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Behind the Universe: The Ward, Unlocked

Travis Ryan Bramble was born on January 25 in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, NY. He was raised without a father until his mother married when he was nine years old. They moved out of Brooklyn and into Yonkers, NY, when Travis was thirteen years old. While in high school, Travis began getting into fights in school and in the neighborhood, and continued to rebel against authoritative figures, especially his step-father. His mother desperately tried to be patient, but she too could no longer put up with his behavior. At sixteen he stopped going to school and eventually left home, only to move in with his girlfriend, Yesenia, at her mother’s apartment. Yesenia and Travis started dating while attending the same high school, but she was two years ahead of him and had recently graduated. He found it difficult to find a job, and when he did, he found it even harder to keep it. He had this nagging and depressing feeling that he didn’t belong anywhere. While sitting on the roof of Yesenia’s building, he confided in her that he was feeling hopeless and lost. As she tried to comfort him, the building rattled. It took the couple by surprise at first, but she quickly dismissed it as a heavy truck driving past. Travis, however, thinking it to be something more, stood up and looked out across the rooftops and saw flashes of light coming from only a few blocks away. He grabbed Yesenia and ran down toward the lights. As he approached a forested area, across from old industrial and local government buildings, he heard the sounds of yelling, fighting, and animal-like noises behind the trees, but Yesenia couldn’t hear any of it. The fight he was hearing spilled out into the street. A lumbering beast with four arms and large tusks protruding from the bottom half of its jaw fell back against an invisible barrier, keeping it from hitting a passing vehicle. Yesenia, nor the driver of the vehicle, seemed to be able to see or hear any of it. The creature roared as a large tiger-looking beast pounced, tackling it to the ground. Travis watched in awe. He turned his attention to the sound of voices yelling commands and talking to each other. Four young individuals, African-American in appearance, were focused on the creature. Two of them seemed to be commanding the animals that were attacking it, while one was behind them and appeared to be deep in thought. Yesenia tried to get Travis’ attention but he was caught up in the action. He moved closer and eventually could make out a transparent, yet glowing, barrier around them. He reached out to touch it and that is when the strangers spotted him. As he touched the barrier, he felt a powerful surge of energy course through his body. He shouted out in pain. Yesenia, unaware of what was going on, cried out for help. Distracted, the monster managed to knock down its animal adversaries and moved toward Travis. Travis, on the ground and in Yesenia’s arms, struggled to fight the pain. The barrier blocked the creatures movement and, in an array of lights and energy, the creature was subdued and vanished. Still behind their barrier, Travis could hear them talk among themselves. They spoke a different language but some of the worlds were in English. The animals disappeared and the barrier dissipated. Yesenia was startled by their sudden appearance. Travis’s body began to give off a purple hue. His eyes, hands, and feet shined brighter. Yesenia gasped in fear, not sure of what to do. One of the four whispered words in a foreign language and his eyes turned white and became bright. Yesenia and Travis awoke the next morning in Yesenia’s bed. Yesenia had no recollection of what happened the night before, but Travis remembered everything. Who were they? How did they do all of those fantastical things? Why can’t Yesenia remember but he can? It seemed too real to be a dream and, for Travis, it just felt right.

Travis paced the rooftop of Yesenia’s building trying to make sense of it all. He wanted to know if he was the source of the purple energy or something else. He replayed the events in his head and again could feel the strong sensation of energy coursing through his body. His body began to glow with a purple hue. His hands swirled with purple-colored energy. He extended his hands out toward the brick bulkhead and focused his new found powers. The attempt threw him backwards and over the edge of the building. Falling and screaming behind the back of the building, he opened his eyes to find his hands glowing and his fall slowing until he hovered just above the ground. Now, standing, he tried using his powers against the side of the building. He could feel himself being pushed back again but this time he attempted to brace himself. This caused his sneakers to tear away from his feet, which were now radiating energy like his hands. He was no longer standing on the ground but hovering just above it. He used his strength and focused his energy at the wall, causing the brick to break and begin to give way. Marveling at his gift, he decided to continue to test his powers. He learned that he could push objects away, hover, walk and run on air, and jump great heights. He shared all of this with Yesenia and they decided to keep it a secret.

One cold, winter night, the two went out to eat in his old neighborhood of Brooklyn. He was stopped by police for fitting the description of a suspect currently at-large. The two police officers attempted to put handcuffs on him, but he resisted, using his powers to push one of them away and into a parked car. The other pulled a gun on him and threatened to shoot. Yesenia pleaded for Travis to follow their instructions but he refused. Instead he demanded the officer put his gun away and apologize for harassing them. The cop ordered Travis to get to the ground. Travis instead took a step forward and the cop fired. The bullet ricocheted off of Travis’s protective field and hit Yesenia, who was standing beside him. Angry, Travis used his powers and sent the police officer flying into moving traffic. The officer was struck and killed by a city bus. With the bus at a complete stop and people gathering around to see what happened, Travis grabbed Yesenia into his arms as she struggled to catch her breath and leaped into the night sky, disappearing on the rooftops. He carried Yesenia up to the emergency entrance of a nearby hospital, catching an ambulance driver by surprise. He left her in the driver’s care and immediately departed before questions could be asked. Heartbroken, angry, and confused, he wanted revenge.

The next day, his phone rang. It was his mother, but he didn't answer. Her voicemail told him that she saw the news and recognized the victim as Yesenia. Someone managed to record the entire incident and upload it to the internet. Fortunately for Travis, the distance, poor lighting, and his hat prevented a clear view of his face but his mother said she had a feeling that he was the one in the video. He eventually went home to see her and she showed him a picture of his father standing beside her while pregnant. She explained that his father was from another country and worked as a special agent to protect the world from the supernatural. At the time she thought he was simply exaggerating and thought nothing more of it. As his mother went along in her pregnancy, his father would visit less and less, until he stopped visiting completely. There was a female friend from his country that his mother met a few times. She came to see her while still in the hospital. When his mother asked why he didn’t come, the woman explained that their relationship was always forbidden, and he would never be able to return. She told his mother that Travis would be special, one of a few born of dual blood. His mother didn’t understand, and eventually she had to start a new life for Travis. When Travis left home, she felt that she had failed, but once she saw the video of Travis using his powers, she finally understood what the woman meant. With this new information, Travis also understood why he always felt out of place. Although he had even more questions about the people he saw in the woods, his father, and the truth about his powers, he now had some clarity. In honor of the father he never got to know, he decided to use his power to protect the defenseless. He especially wanted to protect people from those who abuse their authority, like the police officers who attempted to arrest him, and prevent innocent people, like Yesenia, from getting hurt just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. His father may have protected the world, but with his new moniker, The Ward, Travis was going to protect his city. Would he see those people from the woods again? He hoped so. He had plenty of questions that needed answering.

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