“The Misguided Adventures of Oneshot” Superhero Story

Evan/Eve Miller

Uh, Hi.  Not really sure how to do this.  Never wrote a testimony before.  I think it’s supposed to be formal or something, but whatever.  If it doesn’t work out, I’ll try again.  Actually, I should SAVE before I get too far into this.  Hm.  Maybe not?  When was my last SAVE point again?  Dammit, I can’t forget these kinda things.  Well, whatever.  I know it was after this whole debacle, so there’s nothing worth RESETTING too.  Why am I even writing this stupid thing when I’m just gonna undo it if it’s not good enough?  Eh, whatever.  I know it’s dumb, but, it’s nice to put my thoughts down on paper.  Even if the paper won’t have ever existed soon enough.  I’ll just, get into what happened.  It’s been the main thing on my mind lately anyways.  So, uh, yeah.  Here we go.

 

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So it all started about 7 years ago, on my tenth birthday.  We have a tradition on birthdays, the birthday person gets to eat a slice of cake before we light the candles and sing and cut the rest of the cake and all that good stuff.  I remember I was eating that first slice, and thinking to myself, wow!  This is the best cake I’ve ever tasted!  So when I finished the piece and it was time to blow out the candles, I made a wish.  I wish I could go back in time and eat this cake again!!  Ok, look, I know it was a silly wish.  Some people wish for happiness or love or world peace and stuff, but I mean, c’mon.  It was strawberry-chocolate lava cake.  What was a kid supposed to do?  Anyways, not important, what is important is that after I made the wish, the candles disappeared.  I was suddenly sitting back in my chair, my family wasn’t singing, and I had that first slice of cake back on my plate.  Everything was back to how it was before I took that first bite.  That day changed my life.  I tried it again, blowing out the candles and everything, and I was back again.  I must have eaten that same slice a hundred times.  

I messed around with my new power for a while, and after a LOT of trial and error, I had to relive an entire week once, but eventually I got the hang of it.  Basically, the way it works is that I have to concentrate really hard on the word SAVE until there’s a neat little ding! that only I can hear.  Then, at any point, all I have to do is concentrate on RESET, and I’m back to the last moment I saved.  I only have one ‘slot’, per say, I can only ever return to my most recent save.  But no one else remembers the RESET, to them everything that happened after the SAVE just, didn’t.  I was so excited when I finally figured it all out, I messed around with it for a looooooong while.

Ya know that saying “with great power comes great responsibility”?  Yeah, well, I call BS.  As long as I have the foresight to SAVE beforehand, I can redo anything, erase any consequence, make every decision.  I’ll admit, I’ve done some things I’m not so proud of only to RESET it like it never happened.  At first I used the power any chance I got, relieved every good moment, tried things I had never had the courage to, said things I had always wanted too but never could.  I would stay up playing video games for hours and then RESET to get some sleep.  I would steal candy and stuff my face, only to RESET after I got in trouble.  I had a LOT of fun in those days, maybe even too much.  My consciousness got the better of me in the end.  Now, I have a system.  I SAVE first thing when I wake up, and don’t SAVE again unless absolutely necessary.  That way, if the day goes wrong, I can RESET and try it again.  I really only used it to avoid bad stuff for a couple years, just to play it safe.

As I’m sure you could have guessed, having infinite tries at literally anything ends up in success.  My grades were through the roof cause I could redo any test, my friends were tight-knit and all loved me, because I could undo anything that upset them and learn what they liked only to go back and give it to them “on instinct”.  My life was awesome, and that didn’t change until, well, now.  

Couple years back, I think when I was fifteen, I saw this guy.  He was taking a shortcut through an alley, when another dude, let’s call him Stabby, jumped him.  I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but the guy started panicking and scrambling to give his wallet to Stabby.  I couldn’t just, sit there and let it happen.  So, I rushed in to help.  I ran in and punched Stabby, square in the face, hard as I could.  The guy was so startled, he just sat there and froze.  I turned to him and started telling him to run, when I felt one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt shoot up through my back.  It burnt, but was also freezing somehow.  I RESET immediately, and found myself back in my bed.  

