Omake: A Black Worm
Harry entered the Professor and Henchgirl' lab with a sigh. Every one of the last dozen times he'd entered they'd insisted on demonstrating some odd dimensional technology and every one of the times they'd done so he'd ended up lost in the multiverse. Don't get him wrong, he liked traveling to new places, but he also liked having some idea of what he was getting into before he did. Pausing only to make sure that he was carrying his standard kit, he stepped into the lab.
To Harry's great surprise, the duo did not appear to be working on a device that had anything to do with time or dimensional traveling technology.
"Why would we?" Henchgirl chirped. "We've already perfected it. No, we're working on something far more important, something that has the potential to change humanity."
"Behold!" the Professor announced. "Our newest and latest invention!"
Henchgirl ripped the sheet concealing the invention off a table an observer would have sworn hadn't been there a second ago.
"Is that a toaster?" Harry asked.
"Too long has humanity been subject to the tyranny of uneven toast!" the Professor said passionately. "No more! We have achieved the impossible, we have achieved what countless billions have dreamed of, we have made the perfect toast!"
Henchgirl waved for Harry to take a seat. "We wanted to give you the honor of having the first slice."
"Thank you," Harry said, relaxing a bit. "I-"
The Professor and Henchgirl stared at the space Harry had occupied a second before for a few minutes before reacting the way they normally did when something unexpected happened.
The Professor cleared his throat. "I believe that there is only one thing to say in this situation. Dibs on the first slice."
"What did you do, you toad?" Henchgirl growled.
"What did I do? Slander! Lies and slander! Slander and lies!" the Professor bellowed. "What makes you think I had anything to do with his disappearance?"
"Because you were here and he disappeared and I didn't do it," Henchgirl said reasonably.
"Maybe he disappeared on his own," the Professor said, hoping to avoid the violence he knew was coming. "Or perhaps it was an outside force again. Really, Henchgirl, your habit of jumping to conclusions is quite unscientific."
"I'll show you unscientific!"
Harry found himself in a dingy alley. Two thugs were menacing a girl and an older man while another girl watched. Seemed an easy enough situation to resolve.
It was over in seconds, he didn't even bother drawing his wand. Victims safe, thugs unconscious.
"Thank you," the man sobbed. "Thank you so much for saving my daughter."
"It's what I do," Harry said honestly. He raised his voice, "I see something like this happening and I can't just standby and watch when I have the power to do something about it." He glanced at the second girl who broke eye contact and fled. "Were either of you hurt?"
"No," the man stated after a confirming glance at his daughter. "You got here before anything happened."
"Good. Do you happen to have a phone on you?"
"I do," the man agreed. "Would you like me to call the police or the PRT?"
"The police," Harry replied, wondering what the PRT was.
"They want to know who you are?"
Harry grinned. "The name's Black, Mr. Black. I'm just a guy on an involuntary vacation."
"They say they'll be here soon." The man hung up the phone.
"I'll wait," Harry assured him.
"Alan Barnes," the man introduced himself. "This is my daughter, Emma. The police say they'll be here soon, is there anything I can do to thank you for what you've done, Mr. Black?"
"Doing good deeds is its own reward," Harry replied with a grin.
Emma exhaled. "Mr. Black, is there some way I could get strong enough so that nothing like this will ever happen to me again?"
"No," Harry said bluntly. "There's always someone stronger. But there are a couple ways you can minimize the changes of it happening again and a couple ways you can prepare yourself so that you can handle a situation like this if it ever happens in the future."
"How?" the girl asked desperately.
"Well, there's the basics. Get fit and learn to defend yourself," Harry replied. "Learn situational awareness and take basic precautions."
"And?" she prompted, sensing there was more.
"And have a friend to watch your back," Harry replied. "A problem shared is a problem halved. Learning how to protect yourself is the first step, having a friend to watch your back that knows how to protect themself or, better yet, having a lot of friends with you is better. The old line about having safety in numbers is old for a reason." Harry's grin deepened, seemed all that time teaching classes on Black Island had made him a bit pedantic.
The girl nodded. "I think I understand."
"Good." Harry switched his attention to the police car as it pulled to a stop. "Over here, gentlemen."
Emma's thoughts were whirling as they drove home, not calming until she saw the phone in the hallway. She knew what she had to do.
It didn't take long to find the number she needed, she'd been careful to store it somewhere she could easily find it when she'd gotten it. Convincing the person who answered to connect her was a bit more difficult, but she managed it.
