Apache Roadrunner, Apache Alpha
Donald J. Finger
21 Nov 2008
Ipa Isoni (Apache Wife, deceased)
An Oklahoma Apache reservation Indian, Thomas Quickwind was raised with traditional Apache teachings, as were several other young Apache boys.
Thomas garnered the interest of the tribe's elders early when shortly after birth, Apaches would pierce their child's ears so they could 'hear important messages so that they may follow them'. Nearly all babies cry during the procedure, however Thomas was the first in many generations that didn't cry.
When Thomas first learned to walk, a Moccasin Ceremony was conducted, however, one of the jealous parents set the pathway pointing the wrong way (pathway was supposed to face east), wherein each baby was forced to walk in the wrong direction, except the jealous parents' child. One by one, each child walked the path, each of course going the wrong direction. When it was Thomas' turn, Thomas actually turned and started walking true east with perfect balance and straightness. The jealous parents outed by the elders and were ostracized from the tribe for desecrating the ancient ceremony. As such, once again, Thomas piqued the elders' interest.
At age 13, Apache youth are presented various tests, such as run to the top of a mountain with a mouthful of water non-stop (some died from doing this). As each boy was secretly told their test, Thomas was given a test to track, hunt, capture and free something not of the reservation.
An hour before sunrise, each of the six 13-year olds that were to be tested as Apache warriors arrived on at the Apache Tribe building in Anadarko, OK. Much to the surprise of the boys attending, a girl, for the first time in decades, was attending. Her name was Ipa Isoni (her first name in Apache, meant "sunrise") and she already had the height, physique and demeanor of a female Apache warrior, but carried a beauty and grace that was splendidly alluring.
Thomas fell in love with her right from the start.
The warrior's test was a success to all but one.
Ipa was tasked with a 50-mile task of tracking and finding a 'wounded' (sandbagged dummy) warrior and carrying said warrior across a hilly terrain, using no 'transportation devices, horses or vehicles' and back to Anadarko in a 24-hour period. She succeeded.
3 of the 4 other boys succeeded in their hunting and/or endurance tests, however, one boy, Loco Lupan, never returned, and to this day, has never been found.
Thomas succeeded in his task by tracking a 'coyote' (transporter of illegal immigrants for money and/or human trafficking), hunting down the coyote to an old abandoned schoolhouse where dozens of young imprisoned illegal immigrants were being kept to be trafficked to New York as sex slaves by said Coyote (of which, sadly, two children were already dead in their cages as a result of the Coyote's neglect). Thomas fought and defeated the coyote and three of the Coyote's gang members, freed the illegal immigrants and when the freed girls were far enough away, Thomas then called the police to arrest the Coyote and his gang.
When Thomas returned from his test and presented the council elders with the results of his test, he was told that he had proven to be a warrior of great spirit and that the council had 'visions' of Thomas one day becoming a great warrior that 'ran like the wind'. Thomas, proud of what he'd just been told, was then lightly slapped by Ipa as she walked past him, giving him a long, deep look over her shoulder and saying "don't be the person others want you to be, the the person you were born to be", as she sauntered to the Apache Hall for the evening's warrior dance.
There, at the dance, traditional and modern dances were performed, all by the youth and celebrated by parents, tribes-mates and elders. Several other boys tried to get Ipa to dance with them, but she refused. She however did go up to Thomas and asked him to dance. In old Apache courting traditions, this was a big thing. This, along with her light slap, meant that she was interested in him. Thomas remember his father talking about the old Apache courting rituals one night to his friends; that's how Thomas knew...he had a chance with her after all.
After the test, and receiving their traditional warrior brave feather, Thomas continued his education and also helped out in his spare time at the Apache Reservation Security office to learn about law enforcement. His encounter with the 'coyotes' whetted his appetite for justice and order, thus he was highly focused on both native laws and America's laws as well. Of course, the fact that the Security Chief's daughter, Ipa Isoni, who worked with the security office's animal control unit in her spare time, had nothing to do with his decision to spend time there...right?
