| Citizen Death
| Player: @MaskDeSmith
| Biographical Data
| Real Name:
|| Amado Hughes
| Known Aliases:
|| Citizen Death
| Place of Birth:
|| Millennium City, Westside
| Base of Operations:
|| Apartment in downtown MC
|| They glow various colors depending on the situation
| Physical Build:
| Physical Features:
|| His right hand is perpetually bandaged. In place of nails he has fairly long claws.
| Years Active:
|| College dropout
| Marital Status:
| Known Powers and Abilities
| He can create and wield blades of kinetic energy. He can also to a lesser degree sense manipulate kinetic energy in general.
| Equipment and Paraphernalia
| A gas mask, bandages for his hand and his business suit.
| ReldinBoxMini Template
A few quick notes
For the sake of rp, all of this is ooc knowledge. Also, fair warning, this bio contains some strong language. Finally, this story is almost totally unedited. It still needs a lot of work which I'll get to eventually.
Damn it! I knew psychological evaluations were necessary to keep my job, but if I knew I would actually have to go to a therapist just because I have some “issues” I would have lied to that HR person through my teeth! Now I’m stuck writing this damn journal. What am I even going to write about?
Today I broke up a fight between an Elvin student and a cyborg student.
Nah, that’s just stupid. The last thing I want to do is think about work while I’m at home. Hmm… Maybe I should write about how this all started? Kind of like an autobiography. I’d think my life is interesting enough. Hell, most people can’t even say that they’ve met an angel, or a demon, or a mutant or a cyborg, much less that they work with them on a regular basis. Yeah, I don’t see why not. At the very least it’ll give the police something to read when I inevitably wake up one day with my throat slit. Alright, where to begin? Right at the start I guess, way back during collage:
Looking for work
I was pretty much your average Collage student. I was perpetually broke and spent most of my time studying, working and drinking, although not necessarily in that order. I worked in a small bodega in Westside. The place was located right at the border between the purple gang’s and the maniac’s territory. It seemed like there were shootouts in front of the place every day. Come to think of it, there probably were. The owner was an old Ex-Salamander from the Dominican Republic. He knew how to defend himself and his store whenever the gangs started trouble. Hell, he even taught me how to fight with a pair of machetes like he did back when he was in the service.
He was a tough one, but day after day of gang warfare wore him down. Eventually he decided to close up shop and move away. This left me in a predicament. I was jobless, and not many places were hiring, which I always found to be pretty weird. With all the people that die in Westside every day, you would think a few of them would have left behind a job opening. Anyways, about a week into my job hunt I lucked out. I found an ad for some pharmaceutical company that was paying for human guinea pigs. I wasn’t looking forward to being poked and prodded by people in lab coats, but the money they were offering was too good to pass up.
They must have been pretty short on test subjects. I got called in the same day I applied. When I got to the lab they conducted a short interview. They mostly asked about my family’s medical history, my own medical history, the kind of things you would expect a pharmaceutical company to be worried about. After the interview they ran some tests. It was all basic stuff, a drug test, blood work, and a physical fitness test. Everything seemed normal enough until the very end. They told me that I was a good match for the experiments they wanted to run, but that they were dealing with dangerous substances which, for better or worse, could permanently alter my body. They gave me the chance to back out, but promised to cover any medical expenses that came up during the experimentation. I figured worst come to worst, I would end up with an extra toe or something like that, that they would have to remove. I wasn’t too worried so I signed the contract they gave me. I could have sworn I smelled something like brimstone. when I signed it, but I’m sure that was just my imagination
The Citizen Project
From that day forward I became part of what they called the “Citizen Project”. Every day I would head over to their lab and they’d run all sorts of tests. None of them ever really seemed relevant to each other. One day they’d have me running obstacle courses. The next day they’d have me solving crossword puzzles for hours at a time. The day after that they’d take X-rays, CAT scans and DNA samples. In the few weeks that these first tests went on, it became pretty clear that they had way more subjects than I had thought at first.
Most of the time I was escorted from one place to the next by a small group of scientists. At least, most of them were scientists. There was always one guy in the group that looked more like a thug in a lab coat than anything else. They were usually a head taller than the rest. Sometimes you could see parts of tattoos on their necks or arms. I thought I was being paranoid, but I could swear I occasionally saw them carrying knives, or checking things that looked suspiciously like guns. Anyways, while moving around the lab, I saw similar groups going from room to room. When I asked about the other groups, the scientists all said more or less the same thing. They weren’t allowed to talk about the other groups beyond the fact that there were a lot of them, and I wasn’t allowed to talk to the other subjects until later on in the experiment.
After about 2 months, I was assigned my “citizen name”. I was told that from then on end, I would be taking tests in small groups with other subjects, but we would only be able to refer to ourselves by our assigned names. In case you can’t put two and two together, my name was Citizen Death. The other citizens were all mostly alright people. There was a business major from the same college I was going to, Citizen Life, a warehouse worker, Citizen Necrosis, a car salesman, Citizen Evolved and a (supposed) ex-member of the cobra lords, Citizen Ignition. We were so busy running tests that we never really did get to talk much.
We ran tests together for another few weeks. It was mostly the same stuff, but with a slight competitive or cooperative twist. Finish this puzzle before the other guys do, help each other finish an obstacle course, etc. Eventually they got enough data (or whatever they were trying to get out of those tests) and decided it was time to actually conduct the experiment. That was a… bizarre day to say the least. The moment I entered the lab there was an escort group waiting for me. Without so much as a “Hello” or “Good morning” they told me to follow them. The halls were totally empty with the exception of my little group. The scientists, who were normally fairly talkative, were deathly quiet. I wanted to start a conversation with them or something, but the silence in the lab so oppressive, anything I tried to say died in my throat before I could get it out. When we finally reached the room, I have to admit, I was freaked out. It was pitch black, with nothing but a chair underneath a spot light. The chair reminded me of those chairs dentists us, but with straps to hold down a person’s feet, arms and head.
I took a nervous step back, bumping into one of the large “scientists” who I hand't noticed had been right behind me. He shoved me forward and told me to sit down. The other scientists seemed to be as startled by that as I was, but they didn’t say anything. The big guy was blocking the only way out of the room. I would like to say that this is the part where, in a surge of either sudden bravery or sudden stupidity, I took him down and made a break for it, but that would be a pretty blatant lie. I had dealt with thugs before, but this guy had at least a hundred pounds on me and was probably armed. Things weren’t exactly looking in my favor so I just did as he said. Once I got into the chair the scientists strapped me in. One of them left the room. After a few minutes he came back carrying a box that was clearly too heavy for him. It was radiating bursts of cold air that chilled the entire room. He set the box down on the floor and pushed some buttons on it. It hissed, releasing more cold air as it opened. He reached inside and pulled out a vial filled with a black liquid. He loaded the it into a syringe. As he came closer to me with the now black needle, a million different thoughts started going through my head. What the hell is this stuff? What was it kept so cold? What’s it going to do to me? Why did they have to strap me to a chai for this? Why do they have that guyblockingthedoorDidhejust pulloutagunWhyishepointingitatmIshegoingtokillmeIsheexpectingsomethingtogowrongIsthisgoingtoturnmeintosomekindofmonsterWhatthehellis- I was so busy freaking out I didn’t notice the guy had injected the stuff into me until after he pulled out the syringe. I tensed up, waiting for the inevitable effects of the black liquid and then…
Absolutely nothing happened. The scientists removed the straps. They told me to avoid drinking alcohol for the rest of the day, to get a good night’s sleep and that they would see me the next morning. The rest of the day was completely normal. I got some groceries, went home and studied. The whole thing felt so anti-climactic. I guess I had just let my paranoia get the better of me. The straps on the chair? Those were just there to hold down people like me down, who they knew would panic. The gun the big guy was holding? Probably wasn’t a gun. The only light in the room was the spotlight under the chair. I couldn’t see the guy too well. He probably wasn’t even holding anything. The box and the stuff they injected into me? Hell if I know. Sometimes they have to keep those things at really low temperatures. It was creepy, I won’t deny that, but I’m sure there was nothing sinister about it. Life isn’t a comic book. Companies run experiments like this all the time. I was sure the next day it was going to be back to business as usual. Nothing crazy was going to happen.
Crazy shit happens
The next day, I woke up a bit earlier than usual. I felt energetic. I was probably just nervous about heading back to the lab after yesterday. I could rationalize everything that happened all I wanted, but that wouldn’t make me any less apprehensive about heading back. When I went to brush my teeth I noticed something was wrong. There was something off about my reflection. I still looked the same. Was it my imagination? I took a closer look and- there it was again. In a split second, whatever it was, was gone. I was probably still half asleep or something. A cup of coffee and whatever it was would be gone. I grabbed my toothbrush, poured some toothpaste on it and just as I was about to start brushing, I started to smell something strange. It smelled like plastic burning. I looked around and started to hear a hissing sound. It wasn’t until I saw the smoke rising that I thought to look at my hand. Where my toothbrush should have been, there was a beam of red light. Inside it I could see the brush burning up. I could feel the same fear and panic I did when I was strapped to the chair creeping up on me. NO! I wouldn’t panic! All I had to do was slowly lower my hand and set down whatever that was on the counter. I slowly opened my hand. The toothbrush fell out. It had been reduced to nothing more than a charred lump of plastic. I looked at my open palm and the light was still there. I shook my hand. It was still there. I tried shaking my hand harder. It may as well have been glued to my hand.
