Sunday, July 15, 2012

GZ Legends 13: House of the Raven


The Deformer

Across the city from their friends, at a waterfront, Sandstorm and Electrode planned their entrance to a large warehouse. It belonged to the most ruthless crime boss New York had seen since the Capone days.

 The Raven operated his crimes under a false front organization called the Foundation. Everyone knew of his evil but could never gather enough evidence to put him away. Even though many a federal agent sent to infiltrate wound up dead. Even though he did billions of dollars in white collar crimes. He could not be stopped.

The Raven started out as the leader of a motorcycle gang called the Red Devils in his younger years. His one red eye and one cloudy blue eye distinguished him and helped to drive terror into his victims. As a genius in robotics and cybernetics, he enjoyed building things that kill. Around him almost anything could be a weapon. Sandstorm once destroyed an SUV that Raven built into a killing machine to wipe out a smaller rival gang. Another time he rebuilt all the vending machines in an office building to kill witnesses that were about to testify against him in court. If anyone could orchestrate an attack on the police precincts, it would be the Raven.

 Raven also had cybernetics in his body, making him a formidable foe up close. Worse yet, he built robot duplicates of himself in order to make capture that much harder. He has an anti-aging power that makes him almost immortal and causes extra fast healing. Even so, Raven shows some age and thin features that remind people of the actor, Vincent Price. Only Sandstorm and Electrode, along with one or two other powered vigilantes in New York, ever kept the Raven in check and from taking over the city outright.

                “We need to be on our toes in here,” Sandstorm said. “There will be quite a few hired guns and likely all with cybernetic implants. I’ll change to air form and enter through a window.”

                “Why not use the ventilation system?”

                “He would expect that and he’s detected me before. He builds security devices so sophisticated they can detect our powers. You might be able to move fast enough to dodge the sensors, but be careful. Anything, and I mean anything, could try to kill you here.”

                “Hey, I have helped you against him before you know.”

                “Yeah, but you’ve never been in there. I suggest you run up on the roof and through a door up there. He might not expect a speeder from that direction. Whatever you do, don’t stop anywhere until you get to the main floor of the warehouse. I’ll meet you there.”

                Electrode knew to heed the words of his mentor well. Sandstorm saw much more action than he could ever imagine; a true veteran by any means. Electrode psyched himself for a dash while Sandstorm dissolved into air. Electrode ran for a fire escape ladder.

The Nuclear Electric Man
The speed of light is measured at about 186,000 miles per second. Sandstorm stress tested Electrode once by having him run around the world as many times as he could in one minute. He almost made it 15 times and didn’t tire out. The speed of light could only hope to go around 7 times. Sandstorm theorized that is was nuclear electric physiology that made him so fast and virtually tireless in movement. As a result he only requires sleep once a week.

Speeds that high cause the speeders to operate on a different level of perception to virtually all of physical space around them. Electrode was still learning about all that he could possibly do with such speed so still limited himself to some of the confines of physical science and reality. Seeing the world from his perspective at his speed, seemed like moving through a place frozen in time. He could detect movement at less than a hair’s width in anything.  He once attacked a punching bag and hit it over a thousand times in one second. He moved so fast, that he was away from it before it had time for it to react to his punches. It exploded into bits of stuffing. Because of that, he could never punch a human being at speed levels. Instead he attacked with air movements and sub shockwaves he could generate with his speed. His punches didn’t have to connect with objects and he still got the desired results.

  There were four guards on top of the building. He ran past each one and snapped his fingers creating a mini supersonic boom that stunned all four of them. He found a door on the rooftop and was inside instantly. A man climbed the stairs inside, though stock still from his perspective. He gave another finger snap as he passed and noted something horrifying. Pieces of the hand rails were coming apart and generating red lasers as they did. To him, they moved very slowly, so he made it to the bottom of the stairs with ease. Still, he couldn’t believe that something detected him. Forgetting the advice given, he stopped at the bottom of the stairs. The finger snaps all resolved and the man stumbled on the stairs, just before the lasers cut him to pieces.

 The stair steps all turned like a mulching machine and swallowed the parts away.  No trace remained, but horror of the sight shook Electrode to the core. The men on the building roof all fell over unconscious. His high perceptions caught a brightening of light from the hallway lamps. He realized he just triggered another trap. From the speed perspective he could see a defined orb of light coming from the bulbs in the hall. He knew he couldn’t wait around to see what they would do to him. So he ran with the orbs growing in slow motion around him. He reached for a doorknob at the end of the hall, wondering if he could escape.

                Sandstorm floated through the air into the main floor of the warehouse. He could see stacks of crates being moved around by armed men and a door was open to the dock outside. A couple of crates were open and he could see the weapons. Sandstorm has a powerful sense of all elements. You could bring him almost any object and he could tell you where on Earth its components came from. As he used his power to scan over the weapons, he discovered they were from nowhere on Earth. A handsome tanned man in a gray suit came in from a boat on the dock. If Sandstorm were in human form, seeing this man would have given him goose bumps. This man was wanted by the FBI and agencies in several countries.

The Barracuda smuggled all sorts of nasty things for a living. The Brazilian native had speed powers that worked especially in water. He could swim over 90 miles per hour and boasted considerable physical strength. No one knew his limits, but four or five hundred pounds had been seen as child’s play to him. He could swim down to depths that no machine could follow, so catching him on the open water proved nigh impossible. What a great opportunity this could be. And Sandstorm knew that he could follow Barracuda to any depth because he had already explored the ocean floor in the form of water, just for kicks. 

Up on a catwalk, a door slammed and the Raven stood with a scowl on his narrow face. He gripped the metal hand rail and it twisted in his hand.

                “You may as well show yourself, I know you’re here!” he shouted and then looked to Barracuda, “We have intruders, get lost!”

                At that moment, up in the hallway, Electrode spun on his heel, realizing he couldn’t get through the door in time. He fired and arc of lightning down the hall that blew every bulb and fried every wire from one end to the other. The explosion could be heard throughout the building. Barracuda turned to run for his boat but a series of micro sonic booms laid him and every thug on that level out on their backs and faces. Electrode appeared over Barracuda's unconscious body. Sandstorm allowed himself to appear in mildly transparent form, hovering in the air.

                “You two again. Too bad my traps didn’t catch your rookie friend,” the Raven scowled.

                “You’re dealing in weapons that have killed a lot of people, Raven,” Sandstorm said.

                “Really? How sad. Remind me to send out some sympathy cards.”

                “We want to know where someone is,” Sandstorm continued.

                “At the zoo.”

                “We don’t have time for snide answers.”

                “You fool, you don’t have time for much of anything.”

                The movement of the dark silhouette of a person caught Electrode off guard and he barely evaded the new speeder in time. Shadowy fingers barely caressed his chest before Electrode pulled away, reeling in pain. A look at the location showed an instant and ugly scar across the exact surface touched. It felt like a hot poker had just brushed Electrode’s chest.

                “Are you okay?” Sandstorm asked.

                “Yeah, this guy touched me and scarred me instantly.”

                The being that touched him stood only twenty feet away. It resembled a human being only in geometric shape, otherwise it held no facial features or anything else human. Its form was as black as cast iron and didn’t reflect much light. It grabbed up an unconscious thug faced toward Electrode and put a hand over the man’s face. At the being’s touch the thugs face distorted and twisted out of shape. The thug woke up screaming with his face being manipulated like soft clay. The Thug’s heart gave out from the pain and shock, and the creature dropped him dead to the floor.  Electrode could hardly look at the horror created right before his eyes. The creature pointed a finger at Electrode, making it's message horrifyingly clear.
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