DCM Vertigo


Moon Knight

Unbearable Pain
by Mark Sarver

"My old comrade in arms. The child of my wrath. A nemesis of my own doing. The spoiler of many a scheme of mine. The man who has cause me more pain than any other single person alive or dead. It is you, Marc Spector - the Moon Knight."

Bushman wrung his hands together and pointed directly at the screen - directly at Marc Spector.

"Where is your god now, Marc? Where is Khonshu? It looks as if the tables are turned and he has abandoned you or turned on you. Which is it, do you think?"

The face, tatooed to appear demonic, tilted quizzically while he held one hand under his chin to mimic a 'thinking man.'

"No matter. You are doomed to die a painful death, Marc. I have been waiting for this moment since that day I discovered you were still alive in the desert - when you came to avenge the death of this lovely lady's father." He motioned towards Marlene with one hand.

"If you hadn't been so weak, Marc, we could have ruled nations together. We could have been rich beyond compare and lived whatever lives we wanted. But you were weak then and you're just as weak now. For that weakness you will pay. We're going to destroy you, Marc Spector, without actually physically harming you."

Bushman moved back to stand beside Marlene, still seated in the chair.

"Everything you know and love will be taken from you. You will be nothing but a wanted man who does not even exist when we're through with you. The ultimate price of weakness, my friend."

He grabbed Marlene by the hair and dragged her to a standing position in front of him. With one hand around her body he used the other hand to tilt her head away from his face. Bushman smiled wide to show a mouth filled with steel teeth - specially made to strike fear into his enemies and to allow him a most unusually brutal method of killing - ripping out the aorta with his teeth.

Staring directly into the camera through the distance at his enemy and foe - Moon Knight, he said, "I wanted you to witness this particular death personally, Marc. I killed her father a long time ago. Now, I will make it a pair." With that he laughed out loud and lowered his steel teeth filled mouth towards the waiting neck - throbbing with blood pumping furiously as the woman was overcome with that most basic of all human instincts - primal fear.

The course was plotted into the Nite-Glider as he took off from the top of the building mere moments after getting the info from Carmilla. The glider slid down the rail and was off into the dark of the New York night. Dr. Mid-Nite established a communications link with Carmilla and informed her that he would be bailing out right on top of the bad guys; therefore, she would have to remotely guide the Nite-Glider safely back home.

"Now to see what Hooty's found." Dr. Mid-Nite reached up and pressed a small button near the temple of his goggles. Instantaneously, his he had a 'heads-up' view in his goggles of what Hooty was seeing via a small infra-red camera fastened securely around the faithful owl's neck.

He saw the owl was circling the construction site which looked dark and empty - as it should be at this hour of the night.

Mid-Nite wondered if he was too late - if Ray had seen what had passed and not what was yet to come. The thought that he might be too late - that the boy's mother and brother might be buried in cement down there - made him put the glider into a steep dive towards the Fisk Construction Site taking chances with tall buildings he might not take otherwise.

He had to know.

Suddenly, he saw several pairs of headlight enter the range of Hooty's transmission and knew he was not too late at all. He was right on time. No need for contingency plans - yet. There would be no deaths on his watch this dark night.

Hooty stopped circling and perched himself on a beam directly above where the two black sedans stopped right at the edge of a deep pit. Dr. Mid-Nite could see exactly what was transpiring as he guided the Nite-Glider into a circling dive - preparing himself for ejection and the imminent combat that would follow.

"Five seconds, Carmilla."

"I've got it now, Pieter. Just waiting for your release."

He opened the canopy and felt the wind rush in - the comfortable silence of the glide overcome by the sound of the wind whipping past. Another quick release to remove his harness. All was prepared.

In a single motion he flipped the glider over and let himself fall silently from the aircraft.

"All yours, Carmilla. See you in a few."

"Got it."

The glider seemed to take control of itself as it righted it's flight. It circled slowly away from the construction site returning 'home' under the remote control of Carmilla.

Dr. Mid-Nite watched above him to make sure the glider was safely away before rolling over and engaging his cape to slow his descent and guide him to the exact location he wished to land. They were right below him now - four of them - taunting the two black prisoners - Ray's mother and his brother - Ricky.

I wonder what his mother's name is and what is really going on here. Who summoned me here to rescue that boy from the hospital and why? thought Dr. Mid-Nite. Questions filled his mind as he prepared to land - just moments away from the ground.

