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Dragon Master

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(This story takes place right before Crusaders #11). Sleep is a major factor that needs to be carefully measured in Dragon Master’s life and body. Knowing when is too little and when is too much is the key to how your day can be balanced or even fall apart. It could be the difference between a knife in the back of your head or hearing the attacker creep up before they have thrown the knife.


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Today was just one of those many days for Rick Sprint (Dragon Master) who woke up at his traditional time of seven am. He has been allowing himself an hour later each day depending on any encounters from anyone or how hard of a work out that he has given himself the day before. It was hard to believe that over a year ago, Dragon Master was a man in his late forties and he was eating and dieting a special way to obtain a perfectly balanced body for a man that was nearing fifty but now with his recent transformation and de-aging to the body of a twenty-five year old has changed all of that. (Story happened awhile back in Vol. 2 Crusaders issues.) To make a long story short, because of Dragon Master’s connection to the Dragon Temple in Japan near the Yari Mountains, he has become the true one and only master after the passing of Botaay (the original master). What a lot of people including the trainees or monks of the temple did not all knew was the fact Botaay was a real life Dragon who had created a human avatar so that he could subsist on this plane of existence without anybody noticing what he actually was. It was Dragon Master’s friend Kelly Longorov otherwise known as the Sorceress who had discovered that Botaay was a real life dragon and tragically the last one left on Earth. Botaay told Dragon Master that there were no more dragons. Apparently from Botaay’s story all of the dragons used to fly along Earth freely in the highest of mountains such as the Yari Mountains or practically any type of mountain that had such a high altitude. Monks, servants and many loyal humans knew of the dragons and many believed them to be spiritual creatures which some even worshipped as gods. Unfortunately there were many that believed the dragons to be creatures to hunt and kill. If you killed a dragon some believed you gained its knowledge and gold. Of course most of those fables were made up and untrue and thus a lot of brave warriors looking to “become something” met untimely demise because of stupidity. Through the centuries many clans hunted dragons and even dared to enter their lairs in hopes to kill them. Just about every clan has fallen prey to dragons with the exception of one clan that has survived through the centuries called the Tiger clan. The only reason they became powerful was due to a warrior and man named Satoshi who studied and knew everything about dragons. He became a walking encyclopedia and found out that killing dragons would not bring you any of these fortunes. Satoshi learned that dragons were killers only because humans backed them into corners. When Satoshi read of the stories which were later covered up and erased by a mass wave of Catholic religions that found their way to the east but in truth, dragons only attacked villages because there was usually something or somebody in that village that had done wrong to them. One warrior named Kohaku actually was brave enough to climb into a den of a rare red dragon and was able to steal the dragon’s egg with the help of many of his dim-witted warriors. The red dragon had left the den high up in the Yari Mountains to search for items to prepare for the cold that was coming in with the change of the season. It did not take long before the red dragon returned and hunted down Kohaku and his men and literally burned down their village and killed everybody it could find until finding it’s egg after somebody was brave enough to force Kohaku to give it back. The red dragon took its egg back and later came back and took Kohaku from what was left of his burning village. A woman later approached a brave, young warrior named Satoshi. She was the wife of Kohaku and told him that he was also the father of her two kids. She offered Satoshi all the gold she had been saving. Satoshi just wanted a promise from the woman if he rescued Kohaku that there would be no more hunting of these dragons. The woman promised saying that if Kohaku came back safely she would see to it that there would be no more hunts of these dragons. At the time Satoshi was a young warrior and with his knowledge of the dragons he knew that they were not vicious and attack people. They only do so if they are threatened. Satoshi believed that Kohaku was taken as a food for when the baby dragon hatches. Judging from the size of the egg, Satoshi knew he had very little time to climb the mountain trail to the red dragons den.


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So Satoshi climbed the Yari Mountains and found the den to the dragon. The young warrior knew that showing your blade was a sign to the dragon that you wanted to kill him. So Satoshi entered the den with his arms out ward to show a sign of peace. The man named Kohaku was still alive and imprisoned in some kind of pit that the dragon had dug out in his den. Satoshi approached the dragon and to his surprise the dragon actually spoke to him. It was the first time a man had ever spoken to a beast of such legendary power. (Translated from Japanese) “So human,” the dragon spoke with its large teeth, “you have come all this way and I assume you want to risk your life to prove something? Though you draw no steel to pierce my scale I would like to know what is it that you seek if you wish not to fight?” “Just to bring this man home,” Satoshi said, “Like you he has a family. This man has a family and a wife that is very worried. You have your egg back and you have taken enough lives to even up for his stupidity. Won’t you please release him from your imprisonment? If you do so I will see to it that he never will bring harm upon you or any of your fellow dragons ever again.” The roar that came from the large red dragon mouth was actually filled with a deep laughter. Satoshi had no idea what it meant so he just laughed with the dragon. “You came here for no reason,” the dragon said, “Yet you claim reason by asking to take a man home to his family after he tried to destroy my unborn. You need to ask yourself human if you want to put your life on the line for an unworthy human who has nothing to gain. Do you?” “No I will not,” Satoshi, “I have changed my mind. Do will what you wish.” “I’ll make a deal with you,” the dragon said, “I want you to return to your people and tell them we had a good battle and you barely escaped with your life. I will give you the power you need to carry on after the battle and add mystical abilities to your sight.” “What for?” asked Satoshi. “I want you to find the Tiger clan and become the leader,” the dragon said, “you will keep them away from us and make them believe you are a great dragon warrior. This will be my gift and our pact to keep your stupid human brothers from bothering us. If you tell anyone about our pact, I will hunt you down and destroy you and everyone near you.” “If this is what you wish,” Satoshi said, “May I ask why?” “Due to the longtime my hatchling has not been near my magical quintessence the being that is or was inside is no more,” the dragon said, “it angers me because it is my last and only hatchling I have been given the right to bare. Not only did this human steal my unborn he killed it and I plan to keep this human while you go about your mission.” “I am sorry,” Satoshi said as he bowed down on one knee. “Not as I am going to be after I give you the thrashing of a life time for you to return to your people,” The dragon said as he snatched up Satoshi in his clawed hand, “Take this power I give you and do with it what I asked but first, you are now going to suffer really bad...” And so Satoshi was beat, slashed and literally burned near death. His body was put through a test and though he did not struggle hoping the dragon was keeping his word. Satoshi began to think as he was getting hurt that maybe the dragon was just trying to kill him without a fight. Satoshi would later learn as he awoke some hours later lying on a large rock boulder that was overlooking a large waterfall. There was blood all over the rock which looked like came from him judging


