"The Sensational Night Shadow in… New Friends, Old Enemies"

Chapter 14

Created by The Spectacular SpiderDom

A few minutes later…

The Seattle Strikers and The Dope Squad finally got the rest they deserved; they were sitting on the latter team's trailblazer and enjoyed their bottles of water courteous of Sagittarius, who took out his Harlem Knight lunchbox and pulled several cups of chocolate pudding from inside.

Pulling them against his bow, he shot them into the air, and they landed in his friends' hands. Well, except Poncho Mom because it bounced off her head. Everyone was handed a white spoon and Frosty Beetle ripped open her cup, devouring the pudding like an animal that hadn't eaten in weeks. She didn't even care that two drops spilled on street beneath her feet.

Pyro Lad cringed at some of the joyful noises she made. He pulled down his scarf and ate a spoonful of pudding.

Sagittarius looked at the pyrokinetic and saw his scar.

He was tempted to ask where it came from, but he decided not to. Instead, he just ate his dessert.

As the superheroes sat and relaxed, they were approached by Darla, who shockingly had a warm smile on her face.

"Are you all okay?" she asked.

The Seattle Strikers shared a curious glance.

"Are you talking to us?" Night Shadow asked.

"You act as if I've never been nice to you," Darla raised an eyebrow.

"Well…" Frosty Beetle said before Pyro Lad punched her in the arm. "Ow, what!?"

"We're fine, Captain Prescott, thank you," Monsoon Gal replied with a smile. "How are you?"

"Want some pudding?" Sagittarius asked, offering her his lunchbox.

"No, I'm good," Darla chuckled as she shook her head. "And I'm fine, Monsoon Gal, thank you… I just wanted to say to the seven of you-"

"Ahem!" BagByte coughed.

"Um… eight of you, I guess," the one-eyed cop shrugged. "I wanted to say thank you for everything you did in that building. Most of my colleagues would think twice before going in there to save a bunch of criminals. Most people I've met in the workforce have done that, including my former best friend… I assumed costumed vigilantes were no different, but I was… wrong about you guys. There is a chance I might have misjudged you."

Night Shadow and both superheroines smiled while Pyro Lad folded his arms and nodded.

"Does this mean you like us now?" her stepson asked.

"Hmm… maybe," Darla shrugged. "I'm still keeping an eye on you all, especially now that you've added three more members to your team. Think of this as my way of saying… I semi-trust you."

The superheroes glanced at each other and shrugged their shoulders.

"I'll take that," Night Shadow said.

"I appreciate everything you all have done… but I'll be watching you," Darla said sternly. She turned her back and walked away from the group, where a small moment of silence occurred.

"Nice of your stepmom to give us a back-handed compliment, Shadz," Frosty Beetle nudged her friend.

"Oh, shit, she's your stepmother?" Poncho Mom chuckled.

"Yeah, and that guy over there is my dad," Night Shadow replied, pointing to his father. "I try to do everything I can to protect them, even if it means they can't know who I am under this helmet. I wouldn't know what I would do if I lost them and my girlfriend."

"Girlfriend?" Poncho Mom coughed, almost choking on her pudding. She was also unaware Sagittarius chuckled.

"Yeah, she means a lot to me," Night Shadow continued. "Now that Techy and his band of idiots are going to jail, I'm thinking of spending more time with her."

"Aww, how sweet," Valentine smiled.

"What are you thinkin' of doin'?" Sagittarius inquired, eating a spoonful of pudding.

"Well, we were talking about vacationing in Berlin, but they seem to be having a dog problem, whatever that means," the shadowy man replied. "Then we talked about going to Los Angeles, but they're having some electrical issues, so… I'm not sure what we'll do."

"Well, whatever you guys do, I hope you have fun. You two deserve some time to each other," the red-haired empath nodded.

"Thanks, Val," he winked.

Sagittarius nudged his elastic partner and whispered, "Hey, sorry that your crush just got crushed. But don't take it personally, they're plenty of fish in the sea."

"Oh, he's just playing hard to get," Poncho Mom whispered back with a chuckle.

"What?" the archer raised an eyebrow.

