Nightwatch: The Revelation
Dr. Kevin Barry Trench is relaxing at his penthouse in New York City. He is listening to some old-school hip-hop music at a low volume, while looking at the night sky and the famous skyline. Suddenly, he receives a phone call, and because he recognizes the number, he answers it.
"Hey, Uncle Drake. How are things out in the Ansonia Apartments?" Kevin asked.
"I'm doing well over here," he answered. "But I called to talk to you about what I had heard recently. The news is saying that Nightwatch, that you are really some super-villain named Nighteater! And that She-Hulk put you to justice. What's that all about?"
With a deep sigh, Kevin answers, "It's not true, Uncle Drake. I'll explain what's really going on. You'll want to sit down for this..."
Trench turns off the music and walks to the balcony, overlooking the city.
"Boy, there is nothing you can tell me that will shock me anymore," Uncle Drake said. "I've experienced what you went through as Nightwatch, and no blasted news report is going to retcon all that I've witnessed!"
Kevin replied, "I wish more people think the way you do. First, let's backtrack to the beginning that you already know: It all started 12 years ago, when a strange man wearing a mysterious suit & cape saved me from a group of tech assassins called the Camouflage Cadre, sacrificing his life in the process. When I removed his mask, I was in total shock learning that he was a future version of me! Still, I put on the suit and became the superhero Nightwatch. The suit was strange, and it had a huge cloak that was responding to my thoughts."
"Yeah, I saw a picture of you in that suit once. You know who you looked like when you wore that? That undead superhero in the comics from the 90's! What was his name...? Spawn! Yeah, you looked like a total knockoff of Spawn!" said Uncle Drake as he laughed a little.
"Do you know how many times I've heard that?!" asked Kevin rhetorically. "Listen, I didn't pick out the suit, okay? The suit picked me. I swear, I'll never live down the Spawn jokes. But that wasn't the worst of it. My first go-around as Nightwatch didn't go too well. The clumsy hijackers triggered a plane explosion, costing many lives, including my girlfriend at the time - Ashley Croix."
Uncle Drake said, "Yes, but now you know that Ashley didn't die. She was transferred to Damon Morelle's private jet before that plane took off. And it wasn't your fault, Kevin. Plenty of costumed heroes failed the first couple of times. One of them was a well-known story. She's a Defender, um... what was her name? Umm... Jessica something..."
"Jessica Jones? Yeah, I heard about her tales," Kevin answered before continuing. "But at the time of the plane tragedy, I thought it was all my fault. I was so depressed and traumatized from that event that I retreated to a Caribbean island with the suit for 10 whole years, believing I could avoid that future. But after 10 years, I realized that retreating was the wrong decision. Running away from my responsibilities is not what a real man does. I was a friggin' coward."
"Damn right you were! I thought you were dead! Turns out you were just yellow! I knocked you flat on your behind when you first tried to visit me in San Francisco after all those years." Uncle Drake said.
"How could I forget that?" Kevin said. "You had a good swing, old man. But I deserved that. Anyway, I had left that island and went back to NYC seeking redemption, and to try and get my life back. I had no money, no social security number, no place to live, and even my parents were dead. I was essentially a ghost, as everyone thought I was killed in that plane explosion. My Nightwatch suit was all that I had. To the world, Dr. Kevin Trench was dead, but Nightwatch was very much alive. I teamed with Spider-Man and numerous superheroes in fighting that symbiote psychopath Carnage and his cronies in the battle for New York's sanity."
"Oh, you were involved in that?!" asked Uncle Drake with surprise in his voice. "I had heard about that. It was maximum carnage out there!"
"You're tellin' me!" said Kevin. "After that chaos, I was on my own battling villains like Deathgrin & Salvo - the latter of which, my suit absorbed his tech and changed my suit's appearance. No more looking like Spawn! And, I saved the entire city from Flashpoint when his absorbing energies were reaching critical mass. That's when I learned about Damon Morelle and his Project Sharkskin. As Kevin Trench, I was also looking for a place to live. That's when I ran into Killian Fox."
"So, that's when you two met!" said Uncle Drake. "She was a nice girl. Surprised you didn't try to get with her."
