"The Sensational Night Shadow in… Supernatural Olympics"
Created by The Spectacular SpiderDom
At the Cabano Hotel, Amber and Louise sat on the couch, watching a cartoon show on a channel titled The Splashtastic Universe.
"We now return to the Splashtastic Comics Original Series: The Greatest Adventures of The Harlem Knight!" a dark-voiced announcer said, sounding like a TV commentator from the 1960s'.
The show was drawn in a two-dimensional style and a superhero suddenly leaped onto the screen. An African American man wearing pink spandex with yellow sleeves and green pants that were as light as a grape. His gloves and boots were the same color; black, and he had a black cape with hints of red shading. Over his face was a black mask with a black visor that included yellow eyes. His hair was nothing short of a small afro.
Suddenly, there was an evil cackle coming from behind the hero. He quickly turned around and saw one of his arch-enemies; a peach-skinned scientist with spiky purple hair and bloodshot eyes with purple spirals circling around his pupils. His attire was nothing more than a black leather bodysuit with a white lab coat and yellow boots.
His teeth were green and covered in dirt and grease.
Cackling as if he was a diseased jackal, he popped out a gun and aimed it at the hero.
"Mwa-hahahahahahahahahaha! You're too late, Harlem Knight! There's nothing you can do to stop me now, for I have unleashed the greatest weapon of all… THE MAD BOMB!"
Suddenly, the camera shifted over to a massive, gunmetal nuke with the words "Mad Bomb" sloppily pained in red.
The Harlem Knight clenched his fists and snarled. "I do not fear you, Dr. Evildeed, for my heart is pure and I shall help those in need!"
Then, Harlem Knight leaped into the air and punched Dr. Evildeed in the face. A red screen with the word "POW!" briefly showed up.
As the cartoon characters entered their donnybrook, Amber rolled her eyes and turned the TV off.
"Whatever happened to the days where cartoons had good writing, Grandma?" Amber inquired.
Louise sneezed into a tissue. "I'm not sure, Amber. Hollywood likes to dumb things down for kids and stuff. Nobody makes anything creative anymore."
"That's true, I guess."
Sydney came out of the Geek Lounge and sat next to her sister.
"Hey, where were you?" Amber greeted.
"Sorry, I was in the Geek Lounge," Sydney replied. "Are Mason and Jerry back yet?"
"Nope. I tried calling them, but all I got was Jerry's voicemail. You?"
"Nothing… but I did leave Mason a voice message."
"Did you tell him Grandma needs her medicine."
"Um… sort of… the message was more of an apology."
"An apology? For what?"
"For breaking the figure."
"But we fixed it."
"I know that, but I felt the need to apologize to him. It's not fair to break the figure, fix it, and then keep it a personal secret for the rest of my life… he was going to find out sooner or later, but I figured I'd tell him now… because that's what a real girlfriend would do."
Amber cuddled beside her sister. "Well, I'm proud of you for telling him, Sydney. I'm just hoping everything is okay between you two when he comes home."
"Yeah… me too."
Jerry found himself fascinated by all of the buttons on Bertram's control console. From green to blue, there were an infinite amount of buttons and he wanted to know what each of them did. He sat down and gawked over how shiny they were. He stuck his tongue out and made goofy faces, seeing his reflection on the shiny switches and gizmos.
But unlike Jerry, who was entertaining himself, Night Shadow paced himself back and forth.
He looked at Bertram Van Cyrus a few times and went back to walking.
Looking, then walking, looking, then walking, looking, then walking, looking…
"I don't understand," he said.
"I know it's hard to explain," Bertram Van Cyrus nodded. "But hear me out, I-"
"I thought you were dead!"
"Wait, what now?" Jerry's attention turned to his angry friend.
"He died back in '26 or so I thought he did!" Night Shadow snarled at the former villain.
"Okay," Bertram took a deep breath. "There is a 95% chance-"
"Okay, there's a 100% chance I faked my own death back then, but hear me out, I had a reason for it… I didn't want to be part of what Technolocity was planning."
