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Introduction to Darkness
My body feels likes its been broken into
its most basic components and then rebuilt again. My arms ache from my shoulders
(I have shoulders?) down to my fingertips (wow! I have fingernails!).
tumble over and over, though I have no sense of direction. I'm blinded by the
lack of colors, yet see every color imaginable.
I pass out.
"Ouch," I groan. "That hurt way too badly to be
I open my eyes to find myself lying on green grass. I looked
around, and tried to get my bearings. I was surrounded by familiar sights, but
not completely familiar. My badly damaged hand lies upon my assault rifle, which
lies nearby, as my body lies upon the cool, dew-marked grass. The sun has
already passed its zenith, which makes the time about two in the afternoon.
"Any landing you can walk away from..." I joke to myself, grimacing as I
slowly pick myself up. My body aches and pops with every movement and a painful
groan escape my lips before I can hold it in. The scene laid out before me looks
familiar, but the more I look at it, the more alien it becomes.
all these statues doing here?" I ask myself, almost silently. They weren't there
this morning, were they?
"Help me! They're killing me!"
I scan to the
right and find a bunch of robed figures surrounding a very scared looking girl.
Their mouths and fingers were in concert with each other as they start enacting
spells. Looking down to my assault rifle, I find that the ammo clip is full
loaded and I'm almost ready for action. I pick the assault rifle up, load the
clip and I shoot four series of buckshot at the robed figures.
They all fall
down, each and every one of them sport holes from the shots. Three of them get
back up and start heading for me. I'm usually a better shot than that, I
admonish to myself. In a heartbeat, I squeeze three more shots of slugs, one
into each of the remaining robed figures. Two go down and the last one bounces
off the ground before picking himself up again.
"Blood and Blades!" I yell.
"Stay down you fool!"
I send another burst of rifle ammunition through the
last figure. He hits the ground with a sickening thud. It's evident that he
won't stand again. The girl, picking herself back up after falling from the
disruption of the spell, runs to me and gives me a big hug. The scent of roses
emanates from her.
"Maybe I was wrong about you capes after all," she says,
running off in the opposite direction.
I start thinking
and the confusion is plainly evident on my face, as a gentleman looks at me and
then rushes off in another direction, possibly in fear. I glance back at the
area where I fought the robbed villains and feel shocked as the bodies are no
where in sight.
"Well, Toto, it looks like Kansas went bye-bye," I say to
myself, chuckling at the reference of one of the old movies I'm so found of.
"Bye bye for good."
Sight by sight, I visit each city that I can reach
by the Yellow Line Tram. Nothing is the same. This is not my home, nor are any
of the cities familiar to my home. Steel Canyon, King's Row, Galaxy City, and
Skyway City. None of the names are familiar to me. I read over the history from
some of the statues and ascertain some names. I never heard of Positron, or
Statesman or even that Right for Might Act.
Then it hits me. I don't have a
For the next few hours I speculate what had just happened before
waking up here and myself thinking about my position. Evidently, I traveled to a
parallel dimension. This world, so unlike my own, has beings that possess
"super-powered" natures, and not all of them of a friendly or good nature.
So, homeless and friendless, I walk over to where one of the largest statues
I've ever seen stands. The Heroes that were gathered at Atlas' feet were a
motley bunch. Heroes of types of ages, sexes, body types and even races,
"Costume contest in 3 minutes," yells out a young Hero
dressed in schoolgirl clothes. I immediately know she's a Hero by the glowing
aura surrounding her. "And turn off your powers!"
I realize at that very
moment that there was so very much I needed to learn about this world. I look
around and find a very large crowd surrounding a young woman wearing a patriotic
uniform. As I excuse myself past the crowd, I push my way up to her. The crowd
rumblings around her tell me her name as "Miss Liberty".
I introduce myself,
and she tells me that I need to talk to Rick Davies inside of City Hall. I give
her that look that says volumes about me being lost. She points to the building
behind us, and directs me to the lower levels within the facility.
up a phone out of her skirt pocket and places a call to Rick Davies, letting him
know that I was on my way. She shakes my hand and I walk towards City Hall.
Before entering City Hall I realize that my hands start to sweat as I sling
my rifle onto my back. I look at the fading scarlet sunlight as it cascades over
the buildings of what I will come to know as Atlas Park. I slowly start to grin
as I realize that someday I will find my way home and finish the unfinished
business left behind me.
I still cannot believe what's happened to me in the
short twenty-four hours that it took to change my life.
Paragon City is the
place of miracles.
Consider my order placed.
City Hall was the bustling center of Atlas Park. As I entered the building,
I noticed that the entranceway was filled with another assortment of statues. A
city representative greeted me and directed me to the right side of the building
to where I could meet with Rick Davies. She didn't look like Hero, but as in
most cases, especially around here, looks are deceiving.
