From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
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Zoe was my daughter's idea, plain and simple. Though she was my first level fifty, she was really created on a lark to please a little girl who thought my long-since deleted Invuln/Energy tanker, Big Simon, needed a little sister. We collaborated, and came up with the idea of Little Zoe. Since Simon used all the sliders pushed all the way to the right - making him immense, broad, tall, the essence of his name - we pushed the sliders for Zoe all the way to the left. She's tiny. Very tiny. Well, I couldn't get into tankers, and eventually deleted Big Simon, but Zoe went on to become a rather interesting character with a very detailed background.
I'm Zoe Fix. I've been known as other things - I'm registered as the hero Little Zoe, because I'm so small, and I went by Zoe Brightstar for a while, too, but we'll get into that when it comes up, okay?
How It All Began
I guess I should've been writing things down the whole time. I mean, I used to keep a diary, and I even tried blogging once, but, you know, there's only so much you can do before it sounds like you're just writing because you like the idea of people reading what you wrote instead of actually putting something important out there, so I'm gonna try and keep things as clear as I can, because really, what's the point of making this available for everyone to see if they can't understand where I'm coming from, right?
Yeah. So. This is where I would stop and catch my breath if I was saying all this, but since I'm not, and this is just for people to get an idea of who I am, I can keep going. Fun fun.
I suppose I should start at the very beginning, because starting in the middle, talking about getting kidnapped by the Council or trying to talk a psychotic interdimensional entity into being nice for a change when you don't have any context isn't going to do either of us any good. It'll make me look like I don't know how to tell a story, and it'll leave you with the sense that I just got plopped into the middle of it all, super powers and all. And I didn't.
So, my story starts with the Rikti War - the first one, back in two thousand three. Ohmigod, I just said that like it was a long time ago, when really it's only been a few years, but yeah, it does seem like forever, especially when you're me. But we'll get to that in a little bit, because that's not how it begins. No, it kicks off with a dud Rikti bomb. I thought it was a drone or something, but it turns out, now that I've seen tons of Rikti Bombs (thank you, Invasion... *sighs*) that it was a bomb after all. Anyway, it fell just outside our apartment building in King's Row and since it didn't DO anything, I thought I'd see what it was all about, so I pulled off a side panel and started poking around inside.
Tremendous Cosmic Power...!
- Okay, maybe not a huge mistake, because I got powers. Super powers. The kind that are really useful, too. It turned out the bomb used a type of cosmic radiation that changed something inside me, something in my genetic make-up (*sings* maybe it's Maybeline) and suddenly I could feel things in other people. I mean, I couldn't read their minds, but I could feel how they were hurt and fix it by putting the right atoms and molecules in the right places and... we'll, it's really complex, and it's not like I go, "Hey there you carbon atom! You need to join this covalent bond over here..."
- Anyway, I could heal people and make them better, which is pretty cool, I guess. I mean, it's not like my brother who - OH! I didn't tell you. My big brother, Simon, used to play football for the Paragon Titans, but one day when he was taking down the whole front line of some other XFL team, a mutation kicked in and, well, let's just say he got to be a superhero, too. But he's the kind of superhero you expect, the kind that can pound the bad guys into the ground. Anyway, I didn't get powers like that. But my new abilities made me an amazing sidekick, and it seemed like just about everyone wanted to have me along with them.
- Of course, there was a serious downs side to it, too.
... Itty Bitty Little Living Space.
- Yeah. So now I don't grow. At all. Mr. Zen says I'm... er, who's he? Hold on, I promise I'll get to that. Anyway, he says that my body has taken on a "unique status" becaue it no longer changes. I don't get any more atoms, but I don't lose any more, either. Weird, huh? Well, it sucks for me because I don't get to grow up. Literally. I'm stuck being an eleven year old for the rest of my life, at least that's what the doctors say. And even worse, since my body isn't going to change at all, I'm supposedly going to live forever. Forever. That's a long time.
- You know what sucks about that? Bobby's gonna grow old, and I'm not. He's gonna be thirty-five, and I'm gonna look eleven. He's gonna get all kinds of looks by people and-- look. He's sixteen, and already people look at him like he's molesting a small child when we kiss. What are they gonna think when we're both in our fifties?!