By age 17, Thomas knew he couldn't wait any longer. He wanted to be with Ipa so bad that she was all he could think about. Ipa's father knew what was going on and cautioned Thomas to be a proper 'Apache' in regards to Ipa or she'd be 'unavailable'. Seeing as how Ipa's father was a true Apache traditionalist, Thomas took the time to talk to the elders about how to properly 'court' Ipa. Thomas' parents were always going off to Washington D.C. and its "Bureau of Indian Affairs" to fight for Native American rights and due process, which meant Thomas didn't have anyone to really talk to about how to 'court' the Apache way...except for the elders.
After visiting the council elders, they all went to a sweat-house to discuss 'the ways of the Apache' in courting. They explained the traditional ways, but also informed her of 'modern' ways to mesh the two so that Thomas didn't seem 'outdated' in his ways. Armed with that knowledge, Thomas began the next test in any man's worldly tests - the pursuit of love.
Thomas began following Ipa, discovering that she was training for a 50K Ultra Marathon by running 25 miles to Lake Ellsworth and 25 miles back home to Anadarko all within a total of 7 hours time (allotting for lunch, breaks, etc.). Although Thomas was in good shape, he was NOT a marathon runner and usually fell off tracking her, exhausted, after the first 10 miles. Using an old Apache courtship trick, the morning of Ipa's run, Thomas set up a 15-foot long line of rocks on both sides of Ipa's running path just shy of where Ipa had her lunch at her run's 1/2 way point (Ralph's Resort). Thomas then took a who bunch of scrub brushes and tumbleweed and lined the length of one side of the rocks to potentially hide himself. There, by tradition, he was to wait for her, hiding (but seen) in the bushes along the rock-lined path and see if Ipa would continue 'knowingly' down the path (knowing Thomas was there), or break from the rock-lined path (which meant she didn't want him). The courting test set, Thomas had but to wait.
Sadly, Thomas fell asleep waiting for Ipa (lots of hard work to set up a courting path!). Sitting, hunched over, asleep, he was awakened by a rock to the head. And then another rock...and another.
Ipa was throwing rocks at him through the 'courtship hiding bushes'. She gave him a stern look and yelled at him, 'What? Am I supposed to WAIT for you to wake up? I have things to do, you know!". With that, Thomas scrambled with the grace of a lame duck from behind the bushes, attempting to act as if he was hiding, but not wanting to hide...stumbling and falling on his face several times in the process.
Thomas was embarrassed, yet he still tried his best until he finally emerged from the end of brush line he'd made...and Ipa was still walking; she'd walked down his path. Willingly. By ritual, he was supposed to pick her up and take her to his place, but he remembered what the elders said and had a different plan.
Ipa, expecting to be picked up in Thomas' dad's car and taken back to Anadarko instead was bodily scooped up by Thomas and given a long, loving kiss.
The kiss, for the two of them, seemed to last a desired eternity.
After that 'eternal' kiss, Ipa realized that Thomas had taken her to a boat at the end of a boat ramp from Ralph's Resort. In the boat was camping gear, a cooler of food, drinks...and Thomas' and Ipa's warrior feathers tied to a pole on the bow (front) of the boat. After a long kiss once again, they boated out to Thomas' favorite spot in the world - an island in the center of Lake Ellsworth: Treasure Island.
Treasure Island 'truly' wasn't much; scrub brush, trees and a LOT of Blue Heron and Egrets...but not so many on the northern tip of the island. There, a series of natural wood and vine wind chimes ran along the tree line, keeping the birds away from that end of the island; a spot that only 2-3 dozen people had ever stepped upon. This was Thomas' favorite spot in the world.
Thomas used to come out here with his family for weekend camping trips at Ralph's to do fishing, bird watching and relaxing. Thomas and his father used to swim across the lake to Treasure Island and explore it like in the old pirate novel of the same name. At age 12, his father was bitten by a Cottonmouth snake there and from that point on, his father never went back to that island. Thomas, however,during his summers thereafter, would spend an entire weekend under the stars lying out on the island, listening to the quiet calm of the lake and the natural sound of the birds, insects and wind out across him.
That day, Thomas took Ipa to 'his' spot. The two of them set up camp and for the next three nights committed themselves to each other, body and soul. For both of them, it was a magical time...but come the 4th morning, they had to return home.
That morning, Ipa cooked a hearty breakfast over a Coleman stove for her and Thomas. Both ate until their plates where barren. Ipa then 'saddled up' Thomas boat, as it were, and the two of them went back to Ralph's. Sadly, the news they received when they returned was not what they'd expected.
