Tag: street level hero

#16 – Cobra

| November 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

Jason To is the only good cop left in a city filled with bad cops.

It all started when Johnny Law came to town. Up to that point, the Triads had been more than happy to keep a low profile and to simply avoid the police as much as possible. “Too much hassle, not enough money” they used to day. Johnny Law didn’t believe in keeping a low profile, or in keeping appearances. He also didn’t care much for the law. Once he obtained control of the drug trade, he began a very public and bloody war against the police. Family’s were slaughtered and displayed on the streets; officers were taken out of their patrol cars and beaten senseless in the best of cases. In the worst of cases, they were maimed or disfigured.

Cops and detectives began quitting left and right. And the people that was coming in and replacing them were clearly already in Johnny Law’s pocket. He had crippled them, humiliated them and now pretended to turn them into their servants. But they were still people inside the department who believed in the letter of the law. People like Jason To and his partner Lei Wu. Together, they brought together every clean cop left in the force and formulated a slow but safe plan to put Law and his goons behind bars.

It took them months of planning and preparing, finding just the right opportunity, until it finally presented itself. And it would have worked. The drugs were there, Johnny Law and his people were there, the Czech smugglers were there. However, Law’s crooked cops were there too. They had all been warned of their plan by one of their own. A rookie cop who’s daughter had been killed in the slaughters, and had sold his brothers in arms under the promise that his family would not be harmed any further. Law thanked the rookie’s gesture with a bullet to the head. The rest of the cops were also mowed down. They were made to look by Law’s police as if they’d been the ones behind the drug smuggling, their names and reputations forever tarnished, as if death was not enough.

The only reason To survived was because he was protected of most of the bullets meant for him by his partner, Detective Wu. In his dreams he can still see him, dancing that epileptic death dance caused by the shrapnel entering your body. He woke up in a body bag, only half an hour after the massacre, while they were carrying them to the morgue. He managed to escape without being detected, but didn’t manage to make it very far. His wounds were still fatal. He was gonna die either way.

Fate decided to intervene that day and save To’s life in the form of a street bum who found him out lying on the streets and decided to help him. In a different life, he had been Li Fang, a brilliant surgeon who lost all will to live after his wife was killed during a gang shooting. He cared for To and managed to hide him until he recovered. But it didn’t matter that the bum had saved Jason’s life, the man who had been Jason To had died that night with the rest of his brothers. He felt cold and empty inside, and there was now a rage boiling in his gut that he couldn’t calm down no matter how much he tried.

It was in that moment that the creature who had once been Jason To renounced to everything he had once believed in: He renounced happiness, camaraderie, justice and mercy. If he was to bring Johnny Law and his corrupt police department down, he would have to renounce all of these things, for these things meant nothing o Johnny. He operated above them, and simply could not touch him. This creature stalks and continues stalking the lonely allies and seedy corners of the city. It is in every shadow, coming when least expected, guns a ‘blazing, its manic laugh chilling crooks and lowlifes to their core. It enjoys playing with them, especially Law’s little cops. It enjoys frightening them, chasing them and marking them, sending them back to Law so that he can know that it is out there and it will not rest. It wants Law to know that he created it, and that it will one day work his way up to him. And it will enjoy the journey.

Fang continues to be by his side, acting as his conscience and trying to bring out what little’s left of Jason To in order to contain the raging fury of the creature. But Jason To has lost all will to live. He’s a broken shell of a man. And the creature, Cobra, is ruthless, venomous and angry enough to continue living through all the pain and disappointment until he’s shed the blood of everyone it’s deemed guilty.


#14 – Jumping Jack

| November 15, 2011 | 0 Comments

Jackie Caulder has been a hero since he was 15.

And that was about 40 years ago!

Let’s rewind and try to start from the beginning.

