Dedicated to my grandmother Patricia Ann Hamilton, a.k.a Nana...

Warrior Comics. Productions Storks




(Featuring Black Lightn')

The time was two fifty six, just four minutes from freedom. Freedom from the dreadful torture of Ms. Ronaldson's history class. R.J had endured thus far but was uncertain about the last four minutes. The urge to fall asleep was intense. But R.J knew falling asleep could have terrible consequences; he may end up losing his spring break.

So he forced himself to listen to the most tedious, mind numbing, sleep inducing speech on the civil war ever. He figured at least he got to sit next to Ashley, his best friend. He was bored out of his mind but he knew he wasn't alone. "Just two minutes left," he whispered with a smile.

"How are you going to spend your spring break?" she asked.

"In school every morning from 7am to 4pm if you two don't sit quietly and listen!" Ms. Ronaldson interrupted. R.J and Ashley sealed their lips as Ms. Ronaldson angrily stared them down. "Good, now as I was saying Abraham Lincoln was the president in this…"

Finally, the bell rang and the class ran out. It was spring break at last! The time for work was over, now it was time to have some fun! R.J and Ashley were already planning their week as they excitedly headed home. But just as things were getting set, R.J felt a strong power fly by overhead. It tore trough the clouds and shattered the windows of the elevated buildings. The people all scattered in distress screaming and running. R.J knew it was his responsibility as the town hero to deal with whatever caused the people trepidation. "I gotta' go," he said to Ashley as they were about to cross the street.

"Right now?" Ashley despondently asked.

"Duty calls, and being the amazing hero Zero, I must answer that call," R.J said trying to sound brave and heroic. "But alas Ashley, I shall return to your side in due time."

"Just go you loser," Ashley joked as he she pushed R.J.

"All right, time to go!" R.J ran off down the street and into an alley where no one could see him. He threw off his street clothes and under he'd had on his superhero suit. He had on blue pants with a white stripe down the side and a white utility belt. On top he wore a long sleeved blue shirt with a large white Z on the chest. He wore white gloves with blue Zs painted on the backs. He spiked up his hair after putting on his white snow goggles.

After getting into the right attire, Zero flipped up and shot out an ice path to slide on. He skied up into the sky to chase after the unfamiliar power level. The energy had grown faint but he could still sense it. He sped up in attempt to close the gap.

Finally his target came into sight. It was a large ball of black energy as far as he could tell. He knew he'd need to speed up or have it slowdown. So he chose the one that'd require less of his energy. "Hey!" he called out. "Slowdown, slowdown! You can't just come here like this and destroy our city!" Still, the large mass continued flying without a reply. "Hey buddy I'm talking to you! Slow down!" Again, there was no reply. "Alright buddy, I warned you! Now, freeze!" Zero shot out a short series of his freezer-snowballs.

The blue energy balls spiraled towards the heap of energy. But they were all echoed back at Zero. Zero flipped and spun to avoid his own blasts. The black ball began to speed up as it hurtled to the ground. Zero vainly tried to stop the inevitable collision. He made a large ice crown to raise up from the ground to lessen the impact.

But even so, the blast crashed through the ice and shook the streets with a great shudder. The sidewalk was split into large chunks wherein grew the black energy. It formed into a body and collected the pieces of cement to form arms legs and a head. Its black eyes craved through the cement and looked around as it raised up its right arm.

The people all about panicked and ran away, frightened by this unusual being. Zero flipped to the ground ready to defend them all. "You may have had the advantage up there where you could fly," Zero began as he charged up his hands. "But I'm the champ down here!" He placed his hands together and raised them up in front of himself to form a large black snowball. "Dark blizzard!" he shouted as he shot off the spiraling energy blast filled with loads of tiny ice spikes.

Zero's attack knocked his mysterious enemy back but it soon gained control as the attack wore off. The cemented monster swung its arm around and released hundreds of energized rocky spikes. Zero flipped and dodged all about. But one of the blasts managed to cut his cheek. As small beads of blood fell down his face, Zero ran forward with his right arm charged. he jumped up over the monster and flipped behind it. Then he swept it over with his leg and while it fell over he spun around and forced his fist into its abdominal area.

