Memoirs of the Second Age 2: Mach

I’d like to tell you that I eventually managed to walk again.

Technically it wouldn’t be a lie. We’ve gotten pretty far these years, and the improvements I’ve made to the leg attachments have let me walk, run, and occasionally even fight again. But no matter how close I’ve gotten in was never the same.

Those first few weeks were the hardest. Learning how to not walk was difficult, but learning how to use my power at the same time was nearly impossible.

I still made an effort to go to the meetings, but I never felt like I belonged. Red Racer couldn’t stop shooting looks at me for a while.  He didn’t’ mean any harm, but it made me feel like I wad more broken than I knew I was.

Hawthorne was the nicest about everything. She was sympathetic, but she never treated me like I couldn’t do anything. She also managed to talk to me like a normal person. I think I got closer to her in that first week than I had in the months we’d known each other beforehand.

Allspades was distant. He was going through his own problems at the time, and I think he thought a lot more of my frustration was directed at him than really was. It was years after I changed names that we had a chance to really get to know each other. But that isn’t really a story for this book.

Burnout…In a lot of ways Burnout was probably the worst. I think he blamed himself, but I have no idea what he thinks he could have done. At first he was doting on me, and then he was avoiding me. Even after we recovered, there were times that he just couldn’t talk to me like he used to.

A part of me wonders what would have happened if I’d never been hurt. Burnout and I…we’d gotten close before Frankenstein appeared. We might have actually had something if I’d managed to stay Mach. But we’d lost the biggest thing we had in common right when we were becoming real friends. It didn’t really set us back, but it kept us distant for a long time.

Unimportant? He was missing at the time. That was the deepest he’s ever slid without losing ground in our reality; we didn’t even know he ever existed back then. I kind of wish he’d been there. For as flat as his powers made him, he always had a way of letting us know exactly he felt. If he’d been putting out those waves of his then the others might have gotten a better idea of what I really needed back then.

Will, this was back when we had no idea who he used to be, he was actually more kind and helpful during those few weeks than he’d ever been when I was still mach. I guess my situation got to him a little. He never had any problem with me showing up to meetings after the incident. He was there to help us make a decision, but since mine was made for me, I guess he just wanted to do his best to make me believe it was a good way to live.

I never really believed it though. And honestly, I’m glad I didn’t. It was almost a year before I figured out how I could be a hero without my legs, but I never regretted getting back into the life. I liked being Scanner a lot more than I’d ever enjoyed being Mach. Sure I couldn’t fight anymore, except for a few tricks I built into my assister, but I never felt like I had to run out into every crisis again. I could do just as much good, save just as many lives, if not more, from the background as I could on the front lines.

I stayed in touch with the group, of course. Even after Eclipse, I made sure that everyone got together every once in a while. We were never an official team, but none of us could deny that we worked well together. Most of our members managed to float between teams seamlessly after that and I’m pretty sure that’s what got Hawthorne to where she is nowadays.

…Regrets?

I have a few. Everyone does. I regret not hanging up my cape then and there. I regret going out that day and letting Frankenstein catch me off guard. I regret not figuring out my power sooner; if I had I might have been able to be Scanner and Mach at the same time. Mostly? I suppose I regret that I wasn’t the last one.

No; I really don’t feel comfortable talking about that day. It hit all of us hard, and unless Hawthorne’s willing to talk, I can guarantee no one else is going to want to think about it.

What happened next? That isn’t really my story.  Back then the most pivotal thing happening to any of us had almost nothing to do with me. You’ll have to track him down, because you’re going to want that story. If you want to know how we came to know who Will Writer really was, who Rumor really was, then that’s the place you need to start. Good luck.

No. I haven’t talked to him for a few weeks now, so he could be literally anywhere in the solar system. I notice myself not thinking about him sometimes though. I’d probably start back in Macrocity. It’s a good place to be when you travel as much as he does.

He’ll get in touch with me next time he’s grounded. I’ll let him know you’re looking.

Of course it’s important for you to talk to him. If you really want an idea of how the world was going to end, then he’s the place to start. As little as he did, there was no one more in touch with what was going on than Unimportant.

-Scanner
Memoirs of the Second Age

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