"Nah, I had nothing going for me. But her shelter took me in, so I owed her big time. That's when I tried to call you," Kevin said. "But my duties as Nightwatch continued. I took down the Mechamorph that tried to eliminate me; I took down that idiot jailbird Alfredo, who stole one of my power gauntlets while I was on the island - no thanks to Warrant, and I saved some lives before the building they were in collapsed."
Dr. Trench had no problem recalling what happened with one of the people that witnessed it - his Uncle Drake. The life of Nightwatch was always a mystery to all but few. He continued speaking to him.
"Then I stowed a plane - in the luggage section sadly, out to San Francisco to visit you and to find out what's going on with Project Sharkskin. I teamed with Venom to take down Sunstreak, and a tech group called the Silent Shadows when I broke into the Morelle Pharmaceuticals facility."
"You teamed with that freak?!" asked Uncle Drake with some disgust. "I know Venom was the 'lethal predator' looking out for the innocent in San Fran, but that guy was as nightmarish as they come! Did you know that he eats brains?!"
"As we both found out, Venom wasn't the real monster..." said Kevin. "So then... wait, he eats brains? ...Um, nevermind that. So, the Silent Shadows fractured my right arm, but I still managed to rescue my ex-girlfriend Ashley, who was there, before the facility exploded."
"Oh, right! That's when you crashed into my house with that suit on unconscious!" Uncle Drake recalls. "That suit was killing you, Kevin. That nanite tech was powered by your own adrenal glands. So, the more you had that Nightwatch suit on, the more it would eventually kill you. So, I had to take that suit off you. So where did you get the backup data from?"
"From Venom. He stole it from the facility. As you decrypted and saw when you uploaded it, it had data on Project Sharkskin, but before we could see more, Damon Morelle activated a bomb, and thanks to you, we escaped before your house exploded with us in it."
"As a retired intelligence agent, you gotta get up pretty early in the mornin' to put one over on me," said Uncle Drake. "So, I remember what happened after that. We used my plane to go back to New York, and we met Dr. Eli Wirtham."
"Yes, who we now know was also Cardiac," said Kevin. "Cardiac and I had fought a man who stole some of Wirtham's tech and became Cardiaxe. We took him out, but I prevented Cardiac from trying to kill Cardiaxe. No one needed to die. Then you looked at the Morelle data more and discovered more about the military suits he was designing - the deadliest of them being the Warbringer. That's also when I learned that Ashley - who came here from San Fran, was married to Damon Morelle and had a son named Nolan who was ailing and needed constant medical attention."
"I couldn't believe it..." said Uncle Drake with sadness and disgust. "Damon created a Timebomb at his space station - the result of the nanite tech from his Project Sharkskin manufacturing process, and was going to use the unstable energy to perfect the suit he made for Nolan to sustain his health, but costing millions of lives!"
"Yeah. Sins of the father..." Kevin said. "So, as you know, I went to a Morelle facility in Florida to get to the Shuttlebug 2. But another tech group called the Carvers were waiting for me there. Fortunately, my suit's nanites mutated its appearance again and modified attacks to my every thought. I easily defeated those jokers, then piloted the shuttle off to outer space with Ashley instructing me via radio. But someone outside destroyed its guidance system. So, the shuttle began collapsing out in space. My Nightwatch suit was keeping me alive even in the frigid void of outer space for as long as I held my breath."
"Yeah, Ashley lost your signal when the shuttle exploded and she thought you were dead," said Uncle Drake. "I told her not to worry - that you've cheated death before."
"I seriously don't know I manage to..." Kevin said as he continued. "So, I flew through outer space a short distance, just enough to reach the space station. There, the Camouflage Cadre greeted me, nearly 12 of them. They were cloaked, but I was able to see them with my infrared vision. They planted an E-M device on my chest that disrupted the nanites in my suit and nearly killed me! Man, that thing hurt like hell! I was so angry that I destroyed the device and took them all out. Damon must have seen me, so he sent some of the Camouflage Cadre through the Timebomb back in time to kill the past version of me. I had a choice - continue to save Nolan? Or go after the Cadre to save my younger self and make the timeline cycle start again?"
Kevin Trench drinks some scotch to give his tongue a short break as Uncle Drake spoke to him.