- Did I mention it sucks?
The Zenvious Foundation
I'm getting off-topic, though, and that's not good, especially when you're first getting started, so let me get things back on track a little bit, and that means talking about The Zenvious Foundation.
A Lab Rat
- Okay, so I wasn't just a superhero, but I was this weird anomaly that couldn't age, but nobody knew that yet. This guy, a Japanese businessman named Mr. Zen, came to see me and my parents - this was back before my dad disappeared - and asked if they could keep an eye on me, and maybe figure out exactly what it was the cosmic radiation did to my genetic code. He said they didn't want to fix me - which is fine because I liked what I was. Really, it was his group, The Zenvious Foundation, who discovered what was wrong with me in the first place, finding out I couldn't age. Back then, of course, I didn't care. I mean, I was eleven when the accident happened, and twelve when I joined the group and they started studying me.
A Place To Learn
- Not that I minded being studied. See, I graduated high school when I was nine and had my first Bachelor's degree by the time the radiation changed me forever. During the first couple years at the Foundation, I managed to finish up my Master's and was well on my way toward becoming a doctor when I realized I didn't need to. I mean, here I am, able to fix people just by thinking them fixed. Why would I have to go to school to learn about doing stuff the old way?
- Yeah, okay, so I got lazy and enjoyed heroing more and, well, I dropped out.
Before all the superhero stuff happened, we were just a normal family. Miles and Emily Fix and their two kids, Simon and Zoe. Suddenly, everything changed.
Big Brother Goes To War
- Simon left the Titans to return to King's Row and keep the streets of his old neighborhood clean, which was really cool, but he was always looking for some way to do things bigger, to make sure more people got help. Well, less than a year after my accident, right before Mr. Zen asked me to be a part of the Foundation, Simon joined the Army's new metahuman strike team and was deployed to Iraq. Now, I don't care what you think about the monkey in the White House, our soldiers need our support, and my brother's as much a hero for going over there as he was on the streets of Paragon City.
- Only problem is, he went missing in the middle of two thousand six, and nobody's heard from him since.
Dad's Disappearing Act
- I love my dad. He's awesome. I mean, really. He's not a superhero - he doesn't have any powers or anything - but he's my hero, because he was always there for his family, and he took care of us. We have an apartment building in King's Row, and he was the one who took care of everything, except the books, which was Emily's job. Dad, he did the yardwork, the plumbing, fixed broken windows, hung Christmas lights. If there was anything that needed to be done, he was the one to call, because there was nothing Miles Fix couldn't, well, fix. He even started up a handyman service in the Row to help out little old ladies who couldn't change their lightbulbs or light their furnaces, and always did stuff for them free of charge.
- Then, in early two thousand six, he disappeared. Not just him, but his Fix-It truck, too! Nobody was sure where he was until I noticed the truck hanging their in the void just outside of Pocket D's west window. Everything clicked! He must have been in the wrong place when D.J. Zero linked his dimensional space to the back of that one truck in the Row, and ended up getting ripped right out of our reality into a completely different one. But he's not in the truck, and nobody remembers seeing him in the D, ever.
- So, just like my brother, Dad's missing. Or he was, but I'll get that in a bit.
Mom Checks Out
- What can I say about Emily? Am I being mean calling her Emily instead of "Mom"? I don't think so. See, after Dad disappeared, so did she. I mean, she was still there; she still sat in her chair, and she watched TV shows, and got her magazines in the mail and all that, but she kinda receded into herself. I guess she thought Dad ran out on her, since he took the truck and everything. It wasn't until after I found the work van that she even really acknowledged that anyone existed outside her own circle of imaginary soap opera friends. Yeah, okay, so I know it was hard on her, and I made sure she ate and took care of herself, but she had a daughter going through some pretty serious changes and just utterly ignored her - um, me - for over a year.
