GravesThe Glass Octopus looked down ad the line of graves. Some were wood, metal, scrap, stones marked a few. However, this one was special. It was an actual gravestone. The only reason he was even able to afford it was because he had saved for years to get it. Just so he would not be completely forgotten.
The Octopus understood this. Once you became the suit... became the mask... you would never be any more. In fact, he almost completely forgot his real name... his past...
Who he was.
Badger boy came up behind him, tapping his shoulder.
"Come on, Octopus," said Badger Boy, "Rumor has they have him. I just got a wire from the Police Constable! We need to ride, now!"
The Glass Octopus rose, and lowered his goggles to cover his human eyes. He adjusted his utility belt and stretched.
"Thank, you," he said, confusing Badger Boy, "For the opportunity. Old Friend."
Badger boy said nothing. He knew what that meant now. They both ran to their motorized carraige, and they sat inside.
"Where?" asked the Glass Octopus.
"Gearford, Barret," answered Badger Boy.
"Then let's go," said The Glass Octopus, "To the cave, we need to take to the air to get him this time!"
With that, they drove into the desert into the night. Away from the graveyard. Away from the grave. The Grave of Wilmur Rotack. The grave of a mill worker who never was. The grave of a forgotten man. The Grave of a celebrity. The Grave, of the Shield Bat. The Grave, of Antiford's first hero.
TrapsRiding their Air-Bikes they found themselves above the textile Mill for this part of the Barret district. The Glass Octopus adjusted the dials on his Air-Bike and the balloon adjusted and lowered him closer to the roof. He landed, with Badger Boy behind him. They deflated the balloons of their Air-Bikes and ran towards the open door leading into the Mill.
The Mill was dark, and a slight hint of smoke obscured their vision. The Glass Octopus tightened his stance and walked confidently forward. They were on a catwalk over the Mill floor. The entirety of the Mill work floor was obscured in a dark fog. A laugh could be heard.
"It's the Smoker!" said Badger Boy, looking hard into the smog, "What do you think he's doing here? Trying to keep us from breathing? A Weather machine?"
"No," The Glass Octopus said, "The Smoker doesn't have any reason to be in an empty Mill at night. No, this is-"
"A very good guess!" came a cry from the other end of the Catwalk.
A man was standing there, gas mask on and goggles down. On his back were two large tanks, and they were connected to two guns by large tubes. As the man laughed, more smog came out of his mask's vent.
"Smoker!" cried Badger Boy.
"I am so glad to see you two," said the Smoker, "The Glass Octopus and Badger Boy! Come to save the day?"
"Your days running around this city are over, Smoker," yelled the Glass Octopus, "You're going to be spending a lot of time in P-Null for this! Those orphans never stood a chance in your smog!"
"Yeah, not without you," said the Smoker, "But I will be the one laughing, now!"
"You can't take us both," said the Glass Octopus.
"Yeah, we've defeated you before!" yelled Badger Boy.
"Alone, maybe," said the Smoker, shrugging, "I am working on that. However, I am not alone this time!"
"As I deduced," said the Glass Octopus, "Who are you working with this time. What is your evil plan?"
"Oh, Now, now, be calm," came a loud, defiant voice from behind the Glass Octopus, "We don't want to shatter Glass, here."
The Glass Octopus turned, glaring at the voice that has chased him for years. Out of the Shadows they had passed, a figure stepped out of the darkness. Almost as if he was stepping out of water, the shadows clasped at his clothes and his clothes hung back on them and seemed to drip. He wore a very long black coat, and it flowed as if a waterfall of shadows. It was open, however The Glass Octopus could not see what lied beneath except for shadows. He also wore a hat with a very wide brim, which hung down over his face. The figure reached up and pushed up the brim, showing a shadowed face, dark haired, goateed man, whose eyes glowed a faint red.
Badger Boy shrunk away from him, his shaking legs sending vibrations through the catwalk.
"Holy Water, Glass Octopus! It's like he's made up of nightmares!"
"He is," said the Glass Octopus, crossing his arms and glaring at the man, "There's a reason creatures fear the dark. That reason is because there are forces beyond our knowledge which can take you inside there."
"Do you really believe that?" asked Badger Boy.
"I believe in him," said the Glass Octopus.
"Yes, indeed," said the figure, "Because I am what happens when the Darkness takes you... and gives you BACK!"
"You've met him?" asked Badger Boy.
"Scath," said the Glass Octopus, "What are you up to."
