Posts Tagged ‘Great Crime Fighters’


Chimeras—mythical hybrid creatures’ ala Centaurs, Minotaurs, Nephilim, that where two species become one. Some would call it false flags, a word for something that does not exist. Others for the possibilities of when alien technology used with/upon our ancestors is understood today. Rick sipped his double-double McCafe slowly as he watched the parking lot. George Dragon had raised questions that he needed answers to. His left hand slightly trembled, his head had a dull throbbing, but all in all it had been a good past three day.

Rick knew he would pay for that later.

Dragon was one of the many hiding in plain sight.

Not something the new kids needed to be drawn into, but something Rick needed to give a heads up to an old friend about. The beaten-up F-150 pulls into the lot and Rick watches Shotgun MacKay gets out and heads towards the McDonald’s.

A black coffee later and McKay is sitting across from his old friend. There is fading bruising, and fresh scarring on the whiskered face. Years ago, they had been adversaries, with many of Rick’s rogues paying to have the hired gun on side to try and assassinate the then Bionic Knight. Slowly the transformation of the mercenary to mentor began. Will (Shotgun) noted it was small kernels that Rick’s super hero alter ego had laid in his path. Eventually to the place he was now mentoring the new Great Crime Fighters, so this new legacy batch did not turn out like the last blood thirsty judge-jury-executioner types.

“So let me get this straight. What caused the intergalactic exodus to earth is now…” MacKay let the statement dangle.

“On its way, here. Dragon says we could have a Chimmering Chimera.” Rick stated. MacKay looked puzzled by the statement. Rick stated what a Chimera was, “The entity that eventually spliced into John.” Rick had to say no more. If the taking over of John by the alien entity had led to procreation of a new species with the same dark intent. But instead John MacCurtis sacrificed himself to end it.

“You want the kids ready?”

“I think I may have a way to stop this without needing to risk their lives.” Rick said.

“Rick be real, you have given more than most. If this risk is real, step aside, let us step up for a change.” MacKay said.

“Dragon came to me. It will start covertly, if I can find the source and shut it down there will be no risk to anything else.” Rick said. He took another sip. “It will be played out like a Trojan Horse. I just need to find the horse and burn it down.”

MacKay nodded. His friend had saved the world even the universe many times over. But those were times he had been imbued with the power of Camelot. Now he was as normal as can be described fighting the health effects those many battles had brought onto his holistic self. “What did Susan say?”

Rick closed his eyes slowly, trying to push the dull throbbing aside. His wife, his lightning rod. The one that keeps pulling him back from the darkness of death. A death that some days he would happily succumb to. But there is more than just him to consider, a balance with the life and the darkness. Each day consciously choosing life.

“Haven’t specifically had that conversation, but she has encouraged my writing and investigative work more.” Rick said. Which was true, she just was unaware where the investigative work may be leading.

MacKay had known his friend a long time. He noted the slight tremble in the hand. The twinge at the crow’s feet where he was fighting back pain within his mind. Dragon was an associate who rarely showed up, but if he was coming out of the shadows to speak then what was coming was true. He looked squarely in his friend’s eyes. A glimmer of green energy sparked. Maybe Rick was as done as everyone believed.

“We are one text or call away for back up.”

“thank you.”

The green flame hit squarely the centre of the parking lot shattering the window the two sat next to sending them careening across the restaurant.

To be continued…

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“At least four different species of aliens have been visiting earth for thousands of years…. Some of the extraterrestrials look like us and could walk down the street without anyone noticing.”

-Paul Theodor Hellyer, former Defense Minister of Canada and 22-year member of the Canadian Cabinet (as quoted by Erich Von Daniken in 2018’s The Gods never Left us).

It always amazed Rick how people could accept some things, but then still quibble over the most mundane. They could accept that there was Supra’s in the world. Those with extra human powers, and that they could be good or evil. They could accept his former alter-ego, now passed on to a legacy, the Bionic Knight came from another dimension and was part science, part magic.

