Archive for the ‘Bionic Knight Pulps’ Category


Image result for DC Comics Heroes in CrisisYesterday it finally arrived, Tom King and Clay Mann’s first issue of DC Comics’ next big event- Heroes in Crisis. Yes, another crisis arrives at the DC Universe (a title tagged onto big events since the end of the original multi-verse in the 80’s Crisis on Infinite Earths). This crisis brings the real to our fictional heroes, and perhaps demystifies and removes stigma– for it is set in a place called Sanctuary Trauma Centre.

You read that right. A place for Super Heroes to go to deal with the mental chakra sludge of life. I also hear there is a murder mystery (as you can see, I have yet to pick up, but it is on the read list).

It hits home, as readers know my Bionic Knight Pulps have been taking the Great Crime Fighters through a similar loop  as complex post traumatic stress disorder set in on the big three remaining in that universe. That being Rick Saturn, The Original Bionic Knight; William “Shotgun” MacKay; and Supra Agent Louis Regis. Three characters that have been travelling within my stories from the perspective of Rick for 33 years; Shotgun about 30 years and Regis, 14 years. Many adventures, many times when the old model of they are heroes doing heroic things, so it does not wear one down. Much like our world still looks at many, including charity workers who have rising rates of C-PTSD yet help falls through the cracks because the industry and individuals have a troubling time wrestling with it, but also when help is sought it is wait listed. This is due to the repercussions of Klein’s Third Way of health care having gutted what should have been on track by this point to be where European health care is, that being holistic and multi-pronged at once, not triage one symptom while forgetting or putting off the others.

In the Alberta system some choices can be removed due to heavy stigma, waitlists, or simply being constantly bombarded by the unhealthy Americanization of our heart-thought patterns to simply “buck up” or “white knuckle through” for it is all simply in your head.

That is what led to (spoilers ahead) the three outcomes for our long term heroes. One with their family vanishes without a trace and no one knows what happens. Another’s tipping point in the loss of his son, and saving the world one last time to protect the future pushing him beyond what the Working Mind Workplace Mental Health training would term “the red zone” (great system for usual office work)…and taking of his own life…and another simply resigns and walks away.

Neither outcome really looks like healing yet they are the choices made constantly in the vacuum.

Perhaps, our world will find compassion, and look to those who are in need and realize that when we debate costs it may look like a drain on the system. Yet that “drain” or rather INVESTMENT in our neighbour, grows a healthier Post Traumatic world.

Stories like Heroes in Crisis matter for it challenges the existing paradigm.

Perhaps challenging will cause fracturing.

Fracturing breaking.

From those pieces, a new reality of healing and belonging.

What do you think?

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Debriefing Room. Canadian Supra Agency (also known simply as The Agency). Somewhere unknown (but definitely not the Balzac Bunker that was taken out, so possibly around the Torrington Gopher Hole Museum- but that is probably a red herring or someone would have to kill you for knowing top secret information). The Agency uses rooms designed for literal psycho-analysis. where an analyst would sit back to you, while you were laid out on a couch speaking aloud to arrive at your own insights. To save money they removed the Freudian and replaced it with a room wired for digital recording. Now, instead of a couch, it is a comfy chair and a half, leather wing-back, with side-table stocked with the agents drink of choice.

A place to ruminate. To exhale. To let out everything about the mission. Unwind. Safe, and no worries about someone outside the Agency hearing secrets they shouldn’t (okay too many Analysts were compromised, it wasn’t just cost sharing). Agent Louie Regis shared at the projected windows of what would be different inspiring sights from around the world. He loosened his already loosened argyle tie. Tossed the rumpled beige trench coat over the back of the chair. Undid the top button of his shirt, rolled up his sleeves and clumped in to the wing back. He poured himself his second glass of whisky. Picked up the cheap cigar from the table, bit the end off in a very barbaric fashion and began the lighting ritual.

The other upside he saw over the Analyst not being in the room is no one to complain to him about it being non-smoking. Though how he would debrief this mess. Regis exhaled the cigar slowly and took a sip of the amber liquid. How would he phrase this mess. Started with the Agency- hell he had been recruited out of high school, day after graduation. Little known fact to the super hero community, he was older than Shotgun. In any real world Canadian setting five years ago he should have retired.

