Issue 6 Review

Rising Stars 6 Synopsis

"Things Fall Apart, Part One of Three"

In New York, a NexusCorp official stands with Flagg on an outdoor stage before a large audience. He is about to reveal Flagg's new name.

John Simon is in the audience. He has come to kill Jason Miller, formerly know as Flagg. Jason has been secretly killing other Specials for the past month, because the powers of the remaining specials increase each time one dies. John is surprised that Jason is in a public place since he knows John is on to him. John had wanted to collect more evidence first, but he couldn't pass up the opportunity of Jason's public appearance.

The NexusCorp official prattles on about the focus groups that came up with Flagg's new name. While a flag can symbolize any country regardless of merit, NexusCorp feels that their new name symbolizes an ideal that can not be corrupted. Flagg's new name is revealed to be Patriot.

The official invites the crowd inside as Patriot exits to the rear.

John Simon follows Patriot. He allows his power to grow inside him to nearly full strength, which he has never done before. He is afraid of exposing himself, but thinks that it is the only choice when going up against someone with Jason's power level. John melts through a fence and catches up with Patriot. He calls out to Jason, but Patriot declines to give an autograph. John is confused for a moment and then realizes his mistake. He grabs Patriot and demands to know who he is.

The man in the Patriot costume is not Jason Miller at all. He is a stand in named Jim who usually does supermarket openings. He says that he was told Jason had the flu. John replies that Specials don't get sick. Jim offers to try to get a message to Jason, but John releases him and warns him to run away quickly.

By this point John is surrounded by the electrical arcs of his power buildup. He grabs some unused construction girders to discharge his power into the ground.

Jim runs to a security guard and warns him about the man who assaulted him. Suddenly they are shaken by what feels like an earthquake.

John is upset with himself for taking such a huge risk and nearly ruining everything. He is confused because the Specials can sense each other when they are nearby, an he is sure he could feel Jason.

Jason Miller is in the area. He has watched the proceedings from a balcony. He jumps from the balcony and flies at full speed to a rendezvous with Jerry Montrose.

William Kane, the director of the Cathedral of Light, is preaching to his congregation. He says that God sends signs to let people know they are not alone in their battle for righteousness. His son, Joshua, is one of those signs. Also known as Sanctuary, Joshua levitates above his father, sending forth a dazzling display of lights. Mr. Kane urges the congregation to contribute to his ministry so that Cathedral TV can spread across the country. As they sing a hymn, Joshua levitates through a stained glass trap door in the ceiling that closes behind him.

Joshua walks down a hall on the upper floor, mumbling the hymn and thinking of how lonely he is. Jerry Montrose, dubbed Pyre by the press, enters through an open window. He compliments Joshua's show and Mr. Kane's ability to play an audience. Joshua wants to know what Jerry is doing there. He reminds him that they can't give sanctuary to a known criminal. Jerry is surprised that Joshua didn't know he was coming. Joshua says he was told to expect someone, but didn't know it was Jerry.

Joshua is losing his patience with Jerry when Jason enters through the window. He has summoned the three of them together, just like the old days. Jason jokes about the time they wanted to form a rock band called The Three Jays. Jerry remembers that Mr. Kane put an end to that because rock is the devil's music.

Joshua is concerned about Jason bringing trouble into his home. He warns him about his father's health. Jason says there won't be any trouble at the moment, but he wants to talk with both of them and Joshua's father. Joshua tells Jerry that he must turn off his fiery appearance because his mother just installed new carpets. Jerry agrees.

Sitting around the table, Jason tells the three men the whole story.

The energy of the Specials is finite. Each time they use it they become a little weaker. When a Special dies, his remaining energy is divided among the other Specials. With difficulty, Jason tells them that he has been killing the low-power Specials to take back the power from those who he feels have no potential. Other Specials have already figured out what is happening, and once the word gets out more killings will take place. No matter how much the Specials care for each other, none of them are willing to give up what they have, and none of them want to wait for someone else to try to kill them first.

Joshua is so shocked that he actually takes the Lord's name in vain. His father reprimands him, then asks Jason why he came to him and why he brought Jerry as well. Jason says that the Specials will begin choosing sides as word gets out. He is also concerned about swaying the opinions of the Normals. Jason has credibility through NexusCorp. They can call in many favors in the Senate.

Jerry points out that he has no credibility. He and Jason have fought each other for ten years. That is why Jason contacted him. If Patriot and Pyre actually agree on something, it will send a message to everyone. They still need to decide what that message will be.