"Taylor? Taylor," Emma's voice hitched. "I need to tell you about what almost happened to me tonight."
Her best friend was on her way back the next morning.
AN: I am out of practice in this setting and it shows. This is all I'm planning to write as I can't do better than 'It Gets Worse' by ack1308, the blue ice scene was nothing short of inspired. Wish I'd thought of it. What happens next? Some thoughts below.
Next scene would be a report of a new cape and a discussion of his powers; an inability to remember his face and some hand to hand combat training. Mr. Black drifts through the city, saving cats from trees, stopping the occasional mugging, is seen as a low powered joke by those in the know. Odd things start happening around him, but no connection is made at first.
Odd things continue to happen, the fringe on the forums start connecting him to them. As time goes on, the odd things continue happening and the connection is made. One of the gangs does something, doesn't matter which one, in front of Mr. Black that makes him angry. Nazis being Nazis, someone being forcibly addicted to drugs, human trafficking. Mr. Black ends the gang. Everyone knows he did it but there isn't enough evidence for PRT to do anything about it.
At some point Scion become aware of Mr. Black, sees him as an embodiment of chaos and entropy. Flees in terror into Venus.
Omake by joey zoot
For a moment Alan thought Emma was going to die, as his pulse raced and he started to panic a man dressed all in black appeared and Alan started to see stars and great space whale like things twisting around each other. Suddenly...
What if Alan Barnes triggered but instead of getting a shard he received a magical core?
Dinah's lungs were burning as she ran down the alley trying to escape her pursuers. She didn't know what to do, she'd never experienced anything like it in her short life.
"One hundred percent chance everything will be fine if I ask the man in black for help," she slowed down to a trot. "Mister! I need your help!"
In one timeline, Coil was in his apartment enjoying some Chinese takeout. In another, costumed, he sat behind his computer watching the operation commence.
A smirk bloomed on the man's face as he saw his new pet try to get help from Mr. Black, a cape with the rather unimpressive power of not being recognizable.
His mercenaries appeared on screen and pointed their tinkertech weapons at the man. Coil spent an idle moment wondering if he'd choose to die or choose to give the girl up. Black was done as a hero either way. The next few seconds were shocking both for their level of violence and for the fact that Black unhesitatingly went lethal.
Black looked at one of the surviving mercenaries who began speaking. Curious, Coil opened a channel to the man's radio.
". . . name is Coil," the mercenary's voice said clearly. "His hideout is-"
Coil frowned and made a mental note to terminate the man in the other timeline. For a second he thought about collapsing the one he was in before dismissing the thought, there was still information to be gained.
Coil's smirk returned when Armsmaster arrived and ordered Black to give himself up, it deepened when Black refused. Good thing he hadn't collapsed the timeline, would have been a shame to miss what promised to be an entertaining show.
The arrival of several more PRT capes onto the scene drew a laugh from the super villain. Now overjoyed that he hadn't collapsed the timeline, the entertainment factor was growing with every new cape that arrived on scene.
The fight was even shorter than he'd expected it would be, just four seconds according to the timer in the corner of the screen. It did not, however, end the way he'd expected it to end. Producing some sort of tinkertech device, Black hit every hero present with a glowing red light. Downing all of them.
"I'll wait with you till the police get here with your parents," Black's voice came through the speaker. "Then I'm going to have a little talk with the man who arranged all this to explain to him that this sort of thing is unacceptable."
After a moment of thought, Harry conjured up a park bench and motioned for the little girl to take a seat beside him. Poor thing looked ready to collapse from exhaustion.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I forgot to introduce myself earlier. My name is Mr. Black."
"Dinah," little girl replied. "Thank you."
"Protecting children is every adult's duty," Harry replied with a grin. "It must have been really scary to have those men chasing after you. You must be really brave to have gotten away from them."
"I'm not brave," Dinah said bashfully. "I was scared the whole time."
"That's what being brave is," Harry explained. "Being scared, but not letting it keep you from doing anything else."
"Really," he assured her. "That's a secret a lot of adults don't even know."
Not ten seconds later, the street was filled with what had to be a measurable percentage of the city's police department. Harry was impressed, both at the response time and at how seriously they were taking things. He had to take back some of the nasty things he'd been thinking about the department.
"What are your demands?" one of the police officers asked through a bullhorn.
Harry glanced down at the girl. "Well?"
"I want my parents, but they tied them up," she said.
