Chapter 10: Karma Houdini
I wasn't surprised he was standing there looking out through the blinds of his window, smugly, calmly as I could tell by hearing his heartbeat.
I knew he knew I was coming, and was waiting for me.
But I wasn't going to rush in, knowing the brain he would have a trick up his sleeve.
So I proceeded, slowly walking across the dark room cautiously.
"You've done well my friend…" Dorian said with his back facing me, "your talents are extraordinary, and your endurance if amazing…but hardly what I would say would be you at the peak of your powers. You've only just started, you have more to learn."
"So you know about my powers…" I said in my shadow knight voice.
"Yes I did, it's the very stuff my latest and greatest invention, and weapon produces in people with…err… certain "D.N.A abnormalities" if you will, however on normal people in its basic form, it's a potent acid. but I recently found that it can also be refined to be distilled, separated to form other more…intriguing things" Dorian continued.
"Like that gas you used on the cops, the S.W.A.T team and the red death gang" I deduced.
"That and so much more!" Dorian finch said proud of his mutagen creation.
"How much more…?" I asked drawing my gun, aiming at Dorian's head.
"Oh…you'll see, in fact the whole city will see" Dorian answered, with a menacing tone.
"I don't think so…you've caused too much pain and suffering today, let alone in the past ten years…you go down today!" I clicked the gun, firing a blank, but I knew the next one wasn't a blank…or a shadow bullet.
"So…" the brain said, "you loaded a real bullet in your gun did you?"
"took it from blackie's gun…it has his fingerprints on it" I explained, "you see I shoot you, and the police will think its blackie because that's all they'll find on the bullet is blackie's D.N.A and since he's already been seen by a group of eyewitness's I know aren't on your payroll, who are decent cops one of them who knows who blackie is, and that he tried to kill the platoon of officers at that warehouse you gassed… I shoot you and everyone will think it was blackie and they'll be looking for him. With your death, people will be liberated by your evil's death"
"But my death will also cause a gang war as well…" the brain added, "with the loss of the tyrant, petty criminals will be fighting for a piece if not the whole pie of the city for themselves. I have all the criminals in the city under my thumb. You know that's what would happen"
"That's why I have this is a last resort if you try and escape. I would prefer to see you rot in a super-max somewhere until you're too old to harm anyone ever again!" I continued, "But I'm not against killing evil like you. Even cops have to take a life to do what's right"
"But you're not a cop are you?" the brain asked.
"No…I'm evils reckoning" I answered.
"So if you WON'T kill me unless necessary, WEAKLING…" Dorian mocked me, "What did you have in mind in taking me in to jail?"
"Your confession, your voice recording at the gassing…." I said reaching into the folds of my trenchcoat, pulling out my recording devices, "something I designed. It picks up and records…what I want it to…by way of a special filter program I installed…" I saw Dorian reach for his pocket, but he found himself surprised when he found nothing in his pocket.
I laughed my mocking laugh, and pulled out Dorian's gun.
"And also I forgot to mention…with you gun having your finger prints on it, not mine, due to my gloves…it will look like you shot at blackie in self defense. There will be a man hunt for blackie for the deaths of all those girls, and the death of industrialist Dorian finch." I snickered sinisterly.
"And…?" Dorian inquired, still not facing me.
"Or…you give yourself up. Face the music. Once the cops come here and see all of that mutagen they'll make the connection between you, the gassing, blackie's attacks…etc. your life as a kingpin will be over and you will be tried for crimes against humanity and…well, you get the idea." I explained my other plan.
"Gang war is still on the other side of the equation knight!" Dorian growled, "I know you don't want that. The city will be in chaos for a long time!"
"Two weeks' time actually, you see I know that a gang war is an eventuality. I know I can't stop it from starting once I deliver you to justice. But you know I figure, if it gets that bad. The cops being so outdated and almost useless having to have to face that…and your suppliers, the grand council of lunar…yeah, I know they're in league with you…find out your either dead or deposed permanently. They will have no choice but to upgrade to keep the city safe from the gangs who run around in in…they will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to them! Either way, I win. So make your choice Dorian…it's your move! HA HA HA HA AH!" I laughed, prepared for anything….or so I thought.
