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glenn84
January 24th, 2014, 07:32 PM
This is the prequel to my novel Legacy of Blaze. You might remember that I posted the first chapter of Legacy of Blaze a short while ago. Here's the link in case you missed it: http://www.writingforums.com/threads/142149-Legacy-of-Blaze-Chapter-1?highlight=legacy+of+blaze



David noticed the flash coming from the computer screen as soon as he sat down at his workstation. He clicked his email box and a new message popped up: URGENT MEETING IN CONFERENCE ROOM. TEN MINUTES. DON'T BE LATE.

Cash R&D industries was the U.S. government's number one when it came to the development of military and civilian technology. In less than ten years it had become the richest and most influential corporation in the world. The founder, Marridis Cash, was almost always seen in the company of the president and his closest advisors--on TV, newspapers, magazines, you name it. He had become somewhat of a celebrity. People liked him. And not because of his charming smile either. Rather, because of his large contributions to the poor and other not-for-profit organizations.

David was immediately intrigued upon hearing about the company that he applied for a position as a research and development scientist. He was hired on the spot. And he'd been there ever since. It not only provided him the opportunity to help people through his work, but also, it kept him close to the channels and dealings of the most powerful government in the world.

Once inside the conference room, he took a seat next to a lively older man, who'd been going on to the young woman next to him about how the world was changing, and that soon we would all be answering for our sins. David didn't say a word. He just sat there and listened. He liked observing other people as they went about their lives. Whenever he’d take Seth out to the park, he would sit on the bench with his newspaper, watching. He learned many things doing this. Most of all, however, he envied them. Their ignorance was a blessing in disguise. But he knew it couldn't last.

"David," said the director, Thomas Caine, but David didn't hear him at first. He was too busy looking out the window, and down forty-four stories, to the New York City streets below.

“Dr. Blaze!"

David snapped out of it. “Yes, sir?"

"Is everything…OK?"

David noticed everyone at the table had been staring at him. He cleared his throat. “Yes, sir...everything's fine."

"That's good to hear. Now that I've got your attention, we can go ahead and start."

He went on about a new project that was just requested by the Defense Department. A project aimed at limiting soldiers deaths on the battlefield, which could only mean one thing: War was coming. Humankind’s worst attribute.

But when and where?

David would have to do some digging if he was going to find out, so he raised his hand up.

"Yes, David?" asked Thomas.

"Why is this project not being taken on by DARPA or one of the many universities? We’re knee deep with civilian projects as it is. A project of this magnitude will only slow us down."

"I understand your concern, David. DARPA's stretched thin on resources at the moment, that's why the Defense Department came to us with this. As for current projects--the board of directors has decided that we'll be putting any ongoing projects on hold for a while. We can't afford to pass up this opportunity."

That answer did not suffice for David, so he kept on.

“We’re just supposed to drop years of work that is just as equally, if not, more important than this? We are this close to developing a replacement for white blood cells, one that will save countless lives."

"Like I said, David,” said Thomas with a hint of impatience in his tone, “your concern's duly noted, but we're at the mercy of our stockholders. They want projects that have no risks. And this comes with none."

Bingo. That was what David was looking for. It took a bit of prying, but he eventually spilled the beans. War is definitely coming, David thought. The question was when? David doubted the director of science division would know, so he asked no more questions.

“Now, I cannot say more on the matter," said Thomas. "This is top secret after all. When you get back to your desks there will be a packet waiting with all the information you will need. Take the weekend to read it front to back. Come Monday we will get started."

The young lady that had been seated next to the older man raised her hand and said, “Who will be leading the project?"

Thomas’ eyes immediately found David. “Why Dr. Blaze of course."

***

David managed to read a bit through the packet before heading home. Did they really think monitoring chips would be enough to limit the loss of lives on the battlefield? It was true that soldiers would be given real time updates while engaging in fighting, decreasing the likelihood of friendly fire and civilian casualties. But it was nothing more than an assumption. They were completely dismissing the most important variable in the equation: Fear. Unless...they found a way to suppress it somehow, then it could probably work. But David doubted it. If any experiments were being conducted on soldiers, he would know about it.

