Chapter 3: Bravery amongst Disaster
My father drove his monster truck down the streets of lunar, leaving the battles behind him, his two family members and the people he had in the trucks back followed by a convoy of evacuee trucks heading for the residential section of the island city.
Rachel was the one who made the decision there to turn the radio on to the only news station that was operational in the city at the time….the news station where those two yahoos on the roof worked at.
"We're getting live coverage from one of our "ground boys" in the lunar city riots, tell the viewers and listeners what you see down there" the news anchorman said on the radio.
"Yes, yes. As you can see the streets are in absolute chaos. This is an anarchist's wet dream that the city has become engulfed in. Thousands of people, criminals and soldiers have taken to the streets under the influence of the gasses that envelope the city as we speak. Following the NOW revealed kingpin of crime, a.k.a the brain of crimes revealing video speech 18 hours ago where he revealed to us all who he was, and ordered the affected to "burn the city to the ground". Obviously he revealed his identity believing lunar would live long to reveal the betrayal of one of its most prominent weapons industrialist. The battles against the affected have been brutal and bloody. So far the police and the army are holding them back, but I'd wager it would take about two hours for the horde of affected people to reach the safe haven forming in the residential sector of the city. There have been conformations of a military blockade forming around the residential, planning to blow the bridges, sealing the rest of the city off from it… but based on how shallow the river is that separates that island from the rest of the city…this reporter states his belief that the "zombies" will simply wade across to the rescued un-affected" The reporter then stopped, Rachel figured he was pausing dramatically "but I have astonishing news of another reveal. The apparent truth to the city's latest urban legend, that urban myth of the one called the living shadow. The supposed super powered person or ghost that has been terrorizing the underworld. We have just witnessed him in action and are recording him fighting the horde of affected citizens after saving a platoon and squad that was in danger of being killed by them. Then, get this…he created a wall entrapping him, Finch tower and the affected off from the rest of the city with some kind of wall made from some kind of substance he conjured or something.
He is down there taking down the affected, with no visible casualty's; making his way to Finch tower…we believe he's going to fight Dorian…." The feed dropped as the truck went under the bridge.
"It's him" thought Jeremy.
Then suddenly he remembered something the knight had said before this all had happened, to get the only occupant of a building in old town out and to safety.
He remembered where the address was, it wasn't far from the bridge to the residential.
He remembered what the shadow knight had said; she was a kind, elderly woman who he (the knight) had set up there so she had a home till he found one more suitable for her.
Someone the knight said might know where Kagae was.
Army experience in the war in Iraq had taught him about triage, but life as a cop had also taught him to "serve and protect"
"I'll see you at the house, I'm off" my cousin said jumping off the back of the truck, rolling to a stop then taking off sprinting in the direction of the address, despite my father's calls for him to come back.
My father was then forced by the army and the coming armies of affected to press on.
FINCH TOWER: 1st FLOOR
An army of at least 200 night skulls, unaffected by the gas due to the antidote, stood by guarding the first floor of the building as instructed by Dorian.
They watched with no emotion at the carnage that roamed outside, in fact the whole time they all had been laying bets on how long until the city was theirs.
But they all had been alerted to the prescience of the wall that had now formed around the towers outer reaches, cutting them all inside some kind of cage.
Before any of them could panic, Dorian as the brain of crime came through on their headphones.
"Listen up idiots, the knight is alive and he's coming here. But after quickly thinking about it the brain of crime has deduced why he's still breathing. Make no mistake, this time he dies. But I need you to keep him at bay, hell weave his way through those effected he trapped in this circle with us soon. No doubt he'll also notice my "building insurance" as well so the only way to get to me will be to get up the stairs of this building, which I haven't "insured" unfortunately, a little oversight. So keep him from the stairs as long as you can….if you fail, well….it won't be the kind of downsizing you'd expect!"
Gulping, the night skulls composed themselves and switched on the Night vision they had been given, as floor by floor the lights went out until the floor Dorian was on was the only one alight.
At that second, thunder struck, and the storm above the city finally began.
OLD TOWN APARTMENT: the old woman, Sarah McMullan had just finished boarding up her windows when she heard a knock at her door.
Then she heard a sound at her door, a pounding sound.
She grabbed her bat and prepared herself, she knew that the barricade wasn't strong enough but it was the best she could do with what she had.
"Sarah McMullan, it's the police! I'm here to escort you to safety!" came the voice of my cousin Jeremy behind the door.
