Legion Tryouts: Introducing Warhawk of Thanagar
“Next up, Bichawa of Thanagar.” Cosmic Boy announced, and turned to see Shadow Lass shooting him a glance, as he quite pointedly omitted the honorific recommended in the hopeful’s application.
The armored Thanagarian did not fail to correct this oversight, in a condescending tone, "Prince Bichawa, honored Founder, 27th incarnation in the line of Corvo. As a Legionnaire, I would be known as Warhawk.” Rokk noted the hint of rebuke in the way the Thanagarian so carefully mentioned his own unasked-for ‘title’ of Founder, as if to instruct him in the proper etiquette, and restrained a grin at the cadet’s concern for such things.
Instead Rokk merely said, “Proceed with your demonstration, Prince Bichawa,” letting it remain unspoken that if he would be called Warhawk as a Legionnaire, then he would not be called Warhawk yet…
The Thanagarian bowed his head slightly, the gleaming silver and gold nth metal helmet shining in the reflected overhead light, and turned first to face the combat-robots, which lurched into a readied posture from their slump-shouldered resting state. From the back of the silvery chestplate, emblazoned with a rising golden sun that blazed upwards on twin tracks of golden feathers, as if the star itself had wings that trailed behind it, a pair of silvery wings made from many knife-like curved blades of gleaming nth metal scythed out. The Thanagarian launched forward with impressive speed, as his battle-armor propelled him into the arcing taser-blasts to pass between the two combat droids, slashing them open with the loud screeching of tormented metal, followed moments later by the heavy clunks of the destroyed robots falling in pieces to the floor. Whatever the blasts intensity, the armor appeared to have shielded him from the brunt of it, as he landed smoothly behind the fallen robots, and then turned to face the seated Legionnaires and nodded his head once again.
Somehow, the proud Thanagarian’s gesture seemed less like a respectful bow, and more like an invitation to admire his handiwork…
Ayla whispered to Rokk, “Is that all the armor, so far?” Rokk just nodded to confirm her suspicion.
The eagle-like glittering blue eyes of the Prince’s helmet swiveled towards Ayla for a second, as he had apparently heard her comment, and Ayla got the distinct impression that he didn’t appreciate it, but he made none of his own before turning towards the next stage of the test, of nonlethal combat techniques against Legion combat-trainer Colossal Boy and Science Police Liaison Gigi Cusimano, who stood ready in sparring armor with combat batons at hand.
As his wings again flared out, Rokk spoke up. “Let’s try this one without the armor’s flight capabilities, shall we? I’d like to know if you can fight.” The Prince’s glittering many-edged wings slid back into their housings, and he simply nodded. “As a warrior of the royal line, I have trained in countless armed and unarmed fighting styles, over dozens of lifetimes.”
Shadow Lass seemed intrigued by this last comment, and leaned forward from absently fiddling with her Flight Ring, as if interested for the first time, as the Prince stepped forward towards Gim and Gigi in a ritualistic wide-armed high-stepping stance, almost as if preparing for a ceremonial dance.
Gigi attempted to take advantage of his stance to unbalance him with a low swing of her quarterstaff, as Gim moved in close behind to capitalize on her maneuver, but he leapt forward over her low swing and struck her in the chest with his front leg, while swinging the second around and kicking her again in the side as his upper torso twisted in mid-air, with the rotation of his legs. Gigi went to the side and down to one knee, and the Prince retained his own footing just barely, only to have Gim barrel into him, blocking his counter-punch with a training baton and then slamming his shoulder into the off-balance Thanagarian like a moopsball player going for a third-quarter push.
Still, as the Prince fell back, his leg snaked between the Legionnaire’s and hooked him behind the knee, causing him to stagger forward as well, right into the uppercut from the fallen Thanagarian warrior. Gim’s head rocked back, and he rolled to the side and to his feet in a single smooth action, checking to see that Gigi had also regained her feet, and was moving in as the Prince flipped from his back to his feet in a smooth action that was all the more impressive for the seemingly bulky armor he was wearing.
A burst of pain accompanied Gim’s jaw clicking back into place, and he momentarily longed for the numbness that had accompanied it being out of place… Pay attention!, he reprimanded himself, as Gigi spun in for another attack, again spinning low with her quarterstaff, only to pivot and whirl in a crouch so that as the Prince’s leg lashed out over her head, missing her completely, she had already spun around with incredible speed to deliver a brutal staff-swing to his side, which he blocked only barely with his forearm while he was still in mid-air, throwing him off-balance so that he landed heavily on his backside. Gim moved forward and as the anticipated leg lashed out to intercept his approach, he dropped his combat-batons and grabbed the Prince’s ankle and simply hurled him bodily through the air, swinging him like a bludgeon into the ground.
