Ode to the Fallen

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This was probably the stupidest ideas he had ever had—well, maybe not but it certainly seemed like it. Brent gazed out over the large congregation in Prometheus Park, filled with citizens, news media, heroes, and vigilantes. It had been twenty-four hours since the death of Marcus Cole, known to all as the mighty hero Statesman. The news hit Paragon hard, and the city was in mourning. The loss had been particularly rough for Miss Liberty, who had just begun to grieve for her mother. It had been decided that the tribute to Statesman would begin with a public memorial, where heroes could share their memories of their friend, mentor, and role model. As one of the more notorious rogues from the Isles and in full rogue regalia, Brent knew his presence on the stage as a speaker was unexpected—and fairly unwelcome. He looked around nervously to see if any of the other Phalanx members or Vindicators would appear to arrest him.

The man in charge, some wealthy socialite of the city all decked out in a nice suit, cleared his throat and looked at the rogue uneasily, "You have something you would like to say sir?"

Brent cleared his throat and nodded gravely. "I do."

The man frowned and leaned close whispering, "If you say anything in the slightest that disrespects Statesman I'll have your head on a platter, do you understand?"

"Perfectly," Brent replied, clenching his teeth. He couldn't recall why the man looked so familiar, but there was a look about the emcee—the eyes—that bothered the rogue. The man had a stern expression and a fierce look about him, and in his eyes there was deep seated rage—and pain. Obviously, the emcee had taken State's death pretty hard—but a nagging feeling told the rogue there was something more. The emcee nodded briskly.

"You have two minutes."

Brent frowned, "Everyone else had five."

"You now have one minute fifty seconds, start talking."

Brent scowled and walked to the microphone, evening out his expression to one of neutrality. Cameras snapped and Amanda Vines, a face he knew all too well, gasped as she announced who was about to take the stage to speak. Yep. Definitely a bad idea. He took an deep breath and began, "It was once said that all men die, not every man really lives."

Silence greeted him. Brent glanced over his shoulder. The emcee was staring at him and mouthed a minute thirty. Brent turned back to the crowd. "Marcus Cole was many things—father, friend, hero, patriot. He was an icon of an age—and with his death comes the end of an era.  No doubt the citizens of Paragon, and even those in the Isles, will miss the mighty Statesman. To the citizens, he was a protector—a defender of the innocent and all that was good. To his fellow heroes, an inspiration—the steady foundation which weathered the greatest storms."

Brent glanced over his shoulder again. The emcee seemed to be genuinely interested what he had to say now. Brent looked back to the audience, "And to a versatile rogue like me he was the bane of my existence—I mean, seriously, I 'd walk out of a bank, see him there in that imposing stance and just put out my wrists to get cuffed. I knew I couldn't take him and after the first few times where you end up in the Zig more black than blue you realize just going peacefully is a lot easier—and a lot less painful…"

Dead silence and horrified looks greeted the rogue and Brent coughed. He felt a vice-like gripe on his shoulder and heard a hiss in his ear, "That's /it/, you're done."

Brent rolled his shoulder and pushed the emcee back with a glare, growling 'let me finish'. He turned back to the crowd, giving an uncomfortable, sheepish grin, "Okay, so my an attempt at humor during a memorial service was misplaced but what is memory worth if you can't recall the good with the bad? Yes, today is a day of mourning, but part of honoring the Fallen's death is to celebrate his life."

The emcee grabbed the rogue's shoulder and paused, mulling over the rogue's latest sentiments. He hissed into the rogue's ear, "You can have your say, but screw around again and I /will/ haul you off this stage—and I don't care what cameras are rolling."

Brent gave a sharp nod, his mouth tight. When he spoke, his voice was tight, "When you look back at Stateman's life, despite the tragedy of his death—you'll find a wonderful, rich story filled with extraordinary deeds and adventures. He seemed to be a god among mortals—but really, behind the mask—States was a man. He laughed, he loved—he even bled. More than anything that is something to take from his final moments on earth. Even the greatest of men can fall… and… that's okay. It shows the world that he was in fact, at his core, like you or me."

