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Part 3

    Life in the Ziggursky Prison, dubbed The Zigg, was very difficult. Hardened career criminals were in every cell. A riot seemed to break out daily, if not hourly. Life for a convicted former hero was even more difficult. Many of the inmates were put there by Darkeshade personally. He had to make a name for himself by taking part in and sometimes even starting some riots. He had been unable to use the demons power for many years but had worked very hard to stay in shape to become a physical force in the block. They had nicknamed him Darkey to mock his former hero identity. Darkey had toughened up significantly and the inmates had taken to him as a leader; following him in many situations.

    One night all the lights went out and the red emergency lights came on. All that was heard was the clank of the power dampeners go off. All at once the cell door locks began to open automatically. Over a bullhorn a forceful voice began to order the inmates, “Everyone out…Lord Recluse has decreed that all enemies of Paragon are friends of Arachnos and are to be freed and transported to the Isles. You will find Flyers out in the yard waiting for you.”

    The Soldier was dressed in some sort of armored uniform. On every level there were dozens of the soldiers directing inmates out the door and beating guards. As Darkey exited, he wondered where Freedom Corp was as the First soldier continued to repeat his announcement. Freedom Corp was an organization of heroes designed to assist the regular police force in superhuman attacks. As Darkey exited and walked into the cold night he saw Arachnos forces fighting Freedom Corp fighters and winning. The Freedom Corp fighters were no match for the overpowering Arachnos forces. There was mayhem in the yard as inmates were fighting inmates trying to clamor for the Flyers that would take them to freedom. Darkey had a feeling of his inner power however he was unable to throw fire anymore…instead the demons fire now shrouded him in a shield of fire that protected him and burned those near. Darkey made his way onto a Flyer and was dropped off at an Arachnos Fort on Mercy Isle. There Darkey learned that Lord Recluse believed they were Destined Ones that were being trapped in the Zigg and by freeing them they would shed a new light on the rise of Arachnos and bring about the end of the Heroes reign in Paragon City.

    Darkey didn’t believe any of this, but he was free and was indeed a criminal and if Recluse wanted to bring down the heroes, Darkey knew he couldn’t let that happen. It was time for Darkey to play the role of the villain and discover exactly what Lord Recluse and his Arachnos forces intended right under Recluses’ nose.

    Back in Paragon City Nyghtbeast had been working closely with Manticore and coming up with plans to stop this new Arachnos threat. Arachnos forces had actually been slowly growing for many years but had not seemed like a real force until recently. After the first break out it was now obvious Arachnos had grown and were well organized but their motives were still uncertain. Nyghtbeast had never forgotten his friend for all those years and knew if Darkeshade was free, he was looking into Arachnos. Manticore was against Nyghtbeast’s method at infiltrating Arachnos, but agreed that the plan itself was sound and should work. Nyghtbeast went through a series of genetic alterations as well as physical alterations to blend in more with the Destined of Arachnos. Nyghtbeast made his first goal to finding Darkeshade.

    Nyghtbeast was released outside the Ziggurat in Brickstown during one of the breakouts and got a ride on a Flyer to the Isles. Arachnos had been breaking prisoners out all across the city. Upon getting to Mercy Nyghtbeast asked a few people about Darkeshade. After making his presence known through force he learned from an escaped inmate that Darkeshade was going by the name Darkey and was hanging out in the casinos in Mercy helping the Cage Consortium keep security tight. Nyghtbeast went to one Casino and found Darkey talking to a couple soldiers over a few drinks. Nyghtbeast waited for Darkey outside the casino on a park bench. A couple of hours later Darkey emerged from the casino and walked directly toward the bench and sat down.

    “So they send you to bring me back old friend?” Darkeshade asked.

    “You recognize me?” Nyghtbeast replied.

    “No amount of alteration can change my best friend so much that I wouldn’t recognize you Nyghtbeast.”

    “No, I guess not” Nyghtbeast smiled, then returned to the purpose of the meeting “look, is there a place we can talk? In private?” Nyghtbeast didn’t look up as Darkey just stood and started walking toward the dock to an old run down shack.

    “We can talk in here.”

    As they entered Darkey hit a hidden button in the floor and the interior of the shed converted into a technical workshop with monitors and an array of blueprints of various Arachnos encampments. There were maps of every major island of the Rogue Isles with areas circled and some X’d out. Darkey began telling Nyghtbeast how he’d been talking to soldiers and learning locations that were easy to hit and weaken the Arachnos forces. Many of the thugs in the area were unhappy about Arachnos moving in on their territory and were more then happy to have others do their dirty work. Nyghtbeast laid out the whole plan to Darkey he and Manticore had been working on from the genetic alterations to the recon and told Darkey what information the heroes currently knew about Arachnos. Nyghtbeast told him what they needed him to do and asked Darkey to help with his part of the plan.

    Darkey accepted Nyghtbeasts offer to help bring Arachnos down from within. Darkey continued to explain what he had learned about Lord Recluse. He Explained about Grandville, the team behind Lord Recluse and the sheer number of forces at his disposal. He showed Nyghtbeast the propaganda Recluse had strewn all over the Isles which brought an unending supply of soldiers to his disposal. Together they worked through contacts and continued to collect data just like the old days. Darkey was no longer a hero, but it felt good to be doing well again. Nyghtbeast continued to relay information to Manticore through a special transceiver implanted in his hand using his new claws as an antenna. Slowly they became quite the duo and drew the eye of Lord Recluse himself.

    They had been summoned to the Hall of Arachnos to stand before Lord Recluse. But first they would have to go through his Lieutenants. Captain Mako was the first to stand in their way. Mako was incredibly fast but the odds were still in Darkey’s favor and because this was more a battle of wit and not a battle to the death Mako was easily defeated.

    Once Mako returned to the shadows a bolt of red lightning struck at the foot of Nyghtbeast. Scirocco was next and would show no quarter to the duo. After a sandblast and lightning storm Nyghtbeast and Darkey were winded, but not out…Darkey tossed a flaming sword at Scirocco knocking him off balance as Nyghtbeast was able to stealth his way behind him and cut a lock of Scirocco’s hair with his claws, showing he was close enough to have killed him.

    The second lieutenant gave way to a third, Black Scorpion. Black Scorpion was a large machine-like man that although very bulky had a tail blast that was easily directed at the heroes at will. Thanks to the speed of Nyghtbeast and the determination of Darkey though, Black Scorpion too was defeated almost too easily. Darkey suddenly lost his footing and found himself wrapped in ghostly tentacles as Ghost Widow slowly dropped from the rafters. She held Nyghtbeast in the same tentacles before he could react and Ghost widow brought them before Recluse.

    “This is not your day heroes.” Lord Recluse growled, “I have discovered your pitiful attempt at deception and have learned of your plans. You have served your purpose and have earned a quick death. This is my gift to you for your disservice to Arachnos.” With these words the tentacles tightened. Again Darkey found himself in death’s clutches and as he closed his eyes to accept his inevitable fate when he heard Nyghtbeast yell for him.

    As Darkey opened his eyes he saw a device in Nyghtbeasts hands. It was one of Darkey’s designs: an emergency base teleporter he was never able to finish. Suddenly they were back in the Powers Unlimited base surrounded by their friends. Manticore made his way to the front, “Good job. You found your way home heroes, welcome back to Paragon City.”


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