“Too old for this shit.” A slight chuckle. The supra reporter, Rick Saturn years ago over coffee had shared how back when he had trained to be a pastor he was shocked to discover a culture of scripture memorization (not application or understanding) in college (Saturn had never been a church goer as a kid)…so to pass his one course on apologetic he had to memorize a passage. Many students chose whole epistles, Saturn simply chose John 11:35- Jesus wept. Got him an “A”.

“Jesus.” another puff on the cigar as he wiped tears away, thankfully the video recording would think it was caused by the smoke. His body ached. Old wounds- bullet and knife holes. Strained muscles from far too many years sleeping in his old hatch back Honda Civic. That especially painful spot in his right foot where he always stepped on his swiss army knife blade waking up during stake outs.

The sound of the body bagging zipping shut. The new Bionic Knight telling the battle story. From his pants belt Regis pulls the smart phone. Clicks open the app he had tech install. Three generations of Supra’s he had outlived. The fourth was emerging. The young Knight, and widowed Speedster were the new line.

The app’s name was simple: ENIGMA.

Regis remembered where the Bionic Knight said he had offered Shotgun a spot on the Great Crime Fighters. That wink of the green glowing eyes under the helmet with his trademark “Trust me, he’s a hero now.”

Regis remembers his response, “it will end badly. Guys like him can’t be redeemed.”

The smart phone falls to the hard would floor. The screen cracks. The steel heel of his shoes finish it off. Regis pours another glass. “Somedays it is good to be wrong.” Though the universe– the world was saved… the redeemable life was lost all to a simple game, a wager on a yearning for the past would pull the hero to the result needed.

Regis unhooks his shoulder holster and lets the gun and holster fall to the ground.

What to let the official record say?

After 52 years how much blood was truly on his hands?

He stubbed what was left of the cigar out in the now empty glass.

Standing up, he pulls on his rumpled trench coat.

The mechanical whir of the voice recorder, “please state outcome for official record.”

Regis’ hand goes into his left jacket pocket. Much candy wrappers, and cigar ends fall onto the ground. He pulls out the badge fold. Opens it and stares at it.

“What would it be like to wake up one morning and not have to worry about whether or no the fate of the world was in your hands?”

Regis looks up to one of the corner cameras. “Outcome: Mission accomplished. Agent Louie Regis. Badge number 5- Gamma. Taking sanction Omega.” Sanction Omega- retirement.

The badge falls from his hand and hits the wing back. The screens blink to black. The cameras switch off. The recorders end.

Green light flashes over the door.

It clicks open. Regis steps out into sunlight of the prairie, walks across the short lot to his Civic.

The dust trail is the last scene.

Regis’ finger switches from news radio to the top 40 country station. A smile crosses his lips. “Finally get to sleep in my own bed.”

 


Some would say it is always dark and rainy. Lightning dances nicely, small pea size hail falls. Thunder shakes the foundations holding the double wide in place. The tumbler sits before me. Been many years since I took some stiff shots to steady up before a fire fight.

Though, when was the last time one was expected to lead an army against an invading. Well we were not rightly so what was invading. The ginger coloured liquid hit the glass. The aroma strong, and smooth. Scotch. Neat. Third glass. Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone had a rule he attempted to keep to of only 2 drinks at night to battle his addiction. I was smart, I switched to coffee. Somethings make you crave that which you had put away. For me it was knowing that the life had taken my boy, and there was nothing I could do to change the outcome.

I failed him.

Lightning illuminated the darkened trailer. Should turn on a light. The liquid burns the throat in a good way, goes down smooth Number four pours easily. Live rounds or hold to the standard Rick set out for me? Kayla, was so far down the grief spiral I was not going to hold her to coming. Beth, the new Bionic Knight, thinks I don’t trust her. She just doesn’t get what war, death, and choices of life and death can do to a soul.

They’re here.

-Enigma

Agent Regis had the Agency’s best on stand by for me. Five is a nice number. The top of my head is burning. Feels like someone has driven a spike through it.

I failed Johnny. My son. He is dead because I am worthless.

Rick and his family are missing.

Because of me.

The new mayor is running to keep Susan’s legacy alive, but Susan vanished, someone tried to kill her because I pushed her to make the city better.

Rick’s hand was young when he offered it to me. A chance at redemption for my soul. I screwed it up. Not the blood on my hands because I took lives, but blood on my hands because I couldn’t stop lives from being lost. Good kids, left to me to train.

