After enduring years of World War II’s tumultuous battles, the long darkness of gunfire and cannon fire finally gave way to the dawn. Since the year 1945 in the Earth’s Common Era, humanity continued forward, licking the wounds of war.
They longed for peace, and the economic systems gradually recovered and flourished like plants after spring rain.
Everyone seemed determined to erase the scars left by the war, burying the memories they didn’t want to recall deep within themselves. They began to aspire to a new life, eagerly pursuing the beautiful things that would bring them happiness.
The sculptures of the Symbol of Peace adorned central squares, war memorials, and even the conspicuous corners of streets and alleys across American cities. However, the call for ‘Superheroes’ was growing fainter day by day and was no longer a common topic in people’s conversations.
Times create Heroes.
War creates Heroes.
The era of war heroes came to an end with the conclusion of the war, and the first batch of heroes gracefully stepped off the stage of history.
Perhaps people would often recount to their children the inspirational tale of a little guy becoming Captain America, or the legendary deeds of the brightest star of humanity during World War II. However, most of what remained was commemoration and nostalgia.
At first, when Kyle retired from the military, there were millions of people lamenting, and fervent petitions were sent to retain him. However, as several months passed, the voices of this grassroots movement dwindled.
In the year 1945, on the first day of the brand-new year.
Well-known media outlets like Time Magazine, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, featured Kyle on their covers, dressed in his nighttime combat attire. They published articles related to ‘Farewell to War, yearning for Peace.’
Among them, one headline was particularly straightforward and sparked intense public discussions: ‘With Strife and Enemies Departing, the New Era No Longer Needs Superheroes.’
Without war, what was the value of the existence of the Heros?
Did humanity truly need a Hero that stood above everyone else?
“General Kyle’s return to obscurity and retirement from the public eye might just be the most reasonable and sensible choice.”
“I’m not demeaning Heroes. The Symbol of Peace should remain a cultural emblem, a statue residing in everyone’s hearts, rather than standing in front of us, forcing us to bow down.”
“Shut up! We admire him. What’s wrong with bowing down? He has glorious achievements and supreme honors, a legend that rivals the gods. Our peaceful era now is something he fought hard to achieve.”
No matter how people argued and debated, they couldn’t conceal a certain fact…
Kyle. Undoubtedly, he represented an era. Now, that bloody and fiery era was fading into history as people chose to forget it. It finally became history to be studied in textbooks, completely sealed in the ice of its end.
Kyle had been busy within the Carl Family’s estate, finalizing family matters before his departure. He hadn’t paid much attention to the discussions outside. Even if he did know, he would likely just smile indifferently, not being overly concerned about it.
After all, from the beginning until now, he had lived for himself, including his battles and struggles.
As for being a Hero, whoever wanted to become one could do so.
After confessing everything to Lucy, Kyle felt a weight had lifted off his heart, much like a heavy stone.
With Lucy’s willingness to wait for him, their feelings for each other deepened once more.
This also solidified Kyle’s resolve even further, making his longing to leave Earth for the stars stronger than ever.
On that day, Howard called with extremely important news: the Fortress base on Turtle Island was completed!
Employing a top construction company, they used ten large transport ships to carry tools and building materials. With hundreds of workers laboring day and night, the construction took a month, resulting in the completion of the Fortress base on the Atlantic’s Dragon Turtle Island.
By the time Kyle received the news, the construction company had finished their work, and all the workers had left the island.
With anticipation in their hearts, Kyle and Lucy, accompanied by Howard, used the teleportation portal to reach the island base.
The Ancient Colossus Dragon-Turtle, summoned by Kyle, had remained asleep in the depths of the Atlantic, unmoving. Over the course of a month, the construction crew had worked extensively on its back, completely oblivious to its fearsome true form.
On the back of the dragon turtle island, a super-modern Western-style three-story building stood atop a peak. Its circular design exuded a strong sense of technology, and the silver metal glimmered in the sunlight.
The swirling portal circles were suspended outside the Fortress gate.
Lucy hooked her arm through Kyle’s as they stepped through the portal. Kyle looked ahead at the Fortress, which was no less impressive in its uniqueness than the Wakanda Palace. He pondered and asked, “Howard, how’s its defensive capability?”
“If you knew what materials I incorporated into the outer layer of the Fortress during construction, you wouldn’t be asking that question,” Howard, dressed in a suave suit, walked out of the teleportation portal and chuckled.
“It’s not vibranium, is it?” Kyle quirked an eyebrow.
“You got it right,” Howard smiled. “After establishing initial cooperation with Wakanda, King T’Chaka agreed to sell me raw vibranium metal. I added a layer of vibranium to the outer wall of this nearly completed building.”
“With a vibranium exterior, it can withstand even a barrage of missiles. You’ve really gone to a lot of trouble,” Kyle remarked with a touch of amazement.
At present, there were only two fixed teleportation gates. One connected the estate to the Stark Industry underground facility, and the other linked Stark Industry to the nation of Wakanda.
Alongside his technological research, Howard also took great pains to purchase Vibranium ore from Wakanda and airlift it to Dragon Turtle Island for the construction of the Fortress. His dedication was evident.
“Why would I not care about that? This Fortress will also be my refuge in the future,” Howard chuckled and walked toward the metal door of the Fortress. “Don’t rush, there will be even more astonishing things for you to see later.”
Howard reached the door, took a deep breath, and addressed the door, “J.A.R.V.I.S, open up.”
‘Voice recognition activated— successful detection, access granted.’
Accompanied by a male robotic voice, a camera emerged from the top of the wall, aimed at Howard in front of the door for a secondary recognition. The metal door then swiftly opened. “Welcome back, Mr. Howard.”
Seeing this, Kyle blinked and quipped, “You’ve even brought your supercomputer from home?”
As if in response to Kyle’s words, the speaker by the door emitted another sound, “Welcome back, Lord Kyle.”
“This is amusing,” Lucy giggled, covering her mouth.
J.A.R.V.I.S: “Welcome back, Lady Lucy.”
“This intelligent system…” Lucy lightly bit her lip, blushing as she lowered her face into her chest.
“It’s just that the voice system has been completely integrated with the supercomputer. It still operates as an intelligent program based on the pre-entered commands, far from possessing active thinking and judgment like humans or true artificial intelligence,” Howard sighed slightly, continuing, “However, using it to manage the Fortress base is more than enough to fulfill the role of an intelligent steward.”
(End of this chapter)
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