Jerry approached Night Shadow and the two listened to the engineer's explanation.
"When he introduced the project to me, he tricked me into thinking he was going to build a machine on top of the Eiffel Tower that would help get rid of all the pollution in the water and the air, but when I found out his real scheme, that's when I decided I didn't want to be associated with him anymore. I already made the mistake of making him that suit, I was not going to be part of his villainous tactics again."
Jerry stroked his chin. "So, what made you move here to Seattle?" He was about to lean on top of a silver button.
Jerry pressed his arm on the button and it glowed red.
It was at that moment where a giant homing missile shot out of the laboratory's chimney and flew right across the sky, locating its next target.
Night Shadow and Dunnere had scared looks on their faces.
Bertram Van Cyrus folded his arms in annoyance.
And Jerry gave a nervous smile. "Ha-ha… sorry."
Night Shadow looked back at Bertram. "So, what brings you to my city, Bertram?"
Bertram cleared his throat and continued. "Well, believe this or not, Seattle wasn't my first choice of residence. You see after I packed most of my equipment and tricked Technolocity into thinking I was dead, I boarded a plane and moved to Germany. From there, I moved into an abandoned house and set up my laboratory."
Night Shadow raised an eyebrow. "What made you move here?"
"Oh, right!" Bertram coughed. "After a while, a group a thugs found out about my technology and wanted access to it. After fighting against them, I realized Berlin wasn't so safe for me. So, I packed my bags again and moved to Seattle… where I was unaware you and Technolocity were living. I was planning to stay in an apartment, but I couldn't afford the rent…
"Spending a few hours searching for a home, I overheard a conversation between two businessmen who planned to shut down this fast food joint. That night, I snuck in here and scanned the place, and let me tell you… It was scary as shit! As soon as I laid my eyes on those animatronics, I nearly pissed myself, it was that bad!" he slapped his camel hoof and laughed. He stopped and regained his composure. "Anyways, I took a better look around the place and I realized… it was the perfect place to build my new lab."
Night Shadow and Jerry nodded.
"I assume you reprogrammed the machines and animatronics to keep trespassers out, huh?" Night Shadow folded his arms.
"Precisely!" Bertram beamed with happiness. "But it wasn't an act of villainy, I swear. Since I was most known as Technolocity's assistant, I knew I was going to be recognized by any police force in the world. So, I needed a way to keep authorities, trespassers, and superheroes off my back. You won't believe the first time I used the animatronics you trashed outside. When I first moved in here, some Youtubers wanted to do a twenty-four-hour overnight challenge here. As soon as they saw the machines moving, they were outta here like rats from a sinking ship… it was hilarious!... but I'm getting off-topic... I'm not here to do any more evil, I'm just here to live a peaceful life and make inventions that will change the future… and hopefully, help you and the Seattle Strikers out on a mission."
Night Shadow's eyes widened, as he gave Jerry a curious look.
Bertram folded his bear-furred fingers together and continued talking. "I've always admired superheroes and I've always wanted to help them out. But Technolocity tricked me into thinking the Elemental Demons were evil, so he forced me to create Project: Eiffel. Once I found out its true purpose, I knew I just had to get away… I don't know how I can make up for my mistakes, but I want to start by saying… I'm sorry for everything I've done, Night Shadow. I will do anything to redeem myself and become part of the good side… that is, if you'll let me, of course."
The superhero and his partner gave each other one final look.
Night Shadow then turned to his demon, Dunnere, who shrugged his shoulders. Both of them were well aware Bertram did horrible things in the past with Technolocity, but after hearing the way he explained his story, they realized he was different man compared to the one back then. Both of them looked back and forth between each other and the scientist.
Bertram released a low sigh and closed his eyes, getting ready to face Night Shadow's possible ridiculing.
Jerry had no idea what was going on.