Yet, folks like those that stood in the shadows of the alley speaking with him were of another planet, now as he fought to keep the left-hand tremble under control. Silently cursed the flashbacks he knew were coming with stepping this far back into the field. Much like the comic book John Jones, who was a green martian in DC Comics known as the Martian Manhunter, his secret identity put forward a humble human form. That was George. From a distance if you did not know better you would swear he was Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons come to life.

George was not a malicious entity like Thor that had dragged Rick’s friend John into the darkness and eventual death. He was like many immigrants and refugees from the cosmos, just looking for a simpler existence. Sadly, his connections with the Supra set had narrowed quite drastically, he did not know if the kids running with McKay could be trusted. Rick told him they could when he called the house line, Susan pushed, she remembered George and how big of a problem could he be in. Last time he had reached out it was because he had misfiled his income tax.

Why they couldn’t meet for a McCafe coffee Rick did not know, or even Perkins for some pie. The Dragon chose here. Only upside was hopefully it would not bring on the worst of the seizures as actually being on Ashram soil and with the team, like it had in the past. But the alley was across from city hall, Rick looked up, his wife’s office light was still on. Which meant by this moment with Uncle Shotgun the twins had him tied up or convinced that sundaes and colas were part of the night time routine. The thought caused Rick to smile a little.

George moved closed, pulling up the collar of his trench coat. His family were interstellar refugees that settled shortly after World War II and the Bogart look stayed true regardless of the generation. From inside he pulled out what looked like a fossil. Rick’s eyes moved over the greenish tinge.

“Jade?” Rick inquired.

“Possibly that or Emerald. If this was some comic book, I would quip Kryptonite.” George said.

Rick took the rock, there was etchings he had a hard time rendering in the dimming evening light. Every so often what the role of super hero had neurologically taken on him would cause his vision to almost go shadowy tripling. That effect was happening, he squished his eyes closed, and took some slowing breaths to correct before opening them again. Ensuring the stone was still in his right hand, the reasserting of breathing rhythm was bringing the left-hand tremor to control. “Not of this earth.”

“But of this cosmos. It’s a message.” George said.

“Message of what?” Rick asked, feeling very tired of the tedious crime noir novel back and forth, but it was the price one paid when people learned their language from Marlowe novels.

George pointed to the darker green etchings. “That which caused my people to run is coming.”

To Be Continued…


Old familiar. Man, never believed there would be a time in my life when side stepping into a magical pocket dimension would ever be referred to as that. Talk about a letter to my 16-year-old self moment. But it is what is needed to coral the crazy that is over taking my replacement. Ashley, I will learn her last name later. Young teen girl, whose even little brother is the latest victim of the opioid crisis that the Alberta Government refuses to declare.

What people fail to realize in the hero that is the Bionic Knight is two souls doing a cosmic dance. The soul of the host and the PenDragon. The dragon that literally dwelt within Uther, then his son, Arthur. The hero source that has traveled down through the centuries always finding a host to stand in our world between order and chaos. Or to be blunter, save humanity’s collective ass from itself.

“I am sorry Ashley, he is dead.” I said.

ASHLEY IS NOT HERE. ONLY PENDRAGON EXISTS.”

The most annoying piece about the two souls, is that the PenDragon cannot exist independently, but if it takes primary drivers seat, well back in the day the reading of the tales of Camelot was part of elementary school English I am not sure if it still is. But Arthur, Morgan Le Fay, Mordred, Lancelot, Guinevere and Merlin quite a mess.

“Ashley if you let the power overwhelm you. You won’t be honouring the life your brother could’ve had before the darkness seized him. He wouldn’t want you to hide in the recesses of your own darkness.” Says the broken ass hero who can barely hold his own memory together. Why did I let Susan convince me that me, Rick Saturn, should play Merlin to a new age Arthur?

