GRAND. MASTER. GRAV.
Yep. It’s official. This isn’t the smallish city we moved to. Not even remotely.
I get that everything changes and cities change all the time. And I could look at the fact that traffic is pretty much impossible some days with what was once 12 minute drives now stretch double if not triple that time. On clear days, new and lost drivers rocket past, almost causing crashes in lanes normally occupied by slow and, I have to say, the most courteous drivers I have seen. I haven’t seen fingers but I have seen the aggressive tailgating.
I could look at the fact that the TRANs system is smashed in like sardines, or the lines for The Caffeinater. It’s something to behold, even more than my San Niebla days. It should be noted that the TRAN system is impressive from the outside and not quite so much now. People are hit on and screamed at by people who go from friendly to rampaging about someone being a secret communist in the amount of time it takes to check your watch. The smell is unbelievable on most days on a system noted for it’s cleanliness and the occasional medium sized wild animal jumping on board to get to new grazing fields. Now it radiates pot, people with nowhere better to be, people with very important places to be, and people evading something, though I dare not ask what.
I could look at the soaring crime rate, the new gangs that have sprung up to take advantage of the lack of bounty hunter laws and new pot growers that sprang up in light of its recent legalization. I could even point at things like the possibility of a new Questor Tower, the strong GTI presence, or the fact that at least instances of CANDY have popped up in missing persons cases involving young girls prompting people to wonder if the boogey man of all villains has sought a new flavor in our humble little berg.
Even our rent is skyrocketing thanks to some nonsense show called “Bridgetopia” acting as advertising for every comedic hack and every self entitled, green devoted, skinny jean wearing hipster who thinks that this is a great place to score concert tickets, ancient vinyl albums, and rare action figures as they bemoan how “conservative” the rest of the world is, usually before getting the 10 dollar vegan, gluten free beer from the man who bleeds elephant blood, has done so for several generations and will stick little Jesus pamphlets to the bottom of your glass when he thinks you aren’t looking. (Yes, we know these are people too. Some of them I also call friend. Also for a record, I just realize what I wrote. I know there is at least one master of the rant in Texas I know who might be proud. The rest of you are still trying to figure out if what I wrote is technically a run on sentence. It isn’t. I checked.)
These are all valid observations and true and some would argue these are the growing pains of an emerging economy and cultural center and they might be right. But I have one retort that comes to mind as I look out of the windows of commuter train that currently stands still on the Iron Works bridge:
Grand Master Grav has come to town.
I know this because I can see him out the window, hovering above the city, or more precisely, above the river that bisects this town. It’s been a while since I have seen a card carrying supervillain of his caliber this close, especially one who like the attention this one does. I for one had no idea gravity could affect sound as this one proclaimed his coming. No seriously, I can hear him through the Lexan and steel of the train. For safety sake, the conductor has told us to hit the deck and pray he doesn’t notice us. Amazing how many people don’t follow basic instructions.
Like the others on this train, I’m worried what sort of wrecking ball he might become when he lights up his gravity powers. We have all seen the footage of his fights with Dr. Quantum. When he gets into a mood it’s more than a little devastating. But of all the passengers here, I’m actually giddy and furious at the same time and for pretty much the same reason. We have become so popular as a town that we have attracted an A list supervillain, a Omega level threat. I mean I saw some of this sort of thing before but Bridgeton is supposed to be a quiet geeky town of weirdness, not the center of a possible minor apocalypse. I have seen the hero and villain scene here and it is fascinating but now it must interact with a larger world and community in general as the local heroes, and probably some villains as well, do their best against someone who can fight Most of the Quantum Family to a standstill. And I get ringside seats if I’m not dead. I still blame Bridgetopia.
"Bridgeton is a lie!” He is shouting. I can heard him through the windows as if he is in the middle of the train car asking for donations. Oh gods, he just announced his intention to elevate the town to new heights. For a gravity controller, this can not go well. Is he going to levitate buildings again or create a massive sinkhole with the city floating above it. He has been known to do all these things with the flair of a ringmaster with a god-complex. I peak my head up to get a better view and hoping I’m not about loose anything like my eyesight, my ability to breathe, or neural tissue. Again, these things have been known to happen to civilians. I can just make out several streaking forms coming towards him from the Hill. I can also see local ADAM units marching towards the river side to get a better shot, giant robot gears whirring into place as they stomp their way down Riverside. If their power neutralizers work, the cops might just do the impossible. Somehow I doubt it. Huh, I wasn’t sure how many ADAM this city could afford. All I can say is that, a) I’m a little surprised, and b) so that’s where the TRANs budget for repairs have been siphoned.
