The Super Morpher, Chapter 8: Reflecting on Doubts

Jordan jumped when the door of his lab banged open, and he turned to see who was there. He got up from his desk and rushed over to help a limping Ryan into the lab. “Ryan, I was so worried about you when your radio went dead. What happened?”

Ryan forced a grin that quickly turned into a grimace. “Oh, nothing much. Just got shot by a rocket launcher and then tied up in chains. Sounds like they were going to try to sell me to  somebody they called “the big boss,” whoever that is.”

Jordan’s mouth dropped open and he stared at Ryan. “You survived getting hit by a rocket launcher?”

Ryan nodded his head. “Just barely. If I hadn’t had your suit on, and been made out of stone at the moment, I’m pretty sure I would have been a gonner. Thanks again for this suit, it’s amazing.”

Jordan nodded his head. “Now if only I could find a way to do the same thing with your radio. Seems like the thing busts everytime you go out, lately.”

Ryan snorted. “That’s true. Did you ever hear anything about those paramedics? Did they make it to the hospital in time?”

Jordan shook his head. “I didn’t hear anything. I stopped listening to the police scanner when your radio went silent.”

Ryan nodded his head. “I hope they made it out okay. Do you think I’ll run into anymore ambushes like that one?”

Jordan shrugged. “I think it’s pretty likely. I warned you about going after those gangs, but you wanted them to pay. Did you really think that you wouldn’t attract anyone’s attention? Or that they wouldn’t strike back out at you? I’m more worried about how they’re going to ramp their next attack up since the rocket launcher didn’t work.”

Ryan grabbed his head in both hands. “This isn’t what I wanted. I was only trying to make this city a safer place, but all I’ve done is increase the danger out there. Maybe I should just quit this whole superhero thing, let things go back to normal. This city wouldn’t be in so much danger if I did that, right?”

Jordan put a comforting hand on Ryan’s back. “You have to see this through, Ryan. If you quit now, their attacks will get worse and worse in an effort to draw you out, to force you to face them. You have to keep on doing what you have been: helping people and making a difference in this city. You’ll just have to do it with better equipment than you have now. That’s where I come in.”

Ryan looked up with hope on his face. “You made me my motorcycle?”

“What? No, I already told you that was a dumb idea.” Jordan shook his head. “If you will come over here with me, I will show you what I’ve been working on.” Jordan walked over to a lab table with a belt, and several spheres lying on it. Jordan picked up one of the spheres and threw it to Ryan. “Squeeze that.”

Ryan gave Jordan a weird look, shook his head and squeezed the sphere. One end of the sphere opened up and a metal marble rolled out and into Ryan’s hand. Ryan looked up at Jordan and Jordan was grinning excitedly. “It’s a case for carrying different materials for you to absorb. If you get into a tight spot you will have one of those to help you get out of it! Aren’t they great?”

Ryan scratched his head. “How am I supposed to bring these with me? The suit doesn’t exactly have pockets on it.”

A big smile crossed Jordan’s face and he picked up a yellow belt and showed it to Ryan. “You won’t need pockets when you have your handy utility belt! The belt and the capsules, which I’m thinking of calling ‘morphing caps’, by the way. Each have a magnet in them so that the morphing caps will stick the to the belt! Isn’t it great?” Jordan stuck one of the caps to the utility belt and it stayed there.

Ryan looked at the belt skeptically. “Mmhm. What about these things? What do these do?” Ryan reached over and picked up another sphere shaped object with a red button on it.

Panic filled Jordan’s face and he waved his arms. “Don’t touch that button!”

Ryan grinned and put his thumb on top of the red button. “Why? What will happen if I do?”

Jordan took a few steps back. “You’ll be covered in a super sticky substance that even you will find difficult to get out of.”

Ryan’s eyes opened wide and he gently set the capsule down on the lab table and wiped his hands on his pants. “Why would you making a morphing cap like that?”

