THRILLING ADVENTURES: EPISODE ONE
This story is a work of fiction, all characters, places, and products are fictional or used in a fictional manner. Scarlet Tie, Key-Master and Tyke The Teen of Tomorrow are copyrighted by Michael Edwards. Any duplications of this story not authorized by the author is a violation of state and federal copyright laws.
To my brother, Charles. Always believing in my skills when I didn’t. Being the best younger brother a guy could have.
To my teacher George Gunder, giving me wisdom that stuck with me.
“RIGHT FACE, WRONG TIME”
Terrell had been invited to Detroit to treat the mayor. His health took a turn for the worse, he kept it secret from his city and his family. The wife noticed something wrong when the mayor never made it to bed the night before. She found him in the kitchen unconscious, sprawled on the floor. She took him to Herbert-Mitchell Hospital immediately. The ER was the best in Michigan. The hospital built in honor of the two doctors that saved many lives during the dark page of history. The Gods leveling nearly every form of infrastructure.
The doctors ran numerous tests to find out what could be wrong with him. Despite the battery of tastes, they could not narrow down a single diagnosis. So they called one of the best diagnostic technicians in the world.
Terrell walked with the armed escort to the secluded part of the critical care unit. He wore a white turtleneck sweater, black leather jacket, and black jeans. With his black and white sneakers. In his right hand he had his carry bag, in his left hand he held his diagnostic scanner. The device conceptualized by Robert Mitchell and built by Joseph Herbert. Only private practice doctors had the resources to precure them. The technology too dangerous to leave in the hands of many. It could be used to make advanced bio weapons due to its ability to easily catalogue and map dna, viral infections, and process medical information to assist in troubleshooting difficult health problems.
“I hear you are having a hard time,” said Terrell entering the mayor’s private room.
The mayor could only nod. Slowly due to fatigue. Terrell moved to the right side of the bed and let the diagnostic scanner run a deep cellular scan of the mayor. Since MRI’s, blood tests showed nothing. Terrell had suspicions that they had to go deeper to find the cause.
The soft green light swept over the mayor’s body, the data displayed on the flat screen. The diagnostic scanner bore the appearance of an IPHONE. Could do so much more. Terrell tapped the screen a couple of times. His silence made the mayor and his wife prepare for the possible worse.
“You have advanced blood leukemia.” Terrell looked at the mayor. “Which is curable with the leaps in medical silence. You’ll require a bone marrow transplant since your current bone marrow is creating the cancerous blood cells. If everything goes well, you should be back to full health before spring.”
“ The one problem is you have a rare blood type as you know. O -negative. It could takes months to find the right donor. The other side of this problem is there is a chance, though small of rejection.”
“What…what would happen if he rejects the bone marrow?” asked the mayor’s wife.
“He would die,” said Terrell. “His body is very weak. So we have to proceed cautiously.”
“We don’t have a lot of time, how do we find a donor?” asked the mayor’s wife.
“We will have to check all catalogued O-negatives in the neighboring states, possibly the whole country. See which one is the closest match.”
“It will take time, the doctors here can keep him comfortable. I’ll assist in finding the donor by checking local channels.”
Terrell left the room. Sticking his diagnostic scanner in his bag. The fingerprint reader shut the device down since it no longer registered the activation key.
Kirk was neck deep in his research. Studying cloned cells cultivated from extinct animals and plants. The current slide had the cells of a black horned rhino. They had collected all the ivory from the black horned rhinos, horns to make a viable base to start cloning. The process they used to cause cell division worked wonders with the plants. The animals they were having more difficulty with.
Seeing the cells do nothing for hours nicked at Kirk’s confidence that he would crack the very method that would help expand humanity’s food supply. They could only eat beans,lettuce, and roast pork for so long. Pigs were one creature that bred quicker during the Gods Age.
“Dammit!” said Kirk, turning his eyes away from the slide. “Why doesn’t it work?”
Kirk rubbed his eyes. He removed the slide and put it back in the sterile container. He created four separate batches for the tests, all had failed to bring any results. He hoped that by studying the failed batches that he could make on last successful try.
