Short Stories 366:315 — “Before They Knew Him,” by Richard Lee Byers

Back to the Mutants & Masterminds world today with another story from Powered Up! An Earth Prime Anthology. This time, we get a story featuring Dr. Metropolis, which is a character oft-referenced in the TTPRG rulebook, and a kind of sentient being birthed out of a city itself. He’s the living embodiment of Freedom City, and a champion thereof, able to manipulate all the materials of the city itself as an extension of his consciousness, to the point where he can form a body out of concrete and metal, and has awareness of the city as a whole.

Oh, and he’s under attack.

Byers leaps right into the action here, and while the enemy he faces is a familiar one, said enemy is using a new power against him: a power that seems to be shoving Dr. Metropolis further and further back through time. At first, he’s not sure why this is the game plan, but it’s not long before he realizes that the further back he goes, the smaller the city itself becomes, and the lesser he seems to be: less powerful, less connected, less to work with…

It’s a clever idea for a short fiction story, keeps the pacing set to high, and explores a really unique character through a lens that exposes so much about what makes that character so fascinating and interesting to begin with. I’ve always enjoyed the “outsider” characters, and Dr. Metropolis, in Byers’ hands, is right up there with a Data or a Spock, frankly, which is hopefully both nerdy enough and praise enough for you to get what I mean.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s