Brand New Hero - Volumes 1 and 2

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: House of Ghosts
A little known island city set in present day. Follows the actions of interesting characters and a smart gripping plot. Little distinction between the good guys and bad guys, it's realistic in the way that everyone is working their own disastrous agendas.

Submitted: August 27, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 27, 2017



Brand New Hero; Volume One:

A Wicked Nation & The Man With No Past

A working title

Written, Created and Owned

By J. A. Sholar

It has been a constant throughout human history that wars have been fought for any given part of existence. If not for the land itself, then for ways to reach a land or the people and resources from that land; and the only simple explanation for it was that only God could make more land. Therefore, we are only as strong as how much of God's land we conquer. Well, this was true in our history until recently when a man stopped trying to live with appreciation to God for trying to live like God.

For our story, this time starts long before the sum of its parts had all yet come to exist, and the beginning is within the many years called "Industrial Revolution" by any school book's assessment. In this time, man created land, and he created it in the middle of God's vast blue oceans.

Though personally little is known of this man, when he built the Island city, he called it Tiporary. Presumably since as part of France's aristocracy during a time when such was grounds to separate the head from shoulders that Tiporary refers to something, someone, or some place having to do with the escape that saved his life. Regardless, he declared himself ruler, taking the title "Igneous 1 - King high Prince of highest royal order." And using the first few loyal subjects he had, heralds were sent to any and all reaches of the world, begging those of a deviant breed from normal society to come, live as they please and merely serve under their new king with love. As time went on, life evolved, facts faded and things changed until Tiporary had become its self-contained universe. Parallel to the rest of the world, and if you didn't live there, chances are you'd never hear of such a place in your lifetime. Tiporary was merely a living myth, just as unreachable to you and I as the heavens and underworlds were to ancients.


As with all stories, the players are many, and their lives are much contrary. They are contrary in extremes in a manner that the actions of one party will always force actions of another and all hands will be tipped. There never was a balance of power between law and order when having no laws as a regular order. The unbalance of power as it stood was clenched in the fist of Jade Ignus, a direct bloodline relative of Igneous I. Bold, brash, cunning a beautiful she was limitlessly able to dominate and captivate any man with a beating heart. Her body may have been somewhat petite in size, but she was a giant in stature. A temptress more than she was bewitching, her face was bordered off by sharp angles dramatically and conceptually as such that she was a living art piece. And there was something about being just a bit shorter than the average woman and having such elegant curves serpentined throughout her body that even if you had only met her once, just the heir of her presence haunted and lingered in your mind for days. And what made it even more satisfying to her was that she knew this, but she was not the only child.

Jade had a brother whom she had only a few years on and was less than reticently allotting him a portion of the power an Ignus could wield. Bevin, as he was called, was more of a petty thug than a despot. A loser 2-bit criminal born into a line of tyrants and traditions, neither of which did he do competently. To work with, or, more accurately watch over. Bevin was a group of lackey advisors to Jade, dubbed by her as her "Inner Hive". The fondest was a towering gangly man, features drawn out as if some grotesque parody of the ugliness in a human soul. This man, her "ax man" - as he was her advisor and that he carried an ax with him, everywhere, was called MaItem, in full title, Malcolm Mallem. Mallem's weapon had a thin handle, articulated to aid his grip while swinging, and indented in either end with two sharp metal parenthesis; the metal tinged red by design.


Standing against them, stood a man, a man called "GT", he was a man with no past who only later became aware of why he remembered that name for himself. He had no past because he was not trying to put a former life behind him, but that he simply couldn't remember. As far as he was concerned, his history started with his story from the day he found himself groggy and disconnected washed up in the surf caked in salt from dry seawater. He crumbled to the ground and crawled along it, an inclination of the gentle slope, rocks became boulders, trees were more frequent and mossy and soon shivering, and alone, he was in the hilly pines.


It is anyone's guess how far or how long his journey was by the time he found a single door on which to knock, and knock, and knock until the incoherent visitor realized the building had no occupants. Upon closer inspecting the building, mostly composed of stone or some concrete was burned out, and long since given up as unable to be saved. Above the doorway, there was a tin and wooden sign, weathered from exposure but no less inviting than it had ever been. It was childlike in its simplicity and direct sincerity; A pizza with a smiley face and the title "Mr Svyinchone." He read to himself as "Mr Svin-shone" but who the Hell knows what that ever meant.


When he finished his survey of the building and somewhat around the building perimeter he just walked in, there was no one else there. Shuffling through various pizza parlor debris which hadn't been completely burned or destroyed, he made his way back to the bathroom. All the building's doors had been mostly burned through all the way, and only the stale smell of ash lingered where once solid wooden doors swung back and forth on their sturdy metal hinges. Entering the bathroom, he approached a mirror, wiped the grime from its surface and saw a stranger gazing back. Later, the reason he would be called GT happened by circumstance and chance, and it happened about this time.


In his mirror image, he saw a thin man, lean, bony and hollow-faced, short inky black hair dulled and dampened from his ordeal and in an almost panic he looked deeply into his own eyes attempting to get a sense of himself. But he didn't. All he saw was a ragged stranger with dilated glassy eyes wearing gray button fly pants. Regarding his long sleeved tight fitted dark green and black striped turtleneck, he pieced together that he thought GT was probably some nickname from that over shirt. A green turtleneck - GT. But at the moment, he didn't want to sit and ponder his existence; he just wanted to have a look around.


As for how he came to stand against the natural criminalizing society in which he found himself a part of, was not heroic. From the former Italian eatery in which he had his mind already assigned it his temporary residence, he continued to wander into the central area of the Island, past the hilly pines. His mind still lingered in a mild confusing, and as he walked, he kept his gaze down on the ground until the rough grassy patches turned to smooth, shiny paving. He just planned to keep walking and walking, looking for some vindication in his aimless trek, but as he approached near the center of Tiporary, a bold red sign and tall, imposing structure caught his eye.

The sign read "This is the Lynchpin Building, Keystone to the Igneous Dynasty." Now, the building itself, anchored the city like a giant spike driven through its heart, pinning it to the sea. You could see the progression of a castle manner upward and upward into a fortress of contemporary imperialization. Past CI massive iron gate and thick oak drawing door, automatic revolving doors silently slid along their stainless steel tracks. Between these two drastically different entry ways a small corridor that made the gap, and a sharp turn to the immediate left would lead to a small three-person elevator, the outline of which was hard to distinguish from the shadows of the corridor's end. Leaning on the wall of this corridor, our hapless hero activated the elevator to its only destination: all the way up, and all the way to Jade,

At the telltale ding of the elevator and a snapping jolt from it's stop the Green Turtle was alerted to the two doors having retracted into the wall leaving him face to face with a woman, but not Jade. This woman had a softer look than Jade, more linear in its composition, each subtle line leading the eye from feature to feature. A fountain of sheer blonde hair started a little above his eye level from her head and flowed over her shoulder covering one side of that linear face. She was built like an athlete but loomed in the archway like a phantom, arms bent and outstretched leaning gently on the doors, continually trying to close and end the gaze between the two. Denying the elevator's advice to let the doors close and go back the way he came, he moved his head slightly indicating he was not there to fall dead.

"Did someone lose a puppy? Jade? There is a little-lost puppy at the door." And she turned beckoning him to follow "Come on puppy, puppy slipped his collar." her voice rang low and harmonic in a mocking way. She stopped at a large white standard room area where some members of "The Hive" were in repose on a large black couch, wall tanks of fish on two sides of them, a wall of televisions on the third, and the fourth a mere window overlooking the rest of the world. He looked out at it but saw only the unfamiliar skyline_ As his eyes scanned out for the distance, Jade's outline was imposed before him, and before he had a chance to perceive her, she engaged him.

"Who's this Greye? Someone wicked?" she poked at the stranger, an eyebrow raised suspiciously. Devin rushed over keeping the stranger between himself and Jade.

"Look at him just looking. What's with this gawky looking Gawker? Speak up desperado1" Devin bumped the stranger back to his senses. "I'm gonna push him through the window. I can't remember the last time I sent someone through that window." He put a hand on the stranger as might old friends greet, his other hand pointing to the floor to ceiling observation window like Babe Ruth calling a homer, and pushed him into that window like the Babe when he was swinging for the fences. But much to the surprise of the GT and Devin, and almost everyone but Jade, the GT just smacked off of the glass, knees giving out from under him, slamming his body to the floor. Jade then spoke up to Devin although she was looking at the GT saying

"It's shatter proof. I had it installed after the last guy you gave a flying lesson too. I'm spending too much money a year replacing the windows of our high-rises because you have to be such an asshole in trying to amuse yourself," After all, running an empire does entail a sense of business and Jade was no slouch in the amount of control she took in her matters. Devin just shrugged and countered by saying

"What can I say, I like to watch when they hit the ground and that red mist they disintegrate into. Pretty."

"Sorry puppy, but right now I just don't feel like playing, and I doubt you're very amusing," said Jade sympathetically as she helped GT to back up to his feet. "Greye if you aren't going to kennel your services too." After that, Jade just walked the length of the room and out of the door at the opposite end, fading away like she was a beautiful apparition.