Though she did remind me that the super hero life was the easiest for me. Whether I was an activist, a geek, a pastor, politician or a journalist I chose to take stands for peace, human rights, inclusion, home and community. Took my lumps, my death threats, but finally got completely disillusioned with my own faith over how the supposed children of God have kept Alberta’s eugenics history towards the differently abled alive and well. How members and clergy felt they could barrage you with how the child did not belong, how they were not a person only a diagnosis, shaming you as to why you would have let them come into this world and other Nazi ass bull shit. Yeah it was an open wound, yeah it saw me fired from a few callings before I had my own kids fighting the battle of inclusion. Once I had my own, saw us sitting in an annual general meeting where I sat as the congregation effectively voted to downsize me and in another instance when a new community was to ordain once I saw their beliefs around my babies surrendered and walked out on principle.

But now here I am as the interloper in the green flame pocket dimension arguing with that which I kept at bay for over 20 years because of my own neurological issues that triggered PTSD, but hey, here we are.

NO! SHE IS RIGHT TO HIDE. SHE FAILED. WHAT GOOD IS SHE AS A HERO IF SHE COULD NOT SAVE HIM? HER OWN FAMILY. My little brother.” There. That change in voice. Ashley is still trying to assert herself, and that is what I need to touch base into. That searching for the light it is what Susan calls it, and why even with all the bull I keep trying to find that diamond in the rough faith community because no matter what I search out the light in the darkness, because as she has noted I like to believe the best in people, even the monsters and those that try to kill me. When I attempt to argue she tells me to go for coffee with Shotgun and laughs.  Sarcastic one she is.

“The hardest part of being a hero is…” Fight the crack in my voice, the tear trailing down my cheek. One name ricocheting in my brain that I kept missing each time. John. Best friend. “losing those you love.”

“then why do IT? ASHLEY IS NO LONGER HERE. ONLY PENDRAGON.”

“Bullocks Pen. You were my pen sized magic pet. Ashley will learn to control you or we all perish here. You know it, I know it. The PenDragon power either supports or extinguishes, and if I recall the last time you were in complete control was Camelot.”

then why shouldn’t I just perish with it here?”

“Part of it is self preservation, I do not want to die yet. I would like to grow older with my wife, and see our kids flourish even more.”
Selfishness does not seem very heroic.”

“It’s not, it is part of my answer. The other part is the power chose you to replace me. It chose you because you are pure of heart. It may sound corny, Ashley, but you got this. We have no control over other’s choices, lives and sadly, deaths. But….” The right words? Do I even believe what I am saying anymore? “And it is an important but, you have the choice, the moment this moment to become a hero that can make a difference.”

“Not in his life, his life is over. So why shouldn’t mine end?”

The eternal heroic question.

“Because the only life you are responsible for is yours. The only thing that matters is end of the day, beginning of the day when you wash your face can you look at yourself in the mirror.”

“And what if I can’t?”

Time to play the card I hate to play, because to stare into my own sorrow means to let go the dread and guilt I carry about John.

“Ashley, take a breath, look into your heart. What would your brother tell you at this moment, right now?”

Silence. The green flame is getting hotter. PenDragon is trying to seize control even though the entity knows it means its own destruction inevitably.

The green flame is crackling out the eye holes in the helmet. Her gloved hands are releasing the latches, she pulls off the helmet. A child.

Maybe 16 if she is a day. There was a time I looked that young and naïve. But there it is. The flames are going out. Tears coming down the sides. PenDragon is taking form on her as she powers down, the armour evaporates and the tiny dragon is on her shoulder as she slumps to the mystery ether we hang out in.

“That if I have a chance to be a hero. Be a bad ass hero and save the world.” Ashley said.

“And that is why the Dragon chose you.” The flames vanish.

The parking lot of the hospital reforms around us.

The peace and quiet is eerie. Until the boom.

Shotgun’s gloved hand on my shoulder. “There she goes.” I said.

I watch as Johnny Power lifts Speedster and flies after. The new generation of heroes. New hearts. Less baggage. Same heroic age. Simply trying to make a difference despite and in spite the sludge of life that can pull you down.

“Rick I…”

“Your welcome old man. Coffee?”

William simply nods as we head back to his truck. I do not know what is wrong with me, but I am learning to live in my new reality. Part of the new reality will see moments when these new heroes will need their wizard not their guru. In those moments, Shotgun knows where to find me.

