As the techno-organic blade slashed across his chest, there was a terrible ripping sound. Shimmering green chitin sheared away, dulling and disintegrating as it fell. A momentary flare of emerald light began to heal the wound, but quickly faded away. Beneath the breached armour, exposed musculature tensed as dark red blood began to flow.
The cold green warrior sliced three more gashes across its target’s body. As he fell to one knee, his attacker grabbed hold of one of his membranous wings. The wounded hero’s back straightened as the techno-organic sword impaled into his spine and protruded from his chest. A moment later, there was a ripping snap as one of his wings was brutally torn off.
Shinsektor screamed, blood spurting from the fresh stump. His assailant drew its sword from his body, letting the insectoid knight slump to the bloodstained metal floor. After throwing the twitching wing aside, the cold green warrior grabbed hold of one of Shinsektor’s antennae, lifting him up to stare into his eyes. Shinsektor snarled, choking slightly on the blood that began to fill his throat. His attacker’s compound eyes began to shimmer and glow, before firing a blast of energy. Shinsektor flew back, crashing to the ground and leaving a bloody spatter in his wake. The cold green warrior, still holding one of the wounded hero’s antennae, let it twitch a few times in its grip before dropping the severed appendage.
Shuddering, Shinsektor began to sit up. His green glow was fading fast, the shining chitin of his knight form now cracked and crumbling. Every gap bled profusely as he slowly regained his footing. A small strand of nerve clusters hung from his severed antenna, also quickly coating in viscous crimson.
As his blurry vision began to clear, he saw himself begin to approach, eyes glowing once more. Another beam erupted forth. It was larger, enveloping Shinsektor’s entire body and instantly shredding his remaining wings asunder.
The girl strained to stand, stumbling forward and crying out. Her pace came to a halt as she saw the insectoid hero’s body peel away into nothing.
5 Years Ago…
Shinsektor. A grasshopper-based insectoid human bio-weapon, crafted under the terrifying will of Doctor Hideo Langstrom.
His adventures in Paragon City had led him down a winding path of conflict and revelation. His shattered mind, fused into weaponized mental protocols, were eventually freed and re-united through the efforts of the heroes and civilians who came to be his friends. Loves and lives were lost in the wake of his struggle. And in their names, the insectoid hero strove to live as not a monster, but a hero.
Before the experiment that altered his life and body forever, he was a loving husband and caring father. The search for his daughter ended in the realization that he may have killed her when, as a nearly feral newborn bio-weapon, he was sent by Langstrom to silence his own family. His wife’s murdered body was resurrected to serve as Onisektra, the heart of a bio-organic network that serves to further Langstrom’s continuing goals.
Shinsektor had tried to move on. But one day, he discovered the information that would lock him and all his loose ends into their final descent.
This is how the story of Shinsektor came to an end.
The Rikti Crash Site
“I must admit, I am somewhat surprised. I had expected an act of aggression.”
The man known as the 12th King stood, arms behind his back, and glanced over his shoulder. His dark blue suit and hat seemed unnaturally clean against the backdrop of the crash site’s ruin. The metallic features of his face were cold and emotionless, glowing pinpoints of red light hidden beneath dark shaded glasses.
“Cut the pleasantries. You know why I’m here.”
Shinsektor’s compound eyes glared ruby-red at the technological rogue that stood a few feet away from him. The rubble and desolation of the crash site was all that surrounded them, aside from the occasional sound of brief conflict in the distance.
“An interesting decision for a meeting place,” continued the 12th King, turning away to look at the ruined horizon. “So rarely do registered heroes come through this district with anything but the violent apprehension of Rikti landing parties in mind. We are afforded a few minutes’ peace and quiet through a few meta-humans’ penchant for combat.”
“I said cut the pleasantries.”
Shinsektor’s eyes flared, briefly. The 12th King paused, unreactive to the insectoid hero’s emotions.
“Clarify, then.” The mechanical monarch turned to look over his shoulder at Shinsektor. “What did you hope to gain from this encounter?”
“You’re going to tell me everything you know about the 13 Kings.”
For the first time since his cybernetic revival, the 12th King stood speechless. Shinsektor continued to speak.
“I found out while I was hunting down Langstrom’s trail. An old facility, loaded with fried and scrapped records. He’d been there a few months ago.”
