To my Readers:
To my Readers:
Due to various reasons and events beyond my control, I will not be able to finish Trial By Fire. I realize that this has occurred once before, and I truly regret not updating as much as I can. However, unlike last time, I will provide a story synopsis of how the rest of the story will play out, as well as plot twists, and a (hopefully) satisfactory ending. This is all written in stone, as of now, and, despite any complaints that may be addressed, I as the author will change nothing.
Furthermore, if the ending is so unsatisfactory and you feel that you could do better, by no means am I holding you back. In fact, I encourage anyone and everyone to expand their writing abilities. In layman's terms, any and all flames will be laughed at and promptly deleted. Please be mature about this.
Without further ado, the end of Trial By fire:
Tobias was back looking over the genes of various known bang babies, searching for common ties. The blue light of the computer monitor reflected on the glasses he was wearing, while Gear stood to his side. The scientist didn't bother looking up at the hero as they conversed, "I take it Bats left?"
"He snuck out a while ago, yeah. Probably got a call from the League," Gear answered.
"I'm surprised you didn't go with him."
"I think this is more important."
"Are you worried? About Francis, I mean," Tobias asked. Gear sighed, "How can I not be? Lately he's been…distant. That alone bothers me."
"It shouldn't. He's always been that way, he's not going to change anytime soon," he theorized, tapping away at the keys.
Gear nodded, "But if what you're saying is true…he doesn't have a gay gene?"
"No, I said he wasn't born with one. The fact that this just popped up, especially after the Fisher experiments, is very fishy to me. I don't know why Fisher, or even Donovan Holmes, saw the need to experiment with someone's sexual orientation, but for whatever reason, they did."
"Does Francis know?"
"Yes, I told him. He wants it cut out, you know that."
"And you can't splice it."
"Even if I had that ability, my ethics wouldn't allow me to do it. It would take another dosage of bang gas to change that, and who knows what other mutations could come of that?"
"You've thought long and hard about this, haven't you?"
"Hey, you gotta do something when you're hiding from the law."
Gear watched the screen and noticed the DNA strands of a few of the neo-breed. Each file was listed with their names, and he pointed at one in particular. "Is that Ivan Evans?"
"Sure is. Curious?"
Tobias wordlessly maximized the image, and opened a second window to show the chromosome count. The man took out a laser pointer and showed Gear the numbers. "Now as you know, each human has 23 pairs of chromosomes. Occasionally, a person with an extra strand, or an extra chromosome entirely comes around, but these are people who usually have a severe mental disorder or disability. Though I've found that occasionally, especially in the case of Bang Babies, either a chromosome receives an extra 'arm' if you will, or even a completely new pair altogether. Depending on which one occurs, the effect is either the difference in heightened mental faculties, or, in the latter case, a complete restructuring of their genetic makeup, thus changing their appearance. Aqua Maria and Talon are two prime examples of that."
"And so was Ebon."
"Precisely. In fact, his DNA changed so rapidly, it's my belief that his already skewed world views, such as his gang-banging lifestyle, were only intensified. Both you and Francis have said he's completely turned around since he was cured."
"You think the cure can change a criminal's behavior too?"
"Or their psychology. I've studied Ebon's case, and I have a few theories, but the one I think is most telling is the explanation for why he did the things he did. Other Bang Babies wanted to use their powers for good deeds," here he nodded at the genius, "While others pursued a darker path. I think in Ebon's case, he had grown up with this feeling of powerlessness. That's common in teenagers, who feel independent, but always under someone else's control. The powers gave Ebon the means to exact his own power over others. I'm not saying he's a control freak, but to get that amount of power in such a short amount of time…I can only imagine how he was able to cope."
Gear nodded, "Which explains why he was so adamant about keeping them. He didn't want to lose that power."
"Power corrupts more easily than money. It's a drug, and no doubt it gave him a high he couldn't get from anything else."
Gear smiled, "I dunno, he seems okay with being a daddy-to-be."
Tobias chuckled, smirking. "And married to Natasha…I would never have seen that. She's happy?"
"Perfectly. She's so…blissful. I wonder sometimes, had I been born someone else, if I'd ever know what that joy feels like."
Tobias finally looked up at him, arching an eyebrow. "You mean to tell me that you want to get pregnant?"
"Hell no. How weird and twisted would that be?"
Tobias smirked. "You sure? I could engineer a womb for you, have it surgically transferred…"
"No, thank you."