Remember what I said about not panicking? That was a lie. This seemed like a pretty damn good reason to panic. I started flailing my arm around, hoping the light would either unstuck itself from my hand or that I would scrape it off against something. The glowing beam cut through every surface it touched, which only increased the desperation with which I shook my hand. While flailing around my hand got a bit too close to my face. It felt like someone had put a blow torch to my head as the light cut through my skin. For better or worse I don’t really remember what happened after that. I guess I must have hit my head on a wall or something and passed out because everything just went black.
I woke up to the sound of a shrill scream. I tried to get up, only to find that I couldn’t move. Someone had tied me down and I was… being taken somewhere? As the fog of unconsciousness slowly lifted, I began to get my bearings. I was strapped to a gurney and being moved somewhere. There were people all around, but I couldn’t get a good look at them. Were they doctors? Did the landlord walk in and find me on the bathroom floor? There it was again! Another scream! As I looked around I saw the hospital or wherever I was, was a complete mess. People in lab coats were running this way and that. I wasn’t the only one being rushed somewhere on a gurney either. It seemed like we passed someone every few seconds. One guy we passed was shooting out sparks everywhere like some kind of livewire. Another one was on fire, but no one went for the nearest fire extinguisher. They just kept carting him along while he screamed and burned. There was even… ugh, that one guy. I could smell him a good while before we passed by him. The stench of rotting meat was so strong I thought I was going to be sick. Good thing I never got the chance to eat that morning. As we passed him, I saw his skin was dissolving. There were flies and maggots crawling out of large cuts all over his body. He looked like he should have been dead but impossibly he was moving. He was squirming, trying to get out of the straps. The worst part wasn’t even his smell or the sight of him. It was his screaming. His screams were twisted into an inhuman roar but between his screams I could hear him talk. He was begging to know what was happening to him, pleading with the people in the coats who didn’t so much as look at him. As they took him away, I heard him begin to pray.
Eventually we reached a cramped little room with medical equipment scattered around, seemingly at random. It looked more like a large storage closet, than a hospital room. I finally got a good look at the people who had been pushing me around. It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, that they were the same scientists I had been working with this whole time. I wasn’t in some hospital. I was back at the project labs. I asked them what the hell was going on, but they didn’t answer. They all backed off and stood behind one of them who was messing around with some kind of remote control. It wasn’t until something started blaring over some speakers scattered around the room that they started talking. They apologized and told me that they needed to make sure I couldn’t concentrate too much and activate my powers. What powers? That’s when they finally explained the point of the Citizen Project.
Everyone, they explained, has the potential to develop super powers. However, for whatever reason, very few people, at least, outside of Millennium and Paragon City, ever do. The owner of the company that ran this project, thought that was unfair. He believed that either everyone should have super powers, or no one should. He spent years and god only knows how much money, studying, researching and experimenting, trying to figure out just what separated an average person from superman. That black stuff they had injected in me, and everyone else that signed up for this, was the culmination of all of those years of research. It was a serum that, once taken, would awaken a person’s latent powers. The names they assigned us were all based on the powers they predicted we would develop.
In my case, they further explained I would develop a weird form of telekinesis. Not only would I be able to move stuff around with my mind, I would also be able to “create small fields of highly concentrated kinetic energy. They would take a semi-physical form, probably in the shape of some bladed implement and would be capable of cutting through almost anything. The same kinetic energy could be used to create barriers to stop impacts.” Or in plain English, I would be able to make some really sharp blades and strong shields with my mind. As for how that relates to my name, well, thought my powers weren’t exactly going to practical for anything other than fighting and “Citizen cuts shit up” didn't exactly have the same ring to it.
When they finished explaining everything they turned off the speakers. They told me that this was my first test. They wanted me to concentrate and use my powers to cut myself out of the straps. I didn’t even know I had powers until they explained it, and now they wanted me to use them at will? No way. I had no idea what to do, and after that incident with the toothbrush, I wasn’t too eager to try. They told me it should come naturally to me, that it should be instinctive. I tried thinking back to that morning. What was I thinking about while I brushed my teeth? I had no idea. I tried thinking about cutting the straps, but that didn’t do anything. After wasting several minutes with nothing to show for it, one of the scientists decided take a more extreme approach. He left the room for a moment and came back with one of the thugs I had seen around the lab. The scientist pointed at me and whispered something in the thug’s ear. He nodded and walked up to me.
The thug brought his face close to mine. His reeked and his breath was stale. He had probably been hanging around the corpse guy. “Listen up!” He growled “this egg head says ya aren’t bein cooperative, so I gotta beat some sense inta ya. Normally I would, but I’m a busy guy so tell ya what” He pulled a gun out from under his lab coat “I’m gonna give ya five seconds. If you don’t do whatever the fuck these egg heads want ya to do, they’re gonna have ta clean your head off the wall. Ya got me?” They couldn’t be serious. “Five…” He put the gun up to my head. “Four…” No way. Were they actually going to kill me? “Three…” What was I thinking about this morning!? How did I do it!? “Two…” ShitthiscantbehappeningIshouldnthavesignedupforthishesgoingtofuckingkillme “One…” In a split second his menacing smile turned to a look of surprise. I heard a hissing sound. I could smell flesh burning. He looked down and took a clumsy step backwards. I followed his gaze saw my own outstretched arm holding a beam of red light that was buried in his chest.
He dropped the gun and fell to the ground, covering the gaping wound with his hands in a feeble attempt to stop the blood loss. After using the blade to cut through the rest of the straps, a pair of the scientists put him on the gurney and took him away. As soon as they were gone, the one with the remote turned on the speakers again. As the room was drowned in the sound of static, the blade disappeared. They said that they wanted to keep at the lab for a few days to see how my powers developed and to make sure there were no particularly nasty mutations. After reminding them that they ALMOST HAD ME KILLED one of them, quick as a flash picked up the gun, pointed it at me and pulled the trigger… Nothing. He pulled it a few more times. Still nothing. They told me that none of the guns the thugs used actually worked. They were just for show. The thug was actually the one taking the risk there. Oh, no problem then, they just had me KILL A MAN FOR NO DAMN REASON! They told me that he wasn’t dead, and that he was going to be fine. To their credit, they showed me what they did with him. Turns out, one of the people I had been working with, Citizen Life, got some kind of healing power. She just looked at him and the stab wound started repairing itself. After about a minute or so, he was standing up and walking around as if he had never been hurt in the first place.
I have to say, that didn’t actually make me feel any better about the whole thing. The fact that they would rather use a dying man as a test subject for someone who may or may not have been able to help him, rather than take him to an actual doctor struck me as callous. That thought bothered me for the rest of the day. These guys tried to seem moral, and hell, they even did good job of keeping up the appearance, but when it all came down to it, they were willing unnecessarily risk someone’s life, just to get some data on their experiments. When I got home I considered my options. I wanted to just stop going to the lab and act like none of this ever happened, but, well, I didn’t really know what else to do. I had no idea what kinds of side effects that serum would have and if anything did happen, chances are, they would be the only ones who would know how to fix it. I didn’t really have much of a choice but to go back. Later that night as I brushed my teeth, I took a good long look at myself in the mirror. The gash from this morning’s incident was still there. It was a long cut, but luckily it had been shallow. As I looked at the cut I thought to myself “This is only going to go downhill from here, isn’t it?” To this day I still say that was one of my biggest understatements ever.
From then on end, It was back to solo testing. Granted, “testing” is probably the wrong word. It was more like training at this point. For every obstacle course I ran or puzzle I solved, there would be 10 blocks of some material or another they’d want me to try and cut up. Problem was, without thinking I was about to die, I could, at best, summon up a blade the size of a butter knife for a few seconds. Eventually they brought in another telekinetic with powers similar to my own, to try and teach me how to use my powers. I won’t bore you (come to think of it, I’m the only one whose going to read this journal aren’t I?) with the details but after a few weeks and a lot of concentration, I was eventually able to conjure a pair of blades, not unlike the machetes I used to use. After another few weeks I was able to keep them out, even while being distracted by loud noises, like the static they had used before.