"Ok puppy, time for the kennel until somebody figures out what to do with you," Greye said proceeding to shove GT into the waiting grasp of Devin and Willem who held his arms on either side preventing any chance of a struggle. They carried him to a small room, devoid of color or any furnishings with only a small window to see out, no handle on the inside, but thin enough of a door that he could hear their conversation outside. Greye spoke, "No, of course, I don't know who he is, Devine, you know I recognize anyone here, no one is supposed to know about the lift up here to us."

"Well, he's up here now, and we can do one of the two things considering we don't know what he knows, who he knows and that it's already too late just to send him on his way. I say we either kill him, which is what I'd like to do personally since he looks like ain't nobody gonna miss him...." Bevin said

"Or..." Greye urged the alternative

"Or," Devin continued "we hold him here until we can get everyone to a consensus that he needs some massive brainwashing or some heavy object plunged into his chest." And then Mallem just raised the hand he wasn't holding his ax with, and probably was casting his vote in doing so, as he was the chief man to plunge heavy objects into chests.

In his mind, GT's thoughts raced. What was he going to do? What did they mean to keep him as a captive? If they tried to kill him, he'd just go ahead and kill them right back. Maybe he'd try to kill them anyway_ But more importantly who he was? Where was he? What is it they are so protective of they are willing to take his life? It was these racing thoughts that distracted him long enough for the group outside to finish their conversation and walk away from that when he realized this; he knew he could do was to sit and wait for whatever they decided to happen happened. And so he sat, searching the room for anything, a loose vent he could pry open, a place to take a position to ambush whoever opened that door, but really in the room, he found no advantage.

It wasn't until what seemed, after some hours, the door finally open, and during that time having gotten drowsy, he wasn't prepared to get the drop on anybody. The door creaked open slowly, and jade sauntered in

"Don't get up?" She said as GT looked up, lifting his head from his knees having crouched down against the back wall. "I'll come down to you." then bending down and putting her finger under his chin to raise his head to look at her in the face, she spoke to him in a soft tone. "This is what's going to happen, Devin and Mallem want you dead, Greye doesn't think that is necessary because you probably don't know anything you can hurt us with, and the others opinions don't matter, I'm the one whose opinion decides your fate in this situation. And I " She paused to think, briefly looking up to the ceiling then back to GT, "I have enough men under my control, but I don't have a prisoner, so I decided to keep you, and you'll be a prisoner, and I'll do with you what I will. If I want to make you fight my men a gladiator, I will, and you will, if I find I want to put you to work, I will, and you will. I find that a brilliantly thrilling notion, and in time, as I do, you will, understand?"

GT nodded slowly and thought about just slamming his knee into Jade's delicate feminine jaw, making a run for the door that she ostentatiously left open and took his chances to fight his way back to that elevator and down to the street. But this plan seemed vulgar and not right for the moment. "And maybe we get you a shirt with a cute little puppy on it, instead of that," Jade dropped her voice and acted as though she was talking to a child "that ugly old Mr. Turtle" "No," Finally he spoke, as on this matter he had an opinion "This" he grabbed the symbol on his chest "this is who I am, and I'm not sure who that is, but this... this turtle is all that I have, understand?"

"Ohh, yes, fight back, is always better that way, isn't it?" She stood, trailing her finger along the side of his face as she rose. "Fine, Green Turtle, if that's who you are, you may keep it, but remember Green Turtle, it's YOU whoever YOU are, that is locked in this room, and it's YOUR life that now belongs to me. You sleep tight now; your sentence starts tomorrow." The door locked and shut behind Jade, and rather than turning out the light as to give him some comfort; he learned that the light dangling high above his head was on a dimmer because it got much brighter in the room.

And so it had come to pass that over the course of several months of varying shades of lightness, little food and lots of "tough love" as it was called whenever he was used as a sparring partner or more correctly punching bag for Jade's lackeys to learn to fight. There were a handful of opportunistic advantages. The most major of which was possibly more elaborate and dramatic as was a formal party at the turn of the 19th century. However, rather than seeing the events objectively or merely stating them as sheer occurrences, it is much more prominent to attain them from the pages of the journal that the Green Turtle would eventually keep in future time. By his account it read:

"I remember I was just dozing off when I saw it brought to my senses by an alarming shriek and sudden flashes of was an alarm. Through the commotion, I could hear the people as they ran past saying 'Come on, come on: this place is going to be Howl!' and I remember, I wasn't afraid, I wasn't going to start making my peace. I just thought good, serves them right the bastards, we can all go down together, and I smiled, oh how it made me smile. To have it all come crashing down on top of me, on top of everything. But that isn't what happened. As later I would come to learn, it was a bomb which as it was said in the newspaper was laid by a terrorist on loyal to the city, but I knew better. The bomb was in an R&D section of the building, and so my best guess was that it was an experiment or test that went wrong and wound up arming itself with no easy way to remedy. And as the police had no bomb unit, since explosives on the city was an unheard of, not to mention a bad idea, the regular police had to deal with it. And the first thing they did was unlock the entire building from the main wiring system in the basement. And as I heard my freedom, click open the door, I decided I wasn't going with them, I would be escaping unnoticed among them."

Skipping ahead in the entry a bit, he highlights the escape:

"It was then that I ran past the R&D room where all had run but for one lone officer. Usually, I would've kept going, forsaking them to the mercy of fate, but the first of my heroic intuition struck me, strong as anything ever has. Had she not been a female officer, just shorter than me and far more feminine, ``I probably would have passed the right by, without safety crossing my mind. But I did, and I ran to her and the explosives. And as I did she turn to me asking "are you their bomb guy,' She didn't know they didn't have one. 'No' I said, 'Just a guy who doesn't mind blowing up.' And she started to turn saying half to me, half to herself 'God, what am I supposed to do, I don't know what they think I'm going to do! I can't do this...' and I turned her back towards me, and I told her; 'Look, just get out of here, I can handle this.' And she didn't answer me; she didn't say a word, she just nodded at me and walked away as if she were strolling up the grocery store to check out and she tried to hide it, but I could see the horror in her eyes, and the guilt she felt leaving me there. But I just didn't care about the bomb, about her, about anything. So I pulled all the wires, I pulled the whole God-damned thing out, and it just stopped. Some terror it turned out to be, some doomsday device you are, I thought as I looked contemptuously at the pathetic mass of coil and wire. The deed was done, I just went out the back way, like a saint out of Heaven I left, free as you please."

He had walked about twenty yards away before he heard the boom. No, it wasn't big enough to bring the building down, nowhere near it, but it was big enough to make a scratch. Later the headlines would claim "Terrorist blast injures 20, claims 4." And as GT would always claim, the bastards deserved it.

Upon his escape, GT ran as fast as he could and as hard as he could. He ran from sense memory and found himself back where he began, muscles burning but no worse for wear, there again;"Mr Svinchone." Fumbling from area to area, tucked away was what had more likely than not been an employee common room with lockers. Lockers that were still locked, and having survived the fire, obviously they were fireproof. Fireproof, but not unbreakable, he broke them all. Doing a general assessment of what was in each locker, for the moment, he took a few articles of clothing which by the look of them, had been there waiting silently for someone to wear them for a very long time. He chose a gray bib-front over a jacket, and dark purple, almost navy colored driving-style gloves. Finally, he found a scarf once brightly pigmented with an alarming shade of red, it was now faded and darkened and now lingered as crimson.

He buttoned up the coat halfway leaving only the turtle symbol on his chest exposed, in the pocket he found an antique pocket watch, a heavy metal circle and apparently a winding mechanism on the back was etched "C. W. Ironwood" with a shrug. He put his new watch into his new pocket; next, he wrapped the scarf neatly into a small square stuffing it into the pocket of the coat. Fitting each finger of the glove snugly to the con for his own fingers, more than he wanted an explanation of this place and the things in it or an explanation of who he was, he couldn't get the name Ironwood out of his head; For it was indeed a catchy set of words. Also, were found an old olive green ski cap, a set of light to dark color changing goggle-Esq wrap around UV sunglasses and a torn bandana of what appeared to either the Australian flag or union jack, looking so similar, our hero couldn't tell.

These things taken alone were fair& innocuous, but taken together, hat, goggles and bandana folded into a triangle tied over the face as a mask, were a relatively substantial disguise. It made him look both ridiculous and brave. Although he believed the only reliable form of weapon was unarmed combat and a true reflection of one's self as a fighter, The Green Turtle or GT as those who didn't have the time to pronounce full words might say, knew for any one punch might be thrown at Jade's crew, they would respond with hundreds of bullets and cuts and crippling blows with something blunt and heavy. He had to arm himself, and his hands knew the familiarity of any gun, knives and the impromptu weapon he could think of, and as he thought of them, he could almost feel their warmth in his hands. He didn't know why, but it was comforting, and terrifying. The police force was laughable in their numbers and their commitment but damned if they weren't armed to the teeth. So lax was their security that any shlub off the street with a bit of cunning could get into the station unnoticed and out with whatever he felt like taking, and he did.