A sly smile crossed Jordan’s face. “It’s not a morphing cap, it’s a sticky bomb. This will help you to apprehend criminals, and hold them until the police can arrive. Sound’s pretty useful, don’t you think?”

Ryan nodded his head. “Sounds like it could be fun. I could even use them to slow the police down if they decide to start chasing me again. Did you have anything else you wanted to show me?”

Jordan shook his head. “No, that was all I’ve had time to make so far. Why don’t you put your suit on and we can see how it looks with the utility belt I made for you?”

Ryan rolled his eyes but pushed the button on the side of his watch. “Activate transformation.” A blue glow enveloped Ryan’s body, and when it faded, his Super Morpher uniform was on him.

Jordan walked up and wrapped the belt around Ryan’s body, and clasped it shut. He started sticking morphing caps and sticky grenades to the belt. He pushed a mirror in front of Ryan and a huge smile filled his face. “It looks great on you, Ryan! What do you think?”

Ryan frowned as he looked at his reflection. “What do I think? I think the belt with all these capsules on it makes me look kinda bulky. I’m pretty sure it would slow me down too. Nope, I don’t think this is going to happen. I mean, look at all that yellow.”

The smile faded from Jordan’s face. He sniffled. “You mean you don’t like it?”

Ryan sighed. “Don’t get me wrong Jordan, these all seem like really great ideas, and if you could make the belt thinner, and maybe black it would be a little better.”

Jordan nodded. “I could make those changes to the belt for sure. I could probably make the morphing caps a little smaller too.”

Ryan smiled at Jordan. “Thanks buddy. Has anyone ever told you that you are the most amazing genius friend a guy could ever ask for?”

A smirk covered Jordan’s face. “You may have mentioned it a couple of times, usually when you want something.”

Ryan took the belt off and gave it back to Jordan, before pressing the button on the side of the watch. “Activate transformation!” Ryan sat down on one of the chairs in the lab and leaned back. “All I want right now is a bit of a nap before I go back out on patrol, and for my body to not hurt so much when I wake up.”

Jordan frowned. “You might not want to nap in here then, it’s going to get kind of loud once I start working on the modifications you want.”

Ryan sighed and stood up. “I guess I’ll go nap back at the dorm, then.”

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Ryan rolled his shoulder a few times, and then cracked his neck. He bounced up and down on his toes and eyed the fire escape on the building across from him. He sprinted across the alley, lept into the air and grabbed onto the second level of the fire escape, and pulled himself over in one fluid motion. He continued up the firescape until he reached the roof and started sprinting toward the opposite edge. Ryan hoped that he wouldn’t find any crime tonight; he just wanted a quiet night of jumping from roof to roof to clear his head and let him sort through his thoughts. He wasn’t certain he would be able to make himself go down to stop any crimes yet, not after what happened earlier today with Becky. That was one of the things he had to think over.

What was he supposed to do about Becky and her offer? What was she thinking, asking already? Didn’t she know that this kind of question had two answers? Either end the relationship or accelerate it, because he saw the look she gave him when she thought he was going to say yes. And the longer he waited to answer, the worse it was going to get. If he thought about it for too long, that could be almost as bad as saying no. Maybe this question was a sign that Becky actually didn’t like him all that much. If she did, would she put him in this position?

A part of Ryan wanted to say yes; he really did. Everything they did together was great, and he always had fun with her. They were a great match for each other, but Ryan was convinced that there was a better match for him. All he had to do was get Kari to say yes. Ryan sighed. Perhaps going to one bible study with Kari wouldn’t be so bad. It wasn’t too likely that they could completely brainwash him if he only went to one, but he was certain that Kari wouldn’t be able to resist his charms if she finally went on a date with him.

Maybe that’s what he would do, then. Maybe he would say no to moving in with Becky and see how she took it. If she wanted to break up with him because of it, then he would finally go to a bible study with Kari. It was a win-win for him. He was glad that he took the time to think through this problem. A huge smile formed on Ryan’s face as he lept to another roof.