There was a stifled sob from a citizen near the stage. Brent began to relax and the tightness in his voice diminished. "Statesman died as he lived—seeking justice, seeking to right wrong, and seeking to protect the world from evil. I cannot think of a more fitting or proper death for a hero of his stature. Something I understand now is that when it came to death, it was not that Statesman thought he was immortal. He just… thought he couldn't die—that is, he felt he did not have the right to leave this world. Like Atlas, he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. He accepted this burden with a patient resignation and even after all this time, he held to his values. He would not kill his opponent, despite the deep personal attacks made against him. He wanted to see Wade rot in prison—a mission that we will most certainly see finished. I would like to think in his final moments what Marcus realized was that he didn't have to fight anymore—that it was okay to pass the torch."

As he spoke, Brent's voice became stronger and more convicted. The emotion poured into the audience and many citizens were now quietly wiping away tears. Many of the heroes had wet eyes. Behind him the emcee was motionless. Taking this as a good sign, Brent continued, "While Statesman is gone, his memory and spirit are not. It is… little comfort to ease our loss and grief, but if we remember to hold true to the values that Statesman stood for, then he will never truly be gone. As many heroes before, he stood for truth, justice, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Together we will overcome this tragedy and prove to all who would seek the destruction of civilization that our faith is stronger than their power, our will is greater than their lust, and our strength comes not from a fickle puddle that grants magic powers, but the ability to rely on one another. The truth power Statesman had was not his superhuman strength, nor his ability to call lightning from the heavens, but the ability to inspire others to fight the good fight, to remain true to his convictions no matter what the cost, and to unselfishly devote his life to a greater good."

The emcee cleared his throat again. He spoke quietly in a strained voice. Although Brent could not see the man's face, he knew there were tears in the man's eyes. "You have a minute left."

Brent spoke in a quiet, thoughtful voice, "I am a simple rogue. I cared little for Statesman while he lived, but even I was touched by his death. I cannot help but think that if a man like myself found it inspiring, that others much greater than I would be moved to rise to the challenge we now face. Wade thought that by stripping Statesman of his power, he would become as great of a man as Statesman. He failed to see the real reason why he never can and never will be as great. While we shed tears today, tomorrow they will dry and Wade will find his victory hollow. For the single hero that fell today, tomorrow a thousand will rise to take his place. Statesman inspired a generation of superheroes, and like all good heroes, he shall continue to do so. That is the mark of a true hero. And that is the legacy of Statesman."

By the time, Brent stepped back from the microphone there was not a dry eye in the audience as far as he could see. Amanda Vines, between sniffles, began to chatter to the camera about the beautiful speech given. A single, hard clap sounded from behind and Brent turned to see the emcee slowly bringing his hands together again. The sound was taken up by someone in the audience, then another and another until the park was filled with thunderous applause. Brent hurriedly made his way towards the stairs, suddenly embarrassed. The emcee grabbed his shoulder just as he reached the steps. "Thank you."

Brent gave a small nod and a weak smile. "Well… it's what they need to hear, isn't it?"

The emcee nodded. His voice was thoughtful, "You know, you'd make a good hero."

The rogue gave a low snort, smiling a little. He would have laughed had the circumstances and setting been different. Brent shrugged, "I think that's going a bit far, sir. I have to go."

The emcee almost smirked, "Perhaps. I will see you around Brent." With that, the emcee returned to the stage to stand watch behind the next hero to speak.

Brent made his way down the stairs and froze, realizing that the man had known his real name. He turned but before he could move Amanda Vines was pushing a microphone into his face and asking, "So, Seteh, what did Mr. Sinclair say to you as you left the stage?"

Brent blinked, "Sinclair? As in /Justin/ Sinclair?" He certainly knew that name. The reporter nodded eagerly. Brent blinked. He coughed and said, "Excuse me." With that he swiftly pushed by the reporter and took off through the skies. He had a lot to think about.
All right, [link] is the original piece that I have reformatted into a story.

After the death of Statesman, a rogue of Paragon gives a eulogy in honor of the fallen hero. Guest starring a few other familiar faces.

(I should mention that there seems to be a particularly intense dislike between this rogue and Manticore any time they face each other as foes. And several tip missions imply he likes to track rogues, which is why he knows the real name of the rogue.)
© 2012 - 2020 Scholar-K-Hobbit
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Snow-Jackal's avatar
Snow-JackalHobbyist Digital Artist
*Slow clap* That was... very, very touching! I'm one of those rare, odd people that actually liked Statesman (the character, not the Dev). I actually wound up really liking who he was after reading Web of Arachnos and Freedom Phalanx and kinda dug that inspiring sense he had as a father, husband, etc.. He actually LIVED and LOVED instead of being a 'I can't have romance/life/happiness it gets in the way' etc etc, hero.