"You appear to have grown so much," Scath said, "And you've become really... prominent. If something happens in Antiford you always seem to turn up, Glass Octopus! Always on the hunt..."
"What are you up to!" asked the Glass Octopus.
"My plans are far above your understanding," said Scath, shaking his head, "But I cannot have you around much longer."
The figure dipped his head down and stepped back. The Glass Octopus already had a flare in his hand, and he was scraping it against the catwalk to light it. Scath backed into the darkness and disappeared as if he plummeted into water. The flare alit, and the Glass Octopus threw it. By the time it's brilliant light reached the other end of the Catwalk, Scath was gone, and the shadows were chased back.
Next, the Smoker let out a cackling laugh, and the Glass Octopus felt the Catwalk beneath their feet give way. Before he could react, Badger boy and himself were plummeting into the smog.
He found himself in some sort of container, and he began to bang against the walls as the roof of the container sealed.
"I can't breath, Glass Octopus!" cried Badger Boy, "I don't have a mask!"
"Ok, I can do this," yelled the Glass Octopus, "We can get out, I can do this!"
"Octopus, we can do this," said Badger Boy, "Just calm down, think of a way out."
"I know I can do it," said the Glass Octopuss, banging against the sides, "I can do this!"
"Just stay calm."
"I can do this!"
"HEY, just calm down, and think this through!"
The Glass Octopus stopped, turning around. He shook his head, he had heard that last voice somewhere.... he recognize it, this situation. Instead of Badger Boy sitting behind him, a man stood there. He wore tights and armor like the Glass Octopus, and he held a large Shield in his hand. He coughed, looking around. He looked back at the Glass Octopus, and pointed at him.
"Keep a calm head, kid," he said, "We can outsmart him. He's not so bad! It's only a box, lad."
"But..." The Glass Octopus remembered this conversation, he felt his heart grow heavy, "We're... we're..."
"Trapped?" the Shield Bat laughed, trying to hide his coughing, "I thought an octopus could get out of anything?"
The Glass Octopus remembered this day... remembered it clearly... his head felt light, but he tried not to slip out of consciousness.
RecapsThe cool breeze excited the Glass Octopus. He stood atop a train station roof, overlooking the inner Rowe district of Gearford. He felt so alive, so energized, so powerful. However, he knew, deep in the back of his mind, that the only difference was he was in mask and standing on a rooftop.
Behind him he could hear the steps of his companion. The Glass Octopus turned to see the Shield Bat standing behind him. He looked like a hero. He was a hero, a real hero.
The Glass Octopus looked up to the Shield Bat. He was the first hero. A Real hero. Out of no where, he dressed up, put on a mask, and branded a mighty shield. He appeared in parades, he supported the local police force. He was even over the canyon during the Antiford-Prushian war. He fought in the trenches alongside Antifordian Troops. He stood for truth, justice, the power of the common man! He was the first person in recent history to dawn a mask and take to the streets. His message for the common people makes him the only thing from the Royal era that survived after the revolution.
So there he stood, overlooking the city. His brilliant shield in hand, spanning the length from his shoulders to his thigh. He looked at the Glass Octopus through his mask, and nodded.
"It's time," he said.
"Let's take these guys down!" The Glass Octopus agreed, clenching his fists with excitement.
"Now, now, 'The Glass Octopus'," said the Shield Bat, "We can not assume who will be taken this night. You need to keep a clear head and insure you are ready to lay down your own life in every encounter!"
"I am ready," said the Glass Octopus.
"No, you are angry," said the Shield Bat, taking his shield and putting it on like a backpack, "You wander the night and beat up street rats in anger. You need to learn to keep your eyes open and see the evils in the world in a connection rather then as single thugs on the street. That is why I needed you tonight."
"You need some extra muscle," said the Glass Octopus.
"I needed a partner," said the Shield Bat, "I need to train you to be more then a thug prowling the streets in search of other thugs. You need to proactively try to assess crime to better snuff it out."
"Sure," said the Glass Octopus.
"No, I'm being serious," said the Shield Bat, "This den is going to be dangerous, and full of danger, and taking it out of commission could throw off their routines for months, keeping the streets safer then ever!"
Shield Bat nodded and took a running leap off the building. His shield caught the breeze and he soared through the air, down to the streets below. The Glass Octopus shook his head, and he grabbed the tentacle whip from his belt and whipped it out, swinging down from the roof to the streets below.