- She finally starting coming out of her shell when my Aunt Jade took her for a trip to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, coming out of her shell meant she met this Spanish playboy, Raoul, and, you know, Emily's really pretty for a woman in her mid thirties. Yeah... you can tell where this story's going, can't you?
- Emily hasn't been back to Paragon City in over a year, and so now it's just me. Well, not just me, but we'll get to that soon enough.
Boys and Girls
It's not all just bad stuff, though. I've totally had a whole lot of fun since getting my powers, and even get to do some very teen and even adult things, even though I still look like I'm elev-- okay, okay, I'll stop talking about that. It's probably rude, anyways, huh? So, yeah, boys and girls. And I'm only saying both because of how things have gone down, not because I'm like, you know, interested in girls. Seriously.
- I wasn't really looking for a boyfriend. I mean, I was thirteen and had so much more going on so I didn't expect it to happen, but then I met Haruko Mitsu. Haruko was fun, had a whole lot of energy, and (most of all!) was my size. That's right... he was pint-sized, just like me. Looking back at it now - and that was like two years ago - I think that was the big thing. He didn't make me feel so tiny and stuff. Anyway, the miniature karate master and I hung out at the D and even went on a date once, but then he disappeared. When he suddenly came back a year later, things had changed for both of us. I was with someone else, (I'm getting there, promise!) and he was hitting on some girl in the D.
- Boys, huh?
- After one of the biggest changes in my life, I met this, er... well, I wanna say guy, but he's more than just a boy. Danny Mephitidae is an anthropomorphic skunk, and a Warshade, too! I know, completely weird, but Danny's a great guy, and warm and furry with a huge, bushy tail that curls around you when you cuddle with him. He introduced me to his mom, Melissa, who turned out to be a skilled geneticist, and taught me what it was like to really love strawberries. I know Danny wanted to be my boyfriend, and maybe he still does, but I just, well, something else happened, something that I really didn't expect, and I was swept off my feet.
- Who did that? Are you saying you don't know? Of course you know, silly! It was...
My Own, Personal Porcupine!
- Bobby! For the last year and a half, I've been dating the most awesome teen hero to ever walk the mean streets and leap from roof to roof in Paragon City. Bobby Thistle is cute and smart and noble and fun and, well, everything I need him to be. We're going to get married one of these days, too, even though it's gonna look funny when we do. Anyway, I've known him for a really long time, and my mom used to babysit him when we were both little. I guess he had a crush on me for a while, but I didn't notice, and after Haruko disappeared and Danny started hanging around, Bobby decided he had to take a chance and asked me out. And of course I said yes. Duh.
- Bobby and I have been through a whole lot, too. I'll get into more of that as I keep writing, so keep reading!
Well, That Was Unexpected!
- Right. So, quick and simple. Zoey was one of the friends I made while hanging out at the D, about the same time I met Haruko. Only she's still my friend, and probably will be forever. "Zo for life!" We were working together once and she kissed me. That's pretty much why I'm putting this here. I completely didn't expect it, and the BAM! she layed one on me. I don't know just how deep the feelings that led to that kiss went, or if she still has them, but that was the first time I ever kissed a girl. I'm sure I'll get around to writing about the second time sooner or later.
The Big Change
I guess you could say that the D has been a huge factor in my life, ever since it showed up. In fact, if it weren't for the club, there are so many things that have happened to me that just, well, wouldn't have. And while not all of them are good, they're all part of who I am now, so I guess, overall, I wouldn't get rid of them.
- My Aunt Jade once went through a really rough time, after her husband was killed and her daugher, Meah, abducted. The stress really got to her, and for a while she kinda wigged out. She started calling herself "Claudia", which I guess was her name before she changed it to Jade, and got a little more wild than I've ever seen her become. Anyway, she met this guy in Pocket D named Connor Knight who did something to her, mind controlling her, or just sharing thoughts, and it really didn't help. At all. I went to try and talk to him about it, to get him to leave her alone, but he tried to do the same to me.
- Ain't gonna happen. My empathic abilities kicked in and shut him out pretty quickly, but not before he managed to wedge open what Mr. Zen later called a "control gate" - which I guess is a tiny opening in your psyche where things can sneak in.
