As Scott Michaels left Atlas Park Police Headquarters, he felt good for the day’s work he had done. He and his partner, Bruce Helmsley, had busted up another Skulls Drug ring that those miscreants had been running out of a decrepit, rundown factory in the Argosy Industrial Area. Someday, he would be able to lead an ATF squad through those buildings and clean them out, once and for all. But that was after he made Sergeant.
He walked the 20 blocks it took him to get to his 1 bedroom flat. Crime was a bit high here, but being a cop did have some advantages. The gangs didn’t want to kill a cop and get the heat brought onto them. As he neared his building, he noticed that there was an absence of the usual thugs on the street. Must be a gang meeting tonight, he thought to himself. All the better, he supposed. At least he didn’t have to listen to their taunting and jabs. He chuckled to himself. Too bad he couldn’t arrest them for that. It would certainly be better than waiting for them to commit a crime. Maybe if he wasn’t daydreaming so much, he might have heard the soft steps of boots on asphalt coming toward him.
As he reached forward to unlock the door, he felt two small stings, as if a mosquito was feasting on his neck. Before he could even move his hand to swat at the thing on his neck, he was overcome by an electric charge that locked up every single muscle in his body, causing extreme pain. Before loosing consciousness, the only thought that he got out was “tazer gun”.
Grogily, Scott came to. He could still feel the aftereffects of the tazer gun that was used on him. He tried to reach up to where the probes had hit him in the neck, but then he realized that his arms were strapped down. “What the Hell?!” he thought to himself. He managed to open his eyes, and immediately wished he hadn’t. He seemed to be in some sort of operating room. The walls were whitewashed, and the lights were very bright. There were people there but he still could not focus on them.
“What in the name of God are you doing?” he asked. “Do you realize that I am a cop working for the Atlas P.D.?” “Do you really think that there will be no repercussions for kidnapping me?!”
“Well, well. The patient is awake, Dr. Rolf. Let me introduce myself. I am Dr. Neibel, leading doctor of scientific research for the 5th Column. My associate, Dr. Rolf, and I are about to have a breakthrough in our research. And you, dear boy, are going to help.”
Scott Michaels gasp in terror. “You can’t be serious?! I would never work for your psychotic militia!” Scott started to struggle more in his straps, trying to get free.
“Struggle all you want, Mr. Michaels. You will be our test subject, and afterwards you will be a leading soldier in our ranks, a super soldier in fact. A very high honor indeed. You should feel privileged. And don’t worry about being missed. The homeless man we put in your apartment has most graciously taken your place. After we burned down your apartment and left evidence pointing to the Skulls, the police will not think twice as to what happened.”
Dr. Niebel picked up a syringe and injected something into the IV tube in Scott’s arm. “This should help to keep the pain down, but believe me when I say that this is going to hurt a whole hell of a lot.” A mask was placed over Scott’s mouth and nose. The last thing he heard was the hiss of anesthetics filling the mask.
Scott awoke to darkness. He was still strapped down, but that was all he could tell. Wherever he was, there was no light at all. His body hurt when he tried to move, so he stopped struggling and took stock of what he could figure out so far. He was some mad scientist’s experiment. Yep, he thought. That pretty much summed it up. He could hear that quack, Dr. Niebel’s voice. It sounded as if Dr. Niebel was arguing with Dr. Rolf.
“I told you that it would be a touchy situation, Niebel”, exclaimed Dr. Rolf. “Not every test subject we’ve tried the alliance formula on works. There were failures as well as successes with it. As soon as he gets his sight back, we can use other brain washing techniques to turn his alliance.”
“I do not use the word, failure, very often Dr. Rofl, but this time you may be right. I was sure it would work on him. This is too bad, as it seems everything else worked as tested. I guess we should do as you thought before. This can still be counted a success, though. Like you said, once his optic nerves are healed, we can begin Brain washing him. Look, he is awake”. The doctors noticed that Scott had woken up, and was alert.
“Scott Michaels, you have been in and out of consciousness for about a month now”, said Dr. Niebel. “We have made several ….er…. enhancements shall we call them, to your physique. These enhancements will allow you to see better, fight better, and rank you up there with other super humans. Over time you will be shown how to use these new powers, but first we must “educate” you in the workings of the 5th Column. Once we are sure of your allegiance, we will then be able to assist you with learning your new found powers.”
“What have you done to me, you militia freaks!” croaked Scott.
“Don’t get so worked up, Mr. Michaels. As Dr. Niebel was saying, you shall find out all when your sight returns, explained Dr. Rolf. He continued, “Until then rest up and we will keep checking your progress.”
Everyone left the room, and he heard the deadbolt sliding home. He started to try and free his right wrist. After about 10 minutes, he was able to compress his hand enough to get it out! He unbuckled his other arm, and then turned his legs till they felt that they were over the bed’s side, and slowly sat up. He felt very dizzy, but didn’t pass out. He reached up to his face. He felt gauze around his head. He also felt two long things sticking out of his head. He could now see a bit of light through the gauze. He reached behind him and slowly unwrapped the gauze from around his head. There was bright light all around, and the pain it caused was excruciating. He raised the pillow up to his face to block out the light once more. Slowly, he brought the pillow down, trying to adjust to the light slowly. It was still bright, but he could now look around. He was in a small room, containing just his bed, a window, and the door leading out. His vision seemed good, and he didn’t seem so wobbly in the knees, so he stood up and went to the window. I guess they didn’t expect him to be up so soon, for he was able to open the window and crawl out on the ledge. He sidestepped over to the old, rusty fire escape, and managed to get himself on it. After getting down, he took off in the opposite direction from the building. Avoiding any contact, he made it onto a departing blimp, in the cargo hold.
Finally he found a mirror in a luggage case and saw what he looked like. His eyes had been replaced with bug type eyes. That would explain his better sight. He had two antennae into his head. What the hell had they done to him?! His anger got the better of him and the luggage case that he had grabbed the mirror from got a charge of electricy that came from his hands! What the heck?! He raised his hands and saw the slight glow of electricity in them. So this is what they had done to him. So be it.
Once he got safely back on the ground, he got some regular clothes, and that was when he saw the announcement flyer.
“Come one and all superheroes to Ms. Liberty in Atlas Plaza. Become a hero, set to fight crime and evil! This is an open invite for any and all superheroes or those aspiring to become superheroes.”
Scott Michaels made his way to Ms. Liberty in Atlas Park. He thought he would stand out, but there seemed to be a lot of freaks here, himself included. It was his turn to speak with Ms. Liberty.
“Feel welcome here, Scott Michaels”, Ms. Liberty said. “Now, there are many people to get through, so I may be a bit blunt and to the point. There are an ever-increasing rise of the criminal element here. From the hellions and skulls, to the Vahzilok, Lost, Outcast, Circle of Thorns, 5th Column, and other wrongdoers, we just do not have enough superheroes to combat them all. This is where you fit in. By volunteering, you can help to turn the tide and make the streets and cities safe again. Do you understand and agree to volunteer, Scott Michaels?”
Scott Michaels said, “Yes, I do agree”.
Ms. Liberty continued, “According to your application, you are choosing Lightningbugman as your name. And your powers stem from electricity. While a super hero, we will help you with developing your super human powers. I welcome you to the Superheroes of this City, and wish you the best, as you rid the city of crime and wrongness.”