Anubis, Nightfall, Dr. Vampire, Blacktide, Nyhtwulf, and Lonestar stepped through the portal onto a ransacked city street. Cars were overturned, crushed, and burning. The fronts of all the buildings were gaping, smoking holes. Deep cracks webbed across asphalt and concrete. Not even lamp posts remained standing. The final touch to the visual nightmare lay with the bodies of the dead strewn up and down the street.
“This is the work of the TANK armor. It’s an alien weapon and its name stands for Terminate, Attack, Negate, and Kill.” Doctor Vampire explained it with a heavy conscience bothering him from the last mission. “As before, we are facing something we cannot destroy. We have to keep it busy until we can deactivate it.”
“What am I supposed to do to it?” Nightfall said.
“You’re power can separate the neural link the armor has with its pilot. This machine was built to remove any form of conscience from its pilot so that kill missions could be completed without hesitation. Whoever climbed into the cockpit, is a fool and a victim. He or she may even be completely innocent.”
“And me?” Blacktide said. “I was totally useless against The Hearse. What do you want me to do with this?”
“You don’t have to use your powers directly on the TANK to be helpful or effective. If you think about it, I’m sure you’ll find there are other things you can do.” Doctor Vampire said.
“And the rest of us will keep it good and busy until we can send it back to the museum, Doc.” Anubis said. “So let’s get going before all of Seattle becomes a fiery memory.”
On those words, everyone broke into a run, but Doctor Vampire grabbed Anubis by the arm for one last second.
“You need to know that I’m very sorry,” Dr. Vampire said. “My greatest fear has always been hurting friends and allies.”
“Doc, it’s okay. I understand what happened. Besides, you don’t hit anywhere near as hard as The Hearse does!”
Anubis flew into the air and Doctor Vampire followed. It didn’t take long to catch up with the TANK as it took its time delivering destruction. No trail of terror could be more obvious. If that wasn’t enough, the TANK’s attacks could be heard miles away. Explosions, the screech of energy weapons fire, and the screams of innocent victims were a morbid chorus in the streets of Seattle.
Anubis and Nyhtwulf were first to get in the TANK’s way. Nyhtwulf hovered in front of it and waited. Without hesitation, it fired powerful beams of energy that vanished into the Twilie Demon’s shadowy body. Those beams came back out from Nyhtwulf’s hand as the lupine hero used his power to redirect any energy that enters his body. The force of being hit with its own weapon actually made the TANK take one step backward.
Anubis followed up with a powerful flying uppercut using his lance. Since the machine was slightly off balance, the blow delivered it the rest of the way to the ground. It landed on its back with a resounding crash. It didn’t stay there. Propulsion jets instantly brought it back to its feet. It swung a metal hand at Nyhtwulf who simply turned intangible and avoided it. Anubis had to perform aerial dodging maneuvers from energy blasts.
Dr. Vampire and the rest caught up just in time for Anubis’s aerobatic display.
“Who knew he was so agile,” Nightfall said without realizing it.
Dr. Vampire shook his head and turned to Blacktide.
“This is your chance. They brought it down once. You can do it again.”
Blacktide thought fast. How could he bring down this giant when he couldn’t hurt it. He grit his teeth and took several running steps forward. He threw his hand outward in a wide arc and a gray wave of disintegration power surged out. In a cloud of smoke, the street under the TANK’s feet vanished and it crashed to its back again. Blacktide barely rolled out of the way in time.
Lonestar jumped onto the front of the machine and tried to jam his sword into the seam where the front would open. His sword couldn’t wedge into the gap no matter how hard it was thrust. There was the loud song of metal clashing with metal, as a giant hand swatted Lonestar away. The Starknight flew through the front of a nearby building with the crunch of brick and shattering of glass. Again, the TANK was on its feet.
Anubis dropped out of the dark sky like a missile, landing both feet square in the upper front of the machine. Such was the force of his landing that the TANK was knocked down for a third time.
“Nyhtwulf! Shield me from its energy cannons!” Doctor Vampire cried out as he took position on top of the TANK. Looking into the front visor, Dr. Vampire could see the blank face of the young gangster.
Dr. Vampire took off his sunglasses as Nyhtwulf landed between him and the TANK’s shoulder cannons. The Vampire looked the young thug in the eyes with the inherited power of hypnosis. A sudden screaming sound in his brain, made Dr. Vampire cry out and reel backwards. Nyhtwulf caught him and flew him out of the way as the TANK regained its standing again.
“I thought I could strengthen his mind against the TANK’s control,” groaned Dr. Vampire. “It’s too strong. We have to get it to open up.”
Anubis and Lonestar moved in to tackle the TANK at its broad legs while Blacktide prepared a deeper hole for it in the street. Blacktide wondered if he could make the hole so the machine would be wedged too much to just jump back up again.
The TANK shimmered with new energy on their approach and a shockwave of power exploded across the area. No one could hold their ground against it. Anubis was tossed into the blackened sky. Lonestar was thrown down a side street like an armored rag doll. Nyhtwulf and Dr. Vampire vanished into another building that collapsed on top of them. Blacktide flew through vehicles and debris in another direction. Even Nightfall, who had kept her distance, waiting for her part in the fight, was thrown back. As the monstrous TANK stomped forward, not a hero stood against it.