"He doesn't have a girlfriend, he's just saying all of this to make me jealous," the purple polymorph replied. "It's so cute to know how much he wants me. I'm totally going to make this as a scene for my story."

Sagittarius shook his head. "I question your sanity sometimes."

"You and me both, horse legs," BagByte chimed in.

As Valentine finished her pudding cup and placed it in her boyfriend's lunch box, Frosty Beetle tilted her frowning head down and leaped off the car's hood. She approached the young heroine before she took a deep breath.

"Hey," she greeted softly, watching Valentine look into her ocean blue eyes.

"Hi," the empath greeted.

"I want to apologize for lashing out at you earlier," the cryokinetic replied gently. "I assumed that since you were adopted by Edwin and Astryd, you were no different than them when in reality, you're nothing like them… part of the reason is also that both of them have tried to hurt my niece and nephew and I love and care for both of them. I wouldn't know what to do if I lost them."

She paused, allowing a small tear to drip down her face.

Valentine reached her finger forward and wiped it off, giving her a soft smile.

"Sorry," the sky-blue heroine wiped her face. "I'm sorry I misjudged you, Valentine. You're a sweet, passionate, kind, and awesome person. Your teammates are lucky to have a leader like you."

Valentine smiled. "Thanks, Frosty Beetle. That means a lot coming from you."

"This is a random question, but did we let the Money Dawgs burn in that fire?" Night Shadow asked.

"Nah, they ran out before Technolocity and the others attacked us. What a bunch of cowards," Sagittarius replied.

"Speaking of which," Valentine wrapped her fingers together, motioning to The Seattle Strikers. "My team and I want to thank you for helping us bring down their ringleader and I want to apologize for not being straightforward from the start. I was afraid my past would affect our friendship, but thanks to Night Shadow, I realize that it doesn't matter how I started, what matters most is how I finish. Thanks for helping me get back on my feet, Night Shadow, and thank you for listening to my backstory… it means a lot to have a friend like you."

"You're welcome, Valentine," Night Shadow winked. "Thanks for showing me. Both Eddie and Astryd put you through hell and tonight, we made the latter pay for that."

"Right," Valentine chuckled. "Right."

"Wait, what do you mean she showed you her backstory?" Pyro Lad inquired. "Did she record it on camera or something?"

"I… think it's better if I show you myself," Valentine nodded, as she held out her hand. "May I have your hands?"

Monsoon Gal, Frosty Beetle, and Pyro Lad were about to grab it, but they were interrupted by Night Shadow.

"Uh-uh," he shook his head. "Gloves off… don't worry, it's not weird."

His teammates took their gloves off and placed their hands against the empath's palms.

Valentine closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The confused elementals stood there for a few seconds before their eyes shined a bright pink color and their jaws dropped to the ground. They were witnessing everything from the death of her parents to the day Bertram helped her escape; everything Night Shadow saw before the battle. All three of them gasped with horror before their eyes reverted back to normal and they backed away.

The empath opened her eyes and watched the heroes put their gloves back on.

"Holy Jesus," Pyro Lad whispered depressingly.

"They're monsters!" Frosty Beetle cupped her hands over her mouth.

"We're so sorry," Monsoon Gal spoke in a disheartened tone.

"It's okay," Valentine replied with a soft smile. "I'm just happy I finally told you guys."

"Same here," the blue hydrokinetic nodded. "But I'm going to let your past interfere with your chances of joining my team. You guys came here, and you not only helped us take down a bunch of mercenaries, but you also helped us bring our enemies down to justice. But just because The Void League and several other villains are behind bars, that doesn't mean a new threat won't rise. That's why I called upon you three. Your courage, heroism, pride, and determination are why I wanted you three to be part of this team. All seven of us proved that we could succeed if we put our minds together and if we continue this, nothing shall stand in our way…"

She paused for a quick moment. "But I won't force you to join if you don't want to."

Sagittarius nudged his leader/girlfriend. "It's your call, Val. Just know that whatever choice you make, Poncho and I will support you."

"Unless it's the wrong choice," BagByte said.

"Shut up, you!" Poncho Mom hissed. "But seriously, what he said. It's your choice."

