Sunday, September 15, 2013

No. 41: The Last Superhero Story

1. Dr. Pharaoh

Dr. Thomas Cooke lived at the hospital. Or at least it seemed like it. With the money he made from patents, books and interviews, Dr. Cooke was able to save Cleveland Grace Hospital from shutting down. In 1939, Dr. Cooke, in an effort to save lives, created a pill that was supposed to make the body’s immune system stronger. It worked but also made the body stronger and more durable. But only for 24 hours. Cooke decided not to patent it fearing that the pill would be used for crime. Shortly after, Tom’s uncle would leave him an Egyptian scepter that amazingly granted Tom the ability to fly. Tom decided to become a hero using the scepter and pills and took the name Dr. Pharaoh. “I’m heading to lunch,” he said, setting down a clipboard at the nurse’s station. “I should be back in thirty minutes or so.”

“Okay, Dr. Cooke, we’ll hold down the fort,” one of the nurses giggled.

Tom headed to his car and as he opened the door someone behind spoke in a thick Russian accent. “Dr. Thomas Cooke?”

“Yes?” Tom responded. He turned and saw a man in red and gold armor with a gold sickle and hammer emblazoned on his chest. The man’s skin was also a deep hue of red.

“What about Dr. Pharaoh?” the red man asked.

Tom smiled. “I think you have me confused with someone else,” he tried to deflect the red man’s questions.

“That’s too bad,” the red man said. “I know you are lying,” the red man punched Tom sending him crashing through his car and across the parking lot into the brick clothing factory wall next door.

When Tom emerged from the rubble he was dressed as Dr. Pharaoh. “All right Red Scare. I don’t know how you found out my identity but I need to take you down now!” Dr. Pharaoh flew toward Red Scare and tried to hit him just as hard but only managed to knock Red Scare onto the ground.

“We all know your identities now and if we can’t bring you down then Ruin will,” Red Scare said then kicked Dr. Pharaoh in the stomach.

Dr. Pharaoh fell to his knees. “Ruin? Who is that?”

“Someone you should know very well.”

Dr. Pharaoh stood back up and clubbed Red Scare with his scepter. Dr. Pharaoh began punching Red Scare in the face. Blood and teeth spilled onto the ground. “Who is it? Who is Ruin? Who all knows our identities?” Dr. Pharaoh demanded.

“They’re already attacking your friends,” Red Scare coughed. Police began arriving and surrounded Dr. Pharaoh and Red Scare. “And when I’m in jail I will tell everyone who you are. Your life as Dr. Thomas Cooke is over and your family is dead!”

Dr. Pharaoh stared at Red Scare who quickly caught Dr. Pharaoh off-guard and brought him down to the ground. Red Scare began beating Dr. Pharaoh, cracking his helmet. Dr. Pharaoh dropped his scepter and couldn’t get his wits about him to land a blow.

Finally, Dr. Pharaoh lifted his leg and kicked Red Scare hard in the groin. Stunned, surprised but not necessarily hurt, Red Scare stumbled backward. Dr. Pharaoh got up and clubbed him in the head with his scepter, blood pooled out of his ear and skull. Red Scare fell down and Dr. Pharaoh hit him again in the back of the head. Red Scare was not moving but was breathing shallowly. Dr. Pharaoh raised his specter again.

“Dr. Pharaoh! That’s enough!” a police called. “We’ll take it from here.”

Dr. Pharaoh lowered his specter and looked at the policeman and the crowd of people that had gathered. “Sorry, officer,” he faked a chuckle. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to get to Centropolis,” and Dr. Pharaoh took off into the air.




2. Lightning

Maxwell Simpson was a test subject for now-deceased Professor Herman Moytner’s human cloning experiment. Professor Moytner’s invention would supposedly break down a person’s electrons and duplicate them and restore them. Max was chosen as the first test subject and while the machine did break down Max’s electrons, it also charged them and turned him into pure electricity. Professor Moytner, in an effort to save Max, created a containment suit. The suit allowed Max to fly and instantly transport himself but also control his new powers and keep his human form.

Max was now working a desk job for the Oklahoma City Police Department. He was currently trying to get some paperwork done that was left on his desk. Another officer approached the desk and sat down a box. “Package for you.”

“Thanks,” Max began opening the package without looking up. “Who’s it from?” he asked, noticing there wasn’t any labels on the box. Max opened the box and a pie flew up and hit him in the face.

“HAHAHAHAHA HOHOHOHOHOHOHO HEEHEEHEEHEE!!” the man who delivered the package giggled. The man doffed the policeman’s uniform.