As he pulled up to the driveway, he noticed Seth sitting by the tree, holding his leg. Judging from the expression on his face, it looked like he had been in a considerable amount of pain, so once the car was parked, David hurried out and went over to him.

“Seth," he said. “What’s the matter?"

David looked up and noticed one of the branches bent in half, dangling from above, giving him his answer. He knelt down and examined his leg. It was possible that it may be only a sprain, but he had to make sure.

“Does it hurt?" he asked.

Seth looked up at him and nodded.

“Let's get you inside the house."

He picked him up from the ground and carried him inside, just like he had done so many times when he was younger.

“I thought you would be mad," said Seth as David lay him down on his bed.

David shook his head. “I’m not mad son. If anything, I'm glad you didn't end up breaking your neck."

Seth's eyes dropped down. “I won't be able to compete in the tournament, will I?"

David knew how much that meant to Seth. He had been training especially hard for the upcoming martial arts tournament, and Seth felt like he had let David down in the process. That angered David. He was able to do many things over the years, saving lives, and creating wondrous things. But he wasn't able to fix his own son's leg.

“I’m afraid not," said David, brushing a clump of dirt out of his hair. "But there's always next year." David inspected Seth’s leg more closely; it looked like it had been broken. At first David thought it to be a sprain, but a sickly purplish color had made itself visible just around Seth's ankle. He needed a cast, so David drove him to the hospital, where sure enough the doctor confirmed it. David had seen many broken legs in his day. But this was different. This was his son. David didn't like the idea of him being in pain, but he knew it was inevitable. His son was growing, and he had an adventurous side to him that even David couldn't protect him from; those green eyes of his, glowing and wandering, as if in search of the truth. David recalled being like that once. All he could do was help him channel it, train him, so that when the day came, he would be ready. And David knew the day would eventually come...It was inevitable indeed.

When they got back home, Seth, with his new crutches, had started towards his room. “I’ll bring you some ice cream," said David. "Just the way you like it." Seth didn't say a word. He just turned to him and smiled as he continued down the hallway.

David went into the kitchen and grabbed the vanilla ice cream from the freezer. Then he grabbed a ripe mango from the fruit bowl and started to slice thin pieces, sticking them nicely into the two scoops in the bowl. David had tried making him the real thing once, but Seth insisted he liked it this way better. It's true what they say: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

The phone rang just then, David dropped the spoon into the bowl and picked up the cordless from the wall. Seth apparently had done the same. David recognized Rita's voice on the other end, so he put the phone down and carried the bowl over to his room.

Seth had just gotten off the phone when he arrived. “That was Rita," said Seth as he lay against a propped up pillow, just below his numerous martial arts achievements that hung on the wall. “She’s coming over later to sign my cast. She wants to be the first."

David smiled as he handed him the bowl. "Well," he said, taking a seat on the edge of the bed, "you know what that means don't you?"

Seth shook his head wildly as he took a bite of the mango.

“It means that you two will always be together, to protect each other."

Seth gave him a look, the one you would make when you bit into a grapefruit for the first time. "Eww…that sounds mushy."

They both laughed.

After Seth fell asleep, David went to the liquor cabinet and grabbed the bottle of whiskey. He popped open the top and poured himself a generous amount, dropping in a couple of ice cubes for good measure. Then he plopped down on the armchair and opened up the newspaper, taking a sip from his glass as he did.

He owned a TV. But he preferred reading. Always did. He could never get used to the commercials, not to mention the sly remarks some of the reporters would make when reporting on a deadly car accident or a kidnapping. No, the newspaper was just fine. And he was only really looking for the buried news, the news that wasn't so important yet...but will be soon.

David found what he was looking for on page twelve: Naval War Games Underway on West Coast. The article stated that it wasn’t any kind of preparation on the part of the government for an imminent confrontation. Of course, they always said that. And most often than not, two or three years later, a war would break out in some area in the world, one that holds a considerable amount of interest to the government--whether political, economic, or both. David had learned long ago how to read between the lines, and that was something that couldn’t be done while staring at a TV monitor.

He grabbed his glass and took another sip, but when he went to put it back on the table, he missed it completely, and it went crashing down to the floor. What's this feeling all of a sudden...? David thought. I have not felt it in so long.

"Dad..." said Seth. “Everything OK?"