Valentine looked back at the four heroes staring at her and she stroked her chin. Tapping the side of her forehead, she nodded and gave an excited grin to her friends. "Monsoon Gal, I think I speak for my team when I say this… but I'd like to take you up on your offer."

The water bender's eyes widened and so did her teammates.

"Wait… dead-ass, a-a-are we j-joining the team?" Poncho Mom spoke with a stutter.

Her leader's only response was a nod.

Sagittarius' smile beamed from ear to ear as Poncho Mom leaped off the roof of the car and clenched her fists.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, which made The Seattle Strikers blench.

"Well, there goes my hearing," Pyro Lad mumbled.

"Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!" Poncho Mom jumped up and down, raising her hands in the air. "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES! Come here, you little shadowy cutie!"

She ran towards her crush and wrapped him in a tight hug, lifting him off his feet.

"Whoa, okay!" Night Shadow said dumbfounded. "That's uh… a little unnecessary."

"Get ahold of yourself, woman!" BagByte exclaimed.

"I'm so happy we get to be working together!" Poncho Mom kept hugging her crush tightly. "We're going to have so much fun!"

Valentine offered her hand and Monsoon Gal shook it without hesitation.

Poncho Mom finally placed Night Shadow back on the ground, but she snuck in one more hug before she returned to the vehicle. Feeling both flattered and creeped out, Night Shadow simply shrugged.

"So… now that we're officially a team," Frosty Beetle chimed in. "What should we call ourselves?"

"Oh, I was thinking something awesome like… The Ultra Squad!" Poncho Mom suggested cheerfully. "Or maybe something like The Ultra Strikers? Ultra-League? Ultra… Ultra…"

"Let's move away from the 'ultras' and find something else," Sagittarius folded his arms and tapped his chin. "Like… The Uniters or something."

"Sounds like a knock-off of The Avengers," Frosty Beetle chuckled. "Hey, maybe we should have a parody of that name or something."

"I think a team name might be a little much," Pyro Lad said.

"Why?" the icy heroine, the archer, and the polymorph asked with a disappointed whine.

"Because it's gonna make us look like we're a damn product," the pyrokinetic explained bluntly. "Yes, we named ourselves The Seattle Strikers but it's a name that makes people take us seriously. If we change it to something else, people will be coming after us with merchandise ideas, product sponsorships, and worst of all… movie deals. I don't want to star in a four-hour superhero movie, especially if it's directed by someone who doesn't know the characters."

"That happens with us anyway, Pyro," Monsoon Gal rolled her eyes and chuckled. "But we choose to ignore those deals because they're just plain stupid. But it would be nice to have a name for when we're all assembled together. Does anyone have any ideas?"

Everyone, except Pyro Lad, stroked their chins and tapped their foreheads, hoping a team name would pop up in their heads. They sat there and thought about it for a few moments, but no matter how hard they tried, nothing came to them.

"Very well then," the yellow fire bender reached behind him, raising his water bottle. "To The No-Names."

Everyone rolled their eyes and chuckled at his joke.

"We'll think of something down the line," Monsoon Gal smiled, as she raised her bottle. "But what matters now is that the seven of us are a team."

"All right, everyone, Bubba Shikka on three, who's with me?" Night Shadow raised his bottle. "Come on, let's do it."

Poncho Mom had her bottle ready while the other five heroes shared a curious glance. In a split second, all of them shrugged their shoulders and raised their water bottles high.

"Ready?" Night Shadow asked with a bright smile. "One… two… three! Bubba Shikka!"

But as everyone tapped their bottles together, they said something different than Night Shadow's battle cry.

"Booba Shoota!" Monsoon Gal called out.

"Whatever," Pyro Lad said.

"Bubba Shitta!" Poncho Mom and Sagittarius said before looking dumbfounded towards each other.

"Bomba Sika?" Valentine raised an eyebrow, breaking down into laughter.

"Yeah, what she said," Frosty Beetle laughed along with the empath.

Night Shadow shook his head in disappointment before he smiled and chortled lightly. "God damn it, guys."

As the superheroes drank from their water bottles and chatted amongst themselves, the Seattle Police Department closed the doors to their police cars and checked on the van filled with all of the supervillains. With two armored guards giving their co-workers a thumbs up, they started the ignition and drove the prisoner van away from the streets. They blasted their alarm and made a sharp right turn.

