Caliburn: Bk. 001byIronDragon©
This is a tale set in the DC Comics universe of 'New Earth' prior to the 'Flashpoint' storyline. It's the DC Universe that I'm most familiar with, so that is where this tale starts. My character is original, whereas the other Superheroes and Heroines all belong to DC Comics. If you aren't a comics fan, don't judge. I just hope everyone enjoys the ride. :)
Chapter 1: Freefall
I fell through the sky after jumping from the X-98 Imp. Down through the night air I fell over Afghanistan. The wind whipped around me, and I felt the adrenaline pumping through me as I plunged towards the ground at breakneck speed. This was what I had trained for. This was one of the reasons I'd been recruited in the first place. Only this time, I was off the books. I was on a rescue mission. It would be tough, but I was confident in my skills.
Who am I? I'm Adam DeVries. My codename is Caliburn, and I'm a Checkmate Operative. I'm 5'11", 175 lbs of wirey muscle, medium brown hair and dark blue eyes. My spidersilk armored combat suit was dark gray and black and covered my entire body from neck to feet. My mask with Goggle attachment made me look like one of the Superheroes who wear the full masks to hide their identities.
I guess a little backstory is required about how I ended up in freefall over Afghanistan.
***FOUR YEARS AGO***
I was born in Santa Barbara, CA. I grew up in a fairly happy house with my parents. My father was a real asshole, but at least my mom more than made up for that. She was the sweetest woman in the world, and always made me feel loved. All in all, I was fairly normal. I had a part time job on weekends. I took martial arts training, paid for by my dad at first, then me after I discovered how useful it was.
That was before my father came home one night in a drunken rage over some bullshit at work and took it out on my mom. I was 18 at the time, and was well into my Senior Year of High School. It was the week of Senior Prom when it happened, and I was thinking of calling Jenny Saunders to see if she would go with me. Mom and dad had already volunteered as Chaperones for Prom
All thoughts of Jenny disappeared when I entered the house, though.
He had started beating her without warning, calling her all sorts of names while pounding her face to a bloody pulp. When I'd gotten home that night from my Jiu Jitsu class, I could hear the sickening thud of his fist hitting her face and body over and over. I sprinted around the corner into the kitchen, and mom was laying on the floor in a pool of her own blood. I looked up at my father and saw him turn to grin at me sickeningly. His fist and face were covered with mom's blood.
"Your bitch of a mother didn't have my dinner cooked all the way when I got home!" He explained in an insane voice.
That was when I felt the snap inside me. I had been afraid that something like this would happen, but this was beyond my ability to comprehend at first. Then I struck. Years of hand to hand combat training kicked in, thanks to my father wanting me to learn martial arts as a boy. No son of his was going to grow up to be a wimp.
That worked against him now, as I rushed him and grabbed. I shifted my weight and threw him away from her. She was still breathing, and I would be damned if I let him hurt her again. The snap inside me had shown what would happen if I didn't intervene and do what I had to do. I couldn't allow that to happen.
My father stood up and laughed at me. "Do you really think you can stop me, son?"
I didn't answer, but immediately attacked. I struck hard and fast, slamming my fists into his nose, solar plexus, and kicking him in the knees. He went down hard, and I put him in an armbar that dislocated his shoulder. I had him facedown on the floor and slammed my elbow into the side of his head. He stopped struggling, and I rose and ran to where my mom was.
"A..Adam?" Mom lifted a hand weakly to my face.
"It's ok, mom. I'll call 911." I said it as I pulled my cellphone out of my pocket and dialled.
Mom had fallen unconscious and into a coma by the time the cops and EMTs got there. I gave my account of what had happened, and they took my parents to the hospital with my dad being guarded by the cops along the way. I followed in my car and pulled into the parking lot to park. After I was finished parking and shut down my old Civic, I followed them into the ER as they brought mom in. The doctor shooed me away and told me to have a seat in the waiting room. I found a chair and sat down in a heap. I was physically and emotionally drained.
That was where I first saw her in person. She looked like Halle Berry, and for some reason, she was in the hospital in my little town. Her skin was the color of caramel and her eyes were the softest amber-brown I had ever seen. She was wearing a gold colored tanktopped leotard that showed off every curve of her gorgeous body, and I couldn't help but stare. She came over to me when she saw the situation with me accompanying my mom as my parents were being brought into the ER.
I sat in the waiting room as she walked up to me. "Hi, my name is Mari. Are you ok?"
I looked up at her. "Hey, I'm Adam. Yeah, I'm fine. My mom isn't, though."
