Danny Herbert stared at his daughters comatose form. The heart monitors the only thing the only thing that told him that his daughter was still alive. His hands involuntarily clenched, grinding against the armrests of the chair he had been sitting in for the last day.
Danny knows who had done this thing. He knows and is not amused. After he had gotten the call about his daughter being in the hospital, he had gone to Taylors room to find some clothes and other mementoes for her, and a few of her favorite books so that he could read to her.
What he had found though?
Her diary, and what he had found in it, disgusted him, disgust in himself and Winslow, and most of all in the so called Protectorate.
His daughter, his chick, had been bullied and tormented by three girls for over a year, and one of them was a hero. And what was worse, she hadn't even told him. Taylor hadn't felt she could tell her own father because he had withdrawn after the death of her mother.
The armrests snapped as his hand clenched.
Danny cursed as he breathed in deep through his nose, calming himself and the rage, building inside him. He took a deep, shuddering, breath in, and then out, the breath that came out was hot and muggy. After a few more deep breaths, he continued the mental checklist that would determine his response.
Next was the fact that his daughter had triggered, he could smell it on her from here, the scent of power alongside the rot and corruption from her missing eye and leg that had been amputated due to the infection and toxic materials in the bug inflicted wounds.
Bugs had eaten his daughters eye.
After a few more minutes of enforced calm, Danny stood up and took out his phone and dialed the number of one his coworkers.
"Jackson? Yeah its Danny. Hey, could you do me a favor? Can you come by and watch Taylor for a couple days? I need to go deal with some things, hopefully get this situation working in her favor. Really? Thanks, the nurse will know to expect you."
Danny closed his phone, he walked over to his daughters bed and placed a kiss on her mostly unmarred forehead before whispering quietly.
"I know I promised your mother not to do this ever again, but for you, anything little Chick, and I know you cant hear me, but I am so, so, sorry you felt like you couldn't come to me. You'll be same with Jackson. He might not be me, but he is certainly capable enough to insure you safety."
With that, Danny Herbert walked out of the room, never noticing the single solitary tear that fell from beneath his daughters un-ruined eye.
Danny walked into the lobby of the PRT building, he took in a deep breath, scenting the diverse powers that were inside the building briefly before walking forward to the front desk and the understandably curious secretary behind it, obviously wondering who the large man sniffing the air was.
Danny walked up to the desk and nodded, his voice coming out gruff and worn.
"Hello. Please inform Director Piggot and whoever oversees the wards that I am here to speak to them about the conduct of one of their wards and how it relates to the current critical condition of my daughter."
The secretaries eyebrow rose fractionally but she nodded and motioned towards the seats lining the lobby.
"Very well sir, please take a seat. Who should I tell the director is here?"
Danny sat, the chair audibly groaning under the strain of his unnaturally high body heat and shifting body mass.
"Danny Herbert. For now."
Regional Director of Brockton Bay's PRT Emily Piggot eyed the unassuming if large man in front of her. When she had heard who was here to see her, plus the condition of his daughter and where said daughter went to school, it was rather obvious which ward he was here to talk to her about had to be Shadow Stalker.
Damn vigilante, Piggot thought, what has she done now?
But what had interested Piggot most had been how Herbert had introduced himself as 'Danny Herbert. For now.' Which strongly implied that he was a cape, but for the life of her she couldn't think of which one, she had run all of his information through her databases and not gotten a single match, but that was why she had both Miss Milita and Armsmaster to either side of her. She might not like, or even trust capes but she knew enough about them both to know that they would throw themselves in front of her, even if through overconfidence.
She brought herself out of her musings as the man spoke, his voice coming out as a rumbling growl.
"Director. I have come to inform of a few things. The first is that Shadow Stalker," He paused to glare at the two capes before continuing.
"Also known as Sophia Hess," He held up a hand and forestalled the outraged and forceful 'not allowed to speak about her secret identity things. "Yes, I know her secret identity, no, I have no intention of spilling it or attacking her in her civilian identity. If I want to kill her Ill do it in person and when she's ready."
Herbert's eyes glowed red as he took in a few deep breaths. Piggots lips thinned as she noticed what were pointed teeth that shifted back into normal human molars and canines.
