Gauntlet: Issue 1, Bloody Beginnings

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Howdy Heroes, my name is Roxis Kowaki and I'm a comic author in the making. This is an older comic of mine and is the second hero I've ever created. Johnathan is a slacker of a teenager and his every day life consist of sleeping in, barely passing classes, dealing with a bully, and hanging out with friends. Pretty standard life for the Johnathan until he accidentally has a glove mounted to his arm that allows him to do some pretty incredible things. With his new friends Paldin and Mental you'll slowly discover a whole new world besides our own and I hope you fall in love with the character just like I have.

Submitted: March 24, 2017

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Submitted: March 24, 2017

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Gauntlet: Issue 1, Bloody Beginnings

 

There's nothing more beautiful than a woman's voice early in the morning. Unless, that woman is your mother yelling at you for being late to catch the bus. About seven o'clock a week ago I was your everyday teenager, I go to school, do homework, go home, then sleep. Today, I do all that except now I have a arsenal strapped to my hand. Let me explain, we’ll start on Tuesday. “Damnit Jonathan, this is the seventh time this month you've been late! Would you get your ass to school already?” my loving mother so pleasantly told me as I left this morning. I never was one for early habits, prefered to sleep in more than anything. Unfortunately, mom had a point, especially today. In my T.E.A. class we were going on a field trip to a science facility a few hours away. T.E.A. stand for Technological Engineering Advancements and it's a course given to “gifted” students to inspire then to do thing like solve world hunger or something. The bus left right at first bell and that meant if I was late I didn't get to go and I sure as hell wasn't gonna let all the other kids rub it in my face about the cool stuff they got to play with so, I started running. After jumping a few fences and running through a few alleys I checked my phone. I was making some good time, until I ran into Gordon. Gordon Everson was the local all-star. All the ladies loved him and almost all the guys hated him. He was built to tackle and ready to punch and luckily for me his younger brother hates me. See, like always, there this girl Samantha Southpaw. She's not a girly girl but she is one of the most fun, geeky, and exciting women there is in the world. And... she my girlfriend, Gordon's younger brother Thomas is honestly creepily in love with her. So, due to events Gordon is… well. “Running late again Johnny?” Gordon didn't have many actual friends so he'd often confront me and knock me flat on my ass by himself if he could. “No Gordon, I'm just running in general. I hear it's good for your lungs.” He didn't hide anything, honestly he just wanted to hurt me for fun I think sometimes. “You're a funny guy john. You know, I was just thinking of the last time I knocked the wind out of you. Let me show you again incase you forgot.” “Why are you doing this Gordon?” Never answered, this was our usual conversation, a little banter then he'd attempt to beat the hell out if me and usually succeed. As soon as he charged I grabbed a trash can lid nearby and raised arms. He hit like a storm and even dented the hell out of the lid. He started to get cocky like always and let his guard down, I saw a chance. I then introduced the metal shield to Gordon's neck, for what I thought would have been the game winning blow was nothing for him, dude took the whole blow like it was wind. “Sleep tight lil Johnny” After a good few black eye shots, a swollen lip, and getting thrown into trash a couple times he eventually had his fill. “Maybe you should reconsider talking to Sam, I don’t think she’s that good for your health, catch ya later lil Johnny.” Then the asshole walked off, just like he went and kissed his grandma before going to school, dude was a bully inside and out. After collecting myself I picked myself up and dusted off. I ran or more of limped to school after. The buses were just pulling off as I arrived. Fortunately, Sam annoyed the living hell out of the bus driver to wait for me. “Sleep in again slacker, it took me fifteen different questions till he started talking about his… nevermind. What took so long and why do you look like you fought a lawnmower?” “Oh ya know Sam, I wanted to go smell the flowers, enjoy the sunlight, say hi to Gordon, just average everyday things.” Sam and I’s other trio member Jared hopped up to our seats “John you know you could always just report him to the school or something. No problem with getting some help, Sam even agrees.” “I like to fight my own battles Jared, besides I think I look alot tougher