Ipa's father had been killed by some unknown 'costumed' gang of criminals at the reservation's security office. Dozens of others innocents were killed in the assault on the office...innocents that included Thomas' parents.
At breakneck speeds, Thomas drove his father's car back home. His parent's travel bags were in their room, obviously returning early from one of their 'heated' Washington D.C. trips. The car Thomas' parents used and parked at the airport for their trips (Thomas' mother's car) was not in the driveway. Thomas and Ipa then drove to the Apache Security Office only to see the area zoned off with police tape and a large presence of police, federal investigators and sad neighbors. Tears flowing from their eyes, Ipa and Thomas burst onto the scene demanding to know what happened and where their parents were.
Assistant Security Officer Keith Securo, bandaged across the head and sporting several bandages from glass and gunshot wounds told the two young lovers what had happened.
Thomas' parents, arriving home early from their trip, were trying to find out where Thomas was so they could quickly get him on a plane with them and leave the United States immediately. Securo said he heard their conversation suddenly shift to low, secretive whispers, mentioned something about 'totems' being at risk of being found, or something to that effect. That's when a band of men in some type of red and black special forces suits with some 'dog head' emblem on their chest broke in and started shooting up the office. Securo got hit twice, while both Thomas' father and Ipa's father were shot in the shoulder. The shooters then demanded where the 'totems' were and if they didn't tell them, they'd kill their kids. Sadly, Thomas' mother blurted out a location...and that's when Securo passed out after hearing automatic gunfire and the death screams of Thomas' parents and Ipa's father. Several other residents ran to the office to see what was going on and were killed for their concern. Reports of a noiseless helicopter lifting off from a nearby field was believed to be how the shooters got away.
Thomas and Ipa were stunned to tears.
After giving statements and having their alibis confirmed (nosy voyeurs from the lake's edge 'watched' Thomas and Ipa 'make out' the whole weekend on Treasure island through a telescope), Thomas and Ipa had to make arrangements for their parents funerals. They did both traditional and modern ceremonies. Ipas' mother, having three other children to raise, had to find a 2nd job. Ipa had to go to work in a local munitions plant for her family to just make ends meet.
The funerals for all the shooting victims was a somber and sad event for all.
Ipa's father had no will, and as such, most of their money (which wasn't much) went to estate and death taxes.
Thomas, at the reading of his parents will, surprisingly discovered that his parents were both independently wealthy (over $2 million each) and since neither parent survived, that made Thomas the sole beneficiary. Thomas was awarded all possessions of his parents as well as a key to a safety deposit box in Washington D.C. where, according to the will, the recipient was to 'by any means, safeguard and/or use the contents of the box as part of his or her ongoing Apache legacy as decreed by traditional Apache rights'.
After giving over $500,000 of his newly inherited money to Ipa's family and the the families of the victims of the shooting, Thomas flew off to Washington D.C. with Ipa to find what was in the box. At the First National Bank in D.C., they were taken to a sitting room and provided the security box. In it was another $500,000 in cash, several historical and classified folders and a box of what looked to be three stone necklace pendants with Apache markings on them depicting 'speed'. When Thomas touched the stones, he felt a rush, making him light-headed for a few seconds. Ipa sat Thomas down to check on him, and them touched the stones herself, feeling the same rush. Unsure of what to think, Thomas instead picked up the documents are began reading them.
Each document was written in the Apache language...and were quite old; some files dating back to the early 1900s. As they read the files, they discovered that the stones in the safety deposit box were Apache Totems of Power. These Totems, when in close proximity or contact with a person's skin, would transfer a specific energy from the totem to its wearer. The wearer had to learn to 'focus' and 'channel' the power, which was the reasoning for Apache warrior tests, which were designed so as to identify those Apache worthy of the totems.
The documents stated that over three dozen totems existed since the beginning of the first Apache. These totems each provided degrees of magical power for speed, agility, strength and vitality. There was a mention of a centuries-old necklace that allowed all totems to be placed in/on, but it was lost in antiquity. The totems, believed to be too powerful for any one Apache, and a dangerous weapon for the 'white man' to find, instead separated the totems between several Apache warriors, who, when the need arose, to use them individually or together to save the Apache people.