GangstersThe Glass Octopus and the Shield Bat eyed the opening. It was a tiny building which doubled as a butchers and fishery. However, they knew that beneath its depths was the den of some of the worst criminals Gearford knew. Something big was going down, and every criminal leader in the city was in on it. Cat Burglars, Gang Leaders, ruffians, deer thieves, even murderers. They all were meeting here, for some unknown, terrifying, reason.
The Shield Bat raised his heavy shield, and nodded at the Glass Octopus. The Glass Octopus got up and leapt across the street, the shadows of the newly arrived evening casting great shadows in the street he used as cover. Pressing himself against the building, he flexed his brass knuckles in his hands. Looking across the street, he could not see the Shield Bat. Instead, he was alongside him, already preparing to kick in the door.
Upon the door falling aside, they both stood in the first room, looking around the room and frowning. Nobody was there. Spotting the door to the basement in the back, the Glass Octopus pointed it out.
"The Basement," he said, rushing forward.
"No, wait, don't!" cried out the Shield Bat, rushing after him.
The floor gave out and the Glass Octopus found himself falling through the floor and down into the darkness. He landed in some sort of box, and right behind him the Shield Bat landed as well. The top of the container closed, tight, and they could here laughing from somewhere. Soon the container began to get filled with a thick gas.
"Bye-bye, Shield Bat!" said the voice, the container locking from the outside.
"It was a trap," said the Shield Bat.
"We have to get out of here," said the Glass Octopus, "We can... we can force the box!"
"Yeah, we can," said the Shield Bat, standing and beginning to slam the sides of the container with his shield.
The Glass Octopus steadied himself, and began kicking at the sides of the container himself. As the smog filled the container, he noticed the Shield Bat start to cough with the lack of air. The Glass Octopus' mask kept him breathing through the smog. The Glass Octopus kept fighting against the box. Slamming against the walls and the ceiling with all his might.
"It's not working, Octopus," said the Shield Bat, "We need to think through this."
"No, I can do it," said the Glass Octopus.
"I know you can, but we need to think through this, Octopus," the Shield Bat began to cough.
"No, I can do this! I can do it!" said the Glass Octopus, slamming against the walls.
"HEY, just calm down, and think this through!" The Shield Bat pointed at him to make his point known, "Keep a calm head, kid. We can outsmart him. He's not so bad! It's only a box, lad."
"But..." The Glass Octopus fought back his fear, he felt his heart grow heavy, "We're... we're..."
"Trapped?" the Shield Bat laughed, trying to hide his coughing, "I thought an octopus could get out of anything?"
The Glass Octopus looked around, then he reached into his utility mask and one of his tentacles came off, revealing a blowtorch. After a few clicks, the fire turned on and he rushed one side of the container, pressing it to the wall. It took a second, but then the torch took and began to cut right through the metal. As the Glass Octopus cut out a roughly-good sized opening, the cut through he made began to drain the gas.
After he was done, the Shield Bat pulled him back and raised his shield.
"Stay behind me, lad," said the Shield Bat, raising his boot, "This will get messy, quickly!"
LossesThe Shield Bat's boot slammed into the cut-out wall, and it was torn away from the side of the container. He raised his shield and took a few steps into the room. Almost immediately gun shots were heard, and they pinged off his shield. He took a few mighty steps into the light, and his shield was raised a little higher with the hail of gunfire.
The Glass Octopus could see a strange array of characters surrounding them in a warehouse-like room. Everything from suited men to costumed freaks and normal look thugs aimed their weapons at the dynamic duo. Everything from black powered rifles to shelled revolvers and even one Gatling gun crank-gun that was throwing bullets at the Shield Bat's Shield, which took the brunt of the assault without failing.
"The lights!" cried the Shield Bat, holding back the onslaught and kneeling, "We need to take out those spotlights and the lights! Use the darkness!"
The Glass Octopus reached up and replaced the torch tentacle back into his utility mask, and grabbed another tentacle, this one is Octo-Rang. Crack it into place, he leaned out of the container and he chucked it, it flying in a wide arc around the room. Hallway through its flight it exploded into eight different Rangs. They swooped around the room, slamming into light bulbs and knocking over candles. They also slammed into the spotlights. Afterwards, a few of the remaining rangs slammed into a few of the gunslingers. The room was cast into darkness, and the Glass Octopus and the Shield Bat leapt into action.
Using the confusion of the sudden darkness, they leapt at their attackers, slamming fists, shield, and boots into the guts and faces of many of the thugs around the room. They shot wildly in confusion, the flashes of light revealing just how close the Glass Octopus was to their buddy's bloodied face, but not that the Shield Bat was right behind them. Jaws crunched, ribs cracked, knees buckles, and hits split as the two converged on their heavily armed attackers.