"How do I know I can trust you?" she demanded.
There was a pause, "how do I know if I can trust you!?" Jeremy asked, "I was told there was an old mute woman living here"
"It's a recent development" Sarah answered back, "who sent you?"
"the guy who put you here, I don't know his real name he wears a trench coat and a mask and hat, carries two weapons" Jeremy said through the door.
"that's the guy" Sarah said now looking through the doors eye hole, seeing who it was at the door, she then recognized it was one of the people shadow knight had said she could trust.
"Besides, if I was one of the affected, I wouldn't be talking right now, I'd be mindlessly barging into this room after you!" Jeremy finished.
"Okay, just give me a sec to de barricade the door!" Sarah said.
Suddenly the couch was pushed back by the door which had been forced open by Jeremy lunging at the door.
Out of instinct Sarah took a swing at Jeremy with the bat.
"Ow! Jeeze!" Jeremy said rubbing the side of his right arm which had been hit by the arm.
"Sorry!" Sarah said apologetically, "you should have warned me!"
"I didn't have time, I can hear the gangs of affected from this far away, and they're coming!" Jeremy said worriedly, "we can make it to the bridge if we hurry, because I don't think I can carry you across a river"
"I can run just fine young man!" Sarah said in anger, "I'm old but I'm not rusty!"
"Yeah but I'm faster!" Jeremy said in frustration.
Before Sarah knew it Jeremy grabbed her and flung her over his shoulders and carried her down the stairs.
And out onto the streets.
"HEY!" Sarah McMullen shouted in protest, at this undignified approach, but once outside she then saw the coming army of affected.
"You can sue me later lady, Right now I'm trying to make sure I don't get us both killed…by trying to be a hero!" Jeremy yelled back to her as he sprinted as fast as he could toward the bridge leading to the Residential Island…hoping it wasn't blown already.
FINCH TOWER COURTYARD: I had plowed into the first wave of affected that had charged at me when Dorian had telepathically ordered them to kill me with ease.
They were an army of normal humans against a supercharged superhuman, although they didn't know what I knew.
My powers, new and old had a limited window of use before they hit zero % and went into dormancy to fully integrate with my body. When that happened all I would have left would be my healing factor, my mind, super strength and my weapons (sans the shadow energy charge) left as my only devices to use to fight.
I had just spent almost an hour and a half trying to fight through this battle without seriously harming anyone.
In a brief second of battle lull I used my shadow vision for only a second to scan the tower.
I could see on the top floor of the building, bellow the construction floors, was Dorian and with him was the D.A and his daughter.
I also saw on the second floor and army of night skulls, obviously sent there to stall me… knowing Dorian still had the refined mutagen containers, as well as the last Healing mutagen…what I needed to cure myself of my tainted mutated blood…to kill my own "Mr. Hyde" problem.
I could hear the Evil Dark Me's voice pushing me, trying to steer me to the side I refused to go.
"Stop stunning these people, kill a few and you'll get to Dorian faster. You'll have your revenge quicker. Or better yet just shadow walk up to the building's top floor and get this over with"
"Shut up!" I screamed internally, "Dorian is evil but he is no idiot….and there's the proof!"
In my vision I then saw the same bombs that the brain had used to keep me from shadow walking into my father's tower when he had seized it the night before, if they detected any movement by a shadow user using the shadow realm to get in they would blow, and Dorian had rigged the entire building all the way up to the floor Dorian was on.
But I could still get in like I had before; Dorian hadn't been able to find a defense against living shadow form, a form that could travel along the walls like a shadow and travel through the air ducts like the very air itself can… and also fit through any small crack in any door, like the security door on the second floor.
But I could see the internal workings of the building, and the air vents were all located above the second floor on the third…and the stairwell was the only other place that wasn't rigged to blow by the dark bombs.
I could also see the inner workings of the building, I could see to my utter gladness, the inside of the buildings structure support, and had attached to it, the answer to my theory on how this gas cloud had been staying in lunar and never seemed to dissipate… the structure inside the tower was hiding a huge Mutagen distiller in the basement, which brought out the distilled mutagen in its mind control gas form and distributed out from a sprayer covertly disguised as a radio pole on the top of the tower.
That explained how the gas was getting a continuous amount of work time on the city, the gas attack the other night was used to mask the distributor's activation so no one would notice the majority of gas coming from finch tower, giving the military a target to strike target to end the gas attack.