Over the course of the training I found I had more energy. I could run and generally be more active for longer periods of time. I was getting stronger, more resilient and I could even recover from injuries much faster than I could before. All standard side effects of the serum the scientists told me. As far as mutations go, those weren’t that bad at all. I had nothing to complain about, at least not until the nails on my right hand started growing. It was subtle at first, but after a while I noticed that the nails on my right hand were starting to grow much faster than those on my left. The more I clipped them, the faster and longer they grew back until one day I woke up and they weren’t even nails any more. Overnight, my nails had somehow grown into claws. It was weird but when I showed it to the scientists, they said it was nothing to worry about. As far as mutations go, that was actually pretty tame. Apparently one of the other citizens had grown a pair of wings. Another one grew entirely new organs that produced some sort of disease. Compared to that, I considered myself pretty lucky. Soon after that though, my eyes started glowing. At seemingly random times they should just light up like someone had stuck a red tinted flashlight into my head. According to the scientists, they had actually lit up like that every time I used my powers. They didn’t know why it was starting to happen outside the lab. When I asked the guy who was training me about it, he told me that it was just a thing that happened to certain telekinetic as they got better at controlling their powers. He warned me that eventually my eyes would start glowing all the time. Suffice to say, I started wearing sun glasses everywhere.
When they announced that they were going to start group testing again, I was actually pretty excited. I was curious to see the powers and mutations, if any, everyone else got. On the day the group tests were set to begin, everything fell apart. When I got to the lab, the entire parking lot was filled with large trucks. There were people everywhere loading equipment and furniture into the trucks. In the mess I found one of the scientists I had been working with. I asked him about the trucks, and he said that the projects funding had been cut. It was being shut down. How the hell does something that big just get shut down? I was sure there was more to it than that. It was probably due to some inter-office politics or something along those lines, but at that point, It wasn’t really my problem. I was out another job. There wasn’t much more to it than that. At least I got some powers out of this, although even then I there was always the chance that something could go wrong. Who knows, I might develop some sort of super cancer the next day because of these powers, but now I was on my own. All I could do was look for another job and hope for the best.
I was dreading the thought of having to look for another job. It’s not like I had any references from the lab. It would like I had gone months and months without a job, but somehow managed to support myself. What if some perspective employer thought I was doing under the table work, or even worse, selling drugs or something like that. Hell, how would I even explain the claws and my glowing eyes? It was all such a goddamn mess. Still, it’s not like I could just sit around and do nothing. I had to at least try and get some kind of job. I sent out applications that same day. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for me to get land a job interview. It was for an internship no less. On the day of the interview, I dressed up in business suit I had bought just for that occasion. As I stepped out of my apartment building, I took a good look at the sky. The sun was shining, the sky was clear, and I was feeling surprisingly confident. I went to my car and…
WHATTHEHELLWASTHAT!? There was a loud boom from nearby. The force of the impact or the explosion, or whatever it was, shook the whole parking lot, throwing me to the ground. I looked around. The cause of the noise filled me more with curiosity than fear. Sitting in a smoking crater, on top of what used to be my neighbor’s car was… a ship? It didn’t look like any ship I had seen. It was organic, seemingly made out of some fleshy material. As I looked it over, it dawned on me that the ship looked, strangely enough, like a giant tick. “The fuck happened to my car?!” I turned and saw my neighbor storming out over to the crater. “Goddamn aliens! They couldn’t have landed in some field or-“Before he could finish his sentence, a beam of light shot out from somewhere on the ship. It burned right through him. “Those goddamn sonofa-“He kept walking towards the ship, either unaware, or just heedless of the large hole in his chest.
The ship started to emit a low humming sound. Within seconds the humming grew into a loud buzz as a swarm of large, insect-like things started streaming out of the ship. They looked like red flying ants the size cats, with large stingers at the end of their abdomen. The stingers started to glow, and in unison, they fired their lasers at my neighbor, cutting him down where he stood. I watched in horror as larger figures emerged from the ship. All around me, in the distance I heard a cacophony of crashes and screams. The larger figures drew closer, having finally stepped out of the ship. A shadow passed by over head. I looked up to see a ship, easily dwarfing the city’s largest buildings in scale, hovering over head. The invasion had begun!
The Qularr invasion
The things that crawled their way out of the ship (the Qularr as I later learned they were called) were grotesque creatures. They were humanoid only in the sense that they walked on two legs and had a pair of arms. In place of skin, most of their body was covered in armored plates. The parts that weren’t were a mess of exposed muscle. A network of tubes ran up and down their arms and legs, pulsing with each movement they made. Their heads looked like overgrown trilobites with large mandibles, spikes and antennas growing at seemingly random places. In their clawed hands they carried long tubes, not unlike how a person might carry a rifle. I was running before they could so much as raise their guns. I had no idea where I was going but there was no way I was going to stick around the parking lot.
As I ran further into the city, I saw similar scenes everywhere. People were panicking as smaller crafts flew out of the mothership and crashed everywhere. Into buildings, on the road, it seemed like the aliens just didn’t care where they landed. All around me people were dying. Some were crushed by falling debris. Others were cut down by the bugs or gunned down by the Qularr themselves. Buildings were catching on fire as the bugs flew into apartments and business, igniting everything they could. I saw people trapped on roof tops, yelling for help as everything below them was immolated. Some decided they would rather take their chances with gravity than with the flames. I just- I… I did the only thing I could think to do. I ran through it all and didn’t look back. All I cared about was getting as far away as I possibly could, as quickly as I possibly could.
Although I might have wanted to just keep running forever, and trust me I did, my exertion caught up with me. My legs were unsteady. My chest felt like it was on fire. Had I even been breathing? After gulping down several lungfulls of air I tried to take in my surroundings. Where was I? Downtown? Seemed like it. The Champions headquarters was only a few blocks away. Did I really run all the way here from Westside? Damn, that must have been one hell of a-WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!... The fuck was that? I looked around and-WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!... There it was again! It sounded like it was close by! When I turned the corner at the end of the block I came face to face with quite possibly the last thing I wanted to see. There was a little kid, couldn’t have been older than 3 or 4, standing over a woman on the ground. Around him stood 3 Qularr, watching him as he pushed and nudged what I’m guessing was his mother. She just laid there, not moving, smoke pouring out of her back. Shit, I couldn’t just leave him there. If I did, I’d be every bit as guilty as the Qularr wouldn’t I? But then, his mother was already dead. Maybe he’d be better off with her? This city’s a terrible place to grow up, especially without parents and well, better him than me right? It’s not like those overgrown bugs had seen me. Looks like one of them is reaching out. He’s going to grab the kid! I could still make a break for it. The champs HQ is so close. I’m sure it’d be safe there! Before I could second guess myself, I decided what I’d do. I’d run…
Right into the Qularr that was going to take the kid. I tackled the thing with as much force as I could muster. There was a sick CRUNCH as its head hit some jagged debris on the ground. It began to leak a thick green fluid from the back of its head. Blood? Probably. The other two looked from their fallen comrade, to me and back again. Were they… confused? Weren’t they expecting people to fight back? Taking advantage of their apparent surprise I pounced on the second one. Before it could react, I had summoned up a blade of bright red energy. The blade hissed as I cut the overgrown roach from its shoulder to its hip. The blade passed through it as easily as if it wasn’t there and… It didn’t do anything? The Qularr looked down and ran its hand along the line where I had slashed at it. I started to back off. The things bulbous eyes seemed to glow with anger as it looked back up at me. With a roar it lunged forward and… It fell apart before it could reach me. The entire top third of its body simply fell off, while the bottom third kept running forward. I simply stepped to the side as what was left of the alien clumsily ran ahead. After a few more steps it fell over, as if it finally realized that it was dead. I turned to look at the last Qularr. I don’t know if these things can express emotion, and if they can I certainly can’t recognize it, but I like to think that at that moment, what I saw was an expression of pure terror. The thing was backing off, looking around as if hoping some of its brethren would swoop in from somewhere and save it. As it turned to run I summoned up a second blade. In its panic to get away, the thing slipped on some rocks. By the time it got up I had caught up to it. I jammed my blades into its back. As it died, the Qularr let out a defining screech, stopping only when I had pulled one of the blades out and lopped off its head.
I turned back to check up on the kid. He seemed to be alri-what was that? I could have sworn I saw movement. It looked like it was coming from-what was that sound? A humming sound? I ran up to the kid. I told him to stay near me and stay quiet. More movement. More sounds. I saw it off in the distance. It was one of the Qularr ships. It was heading in towards us and it was closing in fast. I opened my hands, the blades disappearing in a puff of red fire and picked up the kid. I started running. How the hell can I hope to outrun that!? It’s a goddamn ship! The ground began to rumble as it drew in close. In no time at all it was right behind us! I ran into an alley, hoping the ship wouldn’t be able to follow. No such luck. It made a sharp turn and plowed right through the close by buildings. I kept running. I had to keep running, there was no way I’d be able to-SHIIIIIIIIT! A dead end!? Of all the allies I had to pick why’d it have to be the- no time to complain. I had to find a way out. There was nothing but solid brick walls to my left and right. I turned. The ship had a turret out in front. It was pointed right at us. The air hummed as the cannon started to charge. This is it. I was going to die. The kid was going to die. Those aliens, the dumbasses, were probably going to blow themselves up and die along with us. We were all screwed. I set the kid down behind me and took a deep breath.