- Not good, right? Right.
Secret Agents and Government Officials
- Alice Littlefield was one of the few grown-ups at the D who I really found I could get along with. She was outgoing, fun, and well, really kinda understood me, at least a little. But a little's more than nothing, especially when you feel like nobody gets you, you know? Anyway, Alice turned out to be a Special Agent of the BAIC, but I don't pretend to remember what those letters mean. All I know is she's part of a group that's kinda like the Men in Black, who deal with aliens and dimensional anomalies and stuff. She even introduced me to one of their Field Agents, Ms. Terry, who took me on a few assignments, which was pretty cool.
- Or it was pretty cool until there was a little accident.
Adventures In Inquisitiveness
- So I should have learned my lesson when I got hit by cosmic radiation bottled up in a Rikti bomb, right? But noooo, not me. See, during one mission with Ms. Terry, when she was closing a bunch of dimensional rifts, I put my hand in one just to see what they felt like. It knocked me on my butt, that's for sure, but other than that, it wasn't too major. At least not at first. I mean, for a while, everything was just like normal, but then I started feeling sick, with sharp pains in my stomach and even coughing up blood. The Foundation flew me all over the place - Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, that big Shriner hospital in Texas - and even took me to meet mystics and all sorts of weird people, but nobody seemed to have a clue what it was until it was too late.
- Because dying sucks.
The Edge of Night
- Yeah, so, it was more like a near-death experience. It was still dying, though, and that's not fun, not by anybody's standards. I was kinda ready for it, or as ready as I could be, because I was there in a hospital bed, and everyone had already explained to me that nothing else could be done to help, except for Brightstar, a Kheldian energy being who had asked for permission to merge with me. I told her yes, after asking a ton of questions, but then she disappeared, and I figured she didn't want the body of a kid who was about to die. They tell me I was in a coma for about a day before I finally went, and that Alice came and read devotions, and Mr. Z tried some more rituals and stuff, and my aunt sat with me for a while, writing in her journal. That's when I flatlined, and Aunt Jade ran. I don't blame her... she already lost everything else, and now she was losing her niece.
A Bright Star
- Right. I already mentioned her. Him. It. Gender doesn't quite matter, I guess, when you're talking about Kheldians, so whatever works. Anyway, it was right after my aunt left when she came back. Why after I flatlined? I guess that's the easiest time for a Kheldian to merge with a human host, because the body's still fresh, but the mind is unable to provide any kind of resistance, and she says most human hosts offer a little resistance just because it's tough to "become one" with an alien mind.
- Only, something went wrong. Apparently the thing that made me sick that whole time was a Nictus shard that somehow attached itself to me when I put my hand in that dimensional rift. Using the control gate left open by Connor Knight's intrusion, it tried to force me into a merge, weakening me physically. My empathic abilities fought back, but the struggle going on inside me, the one nobody seemed to be able to figure out, eventually killed me. When Brightstar brought me back, she had to expel the Nictus from my body and when she did it scrambled up my brain's connection to my memories a little. So there I was, a thirteen year old girl inhabited by a forty one hundred year old alien... and a serious disconnect with my own memories.
ZForce1 was so very cool. Is, I guess, but I mean, we're not all here anymore. Bobby is. Toxi is. But Graff... he's not around so much. Still, we had some really awesome adventures together, and learned a whole lot about what it takes to be a hero, or at least be heroic.
- I've already said how great Bobby is, but I think I could keep talking about him forever, you know? I mean, it's Bobby, after all. He used to introduce himself as "Bobby Thistle, spines extraordinaire", but he doesn't so much now. He just says he's "Bobby, the spines guy". I mean, that's okay, but he really is "spines extraordinaire". It's really amazing what he can do with those magic spines.
- Get your mind out of the gutter. Geez. Just because he's my boyfriend...
- No matter what, Bobby was the undisputed leader of ZForce1. I mean, besides me, of course, but that's a total given. It didn't matter that he wasn't the oldest or the tallest or the fastest or the strongest, Bobby was the one who had a head and a heart for leading. He still does, too! He told me his dream is to help lead the Foundation when he gets older, and I bet he'll do it, too. The way he managed ZForce1, tough but caring, and how he helped train people even when some people thought he shouldn't... that took a lot of guts.
