I’m still mad/sad from what’s happened, but plenty of you emailed me asking if I’d be posting City of Chaos chapters this week. I think it’s only right to keep going, with something that people enjoy. So yep, we’ll keep on reading through as we get closer to the Stormfall release. Also, thank you all for the support. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
We had five minutes before the chat room, for lack of a better term, that The Negative Man had given us instructions to break into would go live. It had taken me about ten minutes to successfully infiltrate the server and from there gain access to this room on the dark web. I would be out of camera range, but would still be able to monitor everything from the control panel.
John Wonderton had transformed into The Dark Lion while I did the computer work. We really hadn’t said much to each other, but working towards a common goal of getting this meeting set up helped keep the tension out of the air.
With two minutes until show time, the room began picking up another external signal. “Looks like we’ll be going live very soon. We’ve got company in the room.”
The cowl hid most of his face, but his eyes were visible to me. Hate was set in every inch of them. “The sooner he gets here, the better.”
I sat there, with baited breath, waiting for The Negative Man to appear. And then, like a ghost in the machine, his face took over the monitor in the center of the room. Hidden underneath layers of static, the only thing we could make out was the outline of his head and his bright white eyes in the center of a distorted greyish black image. The same electronic voice I’d heard when Massacre was killed greeted DL. “My old friend… I’m sorry for what I did to poor PJ, though it was for the greater good.”
As DL prepared his comeback, the signal in the room started jumping all over the place. I had to go into hacker mode to keep us afloat in the room. My fingers were locked in a battle either with The Negative Man himself, or possibly an accomplice.
None the wiser to my struggles, “Massacre was a good man and a damn good vigilante. You murdered him in cold blood.”
“Just like he killed those innocent hostages in City Hall?” DL showed a moment of weakness. “Yes, I have eyes and ears everywhere.”
“And how many innocents did you kill the last time you graced Pacific Station with your presence? Don’t speak to me of meaningless murders.”
I think he laughed, but it was hard to tell. “Forget about my transgressions and look in the mirror at your own. You claim you wish to clean up the city, yet The Aces are still the ones with the power.”
DL kicked a chair that happened to be too close to him. “The Aces are scum, but you’re the real threat to the city. Be a man and fight me already!”
“You’re such a fool Dark Lion. I am so much closer to you than you think. But I will extend this offer to you.” My head perked up from my own battle at this and I almost lost us the connection. Luckily I kept it together before we were disconnected. “You rid the city of the plague that is The Aces and I will battle you personally. How does that sound?”
“Why do you care so much about what those insignificant goons do? I thought you’d be all about Spades and his band of murders and thieves.”
His face flickered for a minute before all the static went away. He was still hidden in the shadows, but the distortion was gone and his voice was no longer mechanical. Softly, “We have two different philosophies, but at the end of the day we both wish for this city to be a controlled environment. The Aces are a plague and I would never join with those amateurs.”
The Negative Man, the terror of Pacific Station sounded so human. I mean, I knew he was human, I just never thought he’d have to show himself in this capacity when fear was his greatest power. The Dark Lion also seemed to be at a loss for the way his greatest enemy chose to present himself. “Why should I believe you truly mean this?”
“When have I ever lied to you? Even in our greatest battles, I was always honest with my intentions.”
Something rolled over to my feet. The connection had become steady when the static went away so I bent over and picked up the rolled up note. ‘Trace the line.’ With no interference, I might be able to.
I went to work while DL kept him talking. “I will have revenge on you for everything you’ve done, so help me. If removing The Aces from the equation in the only way to kill you, then so be it.”
“Good. I knew I could count on you. Now, as for you trying to track me, allow me to show you how bad an idea that is.”
DL looked over at me and using his inhuman reflexes jumped over and knocked me away from the computers I was operating. Surges of power fried everything and if it hadn’t been for DL, probably me with it. Explosions happened all over the lab, every computer station being swept up in the brewing electrical nightmare.
DL helped me to my feet. “We need to leave!”
I was all about it and followed him as we ran out of the lab and into his office. The surge must’ve been building wide and affected the entire system. Sprinklers were going off and wiring was exploding from the wall. “You’re still in costume! What if someone sees you?”
“Just act like I showed up to rescue you.”
We had to take the stairs and ran into no one. I knew it was a Saturday, but usually there were some stragglers in the office to catch up on work. The first casualty we saw was the front security officer who was face down on his keyboard. Smoke was still coming off his sizzling body. DL ran over to the sign in log for the weekend. “There were only three people here, me you, and Heather Adams.”
My stomach bottomed out. “Heather’s here?” I looked outside and didn’t see her. “She still must be up in Legal. Let’s go!” The fires weren’t blocking the path yet and I was determined to get to her.
DL stopped me from running back. “Get outside and make sure the fire department is on its way. You can’t help her, but I can.”
I tried to push against him, but his strength was greater than mine. “Fine, but I’m counting on you.”
He gave me a nod before taking off towards the stairs. I ran outside where people were gathering around to see what was happening. The nine-one-one operator picked up on the second ring. “Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?”
“My name is Jericho Staley and I work at Wonder-Tech. Something happened to the electrical system and things began blowing up building wide. The Dark Lion is on the scene, but fires are breaking out everywhere. We need the fire department.”
The lady remained stoic even with everything I just told her. “Sending the dispatch now. Was there anyone else in the building with you?”
John Wonderton, but he’s currently running around as The Dark Lion, so I refrained from saying him. “There was a security guard, but he’s dead. I think there was someone down in Legal too, but I couldn’t check the check in ledger due to the fires.”
Over the top of my voice a large explosion shook the ground. Based on where that originated, I guessed it was the R&D lab. The servers were on the same level, what was left of them anyway, so it made sense that the overload would find its way there.
Her voice, never wavering with everything that was happening, “I’ll be sending an ambulance as well. Stay on the line until they arrive Mr. Staley.” She was polite, but my heart was racing; I needed to know if Heather was okay. “Are you unharmed sir?”
“Yeah, just shaken up.” That much was true, my hands were shaking.
The doors to the building flew open. DL came running out with a body slumped over his shoulder. He ran over and dropped Heather to the ground, her eyes closed and skin horrifyingly pale. “Hurry with that ambulance! The Dark Lion just pulled a survivor out!”
I dropped my phone and ran over to her. I put my hand on her face and it was cold and clammy. “Is she alive?”
Bad news was coming; I could feel it just by his body language. “I’m sorry son, but I don’t think she’s going to make it.”
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