Superpowers In A World Gone Mad
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The Midnight Runner, Issue #004

June 28, 2013 in The Midnight Runner Tags:

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Issue #004 – – – – – controlled by Ken Thompson – – – – – Credits 34

“You know what would be really useful right now,” Midnight Runner muttered.  “Infra red eyesight.”  Sadly, this wasn’t in the range of powers available to him.  His heightened eyesight, which improved his vision in dark and low-light environments, would have to do for now.

Very carefully, the hero raised the pulse rifle and readied it for action.  “Xara?” He whispered, hoping for some sort of response.  Nothing.  There did used to be communications functionality down here in Deep Storage, he was sure – but he visited the area so rarely that he couldn’t remember whether this was definitely the case or not.  Which seemed odd.  He had thought he knew every inch of his system’s capabilities.

“Okay then,” He muttered.  “I’ll have to do it old school.”  Moving quietly to the silver display screen on a nearby wall he brought up the area schematics.   Punching the keys, he was careful to remain alert to movements in the darkness around him.  He pulled up the records for chamber number three, “Dark Future.”  Supervillain, powers unknown.  Huh, he thought.  That’s pretty useless.  He rubbed at his temples, where a headache had begun to make itself known by that pressure on his forehead and soreness behind his eyes.  He hadn’t suffered from a migraine in months and had hoped he was rid of them.  But he recognised these early symptoms.

“Okay then,” he said, raising his rifle and advancing towards where he had heard the sound.  “Looks like I’ll have to go in blind on this one.”  Around him a barely-perceptible light blue aura formed as he willed his force field up to full power.  His hands were surrounded by the telltale blue glow of the plasma energy that he held restrained – for now.
“Come on out,” He said.  “You’re probably a little confused.  I can help.  I don’t mean you any harm.”  He waited.  There was no response.  So he advanced some more.   He pondered the name – Dark Future.  Sometimes you could get a clue from what they called themselves, but this sounded pretty generic.  He supposed “future” might signal some kind of time powers, though he really hoped this wasn’t the case.  He hated those guys.  You didn’t know if you were coming or going when you fought them – and sometimes this was because you were both coming and going.  Not good for a blossoming migraine, all that messing about with possibliities.

“Come on,” The Midnight Runner called into the shadows.  “We don’t need to do this.  Let’s go upstairs, crack open a couple of beers, sit down and chill out?  Talk this through reasonably?  You’ve just come back from the dead, you should be celebrating.  I don’t want to cause you any harm.  There’s no need to be scared.”
The silence was broken by a low – and really quite creepy – laugh.  “Scared?” Came a deep, threatening voice from somewhere up ahead.  “Of you?  I doubt it.”  The Midnight Runner raised an eyebrow.  “Arrogant, much?” He called back, trying to pinpoint where precisely the voice was coming from.  He felt a breeze pass his left cheek, barely more than a whisper of air.  “I can afford to be,” the voice said from behind him.  Oh crap, The Midnight Runner thought.  A speedster!  A really, really fast one too.
“Right then,” He said, pressing his back to one of the machinery banks to avoid being surprised from behind, “Here’s your situation.  We’re sealed in here.  You can’t get out without me, and I won’t be taking you out until you calm yourself down and come talk to me.”
“You’ve had me locked in a glass box,” Dark Future spat from the gloom.  “I don’t think you have any intention of ever letting me out.”
“You were dead!” The Midnight Runner protested, though he was aware this was not precisely true.  It was more complicated than that.  Thinking about it all made his headache worse, so he tried to stop doing so.  Time for that later.

The Midnight Runner was sitting on the floor, his hands tied behind his back, his gun  -disassembled – on the floor in front of him.  The main lights were on now (he didn’t even know Deep Storage had main lights!).  He was very confused.  How did he go from being prepared to shoot the villain to being a captive?  In an instant?
“You must be very puzzled,” Said a tall, dark-haired naked man who strode into sight.
“Yes,” The hero agreed.  “I know you’re fast, but nobody is that fast.  What happened?”
“I’m not just fast,” Dark Future told him.  “Now, I’ll be taking your clothes.”
“You don’t have to do that, I have plenty of spare clothes upstairs.  You’re welcome to them!”
“I am not fooled by your pretence at friendliness,” Dark Future declared.  “You wish to put me back into the glass box.  I do not wish to go there.  This world is strange, I can feel great changes.  I have a feeling that I might rather like it.  Though I doubt it will like me.”
“Look,”  The Midnight Runner said, though he was having trouble concentrating past the pounding in his head.  “You can’t just go wandering about.  You’re not supposed to be here.  You don’t fit.”
“Do you?”  Dark Future asked, astutely.  The Midnight Runner slumped.  This was, of course, the truth that he was trying to avoid. The truth he had tried so hard, for so long, not to think about.  “No,” He agreed.

“You are lucky,” The Villain said, now in the Midnight Runner costume.  “I am not given to leaving enemies alive in my wake.  But in this instance I will not kill you, though it would be easy for me to do so.  I must first understand the nature of this place and what has happened.  Until I know if you are important or not, you shall live.  Once I determine that you are precisely what you seem – a sorry excuse for a corporate sell-out buying your own safety with convenient silence, I will end your life without qualms.”
“You can’t get out,”  Midnight Runner said.  “This place is impregnable.”
“You’re wrong,” Said Dark Future.  “You came in here, didn’t you?”
“That was then,”  The hero said.  “I sealed the place tight.  I’m very careful.”
“I have no doubt you are,” Dark Future said.  “But if the door was open recently then to escape this place I need only be there when you opened it in order to leave.”
And with that, Dark Future was gone.

Back Then:
When the elevator doors opened on the basement level nobody stepped out of the elevator.  At least – nobody visible did.  The Midnight Runner had become invisible en route and was now operating in his best stealth mode.  He moved swiftly across the landing to the silver door which was clearly marked “Private – Staff Only.”  He ran his hand over the panel, which was disguised as a discoloured wall tile and spoke the secret phrase.  The locks unsealed and a hiss of air escaped.  The Midnight Runner crept inside, sealing the door behind him.  Deep Storage was not airtight, it was climate controlled.  There was no need for a hiss of air to escape.  But he was far too busy to think what else that might have been.  Like somebody moving extremely fast in the darkness.

Okay, so this wasn’t good.  A professional security consultant and licensed superhero, undermined in his own headquarters. Tied up and naked in his own basement.   He’d better hope nobody found out.  This was going to be terrible for his reputation. He was already working at the bonds to untie his arms.  He would escape in short order and when he did he would go after Dark Future and teach him a thing or two about catching people by surprise.  But first he’d have to get rid of this damned migraine.  He should probably think about giving Xara the command word too.  The one he’d prepared for just this situation.  The one that would instruct the computer to remind him of all the things he had deliberately forgotten.  He knew such a thing existed, though he did not know why.  He guessed, when Xara filled him in, everything would be a lot clearer.  But just how terrible did a secret have to be that he would have gone to such lengths to blot it from his own mind?

3 Responses to “The Midnight Runner, Issue #004”

  1. Frank Says:

    That’s the Dark Future we all know and came to love!! Before this “thing” happened…If anyone can solve this mess its him (when the law is on the wrong side, does this make the Dark Future on the right side? Or just on another wrong side…….man, philosophy).

  2. False Bill Says:

    Dark Future on top form.

    How do you stop him without countdown or another temporary abnormals help?

  3. Majestic Music Says:



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