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4th Week of November part 2…

Day 23 > Since today was a day off from work I decided to use the last bit of cash from Kariaen to purchase a couple of weapons to test on the suit. Truthfully, I should have done it before going out with it on. I was naïve to think that there wouldn’t be too much danger from the criminals I would fight. Last night was a revelation to me: these people will use everything at their disposal to stop interference.

I found a black-market dealer and purchased a handgun. He told me all about it, but I didn’t really pay attention to the model or year of it. I did pay attention when he dry-fired it; it seemed simple enough to operate.

I didn’t want to fire the weapon at home so I gathered the suit together, stuffed everything (including a couple knives I had around the house) into the duffle, and took the bus outside the city. I was so nervous on the bus; I felt for sure that someone knew what I was carrying.

I found an abandoned house after walking a few miles. After makeing sure there was no one around, I set up an impromptu firing range (really just a clothesline and clothespins), stepped back about ten feet, and began the test. My first shot was wild and I dropped the gun as I scrambled away from the noise it made. Movies don’t do justice to just how loud guns are. When I was sure the gun wasn’t going to suddenly shoot at me, I picked it back up, gripped the gun tightly, aimed and fired. Again, I wasn’t quite ready for the force of the gun and my hands hurt from gripping it so tightly, but I still held the gun and I managed to hit the bodysuit.

There was a hole through the suit, but it was closing rapidly. I moved closer and watched as the hole grew smaller and smaller until there was nothing but unblemished material. Not even a scar. I knew that the different pieces of the suit sealed together to make one piece when it was worn, but I hadn’t expected this kind of regeneration.

I set aside the gun and picked up one of the knives. I pricked a series of holes all over the suit pieces and they all healed quickly. I even tried cutting with a butter knife, leaving ragged edges in a line down one of the legs, only to see it healing behind where I was cutting. I tried cutting the pieces that felt like armor, like metal, next, but I couldn’t even scratch the surface.

Satisfied with the knives, I picked up the gun again and shot the bodysuit pointblank. There was a large ragged hole afterwards, but it closed and healed as well. Only it did it at a much slower pace. The heat from the gun must’ve triggered the suit’s weakness. I experimented at different distances and found that the armored parts protected from gunfire as well as it had against the knives until close to point blank, somewhere around 2 to 3 feet.

Once I was done experimenting, I went home and got ready for tonight. He doesn’t know it, but Detective Kelly and I are going to have a face to face.

*          *          *

I waited for Detective Kelly in the precinct’s parking garage. Luckily, I recognized his car from when he was following me before. I waited there for almost an hour before he showed. When I was satisfied that he was alone, I announced myself. Immediately, he drew his gun and pointed it in the direction of my voice. He was off by a few feet but that could easily change. He shouted for me to show myself to which I replied, “Only if you put your gun away. I don’t want you shooting me.” He wouldn’t put the gun away, but he did lower it slightly.

I felt that was close enough so I unchammed. Unfortunately, he was looking right at me when I seemingly appeared out of nowhere. I think he was too startled to point the gun back at me, but that could have changed at any moment. I immediately told him that I was trying to bring down Kariaen’s operation and needed his help to make sure it stuck. He still didn’t holster his weapon, but it certainly was not pointed at me and he seemed a little more calm than a moment before so I continued. I told him I was spying on Kariaen’s operations (I did withhold my insider knowledge and said I had a source that gave me some tip-offs) and needed some official to come in and bust them in the act. I then gave him the usb drive with the pictures of the weapons sale.

He gave me some crap about leaving it to the police and about vigilante justice. I merely answered with “Can the police do this?” as I chammed-up again. He almost put his gun back up but I had already moved so I wasn’t worried. He called out asking how he’d contact me. I replied that I’d contact him. I left him there, looking down at the usb drive curiously, and went on patrol.

Note: Learn to throw my voice. Detective Kelly was almost able to lock on to where I was when I last spoke.

With nothing happening on my streets, I decided to expand and include the downtown area. It meant a longer walk, but I did manage to stop a break-in in progress at a pawn shop. I didn’t even have to fight them; unchamming in front of them scattered them quickly. The rest of the night was uneventful.

