By Jeff A. Hatch
About the Author

What's Gone Before: Blane Trask, having inherited the mantle of the superhero Eclipse from his dead grandfather, enlists the aid of his co-worker, Lane Briggs, to steal the plans for the armoured Defender suit from his fake father Anthony Trask, who modified the suit from Blane's original design, turning it into the more lethal Destroyer.  But, returning to his apartment, Blane finds a bomb waiting for him. His home destroyed, he seeks refuge in the only "home" left to him now...The Night Loft, lair of Eclipse...

Episode Six:

Dead and Gone

When Blane awoke, it was sometime in the afternoon. He had slept well, the best he had slept in a long time. When he awoke again, he found that he was troubled, by the question of what to do next. Blane thought to himself that he would need money; there isn't much to be made in the vigilante business, and since he was targeted for death, he couldn't necessarily return to work for Trask Ind.

Blane found a phone and dialed Lane at work. The phone rang several times before his friend appeared on the other end.

"Hello, Trask Ind. electronics division, Lane Briggs speaking." He sounded kind of stressed.

"Lane! This is Blane." Blane was trying to cut the BS.

"Hi.... Mom, yes I'm doing fine." Obviously he was being watched.

"Lane, listen to me. Are they asking about me?"

"Yes, Mom, I'm wearing long underwear."

"What about my.....I mean Trask?"

"Tony? Yes, he's been asking about you, too."

"Try to find a way to stay late -- I'm coming there tonight to erase all the Destroyer plans from the hard drive."

"OK, Mom, not tonight. I need to stay late at the office."

Blane hung up. "So, they are watching Lane. Well, that just clinches things. Trask really wants me dead."

Thought Blane: Well, after tonight he can look all he wants, but he won't find any sign of Blane.

Blane went to the bar and pulled the Galliano bottle; the hidden passage opened and he stepped in. There were other weapons in the hidden room. He found a pair of gleaming automatics, .45 caliber to be exact. There was a switchblade of very fine make and a bottle of some liquid near it.

Hung to a peg on the wall was also a strange arm brace type of thing. On the lower portion of it was a small compartment that looked like it would hold a knife or a small gun. Blane thought back to an old TV series about a secret agent in the old west. That guy used something similar to hold a small derringer. Blane went to the computer and studied the files contained on the floppy disk; sure enough, his grandfather called the device a "Spring Arm Release". It was designed to instantly bring a small item from hiding into his hand.

The bottle turned out to be an unconsciousness drug of almost lethal potency. The white globes were tear gas. Blane started to load the equipment into his coat and found that it too had surprises. The inside was lined with several almost invisible pockets; each was padded to protect its contents.

That night Blane drove to Trask Ind. in his Porsche. He parked on the street, surprised to find a spot. The door to the emergency stairs was unlocked as he had arranged with Lane and the coast was clear. Blane took the stairs quickly and found that the eighth floor door was also unlocked. Blane strode into the computer lab; the walls were still scarred with marks where .45 slugs had slammed into it the previous night.

Lane sat at his computer; all the lights were on giving the place an unhealthy look, as is common under fluorescent lights.

"No one's around; sounds like a good time to do it."

Lane nearly jumped out of his seat when Blane spoke; his friend didn't sound like himself. There was now a kind of power in Blane's voice, like each word was a bullet from a gun. The new determination in Blane's voice scared Lane, but it also brought some comfort; maybe Blane was not crazy. Lane had thought about this all day. He had hoped it would all go away, but in the end, here was Blane as big or bigger than life.

"Lets hurry, buddy -- I don't want to get caught here," said Lane.

"No problem, the system is wide open to me," spoke Blane confidently, while his hands played across the keys fast and sure.

Warnings came up, but Blane ignored them and ran a few of his best programs to bring down the mighty defenses put in place by Trask technicians. In the end the Destroyer files deleted as easily as a Word document.

"All done, Lane, but I just want to run one more program. This will tell how many copies were made of each version."

Blane slipped a floppy into the slot and typed a command string. The screen showed that two copies had been made of the plans; both were made by Anthony Trask.

"Two copies, huh? They could be anywhere," said Lane pessimistically.

"Don't worry, Lane. If I know Trask, he has them hidden in his office and probably at his apartment. We'll get them soon, hopefully before he makes a prototype."