Gim and Gigi had already come to the same conclusion, that the Prince was skilled, but utterly unable to adapt, repeating the same actions that had succeeded in their first attack sequence. A signal from Gigi to Gim over their private channel confirmed as much, and they both raised their arms, indicating that the sparring was over. Prince Bichawa got to his feet, “Surely, this challenge cannot be over. We have but traded a few blows, and not truly taken each others’ mettle yet…”
Shadow Lass chose to intercept his complaint, “We have seen enough to evaluate your fighting technique, Prince. But neither your battle-armor nor your fighting skills are what will make you a Legionnaire. Please explain to us what post-human ability makes you stand apart from others.”
The Prince puffed up slightly, warming to the chance to speak on what seemed a favorite subject, himself. “As a scion of the royal blood, I have been a champion in not only this life, but many before. Our greatest warriors are reborn, life after life, always learning new tactics and arts of war, and I bring to the Legion a power that none other has, to return time and again, until the war is won, no matter how grievous the injury, or seemingly irrevocable the defeat. Death itself cannot hold one such as I.”
While he had been talking, Ayla had been tapping furiously at her datapad, and a burst of information that she had unearthed flickered into view on the screens of the other Legionnaires.
Shady’s brow furrowed at the information Ayla had shared, and Cosmic Boy just shook his head and turned off his datapad, turning to Ayla and leaning back in his seat.
Noting that Rokk had discretely yielded her the floor, Ayla stood up, “Prince Bichawa, the ability of some Thanagarian royals to return after death in the bodies of the newly born is well-documented. Do you really think that the ability to come back fifteen to twenty *years* after a fight to return to the fray in a new body constitutes a meaningful super-power? The Legion has a higher standard than that. We need applicants that have power that will be useful *during* a situation, not a decade or two after the fact.”
The Prince stepped back a pace, “You speak out of turn, woman! My people’s sacred rites of return are a holy thing, one that your unworthy self has no right to criticize! The only reason you are a Legionnaire is because your brother got himself killed!”
A crackle and pop signified the sudden death of Ayla’s datapad, as electricity coruscated around her hands. Shadow Lass also stood up and pointed at the Prince, her deceptively calm tone brooking no dissent, “Fool. Get out.”
“I do not take orders from you. You do noooooootttt…..” his voice trailed backwards as Cosmic Boy gestured with his hand, and the wayward Prince rocketed backwards on an inexorable tidal wave of magnetic acceleration. “The Legionnaire said, ‘Get out.’” he repeated, more for the benefit of the other wide-eyed applicants, than for the rapidly receding Thanagarian. Seeing the Prince fly towards the chamber’s exit at precipitous speeds, Shadow Lass stabbed at a button on the console and the door cycled open mere seconds before he would have impacted upon it. She noted that he had slowed considerably as he crossed the room, and when he exited, he was travelling at a more stately pace. As he crossed the threshold, his voice still raised in outraged protest, she stabbed the button again and the door cycled shut.
Moments later, a loud clang startled the remaining applicants, and a visible dent appeared in the door.
“Is he seriously trying to blast his way back in here?” Ayla said, waving tendrils of electricity flowing from her fingertiips like water from a fountain, to discharge into the air in a harmless, but intimidating, display.
Rokk shook his head, “He was using his armor’s flight ability to attempt to counter my magnetic repulsion. I was stronger, but when I stopped maintaining the repulsion, he didn’t compensate in time and flew face-first into the door.”
Ayla smiled at the thought, and then thought to ask, “Is he hurt?” turning to her datapad to attempt to view the monitors on the other side of the door, only to discover belatedly that she had shorted out the device.
Mon-El spoke up, and for the first time, his teammates also noted that he had at some point stood up as well, as he was settling back into his seat, “He’s fine.” The Daxamite’s eyes had that faraway look, and Ayla could tell that he was using his superhuman senses. “He’s cursing at us. And now he’s flying away.”
Shadow Lass sat down, and placed her arm on Ayla, to suggest that she reclaim her seat as well.
“Good riddance.” Ayla muttered, the reddish lightning crackling around her upper arm slithering back to her palm and vanishing like a snake slithering back into its home.
Rokk turned to the remaining applicants. “Alright, any more Princes, 27th something in the line of somethings? Anyone at all expecting special treatment? Anyone have any disagreements about the right of any Legionnaire to comment on your eligibility?”
He was met with silence. “Excellent. I think we understand each other. Let’s move on…”
Answering the old question, "Why isn't there a Thanagarian in the Legion?" with, "'The one who applied was a dick."
And since 'Katar' is a type of Indian dagger, I named this Thanagarian prince after a different type of Indian dagger. I make my own fun.