Heroes Legion: Year Two: "Future Shock"
Chapter 1: Dark City
Lunar City, Washington: July 11th, 2049: 9:18 PM
Shadow Knight didn't know how long he had been out.
All he knew was that he was waking up all alone in a wrecked street somewhere, nursing one hell of a goose egg.
His helmet mask managed to protect his noggin from the worst of the impact when he crashed headlong into the wrecked car…but not enough to keep him from being hurt and knocked out.
When he awoke in a daze, he found himself lying down on the ground…with three rough-looking individuals surrounding him, looking down at him like vultures waiting to strike.
"Get a load of THIS joker," one of them said, "never seen anyone dressed as weird as this."
"Is he alive or dead?" the second one asked.
"Who cares?" the third one scoffed, "let's take his clothes, money, any food he has on him, and let's bail before the HUNTERS or worse the Harvesters show up."
"Hey, look at this!" the first one said, reaching for Shadow Knight's Sword Raiju's Claw, "I bet old joe would pay a month's wages to get his hands on this piece of kit."
Finally regaining his senses, Shadow Knight grabbed the mugger by the wrist before he could even touch his sword.
"Touch that, and you'll regret it!" he hissed.
The three human vultures stepped back in shock; their guns trained on Shadow Knight warily as he got up off the ground to face them.
"A sword against three guns?" the first one scoffed, "Who is this looney?"
"Is he one of those Metahuman freaks?" the second one asked his companions.
"Does THIS answer your question?" Shadow Knight said, scowling behind his mask.
Shadow Knight then activated Raiju's Claw's special ability, and swiftly attacked the paranoid muggers.
They were lucky he had it set to "containment" instead of "combat".
He stunned the two muggers, zapping them into unconscious submission when the miasmically charged blade struck their bodies…but not before one of them managed to get a shot off and shot Shadow Knight in his side.
Ignoring the pain, Shadow Knight charged and then pinned the remaining mugger against a ruined wall with the blade of his sword against his neck.
"If you wish to keep your head, you'll drop that gun and answer my question" Shadow Knight warned, "first things first, where the HELL am I?"
The mugger dropped his gun and did what he was told.
"Lunar City. You're in Lunar City!" The mugger answered fearfully.
"What?!" Shadow Knight asked in shock, and he looked around at the ruined buildings in disbelief, and then he saw it.
In the distance, was Kings Tower, the tallest landmark in his home city…and it looked like someone had been using it for target practice.
It was burned out and ruined.
It seemed like the entire city had been bombed or caught in a warzone…. but not recently.
These ruins and scorch marks looked to be decades old in their decay.
Shadow Knight looked around again, and that's when he saw it.
Skeletons, bodies…fresh and rotting.
Men, women, children even!
It looked like a massacre had happened, both recently and a long time ago.
Shadow Knight thought on this for a moment, and then he pressed his questions to the terrified thug "The Dark Legion, does the name mean anything to you?"
"Who?" the thug asked in confusion.
This thug had never heard of the Dark Legion, so that meant that Shadow Knight was NOT back in that alternate universe again…but that didn't make Shadow Knight feel any better.
Because if this wasn't that alternate earth, then this might have been the second possibility, and if it was things just got worse, a lot worse.
"What year is this?" Shadow Knight asked.
"Year?" the thug wondered in confusion, "It's July 11th, 2049…look, I'm sorry we tried to mug and shoot you okay. Just let me go, the patrols will be here soon!"
"What patrols?" Shadow Knight asked confused, "What the hell happened to this city?"
"What, have you been living under a rock?" the thug asked in annoyance towards being asked such a question as if Shadow Knight should know it.
"YES! I've been living under a rock smart ass!" Shadow Knight snapped, "Now tell me, what happened?"
