By Assault 23 Comments
I can't remember when I stopped smiling.
It was a gradual thing, I suppose. The deeper I traversed into this life, the further I pushed my self, risking both my body and mind in the process, the more I opened myself up to it's reflexively unforgiving vices. I was little more than a child when I first donned the Assault armour, and it was peeled off of me by an alter-ego I'd created at the very base of my consciousness. A madman, bent on taking everything I had and using it to satiate his homicidal cravings, justifying it with the old, "If you're not killing 'em, you're not stopping 'em."
True? Maybe. Then again, maybe it wasn't.
I'd spent months afterwards trying to find myself again, rotating back to society once in a little while to drop in on my brother Anthony and Gothic City, a place I'd come to call home during my time as armourless vigilante. Then I was gone again. Studying, learning, meditating. Clearing both my physique and my psyche of all impurities and working to find ways to strengthen and utilize the uncanny chemicals in my genes that had gifted me with incredible above human capabilities, the God Virus.
I wonder how that Andres Knightfall figure is doing. I'm still in his debt, last I checked.
Jacob Stark didn't exist anymore. English, my native language, fluttered away and a host of other tongues became my own. Mandarin and French, almost predominantly. I spent time with warmongers, prophets, monks, serial killers, simple police officers and at one point, a Japanese school teacher. I hadn't just experienced every walk of life, I'd jogged. I matured centuries in weeks, my mind became sharper than most in months, and in less than two years, I'd honed my physical form to it's peak. As far as my tutors were concerned... I was ready.
The world wasn't the same when I got back.
A war between man and mutant was looming, it's ugly eyes just over the horizon, my brother had been in all sorts of trouble and Gothic City had gone to the dogs. Even Dark Vengeance, one of the psychotic dystopia's most treasured heroes, had become little more than a murderous tyrant.
I almost didn't want to return.
But I did. I have. And as I stand here staring the dark-clad figure in the mirror I wonder whether I'll be able to make a difference this time. I wonder what making a difference will take. The first few answers that bounce around the inside of my purified cranium shake me a little. Perhaps more than a little.
But I am Assault, and this isn't the first time I've had to wear conflict over my shoulders.