In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Michael Robins gripped his steering wheel with whiting knuckles. How dare they lay him off! He worked for a large insurance firm and had disregarded warnings of layoffs. They said low profits were a concern. They said that they needed everyone doing their best to avoid the layoffs. Michael never worried. He felt his work far too valuable to ever lay him off. The reality came as a shock. He pulled into the lot of a liquor store and shut off the engine. He went in and bought himself a tall bottle of cheap blended whiskey.
Mike was already a dirty mess. His shirt was half untucked and his knuckles bled from punching walls. His black hair tufted in all direction. Mike ignored the odd looks from the store clerk as he threw the money on the counter. He stomped back out to the car, unscrewing the cap as he went. He threw his head back for a long swig and has he did, a loud crash almost made him drop the bottle. The windshield of his car lay in tiny square pieces all over the front seats.
“AAAAAAA! You have got to be kidding me!” he smashed the bottle on the ground in a rage, “Is the world out to hex me?”
A baseball sized red jewel glistened in the driver’s seat.
“What a minute,” he opened the door and picked up the gem. As he turned it in his hand it glowed slightly. “What is this?”
He lifted the jewel and looked through it for closer examination. He could see a red tinted liquor store through it and felt a rumble in the ground. The shaking increased and Mike fell back against his car. The windows of the liquor store shattered and its walls crumpled. The building collapsed in a cloud of dust.
“No way,” Mike said. “An earthquake.” Thinking it over he went back to looking at the gem. He turned for better light and looked through it again. This time Mike gazed at a smaller building across the street. The shaking began again and yet another building crumpled to the ground. In his amazement he completely ignored the murders he had just committed.
“Double no way!” It began to dawn on him. He aimed at a third place, a car wash and the same thing happened again. “Ha ha! Oh yeah!”
Michael grabbed a newspaper from the back seat of his car and used it to sweep away the broken glass. He got in and turned the key in the ignition. He knew just where to take his new find. With screeching tires, Mike hit the gas and peeled out of the parking lot. With his typical luck, he immediately drew the attention of a police officer. Mike groaned as he pulled over for the flashing lights. Then he looked at the gem next to him on the seat. Mike picked it up and got out of the car.
“You need to stay in your car, sir,” the officer instructed.
“ But look,” Mike lifted the gem toward him. A flash of red light flew from it and hit the officer. He and his squad car both launched away into the air. Mike almost couldn’t stop laughing as the officer’s body grew tiny in the distance. He laughed all the way back to work in near hysterics.
“This is so wonderful,” Mike said through tears of laughter. He pulled in at the edge of the parking lot and got out his cell phone. He dialed his ex-boss.
“You idiots should come to the windows,” he said and hung up.
Familiar faces soon filled the windows, some with expressions of worry at what he must be planning. He raised the gem toward the building, “Now you’re all fired,” he chuckled.
The ground trembled, concrete cracked and the building groaned. Windows shattered and he could hear the screaming begin. It started from one side and then went across as it finally collapsed to the ground. The screams were no more. More tears streamed down Michael Robinson’s face as he laughed and went completely mad with power.
Sandstorm, Electrode, Atomizer, Dreamseer, Kyte, and Redeagle stepped through the portal to a scene of desolation and death. Red and blue lights swirled from several street corners. Sirens sounded from all directions. Buildings lay in smoldering ruins and the air was dense with smoke and dust. As much as they wanted to dive in and help find victims, they knew there would be countless more if they didn’t find the Eye of Destruction.
Dreamseer concentrated, “I sense a mind drunk with power. That way,” she pointed down the remains of a city street.
They moved quickly and couldn’t help but free a victim or two along the way. But they had to hurry. The longer anyone used the gem the further the range would go. It was a matter of time before Michael’s influence went state wide.
“We need to get moving,” Sandstorm said, “Kyte and Electrode, you two come ahead with me and let’s see if we can shut this guy down. I can feel his effects. He’s about to trigger a massive quake that will take half this state with it. The rest of you catch up as fast as you can.”
As Kyte took to the air, Sandstorm turned into a wind and gave him a push as Electrode flashed on ahead.
At the edge of the city, Mike reached out further with the gem, “Today I become a God. Let the world tremble!”
“That’s not very nice,” Electrode said as he paused in front of Mike.
Mike automatically fired a force wave from the gem, easily dodged by the Nuclear Electric Man.
“You’ve hurt and killed a lot of people,” Electrode dodged another attack and then returned fired but his bolts were stopped short by a red aura of light around Mike.
“Okay, that’s interesting.”
“You can’t hurt me. I’m all powerful.” Mike laughed in madness.
Shadowy tendrils snaked down from above as Kyte tried to force through the aura to get the gem. The attempt proved futile as not even Kyte’s dark forces could move through the strange barrier. A giant stone hand rose out of the ground and tried to grab Mike, but it crumbled away at the power of the gem. Sandstorm manifested an image of himself floating in the air.
“You have to stop now!” his voice boomed.
Michael was too absorbed in the power of the gem. The Eye of Destruction had his mind and the madness of it made him foam slightly from the corners of his mouth.
Sandstorm sensed elemental power couldn’t pass the barrier and found himself in a pushing match with the gem. It tried to force him away, but he held his ground. As he made it turn on him, he could feel the threat to the Earth around them lessen a bit. Still he fought to keep another earthquake from rippling out and tearing the state of South Dakota apart. The three of them battered away at the aura and Mike seemed oblivious to them. He smiled stupidly while they struggled. Then his face changed a little as Dreamseer arrived and tried to grip his mind.
“Ahh!” she cried out holding her temple, “The gem is resisting me.”
Redeagle dared not fire a shot for fear the bullet would bounce and hit a friend.
“I can’t get through!” Sandstorm shouted, “It’s all I can do to keep him from ripping the whole state apart!”