The smile quickly faded once his other problem invaded his mind. Should he hang up his uniform, and go back to being a normal guy? Should he just go back to the football team? He had become pretty good at controlling his strength. He missed the thrill of dodging the offensive line and pulverizing the quarterback, although it really couldn’t compete with the thrill of jumping across the city’s rooftops and beating up criminals.

Ryan sighed and slowed his run to a walk, sat down on the edge of the roof he was on, and looked up at the night sky. It was a clear night, and the stars were beautiful. He gazed up at the twinkling celestial lights, searching for answers, but only finding the Big Dipper and Orion. “I’m not saying I believe in you, because I don’t, but if you’re real, what would you do in my position? You’re all about saving people from stuff, right? What if by saving people, you were actually making it worse for them? What would you do then?”

The radio in Ryan’s ear buzzed and Jordan said, “What would I do when?”

Ryan’s face contorted in panic, and he replied, “No one, just talking to myself. I thought the radio in this thing was busted.”

Jordan chuckled. “It was, but I fixed it; it’s kind of what I do.”

“When did you get time to do that? I thought you would have been distracted by other things today.”

“Getting your radio fixed was a priority for me. I want you to be able to reach me if you need help when you are out on patrol. We’re a team after all.”

A smile crossed Ryan’s face. “Thank’s, buddy. How much of what I was saying, did you hear?”

“I saw that you were saying something, but by the time I got the headphones on I only heard, ‘what would you do then?’ So what is it you were asking about?”

Ryan stood up and started to turn around and jumped in surprise when he saw a black monster with sharp claws standing behind him. Before he could react, the monster reached out and grabbed Ryan by his face and threw him off of the building, down toward the alley. Ryan struggled to get his feet under him as he fell, but he didn’t have enough time and landed on his back. All of the air in Ryan’s body escaped in one big gasp.

He groaned and looked up to try and figure out what had just thrown him off of the roof, and saw the creature jump off of the roof and dive at Ryan, it’s claws bared and ready to slash him. Ryan’s eyes opened wide and he scrambled out of the way, his breath coming in heavy ragged bursts. The creature landed in the alleyway, and straightened up and looked at Ryan. Ryan was sure he had heard gears grinding when it did so, and upon closer inspection, saw that it wasn’t a creature at all, but rather a robot.

This robot was much more advanced than the first one that had attacked him. It had a lithe body, and claws on each of its four appendages. It’s legs were reverse-jointed, and its torso was a thin cylinder of metal that led up to a long narrow head. Ryan reached down and absorbed some of the rock that paved the alley and growled at the robot, “What do you want?”

The robot responded by pulling his arm back and charging at Ryan. Ryan stood his ground and swung his fist at the robot’s head as it drew near, and the robot slashed at Ryan’s chest. The robot’s claws harmlessly passed over Ryan, whose punch turned the robot’s head to the side. He started rejoicing, until the robot pushed Ryan’s fist aside and took a few steps back. It started to circle Ryan as if stalking prey.

Jordan’s voice came over the radio. “Ryan? Are you okay? What’s going on?”

Ryan started circling as well, searching for an opening he was hoping would appear on his opponent. “I don’t really have time to talk right now, Jordan. I’m in the middle of a fight with a robot at the moment.”

“Another one? What’s the hold up, then? The first one didn’t give you much of a problem.”

Ryan darted toward the robot and punched it in the torso, causing it to slide back a foot. Ryan’s cringed and grabbed his wrist. “Ow! What the heck are you made of, you dumb robot?”

The robot answered by swinging one of its claws at him once more, this time a small rocket engine in the robot’s elbow ignited and accelerated the slash. The claws connected with Ryan and hurled him into the side of the building behind him, and Ryan dropped to the ground. He slowly stood up and braced himself against the side of the building. “This just hasn’t been my day. First getting shot by a rocket launcher, and now having to deal with this thing? Is it too soon to retire?”

“What’s going on? Are you okay?”