Now I knew how to get rid of the gas, but in order to free the people from the gasses effects, I needed to take out the controller.
The one called Dorian finch, the Brain of Crime because this gas was linked to his shadow powers.
But for my other plan to work I had to take these people out right here away from the tower where they will be safe from my plan, then I would have to fight the Night skulls using as little powers as I could to conserve energy, and also steal a radio communicator from one of the affected soldiers in the melee.
I then braced myself as the rest of the affected people surrounding the tower charged at me down the street.
Using my improvised fighting techniques I quickly mowed them down, a huge pile of unconscious people was starting to appear behind me.
In the middle of it all, I managed to pick pocket the radio communicator from one of the affected soldiers in the melee.
When I was sure I could spare some energy for this, and since I was short on time for saving lunar and curing myself… I activated the Cloak power.
Like living smoke than a shadow I exploded and enveloped the remaining affected, in a shroud of darkness, then I let lose my shadow gas ability.
As the affected people coughed, and sputtered before falling into a dreamless sleep I chuckled with my dark voice, "nighty, nighty! Heh heh heh!"
I then reverted back to my flesh and blood form, and before I could begin to reach for the communicator I had pilfered, I heard a gun cock behind me, and a female voice utter "freeze!"
Realizing I had missed one, and it was a female L.C.P.D officer, I rolled my eyes then cocked my head so that she only saw one of my masks eyes, but one was enough as I activated my mesmeric power.
Within a second of foolishly looking into my eye, the female officer was rendered into a trance; looking at me slack jawed, and her arms growing limp as her mind filled with my eyes invisible energy, I then waited until she dropped her gun.
Shooting my hand out, I manipulated her own shadow, and like a constrictor catching its prey I wrapped her in a miasmic cocoon emanating from her own shadow until I was sure that when she woke up and resumed Dorian's order to kill me…she wouldn't be going anywhere.
Having won the first round of the battle for lunar city, and my soul for not killing the innocent like I was being tempted to by my dark half, I activated the communicator to the frequency I knew the Army used…having memorized it from last night.
OUTER LUNAR, PALISADES:
"GENERAL!" one of the communications Tech's called to General Arcane, "we're getting a signal. Someone's using our frequency to call us"
"It might be the terrorists wanting demands, patch me through!" General Arcane ordered, grateful that now they were getting a call from inside the city, hoping that he might be wrong and it was one of his boys calling from inside the city instead.
"This is General Arcane of the Defense Unit S.L.E.E.T…" General Arcane began.
"Just tell me if this is the army or not" came a voice that General Arcane didn't know, but it wasn't one of his boys.
"This is" Arcane assured, "I believe you're our mystery terrorists leader, you don't sound like a F.E.I.N.D agent so I'll go on the assumption you're a rogue. What are your demands?"
There was a laugh on the line, "I'm not the terrorist who caused this, but I can tell you how to end this"
"How can I know to trust you, how do I know you're not one of them?" asked arcane.
"Can you afford not to believe me?" the voice asked again, "right now half the city is affected by the gas and their moving onto the non- affected people's only place of refuge in the residential area of the island. In an hour or less those people will be left with no refuge and fall prey to the affected like hundreds already have and then the leader of this madness will have them all kill each other, and that's just square one… when he's done here he'll help some terrorist Organization with a similar attack on Washington D.C, Hundreds are dead or dying general, hundreds more will die if you don't listen and do what I tell you too. I don't want their blood on my hands and I can tell by your voice you're the kind of man who doesn't want that either. Are you listening?"
"Yes I am. Continue" General arcane answered.
"This gas is a mind control agent that was designed for this express purpose. It was released in secret with the multiple gas explosions over the city. These explosions were done by exploding canisters holding the same gas hidden all over the city by the brain of crime. The gas is potent but can only travel two blocks worth of travel before it dissipates and becomes useless. So the gas attacks yesterday was used to mask the true source of the gas that envelopes the city. a distribution system installed in Finch tower which has been distributing from a tank built under the tower holding the gas, enough to blanket this city for two weeks, time this city doesn't have" the voice's logic started to make sense.
"What do you suggest" General Arcane demanded "air strike the building? For all we know innocent people are in there or around it, Mr. Finch one of our country's best weapons suppliers inside as well!"
