The Six Emperors: Professor Moriarty Versus Hugo Danner

By Leonard Pigg

Hugo Danner was jogging through the streets of Indianapolis at night. This had become his nightly ritual, which was also a casual patrol of the downtown area at night. Having been freed from suspended animation by Dr. Jekyll of the Six Emperors, he has returned to a world that is familiar and foreign all at the same time. Running through traffic and parks faster than a human could, he was almost a blur to some. Sometimes the rate of his speed would create a strange noise as the wind ricocheted off the track suit hiding his muscular frame. Despite his dark complexion, Danner always had a healthy glow about him. His enhanced strength, agility and durability came from an experimental serum his father injected into the womb. Ever since, his scientist parents raised him to be a force of good in the world and now that he has returned, it is business as usual. Getting bored with his workout, he decides to take to the rooftops with a leap. From there, he sprang from building to building, feeling free as the wind crossed his durable skin. His enhanced senses pick up the sound of a woman screaming and he changes direction, heading toward her. When he finds the alley, he sees three Skinheads circling around an Arabic woman. “Time to move on, boys.” Hugo says as he crosses his arms. One of them turns and says, “Naw, boy. You best be on your way, or we’re carving up some dark meat!” Hugo kicks a dumpster, sending it between the three punks and the woman. Charging into the fray, Hugo grabs the first man and tosses him into the dumpster. The other two attempt to lock up with him and are overpowered. He slams the other two into the wall, then tossing their unconscious bodies into the dumpster. The woman, stunned at first watches on and then cheers. She hugs Hugo and he smiles. He then grabs the lid of the dumpster, bending the metal to trap them inside. “Call the police to come pick up these idiots,” Danner says to the woman and he leaps away onto a nearby roof into the night.

Suddenly, he hears the sound of a helicopter and sees a chopper overhead. He waves as the spotlight shines on him and smiles, which turns into a frown as he hears the voice of an older British man come over the speaker. “On behalf of the Six Emperors, I wish you a very Happy Friday, Mr. Danner!” Hugo says with a scowl, “Oh yeah? Come on down, Morrie! I got something for you!” A humanoid figure leaps from the plane and lands on the roof, as the copter begins to spiral downwards. The humanoid lands on his feet, steel-toed boots crack the rooftop with a thud. Garbed in a red leather jacket and matching pants, the holographic image of Professor James Moriarty appears, atop the neck of the large combatant. Danner leaps away and into the copter, attempting to prevent its crash onto the streets below. As he gains control, he lands it on the roof where the leather-clad foe waited. Hugo steps out of the copter to confront him. “In Irish folklore, there was a creature called a ‘Dullahan,’ not unlike the Headless Horseman. I decided to create my own version of a Dullahan. A very powerful android. I do hope you like it,” the Moriarty-headed Dullahan says to Danner and charges at him. Hugo leaps over him and kicks the Dullahan in the back, knocking it off the roof. “You’re slipping, Morrie!” Hugo says with a smile and looks over the side of the building. He is greeted with a fist, knocking him onto his back. The Dullahan was clinging to the side of the roof and leaps back on, landing on Danner’s chest, causing the rooftop to crack even more, sending shock waves. Danner grabs the Dullahan by the shoulders and head-butts the chest repeatedly, causing it to spark. It pounds on him again and the force of the blows cause the entire roof to give way and the two crash through the building, as does the copter. Danner lands on his feet, as the weight of roof continues to crash down, the building beginning to crumble. He leaps toward the Dullahan, plunging his fist past the hologram of Moriarty and into the neck. He starts pulling wires and tearing the Dullahan in half. Once it stops fighting, the hologram disappears and his heightened senses pick up the sound of a high-pitched beeping noise. Leaping away from the debris as the building continues to collapse, Danner springs into the air as the Dullahan explodes. The blast ignites the copter creating an even bigger explosion, sending Danner into the Indianapolis skyline as the building below him crumbles.