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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in The Hero's Journal

 

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SuperTech Tuesday…er, Wednesday #2…

As the saying goes: “Better late than never!” My whole schedule is weird right now…

Anyway! You weren’t here for a diatribe on my failings, you’re here for the exciting news about technology being developed today that can be utilized for the superhero of tomorrow, right? In a previous journal entry, I expanded the abilities of the suit to include a limited version of wall-crawling. Today I’m going to expand on that by showing you a few technologies that people are working on to make such an power a possibility in the near future.

First are the “Spiderman” vacuum gloves. Rather than explain it myself I’m going to have the creator speak for himself in the following videos. WARNING! This guy is a professional and had permission from the company to do this. DO NOT DO THIS ON YOUR OWN!

Exciting right? I know I was when I saw SPOILER! him scale the building and almost fell a time or two. END SPOILER! But…I don’t think it was the exactly the right way to go about it for my hero’s wall-crawling ability. For one thing it’s bulky. In order to lift his body-weight, he had to make them that large. I’m not sure if it’s possible to make a glove size version without a better suction design. Still, it shows that it can be done.

Next up comes from an article here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/02/beetleman_beetleman/. According to the article a pair of US professors claim to have created a way for wall-crawling to work. Their secret? Using the surface tension of water. Their point is illustrated by stating how a pair of glass slides will stick together when a drop of water is between them. Like a water-walking beetle, the wall-crawling ability is created by using many small droplets working together without touching and combining. Like a water-walking beetle, the wall-crawling ability is created by using many small droplets working together without touching and combining. The two professors took this idea and have already created a prototype that has 1000 300-micron holes that can hold about 30 grams. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but imagine a pair of gloves with over a million of them? They control the water surfaces by using an electric current to squeeze out a single drop from each hole to keep the droplets from combining together.

As interesting as this particular design is, there are some drawbacks. The surface needs to be completely smooth for the device to work properly. Glass is the best surface to do this with, so no to wall-crawling on brick or other granulated surfaces. There is, however, a nifty application when using a film over the holes: powerful force is created. As they said in the article: “You can think about making a credit card-sized device that you can put in a rock fissure or a door, and break it open with very little voltage.” I like that idea and may use it in a future suit design.

For my final example of wall-crawling technology comes from the company SRI International. Their method? Electroadhesion. Literally an electrically controllable adhesion technology. They’ve created small robots that release an electrostatic charge through the pads that are touching a surface. If you’ve ever had a piece of plastic stick to you, no matter how many times you tried to shake it off, you can sort of understand how it works. The great thing about this particular design is that it works on many different surfaces, not just on glass. Right now it’s limited to only small robots, but eventually they want to apply it to human wall-crawling.

I’m amazed at so many different methods to gaining the ability to wall-crawl like Spiderman. I suppose that it’d be easier to get bitten by a radioactive spider than to create any of these devices, but more than likely, you’d end up dead from radioactive spider venom instead of gaining spider-powers.

That’s all for this week! I’ll be seeing you.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in SuperTech Tuesdays

 

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Fourth Week of November part 1…

(A friend of mine pointed out that a week long’s worth of journal entries was a bit, well, long. So I decided to split it up into near daily fragments. With the exception of Tuesday (SuperTech Tuesday, remember?), I will be trying to post an entry every day. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that.)

Day 22 > Those two detectives who had been tailing me last week pulled me into the precinct for questioning today. They pulled me from my shift at work in full view of everyone, especially Kariaen. Pretty ballsy move on their part. I did notice that one of the pair, the younger of them, seemed a little nervous; his eyes were darting all over the place. I think his partner knew it too, because he told him to calm down during the ride to their headquarters. I’m not sure their bosses knew exactly what these two were doing. I was placed in one of those interrogation boxes you see on TV, the kind with a steel table bolted to the floor and not much else in the way of furnishings.

I was left there for an hour or two before the senior officer came in, introduced himself as Detective Kelly, and asked if I wanted coffee. I shook my head and waited for his next move. Shortly thereafter, his partner comes in with two cups of steaming coffee. The senior detective made a big show of introducing Detective Meary while he took one of the coffees and asked if I was sure I didn’t want one. It was obvious that they had set it up so the coffee’d be ready right when it was offered. Heh. Five minutes into the interrogation and I was already screwing up their tactics.
I wanted them to get to the point so I asked them, point-blank, why I was there. Suddenly the amiable senior detective was gone and he was all business. He asked, repeatedly, what my relationship to Kariaen was. He threw down photos from last night while I was body-guarding him. Pretty good photos, too, and I told the detective such. Each time earned the same short answer from me: he’s my boss. All the while, his partner stood in one corner, impassive.
Finally, I asked what I was being charged with. That shut him up quickly. I again asked and received a terse, “Nothing.” I stood up with the full intention of walking out the door when he grabbed me and shoved me against the wall. In my ear he hissed that he was going to take down Kariaen and anyone else associated with him. He used a lot more colorful language than that, of course.
So, he’s a detective with a cause. I think he might make a good ally. Just have to make a proper introduction.