A voice rang out all of a sudden -- it was deep and mechanically altered.

"Too late for that, Trask Brat!"

Lane almost soiled himself in surprise. Blane spun to see the source. Standing on the other side of the room was a figure wearing a full Destroyer suit complete with the menacing auto pistol.

There came a mechanical hum as lead exploded from the Destroyer's fist. The glass of several screens burst as the first barrage of death went a little wide of its mark. In reality the shots were true, but Blane had swept Lane to the floor. His speed was surprising to both Lane and their armored enemy.

"You can't get away from me, so why not give up and I'll go easy on you!"

The figure was too confident in his armor and gun.

"Get going, Lane! Head for the door while I cover you." Blane drew a magnificent automatic from his coat. The light gleamed off of it.

"OK, Blane, but what will you do?" said Lane already moving away.

"What I have to!" replied Blane.

The machine pistol rang out again; this time glass fell all over Blane. The sound was closer to him. Blane wished he had come in his costume; maybe then he would have some power to back up his big words.

As the relentless torrent of gunfire came closer, Blane waited; the guy would run out of bullets fast enough and Blane would take that moment to strike. Blane looked to see Lane crawling towards the elevator; part of him was wishing that he was heading the same way, but that part of him was overwhelmed by a new part, the part that his grandfather had spoken to. He was not Blane Trask, spoiled brat -- he has Blane Merritt! He was now his grandfather's successor. He was the most feared enemy of evil!

Blane rose up as he heard the last burst of gunfire. Blane saw the Destroyer was only five yards from his position. Blane leveled his grandfather's pistol and banged off several shots in rapid succession; the lead was guided by the iron arm of courage; all the shots hit the Destroyer square in the chest. The armored figure let all the air escape from his lungs and fell to the floor. Blane saw that he was stirring even though the shots should have killed him. The armored suit was designed to stop .38 caliber slugs at ten yards, but these were much heavier slugs. The armored chest plate had impressions all over its gunmetal finish.

Blane took that moment to leap to his feet and hit the elevator. The car was already waiting, no doubt left there by the Destroyer. Blane's finger worked the controls mercilessly. The doors closed just as the Destroyer regained his feet and fired anew; as the doors closed, lead bounced off the double-thick steel.

Blane ran from the elevator towards the huge glass doors in the lobby. A security guard showed a glimmer of recognition and leapt up to intercept Blane. He swung his tonfa club at Blane's head. Blane ducked under the swinging club expertly and responded with a bone-crushing blow to the man's jaw. The guard was stunned for a few seconds while Blane reached for the doors. They were locked solid; only a security code would release them. To make things worse, the guard rose drawing his pistol.

"All right, boy, I'm gonna kill you and make myself a new name around here!"

Apparently there was quite a price on Blane's handsome head.

Blane didn't even reach for his own pistol; he leapt instead for the guard, deflecting his arm towards the windows. Several shots rang off smashing into the bullet proof glass. The glass cracked out in a myriad of tiny fractures. Blane propelled the guard and himself forward with all his strength, swinging the guard's back toward the window. Blane dived through the window using the greedy guard as a shield. The glass shattered the rest of the way and both men fell out onto the street. Blane continued to carry the guard towards his Porsche and, with all his strength, lifted him into the driver's seat.

"If I see you in hell, I'll thank you later," laughed Blane as he rammed the guard's tonfa into the gas pedal of his car.

Blane triggered his ignition and sent the car forward straight into the side of the building. He made himself small as the car burst into a fireball against the sturdy wall of the Trask Tower.

Blane stood watching the fire for a second, then turned his attention to the problem of getting away. Just then, Lane's car sped around the corner, coming from the basement parking garage. Lane's car was a sporty Ferrari every bit as expensive as the car Blane had just destroyed. Lane screeched to a halt.

"Get in, Blane!" shouted Lane Briggs.

Blane climbed into the front of Lane's sleek sportster. He saw that his friend was unharmed and was glad.

"Thanks, Lane....for everything." Blane softened.

"Where the hell are we going to go now?!" demanded Lane; it seemed that his patience was at an end.

"Don't worry. I know a place; it's very safe," Blane said assuredly.

Blane mused to himself that from now on no one would be safe from Eclipse...

Next episode....A Date with Death!

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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!)