The New Hawks

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - The Wanderer Returns

Submitted: May 20, 2018

Reads: 72

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Submitted: May 20, 2018

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She’d been a lot of things in her life. Princess, prisoner, warrior, hero. She was dressed as the latter, in her old armour, designed by her old friend, all thin carbon plates and the occasional purple splash of color. Never had she felt more at home than on the tiny blue planet that she was zooming towards.

She’d left Centauri-3 a month ago in a tubelike, one-man FTL pod, making the jump to faster-than-light a few moments after she was out of the Centauri atmosphere, bending back into existence just past Mars, giving her a day and a half to tap newsfeeds, bringing herself up to date on the going ons of Earth.

It had been three years since she’d been on the planet, three years since she’d seen the original members of the Hawks. She did a quick search for them, briefly wondering why only two had up to date listings on them, before opening Polar’s file. She paused at the first story, narrowing her eyes. ‘Drunken Disgrace’ was it’s headline, and it read much as she expected.

Tori Jord’il, once called Loore by the people of Holst City, nearly ripped her FTL pod to shreds. She’d never been good at taking criticism the way the people of Earth gave it, and, beyond that, no one, no one insulted Polar. Not where she could hear it. Or read it.

She considered flying her pod into the headquarters of the… She paused to check who had published the story, but shook her head, deciding that that was a bit of an overreaction.

She did need to choose where she would land, seeing as the old United Heros building had been bombed and abandoned. She hadn’t believed it when she saw the story. After all, the UH had been the frontline in the fight against those who used their powers for evil.

She plotted her course down, towards Firepoint City, where Polar had last been seen. The FTL pod slipped through the few active sensors that had been pointed upwards, settling down on an unused lot.

Loore was out of the pod as soon as the glass slid back, stretching, glad to be able to move around after nearly two days in the pod. She considered cloaking it, but shrugged, deciding that someone would know what to do with it.

She did take half a second though, to grab the few thing she’d taken with her from Centauri. She put her old bracer on, turning it so she could see the stylized H just above the screen. That was the only thing she really cared for, her last bit of memorabilia from her time with the Hawks. She grabbed the half dozen gems that she’d taken from her home, deciding that they might come in handy.

She put them in a drawstring bag, tossing it over her shoulder, before turning back to her bracer, pressing her thumb into the almost invisible indent, smiling faintly as it flickered to life with the Hawks icon, a black eagle on a green field, as if in a dive.

She paused here, glancing across the half dozen icons, alighting on the tracking function. She opened that, narrowing her eyes when she realized that only two of the Hawks trackers were active, and that only one was in North America.

Polar’s, luckily, was both active and close, and Loore took off as soon as she knew which direction to do so.

Flying was what had gotten her on the team. She’d been useful, sure, between the incredible strength and blue-tinged energy she could throw, but there were half a dozen heros like her. Except for the fact that she could fly. Even then, Polar hadn’t trusted her. He’d nearly refused to let her join the team, until Shift and Jay-Jay had talked him into it.

She could hit the speed of sound if she really tried, but she wasn’t trying to broadcast her presence to the people of the city, and a sonic boom would have done that as well as a billboard with her face on it.

She found Polar sitting on one of the great metal beams that the Bay Bridge sat on, dangling his legs over the edge. He didn’t even look up when she slid up next to him, settling down at his side.

He nearly fell off the bridge when she touched his arm.

“The hell- Loore?” He nearly fell off again when he saw her.

“Polar, it is good to see you again.” She said.  He recovered almost laughably, with windmilling arms and the use of a grapple gun. Now they were seperated, Polar swinging to a stop on the other side of the bridge, dropping into a fighting position as soon as he set his feet on the steel beam.

Loore floated up, so that she was eye level with Polar. “I do not wish to fight.” She said.

“You-” Polar started. “You’re supposed to be on Centauri.”

“I have returned.” Loore said, narrowing her eyes. “Do you not wish me to have done so?”

“No, it’s just-” He stopped himself, looking down into the frothing waves of the Shielded Bay.

“What?” Loore prompted.

“I- I’m not Polar anymore.” He said. “You should probably talk to Shift, he-”

“You are not Polar?” Loore cut him off. He may have been wearing a different uniform, solid black replacing grey and blue, but it was still undoubtedly Polar. “But you are the same human, no?”

“Yes, but…” He trailed off, shaking his head. “Everyone thinks the Hawk’s are dead or missing, alright? I couldn’t just show up after Holst.”

“But we can come back.” Loore said. “We can protect the people again. Fight the good fight, as you said.”

Polar shook his head. “Listen, Loors, people hate us. Who we used to be. Everyone thinks Holst City getting bombed was our fault. Two million dead, all on us. Shift slipped out of country, I faked my death. We let everyone think you died.”

“But we can come back, can we not? Move away from the crater? Call Shade and Jay back?”

He laughed at that, but it was twisted, full of pain. “You can try to call Shift back, but,” He paused here, glancing up, meeting her eyes for a split second, before looking away. “Shade and Jay didn’t last long after you left.”