One of the guards reached the emergency lights, and caged lights showing red lit up around the room, casting the room into an eerie red light. He turned around just in time to take a shield to the nose and a boot to the stomach, doubling him over in pain.A slap to the back of the neck knocked him out for good.
The Glass Octopus and the Shield Bat stood victoriously and surveyed the room of knocked out bodies. The Shield Bat nodded at the Glass Octopus, who gave a thumbs up back.
Suddenly, a figure was spotted out of the corner of the Glass Octopus' eye. Before he could react, a dark figure strode out of the container. He smiled, ominously. He wore a wide brimmed hat, and a long black coat which was open and flowing behind him. Even though his coat was open, The Glass Octopus could not see anything inside but a blackness, perhaps a black waistcoat but otherwise nothing. He wore long, black pants down to dark shoes of blackness. His entire being was dark, and even his skin took on a darker hue.
The Shield Back brandished his shield, and he motioned for the Glass Octopus to get back. instead, he rushed forward. The Glass Octopus ran forward to begin the attack, but he tripped, falling to the ground hard. When he looked back, all he could see was the shadow of one of the bodies which was stretched eerily across the empty floor. As he tried to rise, The Glass Octopus' own shadow seemed to grow, and it reached around his wrists and ankles and tightened. Even though he could not feel the pressure, The Glass Octopus realized he could not rise from the ground he lay on.
"Don't move," demanded the Shield Bat, "Don't fight it."
"You have been making trouble for me, sir," said the man, his eyes shining a dastardly red.
He took a step forward and drew a sword from his black coat. The Shield Bat rushed forward, lashing out with his Shield. The figure moved incredibly fast, his figure blurring and his dark aurora growing. He seemed to sidestep and lash out at the Shield Bat, the Sword Striking his shield. He seemed to reform into himself again at the Shield Bat's side, and lash out once more with his Sword. The Shield Bat was fast enough to bat it away with his shield again, but when he struck out with the shield and spun to throw up a kick, the dark figure moved away from the easily.
"I am unlike anything you have seen," said the man, stepping back into the shadows of the container and disappearing entirely from view.
The Shield Bat tossed his shield after him, but it passed through the shadows like nothing and clanked against the wall. The Shield Bat turned to the Glass Octopus, getting shrugging.
"We need to get out of here," he said, "I shall help you up."
Once again appearing out of the darkness of the container, silent as death itself, the figure ran forward, the only thing on him shining being the long, thin blade of the sword. He moved at inhuman speeds, closing the distance between himself and the Shield Bat in seconds. The Shield Bat only had time to turn and blink as the sword was plunged into his gut. The end of the sword had barely pierced through his back when it was yanked out again for another stab into his gut. The figure ripped it clean a second time to trust it into his chest. The Glass Octopus yelled out as the Shield Bat was skewered without a fight, and his body went limp and his knees buckled, he fell to the ground.
The figured then, without hesitation, twirled the sword and sheathed it back into the invisible sheath inside his black coat. He watched as the Shield Bat fell to the ground, and began to cough up blood. The figure's eyes smiled, and he walked backward, towards the container.
Suddenly the bonds released on the Glass Octopus, and he crawled over to the body of his friend, who still was coughing up blood, fighting for air to enter his pierced lungs. The Glass Octopus held him in his arms, yelling in pain at the knowledge the Shield Bat would not make it. His wounds were way to extensive.
"I'll kill you!" yelled the Glass Octopus, his tear filled eyes hidden by his goggles, "I'll kill you!"
"The darkness in your heart sparred you today," said the figure, who all but disappeared into the darkness of the container, only his red eyes glowing and scowling into the eyes of the Glass Octopus, "But it but a tidal pool compared to the ocean that rages in my own. You hide in the darkness, you attempt to adopt it to your being. But I was chosen by the darkness. I was taken by it. I am formed by it."
"You are a man," said the Glass Octopus, "You have an agenda, you have needs, you have a home. I will find you... and I will KILL you!"
"I am no man, and my agenda can not be fathomed by someone like you," said the figure, his eyes blinking for the first time in recent memory, "I am playing the world's largest game of chess and I have yet to lose a piece yet. You are but pieces for me to trap and dispose of. I have no home but that the darkness gives me. I have no agenda but that which has been waged since time was conceived. And I can no more die then the sun can, then the darkness can, then the dirt can. For I am what I wasn't. I am the embodiment of the Darkness in your heart. I am my own potential and yours. I am Scath, and I am the hand that strikes the flies that annoy me. I will squash the spiders that threaten me. I burn those that amuse me..."
