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Every hero has an origin story. It’s a vital part to heroism- having something that drives you. There has to be a reason you want to save the world. No one rolls out of bed and decides to take down the biggest threat in the land on a whim. Yes, every hero has an origin story.
I am the only hero to have two.
I am Hero 1796-CE, your most recent loss to the villains. I watched the cheap memorial you held for me- the villains have Cams all around the city. It was touching, really, despite the lack of effort or expense from the Heros and the Chancellor. Many people in the audience cried as my replacement spoke a few words about how hard I’d tried. He told you I wasn’t good enough, in the end, and he hoped that he would be. The Chancellor burned my insignia. And that was it, I was gone. Or so you all thought.
I am broadcasting live directly into your homes. Your devices have all been hacked. You are being forced to listen to this, as is everyone else in Eliaz. The Chancellor cannot fault you for this, nor can he punish everyone in the country. Chances are that you are safe. So sit back, relax, and listen to the voice of a hero you thought was dead- a hero who is now more of a hero than ever.
I was like all the rest of the heros. My parents were weak- my mother was ill and my father had lost a leg in a workplace accident- so they couldn’t resist the villains when they came to kill them. They died when I was five, old enough to remember the pain but young enough to not remember everything. All my life, I was told that the villains had killed my parents.
After their deaths, I was brought to the Hero Center, a complex for orphans with the same sob story. Day by day, we were molded to be exactly like the rest. Our voices carry the same tone and cadence. We stand the same way, walk the same way, wave at you the same way. We can all bring any adult to their knees in a weaponless fight. We all wear the same bulletproof suit and carry the same model of pistol strapped to our hips. We do not have names, only numbers. Every morning, when we awoke, before we ate or ran or even got dressed, they would remind us all about our parents.
There were others my age, but I was the best. I beat them all at what we had to do. It’s not how you think a hero would find their way. I learned to rescue you by fighting my peers. I drew purpose from vengeance for my parents and putting myself ahead of all of the other candidates. I am not proud of how I became your Hero.
Nonetheless, I was chosen out of all of the kids at the Hero Center to become your Hero when I was thirteen and the last Hero died in action. I did as I was supposed to, and you all revered me. Even though I was still a child, I killed for you. I risked my life for you. In the end, I failed. I lost a battle and was taken captive. My weapons were taken away. I fully expected to be the subject of torture in an effort to find out the Chancellor’s plans, and I prepared myself for my inevitable execution.
None of that happened.
That’s when I began to see the truth. The villains captured me, but instead of executing me, they treated my wounds. They gave me a name- Celia, from the CE at the end of my number. I was attended to by a young physician, two years older than myself. He bandaged the wounds from my battles and put salve on my bruises from the HeroTrainers’ beatings and asked about the scars from my childhood, the many mistakes I made in training to become a perfect hero for you. I told him about my parents, about how the villians killed them eleven years ago.
He told me something strange in return, something I’d never heard before. This is my second origin story, my true one. This is why I came back to Eliaz- in the hopes of saving all of you. I am on the borders, hidden, waiting until I can rise. I will rise, and you will all be borne on my wings. Listen now to the truth about me, and the truth about you.
My parents were killed by order of the Chancellor. They were too ill and hurt to work for the good of Eliaz, and the Chancellor wanted another fighter with nothing to lose and a world to avenge. He sent soldiers to find families where the parents were deemed worthless, and he ordered the parents to be killed and us children to be kidnapped.
The people we call villains are the Resistance. They fight against the regime of the Chancellor to bring you freedom. How many of you are forbidden from marrying who you want? How many of your children are tagged for research? Are your workplaces safe? Can you even say what you want about the Chancellor? He is evil. Living in the Resistance, even when I was a prisoner, I was happier than I had ever been in the Hero Complex. There is true joy here.
There’s even a chance for true love. A month ago, I married the very same physician who bandaged my wounds. He is my choice. Mine. How many of you can say the same about your spouses? Here in the Resistance, we even choose who our leaders are. We can say what we want about the leaders and we are all better for it. I no longer wear the shackles of Eliaz, and I am here to free you in the same way.
So, people of Eliaz, rise. Stand up and fight your oppressors. They can only keep you imprisoned because they keep you apart. Together, you are more than them. Together, we are more.
I am Hero 1796-CE. I am Celia of the Resistance. The Chancellor would brand me as a villain, but I am here to tell you that he is the villain. Every hero has an origin story. You can choose what your origin story is. You can choose to be a hero. All you have to-
THIS BROADCAST HAS BEEN TERMINATED BY ORDER OF THE CHANCELLOR
THE CHANCELLOR HAS DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY
ANY SUBJECT NOT IN THEIR HOMES IN THE NEXT TEN MINUTES WILL SUMMARILY BE EXECUTED
HERO 1799-GL WILL BE PATROLLING THE WESTERN BORDER
ALL HAIL THE CHANCELLOR
ALL HAIL THE HEROES