“What do you mean?” Loore asked. Surely nothing could have befallen Jay, the craftly rogue, nor Shade, the literal master of shadows.

“Shade went down fighting, if it makes you feel any better.” Polar said.

“And Jay?” Loore asked, and immediately wished she didn’t. Polar stiffened, as if he had been struck, looking up to meet her eyes, and she could see the pain, see the anger.

“It was my fault. I tried to stick it out, get a new team together. Jay, she-”

And then he was crying. Crying. Loore had seen Polar cry once in the five years she had known him. And here he was, sobbing under a bridge.

“After she- After…” He could barely speak, even as Loore flew to his side, wrapping him in a hug, resting her head on his.

“I am sorry.” She whispered to him. “I should not have-”

“No.” His voice returned, Polar continued. “You should have. There’s nothing here. I can’t even look at my old uniform anymore. Shift got as far away as he could. We all did what we had to do.”

“Why did it get so bad?” Loore found herself asking. “What happened?”

“The UH got bombed. Gamma was the only one who survived. He tried to put together another group of heroes. It didn’t work. They fought Eve and what was left of the villains. They won, but…” He shook his head. “Gamma went down fighting. So many of us were dead. I took his place in Firepoint City, but it was never enough. Gangs, Cartels, they all seized power.”

“It’s bad.” He said, finally. “It’s really, really bad.”

“Then you could use my help?” Loore said, with a tinge of hope.

“Yeah, but-”

“And Shift’s?”

“If you can get him to-”

“And anyone else who might join?”

“Loore, no one’s coming to save the day this time.” Polar said. “I can barely keep this city intact, and anyone else who would join have their own cities with their own problems.”

“We could try.” Loore said, and she saw Polar smile faintly. “We could call out, and if that fails, we could fight together. As you say, just like old times?”

Polar glanced over to her at that, still smiling, and Loore took a pause to look at him, really look at him. Black hair, narrow shoulders, face still decorated with tiny scars that had accumulated over the years, though they now paled in comparison to one that ran from his ear to chin, following his jawline. Other than that, and other than the slightly larger mask that hid his eyes. He was the same Polar that had seen her last moments on Earth.

The same Polar that had led the Holst City Hawks through five hard years of fighting. Still a hawk, still a hero. "We could do it, Polar. We could. Shift would come back, and we could find a few others. Build a team again."

Polar turned to her, half hopeful, half dreading. "We could try." He said.

“Yes, we can!” Loore nearly shouted it, which made Polar flinch. “And we will succeed!”

He smiled at that. “I-” Whatever he was going to say was interrupted when Loore tacked him off the beam. There were a few moments of freefall, before Loore pulled them out of it, barely a foot above the water.

Polar took the pause that ensued to display his mastery of cursing in the english language. “Never do that again, Loore.” He said, ending his few second long cursing spree.

"But, the hug is something your people do when they are excited and with friends, no?" Loore asked, and Polar almost felt bad.

"Yes, it’s something we do, just not normally off bridges."

"Oh." Loore said, and then after a pause,. "I apologize. I did not mean to scare you so."

"It's alright Loore." Polar said. "Plus, we lived, so no harm done. But we should probably get moving."

"To where are we moving too?" Loore asked. Polar paused at that, realizing he hadn't really thought that bit out. He'd been operating out of his apartment since he'd moved to Firepoint City, and, for a half second, he didn't want to take Loore there. It was his home, and he'd done his damned best to keep it hidden, keep himself safe.

But he shook his head at that, which made Loore raise an eyebrow.

"You've got your gauntlet, right?" He asked.

"Of course." She responded, offering it up as proof.

"Good, look, just take us..." He trailed off as he re-familiarized himself with the controls. "Here." He said, putting his address in.

Loore took them above the bridge before she turned south, towards the seemingly endless blocks of apartment building that made up the southern part of Firepoint City. It wasn't the nice part of the city, far from it, and Loore picked up on that fairly quickly, surprising Polar.

"You do not choose to live in a better place?" She asked.

"Gotta be close to the crime to fight it." Polar said, though it had not been the reason he'd chosen the place. He had plenty of money from when the Hawks had taken Holst City’s money, far more than he would need to live in a far nicer house, but after the city had gone up in smoke, he'd forsaken most of it, instead living as cheaply as he could, which led him to his current residence. The top floor of an old four floor building, run down and half empty. It looked almost eerie in the half light of dusk, but he prefered the dark, and the lack of people to see him in uniform.

It was only when they reached his door (Polar directing them through a roof access that he made sure was always unlocked) that he remembered exactly how he'd left his room.

"Listen, Loore, you know I've never been the cleanest person." He said

"I do." Loore said, half amused.

"And, well, I haven't gotten any better." He said, reaching into an unzipped pocket for his keys.

"Polar, I will not judge you based on the state of your quarters. Can we move on?"

He sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose, but unlocked his door. "For now, I guess, welcome home.


© Copyright 2018 bernard anders. All rights reserved.

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