Suddenly, Night Shadow smiled and gave a thumbs up. "You're good, man."
"R-really?" Bertram shot his eyes open.
"Yep. You're not doing anything illegal like making meth, so you're cool with me. Plus… Technolocity's manipulated a lot of people, especially the Void League. Hearing your story make me realize that… you might have a chance of redeeming yourself. I'm going to give you a chance, but if you turn your back on me, I won't hesitate to bring you into the police."
"Thank you so much! And I won't turn my back on you, you have my word. It's clear that the Seattle Strikers taught you well."
"You're welcome. Speaking of them, please don't tell them I'm here. Not now, at least. I'm not ready to face them yet, but if you ever need anything, don't hesitate to call good ol' Dr. Bertram Van Cyrus."
Night Shadow felt iffy keeping a secret from his friends, but he figured it would help Bertram be more relaxed around him and his allies. "Not a huge fan of secrecy, but I won't tell them for now… hey, speaking of needing something. Would you mind if I asked you a quick question?"
"Sure, what's up?"
"Jerry and I were sent here to pick up some medications for my girlfriend's grandmother. My girlfriend's name is Sydney Connor and she said your name was Dr. Don'tBig."
"Wait… is she the granddaughter of Louise Connor?"
Bertram slapped his bald head. "Son of a bitch! I didn't know she sent you guys this whole time!" He started laughing. "I am so stupid! I've had that sitting here the whole time, why didn't you guys say something?"
"I don't know," Night Shadow snarled in a sarcastic tone. "Maybe because we were being chased by your freaky animatronics!"
The engineer felt embarrassed, as he rubbed the back of his bald head. "Ha-ha… right. Here, let me get the medicine for you."
Getting up and walking to a table filled with medical supplies, Bertram found the bottle of purple medicine and went to give it his new friends, when he saw Night Shadow take out his debit card.
"No, no, no," he said with a kind gesture. "Put that away."
"But payment is required in the pharmacy business," Night Shadow retorted. "Come on, let me pay you."
"Don't… it's on the house."
"How come?" Jerry replied, as he was handed the bottle.
"Because you guys became my friends… and that's all I've wanted for a while. I know I made a bad first impression, but the fact you guys took the time to listen to my story meant a lot to me… thank you, Night Shadow and Jerry Vanderhoff."
"Aucun problème." Night Shadow winked.
"Kein Problem," Jerry added.
The superhero shook hands with the engineer.
"Will we meet again?" Night Shadow inquired.
"Knowing how many stories the writer has up his sleeves, probably," Bertram nodded.
The handshake ended, and the duo went on their way.
Opening the door's entrance, both heroes were relieved to take a breath of fresh oxygen. Both of them took a breath of satisfaction and walked towards the van. But along the way, they engaged into a conversation.
"Jerry," Night Shadow began.
"I'm glad you came back, man… I really owe you for your help."
"Nah, I don't need anything. Well, unless you want to beat up my brother, Mark."
The superhero laughed. "Sorry, I can't fight innocent civilians unless they do something bad."
"Mark's not entirely innocent… what if I told you he took candy from a baby?"
The superhero's laughter continued. "Well… in that case… yeah, it's still no."
Both of them sniggered.
"In all seriousness, Jerry… I'm glad you came back. I knew there was courage inside you… but I'm curious, what made you come back?"
Rubbing the back of his blonde hair, Jerry returned with a reply. "To put it shortly, I had some help from that guy."
"You know, that guy who helped you fight Appleseed. What was his name again? It's kinda cool sounding. Uh, what the hell was it?" Jerry tapped his forehead. "Gavoshi? No, it was Roche? No, that wasn't it. It was… Gavyoshi?"
"Gavroche?" Night Shadow's eyes widened with surprise.
"Yeah! That was it!"
"He was here… in Seattle?"
"I guess so. He didn't go into detail about why he was here, but he helped me out. He told me that fear isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of character development… he also roasted my father by saying he does everything wrong."
