Narrator: I think I should tell you a bit more about my childhood. Tell you how I became who I am now.
I learned how to read when I was 4. I wasn’t reading your simple “See Spot Run” books, because I found those boring. My mother taught me to read, by reading me Sherlock Holmes before bed. I was always enthralled by the mind of Holmes, how he could spot even the smallest thing that would change the entire meaning of the case. I admired his intelligence, and his desire to improve his mind. My mother continued to read with me right on up until... well, until she couldn’t any more. The only two Sherlock stories she never read for me was The Final Problem and the Adventure of the Room. I found out later that those were also the defeat, and subsequent return, of Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t read those until college. But I have to think that meant something.
My mother, Malia, started out as a mathematician, chemist and physicist, when she met my dad. She was widely recognized to be a genius. She was frequently featured in magazines praising her achievements. Her personal passion was getting young women into the STEM fields, combating sexism and the racial influences that prevented young people from thinking they were worthy enough and capable
Narrator: (cont) of achieving in these fields. She was dear friends with Johanna’s mother, Amerie, who was an engineer and molecular physicist. Their friendship mirrors the one Johanna and I have today. Amerie Lovelace disappeared mysteriously when I was 9, leaving only a note for my mother. My mother never revealed the note to anyone.
My father, Terrance, wouldn’t read me novels at night; he read me comic books during the early evening. He would take me to the comic book shop every week to buy the latest comics, particularly if Batman had a new issue. He loved the Dark Knight and the boy wonder, and he passed that love onto me. I still love Batman to this day. One year for halloween, my dad and I went as Batman and Robin. My mother was Batwoman. I still have this photo. I keep it framed beside my bed at all times.
Narrator: Another thing my father was good at was Chess. No one could beat him. The only reason he wasn’t a world champion was because he never entered a competition. He had an eye for tactics and maneuvering that would’ve impressed the goddess Athena. He carried that into his business practices as well. He was a shrewd business man, running the Redfield-Wade Collective from the time he was 22 until…
Narrator: (Cont) well, we’ll get there.
I remember one conversation with my father about Batman. I was 5 years old at the time. Uncle Jared and Aunt Amerie (as I called them) and Jo had just left after joining us for dinner and he was reading the Justice League on the couch.
Terrance: Yes, Jordy?
Jordan: I want to be a detective like Uncle Jared.
Narrator: A strange look passed over his face, and he set the comic down. He pulled me up to sit on his knee.
Terrance: Really? [lifting a 60 lbs child] Alright, up you get. What makes you say that?
Jordan: Well, I wanna be like Batman. Batman is the world’s greatest detective. I wanna be this world’s greatest detective.
Terrance: And why do you want to be the world’s greatest detective? What if you were just a really, really good one?
Narrator: He poked my nose, and I giggled.
Jordan: [giggling] Because I want to keep this city safe, just like Batman keeps Gotham safe. Just like Superman protects earth, but smarter. I want to make a difference, just like you and Mama have. Just like Uncle J does every day. He helps people. That’s what I want to do; keep people safe, and help them do the right thing.
Narrator: There was silence. I turned to look at my dad, and I saw a single tear roll down his cheek, but he was smiling ear to ear.
Terrance: You don’t know how proud I am of you, Jordy.
Narrator: He ruffled my hair, and then gripped me in a big bear hug.
Later that night, I heard my parent’s talking. I was on my way to the bathroom, and heard them in their room.
Terrance: I know he’s not ready, but I also know that he will be. I know he will rise to the task. We should make sure he’s ready.
Malia: It’s dangerous, Terry... you know that. This entire city is dangerous. Can’t we just... take him and live somewhere where there isn’t as much danger.
Terrance: You know we can’t, my love. I promised you I would give up when we had him, and I did. But this is still a part of my family’s duty. We are bound to this place. This is where we are sworn to protect.
Malia: [sigh, pause, then resigned] Don’t take him down there until he’s truly ready. You cannot tell him. He has to choose it for himself. We have raised him well, and I have no doubt he will make us proud. [pause] But what if what Cassandra said winds up being true, and we aren’t around to show him?”
Narrator: They went quiet at that moment and I carefully walked back to my room, and climbed into bed. I only faintly remember hearing that conversation. I didn’t know what they were talking about back then. I don’t know that I fully understand now.
