Moon Knight 2099UGR # 2 - February 2005

Logo by Luke O'Sullivan

Issue Two, Volume One

"Silver Lining"

Written by Jason McDonald

Edited by Michael Shirley

Assistant Editor: Dave Munch

Chief Editor: Michael Shirley

Moon Knight

The Man Behind The Mask

Gale Nocturne

Steven Rogerson

Takayashi Martin

Emmanuel Davis





Repugnant words to be sure, yet all were still present in the early twenty-first century.

All were still relevant.

For you see, by that time, humankind had erected fantastic, inspiring monuments to the human spirit. Statues that exhibited the peak of mankind’s political prowess. Buildings that alluded to status and wealth. Even objects such as books and movies attested to the wonders of the human imagination, both limitless in scope and boundless in application.

Such incredible works. One would think they would be maintained in order to preserve not only their beauty, but though that the essence, the power of their message. Of their testimony to the values of humankind and the infinitely enduring quality of the human spirit.

Instead they were left to rot.

The buildings were allowed to crack, to hollow and fall to venomous ruin. Their sidewalks, once creature comfort to the towering megaliths of the era, were encouraged to split, and quarter deceptively green vultures that entwined their stalks and vines around the very buildings that were once adored for their beauty and elegance. The statues crumbled under the weight of the ungrateful pigeons that routinely abused them. The books were worn, ripped, tossed to the wayside. Left to rot in the towering pits they once called garbage dumps. And the movies. Well…

They were forgotten. Reinvented and forgotten once again.

Remakes of remakes. Parodies of third generation incarnations. Before the drift to holographic and virtual technology, before movies and television were remade with the values of the post-modern neo-corporate era, the old classics bore no passing resemblance to their true originals, their messages skewed and befouled with the passage of time.

And no one cared.

Certainly not those up in power.

No, they were awash with luxury and paradise. Their every whim fulfilled. Their bellies grown fat with bile and greed, of ignorance and superiority. The plight of their own species fell deaf on their ears because there was no money to push it along. No cash to pad the message of the inferior breed.

And so this dance continued in the early twenty-first. The rich held the poor in a grip of despair. They never lifted a finger. Never gave an inch. And the buildings decayed. They became living ghosts, reminders of a time when pride in humankind was priority, not liability. When the human spirit was shown through enduring monuments, rather than dirty dollar bills. When quality, not quantity, mattered.

But there was still hope. The future was only a day away, as they used to say. The poor continued to work. To push to survive. They prayed that they could, that they would survive just another day longer. All in the hope that one day, their plight would be realized. That those in power would stray their vision from their safes and stare, perhaps for a second, upon the huddled masses that Lady Liberty had invited onto her doorstep. That the rich would help them up. That their patience would be finally rewarded with even a sliver of the heaven that their masters enjoyed.

The have-nots looked toward the future, only a day away.

You would think that day has come, nine and a half centuries later. Right?

It hasn’t.

Just ask the poor, pained, praying people of Downtown. Ask those in the darkness who still huddle near fiery trash cans just for some comfort from the cold. Just for some acquaintance with the light. Ask the Docs in a Box who see the druggies go insane or explode from the newest “gifts” from their Uptown neighbors.

You can even ask the neighbors themselves, these delightful Uptowners.

On second thought, don’t bother.

They don’t care.

Takayashi Martin strolled lazily along the long, dark corridor towards the shining adamantium alloy double doors of the laboratory that made Spectre Division so popular with the higher-ups.

Tonight was inspection night. Surprise inspection night. He forced back a sadistic giggle.

As the head of Spectre Division, he was obligated to inspect the laboratories every week and draft reports of the progress his division had made.

So far, they’d had some promising results with some new genetic re-sequencing and retrofitting techniques that still needed to be officially patented by the corporation. Additionally, their revolutionary security procedures were still unmatched by any of the other divisions and, so far, had suffered no breaches whatsoever; something which none of the other corporate raider programs within Stark/Fujikawa’s massive network could claim.

Until tonight, that is.

He thought again about how much fun he’d have watching the scientists scramble about once he’d entered the lab. As far as they knew, their inspection would be next Friday. As far as they knew, he had long since gone home. As far as they knew.

‘They have no idea,” he smiled. A sudden beeping from his wristwatch brought him out from his sadistic train of thought.

“What’s this?” he said absent-mindedly as he tapped a button on the lightning blue device, emitting a shimmering holographic image of Darla, his secretary.

“Darla?” he questioned intently, “Who’s it this time?”

“It’s the Watchers again,” the flickering goldenrod woman said flatly.

“The Watchers?” the irritated man whined, “Jeez, not again! Last time they came to me about a shocking indy news report that said Stark/Fujikawa was pure evil. Like anyone evens listens to those pointless broadcasts anyway. Downtowner rhetoric is something I need not be bothered with.”

“Steven Rogerson takes his job very seriously,” the petite black-haired secretary stated.