The hallway I
walked down was paved in some brick colored carpet that looked very worn. It
turned to the left and opened up and several offices were located down here. A
couple of Field Trainers stood by the hallway exit.
All types of offices
were down here; MAGI, DATA, ELITE, SERAPH and GIFT. I had to look closely at
what each of them stood for before I figured out that the offices of the
Department of Advanced Technological Application (DATA) was what I was looking
for. I walked in, not knowing what to expect.
One gentleman was wearing a
plaid T-shirt and dirty jeans, looking like a mechanic in some regards. His
hair, dark chestnut brown, was slicked back and he was standing over in the
center of the office, talking on his cell phone, pacing back and forth. A young
lady was sitting at the desk on the right side to the doorway. She looked at me
and waved her head towards the gentleman in jeans.
"Are you Rick Davies?" I
asked, walking up to him.
"Yep," he answered briskly, as he hung up his
"Finally," a sigh escaped my lips before I could stop it. "My name
"Shadowyn," Rick interrupted. "Miss Liberty already called me and
informed me about your situation. New in town, huh?"
"More like new to this
world, but yeah, I'm new here."
"Here's the deal," Rick Davies briskly said
as he walked over to one of the desk nearest him. He straightened up and looked
into my eyes dead on. "I'm one of your contacts. What I do is I get the
information from my sources, which unless I tell you otherwise, you do NOT need
to know about. I hand out the missions to you and yours, meaning other Heroes. I
have multitudes of Heroes in and out of this office, so you'll excuse the
briefness of our discussions. At that time, either you'll accept one of the
missions, or if I have no more missions, I'll find you a new contact to get them
"Sounds good," I replied, trying to keep this short.
I've got a good one that just crossed my desktop not even 30 seconds ago I think
you can handle all by yourself. Let me go get it."
"What is it?" Rick looked
at me, I guess he was trying to size me up, and nodded once. He turned around
and headed to the back of the offices.
"Carolyn," Rick spoke to young lady
at the front of the office. "If any other Heroes come in, tell them I'll be back
in a couple of minutes. I'm expecting Statesman to drop by this evening so if he
comes in, inform me immediately."
"Follow me, Shadowyn." I
followed Rick to the back offices, where a multitude of workers shuffled through
paperwork, as well as other parts and pieces of machinery. He sat down at a
desk, which I assumed to be his. Other pieces of clock machinery were scattered
throughout the office as well as the desk.
"I'm having issues with a couple
of gangs hereabouts," Rick began without hesitation. "We've got a few people out
there taking down the Clockwork King's minions, but the Hellions and Skulls have
been hindering us. They've even gone as far as trying to prevent us from
investigating the remains of the Clockwork minions."
He picked up a twisted,
mangled Clockwork arm. Faint traces of frost were slowly evaporating off the arm
as Rick held the arm. I looked around and realized that I could make out
assorted parts within the pieces surrounding the office.
In one corner,
three workers were dissecting a Clockwork torso and another two were trying to
put a Clockwork leg together.
"Our investigations concerning certain
Clockwork plans have been compromised and I need you to 'uncompromise' them. I
need you to take down a couple of each of the gangs; about ten to twenty of each
should suffice for now. That should tell them that we won't tolerate any more of
I paused for a few seconds to reflect what Rick was
saying then nodded.
"I have one request," I asked. "I need more ammunition.
I'm not sure what I use for bullets is what this world uses. I want to be sure."
"No problem." Rick answered, calmly. "Have one of my guys work something out
with you. They're the best in the field." With that, he stood up and started to
walk out the office. He stopped by the door, looked back and said, "And once
you're done with that mission, come back here and I'll see what I can to find
you another mission."
With that being said, Rick left the
office, and another one of the gentlemen working in the office approached me.
The gentleman was a bit on the heavy side. His graying hair was thinning out on
the very top of his head, but the sides were still full of hair. His brown eyes
seemed a bit foggy, but his gaze never wavered in the least. He introduced
himself as Theodore Grant.
"Ted, if you will," he replied with an iron hard
voice." I haven't seen this before, Shadowyn. What kind of rifle is this?"
"It's a Mod II Kilo Recoilless," I responded back, knowing that he would
never have heard of it before.
"It almost looks like an Assault Rifle the
military uses," Ted paused to drop the clip. He emptied the clip of its
remaining three rounds, carefully opened one of them open, looked back at me and
smiled. "Your luck is golden today. These look to be the same type of ammo we
use as well."
"So this won't be an issue?"
"Not in the least. We have
enough to keep you covered for a while."
