I’m shaking like it was my first deer hunt. Darn nervous anticipation, I’m ready to crawl out of my skin waiting to see what is out there.
There it is again. Cripes it’s right on top of me and I still can’t see anything. What the heck? What’s that whining sound? Oh my god!!! It…it’s hideous. Why can’t I yell??? My throat is completely closed, nothing is coming out. I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. Oh Jesus, Mother Mary I’m gonna die… Please someone save me!!!
Sometime later I awoke trembling. There were more of the creatures around me. They were pointing devices at me that shone with colored lights. I could feel nothing. I couldn’t even be afraid. Disconnected. That was the word I was looking for. I felt disconnected. My world was nothing but a hallucination. That had to be it. The Germans attacked and I was shot. They say that morphine will do that to a man. Make him see things that aren’t there. My eyelids are closing and I can’t seem to stop them. I don’t want to sleep. I’m afraid I will die or am I already dead?
Again I woke, but I really wish I hadn’t. The pain is unbearable. The doctor running the ether mask must not be paying attention. No one should be in this much pain during surgery. Bottles of green fluid hanging above my head, hoses and tubes are running everywhere. I can’t see the doctor, but he must be working like a madman trying to save me. Please, oh God, please hit me with some more gas. I can’t take this. It feels like my entire body is on fire…
Third time is a charm I thought as my eyes opened yet again. The pain had mostly subsided and I was partially standing, but still leaning on a table. I found this odd, but hey the army has tons of new medical advances that the civilian population won’t see for years. I can hear movement behind me and a crackling sound like paper being wadded up. The hoses and tubes are still attached to me, but I can’t see where they go. Gaa…Ga...Gggg… Words are failing me, nothing comes out but stammering gibberish. I pray that I am dreaming. It can’t be! I must have died and gone to hell. Why are these things closing me in this bubble? My feet feel wet and I look down. They are trying to drown me in this green liquid. My hands slide helplessly on the glass of the bubble as I try to claw my way free as the liquid rises higher. NO!!!!!
Days and years pass unknown to the man in the chamber. His skin blackens and develops large green veins to assist in his ability to self heal. His bone structure, nervous system, and muscles evolve into something not quite human even though the form remains. His teeth blacken and his eyes glow green. Green bone grows through his scalp in a serrated pattern. Occasionally, tiny bits of bone as hard as metal shoot through his skin into the green liquid of the tank and fall to the bottom to be swept away and recycled like the other waste. Instantaneously the skin heals over, the small wounds ceasing to exist as quickly as they appear.
83 years, 7 months, 26 days later
A sudden shaking and jarring motion rocks the ship as bombs explode against the hull. Fires flare up as the ships vibration increases. The low throb of the engines rises in pitch until the entire ship is screaming in its death throes. Suddenly the entire world inside the ship is pitched violently around in a whirlwind of destruction.
“Captain, over here!”
“What is it Collins?”
“I dunno Sir, but it appears vaguely human.”
“If it’s alive, hit it with the stun gun and slap a transport tag on it. We don’t want it waking up on the way to the base and tearing the place apart, now do we?”
“No Sir! Tagged and ready for transport, Sir!” In a hurry to catch up with his unit Collins hit the figure with the stun gun, but failed to notice the lack of discharge.
“Call it in Collins and get on to the next one.” The Captain yelled disappearing down the corridor. He would be glad to get out of this deathtrap.
I awoke in time to hear the last two comments. As I tore the tubing and hoses from my body, the transport tag dropped to the floor and flashed into nothingness. Stepping through the broken bubble chamber, my only thought was escape. Get away from the creatures that had abducted me. Run! Run away! Avoid detection and escape. The memories of my abduction assailed every fiber of my being. Fear. Fear and uncertainty. Dead aliens everywhere. Dead humans too. It was like a bad H. G. Wells novel. My mind was numb from the oddities of the alien ship that I saw. My brain whispered to me. Escape…
May 24, 2002, 7:03pm
“Hey, what do we have here? This hero seems to be in bad shape. I’d better get him off the streets to someplace a bit safer. Way past my abilities to fix him up.” Jolan muttered to himself.
Looking around he saw a large pile of dead Rikti soldiers. “Looks like he picked himself one heck of a fight.” picking up the dead weight. Grunting a bit as he shifted the man onto his shoulders he said; “This guy needs the Steel Canyon Medical Center. At least it’s close by.”
The man never stirred. The coma was deep and the injuries were severe, it would be years before he was to awaken again.
September 13th, 2005
Steel Canyon Medical Center
“Doctor Frank. The ahhh... patient in room 306 is showing increased brain activity. The chart said to call you if anything changed.”
“Thank you nurse, I’ll be in shortly.” Frank hung up the phone and shuffled over to the filing cabinet and pulled out a slim folder. “Not much to go on”, he muttered. “No name, no next of kin. Nuttin honey”, he smiled at his own joke in a wry way.