He seemed to blink once more, but this time those red eyes did not return. The Glass Octopus yelled out in angry pain. Dragging the Shield Bat out of the building, the Glass Octopus gather up some fire and fuel and he headed back inside. As the building burned down, he dragged the Shield Bat away, his tears become more audible moans as he stopped breathing.
Even in the flames, however, the Glass Octopus thought he could see his eyes in the flames, his body in the shadows, and the swaying of his coat in the wreckage as the building burned.
VillainsThat's when he blinked. The Glass Octopus was back in the container, gas being poured in. Badger Boy could barely breathe, and it was up to him to get them out alive. He took a deep, musky breath and reached up for his utility tentacles. He grabbed his tentacle torch and set to work lighting it. After getting the flame going, he walked up to the wall and began attempting to cut a whole in the side once more.
The torch didn't take, and even as he turned up the heat, the small portable torch could not cut through the wall. BLAST! He had learned from last time, thought the Glass Octopus. He had to find a weaker part of the container. After a second of looking, he found that the gas was getting in from the corners of the great container. Using his torch there yielded better results, and the Glass Octopus began cutting away one of the entire side ends of the container. Even though Badger Boy was coughing, he helped the Glass Octopus in slamming their weight against the now weakened wall. It only took a few times as the metal wall creaked and the wall gave way.
They both stumbled onto the factory floor. The smog was thicker outside, and Badger Boy was coughing up a lung.
"We need to get to the catwalks again!" said the Glass Octopus.
"How are we going to stop The Smoker and Scath?" asked Badger Boy.
"We can't," stated Glass Octopus, "They are up to nothing more then trying to end us! We must foil their plot by surviving!"
Badger Boy began to cough again, his eyes shut, when he let out a gasp and began to cough again. Glass Octopus turned around to help his buddy, but froze. A sword protruded from his chest and the tip gleamed with blood. It disappeared back into Badger Boy's body, and he began to cough once more. Growing up from behind him, Scath allowed the sword to shine, and his eyes bore into the Glass Octopus' soul. He smiled, holding the sword with both hands.
"Last time I allowed a sidekick to live, he grew up to be a threat," stated Scath, then he lift the sword and swung in around the side.
In one powerful swipe, he cut Badger Boy in two, and his body flew off his thighs. Badger Boys coughed his last cough as he watched his lower half sink to their knees and fall over. He then fell over and died.
The Glass Octopus could feel the rage he felt.
"NO!" he yelled, rushing forward.
Scath sidestepped him, and he laughed as the Glass Octopus punched, chopped, and kicked into the haze of smoke trying to connect with him. Every so often the Glass Octopus could feel the slap or the point of the sword on his back or side, but Scath moved too fast for him.
"You have learned nothing," said Scath, standing just behind the Glass Octopus, "But the darkness in your heart can be seen more clearly then ever! It is for that reason you can never kill me."
"But I can defeat you," said the Glass Octopus, reaching into his pocket for a little round ball, "By showing you the light I also carry!"
"Light can be extinguished with time," laughed Scath.
"It only takes a Flash," yelled Glass Octopus, as he threw the Octo-Flash into the air.
It glowed for a second, but before it had time to fall back to the ground it released the highest intensity light it could and cut through the fog, filling the entire factory with such intense light. Scath let out an intense scream. It reminded the Glass Octopus more of an intense choir of hisses then a scream. The Glass Octopus swung out with his fist and eyes closed, and for the first time he felt his fist slam into Scath's jaw. The flash-bulb hit the ground and bounced, and the light slowly faded away, throwing the warehouse into darkness once more.
When the light dissipated, Scath was gone.
The Glass Octopus stood there for some time, panting in the smoke. He looked around, but he couldn't see any sign of Scath or of the Smoker. The Glass Octopus gathered up the legs and body of Badger Boy and found the foreman's stairs to the catwalks. He made his way out of the building.
Once outside, he sighed. The Smoker had assisted in an attack that was too far out of his league, and he had made a powerful ally. And a nightmare from the Octopus' past was resurfacing, with his sights set on him! He needed to meditate. He needed to think out a plan.
But he proved Scath could be touched, and could be hurt. Which meant he could be defeated. It was time for the Glass Octopus to arm himself for a war against darkness. The Smoker could be blown away, but darkness had to be sought out... and light had to be put in its place.