“Steven Rogerson is a pain in the shocking rear,” the trim Takayashi countered, “Just put him through.”

Suddenly, the woman’s image flickered out of existence only to be replaced by that of a pudgy, middle-aged man who looked quite exasperated at the moment.

“What’s it now, Steve?” the head of Spectre sighed, “Someone denounce the corporate raiders as evil, soulless bloodsuckers in a chatroom again?”

“No, no,” the breathless man gasped, “it’s much worse than that, sir! The…the transport you sent out earlier… the one with the defective specimen abroad?”

“Yeah, what about it?” Takayashi laughed, “Pilot have a backache?”

“The pilot’s dead.” Steve responded, “The transport crashed in the middle of Downtown three minutes ago.”

Martin was dumbfounded, “Shock me…”

“It gets worse,” the chief executive spoke with a mounting dread in his bulging, bloodshot eyes, “The…the specimen…we believe the specimen escaped before the ship was destroyed, sir.”

Takayashi Martin looked upon the yellow hologram in morbid fear.

“This must be kept secret at all costs,” he said without hesitation, “Steve, get some Watchdogs out there to track that specimen down. And tell the PR department to cease all outgoing broadcasts concerning the ship until I can get in touch with them.”

“What about the ship itself?” Steven asked.

“Leave it. Until they can afford our protection, they’re stuck with whatever they get.”

Takayashi clicked the wristwatch hologram off and launched himself toward the anti-grav elevator, cursing this horrendous turn of events.

“I was really looking forward to that inspection,” he thought aloud he receded slowly into the enveloping darkness of the elevator shaft.


Such quiet darkness.

Then there were voices.

Voices echoing, in and out of existence. Shouts. Whispers. They all passed by so fast. He couldn’t make anything out.

He…he remembered wind whipping past his skin at hundreds of miles an hour. He recalled the shrinking sky, the insane buildings rushing up around him at impossible speeds. Nothing to hold on to. Everything was going by so fast. Was he…was he falling? Had he been falling?

Or had it been just a dream?

Just another bad dream?

He didn’t know if it was a dream or not, but he knew how it ended…

It was painful. Very painful. And crimson. His eyes were blocked with a crimson haze. He could make out a circle in the sky. A white spherical something or other. Was it the moon?

Then there was darkness. The silent, empty darkness.

No, not just that. The voices were back. No, not voices. Shouts. Lots of people were shouting something.

‘Clear’? ‘Clear the way’? Is that really what they were saying? He could barely understand. They were going so fast…

He felt himself moving now. Moving up. Shakily, steadily moving up. Was he being lifted? By whom? Where? He couldn’t…

Another voice. Slower this time. ‘You’re going…be okay…you’re gonna be just fine…”

It was soothing. The voice was soothing.

There was light now. A vast horizon of light. It widened. He could see some images, shapes. Undefined. Blurry. He…he couldn’t make them out.

The jumbled shapes started to coalesce. An oval-shaped object. Is that a face?

Eyes, nose, ears, mouth…it’s a woman. She’s saying something….

“Rest now, stranger. You’re in good hands…” A smile…

The blurry haze cleared. Her face. He could see her face now. Her flowing brown hair. Her soft, blue eyes. Her tender lips. He could see the cap on her head with the red plus sign on it. A nurse. She was a nurse.

And yet, there was something else. He had never seen this woman before in his life. And yet she reminded him of someone. She reminded him of someone he did know. Or had known. Someone….

Her face blurred along with the grimy tiled ceiling above her. The hospital room faded rapidly into the darkness.

Such quiet, quiet darkness…

The department head of Stark/Fujikawa’s Spectre Division stared anxiously at the holographic digital readout before him. Although the cushion of air within the anti-gravity elevator which he stood upon continued to accelerate downward at an awesome speed, the journey seemed to stretch into some palpable eternity. Seconds ticked like years. The automated double doors on each passing floor raced by at a sloth’s crawl. Takayashi’s stone-faced grimace seemed to sharpen even further with a fifth glance at his azure wristwatch. Time was of the essence. There was none to waste.

With piercing, thoughtful eyes, he stared straight ahead as his mind began to analyze the situation at hand.

The scenario: One of Spectre Division’s failed experiments had escaped. An, as of yet, unprecedented happenstance.

He cringed at that thought.

The stakes: Although a failed experiment, the specimen still possessed high levels of endurance and enormous taps of powers. The Watchdogs would be cannon fodder if the specimen knew the full extent of his powers. But he doesn’t, meaning he will be extremely vulnerable. Thus, if he is caught in time, his hardware can be disconnected and he can be disposed of as a corpse. Best case scenario. But, if he isn’t caught in time and our competitors manage to salvage his technology, then….

A shudder. Impossibly, his iron grimace became even more pronounced.

As the anti-grav lift reached his destination, he stormed out from the already opening elevator doors and raced like mad down the hall towards his sinfully lavish office.