Just before landing he pulled the pin on 'Black-Light Bomb,' one os his special homemade weapons which when detonated would fill the surrounding air with an inky mist making it worse than the darkest night - in which he could see as if it were daytime.

He dropped it right in the middle of the group nearest the 'bad guys,' all dressed in green with yellow piping on the front in the form of an 'H.'

"Hydra." He said understanding at the last moment who he was up against.

"Ricky, Momma get down on the ground, NOW!!!"

Dr. Mid-Nite hit the ground running - his black-light bomb going off at the same time.

Darkness enveloped them all in a moment. Panic ensued among the Hydra thugs.

"Down, Momma." Dr. Mid-Nite guessed it could only be Ricky trying to get his mother on the ground.

"Shoot 'em all." Several shots rang out at once. Mid-Nite felt the rush of air and then another crack as a bullet whizzed past his head just inches away.

A scream followed. Mid-Nite stopped. It was the scream of a man - not a woman or a young man. They were shooting each other.

"You shot me, you stupid bas . . ." Mid-Nite was on the voice in a leap and silenced him with a right hand to the head.

"Hopefully you'll live long enough for the ambulance." The blind avenger turned his attention to the other three. He could see through the dark. They were backing up slowly swinging their weapons left to right looking for a target when they couldn't even see the guns they held at arm's length.

Silent as an owl approaching a mouse in a silent barn, Dr. Mid-Nite ran and tumbled into a roundhouse kick to the head of another thug. He grunted and fell to the ground unconscious right next to Dr. Mid-Nite waiting for the response.

Three more shots directly over the head of the prone super-hero and then he was up and on the move again.

He stopped suddenly when he saw both the remaining Hydra goons still moving backwards slowly step off into the pit to fall to the dirt floor below into a pit of freshly poured concrete.

Dr. Mid-Nite stood on the edge of the pit. No movement below. No matter. They had done it to themselves this time.

"Come with me, Ricky. Bring your mother. We have to go. Now."

Less than five minutes after dropping from the Nite-Glider, Dr. Mid-Nite, Gena and Ricky were driving away from the construction site. They passed racing police and emergency vehicles on their way to the same location having been called to a possible multiple homicide by Carmilla Marlowe from an unlisted number.

He wanted to scream but heard nothing except the muffled screams from the television screen as Bushman ripped the life out of his Marlene with his steel teeth buried in her neck.

Marc Spector, in the guise of Jake Lockley sat paralyzed by poison and chained to the chair forced to watch Marlene's murder. Anger swelled within him like a tidal wave overcoming all remnants of sanity. The image on the screen blurred as his eyes filled with tears. For a moment he considered that he could still cry, but shoved the thought aside for the images of revenge.

No longer was Marc Spector present in the room. No longer was Moon Knight being forced to watch Marlene struggle to her last breath on the screen directly in front of his paralyzed body. He was in a world where revenge was being meted out to those who deserved it. He watched Bushman's face as he killed him slowly over and over again.

Suddenly the sounds shifted and he returned to the present - the now. He heard the sound of violent wind. On the screen, Bushman had opened the door of the plane - one of Steven Grant's private planes. He turned back to the video camera while he dragged Marlene towards the door.

Spector willed himself to move. Nothing. More anger - anger ruled his being. Rational thought was gone.

"Food for the sharks, Spector."

With that, Bushman flung Marlene out the door. She was instantly grabbed by the slipstream and fell away to the sea below.

More tears in Spector's eyes, more pain in his heart and more anger filled his soul.

Revenge - only revenge. Bushman would die. Marc Spector would kill him.

The image of the laughing Bushman fizzled away to be replaced once again by Jonathan Crane appearing as the Scrarecrow.

"You see, my dear Moon Knight, we will destroy you without laying a hand on you. It's all quite simple really and quite enjoyable."

More laughter from the Scarecrow. Spector heard only bits and pieces as his mind was still reeling from the death of Marlene.

"Have a wonderful day."

Marc Spector sank even further into oblivion with images of Marlene's face smiling at him. Then her expression would change and she would scream as the demon murdered her over and over.

Finally he was able to scream - a scream heard only in the deep recesses of his own irrational mind.

Detective Perez walked up to the Nurses' Station. She asked, "Any idea when we can talk to the John Doe, yet?"

The Nurse currently manning the station looked up at the same face she'd answered the same question for several times already. It was a pretty face - a hispanic female - not the face one would expect for New York City detective.

"Let me call the Doctor for you. He can give you more information than I can just looking at the computer."

