- That was the number that was splashed across television, social media, news media, and break ins on radio stations across the country, but centred in Calgary, AB. It was where PenDragon’s death toll of criminals was halted by his latest “villain”. The talking heads came out of the woodwork to dialogue on the loss of heroism, and what ifs the fourth wave of heroes had stayed around to train the new violent ones would the outcome have been different yesterday.
Rick scratches the greying stubble around his chin as he looked down at the Metro headline, the image of the electricity tearing through the darkness. The form in the middle of it was familiar, and sent a cold chill up and down his spine as he awaited his c-train. The Chinook was turning the roads to slush puppies, and creating a mixture of slush/ice around the sidewalks creating treacherousness for the average pedestrian.
The follow up of the story stated that City Council would be holding a press conference about the downtown incident and what their response was to be. Mayor MacCurtis was not standing for this level of violence any more was the vibe being given off. Rick had to chuckle, how long had it been since they had stood side by side saving the world, and now here John was running the city, and no one was the wiser as to where he had come from. John had been a local Guidance Counsellor in a S.E. high school when he tossed his hat into the ring to be mayor.
Two years into a four year term was when PenDragon emerged. One year in, and 226 alleged criminals had been executed by this supposed hero. The citizens of Calgary were split much on this new breed of hero that had emerged five years after the fourth wave went silent, they were more violent, took no prisoners, and yet the world did not feel safer with the darker world view.
Maybe Rick would go by city hall on his way into work at the college to hear the news conference, how long had it been since he had talked to John? Four years? Three? Time was slipping away from them, especially since he technically was Rick’s kids’ godfather. How things had gone sideways between Rick & Susan and John & Nathan.
But it was when the cancer struck Nathan, it was progressive and fast moving, in less than six months his life was claimed, and then the scandal of money laundering hit city hall and the incumbents were all jailed. The John coming through his grief made the decision to run, and work from his secret identity. He knew he could have just disclosed who he was, but was fearful then with the new technology of the other’s being revealed, always a team player, and now the sidekick was the leader.
John MacCurtis stood at the podium as the cool and warming Chinook wind blew through at Olympic Plaza. A brick structure in the middle of a park down town Calgary across from City Hall. It was created for giving out the medals during the 1988 winter Olympics, had hosted Stanley Cup, NLL Championship and Grey Cup celebrations, and in the summer was a splash park and the winter an ice rink. John had chosen this location for the press conference as a rally point for the city.
Rick watched as John ascended to the podium, the slow breath into the microphone to ensure it was on. The John started. “Yesterday, the horror that was unstoppable within our city was ended. PenDragon is gone; now all that remains is to bring his murderer to justice. The mysterious armoured man is wanted; our Chief of Police has just released a Canada wide warrant for this unknown Supra.”
John started fielding questions. Rick scratched his brow as he walked away from the conference, but then the air crackled. An all too familiar sound as the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. It couldn’t be. Pundits were saying it was, but Rick did not want to believe the news. “He’s supposed to be imprisoned.” A mystical imprisonment of inescapable means if you will.
John’s eyes move from the reporter’s to the sky. Rick notes the crinkling in the eye. His former partner knows who it is as well. A loud boom as the shimmering silver armoured figure touches down in the centre of the swarm of people, knocking civilians over. Rick steps back and gasps as the red eyes sweep, and he feels the energy given off, the hilt of the sword. Rick whispers, “My brother.”
John grips the podium a bit tighter. His mind flashes back to his sock drawer at home, where the mystical ring is. A lifetime ago when he put it there, and Nathan and him decided it was time to have a life that did not involve him risking his life, first as the teen sidekick PinBall, but then earning his own stripes with the sorcerer Merlin, and becoming the Bionic Archer.
A full partner to stand beside his best friend, Rick Saturn, who Merlin had called in his adolescence to become the Bionic Knight, a mystical science reincarnation of Arthur Pendragon to defend the world. It was a time of fun, adventure and magic. Mordred, Arthur’s son with his sister Morgan le Faye had reincarnated thanks to Merlin’s student, Gerklyn, and was a mix of mystical science known as…
“Ionic Knight.” John MacCurtis, Mayor of Calgary, captain obvious, said. The red eyes flash to the podium, the air crackles with red energy as John dives out of the way, and the stage erupts in fire and debris.
The police draw their weapons as the armoured form advances towards John. The mechanical voice speaks. “I claim this city.”
John brushes ash off his clothes and stares at the villain. “You and what army chump?”
The Ionic Knight’s sword clears its sheath and arcs towards John.
Rick thumbs his wedding band; his hand traces the Welsh words of incantation. The world did not want heroes, they came to speak that PenDragon’s way was what they wanted. Not the adventure and challenge. He slowly rolls the ring as he watches the sword arc out and up, it begins to slow down in his mind. John had put the ring away completely stating the power held within was too much for anyone to wield. The Supra’s had to step out of the limelight and let humanity choose their own path. The magic, the mysticism, the science, and the weird UFOology sky effect that had created the fourth wave had to be given up.
All this rolled through Rick’s mind at a rapid pace. If he was to do this to save his friend, it would open up the chasm again. Yet, it would save a life.
That is what the choice came down to. Two simple words and the world could be better or worse, but that is the challenge of free will.
Rick steps forward, “…”
To Be Continued
Next: Does John Live? Is a hero reborn? What do these choices hold for a new era in heroism?