Sprinting down the hallway, he tapped his lightning watch again and a woman clad in goldenrod appeared alongside him, keeping his pace exactly, even though she stood perfectly still.

“Darla! I want the CEO’s of NYFAX, Astronet and every other reputable independent news publisher wired into my office vidphone right now!” he yelped at his holographic secretary.

“Right away, sir,” the flickering secretary acquiesced as she vanished from existence once again.

It would take some convincing, but by Thor, Spectre Division’s blunder would never be made public. But if it were Alchemax’s blunder on the other hand…

Takayashi smiled as he gripped the golden handle of his elaborately-decorated door and slowly entered the dark, black hole of his office suite.

He stirred. His eyelids forced themselves open after a fitful, dreamless sleep, curious to see what predicament they were in this time.

Instead of a cargo hold or a woman’s face, it was a familiar grimy ceiling. He must be in a hospital somewhere. Instinctively, he tensed his torn and broken muscles in a vain attempt to get up.

There was a brisk shuffling of feet.

“Take it easy!” a woman’s voice cautioned, “You still need to rest.”

She laid a comforting hand on his chest and eased his terse, quivering form back down into the bed.

“That was quite a nasty jump you took,” she sighed, “You’re lucky to be alive. Judging from the crater we found you in, it looked like you’d fallen a few hundred feet. But I’ve seen jumpers that only fell from forty and ended up puddles in the sidewalk. You’re a very lucky man, stranger.”

“What…whur…what are you…” he stammered, his bruised and broken jaw not helping matters any.

“Shhh…” she whispered, “Time to rest. Take it easy. You’re gonna be alright. Just rest….”

Her voice trailed off as her young, beautiful face suddenly vanished. The old, slimy walls gave way to a sprawling black backdrop dotted eloquently with a neon green grid pattern. He was no longer that frail, broken man recovering in a local Docs in a Box. He was free of the blistering, blinding pounding in his head and the agony of his nervous system. He was somewhere else. Somewhere artificial. And he was standing upright.

He glanced around his bizarre surroundings. The digital horizon melted with the black gridlines along the jade sky. Emptiness surrounded him on all sides. Yet, in this unending expanse, he stuck out like a sore thumb.

He was enveloped in some immaculate filmy, silk. A pure white encasement along his entire body. The same encasement that formed over him during the explosion of the ship’s engines. But this time, there was no pain. No pinpricks on the skin. No foul, godforsaken taste in the back of his throat. No internal hemorrhaging in the pit of his stomach.

Where on earth was he?

Suddenly, a lean, black-haired man appeared before him, dressed in one of the best business suits that 2099 had to offer.

“Hello, specimen,” the smiling man flickered, “I am Emmanuel Davis, the chief tech….cian of the much lauded Spectre Div…ion. Or at least an avatar of the original. An archetype, if you will. I was programmed ……be your guide, your interactive, digital manual, to this wonderful gift….k/Fujikawa has extended to you.”

“Gift?” the confused man uttered, “Am I dreaming or something?”

“No such luck, specimen!” the badly-damaged program beamed, “You see, your…enetic code has been bonded to bio-mechanical…nano-technological armor in...hopes of creating the next-generation corporate raider. You, dear specimen, are to be our newest post-Specialist corporate operative. You…are an Expert.”

“Expert?” the man in the gleaming armor questioned, “I’m no expert? What are you talking about?”

“I’m…t..lking about the next generation of corporate raider fro…m Stark/Fujikawa Incorporated, the Expert. The Expert is a very comprehensive, very…timistic optimistic update from the Specialist model that endows one with extraordinary powers that far surpass the physical cap…bilities and the interactive capacities of the previous Specialist model. The Expert model is the perfect tool for re…nnaissance, espionage, infiltration and deception as well as normal human interaction but without those pesky inconveniences such as free will or individuality. As an Expert, you will be able…to serve the corporation of Stark/Fujikawa perfectly, efficiently and loyally.”

The flickering Emmanuel put a vicious accent on the last word.

“As part of your Expert package, you… to change between armored form and your human form by recalling the trillions of nanites that comprise your armor back into your body, as your missions dictate. A capability…which I will demonstrate now”

The man shuddered uncontrollably as, without warning, the silk armor covering his body slid across his dumbfounded body and receded with an odd, barely audible slurping into his awaiting pores.

“What just happened?” the panicking man yelled violently.

“Relax, spec…imen,” the abomination of a man continued, “A simple first-person automated demonstration of the capabilities that have been programmed into your genetic armor. As I was saying, along with the standard en…enhancements in strength, speed, and agile…agility that the specialists enjoy, you’ve been programmed with the ability…to fly as well as the ability to emit strong bursts of collected potential and kinetic energy from your hands and pupils.”

Suddenly, as his heart began to beat ever faster in his chest, the man found himself levitating above the digital construct that looked too much like a man. He saw his arms lift up without his consent, somehow emitting a powerful pulse of electric blue energy that jarred his still-human body, rocketing off into the endless distance.

