Luke walks down the streets of Lyndhurst. His hair is a ruffled mess of short brown hair while his eyes are a sharp blue. The RAF veteran is in his early twenties and is in the peak of normal human health.
Well, not quite the peak. He isn’t an enhanced human after all.
So he’s not superhuman, but he as close as any normal person can get with his Sentinel armour.
Or he was. The military and government confiscated it after the war, claiming it belong to them as they had paid for it. Which, to be fair, was actually true even if Luke had been the one to invent, design, maintain, repair and use the suit of armour.
Still, he’s got the old prototype in his cellar that the authorities don’t know about. And it isn’t like he can’t design and build another if he has to.
But that’s in the past, thinks Luke, today I am having coffee with Gordon, my old war buddy. Well, Gordon is having coffee at least, I personally prefer tea. Milk with no sugar to be precise.
Gordon is waiting at the local cafe. The man is in his late twenties, but appears older thanks to his scars and choice of clothing. A short mane of black hair and a mildly buff body are Gordon’s main features. The miss-match of scars covering his body aren’t apparent until you get a closer look.
Luke got his closer look when Gordon needed medical attention a few years back in the middle of the war.
Today, like Luke, Gordon is wearing a tucked in shirt and rugged trousers. Unlike Luke, Gordon is also wearing a brown woollen coat.
“Hello Luke,” greets Gordon as Luke enters the shop.
“Hello to you too Gordon,” replies Luke before taking a seat at Gordon’s table.
“Shall I order?” asks Gordon, “I take it that you’ll have your usual.”
“Tea with milk and no sugars,” nods Luke.
Luke looks around. The place is quieter than usual. At least quieter than Luke what remembers.
It’s not long before Gordon returns with a cup of tea in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. He hands the tea to Luke before sitting back down.
“Do I wanted to know where you got the money from?” inquires Luke.
“Probably not,” grins Gordon.
“True,” says Luke as he takes a sip of tea, “So how is Linda?”
“She’s fine,” says Gordon, “My wife is looking after Charles back at the house.”
“How is Charles?” asks Luke.
“The lad is a healthy kid,” replies Gordon, “He’ll make a fine replacement.”
“How does Linda feel about that?” inquires Luke.
“She knew it was going to happen,” shrugs Gordon, “Linda isn’t bother by it. Especially since it is so far off. How’s your wife?”
“We’re fine,” Luke replies, “I’m going to start my own business.”
“What about the suit?” inquires Gordon.
“I got the prototype,” Luke answers, “And I been working on my base as well.”
“You’re getting back into the game,” notes Gordon, “You wouldn’t have built the underground bunker otherwise.”
“I might not wear the suit,” counters Luke, “I might just run the place while the others do their stuff.”
“You’re taking my training,” insists Gordon, “And you’re not the type to sit out of a fight.”
“I don’t even have any reason to wear the suit anymore,” disagrees Luke.
“Here comes your reason now,” says Gordon as he leans back in his chair.
Luke turns around to spot a man in a striped suit and a bowler hat enter the shop. Despite being well dress, the man has a grubby feel to him in Luke’s expert opinion.
The man strolls up to the counter as if he owns the place. The workers and manager seems to be extremely worried. A couple that were drinking some coffee quickly hurry out of the building.
Indignation fills Luke as recognises what is going on. A mob protection racket in his hometown.
To be honest, Lyndhurst isn’t quite his hometown as he was born and raised in Southampton and he currently lives in Ashurst with his wife, but the principle remains the same.
“Excuse me,” says Luke to Gordon as he gets to his feet.
For his part, Gordon nods and grins.
As the manager begins to hand over notes to the mobster, Luke walks up to the man.
“Hello,” says Luke as he taps the man on the back.
Surprised, the man turns around. He glares at Luke and takes him in before he smirks smugly.
“Who do you think you are?” demands the mobster.
“The war vet who didn’t come home to put up with a protection racket in this village,” replies Luke coldly, “Leave before I make up.”
“As if a punk like you could,” snorts the man, “Stay out of our way or you and your family might suffer accidents.”
He tries to shove Luke away, but Luke grabs the man and tosses him over his shoulder. Before the man can get up, Luke punches him in the head a couple of times, leaving the mobster out cold.
Luke looks outside as the police sirens bellow from outside.
“I called them,” says Gordon, “Now come and finish your tea.”
Luke got the Sentinel armour prototype out that night.
It isn’t much, lacking the rocket pack, weighing more and having a thicker and bulker design. But it still has the Kinetic Energy Redirectors and increases the speed and strength of the wear.
Oh and it has bulletproof armour that saved his life and countless others who knows how many times.
Luke is currently waiting near the coffee shop at about ten at night. The place is just shutting up for the night and Luke expects to the mob to send more people, either to get their money and/or to make an example.
He’s not overly worried about the threats the mobster made against his family. His parents are protected and his brother lives in America. His wife was a leader in the French Resistance during the war and has superpowers of her own.
A car rolls up outside and a group of three mobsters get out. Each is supporting sidearms. Probably leftovers from the war that was discard once it ended.
“Alright,” says the leader of the group, “You know the plan. We take double for our trouble and get the address of the tea-drinking hero. You can ruff the folks here up a bit, but no more that a bit.”
“Got it Jeremy,” grunts one of the other men.
Time to make his entrance, thinks Luke as he steps out of the shadows and towards the mobsters.
All of them draw their pistols and stare wide-eyed at Luke. They definitely weren’t expecting a famous superpowered war hero to show up tonight.
And the best part, thinks Luke, is that all of this is all illegal so he can roughen up the men as much as he likes. And with his secret identity, the authorities or mob won’t be able to go after him. At least he hopes the authorities won’t.
“*&@# this,” curses the mobsters’ leader, Jeremy, “Back off mister. We don’t want any trouble and we’ll shoot you if we have to.”
Bad move, thinks Luke, a harmless threat and a reason for Luke to beat them up.
“If you didn’t want any trouble,” says Luke, the voice changer masking his normal voice, “The mob should have stayed away from my hometown.”
“Damn you,” shouts one of the other men and opens fire on Luke.
The bullets ping against the Sentinel armour, leaving small dents as Luke charges forward. He slams into the man, sending him flying into the car.
Luke swings his fist into another mobster’s gut, winding the man and making him drop his pistol.
He turns to face the mobster called Jeremy and reaches out and yanks his pistol out of his hand.
“Who do you work for?” demands Luke.
“You won’t hurt me,” quivers Jeremy, “Y-you’re one of the heroes.”
Luke kicks the man in the leg. Jeremy drops to the ground crying.
“Who do you work for?” repeats Luke.
“Mr Thorpe,” cries Jeremy from the ground, “Lucas Walton Thorpe. I don’t know anyone else.”
“Here come the police,” says a bystander from inside the coffee shop.
Luke looks down the road. Two police constables are running down the road.
Checking to make sure none of the mobsters are going anywhere, Luke places a trio of spyder-bots on the car so he can track it later.
With that done and his business tonight concluded, the Sentinel runs off into the night.