Necropolis

By Jeff A. Hatch
About the Author



 
What's Gone Before: Blane Trask discovers that the superhero, Eclipse, is really his grandfather, Andrew Merritt.  Unfortunately, Eclipse dies saving Blane from the supervillain, Epitaph, leaving Blane with the key to a locker at Bart Station.  Blane learns his "father", Anthony Trask, has secretly altered his plans for the prototype Defender suit, turning it into the far more lethal Destroyer...




Episode Three:

Legacy of Darkness


Blane stood in the Powell Street Bart station. The locker marked 'H42' was right in front of him. Blane had not yet worked up the courage to use the key. He wondered if when he opened it, whether all would be explained or he would simply find more questions.

Blane cursed himself for being so gutless, and approached the locker. Around him it seemed that all eyes were upon him. Everyone was secretly Epitaph, the no longer faceless assassin who had killed his grandfather.

Finally Blane opened the locker and discovered two things -- a small flash light and a cassette tape with his name roughly penned on it. Blane snatched up both of the items and left the key in the locker.

The walk to his Porsche was one of the longest ordeals that Blane had ever undertaken. When he arrived at the car, he started it and wheeled smoothly out onto the street. As he traveled, Blane shoved the tape into his stereo. It played nothing for a short while, then the voice of his grandfather came on.

"Blane, if you are hearing this, I, Andrew Merritt, am dead, either of a heart attack or assassination. If my mission has failed, then you may be in danger. I would warn you not to go to your apartment, but instead to go to this address. 1100 Geary at the Necropolis Plaza."

Blane knew of the place and spun the wheel turning a tight 'U-turn'.

"On the east side of the building is a private elevator. It is accessed by a key pad that reveals itself after you shine the infrared flashlight on it. The access code is 1313."

Blane fingered the flashlight on and off with no apparent result.  Of course not; it was an invisible ray.

"There is only one destination for the elevator...the top floor. There you will find a safe haven. When you arrive, have a drink and relax. You will receive a further message."

The tape ceased and suddenly there was a cloud of smoke coming from the deck. Blane opened the windows enough to air it out. When he checked the tape it was only a shell, with no tape remaining.

"Cute trick," muttered Blane as he guided his car into the Necropolis Plaza.

1100 Geary turned out to be a twenty seven story building with glass reflecting the flashes of lightning overhead. As Blane walked around the side of the building, he found the door to the mysterious elevator. He flipped the switch on the little flashlight and a soft whirring accompanied the opening of a secret panel. Inside the panel was a touch pad. Blane fingered the number "1313" and the doors opened silently.

On the side of the elevator was a pair of buttons, one marked up, and one marked down. He pressed the up button and the doors slid shut. A moment later they opened; Blane did not realize it, but the elevator had lifted him twenty seven stories in a matter of seconds!

The doors of the elevator opened onto a penthouse. The place was a large sunken living room, with a pair of doors, one on either side of the room. Blane checked each; one was a bathroom; the other was a huge bedroom. The place was all glass on one side providing a good view of the city and the bay. Out on a deck, was a complete gymnasium, and a small spa. To the side of the elevator doors stood a semi-circular bar, with a great expanse of mirrors behind all the alcohol.

"At least the bar is stocked," muttered Blane to no one in particular. He wondered what he was to do now.

"Okay, grandpa, I'm here!" he shouted. "What do I do now?" Blane got no result, as he suspected.

After a few minutes, Blane noticed that there was a computer. He booted it up and found that it had no files other than operating files. He slammed his fists down on the keys cursing his stupidity. There must be something he was missing.

It was then that Blane remembered what his grandfather had said: "Make yourself a drink."

He eye-balled the bar, and discovered that it held his favorite drink, "Gallianno". He grabbed a bucket glass, and dropped two cubes of ice from the well-stocked bar into it. When Blane grasped the tall octagonal bottle to pour some of the yellow liqueur into his glass, it only tipped at his pull. When he pulled harder it moved like a lever causing the rear of the bar to move aside. It revealed a secret passage loaded with all manor of odd items.

Blane dropped his glass to the floor and moved to the passage. Inside he found a black coat and body suit, several weapons including a pair of menacing looking submachine guns on sling holsters. There were several cartons that were egg-like, that contained black and white spheres alternately. Blane found a floppy disk and another tape, as well.

Blane looked around and found a stereo. He raced over to it, and loaded the tape. A drop of sweat dripped down Blane's finger as he depressed the 'play' button. Once again there was a delay, then the voice of his grandfather came on.