“In addition…nanites that make up your body are able to replicate themselves, allowing you to create items such as guns, pulse rifles and…other paraphernalia you may need to complete whatever missions we… assign for you.”

A giant pulse rifle appeared in the man’s shaking left hand while a small staff appeared in his jittery right.

His panicked heart skipped a beat.

“Beyond that, you have been programmed with a 360 degree field of vision as well…night vision, for tactical and reconnaissance purposes.”

His field of vision compressed and curved outward as more of the digital expanse appeared before him until he could see the entire field of vision behind him. As his eyes bulged in horror, his entire field of vision bled into a jaded haze. His head began to wobble in total sensory confusion.

“Now, this is my favorite part. You have also been designed with an intangibility subroutine as well as an ability to bend light around yourself, rendering you… you invisible to the human eye.”

The man’s arm unexpectedly gripped the small staff in his hand and struck viciously at his other arm with it. The man instinctively winced, tensed for the inevitable surge of pain, but violently shuddered in horror as the stick passed right through his entire left arm. As the staff continued downward, he watched in abject fear as his entire left hand disappeared from existence, along with the complex, intricately-detailed pulse rifle he was holding. Yet he could still feel the weight of the pulse rifle in his hand as well as the pulsing surge of blood pounding through his numbing hand.

“These features will allow for greater efficiency in combat…and espionage situations, if and when the need arises. However, be careful, as they are…substan…substantial strains on your energy capacitors and will cause the nanites to automatically render you tangible and visible in order to conserve….”

“STOP!” the poor distraught man screamed in desperation, “I’ve had enough of this psychotic little manual! Stop! Stop! Stop! End this insane program NOW!”

“Are you sure you want….want to end this interactive manual?” the ghostly, flickering construct blankly said in pure monotone.

“Yes!” the flailing man, now safely back on the neon gridline ground, “A thousand times, yes!”

“Very well. Program down,” the ghost’s voice deadpanned as the digital tapestry around him flickered and wavered out of existence.

A surge of pain rapidly fluttered back into the terrified man’s senses as he found himself once again back in the Docs in a Box hospital bed staring up at that odious tile ceiling which he had grown so repulsed by.

And which, after that horror show of a digital manual, he was so very, very glad to see.

He heard a familiar shuffling of feet and, within moments, his nurse was above him once again, her concerned, yet relieved face looking down upon his fatigued form.

“Awake so soon?” she joked as she laid a comforting hand upon his bandaged head.

He smiled warmly. Somehow, among the pain of his torn muscles and sewing bones, among the constricting bandages and the young, smiling face of the total stranger before him, he finally felt something he’d never felt before in the few measly little hours of his life that he could remember.


“So, how much is it going to take to change that stolid mind of yours?” Takayashi Martin smiled viciously, sizing up his steadfast prey with wide, piercing eyes.

“NYFAX is a respectable broadcasting station,” the CEO of NYFAX Incorporated deadpanned with a frown, “We can’t be bought off.”

“One million credits, then?” the head of Spectre pushed.

“I told you Mr. Martin, we can’t…”

“Three million credits?” the grinning sadist continued, “Or will four do?”

“Four will, I mean, four will NOT do!” a hint of anger shot into the CEO’s voice, “We are an independent entity! We have the freedom to broadcast whatever we want. And nothing, not even…”

“Seven million,” his grin spread wider to cover his grimace.

“Not,” the breathless CEO stammered, “not even…seven…millon…”

“Well,” the unphased tactician confidently ceased, “I see this is futile. Your prominent corporation, as well as its illustrious staff, has far too much integrity to be simply bought off with a few measly credits.”

“That’s right,” the frowning CEO said with a hint of regret, “we will not be bought off. Our freedom, our integrity is too valuable to us.”

“It is valuable to us as well, I assure you,” Takayashi Martin said with a smirk as he reached into his pocket, feeling around for a certain object in particular, “And that is why I offer you a token of my undying respect to you and you colleagues.”

With that, he pulled from his pocket a shiny, blank card that gleamed brilliantly from the flickering light of the vidscreen, enhanced by the surrounding darkness that encased the entirety of the expansive office suite.

“What do you think?” Takayashi smiled insidiously as he leaned toward the glowing vidscreen.

“I..” the humble CEO stammered, “I…what exactly do you want me to broadcast again?”

“The truth,” the victorious department head answered, “The world should be kept apprised of Alchemax’s public affairs, successful or otherwise. After all, that is what news broadcasts are for, correct?”

The CEO was momentarily paralyzed by the glimmering black card being waved in front of his greedy eyes.

“Absolutely,” he gibbered, “that’s, what we’re here for.”

“I’m glad we agree,” Mr. Martin chimed, “and this little token of my appreciation is being sent to you as we speak. Keep up the fine work.”

