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The Traveller: Sorrow Has The Swiftest Wings – Chapter 7

It isn’t her, Jason told himself. It can’t be her. Just focus on what’s certain, what’s real – that Suya needs you…

Jason stepped forward. “There’s no need to hurt her”, he called out to the impossible figure on the rocky ledge. “Let her go…”

“What, and have her encase me in stone, or steel – or even cause acid to materialise inside my lungs?”, the woman who looked, and very much sounded like Lady Sable, shouted back. “I don’t think so.”

The woman glanced at the small figure wriggling in her grasp, hands clamped around her captor’s wrist. “And why would I let her go when she gives me leverage over you?

And there’s all the proof I’ll ever need, thought the hero. Good – that means I can completely cut loose when the time comes…

***Don’t give in***, Suya called out telepathically. ***It’s hard to breathe, but not impossible-***

“Shut up”, hissed the woman. “I know what you’re doing – do it again, and you’ll not do anything else ever again…!”

The woman turned her spiteful gaze back to Jason. “And don’t call your ship, little man”, she snarled. “Any more of your people show up on this planet – and I’m sure you can imagine what’ll happen.”

“All right, then”, said Jason calmly. “We have a ‘ticking clock’, now. The ball’s in your court…”

“Spare me that hostage negotiation handbook nonsense”, snorted the leather-clad female. “I say what you do, and when you do it.”

She’s stretching this out, Jason observed. Maybe she’s waiting for a pick-up, or reinforcements?

That hardly seemed necessary. So far, the woman had shown evidence of some of Lady Sable’s powers – flight, the teleportation of objects – and if she possessed his mother’s strength, resilience, and fighting prowess, the three members of the AGK currently on the scene would be hard-pressed to take her down…

***Behind you…!***

Suya had risked a telepathic warning. Jason heard her – and so did “The Black Tyrant”.

“You were warned…!

The woman who simply could not be Lady Sable Derwent hurled Suya to the canyon floor. Jason tried to reach out to her, shaping telepathic energy into telekinetic, but all too late…

Jason’s world broke into disjointed pieces the moment the love of his life hit the ground. He heard that awful sound, which his mind absolutely refused to absorb, and comprehend…

He saw blood on the sand…

He felt the ground give under his feet, ever so slightly…

Members of the crew of the Lo’Khang’Kar came rushing to help; medical personnel, who had accompanied injured passengers on the first escape shuttles…

“…The Endless Sunrise – it’s the quickest way!”, someone shouted. It could have been The Traveller, but the leader of the AGK could only think of Suya as his wife’s broken form was carried back to the heroes’ shuttle, and the rear compartment doorway that opened into The Traveller’s incredible vessel…

The doors to the medical centre closed behind Suya and the team of medics… and for the first time in what seemed like forever, Jason could take a breath – and it was like a punch to the stomach. Near-panic and adrenalin were flushing out of his system, and all that was left was the cold, harsh reality of what had just taken place.

Jason staggered back, and somebody caught him before he could fall, guiding him to a seat. He’d lost count of the number of times he and Suya had tried to discuss how to handle a moment like this, but something had always come along to get in the way of such deliberations – “hero business”, as his wife called it, or a simple case of lacking the will to face… death.

It’s happened before, he told himself. The wedding – someone tried to kill us, and very nearly killed Suya – if it hadn’t been for Zallah’s intervention, replacing Suya’s damaged heart with one of Zallahrai origin, that ‘very nearly’ would’ve been a ‘definitely’. Then there was that time that Zallah nearly lost her power to Bekalth, and Suya ended up in a coma… but still, we survive these things. We’re super-heroes, damn it…

There was, however, a big difference between comic books and the real world. The fictional heroes seemed to cheat death, defy death – even return from death – almost every month, but that was something upon which real-life champions of truth and justice couldn’t rely. The real world had no clever script-writer, ready to add a “but then, in the nick of time…”, or a “but at the fatal moment, an unexpected avenue of escape catches the hero’s eye…”

The Adventurers’ Guild of Kraan were certainly blessed by several beings most would call “gods”, but those were not gods who intervened in behalf of those who had received such blessings, and the team had never counted on being the exceptions.

Jason’s head bowed. He was going to wait, right where he was, until there was news. Not even the end of the universe could drag him away… but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was… different, this time. He was too afraid to even hazard a guess as to why that might be.

