Redemption In Another Dimension
This story is inspired by the Reedsy.com prompt "Write about a character arriving in a place unlike anywhere they’ve ever been."
*There was a man named Hugh from another world, who came to the Earth to defeat evil. He created a network of heroes all over the Earth, bound by crime fighting technology. This story begins with a hero named Jirk, doing battle in a ruined city. However, the focus will not remain on our hero....*
Jirk stood in the destroyed city facing his foe, grateful for the hero network he was a part of. Not only was the network able to provide him backup that evacuated the civilians in time, but the network also equipped him with a special dark helmet that provided his body with full armor, enhanced strength, and access to various weapons within a quick thought. He was going to need this technology at his disposal, since his foe had quite the powers.
Jirk's adversary was a muscular man that was slightly bigger than himself. The villain had no armor, but he was dressed in a muscle shirt and jeans. He went by the name Nostrel. Nostrel had powers that were definitely odd, but dangerous all the same. Nostrel had the ability to fire destructive lasers out of his nostrils. He could also pull his ears off of his head and throw them, and the force of his ears hitting something was the equivalent of striking something with a wrecking ball. These destructive ears would also fly back to Nostrel's head on command. Lastly, Nostrel could make T-Shirts sprout out of any terrain by thought. He seemed to like binding buildings in T-Shirts and lighting them ablaze with his nostril lasers.
Jirk didn't know Nostrel's backstory - he and his team were simply responding to a distress call. They were advised that Nostrel had destroyed a pharmaceutical building in the city. Somehow the building was cleared of people before it was destroyed. The remaining citizens in the city were all evacuated by Jirk's colleagues upon arrival. Once Nostrel and Jirk were the last two in the city, Nostrel became very destructive, trashing the rest of the city with his powers. Jirk thought about how Nostrel had to be taken out of the picture before he started targeting lives next. Fortunately, Jirk had a method to remove Nostrel, and lethal force would not be necessary. A new tool had been developed by the hero network's founder, Hugh. It was a special laser gun whose blast would transport the target to an alternate prison dimension created by Hugh. The dimension had limitless room for dangerous criminals, and even had a rehabilitation option available. Jirk felt this would be the best place for Nostrel to go, but he had to get a clear shot first. The gun needed for transfer was new technology, and at this point it would need 24 hours to reload after being fired. He had to make his shot count.
Jirk dashed towards Nostrel, dodging T-Shirts that formed around him in an effort to avoid being ensnared. One ear flew at him, then the second one followed shortly afterwards. Fortunately neither ear hit him. After dodging the ears that flew back to their owner, nostril lasers were the next obstacle, but Jirk dove and slid under them like he was trying to score a run in baseball. Nostrel seemed surprised by this, as the slide maneuver put Jirk right in front of the villain. Still on the ground, Jirk pointed the gun upward and took a direct shot at Nostrel's head. The blast resulted in Nostrel's body disintegrating, but Nostrel's story was not over. He had simply been transported to a new world.
Nostrel woke up and found himself in a field. He looked up at the starry sky, then looked in every direction for anything that could help him figure out where he could be. The field seemed to go on forever. Where was he?
A figure then appeared before him. The figure had a silver helmet and yellow armor. The figure's look was similar to Jirk's, except for the brightly colored armor.
"Greetings." Said the figure in a distorted, but kind voice. "You can call me Guide."
"Guide?" Nostrel replied. "That's a strange name."
"Any stranger than Nostrel?" Guide responded.
"Seriously man?" Nostrel retorted, feeling slightly offended. "Wait, how do you know my name?"
"I know everything about you." Guide said. "I am an artificial intelligence that was designed for this dimension."
"This dimension?" Nostrel asked, feeling confused. "Where are we?"
"This is the Reflection Dimension." Guide answered. "It was created by a man named Hugh, through scientific means from another planet."
"The Reflection Dimension?" Nostrel asked, seeking answers.
"Yes." Guide replied. "This world was created as an alternate to prisons. This field stretches forever, and you won't run into any other residents that were sent here. Any food, shelter, digital entertainment, or lodgings needed I can bring you by request."
"How long do I have to stay here?" Nostrel asked.
"You are here forever unless you pass a test." Guide replied. "The test will determine if you have changed for the better. If you pass, you are free to go back to Earth with no further sentence. Hugh cleared this method of rehabilitation with world leaders."
Nostrel paused for a moment, then decided in his head that this wasn't a bad break. He could pretend to regret what he had done, fake his way through whatever the test was, then return home and payback those that hurt him.
"Alright Mr. Guide, I am ready to change." Nostrel said in the most confident voice he could muster. "Let's take this test right now."
"Are you sure?" Guide asked. "Have you had enough time to reflect?"
"I have had enough time." Nostrel replied. "Let's do this."
Guide caused a portal to open, and Nostrel went in. Suddenly Nostrel found himself in a familiar place. He was in the pharmaceutical building he had previously destroyed. The building was still intact, besides the damage he had caused to get to the company CEO's office. He found himself reliving the situation that had started the battle in the city.
