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Chapter two of Final Ultimatum.
- Ultimatum (Luke Daniels) (Corpse) (Rebirth)
- Calibrate (Drew Grayson) (First Appearance) (Origin revealed)
Origin of the Species (Part 2)
Lower Paradigm Area…
Drew Grayson walks out of his bedroom. “Just another day in the life of…Calibrate?” He looks at a crate in his living room, with that one word written across it in black letters. “Uh huh…” He approaches it.
That’s right, you get a super-special-mega-awesome-chocolate-fudge-coated-super-treat. You get the origin of my first villain, even if he is incredibly lame.
Drew grabs a crowbar, “Okay dad, what did you leave me?” He opens the crate with little effort, and looks inside. “What the f***?” He kneels down and grabs the metal gauntlet. Scanning it, he grabs the next piece, some sort of chest piece. “What kind of present is this?” He walks to the phone and dials his father’s number.
He laughs, “What kind of prank are you playing? Seriously? Buying me a…”
An interruption. What sounds like an elderly, serious man speaks, “Ah, Mr Grayson, just the man I was hoping to talk to.”
Confused, Drew asks, “Who is this?”
The reply comes back, “A man with a proposal. Are you in?”
Brock and Elena stand by Luke’s grave, “I’m sorry son. I’m so sorry.” Tears running down his face, Brock turns and walks away. Elena stays, watching her sons’ grave.
“You were a great son. Better than any mother could ask…ask for…” Her face bright red, soaked in tears, she walks away.
Below the ground, in the black, wooden coffin, Luke’s motionless body lies. But with a colossal crack, a bolt of electricity shoots from his fingertips, shocking his legs and moving upwards. “Gah!” Luke is shocked awake. His body jolts into life, his upper body shooting to sit up, but his head smacks into the coffin and he falls back. “Ow.” Coming to realisation, he starts panicking. “Oh god! Oh no! No! No!” He starts hitting the coffin to try and break out, “I’ve been buried…” His voice turns really high pitched, “…alive.” He stops, sighs and slumps his body, “Well sh**.”
Suddenly, his fingers zap again, and the coffin is set on fire by the heat. “AH!” Luke starts screaming, “I need to get out!” Somebody help me!” Suddenly, he feels a hand grab him, and is pulled out. He is thrown onto the ground. Looking back, he can’t make out the person who pulled him from his six foot grave, just a shadowed figure, “Who are…” He falls unconscious.
“It’s a…it’s a long story.” Luke yawns, “I kinda need a shower. Can we talk later?” He feels his dad hug him tightly, “I’m serious. I’m in pain right now. Don’t want an infection.”
Stepping out of the shower, he hears a noise just outside the window. He rushes over, slides it open and looks out, “Just a bird I guess.” He closes the window. “That was a shock.” He suddenly remembers the blasts from his fingers while inside the coffin and approaches the metal pole holding the shower curtain. Nothing. He tries to focus on the thought of zapping it, and without further notice, a loud crackling fills the room, and the pole is lit up with electricity. “Wow, that’s…” He smiles, “…awesome.”
So even after the geckos came back to life, you still thought that I’d stay dead? You didn’t think ‘hey, let’s leave his body for a few days’?” Luke sits, eating the bowl of mashed potato he never finished, “So…”
“Why’d you expose yourself to the gas?” Elena asks her son, worried about him.
“It was an accident. I was just checking to see if it was scratched. Wanted to use it as a pen holder.” He burps loudly, “Sorry about all the trouble.” He drops his head, “Look on the bright side, now you get to have fun telling everyone your son returned from the dead.” He smiles awkwardly.
Brock laughs, “At least you’re alright.” He smiles, a tear of happiness running down his face.
Standing up suddenly, Luke walks out, “Nope, if the tears are out, I’m out. See you in the morning.” He yawns and disappears into the corridor.
“Sorry about this.” Samuel takes the blood sample from Luke, “We have to make sure there aren’t any side effects.” He grins, “A pen holder, really?”
Bart, sat across the room, yells, “Even I think that’s stupid!”