- That's my Bobby.
- Toxi is this tall, strong, snake-looking, scary guy. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. He's got scaled skin that's toxic, and he has spines, like Bobby, only where Bobby's are magic, I'm pretty sure Toxi's are like bone or something and actually cut through his skin when he needs to use them. I guess that's pretty handy, but it would hurt a bunch. Then again, he heals very quickly, too. Like super-fast. It's amazing. He once said that if he was killed and chopped up into little pieces and scattered all around the world, one of those little pieces would eventually grow back into the whole Toxi as we know him today.
- Awesomesauce, but creepy-sauce, too.
- I haven't seen Graffi for a long time. He doesn't come around much, but Bobby saw him a while back, and was in a bad mood because of it. After Graffi left the Foundation and bought that airship and started the whole Neverenders thing, he and Bobby didn't get along very well anymore. I guess it was a whole outlook thing. Bobby thinks heroes should act a certain way, and Graffi doesn't. Me, I think our one-eyed friend made a whole lot of bad choices, but I haven't given up on him. One of these days, I hope he'll remember he has a home with us, and maybe he'll come back and we can go back to being ZForce1 again. That might be wishful thinking, but sometimes it's the only kind of thinking that's left.
The Council, who are really annoying by the way, have a thing for Kheldian humans. I didn't know that when I merged with Brightstar, but I don't think it would have changed my mind. I mean, it was merge or die, right? And Brightstar was pretty awesome, anyway. And when I say "pretty awesome" I mean life-changing kind of awesome that just spins you around and makes you see everything in a different way, like before you were looking at life in the reflection of one of those funhouse mirrors that distorted things, making you look taller or skinnier or fatter or shorter or weird-shaped, but suddenly you weren't looking at a reflection anymore, but you were looking right at life, staring it in the face, through clear glass or even no glass at all!
Er, but now I'm rambling. I was talking about The Council.
A Guest of the Council
- I'm not even sure how I got kidnapped the first time. I went to bed in my own house, in my own room, under my own blankets. I had really bad dreams, and then BAM! (like Emeril says), I woke up somewhere else. Only "somewhere else" wasn't like the living room couch or the kitchen floor... I was strapped to a chair and held in a cage! I didn't see anyone at first, but I was definitely in a bunker of some kind. Occasionally I caught a glimpse down the long corridor leading to the room where they were keeping me, and saw tall men in black outfits and high boots. Council super-soldiers!
- Oh, that couldn't be good.
Requiem for a Dream
- I was kept captive for almost a week before they anyone spoke to me. Oh, they brought like food and stuff - not much, just enough to keep me from starving - and once a day one of the doctors would come in and give me a shot. I don't know what it was, but it had to be the thing keeping me from finding Brightstar's memories, and from using the powers my Kheldian part had given me, because I couldn't do anything but sit there and struggle.
- The first person to say something to me - and I mean really say something, not just, "Time for your shot, girl!" or "Eat your slop!" - was when Requiem showed up. I mean, I didn't know he was Requiem then, but as soon as he started talking about his Void Hunters and the Galaxy project and... you know, he monologued? Uh huh. Requiem monologued to a little girl strapped in a chair, like I was some kind of big hero or something. Fascists can be so stupid. Anyway, he started talking and a chill just went right through me and I knew who he was.
- It wasn't a dream, it was a nightmare.
The Party From the Party
- The real heroes of the story are the people who came to save me. Bobby led the charge, or at least was the most fiesty of the bunch, and Graffi was there, to, so they said, but I never saw him. There was Plasma Stream and Mike, but he went by Omega Extreme back then, not Hero Prime, and a woman named Lamda who Mike dated later, and... and... well, I think there were other people there, but it was really a huge blur, and I don't remember. I know that sounds horrible, but I... I just can't.
- Anyway, they were all at a party being held by The Dauntless Reverie when the message finally came in telling them where I could be found, and they all rushed to come get me and take me away from the horrible Council people, before Arakhn could do, er, whatever it was she was going to do to me back then.