I went through the rest of that day paranoid, worried for the confrontation I knew would happen later, but also weirdly excited?  I’d never gotten into a fight before, I’d been using my power to avoid them, but this couldn’t be avoided.  I was gonna fight Stabby, fist to knife, and I was gonna win.  

Eventually the time came, and when I saw the mugging start, I SAVED, that way I wouldn’t have to do the entire day again if I lost.  And then, after a deep breath, I charged.  The punch thing didn’t work last time, so this time I jumped in shoulder-first and body slammed him.  We fell to the ground, and as I struggled to get back up, I kicked him in his gut.  Stabby groaned, and as I stood, I felt his foot catch my leg and I went crashing back to the ground.  My head hit the pavement, and I was back at my last save, right as the mugging was about to begin.

I died 16 times that day.  He was an adult, and armed, while I was just a high schooler with noodle arms.  Eventually, I got down his patterns, everyone has them, and managed to kick his knife into the street.  The next try, I got ‘em.  Ended up getting a good one-two right to the noggin and he was knocked out cold.  The guy, the one getting mugged, was scared but grateful.  He tried to give me money, said it was the least he could do, but I turned him down.  Told him I was just happy to help.  And then something funny happened.

He asked me if I was a hero.  The way I knew all of Stabby’s moves, it was like I could see into the future, know what he was gonna do before he did it.  The guy thought I was a superhero.  I told him that I wasn’t a hero, and the look on his face. . .  He seemed so disappointed.  I couldn’t stand it.  So, I told him that I was gonna be.  An in-training sorta thing, ya know?  He got all excited, and asked if I had a name in mind.  I told him that I didn’t, and he asked what my power was.  See, this is where I had a dilemma.  I thought about telling him the truth.  But I mean, c’mon.  This was an adult, a full grown man decades older than me, who looked up to me.  Was impressed.  And ya know what, it felt great!  I loved that feeling, I wanted more of it.

I didn’t think he’d still be impressed if he knew I died a bunch of times.  The thought of my power being the ability to fail a bunch of times, I don’t know, it felt inadequate.  Not worthy of this guy’s praise.  So, I lied.  I told him my power was to succeed on anything, first try.  That’s how it would look to him, and to everyone else, right?  They wouldn’t remember the resets.  The guy got all excited again, and said that my name should be “Oneshot”.  As in, like, I could do anything in ‘one shot’.  It had a nice ring to it.  I told him that yeah, that sounded nice.  He said he would tell all his friends about me, spread my name.  The thought of more people looking up to me like this guy, I liked that.  That people would be impressed like this.  Before he left, he told me that I should probably get a costume so that I wouldn’t be recognized.

So that’s exactly what I did.  Went to a thrift shop nearby, bought a bunch of halloween stuff, and made myself a superhero costume.  Picked up some basic gear, a pocket knife, a baton that ended up as my main weapon.  It was a little goofy, but you know what?  It worked.  For the next long while, on the weekend, I would go out, find some petty crime, and use my power to stop it.  Eventually word about an ‘unbeatable’ superhero named Oneshot got around, and apparently the crime rate went way down.  No one wanted to get their butt whooped by a teenager in a crappy costume.  At some point I stopped even having to fight the guys, I’d just show up, and they’d run.  It was a sweet gig.  But I think I may have taken it a little too far, cause once my name got out of the city, it started to attract unwanted attention.  Various villains, and even a few heroes, wanted to test their strength against the supposedly unbeatable hero Oneshot.  

