Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Invincible Man

His name was Daniel Fitsworks, but his friends called him Danny. He was of middle-class, American upbringing. Both parents were managers for a large corporation, and he had two siblings, one male, one female, both younger than him. He was remarkably healthy throughout his younger years, but not shockingly so, and managed to get through them without any terrible trouble. After graduating from high school, he considered his options carefully, and decided to go to an East Coast school, his major undecided.

Then, in his freshman year, while walking across a road on campus, he was hit by a car.

It is not that he was injured, or crippled, or killed. These things would have changed his life, or in the last case, ended it.

It is not that it had some great effect on the poor, slightly-too-inattentive driver that hit him. It did - the guilt required therapy - but that was not the crucial result.

The result was that, after putting a great dent in the car, being hurled down the road upon which he walked and through two walls and a fence, Daniel learned that he was invincible - for he, through all this, recieved no injury at all.

Daniel was a conscientious young man, and had grown up in a culture that knew very well the tales of Superman and Batman and all the rest. He thought of becoming a superhero - but what would he do? He had no heat vision, no flight, no genius for devices. He was just... invincible.

The first thing he did, upon getting back to his dorm, was to test - to attempt, with scissors and then a knife, to injure himself. He could not - the skin could not be pierced.

The second thing Daniel did was to call his parents - then, after speaking for a long while with them, he hired a lawyer.

This turned out to be a very good move, because local media began calling very soon, and the word spread quickly - such that in a few days, when a staffer for a Pentagon general called Daniel, asking him to agree to be studied by DARPA, Daniel had a plan drawn up by his lawyer to keep him from becoming a lab guinea pig. (That wording being perhaps a little too strong - but something approximating Daniel's fears on the matter.)

A compromise was struck.

So Daniel continued college - his invincibility, he reasoned, would last a while (it having persisted through all of his childhood, and showing no sign of disappearing), but education would be much harder to acquire if he went off to have adventures now. On weekends, he agreed to be studied - under limited conditions, with the right to abort proceedings at any time - by select DARPA personnel. They gave Daniel money to compensate him for his time, which he found quite nice.

Ten different governments attempted to persuade Daniel to enter their custody. (He declined, not so much out of gung-ho patriotism as fears for his treatment elsewhere.) Three attempts were made to kidnap him - none of which succeeded, invincibility being a useful trait in so many ways.

Despite all this, Daniel managed to get through college, graduating with a Bachelor's in Contemporary Philosophy. Most college graduates, equipped with a shiny new degree in philosophy, might have some worries about job prospects. Many would end up in a McDonalds, on the wrong side of the counter.

Daniel went to Venus.

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