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KnightDisciple

Cobalt Templar

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Time for the (Revised) HellQ! This is for Cobalt Templar.

Introduction

Who are you? Sum yourself up in one sentence.

I'm a kid with a magic ring, who's trying to do the right thing with all that he's been given.

Do you have any nicknames, street names, titles, or nom de plume?

My hero name is Cobalt Templar.

I've been called "tiny" in an ironic sense a couple of times.

What is your full birth name?

Corbin Alphonse Hughes

Where do you live?

North Bay in Freedom City. We have a small mansion there.

How old are you? What year were you born (if applicable)?

I'm 17, born in 1993.

Physical Traits

What is your gender? If not applicable, please explain.

Male.

How would you describe your heritage?

A mix of European lineages; my mother's German, but my father's actually a Norwegian/French mix. It's a nice eclectic heritage.

How tall are you?

Six feet, four inches, and the doctors say I could probably end up with another couple of inches before I stop growing.

What is your body type?

Big and muscular. I work out a decent amount, and I think I just kinda lucked out with genetics, making it easy to stay in this shape. Of course, these days, the ring seems to help that out some, too.

Do you have any particular weaknesses, such as allergies or physical disabilities?

In and of myself, no.

How do you carry yourself? Are you graceful, or heavy on your feet? Can you be stealthy, do you walk with confidence?

I'm no ballerina or anything, but for my size I'm fairly light on my feet. Comes from not wanting to constantly run into people and things. Unfortunately, that's not the same as actually being stealthy. I do, however, feel a decent amount of confidence.

Describe your skin, eye, and hair color.

Skin tone is overall "white boy", but with a healthy tan. My eyes are brown, and my hair is black.

How do you wear your hair, if applicable? Do you have facial hair?

My hair stays pretty short, and I stay clean-shaven. Less muss and fuss that way.

Do you consider yourself attractive? Do others?

I'm certainly not ugly, and I've been flirted at by girls before. Some of it's the muscles, I'm sure.

Do you have any scars, tattoos, piercings, or birthmarks?

None of these.

Do you resemble anyone famous?

Not in particular.

Do you have a dominant hand?

Definitely my right hand.

What kind of clothing do you wear?

Cargo shorts, tshirts, or carpenter jeans when it's truly chilly. Otherwise, I like seeing people with lower resistance to the cold stare in disbelief as I walk around in 50-degree weather in shorts.

Do you wear makeup?

Uh...no.

What is your vocal range? Is your voice distinctive in some way?

I'm a bass. Other than that, it's not got any special features; I speak with an American Midwest accent, aka "Broadcaster English", aka "the un-accent".

Do you have any distinctive habits, nervous tics, or mannerisms? Where did they come from, and what causes them? Do other people notice and remark on these habits? Do they annoy you or other people?

I tend to tap a pencil or pen when I'm thinking a lot, or nervous. Comes from just feeling the urge to move. I've gotten comments on it occasionally.

Beyond that, I like to go draw at odd times when I need to think. It helps me drown out the world, an focus my mind a bit.

History

Where do you come from?

Was born and raised in the St. Louis, Missouri area. We moved once within the area, a couple of miles really.

Have you made any major moves, or do you live in your hometown?

Yeah, not that long ago we moved to Freedom City. It's...a bit of a shift.

Do you feel loyal to your country of citizenship? Do you consider yourself patriotic? How do you feel about the government of your country?

Generally, yes. It's not perfect, but I do love America.

The government...is run by human beings. That's probably the perfect encapsulation of all the good and the bad.

How do you feel about the place you come from?

I liked it a lot, back in St. Louis. I still miss our home there, the stuff to do there, and all my friends there.

Where is your home town? What was/is it like?

St. Louis, or at least a suburb of it. It was a great city. Plenty to do, both in the suburbs and the downtown city.

Growing up, were most of the people you knew similar to you, or were you somehow a minority? How did that affect you?

I was always the largest kid in the class, but beyond that, I wasn't really a true "minority".

Is there something you've always been really good at or really bad at? How has that affected your life?

Art, languages, and history. I've always been able to draw and paint well, and more recently I discovered a natural talent for languages, coupled with a love of history.

All of these combined steered me towards a desire to work in the historical field, archeology in particular.

Were there any traumatic experiences in your early years (death of a family member, abandonment, orphaned at an early age)?

Beyond "nearly dying in a collapsing secret chamber in the depths of Masada, only to discover I have a super-powered ring that really likes being near me", no, no traumatic events.

Briefly describe a defining moment in your childhood and how it influenced your life.

Watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, then going to the library the next day and looking up what actual archeologists did. It was a letdown for about 5 minutes before I realized no Nazis meant I could look at cool historical buildings without worrying about gunfire.

What stupid things did you do when you were younger?

Oh, a few late nights driving with my friends. Flirting with some junior girls when I was a sophomore. That sort of thing.

Where did you go to school? How much school did you have, and did you enjoy it?

Local high school to my suburb when I was in St. Louis. Now I go to Claremont Academy.

The local school was good, no question. But Claremont's definitely showing its pedigree, and I think I like the school itself more. Still working on making friends, though.

Do you have any mementos of your childhood? What are they, and why did you keep them? If you have none, why not?

Oh, there's plenty of stuff scattered around our house. Mom tends to hoard things like that.

For me, personally, it's the genuine Indiana Jones fedora my dad bought me two years ago at Disney World. He bought it a bit big, so I've grown into it, and now it fits perfectly. I generally leave it in a safe place at the house. It's only to be worn for special occasions, where I need a bit of extra good luck.

When did you decide to become a hero? Why? Did anyone influence you one way or another in the decision?

Not long after I figured out some of what my ring could do.

For one thing, I figure that since I have this power, and the ring seems to be "attuned" to me, I should use it for something better than making comfy chairs of blue fire to sit in. Great power and responsibility and so on. My parents gave me that example my whole life; they always used their influence and wealth with great care and responsibility, often putting their employees first on their concerns.

Add to that, I want to make sure I have excellent control of what this little ring can do, so I don't hurt someone.

Is the reason you give people for becoming a hero different than your real reason? If so, why?

Not really. I may not give the whole spiel to random people, but the general sentiment is there.

Do you have any deep, dark secrets in the past that may come back to haunt you?

Um. Maybe the circumstances on how I got the ring. I kinda didn't clearly communicate to Professors Smith and Amar how I escaped the collapse, or about the ring.

Do you represent yourself as being different from who you really are? Why?

Only in the sense of maintaining a separate hero identity.

If you do have these secrets, what do you fear would happen if the truth became known? How far would you go to protect those secrets?

People would likely start making connections between Corbin Hughes and Cobalt Templar.

I wouldn't kill, but I'd likely try to figure out how to keep them silent nonetheless.

Do you have any sort of criminal record? If so, is it public knowledge?

Nope. None.

Family

What are your biological parents' names?

Albert and Sarah Hughes.

Were you raised by them? If not, please explain and describe who raised you.

Mostly. They traveled a lot when I was hitting the double digits in age, so I'd sometimes have family or friends of the family keeping an eye on me when they were both out of town. They tried to keep that from happening too often, though.

What was their standing in the community? What did/do they do for a living?

Both are respected business-people. My mom's working for the Rhodes Foundation, which has the whole "non-profit organization" thing going for it. Dad's work is more of a traditional business thing, but he's know for being very smart and very ethical, so it balances out.

Where are your parents now?

They live at the mansion in North Bay, still working the jobs that moved us here.

Did your family stay in one area or move around a lot?

Just the major move I mentioned above, and one earlier move from one suburb neighborhood to another. My parents did a fair amount of short-term travel, but they didn't stay anywhere else for more than about a week, typically.

How did you get along with their parents? How do you get along with them now (if applicable).

We've had some friction over their travel, and even more over our move. We got past it, though.

The whole hero thing has them really off-balance, though. They love me, and they understand and even appreciate, objectively, my desire to help people. But they're still not sure about this whole super-powers thing. It's caused some awkward moments of late.

How do your parents view you now, or how would they?

As their beloved son, who's maybe "going through a phase". Then again, they thought my history kick was "just a phase", and then they saw it really wasn't. So I'm sure soon enough they'll shrug, accept it, and be really proud of their hero son.

Do you have any siblings? If so how many and what are their names? Describe your relationship with them.

No siblings.

What was your birth order in the family?

Only child.

Where are your siblings now (if applicable)? Do they have families of their own? What do they do?

Doesn't apply.

Do you stay in touch with them or have you become estranged?

Doesn't apply.

Do you love or hate one member of the family in particular?

Nope, love my parents equally.

Is any member of the family special to you in any way (perhaps, as a confidant, mentor, or arch-rival)?

I tend to consult both Mom and Dad in equal measure.

Are there any black (or white) sheep in the family (including you)? If so, please explain.

I'm slightly grayed, what with liking history more. But nothing major, really.

Do you have a notorious or celebrated ancestor? If so, please explain, including how it has affected your life.

Not that I know of.

Do you have a partner and children currently? If so, please describe them.

