Starlight #5: Starlight
Starlight is a series I started writing for fun in 2016, written in the “style” of a comic book. As such, this is not my best writing, but it’s something I had fun doing.
The issue begins at the front door of Cadmus’ house. Parker is waiting by the door, looking conflicted. After a moment of hesitation, he walks nervously up to the door and presses the doorbell. After what feels like forever, the door opens, revealing Cadmus’ mother, Elena.
Elena: *beaming* Parker! It’s so good to see you.
Parker nods respectfully.
Parker: Good to see you too, Ms. Way. Is Cad home?
Elena: Oh, no, I got a call from him saying he would be away for a bit.
Parker:…did he say where he was going?
Elena: I didn’t think to ask.
Parker: Uh, well, do you know if he’ll be back for the next game? The guys would like to welcome him back.
Elena: I really don’t know, Parker, sorry.
Parker: …it’s okay.
Cadmus (Narration): This is bad.
Split to the sprawling scientific chamber where Cadmus is being held. The room consists of a number of scientific instruments surrounding a glass cube, where we saw Cadmus being held last issue. Now however, it is broken. We follow the trail of glass to find Cadmus, hands bloody, hiding behind some scientific equipment.
Cadmus: It took me twelve hours to break through that material, whatever it was.
As he breathes heavily, we see a number of approaching security guards.
Cadmus: It’s going to take twelve seconds for them to catch me again. They’ve been watching me, analyzing me, figuring out…
Cadmus stares down blankly at his starry, bloody, glowing hand.
Cadmus: What I am. And their next box won’t be so fragile.
Cadmus glances out of his hiding place to see the guards sweep the corridor, rifles lit up.
Cadmus: But I have to do something.
With a cry, Cadmus rushes out at the men, who begin shooting at him. Cadmus goes full on starry, and several of the bullets rush through him except for one which just nicks his arm. He cries out.
Man: Don’t hurt him! We need him alive!
Cadmus waves his hand, producing a flash of light which leaves the men staggering. Now breathing heavily, Cadmus rushes past the guards towards the exit door.
Cadmus: I guess there’s a good side to these ill-defined powers.
Cadmus pushes through the hallway, past a number of frightened scientists. He spots a sort of ladder, and begins sprinting for it.
Cadmus: When in doubt, go up.
With a grunt, Cadmus grabs the first rung of the ladder and starts climbing. He passes another floor, where a guard runs towards him. Thinking fast, Cadmus waits until the guard gets close before head-butting him. The man staggers backwards and Cadmus quickly makes his way up the rest of the ladder.
Finally, Cadmus reaches the top of the ladder. This floor seems to be the observation area– there is a huge glass window looking down on his former enclosure.
Cadmus: So this is where they were watching me from like freaks.
Cadmus glances around frantically but there is no visible escape. He hears the thuds of soldiers following him, and realizes he is running out of time.
Cadmus: They’re almost here. I’m out of options.
Cadmus drags a chair over to ladder, and drops it down the hole. There is the sound of thuds and screams, and Cadmus jumps backward to avoid more gunfire. Darting away, Cadmus frantically looks over the cluttered desks for anything that could help him. He sees an employees phone.
Jubilantly, Cadmus picks up the phone.
Cadmus: Come on, come on…
A horrible realization hits Cadmus.
Cadmus: I can’t remember any numbers. Of course I can’t. I have frickin amnesia.
Cadmus punches a computer in frustration. It shatters. There are sounds of shouts from below.
Cadmus: It’s at this point that I punch in a random number, and hope for the best.
Cadmus rapidly types a number into the phone and presses the green button.
Cadmus: As it turns out, there was one number that damn concussion couldn’t drive out of me.
The phone rings.
Cadmus: And you’ll never guess whose.
A disappointed Parker is walking away from Cad’s house when his cell phone rings. Tentatively, Parker answers the phone.
Cadmus (Voice) : Parker?
Parker looks confusedly at his phone.
Parker: Cadmus? This isn’t your phone. Wait, I don’t care. Where the Hell have you been?
Cadmus: Oh, right. He doesn’t remember me being kidnapped. (Stupid scientists).
Parker: The guys want to talk to you and I know you can’t remember them but they sure can remember you and —
Cadmus: I’m in trouble.
Cadmus: There’s no hesitation.
Parker: What are we dealing with?
Cadmus is struck by his friend’s words.
Cadmus: This is when I realize that I don’t deserve a friend like Parker. I probably never have.
Parker: Is it dudes from West High again? Has Nala’s old man figured out she’s dating you?
Cadmus: No, its uh… I’ve been kidnapped.
Parker: Woah, kidnapped! Like, kidnapped, kidnapped?
Cadmus: Yeah. Some weird company with a butterfly on everything.
Parker: FlyCo? That lab where whats-his-name works?
A grenade pops into the room from the opening in the floor. Cadmus kicks it back down and there is a boom.
Parker: What was that? Dude, holy ****! We need to get the police on the line!
Cadmus: No, no, we can’t.
Parker: Why man? You smoking something you shouldn’t? If these guys are keeping you hostage, the police aren’t gonna care. Trust me, I know. Ty said last week–
Cadmus: If they come for me, the scientists will tell them the truth about me. More people will be trying to dissect me. I’ll never have a normal life again. And as weird as it is to say…
Cadmus glances down at his Ridge Hill Hawkeyes t-shirt.
Cadmus: I want my life back.
Cadmus: Parker, you can’t call the police. Do you trust me?
There is a brief moment of silence, punctuated by the sound of the men drilling into the furniture Cad piled on top of the entryway.
Parker: Is this because of what you are?
Cadmus: What I…?