The punch propelled the monster into the air. Zero jumped up into the air and created an ice field around his fist. He punched the monster in the back as hard as he could and shouted "Polar punch!" The monster slammed into the ground and completely disintegrated. Leaving only a black mark on the ground that shaped like a smoky D.

"That was weird," Zero said to himself. "That power I sensed was way to strong to have been that thing. It felt stronger than ten times Nefarious and then suddenly its power level is barely like a twelve. I don't know what's going on here, but it can't be good. I know I've seen that mark somewhere before."

Zero flipped back into the air and skied away from the scene as the people returned and cheered him on. Oh yes; now I remember, he thought to himself. On the news! I remember they had that Metalman or whatever his name was. Matt was fighting him and when he beat him there was a huge black D engraved in the street they fought on. Matt's had experience with this; he should know what it is.

Zero pulled out his phone but just as he did it began to ring. "Hello?" he answered.

"R.J get home hurry!" Ashley replied.

"What? Who is this?"

"It's me Ashley, you're Nana's in trouble!"

"WHAT?" Zero queried as he sped home. "What's going on?"

"Some black tree monster is attacking your grandmother's house! He hasn't found her yet, but he's getting awfully close!"

"I'm almost there hold on!" Zero flipped down to the ground and ran over to defeat the tree monster. This monster was quite similar to the cement monster, only this one's power level was higher. Zero rushed over and froze the tree monster from under. The ice slowed it down but it was still heading towards his house. Zero raced after it with his hands charged.

It broke down the door and advanced inside. It rampaged through the house, making its way to the bedrooms. "Nana!" Zero cried as he raced after the tree-beast. "Nana!" He busted through her bedroom door and found her asleep in her bed. A feeling of relief came over him. He had nothing to worry about because Veronica was at a friend's house. He just needed to beat the monster and everything would be fine.

But when he saw noticed his grandmother's eyes were open he became frightened. He knew she wasn't woke, so why were her eyes open? He rushed to her side and moved her hands. She gave no response. He checked for her breathing and still, nothing. His heart raced as he anxiously checked for her heartbeat. And once more, there was no sign of life. She'd suffered from a heart attack.

The shock sent Zero trembling backwards. He fell onto the ground and stared on in disbelief. He couldn't even move! He felt as if his heart had stopped. His grandmother -the one who'd practically raised him- was dead. He was in no way accepting of this. He just couldn't handle it.

Suddenly in a burst of tears and rage, Zero transformed into a Hyper Warrior and stood up. His energy whirled about violently as he walked over to his grandmother's body. He threw her sheet over her body and proceeded out of the room. He was now on he lookout for whoever this tree beast was.

Outside, Ashley fretfully awaited his return. The suspense was torturous! It ate at her until the point where she couldn't handle it anymore; she decided she would go inside. She began walking to the door nervously. Then, suddenly the beast came crashing through with Zero following after.

With tears flowing down his face, Zero pummeled the beast into the ground. Then he charged both of his hands and resumed the beating. The sharp ice surrounding his hands tore away at the very flesh of the beast's abdomen. And still Zero persisted to pound the monster. His anger and sorrow were his power that moment.

The nearby citizens watched on as their usually calm hero pulverized his enemy. Horror filled the hearts of the young, confusion in the minds of the adults, and nothing in the mind of the victim. As Zero would soon find out, he was just another "dark matter" villain, just like the rock monster. He wasn't the real enemy. But Zero swore he'd track down the heartless fiend who'd caused him such a loss.

As he rose up to leave, Zero noticed the familiar face of his older sister Veronica. The sight of her almost made him fall down and weep. But he had to keep strong, he couldn't give away his identity, no matter how much he wanted to walk over to her and cry on her shoulder. He left the scene before she went in to see her grandmother. He knew if he'd seen her response to the terrible tragedy that'd befallen them he would surely have ran inside and wept beside her.