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from the wounds that ran across his stomach, arms and back. He had a burn on his leg but he was able to walk back to the village to tell everyone that he failed and barely escaped with his life. Soon it would not be long until Satoshi would become the leader of the Tiger Clan and to his revelation he did have quite a few gifts that the dragon had given him. He was faster, stronger and smarter then he had ever been in his life. He thought he was immortal at first but as the centuries would go by Satoshi found out that he was growing old just very slowly. Satoshi kept the Tiger Clan alive for centuries and training some of the best assassins. The assassins would become hired killers and did work for Satoshi. As the dragon’s faded away and died off the trickery of being a dragon hunter would no longer have to be played. With no more dragons, Satoshi was able to no longer pretend the clan was based on killing dragons until it was brought to him the story of Botaay who was the last dragon that had the ability to take human form and a magical dragon temple was created and designed to create some of the best warriors that would fight and destroy the Tiger Clan. Of course when Botaay later died and transcended to the afterlife of the dragons. Botaay’s magic was left for the sanctuary and also Dragon Master would succeed to some of his power through the meditation and martial arts training. Later on Dragon Master learned that the temple that Botaay had created, he had left behind a strange clandestine paranormal vicinity in the temple that was unknown to others. The supernatural environs had the capacity to journey through outlandish doorways that opened an assortment of portals to worlds on the other side of the universe by walking through a strangely designed stone walled maze with many wooden carved doors that lead to places that very few had any idea where. Some were trick doors that lead you back to where you started. The whole object was to learn the maze and though Dragon Master believes he has it down he really has only scratched the surface of what Botaay left behind. It was Botaay’s magic that was in the temple’s recent magical expansion but it was the Dragon Master that would oversee this temple and keep all of the monks and fighters on guard against all kinds of evil that came through and to make sure portal doors were closed and none were open to places that should not be opened. Dragon Master later deduced that the magical portal doorways were created to unite him with Botaay in this “Dragon after life”. The Sorceress believed it was a test of Dragon Master’s will power and though many have tried to figure out the magical temple doors none have succeeded successfully. 2013 in the middle of June, on the other side of Tokyo, Japan in the large temple where the Tiger Clan lives, studies and practices every day as a dedication to apart of being the best at what they do. Satoshi is standing in a large room with a shrine that was made for the late Hisato. Candles were burning along with various prayers that have been left in honor of his memory. A warrior by the name of Kimi had entered the room and came up behind Satoshi. Satoshi was now older and much wiser and even the quiet footsteps of Kimi he could hear way before she had even entered the room. (Translated from Japanese) “It is a shame,” Kimi said, “I cannot bare to see his face anymore. He was the Tiger Knight and we had such high hopes for him. His power and abilities were almost equal to the Dragon Master. If one person could have killed the Dragon Master it was Hisato.” “I never mourn the dead,” Satoshi said, “they are just no longer here anymore. They have gone to another place that one day we shall be reunited. This little shrine is as about as far as I will go as far as mourning.” “I am curious master,” Kimi said, “as far as the records go back you have been here. What exactly are you? Are you something from the Gods or do you have actual abilities from somewhere else?” “Someday you may learn those secrets dearest Kimi,” Satoshi said, “but until then my only concerns are for the Tiger Clan is a new Tiger Knight. One that can walk in the same shoes as Hisato and I know one that can do so.” “Show me that person master and I will greatly open my heart and accept them as Hisato’s replacement,” Kimi said.


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“I believe in you Kimi,” Satoshi said, “It has been a long time coming. You have fought beside Hisato and even dared walked through the doorways in the dragon temple. You were close with Hisato and trained with him. I do not see why you cannot become the next Tiger Knight.” “I was always told that this is a man’s club master,” Kimi said. Whap! Satoshi struck her with his open hand. Kimi staggered back holding her chin. She was angry for the slap but she knew that attacking Satoshi would be suicide. “I am the master of the Tiger clan,” Satoshi said, “If I say someone is to become the next Tiger Knight and then you give me an excuse you insult me. Do not ever make that mistake twice.” “I am truly sorry master,” Kimi bowed. “Way before time when the days here were young and short,” Satoshi spoke, “There has been many women who fought alongside of me. They were good, fast and died honorable deaths. Many of them could have been Tiger Knights but none of them lived long enough because they thought like you. As soon as you get that thought out of your head then you will be ready.” “I can kill the warrior named Red Dragon,” Kimi said, “He was the bastard that murdered Hisato. Let me have this kill and I promise you will be proud of me once more.” “I am already proud of you Kimi,” Satoshi said, “But if you believe you can hunt down and kill the Red Dragon then I would be interested in seeing him die. Vengeance of the death of a Tiger Knight would look good in your favor when we hold your ceremony next week.” “Next week?” asked Kimi, “Forgive me master but I did not think you really had been thinking about already preparing for this. This makes me want to move forward and now I am all ready to do this just for the Tiger Clan.” “Good,” Satoshi said with a smile, “You kill Red Dragon then you will for sure have taken a stab at the Dragon Master’s heart. The Red Dragon was his adoptive son and trained by him. So it will be something you need to do.” “That I will master,” Kimi borrowed, “For Hisato!” At the moment on the other side of the planet Earth in Bradford City, New York. On the Inside the dining room of the Crusader’s mansion early around noon. Rick Sprint (Dragon Master) is reading the newspaper when all of a sudden Mr. Scott (the butler) introduces Alex Schultz (aka Red Dragon). Alex had been visiting Bradford City and had decided to visit Rick after he read an email about the divorce between Adora and Rick. Alex seemed a little concerned for his father figure and former trainer and so he came from his New York apartment on his motor cycle. “Reading the Bradford Times?” asked Alex. “You know kid,” Rick said as he looked across the table at Alex, “That goatee you have been wearing now for about a year. I thought it was a passing thing but now it’s really starting to look off.” “It goes with the mask,” Alex replied. “You look like the Huntsman,” Rick laughed. “You are not my guardian anymore,” Alex said as he sat down and grabbed a paper, “By the way, is this new home? It’s nice I love the Butler, that’s a nice touch. What are you wearing? You got on a nice, gray silk suit? Very touching.” “I’m changing my clothes a bit later but right now I got a lead on some punk ass criminals that I plan to meet up with,” Rick replied, “STEEL hooked me up with some fake credentials. These asshats I think are recruiting RAID agents off the street.” “So you are going to apply for a job?” asked Alex. “That’s the plan,” Rick said, “STEEL has me covered if I wind up following these punks into a bank to rob or something but hopefully it won’t get that far.” “Maybe I should tag along?” asked Alex. “Maybe you should just eat a few coffee and donuts and let me work,” Rick said, “it was nice seeing you again but I’ve got to work.” “Good luck Mr. silk suit,” Alex laughed, “If you get your ass kicked really bad am I on your speed dial anymore?”


