Over the last week of July and into the first two weeks of August I took all of my past, present, and even my future, road-mapped works “on the road” so to speak with one very long blog tour. Across a number of very generous hosts’ blogs, I was featured as their guest and I had the opportunity to showcase my work.
A portion of that tour was for the “I, Hero” series. I not only talked about my current release “I, Hero: The Beginning” but also introduced readers to “I, Hero: Nathan Returns”.
If you want to check out my free excerpts from “I, Hero: The Beginning”, you can via the links directly below:
It was on author A. G. Moye’s blog where I introduced “I, Hero: Nathan Returns” – Excerpt II and I am happy to once again deliver it here for you.
I, Hero: Nathan Returns – Excerpt II
Adia closed the apartment door behind her and sighed. She stepped into the kitchen and pulled her phone out of her pocket. It was nearly eight o’clock and there was a new message from her roommate, Melinda, “out with the boyfriend, don’t wait up.”
She smiled, dropped her purse on the table, and walked over to the couch. She flicked the television on, set the remote down, and took her shoes off. She tossed them aside and lay down on the couch.
“…World News with Mark Daniels; thank you for joining us for this special edition of America’s Roundtable. With us tonight…” Adia stopped paying attention, sat up, and grabbed the remote. She was just about to change the station when the topic grabbed her attention.
“…hero or menace? With me to discuss the implications of Nathan, his powers, and his impact, good and bad, on the people is tonight’s distinguished panel of guests.”
Adia set the remote down and fixated her attention on the television.
“To my far left we have U.S. Senator Mackenzie Kelly from New York, who is now serving his third term. To my near left we have General Kevin Westmartin, the most senior member of the US Air Command. On my far right we have Congressman Patrick Johnson from Texas who is now serving his sixth term in that office. To my near right, noted scholar, Professor Rebecca Farnsmith who is the head tutor of the Folklore and Mythology department at Washbury University. Welcome everyone,” he said looking around to the four people sitting around him, “and welcome to everyone at home, tuning in this evening for this special, live broadcast.”
Adia continued to watch as the view on screen changed to smaller news feeds along the right edge and the lower portion of the display. The overall video feed shrank to the upper left two thirds of the screen to accommodate the data streams from the network.
“To remind everyone here and the viewers at home of our format,” Mark said as the camera view focused on him, “this is an open, roundtable discussion. Technically, it can be on any topic; obviously the major topic this evening is Nathan and his extraordinary powers, but the conversation is free to go anywhere. We will only interrupt the discussion if we cannot maintain some semblance of order, which I am sure we all can agree, is needed to have a discussion.”
Mark smiled slightly and looked over to Professor Rebecca Farnsmith. “Let me open the discussion with you Professor Farnsmith. There has been a lot of speculation regarding Nathan’s powers. While they seem to equal, or in some other manner, mimic the fictional characters from EarthWorld comics, there has been a smaller discussion, mainly from your current and prior students, as well as followers of your work, that they are rooted in the characters from Greek Mythology.”
The camera panned past Congressman Johnson, who had a look of disbelief on his face over the comment, and stopped at Professor Farnsmith.
“Thank you for the opening, Mark. First let me say the beings from Greek Mythology were not ‘characters’,” she said turning casually, propping her seated position. She wanted to have presence, but she did not want to insult or dominate. “We believe through our studies of the writings and records, that these beings existed here on Earth for an extended period of time.”
“Oh please,” Congressman Johnson said in a burst of contempt. “I thought we were going to discuss this man Nathan and his threat to our society; not sorcery, or some such, from two thousand years ago.”
“What’s harder to believe Congressman?” Professor Farnsmith responded quickly, defending her position and turning towards him. “That there are very powerful beings that once visited us from another realm; where they once lived among us, and the people of that time thought of them as gods. Or is it easier to believe there is a man flying around, with the powers of the fictional character of Mister Atomic, helping dissipate wild fires by breaking down the molecular bonds of oxygen and thereby removing one of the required fuel sources that feed it?”
“Is that how he helped with the southern brush fires in your home state of Texas, Congressman?” Senator Kelly asked with a smug look on his face.
“Look,” Congressman Johnson responded with his hands open in front of him, with his southern accent becoming more pronounced, “I do not deny that this Nathan has done a great many things that has helped a great many people. There are so many issues and concerns with his powers. Where is his allegiance? What is he working on for the President? Or other nations for that matter?”
“I can tell you, unequivocally, Congressman Johnson,” Senator Kelly responded, “and you good people at home, the young man we all know as Nathan is extraordinary not only in the powers he wields, but the level of discretion under which he uses them. Or doesn’t, as is sometimes the case.” Senator Kelly moved in his seat slightly and continued quickly, concerned that he might get cut off. “We, the United States government, have asked him for help on occasion on matters that I cannot discuss here. When it was applicable and he was able, he helped. When he felt it was too high a level of interference, in a gray area, where a sovereign nation was concerned, and we would not contact them to explain our incursion, he would decline to help us.”
