Saturday, July 23, 2016

8. L4, THE SECRET BASE

Ryan, Noah, Zach and Alan were living the miraculous as a result of their supernatural presence in Nootra, home world of comics’ heroes. They first met Denver, the dinosaur, and his companions. Then they met Batman, Hawkeye, his daughter Rain, Cesare, Yann, Superman, Captain Nootra, the Ninja Turtles, Shredder and Saiyans. They faced opposition in the city for Nootra’s security agents saw them as intruders and pursued them.

The Saiyans decided to take them to a secret base in north Nootra to keep them in safe hands and to find help for their return to Earth. Going over the Frightful Forest, some villains and beasts attacked them. Yet through the assistance of the Alliance, namely Rahan, Conan, Samba, Leuk and Tarzan, plus their guest members the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, they overpowered Freeza and Wrath-Amon, and their allies, including Windfang, Turles, Raditz, Dr. Doom, Terrax with the animals who rallied behind them.

After eliminating the opposition in the Frightful Forest, Gohan, Goten, Krilin, Trunks, Noah, Alan, Ryan and Zach continued on their journey to the northern secret base. There was a wide sea immediately after the Forest leading to L4. The children crossed it and came to a large deserted place; an extensive flat territory void of anything. Son Gohan asked his companions to land, but some wondered.

Goten: “Why are we breaking when there’s still much distance to cover? I can go on for another four hours before I’m exhausted.”

Krilin: “Nothing is on the horizon Gohan.”

Gohan: “Don’t always trust perception Krilin. We’re exactly where we’re supposed to be.”

Trunks: “Do you mean we’ve arrived at L4? But there’s nothing in this place.”

Son Gohan gave a signal by clicking his fingers, clapping his hands, and stamping his feet a number of times, following an order.

Goten: “Thanks for the jesting brother. While we’re at it, you can as well do the choreography mom taught us on the Dance of Shamans.”

Krilin: “Seriously Gohan; do you have to be playing ridiculous now?”

Zach: “What he’s doing certainly has a meaning. Somebody has an idea?”

Goten: “I was a child the last time I came here. I don’t remember how things used to be done.”


Krilin: “I’ve never been here so don’t ask me about the clowning.”

Trunks: “I’ve seen something similar before. It’s a code for accessing the base. It may appear simple but you need total concentration to do what he’s doing. He must perform every movement correctly without missing any, lest he be denied.”

Ryan: “Watch guys; something is coming up.”

When Son Gohan finished the ritual, a magnetic water-like flux, which was as big as a door appeared. He asked his companions to follow him and as they stepped closer, the magnetic fluid drew them and pulled them inside. The crossing was instantaneous; it seemed they only went through a door. On reaching the other side, they found themselves in a place harbouring an immense building stretching high to the sky. It covered a fantastic land surface and extended to unseen horizons. It was nothing some of them had seen before. A noble hero was standing at the entrance of the building.

Alan: “Getting better and better!”

Ryan: “And we’re only at the gates.”

Zach: “There was a fault on his armour.”

Noah: “He’s way too sublime.”

Goten (to his companions): “It can’t be helped. They’re uncontrollable when they see a hero for the first time like Mario said.”

Gohan: “Guys, sorry to interrupt this moment of ecstasy but we have to move forward.”

Son Gohan walked to Iron Man,[1] guard of L4, and he asked him to let them access the building. Iron Man, in return, asked the motive for their visit.

Gohan: “These friends come from planet Earth and they were accidentally transported to Nootra. We brought them here so you can help them find their way back home. I know you have experts in all science and technologies at L4, you being one of them Iron Man.”

Iron Man: “So these are the aliens Headquarters is looking for? Well, sorry you’ve been in jeopardy in the Frightful Forest for nothing. I shall hand you over to Central.”

The Saiyans, Krilin and Earthlings were taken aback and couldn’t believe what Iron Man just said. Alan, who was particularly fond of the armoured hero, spoke out without restraining himself.

Alan: “The Iron Man I know can’t do that.”

Iron Man: “Really? You think you know me? And why can’t Iron Man do that?”