Overconfidence…it can bite you.
"What if I choose neither going to jail or death" Dorian asked confidently.
"I don't think you have a choice, the evidence is down there bellow this office…" I said through my mask, eyes narrowed in hate "besides, I know how much you value your life you snake"
"Wrong, I do have a choice" Dorian said pushing a button beside him.
In that second I changed my mind and shot a shadow bullet at Dorian.
But to my astonishment he disappeared before the shadow bullet could hit him.
And reappeared by way of my dark sense telling me he was outside the compound, by his limo going to escape.
He had just teleported just like me, shadow walked.
But I could still hear his voice, it was laughing at me.
Soon I realized that his voice was coming from the top of his desk, from a two way radio.
"nice try vigilante… but I figured my facility would be found sooner or later…that's why I rigged this place to blow, the media and the city will think it was a chemical explosion, the combined chemicals in this plant will mask the mutagen, and neutralize it…no one will find it. When the city finds out about the explosion that WILL happen here the will act and quarantine the area until Hazmat can confirm or deny that there is a greater danger. By that time, my plan will be complete. You can't stop what's coming knight. I'm not a normal human any more than you are; I look forward to your efforts to try!"
"Then it ends sooner than you think, because I can follow you easily!" I challenged.
"Yes…" as Dorian spoke through the radio, the drapes of the office opened, revealing to me a startling sight.
Across the vast room outside the office window, where all the vats of the mutagen lay, I could see blackie nelson…holding Jeremy and his family at bay with a gun.
"but do you have enough time to catch me, save the cop and his family and get them out of here before the bombs go off and level this place in…." the pause told me the brain was looking at his watch in his limo, "two minutes…your move!"
Realizing I couldn't follow Dorian and doing so would cost lives I immediately charged off to my cousins and his family's rescue.
While also wondering how Dorian could have shadow walked, was it the mutagen…was he… a superhuman like me?
If so… were there others like me out there with powers?
And also…what if Dorian, was the representation of future enemies I might have to face one day.
Could I possibly be able to fight other super human's?
"Put the gun down, blackie!" Jeremy begged, "You don't want to do this. This isn't your M.O!"
"It is now!" blackie snickered.
"I mean it blackie you kill me and you won't get far. I'm a police officer and a member of a rich and powerful family. Your life will be over!" Jeremy said trying to negotiate, "so just put the gun down, and I'll let you go…" unknown to blackie Jeremy was reaching for his knife he had hidden under gun holster.
"draw that knife and I will shoot your wife first…" blackie said shooting Jeremy's confiscated gun, the bullet impacting beside Jeremy's shoulder, causing him to drop the knife which fell through the grates of the catwalk down below into the vats of the mutagen.
"Besides, you have that wrong!" blackie said aiming the gun at Jeremy's forehead, "I kill you and YOUR life is over. And only twelve percent of the police pigs will care. It won't be all that bad; the funeral of a rich man's cop nephew will be on the T.V news tomorrow, with the stars and stripes on your coffin. But I won't have you going to the land of clouds and wings alone. No I shoot you, then I'll have some fun with your blonde bride and then I will kill her, and your daughter…" he said licking his lips at 7 year old kessie who turned her face away in fear, her mother comforting her, "she'll be tasty dessert! The things I'll do to her"
"You touch her and I'll…!" Jeremy threatened.
"You'll do what? When you dead!?" Jeremy froze as blackie began to pull the trigger.
Before he could shoot Jeremy, I pounced out of the shadows like a cat.
In one swell kick I knocked Blackie's gun out of his hand.
But due to where he was standing during the kick, he lost his balance.
He fell over the side of the safety bar of the catwalk and began to fall down to the abyss bellow.
However at the last second his hand managed to grab hold of the edge of the catwalk and there he was dangling on the side of the catwalk, with me looking down at him with contempt.
He couldn't see me of course; he was too preoccupied with the deadly drop below and trying to maintain his grip.
Jeremy seeing the chance to get to safety away, got up and lead his family away from where I was standing, but all the while watching what I was doing, wondering what I was going to do.