"What happened?" She asked with a concerned look.
"My dad finally lost it on her. He beat her into a coma." I recognized her from someplace, but couldn't place it. I should have, though. I'd had a crush on her for years. That was how out of it I was at that moment. "Look, thanks and all, but do I know you from someplace? You look like Halle Berry." Then I saw the foxhead pendant at her throat. "Vixen! Oh wow!"
She smiled. "Yeah, that's me." Oh my God! A member of the JLA was sitting with me in the waiting room while the doctors worked to save my mom!
"What are you even doing here? Shouldn't you be off fighting some super threat to the entire planet or something?" I laughed in spite of the situation.
She shrugged. "I tracked down Prometheus here and brought him down. He was using a warehouse on the waterfront as his headquarters. He's being checked out by the doctors before I take him back to Blackgate."
"Cool." It was all I could say.
"Who was the man they brought in at the same time as your mother?" She asked.
"My... father." It hurt to even say the word. He wasn't my father anymore, as far as I was concerned.
"Did you...?" She asked, and I just nodded with my head down.
"You might have just saved your mother's life. You are a hero, Adam." She smiled.
The JLA member that I'd had a huge crush on for years had just called me a hero. That was a new high point in my life. I smiled at her. "Thanks, Mari. You're a hell of a hero yourself. I've heard about some of the stuff you've done, and even saw one of your fights on the News."
"I have an advantage, Adam. This totem pendant gives me the abilities of the animal kingdom. What you did, you did without powers." She placed her hand on my chest. "What you did came from in here."
Her touch was like a lightning surge in my chest that spread throughout my body. That was when I made the decision that I wanted to do what she did. I wanted to fight against criminals, terrorists, and anyone else who would hurt innocents like my mom.
"Thank you, Mari. I mean it. That means a lot to me." I smiled and covered her hand with mine. I squeezed it and she smiled at me.
"Adam DeVries?" The doctor asked as he approached us. I looked up at him.
"That's me, sir. What is it? Is my mom going to be ok?" I stood up and Mari stood with me.
"Your mom is in a coma, son. I won't sugar coat it for you. Your father really hurt her. She's stable for now, though." I felt the anger burning inside me.
"What about him?" I asked through gritted teeth.
"Your father? He's conscious now and being questioned by the Police." He told me. I pushed past him and walked quickly toward where my father was laying with the cops standing over him.
"Was it worth it, Frank?" I demanded with pure hatred in my voice. "Mom's in a coma because of you! Was it worth it?" I blindly shoved Detective Reynolds out of the way and my father's good eye went wide as I slammed my fist into his face again. "Did it make you feel like a big man, Frank? Did it make you feel good to beat your wife and the mother of your son until she was nearly dead!? You sack of shit!" I raised my fist again as he raised his hands to try and stop me. I slammed my fist down again, snapping his nose. I raised my fist a third time, but a strong yet feminine hand caught mine and pulled me back away from him before the cops could intervene.
When she'd pulled me out into the hallway, I spun on her, but she spoke first. "Adam, look at me. If you take revenge on him, you would be no better than he is. Calm down and let the police do their job. Ok?"
Her words stifled the anger and I saw she was right. I took several deep breaths to calm down. "Y..yeah, Mari. Thanks. You know, you're a lot nicer than I thought you'd be." I smiled nervously.
"I'm just a regular person like you, only with superpowers." She chuckled lightly, and I laughed along with her.
"Hell, Mari, if I thought you'd accept, I'd ask you to my Senior Prom this coming Friday." Nobody was going to believe this at school.
"Who says I wouldn't accept? When is it?" She asked.
"Umm, it starts at 6:30 Friday evening. Are you serious?" I asked with an incredulous smile on my face.
"Barring an emergency that I can't otherwise avoid, I would love to go with you to your Prom, Adam." Mari smiled and kissed my cheek. "Do you have a tux already? You look to be about Dick's size. He's a friend, and if you need one, I'm sure I can get him to let you borrow one."
"Ye..yeah, I have one already." I still had my tux from the last year, and had already gotten it altered to allow for my growth since then.
"Good. I hope you know how to dance. I like a man who can dance." She grinned mischievously like a... well, a Vixen.
I COULD dance. I was actually proud of that. In addition to my father's insistence on me taking martial arts classes, my mom had insisted that I also learned to dance.
I smiled, in more familiar territory now. I was able to stop seeing the Superheroine in front of me, and just saw the lady I was going to take to Prom. Her skin tight oufit that showed off a healthy cleavage between her breasts was only a minor distraction now.
