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Heroic Sole Survivor: Oh No! The Evil Aliens were too clever! It's EAAAAARRRRRRTH!


The End

Doc Chronos

May. 9th, 2010 08:40 pm
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Doc Chronos might manage to to incognito, but he couldn’t go unnoticed. Even if nobody in the restaurant recognized the Hero of Ages, he still caught the eye of anyone who saw him.

His suit was in a smooth, glistening dark fabric that almost screamed wealth and understated good taste. It was perfectly tailored. His shoes gleamed in the way lesser leather could only dream of. True, the sleeves of the suit-coat were a bit long and a bit wide, in order to hide the famous Quantum Chrononome fused permanently to his left wrist, but so expert was the tailoring that this little oddity hardly detracted from the lines of the garment.

The dim lighting of the restaurant made it easier for him to pass as just another wealthy patron; a movie producer, perhaps, somebody with access to the best in clothing, hair styling, and cosmetics. The space-bronzed skin could pass as expert tanning, or perhaps time spent in some exclusive island resort. His sharp, handsome features, his perfectly-trimmed black goatee, and the dark glasses he chose to wear in spite of the darkness played well into a movie image too.

The dim lighting helped hide the flickering, too; the odd crawling look that seemed to pass across his face from time to time. But never when you were looking straight at him. You could only see the flicker in the corner of your eye. It was disturbing, even once you’d gotten used to it, as Johnny had.

“Happy birthday?” Doc Chronos said.

Johnny took a bite of his lobster dinner. “Yeah, sure.”

“I’d have hoped you’d have gotten over this by now.”

“How can I? You took away everything I had.”

“I did nothing of the kind!”

“Come to think of it, you’re right. What you did was worse. You took away everything I could have had.”

“What more do you want from me? Everything I have is yours. You have homes, cars, education, money. Take things away from you? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Really? A superhero and super-genius like you, and you can’t see it? But of course you can’t. I can see that you can’t figure it out. That’s the blessing, and curse, of knowing you as well as I do.”

“Explain it to me, then.”

“All right. You’re the hero who springs into action on a moment’s notice. You’re going to Save the World again. Fine, but you never stop to think of the consequences. Those little details like how you’re destroying an unimportant little teenaged computer geek named Johnny Gale.”

“But I DID have to save the world!”

Johnny sipped his wine. It was his first legal glass of wine, this being his birthday and all, so he tried to act as if the taste was new to him. “Of course you did. That’s the sad thing. I can’t even blame you for what you’ve done. It would be a great comfort to me if I could.”

“I don’t want you to hate me, Son.”

“Don’t call me that! Don’t use that word with me!”

Doc Chronos sighed. “You’re right. I won’t call you that again. But to repeat, I hope you never do hate me.”

“How can I? I would have done the same thing. In fact, you could say that I did. But it will be hard. Look at everything you took from me.”

“Blast it, I didn’t take, I gave!”

“Oh yes, the finest home, the finest things, the finest education. I’ll use that education to build myself a wonderful life, perhaps in politics or investment banking or writing or some other pointless line of work. But if you hadn’t taken me in-- have you ever seen Citizen Kane?”


“You should. It’s in your collection, after all, but I suppose you’re too busy fighting the League of Enforcers and saving the world from the Morlogs to kick back for an evening and watch a film. You’d think that you, of all people, could make the time, as they say.

“But anyway, Kane has a line that sums up the whole move. The saddest line in the whole thing. He says ‘If I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man.’ That’s me. Rich, and if I hadn’t been, if I’d been poor like you were...”

“But you can be great, John!”

“Can I? Can I be as great as I was meant to be? I could have won the Nobel Prize in Physics. I could have been a hero, I could have saved the world. I could have traveled to other worlds, joined the Justice League, and hobnobbed with Superman! But you came back through time to raise me, and now none of that can ever happen.”

“But it DID happen!”

“For you. For Johnny Gale, Doc Chronos, The Man From The Future. But not for me. For me, Johnny Gale, The Kid From The Past, nothing. Not now, not ever.”

“Oh my God.”

“Yes. Your God.” And Johnny Gale the Lesser, the Least, the Nothing, looked down into his wine glass and wept for what he would have been.

January 2015

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