Join Date: Jul 2008
"I'm leaving," Brennon said, while he and Jean were taking a late night walk.
The statement had come out of the blue, but Jean wasn't surprised. She was disappointed of course, but she knew Brennon never felt that he belonged here. "Where will you go?" she asked.
"With Mysterion," he replied. "He has need of me again. I can't say for how long."
"But what about us? We need you too."
"After Mysterious was defeated, I decided to stay because the Champions of Justice had just been dealt a staggering blow to their ranks. But now the team is strong once again. I am confident they are more than capable of defending this world against any great evil," Brennon explained.
"But what about Uriah and Demon Hand? You know they're still out there."
Brennon nodded. "It took me a long time, but I finally realized that I can never regain the 1000 years that I spent frozen in the ice. Even if I go back there, those battles have already been fought. I should have been focusing on the present all the time I spent dwelling on the past. I'm not saying I'm never coming back, because I know that here is where I need to be. But you must understand that yours isn't the only world in constant peril. There are millions that exist without us even being aware of them."
She almost said 'you can't save everyone, Brennon', but was glad she didn't. A year ago she may have said that, but she had changed much since then. She had come to understand him, and had developed a great measure of respect for his values, and his sense of responsibility. She had been a better person for knowing him, and she knew it was selfish for her to want him to stay for her.
"I guess this is goodbye then," she said.
"I bid you farewell, Jean Bradley."
* * * * *
He awoke lying in a pile of hay with a horse looking down at him. He pushed himself to his feet and looked around. He was in a barn, but could find no clues to the time period he had been taken to.
Suddenly he heard the cock of a gun. "Reach for either one of those fancy garden tools and I'll blow your head clean off," said a voice. "So drop 'em, mister, and I won't have to drop you."
Slowly, Brennon unfastened the strap on his chest, letting his blades fall to the ground. He turned around to face his captor. He was an elderly man dressed in overalls with a shotgun in his hands. He was ready to pull the trigger at any moment.
"I mean you no harm," Brennon told him.
"What are you doing in my barn?" he demanded.
"I am sorry for the intrusion, Brother, I had no other place to sleep."
"What are those for?" the old man asked, indicating his twin swords.
"Protection," Brennon replied simply.
"You suppose to be some kind of ninja or somethin'?"
"I am only a wanderer."
The old man lowered his gun. "You got a name, stranger?"
"I am Brennon, Son of Gabriel."
"I'm John. I'll let you come in the house and have breakfast with us, but then you got to go. Is that clear?"
"I am grateful for your hospitality," he said. John nodded and led him into the house. Brennon didn't normally leave his swords behind, but he saw John as a good man who wouldn't hurt him unless he saw him as a threat to him or his family.
Brennon sat down at the table with John and his wife, while he was served a delicious meal that consisted of sausage, eggs, and pancakes. When he saw that the television was on, he knew he was somewhere in modern times. The television set happened to be on a news channel.
"So, Brennon," began John's wife. "Where are you from?"
"A place called Zirelaw," the swordsman told her.
"Never heard of it," John remarked.
"It's in Europe," Brennon added.
John nodded. "So what do you do for a living?"
Brennon was no longer listening. A broadcast on the news had caught his attention. "President of the Superhuman Defense League, Captain Freedom spoke at the Fortress this morning concerning the team's most recent casualty. He promised that Panther's sacrifice would not be forgotten," explained the news anchor.
"Panther is dead?" Brennon said. He had not known the man well, but in his universe he had been a one-time ally. He also aided in his escape from Molvina.
"I thought everyone knew about that," John replied.
"The SDL doesn't release all the details of their missions, but we know that there was a fight up in New York City. It was a victory, but it didn't come without a price," he said, thinking of the fallen Panther. As Brennon looked back to the screen, he could see buildings burning and children crying on the streets.
"Who caused all of this?" he asked.
Both John and his wife seemed surprised by the question. "Where you been, son? The same ones who started this blasted war."
"Tell me who it was."
"You really don't know? Well you do remember the Darkness don't you?"
"Yes, I was there."
"After Blackhorn fell, a group of supervillains banded together to hit the SDL when it was at its weakest point. The fallout from the battle was catastrophic. A lot of good men died."
"But a lot of bad men died too," John's wife put in.
"So that was how it all started. The SDL never had a chance to recover from the Darkness. Uriah and Death Mask have been hitting us hard ever since. They orchestrated disasters all over the planet so our heroes would be spread so thin they'd be almost helpless. Panther was one of the survivors from the attack on Prime Hall, but now they're all starting to drop like flies."
"The woman on the screen said Captain Freedom was at the Fortress. Does that mean..."
"The SDL's main headquarters was wiped out. The Fortress is where they're holed up now."
"I need to get there," Brennon said. "Can you tell me how I can get to New York City?"
"You're a pretty long way off, son. It's a long drive, and it would be quicker to fly."
"I know this a lot to ask of you, Brother, but can I borrow your horse? It is a matter of great urgency."
John exchanged a look with his wife. "Son, you ain't nowhere near New York. But I'll tell you what, I'm going in to town in a bit to buy some parts for my tractor. I'll let you ride with me. But that's as far as I'll take you. Then you're on your own."
* * * * *
"Doctor, you need to hear this," said Ellis, who was one of the many scientists that worked in the employ of the notorious Dr. Nova.
"What is it?" Dr. Nova snapped.
"Our radar shows an anomaly in the southern United States."
"What kind of anomaly?"
"We can't be sure. This looks some kind of...rift. I think someone may have crossed over."
"From where?" he asked.
"We can't tell, Doctor." We don't know if this was teleportation, time-travel, or something interdimensional."
"Then find out. Send someone to check it out."