When Assad opened his eyes, he expected to see his foe, standing over him, preparing for the death-blow. He did not expect to see the clear, star-filled sky, with a forest of leafless winter trees standing guard around him.
It was a mystery that would have to wait. He needed to determine his status.
Before he opened his mouth to speak the order, his scarlet, Corinthian-style helmet acknowledged his thought and began its scan. Moments later, it was complete. The results, inconclusive.
“Inconclusive?” Assad commented aloud. Impossible. He felt fine. Better than fine. He rose to his feet easily enough. No broken limbs or bones. He looked down at himself. His uniform was intact. The black, skin-tight, bio-skin was undamaged. The trademark crimson of his tunic, the chest and shoulder plates, and his high collar were as vivid as when he dressed for combat earlier this morning. Even his metallic red plume, running from the front of his helmet to the back was unscathed.
His mind went back to his training, to when a soldier was injured or rendered unconscious. The helmet could control his body, and ensure his safe return to base for medical treatment.
But he was wake, alive, and apparently fine.
So why did the suit feel different?
Why did he feel different?
Assad looked up to the sky and lifted off the ground. He needed to gain his bearings and return to base. Something was wrong. He needed answers.
Once he cleared the trees, he scanned the stars, correlating their positions.
“That’s not right.” Assad said aloud. “That can’t be right.”
Before he could determine the reason for the star’s ancient positioning, a blast of energy struck him.
He tried to maintain his flight, but gravity pulled him down. He impacted with the ground, not far from his initial awakening.
He lifted his limbs, realizing this place was a bog, partially frozen and cold. Yet, he felt no cold. His mind knew it was cold, yet he felt nothing. He felt the impact of the energy strike, he knew it was painful, yet he wasn’t in pain. The impact with the ground should have hurt, yet he was unhurt.
They were all questions that would have to wait. He rose and turned to see his nemesis, the foe to end all foes. “Felinus.” Assad said with disdain. “What have you done?”
Before him was the leader of the Irregulators, the most fearsome and deadly terrorist group in human history. Irregulars may have seen him as a warrior and hero, but to Assad, and the millions of people who died at his hands, Felinus was a butcher. Now clad in the stolen Matsudo Armor, he was the greatest threat to all humanity.
The armor’s dull grey surface danced with brilliant bolts of energy. The head-piece opened up to reveal Felinus himself. His orange tiger stripes having long turned grey with age, his ears ragged and torn. His eyes still had fire and fury in them. “All I have done, human, I did to protect my kind.” Felinus growled. “With this armor, with it’s plans, this war will come to an end. Your extinction is at hand.”
Assad’s fear and anger grew as Felinus let loose the power of Matsudo’s Armor. Energy coursed over the armor and was unleashed.
The night glowed bright as the trees burned, the snow vaporized and the bog baked.
When Felinus stopped, he stood in awe.
Assad stood undamaged.
“No.” Felinus roared from within the armor.
He fired again. And again.
Felinus leapt upon Assad, knocking him down, pounding upon his head and chest. “What have you done?” Felinus roared.
Assad punched Felinus, sending him high into the sky.
He rose to his feet, looking at his fist, then placing his hands upon his body. Like before, he felt the blows, but they did nothing.
Felinus hovered in the air nearby, a sizeable, fist-sized dent in the armor. “Whatever trick you have pulled, we will fix it. When next you see me, it will be over the bodies of those you love most.”
Assad envisioned his wife, Marta, her silken robe ripped to shreds, her angelic face bloodied and torn to pieces. He envisioned his son, Jamil, crying out in fear for his father and mother as Felinus obliterated his sweetness and laughter from the world.
In a blur of red, Assad had Felinus in his grasp.
Felinus fired upon Assad, doing nothing.
Assad’s fingers gripped the armor like it was soft clay.
Soon, Assad’s body was glowing deep red. It bubbled and snapped over his body, until it exploded.
The setting sun painted the sky and ocean with pinks and reds. Amid the shadows of a beach cabin, a man sat, smoke trailing around his head from a cigar.
“After that? Your remember nothing?” The man asked.
Assad stepped out from the shadows. The evening silhouetting him, revealing the outline of a face that had been horribly deformed. He picked up a long, ragged coat and put it on. He reached behind his head and pulled a hood over, covering his features.
“Nothing until you and your friends found me.” Assad replied, sounding older, as if weighed down by too many things. “It feels like a lifetime ago.”
“It has been.” The man acknowledged as he puffed on his cigar. “The Tunguska blast happened nearly a century ago. The accepted theory of an atmospheric comet explosion is… safer, than revealing it’s true nature.” The man sat forward, his elbow leaning on the arm of his chair. “Don’t you agree?”
Assad looked out at the beauty of the sunset, not answering right away. He remembered his first kiss from Marta. It was an evening just like this. That saying, that time heals all wounds, was meant for those who aged and died, not for those like him.
“Assad?” The man asked.
Assad turned back, returning to this reality. “Yes. Better a lie of a comet, than the truth of an inter-dimensional traveler who can apparently wield limitless power. Although soon, that reality might be easier to take, if what you were foretold comes to be.”
“Yes, I know.” The man agreed reluctantly.
Assad stepped towards the man and offered his hand. “You have been a good friend, Winston. Thank you, for all you have done.”
The man, Winston, stood. Twilight and shadows played upon a face that had seen many years and hardship. He shook Assad’s hand. “I wish I could have done more.”
Assad shook Winston’s hand. “This is my home now. I must learn about it. No more books and videos. I must experience it. Maybe someday, find my place in it.”
Assad released Winston’s hand and took a final, concerned look, into the cabin. “Will it be safe here?”
“Yes.” Winston said, a light-hearted chuckle in his voice, as if reassuring an old lady that the stove was truly turned off. “This place may not look like much, but it is quite secure. Your helmet and suit are safe here.”
“Good.” Assad said, a smile in his voice, as if acknowledging the reasoning behind Winston’s chuckle. “Even though my power comes from within, they are still important to me.”
“I know.” Winston replied in total understanding.
Assad walked out onto the deck and looked skyward. The sun continued to sink into the Pacific Ocean. Above, the brightest of stars began to twinkle amid the twilight.
“When will you return?” Winston asked.
Assad looked back over his shoulder. “When I’m ready. When the world is ready.” He returned his gaze to the distant horizon. He slowly lifted off the deck and, in a streak of red, he was gone, to experience the world first hand.
Omega started out years ago as my version of Superman. Unstoppable. Limitless power. The whole sh-bang. But as my tastes in comic books matured, my understanding of classic heroes grew, I realized that Superman wasn’t a great character to emulate. After all, there already is a Superman. Making another one, something so iconic and globally known is fool-hardy at best. So, I broke Omega down, changed his origins, made him more human. I think it’s more interesting to have a human character, a grunt soldier, suddenly find himself somewhere far from home, with incredible powers. The character has to deal with these powers, knowing the destruction of war and the power of warring nations first hand. Originally, I gave him my name, living out my own super heroic fantasies perhaps. But I changed all that when I updated him. Assad potentially hints at a Middle Eastern person. If more stories are written, I’d like to address the more spiritual and enlighten parts of Middle Eastern religion, instead of the extremism that is often seen on the evening news.
“Tales from the Infinatum”, “Omega” Copyrighted © 2010-2011 Mark James MacKinnon. Any use of these characters, without permission, is strictly prohibited. Any similarities to individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.