Previously on Blessed Inversion Golden Age…
Hal Sharp, the hero known as Black Ice, has left his roommate in the care of the vigilante SWAT-Spider for training. At the same time, he’s finally contacted for the first time in months by Rowena Gunma, his former boss and college friend. He’s offered a job by two members of her board of directors but the looming shadow of affirmative action made him resistant to the proposition. To make matters worse, he just found out that Darcy has been missing for over a month. Now he searches for any signs of his lost friend…
Henry “Hal” Sharp/Black Ice
-Superhero. Cryokinetic Inversion
Doctor Khonshu/Kreon Galanis
-RajTEK R&D. Smartest man in the Room
-Detective. Cybernetic arm
Marco Oliver Jr.
“White Shadow? How new are they?” Black Ice asks surprised at the news. There were few days he took off from patrolling and this was the first time the name popped up. Could he have appeared when he was waiting for his IRC* to arrive?
*Inversion Registration Card
“A little over two weeks. Which puts them right in line with all the disappearances.” Eddie explains. “Could be a coincidence but I’m not taking any chances.”
“Precisely, Steve still needs time to recover so we’re going to fill in the void. Which means looking into White Shadow.” Doctor Khonshu says while putting the Dragonfly helmet back on the table. It’s paint job smooth and perfectly even. “I’d prefer if it was more than just the four of us but I’ll take what I can get.”
“Four?” Black Ice asks confused.
“Marco, he’s an Inversion I recruited yesterday. He’s hiding until I sort out this mess.” Doctor Khonshu closes his eyes in thought.
“No, mass displacement. He shrinks but rather than becoming super dense like a collapsing star it’s all proportional…Maybe if I use that…Hmm…” Doctor Khonshu raises his hands and begins manipulating a sealed case on the opposite side of the room. Opening it and releasing a cylindrical canister that glowed an eerie black and purple hue with hints of crimson throughout. He loads the canister into a modified spray paint gun and coats the newly finished helmet.
“What…” Black Ice prepares to question what he’s seeing when Eddie stops him.
“It’s usually better to not question it.”
“Okay, Marco. Try it on.” Doctor Khonshu tilts his head down to look down into his scrubs chest pocket. There sat Marco curled up in feeble position. “Don’t worry, you can trust them.”
“But…what if it doesn’t work?” Marco hesitates.
“I don’t make mistakes remember?”
“…Okay…” Marco relents. Flying out of Doctor Khonshu’s pocket and returning to normal size. Covering his crotch with his left hand and putting the helmet on with the right. “Now what?”
“Just shrink. If it goes with you then I did it right.”
“Okay…” Marco does as he’s told and the helmet successfully shrinks along with him. “It really worked!” he says ecstatically.
“Congratulations, now you don’t have to wear action figure pants.” With simple movements of his fingers, Doctor Khonshu uses the Khonshu Drives to spray other pieces of clothing he had set out on a separate table. “Put those on and we’ll be ready to head out.”
After a few minutes, Marco finally gets dressed in his new uniform. A dark green breastplate with glowing neon green lines going from the bottom of the pectorals and down the center of the abdomen. The back was open and snapped beneath his tail and wings. Gauntlets much like the Khonshu Drives had a neon green light emitted from the palms. Matching dark green boots covered his feet. All of which was worn atop a skintight light green shirt and padded black pants.
“Beautiful.” Doctor Khonshu admires his work. “This is the Khonshu Bio-Armor and beneath it is Marco Oliver, but you can call him Dragonfly.”
“Hey.” Black Ice & Eddie say in near perfect unison at Marco who stands awkwardly with his eyes turned away from them.
“Hi…” his voice low and unimposing. His body language keeping his wings & tail from being seen as best he can.
“Moving along. We need to get going.” Eddie gets them back on track. “From what I could find out. It’s been the Northside Bishops & the Westside Rooks that have had run-ins with White Shadow the most. Which means either he has an ax to grind, lives in the area, or maybe even both.”
“Who?” Black Ice asks thoroughly confused.
“…How do you not know them?” Eddie asks clearly annoyed.
“Sorry, the few gangs I ran into were trying to kill me not give me their life story.” Black Ice shoots back.
“Fine…” Eddie sighs. “Right now there are several gangs in Silver Plains. From what Doc K told me, you’ve already met Cinder and the Stars of Doom. They control Bronze Plains with drugs and extortion. You also ran into the Rebellion who operate in a portion of Gold Plains. They’re Arms Dealers mostly. The Northside Bishops & Eastside Rooks are the ‘classy’ gangsters who just love hiding in plain sight. They have a number of clubs and bars that cover for a prostitution and drug ring in the remainder of Gold Plains.”