Ryan turned his head and spat out some blood. “Just peachy. I’m getting my butt handed to me by a machine, and it won’t even do me the pleasure of taunting me. What’s up with that?”

The robot stared silently at Ryan for a moment, and then charged at him. It held up its left claw and a rocket engine in the elbow fired once more, accelerating the slash at Ryan’s face. Ryan grabbed the robot’s wrist in his hand, turned, and heaved the robot over his shoulder to crash into the floor of the alley. “I don’t think so!” Ryan continued to flail the robot around, lifting it into the air and then slamming it onto the ground five more times.

He held the robot up and inspected it, and in his surprise, saw that the metal of its body was still unscratched. “What the heck are you made of?” Ryan pulled his arm back and threw the robot three stories up into the air. The robot began to fall back toward the ground, and Ryan pulled his foot back and kicked the robot in its face once it got close to the ground, sending it flying into the side of one of the buildings. The robot fell to the floor in a heap, lying unmoving on the ground.

Ryan watched it for a few moments, and when it didn’t move, he turned around and checked to see if anyone had seen the fight. Jordan’s frantic voice came over the radio, “Ryan, are you okay?”

Ryan laughed, “Yeah, I’m fine. I think I’ve had enough excitement for one day. I’ll see you back in the lab in a few minutes.”

“Make sure to bring whatever’s left of that robot with you. I can’t wait to get a look at it.”

Ryan snorted. “You don’t have to worry about it being too broken. I pounded on that thing with everything I have, and I didn’t even scratch the thing.”

“You should make sure that it’s actually down for good before you bring it back with you.”

Ryan slowly turned back to face the robot. “I wish that I had brought some of those sticky grenades with me. They sure would have come in handy against this thing…” Ryan’s jaw dropped open when his eyes landed upon the spot where the robot had been lying. “It’s gone, Jordan!” Ryan quickly crouched into a fighter’s stance, and quickly started to scan the alley for his mechanical foe.

“What’s gone?”

Ryan sighed. “The robot. I turned my back on it for five seconds, and the thing’s just gone! It shouldn’t have been able to move after the beating I gave it.”

Jordan sighed. “I can’t believe that you just let it escape like that, Ryan. You have to go looking for it now, before it can hurt anyone else.”

Ryan groaned. “Great, just what I wanted to hear. Instead of an early night, I get to hunt down the robot that just kicked my butt. Tune into the police reports in case they pick up on it.”

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Ryan pushed the door of his dorm open, and walked inside with half-opened eyes. He had stayed up all night searching for the robot, but he couldn’t find any trace of it. He had two hours before his first class started, and he wanted to spend that time in his bed. He walked past Jordan’s room and found him snoring in front of his computer with his headphones on. That explained why he hadn’t answered when Ryan last checked in on him.

Ryan continued down the hall to his room and pushed the door open, but before he could get into bed, he heard a knock at the front door. He groaned, gave his bed one last longing glance, and started back down the hall. Ryan pulled the front door open, and he groaned again.

A woman rushed through the door and wrapped Ryan up in a great big hug. “Hi sweetie! How are you doing this morning?”

Ryan struggled to get out of the woman’s embrace, but finally gave up and just hugged her back. “I’m doing well, Mom. What brings you and Dad here this morning, without calling to let me know first?”

His father pulled his mother off of Ryan and glared at Ryan. “I heard that you decided to quit football. We both know that football is the only reason that you are going to college, and the only reason you even got into college. I’m not trying to say that you are dumb, but why are you throwing away the only thing you are good at?”

Ryan glared back at his Dad. “Just because that’s the only thing you ever cared about that I am good at doesn’t mean that it is the only thing I’m good at. I’m keeping my grades up with some help from Jordan.”

His dad nodded his head. “Uh-huh. If you get back into football, the NFL is a real possibility for a career for you after school. I know that scouts have been out to some of your games. What do you plan to do with your education that you are so interested in getting?”

Ryan looked down at the ground. “I don’t know yet, but I’ll figure it out.”

