CHAPTER 21 – III
Aricame and Stievo both wanted to change the world. Both were hesitant to use their immense powers because both feared losing control of them, and neither had their old mentor, Victor Strife, around to help guide them. Despite their trepidation, both excelled immediately at their new professions due to their natural proficiencies and personal magnetism, quickly rising to levels of greater and greater authority. Both sought to fight evil (as they saw it) by standing up for the everyman in their respective corners of the country.
Neither Champion was eager to take on their Other. Both preferred peace for themselves, and the world. Yet both had learned over the course of their lives that they were not chosen for peace, they were chosen for combat, and it would find them whether they welcomed it or not.
They also took to heart the lesson of Aricame’s epic display of strength. He had moved energy around in a haphazard and destructive way because he lacked control. However, if he ever developed the capability to take the energy of large groups of people and give it to other groups of people in a targeted way, including into himself, then the world would effectively be divided in half. The race was on to build up their respective teams. They each began identifying the good guys and the bad guys.
Aricame was skeptical of the establishment. He grew up watching his mother’s struggles to run Seattle as mayor and her shortcomings in dealing with her adversaries. She was powerful and wise, but the restrictions placed upon her by her governmental role soured him on public work, just as her Chamber of Commerce lobbyists made him skeptical of the private sector. There were many powerful individuals out there who were taking advantage of regular people and Aricame saw more efficient ways of balancing the scales. He fancied himself a modern day Robin Hood. He would fight crime with crime, become a vigilante man-of-the-people. He even gave himself an alias: Ohrmazd.
Assuming this new persona, he went after those who made fortunes at the expense of others. He robbed the wealthy of all stripes: from the titans of industry to the bosses of crime families. He outed corrupt politicians and aristocrats to the press, sometimes fudging the truth a bit as he passed information along. Though his methods were not strictly legal, they were, to him, no less moral. He kept very little for himself, giving the rest away to orphanages, soup kitchens, and the like. Though no one knew his true identity, Ohrmazd quickly became a cult hero, spawning additional vigilante crusaders in Seattle, the northwest, and the rest of the country.
Stievo, too, took down robber barons, crooked public officials, and mob bosses. But unlike Aricame, he did so by the letter of the law. Raised by the enigmatic yet authoritative Victor Strife, Stievo had a deep-seated respect for institutions and structure. With a no-nonsense approach to investigation and an unwavering commitment to order, Stievo shot up through the ranks like none other in NYPD history. He then caught the eye of federal law enforcement. Recruited into the FBI by the head of the Bureau himself, Stievo was put to work on the growing “Communist Problem” within the United States. He was now a G-Man tasked with hunting “Reds,” and he was excellent at his job.
Some more time went by. One day a file came across Stievo’s desk detailing the rise of vigilantism around the country. Regardless of their political agendas, these knuckleheads were causing more harm than good and they were undermining the public’s trust in authority. As Stievo continued through the report, he identified the movement’s leader, a man who went by the name of Ohrmazd. Attached was a grainy photo in which a figure could only barely be made out. No other person alive would be able to make the man’s identity, but Stievo’s eyes blackened immediately. He knew exactly who that was. He also saw an opening to make the first move against the only other living Champion.
Actions require consequences
Enacting vengeance, recouping expenses
Yet when compassion is suspended
Beware the blowback of the unintended