Laughing, Luke speaks, “I thought it’d be cool. Should’ve asked first, huh?”
“Don’t worry, nobody’s mad. Just happy you’re alive.” The doctor hands the tube with the blood sample to a worker in the doorway. “To be honest, I think it’s brilliant. Only problem is how the mystery person knew you were alive.” He sits at his desk, “Any clues? Any idea who it was?”
“Nope. I saw him, fell unconscious and had a few blurred hours, at the end of which I was at home.” Luke scratches his arm where the needle had been. “Anything for me to do?”
Samuel laughs, “No. Got nothing to do now the geckos are gone.”
Looking at the tank, Luke notices they’re all gone. “What happened? They were all alive!”
Bart answers, “They disappeared. Shortly after they were discovered alive, they were gone.”
“Shouldn’t someone investigate that?” Luke shudders violently, “Don’t mind that. My body is still acting up a bit. Been having slight spasms since I came back.”
A number of robbers run out of the vault, sacks of money at hand. They laugh their heads off, “Easy!”
“Oh you guys, you’re so juvenile!” Luke jumps down in their path, wearing a white hoodie and jeans, sunglasses hiding his face, “Come on, a bank?” One of the thieves lunges for him. Luke smacks him aside, then smiles, “You guys are so cliché!”
SMACK! A baseball bat hits Luke’s arm, and shatters, splinters flying everywhere. “How…how did…”
“MAGIC!” Luke knocks him to the ground, but slips himself, and falls to the ground. Moments later, a hand grabs him and pulls him up.
“You could have died!” A police officer. “Kids shouldn’t play superhero, even if they are strong.”
Breaking free, he runs away, leaving the officer startled.
What a terrible first outing. Not only did I slip up (haha, see what I did there?), I almost got arrested…possibly.
Upper Paradigm High School…
Luke sits, bored, in class. Bummed about his failed attempt at being a superhero, he draws a superhero with a white costume and a hood. “Too bad…”
Yeah, pretty big bummer having failed at my life’s greatest dream.
“Luke, I need to talk to you.” His head shoots to the door, Mr Wood, the guidance counsellor, stands in the doorway. Slowly standing up, Luke looks concerned.
Me? Guidance? That’s like Spider-Man being taught by Captain America. Come on, how would that work?
Mr Wood’s office…
“I’m sorry to be the one who has to inform you…” The counsellor falls into silence.
“You can tell me if you want.” Luke starts to become even more nervous. “I’m 15, not…”
Mr Wood interrupts him, “Your father has been hospitalised.” He takes a deep breath, “Two hours ago, we’ve just been informed. He had some sort of seizure, and was rushed to Paradigm Private Hospital.”
“…10…” A tear runs down his face.
“Do you want to talk about it? Go back to class? Visit him?”
Luke stands up and rushes out, “I’m coming!”
Paradigm Private Hospital…
“Dad, how are you?” Luke sits by his dad’s bed.
“I’m fine. Just a little queasy.” He coughs.
Taking a bite of the vending machine biscuit, Luke asks, “Is there a restriction on how much you can get from the vending machine? Cause this is really good.” He takes a massive bite, and gulps it down, “Some sort of courtesy…”
“I know it was you.” His dad interrupts him, confusing Luke.
Wondering what his dad is talking about, he asks, “You know what was me?” He knew what his dad meant, he just wasn’t sure.
Laughing, his dad answers, “That hoodie has been your favourite for two years. And those black jeans you’ve been wearing for three years, even though they’re now skinny jeans.” He smiles.
“I want you to continue.” His dad was saying the exact opposite of what he expected.
“What? You want me…to carry on? I can’t I’m…” Luke is once again interrupted by his father.
“You have great power, I assume from the gas, and you have to use it to help.” He pats his son’s shoulder, “I saw the way you took down them thieves, so I know you’re stronger now. I want you to take on that superhero persona again, and do whatever it takes to keep this city…safe.” He coughs violently, “You have to what you can, with everything you’ve got.” A quick smile, “Do that, or live with the knowledge that you barely tried. That’s my ultimatum.”