Hey, I'm just a 17-year-old guy. I'm not settled down or anything; don't even have a girlfriend yet!

If you do not have a partner or children, do you want them someday? How firm are you in your opinion on this, and what might change your mind?

Someday? Yes. I'm pretty firm on this, and I don't really foresee easily changing my mind.

What type of person would be your ideal mate?

Someone who doesn't mind my hero work, can at least somewhat enjoy history, and who's generally a good person.

If she's not 1/2 my physical size, that doesn't hurt her chances, either.

Relationships

Do you have any close friends? If so, please describe them, and how you came to be close to them.

I had a few back in St. Louis, but I think things are already drifting apart a bit.

Blake's someone I met at Claremont, and he's pretty cool. We're still doing the "getting to know your buddy" thing, but our mutual taste in music helps.

Do you have a best friend? If so, how did they become your best friend? How close are you to your best friend?

I'm just reserved enough about such things to say "not quite yet".

If you were to go missing, who would worry about you?

My parents, my friends and schoolmates.

Have you lost any loves? If so, how did it happen, and what did you do?

Not really, no.

Do you have any bitter enemies? If so, please describe them and their history with you.

Not yet. I get the feeling it's a big world, though.

If you have enemies, how do you think they might attempt to work against you in the future?

Depends on how ruthless the enemy is.

What is the worst thing someone has done to you?

Um...taken out my wisdom teeth? I haven't really had any truly bad encounters as a hero yet or anything.

Where do your loyalties lie? In what order?

My family, my friends, my hero work, my country.

Who or what do you trust the most? Why?

My parents. At the end of the day, they care about me, and will work to help and protect me, no matter our disagreements.

Who or what do you despise? Why?

Those who torment people who can't fight back.

What qualities do you admire most in other people? Are these qualities you possess?

Courage, kindness, self-sacrifice.

I'd say I do well on kindness and self-sacrifice, and even courage, to a point; I still occasionally have confidence issues.

What qualities do you hate most in other people? Do you have any of those qualities?

Callous disregard for the lives of others. Those who love to exploit others for their own gain.

Do you have a secret identity? If so, who knows it? Do you hide it from people who are close to you? Why?

Yes. Cobalt Templar and Corbin Hughes are two different people to the world at large.

My parents, and basically anyone at Claremont, know my two identities. Hard to hide it from the people at the Academy, really.

Do you work well on teams and in groups? Are you a leader or a follower?

I think I work pretty well. I tend to follow, or sometimes take enough charge to act on my own ideas and initiative.

Are you on a super team? If so, how do you get along with your comrades? Do you trust them, or do you have secrets from them?

Not really. I've worked with people from Young Freedom and one or two other "young heroes" groups, but haven't officially joined any.

Are you a member of any church, fraternal organization, club, committee, political party, or other group? How much time do you spend on that?

None of the above.

Personality & Beliefs

Who are your heroes?

Hm. Some of the modern-day historians and archeologists from the 20th century. All pioneers in their fields, really.

And maybe Indiana Jones, a bit.

Did you ever become disillusioned with former heroes or idols? If so, why and what were the circumstances?

I've shifted which historians I liked most over the years, due to constantly maturing views on the world, and the history of the world.

Do you like being a hero? If so, what is the most rewarding part? If not, what makes you keep doing it?

More and more, I do. I just like helping people, and how they're almost always genuinely grateful. Beyond that, my sense of responsibility tends to push me to keep doing the hero thing.

Is there anything that would make you give up hero work, or even switch sides?

If I lost the ring permanently. I'm pretty normal without it.

What are your short term goals (what would you like to be doing within a year)?

Figure out who made this ring, and why. Have a much better grasp on my powers. Be a senior at Claremont.

What are your long term goals (what would you like to be doing twenty years from now)?

Have total mastery over my powers, be an experienced hero, be a renowned archeologist, and maybe even a husband and a father.

What is your greatest fear? Why? What do you do when something triggers this fear?

Someone with ill intentions either somehow taking over my mind, or taking the ring directly, to use for evil.

When I encounter this feeling, I push through it. I remind myself of what I'm capable of, and of my bond with the ring.

Is there anything you would give you life for?

To protect people if there was no other choice.

How do you feel about money and material wealth? Do you desire it or disdain it? Are you miserly with what you have, or do you like to share? Is it a mark of success, or a means to an end?

Money's nice. Let's you do stuff. More than that, you can invest back into your community, and raise awareness for all sorts of stuff. Mom and Dad each have "pet projects" that they invest in, since they figure this helps them hit more "points of need".