“And who is he to question the Commander in Chief?” General Westmartin barked loudly.
“He’s an everyday citizen,” Senator Kelly countered. “He does not serve as an enlisted American, and as such, he has every right to decline something. At best, he working with us like a consultant might for the FBI or the CIA. And just like them, if he feels there is something off, he simply declines.”
“So what is he working on?” General Westmartin asked smugly. “I haven’t been in the loop on much of anything and yet I should be, more so than not.”
“Obviously General, I am unable to comment on that,” Senator Kelly responded plainly.
“And yet,” General Westmartin countered quickly, “it’s only you and the President with those special little phones to call him. Now why is that?”
“Well the choice of the President having one is pretty self-explanatory; if anyone is going to need to pull a major rip cord and need the help of a superhero, it would be the President of the United States.”
“Fair enough,” the General responded, shifting in his seat and leaning forward. “Then why do you have the other one?”
“Because he trusted me with it,” Senator Kelly responded calmly.
There was a brief lull and the Senator took advantage of that and turned back to Professor Farnsmith. “Professor,” he said plainly, “You commented before on your beliefs and studies of the Greek gods, Zeus, Hera, and so forth. Can you lend more of your knowledge? I am very interested in your theories.”
“Well,” Professor Farnsmith said unassumingly, “we believe these beings existed on another plane of existence, where the laws of time, nature, physics, and perhaps some others, like magic, apply very differently than in ours. For instance, it’s been hypothesized that those beings were few in number. There were not millions or billions like the number of us as we exist here on Earth. They may number in the hundreds, or even less. That is a theory as to why they are able to tap into the powers they have. They are connected to their version of nature and their universe at such a level that they can tap into the very energies around them and channel those for directed use.”
“Zeus and his thunderbolts,” General Westmartin responded sarcastically.
“We harness electricity with machines and technology; why couldn’t a highly evolved being channel it through his body with nothing more than his will?” Professor Farnsmith countered quickly. “We have Earth; we hypothesize that their Mount Olympus is where they reside. Because they were around for many centuries it is assumed they either live a very long time or that time moves differently on their plane of existence. Or perhaps it is both.”
“So those beings could be alive today?” Senator Kelly asked in a serious tone.
“They could,” Professor Farnsmith responded simply.
“WOO!” Congressman Johnson said loudly, “that blasphemy is going to cost you some nice votes come next year.”
“First off I never called them gods. Having said that, who said aliens have to be green and arrive on spaceships?” Senator Kelly responded coolly. “Why couldn’t they be “alien” beings, but rather than coming from another world far away, they instead live on another plane of existence?” Senator Kelly asked making finger quote marks in the air.
“Exactly,” Professor Farnsmith responded quickly. “In the Hebrew Bible, the Torah, the Book of Joshua, the Book of Job, and the two Books of Chronicles, to name just a few ancient writings, each mention a number of people that lived well beyond 400 years of age. They were the few; the exceptions. If we are to assume those as correct ages of beings on this world, it supports that the same could also be true for beings in other planes of existence. Additionally, if time moved differently there, where years here were days or hours there, they would seem to be immortal and seemingly live forever.”
“That’s an interesting theory Professor,” General Westmartin mused, “you wouldn’t happen to have any concrete proof to back any of it up?”
“I have as much proof to my beliefs as you might for whichever ones you hold,” she responded holding her ground. “As with all ancient texts, there are possible mistranslations from text to document, document to parchment, and so on. It doesn’t have to be egregious; even a minor one can throw something off. A decimal in the wrong place… that sort of thing.”
“So even your own hypotheses and theories are suspect?” General Westmartin countered.
“Of course,” she said plainly. “I believe in the work I do and the topics I study, but I am limited to the data and information I am given to review and work with.” She paused for a moment, and then continued. “I do believe in it wholeheartedly. And if Nathan has been given this gift by them,” Professor Farnsmith paused and quickly turned to see Senator Kelly nod slightly, “then it stands to reason that he is tapping the same energies that other heroes have in the course of history.”
“Helen of Troy? Hercules? Perseus? I think that if any are going to be somewhat household names, those would be it,” Congressman Johnson said loudly. “I might have to consult my grandson for some of the new age fiction ones.”
“Sarcasm is the tool of a weak mind,” Professor Farnsmith panned.
“I would like to know what the issue is, that certain factions of the government and the military, have with Nathan,” Senator Kelly said as be repositioned himself in the chair. “If the fact alone that the President of the Unites States has zero issue with him isn’t enough, what is it that bothers people? He’s not acting as law enforcement. He’s never performed any function as a citizen. He’s assisted when called upon but it’s not like he made citizen arrests. He’s been on the scene of the occasional crime, like when helping with flooding and holding looters while the police arrived, but he’s effectively never acted independently.”
