Tuesday, June 25, 2013

GZ Legends 53: Fallen Heroes

While the heroic friends took on the underground bunker of Professor Zombie, the Strykeforce Guard took the stolen artifacts back to the Museum. It took little effort to have them back in their secured exhibits and locked down.  Doctor Vampire saw to the lockdown of the Hearse himself.

            “You know I can’t be held here once my master calls.” The Hearse growled through its grill.

            “Until then, some portion of the universe will be safe.” Doctor Vampire checked the security settings for tampering and then walked away without another word.

            Each member of the team searched for problems in the Museum’s security network. None could be found. The team met out in front of the Museum once their work was done.

            “I can’t figure out how this was done. It’s like they just bypassed all the security measures. Like none of them were there in the first place.” Doctor Vampire said.

            “Uh oh.” Dreamseer said with a finger to her temple.

            “What is it?” Traveler asked.

            “Your security measures are a joke.” The man in the top hat, Stormy Knight stood a few yards away. He had appeared without triggering anything but Dreamseer’s telepathy. He held his cane with its silver skull tightly in a white-gloved fist. The eyes of the skull glowed an eerie green. “But I haven’t come for your trinkets this time, Doctor Vampire. I’ve come for you.”

            “Well that was a mistake!” Lonestar drew his sword and sent his white falcon into the air.

            As Lonestar and his falcon moved to attack, Kyte joined them, reaching out with his shadow tendrils to ensnare Stormy.

            “Is that so?” Stormy, parried Lonestar’s sword by way of the magical cane. A green blast from the cane’s glowing eyes, knocked Lonestar backwards. With fluid grace, Stormy instantly switched targets and swatted Kyte right out of the air with a loud ‘CRACK’. Kyte hit the ground with a heavy thud and didn’t move. The cane had hit him across the forehead. Lonestar’s white falcon dived in, but Stormy gestured with one hand and sealed the bird in a mystical sphere of power.

            With no invitation necessary, Dr. Vampire, Traveler and Dreamseer acted with team coordination to press further attack. Dreamseer, used her power to reach out to Stormy’s mind. The result was disastrous, as he gave her enough mental feedback to shatter the minds of giants. Dr. Vampire flew in with a fist aimed for Stormy’s leering face. Stormy responded by catching that arm between his own arm and the cane. He flipped the Vampire hero through the air while simultaneously kicking Traveler in the face. The kick came with a burst of mystical power that knocked Traveler out. Dr. Vampire hit the ground roughly, but jumped back to his feet with no quarter taken. Stormy blocked a hail of punches and flying kicks with sneering laughter. After that, he quickly struck the Doctor across the jaw with the skull head on the cane. As Doctor Vampire’s head jerked one direction, the cane came back with vengeance from the other. Stormy mercilessly struck his target back and forth. After a fifth vicious and bloody strike, Doctor Vampire’s body hit the ground.

Stormy Knight stood victorious over the bodies of the Strykeforce Guard.

            “I said I wanted you, and I get what I want.” Stormy cast a spell that sent their unconscious bodies to a place known only to him. “You won’t be keeping your promise to help those pitiful fools on Earth. You will help me instead.”

            Then, with a tap of his cane, Jonathon “Stormy” Knight vanished on another mission.

            In Miami, Florida, the team of Calibur 5 had been helping set the city right again after the whole mess with the Tiara of the Mind. They kept Ricci’s mansion after her death at the hands of the Mayor. They rearranged some things to taste, but mostly enjoyed the lavish comfort of her great house. Zacheriah Ace, Lawrence Jackdaw, Stagefright, and Gypsy were all very proud of their teammate, Nightfall. They knew that she would find out what was behind the imbalances on Earth. Then they planned to rejoin her and the other heroes to help in the fight.

            “From what I understand, Professor Zombie has been taken into custody.” Zachariah said as they all sat in the living room for a meeting.

            “Excellent! Does he know who’s behind the blocking of the sun?” Stagefright asked.

            “Currently he’s unconscious, but Nightfall thinks she can still get something out of him.”

            “Since when does unconscious stop her?” Gypsy asked with a smirk.

            “The being called Nyhtwulf scrambled the man’s brainwaves.”