* * *

Kariaen grilled me about the police trip I’d taken earlier. I told him the truth: I didn’t give anything up except that he was my boss. He seemed somewhat satisfied and muttered under his breath about Kelly. I’m pretty confident he was talking about my soon-to-be detective friend. Regardless of how satisfied he was, he did tell me that I was off the bodyguard roster for the night.
I protested, of course; I needed to see more of his operation. I already knew about the illegal fight clubs and the arson for hire, but I needed something to stick to him. He told me that, since I was on the police’s radar, he needed my services during more…legitimate times. He actually said it like that too. So, I wasn’t off the list so much as being set aside for public occasions. I grudgingly agreed and “went home.”
By “went home”, I meant that I suited up fully, chammed-up, and followed him. I broke my rule about roof-tops only because I couldn’t run as fast as he drove. Luckily, he didn’t go outside of town.
Once at his destination, a small warehouse, I maintained my distance and dug out my new camera. I zoomed in as far as I could and began snapping pictures as what looked like an arms deal was going down. I wish I knew if there was a way to connect the camera to the suit; the eyes and ears of the cowl were able to pick up everything. As it was, I was able to snap a few good shots before I was interrupted by a “Hey!” behind me. I turned around and saw there were three men up on the roof with me, each armed.
Before they got a shot off, I was off. I ran for the nearest between two roofs and leapt towards the wall under the second roof. Once there, I concentrated on staying stuck to the wall and chammed-up. I heard them moving above me, shouting at each other that they’d lost me. Inwardly, I let out a sigh of relief. I wasn’t ready for facing off against armed assailants yet; I wasn’t even sure if the suit was bulletproof! When the activity level died down a few minutes later, I slowly made my way to ground level, concentrating on staying chammed-up as hard as I could. I then came back home, my heart still pounding. I downloaded the pictures onto a flash-drive. Tomorrow night I’ll see if Detective Kelly would like an ally against Kariaen.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in The Hero's Journal

 

SuperTech Tuesday #1

Today I want to talk about the main feature of the suit that Derrick Reath wears: the ability to camouflage. There are any number of different ways to hide in plain sight. Painting oneself until you look like the background you’re hiding in front of is one way. Liu Bolin’s work is an example of this.

Over here http://sid1982.hubpages.com/hub/Camouflage-By-Liu-Bolin-The-Invisible-Man  is an article about his work. Truthfully, his work actually inspired me to have my hero use this ability. However, it isn’t quite the right way to go about it for a superhero. Obviously, painting oneself is time consuming and the paintee needs to stand absolutely still for the illusion to work. So that method is out.

There’s always the traditional camouflage patterns employed by the military today. In an article outlining ways camouflage is possible today (http://www.army-technology.com/features/feature109521/), I read about three possible ways my hero could blend in. The first of which, digital camo, is about computer modeled patterns. You see, scientists studied how people recognize and locate objects and people and came up with an artificial means of duplicating the “dappling, texture and irregular boundaries found in nature…” It means that people are harder to spot. But they can be spotted though; I wanted my hero to move around the streets, close to walls, without being seen by people, even those that were just passing next to him.

For that we might want to look at the second part of that article, dealing with biomimicry. No, I’m not talking about people getting bit by a radioactive chameleon. What I’m talking about is a mixture of genetic manipulation, nanotechnology, and biomimetics (the study of the structure and function of biological systems as models for the design and engineering of materials and machines) that create a material that reacts to its environment like some species of fish. The fish use a series of proteins to alter the crystals of pigment of their skin in order to blend in with their surroundings. This design is a lot closer to what I imagined the hero to be using, but I also wanted the camouflage to extend a little beyond the material itself, sort of a field or something. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything like that yet so that aspect of the hero’s powers remains in the realm of fantasy for now.