“Tons of these folks from the Rikti raid. No one knows anything about them. Could be an enemy, could be a friend. No way to find out either way until they wake up.” Frank sighed as he read the admissions sheet.
“Hey, here’s a fellow that brought him in. Hero, goes by the name of Jolan. Hmmph. Empath. Think they can heal anything. God’s gift to the heroes. Heh. Guess I might as well call him. Maybe he knows something.” Frank picked up the phone and dialed. “No answer, figures. Probably out saving the world”, he mumbled as he waited to leave a message with his name and number.
Hanging up, Frank decided that erring on the side of caution was better than possibly dying from a hostile patient and called for a containment field for room 306 before heading up to the third floor. He hated containment. It made him feel sleepy, but it was sometimes a necessity. At least he could move as long as his field nullifier was working.
“Better check the battery. Don’t want the cursed thing dying like last year. That was a less than fun hour waiting for building services to get around to bringing a new one. Good thing the patient wasn’t seriously hurt”, Frank thought.
I woke with a strange face staring at me. The bright lights and alien oddities were gone, replaced by a familiar smell and a white ceiling. It’s all been a dream! Tears formed at the sides of my eyes. It’s all been a dream! I open my mouth to talk and nothing comes out, but a growl. I notice that I can’t move. Oh no. I’m paralyzed! I can’t move!!! Fear tears at my mind again. My eyes twitch looking for escape that isn’t there. There’s no way to escape when you can’t move. I clutch my eyes shut in a desperate attempt to drive away the paralysis. My muscles bulge from the effort, but my body is still.
“Easy there friend, you’re going to rip a muscle there. You’re in
I did as he requested and opened my eyes. I was still terrified and the adrenalin was still pumping in my blood stream. I would have been shaking if the restraining field would have allowed it.
“Now what do you remember? I’m going to loosen the restraint around your head so you can talk, assuming that you can since you understood me.”
The tension around my head relaxed slightly and I could move my jaw and even wiggle my nose a bit. “I uhh… I…” I stammered as I realized that my memory was blank. “I uh... don’t remember anything really.”
“That’s ok son. Tell me what you do remember. Do you remember your name?”
“No sir. I really don’t remember much at all, cept a few bits and pieces and they don’t make no kinda sense.”
“Don’t worry about it. Tell you what. Policy says I have to keep you retrained, but I’ll leave the field loose so you can move around a bit. If you move outside of the bed, the restraint will clamp down and you’ll be sitting pretty awkward, so I’d just stay put if I were you.”
“Yes sir. I kinda need to try and sort this all out anyway before I go anywhere. I get the feeling that I’ve been out of it for a while.”
Frank strolled back to his office and sat down stroking his beard. He always hated this part. “Louise, get me the Psych ward. No, no not the nutcase one, the other one. You know what I mean.”
“Bill. Frank here. Yeah another one. I need an eval by one of your specials, standard stuff. No hurry, it’s not like he is going anywhere soon. Send the report when you’re finished.” Frank replaced the receiver and dug in his desk drawer. Removing the bottle he poured a tall shot, draining it slowly. “I really hate this part.” he mused, pouring another. Nursing the second shot he said to no one in particular, “Kid probably has no clue. They never do.”
As I lay in the hospital room I tried remembering, but nothing came back. All I got were flashes of strange alien places and occasional flashes of a war, but none of it made sense. I wanted to remember, I tried to remember, but it was all such a blur.
“Hello there.” A young woman strolled into the room. She was attractive even dressed in her doctor’s garb. “I’m here to try and help you remember, if you want to.”
“Please. I’m feeling really lost at the moment. Everything I remember seems like parts of dreams.”
“That’s ok. Just relax and I’ll see what I can do.” The woman pursed here lips slightly and her breathing quieted. Images started flooding her mind in a semi-orderly manner. Pausing, she stopped for a few seconds and started again. This time the images started in sequence from the time he was born.
Much akin to flipping rapidly through a book, she sorted and cataloged the memories. Some she tagged for looking at in more detail. Others she discarded as dreams and other chaff littering his mind. The war, the abduction, the escape. All were cataloged and tagged for later perusal. Lastly a block was placed to keep him from remembering until he was prepared for it.
“This process takes time.” she lied to him. “I’ll be back to help you some more tomorrow. Dr. Frank will be along later to see you and explain a bit more. Try and get some rest, it will help with your memory.”
Frank looked at the report. It was bad, but not the worst that he had seen. The Rikti had been coming to Earth and abducting humans for centuries. Of that much it was certain. It was just a shame that folks had to loose their entire lives over it. Not that they were dead, but everyone and everything they knew was long gone into the dust. “I really do hate this part.” Frank thought as he finished the report and picked up the phone.