Finale


“Speedster! Power! Crowd control. Shotgun please God don’t just fuckin’ kill anyone.” I yell.

Johnny Power looks at Speedster as they work to keep folks calm in the ER. “Who died and made him boss?”

Speedster grins back at her friend. “If Shotgun says he’s in charge. . .”

“We listen.” Power shrugs as he turns back to some medical staff.

Shotgun leaned on the hood of his truck laughing. Green flame energy was crackling around the sliced in half ambulance. Two paramedics were cowering, but the armoured lady with the sword was stopped floating in the air. It had been awhile since he had seen this aspect of me. The confident one in charge. Self-care is the buzz word of the helping world and it works, until something else misfires in the holistic self and then you don’t know what will happen.

That is the self-horror I have been living through. Also saddled into a health system that falls within the Health Act, and should be public yet many in Alberta have forgotten since the godforsaken “common sense” revolution has been designed to fail to allow for the “Third Way” (or as much privatization as is allowable under Canadian Law). It has left major centres without enough hospitals, and warped systems where in those centres even if each quadrant has a hospital it is not a true general hospital that can handle everything, you still need referrals to hospitals across town for specific clinics. Inefficiencies within the system, things that need to be looked at to get us back on track to the cheapest most effective form of health care, the type of change Albertans voted for in 2015, yet takes more than 2 years to accomplish because re-righting the ship, can be costly at the front end, but saving on the back. As I have ranted about in my journalism for years, system analysis shows where money is lost from budget line to front line for useless bloat. Money should be front ended to good staffing and patient care, not lost in administration purgatory. For we forget the further away we get from the just society contract, things like health care, EI, social assistance are not designed for the healthy thriving member of society, but rather for the one who is sick, or has lost employment, or needs a hand up. These systems should not be designed to beat the person into submission and loss of belief in their intrinsic worth. Rather they should be designed to lift up, build the bridge from one stage to the next, and preserve the self-worth of the individual where they never lose their own intrinsic self worth understanding.

Too long spent battling these issues, and arguing points everyone knows to be true, but we lost pragmatism as a society that put the value of a human being ahead of ideological bull shit. It is that just caring society we need to get back to. It is why I did not have much time for the arguments around stop giving needles to the addicts and give them to the diabetic. No. You do both. The syringe is the commodity. You are issued the first kit, then get refills by bringing in the syringes for new supplies, don’t care why you need them. Keeps cost off the patient, but also keeps the used syringe out of the school yard. Caring pragmatism.

Here’s hoping an electric spark doesn’t shut my mind down before I talk the new Bionic Knight though, or Rick Saturn could be nothing more than a pile of ash end of the day. “Bionic Knight stand down!” My voice cracked. Damn I miss my powers, the PenDragon would never allow the voice to crack.

She whips around, Excalibur, nope the blade is Chivalry, ahhh… a new one, well the sharp pointy thing designed to impale the human being stops just shy of the tip of my nose. She is in full rage. The PenDragon power, not the human heart is in full control rage.

WHY SHOULD I FAILURE? YOU SURRENDERED THIS. THIS GLORIOUSNESS.”

Ahh the mocking buggar. It misses me. But it is time to pass the flame, what people fail to realize is that when the ring first hit my finger I was alone in a pick and pull yard after escaping some bullies. So the rage meter just got me to smash some vehicles destined for the scrap heap while we worked out our relationship.

But something triggered this. This rage level is not just activation, that was at the Cult of the Killer Face church siege. This is. Stop my thoughts, slow my mind, what brought her there. Shit. Her brother. The not moving body in the ambulance that is trapped in the flame bubble. She is trying to… trying to do what I used the magic for in my middle aged self questing for John.

“It doesn’t work that way Bionic knight. The power when wielded by those of pure of heart allows for good to happen. It cannot bring back life though.”

“SHE DOES NOT BELIEVE YOUR LIES. SHE KNOWS THAT I AM ALL POWERFUL AND THAT ONCE YOU ARE DEAD SHE WILL HAVE THE POWER.”