Like the guys at the lab had said, it was all instinctual. Without a thought, I raised my hands. A glimmering red halo materialized out in front of me. Looking through it everything was distorted as if looking through rippling water. The cannon fired a steady beam of brilliant yellow light. Where the light should have it me, it instead hit the distorted field. The light was refracted in several different directions. Each smaller beam of refracted light carved senseless shapes and patterns into the wall. I could feel the kid grabbing my leg. I could hear him crying. I could hear the whistling sound as it drew closer, but none of that mattered. All that mattered was that I kept up the- wait a whistling sound? It was very distinct. I know I had heard it before but whe- A violent explosion rocked the back of the ship. The cannon stopped abruptly. There was another whistling sound, followed by another explosion. The ship turned. It started to fly up but it was too late. The third explosion hit the front of the ship dead on. It tried to fly up but it bobbed and weaved, like a bird with an injured wing. It couldn’t stay up any longer. Yes! The ship was going down and it was… oh shit. It was going to come down right on top of us! A fourth explosion sent it tumbling out of the air.
Looking back on it, I don’t know where I got the strength. Maybe it had something to do with the serum, maybe my will to live was just that strong. As the ship spiraled down, I raised my hands, the shield raising as well. I could see the ship falling. As much as I hopped, I knew there was no way it was going to miss. I braced myself for the impact. When it hit, it hit hard. I could feel every muscle in my body scream as the ship hit the shield with the force of a derailed freight train. I pushed back with all my might, with all my concentration, trying to ensure the shield didn’t just dissolve into air. I couldn’t keep this up for much longer, but I wouldn’t, I couldn’t give up! I grit my teeth together and put everything I had into one push! The red halo glowed so brightly it was practically white and with that push the ship was repelled! With the sound of metal twisting and cement being torn apart, the flaming wreckage of the ship landed, no more than a few yards away. I fell to my knees. That was it. The kid would have to fend for himself. There was nothing more I could do for him. Whatever maniacal energy I had gotten from my fear and panic was gone. I was just… I was tired. The last thing I remember seeing were blue figures climbing over what was left of the ship. One of them looked like it was carrying a large tube. I heard voices but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. My sight was fuzzy. I could hear but nothing was comprehensible. Pretty soon, everything just went black.
When I woke up I was laying down on a tough, uncomfortable mattress. Looking around, I saw more of those beds scattered around, with people rushing from one to the other. It looked like I was in some sort of field hospital. I got up out of the bed. I was a bit unsteady, but other than that, I was fine. Better than fine actually. I didn’t feel tired or hurt. In fact, I’d say I felt better than I did that morning. A man rushed over to me. He was wearing what more or less amounted to sleek white riot gear, with a red cross emblazoned on his chest. He looked at me slack jawed. “You’re awake?” He said, the disbelief clear in his voice. “Um, yeah? Shouldn’t I be?” I asked him. “I don’t know. Probably not.” He explained how the police officers had found me and dragged me over to the field hospital. Ii was a complete mess. Some X-rays should that my arms and legs were all but shattered, and my chest had been reduced to web of stress fractures. They didn’t know how they were going to deal with me. I had to be rushed to the hospital, they didn’t have nearly the right supplies to deal with injuries as serious as mine. The hospital was full to bursting as it was though. One of the field medics had suggested that they just leave me, but the officers wouldn’t hear any of that. They said that after what they had seen me do to save the kid, the least they could do was try and save my life. (Although I didn’t think to ask at the time, they managed to find the kids father and left him in his care.) They were going to put me in an ambulance, but before just as they were about to move me to a gurney, my head erupted into bright red flames. They didn’t dare touch me, they just watched as the flames spread from my head down to the rest of my body. Although they could feel the heat, the flames neither burned me nor, my clothes. Impossibly, the flames seemed to heal me. As it spread, bones that were broken and jutting out, retracted back into place. My skin knit its self together and within minutes, the flames died out. Some more X-rays showed that everything had been healed. I was as good as new. They were baffled. They had no idea how any of that had happened. “Superpowers” That was all the explanation they could come up with. They decided to keep me in the field hospital. I was out like a light for about two hours.
I was sent off from the field hospital to meet with some agent, the “Silver avenger”. Despite her name, she looked fairly normal. She was dressed up in a standard set of UNTIL combat armor, her white hair being the only thing linking her to her name. The people around her on the other hand, were an entirely different case. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people dressed up in that many ridiculous costumes anywhere outside of a comic book convention. I also couldn’t begin to describe how grateful I was that they were all there. This was easily the biggest collection of superheroes I had ever seen. They all gathered around her as she pointed to a large map of the city and yelled out orders. As she gave out orders, each super hero went off, either flying or teleporting or even running to their destination. As I approached, she looked at me and gave me a quizzical look. “What can you do?” She asked. “Uh… I can cut things I guess?” She looked down at her map. “Are you fire proof?” She asked. “What? No.” “Will you suffocate in smoke?” “I would think so, yeah.” She went to a nearby box and pulled something out. She shoved it in my hands and pointed at the map. “We’ve got reports that the Qularr are setting buildings on fire and barricading them to make sure no one makes it out. You’ll have to go to this building and-“ “Wait, what? I was almost crushed by one of their ships and you’re sending me out to go fight them again?” She gave an irritated sigh. “Look, if you’re not going to make yourself useful, just go sit with the civilians. This is an emergency and I need every super I can get! I don’t have time to deal with someone that’s not going to do anything!” Rather than argue I just went off. I had already almost died today. The last thing I wanted to do was piss off an UNTIL soldier and get them to finish the job.
The civilians seemed to mostly be old people and children. Almost every able bodied adult was arming themselves and either standing guard or going out in small groups to fight the Qularr.. So that’s how it was going to be? Either go get myself killed or hang around with the people too young or too old to actually do anything? I suppose I could just wait here, but how would that look? I’d be the one super too scared to go fight. When the hell did I even start considering myself a super? Were they looking at me? I’m pretty sure they were. Everyone seemed to be staring at me as I passed by them, quickly looking away when I turned in their direction. I looked down at what Silver avenger had given me. It was a gasmask. Hmm… I knew where the building she had pointed out was, more or less. I guess it couldn’t hurt to head over there and at least take a look. Better than sitting on my ass listening to kids and old people cry all day at least. And hey, at least then they couldn’t say I didn’t do my part to fight the invasion. Pride can make you do some really stupid things you know that? It’s what made me put on that gasmask and run out into the city.
I spent the rest of the day running from one end of millennium city to the other, fighting Qularr, rescuing anyone I could find and escorting them back to the UNTIL camps. Towards the end of the day, the Qularr put up a barrier around a small part of the city. Like many people I was trapped in there. Everyone thought we were done for, but some hero managed to help the champs set up and fire the “Ironclad defense” which apparently consisted of literally shooting that one champions, Ironclad, at the Qularr mothership. Within no more than half an hour, explosions started to flare out all across the ship. Everyone cheered as they watched it fall and sink into the bay. The Qularr were still around, but without their mothership they were in total disarray. Some kept fighting. Some fell to their knees and according to some translators, were begging to be spared. Others just stood there and stared at the mothership. As everyone celebrated, I sat down for what felt like the first time in days. A man approached me. He looked fairly old, in his sixties at least. He was dressed in a very nice, very expensive business suit that somehow didn’t have a speck of dirt on it. I recognized the guy. I had found him surrounded by a pretty large group of Qularr. He didn’t seem the least bit interested in the fact that he was about to die. After I saved him, he didn’t say anything. We walked back to the outpost in total silence.
He was pretty creepy then. He looked even creepier now that he was standing right in front of me, looking me up and down. “I like your style” he told me in a voice so cold and sharp, it was like hearing an icicle pierce flesh. “You aren’t looking for a job are you? We could always use someone like you.” “A job? Doing what?” I asked, my voice muffled by the gasmask. He paused as if to consider his response. “Security” he said. “Security? Sounds like something I could do.” His smile sent a shiver down my spine. He pulled out a business card and handed it to me. It was nothing more than a little blank scrap of card paper with a phone number on it. “My name is Sunday. Tell them to send the call straight through to me. And your name?” He asked, raising his eyebrow. Hmm… how would I answer this guy? This might be an actual job offer, but I don’t know. He kind of gives me the creeps. Hmm…. I know what I’ll tell him. “I’m Citizen Death”. “Pleased to meet you Citizen” he said as we shook hands. “I’ll be looking forward to working with you.” If I had known then what I know now, I probably would have just let the Qularr kill him. Hell, I probably would have even helped them.