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“Don’t be a smart ass,” Rick said as he folded the paper up and stepped out of the room. Alex followed Rick outside of the mansion. There was a taxi in the driveway. Rick walked over to the taxi car and waved at Alex as he climbed into the back and it drove off. Alex stood in the door way of the mansion wondering what hell was going on. Usually when Rick goes deep into something he likes to go in and vanish into an underground network of bad characters. Alex had no idea what was going but decided to get on his bike and play follow behind.

A few hours later, there appears to be a large warehouse area that seems to be a storage facility for a bunch of old crates and boxes. One of the areas seems to have all of the crates and boxes moved away to clear a large area which is now filled up with twenty some of the most brutal looking dudes on the planet. “OK I see the place,” Dragon Master spoke into his cellular phone. Dragon Master was standing between a couple of buildings across the street from the warehouse. On the other line was Steve Elenor who asked Dragon Master to check out the lead, “It says Bradford Storage. Is this where this meeting is going down?” “That’s it,” Steve replied, “Please be very cautious Dragon Master, “This is RAID we are talking about and if you are not on your ballgame they will kill you and not think twice about it, OK?” “Sure thing,” Rick said as he turned off his cell phone and then leaped up on the railing of the bottom of fire escape and slipped his cell phone in between two broken bricks in the wall. Then he flipped down and let go of the bottom of the fire escape and casually walked across the street. He walked around to the back and rapped his knuckles on the metal door. The door slowly opened and standing there was a very large man who was wearing a thick over coat. On closer inspection, Rick identified the large fury mutant known as Mastodon. “Can I do something for you?” asked Mastodon “Looking for the job pal,” Rick said. Rick was wearing a black stocking cap, long over coat, old worn down jeans and ratty shoes. “Get in and shut the fuck up,” Mastodon said as he stepped back and let Rick in and then he closed the door. Wham! Rick walked through an area where there were some pretty hard core looking men. Rick has seen a few before even a few faces of some people that he took down for petty crimes like robbery or stealing a car. Rick was not that tall so he didn’t stick out wearing his leather coat and ratted jeans but he blended in with the six thugs that were starting to break the ice talking about their recent endeavors in Bradford City. “...So I got back to this car shop area with the money and I found out that the female getaway driver was a part of the test,” the one thug named Sean who was talking to the others, “Turns out that she was thee Mistress RAID. In the end they did some vicious shit to our heads to see if we were trust worthy. All though I didn’t pass the test, Final Death called me up personally and asked me if I wouldn’t mind taking a short at the RAID position. I can’t believe the guy next to me got the job. I was so close.” “I know you from somewhere shorty,” the one tall Native American spoke up and pointed at Rick. “You have me mistaken high pockets,” Rick replied as he tried to remain low. Rick was trying to think where he did see the tall man with the long hair and it dawned on


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him that he had used to work for Robert Housner awhile back and when Rick was in Detroit working with Dark-Owl he encountered the hall man and beat him up pretty bad. The man claimed to have been a direct descendant of some American Indian tribe and he was super strong and good with knives. Dragon Master managed to take the guy down with a kick to the head and caught the man’s axe he threw at him, returning it and hitting him in the ass as he was trying to get away. In fact, Rick even noticed the limp the man had when he walked around the warehouse. “What do you think they’ll have us do this week?” a strange but peculiar man spoke to Rick quietly. “I don’t know,” Rick said, “I need work and some higher ups sent me here,” “You smell like a cop,” the man replied, “Are you a cop?” “I swear if one more stupid person talks to me I am going to gut somebody right here,” Rick said as he tried to as some melodramatics to his undercover character. “Hey. Hey. Hey. Just being funny,” the man laughed as he chewed on a tooth pick, “My name is Stan. You have that look to you. What kind of work you looking for?” “Just production or maybe a little construction if you get what I mean,” Rick returned, “I am about ready to fucking leave if this shit don’t start to pick up and our guest speaker doesn’t arrive here soon. I am pressed for time.” “In that case, welcome everyone!” Stan shouted aloud as he climbed onto a large stack of crates that were evenly stacked like a stage type podium, “It’s my job to pick three guys here to do a job. If you manage to survive the little task you will find yourself with a nice green costume and a new position working for a nice little company that provides dental, and has great life insurance which I am sure you will be please with. Even the dumb Indian would appreciate all of that.” Stan started laughing and the man with the long hair walked over to him and looked up. “Why you take a shot at my people?” asked the tall Indian. “Because you opened your mouth first,” Stan said, “What is your name?” “My name is Tom,” the man said. “Don’t worry Tom,” Stan said, “I am Indian myself. You didn’t think my tanned colored skin was a nasty burn did you? From one injun to another I’m pulling for you.” “Um thanks,” Tom said as he stepped back with the crowd of people. “All right everyone!” Stan shouted, “We head out back! There will be two vans. Three of you in one and the other three in the other. I will be driving the one vehicle and my friend Cliff over there to the left will be driving the other one.” “What are we going to do?” asked Shawn. “We are going to be playing a little game of smash and beat,” Stan laughed, “You see there is a bunch of guys that are a part of a bike gang. The bike gang is called the Hell’s Angels. They will be having a little gathering up the street at a club house. We are going to pull up, jump out and go into the club and beat the living shit out of everyone. Blow off their knee caps, smash in their faces. It will be a blast. So make sure on your way out your grab your weapon of choice. Take an automatic weapon and maybe and edged weapon.” “Why are we attacking a notorious bike gang?” asked Shawn. “Because we are looking for stupid, crazy people that are willing to do shit for no reason,” Stan laughed, “I love crazy people like that. They make me just want to put you in green suits and send you a long the way.” As the two vans spun off, Rick was in the back with Tom and three other guys he didn’t know. The man Cliff was driving. Everyone had a weapon in their hands and they were cheering about taking down the Hell’s Angel’s bike club. “So shorty you think you have what it takes to be an Agent of RAID?” asked Tom. “Just as much as you think you are you big tall Indian,” Rick said as he gave back the insults. “I like that Stan guy,” Tom said, “He’s an Indian like me. He seemed to take a liking to me. It was...” “Dude shut up!” One of the guys named Rich spoke up, “I don’t care what your fucking problem is just shut the fuck up!”


