I walk down the dusty path in an isolated part of the New Forest, holding hands with my girlfriend. This is our first date in far too long.
She seemed somewhat relieved when I suggested this date, an evening stroll through the forest. Just the two of us. In all honesty, I needed this sort of break after the disaster breakout attempt a couple of nights ago.
Another part of me was torn up with worried. After talking it over with the other Leaguers, I decided to finally tell Judy about the Sentinel and the League of Heroes.
I really hope she’s the understanding type when it comes to matters like this, especially since her brother is member of the Albion Defenders. But then I remind myself that Judy doesn’t know about her brother, his job or his powers. Another part of me is just glad to finally get this over and done with.
Judy stops and takes a deep breath
“Daniel,” says Judy suddenly, “I got something to tell and show you.”
“Same here,” I reply, “Do you want to go first or shall I?”
“I would like to,” says Judy quietly before speaking a bit louder, “I want to get this over with.”
My heart sinks. Is she going to break up with me? That’s one of my top three fears alongside one of my few mundane friends developing superpowers or one of the Leaguers’ secret identities being revealed to the public.
“I would tell you, but you’ll probably think I’m crazy if I don’t show you first,” continues Judy in a hurried voice, “So please just watch.”
She stretches a hand out and something ripples around it. Very faintly mind you. I only spot because I learned to watch out for these sorts of things. In my opinion, part of being a good superhero is being about to spot the extraordinary.
Judy has pointed at the mostly dried out stream next to the path. The stream seems to be frozen in time judging by how what little remains of the water isn’t moving at all.
I rack my brains for any information regarding this. This isn’t the comic books where everybody connected to the hero ends up with superpowers or something like that. No, there’s a perfectly logical explanation behind this.
I figure it out in a couple of seconds. Eternal aka Thomas Carter is Judy’s elder brother and member of the Albion Defenders. Not that Judy knows about that. Or maybe she does know about that now. I’m betting Judy got limited time powers like her brother.
“So,” probes Judy hesitantly, clearly fearing my answer.
“So time manipulation,” I say calmly.
“I think so,” replies Judy, “You’re not going to freaks out?”
“No,” I tell her, “What else do you know?”
“I got my power days nine ago,” answers Judy, “I waited a couple of days before telling my family. It then that I found out my brother, you know Tom right, was a member of the Albion Defenders.”
“Eternal, I know,” I reply.
“Wait, what?” says Judy confused.
“Now it’s time to tell you my secret,” I say.
“Do you have powers of your own?” asks Judy curiously.
“In manner of speaking,” I reply, “I’m the Sentinel.”
Judy gasps in shock.
“I brought along a few things as proof,” I say with a grin, “I also brought even more over here earlier and left them here so I could show you them as well. Of course, the fact you have your own powers should make it easier to convince you.”
“I won’t deny that my suspension of disbelief has greatly expanded recently,” admits Judy.
“Here they are,” I say as I reach the hiding spot I picked out earlier.
Given how the most advanced Sentinel armours still take two minutes to put on with the help of specialised machinery, I didn’t bring one of them. On the other hand I needed something distinctly Sentinel to convince Judy.
The solution was a brand new set of armour that I had been working on over the last few weeks and had been focusing more on since my fight with Nightblade. A workable Sentinel armour that was quick to put on, relatively portable and could still hold its own in a fight.
I called it the Lightweight Sentinel Armour. Only relatively weak compared to the current armour, it was more specialised to operations where stealth, subtlety and discreet were required rather than frontline fighting and long-term usage.
A mixture of a tight black cos-mat mesh underneath and cut back armour plates on the outer layer, it had only a few of the features of the main Sentinel armour. The helmet, HUD, Kinetic Energy Redirectors and the wrist-mounted lasers. It lacked other features such as the rocket-pack, the new shoulder-mounted missiles, the sonics and PA system, the exo-skeleton that increase speed strength and such like that and the Faraday cage.
On the other hand, it had a few new features such as a weaker version of the exo-skeleton that didn’t require the full set of armour plating. It also had the wrist-mounted miniature gauss cannons that fired adhesive AP bolts with spider silk lines that connected the bolts and guns.
In English, the grappling hooks that I’ve had been working on.
To allow for fly, I added rocket boots instead of the rocket pack that was built into the bulky backplate.
Let me tell you something, flying using rocket boots while fighting is a horrible thing to undertake. A steady rocket pack is one thing, the rocket boots are only good if you are able to focus on make sure they’re flying you in the right direction and that pretty much take out any ability to kick your opponents while in the air.
And best of all, the armours folds up into a case, an extremely heavy case that I struggle to carry, and can be deployed around the wearer in mere moments in the field.
I do just that as I pull the case out and activate it. In a whirl of spinning parts, the armour forms around me.