Freeform Friday

Why superheroes? In spite of my disliking the problems comic books run into with needing to keep their big money drawers perpetually young (Superman, Batman. I am looking at both of you) and feeling that the stories either are too simplistic or attempts aiming for a more 'mature' audiance equels adding tits and gore I like the genre.

[2]


"Do I have to?" Max practically whined to the man helping with last minute touches to his uniform. "It's not like i'm even doing anything important. Just smile, wave to the crowd, then pose for the camera."

Peter, old as he was the man was in better shape than even Max, laughed. "You never could understand the value of positive media. Pose for an hour and the public will forgive you of almost anything."

Max fidgeted under the attention, "This isn't Stalin-Era Russia Sir."

"Same principle still applies!" Peter looked Max over and frowned. "Needs something more." Max was dressed in a freash costume. Kevlar and carefully moulded composit materials in bright reds and blues gave him a look that was somewhere between midevil knight, comic-book character, and extra for the latest sci-fi flick.

Max looked from Peter to a stand mirror then back. "I'm not wearing the cape. Last time I wore one to a public 'do' I got ambushed after I left then ended up gettingslung face first into pavement for a half hour."

"Is not going to happen this time. Too many other masks about, and this is your stronghold da?" Reluctently Max nodded before pulling the uniform's white cape over his shoulders, securing it with twin eagle clasp pins. "Still say it feels silly."

Peter said nothingas they walked on stage. Government represenetives and newly arrived masks were in the crowd. in fact the whole point of this presentation was to make introductions to everyone that had either just achived the right security clearance, or had passed psych screenings for further training.

"When I first came here it was to stop a man who had used these grounds as both nusery and training facility to artificially grown killers bred and raised to kill those with 'unique' abilities, specifically me." He hated public speaking, and to those that were looking it showed.

Still, he was doing his best and Peter was right that he needed to be the spokesperson for Xanadu. "That was two years ago. Between then and now, with government backing as well as the support of the more financially well off members of my fraternity I have turned this place not only into an information center where threats can be processed, assessed, and appropriate personnel can be assigned, but also the formalization of the sort of training my generation had to feel out as we went along, and my father's generation of mask, my grandfather's generation, and so on."

His voice sped as he continued speaking, either being carried by the words, or just wanting to get it over with. "While I cannot ask anyone to just give up their personal lives on a whim I would ask that anyone wishing to be trained and certified here be ready at a moment's notice to go anywhere we have either direct jurisdiction or treaty. Most of you will only be asked to observe and report. Local eyes and ears are always important. However a few of you, those we find best suited for the demands of full time work wil lbe asked to move here and live in our community."

He was no judge of crowd reaction, but he knew he needed to sweeten the pot. "Here you don't needto worr yabout random thugs taking your family and friends hostage. There's no prying eye of the press tring to see what's under the mask."

Still no reaction from the crowd.

Max took a breath, held it, then let it go. "Look. I try avoiding this kind of thing. I've never been that good at anything but the whole masked avenger bit. I'm no great speaker and I'm definately not a salesman. Just... I need more people living here and out there as eyes and ears so this place will work. We're here making a difference in those places regular law enforcement can't go. I won't browbeat anybody here, masked or not."

He took off his cape. "I'm not my grandfatjer. I can't do this by myself. It's a crummy job and it seems like the more I do the more I hear about all the wicked and wrong in the world. Even if I don't survive long on the world stage i want this place to survive and be some bit of lasting good for everyone else."

"What say you?"
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