Heroes Legion: "Year One:
Episode 20: Knight Switch
Chapter 7: The Beginning of the End...
Three Weeks later...
Riker's Island "Special Cases" bunker, Riker's Island NY: June 17th 2014: 6:30 AM
Ever since his defeat and recapture, Black Knight hadn't said a word.
Until today when, despite having those damn Neutralizer collars on his neck keeping him from accessing his powers, he sensed a familiar presence in the area.
"I know you're there Shadow Knight…" he said to no one it seemed, "why don't you come out where I can see you."
"It'd be so easy to just come in there and make sure you never harm me or my friends ever again" Shadow Knight's voice said from all around him.
"Yes it could…" Black Knight agreed, "You could probably shadow walk my brains out of my head and that'd be that…unfortunately, you and that robed idiot you follow need my brain and its information right where it is."
"You don't have any information" Shadow Knight countered, "M-Leader already tried. You had a failsafe mental block command installed into your head by Meta-Master. One designed to wipe out any and all memory regarding whatever it is you people are planning to do. I guess he wanted to make sure that if one of The Dark Elite ever fell into our hands they'd be useless to get information out of. He was wise to do so…since he was plenty pissed at you for running off and doing your own thing when he said that he had told everyone to stay in that safe house of Judas Black's."
"So you've been there?" Black Knight asked with an impressed tone, "and you managed to get in and get out without anyone the wiser."
"Not quite, Judas Black and Dominatrix found me out" Shadow Knight admitted.
"But you obviously weren't in there long enough to learn anything except that time is short to stop them" Black Knight deduced correctly, "Now…you could try and absorb my memories to try and find some clues, but thanks to Meta-Master those memories are lost to the minds eye's oblivion. So why are you really here?"
"I came to bid my Arch-Rival adieu" Shadow Knight answered.
"Before you kill him?" Black Knight asked.
"No…" Shadow Knight's voice said.
That's when Black Knight saw Shadow Knight re-materialize outside his cell's door, staring at him with those ghostly red eyes behind his metal mask.
"No, I don't have to do anything." Shadow Knight continued, "You're scheduled to have your powers taken away permanently by the end of the week. You're not a problem anymore. Whatever it is you and your group is doing…we'll find out some other way. But at least I'll finally be rid of you. The man who may not be as deadly as his father was…but who I can't allow to continue on anymore. Not after the stunt you just pulled."
"How arrogant of you to assume you have any say over how this rivalry will go, or that you have won in this power struggle of ours" Black Knight scoffed, "Are you absolutely sure this is a victory. I came close to killing the Heroes Legion…and I did it using your body and powers. Do you still feel secure that your friends are safe after that?"
"You don't remember where the place we operate at is anymore, so yes…it does. Besides…It was always going to be this way, one of us triumphing over the other" Shadow Knight said with certainty, "There is no arrogance about it. One down, and the rest to go. So don't expect to rattle my cage and try and scare me…the day I let fear show in front of people like you is the day the heart in my chest stops beating."
"You think you've won today? I remember what you saw in my body's memories. You saw for yourself, we...the Dark Elite are getting ready to strike again. I may not have your power and know who you are…but it matters not at this point. You and your friends can't stop what's coming. Even though I can't remember what the plan is. I do know that whatever it is…I do know that it's a thousand times worse than the bombing run attack over Washington DC would have been. So if you and the kids you hang around want to keep playing hero instead of running for the hills…you better be ready for a fight, because when it happens...you are all going to wish you stayed where you were when that bathrobe wearing bastard asked you to go and play superhero...and beg for forgiveness from us when we have finally won." Black Knight sneered.
Shadow Knight didn't even flinch.
But he did get his masked face up to the glass of Black Knight's cell so both Black Knight and he were glaring less than a foot away from one another with mutual contempt and or downright hatred.
Shadow Knight then let out a bout of his trademark Dark Laughter.
"What's so funny?" Black Knight scowled.
"Everything you just said. You getting out of here, and destroying me and the legion so you can finally be the better Shadow User by being the ONLY shadow User in the world. It's funny because it's all so pathetically absurd your life goals are. Petty AND pathetic. Let me tell you something Black Knight and listen well: That's never going to happen...and you know why? Because I am what you are not, and what you will never be. That's why i will always be the better of us both. You took over my body but you didn't learn anything. I am not the best because of my powers, i am the best because weather i believe it or not: I am what my friends believe and say I am. I am a Hero...my friends are Heroes. We are the Heroes Legion..and people like you or more powerful than you have tried to kill us and take over the world many times before all year...and you know what? We are still here...and we will always be here...waiting and ready to fight people like you. Bring on whatever you have to throw at us...we will stop you every time." Shadow Knight said with determination, while turning around to walk away.
