Copyright © 1998 Bryan J. Maloney
"A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi-yo, Silver!', the Lone Ranger rides again! Return with us now to those days of yesteryear..."
Ted Reid had his whole life set. An enthusiastic member of the Lost Generation, he threw himself with abandon into a life of debauchery and all-night indulgence. Supported by the Reid family fortune, he was set to waste his life for as long as the party lasted. Of course, the party couldn't last. To make matters worse, he had the taste of a pig. Imported from France or made in a basement, as long as the booze wouldn't blind him, he didn't care. His indiscriminate taste extended to every other aspect of his life, be it choosing restaurants, associates, women, or what have you. At the age of 20 his father informed him that he had to take a hand in the family business--take a hand or lose his allowance. Faced with the threat of losing his easy women and illegal booze, the only things he valued, Ted reluctantly agreed to take a look at an old silver mine the family was thinking of reopening.
He found himself dropped off in front of an abandoned mineshaft somewhere in Nevada and told that the work crew would be along "soon". Two days later, he was near to death from simple thirst and exposure. It was then that he met a grizzled old prospector.
The old man gave Ted enough water and food to revive and promised to lead him back to civilization--if Ted would help him "move a few things". After about a day of lifting rocks, Ted decided to apply a little force to the situation. It was then that he learned that grizzled old prospectors fight dirty. Ted then had to move rocks with a sprained wrist.
Interspersed with similarly pointless physical tasks, the prospector would point out random bits of weather trivia and "boy scout stuff" like the tracks of deer and how to tell if something had passed by. After a month, Ted had come to respect the old man's knowledge. One morning he found himself alone, the prospector had vanished. This time, instead of haplessly casting about in the wilderness, Ted methodically began to make his way towards a likely location for a stream, and began to follow it, reasoning that civilization exists where enough streams meet enough rivers.
Several days later, alive and able to sustain himself on what he could find and trap, he found evidence of human habitation--hoofprints, hoofprints from a shod horse. He followed these to a small campsite occupied by an old man in a dove-grey suit of clothes and wearing a white hat. He made contact with the lone camper, who asked him one question: "What is your life worth?"
There are a lot of ways that a man can take that particular question, and out in the middle of nowhere, it can sound pretty threatening, but something about the stranger made Ted think otherwise. He finally said "Right now, nothing, but I'd like to make something of it." That was the beginning of Ted's new life. His father appeared from the stranger's tent and told him a vital family secret.
The old man in grey and the old prospector were one and the same--Ted's great uncle, but more than this, he was an avenger and hero of decades past, the Lone Ranger. Ted's ordeal had been a test, a test to see if there was more to the young man than the dissolute wreck he had become. The Lone Ranger's time had passed, but the world once again was in need of heroes. Ted was tested first, simply put, because he was more expendable. His elder brother Britt was needed to manage the Reid family fortune.
An earlier Ted Reid would have been insulted--now he found the idea of his expendability amusing. He undertook his training under the Lone Ranger with the same abandon he had once shown for loose living. He finally had a direction, something to fill the empty space.
Ted Reid returned to New York two years later, leaner, quieter. Taking a page from the old Spanish Colonial hero Zorro, Ted Reid adopted the public face of a feckless wastrel--a role he had already heavily researched. He was still a raconteur, but now he preferred to enjoy the festivities from the side rather than be in the center ring. Soon after he returned, street criminals began to whisper among themselves about a masked cowboy, faster than a cat and meaner than a snake, who struck without warning and left wounded and unconscious criminals. At every scene he left a silver bullet, the sign of the Ranger.
The news of the Lone Ranger returned soon spread throughout the country. Hungry for heroes and looking for hope at the beginning of the Great Depression, the American public has embraced this new Ranger as the rightful heir to the Lone Ranger's legacy. The fact that the Reid publishing empire has quietly arranged the Ranger's public relations hasn't hurt matters, either.
Ted is often involved in Family subplots involving his brother's activities as the Green Hornet, the two of them aiding each other. Since Green Hornet has the Mistrust Disadvantage, this can lead to complications. Given the popularity of yellow journalism, the Ranger also gets involved in Publicity subplots, both as the Ranger and as Ted Reid. Ted's nature (he still is a bit of a rake) and his cover identity of party guy gets him involved in Romance subplots with any number of young ladies looking to reel in an heir as a husband. Finally, since virtually his entire family has a Secret Identity, this can crop up to complicate his life.
The Ranger is tall and rangy, with very little excess flesh on his frame. He keeps his hair short and his square-jawed face clean-shaven. He wears a grey suit and white hat in imitation of his great uncle. The Ranger's mask is a direct copy of the Lone Ranger's original mask, which is more than the simple domino that was drawn in "Lone Ranger Comics" (published 1927 to the present day by All Fun Comics, a subsidiary of Reid Publishing--"Wholesome adventures for young minds"). Instead, it covers his entire face from forehead to below the chin, with ample eye-holes. (It was this detail that convinced those old-timers who had actually seen the Lone Ranger that this newcomer might actually be connected to the elder hero.)
|Alter Ego: Ted Reid||Occupation: Ne'er-do-well and dissolute.|
|Motivation: Responsibility of Power||Wealth: 7|
|Known Relatives: Britt Reid/Green Hornet (brother), John Reid/Lone Ranger (great uncle, deceased), Dan Reid (father)||Group Affiliation: None|
|Base of Operations: New York City||Height: 6' 4"|
|Weight: 190lbs||Eyes: Blue|
The Ranger has been trained in the harsh gymnasium of the Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas badlands. This has brought his mind and body to an excellent state. In addition, the Lone Ranger insisted upon strict moral instruction and regular Bible reading, especially given Ted's previous lifestyle. He has learned to ride and to survive without the amenities of civilization. The Ranger also is a skilled tracker and no slouch as a detective. Continuing a family tradition, he is also adept at disguise and acting, permitting him to gather information.
His greatest skill is in marksmanship. Indeed, he may currently be among the greatest living shooters. The Lone Ranger claimed that he hadn't seen such a natural with a gun since Annie Oakley had died. His ability in rough-and-tumble unarmed combat is likewise impressive.
He has replaced the traditional horse with a high tech (for 1932) motorcycle. But he pulls out the reliable hogleg--that's a revolver to the greenhorns--when the chips are down.
The Ranger is the world's foremost publicly known expert on the Lone Ranger and will happily spin yarns about his predecessor's adventures. As Ted Reid, he is currently churning out a series of truly miserable Western novels whose only redeeming value are their verisimilitude to the realities of the Old West.
To help him deal with the stress of being a Mystery Man and maintaining his private identity in the face of awesome attempts by the press to delve into his life, his family called in an old favor in the person of James Taunton, who just happens to be the grandson of Tonto. Taunton looks after Ted's personal affairs and helps him maintain his secret identity. Ted can also call on his brother Britt for information. The two brothers are aware of each others' avocations.
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