And that’s my “Great Power” speech. Yep, it’s pretty great. It only took a dying father for me to realise that if I have the power, I can’t give up first time out. So here’s me, taking on my dad’s wish.
“Help! Help!” Voices cry from a building that slowly collapses, large chunks beginning to fall away. Below, a large man in silver, bulky armour stands. Chemicals race through his veins, his muscles condensing and more growing, his entire body becoming smaller, then significantly larger, smaller, larger.
Drew Grayson smashes another wall, “Bring it on!” The police fire at him, but the bullets bounce off the armour, ricocheting into the surrounding buildings.
Upon realising that it has no effect, they cease fire. Suddenly, Luke jumps down onto the street, white hoodie, shades and jeans on, “Come on big guy, let’s dance.” He lunges at the armoured villain, pushes up, flipping over the brute’s shoulder. He brushes his fingers across the shoulder pad of the armour and releases an electric blast, which races through the armour.
“GAH!” He falls to his knees. Quickly recovering, Drew rises to his feet and turns to face Luke. “A kid? What are you? 17?”
Rushing forward, Luke punches him, catching one of the only areas of revealed flesh. “15. And I hate that you…” He jumps up, kicks him in the face, “…call me a…” Electrocuting Drew’s helmet, he yells, “…KID!”
“Calibrate ain’t got time for you! Might as well quit while you’re ahead!”
“Tried that once, awfully boring.” CLANG! The metal armour dents, “Next time you go on a rampage, don’t make so much noise. I could hear you from the hospital!” ZAP! Another electric blast, “Like my shocks? I call them Charges.” Another one to the foot, “Don’t worry, I don’t mean you have to pay.” Luke slips, hitting his head on the ground. “Still getting used to this. The powers can only help to a certain extent!”
“Knock it off, shocky!” He grabs Luke’s leg and pulls him in, then swinging his body across, into a wall.
“Ow. Can’t say it’s my biggest injury.”
“I said…” He drags Luke across the floor, “…knock it off!”
Luke suddenly pulls his leg free, spins around and launches himself at Drew’s head, “I say…” ZAP! “TOUGH SH**!” SMACK! Luke manages to dent the armour, but slides and falls to the tarmac road. “Ow.”
KCHIK! Luke starts to panic, a gun, right above him. He looks, to see the weapon, except not aimed at him. Then he realises, it’s not a gun. The projectile launches a small, round bomb. The person who fired it yells, “Get away!” He feels an arm tug on him, then the explosion, and he’s launched at intense speed.
Luke hits the ground. The explosion had propelled him over a kilometre away. “Ouch. That kinda hurt.” He rises to his feet and yawns. “Well, back to the…”
The figure from before, who had launched the bomb, lands on the ground. “I’m so sorry, are you okay?” He flicks his blonde hair to the left and looks, concerned, at the (mildly) injured Luke.
“Oh, hey. I take it you’re the…” He mimes an explosion. “…bomb guy.” He winces, and slips.
The teenage boy lunges forward and catches him, “Don’t worry, got you.” He smiles. “First time I’ve been in this position.”
Luke laughs, “Sorry…I’ll just…” He starts to move, but is held tightly.
“Didn’t say I hated it.” He looks down at the vigilante, “Cade, Agent. And you are…?”
“Um…let me think…” He ponders on a name, “Ultimatum.”
“I meant, REALLY, who are you?”
“Daniels, Luke.” They laugh. Cade gently puts him down on the floor, and tears his shirt off, using it to bandage the cut on Luke’s arm. Seeing Cade shirtless, Luke shudders a bit.
“What was that?”
“No need to worry. Just…” He blushes, “…just…”
“Come on, spit it out.” Cade laughs, already knowing the answer.
Jumping to his feet, Ultimatum speaks, “Grenade went off a bit early.” He starts running, leaps up, grabs a pipe running up a building, scaling it in seconds. Launching himself off the top, he smiles.
And THAT folks, is how you fall in love with a complete stranger who’s willing to rip his shirt off for you. Life’s great.