My Secret Identity
© by Ryan Bartlett
As a teacher dialed 911, Brice put his ear back to Bobby's chest. His breathing was ok, what scared him was the heartbeat. Bobby's heart hadn't stopped; in fact it was the exact opposite. It was beating so fast it sounded more like a hum then the standard thump thump, thump thump, of a regular heartbeat. There was nothing more Brice could do. A good and loyal friend, he held Bobby's hand and waited for the paramedics to arrive.
Spencer sprinted from the cafeteria the moment Bobby's body hit the floor. He ran for the English Department and found Mrs. Fixx having coffee with one of her colleagues. She knew something was wrong the moment the breathless boy burst into the teacher's lounge.
"Spencer, what's the matter?" said Miranda, jumping to her feet.
"Bobby…something's wrong…collapsed in the cafeteria," he panted.
Miranda dropped the coffee mug from her hand letting it crash to the floor. She ran for the cafeteria with Spencer hot on her heels. When they arrived, students and teachers gathered around Bobby's body, Brice still knelt at his side and reassured him he was going to be ok. Miranda pushed her way through the crowd and dropped to her knees. She took Bobby's free hand and stroked the hair off his forehead.
"Robin, sweetie, its mom, can you hear me?"
The boy didn't move.
"Did someone call a…" Miranda began, only to be interrupted by the arriving paramedics she was about to ask for.
"Stand aside, make way," said the lead paramedic.
Brice got up and moved, Miranda had to be pushed aside. Spencer put his hand on Miranda's shoulder and she pulled him close. She needed support and with her son lying motionless on the ground and her husband at his office, Bobby's best friend would have to do.
The medics went straight to work. They checked his airway to make sure it was clear, checked his breathing and checked his circulation.
"Kid's heart's going 90 miles an hour," said the EMT who had his stethoscope against Bobby's chest.
"Get him started on supplemental oxygen and get him ready to move…" his superior began, as Miranda found her voice.
"I'm his mother, is there anything I can do to help?"
"Is your son on any medication?"
"No, nothing," she replied.
"Any history of heart attack or heart disease in your family?"
"I-I don't know. Not on my side but I'm not sure about my husband's."
"Does your son abuse any illegal drugs?"
"Now wait a minute…"
"Bobby doesn't do drugs, he'd never touch the stuff," Spencer answered for her.
"He said he couldn't breathe then he clutched his chest and collapsed," Brice added.
"Ok, let's move," said the paramedic.
The two EMT's lifted Bobby gently off the tile floor and onto a gurney. Once he was strapped down they rushed him from the room with Miranda in toe leaving Spencer, Brice and the remaining students and faculty starring at each other wondering what they were supposed to do after witnessing such an event. The faculty quickly came to its senses and started herding students back to their tables.
"Dude," said Brice.
"Yeah," Spencer agreed. "I gotta find a ride downtown."
They took Bobby to Tacoma Multi-care, the same hospital Danny McCoy brought him too the day he found him in the woods. Miranda held his hand in the ambulance and ran alongside the gurney until they brought him into an examining room and a doctor pushed her aside. She stood in the corner and watched as the medical team went to work.
"What have we got?" said the ER Doctor.
"Fourteen year old male, complained of trouble breathing and collapsed at school. Blood pressure is through the roof, 198 over 110. Heart rate was too fast for me to establish in the ambulance," said the paramedic.
"Let's get an EKG in here, STAT!" the doctor shouted.
In the corner, Miranda Fixx stood quietly, tears pouring down her cheeks. She'd seen things like this on the news; perfectly healthy boy's dropping dead on the playing field from undiagnosed heart conditions. Now she was standing there watching it happen to her son. It's not fair, I just got him back. Dear God, please don't take him, she prayed.
A nurse appeared as if out of nowhere mere seconds after the doctor called for the electrocardiogram. The emergency staff quickly attached the electrodes to Bobby's chest and the frantic rhythm of his heart was displayed on the small screen.
"Doctor, the boy's heart rate is 170 beats per minute and climbing," the nurse exclaimed. The average heart rate is 60 beats per minute.
"Call the cardiac unit, tell them I've got a teenage boy down here with advanced tachycardia," the doctor ordered.
When Bobby woke he was lying on his back starring up at a bright white light. He sat up and shook his head to clear the cobwebs then looked down at the strange clothes he had on. He was wearing a dark grey jump suit cinched at the waist by a black canvas belt, his name, FIXX, was embroidered in gold on a patch above his heart. Underneath he wore a black mock turtleneck like the blue one he wore under his baseball jersey on cold days. The outfit was completed with a pair of combat boots and when he looked in the mirror the strange uniform made him think of military school.