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“You got a big mouth asshole!” Tom said pointing his fingers at Rich. Rich aimed his gun at Tom. To avoid trouble Rick lifted his leg over and kicked Rich in the side of his head and bounced his head off the back of the van wall. Unfortunately Rich’s reflexes fired the gun. Bam! Rich’s shot his gun by an accidental reflex and shot the driver Cliff in the back of the head. Rick went to get up to grab the wheel but Tom grabbed Rick’s foot. The van spun around and rolled off the highway and hit a tobacco field nearby the road and it rolled over. Rick was able to quickly leap upwards in a survival fashion and grabbed the empty seat and braced his legs behind the seat and held on. Bodies bounced off Rick’s back as the van quit spinning. Rick then pulled himself up and around to the passenger’s seat of the van and opened the door. He then climbed out of the van through that door. He hit the muddy ground from the fall from the van that was on his side. Clang! The back door to the van opened up and Tom stepped out with three other thugs that survived the roll over but they were all banged up. “It’s your fault out van flipped!” Tom yelled at Rick. “That’s funny dumbass I recalled a man aiming a weapon at you,” Rick said, “Maybe I should have let him just shoot you.” “Maybe you need to have your ass beat for messing up my shot at RAID!” Tom shouted. “That man does not work for RAID,” Rick said, “you were being set up. In fact, I don’t even think that Mastodon works for anybody. He’s a hired hand. You idiots were about to walk to your death and I just managed to save your life.” “Fuck you!” Tom said as he charged Rick. He threw several punches and Rick ducked under all his punches. Tom threw a few more but kept missing Rick. Finally Rick leaped into the air and did a spinning kick and nailed Tom in the side of the head. Tom lost his balance and hit the ground hard. Rick then brought his palm down and nailed Tom in the side of the face, plopping Tom’s face into the stinky mud. “Cock sucker!” one of the thugs named Gary said as they began to fire their automatic weapon at Rick. Rick did a quick run and then leaped up onto the van and then back flipped onto the other side while the guy was unloading bullets. “Who the fuck is that guy?” asked another guy whose nose was bleeding and he was banged up from the accident. “I don’t know but he’s dead,” Gary said as he cocked the gun and moved around the side of the van, “He flipped this van, he kicked the guy in the head and it made him fire the gun and he...” Ca-whap! Rick stepped up from underneath the van and power punched Gary in the face, busting his nose causing his nose to bleed. Rick then snatched the gun from Gary and spun around and rammed the butt of the weapon into his rib cage and dropped Gary to the ground. Rick then came around corner and the one last thug came charging him with a machete in his hand. He was yelling something crazy. Rick held up the gun and blocked the machete. Crack! “I am the best! I will kill you mother fucker!” The man said as he went to jerk the machete back. Rick came at him as the man was whipping the blade around. Rick ducked under the blade and rammed the man in the stomach. The man’s stomach muscles were pretty firm and he seemed to be the strongest one of the bunch. “You got good aim bitch,” the man said, “But you just ruined my fucking day.” Swish! Swish! Swish! The man could not hit the broad side of the barn with the machete. Rick was getting tired of ducking the Machete and he had to get that weapon out of that man’s hand.


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So Rick began to back up toward the van and the man came at him with the machete. Swish! Swish! Finally Rick lowered him to attack him with the machete and he came down and jammed it into the front tire. Booooom! The man fell back, giving Rick the opportunity to do a spinning kick, hitting him in the head. The kick to the head knocked him silly as he staggered back, fell over a small rock and rolled down a ditch. Rick looked up and he could see Police lights coming. Somebody must have called the police. Rick didn’t expect this to happen and he really needed to get to that Biker club house. The man was rolling around down in the trench as the cops came running and had flashing their flash lights. Rick had already used his natural martial arts abilities to quickly hide and found himself underneath a large tunnel that was underneath the highway. Rick was watching off in the distance as the Police began moving toward the van that was knocked over on the side in the field. “Check around for any survivors!” one cop said, “I got a man in the driver’s seat with the back of his head blown off!” “This looks like a professional hit,” another cop said, “There’s a machete jammed in the front tire. Plus check out the man in the back with a snapped neck.” “Start looking around for other people,” another cop said, “I am sure whoever did this is not too far gone. This van was just reported going off the highway about fifteen minutes ago. Get the dogs, and get the artillery. We may have a gang hit here or something serious.”

A few minutes later, Rick is running as fast as he can up the side of the highway, he jumped over the fence and was now dressed in his Dragon Master outfit. He then leaped over the top of the highway gate and ran over toward a police car. The cop in the car jumped out and drew his weapon on Dragon Master. “Hold it right there or I will shoot!” the cop said with his gun out. “Drop the weapon officer!” Dragon Master said as he held up his hands, “You can either drive or I can drive. There is a gang hit about to happen in about fifteen minutes. You can keep the gun on me and waist time or we can go stop this!” “I don’t work with vigilantes and masked super heroes!” the cop said holding his gun on Dragon Master. “I’m with the Crusaders,” Dragon Master said, “I need you to put the gun down.” “Not a chance!” the Cop said with his hands that were beginning to shake. Dragon Master took a deep breath and leaped into the air. Dragon Master concentrated spiritually into the collective with his minor flying levitation/ability he flew transversely over the gravel on the side of the road and connected with the cop’s face. Dragon Master kicked the cop at an angle with his foot forcing his neck upwards. The cop dropped the gun from his hand and staggered backwards slowly. It gave Dragon Master a nice fist shot to the face and knocking him out. Dragon Master grabbed the gun and tossed it inside the Police car. He then propped the cop up inside the car in the passenger’s seat. Vroom! The Police Car took off a full speed heading toward the biker club house. The cops that were in the fields with the flash lights had no idea what was going until about ten minutes when some returned to their cars and they could not figure out what happened to Officer Joe Struntz.