Ryan’s Mom looked at Ryan with a sympathetic look. “Of course you will, sweetie. You can do anything you put your mind to. Your father is right though; you really do have a lot of talent for football. We just wanted to make sure that you had thought this through and had a good backup plan.”

Ryan shrugged. “Football was getting in the way of school. I needed more time to study and I’ve been thinking about getting a job.”

Ryan’s dad’s face turned red. “A job? You don’t have enough time for school because of football, and you think getting a job is going to free up your time? What do you need a job for anyway? Between your football scholarships, which you can kiss goodbye if you continue with this course of action, and the money your mother and I give you, you don’t need any money. You don’t need a job, you need to get back on the football team. Today.”

Ryan blushed. “I need the extra money to take my girlfriend out on dates.”

Ryan’s mom squealed. “Ooh! My little Ry-ry has a girlfriend! Is it that Kari girl you are always talking about? When do I get to meet her?”

Ryan’s dad narrowed his eyes and glared at Ryan. “A woman? That’s the reason you quit football? Did this girlfriend of yours tell you to quit football? If she did, then she’s not the right girl for you.”

Ryan sighed. “No, its not Kari. Her name is Becky, and she wants me to rejoin football almost as bad as you do, Dad.”

Ryan’s dad smiled. “She’s a smart girl; I like her already. You should listen to her and rejoin the football team. It would make a lot of people happy if you did, son.”

Ryan threw his hands up in the air and turned away. “I can’t rejoin the football team! My last day of practice I sent someone to the hospital. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone else getting hurt.”

Ryan’s dad snorted. “That’s what this is all about? You’re scared of hurting someone? It’s part of the game, boy. You should know that by now. Those boys all know that there’s a chance of them getting hurt, they all signed up for it. Now grow a pair and get back onto that team!”

Jordan walked out of his room yawning with a groggy look on his face. “What’s all the shouting about?”

Ryan’s dad looked up at Jordan and pointed a finger at him. “It was you, wasn’t it? You convinced Ryan to quit the football team!”

Jordan’s eyes opened wide. “What?”

Ryan turned and growled back at his dad. “Jordan had nothing to do with it. This was my decision, and I’m not going to change my mind about it.”

Ryan’s dad looked Ryan in the eyes. “Yes, you are. Because if you don’t, You won’t get anymore help from us with school. If you want to throw away your life, then you can figure out how to pay for everything on your own.” Ryan’s dad turned and walked out of the dorm room.
Ryan’s mom watched his dad walk out into the hall and sighed. “I’ll talk with him later and we’ll get this all figured out, but it might help if you at least had a different plan, sweetie. Have fun at school!” Ryan’s mom headed out into the hall after her husband.

Ryan sighed and closed the door. Jordan blinked confusedly a few times, and looked at Ryan. “What just happened here?”

“My parents found out I quit football and they weren’t too pleased with it. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I should just rejoin the football team.”

Jordan looked at Ryan with skepticism. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? With your super strength, who knows how hard you can hit now.”

Ryan yawned. “I’ve learned to control my strength and abilities pretty well. It would make a lot of people happy if I did rejoin the team.”

Jordan shook his head. “What about the whole Super Morpher thing? Do you really think that you will be able to find time for school, football, Becky, and saving the city?”

Ryan held his head in his hands. “Ugh! Why does this all have to fall on me? Why can’t I just be normal again? The city seemed to do fine without me before!”

Jordan rested a hand on Ryan’s shoulder. “We talked about this before, Ryan. You stirred up the hornet’s nest. If you stop now, a lot of people are going to suffer because of it.”

Ryan shook his head. “I don’t want to think about this right now. What I do want is to try and get some sleep before I have to go to class.” Ryan walked past Jordan to his room.