And this is how he did it not knowing the layout of the mid-sized structure he simply wandered in and headed for the men's room. Looking around him, he saw the usual ugly unsanitary signs of an all male civilization. He glanced about until his eyes found a highway in the ceiling. Above the last stall which was very large to accommodate the disabled was fixed a shaft, a wide, sturdy shaft running throughout the building: ventilation. Carefully tear away the rusty and weakened grate he pulled himself up and to the side, granting his freedom to move about the shaft. Moving quickly and quietly with no specific travel path he weaved and turned and doubled back several times before he found what he needed. Then, as silently as death creeping up in the night, he lowered himself down onto a high cabinet then down to the floor, being only as loud as the supersonic click his scuffed black boots made touching the shiny textile floor. As he stood, what he saw was astounding. Rifles, pistols, explosives, batons, cuffs and all manner of hand held Urban Warfare. And wouldn't you know it, lucky day! Some duffle bags piled sloppily near the door.

And so two bags were filled, filled with all matter of weaponry grabbed without prejudice and placed into the bag until heavy and bursting to the seams. Time is always an issue for a thief; he'd grab now and sort it out later. The first bag loaded into the shaft and the second one on its way, as he reached up as to allow the second bag to join its brother, something else caught his eye, something that was not weaponry. It was more evidence, damning evidence, a catalog of drugs from A-Z right there before him. GT didn't like drugs but none the less he shoved the second bag home and jumped back down to browse. He wasn't going to, but he thought of a child on Halloween searching through a bowl of candy in case he found his favorite. And while GT had no drug of choice he didn't find some of the use; painkillers, addictive, harmful but necessary.

He felt guilty at first for taking them, but as he had hesitated to return them to the shelf, he thought Who do I have to judge me? Who do I have to stay out of harm's way for? Whoever I was that person is dead, let his family mourn him, let his friends speak well of him because whoever he was, he is not coming back." For a moment he felt powerful and courageous, but these feelings soon began to fight against the sad, hopeless feelings that burden the shoulder of anyone lost. But he wasn't lost, he was a prisoner, a prisoner of this unknown island monstrosity. He took the painkillers, and knowing the weapons he carried would notice to be gone, he decided that if he couldn't cover his tracks, he would open scatter and more or less destroy the*other drugs. This was the first villain he destroyed, and he thought the world all the better even if in the long run it did no justice. It didn't matter anyway, he had taken some and destroyed the rest, he was a hypocrite, and what's more, he knew this and damned if he didn't care a bit of it.

Clumsily returning to the men's room and slinking out the door with his giant clinking bags, had there not been a commotion in the station at the time he left, he would surely have been made the commotion. The evidence room had been stripped and vandalized! God, he was lucky, because he couldn't have planned a better timing for the little drama to play out, and if he could have, it most likely it wouldn't have worked. As he exited the station, dropping the bag in his left hand to wipe the tense perspiration from his forehead and re-adjust his swag bags, he breathed deeply repeating to himself mentally "Yep, lucky day."

Once again our man found himself back in the waiting arms of Mr Svynchone. And dragging his bags behind him while in transit from the station he thought and thought of many things, but in a concussion, two questions were all that came up. GT asked himself "What will he do with the money? And also "Is it possible to escape this place? How in the hell do I do something like that?" And before he could answer himself in his internal conversation, reality knocked him back to his senses when the door he was standing in front of was violently kicked open, and as reality hit him, he hit the floor, sliding an inch or two on his back. Gun trained down at him, looking down she spoke

"I knew this had something to do with you. So who are you? What do you mean to do walking off with our evidence room?" And unable to think of an acceptable lie he answered with the truth, saying,

"Me? I'm just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose. And I didn't take those things with some dubious intent; I'm just thinking ahead." Then he realized as he stood to meet her, watching her as she took a step backwards raising the position of her gun that she was just a bit smaller than he was, and she was the same officer trying to disable the bomb. It had also become apparent that she had made him as soon as she set eyes on him. This in mind, he continued "That day I met you, do you think I was there because I wanted to be? The bid I look like any of them that came out of that place? And do you honestly believe that they are going to leave me be?" Lowering her gun, she said

'Maybe you died in the explosion; they don't know, how would you know if they know? You don't, and you don't need these things, they don't care about you, you are nobody to them, I doubt if you are nothing to none." He didn't like that; she was probably right in her assumption. And yet again he answered,

"Fine, maybe I won't need it, probably I won't. But maybe I will and if I do these things are going to stay with me. So like you said, I'm nobody, you didn't find me tonight." then pausing to speak very slowly and looking at her dead in the eyes, he went on "Now holster your weapon and go away." Shockingly enough, slow, silent but surely, that is just what she did as she backed away never breaking the eye contact. Also closed on their relationship. It would be almost a month before anything relevant would happen.

As time from that day on progressed, the days were long and slow moving. GT didn't do much with his time, he straightened up the former Pizzeria and traversed the surrounding areas, nothing remarkable, he'd find an old coffee maker, he'd fix it, he'd have coffee. He'd organize his pilfer and weapons ready to use them if the occasion called for it but finding only the need to dust them regularly, This was maddening to him, his days were spent almost with no different from when he was a captive of the Lynchpin building. There was no clear way off of the island city; it was a solemn and rare event when a cargo barge or small single engine aeroplane would come and when either one did it was always with an avalanche of paper work and official documentation. It was only at the breaking point that the bleakness of his new life was broken, I guess he was just lucky like that.

To keep an open hearth wood burning oven running, as one might find in a pizza place GT had to cut wood daily, and a lot of it. On this particular day, the sky was dark, and a dark sky means heavy rain, so he decided to go out and cut as much as his patience would allow. And as he did, little did he know that with each crack of the splitting log, trouble was coming slowly and on four hooves.

GT didn't see it, but passing through the tree lines there was an old blue-gray mare, it's knobby knees painfully bending and contracting with each step further into the hilly pines, white striped head and foggy black eyes fixed steadily downward not minding changes in terrain. On this old pony rode a man, a real man. A glassy eyed cowboy named Ace. Known in full to himself and a handful of others as Ace Saddlesore; the scourge of the sagebrush, hung like a jury.

The man himself was caked in a layer of soot, debris from the life of an outdoors man. He sat hunched forward as though he were just another exhausted limb of the horse. A tattered black coat hanging down just below his boots, spurs jingling at every jostle of his horse's canter; rife tucked neatly into his ruffle pack, seven shells waiting in its tube resting just under the barrel; cap and ball revolvers hung low on his belt, their handles' tarnished the leather scuffed and weak for wear. Ace's face too was almost as leathery as his belt, permanent stubble shadowed his face, and his eyes had become forever squinted a reasonable price to pay for the years of fixing his gaze on a target or GT took almost double and half the time he usually uses to cover that amount of ground back home. This time gave him time to think, and the way his mind worked that was never a good thing. But whatever demons he was reasoning out, he knew enough to be cautious when returning to the scene of his ambush. He traced a path carefully around the logs which Ace had climbed out of, kneeled down to examine the horse shoe prints leading off in the direction GT had gone and then matching prints that showed he came back and eventually left the way he had come. GT went inside, shivering and cold, his clothes wet and skin numb from the stinging rain. It was warm inside; Ace was nice enough to keep the fire going. He sat for a moment to rest and recover a bit, but to spite the physical exertion, he was ever the restless one.

Walking back to the armory he had collected, he checked every shadowy corner, and behind every door, but no one, only the return of the stillness he had so come to love. And much to his shock, when he got to his little war room, there was also nothing, literally nothing. Ace had cleaned the place out. Shelves and drawers and lockers once heavy with arms and weaponry were now only burdened with the weight of having no purpose. There was only one thing that GT noticed, one thing hiding right there in plain sight. A revolver, a cap and ball revolver, he could picture Ace's gun belt with one empty holster. He picked up the heavy antique, and in his hand, he removed a small faded playing card fastened between the hammer and the barrel. He didn't need to turn it over; he knew what it was before he even looked. It was the Ace of Spades.

As our hero's mind couldn't help but wonder to the assumption, he assumed that if he could see the deck from which this card had come from, on the box, it is no doubt one of the first words read would be Igneous. But within the Hive back at the Lynchpin building, it was a different story. Devin burst through the door to Jade's office which of course no one was ever to do, but as brothers are want to do, they do not listen.

"Jodet" Her door burst open with all the finesse of a Swat team, and he was swiftly cut down by Jade's application of a stapler launched in the air finding Devin's head as it's marked. And as he fell backwards, his fall being slowed by a cabinet, some dynamics never change.

"Ow, you freak! Jesus, I covered my eyes before I came in, why does it always have to come to the stapler, you don't need to go to that place all the time!"

"Yes Devin, I do." Jade reclined in her chair, satisfied she had made her point. "Now what do you want, and uncover your eyes it makes you look even more stupid."

"You want to talk about the stupid sister; you'd stop buying the expensive staplers to throw at me."

"They are heavier, Now..." Jade waved her hand to imply a sense of getting on with it.

"Oh yeah, right. Well, one of our police captains we got down at the station was watching that cowboy guy, and his posse said that the cowboy was going with solo which raised a flag with them. So he followed up on it and apparently the cowboy wanted a showdown with our former green amphibian captive, and..." Jade cut him off. Whatever, he could only see things sharply. His hair was somewhat long and stringy, but it was often covered by his dirty, ugly, brown fabric large brimmed hat. And this man, whose sore torn hands held the reigns to his horse, an extension of himself, was now close enough to plainly see GT and all for the best because this is who he was gunning for.

