Takeo Sato took flight over his city. He had been out of action for so long, and it felt good to be in the air again. He had missed his alter ego. He had missed being Sunburst.
Like Tokyo, he had repaired himself since the Crisis on Infinite Earths and was ready to again defend the shores of Japan from any threat.
Sunburst swiftly flew over where he had been buried. He needed no reminders of his recent death. Someone waved at him as he rushed by. He waved back at the well-wisher as he turned and headed toward the bay.
Plenty of ships and smaller boats moved through the busy sea lanes as he swept down over the water. He gave them a once-over before turning back to land. He had other places to visit on this first flight back from the dead. Afterward, he would check on his friends and family, what little of those he possessed.
Takeo Sato’s first flight was witnessed by millions, but only one thought of it as a hindrance. This treasure seeker aimed his boat for open water, following a course provided by guesswork and surmise.
Aiming for a spot in the ocean away from the sea lanes, he dropped anchor. His charts of the prevailing current gave him a curling line to search for his prize. He donned his air tanks, watching the energy trail fade over the city. Then he fell backward over the side of his boat and headed for the bottom of the ocean.
The diver headed for the sea bed just outside Tokyo Bay. He searched until he almost ran out of air. Then he headed for the surface and switched the tanks. He drifted down to the ocean bottom again.
Finally, he spotted what he was looking for being gently pushed by the current. He was several miles from his starting point, happy to have found it at all. He played the beam from his light on it and smiled behind his mask.
Placing a marker balloon, he watched it drift up to the surface. Then he swam back to his boat and sailed it to where the balloon bobbed on its anchor. He began to refill his tanks before starting the next phase of his operation.
The treasure seeker mused on the return of Sunburst as he prepared a small meal to mark the end of his working day.
Takeo Sato landed outside of the city. He felt tired from his flight. Of course, he had only been back from the dead a few hours. He hadn’t even looked for a place to live yet.
Being dead puts a crimp on your financial resources, he thought. At least he had some cash he had hidden under his house. That would carry him over for a while until he got back on his feet again.
He wondered why he had been brought back. He had never returned from the dead before. Maybe he should talk to a priest. Later.
First, he had to get his money and then find a place to live. He doubted he could just reclaim his holdings, since he had probably been declared dead, and the contents of his will acted upon. Besides, he felt challenged by this turn of events. It meant he was really alive.
The treasure seeker waited for night before trying to recover the treasure he sought. He left the lights of his boat on to ward off any passersby while he was diving. This close to success, he didn’t need to risk a wreck before he was done.
Donning his swimsuit and reloading air tanks, he dropped a cable attached to a winch and went over the side. He followed the steel rope to the bottom, looking for the glowing cord that marked the treasure he had located earlier.
He attached the cable to the rusted box, making sure the handles would hold when he cut the winch on. He swam upward, his boat glowing against the surface of the Pacific. He was minutes away from his dream, and he could hardly believe it.
Climbing the boarding ladder of his boat, he pulled the lever once, recalling the cable and his treasure chest. He stripped off his tanks and kept a watch to make sure the cable would not catch on anything as it ascended.
Finally, the cable brought the box out of the water, suspending it in the air. He swung the rust-and-barnacle-covered thing over his deck. Then he gently lowered it to the wood. He unbound the cable and wound it all the way around its spindle.
The treasure seeker went below deck to change clothes and gather a sword stand and a hammer. He came back, placing the sword stand beside the locked chest. He hefted the light hammer in his hand before bringing it down on the lock. The metal sprang apart in an instant; the lid popped open in reaction, and he smiled. His prize gleamed in the moonlight, reflecting it in a dazzling array of rainbows.
A man dressed in white sat at his desk, absently scratching the spot behind his white leopard’s ears. He frowned as he watched the events unfold in Tokyo. Perhaps he should have chosen another path to accomplish the task set before him.
The large cat rumbled at him.
“I know,” said the man quietly. “Too late for misgivings now, Merlin. We have rolled the dice. Hopefully we won’t crap out.”
The leopard nodded as if it understood its human. Perhaps it did, because it lay in front of the burning wood in the fireplace, mumbling to itself.
“I know,” said Baron Winters quietly.
Takeo Sato walked the streets of Tokyo, people watching as he went. He had gotten a change of clothes and his mad money out of storage, all of which made him feel better. His weakness had faded as he stopped using his powers and rested.
He wondered about that. He had never needed to recharge when he was alive. Being dead had new rules of existence, he realized. At least he felt alive.
A small tremor shook the street, but the people on the street continued to go about their business. A small earthquake was nothing to worry about if no damage was done to the buildings that littered the skyline of the city. A tsunami might be in the cards, but a warning would be given long before it hit the shoreline.
The treasure seeker sailed his boat into Tokyo Bay, having placed his new treasures on its stand. He had an urge to hold them in his arms, but he fought that down. It wasn’t time yet to allow unseen feelings to wash over him.
He needed to go ashore and take the swords where they had been forged. That was the first part of the ritual. He had to get there before the sun rose over the horizon. Then he would have to dip the blades in the elements to ensure their allegiance. His family would learn the price of their contempt and folly.
It had taken years, but now he was within reach of his goal.
Takeo Sato found a hotel that rented lockers to sleep in for little money. Renting a space to sleep for the night, he went to bed. The locker reminded him of a Western coffin, but he kept that thought to himself as closed the small door and locked himself inside.
Tomorrow, he would get tested and see if he had really returned to the living, or if he was suffering from some kind of pretense. That would help him decide what to do with his second chance.
If he was really alive, maybe he could take this time to enjoy life a little more and worry less.