"Good evening. Blane, if you are hearing this -- then you are in the Night Loft." Blane chuckled softly. "It is now time for you to hear the truth. My name is Andrew Merritt and I am your grandfather. Your father, Luther Merritt, was taken from your grandmother when he was very young. Luther was raised by Anthony Trask in South America, where I have spent most of my life.

"Back in 1931, I was working with one of the only other crimefighters at the time -- his name was Judge Priest. Judge Priest had the power to move things with his mind. While we were breaking up a bank robbery by a thug named Lifer Stone, Judge Priest betrayed me; he left me to be killed by an explosion. I did not die, but instead was knocked unconscious. Judge Priest took me prisoner and I was moved to South America. Judge priest was, as you have already divined by now, Anthony Trask. Trask was tired of helping the law, and was setting himself up as sort of a crime czar named The Black Bishop. He formed the criminal organization called The Crime Cult. While he was leading the top criminals in the world on a genocide against any who would not join him, he was using myself and, later, your parents, as test subjects for his chemical concoctions. "

The voice cracked and he coughed a bit. "In 1944, Trask's men, working with the Nazis, killed a famous archeologist, what's his name? Trask stole an artifact called the Philosopher's Stone, which was originally contained in the Holy Grail. Trask took the reddish stuff and synthesized it into a serum, and tested it on me. The serum is the reason I appear so young.

"Your parents were killed by a bad mixture of the formula, just after you were born. Finally Trask used the formula on himself, and decided to pass himself off as your father. About a year ago, a mistress of Trask's named Maria helped me to escape." The voice sounds relaxed now. "I smuggled myself back to Golden City with Dr. Chan, who turned out be a villain who worked for Trask. When I returned here I  found that the city had a new name and a lot more crime."

The voice paused to draw a deep breath, a slight wheeze reached Blane's ears.

"Now that you know the truth, do not place yourself in danger. Anthony Trask has many allies all over the world and his power is great. Good Luck, Blane, and always remember.....One man can make a difference!"

The last words were a dread omen in Blane's ears. Again the tape smoked and disintegrated. Blane sat in the bar chair and poured a drink.

"What the hell is happening here?" Blane asked the Blane looking back from the mirror.

No answer.

"What am I supposed to do now, put on a long black coat and take to the rooftops killing thugs only to get myself killed, as well?"

Blane felt silly talking to himself and decided to stop. He found the diskette and slid it into the 'A drive' on the computer. It flashed on several files; he opened one. There were chemical formulas and schematics. The stuff looked like some kind of strange smoke bomb, but different. Blane could understand what it was, given time, he could not, however, produce this stuff without help.

Blane also found other formulas and schematics, including the plans for some kind of personal line-thrower.

"I wonder if he made that?" thought Blane to himself.

He fished through the secret room, and came out with a strange arm brace-thing with a compressed air device on it -- a cable gun.

Blane stood in front of the cabinet and, after a few seconds, he began to dress in the clothes in the closet. The coat was heavy; it felt armored. The hat was held in place by a strap; the scarf seemed layered with cloth on the inside.

Blane found himself on the balcony of the penthouse. Strong wind blew at his back. The rain was striking the surface of the coat so hard it made pattering sounds like rodents with machine guns. There was another noise, just like the rain but louder.

The noise was gunfire down the street.

Looking out, Blane found the goggles on this costume were quite good in the dark; it seemed like day outside.  Blane felt different; he was no longer scared or confused. Inside himself, he began to change. His voice came up suddenly and he spoke. Blane's voice was muffled and it echoed through the night; he heard himself clearly over the thunder.

"Trask..."-- as if he were there -- "You ruined my life, you killed my parents and you killed my grandfather. You did this to gain power for yourself. If you want to see power, you will. By my grandfather's hidden grave, I will become your worst enemy. I will be the worst enemy of crime in any form. I will never rest while there is evil to be destroyed. If I am half the man my grandfather was, then I will be twice what you can handle. I AM ECLIPSE!"

Blane would have scared himself, if he were there to hear it. But in the rain that night, Blane Trask died and Blane Merritt became Eclipse......too bad for Trask!

Next episode....Justice!


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Necropolis is copyright 1999, Jeff A. Hatch. It may not be copied or used for any commercial purpose except for short excerpts used for reviews. (Obviously, you can copy it or print it out if you want to read it!)