Chapter Four

The Past

At nine years old, after two years of a rigorous routine of experimentation, training, exercise,and study, the Institute took Patient One, Giovanni, out for his first field test. Giovanni had no idea what to expect, because none of the doctors gave him any specifics. They packed him in a black van, and drove him out of the Institute and to a destination a few hours away.

"What are we going to do?" Giovanni asked Dr. Malchovin, as they sat in the back of the van for the road trip.

"Today we are going to test out many of the experiments we have been working on, along with your own field competence with the training we have been giving you."

"What training?" Giovanni grew impatient, "For the past two years all I have done is read, exercised, and let you run tests on me and my powers because you have said that's the only way I will see my parents again! Where are they? When can I see them? And WHAT ARE WE DOING?"

"Calm down, Geo." Uric reprimanded his research subject. "Did I not tell you when we first met? I'm making you my knight."

"What do you mean?"

"I am so glad you asked!" Malchovin smiled as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a wristband. "This is really a cool gadget, I think you'll love it."

Uric put the band on Giovanni's wrist and then tapped it. Giovanni gasped in shock as at once his body began to be covered by black metal plates from his feet, to his legs, to his torso, chest and even arms. Finally, his faced was covered with a black mask that he could see through.

"What is this?" Giovanni asked, surveying the very cool suit he was wearing. He felt like an action hero.

"This a state of the art bio-organic cyber suit made of nanite particles that were released by that wristband. It has fused with your own personal DNA and genetic code so in a way, it's a part of you, and only you could ever wear this suit. The metal it creates around you is incredibly sturdy and dense, being able to withstand a bullet, or a flamethrower, or any kind of heavy impact you may sustain. At the same time, we have made it very light as to allow you to move freely as if you were wearing hardly anything at all. This suit costs more money then most people will ever make in three of their lifetimes."

"That's so cool!" Giovanni exclaimed as he continued to admire the armor. Then, he processed more of what the doctor spoke of. "Wait, why would I need armor that could withstand a bullet?"

"What dark knight doesn't have protective armor when he goes into battle?" Dr. Malchovin said with a smile to his experiment he was so very proud of. "You see, Giovanni...you have been blessed with a great gift. I need you to use your gift to help me bring in some bad people, who have powers too, but they are not as nice as you. Now that you have your knight's armor, it's time you protect and fight for me. Can you do that?"

"Why would I fight for you?" Giovanni asked sourly, "And who are these people I am fighting?"

"They're bad people..." Dr. Malchovin replied, irritated by Giovanni's attitude, "that's all you need to know. They are bad, and they are dangerous. And I need you to fight them for me, because if you don't they may try to kill me...and if I'm dead, then who would go check on your parents to make sure they can stay alive? I know we've talked about this before...you help me...and I help your parents stay alive. Have you forgotten?"

"Of course I haven't..." Giovanni replied, "I never forget...Okay, so what kind of knight doesn't have a sword?"

"All in due time..." the scientist replied, "I am still working on a sword, and it's going to be absolutely spectacular. But in the meantime, you have everything you need...your powers, a broad understanding of seven different forms of martial arts, and volumes of military strategy at your disposal."

"What are you talking about?" Giovanni asked, "I mean, I have my powers but that other stuff..."

"Oh I almost forgot!" Dr. Malchovin exclaimed as he rolled up his sleeve to access his very high tech watch. "Here's another stunning feature we have implemented into your suit, which is connected to your whole body from your heart...where we can monitor your vitals...to your brain where we can...well, you'll see!"

The scientist began typing quickly on his watch, that was a mini computer that Giovanni noticed had tons of functions. Uric looked up and spoke somewhat sheepishly. "So there is no way to prepare you for this, but this about to hurt a lot."

With one tap of his watch, Giovanni felt a massive electrical jolt in his head, and immense pain. The shocking lasted for about two minutes, and in that two minutes it was as if decades of knowledge in fighting, and military strategy was jammed into Giovanni's brain. After the massive shock, he felt so much new knowledge in his head. It was as if he had always known it, but he knew that he never actually had a class or lesson on any of this info.

"Did you just...give me knowledge on seven forms of martial arts and military tactics?" Giovanni asked, as he suffered now from a massive headache after his brain fried.