The worst night of my life, the day everything changed. came when I was 10 years old. I had begged my mom and dad to take me to the store, even though they didn’t think it was a good idea. They were right… My mother, father and I were walking back from the comic book store. I was clutching a copy of the Dick Grayson Detective series, as well as some other Batman comics I had yet to read. My parents were laughing at how excited I was. The street we were on was dead. We had thought we were the only ones on the street, until three figures appeared from behind a tree. 2 of them were holding guns. I froze and my parents stepped in front of me. The man in the middle spoke.
Antonio: [using powers in speech] You will not resist me, Redfield-Wades.
Narrator: It was dark, and I couldn’t see his face. My parents visibly shook for a moment, before straightening up. My mother looked at me, and spoke.
Malia: [trying to hold it together] Jordan, I need you to run.
Narrator: I tried to run, but I couldn’t. I didn’t move. I was frozen to the spot.
Antonio: [evil laugh] Boys, secure Mr. and Mrs. Wade, please.
Narrator: The two masked goons with guns did as they were told. My father and mother didn’t put up any resistance. I couldn’t believe what was happening.
Antonio: Both of you, get on your knees. This is for what you did to my wife.
Narrator: They listened and the man put the barrel of a golden gun against my father’s head.
Terrance: Spare my son... please.
Antonio: Oh I won’t kill him, Terry. I may be a villain, but I’m not that evil. No, this is an eye for an eye situation.
Narrator: There was a loud, sharp pop, and my father fell to the ground, dead. The man turned to my mother and shot her in the chest. She fell down next to my father. Just like that, I was orphaned. Both my parents were gone in an instant. It took me about 30 seconds to realize I was screaming.
The man with the golden gun looked at me, and pointed his gun in my direction. I closed my eyes tightly. Suddenly a calm came over me, and I felt something break inside me, like a small green plant breaking through asphalt. I opened my eyes, and everything was tinted a bloody red. I held up my hand towards the man with the gun.
A sphere appeared around the gun and the man’s hand. I twisted my hand to the side, and the man’s wrist snapped painfully to the side. I squeezed my hand shut, and the sphere disappeared, along with the gun and the man’s hand. The man held up his now bleeding stump and let out a blood curdling roar. The two thugs took off running, and the man who formerly had owned a golden gun, turned and followed suit. A drop of blood fell from my nose and splashed onto the pavement.
I fell to my knees and began to weep from rage, sorrow and utter confusion. I couldn’t even bear to look at my father, so I
Narrator: (cont) kneeled next to my mother. She was still breathing, though her breath was labored and a constant struggle to maintain. She was looking up at the night sky, and then looked over at me. She held a bloody hand up to my cheek, and gave a weak smile. When she spoke, it was almost a whisper.
Malia: [weakly] Always... remember that I love you, and that we are... proud of you.... You have the gift... protect this city like your father did...but you must find your.... Find...
Narrator: And then she spoke no more. I wailed loudly, for what felt like hours. I cried all of the air out of my lungs, and screamed the energy out of my system. When I came to, I was in the hospital and Jared Lovelace was shaking me awake. He looked concerned.
Jared: Jordan? Oh thank god, you’re alive.
Narrator: His eyes were red, and puffy, like he’d been crying.
Jordan: Uncle Jared... where I am?
Narrator: I was loopy. For a minute, I had forgotten what had happened, like it was all a bad dream.
Jared: You’re in the hospital, Jordan... Oh, Jay, I’m so sorry…
Narrator: In a flash, I remembered what had happened. A tear ran down my face, but I didn’t have any energy to cry more than that.
Jared: I know you’re probably in the worst pain you’ll ever feel. I want you to know that Johanna and I are here for you. In fact, you’ll be coming with us, when you leave here.
Narrator: I looked at him, confused. He continued.
Jared: Your father... in the event of an emergency, he put me in charge of you. As his oldest friend, he chose to name me your legal guardian in just a case like... well like this one. [pause] Did you see the face of the man responsible for this?
Jordan: [sniffling] N-n-no. I didn’t. I mean, he had a black mask, but he was wearing a suit and had a golden gun.
Jared: [sigh] That sounds... well, I don’t know.
Narrator: He put his head in his hands, and then ran them through his hair.
Jared: Don’t worry, Jordan. My team will find him... I promise.
Narrator: I didn’t believe him. But I knew he would try. I chose to not tell him about my powers. I learned I was in the hospital for symptoms of exhaustion. I figured that using that power had probably drained me of energy, and that using it would be pointless unless I could use it without passing out.