with a black eye or two.” “Well as cute as the black eyes are”  Sam started up  “you look like crap, here.” She kissed my forehead, for such a “punk” she could be such a sweetheart sometimes. “Thanks Sam, don’t worry one day I’ll hit Gordon where it he won’t forget.” After a “short” bus ride we arrived at The M.A.E.F. which stood for “The Military Advanced Equipment Facility has been around for about ten years now and this is one of the few science centers in the world who have-” The speaker couldn't have been anymore boring honestly, she tried her best but unfortunately she was trying to teach a bunch of rough kids who wanted to see stuff blow up more than anything. After a short walk around the main room which was lined with various hollow missiles and jets on display, they took us through a few of the focus centers that were just a bunch of biology and chemistry rooms with big complex names. It got boring really quick so, like the teenagers we were a bit of small talk led to a small rumor around the groups about possibly taking our own “field trip”. There were about two-hundred people in the group and a third of us were devising a plan to sneak away. When we were heading down one of the longer hallways our group pulled back and went on our own way. The place honestly was really boring, besides we didn't get to see much without raising any alarms. Eventually though we found a strange door that stood out from all the rest at the end of a very lonely hallway. The trip to the door involved us… misplacing a few keys and Jared showing us how useful his programming classes really are. But when we got to it we didn't know what to do exactly. We pushed the door open and slowly flooded the room. There were glass cases with various items all over the room, weird tech everywhere. “What do you think all of this is?” a kid in the back asked us all but no one answered, we all just started playing with some of the toys. We passed a bunch of weird inventions some that looked like deathtraps, some plants, something that looked like pudding in a cup, it was really weird. However, one thing caught my attention. In the far back left was a group of kids that were surrounding what looked like a metal glove. I walked up to one of the kids sticking his hand in the thing “The damn thing won't move!” He stated that he couldn't move it and that it was a stupid piece of… “Why don’t you try John?” The crowd shuffled aside and looked at me with curiosity as I walked up. Just looking at the glove it looked like an old gladiator sleeve with really new metal. After analyzing the glove I put my hand inside. “Try moving it!” Jared so brilliantly offered the idea of. I bent my thumb and there was resistance but it moved. “Guys it works, I mo-” Before I could finish my sentence I felt my hand get compressed and the glove started moving parts of it on its own. It was like a robot, I was terrified. I tried ripping it off but it wouldn't budge. “It won't come off, guys what the hell is this thing?!” As I was struggling to get the glove off something happened, something explosive. There was a bright flash then the next thing I remember was loud alarms, flashing lights, and a lot of screaming. I was dazed but the realize there was a huge metal beam lying on top of my lap. I looked around, so much disaster in three seconds of time almost. A few kids looked messed up, a few were unconscious, and a few were even dead. “We need to get up.” a voice spoke, it was bulky and heavy,  I looked around and couldn’t see anyone. I had to ask. “Who’s there?” a reply came back “My name is Paldin but we don't have time to talk, get that obstruction off of you.” I still didn’t understand the voice was so clear it was coming from inside my head almost. I struggled to move the beam and couldn’t get up. “I can’t move it, it’s too damn heavy.” As I was speaking I hear boots stopping into the room then the worse part came, gunfire. “I don’t know what to do, help me!” I begged the voice. “Das bosh, okay but this is going to hurt. A lot.” A moment of silence came about and then the pain, the feeling of thousands of needle stabbing into your hand pulsed into my body. “Try again.” The voice commanded.  