The thug paused, and then answered "Malcom Talbot and STRIPE declared themselves emergency powers when the Titans assaulted Washington DC and killed President Huston, okay? There is a war going on between metahumans and STRIPE, and we neutral normal humans are caught in the middle of it all. It has been for decades now. It was originally only Metahumans like you who were being hunted and caged like animals. Now since two years ago STRIPE has been going around hunting humans down as well. Dissenters, transients, even the infirm, those who help the Metahumans and those who break their tyrannical laws. Those that don't get killed, end up being taken to God knows where for who knows what purpose. Look, it wasn't anything personal pal, we just wanted food and clothing, this is the only way we can survive now. We're just scroungers. We're not even supposed to be out here at night. They said anyone caught out at night gets taken away by the Harvester patrols. Now please, let me go. They'll be here any moment."
"Who? Who will be here any moment?" Shadow Knight pressed.
That was when a spotlight suddenly shone down on the spot where Shadow Knight and the thug stood.
Shadow Knight looked up to see where that light was coming from and gawked in disbelief.
It was a robot.
About 200 feet tall, towering over the ruined buildings, it was a quadrupedal titan of steel with crab-like legs, and a searchlight mounted on its 'face'…which was now looking directly at Shadow Knight and the thug.
"HARVESTER!" the thug screamed and taking advantage of Shadow Knight loosening his grip on his sword to free his neck from the blade's hilt, and once free, he took off running.
But it was too late.
"HUMAN TRANSIENT BREAKING CURFEW DETECTED" the Harvester declared, the searchlight shifting from the stunned Shadow Knight to the fleeing thug "CONTAINMENT PROTOCOL ACTIVATED!"
Ignoring Shadow Knight, who had retreated under the ruined car, the Harvester as the thug had called it walked after the fleeing thug.
Not wanting to see what happened next, or to be next on that massive robot's agenda, Shadow Knight turned and ran as fast as he could, all he heard was the sound of the thug's screams in the distance.
He didn't stop running until he was a good city block away, and then he ducked into a nearby abandoned building and stopped to catch his breath...that was when the adrenaline wore off and he took notice of the pain of his bullet wound.
Realizing that he wouldn't get far with this wound, he had already lost a bunch of blood in his haste to escape from the Harvester, he decided on the only logical course of action.
First, he checked to see if the bullet was still in there, and once he was certain it wasn't, he took the next step.
Using his miasmically charged sword, he placed the blade against his wound.
Doing his best to not make a sound, Shadow Knight cauterized his gunshot wound.
It wasn't a perfect fix, but it would do for now.
At least until he could get to a doctor or get Raven to use one of her…that's when it hit him.
She wasn't there with him when he awoke, none of his friends and teammates were there when he had awoken.
Where were they, what had happened to them?
He hoped that they were all right and they had all landed safely in this strange nightmarish future he had found himself in.
Because if what he saw was anything to go by, it was open season on anyone going where they shouldn't under STRIPE's occupation…Human and metahuman alike!
Then he thought about his friends Marty and Darcy, his family…and deciding on his next course of action Shadow Knight decided he had to head to the family mansion.
He had a feeling that he wasn't going to like what he found when he got there, but he had to know they were all right.
Finding a nearby subway station, Shadow Knight retreated down into the underground, hoping that this would allow him to avoid any more HARVESTERS or who knew what else there was to fear in this dark tomorrow he had landed in.
He was halfway through the tunnel, when suddenly he paused.
He could hear something, something coming, from ahead of him somewhere down the tunnel.
That was when he saw it, coming right at him.
A white blur, with crackling red electrical energy.
For a moment he thought the darkness of the tunnel was playing tricks with him, especially since he had lost his shadow vision ability.
The blur passed right by him in a flash, and then he heard someone talk to him from behind his back.
"Right where he said you'd be, go figure" an older male voice said.
"Velocity?" Shadow Knight asked cautiously.
He turned around to see who it was, but was met instead by a superspeed enhanced fist that clocked him across his masked face.
For the second time, Shadow Knight collapsed into unconsciousness.