                Pen was my friend. The PenDragon was not my friend. It was a roiling power point destined to aid in saving the world that I learned to control the power because of my wizard. But it started first by treading through the pain. The body in the bubble. Not alive.

I look to Shotgun, he mouths one word. Ashley. The new B.K.’s name.

“I ain’t going to talk to the servant, I want the master. I want to speak to Ashley about her loss. About her brother.”

And the green flame erupts around me….

To be Continued…


I had made the statement to Will that he was the old man the newbies had to turn to for mentorship. For awhile it kept things quiet, as they continued to move forward on the clean up form the siege and ensuring members of the Cult of the Killer Face were picked up and brought into the justice system, their victims were routed to appropriate helps. Which also revealed the gaps in the system of care for the average citizen in requires to mental health, physical health and addiction essentially what is known as holistic care.

Susan was rocking the mayor’s chair bringing a new spirit of cooperation that put citizens first, and ensured that children and seniors were at the forefront of civic policy choices.

Living in the brain fog was my issue. That was a good day, the nightmares still came, and yes there was still unknown neuro events that I waited on the system to figure out and diagnose. Yet it was the sluggish way my central processing core (brain) worked that frustrated the hell out of me. It is why I knew I would be no good to Will in speaking with the new Bionic Knight.

Finally, a quiet night at home laying in my love’s lap as we watched War for the Planet of the Apes and like any good sci-fi story providing excellent commentary for the world we live in. The fight of tradition and fear against science and hope, the interior struggle that can happen when you realize you have allowed pain/grief/trauma to rob you of your “youness” while becoming the other and the road to redemption back.

“Rick, Will called again.” Four words I did not want or need to hear. Since distancing myself from the Great Crime Fighters actual events had decreased drastically. But there must be a reason she was bringing this up to me now.

“He can handle it.” I said.

“No, he can’t. Traditional super powers are one thing, he never really understood what a Supra was, but the PenDragon is something else entirely. She’s struggling, imploding.” The newbie is the one the ring chose, a 16 or 17-year-old girl, to become the new standard bearer, the new Bionic Knight. Shotgun was struggling as this Knight came with issues that she had not repressed like I had from my childhood. Hers’ were fully on display night of the siege and what took her there. Her little brother. Prey for the dealer, the criminal.

He haunted her, but I had faith in McKay.  He would figure out a way to reach her and get her on track. “The ring chose her, she will figure it out.” I left out the I did retort to my lightning rod.

“Yeah, but you also had John, you had Gerklyn, then Merklyn, Merlin and most recently Pen.” Susan said. Damn her logic. She could’ve gone with any host of old time heroes who provided guidance, but she knew what she was doing by specifically choosing those understood Camelot power on earth.

“And they are all dead.” I said.

“And your silence will kill her. She has the Bionics, she needs to hear from the wisdom of those that came before. She needs you and Sister Anne, Rick.”

A radio crackles from the kitchen. Police on scene at a hospital Emergency Room. Reports of the Bionic Knight acting irrationally at admitting.

“Damn.”

Susan kisses the top of my head, “Wear a toque it’s chilly out.”

I roll off the couch as the credits roll. Grab my leather coat and head outside into the cold. Susan has already shot me a text of where in the city the hospital is. Something is not right with the girl, and maybe she’s right.

I glance as my phone vibrates again. I flip it open. It is from Susan.

I love you. Remember you had you wizard, she needs hers.

Flip the phone shut, hospital is a few blocks away. Trudge through the snow. I hear the sonic boom. Thunder and Lightning better known as Johnny Power and Speedster are on their way. A horn honks from a pick up beside me.

I climb in. “Good to have you with us Rick.”

I nod to Shotgun McKay. “A wise lady said every kid needs their wizard.”

“Gotta love Suzie Q.” Shotgun said as we drove into the light show.

To Be Continued…


Some who see him from afar would say he looks like an old ranch hand. I know better than that as the old hic walks up the stairs to the entrance of City Hall. William “Shotgun” McKay (MacKay) was the best assassin of his time when I was earning my stripes as a hero.