Alan: “Because you’re a man of honour. You’re committed to the good no matter what the rules or authorities say. If you act otherwise by handing us to our trackers, I’ll feel bad that you’ve disappointed. The worst thing would be that all I ever believed about you will turn out to be a lie.”

Iron Man: “So you extra-Nootrans don’t respect order? Another good reason to hand you over to Superman and his friends of Central. By the way, what did you even think about me; that I was a hero or something? I’m not sorry to disappoint you ’cause I no longer play that stuff. Does anybody care to know what I have become?”

Alan: “This isn’t my hero Iron Man. What happened to you? Up till now, the people we met proved themselves faithful to their personalities. Are you sure you’re not an impostor Sir?”

Iron Man: “That’s a good one: an impostor suspecting me of being one. In passing kid, am I really your hero? It’s a long time anybody considered me that way; ever since I was reduced to the state of the guard of the remotest base in Nootra. Citizens don’t pass this way and superheroes aren’t impressed by me. Tell me kid; are there more people on Earth who care about me like you do?”

Noah: “Yes. There are comics, cartoons and even films about you Tony Stark.”

Iron Man: “And you know my secret identity! Well Terrestrials, you’ve passed the test. You’ve proven you possessed a noble spirit and are worthy to get inside L4; for no unworthy one shall trespass therein.”

Gohan: “You see why we brought you here? L4 is an integral unit of NSF but they’re not directly accountable to them, like the Alliance. That’s a way of decentralizing our civilization. Friends, you’ll be safe in the care of the honourable heroes here.”

Iron Man: “You’re right kid; I would be a monster if I betrayed those who come to seek refuge from me. Hit here pal; I’m touched you trust my integrity.”

Alan hit Iron Man’s iron fist. The other Earthlings, Saiyans, and Krilin came closer to touch his magnificent armour. Iron Man gave them a spectacle by exhibiting the many abilities of his armour and they were happy to see the amazing things his chainmail could do. Something however disturbed Alan.

Alan: “Iron Man, why do you occupy the post of a guard here? Sure, this building is impressive but being a guard is incompatible with you, as it is with Batman. Your powers deserve greater functions.”

Iron Man: “Nootra is populated by superheroes. People like us who’ve had enough of combat become watchmen.”

Zach: “If I had some armour like yours Iron Man, I won’t tire of working out every day.”

Ryan: “Why did you lose the desire to fight in combat?”

Iron Man: “There comes a time when you attain self-realization. You determine the most precious thing in your life, and you don’t want to lose it for anything.”

Noah: “What did you find Iron Man?”

Iron Man: “My family: my spouse, my children, parents, siblings, relatives. I found the joy of living in a family and that was the happiness I had been searching. So I keep it.”

Noah: “You mean Tony Stark has settled down for real?”

Zach: “You’re lucky; I can’t say the same of my family. I don’t get along with some quite well.”


Iron Man: “Kid, always keep in mind that you’re peculiar. Don’t envy anybody for you’re the only one of your kind. You can’t be found in any place, at any time, in any person except in you. There’s something you’re called to do in this world, which only you alone can do. It won’t be done if you don’t do it because apart from you, no one else can do it. The beauty of a man is his particularity. That’s what makes him a landmark in the world.

’People are unique; we’re complements and gifts to one another, not their copies. We were made many so we may be different. Different, not in terms of division, but different because although living together, we aren’t clones, but we enrich other people’s lives with what is particular of us. Not everybody can do everything. One does this, the other does that; one is funny, the other is grave. Unity means living with people by accepting them as they are though we don’t possess the same personalities as them. We choose to draw from their difference and to enrich our life with what they offer us. That’s what I found and that’s what I’m living in my family.”

Noah: “I never heard Iron Man talk this way but I know a pain in the neck back at home. I wonder why we were born in the same family.”