I can sort of see that with his costume looking like a strange parody of Dr. Quantums, complete with a lightning “G” on his chest in correspondance to Doctor’s “Q.” At least the quantums don’t wear the cape. But still he keeps talking. I see a signal light lighting up around the Hill. The familiar blue and silver flashing like a beacon light from on top of the tramline. I think the Questors just got the message. I hope they will make it in time before he decides that bridges are just tethers to the ground keeping up from reaching our full potentials as humans. It’s like hearing a circus ringleader explain new age doctrine. And he isn’t shutting up. He keeps referring to the Quantums as his “arch-rivals.”
I send a quick text to my wife telling her I love her and if she loves me, she will just delete my browser history and give my collection of action figures to the 501st. (The Star wars figures, that is. And only the ones she doesn’t want. The Greedo was her find after all.) My other collector memorabilia she can sell and get something good with it or just donate it to the Quantum Outreach program, or the local Hero’s league. (Don’t let the name fool you, they are amateur hero imitators, both real and fictitious who visit kids in hospitals. Nice guys.) I have no idea if she will get it in time. He’s still talking and other passengers have already brought their heads up to look at the figure looming over the river.
Holy Hot Pangolin! (Yes, I use a curse from a Douglas Adams story. Don’t judge me.) He just announced his intention to create a Church! No really! This guy has lost it something fierce. I’m almost more relieved that 4 streaks of light and flapping of cape can be seen soaring from the hill in his direction. I’ll only have to hear his rant about organized religion and his place as a power among the gods for a little while longer. With any luck, he will make a total ass out of himself and turn his attention to the now seven people I can see making their way to deal with him.
“People have lost sight of the truth of the world.” He announces, like he is trying convince a scientist Noah’s Ark is currently in Cascade Mountains. “They have lost sight of the gravity of things.”
Why do metas feel an overwhelming need to pun?
“I am Gravity! I am the will of the universe holding itself together. I will show others how to harness the will of the world for themselves. They will know the greatness within that only comes from the raw power we can all possess!”
The silver streaks are almost upon him when he holds up a red silk scarf pulled from gods know where.
“This is just a hint at the power I possess. For all who are worthy, I offer this power freely and legally.”
Grand Master Grav raises his arm. I can see the streaks of light slowing, now more clear as several Questers, and Doctor Quantum himself. The cavalry is here. But they aren’t fighting. Admittedly any sort of fight here, above the water, in the middle of downtown, during rush hour would be more than catastrophic. Hell if things went bad, Grand Master Grav would just pull the city to space. If he got high enough before they incapacitated him… well, you’ve seen the recent Avengers movie right? Not that I expect Grav to be that psychotic or willing to kill every living thing on the planet, I just wouldn’t put it past him in a moment of desperation just to demonstrate the “Awesomeness of his power.”
Wait, that didn’t come from inside my head. He actually just said that phrase, that stupid, cliched phrase. I can’t believe it. I look up again as he sniff the scarf like a lover’s token and the world ripples around him. With another wave of his hand, he sends the clutch of Questers towards the river, halting before they hit the water.
“You will understand my power one way or another, My good Doctor!” He shouts, tipping a nonexistent hat towards the Questors below. I can now see one is Doctor Quantum himself, held fast around rippling energies, none of which can penetrate his force field but they can move him around like a billiard ball.
"They will find me.” He says to the Questers, then bellows to the city at large, “You will all know where to find me if you are worthy!”
Gods, what a ham.
With that, he flies off towards a clutch of towers to the east side. I can only guess which of the neo-gothic churches and cathedrals in the city he might take up residence. Within seconds of his departure, the Questers suddenly fly skyward a bit too fast at first as gravity reminded itself was a constant, should get back on the clock and stop showing off. Immediately they pursued but as I can tell you later, they failed to find him. With his arrival, it’s only a matter of time before more and more villains come to town, probably pushing out the native monsters to other cheaper districts like Ducklyn. Crap!
So we have an omega level threat in residence. So much for our sleepy little berg. At least the donuts are good here. But it’s not enough. We may have to do the impossible. We may have to leave.
Note: Sorry for the grammar, everyone. I was writing as things were happening and uploaded later. I know at least one teacher I worked with getting ready to inform me what kind of hack writer I am. Ok that’s my take on it. I’m sure he would tell me to continue to work on my craft, the hone my skills but otherwise I was very creative in my story telling. And he hasn’t even seen my novels. Still the internal critic is speaking up and I’m going to get a drink to kill that idea before it really picks up steam.
That includes you Professor Bart Phillips.