The night was dark, as nights are wont to be. Even had the sky overhead not been overcast with dark clouds threatening to rain down upon the city at any moment, it would have been dark. The extra layer of clouds merely kept the moon and stars from shining through, not that those heavenly bodies could be seen well within the city limits anyway with all the lights that lined the streets.
In this particular section of the city the lights seemed to be at a premium, making it even darker and better-suited to his purposes.
He had dropped down to the rooftop he now stood upon, keeping his powers low-key so no one noticed him as he seemed to glide along the sides of the buildings and up to the rooves where he stood, hunched over so he stared down upon the unsuspecting men who had a truck backed up to this warehouse that had been closed for business hours before. They had jimmied open the door on the dock and slid it upward so they could select the merchandise they wanted and load it into their truck. Beneath his mask he smiled, thinking himself lucky that these had decided to burglarize this warehouse on his first night of patrolling the city. Who could have asked for more?
He waited until it looked as though they had finished loading the truck and were just closing the door, making it appear as though everything was normal on the dock, at least until someone noticed the broken lock. He held a small handful of pebbles in his left hand. These he dropped in a cascading motion as he moved his hand outward, spreading the pebbles further, so they fell scattered on the dock below. The sound of bouncing pebbles caught the attention of the men on the dock. They first looked about at the small scattering of rocks, and then up to see what had caused them to fall down around them. Blackness met their gazes, except for the bright green glow that seemed to almost indicate demonic eyes looking at them from the darkness above. It had been something Meredith had convinced him to do and so he'd decided to add to his costume, neon green oval lenses that covered his eyes instead of merely flat material. Sure, it changed the effect, but he liked how it seemed to those who caught their first sight of him from the darkness. All they saw was the eerie green eyes as they glowed from his applying his penetra-vision to the back of the material the lenses were made of. It would further allow people later on to assume these lenses were why he had such great vision and could see long distances as well as through walls.
That wasn't all his wife had gotten him to change about this persona, either. "The Dark Avenger?" she questioned him almost as though he was a child who thought he'd come up with the world's greatest idea only to find out it was already a common, everyday thing.
"Sure, what's wrong with it?" he'd countered, already beginning to feel as though he'd blundered somehow.
"First," she'd folded her arms across her front and raised the index finger on her right hand, "the fact that you're dark is already a given. One look at you tells people that, but..." she quickly stated the word as he had begun to protest in favor of his choice of adjectives. "It will also get you confused with the Darknight, who's been using that name almost as long as you had your old one. You want to be someone completely unique - original, right?"
He was silent a moment and then nodded his agreement. "Sure."
"All right, then," she continued, turning about and walking around the Great Room while she brain-stormed. "'Dark' is out and I would suggest so is 'Avenger'," she spun about and held her hand out to halt his objection to her objection. "You want to convey the meaning of who you are more than you want to slam people over the head with it.
"Sure, your old name was completely explanatory; it told people exactly who you were and that you were capable of anything and everything. I should know, I was the one who gave you the name in that first newspaper headline, remember?
"But this...this time it needs to be different. You want to let people know who you are and wear an outfit that displays that name, but also makes people wonder about exactly how your name and outfit go together, okay?"
He remained silent, listening, his head slightly bobbing up-and-down like a bobble-head sitting on the dashboard of someone's car.
"We'll redesign this outfit just a bit; add a little to it in color and design. As it is, it's practical, but it has no flair at all. Sure, it's perfect for keeping criminals from seeing you in dark places, but you also need to be able to attract the average Jane or John Q. Citizen out there so they aren't completely freaked out when they lay eyes on you for the first time."
"What name do you propose then?" he'd asked, taking a seat in the recliner he enjoyed sitting in most when she wasn't at home to sit together with him.
"Solar Eclipse," she stated matter-of-factly, her eyes glittering with excitement.
"Solar. Eclipse." He spoke each word out separately, considering them separately. "Solar Eclipse," he then said them together, rubbing his chin in thought. "Okay, I think I see your reasoning. 'Solar' implies where my powers come from possibly, without actually giving anything away and 'Eclipse' conveys the darker meaning, as though I only operate in the absence of light, in the darkness where evil dwells."
"Now you're getting a bit too poetic," she moved over and sat on his lap, her arms wrapping about him so they sat closely, snuggling. "But you're starting to get my meaning. We'll work on it together."
He leapt from the rooftop, dropping down, his arms up and wide as he descended. Easily his feet touched down onto the concrete of the loading dock and he remembered to bend his knees in order to "absorb the shock" of the landing. He had no such need, but another man not of his genetic structure would.
"What the hell is that?" one of the thugs called out, seeing the darkly-clad person before him.
"Just another wanna-be hero taking the place of..."
Solar Eclipse flipped his body forward in a somersaulting maneuver that brought him ever closer to the thugs. As his feet came back into contact with the loading dock he dropped low and swung a leg out, catching the ankle of the man who had been speaking. The thug fell backward and Solar Eclipse followed up by leaping high as his body made a full spin and came down with his hand clenched into a fist. He barely tapped the forehead of the criminal with his knuckles, not wanting to kill him outright, but it was enough to knock the man unconscious.
"What the fu..." another of the thugs close by began, but Solar Eclipse was already moving so fast he was a slight blur. Everyone who had been part of this burglary team had come back onto the loading dock in order to assist in taking down this interloper who threatened their making good on their illicit haul. Five men in all were gathered about him - well, only four now with the first one unconscious. He back-handed a second man, rapping the knuckles of his gauntlet - another change from Meredith, insisting that he needed to make his outfit more "armor-like", so the gloves had been shortened and made into thicker gauntlets and the boots likewise were shortened and became thicker so miniaturized electronics could be added in for special effects and even a few seriously workable "power" additions - into the bridge of the man's nose. The thug fell backward where his head struck the concrete wall of the warehouse and quickly joined his partner in unconsciousness.