Like Johnny.

My son.

From love they were birthed, from love the returned.

The trailer rumbles with the thunder. Hail and rain dance on the tin roof like the ratatatat of a tap dancer or an old machine gun from an action movie.

The door creaks.

I left George in his own piss and crap, cast out, due to his failure to back his team up. Should’ve been me cast out. But when you’re the boss, a multitude of sins can be covered up.

What if the legend of St. George and the Dragon was wrong?

Legend has it a dragon came, and claimed a village forcing them to sacrifice the best live stock, when that was gone. The Dragon still hungered. The beast asked for the first born. Until the day they ran out, and were left with the King’s first born, tied and left as offering. Rescued at the end of the joust and blade of Sir George…

What if it was wrong?

What if they both had saved the world?

The front door creaks. Move forward. Not fully locked the wind has caught it. The wood hits my face and I feel skin break a tooth goes loose and flies. The coppery metal tastes mixes with scotch and vomit follows the tooth out as I fly through a wall that separates my living room and kitchen. Hate wood splinters in the back. Pretty sure the ring a ding through the noggin’ is not going to help my concussed life.

Or falling through the kitchen retro- 60’s table.

Gun?

Leather flap of wings.

My phone is vibrating on the ground. Use my pinky and flip the old brick open.

The Story was right.

-Enigma.

The razor claws. Skittering across the floor.

George in the alley, left broken covered in his own soiling’s in the rain. Cut to ribbons. The cutter has returned home to roost. Not an armada, or invading force.

“Dragyn.” Judas betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. “Why?”

A toothy bloody grin. Recently fed. Someone’s dead. The piece of cloth. George’s blood. His supposed friend. “To simply feed.”

Mystical lightning always strikes different than regular. Glows green too. Little known fact. The front room bay window becomes shard as wind and rain fly through so does the shimmering gold armour.

Dragyn licks his lips. Bionic Knight lands hard, drawing her blade. My 12 gauge is just inches away. Begin crawling. Leg screaming. Look down. Wood through and through. If I pull out it will pump blood like an exploding storm drain, leave it in and hope. Just a few inches.

Knight and Dragyn battle as they have for thousands of years. A few claws. Armour chinks, some human blood. Armour gauntlets, magic blasts, and sword slashes.

A good right hook. It’s a fight, not boxing or MMA (major difference- rules). A knee up to where Dragyn’s breeding apparatus would be. The reptilian is down.

Bionic Knight freezes.

My hand is one the rifle. Push up with the good leg. Pop in two cartridges. Sawed off’s are nice for this reason.

Dragyn’s yellowy blood eyes stare up at her. “George was a fool. He had no guts. Could not destroy me. He was last of his kind. Now he is dead.” My former teammate (yeah he is so off the team), looks my way. “So easy to fool, through innocuous messages and identity of friends who vanish.”

Bionic Knight looks at me. I nod. It’s not rocket science, and one does not have to be Sherlock. Enigma, was the Saturns. They aided us, even when starting a family. Dragyn corrupted the last positive thing I had of my missing friend.

“Give me your hand Shotgun. You can be someone new.” Said Rick Saturn, the Bionic Knight.

Beth Venus, the New Bionic Knight swings her blade towards the Dragyn’s exposed neck. My one trigger barrel is faster.

Orange blood splatters her golden armour. Her helmet vanishes to reveal her face as she looks at me. Dragyn’s head is gone. “I had it.”

“Beth, you do not want death on your soul. You can be the greatest. Remember that.” She is gobsmacked as I hobble out the back door and into the rain.

Johnny, my son. Rick and Susan, my friends… all the others Kyler, Jack, John…hell even the bastard Zed, “I miss you.” Moisture on my face, not from rain. It is time for the pain to end.

“Shotgun!”

Her voice is lost in a thunder rumble. Used to tell my son when he was scared it was simply Thor’s goats racing Apollo in the sky.

The Dragyn is slayed.

The world is safe.

The hero’s soul is pure.

My second trigger and barrel are not as fast…

Thunder cracks.

 

 

 

 


They’re Here.

-Enigma

It was the message the ended my conversation abruptly with Beth, the new Bionic Knight. She believes that I do not trust her. She has many adventures in missing the point, too many of the young and old have died. Beth needs to be the Bionic Knight, once I have FUBAR’ed this moment in history because some hero has to save the planet.