"Where did they do that?"
"At my home," the little girl replied.
"Do you have any other relatives in town?"
"My aunt and uncle."
"Okay." Harry cast a spell to amplify his voice. "She has two demands. One, she wants someone to go to her house to untie her parents. Two, she wants them or her aunt and uncle to come here to get her."
There was a hurried conversation at the police line. "Her uncle will be here soon," the man with the bullhorn announced, looking uncertain.
Harry glanced back at the girl. "Any other demands? Are you hungry?"
"I'm a little thirsty," she admitted.
"What would you like to drink?"
Harry amplified his voice. "She would also like some apple juice."
Dinah nodded. "Thank you."
"Why aren't they coming closer?"
"They probably think that I'm a kidnapper and they're worried I might hurt you if they do," Harry said.
"Should I go over to them?"
"I'd rather you waited till your uncle got here," Harry said. "Two of the people who tried to kidnap you are wearing police uniforms."
"That's my uncle," Dinah announced as a limousine pulled to a stop at the police line. "He's the mayor."
"Let's wait a moment to make sure it's him, okay?"
"Okay," Dina agreed. "It is!" she said excitedly when the man got out. "Thank you for rescuing me, Mr. Black."
"All in a day's work," Harry assured the girl. "Goodbye, Dinah."
"Goodbye, Mr. Black."
Harry smiled as the girl darted across the road into the arms of her family. He loved it when he was able to arrange a happy ending.
A bit of moment in the distance caused Harry do delay his departure. Wasn't every day you saw a flying man coming towards you. Had to have been, Harry thought about it, at least a week since the last time that had happened.
The man stopped, hovering protectively between him and the police line. "Give yourself up and I won't get rough with you."
"Wasn't aware that foiling a kidnapping was a crime," Harry said mildly.
The man blinked at him. "You weren't with them?"
"I was not," Harry stated. "Mr. Black."
"And you are?" Harry prompted.
"You don't know who I am?"
"Would I have asked if I did?"
The man snorted, "a point. Legend."
"A pleasure to meet you," Harry replied. "Was that all you wanted to talk about?"
"Assuming you're telling the truth about not being involved in the attempted kidnapping, there's still the matter of you assaulting several members of the Protectorate."
"Afraid you're going to have to explain that one too, mate," Harry said. "Who are you talking about now?"
"The people in the costumes," Legend said patiently.
"You mean the ones who tried to foil my foiling of the kidnapping?" Harry asked with a grin.
"They'll be fine," Harry assured the man. "Give them a couple hours and they'll wake up feeling like they've just had the best sleep of their lives."
"And the kidnappers?"
"Should be grateful that I needed a couple able to talk or I'd have made a clean sweep of things and killed them all," Harry replied. "Now, if you will excuse me, I need to have a conversation with the man who planned this."
"What kind of conversation?"
"I was thinking about removing his organs in alphabetical order," Harry said thoughtfully.
"I can't let you do that."
"You can't stop me," Harry laughed, disappearing with a pop.
Coil stared in dumbfounded shock at the screen. He could teleport too? How many powers was Brockton Bay's biggest joke of a hero hiding? The feeling of a hand wrapping around his throat distracted him from collapsing the time line.
"You know," Mr. Black whispered into his ear. "There are several types of people."
Coil frantically tried to pry the hand free to clear his airway. A dim part of his mind noted that he was moving.
"Some people that do the right thing, or at least avoid doing the wrong thing without being prompted to," Harry said conversationally. "Others, well, they need an example of what might happen to them if the go wrong. Then there's your type, you'll see the example of how things go wrong and you'll think that you can avoid it. That you're special."
Coil gasped for air as the hand loosened. He opened his mouth to try to say something only for his face to be thrust into his private toilet.
"It's still my turn to talk," Harry said with terrifying calmness. "So, we have the problem of the third sort, your sort, what to do with them. Personally, I find you make great examples for the second sort.
Coil tried to collapse the timeline, tried to do anything to stop the horror being inflicted on him. He failed.
Coil took a deep shuddering breath, his eyed darting around and, to his relief, he found himself sitting in his apartment. He hadn't known that he could be prevented from dropping a timeline like that, best not wait so long in the future.
Trying to calm himself, he reached for the remote control with shaky hands and turned on the television.
