Survivor: A City of Heroes novel


Chapter 45 - "Regret"

"Man, oh, man, when you screw up, you do it royally, don't you?"

Kip Cantorum leaned back in his yellow leather recliner, his hands clasped behind his head.

"I don't really need you to tell me that," Jon said, staring at the floor, his elbows on his knees, his hands clasped in front of himself.

Kip chuckled. "Seems to me like you do, but that's neither here nor there." He got up, walked out of the room, returned with two beers. Jon refused to accept one.....Kip opened his and settled back into his easy chair.

"Look, Jon..." The blonde engineer's voice took a serious tone. "Yeah, you screwed up, and it's bad, but it's not the end of the world." He sighed. "I'm surprised I have to tell you this, but considering your background, maybe it's not so surprising after all. Jon, everybody screws up. Just about every hero ever born or created has lost it at some point. Some of them never make it back. They go renegade. We call them 'villains', you know. And they're the worst ones, the ones that started out on the side of the law, and then discovered they were happier fighting against it. They're the ones everyone really fears.

"But that's not you, Jon. If it was, you wouldn't be here in my workshop, beating yourself up about it."

"Kip....I don't know how to explain it. I didn't just 'lose it'. I knew exactly what I was doing. I was coming up with all kinds of excuses for myself, why it was right for me to keep.....keep trying to destroy everything and everyone. Kip, it's only because of the Medicom that I didn't kill someone. I didn't care....and what's scaring me the most about it, is that I enjoyed it. I didn't want it to end.

"Kip.....I'm not sure that I won't do it again."

Kip sighed. "Look, Jon, okay, your self-confidence took a bad blow. Take some time off. You work too hard, anyway. Take a long holiday. Go talk to the Hero Corps counselors, that's what they are there for. Let Crey go. You're too emotionally bound up in it right now anyway, to be able to make good judgements.

"Goof off for a bit. As hard as you work, you should have some money saved up by now...."

"I don't," Jon interrupted.

The engineer looked startled. "Well, okay, I'm not sure what's going on with that, but if you need some cash to tide you over...."

"Kip, I don't want to take money from you...."

"Well, you need to do something. You need to learn to accept help from someone....."

Jon laughed without humor. "I've been told that before..."

"Well, whoever said it was right." Kip regarded his beer, slurged down a large gulp. "Okay, Phillipa is mad at you. Maybe your other contacts won't want to talk to you for a bit, but once things calm down some, it's very likely to blow over. Just don't do anything stupid for a bit, and they'll start talking to you again, even if Phillipa doesn't. And if you do see a counselor, they'll be much more willing to cut you some slack, if they can see that you are at least trying to get some help."

Jon sighed. "Okay....I'll do what you suggest...." He didn't look happy.

"Listen, Jon....remember when I told you to go and see Manticore?"

"Yeah, I remember....I've been trying to learn as much about Crey as I could on my own before I approached him."

"Go see him now." Kip nodded at Jon's startled expression. "I'm serious. Justin's not a by-the-book kind of operator. I rather doubt he'd let something like this bother him. If he sees any potential in you at all....if he's got any work he thinks you can handle....he'll let you know.

"And if Manticore thinks you're all right....your other contacts aren't going to hold it against you, either."


Copyright, November 26, 2012