…o O o…

On board The Endless Sunrise

Over and over again, The Traveller relived those awful moments, each time trying to find some way that he could have changed things… spotted those tiny clues he’d missed that could have prevented Suya from getting hurt – paid attention to Mister White’s warning. There had always been disagreements on methods and goals, and previous encounters with Reality Defence agents hadn’t always gone well, but on this occasion, there could be no denying that Mister White had been right

There were two of them, he kept reminding himself. The woman who had Suya, and another – the one that got the shards, while we were distracted. If only we’d been paying attention, Suya wouldn’t have needed to warn us…

***Stop beatin’ y’self up about it***, Mariella told him. ***How could you have known that bitch’s little sister was sneakin’ around behind us?***

***We lost three shards***, responded the adventurer. ***What if we never find them? Irinati will never be whole again…***

***Well, y’re jus’ gonna hav’ta make sure we find ‘em***, snapped Mariella. ***C’mon – you can do it. I know y’can.***

“There is something I’ve been working on”, The Traveller said out loud. “A refined iteration of the Tanusov Equation. With the right interface, and Miss Saluq’s involvement, we stand a much better chance of locating more shards more quickly. We may even be able to track down the pieces that were taken, come to think of it…”

The adventurer consulted several screens of computerised data, then turned away, and started towards the ramp leading up to the interlinking doorway, murmuring “Think I’ll go consult the AGK data-files…”

***Can’t you do that… from here…?***, asked Mariella, but she already knew there would be no answer.

Alone in his borrowed head now that Mariella had “gone to bed”, The Traveller wandered through the corridors of the Pride Of Kraan II, seeking inspiration in the ship’s equivalent of “night”. He did his best thinking on his own, and given his current predicament, opportunities for solitary contemplation weren’t that easy to come by, but the empty corridors served him well, with only the sounds of high heels on deck-plates and the distant humming of power conduits and environmental systems as accompaniment to his quest.

It might be possible to use Doomstone’s mental signature to find the stolen shards, he thought after completing a circuit of the deck he was on. Given that three shards were in contact with his mind for an extended period of time, and those shards were used extensively, it might be that some psionic imprinting has taken place – in much the same way as a house becomes… attuned to those who lived in it, and new residents react adversely to those patterns…

“Haunted shards”, The Traveller murmured to himself. “Could we be so lucky…?”

Having stopped to give voice to that thought, The Traveller had removed his own sounds from the audible “landscape”, and the sounds of the ship were briefly left unchallenged. Somewhere else on board, someone was making noise that was now filtering down the passages, muted by distance and bulkheads, but still distinct; the sound of metal on metal, like a hammer on an anvil, and as he began to track those intriguing sounds to their source, The Traveller realised who, out of the vessel’s crew, had to be responsible.

Three decks down, in a chamber at the rear of the lower “sail” of the Pride Of Kraan II, The Traveller found the one member of the Adventurers’ Guild who had been seen least – the genetically-engineered Yituron power-house formerly known only as “The Black Stallion”, but now granted a new name by his patron, and one of his people’s oldest deities; Aderox, Master of The Eternal Forge. Aderosayl The Defender was hard at work at a small forge, employing waste heat and gasses from the ship’s drive core to prepare several pieces of raw metal for working into functional or decorative objects, and at first, The Traveller, staying in the shadows, felt very much as though he was intruding on something more than blacksmithing. This, it seemed, was more like an act of worship.

“Please, come and be, well, as comfortable as you can make yourself”, offered the jet-black giant, his horse-head remaining bowed over the anvil, and the red-hot metal he was hammering into shape.

“Thank you, but I’m fine back here”, said The Traveller. “I’d… rather not melt this body. It is borrowed, after all.”

“That which has been made can be repaired”, said Aderosayl. “If only the same could be said of hearts.”

“‘Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable’”, quoted The Traveller.

“Wise words”, remarked Aderosayl. “Who said them? I think I heard that before…”

“The Wizard of Oz, to the Tin Man”, the explorer replied. “Frank Morgan to Jack Haley – The Wizard Of Oz; MGM, nineteen thirty-nine.”

Aderosayl nodded. “‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’ – if only the true troubles of the universe could be fixed with medals and diplomas.”

The Traveller knew to what the towering hero was referring. “Is Jason all right?”