            “Oh. Well, at least he deserved it.” Gypsy shrugged.

            “Speaking of deserving,” Stormy Knight appeared in the middle of the room.

            The first to respond to an enemy in their midst was Lawrence. He needed to get to his feet in order for his high speed reflexes to be useful. He jumped up, reaching for his blasters, but an uppercut with the cane tossed him over the back of the chair he had been sitting in. Lawrence hit the wall behind the chair with a crash.

            Stormy’s immediate follow up move was a hard kick that slammed Stagefright’s face into the ornate frame of the fireplace mantel.

            “Next?” Stormy taunted.

            Gypsy generated a spell blast meant to throw Stormy out the window. Stormy Knight gestured without even looking and reversed the magic back to its source. Gypsy slammed into a wall and collapsed to the floor.

As a hand to hand combatant, Zachariah was far better than Doctor Vampire. Every move came from years of tactical training. Even Stormy could only barely evade the surgical combat prowess of the Calibur 5 leader. The two men met with a flurry of strikes that would kill a lesser man on contact. Each one was parried with blinding speed and replaced by another and another. Zachariah could feel himself moving through Stormy’s defenses. He could feel the strain he put on his opponent. Finally, after several long seconds of a masterful display, Zachariah put a hand at Stormy Knight’s throat.  Suddenly, arcs of electricity jolted over the master soldier’s body and landed him at Stormy’s feet.

            Stormy took several deep breaths. “Where the physical fails, magic will suffice. You were a fool to think I’d fight fair, Zachariah Ace.”

Monday, June 17, 2013

GZ Legends 52: MELTDOWN!

In his practice of healing others, Anubis hadn’t tried poisons or chemicals yet. He had no idea if he could do it. He worried that Electrode may be a servant of the Professor forever. As this form of his powers worked on Electrode’s body, he slowly awakened and stirred. Anubis stopped and everyone watched in earnest. Would they have to fight him again?

            Electrode glanced around at his friends and slowly lifted himself to an elbow. He took several deep breaths.

            “Low. Low on charge.” He said slowly.

            “Everyone please stand back.” Sandstorm instructed. Once they complied, he summoned arcs of lighting right out of the air to pound away at Electrode’s chest. In moments, the Nuclear Electric Man was standing.

            “Where is he?” Electrode asked. “I want to charge him for what he did.”

            “He has left the bunker,” Nyhtwulf said before he flew through a wall and vanished.

            “I think Nyhtwulf is going to retrieve him,” Anubis said with a grin. “Best game of fetch ever!”

            “Then we need to get out of here too,” Sandstorm said with the same scowl he had been wearing for hours. “All of you, get out of here and get to a safe distance. I’m going to bury this place.”

            There was no argument. Anubis scooped up Nightfall before she could protest and Blacktide disintegrated a hole through the roof. Sandstorm made another ice ladder for the rest of them to climb out. Once outside, they ran to gain distance from the openings of the bunker. Whatever Sandstorm intended to do, they didn’t want to be close to it.

            Sandstorm’s eyes glistened and glowed yellow. His body ignited in flames as he stood stock still. The metal floor where he stood started to glow orange with the heat. From outside, the friends could see the glow and feel the heat from the distance. They elected to move further away as a giant hand of molten liquid rose from the bunker. That hand came down with a hot splash as a giant roaring head emerged. The roof of the bunker melted away like wax under the lava-borne heat. Sandstorm spread the molten influence clear through all rooms of the bunker, melting every wall and object within. From the river, the air filled with steam and flames reached hundreds of feet into the air. His teammates were forced even further back from the scalding heat. The entirety of the underground bunker became a small lake of molten metal, boiling with raging force. His friends watched in awe, as the form of a giant man stepped out of the lava and to the river, converting from one element to the other as he went. As a giant of water, Sandstorm pushed the giant ice sculpture water spout from earlier into the molten pool. With that, he summoned a great surge from the river to flow over the lava. Steam hissed so loud it could be heard far across the river and the steam glowed bright, reflecting the heat.