The insectoid hero slowly walked around the 12th King, circling to face him.
“It looked like it’d been abandoned decades ago. Long before it could’ve possibly been built. But something in there recognized me. Recognized what created me. It opened up like a labyrinth, leading me like a rat in a maze, sealing every exit behind me. I found a monument. Turns out it was a crypt.”
As Shinsektor approached him, the 12th King continued to stare over his shoulder, unmoving.
“Whatever was in there…I don’t understand how it worked, but it had a message for me. It said it knew I was coming. It said I could stop the man who made me if I found the remains of the 13 Kings.”
Slowly turning to face the insectoid hero that stood inches away from him, the 12th King’s expression remained cold and unphased.
“I always wondered why you had such a stupid name. Now it all starts to make sense. You headed up the Crey project to take me down, you worked with Langstrom like an old friend, and after I took off your arm…you went off the grid and started up an operation in the Rogue Isles…” The tip of a Sektorblade began to emerge from its bearer’s palm. “I thought you’d learned to stay the hell away from me, but you’ve been watching this whole time, haven’t you?”
“You are paranoid,” spoke the 12th King, calmly.
“The hell I am!” Shinsektor’s eyes flared brightly. “In almost two years, you managed to stay completely off my radar when you could’ve come to pay me back any time you wanted? I know your threat level.”
“It would have been of no benefit to my intentions to partake in such petty revenge,” answered the blue-suited cyborg.
“You know, for all your high-and-mighty talk, all your smarts, and all your damn arrogance…’12th King’? Anybody who found out what I know would come after you faster than a—“
“Faster than a metahuman with a penchant for over-aggressive conspiracy theory?” The 12th King adjusted his tie. “I have never had the intention of hiding my identity.”
“You seemed pretty spooked when I brought it up, just now.”
“I had not anticipated the unfortunate downfall of my colleagues to arise so quickly. Perhaps, in a few decades, but not now.” For a moment, the mechanical monarch seemed to exude a very faint and uncharacteristic aura of pride. “My chosen identity was always meant to be in honour of what we once strove for. And to be a beacon to whatever remnants may have survived to this day.”
Shinsektor stood, confused and angry, his head turning left and right as though he were looking for an answer to physically manifest before him. He impatiently ran a hand over his face and glared at the 12th King.
“Yes, Shinsektor. I intend to provide to you a means to the end you seek.” The 12th King produced a small data pad, tapping some information into its screen. “To find that facility shows a…dedication I had not anticipated. Perhaps you will be capable of accomplishing our mutual goal.”
“Our…wait, our MUTUAL goal?”
“In a time before you could possibly hypothesize, we had united under a noble cause. That is to say, we believed it was noble. Our intentions and our dreams blinded us to our shared and crippling flaw. For we were all, in the end, only human.” The tinge of melancholy quickly dissipated from the 12th King’s voice. “But it was he who set us upon our final descent into failure. And for the sake of…old friends…”
The mechanical monarch’s voice trailed off as he ceased operating the data pad and handed it over to Shinsektor. The insectoid hero glanced it over, and then repeated doing so a few more times with increasing confusion.
“What the hell did you just give me?”
“Another one of us has long been hidden amongst the quarrels of this era,” stated the 12th King, turning to leave. “If you have discovered the meaning of my title, you will encounter him soon enough.”
“Wait a second—“ Shinsektor began to pursue the blue-suited cyborg. “I thought you said we had a mutual goal! This is all you’re going to give me?”
“Regardless of how…pleasantly surprising you have proven to be, I am by no means your outright ally.” The 12th King tapped at a small keypad on his knuckle. “Nor am I as optimistic as he who you shall now seek.” After waiting for a few moments, 12th King keyed the same sequence again.
Before he could continue to argue, Shinsektor was stopped short as his comm-link suddenly blared a defcon emergency signal. Hesitating for a few moments, the insectoid hero quickly answered the call.
“This should not be possible,” uttered the 12th King, continuing to work on the keypad. “Complete isolation from the system…”
“Repeat that,” said Shinsektor, loudly into his comm-link. “…Hello?! I said repeat that last message!”
“…Ah. How unfortunate.”
Both hero and villain looked up as the skies darkened, and the Rikti Invasion returned.
((This is for whoever's left, whoever remembers, and whoever still wants to know. <3 ))