Previously on Blessed Inversion Golden Age…
After all his searching alongside the Khonshu Squadron, Black Ice has located Darcy and the kidnapped Inversions. Unfortunately, the reunion quickly turns sour when Darcy is revealed to not only be behind the kidnappings but is the supervillainess Spectralia. After attempts at talking her down fail, the group is forced to fight. But the battle pours out onto the streets of Golden Plains. Leaving heavy collateral damage in its wake…
Black Ice/Henry “Hal” Sharp
-Superhero. Cryokinetic Inversion
-Supervillainess. Energy based Inversion
Dragonfly/Marco Oliver Jr.
-Size changing Dragonfly Inversion
-New Inversion. Air Pressure Manipulating Inversion
Doctor Khonshu/Kreon Galanis
-RajTEK R&D. Genius Inversion
Twenty years ago in 1978, when Hal was only 5 years old, his family moved from Queens to the rapidly expanding Silver Plains. He was a withdrawn and quiet boy who barely interacted with even his own family. That is until one day as he first met their new neighbors while drawing on steps of his apartment with chalk.
“Hi.” the girl with ebony pigtails says to Hal who remains dedicated to his drawing. “Um…what cha drawing?” she walks up to her new neighbor and looks over his shoulder. Try as she may, she had no idea what he was creating. “You’re doing it wrong.”
“I am not!” Hal defends with a mean look. “It’s not done yet okay!”
“Let me fix it.” she reaches for the chalk.
“No.” Hal pulls away from the girl.
“You’re supposed to share.” she complains.
“I don’t wanna.” Hal sticks his tongue out at the girl who kicks him in the shin. “Ow!” he growls before kicking her back.
“I’m telling!” She pouts and runs back inside.
“I didn’t do anything…” Hal mutters to himself.
It takes the girl and her parents a few minutes to return. Rather than talk to Hal, they simply rung the doorbell. Within 30 seconds, his mother answers the door. She had luscious feathered brown hair that went past her shoulders. She wore one of her favorite deep blue tube tops over a pastel blue pair of pants.
“Hello, how can I help you?” Hal’s mother, Linda Sharp, asks with a smile.
“Hi, we’re the Zayns. We live next door and were hoping to speak to this boy’s parents.” The girl’s father asked.
“Well, you’re looking at one half of em. I’m Linda, it’s nice to meet you…” She drags out her sentence in hopes they’d properly introduce themselves.
“Um…” he pauses briefly uncertain how to respond. It was a little over a decade since the end of the civil rights movement and interracial marriages were still fairly uncommon. In truth, he had only seen one or two in his entire lie. “I’m Robert.”
“Oh! My husband’s name is Bob!” she says excitedly before sticking her head inside. “Bobby! Come meet our new neighbors!” After a moment, Bob Sharp comes to the porch. He had pristine brown hair that went down to his shoulders and was accompanied by a bushy mustache. He wore a deep red tracksuit that was tight against his doughy frame. “Bobby, this is Bobby Zayn. And his wife…”
“Michelle.” She replies.
“Nice to meet you.” Bob holds out his hand but is rejected.
“You’re sure he’s your son?” Robert asks unable to avoid the clear racial differences between Hal and his parents. What sort of affair did one of them have to result in Hal? Even beyond the skin, he had no similarities with them. Even his blue eyes were different from both of their brown eyes.
“Robert!” Michelle turned to her husband in shock. While she was wondering the same thing, she didn’t want to ask outright like that.
“Oh, it’s okay. We get that all the time.” Linda chuckled without a care in the world. “Say hi Henry.” she looked at Hal who tilts his head away from her and remains silent.
“Well Henry, kicked our little Darcy in the shin.” Robert scowled.
“Is that true Henry?” Bob asks.
“…Yes…” Hal mumbles under his breath.
“Wow, he must really like her.” Bob said with a small smile.