Thanks to Native Americans' egregious treatment, murders, reservation movements and dehumanization efforts, most of the warriors that had or hid the totems were killed outright, some while even wearing the totems in plain view. As a result, most totems remained lost and all but forgotten until the 1930s when four medicine men and one chief got together and began formulating a plan to get the totems back into Apache hands. This resulted in a plan where the Apache would have to intermingle with the whites so that they could freely hunt down the totems.
There plan mostly worked. They found 27 of the 36 totems by 1940.
As part of the plan, once all totems were found, they would pass on the totems to empower one of their greatest warriors; a warrior that would lead the Apache to greatness once again. Sadly, World War II happened instead.
With the advent of World War II, Native American tribes such as the Navajo, Nez Perse and of course Apache, were all drafted to join the U.S. military for the war. Knowing that the war would most likely diminish the ranks of their Apache warriors even more, 'The Five', as they later became known as, gave all 27 of their totems to one of their greatest warriors - Chief Te-E'-Ous - "The Apache".
Te-E'-Ous (now provided a new Christian military name of "Teh E. Ows" on his dog tags and military records) was assigned to the US Marines in May of 1942, where he fought in the Pacific Campaign against Imperial Japan. In the Battle of Guadalcanal in August 1942, 'The Apache' proved himself as a superior warrior, killing dozens of Japanese soldiers with his rifle, his knife and even his bare hands, leaping dozens of feet into the air with an almost superhuman quality and speed (which was the case, with him using the power of the totems). Word got out fast of his actions and days later Chief Te-E'-Ous met with Captain John Brown AKA Captain Invader. After exhibiting his skills, still all the while showing disdain for 'white authority', Captain Brown had the Chief transferred to the Captain's special combat unit known at the "Allied Fighters".
For the next few years, "The Apache" fought against Imperial Japanese forces like a warrior borne. Although he kept to himself when he wasn't fighting, he did have a bit of a friendship with the teammate known as "Bullet". The Chief was said to have respected Captain Brown, but said that after the war, he'd go back to his world, and he (the Chief) would have to suffer in his.
Sadly, in 1945, as part of the ongoing Battle of Okinawa, "The Apache" was taking a hill all by himself, taking out dozens of machine gun nests and killing dozens more Japanese Infantry. At one point, the last massive active Japanese artillery gun drew a bead on Apache and blew him into ten body pieces. His totems he was wearing blew apart and scattered for nearly 1/2 a mile in all directions. Since no one in the Allied Fighters knew the relevance of the totems they say the Chief wear, they didn't know the importance of regaining them and returning them, and the Chief's body, back to Oklahoma and the Apache tribe.
A traditional funeral was performed, with Bullet and Captain Invader there for the ceremony. Captain Invader did, however, present seven of the totems he'd found near the Chief's body, but said he had no idea were the rest were, or any of his weapons for that matter. The totems were kept by the elders for decades thereafter.
Bringing this story back to Thomas and Ipa, the documents told that the totems in this safe deposit box were the ones Captain (now Major) Invader brought back to the tribe for Chief Te-E'Ous Apache funeral. They were entrusted to Thomas' father, who was an actual Apache Chief (something Thomas' father never told him). Another document in the safe deposit box identified five more Apache Chiefs that either had or had hidden the other totems that Thomas father and mother had been desperately trying to amass over the last 20 years. According to the records, they'd once had 30 of the 36 totems back into Apache custody again, including most of the ones lost on Okinawa (2 of those were still missing), but someone or somehow, all but a few remaing totems had been discovered and/or stolen in recent years.
All this hit Thomas like a rock. His parents hadn't been abandoning him....they'd been hunting the world to find the Apache Totems.
Ipa's father's name was amongst the Chiefs on the list of totem holders as well. The list didn't say where the totems were, but only who was responsible for holding onto or hiding them in the past. Ipa didn't have far to look far to find one of the totems.
Her hairpiece had a totem in it. Her father had given that to her on her 12th birthday.
Together, they now had eight Apache totems.
Thomas poured the contents of the safe deposit box into his backpack and both flew from Washington D.C. to home...but not by normal airfare.