The rain dribbled off the top of my cowboy hat. In the alley, Agent Regis had the collar of his rumpled trench coat up and a Bogie fedora tilted just right to keep the rain from going down his neck. The call had come in and he had called me as I was heading back to my trailer at the Ashram.

“Bullets in the ground there and there.” Agent Regis points with a laser pointer.

“Were mine.” He looks surprised that I was using live rounds. “He had been around maybe…” I let the last bit trail off, it made very little sense to blame this alien, wanna be hero, for what happened to Johnny. But who said grief made any sense?

“C.O.D?” Regis asked in that cop tone where it makes one want to call their lawyer.

“I would say whatever sliced and diced him like the Ginsu from the old shopping channel on cable. Broken nose, ribs, and some of the lumps are mine, and probably the urine of his running down the drain with the rain. He was scared but alive when I left him.” I wait a beat. “And he also knew he was evicted from the Ashram and off the team.”

Regis stands up from his crouch and looks me in the eye. He pops a piece of gum into his mouth, trying to fight the cigarette demon last I heard. “We are ready for what is to come, you don’t have to fight this alone old man.”

“Pot or kettle on that one, Louie?”

He hrumphs. The graying at his temples betrays his age, there was a time when all of us where on the less salt side of salt and pepper in this game. Those were the days the rain did not make one quite so cold with the wet, and worry about the next mornings aches and pains from a night out in it.  “Enigma messaged again.”

I do believe it was a chortle or maybe a guffaw that escaped Regis’ mouth. “And what does the erstwhile tech ghost have for us.” More a statement of disdain than a question.

“They’re here.” I do believe the coughing fit was due to Regis almost aspirating his gum.

“She ready?” Regis asked.

I shake my head. “Not risking anymore kids. I got this one.”

“Suicidal?”

He could be right in his question. Only so much death one can handle. Only so much of outliving friends and family. But more. Sometimes there is a tiny voice in the back of your mind that challenges you to be better. “Just times up for whatever evil is coming.” Regis simply nods.

He is one of the folks that never got Enigma. The player that came online as the Bionic Knight faded into the background for a bit to have a life. It was the voice guiding the heroes still attempting to stay on track out of the dark and gritty. A voice echoing in the dark to save the world. That suddenly went silent.

My eyes move to the diced corpse of George and the purple blood washing off the cement as Agency Agents and staff clear up the mess and prepare to move the body. “I will let you know when it’s go time.”

“You realize MacKay you aren’t in charge of us?”

“You realize Regis, without the GCF you…well y’know.” I walk back into the shadows and head to my truck. Two new forms right beside it. Took them long enough to show up.

“Dragyn. Bionic Knight.” A crackle of lightning and a clap of thunder. Close together.

THEY’RE HERE.”  I nod to Dragyn’s statement. Remember Rick and George challenging me on the fact that maybe the legend of St. George and the Dragon was wrong, what if the dragon was the hero of the story.

I look to Beth. “We’re here to help.”

“Him. You stay put.” I state. What if the story was wrong, but it leaves open the option that the story was right.

“I’m ready MacKay what the hell are you scared of?! I’m not your son! I’m not my predecessor! I’m not going to die!”

The sawed off 18 gauge is in my hand and the space between us is cleared. The end of the nozzle is in the neck chink of her armour. I can smell her fear. Back like when I used to kill people like her for a living. She could fry me where I stand, but doesn’t know what to do, or is toying with me.

“Simple Knight. Do you really think a dragon and a cowboy are going to save the universe? We’re the distraction. But keep it up and there won’t be a Knight left to play hero.” I slowly pull back the gun.

“Yooo-uu ddon’t scare me.”

“Good, B.K. because when it is all said and done. History doesn’t remember guys like me, they remember heroes like you.”

To be Continued…

A Cowboy and a Dragyn walk into a bar


Shotgun MacKay is old. (suggested listening: Maren Morris “My Church“). He has taken many shots to the head, and is grieving. Why should anyone believe that he is getting weird analog messages on that old brick flip phone of his tracking the forthcoming alien whatever evil it is? This is what has brought Beth into a back shed of the Ashram.