The third part of the article didn’t have anything I wanted my hero to use, but I still feel I should mention it anyway. This one dealt with thermal camouflage, which really means that it hides a person or vehicle’s heat signature. Visibly, they’d be seen, but not on infrared.

I have one more piece of tech to share with you. From an article located at http://transmaterial.net/index.php/2009/09/04/fabcell/ and it’s called a Fabcell, a metamaterial fabric that displays some chameleon-like properties. What it does is change color when an electrical charge runs through it. From what few pictures I was able to see of it, it’s not as impressive as the piece on biomimicry I outlined earlier (it’s color change looks like an infrared pattern of whatever is touching it when the charge goes through) but it is interesting to look at.

Well, that’s all I have for today. I hope to see you next week for another round of SuperTech Tuesday!

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in SuperTech Tuesdays

 

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Third Week of November…

Day 17 > It’s been a few days since I made that call and I haven’t received a reply. Things have been slow and uninteresting as well. With no crimes to prevent or people to save, I’ve taken to leaving food for the homeless during my patrols. Even without any thanks I still feel good about myself afterwards. I think I’ll try to make it a nightly thing. Work has been uneventful as well, though I can feel the bruiser’s eyes on me the entire time we were in the vicinity of each other. I’m going to have to deal with him soon I think.

Today though, was interesting. It was a day off from work so I decided to go get a camera like I’d been telling myself to do. I got lucky when I was walking by a shop: I happened to glance at a window and saw the reflection of two men in grey suits. It wasn’t until I saw them a few shops down that I realized they were following me. I quickly ducked into the next store, asked to use a bathroom, and chammed-up. Quietly, I edged out towards the door and watched as the two grey-suited men came up to the shopkeeper and ask about me. I wasn’t surprised that I had been followed be someone; I expected Kariaen to send some of his men. What I hadn’t expected was that they were cops. Hearing enough, walked outside and let them see me as I passed by the store.

The two men immediately followed me again, so I stopped and confronted them. They weren’t happy being made, but proceeded to question me about Kariaen. I didn’t want to tip them to how much I knew so I said that he was my boss. They surprised me again and began listing several interactions between me and Kariaen. One of them was really pressing me to help them out, though he phrased it as “helping myself out.” If Kiriaen has the police in his pockets as he had hinted then I cannot afford to be outed by officers. Although…working with some of the police might be a good idea, just not with my civilian identity.

I told them “No, thank you,” and proceeded with my shopping. In addition to the camera purchase I also stopped by a thrift shop on a whim and found a pretty decent belt to hold the camera. It looks like a dark green military-style belt that’d be perfect for holding little pieces of gear that I’ll add to the suit. It has pouches on the sides and some kind of shoulder-straps. I’ll probably hit some military surplus shops when I figure out what else I need.

Tonight I’ll explore the camera and belt instead of patrolling, though I will make sure to stop by some of the homeless people to leave some food.

Day 18 > Not much to write about work; Bruiser’s giving me dirty looks still, but hasn’t acted on them yet.

*          *          *

Received a call tonight saying that I’m supposed to go to a new address and wait there. Just in case ,I packed the rest of the suit into a backpack. I went and guess who was waiting for me? Yep, the bruiser. I ask him what the job is and, in an unusually civilized tone, he tells me that we’re going to burn this building down. Immediately, I asked if it was occupied. His answer was whether it mattered or not. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Guess not,” but inside my mind was racing. This was obviously a test from Kariaen, to see how I’d react.

We began the work of setting the place on fire: pouring gasoline throughout the first floor and setting it ablaze. I held my breath, hoping there wouldn’t anyone inside. Unfortunately, I heard a scream shortly after the fire broke out. While, the bruiser’s back was turned I chammed-up, slipped on the gloves and clocked him. I’d never punched anyone with them on before so I was unsure how hard to hit. I have to admit punching with my full force felt good. He went down with nary a sound.

I immediately donned the rest of the suit and made my way towards where I thought the scream came from. It was apparent from the start that there was something wrong with the suit when I entered the fire-entrenched building. The suit felt bulky and I could barely see through the eyepieces. Inadvertently, I’d found the suits main weakness: heat or fire.

Note: Test the suit under more extreme situations for any other weaknesses.

I actually had to leave the building because of how weird the suit was feeling; immediately, all systems seemed to be one hundred percent again.

