Character Name: Laze
Alternate Identities: Zach Toron
Player Name: Zach
|Hair Color:||Black with Red highlights|
|Zach's black and red hair have become his trademark and it was this noteriety that had Nat asking Zach if there was some way to 'hide' his features, thus the 'Light Aura' power was developed. Zack uses this to dazzle not only people but mechanical video equipment.|
“Zach, you sure you really wanna do this?” Nat asked for the third time.
“I need someplace for my mom and sister, and here seemed like the best bet,” Zach said.
“I truly hate giving Miller anything he can use,” Wren sighed.
The trio sat in the sand as the sun dropped lower, the beach party behind them down to a low murmur.
“Look,” Zach said. “Metahumans are a new thing here, right? So no Genocide, no way my dad could find my family and use them to get to me. And as for the government, yeah, I’ll hate it but mom and Maggie will be safe!”
“And you will be a new cog in Miller’s machine,” Wren replied.
“If I can cut a deal with the devil himself, I’d do it to protect them!” Zach growled.
“Look, you can’t tell him about Archer and the whole dimensions thing,” Nat said. “Things are complicated enough without adding that kinda thing into the mix.”
“Agreed, now how do we get a hold of him?”
Ten minutes later the trio sat at a wrought iron table some distance up the street, ice cream sundaes the order of the day. Zach idly stirred his into a soup while Nat and Wren sat, shoulders touching, and watched the waves.
“Aren’t you afraid of getting sand in your shoes, Agent Miller?” Nat said, not looking around.
Zach jerked and looked up at the man in the suit.
“I didn’t even hear him coming,” he said to Wren.
“It is an ability you develop after a very short association with him. It is not unlike the odor of something you would scrape off your shoe after walking through a dog park,” Wren said sotto voce. She ignored the man who flushed with anger at her insult.
“Well?” Miller sounded impatient.
This guy was nowhere near as intimidating as Ghost Archer, Zach decided.
“I want to join the Minuteman Project,” he said bluntly.
Surprised flashed across Miller’s face but instantly vanished under his usual look of haughty distain.
“This is something that is only to be discussed in a secure location,” Miller said.
“How ‘bout your place, Nat?”
Nat shook his head, Wren matching the gesture. “Mr. Miller is not welcome in our home, Zach, sorry.”
“I have a car and we do have a secure location prepared,” Miller said.
Zach dropped the spoon into the old-fashion sundae glass with a clink and stood.
“Let’s go then,” he said.
Nat and Wren made to rise but Miller put out a hand.
“You and Ms. Collins are not welcome,” he said with a smirk.
“Don’t worry guys, I got it,” Zach said.
Two hours later he rapped on the screen door of the cottage. Inside Nat was working in the kitchen and Wren sat on the couch with her feet tucked under, reading.
“Come on in,” Nat said.
Wren lowered her book and regarded Zach, one eyebrow slightly lifted.
“Miller told me I’d be joining your team,” Zach replied to the unspoken query. “Now all I gotta do is contact Ghost Archer and get my mom and sister here.”
“I hope you got a good deal,” Nat said as he handed Zach a Coke.
“A house for them, a steady income, school for my sister and training in whatever field she wants for my mom,” he told them.
“And for you?” Wren asked.
“I guess the same deal you guys got, finish high school, whatever college I want, whatever degree I want, a monthly stipend,” Zach replied.
“Pretty much the standard,” Nat agreed.
He sat on the opposite end of the couch and Wren automatically slipped her feet into his lap. Every gently he began to massage one foot.
“Welcome to the team,” Wren said between groans of pleasure.
Zach fidgeted. The suspense was killing him. He thought it was a simple thing he asked but the way Ghost Archer regarded him with that stone face of his made him want to shout at the man.
“I think you’ve come up with a fine solution, Zach,” Archer said at last. “Not only will it protect your family but it will also bolster the emerging Meta population there. I’d be happy to transport your family.”
“Yes!” Zach hissed, his fist clenching.
“You’ll have to explain things to them,” Archer added. “And your mother must agree to the move.”
“Mom, I’ve been there, it’s just like San Diego here but without all the mutants,” Zach sat at the kitchen table of the apartment Ghost Archer had provided at the Wild Hunt when he had helped Zach pick up his family from Oklahoma. Maggie was off someplace playing with Archer’s triplets and Zach hoped she didn’t end up hanging by an ankle from one of Nicky’s stupid traps.
“It’s another dimension?” Marie Toran struggle to come to grips with the ramifications.