The late hour spurred a yawn out of Kirk. He shut the power off on the equipment and headed home to the Keyhole where he would get some sleep. Try again tomorrow.
The cell sample he put away began to divide, replicate at a rapid rate due to some unseen force. Cellular mutation became rampant, changing key genomes, the fridge could no longer hold the hulking creature that grew out of it. The door and small fridge exploded outward. The creature looked around. angry, confused. The last memory a gunshot to its head. The creature crashed through the wall setting off the alarms in the Herbert-Mitchell bio lab. The alarms reached the main hospital security staff.
The read out displayed on the computer, level 4 breach of the bio-lab.
Security activated lock down procedures to contain what biohazards maybe in the bio lab. Calling the New Detroit Police Department and Fire Department. The new organism smashed through several walls until a steel door started sliding down. The creature snorted, getting under the door and pressed up with its great strength. The smoking gears buckled under the strain. The creature ripped the door out of its housing and sent it flying down the hall.
Kirk woke up at the sound of the security alarm. He had a special program in the core computer of the Herbert-Mitchell Bio Lab to warn him of potential break ins, or sabotage. He hurried out of bed and changed into costume, the read out on his massive computer screen showed him a cellular scan of something leaving Kirk’s private workspace. He recognized the black rhino dna, horrified that it mutated beyond the original intent.
“Tyke, are you awake?”asked Key-Master sliding the mask over his face.
“I don’t sleep, remember.” said Tyke coming from behind the spiral staircase that led up into Kirk’s private area. “Well, at least much.”
“Get dressed,” Key-Master said activating one of the tumblers to lower one of his programmable matter equipment. “NOW!”
“All right, you didn’t have to shout…”
Terrell was in the main building, he saw something crash through the south eastern wall from the cafeteria. Reaching into his bag, he pulled out the oni mask and scarlet tie. The mask’s yellow kanji on the right cheek glowed. So did the tie. Scarlet Tie walked through the space between dimensional planes, two or three steps got him close enough to see the monstrosity. It stood at a frightening 15 feet tall, its muscles grew one more size to match its final height. The yellow magic tinted eyes of the Scarlet Tie widened as the creature looked down at him.
It roared, bad breath and spittle splashed against the oni mask.
“You need a breath mint,” said the Scarlet Tie with the inhuman voice the mask gave him. “Let me guess, an uncontrolled mutation.”
The black rhino’s gray eyes narrowed on Scarlet Tie with malice. It brought its left hand quickly around, the large palm striking Scarlet Tie in the side. Sending him toward an angle of the building where Scarlet Tie’s head would surely be split open.
Scarlet Tie shifted between dimensions and space. Where science did not rule. Lowering himself to the ground through the magics of the mask and tie. Scarlet Tie reappeared behind and to the right of his opponent.
“That wasn’t nice, pal.”
Rugged breathing, hate filled eyes. The creature moved with a disregard for anything in its path. Scarlet Tie dodged its next charge. appearing behind the creature, on the roof of a parked sedan. His breath like mist. Eyes pulsing with the yellow tint.
The creature charged, its horn punctured through the passenger door. Lifting the car up with inhuman strength. Scarlet Tie moved again. This time directly behind the creature. He punched the small of its back. The dull thud, the thick hide. Scarlet Tie didn’t have the strength to harm the creature.
Scarlet Tie avoided the creature’s back fist. Kept it moving. To chase him. The nearby hospital would be safer that way. The creature followed like a bloodlusted bull. Scarlet Tie keeping enough distance to lure the creature some place where no else could be harmed beside himself. The creature followed, showing no signs of fatigue. Scarlet Tie had never expended himself this long.
Weary, his reflexes became slower. The incoming thrust aimed at his chest wouldn’t incite a fast enough reaction from his tired frame. Safety came from the small boy that tackled the creature’s side. Its body smacking the pavement first, ending in a screeching halt. Key-Master pulled up beside Scarlet Tie in the exo-suit he built. Its wheels providing speed to get in and out of harm’s way.