David turned to him, startled.

"Everything’s fine son...sorry to wake you."

Seth shook his head. "It wasn't you. I was having a nightmare.”

David stood up from his chair, letting the newspaper fall from his lap and over the spilled glass.

"Let's get you back to bed."

***

Monday came too fast. David barely had any time to read over the project request, what with Seth's accident and all. But he managed to stay up late the night before and read over all of the important stuff. The Defense Department was paying Cash industries a pretty penny for the completion of ten million chips--with a deadline of six months. Along with another one hundred million, packed and ready to ship by the end of next year. David was not bothered by the price or the limited time frame. What bothered him was the sophisticated technology they had asked for. It was no wonder they were approached for the project over DARPA. And who could blame them? Cash industries had the brains and machines to deliver. It wasn’t like they had never been tasked with an impossible project before. Not even a year before, they were given a project to extend stem cell research. They had been able to develop a new drug that turned diabetes into nothing more than the equivalent of the common cold.

But the differences in both projects were significant. The scientists at Cash industries have not had to deal with a deadline, such as the one the government was imposing on them, in quite a while. So when David was in front of his team of twenty scientists, most of which had been experts in the field of physics and engineering--with some having varying degrees of knowledge in bioengineering-- he informed them of the importance of the task at hand. Which they should have deduced on their own if they had read over the packet. David made sure to note the top secret clearance that was highlighted in red on every page, just in case anyone had missed it.

He then went ahead and split the team into designated groups, giving each one a specific task. Group one would deal with researching and gathering the components that would be required to efficiently mass-produce the amount of chips they would need, without encountering any shortages in the process. Group two would gather the components and assemble a sample size. Group three would test them for accuracy, putting the chip through a number of different environments and situations. Group four would go over the capabilities of the chips, implanting the chips on the entire team, to make sure all of the features were working right, such as extensive life monitoring, identification, full network integration, and if for some reason the chip was ever pulled out, or a more dire circumstance were to occur, such as losing one’s arm in combat for example, the monitoring station back at the command center would be able to triangulate on the soldier’s position by using his electrical brain impulses.

Once all of the tasks had been completed, the four groups would provide David with an overview, where he would review their findings. If anything wasn’t working as it should, depending on the significance of the issue, he would go ahead and fix the problem himself. But it usually never came to that. His team had always delivered exceptional work in the past, so it wasn’t something he was worried about. Although, since the technology was teetering on the edge of science fiction, David had decided he would provide assistance on the four different phases. Technology had never eluded him before and his expertise would be needed if they were to finish as quickly as possible. That way they could resume work on other projects.

The team finished the entire project with one week to spare, including boxing up and distributing to all U.S. military bases worldwide. The Secretary of Defense was clearly ecstatic, as he was shown with Marridis Cash on TV, honoring him and his scientists on safeguarding the lives of millions of soldiers.

The crowds that gathered were astonishing as Marridis Cash stood on stage with that confident smile slapped across his face. People loved him even more than before. Not only was he helping the lives of citizens at home, but also, the lives of soldiers on the battlefield. Not to mention getting paid handsomely while he did it.

Power and money, the two things every man wanted, and Marridis Cash had an unlimited supply of both.


***

Earth’s third world war started six months after the completion of the initial project, much sooner than David’s original theory of two years, not to mention much bigger. At first nobody knew what the conflict was about. Some said it was due to a shortage of resources. Others indicated it might have been a result of political differences between the East and the West. David figured it could have been a combination of the two.

But as time passed, and the bloodshed continued...he would soon find out that it was something different altogether.

It was also election year in the U.S., and most of the public was sick of the fighting; they wanted the war to stop. The president continued to reassure them that it would end soon. But his promises never came to pass.

Meanwhile, Marridis Cash had been gaining major political points for his own presidential campaign, while his company continued its generous contributions to those affected in the major fighting areas, primarily Europe, the Middle East and East Asia.

Nobody trusted anybody.

The U.S. was left with very little allies. But nevertheless, given its unique geographical position when compared to the other great powers of the world, they had little to worry about. All the U.S. had to do was sit back and watch as the other nations destroyed each other one by one, unless, of course, nukes came into play. But David doubted it would come to that. Whoever had orchestrated the conflict would want the Earth intact in the end. This much he was sure of.

