Across the city, where ever they could find the murderous henchmen, PAC worked hard to take them down. In some ways it felt good to cut loose on the walking punching bags since they had no life of their own . Still, the knowledge that these were once real people with real lives and loved ones nagged at the back of their minds. No one knew if there was a cure to Professor Zombie’s formula and the henchmen were far too destructive and strong to hold back on. All they had was Nyhtwulf’s mystical senses that said there was ‘no life’ to these beings. That had to be enough. The cost of not stopping these creatures was ten times the lives lost to the Professor’s formula. The desperation of saving the living people escalated the terms of combat for all of them.
Sandstorm and Electrode had formed a concrete battle plan. Electrode removed helmets at high speeds, occasionally removing a head in the process. Then Electrode would remove any innocents while the henchmen were stunned so Sandstorm could come in and finish them off. Sandstorm decided that erupting asphalt spikes on every street would eventually just add to the damage New York had already endured. He employed a tactic he rarely used; the one of his namesake.
Vietnam was long ago except in the minds of those who fought there. Sandstorm was in a heavy firefight and his platoon was overwhelmed. The radioman was down and the radio destroyed. Air support was impossible. He could hear yelling and screaming through all the smoke between gunshots, but he couldn't see a target. He fired his weapon blindly until he ran out of ammo and took cover on the ground. Smoke stung his eyes and his ears rang from a nearby grenade blast. The sudden quiet was almost louder than the grenade. With the pause in shooting, Sandstorm rolled across the ground and crawled trying to find platoon mates. Through the shadows, his hands found a uniformed body, dead. He found two more, also dead. Then they were standing over him; Vietcong soldiers with their rifles aimed at him. They shouted at him in their language but he couldn't understand. He looked up at them, tears flowing his eyes and rage pounding in his chest. He gripped the earth under him and screamed. What happened next seemed as if a grenade had gone off right in their midst, but it was no grenade. Sandstorm vanished in an explosion of dust and wind that engulfed all of the enemy soldiers. The wind whipped and spun and filled with grains of sand. Foliage and bark stripped from trees and bushes. Men screamed like Sandstorm had never known before, but it all seemed so far from his control back then. When he re-materialized he had cleared 50 yards of foliage and life. The enemy soldiers lay around his feet. They were nothing more than polished bone.
So, once Electrode had survivors out of the way, Sandstorm blasted them to the same state as that enemy ambush all those years ago. At least these targets didn't scream.
Blacktide and Nyhtwulf also found that their approach tactic worked over and over again. It didn’t seem like the zombie henchmen learned or communicated with each other at all. So, with each group, Nyhtwulf would attract their fire. Since he could redirect any energy that moved through his body, he would send the shots right back. Nyhtwulf could even aim at necks and heads. Blacktide would follow up, coming in on his motorcycle and disintegrating anything left of them. Occasionally one would be away from the group and shoot at them, but it wouldn't last long. Since the henchmen weren't the kind to take shelter from anything, they were easy targets. Either Nyhtwulf would fly over and rip its head off, or a well-aimed shot from Blacktide would erase its helmet and head too.
Anubis fought on without fear, diving into the midst of his enemies with glowing fury. He practiced firing his energy blasts from his hands, the lance and even his eyes; sometimes all at once. He even emitted large bursts that threw henchmen in every direction. Once finished with one group, Anubis wasted no time in finding the next one. He left them shattered, battered, blasted and impaled with each combat ending faster than the one before it.
Agent Redeagle took to low rooftops and found it easy to ambush his targets with his new firepower from Anthony James. Atomizer easily dispatched any that were missed, carefully avoiding the alien weaponry. Atomizer still cursed at himself for what could have been a costly mistake. Even though he had no idea what would happen, he had never missed on controlling an explosion before. Atomizer’s favorite way to subdue criminals was ping pong balls. Since they were hollow they exploded creating a concussion blast that could stun almost any normal person. He had fine-tuned the trick so well that he always had a couple of ping pong balls in his pocket. Atomizer was the “cowboy up” kind of guy ever since he could remember and had spent years practicing his power. This kind of mistake was unacceptable to him.
Finally, after hours and hours of taking down the zombie strike teams, the heroes ran out of targets. No one knew of the henchmen were called off or all destroyed. Either way it was done for the time being. That was when their cell phones rang, summoning all of them back to the office with haste.
As usual, Commander Larratus waited with impatience until they were all together. Nightfall greeted Anubis with a smile.
“I have news for all of you,” Larratus started, but Sandstorm put up a hand and interrupted him, “Excuse me, Lombard, you have something more important to say?”
Sandstorm had an expression of deep concern on his face, “Yes, I’m afraid I do. In all the fighting I haven’t been paying attention and we have a major problem.”
“Paying attention to what?” Larratus said in frustration.
“We need to go to Florida, right now.”
“Why?” Anubis asked.
“What, do you think you’re going to get a tan?” Larratus was getting angrier and the vein in his forehead started to bulge.
“There’s a hurricane.”
“Are you kidding me?” Larratus said in disbelief while everyone else watched the discussion with interest, “They get those all the time, Sandstorm. They’re used to them!”
“Not like this, Commander,” Sandstorm’s voice was serious and grim, “This one is alive.”