"Two down, three to go," he smiled beneath his mask, noting even then that one thug had decided to end his interference by pulling a gun from beneath his jacket. His eyes flashed green and a beam of heat struck the gun, melting it instantly into useless slag. He thought it eerily odd how these lenses caused his natural-born eye-weapon, now his laser-vision, to appear neon-green when before it had been virtually invisible. The heat of the process that melted the weapon stung the man's hand. He dropped it with an exclamation better left unspoken.
Solar Eclipse whipped his lower body about, his legs pin-wheeling upward and over so that when his left foot came down it was onto the crown of the skull of the man who had wielded the gun. One more joined the land of darkness, he thought silently inside his own mind.
Another of the thugs grabbed up a long crowbar from just inside the still open back door of the truck. He swung it around as fast as he could, intending to take off the head of this intruder. Solar Eclipse caught the head of the bar in his right hand, effectively stopping it from making contact with his own head, which had been transformed into more of a helmet than a mere mask. Even with his keen vision ability to create such tiny electronics in micro-miniaturized size, having his head-piece a helmet slightly thicker than his skull enabled him to install more within it than would have been possible in a simple mask. He exerted pressure from his hand onto the bar and it bent backward, forming a long "J" shape. With his hand gripped about the bent tool, he ripped it from the hands of the thug and then swung it first down and then upward. The free end of the crowbar caught the thug unexpectedly between the legs, with force harder than any normal man could ever consider, though he had actually pulled his swing enough that to him it was barely a tap. The thug went down on the ground and puked his guts out, his hands holding onto his now crushed and possibly forever useless groin area.
The remaining thug had seen what transpired with the rest of his group and had decided on the intelligent course of fleeing in the hopes of making an escape. Such was not to be. Solar Eclipse leaped forward, his legs propelling him hard and fast so that he swooped over the head of the fleeing felon and landed with his feet spread wide enough to lend him the support he needed. His left hand shot out, hand open, palm flat. So quick were the actions of this new hero of the city that the thug had not the time to stop before his face struck the open palm that suddenly appeared before him. He felt the impact as he rebounded and struck his head on the pavement of the parking lot behind the warehouse. He too lost consciousness.
Solar Eclipse stood motionless, looking down upon this last of the five hoods who thought they could make an easy night of someone else's property. His mind triggered the technology he had built within his helmet and a connection was made to the emergency services dispatcher.
"9-1-1, dispatch. What is your emergency?"
"I'd like to report a foiled burglary attempt," he sub-vocalized, speaking into the miniature microphone that was set just opposite his mouth inside his mask. He gave the address of the warehouse and told how many felons there were to retrieve. Then he waited for the police to arrive.
"Who the hell are you?" the responding officer first-on-the-scene asked as he exited his patrol car and took in the dark-clad man before him in the action suit of dark blue, purple and green. Solar Eclipse had made the last-minute decision to outline the purple on his outfit with a thin line of neon green. Meredith had also convinced him to redesign the color scheme so that instead of merely having strips of dark purple coming around each side toward the front, he had wide, purple arrows outlined in neon green converging toward the center of his abs, stopping far enough at the sides so the arrows were pointing toward the nexus of his body. Atop his head the same style of arrow came over from the back to the front, but ended mid-way upon his forehead where the top portion of a sun, albeit composed of dark blue, met up with the purple and a thin line of neon green delineating the point where sun-met-arrow merged the two symbols perfectly.
All of this, he decided, was a nice touch that added a bit of pizzazz to the outfit while delineating the purple from the blue a bit better. It matched the green of his lenses when they glowed, which he did as the cop approached him, allowing his lenses to flash momentarily a bright green.
"Solar Eclipse," he replied calmly, his voice hollow and eerie from the circuitry built within the mask.
"Solar Eclipse, huh?" the officer scoffed lightly, but his eyes took in the unconscious thugs all gathered together in a tight grouping at the feet of the costumed man before him. His eyes went to the bobcat truck parked at the loading dock and it wasn't hard to figure out what crime this "new hero" had stopped.
"Well, I'm going to need to see some identification from you, pal," the officer held out his right hand, as though seriously expecting an ID to be placed in it.
"Under the Federal Powered Heroes act of 1993 anyone wearing an action outfit and utilizing a working name while performing the duties of assisting the established law enforcement officers of either city, county, state or federal agencies is exempt from supplying state-issued identification as long as the powered being so affirms that the working name and outfit being used is for legal purposes only and no crime is associated with said identity."
The police officer stood mutely stunned as he listened to the costumed man before him reciting the federal statute he himself knew had been instituted on all levels of government to protect the identities of those powered beings who selflessly assisted law enforcement agencies.
"Okay, pal, ya got me on that one. But you'll still have to come down to the precinct and fill out a report on exactly what you observed and how you handled the situation, so there won't be any legal ramifications if one of these - gentlemen decides to sue in civil court."
"Perfectly understood Officer - Macklin," Solar Eclipse peered at the name tag on the officer's uniform. He extended his right hand in greeting and Macklin hesitated only briefly before accepting the proffered handshake.
"Hope to see ya around, buddy," Macklin grinned as Solar Eclipse leaped upward, the soles of his boots glowing brightly green, indicating that there were some form of thrusters within them that pushed him high into the night sky, enabling him to fly, where he disappeared from view.
"Count on it, Officer," he called down as he vanished from sight.