After years of Darcey Kobwash and others employing him in their nefarious schemes to eliminate me (or rather my heroic alter ego) he switched to the side of angels. Tired of taking orders, or always living life on the run. Took a very Suicide Squad style deal with The Agency that he would work of his criminal time, in a karmic debt of heroics. He has paid that debt several times with how many times he has stood with us to save the world.

Today he is attempting the type of team up I fear. He is going to speak with my other, my soul, my lightning rod, the mayor, Susan Kobwash-Saturn- my wife. Why you ask?

I refuse to answer his calls, texts, e-mails, voicemails or other forms of social media reach out (subtle he is not). Figured he would eventually make his way here to her office, and I will see what unfolds.

                “Where’s the kit?!” Johnny Power yelled. The bust had left many of the gangsters’ unconscious, but some of the buyers of Fentanyl were overdosing. Never use alone is the government tag line. Some want you to believe it is because of wholesalers and big pharma this had made it to the streets. Others because of pill presses. Truth was probably a mixture of both.

                But what had happened was another round up bust of the Cult of the Killer Face since the siege. Johnny Power, and the New Bionic Knight, Speedster was in their ear pieces.

                But now during the clean up, B.K. had frozen.

The boy fading.

                Signs of an opioid overdose.

The same boy that had brought her to the Church of the Killer Face at the siege. Her brother.

                Johnny barked into his commlink. “Speedster we got seven overdosing, rook is frozen, need that Naloxone.”

                Kyla Storm is a second-generation Speedster. Her father Kyler Storm stood with the Agency, and ultra-secret service super hero task force of the government, and lost his life fighting the good fight. She took up the garb and was part of what the media had dubbed Shotgun’s Turbulent Trio. As the three young heroes worked to find their way as the new Great Crime Fighters.

                She grabbed the Naloxone kits and hit the lightning, 20 blocks would be a heart beat away, 911 was already dialed but she would beat the actual operator picking up.

                Though being the one to save the brother.

Would create one more self-confidence shaking moment for the new PenDragon during the team debrief. That was a conversation McKay needed to have with the kid, or better yet, the real Bionic Knight. But he was missing in action.

“Your worship.” It came out with what almost sounded like a Southern drawl, but was more of rural Alberta.

Susan stopped looking outside of her mayoral office window and turned to the voice, smiling. “Really Will, after all these years and attempts on my life?”

“Just wanted to see what it was like to actually like a Mayor.” William “Shotgun” McKay said. Susan chuckled, even though he had been friends with John MacCurtis, much like his friendship with her husband Rick, he would never publicly acknowledge liking the heroes he was formerly a villain of.  “And I bring my condolences.”

Susan simply shrugged. “She died, cholesterol and cigarettes official story, unofficially the fall of the Church of Killer Face she was collateral, can’t say as I will miss her much, more the loss of the habit of her being around poisoning my and my family’s mental and emotional health continually.”  Hela Kobwash was the perfect partnering foil for her father, Darcey. They never got her and Rick’s connection. Tried bribery, threats to break them apart.

Even took the stance once Darcey was out of the picture of choosing between her and Rick, when she stated bluntly that it would not be a hard choice to cut her out, her Borderline Personality Disorder took over and she started playing more games. Even cost Rick an unpaid leave from one job due to allegations of abuse Hela had alleged Rick had done to the children.  It was Rick that had ensured the type of gutter trash her mother and father hung out with stayed away from the family and the children, whether that was druggies, abusers, paedophiles.

Each time they moved ahead in the right side of the law away form the shadiness of her family her mother tried to find some way to sabotage it, usually playing a “trauma” card by super imposing something of her own life over top of the existing relationship because in her mind there was no way an abject failure like Susan could find happiness and goodness for a lifetime like she had.

It was bitter sweet, but it was now left with Mayor Susan Kobwash whether she would claim her mother’s body from the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee or not, because there was no will, there was no shadow that there was a tie that she needed to claim. Unfortunately, the story had broken in the media, and she had asked for privacy.

