Requiem for a Hero - enter Winterbourne




“Paragon City boasts more than its fair share of celebrated scientists, inventors and visionaries, but none was more celebrated than Nathaniel Winterbourne. A specialist in cryonics, the study of physics at extremely low temperatures, Nathaniel’s own mutant powers for control of ice allowed him special insight into the processes associated with creating the extremely low temperatures associated with his line of work.
Most recently noted for his amazing work on processes of cryonic suspension for use in extreme trauma cases, Nathaniel also used his special talents as a registered hero for the good of you, me, and all of Paragon City.”

The evening was gleaming… the first velvet blanket of snow had fallen for the winter and was casting its blue-white glow on everything. Out here, in the cold, people went about their business, living and dying, laughing, crying, killing…. and burying their dead.
The faceless figure in the white suit of armor reflected on the life of the man they were burying today and wondered… what good were his super-powers now? Ambushed in his own home by Tsoo assassins, without his medevac badge, left to die next to the bodies of his wife and newborn son? The authorities had found him with his family the next morning, stretched out to touch them both, all three frozen solid in some desperate attempt to save them by suspending their processes. He couldn’t have known it was too late for either of them. The coroner declared that they had been dead long before they were frozen; lividity in the extremities and the fronts of their abdomens proved that. Nathaniel’s body, though alive when he froze himself, was damaged beyond even the powers of the empathy healers to repair before he would die. And now we have this… spectacle…

The priest begins… “I am the resurrection and the life,' saith the Lord; 'he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

As the liturgy continues, the armored figure feels no solace, no comfort from the words that have sustained him in his own fight against the corrupting forces that encroach constantly on the daily living of the citizens of Paragon City. In his fights with the Tsoo, he never envisioned that it could result in something this tragic. It was fighting the good fight, never surrendering to the forces of evil… Blah blah blah! But now, people were dead! Innocents that weren’t even involved in the fight, except to be related to a marked man, had died at the merciless hands of the Inkmen. And Nathaniel’s life was over too… reduced to a frozen brain, preserved by the technology that he created, awaiting the day when cloning technology might be able to give him another shot at living a normal life.

“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want….”

The opalescent mask on the insulated high-impact plastic suit was impassive. Technology developed by the man whose service was attended by many friends and colleagues kept at least one hero alive…this one. There should have been feelings of gratitude, or thankfulness, or something. But there was nothing. Coming to this service was a mistake. All that was felt was regret. As he looked around him, other heroes were also in attendance, some in armor, others in tights of spandex or leather; all of them looked stricken for the fallen hero. All of them would take their solemn revenge against the Tsoo for this travesty. Nathaniel was a loved man: by his family, by his friends, and by his colleagues. His was not a life to regret, but regret was still felt.

“‘We therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life.”

The Priest concludes the liturgy and, as handfuls of earth are scattered on the snow-dusted coffin, the attendees, one by one, turn and walk away. Slowly, awkwardly, the white figure approaches the graveside and, with a click and a whirr of the gyros in his new limbs, grabs a handful of dirt from the mound beside the grave and kneels,

“Goodbye, old friend. I am so sorry I failed you in your final moments.”

Scattering the dust upon the grave of what was once his body, the armored servomechanism with a frozen brain that is all that’s left of Nathaniel Winterbourne gets up and slowly walks into the flurry of the oncoming snowstorm.

“Fitting,” he thinks, as the gravediggers shout to each other to hurry or he’ll be buried by the snow before he’s under the earth.

His old life over. Dead and buried.
His new life, if it could be called that, just begun.
The Inkmen were in for a surprise.

<<OOC>> OK, guys... what do you think?



22 readers and not ONE comment??

Come ON people... How am I going to become a better writer without some critique??



okies..I'll be the first then =)

It was preaty good, interesting concept...there was an odd little flip/flop in tenses near the end though...and I wasnt quite clear (not saying this isnt a normal thing for me :b ) on how a frozen brain could be functioning (although obviously I'm sure you were implying it was once and now isnt..but thats not how it read)

okies..I'm done with the icky critiquing part.



Heh... Welcome to my pain. Not that I MIND getting good comments on my stories but a few "You could work on this" would help as well.


For the most part I really liked the story and the style. I do tend to agree with Ishtara however in that near the end the tenses seemed to flip a bit and made it confusing.

I was not so worried about there being a frozen brain running about (Hey... it IS a superhero world) as I was about the shere confusion for a while. The "Brain" seemed to be totally distant from the body both literally and spirtually. Essentially he had SOME emotions about seeing himself get buried, but not much more than revenge.

However this "Cold" demeanor may have been what you were going for.

Hope that helps!



Thanks for the tips...

The flip in tense was an experiment in shifting reader awareness... believe it or not it was deliberate...
The transition point is "And now this.... spectacle..."

Apparently it didn't work as planned. No biggie... that's what experimental writing is about.
I should also put a little more about how the hero found, at cryonic temps, that frozen nerve tissue becomes superconductive and can carry ambient charge through existing nerve channels. Yes, his brain is still frozen.

As for his chilly demeanor, it is a function of the fact that, without hormones to power our emotions, as science has found, they fall a little flat. THis guy no longer has a flesh and blood body... no real passions... just memories... and some regrets...

and maybe the hope that, some day, should science be able to give him back a body, he will have cleaned the world up enough in the meantime to make it safe for whatever family he might have then.

I couldn't find a clean way to introduce these factors within the body of the scene depicted, but I guess I could have taken more time to set up the story... I was concerned that it would get stale though. How do you keep a story from getting stale while you are writing it?