“Jokester!” Max shot up from his chair. “Jokester, you are under arrest for…”

“10…9…8…” Jokester began counting down.

“What are you doing?” Max asked.

“That’s exploding pie cream. Didn’t I mention that?” Jokester bit his lip and then smiled. “4…3…2…”

As the frosting in the box, the desk and Max’s face exploded, Max turned into Lightning, avoiding being blown up. He had also brought Jokester with him and he was unharmed as well.

“That’s who I wanted to see,” Jokester giggled. “The incredible Lightning!”

“How did you know?” Lightning asked.

“A little bird told me,” Jokester said and pulled a rubber duck out from under his jacket and squirted Lightning with water.”And we know all of your identities. Tom, Vivian, Lester…” Jokester named off the first names of Dr. Pharaoh, Golden Flame and Radio Man.

“Who told you?”

“Someone you know who knows all your dirty little secrets,” Jokester grinned.

Lightning phased a part of his finger into Jokester’s shoulder causing him to wince in pain. “Tell me who or I will rip out your spine through your chest,” Lightning threatened.

“You wouldn’t do that,” Jokester pouted. “If you do, Little Max dies.”

“Maxie?” Lightning was taken aback.

“Yes,” Jokester smiled. “You kill me and you’ll never know where Maxie is and he’ll die. Isn’t this fun?”

“Where is he?” Lightning screamed.

“I’ll tell you tomorrow,” Jokester faked a yawn.

“You will tell me now or so help me God…” Lightning raised a fist and electricity crackled from his eyes.

“That’s a clue you idiot,” Jokester scowled. “’I’ll tell you tomorrow.’”

Lightning thought for a moment. “Tomorrow. Tomorrow Man…Tomorrow Man’s grave?” Lightning asked.

“Why don’t you find out?” Jokester replied. And in a flash they were gone.

Tomorrow Man was a now-deceased member who was killed in 1946 protecting New Orleans from a monster called Ripper. His powers came from a gauntlet left to him from a man from the 22nd Century. He was buried in a modest grave in a New Orleans cemetery.

It had been years since Lightning had been here. Lightning and Jokester flashed into existence in front of Tomorrow Man—Adam Ditko’s grave. There was fresh, overturned dirt covering it.

“You sadistic son of a bitch,” Lightning snarled as he used his electromagnetic powers to lift and move the dirt and lift up the casket. He opened the casket and saw Maxie bawling and cowering with the remains of Tomorrow Man. Lightning pulled Maxie out and hugged him. “You’re okay, Maxie. You’re all right…”




3. Golden Flame

Vivian Cassell hated her job. She felt it was demeaning not only to all women but especially herself. She was a receptionist in a prestigious law firm in Missoula, Montana. She was unsure where her powers had come from and at first they made her seem like a freak but after she figured out how to use them, she became Golden Flame.

She was working at her desk, as she does everyday around this time, when her cubicle mate saw something out the window. “What is that?” she stood up and pointed at something out of the window on the street. “Viv, come look at this!”

Vivian slowly got up and went to the window and saw a woman with long silver hair walking down the street in front of the office building. “Oh my God. That’s Shrieker,” Vivian said.

“The Society of Seven villain?”

“Yes,” Vivian nodded. “I’ll be right back.” Vivian left the office and ran down the back stairs. When she emerged on the ground floor in the alley, she was in her Golden Flame uniform. She flew to Shrieker and took her arm. “What are you doing? I thought we reformed you.”

“I was reformed. Until I was approached by Ruin. He convinced me that I was better off as a criminal and gave me the information to bring down the Society of Seven…Vivian,” Shrieker smiled when Golden Flame gasped at hearing her real name.

“This Ruin person told you our secret identities?” Golden Flame asked quietly.

“Ruin told me everything and if I were him, I would’ve destroyed you years ago!” Shrieker yelled then began screaming in a piercing tone. Everyone on the street covered their ears as did Golden Flame. Windows cracked and people fell to their knees.

Golden Flame removed a hand from an ear and shot a flame at Shrieker. “Stop it!” she screamed. The flame hit Shrieker in the face causing her to scream louder but more in pain. “Oh God! I’m sorry! I meant to hit your chest!”

When the fire and smoke cleared, Shrieker’s face was red and pockmarked with burn wounds. “You just made a huge mistake, Vivian!” Shrieker screamed louder. Windows shattered, people fell to the ground in agony and Golden Flame went with them.

