Story of a Car Wreck
Part 1 – Suspended in Time
By Eli J. Litzelman
I work for the Paragon Times trying to get some news on Clockwork in King’s Row. It had been a rough day. After almost getting killed by both the Lost and the Circle of Thorns, I had no problem getting in trouble with the Clockwork. It was quite a relief when I called my boss.
“Paragon Times, Gary’s office.” He said.
“Gary,” I said, “I got all the news on the Clockwork. Now call me a cab and get me out of here.”
“I’d love to do that Tony, but John already got the news on the Clockwork’s progress.”
“Come on Gary. Get me out of here!”
“Listen, I’ll call you a cab to the train station. But I need you to get to Perez Park and check out the Hellions.”
“Okay Boss. Tell the cab to pick me up in the square.”
“You’re the best, Tony.” He hung up
As you can see it wasn’t my best day. I almost got killed over and over for nothing.
I headed for the square.
After two cabs and a train I was standing in front of the Perez Park gate.
“Hold it right there buddy,” said the guard. “No civilians allowed in Perez Park. Not very good Weather to go picnicking right now.”
The other guard nudged him in the shoulder grinning.
“Paragon times,” I said, showing them my ID.
“Go in then. Can’t say I envy you.”
I went through the massive gate.
On the other side I saw the fourteenth suit of spandex that day. She was beating the heck out of some low-level hellions. She would bring out her claws and shred one gang member after another without pausing. I took a few snap shots and ran forward.
“Excuse me ma’am, I’d like to ask a few questions.” I yelled
But the ground under her lit up and she sped off doing 60mph. I tried running after her yelling, “Wait, Miss. Wait!” but it was no use.
Then I heard a voice behind me, “Turn slowly, and put your hands up and I won’t shoot.” The voice sounded nervous and shaky.
“Oh great! Just Great!” I said turning around.
The boy I saw behind the gun looked uneasy and much too young to be in this group. Then somebody put a hand on the kid’s shoulder, “Hey rookie, I got the Dyne I promised you and… hey what do we have here?”
Then tons of hellions came around the corners and alleyways pulling out guns and knives.
“A regular news writer,” one of them said, grabbing my work. “Would you look at ‘dis boss; he has your name - ‘scum and villainy.’ He called you scum.”
The one they called boss then spit on my shirt. For a moment nothing happened. Then it burst into flames and set my shirt on fire. Panicking, I ripped my shirt over my head threw it on the ground. There wasn’t much left of it.
“Boss,” said the rookie, “there is Vahziloks on the other side of the wall. Let’s throw him over.”
“Good idea, rookie.”
Three of them lifted me up in the air and they were about to throw me when I spotted him - a robot flying through the air toward me. The crest on his forehead resembled the crest on a samurai’s helmet. Time seemed to stop. I could see his eyes even through his face protector. He had a scar going from under his left eye to over his right eye in a diagonal line.
Our eyes met.
After a failed attempt to find a match in the arena, I found myself outside on the sidewalk. Feeling bored, I decided to call one of my contacts. I pushed a few buttons on my wrist, heard the snapping sound of wires plugging and unplugging into the third of my brain that was a super-computer, and heard ringing in my head monitors.
“Hello?” said my contact.
“Hey, this is RoboZon,” I said into my air-filter.
“RoboZon, what’s up?”
“I was wondering if you had any missions for me.”
“I have just the thing,” she said. “Fight crime, rescue civilians, and bring justice and freedom. But as far as anything specific, I don’t have that for you.”
“Thanks anyway.” I hung up.
I figured I’d just head over to the train station, ride to Atlas Park, and hang out with a few friends before dark.
Before long, I was standing in Atlas Plaza listening to a boom-box. Three people where dancing to the music while a blue and yellow “medal cage” was watching the commotion. A hero with pink skin and a green mohawk was panhandling in the corner with a few of his buddies. Someone flew over head. A kid dressed in yellow and white spandex summoned a rain of fire, and produced an ice sword. Miss Liberty stood in front, as always.
Seeing no one I knew, I pulled out a newspaper. At the bottom of the second page I saw a name I didn’t recognize. Curious, I took out my laptop and pulled up the Paragon Times web-site. I soon found what I was looking for: “Paragon Times welcomes Tony Macolite into the company.”
Now that the mystery was solved, I was back in my bored state.
After looking at my unidirectional-map I figured I’d head over Perez Park and “work-out” before going over to my apartment for the night. After a little gang dodging and some roof jumping, I was standing in front of Perez Park gate showing the guard my I.D.
“By the way,” said the guard, “a news reporter went in a little while ago. Might want to check it out.”
“What was his name?”
“Tom… no …Tony something.”
“Really,” I said surprised.
“If you see him you might want to make sure that he doesn’t get into trouble,” he said, giving my I.D. back.
I started on through.
Reaching the other side, I saw trouble: when a civilian is standing by the burning remains of his shirt, a young Hellion gang member jerks his thumb toward the wall, a guy wearing a boss mask nods, and three more gang members get ready to throw the guy over the wall, it means trouble.
