The following article is the first part of a series of diaries coming from the world of Champions Online, written in character or course. There may even be the odd comic in the future.
Most Heroes seem to have a habit of thinking of themselves as social doctors. Ask a Hero what’s wrong with the city and he will say that it’s ill, that crime and corruption have worked their way into the world like hideous viruses, spreading putrescence and decay everywhere they go. These Heroes then go on to proclaim themselves to be the one man/woman/cyborg/extra-dimension avenger with the cure.
If other Heroes are doctors, I’m a crazed back-street surgeon with a rusty scalpel and a blood-stained apron that would make a butcher blush.
I’m the Exclamation, and I’m not here to clean up Millennium City. I’m here to bathe it in blood.
As it stands, I’m writing this entry during an alien invasion. I’m not much interested in killing aliens, but it is good practice, and it’s been a while since my blade has been exposed to the outside world. It’s all very straightforward so far; perform some state sanctioned genocide (or assist in others doing such a thing), save some weak and helpless civilians, and so on. It’s a job for the mundane emergency services, not a vigilante, and therefore I have the time to sit here and chronicle my experiences today.
I considered writing this entry in the blood of the dead aliens, Qularr they are called, but that would be too macabre for my tastes. As far as I can tell, these creatures are mindless war machines, bred to fight and die for no reason I can discern. They are not my usual prey, and perhaps this is why I am finding it hard to truly get into the swing of things. There are others amongst the fraternity who crave extra-terrestrial experiences, but not me.
Therefore, while a plethora of brightly coloured sacrifices bound into the maw of this insectoid invaders, I sit here in the remains of a bar, gutting the odd alien and writing in a notebook wrenched from the rock-like hands of a thoroughly deceased officer of the MCPD. An odd way for my return to vigilantism to commence.
Don’t feel too downhearted if you haven’t heard of me. First of all, until quite recently I went under a completely different name, which also necessitated a different (and much more garish) costume. I gave the whole honour thing a go, apprehending criminals across the pond and delivering them to the local police force. I eschewed brutal violence for non-lethal gadgets and witty one-liners. There is only so long one can keep that up before the futility of it all is hammered home.
For me, this is illustrated by the events of the eighteenth of March three years back. Despite my costumed persona’s apparent opulence, I was living in a small flat by the Thames. It was grubby, but afforded me the privacy one needs in this lifestyle, I could come and go as I pleased and no interest was taken in what it was I did to pay the bills. Unfortunately, this also meant there was no-one to warn me of the ambush awaiting me on that night.
Police reports would later state that three men had been seen entering my flat a few hours before I returned from my patrol, each carrying a large bag. They had been unsure of the contents of the bag, but I knew.
The men had been sent by one of my (at the time) more recent arrests. I forget his name, but he had clearly not forgotten mine. He sent men to lay in wait for me, to jump me upon arrival, and kill me. As I put my key in the door it exploded in my face, splinters tearing at my skin, and the three men flew out. They pummelled me for what felt like hours. Tortured me. Then they shot me in the face and left me for dead.
By rights, I should be dead. Bullet wounds are not easily healed when delivered directly to the brain, but I somehow managed it. My neighbours were unhelpful, negligent in their civil duties even. Not one of them called for aid, and that was something I have yet to forgive, though it is something I’ve avenged.
I did eventually find help, from a passing Samaritan no less, and spent the next two years healing slowly in a hospital bed. I watched a lot of television during those years, read a lot of books, all to avoid the crushing realisation that those men would one day return.
My recuperation allowed me time to re-evaluate my career. Criminals cannot be rehabilitated, that much was clear to me. It is not breaking the law that makes someone a criminal, it is their thought processes, their character, their very essence. You cannot alter that any more than you can turn lead into gold, it is just who they are. Locking them up achieves little else than allowing them time to plot and plan, scheme and prepare. They will never cease to be evil, as long as they live. If they cease to live, however, so does the problem.
And that’s how I come to be sat in a demolished bar during an alien invasion. Millennium City has the highest crime rate in the northern hemisphere, the best place to begin my crusade. No more quips, one liners, senseless taunting. I’m going to seek out every soulless, evil piece of trash in this city and scratch them off the list, one by one.
Until then, these aliens will have to do.
– The Exclamation