"You made the right call to continue saving Nolan," he said. "Had you gone after the Cadre; you know what would have happened. You would have died saving your younger self, and it would have restarted all over again! By being selfless and continuing to try and save Nolan, you risked your younger self dying as well, but to rescue an ailing child. That's what a hero would do."
"Yeah, it really wasn't a choice at all," Kevin said. "The boy deserved a chance at life. Granted, somebody in the Warbringer suit was there threatening Damon's life, but I came to save Nolan. I changed the controls of the shuttle that his capsule was in - saving his life. I later find out that Warbringer had killed Damon, and that the satellite station has been attacked and was plummeting back to Earth, unsettling the Timebomb even further! I took down Warbringer, only to learn that he was a future version of Nolan!"
"What?!" said Uncle Drake in shock. "The boy survived in that suit, then traveled back in time?"
"Yes, to prevent an apocalyptic future," said Kevin. "See, the satellite station we were in was going to crash into Manhattan, unleashing the Timebomb in under eight minutes. He said New York was going to be destroyed and become Ground Zero. Millions were going to die, but his younger self - the boy, survived because I saved him just now. So, we teamed together to feed the Timebomb energy so it can collapse on itself or swallow itself whole, before reaching NYC, taking us out in the process. That's when I realized that my suit gained the Warbringer nanites and can generate massively large guns with hardly a thought!"
"I recall that..." said Uncle Drake. "You had more firepower than an entire military base! Those nanites were extremely dangerous."
"Too dangerous for my own good..." said Kevin. "So, his plan worked. The Timebomb grew massive consuming the entire station, and eventually consumed itself, saving New York from certain doom. What wasn't expected, however, was that my costume's nanites mutated again into the Warbringer level, so I crashed down into the city at terminal velocity and survived."
"Your ability to cheat death amazes me," says Uncle Drake, almost in disbelief. "But the future Nolan's life was sacrificed."
"Yes," Kevin answered. "But because the younger Nolan survived, that future was prevented. I visited Wirtham's lab, and revealed to Killian that I survived, and she was thrilled ...which made Cardiac jealous. You should have seen him, Uncle Drake. it was hilarious!"
Kevin began laughing, as did Uncle Drake.
"Hey, he can't hate the player! He gotta hate the game!" said Drake. "So, what was the following light blast?"
"That was me," answered Trench. "If my suit's nanite tech mutated that quickly, who knows what else it can do, all running on my own adrenal glands! Now understanding the danger of the self-replicating nanites, I realized that I had to destroy them - make it collapse into itself just like with the Timebomb. Wirtham's lab had a large containment chamber full of mirrors, so I used my guns to fire numerous energy blasts so they can bounce off the mirrors, increasing in energy and create a sort-of Timebomb. The containment chamber's structural integrity was starting to weaken."
"You took a huge gamble, Kevin..." said Uncle Drake. "You could have destroyed the entire city and other cities just as the Timebomb would have."
Dr. Kevin Trench was a department head at Empire State University and is highly intelligent. In fact, he is probably fifth in rank of the smartest scientists in the world, behind Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Dr. Bruce Banner, and Victor von Doom. He knew exactly what he was doing at that moment.
"I knew what I was doing. If there's one thing I know about, it's science," said Kevin. "I knew I had control of the anomaly I was creating. I was in effect creating a new Timebomb, then absorbed it within myself. It did indeed collapse, destroying the mutating nanites of my suit. I destroyed his lab in the process, but I knew Eli would get Killian out of there before it happened. They thought I was dead."
"But of course, you weren't," said Uncle Drake.
"Nope, but the mutating nanites were," said Kevin. I now had full control of my Nightwatch costume, as the nanite tech is no longer mutating on its own. All of its power is now at my command, and now it doesn't need my adrenal glands to function anymore!"
"Good to hear that, Kevin," said Uncle Drake. "And as you know, young Nolan is doing just fine now. The nanites that went into his system during your mission to rescue him had healed his condition. He and Ashley are doing fine, as is Killian."
Dr. Trench drinks more of his scotch while overlooking the city as the night sky throws a relaxingly cool breeze over him. He continues to talk to his uncle.
"I'm glad they are doing alright," said Kevin with a slowly growing hint of anger as he continues. "Now, here's the part that you don't know about... here's where the lies started happening. First, people thought I was murdered by El Toro Negro and Polestar in something called the Great Game. Truth is... that was not me. That was another Kevin Trench! He was sent from a parallel universe to play the role of hero when I had left."