I struggled again but the beam seemed to just move like paper after a second. I stood up and lifted up my shirt the beam didn’t even leave a scratch on me. “Now what do-” *BAM BAM BAM* shots fired in my direction all I could do was put up my hands then I heard a few ting ting tings. I was so scared I opened my eyes and where the glove was seemed to have magically popped out a very large yet light shield. “Run!” the voice commanded. “There's only one door, we can’t ge-” In seconds the glove turned into a sleeve that covered my entire arm. I lifted the shield and ran into the mob of people I expected more resistance but they flew out of the way so easily they barely were there. I felt incredible strength and unlimited endurance. I ran down the lonely hallway which was now infested with militia and bodies. There we so many of them. But every shot they fired made me panic but the shield stopped most of them. Ever few minute if I wasn’t paying attention a round would nic my leg. I don’t know if these bullets were just cheap plastic or what but not a single shot penetrated my skin. The voice was quiet for a time until we came across the main room of the building, from right where we came in. Everyone was gone, everyone except a few groups of soldiers aiming at me. In the back there was a tall, bald, courageous man staring at me. He spoke so boldly. “I hear you took that glove from our lab, how'd you put it on?”  Paldin spoke again. “Something's not right, be careful.” I was going to tell him I didn't know anything but then a intense pain stabbed into my head and I couldn't say what I wanted to, though, I was forced to speak. “I don't know! I put my hand into the glove and it sealed to my arm. I don't know anything else!” The man started walking up to me, as he walked all the soldiers in unison shifted from one stance to another. He took out his knife, I tried moving but there was barely a budge. “I need that glove boy, so I’m sorry but your gonna have to cut off your arm.” He spoke and I couldn't resist. I took the knife and started to push the blade against my shoulder I resisted so much but I couldn't stop it. I had just enough energy to barely speak “Why are you doing this?” I had to ask him. “Cause this is how you make profit, unfortunately some sacrifices have to be made, now off with it.” I started crying and praying to find some way to move or resist or scream even, then a miracle happened, the shield lit up and a shock wave exploded from it. Everyone went flying and in the midst of it all I noticed a small bend of light right before the monster of a man got thrown. Light bent around his head just a little bit. Disoriented and confused I got up and ran to him, the voice returned “Sorry to have to do that but I couldn’t just stand there and watch, now take off his crown!” I grabbed the bald man's head and pulled off whatever weird invisible thing was strapped to his skull. Paldin came back “Put it on! Quickly” Though I was skeptical I followed his orders. I put the metal crown on my head and then it happened again. The feeling of thousands of needle inserting into my skull now. I fell to the ground out of pain. Trying to endure what pain I could I started looking at the ground, I saw my hands and they started to become transparent. “Now run, quickly get to safety!” the voice commanded again. I pushed up off the ground and ran with what energy I had left through the entrance and into a desert, I just kept running and running and running. Eventually I found myself at a gas station on the outskirts of a Dryton, a bad city to be in even worse place to live in. I ran into the bathroom and fell against the wall. I was terrified, shocked, confused, and far from home. Exhausted I passed out and a few hours later I awoke to arguing. “Well I don't know, you got us into this mess” “We would have died otherwise.” “Doesn't mean we had to connect to him!” “He got us out of there didn't he” “I don't care he-” I yelled “QUIET!”, the room feel silent. “You don't need to yell, we are hiding in a bathroom after all.” This voice was different, sophisticated and calm and still so clear I was sure they were in my head. I couldn't understand what was going on, I had to have answers. “Paldin, who is that?” whoever he was he didn't like to be bypassed. “My name is Mental and if you have questions about me you should ask me.” “Who are you guys?”. Mental explained it to me. “Jonathan, in a world centuries away far from here there's a kingdom that is spreading across your known universe. In that kingdom we have Lord Dar’an, our “ruler” as you put it, who is entering his old age. With such a fragile life now and only having a few select people he can trust, he needed to be protected. He converted myself,  Paldin, and two other into these pieces of “armor” as you call it. Each of us specially designed to protect him. After we were converted we were to be shipped back to our planet and be given to the king so that we may be by his side always.” It was such a crazy story I almost believed it. “How do you know my name Mental and if you’re an alien how do you speak english?” What he told me terrified me “Jonathan, I as well as Paldin have full access to all of your thoughts and memories.” I didn’t know what to do. I stood up and my stomach grumbled. I hadn’t eaten since what seemed forever ago. I thought to myself “How am I gonna get food with a big ass swiss army knife strapped to my arm?” Fortunately, Mental had an answer “I can solve