Chapter 2: Knight Amid Chaos
CLOCK TOWER, SOUTH LUNAR
Up in south lunar lies an old clock tower, first built in the 1900's during Lunar cities heyday it served as the city's main place of time, and a symbol of what they city could be. Today, it was just one clock tower among dozens around the city, and like most historical objects in the city, old, and covered with graffiti down below and the tower hadn't been working since 1988.
No one worked maintenance on it because it wasn't found cost effective to re-tool it, and to most people, it was a public eyesore.
No one had been up inside the clock interior of the clock tower for years, except for today.
For today inside the tower there was a lone figure, a figure called the shadow knight.
For some reason, my evil side noticed this place and out of desperation I landed here in the clock tower when trying to escape Dorian's anti-shadow knight missiles.
After stopping Dorian's siege of my father's building I found myself caught in a sinister trap that I had foolishly fallen into.
Some detective I turned out to be.
The idea of Dorian's trap was to put me through the gauntlet of hostage situations, while hopping that some of his goons would shoot me with that tainted mutagen. A mutagen that would slowly coarse through my veins, feeding of my inner darkness and strengthening it until, all the while causing my negative attributes to take control.
It was like a virus, a virus designed to turn me into something like Dorian.
It was working slowly at first, if I hadn't fallen into that mutagen tank trap that Dorian had laid, I might have been able to fight the influence of the dark mutagen, but that second bath in the mutagen not only increased and unlocked a couple powers I didn't know how to use yet, it also increased the time and potency of the transformation process of the dark mutagen.
Dorian put me through that gauntlet to see the good side of me die, my true self, my sanity, as damaged as it was…he wanted to see it die… then watch as the mutagen overdose killed me.
I knew that the dark mutagen was winning its battle against the mutagen that already existed in my blood, because now I was starring, breathing heavily, dying as I look out at the new avatar of my conscious being, the dark version of me, the shadow knight evil…what I was to become once the dark mutagen was finished and had reached my mind.
I wondered to myself where the Mariko and shadow knight avatars were, as crazy as it sounds I hoped that these figments of my damaged mind didn't end up getting wiped out by Dorian's mutagen…I wasn't sure if I could fight this influence on my own.
The dark shadow knight, currently just a hazy specter, looked at me with blazing eyes of contempt.
"There's no point in fighting it Kagae. Give up…give in to the power" the dark me taunted.
"Never!" I spat in defiance.
"You can't fight it Kagae, I'm what you should be instead of what you are" the dark me sneered.
"I'm not you, and you're not me!" I spat, "I can feel what you want. You want blood, destruction, tyranny…that's your idea of punishing evil!"
"Yours too…" the dark me added, "Blackie's death, that night skulls death, and that loser Derek Lensher, who instigated Mariko's death and Rachel's attempted murder…."
"Not my fault!" I said in defiance, "they killed themselves, their guilt, their evil killed them…"
"Their fear of you!" my dark me corrected, "Their fear they use on people used on them. What better way of justice than that right? Only you don't have the guts to use the real way to keep criminals from hurting people, you have to put the fear of god…the fear of you into criminals…by killing them, and anyone else who embraces evil"
"Killing is evil no matter how you put it!" I said in defiance, "and I hate evil, and I hate you!"
"In a few seconds it won't matter, you feel it don't you?" my dark me asked me, "the good inside of you, dying…in a few seconds I will be you"
"No….NOOOOOO!" I screamed in defiance, I had to fight my dark side, my infection somehow, becoming an evil Templar instead of a knight was worse than death, and I had to fight but how.
I swear, at that second I thought I heard Mariko's voice saying, "fight it Kagae, replace the dark hole in your soul that this evil is trying to counter with light, remember me!"
I then remembered my sister Mariko, all the times I had with her, her kindness…her love.
And then like last time when I felt dark impulses, the darkness's hold was released.
Not only that, but also the pain of the overdose had been dulled.
I could hear my dark self, the one created by my dark impulses and Dorian's tainted mutagen scream in frustration, "no! Impossible! You managed to drive back the virus back with sheer will..." there was a pause, "no matter. You don't have much power or strength to fight it again; you've only gained yourself three more hours."
Partially ignoring my evil self I stepped up from the floor of the clock towers interior, I looked around and then activated my power of seeing this spot in its place in the shadow realm.