- Yeah... those are the real heroes.
There's been one person who was more of a problem than the Council for me, and that's Clockwork Dawn. Franchesca DiMarco is... well, she's kinda the weird counterbalance to Dusk's whole shadowy thing he's got going on. I mean, Dusk is pretty cool, even if he's a little creepy, but Dawn, she's just, oh how do you say it? Guano loco! (I knew Spanish class would come in handy!)
- From the very first time she talked to me, Clockwork Dawn seemed way too interested. Not like, "I'd like to know how this sweet little girl turns out when she grows up" interested, but "I'd like to dissect this sweet little girl before she ever grows up" interested. Off the wall weird. Whenever she saw me in the D, she'd start talking to me, and taunting me, and even slapped me once. She's not very nice, you know.
- I got a package from her once. I thought it was from Bobby at first, but it had a DVD in it. She'd found an alternate reality version of my boyfriend, someone who called himself Bobby Switchblade, and she was... she was torturing him. And filmed it! She filmed it and sent it to me along with a cold-storage unit. I opened it once, and slammed it shut as soon as I saw what was in it. I mean, gross, yeah, but that's not all. It was part of the boy who I loved, or at least another version of him. Horrifying in the extreme! I felt like I was gonna puke, but somehow I managed to control myself.
- Clockwork Dawn was a sick woman. She was doing sick things to the poor guy, riveting him to a table, cutting out his organs while leaving him alive. I guess that's when I knew what I had to do. It was too late for Bobby Switchblade, but I had to save Franchesca DiMarco.
- That's what I believed until Bobby came up missing. I knew - KNEW! - as soon as I heard that he had been taken by her, and that she'd be doing terrible, terrible things to him, all in the name of trying to hurt me inside, to turn me around to her way of thinking. I cried. For days I wouldn't eat or sleep or anything. I just wanted my Bobby back, and I wanted him safe, and I wanted him whole, and I didn't care what the price was. I would have given myself up to make sure he was okay.
The Ultimate Sacrifice
- I say I didn't care what the price was, but when it came, I think sometimes it might have been too much. Mr. Zen met Dawn in the D one night, and she tried to overpower him. When she couldn't, she teased him, telling our group's leader what all she was doing to Bobby, the terrifying torture he was having to go through in my name. In my name! That's the most nauseating feeling, to know someone you care about is being hurt, is being tormented because they happen to be close to you. I hope nobody else ever has to feel it.
- The price of Bobby's return, though... that was just as frightening. Mr. Zen gave himself over to Franchesca DiMarco, giving her the right to do whatever she wanted to him - any torture, even death! - as long as Bobby was released, whole, to the members of the Foundation. Mr. Jet tried to stop him, but couldn't. When Mr. Z wants to do something, he does it, right? So he went. The next day I went with Jet and Artemis's Siren and we found Bobby in Croatoa, just where Dawn said he would be. He was alone, he was scared, and he would be scarred by what he went through for a very long time... but he was back and we were together.
- Mr. Zen's body turned up two days later in Atlas Park. He was dead.
- And even though he came back, he's not what he used to be. That was a horrible price to pay.
- I don't know how - nobody ever told me - but Dawn managed to get into the Foundation one night, and wreaked all sorts of havoc all over the place, even attacking our supercomputer. Weird, huh? Like I said, "Guano Loco". Somehow everyone managed to gang up on her and capture her, and I asked... I asked if I could help. I knew if I tried hard enough, I could save her. And I did try, and she got better, at least I'd like to think she got a little better. But something weird happened to me.
- Most of the next couple days was a big blank to me, but Jet tells me I showed up in Pocket D dressed like Dawn, and acting just like her. Like, creepy child in a white suit and everything. Apparently when I tried to empathically heal her, some of her memories and experiences got jumbled into my mind and... well, you figure it out. It only lasted for a couple more days, and she managed to escape eventually.
- I hope I never see her again.
