Posts Tagged ‘Speedster’


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

Advertisements

Beth was awkward generation Z awkward when she came to see him. Not knowing what to say to either of us as the machines pump life into him…and truly my surly old self just makes her uncomfortable for she believes I see her as a place holder for my friend, not as a hero in her own right. She is wrong on that, but how can you prove something so intangible?

Kyla cried. I cried. Shaddup. I am allowed to cry. He is my boy. Thankfully Dragyn came with her, and helped her. Not like his extraterrestrial partner, George, that bailed on us with this looming invasion threat from beyond the stars. The bailing that left my boy alone to fight when the first monster came. Don’t know what is worse the annoying sounds of the machines, his lifeline when others are around. Or in the silence. The stern look of doctors that won’t answer my questions, because well Supras are either to win or die, not be left in the limbo dance of a normal Homo Sapien. The nurses, they are nice, and attempt humour, but as one mentioned on her way out—didn’t expect the leader of the Great Crime Fighters to be such a surly A-hole. I pride myself on that.

As I read to him. Stories of King Arthur, Don Quixote, Lone Ranger, Star Trek, Robin Hood and Agatha Christie. Trying to get him back through the familiar stories. Getting him to latch on to my voice, or when she is up to it, Kyla (Speedster’s). Thought they were just friends, but she broke down and told me they were engaged. Johnny never saw me as the romantic caring kind. I know the one that was left to mentor.

My phone vibrates, I flip it open and click view. Don’t knock the flip phone until you have regressed back to its greatness and realize how much life and money the smart phone sucks from you.

WATCH THIS SPACE.

NEWS TO COME.

-ENIGMA

The weird computer voyeur that shared clues in the past is back. He shared my son’s last moments. The world thought he had died, but no, the Agency had found him barely alive and airlifted him back. His system is trying to repair, but it is sapping his power source to try to repair systems. It aids the additions of machines to keep him alive, as his invulnerability wanes, but he becomes more alive scientifically through acrobatics than through being, alive.

We are at the point where medicine can keep the body going in perpetuity until it can almost begin decomposing, as it is only the physical remains alive, at what point does one know when the cosmic spark has left?

My life was so much simpler before the Bionic Knight. Called him the pissant to further dehumanize him way back when. The odd time it was my scheme was few and far between, usually I was a hired gun by one of the bigger names. I could get away, if I couldn’t always had a breakout plan.

Back when the shotgun used real bullets.

“Wil, are you serious about this hero thing?” Rick said.

“yeah.” I said. As we sat having cokes after another fight out with baddies. Been on the side of angels a very short time, doing covert ops for the GCF rooting out the baddies.

            “Need to switch to rubber.”

“On my boot soles? Hell no.”

            “No Wil, bullets. Heroes don’t kill.” I watch Rick power up and fly into the sky.

Rubber bullets. Real heroes don’t kill. It was a crossroads night. Those times of belief systems people hit multiple times in their lives. Those moments of clarity when the world is not seen in black and white so much as its beautiful Technicolour existence. How I actually dream, in 1930’s animation style. That night was one of those moments, my change up followed shortly. The odd time the Agency would use me as a side gun on the side of angels, but my fists got more of a work out than my gun. My partner in those times of triggering in covert ops for the Agency was…Perhaps if I had stayed with real bullets and not rubber, Johnny would have wanted me with him in the fight. Not seen me as just some aging street fighter.

“Wil, we will take the body when you’re ready.” Said Agent Louie Regis. Standing behind me in the hospital as machines do everything for my son and I watch the mathematical numbers tell me that the cosmic spark is snuffing out. Protocol, Supras bodies are interned back in some vault in Ottawa. Just in case science ever progresses to try to clone a human, they cannot find the remains.

I nod. Watch the reflection in the window as he leaves. A doctor walks in.

“My son is an organ donor.” I say.

“The agent has.” The doctor attempts to interject.

“My son is an organ donor, the agent can be damned. He will die as he lived, how I am not sure he realized I truly saw him. A hero.”

My phone vibrates again.

I flick it open.

GEORGE IS BACK.

LOCATION TO FOLLOW. 30 MINUTES.

-ENIGMA.

“Keep him alive until tomorrow.” I say as I rise.

Time to get some real bullets.


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.

 

 

 

 


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.