Posts Tagged ‘Shotgun MacKay’


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.”

 


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.


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.


 

I’m sorry Dad..I love you.

Said Johnny “Power” MacKay.

In a scroll across the screen in giant green letters.

FROM

ENIGMA.

They found a pulse. Very faint, barely audible. “Thank you, Louie.” Hate saying those words to an agent of the Agency, but Louie Regis, though appearing Columbo bumbling is quite proficient, and pro-Supra (well Pro being a decent human being). He nods to me; his greenish hued eyes say it all. He still is not sure if I am fully on the side of the angels. But he enjoys the fact that the resurfaced Enigma was wrong. Big bad monster taken out. Hero alive, if on life support. The beating “Thankfully” wore my kid out enough that his invulnerability had worn down enough due to open wounds to allow for the needed intubation and IV’s.

His body was burnt bad. He had what amounted to hopefully a temporary colostomy. Rumour he may have lost his spleen if not some severing of the vertebrae, and yes, the machines were doing the heavy lifting on breathing for him.  But my boy was here. And knowing the pain he must be in I was thankful for pharmaceutical pain killers and opioids being pumped into him. The hard part for a Supra. Always prepare for not coming home from saving the universe, but what happens when you return but almost gave all?

The Great Crime Fighters were getting through the Noro Virus. The enigmatic alien George was sill missing in action. None of that mattered. The short video I got on my tablet coming alive, I believed was the last thing I would ever hear my son say. We had fought through so much in life before the legacy power chose him. Even me being distant, his mother culminating her emotional-spiritual abuse of me and taking off with him so I lost touch until we reconnected when he got the power.

Regis taps my shoulder and nods. “Take care of him old man.”

All I can do is repeat the same phrase. “Thank you, Louie.” He leaves us in the hospital room. The slow-motion safety closure of the door stops the hard thump as it closes. A few moments before next rounds, the lights are already low.

“Tough like his pops Wil.” Said Rick Saturn. I do a double take at the voice by the window coming out of the shadowy dusk light. Rick the missing. Here. This is far to weird.

“You mofo where have you been!” Okay I may be a bit angry that the best hero—ever chooses now to pop back into reality.

The form shimmers a little. Not quite solid. Is this a weird cosmic-Camelot thing? Magic or aliens? When one holds to a belief someone will be real in their time of need, they can manifest them or something like that I remember Zed going on about, Tulpa? “I cannot help in what is coming, but I can help in the now.”

What would I need in the now? How ass backwards is this sitting with my son in ICU watching machines wondering if he will be strong enough to leave? He used to be able to bench press sky scrappers? And now, the cosmic evil that a child may pass before his father? Was Regis saving him a blessing or a curse? The doctors want to know the plan, I don’t have a plan. Super-heroes don’t plan what if they come back in this shape… they only ever come back whole or dead and then resurrect.

“Or crumble under magically induced neurological illness and PTSD.” Says Tulpa Rick. “But I am here for you, you struggle, your child is alive.”

He is right. I do struggle. At what point do I truly know my son is no longer here? Enigma rebooted to send me his “death” only to have him pulled from that fate. There is some warped interstellar thing coming. The alien who can explain it is missing. My friend and his family have vanished.

And I am here talking to the shadow of what my friend once was. Journalist-Activist-Pastor-hero, but what did he always say? “What did you always say?”

“Always the lighting to Susan’s lightning rod and…”

“Father of two amazing twins who will change the world.” I finish.

The machine beeps as it checks vitals once more. Numbers dance, lines squiggle. At one point another teammate years ago tried to explain it all to me. All I cared about was the simplicity, when does it mean they are alive and when dead? The shimmering Rick touches my hand as I sit in the uncomfortable hospital visiting chair holding my son’s massive hand. Wrapped as most of the skin has been burned off when he battled the first wave.

“As long as there’s numbers. There’s life.”

I look up as the setting son darkens the room naturally.

I lightly feel Johnny squeeze that space between thumb and index finger. Not much more strength than when he was first born.

But where there’s simple acts.

Simple breath.

Faint pulse.

Life…my son.

“I’m sorry Johnny, I should’ve been there.” I feel the tears begin again. “I love you.”

 

WE COME.