Kayla Storm is mourning hard. Many have told her that it is good to get back up and at `em as advice. She overheard MacKay telling Agent Regis to do something anatomically impossible when the agent suggested the hero suit back up and get out there. Then it really shocked Beth, MacKay actually walked the agent through a lesson on grieving then punched him square in the jaw almost knocking the agent out, clearly stating “and I just buried my kid so get the fuck off my property.” The agent was grumbling about arresting MacKay for violation of the Supra Act of 1984 by donating organs and having the body cremated, but Beth had seen the old redneck get that look on his face before. He had set his face like that during the Siege just before Mayor Kobwash won the election for mayor a few years back. When he charged in, purely mortal, no super powers, just guns with rubber bullets and fists.

Beth was still trying to figure out why the ring had chosen to give her the power. She had almost been killed that day. She knew MacKay had a hard time trusting the younger heroes, at least that’s what she thought it was. Until Beth saw how his son’s death shook him (as he had always presented as crusty and emotionally aloof), and how voraciously he defended Storm from the Agency.

Now Beth was seeking out what it meant to be a hero. Rick Saturn, the previous Bionic Knight, the one everyone points to as the gold standard, kept a written record of his life in journal forms. Rather atrocious penmanship, so reading hieroglyphs would hopefully be a part of her power set.

Basics she had not known, about him coming from a family linked to crime, having them all massacred, raised by an old senior couple, falling in love. The challenges of the Kobwash family. Her parents always fighting to break them up. Even spreading different lies in an attempt to end different career paths of them. The mother-in-law’s attempt once the husband had vanished and grandkids arrived to sabotage their structure to thrive in life. Also attempting to bring known, if unproven, pedophiles around that would have coffee with her when she had the kids. The journals speak to an undercurrent of anger, as Susan struggled to break the link between her and the abusive/co-dependent parent. Rick shows such humanity wondering if the PenDragon would allow him to take a life? Would their lives be better with the mother-in-law dead?

Rick’s funniest story, and Beth could feel the pain. Susan’s aging grandfather, house bound due to health. The man wanting to be apart of church sacraments (Rick had already officially given up his collar due to ableism within the church, and was working hard on journalism again). The church pastors refused to baptize or bring communion because it was not within their “belief” structure. Rick did both, yet when the old man passed away he wrote of the hurt inflicted when the mother-in-law chose the church, and the pastors gleefully stepped in tracking the big inheritance tithe cha-ching pay out. They even spoke at the funeral about how the man was devout getting an at-home baptism and communion.

Beth chuckled. “How did Rick, with his sense of justice even manage to still function seeking community in this dysfunctional religion that kept burning him?”

“Simple kid, you got to belong somewhere.” MacKay’s gravelly voice spoke into the flashlight lit shed where Beth was sitting on a stump squint reading.

“There was no other places?” Beth said.

“Oh, Ricky found belonging in many places, yet the Hrumphs who adopted him were progressive Christians that believed all should belong in church regardless of anything from economics to abilities to orientations to race/culture. That message just stuck with him. Or as Mrs. H once told him…”

“There’s only one God and it’s about love you idiot.” Beth answered, she remembered reading that in one of his journals writing on early battles with Killer Face.

“Which is one of the things he said to me.” MacKay said.

Beth looked at this tired looking fighter. She had forgotten that MacKay at one point was a gun for higher. The echo of the vibrate function on his brick phone.

MacKay flips it opens, sees a message and walks away.

“What’s up old man?” The words ring in the darkness, as Beth’s flashlight illuminates her silhouette in the shed.


Part of me still thinks I should have killed him. Just firing him doesn’t seem complete enough. Thought it does honour the path my son chose. Joining the Great Crime Fighters to side against the “heroes” that placed themselves as executioners. Siding with the code laid out and lived out by the Bionic Knight (Rick Saturn, my friend, not Beth Venus my protégé).

If the answer of any movement for response is to promote violence, hatred or killing against any person or group it is not healthy. Not only do those outside the movement need to call it out, but those within need to hold their own accountable. Only then can the darkness be removed from the public discourse and placed back in the shadows where it belongs so the light can shine through once more.

-Rick Saturn, The Bionic Knight

Knuckles are sore. Rain washed the rage away. Don’t know if George knows how lucky he was that Rick is still in my head. Quick stop by the Ashram to drop off weapons, the soothing warmth of shower and fresh clothes to replace those from the hunt before a return to the inevitability of the hospital.  My son supposedly in the limbo before life and death, but honestly closer to the Rainbow Bridge than Midgard. It is weird where your mind goes and how life could be different.