“You must be that masked man from Cleveland, stay back. Allow us to handle this…”
Scarlet Tie wanted to speak, to express his confusion at the two strangers. Not enough strength remained in his body to make the action possible. Key-Master charged in, striking the beast in the side with the power provided by his exo-suit. To keep it off balance. Tyke came in striking the creature to distract. The computers in his exo-suit ran a full DNA analysis to determine the problem. The read out made Key-Master grit his teeth. The regenerative formula had a delayed mutation effect changing the black rhino DNA beyond its original design. It was running on rage caused by carry over memories from the original and last black rhino.
“Tyke, we need to subdue this animal. Keep it busy so I can figure out a way to neutralize it.”
“You got it boss!”
Tyke charged into the belly of the monster, tossing it over his head. Its horn driven straight into the pavement. It flailed wildly. Its hands caught purchase of the paved street and it jerked its horn out of the hole. Tyke stuck out his tongue to antagonize.
The next charge went past the vaulting Tyke. It dug its heels in to stop itself. Turning, it charged and charged. Missing, feeding its temperamental state. Tyke turned, bent over and smacked his backside. Key-Master watched the child with a mixture of annoyance and frustration.
The work he did on the hud focused on a cure. To stabilize and hopefully reverse the mutation. Key-Master run afoul of multiple problems. The creature mutated at an accelerated rate due to adrenaline surges. Coming up with a cure become an impossibility until they could subdue and wind down the creature. Key-Master shifted priorities to make a sedative to calm the monster. With it calm, the mutations would slow. A cure could be more feasible with the change in mood.
“Tyke,” said Key-Master. “I’m preparing something. Get ready to disengage.”
Scarlet Tie sat on the pavement. Collecting himself. He stood up feeling a bit better. He listened to the exchanges between the two that came to his aid. Not certain what they had planned. Scarlet Tie looked around for a measure to slow the beast. To keep it corralled until a plan could be conceived.
The extended parking garage still being worked on had wet concrete not yet hardened. The workers only got off a few hours ago. Scarlet Tie appeared next to Tyke, spooking the child at first.
“Help me direct him over to where the extended parking garage is being built.”
“Why?” asked Tyke.
“Just trust me!” Scarlet Tie said, pushing the boy out of harm’s way. He stepped between where he was to where he stood in front of the wet concrete. Tyke jumped, a couple of frog-like leaps to stand beside the Scarlet Tie. The angered behemoth charged. Scarlet Tie counted to five, picked Tyke up, and moved to where Key-Master stood. The black rhino mutate could not stop. It slid right into the wet concrete. Its feet becoming stuck. A blast of heat hardened the wet concrete, buying time for Key-Master to finish the sedative formula.
“No, this is bad!”
“What’s happening now?”
“The Rhino Morph is mutating again!”
Scarlet Tie saw the rhino morph secrete ooze from its pores that dissolved the concrete on its feet. The rhino morph leaped free, coming down with a shockwave and dust carried by the wind. Scarlet Tie saw Tyke charge forward.
“That boy is suicidal.”
“Don’t mistake Tyke’s bravery for stupidity,” said Key-Master. His fingers stroking keys fast to work out the right compound combination in the sedative to halt the rhino morph’s mutation and put it to sleep. “Adrenaline is feeding its adapting capability, if I work in a adrenaline inhibitor like so…”
Tyke’s small frame flew by Scarlet Tie and Key-Master, bouncing off the pavement. Sliding to a stop, Tyke appeared to be out of the fight.
“If you don’t hurry up, we are going to be like your friend.”
“I need another moment, you have powers, Do something!”
What can I do? It changes to combat whatever is thrown its way.
The snarl, thundering footsteps snapped Scarlet Tie out of his self-counsel. He moved out of the way. Reappearing on the other side of the beast. The rhino morph dug its hands into the ground, turning around to successfully gore those in its way.
Scarlet Tie saw the path the rhino morph headed, its horn aimed right at the heart of Key-Master. Scarlet Tie touched Key-Master moving him through the planes of reality and stopping a good forty five feet behind it. If Key-Master noticed the event, he didn’t show it. Scarlet Tie wiped the sweat off the top of his head. His exhaustion would be the death of them yet.