Since I couldn’t get upstairs through the inside, I decided I’d have to scale the outside. I never really tested this ability thoroughly (the thought of crawling the side of a skyscraper and suddenly losing contact with the surface scares me). Hoping that it won’t fail me, I pressed my fingers and palm against the surface of the building and began pulling myself up. Thinks were going fine until I came too close to the fire; the grip immediately failed and I started to fall. I grabbed a window ledge before I fell too far and resumed scaling the building. With no further incidents, I made it to the top and entered. Despite my suit failing on me the moment I went inside, I pressed on and called out.

When I received a reply nearby I was relieved. It was just a child, wearing rags and coughing up a storm. I must’ve looked like a demon or something because the child cringed from me when I came near. I assured the kid that I was there to save him or her. With not much of a choice the kid went into my arms and I had to figure out how to get us down. Scaling was out and so was going through the building. Then I remembered the window ledges. As long as it didn’t pull my arm out of it’s socket, I could drop down a floor at a time.

I told the kid to hold on tightly as we neared the window. I locked one hand to the window ledge, said a breathless prayer, and dropped down. Immediately my arm was wrenched down, but we were stable enough for me to attempt a second “fall.” I almost didn’t catch the ledge, but my fingers grabbed it at the last inch or two. We were now about two or three stories from the ground, a little too high for my comfort to just jump, so I attempted another descent. My arm was in agony by then. This time my grip failed before I could secure our position and we fell the rest of the way. At the last second I pulled the kid above me, trying to protect him or her from injury. We landed with a thud and I felt like I blacked out for a second, because she was nowhere to be seen when I sat up. My arm was on fire and I felt battered all over, but my legs worked. I could hear the bruiser beginning to stir from his impromptu nap so I hurriedly (albeit painfully) removed the suit parts that weren’t hidden already and hid them in my clothes.

I must’ve groaned near the end of it, because the big guy was suddenly looming over me. He helped me to my feet and asked what happened. I told him a half-lie: some guy in a mask clocked him one. Granted that guy was me, but I didn’t want him to know that. I also told him a blatant lie: that I had fought, and lost, against the guy. He seemed contemplative for a moment and then smiled at me. I was expecting him to hit me when his arm came up, but instead he held his hand out for me to shake, and, after I took it, said his name was Mack. He drove me home and I went to bed.

Day 19 > I’m writing this with my left hand because my right one has been all pins and needles since I woke up. Even with the full suit on overnight, I could barely move out of bed. I called into work and said I wasn’t feeling well. I hope nothing major happens tonight because I need to recuperate.

Day 20 > Much better today. I’m still sore, especially my right arm, but I was able to manage to not completely screw up my work today. Even Mack was commiserating with me; I guess I hit him a little too hard. Another night’s rest in the suit should get me back in form.

*          *          *

So much for a night’s rest. Kariaen called up and said he needed to see me. I didn’t think he allowed sick days, so I met up with him at the factory. As had become second nature, I wore the body suit and shoes hidden under my clothes and packed the rest in my bag. I hoped it wouldn’t be too strenuous.

Turned out it was payday. That, and he wanted a description of the “masked loony” that attacked me and Mack. I described my superhero identity as well as I could (exaggerating a few details of course). He seemed satisfied with my answer and said that there would be a job for the foreseeable future. When pressed about it, he said it was a simple bodyguard mission. He’d heard reports of an assassin being in town angling after a big contract. Before heading home I asked about who was being guarded he said simply, “Me.”

Day 21 > I’m conflicted. On one hand I want Kariaen taken down badly. But on the other I don’t think letting an assassin kill him is exactly in the superhero code. On the plus side, if I do keep him alive there is no reason for him not to trust me. I don’t believe that letting this assassin have his or her way is going to make any positive change; it’d just open up the spot to someone more ruthless. No, if he’s going down, I’d want his whole operation going down as well. Speaking of bad guys, who hired the assassin and how does Kariaen know about it? It could be another test. I guess that decides that: I’m gonna have to play bodyguard.

