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Godling # 1

 

GODLING #1:  MEMOIRES OF A SUPER HERO - PROLOGUE

By Jochem Vandersteen (jvdsteen@mail.com)

 

On top of Mount Olympus stands a small temple. When you venture inside though, you’ll notice it’s much bigger than it looks like. You see, the normal rules of space and time don’t apply there. Only the rules of the old Olympian Gods matter. It’s there we find Godling, sitting in front of the huge, mirror shaped computer called Oracle. The digitized face of a beautiful woman fills the mirror that doubles as a computer screen. He’s surrounded by amazing machines, ancient relics, trophy’s, statues and weapons. This is his home, his headquarters and workspace.

                Godling is not happy. He looks tired. Very tired.

                “Oracle, please start recording,” he says.

                “Recording in progress,” the exaggerated warm female voice of the computer acknowledges.

                And Godling starts his story…

 

Today was one of the darkest days of my life. Today I saw a hero die. Today I noticed the futility of my own life.

                It started when The Nanite Swarm escaped from their prison again, attacking New York. Foo Fighter was there to battle them, his Laser Visor shooting them down by the dozens, but it was obvious he was going to need help, because soon the sheer number of them would overwhelm him. The Nanite Swarm are insect-cyborg hybrids with the ability to breed new Nanite Insects at an amazing pace. Too amazing for Foo Fighter to keep up with.

                I saw what was happening on the news, so I started Pegasus, my Sky Cycle and flew to New York. Foo Fighter was airborne, but surrendered by Nanite Insects, holding him everywhere they could get a hold of him. One of them was dangerously close to stab him with its dagger-like sting.

                I didn’t hesitate. I got as close to them as I could with Pegasus and jumped from the bike on top of the Insect who was about to sting. I tore the sting out of its spindly legs, and stabbed it in its bionic neck. The Insect short-circuited and plummeted downward. Channeling the flying abilities of Hermes I stayed airborne, peeling the Insects off of  Foo Fighter with all the strength I could muster without channeling Heracles’ extra power, because that would mean losing my flying abilities.

                “Thanks,” Foo Fighter wheezed. I got him the extra space he needed to blast ourselves free passage to a nearby skyscraper where we could make our stand against The Swarm.

                Parts of Nanite littered the sky as Foo Fighter’s laser beams tore through them like a knife through butter. We stood back to back. The skyscraper that had become our fortress was overrun by Nanite Insects – flying, crawling, jumping on top of it. Foo Fighter tried to keep them away from us with his blasts, while I ripped apart the ones who managed to avoid them, coming to close to us.

                My brow was sweaty, my muscles ached. “We won’t be able to keep this up much longer, Fighter! We need some kind of plan. They keep multiplying!”

                “We need to get to their Queen,” Foo Fighter said. “She’s the one with independent thought, she’s the one giving them the command to attack. Without her they’ll just mutter about harmlessly.”

                “Good idea,” I said, while I was using a confiscated sting to skewer an ant-like specimen. “But where is she?”

                Foo Fighter pointed upwards, high in the sky I could make out a beehive-like construct of metal. “There, she’s in there. But it’s very heavily guarded.”

                “I’ll have to chance it,” I told him. “Give me cover!”

                “No, wait!” Fighter shouted. “I’ve got a much better chance of getting up there safely, you won’t be able to fly fast enough.”

                He had a point, but I didn’t like it. “All right. I’ll try to keep as many of them busy as I can. Good luck.”

                He just nodded and flew towards the beehive, his body covered in light. Insects flew at him left, right, up, down and from every other possible direction, but he was relentless. He just kept picking up speed, barreling towards the Hive like a missile. Finally I lost him out of my sight as he entered the Hive.

                I was up to my neck in Insects, slashing, pulling, biting at me from every angle. Using several pieces of Insect I battered them away from me. But there were just too many and finally I felt myself drown in their numbers, the only thing I could see was metal, as they were suffocating me with their sheer weight. I felt myself die.

                Then a loud bang and suddenly all Insects went dead. I was able to push them off me, like they were just lifeless pieces of metal. In the sky I could see the Hive burning like a sun. And I saw something drop down from it, like a leaf falling from a tree in autumn. I prayed it wasn’t what I thought it was. Channeling Hermes’ powers of flight I took to the sky and flew towards it. My fears were grounded in reality.

                I caught the dead, charred body of Foo Fighter. There was hardly enough of him left to identify him. I landed with him on the skyscraper again and put him gently down. I channeled the healing powers of Apollo, but I knew in advance there was nothing I could do to save him. But for one thing, one power I could channel. And I was tempted, so very tempted. But I’d made a vow I would never use the power of Hades, the power to grant life to the dead. So my own morals trapped me. And I shook my fist to the skies, cursing the Gods, cursing the Nanites and cursing myself for having Foo Fighter go where I should have gone.