To my surprise, all I could see was a blur.
Curious I stepped outside onto the balcony of the clock tower, the big minute hand behind me, I didn't need to look to know that night had begun to fall.
I looked back at the clock tower and activated my Realm vision again, this time I could see the tower, but no sign of the static.
I stepped back in, found the static again.
Must be the metal in the tower, it places some kind of cloak on its insides, so no one would ever see a shadow manipulator if he hid in a place like this, a cloaking clock tower.
I made a note about that.
Then I turned my attention to my city to find that my fears I had when I heard the explosions outside the two 18 hours ago had come true.
The city had become enveloped in Dorian's gas, and in response, the city was in chaos.
Shadow knight could hear the screams of the riots caused by the people who had fallen under the gas's control, and the various people immune who were being attacked.
I felt my powers were winding down still, the effect of the mutagen.
Once it gives powers, the powers are given a limit of 20 hours before they go into total dormancy in order to fully fuse with the host.
I had been doused with the overdose 18 hours ago, so I only had enough power for two hours…the amount of time I had to save the city and find a way to fight the dark mutagen poison.
"You can't defeat brain with your wimpy half-hearted tactics and beat his poison and me in two hours!" the dark me challenged.
"Watch me!" I said in defiance.
Putting on my mask and hat I smiled in defiance, knowing what I had to do to end this night of hell, what I had to do to save myself from my corrupted self.
Even if I had to kill the monster Dorian had become to do it.
With that thought I leapt from the tower and fell into the chaos bellow, heading for Finch Tower.
ST. MARY HOSPITOL
Rachel struggled to get up from her bed when she began to hear the screams from outside start to enter the hospital she was in.
She while trying to get up her mind went over the past 18 hours events, her sleep walking induced suicide, being rescued by that mystery vigilante, and then the attack on her by the night skulls and the corrupt cop who was soon chased after by the same vigilante.
She remembered that part well.
He had appeared to her 18 hours ago by her bedside, trying to give her some kind of glowing purple liquid, saying that it would heal her… then he transformed into a living shadow or something when one of the night skulls who had been sent to kill her burst into the place as it was put under siege like her father's tower had been (foiled again by the same vigilante), the bullets…he absorbed them…saving her from them the bullets, but shattering the vial and spilling its continents on the vigilante instead of her… she didn't quite know what had happened after…but now she could slowly walk again!
Maybe those few sprinkles of that liquid that had landed on her had done something to her?
Maybe he really was trying to heal her.
But the way his voice sounded so familiar, despite the distortion.
Was that Kagae?
She couldn't think about that, she had seen the news reports.
The city was under siege from itself!
Before she had gotten her slippers on doctors and unaffected soldiers entered the room to help evacuate her and others from the hospital before any of the fights or riots reached the hospital.
The doctors were amazed she could stand again; they didn't think that my sister would be able to walk again for a while.
They lead her to the exit, they were going to try and get out through the Jefferson tunnel… getting to the now safest spot in the city…the residential island.
Hopefully they would be able to get there before the riots closed it off.
She then heard a familiar engine noise from outside and went back to the window to see if it was what she thought it was… it was what she thought it was!
There was her father's big truck with her father and her cousin Jeremy inside it racing for the hospital down one street, while down an adjacent street was an onrushing army of crazed citizens and criminals.
"No Dad!" she screamed realizing he was coming to save her, unaware of what was coming.
"Damm!" the sergeant said beside her, "enemies incoming, try and repel them as much as you can boys! But don't hurt them! They're infected with that gas!"
Before anyone could react suddenly there were bright flashes of purple light, all alongside the hospital and the streets were the army of crazed people was barreling down.
The soldiers bellow the hospital that had been prepared to face the attackers jumped back in confusion as from out of the flashes emerged giant walls of some kind of purple sludge, which seemed to be linked to the shadows of the buildings cast by the fires around the city.
The strange walls had encircled around the edge of the hospital area and the street the crazed people were on, trapping the "affected" inside a walled off street that they were pounding to get out from their prison.
Down below my father and Jeremy stood out their monster truck, astonished at the giant energy walls that had spared them, the soldiers of one of the battles enveloping the city.