Knowing there was a chance the gunmen that killed their parents might either be tracking them or waiting for them, they chartered a private jet back to Elgin, Oklahoma, but didn't board it. Instead, the duo had a plane owner by a parachute club fly them back to Oklahoma and teach them to parachute...at night...over Lake Ellsworth. The trainer wasn't too keen on the idea until Thomas handed him $10,000 as 'training and hush' money, for which the trainer was more than happy to go out of his way for.
Later that night, after a couple of pit-stops for av-gas and food, Thomas and Ipa, now (somewhat) trained in parachuting got ready for the big jump. Just before that, Thomas and Ipa tested their totems they had; Thomas had 2 for agility, 1 for strength, 3 for speed, and 1 for vitality: Ipa had her 1 for vitality. Thomas tried to give Ipa half of his totems, but Ipa refused, saying, 'I'll make you a deal; you die, I get your totems; I die, you get mine! Deal? Deal!". Thomas didn't like the idea of either one of them dying, but if was too late to think about it; it was jump time.
When it came time to jump, Ipa gave Thomas a long kiss for luck, a light slap on the cheek...and then pushed Thomas out of the plane, following right behind him, out the door and into free fall.
Their parachutes opened without incident and luckily, they landed on a land outcropping 20 feet from the lake's edge on the northern side unnoticed. Both Thomas and Ipa then went about 2 miles down the road to an old hippie friend of Ipa's mother and asked to borrow his car (he was groovy with it). Both drove back to town only to see fires illuminating the night sky all about their town of Anadarko.
The 'wolves' gunmen were back and they were obviously hunting for the totems. Several gunmen with the same wolf-head image on the front of their body armor were going house-to-house looking for the totems, tearing the homes apart...and killing anyone who tried to stop them. Ipa was worried about her mother and went to that house first with Thomas. There, the house was a shambles, but not mother. Finally, both went back to Thomas' house and saw the same thing; the house was on fire, and on the front lawn, one of the council elders, barely alive, but alongside him, three dead wolf-head shooters that the elder obviously killed. Thomas tried to help the elder up, but instead put a quiver of arrows and a bow in Thomas hands. The elder told him of his own vision of seeing Thomas years before, wearing all 36 of the totems, a god among men, running like the wind beside other gods; two of which were flying white men, one of fire, the other, a powerful medicine man. His vision showed Thomas stopping the sky from destroying the Apache and that he and his god friends would help save the world in the process. With his last breath, he told Thomas to follow the vision and be their greatest warrior before the Apache became nothing but songs in the wind. With his last look at Ipa, he said, 'I shall see you soon, warrior', and with that the elder died in their arms.
Not even that somber moment was allowed as three gunmen ordered Thomas and Ipa to put their hands up and turn around or they'd be shot.
Thomas movements were swift; with the totems on his gloves, he drew an arrow and shot it three times before any of the gunmen knew it. Each arrow went straight through each gunman's heart. Amazed at what he'd done, he quickly regained his senses only long enough to realize back-up had already been called...and were now shooting at them.
Thomas grabbed Ipa and ran at near break-neck speeds through the streets, ending at the security station. There, the empty office had radios with earbuds, all charged up. Thomas and Ipa each took one. They then tried calling out on the phones, landline and cellular, but all service was either cut or blocked. Ipa went to her dad's desk and opened up a hidden bottom in a drawer that had a .44 magnum revolver (from her dad's "Dirty Harry" period of his life), three boxes of shells and a large hunting knife. Ipa took each of those, Thomas with his bow and arrow and radio, and both went off together to go 'hunting for wolves'.
For the next 10 minutes, both Ipa and Thomas performed as if they were training in special forces together (but of course weren't). Together, they took out 10 more 'wolves', saving dozens of townsfolks from being killed in the process. The townsfolk saw what Thomas and Ipa did and told reporters later on about their brave acts they performed and the lives both had saved. Try as they might, Thomas and Ipa were almost done taking out the 'wolves' when everything went south...and sideways.
While Thomas was running up to kill another wolf, he was struck from behind by a powerful, armored fist. The owner of that fist was a tall, black and red red armor-clad man with a long billowing cape...and a wolf head emblem on his chest. In a booming technologically-enhanced voice, the armored man told Thomas, "I'VE BEEN WAITING MY WHOLE LIFE FOR THIS MOMENT!".