Jordan watched him go, and sighed. He wished that he could do something to help Ryan out with his problems, something more than just making and repairing equipment for him. Jordan yawned again and followed after Ryan. Ryan was right about one thing, sleep did sound very good right then. But neither Ryan or Jordan were able to fall asleep. Ryan was trying to sort through everything in his life and determine what was the most important, and Jordan couldn’t stop trying to figure out how to help Ryan with his problem. When their alarm clocks went off, both of them groaned.

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The man in the white suit sat in a chair sipping tea from a delicate porcelain cup. A man in a black suit kneeled in front of him on one knee, with his head bowed down. The man in the white suit placed the cup back onto his saucer and looked at the man kneeling before him. “He survived being hit by a rocket launcher? Were there any witnesses to confirm this?”

The kneeling man nodded his head. “Yes, a member of the Bleeding Hearts witnessed the entire incident. He was the only one that was able to escape.”

The man in white grunted. “I would have thought that Gregory would be smart enough to have sent more men after him than just seven. This Super Morpher did take on an entire gang by himself after all. I’m starting to question Gregory’s leadership skills. Perhaps it’s time for me to replace him.”

The kneeling man shook his head. “I don’t believe that to be necessary. Gregory passed the message of your reward on to the members of his gang, and they acted on their own.”

The man in white leaned back in his chair. “Very well, he retains his position on your recommendation. He is to triple what he gives to me as a tribute if he wants to remain in my good graces, however.” The man in white stood up and walked over to the window and looked out at the skyline of the city. “Make that double instead. This little failed venture of theirs did provide me with some valuable information.”

The man in black looked up. “Valuable information? What do you mean?”

The man in white turned and grinned at his companion. “Why, that the Super Morpher isn’t invincible of course.”

The man in black looked at the man in white in confusion. “What do you mean? Gregory didn’t report anything like that. He survived getting hit by a rocket after all.”

“He survived it because of that suit he’s wearing, I’m certain of it. He’s proven himself to be a person of incredible strength and agility based off of our earlier reports, but that rocket slowed him down enough to let one of Gregory’s men escape. I think that he is more or less a normal person under that costume of his. That’s why I want you to contact Lori Bollie.”

“Lori Bollie? The Wraith? What do you want her for?”

The man in white raised his eyebrow and frowned. “Have you forgotten your place already, questioning me like I was an equal?”

The man in black bowed his head and took in a deep breath. “Forgive me, Spider. I meant no disrespect. I was merely trying to understand the brilliance that has allowed a man such as yourself to rule this city.”

The Spider chuckled and shook his head. “Very good, Saul, very good. I want you to contact the Wraith because she has talents I wish to employ. If anyone will be able to find out the Super Morpher’s identity for me, it will be her. Once I have that, I can take on the man without the suit, and I like those odds considerably more.”

Saul nodded his head. “It will be as you have requested. Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

The Spider grinned. “Yes, I want you to look into any scientists that may have been working with creating armored fabrics like the ones the Super Morpher wears. It might give us a lead to finding the Super Morpher.”

Saul rose to his feet. “I will put our best researchers on it right away, sir.”

Saul turned to walk away, but stopped when the Spider said, “Wait a second, Saul. How would you like a chance to test your mind against mine with a friendly little game of chess? It has been so long since I’ve had a challenge.”

Saul turned and looked at the Spider with careful consideration. “The same stakes as last time?”

A grin filled the Spider’s face. “Yes, of course. If you win, I will return your family to you. If you lose, another five years of service gets added on to your contract. I’ll even play with a handicap and start with one less pawn.”

Saul sat down in front of the chess board. “Fine, but I get to decide which pawn it is that you lose.”
The Spider sat down across from him. “Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge otherwise.”

Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more stories like it, check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page for updates on the stories here: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see my review of what happened in the last chapter of Beast Blades, as well as a sneak peek at what will happen in the next chapter. Then come back on Monday when I will post part of one the next chapter of Beast Blades.  Also, if you enjoy reading my stories, and you enjoy drawing, I’m looking for pictures of my characters. If you want to send me your fan art, I promise to include it with some of my posts! I look forward to seeing that art!

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