As a result of the war, the global economy was in complete disarray; the middle class made virtually non-existent. Due to the lack of balance, and careful manipulation on the part of Cash, he’d been able to take class warfare to the next level. Getting the poor to blame the rich for the war, which inevitably forced the rich to protect their families and valuables out of fear--even going so far as hiring rogue police officers and mercenaries, and paying them top dollar to secure their lavish homes and businesses.

The poor saw these acts as confirmation of their suspicions. Not realizing, through their own desperation for survival, that it was all Marridis Cash’s doing.

But David knew.

He thought about informing someone, a news station, or journalist maybe. But after giving it some thought, decided against it. It would do no good to anyone if he was locked up in a jail cell.

With the majority of the population in the palm of his hand, and the rich being driven from their homes and into the streets, it was only a matter of time before Marridis Cash would be seated comfortably inside the West Wing of the White House.

David, eventually, much to the disapproval of his colleagues, quit his position as lead scientist for Cash industries. The staggering economy had left very little for jobs. But David still had his Kung Fu school. The extra time he now had allowed him to train students full time. Of course, he wasn’t making the kind of money that he had been making as a scientist. Nevertheless, it gave him an opportunity to spend more time with Seth. And with an uncertain future on the horizon, he would happily trade money to spend more time with his only son, any day.

***

Seth’s big day was here at last. With his leg fully healed, and all of the extra time David had to get him prepared, he was finally ready for his first martial arts tournament.

Seth was nervous, as was David, but it was a good nervous, the kind that made people do the impossible. And David knew Seth was certainly capable of doing just that.

“Dad,” said Seth as they entered the packed arena, “you never told me there would be so many people…I-I’m not sure if I can do this.”

David knelt down and put his hand on Seth’s shoulder. “Of course you can,” he reassured him, “the purpose of your training was to get you to this point.”

“But all of these people will be watching me.”

“Yes, that’s true,” said David, placing his hand over Seth’s eyes, “but that doesn’t mean you have to watch them. If you find yourself looking into the crowd, all you have to do is focus on your Uncle Richter, Rita, or me. Block out the rest of the crowd with your mind and I promise they won’t bother you.”

“Is the mind really that strong?”

David smiled. “Your little noggin is the strongest thing in the entire universe.”

Seth jumped into his fighting stance. “Even stronger than my Kung Fu?”

David laughed as he ruffled up his hair. “Let’s go get you ready.”

David had trained Seth under the Wushu and Wing Chun styles of martial arts. The same styles his own master had trained him in. Both of them were significant in that they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Wushu focuses more on survival, utilizing an array of different attack formations and acrobatic movements to bring down an enemy. Wing Chun, on the other hand, was strictly meant for self-defense and countering, and it showed in its straightforward approach to combat. Switching between the two could prove useful when faced with a more linear opponent.

Once Seth had all of his gear on, the two of them walked through the corridor and onto the big blue mat that was laid out in the middle of the arena. Seth’s uncle, and his friends Rita and Darius, waved frantically from the stands. David and Seth waved back.

The tournament consisted of eight contestants, each one the best of the best from their respective schools. David carefully analyzed each one of them as they took turns warming up. Their fighting styles ranged from Shaolin to Wushu. Their movements were predictable. But it wasn’t their fighting style that worried David—what worried him was their size. Each one had a significant weight advantage over the smaller Seth, including Seth’s first opponent—Olivia Belle.

After a five minute warm up was given to each fighter, David made sure Seth’s gloves and pads were on tight before the tournament commenced. “Remember your training,” he said. “It won’t fail you.”

Seth looked up at him and smiled, his red mouth guard showing. Then he tapped his headgear with his gloves and went onto the mat to greet his opponent.

After a customary bow, the bell rang, and the tournament had begun. Seth started in his Wing Chung style, this way he was able to gauge Olivia’s movements in a defensive position. Every time Olivia attacked, Seth came right back with one of his own. When she side-kicked, he parried, and came at her with a jab or a low kick to her leg, as he tried to get her on the mat.

The first two rounds had gone by with each fighter tied at two points apiece.

