The Negative Man: Prelude to Chaos (Chapter 2)

And we continue our adventure again today! Enjoy chapter 2 of our story…

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Chapter 2 –

Friday Night; Wonder-Tech Tower

My powers were boiling just under the surface. Depending on what I stumbled into, I was about to kill whoever was behind me. When I turned, lo and behold, it was John Wonderton. Not just John Wonderton, either. He was half dressed as the man who just put an end to my alter ego. I was standing in front of The Dark Lion.

My shock at finding out the true identity of The Dark Lion froze me in place. The man didn’t look angry; he just seemed a bit surprised to see me standing here. “Jericho Staley, right?”

His easy tone of voice snapped me out of my stupor. “Yeah, that’s me.”

“You’re the guy who found out Brody Williams was sending inappropriate picture to the Legal staff, correct?”

“I’m the guy.” The general ease of this conversation was really freaking me out. “I can go back to your office and wait, if that’s okay.”

John pressed a button on a desk near him and the door I came through closed. Well this was an awkward situation. “I’m afraid I just can’t let you waltz out of here. You know who I am.” It wasn’t a question. “This is a secret that can never leave this room.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“No, son.” This was getting ever weirder. “Pacific Station needs a hero, especially after what happened just a few days ago at Waves Park.” I almost chuckled and that would’ve been bad. “The Negative Man is still fresh in the minds of those who wish to do the citizens here harm. Today is even more dangerous for this city than last week was.”

This was quite the impasse. If I had to kill him to leave, I would. After what I sacrificed to give this man his chance, it would be a shame for it to go up in flames like this, today. “What happens now?”

He rolled a desk chair over to me. “You work for me, both during the day and at night.”

I looked at the chair. “You barely know me and you want me to work with you? Are you the worst vigilante of all time?”

He ticked off facts like no other. “Lost his parents young, graduated top of his class – both undergraduate and graduate levels, is a loner by nature, never even had a parking ticket…” He knew Jericho Staley all right. “When you say I don’t know you, I know everyone in this place. Who is trustworthy, who works hard, and who needs a hobby. You check all three.”

Was his request for me to come up to his office a test? This seemed way too convenient, for him that is. “And if I refuse?”

“It would be most tragic, for both of us.”

Honestly, I was never going to say no. Being able to work from the inside, well that was just too perfect. If The Dark Lion couldn’t succeed, even with my help, then he didn’t deserve any more chances. “Count me in.”

Wonderton clapped his hands together. “Wonderful. As it turns out, I could use your help tonight, if you had no other prior engagements.”

If he really knew me, he’d have known how dumb a question that was. “Sure, what’s on the agenda tonight?”

He gestured for me to sit and pill up the computer. I obliged. What I saw were plans for a freighter and the surrounding harbor down by the Wharf District. “What’s all this?”

“That freighter is the WSB Manhattan. It’s just returned from a trip to the Far East carrying spices and what not.”

Oh great, our first joint assignment was something the neighborhood watch should handle. “A spice freighter? I’m confused.”

He smiled and motioned for me to click the mouse one more time. When I did, the manifest came up. It read just as Wonderton said it would, all exotic spices and what not. I was about to question his judgement when something on the document caught my eye. It was near the bottom and easily missed. There was an entire line redacted. “So this spice freighter is carrying something else?”

“You’re a quick study, Jericho. The Manhattan was on a mission for the government to pull up an old plutonium core at the bottom of the ocean.” He rubbed his hands together. “They were successful.”

Privately, I licked my lips at the prospects of this. With old school tech like that, the amount of chaos one would be able to bring would be tenfold. A rogue thought entered my mind, to steal this for myself. That was quickly dashed when Wonderton spoke again. “I need eyes and ears here, running the operation from the command station. You’d be my eyes and ears while I’m out there. Can you do that?”

Most of this equipment was three shades of obsolete, but I could handle that no problem. “Is this a simple escort mission?”

“The government would never ask a vigilante to partake in this. No, I’m going because word on the street is there’s a new player in town. This would be his, or her, opportunity to make a name for themselves.”

That actually made a lot of sense. Maybe I’d underestimated the deductive reasoning from my old enemy this entire time. “I can run this station, if that’s all you need me to do.”

“For now.” He grabbed his signature goggles and slid them over his face, completing the look of The Dark Lion. “We’ll see how this goes and take it from there.”

“That sounds fair to me.”

“Good.” In full Lion garb, he began to make his way out of the secret lair and begin the mission. “And for chatter sake over the comms, just call me DL, okay?”

Come on back tomorrow for chapter 3! We will just keep chugging them out!

-Jeremy

You can find all of my books at http://boltbookspub.wix.com/home

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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