"A parallel universe?" asked Uncle Drake. "Well, why not? We've seen time jumps, so this isn't shocking, either. Why did you leave? And what do you mean 'playing the role'?"
"After realizing that Nolan was safe and everyone was alright, I had used the timebomb energy within myself to travel to the past - The Kennedy Airport tragedy 12 years ago, to make sure my younger self was alright and that the Camouflage Cadre that Morelle sent didn't kill him ...me. Turns out Morelle had made a critical error - in his desperation to take me out on his space station. He had set the correct date and location of my death in the past, but he had the incorrect time. Instead of 11 A.M, it was set at 11 P.M. The Kennedy Airport tragedy happened in the morning, right after graduation day at ESU ended. When I came to the past, it was nighttime. So, I found the Cadre wandering aimlessly. They saw me; I took them out easily and transported each of them back to the present unconscious. I spent about a few days out there to make sure my family back then were fine and traveled in time to find out what happened to my parents."
"That explains why you left," said Uncle Drake. "But it still doesn't explain how that other Trench got there."
"Apparently, someone was keeping tabs on me..." said Kevin. See, there is alternate universe version of me - a super-villain named Nighteater. He has magic powers, and he used them to keep tabs on me. When I left to go back in time, he lost his signal on me, and he had to keep his charade going."
"Huh?! What cha... you mean the charade that he is the superhero Nightwatch, when really he is a villain?!" asked Uncle Drake.
"Exactly!" answered Kevin. "See, what you heard about Nighteater creating some spell out in North Dakota with the help of Doctor Druid, Vibro, and the Shocker to believe that he was really a superhero the whole time - that was true. But his true plan was to have everyone think that he was me! I was doing the legitimate heroism for him, so it was believable. Everything I had done up to this point is now in question because of that! He had caused me tons of reputational damage! So, when Nighteater lost tabs on me - the real hero, he was worried that the charade would fall. So, he traveled to an alternate universe and convinced the Kevin Trench there to patrol this universe - 'playing the role' of hero for him and keep the charade going. His Nightwatch costume was different in that it was of metal, not nanite-based. So, as he was patrolling, the Great Game was underway. Polestar magnetically ripped open the chest of his costume, and then El Toro Negro shot and killed him. Polestar was then killed for good measure."
"So, let me see if I understand this correctly," said Uncle Drake, sensing Kevin's frustration. "Nighteater - who is you from a parallel universe, created some spell out in North Dakota, murdering hundreds of people to do so, to erase everyone's memories and have everyone believe that he is you, and that you've been a hero for longer than you actually have been."
"Yes!" answered Kevin, as he tries to calm himself but is getting frustrated. "Why would anyone think that he was me?! The man wore a completely different costume when he did the spell. And he wore a trenchcoat with a steel helmet when he visited Jennifer! He talked differently, too! Doing charities? Really?! Dammit! I can't believe this! All the good I did around here, all the lives I saved, risking my goddamn life each time!"
Trench broke the glass in his hand out of pure anger. It only had a tiny bit of scotch left. Uncle Drake tried to calm him down as he tended to his hand.
"Kevin! Calm down!" said Uncle Drake. "You're not the only superhero who suffered reputational damage unjustly. Look at your friend Spider-Man. He's always being labeled a menace by that buffoon J. Jonah Jameson and his Daily Bugle. Talk about fake news, eh? If anyone knows what you're going through, it's him."
"Thanks, Uncle Drake. Sorry, I just got a little heated there. Give me a second to clean up the glass," said Kevin as he tries to get himself together.
"It's alright, son." said Uncle Drake.
"Okay so, when Nighteater was found out, She-Hulk tried to bring him to justice, but Nighteater escaped through a time portal before she could. So, he is still at large. He is probably using his magic to sense that I am back, and now wants to kill me because he's been found out and his charade is ruined. At first, I had spent some time traveling to alternate universes solo to find him - be the hunter instead of the hunted, you know? But I had no luck. In one universe, I had met a mercenary named Birdy. She is a mutant telepath."
"Birdy? What kind of name is Birdy? What's her real name?" asked Uncle Drake.
