Issue 14 Review

Rising Stars 14 Synopsis

"Things Change"

Two nurses talk in the emergency room lobby of Oakhurst General Hospital in Brooklyn. The first nurse tells her friend, Donna, about a bad date she had with a doctor who couldn't keep his hands to himself. She wonders why nurses have a reputation for being easy, but then she notices that Donna is no longer listening to her. Donna is staring in shock at the emergency room entrance.

John Simon stands in the doorway with the battered body of Matthew Bright. He begs the staff to save his friend.

Since Matthew is a police officer in New York City, Dr. Welles had given instructions to this hospital on how to treat Matt. He had assumed that Matt might succumb to a terrorist bomb or a massive accident. However, in this case, Matthew is the victim of another Special, Jason Miller.

The doctors use tungsten steel syringes for the intravenous lines and lasers to soften Matt's tissue before they can sew it together. His power makes him difficult to hurt, but once hurt it also makes him difficult to heal.

Against his better judgment, John Simon stays to watch. This gives the police time to respond. Three officers arrive with guns drawn to arrest John for questioning about the events in Chicago. John loses his temper and lashes out with his power. He emerges from the hospital dragging a cop by his collar and asking if anyone else wants a taste of his wrath.

A woman and two children huddle on the sidewalk. The woman begs him not to hurt them. John is disgusted with himself. He realizes that his behavior isn't why he came to the hospital, and it isn't why any of the Specials were born. He apologizes and flies away.

John flies to Pederson where he has hidden Dr. Welles. The old mentor to the Specials rests in bed with medical equipment hooked up to him. John laments that the Specials have so many powers that they squandered. He remembers the Mediaweek magazine article that predicted that the history of the Specials would be a catalog of missed opportunities.

Dr. Welles says that the mistake was his. He wanted to keep the Specials safe, so he made them afraid of the rest of the world. John counters that they didn't need the Doc's help to be afraid of the rest of the world. Dr. Welles adds that he made an additional mistake with John. He knew John was strong enough to kill any of the other Specials, so he told John that he had the responsibility to keep the others in line. Dr. Welles realizes now that he should have groomed John to be their protector and leader rather than their watchdog.

Dr. Welles says that everyone has an obligation to use their powers and abilities. The Specials have a slightly greater responsibility, but underneath they are no different from anyone else. He tells John that there is still time. John must free himself of Dr. Welles' fear and face the world in a new light. The old man tells John to make him proud and then passes away.

All of the Specials gather in the rain for the funeral of Dr. Welles with only two exceptions. Matthew Bright is still unconscious in the hospital, and Jason Miller watches the proceedings from high above the cemetery, unable to join the rest in his shame. The Normals watch from a distance. They know not to disturb the Specials at this time.

There are just under sixty of them left. John stands beside the doctor's coffin and addresses them. He tells them of Dr. Welles' final words, "Make me proud." He believes that the Doc held on to life just long enough to tell John that. He reminds the Specials that there are not many of them and they don't have many years left. The power will not pass to their children. They must do more to fulfill their obligations while they can. John believes that this is why they received the power.

John says he has finally figured out the purpose of the power. He thinks the power designed them to be a complimentary force to improve the world. Some Specials can fly, so they should be the aerial scouts. The invulnerable Specials should be ground scouts. Others can lift heavy things, control fire, bring light, raise the dead, and talk to the dead. Stephanie Maas could communicate with the other Specials over long distances and control them. If the Critical Maas multiple personality hadn't twisted her power, she would have been the comand and control center.

John can now feel that the power has a conscious purpose. When Matthew saved the people in Chicago, John sensed the power rejoicing that one of them was finally doing the right thing. John goes on to suggest that the power gets stronger when one of them dies because those who remain still have the same amount of work left to do.

The Specials have the power and the obligation to change the world. They can work outside the rules of society to make the world a better place despite the cost to themselves. They should fulfill this mission while they still have time.

John invites the others to meet him on the hill after the service if they want to join him in his mission. He will understand anyone who doesn't want to join him because he doesn't know if he'll succeed.

The Specials lower Dr. Welles' coffin into the ground.

John waits under a tree on the nearby hill while the other Specials discuss their options. Some are afraid for their families. Others question their right to judge the world. Others believe as John does that they have an obligation.

Elizabeth Chandra asks Jerry Montrose what he thinks. Jerry says that he's always been a screwup and it's time he changed. He marches with determination towards John Simon. Chandra and Randy Fisk exchange a glance and follow him.

John has his eyes closed. He looks up when he hears Randy say, "John. We're with you." All of the Specials have come to him. John is moved with emotion. Everyone has decided to join him. If only Jason were here...

As if on cue, Jason Miller appears. He breaks down as he apologizes for his actions. Every time he tried to warn the Specials, Critical Maas forced herself back into his mind and stopped him. John walks up to Jason and puts out his hand. The two men embrace. They will change the world by starting with themselves.

In Columbia, South America two men look out over their coca fields from an opulent balcony. One man brags that the plantation has expanded almost twenty percent in a year. The harvest begins tomorrow, and the first shipment of coke should have a street value of twenty million dollars in the United States.

Without warning the field is ringed with fire. The plantation workers flee to safety. One of them stops in fear as he sees Jerry Montrose floating near him with his body engulfed in flame. The guards begin firing their weapons, but the bullets have no effect on Jerry. He destroys the plantation.

In Athens, Greece several terrorists plot their next mission in a dockside warehouse. An American destroyer is due in the port the next day, and the terrorists have prepared enough explosives for twice the lethality of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole.

Bolts of electricity flash through the warehouse. As the building explodes around the terrorists, John Simon flies away with a look of satisfaction on his face.

Jason Miller doesn't know if John's plan will succeed, but he knows that they must try. This is the only way that Jason can atone for what he did, especially what he did to Matthew. He should have fought harder against Critical Maas.

Jason enters Matthew's hospital room through the window. He apologizes to Matthew and promises to make up for everything. Jason will come back to Matthew's room every night and tell him what they've done. He'll keep returning until Matthew wakes up.

Before flying into the New York sky, he promises Matthew that they're going to change the world even if it kills them.