“Yeah, he doesn’t even look at other kids. We were thinking of seeing someone about that.” Linda adds casually. “But you just saved us an expensive trip.”
Robert just shakes his head in disbelief. “Your son kicked my daughter and I want an apology.”
“You heard the nice man Henry.” Linda nudges Hal.
“…Sorry for kicking you.”
“Was that so hard?”
“But she kicked me first.” Hal defended himself.
“Is that true Darcy?” Michelle asked.
“Yes…but he didn’t let me help fix his drawing.”
“You said you’d fix his drawing?” Bob asked with a slight cringe.
“Oh honey, you should not have done that. He doesn’t take criticism well.” Linda adds. “But he didn’t cry and run away so I think he made a little frrrrriend.”
From a rocky first meeting to childhood friends, Darcy was the longest lasting friendship Hal ever had. Now he stood amidst the rubble, shattered glass, and blood. The only thing standing between dozens of dead innocents at the hands of his former friend. No more Henry and Darcy. Now they were Black Ice & Spectralia and only one could leave this fight. There was no joy or excitement in this battle. Just regret and sadness. Black Ice creates an ice platform beneath his feet. Sending him skyward so he can stand atop the skyscraper that Dragonfly struggled to hold. Against every fiber of his being, Black Ice fires an ice beam at Spectralia. But he was still several stories away from her and she could easily see his attack approaching. Lazily floating to the side to avoid it.
Spectralia smiles and retaliates with an energy beam. Prompting Black Ice to block it with his frozen body. The force of the blast being enough to knock him off the edge of the building. At the same time, it’s refracted off of his body and sent through the air. Black Ice reaches out to the ice platform he had made. Extending the ice towards him and stopping his fall. “Damnit, Darcy…” Before Black Ice can properly stand up another energy beam strikes him. Refracting to his left, through where the skyscraper once stood, and into another building down the block. “Please-” Another beam strikes his right hand, knocking him onto his side and sending the beam into the building to his right. “Darcy!” He calls out before having to defend himself once more. Firing an Ice Beam to counter the energy beam. The two forces colliding to a standstill. Although his intention was pure, his ice beams worked much like the ice on his body. Causing her beams to refract haphazardly without stopping. Golden streams tearing through anything in their path. Civilians below fleeing in terror of the golden onslaught and falling debris. Having no other choice, Black Ice stops his attack and returns his body to normal. Taking the full force of her energy beam to the chest. “GAH!” He cries in pain as the beam pierces through the center of his chest and sends him flying off his ice platform. Reactively causing his body to encase itself in ice once more. Fighting through the agony, Black Ice extends the ice platform to catch himself. Transforming it into a slide that used his momentum to send him through the gaping window on his right. Sliding onto the office floor and into an overturned cubicle. His consciousness fading into darkness.
“Oh? Did I kill him?” Spectralia floats down to check on Black Ice. His body unmoving and breathing ceased. “Hmph, he was annoying anyway.” she scoffs through tear filled eyes. “Huh?” Spectralia wipes away the tears. Confused as to their origins. She didn’t care about Black Ice or what she had done. Yet her body still was crying.
“Hey…um…Darcy…I had a question…” Memories of Hal return to her.
“What’s going on?” Spectralia’s heart begins racing.
“Sure, what’s up Henry?” She asked.
“Would you…I dunno…maybe…possibly…” he looks away slightly and mumbles through the end of his sentence.
“Um…well…” Hal tries to hide his blushing. “Would you go on a date with me?”
“Sure.” She answers casually.
“Really? I had a whole long thing planned…” While he was relieved he felt disappointed at the same time. “Movies?”
“Of course. But first, you need a pet name.” She began racking her brain for an idea. “I have just the thing.”
“Hal?” Spectralia’s memories stir something in her. “Did I…No! I didn’t…” Her mind tore at itself. Memories trying to fight to the surface. “Why am I remembering this now?! Make it stop…Make it stop!” She grasps the sides of her head and falls to her knees. Pain and guilt overwhelming her.