With a massive assault weapon pointed at his skull, his bow and arrow several feet away, and his head reeling from the hit he took, Thomas knew he was in deep trouble.
Readjusting the weapon's laser sight back onto Thomas head once again, the large armored man's voice boomed again asking, "OH? YOU DON'T REMEMBER ME DO YOU THOMAS? FUNNY. YOU DON'T REMEMBER YOUR OLD FRIEND..." pausing only long enough to remove his large, armored helmet, and revealing himself as "...LOCO LUPAN?". With a crazed look in his eyes, Lupan in his armored form bore Thomas a look of absolute hate and disdain.
"Oh, that's right...", Lupan continued almost quizzically, "...you don't remember seeing or hearing me as you ran right past me on the way to receive your precious warrior feather, did you? NO!! I tried to yell out to you, having been stung by the very test I was to hunt and return with - a striped scorpion; but when I found one in particular, not knowing there was a difference, I picked up the WRONG type of scorpion! The most deadly one! A STRIPED BARK SCORPION!! One of the most deadly in Oklahoma! I tried to yell for help, but I was so weak...and you were too self absorbed in your richy-rich happiness...all to get your stupid feather!!"
Lupan continued his hysterical rant. "I was DYING and you ran right past me! I crawled back to the town that night, more dead than alive, only to see you all DANCING and NOT LOOKING FOR ME!! Just because my father was the town drunk didn't give you the right to treat me any worse!! YOU ABANDONED ME!! THE TOWN ABANDONED ME!! AND WHO'S FAULT WAS IT, THOMAS!?!"
Thomas replied, "It was my fault. Blame me, Loco!", and with that Lupan shot Thomas in the leg, leaving Thomas in agony.
"THAT'S RIGHT IT WAS YOUR FAULT! BUT THIS TOWN ISN'T ANY MORE INNOCENT..."
Ipa couldn't take it anymore.
Ipa came out of the shadows a fired one shot after another at Lupan. All bullets hit him, with 5 of the 6 bouncing off of Lupan's heavy armor; the last shot, however, took off Lupan's ear. Lupan reeled in pain, dropping his weapon, as Ipa ran to Thomas side...but didn't make it there. She was intercepted by two other wolf-emblem wearing thugs of Lupan. Disarmed, Ipa fought like a warrior punching and stabbing the two men, dropping them to the ground.
That's when Ipa looked up to see Lupan's armored fist strike Ipa square in her chest.
Everyone heard the crack of Ipa's ribs breaking from the impact.
Ipa fell to her knees, chest heaving, trying to catch her last few breaths. She was now spitting blood. Her chest, concaved.
In a final action, Ipa reached back, took her hairpiece and threw it over Lupan's shoulder. It landed in front of Thomas.
Ipa then fell forward on her face. Unmoving.
Lupan's response, "Stupid Cow!", caused Thomas to grab up his bow and arrow and in rapid succession, plant three arrows through Lupan's armored joints under his right arm. Lupan fell over, but also grabbed up his gun as he rolled to face where Thomas was...key word -was-.
Thomas, with his leg in excruciating pain, planted punch after punch upon Lupan's face. As Thomas darted around Lupan at incredible speed, Thomas saw release clasps for Lupan's armor and unclasped them, causing pieces of the armor to start falling off. Lupan kept trying to grab at the falling pieces while juggling his assault weapon and trying to hit and/or shoot Thomas.
Thomas screamed the whole time as pieces of Lupan's armor flew off of him...and then finally, the assault weapon went flying dozens of feet away courtesy of a grab-and-throw by Thomas.
At that point, Thomas' leg was finished. It collapsed on him. It was all Thomas could do to even muster a thought.
Lupan bellowed at Thomas, gloating over Thomas' exhausted and damaged body.
"You and the cow! Fat lot of good you just did! You think I need the armor?. You think you're the only one that has the Apache totem powers? Guess what, 'buddy', I GOTS TOTEMS TOOI!!"
Lupan them pulled down the folds of his leather gloves to reveal 4 totems, 2 on each glove. Again, sporting his crazed look, he continued to a collapsed and bleeding Thomas.
