Monday, July 29, 2013

GZ Legends 58: More than a handful

 Blacktide only knew pain and lights floated before his eyes. He couldn’t even process a cognitive thought. Without thought or control his power began to pulsate.  The Cyborian armor in the hand of Maniac burned.  Maniac refused to relent.  He was sure he could crush Blacktide to death before any real damage was done.

            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. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

GZ Legends 57: Maniac's Grip

 As Maniac reached over Atomizer, Redeagle and Nightfall, the ground behind the Cyborian exploded. Sandstorm, who was only momentarily stunned, reformed as a great stone giant. He grabbed Maniac from behind and around the arms, lifting the laughing monster into the air. Maniac actually stopped laughing in sudden confusion as he was flipped backwards in a flying suplex move. Sandstorm brought Maniac down on his chest plates with a ground shaking thud. Dirt and rocks flew into the air all around from the impact.

            From above, a bright light shot down as Anubis dropped in with his lance in a powerful pile driver into the back of Maniac’s head. Anubis rebounded out of the way just in time for Galose to reappear. Galose emitted a volley of bright metron bombs that exploded all over the grounded giant.

            Redeagle and Atomizer raced toward the fallen form of Blacktide who was barely getting to his knees.

            “Stay away!” Blacktide shouted as gray smoke swirled around him. The two men could feel the intense heat from yards away. They dared not try to get closer. Blacktide’s disintegration powers charred the ground and smoldered all around him for several feet. Blacktide strained to contain his power. A full burst of disintegration energy ached to break free. He knew, if it did, his friends would die.

            “Okay, we need to fall back.” Redeagle said. “Let our big guns deal with Maniac.”

            “You don’t have to tell me twice.” Atomizer agreed.

            “We have to help Blacktide.” Nightfall said.

            “How are you going to get to him?” Redeagle said. “Now come on. We need distance.”

            “If I could just touch him I could knock him out.” Nightfall said.

            “Great idea. That should only cost you your hand and maybe some of your face.” Atomizer said.
            Within Maniac’s armor, Nyhtwulf still sought a way out. He suddenly found himself inside of a long tunnel filled with machinery and computers. He had never seen so much technology.

            “What have I found here?” Nyhtwulf wondered aloud. He didn’t understand what any of the machinery’s function could be for. He did know one thing however; sabotage could be great fun.

            Even deeper within the giant armor was the true Maniac. The real being was no taller than Galose, but permanently bonded with the armor that he now used to wreak havoc. Three dimensional screens hovered all around where he floated and an alarm slightly distracted him from the attackers outside. An invader within the armor was unheard of. Still, he would have to leave that one to the internal security devices. He had a reckoning to deliver.

            Instead of laughter there was a howl of rage as Maniac thrust himself up from the ground. His armor’s systems were fast at work repairing damage that was still minimal to him. Sandstorm’s body of stone was tossed aside and Anubis had to fly in a hurry. As Maniac rose, red beams shot from his eyes and tore across the field, directly toward Galose. The super metron lasers carved a trench 8 feet deep clear across the field. Galose rolled out of the way and came up still firing his own weapons.

            “Miserable creatures!” Maniac’s voice boomed. “You cannot stop me! I will show you my power! I will destroy your world!”

            Blacktide dashed out of the ditch to everyone’s surprise and threw himself at Maniac’s ankle with a scream of rage. He clung there with all his might, letting his power burn away at Maniac. Blacktide swore to himself he would not let go.

Maniac grew tired of distractions, but now another one caused even more alarms. Nyhtwulf was having quite a time tearing up control panels. Security weapons fired at him, but his shadowy body simply redirected the energy blasts into other system machinery; doing even more damage.  Maniac had never been so vexed in all his existence. He hadn’t even noticed that his saw blades had remounted so he could launch them again. In all his eons as a cosmic bully and genocidal lunatic, he had never had to use the full combat ability of his armor. He had always just forced his way through any situation, reveling in the base level of his power. Now he found himself truly tested and it enraged him.