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Meanwhile the other van had already pulled up next to the biker club and Stan had climbed outside of the truck with a bazooka while the others got out with their guns. They all began to take aim and just as they were about to shoot a man stepped out of the club house. He had blood all over his hands and he was clapping his hands in praise. “Congratulations!” the man known as Final Death, “You have all made it to your destination. There is no need to kill anyone inside because I took care of it for you! So pat yourselves on the back!! Stan, who do you think deserved the most credit here?” “I would have to go with Sean!” Stan laughed, “He was just such a gentlemen and lead the fight right to the door.” “Why did you kill everyone?” asked Sean, “I was looking forward to slaughtering these people to earn my uniform!” “Things got a little messy,” Final Death said, “I was going to meet you here but this fat guy on a chopper caught me out back here. So naturally I had to gut him and I was having so much fun that I found myself inside cutting up motor cycle drivers and I have never killed bunch of Hell’s Angels. Don’t worry Sean you’ll get your shot. Everyone else I have jobs for you to see if you are ready. Please go inside and check for anybody to still be alive. If you catch anyone still breathing finish them off and we’ll get out of here.” The rest of the trainees went inside the little clubhouse and shots began to fire off. Final Death stood there with his arms folded and laughing while having a conversation with Stan. “Reminds me of the old times huh?” asked Stan. “I like recruiting people,” Final Death said, “Helping to build up the RAID population back up in my vision. No more softie RAID guys, we have a lot of bad ass mother fuckers here.” All of a sudden a loud smash and then followed by a boom. The one guy named Sean came flying out the window and the screams of another guy followed by a loud thud. Sean was lying there on his back and barely breathing. “What the fuck is going on?” asked Stan as he stood over Sean. “There was nobody in there,” Sean said, “A guy who was fast. He kicked all of our asses and slammed one dudes face into a juke box. I don’t know...” Sean blacked out from the pain. Final Death looked up at the door as Dragon Master came walking out of the bar with the smoke still coming from behind him. Final Death got to his feet and his long, black finger nails began to grow outward. “You people have some sick ways to recruit members to your crappy little club,” Dragon Master said, “Will I get to join if I get the shit out of you?” Dragon Master and Final Death came at eachother. Dragon Master ducked under Final Death’s quick hands with the sharp blades that were protruding out ward. Dragon Master managed to do a leg sweep and catch Final Death off his balance but Final Death was quick and on his feet with a forward flip only to be knocked back up against the club house building by a spinning kick from Dragon Master. Final Death finally managed to get a shot in a clawed a large slash across Dragon Master’s chest but it did not take Dragon Master who stayed on his toes. Dragon Master fired a few power punches that rattled Final Death’s head and the next one cracked a rib in Final’s Death’s body. Final Death slashed Dragon Master down the arm and threw a spinning kick that knocked Dragon Master back into the dark of the alley. Final Death held out his hands and all of his black fingernails shot off his cuticles. A few of the “living nails” literally stuck in Dragon Master’s upper right thigh and the side of his neck. It was painful and most of all they were still moving and cutting into his body but it didn’t stop Dragon Master from coming at Final Death. It actually put Dragon Master into a more of a rage and kept the kicks and punches coming hard and painful from Dragon Master to Final Death’s face and stomach area.


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The fight kept going back and forth for at least another minute until Final Death who appeared to have the upper hand began to slip. Dragon Master’s spinning kicks and power punches to the stomach and face were beginning to mess up the crazy mutant. On his hand a new set of nails began to grow out. The other nails that were still in Dragon Master’s body were still hurting like hell but Dragon Master kept coming insanely and did not miss a beat. Dragon Master’s arms and kicks were like watching someone move in super speed. With Final Death all he could do was duck and block. Finally, Final Death got in another lucky shot that slashed Dragon Master across his chest again. The pain was unbearable but Dragon Master was determined to take down the super quick mutant. It felt like Final Death was drawing him into a kill shot and he knew that he could not survive another attack from his “flying claws”. So Dragon Master started to duck under the insane hands of Final Death that only wanted one thing and that was to kill Dragon Master but today Dragon Master would not have it as he backed up and threw a spinning kick that Final Death blocked. So Dragon Master surprised Final Death by summoning his minor flight capability into the move and raising his left leg that was tucked behind him. That kick that connected with Final Death literally rang the albino mutant’s bell. It knocked him up and off the ground about a foot and backwards into a brick wall with a loud thud. Final Death slid down the wall and was for sure seeing stars and he sat there dazed and confused. Dragon Master was about to finish off Final Death when all of a sudden he could hear boots and then the clicking of a gun. Dragon Master whipped around to see the man called Stan who was standing there with a gun aimed at him. “I know who you are Dragon Master,” Stan said with a laugh, “But tonight it is not going to end well for you. So if you were smart you would back away from Final Death and get the fuck out of here.” (In the distance there were cop sirens). “You have a gun on me?” asked Dragon Master, “Either you are going to pull that trigger and hit me or you are going to make a break for it? You know the cops are just around the corner? You have no choice...what is it? Stan?” Final Death opened his eyes and grabbed Dragon Master’s leg, burying his painful nails into his leg. Dragon Master let out a yell as Stan fired the hand gun and missed Dragon Master. Instead of helping Final Death, Stan decided to take off running through the neighbor hood. Dragon Master pulled his leg free and he went to kick Final Death in the face, only to literally smash the tall wood fence into two boards and half of the old flimsy fence fell in as Final Death leaped to his feet with blood dripping from his mouth now. “The sirens are getting closer,” Final Death said, “You are not exactly kosher with the police I hear.” “I have my ways,” Dragon Master said, “We can finish this right now. Where do you think you’ll go?” “Taking you to hell!” Final Death yelled as he came at Dragon Master with his claws out ward. He threw several attacks but could not land a shot at Dragon Master. Dragon Master did a duck and spinning leg sweep and knocked Final Death on his back but the quick albino mutant was already on his feet with a simple flip. “Come on!” Dragon Master motioned Final Death. “You bet mother fucker!” Final Death said as he came forward and brought his claws forward. Dragon Master ducked but slipped around and grabbed Final Death in an arm lock and from the force of his legs Dragon Master pushed off and slammed Final Death into the brick wall of the club house, break his right arm. Dragon Master let go and stepped back as Final Death slowly turned around in tremendous pain with his arm broken. Dragon Master wasn’t exactly a happy camper either with the mutant finger nails still inside hi flesh digging at him.


