Author: Wayne Stewart

1978 – Birth
1996 – High School Graduation
2002 – Rikti Invasion – College Graduation
2004 – Current Day

Zachary Chevalier, codename ZGuillotine, was new to Paragon City. He recently arrived from Paris where the Rikti were much more effective in destroying the city. One of the refugees, he was badly injured by the Rikti attack and needed the kind of special attention he could only get in Paragon City. His arms were amputated and replaced by robotics. His legs were salvaged but required bioelectrical enhancement in order for them to be functional. His face and upper torso was radically damaged by the Rikti weaponry and doctors managed to replace his lungs, vocal cords and heart with artificial organs. His face was rebuilt but remained scarred as there were just no resources available for a plastic surgeon. All this at a minimal cost, he must sign up to become a superhero.

Almost 2 years later, ZG was patrolling the streets of Paragon City. The scientific types turned on only certain functions of his newly acquired abilities, wanting to help him learn to use and control the power contained therein. His battle suit tapped into the raw energy of the Netherworld and utilized it in hand to hand combat. He had the ability to wrap his fists in negative energy and punch as well as the ability to raise a defensive shield against damage. They deemed that this was enough for the areas of the city closest to Galaxy Park where they sent him to learn and grow.

His first few days on patrol helped him to learn his abilities and advanced him to Security Level 4. At that point he got his first real mission. The poor and destitute were disappearing. Clarence Johnson supposedly knew something about this. After speaking with Clarence, ZG determined that he needed to go into the sewers to find some clues. Upon entering the sewers ZG found a smell that he could not identify, a smell of rotting something that was not natural in the sewers. With a little investigation, he found the source of the odor, zombies. Many zombies. He scouted out the sewers using stealth and his wits and found two large processing areas where there were a preponderance of the foul creatures as well as some of their masters and many bodies. Listening in on one of the conversations, he learned that the Vahzilok were using the bodies as spare parts for their unholy experiments. ZG vowed he would not let them get away with that. As he was deciding on how to best attack the problem he heard a woman crying out for the fiends to stop. Peering through the darkness he spotted the woman and a reaper with a pair of zombies guarding her. He hugged the wall and moved closer.

“This one will provide some excitement before we use her parts,” stated the Reaper to his zombie guards.

ZG was enraged and triggered his defense shield as he jumped from his place of concealment. Two quick punches enhanced with negative energy rocked the closest of the two zombies and he triggered his new power letting the negative energy flail his arms in a flurry of punches which dropped the first zombie. But the second zombie was reacting as well. It vomited up a stream of noxious fluids which fell on ZG and burned at his uniform. The zombie’s followup backhand blow was powerful as well and nearly knocked ZG for a loop. But he rallied punched the zombie with his primary punch and the rapid punch before noticing that the Reaper was on his knees next to the first zombie. Quickly finishing up the second zombie with his Smite, he turned in time to see the first zombie back on his feet and spitting another stream of vomit at him.

I better take out that Reaper before I use up all my energies fighting these two zombies over and over, thought ZG as he moved toward the skull-faced opponent ignoring the burning of the zombie spittle. Reaching into his belt, he triggered one of his healing inspirations and felt the life flow back into him, then another to increase his damage potential. With his power reserves running about 2/3rd of full, he saved his final two inspirations, Catch a Breath and another Respite in case he would need them later.

During the delay the Reaper decided to take direct action and shot at ZG with his crossbow bolt scoring a glancing hit that still managed to reduce ZG’s life somewhat and slowed his reactions. Still, ZG managed to use his Shadow Maul on the Reaper causing the Vahz to dance to the punches and giving ZG a chance to follow up with a quick punch before the first zombie once again smacked ZG with a backhand blow.

“Ouch!” yelled ZG as he was struck by the powerful blow. But he did not stop and used a standard Brawl attack to finish off the Reaper before turning to the zombie. Beyond the zombie, he could see another pair attracted by the noise shambling in slow fashion toward the fight one with a set of large tanks attached to its back.

No time for them now, thought the hero, got to deal with this one and save this young lady.

He struck out with his two basic dark attacks and followed up with another Shadow Maul, dropping the zombie like a sack of bricks as a glob of spittle flashed past him. He was down to 1/3rd of his power reserve and only at about half life, so he triggered his two remaining inspirations and braced himself for the attack. As the canister wearing zombie approached the girl cried out.

“Watch out, he’s going to explode!”

So, ZG grabbed the girl throwing her over his shoulder and fled for the passage back to the surface. About half way to the passage the Embalmed Zombie exploded as another glob of vomit struck him in the back causing him to fall.

“Wait here,” he cried to the girl as he flipped to his feet and turned to meet the remaining zombie. As they met each other both struck out with their best punches and ZG felt his life slip down into the danger zone, but the zombie was also badly injured. The hero was faster though and punch twice with nearly all the rest of his energy, finally downing all the close threats.

He went down to one knee in near exhaustion in time to feel a gentle hand on his back mopping off the remains of the burning vomit.

“My name is Maria Martinez,” said the girl quietly, “I am a nurse, hold still while I clean this up some.”

“Thank you,” grated ZG’s artificial voice with its French accent, “I am ZGuillotine. Do you know if anyone else is down here?”

“Yes, there was a businessman they took deeper into the sewers. They said something about needing fresher parts for some experiment.”

ZG nods as he feels some kind of warm power knitting his back and stands.

“You are a paranormal,” he asked, “aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am an empath with some attunement to dark powers, similar I think to yours. I am even registered as such. But I am not a hero and could never be. I can’t stand to feel others suffering.”

“Don’t worry,” stated ZG, “your secret is safe with me. But if you could follow a bit behind me and heal me as we go, I think we may be able to save the businessman before we escape,” he turned to look at her and as she looked into her eyes he found himself nearly swallowed by them.

“Okay,” she said, “as long as I don’t have to fight.”

He reached up and placed a hand on her shoulder, then simply nodded, not trusting his voice.

He unsnapped one of the larger pouches from his belt, pulled a thin strap from another pouch, hooked them together and handed them to her.

“These are some basic first aid supplies, why don’t you salvage what you can from your dress while I see what the Reaper had on him?” The Reaper ended up having a couple inspirations, a Respite and an Awaken. Definitely something that was useable on their mission.

They turned and slowly began to work their way deeper into the sewers. It was then that he realized that she had used her skirt for a rag and was now only wearing her slip.

What a woman, he thought, brave and practical, with little false modesty.

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