“Kinda the same thing as when I went to Ea to help build a tree village,” Zach nodded.
“That was another world?” she tilted her head slightly at the idea.
“Yeah, see, Mr. Archer can move through dimensions and even to other planets through this Road thing and it’s like only a step away like stepping through a curtain,” Zach said.
He knew he was presenting concepts far beyond anything his mother might have considered given her bayou upbringing. She’d barely squeaked by in high school and then found herself pregnant with Zach only a month later. Any thoughts about a ‘shotgun’ wedding being a thing of the past had been quickly dispelled when his grandfather had marched Zach’s redneck father into the church at gun point.
“Mom, if we move to San Diego, dad will never find us,” Zach’s hands covered hers. “Never, ever.” Their eyes met and Zach could still see the faint scar on her lip from the ring his father had worn and the bump on the bridge of her nose from the time he’d broken it.
She sighed heavily and nodded. “I don’t understand it all but if you and Maggie are safe from what they made you father …”
The house was built in the Spanish style with a stucco walled patio, heavy carved wooden gates and red terra cotta tiles on the roof and it was new. Like the other eleven houses in the gated neighborhood it had been built at the same time as the new high school a few hundred yards further out on the Point Loma peninsula and was purpose built to house family members of the Minuteman Project teams. With the addition of the Toran family the population of the complex rose to eight.
A small welcoming committee descended on the new Toran house in under an hour, six in all, with three adult woman and two girls and a little boy. The three adults each carried a casserole dish.
“I am Viv Amundsen,” the shout blonde in her early thirties with sapphire blue eyes offer a hand to Marie Toran. “Designated babysitter.” She flashed a friendly smile.
“Shirley Campbell,” said a short, thin black woman in her late fifties. “Designated grandma.”
“Keelie Temple,” announced the last, a slightly mousey woman with brown hair and eyes also in her early thirties. “Designated tour guide.”
The three children stood quietly behind the adults eyeing Maggie.
Shirley pulled her two grandchildren to the front.
“Phillip and Ariel,” she said with a hand on each head.
The boy was about ten with a slightly arrogant demeanor Marie had seen in other black kids his age around Morgan City. The girl, about six, had a friendly smile and was trying to look around Marie to Maggie who was also six.
“I’m Ariel, what’s your name?” she said.
“I’m Maggie,” Marie’s daughter replied.
“You like to play Barbies?” Ariel asked hopefully.
“Uh huh,” Maggie’s head bobbed. “Mom said I can get some soon as we can find a toy store.”
“You can play with mine if you want,” Ariel looked up at her grandmother. “Can Maggie come over, Gran?”
“That’s up to her mother, Ariel,” Shirley replied and looked at Marie. “It’s just across the street?”
“Of course,” Marie said and the two took off like a shot.
“This is Paige,” Keelie presented a slender girl of about ten that bore only a passing resemblance to her mom in the brown eyes and the set of the lips. Other than that, her father must have been a very handsome man.
“Why don’t you two run over and play X-Box and keep an eye on the kids,” Shirley suggested to her grandson and Paige.
“And why don’t y’all come on in and have some coffee,” Marie offered.
Zach paced the bare hardwood floor of the cottage until Wren could stand it no longer. She lowered her book and glared at him.
“Sorry,” he murmured. He sat gingerly on one of the stools that fronted the breakfast bar but came to his feet as heard the faint rumble of the Army surplus Hummer.
“Calm down,” Wren said from the couch.
There was no reason for him to be nervous but … the screen door squeaked and Nat’s massive bulk filled the doorway. Wren came to her feet in a move only a dancer could perfect and met him with a light kiss. Together they stepped back and allowed the rest of his new team to file in.
|With training, Zach's powers have increased considerably.|
While the last four years with the Legacy has given Zach a sense of security for his family, it has not removed his father from his mind. Though he is totally dedicated to his new team and new world, he still know that he must face his father some day.
College-wise, Zach is pretty much just playing around, not really sure what he wants to do. He is a computer geek, a gamer nerd and an electronics tinkerer, with no particular direction. One thing, however, that he brought over from his home world is X-Treme Sports. One of the small ways the two worlds developed differently is in the realm of skakeboarding and roller blades. While these do exist, for some reason no one had ever thought to dropping them into a half pipe or empty swimming pool. Not long after Zach had relocated, he was arrested for skateboarding in an empty pool. The story got into the news and a new sport was born. Think of him now as the 'Tony Hawke' of his new world.
If you have questions
or comments please contact