“You tell them, Senator” Adia said to the television as she got up from the couch to get something to drink. She made her way into the kitchen and continued to look back at the television as Senator Kelly continued.
“The fact of the matter is, with all the powers he has, I think he’s shown great restraint. I wonder how many other people could do the same. Perhaps it’s why they chose him.”
“All this issue aside with the Greek gods, Senator, granting powers and all,” General Westmartin countered, “I have never seen, in man or nature, an imbalance to any one side, maintain. With man, when one side moved away from clubs to fire sticks, so did the other side. Right now, we stave each other off with tons of nukes pointed at one another. Oh, sure, they are dormant now, and the escalation is way down from where it was in the 60s and 70s, but they are all available to use when and if needed. As far as nature goes, I am far less the expert, but when too much ground water is tapped, we have sinkholes. When too much over fishing is done, other species suffer or die off. If there is so much of a counterbalance in a force of good, my concern is when the opposite of Nathan shows up.”
There was a quiet pause over the panel for a moment.
Adia walked from the kitchen with her glass of water and set it down on the coffee table.
“Would you care to elaborate further on that, General?” Mark asked to try to re-engage the conversation that stopped.
“There are two major issues on this point; let me start with the first one, Nathan himself. What if the power goes to his head? What if he suddenly does decide he is bigger than all of us and decides protecting isn’t enough and that he should rule? How can we possibly defeat someone so powerful?”
“His powers are not absolute,” Senator Kelly chimed in. “He confided in me that fact, and I hope he’ll forgive me if it was something he wanted kept more confidential. He never explicitly identified as such but… he indicated that his powers are… regulated, to a degree. He basically said, they were granted by the Greek gods. He knows this although he never explained how, and freely admitted he’s never seen or met any of them. Since he’s indicated that much, I believe that if these beings decided to intervene in such a way, to try to affect without directly getting involved, that they would also have a way to intervene should he become a direct threat.”
“What makes you so sure?” the General asked.
“Faith,” Senator Kelly responded. “It would seem to me that if they desired, these beings could directly involve themselves as they did millennia ago. For whatever reason, they left and decided to stay gone, as far as we’re all aware. Who knows if they indirectly influenced things along the way? We’ll never know for sure unless we could communicate with one of them. At the end of the day and for whatever reasons, they have decided to act in this manner through Nathan. From what I seen, in such an ordinary man, they have found someone extraordinary.”
Adia smiled. Her thoughts drifted to the last time she saw Nathan and the day he said goodbye. Tears welled up in her eyes.
“Excuse me,” Mark said, moving his hand up to his ear piece. “We are getting word now that there is an emergency at the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant. We are going to interrupt our broadcast… Stacy Martins for the local affiliate is on the scene. Stacy… we are live to you.”
“Yes, good evening Mark. Details are sketchy at the moment but apparently there was an issue earlier with one of the reactors and its cooling system. About an hour ago, the criticality level changed from Site Area Emergency, which is an issue that is contained within the site boundary, where no action is needed by the general public, to General Emergency. With that enacted, the evacuation order was initially given for the two inner zones around the plant, but that now has been escalated and emergency sirens have gone off. I have unconfirmed reports that containment loss may occur if they cannot get the situation remedied in short order.”
“Come on Nathan…” Aida said aloud. “Show them what you’re made of.”
Persephone stood in the garden by the reflecting pool on Mount Olympus. She smiled upon the chaos that was occurring on the scene. With the crisis at the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant escalating, Zeus and Hera also arrived.
“Fancy seeing you here daughter,” Hera disparaged while walking around the far side of the reflecting pool.
“My hand is not in this, as it is, of course, forbidden,” Persephone said feigning a smile to her and then turning to her father. “I am, of course, as equally surprised to see you here, both of you. It’s unusual to see either of you at the reflecting pool at all, let alone together.”
Zeus said nothing but only looked down into the pool at the scene.
“We all feel it too; I do expect you to realize that,” Persephone said looking at her father. “The hero Nathan is pulling power from this realm, and through all of us, as you commanded, father. We know when something is amiss. You may feel it first, but we know it too.”
Adia continued to watch the scene unfold on the television when suddenly Nathan appeared on the screen, landing in the background of the shot with the reporter. She clasped her hands together and prayed.
“Yes Mark, it does appear that Nathan has arrived.”
“We have confirmation here as well,” Mark responded. “We are getting the automated telemetry feed information from Nathan’s Computer Central network. As viewers might be aware, since enabling the Computer Central network a few months ago, Nathan makes available to all news reporting networks, via the AP feeds, all and any pertinent information for any major emergencies. You will see this information on the right side and bottom of your television screens at home. From time to time as well, the view on the screen may break away from our network control to live feeds that Computer Central provides. Nathan has maintained that he does this in an effort to provide clarity and transparency to anything that he is doing in the public interest.”
