This is an epic-length adventure across time and space. It’s the origin of Captain Future, a time-traveling super hero — and his arch nemesis Mastermind, an evil mind-controlling super villain who enjoys mutating and enslaving henchmen in his pursuit of world domination. If you like sci-fi/fantasy super hero adventures, you’ll definitely enjoy reading this.
Luke Powers, a kinda-handsome-but-somewhat-nerdy 26-year-old, sat on the edge of his couch, cramming a fist full of popcorn into his mouth. Beside him was a video projector. Connected to that video projector, a DVD player. And in that DVD player, one of the greatest movies of all time: Back to the Future.
If you’re going to watch a big movie, you gotta see it on the big screen. Or at least, in Luke’s case, projected up onto his living room wall.
Luke smiled. He loved this movie. One of his favorites. No, the favorite. There was something about this movie. Something that made it rise above all the rest. Even, in his opinion, better than all of the Star Wars or Star Trek movies. Better than Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Even better than Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles.
This was a movie about time travel.
And Luke loved the idea of being able to travel through time.
But who wouldn’t? With time travel, you could go back and change a major regret. You could find out tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers. Make a few choice stock picks. See your parents or grandparents when they were your age. Maybe even meet a historical figure or two.
Sure, sure. All that was cool. But for Luke, it was something else.
You could say, at heart, Luke was an explorer. And time travel was about “exploring” the world—the universe—in a whole new way. He loved shows like Star Trek and Stargate SG-1. Those were about exploring space and other worlds. He played his fair share of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and not just because she had big boobs. There was an adventurer living in his heart. And he longed to be one.
Unfortunately, the real world had other priorities. He had rent to pay. Credit card bills. Student loans to pay off. Sure, of course he’d rather be off on some adventure exploring through time and space – but he also needed to eat.
He had a roommate. Ray Cartwright. An African-American, business-oriented, charming, self-confident, best friend kind of guy. Luke met Ray in college in an intro-level psychology class. Luke was an art major; Ray was in finance. The only reason either of them took the psych class was because it fulfilled some general education requirement and it seemed like it’d be an easy “A”. They met, hit it off, and became best friends ever since.
Now they were roommates. Ray was still in school, finishing up his MBA. Actually going somewhere with his life. Luke, on the other hand, felt like his life was somehow stuck on “pause.” Everything just seemed to be perpetually on hold.
Always waiting. Always looking toward “someday” when things got better. Always hoping that somehow, magically, something would pull him out of this dull, mediocre, financially-struggling life – and help him find his real purpose, his higher calling, what he was really meant to do with his life.
In the meantime, he worked at a retail store part-time. It barely covered the bills. Just barely. If he didn’t go out to eat much. Stayed home to watch a movie rather than spend $12 on a ticket at the local theater. Try not to drive his car too far or too often, to try to save money on ever-increasing gas prices.
He was definitely treading water. Always just barely getting by. Eking out a humble existence. Never making enough to break free – and experience more of what he knew, deep in his soul, life had to offer.
Maybe that’s why he liked his movies and comic books so much. They were a chance to escape, a chance to go somewhere, do something meaningful, even though he never actually went anywhere, and only vicariously enjoyed the great heroics of the characters he so loved.
Luke watched the movie play on the wall, projected in front of him. How he wished he could live an adventure like Marty or Doc Brown. If only time travel were possible. If only ordinary people like him went on real-life adventures. His job sucked. He hadn’t been on a date – never mind had sex – in what felt like forever.
And well, besides all that, something else was bothering him. Something he couldn’t deal with. A terrible, unfathomable loss that he’d just rather not think about right now. If he could time travel for real, he’d definitely go back to change that.
But this was real life. He lived in Burbank, not Hill Valley. He drove an old Camry, not a DeLorean. And it was 2011, not 1985.
Come to think of it, it was almost 30 years later since that movie was made. In the sequel, Marty traveled to the year 2015. There were flying cars and hover boards. 3-D movies and voice-activated house lights.
Some of the movie’s predictions came true. 3-D movies were becoming more and more popular. But that could just be because studios were trying to give people a reason to go see movies in the theater, and not illegally download it onto their computers. Somehow the writer of Back to the Future failed to predict Internet piracy, cell phones, and reality TV shows.
But how could he? No one could’ve imagined that just a few decades later, everyone would have cell phones – to check their e-mail, update their status on Facebook, and play Angry Birds while they were at work.
If only he could time travel for real. But that would never happen. It was just a fantasy.
So he had to live his dream vicariously. Watching life-size movies projected onto his living room wall. Reading comic books. Imagining up his own stories and adventures. He wasn’t much of a writer. He tried. It was kinda fun.
But his real talent was in drawing. When he was about five years old, he discovered a love and talent for it. He’s been doodling, drawing, sketching, and illustrating ever since.
And what did he love drawing most? Super heroes, of course. Monsters and aliens. Killer attack robots and cyborgs. Magical creatures and fantasy dragons. Aside from being a time traveler and deep space explorer, his other – and more realistic – dream was to be a comic book artist.
But that dream had to be put on hold too. Artists were a dime a dozen. Comic books weren’t as big as they used to be. Less jobs, lower pay, more competition. He made a point to attend every comic book convention within an eight-hour drive, and he always brought sample work to show exhibitors and publishers. His art was good. Just not quite good enough.
Now he worked in an independent bookstore, some local mom-and-pop shop that always seemed to be on the verge of going out of business. The owners were nice people. A husband and wife team that loved books – all books. They loved how books could magically transport them anywhere, any time, and introduce them to all kinds of memorable characters and interesting creatures. But, being a smaller store with a limited budget, it was tough to compete with the larger chain stores.
Still, they managed to stave off bankruptcy for one more month, every month so far – and although it didn’t pay much, at least Luke had a job.
Yup. His life was going nowhere. Not out of apathy or laziness. He was trying. It’s just that no matter what he did, he could never seem to get ahead.
He submitted resumes to better-paying jobs. Showed his artwork to publishers. Even tried self-publishing. But the more he tried to change his life, the more things stayed the same.
But little did he know that everything was about to change. While he sat alone in his apartment, watching his favorite movie, dreaming of another life – events had already been set in motion that would forever change not only his life, but the lives of so many others.
It was a secret that had been withheld from him for too long. But soon – he’d know more than he ever dreamed he would.
Oh, if only he could time travel for real. If only it were possible. If only he had a flux capacitor.
Whatever that was. Technically, time travel was in fact possible – Luke was sort of an amateur hobby time travel theorist. There were ways to actually travel through time. If you had a fast enough space ship, you could travel near the speed of light, slowing down your own time, effectively sending you into the future. Circling really fast around a black hole (without getting sucked in, of course) was another option. You could also “somehow”, in theory, create a stable wormhole that took you to another point in time and space. And a handful of other remote possibilities. But out of all the theories Luke had learned about, none of them were technologically possible. At least not yet.
Maybe, someday in the distant future, the technology would exist. And people could travel through time. And maybe, somehow, one of them would go back in time to Luke’s present, and – for some reason – give him access to that time machine.
Yeah. Maybe. He wished. He dreamed.
He was always dreaming…
Then there was a knock at the door.
He looked over. He wasn’t expecting anybody.
Who could that be?