I moved in with the Lovelaces. I shared a room with Johanna, who did her best to comfort me, when I woke up screaming in the night for the first month. Bless her... the best friend I could ever ask for.
I thought an awful lot about my parents, and what my mother had meant with her last words. I focused on the “protecting the city” aspect, but I was just a kid and didn’t think I could make much difference in the way things happened. At least, not til I was much older and a detective. My parents listed in their living will that ownership all of the Redfield-Wade Collective Companies and the Redfield-Wade Estate, would be transferred to me, effective immediately. I would have to attend monthly board meetings, and Jared would come with me and sign off on plans. I assumed it was with this collective they wanted me to do good, but I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with that. An business assistant was hired to assist me with the more complicated aspects of things. So I suppose I did exert a certain amount of control, but it was
Narrator: (cont) hard to determine the importance of certain aspects of business.
Narrator: Anyway, age 14 came along. I had started working out more and more, not wanting to be weak. At that time, I wasn’t growing any muscles, but I was always just a little bit stronger and faster than most other boys my age. I was getting perfect grades, and was focused. I was also a semi-popular, wealthy teenager, and therefore, I could not be antisocial. I had friends, or at least, I had classmates that liked me.
One day, I was walking home after School. Jo had to stay after to help the our friend Keiran with something in chemistry. Keiran was the only person who could go toe-to-toe with Jo in terms of scientific knowledge, so they complemented and agitated each other. They were in a strange but friendly competition and I got tired of waiting in the room. I decided to walk home.
While on this walk, I came across a group of older boy thugs picking on a boy, who looked about my age. It looked as though it was about to escalate to violence. One of the boys was holding a bat, and another was holding a knife.
In that second, I had a decision to make. I could go home, or I could do what a hero would do. If I left now, no one would ever have to know. I’m sure the kid would be fine... right? They wouldn’t be dumb enough to murder someone on the street... would they? I mean, this guy’s problems have nothing to do with me, so why should I get involved?
And then I remembered my parents, and in turn, I thought of Batman. I was, like Batman, an orphan. One day, I wanted to be the world’s finest detective, and today, I would make my first stand. I would not sit idly by and watch a boy my age get bullied and threatened.
Jordan: Leave him alone.
Narrator: I tried to use as much authority as I could muster. I stepped in between the bullies and the boy.
Thug 2: Well well well, if it isn’t spoiled little Orphan Annie! Aren’t we lucky, boys? Two for one special.
Narrator: The central bully was wearing brass knuckles. These boys couldn’t be more than 17. Where in the smooth hell did they get these weapons?
Thug 2: Step aside, rich boy. This doesn’t concern you.
Jordan: I can’t do that.
Alejandro: [hurt and quiet] J-j-just... you can just go, Jordan...It’s fine... I’ll be fine. It’s fine.
Narrator: I must know this kid from class. I couldn’t remember his name.
Thug 2: Shut up, faggot.
Narrator: I scrunched up my fist.
Jordan: [growl] Apologize to him, or you will regret it.
Thug 2: What, are you gonna fight me? Don’t make me laugh. You’re just a weak little rich bitch. You wanna stand up for your little boyfriend here? I bet you’re a little fag too.”
Jordan: [Real pissed off] Real original, jackass. Besides, don’t act like you don’t jack off thinking about your two friends right there. Too bad neither of them would want to be near you. Your breath smells like something the bottom of the sewer. Mouthwash, dude, you should use it.
Narrator: Probably not the best thing to say, but it wasn’t a lie. I observant, it’s kinda my thing. His friends were standing slightly away from her. Brass Knuckles took a swing at me, and I suddenly remembered that I didn’t know how to fight. I ducked back, the blow narrowly missing my cheek. I shot my fist up toward his chin, and it connected. I could’ve sworn I heard my hand splinter on contact with him. I let out a cry of pain, and clutched my hand. Great, real strong.
Brass knuckle boy turned his head, and spit out a little blood. I’d made some sort of cut in his mouth. He used my moment of distraction with my hand to deliver a quick gut punch, causing me to bend forward. He put a hand on the back of my head and drove his knee up into my chin. His knee caught my nose instead, and my head flew back and landed on my back. I was seeing stars.
The 3 boys began kicking me. The pain was intense, and my nose was bleeding profusely. I definitely also had a black-eye. My hand pulsed and throbbed. I just wanted them to stop.