The vidscreen clicked off.

‘So much for that little chore,’ Takayashi thought as he crossed of NYFAX in the glowing datapad to his right listing a dozen already-bribed independent news broadcasters. ‘Now to deal with…other matters.”

He pressed a small button on his watch and Darla flickered into view once again.

“Darla, get the PR department,” he ordered, tilting his hovering chair back as he lifted his heavy, booted feet up onto his immaculate metallic desk, “tell them to go right ahead with that downed Alchemax transport story.”

“Yes, sir,” she droned.

As she disappeared into the inky void of the spectacular office, Takayashi Martin leaned back into the sweet surface comforts of his hovering leather-bound office chair and fantasized once more about a flawless surprise inspection. It made him smile.

“…and I still can’t remember a thing about my old life,” the relaxed young man said as he walked along the street, his arm entwined with that of his nurse, Gale Nocturne.

“Retrograde amnesia,” Gale said intently, “It can happen sometimes to people who suffer severe head trauma. But, my goodness, I can’t believe you’ve healed so quickly! I mean, just hours after that fall, you’re up and about! And to think, Marq, I thought you were another suicide!”

They chuckled light-heartedly as the man repeated that word in his head.


He knew it wasn’t his real name. It couldn’t be. It was just an alias that Gale had given him earlier, after he’d awakened from the nightmarish digital world of his costume’s manual. He’d been christened with the name of Gale’s dearly departed father. And yet, although he wore the name of another man, it fit somehow. He couldn’t explain it, but it felt right. This Marq alias. It was like a comforting specter, watching over him; here, now.

Still, something about this connection to a name that was not his….it left him weary; uneasy somehow.

His wide smile wavered.

“Don’t worry. In your shoes, I might have done the same. It’s just…” He looked down at the cracking, weedy sidewalk, “it’s just that, nothing human could have healed as fast as I did. What if I - -?”

“Lets not think about that now,” she countered, “We came out here to get you some fresh air. And by Thor, that’s what we’re going to do!” She laughed.

“Do you give this therapy to all your patients?” Marq felt his ominous concerns melt away as he gazed down at the beautiful young woman beside him. He smiled.

“Just the big, tall, mysterious ones,” she chimed. They shared another hearty laugh as they continued on their stroll through the darkened, grimy city streets of Downtown.

“Man, it feels so good to be out of that horrible, itchy hospital gown!” he said as he felt the comfortable cloth covering his tall, muscled frame.

“You were lucky to have it,” she joked, “When we found you, you were completely naked! And surrounded by the locals, to boot!”

“I guess I should be grateful you were there to bail me out,” he smiled as he looked longingly into her eyes. They lingered a moment, hesitant. She pulled herself away and gazed along the end of the dimly-lit street.

“The…street lights end about a block ahead. Why don’t we head back?” she stammered, “You, you don’t wanna be in a place like this in the darkness, no matter how good that so-called night vision of yours is.”

She let go of his arm, briskly starting back toward the Docs in a Box. Hesitantly at first, he followed suit and proceeded to catch up to his caretaker.

“So I’m told,” he grimaced once he had matched her stride, “How did this…Downtown, as you call it, get to be like this? I mean, I’ve briefly seen the glittering buildings of, Uptown is it?, and I’ve been in one of those massive flying vehicles. Even the cargo hold I was trapped in was padded very elaborately, very intricately. Now, how, in a world of flying vehicles and wealth pouring out from the buildings of society itself, can there be a place as badly decadent, as badly abused as this place?”

“That’s a tough question,” she said sadly, “as much to think about as to answer.”

Gale swallowed hard, “No one knows for sure, anymore. From what we’ve been able to piece together, the have-nots basically lost the whole rich versus poor battle. The people in power, the rich, were able to actually build up from the decrepit remains of the cities they let fall to ruin, taking the wealthy elite with them leaving us commoners down in these horrid pits. We were left here to fester and rot in this hellhole. And now, they live up there with their flying cars and robots and luxuries beyond comprehension while we‘re stuck in this miserable backward place with murderers and organ leggers around every corner! I hate them!” she screamed with passionate rage as Marq hugged her, trying to comfort his hysterical companion.

“I hate them so much,” she sobbed collapsing into his gentle, powerful arms, “It’s all I can do not to think about them, about the victims that come to us for eye-washings after total reality trips, about the drug seizures, about the suicides, about all the hellish things in this place that make these people so desperate to escape. It’s all I can do not…to join them.”

“Don’t worry, it’ll be okay,” he said soothingly as he wrapped his arms around her small frame, comforting the poor, distressed nurse, “This is a horrid, horrid place. I can’t...I can’t even begin to imagine how horrible it must have been to live here in these forgotten, discarded wastes of a cold blooded city. But I promise you, I’ll always be there for you, Gale. Whenever you need me, I’ll always…”


Pain. Indescribable pain flooded through Marq’s senses as he ripped himself from her embrace, grabbing his throbbing skull as a rather large, bloodied brick fell to the cold, weathered pavement.

