Gen-S: Superhuman Society of Earth

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Chapter 3

Jason Haze was one of the original members of the International Assembly of Super Humans, and perhaps the world’s first true superhero vigilante. He was also the only member of the Assembly who had a distinct lack of superpowers. Jason relied on his keen instincts, brilliant mind and insatiable will to protect the innocent from extreme threats that would send even some people with powers running in the other direction, and because of that he may very well have been the greatest superhero of them all.

Jason grew up in the inner city. His dad had gone to prison for drug trafficking when he was very young, so Jason had grown up in a small one-bedroom apartment in the projects with his mother and his older sister Kayla. As a young single black woman trying to make the rent while keeping the mouths of her two children fed, Jason’s mother worked fourteen hours a day for minimum wage, meaning that Jason and his sister were often left to fend for themselves while their mother was at work.

Though she wasn’t always able to be around, Jason had a great deal of respect and admiration for his mother. She was a strong-willed, independent woman who refused to accept pity from anyone. She had always said that she had gotten herself into her situation, so she would find a way to make it work. Her only wish was that she could do better for her kids. If she could do right by them she would never regret her past transgressions.

Kayla, like her mother, was a very beautiful girl and therefore garnered a lot of attention from all of the boys in the neighborhood. This sometimes got her into trouble as most of the boys on the block were tied up in gangs and other lifestyles that always led down a dark and dangerous path. Kayla liked to be liked, which sometimes led her to make questionable decisions for the sake of pleasing her friends.

Being four years younger than Kayla, Jason was very influenced by his big sister and her “cool” friends. He was fascinated by the fact that they didn’t care about right and wrong. It didn’t matter what adults told them to do, they were always going to do the opposite and no one could stop them. Jason’s young mind was easily warped by the things they told him about adults and how they were just trying to keep them from having any fun. But fate had chosen a different path for Jason, and just as he was about to take his first step toward following his sister down that dark path of immorality, his mother saved him.

One evening Jason’s mother came home early from work to find Kayla and her friends drinking and doing drugs in her apartment. The boys and the drugs were the least of her concerns however, as the very first thing she had seen upon walking through the door was ten year-old Jason, sitting in a bean bag chair in the corner of the room, a half-empty pint of whiskey in his hand. One of Kayla’s guy friends had handed the bottle to Jason after taking a swig and encouraged him to take a sip. Kayla had spoken against it initially, but the boy had insisted that she let her brother have a drink. Not willing to risk being disliked, Kayla did not protest any further.

Thankfully their mother had walked in before Jason had the opportunity to take that sip. After seeing that she could no longer count on her daughter to keep her son out of trouble, Jason’s mom took action. She had heard from one of the other ladies at her morning job that the local Scouting council had started an after-school program at one of the schools in the neighborhood in an attempt to give kids a place to go that would keep them out of trouble and teach them important values that they couldn’t find out on the street. Jason’s mother enrolled him the next day.

At first Jason was resistant. All of the “cool kids” were out doing cool kid things once the final bell rang, and he was stuck in some lame after school special, but eventually the program started to grow on him though. He found that he liked being away from the pressure of trying to keep up with Kayla and her friends even though they knew what they were doing was wrong. The people who ran the program were very friendly and were great at organizing a lot of fun activities—Jason’s favorite was stickball—and the other kids were fun to hang out with too. He also knew that it made his mother happy to know he was safe, and that was important to him.

Eventually Jason decided that he wanted to transition into the more traditional Scouting program. Some of the guys who ran the after-school program were scouts, and they made it sound interesting. His mother was thrilled to hear of his new interest, and she took him to the very next troop meeting.

While Scouts may not have been something the other kids considered cool, it became a big and very important part of Jason’s life. Not only did it teach him a variety of skills and values that had stayed with him throughout his entire life, it helped get him through some very hard times as well.

When Kayla turned eighteen and Jason was fourteen, she moved out of the apartment and in with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was a notorious gang leader, and his mom pleaded with her not to go. At that point in her life Kayla was too far gone and would not listen. Jason and his mother didn’t hear from her very much after that.