He was alone in the small white room with nothing but the table he'd been laying on, the mirror and the pendent light above. When he moved towards the door it opened for him like he was going into a grocery store. He found a hall with more white walls and white light; he followed the path as it curved around until he came to another door. When this door opened it revealed a dark room lined on each side with large tubes filled with water that emitted a soft white light. He walked along the bank of tubes until he came to one containing a dark haired boy about his age.
"What is this place," Bobby whispered to himself.
"Welcome home Robin Fixx," said the soothing voice from his dreams.
Bobby turned and saw the red headed man stepping out of the shadows in a uniform like his own.
"That's right," Jared smiled at him.
"What is this place?"
"This is the incubation chamber where we keep the repatriate's during times of rest," said Jared.
"Repatriate's…incubation chamber…I don't understand."
"That is because the memories have been blocked from your mind."
"Blocked from my mind?" Bobby asked accusingly.
"We knew that when you returned it would be a stressful time for you. We blocked your mind in order to protect you."
"When I returned? You, you took me!"
"Who are you?" Bobby demanded.
"We are the Watchers on the Wall," said Jared.
"You don't understand, naturally. Come along, I shall enlighten you," said Jared, he turned to leave the chamber and Bobby reluctantly followed.
"For hundreds of years we, the Watchers, have protected humanity from itself. We have been endowed with many gifts. Gifts which you have begun to notice manifesting in yourself," said Jared.
"Yes!" Bobby exclaimed.
"Tell me Robin Fixx, what can you do?"
"I blew up a baseball. I ripped a door off its hinges just by pulling on the knob and I think I can fly."
"It's not just a thought, Robin Fixx," Jared smiled. "You can fly, I taught you myself. You probably haven't noticed it yet but your skin is virtually indestructible and your reflexes are quite a bit faster than the average human."
The sleeves of Bobby's uniform were rolled up to his forearm. He stroked his arm, the skin didn't feel any different but he'd manifested all of the other abilities they'd discussed. Just then, Jared turned to his left and a door opened. Bobby followed him into another room; it was dark with the only light coming from a large window on the far wall. Bobby gazed out the window at the Earth below.
"A-are you an alien?"
"Heaven's no," Jared laughed. "I assure you, Robin Fixx, I am as human as you are."
"Ok, you need to start from the beginning. What is this place? What is going on?"
"This is the Wall, a space station orbiting the Earth" said Jared. "From here we Watchers observe and protect mankind. I am not an extraterrestrial but I was born 500 years after you were."
"You mean, this is the future?"
"The year 2506 to be exact."
"I gotta sit down," Bobby sighed. He was growing faint. This was too much to accept all at once.
A bench appeared as if out of nowhere just as Bobby's knees gave out.
"How did you do that? Magic?"
"Science," said Jared. "You stated a need and the station responded to accommodate you."
"Yes, cool," Jared agreed.
"So let me see if I've got this right. You kidnapped me. Stole me from my parents. Kept me for four years and performed experiments on me that turned me into some kind of…freak?" said Bobby. He'd been in awe at first, now as the reality of the moment set in, he was angry.
"Yes Robin Fixx, it was I who took you," Jared admitted.
"H-how could you do that?" Bobby's voice caught in his throat. "I was just a little boy…"
"I am sorry Robin Fixx but it was necessary," said Jared. He took the seat next to Bobby and placed his hand on the boy's shoulder. Bobby felt the soothing touch; he remembered it from his dream about the incubation tube.
"For what? If you're supposed to be some protector of humanity, how can you possibly justify taking a little boy from his mom and dad and holding him for four years?"
"Perhaps I should start at the beginning?"
"Yeah, do that," Bobby snapped. He hadn't given much thought to his disappearance since he'd been returned but now he was here, now was the time for answers.
"As I stated, we Watchers have been the guardians of humanity for hundreds of years. As man became more evolved we believed our new found abilities would usher in an era of peace and justice for all mankind. Sadly that has not been the case. Crime is rampant. Nations make brutal war on each other."
"Hasn't it always been that way?" History was Bobby's favorite subject in school and what Jared was telling him didn't sound any different from things that had been happening since the dawn of time.
"To an extent, yes. Man has always found conflict easier than peace but with the advances in technology after World War II, it got worse. Two-hundred years after your birth there was an explosion in biotechnology. We began to unlock secrets of the mind that we never thought possible. The gifts I mentioned all stem from the power of our own minds and are imbedded in our DNA."
"These gifts you mentioned, why share them with me?"
"Twenty years ago one of our scientists invented a method of traveling through time. He visited different eras and came to the conclusion it was too dangerous. His discovery remains the Watcher's most closely guarded secret. As our situation here grew worse we crafted a bold plan. We would take people from your time and teach them to use their minds as we have, to give them the gifts to fight injustice in their time in the hopes of saving our society today."