"As a matter of fact, I can dance. I just hope I meet your standards, Mari." I smiled at her.
"I get the feeling you will, sweety." She smiled back.
"Ms.. err, Vixen?" A doctor called to her from behind her. She turned.
"Yes, doctor? Is my prisoner ready?" She asked, all business for the doctor.
"Yes, ma'am. We have him sedated still and the blindfold over his eyes as you ordered. We've checked him out, and he's ready to be taken into your custody." The doctor nodded and smiled nervously at her.
"Thank you, doctor. I'll be there in one moment." She nodded back to him, and he turned and walked back towards where the villain was being detained.
She turned back to me. "Do you have a cellphone, Adam?"
I pulled it out of my pocket and flipped it open. "Yes, ma'am. What's your number?"
She gave me her number and I programmed it in, then called her. She picked up and smiled as she saved my number in hers.
"Thanks, sweety. I'll wait for you to call, and I will be here Friday night for our date." She leaned up and kissed me on the cheek again.
I took a chance and drew her in for a hug. "Thanks, Mari. For stopping me from doing something I would have regretted for the rest of my life, and for being here for me."
"Anytime, Adam. Don't worry about it. Now, I have to get Prometheus back to Blackgate. I'll see you Friday." She smiled as she disengaged from our hug and turned to leave.
"See you then, Mari." I smiled at her as I watched her gorgeous butt walking away. What a view! She looked back and caught me watching, but only smiled when I blushed. She winked and walked back to where her prisoner was being held for her.
I ended up staying the night in mom's hospital room. I'd heard that people in comas could hear what people said around them, so I told her about dad being arrested and about my date for Prom. I ended up falling asleep on the little couch in her room after looking at my cell phone with Vixen on speed dial with her number. I smiled in spite of the whole situation of our first meeting.
Mom was still in a coma the next morning, and I had to go home to get ready for school. I told her I loved her and would be back after school let out for the day.
I got in my car and drove home fast. I showered and changed into jeans and my Batman t-shirt. I laughed at the irony, since I had a date with one of his team mates.
I barely made it to school in time for home room.
At lunch, Kevin Reynolds sat down across from me. "Sup, Adam? I heard about your mom, man. I'm sorry."
"No prob, Kev. It's not your fault." I told him. Kev is my best friend, and his dad is a Detective with the Santa Barbara PD.
"Still, I know this sounds wrong and all, but I hope your dad goes away for a really long time." He got a look on his face that said he didn't know how I'd react.
"So do I, man. Hey, I got a date for Prom, though!" I grinned. Kevin might not believe me, but I had to tell somebody.
"Jenny?" He asked.
"No way, man. WAY hotter!" I gloated a bit.
"Yeah, right! Jenny is one of the hottest chicks in school! Who is it, then? Leah Reilly?" He asked.
"Nope. She doesn't go to our school, but you'll meet her Friday night." I smiled. "I met her at the hospital last night."
Kev's dad, the Detective, had been the one I shoved out of the way the night before so I could punch Frank in the face. He'd witnessed Vixen intervene and our talk in ER.
Kev's eyes widened as he figured it out. "NO WAY! HOLY SHIT, DUDE!" Kevin shouted loud enough to get the attention of everyone in the cafeteria.
"Keep it down, Kev! Jesus!" I snarled at him.
"Fucking A, Adam! You got a date with a fucking Superheroine and you expect me to keep quiet about it?" He was grinning ear to ear. "Larry is gonna be jealous as fuck!"
Larry, our team Quarterback and all around asshole, decided that was a great time to walk up to our table. "What the fuck are you two dorks saying about me?"
With his blonde hair and blue eyes, chiselled Superhero type features, and muscular build, Larry Bradford was what every guy wanted to look like. Well, every guy but me. I was ok with my looks, since the girls still dug me.
"Don't worry about it, Larry. Kev is just going off because I got a really hot date for Prom." I KNEW Larry wouldn't believe me.
"Yeah, Larry. Adam scored a date with a JLA member!" Kevin grinned.
"Which one? Green Arrow? I heard he's as gay as you are." Larry laughed, and I laughed with him. Everybody knew I was straight, but with as many people as Larry accused of being gay, I was getting the feeling he had some latent tendencies.
"Shit, Larry. Everyone knows Green Arrow is married to Black Canary!" Kev educated our idiot friend. "Besides, my bro here scored a Prom Date with Vixen!"
"Bullshit!" Larry's eyes went as wide as Kev's had a few moments earlier.
I felt my phone buzz in my pocket and checked my texts. 'looking forward to our date friday. might bring a few friends. love, V' I grinned.