My sister while looking out her window she caught the glimpse of the mystery vigilante jumping across rooftops away from the hospital before vanishing like he did before.
Even though she wasn't 100% sure of her rescuers identity, she whispered with a smile "go get them Kagae"
"What was that?!" asked one stunned soldier who was looking at the miasmic walls that had saved them.
"I don't know…" his buddy said in surprise, "but whatever that is, that…wall…is keeping those crazies away from us. Let's get these people to safety before they backtrack! LET'S MOVE!"
"Sergeant!" called my father.
"Excuse me sir, I have to get these people to safety" the sergeant said trying to dismiss my father.
"My names martin Kishi, my daughters in this hospital and that's the reason were here…where are you taking these people?" my father asked.
"To the safest place on lunar island…the residentials" The sergeant answered.
"I live in the residential, I have this vehicle it can hold more people than four if we do it right, we can help" My father said pointing to his monster truck, "and we have room at my mansion if you want"
"Then get over there and start loading people Mr. Kishi" the sergeant said to my father.
"Yes sir!" my father saluted.
The sergeant went back to what he was doing, he was too busy trying to evacuate people to try and be courteous.
My father began to look for my sister Rachel when he saw her being led done by a soldier and a nurse.
My father rushed forward and embraced her, "what are you doing here?" she asked my father after returning the hug.
"It's a rescue…" my father said quickly, "Wait…you can walk?"
"It's a long story, where's Kagae?" Rachel asked my father.
"We were hoping you could tell us…" Jeremy said with worry.
"He went to see you, and we haven't seen him since" my father explained.
Maybe she was right about the identity of the shadow knight after all, either that or her brother was out there somewhere in all of this.
"The brain claimed to have kidnapped him…but with everything going on now I haven't been able to get any support in finding him, 95% of the precinct is out there with the others fighting the riots alone!" Jeremy added pointing to the fires of the riots north of them.
"We have to find him!" my sister screamed, "if he's out there in all of that!"
"we can't go north of here to look for him Rachel, we can only hope that we see him on the way back to the mansion or hopefully he's already back at the mansion, understand"
With reluctance, my sister nodded.
They all had to get away to safety… whatever safety there was left…Kagae would want that, for the rest of them to be safe.
She took one last look at the spot the mystery vigilante was once on the rooftops and then got in the truck.
Hoping when this was over, if it would be over, that she wouldn't find out she had lost her brother as well to the brains evil.
THE BRAINS OFFICE FLOOR:
Clarice watched in surprise as Dorian withdrew his hand from her cheek, and then looked out the windows of his office floor in askance.
"He's still alive?!" he said through gritted teeth, "how many times do I have to kill this guy!"
"Who you talking about, the knight?" asked Salvador Hardy who was starting to gain some energy again from Dorian's attack previously, almost enough energy to stand.
"Shut up!" Dorian silenced him, "need to think. He's coming for my head… and…" he reached into his pocket, and pulled out the last vial of the healing mutagen, "the cure, THE very cure to what I injected him with. He's also coming for this, before his Tainted mutagen consumes him, and he loses himself like Dr Jekyll did to his Hyde persona" the brain then chuckled, seeing to one flaw in that plan, the shadow knight would have to kill him to get the cure, and the shadow knight doesn't kill…and he'd have to fight Dorian with limited powers.
The odds were in Dorian's favor.
He then went to retrieve his mask, once he put it one he was the brain of crime again… he muttered to himself, "so like in Arthur C Doyle's novella, The detective and the criminal genius engage in one final confrontation atop a high place…only this time the villain will win, as the hero will never rise from the fall"
He then used his powers to see where the knight was in the city; he saw he was only twelve blocks away.
He had dove down in the middle of the fighting on Springs Street and Oak Ave to save the cops and citizens who had been pinned down by the fighting and the motlif cocktails and tear gas canisters.
Among them was Sergeant Vanderez, using his gun to take down those he knew where dangerous criminals or use his makeshift bat in defense if any affected people among the affected criminals were dangerously close to him and the people him and his squad looking to tear their heads off.
Vanderez, what a fool that man is in thinking he and the few good cops who hadn't been affected or turned chicken like the corrupt cops had to try and save the city from the city's people's sanity committing suicide.