“He’s still at the medical centre – no-one’s spoken to him, or been spoken to, since the incident”, Aderosayl answered. “It would not come as a surprise to anyone that he might feel the need to be alone at present.”

“We all have our coping mechanisms”, sighed The Traveller. “I go for a walk – you do… whatever this is…”

“I’m not entirely sure I can give you an answer to that”, admitted the hero, looking into the forge. “It could be that I may end up not making anything. I may not be the blacksmith ‘type’, but the followers of Aderox say there’s… clarity to be found in working the forge. I’m yet to find any, but… still…”

The Defender looked up, as though he had heard something on one of the decks above. “Something is happening”, he murmured. “The emotional… atmosphere has changed…”

A wave of raw, searing, psychic energy struck the two of them, knocking even mighty Aderosayl off his hooves. The surf raged around them for several seconds, and then retreated – and neither was left in any doubt that the world would never be the same again.

…o O o…

The medical centre – two minutes earlier…

“…Jay-Jay? Hey, bro’ – the doctor wants to see you…”

Jason opened his eyes. Somehow, he had managed to fall asleep, and as he blinked his way back to full consciousness, the events that had become blended into a swirling mass of confusion began to unravel into their proper, coherent streams of time and thought. They’d returned to the Pride Of Kraan II, and the medics from the Lo’Khang’Kar had hurried into the medical centre with Suya…

Jason looked up, and into the face of his younger, more impulsive sister Sleek. She was the one who had spoken, using a “pet name” he hadn’t heard in years – since before their mother’s death – before…


That word clawed its way up Jason’s throat, and out of his mouth. It was even uncomfortable just to breathe – somehow, he’d strained his diaphragm, or something. It made him wonder Have… have I been crying…?

“C’mon” said Sleek, helping him up. “These good people have been really busy. We shouldn’t keep ‘em waiting.”

In the medical centre’s main office, just inside the doors, a figure in white stood waiting, skin dark and textured like tree-bark, eyes like beads of amber, fingers long and tapering to such an extent that they almost seemed too fragile to use. “Ah, Commander”, said the strange being, sounding male, but showing no obvious signs of any gender. “I am Fyakhtae, chief of medical services for the Lo’Khang’Kar – I have news for you.”

Fyakhtae didn’t say “good news”. That worried Jason more than anything.

“Your mate had quite a fall – enough to be fatal to many – and the fact that she was thrown down certainly didn’t help matters”, said the alien doctor, “but just before impact, she was able to transform the ground, and lessen the impact…”

The ground had felt strange underfoot, almost like foam-rubber…

“Even considering that most fortunate occurrence, she sustained quite an impact”, continued Fyakhtae. “There have been broken bones, and incidences of internal bleeding, but swift action, thanks in no small part to your associate The Traveller, have ensured that the danger is behind us now. I fully expect your mate to make a complete recovery.”

Jason sighed with such relief, it shook the very core of him. “Thank you”, he murmured. “I… I don’t…”

“Unfortunately”, said Fyakhtae, hesitantly, “there were complications… and I am deeply sorry to inform you that we were unable to save the child.”

Jason’s entire universe came to a sudden stop. “Child…?”

“You did not know?”, queried the doctor. “Oh, my – that is most unfortunate. It was quite early in the gestation period – no more than five to eight weeks, I estimate. A male child…”

“A… a boy…?”, whimpered Jason, and his frozen universe fell apart, like a sheet of glass shattering into a million fragments.

They’d talked about perhaps having another child. The recent changes in Suya’s personality… she’d been like that before, when she was carrying their daughter, Sable… how had he not realised that…?

And now, Sable was not going to have a little brother…

That was why this incident had felt different, as though death was closer than ever. This time, death had claimed a victory; the cruellest of all…

Everyone within a million miles heard him cry out, his pain given terrible, swift wings by his telepathic powers. None of the many thousands that experienced that most primal of sorrows would ever forget it…

That night, all the people of Rekla’daath III would hug their children tightly, and pray to their gods that such anguish would never be theirs to experience first-hand.

For Jason, there was first… nothing, as though he had yelled out his heart. The yawning chasm of loss that no-one could ever understand, and could possibly never heal. It was an agonising emptiness that had to be filled, and when the thirst for revenge welled up within him, there was a vessel waiting to receive it.