"It wouldn't be that hard, now that we have more stem cell research…"
"Seriously dude, I'm good."
Natasha meanwhile was sitting idly listening to the TV in the kitchen of the Dakota School for the Gifted. A few students were sitting nearby doing homework, while a pair was cooking together. The seer's hand rested on her stomach, believing that this was the only time in her life when she was completely uncertain. When will you arrive? I've been waiting so long for you, little one.
As much as she wanted to be a mother, the thought of bringing a child into such a dangerous world for her and her young wards terrified her. She only imagined how her husband was dealing with it.
To his credit, Ivan was keeping himself busy. He had repainted the nursery, put up a border of jungle animals, and set up the crib. His attention to detail was absolutely astounding, and he accepted no help from the other boarders. His worry that the baby would come at any minute made him extremely jittery. Natasha wondered about his feelings on becoming a father, wondered what kind of father he'd be; it wouldn't be the first time she'd thought on this.
Not since she'd married him did she think she had a made a mistake. She knew what was in his heart. No, what worried her most was what lay beyond her visions, things she couldn't foresee.
She knew what Holmes was up to, and she knew he was out looking for them. Sooner or later he would find them, probably imprison them all over again. That thought terrified her. And once her baby was born…she shuddered to think what he would do to her family then.
She jumped when someone tapped on her shoulder. "Oh!"
"Relax," Pixie said, "Its just me…I brought you some tea."
"I can't have caffeine, dear."
"Oh. Well, that's fine then…"
Pixie sat down across from her, handing her the steaming mug. "Everything okay? You look like you're feeling a disturbance in the Force."
Natasha smiled a little, "A bit. I wonder if my trepidation is all about the birth, but I can't be sure…"
Pixie shrugged, helping herself to some tea herself. "Maybe. I wouldn't know about that myself."
"Heavens, I certainly hope not!"
Pixie giggled. "Come on, sure, I'd like a boyfriend, but I'm not that desperate. But c'mon, Tasha, we don't want to see you sad."
"I'm not sad, just…" she toyed with her wedding ring. "Apprehensive…"
"That can't be it—its something bigger, isn't it?"
"I'm not comfortable saying anything just yet…"
The doorbell buzzed below and Pixie got up. "I'll go get it, and don't worry, everything will be okay, I just know it."
The seer smiled, "Thank you for the encouragement."
"Anytime!" the fairy-winged girl said before she flitted out of the room and down the stairs. Natasha sat back, waiting for her tea to cool, but as soon as she reached for her mug, an icy feeling washed over her.
She tried to stand as quickly as she could, but her nine month pregnant body wasn't helping. She yelled out instead, "Don't open the door! Pixie, DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!"
Pixie's startled scream told her it was too late. Suddenly the room felt ice cold, and the seer's skin began to crawl. Then icy hands clamped down onto her shoulders, holding her tight, and the voice of Donovan Holmes hissed in her ear:
"I found you…"
This is as far as I got in regards to prose. The rest of this document will be a summary of events and revelations.
Donovan Holmes, bastard that he is, kidnaps both Natasha and Pixie in an effort to draw out Tobias, Jane, Claire and Francis out of hiding. What he gets is something far greater: Static and Gear. Their capture prompts Francis to make the sacrifice and ensure that the ones whom he loves are freed and unharmed. Like the proverbial sacrificial lamb, he knows exactly what he is getting himself into. He hands himself over to Donovan, against the urging of his father and fellow tortured souls. Unfortunately for Francis, Donovan goes back on his word and decides to have Static and Gear killed. When word gets back to Tobias, Jane, Claire and Jack, the four begin hatching a plan to get their friends out of there and to safety.
The four have come up with their foolhardy and very much suicidal escape plan, and Jack decides to inform the League about the goings on, knowing that they'll need all the help they can get. The majority of the original members with the exception of Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash, are either unable to help or refuse aid for various reasons. Other heroes coming to the rescue include Green Arrow, Black Canary, Huntress and a few others.
Meanwhile, Francis is still kicking himself over his decision to hand himself over to Donovan Holmes, who as plans for his little pet project, and laments that the other Elementals are not there to "share in the fun." Holmes approaches Francis for "a quick chat" before leaving to execute Static and Gear, in which he reveals to Francis his plan for world domination of hyper-powerful beings, where every person in the world would be given the powers given by the Bang gas. Though Holmes recognizes that some people may die in the worldwide release of the gas, he doesn't seem to care, since in his words "The world is too populous anyway. People are starving; there isn't enough food or energy to sustain us. Don't you see? The only answer is genocide."