“My, my look at these two,” a beady-eyed hulk of a man toyed with a second brick in his left hand as he stepped out of the shadows along with two other like-dressed men, both of which were carrying identical glowing red coolers leaking streams of icy coolant gas. Each of the brutish apes wore traditional surgeon’s gear, only grimier, along with surgeon’s masks and gloves. The trio and everything they carried was covered in huge, dried stains of rancid, congealing blood.

The leader brought his front leg up and whirled his arms behind him, assuming the traditional pitcher’s stance before he hurled the second brick at the flailing man with an archer’s accuracy, striking the poor, bleeding man in the forehead and dropping him to the ground.

“Street surgeons,” Gale gasped in horror as she wiped away her tears with her shaking forearm.

“My, my,” one of the two cronies announced, “She’s looking like a fine, healthy little specimen, eh, Tank?”

“Why yes, I think she does at that,” Tank responded viciously, “I want you two to have a little bit of fun chasing her down. It’ll give you an appetite for the surgery you’ll be doing. Meantime, I got the one on the ground. Have fun.”

The two cronies inched toward the petrified woman, still crouched over her badly injured patient.

“Run, Gale…” he started as blood seeped effortlessly from his nose, “RUN!”

He shoved her away with all his might and collapsed painfully onto the dirty pavement, sending warm, sticky liquid crimson cascading in all directions.

“Get…get away!” she shouted as she pulled out a bottle of antique pepper spray on the advancing duo, “I…I got a protection plan! The Eyeballs’ll be here any second!”

“Don’t make us laugh, meat,” the second brute said as he swatted the useless spray from her, “Docs like you don’t have enough creds to afford a decent bottle’a pepper juice, let alone a protection plan. Besides, dames use that juice on us so much, you could say we got an immunity to it.”

He stepped fully into the light revealing blank cybernetic pupils. Gale inched back toward the sticky, dirty wall in morbid fear. As her heart began to beat furiously within her chest, she ran full speed back toward the relative safety of the Docs in a Box facility twelve blocks away, the two venomous predators already catching up to her with horrifying ease.

“Cybernetic implants,” Tank bragged as he walked toward his fallen foe, “Done wonders for our business.”

The barely conscious man lying on the ground curled up in a fetal position, steadying himself from any further attack by his psychotic assailant, when he felt a horribly familiar awfulness rise up from the pit of his stomach. As his intestines knotted painfully and his mouth dried into an acrid, sweltering desert wasteland, his immaculate white armor suddenly exploded from his sweaty pores, encasing him in a protective layer of finely programmed silk.

“What in --?” the surprised predator gaped in total confusion as his prey wearily began to heave his tired, battered form up from the worn, cracking concrete.

“Oh, shock this!” the brutish Tank cursed as ripped a large knife out from his pocket and charged his adversary. Knife grasped tightly in his meaty, sweaty hand, the psychotic street surgeon prepared a vicious killing blow only to be met with a thunderous uppercut from the pristine fist of his beaten quarry. As Tank crumpled up and collapsed to the ground, the brick that Marq had picked up from the ground seconds earlier now fell apart in his hand from the triumphant strike. He was still standing. The broken surgeon was down for the count, unmoving but still drawing breath. It was over.

A woman’s desperate shriek.

It wasn’t over. As Marq looked back toward the sound of the screams, he could once again feel the warm liquid stream down into his mouth as his pounding skull continued trumpeting on. He could feel his hand aching hand, awash with agonies aplenty after its impact with Tank’s jaw. He could feel the aching joints and the dry scratchiness behind his bloodshot eyes. And as he took a step forward, the whole of his vision rumbled and blurred. He could feel his consciousness desperately wanting to slip away once again.

But Gale was in trouble. And he had a promise to keep.

Ignoring the tumultuous pain screaming along his nervous system, he forced his bruised body to remain steady and alert as he rocketed off toward the distressed damsel as fast as his shining white legs could carry him. The pavement crunched noisily under his powerful, pulsing legs as he dove toward the woman who helped save his life. Suddenly, as he hammered toward her at full speed, everything turned to a strange green haze as his night vision instinctively kicked in. And then he saw it.

A scalpel.

The brute had it raised high above his victim, readying the fatal blow. Gale was trapped under his partner’s bulging, muscled hands. No way for her to escape. No way to get to her in time.

A shining light bulb went off in his mind. He thought back to his descent. The moments right before he smashed into the hard Downtown pavement just hours ago. His bo staff.

At that moment, his smooth, powerful bo staff melted out of his hand, forming instantly before his eyes from the nano-tech lining his entire body. Gripping the beloved staff tightly with his one hand, he clutched it with his remaining hand and aimed the powerful weapon toward the murderous street surgeon in one fluid, impossibly fast movement.

A sudden vibration.

A blinding flash.