“How come we aren’t just shutting them down right now?” Black Ice asks shocked at hearing how crime-ridden his home was. He knew there were some gangs but not to this extent.
“Steve’s been trying for years.” Doctor Khonshu responds bluntly. “No matter how many he’s…dealt with…someone always comes to fill the void. The most we can do is shut them down temporarily.”
“Damnit…Wait, could the Bishops or Rooks have kidnapped my friend?”
“Not likely. They’re not as direct as Cinder. They get you hooked on Paradiso and then they whore you out as payment for your addiction. Kidnapping isn’t in their MO but it could be in White Shadows. Either way, we’re going to find out soon.” Eddie explains as if this was all routine to him.
“Can…can we just go before I find out something else depressing?” Black Ice tries his best to not think about how bad his home really was.
Without wasting any more time, the group leaves inside a gravity well created by Doctor Khonshu. Flying from the pristine mansions into the upper-class entertainment district. A place Black Ice had never even dreamed of visiting. Theaters, stores, restaurants, clubs, and bars of only the highest caliber were present. Only the wealthiest could afford reservations. Everyone else needed to have friends in the right places or know certain tricks to get their way. They land on an empty rooftop and waited as day turned to night. The entertainment district glowed brightly like stars in the sky from the various boardwalk displays and street lights. It was entrancing and rivaled Manhattan. But for all the awe Black Ice felt, an overwhelming anxiety swept over him from knowing all the criminal activity that hid beneath it.
“Okay, so what’s the plan?” Black Ice asks while stretching his legs. The hours of waiting having worn him down.
“You and Doctor Khonshu wait here. I’ll go in with Dragonfly.” Eddie moves the fingers of his artificial arm to test them one last time.
“B-but I don’t want to fight anyone.” Dragonfly protests.
“Don’t worry, you’re just here for recon.” Doctor Khonshu assures him. “Your helmet has a communicator that can talk to my Khonshu Drives. Use it if trouble comes up.”
“Okay…” Dragonfly replies hesitantly.
“Great, get you guys to help and I just get sidelined.” Black Ice creates an ice chair and sits down. Hunching over in annoyance.
“Next time you want to be inconspicuous, don’t wear a skintight costume.” Eddie motions to Black Ice before Doctor Khonshu helps him down to the streets below. Dragonfly shrinking and hiding in his right pocket.
“Don’t worry, we get to monitor the club for any suspicious people.” Doctor Khonshu says while returning to the rooftop.
“I guess that’s something.” Black Ice sighs, standing from his ice chair, and watching as Eddie approaches and enters a nearby strip club named the Emerald Gentlemen’s Club with ease.
After several minutes of waiting, Doctor Khonshu speaks. “Care to explain what that outburst was earlier? I get being concerned about your friend but that level of self-depreciation was…random at best.”
“Sorry.” Black Ice apologizes. “Can we focus on just helping find my friend?”
“Of course, because repression has no chance of backfiring on us in any way.”
“Are you always a dick?”
“Are you always dodging questions?”
“Someone just really pushed my buttons right before I found out about this.” Black Ice sighs.
“A word of advice, days like this are common when you’re a vigilante. If this is too much for you I suggest you go back home.” Doctor Khonshu explains bluntly. “Not every issue will be one you can just disconnect from.”
“How do you deal with it?” Black Ice looks to Doctor Khonshu for wisdom and advice.
“Separate it from your personal life when you can. Hope for the best but expect the worst. And for the love of god if something is bothering you actually deal with it at the time. Don’t just sit on it and let it get worse until you do or don’t do something you regret.”
“Heh, guess you’d know from experience?” Black Ice chuckles awkwardly.
“Nope, but I’ve seen it happen many a time to a certain annoying spider.” Doctor Khonshu sighs and puts his right hand on his temple. “Do you have someone you love? Family?”
“I have a roommate.”
“Not…quite the same thing. But if you care about them you’ll tell them what you’re doing so they can properly prepare. So when things get hard you can turn to them instead of a guy you just met a week ago.”
“And so we don’t have a heart-to-heart while on a rooftop during a stakeout?”
“Precisely. See, you’re already making a fine addition to my team.”
As the pair continues their watchful vigil, neither realizes that their target was already on the rooftop with them. Waiting and watching his potential enemies while hidden in the light of the neon signs behind them. His skin was made of pure light that obscured that allowed only the barest minimum of his identity to be discerned. Whoever White Shadow was, he appeared to have spiky hair, hoop earrings, an athletic frame, and was slightly taller than Black Ice at 5’9. The element of surprise was still his and yet he chose not to use it. Shining his light bright like a sun to get their attention. Forcing Doctor Khonshu to cover his eyes.