I looked down at blackie's pathetic situation.
I thought to myself for a second, if I save him he'll keep on killing.
But if I don't save him I might lose one crucial piece of my puzzle, Jeremy's testimony may not be enough, with the actual murderer in court after him having of being sentenced to lethal injection, would prove there was a serious problem in lunar…and start people thinking about what's going on in this city if a slime like blackie can have his death faked when he was being escorted by police.
Begrudgingly, realizing it was the right thing to do… I knelt down to the panicking Blackie nelson and offered my hand, "give me your hand!" I yelled, trying to get his attention.
Blackie heard my voice and looked up, and when he did, his eyes filled with insane fear.
"YOU! STAY AWAY FROM ME! I'LL KILL YOU FREAK!" he yelled as he fired his gun at me, I barely had time to doge or transform into a shadow, one bullet went through my left shoulder.
I yelled in pain.
Blackie fired again, but this time the bullet missed and punctured a steam pipe that was hanging over both blackie and I.
Hot pressurised steam shot out from the puncture hole made by blackie's bullet, I didn't move out of the way quickly enough, and the jet of hot air struck my right arm that I had extended to help blackie back up to safety.
The steam burned my arm.
As I recoiled in pain, the jet stream continued on and struck blackie bellow, scalding his face.
The shock and pain from the hot steam jet caused him to lose his grip and he fell eight stories down.
His yells echoed throughout the vast room.
Ignoring my burned arm and bullet wound I quickly looked over the side of the catwalk and watched as blackie fell down eight stories landing in one of those mutagen vats bellow.
He caused a big splash, the mutagen sprayed all around the area, burning metal and dissolving concrete.
Blackie didn't resurface, and I realized why…on normal people that mutagen is like a powerful acid.
The only thing that resurfaced from the glowing purple liquid was the gun that blackie stole from Jeremy, now dissolved into molten metal and which soon dissipated into the mutagen as if it wasn't there.
I slammed my fist in anger, I wanted him alive to face punishment for what he had done….but part of me couldn't help but feel this was blackie's comeuppance.
But still, a life's a life…no matter how vile that mans was.
It felt like a hollow victory…but part of me was glad the scum was gone.
Remembering the brains countdown to destruction on this whole place, I turned around and approached Jeremy and his family.
Before Jeremy could as what I was doing, I transformed into living shadow form and enveloped both him and his wife and daughter.
The world around them faded from the brains mutagen factory, to the rooftop of a building a good distance away from the factory.
I released them and reformed into human shadow form, then into flesh and blood.
"What was that…" before Jeremy could ask, there was a flash of light and a big bang.
Jeremy, his wife and little kessie turned to where the flash of light and big bang had come from to see the factory and refinery they had been in a second ago was now engulfed in a big fireball, "oh… that's why" my cousin finished.
Suddenly he remember that I, the shadow knight had been injured.
He checked his family first, as he should; they were fine, just shook up.
He walked over to where I was standing, and said concerned "you're hurt. I'll call E.M.S, or maybe if I can get my bearings as to where in lunar we are right now I can get you to a hospital" he said to me.
"I appreciate the concern, I really do…" I said turning around showing my bullet wound, and my scalded arm, which were to Jeremy's surprise and astonishment, healing rapidly before his eyes.
"Wow…wish that I had that superpower" he said in envy.
"Don't be envious of me. You're a cop, you do this job every day…I've just started doing good with my powers" I said in disdain.
"You never used these powers for good before?" asked Jeremy to me in question.
"No…" I said in contempt at myself, "I just never USED these powers for ANYTHING before recently"
"What made you change your mind?" inquired Jeremy.
"Pain and a promise" I answered simply.
"Well… I may not quite care for vigilantism. But in this crime filled city… I guess we few good cops and politicians and judges may need someone operating outside the law to help us deal with criminals that escape the long arms of the law by operating above…or within it" Jeremy said nodding in acknowledgement.
"So…you're not going to arrest me?" I asked, knowing the answer.