"I FOUND these! I FOUND them as I was digging myself my own grave out at the one spot where Mrs. Isoni, Ipa's mom, always did her meditations. I thought it'd be a beautiful place to die, with all those flowers already there. I was digging up a hole to just DIE in and there they were...a bag with four totems in them. I put those totems in my hand and I swore that if I lived, I'd get even with all of you! Guess what? I got better!"
"I dragged my ass to some old survivalist's bunker. He took me in, got me back to health, and took me as the son he'd never had. He taught me to shoot and told me all about how he was one of the first ever in the global black-marketeer syndicate called CANIS! He led the whole Southwest U.S. region, called the Red Wolf Pack! He retired, but cancer got him and he used up most of his money for a cure that didn't happen. He gave me this....his suit...his "Omega" armor and gave me the number to a few CANIS down-and-outers that owed him a lot of favors. After I found out that there were more totems out there, I knew where they had to be; only the chiefs knew. My idiot crew screwed up the totem search with your parents, but no matter...we'll find em."
Your totems, however, Thomas...well, Hell...I think 'll just rip them right off your own arms."
While Lupan was monologuing, Thomas had been slowly reaching down to his boot for his knife. He was already seeing double, and was seconds away from passing out when Lupan advanced on Thomas. One way or another, someone was about to be dead...or hurt REALLY bad.
As Lupan lifted Thomas' body up, he started pulling one of Thomas arm out from his body.
Thomas arm came out of its socket with a pop...followed by Thomas piercing warrior scream.
That's also when Thomas thrust his knife into Lupan's right eye.
Lupan ran off screaming in agony, leaving his assault weapon and what was left of his men behind. Lupan was last seen taking-off in the remaining CANIS stealth helo.
Thomas awoke two days later in the Oklahoma City Memorial Hospital. He was alive.
Ipa and dozens of other townfolks, were not. Ipa's mother was there when Thomas awoke. He tearfully said how sorry he was and that her death was his fault. Ipa's mother told him that wasn't so. She died an Apache warriors' death and her spirit will roam happy amongst their ancestors. She kissed Thomas on the lead and told him that she was now the senior council elder, and that the night before, she held a sacred meeting with the elders. They all agreed that Thomas was to be their new Great Warrior, and as such, he would now be tasked with obtaining, carrying and fighting as an Apache warrior with his Apache totems.
Although Thomas was happy to carry on such a responsibility, he mentioned that Lupan got away with his totems. She knew and handed him an old Apache pouch. In it were four totems - her totems. She bequeathed them to Thomas and also gave her, tearfully, Ipa's totem, telling Thomas to use their totem and honor Ipa and all their ancestors by becoming the Great Warrior they all knew Thomas was on his way to becoming.
Thomas attended Ipa's funeral, as well as the funerals for each of the town's fallen citizens. For Thomas, Ipa's funeral was the hardest thing to bear. As far as Thomas was concerned, she was his wife in Apache ways and spirit. He swore at Ipa's grave that Lupan would die for what he did and that he would become their great warrior, but only for her.
The night before Thomas was to be finally discharged from the hospital, fully recuperated and healed, Thomas had a dream...actually, a vision. He saw himself wearing a glove with totems attached, one by one fading into existence on an empty spot on each glove. As each totem attached itself to Thomas glove, he found himself running faster and faster while following a fiery flying figure of a man in the sky. He then saw a white man in a blue coat fly alongside him, whispering, "...only you, Thomas; only you...". the man in the blue coat faded as Thomas ran faster and faster, speeding into a light in the sky; a light that seemed right...but wrong and with the final totem appearing on his glove...Thomas became light and then...
Thomas woke up...exhausted, thirsty...and with everything settling down from what could only be construed as a large 'gust of wind' in Thomas hospital room; a room with no open windows.
Thomas was left a note stating that the remaining totems had been 'stolen' over the last few years and that his father had been working hard to find leads to them. The ones Thomas had were the only ones, aside from Lupan's, that the rest of the tribe knew of their whereabouts. Thomas was tasked for the elder to go on a Great Warriors quest and find the remaining totems before the end days....which according to the elders was in Thomas' lifetime.