Dean: Hey, big guy.
Narrator: Brass knuckle boy turned around to see who called out, and I looked up to see a boy deliver a kick to the Brass Knuckle’s ear. He spun around and hit the ground. The new guy delivered an elbow jab to the boy with the bat’s solar plexus, which he followed with a the backside of his fist hitting bat-boy in the nose. He grabbed the bat from the stunned bat-boy, and swung it at Knife-boy, clocking him in the cheek and knocking him out. He swung at bat-boy and knocked him out as well. In about 10 seconds, all 3 boys were taken on by this boy. I stared in awe and admiration at this guy. He was about 16 years old. He had chestnut-colored hair and emerald green eyes.
Dean: Hey, you okay?
Narrator: I nodded. But was a little too dizzy to respond.
Dean: You are equal parts brave and stupid, aren’t you?
Narrator: I tried to get back on my feet, but had to take a knee.
Dean: [suspicious] Will you be okay? You are kind of bleeding from your head.
Narrator: I touched my eyebrow and realized I was bleeding. Good god, that was upsetting. I still nodded at him, but this time I finally spoke.
Jordan: Yea, I’ll be fine... Who are you?
Dean: My name is Dean. Dean Morrighan. And you?
Narrator: Of course it was. What a dreamy name. Pretty name for a pretty face.
Jordan: Really? You don’t recognize me?
Dean: Can’t say I do, but then again, you are bleeding from the face.
Jordan: I’m Jordan. Jordan Redfield-Wade.
Dean: Cool. Well, kid, if you’re okay, I’m going to head off now. Stay out of trouble, alright?
Narrator: And with that, he turned and walked away, pretty quickly. In my mind, he left little clouds of dust behind him with how fast he ran. What an angel of mercy he was.
I turned and looked at the boy I’d taken a stand for, but he was gone from my sight. But you know who wasn’t out of my sight? A very agitated Johanna, her dirty blond ponytail trailing behind her.
Johanna: Oh my god, Jordan?! Are you okay? What in the sweet actual hell happened out here?
Narrator: She knelt by my side and helped me stand up.
Jordan: I... well, I took a stand on something.
Narrator: We started to walk together, starting to cross the street to get on a bus or something.
Johanna: Are you out of your goddamn mind? I saw you trying to fight those goons from the classroom. They were seniors, J, SENIORS. And might I add, buff ones at that? Were you trying to get killed? They had a bat and a knife. Also, where did that kid even get brass knuckles? You could have been-
Narrator: Jo’s words were drowned out by honking. A car was careening for us, and both Jo and I saw it. Just as the car was about to strike us down, I blinked and when my eyes opened, everything was tinted red. I held up my hand. A red forcefield appeared around myself and Jo. The car collided with it, it’s hood buckling into an unusable heap of parts. I felt a pain in my chest as this happened, and I immediately blacked out.
While I was out, I had a dream. I dreamed I was sitting in the graveyard, near my parents headstones. My mother and father were with me there. My dad has his hand on my shoulder, and my mother was holding my hand.
Malia: Darling, you have to go back. Wake up.
Jordan: Will I ever be able to use this power without it killing me?”
Terrance: Go home. Center yourself, and find the strength within and below.
Jordan: Below me? What?
Malia: There is power in the soil of ancestors.
Narrator: My mom kissed my forehead, and I woke up.
When I came to, I was in the hospital again. I had stitches slightly above my eyebrow, and and IV in my arm. Jo was sitting beside my bed. When I woke up, she started, and tensed up in her seat. I thought that was a weird reaction to her seeing me awake from fainting.
Jordan: Hey... how long have I been out?
Johanna: [trying to hold stuff in] Um... about an hour… [pause, then outburst] So… okay. What the great white fuck was that thing you did?
Jordan: What thing?
Narrator: I asked, having a genuine bit of difficulty remembering. I was still feeling pretty hazy.
Johanna: [searching for words] That damn... Bubbly thingy. The forcefield...
Narrator: I suddenly remembered, and then it was my turn to start tensing up.
Jordan: It’s... uh... it’s nothing. I’m just crazy.
Johanna: [excited, but a low whisper] No no no, you’re not. Because I saw that thing too. It’s obviously a forcefield of some kind. How did you do it? And for how long have you had this power?