Will knew, well, because no matter what side of the fight he has been on since Rick and she were 16 years old, he was part of what Rick has dubbed, the family.

“Going to claim the body?”

“Yes.” Susan answered. Rather matter of fact. “Not because it is the right thing to do, just want to make sure…”

“After all the bull shit, she actually is dead and buried?” McKay finishes the sentence.  Susan just nods. “Have you seen your husband?”

“Every day. He lives in a world of frustration because he is not who he used to be. Things he used to be able to do mentally, physically, response times aren’t there anymore.” Susan stated trying not to crumble.

Shotgun nodded. It was not where one wanted to see a hero. They had great fights against one another, but even better when they chose to battle back the darkness together. McKay just wanted to have coffee with his old friend, and be present in the now, unfortunately that presence was being blocked and he was just an old man who did not get the emotional crap of the 21st century.

“Susan, god help me, when Rick was pastoring he suggested I watch a movie to understand community.”

Lars and the Real Girl.” Susan smiled. It was the story of an awkward man working through life traumas through purchase of a sex doll, and no not like that. It was about taking the doll in as a person, living a life of companion until healing was complete and where and how the community responded to Lars and his partner through the healing journey. “He always spoke of the Women’s group showing up with knitting and casseroles.”

“to sit, and be. Just want coffee with my mate like I used to.”

“But he’s…”

“In the doorway. What the hell are your brats doing Shotgun?” Rick asked.

McKay smiled. “Glad you asked, we have a wee confidence issue that they need to hear from the old man about.”

“Then go.” Rick said.

“I’m not the oldster they need.” McKay said.

Six overdoses. 15 arrests. Police and EMS everywhere. The park used to be a gathering place for families. Johnny stood next to the Speedster. Thunder and Lightning is what the media has called them. The Bionic Knight looked at them. True heroes in her heart.

                Johnny remembers Shotgun waxing poetic about the old days of the drug trade, when the dealers gave a damn about repeat business. Now with the new breed, it was highly predatory, Naloxone was designed to save lives, but secondarily to also save the mental wellness of first responders from bagging too many bodies. Shogun would joke that the new breed of dealers learned the predatory don’t give a damn nature from governments that shifted to funding models based on gambling/casinos as it was one of the most nefarious of addictions. No real signs until there was nothing left for the person but destitution or sadly in most instances, taking of their own lives. Kyla’s dad had shared in his work in social work some of the only real ways to aid a gambling addict out of the cycle was to set them up with a financial administrator or trustee to ensure all the necessities of life were taken care of before the remnant of monies given over to be used as the person saw fit.

Both wondered if the world of a mere 5 years ago may have been an easier world to be a hero in, than the crazy that existed today. Where politicians and groups were too entrenched in ideological camps to be pragmatic and place the person and the community ahead of the needs of the ideological base. Where the 99%’s voice actually shaped policy because they used their voices in the polls as a mediating and mitigating factor to the extremes that existed within.

                They saved her brother. Something even she was unable to do as the addiction seized him deeper and deeper. Hoping each day and each time she did what was necessary to save him it would mean he would take rehab and detox seriously. More and more each time realizing she was being played.

                Kyla’s hand touches her shoulder, she startles back to reality as the gurney with her brother leaves for hospital. “You okay B.K.?”

                “No…I “  

She flies faster than even Johnny can catch her in the air. The PenDragon screaming in her mind. If you cannot save your family how will you ever be worthy?

                If you cannot save him?

How are you any good to save anyone?

Susan watched the two’s banter, and softly chuckled, 23 years ago the same banter would happen while trading blows of sword and shotgun shells. Now they were navigating a conversation of who is the best mentor for the next generation.

“But you are the one they have, Will.”

I said as I left the mayor’s office.