A stabbing motion in the distance.

The enormously powerful blast hit its mark, striking the unsuspecting surgeon square in the back just milliseconds before the scalpel’s strike. He flew into the alley wall ahead of him, the force of the blast potent enough to melt most of his massive form directly into the crumbling structure. The surgical knife fell onto the ground, just inches away from Gale’s shaking, petrified form.

The remaining brute stared in horror at the man in the still impoverished armor stumbling towards him at an impressive speed. In the distance, he could make out the silhouette of his unconscious leader, who was lying completely still from the brutal knockout punch. He then glanced at his partner, melted into a huge crater in the wall, streams of heat and soot still billowing into the still, silent air of the Downtown sidewalk. And then he did something he never did before in his life, at least since his cybernetic enhancements took root.

He ran for dear life. And by the time the severely out of breath man approached the frightened Gale, the final link in the surgeon trio was nowhere to be seen.

“Are you alright?” Marq asked hesitantly as he tossed the life-saving bo staff aside and slowly kneeled down to comfort the shaking woman, already fearing the worst.

“Wow,” she stuttered in disbelief, “t-tall, white and h-handsome, you’ of the most…exciting patients I’ve ever h-had.”

She forced a shaky, hesitant smile. As the powerful, silky armor encasement retreated back into his pores, he forced his horribly-bloodied face into a kind, warm crimson grin. She stared into her eyes. Those deep, beautiful blue eyes. Familiar, yet unfamiliar. He knew someone who looked like her. A lot like her, in fact. Someone….

Suddenly, tsunamis of pain erupted inside his tired, fragile mind. Pulsating, impossible torments with which he was all too familiar. His head throbbed. His blood boiled as it coursed insanely through his veins and arteries. His temples bulged and pulsated. His brain seared with torrents of agony and despair. There was no escape.

“Not again,” he winced in pain as he curled up, shaking, bleeding, writhing in agony, “flash….another flashback!”

Gale was shaking him hard, trying desperately to bring him back to reality. No, no she wasn’t shaking anymore. She was soothing, caressing him. She had her hand on his now. But this time, something was on her finger. A ring? A wedding ring. It was a wedding ring! She was holding his hand. His hand. Ring. He was wearing a wedding ring too! Was this--? Was this his wife? Gale was his wife? No, it wasn’t her anymore. It was someone else. Someone…else…. He couldn’t tell who. Her face was too blurry.

A beach, now? He was at a beach. He looked over to his right. It was her again. She was wearing a bathing suit. Purple. One piece. He could see a blurry, tanned arm jutting out from the violet haze. He followed it to her hand. Hand. Ring. She was wearing a ring! His wife! He was married? Married….a vacation? Were they on a vacation? A vacation on this bright, happy beach? Or was it their honeymoon?

They were holding hands. Watching the beach. The beach. No, it was a lab now. A laboratory. He couldn’t move. Laying down, he couldn’t move. Needles. Injections. He could feel his blood burning with agony. Waves. Tsunamis of pain. Washing over him. But she was still holding his hand. Hand. Face. Her face. Always blurry. Never clear. Wait, it began piecing itself together. The wavy, uncertain features coalesced, acquiescing to his thoughts, molding together before his eyes into a coherent image. His eyes. Her eyes. Eyes, nose, mouth. It was….

Clear! He could see her. Her face was clear! That sloping, smooth nose. Those pure, wide brown eyes. Her full, luscious lips. Her chin. Her dark, gleaming bangs. Her shoulder-length bouncy hair, flowing peacefully in the gentle breeze. And her smile. That lovely, lovely smile.

And suddenly she was gone, replaced by a terrified young woman. Short brown hair. Azure eyes. Lips, chin, shorter bangs, but the same wide, deep, lovely eyes. If she was just a few years older. If her eyes were just that exact shade of brown. Then Gale would be a dead giveaway for…he couldn’t remember a name. His wife’s name. What could it --?

Wait, her lips were moving. Gale’s lips were moving. She was screaming something. He hadn’t realized he couldn’t hear her. He focused his ears. A low buzzing. A current of crackling, popping sounds. And finally, he was flooded once again with reality.

“Wake up!” she screamed desperately, “Wake up! Please! You’re….you’re brain is hemorrhaging blood! It’s bad! Real bad! We’ve gotta get you back to the hospital. Now! Please don’t die on me. Not now. Please, please, just shocking wake u--!”

“H-hi, Gale,” he choked, swallowing back the thick putrid bile and mucus in the back of his drenched throat, “I..I know who she is….the woman…in my flashbacks….I know…”

“Shhh,” she cooed, “You’re gonna be fine. Just fine. You’ve gotta rest now. You’re gonna be just fine. I just dialed the Docs on my pocket pager. They’ll be here within a few minutes. Save your strength, now. You’re gonna be just—“

“She’s my…she’s my wife...” he sighed with a throaty gurgle as he collapsed in her bruised, blood-soaked arms.