Jason did his best to be there for his mother after his sister left, but no matter what he did he could not convince her to forgive herself for allowing her daughter to stray down such a dark road. From that day on she always seemed sad. She had flashes of happiness when the two of them had the rare opportunity to do something together or when she would watch him be presented with his awards at a troop meeting, but that happiness would eventually transition to grief when she would start to dwelling on the absence of her other child. It was at these times that Jason most enjoyed being able to attend a troop meeting and get away from the depression for a while. It meant a lot to him to be able to hang out with his other scout friends and feel like part of the troop. He loved being able to escape the drama of the city when they would go on campouts or other adventures. Outside of his mother Scouting was the only family Jason had.

Contrary to what most people thought, Scouting was not just about tying knots and outdoor adventures, it also introduced him to his future career path. From the moment he began working on his engineering and robotics badges, Jason knew that he wanted to become an engineer. After high school he enrolled in the mechanical engineering program at the biggest college within driving distance. He got good enough grades and was involved in enough activities that he could have gotten a scholarship at one of the major universities upstate, but he didn’t want to be that far away from his mother. She tried to encourage him to go, but he knew that with Kayla gone she would not have survived for very long on her own.

At the age of eighteen Jason was too old to remain a scout himself, but the program had been such a major part of his life that he decided to remain a part of it by registering as an assistant troopmaster for his old troop.

As Jason was finishing his second year of college, Kayla finally returned home. It was an emotional night after his older sister came bursting through the door in tears. At first Jason had feared that someone was breaking into the apartment and quickly rushed to grab his crossbow—his favorite weapon—but soon realized there was no danger when he saw his sister’s saturated face. She was pregnant, and her boyfriend had kicked her out. To make things worse she was going through withdrawals, making the conscious choice not to endanger her unborn child by continuing her drug habit. That night Kayla sat cradled in her mother’s arms as the three of them explored her options. In the end she decided to have the child—they would find some way to support it. Jason—now halfway through his bachelor’s degree—vowed that when he became an engineer he would do all he could to help support his nephew, which sent his mother and sister bursting into tears of pride.

At that point it felt as though things had reached their peak, and the world was as it should have been. But as Jason would soon learn, the universe was unsentimental and had a way of balancing out the good with the horrific.

That summer, Jason and the scout troop’s head troopmaster Malcom decided to plan a whitewater rafting trip in northern Canada. It was an expensive trip and therefore only the boys who were able to raise enough money through their individual fundraising efforts were able to go. In the end five boys were able to raise enough to make the trip.

The troop had gone rafting in-state once when Jason was a scout, but it was nothing like the experience of being in the wide open wilderness of northern Canada. Jason, Malcom and the boys had to be flown in on a small single engine plane to reach the starting point of the tour. There they would camp overnight before rendezvousing with their guide in the morning, spend the day rafting, and then at the end of the tour someone would pick up the troop and bring them back to the start where they would camp another night before heading home the following morning.

Everything was going perfectly as the boys and the adult leaders were having an amazing time out on the water. The group had been split up into two rafts to accommodate everyone. They were only a few miles from the finish when Jason’s raft hit a rock underneath the surface and tore a hole in the bottom. Following the emergency instructions given to them by their guide, they managed to get their raft over to shore, followed closely by the second boat.

“Looks like we’re going to have to walk to rest of the way,” the tour guide said, examining the damage to the raft. “That’s okay, it’s only about three miles from here.”

“Should we send half of us down in the other boat?” Jason inquired.

The guide considered the suggestion a moment before shooting it down in a Canadian accent. “I’d rather not leave anyone out here without me.”

So the tour guide led the way by land to the end of the river tour. He was the classic rugged outdoorsman, and reminded Jason a lot of a lumberjack only he wore wet gear instead of flannel. Thankfully they didn’t have to drag the rafting equipment with them, as the guide told them his crew would try and come back down to pick it up later. Jason thought they might follow the water down to the pick-up point, but the guide said that there was a bend in the river a mile ahead and it would save a lot of time if they cut directly across through the forest.

