That's all it takes to be a hero??




I never thought I'd move to Paragon City but as fate would have it that's exactly where I found myself. I had heard of the crazed costumed lunatics and their wrecking the city in the name of Justice, but the stories did not paint an accurate picture. They couldn't. The reality of it was staggering. I couldn't walk down the street without seeing at least 10 superheroes either dancing with those silly boom boxes, reading a newspaper, or, more rarely, beating up some thug or two.

But this is where my sister, Jane, had moved with her new husband and this is where my two nieces were now. It wasn't as if I had anything better to do, I had opted for early retirement from the Army, getting out after a mere fifteen years. I had written a pair of books that, while they didn't seem destined for the bestseller list, were bringing me in some decent money.

It's amazing how madness can sneak up on you, even when you see it every day. Surrounded by it, laughing at it, I never imagined it would claim me as its own. But that's exactly what it did...

It was in a coffee shop, my friend Dave and I were sitting at a window booth having some fancy coffee that he swore by. I was thinking how I'd rather trade this beverage, with its five-word name, for a cup of black regular coffee when we both saw these three hoodlum gang members run up and start scratching 'Outcasts Rulz' on a parked car.

"Would you look at that." I said, sipping my double espresso latte Grande caffeine-blitzer.

"Yep." Dave replied. "It's a sad world when that kind of silliness goes on in daylight."

"Yes it is." I replied, wondering if this foamy crap on top of my drink was toxic.

I jumped as the sound of an automatic weapon bratta-tatted its drum-like message so near it made the window quiver.

I watched in horrified fascination as the three would-be vandals slumped to the ground, blood pooling from the many punctures they all now had.

I looked over at Dave, who hadn't even flinched. He was drinking from his cup, apparently looking up at the sky.

"What the heck was that!?" I exclaimed, shocked that he didn't seem to notice the carnage just feet away from us.

"That was just a superhero, helping to protect us." He replied, calmly.

I saw a costumed guy with a huge rifle trot by. He didn't even glance down at the bodies but by the smoke wafting up from the barrel I knew it had to have been his work.

"What makes that guy a superhero?" I asked, still incredulous. I wondered if I were dreaming, this couldn't be real. "He had a gun. Who's to know he isn't a psycho who just likes shooting people?"

Dave looked at me as if I had lost my mind. "Well of course he's a hero, he shot the bad guys. Didn't you see?"

I had seen all right. I gazed down into my drink. But what had I seen? I had seen more than one thing, that's for sure. I had seen how blind society is to its surroundings. I had seen how blindly we believe what we want to believe. I had seen that many of us were merely sheep, willing to believe anything that was told to us. But most of all, I had seen my future.

"Well that was interesting, thanks for the coffee!" I said as I got up. "I have to run now but I'll see you later on."

"See ya." Dave said, not even looking up from the table.

I hurried home, dodging a few gangs of... well... gangs but made it home safely. I did count twelve attempted purse snatchings on my way though and I had to wonder about that. I could have sworn that at least one of those purse snatchings had been occurring when I had left the house about three hours earlier. Shaking my head, I went to the phone.

Calling a few guys I had been in the Special Forces with, I soon had an idea of what I wanted.

Within days the packages began to arrive. From Stan the Tech man I got the ice-condensation units that he had designed for our mobile refrigeration devices, the ones that he had inadvertently discovered could be used to do far more than cool drinks and computers; they could also freeze the humidity in the air in a small area.

With those items secured, I began to assemble the other items I had requested from other members of my old team. The gun began to form. The same gun I had used so many times before; the gun I had never figured on using ever again.

With the gun assembled and loaded and the ice formers attached on wrist units I could wear into combat, I assembled the armor I had ordered into a costume.

Frostmerc began to take form.

In just over a week, I was ready. I had made some calls and found out that in order to become a 'superhero' I would need to take some sort of test in the contaminated area of Paragon City, so off I went. I signed the forms 'Frostmerc' and no one batted an eye. I received a security pass with 'Frostmerc' on it and I was ushered into the area they referred to as 'the tutorial' zone. Expecting to be here for weeks of training, most likely 8 hours a day, I was astounded to find that, after five minutes, I was given an updated security pass saying 'Security Level 2' and ushered out into the city as a licensed Superhero.

I stood there, my security badge in one hand and my gun in the other, stunned. That's all it took? I looked around in bewilderment. I saw a guy scratching his name on a tree. Huh, I thought to myself. Vandalism is a crime. Raising my gun I took careful aim and pinged him right in the back of the head.

As he slumped to the ground, probably dead, I waited for someone to scream at me or shoot me. The perp's body slowly faded away; taken to the jail by the 'spirit of justice' I had heard. I waited some more. Nothing happened. I grinned. Cleaning up this town was going to give my life new meaning again, retirement had sucked.



Hehe. I half expected him to chase after the 'heroes' and start takin' them down. Nothing like a "You all yourself a hero? Look at what you've destroyed to tell someone they're wrong for stealing a purse!?" villian..

Fighting for common sense, rather than senseless violence that's common.



I half expected him to chase after the 'heroes' and start takin' them down.

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OMG reading that sentence made me remember the 'Martial Law' comics I used to read. That's what he did. He'd say 'I'm looking for superheroes, but I haven't found any yet.' or something like that.