Parker: I saw you at the party, dude. Everyone else thought it was a hallucination but I know you. You were shaken afterwards.
Cadmus: I… I…If you knew, why didn’t you say anything?
Parker: It didn’t really matter, man. Alien freak or whatever, you’re still my best baller.
Cadmus: I don’t know what to say, but I’m in luck because I don’t get the chance to say anything.
Voice (Off-Panel): Don’t move, Cadmus.
A woman emerges from the shadows, dressed in a lab coat. She has a nasty-looking rifle aimed at Cadmus, charged with a strange energy. It is Doctor Shropp.
Shropp: This rifle has been engineered to make you suffer enough to incapacitate, so I wouldn’t move Cadmus. That’s how you want to be addressed, correct?
Cadmus: Well, that’s my name.
Shropp shakes her head, a hateful smile on her face.
Shropp: No it’s not. Cadmus was the boy you were before you became whatever you are.
Parker (Voice): Who’s the nasty bit–
Shropp: Hang up the phone and drop it on the ground. Whoever thinks they can help you can’t.
Cadmus does so, terrified.
Shropp: Now, you’re going to follow me back to your cell. I hope you know that once we learn everything we can from you, we will kill you. And I cannot wait for that moment.
Hunter (Narration): My name is Hunter Keyes, and today I’m going to be a hero.
Hunter is in his home, typing away on his laptop, headphones over his ears.
Voice (Over Headphones): Alright boys and girls, we need to defeat this Prime Receiver if we want to get the speed feat.
Other Voice (Over Headphones): Ugh, we need more crit here guys!
Hunter: My team has been trying to get through this gauntlet for weeks. I think I’ve finally leveled up my shielding enough to get us past the receiver’s elite guard.
The typing escalates as Hunter narrows his eyes, focusing very carefully on his game.
Hunter: Come on, come on…
The game makes a sad sound and Hunter pushes away from the computer, frustrated.
Voice: Ugh, so close.
Hunter: Yeah, seriously.
Other Voice: Well, I’m shot for the night. Try again tomorrow?
Hunter: Yeah, sure. We can save the world another day.
Voice: Haha, alright, see you guys.
Hunter closes down his computer, and slides it into his backpack. Sighing deeply, he flops onto his bed.
Hunter: Another day.
The doorbell rings. Hunter opens his eyes, looking perplexed.
Hunter: Who is–
The doorbell rings again, more urgently. Hunter gets up, looking annoyed.
Hunter: I’m coming, I’m coming!
As Hunter fumbles to unlock the door he mutters to himself, irritated.
Hunter: Look you can just chill, okay man? I’m so sorry I can’t open the door at the speed of–
He pulls the door open to reveal a tired looking Parker.
Hunter: –Light. Um, what–?
Parker: uh, hey. I’m Parker. We go to school together.
Hunter: I know. We’ve met.
Parker: Yeah, but I figured since we’ve never really talked–
Hunter: Yeah we have. Ms. Lewis’ spanish class freshman year.
Parker looks confused, so Hunter elaborates.
Hunter: You spent the whole time looking up inappropriate terms and insulting us in other languages.
Parker remembers, and starts laughing.
Parker: Hahaha oh yeah, that was hilarious.
Hunter: Was it though?
Parker: Look, uh, I’m not here to discuss past hilarity.
Hunter: He’s not?
Hunter: You’re not?
Parker: Cadmus needs my help, and I guess I need your help.
Hunter: How so?
Parker: I was asking around at the programming club, they said I should go to you. How much do you know about Low-Frequency Bio-Alarms?
Hunter: LFBA’s? One of the most complicated security procedures in corporate America.
Parker: Yeah, man.
Hunter: I mean, a little. Why? You planning some corporate espionage?
Parker: Nuh-no… I just, uh… have a project.
Hunter: In what?
Parker: School. Look, if I wanted to screw with one of those, what would I need to do?
Hunter: I mean I guess a low level electromagnetic pulse could knock out some of their systems, but to really do a number on it you’d have to couple the EMP with some serious hacking, probably some sort of virus to trip up the system on a software level.
Parker: Would these do the trick?
Parker sets his backpack down. Amidst quite a bit of computer equipment he pulls out a heavy-looking box with several wires poking out of it.
Hunter: Holy ****.
Hunter: That’s a really big EMP. Where’d you get it?
Parker: A friend of mine helped me build it.
Cut to a few hours earlier, where Nala and Parker are building the EMP.
Parker: Why do you know how to do this?
Nala: The answer to that is complicated and could possibly lead to my arrest. Let’s just say people who mess with me get what they deserve. Why do you need an EMP big enough to fry half the school?
Parker:…it’s a football thing.
Nala: Mhm. Don’t use that for plating. It limits the range.
Parker: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
Hunter: I mean, okay, say you did manage to set off this thing. You could probably take out a good piece of their security. But like I said, its worthless without the coding.
Parker: I don’t have time to learn to code, Keyes. I need a way inside ****ing FlyCo, and I need it yesterday.
Hunter: Wait, FlyCo? You do realize there’s a store at the mall, right?
Parker: I’m not going shopping, dumbass. I already have a phone.
Hunter: Then why–
Parker: Look man, they have Cad.
Hunter: They– FlyCo. FlyCo has your amnesiac buddy? Why would they even–
Parker: Because he’s special, okay? Like the people you hear about on the news. The vigilantes of Salem. The scientists of JabbourTech. Hell, that detective in London who everybody thinks is just a little too good at their job.
Hunter: Okay, Parker’s crazy. That’s clear.
Hunter stares at Parker, shocked.
Hunter: But you know what’s crazier? I believe him.
Hunter: Hey, you know what would be fun? Breaking into a highly classified facility.