A crack shot, the cowboy, knew his range and quietly dismounting, he didn't take cover because who would be looking for him? Certainly not his target, chopping wood making piles of split rings find logs yet to be split. Then as GT raised the small ax he had found near a fire extinguisher back when he had first arrived, a shot rang out, scattering the birds from the trees and shattering the stillness of the woods. The ax head broke sending spiteful little bits of metal shrapnel into his neck and the right side of his shoulder as he was pulled violently down on his right from the force the bullet had knocked the ax before his hands could let it go. From a distance, Ace could see that he hadn't been killed as he scrambled behind a large pile of logs for cover, not able to get back inside for safety and his armory. Ace's gruff voice shouted to the logs,

"Hey! Wayfaring stranger, you dead? Stand up, and I'll send you on to meet your brother devils!" Unarmed and at Ace' s mercy GT could either ask questions or run away.

"What is it that you want, guy?" GT asked as he peered over the logs to see the cowboy just in time to take his second shot, destroying a log next to his head and sending him crouched back down for cover.

"I want your heart, boy! Don't you have your gun? Ain't no man should be not near his gun. Go 'head, shoot me back I let you." Ace leaned in waiting to hear a response. As all of this was happening, the dry air had turned to mist, and the mist had become a drizzle and now as GT answered his voice hardly carried the windy whipping stinging rain which had come from the drizzle.

"If I had some way to kill you right now you'd know it because really want to kill you." Ace laughed

"Ha! Aren't you know who I am, boy? I am Ace Saddlesore, scourge of the sagebrush, hung like a jury, and you ain't nobody!" A battery of shots rang out knocking a fair portion out of GT s barricade and sending those wet logs rolling slightly downhill towards Ace. And GT knew he couldn't make it to his door, and just making a run into the woods would give Ace either a moving target, or prey to track, and he wouldn't live through either. But knowing he had no options gave him a course of what to do. He simply went silent, played opossum. And when Ace's rifle ran dry sure enough he pulled his six-shooters and approached the silent pile of logs. GT could hear the metal barrel of the guns thumping against the logs on the other side as Ace poke for signs of life. Ace looked quizzically at the logs as though they contained an answer to some riddle he couldn't figure out, and quietly ace said to himself

"I kill ya?" But GT heard him and bracing himself to face the logs he leaned in, shoulder aching and pushed with all he had left in him, as the log pile came toppling down on Ace. Without looking back GT run, there may have been others, Ace might get up faster than he could try to wrestle away a gun or make a break for one of his own, so he just ran, opposite Ace and his home, but he didn't go far, Ace would expect that. Instead, he moved almost to the other end of the woods, and when he got there, he decided just to take his time going back. Ace may not have stuck around. And if he did at least GT would know where he was.

"Reptiles, turtles are reptiles. Didn't we go to the same elementary school? And besides didn't he explode? Why do I care about him, let him tuck away in its turtle shell and if I want to play with him again, I'll go down there and yank it right back out."

"Well, miss biology of the century, there is more to it if I can finish without having to yell up to you on your high horse." Again Jade made her get on with it gesture. "Not only is he not dead but the cop says that he saw the cowboy take an arsenal out of the Turtle's place that the Turtle looted from police HQ. So obviously slow and steady wins the race in a vendetta against us. We strike or get hit, sis." Jade let out a sign of de stain for Devin, GT and all the rest of it. Standing to help Devin find the door she spoke.

"Fine, just let me handle it. I know it's hard not to gossip with the other girls down at the salon, Devin, but just do your best to shut up and keep this quiet. I don't feel like having someone in and outside of the Hive coming to me about this."

"Fine but I don't think that..." Devin hesitated at the doorway

"Yes Devin, I know you don't think. You just go now and play with your little motorcycles, zip around to whatever drugged out slums you choose to spend your time and forget the friendly policeman ever came to you in the first place." And with that, as she had done so many times before closed the door pushing him out by the nose A nose which was starting to show a memory of the door's imprint from such frequent association. Then, waiting the appropriate amount of time for Devin to fix his nose and leave, Jade exited long after him. She left her office and went out to the forbidden elevator and down. Down, down, down the shaft, she went to the deepest part of the building, deeper than thought the Lynchpin went.

She simply called it "the under basement" because well, that's really where she was. A deep high-tech place of research and development accessible only by that elevator. In charge of this place was a tiny foppish man named the Chemist. Somewhat effeminate but every bit the genius, he had an uncanny ability to trade Jade's scorn for honest friendliness. The elevator doors dinged open, and as soon as they parted, Jade saw her friend wearing a white coat with his thick white cat's eye glasses and perfectly quaffed light colored hair.

"There's my tiny lady" of course this was jade talking as she ran over and half picked up the scientist who was abruptly startled from his tinkering in this or that,

"Oh Jade, hello dear! What brings you to the bottom of the world?" his cheery higher than normal man's voice rang out. This was the man that almost sang instead of spoke which perhaps helped him to be more lovable.

" I came to check on the bee. Is he ready to leave to the hive? She said instinctively walking towards the bee project area.

"Oh dear, that nasty old thing? I just hate to look at it, but I made it my special project just for you and yes I suppose if you want to take him out of here...I wish you all the best."

"He, so he's wearing it?"

"Yes deal sword and all, and he's quite good. Pity the poor something you stick him on. It's not Bevin, is it? I knew one of these things just had to be for killing Bevin." Jade smiles, uncharacteristic of her, but not when she was the chemist.

"Ha ha, no, he's got enough enemies I'd just as soon have one of them do in him. I'm bringing out the bee to test him on that captive I was telling you about. Apparently, he's alive and looking to cause trouble."

"Oh dear, dear, that's horrible dear."

"You always did have a way with words. Tell the bee I'll be waiting for him topside."

"Ok honey, you just don't get upset with all this."He offered a crimped hand in sympathy before she disappeared behind the elevator doors to take her position back in her hive to wait for the bee to arrive. And so she waited first by the elevator, then in her office, and just as she was losing patience, the light under her door became shadowed and then, of course, a telltale knock, finally, it was, the bee. And as Jade rose and slowly opened the door, what she saw forced her to take a few steps back.

Before she stood, a huge, muscular figured completely covered from head to toe in black and yellow samurai armor. His feet were clad in light boots which clung to the ground and assured a firm footing no matter the surface. His pants were long, flowing and yellow with two black lines running down the length of them and three black lines running across. His torso was a shiny armored shell with similarly bright flexible sleeves, his left arm being all black with alternating black and yellow stripes running diagonally to his right arm which was all yellow. His gloves were thick, fitted and white. Around his neck he wore a bright red wrap, the cloth being spiked and tapered at the ends which hung just below the back of his knees.

And finally, there was his helmet. Square and rounded at the top, and exaggerated jaw which was elongated at the sides, a long grave at the center to indicate a nose, a jagged dark purple mouth design and huge, haunting black eyes, round and taking up almost half of the helmet. He too was yellow with thin black lines running down it. And for his weapon, his chose only one. A weapon which he had devoted his skill in its entirety. A weapon which was such a part of him, it was thought to bear his soul. It was an oversized Katana, its edge so large only a man of his size and ability could wield it, its guard drew out to reflect a western influence and its handle wrapped to easily allow a grip for when it must be pulled from its massive sheath. At the sum of his parts, he was given a name that past his project code designation of just "the bee". He was, Rumble Bee. And he was ready to leave the hive.

While relatively innocuous or seemingly unimportant events were happening where the common folk still dared to tread. Still deep in the city's subconscious was our haunted turtle. GT didn't know he was being tracked, and those tracking him didn't know that they weren't the only one.

In another formerly great now woodily overgrown section of the pines GT now called home, it became common knowledge where to find him. At a former park of scenic beauty which had now become little more than a dirty paved walk-way and rusted benches, GT was out in the open. His daily walk had gotten away from him, the day was turning to night, and the powerful wind began to move the trees. He knew it was time to get back.

Turning to return, just a few feet away from him, lifting his eyes to make out a figure and come to rest on a face. Startled at first it only took him a minute to realize who this was. The frame, just a little shorter than him and far more female: the lady cop. Though the wind blew hair undone and into her face he knew, and shouting over the wind he spoke.


"No gun this time? Must be my lucky day." Taking two steps forward to give her reply;

"No gun_ Given our last conversation I just thought I should tell you. Ignus's guy in our department is looking at you. I don't know for what but it's probably...." interrupted she moved forward receiving a jolt from behind, falling with a shout the air seemingly knocked out of her. As she hit the ground, GT's eyes widened with panic and shock. Behind her is stood a smoking gun. A six-shooter in the hands of Ace Saddlesore.

"Pardon me; I forget myself" stepping over the female officer he looked down to tip his hat and say "excuse me, little lady, I got business with the gentleman." Again raising his arm and re cocking his gun with careful aim and easing the trigger back. GT had drawn Ace's gift taking a careful aim of his own.

"You know, I wasn't sure at first Ace But now, you've made yourself a reason to deserve this." GT fired first with furious anger, his bullet taken on the wind, he was carried from his intent of Ace's heart to gash his leg instead deeply.