By this time I had already jumped into the air and was flying toward the victim. He was wearing tan slacks. His black hair was combed back, accenting a small goatee. Although his green eyes looked at me in desperation, they had a touch of annoyance. He reached out like he was trying to shake my hand. Our eyes met.
Story of a Car Wreck
Part 2: RoboZon
By Eli J. Litzelman
I caught the news reporter in mid-air half way to the wall. Setting him down by a tree, I then dodged a load of buckshot and performed a crane-kick, hitting the boss square in the chest. He flew into the wall; a solid punch in the jaw and he slumped to the ground, never to get up again. The rest of the gang was taken care of in short order. The young kid who pointed to the wall earlier took off down an alley. I didn’t pursue him.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
“I’m fine thanks to you mister…”
“Just call me RoboZon.”
“What’s your real name?” he asked curiously.
“Well… um… you see…”
“If you don’t want to tell me…”
“No, no, well… you see I don’t know.”
A voice came from behind me, “Now just back up or I’ll… I’ll shoot.”
I turned around to see the young street gang member who ran away. I grabbed his shirt and lifted him up in the air. Surprised, he dropped his gun.
“You’re too young for this group. Get yourself a life, find a job,” I said turning him toward his former boss who was leaning against the wall. “You don’t want to end up like that guy…” my voice faded to a whisper. Then I said it more to myself than anyone else, “…who killed my father.”
I dropped him and staggered over to rest against the wall. I felt disoriented. My head throbbed and my brain filled with forgotten memories.
“Something wrong?” asked Tony.
“Carl Withart. My name is Carl Withart.”
Tony looked surprised.
It all came back.
I remembered: I was fourteen. My dad and I were going to the store.
“Dang these gas trucks. They always go so slow,” said my dad.
I sighed and looked out the window. I saw a hellion gang member gesturing toward the tanker in front of us. Flames shot out of his hands.
“Dad, look out!”
He turned. His eye widened. He looked slightly older. His eyes then narrowed in determination. He dove over to shield me. The truck exploded. I blacked out.
I woke up later in a medal suit and without a single memory. I looked up at the ceiling. A sign said “Welcome to Crey Industries.”
A lady walked into the cold concrete room.
“How did you sleep?”
“Who are you? Where am I? How did I get here?” I said hearing the unusual echo sounds of my own voice in the helmet.
She calmly looked at me. “I am head of Crey Industries, you are in my testing room, and you are in here to be tested on my healing cure.”
“You didn’t answer my last question.”
She lit a cigarette, “You could say you arrived by car. My healing formula seems to be working, and don’t worry, you’ll heal enough where you can remember everything, hopefully.” She took a drag on her cigarette, “Your entire body will heal by 2165, if you live that long. Until then, that suit keeps you alive. You only have one-third of your real brain; in time it will all grow back.”
“What do you want?”
“You are full of questions, aren’t you? You are a subject of my testing. Because of that, you are to stay in this… cell for the rest of your life,” she seemed bored and casual as if nothing important was going on - as if locking people up for life was an every day chore. It probably was. She then got up and left without a word.
“Welcome to Crey Industries,” I mumbled to myself.
A month later I made my escape. They took me out of my cell for more testing. In between four guards I made my move. Out-numbered and out-skilled, I was beaten silly. At one point a round of gun-fire shot my arm and I fell out of one of the few windows left for air circulation. I landed in a dumpster. Jumping out of the garbage I took off under a hail of bullets.
After a lot of park bench nights, I was recruited by the 5th Column. They wanted to make me into the ultimate weapon. They fixed my arm and sent me on a few missions as a minion. They installed super-reflex and downloaded the highest form of martial arts into my super-computer brain. They also set up a lot of utilities - map, phone, compass, etc.
Then came that special night. One of the 5th Column technicians was working on putting rocket-packs on my feet. My feet were strapped down so they wouldn’t move.
“Tell me if you feel any pain ‘Little Japan’,” the technician said to me.
Then a crash came from the metal door; in stepped a super hero. He was wearing red and blue tights; his metal face mask glinted under the lights.
It was Statesman.
I franticly tried to undo the straps on my feet.
Statesman took out one trooper after another, advancing toward me.
I’d undone one strap and was working on the next.
Statesman had two troopers left before reaching me.
I undid my last strap and stood up. Statesman looked at me, all the 5th Column solders slumped around him. I advanced so fast and precise that some of my circuits where on the verge of overload. He blocked with ease. I moved forward faster and faster - harder and harder.
Not one of my moves got through.
He then advanced on me. Even with my super-reflex I could not dodge his blows. He simply hit too fast and too hard. Every time I tried to dodge he counter-attacked even harder. I now felt dizzy with the speed of his blows. He then gave me the knockout blow: hitting my stomach, he launched me backwards into a wall. My brain short-circuited. I forgot where I was. I forgot what I was doing. I even forgot the name of the blurred image moving toward me.
Everything went black.
“What happened?” I asked.
“He took me to Chiron Medical Center and convinced me work for good instead of evil,” RoboZon said. “Well, that’s my story.”
He then leaped into the air, soared over the building next to us, and disappeared.