“Sh—she’s fast,” said Seth as David squirted water into his mouth. “Kind of reminds me of Rita.”

David looked across the mat to the other side. Olivia did share the same tenacity as Seth’s best friend. Her eyes never left him, even after the round had ended. She just sat in her corner, glaring at Seth, without blinking once. But David knew tenacity could only be a great ally if used sparingly. If it was overused, the user ran the risk of turning it into overconfidence—a weakness.

“Seth,” said David, “go on the attack right from the beginning.”

“But won’t she be doing the same?”

“Yes, she will. But she’ll be caught off guard by the sudden change. Up until now you’ve been mostly countering her every attack. She won’t be expecting you to switch your fighting style in the final round of the match.”

Seth took his advice and went into his attack stance right from the start of the third round, and just as David had predicted, Olivia hesitated, giving Seth an opportunity to get in close with his Wushu style.

She was used to being the attacker. Defense was definitely not her strong suit. She tried to adjust, but it was too late--Seth came at her with a flurry of punches that pushed her to the edge of the ring.

Seth tried ending it with a roundhouse kick, but Olivia, with her magnificent speed, evaded the attack. Seth anticipated she would, however, as he grabbed her by the front of her shirt and, with his foot behind her legs, threw her down to the mat.

The crowd roared.

David smiled.

But it wasn’t over yet.

Seth handled his next opponent without much trouble. The confidence he gained in the previous match carried over to the semi-finals, where he was able to win the match, three to one, in the second round. But David warned him not to get too confident that it ends up clouding his judgment, for the next opponent was fierce, and he had a nasty habit of preying on the over confidence of others.

Peter Michaels was a ten-year old hulk of a kid. David could sense that Seth was afraid. And it showed in the first couple of rounds of the final match. Seth had a hard time grappling him down to the mat, due to his significant weight advantage. If he was going to have a chance of winning the tournament, David had to get Seth to overcome his fear.

"I'm scared dad," said Seth, "he's much too big for a ten-year-old."

David knelt down to get eye-level with him. Disregarding the redness in his eyes after that last take down, he said, “It’s okay to be scared Seth. What matters is what one does after the fear has settled in." David paused as he pointed to Seth's chest. “Will you submit to it and give up? Or will you overcome it and use it for strength, for wisdom?"

David saw Seth’s eyes light up just then. He didn’t have to say more, because David knew that he got what he had told him. He just needed something, anything, to keep the fear at bay long enough for him to get a victory. One must first be acquainted with fear if one hopes to conquer it, David thought.

Seth walked over to the middle of the mat and touched gloves with the massive giant—his eyes trained on Seth’s, teeth grinding—as they got into their stances.

Peter came at Seth right away, throwing a combination of punches as he did—left jab, right uppercut, cross—but Seth evaded each one with the help of his Wing Chung. Then he did something that surprised David: Seth switched fighting styles on the fly. As a result, Peter lost his balance as he tried to keep up with Seth’s unorthodox footwork—then Seth came at him with a reverse side-kick to the chest, sending Peter down to the mat.

The referee came over to him and started the count-down. But when it was obvious that Peter wasn’t going to get up, he started waving both of his arms in the air, signaling the end of the match.

The crowd erupted as Seth went into a crazed frenzy. He jumped into David’s outstretched arms and said, “Nothing to it.”

After the awards ceremony, they all went out for pizza and ice cream--Seth’s favorite dinner-dessert combination--to celebrate.

Rita and Darius were taking turns looking over the gold medal Seth had won. David had waited so long for this moment, putting Seth through day in and day out training, just to see that look on his face. David could care less about the medal. Sure it was nice and shiny. But what impressed him the most was the way Seth approached each fight. Not many ten-year-old kids can do that, he thought. And yet, during each match, Seth was somehow able to make adjustments that he shouldn’t have known how to make, ones that David never had a chance to teach him.

***

The next morning David got up early to make breakfast for Seth. Ever since he quit his job, he had had more time to do the things he couldn’t do before. Cooking was one of those things. Seth would usually rely on his school breakfast in the mornings, and David could tell he much preferred eating at home—with his father. The thing that gave it away was that he no longer had to force him to get up in the mornings for school. The smell of homemade pancakes making its way into his room was motivation enough.

