Prologue 1

Arrowsmith, Illinois.

"Those governmental bureaucratic ASS-holes!" Yelled a man in, what appeared to be, his early 40s.

"Calm down, dear." Suggested the 'Calm-Voice-Of-Reason' (aka his wife).

"I saved that teller's life and what do I get? Fined! FINED!?" Ranted the man, unhindered by 'calm' or 'reason.' "A pat on the head and a, 'Be grateful that a fine is all you're getting.' I'll show those sanctimonious jerks!"

"Calm down, Daniel!" The Calm-Voice-Of-Reason was now in the transitional state to becoming the Calm-Voice-Of-You-Will-Shut-Up-And-Listen-To-Me.

"I'll enroll in the Hero Certification Program and THEN we'll see who 'could have gotten hurt!'" Mocked the man, the complete derision in his tone making it plain what his feelings on the subject were.

And with that statement the man had chosen his fate. For this man was in no mood to tolerate anything that the universe threw at him to block his way, and his pride was such that it wouldn't permit him to back down once he had made-up his mind.

"Don't be a damn fool!" The Calm-Voice-Of-You-Will-Shut-Up-And-Listen-To-Me was losing its calm. "You wouldn't last 3 days in the HCP competing against kids a third your age!"

"Age and experience count, woman! I could make it all the way to the top." Argued the man.

To be fair a goodly portion of it was stubbornness and the inflexibility that comes with age, but underlying that was a genuine spark of... call it curiosity. Or perhaps it would be more honest to say a mixture of curiosity and fear with a dash of anxiety thrown in for kicks. Was he over the hill? A man of his actual age should be getting close to retirement and making plans to enjoy his golden years. He should be more inclined towards a rocker than to combat training. Could he still compete on an equal footing at 60 years of age?

The 'woman' in question stood up and faced her husband squarely. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as she measured the man standing before her.

Light slanting through the kitchen windows bathed the man in the warmth of the evening sun. Of an average height at 5'10", her husband cut a handsome figure in work jeans scuffed with dirt, a tucked in button-down flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled to the elbows, and a pair of leather gloves in his back pocket. Who would have thought that a man who was basically a walking fire elemental would have a green thumb?

He was not as lean and hard as he had once been when the two had first met 43 years ago, but he had not gone to fat either. Short red hair without any hint of gray waved and flickered like fire on top of a symmetrical face with a nose that was perhaps a bit too long and hazel eyes as hard as stone. She had seen those eyes express every degree of intent and reflection, she knew those eyes, and she could read them now. He would not be swayed. "Why couldn't you buy a Ferrari like everyone else?" Lillian Silvers, MD, sighed.

Daniel Silvers was confused by the last remark, but he knew his wife just as well as she knew him. As such, he knew that he had won at least part of the argument, though which part was still unclear.

"Good. I'll find the online entrance applications for Sizemore Tech in Chicag-." Daniel started.

"No." Rejected the Calm-Voice-Of-Absolute-Authority.

"No?" Questioned the man. Cautiously.

"No. Korman University. Jasmine Everill is one of my old Residents and part of the faculty at Korman. Since you are dead set on entering the HCP I will accompany you to New York."

"What? Lill, No! It's one thing for me to go get pounded to scrap every day but I will not allow you to come to harm! Not while I have anything to say of it." The man braced himself for one of their epic 'arguments,' the kind that generally required reconstruction of the house afterwards.

"I'll have to get Tomas and Jillian to take over my patients for a time. Find a condo near the University." She added to a growing mental list. "I hear the leaves in upstate New York in the autumn are absolutely enchanting. There's a lot to do. Well dear, don't just stand there gaping like a fish. Move!"

The man did not move for a good while.

"Lill, please." said the man, voice low and intent. That was all the man said, all that needed to be said.

"Oh, Daniel dear." Said the woman with a smile. "I'm not going to NY to enroll in the HCP. I'm going with you to put your fool backside back together when you come limping home each night."

Daniel Silvers studied his wife in turn. A 5'7" brunette with a toned musculature and perfect figure, the spill of her dark brown hair fell way past the small of her back, framing a kindly face of heart stopping beauty. Appearing to be in her mid 30's, ostensibly in the prime of life, but in actuality she was was a good 3 years older than him. Sex in heels and a lab coat, as he one to know; but still, her beauty was ultimately left in the dust by her intellect. A versatile healer (top of her class at Johns Hopkins University) she had a breadth and depth of knowledge in her chosen profession that was very seldom matched and a mastery that was surpassed by a number she could count on one hand. Add in an astounding business sense and it all bundled, to him, the perfect woman/wife. Though he supposed the most astounding thing was that she still loved him even after 40 years of marriage.

"Lill, I don't-" Began Daniel, but was cut off as Lillian Silvers' eyes began glowing a brilliant vermilion and the trained reflexes of 40 years of marriage kicked in all at once.

"Yes, dear."