Origin of Steel Patriot




The war had been raging for a few months now. The invaders now clearly were a formidable force. Every night on the news the list of missing, lost or presumed dead heroes and people would grow larger. Ted, like most people, was angry. At the same time he felt helpless, if these things could stand up to tanks and entire groups of heroes what could on more man do?

Over the noise of the chaos and panic outside Ted heard the door in the kitchen open. Grabbing the ball bat that sat always in arms reach of him, he snuck towards the kitchen. The absurdity of having to fight off some death ray-wielding alien with a ball bat didn’t occur to him. Whether it was another crazed ganger or some monstrosity from another world, this was his home and he was going to defend it.

What Ted found has he turned the corner from the living room was neither a ganger looking for an easy score in the insanity of the times, or an alien with a much better offense than a baseball bat. It was his grandfather.

“Put the bat down boy,” the older man said as he closed the back door and refastened the locks.

“Grandpa, what are doing out? Grandma... is... is she ok? What happened?? Oh no, was that last blast.” Ted’s mind raced as he let the last sentence trail off. His grandparents lived right next door, it had never occurred to him something might happen and he’d never know about it.

Lee Crookshanks was in good shape for a man well into his eighties, over six feet tall and lean. The grey hair and wrinkled skin was the only thing to give away his age. His eyes shown with a sharp and determined mind of a man half his age, old this man might be, but Lee wasn’t feeble in anyway.

“Your grandmother is fine. She’s making supper and I decided it was a good chance for me to come over and see you.” Lee said as he walked into the living room and took a seat. Motioning for Ted to follow.

Confused, Ted followed his grandfathers’ lead and sat down. The news still blaring out from the television, Lee leaned forward and turned it off.

“War is a nasty thing, but we both know that already don’t we.” But sometimes, war was necessary. Lee left the last part unsaid, because they both knew that as well.

Ted had served in the Army, nothing anyone would have called exciting. He had served in a time of peace. His grandfather he knew was a different story. Lee had been in the infantry in World War II, he had spent a year and a half in France fighting back the Nazi war machine. Lee had lost a lot of friends to the Nazi’s. Ted had seen how angry, and a little sad, it made his grandfather to see the 5th Column parading up and down the streets, before the invasion, when one could walk on the streets.

“Ted, America needs our help again. The whole world needs us, and I reckon it’s time we do something about it. Come on over to the house with me and we can get to work on helping her.”

Knowing better than to argue with his grandfather, Ted quickly pulled on his boots and followed the older man out the kitchen door into the back yard. The two houses, in the outskirts of Paragon City, we not even hundred feet from one another, but in the darkened, war torn night it seemed like miles. Quickly the two men moved the distance from one back door the other. Entering into the back porch of his grandparents house Ted quickly redid the locks.

Grandma was at the oven, and something certainly smelled good. She smiled when she saw the two men enter. She was used to seeing family about supper time. The family had always been close, both in terms of relationships and houses. Within this block alone three of Teds’ uncles’, his brother and his mother all lived, and, of course, his grandparents.

“Ma’, Ted and me are going into the basement, call us when supper is ready.” Lee said as he gave his wife a hug and headed for the door at the back of the dining room. This door would lead down to the basement that was divided into several pantries, root cellars, and the laundry room. Ted’s grandparents still kept a garden and made it a practice to can and eat as much as they could from what they could grow. Ted had always imagined it was some habit held over from growing up in the depression era. The grocery store was only twenty minutes away, but his grandparents insisted. Ted never really minded; homegrown food always tastes better anyways.

With his grandson in tow, Lee descended the stairs to the basement, making his way to the back where one pantry where the potatoes were normally stored. Ted’s mind wandered how his grandfather expected to fight off the invaders with potatoes. Maybe his grandfather had more than just his old Army pistol from the war, and just had stored away should he ever need them again. Not certain how a few sixty-year-old guns and munitions might help, Ted continued along out of his own desperate need to be useful. Lesson stopped once inside the storeroom and looked to his grandson.

“Ted there are some things you don’t know about my time in the war. You see even then there were the super powers running about. I guess everyone knows that, Statesman being the most famous to fight.” Lee looked at the ground then up again. Ted had never seen his grandfather have difficultly saying anything. Lee wasn’t a talkative man, but when he had something to say, he would come out and say it. Even some of the worst war stories Ted had heard his grandfather tell were straightforward and matter of the fact.

“What I’m trying to say is that super powers don’t make a hero. The stuff a man is made of determines if that man will be a hero. Sometimes in a man’s life he will be called on to do things that are necessary to preserve our way of life. Sometimes that man has to give his life for those things. I knew lots of good and brave men and women who died so we can have the freedoms we do today. Some many “heroes” today are out there because something terrible happened to them. They lost a loved one, or some tragedy changed them for life. Only then do these people go out there and try to make a difference. Ted a good man who does nothing in the face of evil is sometimes just as bad”

Lee touched the back wall and felt along it until there was a click. A hidden wooden door in the back of the pantry came free and he pulled it open and stepped through. Ted followed his grandfather into this new room. How long had this been here? How many times had Ted been in this very pantry and never even suspected something lay beyond?

The click of a light revealed a room only slightly larger than the next, and empty except for a bulky shape covered with a sheet. The thing looked to be a few inches taller than Ted. Lee pulled the sheet aside to reveal something like a robot standing over six feet tall and proudly painted in blue and detailed with red stripes and white stars.

“This is the Patriot Armor. I was one of the soldiers chosen to wear it and form the Patriot Squad. With all the super powers running about Europe we needed an edge and the brains back home cooked this up.” Lee said as he stared at this hulking form. “It gives you the strength of a dozen men, and dang near invulnerable. I wore it to fight the Nazis, but I’m too old to fight this new threat. That’s up to you Ted. I’ll teach you everything I can about the Patriot Armor. It’s old, but frankly boy it can still give you an edge over those things out there. So climb on in, and let’s see how it fits.”

Lee depressed a switch that opened the front of the armor. Ted, speechless, began climbing into this steel suit. The feeling from earlier in the kitchen washed over him. This was his home and he was going to defend it.