It was the 70’s. Free Love Syndrome had pretty much come and gone and had been quickly replaced by the Disco Fever. Jackie, barely 14 then, was already a big shot at school, as he was being heralded as the most promising quarterback his coach had ever seen. His parents, both blue collar workers who could barely make ends meet every month, were already counting with the countless athletic scholarships that would surely come their son’s way once high school was over. All Jackie knew was that this meant a free ride all through middle school and high school, respect and admiration from his peers, getting to third base by the second date with every single cheerleader he asked for a date, and the guarantee that he would never get a “No” regardless of who he asked.

This all came to a screeching halt during a school trip to the Wagner Institute of Particle Research, were a good humored prank from Jackie caused half of the research equipment to explode, bathing him in all sorts of radiation. He woke up six months later in a hospital bed, feeling weaker than he’d ever felt. He had gone from being a well toned kid to a scrawny, sickly shelf of his former self. He was informed that all the radiation had caused damage to his muscles and organs and that he would need from several years of physical rehabilitation to regain his physical condition. And just like that, Jackie Caulder’s future had been completely derailed.

The Wagner Institute agreed to pay for his hospital bills, but there was still the money for the physical therapy, which Jackie’s parents simply did not have. They attempted to sue the Institute and the school, but only ended up with even more bills to pay and, in the end, he was never able to go to any therapy sessions and just had to adjust to his new life as a weakling. This, however, turned out to be a turning point in Jackie’s life. It was after returning to school in his new condition that he realized that for most of his life he had been a complete bully and a jerk to everyone he’d ever met. He had harassed and taunted his teachers, shielding himself under the coach and his value as a football star. He had bullied many of his classmates, using his strength and the support of his teammates. He had even forced some of the girls he’d gone out with into dating him in the first place, only to treat them like trash after the fact. It was no surprise no one was sparing him any sympathy now that he was the one going through a rough time. By the time he got his head around how much of an asshole he had been, he was actually surprised he wasn’t getting more beatings than he was already getting every day.

It was this realization, coupled with remembering that it was his macho posing while bullying one of his classmates that caused the accident at the Wagner Institute, that made Jackie realize he needed to change and become a better person. Not for the sake of others, since his entire school hated him, but for himself. It was around this time that the true effects of all the radiation his body absorbed manifested itself. Somehow, it had altered his molecular structure, giving him the ability to teleport. He knew this could not all be a coincidence. This long and complicated chain of events had somehow been pre-ordained. Everything that had happened, he somehow knew, was meant to put him on this path. To teach him the humility necessary to take this gift he’d received and not abuse it, but instead help people through it.

Jackie knew from the first moment this wouldn’t be a walk in the park. He would not only have to learn how to properly use his powers, but he would also need to regain the physical condition he’d lost during the accident. The latter part he managed with the help of Ol’ Moxy Lincoln. Moxy owned the local gym and had been a boxer during his youth. When the kid came asking to join in and willing to clean and help in the gym in order to pay for his membership, he recognized something in him. He’d worked with tons of kids off the streets, trying to help them get a second chance in life, teaching them discipline through boxing. The thing they and Jackie shared was they were all looking for the same thing: Redemption. He worked day and night, leaving his sweat and blood in that gym. His old body was gone, so he had to learn to work with his new body, its strengths and limitations.

Whatever spare time he had, he used to hone his teleportation skills. He could only teleport as far as he could see, and the farthest he teleported the more it took a physical toll on him. This was also the same with whatever object he wanted to teleport along with him. The bigger the object, the more energy and concentration it took. With time and practice, it became easier, but teleporting in general was still a tiring exercise. So in order to more effectively used it, he learnt to do short and quick bursts of teleporting, or “jumps” as he called them, designed to make the best of his stamina as well as to confuse his enemies and make the best of his newfound fighting skills too.

The early years were definitely the worst years. Half the time, he didn’t know what he was doing. He kept screwing up, kept getting beaten by common thugs and thieves. But he started getting the hang of it. By the time he graduated high school, he’d managed to make a mark in his neighborhood and keeping it clean from crime, as well as winning a full academic scholarship for State University. He managed to graduate from college, start a career and maintain a couple of fleeting relationships even while expanding his territory and coming to the attention of various super criminals who would become fixtures in Jackie’s life.

