(Originally posted by Rodge the Linkbot on Sun Aug 02, 2009)
Slate laid in the hospital bed, his hand quickly moving up and down across the sheet of paper in front of him, sketching different designs and images of his pneumatic sword, his face was covered in bandages, half to hide his identity, half to help him recover from his beating. Beyond his hand the room was frozen. He stopped and took a deep breathe, staring out the door.
“So, there was an attack on the town?”
“Yeah, a couple of Stygians.”
“Click must have slaughtered them.”
“No, he wasn’t there.”
“He wasn’t there, and no one’s seen him.”
“Did he abandon us??”
Slate dropped the pencil and simply stared at the images.
“No, that’s impossible. There has to be a reason he’s gone.”
“Do you think- Xeranad?”
Slate just stared at the piece of paper in front of him, hoping that he would be struck by lightening or die from some unseen internal injury, anything to get away from them.
“I thought he scared him off?”
“Click’s fine.” He heard the Old Man’s voice, “He was just off saving some damsels or something.”
He walked in to the room, “Hey, kid, how are you?”
“What do you mean ‘how am I‘?!” Slate said as he glared at him.
The Old Man closed the door, “-’ere it comes.”
“Your son almost beat me to death, and the crap you said? What is wrong with you?!!”
“Look, if you want to go out and play hero, fine, go for it. But if you want to make a difference, you can’t be scared of getting hurt, physically or mentally. Deal with it.”
“I’m not going out to play hero, I’m going to BE one.”
“Not unless you get killed.”
Slate just looked at him with a confused expression.
“A hero isn’t real, not as long as he’s breathing. As long as you’re are alive and breathing, you’re corruptible, flawed, you can fail. Look at what happened to the Three Heroes. One died in the fight, and the two others got lucky. They survived. Time passed and they ended up killing each other.
“They each fought their best friend to the death. We CHOOSE to remember the good they did instead of that, but imagine the effect that had to have on the people around then, the world. They grew corrupt and hateful, killing each other. They weren’t heroes until we remembered them that way.
“Then there is you, ‘Click’, you’ve made a hero. You want to give people hope, fine, you’ve done that. That legend you’ve been spinning for god only knows how long, that created a hero. People believe in that. You go out there and put on your fake armor and your paper sword, and then you do something stupid, your emotions take over, you die, or worst of all, someone sees you for who you really are,
“A lying conman,
“then you’ll lose all that. You won’t be a hero, Slate. Quit now, and you win, keeping going, you die.”
Slate just sat there thinking. First of all, there was Aria the relative child ready to rush Xeranad. Mable and the Twins, went to war. Kara who, well, whatever is happening there. Finally Fujitsu, insane but, he was willing to die to make a difference. Could living make a difference?
“If I do nothing, the story won’t mean anything.”
“People might not remember it that way.”
“Hey,” Slate looked up at him, “stories are meant to change. Worst case scenario Xeranad kills me, best case scenario, Xeranad kills me.” a smile slowly began forming across his face, “But you know what? I can’t die. I won’t.”
The Old Man looked in his eyes.
“What?” Slate asked.
“Do you have a concussion?”
“No, I don’t have a concussion! I’m immortal. ‘Slate’ can’t die because he’s already dead, and you know what? You were right, the world will be a better place without him. My name is Click!”
“Are you insane?!”
“No, I’m on a bunch of pain killers, which may be messing with my head, but I know that the world needs a hero and, to be honest, I’m going to find Mable! If I can’t find her, then I’ll find Xeranad!”
“Was that the pain killers?”
“I have no idea!”
The Old Man just shrugged as the delirious patient, then looked down at the papers, “These the weapons you mentioned?”
“Yeah I can make them.”
“Anyway, we better get going, we have training tomorrow and you should be recovered by then.”
“Great!” Slate tried to jump up, a stabbing pain went through his leg. He collapsed onto the ground in a heap.
The Old Man shrugged, “Wow, you’re a great hero.”