Looking for work after the invasion
The invasion had left the city devastated. Homes and businesses had been destroyed, the roads were all torn up, and it was just a huge mess. It would have taken months, maybe even a year or two to repair all of the damage. At least it would have had Mayor Biselle not decided to hire almost every single hero in the city as construction crew. Things that should have taken weeks, took no more than a few hours. Maybe a day or so if it was something particularly difficult. In the end most of the reconstruction took a little over a month. Hardly a surprise when you consider that almost half the workforce had super strength and super speed and the other half either had magic or a personal army of robots to do the heavy lifting. For my part, other than normal construction work, I was cutting and clearing out debris that would have otherwise been too big to move and would have probably needed some specialized equipment to get through.
The completion of the repairs was met with a lot of fanfare throughout the city. Biselle declared the day a holiday and held a parade celebrating the “rebirth” of millennium city. The parade was a pretty big event. Not only where the champions there but damn near anyone with a mask and a cape was invited to march along with the champs. I would have gone but I spent most of that morning writing up applications. Turns out the guys in charge of the business I was going to be interviewed for last month decided that Millennium city was a bit too dangerous for them. They ended up moving their offices to California so with that door closed and the construction done, I was out a job again.
I spent most of the afternoon delivering applications. I probably shouldn’t have bothered. Most offices were closed. Still, at least I made a decent first impression on the few that were still open. They said I was a real “go-getter” or something stupid like that. By around four o’clock I had delivered around half of my applications. I stopped by the park to take a break and have some lunch. The park was eerily empty. With the parade at the other end of the city, the park was totally abandoned. As I sat down and began unwrapping the sandwich I had bought, a thought occurred to me. The card that old guy in the business suit gave me. There was something about him that made me uneasy but, well, a job is a job right? I’d probably just stand in front of an office building all day or something like that. Who knows, maybe I’d be working as a bodyguard.
I fished around my wallet for a bit until I found the card. As I reached into my pocket to pull out my cell phone I froze. Call me paranoid but did I really want this guy to have my cell number? Not until I was sure he was offering a legit job. It took me a bit of walking but eventually I found a pay phone. These things were getting harder and harder to find every day. I called the number. Beeeeep… beeeeep… beee-“Hello?” answered a pleasant voice on the other end. “Hi, um, I’m calling about a job offer I was given by Mr. Sunday. He said to uh, tell you to put the call through to him.” “Sunday? Are you sure?” “Yeah.” “Name please”… Crap. I never did tell him my name did I? I said I was Citizen Death. Would that work? It would probably sound weird. Still, it’s not like he asked for my real name. Maybe he works with super heroes often? It was worth a shot. “My name’s Citizen Death.” “Citizen Death? Hold please…” I’m not too sure how to describe what I felt then. I guess the best way to put it is this: Have you ever had someone sneak up behind you while you were doing something? Maybe you were so into whatever you were doing that you just didn’t hear them, but despite that, you just knew they were there. You could feel them there. What I felt then was essentially that, but to a much higher degree. They were far off but they were closing in quickly. They didn’t make a single sound as they moved, but I could feel their movements, no, the kinetic energy being released by their movements behind me. They drew something out. A stick? A bat maybe? They raised it as they ran. In another few seconds they would be right behind me. 3..2..1…
As I ducked I could feel my hair stand on end. I heard the crackle of electricity above me as the person swung their weapon in a deadly arc were my head had been no more than a split second earlier. I rolled to the side and rose up into a sprint, nearly losing my balance in my rush to stand up. I was barely a few yards away when quick as a flash, a figure blocked my way and pushed me to the ground. I scrambled up and finally got a good look at my assailant. She was in her early to mid twenties. Her blond hair was tied up in a bun. She was wearing a trench coat that seemed like it might have been a few sizes too big for her, but it was a tight fit over her… boxy and jagged figure? What was she wearing under that coat? Armor? Seemed likely. In her right hand, shooting sparks like a livewire, she held a strange looking sword. The cross guard was shaped like a snarling demon. Its tongue was a long blue blade with runes inscribed all over it. She smiled. “Sunday’s a bit busy at the moment.” Her voice sounded a lot less pleasant in person.
In one quick stride she closed the distance between us. Before I could so much as blink she was raining down slash after slash. I dodged as best I could, but each swing got just a little bit closer. She stepped back and raised her sword, preparing a two handed swing. That second or so was all the time I needed. With a thought a blade materialized in my hands. I drew it up just barely quick enough to block her blow. The instant our blades met, there was a sound like the crash of thunder. Arcs of electricity speared out from her sword in seemingly every direction. The eyes on the demonic cross guard burned blue. With a blast of sparks and an explosion that might as well have been a monstrous roar, I was flung back. I staggered, but I managed to catch myself before I fell. I drew my other blade, but I was hesitant to attack. This was the first time my blades haven’t been able to cut cleanly through something. Whatever her sword was made of or whatever was holding it together, it was strong.
She charged again. She swung her sword in a blindingly fast flurry of slashes. She might as well have been fighting with four swords as quickly as she was attacking. Regardless, I was ready for her. I parried each swing, but each one unleashed a burst of sparks which had me backing away. I had an idea. It was a really stupid idea, but given the circumstances, I’d take a stupid idea over none. I began to direct my steps back. It was nearby, I just had to make sure she didn’t kill me before we reached it. She kept pushing me back and I getting closer. It wasn’t far now. Just a few more steps… I felt my back bump into something hard. Nowhere else to run. Her smile opened into a wide grin. Perfect. She pulled her sword back. With sparks and electricity flying every which way, she thrust her sword forward, the blade aimed straight into my chest. At the last possible moment I dived to the side. With a thud, her sword bit into the tree I had been in front of. She had thrust with such force that the blade was almost completely lodged in it. Her grin quickly disappeared. She tried to pull it out but it didn’t budge. That’s when I made my move. I ran in, wildly hacking and slashing at her. She tried to back away, but I pressed my attack, never giving her so much as a chance to breath.
I cut and I cut and I cut until finally I was too tired to keep going. She had to be dead after that right? No such luck. Her trench coat had been cut to ribbons. Underneath it she was in fact wearing a thick suit of armor. Much like her sword, it was blue. There were runes all across its surface and here and there, demonic faces decorated it. There was a crisscrossing network of gashes all across her armor, most of them deep enough that I could see her bleeding. She reached out, her face twisted into a mask of rage. No sooner than I had heard the sound of wood snapping and breaking, her sword was in her hand. The eyes on the demonic faces all started to glow. The glow quickly spread all over her suit until it looked like she was enveloped in blue light. It faded just as fast as it at spread. Imagine my surprise when I saw that her armor looked as good as new. “I’m fucked aren’t I?” I wondered aloud. With a scream she ran at me. I prepared to parry her thrust but she didn’t so much as raise her sword. She tackled me to the ground. It felt like I had just gotten hit by a truck.
She ran over to me and stomped down on my chest with an armored foot. She might as well have dropped a cinder block on me. I felt the air forced out of my lungs. Before I could catch my breath she started kicking my head. Soon, not even that was enough for her. She crouched down over me and started smashing at my face with the pommel of her sword. Blood and sweat obscured my vision, but I could see her stand. She raised her sword far above her head. As she began to-wait. Why didn’t I think of that before? Would it work? She was going to kill me anyways so it was worth a shot I suppose. My blades are just really small, really powerful fields of kinetic energy. I wonder if I could make a bigger field? Her sword descended. It was close. It would reach me any second. I held out my hand and…
She froze. Her swords decent stopped. “What!? What’s going on?” She was more confused than panicked. It worked… Holy shit it worked! I got up, making sure the field around her, the field of overpowering kinetic energy that kept her stuck in place, didn’t fall. “This wasn’t in your file! You’re not supposed to be able to do… whatever this is!” She was starting to sound hysterical. “Let me go! If I don’t kill yo-“ My blade pierced her head, splitting her skull in two. The electricity running through her sword died out. I waited. I managed to hold her corpse in place for a few more seconds before the strain was too much. I let her go. What was left of her slumped over. I stood ready, waiting for her to spring up and attack. After about a minute, my cell started ringing.
Wearily I took a look around. It hadn’t occurred to me, but someone must have seen. You’d think that someone would have noticed the fight, that someone would have called the police but the park empty, and barring the sound of my cell ringing, quiet. I looked at my phone. It wasn’t a number I recognized. I answered. “She’s not getting up from that you know.” It felt as if the air around me dropped a few degrees. “That armor of hers can only repair its self, not the person wearing it.” Said Sunday in the same cheery voice an old man might use when talking about his grandchildren. “It was a pretty neat little artifact. It’s almost a shame you killed her.” He went on. “She was one our more… enthusiastic employees. Bah, what am I talking about, you don’t want to hear about her. You want to hear about your new job! Well, congratulations, you’re “interview” was a success! You are now a member of the Order of 365, under the employ of the Council of 12 months.”
