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Out of the Fire
by Byron Molix

9: Changes

   Guardian had come to the conclusion that if he was going to accomplish what he needed to, he was going to have to become proficient with the matter transformation powers of his Matrix. He didn't have time to return to Kel's spaceship, and he couldn't hide out in Middle of Nowhere Kansas forever. It was time he started to experiment as Kel had told him to.
   He picked up a rock off of the ground and decided that he would try to transform the mineral into something edible like a fresh cherry. If he figured out how to do that, it should be easy to do any other transformations that he required. He just had to have the right degree of imagination and confidence. Kel had very briefly mentioned that most of the training in matter transmutation was to familiarize the recruit with the various forms of matter, and to expose them to matter they had never encountered before. Kel had assured him that anything could be transmuted into something familiar. It was just the worries of mass ratios, sizes and stability. Ryan would have to concentrate fully on the transformation, otherwise the target would shift shape, color and form, but not fully alter substance. The cherry would be as hard as a rock, so Ryan had to complete any transformation he started, or he'd probably break a tooth experimenting.
   Ryan concentrated, both on the rock he held in his hand, and the cherry he wanted to turn it into. He imagined both of them clearly and tried to remember everything he could about cherries. He had to get everything right, or it wouldn't work. Finally he exercised his will and imagined the rock becoming the cherry he was concentrating on. There was a brief flash of white light on the back of his right hand, and then another flash where the rock was. Ryan held in his hand a ripe cherry. He examined it carefully, he felt it and decided to give it the final test. He plopped the cherry into his mouth and chewed. He had succeeded and the cherry was edible and tasted good. Relieved and reassured, he now had the power to carry out his change of identity. Guardian had to become a real mysteryman, and now while only a few had seen him and remembered exactly what Guardian looked like.
   In the morning, Ryan awoke in the field he had slept in and set about his current task. He had to recreate his costume so that it hid more than it currently did. He just couldn't take the chance that any others would recognize him. It would be too dangerous and incite too many enemy attacks. He reached out and picked up another rock, a larger one this time. He concentrated and there were two white flashes. Now Ryan held an apple. Quickly consuming the apple, he stood. He had slept in his costume and it was now really wrinkled. He was going to be transforming the whole thing anyway and so maybe he could make it less likely to wrinkle.
   First he concentrated on the mask, it was a simple domino mask and that had probably led to all of his present problems. He needed to make it much more concealing and he thought about making it like a ski mask, but only exposing his lower mouth. He wanted to make it a solid mask, but he wasn't sure how easy it would be to breathe in that, so he was satisfied with a Flash-style face mask that covered everything except his lower face. The current mask was black, but he made his new mask blue with a white circle on the forehead. Next he thought about the main part of the costume, he would worry about the gloves and boots later. He imagined a black top with a blue vest-like area on top of it. He added the Guardians' symbol in white to the left breast of the top as an afterthought.
   The pants would do as they were, but he needed to change the fabric to a more elastic material. His belt was also fine as it was and he didn't change anything about it. He added black gloves that extended beyond his wrist and white cloth boots. All of the costume was redone in the new fabric. Ryan was surprised he was able to create such a fabric blend, but it was light, tough and conformed to his body well. He decided that he would like it better if the right sleeve was also blue and the right glove was white. He donned the costume and looked at himself. He was cool under the layers of fabric, and it fit nicely. He moved his arms about and it moved without buckling or clinging too tightly to him.
   Ryan took off his right glove and removed the Passion Device Matrix from the back of his right hand. Placing it upon his forehead and ordering it to change to a circle shape, the Matrix shifted and flattened even more. It turned into a rather larger disc than Ryan had thought it would be, but it was thin and he had no doubt that it would be hard to find there. He pulled his hood mask onto his head and put it into its correct place. He could see out with no problems and it made him feel much more comfortable about his identity. Guardian replaced his right hand glove and took off into the air. He headed east and new confidence and life showed even beneath the mask. Guardian was reborn and it was time for him to start the long journey that lead to his parents being avenged and the Enemy and gang members receiving what they deserved.

Continued in GUARDIAN: TRIAL BY FIRE

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Copyright 1995, 1997 by Byron Molix