Author: Superhuman42 PM
Nathan Thorn found Ring of the Ancients and became the superhero Arcman. Recruited into Sanctuary, he fights alongside Zaethis, Zadkiel, White Witch, AI, Poltergeist and Tattoo. The team protects New York City from a variety of threats as they discover love, justice, hope and what it is about humanity that they fight to protect. REVIEWS WELCOMEDRated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 37 - Words: 235,612 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 05-15-13 - Published: 12-04-12 - id: 3080040
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sanctuary Vol. I: Dawn of Superheroes
Arc 1: Welcome To Sanctuary
Issue 1: Enter Sanctuary
June 7, 2003 – 6:33 PM
Nathan Thorn ran across the Spring Desert towards the setting sun, chased by a pack of wolf-like creatures. He reached a steep slope and slid down into a wide ditch, falling facedown into the sand. He raised his head and brushed the particles of sand out of his brown hair and smooth, handsome face. Looking side to side, he saw that he was trapped in the ditch. His excavation team was nowhere in sight to save him. This was it.
"They said coming out to Utah would launch my career," muttered Nathan, looking into the eyes of the beasts. "They said the monsters were just a myth…Is it the ring? Did you want the ring?"
He waved his hands in front of the beasts who growled viciously. He was wearing a simple ring, just a simple gold ring that he had found at the dig site, an ancient castle situated among the silent sand dunes of the arid land.
"So uh, how about you take the ring and we'll call it water under the bridge?" suggested Nathan nervously. He observed the overgrown beasts with their engorged forelegs. They had shaggy red fur that matched their bloodshot eyes.
"Here's an idea," came a voice from behind Nathan. "We save your life and you let us superheroes take a look at the pretty ring, because I don't think these doggies want just the ring."
Nathan turned around and saw six costumed heroes floating in the air behind him. Trembling, he nodded his head. "Deal."
As if on cue, one of the beasts lunged forward.
"Let's get to work!" said one of the heroes as he moved forward. He was a blue-skinned man with blond hair donning a navy jumpsuit. He aimed his hand at Nathan and psychically lifted him into the air out of the path of the vicious beast.
The rest of the beasts growled menacingly and bared their fangs. The pack leader jumped forward at the heroes again. One of the heroes wearing black tights that covered his entire body vanished midair and reappeared several moments later behind the fiend, holding it up by the neck midair. The rest of the wolves jumped up to attack him.
"Lure," said a woman wearing a gray outfit matched with a butterfly mask of the same shade. She had a metal staff in her hand that was aimed at the pack. The encased crystal at the tip of the staff lit up and the creatures suddenly focused their attentions towards her. All at once, they charged.
"Aww, aren't you doggies cute," taunted a blond superhero masked in blue. "Too bad every dog has his day, especially in this dog eat dog world."
Nathan watched as the hero unzipped his black leather jacket and the image of a wolf appeared. The superhero roared and the wolf jumped out of the man's chest. It was a large, daunting beast that quickly set out to snap its fangs at several of the creatures that it towered over. Several of the beasts escaped the path of the wolf and chased after the hero. A pair of white wings exploded out from behind him and he flew up while a sleek metallic robot flew over and took his place.
"How many more barghests are there?" asked the robot, who spoke in a feminine voice. The red visor on her helmet lit up as she spoke. The barghests jumped forward with their claws extended, but were blasted away by several lasers on the robot's arms.
"I've got the last two here," the blue man answered, telekinetically suspending two of the creatures midair. An angel dressed in white flapped over and slashed the creatures, causing them to explode into a cloud of smoke.
The superhero dressed in black threw his up into the air and them floated into it. The alpha exploded moments later, and the superhero returned to stand by the blue-skinned hero, who appeared to be the team's leader.
"Civilian saved, monsters defeated…all in a day's work. I'm Zaethis, by the way. And this is Sanctuary," the blue-skin man said, extending his hand out to Nathan. Nathan shook his head.
"I'm Nathan Thorn, four-year archaeologist," said Nathan nervously. "Uh…Thanks for the save. Although I have to admit I've never heard of you guys."
The leather-jacketed superhero groaned. "He's never heard of us. Never heard of Sanctuary."
"Shut up, Tattoo. We have a reputation to uphold," the staved superheroine snapped. She stepped forward and said in a slight Spanish accent, "I'm White Witch. We're the superheroes of New York City. We sensed the activation of an artifact of the Ancients' and came to investigate."