"God-damn boy! That smarts! Never matter." As Ace's muzzle flashed, it was not the wind, but Rumble Bee to make sure it met nothing in response. Silently watching the events, GT was his target, and no, the cowboy was going to take that away from him. And no, the cowboy was certainly going to cause excessive collateral damage rushing Ace from his hidden position, it was almost surgical in the manner, he smashed in flipping him like a life-sized cowboy doll. Then making a B-line for GT, the last five shots were unloaded at Rumble Bee. Each one renderae4 useless with a brilliant blue spark of deflection. Even when GT had hit his drawn katana not a chip was taken from it. And in only a moment's time, it seemed to GT as though he was done for.

But the Bee had other plans. Now, was not the time to take him on. Merely to disarm him, which he did quite proficiently. Smashing his shoulder knocking him down hard onto his back and sending the gun flying out and away, having accomplished this. Rumble Bee just kept going into the night. GT lay there for a moment in pain and utter confusion. A cowboy and a giant bullet proof bumblebee samurai. Par for the course in Tiporary.

Gradually crumpling himself to his knees then feet, he peered over at Ace who was not dead but in considerably worse shape. Then looking down over to his left he remembered the balled up body on the ground. No time to see Ace off. He needed every second to drag the lady cop somewhere safe. Leaning down and lifting her under her arms, he couldn't make out alive or dead but a distinct lack of blood. Her legs dangling and dragging against the ground GT was losing the little strength he had retained. He finally reached home. Just inside the door he could hold on to her, no longer and let her go, he fell beside her. She let out a slight cough and jumping up to reach her GT had to check the damage.

Kneeling down and lifting her up and slightly forward to the hole in her shirt where the bullet had entered, he tore it some. Much to his surprise as the hole widened it revealed a dark blue material with a notch surrounded by powder burns. "A vast," GT said quietly to himself.

"What are you doing?" The officer said, freeing herself from his grip. "And why did that cowboy shoot me in the back?"

"Oh thank God." GT breathed a sigh of relief and hugged the officer without thinking.

"Oh ok, that's...fine, thanks." Again she shook herself loose.

"Sorry I just, I thought the worst," GT said rising to his feet. Half embarrassed he put his head down and rubbed the back of his neck.

"So do you like to have a name other than Green Turtle. Like a regular name, Mike Jones, or something. She sensed his boyishness and posed this question, not as a cop.

Rig?‘ "Uh, well, I I mean I might, I can't remember anything since I woke up here and then got away from Jade."

"Oh, haha, that's, a little strange." She paused for a moment "I'm, my name's Maria. Maria Vasquez."

GT was a bit more at ease, much to Ms Vasquez's intention. A shallow breath of relief proceeded him "That's, pretty. I guess Spanish, Latin?"

"My name? Yes. That and also there's the olive skin, green eyes, oh my accent, subtle things like that." She smiled "But I figured your best skill was your flagrant disregard for your safety, not your ability to analyze people."

"Why, thank you." GT answered sincerely, but then again he didn't know that wasn't exactly a compliment "He think that well I like to look at you. You are quite something." He realized he was tired, hazy and he was staring at her which could lend itself to many ways of interpretation. But lucky for him, she merely blushed and said

"I should probably go, it's getting late. My cruiser isn't too far from here I think, I have got to make it back. I guess maybe see you around." And abruptly she left. GT was too tired to think; he'd sort out whatever he remembered in the morning. And then he promptly passed out and went to sleep. Knowing it's sober restfulness would allow him to realize whatever stupid things he may have done and the reality of the situation he now found himself.

When he finally wakes up, in pain and not entirely clear headed as he had hoped he straightened himself from his unnatural position of slumber and began to take stock. From the utter confusion, the only solid point he drew was that he needed to arm himself, Armed and unarmed numerous times all GT could do was to go to his home with a fine tooth comb in hopes that Ace had missed something. Tearing through cabinets and flipping over tables. GT carried on this way until turning over a heavy rectangular wooden table he heard an audible metal thud.

Feeling around the floor room through the darkness, his hands finally clutched the cold metal object. 'A gun?' He thought as he felt the object. 'No, too narrow, too long. No such luck today I guess.' taking out into the light of the old oven hearth he could make it out. A knife, a knife nearly 12 inches long and in a protective metal case, upon its guard a loop, a small ring of metal betraying it as a bayonet. Removing it silently from the metal sheath the blade was old, oily but dangerously well maintained. No mark other than a year stamped on the blade near the hilt. "1923" GT read out loud in hopes of getting the knife's attention. With a deep breath, he said "You and me." tucking the knife away in the case and tucking it into the waist of his pants.

Upon standing, the knife adjusting itself into place he heard a rattle in his coat pocket, reaching into the deep side pocket of the long coat he pulled out the noise. A bottle, the bottle, the pain killers. "Correction." He said to the knife "You, and me, and the devil makes three." throwing the pills and plucking them out of the air, he moved them to his pants pocket. "Don't warm lose those." Satisfied with himself and his new possessions he began to fix the mess he had made looking for them. Maybe in the process, he'd think of his next move, or at the very least, tidy up.

Meanwhile, while this was going on, Officer Vasquez had explained her story to Jade's police captain informant when asked to explain where she had been and why there was a hole in her back. And again countlessly she recapped her story to the captain, of course with a detail changed here or there as not to cause suspicion for the ordinary.

"Well, yes again, as I said Captain: I was on street patrol when I came across a man in green. I stopped to ask him what he was doing out when this cowboy or something shot me in the back. I turned and fired hit him in the leg and then I passed out. When I came to, neither one of them was there. I suppose the man in green took off when the shots were fired, and the man who shot me was well enough to get away." She turned to leave and make him aware she would not tell her story yet again.

"I see, I see. Well if that is what happened as you say it happened to fill out a report and I'll go over it again later. Try to think if you missed any details because as it is, I'm not quite sure it all fits, officer." The captain said to her back as she stopped her exit briefly to listen. She left not knowing that her report, as well as the captain's suspicions, would be going directly to Jade.

As GT was finishing his tidying, kneeling down to pick up an over turned chair behind him he heard a rustle from above; he was not alone A rustle was enough of a noisy mistake for GT, and he turned quickly drawing his bayonet knife. Pulling it with his right hand up across his body he was fast enough to deflect the blow of a long samurai weapon. It was Rumble Bee, there to finish his honorable duel. Rumble bee was caught off guard as no weapon should be able to resist his blade. But this one did. Pausing for a moment then again attacking with two side slashes one up, the other in the opposite direction downward making a Z' motion he was again denied by Gins minor blade.

Always the opportunist GT took this chance to strike the Bee hard in the chest with his palm sending him back a bit. Surprised, the Bee glanced a moment at the weapon in GT's hand, so repelling him. And cocking his head in a resonance and very metallic and vibrating tone he said

" you power. It has taken many lives?" To which GT just narrowed his eyes and said

"No, not yet" And pulling the metal case from his waistband at this time, GT was the attacker he used it to smack away the Bee's blade. Caught off the guard which was a rare occasion, the Bee couldn't do much but make a one-handed counter attack before it was swatted away. With a lucky strike, GT got a slash across the Bee's broad chest. And saying quietly, half to his opponent and a half to himself "You are bullet proof, but not stab proof."

Returning the favor, Rumble Bee rushed GT, violently slashing downward and knocking the knife's metal case from his hand bouncing to the floor. Then delivering a slash down across the inside of his left forearm. Recoiling the arm in pain, bending it and keeping it up close against his body, his disadvantage had become greater. The Bee again repeated his downward slashing attack, but this time, GT knew that it was coming. Bending in halt and moving to his side slightly he rammed into the Bee throwing him over his body and to the floor. Regaining his stature GT kicked the Bee's weapon back over to him nodding his head as meaning to urge him to pick it back and finish the battle he had started.

But the Bee did not. He had been disarmed and as a rule of pride was not to reuse that weapon in this fight. He took his sword, wiping the blade on the back of his hand and putting it back in its sheath. Not knowing if this meant the fight was over, GT did the same with his knife. When he did, the Bee rushed to him throwing a punch into his stomach and another across to his face sending GT to the floor. Greatly in pain and mouth bleeding from the floor, GT kicked as hard as he could into the Bee's leg and then as the Bee turned reacting to the kick with his other leg. GT kicked with all his might into the back of Rumble Bee's knee bringing him down to the floor with him.

GT slammed his elbow into where he had sliced the Bee again and again until his elbow began to sting from the repetition. Once it did he climbed putting himself over the Bee and with his goor4 arm began to punch his helmet over and over until his knuckles bled. Seeming to cause a significant amount of damage, he could tell the Bee was hurt. Perhaps as not as badly as himself but the damage was done nonetheless. Regaining the upper hand, the Bee was able to get his knees up and between them so extending his legs out he sent GT off of him, popped up in the air and down through a table. Coughing and wounded, GT rose from the table, bleeding from the cut on his arm and battered jaw, he staggered one leg stretched forward the other bent to support him up. The Bee too rose holding his chest cut which had been made all the worse by GT's constant elbow. Both men stood, bloody and unarmed each ready to carry on until either one or both could no longer remain. Pulling his weapon again this time, all the Bee did was to bend his arm to put it on his chest and bow before again putting it away and saying

"You fight me well, with honor. I was not told this and did not expect it. Your death was my mission, but it must now change. Let these repercussions be mine if they must be accounted for by any man." As GT tried to make sense of his words with only a slight rustle of fabric, and in an instant, he was gone.