…o O o…

The first indication that something was wrong came when ships from The Consolidation Of Species’s modest space-fleet began arriving to collect the passengers from the Lo’Khang’Kar. Accompanying those ships was a ominous dark, sleek star-ship, several generations more advanced than the rest, which announced itself as being the personal vessel of one Klannen Eress’ne, of Consolidation Special Intelligence Division, who expressed an urgent need to meet with the leader of the Adventurers’ Guild.

A leader who was conspicuous by his sudden, and entirely inexplicable absence.

“So, what you’re saying is that you have mislaid your leader?”, said Commander Eress’ne, over the comm-link.

Sleek was the last person the intelligence operative should have been joking with. “What?”, she growled. “You think this is funny?

The ridged panels Eress’ne had running down the sides of his neck, looking a lot like exposed gills, flushed a vivid pink – it probably meant something, but Sleek had neither the time nor the inclination to find out. “Hardly”, replied the Consolidation agent. “Now, I understand that one of your team has been injured, but now is not-”

Sleek switched him off, in utter frustration, and immediately regretted it. Until Jason could be found, she was acting leader of the team, and it was a position she very rarely assumed, so chance to impress did not come along very often – and she wasn’t exactly making the team proud of her at present.

She reopened the comm-link. “Sorry ’bout that, but we had a… a death in the family. Do you have any children?”

“I’ve been responsible for my fair share of clutches”, said Eress’ne, “but I suspect my people aren’t as… attached to our offspring as other races – I suppose laying eggs doesn’t bring the same closeness as carrying the child inside. This happened because of the attack on Doomstone?”

“That’s correct”, Sleek replied. “Our team-mate Warpsinger was used as a distraction by the individual we believe was responsible for the killing of your hero.”

“And this ‘individual’ – can they be identified?”, asked the Consolidation agent.

“The perpetrator bore a distinct similarity to one Lady Sable Derwent”, an uneasy Sleek replied. “Our… our mother.”

“Interesting”, mused Eress’ne, his “gills” shifting in hue to purple. “Is there someone on board who was present, whom I can…”

Another comm-channel opened, on a higher priority than the channel to Eress’ne. “Sleek, I’ve found something”, reported Wrathwing. “It’s Shadowsnake. She – she seems to be asleep, sitting in the middle of the corridor. I can’t wake her.”

“Damn”, Sleek muttered under her breath, the she went back to Commander Eress’ne. “Commander, we’ll open a landing bay for you, and you can speak to those who witnessed the incident. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a matter to attend to…”

“Locating Commander Derwent?”

“Yeah”, answered Sleek. “I get an awful feeling that might be it.”

Sleek left the command deck in a hurry, calling for The Traveller on the way. They met at an intersection near one of the launch bays – the one housing Shadowsnake’s pride and joy, the attack ship Bon Scott – and there, they found Shadowsnake, sitting on the floor, head bowed, breathing slowly. She certainly seemed to be asleep, but nothing anyone could do could wake her; anyone, except The Traveller, or more properly Mariella

Resuming control of her body, and better able to exercise her telepathic powers as a result, Mariella’s very touch was enough to spring the “lock” on the scaly giantess. “Hey!”, exclaimed Shadowsnake, coming round in an instant. “What? Huh…?”

“Jason – was he here?”, asked Sleek.

“He… yeah”, mumbled the scale-skinned warrior-woman. “He – he zapped me, didn’t he?”

“Looks that way”, said Sleek. “Did he say anything? Which way did he go…?”

“Didn’t need to say anything“, Shadowsnake told her. “His look said it all. He was out for blood, an’ honestly, I’m not surprised. Which way – that I dunno. I tried to get him to stop, an’ see sense, but…”

Shadowsnake looked over her shoulder, at the launch bay’s inner doors. “Ah crap“, she muttered, getting to her feet. “No. Not my ship again…!

Inside the launch bay, there were berths for several smaller ships, but only two were in use. One contained the bird-like Bon Scott, surprisingly elegant for a vessel named after the deceased original lead singer of AC/DC – but the other contained nothing…

“My ship…!”, whimpered Sleek, seeing that The Black Arrow, her customised space-fighter, was gone. “He-he took…”

“…the stealthiest craft we have”, added Shadowsnake, as Sleek became incoherent in dismay. “He does not want us to follow him.”