It is weird in the shadows riding an elevator up to my son’s death bed at this point what memories flood back from hospitals. Memories from childhood. I know my son fought well, and even left in this state he saved many and changed fate for some. Just like my Grandma did when she saved me. Family demons hide in the shadows through regression, memories fading, aging, and changing dynamics over time. Things can be forgotten. As a child not understanding what she stopped. Watching when the person was no longer there what fell apart until healing and reconciliation by light shining through the darkness. Truth revealed.

In my young mind not knowing how to speak up, for not truly comprehending in grief and death how to share my experience. Never fully understanding the weird dynamic bond created by my saviour for no one truly remembering what could’ve been.

This is what I see as I stand in the doorway of the private room, looking upon my son as machines breathe for him. My Grandma was one shimmering piece of light in a darkness that could have consumed me. That did consume me for a while. A piece of light that Rick, as no more than a kid himself, tapped into for my redemption. A redemption that led me into my shadow self once more.

The rainbow light reflecting through the window. STARS landing outside. My friend, Kyler’s daughter at his bedside. Holding his hand. Thunder and Lightning. Johnny Power and Speedster. Two great legacy heroes. Tears streaming down her eyes.

His hand.

Squeezing back hers.

She looks up through tears to me. “He’s not ready yet.”

I nod. The doctor looks at me. Sometimes a little light shine through before the Rainbow Bridge. To remind us of what heroism is. It may not be surviving. It may be standing up. May be speaking out. Maybe using all you have to squeeze your soul mate’s hand one last time so they know no matter what you are with them.

Epilogue 1:

George was a victim of the system he told himself that night. The shelters were full. They usually currently ran just under or at capacity, but unless it was excessive heat or cold (threat to life) they would not run over. Leaving him to find a spot away from others enough. Close enough not to become a victim of a beating or being lit of fire. Away enough not to have bylaw or the police called on him for the crime of being homeless.

How had it gone so wrong?

His body ached. It had not regenerated yet as his species would after a fight. He still held in his suit pocket the two shotgun shells. MacKay was mad at him for vanishing. He could not get a word in. He knew it was stupid. But Dragyn before getting sick had said he felt “it coming”. He was scared. Very unheroic of him, he ran.

Now he was alone.

The shadows cast by what little street light there was caused him to jump.

A creak.

Fireworks from the festival.

A scream.

He turns.

His voice catches in his throat.

George’s blue blood flies.

As his body is reduced to chex mex in the night.

Epilogue 2:

Kayla holds the Oak Urn in her hands standing on the mountain top. The run was exhilarating. Shotgun had told her to be the one.

Alone.

She could still feel Johnny squeeze her hand one last time.

The team at the Ashram, the family, making dinner to celebrate with cheeseburgers and wedges a life lived heroically.

But now, she stood. “You fought to save life. You fought to know we loved you. Your last breaths by machines allowed for your physical life to give life to others. Your hand…squeeze…I love you.”

She opens the box and lets the wind move…

Prologue 1:

I could blame the tears on the smoke from the BBQ, but everyone would know it was a lie. I miss my kid. I miss my friend. The world is a changing, and I am one of the last I feel.

My phone vibrates. Kayla wouldn’t bother texting her return, she moves to fast.

I flip it open.

IT IS HERE.

-ENIGMA


Enigma. Damn I wish we had truly figured out who that person was back in the day. His tips never proved wrong. Now the missing, George, the one that brought into existence the understanding of this great menace. The battle the has placed my son at the precipice of death’s door. Lying in a bed, where he is more machine than man.

It brings my mind to the show Rick always nattered on about, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he even ran a discussion group off of it.

Gul Rusot: You’re still a Cardassian, Garak. You’re not gonna kill one of your own people for a Bajoran woman.

Garak: How little you understand me.

Tacking into the Wind

The rain is drizzling lightly. I roll the two shells in my sheep leather gloved hand, the rain drips off the brim of my cowboy hat-time to kill again. The oil slicker keeping me dry as I wait in the alley and watch. Using the mission Rick founded in his pastoral days to hideout. Rubber bullets. No. Sometimes the old ways are best.