Further down the river, Professor Zombie pushed his boat as fast as it would go. He knew his bunker was forfeit, but it didn’t matter to him. He could rebuild anywhere. Now he would plan revenge and the recapture of these heroes with his new data. Next time, he would have them serving him as Generals of his new army. The Professor smiled to himself at the thought. Nyhtwulf rose from the hull of the speedboat like a dark angel and took the Professor completely by surprise. Before he could utter a word, Nyhtwulf  phased a hand and forearm through Professor Zombie’s face. The Professor’s body convulsed as his brainwaves and life force were scrambled. Everything the genius knew suddenly became gray clouds in his eyes. Before the big man could fall over, Nyhtwulf grabbed him and flew back to where his friends waited for him. As he arrived, the molten pool was at a low glow, cooling under the river’s influence. Nyhtwulf tossed the drooling mess that was now the Professor on the ground at his teammates’ feet.

            Anubis nodded at the Professor who foamed at the mouth with sounds of gibbering and gurgling. “How fitting.”

            “I couldn’t have done that better myself.” Nightfall said.

            “Doesn’t look like he’ll hurt anyone ever again.” Atomizer said.

            “I’d still like to kill him.” Electrode grumbled.

            “No.” Sandstorm said. “As much as I’d like to execute him too, I say let him rot as a vegetable. He more than deserves it.”

            “Just like what he did to hundreds of other people.” Redeagle mused.

            “We need to get back to the office.” Sandstorm said.

Far out past the orbit of Earth, a small starcraft approached. Its pilot scanned the large battleship hovering outside of the atmosphere and knew where it was from. After consideration, he decided it would have to wait in consideration of his mission. He flew his cloaked craft past the big ship without detection and even moved past the barrier that blocked the sun. The technology of his people far surpassed anything the beings on that ship were capable of.  According to his scanners, the target was on the move. The pilot tapped into news feeds and reports on the surface. There wasn’t much to go on with the technological blackout, but enough to see the carnage. Galose the Cyborian Marshal, wasn’t sure he could take on the threat of Maniac by himself, but he also saw something else in those reports. He saw a team of heroes and knew what he needed to do.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

GZ Legends 51: Lightning Strikes!

Anubis rushed to Nightfall’s side where she lay on the metal table. He grasped the manacles that held her and tore them away as easily as tissue paper. He lifted her from the table with her shoulder to his chest.

            “Are you okay? Come on, wake up!”

            “Ooh, quit shouting.” Nightfall put a hand to her forehead. “And would you mind if I found my clothes before this sheet falls off?”

            “Oh!” Anubis said in surprise. “Yeah. Why don’t we let you get dressed?”

            Nyhtwulf opened the locker in the room and found her uniform. Blacktide stayed out in the hall and Nyhtwulf quickly joined him.

            “You too, hero.” Nightfall said.

            “Just one thing.” Anubis raised a glowing hand to the mechanical arm. A blast of cosmic energy destroyed it instantly. “Just for your safety.” Anubis stepped out to the hall and kept his back to the broken doorway.

            Nightfall joined them shortly. When she came out, she held a hand at her hip and had a scowl of pain.

            “Are you okay?” Anubis asked.

            “I will be. I really don’t want to talk about it though. I just want to deliver payback to the Professor.”

            “We’re with you on that.” Blacktide said. “Nyhtwulf, please lead us to the rest of our friends.”

            Thanks to Nyhtwulf it was easy to find the nearby rooms that held Redeagle, Atomizer, and Sandstorm. Electrode wasn’t there.

            “I can track by a being by their brain waves,” Nyhtwulf explained. “But it seems that Electrode’s brain waves have changed.”

            “Could there be interference?” Sandstorm asked. He stood against a wall and seethed with more rage than all of them put together. He knew exactly what he wanted to do, but couldn’t until they were all together.

            “I have never known of anything that could interfere. I could track any of you across this planet.”

            “How about the Professor?” Nightfall asked. “Where is he?”

            “Just give us the straight line. I’ll make a path.” Blacktide said.

   All around them were the remains of henchmen that never stood a chance against the angry and powerful heroes. Nyhtwulf pointed and Blacktide nodded with a grim expression of determination. Blacktide walked right through the wall with his disintegration aura slightly extended. The rest knew to stay back. Blacktide concentrated the force of his power forward to destroy walls and doors. More henchmen fell from the other side of the walls. As it stood, Professor Zombie had very few henchmen left. The heroes marched forward, following the smoldering path Blacktide left for them. Finally, they broke into a wide semi-dark chamber. Professor Zombie stood at a far end near some computer terminals.

