Sam made his way over to the edge of the roof and gave a convulsive shiver as the cool fall breeze drifted over him. It was the words from the dream that shook him, he couldn't feel the breeze anymore. Slowly Sam dropped his jacket on the roof as he clapped his hands together and concentrated. The sleek black wings manifested themselves on his back, just as they had since the accident. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath as the dark energy washed over him, changing him.
He opened his eyes as he leapt from the roof and began to soar gracefully over the city. Once again the words came back to him "Peace or power..." he whispered as he moved, casting his now shadow-black eyes over the buildings below. Silently... inside himself... he prayed to God that he had made the right choice.....
The ball seemed to float in the air as Curt Connors reached up and plucked it from the air with his hand. His right hand. He was still sometimes surprised that he had a right arm. The experiment that regrew his arm seemed like it was just yesterday, but it wasn't. It had been weeks. Weeks during which he realized that the experiment had not only regrown his arm. It had also granted him powers far beyond those of normal men. But how to use these new abilities to the benefit of all men. He hadn't even revealed to his wife and son the powers that he had gained as a result of the experiment. He couldn't endanger them. But with Captain America missing in action, the world would need heroes. People willing to step up and do what's right. And he had the power. He had to use it. He would have to wear a costume to insure the safety of his family. He would have to come up with some sort of "secret identity"; a name to be known by when he was using his powers. It all seemed like so much trouble just because he wanted to help people. But as a doctor, he had taken an oath. An oath that still held true. He grasped the ball in his hand and threw it back to his son. If only everything were this simple...
William jogs backward, hands and eyes raised to catch the "pop fly," but then the boy just stops, his hands drop to his side, the ball lands on the grass nearby.
"Look, Dad," he says, pointing skyward.
Connors follows his son's finger, which is aimed at the women riding the winged horses flying by overhead...
"What on Earth? Martha, come outside!" Curt Connors stared up at the sky, mouth open.
"Martha, look up in the sky."
"What are they, Curt?"
"I don't know Martha, but I'm going to find out. I'm going to go to the University and see if anyone knows anything."
"Curt, be careful, who knows what those things are."
"I will, honey. I'll be back in a few hours."
Curt Connors got into his car and drove down the road and pulled into a parking lot. "I guess this is far enough. I just needed to get far enough away from the house so that Martha would think I took the car. I hate to hide this from her, but I don't feel comfortable telling her just yet. I'll put on one of my lab coats and if I move fast enough, know one will be able to see me clearly enough to be able to identify me."
With a plan set clearly in his mind, Curt Connors got out of his car and ran at lightning speed in the direction the flying women were heading.
Rick Jones sits in the middle of the Central Park Zoo, pondering all of the changes in his life. He is still not sure what happened to him in Nevada, but knows his life will never be the same because of the explosion of green light. At the time he was just thankful his car still ran. Then it hit him. Superhero. He was already on his way to New York, and surely he could find some way to make a difference once in the metropolis. At least, that had been the plan.
But now that he was here, faced with the city and his future he was not so sure. With a last sigh he turns away from the park and pitches his empty soda can towards the nearest trash can. The throw is low, and almost without thinking an emerald glow catches the can and flicks it into the open can. Emerald?
That's it. Emerald. There is a smile on Rick's face as he leaves the park and heads for his hotel.
The smile fades into a slightly open-mouthed expression of bewilderment. Overhead, near the hotel, is a man with black wings, a woman in some sort of costume, both hovering in mid-air, watchingas Rick and dozens of others are watchingthe procession of women riding winged horses...
The older man opened his mouth, perhaps about to agree, but the only sound that escaped his lips was an awkward yelp as the room they are both in shakes violently, knocking books from shelves and sending several dishes clattering to the floor. The older man ends up falling onto the floor, landing with an undignified thump. As a cup rolls to a halt against the wall, from the street outside, comes the violent crunch of metal impacting metal and the sound of a car horn blaring in unending, discordant note...
"Doc!", the Captain shouts as he darts across the room to the fallen man's side. The scientist's eyes flutter open.
"Hmm? I'm fine," he says as the Captain pulls him to his feet, "I jussst..." He staggers and nearly falls. "Oh. Perhaps not. Slight concussion, perhaps, Wha-*!?!" The scientist's words are cut short as he is scooped up into the Captain's powerful arms and the room becomes a blur of motion. Through the young man's bedroom, through the hatchway the scientist had just installed yesterday, leading to the disused elevator shaft, up to the rooftop greenhouse. Their course takes a breakneck turn along the roof and down the side of the building. The Captain shifts the scientist to rest over his shoulder as they descend.
"Wha? Where? KID!"
"Hang on, Doc. I heard a car wreck out here. There!" The big mail van had hit the building hard, knocking dozens of bricks loose. Captain America could still see the driver slumped on the wheel. Sun-speckled water from the fire hydrant that had gotten clipped as the truck jumped the curb rains down on about 40 apparently oblivious bystanders, all staring skyward.
Okay, making a dramatic entrance is one thing, the Captain thinks, but I can't believe these people are gaping at me when that man needs help! The shadows gliding across the hydrant spray vaguely register in the young man's mind.
"CAPTAIN!" The scientist bellows.
"Don't worry, sir." The young man's voice drops an octave and increases in volume as they drop low enough to be overheard by the crowd. Geez, I didn't think flying would get the Doc in such a panic, "We'll get you and this man to the hospital in no time!"
Touching down, the young Captain gently plops the scientist into the left-side passenger seat of the mail van as he leans further in to examine the driver. "Okay Doc, help me out here. No apparent bleeding, looks like he's breathing okay, how can we check for fractures? If I could see in X-rays or something..."
"Look up, LOOKUP!" the scie ntist pants.
"No time for reference books now, Doc," mumbles the Captain. I can't believe nobody's getting any closer to help us out here!
"Sit tight, sir" the young man's voice shifts to Captain America mode again. He fastens seat belts around the two injured men, then drops to the sidewalk, rolls under the van, grabs hold of the jacking plates behind the two front wheels, and wills himself and his burden skyward, towards Manhattan General Hospital. Below them, the crowd still stares up to the heavens, some pointing, others breaking and running. In the truck above him, the scientist yammers on about flying horses or something. Must have whacked his head harder than we thought. Ah, well, judging by the crowds down there, they'll certainly remember this as the day I came to town...
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© 1999 Mark L. Chance et al