Walking in the Faith: The story of Father O'Toole




This is the introductory story to one of my characters on the Freedom server, Father O'Toole. As of now Father is a level 5 blaster, but after writing this, I'm growing more sure that his calling would have been defender... But alas.. Defenders don't get the big friggin' gun.
I sent this in as en entry to the fan fiction area, but did a little more editing as I looked it over in this box... If it's over 1000 words now, it's no biggy, I made sure it wasn't before it was sent... Anyway... Tell me your thoughts, I hope you enjoy it.

The sun was setting on Paragon city. Myriads of citizens filled the streets, some returning home, others looking to embrace the weekend. Walking amidst the masses, was an elderly gentlemen, wearing a black robe adorned only with the white collar that denotes a Cleric. The sun reflected off his thick glasses and the scalp beneath his thinning hair. He held his hands behind his back as he paced down the streets circling the 29th block of Atlas Park.

He ignored the sidelong glances of passersby as he spoke to his God, knowing that Paragon became a very dangerous place at night. After hearing so many stories of his parishioners being accosted by hoodlums, Father O’Toole (As he was more commonly known) began to defend it the only way he knew how: Asking God for protection.

He had come to enjoy the time spent on these walks, being one of the masses, feeling people so close. The fact that Peter’s church could now go an entire week without being vandalized, broke in to, or otherwise mistreated seemed to prove that God always listened during these prayers. Peter finished his circuit, and realized he must have moved slower than usual. Despite the days growing longer, it was now darker than usual after making his rounds.

“Well, Peter, you were bound to get old eventually…” he mused as he made his way home.

Living in Paragon for so long, he learned where the thugs hung out and knew to avoid those areas. He had to learn this lesson early, due to the apartment he was residing in BEING one of those areas. In his youth, Peter was fairly certain he could have held his own in a fight. After being estranged from his glory days for so long, he had to learn to avoid fights completely.

Just as he was about to insert the key into the security door of the building, he stopped and hesitated. The feeling that had just washed over him was a familiar one, despite not having felt it in some time. He closed his eyes and listened intently.

“Look, you don’t want to die and I don’t want to kill you, so just fork it over, okay?”
“G…Get away from me!”

Peter looked up when he heard the whimpering voice from the alley. It sounded familiar. Swallowing, he steeled himself. He knew whenever God was leading him in a particular direction, and this was one of those times. Sometimes “walking in the Faith” requires literal walking.

Pocketing his keys, he slowly sidestepped over far enough to get an idea what was happening. It appeared three members of a local gang, the Hellions, had cornered some poor soul. With as much authority as he could muster, Peter stepped fully into view and said “Stop.”

The three thugs looked up from their prey to size up the daring old man. Being in a priest’s robe wouldn’t help matters; It was no secret the Hellions were heavily influenced by occult teachings.

Showing more restraint than Peter would’ve thought, the biggest of the three said, “Turn around Preach… This has nothing to do with you. Just turn your back, and leave.”

The words hung thick in the air like smoke in a still room. For a moment, all eyes were on Peter. The assailed citizen wisely took this opportunity to begin slinking away.

Knowing that he had to give the victim more time to get to safety, Peter looked skyward and uttered, “Father… Give me strength.” With as much power as he could muster, he ran screaming at the three young men.

Groggily, Peter opened his eyes. His head was throbbing and he ached all over. He felt like he had been hit by a truck. Slowly, the world began to slide into focus. Before him sat a man he remembered vaguely… The face, seemed so familiar… Suddenly his mind flashed back to seeing this man at his church, greeting him at the door… Edward… Then another flash, this time along with the three thugs… This was the man he saved. The name came to him now. Edward Jackson.

As his vision continued to sharpen, he noticed that he was seeing very clearly. He reached for his glasses, but found instead, a helmet. Looking down at his torso, he realized he was inside some kind of metallic suit.

“What… What is this?”
Edward’s young face first registered as shock, followed by relief. “Father O’Toole… Thank God you’re alive.”
“Why am I in this suit?”

“Father… You attacked three armed gang-bangers. They… They made short work of you… But your sacrifice let me get away… I told you that day at the church that I worked with prosthetics. Well Father, you’re inside the world’s first 'prosthetic body.'”
“Why?” The panic was evident in Peter’s voice. “Let me out of this.”
Edward’s face said a lot with the uncomfortable glance away from Peter. “I’m afraid… That’s impossible.”
“Father… You died that night in the alley. This suit is the only thing keeping you alive. You are a part of it now, your body is wired into it.”

At hearing the word “died”, Peter slipped into another flashback, much less coherent than the previous one.

Images flashed through his mind, he couldn’t decipher what was being said… He prayed for clarity, and like a single gunshot in the night, he heard inside his head the voice of God: “Peter… Cleanse the earth of the evil that plagues it.”

He began to remember dying… Seeing the world fade away as Edward ran into the night… God allowing him back to Earth because of his noble gift to Edward…

Beneath the red visor with black trim, Peter's face turned white as a sheet. For the first time in his life, he was absolutely sure of his purpose. Having been a pacifist before his death, he found himself still squeamish at the thought of having to hurt anyone for any reason.

Swallowing deeply, Peter made his resolution to God: “Thy will be done…”