As far as I'm concerned, we have a right to honestly work, earn money, save money, and invest money. But we also have a responsibility to use at least some of that money wisely, and give back. I mean, really, when you've got close to a billion dollars, what's a hundred million? A couple years of interest from savings and such, that's what.

How do you generally treat others?

As nicely and politely as possible.

Are you a trusting person? Has your trust ever been abused?

I generally am, and my trust has not been abused.

Are you introverted (shy and withdrawn) or extroverted (outgoing)? Do you have a lot of self-confidence?

A bit of both. I tend to do well with other people in small to moderate sized groups, and I do like to meet people and spend time with them.

But sometimes, I need time to myself, to recharge and evaluate.

How do you act around attractive, available members of your preferred sex?

Probably a bit more reserved and polite around girls than I am with guys.

What are your most annoying habits?

Tapping my foot, feet, and/or pens and pencils. If I'm somewhere I feel safe doing so, creating random shapes with my ring.

Do you feel contempt for any general category of people? Who are they, and why?

Yes.

The people who deal in human misery through slavery and similar ventures.

It just makes my blood boil. It's just so...wrong.

What is your favorite food? Do you prefer any particular type of food? Do you take the time to enjoy your food, or do you eat as fast as you can?

Kansas City Barbeque is pretty much the best stuff ever. Ever. I try to take my time with most any food if I'm not specifically in a rush.

What is your favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?

Chocolate milk

What is your favorite treat (dessert)?

Probably a big slice of peanut butter and chocolate cake, or some variation on that.

Are there any specific foodstuffs that you find disgusting or refuse to eat?

Oysters and the like.

What is your favorite color? Are there any colors you dislike?

I'm pretty impartial, though I'm not a huge pink fan, at least not in large doses.

What sort of music do you like? Is there any that you hate?

Classic rock. Most all music, really. Not a fan of rap, or any music where I can't ever understand what they're singing, even if they're singing in "English".

If you have a favorite scent, what is it?

Chocolate.

Do you have a favorite animal?

Bears.

What is your most treasured possession? Why?

Autograph from Harrison Ford; it's a picture of my dad, Ford, and me at age 13. I mean, this is Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and plenty of other roles. He's just a cool actor.

Do you enjoy "roughing it", or do you prefer your creature comforts?

Creature comforts, so very much.

Is there a job or a task you would absolutely refuse to do?

Hum. Probably most any of the seedier sorts of work in the world.

Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? If so, how do your beliefs affect your life?How important is it to you?

Not...exactly. I don't discount that sort of thing, but my family's not really officially religious. We just kind of live our lives. Maybe one day that will change, but...right now, we just kind of shrug about it.

Was your faith influenced or molded by anyone special?

Not applicable.

If you belong to a religious organization, how often do you attend? Do you have a specific place of worship, or friends within the organization? How much do you agree with the beliefs of your organization?

Not applicable.

Could you kill? Have you killed?

I'm...honestly not sure. I haven't killed yet, and I really, really, really hope to never do so.

What circumstances led to you forming that conviction, or taking that action?

Just how I was raised, I guess. Not sure I could bring myself to do such a thing. I'd be worried about it becoming easy.

Are there circumstances under which you believe it is permissible to kill? What are they?

Our government has laws regarding the use of force by military and police, as well as in self-defense. Intellectually, I'd say those apply.

How would you react to watching someone kill another person? Would your reaction be different if the killer was a friend or an enemy of yours?

It would make me angry. I wouldn't necessarily want to kill them, but beat them up, yes.

Friends or family would make me angrier, for sure. I'd be less certain of my control

How would you react if something important was stolen from you?

I'd be angry, and then call the police. And probably a few of the fellow heroes here at Claremont.

How would you react to public humiliation?

Likely just fly away to be alone for a while. If I could get away with flying away.

How would you react if a good friend or relative were purposely or accidentally killed? Has it happened to you?

Grief, anger, probably a bit of denial. The classic symptoms, I guess.

Thankfully, it hasn't happened.

What do you consider to be the worst crime someone could commit and why?

Like, one specific crime? Um...human trafficking, I guess.

If your life were to end in 24 hours, what five things would you do in those remaining hours?

1.)Tell my parents I love them, give them big hugs.

2.)Take the Mustang out for a good drive.

3.)Make one final drawing..

4.)Kiss a girl, maybe a few times in a row.

5.)Fly to to top of the highest building, and watch the sunset.

Career & Training

Do you have any special training in your hero skills? If so, where and how did you get it?

I'm receiving training at Claremont currently.

Who taught you the most about your heroing abilities? What was your relationship with that person?

