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Under the Hood
By Soboscribe (owner & operator of Surge Pack)

    The Longbow agents set up a perimeter to cordon off the crisis zone that has arisen in Siren’s Call. A bus of tourists has been high-jacked and is being held hostage by the Council. Marksmen, Grenade, and Fire troopers surround the bus as the Vortex Cor Leonis Adjutant that has come to be known as the Black Hood makes his demands.

“You Longbows have fifteen minutes left to get that no good hero Dark Cowl here before you start loosing tourist.” Yells Black Hood as he shakes his fist at the agents.

“Man, these guys are not playing around.” Says Agent Morestone, the lead agent on scene. “But sir, we have no way to even locate Dark Cowl, it’s like he is completely off all tracking and monitoring systems. Let alone get him here.” States an agent. “Getting here was no problem defusing the situation might take longer.” Comes from the shadows behind the Longbows. “Wow! How long have you been here?” asks Morestone as an athletic built man dressed in a black spandex body suit complete with full face mask and half gloves, steps into view.

“Long enough to know that I better confront Black Hood before this turns into a homicide scene.”

    “Bring me one o the hostages.” Orders Black Hood. The Council trooper obeys and quickly drags a ten year old boy off the bus. “You only have a few more minutes before the streets start to run red with innocent blood,” shouts Black Hood. The Vortex Cor Leonis towers over the boy. His over-sized muscles ripple under his uniform as Black Hood down at the boy.

“What a shame that the coward will not be here in time to save you boy.” “I… I’m no… not afraid of you.” Stammers the boy, “Dark Cowl is the best.”

Black Hood grabs the boy by the arm and lifts him up until they are face to face. “Let tell you something about your so-called hero. He is a coward, a traitor and when I get done with him a discredited fugitive of the law.” Sneers Black Hood.

“I think you first better defeat me before you make such claims.”  “Dark Cowl!” yells the boy as Black Hood drop him the near seven feet to the ground.

    “Okay Terrell I’m here. Now let the people go.” “Oh no Sarge not until you’re humiliated and left broken.” The two men square off as the rest of the people are taken off the bus by gun point. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time traitor.” “I am no traitor Terrell. I just lost my way for a short time.” Says Dark Cowl as he dodges a roundhouse kick from Black Hood. Dark Cowl springs and lands two upper-cut blows to Black Hood, one to the stomach, the other to his jaw. The Black Hood staggers back and lands a glancing blow to Dark Cowl’s left shoulder.

“You could never take me on one on one Terrell even before the modifications.” Black Hood crouches and grabs a handful of gravel. As Dark Cowl prepares to attack, Black Hood blinds the hero with the gravel. Black Hood throws a few jabs at the Cowl and drives him back. Dark Cowl counters the blows the best he can and escapes with minimum damage.

“Come on Dark Cowl you can take him!” “Yeah show these Council goons what a Paragon hero is made of.” And other cheers come from the hostages as they witness the fight.

“Stay back! He’s mine!’ orders Black Hood to one of troopers, as the Hood is rocked by a volley of kicks and punches from the enhanced strength of the hero.
The Council trooper quickly lowers his gun.

“These people think you are some kind of hero. They should know the truth about you Sarge. How you are a traitor and a failure to the Council!”

Dark Cowl stops cold as he sees the look of shock and disbelief on the faces of the tourists. “That’s right Sarge, why don’t you take off that mask and show these fodder what a coward look like.” Taunts Black Hood.

    An animalistic growl escapes from Dark Cowl as he tenses and attacks with reckless abandon. The Black Hood quickly finds himself being pummeled by his adversary. Black Hood wraps his arm around the neck of a woman from the bus as he stumbles to his feet.

“Tell me it’s not true Dark Cowl, tell me you weren’t with the Council.” Sobs the young boy.

“Okay Terrell, you win. Just don’t hurt the woman.” Says Dark Cowl as he pulls off his mask.