            As Anubis flew by to take another shot, Maniac caught him by a leg before the flying hero could blink. With the snap of a giant wrist, Anubis was flung hundreds of miles an hour in a spin like a living Frisbee. After tossing away one gnat, he opened fire with the palm cannon again across what was left of the field, engulfing any sight of Galose. Without stopping, he turned that weapon onto Sandstorm’s animated stone body and blew it to less than baseball sized pieces that flew a mile in each direction. Then he reached down and snatched up Blacktide from the smoldering point on his ankle. He lifted the seemingly helpless human in his metal fingers so he could get a good look at him.

Blacktide struggled in the vice grip and screamed as his ribs and hips cracked and broke. Even his disintegration aura couldn’t work fast enough to set him free. Maniac’s red eyes shined on Blacktide.

            “Where are your friends now? Do you think they still live? I think will take you with me to your world’s core. You can watch me end this planet!”

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

GZ Legends 56: Facing Maniac!

 The lights of a new playground sparkled ahead within easy distance of Maniac’s size. To the 40 foot killer, it would be as easy as a 100 yard sprint. He contemplated how he would make his entrance to create the utmost effect of sheer terror. Perhaps he would just run in hard with his massive bulk smashing into the first building he saw. He could clearly visualize tiny human bodies thrown into the air in the midst of debris. The thought alone made him laugh.

            He stomped forward but slowed as he picked up life signs on his sensors. They appeared suddenly and were close by. The asphalt in front of Maniac shifted and began to rise. A body easily as big as the Cyborian killer, formed from the broken ground and rose to meet him. Arms and legs of dirt and asphalt shifted in substance to iron ore as Maniac watched with interest. Sandstorm stood, clenched his giant iron fists and lunged forward to put one across Maniac’s smiling grill.

            Before the blow could land, giant circular saw blades spun in each of Maniac’s shoulders. They launched and crisscrossed through the iron ore body, shattering it to giant pieces that fell away harmlessly.

            “No way!” Anubis’s voice was heard just before the hero’s bladed lance ricocheted off Maniac’s head without a scratch. In order to catch up to Maniac, Galose had teleported them again. Sandstorm wanted to make the first attack. No one knew if he was still alive after Maniac’s counter attack.

            Anubis flew through the air and fired cosmic beams of power at Maniac’s face with one hand while catching his lance in the other. Maniac’s response, coupled with more eerie laughter, was instantaneous. Beams of red light shot from Maniac’s eyes and knocked Anubis spinning through the air.

            “I guess we’re going in now!” Electrode vanished as he went into his full speed ability.

            Galose extended all the weaponry he showed on the rooftop and opened fire in an impressive display. Electrode launched nuclear lightning blasts from all directions as he ran wide around the giant Cyborian. Blacktide focused his disintegration powers in a wave of blackened force at one of Maniac’s legs while Nyhtwulf flew right into the giant’s armor. Nightfall, kept her distance and fired her blaster. The area of dark highway was as bright as any downtown strip as the heroes’ attacks struck Maniac’s armor. Light flashed brighter than any fireworks display ever could.

“Aim for its head!” Atomizer called out as Redeagle ripped a large stone from the nearby field and threw it. As always, Redeagle’s aim was flawless. Just as the boulder made contact with Maniac’s head, Atomizer triggered his power and made it explode with enough force to blow a hole in the Rock of Gibralter.

            The un-nerving response was more laughter, even louder than before.

            “So, you want to play!” Maniac’s grating voice screeched in the midst of relentless assault.

            Within Maniac’s armor, Nyhtwulf tumbled through empty space without sense of direction. Since Cyborian armor is made of thousands of dimensional sections, phasing through it sent Nyhtwulf on an unknown flight path of swirling darkness. Nyhtwulf struggled to stop his flight to try and find his bearings. His mystical senses overwhelmed as he tried to figure out which direction he should go. He couldn’t even sense the outside world anymore. Far worse than that, he couldn’t sense any of his friends, not even Blacktide.