Flames began erupted from Golden Flame. Tears rolled down her cheeks. “Please…stop…” she said through gritted teeth. “Stop…screaming!” Flames roared from Golden Flame’s back and engulfed Shrieker whose scream grew louder and then start to die until she grew silent and fell down. “What the…?” Golden Flame stood up and looked at Shrieker’s charred body.

“You killed her,” someone said.

“I didn’t…I didn’t know I could do that…I…I need to get to Centropolis to figure out what’s going on,” Golden Flame flew into the air and toward Centropolis as police arrived to take care of Shrieker’s body.




4. Catman

Catman stood atop the Anderson Building in Downtown Centropolis, Kansas in the pouring rain. He watched the traffic fifty-two stories below. Fifteen years ago, Dwight Summers found his wife and children murdered. The murderer was never found. Dwight tried to continue his life but after a year, Dwight Summers disappeared. When he returned he was a highly skilled fighter and acrobat. Do to his agility and the costume he made, Dwight took the name Catman and became a champion of justice.

“Dwight Summers,” someone said behind Catman.

Catman slowly turned around and saw a skeleton wearing a suit standing with him on the roof. “Dr. Bones,” Catman grumbled.

Dr. Bones, then Dr. Nieder, was Catman’s first villain. In an effort to better fund his scientific advances he turned to crime and while fighting Catman, fell into a vat of acid, searing off his skin and muscles. Catman always wanted to know how his body worked and how he was still alive but always felt asking would be inappropriate. “It’s a pleasure to see you again, Catman. Or do you prefer Dwight?”

“When in my costume I prefer Catman,” Catman replied.

“Don’t you want to know how I learned your real name?”

“You’re a smart guy. You’d probably figure it out sooner or later,” Catman shrugged.

“I thank you for the compliment, Catman but someone told me yours and the rest of the Society’s identities. His name is Ruin and he knows quite a lot about the Society. Both good and bad,” Bones said.

“Ruin? Who is he?”

“I promised I wouldn’t reveal the surprise but you are also a smart guy. You could probably figure it out.”

“So are we going to fight or just wax poetic?” Catman asked.

“I figured we’d just wax,” Bones said. “Since this will be the last time our paths cross and I believe after fifteen years of playing cat and mouse we’ve developed some form of mutual respect, I thought we’d just stand here and look out over the city we love.”

“I can do that,” Catman smiled slightly. They stood at the edge of the building and looked out at the city and down at the traffic. Catman then heard a commotion down on the street. “A guy down there is shooting at people.”

“Go. Do what you do best,” Dr. Bones said.

Catman leapt off the building and toward an alley where a man had just shot three black men. “What the hell…?” Catman questioned as he landed in front of the man.

“They used to know their place,” the man said. “We’ve been too lenient on them. Not anymore.”

“You can’t do that. They’re people, too.”

“No, they’re not. They are property. They are animals. They are slaves. They are not people. And that you are defending them means you also need to be stopped,” a flurry a bullets went off and Catman dodged each of them with relative ease. “Your fancy footwork won’t save you,” the man said but Catman interrupted him by hitting the man square in the face. A loud crunch echoed in the alleyway and blood began pouring from his nose. The man fell to his knees.

“One hit,” Catman said. “I stopped you with one hit.”

“You broke my nose!” the man cried. Catman took the man’s gun as two police cars blocked the alley.

“Get up and stop crying before the police see you,” Catman said.




5. Time Man

Time Man landed without a sound on the balcony of his apartment in downtown Chicago. As he slid open the glass door he noticed it was completely dark. His wife usually left a lamp on for him but right now that lamp was off. Time Man entered his apartment and cautiously stepped toward the lamp that was usually on next to the couch.

He clicked it on and saw his wife and daughters tied to chairs against the wall. Chains covered the floor and led to a man dressed in black holding the chains. “Glad you could join us. I was starting to get impatient.”

“Let them go, Master Key!” Time Man demanded. “This doesn’t concern them.”

“But it does, Mr. Banner. You chose to be a hero therefore you opened yourself up to all types of crazy people tracking you down,” Master Key said.

“How did you learn my secret identity?”

“You’ll find out,” Master Key smiled beneath his mask. “Now what should we do about your family?”

“Let them go,” Time Man said without any hesitation.

“But if I do that then there won’t be an element of surprise when we fight,” Master Key said.

“Enough talk, Key,” Time Man leapt up and struck Master Key in the jaw. “You made this personal so the gloves are off!”