Feeling in his pocket grabbing out the rattling bottle, he opened it, swallowing several of its capsules and a sickening amount of blood with a wince. For now, GT's pain and troubles would slowly melt away. He had no inkling of the wrath; Jade would feel for him and Rumble Bee when she would learn of the failure and deception on the part of the latter. No inkling of enemies to Vasquez and him at the police force. No hint of Ace's survival and revenge to be carried out upon him. No inkling of Tiporary and how the city burned with passion for coming down upon him, for coming crashing down on the head of one man. One unsuspecting man who inkling of the things to come.

And of course, back at the Lynchpin, upon hearing the news of those two men with no indication. Jade was furious, and when Jade got made, the Earth shook.

"One of those idiots should be death. How dare that black and yellow turn-coat! I spend my time, on that pseudo philosophical warrior and he takes this self-involved amnesiac for some noble hero, not, I won't have it! Who's he helped? Who but himself?' Greye interjected, ill thought out.

"Well, remember we're sure he helped out or did something with that bomb. Remember, before he escaped?" Greye biggest mistake was standing within reach of Jade. Reaching up and landing a thud on Greye's head Jade sent her to the ground.

I feel better, feel better down there, Greye? Greye shook her head no "well why don't you just stay down there 'till you do. Now, Mallem, Devin, pick up Greye and you reach into our pockets and pull out whatever policy we have. Assault the city, and you blamed on the bug and the reptile. You tell everyone it's because they fight and they hide, that the city has to feel that pain. Let's see what kind of heroes they are then. Take some of the Hive lackeys if you need them, I don't care. Just remember, they are all expendable, send them in in waves, we don't need them alive as much as we do others dead."

Without rebuttal, both silently agreed, lifting Greye and taking her with them. They were going to form a reckoning; they were unknowingly about to finally start the clock, so long waiting to start the countdown to the city's self-destruction. An army against the people, against the clueless: against everyone but themselves, and even that wasn't set in stone. It was like throwing a ball into a stain glass window, but no one saw it coming. And if only someone were there to knock it away, the serenity, such as it would not be destroyed. But shards and splinters of beautiful glass were about to come crashing to the floor. Only the dust would remain.

There was a time when honor was not just a cavalier, romanticized idea read to children alongside the nights of the round table, Arthur and his magic sword on every page of every book of bed time stories. And is the custom, once these things and ideas enter into the human conscience, over time the meaning changes, and that first pure, innocent idea that it was at the beginning becomes twisted, twisted and perverted. Until finally in our times it became just a fairy tale and no longer tangible.

The irony of it is though that of the less than the handful of people who stuck to honor, unwaveringly, almost to the man has had it work for them in some way or another. Rumble Bee knew of this already of course, and yet still, he was an honorable man.

I suggest the best way to justify his outdated code of ethics is to trace back to his ancestors at the point in history when all traditions and formal rules and customs of the old way became shattered and social reformation ushered in a new chapter in the course of human history

He was, to a point, The Green Turtle's inverse on several fronts. The first of which is in contention of being the most important was that the Bee knew what he was, where he came from and lived as though he never doubted in his mind through his entire life. "In a word, he had a bone-chilling confidence.

But as I said, it started with the rich tale of his ancestors and a time of reformation. A time not for American social change, but for Japan's.

Toward the latter part of the 19th century in Japan, restrictions of international free trade had loosened. So as Japan with great sorrow allowed others into their great civilization. And then in just a short amount of time, all that was left were the ancient Samurai and new modernized Imperial army.

This is how Bee's mother and father met, but in reality, it wasn't an epic movie kind of moment. And so as with all conflicts turmoil split former allies into factions, it always comes down to "us" and "them" The new Imperial army fighting to maintain there would no longer be a society of the past ritualistic, outdated lifestyle in the ever changing times. And because of his family legacy, all those born since then were tore and confused about what exact ethnicity they were and which side in the Japanese Civil war they'd battle and possibly die for.

The imperial regime opted to find help outside the empire in the form of several Prussian soldiers, and shortly after that, it seemed like the Prussian instructors out-numbered the soldiers they were teaching. But at that time in Japan being isolated for so long, they had no notion of how to use these new weapons, and somewhat of a limited skill to match. This is where Rumble Bee's conflicted lifestyle and several generations later planted its poison roots and deep down far beneath his family tree.

The matriarch, Ayako managed to fall in love with the Prussian that killed her Samurai husband in the process of forced assimilation. Their child was not loved and only tolerated, taken for a bastard in both worlds, frustration fueled anger, anger fueled rage, and rage drove action. At a somewhat tender age under a name now long lost and forgotten one day, he found his family secret. A meticulously well-maintained sword which was not his Prussian fathers. As he saw it, his past suspicion was proven right as though this knowledge was etched in the blade.

In his hands, the sword found its first victim; the Prussian who had defeated its previous owner. A Prussian body left to disintegrate with the eyes of a horrified Japanese woman named Ayako, the only one who might have cared What happened between that and Tiporary, is the Bee's secret.

This extreme sense of and probably warped sense of honor could be the reason for the Bee's defection from the Lynchpin and Jade. A defector to no one but his sense of honor and those he sensed honorable.

Among those candidates for the honor was, of course, his honorable foe, The Green Turtle. An honorable enemy who was at the moment tending to his wounds with a less than basic first aid kit and the aide of this pills. Before he took them, he had thought 'Do what you gotta do.' And after he took them, he didn't think much of anything. Not of jade or the Bee or Ace, he just didn't care right now. His neck had started to develop a cramp from looking over his shoulder.

He did wonder about friendlier faces though. He wondered about Maria, the lady cop, he wondered about all those people just living in Tiporary, and how most of them probably didn't want to kill him. So what if he did die? Who would know that would care enough to miss him? He wondered if he died today what regrets would he have, could he have? There weren't many, in fact, there were none. And it depressed the hell out of him; finally, the turtle had trouble putting up his matter-of-fact shell.

He decided to step out for a little bit. Outside his shelter and himself. He'd take a break from the Green Turtle and return to his anonymity, such as it was. Standing up with a bit of a stumble GT walked over to the old solid door, opening it with every intention of walking out on someone else. But as he did so, his present couldn't escape his as of yet still brief past.

As the door swung open, he was to face the cowboy, Ace Saddlesore, who as it seems was just about to knock.

"Damn boy, here I thought I'd snuck up on cat's feet. But you must'a heard me, huh fella? Well" Ace let out a contemptuous yawn "I come to call on you. Thank you for this limb and all. See if maybe you might want to....finishing this whole mess up." GT stepped outside closing the door behind him and moving Ace back a few paces.

"What is it that you want, guy? Last time both of us nearly died, you shot my friend," Ace interrupted

"Friend? Shoot boy, you don't have no friends, I know you. And that lady, she doesn't know you from Adam and you are from Eve. She has no friends. Face it; nobody cares but me. And I only want you dead, friend." Ace tossed a six-shooter on the ground for GT to examine, nodding to it Ace continued it up, raise that iron, boy?

GT looked at it for a moment taking note. This gun was much nicer, far fancier. Not cap and ball but the familiar .45 slug. "Don't that nickel just shine through?" Ace said looking at the pearl handled revolver. GT picked it up, swung open the cylinder to make sure it was loaded; all six shots must be accounted for. And he couldn't help but wonder if Ace chose these for the special occasion.

"Don't it just shine through?" GT said as he lifted it from the ground and slid it into his waistband. "Believe it or not, I didn't want this."

"Believe it or not, I did." Is that all that was said by Ace. In his eyes, GT could see he was ready. He had already moved back to his firing distance, and GT observed the outdoors. It was just before dark. That time when everything was silent and everything you might see was bathed in the blue of the twilight. Everything was all blue out. That's what went through his mind.

But that was the time Ace would give him to look. Both had a gun in hand at the same time. But Ace managed to fire first. The bullet hit right near GT's finger on his right hand knocking the gun away. He scrambled down to retrieve his fire arm as Ace continued to shoot wildly, like a mad man as they both moved for cover. It went on like this, Ace having time to reload before GT got even his first or second shot off.

Ace's shots were fired so wildly as he whooped and hollered that GT made the bold decision to move out from behind his cover and run left to catch Ace in his position behind a gathering of trees. It paid off as he caught Ace by surprise, Ace putting a shot through GT's coat and GT putting one through Ace, right next to his heart. At the point, Ace had to drop his gun. It was his last shoot-out.

His breath was failing; he pulled GT down to where he had been crouching, now mortally wounded and leaning back. He said "Oh bury me not on the lone"

"We're in the city Ace," GT said figuring the cowboy might not be able to go on, but knowing what he most likely would be claiming as his final words.

"Oh." Ace then let his final breath, and GT saw the light go out of his eyes. He took this as proof that men did have souls, and that indeed this was a time that tried them.

"So be it," GT said, removing Ace's gun belt and hat, and began to drag Ace. He pulled the cowboy up to a lone hill behind his hideout, under a large tree which was draped in moss. A fitting place for the cowboy who had brought an end to his means. When he was finally done, patting down the Earth on top of his grave, GT pegged down a simple sign. On the old faded, vintage lumber it simply read 'Ace.'