"Not today…" Jeremy said, "But someday when…whoever you are…someday when lunar no longer needs you, I will have no choice but to arrest you for breaking the law….besides, I have no gun or cuffs."
"When that time comes, I will have no reason to be…The shadow knight…" I saw Jeremy's expression, "my name, is the shadow knight. I came to be because of crime in lunar, when lunar can finally handle its problems without my help; I will vanish like a ghost. There won't be a shadow knight to arrest when that time comes"
"You're not a ghost are you?" he asked me.
"What do you think?" I said pointing to my exposed arm where the sleeve had been burned off, I had healing powers, and my clothes didn't.
I turned a walked away, "wait…I didn't get to thank you for saving my life, my family's"
"You don't have to" I answered back, "it's what good people do I guess"
With that I shadow walked away, leaving Jeremy to return with his family at the corner of the rooftop and embrace them, crying tears of joy…as this night of terror on his family, was over.
CENTRAL TOWER, DOWNTOWN, LUNAR CITY
In the center of lunar city, one can expect big sky scrapers…but none are as big as CENTRAL TOWER.
It is the tallest building in lunar city; one can see the whole island city from the top, although at this time the only ones in the tower who could see that view from the top were construction crews.
The tower wasn't quite finished, the top twelve stories still had to be built, and so at the top there was only a metal skeleton of what would someday soon become the promenade top floor.
However the building wasn't vacant, the bottom 398 floors had businesses, newspapers and the city councils twenty seven floors all to themselves and their administration.
But unknown to everyone, one of the vacant floors, wasn't vacant.
Inside one of the vacant floors, was the brain of crime… Dorian finch.
Inside the room, there was no light save the small electric lamp that blackie was using to look at a map of the city on his desk.
In various parts of the city map were red circles, indicating something of some importance.
He smiled looking at the map, and then grabbed his phone and dialed a number.
"Yes, it's the brain…things are going fine with the Bombs?" he asked one of his goons on the other end of the phone, "have them set to go off at 11:00 P.M tomorrow night…yes that's what I said, no, no…I'm not worried at all. Yes, just get them set, all 97 of them around north lunar and east lunar… don't worry about our new pest…I'll deal with him in short order. Just do your job and then wait for the signal to attack! Goodbye!"
The brain finished his call and muttered, "Imbeciles"
He then looked toward one of his monitors in the room, this particular one was showing the hospital cameras of all the rooms the gassed Red death gang members and the Swat Teams members who were also gassed were taken to.
"he fights well in the night, let's see how well he fights in the day…" the brain snickered, talking about my alter ego, the shadow knight "whether or not he is the Kishi boy or someone else with a grudge against me… he meets his death at the end of the gauntlet I throw at him tomorrow…now, guinea pigs, wake up…I have jobs for you tomorrow!"
Dorian's eyes flashed red.
And on the monitor… the still forms of the gassed gang members and the swat team, slowly rose and walked out of the room.
Five hours latter…. Back at Kishi mansion….. 5:00 A: M
Back at my room at the mansion, I exited the shadow realm from my closet door, and collapsed into exhaustion as my powers and body recharged.
I had just finished rounding up some drive by shooters, drug runners, Rapists and sleazy murderous loan sharks for the rest of the night, and the sun was starting to come up in the distance.
As I collapsed on my bed, knowing that my body would be fresh and recharged in next twenty minutes I sighed before I fell for a very short sleep, "day 1!"
Come day two…. Day one would forever seem as the easiest of my new job as dark vigilante avenger of the victims of lunar's nightlife criminal underworld.
And one day I will wonder would it have been easier if I had just killed Dorian there and right there.
But then life…like doing the right thing and anything in general is never done easy.
If life was easy… I wouldn't have any reason to have to be a superhero.
And besides, I never believed being a superhero would be easy…because I know that responsibility come's with a job, even more in this job, skyrocketed more in this job.
Besides, I have power problems and I have internal issues as well, nothing is easy about this… but a penance must be had for what has happened, for my negligence…and the brain was going down tomorrow, day or night…no matter what!
TO BE CONTINUED IN SHADOW KNIGHT BEGINS PT 2: THE GAUNTLET