Betrayal and Abduction
Remember what I said before, about my dad being my hero? Well, yeah. He is. Or was. Or something. I mean, I really believe he's always done everything he could to help me, and even after disappearing when Pocket D went live, I can't imagine he'd do anything to actually hurt me. And remember when I said he is gone, but then I said he was gone and that I'd get to that in a bit? Well, now I'm getting to that, so it must have been a bit.
- Okay, now this started off really weird. I guess Mech broke in on a Circle of Thorns ritual, and somehow the magic went haywire and turned him young. Like eleven or twelve years old young. It was kinda strange having brainy boy around, but Mr. Zen decided they could fix him and set up a ritual for the Foundation magic people to do. Well, something went way wrong when they did it. Not just a little wrong like they changed his age and it wasn't right, but really wrong.
- Suddenly, people started getting turned into younger versions of themselves. Some people, like Kaijitsu and Jet got really young. Others, like my Aunt Jade, only got a little younger. Aunt Jade was like twenty-ish or something when it hit her. Shelly got munchkinized, too, and a few others, and Zeal played babysitter to them all, which was really funny to watch. They even played Truth or Dare!
- It hit me, too. Nobody's really sure why, but it had the reverse effect on me. Completely reverse. Maybe it's because my genetic make-up is all messed up or something. I don't know. But it made me older - changed my body so that I looked like I was about nineteen or twenty, something I'm never, ever going to get to be on my own. It was awesome. I went shopping and spent time with Bobby and, well... you KNOW he liked having a girlfriend with the body of a model. Oh yeah, I was hot.
- All good things come to an end, of course. They had to find a way to make the younger kids older again, and they couldn't do that without turning everyone back, and that meant me. Giving me my younger body again, the body of an eleven year old, even though I was freshly fifteen.
- Life is so unfair.
Run, Run, Run, Run, Runaway!
- It happened, and Bobby and I had an argument, and I... I ran away. Or I flew away. I shifted into Mefnanim form - that's Nova, for you people who don't know much about Kheldians - and rocketed all the way out to space. I'd never done that before, but I needed to go somewhere to think, and that was the first place to come to mind. If I'd thought about it, the whole experience would have been very cool, but I didn't, and by the time I had calmed down a little, I got glanced by a small meteorite and tumbled back into the atmosphere, crash-landing, in Kurukt (Dwarf, duh!) form somewhere in the middle of Arizona.
- The next few days were a real blur. I woke up in a hospital in Phoenix, and the doctor introduced me to someone who said he was my dad. He was my dad, but I didn't know that, because I didn't really remember much of anything. I must've hit my head when I fell or something, because I couldn't seem to recall who I was or anything else. They checked me out anyway, giving me over to the man who claimed to be my dad, since he had all the right paperwork, and we went for a long drive.
Requiem and Rescue
- Of all the bad choices a parent can make, handing your Kheldian-human child over to Requiem probably ranks up there with some of the worst. Handing any child over to Requiem would be a bad thing, because he'd just do like he did with Jake and turn them into Void Hunters, but it's double especially bad when it's a Kheldian-human child, because it means he just wants to suck the energized life force out of the person to feed his power-hungry army.
- Or worse.
- In my case, he wanted to draw out Brightstar's energy aura whole, keeping it to study, to learn. I... I guess Brightstar had some kind of special connection to me, something different than other Peacebringers, that the Council wanted. Even The Center was there to make sure they got it! They said it had to do with the evolution of the human race. Anyway, just in the nick of time, Toxi, Mech, Kera, and Maggie all showed up and stopped them from using the rigged up telescopic equipment from turning me into a normal girl and sucking out the life of Brightstar
- Once again, those are the heroes of the story. They took me back to Paragon City and with Bobby's help brought me back to a healthy state of mind.
- My dad wasn't so lucky. He was shot in the leg, then dragged off by Council goons.
- One day I will find him.
The Light Fades
Okay, remember everything I said about Brightstar? Yeah, I don't want to sound all trite and say things like "She was everything to me" or anything dumb like that, but we were whole, part of each other. You know, a complete person. Every bit of her memories, every feeling, every hope... we shared them. It wasn't just hers, and it wasn't just mine, it was something that wrapped us both up and held us together.
