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Outrider Origin Story - Mind in the Past (1012 words)


From the Private Audio Diary of Elena Maddox, AKA Outrider.


<Crackling sound as microphone is being adjusted, along with sounds of shifting>


Is this on? Testing, testing - okay. Looks like it’s working.


This feels weird. I know my therapist told me to keep an audio diary to help me “process my feelings”, and “address my trauma”, whatever that means. It’s...stupid. But I’ll try it anyway.


Umm. Where do I start? I guess the beginning.


From the time I was born, my destiny had been chosen. My mother said I kicked the whole time she was pregnant with me – and I bet it was even worse considering the abilities I would grow into. When it was time, my mother bore twins. Stella and I, we were inseparable. We did everything together. She was my best friend, and continues to be, even…well.


Let’s move on. There’s time to talk about that later.


<short pause, and a deep sigh>


We were born with our abilities. The term used in my home dimension is “gene-altered”, or natural born mutants. Even in our future, after the world fell, superheroes are still around, more or less. We’re still celebrated in our clan. We’re looked on as heroes. It’s just…well. We’re just put to work young.


Let me step back a bit. I was born into the Howling Wolf clan. My father, Roger Maddox, is the chief. After Omega defeated the Freedom League, the world took a slow dive into chaos, and we’re all that’s left, fighting for survival in a world that is no longer hospitable to us. Mother knew that when my sister and I were born with powers, we were destined to be Outriders. Neither of them wanted this, of course. No parent wants to see their child put in danger, but there were no exceptions. I gained the power of enhanced strength and durability, and my sister could fire bolts of hot plasma at will. We were to be Outriders, and that was the end of it.


Omegadrones still patrolled the outskirts of Freedom City, and someone had to stop them. Years ago, my grandfather came up with the idea of sending a small team, driving a fast, heavily armored vehicle out to gather up as many Omegadrones as possible, and bait them into a trap where they could be destroyed. The ‘Drones, as we called them, aren’t particularly smart, and a fast car with a loud engine and bright colors will attract them as surely as a moth is drawn to light. Stell and I – we were the Outriders. Most likely to survive if a mission went sour, and our natural abilities meant we wouldn’t go through our clan’s ammunition supply.


We had to grow up fast in those days. There was simply no time, and besides, there were expectations. Not even the chief’s daughters were excepted from training. From the moment we could walk, we were trained to use our abilities, and constantly pushed to bring them to greater and greater heights. It was grueling, to say the least. I remember many nights when, after a full day of training, Stell and I would go straight to sleep, only to be awoken before dawn the next day.


I…understand the reason why we were pressed into service. We had to, to survive. I just kind of wish I had gotten to know my father as, you know, a father, instead of the leader he was to everyone. It’s nothing. Let’s keep going.


I became a hero at age 14. We both did. After our training was complete, the final test was an Outriding of our own. Just the two of us, in our clan’s fastest vehicle. We had to get at least twenty Omegadrones on our tail before we came home. It was a hot day, and we were running low on water. We had to find some, quickly.


We slowly drove through Freedom Park, keeping our eyes peeled for signs of trouble. The thing is about trouble is, the harder you look for it, the more likely it is to find you.


Thirty Omegadrones came out of nowhere, seeming to fill the skies above us. This was more than we had seen of them at this point, and we were terrified. But our training kicked in, and we acted before our rational minds could tell us we were surely doomed.


Stell told me to kick it, and I did. We raced through the park, dodging trees as we tried to find a path out of there. I didn’t look back, but I could hear Stell firing off bolts of plasma at the ones that got too close. I remember pulling the car into fourth, practically blurring through the park. Finally, we were back on the highway, more than forty behind us. The noise of our car had attracted other ‘Drones to our position.


I don’t remember the rest of what happened. A combination of adrenaline and pure instinct, I’m sure. There was some talk about your mind protecting you from trauma and fear…perhaps there is something to that. But we were heroes when we got back, and a feast was held in our honor. I looked up at my father at the head of the table, and he gave me a nod of approval, and a smile. That was enough. I was a hero in his eyes too.


<Sound of a chair being scooted away, sniffing, and clearing throat>


Umm. Okay.


Listen, I don’t know if this is really helping. I lived in a terrible place, and though I’m grateful to be living at Claremont, and being in this land of plenty…there are times when I feel guilty for leaving my sister behind. My friends tell me that there was nothing I could have done, but there are nights when I stay up till dawn thinking of what might have been. It’s hard to move forward with your mind in the past.


I think that’s it for now. Maybe there’s something to keeping an audio diary after all.


<Click. End of recording.>



Edited by Lone_Star
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