"I did!" Dr. Malchovin spoke with pride, "And Knowledge is Power...now you must use your new power to go in that building and bring in whatever Enhanced Human you find...you should know, they will not come quietly. Your task is to either kill them or capture them. If it looks like they cannot be captured, then you must kill them. Your life is more important then theirs, remember that."

"What?" Giovanni asked, "Dr. Malchovin, I...I can't kill anyone. Please don't make me go in there."

"That's nonsense my boy! I think you find that you are very capable now of killing. I literally just taught you how, in many forms!"

"Okay...but I don't want to."

"Listen, Patient One, let me make it very simple for you. Either whoever is in that house dies or is captured, or your parents will die. The choice is yours."

Giovanni said nothing, but left the van and went in. This was not the day he made his first kill, but it was the day he met another human who had abilities like him. He was a teenager named Griffin. Griffin put up a fight, and had the ability to transform into a shadow and evade Giovanni. Unfortunately for Griffin, Giovanni's body acted now out of instinct, and he was able to subdue the fourteen year old and clasp power dampening cuffs, made within the Institute, to help impression the youth. Giovanni brought Griffin to Dr. Malchovin, who beamed with pride and congratulated "his boy" on the job well done. Giovanni was silent for the rest of the trip back to the Institute, because he knew that he had just doomed Griffin to the same damned life that Giovanni was living.

The Present

Giovanni slowly opened his eyes as his consciousness returned, and he realized quickly that he was chained up by his arms in a damp dark room. His armor had been deactivated. It made sense to Giovanni that his captor, Derek Widener had the technology to subdue the armor, since it was his company that originally created the masterful tech. Giovanni's head was also suffering from an all to familiar low pitch buzz. He couldn't use his hands to reach his head, but he felt on each side of his skull the metallic nodes that were placed on him, that were nullifying his powers. He had to wear these frequently during his years in the Institute. Giovanni was once again a prisoner.

"Giovanni Dalessandro." Derek Widener moved forward into the dim light, where the seventeen year old could see him. "I feel like after everything I have heard about you over the past ten years that we already know each other so well, like old friends. But I am reminded, as I look at you, this is actually the first time we met." Derek leaned in closer to examine the youth and look him straight into his eyes. "And I have to say, I am incredibly disappointed."

"I mean, you're supposed to be this super genius who has been chemically enhanced and literal billions have been invested over your lifetime in advancing your abilities and intellect...and the first thing you do when you escape prison, is run to the person who runs the one company in the world that knows everything about you, and how to capture you...you could have gone anywhere, kid, and you decided to come HERE? To ME? You literally ran back to the people that imprisoned you for ten years.

And why? Because you wanted your parents back...do you realize that with one phone call I could have them killed? Maybe I already have done that...I mean, you did break into my office tonight and threaten my life..it seems fair..."

Giovanni's eyes flared at Derek with hatred. Derek motioned with his hands to Giovanni to calm down. "Relax, boy. You're parents are still alive. For now...I have a few questions for you, and if you cooperate, they may stay alive...and so might you, for that matter."

Derek walked over to a nearby table and picked up a tablet and started to push buttons, accessing black and white images of the destruction of the Institute from months ago. He held the images up to the immobilized Giovanni, and continued to speak. "When you first broke into my office tonight, I thought...Maybe Maloccio was the culprit of the Institute destruction. Maybe he's the guy that killed all my scientists and destroyed all my property. At first it made sense, so much damage was done by something that left slash marks...like that katana of yours. But I realized, you were locked in your cell with the power dampeners on...the same technology that is keeping you at bay right now, might I add...And the wreckage seemed to start outside my Institute...so it couldn't have been you, or just you possibly. But you did escape...maybe you had help? Maybe you saw who destroyed my building? Care to give me an insight that would help me catch my saboteur, and possibly save the lives of your dear Mom and Dad? What were their names again? Paul and...Rhonda? No, definitely Rita! That's right."

"I didn't blow up your facility." Giovanni responded weakly, hating that he was once again at Derek's mercy. "I didn't see who did. During the commotion, the power went off, shortening the dampeners and when I escaped my cell, all the mayhem and carnage had already happened."

"How convenient..." Derek pondered his prisoner's words, unsure if he could trust them, "You saw nothing...and the person who caused all of this highly expensive destruction just...vanished! You didn't see anything? Talk to anyone?"

"I rushed to the main laboratory and killed Dr. Malchovin." Giovanni replied, "and then I left."