            “You’ve failed, Professor! We’re here for you now!” Anubis shouted at him.

            “I do not fail, dear boy. I merely gain new opportunities and data.”

            “I’m going to forcibly remove that ‘dear boy’ stuff from your vocabulary!” Anubis said.

            “Where is Electrode?” Sandstorm said as he stepped forward.

            “He’s right here.”

            Arcs of electricity lit up the room, revealing where Electrode had been standing in the shadows.

            “You monster! You used your junk on him!” Anubis shouted.

            “Hardly. I used a hypnotic serum. He has full use of his powers, but obeys my commands. You’ve destroyed nearly all my servants. Will you destroy your friend? Or will he destroy you?” Professor Zombie stepped backwards and vanished through a moving panel in the wall.

            “The rest of you need to get out of this room, right now.” Sandstorm said flatly as he dissipated into air.

            Electrode responded before they could move. Redeagle, Atomizer and Nightfall were thrown back out of the room and Blacktide was tossed against a wall. Bolts of lightning moved through Nyhtwulf and were harmlessly redirected to nearby walls and computer terminals. Anubis formed a forcefield of cosmic force.

            “Just do it, Sandstorm! I’ve got everyone shielded!”

            Electrode reappeared on the far end of the room. With a shout of rage, he emitted arcs throughout the room. Metal walls and computers were perfect conduits. Currents of nuclear electric power moved through the walls and floors. Anubis was taken by surprise as he was jolted violently from below and behind. Anubis lost his forcefield and dropped to one knee from the assault. Nyhtwulf knew he could phase through Electrode eventually, but the electric hero may not recuperate for days. Suddenly, even in his shadow form, Nyhtwulf felt a deep chill. He saw the mist of his breath on the air. Frost formed across the walls behind Electrode and spread like an angry virus. Moving quickly, Nyhtwulf grabbed Blacktide and Anubis as he flew from the room. Outside the room, Agent Redeagle was already moving the unconscious Atomizer and Nightfall back from the hole in the wall. Nyhtwulf could see into the room and an amazing sight unfolded.

“I took you under my wing and taught you everything I know.” Sandstorm’s voice could be heard on the icy air. A specter form of Sandstorm appeared around Electrode as their end of the room turned misty with freezing cold. “I can tell, in your mind controlled state, that you don’t have full access to your training. Because of that, I can save you. I know your ultimate weakness my friend.”

            Electrode dropped to his knees and the arcs of lightning lessened in intensity. Frost formed on his skin and his lips turned blue. Finally, the bolts weakened and ceased completely. Electrode fell over unconscious. Sandstorm materialized as he quickly raised the temperature of the room. Anubis was quickly by their side followed by the others.

            “Shall I try to heal him?”

            “See if you can remove the serum from his body. Do you think your healing can do that?”

            “Worth a shot.”

            Anubis put his hands on Electrode’s chest and concentrated, not knowing if he could save Electrode’s life.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

GZ Legends 50: The Rage of Heroes

 Agent Redeagle strained against the table shackles that held him. The robot arm held an assortment of needles for drawing blood, tissue samples and even bone marrow. So far, he had experienced them all. With the gifted powers of his forefathers dampened he couldn’t crack his restraints, much less break them. The agony of the needles was blinding, especially when it came to taking bone marrow. His next despair came in the thought that his teammates must be suffering just as badly. He silently prayed that just one may have escaped. That would be the one to save them all.

            In his personal laboratory, Professor Zombie checked over his vast computerized systems. He was surprised to see a damage report on one of his computer screens. His thick fingers flew at the keys to find out where the damage was. As he did this, he missed the event that unfolded on one of his security cameras, just outside of Blacktide’s holding cell.

            The shadowy form rose from the floor like a black lupine ghost. He moved with determination and ferocity, merging his clawed hands into a zombie guard on either side of the door. Nyhtwulf tore them apart so fast they never had time realize something had happened. As their bodies hit the floor, Nyhtwulf phased backwards through the door. Being able to phase others he carries with him, Nyhtwulf easily lifted Blacktide out of his restraints. He awakened his friend through the psychic bond they shared.

