Hero's Diary: Day 1, Part 19
11/02/28 at 12:50 EST

This is, without a doubt, the worst day of my life.

"The Unlosing Ranger came back for more, eh?" the lion-man growled, elated by my reappearance.

The news lady, her camera crew, and the in-studio audience echoed that enthusiasm. "I don't believe it!" she cried into her microphone. "The Unlosing Ranger didn't lose after all! Just when all hope was lost, he returns, ready to again do battle with Darkdeath Evilman! We can only hope that this time, he prevails!"

The creature I was set to destroy was intimidating, to say the least. Even the face engraved in his chest-plate was enough to make a would-be hero back down. If I didn't stop this demon, however, I'd be forced to spend more time with Etranger and Pirohiko, so I had to make a stand. Even though, when standing, I was eye-level with his hips. His clawed hands were larger than my upper torso. I couldn't punch him in the face without a ladder. I had my doubts about this, and the second thoughts started flowing through my mind.

"Maybe this time," Darkdeath growled again, "you'll fight back, and I'll have the satisfaction of killing you in battle!" He laughed, a hoarse, throaty laugh. "Prepare yourself, pitiful hero!" He prepared to strike.

Having telegraphed his intended actions so blatantly, when he swung his arm at me I easily anticipated the attack and jumped backward, allowing a wide enough berth to avoid his claws entirely. After swinging at me, his entire body was left exposed, and I used that opportunity as my time to strike. Fists clenched, I charged in at him. He was noticeably caught off-guard, and without interruption I delivered a punch to his midsection. And it dealt a great deal of damage. To my hand.

Darkdeath did not flinch to a degree that could be measurable by even the most modern tools of science. I backed off, airing out the pain in my knuckles. Darkdeath was still off guard, but this time the apparent reason for it was less flattering. "Really?" he asked. "Is that really the best the Unlosing Ranger has to offer? Pathetic. Truly pathetic!"

He readied his arm for another swing, so I readied myself to dodge it. Just then he stomped his foot against the ground, setting me off balance from the tremors. Using his window of opportunity, he delivered a powerful backhand to my entire body. Just as fast as I had descended to the planet, I was launched into the sky.

Time passed. I didn't know how much time had passed, since I had once again passed out during my travels as a live rag-doll.

"Back to the drawing board," Pirohiko muttered, standing over my aching body. With enough consciousness to look around, I confirmed that I was somehow back on the platform in Outer Space. "Where did the training go wrong? We did everything right!"

"The training isn't the issue," Etranger replied. "He's just too weak, the way he is. You couldn't possibly expect him to put a dent in that armour, as we saw." She moved around me, fastening belts to my legs. At this point, it became clear that I was chained to a table. "What he needs is a new body - one that can only be attained through the power of human experimentation!" She seemed awfully thrilled.

"Turning him into a machine isn't going to make him more of a hero."

"Hey, you said it yourself. 'A hero must use any tool available to win!', or something." Her Pirohiko impression was rather pathetic, but I think that's the point. She then called out to someone else. "Doctor, your assistance is required in the operating room!"

I gotta hand it to those two: they're constantly finding fresh new ways of scaring the life out of me. Etranger had just ushered in the "doctor", a child in an adorable pajama catsuit that didn't even look old enough to ride a bicycle.

The child, probably six or seven years old, climbed up a hollow plastic stepladder in order to get a look at me. "Don't worry about a thing!" she declared as she fit a gas mask over my mouth.

The first thing that worried me was the doctor.

The second thing that worried me was the fact that the gas mask wasn't actually attached to anything.

"If you feel a stinging sensation, that means you're still alive!"

That was the third thing that worried me.

This is, without a doubt, the worst day of my life.

So far.
Tagged under: ZHP
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