Tucked under the manual docking clamp release lever on the control panel of the berth for Sleek’s ship were two envelopes – one white, one pink. On the pink one was written “For Suya – my love, my all“, and on the white, the words “For Everyone Else – I’m sorry.

Shadowsnake took the white envelope, opened it, and read out what it contained. “‘I don’t expect anyone to understand, or accept what I’m doing, but those bastards have to pay. They dug up our mother, they hurt Suya – they killed my son. I can’t just sit back and do nothing. It would kill me, inside. Please, don’t try and stop me.’”

“Well, we’re not just a team – we’re family“, declared Sleek, getting a grip on herself again, “an’ family don’t leave each other t’do really, really stupid things, like go off on a rampage an’ get themselves killed.”

Sleek tilted her head back to gaze at the ceiling. “Orb, issue an emergency recall order to all members of the AGK who’re not currently active – with the exception of The Paragon”, she instructed the ship’s computer interface. “Za’Lita already has plenty to worry about, with this crazy Tai-reh’tara business, and I’ll speak to her separately. We’re seriously under-power right now, and if half of them respond in the affirmative, we’ll be in much better shape.”

“That a full recall?”, asked an excited Shadowsnake. “Including El Tornado?”

Sleek smiled and nodded, as though confirming a long-awaited birthday treat for a small child. “Yes, ‘Snake – including El Tornado…

Love that guy”, chuckled Shadowsnake, grinning with a predator’s teeth. “Of course, Jason would never approve…”

“This is what happens when he doesn’t show up for meetings”, said Sleek, who then turned to The Traveller, and his contingent. “You’d be welcome to stay and help us out, but somehow I suspect you got plans to be elsewhere.”

“Others are seeking the shards”, replied the explorer. “We have to stop them before they achieve their goals, or wreck their plans if they already have, and once they realise the power of three shards, I don’t think our adversaries will stop at that.”

“And I must go too”, added Cloudmane. “I only appear to be coherent in the company of Irinati – there is no point in having powers and being unable to use them. If we cross paths with Jason, and somehow I suspect that we will, I will do all I can to make him turn aside from this insane course of action. I’ll see no more pain inflicted upon my family.”

“Okay, you go do that”, Sleek told him. “An’ when you’re done, if you don’t find Jason, you’ll come back and help us?”

“Absolutely”, assured The Traveller, “although I’m sure we’ll run into each other at some point. There’s a song about something like this – perhaps we’ll ‘be in Scotland afore ye’…?”

Sleek and The Traveller exchanged cautious smiles. They each had no idea how often they’d manage a smile in the days to come, and didn’t waste this one precious opportunity. The song The Traveller had “semi-quoted” spoke of high roads and low roads – whichever path those roads took, they were not going to be easy to travel.

…o O o…

The Traveller was oddly reluctant to disengage the docking interface as The Endless Sunrise was made ready to depart, thinking all the time that maybe it would be better to stay and help the AGK find their wayward leader. With every doubt, however, there came the thought that every lost minute could mean a shard falling into malevolent hands, and the Derwent baby would have been only the first to die, his family the first of who knew how many likely to suffer the agony of berevement when it could have been prevented.

I need more data, he told himself, but I’m close…

“You’re doing the right thing.”

The Traveller spun round startled. Standing was Cloudmane. “You’re doing the right thing”, he repeated, then added, “as am I.”

“You do know that when the last fragment is found, and returned, that Miss Saluq may lose her connection to you”, warned The Traveller. “I will do all I can to try and keep you… as you are, but I can’t guarantee anything.”

“None of us ever can”, said Cloudmane. “Not unless we’re gods, or something like that.”

“And you’re not?”

“I’m not entirely sure I’m Cloudmane Derwent”, replied the white-haired hero. “Not as Jason and the others knew him, at least.”

“Something more – or something else?”, asked The Traveller.

“Part of this is all about finding that out”, the hero answered. “Now, Irinati would like to see you, as soon as we’re udnerway. She says she thinks she can… see three maybe four other shards.”

“That would be enough”, mused The Traveller, pushing back the lever controlling the docking interface, and setting The Endless Sunrise adrift in the interdimensional. “Three or four more plots should eitehr confirm my model, or trash it completely.”

“And what model is that?”, enquired Cloudmane as the explorer swept past, heading for the chamber below the control centre where Irinati would be waiting, gazing into the predictive projection produced by the Tanusov Equation.