Well done! You wrote a better eulogy than Positron did! :p
Scholar-K-Hobbit's avatar
Aww, thanks! :) (I feel the need to hide from Posi now, lol.) I really would like to be able to get a hold of the older material (I have gotten several of the comics in print) to read it over and get to know the Featured Characters better. Its one thing I like about the SSA. The game is finally getting into them as characters instead of just contacts for Task Forces.

I really hope at some point they put a statue up of States in game and have plaques for History like they have done for Atlas. (Maybe even make it a new way to get Statesman's pal.) He really did seem like an awesome hero who decided what he wanted (both being a hero and having a family) and found a way to get it.
Snow-Jackal's avatar
Snow-JackalHobbyist Digital Artist
The books are completely worth reading.I found them on Amazon, actually. Really helped put Statesman in a better light for me vs the dev which was why I couldn't stand him for years. As a character he's much more interesting.

Also, he took in Desdemona as a sidekick whom I also adore. So he's okay in my book. Which made your story even nicer. I got teary eyed! Of course I have an immense soft spot for villains going rogueish to heroic, any ways. I have bunches of them.
Scholar-K-Hobbit's avatar
I too have a soft spot for rogues and vigilantes. Gray can be so much more fun to play than straight boy scout or cardboard cut out. The funny thing about this particular rogue was that he was supposed to be a very evil villain sort. I think it all went up hill when he fell in love, lol. Well, that and he realized he didn't have it in him to be /evil/. I made a second version of him who is in the process of becoming a vigilante (an older man vs young adult). When I got done writing this piece I could /see/ where the change would be. It was kind if an epic moment of 'whoa... there it is!'
Snow-Jackal's avatar
Snow-JackalHobbyist Digital Artist
Well I like the idealistic heroes, too. They give me hope. Rogues do, too, because they aren't necessarily as heartlessly cruel as they think they are and that always makes me smile, too, like Han Solo. Sort of that hope that we're really not as bad as we appear.
My alternate timeline of Taliesen was despicable and also wound up rogueing over from love. Hey! It worked for Han!
Scholar-K-Hobbit's avatar
Oh yeah! The rogue in question does kinda have the Han thing going. I've actually built my first true blue idealistic hero (I took her though SSA5 first.) It's a very nice change up and a lot of fun to play that side too. :) (She looks like Cap. America and has become a fast favorite of mine.)
Bossilla's avatar
After hearing the Eulogy first, this is just about what I imagined emotionally happening. What's the significance of Justin Sinclair?
Scholar-K-Hobbit's avatar
Justin Sinclair is part of the Freedom Phalanx as the hero Manticore. He has no super powers but is in peak physical condition and is expert with a bow. He's kinda Bruce Wayne meets Oliver Prince (Batman meets Green Arrow). He's a little... paranoid and will do anything it takes to get the job done. He's pretty cool. :D Official bio here: [link]

Anyway, Brent's history with Manticore goes all the way back to this one mission I had where my rogue faced him the first time in this arc: [link] There was a boat SWARMING with Longbow, who are like super powered police and just getting inside nearly made me froth at the mouth. (I swear I took out at least 50...) Then once inside, there were MORE Longbow... and then I accidentally stumbled upon Manticore before I was ready. I decided to recruit a friend and once again just getting back into the ship to get to Manti was a pill. It was only after I got two more friends to help and we all went inside that we managed to finally take Manti down.

So pretty much after that I decided that my rogue particularly disliked this hero (this was when he was still a villain). Well, any time I faced Manti after that I gunned for him and on more than one occasion I have found Manti gunning for me on that character, so this sort of rivalry developed. Then going rogue comes out allowing Brent to become a rogue and run around on the hero (blue) side. So of course Brent had to go do the Task Force Manti offered on point (the write up of the badge is awesome if you are a rogue b/c it mentions Manti's paranoia). Also, several rogue tips involve Manti blackmailing you to be heroic, so again even if Brent helps heroes there are usually some more personal and slightly more selfish motives to it rather then b/c it's right.

Anyway, the citizens of Paragon know Justin Sinclair is Manticore. It was more of me making an inside joke about the character's relationship with one of the canon character's. I might explore the evolving history between these two characters at a later time.
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