Sunday, August 31, 2008

039: Charleston Charge, Hobo at Large

The week after the battle... or, as the world at large knew it, the return of the Paragon People... was not a good week for Charleston Charge. He had woken up the day after the battle to find himself unemployed and under investigation by several government agencies. By noon, he was also homeless, all of his assets seized. Lacking anything else to do, he attempted to travel to the city of his birth, the Lost City of Uhld. This was hard to do when you were under investigation by the government, however, and he eventually decided to go out for some delicious waffles. This is also surprisingly hard to do when you are under investigation, with your assets seized.

By the end of the day, he was unemployed, homeless, hungry, thirsty, and penniless. He found fifty cents to use at a payphone, but was unable to find a payphone, and so he bought a bag of chips which only served to make him thirsty and moderately less hungry. Since he had no means to contact his friends, he could also be considered friendless. In the span of one day, he had become a virtual nobody, forced off the grid.

The rest of the week had been a continuation of this state of events. Eventually, he was able to find a soup kitchen and a trash can with a fire in it. He wondered if he was ahead of the game, as far as being a member of the hobo community was concerned. After finding a clean piece of cardboard and a permanent marker, he was sure of it. After pondering it for a bit, he decided to write down "Will work for food", which was a very clich├ęd thing to write, certainly, but concise. Towards the end of the day, he made plans to find a park and learn a talent he could put to good use. After all, he had a hat which money could be thrown into.

The next morning, exactly one week after Charleston had become homeless, he found a newspaper on the bus. He had begun using the public transportation system several days earlier, and each day he saw new bits of the city from his mobile headquarters. To his surprise, there was a minor article about the dismantling of TYRIS from which he learned that most of the agents were being absorbed into the new CAST, an endeavor supported by many people whom Charleston recognized from the battle. Several more gifted agents - the reporter's description - had been accepted into the Astounding Superhero Syndicate. Charleston noticed that he was not mentioned at all, and slowly realized that of all the agents of TYRIS, he was the only one who got screwed. Well, he and Robin Banks, but Robin was also being cared for in one of the city's top hospitals for an extreme bipolar disorder. Charleston was out on the streets reading discarded newspapers.

He had been shown an entire world he had not known, and it had been snatched away from him with ease.

He would have cried out angrily against Fate at this point, but did not want to get kicked off the bus. Not until he got to the public library, in order to use its Internet. Once he was at his stop, he departed the bus and screamed at Fate. Then, he went into the library to use its Internet.

The first thing he did was look up the current roster of the Astounding Superhero Syndicate. He had a hunch he knew whom would be added, a hunch which was quickly verified. Land Captain and the Witchyologist were the two newest members, alongside such luminaries as the Forgiver, Serial Hang-Man, and Mark King. He nodded quietly to himself, and continued to surf the web. He looked up Anderson Smith, and found that he worked for the Detroit branch of a major television channel. Coincidentally, the headquarters of the Astounding Superhero Syndicate was also in Detroit.

Mister Lucky was not on the Internet, except in some anecdotes about the Basset Hound Brigade and reported sightings over the years. Obviously, you only found Mister Lucky if he wanted to be found. Charleston had a lot of time and a lot of experience with finding people.

Charleston logged off, and stepped outside. Someone was going to help him get out of this situation, whether they wanted to or not.
Whom should Charleston seek aid from?
-Mark King
-Anderson Smith
-Mister Lucky

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