"You're a long way from home, but I think your trip was worth it. My excavation team found a whole stash of artifacts at the castle we were exploring. Although I think what you're looking for is this little beauty here," said Nathan, holding up his hand to show off the golden ring sitting on his ring finger. He attempted to pull it off and found that it was stuck.
"Uh…I'd like to keep my end of our deal but it seems like the ring's taken a liking to me, I can't remove it," said Nathan nervously.
"Poltergeist, can you try phasing it out?" asked Zaethis. The hero dressed in black stepped forward and grabbed the ring. Nathan watched him fade, becoming almost completely invisible. The ring refused to budge and he solidified, shaking his head.
"My scans show that the ring's energy signature has synchronized with his bio-signature," the robot stated. "I wouldn't recommend its removal until further analysis."
"Does it really warrant an analysis?" asked Nathan.
"Hey man, we came halfway across the country because it set off our alarms, what do you think?" the superhero named Tattoo growled at him.
"It's not like we flew," White Witch grumbled at him. "I teleported us here."
"He's right though," said Zaethis. "The ring could draw in other threats or potentially harbor an adverse effect. Nathan, I have to request that you come with us for your own safety."
"But…my excavation team!" protested Nathan. "I have to go back and report my findings!"
The angel superhero gave Zaethis a look, who nodded. He turned to Nathan and said, "Zadkiel tells me that your team has vanished. We assume that the barghests at the site have taken them."
A chill ran down Nathan's spine. "No…my understudy. He's only just started his career! We have to find them!"
"We will help you, Nathan Thorn," the angel said. "However, the sun will set and more beasts are coming. I can feel their presence approaching. It is in your best interest to come with us."
Nathan grunted and cast his head down. "This ring…this is all my fault isn't it?"
"Help us then," said White Witch. "And I promise we'll get your team back…and hey, you still have to keep your end of the deal to keep."
Nathan nodded. "Alright. Alright! Let's go."
White Witch smiled and raised her staff. "New York City."
Light wrapped around the group of heroes and they vanished from the desert.
June 7, 2003 – 8:55 PM
Nathan opened his eyes following the intense burst of light. He saw White Witch stumbling off to the side, panting from fatigue. The robot caught her before she fell.
"AI, why don't you escort White Witch to the den," suggested Zaethis. "I know teleportation often takes a toll on her."
The robot nodded and walked off with the magician. Poltergeist and the angel Zadkiel followed after them. Nathan took note of his surroundings. He was in a metallic stronghold, a large, dark blue room with a few control panels lining the walls which were composed of a thick glass that exposed the water beyond. The entire fortress was submerged underwater!
"How do you like it?" asked Zaethis.
"It's pretty cool for a superhero base of operations," admitted Nathan.
"You haven't seen the half of it," Tattoo said excitedly.
"We have a few more important things at hand," interrupted Zaethis. He turned to Nathan. "You should know this entire situation is highly suspicious. Over the last several weeks, a mysterious new villain came into the city and started summoning those beasts that you saw earlier. We've been tracking them in the city but it was quite surprising to see them all the way in Utah, especially when we had gone to investigate the activation of the artifact. I suspect that this villain and the ring are related."
"You're telling me that I'm in just as much danger here as I would be halfway across the country?" groaned Nathan.
"Have a little faith in us, we're New York's greatest superheroes," said Tattoo.
"Before now, I thought you superheroes were just rumors. And now my excavation team's vanished and I might possibly be caught up in a supervillain's diabolical plan to take over the world," sighed Nathan.
"I must admit, we have rarely dealt with such complex situations. Often we will pick up a case with a superpowered villain, but mostly we have kept to the shadows and aided the city through simple acts of heroism," said Zaethis.
"So you guys have been around for a while?" wondered Nathan.
"For a short while," answered Tattoo. "A lot of civilians are only just seeing us for the first time, but a great number of them know of our existence."
"Things really have changed," said Nathan. He saw Tattoo raise an eyebrow and said, "I was born in the city, but I moved away when I was younger. Uh, just out of curiosity, what are you two?"
"I'm a mutant," stated Tattoo. "Conceptual category: molecular structure. I can create and animate tattoos on my skin."
The image of a sword appeared on his arm and then slid off his skin, materializing in front of Nathan, who nodded approvingly.