Claremont staff, plus some self-teaching. I'm polite but professional with the staff here.

Do you have any particularly unusual skills? How did you acquire them?

I can draw, paint, and sculpt, as well as work a camera pretty well. Some is natural talent, but when I read about how various archeologists studied dig sights, the ability to draw and take pictures and such seemed like an excellent skill to have

Do you do something besides hero work for a living? Have you ever done anything else, or do you plan to?

Currently a high school student. I plan to go into history and archeology when I'm done with college, plus maybe some business stuff on the side.

What is your preferred combat style?

Create a weapon from my ring's power, and then shoot or smack my opponent.

Have you ever received any awards or honours?

Nope.

What skill areas would you like most to improve in? Is there anything you can't do that you wish desperately you could?

Probably my unarmed skill, and to a lesser extent my general close-in fighting.

I'd love to be as easily flexible as some of the people around here.

How do you act around people who are more skilled than you in areas you'd like to improve? Are you jealous, or do you try and learn?

I try to figure out ways to learn from them. And also not be too jealous.

Lifestyle & Hobbies

What is a normal day for you? How do you feel when something interrupts this routine?

Go to classes, do some homework, draw a bit to keep my skills sharp, maybe hang out with some people, and probably practice some with my ring. I've done a few patrols with more experienced students, but it's not quite regular yet.

Do you have any hobbies, or interests outside hero work? What are they, and where did you pick them up?

Besides the drawing and such? I think building Legos is the big one.

Dad got me some for my 8th birthday, and I never looked back.

What do you do for fun?

Hanging out with friends, driving my car on a nice stretch of road, drawing and such. Occasionally go to a live music concert.

Do you have a costume? What does it look like?

I'm basically wearing "plate armor" all over. It's mostly blue, with red highlights, and a red transparent cape. Mainly the armor is my costume; my powers seem rooted in my skin when it comes to protection. The armor could actually break pretty easy, all told, since it's not really armor.

How do you normally dress when not in costume?

Casual and comfortable, thank you.

What do you wear to bed most nights?

Underwear and sleep shorts/pants.

Do you wear any special jewelry? What is it, and what does it look like?

Um...the magic ring on my right middle finger.

It's got a silver-looking band with all sorts of small symbols carved in, and then a circular blue gem in the center, with more engraving just around the gem.

Do you have a special place where you keep your valuables?

There's a basement safe at the house, and I've stashed a few things in a nook on my dorm roof. Hard to reach, except maybe for some fliers.

What's your preferred means of local travel? How about long distance?

My car. Currently a pretty bog-standard sedan.

Long distance, private jet. I'm not quite fast enough to easily fly coast-to-coast yet.

Miscellaneous

Have you ever made a will, or tried to make arrangements for your death? What provisions did you make?

Not yet. Bit young to, actually.

If your features were to be destroyed beyond recognition, is there any other way of identifying your body?

My size, and a faint healed mark on my left thigh bone; I broke that bone cleanly several years back, but it always leaves a "scar".

What would you like to be remembered for after your death?

Being a great archeologist. Maybe some contributions in the business world.

As CT, I'd say for being a good hero.

Do you believe you pose a threat to the public? Why or why not?

No, I'm here to help them, and I'd like to think the lessons my parents taught are well-rooted.

What do you perceive as your greatest strength?

My creativity.

What do you perceive as your greatest weakness?

My under-confidence in the big picture.

As a player, if you could, what advice would you give your character? Speak as if he/she were sitting right here in front of you. Use proper tone so they might heed your advice...

"Never give up on any of your dreams. If you feel afraid, push past the fear. One day, I think you'll end up one of those rare fearless men.

Don't be afraid to figure out your ring's history, but don't dwell on it too long when you find out.

Don't forget to dream big."

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Twenty Questions

Cobalt Templar sighed. Bank robbers with pistols weren't much of a threat once they were away from the hostages. The police had just been arriving when Templar, having been patrolling the area, swooped down to box the 3 criminals in one of his energy constructs. With a hero hovering above them, and around a dozen officers surrounding their prison, they quickly dropped their guns and surrendered. CT walked a bit away from the cops, having just said a few words with the officer in charge, and got read to take off-

"Hello, this is Henry Lee from Supervision, coming to you live from Down-town Freedom City, where a new hero just stopped a bank robbery!"

CT blinked at the sudden introduction of a camera and reporter inside his "personal space". He took a step back, and thankfully the reporter didn't follow.

"What's going on here?"

"I told you! I'm Henry Lee from Supervision, and I'm here to interview you!"