"As long as I can keep the bad guys
down long enough to handcuff them, that's good enough for me."
Ted look at
me in a look of surprise. "Handcuffs?" he asked. "We don't use 'cuffs here
He walked over to another table, again full of machinery. He
shuffled a few parts over and picked up something. He tossed me something that
looked like a small cylinder with circuitry inscribed all over it. It also had
two buttons. One of the buttons was a glowing blue button, and the other, a
glowing red one.
"The red button is for you to use when you 'arrest' the
'bad guys'," Ted explained. "It sends them to a facility used in Brickstown for
storing the villains until we can process them."
"And the blue button?"
"That one is your lifeline. Should you get to the point of being severely
injured, it will send you to the nearest hospital in the area. You will need to
initialize it by holding your fingertip to it for thirty seconds, and then it
will act on its own."
"Sweet," I placed my fingertip on it as Ted advised me
to. There was a low humming sound with a brief vibration. A brief buzzing made
Ted nod his head once.
"You're good now."
I looked down to the cylinder,
and realized that the glowing blue button changed to a bright green glow.
Looking at Ted, who gave me a knowing nod, began to chuckle softly at my
naivet鮠He put a hand on my shoulder and with genuine concern told me "Good
hunting." I headed towards the front door of the office when it hit me that I
forgot to talk to Rick once again. I found him in exactly the same spot where I
first saw him.
"Here," Rick yelled, tossing something shiny towards me. "You
might need this. Its a..."
"Low grade enhancement for damage," I
interrupted. "I used this type back on my world, so I know exactly how to use
Rick nodded. "Good luck Hero."
And the Hunt begins.
I strolled out of the office, and headed back up the brightly-lit hallway
of City Hall. Colorful Heroes of all natures streamed in and out of this
hallway, but none of them stood in my way. My discussion with Rick Davies gave
me a purpose while I inhabited this planet, but it couldn't take away the
homesickness that festered within.
As I exited the building, I was assaulted with a multitude of sights,
smells and sounds. Civilians drove their cars throughout the city, with what
looked like carefully calculated ignorance. Gang members strolled the streets,
with barely an ounce of concern for their neighbors. I found myself back
underneath that huge statue in front of City Hall.
"Costume contest in two
minutes," yelled a young woman dressed in an outfit constructed for defense, not
Other Heroes gathered around her call, some sensibly attired and
others quite garnished. An alien Hero also stood in line, his black antennae
were glossy black on top of his stone face, and his mouthpiece covered whatever
it had for a mouth and it was surrounded by some darker, grittier Heroes and
some innocent looking ones.
"It takes all sorts," I whispered, wondering
from where all of these people came from.
I found myself strolling off to
one of the side parking lots on the East side of City Hall. I saw six thugs,
dressed with demonic symbols, trying to steal an elderly woman's purse. Those
had to be the Hellions. She was cringing in fear, as the Hellions pranced about,
waving their pistols and handguns threateningly.
At once, I brought my
assault rifle from my back and I took aim at the nearest Hellion. He stood some
twenty feet away from me and about five feet away from the rest of the gang
members. It should be easy to take him down, I thought as my crosshairs centered
The sound of a round exploding out of the muzzle cut the air in a
shattering scream. The Blood Brother Slammer, caught off guard, flew back a foot
or two, and hit the ground with a resounding crunch. Slowly, he got back up,
blood pouring from his left arm.
"No killing shots," I reminded myself.
Squeezing the trigger again, I sent another round into the gang member's left
ribcage. It hit with a sickening, wet thud. As the Slammer fell, I heard a
slight buzz coming from my side as the Hellion slowly faded from sight.
Flipping the switch on the rifle to semi-automatic, I closed in onto the
remaining Hellions. There was no way that surprise was on my side now. As I got
closer, a Blood Brother Slugger brought up his handgun and shot at me. My body
armor took the brunt of the hit, leaving a small bruise on my skin underneath
Have I mentioned that I hate when the enemy hits me?
assault rifle up to my shoulder, I squeezed the trigger again, releasing a
series of three round bursts. The first volley caught the Slugger square in the
chest, not only sending him back, but also into one of his gang buddies as well,
as he disappeared. The second burst finished another Slugger off, sending him
automatically to jail, but the last shot missed completely.
"Oh, blood and
blades!" I cursed. I hate missing a clean shot, too.
One of the Blood
Brother Slicers came charging at me with reckless abandonment. I squeezed off
another burst and then another two bursts. Two of the Hellions disappeared in
howls of agony while the last remaining one rushed me. I didn't have the time to
pull the trigger as he bowled me onto the ground, forcing my rifle to fly right
out of my hands. Without thinking, I placed my hands on his shoulders in an
effort to roll him over, but once I grabbed him, a rolling energy raged within
me and then flowed out of my hands in an instant. Suddenly, the Slugger's legs
were encased in solid ice.