The chains removed themselves from the Banner family and crawled to Time Man who was now standing over Master Key. The chains wrapped themselves around Time Man and pulled him down to the ground.

“The chains obey me, Time Man. With only a thought these chains could shatter your legs.” And, as if to prove it, the chains tightened.

Time Man reached for the sundial on his left wrist and pressed a button. Master Key, his family and the chains suddenly slowed down to a near stop. Michael Banner had been given the sundial by an Ancient Roman superhero named Centurion. The dial granted the wearer powers and the ability to slow down time. The dial also had the capability to remove the wearer from time rendering him invisible but there was a time limit on that. Exceed that time and your physical body would be permanently removed; however you would still be remembered so in reality you would just disappear.

Time Man, still in real time, fought off the chains and removed them then quickly helped his family out of the apartment. He then ran over to Master Key and punched him again, this time on the side of the head.

Master Key began slowly flying backwards and Time Man restored time. Master Key flew back, stumbled and slammed into the wall, sinking to the floor. “Give up?” Time Man asked. Master Key was barely conscious and all the chains were limp.

Beneath his mask, Master Key smiled. He pulled a small bauble from a compartment on his belt and pressed a button it. Time Man quickly pressed a button on his sundial as the apartment and most of the floor exploded.

No longer in the time stream, Time Man safely walked through the explosion and flew down to the street where his family was waiting. He returned himself to reality and hugged his wife and kids as sirens approached.




6. Mr. Amazing

Theodore Harris led a group of schoolchildren, teachers, parents and other people through his massive lab. At the end there was a question and answer segment before Ted showed his guests to the door. One man stayed behind, dressed in a long tan overcoat and red baseball cap. The visor of the cap was pulled down, hiding his face.

“I have a question,” the man said.

“All right, but just a quick one,” said Ted. “I have to get back to work.”

“What would you say is your biggest mistake?” the man asked.

“I have a couple. One is not curing Roosevelt’s paralysis before he died. He tasked me with that and I put it on the back burner erroneously thinking he would be around longer. The other is participating in the Supreme-Solider Program. Nothing good came out of that,” Ted paused and sighed. “If that is all, I must return…”

“So destroying your best friend’s body doesn’t make the list?” the man asked.

“Best friend’s…Oh! You mean Steve Watson. That was…unfortunate but not a mistake. There was no way I could’ve foreseen Watson going insane. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

“You’re so high and mighty aren’t you? All the good that you’ve done outweighs all the bad that you’ve done. The ’39 World’s Fair, Titusville, Florida, Nevada Street fire are all just mistakes. Mistakes like me!” the man removed his coat and hat to reveal himself half made out of machine.

“Watson!” Ted exclaimed. “I tried to save you after the lab accident. I also thought it would benefit mankind if I could figure out a way to replace body parts and organs with robotics.”

“So you used me as a guinea pig? Without my consent you ripped my tattered skin off. You removed the stumps of my arm and leg. You removed my eye and severed my spine. All because you wanted to save me? Look at me! I am more machine than human! You should’ve just let me die!”

Ted was silent.

“Ruin has plans to destroy the others—Lester, Vivian, Harold—but I demanded that be the one to destroy you. Like you’ve destroyed me!”

A red laser beam shot out of Watson’s left eye and toward Ted. Ted easily dodged it. “Who’s Ruin? And how do you know the Society’s secret identities?”

“Ruin told us,” Watson was able to hit Ted in the jaw causing him to stumble.

“How does Ruin know?”

“He was once one of you but you—all of you—turned your backs on him. Forgot about him!” Watson stood over Ted and hit him in the face twice. “You are no better than the criminals you’ve sent to jail. You think that just because you have powers and costumes like Superman, Batman and other comic book characters that you are better than everyone else. That you are more important…!”

Ted was finally able to raise a leg and kick Watson across the lab and into a metal cabinet. Ted walked over to Watson. “You’re right. We’re not like Superman and Batman because we are real people and we make mistakes. We aren’t perfect, Watson. I am the first person to admit that…”

“Since when?” Watson laughed. “In the years I worked with you, you never admitted to a mistake! If something went wrong you blamed an assistant or what you were working on. It was never your fault!” Watson stood up and ran to a large electrical generator. “I will steal the energy from this generator and I will destroy you!”

The energy from the generator began circulating around Watson. He began growing bigger but Ted couldn’t approach him because of all the electricity. “Watson! You don’t know what you are doing! All that energy will kill you!”

“And you too!”

