The situation was dire. That damnable demon Gloomweaver had just burst in full nefarious glory from the body of the hero Dr. Medico. Gloomweaver was now in the physical realm, a terror that the heroes had long fought against.
With a large push of her psychic energy, Vanessa Long, the hero known as the Visionary, connected to the yellow energy form in front of her. He, It, was colossal and Vanessa could feel every detail from the elongated horns to the crocodile like tail. The demon snarled, “NOT AGAIN. YOU SHALL NOT HAVE ME THIS TIME, PSYCHIC,” and Vanessa could feel him push back against the psychic connection.
With a final, even larger push, Vanessa focused all of her considerable power on final shout: “BE GONE DEMON.”
All went dark for the hero as she banished the threat from this world.
When Vanessa came to, she saw a rather bizarre scene. A pristine hospital room. She realized she was lying down in the bed that took up the room. All those that had been there during the fight against Gloomweaver stood arrayed in the room, a cadre of heroes that consisted mostly of members of the Prime Wardens. On the right, both Tempest and Captain Cosmic stood near the door in conversation. On the left, The Argent Adept stood humming to himself as he leaned upon the wall of windows that looked out on Megalopolis. The young Ra was also here a few feet away, staring out another window. A lot of the view from Vanessa’s position was blocked by the massive wings of Fanatic, who sat at the end of the bed; Vanessa couldn’t see her face. Bizarrely, Aata Wakareware, the hero known as Haka was here. He had disappeared years ago. The other bizarre thing was that… that Vanessa couldn’t feel anything below her neck. There was a slight gasp and a “She’s awake!” and it got dark again as Aata shuffled to the bed. Vanessa smiled seeing him so close for the first time in years.
"Don't go soft on me, big man."
“Bigman? Have I gotten the big since I have last been seeing you?” Vanessa’s vision swam as the form of Aata resolved into its correct shape. She had been staring at human-sized Portia Kir-pro, the Thorathian hero Sky-Scraper. Vanessa chuckled.
“*koff* No, dear, I’m just reminiscing about old friends. I am glad you are here.” She now noticed that Portia was holding on to her hand. Vanessa couldn’t feel it. “So, what happened?”
Hugh Lowsley left his place near the door to stand near the bed. “The doctors say that all the exertion, psychic or otherwise, has done a number on your nervous system.” He was quiet for a moment, “The doctors told us that you are paralyzed from the neck down. That last attack on Gloomweaver seemed to have drained you. They don’t think there’s anything they can do.”
“Ah, so that finally caught up to me huh? Damn.” Vanessa let the chuckle out this time. “I’ve been exerting a lot of psychic power just to move my body for the last couple of years.” There were more gasps.
M’kk Dalton stepped up this time, hints of fury in his alien face. “Years? You knew? And kept it from us? We could have found a way to help! Something! We have so many avenues of information! We could have fixed you!” He fumed and spluttered as he said this. “I have so many people under me that could have helped!” Portia stood and maneuvered M’kk away from the bed and began to lightly shush him. Strangely, this had a calming effect on M’kk, and he broke eye contact with everyone to stare at the floor.
Helena turned and scowled at Vanessa from the foot of the bed. “There’s nothing for her now. We’ve given our lives for the people and the planet and we can expect nothing in return. Not from the people we saved and now not even the saviors.” She stood. “We’ve nothing but our sins and failures.” She stormed out of the room and no one moved to stop her. They all knew she would go work out her frustrations elsewhere. Portia gave her a look of clear and extreme dissatisfaction; she would likely try to reprimand Helena for storming out later. Vanessa chuckled again at the mental image.
The young Ra (Vanessa never learned his name) finally spoke up, “You can’t listen to her. She’s just angry, and hurt. She’ll get better I’m sure.” The remaining Prime Wardens all turned and gave the young Ra a pointed stare. “Right. Not the time. Carry on.” He sheepishly coughed and stared out the window, not wanting to deepen the awkwardness in the room.
Anthony Drake pushed Portia gently out of the way. “All this worry, and you forget you have a master of magic in the room.” Anthony summoned his spellbook. Vanessa had been wary of that book, Anthony felt different to her after he had created the Libretta. “I can get you back in fighting shape in no time.” Seeing the small effort Anthony was putting into “fixing” her, finally broke something in Vanessa’s mind.
As he began casting whatever spell he was likely planning, Vanessa craned her neck. “It’s okay, Anthony. I want this. It’s okay.” There was soft gasp from the other end of the room. Vanessa saw both M’kk and Hugh beginning to well up with tears. M’kk’s contorted face of frustration against the tears, a strange feature on someone so alien, made a small part of Vanessa want to chuckle again. She pushed that part down, and pushed on.
“We’ve all lost so much. So many homes destroyed, so many lives lost,” She made direct eye contact with M’kk, “but we kept fighting. But I think it’s my time to stop fighting.”
She looked at Anthony. “You all were like a family to me. Everyone here, and everyone fighting out there. I was a stranger and you helped me save my past and my future. There’s a Vanessa out there now who can just live her life and not have to worry about being the Visionary.”
Vanessa could feel something catch in her throat but she kept on. “Part of me wishes to keep fighting. But I know I’ll just be here again.”
Vanessa surveyed the room. Anthony, mid-spell; the young Ra, stoic and yet frowning, staring out the hospital window. Hugh, tears streaming down his face, turning to comfort M’kk who was staring at the floor again. Portia, moving to grab Vanessa’s other hand. Another small part of Vanessa panged for Aata’s presence. Vanessa smiled and stared at the ceiling, tears welling up in her eyes.
“I’m done. I’ve fought my fight. Even if things look bleak now, I can pass knowing that you all will carry on the fight for me.” Vanessa’s hand slipped from Portia’s as her eyes surveyed the room one final time and then stared at the ceiling, tears falling.
All went dark for the hero, Vanessa Long, as she passed from the world.