-Enigma


There has been a long history of computer hackers and brainiacs, artificial intelligences and uber geniuses involved in all layers of super hero and villaindom. Not to mention super spies. The Agency was what had been designed to work alongside, support and if necessary reign in or replace the heroes of Canada. C.D. (Compu-Death) was an erst while teen on the 1990’s computer genius back when it was a challenge, who was given a choice of service to his country or youth corrections and then adult jail. He chose service. One of those genius levels that was never supported enough in school so boredom led to his deviant behaviours.

I take a sip of coffee on the porch of my trailer thinking of the kid. My tablet is ready to click on an episode of Longmire. He served well, gave his life on a mission that, well, saved the world of course. There was also another computer presence that intersected with the Great Crime Fighter’s history. No one knew who they were. Just messages on a screen or a scrambled voicemail, dropping clues like the super heroes own Deep Throat if you will.

Last report of the three sick was that they were almost back to being in the land of the living. Still no idea where George vanished too. Hope Johnny is making a go with the monster, the receiver in my ear went down when…

The screen to my tablet illuminates. Weird. Pick it up. A simple message scrawls across in Comic Sands:

Your teammate’s last words.

A short video clip from the old Bunker, funny enough looks like C.D.’s command centre… Johnny in the midst of whatever burning energy and monster. He’s screaming something before everything goes black.

A garbled cleaned up audio clip comes through the darkness:

I’m sorry Dad..I love you.

Said Johnny “Power” MacKay.

In a scroll across the screen in giant green letters.

FROM

ENIGMA.

In the back of my mind a hollow voice as I feel a tear in the corner of my eye,

WE COME.


City Hall. Mayor Susan Kobwash-Saturn’s office.
It’s raining. Lightning dances, as the gods goat hooves rumble through the sky. Why is it always raining on night’s like this in a story? Some cosmic writer must believe it sets mood or something. The office door creaks open, as lightning, and LED light illuminate the darkened room.
“Who the hell are you?!”
Should have expected that response. The day Susan became mayor, her and the council forced the administration to allow flow of ease for citizens in what her hope stated was “reclaiming the people’s buildings.” So things like check points, metal detectors, forceful non-loitering policies were cast aside. And her personal assistant knew me, so by the time I got up here he just let me in. Though it looks like he forgot to inform the deputy mayor before going home for the day.
“Deputy Mayor Lola.” I remove my hat and nod my head. “William MacKay at your service.”
“I go back to the original question, who the hell are you?” said the deputy mayor. She obviously did not keep up with news of most kinds if that question was till hanging. I point to a picture on the wall of Mayor Kobwash-Saturn, with the G.C.F. Her eyes go to the picture.
“Oh, you are one of those.” She states as she moves across the room, and glides into the seat behind the large mahogany desk. “So what do you want?”
I chuckle. Where to begin? The fact she was acting mayor for the next few months because of the Saturn family vanishing without a trace. Yet she had not filed papers yet to run. “Because the wolves are ready to devour the sheep, and you are on the sidelines watching.” Before Susan ran for office, the mayoral battles, like most elections within our province had been a vote against or to stop something. Not for something. She gave the citizens something to vote for.
I was battling the siege of the hatred and the darkness that tried to take deep root in this city on the vote day. It was not pretty, it was messy, but the vote rolled through. Hope won more than one battle that day. She had gone on to challenge the status quo. To get multiple levels from blaming one another in the round about avoidance game, to begin working together. To get county and civic leaders working together across the urban and rural divide. The politics of unity are not as lucrative as the politics of division. The capital on hate is a lot higher than hope. When she vanished, many were happy and started coming out of the woodwork.
“A bit melodramatic. The mayor will return, run and win. Another checkmark in a few months.” Deputy Mayor Said. Her eyes though fixate on the greying whiskers and jagged scar across my face. She really has no clue about who I am.
I wink at her and she seems unsettled. “I would suggest you google me. I am not prone to the melodramatic. Mostly I am called uncouth or a curmudgeon. I mean this with no disrespect.” I figure she must be interested as I am not being tackled by security, or the police constables I know had been assigned to each member of council since the vanishing. “I am not locked away as a dangerous offender cause the chap in the armour in that pic vouched for me. Trusted me to mentor the younglings that protect this city and this world. We are prepping for something that is major bad ass coming our way, but I like to multi-task.”
She laughs at that. Her android phone is out, and I see the tapping. She literally is googling me. Damn I’m old. I see her eyebrows arch in shock. “So, Mr. Mackay was it?”
“Wil is fine.”
“Wil. Why the visit if this big bad is coming, why multi-task over a civic election?” The Deputy Mayor is not stupid. She understands it looks ludicrous, technically municipalities have no constitutional rights or jurisdictions. “I mean we oversee roads, builds, emergency services, and waste disposal. What does it matter?”
“Simple Deputy Mayor. Susie, well, whether it was a hit, a kidnap, a cosmic or extra-terrestrial event or bloody magic—is gone. The void is there. We can either keep hope moving forward. Be the pebble in the pond with the ripple outwards, that may cause change further outwards to other levels of governance or we can let the ripples stop now. You believed in her?”
Deputy Mayor Lola pushes her hair back and tucks it behind her ear. Her young brown eyes fix on me. Studying my facial creases and crow’s feet. Probably wondering how one gets such bags under the eyes, cauliflower ears, and a nose that defies description. Very few scrappers left on this side of the ground. “You know the answer to that, Mr. MacKay.”
“I know what your actions showed, but now it’s time for you to act. Are you ready to step into the big shoes, or are you still Acting Mayor Rajni Lola?”
“You pretentious asshole my friend is missing!”
I pull a cigar out of my storm rider pocket, snip the end, and begin lighting it. “She was the only person that ever truly believed in my redemption. She is gone. So, will you be her legacy?” The Acting (Deputy) Mayor slumps into her wingback Corinthian Leather chair, looking very young as the lightning dances. “I am here for my friend, asking you to do what she cannot right now. Will you be the voice for the people against the wolves at our gates?”
I turn and begin leaving the office. I know the puffing cigar annoys the no smoking polices and I don’t really care. Was this whole people’s revolution of hope truly only propped up by one person? A very soft voice reaches my ear. “I believe in hope, Wil.”
I nod as I walk out. Who knew multi-tasking could work?