"I'm a Pletorian, an alien. Although normally my telepathic powers permit me to disguise myself in public," explained Zaethis. His image shimmered and in place of the blue-skinned alien stood a tall blond haired man with a small goatee, dressed in a well-groomed suit.
"I suppose your telepathy also allows you to know that you can trust me?" asked Nathan.
Zaethis shook his head. "No, it's just a feeling."
Nathan laughed and then suddenly coughed. "Oh man, this has been a bit too much excitement for one day. I think I'll hit the hay…if there's any hay around here."
"Being chased by evil demon dogs and teleportation can drain a person. Come, I'll show you to our guest room," said Zaethis. He gestured for Nathan to follow him down a hallway and into a bedroom. "You still determined to save your friends?"
Nathan nodded vigorously. "Absolutely. I just hope I'm not too late."
"I hope so to. We'll create a plan of action tomorrow. Rest well," said Zaethis, leaving Nathan alone in the ambient room.
Nathan took off his clothes and lay down on the bed. He turned on his side and looked out the window to see fish swimming through the water. With a heavy sighed, he pulled out a picture of a woman from his pants on the floor. It was a faded photo, but the woman was still beautiful.
"I'll find them, mom. And then we'll find the city of the Ancients. I promise," whispered Nathan. He kissed the picture and set it on the night drawer next to him.
June 8, 2003 – 7:22 AM
Nathan awoke with a start, sweat all over his chest and his heart racing. He saw the golden ring glowing in his fingers. It felt as if energy were being pumped into his body from the ring.
"AAHHH!" he screamed as burst radiated through his muscular chest. He jumped out of his head and stumbled over to the window. "SOMEBODY! HELP!"
More power coursed through his veins, causing his heart to beat even faster. The panic and tension built up inside of him and he beat his fists on the glass screen. The window collapsed, water began gushing in and a loud siren rang through the underwater base accompanied by a red flashing light. Nathan clamped his hand onto his ears and then ran out of the room into the hallway.
"AAAAHHHH!" he screamed once more. He looked up and saw a flashing red light. Tattoo and White Witch ran down the hallway towards him, but the pain, the tension, it was too much. The energy was pent up inside of him and he thrashed his arms out. At that moment, all the energy from the ring ran through his body and he erupted up towards the ceiling, piercing the metal infrastructure and jetting up from the water all the way to the surface.
"What the hell just happened?" ranted Tattoo over the gushing of the water pouring down from overhead.
"I think he just flew!" exclaimed White Witch. "Go after him! I'll fix up the base!"
Tattoo spread out his white wings and pressed a button a metallic device on his arm. He vanished in flash of light.
Nathan was in the air in nothing but his boxers. The wind around him wasn't cold though. He was chock full of vigor and flying wasn't enough to cool him down. The thought hit him.
"I'm flying," he exclaimed. "I'm actually flying!"
Around him were the gulls. He observed his surroundings and determined that he was above the Hudson River. The gulls in the distance were roosting by the pier next to the river, and beyond the pier was the city. He shot up like a bullet, high next to the clouds until even they were below him. He was high above the atmosphere and could see the sun rising in the distance. The sight didn't blind him in the least, and he let the scene flow in. The experience was amazing, but he was still brimming with life and he flew out towards the skyscrapers, letting all the energy burn off his skin.
"YEE-HAW!" laughed Nathan, flying with his arms out. He saw the Empire State Building and circled around it. There were thousands of people already in the streets and some of them caught sight of him flying through the air. He didn't care, he felt like he was immersed in a dream that he wouldn't need to awaken from. Looking down, he caught sight of a few people in the early morning rush. They were watching him with awe, but one by one, their gazes traveled. Nathan followed their eyes and saw in the distance, a news chopper whose propellers were spinning at an awkward angle with smoke coming out from the tail.
Instinctively, he aimed his arms out and flew towards the helicopter. Upon arriving, he found both the cameraman and the pilot unconscious. There was severe bruising around both their necks and erythema throughout their faces. Nathan went inside and pulled out the pair from the helicopter, which descended towards the ground. He flew them down to an empty street and set them on the pavement.
"Call an ambulance!" he shouted out to the pedestrians before jetting up back towards the helicopter.