So instead he skied off into the distance, suppurating alone. He was still in shock, still feeling dead inside. He didn't know how would the rest of his family take the bad news. And even worse, how could he continue on?

Three days later R.J and Veronica along with Tyrese and his children flew out to Badlands where most of the family resided. The funeral would be held just one day later. That gave R.J one day to get set, and readjust to life in South Dakota. One day to try and rest, to try and enjoy part of his spring break. But he decided on calling up Matt for help in solving the mystery about the two dark matter creatures. He needed to return to New Jersey to end the mess he was now in.

He walked over to Matt's house claiming he was called. In reality, he'd called Matt to talk about how they'd deal with the situation. But the usual conflict arose between the two. Matt wanted to go obliterate the enemy and R.J wasn't certain about anything. He was full of grief and despair, not just because his grandmother died-although that was his main cause- but because he he'd left so many friends and memories out in New Jersey but that was all gone now. And Matt wasn't making things easy on him, in fact his attitude towards the situation was adding to R.J's troubles.

"I'm certain that this is Max's work," Matt said as he looked at a picture of the "D" R.J had taken before he left New Jersey. "I've recently dealt with one of his minions myself. They keep on talking about how strong he is now and how he's going to crush us. I say let the coward show his face so I can destroy him!"

"I see you're no different than before," R.J replied. "You always wanna fight somebody."

"Don't be mad because I'm not a punk like you. You're power level's weak! It disgusts me to know that I was ever weaker than you!"

"Well then you're going to be sick when I tell you I'm suppressing my power!"

"Lies," Matt said in disbelief. "I'll bet you've been slacking off with your little girlfriend."

"Don't be mad just because I'm not afraid to talk to a girl!"

"Neither am I; I just don't waste my time on that which my religion forbids."

"Excuses, excuses," R.J replied.

"If you're so powerful why don't you let loose? Show me what you've got, let's do a little sparring."

"Nana just died and you're worried about fighting me!"

"She's dead, yes. And while I'm not happy I won't let that hold me back! Move on R.J, live and let die."

"You wouldn't understand what she meant to me."

"Meant is past tense, meaning it happened. Let it go, that was then, this is now. Now are you going to fight me or what?"

"Nana just died, Max is threatening us again! What's wrong with you? Why are you so obsessed with fighting? We should be working together to beat him, not fighting each other."

"I'll handle that fool after I've beaten you."

"I won't fight you Matt and you know it!"

"Hm, is the so-called coolest Hero Zero scared? No matter, I never said I'd give you a choice."

"You're not serious! You're freakn' granmother just died! We should be joining together as a family to get through these troubled times! We should unite to take down whoever's responsible for her death!"

"Why would I want to work beside you? You're nothing more than a monkey in a suit that freezes things pointlessly."

"My freezing has helped you so many times so shut up!"

"Or what? Are you going to throw a snowball at me?"

"Forget it. I knew I couldn't count on you, you're nothing but a selfish punk who only wants to fight people! But you know what? The only person getting hurt is you. If you indulge in this stupidity any longer you're going to lose everything. Then the only person you'll be fighting with is yourself, and that'll prove just how pathetic you are!" R.J's last remark finally struck Matt. He was angry about R.J's rejection to fight him and now R.J talked as if he was better than him. Matt balled his fists as R.J stared him down. He swung his right fist right into R.J's stomach with no objection.

R.J made no attempt to stop the blow, instead he stood there even after the wind was knocked out of him. This only angered Matt more so he spun behind R.J and kicked himto the ground. R.J fell down with a sad look on his face as Matt stormed off in anger. In a way, they'd both lost.

The next day R.J found himself sitting in a tree crying. He'd just left the funeral and was still feeling bad. Matt on the other was up and ready to move on. He'd come to a point of sadness during the ceremony but never did a tear fall down his face. He and Tariq were the only ones whose faces remained dry at the entire funeral. It wasn't that they didn't care but it made no sense to cry to them. After all, tears wouldn't bring her back. It was just as Matt had told him, you have to live and let die...