Whoa! You’re still here. Well, we made it through Prelude to Chaos today and now you should be all set to read Legends Can Die. Thank you to everyone who has been with me from the start of this journey, as it wouldn’t mean much without great readers.
On today of all days, let’s end this with a bang! Happy 4th everyone!
Christmas Day; Alameda Apartment Complex
I flicked the power on the old goggles and this time, they came to life. A nice radiant yellow color shined through, looking very intimidating. I pushed them over my eyes and saw the world in a whole new way. Maybe one day I’d have to work myself up a pair of these.
I fixed up the dings and scratches, too. They looked almost brand new. Figuring if I was going to do this, I’d do it right, I dropped them into a brown paper bag and wrote Merry Christmas in black pen on the bag. Planning to drop these off later, I had one other stop to make today.
I pulled up to the Cieslik house. I’m not sure why, I felt really bad about having to kill him the way I did. My guilt had spurred me to go out and buy a six pack and come over on Christmas. I knocked on the door and waited to see what would happen.
Danielle, Erin’s wife opened the door. “Jericho?” Her eyes were red and puffy, obviously from crying. “What’re you doing here?”
The real reason was something I’d have to keep to myself. Instead, “I figured you could use a drink and a friend today.”
She let me in and I saw the kids playing with some toys by a fully decked out Christmas tree. “Erin loved Christmas, that’s for sure.”
I plucked two beers from pack and handed her one. “Erin was a pretty decent guy. You think he’s still out there?”
She took a long sip before shaking her head no. “He loved his kids too much. No, he’s dead, that I know for sure.”
Yeah, I did too. We didn’t really say much more as we finished the six pack together. It was getting a bit later in the afternoon, so I got up to give the family some time. “Merry Christmas, Danielle. I’m sorry things have unfolded the way they did.”
“After the New Year, me and the kids are moving back east. It was Erin who wanted to live out here, not me.”
I bowed my head a bit. “Good luck. I hope everything works out.”
I was sitting with Owen Walker at the bar, the only two people in the place on Christmas. “I know that charger was defective. I purposefully miss-wired it so it wouldn’t work.”
Walker tipped his whiskey at me. “Don’t worry about it, Phil. It would’ve been nice to keep that technology with us, but I have another plan in place.”
I finished my beer and another one immediately showed up. I started downing that one, too. “Is the group still in place? The plutonium core incident doesn’t change anything?”
“Phil,” he said as he placed his hand on my shoulder. “You’re such a worrier. Yes, as soon as we recruit a fourth member, our little group will be immobilized. There is a power vacuum in this city that we can very much take advantage of.”
I wondered how long it would take to get that fourth member. Either way, “Well, I’m out, Owen. Thanks for the Christmas beer.”
Another man walked through the bar door even before I put my money down to pay for my tab. It was Jeff Trelewicz. “Walker, Jenkins – I think I found the perfect guy to take up the Diamonds mask.”
Jericho Staley – The Negative Man
John Wonderton – The Dark Lion
Erin Cieslik – IT; Wonder-Tech
Dave Whisant – General; United States Army
Channel Esposito – Captain; Army Rangers
Joshua Pabon – Captain; Army Rangers
Valiant – Masters of Magic
Hilda – Masters of Magic
Danielle Cieslik – Erin’s Wife
Heather Adams – Lawyer; Wonder-Tech
Owen Walker – CEO of gl-O-bal
Phil Jenkins – R and D; Wonder-Tech
PJ Douglas – Massacre
Jeff Trelewicz – Security; gl-O-bal
I felt like shit. I opened my eyes and the light burned them. And the headache, oh my God it was killing me. A voice startled me. “It seems you’re finally awake, Mr. Cieslik.”
Awake, if you want to call it that. “Where – am – I?” My voice was hoarse, cracking with each word.
Two men entered my line of sight as my eyes adjusted to everything. “Mr. Cieslik, I’m the Secretary of Defense, Ronald Victory. You might remember the man to my left, General Dave Whisant. You worked for him previously.”
It was like a bad dream coming back to haunt me. “You’re the guy the hired me to steal the power charger.” My throat felt a bit better this time.
He stepped forward. In a friendly tone, “That I am. I’m sorry that things didn’t work out in that situation.”
“What do you –” Then a memory flooded back to me. My friend Jericho found out I betrayed the company. No wait, Jericho was The Negative Man! He killed me! Or at least I think he did…
Seeing me thinking over all of this, “You were dead, for about twenty-six minutes. But we saved you. You’re currently being held in a top secret facility underneath Dungeon Bay, outside of Pacific Station.”
What this Victory guy said made no sense. “How did you bring me back to life?”
“We needed a test subject,” Victory went on. “When General Whisant discovered your body in the water, we couldn’t believe what we found. Proof that The Negative Man was still in play here.”
My headache was starting to come back. “What did you do to me? Why do I feel so different?”
“In a minute.” Victory walked over and freed the restraints holding my arms. “It took the better part of five years, but we’ve perfected the serum just in time. Congratulations Mr. Cieslik. You’ve been promoted to my security detail.”
I stumbled forward, my body feeling like it didn’t belong to me. Through gritted teeth, “Tell me what you’ve done!”
Whisant answered for him. “Like Secretary Victory said, it took five years, but you’re the perfect specimen. We think because you have some residual power from The Negative Man flowing in your veins, the serum worked better. You my friend, well you’re Omega, the most powerful sentinel alive!”
“It is an honor, Erin. The ones we’ve released to various police departments are nothing compared to the power that is fully harnessed inside of you,” Whisant added.
“And with The Negative Man off the playing field, trapped in some coma over at Black Lagoon, it’s time we finish what we once started here in Pacific Station. And you my sentinel friend, you’ll lead the charge,” Victory said as he was laughing like a maniac.
I didn’t know what a sentinel was, but a cold, almost robotic presence was welling up inside me. It was starting to take over and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to stop it. “Nooooo!”
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