            “Oh, man, am I glad to see you,” Blacktide said as he stumbled slightly. “Where are my clothes?”

            Nyhtwulf opened a nearby locker and there they were. “Once you are feeling more stable, I have a plan.”

            “What’s that?”

            “A heavy dose of justice and revenge while saving our friends.”

            Blacktide grabbed his pants. “I’m up for that.”

            Hakim pushed with all his will and strength to turn into Anubis. Two needles had already done their work. The bone marrow extraction was coming next. The deep cosmic glow of his hands slowly began to spread as the needle drew closer. The long gleaming needle extended from robotic housing. The mechanical arm drove its weapon menacingly toward the side of his leg. In his mind, Hakim could see the face of Destiny speaking to him.

            “This is your mission, Hakim. This is your mission.”

            The needle drove into the muscle of the side of his leg with horrible pain. It was pain that woke the power within. The small explosion of cosmic energy completely decimated the robot arm and computers in the room. In that smoke filled room, a low growl could be heard by the henchmen in the outer corridor. Two of them rushed in as Anubis stood up from the wreckage. His eyes shined with a fierce red light and you could count all his teeth in that furious snarl. The two henchmen raised their weapons. Before their fingers could tense on the triggers, Anubis lashed out with is bladed lance and shattered both their protective helmets with a roar of fury. The sounds of violence echoed down the corridors.

Professor Zombie spun at the sound and checked the security cameras. He gazed in amazement at the power of Anubis. Power he wanted. He slammed his hand on an emergency button to activate the sonic emitters, but nothing happened. That’s when he realized where the damage report had come from. Deep in the mainframes a series of circuit boards lay in jagged pieces; courtesy of Nyhtwulf. Professor Zombie hurried across his lab and vanished through a hidden door.

            Back in the corridor, Anubis burst through a wall, spraying henchmen with metal shrapnel. Nothing could stand against him as he cut down the zombie henchmen that rushed against him. Finally, nothing stood around him except for one large henchmen who stepped out to bar his path. Anubis cocked his head slightly at the size of the brute. Its helmet and suit were reinforced with extra armor. It stood and clenched its fists.

            “Okay.” Anubis said. He jammed his lance into the floor and raised his glowing fists. “Come on!”

            The henchman charged and Anubis met him halfway. The henchman’s great fist came in a downward arc toward Anubis’s head. It met with an armored forearm to block the blow. Anubis’s glowing fist found its mark in the front of the henchman’s armored helmet. At the impact of a cosmic fist, the metal cracked and split the helmet in all directions. Completely shattered, pieces of the helmet flew through the air and bounced off the walls and ceiling. The henchman’s large square face could be seen. Teeth flew from the man’s mouth and his nose turned and snapped. The zombie only staggered back a couple of feet and came back undeterred. Both of its strong hands reached for Anubis’s head, but they were caught again. Anubis launched a kick to the midsection of his foe and threw the henchman backwards down the corridor. Anubis gave no quarter and flew after the tossed body. He charged his fist with bright power as he came down hard. He could see the rage in the face of the henchman for a split second before his fist made contact. A brilliant flare shined in the corridor with a shout of thunder. Anubis charged his fist so much that the henchman’s head was completely disintegrated. Only a charred blast mark remained.

            “Now to find out where my friends are.” Anubis closed his eyes and concentrated. He could sense other life forms and worse, their pain. “I’m coming. I promise.”

            In another area of the compound, not far away, Blacktide walked through the door. He disintegrated it on the way with his power, not feeling the need to open it. They were just in time to hear the fight around the corner and rushed to see what was going on. Anubis summoned his lance to his hand and spun to meet them.

            “Easy now. It’s us.”

       “Good! Glad to see you’re free. We must find the others. Nyhtwulf, can you sense Nightfall?”

            Nyhtwulf nodded and pointed to a door. Anubis stomped over and jammed his hand through the metal of the wall. He peeled the door aside like crumpled tissue and stepped in. Nightfall lay on the table, unconscious and unmoving.