*          *          *

Being a bodyguard is boring. Mostly it’s just standing around while in public or skulking in the shadows while not. There were moments of action, but there was no sign of the assassin. At the very least the job allows me to keep an eye on Kariaen and his operation. Even if nothing else happens next week, I’ll have a better working insider knowledge. I do have to admit one thing: it did feel like someone was watching us.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in The Hero's Journal

 

Words From the Author 3…

No post today, but I will be posting one either tomorrow or Tuesday. Sorry everyone! In the mean time here’s a video of me introducing this blog that I posted on Youtube:

It’s nothing much, but I hope it helps my viewership.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Words From the Author...

 

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2nd week of November

Day 8 > It’s been about three weeks since I could even look at the suit without feeling sick to my stomach about my actions, or, rather, my inactions. I’ve spent the time moping in my apartment, barely going out to eat. I’m behind on my rent now. I need a job. Every time I go out though, I see “Jimmy’s” face as he fell. He looked…resigned, I think, like he had been expecting something like that to happen for awhile. I’m supposed to be a hero, aren’t I? This suit was given to me for a reason, right? What good are all of those powers, if I can’t even move when I’m needed? I could have saved him, called the police, or even smacked around “White Suit” in revenge. Instead…I did nothing. Am doing nothing… I don’t think I can live with myself if I don’t do SOMETHING. I’m not going to let anyone else die saving me.

* * *

I went back to the factory last night, looking for – for I don’t know what. Revenge, maybe. I don’t know what I would have done if “White Suit” or any of his cronies were there. They weren’t there, though. The factory was empty. I forced myself past the spot where “Jimmy” fell…was murdered and entered “White Suit’s” office. I didn’t find anything incriminating, not that I was really expecting to find a folder marked “Crimes.” I did find some information about him though. His real name is Kariaen Pool and I found his home address as well. Before I could investigate further, a noise prompted me to cham-up and leave. I’m going to investigate his residence tomorrow night.

Day 9 > I went to Kariaen’s place last night. Two cars and a smattering of children’s toys, suggested that a family lived there. I wasn’t sure whether that was his actual address or a dummy one, until I saw him come home. For such a secretive man, his family does seem to love him. Good thing I had a great view into their living room through a large window. Odd, though. Doesn’t a man like him fear retribution from, well, anyone? Just another thing I’ll have to worry about when I confront him. Who know what other things I’ll have to watch out for. I watched for a few hours but they did normal…family stuff. If I hadn’t seen that man callously kill “Jimmy,” I’d have thought he was a decent man. With nothing really happening, I went back home.

Day 10 > Today, I got a job at the factory. I figured I’d take care of two things at once: bring in money to pay rent and spy on Kariaen and whoever else was in his crew. I’m pretty sure Jimmy wasn’t the only one working here who had a side job. If I can infiltrate that group… Well, one thing at a time.
They barely looked at my application before sending me down the line to work under someone. The job itself seems easy enough, roughly place Part D into Slot J, solder, and then send it to the next guy down the line. Very repetitive, but that also allows me to keep an eye and an ear on my surroundings. Gossip still flowed about Jimmy’s demise. The theories ranged from the generally accepted accidental fall to the really weird “aliens did it.” I’m not going to lend much credence to that last one. And there are the few who, in hushed tones, speak of Jimmy’s death as if it wasn’t an accident. I paid a good bit of attention to them.
By the time lunch call came around, my arms were aching. I guess doing the same thing for several hours will do that. I’m not sure if I’ll be up to patrolling tonight; I think I’ll spend the night in with ice wrapped around my arms.

Day 11 > I accidentally slept in the suit last night. I had changed my mind about going out but I conked out soon after suiting up. Seems to have been good for me too. I was feeling pretty good when I got up. Chalk that up to another ability of this mystery suit. As a just in case, I decided to wear the bodysuit and the feet-shoe things (I really need a better way to describe them) under my work-clothes. If I leave the sleeves mostly down, nobody should notice. And since those feet-shoe things are so thin, like wearing socks, I can just slip some boots over them. It might be a good idea to keep this recuperative thing going while working, provided it does work with only a couple pieces.
The work itself seemed easier this time and I wasn’t as tired when the lunch bell rang.

* * *

Went on patrol tonight. There was nothing happening near my regular route so I paid a visit to the factory again. I’m glad I did. This time the center factory floor had a circle of spectators watching some kind of fight in the center. What a time for me not to have a camera! I couldn’t recognize any faces other than one: Kariaen. He seemed to be the one who’d set up the whole thing. Every so often he would halt the fight and inspect each of the fighters before letting them go back at it. This went on until one was knocked out. The winner: a bruiser that looked somehow familiar. I’m sure recognition will hit me at some point.