Jordan: It’s nothing... nothing at all.”
Narrator: I lied. Johanna gave me that look, the look that told me if I didn’t stop lying to her I may wind up in a body bag. Growing up together as best friends, I’d seen this look more than once. This time, however, I was spared by Jared charging into the room. I was too tired to really react. Jared nearly tore the IV out of my arm pulling me up for a hug. I groaned, and he loosened his grip.
Jared: Don’t... scare me like that... ever again. [pause] They couldn’t tell me what happened. They just told me that you were in an accident and that you were bleeding.
Johanna: “To be fair, he was bleeding before the...”
Jordan: [clears throat]
Johanna: I mean, after I pulled him out of the way, he hit his head on the sidewalk.
Narrated: Jo paused, trying to figure out if she would rat me out. She normally didn’t, but she was mad at me at this time.
Johanna: Actually, Jordan decided it would be a good idea to fight some upper classmen. As you can clearly see, they really fu-, I mean, screwed him up.
Jared: [to Jordan] Why were you fighting people? You were always the gentle kid.
Jordan: [sigh] They were beating up a kid in my grade. I don’t know that guys name, but it looked like they were going to really hurt him this time. I couldn’t just let that happen. I know it was stupid, but it’s what my dad would have done.
Narrator: I saw a flicker of pride cross Jared’s face, but it faded into a stern face.
Jared: That was reckless. You don’t know how to defend yourself, let alone another person.
Jordan: I agree, and speaking of that… I think it’s time I start taking some private martial arts classes. If I’m going to become a detective, I should learn to fight now. Give myself a leg up, you know?
Jared: Only if you promise to not go challenging all the random school bullies. Good god, what if one of them had a knife?
Johanna: Oh, one of them did, and a bat. Brass knuckles too, which I thought was real weird.
Narrator: She trailed off and rolled her eyes.
Jared: I’ve got to talk to the doctor, see how long they want you in bed. You both stay here.
Jordan: Um... Jared… where exactly am I gonna go? I’m attached to an IV.
Jared: Oh, right. Forgot for a second. You’re not going anywhere.
Jordan: Look Jo, I’ve had this gift since my parents died. I don’t use it, because it makes me exhausted. You see what that one shield did to me.
Johanna: Okay... this is so... weird. I mean, I know all those superheroes from your books were your idols, but they were fictional. I wonder... Do you think this kind of thing is genetic?
Jordan: [shrug] Honestly, I have no idea. I don’t know why they wouldn’t have used the powers that night to save their own lives.
Johanna: Hmmm, that is a good question. I just... I don’t think it’s smart to have this thing that you can do if it hurts you to use it. It could do a lot of good, especially when you become a detective.
Narrator: I was hearing her tone and identifying a part of it, the part that indicated she was hatching a plan.
Johanna: Well, I guess you’re going to have to train. I’m going to try to look into this and see what the power is drawing on. If we can figure out that, we’ll know what to train.
Jordan: But why though? Why are you helping me with this power?
Narrator: For the briefest moment, Jo looked offended I would even ask her that. She’s my best friend, of course she’d help me. Jo put her elbows on her knees, and ran her fingers over her nose and forehead, letting out a huge sigh.
Johanna: Because you saved our lives today. You saved that kid today. You risked your own life to try and protect someone who needed it. If that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is. If that’s what’s needed to be a hero, then I want to help.
Narrator: I got out of the hospital that night, but my hand was in a cast for another week or so. I’ve always healed relatively quick. In that time, Jo did her best to research the occult origins of my power. She got frustrated because it wasn’t scientific, but a lot of ancient superstitions. So she made up her own theory. The night my cast came off, Johanna came into my bedroom and sat at my bed.
Johanna: As far as I can find, Magic is just a special kind of energy being transferred, converted, and reflected. Our body stores energy in our cells and in our muscles, and things like that. You’ve only ever used your power in intense moments of stress, directly tied to adrenaline. Let’s see what happens if you try now. Sit on the bed, and make a bubble thingy around this baseball.
Narrator: I sat and focused intently on the ball. I visualized a sphere appearing. I saw the faintest glimmer of red around the ball and I pushed a little harder. I saw it appear, and I felt my nose begin to bleed. I dropped the field and had to take a breather.
Johanna: Alright... I have an idea, but this may not make a whole lot of sense. We need to go to the Estate. I read something about energy and meditation.