See, this is where the problem started arising.  It was no longer enough to just beat an enemy, I’d have to reset until I could beat them, AND make sure no one got hurt.  The more enemies I beat, the stronger the enemies I had to fight were.  And the more destructive, too.  Started taking up more and more time, had to find excuses to leave school, party’s, and family dinners.  I managed to keep my grades up somehow, mostly by cheating, and with a lot of what I guess you could call ‘manipulating’, but like, good manipulating, I kept my friendships alive.  But it was a lot, man.  A LOT.  Stressed me out, I couldn’t do ANYTHING first try anymore.  Had to reset over every little thing.  And that leads me here.

The villain’s name was Psy-Borg, but I guess that he’s better known as Dr.Smith.  Doctor Hector Smith.  I didn’t know his name at the time.  All I knew was that some psycho in a robot suit was tossing things around with his mind, throwing cars and stuff.  He said he was gonna hurt people unless “the great Oneshot” came out to stop him.  And so I did.  And let me tell you, this guy was STRONG.  Too strong.  His powerset was massive, missiles and lasers and telekinetics.  He even had a rocket fist, which seemed excessive to me but whatever.  He was a lot stronger than me, but the main issue was that all of his attacks covered a massive area.  Even if I dodged a missile, it would fly off and blow up a group of bystanders.  I tried so many times to beat this guy without casualties.  I counted, actually.  278.  I either died or was forced to reset 278 times before I finally got him down.  That’s a LOT.  Normally I can get a villain within the first dozen or so.  58 was the record before this guy.  When you have infinite tries, you can’t lose.  They have to beat me every single time.  I have to beat them once.  So, you gotta understand, when this guy went down, I was exhausted and frustrated.  All that I cared about was that it was over, that I won.  So I saved.  Immediately, I saved, so that I would never have to do that stupid fight ever again.

How was I supposed to know the dude was dead?  I wouldn’t have saved if I had realized, I would have done it again and made sure not to kill him this time.  But I saved, because I didn’t know, and now I can’t ever go back.

So yeah.  That’s my story.  My power isn’t instantly winning, it’s the ability to try infinite times until I get it right.  I just, did it wrong this time.  I didn’t do it perfectly, and I saved anyway.  And now a guy is dead, and my hands are stained.

I’ve never killed anyone before.  Not for real, not in any way that mattered.  Not in any way I couldn’t just fix.  

 

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I could feel myself choking over my words as I read them.  I had practiced this, told myself I wouldn’t cry in court.  And yet here I was, sobbing like a baby, and I couldn’t even bring myself to RESET.  The courtroom was deafeningly quiet, the only noise my quiet sobs.  Then, the Judge’s voice joined my chorus.  

“That was a compelling testimony, young man.  Thank you for sharing your story with us.”

I looked up to him, tears clouding my vision.  “Although, I am confused.  If you planned on confessing to the crime, why plead innocent?”  I scoffed.  I didn’t mean too, the noise just kind of leapt from my throat.  Before I could respond, the prosecution spoke up.

“I think the reason is clear, your honor”  The man’s voice was vile, it sounded sick and wet, like the words were being vomited up.  “The defendant plans on resetting this whole trial, and giving a second testimony in which they defend their innocence.”  Then he turned to me, an accusatory look in his eye.  “This is true, yes?”

I sighed, and waited a moment, thinking through my options.  Then I nodded.

“Yeah.  Yeah, that’s the plan.”  The jury erupted in panicked whispers, and I could see the other members of the prosecution team’s eyes widened as they realized the truth.  They weren’t winning this case, they couldn’t.  Just like all the other villains I fought, it didn’t matter how many times they beat me.  I only had to beat them once.  The judge started speaking again.

“If that is your plan, then I’m afraid we have no choice but to put you in cuffs that will nullify your powers.  Please do not resist.”  I shook my head. 

“You weren’t listening, were you?”  The judge cocked his head.  “You won’t put me in cuffs.  You can’t.  Why would you?”  I closed my eyes, and took a deep breath.  “After all, you won’t remember a thing.”

                                                                        RESET