Morning, how are all of you doing? Me, I’ve got the plague, but I’m starting to feel better thankfully. At least I haven’t gotten the wife sick; that wouldn’t have been good at all.
Well today is chapter 1 reveal day, as I promised. The Negative Man: City of Chaos is currently on pre-order over at Amazon for 99 cents (long story, the titular character sorta came to life and hacked into my page – take advantage of his generosity). It’s been out for three days, but so far, this is the best pre-order response I’ve ever gotten. To those of you who grabbed a copy, thanks! To those who are still on the fence, hopefully reading chapter 1 will help.
Now, before I do, I just want to remind you that next Wednesday will be the chapter 2 reveal, and then Wednesday (12/23) will be the final one, with chapter 3. I hope you enjoy…
My name’s Jericho Staley. I moved to Pacific Station a few years back to get my Master’s degree. It was culture shock to me, because back east, we didn’t have many super powered people. Those that were out and about weren’t tolerated. Not like out here.
Two weeks after my arrival, a nasty piece of work the press called The Negative Man showed up and wreaked havoc. The PSPD were helpless to do anything. He blew up sensitive targets at will, destabilizing the city and the infrastructure. The city’s leadership was reduced to making public statements that inspired no hope in the people. Go figure, politicians making things worse.
Our villain got his name from a very odd situation; every time someone took a picture of “The Negative Man” to identify him, the photo showed up as a negative. Scientists from all over studied the effects of his attacks and came to the conclusion he could manipulate polarity. In layman’s terms, this bad, bad man could charge or discharge the electricity in the air through atoms. I’m a computer nerd and the explanation still baffles me. Just trust me that when he attacked something, it wasn’t good.
The original protectors of Pacific Station, five supers who kept the streets clean and for the most part safe, were wiped out immediately. Without hesitation, The Negative Man killed them all. Sometimes he did it very publicly and sometimes with no fanfare. It took him less than a week to rid the city of his biggest obstacles.
Legions of other heroes came to Pacific Station and tried to stop him; each one ending up dead, insane, or broken beyond repair. In little less than a month, most of the super population of the west coast was decimated. Along with their failures, the overall feel of Pacific Station tanked. We’d reached the critical point.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your view of vigilantes, someone showed up to take him on. “The Dark Lion,” another nickname the press forced down our throats, came to the defense of the city. Behind the hooded cowl he wore was a pair of yellow eyes that would make a grown man wet themselves. With agility, speed, and power like no mere mortal should possess, he battled The Negative Man for the fate of the city. Unlike previous heroes, The Dark Lion fought just as angry and dirty as The Negative Man.
The two’s final clash happened at Waves Park, in the heart of downtown. At the end of the twelve round slugfest, neither had the upper hand, but The Negative Man fled for unknown reasons. The Dark Lion went to chase him down, but his injuries kept him from getting very far. Two years later and no one has heard or seen The Negative Man. It’s like he was never here.
Without the threat of a villain, you’d think things would go back to normal. They didn’t. Others took up The Negative Man’s absence. The worst was a group recently formed; four villains to be exact. Naming themselves “The Aces” (each one has a call sign, Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds); they formed a gang and went to work. Murder, kidnapping, drugs – you name it, they do it.
None of this should even concern me, but I had the bad luck of discovering my boss was The Dark Lion. Suffice to say when I found this out, I was sucked into this world whether I liked it or not. John Wonderton, CEO at Wonder-Tech, gave me two choices – join his crusade as his behind the scenes eyes or lose my job and disappear from the world. I chose the former.
Currently, we were in pursuit of two vans containing gang members who stole servers from Wonder-Tech. Diamonds, one of The Aces was running the job. Those servers were the heartbeat of our R&D Division and contained information of different weapons we were developing for the government. If The Aces got their hands on the specs, we’d be in trouble.
“DL, the two vans are stopped at the light at Eighty-Six and MLK. According to the x-ray scans, the one on the right has the stolen servers. The one on the left I guess is being driven by Diamonds.”
Static hit my ear. When would he figure out how to use the new earpiece? “Got it Jericho. Is Massacre en route?”
Massacre was another super vigilante, who in my opinion was useless. His head was bulletproof, and along with super strength, you might as well have called him The Torpedo. “Yeah, he checked in two minutes ago. He’s headed north on MLK. He’ll be there a few minutes after you.”
I turned away from the computer and looked towards the big screen television. From the comfort of my hidden lab and on a seventy-two inch LED TV, I’d be able to see everything. DL was hopping rooftops to get to the two vans and the traffic below was none the wiser to his location. Two more jumps and the vans came into view.