He bet his teenaged daughter was going nuts at home, wondering where he was in all of this chaos.
What was her name, Rene?
Once he had the shadow knight killed he would go and find her and make her watch her father be torn apart by this city wide mob that was under his control…her screams would be satisfying. Vanderez had been such a thorn in his side in the past before the shadow knight…and if she turned out to be pretty, he might keep her…as a pet.
He then got an idea and gave an order to the army of affected people bellow, "forget the cops and citizens… Kill the one in the strange get up….KILL HIM!"
SPINGS STREET AND OAK AVE:
The area between these two streets was in a blaze of total anarchy and warfare, street battles and fires and smoke both by the fires raging around the city and by the hundreds of tear gas and knock out gas that was being used by both sides of the conflict.
He could also hear the gunfire from the south end as a second unit of cops, soldiers and riot cops engaged crazed members of the red death gang.
This day alone during the 18 hour long battle to save lunar city since the gas attack, Sergeant Vanderez had seen every gang in the city among those affected, save the Night skulls.
He hadn't seen any of them at all.
He bet they were immune to the gas somehow like how 48% of the city seemed to be.
He ducked behind a wrecked squad car as one of the cops under the influence of the gas in the melee took aim at him.
The bullet struck his buddy Charlie Andrews, a rookie but a good cop in the side as he was trying to escort one of the rescued people caught in the anarchy to the safety of the armored trucks.
He pulled his buddy to the relative safety of the burnt out squad car, as bullets flew over the car from the west side and shouts and screams filled the air.
He then realized the red death gang members with their guns had made it to their side of the street.
He saw some officers were trying to get to him among the hail of bullets, but he waved them away "GO, GET OUT OF HERE WHILE YOU STILL CAN!"
He watched as his brothers and sisters in bluish black left with the citizens in the armored riot cars, leaving for safety, while leaving him behind.
"Good luck" he wished under his breath, and then while checking to make sure Charlie was okay drew his pistol and faced the army of affected citizens, cops, soldiers and criminals.
He could see what was remaining of the soldier's squad that was with his unit fighting to the south, but he could see they were being overwhelmed.
He thought of his little girl Rene, His little baby son who he had left in Rene' in charge of when he left the house to deal with the terrorist attacks yesterday. He prayed she would be alright if this reign of terror ended…if it ended.
He thought of all the people who might be in danger throughout the city, all the families all the innocent people…caught in the brain of crimes trap.
He also grimaced at the thought of any of those categories being dead.
The only way to get him and Charlie out of here to safety was to gun down the affected people…god help him, he didn't have any choice.
"Forgive me Regina" he prayed to his wife, "forgive me"
And he leapt up from the car and took aim at the onslaught before him.
But before he could even pull the trigger, a familiar mass of shadows flung through the air over his head and landed in the middle of the melee.
The soldiers and the cops all watched as some kind of black fog or mist struck and enveloped them all.
They all watched in surprise as some kind of invisible hands in the black fog seemed to grab the affected and toss them through the air, beat them unconscious, grab their weapons and break them, and trap all of the attackers in some kind of crystal cocoon up to their necks in flashes of light that erupted from the fog.
The soldiers watched in shock, Vanderez watched in joy as the fog suddenly shrank and flew through the air until it landed a couple of feet before them, taking the form of a man in a trench coat, metal mask, a slouch hat and had attached to his belt a gun and a katana.
Vanderez then saw the mystery vigilante walk foreword to face the army of affected that could be seen standing down the street leading to…Finch Tower?
Maybe the knight was right all along.
Vanderez remembered that meeting he had with him the night before.
The knight had abducted him, he told him that Dorian Finch was the brain of crime and that he was going to attack the city at midnight… he (the vigilante) also didn't seem to be looking to good…he looked like he had swallowed poison.
He didn't understand why the shadow knight trusted him to deliver this information to anyone who could have used it in that amount of time to do something to stop this…especially since his chief didn't believe the tip off enough to tell the D.A…because it came from a vigilante.
If the knight was as smart as he seemed to be he would have known he couldn't have stopped this by just delivering his witness statement to the powers that be.
Maybe it was an act that was done out of desperation and sickness, Vanderez didn't know…but looking at the knight, the man who he was going to have to arrest for breaking the law by interfering with the cities lawmen's affairs, and for questioning into the events of yesterday…and who might be the answer to stopping this crisis, seemed to be better than usual.