Stories are a slice of life. A set time span in the character’s existence. That is why characters can exist for so long with minor or major aging all dependent on when the writer wants them to exist. As I have shared previously, my Bionic Knight character was the first super hero character I created circa 8 years old. 31 years on he still is starring in pulpy hero adventures.

Recently over the past 6-7 months the story has been laid out of his struggle through health issues, and PTSD symptomology caused by his exposure to environments, stimuli and circumstances in his life in religion, journalism, outreach, and super heroics. It has led to him being “shelved” as another hero took up the mantle. In the lingo of super heroics, a legacy character stepped in.

Mostly it is the youngster that take over, as we have noted with new Johnny Power, Speedster and Bionic Knight within the transformation of the Great Crime Fighters. With the “Weird Tales of Rick Saturn, formerly the Bionic Knight” (for this and other arcs enjoy the Bionic Knight Pulps category); two new aliens were introduced. But these five characters are not the thrust of this point in Saturn’s lifespan. It is the interplay between William “Shotgun” MacKay and Rick Saturn.

For it is the closing on one chapter in the book of one’s life journey, and officially opening oneself up to what is possible to come with the new chapter starting. Literally an epilogue to one life, and the chapter one of a new book. For when folks ask why I put this four-part story together that did not have much action, it was simply showing that transition and acceptance can happen. Hope can spring forth.

Or in the observation of Rick at the end of part four:

Shotgun stepped back into the restaurant towards George and Dragon. “Look, we have a need to fill on the team with a few more members. Since you both appear to know of this imminent threat, how would you consider joining the newbies?”

Rick had to grin as he heard his friend extend the “offer”, how often he had those conversations over the years. The best conversation to have with a new or old hero, to find belonging and community. To become part of something bigger than themselves.

The world was in good hands. Rick knew it was about more than simply him, it was about taking his new life. His new book of life, one chapter at a time.

Simply a new chapter, watch for future adventures/mysteries as Rick transitions into who he is meant to be now in his life. Who knows where the stepping stones have led, and where the new chapter…new first word will lead him.

 

 

 

 


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…


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