The chopper was falling in slow motion and he was able to catch by its base, but strained to hold on. He wasn't even thinking, but he suddenly realized that he was managing to keep the chunk of metal from plummeting to the ground.
"There you are!"
Amidst his epiphany, he felt a gust of wind him from the side followed by his face being grasped by a pair of hands. He felt his entire body being coated in a thin white cloth, his face being masked in the process. Turning to his side, he saw Tattoo who flew to the nose of the copter and attempted to keep it from falling completely.
"Please tell me you aren't the source of this mess!" shouted Tattoo. AI's voice buzzed on the small headset attached to his right ear, "I found the pilot and the cameraman. I'm going to take them to the hospital; the ambulances are about fifteen minutes away but one of them has a subdural hematoma and needs to get into surgery right away!"
"Oh man, if this really was your doing…"
"You'll be happy to know it wasn't," grunted Nathan. He was holding up the copter from below but his strength was diminishing and he finally capitulated into his weakness, allowing the aircraft fall, leaving a trail of smoke behind. Tattoo flew out from the path of the spinning blades and then chased it as it headed towards the roof of building. He managed to catch it by the nose once again but it was too much for him.
Nathan shook his hands from the strain and called out, "Tattoo! Are you alright?"
"NO! I COULD DO WITH A LITTLE BIT OF HELP!"
Nathan dove in and caught the tail of the copter, pulling as Tattoo flapped out from underneath just as the helicopter crashed into the building, shattering the glass and grazing Tattoo's wings. It spiraled and ricocheted back down into open air but Nathan was holding it afloat to some degree. Tattoo's wings shed and then reappeared anew as he went underneath the copter trying to hold the base.
"Can you shift the copter towards that roof there?" shouted Tattoo, pointing at a nearby apartment rooftop.
"I can try!" roared Nathan with tremendous effort. He attempted to guide the aircraft, managing to tilt it.
It moved just enough for Tattoo to support the base. Together, they landed the helicopter onto the rooftop. A crowd of people had gathered in the streets below watching the amazing scene. Nathan and Tattoo stumbled towards the ledge of the roof and saw the crowd that began cheering for the them.
"I tell you, you've got some nerve taking on a task like that," said Tattoo, pointing his thumb back at the news chopper.
Nathan panted, finally completely exhausted. He smiled and looked down at the crowd. Several women in the crowd screamed for the men to marry them. A little kid in the crowd called out, "Who's the new superhero, Tattoo?"
"You're the all-man, dude. What do you want them to call you?" asked Tattoo.
"The all-man?" Nathan repeated questioningly.
Tattoo grinned and called out, "Arcman!"
The crowd cheered and Arcman stuck out his fist, the Ring of the Ancients glinting in the sunlight. News reporters had arrived down in the streets and in the skies in more choppers and were taking pictures of the save. At the Sanctuary base, Zaethis watched the news feed and frowned.
June 8, 2003 – 8:44 AM
Nathan had returned to the base and taken a shower. He had noticed that the room and ceiling outside his room had been repaired in his absence. His morning had just begun and already, he had transformed from archaeologist to superhero. Yet there was a sort of doubt and nausea inside him. He had to get back on track with his life. He wasn't supposed to be a superhero.
He finished his shower and prepared to get dressed, but saw that all of his clothing was still wet, including his pants. He pulled out the picture of his mother, which had been soaked in his pants. On his bed however, were a set of fresh clothing. He put on the shirt and joined White Witch, who was outside his room waiting for him.
"Quite a scene you made," murmured White Witch.
"I don't know what happened. The ring activated or something," said Nathan. He followed her down the blue, metallic hallway. "Where are we going?"
"Conference room. Zaethis has a few matters and insists that you be present, especially after this morning," said White Witch.
They entered a large room with a single round table. Like every room in the base, there was glass at the perimeter that displayed the river below. In the rising light of the sun, the blue illuminated beautifully into the base. Nathan smiled at the scene and then walked over to the table, taking an empty seat. The rest of Sanctuary had already arrived and ceased their conversations upon his arrival.
"There are a few matters of which I should like to discuss with you, Nathan," said Zaethis sternly. "First off, we have located your friends."
"How?" exclaimed Nathan.
"Last night, we received an encrypted message from the mysterious villain we've encountered over the last few weeks. He calls himself Mosaic Master and he claims he's taken your friends and has proposed an exchange. He wants the ring," said Zaethis.
