Far across the burning field, Electrode leaned on a tree near the resting bodies of Redeagle, Atomizer, and Nightfall. He barely pulled all three of them to a safe distance before the field was destroyed. Earlier, he barely evaded a massive blast that threw him as he tried to run from it. As he leaned against the tree, he was too out of breath to speak. The whole situation looked like it was falling apart. He had no idea how Galose fared in the blast, where Anubis landed, or if Sandstorm was even alive. He saw Blacktide in the grip of the monster and felt helpless to do anything about it.
“Thanks for saving us.” Atomizer said as he slowly sat up, rubbing aching body parts. “You okay?”
Electrode only shook his head in response.
Anubis fought to regain control of flight as his body hurled across the country back toward the Gulf of Mexico. To slow himself, he drew his arms and legs in and concentrated hard. Thanks to the terrible disorientation, not only did he manage to slow, but dropped out of the air. His armored body tore branches off as he fell through the tree that failed to catch him. Anubis hit the ground with a thud and his lance stuck into the ground next to him. Anubis slowly put his hand on a tree root. He gave a loud groan as he pushed himself up to his knees.
“Oh, that was not a fun ride.” Anubis said in a low growl. He knelt with his eyes closed and an ache in his chest. “I would really like to see him take on the Hearse.”
Anubis grabbed onto his lance and used it for leverage to get to his feet.
“You’ll never win.” The voice of Stormy Knight caught Anubis off guard.
Anubis gripped his lance and yanked it from the ground.
“Don’t bother. You’re almost senseless and nowhere near ready to fight me.”
“Seems worth a try to me.” Anubis snarled. “You must be Stormy.”
“Guilty as charged,” Stormy grinned and tipped his top hat. “You know, I actually didn’t plan on Maniac. He’s a nice surprise.”
“Why don’t you get thrown by him then? And what do you mean? I’ll win just fine after I go back and drill a hole in his head.”
“I wasn’t talking about Maniac. I’m sure you’ll barely stop him in time. As for me, I’m the one you won’t be stopping.”
“And you just stopped by for a nice pep talk, huh?” Anubis concentrated on making his world stop spinning so he could take a swing at Stormy.
“Just keeping a close eye on you, Anubis. You may not believe it, but you’re my ace in the hole.”
“I’ll show you a hole.” Anubis lunged with his lance but Stormy was gone.
“You better hurry, Anubis. Your friends are in grave danger.” Stormy’s disembodied voice said.
Anubis shook his head and took to the air. “Fine, but you and I aren’t done, Stormy Nut.”
Sandstorm’s entire body hurt as he slowly started to pick himself up. The shock of Maniac’s attack actually separated him from the elements and back to human form. From where he was, he could only see one of his allies; Blacktide. Sandstorm stayed on one knee and put his hands to the ground.
“I’ve got to shake this off and knock this thing off my planet.” Sandstorm said to himself through gritted teeth. “I can’t let him start heading for the Earth’s core.”
A disintegration pulse is a bizarre thing to behold. It’s not loud or explosive, though its burst makes you expect a thundering shout. Its effect is filled with shadows and shades of gray and black. It leaves only smoke in its wake. If it weren’t for the glow of Maniac’s eyes, none of the heroes may have noticed it. Parts of Maniac’s fist burst with sparks and flames from the damage that took everyone by surprise. The first burst opened gaps in giant fingers and set off alarms all through Maniac’s systems. The sound of Blacktide screaming was next. It was so primal, filled with rage and pain, that no one was unscathed from hearing it. Electrode fell to his knees at the thought that a living being could make such a sound. Tears streamed down Redeagle’s face. Atomizer took off his hat and Nightfall covered her face.
The next wave of disintegration tore at Maniac’s face in a burst twice the size of the first. From deep within the armor, so many alarms were going off, Maniac didn’t know what system to work with first. The blasts were breaching the dimensional boundaries of the armor. That alone was dangerous enough to kill him. To the genocidal serial killer, it was no comfort that he would take his current enemies with him.
The bursts grew to a nonstop assault as Blacktide lost all control. A howl of rage was added to Blacktide’s primal scream. A burst of light blinded everyone and then there was silence. Blacktide felt himself falling amidst the mind numbing pain and then nothing.