"What is it?" Kev asked, nodding at my phone. I showed him. "Whhhaaaaaattt?! Bring a few friends? Holy shit! I hope she brings Zatanna!"
Larry grabbed my phone and looked. His jaw hit the floor. "No fucking way, dingletard! No way in hell is that real!"
I snatched my phone back. "You'll find out Friday night, dipshit."
Larry just shook his head. "Whatever. I'm going with Rachel, so I'm gonna have the hottest girl there. Have fun with your cosplayer girlfriend, loser." He laughed it off and walked away.
I thought of my mom and called the hospital.
"Santa Barbara General, how can I direct your call?"
"Yes, I'm Adam DeVries and my mom Lynnette DeVries was brought in last night in a coma. Is there any change? Did she wake up yet?" I asked, hopefully.
"One moment, sir." She put me on hold.
"I hope she's ok, man." Kev patted my shoulder.
"Same here, brother." I nodded and smiled at my best bud.
"Hey, if you aren't gonna ask Jenny...." Kev grinned.
"Go for it, man. Good luck!" I punched him in the shoulder, and he went to find the girl of his, and used to be my, dreams. I now had a date with one of my dream girls.
The receptionist came back on. "I'm sorry, sir. The doctor reports no change in her condition."
I choked up a bit, but recovered. "Thank you, ma'am. I'll try back later." I ended the call, then brought up my texts and hit Reply to Vixen. 'looking forward to it here, too. may need a date for my buddy Kev. he asked if you could bring Zatanna for him. lol :)' I hit Send.
My phone buzzed about thirty seconds later. I flipped it open. 'i'll ask her. one moment'
'cool thanks!' I sent back.
A few minutes passed, and Kev got back with a rueful smirk on his face. "No dice, man. Shot down in a blaze of glory once again!"
"Hang on, Kev." My phone had buzzed again.
'Z says sure. she'll be there with me.' I grinned.
'thanks, V. I was joking, but thanks! Kev will appreciate it too' Sent.
I then showed Kevin the texts, and he just about shit himself.
"Wow, man. I.. I don't know what to say." Kevin was speechless for the first time in his life.
Kevin's not a bad looking guy from what the girls have told me. He's a bit on the geeky side for most girls, though. I somehow had a feeling that the Mistress of Magic would either love him or turn him into a toad. I was leaning towards the latter outcome.
"Just do me a favor and keep it on the DL, ok?" I asked.
"Yeah, man. No problem. Larry is gonna eat his own leg off Friday night, though." Kevin grinned like the Cheshire Cat.
"Good!" I said, then flipped my phone open again.
'will you meet me at the school or come over to my house first so I can drive you?' I sent.
'what's your address sweety?' I got back in less than a minute.
I sent her my address and she sent back 'kk see you friday at 6!'
"I wonder what kind of dress she'll wear. Probably something magical." Kevin was already daydreaming about his date.
"Dude, don't worry about it. Just come over to my place Friday after school with your tux. The ladies are meeting us there at 6:00 pm." I showed him the texts.
"Sweet!" He replied with another grin.
The rest of the day went as usual, with my mind mostly on mom, some on my date Friday, and some on school itself.
When class let out, Kev went with me to the hospital to see my mom.
We got to her room and sat beside her bed. "Mom, Kev is here too. We're both hoping you get better quick."
"Yeah, Mrs. D. My dad told me about what happened. Don't worry, Frank's going away for a long time." Kevin added.
"Hey, guys. I need to talk to you both." Kev's dad, Detective Mitch Reynolds said from the doorway in a voice just above a whisper.
"Sure, dad. C'mon, Adam." Kev got up and I squeezed mom's hand once before following.
Once out in the hall, Mr. Reynolds looked at me. "Adam, I'm not sure how to tell you this, but your father is dead. I'm sorry, son."
It was both a shock and a relief. "What? How?" I asked.
"Apparently he was bragging to some of the other inmates about what he'd done, and they shanked him on the recreation yard." He shrugged. "It happened at County after we sent him there."
That would have been just like ol' Frank. Running his mouth about beating his wife nearly to death. Served him right!
"Serves him right." I growled. I'd never liked my father. He'd been a decent provider, but he'd always had a history of verbal abuse towards me and mom. I looked at the shock on Mr. Reynolds' face. "What? He was an asshole who used to rail my mom endlessly over little shit. I'm surprised he never hit her before, more than anything. He's always had a temper, and was even worse when he drank. I'm not sorry he's dead." I meant every word of it, too.