"But…the ring's stuck on me. I want to get it off, I really do. I've tried to pull this thing off but it seems anything short of cutting it off isn't going to work," said Nathan. Zaethis frowned at him, causing him to recoil in his seat. "Oh no. No, no, no. Isn't there anything else we can do?"
"You've demonstrated the strength, moral and determination of a hero. However, a true hero is willing to put forth others and protect them at all costs," said Tattoo.
"Wait, that doesn't mean I am a hero. I don't know anything about saving lives. Heck, I'm afraid of cutting off my own finger to save my friends, what makes you think I can risk my life?"
"Because you did," answered White Witch. "You saw the helicopter and you raced in to save whoever was inside, without knowing if you could. You didn't know if you could hold the copter, it could've crushed you, and yet you went in."
"So what are you saying? You want me to join you guys and fight this villain? What if he kills my friends? I don't think I could bear it! Besides, I have no experience in combat; I'd only slow you guys down."
"Nobody is born a superhero, but if their heart is in the right place, they realize that they're willing to use their powers for the greater good," said Poltergeist. "You want to save your friends? Then go and do it. You won't be alone."
"Anyway, I am doubtful that the ring could be severed from your finger even if we attempted to slice if off," added AI.
Nathan hesitated, he had just been thinking about why he couldn't be a superhero, but maybe he didn't know what being a superhero was really about. According to Sanctuary, he was already on the path of heroism.
"I'll give it a shot. For my friends. But I'm out after this," declared Nathan.
Zaethis nodded. "I know we are pressuring you, but you do recognize what exigencies are being asked of you, yes?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Well then, let's get acquainted," said Tattoo merrily. He stood up and walked over to Nathan, his mask vanishing into dust in the process. "Willie Collins."
Nathan shook his hands. Willie was a tall, muscular man with a rigid jaw. Poltergeist was next to introduce himself, unmasking himself to reveal a black haired man with thin lips and a pale face. He extended his hand and said, "Kynan Collins. And yes, I am related to this buffoon."
"Hey!" protested Willie.
AI's helmet slid back and the woman behind it shook her short, black hair loose. She went up to Nathan, and looked up at him. She wasn't particularly short, but her thin figure gave her the appearance of a short, thin model. She smiled at him, revealing her dimples on her fair skinned cheeks. "Nice to meet you, I'm Crissia Deccarm, from the 23rd century. I am actually not an android or any other form of artificial intelligence…my power suit is just extremely advanced."
A thought popped into Nathan's head. "This base…"
"Yup, it's all future-tech that I brought back," said Crissia, gaining a nod of approval from Nathan.
Next up was Zadkiel, who rubbed the white make-up off from his eyes. It was a great change, despite that his hair was still nicely combed back and his handsome face still had the same structure. The make-up really did conceal his identity. He bowed to Nathan before shaking his hand.
"I am Zadkiel, angel of mercy. Although in public I refer to myself as Zadkiel Snow," he said formally and monotonously.
White Witch walked up to him and pulled off her butterfly mask. She was a beautiful Hispanic woman, her face's perfect structure having been distorted by the mask. She eyes were bright and full of life. She looked at Nathan, who couldn't but smile at her.
"I'm Emma Ramos," she said. She shook Nathan's hand and then stepped back.
Zaethis finally came up to him and said, "I am Zaethis Fenonron. To the public-"
His image shimmered to the man that he'd shown Nathan the night before. "-I am known as Professor Ty Hanson, Ph. D."
He shook Zaethis's hand and then himself stepped back. "I'm honored to meet all of you."
"If you're going to work with us, you're gonna need one of these babies," said Willie raucously, gesturing at the metal cuff on his arm. "It's a Sanctuary teletransporter. It also has a link to the base's communication systems."
Zaethis plucked up a metal box from the table and opened it up to reveal the silver bracelet. It shone brightly under the blue ambience. There was a symbol etched onto it, a diamond underneath a caret and on either side were wings.
Zaethis took out the bracelet and handed it to Nathan. He placed it on his left wrist and it lit up momentarily.
"It's temporary," said Nathan, smiling. "Still, it is an honor."
"Welcome to Sanctuary, Arcman," said Zaethis.
"Let's find my friends," said Nathan triumphantly and full of confidence. "Whoever this Mosaic Master is, he's going to get a fistful for entering Sanctuary."
To Be Continued…