The camera in the studio zoomed out to show the entire panel and then the shot went back out to the reporter on the scene. Almost immediately, the shot then cut away to a raw feed from Computer Central.
Nathan entered the facility and raced toward the reactor core.
“What’s the status of the core?” Nathan asked as he reinforced his personal shielding as Captain Delta.
“It will go critical. It will need to be evacuated.”
Nathan moved quickly to the area of the core. “Looks like I am going to have to pull the same move I did with the shuttle; I’m going to need to extend my own shielding and then move this whole unit.”
“Affirmative; you will not be able to contain the reactor once the critical level is reached.”
“I might have been better served today to be Mister Atomic; he could have simply absorbed all this radioactive energy until it became inert.”
“Confirmed,” Computer Central responded. “The known quantities of nuclear and radioactive material onsite Hanford Nuclear Power Plant are within Mister Atomic’s capabilities to neutralize.”
“I’ve learned not to second guess the compulsion to don one shirt over another,” Nathan responded while he focused and extended his personal force field around the failing reactor core. The action sheered electrical circuits and crushed much of the supports and the surrounding super structure. Once fully enveloped, he strained to raise the enveloped material while he gravitated alongside. “How far,” Nathan asked, straining under duress, “do I have to get this into the edge of space to jettison it completely out of orbit and Earth’s gravity well?”
“Scanning the mass of the matter you are now raising based on density. Scanning… Sending the information to your wrist monitor. It is based on the readings I have. I have added twenty five percent to the weight calculation and the speed requirement based on the read out. You will need to reach that altitude and speed away from Earth to send the matter away successfully. I have also plotted a course to allow it the best trajectory towards the sun.”
Nathan looked quickly at the display. He continued to strain as he raised the material. “That exceeds the highest altitude I’ve ever attempted as Captain Delta.”
“Affirmative; by 313 percent. It is within the parameters of the character’s abilities based on the fictional accounts of his powers.”
“Yes,” Nathan responded, continuing to lift the mass, under pressure, “nothing like the words ‘fictional accounts of his abilities’ to instill my personal confidence.”
The emergency crews on the ground watched the major portion of the reactor complex lift and leave the site within Nathan’s protective shielding.
“Segmented portions of Captain Delta’s powers are derived from willpower,” Computer Central responded as Nathan continued to lift the radioactive materials and the remnants of the reactor tower and core skyward. “Your supply of willpower, to date, does not have an upper measure.”
Nathan continued upwards for several minutes in silent concentration at his best speed to reach escape velocity.
“Distance from ground?” Nathan called out, interrupting the silence, with his voice beginning to break.
“Twelve, point three miles.” Computer Central responded.
“Is the radiation leaking outside the shielding?” Nathan asked looking around.
“Storm clouds are forming out of thin air up here.” Nathan said as his tone shifted to concern.
“Analyzing… analyzing… conditions are not permissible for the formation of storm clouds at your location.” Computer Central responded.
“What?” Nathan asked slightly dazed as he began to slow his acceleration and move slightly lateral and away from his original position directly under the core materials.
Lightning strikes began to leap from cloud to cloud and then exchange down to Earth.
“The clouds should not exist given present conditions.” Computer Central responded.
Suddenly, Nathan grabbed his throat, gasping for air, with his personal shielding gone.
With the total loss of his powers, he began to plummet back to Earth with the reactor materials falling with him.
Nathan is back in New York City; the place where it all started, nearly one year later. While he has been away, he has been establishing a base of operations and trying to follow the direction his life has taken – making a difference and answering the call for help where and when he is needed.
He has returned to this birthplace of his powers with more questions of why he is on the path he is on and what is expected of him.
During a dangerous rescue, his powers dissipate, and leave him critically vulnerable.
He connects back with old friends who help him rediscover the man he used to be to in order to help him be the man he has become and the man who he must be.
Magical forces come into play, pulling on nature itself, which introduces an unexpected challenge to Nathan while he is at this perilous juncture.
The pendulum swings even farther out of alignment; it is up to Nathan to respond before forces are set into motion that cannot be countered.
Books and links
BOOK RELEASE ROAD-MAP (PLANNED)
As Life Goes: The End of the Innocence – (expected November 2015)
As Life Goes: The Reunion – (expected April 2016)
As Life Goes: The Wedding (expected July 2016)
As Life Goes: The Funeral (expected October 2016)
I Hero: Untitled Book 3 (Expected first half 2016)
I Hero: Untitled Book 4 (Expected second half 2016)
I Hero: Untitled Book 5 (Expected first half 2017)