"I'm gonna take you down, Hero," he snarled at
me, pulling a handgun out. Spit flying all over the place as he talked.
"Keep thinking that," I retorted back, wiping the spittle from my face. I
found where my rifle had landed, and dashed off to retrieve it. I started to
pick it up when a shot ricocheted off the concrete beside it. I fumed.
did it. I was going to place nice, but, no, you wanted to play hardball."
dove for the rifle as the Hellion squeezed off another shot and hit me in the
forearm, between my armor plates. I rolled and quickly squeezed off a shoot in
his general direction, as a sharp pain went through my arm. I never knew where I
hit him because the next moment he was fading out of sight.
I stood there,
thinking about where the ice came from when I was grabbed and hugged from
behind. It was the elderly woman. It took me a minute to actually get a word in
edgewise, mainly because she was 'singing praises for her rescue'. She
eventually asked my name, which of course I gave to her.
"You're my most
favorite Hero, Shadowyn," she praised. "If there is anything you may need,
please give me a call. I'm one of the proprietors of Cooke's Electronics,
specializing in the enhancements for Heroes, such as yourself."
ma'am," I humbly replied. "I will keep you in mind should I need some."
"Consider the first couple on the house," she replied, as a tear of
happiness dropped from her eyes. She gave me a chaste kiss then rushed off
towards the Yellow Line Tram.
I spent the next thirty minutes fighting more
Hellions in Atlas Park. Eventually, rest of them took to fleeing when they saw
"I hope it isn't my breath," I joked to myself.
throughout Atlas Park, looking for some Skulls to 'arrest'. I could not seem to
find any, though one of the citizens here gave me the information I was looking
for. He was dressed in a sharp charcoal gray five-piece suit and was rushing off
to the East before I stopped him.
"Perez Park," the gentleman said quickly.
"They even congregate on the streets even more than the Hellions do here."
He walked off before I could thank him. So, with that information in hand, I
headed for the gate towards Perez Park. The Security Chief checked my badge to
make sure I had the proper security clearance to enter Perez Park. Evidently,
these characters were tough nuts to crack. He got the approval I needed to enter
and I entered Perez Park for the first time.
I walked down the streets to
what looked like a ghost town. Nobody at all was on the streets. I turned the
corner and I suddenly found myself fighting furiously against Gravedigger
Brawlers, Choppers, Slammers, Slicers and Sluggers, all dressed in gray jackets.
During the fight, I realized that many of these factions carried the same names
and fighting skills.
"How unoriginal," I murmured to myself as I sent
another Skull to jail. "At least they don't have the common sense to band
I felt a lethargic force pass through my body, as I noticed my
body glowing in an eerie shade of purple. I heard an evil laughter coming from
behind me, as I whirled around. My rifle sights lead to another Skull, but this
one was dressed in black leathers.
"You think that you can just come around
here," he yelled, his voice harsh. "You think you can kill my men and go free?"
"What?" he asked, disturbed that I interrupted him.
kill," I explained, taking the time to reason with him as I quietly flicked the
switch back onto automatic. "I only send them to jail."
jolt of that blackish purple energy came from his hands and surrounded my body.
I found my self on my knees, wanting to purge myself. With effort, I forced
myself off of my knees and onto my feet, and raised my rifle up to his
midsection. He growled and forced more of that stuff towards me.
passed out from the pain, but I forced myself to squeeze the trigger. Over and
over and over again, I sent full metal jackets into his body. He jerked as each
round hit him in different areas of his body. I clicked the switch back to
semi-automatic so I could send a final burst into him before I passed out
completely. He rushed into me, bowling me over, and my senses reeled. My finger
pulled the trigger once more as his fingers dug into my neck.
pressure went away as he faded into nothingness and I lay there not moving, and
not saying a word.
I survived my first battle with the Hellions and Skulls.
I took some fairly nasty hits, but my 'minor' wounds were nothing compared to
theirs. I headed back to City Hall where Rick Davies congratulated me and gave
me some info as to where I could find a place to live.
He also gave me
another contact to garner more missions.
"I know it doesn't get you back to
where you come from," Rick sympathized. "But I'm sure that you'll find your way
back there soon enough."
"I guess I don't have many options right now, do
"Not much, but I can give you a name to keep in mind." I looked at Rick
and waited for his response.
"Portal Corporation," he said with a small
amount of sarcasm. "God knows that they're getting invaded on a regular basis
these days. You get enough security clearance, and I'm sure they'll send you on
a few missions for them."
What else could I do?