The seven superheroes waved their enemies goodbye, but there were unaware a certain someone also witnessed The Void League's departure.

That someone stood on the roof of a building with a pair of binoculars over his orange-lensed eyes. His green sweater brushed against the soft wind and he released a sigh of both relief and frustration. Lowering his binoculars, he closed his eyes and whispered to himself.

"Good riddance."

That man was none other than Gavroche: Enigmatic Assassin.

The black-masked vigilante got up on his feet and watched the police van drive merge into oncoming traffic, where the loud siren made some cars pull to the right, allowing the vehicle itself to pass. Gavroche placed his binoculars back in his pocket before he looked to his right, noticing the superheroes laughing at a joke Night Shadow just made.

All of them had bright and warm smiles on their faces, as they sipped their water and ate from their chocolate pudding cups.

Gavroche was about to turn away and leave the scene when he heard a dark voice right next to him.

"You should have been here sooner. You missed one helluva show."

He turned to his right and saw the last person he expected to see, Billy Adara: Turbine.

With his demon, Aella: Master of the Wind, he sat on the edge of the roof and stroked his ghostly eagle demon. The air bender adjusted his Chinese straw hat before he looked down at his brother and his former friends, getting a faraway glimpse at the new additions to their superhero family.

"Nice to know I can easily be replaced," Turbine sighed, folding his arms.

"Were you planning to go back to them anytime soon?" Gavroche asked.

"No," the purple-costumed man shook his head. "I was on my way to assassinate Technolocity and The Void League when I suddenly saw the whole place on fire. It was pretty nuts. My brother and his teammates came out with the villains over their shoulders. I'm not surprised they risked their lives to save their enemies, it seems like something they would do."

"I probably would have done the same if I were in their shoes," Gavroche replied. "Even if I have a contempt for The Void League nowadays."

"Nowadays?" the air bender raised an eyebrow. "Can I assume you guys have a history?"

"You can say that, Turbine. I should be relieved that they're going to jail where they belong… but something about it doesn't feel right."

"Same here, man. As I said, I was on my way here to kill them but here they are going to jail instead. I should be glad, but I'm not… but I know this won't last. The last time they all went to jail was after Nagini's invasion and they literally broke out the next day. My brother and his band of idiots down there are celebrating too soon, Technolocity will be out of there the second they start planning vacations and shit… and when he breaks out…" he clenched his fists. "I'll be ready for him."

"Hmph," the green-costumed assassin registered that within his head before he walked away from the ledge. "Good luck with that."

Turbine's eyes bolted after him and he shrugged. "Huh, I'm shocked you're not gonna try and change my mind. I've seen you work with The Seattle Strikers against Nagini and you were there when we went to The Cyber Realm."

"Your point?"

"Since you seem to enjoy showing up during the direst moments, I just assumed you're a goody-two-shoes just like them."

Gavroche stropped walking and stood still for a brief moment. Then, he turned around and spoke thoroughly. "Let's get one thing straight, I'm not a carbon copy of The Seattle Strikers and I'm not a carbon copy of you. With this in mind, you can say I'm somewhere in the middle. I've been forced to do things I'm not proud of, but I've had no other choice."

"Gavroche, was it?" Turbine folded his arms, looking to the left. "Yeah… I know how you feel."

"I'm sure you do, but let's be honest… you chose the path you're on, I didn't. You can make a choice to go back…" Gavroche reached for his belt and pulled out a smoke pellet. "I can't."


He disappeared into a field of purple smoke.

Turbine used his powers to brush the smoke away and he saw that the vigilante was completely gone.

Nodding his head in amusement, he turned around and looked down at his former friends and their new teammates. All of them hopped back inside the trailblazer and they started blasting '80s music as they drove down the road, singing along to the song. Turbine watched them drive around a left corner before they merged into traffic.

Folding his arms, he closed his eyes and released a deep sigh.

Aella looked at him with concern in her eyes and he gently stroked the top of her feathery head.

Tilting his straw hat over the burnt side of his face, he turned around and walked off into the shadows.