Thomas spent the next few days taking care of his things, his bank account (which Ipa's mom had access and power of attorney to for use as needed by the tribe). Before Thomas left, he went to say his goodbyes, but instead, the entire Apache tribal nation, thousands of them, performed a huge ceremony and dance to mark Thomas' quest. Thomas was gifted, by the elders, the same pair of gloves he saw in his vision. He was also given a 'costume' by one of the women Thomas had saved; a costume fit for a modern Apache warrior. Thomas accept their gifts and their kindness, knowing that even though he'd lost his parents, he now had the Apache Nation as his new family.
It was an emotional yet cheerful night for all.
The next morning, as Thomas stood at the edge of the Apache property taking one last tearful look at Apache hometown, a truck drove up alongside Thomas. They introduced themselves as Thomas Warder AKA Doctor Warder and the superhero, Arizona. They said they'd followed Thomas' incredible story; a story that was now all over the national news circuit, including WNN.
Thomas didn't even look up or say anything to them, but instead put on his new shades, readjusted his gear and told them "Adios" as he ran down the road at nearly 60 miles per hour. Doctor Warder got back in the truck and drove after him. Arizona, however...
...Arizona flew right up alongside Thomas.
Arizona was bathed in a fiery aura.
Arizona was the fiery white man he was told of and shown in his vision.
Thomas came to a screeching halt. Arizona alighted next to Thomas and turned off his fiery aura, showing a vibrantly colored costume depicting the Arizona flag. Doctor Warder caught up with Arizona, put it in park and stepped out to talk to Thomas.
Doctor Warder was a white man wearing a blue suit...just like in his vision.
This guy was supposed to be the elder's vision's 'medicine man'.
As Doctor Warder was about to ask why Thomas had ran, Thomas instead held up his hand and asked the doctor, "Are you a Medicine Man?". Doctor Warder looked over at Arizona, and with both smiling at Thomas said the same thing at the same time: "Definitely!"
Thomas then surprisingly changed his demeanor and said, "I apologize, gentlemen. I didn't know who you were until just now. Since I now know who you are from my visions, our paths are now eternally intertwined, so I guess wherever you're going, I'm coming along".
A perplexed, yet happy Doctor Warder shook hands with Thomas and pleasantly (and properly) introduced himself and Arizona. Thomas piped in and said, "you two can call me Thomas, but the rest of the world can call me 'Quickwind'!".
After a short discussion, the trio left, with Thomas running alongside Doctor Warder's truck along the interstate as Arizona flew above the truck (showing off), all the way to Houston, Texas, where Thomas became a founding member of the new "American Patrol" Midwestern superhero group.
Today, Quickwind has registered himself with the US government as per the National Super-powered Registration Act's requirements (under Thomas' protests, of course). He continues to this day saving lives, fighting crime and continuing his search for the remaining Apache totems...and Loco Lupan.
Quickwind's powers come from his totem's (see Equipment below)
All of Quickwind's powers come from the mystical totems he wears on his gloves and boots. Supposedly, according to legend, there were only 36 totems, however, how many 'types' are out there is unknown (types, being like agility, strength, speed, etc.). Without them he still has good agility, fighting and endurance, all with typical strength and could normally run as fast as 15 mph.
With his current totems, Thomas has the following enhanced/new abilities:
Agility Totem (3)
Increases Thomas' agility, balance and aim to incredible levels.
Strength Totem (2)
Increases Thomas' physical strength to remarkable levels, allowing him to lift over 600 lbs.
Speed Totem (4)
Increases Thomas' running speed to a maximum of 80 mph. The duration of how long he can run depends on his Vitality/Endurance.
Vitality Totem (3)
Increases Thomas' endurance and stamina to incredible levels; this allows him to run for over 20 hours before he tires.
American Patrol smartphone/earwig
Contains the highest powered smartphone capabilities, with an independent self-recharging power source and a range of 25 miles, or via satellite or cellular towers.
Magical Port Crystal
Square, 2 in x 2 in. Light blue clear crystal
Used for summoning teammates to bearer's location or bearer to a summoned location
Allows 1 minute response time; bearer can use Latin words to call for help or choose not to be teleported
100,000 mile range
Requires magical recharge after 1 year
Apache Lore (Master)
Apache Totems (Proficient)
Law Enforcement (Proficient)