"Now now Mr. Nostrel, you signed the agreement that we could not be held accountable for any side effects from the ears, nose and throat medicine you were doing the clinical trial for." The CEO said. "We are shocked that our product caused you to have destructive ears, nostril lasers, and T-Shirt creation abilities. But we were in agreement that any side effects can not be held against us."
"THEN I'LL HOLD THEM AGAINST YOU BY DESTROYING YOUR BUILDING!" Nostrel screamed. "YOU MIGHT WANT TO EVACUATE YOUR BUILDING, UNLESS YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR EMPLOYEES EITHER!"
And with that the CEO ran out of the room, and within moments announcements calling for evacuation were sounding throughout the building. Once Nostrel was certain the building was clear he used his new powers and leveled the building. He then observed a group of figures with dark helmets and full body armor before him.
"We will get the civilians out of here!" One of the figures exclaimed. "Are you up for taking down the threat?"
"Yes, thank you." Said the figure whose name wasn't stated, but you the reader would know him as Jirk.
"Yes, get all the people out." Nostrel said snidely. "Then I will take you on."
This was taking place just like the actual battle had prior to being sent to the Reflection Dimension. Nostrel assumed that his challenge was a rematch simulation, and his goal was to win the fight this time. Once it was confirmed that all the civilians were safely evacuated, the battle began. There was a caveat though.
Nostrel was fighting the same fight as before. However, his powers were suddenly gone. He could no longer bind buildings with T-Shirts. He could not blast lasers out of his nose. And his ears could no longer be used as powerful projectiles. The powers he had gained from the clinical trial were gone. And that wasn't the worst of it. Jirk was growing. Nostrel found himself looking up at a giant Jirk. And he was powerless to do anything. Frozen in fear, the last thing Nostrel observed was a giant foot crushing him.
When Nostrel came to, he found himself back in the field again. He saw Guide standing before him too.
"OKAY, WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGE WAS THAT?" Nostrel asked angrily. "THERE WAS NO WAY TO WIN THAT!"
"Yes, before your challenge began the condition of your heart and mind were examined, and this directly affected your challenge." Guide replied. "One who enters a challenge here without truly changing their ways will never win. The darker your intentions, the harder your challenge will be."
This revelation hit Nostrel harder than Jirk's giant foot in the challenge. He realized that he wouldn't be leaving if he kept his desire for revenge. But he still felt so angry for what had happened from the clinical trial. He wondered if he really could change.
"May I discuss this with you?" Guide asked. "Honestly, I think you are further ahead than you think. Yes, you did a lot of wrong by destroying the city and attacking the hero sent to stop you. However, you did not attempt to hurt any other civilians, including those that worked for the pharmaceutical company. You can be opposed to the pharmaceutical company and what their clinical trial did to you, but violence and destruction won't help."
"You aren't wrong, but I need some time to process this." Nostrel said, calming down. "I would like to stay here a while and think through what I should do next."
"That is absolutely fine." Guide said kindly. "I can provide you with whatever you need."
Nostrel lived off of the resources of the Reflection Dimension for a year and a half, and in that time he made a decision on what to do should he return home. He would publicly announce where his powers came from, and he would admit to his mistakes in attacking the city and the hero trying to protect it. He would then work on making amends, using his powers for good. Maybe he could even join the organization Hugh created.
"Guide, I am ready to try the challenge again." Nostrel said. "And this time, I think I am ready."
"Very well." Guide replied. "I congratulate you on your new outlook, and I wish you the best."
Guide opened a portal and Nostrel walked in. He found himself back in the CEO's office. The CEO once again distanced himself and his company from taking any responsibility for the effects of the clinical trial. Nostrel found his anger flaring up, but this time he stopped himself from giving in.
"I want to destroy this building and take down your company for what you've done to me, but further violence isn't the answer." Nostrel said. "You can bill me for the damages I caused to get in here, but I will be telling people about what your products do, and what you don't do to help your victims." Nostrel then walked away from the CEO and proceeded out of the building. Once he was on the street he saw a flash of white light. Soon the white light was all he could see.
The white light eventually faded, and Nostrel found himself back in the city he had destroyed. Before him stood the hero known as Jirk.
"Cool, you're back!" Jirk said excitedly. "It appears that you passed the test in the Reflection Dimension. I am not sure how long you were there, but it has only been a few minutes since I sent you."
"Only a few minutes?" Nostrel asked. "I have been gone much longer, but that was time I needed. I apologize for destroying this city, and I apologize for attacking you. I am not happy about what has happened to me, but I would like to make the most of it. I will start by working to rebuild the damages I have caused."
"Sounds great!" Jirk said enthusiastically. "My team and I can help you with that. And my boss Hugh has connections with reliable pharmaceutical companies. They could begin working on a cure for you if you'd like."
"I may take you up on that, but I would like to see how I can use these abilities for good first." Nostrel replied. "I don't suppose your boss is hiring?"
"Always!" Jirk said, smiling under his helmet. "Let's go talk to him together. He will be thrilled that the dimension he created has helped you and anyone else that the new you will help in the future."
Nostrel smiled and shook Jirk's hand. He looked forward to repenting for his mistakes, and he looked forward to the adventures that were sure to come as a result of the changes he would make in his life....