Once in the air, he looks around to see where he might be able to maneuver. Running out of options, he simply relaxes his body in the hopes that his superhuman durability will keep him alive. A moment later, he is caught by the wrist mid-air by a glowing, blue blur. A moment later, he is on the roof of a parking garage as he watches the building where he fought the Dullahan burn in the downtown area . Standing next to him is the heroic Blue Bolt. Decked out in a black body suit with blue gloves, blue boots and cowl, he smiles at Hugo. His bright blue cape flows behind him in the breezy night. “Another typical Friday night, Hugo? You’re welcome, by the way.” Danner pats Bolt on the back and says, “Thanks, Old School. Moriarty decided to try me again. He’s been getting sloppy, though. I think he’s used to fighting Sherlock Holmes and is wanting another challenge.” Emergency responders head towards the burning wreckage, as the two look on. “The Midwest used to be so quiet. My job was much easier in the old days. I can’t lie, though… I’m having fun.” Bolt says. The two heroes hear the sound of applause and suddenly turn to see Professor Moriarty stepping through a portal, flanked by a dozen masked men in tactical gear. “I think you might be right about something, Danner. I do need a challenge. Running an empire in secret can be quite tedious. I do treasure our bouts, however a status quo must be maintained. Fire!” The men open fire as Blue Bolt takes to the skies, while shooting down electrical energy at them. Danner strikes the ground, throwing his enemies off balance, as bullets ricochet off his dark skin. “Don’t these guys know bullets won’t work on me?” Danner says as the ground gives way under the soldiers and Moriarty. Hugo leaps toward a nearby building, grabbing onto a fire escape. Blue Bolt fires electricity at the soldiers, until all save Moriarty is left intact. He swoops over to him, grabbing him by the collar and flying him into the air. “It’s time to end your reign of terror, Moriarty!” Blue Bolt says to the Emperor. Moriarty goes limp and begins to vibrate, then explodes. Caught off-guard, Bolt is stunned by the blast and falls from the sky. “It was a damned robot duplicate!” Danner says leaping toward the fallen Blue Bolt, catching the unconscious hero before he hits the ground.

Hugo places Blue Bolt on the ground at street level, checking his vitals. “You’re still alive, old man.” Hugo says with a smile. Blue Bolt pulls off his mask, rubbing his hands through his dark hair, with graying temples. “The concussive force still hurt, but I was able to absorb the energy of the explosion. I just need a breather and I’ll be ready to fly us out of here.” Bolt says with a half smile. Putting his mask back on, he stretches and rises to his feet. As both heroes get their bearings, people on the street come up taking pictures. Hugo and Bolt take selfies with a few people, both putting on smiles for the public. Professor Moriarty comes from around the corner, applauding the two men. “Way to work the adoring public, gentlemen. Before you decide to rush me, I should mention that I’m holding a detonator. The bomb is in a nearby hospital or was it a welfare office? Nevertheless, I’ve come to talk.” Blue Bolt ushers the people away, creating a perimeter as Hugo steps closer to Moriarty. “I’m listening.” Danner says. “I’m hoping for a truce. I have an enemy that has been stalking me and I believe you are the ones to stop him. I’ve no desire to drag the other five Emperors into this, as I try to be discreet about my indiscretions. However, the Dullahan you destroyed wasn’t my first prototype. I had captured the Headless Horseman and attempted to make a synthetic version. The Horseman escaped and has been following me. I’d sooner have you gentleman handle this, as he is quite destructive and has no qualms about harming innocent lives.” Blue Bolt laughs and says, “If he knocks you off, then he’s doing the world a favor.” Hugo nods. Moriarty says, “Who do you think is the moral center of the Six Emperors? Without me, the entirety of humanity would be enslaved. It benefits us both that I continue to live. I will also donate a large sum of money to a charity of your choice. I might also be able to convince them to back off the Resistance movement for the nonce? I’ve been many things, but a liar isn’t one of them.” Danner cracks his knuckles and says, “A monster turned loose on the streets sounds like something Scrooge would have done.” Moriarty nods and says, “Who do you think engineered Ebeneezer Scrooge’s demise? The novelty of his experiments gone wild grew thin. The others got tired of spending time and resources putting down his wild dogs. This is the first time I’ve had an experiment go awry, but the supernatural isn’t my field of expertise. The Dullahan experiments would mean I wouldn’t have to use live operatives any further.”