What the group wasn’t prepared for was to stumble across an illegal crop along the way. As they walked out of the forest the troop found themselves in the middle of an open field, filled a bunch of funny smelling plants that were as tall as Jason.

“Shh!” The guide shushed violently, though no one had made a sound.

Malcom couldn’t believe his eyes. “Is that…?”

“Marijuana,” the guide confirmed in a hushed tone. “I had heard someone was growing an illegal crop out here, I just didn’t know it was here.

The guide quickly surveyed their surroundings, clearly worried by their current situation. “Back in the woods.”

Before the troop could turn around, a voice called out to them. “Hey you! Stop right there!”

The kids and the adults broke out into a sprint as they ran back into the forest, but they only made it a few paces before a man popped out from behind a tree and pointed an old hunting rifle at them.

“Not so fast,” he commanded. The troop stopped in their tracks and instinctively threw their hands up. “Tie ’em up Charlie.”

While the man with the gun pointed it at them, another man came up behind them and bound each of their wrists with a rope. The man with the gun looked old and worn. He had a thin grey crew cut, and multiple scars on his cheeks and under his eyes. His teeth were black and yellow, a couple of them missing. He was tall and thin, wearing nothing but an old pair of jeans and a stained black leather vest. He had black boots on his feet.

Charlie was a heftier man than his partner, his round face covered in a grizzly beard. He wore a ragged old t-shirt that positively reeked of sweat and marijuana. Some of the boys almost gagged as he came over to tie them up.

Once their hands were sufficiently bound the two men marched them back through the marijuana field, the hunting rifle trained on their backs. They eventually arrived at an old barn where they forced them inside.

“Stand there and shut up!” The man with the rifle barked.

Suddenly a third man walked into the barn with an inquisitive look on his face. He was about the same size as Charlie, only bald and cleanly shaven. The other two quietly explained to him the situation and began discussing what to do about it. The thin leader routinely checked on his prisoners ever couple seconds to make sure they hadn’t moved.

These clearly weren’t the brightest criminals in the great north, but Jason knew that they would arrive at only one conclusion—The only way to guarantee no one would rat them out was to eradicate all of the witnesses.

The tour guide must have come to the same conclusion, because without warning he turned and took off toward the rear of the barn in an attempt to escape through the back door.

“Hey!” The leader yelled as he swiftly brought the rifle up to his shoulder and took aim. Before the guide could get the door open the man fired, hitting him square in the back.

The entire troop dropped to the ground at the sound of the shot—they were definitely an inner city group. While on the ground Jason looked up and noticed a hatchet on the wall of the barn.

“Get up!” The man with the gun ordered them, loading another round. “Now ya see—now I have to kill all of ya’ll.”

He then turned and handed the rifle and a handful of rounds to Charlie. “Do it fast.”

Before anything could happen, Jason stepped toward the leader. “You don’t have to do this!” He pleaded.

Before he could reach the man, Charlie blind-sided him, whacking him on the side of the head with the butt of the rifle. Jason overplayed his reaction to the blow, throwing himself hard into the side of the barn and knocking the hatchet off its hanger. He acted woozy and used his body to shield the hatchet as he began using it to cut his binds.

The leader walked out of the barn, leaving Charlie and the other man to exterminate their witnesses. Once he was out of sight, Jason shouted to the man with the gun.

“Shoot me first!”

Charlie looked at him, confused as to why it mattered who died first. Still, he did as he was told and turned the rifle on Jason.

Just then Malcom charged, and before Charlie could turn the gun around on him the troopmaster slammed into him, knocking the big man to the floor.

The other man ran over to assist his fellow drug farmer as Jason cut the last thread of rope that held his hands together. He got to his feet and ran over to join the conflict. Malcom managed to head-butt Charlie and disorient him before the other farmer got to them. The bald farmer lifted Malcom off of Charlie, unaware of the fact that Jason was now free from his binds and running up behind him.