Iron Man: “Child, every moment of our life is precious and we have to live up to the challenges coming with it. Learn to see things beyond the daily routines and you’ll find that your family is the best gift you have. The family is the place to appreciate variety among men though many of us made a wrong start. But I’ve made up for the losses and I now treasure it above all. I came to understand that to change the world is to have a sound family. The family is the world in its basic unit and a family in unity is the vessel, which receives the blessings of the Agape.”

Ryan: “I know something about that. But Iron Man, you can lose it if you don’t fight to protect it.”

Iron Man: “What are friends made for? I’ve fought villains all my life and when I found my family, I entrusted the defence of Nootra into the hands of friends and the security forces. What I can do best is be there for my family and do this petty job.”

Gohan: “No job is ever too small. The least you do is indispensable to society. If L4 didn’t have a guard, the heroes inside won’t do their job well.”

Zach: “Iron Man, you talk of these things as if they were easy to accomplish. You yourself testified that you had a wrong start with your family. These wrong starts are at the origins of the breakdowns and losses people encounter in their lives. They mark you forever and not everybody pulls themselves together after that.”

Iron Man: “You can’t change people and even if you could, you would be a dictator because you would want them to agree with you; not even the Agape did such a thing. Each one of us has our own reality and it is hard for someone to see the reality of another. Some people only consider their own realities and forget that others don’t see things the same as they do. That’s why it’s fundamental that all men know truth. Those of us who know truth have the responsibility to bear with others. And by our faith and commitment, you’ll see we’ll transform everything into good.”

Alan: “What about people already broken? How do you restore them?”

Iron Man: “Alan, restoring doesn’t mean going back to the past and fixing things. Those things are sometimes irreparable since conditions at present may not be the same as in the past. Something is indispensable for restoration to take place - forgiveness. Forgiveness here means giving no weight, no consideration, no value to what you did or didn’t do or to what others did or didn’t do which produced those breakdowns in your life. You have to free yourself and others by letting go the offence, taking it lightly, smiling at it whenever it crosses your mind. You must stop being in the skin of the victim but must be the builder of your life by committing yourself to making your family the best place in the world.

’The world is nothing but the people living in it; and these people live in families. Saving the world is first saving a man and his family. If every man saves his family, the world is saved. Man always lives in a family; as a child, a sibling, a spouse, a parent, a partner, a teammate, a colleague and in the many kinds of relationships there are in the world. If he failed the first step, he still has the many steps following, and at one point, he’ll get it and have his life restored.”

Krilin: “Man is the most complex being in the cosmos. Each man is a universe to explore. We’re called to be tolerant towards each other and to choose to accept people as they are. If everybody comes to understand these things, we’ll succeed in our relationships and evil will be wiped out.”

Noah: “Why should you always be the one to be tolerant? Why can’t others also see your reality and make efforts to understand you? It’s so unfair.”

Iron Man: “If you’ve arrived in Nootra just by believing, that tells me you’re not like others. Faith is the simplest thing in the world. It’s the first virtue you demonstrate when you’re born: you believe all things. Sadly, when people grow up, their perception distorts their faith and they tend to consider only what they sense. By so doing, they fail to see their childhood dreams realize. For the true dreams of a man are those he has when he’s a child.”

Gohan: “People try to attain their objectives by doing when there’s a simpler way of attaining our dreams - by always believing. Noah, count yourself happy to know these things for not everybody can appreciate them. If you possess the spirit that makes you accept others as they are without judging them, you’re distinguished among men for you’re creating peace in your environment.

’Piccolo taught me that peace is man’s most precious asset. This gift is only for those willing to end all strife within and without them. Nothing good, not even the family, can be appreciated for what it is if there’s absence of peace. You may have everything you want but if you don’t have peace, you won’t be able to enjoy them. Peace is vital to life and life is a burden without it. If you’re a peacemaker Noah, you’re a beautiful force of nature, which is keeping the world happy. That’s why the cosmos will collaborate with you and supernatural things like these will happen to you like they happen to us in Nootra.”

Iron Man: “You’ve made my day children. Now at least, some people know what Iron Man is presently. Get in; the people inside will help you find the route to Earth. There are only geniuses in L4. Let me know when you’re leaving. I have War Machine’s[2] former armour and I’d gladly give it to you.”

