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Hidden Intents
Prologue

City of Heroes and City of Villains fiction

By Eli J. Litzelman


    A full moon came from the cover of a passing cloud and shone white light down on Mercy Island.  The shacks and run-down buildings of Darwin’s Landing creaked softly in the chilling breeze.  It was very late, but on the Rouge Isle, nothing sleeps.  A woman stood on the shore and looked at her expensive watch.  It was five minutes until the meeting.  Her large body guard stood next to her.  His cold, emotionless features twitched slightly as a frigid wind blasted his face.  Next to him, stood a tall German figure.  The German leaned his head to the side and cracked his neck.  He then popped his knuckles and flexed his hands.  Each person was there for a purpose and, for the most part, it was the same.

    The woman’s watch beeped quietly.  It was time.

    Seemingly from the sky, two dark forms dropped to the ground, rolled, and came to their feet.  The first one was known as Ninjado.  He wore a black rice hat, a black martial arts robe, and a flowing cape with a dragon on it.  The second was the head student of the first.  His name was Banmotsudo and he carried a seven foot staff with blades on both ends.  His robe was shredded and under it deep scars slashed across his body.

    A bright flash lit the night and another figure stepped from within.  His arms and feet were robotic and his brain was exposed.  Properly named, The Insane Professor encircled himself in a ball of energy and stepped forward.

    Last of all, a black mist suddenly filled an area and drifted into the sky to reveal Hidden in Darkness.  Under his hood, a crazed face was half hidden in a mask and his body was chaotically strapped in black leather.  Deadly spikes lined his knuckles showing signs of recent use.

    They were all here.

    The Insane Professor spoke first.  “For what great purpose has Countess Crey herself, Requiem of the Council, and…”  He paused for a moment.

    “Hopkins.”  He spoke very deeply and gruffly.

    “Ah yes, the Countess’s personal bodyguard.  My apologies.  But, why have both of your great groups come together and met with us?”

    Requiem spoke up.  “We want someone eliminated.”

    A small laugh came from the back and everyone turned to look at Hidden in Darkness.  “Two of the most powerful villain groups want someone eliminated?  Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted us to go after Statesman himself so you could save on troops.”  He laughed again.

    The countess glared at the villain and said, “No, it is not Statesman and we are willing to pay you a very large sum of money.”

    The dark-energy villain perked up.  “How much?”

    The head of Crey signaled to Hopkins and her guard lifted a brief case.  “Three million in cash now and ten million to whomever deals the fatal blow.”  Hopkins opened the case to reveal all the money lined out in crisp hundred dollar bills.  Hidden in Darkness’s eyes brightened and he reached for the money.  Hopkins suddenly shook his head and the Rouge Isle villain’s hand snapped back to his side.

    For the first time, Ninjado spoke.  “Who is this doomed person?”

    Requiem answered, “A hero by the name of RoboZon.”

    This time, Hidden in Darkness burst forth with laughter.  Wheezing, he asked, “A common hero?  I've killed dozens of them with my bare hands!”  He lifted his fist up in the air so the small spikes on his knuckles and all down his forearms glistened in the moonlight.

    Requiem sighed at the villain’s actions.  “We believe that this hero has some very valuable information on both of our organizations.  He just doesn’t have any way to prove it… yet.”

    “Oh, I see how it is.  Crey doesn’t want any attention by attacking a hero and the Council can’t afford to loose any more troops to this dude.”  When no replies came he chuckled.  “But, hey, I certainly don’t mind getting free money and going toe-to-toe with a cape is practically a bonus.”  He walked up to Hopkins and held out his hand.  Hopkins grimaced and reluctantly handed the villain the briefcase.  Grinning, Hidden in Darkness said, “Thanks, chum.”  A large frown furrowed on his face, Hopkins reached down for another case.

    The Insane Professor shifted on his robotic legs.  “I believe this is of good interest to me.”  He stepped forward and received his portion.  Rapidly scanning the money with his mechanical eyes, he nodded satisfactorily.

    Without a saying a word, Ninjado moved toward a third open briefcase and lifted his head enough to let Hopkins see his dark eyes.  He simply waved his hand over the money and it disappeared.

    Following his master, Banmotsudo walked up to the money holder.  Hopkins shook his head stiffly and spoke.  “My instructions were to give the money only to Ninjado, The Insane Professor, and Hidden in Darkness.”  At hearing this, Banmotsudo sneered under his mask.  Suddenly and silently it became apparent that Banmotsudo was not alone in his request as a wrist-held crossbow rose out from the ocean behind them and a traditional bow appeared from over a nearby roof.  The Ninja seemed to only shrug and his staff came whirring over one shoulder and into his hands.  Without becoming even slightly worried, Hopkins said, “Whoever kills the hero, however, gets the ten mil.”  Banmotsudo held up his hand and the two ranged weapons vanished.  He re-attached his weapon to his back and retreated to his master. 

    “Very good,” said Countess Crey.  “We will take you by submarine to Striga Isle where you will get into a frigate bound for Talos Island.  From there you will be taken to the sewers in an inconspicuous truck.”

    Requiem broke in, “My men will have cleared a path to Atlas Park.  Once you get there, my captain will have RoboZon’s address.  After that you’re on your own.”

    “If you fail you will end up in the Zig and there’s nothing I will do about that.”  The head of Crey Industries’ voice did not change from her normal monotone, but her words hung in the air nonetheless.

    Hidden in Darkness sighed loudly.  “So, we gonna’ leave or just sit here and talk?”  Suddenly, a nuclear submarine emerged from the dark water.  The rogue exhaled sharply in amusement and said, “You villains and your high-tech gizmos.”  He waved his hands in the air, shook his head, and wandered off toward the water.      


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