Jason swung with the blunt end of the hatchet, cracking the man in the back of the skull. The man dropped to the floor unconscious. Jason then used the hatchet to cut Malcom’s binds allowing him to rip the rifle from Charlie’s grip and smash his face in with the butt.

Jason pulled a knife from Charlie’s waistband and handed it to Malcom. “Get the kids out of here. I’ll go make sure the other guy doesn’t see you.”

Jason took the hatchet and crept out of the barn. To the left of the old brown barn was a streamline trailer. He guessed that the leader was probably somewhere inside. Quickly and quietly, he ran in a crouch toward the trailer. He stood up to peer through the window. There, on the couch, was the man who had ordered the troop killed. It appeared as though he had fallen asleep.

He could have turned away and joined the rest of the troop in their escape, but Jason felt a hidden rage building inside of him. Coming from a broken home and growing up in the ghetto had been incredibly hard on him from a young age, but he had learned early on to keep his anger at bay and not let it get this best of him. But this was different— by ordering the deaths of innocent children this man had gone too far, and Jason was determined to make him pay. Every terrible feeling he’d ever had in his life culminated in this one moment. Someone was going to die.

Carefully, he pulled on the handle of the trailer and swung it open. Making as little noise as possible, he climbed up the fold-out metal steps that led up and into the trailer. Just inside and to his left he found his enemy passed out on his back. Slowly, he inched toward where the wretched man lay on the couch. Once he was alongside him, Jason looked the man up and down, a disgusted snarl on his face. What a hideous excuse for a man this was.

Jason felt his grip tighten on the handle of the hatchet. Slowly, he lifted it above his head, blade pointed outward. Without a second thought, Jason thrust the hatchet downward, the blade striking the pot farmer with a fatal blow.

When he returned to the barn the troop had already begun their escape. Malcom was directing the kids into the marijuana crop, ordering them to run as fast as they could to the forest on the other side. Jason quickly ran over to join them and followed closely behind until all seven of them were safely back among the trees.

They made record time on their way to the pick-up point at the bottom of the river basin. The hike lasted only minutes but it felt like hours. Just a few minutes after their escape, one of the scouts—a skinny boy named Joey who had started in the troop during Jason’s last year as a scout—asked him what had happened to the third farmer. At the time Jason had felt no remorse for killing their attacker—he had soundly justified to himself that the man had deserved it. It wasn’t until now, faced with confessing his actions to a child, that he began to feel ashamed by what he had done. Killing a man in cold blood went against everything he had ever believed in, no matter what their sins may have been.

“He was asleep on the couch,” Jason told the boy, leaving out the rest of the story. He found himself unable to look any of the scouts in the eye for the rest of the hike.

They found a very worried guide when at the pick-up location and told him to call the police immediately, explaining what had happened. Needless to say the troop did not spend that night in the forest. Instead the police escorted them back to the town where their van was parked and they drove off and didn’t look back. It was the first time Jason could remember feeling safer inside the confines of the city than in the great outdoors.

He found it hard to live with himself after that day. He thought it had been hard growing up in the projects, but that event would haunt him for the rest of his life. He could never forgive himself for killing that man. The next day he told the troopmaster that he was going to be stepping down as his assistant. It had been his responsibility to set an example for those young men and he had failed miserably. Even if they never knew of his sin, he would always know what he had done. They could have easily escaped that farm without being seen by anyone and the police could have handled it from there. There was no reason for someone else to have to die.

Even as he sat with his mother and pregnant sister in their apartment he found it difficult to look them in the eye. If they ever found out what he had done…his mother would fall apart. She would blame herself and be overly worried for her son. He couldn’t handle the burden of his secret any longer. He had to get far away from everything he cared about until he could find a way to live with himself again.

So he wandered the globe for years, and eventually ended up climbing in the ancient mountains of Japan. He wasn’t sure how he’d gotten there, just that something had told him to go. He had absolutely no idea what he was looking for—if anything—but he knew that he had to be there.

