Heroes of A New Age
KER-SNAP Tellis rubbed his knuckles as the remaining pieces of the iron beam struck the floor in satisfying clangs. Even though it had been months since the accident, the sheer thrill of breaking steel with his bare hands had yet to subside. Not that he hadn’t developed a few complications as well. Once standing well over six feet tall, he now barely stood three and half feet tall. A generous estimate, even with his thick, impressive Afro.
Dressed in his Gi, he made his way to a small bamboo mat, lit some surrounding incense, and sat down upon it cross-legged.. The boss didn’t care for the incense smoke in the building. “Fuck him.”, Tellis thought, “He owes me.” Closing his eyes and slowing his breathing, he began to relax and clear his mind. As always, the painful images came through, Dad clutching his chest before ambulance took him away forever, the sounds of gunshots followed by mama screaming for help, watching a pimp assault his cousin. The familiar rage began to well up, but he remembered his techniques. Breathe, focus, breathe. Soon, the anger gave way to stillness. Not quite peace, but close enough. Peace could come later, for now, he would take the absence of pain.
BREEEEEEP Tellis’ eyes opened with start. “Muthafucka…”, he mumbled, “This better be important”. He flipped open the communicator to see the richest man in the world. Possibly the richest man who ever lived. Jack Gates. Heir to a corporate empire and a self-described genius. Tellis wasn’t so sure about that last part, but there was no denying the man was loaded.
“Pack your gear, there’s trouble in paradise.”, the young man said, seemingly trying not to appear to enjoy it. “I’ll brief you on the flight, we’ll be using codenames only on this one as not to draw any media attention. I don’t want the investors getting spooked.”
“One more thing.”Jack smiled wryly before abruptly disconnecting. “Pack your speedos, we’re going sunbathing on the Mediterranean after this is handled”.
“Dwarfstar!”, Jack’s voice crackled in the helmet speakers, “Dwarfstar! Can you read me?”. Tellis fought back the urge to snap. This contraption the boss had saddled him with was hot, claustrophobic, and had the added bonus of pumping tinny, barely audible orders directly into his ear. “Yeah, I can hear ya. Whatcha need?”
“There’s a pile of bodies over here. Looks like they were… stabbed?”, Jack’s voice sounded incredulous. “Rich white kid never seen a stabbin’ before.”, Dwarfstar thought to himself with a smile. “Comin’ over boss.”, he intoned into the microphone.The carnage was surprisingly tidy, done by someone used to killing. “Ja… er, ‘Gauntlet’, lemme lead the way. You so white, they’d see you comin’ at midnight.” Dwarfstar cleared his mind and headed down the stairs. As soon as they entered the bottom floor, a group of men wearing togas and welding spears rushed them. Dwarfstar cracked his knuckles, “I ain’t scared of no white men in dresses.”
Tellis stood quietly at the corner of the hospital room, trying to make sense of the young woman lying in the bed. She was beautiful, but he’d seen plenty of beautiful women before. There was something extra he couldn’t put his finger on. He’d felt… calmer. As if he were meditating. She awoke and Jack began to speak to her softly. Whatever language she was speaking, no one had any idea what it was. “So much for that fancy college, eh, Boss?”, he thought to himself. A moment later, she began to speak in perfect English. Jack tried not to act surprised, but Tellis could read him better than that. The rich white boy was clueless and he didn’t like being clueless. A moment later, she slipped back into unconsciousness. Jack turned and spoke to Tellis, almost without thinking “What do you make of that?”. Tellis shrugged. “You hear one crazy white bitch speakin’ jibberish, you heard ‘em all.” As they left the room, Tellis looked back one last time. “This gonna be trouble”, he quietly said to himself.