Dragon Master

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“Let it go,” Dragon Master said to Final Death who could barely stand on his feet. You could see his right arm that was snapped and bent the other direction. There was blood protruding from his mouth and Final Death was never known for giving up. Final Death charged Dragon Master again only to receive a flying spin kick to the side of his head. The impact was so hard it hit Final Death directly in the side of his head and he dropped to the ground unconscious and no longer moving as his body was doing a “croppy flop” from the nerve damage done to his body from that kick to the head. The cops were just pulling up as Dragon Master took off running down the alley. He could see the thirteen foot fence at the end of the run between the two buildings in the alley. With the cops moving in as fast as they did Dragon Master would have to make this approach non violent. So he took a running jump and pushed off as he grabbed the chain fence almost at the top. He then pulled himself up and over just as the cops were in the alley. He actually heard the words “Stop!” and a few bullets rang out. Dragon Master dug out the annoying bladed nails out of his neck and tried to get the ones out of his leg as he kept running but he could not stop. He looked out and could see a peer approaching as he ran down the long back alley way that opened up between two large warehouses and the docks. The sounds of cops coming around the corner and their sirens still behind him, Dragon Master played with the notion of turning around and presented a Government badge to the police but it didn’t seem like they were in the mood for conversation. Dragon Master was able to get into the shadows and he found a set of fire escape stairs that were to his left connected to a building. So he leaped up and grabbed the ladder ad climbed up them as quiet as any man could move out of his talent. With every bit of strength, Dragon Master made it to the roof top of the building. He walked about twenty meters and laid down on his back. He reached into his side belt and pulled out his communication device that Steve Elenor gave him when he was working with STEEL. “This is Dragon Master, I am looking for anybody in the tower that can help,” Dragon Master spoke into the device. “Go ahead Dragon Master,” a female voice responded, “this is Arlene, what’s going on?” “Can you ping my communication device and beam me up?” asked Dragon Master, “I have cops following me and blades stuck in my legs. I normally would get out of the situation myself but it has been a long night.” “Hang tight and we’ll ping you and prepare to be transported in thirty seconds,” Arlene replied. “That works,” Dragon Master said. After about thirty seconds, Dragon Master’s body literally began to flicker and his molecules faded him in and out and he transported to the STEEL base that was 2,500 miles above the Earth in a new space station. Dragon Master was lying down on one of the pods and so he got to his feet slowly with the help of some STEEL agents. Dragon Master was taken to a medical area of the building where Dr. Tonya Andrews removed the blades from his legs and one he never noticed that was near his side. Arlene crept into the room as Tonya was finishing up the job. “We will send you the forty thousand dollar bill for the space teleport and the surgery,” Arlene joked, “How are you feeling?” “I was doing fine until I ran directly into Final Death,” Dragon Master said, “Hopefully Bradford City’s finest were able to get the nullifier bands on him and arrest the son of a bitch. I pretty much handed them an unconscious dingbat who will have some issues smelling out of his nose for quite some time.” “So where is Steve?” asked Dragon Master.


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“Dragon Master it is nine PM Eastern Time,” Dark Fox, “even the great Agent of STEEL needs to get sleep. He’ll be here at 6 am sharp. He has been having a rough since all that stuff has been going around about who he is and where he comes from. Then throw in the junk with his father and you have one messed situation. I have been pulling the slack around here, there is way too much to do that needs to be attended to.” “Mother of God,” Tonya said as she finally pulled one of the blades from Dragon’s Master’s thigh. She had it on the end of some sort of needle nose gripping device. The strange thing about it was the fact the metal was in the shape of a long bladed black nail with an edged tip and it was slowly movie. “It is creepy,” Dragon Master said, “I need to get down to the mansion and...” “You can take comfort in resting here for the next four hours,” Dr. Tonya Andrew said as she wrote down a prescription pad for some pain medication along with some anti inflammatory meds in case an infection was caused from the fingernails.” “Get some sleep old timer I will check on you in the morning,” Arlene said, “I have a lot of work to do.” “Do me a favor Arlene,” Dragon Master said, “If I take this sleep I want you to pull some strings and get that prick Final Death in a STEEL cell. He is connected with the HAND and all of those RAID bastards. He was also a part of that underwater hideout that kept Bill Elenor and he knows the whereabouts of Benson Clark. We have to start cracking down on the pricks Arlene. If you don’t do it I will personally go down there with my leg wrapped up and pull that albino star eyed bozo out of that hillbilly jail myself.” “Wait a minute,” Tonya butted in, “I know I am just the doctor here but did I hear you say someone had Bill Elenor prisoner for two years and Benson Clark his still alive?” “I guess there’s no real secret there,” Dragon Master said. “The Benson Clark thing is still a rumor,” Arlene added. “What the hell are you giving me?” asked Dragon Master as he noticed Tonya was shooting something into his I.V. line. “Something to help you sleep,” Tonya said, “You look like you went nine rounds with Mike Tyson.” “Mike Tyson?” asked Dragon Master with a laugh, “What year are you living in? I am betting everything I own that man could not even touch me. Put us in a ring and give me about five...five....five...min...minutes.” Dragon Master’s head relaxed and hit the pillow and he was sleeping. “That took care of Mr. Chatty box,” Arlene said, “But I still plan to get some STEEL agents down there and get Final Death in our clutches. If he goes to North Gate he’ll be out and on the streets in minutes. Dragon Master was right.” “What about the device in his uniform?” asked Tonya. “What are you talking about?” asked Arlene. “Remember that STEEL has those miniature recorders in the super hero’s suits?” asked Tonya, “Are they still wearing them?” “I think the idea was turned down,” Arlene said, “it would have been a nice thought. How the heck are you hearing about all of this? Aren’t you just the doctor here?” Arlene joked. “When you work in the medical wing of this secret Government facility you tend to hear a lot of gossip that comes in and out,” Tonya said, “I have been stitching a lot of STEEL guys up lately.” The next day in Bradford City, New York in a smaller sub area called New City where the fight took place with Dragon Master. The police had a pair of nullifier bands on Final Death and he was behind a set of bars waiting to be transferred to the Bradford City Prison called North Gate which holds super powered criminals. The small time cops in the police station were a little nervous and they have only had to use their nullifier bands on some unlawful villains maybe about four times. Final Death was the biggest hard core villain they have ever had at the New City Police Station outside of Bradford. Finally the several cops that were in the two story building were beginning the day. The people that are jailed are kept in the basement under guard. There are about three men down there at the moment including Final Death. The man known as Stan came to the counter of the Police Station. He was smiling from ear to ear at all the cops who were trying to figure out what was wrong with the man’s face but didn’t want to ask.