Guys like Nightmare, Boss Blind Tiger, Fear & Loathing, Azucena, El Furioso and even more modern additions like Grill-Face, the Beaver, Dreaded Ninja

Now in his sixties, Jackie still does what he does best: Helping people. He’s a married man with two daughters: A little girl and a teenager. His family is fully aware of his life as a hero and accepts it as part of who he is. He’s even become a legend within the super hero community and a role model for all aspiring heroes.

Jackie Caulder has come a long way since his time as a jock and a bully. He’s done much to atone for it, yet after almost 40 years of putting his life in the line for others, he still feels he hasn’t done enough yet. And even though his joints ache and he should sleep more and his bell is starting to stick out of his costume, there is still much to do out there.

So Jack will keep jumping as long as Jack can jump.

#1 – The Fury

| November 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

Rebecca Costas has been an orphan for half of her life.

As the youngest daughter of the Costas family, which had controlled organized crime in Bell Town since the 30’s, she enjoyed a childhood filled with comfort and luxury. And Fabbiano Costas may had been the scourge of mobsters and police men alike, but behind closed doors he was a devoted family man and dotting father to all of his children.

For ten years, Rebecca’s life was heaven.

And then the Greek invaded.

Three families, the Marinos, the Stavros and the Colonomos, had been pushing to expand their territory without success, mostly due to Fabbiano’s efforts and dealings with the police.  However, through a slow and furtive operation and guided by Dionysos Colonomos, the three families successfully turned the tables on the Costas, uniting the rest of Bell Town’s crime under their banner and overtaking all of their business and territories.

Never one for loose ends, Dionysos had the entire Costas family executed as his first and only message for anyone who would challenge his reign. Only Rebecca survived, smuggled out of her bedroom under the cover of the night, the screaming and the confusion by her maid, who went on to raise her as her own.

That was ten years ago.

Now, the Colonomos’ grip over Belle Town’s is absolute. Shortly after the coup, they even took care of the other families just to further cement their hegemony. Everyone, from purse snatchers and street vendors to drug dealers and terrorist organizations and even the police and city hall, must pay tribute to them.

Dionysos, who was already an old man when he took over, is still as sharp and deadly, never relenting his power to his lieutenants or even his sons, Nikon and Pavlos. He will clutch his throne with all of his might until his dying breath.

And yet, something seems to be happening.

A masked figure has appeared over Bell Town, determined to wage a one-woman-war on the Colonomos. Dressed in sharp crimson, wearing a red mask with black tears painted under its eyes and armed to the teeth, this person lives and breathes to bring ruin and misery to anyone and anything affiliated with them.

It is for this reason, her unrelenting commitment, her blood lust and drive, that Dionysos underlings have dubbed her “The Fury”.

All attempts to find her have been for nothing. The vigilante works for no one and has no allegiances. The morgue is filled to the brim with her previous business partners who were discarded as soon as they served their purpose. All ruined operations are stripped clean and re purposed into more weapons and money for the Fury to keep her vendetta alive.

Whoever she is, she’s highly trained and effective. The only reason the Colonomos know of her existence is because she wants them to know. For her, this is clearly personal. She enjoys not only hurting their pockets, but also their pride. Even though she covers her face, her form-fitting costume and bulletproof vest are designed to clearly show she is a woman in order to further emasculate them.

Dionysos has used every resource he has, either legal or illegal, to try to find this person to no avail. He knows whoever she is, she needs to be stopped as fast and as publicly as possible before his standing in the underworld begins to deteriorate and his ruling is placed under question.

How would he react if he knew the woman he’s moving heaven and earth to find, the woman who a lifetime ago was Rebecca Costas but who now goes under the name of Rosa María Guzman, is actually one of the maids under his employment, hiding in plain sight and taking advantage of this to gain valuable information on his criminal operations?

And even worst, what could happen were he to find out that his youngest son Pavlos has fallen in love with her? And what could this mean to the Fury?