    Dark Cowl reveals his face that is riddled with pits and scars. “Happy Terrell, now let her go!” “First tell them the story, tell them traitor how our unit was trapped behind the Rikti Lines and we were left for dead!” shouts Black Hood.

“Yeah, we were abandoned, injured and looking death in the face in the form of an alien army.  That’s when the Council saved us.” Says Dark Cowl as he stares at the faces of the hostages. “Sure, the Council saves us and promised us greatness in return for our obedience.” Dark Cowl steps closer to Black Hood. “But that’s before the treatments, the brainwashing, that disfigured us and turned us into freaks. You call me a traitor and a failure Terrell. It’s you who has failed his country and these people!” “You, you’re the failure Sarge, and a traitor. You turned your back on the only ones who cared. You betrayed the Council and for that you’ll pay.”

    Dark Cowl takes a step closer and looks up to the masked face of his old comrade. Black Hood tenses his arm and tightens around the woman’s neck, watching Dark Cowl for any sudden movements. In his peripheral vision Dark Cowl catches movement on both sides of him. The hero hangs his head in defeat as the Hood slowly relaxes his grip on his hostage as he feels victory is only moments away.

    Suddenly Dark Cowl throws his mask into the face of Black Hood. In one fluid motion Dark Cowl lands a nerve punch to the arm holding the woman. The hero grabs the woman out of the Hood’s numbed arm and plants a snap kick into the knee of Black Hood, breaking it. As he spins the woman behind him, Dark Cowl grabs Black Hood by the throat and throws him into the path of flame that erupts from the gun of the Council trooper. Black Hood screams in pain as he is engulfed in flames.

    Total pandemonium ensues as the Longbow agents launch into action. Within seconds, which seems like ages to the hostages, the Council members are subdued and are being teleported into custody. “Well that should wrap this up.” Says Dark Cowl to Morestone. “This guy should provide your agency with a lot of intel on the Council’s operations in this area.” States Dark Cowl as he turns the now unconscious and de-hooded Dark Hood over.

“Uhg, the Council sure do a number on their own. No wonder they were those hoods.” Exclaims a Longbow agent as she takes in the horrifically scarred features of Dark Hood. There goes up a cheer of gratitude from the tourists as Dark Cowl turns to leave.

“Where do you think you’re going Cowl? We have a lot of questions unanswered about your dealings with the Council.” States a tanker Longbow agent as he blocks off Cowl’s exit.

“Leave him alone! He’s no crook, he saved our lives!” yells the boy. “I work for Pinckey Law, I’ll gladly represent you in any case the Longbow wish to bring against you for free.” Says the woman Dark Cowl saved from Black Hood as she presses a business card into is hand and kisses his cheek.

“Black Hood hinted that you two were regular army, I believe you called him Terrell.” “That’s right, Cprl. Thomas Terrell of the 81st infantry.”

Morestone barks and order at some agents the respond by heading to the command post.

    “Well what are we going to do with him?” asks the tanker agent as he prepares to slap the trans-cuffs on the hero. The two agents return to Morestone with a print out in hand. “Hold up agent Brickhouse, this report states that a unit of the 81st is still M.I.A. and presumed dead. As far as I know the only survivor of that unit is Cprl. Thomas Terrell now known as the Vortex Cor Leonis Adjutant, the Black Hood of the criminal organization, the Council. Would you say that is accurate Sergeant Jason Norsand?” a surprised look crosses Dark Cowl’s face as the agent uses his real name.

“And as far as I can see he is the only survivor. Let him go Brickhouse.” “But sir, he belonged to the Council, he is a fugitive of the law.” Protests agent Brickhouse. “All I see before me Brickhouse, is one of Paragon’s finest heroes who has not turned his back on this city as well as this country, even if that country turned its back on him. Show this hero the respect he deserves agents.” Says agent Morestone as he hands Dark Cowl his mask. Another cheer erupts, this time from the tourist and agents for the hero Dark Cowl.

The End

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