“GOT IT!” shouted Key-Master in excitement. He aligned the projectile launcher over the exo-suit’s right shoulder. Firing six dart like fluid filled missiles. Each penetrated the hide of the creature. Its eyes glazed over, wobbly on its feet. It feel over, still, loud snores could be heard.
“Thank god,” said Scarlet Tie. “It’s over.”
“Tyke, are you okay?” asked Key-Master examining his side kick. “You took quite a pounding by that beast.”
“I—I’ll be fine boss. I just need some rest when we get home.”
“What will you do with him, she, it?”
Key-Master pressed a stud on the exo-suit. Energy gathered around the rhino morph, forming a solid energy cage.
“I’m going to try and figure what happened. What caused it to mutate beyond its…”
Scarlet Tie walked away, back toward the main hospital. Key-Master watched him. His feelings obscured by his mask.
Terrell supervised the procedure to save the mayor of New Detroit’s life. Making sure that no mistakes were made. He had four hours of rest after last night. Still feeling exhausted. If not for the mayor’s request, he would have slept in. The two costumes he meet last night surprised him. Their help proved beneficial and crazy. Something about the masked man made Terrell feel at unease.
The boy, he saw innocence and a strong desire to prove himself.
The man’s cold attitude about everything. It made Terrell wonder if he would be dangerous. If so, did the child know?
Terrell pushed the thoughts away. Monitoring the mayor’s blood pressure in the observing room. The monitors showed his vitals. Three technicians were with Terrell.
Several hours passed, the mayor came out of it okay. The doctor would watch over the recovery. Allowing Terrell to get some rest, eat, and book a flight home.
The thought of the two people he meet still nagging at him during his preparations.
Kirk examined the rhino morph in his more sophisticated lab in the keyhole. Checking its dna, the growth accelerant he added to its genetic make up worked too well. Frustration gnawed at him, he didn’t want to create more problems. Only solutions.
Tyke watched Kirk from the balcony above. Staying quiet so Kirk would not notice him. He worried that Kirk needlessly blamed himself for what happened.
“You are a good man,” said Tyke in a low voice. “don’t blame yourself…”
“How, how did this experiment go so horribly wrong!” Kirk shoved the notes he kept onto the floor along with the vials of liquids. The notes drenched. He slammed his fists down on the table several times. Calming down after freeing his frustration.
Kirk slid down onto his knees, his head pressed against the cupboards. He had his hands against the cupboard doors. Remaining like that until he collected himself. Picking up his mess and disposing of it. Kirk went to writing new notes, working out a different strategy for growing extinct organisms.
Terrell checked on the mayor the next morning. Bandages on his arms and ribs concealed by his clothes. He couldn’t conceal the swollen cheek of his face.
“All of the results seem to be coming back positive.”
“So he’ll pull through?”
“With time, he has to adapt to the physical therapy and get his strength back first.”
“Thank you, Mr. Gibbs. I don’t know what my husband and I would do without you.”
“No problem, if you will excuse me. I need to speak to the primary one last time before I go.”
Terrell shut the door behind him. Wincing from the pain of his injuries. He wondered where the other masked man took that mutation, if it would go on another rampage. Not like he didn’t already have a enough on his plate with his own city.
The SAG organization (Saints Against Gays) were attacking every outed LGBT persons, injuring them to the point of severe damage or death. The CMPD kept looking the other way while the crimes continued. Terrell would need all of his strength and cunning to stop these abuses of civil rights.
Terrell walked down the hall. To have his last briefing with the primary doctor in charge of the mayor’s care. An afternoon flight would have him back in Cleveland in no time.
Next: Scarlet Tie Episode 2: Father’s Failing
Thrilling Adventure is an anthology where new characters debut, team ups between existing EBH heroes, and tales that cannot be told in the EBH solo series. This first episode features the team up of Scarlet Tie the openly gay African American hero of Cleveland and Jewish hero the Key-Master. The central theme is extinction and what future efforts might be used to restore extinct species to the planet.