He abandoned us. Rick’s last act before he vanished was to add him to the team. Hate the rain. It creates a natural white noise that blocks out the city. Blocks out the other sounds of the demons of my soul rattling about. All I am left with in the silence. He should be back soon, it will be check in time, and hasn’t been hiding out long enough for any of the staff to start hassling him under the push out for housing model.

Rick. Even when he was the kid hero, though we didn’t know under the armour and mysticism. He was the real deal. All earnest, honest. I thought fake self-righteous and faux humility. But nope. He truly wanted the best even for us.

George.

Stick the shells in my slicker pocket. He is dumb enough to walk past the alley mouth. The pudgy shell he chose to hide in. The collar.

My fist cracks face as I pull him into the darkness. He yelps as thunder cracks. Thunder is new. Blood washing off my gloves. Two six guns on my hips loaded. Shotgun on a holster sling in my back. My steel toed boot tip sends some alien tooth flying out of his mouth. We are into the darkness. The puddles he is splashing around not sure if it is rain or urine.

Boot heel cracks knuckles of his one hand.

Damar: To kill her and my son – the casual brutality of it, the waste of life… What kind of state tolerates the murder of innocent women and children? What kind of people give those orders?

Colonel Kira: Yeah, Damar, what kind of people give those orders…?

Tacking into the Wind

He tries to stumble up. Draw one gun. Aim. Pull the hammer back. A crack of lightning.

“My son you son of a bitch.”

He is coughing blood, spitting up blood, think he may have vomited. He has certainly soiled himself in what ways his species removes waste. Johnny. My son. A hero wins or dies. George’s cowardice left him in the world a hero is never meant to be in. Barely a live, awaiting the word if his organs will be viable for donation.

Two shots. His knees are out from under him. He is now crying. The shots stopped in front of him not into him this time he was lucky.

Lieutenant Ezri Dax: I tend to look at the Empire with a little more skepticism than Curzon or Jadzia did. I see a society that is in deep denial about itself. We’re talking about a warrior culture that prides itself on maintaining centuries-old traditions of honor and integrity. But in reality, it’s willing to accept corruption at the highest levels.

Lt. Commander Worf: You are overstating your case.

Lieutenant Ezri Dax: Am I? Who was the last leader of the High Council that you respected? Has there even been one? And how many times have you had to cover up the crimes of Klingon leaders because you were told that it was for the good of the Empire? I… I know this sounds harsh, but the truth is, you have been willing to accept a government that you know is corrupt. Gowron is just the latest example. Worf, you are the most honorable and decent man that I’ve ever met. And if *you’re* willing to tolerate men like Gowron, then what hope is there for the Empire?

Tacking into the Wind

In the silence, Rick always said is when your true inner Holy could be heard. Your inner self would emerge in and through the silence. The night is still fresh in my mind like it was yesterday. The Bionic Knight had me beat. The others were unconscious. Killer Face was doing his normal plotting. The wife was saying we needed money, didn’t know a baby was on the way.

He offered me his hand.

I had a choice to make in that moment. He had opened up and could’ve been killed.

I gripped the hilt of the Bowie Knife I strapped to my back to draw underhanded and end it.

He just stood there. He moved the helmet slits up. His brown eyes staring at me.

Time to kill him.

George’s reptilian eyes blink at me. Breathing out slowly squeezing the trigger. “You killed my son you coward.” This is who I have always been. In the silence of the rain, you come to understand your true core. Your resonance of self. What are optional connections. What are mandatory.

And who needs to die…

Colonel Kira: Oh, that was stupid.

Garak: Not at all. Damar has a certain… romanticism about the past. He could use a dose of cold water.

Colonel Kira: Well, I could have picked a better time.

Garak: If he’s the man to lead a new Cardassia, if he’s the man we all hope him to be… then the pain of this news made him more receptive to what you said, not less.

Tacking into the Wind

Rick’s eyes. His brown eyes. “I know you are not this man, Wil.”

His gauntlet retracts. Kill him.

Release the knife. Shake it.

George is sobbing. Begging for his life.

Ease back on the trigger.

Ease back the hammer.

Holster the gun.

Remove the two shells and throw them on the ground at his sniveling. “You are no longer welcome at the Ashram.” Damn it Rick, even in transition you still know me better than me.

A night when it wasn’t bullets we needed, but a cuppa with a best friend.