Day 12 > You know how I said recognition would hit me? Well, it did. Square in the nose. Last night’s winner was working down the line from me today and at lunch I had the misfortune of bumping into him. No food splashing on him, just an honest bump from a long domino of bumps. I just was unlucky enough to be in line next to him in the cafeteria. He threw his empty tray down and punched my face before I could even apologize.
Needless to say, I was really glad I was wearing some of the suit during work. Thanks to those feet-shoe things, I was able to dodge most of his other punches and deliver some of my own. I say “most” because he did manage to clip my jaw once. My own punches, however, didn’t do much more than enrage him.
One word from above, “Enough!” stopped us both mid-swing. We both looked up to see Kariaen coming down the stairs. He didn’t look angry though. If anything, I’d say he looked pleased. He sent the bruiser off to get looked at. I was happy to note that not all of my punches were ineffectual; he was holding his ribs a little too tightly. Kariaen took me aside to talk, privately. I was expecting a reprimand or, worse, being fired, but he surprised me. He said he liked how well I’d handled myself and wanted to know if I wanted to make some extra cash. Before I could answer, he gave me a card and said to call the number on it if I wanted in. And then he left, with nary a word from me. I was speechless. I wanted to infiltrate his crew so I could take them down and here was the opportunity, handed to me on a silver platter.
I went back to work a little dazed, but I could feel the heat from that bruiser’s angry eyes. Oh yeah, things are real resolved between us.
I’m going to give it about a day before I call; I don’t want him to think I’m too desperate.

* * *

I’m starting to think that my streets are too safe, not that that is a bad thing. There was nothing happening up here. I’m thinking of ways I can help expand my operations.

Day 13 > I called the number today, said I was in, and was given terse, but specific instructions: 11 PM. Factory Floor. I assume that means it’s one of those fight nights I witnessed. As it is my day off from work, I spent time trying to figure out ways to hide the rest of the suit on me. The head-piece was completely out, way too obvious. The gloves are also too noticeable. In the end I decide to continue with what I’d been doing at work: the bodysuit and the feet/shoe things, which I learned, when I looked up similar items online, are called barefoot sports shoes. I think I’m just going to call them shoes from now on. I’ll keep the rest in a duffel bag nearby, just in case. I’m going to take a nap for the rest of the day; I may need as much energy as I can get tonight.

* * *

I needn’t have worried about my safety. The guy they paired me off against couldn’t land a blow thanks to the added agility from the shoes. When the fight was over, Kariaen gave me a wad of cash, said he was impressed, and asked if I wanted to make even more. I said I didn’t want to get in trouble with the police. What he said next shocked me. He said, “They won’t be a problem. I have some…good friends.” Subdued, I told him I’d think on it and went home, conflicted. I wanted to throw the money away or give it to the homeless, but I knew that I needed some more equipment. Top of the list: a good, compact camera.

Day 14 > Work was the same as always. I’ve gotten so used to the repetitiveness of it my mind can wander and allow me to think on other things besides work. Foremost in my thoughts: how far was I willing to go to bring this ringleader down? Beating on his thugs was one thing, but if asked to hurt someone or, worse, kill to get in with his crew, could I? Should I? I know it’s not very heroic of me, but the thought of all of that money is…tempting. I never really grew up with money so being able to go out and just buy something…I don’t know which is worse though: the temptation or the moment of pride when Kariaen said he was impressed with me. I knew I’d have to make hard choices when I chose to use the suit for good purposes, but I never expected this. What if I do something that can’t be taken back, can’t be redeemed?
My thoughts were so muddled I didn’t hear the closing bell until someone bumped into me. Hard. Guess who it’d been? Yep, the bruiser. I’m really starting to not like that guy.
I went home more confused than when I’d left.

* * *

I decided to do a quick patrol tonight and get some air to clear my thoughts. No sooner did I go out, than a scream alerted me to someone’s danger. I got there in time, subdued the mugger, and tied him up. She must’ve seen me because the next thing I knew she was hugging me and thanking me. I left her there when I heard sirens coming up the street, feeling pretty good about myself. When I came back home I was still grinning. I picked up the phone, called the number on the card, and said, “I’m in.” There’s always got to be room for redemption…

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in The Hero's Journal