 


There are those days when you wished you still had a vice. Outside of bad tasting-strong coffee that shelters or newsrooms serve up, there isn’t one. Drinking ended almost two decades ago. Drugs were never my scene. My wife has just been sworn in as mayor, the kids—sorry, Shotgun says I should refer to them as what they are, the newbies, the heroes of the land, are convalesced and out aiding with rebuilding hope. Even the new PenDragon, the new Bionic Knight.

My powers of the mystic are sparse and sporadic. I miss Pen, he never made the trip back that saved the universe one last time. Sadly, all I can remember is those I could not save, the deaths, the losses, the overdoses, the times I fought the good fight and failed. Not sure if it is what drives the hand tremor and the seizure activity, or the seizures and tremors have broken the mind enough that it reboots without the updates of self care. It was Susan that suggested I should talk to someone.

Which is hard, because we have always been private about keeping my heroic identity a secret. Too many leaks in the traditional path of psychology. After all we have survived over the many years, and with the retro villains coming out of the woodwork, the last thing I need is for one to discover who I am and decide to swerve to the family instead of me.

Which brings me to a trained psychologist, in the back office of a church basement that has doubled as a shelter for teen mothers and runaways, the odd rescue out of sex trafficking that no one wants to admit is a local issue not an international issue. An old ceramic white mug donation from some greasy spoon that had tanked, sipping bad coffee, sitting in a chair that is more duct tape than whatever it was originally made from.

A sip on that coffee I had grown to enjoy, but in later years would probably reveal it had eaten through my gut. With my symptoms, they keep saying with each occurrence I should go to ER where there is a standing order. What our government has failed to realize by not declaring the opioids a health crisis, what they have created in ER’s through attempts at normalization of addiction under health structures is another barrier to care. If everyone you encounter you need to argue with that you are not on something, as they retake vitals and wait on blood work just to see if you come “down” the question arises in the mystery—what happens if they misjudged based on where you live and how you look that it is not drugs and something more. But because they are hyper focused on the drug issue, the waiting game and judgment causes further harm to those who have stead fistedly proven time and again that perhaps it is not a narcotic or other substance and it is something more. Yet in the midst of judging on appearance, you have now alienated the patient who does not feel trusted or valued anymore to continue banging their head against a system wall.

Scratch the beard that since this has started has become grayer than I am used to. She is with another trying to get government pathways to open quicker. The door creaks when it opens, but this little parish has always been more focused on the person before them than the building.

“Sister Anne.”

“Richard, please, just Anne.” Says the Nun, the only one from our graduating class to join the order. Susan suggested it, because at one point and time… “we have seen quite a bit.” She was the first Bionic Archer, while John was still PinBall, but had surrendered her power when she felt the calling, the Wild Hunt wasn’t happy in the moment but there wasn’t much that could be done. “Susan said you needed to talk.”

Scratch my beard. Since returning from staring into the heart of evil that was K, and allowing the power to go to the new Knight, my left-hand tremor had died down and seizure events were rolled back ten-fold. Flashbacks were still plaguing me, and I was working with neurology but the health system still was ailing from the late 20th century early 21st century neo-con “common sense” revolution where they attempted to privatize aspects thus hampering effectiveness, efficiency and fiscal conservatism of true public health care. I await tests to see what is truly happening and what comes after for me. But since hanging up the ring if you will, life appears to be improving.

Yet there is a piece of me that cannot let he action rest.

Sister Anne freshens our coffee and sits in a chair across from me that I swear is even more duct tape than mine. “Richard, you have been through the 7 rings of Dante’s Hell, beat Milton’s Fall, and ascended through Dante’s Purgatory to his Paradise, and may I say been through the Wardrobe.”

“Seriously Anne, I am expecting a Tardis reference soon.”

“There is that. You exist as the Day of the Doctor.”

“Which one, the Doctor that regrets or forgets?”

“You are simply the War Doctor. Richard, you have always made the best choice given your point of view.”  She takes the last sip of her coffee. “And you also carry an over inflated sense of responsibility for the ripples out of those choices. Breathe.”

“Can it be that simple, breathe, and accept the destruction and loss my actions have done.”

Sister Anne smiles in the dimly lit office. “Breathe, and remember the good your actions have brought.”