Narrator: I hesitated. I hadn’t really been back there since my parent’s died. Jo put her hand on my shoulder, and handed me a tissue.
Johanna: It’s okay, Jordan. I’ll be right there with you.
Narrator: About 30 minutes later, there we were at the Estate. As soon as I stepped through the front door, I felt something different about the energy. I sat on the staircase in the entryway. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
Jordan: I feel something here... I can’t explain it, but it feels strong.
Johanna: [said in a relaxing way] Alright, now I want you to breathe in slowly, and out gently. Picture tree roots going into the ground. Imagine your body is filling up through the roots with that energy you feel here. Just like a plant.
Narrator: I visualized the energy, and what’s more, I felt it fill my body. It felt... Red. The energy felt and looked distinctly red to me. I supposed that meant it was the right kind of energy. When I had just about filled myself, I opened my eyes.
Jordan: I think I’ve got this.
Narrator: I held my hand up, and imagined a red orb appearing in my hand. It replied without question and without resistance. My eyes glinted red slightly. The shield’s surface was a swirling mass of rich red energy. I smiled and expanded it, moving it to float near Jo. Johanna reached out to touch it, and it responded by slightly shocking her hand.
Johanna: Ow! Hey, watch it with that thing! Okay, see if you can solidify the outer shell.
Narrator: I pictured the shell of the orb start to solidify. It obliged and Jo grabbed it and squeezed. It held it’s shape and then I closed my hand, and it evaporated.
Johanna: Well I’ll be damned. It was solid. Like diamond solid.
Jordan: That’s good to know. I feel like this will come in handy at some point.
Narrator: I didn’t know how right I would be. I got myself several martial arts trainers that year. I took up meditation to learn how to control this energy inside me. I learned how to use every kind of weapon that peaked my fancy. My favorite was this dart attached to a long rope. I got very good at using that. I slowly amassed a bit of a collection of the darts. I kept up my training well into college.
Around age 18, I decided to take parkour, gymnastics, and circus acrobatics. To be honest, parkour made sense for me to do if I was going to joint the police force, but acrobatics and gymnastics were added on because I was reading Dick Grayson: Origins. It just sort of seemed right.
I never wound up seeing those bullies again, or the kid they were picking on, but in my Junior year at Ark University, I met Dean again. I was taking police academy classes at night, and he was in my classes. I was immediately quite taken with him, especially since he’d only gotten more handsome with time.
Narrator: Oh right, important facts about my life. The same year I learned how to use my power was the year I came out as gay to my entire class. Jared handled it well, probably because Johanna told him she was a lesbian when we were like, 8 years old. So, yeah. That’s probably important for you to know I guess.
So when I encountered Dean again, I was more confident. I asked him out on a date. He didn’t respond at first, and I had thought I’d made a mistake. Perhaps he wasn’t also gay? Then he smiled, and accepted. We went to an Italian restaurant in Revenant Heights called La Gardenia, and then we went on a moonlit stroll down by the piers. That was where he kissed me for the first time. It was mindblowing, and all I could do for days after was smile. I was the luckiest guy in the world.
We dated for 6 years after that. We both graduated from college, the police academy and joined the force together. I left the force after a year, having done enough time to go into private detective work, but he stayed on and Jared promoted him for his excellent work. Dean was my best friend and I loved him with all my heart. I could tell most days that he did too, even if we fought every once in awhile. I had to keep
some secrets though, about my powers. I’d started getting cases that required some things that weren’t specifically above board and I would have to keep them from him. The secrets for him were a real issue.
We almost moved in together. I was about to propose to him the day we broke up. The day he... well, the day he cheated on me, with some lame looking white guy with greasy hair and weird eyes. There was something familiar about him, but I was too heartbroken to see past the basic fact that the love of my life was quite literally inside another man. I stood there and watched as they finished the act. They noticed me when they had finished, and Dean looked confused and out of it. I was crying and I ran as far and fast as I could. I stopped speaking to him, and I avoided the station for months after that.
About 4 months after that, I was in my detective agency which I had named “HawkEye Detective Agency.” My agency was across from Johanna’s job at RWC’s Blackburn Labs. Jared, who was now police commissioner, was delivering paperwork after I’d helped him locate a runaway teenager. As soon as he left my agency, I heard a commotion outside the store. I jumped up and ran out the door. I saw a crazed looking man with a gun. He looked high as a kite. He was pointing the gun at Jared’s chest. I was able to reach out my hand in time to block the first shot with a field, but the second shot hit Jared in the shoulder. Jared fell back and hit his head on the pavement, knocking himself out. The man started to run, but I placed a forcefield in just the right spot for him to trip on it. That made tripped and also knocked himself out on the ground.