Mr. Kane still doesn't understand why he should be interested in getting involved with Jason or Jerry. Jason says that if any other Special thinks like he does, they will also start killing the low-power specials to clear the pawns off the chessboard before the real battles begin. Glowing and levitating isn't much of a power in a fight. Mr. Kane decides that he and Joshua should discuss it privately. After the Kanes leave, Jerry observes that if they get stronger whenever a Special dies, the fights will get worse as time goes on.

Joshua argues with his father that Jason is wrong. Mr. Kane demands who Joshua is to decide what is wrong. Mr. Kane built the cathedral. All he ever asks "Tinkerbell" to do is stand and glow, and he can barely get that right. Mr. Kane saw Joshua crying when they shut down an abortion clinic in Ohio. He was forced to explain that God was weeping through Joshua for the unborn lives. Mr. Kane calls Joshua a weakling. If Mr. Kane had Joshua's power, he could make the Cathedral of Light ten times as powerful. He refuses to stand by and watch his work destroyed because Joshua doesn't have what it takes to do what needs to be done. They have been talking about fighting a spiritual war for years. Now the war is here and it is time to choose sides. Mr. Kane makes it clear that this is what they are going to do, and Joshua has no more say in the matter. Joshua concedes in tears.

Mr. Kane returns to Jason and Jerry. He says they have prayed and made their decision. He tells them Joshua is resting upstairs because the service takes a lot out of him. Mr. Kane says Joshua pointed out that they are facing a war for the future of the world itself. People will inevitably die in this war, and it is better to be on the winning side. They will need allies with other kinds of power. Mr. Kane can provide these allies. They will leave before dawn.

Jason and Jerry are given a room for the night. Jerry says that bunking together reminds him of old times. Jason says it's been a long time since those days. Jerry asks if Jason thinks Joshua is still "that way." Jason doubts it because of the world Joshua lives in. Jerry agrees. Jason says he always knew Jerry wasn't that bad because Jerry never told anyone what the two of them once found in Joshua's closet. They joke about which one of them is the good guy and which is the bad guy before going to sleep.

Joshua is packing in his room. He takes a small case from under his bed.

As they are flying to Washington D.C. the next morning, Joshua meditates on his name. Some call him Sanctuary, but his name is Joshua, which means "the salvation of God" or "God is salvation". There are other definitions, but none of them tell Joshua anything about himself. He has always lived with obligations superior to his feelings, so he is resigned to go along for the ride this time as well, even though he hears God laughing.

Paulson, whose department monitors the Specials, enters the office of Senator McClellan with the four men. The senator is seeing them quickly because of Paulson's concern. Paulson thanks him for his confidence and introduces Mr. Kane. Senator McClellan says that Kane's fundraising help several of his fellow conservatives retain their seats over the years. Paulson asks Mr. Kane to explain the situation.

Mr. Kane begins by saying this odd group of Specials has been brought together out of interest for their own safety and the safety of the country. He says several other Specials have united in a conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government. The Senator asks if Mr. Kane can prove his serious charges and name the people involved. Mr. Kane says he is concerned that if an announcement is made, the conspirators will have nothing to lose and will take action. They must be stopped before the announcement is made. They also want to ensure that innocent bystanders do not fall under suspicion. The Senator is surprised that he has heard nothing about this before and asks about Dr. Welles. Jason says that Welles is a good man and may have blinded himself to this possibility. Jerry adds that they don't have much contact with Welles other than occasional check-ups. Senator McClellan asks if Joshua has anything to add. He doesn't.

The Senator buys their story. He reminds everyone that the Supreme Court decision in favor of the Specials' civil rights also gave the government the power to deal with this sort of situation. He will contact the Judiciary Committee and arrange to have them testify at private hearings. Paulson assures him that they will help in any way.

Under oath, Joshua perjures himself before the committee, saying that he first heard of the conspiracy six or seven months ago. He tells himself that his feelings have nothing to do with the situation, and it has nothing to do with him. Outside, Jerry tells Jason that he feels like he needs a bath. Jason says there is not other way, and Jerry reluctantly agrees.

Senator McClellan announces that the committee has granted extraordinary powers to investigate the conspiracy, protect public and private interests, and save the lives of innocent civilians. Mr. Kane explains to the Senator that the three Specials and the others they will recruit must hunt down the conspirators. Some of them may resist arrest or questioning, even opting to fight to the death. The Senator understands that they will need a law officer whose duty is to save lives but is also authorized to use deadly force if necessary. He has selected the right man for the job...

It is Matthew Bright.