"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you!" the voice growled, "and don't worry about triage, I have made it so there is no one in the area of destruction save for me and the brain of crime and his terrorists"
Arcane told his tech squad to bring up thermal imaging of the Tower, and to their surprise they found the voice was right, the tower was in the center of the clouds currents, and thermal imaging showed only 203 images inside the tower, 3500 people a good distance away and one heat image in the middle of the street. Arcane figured that was their mystery caller.
"I'll deal with the brain, you deal with the tower! Use a guided missile or an UCAV I don't care which, destroy the tower, or the city dies" the voice said desperately.
"Fine, I'll trust you…seeing as I have no other option" arcane said finally believing me.
"Good…" the voice acknowledged, "you made the right choice, now I have to do the hard part"
"You know who he is?" asked Arcane, "the brain of crime? That terrorist video was scrambled on the airwaves outside of lunar city."
"When the rubble clears, you'll have the brain…" the voice paused, "what's left of him"
General arcane looked at the city of lunar, wondering if he really was making the right choice, then grabbed his squawk phone "air strike on the Finch industries tower, A.S.A.P!"
Knowing what I had to do, I switched off the communicator and looked back at the unconscious behind me, thought for a second, then walked straight toward the Tower, assured that they were safe from the building.
Ready for round two and hoping I could do this before my time ran out…on both accounts.
My father and his truck full of refugees from the hospital came to a stop on the banks on the other side of the bridge, looking out at the city from the safety of the Residential.
The people from the hospital that he had loaded into the back of the truck were being loaded into the M.A.S.H trucks.
My father and Rachel looked out from where they were at, at all the charges that now lined the George Washington Bridge.
They could hear the sirens as the countdown began, soldiers started to usher them all away from the area as a picket line of soldiers began to form along the outer sides of the beach, preparing for the eventual breach by way of the affected wading across the shallow river.
They may have been fighting a losing battle, but it was all they could do while the hoped that the outside forces could figure out something, before the city was dead by the chaos.
At least half of the city was now on this side of the city, poor and rich alike. Banding together, cramped in the houses that were already overflowing.
Rachel wondered if anyone was staying at the mansion during this time of crisis.
She also hoped her brother was still alive in all of this.
She also hoped her cousin Jeremy was alright too.
She began to follow her father when something caught her eye on the other shore.
There was Jeremy, holding an elderly woman over his shoulders, making a beeline for the bridge, with thousands of affected citizens behind him, running like hell!
"Wait, Wait!" my sister hollered at the soldier ushering her away to safety, "there's someone running on the bridge look!" she pointed to my cousin who was now crossing the bridge with the horde closing in.
The soldier then saw what she was pointing to, then grabbed his phone "hold it, hold it! There are civilians on that bridge!"
On the radio the sergeant heard the demolition squad leader curse, "I already fired the charge!"
Two big flashed erupted from the bridge, Rachel turned away in shock as the bridge exploded and collapsed.
Two large clouds of smoke rising from the place the explosions hit.
On the other side of the river the horde of affected people had stopped, looking mindlessly over at the un-affected people on the far shore.
As if waiting for further instructions… and they were right.
My sister Rachel, followed by my father, raced down to the exit of the bridge…fearing the worse.
But then she soon let out a sigh of relief.
There was her cousin Jeremy, coughing due to the smoke from the bridge and leading the elderly lady to the safety of the medics, who were also checking him for any injuries and giving him some oxygen.
She rushed forward and embraced her cousin.
Her father following after her, after a quick check-up my father lead my sister, my cousin and Sarah McMullen back to his truck, heading back to the mansion.
Sarah was surprised, that my father was being so kind to her. But she felt guilty for almost getting Jeremy killed.
"I'm sorry…" she stuttered, shyly and embarrassed "I'm sorry for getting you in such trouble"
"Hey…I got ME in trouble remember" Jeremy reminded her, "besides, it's part of my job as a cop"
"You should have told us" Rachel said angrily at Jeremy, "we could have handled this faster with dad's truck if you had told us"
"She's right" my father said, "but what's done is done. You did good nephew!"
Jeremy smiled, acknowledging his Uncle's approval at his selfless act of bravery.
"Look…" Sarah McMullen said kindly, "I thank you for saving me, and I than you all for letting me stay in your home during this time of crisis but don't worry. When it's over I won't be a burden for you long."
"Well I disagree with you there…" my father said, surprising Sarah "I don't think working at my home is a burden"
"Excuse me?" she asked in shock at what she had just heard.
"We haven't had a housekeeper in ages, but we have the need for it and we have a small cottage for one… if you're interested you can have me set you up with the job" my father said while he was driving.