Moments before the generator became empty, power began flowing back in and Watson emitted a painful scream. Ted called for his flying discs which carried him away from the generator and outside the building just as it exploded.

“All my projects…works in progress…gone…All gone…” Ted said looking back at the smoldering rubble that was once his lab. He walked into the destruction to where the generator once stood. He saw the skeletal remains—half bone, half metal—of Watson. Ted sighed and shook his head. “Should’ve left you alone…”




7. Radio Man

The robot was at least seven stories tall and had destroyed most of Old Downtown Centropolis. Radio Man was having trouble getting an upper-hand on the robot and was doing what he could to keep the robot at bay.

Have to find a way to knock this thing down, Radio Man thought as he flew at the robot with full force. With a swipe of the hand, the robot knocked Radio Man from the air and into a building. “I also need to figure out a way to keep him from destroying any more of the city,” he said out loud.

Radio Man flew down to the street and plowed through the street into the sewer. Radio Man was sent to Earth from a distant planet in the 1830s and was secretly raised by slaves until he turned 15 when his powers started developing. He was then cast out for being the son of a devil. He then travelled the country secretly using his powers to help people. When the Civil War broke out in 1861 he helped both sides. After the war, at age 28, although he looked 18, he decided to settle down and married a woman he met during the war. She died in 1871 giving birth to his son, who died soon after.

Once again he bounced around the country until 1907 at age 70, although he looked 30, he killed his original identity and created Lester Pflumm, and settled in Centropolis, Kansas, and went to school. In 1938, he created the identity of Radio Man and has been protecting Centropolis and the country ever since.

Radio Man burrowed up through the sewers and under the robot’s foot causing it to topple to the street. “Now to find out who’s controlling this thing,” Radio Man said and began tearing the robot apart revealing the shriveled body of Montgomery Redpath, a long-time rival of Radio Man.

“Redpath!” Radio Man was stunned. “I thought you were near death!”

I am, you imbecile, Redpath thought. You may have stopped me but Ruin will stop you. “Les…” Redpath struggled to speak. “Lester…Pflu…uhh…”

My name, Radio Man grabbed Redpath. “How do you know my name?”

“Ru…Ruin…” Redpath managed to say then went silent and limp.




Radio Man flew to the Society’s headquarters on Wyoming Avenue and saw that the other six were already there. “What’s going on?”

“We were all attacked by old villains who now know our secret identity,” Catman said.

“So was I, Montgomery Redpath attacked me in a giant robot suit. The man was near death. He’s in a coma now,” Radio Man said.

“Did he mention anything?” Time Man asked. “Because all of ours all mentioned someone named Ruin.”

“Redpath did mention Ruin. In his condition he was only able to say my name and Ruin’s,” Radio Man said.

“So Ruin is the common factor,” Dr. Pharaoh said. “It appears Ruin has discovered our secret identities and told our archenemies. The question remains, how Ruin learn them?”

“I didn’t,” said a voice. “You all openly told them to me. The fact you don’t remember speaks loudly about your self-centeredness.” A figure stepped out from the shadows in a dark black uniform with a hood and tattered green cloak.

“How did you get in here?”

“You gave me the security code years ago and apparently couldn’t be bothered to change it in seven years.”

“Are you Ruin?” Golden Flame asked.

“I am.”

“You said that we told you our identities,” Mr. Amazing said. “Who are you?”

“Do you remember Tomorrow Boy?”




8. Ruin

“In 1940, after my parents were killed, I was taken under the wing of Paul Wellington III who became Tomorrow Man after acquiring gauntlets from a time travelling bounty hunter. I was ecstatic that not only did I not have to be placed in foster care but I was going to be hanging out with a superhero. He even trained me in various form of combat and I was hoping that if the time ever came, I would take up the mantle of Tomorrow Man. I took the name Tomorrow Boy and he presented me with a costume. I was so happy I almost cried. Then Paul kissed me.

“It felt strange. I was only eleven so I was very confused but what else was I going to do? If I told him no he might have thrown me out on the street. He pressed himself against me and I could feel how hard he was. He made me suck him off. When I turned twelve is when we started making love. It never felt right and when I was older, since I now thought I was gay I only dated men and it never felt right being with them so I would always head straight for having sex which would also never feel right but they all got what they wanted. An ignorant young man willing to bend over and be taken advantage of.

