It was a cold night; just like every other night in this town. Tonight, much like any other night, Cliff stood on the edge – on the brink, as it were. His bright red hair flowed in the breeze; the shoulder length locks seemed to dance about his shoulders as the wind had it’s way with them. His green eyes pierced into the night, seeming to see things that would go unseen by others. He took a deep breath of the crisp air; felt it burn in his chest as his lungs heated the oxygen before putting it into his bloodstream. As he exhaled, Cliff donned his mask, clicking the sides of his hood in place in it’s sides to keep his identity hidden. He allowed himself to fall from the roof of the high rise.
For most people, this was the definition of either desperation, or insanity. However, this wasn’t so for Cliff: there was a reason for his actions. It didn’t seem that long ago that he was someone else entirely. Someone who had enough faith in his local government to volunteer for a special program that was made available only to he most qualified Guardsmen in the city.
The guardsmen, similar to your police force, were the anointed protectors of the city. Given special authority, equipment and training, the Guardsmen kept the people of the city safe from the criminal element. Unfortunately for Cliff, who was just too naive to know better at the time, the Guardsmen were the very source of the organized crime in the city, at least from the middle ranks and up.
So Cliff volunteered for the ‘Special Program’, since it promised another edge against the scum trying to ruin his city. Even if he had no idea what that edge was. Even if the program proved fruitless. Even if it cost him his life.
In the beginning, the program seemed like a good thing: there was advanced tactics training, special weapons seminars, and plenty of time to workout and test new fighting styles. After the first couple of weeks, everyone was given s hot: no one knew what it was, or what was supposed to happen after. When some of Cliff’s fellow guardians started to get ill, he went to the Commandant of the Program, hoping there was an antidote or some kind of treatment being prepared. There was supposed to be an open door policy, so Cliff thought nothing of knocking briefly and walking right in to the office.
The turned out to be the last mistake he would make as a guardian. You see, the commandant wasn’t alone in his office – he was in the middle of a meeting with the head of the most notorious drug cartel in the city. Cliff had quickly puzzled together that the shot everyone was given was a new drug, and the program was meant to test it’s effects on humans. Two of the Kingpins thugs tried to silence Cliff, but he was able to escape. Unfortunately for him, that was when the drug’s effects kicked in, and he was quickly subdued and taken away.
Over the course of the next several weeks, Cliff was tortured, questioned, and experimented on. He later learned that the Program was quickly cancelled, and all of the Guardians involved in it had turned up dead – including Cliff. He had also learned that all of the guardians that had been admitted into the program were believed to be incorruptible, just as he was, and the fact that they had been given drugs was going to be used to blackmail them into silence.
After the cartel was finished with him, Cliff was dropped into a crate of wet cement, which was in turn dumped into the ocean.
Sometime later, Cliff washed ashore – naked, but alive. After a few weeks of living in the street with no memory, everything came rushing back. Now, he spends his days resting among the City’s homeless, and his nights stalking and fighting his way up the Cartel food chain, hoping to someday find the Kingpin and eliminate him.
Tonight, like many other nights, Cliff found himself willingly plummeting to he earth, wearing nothing but his mask, hood and random used clothing. As the ground closed in for the kill, Cliff righted himself, allowing his legs to take the brunt of the impact. taking a moment to concentrate, Cliff closed his eyes as he impacted with a loud thud, followed by the cracking of cement and asphalt.
Cliff opened his eyes and stood, peering down the small road at the group of thugs stunned by his entrance. As he stood, cement crumbled and fell away from his legs. All those chemicals had done something to him, and now he was able to coat himself in cement at will, enabling him to absorb incredible falls, among other things.
As the thugs recovered their wits, they started firing handguns at Cliff, their fear still maintaining it’s grasp on them. Cliff merely slung part of his cloak in front of him, coating it in cement which allowed the bullets to be deflected with ease. One of the mean tried to be the standout, rushing cliff with a full frontal charge.
His mask hiding his smile, Cliff dodged the flurry of punches and kicks with relative ease, touching the man in the throat with a single hand. As cement quickly wrapped around his throat and expended, the man stopped fighting, eventually dropping to a knew as he couldn’t breathe any longer.
As the other men fled, Cliff kneeled down over his victim, touching the cement so it would crumble away. As the thug gasped for air, Cliff said simply:
“Come with me; I have some questions for you.”
The man tried to flee – his dark eyes wide with terror. Cliff had planned for this, and tossed a bola cord at the man’s ankles.
“Oh dear god no!” the man squealed as the cord wrapped around his ankles, bringing him to the ground with a hard crack as his jaw broke. Cliff walked up to the man and cursed as the saw the blood dribble from the man’s face.
“What is your name?!” Cliff asked, picking the man up and planting him against the nearest building wall.
“Hrmpf frfhrf,” the man replied, his jaw slack with blood still flowing lightly from without and within.
Cliff cursed again, shaking his head.
“Had to try the new toy out, didn’t ya?” he admonished himself before turning his attention back to the thug.
“When they ask – and they will ask, you be sure to tell them the Steel Basilisk says hi.”
As Cliff fled into the shadows, the thug had a confused look on his face, despite the pain from his broken jaw
*Where the hell did he get ‘steel’?* he thought to himself as he awaited the Guardians’ arrival on scene.