Derek paused, and looked through his photograph footage of the crime scene to find the picture he had of Malchovin's crushed corspe. It absolutely looked like a Maloccio murder and Derek chuckled a little bit, "Oh my goodness...this fits your work to the T. You did this, didn't you kid? You killed Uric?"

"I did..." Giovanni replied somewhat confused at Derek's reaction to the death of his head scientist in the Institute. "I went to him to try to get the whereabouts of my parents, he told me Midnight City, and then I killed him.

"Oh man...wasn't he like a dad to you or something?" Derek pondered. "He certainly talked to about you like you were his son! I mean, he liked you better then his son! He even tried to use Zichromate to make his son like you...of course, you know that went terribly right? A total mess up...you were always a beautiful paradox to Malchovin...he had so much faith in you, and spent so much of my money on you...I honestly never got it, but he was obsessed, and he was making me lots of money with his findings...and you really just killed him? No remorse or anything? Did you cry? Or sniffle? Or anything?"

"The man captured my parents and kidnapped me for ten years. He ran tests on me and made me do terrible, unspeakable things." Giovanni spoke coldly, "He was terrible, your whole organization is terrible...I just want my parents back, and then I'll leave you alone forever, I promise."

"Oh you'll leave me alone for sure." Derek threatened, his face turning dark and unforgiving. "Because I'm going to have my men kill you tonight, and tomorrow I'm going to make sure your parents die too...can't have loose ends, you've seen the movies, you know how it goes...Oh wait, you've been locked in a laboratory for ten years, maybe you haven't seen the movies...but yeah, you and the Rents definitely have to die. Sorry for their luck."

"You're just as sick and demented as Dr. Malchovin." Giovanni spoke with hatred at his enemy. "And you won't be killing me tonight."

"Oh really? And why not?"

"Do you think I've just been sightseeing for the past several months I have been in town?" Giovanni replied, preparing to use his secret weapon...A gambit of a bluff, "I had to learn everything about you before I infiltrated your office. I know about your wife, Penelope, who you really don't care about and cheat on often. You probably wouldn't care if I were to have her killed...But imagine my surprise, when I learned the tyrannical and evil Derek Widener had two twin children, Eric and Amanda, who are not much older then me...who both attend Midnight University. They're really smart, and also really nice to new students. You know, they really go out of their way to welcome new freshman. When is the last time you spoke with your kids? Maybe I visited them before I visited you...and maybe I told them I had to run a quick errand, and I accidently locked them in a very secure and hidden place in the city."

"Threatening my children." Derek spoke, unaffected by Giovanni's words, "Very classy move, kid. You're bluffing."

"You're people taught me all my moves in the Institute." Giovanni callously retorted, "Eric spends his Tuesday nights in the science lab tutoring freshman from 7 to 8:30, and guess when I booked a tutor. Amanda goes to her favorite coffee shop every Tuesday, the Vanilla Bean on the corner of 4th and Main street, to check out their open mic. I may have told her I wanted to go this week, but I needed a ride...and she may have come to pick me up right before I paid you a visit...You know, maybe if you weren't so busy working all the time on illegal secretive projects you could invest more time in your kids lives, and then you could get to know their new friends better."

Derek stopped walking away, and fear crept into his heart as he knew the 100% accuracy involved in what Giovanni was saying. He also knew that in two phone calls he could verify the truth of what this highly intelligent teenager was saying.

"I am going to go call my children." Derek said as he glared at his prisoner, "And if they do not answer their phone, I am going to show you how terrifying I can be."

Derek walked into the darkness, and Giovanni heard a door open and footsteps going up stairs. It was quiet. Giovanni wondered how many minutes of life he had left, as he did not in fact kidnap either of Derek's children. He looked around to see if there was any way he could escape from the chains that held him, but he saw no way out.

"I thought you two would be talking all night!" A voice spoke from the shadows, "Do you know how hard it is to play the role of double agent when both parties are in the same room?"

Giovanni looked up to see Patient Zero walk into the light, unmasked and still in his stunning tuxedo.

"What are you doing?" Giovanni asked, incredibly perplexed at this turn of events.

"Such a good question, my friend." the gentleman replied, "How about I help you out of these chains, and I tell you all about it over some coffee. You mentioned the Vanilla Bean's open mic night tonight, do you think they are still open?"

Is anyone reading this story? I am loving writing it and would love to hear from you! If you have made it this far, please drop a review!