Port Ripton Records

Summary: In a dystopian city, superhumans battle each other and the corrupt government for control of the streets.

Black Ice: Cold Heart

I gaze upon the city from my perch on a Gothic gargoyle. The old cathedral had seen better days, although few faithful are courageous enough to visit their God's home anymore. Even the unenlightened can see the places of bad karma, where sins and the failings of humanity collect in a cesspool. On nights like tonight, I see this city as the anti-nirvana, the lowest point in creation. The Lords of Hell would probably reject this city, as the evils done by men to other men are far worse than mere demons.

Demons and hungry ghosts simply fulfill their nature, to distract noble souls from reaching true liberation. Humans chose these actions, even though they would be reincarnated in a lower form. I too had long been distracted by greed and violence, until I was shown another way.

I once blamed my environment for my actions and failings, and that I was owed many things by the world. One terrible day showed me the error of my ways, but I have learned not to dwell upon it. I have more immediate tasks than brooding over previous wrongs. I adopted the mask of the vigilante, and took the name "Black Ice." The only part of my chocolate-dark skin that is visible are some parts of my hands. The rest is engulfed in my dark blue ninja suit. Sensei has mentioned it is historically inaccurate garb for a ninja, but I am aware of this.

My scan of the city shows a pack of men, clad in gang colors, swaggering down a dark avenue and likely seeking prey. A lone woman walks down the opposite sidewalk, unobservant of the ruffians coming the other way. Her glare is towards the ground, as she fiddles with a cell phone. Even as the thugs draw weapons and approach, she does not seem to take notice.

Despite my mind noticing something is fundamentally wrong, my body springs into action. My cryokinesis draws the heat away from the water vapor in the atmosphere, flash-freezing an icy structure. I coil my legs as an icy spire erupts from the statue beneath me, and dive towards into the street below. A frozen causeway appears beneath my feet, and the lights of the city flash by like distant stars. I slide onto the street, shifting my legs like an ice skater until I brake on the asphalt. The thugs are too stunned to react for a key split second, but that is all I need. I conjure a blade of pure ice in one hand, and hurl a blast of ice crystals with the other.

The nearest gangster takes one to the leg, and I smash my icicle sword against his chest. The blade shatters as his comrades draw their weapons. Knives and pistols find their way towards me, but I've already moved. Firearms and short blades can be truly impressive weapons in skilled hands, which these fools are not. I have little need for either, but I must respect their lethality. I flash-forge another icicle in my free hand, and shatter the wrist of a gangster holding his pistol sideways. He yelps in pain as I hammer my foot into his chest. He stumbles into the hand of the other gunner, causing the weapon to discharge wildly into the air. I flash freeze his weapon, and follow up with a frigid blast to the center of his chest. A flash of steel comes towards my back, but a rapid parry and flurry of strikes disables the knife-wielding thug.

This is about the time the other gangsters abandon their wounded comrades and retreat. The writhing bodies beneath me are not dead physically, but dead spiritually. I silently pray that these poor lost souls are born again anew. Spectacle and surprise can quickly break the will of most of these street thugs. I remind myself not to become overconfident, as all foes must be respected. Arrogance is only for the insecure, as Sensei once noted. The gunshot would likely draw the city's dishonorable private police, but I plan to leave the area before they arrive. Even though my body temperature is low enough to not appear on their thermal scanners, they have other methods of finding me. I prepare to leave, but I notice footsteps fall behind me. I turn to see the woman from before.

An unearthly radiance comes from her eyes, now glowing like embers. She drops her phone, and locks eyes with me. Her finger points at me, making some unsaid accusation. The flames that now wreathe her like a burning sacrifice do not seem to damage her clothing or pale white skin. Her red hair hangs freely, each strand turning white-hot. She shambles towards me, a fireball clenched in each hand. I can feel my sensation for earlier amplified a thousand-fold. This was no ordinary woman, and I can feel powers similar to mine. I feel thousands of molecules accelerated, flash-forged into plasma hotter than the sun.

Observing her movements, I detect inexperience and desperation. Her hatred for me becomes obvious as a fireball flies past my shoulder, burning a line through my suit and singing my skin. Her pyrokinesis gathers more heat than should naturally exist around us, and I return the favor with my own abilities. I hit the center of her torso with an icy blast. She smashes into a nearby street light, her fireballs dissipating into the atmosphere.

She hisses like a smothered blaze and stands erect while I unleash another blast. A cone of flames meets my ice shards in the air, melting them into a cloud of steam. I take advantage of the distraction to dash into a nearby alleyway. A bright yellow sphere the texture and color of the sun pursues me, so I again change the battleground. I summon an icy coil that blasts me upwards, and I land on the rooftop of a nearby apartment. I sprint across the rooftops, leaving a trail of frozen footprints behind. The woman stays near the street level, until she tires. A few spiteful projectiles streak my way, and I use the last of my stamina to avoid being incinerated. Despite that, a burn sheers across my shoulder, and I hide behind an air conditioner as I treat it. Whoever that woman was, her abilities seemed to match mine, although her skill has yet to improve. Her control certainly will, but in the meantime, the present beckons me. I return to my hideout, a small shack on a dilapidated rooftop, and begin my meditation. Much has happened, and much will happen. This woman could be the Yin to my Yang. I eventually surrender to sleep, hoping my karma has not taken a turn for the worse.