“A model for the distribution of the shards, based on their start point, which we know to be the Mystalorn system, and their end points, which I have been recording”, The Traveller shouted back, from the top of the downward ramp. “I’m this close to giving us a big advantage over whoever else is after the shards…!”

“And the sooner we find them all”, Cloudmane thought out loud as he went to follow The Traveller, “the sooner we can go and help find Jason – and this ‘Black Tyrant’…”

The end of that sentence, he kept to himself: “…find her – and kill her.

…o O o…


Maelfrin The Trickster was a member of an ancient magical race dwelling on a planet whose orbit was dimensionally unstable. Every so often along its thousand-year journey around its great violet-white sun, it would slip into another universe, joining other worlds in their cycles around their own stars – and it was this incredible astral phenomenon that had brought Maelfrin into contact with other races. Races he could exploit.

As a result of this, Maelfrin had faced a number of foes – one of his own people, the mage Phantastus; the aliens known as The Adventurers Guild of Kraan; champions of Ealvonhai such as Starstone, and Darkside – but none of them had ever made him as angry as he was now…

His chief ally in his most recent endeavours, plans intended to preserve life and freedom, was Fayreen of the Ershalin. A powerful magic-wielder in her own right, coming from a universe of shattered planets, she was the one being Maelfrin had come closest, in all his days, to respecting. She had gathered a “coven” dedicated to this noble purpose, defending the defenceless from a menace known as The Pandemonicum, and now that that threat had passed, all that remained to be done was address a separate danger still posed to Fayreen’s reality, and several of the assembled mages and sorcerers had remained together, to address this great, cosmic terror…

Maelfrin was the only one left now, and his time as one of that assembly was drawing to an ignominious end.

“In all my days, I have stood firm on one fundamental principle”, he snarled as he brought his horse-like muzzle close to the hooded face of the diminutive Fayreen. “I have never harmed a child, let alone killed one – and now, you have made a liar of me! A liar to myself…!”

“The woman was acting in accordance with the instructions given by your creation”, Fayreen snapped back. “If you cannot retain control over it, the fault lies with you!

“If I had known who would be directly involved in getting you your precious shards, I would never have agreed to it!”, roared The Trickster. “You have called down a force like no other upon our heads! The Adventurers’ Guild of Kraan are bad enough, but we have killed one of their family, critically injured another – and used a third to do it! Their rage will be… legendary!”

“The woman was not their mother”, Fayreen responded, more calmly now. “She was, if anything, a sister…”

Maelfrin threw up his ring-laden hands in disbelief. “I… I no longer care”, he exploded. “You have chosen to stand in the sea – the waves are yours to deal with now, and yours alone…

“Good luck dealing with The Adventurers’ Guild”, he snarled, fingers tightening around the short crystal staff that was the focus of his magical power. “And if you survive that, maybe you’ll be able to deal with this… Orthyphus on your own…”

Maelfrin struck the end of the staff against the floor of the chamber, and before that sound had even begun to echo, magic had carried The Trickster away – and Fayreen was indeed alone. Alone, perhaps, but far from defeated…

The spell-caster, no taller than a child, took the rectangular device from one of the many pockets within the sleeves of her robe, and pressed the buttons on its surface as she had been instructed. When the bird-like purring sounds stopped, she held the device to her ear, and waited for a voice to address her. “Yes. It went just as you predicted”, she said when the voice allowed her to respond. “The Trickster is no longer a part of this, and so I must deal with you directly. No, we need yet more of the artefacts. Critical mass, as you call it, is still to be achieved…”

…o O o…

On the edge of Consolidation space…

Jason flew on, The Black Arrow’s computers in control, putting as much distance as possible between him and the rest of his family. He didn’t want what he was going to do to sully the good name of The Adventurers’ Guild of Kraan – he was already devising modifications to his power-suit, to disguise it, to create for himself a whole new identity. Whoever had dared to hurt Suya, enslave his mother – kill his unborn son – they had no idea what was coming; they wouldn’t recognise him when he picked his moment to strike back…

“Strike… back…”, murmured the heartbroken hero, as he looked down at the data-tablet in his lap, and the stark black and red design he had planned for his suit. “Strikeback. Yes, that will do nicely…”

To be continued…