Krilin: “Their world isn’t like ours Iron Man. Your equipment might only cause them trouble.”

Alan: “Krilin is right. All we ask is your friendship and autograph.”

Iron Man: “Long time anybody asked me those. I told you admirers were rare in L4. Here you are - the Iron Man badge with my signature for every one of you.”

Goten: “Hey, I didn’t ask for that.”


Trunks (whispering to Goten): “Take it or he might change his mind about letting us visiting the base.”

Noah: “You’re too cool iron head.”

After giving directives concerning the Earthlings to Iron Man, Son Gohan and Krilin left their companions in his care. Iron Man opened the doors and Trunks, Goten and the four Earthlings entered the multiplex. They were super-astonished when they found themselves within the construction. L4 was a place containing an impressive sight of colossal buildings of different sizes, each adorned with high-tech materials. The construction served as a fighting base, exposing all types of terrain for combat. Administratively, each building within the structure was a unit, a separate entity with particular features specialized for specific functions. Units with complementary functions and collaborating together were aligned one against the other to form blocks. A block was a division of a number of units, geographically separated from other blocks. A central control unit regulated the functions of the base.

What struck the children as they progressed in their movement within the base was that L4 was all about training. It was a training centre equipped with sophisticated armouries and infrastructure for every kind of martial exercise. Large numbers of people were there and nearly all of them were training. Some were doing so on land, others in water and others in the sky. This roused the spirits of Ryan and Zach and they asked Trunks and Goten to train them. The Saiyans were only too pleased to do that.

Goten: “You can’t be in L4 and not just train.”

Trunks: “Like when we were kids! Dad used to take us here so we could progress rapidly.”

Noah: “How was it like to be trained by Vegeta?”

Goten: “Vegeta wasn’t a soft teacher. My dad didn’t always approve his methods.”

Trunks: “Time passes so fast. I can’t believe the progress we’ve made.”

Goten: “Here we are, mentors ourselves. Where do we begin friends? What do you want to learn first?”

Zach: “What I want to know first and foremost is how to fly.”

Trunks: “I’m surprised you can’t fly with all the fighting skills you have.”

Alan: “Are you kidding me? It’s merely impossible to fly on Earth.”

Ryan: “I told you guys, all things are possible in this world.”

Zach: “Don’t worry man; I’ll know how to fly in no time. Let’s begin Goten sensei.”

Without wasting time, Ryan and Zach went to work. Their senseis, Goten and Trunks, though not the best in their profession, taught them some concepts and moves in flying. Their students, on the other hand, were so willing to learn. Their determination prevailed despite the clumsiness of their novice teachers. And it happened that after a few hours of training, Ryan and Zach could fly.

While these four were in the process of learning, Alan and Noah went for a visit of the base. They entered some kind of locomotive, which stopped at each unit and they stepped out to explore. They crossed many buildings, each time coming across countless heroes committed to the good cause. The two Earthlings were over the moon as they received hearty greetings from superheroes. Their tour of the base led them to a special building. This building was different from the rest in respect of its size. It was enormous and being the tallest edifice of the base, it stretched out sky high. It was located in the centre of the base and appeared to be the central control unit.

As Noah and Alan stood there, trying to see through the glass walls what was going on inside the building, they sensed someone coming behind them. They saw his reflection in the glass and recognized his form. The two children turned around to see the one walking towards them. He was far taller and way bigger than any of the heroes they met in Nootra. Noah and Alan remained still, totally captivated by the sight.

Alan: “This world; it’s beyond my wildest dreams!”



[1] Iron Man (‘Tony’ Stark) is a superhero in the Marvel Comics Universe. He was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by Don Heck and Jack Kirby. He first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963).

[2] The War Machine armour was designed by Len Kaminski and Kevin Hopgood. War Machine (James Rupert ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes) is a comic book superhero appearing in comic books set in the Marvel Comics universe. The character of James Rhodes first appeared in Iron Man #118 (January 1979). He was created and designed by David Michelinie, John Byrne, and Bob Layton.

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