"That's...impressive. I won't speculate on whether you have police scanners."

"Good, because we won't answer!"

The man's grin shows that he's somehow completely serious.

"Would you answer a few questions for our viewers? They're just dying to find out about you."

"I guess, but I can't take too long."

1.)"Right then. First up, what's your name?"

"I call myself Cobalt Templar when I'm doing hero stuff. You're not finding out my real name."

2.)"Fair enough! Why did you choose the name "Cobalt Templar"?"

"Well, the "Cobalt" part is pretty obvious, what with my powers. The "Templar" part is a bit trickier. I settled on this "look" early on, and I wanted something that evoked the idea of a dedicated defender of the land, a knight who wasn't bound to a particular political individual or group. Hence, Templar."

3.)"You don't worry about possible negative connotations it suggests? To the historical Knights Templar, and of course the Crusades."

"Well. People can infer what they want. Ultimately, it's just a name. Is Captain Thunder a captain in any military? No. It's just a way to communicate who he is. It's the same for me. I'd like to think my actions speak louder than my name, after all."

4.)"Speaking of actions, you haven't been doing a whole lot around town that we've heard. A few robberies, that bad business at the shopping mall a while back, that sort of thing. Why aren't you getting out there more?"

"Honestly? I'm still kind of new at this. I spend just as much time mastering my abilities as I do using them out and about. As well, I'm new to the city, so I want to get a feel for how other heroes deal with things. I'd hate to end up accidentally working at cross-purposes, you know?"

5.)"We do seem to have a lot of heroes, that's for sure! You mentioned "mastering your abilities". Does that mean they've come to you only recently?"

"I suppose it won't hurt...Yes, my abilities are fairly new to me. I haven't had them all my life or anything."

6.)"So, does that mean you're not a Terminus Baby?"

"Much as I'm not a huge fan of that term, no, that's not at all the source of my powers."

7.)"What is the source?"

"Just how much detail do you think I'm willing to give? Okay, let's just say they come from an artifact I discovered. One that's not brand new, and is in fact quite the opposite.""

8.)"Interesting. What all can your powers do?"

"I won't give away all the details, but I'll give you the general idea. I'm tougher, can see in the dark, and I can shape the energy my power source emits. You saw me create a cage to hold the robbers; I can make things, move things, shoot things, hit things, and even blind things with that energy. It's quite versatile."

9.)"Are you weak to a particular color? Say, brown?"

"What? No. I'm not "weak" to any colors. And even if I did have a vulnerability, I wouldn't tell the world about it. But no, I can affect all colors equally."

10.)"Oh, touchy, are we? Anyways. Let's move back to the Terminus Babies issue. You said you didn't like the name?"

"No, I don't. It brings all the focus on that one part of the equation of their lives into focus. I mean, I get why the Terminus makes people nervous. But have you ever thought that the sheer variety of powers we're seeing manifest means we can't solely "blame" Terminus energies?"

11.)"What are you suggesting?"

"Just that there could be other factors. Maybe more people than we think have latent bits of genetic code that get activated by these energies. And even if the entire source is those energies, so what? Does that mean they're suddenly mind-controlled? It's not like the Terminus is, in and of itself, a living thing."

12.)"So you don't think we should be suspicious of them being plants placed here by Omega?"

"Uh...no. Didn't the Centurion give his life to drive Omega out of here? We have yet to see any real incursion since. There's just too many of them for me to be convinced they're all spies for Omega or something."

13.)"So you don't support efforts by some to force them to register with the government and so forth?"

"I'm something of a student of history, so no, I don't support those efforts."

14.)"Are you implying what I think you're implying?"

"I'm just saying that reacting solely on a basis of fear is, historically, a poor way to go about things. It rarely ends well, no matter what time period you look at. I'm not going to just toss around reactionary labels, that's not helpful at all. I'm just saying that we need to sit back and think about this."

15.)"You act like you know people who gain their powers from exposure to the Terminus energies. Does that mean you're of a similar age to many of them?"

"Well, I'm certainly not twice their age, if that's what you mean. I'd rather not give exact numbers. But yes, I do know a few such people, and they're fine people. Notice how they're people, and not mindless, soulless demons here to usurp us? Yeah."

16.)"Are you this passionate about everything?"

"Just about the things that matter to me, and/or that push my buttons."

17.)"Are you on any sort of super-team right now?"

"Not yet. I've worked with heroes here and there, but haven't settled into a particular team, or forged one of my own. I'll get there soon enough."

18.)"Are there any heroes that stick out to you as an example you'd like to follow?"