After another deep breath Herbert continued talking.
"The reason that I know this is because I discovered my daughters journals that detail every incident thats happened for the last year and a half, as well as her conclusion that Sophia Hess is a ward. I also can only assume that it is those three who caused my daughters current condition."
Piggot decided to put her cards on the table, and spoke.
"You would be correct on all counts." She forestalled the strident 'directors!' From Militia and Armsmaster when she flat out admitted a capes identity.
"But the more important question is what do you want?"
Herbert's lips pulled back from his teeth.
"I want Panacea at my daughters bedside within twenty four hours, and I want Sophia Hess jailed in the same time frame. I don't care which identity she rots in prison as, as long as it happens."
Piggot raised one eyebrow as she laced her fingers together.
"And if you don't get what you want?"
Piggot repressed a shiver as Herbet's eyes glowed, and it seemed like his throat was lit from somewhere inside his body by the very fires of hell.
"If, I don't get what I want, then I will come back here and kill everyone."
He leaned forward, almost nose to nose with director, the room growing hot and muggy.
He leaned back and stood up, Piggot swallowed, her throat dry. As Herbet opened the door to leave, he glanced back at the three dumbstruck figures.
"By the way, in case you are curious as too who my other is, look up Nidhog."
Emily Piggot paled.
Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit
Emily piggot stared in horror as the door shut on the most powerful cape on the planet bar the end bringers closed shut.
Miss Milita turned to Piggot, her bandanna covered dusky features managing to hide her shock, but not her shaking hands.
"Who was that?"
Piggot placed one shaking hand over the other as she spoke.
"That was Nidhog, the corpse eater, only living cape to have gone toe to toe with the entirety of slaughterhouse 9 and the triad on multiple occasions and not loose or die."
Armsmaster swallowed a few times before he spoke.
"Whats his rating?"
"Mover 5, for increased speed, Shaker 5 for napalm breath, Brute 9 for stupidly high strength and regenerative powers and well as being tough enough to shrug off anything other then another brute 8 or 9. Breaker 9 for his combat dragon form, Master 2 for inspiring his ease in inspiring loyalty in his men, Blaster 5 because he spews napalm, Thinker 3 for being able to retain information with ease, Striker 5 for poisoned claws, Changer 5 for human to dragon with forms that stay in between, and Trump 8 for being able to slowly grow immune to an attack, if it is used on him repeatedly, it stops working."
"Thats such Bullshit." Armsmaster whispered in shocked awe at the rating.
"Go look it up, its still on record, let me put it this way. Theres a reason why Nidhog was also known as the dragon of the apocalypse."
"And the name similarity to Nilbog?"
Piggot glanced at Miss Militia.
"He had it first. He is considered the first super villain. Now please, leave, I need to make some calls."
Deep in a secret underground lair
Coil, also known as PRT strike commander Thomas Calvert smiled to himself as the twining roads of possible futures sung to him. He might only be able to see too at once, but damn was he going to milk this for all he could. Taking up the phone he dialed.
"Tattletale, yes, this is a big job, but do it right and I might just decide you have a non lethal way to get out of your contract. I want you to delay Panacea on her way to Brockton General tomorrow. She will arrive at 8 am at the airport and then she will take the most direct route there, how you do it is up to you, but come noon, she cannot be at that hospital, is that clear? Good."
Coil sat back in his chair and smiled.
"Nidhog hmmm? The dragon for the end times, just what will you do when Panacea does not arrive for your daughter?"
Herbert family home
A humanoid shape sat, its features obscured by shadow, its eyes burning like coals, set deep into its head. Occasionally its body would shift as it swelled and grew, but it remained sitting, gazing at at picture of a happy Danny Herbert and his wife and daughter as it counted down.
22 hours and 59 minutes…
22 hours and 58 minutes…
When time ran out, if Panacea was not there… Danny Herbert, no, Nidhog would release devastation that would make an Endbringer attack look like a squirt gun fight. He would do what he had never done before and use the entirety of his power and being to crush the PRT and its capes, and then he would go to Winslow and he would atomize the school and all in it.
He would do this as Nidhog, but he would also do this as a father.
22 hours and 57 minutes…