After several days of cold and hunger he was finally given an answer. Hidden behind one of the highest peaks was a small village—far, far away from the next nearest civilization. The village was quiet, masked by the thin clouds that rested near the top of the great mountain range. At that altitude everything was covered by snow and ice, but the village had somehow managed to avoid the frosty elements, and as he neared Jason believed he had even seen green grass and trees growing between the small buildings.

When he arrived at the small brick road that sat on top of the ridge that led into the mysterious village, he found it completely empty save for one man. Through the mist he could make out the figure of someone standing under the archway that signified the entrance to the village. He was a round older gentleman with a bald head and a thick, bushy beard that was the color grey. He wore nothing but a traditional Japanese kimono—all black with a white waistband.

Jason approached the mysterious onlooker, curious as to the reason he was all alone up here in this mountain village. In contrast to the strange man’s kimono, Jason was topped with layer upon layer of thermal ice climbing gear to combat the subzero temperatures of such high altitude. As he got closer, Jason noticed a wide smile formed underneath the man’s thick facial hair.

Jason didn’t stop until he was less than a meter away from the smiling Japanese man. He was much shorter than Jason, and considerably older. Jason stared into his thin eyes which were smiling back at him.

The Japanese man spoke first. “I have been waiting for you for a very long time.”

“You speak English?” Jason asked, more surprised by that than the fact that the other had apparently been expecting him.

“I speak all languages,” the man replied kindly in a soft, gentle tone.

Jason eyed the elderly gentleman with confusion. “Aren’t you cold?”

“I have no need or time for such things,” he replied confidently. “Come, we must get started.”

This was indeed strange, but Jason immediately began following the man. He had a lot more questions. “Started with what? What’s your name?”

“My name is not important, but you may call me Master Shinobi,” the old man responded as he waddled hastily through the village. “And we must start with your training.”

“What are you talking about? What training?” Jason demanded, entirely confused.

Master Shinobi stopped walking and turned to face the confused American. “Ninja training. You will bring us redemption.”

Jason shook his head, unwilling to believe his ears. “Ninja training? Who is we? Is there someone else here?”

“So many questions,” Master Shinobi said, trying to wrangle the conversation back in. “They will all be answered in time. First, come with me.”

Jason would like to have said that he followed the man purely out of curiosity, but he also could not shake the feeling that he was meant to be there—that he hadn’t stumbled upon this village out of pure coincidence. Whatever the crazy old man told him, he was willing to believe it. Somewhere inside he knew that Master Shinobi was telling him the truth.

Jason stopped asking questions for the moment and instead did as Master Shinobi commanded. The round old man led him to a large temple in the center of the village made of wood and bamboo. The architectural style was traditional Japanese.

Inside Master Shinobi fed Jason a hot bowl of soup. Jason was unsure of what was in it, but at that moment it was one of the most delicious soups he had ever tasted. It wasn’t until three bowls later that he realized just how hungry he had been.

When the meal was finished, the Master explained his purpose in the village and the significance of Jason’s arrival. Somewhere around the fifteenth century some of Japan’s finest warriors—the samurai—broke away from their teachings and trained themselves in the art of espionage and assassination. They became known as Shinobi, or as they’re more commonly known in western culture—ninjas. They had forsaken a moral code of conduct that the samurai had adhered to, ultimately becoming the nation’s most skilled spies and killers.

In the seventeenth century the need for the ninja began to fade, and they therefore left civilization for a home in the mountains, finding it hard to exist in a society with little need for their particular skillset. Here they began to reconnect with their Zen and Buddhist beliefs. This made it difficult for some of the ninja to cope with their sins and those of their ancestors. Some even found it difficult to move on peacefully at the conclusion of their lives, fearing the effect their past transgressions would have on karma. It was then that they determined they must find balance in the universe by redeeming themselves through another.

