By Jackson Turner
Senior Times Correspondent
PARAGON CITY, RI, Sept. 24, 2005 — I have often marveled at the singular vision that Paragon City represents. Over 70 years ago, one man saw the incredible potential at the heart of a city awash with political and social injustice. Selflessly, this first super-powered hero vowed to set things right—no matter the hardship or sacrifice. That hero, of course, was Marcus Cole. Statesman. His arrival and the subsequent rise of the super-powered hero was a turning point not only for Paragon City, but for the entire world.
How different the world would be without Statesman and these early heroes. What of history down a hero-less path? It’s not a pleasant image. Paragon City would in all likelihood be a backwater port city, rife with corruption and oppression. The world would be that much darker. The desperate cries of the suffering, the weak, the fearful, would be that much louder. As disturbing
as this scenario is, it’s not that far-fetched. Evil is a force very much alive and striving for emergence. If the enemies of Paragon City had their way, such a world might well be the result.
In my time as a journalist covering Paragon City, I have been privileged to witness history in the making time and time again. From those dark days of the Rikti War to the present, I have reported on a multitude of events, both mundane and extraordinary—with the extraordinary far surpassing the mundane. I have met many heroes and have always been inspired and amazed by their dedication and courage. They have stood firm in the face of lawlessness and the ever-present threat of otherworldly terrors. Whether as members of a Super Group, or as solo performers, they have all exemplified the ideals and virtues of history’s greatest heroes. Recent events, however, have served as a sobering reminder: there is the tendency to forget that behind the flashy costume and amazing powers beats an all too human heart.
This reminder has led me to some troubling thoughts as I return to Siren’s Call. In my recent article about the “re-opening” of this devastated district, I came across information of a disturbing
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nature regarding Sunburst’s alleged power malfunction and the subsequent “extraordinary” explosion that destroyed parts of the coastal district. I say alleged because there is no actual evidence that Sunburst triggered the explosion, or at least any publicly accessible evidence. Sunburst’s brother, Robert Danner, remains convinced that his brother was lured to the area and destroyed. But by whom? There is some evidence that points to the Rogue Isles and I plan on investigating this in the very near future. Putting aside the villain conspiracy angle for the moment, this brings up an issue seldom addressed but often encountered—that of hero culpability and the consequences therein.
We in the press (and the government as well) are very familiar with the words “collateral damage.” It’s part and parcel of the world we report on. To the general public, it’s the price one has to sometimes pay in order to have a city free from evil. When the Citizen Crime Fighting Acts of 1937 and 1952 legitimized and empowered the citizen-hero, it put few limitations on the legal use of “extraordinary means” to combat crime. Yet, despite the influx of heroes with devastating powers, the official historical record contains few overt examples of heroes becoming a danger to the public. Those few mentioned were dealt with by their own Super Groups. Legal proceedings have been instigated in only two cases and both were settled out of court, with the defendants voluntarily resigning. If, according to the FBSA, Sunburst had a history of creating “gross collateral damage” through the mishandling of his powers, why was he allowed to continue as a registered hero? Should a hero be officially accountable for the consequences of using his powers in the line of duty? Regular law enforcement officers are certainly responsible for their actions. Heroes that I’ve spoken with tell me that accountability is important and that most of them are very aware of their responsibilities. But in regard to Sunburst’s situation, many heroes are not satisfied with the official position. Perhaps it is time for a reexamination of the FBSA’s policies regarding hero training and management.
The unanswered questions surrounding Sunburst and the explosion aren’t the only issues that warrant investigation. The central focus of the next article will be on the question of why the district has remained unprotected for nearly a year after the explosion. With the War Walls still in disrepair and a new offshore threat to the city emerging, one can only see Siren’s Call as a very serious breach in our security. That puts Paragon City at risk on two new major fronts—Salamanca and Siren’s Call. Paragon City is once again at a crossroads. The threats against the city have grown exponentially from within and without. That we are the rallying flag for the world’s heroes goes without question—but increasingly, we have also become the same for those bent on death and destruction. It is evident that the heroic mission has grown in complexity, as has the nature of our enemies. And yet our city’s heroic legacy remains very much alive—that of unswerving dedication to justice and an absolute belief in good over evil. I think that Sunburst, in those last few seconds of his life, upheld that legacy.
On September 21, Senior Times Correspondent Jackson Turner and Times photographer Juan Jimenez went on special assignment to Siren’s Call to report further on the district’s re-opening. On September 24, Juan Jimenez notified the Times that Jackson Turner went to meet with a confidential informant near the docks the day before. He never returned. On September 26, the Times recovered Turner’s laptop, containing the commentary above. Despite repeated inquiries, law enforcement officials have declined comment on this case. We at the Paragon Times will continue our own investigation into the matter. If anyone has information regarding Jackson Turner’s whereabouts, please contact the Paragon Times or your local law enforcement agency.