He finally spotted him, Black Knight, as he disappeared and reappeared on rooftop to rooftop before stopping to meet a group of his gang. He was fast and unpredictable, and unlike most teleporters, he did not need to recharge. Even though direction had no meaning to him, Michael leaned forward until his body was nearly inverted and vertical before power-diving. As he gained speed, a portal appeared in front of him.
Michael appeared as a quick blur emerging from the sister portal before he slammed against the earth with his superdense body, sending Southside gangsters in all directions. Black Knight landed hard, his armor protecting him from most of the damage. The men near him littered the area around the crater in broken pieces. The survivors quickly scattered, desperate to escape the carnage and destruction. From the middle of the rubble and dust, a hand appeared and grabbed a rock. When Michael Larson stood up, the red eyes gone.
“Michael, Michael,” Black Knight coughed as he slowly stood up, his armor missing the left pauldron, “you’ve been keeping secrets from a lot of people. That was quite impressive. But associating with a known psychopath like Maze? Really? What would the neighbors think?” Black Knight laughed as Michael narrowed his eyes. “I can see why those two foreign boys wanted to keep tabs on you. Metall has really outdone himself.”
Metall? Herr Metall? He knew that name, but why was he here? This was Epicenter’s territory. Maybe he was the reason Maze was in Los Angeles. The Old Guard and Atomic Power were the two major powerhouses in the country and usually stayed out of each other’s way. Either rivalry was preventing the normal cooperation or something serious was going down. He needed to get back to the station and talk to the FBI.
“I will give you one chance, scumball,” Michael threatened. “You tell me what Herr Metall wants with Los Angeles and I won’t turn you into paste.”
“Los Angeles?” Black Knight said with a confused laughter. “Where have you been? L.A. has been a radioactive wasteland for 15 years. You’re in the Circle City, homeboy, Indianapolis.”
Michael looked around. This did not look like any part of Los Angeles he knew, but it was not possible the entire city was gone. How did he get halfway across the country?
“You lie!” As Michael yelled, the ground became to crack and tremble. Where the hell was he? Where was Sue?
“Think what you want, but it’s time for me to leave. I have a city to take over and people to kill.”
Michael stepped forward. “You’re not going anywhere, shithead.”
Black Knight laughed again. “And what are you going to do about it? I’m a teleporter, boy, nothing can hold me and no one can stop me. Even with all your super strength and whatever else Metall has hidden up your sleeve, I can go wherever I want.”
“No, you can’t,” Michael said in a different voice, the sound of raw energy flowing off his tongue. The world around Michael and Black Knight distorted as the air around them turned to glass, reflecting the light back like a fun house.
“Toodles,” Black Knight said with a wave of his hand.
Black Knight disappeared briefly before reappearing against facing a different direct. The smile on his face quickly faded when he turned around and Michael staring at him. “Not possible,” he screamed before disappearing again and reappearing again in nearly in the same place.
“No, no, no,” Black Knight complained.He spun around to see his reflection repeated infinitely with a green hue. “How? HOW!”
Michael walked slowly towards the wide-eyed gang leader. “You assume your power is a straight line. It’s not. Stars, black holes and other massive objects bend lines; light rays, radio signals, even the orbits of other objects.” He waved his hands as the images in the barrier changed. “Mass, space, even time are all connected. Change one and it changes the other. If you spent more time reading Einstein and Hawking instead of stealing, you would already know this.”
Black Knight continued to try and teleport out, only to return back in the middle of the shell. “I have to get out of here. You can’t cage me.”
“You are trapped in a loop. The walls around you are bending space back. You will never escape.”
Black Knight reached out to the edge, his arm reappearing back at him. “This is not possible! You would be more powerful than even Atomic Power!”
He remembered that name too. Atomic Power frightened and fascinated him. Even Judge, arguably the second most powerful Enhanced hero, was no match for the pure power of Los Angeles’ green protector. But something was bothering him. He was used to the names, pig, po-po, five-oh, but why did they call him Michael? He liked the name, hell, his wife thought about using it someday, after her father, for any kids they might have, but something was off-putting about it. “You were wrong about something else. My name is Thomas.”
“Michael!” Black Knight said with fear in his voice.
“Thomas.” he replied softly.
“Thomas, don’t leave me here. I can help you. I’ll tell you everything!” Black Knight screamed as Michael-Thomas slipped through the edge of the micro universe.
Michael-Thomas emerged out of nothing back in Indianapolis, the prison invisible to all radar, night vision goggles, even to all telepaths.
His eyes glowed again as he turned around. No, the dead demanded repayment. Los Angeles demanded retribution.
“I won’t,” he snarled. To the universe that Michael-Thomas occupied, nothing happened, but to Black Knight, his prison collapsed on him. Time became excruciating slow as his bones snapped inward and his flesh ripped apart before his cells were torn asunder until even atomic bonds that composed his body were destroyed. Everything was compressed into an infinitely small point in space for a moment in time, too small to measure by any clock, before disappearing forever.
He was not Michael. He was not Thomas. He was only Vengeance.