Author's Notes:
This fic is based on the 1990 film Darkman. All names, characters and events from the original film are the property of Darkman Productions Ltd; they have been used here without permission. No copyright violation is intended, and no profit has been made from this piece of fan fiction. The first chapter is essentially a summary of the film, and the last few lines are quoted from it. Characters and events in this story not portrayed in the film are original and of my own creation - other authors are welcome to borrow them and incorporate them into their own stories (but please bring 'em back in one piece!).

I hope you enjoy this story - if you do, write one of your own! Please note that although this story has been given a PG-13 rating (an accurate and fair rating, I think), the original film (here in England, at least) was rated '18' (the equivalent of the American 'R' or 'NC-17' or whatever you guys call it). For the purposes of this story I have completely ignored the two sequels, both of which, I am assured, are not worth the celluloid they are printed on. The city in which the film was set was never specified - it was a fictional city. I have seen fit to leave it nameless in this sequel.
O.M. 9-6-01

Darkman:
New Beginnings

Before...

My name was Peyton Westlake. I was an independent research scientist, and the project I was working on could have revolutionised the medical world.

Skin grafts. There are thousands of them every year. Many are given to victims of accidents and crashes, but many more cannot be done, the injuries too severe, the techniques imperfect. I was inventing synthetic skin, precise, computer-controlled technology - only a photograph needed to create a perfect replica of a hand, an arm, a foot, or even a whole face. But the cells of the synthetic skin were unstable, they never lasted for more than 99 minutes before breaking down and melting.

Until the day the light dawned. In fact, it was the day the lights went out. The lights in our lab failed, and the skin did not break down. Somehow, it was exposure to light for 99 minutes that triggered the collapse of the skin's cell structure. It was a momentous day, a day I shall never forget. The day my life was destroyed.

Robert G. Durant and his hitmen, hired by real estate tycoon Louis Strack, filled my lab with gas, and blew it up. After shooting Yakitito, my assistant and dear friend, before my helpless eyes and half-drowning me in a vat of lab solvent, they blew up my lab with me in it, Strack thinking me a threat to the empire he was, literally, building.

I was found in the river, barely alive, and taken to an experimental burns clinic at the hospital. They treated my injuries, neutralised the parts of my spino-thalamic tract that sent pain impulses to my brain. I couldn't feel pain anymore, and my brain compensated by relying more on my emotions for stimulus. My adrenalin flowed unregulated, so I had great physical strength. But I didn't care. All I wanted was my life back, and the woman I loved...the woman I love...Julie Hastings.

Most of my equipment was destroyed in the blast, but I salvaged the essential components, tried to perfect my synthetic skin, but it always melted - only 99 minutes of stability. I found also that my emotions were now unstable, I was prone to violent outbursts, and with strength enough to do so I killed all those who had ruined my world, but still I told myself that all could be as it was.

Night after sleepless night I spent, telling myself it was just a burn, skin deep; it doesn't matter! [but my hands they took my hands and my face they took them away] And if I covered it, hidden behind a mask, Julie could love me for who I was, without pity. But a funny thing happened. As I worked in the mask, I found the man inside was changing. He became...wrong, a monster.

I can live with it now, but I don't think anyone else can.

Peyton is gone. I am everyone, and no one; everywhere, nowhere. Call me...Darkman.