I got out my phone and pressed the speed dial button for Johanna, but I saw her running to her father’s side.
Johanna: Dad! DAD?
Narrator: She was screaming, but she didn’t touch him.
Jordan: Jo, careful. It hit his shoulder, and the bullet is still in there. Call 911, and then I have an idea.
Narrator: Jo called and gave the location. There was no one outside, because it was pretty late in the afternoon on a wednesday, during the middle of summer, in college center. I looked at Jo and nodded.
Jordan: I think I can pull the bullet out, and make the wound patch itself up.
Johanna: “How?! What?”
Jordan: “The night my folks died, that guy lost a hand. I vaporized it, and the gun along with it. I think I can do the reverse of that, and piece Jared’s shoulder back together, atom by atom.” I said, with confidence I didn’t quite have.
Johanna: J, I love you, but I don’t think this is the time to be testing these kinds of things out randomly.” Johanna was in full on panic mode.
Jordan: Jo, I love you, but we don’t have a choice. I have to try.”
Narrator: I held my hand out above Jared’s shoulder, forming a small shield over the wound. I closed my eyes for a second and envisioned what I wanted to happen. Slowly, the bullet disintegrated and the wound patched itself together. The veins that had been broken rejoined, the muscle was sewn back together. A drop of blood fell from my nose. That hadn’t happened in a long time. Turns out healing gunshot wounds with minimal practice meant I would expend a lot of energy. I noted that I would need to refill my energy storage soon.
Narrator: I grabbed the handcuffs from Jared’s belt and ran over to the criminal who had shot my adoptive dad. I snapped the cuffs around his wrists. I made him look at me, and he opened his eyes. I heard the siren’s wailing towards us.
Jordan: Okay fucker, who sent you?
Narrator: The man did not reply, he simply gazed ahead. His eyes were unfocused and his head lolled from side-to-side like a drunken coconut. I didn’t smell alcohol on him, but I did smell a strange perfume-like smell. I couldn’t place what the smell actually was, but I knew it was there. I had smelled it before, but I couldn’t remember where.
I let him drop to the ground as the ambulance turned the corner. I made my statement to the cop about the man attacking Jared and being on some kind of crazy drug. I recommended Jared get checked for a concussion. Later that day, he would be sent home and told to rest for a day or so. I went and meditated at the Estate, restoring my energy, and then I went home to the apartment I shared with Johanna.
When Jo came home, I sat her down, and we had a chat about what I saw as inevitable.
Jordan: Jo, this is going to sound insane, I know, but I’ve thought about it a lot. I don’t know what prompted today’s shooting, but I don’t think it had to do with Jared exclusively. I think whoever sent that man, because of course he was sent the, was coming after me. They were looking for a way to hurt me in a way I’d never recover from. Regardless of that, this was a shooting in College Center. Violent crime and attempted murder are usually contained to Revenant Heights and the Harbor.
Look, I’ve told you before that my mother said I needed to defend and protect this city. Well, I think I’ve started to let her down. This is the exact kind of thing she wanted me to prevent. This city needs something else, something to hold it together and defend it. Something to remind them that there is hope here, or maybe, that this city is worth it. But that thing can no longer put my family in danger. If anything happened to you and Jared… I need to protect the city, and the people in my life that I love. I need to become something greater than just Jordan, the young heir to RWC. I need to be something bigger and better... Something with a name that speaks of life and shadows. Something that strikes fear in the hearts of those who would hurt anyone in our city, and something that fills everyone else with hope.
Johanna: Jordan, are you suggesting…[pause] Jordan, are you saying what I think you are saying?
Narrator: I nodded gravely.
Johanna: You want to be a... vigilante crime fighter?
Jordan: Well… Yes.
Johanna: You know that’s illegal, right? And you know dad would kill you, right?”
Jordan: Look, you said it yourself remember: “I’m a hero” you said it when we were 14. 13 years later, here we are. End of the day, he would want me to defend this city with everything I have. I suppose I knew this day would have to come, where I would have to make this decision. What good is this power if I cannot use it to help people?