“Bill, Frank here. Tell Megan to restore it to the escape and kill the rest. He won’t be happy, but at least he won’t be suicidal. Freaking country bumpkin. Hoping to win his girls heart by enlisting in a war. Tears me up, but it can’t be helped. At least this way we get a hero out of him instead of a corpse.”
Frank glanced at his phone and saw the message light blinking. “Hmmph. Message from that Jolan fellow. I’m surprised that he bothered to call back.” The light bulb lit up in Frank’s brain. Smiling craftily he murmured, “Heh heh. This could just work out.” Frank chortled more as he dialed the City Registrar’s desk. “Can you fax me the info on a hero name Jolan please? Yes all of it. Thanks.”
The pretty woman had returned and now I could remember a bit more. It was scary, but not nearly as scary as when they gave me a mirror. That sent me into a tizzy for a week, while they worked on getting me to accept it. It could be worse I guess. I could have turned out purple. I couldn’t have handled purple nearly as well.
“Sir, Jolan is here to see you.”
“Send him in Louise. Go ahead and go home if you’d like, I can handle it from here.”
“Jolan. Good to see you, sir. The patient you brought in is doing quite well. He’s lucky you found him when you did.”
“Well, I wasn’t going to leave him half dead in the street. It was the least I could do.”
“I see you are Security level 20, right? I have a umm… favor. Yes. A favor to ask of you. ”
“What are you getting at?”
“The guy you brought in. My ahh… patient. He is a Super. He needs guidance. A mentor. You know, someone to show him the ropes. A person who can help him adjust to the Super Hero lifestyle if you will. I was wondering if you could help him get started here in Paragon City.”
“What? He doesn’t have family? Friends??? I’m not a charity service…”
“Uhmm. No. He’s an alien. An outer space alien.” Frank lied. “He is a good guy and he is gifted with a fantastic regeneration rate. He can take a beating and love every minute of it. I don’t know how he fights, but his musculature is profound. I’d say he can dish it out as well as he can take it. He just needs someone to show him the ropes and get him started.”
“Man, I don’t need someone to muddle up my life. I have enough to deal with already.”
“I understand your position, but what if I told you he had no memory? He truly is lost and alone here. One friend is all that he needs right now.” Frank played the card that Empaths couldn’t pass up. Someone who needed their help. “Gotcha!” he thought. Now just to finish reeling him in.
“I don’t know. I’ve never mentored anyone before. I suppose I could give him a bit of time. At lease get him registered and a place to sleep.” Jolan mumbled.
“That’s all I am asking.” Frank smiled as he nodded agreement. It grated Frank to lie, but the city needed heroes. Any hero was an instant asset, because the Rikti wouldn’t be giving up. Frank knew they would be coming again. And it wouldn’t be as easy as the first time.
The strange man in white and blue walked into my room. “Ahh… My name is Jolan. I’ll be helping you get started here in Paragon City.” He fumbled the words out in a faint voice. “Gather your stuff and we’ll get you started.”
“I don’t have any stuff and get started on what?”
“Didn’t they tell you? You’re a hero.”
“I’m a hero?”
“That’s what I said. You’re a hero. You fight crime. Get it?”
“Uh no. I don’t. I don’t get it at all.”
“Come on along and I’ll fill you in while we are headed to the Super Hero registrar’s office.” Jolan sighed. This was going to be tougher than he thought. This guy was so clueless; he couldn’t buy a clue if you gave him a million influence to buy it with.
“Super Hero registration. Place your hand on the outline. Name please.” said the registrar.
“The alias you will be assuming as a Super Hero, Sir.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Just give me a fictitious name. If it isn’t already taken, you can use it.”
My mind was blank and my hands were sweaty. “uhh…”
“Please, Sir. I don’t have all day. There are other Supers waiting to be registered.”
“You’re a hero?” I stammered thinking of what Jolan had said earlier while vainly trying to think of a name.
“Ura Hero. I have registered the name for you sir.”
“Uh, wait. That wasn’t my name. I haven’t picked a name yet.”
“Sorry Sir. Once a name is entered into the system and your photograph and genetic information is tagged, the name choice is final. It can’t be changed. Next please.”
Jolan snickered lightly.
“I don’t think it’s funny at all.”
“Oh it’s funny alright. You don’t know just how funny it is yet. Tell you what. You need to go into Outbreak and learn a few things from the training folks. Look me up later and I’ll help you out.” Jolan said as he pushed me toward a door. “Trust me, it’ll be fine.” He said with a final snicker as the door closed behind me.
“Sure. It’ll be fine he says.” as I walked up to the uniformed man standing in front of the door.
The uniformed officer reading from a clipboard spoke, “Ura Hero.”
“Sure I am. And so is everyone else in this cursed town apparently.” I said, heading down the street to talk to Dr. Miller.