“What? What the fuck is this? You said it was a security job not… not whatever this is!” “Language Citizen, or should I call you Mr. Hughes, either way we-?” “How did you-“ “You should know better than to ask. You’ve read comics, you’ve seen movies, you should know that organizations like mine know everything there is to know, now as I was saying, we try to maintain a civil work environment so do watch your tongue.” “No! Fuck you! Fuck your order! Fuck your months and fuck your job! You just had me kill a person! What kind of a sick job interview is that!?” He sighed. “The order was full. For someone new to join, someone had to be let go. That’s simply the way things work. Now then, let’s start talking about the responsibilities of your new jo-“ “No! This is wrong, I’m calling the police! It was self defense! I’m not going to jail for this! You will you sick bastard!” Another sigh like a parent dealing with a misbehaving child. “Look back at the bench you were sitting on. There’s an envelope there. See it? Open it.” “What? Why?” “Ugh… Just, go open it” irritation starting to creep into his voice. I probably wasn’t going to get anywhere arguing with him. He probably had some more people around too. How else would the envelope have gotten there? I was in no shape to fight if he did. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little curious to see what was in it. I went over to the bench. I didn’t feel anyone trying to creep up on me. I opened the envelop facing away from me in case it was filled with… I don’t know, poison or something. I emptied out the contents of the envelope. It was… pictures? I started to look through them. The quality was terrible. It looked like they were taken in a rush an-“What is this? You’ve been stalking my family?” My mom, my dad, my grandparents, my brother, my sister, they were all there. Just to make matters worse, the time stamps were extremely recent. They were taken only about an hour or so ago. “Not me naturally, I’m far too busy, but yes, we’ve had some people keeping an eye on them. You see, here’s the thing, people in your new line of work tend to attract very many enemies. We understand this, so from now on end we’ll be providing your family with “protection”. We’re just trying to be considerate employers. Now then, there’s no need to worry your family with this information so just keep it under your hat. Understood?” What could I do? These guys were holding my family hostage. If I didn’t work for this council, they’d all die. “… Understood.” I said against my better judgment. “Excellent! Now, as I was saying, let’s start talking about your new job, shall we?”
The Council of 12 months
The time I spent working for the Council of 12 Months was, without a doubt, the darkest period of my life. There isn’t a single thing I did while working for them that I don’t regret and trust me, I did a lot. I could do nothing but write this journal for the next year and I still wouldn’t be done going over everything. Honestly, I’m not even sure I want this information to be anywhere but in my head. I’d probably be better off just taking all this with me to the grave, but someone out there is going to want to know this. Probably whoever finally kills me. Listen up my would be murderer, whatever it is you think I did that justified you coming to kill me, I probably did it. I probably killed your family. I probably killed your friends. I probably burned down your home, in fact, I probably burned down your whole town. I probably stopped your rebellion. I probably started the rebellion that took you down. I probably silenced that one reporter you were waiting on to write that article on that one corrupt politician. I probably killed that one guy you knew that was working on some project that could “revolutionize” energy, or transportation or whatever the hell he might have been working on. What I’m trying to say here is, there’s very little you can accuse me of that I probably haven’t done. I’m not saying I’m proud of what I did. Far from it, but I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t deserve what’s coming to me just because I didn’t want to do what I did, so if you’re reading this now and I’m still not dead, what are you waiting for? You can finish reading this once you’ve killed me.
(Several blank pages later)
Alright, I figure at this point one of us is dead, and let’s face it, I couldn’t have survived half the things I did if I was easy to kill. If you had any ID on you, I’ll try and send your body back to your family. If not, well, I know a nice place off the coast of monster island. It’s got a beautiful view. That, and the water happens to be filled with piranhas. They haven’t been fed in a while. If I’ve managed to talk you out of committing suicide-by-citizen, then why are you still reading this? It’s a private journal. If you want to know how I may have directly or indirectly ruined your life, just ask me. Anyways, I don’t even know where to begin talking about this. I guess I’d be better off just giving a brief overview of the last six and a half years.
The first year was the easiest, comparatively speaking. I spent most of my time gathering information. Sometimes I would follow people around and report their movements. Other times I’d break into their homes and steal their journals, logs, diaries, anything that might have had information on them. Sometimes I’d just be in a library, pouring over books and records, trying to find information on whatever obscure thing they wanted me to look up. It wasn’t long before I found myself working with informants though, and soon after that I was bartering and trading information. Just to complicate things further, being in the Order of 365 and working for the council didn’t mean I was safe from them. I was often attacked by other members of the order, and it wasn’t uncommon that I’d be told to kill another member off. According to Sunday they only wanted the best working for them so sometimes it was necessary to pit their “employees” against each other to make sure that only the smartest and strongest stayed. Poison gas and smoke bombs were pretty popular weapons among the members of the order that wanted to avoid a face to face confrontation so it didn’t take long for me to get in the habit of carrying around a gasmask everywhere.
Despite occasionally having to kill my “co-workers”, my body count didn’t really start going up until the second year I spent working for them. By then they had me going after seemingly random people. They didn’t give me a file on the person or anything, like they did when they had me killing their own people. They just gave me a picture, with a name, time and location. These people never fought back, in fact I’m pretty sure they were never expecting it. Why would they? I started doing a bit of research into some of the names. Turns out they were mostly unremarkable people. One was a dock worker. Another was a janitor. A manager at a fast food place, a construction worker, the owner of a hotdog stand, an orderly at a hospital, a taxi driver, all people with no real connections to each other or to some big conspiracy, but I was sent to kill them all the same. I found out later that those seemingly random murders were part of a process called “erasure”. It’s how the council liked to send people a message. Whenever someone was particularly uncooperative, they’d kill off anyone related to that person. Friends, family, their friends family, anyone was fair game. It’s the threat the held over every one of their employee’s head. It’s what was keeping me and I’d imagine most of the members of the order in line.
After several months of random assassinations, they began sending me out overseas. I was mostly sent to small, third world countries in Europe and Africa, but they had me going after higher profile people. Politicians, reporters, members of small time crime families and the like, all became my usual targets. Late into my second year, going into my third, they started getting me involved in some of their more delicate operations. Most of these nations had some valuable resource or another that the council wanted. It was my job to try and negotiate and “acquire” those resources. Now, when I say resources, I’m not talking gold or diamonds or even oil. That’s all pretty mundane in comparison. I’m talking about questionite and kendrium. Some of those nations were sitting on dimensional rifts leading to large deposits of hellstone and aether. Hell, some of them even had mines full of edomically empowered gens. Naturally I didn’t know what half of that stuff was at the time. It wasn’t until much later that I learned a bit about superscience and magic and found out just how bad an idea it was to give questionite and gems full of edomic energy to people like Sunday. Of course, that’s all beside the point. Going to back to the negotiations, well, I guess “negotiating” is a pretty bad way to describe it. It was more of a “plata o plumo” type thing. Either the leader of the country would agree to let one of the council’s front companies come in and mine the stuff out, or I’d go have a chat with the local rebel faction. Most of those countries were in pretty bad shape politically. It was never hard to find some group of people looking to overthrow those in charge and they never turned away help from a super powered stranger offering them weapons, money and help in their fights.
I suppose it’s worth mentioning that it was during that time that I started dressing like you see me dress now. I was always in a business suit, after all, I had to look respectable during those “negotiations”. Since then, this gas mask everyone sees me in pretty much became my face too. It’s too practical to not wear. Gas grenades and smoke bombs are still pretty common weapons no matter where you go and it helped a lot when it came to persuading politicians. Nothing is quite as unnerving as the blank expressionless stare of a gas mask. Thanks to it, I managed to avoid having to make threats a few times. I’d just stare at the politician until they broke down and agreed to whatever I was asking them to do.
Anyways, after about another year of third world politics, they sent me back to Millennium City. Now, before I start this next part, I’m going to have to explain something about how super heroes work in MC. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t all that well organized. Most of them don’t work for the Champions. They tend to just run, jump and fly around, doing their own thing. Occasionally though, a few of them will get together and if their goals are similar, they’ll form a team. These teams can be registered with the champions, making them an official super hero league. These leagues are commonly known as super groups, or sgs for short. Most sgs end in complete disaster. They’re usually poorly organized, with little to nothing in the way of actual leadership. A few arguments, mostly about who should be in charge and these groups disband. Sometimes an sg is formed that’s different. Sometimes an sg with a decent leader, a clear goal, a modicum of organization is formed. These are the groups with potential. The one’s that might actually make a name for themselves some day. Those were the groups the council had me going after.
The groups started off small so small, they were often willing to recruit people without doing much in the way of background checks. The few that did do a thorough check would run into whatever identity the council had set up for me at the time. Once I was in the group it was back to surveillance for a while. I would run with them, like I was just another hero. I have to say, I liked it. After three years of stalking, spying, stealing, bribing and murdering, it felt good to do something that was actually heroic. To fight actual criminals and know that I was doing some good. Of course, that feeling never lasted long. Every week I’d send in a report to the council. Every week they’d learn a little bit more information they probably shouldn’t have known about these people who were just trying to improve the world. Eventually I’d get the order. I’d have to hunt down and kill off whoever the council deemed to be the “pillar” of the group. The one everyone looked to for strength and support.