“Alchemax transport crashes in a dazzling Downtown spectacle! More NYFAX after these—“


“A large Alchemax-run satellite fell out of orbit today, narrowly missing a crowded apartment building before exploding in—“


“Miguel O’Hara, CEO of Alchemax, had no comment for Astronet today, about rumors of a quote ‘giant Alchemax-made mecha-dragon exploding in—‘“


“getting back to our main story, a giant Alchemax transport fell from the sky today when—“


The holoscreen flashed off violently as the angry young man shredded the remote control to pieces with his tense, twitching fingers. The man slowly lifted his aqua-blue glasses to his intense glaring eyes and waved his angry hand through his wavy auburn hair.

‘What a horrible day,’ the deeply annoyed CEO thought through clenched teeth and tensed brain, “First Hikaru’s little lecture, and now this. It figures. And to top it all off, Conchata never even bothered to call me about these insane, inaccurate newscasts.”

Suddenly, a rather loud ringing sound stirred the man from his venomous fumings. Beside him, a flowing lemon dress appeared along with a rather shapely young woman, who just happened to resemble a certain twentieth century actress…

“Phone call for you Miguel,” Lyla beamed brightly, beautifully contrasting Miguel’s stony grimace, “It’s from…”

“My mother, right?” Miguel guessed angrily.

“How did you know?” Lyla was taken aback, “Have you been keeping psychic powers from me, Miguel?”

Miguel’s talons sunk instinctive back into his fingertips as Miguel buried his tired, groggy face into his terse palms and shook his head over and over again.

‘Why me?’ he thought exhaustedly as he sunk back into his plush, comfy couch.

Continued next crescent moon...

Until now, I have remained cloaked in the shadows. Marked only by my writings of the digital limited series you have poured through, I have been merely a spectator, a specter if you will, in the goings on of my own title. Well folks, this lettercol brings that air of mystery to an end. I, Jason McDonald, am stepping out. Out into the glaring eyes of my audience. Out into the public scrutiny of the digital era. Out into the public datastream of the information age. I have come here for one single, solitary, solemn duty. I have come here, now….

….to WELCOME you, faithful reader, not only to the SECOND rip-roarin’ issue of Moon Knight 2099 UGR, but also to the brand new soapbox/lettercol of this title, which I have deemed KNIGHT VISIONS!

Sorry, I tend to get a bit melodramatic at times. I’m Jason McDonald, by the way, writer of Moon Knight 2099.

I’d like to talk a little bit about this title you’ve been reading. This ain’t your daddy’s Moon Knight. In fact, this ain’t Len Kaminski’s Moon Knight either. Y’know, the female one that appeared in 2099: Manifest Destiny? No, no, this Moon Knight is entirely new.

You see, one of my favorite books of the 2099 line what Ghost Rider 2099. (Y’hear that, Chris! I dig GR! Now please keep that scary warbot man away from me….) What struck me about that series was that GR was never about transitioning the old occult-based, mystical Noble Kale GR into the world of 2099. It was an entirely new concept. Kenshiro was a GR based on cybernetics, and not on mysticism. So too is this new incarnation of Moon Knight, created not from the gaze of an Egyptian god, but from….ah, but that would be telling.

Still, I find it hard to believe that yet ANOTHER hero would be mimicking his or her twencen counterpart. That even though Marc Spector was an interesting and engaging character in and of himself, and himself, and himself yet again, that even his legacy may not necessarily make it to the realm of the twenty-first century. So, I’m hoping to diverge a bit from the beaten path and creating something new, something different, that I hope everyone enjoys just the same.

Not that I won’t have a few nods to the Moon Knight of old in here. (If you’re good, you’ve picked them up already. If you’re REALLY good, you’ve picked up two more I’ve let slip in this soapbox.) However, Marq is his own character, with his own motivations for doing what he does; namely fighting for those in the darkness who cannot fight for themselves, the Downtowners. And the various reasons behind these strong motivations will become very clear in the next few issues. So keep readin’, will ya?

And, if in the course of your reading you come up with any questions, concerns, comments, critiques you’d like to send my way, then don’t hesitate! Send them to and who knows? Maybe I’ll place them in this little digitized letter column of mine. All I ask is that you be gentle. It IS my first published fanfic series, after all.

Basically, I hope you enjoy what you’ve read so far, and I’d love it if you’d stick with me (for both the limited series and the ongoing series later this year), because it’s gonna be one hell of a ride! And you guys get front row seats.

It’s a very exciting time indeed.


Jason McDonald


Next issue: Well, we packed everything but the kitchen sink into this baby, so I guess we’ll give you the kitchen sink next issue. What? You don’t want the kitchen sink? Well, I guess you’re just stuck with more Moon Knight 2099 goodness then. Will Marq find his wife? Will he survive long enough to do so? And will he ever, ever discover his ACTUAL name? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading, I suppose…