"I…I…I'll take it" she said finally finding her voice, "I assure you Mr. Kishi, I'm quite capable of working in a mansion. I once worked in Buckingham palace for the queen… I kid you not…at least I think that's what people say anyway"
"Yes I know you did, I recognize you from a photo in "lifestyles of the rich and famous" my father said, "don't act so surprised I know that Mrs. McMullen. I have a photographic memory. And please call me Martin when off duty, it's what I ask of all my friends…and family"
Sarah was close to tears, but then she remembered something "wait…Mr. Kishi" she said.
"Yes, what is it?" my father asked.
"You wouldn't happen to have a son would you, with white hair?" she asked.
My father hit the brakes and the car skidded to a stop.
Rachel was faster, "you've see Kagae? Where did you see him?"
"In east town, around a Mc Donald's… he was running from some thugs that looked like skulls"
"Night skulls!" Jeremy said in recognition.
"I tried calling the police, but I didn't have my voice back until 18 hours ago. Then the city was in chaos, no one to answer the phone. I'm sorry, that's all I know" Sarah said to my family.
There was silence, "it's not your fault Mrs. McMullen" my sister Rachel assured.
"That's one thing I don't get, you were supposed to be mute, my "informant" told me you were mute" Jeremy asked her.
"Your informant only gave you half-truths" Sarah lied, knowing no one would believe the truth behind the reason she could speak again, "I had laryngitis, I really couldn't talk for a while"
"Okay…" Jeremy nodded his head, as they all entered the drive to my family's mansion which had hundreds of people camped on its grounds, "that sounds realistic, sorry for doubting you"
"Not a problem" Sarah said, "Master Kishi's nephew"
KISHI MANSION: COMMON ROOM:
Despite feeling for the people out there, my mom originally only allowed so many inside the house. She didn't want a mob of people she didn't know inside the house where they could steal something or wreck something. But she soon relented and now the house was half full of refugees.
She had her house staff attending to the needs of the refugee's, while she watched with her sister in law, Jeremy's wife the footage on the bridge.
She watched with Margaret and little Kassie as the bridges exploded, they could see on the one side the army, and the other the affected people.
She covered kessie eyes when the explosions happened.
She then saw the footage of the news of "civilians escape bridge explosion" she then saw the unmistaken sight of her husband, Jeremy Markson covered in soot helping an older lady cross the bridge.
She then heard the door to the mansion open, after the two civilians guarding the door where assured by one of the female working staff that the people outside were the owners of the house.
In walked Rachel and my father.
My father was almost bowled over by my mother as she leapt at him, embracing him, thankful he was alive.
Rachel embraced both of her parents, my mother Machiko whispered in my father's ear "don't you ever scare me like that again!"
"I'm sorry my love, but I didn't have time to go over this plan with you" my father apologized.
"He got me home mom" Rachel added.
"And more…" My father added, "Mrs. McMullen. I would like you to meet Mrs. Kishi"
"It's nice to meet you" Sarah bowed in respect; my mother blushed embarrassed at the formality that the street woman was showing her, like she was royalty instead of billionaires, humanitarian.
My father began to introduce her, and when she heard that my father thought about hiring Sarah, she welcomed her into our home herself.
"Any word on Kagae?" asked my mother.
"Not much Machiko" my father shook his head solemnly, "not much"
everyone present nodded too, they had all agreed to not tell my mother that the last time I had been seen was being chased by the brains night skulls…she was worried enough already.
She then turned to my cousin, trying to stave off her worry "I saw what you did Jeremy, it was brave, helping Sarah here to safety like that. Were you scarred?"
"Yeah!" my cousin admitted, "thought Margaret was going to kill me!"
Suddenly from out of nowhere, Margaret slapped Jeremy upside the head.
"you were right, you crazy cop!" she said sternly, before embracing her husband in tear soaked eyes, then she embraced him in a passionate kiss "you scarred me half to death when I found out you were out there, and then that bridge…"
"I'm okay, I'm okay...Ssshhhh" my cousin soothed his wife, and then kissed her back.
"EWWWWWWW!" came a cry of disgust from Kessie who had been watching the whole event.
"One day that's going to be you little missy" Rachel said laughing, pointing to Kessie's parents who were ignoring their Childs jeers.
"Not anytime soon auntie" Kessie shook her head, "boys are gross!"
That lead to laughter from all around, "sooner than you think" my mother added, "sooner than you think"