On the eve of the new year, everyone's spirits are hih in anticipation. But what about the greatest hero in the world? Surely his mind is only on seeing the next year rung as savely as possible, right? Right?...
My name is Dr. Marcus Jones. I'm 43-years-old. I live on the East Coast with my wife of 20 years, Annabel.
If I were a normal guy in this situation, I'd probably be with her now, but I'm not a normal guy. I worry. I feel I have responsibilities. So, I'm flying several thousand feet above the surface of the Earth to make sure planes full of holiday commuters aren't hitting each other.
My friends and associates tell me I should take the night off, but a simple smirk and sonic boom take-off and they know I don't often take breaks.
A near collision draws my attention, until a freak electromagnetic storm pushes the planes apart. I'm tempted to investigate this sudden phenomena with my Spectrum vision until I hear the laughter. Out of the unusual energy appears two humanoid shapes, one male, one female.
It's Particle and Wave, the brother and sister team of living energy. Their young and mischievous, but they have hearts of ionic gold.
"Shouldn't you be somewhere else, tonight?" Wave giggles.
"Yeah," I say, "Tokyo." And I'm off to the land of the rising sun to avert a sea monster from leveling the new financial district.
The thing is incredibly large, covered in scaly ridges with barnacles across them and it reeks of seaweed and saltwater.
I swoop around behind it and quickly pick it up by the tail, planning to dump it farther southwest into the Philippine Sea. But it jerks its tail in protest, and my hands slip with the moisture. It lands in the Shizuoka Prefecture, a few miles outside the capital city.
As the ancient sea dragon rights itself, it begins to take a swing at me with its tail. I'm so caught up in the struggle and my own thoughts, I notice only to late the creature is about to smash a rail line into the city. Darting beneath the growing shadow of the tail, I nearly run smack into Yama, one of the Seven Warriors.
"Easy!" the hefty man westerners call the Silver Sumo bellows.
His arms, thicker than my waist, rear up and effortlessly catch the gargantuan weapon rearing down on us. With a torque of his hips, and a mighty scream that sounds like a volcano erupting, Yama flings the creature far out into the ancient waters.
"Ki said you were in the area."
"Yes. I picked him up in Tokyo, but um...I dropped him."
"He was wet. He slipped."
"You sure it wasn't your being distracted that did it?" Yama chuckled.
"Whatever, you can handle things here, I'm off."
The lumbering, metallic man cupped his large hands to his mouth and yelled after me, "We've all got things under control! Go see your wife!"
That's how things continued for hours.
Armer la Fleur defused a hostage situation in France.
De Machtige Vuist quieted a riot in Holland.
Chupacabra rescued several immigrants from slave shippers in Puerto Rico.
Each one telling me to go where I was needed, and stop worrying about things. I always left with a tired smirk and gentle wave.
I finally found a few foreign poachers in East Africa that looked unclaimed. Several of them were bloated rich men from Johannesburg, but there was one very serious game hunter with them, holding a considerable rifle. A lion's tooth hung from his neck.
Floating down to them, my cape fluttering behind me, I'm sure I was an imposing sight. A flying black man in a dark violet suit with a stern gaze.
Still, the game hunter had drunk too much whiskey and was a bit overconfident (or perhaps insulted by my interrupting his work), so he shot at me. At least, he tried. I was expecting the usual harmless impact off my chest, but the gun clicked without firing. The other men didn't know what happened, but that's because only I saw the chamber be unloaded.
Cheetah appeared on the horizon, a big grin on his face.
"Looking for this?" he beamed. "Here, let me give it back to you."
With that, the young tribesman ran across the space between us in less than a second and placed the bullet, at several hundred miles an hour, in the hunters' engine block.
As the men cursed us in Afrikaans, Cheetah and I raced away across the savanna.
"Why are you out? You know this day's been coming for awhile," Cheetah said.
"I know, I'm just nervous. What if something goes wrong?"
"What could possibly go wrong? You think he'd be born unhealthy?"
"No, it's just...Annabel and I had trouble conceiving before the accident, and afterwards, it was months before I could even touch her. The fact my seed didn't kill her is a miracle."
"That is life," he said. "A miracle."
I was about to say something when I heard an unusual sound. All night, billions of people had been crying out. Some in joy, some in sorrow, others in anger or frustration. But this cry was new. It was new to me.
I turned to tell Cheetah, but he just smiled and told me to go.
I flew across the ocean faster than I care to admit, probably scaring several government radar teams. But I didn't care. I changed my clothes immediately, and burst through the hospital doors. Everyone knew me, even without the costume, and the orderlies and security detail around the room let me by.
Inside the door, Doctor Sing was conferring with a nurse.
"Doctor is everything-?"
"It's all right, Marcus. They're both fine, see for yourself."
He pulled back a privacy curtain, to reveal my wife, Annabel, and our newborn son, Joshua.
"Marcus..." Annabel said. She held out an arm. I grabbed her hand gently and kissed her forehead. She was beaming brightly, tired in her efforts, but joyful.
"Say hello to your son, Dr. Jones," she said, lifting up a tiny child encased in warm blankets.
As I took him in my arms, I could feel a great weight lifted off my shoulders, and all the noise of the world faded away.
I would go out tomorrow to save the world, and maybe save the universe next week, but for now, my world had been saved by this small little person, content to tug on my finger and nap.
Happy New Year, everyone.