“And Harold, Dwight, Ted, he told you what he was doing. He bragged to you about it and you all just laughed it off. And then Paul was killed in 1946. I was sixteen and was hoping I would be the next Tomorrow Man but I was forgotten about. The name was retired and Paul left me nothing. I was turned over to the state for the next two years and when I turned eighteen I couldn’t get a job. Meanwhile, you kept being glorified both as heroes and as regular people so I promised myself, I vowed, to destroy you!”

Dr. Pharaoh raised his scepter and shot an energy blast at Ruin who was able to absorb the blast and redirect it back to Dr. Pharaoh, striking him and knocking him down.

“Society! Attack!” Radio Man shouted and the six still standing launched themselves at Ruin.

“You’re wasting your time. I know all of you. I’ve studied you extensively. I know your weaknesses,” Ruin easily slapped away Mr. Amazing and Time Man, electrocuted Catman and was able to dodge a punch from Radio Man. Lightning and Golden Flame attempted to come at Ruin from the sides. He was able to knock out Golden Flame and deflect Lightning’s bolt, striking Radio Man. “You were supposed to protect the innocent and weak but instead you stood idly by while a young boy was constantly molested and raped and that,” Ruin began blasting around the headquarters, turning it into an inferno, “isn’t what heroes do!”

“Time Man! Slow down time!” Radio Man shouted from somewhere in the flames. “Pharaoh, get Catman and Mr. Amazing out of here! Lightning, Golden Flame, you know what to do!”

Golden Flame absorbed some of the fire and created a massive ball. Lighting turned himself into pure energy and allowed himself to be absorbed. “What’s going on?” Ruin asked.

The fire and lightning ball struck Ruin causing a massive explosion that destroyed the building, shattering surrounding windows and sending everyone to the street below. Radio Man grabbed Ruin from behind and began putting pressure on his neck.

“This isn’t over, Lester! You can’t stop me! I will kill all of you and your families! I…”

After the crack, everything seemed to grow silent. “You…killed him,” Golden Flame said.

“Makes sense to me,” Catman said.

“I had to. We couldn’t stop him. He would’ve kept coming back…” Radio Man panted.

“But you always…” Radio Man interrupted Mr. Amazing.

“I know what I said about killing. I will live with this everyday for the rest of my life. And since I was born in 1830s I have a lot of time to deal with this,” he sighed. “Let’s clean this up. I’ll get Ruin out of here.”




Epilogue

“You six are charged with Communist conspiracies and treason,” Judge Resson said, addressing the six heroes in the courtroom, all dressed in their uniforms. “But you claim that you have reached a deal with the United States?”

“Yes, Your Honor,” Radio Man said. “The United States originally wanted us to reveal our identities and we could continue fighting crimes as our alter egos. We have talked them into keeping our identities secret and give up crime fighting.”

“And this is a choice that all six of you have reached?” Judge Resson asked.

“No. Catman and Time Man have decided to reveal their identities and continue doing what they love.”

“Is this correct, Mr. Catman and Mr. Time Man?”

“Yes, Your Honor,” they said in unison.

“Are the People satisfied?” Judge Resson looked over to the counsel for the United States, Henry Pipken.

“Yes, Your Honor,” Pipken responded.

“Then so be it. Catman and Time Man will reveal their identities to the federal government and continue fighting crime. Radio Man, Golden Flame, Dr. Pharaoh and Lightning are hereby retired and, for lack of a better word, out of business,” Judge Resson pounded his gavel and the people in the courtroom started to disperse. Catman and Time Man went off with Pipken while the other four looked at each other and then left the courtroom with the rest of the crowd.




Eleven years later…
Lester, Vivian, Max, Ted and Tom remained in the cemetery after the funeral was over. They looked at Dwight’s tombstone and the fresh mound of dirt now covering his coffin. It had been twelve years since their battle with Ruin and eleven years since the Society disbanded.

“I should’ve helped him,” Lester said.

“And wind up in prison? Dwight knew what he was getting into fighting that lunatic,” Ted said. “Especially after going on a lack of sleep. At least Dwight died doing what he loved.”

“Unlike Harold,” Vivian sighed loudly.

A couple years ago, Harold decided to retire from being Time Man. A career criminal, in jail several times for carjacking, assault and public nuisance, broke into the Banner household and slit the throats of Harold, his wife and three children before turning himself in. The reason he gave as to why he did it was “I didn’t want anyone else in his family to become a new Time Man.”

“Didn’t even get to enjoy his first week of retirement,” Max shook his head.

“It was nice seeing you all again,” Tom said. “Maybe next time it will be under happier circumstances.”

The five heroes parted ways and left the cemetery.

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