A moment later, the murmur of the city life is interrupted by the sound of machine gun fire. The area near Moriarty is riddled with bullets, as he dives for cover. Blue Bolt creates an electrical field around the area, blocking the gunfire. Hugo grabs Moriarty, pulling him to his feet and says, “Give me the detonator as a show of good faith and we’ve got a truce, yeah?” Moriarty nods, quickly handing the detonator over to Danner. The Headless Horseman reloads his gun as he sits atop his steed, which has black eyes and glowing green veins all over its body. He hops off the horse, placing a green flaming pumpkin where his head should be. The eyes glow green and he is wearing a long, brown duster and leather gloves. Blue Bolt fires two energy beams, sending the Horseman crashing onto the hood of a parked car. Moriarty whips out a plasma gun and shoots the car, causing it to explode engulfing the Horseman.

The horse charges at Hugo, plowing him through the front of a jewelry store. It continues forward until he bears down, planting his feet and it stops in its tracks. It tries to trample him, but he blocks the attack with his forearms and shoves the creature away. “I don’t like hurting animals, but I think you’re already dead!” Danner says as he punches the creature, sending it crashing through the next wall. It rises again and gives a demonic roar, belching hellfire onto Hugo. He screams out in agony as the flames burn away his shirt, but don’t appear to actually effect his skin. “Game over, man!” Danner says as he grapples with the beast, giving it a mighty ear clap. The force of the strike shatters the remaining glass in the building and the horse bursts into hellfire and dissipates. The hellfire hits him, sending him into a heap on the ground.

Outside, the Horseman pulls himself from the flaming wreckage. “Take me to the rooftops, Bolt! We have to get him away from the people!” Moriarty says, as he continues to fire shots at the Horseman, driving him back. Bolt give him a nod and fires electricity from his hands again, shocking the Horseman. With super-speed, Bolt grabs Moriarty and flies towards the rooftop. “I hope Danner is holding his own.” Bolt says. A moment later, the two are on the roof of an office building. Moriarty dusts himself off and says, “Hugo Danner is one of the most resilient beings I’ve encountered.” Blue Bolt replies, “That almost sounds like a compliment, James.” Moriarty smiles and says, “You both would make great Emperors if you can get past your own morality.” With that, he presses a button on his watch and a force field appears around his body. He then looks over the side of the building and sees the Horseman slowly climbing up the wall, with a cutlass in the mouth of the pumpkin head. Moriarty fires a few shots at him, which he dodges and begins to climb with more ferocity. “Time to die, James Moriarty!” the Horseman’s demonic voice echoes as he leaps onto the roof and kicks Blue Bolt, sending him across the roof. The Horseman takes the cutlass and swings it at Moriarty, who stands with his arms folded and an annoyed look on his face. The sword strikes the force field, sending sparks into the air. He swings again and again, while Moriarty says, “Blue Bolt! Do something, my force field won’t last forever!” Bolt gets up and runs at super-speed towards the Horseman, pummeling him with a flurry of electrically charged punches. The attack drives him back, just as Hugo Danner leaps onto the roof. He grabs a chimney, wrenching it from the roof with his strength and he throws it at the Horseman. His aim strikes true as it breaks across the Horseman’s back, sending him to his knees, as Bolt continues his attack. Finally, he crumples to the ground in a smoldering heap and the pumpkin head rolls away from the body. Moriarty activates his teleportation device, opening a portal underneath the body of the Horseman and it falls through. “Where did you send him?” Blue Bolt asks, as he catches his breath. Moriarty smiles and says, “The moon. I’ve found it a convenient location for things I am unable to control or destroy.” Danner shakes his head and says, “This was an interesting turn of events. I never thought I’d join forces with one of the Six Emperors. I should be heading back to my nightly patrol. Care to join me, Blue Bolt?” Bolt smiles, grabbing Danner by the wrist and the two fly off into the night in an electric blue aura. Moriarty is alone on the roof and he smiles. “What is the old saying? It’s good to be the king,” he says as he lights a cigar and opens a different portal. He takes a few puffs and casually strolls through the portal and says, “Wait until Dracula hears about this one…”

Image by Sterling Clark

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