"Beyond the somewhat overused "the Centurion"? I mean, he's a great example, in general, but it's kind of hard to relate too much too him. Different generation and all that. I actually admire Captain Thunder for stepping up to the plate for the Freedom League after the Centurion passed on. He seems like the sort of person who understands responsibility, and I can respect that. A lot of the League really has my admiration. They're all solid people."

19.)"What about more mundane folks?"

"Yeah, that's not a big question, is it? Really, offhand I'd say people who stepped up to the plate at various times in history. Men and women who did what they knew had to be done, for the sake of their peers and their countries, no matter the personal cost. I've read a few biographies, and more than one such historical hero didn't necessarily always enjoy what they did, but they did it anyways. And at the end of the day, they could look themselves in the mirror, you know?"

20.)"I take it that resonates with you?"

"To a point. There are a lot of things about this I like, but beyond that, I have the firm conviction this is the right thing to do, and that to ignore that would betray everything I've been taught. And in the end, I think what I'm doing is something worth putting effort into."

At this point, Cobalt Templar glanced around, and started to float into the air. Henry Lee shouted up to the hero.

"Wait! No! I still have questions!"

"Maybe one day I'll answer them. Good day, Mr. Lee."

And with that, he was off in a flash of blue light.

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January 31, 2011

Here I am, one month into a new year, and halfway through my junior year at a new school, and it feels like St. Louis was a lifetime ago. I suppose in some ways, it is. I mean, in St. Louis, I wasn't wielding something that has the potential to be one of the most powerful and dangerous weapons on the planet. Funny how that works.

Even weirder is the fact that, even though I should feel totally out of place, I feel more at home here than I ever did in the Midwest. Well, most days, anyways. Anytime I go out to eat for steak, barbecue, or anything like that, I yearn for even the chain restaurants back home. But being an official (junior) superhero is totally worth it!

I mean, sure, there's moments of heart-clenching and bowel-spasm-inducing terror, but flip those with all the time I get to spend flying in the air. No wings, no jetpack, no plane, just me and the flame, up in the sky. It's so awesome! And the feeling I get from helping people is even more awesome. Whether it's stopping an ordinary mugger, or a group of bank-robbing robots, or a group of demons attacking some angelic hero or another, it's great! Plus, my costume alongside my natural size makes my age hard to pick out; not a lot of people I help can tell I'm not even old enough to vote yet.

Even aside from hero work...Part of me still can't believe I managed to start dating Quo-Dis. I mean, sure, some people might find a girl taller than five feet and a bit of change intimidating, but even if I cared about that sort of thing, I still have almost half a foot on her. I could even understand how cultural differences could put some people off. I still hate how awkward Blake and Jessica get about the subject of another group date; they either refuse outright, or dodge the question. I know it was a rough time, but they're not being fair to Quo-Dis. Just the last month (what time of it I haven't spent on holiday with the family), she seems to have learned quite a bit about our culture. Plus, she seemed to really enjoy that trip to the museum! We still have some things we're trying to work out, but I have a good feeling about this.

All in all, 2011 should be a totally awesome year. I can hardly wait!

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Templar's Forest Vault

While it's name is somewhat deceiving, the Forest Vault is indeed quite a secure location. Buried in a hill that Corbin found, it's embedded in a granite hillside that stretches several hundred feet around, a couple hundred feet down, but only about 75 feet above the ground around it. Running through the center of that is the reinforced bunker-like complex Corbin has transformed into a home away from home.

The entrance is a disguised door that seems a smaller copy of the door to Cheyenne Mountain; a mix of a layer of dirt over natural granite over steel-reinforced concrete with a thin layer of mystically-engraved lead sandwiched in there. It leads through a short hallway that takes a right turn into a similar door. Through that door is an "entry hall", one that even has an area for people to leave coats and muddy/wet shoes (and with several sizes of basic house shoes included!).

Past the entry hall is a common room, rather large, enough to have several couches, chairs, and a couple coffee tables; there's a large TV present, as well as a subtle surround-sound system. The lighting is muted and warm, and special circulation systems ensure a plentiful supply of fresh air is constantly flowing into the entire complex (heated or cooled as needed). The common room's walls are sheetrocked and sound-insulted (to help movie viewings); a few doors lead to various other sections of the complex.

One door leads to a large kitchen with a fully-stocked pantry and refrigerator (though most of the food is the sort that keeps long-term, rather than choice, fresh items), with a couple of attached dining rooms. Another heads toward the gymnasium (with both exercise machines and open mat areas) with small locker/shower rooms to one side. Yet another leads to several basic bedrooms; bed, nightstand, small dresser and closet, but no real decorations. Each bedroom has a small bathroom, with a couple extra besides. All in all, it seems a place designed to house several people long-term, though it rarely has anyone besides Corbin in it for any length of time.