When Seth was at school, David made his way to the other school.

Taped on the glass door was an envelope with an URGENT heading written in red letters. He looked around but didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. He opened it and read it as he went inside.

Dear Dr. Blaze,

This school is now property of the U.S. government. You have thirty days to vacate the premises or you will be removed by force. Please do not let it get to that point. Thank you and have a nice day.

Sincerely,
The Office of the President

David read it a few more times, then crumbled it up and tossed it into the trash bin in his office. Everything was happening much faster than he had predicted.

With all the major powers of the world decimated from all of the fighting, it had left the United States as the lone remaining superpower in the world. Marridis Cash took advantage of their vulnerability, giving them an ultimatum: If they wanted to see any kind of future, they would have to relinquish their governments to the United States, joining them into one single entity. And some of those same policies had started to trickle its way into the home front, the letter being the undeniable evidence. It was an ingenious plan on the part of Cash, one that David had not anticipated; one that he knew Cash couldn’t have come up with on his own.

David went over to the safe he kept in the back wall of the office and punched in the code. When it was open, he grabbed the gold gauntlet in his hand; the green stone sparkled as he exposed it to the light—like a diamond from a cave. I knew the day would come eventually, he thought. They can take the school, but Seth will continue his training one way or another. He recalled seeing an abandoned warehouse on his way to the city. He would have to move fast if he was to move all of the equipment. Time was of the essence.

***

Later that day, after he picked Seth up from school, David took a detour on the way back home.

“Where are we, dad?” asked Seth.

“This is where you’ll be continuing your training.”

“I don’t get it…what happened to the school?”

David didn’t answer for a moment. He just kept guiding Seth to the back entrance of the warehouse.

“This is your new school now,” said David, looking into Seth’s eyes. “I want you to remember the way here, just in case something was to happen to me.”

Seth gave David a look that no child should give to his father: a look of uncertainty. He’d seen the look before on others, but that was the first time David had seen it on his son, and it frightened him.

That same evening, when Seth was in bed, David had told him a story, a story of portals, magic and mystical creatures. He had told him different iterations of the story many times before, but not in its entirety, and not with as much detail. Seth was intrigued by the notion of such a world existing. “Will I ever be able to go there?” he feverishly asked.

David smiled. “Maybe one day, son.” He pulled a photograph from his wallet and handed it to Seth. “I want you to hang on to this.”

Seth took the photograph in his hand. “It’s mom. But this is the only picture you have of her.”

“I’ve had it for a long time now. I think it’s time you held on to it for a while.”

Seth threw his arms around him. “Thanks dad, you’re the best.”

David did his best to hold back the tears.

“OK…time for bed now,” he said, pulling the covers over him. “I have some work I have to do, so your uncle is going to come by and watch you for a couple of days. I expect you to be on your best behavior while I’m away.”

“You’ll be back for my birthday, right?”

“Of course, wouldn’t miss it for the world.

When Seth was asleep, David went over to the phone and called Seth’s uncle. Then he made his way to a secluded area and put the gauntlet on his forearm. He went into deep concentration as he held his arm in front. After it had opened, he went through.


***


When David came back it was late-afternoon on Seth’s birthday. He took the gauntlet off and placed it inside his coat pocket. Seth had been seated right by the door, waiting, as David walked inside the house. David gave him a hug.

“You made it,” said Seth.

“Happy birthday kiddo, you sure are getting old.”

“Not old enough,” said Seth, shooting a gaze to his uncle.

The three of them laughed.

“Well, try not to grow up too fast.” David reached into his pocket and pulled out Seth’s birthday present. “I got you this.” He let the greenish black stone hang from the rope as it shimmered with the light streaming through the blinds.

“What is it?”

“It’s a protector’s stone, for warding off bad spirits.”

“I don’t get it, why would I need this when I already have you to protect me?”

This time David couldn’t hold back. The tears came rolling down his cheeks without warning. With his hands shaking, he somehow managed to unclasp the chain and put it around Seth’s neck.

“Promise me that you’ll keep it with you at all times.”

“I promise, dad.”

Rita and Darius came over a short while after. They spent the rest of the night laughing, eating cake and ice cream, and watching Bruce Lee movies. Seth was happy. But David knew it was only temporary. His life was going to get a lot harder from here on out. And it was all because of him.