Detective Augustina Perez wanted a cigarette badly, but she couldn't smoke inside the hospital. This case was a dead-end so far. Nothing - except the cabbie - Jake Lockley supposed to pick up a fare. The fare was Steven Grant. After they checked the airport - Grant had no reservations at all. Security was up at both airports with an APB out on Grant - they could only hope he screwed up and showed up.

Nothing made sense - the murder of the psychiatrist - the destruction of the mansion - it was a confusion chain of events and the police had nothing to go on - nothing at all.

This man she was waiting to interview - he was an eyewitness to what happened at the mansion and possibly a key to unraveling the mess so far.

"Detective Perez." She turned to see the doctor standing behind her, a stethoscope draped around his neck. A quick glance at his name tag told her his name was Robert Leggert, M.D.

"Yes, can you tell me when we might be able to interview the John Doe? It's important."

"When isn't it?"

"Point made and taken. Now, when can we talk to him?"

"He had a concussion and a broken leg, plus numerous other bruises and a few fractures. He'll regain consciousness soon but I don't expect him to remember much if anything. He won't be ready for you people for at least five or six hours."

"Christ, Doc!"

"We'll keep you informed on status as we have anything new to report, Detective."

"Sure thing, thanks for all the help. Not like we've got a murder to solve or something."

Dr. Leggert turned on his heels and walked away saying, "We've all got our jobs to do."

"Doc, can I at least get some fingerprints. We need to identify him ASAP."

The physician responded in the affirmative with nod of his head as he continued off down the hallway.

Chloe faded in and out of consciousness.

She wanted to close her eyes and make the pain go away. But that was not an option.

They wouldn't let her loose consciousness for any more than a few seconds at a time, while they continued to inflict the most minute and painful forms of torture on her.

She was blindfolded, so she couldn't see who was doing this to her - no single entity to focus on - just an empty black nothingness.

"She will talk, Darkhawk." A voice she didn't recognize.

"Sooner than later. We don't have time to enjoy this. We need answers now. She must feel pain. I want to hear her scream." Another unknown voice, which she thought might be the one addressed as Darkhawk, whom she knew as the hero turned villain.

Chloe felt two cold pin pricks on the sole of her feet - feet she couldn't move at all. She gritted her teeth waiting for the pain.

The charge of electricity ran through her from the bottom of her feet to the top of her head. She felt her body jerk violenty and saw bright flashes of light fill the nothingness. She forced her teeth together by sheer will and refused to succumb - she refused to give voice to the pain that racked her body.

No screams.

The pain subsided.

The cold steel prods were removed - momentarily.

"She will scream, Darkhawk." The same voice - the voice of the torturer.

Again, Chloe felt the cold of the metal prods touch the soles of her feet and gritted her teeth for the coming pain.

Dr. Mid-Nite had taken Ray's mother, Gena and his brother, Ricky to the hospital. There he had met up with Vigilante, Patricia Trayce. She and Wendy Conrad, a.k.a. Bombshell had fought their way out of the clutches of Hydra. Wendy Conrad though had taken some serious hits in the fight, so Vigilante delivered her up to the hospital just to make sure.

"You're Dr. Pieter Cross?"

"Yes, and you are?"

"Patricia Trayce."

"Dr. Mid-Nite, it is then."

He was somewhat shocked at her revelation of her knowledge of his alter ego crime fighting identity. But a part of him could feel that she was one of them - one of that select group that chooses to wear a costume and fight evil in the world. Whether blessed or cursed with supernatural powers or just of a mind to do more, they all carried themselves a certain way.

"Ms. Trayce, how did you know of my alter-ego? I've tried to keep that a well guarded secret."

"S.H.I.E.L.D. databases. Very little is really secret for very long, Doctor."

She then proceeded to inform him of everything that had transpired over the past several days - her fights with HYRDA, Moon Knight's assistance and the safe house where presumably they were still holding Moon Knight prisoner.

"We've got to get back to the safe house. They still have Moon Knight."

Dr. Mid-Nite had heard of this hero who styled himself an avenger of the Egyptian god, Khonshu but he had as yet ever met the man.

In the civilian garb of Dr. Pieter Cross, he walked out of the hospital with Patricia Trayce in tow.

"I see. Very well, then Vigilante, let's go save this Moon Knight."

Next Issue: Moon Knight is rescued with nothing but revenge on his mind.

Author's Note: What better adversary to take away the soul of Moon Knight than the man who technically created him - Bushman. He has taken his mansion, hurt his friends, taken his fortune and most of all his one true love. What is there left for Moon Knight?