I have to say, those hits were always the hardest ones to pull off. Not because they were super powered and could fight back. I had gotten much more powerful over time and more often than not they were still coming to grips with their powers. No, it was hard because they weren’t just names on a picture. These were people I had gotten to know over the weeks and months that I spied on them. Let me tell you right now, there’s nothing quite as surreal as being invited to the funeral of a person you killed. There’s nothing quite as disturbing as listening to a eulogy and knowing that the “higher power” that decided that it was time for them to move on to the next life wasn’t some god, but a sadistic old man who considered them to be a nuisance. There’s nothing quite as heartbreaking as seeing their family cry over their closed casket, knowing that they can’t even take one last look at their husband or wife, at their father or mother, at their brother or sister, at their son or daughter, because you cut them into so many pieces there was barely enough of them left to tell who they were. With the group’s “pillar” gone, it didn’t take long for everyone to scatter and the group to disband. At that point it was on to the next sg.
This went on for 2 years. I was never caught. The council always had an airtight alibi ready for me. Any records I had accumulated while working for a group were “lost” soon after the group disbanded. Despite all that though, I guess I was starting to develop some sort of reputation. They started sending me out across the world again. Thankfully, I was just collecting things. Relics, Weapons, armor, things like that. Usually I’d find them in ancient temples, or downed UFO’s. You know, something must have been keeping the council busy because they really dropped the ball with those relics. They had me go after them but never bothered picking them up. Even today I’ve still got a pair of suits and most of the weapons I collected. After about six months and hardly any contact with the council beyond the occasional letter with the location of the next thing they wanted me to find, they sent back to Millennium City.
This was going to be a big job, they told me. They wanted me to infiltrate an order of mages… I know. I thought it was a stupid move too. What the hell do I know about magic or magic users? Not that they cared. At that point I was apparently one of the longest surviving members of the Order of 365. I guess that made me the most qualified one for the job by default. I got in saying that I was some sort of summoner or something and that all of my powers were the result of me channeling demons or something like that. Honestly, I have no idea how they fell for it, I mean I had a pretty detailed fake identity but I was mostly just making shit up as I went along. I thought mages were supposed to be able to detect magic or at least a lack of- hold on a second… come to think of it, I had spent the last six months collecting magic artifacts and hanging around places that were filled to the brim with magic energy didn’t I? I guess some of it rubbed off on me? I guess that would explain why they let me keep that stuff. I don’t know. Honestly, I was never too big on magic and working with these people didn’t really help. It was all “ancient prophesy this” and “magic ritual that”. Luckily, at this point I could bullshit may way through damn near anything so with a bit of effort I managed to avoid detection for a good 5 or so months. The 6th month though… That’s when everything went to hell. Literally.
One of the mages was a bit too ambitious. If you’ve ever worked with magic users (or in any sort of business) then I’m sure you know the type. Always kissing up to the people above him, never shows anything other than contempt for the people below him, but above all else, always looking for short cuts. This guy was always looking for anything that could jack up his powers. He had a pretty big collection of magical crap, all of which he said would make him more powerful, but it was never enough. Eventually, this guy, being the brilliant magician that he was, decided to try and invoke the Kings of Edom… Yes, THOSE Kings of Edom. The physical embodiments of everything that’s wrong in the world. Naturally, he fucked up the invocation and ended up opening a gate to the Qliphotic realm. Rather than close the gate and leave that dumbass to die, the head mage decided that we should all go in after him.
The Qliphotic realm
Look, I know there are different dimensions and I know there are other worlds. That’s just common knowledge. I also know that both angels and demons exist, in fact quite a few of my co-workers now happen to be demons. Again that’s just common knowledge. What I don’t know however know if there’s a heaven or a hell, at least not in the way we tend to think of heaven and hell. There are angelic dimensions and there are demonic dimension, and humans are often not allowed in either. I’ll say this much though. If there isn’t a hell, the Qliphotic realm is certainly the next closest thing. I’m not going to describe the things I saw or the things I went through while in there. At least, not now. I will say this much though, when we went in, there were about 20 of us. When we left, there were 2. The only reason we got out at all was because the Champions were in the Qliphotic realm at the time, chasing down some crazy wizard. Maybe you’ve heard of the guy, Luther Black. Anyways, we had been trapped in there for about a week or so before we finally ran into the Champs, and it’s a good thing we caught them when we did. The gate that other guy opened up had long since closed and they were about to close the gate they had used.
After that incident, I was a mess. What had seemed like a week turned out to be an entire month. I was so tired I might as well have been in there a month. When I got home there was a package waiting for me inside. Even through my mask I could smell the distinct scent of rotting meat. I didn’t care. I took a shower, and for the first time in what felt like an eternity, I got some sleep.
I woke up in a panic. Something wasn’t right! There was movement everywhere! Did those flying things find us? Shit! I thought we were safe in this cave. Maybe it was the brutes? They had been looking for us ever since those cultists found out we were in here. Where was she? Everyone else had died, but she was way too tough. Did they take her while I was asleep? Shit I knew I should have- wait… I wasn’t in a cave. I wasn’t in the Qliphotic realm. I was back home. Ugh, it smelled like I never left. What was that? Oh right. The package. What the hell was in that? After getting dressed and putting a new filter on the gas mask (thankfully blocking out the smell) I went over to the package, still waiting for me in front of my door. I guess the landlord didn’t want it stinking up the hall and brought it in. There was a letter on top of it. It was totally unmarked. Of course, that could only mean one thing.
“Dear Mr. Amado Hughes:
I must regretfully inform you that due to certain recent incidents, your employment with the Council of 12 months must come to an end. Consider the contents of this package to be our thanks for your years of dedication, hard work and sacrifice.
What. The. Fuck. They’re getting rid of me? After all this? Why? What the fuck happened?!... you know what, it’s probably better I don’t ask. I had been looking for a chance to leave ever since they first hired me. Still, this seemed… odd. When the council “fires” someone, they’re usually a bit more literal. And what was the deal with this package? Hmm… It was pretty big. Kind of heavy too. A bomb? I didn’t hear it ticking. It felt like there was a lot of stuff in it though. I opened the box as slowly and carefully as I could. The lid was open and it didn’t blow up on me. That’s always a good sign. I took a look inside. It’s a good thing I didn’t eat breakfast that morning. Not that it mattered. I felt sick. Breakfast or no, I was going to throw something up. In horror, I started emptying out the contents of the box. My mom. My dad. My brother. My sister. My grandparents. One by one I pulled their severed heads out of the box. The blood may have long since dried, but they had been sitting in front of my door rotting for some time now. There was a thin layer of bile over their faces, all of which were frozen in expressions of surprise and fear.
The last thing I pulled out of the box was a small tube. There was a timer on it and it was counting dow-FUCK! I threw the tube down and rushed out of my apartment as fast as my legs would carry me. I had only just made it outside when I heard the explosion behind me. Even 5 floors down the force of the explosion managed to knock me off my feet. I could feel the heat behind me as an entire floor of the apartment building was blasted into nothing but a few pieces of rubble. People were streaming out of the building, screaming. I was almost trampled as I struggled to get up. Someone reached down and pulled me up. “it’s about time. What took you so long?” There were two men in front of me. The smaller one was wearing a bright red hoodie. The taller one was wearing a jacket. “Yeah! What took you so long?” Echoed the smaller one. “Your file said you were pretty good about being on-“ the taller one’s head slid to the floor before he could finish that sentence. The smaller one jumped back in surprise. His eyes grew wide. He reached out and began chanting. A ball of purple flame ignited in front of him. His chanting was cut short as his hand fell off. He started screaming, more from panic than pain. The fireball flew off into the building. With a quick slash, I cut him down. I took one last look at the apartment. The fireball turned the burning wreckage into a bizarre spectacle of purple and orange light. Blades in hand, I started running.
It didn’t take long for me to run into the next group. Since when did the council start sending people out in groups? It didn’t matter. I killed them all the same. I’ll be honest, after that, things start to get a bit hazy. I know I spent most of my time running from one end of the city to the next. I couldn’t leave. I had no money. All of my bank accounts were gone. Not frozen, just gone. As if I had never made them in the first place. I couldn’t go to the police or UNTIL. The council had people working for them in both. They would have reported me, hell they might have even just killed me on the spot. All I could do was run and fight.
Run and Fight
Run and fight, run and fight run and fight run andfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfighturnandfightrunandfightrunandifghtrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfighturnandfightrunandfightrunandifghtrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfighturnandfightrunandfightrunandifghtrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfighturnandfightrunandfightrunandifghtrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfightrunandfight.
The days passed by in a blur. I’d wake up to someone trying to kill me and I’d go to sleep with a much higher body count than the day before. Even while trying to eat as little as possible, I ran out of what little money I had on me quickly enough. The members of the order never had anything on them. Of course not. Why would they? That would make things too easy for me. I managed to go a few days without food, but eventually it was too much. I started rummaging around trash cans and dumpsters, looking for whatever scraps of food I could it. I grew up in Westside. It wasn’t my first time going hungry, but that didn’t make it any less revolting. It also didn’t make me any less sick when I inevitably ate some bad food. Still, I was surviving, which is more than can be said about the members of the order. Every day they came after me in bigger and bigger groups with more elaborate traps and ambushes. I had survived too much. I had been through way too much throughout the years to be killed by the likes of them! I wasn’t going down without taking every last one of those 377 fuckers down with me!