After Seth fell asleep, David stood at his door for a while before going back into the living room to find John, Seth’s uncle, seated on the sofa. David filled a couple of glasses with scotch and handed one to him; his a little more full than John’s. Then he raised his up as a toast as he sat down in his chair.

“You’re really good with him you know,” said John taking the glass in his hand and raising it up in return. “Joanna would be proud of you.”

David couldn’t remember the last time he heard his wife’s name spoken by another person. He found it to be rather fitting given the circumstances.

“John,” said David, “what I’m about to say is going to sound crazy, but it has to be said.”

“What is it?”

“You know how the president keeps telling everyone that everything that is happening is for the security of the people?”

“Sure. I heard the president say on the news that a purge is needed to bring balance back to the country. In order for that to continue, uninterrupted, he wants to implant every citizen with a chip, one that will be used for identification purposes.”

David took a sip from the glass. “Only that’s not the truth.”

John seemed to tense up. “Wh-What are you saying David?”

“I’m saying that the president isn’t doing this for the security of the people. Why would he dissolve the powers of Congress and the Supreme Court if it wasn’t for—“

“A takeover,” John finished for him. “He’s taking over the government. I overheard some people on the train talking about it the other day, but I dismissed it as nonsense.”

“Takeover is putting it mildly. More like complete control--the chips, the purge, the unification of global governments…Don’t you see? Cash is doing what Hitler wasn’t able to do.”

“Hitler?” John leaned back on the sofa. “But the president seems so nice on TV.”

“Only Cash is nothing like Hitler at all. He’s just a pawn in a much larger game.”

“What do you mean a much larger game?”

David finished the scotch in one burning gulp. “All I can say is that everything isn’t what it seems. You’ll find out the truth soon enough.” He put the glass down on the table and stared into John’s eyes. “I need to ask something of you, John.”

“Sure…anything.”

“I need you to watch Seth for me. Take care of him like he’s your own son.”

“Why would you even say that?”

“I fear that my time has come. I can no longer keep hiding. And the longer I stay, the more I put Seth in danger.”

“Is this about the school being closed down?”

“No…I’m afraid not. I have to right a wrong and I don’t know if I’ll be coming back from it. Please, John…I beg you.”

John gave David a long look, then let out a sigh before saying, “OK, I’ll watch him. But only until you come back.”

David smiled. “Thanks John, I knew I could count on you.” He paused a moment. “There’s one more thing I forgot to mention.”

He went on to tell him about Seth and what he was destined to do. John just stared at him like he’d gone crazy. David didn’t expect him to understand. Not yet anyway. He’d know soon enough.

David went into Seth’s room one last time and kissed him on the forehead. “Don’t hate me,” he whispered into his ear.

He shook John’s hand as he walked to the front door. “Goodbye, old friend.”

“We’ll see you when you get back.”

When he was outside, David revealed the gauntlet from its hiding place and placed it on his right forearm. He put his arm out in front and envisioned the forest that he and Joanna had first met…so long ago.

***

When he was through to the other side, he dug deep into his forearm and pulled the chip out, tossing it in the grass below. He felt no pain as the blood began to trickle down his arm. He waited, looking up at the full moon to pass the time.

Thirty-minutes had passed when he noticed the atmospheric disturbance forming before him. Then a spiral of energy had appeared, hovering above the ground, like the swirl from an ice cream cone.

After a moment three dark cloaked figures had made their way through the opening. David recognized all three. Among them was Marridis Cash with that familiar smirk of his you could spot from a mile away, confirming David’s suspicions.

The fiercest of the three made his way in front of the other two. “Well, well, well…I must say,” he said, sneering, “this is quite the reunion. I see you’ve finally come to your senses after all of these years. I must thank you for developing the technology that allowed us to track you down…It was rather generous of you.” He glanced back towards the others and let out a chuckle. Marridis grinned in return.

David seethed as he removed his coat, revealing the gauntlet on his right arm. “If you think for one second that I’ve come here simply to hand over that which you seek, then you’re a bigger fool than I could’ve ever imagined, Aragmon.”

