Illuminators: I suspect by now you’ve all seen the most recent episode of Crisis. Which means you also know my secret identity is no longer a secret. (Nadir is not actually my birth name, but I wouldn’t expect a blowhard like Starla Carter to be right more than twice a day). More importantly, we at the Flashlight have stepped up our game against Mason and his flunkies. The Alrand execution went off without a hitch, but I am no warrior, constant readers. Put me in a gunfight with Damian Durand or any of Mason’s security and I’ll show you my impression of the Clantons at the OK Corral. So the lone gunman angle has to be a last resort. No, as my targets become more and more high profile, I’ve found it necessary to invest in more impersonal weapons, ones capable of destruction on a massive scale. So I took inspiration from the Flashlight’s new patron saint, the crusader known as Fury of Solace. And it really is true what we’ve always heard: if you look hard enough, the internet is a treasure trove for bomb-making recipes that utilize easily obtainable, over-the-counter items. I’m not going to post any links, because I would most emphatically recommend not trying this at home (I almost singed my eyebrows off testing my first device).
According to my analytics, readership of the blog has spiked, which we at the flashlight think is cause to rejoice! Many of you longtime readers still seem locked in our old mindset, saying my vigilante activities are setting our cause back decades. But at this point, constant readers, any press is good press. People are finally talking about Mason and his crimes, and while I’m sorry so many lives had to be lost to get us here, if we stop Mason here and now, think of how many lives we’ll have saved in the future. I know some of you realize what I say is true, and to you I say, thank you for your continued support. We at The Flashlight will persevere, ever shining on until we achieve our goals or burn out in the process.
Greetings, Constant Readers. When Mason International announced its new head of security in 2009, frankly we didn’t know what to make of it. Remember back in ’07 when that superhuman fugitive lost control of his powers and destroyed that electrical plant in South Pasadena? Remember afterwards when the head of the security firm that failed to contain the incident fell on his sword and stepped down? Well, that man’s name was Damian Durand. The same Damian Durand that Max Mason now trusts to keep him and his corporate interests safe.
And here’s what had us baffled, Constant Readers. That electrical plant explosion was one of the biggest security snafus of this decade. According to all reports, Durand’s failure to prevent the accident landed his name on a blacklist. He was off the grid for two years after that, presumably because no self-respecting company would hire him. So what on earth would possess the infamously security-conscious Max Mason to hire the laughing stock of the entire security industry? What are we missing?
And while it doesn’t really answer all our questions, there is one other detail worth noting. After the explosion, the government deemed the site a super-human reclamation zone. And guess who oversaw the reconstruction: None other than Reine Construction, which loyal readers will recall is a shell company belonging to the crime lord King. The same crime lord who we now know has ties to Mason International. Something about that incident must be of interest to Mason if he made the man responsible his head of security, and tasked his underlings with cleaning up the mess. And that means it’s of interest to us too.
Y tu, constant readers? The decision to murder the mad scientist known as Marcus Alrand was not one I arrived at lightly. A public outcry was far from unexpected. What has come as a shock to us here at the Flashlight is how many of you, our loyal followers, have decried my actions.
Marcus Alrand, you’ll recall, is the man who orchestrated the kidnapping of untold dozens of hapless homeless, performed human enhancement experiments on them against their will (and in direct contradiction to international law), all at the behest of Max Mason. Dozens died in this headlong pursuit of scientific perversity, and what’s more, there’s evidence these experiments bore fruit. If Mason was willing to go to these lengths to create and cover-up these test-tube superheroes, their intended purpose must be nothing short of terrifying.
I know now I was naïve to think any amount of evidence, no matter how compelling and irrefutable, would convict Max Mason in the court of public opinion. He is, apparently, exactly as untouchable as he would have us all believe. So it falls to concerned citizens like us to remove his key pawns from the board, to take away Mason’s ability to use, manipulate and destroy us. And, ultimately, to checkmate the King himself.
A lot of you have been asking, “Where does a former peacenik like myself get my hands on a hand gun?” Well, we have our illustrious mayor to thank for that. He’s continued his predecessor’s ridiculous gun buyback program. Yes, Southern California residents: you, too, can trade in your firearms for a hundred-dollar Ralph’s gift card, no questions asked. I wouldn’t have believed it until I saw it for myself. And it turns out, with so many guns lying around, it was disgustingly simple for an unassuming gentleman like my civilian alter ego to make off with one of the surrendered weapons. Don’t worry, Mr. Mayor: I only plan to point the barrel at those deserving.
Illuminators: I have made a terrible mistake. Not long after I voiced my concerns about Mason International to Police Commissioner Harlan Stone, the Flashlight has been getting the wrong kind of attention. And I think I know why. After re-watching his recent appearance on “Crisis,” the way Stone immediately jumped to Mason’s defense when Starla tried to steer the conversation towards Fury of Solace’s charges against the pharmaceutical company, the truth is clear as day: Stone is in Mason’s pocket. It’s the Medina scandal all over again, Constant Readers… except now, instead of a Mexican cartel, it’s corporate America that’s calling the shots. Which may even be more frightening.