13. The TattooThe wind whipped at the sea, sending bursts of spray up onto the cliff-side path. Ryan pulled his coat tight trying to ward off the cold wind. He was supposed to be revising for his SATS exams that started on Monday but he had needed to get some fresh air after being cooped up in the house ever since getting out of hospital earlier in the week. That was what he had told Susan and Anthony, making up some story about having to return a library book in order to explain why he was taking his backpack with him. The truth was that Daniel had answered the message that Ryan had left on his voicemail, phoning him on Friday night to arrange a meeting. So here he was on a cold and windy Saturday morning, making his way towards the old lighthouse.
The lighthouse was on old granite and brick structure, constructed in the 18th century. It had served the small fishing port well into the 19th century until it was replaced by a sturdier structure out by the breakwater. That one itself was replaced by a
An Unlikely Hero - Issue 4"BEGIN BIOHOST INTEGRATION PROCEDURE YES/NO?"
The words pulsed slowly in his field of vision as if waiting for a response. Todd's heart was racing, all traces of tiredness banished. What was going on? He could guess that it had something to do with the nanobots, he didn't need to be a genius to work that out, but he had no idea what "biohost integration" meant. Whatever it was, it didn't sound good. As if in response to his racing thoughts, more text began to appear.
"DEFINITION: BIOHOST INTEGRATION
PROCESS BY WHICH BIOHOST'S ORGANIC SYSTEMS ARE ENHANCED, AUGMENTED OR REPLACED WITH CYBERNETIC SYSTEMS IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY OF UNIT'S PRIMARY FUNCTION."
"Oh this is good," Todd thought, "it's asking my permission to turn me into a cyborg."
"INCORRECT: CYBERNETIC SYSTEMS WILL COMPRISE LESS THAN 5% OF BIOHOST."
A chill ran down the boy's spine. "Are you ... reading my mind?" He asked aloud, unsure if he wanted to hear the answer.
Todd wanted to run screaming to hi
An Unlikely Hero - Issue 3The car pulled up in front of the school. Todd looked out of his window towards the main entrance of Horace O'bryant Middle School. It had been a just over a week since he had been released from quarantine and given the all clear, two weeks since the incident at the house. This was his first day back at school and he was a little nervous. He got out of the car and turned to close the door. "Todd," his dad said leaning over to the passenger-side window, "are you sure this is what you want?" Sam had tried to convince his son to take Uncle John up on his offer of arranging a place at Cody's school. He had been worried about his son's safety and if he'd had his way, Todd would have gone to school surrounded by armed guards. In the week he'd spent on Sentinel after being released from quarantine, Todd's dad had spent nearly every minute with him. It was understandable though, he had almost lost his son that night. But Todd was adamant that he wasn't going to hide for the rest of his life, n
An Unlikely Hero - Interlude 1Me and Cody played well in to the evening. Mostly on Zombie Ninja Storm 2. Personally I've always preferred the first one, better story line, but Cody said the second had a better multiplayer mode. Eventually, he had to go. Dinner with his mom and dad; I was left alone in my room again with the astronaut food stuff which I couldn't eat. That stuff's just plain nasty. I didn't have to wait long though for my next visitor because the airlock opened soon after Cody left. I was expecting it to be the doctor coming in for another blood sample since I hadn't seen him since just before lunch; I reckoned I was overdue for another nanobot count. But it wasn't the doctor, it was dad.
I'd never been so happy to see him in my life and I threw myself across the room into his arms. It took me a while to realise that he wasn't wearing a suit, we held each other for several minutes. I hate to admit it, but I cried, I think we both did. Dad told me that I was going to be alright, that it was safe for m
An Unlikely Hero - Issue 2Staring down at the blood staining his hands, his son's blood, Sam was lost. His mind, usually as sharp as a monofilament blade, was spinning; contemplating every what-if possibility, calculating every permutation and variable. Could he have done things differently? Would his son be alive now if had not used the nanobots? All these questions ran through his head, second-guessing every decision he had made.
The movements of the medical staff around him were like a blur and he was barely aware of his own surroundings. He grunted an unintelligible reply to a nurse asking if he wanted something to drink. She took his answer as a yes and left the private room, narrowly avoiding being run over by a group of doctors and nurses who were pushing a wheeled stretcher loaded with medical equipment. From down the hallway, towards the open-landing pad, there was the whine of approaching rockets followed by the crash of a door almost being thrown off its hinges.
"I NEED A DOCTOR!"
The voice cut throu
An Unlikely Hero - Issue 0My name's Todd Marshall, I'm thirteen years old and I'm the last thing you'd think of when it comes to superheroes. I'm not a mutant or an alien refugee; I don't have a superhero like Paragon as a parent and my dad is way too careful to let me fall into a vat of toxic waste. Not that he keeps that stuff around the house, he's smart enough not to bring the really dangerous stuff home with him and I'm not smart enough to crack the keypad on the door to his basement lab. I'm a regular, normal kid, living in an abnormal world. I go to school with my friends, play video games, suck at math tests; you know, all the normal stuff.
Actually I really suck at math. Big time suck. You see, when I was a baby I was in a car crash. Some drunk driver hit us. My dad walked away without a scratch but my mom and me weren't so lucky. She was killed instantly. I don't really remember her much, I guess I was too young. Sometimes I catch dad looking at me with a sad expression when he thinks I'm not paying a
An Unlikely Hero - Issue 1Sam Marshall knocked on his son's bedroom door. When there was no answer, he opened the door and stepped inside. His son was sitting at his desk with his back to the door, the room illuminated only by the single desk lamp. It was no wonder that his son hadn't heard him; he was concentrating hard on the textbook in front of him, loud music leaking out from the oversized headphones he was wearing that were connected to a small laptop. The professor smiled, he was studying no doubt for his big test tomorrow. He looked around his son's bedroom, almost every wall surface except that directly above the desk was covered in posters. All of them of superheroes and super-teams; there were posters of the various members of Alpha Force along one wall, the world's premier super team; on another wall was a poster for the recently formed EU sponsored team, EuroForce; a poster signed by the leader of the UN Overwatch team took pride of place above his bed; and there were posters for lesser known teams