Night Shadow chuckled. "Well… I'm glad you were able to get yourself back in the game, Jerry. And I was shocked that you didn't use violence, you used your mind. Intelligence and wit are clever tools against fear."
"Well, I had a pretty good helper."
"Not just him… you."
Taking off his helmet, Mason Moonstone gave his best friend one more fist-bump, as they hopped back into the van with the medicine.
"Let's head home," Jerry sighed with relief.
Mason started the vehicle. "Yeah… I just hope we can come up with a good explanation for Sydney and Amber."
Opening the door to his apartment, Mason came inside with Jerry by his side.
"Bonjour, everybody!" he greeted.
Sydney gasped with fear while Amber greeted them with a warm smile. She got up from her seat and hugged both men.
"Finally!" she said, as she released both of them and took the medicine bottle. "What took you guys so long? We were getting worried."
"It's… quite a story," Jerry replied with a snicker. "I'll fill you in later."
Amber opened the bottle and poured some of the purple liquid on a spoon. She walked over and had Louise open her mouth.
"Open wide, Grandma."
Opening her jaw, Louise enjoyed a nice spoonful of grape-flavored medicine.
"Mmm-mmm," the old woman mumbled. "Thank you, Mason. Thank you, Jerry. I hope Dr. Don'tBig treated you guys right."
"He didn't make much of a first impression, but I think we'll warm up to him," Mason replied.
As Jerry and Amber sat next to the sick woman and turned on the TV, a nervous Sydney approached her boyfriend.
"Hey, Mason," she said softly. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"
The two of them went into the Geek Lounge and closed the door.
"Mason," Sydney frowned with a distraught look on her face. Her emerald green eyes looked right into his hazel pupils. "I have to tell you something… I-"
"Let me stop you right there," Mason smiled, sticking his finger up. "I know you broke you '80s Donatello figure."
The Spanish woman gasped before she fell apart; her arms and face dropped to the floor. Rubbing her eyes, she let out a breath of guilt.
"You got my voicemail?"
"Yeah. Before Jerry and I left Dr. Don'tBig's office, I checked my phone, and I played the voice mail… I gotta say, that was the most beautiful message I've ever heard."
"You have every right to be mad at me. First, I treated you like shit after you offered your assistance-"
"Stop, stop, stop," Mason shook his head. "I know exactly what you're about to say and let me just say… you don't need to apologize. The whole thing was my fault. I shouldn't have said what I said. You do a hell of a lot more around the house than I do, and I didn't mean to discredit you like that… all I wanted to do was offer my help around here while Jerry goes to the store because let's be honest… I'm not here often with my job as an artist and my second job as Night Shadow."
"I know that, Mason," Sydney replied. "I'll admit, I was hurt by what you said but still, I know you were just trying to lend a hand."
"I was trying to say that I don't help out here often, but it didn't come out the way I wanted it to," Mason scratched his head nervously. With a low sigh, he pressed his hands together and continued. "I didn't mean to hurt you like that, Sydney… I'm really sorry."
"It's okay, Mason. I'm… sorry that I snapped and yelled at you."
"Don't be… I deserved it."
She rubbed her arm and gave a slight chuckle. "I'm… also sorry I broke your action figure.
"Yeah… about that," Mason said, as he looked at his Ninja Turtles shelf and grabbed the '80s Donatello. He moved the arm forward as well as the leg. He started nodding and raising both eyebrows. He noticed a huge difference in the figure's articulation.
"The joints are pretty stiff," Mason murmured to himself, but he let out a huge gasp as soon as he rotated the head. It had the same treatment as the other repaired parts. "Sydney… I can't believe…"
Sydney bowed her head in shame.
"I can't believe you actually fixed it."
"I know, it's shotty craftsmanship."
"Shotty? This is brilliant!"
Sydney shot open her eyes. "Wait, what?"