It would be traumatic to lose that, wouldn't it?
- So I was just zipping back and forth through Atlas Park, stopping to help people. There was this one woman, middle-aged, in a business suit, and these Hellion thugs were trying to take away her shoulder bag. (I call it a shoulder bag instead of a purse because it was too big to really be a purse, and it wasn't really built like a briefcase, so shoulder bag it is.) Anyway, I swooped in, blasting at the Hellions with little bursts of light - just enough to scare 'em off. And it worked, too! They ran.
- Only, when they ran, so did she, dropping her shoulder bag and skittering away. At first I thought it was because she was afraid of the Nova form - I mean, there are a bunch of people who are like that. Prejudice. Earth for humans and all that stupid stuff. As if I wasn't human.
- Anyway, I dropped down to get her shoulder bag and realized too late it was a trap. Several people who follow Arbiter Death jumped me, and one of them was a powerful Nictus who weakened me with a blast of dark energy. Unable to fight back and hurt really badly by the blast, I blacked out.
Torture and Loss
- When I came to, I was strapped down to a table in a room set up like a bit theater. Well, as much of a theater as it could be, if the show was watching someone get tortured... and it looked like I was going to be the one giving a performance. I... I won't go into details, but I lost more than just my eye. Over two dozen bones were snapped, including all my ribs, and the Nictus - I can't remember his name - devoured Brightstar, sucking her energy out of me by the strength of his mere presence.
- Requiem would be so proud.
- This is kinda heresay. Even though Bobby still won't talk about it, I know he tracked Arbiter Death down and fought him. But the old Arachnos spy was too powerful and probably would have done really bad things to my Bobby if like a dozen members of the Foundation hadn't showed up. I was told later that Mr. Zen made a deal with Death to get me back, and I guess I'm grateful for that, but I really wish we could just put a stop to him once and for all.
A Land Far Away
- Needless to say, I was pretty depressed. Even after the Foundation's other healers and doctors and stuff fixed me up as best as they could, I wasn't ready to come out of my funk. I needed time, and I needed space, and I needed to be away from Paragon City, from all the reminders of what had happened, not only to me but to the part of me I wouldn't ever have again. I hardly slept, having nightmares almost every time I closed my eyes, and spent most of the time away sitting on a bench looking out a window overlooking Mr. Zen's garden in his Kyoto, Japan estate.
- Bobby was with me, and he even said Mike stopped by once. Mostly my comfort was Bobby, but the people who work for Mr. Zen in Japan are all very nice and very patient and I don't think I could have managed without them. There was one old man, Izaya, the chief chef, who had a funny way of talking, using riddles and haiku and stuff. I think, besides Bobby, it was him always being so positive that helped me get back on my feet.
- I came back with very little notice and no fanfare. I wasn't completely healed up, you know, in my mind, but I really thought we ought to come back. It took me a while before I could convince myself to use my powers again - in fact, Mr. Zen had me seeing a therapist when Bobby was away doing hero stuff for the Foundation. I never told Bobby about that, and I don't even really think that therapist helped all that much. But here I am, and I can help people again.
- I even grew my eye back.
People I Like... And People I Don't
Okay, I guess...
- ↑ Zoe is well aware that Ms. Terry is, in fact, Alice Littlefield. She just wouldn't write it down for all to see.
- ↑ The name is a little bit of a retcon. Initially, Brightstar "identified with a string of human vocalizations that sounded like 'Asvanta'", but I later worked it out so that "Asvanta" was the English transliteration of the Kheldian 'word' for "Bright Star".
- ↑ Leader of the Villains of Paragon City
- ↑ "Good People" Links: Bobby Thistle, Zoey Walkers, Toxpin, Moonrise, Vagary, Zeal Drain, Jade Ohm, Maggie Accident, Bonfire Butterfly
- ↑ Alice-ism for "Grown Up"
- ↑ "Okay, I Guess..." Links: Jet Falcon, Graffiti Samurai
- ↑ "Bad People" Links: Clockwork Dawn, Arbiter Death
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