“What’s the matter Specty? Those bad ol’ memories bothering you again?” A high pitched voice asks. The source of the voice now stood looming behind Spectralia. It was a lanky man that stood 7 feet tall with a slight hunch due to his height. He appeared to be a tall court jester with a pale white-faced mask with a wide grin. His outfit a checker pattern of dark purple and black. The jesters crown he wore had two flopping ears extending from the sides of his head. At the ends were a purple and black bell which sat on the opposing colored half of the crown. Each step it took was oddly limp and gave him a creepy almost otherworldly appearance. The glowing silver eyes beneath the mask did nothing to help the impression he made. Held tightly in his left hand was White Shadow. The jester tosses his battered and bleeding body aside and begins his approach. He moved with a pronounced strut and each step forward prompting a noticeable swing forward of the opposite arm.
“Badam?” Spectralia turns towards the jester as he eerily walks up to Black Ices body. A sense of relief sweeping over her. “Please, make the memories go away.”
Badam looks down on Black Ice and examines his body. “So much effort down the drain…” his voice deepens to the point he sounded like a demon. “Oh well!” his voice returns to normal with a shrug. “Can’t make an omelet without breaking the golden egg after all.” Badam twirls on the tips of his toes and turns to face Spectralia. “You want those nasty wittle memories snuffed out, yes?”
Badam walks up to Spectralia and bends over at the hips so he’s face to face with her. “NOPE!
“But-” Spectralia tries to plea but Badam raises his right index finger and presses it against her lips to silence her.
“You speak when I tell you to speak.” His silver eyes darken as his voice deepens. “Now, all you have to do is shake your head. You can do that right?” He waits for Spectralia to nod. “Good!” his eyes and voice return to normal. His arms crossing behind his back. “Did you catch the people I said?” Spectralia nods yes. “Did you push Black Ice to his limits?” Spectralia nods. “Good good. Now…” his voice deepens and eyes darken once more. “Did you kill him?” she lowers her head defeated. “Well at least you know your mistake but now we have to start all over again. What do you think would be a good punishment?”
“But I did everything you asked!”
“And yet I’m stuck here with one frosty corpse.” he stands up straight as his voice and eyes return to normal. “What to do…what to do…Well first off, I’m letting you keep those lovely little memories rattling around in that head of yours a while.” Badam stops his threat when he notices something begin to stir. The air begins to chill as Black Ice shambles to his feet. “Oh? Looks like he’s not quite a corpse yet. I guess you don’t get punished now.” Badam rests his left hand on Spectralia’s head. Releasing a brief glow that seems to relieve her.
None present, even Black Ice himself, could quite understand how he survived what was certainly a fatal blow. But that wasn’t what mattered. There was still a job that needed to be done. “Darcy…” he forces himself to speak through the pain.
“He speaks. Well, now I’m really impressed. Unfortunately, this is where we part ways. Let’s go Specty. I don’t want to break him.”
“Please Darcy…You can still stop this. You don’t have to listen to him.”
With the memories of her past life silenced, she looks down upon Black Ice with cold eyes. “You’re right…but I want to.” She turns to the side and points her left hand at an angle towards the floor. Firing a powerful beam of energy at the floor. Piercing it and hitting Dragonfly in his left leg.
“GAH!” Dragonfly cries out. Finally succumbing to his injuries. As his body collapses to the ground the building shatters the ice pillars Black Ice had created.
“Good luck.” Spectralia smiles and flies off.
Black Ice had little time to spare. He leaps out of the hole in the wall and unleashes his ice. Hitting the falling skyscraper and spreading along its walls. The temperature falling like a meteor as his powers unleashed. The ice reaching the buildings it was tearing through and going down to the street below. The air became still as if it’s frozen in time as the ice construct of a hand raises from the rapidly freezing streets to catch Black Ice. He stood in awe at what he had accomplished. A whole city block encased in ice within seconds. Just how cold and strong was his ice that he was able to stop a collapsing skyscraper in its place when he was unable to earlier? There was much he needed to know but first was damage assessment. Unfortunately, his body gives out and he collapses. Ice retracting from his body slowly.