"Let me get this straight. You kidnapped me, messed with my head and now you expect me to go home and do what? Fight crime? Are you insane? I'm 14!"
"Did you know your mother had three pregnancies before you were born?" said Jared. The question threw Bobby. He didn't know where Jared could possibly be going.
"Well…no but that's not what I asked!"
"Three times she became pregnant and three times she miscarried. When she became pregnant with you she had an amniocenteses performed. It's a test which extracts genetic material from the fetus and determines its viability. As we searched your time for suitable subjects for our experiment, we came across your mothers file."
"Great, so you spied on my mom too," Bobby shook his head.
Jared was unable to suppress a grin.
"Oh, that's funny?"
"Robin Fixx, I have watched over you your entire life. You are an extraordinary boy with unlimited potential," Jared beamed like a proud parent.
"Um, thanks," said Bobby, softening his tone.
"We chose you for the experiment because your DNA suggested you would respond best to the…alterations we made to your mind. I must tell you, it worked. You are by far one of the most powerful repatriates we've trained."
"I'm not saying I forgive you for taking me, or that I'll go back and do anything you ask but how does it work. Everything I've been able to do, I've done it by accident," said Bobby.
"Your body knows what to do. It will take some getting used to but even now you're learning."
"The inhibitor we used to block your memory is dissolving as we speak. Your body is, to use a term from your time, downloading the code if you will."
"I don't feel anything."
"You wouldn't. Your physical body as at a hospital right now. The doctors believe you are experiencing heart trauma."
"You mean this is all in my head?"
"We anticipated this day. The conversation we are having was implanted in your mind and programed to take place when the download began."
"This is insane," said Bobby. He stood and walked to the window to look at the Earth below.
"I know this is hard for you to accept but I assure you, it is very real."
"There is one thing I don't understand. If you programed my mind to do all these things, why did you send me home without any memory?"
"As I said, that was for your protection."
"That doesn't make any sense though. Why take me, teach me all this stuff and then send me back unable to use it?
Jared let out a sigh.
"There's something you're not telling me," said Bobby. "Spill it."
"During the later stages of your training you displayed problems making decisions."
"Like what kind of decisions?"
"Several times you sacrificed missions in order to save a friend. It was fine in training but we believed it could get you hurt, even killed in your own time."
"How is anyone back home going to kill me? You said I as indestructible."
"I said virtually indestructible. A confrontation with a repatriate as powerful as yourself could result in your death."
"So there are others?"
"Many, you saw the empty incubation tubes."
"I had friends among the other's you kidnapped?"
"Yes. You were quite popular among your fellow trainees."
"And trying to help them, you thought that demonstrated poor decision making?"
"You don't understand…"
"No, I don't. Where I come from you do everything to save your friends."
"This is why we blocked your mind. We hoped as you matured you would come to understand the way the world works."
"Ok, if you were waiting for me to grow up, why is this happening now?"
"Idrid Crow," Jared sighed.
"Who is…wait, I know that name."
"That's your memory returning. Crow tried to teach you telekinesis. Unfortunately that isn't one of your gifts."
"So the other…repatriates you called them, they have different powers?"
"Yes. Each of you adapted to your new abilities differently."
"Ok, I guess that makes sense. This Crow guy, he was one of you? A Watcher?"
"He was a sworn brother but as the repatriate program moved forward he grew greedy and power hungry. He betrayed us, stole our technology and is creating his own repatriates. Their mission is to disrupt the efforts of those we sent back. Crow wishes to preserve the status quo and use his repatriates to establish himself as sole ruler of Earth."
"So that's why you, I don't know, activated me? To take on this Crow guy?"
"The Watchers will deal with Idrid Crow. Your mission is to protect your time. With Crows repatriates coming online, your people are in danger. It would be foolish of us to let one with your abilities standby and watch when you could be leading the fight."
"Look, I don't know what you think you know about me but I'm no one's leader. I'm a quiet guy who likes to play baseball and hang out with his friends. I don't even have a girlfriend!"
"As I told you, you are an extraordinary boy, Robin Fixx. There is greatness in you. All you have to do is believe in yourself."
"So that's it then? You've done all this to me and now you're sending me back to fight God knows what? Thanks for the pep-talk," Bobby snapped sarcastically.
"I have faith in you," said Jared.
"When do I go back?" Bobby sighed.
"Now," said Jared. He placed his palm against Bobby's forehead and when he opened his eyes, he was lying in a hospital bed. His mother was asleep in a chair but she held his hand tightly. He expected to see his dad on the other side but instead he found Spencer sleeping soundly.
Bobby was glad to see his friend and shook his shoulder to wake him.
"Bobby?" said Spencer. He yawned and rubbed the sleep from his eyes.