I’d hacked into the city traffic control and the lights wouldn’t be turning green anytime soon. “You got all the time in the world DL. Those guys are stuck.”
“Good to hear Jericho. I’m going in.”
His comm cut off and from the video feed, I could see him jump off the roof and land hard on the left hand van. DL had no interest in recovering the lost servers. He was after Diamonds.
Punching the roof until a hole formed, he reached down and pulled out two different thugs, tossing them away like yesterday’s trash. Bullets were flying from inside the van, going through the roof, but DL’s agility was unparalleled. On his third attempt, he pulled out his target and leapt from the roof on to the street.
Wearing a red diamond mask, the villain was pushed hard into the street. I thought I heard something shatter, but I might’ve been wrong. DL ripped off the mask, revealing a young man with dirty blonde hair. Diamonds showed no respect and hocked a big old, disgusting loogie into DL’s face.
Wiping the spit away, “You’ve lost scum bag. After I put you in the ground, the rest of your little frat party will be joining you.”
Diamonds surprised DL with a kick to the gut. The force was pretty great too. Rolling to his feet, “The Dark Lion, as dumb as advertised.”
DL wasn’t in the mood to banter. He leapt at Diamonds and unleashed his patented spin kick, right to the jaw. The young blonde gangster twisted awkwardly before dropping to a knee. Color me surprised that the kick didn’t knock him unconscious. He pulled himself back into a standing position and just smiled. “Hmm, I thought that would’ve hurt more.”
“What’s your power then kid? Being a human punching bag?” DL jumped again, this time bringing his fist down to the top of his head.
I’d felt just a small portion of DL’s powers during the dreaded sparring sessions, and the impact of these blows should’ve killed this kid. Again though, he stumbled a bit back but wasn’t seriously hurt. In fact, he seemed to be enjoying the pain.
Diamonds reached into his coat and pulled out a metal baton. He tried to double tap DL’s knees, but missed with both blows. Leaving himself open, he took a nasty uppercut to the jaw. As his head snapped back, a tooth went flying into the street. It landed next to an older man who was watching the fight and he fell back at the sight.
DL delivered another snap jab to the kid’s face, breaking his nose. Even as blood poured out, Diamonds didn’t stop. Using the baton, he actually landed a solid shot to DL’s neck.
“DL?! Are you okay?”
Gritting his teeth, “Yeah, I’m fine! This punk is starting to piss me off!”
“Who’re you talking to Lion? Got another helper on the way?”
I wasn’t the help he should’ve been worried about. A loud crash into the van to the right was all we needed to hear to announce that Massacre was on scene. “Damnit DL! He’s destroyed the servers!”
No one cared what I thought. Even as the main reason to take these thugs on was going up in smoke and fire, DL only had eyes for Diamonds. He rushed the punk again and rammed his shoulder into his stomach. He kept going until he drove his opponent into a car. Pinned against the metal door, Diamonds was at the Lion’s mercy.
A knee to the midsection, two punches to the face, and finishing with a left hook to the side of the face, Diamonds finally collapsed to the ground. Even as beaten as he was, he still continued to laugh at my boss. “Don’t count this as a victory! I was just…” he coughed up some blood, “a decoy.”
DL dropped down to his prey. “Why should I believe that?”
“Like I said before, we all know how stupid and hot headed you are!”
Angry, DL lashed out and kicked Diamonds across the face. I could hear his face breaking from where I was seated. “You have two heartbeats to tell me everything!”
“Piss off!” More blood came up as Diamonds laid there in the middle of the street. Massacre was walking over from the wreckage he caused. Onlookers were gathering around to see what DL was going to do next. “Let everyone see just how pathetic you are!”
DL’s rage was coming to a boiling point. Under the hood, you could see his yellow eyes, from the special infrared googles I designed for him, glazing over. “Don’t make me hurt you anymore…”
Diamonds must’ve known his life was over, one way or the other. He just kept laughing at DL and Massacre. “Nothing you can do to me will stop him from coming.”
In one swift motion, DL grabbed Diamonds and lifted him to his full arm’s length. “Stop who from coming?!”
“The Negative Man will rise again!”
Diamonds never stopped laughing, even as DL snapped his neck. In a fit of extreme anger, he tossed the dead gang member’s body into the brick wall of the bank about a hundred feet away…
Want to pre-order The Negative Man: City of Chaos? Head on over to http://www.amazon.com/Negative-Man-Pacific-Station-Vigilante-ebook/dp/B018XQAGTW/.