[In-Character] Truth & Justice, Episode 18

Things are really starting to get to me lately, and I feel like the old me would be better at handling all of this, but apart from an occasional moment of clarity, it’s just not an option. “Take one day at a time,” says grandpa, but each day feels like a month lately.

The Wild Rider I fought at the ceremony is (if we believe what he’s said) Ryo from about seven years in the future. The brace he wears appears to be the Mega-Brace from the future, but he says it was damaged, and repaired with components from the Wild Brace. I want it to not be true, for him to be some especially clever clone or something, because everything he says is scary and hurtful. Future Ryo hates me for “stealing his heritage,” and he’s a broken, ragged person, a survivor of two wars and (in his time) humanity’s last hope. And he wants to kill Raz, to keep him from going insane and calling down the shapeshifting aliens a second time. And the rest of the Gatekeepers, starting with me, get assassinated two years after the first war ends. It sounds stupid that I’m here thinking “I don’t want to die.” I mean, I knew there was danger when I signed up for this ride, and I never had a problem with jumping into the fray, but having it hanging over my head two years and six months from now scares the bejeezus out of me. And naturally, Future Ryo doesn’t know the details of how it happens.

And yet, the part that hurts the most is that he hates me. He’s known me longer than anyone, except for mom, and we always got along. And now it seems like it’s me — not even Victory Rider, but Hikaru — who’s going to totally fuck it up. I tried to talk to him about it, but I think it’ll have to wait for tomorrow. I hope I feel a little better tomorrow.

Oh, and we got to find out a bit more about Jack today. A monk — a Western monk in brown robes — just showed up at the door (and sunk into the ground when he left!). The Catholic Church had its own version of Project Perseus, and his family was part of a splinter group that broke off over believing that metahumans should be worked with, and science used. His parents were geneticists no less. So, there is a group withing the Church that wants to come after him, and now this splinter group wants him to do a mission when he gets back to America. I’m glad someone else’s past is going to be dumping stuff on us for a change.

And since coming clean about stuff was the order of the day, Razmus (who of late has been remarkably tractable and non-jerky, come to think of it) told the group something he mentioned to me the other day. Since he left that town in Colorado, he’s been hearing a girl’s voice in his head. She’d tell him what to do, and if he doesn’t do it he gets monstrous headaches. And joining us was one of the things she ordered him to do. Sam did hear her once, and I’m wondering if this third helix business has something to do with inheriting some of Razmus’ latent psychic potential.

There’s not too much time left before we’re going back to America. I really need to talk to Ryo. At this point time travel is all theory, but if he really is from the future, maybe we can change all this somehow. I sure got the kick in the pants I needed to actually sit down and talk to him. What else can we change? I don’t want to die, because I’d be letting too many people down. I don’t want Glenn and mom and Ryo to lose a second Rider, I don’t want to leave Razmus and Sam and Jack behind, and I don’t want to stop protecting the things that matter to me.

I’m not giving up without a fight.

That’s right. The old me and the new me agree 100% on this. We’ve come so far already. No surrender, no retreat.

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