"Sydney, I don't know if you noticed, but before you gave him this beautiful treatment, he had little pieces of white putty on his arm, leg, and head. That was because he's been broken since I was a kid. The putty held him together for the longest time."
"That was what that white goop was? I thought it was something else. But wait, how did he break?"
"My cousin, Dustin, threw him against the wall. He was such a dickhead… fixing him has been a longtime priority of mine and I am amazed at how well you fixed him! How did you do it?"
"I-I just replaced some of the broken joints with tiny screws and I replaced the head with a stub. My grandma and Amber helped me out too."
"Your grandmother fixed this!?" Mason gasped excitingly. "Holy shit! You ladies did amazing! Normally, when you replace broken joints with screws, it ruins the paint, but look at him! He looks like he came fresh out of the box! You fixed him, you really fixed him!"
Sydney giggled and gave a gentle smile. "Well, I'm glad you like it."
"Like it? I love it!"
Mason continued playing with his figure when he looked and saw that his girlfriend was still filled with guilt; she was upset about what happened before he left for the store. With a tender chortle, Mason placed the figure down, walked up, and held Sydney's hands in his.
"Going back to before…" he commented. "I'm not mad at you and you shouldn't feel bad about snapping at me. I was in the wrong here. I understand why you yelled at me; you wanted to handle things on your own and that's what I love about you. You help others, but you also know when to take care of yourself. I wanted to help you because I know how hard you work. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night, you always perform your stand-up comedy, but for the majority of the day, you're always cleaning the house, paying bills, and doing stuff I should be doing as well. I want to contribute to this relationship just as much as you are… that's why I wanted to lend a hand… I didn't mean to upset you."
Sydney smiled for a quick moment, registering all that was said. "Apology accepted, Mason… just think before you say something harsh like that next time, okay?"
"Will do… I'm sorry again."
"It's fine. Thank you for getting the medicine."
"My pleasure… sorry it took so long; the trip was a little weirder than you think."
She chuckled as his response.
"No, I'm being serious," he said. "It was whack."
Dunnere popped out and smiled at the couple, as he watched them embrace each other in a warm hug.
"Te Quiero, Mason."
"Et je t'aime, Sydney."
The lovers shared a kiss upon each other's lips before they heard a knock at the door. Mason wrapped Sydney in a hug again.
"Come in," Sydney replied.
Amber opened the door. "Oh, hey, guys… did you?"
"We talked it out. He's cool with it… turns out we fixed something that was always broken."
"Holy shit, for real?"
"Wow. I'm glad things were able to work out between you two; however, I gotta ask… are all action figures supposed to be in here?"
"Mostly yes, but the only exception is a giant Batman that sits in the corner of the living room. Why?"
"Grandma sneezed on it and popped its arm off."
"How's that possible?" Mason asked. "That figure's made of diecast metal."
"I have no idea."
Jerry approached from behind. "Yo, guys… giant Batman needs to go to the emergency room."
Mason released Sydney from his hug and looked at her with a flirtatious grin. "Wanna show me the Sydney Connor way of fixing toys?"
Sydney folded her arms. "First, we're gonna need a bigger screw."
On the other side of Seattle, Technolocity sat in his lair and drew blueprints for a new machine that he hoped will destroy Night Shadow and the other superheroes. He erased one mistake he made in the corner and redrew it.
Melody was practicing her flute.
Raven and Tender Soul played poker.
And Mojo was watching TV.
Their relaxation was suddenly interrupted by the sound of roaring coming from outside.
The computer-headed villain got up from his chair and walked towards the window.
"What the hell is that noise?" he asked. He opened the curtain and saw a ballistic missile heading straight for the window.
It was the same missile Jerry fired from Bertram's laboratory.
"Hey!" Technolocity smiled. "A missile's about to hit the window, cool!"
The Void League gasped.
Technolocity realized what was about to happen. "Uh, oh."
END OF STORY
Tune In Next Time For…
The Sensational Night Shadow – Issue #5: Nagini The Viper