Master Shinobi was one of the last remaining ninjas in existence, and he was therefore given the burden of life eternal until the individual came who would be able to find redemption for the ninja. Now that Jason had finally arrived after hundreds of years of waiting, Master Shinobi would train him with the skills of the ninja so that he may go forth and use them for good rather than deception and evil.

“Why is it you are here?” Master Shinobi asked once he had finished his story. “Why do you wander these mountains alone?”

Jason needed little time to formulate his answer. “I committed a heinous act. I killed a man in cold blood, and am searching for a way to forgive myself so that I can one day continue my life in peace.”

The master nodded his head as if reaffirming his suspicions. “Like the Shinobi you seek redemption. But the answer my son is not in forgiving yourself, but to use your shame to provoke you into using your life for good—to save a thousand more lives than you have taken!”

The master’s voice went up an octave toward the end of his statement. He was clearly very anxious to get started.

And so Jason remained in the village and accepted Master Shinobi’s trainings. He was never clear on just how long he had stayed in the village, as time seemed irrelevant inside. The village itself was a mysterious place—almost supernatural in ways. For the first week Jason had bundled up to go outside. One day he decided to ask Master Shinobi how he managed to survive wearing only a kimono.

“Here temperature is only in your mind. It is only as warm or cold as you think it.”

He was a bit skeptical at first, but Jason went along anyway. He removed his coat and told himself that it was a mild spring day. To his surprise, as he removed layers he never began to feel a chill. The weather was perfectly suited to whatever he was wearing. From that moment on he never again questioned Master Shinobi or the legend of the ninja and their mysterious home.

In the mornings it was Jason’s duty to perform random tasks throughout the village, from construction to demolition to gardening. Some of the tasks seemed random and pointless, but he had seen the Karate Kid so he went along with it anyway, knowing Master Shinobi most likely had a reason for everything he made Jason do.

One morning his suspicions were confirmed as the master wanted Jason to put a new roof on one of the empty houses. The materials for the roof were quite heavy, and it was a struggle for Jason to lift and maneuver them onto the roof. At first he believed the task to be a form of strength training, until Master Shinobi came to check on his progress.

The master said simply, “Look at the tools around you,” before turning and walking back to the temple.

Jason stopped at the wise man’s words, and saw that there were parts to some sort of mechanism scattered all around the house. He immediately gathered them and used the knowledge he’d gained from his two years of engineering classes and constructed a pulley system that made it far easier to lift the materials onto the roof.

Master Shinobi returned to watch Jason in his triumph. “Physical strength is important, but strength of mind is the greatest strength of all.”

Jason nodded in pride. Those were words he would never forget.

Naturally Master Shinobi waited until after Jason was sufficiently worn out from his morning chores to train him in the martial art of ninjitsu. This enabled the master to teach him the art of combat while also preaching physical conditioning and perseverance. At first Jason felt bad sparring against the short, stout, elderly man, but Master Shinobi had retained his skills as a ninja and took Jason down with relative ease. With time and instruction Jason began to improve greatly in his skills, and he and Master Shinobi would engage in some epic one-on-one battles. Once he had mastered the basics, the master taught him other more advanced skills, such as advanced acrobatics, skills with a blade and extreme stealth. Before long Jason had developed into a skilled ninja that not even Master Shinobi himself could defeat. His physical training was almost complete, but was he mentally ready to put his skills to their intended use?

After training both Jason and Master Shinobi would go to the temple and practice yoga to find calm and center themselves after a long day of strenuous and aggressive training. Jason enjoyed the exercise as it brought him much needed inner peace and always led to a sound night’s sleep.

One day as he awoke and headed to the temple for breakfast, Master Shinobi intercepted him just outside his door. “You must come with me.”

Jason followed as Master Shinobi led him to his personal quarters. Jason had never entered the master’s living quarters before, but he found that they looked much like his own except for one key difference—in his common room Master Shinobi had a twenty-four inch television sitting on the floor. It was tuned to an American news station.