Leaving Black Knight to laugh as Shadow Knight left the prison.
The last thing he heard before shadow walking away, was Black Knight's ...hopefully... final taunt.
"I'll be out in a week Shadow Knight….I promise you that….when I am…you're going to wish you maned up and killed me right here, right now. Because I WILL finish what I started with you and your friends!" he shouted out, "and you will have no one to blame but yourself for passing up this chance to end it all."
Heroes Legion Mansion: June 17th 2014: 6:39 AM
"How did it go?" M-Leader asked when Shadow Knight entered the common room.
"About as well as I expected…" Shadow Knight answered, "He seems to think he's going to be out of Rikers in a week."
"Anything else?" Agent Smith asked concerned.
"Yeah…" Shadow Knight answered as he sat down next to Raven on the usual couch the Heroes Legion hung out on in the common room, "He said that even though he doesn't remember what it is exactly that the Dark Elite is busy planning or when it's going to happen, but he does know that it isn't going to be good. Worse than the Bombing Run attack on Washington DC he said…way worse."
"Well that's not much to go on" M-Leader said concerned, "it is most unfortunate that Black Knight had that mental block failsafe installed into his mind by Meta-Master…just when we think we have a solid foot ahead of the Dark Elite…"
"They pull the rug out from underneath us?" Ravager asked rhetorically.
"I don't know which one of the events that happened that day was the worst disaster to be honest, that fiasco of a performance review or Black Knight's attack by taking over Shadow Knight's body." Agent Smith said in exasperation.
"It was a good thing that General Arcane caught wind of Senator Ennis's manipulation by switching intended Inspectors on us without warning, said that woman's review would have been biased and therefore invalid and gave us an impartial Inspector to give us a performance review." Atlanta put in.
"And we passed" Silicon added in agreement, "although I would have done without the Black Knight incident…that was too close for comfort."
"Yeah…" Ravager agreed, "It's a good thing that you and Raven managed to get that sabotaged positronic reactor into the shadow realm before it blew up."
"And it's a good thing this suit I wear has an onboard oxygen tank/oxygen distribution system" Robo-Warrior said proudly.
"Well I can assure you that he won't be doing that again" Murdoch said as he leapt up onto the couch beside Raven's armrest spot, "I did some research with Max Ducard during my brief travels to the Magic Realm after the incident, we found that this spell he used to switch bodies with you Shadow Knight can only be used between two individuals only once."
"Thank both god…" he then looked sideways to Raven Ducard with his glowing red eyes, giving her a knowing look "and Goddess for that! The only shoes I want to walk a mile in, are my own."
Raven smiled, amused and touched by her friends' words.
Stephanie Walker was there as well, she placed a comforting hand on the young hero's left shoulder.
"I think that is a given. It must have been horrible being trapped in that maniacs body, especially with his thoughts and memories trickling in the longer you stayed in there." She said with sympathy.
"It was unsettling yes" Shadow Knight nodded in agreement, "But I made some important discoveries while in that mind of his body."
"Such as?" Atlanta asked curiously.
"That I'm the better one of the both of us" Shadow Knight answered, "I have something that he doesn't have, can never have, and will never ever have because he's allowed himself to be consumed by the darkness of hate and revenge. This something is what drove me to beat him, what keeps me going through the insanity of it all…my being Shadow Knight. What gives being Shadow Knight a purpose."
"Really?" Raven Ducard asked intrigued, "What would that be?"
"You" Shadow Knight answered looking at Raven.
Raven Ducard blinked in surprise upon hearing him say that.
So did Shadow Knight when he realized what he had said, and stammered "Uh…I mean you and everyone here Rave….all of you….my friends. You all are a part of what makes me me…what makes me different from him. He's alone….I'm….I'm not…and never will be…"
"Ahhh…." Atlanta smirked, "Who would have thought you were such a softy under all of that."
"Feelings mutual Knight" Silicon said with a friendly smile, "same for each and every one of us. This whole year, we've all changed. We started out as teammates, but over the course of the year we've become…well…."
"Friends" Atlanta finished for her young teammate.
"Best Friends" Robo-Warrior agreed.
"BFF's" Ravager put in.
"Superfreinds!" Velocity quipped, then he paused and thought about it "oh wait…that's the other guys."