Of course, the council had other plans. One day, I woke up to… nothing. No one was trying to shoot me. No one was trying to stab me. No one was trying to burn, freeze, electrocute, or cast spells on me. I stayed on guard, but no one came for me that day. Or the day after. Or the day after that. What was going on? Were they trying to lull me into a false sense of security? Probably. Yeah, that had to be it. Come to think of it though, how many of them had I killed? It’s not like I was keeping track, although I know I had fought off at least 2 or 3 of them every day. Maybe I had hit them too hard? Maybe I had killed enough of them that they decided it wasn’t worth wasting the resources on me anymore. I must have done some serious damage to them because I haven’t heard from them since then.
So, what now? I know I’ve said this before but believe me when I say that this time, I was really a mess. I had learned how to use that healing fire (well, it’s not really fire, but that’s beside the point) from way back during the invasion at will so physically, I was fine. My suit however was in pieces. Wherever it wasn’t in tatters it was covered in dry blood. My mask was somehow in good condition, but honestly, I think that just made things worse. I must have looked like a villain out of a slasher movie. You know, I’m surprised I was never arres-“He-he-he-HEY! Come on!” Several days had passed in relative peace. I was wandering around Westside, trying to consider what to do next, when a strange looking man ran up to me. He was wearing what looked like a straight jacket with the right sleeve cut off and the left still bound around him. His pants had holes all over them. They looked like pajama pants they gave people who were staying in the hospital for extended periods of time. His eyes were wildly darting pack and fourth. “C-c-c-COME ON! We found tha-that little brat the boss wanted!” he said, unable to keep his voice below a yell. Who the hell was this- hold on… he was a member of the maniacs wasn’t he? Did… Did he think I was one of them? Well, this is their territory. It would explain why the police didn’t come after me too, at least while I was here. He turned around, having already run about half a block away while I was considering this weird turn of events. “COME ON! M-M-M-M-MOVE IT!” Not like I had anything better to do. Hey, who knows, maybe I could steal some food off them.
Back to school
The man half ran, half crawled all the way over to a large gathering of them maniacs. They were in front of a building. What was this? A school? Looked like one. The wild looking man pushed past the crowd. I followed behind him, curious to see what was going on. There was a blond haired woman in dark red suit standing outside in front of the school’s entrance. “We’ve c-c-c-c-come for the kid!” The man yelled. “Just hand him over and we promise we wo-won’t hurt anyone else!” The woman smiled. “I’m sorry, but class is in session at the moment.” She said in a surprisingly up-beat tone. “If you want to discuss something you’ll have to make an appointment with me like everyone-“”Sh-sh-shut the fuck up bitch! Just give us the fucking kid!” The smile left her face. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. Now if you know what’s good for you, you’ll get out of here.”… Wow. She’s surrounded by maniacs and she just threatened them. She has some cojones doesn’t she? “GAAAAAAAAAH! T-T-T-TORCH THE PALCE!” One of the maniacs nearby pulled out a bottle and a lighter. Shit. Here we go again. Can’t I go a single week without ending up in some life or death situation. You know, I could just walk away now. I should just walk away now. Trying to protect people is what got me into this mess in the first place. If I had just sat with the civilians, none of this would have ever happened. There were a lot of them here. Who would notice if I just walked away. The bottle was lit. I didn’t have much time now. Was I going to stay or was I going to go? If I was going to decide I had to decide now.
There was a familiar look of surprise on the maniacs face as he went to throw the molotov, only to find that most of his arm was missing. After pulling out and stamping out the flaming rag, I dropped the man’s arm and ran in front of the woman. “Get inside and call the police” I told her. “I’ll deal with these guys” “K-k-k-k-kkkkkkkKILLTHEMALL!” The man in the straight jacket yelled, the veins on his face looking like they were about to burst. In a frenzy the crowd closed in around me. There were a lot of them sure, but they were just small time gang members. The sound of crunching bone drowned out their yelling as I crushed the first wave of them in a field of kinetic energy. I would have thought that a display of force that big would have scared them off but, well, they call these guys maniacs for nothing. They trampled over the fallen members in a rush to get to me. The first one that reached me swung what looked like a piece of a pipe at my head. My blades cut through both it and him easily. More and more of them came, all of them wielding crude weapons, some of them trying to attack me from the back or the sides, hoping to catch me off guard. Dead and injured maniacs started to pile up around me. Where were the police? She should have called! They should hav-“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaah!”
A maniac flew above me, eventually hitting a building off in the distance. I turned around and saw the woman in the suit rubbing her knuckles. Another maniac swung a tire iron at her. It hit her dead on her forehead, but she didn’t so much as flinch. In fact, it didn’t look like she even felt it. She ripped the tire iron from his hands and twisted it into a knot. She gave the twisted mess of metal back to him before hitting him with an upper cut sent him flying into the sky. Just what was going on here? She’s a super? I didn’t have much time to think. Before I knew it there were more maniacs attacking. They were streaming in from all over. One of them must have put out a call for help. Not a single one of them made it to the door. Between this woman and I, we managed to fight back them back. The police and the paramedics came soon after to clean up the mess. The woman, oddly enough, invited me to talk with her in her office. She introduced herself as Sarah. She was the principle for this school. She offered me some coffee and a bagel. For the first time in years, I took my gasmask off in front of someone. I hungrily devoured the bagel. “So, you aren’t with the maniacs are you?” She asked me? “If I was with them…” I said between bites “I wouldn’t have… fought them would ?...” “No, but you were with them at first. Why?” “I’ll be honest… I just wanted to… see if I could steal something off them. Money… food, something…” I said. That bagel was the best thing I had eaten in some time. “You wanted to steal from them? How exactly are you living?” she asked with concern. “Living?... I haven’t lived in… some time now. I’ve been surviving… that’s about it.” “Are you, not to sound rude, but are you homeless?” she asked “As of… What day is it?” I looked at a small calendar she had on her desk “Wow, has it really been that long? Well, as of about 2 months ago, yeah, I’ve been homeless.” “Hmm… well, tell you what, I like your style!” She said beaming “Are you looking for a job?”… I damn near choked on the bagel. She offered me a cup of water. After catching my breath I finally asked, “Doing what?” “Security” she responded. Oh, hell no. Not this shit again. I got up and started to back away. “Are you with the council?” I asked, getting ready for a fight. “Of course!” Alright, she’s got super strength but it’s not like I haven’t fought her type before. I just have to-“I’m with the parent-teacher council, it comes with the job, but as security you wouldn’t have to worry too much about it.” “The parent-teacher council?” I relaxed a bit. “It’s important that we keep the parents informed about everything going on in the school, especially given the special nature of most of our students.” “They’re “special”?” “Of course, don’t you know? This is the Red Academy!”
She went on to explain that this school, the red academy was a school for the super powered. It wasn’t just kids either. They had classes for everyone from kindergarten to collage, spread out across several buildings in a surprisingly large campus. People came from all over to try and advance their education and of course, learn how to better control their powers. Naturally, most of the supers there had rivals who attacked the place pretty often. Even the kids usually had someone after them, often times in an attempt to get at their parents by kidnapping or killing them. To reiterate, this as a school for SUPER POWERED people. No had ever managed to successfully attack the place, but that didn’t stop them from trying and the attacks were getting more frequent and more violent. They needed people to make sure that no one stupid or determined enough to attack, ever made it through the front door. Occasionally one of the parents or older students would volunteer to defend the place for a while, but it wasn’t enough. They needed someone to guard the place full time.
I took the job so quick, you’d think I was being offered the chance to go back in time and punch Sunday in the face. I’ve been working here at the Red Academy ever since, and I have to say, it’s been a complete 180 for me. I am no longer fighting to advance the goals of some shadowy organization. I am no longer spying or stealing or murdering people in cold blood. I am no longer Citizen Death: Assassin in the Order of 365 and peon for the Council of 12 Months. I am now Citizen Death: Head of security for the red academy and protector of those who will later go on to protect the world.
Suffice to say, that’s not everything. A lot’s happened since I started working here. I managed to reconnect with some of the other citizens. Citizen life in particular snapped. I’ve been hunting her down trying to find out what happened to her. Not to mention all the crazy shit that’s happened in the school its self. You thought I was kidding about elves fighting cyborgs? I wish. Even then ,this is just the abridged version of everything that happened. I don’t think I mentioned anything about the ice spirit I ended up befriending while working with the mages, or the cyborgs that, for a time, seemed hell bent on complicating my life way more than It already was, but this journal’s getting pretty full as it is. Those will be stories for a different time.