Anubis stopped himself flying through the air and shook his head enough to rattle his armor. He glanced below and one thought immediately took precedence over all others.
“Nightfall!” He called as he flew to where he last saw her. To his relief, she sat on the ground rubbing her forehead.
“You don’t have to yell,” she said with a grimace. “That gave me a monstrous headache.”
“I’m just glad you’re okay. You are okay right?” Anubis helped her to her feet and touched a scrape on her forehead to heal it.
“Much better now, thanks. You better see about the rest.”
Anubis found Blacktide next, but Nyhtwulf was already assisting him. Slowly, everyone was picking themselves up and dusting themselves off. Aches and pains were evident in all by moaning and groaning. Dr. Vampire walked up to the group with a hand at his mid back. Anubis and Nyhtwulf used their healing abilities to bring everyone back to full capabilities.
“It’s truly good fortune to have two healers with us today,” Dr. Vampire said. “Now we have to figure out another way to stop TANK.”
“So far, we can’t hurt it and can’t hold it down,” Blacktide said.
“Who decided to make that thing without an off switch anyway?” Anubis grumbled.
“There has to be some way to stop it. It’s headed into downtown Seattle,” Lonestar said.
“Unfortunately, fighting it just got a lot harder. It learns as it goes. It will remember us and have countermeasures ready.” Dr. Vampire explained in disdain. “Still, there may be a way to shock it, but it will be very dangerous to attempt.”
“We’re all ears, Doc.” Anubis said.
Moments later, the team raced to catch up with the TANK as it stomped toward downtown. It hadn’t slowed in leaving an obvious path of destruction in any way. People rushed to evacuate from the path of the machine while armored SWAT vehicles established a road block. Brave officers stood their ground with heavy artillery and assistance from the National Guard. They waited until the TANK stomped into full view so they had the best target possible and opened fire. Assault rifle and machine gun rounds may as well have been confetti against the TANK’s mystical armor. LAW (light anti-tank weapon) rockets proved just as meaningless. Mounted energy cannons on the TANK’s shoulders flickered to life and a SWAT van exploded into a massive fireball. From the center of its three fingered hands, a larger weapon, called a Master Cannon, emitted a bright wide beam that vaporized police cars and blew another van in half. As follow up to the firepower, the TANK grabbed up a flaming wrecked car and threw it at fleeing officers. To cover escape of the soldiers and officers, a fully armed Apache helicopter hovered in and locked missiles on the TANK.
The explosions of missile fire filled the air around the TANK in an impressive display. Unharmed, the TANK aimed its shoulder cannons and fired red beams of death. The pilot could see that he had no chance to evade. The weapons were too fast in deployment. He held his breath, expecting to burn to death in a split second from an attack that didn’t hit its mark.
Anubis floated in the air between TANK and the helicopter. He had created a forcefield of energy that stopped the attack. He knew that it would soon fire again. Anubis looked over his shoulder to the shocked expressions on the pilot’s faces.
“GET OUT OF HERE!” He screamed at them and the chopper veered away into the darkness without any more hesitation. “Geez, you’d think they need special instructions! Nah, let’s just pause here and stare at the flying dog!”
Anubis charged his lance with cosmic power and unleashed a powerful blast into the front of the TANK. He held position and strained to keep the powerful energy flowing. He had to keep the TANK’s sensors focused on him. After only a few seconds, TANK returned fire and Anubis found himself dodging blasts. Anubis snatched up the smoldering engine of a police car and threw it at TANK. The machine caught the flying engine effortlessly and moved to throw it back. That’s when Nyhtwulf flew through the back of the TANK and out the front.
Nyhtwulf and Doctor Vampire noted that Nyhtwulf passed through the arm of the TANK intangibly without additional effect earlier. This became a crucial point of a new plan of attack. Because Nyhtwulf disrupts life force and mental energy upon passing through any living thing, the Twilie demon made sure he flew through the TANK’s hostage pilot. The disruption of the young thug’s mind passed over into the internal functions of the TANK. The machine stood and shuddered. In its internal confusion, the hatch slid open.
Blacktide saw his cue at that moment. He disintegrated the ground behind the machine at an angle so that, once again, it would slam onto its back. It would also be easier to access the opened hatch. Lonestar and Anubis jumped into action. As they had done with the Hearse, they jammed their own indestructible weapons into the hatch mechanisms, creating a stalemate of artifacts. The hatch could not close, but that wouldn’t stop the TANK from fighting back in the split seconds left to them. Doctor Vampire flew Nightfall on top of the TANK’s chest and into the hatch with the thug. As the last part of the desperate plan, she reached out and touched his face.
With her power to render any person unconscious by touch with a mental blackout, the TANK lost its neural connection to its pilot. The neural crown lifted away and they pulled the young man out of the cockpit. Lonestar and Anubis pulled their weapons out of the way and the hatch closed. The TANK was finally shut down. Doctor Vampire pulled out another of his large artifact transport discs and placed it on the TANK’s leg. In moments the machine was gone.
Far behind them, ambulance and fire personnel were hard at work. More approached from the direction out front of them. Doctor Vampire beckoned them to move on through.
Slowly, the thug came to his senses to find the six heroes looking over him.
“You want to tell us how you wound up inside that thing?” Anubis said.
“I don’t know, man. I don’t remember anything after breakfast this morning.”
“Nightfall?” Doctor Vampire cued.
“I’m afraid he’s telling the truth. His memories have been wiped and I know we didn’t cause it. They’re completely gone.” Nightfall reported.
“The TANK wouldn’t have done that either.”
“My power does not have such an effect,” Nyhtwulf offered.
“No. I can tell this was done before we found him,” Nightfall said.
The ring on Anubis’s hand shimmered without notice of anyone. It was the same ring that found its way on Anubis’s hand at the beach without his notice. It was the same ring enchanted so that he wouldn’t notice it now. Through the gem of that ring, they had an audience. Through the gem of that ring, Stormy Knight watched with a knowing smile on his face.
HEY READER, feel like you'r missing something? Look to the upper right for a link to GZ Legends number 1!