Deeper in, any attempt to make the place "comfortable" disappears; the hall becomes bare concrete with a few vents and pipes along the ceiling. The next "story" below the main living area (which itself occupies a couple of levels) has approximately 10 feet of solid rock between it and the upper levels. It has a half-dozen spartan holding cells, designed to restrain powerful but comparatively un-powered individuals; Cobalt Templar is ready to, if necessary, detain up to 6 former Ring-Bearers at a time. After his last encounter with one, it seems a wise precaution.

Another 10-foot rock layer occurs, and then there's the major pieces of machinery, including the main component of the geo-thermal power generator (supplemented by arrays of small, discrete solar panels at the surface), as well as water refining machines and other major components of the necessary upkeep of a structure like this. Pipes and machinery are, of course, scattered about the complex, and some pipes (mainly the geothermal tap) run a fair bit down below anything else; said deep pipes are set on the far side of the complex from the final "layer".

20 feet below the Machinery Room, there is a 50-foot hallway lined with surveillance cameras, magical wards, and an extra helping of the sonic disabler system laced throughout the whole bunker. At the end of the hall, embedded over 100 feet below ground level and more than 200 feet from the edge of the huge chunk of granite housing the entire complex, there is a room encased in concrete, steel, lead, and copper. Shielded from electronics and magic alike, reinforced with science and mystical arts, and with a complex locking system designed to allow only Corbin and perhaps a handful of other people, there is a true vault. Within this vault, observed by yet more sensors and secured behind transparent alloys, there is a pedestal with 7 individual cases that are themselves locked. Each case can hold a single human-sized ring, and each "slot" bears a muted shade of a color, plus a "nametag" indicating which Ring goes where. Corbin has prepared for a day where none of the Rings, not even his own, have worthy holders. They will be secure, and if necessary they will be forgotten for a time.

In the meantime, it gives him a retreat from his home, and occasionally a place to have a simple get-together with friends.

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February 28th, 2013

Templar's Forest Vault, Wharton State Forest, Near Freedom City  

 

Corbin looked around his vault one last time, to make sure everything was in order. 

 

He'd locked down the inner vault with the Red and Orange Rings. He'd made sure Trevor was keyed into the security system, per the unmarked package he'd dropped on the front door of the Hunter Mansion at high speed just after dawn (he was sure Midnight wouldn't suspect it too much, and it wasn't a time of day people would really notice him zipping around there). He'd set all the other systems on standby. He'd left a series of maps and notes behind on his work desk here, just in case, clearly marked and organized.

 

He'd called Quo-Dis the previous night before going out to California to visit her one last time before he started his Quest. He blushed slightly at the thought, before smiling fondly. They'd settled into something of a...routine...he supposed. Sadly he'd have to break that. He looked at the small box sitting on his desk. Part of him knew it was probably still a bit early, but there was another part that was so sure of the future for both himself, and "they". Still, the Quest would give him time and perhaps perspective. Best not to rush things anyways. 

 

His parents, he'd spoken with two nights ago, and left a note this morning. They didn't entirely agree with him stepping out of school for the rest of the semester, and possibly the next one, but couldn't deny that he had good reasons for it. And his grades had been exemplary, even with all of the hullaballoo the last few months. He had promised he'd come by the house once in a while if he had the chance, but let them know said chances might be few and far between. 

 

His other friends had received voicemails, e-mails, letters, or the like, all letting them know he would be out of touch for long periods, all for the Quest.

 

With a sigh, he hefted his travel bags over his shoulders (light as a feather as far as he was concerned) and walked to the heavy vault door. He keyed in the code, and the door smoothly swung open; he was outside in a blink, and the door closed before making the whirring sound that it was locked down. The sod covering it meant that, to the outside observer, the whole thing appeared to be a small grassy hill, nothing more. 

 

"Time to go find some Rings. Guess I'll go start in Masada."

 

He started on his journey, still clad in his regular clothes as he lifted into the air. But before he could get very far, a tear in space ripped itself open in front of him by perhaps a foot. Before he could react, he was screaming through the portal to somewhere, his voice echoing back.

 

"What the-"

 

Anything else was cut off as the portal snapped shut, and Cobalt Templar was gone. Not just from the forest or the country, not just from the planet or galaxy, but from the entire universe, to some other dimension where things were...less pleasant.

 

The birds resumed their singing not long after he'd left. It was a bright day outside, after all.

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