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“Greetings!” Stan said, “My name is Stanley Miller. I am an attorney and I believe my client that you have down in your holding tank is being violated of his rights.” “What are you talking about?” asked Officer Turner as he got up from the desk and moved to the counter. “You are violating my client’s mutant rights,” Stan said, “You see I am an attorney for mutants. My client was in that tavern when those vans pulled up and started shooting. The next thing he knew he was stepping outside and getting attacked by that Dragon Master. I assure you Mr. Officer the only crime was he was at the wrong place in the wrong time.” “We pulled up and he was knocked out,” Officer Turner said, “From what I understand this is a dangerous villain known as Final Death. He has killed more people then I have employed on my entire staff on all three shifts.” “Oh no Officer Turner,” Stan said, “Surely you are mistaken. My clients name is Mr. Steve Trench. As you will see here is his paper work here.” Stan slid a bogus folder over to the Officer. It was a file on a man named Steve Trench.” “That man is Final Death,” Officer Turner said, “There is no doubt in my mind who we have downstairs but I will show this to the Sergeant if you are willing to take a seat over there and let us correct this.” “Oh certainly Officer Turner,” Stan said, “Do you have a restroom?” “Down the hallway to the left,” Office Turner said. “Thank you,” Stan said as he left the area and took a turn down the hallway toward the bathroom. A few minutes later, Commander Steve Elenor came into the Police Station. He had two STEEL Agents with him and they went right to the counter to be greeted by Office Turner. “What can I do for you boys?” asked Officer Turner. “We have come to escort Final Death out of here,” Commander Steve said, “I’m sure you do not have to be shown who we are talking about?” “Can you guys put your weapons away?” asked Officer Turner, “have Steve Trench’s lawyer come here. His name is Stanley Miller and he claims that is not Final Death down there.” “Where is this Mr. Miller?” asked Steve. “In the bathroom,” Office Turner said, “His skin is almost a pinkish tone. Like he has been out in the sun too long. He said he was a lawyer for mutant rights so I assumed he was a mutant also. “Bob, Ed, go hit that bathroom with caution,” Steve ordered, “Officer Turner get your men ready we may have something going on.” “Gotcha,” Officer Turner said as he turned around to talk to some of the Police Officers. “Everyone get back!” Agent Bob yelled down the hallway as they drew their guns and slowly walked down toward the men’s bathroom. Agent Ed kicked in the bathroom door and they both went into the men’s bathroom, checking all the bathroom stalls until they found the last stall. It was empty but only a brief case sitting on the toilet. “Commander Steve there is no sign of the male in question but there is a closed brief case sitting on the toilet,” Agent Ed spoke into his communication device on his uniform. “Agent Ed please run a test on that briefcase with your testing tools,” Commander Steve replied into his communication device as he was being lead to the basement, “If that is what I think it is get that fucking thing out of there.”


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“Let’s play a game,” Stan said that was sitting against the sink and now wearing a red suit and standing behind the two STEEL agents, “If you guess what is in the brief case I will let you live and you can take me in for suspicion of terrorism. If you don’t then well I guess you two are going to be in a world of hurt.” “What’s the deal with the red suit?” asked Agent Ed, “you think you are Steve Perkins or something? Turn around and put your hands against the mirror right now.” Thwack! A small man with a sword leaped down from the ceiling where he had been hiding. He slashed Agent Ed across the arm causing him to drop his weapon. Stan kicked Ed in the face and knocked him back into the stall. “Don’t ever give me orders!” Stan said, “And yes! I am Steve Perkins you stupid fucking morons! Nobody gets a prize. Samurai please kill that last STEEL agent for not playing the game with me!” “Hold up! Hold up!” Agent Bob said, “I will say there is not a bomb in the briefcase! I will make the call. So did I guess right?” “Well Agent Bob you have the weapon in your hand,” Stan (or Steve ) said, “you can either take charge of this situation or wind up like your friend over there with a missing appendage. Owie. You may need to get the first aid; he is bleeding like a stuck pig.” “Ok!” Agent Bob said setting down his weapon, “Let me tend to my fellow soldier. I have no issues with anybody. You guys can leave ok? Just back up and let me help him!” “I’ll tell you what Agent Bob,” Stan (Steve) laughed as he quickly reached down and grabbed the STEEL agent’s automatic weapon, “you are a very trusty worthy person but I need somebody left alive to live to tell the legend of Steve Perkins.” “Maybe another time,” Samurai said, “We have to move.” “That’s right,” Steve said as he took off running. The Samurai rammed his bladed through Agent Bob as he was trying to help his partner with his arm that was half severed off. The two made it out into the hallway where Steve Elenor was coming up the stairs with two cops and the one known as Final Death who had his hand clamped behind his back with a new set of power nullifiers which reduced his abilities to that of a normal mans. “What the fuck?” asked Steve Elenor drawing his weapon outward. “Why are you here?” asked Stan as he had the weapon he took from the guard aimed at Steve, “I came up here expecting to see somebody worth a challenge and then I see junior up here running the show. I didn’t come all the way back from Thailand to play shoot em up with a fake moron!” “You are not Steve Perkins!” Steve yelled, “Get on the ground now!” Ca-Boom! Ca-Boom! Two giant explosions came from the bathroom followed by the rushing noise of water that was spraying out of the severed sewer pipes from the toilet and wall. Some of the ceiling fell in on some of the police from the force of the blast. Many workers went airborne from the force and were injured from the blast. Steve pulled Final Death and Agent Turner to the ground to avoid the blast. “Oh yeah! Bingo!” Stan (Steve said as he opened fired into the police station with the automatic weapon and he began to rip up everything in the Police Station with the bullets bouncing off just about everything he hit. A cop came running out of the side room with a hand pistol aimed at Stan but it was the quick thinking Samurai who moved in and jumped up and decapitated the cop before he could take the shot. “Nice job!” Steve said, “We had better get going. Don’t look like we are going be able to get Final Death now.” “You don’t fucking leave me Perkins!” Final Death said struggling, “I spent money to have you flown to Thailand. I will make sure the HAND gets you!”


