Prometheus Thy Name is Captain
Author's note: I'm an avid reader of comic books and I've always wanted to do a superhero story. I wanted it to... Show full author's note »
Meteors and ToiletsHis plastic white decontamination suit had torn wide open when he tumbled downwards into the dark crevice. The meteor that had landed in the deserts of Texas was the size of a small house; right now Eric Falkman discovered the house had a basement.
Rolling down the steep incline, he attempted to slow his fall by reaching out to grab onto one of the ledges that were inside the meteor. Instead, he only ripped the sleeve off the suit, and created a deep gash on his arm. But the cut was the
Like a cork, his body became too wide to fit any deeper inside the funnel like hole. His claustrophobia set in as his lungs contracted in his chest, refusing any attempt for air. He attempted to shout for help like a platoon leader but could barely manage a whisper. Sweat dribbled down his forehead, fogging the inside of his cracked helmet.
“Eric!” his younger brother’s voice echoed from above. What little yellow sunlight above him became blocked by his brother’s head. “Eric! Hold on! We’re going to get you out!”
Trembling, Eric forced himself to take in deep gasps of air. If he lost consciousness then he’d be trapped in hell forever.
Then it happened.
The walls of the meteor began to close in upon him. The sharp craggy rock walls, which had cut him up so badly before, were now attempting to finish the job. His legs were flattened like an animal under a tire as the crevice attempted to become one with itself again.
“Oh my God! Eric!” his brother’s face disappeared and the sounds of a scuffle found it’s way down to him. “Get off me! My brother’s down there! Eric!”
The scientist closed his eyes in morbid acceptance and bit his bottom lip. This would be it.
Then the meteor shut itself. He was alone in the dark.
But he was alive. Somehow he was still alive. Taking in a breath he checked to make sure it was so.
Yes, still breathing.
He moved his leg to find he still could. In fact, pain from the gash in his arm and even his broken leg was nonexistent. The inside of the meteor now felt like foam. No longer solid rock, the meteor parted way with his every movement. Reaching his hand outwards, the scientist discovered the rock was putty in his hands. It was unusual. Like moving through jello.
At any other time he’d like to analyze the situation. Try and determine whether or not the meteor had changed elements or perhaps being condensed meant the opposite in physics to this alien mineral.
But he was still claustrophobic.
With all his might he dug towards the surface, tearing his way through the rock. He couldn’t tell how close he was or whether he was even traveling in the right direction. It scared him.
To this very day, Eric never forgot the extraordinary occurrence of what happened next.
Rock around him shattered as his body magically propelled itself through the stone and exploded to the surface in a rain of minerals. Eyes stinging in the bright light, he saw chunks of meteor fly in all directions like a whale breaking water. A large piece destroyed one of the government’s cars as people scattered for cover.
But it didn’t matter. He’d made it up. In fact, he was still traveling up.
Eric looked down to see his body floating upwards. He shouted and tried to reach towards the ground yet only managed to flip himself upside down. No matter what he tried his body continued raising towards the heavens, leaving his brother, with the scientists, gawking below.
By the time Eric had begun to understand how the new magic worked he realized it.
He was flying.
“Dr. Falkman,” the President’s grip was firm but a bit sweaty. All the hands he shook after the incident in Texas were sweaty. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“The pleasure is all mine Mr. President,” Eric flashed a grin that his wife claimed made women swoon. She’d spent extra time that evening combing his brown hair to make it look just right for the dinner at the White House. It was nice to just be in public again. For over three months he’d been confined to a cabin in the deserts of Texas, having people who had no idea what they’re talking about attempting to train him to do something that had never existed.
“Hold for the cameras,” the President said. Eric turned towards the flashes, still holding the smile. It’d taken some getting used to, but at this point in time the media claimed he was bigger than Elvis, the Pope, and God combined.
“So tell me Doctor,” the President went on after the flashes slowed, “how is it to be a god?”
“Please sir,” Eric said. The cameras were still pointed in their direction. “I’m far from being a god. Even further from the one and only. Right now, I’m not completely sure what I am.”
“Well all the public needs to know is that you’re American, you’re smart, and you can freakin’ fly.” The President slapped his hand on Eric’s back. He could barely feel it. “Not to mention you and your brother are even writing a book on that meteor stuff. What did you call it?”
“Tifarium,” Eric said glowing with pride, “The mineral is like nothing we’ve ever seen. It can absorb energy, any type, and amplify it or influence it in any possible way. For me it changed my biology at a level where my cells themselves are…sorry. I’m rambling. My wife is always game to listen and I forget everyone else isn’t.”
“Where are the wife and kid?”
“My daughter needed to use the restroom,” Eric laughed, “she’s actually the most excited about using the bathroom in the White House. She bought a camera just to show the toilet to the class.”
“Kids, they get excited by the strangest things,” the President gestured for them to walk so Eric followed. “My youngest wanted to go to Disney World just to feel how Donald Duck’s feathers felt. Imagine his disappointment when he found out it was just like his stuffed bear.”
Eric laughed with him but found it hard to not stare. The man he was walking with was the head of the country. Even more they were talking about toilets and Disney World. It was unreal, he was certain no one in existence could’ve imagine this.
“So Doctor,” the President went on.
“Please, Eric is fine,” Eric bit his tongue. He just interrupted the President.
“How about Captain?” the President asked.
The scientist wasn’t sure whether it was a joke or not. Was the President insulting him because he interrupted him? He’d never been this self-conscious since grade school.
“Excuse me, sir?”
“Something the public relation yokels came up with. Sounds like a children’s cartoon, gaudy as hell, but after a poll people went for it.”
“Um, what, sir?” Eric was still trying to wrap his mind around what the title meant.
“We want you to be a symbol for this country, Eric.” The President smiled. “I’ll be frank, people are scared witless because of you. But we want you seen as representative for this country, not a 40’s monster movie character. So we put a star of your chest, dress you in a red, white and blue and you’ll be on cereal boxes and leather shoes. What do you say?”
“I’m going to be a superhero?” Eric asked, almost chuckling but thought otherwise.
“No, you’ll be a Captain,” the President waved at another group of paparazzi. Eric did the same.
It took him a few moments to wrap his head around it. Tonight he was having dinner at the White House, his photo was being taken every two seconds, and the President just asked him to be a symbol for the entire country. As outlandishly ridiculous as it sounded he could only find one question to ask.
“What does the outfit look like?”