In the University District of Seattle…

Mason Moonstone, in his civilian attire, walked down the hallway of the Cabano Hotel and approached his apartment. Rubbing some black marks off of his face, he gave himself a quick pat-down and felt something in the side of his green-jeaned pocket. Giving a sigh of relief, he took out his golden keys and unlocked his door.

Upon entering, he saw Sydney and Amber sitting on the couch playing Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury on the former's Nintendo Switch.

Both of them were in the middle of a desert level and they were almost at the end of the level. The Spanish comedian opted to play as Luigi while her sister chose to be Mario (how appropriate). Both of them moved their characters around the environment, as they stomped on a few Goombas and kicked a green Koopa shell into a few enemies.

"Where the hell is that damn third star?" Sydney asked. "Did we pass it? Check over there by that wall."

"Sydney, we've looked there hundreds of times," Amber replied with a chuckle. "I didn't see the star."

Sydney moved the green-clad plumber towards a hidden section of the level, and she found the last green star they needed. As soon as she found it, she slowly glanced at her sister with a smug grin.

"Looked there hundreds of times, you say?" she snickered.

"I hope you two aren't playing online," Mason said, grabbing a glass cup from the cabinet and filling it with water. "Camera's wonky as shit in that mode."

Hearing her boyfriend's voice, Sydney titled her head over the couch and paused the game. "¡Gracias a Dios que estás en casa!" ("Thank God you're home!")

She quickly leaped into his arms and embraced him in a tight hug. Mason smiled and kissed her forehead. But as they released each other, she punched him in the arm.

"Ow, what was that for?" Mason asked, rubbing his arm.

"You had me worried sick!" Sydney replied with a worried grunt. "Amber and I saw on the news that Technolocity's base was on fire. I saw you come out only to jump back in! I thought you were going to get yourself killed!"

"Sorry, sorry… I really am sorry," her boyfriend nodded. "The others and I had to get everyone out of there. Long story short, Technolocity tried to make a dimensional portal for our Elemental Demons but thanks to Appleseed Johnny, who now goes by Titanium Rabbit, the machine exploded and the whole place bursts into flames. Thankfully, everyone made it out of there in one piece," he smiled for a bit before his eyes suddenly lit up with shock. "Wait a second… did you try to-"

He reached for his phone and saw multiple missed calls from his girlfriend.

"Shit, I'm so sorry, Sydney," Mason facepalmed and moaned in frustration.

"Hey, it's okay," Sydney's face changed to a smile, as she pulled her boyfriend into another hug. "I'm just happy you're alive."

"Same here," Mason smiled, bestowing a kiss upon her lips. "Otherwise, I wouldn't come here and say that Techy and his cronies are finally going to jail. Which means Night Shadow can catch a break and it also means you and I can spend some more time together."

"Sounds great," Sydney replied, releasing her boyfriend. "Watch, you say that and he's gonna break out two hours from now."

"Oh, god," Mason rolled his eyes and folded his arms. "Don't say that, please."

His dark-skinned girlfriend chuckled and pulled back her glasses.

Amber smiled at the two of them, watching Mason take a sip of his drink.

"Hey, Amber, how's it going?" he greeted.

"I'm feeling a lot better than I was before, how are you?" she asked happily.

"Well, my face feels like burnt toast but other than that, I'm good," he replied, placing the drink on the kitchen counter. "Oh, I meant to tell you, Jerry called me last night and told me about the car chase you guys had with that guy. I'm sorry I didn't come down and-"

"No, no, don't apologize, it's okay," Amber shook her head, rubbing her green-sleeved arms. "Jerry and I are fine… but that car chase wasn't all of it."

"What does that mean?" he asked, turning to Sydney.

"Amber was chased down the streets by a stranger and then another stranger tried to attack her at work earlier," Sydney explained.

"Jesus, are these guys working for someone or something?" Mason inquired, rubbing the back of his head. Dunnere wondered the same thing as he stroked his chin.

"Amber believes it's our parents, but I don't think they'd do something like this. They've made it clear that they don't care for us anymore," Sydney replied.

"I'm scared they're going to come after me for the rest of my life," Amber shivered. "But I know that I can always count on you, Sydney, Jerry, and everyone else to have my back. A wise comedian taught me that tonight."

