Tales of the Onami: Reminiscence

“Come on, old man, you can do this,” he thought to himself. He asked himself for the millionth time what the hell he was doing, still doing this at more than sixty-years of age. The answer, he knew, was always the same: This was literally all he had ever known.
The small, armored man stood on the ledge of an office building, five stories up. His red and white armor encased his entire body, from his boots to his full faced helmet Two large antenna raised off the sides of the helm like spiked ears, transmitting data into the system of implants wet-wired throughout his entire body. He was, in essence, a living circuit board, which had led to the nurses in the hospital where he had been awakened dubbing him Sir Kit.
That was his first memory, waking up in the hospital, lost, surrounded by doctors and police. Dr. Ward had talked to him, asked who he was, where he was from, but he didn’t have any answers. He still didn’t. Everything in the approximated twelve years of his life prior to that had been wiped out by the Crey scientists who had surgically fitted his implants. They had been trying to engineer superheroes, and implant false memories to control the subjects. Either they had not been able to implant the memories in him, or the memories hadn’t taken, but either way, they had wiped everything prior to that clean from his mind.
Standing there, on the ledge of the building, watching the stars above, occasional clouds blocking them from view, he thought back on those who had become his family since He had been taken in by Emily Pinay, who had spent several years as a healer known simply as Lady Emily until she retired and returned to medical school. She had picked up on the research of her grandfather, who had died being rescued from the same lab as himself. Now a grandmother herself, she spent her days working in a hospital, continuing to save lives.
Dr. Ward, also known as the Incomparable I Doctor, the surgeon who helped save his life when he was saved from the Crey lab, had known Emily and her grandfather for years and moved in with the young woman and became her legal guardian. He had taken the young boy with no memories in as well. That had all been almost fifty-years ago. Dr. Ward had died quietly in his sleep several years ago.
Most of the people he had known were gone now. Aaron, known as PhoenixHawk to most, had died at the hands of a super-demon summoned by the Circle of Thorns. That group had long since dissipated, but of their remnants, the strongest had survived, and become the NightCasters. It was members of this group that he had followed to this office building. Four of the spell casters had run into the building only moments after a young woman had walked in alone. There was no security in the building, and the woman’s screams could be heard already from his perch outside
His joints ached, as they did most days. He watched and waited, knowing the villains would come out of the building soon with their prize. At least the implants didn’t hurt anymore. It had been fifteen years after he had been saved before Emily had found a breakthrough that had let her adjust the implant in his head and rid him of the constant pain that filled his body around every implant. He absently touched a gloved hand to his left shoulder, where his armor had been penetrated once by a Freakshow blade, and the bullet of another Freak had found the crack, embedding itself just inside his rotator cuff. That joint, more than most, ached often.
He sighed, wishing his team of old was here. PhoenixHawk had been a natural leader, organizing the Onami Strike Force into a seamless unit. Thauma Guard had lasted several years after PhoenixHawk fell, but had never let go of the grief she felt at his loss, the only man she had ever let herself love. N0VA 1 had followed the footsteps of her cousin Shakti, and moved away to raise a family, as had Ginger Blaze and her husband, Khazm. Kwang Ghe, the fighter, had fallen late in life, the Malta Group taking him down. Shadow Pain had disappeared some years later, one day just vanishing from sight. Rumors flew about that she lived in the wind, and that she still brought Pain to the villains of the world when that wind blew through the shadows in which they hid.
I miss you guys.
The past fifty years had seen a vast drop in the crime that had run rampant after the Rikti War. The slow progress against the criminals finally pushed them back far enough that order had been restored. The Hero Corps had been basically disbanded. The government had found ways to predict in pregnancy if an un-born child would have the genes that had for years manifested as super powers, and the parents were given the opportunity to have that gene inhibited through advanced gene-therapy. The children of those who chose not to, were sent to special schools where their talents would be understood and cultivated. Their lives would be spent in training and dedicated to serving the community. It was a hard life, one that many of the children grew to resent, and eventually gave up. Sir Kit helped to train those that stuck with the program, keeping the ideals of honor and discipline that the Onami had been formed on alive.
Somewhere, throughout Paragon City, what used to be called the City of Heroes, were two others doing the same thing as he was, patrolling the night, watching for the remnants of those who had once terrorized the world.
Four of those exited the building now, carrying a struggling woman, bound and gagged. One of the spell casters raised his hands and spoke aloud, a red nimbus surrounding him. In front of him a portal appeared in thin air, shimmering red in the night As the villains moved towards it, Sir Kit dropped to the ground in front of them
“That’s far enough,” he said. “Release her.”
Another of the casters raised a jewel in his hand, and beam of orange light lanced out, striking Sir Kit in the chest. His armor dispersed much of the blast, but it left a smoking burn mark, and staggered him back a step.
Too slow to dodge anymore, old man?
He regained himself and threw a ball of electricity into the middle of the four, which exploded into a thousand arcs, dancing over the villains bodies. As they all staggered in the arcs, he moved forward and raised his hands to the sides, a stronger field of electricity arcing around him, driving into the Night Casters. Frazzled, looking frayed, two of the villains dropped to their knees. Sir Kit reached out and blasted the standing two with arcs from his outstretched fists. One of the two that had fallen got to his feet and made a dash for the portal. Sir Kit caught him in a Tesla Cage, the ball of electricity holding the Caster in place. It took only one more blast to drop the criminal. Two more strikes later, all four had been subdued.
The entire fight had only lasted a minute, but Sir Kit’s heart pounded in his chest He could feel sweat running down his face inside his helmet, despite the airflow system built into it.
It’s just not as easy as it used to be.
He pulled back his right glove and pushed a button on an implant in his right forearm. The communications system built into his systems flared to life, the image of a uniformed woman appeared in the left corner of his visor.
“Sir Kit, Number 08523445, needs a wagon to pick up four Night Casters. My beacon marks my location.”
“Confirmed,” The woman’s voice filled his ears. “A wagon will be there shortly.”
Gently, he removed the woman’s gag and bonds.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
The woman was wide-eyed, but seemed to be maintaining her control.
“Yes, thanks to you.”
He told her no thanks was necessary, and warned her against walking around at night alone, even in today’s world.
The police van came by and collected the Night Casters within two minutes. None had regained consciousness or put up a struggle. The officers thanked him for his help, and drove away.
He sighed again, and looked around. There we no people about on the streets, he was alone
Looking toward the stars, he took flight, into the blackness above the city. Alone. Remembering the days when his battles had been done with a group of friends, his family, when he hadn’t looked around at the end of the night, and wondered where all of his friends had gone.
His joints ached.
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