by Stephen Shinn
"When powered up, he is simply known as Armor. ‘Genetic anomaly' is the term scientists use these days, no longer is it ‘mutant' or ‘meta-human' , as these terms have been deemed demeaning by those in politically correct circles. Not a great deal is publicly known about Armor, he has exhibited powers of flight, seems fairly bulletproof beneath his silvery skin, and has been witnessed tossing about automobiles while engaging the ‘super-villain' of the week, proving some form of enhanced strength.."
"However, it is fortunate to point out that Armor seems to have the best interest of the public at heart. His record of saving citizens and thwarting crimes has been nothing short of impressive in the first year of documenting his exploits. However, the property damage incurred by these out of control wrestling matches have driven insurance rates in the metropolitan area skyward, which poses the question of the value of these so-called ‘heroes'. The average middle income family can no longer afford to live in the city itself due to the rise in insurance rates."
"Like most of the super-powered community, Armor has declined invitations to be interviewed. The few bits of video footage seen in close-ups of Armor are breathtaking. At first glance from a distance he appears to be wearing a suit of high-tech armor. But upon review of the close-ups, the bright silver Armor appears to be his own skin. How this walking tank is able to fly is a complete mystery, that have baffled most experts in the genetic anomaly field. From the sound bites available on record, Armor's age is estimated somewhere from his late teens to early twenties."
"This is Chad Huffington, Channel 19 news. Back to you Janice."
"What a load of garbage..." Mutters Steve Ryan bitterly to himself, as he turns off his television and runs a hand through his short, dark hair. "All the lives I have saved, and THEY worry about the cost." Steve bends down and retrieves his pet beagle, and absently strokes his fur. With the physique of a linebacker at six foot four inches and two hundred fifty pounds, Steve is incredibly gentle with his dog.
"You know Beaker, these people don't realize what we give up in order to make this town safer. They have no idea how hard it is to hold a job, when you have to disappear constantly to go out and take down the next psycho who comes to town."
A warm glance from Beaker is assurance enough for Steve. "You're the only one who understands me Beaker, I can't even tell Christine yet. I mean, we're pretty serious, more serious than I have ever been before. She may be the ONE, I am almost sure of it. But how do you tell someone that you ooze this weird metal out of your skin and can bench press a bus?"
Another warm glance from Beaker brings a smile to Steve's face. "You're right buddy, if she is the ONE, it won't really matter." Steve sets Beaker down and heads for the door. "Crap, I am so late! See you later Beak!"
Steve races up the stairs to the roof of his apartment building.