It’d be several hours before Black Ice finally awoke. Finding himself laying in a hospital room with two beds. He couldn’t see beyond the curtains to the bed on his right but he could clearly see Doctor Khonshu standing with arms crossed. At the side of his bed sat Arbiter who was focused on the television that was attached to the side of the bed.
“Doctor K?” Hal stirs and sits up in the bed. “Is everyone okay?”
“Marco is fine. Once he returned to normal size his injuries became far less severe. Even then the injuries he got weren’t anything fatal. Terry on the other hand…” Doctor Khonshu’s eyes shift to the bed on Black Ice’s right. “His right arm is broken, several ribs have been fractured, a concussion, bruising on the face and torso, swelling on his left eye, and internal bleeding.” he answers callously. Believing it wiser to tell him the truth immediately then have him grow more anxious from having it hidden. “He’ll live but it’ll take about a month for him to recover.” Doctor Khonshu’s eyes narrow. Memories of SWAT-Spiders capture and torture at the hands of the mob* still fresh in his mind. The injuries inflicted upon Terry having an eerie similarity. “We’ll find whoever was responsible for this and deal with it.”
< This is all your fault. If you just stopped Darcy when you had the chance none of this would be happening. >
< Shouldn’t have even tried to save her. You’re such a failure. Can’t even save one person. >
“You did your best all things considered.” Doctor Khonshu reassures Hal. “But you need to tell me what happened while we were underground.”
It takes a few minutes but Hal recounts the events that transpired. His attempt to stall the skyscrapers collapse before Dragonfly became a colossus to stop its fall. How Spectralia performed a sneak attack and defending himself only caused more damage. How her beams pierced his chest and he nearly died. Hazy images of Spectralia at war with herself and the Jester that seemed to control her. Finally, how he managed to unleash ice like never before to finally stop the buildings fall. All the while Doctor Khonshu and Ryan remaining quiet.
“Just what we need…yet another new player…” Doctor Khonshu exhaled. Grasping the brim of his nose in frustration. “No matter…I set out to fill the void and I intend to do it.” he mutters to himself. Arms crossed and brows furled seriously.
“Step back, another new player? How many players are there?” Arbiter asks confused. Having only just joined the Khonshu Squadron, he was sorely out of the loop.
“One thing at a time. First and foremost, what do you plan to do Black Ice?”
“Is anyone else here named Black Ice? Of course you!”
“I…I don’t know…” he answers crestfallen.
“I expected as much.” Doctor Khonshu removes his right Khonshu Drive, walks up to Hal, and punches him across the face.
“OW! The hell was that for?!” Hal shouts. He attempts to jump up to his feet to return the blow but an intense surge of pain enters his chest. His body giving way beneath him as he stumbles off the side of his hospital bed.
“Do you feel that? The pain in your face and your chest? That’s being alive. Weren’t you a Super Hero? Or did you already forget what that meant?” The Doctors face was filled with rage and disgust as he looked down on Hal. “Being a hero, especially a super one, means that no matter how much you’re beaten. No matter how much you’re hurt. No matter how much you want to give up. No matter how pointless it seems to stand up and keep trying when all your efforts result in is undone in seconds.” he puts his right Khonshu Drive back on and uses it to lift Hal to his feet. His face calming and softening to an expression of deep concern. “You stand up each and every time. It doesn’t matter if you’re an Inversion, a human, or if you do or don’t have an ID card that’s just a piece of plastic. Nobody was born a hero. What it takes to be a hero is deciding to do the right thing no matter the price. Sometimes we’ll fail or things won’t turn out how we want. But we’ll keep doing what we do because we have to. Because nobody else could. As long as you’re alive you keep on. Now, what are you planning to do?”