Narrator: Jo was silent for a few minutes. She looked at a spot on the wall just above the dresser, where a picture of us on our high school graduation day with was hung. Jared was standing between us, beaming with pride. He was in his officer’s uniform, I was in red robes and Jo was in white robes. I saw a tear roll partway down her cheek, before brushing it out of the way quickly. She stood up, and wrapped me in a bear hug. I hugged back, still unsure what she would say next.
When she let me go, and looked at me, she had a determined half smile.
Johanna: Well then you’re going to need me. Someone who can make sure you don’t get yourself killed out there. I have enough hardware and software to be your eyes and ears almost anywhere in the city.
Narrator: She got up and went to her computer.
Johanna: We’re going to need to make some purchases. And…”
Narrator: She got up and grabbed the graduation photo.
Johanna: You’re going to need a suit. I’m not much of a designer, but I know you and I think I have an idea of what you need, in terms of tech. It’ll take a few days, but I think you’ll be pleased with the result. There is just one last thing…
What’s going to be your name?”
Narrator: I thought about it for a moment. I looked at the photo from our graduation. I thought about the color of my force fields. And I thought about Batman and Robin. I’m not jaded and revenge-y enough to be Batman, but I am no one’s boy wonder. And then it came to me. What Dick Grayson became after Robin was Nightwing.
And then another memory hit me like a brick. I ran to my room, and pulled an image out of my drawer. It was a illustration of my family crest. The night before my parents died, my dad had shown me the family crest. It is an image of a blackbird with a red and gold wing bar and crimson feathers scattered amongst the obsidian ones. The bird was in flight, shooting up into the sky, wings spread. My dad told me this bird is the Agelaius Phoeniceus, the Red-winged blackbird. And then then name I should choose, became obvious to me.
Jordan: I will be… RedWing.
Johanna: Why that name?
Jordan: [handing her paper, rustling] This is the family crest of the Redfield-Wades. It’s an emblem in homage to my parents. This should be at the center.
Johanna: Oh, I can work with this for a design. Give it a week, and we’ll have you ready to go in no time.
Narrator: A week later, Jo and I went to the Estate after dark. The suit was ready, and something about the situation felt as though it called for that location. Jo handed me the bag she’d brought the suit in. I went upstairs, while she stayed in the foyer. She sat and opened up her laptop. She figured tonight would be the first night I’d have to go out, and she would be my eyes and ears.
Jordan: How does it look?
Narrator: I called from the top of the stairs. Jo turned and looked up at me. Her jaw dropped, before turning into a wide grin.
The suit was made of pleather and spandex. It was mostly black, with a red and gold v-shape pattern on the chest. The chest and the abdominal region were protected with a red kevlar. The utility belt had my family crest emblazoned on it. My mask was your standard domino mask, but the eyes were angled like a venetian mask with a red gem in the middle of the top. On my leg, there was a holster containing extra darts. On my utility belt, there was a spot for my special custom dart. My dart is a shiny black kunai knife with red etchings. My favorite part is that the handle is 2 circling gold wings. The little thing was heavy, and made with DarqueSteel. DarqueSteel is a hybrid metal that shines like Obsidian, but is possibly the strongest material known to the world. It is very rare, but of course I’ve had this one since high school. The rope was sturdy enough to take my full weight. No lie, I looked amazing.
Johanna: Goddamn, J… I don’t even have words. You look great. Maybe I should go into design.
Jordan: You really think so? I’m pleased with it.
Johanna: Here, take these.
Narrator: She passed me a little device for my ear, and a little thing that looked like a tooth cap. I raised an eyebrow.
Johanna: Oh, the cap is to distort your voice. Just so no one recognizes you. I mean, the hair is a slight giveaway, but I don’t know, I feel like people won’t notice. Anyway, that gem is a camera in the center of the forehead that I have access to. I’ll be your eyes and ears pretty much all over.
Jordan: Sounds good. You think we should test this out now?
Narrator: As I asked, her phone buzzed.
Johanna: Look at that, speak of the devil. 14 blocks from here, a mugging. Go for it, man. We’ve got this.
Narrator: I nodded, and opened the front door. Before I knew it, I was in the running down and ally and realized that it could be much safer to just be on the roof. For the first time, I used my rope dart to help me swing up to the roof. I ran along the rooftops. It was in that moment that I knew it was right. I was doing what I was meant to do. I am RedWing, defender Of New Ark City.