Heroes Unite the Aussie Saga
The Phoenix Swordsman is 6’8" of hero. He is extremely well muscled, imposing, and possesses an almost tangible aura of power about him. He is handsome with long black hair and indeterminately colour eyes – part blue, part purple. He wears distinctive and archaic leather clothing, like something out of a sword-and-sorcery film, including a small medicine bag he keeps around his neck. The only modern-looking device on him is his AMPT wrist-communicator. He is almost always smiling and seems to march to beat of his own drum. And always with him is the black blade, the Sword of Destiny.
Powers: The Phoenix Swordsman has extra-human muscle mass, and meta-human levels of kinetic dexterity and fitness. He wields the Sword of Destiny, a mystical blade of incredible power with unknown capabilties. Phoenix Swordsman can sense magical energies and is capable of interdimensional travel.
Abilities: Phoenix Swordsman is a skilled physical combatant. He has a good knowledge of the occult, mysticism and basic medical training. He is also a skilled pilot and often performs this function for the team.
My interview with the Phoenix Swordsman, one of the members of Australia’s very own super-team, was not what I would have expected. Instead of meeting me in a quiet coffee shop or a studio, the super-hero chose to meet me halfway between the nation’s capital and the coast at a roadside café frequented by bikers. Sure enough, when I arrived, the Phoenix Swordsman was there ahead of me, talking animatedly with some of the local motorcycle enthusiasts about engine upgrades and the best local rides. The crowd loved him, but he had an easy way about him that casually dismissed the admiring glances he was receiving from all around. The Phoenix Swordsman is big, big and handsome and he has a wild untamed presence about him that holds a definite appeal to those who like or are impressed by danger – such as motorcycle riders.
The Phoenix Swordsman didn’t seem to be wearing any of the usual accoutrements of the motorcycle rider. He was dressed in his usual ‘costume’ of slightly archaic pants, sleeveless top and leather-and-metal armbands. His sword, that ominous black blade, lay unattended on the grass a good distance from him. He glanced at it from time to time, seeming more afraid for those near it than concerned it might be lost.
He noticed me as I waved and ambled over, take-away coffee in hand. We sat unabashed on a humble wooden bench. In his company I felt as an equal and afterwards felt privileged for how he effortlessly imparted that feeling.
So you’re a bike rider?
Yeah; I haven’t ridden in a while and it felt good to get out of Canberra. I love being on the bike – speed, solitude, and nothing can touch me.
But no safety gear?
I don’t see the need. (He shrugs his shoulders.) It’s not like a fall or crash will hurt me.
So you’re invulnerable?
No, (he grins) just good.
(When he doesn’t elaborate, I continue with my questions.)
So why are you called the ‘Phoenix Swordsman’?
I wield the Blade of Destiny. My name states my role – the swordsman who cannot die, or rather, one who is reborn after death, or after a fall, and who comes back to meet his enemies again and again until they are defeated – a symbol of Light against the Darkness.
So what are your powers?
I can see things no-one else can see; do things no-one can do.
Umm, what exactly does that mean?
Well, I can bench press a main battle tank and I carry a sword sharp enough to cut diamonds and bend reality. Is that enough?
Ahh, yeah. Thanks. How did you get your powers?
I went on a spirit quest that opened the doors of my perception and I learned insights that awakened my Third Eye. In the World of Dreams I faced the challenges in the Dark Places None May Enter. After this, I was chosen to wield the Sword of Destiny and became the Phoenix Swordsman.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really know what that means.
I guess it can be complicated. Suffice to say it was a mystical thing. In some ways I’m no-one special – I was just prepared to be that guy who stands on the bridge and says “none shall pass”.
You mean like Gandalf from ‘Lord of the Rings’?
Just like that. Tolkien knew his stuff.
Hmm, so why are you in the team?
Cosmic power is no good if you just sit around with it thinking how cool it is. The reason why I’m in the team is in the name – Australian Metahuman PROTECTION Team. It’s all about protecting people; that’s why I’m here. Well that and I figure I can be an example.
An example of what?
That there is an alternative to sitting on the couch eating fast food, sleepwalking your way to the grave via reality tv and gaming consoles, and wasting your life working to pay off some sort of debt bondage like an indentured servant. Seems a pointless existence to me, and yet for some fvcked up reason, that what the vast majority of Australians do with their lives. Once I was just a normal dude, albeit a pretty cool dude with an open mind – now, I’m a superhero! How awesome is that? Beats the hell out of being a middle class wage slave if you ask me.
How do you fit into the team?
A few ways I guess. “Strong guy with a magical sword” seems a pretty good basic description. I’d like to think I can do more than just hit things until they break, but the others might disagree with me. I’m also being trained up on how to fly all of the cool planes the Air Forces lets us have, so I guess that makes me the pilot.
What training has the team done?
We’ve done all of the basic military training – physical fitness, teamwork, weapons, military and police law, etc. We’ve also done your basic medic training and flight training. We’re still working out how to fight as a team – all of our powers are pretty different.
How is the team coming together?
(He pauses before answering.) I don’t know, to be honest. We’ve got a long way to go before we really gel as a unit. Maybe we never will. I don’t really want to pass judgement on the rest of the team, so I’ll pass on that one.
What does the team hope to achieve?
(Mimes shaking a ‘magic-eight ball.) “Answer unclear, ask again later.” No, that’s not true. The whole reason why we’re here is to handle threats beyond that which the normal police or military can cope with. A dude freaking out on the street is handled by the local cops, right? If that dude freaking out has an assault rifle, they call the Tactical Response Group – the super-cops. If that dude freaking out has super-powers, they call us. That’s our role – to handle the stuff that the normal procedures can’t deal with.
What do you personally hope to achieve?
As I said, I’d like to be an example. I eat right, I exercise, I try to do the right thing by people. It’s a public job this – I’m in the public eye – so I’ll try to set a good example so the rest of the country can maybe strive to make their own lives extraordinary.
What do you do when you’re not being a super-hero?
To be honest, I don’t know. I haven’t been doing this very long, and it’s been all training so far. Well, except for today’s bike ride and interview with you!
Do you have a girlfriend?
No. There hasn’t been time recently.
Are you looking?
I wouldn’t say ‘no’, that’s for sure. I’m not a priest! So come on down ladies!
You said you exercise. How does someone get strong enough to ‘lift a tank’?
It takes a lot of core strength… (He laughs.) No, when I wield the Sword of Destiny, I have this strength. But even so, I do do a lot of core work to build up my strength. I have been doing a lot of sparing recently with Electric Shadow – he’s an amazing martial artist. And with Major Law too – you can punch him all day and he just laughs it off; it’s great.
Do you have a special diet?
Lots of water – filtered and purified of course – lots of nuts, grains, fruits and fish. I don’t eat a lot of red meat, not unless I have killed it myself and honoured its spirit accordingly.
Do you have any political views?
Yeah, I do, but the guys at HQ told me I’d better not get into that with you. Sorry. I guess they don’t want me saying how fvcked up I think their foreign policy is. (He laughs.) I mean I’ve got my views, but I don’t think this is the best forum to get into all of that so I’ll pass for now.
If you could sum up who you are in one phrase, what would that phrase be?
I don’t think I could sum myself up like that. I guess I’m like an onion, or a cheesecake – I have layers.