"You were a man with a vision, a vision of your own which I may never understand. And never was there a monument so befitting of a man." His hat held over his heart, head hung low, GT said this although no one would hear his words. He hung Ace's hat on top of his marker, lingered a bit and walked back inside, in the dark, at night. He wouldn't get to take that ride. But now he knew, each day would be a battle regardless of GT's self interests or intentions, and by this, he went. Take on the city, freeing those settled there from their tyrant, or die in the process.

With the fates in motion, a glamorous end in store for the winning side, and oblivion for those who will



Brand New Hero Volume Two: Distress

It is the nature of being human that holds wickedness and savagery within itself. These feelings rouse themselves and answer when called. It's simple and precise. When all these feelings come to a head and weariness of them leads to a fearlessness from them, anyone can be moved to strike. The Green Turtle was no different from the rest of us in this perspective.

After parting ways with Ace, GT decided if there was one lesson he had learned from him it, was that going on the offensive that requires little need for defense. And now that maxim became the plan.

In Tiporary, it wasn't hard to travel unnoticed, even if you had people looking for you. Taking mostly wooded paths, and always under some cover, GT decided to reach out to his police contact: Officer Maria, GT made it a point to arrive at the end of the day, and while she was leaving to go home, he pulled her aside.

"Jesus, what are you doing? You could get shot going around pulling people here and there; She said like that pushing away his hand.

"Ha, yeah, sorry. Didn't exactly feel like making an appointment." GT said taking a few steps back.

"You really shouldn't be here, do you know how many people they've got out there looking for you?"

"More than a little bit?" GT paused to think for a moment picking his words; he continued in a whispering rant: "Listen, Maria, I don't care I'm not hiding in this stupid place anymore. I know Jade sent her people out, and I'm going to find them before they find me. If you can help me to misdirect the force, do it. If you can't, so be it. Now,...."

She interrupted "Look; it's probably better if we don't meet from now on. The way you're talking it's getting dangerous to be around you, and I've got a daughter. I know you're going to do whatever you want to do anyway. So just do it, I'm going home." And with that, she pushed past him to her car.

GT ha expected her to pull around and give him a lift, but she just drove speedily away. 'It's for the best. She doesn't need to be in this' he thought. He turned back to the shadows of the woods and headed for home. When he got back, before his hand could touch the door, he heard a mono-drone voice call out.

"I heard your conversation. It is unwise to proceed." It was Rumble Bee pulling his knife, but just as quickly put it away as he saw the figure and recognized its owner.

"Yeah well, wise isn't my deal. You gonna tell me to get lost too?" He said.

"No. They want me as well. I will help you, but it is not wise." The Bee answered.

"Well then, welcome to the team," GT said opening his door and gesturing for the Bee to enter. No doubt, behind closed doors a plan was about to be formed.

But there are two sides to every battle, And in the mean time, Jades Hive was hard at work in an attempt to please their despot. Greye, Mallem, and Devin had broken off with several of Jade's lackeys or rather several of fellow lackeys in the great search.

"This is idiotic. I don't even know why I'm going along with this; it's like looking for a needle..." Devin said, being interrupted by Greye

"In a stack of needles. We're not going to find anyone like this. It's not like they're going to just fall out of the God-damned sky." As she said this, Rumble Bee did that immediately. Sword drawn, he leaped into the heart of the lackeys.

Then, in the twinkling of an eye, and quite impossible, with three fluid motions, he cut down the four nameless lackeys. An action which now added red blood to his black and yellow attire. Taking action, Willem raised his ax, as Devin and Greye drew their guns.

"How now!" GT's voice rang as he revealed himself from the shadows. Ace's guns cocked in either hand pointed directly at Devin and Greye. "Hot potato, drop the weapons kiddies." Obligated to Obliged, they dropped their fire arms and instinctively kicked them over to GT.

Holstering ace's weapon, he picked up the two new additions. "I probably should've remembered to load those." Greye let out her displeasure to the statement of which GT replied "Nah, am just kidding. I loaded them, totally could've exploded your head." He paused "Sweet God, this is so much fun on pain pills!" again he continued "I'm a wild man!"

At this, all privy to him must have silently agreed GT was somewhat by the leave of his senses. And as GT tucked Greye's gun into his waistband, and reached into his pocket for the infamous pain pills, Mallem took the opportunity to swing the flat of his ax into GT's side and send him to the ground, dropping Devin's gun no sooner had this happened than the Bee rushed at Willem, the steel of their weapons clashing in the night. Devin was rushing to recover his gun and Greye taking over as she was now defenseless. GT scrambled to his feet, and in a ducking run, recovered his pill bottle, taking cover in the exert spot as Greve.

"What are you doing!? Are you just completely out of your mind!?" Greye said, slinking away from GT.

"You know, I get that a lot." Was all he said, pulling her gun from his waistband as Devin's shots sparked against the wall of the cover building, as well as off Rumble Bee's armor. GT waited until Devin's gun ran dry to return fire. Hitting Devin in both shoulders causing him to drop his gun, and slump to the ground. Greye was putting up her hands in surrender.

Two down, Mallem and the Bee continued to battle. Sluggish Mallem took his usual heavy swipes, as each time the Bee repelled them with his legendary sword. Finally realizing either it would come to a stalemate or he'd have to continue to be a spectator, the next time Mallem raised his ax, it was brought down by a gunshot from GT

"So, one down, two surrendered, let's talk." GT said looking toward the Bee.

"That was not your battle; I fight with honor." The Bee answered to GT, noticeably annoyed. But no sooner had he said that Mallem's Axe was again in the air. It came down hard, this time finding it's marked on the left arm of the Bee, nearly severing it from his body. As blood poured onto the street, all but Mallem became almost stricken at the spectacle.

"Whoal" GT shouted. Greye stayed with her hands up still, but now mouth wide open as Devin still writhed from his wounds. Mallem now attempted to swing to the side to bury his ax in the Bee's midsection. However, this was thwarted as GT ran from his position to tackle this assailant.

Plunging to the ground with a hard thud as GT landed on top of Mallem, disarming both of the men. Before either rose to their feet, GT looked back to the Bee's position only to find a rather large pool of blood but no sign of the Bee. This was now Gus fight.

Scrambling up to his feet first, GT delivered his hardest kick into Mallem's jam, no doubt breaking it, and stomping so hard on his ax; the handle broke off in two places. He even walked over to pick up the guns, and kick the struggling Devin in the chest just to get his point across.

Turning to Greye, he said in a thundering boom "What now! You want to join them, do you! I know you'd like to see me dead' You bastards! You bastards just can't leave it alone.

(not clear)

Head and cocked it.

"This won't be over until everyone on one side is dead, is that it? Huh! Should I start now!" GT paused "Answer me!"

Greye was cowering as her heart had never been as cold as it needed to be.

To the business she was in. "please don't" were the only words she could muster. But it was enough GT uncocked the gun and removed it from her temple.

"You go back, and you tell your Tyrant she wants me, good because I'm coming for her next," GT said this to Mallem and Bevin and strolled away, kicking the two men once more as he side-stepped Rumble Bee's blood. Greye silent and wiped the tears she had been hiding all this time. "You're going to come with me now." He said looking down at Greye and taking her along side him, surprisingly, the little fight way put up from her.

GT went back home. He had a lot of time on his hands and took in many a useless skill. However, he has his benefits living in a Pizza Parlor. He had learned how to make one hell of a pizza.

'All this pizza talent, and no one to impress' He often thought. Abandoned by Officer Maria, he knew he wanted a company other than his usual pizza companions. Not to mention the salt and pepper shakers. Maybe, he thought; 'I'll disguise myself as a regular person, make a friend. Then again, probably I shouldn't.'

"At least she's here" He quietly said to himself.

"What do you want with me, what are you planning?" Greye said, her words came out in concealed nervousness.

"Well," GT went on "I was going to unbind you for a little while and see if you want some of this pizza I plan on making." She turned her face away from him in indifference. "I'm very good at pizza," GT said as he turned to begin the pizza making process.

He always had the premade dough at hand, fresh vegetable sauce from what plants he might pilfer, and frozen cheese and toppings that were there for how long. He even went so far as to toss the dough up into the air. As he worked silently, Greye watched intensely.

"I guess for some company; I am going to put a gun to their head." He paused a moment then just let out "Hal, Come on now, that's a little" Turning back to glance at her, he went on. "I don't know why I can't bring myself to kill you. I thought it'd be easier." "Maybe it's because I haven't run away." she said, looking at the floor.

"Why is that?" GT stopped his actions and bent down to face Greye who was now sitting on the floor.

"It's not like it's such a nice life back there. I mean Jade's crazy and she hits everybody and yells all the time, and then there's the constant stream of men" voice she continued "Greye I'm done with this, take it and find me another. Greye, lock this in the file room, check the surveillance room, and blah blah blah blah I'm so evil and powerful, Greye, do...." Instead of finishing the thought, Greye just shook her head and said: "I guess I always wanted to leave, I just couldn't."