"-every step you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you," the television blared. With a shudder, he switched the channel. "In lighter news, Brockton Bay's cat loving cape has rescued another kitty from a dangerous situation." The picture shifted to a grainy video of a cat crouched on a tree limb. To Coil's horror, Mr. Black stepped into the frame, paused, and looked directly at the camera. He frantically hit the remote. "-every single day, every word you say-" he smashed the power button.
"That had to be a coincidence," he said, trying to convince himself. "There's no way he could have planned that, no way he could even know about the other timeline."
For the first time in a long while, Thomas Calvert felt very vulnerable and afraid.
AN: And Coil finds himself the only one in the city that has any idea of just how dangerous Mr. Black is if provoked for a good portion of the story. None of the other villains understand why he's so wary of the biggest joke cape in the city, one so weak that none of the gangs have bothered trying to recruit him. Inverts the model of 'Make a Wish' in which Harry wasn't nearly as dangerous or knowledgable as people thought he was. Now, he's much more knowledgable/dangerous than anyone suspects for a bit anyway. Seems like it could be funny.
Might need to be rewritten a bit for timeline/continuity to sync with the first one if there were any chance that this would get more added to it.
Omake by Stephenopolos
"Strange town, you know, I foiled a kidnapping just the other day..." Mr. Black said conversationally. "This adorable little girl asked me for help."
Calvert paled staring woodenly at the menu behind the register at the donut shop.
"You okay there mister? You're looking a might pale," Mr. Black asked.
"Fine, just remembered something I'd forgotten," Calvert said eyes darting to the sides.
"Memory is like that ya know, why I remember this time back when I... oh but you don't want to hear about the snake I dealt with some time ago... I've got this itch when it comes to kidnappers, I just don't like them at all," Mr. Black continued obliviously.
Calvert continued to pale with each word, just nodding along.
"oh my order is ready, see you around, Tommy boy," Harry cheerfully grabbed his bag and disappeared.
Omake: The Nine
"Bonesaw just turned herself in, sir."
"Say that again," the Director of PRT's Boston Branch ordered.
"Bonesaw just turned herself in, sir. She says the rest of the nine are dead. We have two teams headed to the location she gave us with heavy cape support to confirm."
"She say who did it?"
"She said a nice man named Mr. Black did it. We've checked it out, Mr. Black is a near powerless hero in Brockton Bay. Known mostly for rescuing cats from trees, helping old ladies across the street, and foiling low level street crime. He's pretty obscure so it's quite possible that whomever used his name wasn't even aware that he exists."
The director's intercom chirped. "Yes?"
"Incoming call from the team sent to confirm the fate of the nine," his secretary's voice stated.
"Put them through." The director waited until the line connected. "This is the director. Give me good news."
"Every test we've done confirms that it's them, sir," the team leader's voice crackled.
"Any indication who did it?"
"We've got a thought, sir, not sure how likely it is."
"It's really ugly, sir. Tinkers think they were vivisected, medical people agree. We think the only person capable of doing this to them would be a high level wet tinker."
"The most notorious of whom is a former member of the group, reported what happened to them, and gave herself up earlier today," the director finished. "Good work."
"Thank you, sir."
"I'm transferring you back to dispatch." The director cut and transferred the connection. "Thoughts?"
"I find the thought that their wet tinker turned against them more persuasive than the thought that a nobody from Brockton bay happened to show up and resolve a problem we've been dealing with for decades."
"I concur," the director laughed. "Especially when one considered that the nine murdered her family and kidnapped her. Poor child must have been biding her time for years."
"That doesn't excuse what she's done, sir."
"It does not," the director agreed. "I believe it should, however, change our response." He tapped his fingers on the desk. "Rules are fairly clear about how to treat a bounty claim."
"They are sir."
The intercom chirped again. "Yes?"
"Medical is reporting that Bonesaw reads as a stock human, sir. No sign of physical modification, Corona Pollentia reads inactive."
"Any indication why?"
"She states that a Mr. Black changed her back to normal and locked her powers until the Doctor says she can have them again."
"Thank you, keep me informed of any other developments."
"Yes sir." The connection cut.
The director nodded. "To continue our scenario, our traumatized young woman reverses all the work she's done on herself at the direction of an S-Class terrorist, locks her powers, and turns herself in."
"I think a secure psychological facility would be more appropriate than the Birdcage in that scenario, sir."
"I agree," the director stated.
"Let me see Black's file," the director ordered.
"Yes, sir. But I'll warn you, it doesn't have much in it."
"Yes. It says, and I quote; mostly harmless."