[In-Character] Truth & Justice, Episode 6

I take back every good thing I’ve ever said about Raz. Right now he’s in the hospital, in a full-body cast, and I never imagined I’d have to avoid visiting someone in the hospital just because I’m too angry at them.

Today started with what has become a regular training session, except that halfway through he asked me to transform and go all-out. Now I think he was testing himself. It’s like he just can’t let go of the exceedingly simple notion that there could be someone better than him.

Anyway, I went downtown to run some errands — paying the rent and closing out my old apartment, and dropping off a letter for Sam — and that turned out to be the start of this bizarre day. Behind me at the bank was a massive man with an elephant head. No, I’m not joking. It turns out he was the metahuman known as the Elephant Man, there to rob the bank. At Glenn’s advice I tried to delay him, but there was only so much I could do. The thing about the Elephant Man (or “E,” as Glenn calls him) is that he’s incredibly stupid, and basically good-natured. The problem is he’s incredibly sensitive about his looks and extremely destructive when he gets angry. It turned out he was robbing the bank because a “poor lady” had asked him to, so she could “feed her kids.”

Glenn talked him into taking us to see this lady, and she turned out to be Swan. Apparently she was an opera diva whose voice-based metahuman powers ended her career. From there she turned to a life of crime, even using her voice powers to mind-control superheroes — including Dynamo — rob banks and such. And it was Mega-Rider, who was immune to her mind control, who saved the day. She’s now middle-aged and even more bitter.

We confronted her in her penthouse. She was not happy to see Glenn, and the feeling was definitely mutual. Things were going about as well as they could have, and then Raz got involved. At first his plan wasn’t too bad; he pretended to be Swan’s “son” and tried to provoke the Elephant Man (he even picked up a jar of peanuts somewhere).

Then, when Swan tried to use her voice powers on us, everything went all to hell. Raz use his full strength to punch her in the throat so hard she went through and out the window. On the 18th story. So, apparently in Raz’s demented little world bad people need to just die, and he thinks he knows how to always tell who the “bad” people are and will never make a mistake and kill someone innocent. I didn’t get to spend much time with my father, but I do remember him telling me that vengeance isn’t justice, and killing isn’t heroic. I saved that woman’s life, and I saved Raz from becoming a killer. Assuming he isn’t already. Is he just too stupid to understand that knocking her out or even just covering her mouth would’ve been enough? She has a dangerous power (or maybe I should say “had,” since he may have crushed her larynx), but physically she’s just a middle-aged woman.

The Elephant Man was mad at him too. I didn’t get to see what happened, but the two of them came flying out of the window, and E managed to land a second blow on Raz on the way down. Jack and Glenn managed to keep him from being crushed under the Elephant Man, which might’ve finished him off, but he was still exceedingly injured, like he’d been hit with not one but two freight trains. The last I saw of him, he was being carried off in an ambulance, and it looked like half the bones in his body were broken.

I want to say something like “serves him right,” but I can’t help but think that once he heals up — which he’ll no doubt do with infuriating speed — he’ll still be certain that he was in the right. It’s like what he really wants, as part of some deep instinct, is to just hurt people, and he convinces himself that since he’s doing it to “bad” people he must be doing good. Hurting the bad guy only matters insofar as it protects the innocent — and I’m sure his definition of “innocent” gets conveniently narrow at times too.

From what I know of Raz’s physiology he’ll be in the hospital for at least another week or two. A normal human would’ve been dead if they’d suffered the kind of trauma he did, and someone exceptional enough to have survived would need at least six weeks to recover enough to leave the hospital, and even then they’d probably find themselves taking painkillers for the rest of their life. After the way this past week has gone, I definitely need some time away from him.

I still need to call home. I keep thinking too hard about how to keep it from being traced back to me and running around in circles. I need to know what’s going on with my mother, and ultimately, I’m going to have to face up to what I’ve done. Every time I go out in public as Mega-Rider, more people see me, and more questions are going to be asked. Come to think of it, I’d better see if the press is saying anything about me.

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