By David C Johnson
Prologue | Chapter 1
Whoever said “It was all just a simple misunderstanding” obviously had no idea what the fuck they were talking about. Some of history’s greatest travesties have been instigated by so called misunderstandings.
A misunderstanding caused the Boston massacre, the slaughter of US civilians by British troops, the spark that lit the fuse of the American Revolutionary War. Mistaking a rally of ferocious protesters for an oncoming riot hell bent on killing, and then firing into them without the order of your captain? That would certainly qualify as a misunderstanding, albeit one with truly horrific results.
A perpetual misunderstanding of the masses by a queen, who lived a life of nigh infinite luxury, never seeing or even understanding the concept of poverty, was the trigger of the French revolution.
No, whoever said that misunderstandings were simple, or imagined that they were innocent, was either lying or deluded, for the greatest tragedy in human history was caused by a misunderstanding.
It was early in the twenty first century. North Korea secretly continued its long-standing practice of creating “SuperBills” - virtually perfect replicas of United States dollars in order to undermine the US economy. It was all over when American spies sent video of the North Korean factories printing their SuperBills across the seas, straight to the New York Times.
The response of the United States was instant and severe. Dozens of furious ambassadors were set to flood the North Korean embassies and capital buildings. They described their feelings toward the North Korean government as “explosive.”
But something didn’t translate quite right between English and Korean, and someone with an overactive imagination was given the impression that the United States was to launch ICBMs at the North Korean SuperBill factories. North Korea didn’t hesitate to respond to this imminent threat, launching their entire nuclear payload of ten warheads at major U.S. cities.
Before anyone knew what the hell was happening, every nuclear capable country in the world was launching at someone. It was all over almost as soon as it started, but in that brief time, almost four billion people were killed. All the world’s technological and educational centers were destroyed. In the chaos that followed, most of what was left of man’s technological wonders were destroyed, resulting in the second dark ages. Even the common firearm eventually became a rare sight, with the possible exception of the antiques that didn’t function worth a crap anyway.
But in the years that followed, the survivors learned of something truly astonishing. The nuclear war had reawakened a force long dormant in the Earth, a force most people dismissed as wild superstition. An energy began to refill the world’s dried up ley lines into flowing rivers. Reality-defying natural phenomena began to take place, and ordinary people began to inherit unearthly powers. Some people would grow eight feet tall and gain the strength to tear through stone. Some would suddenly find themselves with the ability to perform truly gravity defying acrobatics. The especially gifted could alter the structures of their own bodies and perform feats that could only be called magic.
But the most gifted people of all were a family of martial artists who, through adrenaline rushes, could literally see seconds into the future. In any fight, they always knew exactly what their enemies would do next. Only three members of this family lived through the nuclear war to see their powers come to fruition. Their names were Stephen Lee, and his two sons, the half brothers Billy and Jimmy.
At that time New York was the center of civilization in North America. Most other cities of comparable size were laid waste to by nuclear fallout. It was here that the master con artist William Tanon, a man with a pension for mullets and an aversion to shaving, manipulated his way into the possession of a weapon that could very well have been unique. It was a state of the art assault rifle built only a few years before the start of the nuclear war.
It seemed then that the newfound gifts inherited by a select few humans were simply no match for high caliber, fully automatic artillery. The numerous warring syndicates of New York were soon united as the Shadow Warriors under William Tanon’s arsenal. The few who fought back branded him with the scornful name, “Machine Gun Willy.”
The name mocked him. They all knew he’d be powerless if it weren’t for his weapon, and so did Willy himself. This was the reason of Willy’s obsession with martial arts. For Willy too had the gift of heightened strength and resilience, among other things. The fear he struck into others needed to come from somewhere other than what he held in his hands. And thus was the creation of Willy’s committee of the greatest martial artists in New York, used not only as enforcers, but as his own private tutors.
Willy’s obsession grew until he demanded that the Lee family teach him the Earth’s greatest martial arts form, Sou-Setsou-Ken. But the Lee family refused to teach a syndicate boss.
In his rage, Willy assassinated Stephan Lee, and kidnapped Billy’s fiancé, hoping to blackmail the sons into his demands. But Willy’s naiveté was a powerful force.
Unaided, the half brothers, Billy and Jimmy Lee, battled Willy’s entire syndicate. Fighting the Lee brothers himself, not even Willy’s machine gun could compete with their future sight. Willy was broken, and his gun, his only source of authority, taken from him.
The depth of Willy’s naiveté only became apparent when it was revealed that he truly believed the Sou-Setsou-Ken was a style, when in reality it was the Lee family’s innate power to see into the future of a brawl.
The Lee brothers left him alive for humiliation, and William Tanon soon faded into obscurity. The phrase “Machine Gun Willy” lost its meaning of hate and fear, and became a sick joke. But to the brothers who destroyed the Shadow Warrior syndicate, the people of New York gave the forever endearing term “Double Dragon.”
After the defeat of “Machine Gun Willy,” the Double Dragons traveled to many other places, and fought many other villains, before finally returning to New York City.
That is where our story begins.