Another revelation is Holmes' feelings towards Francis. He reveals that there is "no love lost" and that his past abuses to the meta-human were nothing more than the "conqueror exercising his rights" over the conquered. By killing everyone he loves, Holmes is attempting to break Francis' spirit and make him his until the meta-human no longer serves his purpose. Essentially, Holmes drives the point home that Francis means nothing more to him than a human guinea pig, and is perfectly expendable and disposable.
Static and Gear are taken to the outskirts of the city of Dakota where two shallow graves await them. Holmes oversees the proceedings as two of his henchmen force the incapacitated heroes to stand over the graves to await execution. A short discourse is shared between hero and villain, in which the usual pleasantries are exchanged (i.e: "you'll never get away with this," "Shut up you foolish do-gooder," etc.); Gear uses this time to cut through his binds and make good on an escape attempt. He lashes out at his-would-be executioner, instead delivering a mortal blow. He releases his partner, who shocks his own attacker, critically wounding him. as the two heroes turn on Donovan, he is running away, fully expecting to get away with his plot, just as long as he returns to his base of operations before the authorities.
Unfortunately for him, Static has shorted out his cellphone, making communication to the base impossible, and when he arrives, he's met by the other elementals, and a fair number of the Justice League. The base has been subdued, and as Donovan makes his escape, he encounters not only Static and Gear, but Hotstreak as well, who is justifiably pissed. Fearing the wrath of the firey meta-human, Donovan makes a critical mistake in making for the roof of the compound, slipping, and falling to his death.
The shock of all this sends a very pregnant seer into labor; Jack, Static, Gear and Pixie manage to get her to the hospital in time, where Ivan meets them later. The couple is blessed with a healthy baby girl and shares a peaceful moment in juxtaposition to the near-calamity that almost befell them.
Back at the base, the police and the league are cleaning up the facility, and Edwin Alva Jr. has been arrested. Francis and Claire share a moment where the two of them decide what is best for their respective futures, after discussing the past. Francis, after speaking with his father in an unusually civil conversation, makes his final decision. Without consulting the two people he loves most in the world, he undergoes the gene-splicing treatment to remove the gay gene from his DNA.
Virgil and Richie find out much too late what Francis has decided; broken-hearted, they meet with him after the procedure where all three have a conversation that was long in coming. During the heated debate, tempers flare, tears are shed, but eventually they all reach the consensus that such a relationship with each other would never have worked out in the long run. Francis, for his part, regrets not informing them of the decision, but believes that it is the best thing for him. The recovery process will take a long time, he tells them, "But as for the years I spent with you guys—I don't regret a single minute of it."
They part on good terms, and Francis remains in the city, visiting occasionally and sometimes going out to bars with them, just like old times. Francis is finally approached by many heroes from the Justice League, asking why he never joined, to which he answers, "You bastards never asked."
Finally, after much cajoling, and partly at the urging of Bruce, he makes the decision to be an honorary member, but stick to the local scale rather than the global. Upon Jack's retirement from the federal government, Francis decides to move to the east coast, in Washington DC, where crime rates have spiked. Virgil and Richie respect his wishes, understanding that three heroes to one city are a little much. Francis moves, and, with the other elementals by his side, creates their own League of Heroes in the Potomac region. Virgil and Richie soon hear reports of crime rates plummeting in the city, and are proud of their former lover and newfound friend. However, as time goes on, the three eventually lose touch with each other, and end up not speaking for years.
Twenty years later, three new heroes are being admitted into the Justice League. Nigel "Thunderbolt" Hawkins and Robin "Gadget" Foley have been inducted; the two are the product of their fathers' DNA and a surrogate mother, and both have become heroes in their own right. Among their graduating class are a set of flame-haired fraternal twins, Jack "Hotshot" and Bridget "Wildfire" Stone, the children of Francis "Hotstreak" stone and his wife of 25 years, Claire. Needless to say, this second generation becomes fast friends and allies for the fight against evil in the future to come…
Yes, I broke them up. Sorry to disappoint, but it never would have worked out in the long run. This is the end of my foray in Static Shock fanfiction; I feel that I need to branch out to include other work, particularly to cultivate my own independent original works.
Just because this is the end of this story, by no means will it be the end of my writing. As previously stated, if you see so many plot holes the story looks like Swiss cheese or "that ending sucked!" and feel you can do better: go for it.
Thank you for reading,