At first Jason wanted to get on the master for not telling him that they had satellite TV all this time and he didn’t bother to tell him, but he forgot all about that once he heard the voice of the news anchor.

“Again, we are reporting that a young man has been kidnapped—we believe by the Russian mafia—for reasons that are currently unclear. The boy’s name is Joey Peterson—shown in this photo here—and we are told he attends Midtown High School and is apparently a member of a local scout troop as well…”

“Joey…” he whispered.

Master Shinobi spoke softly from behind him. “It is time for you to go. You are ready.”

Jason didn’t question the man’s wisdom. He hurried back to his quarters and geared up. As he left he struggled to find Master Shinobi, but soon realized that the old man was waiting for him at the entrance to the city. When Jason arrived, the ninja master handed him a katana in a black sheath.

“This signifies that you have completed your training and you are now a true ninja,” he said after Jason had taken the blade. “Never be afraid to use the tools provided to you, including your mind.”

Jason pulled the blade out of the sheath and examined it. Something was off.

“This blade is completely dulled,” he commented, pressing his hand against the end that should have been sharp.

Master Shinobi smiled. “This katana is a tool for defense, not for death. It is your destiny to provide the Shinobi with redemption. Remember always that you have the ability to extinguish any life, but you must use those abilities only to preserve it.”

Jason smiled. He wanted to resist, but he could not fight back the urge to embrace his master. To Shinobi’s surprise, his pupil threw his giant arms around him and squeezed. As Jason moved away from the hug, he saw the huge grin he had been welcomed with when he first arrived at the city.

“Make me proud,” Master Shinobi whispered. Suddenly there was a gust of wind and like a mound of dust the master disappeared in the breeze right before Jason’s eyes.

Jason wasted no time upon returning home. He checked into a hotel room and consolidated all of his tools. He had his katana, a bunch of ice climbing equipment, black ninja garb that Master Shinobi had given to him midway through his training, and most importantly his body and mind. That proved to be more than he needed as he was able to take down the entire segment of the Russian mob and rescue Joey with relative ease. He left none dead in his wake, though a number of mobsters suffered a non-lethal injury of some form.

Jason never revealed himself to Joey. Suddenly the city had a masked hero protecting its innocent. Jason continued his role as vigilante, using the skills he had been taught in the mountain village to save lives, and making a point never to take one in exchange. He even found time to go back to school and complete his engineering degree at the same time.

At first he questioned what he was doing. Certain people downtown weren’t thrilled about the idea of a vigilante ninja running around their city, but as he looked into his baby nephew’s big brown eyes and thought about the life ahead of him, he knew what he was doing was right. Eventually word got around about the urban ninja, and crime dropped significantly throughout the city. When this happened he started to travel—protecting the innocent wherever there was a significant news story. He became known in different cities across the country—the famous vigilante who no one had ever really seen but they knew existed because of all the bad guys he’d taken down.

At first he had been known simply as the urban ninja, but his identity shifted when he began painting a white symbol on his chest against the black background of his robes and protective suit. It was the symbol of what he considered his greatest accomplishment in life from back when he was a scout. The emergence of that symbol caused Jason Haze to go from being “that vigilante ninja guy” to being uniformly known around the nation as The Eagle.

After The Eagle started going national, Jason decided to move to Omaha, Nebraska and moved his mother, sister and nephew out there with him. Omaha had a relatively low crime rate which meant he wouldn’t constantly be worrying about the safety of his family while he was out on one of his adventures. It was also conveniently located in the center of the country, which enabled him to get anywhere in the United States without having to travel from one end to the other. In time he was surprised to find that he actually enjoyed living in Nebraska.

One day however, Jason found himself having to travel outside the country to perform his duties as The Eagle. An American film crew had been captured by a ruthless warlord in central Africa, and he soon began to realize that The Eagle was going to have to get involved in foreign conflicts or innocent Americans were going to lose their lives. What he hadn’t expected to find in Africa was a companionship that would one day transform him from a national vigilante to a full-fledged superhero celebrity.

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