"Out of the Dark, Black Night"

Publication Info

The Guardians Vol. 1, No. 3

Publication Date

October 23, 2011

Featured Characters

Supporting Characters


Time Span

March 10, 2015

"Out of the Dark, Black Night" is the third issue of The Guardians.


A mysterious craft crashes into the ocean, just a few miles west of Angel City. Ejecting from the severely damaged vessel before impact, Commodore Dallas observes a nearly familiar skyline. However, when he speaks with a high-ranking officer after the Coast Guard recover him and his craft, Dallas discovers that something is wrong with the world. He and his secret mission are unknown to members of the military with appropriate security clearance. Angel City is less architecturally impressive than he remembers. Technology is 50 years old. And, perhaps most distressing of all, the flag just isn't quite right...

As they do in such times, the government calls on Professor Fahrenthold to examine the recovered craft and on Dr. Sorenson to interrogate her pilot. Fahrenthold discovers that the ship was designed for extensive space travel, but to the best of his knowledge it is not of earthly design. It has suffered severe damage from forces unknown, and her sundry instruments seem to have had their data somehow corrupted. He further detects traces of unknown radiation and a large, though fading, amount of gravitons. When Sorenson goes to speak with the pilot, he discovers that the mysterious man has disappeared.

After meeting with his agent Donald Wiseman, Coyote Devereaux goes with this girlfriend Lilly Clarence to the Angel City Museum of Antiquities, which is featuring a new exhibit of Mongol artifacts recovered from a dig in the mountains of Nepal. After moving on to another room, Coyote hears an alarm go off at the new exhibit, coupled with several cries of shock and surprise. Fumbling for an excuse, he tells Lilly he lost his phone and would catch up with her shortly. Ducking back into the Mongol exhibit, Coyote discovers an older man in yesterday's fashion holding high above him the scimitar that had been central to the display, crying "The Sword of Jochi is mine!" Two museum guards and a small crowd of museum-goers stand about the room as if in a fog.

Coyote, unfortunately, is without any of his NightMare powers. Fortunately, Aegis, who has been studying for a major standardized test, is also in the museum and has similarly responded to the alarm. Surprisingly, the two guards pull their guns on the heroes when they make a show of stopping the thief. While Coyote does his best to disarm the guards, Aegis attacks the wielder of the sword. The battle is brief and inconclusive. Unimpressed with the heroes' attempt to thwart him, the criminal suddenly disappears, leaving Aegis and Coyote to deal with the bystanders and their gradually returning senses.

Meanwhile, at Fahrenthold's request, Edi scans the local area for graviton particles. Discovering a more than abnormal amount less than a mile away, Fahrenthold and Sorenson investigate. The source of Edi's scan is from within a small branch of the Angel City Public Library. Fahrenthold envelops the building in a force field while Ghost goes in to investigate. He finds Commodore Dallas perusing the internet, learning the history of this world and how it differs from his own. When Ghost approaches him, Dallas vaguely recognizes him as James Sorenson, a major historic figure and scientific pioneer, and agrees to return with him to the military base to ensure that after his radiation exposure he does not pose a danger to the public.

After a full physical and a brief psych evaluation, it appears that Commodore Dallas does not pose a danger to either himself or the public, and, lacking a strong enough reason to detain him, the military decides to release him -- though they retain his craft. Dallas, Fahrenthold, and Sorenson converse for a short time about science at a level that only a few people in the world could even remotely comprehend, and they become pleasantly acquanited with one another. Dallas departs to test the extent of his new-found powers, which he has kept a near secret from the base personnel.

That evening, Aegis informs Ghost, Gentleman Gadget Guy, and NightMare (who feigns ignorance, to preserve his secret identity) about the incident that afternoon at the Museum of Antiquities and agree to meet at the scene. NightMare arrives first, and covertly erases a portion of the security tape containing Coyote. Once the others arrive, Edi isolates an image of the thief and ascertains that he is Daniel Kurtz, erstwhile instructor at West Coast College. Visiting his apartment in Eleusis Square, the heroes determine that the place has been vacant for about a week. They find an unopened phone bill and, with a little creative computer hacking on the part of Professor Fahrenthold, gain access to his phone records. His last call was three days past to an office number at the WCC campus.

Ghost parts company with the heroes briefly to interrogate the man behind the recent attack at Mercy Hospital. He learns that the young man suffers from extensive amnesia but remembers a white room with bright lights. Meanwhile, Gentleman Gadget Guy, Aegis, and NightMare place a phony call to Kurtz, informing him of fraudulent access to his online phone account, in order to triangulate his location downtown. Once Ghost has rejoined them, they go to investigate.

Arriving at the scene, they find Kurtz, armed with the Sword of Jochi, in the middle of emptying a bank vault. Ghost quietly floats through the ceiling and attacks him by surprise, nearly dropping him. The rest join in the fight, which threatens to be too much for them -- Kurtz is incredibly strong for his or any age and is fearsome wielding the sword. To make matters worse, the sword itself seems to have as yet unfathomed psionic powers, temporarily gaining control of NightMare's mind. Fortunately for the heroes, Commodore Dallas, who was across the street at an internet cafe learning more about this reality's version of history, joins the fight. With their combined efforts, they are able to thwart Kurtz and severely damage the sword. After the fight, Ghost disintegrates the sword into a fine dust, leaving only Kurtz for the police to collect.