As Sydney smiled at her sister's comment, Mason shared a smirky glance at Dunnere, who mirrored his expression.

"I know that look," his girlfriend grinned. "That's your thinking look, what are you thinking about?"

Mason pressed his hands together and turned towards the blonde Caucasian. "Amber… this is going to sound very strange, but may I borrow some of your clothes?"

The blonde-haired musician raised both of her eyebrows.

In the heart of the University District…

An auburn-haired man with white skin walked down the street in the same tuxedo as the people that attempted to kidnap Amber Connor. Speaking of which, he was quietly patrolling the streets on foot with hopes of catching her and/or her sister. So far, he hadn't seen them as many people with both cybernetic and animal limbs walked down the sidewalk either on their phones and they were distracted by the bright neon billboards.

Putting his sunglasses over his eyes, the man discreetly investigated the city before he arrived at the front entrance of The Little Timmy Fell Down The Well Bar. He was about to walk inside to see if the Connor sisters were still there, but just as he cracked open the door, something caught the corner of his eye.

With a quiet gasp, he looked over to the left and saw someone walking down the street.

Amber Connor, in the flesh.

Closing the door, the man sped-walked behind the young woman.

She briefly looked over her shoulder before turning to the right, entering an alleyway. The man raised an eyebrow and wondered where she was going, but he knew he had her in a tight spot. So, he walked around the corner and followed her down a trail with garbage and puddles across the floor.

Stretching his neck, he walked faster and noticed that the comedian herself was slowing down.

Was she doing this on purpose?

That question didn't bother popping up in his head, as he was focused on accomplishing his mission.

"Amber Connor, you're coming back with me," he snarled as he grabbed her by the shoulder and turned her around, only to discover something shocking.


It was Poncho Mom wearing a replica of her clothes and a wig. Emerging from her front pocket was BagByte, who gave the man a very "friendly" greeting.

"Peek-a-boo, bitch!"


With the strength of her powers, Poncho Mom punched the man in the stomach and sent him flying across the alleyway, where he rammed into the side of a taxi cab. When he landed on the concrete, he picked up his fallen sunglasses and looked at the elastic woman with fright in his eyes.

"F-freak!" he screamed.

"Freak?... you're calling her a freak?"

Gently glancing to his left, he heard the voice of Sagittarius and began crawling backward. This forced Valentine to step forward and clench her fists, which were wrapped in brass knuckles.

"The only freak we see here is you," the horse-legged archer pointed towards him with a grunt.

The man refused to answer and ran in the other direction, only to be trapped by Monsoon Gal, Pyro Lad, and Frosty Beetle. He jumped back and landed on his rear, cowering against the building next to him. The Elemental superheroes cracked their necks and fingers, as they held their weapons between their fingers.

But there was one superhero that was missing from the team-up, but where could he be?

The answer came when the stalker's shadow started coming out of the wall behind him. It reached a razor-sharp claw out and gently touched his shoulder. The man's eyes began to lit up with fear, as he bolted them at the hand and screamed at the top of his lungs.

Night Shadow came out of the wall, landed an uppercut against the man's chin, and slammed him against the ground. He placed his big, black boot against his chest, trapping him in his clutches.

"What's shakin' bacon?" he said with a menacing smirk. "I hear you and your posse have been stalking a certain friend of mine lately. Well, my friends and I want you to run back and give whoever you work for this message… if you come after Amber and/or Sydney Connor ever again, then prepare yourselves for… The Dope Seattle Striker Squad!"

With a bright smile on his face, he looked over his shoulder and noticed confused looks on his friends' faces.

"No?" Night Shadow raised an eyebrow. "Not a good team name?"

"Meh, too lengthy," Frosty Beetle shook her head.

"Sorry, I was just trying to find a way to combine our names together," Night Shadow said with a shrug. "Some superhero teams do that if they decide they're working together, but in cases like this, it clearly doesn't work, so I'm-"

"Night Shadow," Pyro Lad cut him off.


"Just punch him."

Night Shadow looked at the stalker, staring at him for a few seconds.

He finally shrugged and pulled back his fist, "Okay."



Tune In Next Time For…

The Sensational Night Shadow – Issue #9: So Close, Yet So Far