"I don't know what's coming, but I do know one thing…" Silicon said getting up from his chair to face the others, with his hand stretched out toward them, "Whatever they have in store, we will be ready for them. Nothing can stop us when we work together, because we are strong alone…but together…we ARE Legion! What makes us a Legion?"
"Strength of a warrior" Atlanta said with determination, placing her own hand upon Silicon's hand.
"Two heads are better than one" Robo-Warrior added, placing his hand as well.
"Wisdom of Mystic arts and sharp claws" Murdoch said, even though he couldn't place his paw on the pile.
"Speed, sarcasm and rouged good looks" Velocity added proudly, even though Atlanta rolled her eyes beside him.
"A Rookie fighter with a heck of a punch and new friends who always have his back" Ravager said, placing his hand on the pile.
"A techno-geek with imagination and drive to create" Silicon said proudly.
"An outsider who finally has a place and people she belongs with" Raven Ducard said.
"A Knight of the Night" Shadow Knight finished, placing his hand on top of the pile…on top of Raven Ducard's hand.
"We are strong alone, but together we are Legion" Silicon said, repeating his catchphrase "and there is nothing and no one who can stop us as long as we work as a unit of friends, the opposite of what The Dark Elite is!"
"Yeah!" Velocity said excitedly, breaking free from the team pileup to pump his fist in the air eagerly, "bring em' on! Those creeps won't last five minutes against us, we're invincible! We're going to fight the Dark Elite and make them and their evil plans fumble and deflate like a Patriot's Football!"
"Velocity…." Shadow Knight said, with a deadpan tone of annoyance "You just ruined the moment."
That was when the phone in the common room rang.
M-Leader was the one who was closer to it so he examined the caller ID on the phone's digital readout bar.
Who could be calling the Mansion's private phone number?
Very odd indeed.
He decided to answer it.
It was probably nothing, it might just be Arcane calling the Mansion to talk or something.
However if on the off chance the person calling was someone outside of the very small circle of trusted people who knew what this place really was, he would have to use his cover as the head of the 'Institute for wayward and Disadvantaged Teens'… Dr Zander Grayman.
He picked up the phone.
"Hello…?" M-leader said into the phone, using his speech machine collar to convey his words.
"M-Leader?" a young adult voice said through the phone.
"Who is this?" M-Leader asked, perplexed and deeply concerned that some stranger just called Lucas Jackson's phone, wanting to speak to him and called him by his codename as if he knew him.
"My name isn't important right now, but you can call me Atlas. Long story short I'm one…was… one of Meta-Master's metahumans. I used to know Lucas….when I found out he was alive I figured he might still have his phone. Thank god I was right." The voice said with a relived tone.
"What…why are you calling?" M-Leader stammered, he was confused.
A former member of Meta-Master's army of metahumans was calling him?
Very strange indeed.
"Because I want you to know that Lucas isn't the only one of Meta-Master's former pawns who is out here in the city. There is a group of us. But mostly I came to warn you. He's rebuilt it….your old project. The one he said was responsible for the genesis of metahumans." Atlas explained.
"I know that already Atlas…" M-leader confirmed.
"What you don't know is that he's now in the process of putting his plan in action. In two hours he is going to attack Bayville, New York. He's going to use it as a testbed for another M-Ray explosion. You have to get there and stop him." Atlas warned.
"How do you know this? Meta-Master wouldn't have let you leave with this information, he would have mind wiped you…or killed you to keep it a secret…so how do you know?" M-Leader asked in suspicion.
"He thought we were already dead, we just spent the past few weeks trying to find you or a way to contact you and the Heroes Legion. Don't argue with me M-Leader! He's going to attack, gather up the Heroes Legion and go stop him before it's too late. If you go now you might have a chance….get….oing….ow! …" Atlas's voice began to cut in and out.
"Hello? Hello?!" M-Leader said, but then he heard the dial tone.
"What's going on?" Stephanie Walker asked, she was greatly concerned by the look on M-Leader's face when he turned to look at her and the Heroes Legion.
"Remember when I've said that it was inevitable that we'd end up fighting The Dark Elite again?" M-Leader answered, his face showing determination to not let what he had just been warned about happen in real time "Well…that time is now. Head downstairs and fire up the Nighthawk engines Silicon. I'll get the Last Resort Squad on the phone and convey this information to General Arcane. It's time for what we've been training for since last summer… It's time for the final battle!"
Story Continues in the conclusion to the "Year One" Saga of "Heroes Legion" in "Heroes Legion: The Manhattan Project".