Aragmon’s sneer turned into a full smile as he walked slowly towards David, stopping ten feet in front. “I see you’ve mastered the art of deception. Changing your appearance in order to remain hidden…You were always the smart one, Davidelos. But unfortunately not smart enough…it would seem. You’ve forgotten your place in the universe, blending in with the lowly humans and helping them--How pathetic!”

“You underestimate them.”

“It is you who underestimates me, Davidelos,” hissed Aragmon, his eyes turning a bright red. “Now, I will ask this only once: Where…is…it?”

David glared into his boiling eyes, unafraid. “I’ve hidden it away somewhere, somewhere where you’ll never find it.”

“I see…Then you’ve come here to DIE!”

Aragmon moved towards him in a flash. David put both of his arms up to absorb the impact to his face, but Aragmon came from the side instead; his fist pounding into David’s gut, knocking the air out of him.

David hopped back, away from Aragmon, and with his arm held up, he envisioned the earth crushing Aragmon in his mind. The two giant pieces of rock came crashing together, just barely missing Aragmon as he jumped away from the impact.

David felt a sharp pain shoot up his side as he desperately tried to catch his breath. He shot a quick glance towards the other two standing off to the side. They seem to be staying out of the fight…for now.

He waited for Aragmon to show himself from behind the lifted earth, when he saw it: a black ball of energy heading his way. It was coming at him much too fast to evade, so instead, he raised his right arm and swiped it up into the air; it disintegrated into a purple flash in the dark sky overhead.

It didn’t take David long to figure out it was only a diversion, only problem was, it wasn’t fast enough. For during that short time, Aragmon had somehow managed to make his way behind him.

David felt the cold steel enter his back--the red bloody tip of Aragmon’s sword becoming visible as it exited through the front.

Aragmon removed the sword. David fell to his knees; he felt no pain this time, just the wet warmness of his blood dampening his shirt. Aragmon moved from behind until he was standing before David, his sword sheathed, and arm held out--his hand just inches away from David’s face.

Aragmon laughed a sinister laugh. “You’ve lost your edge…Old friend. With you gone, no one will be able to stop me now.”

David saw something in his mind just then, bringing a smile to his parched lips, as he watched the black ball of energy slowly form from Aragmon’s outstretched hand.

Then there was a flash of light and everything went dark.

CraniumInsanium
February 2nd, 2014, 07:00 PM
Okay....WOW. Glenn84, overall I'm glad I read all the way through this.

I'm trying to think of the best way to put this. Let me see if I can sum up your plot quickly

-Your MC is masquerading as a scientist, secretly working for someone he knows from a a different time and place.
-MC is also a single father, running a martial arts school
-Later on we find the MC has, I'm going to call it "mystical" origins that tie in with the larger plot being revealed
-the larger plot is that the MCs old boss Cash is bent on world domination

I think that kind of briefly sums it up. Now, I hope I'm not being too blunt here, but this is meant to be complimentary. Honestly it was a bit tedious to read through. I was initally drawn in by a scientist working on a top secret military project. Then we transition to Davids home and his relationship as a single parent. David quits because Cash opened up a can of ww3 on the worlds a**. Then we go to a martial arts tournament. This was interesting, it mixed up action, dialogue, your obvious knowledge of martial arts and sped the story up briefly. After that segment we meet Davids brother? for the first time (just out of curiosity why isn't John a bigger part in raising Seth?) and they all relax and talk about how crazy Cash is as president. David reveals theres going to be a New Nazi America, then transports/jumps into a portal somewhere else and opens up a can of whoop a** on Cash and two other strangers who are ready to throw down.

It feels like to me, you've got too many things mixing together man. The elements all feel strong, but maybe in the way the story was drawn out was a bit rough. Just a thought, you don't have to take of course, but how about having a flash back. David is looking back to when he worked on that chip for Cash before ww3 then became president. The joy of Seth winning his tournament after breaking his leg. Then pick up the story I'd say at the tournament to include the action, or when they are home drinking before David goes off to the his fight with Cash and co.

OH. I haven't read The Legacy of Blaze btw. Maybe everything falls together in that. My comments are coming from a stand-alone perspective of just reading this on the fly. All in all, good job! needs some work imho, but was an interesting read.