"I know her real name, but I am not at liberty to give out that information," answered Kevin. "Sorry about that, but I convinced her to work for me in trying to locate Nighteater. Over time, we became close friends, and now she doesn't charge me anymore. You know, this universe's Birdy was the mecernary and slave of Sabretooth. She was threatened and abused constantly. Then she was killed by her son Graydon Creed. Awful! Well, the Birdy I met is not aware of this, but I'll tell her soon and she can avenge her alternate self. Also joining me was my new girlfriend, the superheroine Sepulchre. She has history with Doctor Druid and wants revenge. The three of us searched for Nighteater and the three idiots who helped him create that spell, including Druid. We came close a few times, but he escaped. I've also been updating my Nightwatch suit and its nanite tech."
"Really? What upgrades did you add?" asked Uncle Drake.
"Because the original nanite tech is dead and gone, I lost that huge cloak-like, Spawn-looking cape. Good riddance! I have just a regular cape now. It also lost the tech absorption. But it still has the massive guns, power gauntlets, infrared vision, armor-like energy resistance, and the suit can still blend in with the shadows and repair itself instantly if damaged. Now all the nanite tech is at my control. However, I now upgraded it to grant me superhuman strength, flight, and can put the suit on or off instantly. In addition, the Timebomb energy I have inside me allows me to travel anywhere, even in time or to alternate universes. It has also slowed down my aging tremendously. Oh, and I wear black & purple now instead of black & red. I have a lab in my penthouse where I work on upgrades for my suit."
"Excellent!" said Uncle Drake. "Don't worry, son. You'll recover from the damage that Nighteater has done to your superhero reputation. We know the truth. Remember what you always say? 'Trust yourself.' You said that ever since ESU. Keep believing in yourself, Kevin. By the way, you know you have a younger cousin, right? Her name is Jasmine Trench, and she wants to be costumed hero as well. I told her about you and your adventures, and she was inspired. Right now, she's been practicing Judo, and I've been passing my knowledge as an intelligence agent to her. Maybe she can join your adventures eventually."
"Perhaps. I would like to meet her," said Kevin. "But right now, I have to keep being the superhero Nightwatch. Currently, only two superheroes other than Sepulchre and Birdy know my story, that I am innocent and was framed. Spider-Man believes me, as I've fought alongside him. Plus, he said he's had history with clones and alternate universes. The other is Daredevil. I don't know how, but he said that he knows I'm not lying... Oh, and I am not a damn D-lister! If people want to call on me for world-saving, high-risk missions, then I will do what I can to help. I will trust myself."
"That's the spirit, boy!" said Uncle Drake. "You're like a son to me, you know. I want to see you do great things. You've already done great things, and I'll be damned if Nighteater or anyone takes that away from you! Go ahead, Nightwatch! I'll make sure Ashley, Killian, and Nolan are safe."
Kevin relaxes himself, feeling a whole lot better about himself, and the path he is now taking.
"Thank you so much, Uncle Drake. I feel much better talking to you about this whole mess. Well, I'll let you go. I gotta run. Tell the ladies and Nolan I said hi and tell Jasmine I'll meet her soon."
"You got it," said Uncle Drake. "Take care of yourself; Be safe out there."
"Of course, you too. Bye," Kevin said as he ends the call. He also sees that he received a text from Jillian Marie Woods - his girlfriend, Sepulchre. It reads that she had a good time on their date last night, to which he replied that he did as well. His scientific research company - named TrenchTech, is doing well financially, but he'll never rest easy knowing that Nighteater is still at large.
As Dr. Kevin Trench looks out into the night sky and the skyline, he thinks to himself.
"Nighteater... you've got my face and my former cloak. But you aren't me. You're a murderer who has destroyed my reputation as a legitimate superhero. Your cronies Dr. Druid, Vibro, Shocker... I will hunt them all down, and they will pay for helping you! And you will die! I am the Warbringer called Nightwatch! I'm bringin' the war to you! And, your days are numbered!"
Suddenly, he notices something flying in the moonlit skies. He instantly summons his Nightwatch mask to get a clearer view.
"What the... That's the SHIELD Hellicarrier! It's on fire! It can't take much more damage... It's time for Nightwatch to start rebuilding his rep and help rescue SHIELD."