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“Shut up asshole!” Commander Steve said as he grabbed Final Death and lifted him up with his gun jammed into the back of Final Death’s head, “Here he is guys. You want your little HAND job boy you come take him from me.” “Greetings,” Steve said, “My name is Stanley Miller. I am an attorney for this man and I believe you have all of this wrong.” “What the hell are you talking about?” asked Commander Steve, “Where are my men?” “They wanted to guess what was in Briefcase number 5,” Stan laughed, “I guess they found out.” “If you are really Steve Perkins, I know for a fact his heart and brain were ripped out of his body and he was killed. So whoever you are, you are good. You should probably go into acting of something.” “I’ll take my chances with life on getting out of here!” Commander Steve said as he rammed the gun into Final Death’s head and pushed forward, “You realized that I got something you want and he is no good dead. So back up and let me through this mess and to the North Gate bus that is waiting.” “Take the nullifiers off of Final Death now!” Stan yelled in anger. “I am not fucking around Perkins wannabe,” Steve said, “Tell Samurai to back away also.” “Samurai is a legend in the classroom!” Stan said, “I had to dig him up and pump him full of the old cocktail juice. Come over here Commander Steve and lay your head on this table and allow my friend Samurai to chop off your head like a sword and a coconut.” “Fuck off!” Steve said as he rammed the butt of the gun into Final Death’s face. Normally it would barely hurt but since his powers were down to nothing the hit knocked him out. Steve stood up and started firing at Stan and his friend the Samurai. The two backed up to the door and fired back as they went out into the street. Commander Steve ordered the two cops to take Final Death back to the cell and he ran out into the streets after them. “May day! May day!” Steve spoke into his communication device, “Is Arlene or anybody up there we can send down? I am in New City which is a small suburb of Bradford City. Two of my men are down. I am shooting it out with some asshole dressed up as Steve Perkins and what appears to be the Samurai. Please transport down someone who can help.” Steve stepped back out and fired at Stan who was behind a large van. Stan fired back and took out a few cars that drove by causing them to crash into automobiles on the side of the road. You could hear Stan laugh like he was crazy when he killed someone. Finally the New City Police and several Bradford City Police officers came around the corner and joined Commander Steve with rifles and automatic weapons. The shoot out didn’t last very long as soon as the police got in the fight. With Stan and the Samurai trapped across the street from the Police building behind a large brown Fed-Ex Truck. “You can’t hold out for very long,” Samurai said, “Follow me and I’ll get you out of here.” “I want to kill that Steve Elenor asshole,” Stan said. “Forget it,” Samurai said as he began to slap something under the Fed-Ex truck and quickly twisted two wires together. Then Samurai reached under the van and jammed his sword into the manhole, popped the heavy cover off and climbed down it. “Where are you going?” Asked Stan. “We have two minutes,” Samurai said, “We have to get away.” “I am not going down there!” Stan said. “You cannot be that dumb,” Samurai said as he plunged further down the hole. Stan fired back at the police and then crawled around the back of the van and ducked underneath it. He went down the ladder and reached up and pulled the man hole back, it was not perfect but it covered the hole they climbed down. Stan went down a few feet and slipped but Samurai caught him. Stan looked around and all he could not see anything but Samurai grabbed his arm and pulled him down through the tunnels as fast as they could move. “Duck your head low,” Samurai warned Stan, “you will hit your head on the ceilings.” Meanwhile the police were moving in on the Fed-Ex truck. As they were closing in the truck literally exploded sending body parts and shrapnel everywhere. Commander Steve ran over to them to help a few cops that were still ok but there were a few dead.


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“God dammit!” Commander Steve yelled just as Warden Richard Case pulled up with about seven armed robot police guards. Two Police officers dragged Final Death out and handed him to the armed Prisoner guards. “Thank you we will take this prisoner off your hands,” the robotic Prison guard said as they dragged him to the back of the North Gate Prison truck. “I will get my revenge if it is the last thing I ever do...” Final Death said as blood dripped from his forehead from being head butted from the gun. “Fuck you,” Commander Steve said as the giant prison android dragged him into the truck and cuffed his nullifier bands down and slammed the truck door. “Thank you Commander for getting here,” Warden Richard Case said, “We will send some people down here to repair the damage done. I am so incredible sorry this happened but I am also glad you got here early enough to prevent this jail break attempt from Final Death’s connections.” “Warden,” Commander Steve said, “I know that you have got here when you heard about this place begin taken apart by Final Death’s friends but it would greatly be appreciated if STEEL could take Final Death to our facility for a few days so we could interrogate him. We have to find this HAND and the location of RAID and we know he is connected and a part of.” “Commander Steve that is a tall order especially what just happened here,” Warden Case said, “There are three dead cops, one dead civilian, two dead STEEL agents and four wounded police officers. This is going to be a tight nipped ship after we get that asshole back to North Gate.” “You get him to North Gate and you are going to have Detroit all over again,” Commander Steve said, “The HAND and RAID will not allow him to remain a prison but with STEEL they will never find the secret STEEL holding cells.” “Hop in my limo Steve Elenor,” Richard Case said, “Let’s get out of here and talk.” “Very well,” Steve said as he climbed into the back of the long limousine with Steve and then everyone else from North Gate drove off leaving a bullet holed Police station that was going to need some repairs as News media trucks and vans were pulling up along with many other people afraid to get too close. A few hours later Dragon Master awakens in his hospital room. He has an idea that he was given something to help him sleep but after sitting there for a bit he could see Dr. Tonya Andrews slowly coming into his hospital room. “How do you feel Dragon Master?” asked Tonya. “Drugged,” Dragon Maser said. “It was for your health,” Tonya said, “I don’t think I really needed to do it.” “Strangely I feel about ten times better,” Dragon Master said. “It’s strange,” Tonya said, “The cuts, bruises and the bruised ribs, they were all gone.” “Interesting, I think it is a part of my new powers when Botaay left he had granted me with special abilities,” Dragon Master said, “I think anything is possible Dr. Andrews.” “Indeed Dragon Master,” Dr. Andrews said, “Well you can get back to business, I am out of here. THE END TO BE CONTINUED INTO CRUSADERS #12


Dragon Master #1