[In-Character] Truth & Justice, Episodes 1-3

[This is my character, Hikaru Hirose, a.k.a. Mega-Rider II, eventually to be known as Victory Rider, trying to get her thoughts in order.]

Every time I think the world has completely turned upside down, it manages to invert itself in some new, unforseen way. I got into this mess because I acted on my conscience, because I was arrogant enough to think of myself as some kind of martyr shouldering a burden. A lot has happened over the past few days, and as more puzzle pieces come together I find myself asking some uncomfortable questions.

Through what seemed like a coincidence, I was among five people exposed to some mysterious substance, of which there is no trace and which I am now fairly certain is intended to activate metahuman potential. I can’t even begin to contemplate the implications this could have for the world. With the exception of Dynamo–whose metahuman abilities were already active–we all show the same single genetic modification. It’s hard to believe it could be something so simple, but there it is.

My case is different from the others though. Rather than gaining inherent powers, I’ve become able to activate the Mega-Brace and take on Mega-Rider’s powers. I really wish I had the facilities to study it properly now that it can be activated, because it’s opened up a host of new questions. Dynamo (a.k.a. Glen) said he had been told that only men can become riders. I seem to be able to transform at will now, even though I take on a distinctly male form when I do. The first time the experience was completely overwhelming, and… I kind of threw up on Raz. The second time, when we were attacked by some kind of mercenaries, I fought exactly as Mega-Rider would’ve in the old days, even shouting out ridiculous attack names. (“Rider Press“?) The fact that I can transform suggests that either the thing about riders being all men is merely cultural nonsense, or something about my genetic makeup–whether being half-human or a side-effect of the metahuman triggering agent–somehow “tricks” a failsafe mechanism in the Mega-Brace.

In any case, I’m starting to understand the nature of the Mega-Brace a little better. Whatever it is, it isn’t just a tool to be used as you might a screwdriver or a pistol. I think it contains some of my father’s memories. It remembers how he fought and is passing that knowledge on to me. And if the differences between the first and second time are any indication, it’s already started adapting to my physiology. I can only hope that it will manage to adapt further and let me transform into something a little more like myself. I wouldn’t mind being taller, of course…

Anyway, five heroes. Or metahumans at least. At the moment, I don’t see a team, and I think I’m part of the problem. At first I kept wanting to strangle Raz; he just didn’t seem to understand the idea that words mean things. I was waiting for my chance to tell him off, to say, “We’re not your enemy, so why is everything that comes out of your mouth meant to hurt?” It was perfect in my head. But there’s more to him than that, and this evening I felt like I was being a jerk.

And, I didn’t want to get into this kind of thing. I spent a decade resenting my father for getting himself killed, and now I’m ready to go off and do the same thing. I kept telling myself that I’d consider being a hero only if there were innocent people that needed saving, but when we tore into those mercenaries I enjoyed myself. A lot. I remember reading somewhere that men get a high from seeing bad guys punished that women don’t… It’s all complicated.

The thing that had Raz suddenly becoming so quiet is probably the same thing that’s weighing on all of us. We have the proverbial jigsaw puzzle in front of us, and we’ve just uncovered a big, disturbing piece. The cloned mercenaries and the metahuman trigger substance both look like they’ve come from one man, a German supersoldier named Pinnacle. It looks like he wants to build a metahuman clone army, and for the moment we’re the only ones who can do anything about it. And he knows who we are and has at least some idea where and didn’t mind making himself known when Raz and Sam were out and about.

Glen called him a stone killer. A lot of superheroes have died over the years, but from what I’ve seen not too many supervillains are the type to just take a human life in cold blood without any hesitation. When I think about who we have, I really wonder if we’re ready to fight a monster like that. When I think about the things he could do to us… Human beings are fragile in so many ways, and someone with the knowledge and power to exploit that… Ugh. The worst kind of evil must come from being able to treat a person as though they were a thing. It would be convenient if I could just ignore Raz, but he’s at least as human than I am.

But wait a minute… If Pinnacle really wanted to wipe us out, he wouldn’t have let Raz and Sam get away. Sam can control water and Raz has super-strength and can reshape his body, but neither of them are anywhere near bulletproof. If he’s a “supersoldier” he could’ve hit Sam’s car with a lot more than a cigar. So either he wants something from us, or he likes to play with his food.

And there are still other mysteries. Sam’s former tag-team partner (which will Ryo be more excited about? Me being a superhero or me knowing a real live wrestler?) vanished. All those classified military files on metahumans. They can’t all be related, but I can’t help but try to unravel it all, even if it gives me headaches.

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