The shadow knight turned and looked over at Vanderez.
Vanderez almost expected for the knight to chastise him or shake his head in disgust at the vigilante's recognition of him, but he didn't.
The shadow knight instead nodded in acknowledgement.
Vanderez then understood why, he knew that the knight knew that Vanderez couldn't have done anything to stop this, and he didn't blame him for it.
The knight then walked away to face the army around Finch Tower.
He heard the shadow knight's voice and laughter echo across the air like a ghost, "I'm coming for you Dorian, the brain of crime is going down, TONIGHT!"
As the last glimmer of sunlight faded away as the sunset ended and night fell upon the ravaged city, a great roar erupted from the army of affected facing the shadow knight.
"KILL HIM!" they all said in unison.
A wave of people numbering in the thousands charged down the street at the shadow knight.
Who if you might ask speaking of which just simply stood there in the middle of the street calmly lifting up his arms.
When his arms had reached the top, erupted and became consumed with glowing blazing energy like fire.
Like he was summoning something like a wizard, he flung his hands to his side.
Just like that the shadows from the buildings on either side of the shadow came to life and stretched out and fused with each other, forming a wall of shadows.
There was a similar sound coming from all around the tower area as more walls formed on the connecting streets, until there was a big wall of shadows, encircling the tower area, trapping the huge army of affected and the tower where the brain was inside.
Looking out at the wall, separating the soldiers and the police from the new battle that had begun, Vanderez sighed as he understood what the knight was doing.
This was his battle, and he wasn't going to let anyone endanger their lives fighting with him, no matter who they were…police or soldiers.
"No one innocent dies, no criminals who aren't heartless monsters die and escape true justice… not by my hand they won't!" Vanderez muttered, echoing the line shadow knight had gave him the night before when he asked why the knight didn't just shoot the night skull who gleefully tried to shot Vanderez, "besides…that punk didn't know, and wouldn't care about what I know about you…." The knight had looked at him that night with humanity in that masks eyeholes, instead of anger and vengeance "your wife wouldn't want your death to lead to you daughter growing up as an orphan….and neither do I"
How someone could have compassion for a stranger and his family, despite that man being an enemy, told to hunt him down by the city council, but still care what happened to him and his family regardless is what made Vanderez opinion of the shadow knight conflicted.
He knew what the knight was doing was wrong, vigilantism, but he also knew he was doing well against criminals even the police couldn't catch with his law-breaking.
In a way he hated, and respected that.
But tonight, he decided to give that shadow knight the best he could offer, all he could to help in some way…with his blessing.
"Go get em, kid!" he yelled, "go get em!"
At that second, back up forces and medical aid appeared.
They all took a look at the containment wall that was now there, and then went around tending to the wounded, while half of the back-up got back in their cars to go help in some other fight in the city.
Vanderez thought about his daughter and then looked back at where the knight had vanished behind his wall he had created.
He was a hero after all…but that didn't change anything.
Vanderez knew he had his job to do when this was all over, but he didn't look forward to having to hunt down the shadow knight again.
If it came down to it, he might be forced to by the council to do it out of fear of being fired and having to find a job in a place owned by the city council, who wouldn't take to kindly to a cop who "betrayed" the "people" and he would end up trying to find a new line of work to make ends meet.
Before the medics could have a look at him, he and all the remaining cops and soldiers around him heard some shouts from the rooftops where the wall was.
Vanderez joined the crowd trying to find the source of the shouts, when he found the source he planted his face in his palm in disgust.
Up on the roof looking past the wall and filming what was happening on the other side were two reporters from the city news network, complete with cameras.
They must have been up there the whole time on those roofs "safest spot", recording everything that had been going on down here, and now they were recording the knight's fight on the other side.
Were these people crazy!?
"Jerry, tell me you are getting this, this is Pulitzer material: Strange vigilante fights affected horde during lunar's siege" one of them asked fervently.
"I'm getting it, I'm getting it…." The cameraman nodded, "I don't know what it is I'm getting down there but I'm getting it"
"Well keep getting it, were not leaving till we've got all we can get….the whole world needs to see this!"
He was right, they were crazy.