                And then, in a moment of ironical theatrics rain started to pour down like a waterfall. A hero had died, giving his life to save the world. My life was never going to be the same again.

 

The burial took place on the gigantic spaceship of the Intergalactics. Everyone was there: from well-known heroes like The Commander and Snakeboy to vigilantes like Painkiller, mystics like Pagan and all sorts of superteams. Even some villains had arrived to pay their respects (watched closely of course by most heroes).

                We were all gathered in the hangar bay. In the middle a podium was built with a speaker’s corner and microphone. The first to speak was Captain N’obell, leader of the Intergalactics. He struck an impressive figure in his red and white spandex, gigantic sword and commanding presence.

                “Dear superhumans, friends…. We’ve gathered here to give one last salute to one of the greatest heroes we’ve ever met. He was a very dear friend and comrade in arms to us, The Intergalactics. As most of you know, Foo Fighter helped stave off an invasion of The Shrill, who were eager to decimate our homeplanet. To repay him for this we’ve made it our job to make sure no such invasion ever befalls your planet. So in his actions he not only protected our planet, but yours as well. He was the bravest individual I ever met… I remember one time when we were trying to dismantle a Schizophrenia Bomb, and Foo Fighter just….”

 

After that story there were many other stories from people like Cyberman. And then one of the villains, The Bubble,  got on the stage. “I’ve seen you all looking at me, thinking what is a villain like me doing here, paying respects to one of his greatest enemies. Well, I’ll tell you why! For one, he always fought fair. He was an old-fashioned kind of hero, taking you out with as little force as possible. He didn’t pull out your spine or beat you invalid like Painkiller or The Regiment….” I saw Frigid Brigid twitch at the mention of her team. “Fighter even saved my kid when he’d been kidnapped by the Naxis when they tried to blackmail me in joining them… Sure we were enemies, that was part of the game. But I never hated him, and I always respected him. And the world will be a darker place without him!”

 

Finally it was my turn. Slowly I walked on-stage. I’d have preferred a cage match with Minotaur to that. But I owed it to Fighter and everyone present. I’d been the last to see Foo Fighter. And to some degree I felt responsible for his death.

                “It’s very good to see so many of you showed up to honor one of the best of us all. Foo Fighter gave the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. His death showed us the risks we all deal with everyday and showed us our mortality. But what bothers me, is that we know so little of him. Who was the man behind the mask? Why did he do what he was doing? Did he have a wife? Children? Fortunately his deeds were big enough to show us what KIND of a man he was. He was one of the most unselfish, persistent and altruistic people I ever met. And the world will be a darker place without him.”

There was an applause when I got off the stage. I had trouble hiding my emotions, I guess I even shed a tear. Molecule Girl put a hand on my shoulder, but I hardly noticed. I just wanted to get away from there for a moment.

                I wandered through the spaceship, finally ending up on the bridge. It’s huge forward viewscreen gave a wonderful view of the galaxy. Its abundance of stars, planets and celestial phenomena. It’s beauty calmed me down a bit, cleared my head. And made it very clear what I should do. I had to prevent happening to me what had happened to Foo Fighter. I didn’t want to die leaving people wondering who I really was, what I really stood for. I wanted to leave a legacy.

                I walked back to the hangar, just in time for the official burial of Foo Fighter. They put his charred body in a small shuttle. Almost every hero or villain put a personal item in it. Amulets, weapons, gadgets, bracelets, anything.

Then they closed the shuttle and Captain N’obel got behind the microphone again. “Foo Fighter was a warrior. A true soldier. And that’s why we will give him a warrior’s burial. But first I want to tell you I just talked to the Monarch of my planet and he will be erecting statues in honor of Fighter in all large cities.”

The Commander walked on the stage. He always was an imposing figure with his gold breastplate and muscled physique. “I’d like to add something to that. The president of the United States has just declared this day will be known as Hero’s Day. On this day, every year we will honor Foo Fighter and all other heroes who’ve fallen protecting the Earth.”

A loud applause followed. The sheer energy and almost palpable emotion gave me goose bumps.

“Now, please start the shuttle,” N’obel said.

One of The Intergalactics activated the shuttle’s thrusters by remote control. The powerful engines came alive, humming until bright flares streamed behind the speeding shuttle, that shot out the hangar bay, into space.

“Go with the Gods, Foo Fighter. May your last journey be a good one,” N’obel said.

And we all stood there, staring at the shuttle until it was too far away to see.

 

So, all that made me decide to entrust my memories to disk. With that background let me start my tale. The tale of how a regular human being from Boston became a demi-god.

 

NEXT ISSUE: THE ORIGIN STARTS!

 

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