Having Doctor Khonshu tearing into him as he did hurt immensely. But Hal knew he was right. He was hurt, scared, and upset with his failure. But he had to pick himself up and keep moving. If he didn’t, then who knows how many would pay for it? “Step 10, Never Give Up.”
“Good.” Doctor Khonshu points at the grievous burn mark where Spectralia blasted through his chest. “Wear your scars with pride. They’re proof of your determination.” Doctor Khonshu glances at Ryan. “That goes for you too. Assuming you’re staying with us.”
“After a speech like that, I can’t exactly turn my back on you.” Ryan replies casually.
“Please, you would’ve stayed regardless.” Doctor Khonshu tries to hide a smile. “Though I can’t take full credit for that. I’m just telling you what a friend told me once. In any case, our first step is for Black Ice to turn into…well…Ice.”
“After we found your body I decided to investigate into something.”
“You did what now?” Hal’s eyes widen concerned. Even Ryan was taken aback by the implications.
“Nothing invasive. I just scanned you after noticing your injury. Going off what you and Dragonfly said, you should be dead. But all you have is a scar. That’s when I realized, you’re not like most cryokinetic Inversions. They drop the temperature via Thermokinesis, then manipulate the moisture in the air with Cryokinesis to create the ice they use to fight. Even using their own sweat to create the ice around their skin.” Doctor Khonshu begins before sitting on the air courtesy of his Khonshu Drives. Motioning for Hal to sit as well. “While you can, you don’t create any ice from the moisture around you or even need to. You’re spontaneously creating it from nothingness. You’re essentially performing alchemy and converting your own body from flesh to ice. Your attacks are done in a similar way but on a larger scale. Which makes your feat with the skyscrapers all the more impressive. It’s also why your ice is more like a mirror than normal ice. Your properties are entirely different. On the flipside, this also means that you’re reliant on your own personal stamina rather than the weather.”
“Seriously? I didn’t think it was that special…But I guess that does make sense. Ice shouldn’t reflect energy beams.” It wasn’t until now but Black Ice had never been properly trained in his powers or how to use them. All this time flying solo and he doesn’t know even how his own powers work. Let alone how many powers he actually possessed.
“That’s not the most impressive thing. Spectralia’s beam pierced your lungs and destroyed your heart. But courtesy of Cryonic Preservation, you cheated a certain death. Even with all our theories and technology, we didn’t think it was possible.”
“Isn’t that only in the sci-fi movies?” Ryan finally speaks.
“For now, the main issue is reviving the people after they’re frozen. If you’ll recall, Black Ice turns his flesh into his ice. Each time he does this process he essentially creates his own default body frame. So whenever your injured and return to normal your ice replaces any damaged tissue no matter how severe.* But it seems it has some limits. The more severe the injury the more time it will take to heal. But given your recent display of strength…I’m not quite sure what your maximum limit is. On the low-end, you’ll be able to cheat death quite a bit so long as your heart and brain aren’t simultaneously destroyed. On the high-end…you may very well be nigh-immortal.”
*First seen in Blessed Inversion Golden Age Chapter 4
“Immortal?!” This conversation took a turn neither Hal nor Ryan even remotely considered.
“In theory anyway. This is what I gleaned from my own experience with cryokinetics, the scans for you, and speculation. I’d need a full lab for a proper rundown. At the very least, I can confirm you’ll live longer than us all. Your aging process is already being slowed by your powers. I can’t confirm when, but eventually, you’re likely to stop aging altogether.”
“This is…a lot…” Hal tried his best to calm down. His mind and heart not prepared to consider what any of this meant.
“I know. Conveniently for you, we likely have some time. We know the ones responsible and thanks to your efforts we saved all the people who were kidnapped. If Badam and Spectralia want to do whatever they had in mind they’ll have to start from scratch. In that time, I’m going to teach you about your powers and properly train the both of you.”