“If you guys wanted my attention you coulda just asked.” he says as he jumps down from the neon sign. His voice was average and left no particular impact on either of the heroes. But before he can continue, Black Ice unleashes a stream of ice at White Shadow. Forcing him to jump to the side to avoid it. “That was-” his thoughts are interrupted by yet another blast of ice. While Doctor Khonshu was unable to see him, Black Ice had no problem finding him by using his thermal vision. “Jesus, what happened to banter?!” his words fall on deaf ears as Black Ice skates towards him. But White Shadow is ready, raising his right arm and calling forth white colored shadows from beneath Black Ice. Wrapping around him and keeping him from advancing further. “Okay, let’s try this again.” Once more, he is interrupted by Black Ice who breaths out a breath of cold air. Creating a frozen mist to blind White Shadow. “Oh come on…” White Shadow thought to himself moments before Black Ice was already within punching range.
With an opportunity presented to him, Doctor Khonshu acts. He couldn’t see where White Shadow was but thanks to Black Ice he had a general idea. Using his Khonshu Drives he creates a gravity well around the rooftop in front of him. Pulling the pair together and giving Black Ice the opportunity to freeze all but his head.
“White Shadow I presume?” Doctor Khonshu says with his eyes still closed and face tilted to the side. Even with his lids closed, the light White Shadow emitted burned his eyes. “For a kidnapper, giving up your stealth advantage wasn’t wise.”
“Right, I’m the kidnapper. And you’re the good guys.”
“We are the good guys! And if you don’t want the worst case of frostbite ever you’re gonna answer our questions.” Black Ice threatens with unusual bravado.
“Wait…do I know you?” White Shadow asks looking at Black Ice. His light dying down to just his skin. Revealing that his costume was simply a pure white tracksuit.
“Probably saw me all over the news. I’m kind of a big deal.”
“…Hal?” White Shadow asks as his glow disappears entirely. Revealing his fair skin, bleached blond hair, and brown eyes.
“Terry? The hell are you doing here?” Black Ice asks. Freeing White Shadow from his icy prison.
“That’s my question!” he yells back annoyed.
“Am I missing something?” Doctor Khonshu asks as he floats closer to the pair. His gravity well still forcing the pair together like magnets.
“He’s not who we’re looking for. He’s my brother.” Black Ice says annoyed.
“…Brother?” Doctor Khonshu releases the pair from his gravity well. Allowing them to stand like normal people.
“He’s adopted.” White Shadow explains. “You’re Black Ice? Wait, did you really make that joke with your name?”
“Did you Mr. White Shadow?” Black Ice snarks back. “Shouldn’t you be off in Yonkers or something?”
“I came here when my powers appeared. I got inspired by seeing…well…you on the news. So I’ve been fighting crime and trying to find missing people. Then I ran into you and you threatened to kill me!”
“I was bluffing! Heroes don’t kill remember?”
As the pair kept arguing like children, Doctor Khonshu thought about the situation. How convenient it was for White Shadow to also be related to his newest recruit. While the Singularity seemed to arbitrarily pick who became an Inversion. There were certain trends such as a tendency for Inversions to be made in “groups”. Individuals who were related or had some connection to each other. But with Black Ice being adopted, the chance of his brother also being an Inversion was about as lucky as winning the lottery. Let alone that both were investigating missing persons, that one of the missing people was a person close to Black Ice, and that this all began upon White Shadow’s arrival at Silver Plains. Everything seemed too coincidental as if fate conspired for this meeting. But he didn’t believe in fate which meant he had a theory he should test. “Black Ice, how many people close to you are Inversions?” Doctor Khonshu investigates his theory.
“My roommate, my ex, and apparently my brother.”
“I suspected as much…Achilles, you don’t need to do anymore recon.”
“Achilles?” Eddie asks confused.
“Argue about your codename later, we have a new angle to consider.” Doctor Khonshu turns to look at White Shadow. “Congratulations, you may have just saved some lives.” He couldn’t confirm his suspicion quite yet but there was a singular theory his thoughts kept coming back to. They were considering that the kidnappings were just a normal string of crime. That they were still dealing with regular criminals. But after the megalomania of Pheromaster, they had to think outside the box. That perhaps these weren’t regular kidnappings. That the people being kidnapped and the ones responsible may all be Inversions…