that problem.” and before I knew it the glove as well as the crown started to morph. The sleeve that once consumed my entire arm now shrinked and folded into a everyday metal wrist watch and the crown separated into two ear pieces. “How the hell...” I started, but Mental already knew what I was gonna say. “Our lord wanted us to be able to be concealable incase of any high tension moments, from what I've seen this is normal for your worlds style.” I walked out of the bathroom and entered the gas station. It was calm and collected. After grabbing a few snacks and a soda I went to the counter. “Will that be all for you tonight sir? The woman behind the counter asked me. Before I could respond I felt tension fill the air. Mental was aware. “Behind you, the man has a gun.” I payed for the food and moved out of the way. I walked over to the door and Mental wasn’t wrong there was some rustling and then I heard “Put the money in the bag.” The lady behind the counter was terrified, she started loading the money into the bag and asked “Why are you doing this?” That question had been asked a lot lately. Why, why do what you do? Does Gordon knock me around because he's trying to help his brother or because he just gets amusement out of my torment. Does that bald man do what he does for profit or sick ambition. Does this robber steal because he has too or because he wants too. In the last day I had seen three different people who pushed and shoved the world around how they could, and I’m getting tired of it. Bullies like these need to stop, and now I can stop them. The glove reappeared and the crown came back again. I turned around and spoke “I’d recommend you just leave pal.” He turned towards me and he must have been scared because he fired a shot mid turn. I quickly grabbed the man's throat lifting him up, I wasn't thinking a hundred percent and before I knew it there was the barrel of a gun in my face. He pulled the trigger and my heart stopped. He fired several rounds right at my forehead and when I opened my eyes I saw why I heard every shot. The glove transformed back into a sleeve, the crown however, turned into a helmet. “Do please avoid such a brash move in the future Jonathan.” Mental was saying. It was so astounding, I just took seven rounds to the face and not even a scratch appeared on the helmet. I dropped the man, then I started to hear thoughts not my own, “Who the hell is this guy!”, the helmet lit up and another shock wave blew from my head at the robber. It didn’t take me long to figure it out, I was hearing the robbers thoughts and I just knocked him flat. Then out of thin air a sword appeared in my right hand and a shield in the left. People like this had to be stopped but murder should never be the solution, death and pain only leads to more death and pain, I could see that in the general himself. I let go of the sword and it vanished into thin air. Only holding the shield I looked directly at the man and felt a very passive yet light vibration in my head, still hearing random thought that I eventually figured out were the robbers, while I was thinking about the general I remembered how he took control of me before. “Leave. Now!” Those were the words I sent into the robber's head. He stood up and ran away like a bat out of hell. And that was the beginning of it all.Eventually I walked back towards home and a couple of nice people gave me a ride the rest the way home. After taking a shower and washing up I finally sat down after a very strange and confusing day. A news report came out with some very questionable video of a mysterious person who stopped a store robbery, I don’t know how the name came about but eventually people started calling the mysterious person Gauntlet. When I got back to class the next day a school bulletin informed us of a “Technological failure that resulted in fatalities at The M.A.E.F.” We had a moment of silence for the students who passed and then in that moment I took a peek inside everyone's head. I wasn’t the only one changed at that place and from how it looks a couple of the classmates aren’t exactly nice with their new toys. Whoever or whatever made the armor wanted to make a full military in one person. And that's what I was, a eighteen year old with a swiss army knife strapped to my arm heading to my next class, pretending like just yesterday I wasn’t watching many of my own friends be ripped apart and gunned down. “Johnny, I think it’s time for your afternoon beating.” At least I’m a nice guy, because if not, “Come on Gordon, you know you won’t be able to land a hit on me!”, this armor could have been very bad for a lot of people. “Jonathan, I’m detecting another piece of armor nearby. We may want to retrieve it.”

 


© Copyright 2018 Roxis Kowaki. All rights reserved.

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