"And then I came along," GT said standing up fully. "You have to do this quickly, or the dough will get stuck." He said as he re-approached his pizza. Finishing it, he slid it off of the peel and into the blisteringly hot oven. "That's gonna be around eight minutes."

"Son of a bitch" Greye said to herself, Lost in her thoughts and not hearing GT for the moment. "What am I going to do now, what the hell am I doing?"

"You're asking me? Because listen I find it's most of the time I don't even know what I'm doing, let alone another person. I'm just not that responsible." GT said as he leaned against the oven, quickly removing himself from its door. "That's hot; I'm not going to touch that." He said looking at the oven betrayingly.

"No, I'm don't understand. It's complicated, ok?" She said as she slid herself from the floor and up into a near by chair.

"Fine, we'll leave it a complicated." GT threw his hands up in the air. "I just think that...." GT's sentence was interrupted, but a sudden and violent hail of bullets were ripping into his home from the outside instinctively, he and Greye hit the floor.

Yelling over the bullets, Greye said, "See, that's Jade for you, shoots first, shoots later, and never gets around to asking any questions."

"Good, funny, but come on, out the back" He ushered her in the back and out of the rear door.

Together the two ran fleet-footed into the woods, GT maintaining a small distance ahead of Greye. Running on instinct, and not much else, each run as fast and as hard as they could head towards nowhere. It was only after a mutual exhaustion that they did stop. The trek wasn't long when the two arrived at Greye's lavish one story home.

Turning her key into the lock, she went in, and GT naturally followed. Making his first impressions, he found it to be a very artful and tasteful home, but one which was somewhat the opposite of what he liked. He had little time to glance around though, as Greye immediately showed him down the narrow staircase to the basement.

What GT saw was amazing. A cold metal weapons depository, silver, and chrome, modern and official. And guns of all shapes and sizes, weapons capable of mass-destruction, and even some non-lethal tools of the trade.

"Help yourself," Greye said, as GT wondered from shelf to shelf, like a child in a toy store trying to decide how to spend their allowance. And he had it in his head now; he would arm himself to the teeth.

From her inventory, this is what he took for his: Two modified pearl handle Colt model 1911 pistols, strapped low on his body with leg holsters. A tactical mini machine gun with a folding stock which he strapped across his body and a bolt magazine fed rifle of an unknown Russian design. Oh, and of course, his trusted knife.

For Greye it was a pump action shotgun, .38 snub nosed revolver which she stuck into her garter, which did not go unnoticed by GT. She was wearing a slotted dark, but bright blue floor length dress and our man did not attempt to look away.

"I don't understand why we are doing this. You've stated your reasons I know, but eventually, provided we don't die of course; When all is said and done, I'll go my way, and you'll go yours. We both know it's not like we'll wind up sticking together." This was GT's stark realization.

"You are looking at me or the gun, puppy," She said adjusting her hide-out weapon.

GT shook his head "Haven't decided yet." And so the two armed for Urban Combat and leaving Greye's hideaway, the two conveyed a stride of purpose, determination and fixed their eyes for the field vision which only comes to soldiers in combat.

The pair split up, walking on either side of the street, to some degree of strategy. Guns loaded, ready to start blazing, it was now, the two against the world.

They got to the inner city of Tiporary. There were buildings, municipalities land marks and plant of places for taking cover. Cover which they'd almost certainly be needing, as once more a hail of bullets rained down, GT and Greye took cover, GT starting off with his mini machine gun. Two of jade forces caught each in the lung and a third between the eyes. But both were still pinned down.

"Each of us should go in opposite directions" Greye instructed.

"I don't believe in separation," GT said feeling in his overcoat pocket, grasping his bottle of painkillers. "But I do believe in these" he continued, taking a few.

"Well, what do you suggest?" Greye said stricken by the situation.

"we stay and fight" GT grabbed two more pills, anti slipped them into Greye's hand. "Here, character builders."

"No, we split" Greye suggested taking her character builders

"Oh finer GT exclaimed as both went separate ways, GT taking a left and Greye the right. Both of them running, firing wildly behind and the pursuing attackers.

Greye, somewhat slow on the run, GT took intuitively and turned to face the danger, dropped the small machine gun, and pulling his pistols, ignored his own follows, instead of emptying clips into those gaining on Greye.

"Man, it's hard to run with this" GT said, referring to his rifle, but taking care not to drop it, instead re-holstering his pistols and drawing the rifle, holding it out in front of him as he ran, he would move faster, but he restricted in returning fire. Then, hearing several loud pops, he turned to see Greye standing, shotgun lost holding her hideout pistol.

"They're off you puppy." She said walking towards him.

"What happened to split?" He inquired

"Decided I didn't believe in it. I appreciate the assistance back there; it's hell running in these shoes." She said gesturing down to her feet. "Style of substance you know."

soon." GT said gravely.

"Fashion aside, what now? We both know they aren't going to let up anytime

"I need to gather some Intel!. There's a diner not too far from here, virtually no one goes there, wait for me, and I'll be back to tell you what I know." Greye said, and the two parted ways.

Walking a few blocks from their meeting place, GT reached the dinner in no time. He looked up, and the bright sign was flashing the word "Nighthawks." Entering with time from the bell on the door he took a seat at the counter.

"What can I get for you hun?" Asked the bubbly waitress.

GT read her name tag which read 'Laura' in big blue letters. He then wonders on his mind about the happenings of the last few days neglecting her question, but instead just staring vaguely.

"Those aren't on the menu," Laura said assuming he was staring at her chest.

"Oh, no urn...." GT shook his head roused from his daze "Just coffee, thanks."

"I'm Laura by the way," She said as she turned to grab the metal bottomed

"I'm uh, well, I'm still working on that." GT didn't know what to say and didn't want to introduce himself as The Green Turtle. "Most people just call me GT." He watched her gracefully, pour the hot black liquid into the small diner cup. GT gratefully accepted, loading the cup with artificial sweetener to the point of saturation.

"Whoa, you want some coffee with those sugars?" Laura said, watching him.

"Guess I'm just not sweet enough," GT said. Sitting and waiting, the banter, continued every time he needed a refill and GT took comfort in the bright personality and beautiful face of Laura, the waitress. By the time Greye returned he had drunk about a half gallon of coffee, although the caffeine seemed to take little or no effect, GT assumed it was because of his pills.

Found the bee."

Taking a seat next to him, Greye had returned to give him her intel. "Well,

"Good, will he join us?" GT said quickly

"Not likely, he's dead, bled out, I found him face down in blood." "Oh, he was a good man" GT didn't think he could ever miss anyone, but he knew Rumble Bee was now one of them.

"But there is good news," Greye said, not bothering to solemn her tone for the bee. "The city is divided, even the police, if we can get close enough to the hive to take them out, we join up with them; and the city is ours."

"You mean yours, right? You're just doing this to take over, aren't you?" GT

said skeptically.

"No, I mean us, besides so what if I was, I couldn't be any worse than her. There's a war going on the streets in case you haven't noticed. Jade sent them out, and now there's those who fight back. Now come on, sometimes the good guys wear green, you've got your pistols and a bunch of extra clips, I've got my revolver and transportation, let's take the fight straight to Jade."

"May I finish my coffee first please," GT said taking a sip, now the caffeine was mixing with adrenaline and putting a spring in his step. "Laura my dear" He continued "In case I don't see you again, just know your face and body will be on my mind as I fight the good fight? Putting his fist in the air as though rallying some invisible army, he exited with Greye, leaving a thoroughly confused waitress.

Tearing down the streets, Greye was driving a vintage Indian motorcycle with GT in a sidecar. All along the way into the heart of the city gunshots rang out, police against police, soldier against soldier, creating a standstill. An entire wall of flying lead was put up as each side didn't give an inch.

GT would let out a pot-shot here and there from the sidecar to help out those he deemed were in need. And as they got closer to the Lynchpin building, Greye stopped the motorcycle.

"We walk from here," Greye said dismounting as GT followed suit. "No gourds outside, they weren't expecting us." And easily, nosiness they entered the building and the secret elevator up to Jade.

The door pinged open, and there, was Jade and her hive. Her sinuous curves barely covered by her clothes, her medium length raven unexpected. It was Greye's gun on the back of his head.

"Sorry puppy, but we both knew how easy this decision was for me to make," Greye said nudging GT forward with the gun.

"You go first Greye." GT said grudgingly

"Aww how cute, he's trying to be tough? Jade said jamming her petite knee into his stomach as GT fell to the floor. It was then that MaItem and Devin picked him up, only so Jade might again strike him. Each on either of his arms, he realized they had made a mistake....He still had his pistols.

After Jade gave him a beating he was allowed to fall to the floor and exaggerating his pain, he quickly pulled a pistol, whispering to himself "Into the heart of my problems" And promptly put a bullet through Greye's heart. The others unarmed and helpless to react, stood in awe as GT rose to his full height. But just then GT did something unexpected....he stopped shooting.

"You three aren't worth it. You've seen what I can do. Call off your hit on me, and you'll never see me again. If you don't, be back to see you. And backing away slowly, he left, stepping over Greye but in his heart, he knew it wasn't over, he was aware that it was a fool's errand. But when he left the building he would join the good fight, become a hero....a brand new hero.

Once conclusion has been met, but this story will never be over.

© Copyright 2018 JA Sholar. All rights reserved.

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