            Outside, Blacktide realized his link to Nyhtwulf was lost as a burst of disintegration energy scorched ten feet in every direction of him. Blacktide rolled backwards into the ditch and struggled to maintain control of his powers. The old fear surged over him that he would kill his friends and anyone else close to him. The memory of his parents flashed in his mind. It was the time when he was just a child, sitting at the breakfast table. It was the time when his powers developed and killed them both in a smoky blast. With Nyhtwulf’s mental link and friendship, Blacktide was able to control his powers like never before. Now Blacktide wondered if his new partner was dead.

            Anubis caught himself in the air with a groan of pain. He grit his teeth at the pain and was about to launch himself back at the fight, when he caught movement from the corner of his eye. The two saw blades had gone out a long way and were now on their way back. One of them was coming right at him. Anubis spun, and put his lance in the way. The giant saw wheel threw sparks as it spun against the blessed lance of Anubis.

            “Geeze, what’s keeping this thing spinning?” Anubis said as he was forced through the air by the deadly weapon.

            The other blade flew toward the ground and raced at Atomizer and Redeagle. They both dodged to either side of the blade and it shaved off some of the sole of Redeagle’s boot.

            “Are you guys okay?” Nightfall ran to them.

            Maniac kicked Galose like a small ball and shot him out into the darkness and then turned to face the three in the field. He took a great and deliberate step toward them.

            “Oh no you don’t!” Electrode stopped several yards behind Maniac and charged himself up. “Maybe this will get your attention!”

Electrode focused a channel of his lightning right between the giant’s shoulder blades. He hit as hard as he could, holding nothing back. The glow of the attack could be seen for miles and loud cracking could be heard just as far. Maniac paused only for a second in the thrall of the assault before turning heel to face his attacker. As Maniac positioned the metal palm of a hand in the path of the attack, it took on a sinister glow of its own. The beam of return fire ripped into the ground where Electrode stood with an ear shattering explosion. The ground shook as much as 5 miles away. Redeagle, Atomizer and Nightfall were all thrown to the ground. The flash could be seen far out on the Gulf of Mexico.

            After the blast, Maniac turned back toward the field. As far as he was concerned, he still had new toys to play with.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

GZ Legends 55: Guess who's back?

 “Hold on. I’ve had just about enough of things trying to destroy the Earth. In just the last week and half we’ve had our fill.” Atomizer said.

            Galose retracted his weapons back into his armor. “I am sorry for your plight. I wish to help you on all fronts. But we must stop Maniac first.”

            “How will he destroy the planet?” Anubis asked.

            “Maniac is what we call a Genocider. He’s cruel and ruthless. First he will take great pleasure toying with your people, killing them like a malicious child with insects. When that bores him, he will make his way to the core of your world and trigger a chain reaction. The officials of my world have declared Maniac unfit for reprogramming. He is to be destroyed.”

            “I’d call that compelling enough. We’re going to have to stop Maniac. He’s now the highest on our list of threats.” Sandstorm said. “Show us the way, Marshall Galose.”

            “Just Galose is fine. I can transport all of us if you’ll put a hand on my armor.”

            “Oh great; more long distance teleportation. Can’t tell you how much I love doing that.” Atomizer grumbled.

            “You will find my form of transport without the disorienting side effects.”

            They all put a hand on Galose with reservations on trust and vanished from the building rooftop. Commander Larratus watched the whole thing from back near the rooftop doorway.

            “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.” He grumbled as he turned back inside. He stomped his way down the stairs to return to his office.

            As he reached the door leading to his floor, someone grabbed him from behind and put a dark hand over his mouth. Larratus struggled and shook off his attacker, turning and putting his back to a wall. Everyone thought the Deformer was dead, killed by Electrode back in the beginning of the conflict. The same time Larratus realized that Deformer was very alive, he realized he had no mouth to say anything about it. Deformer had used his power to mold living flesh and sealed the Commander’s lips together. Commander Larratus pushed his way through the stairwell door, looking for a way to defend himself. Deformer, almost as fast as Electrode, darted in and shoved the man over a desk. Commander H.P. Larratus lay on the floor unconscious, and lucky he could still breathe through his nose.

            Deformer calmly walked away from Larratus and went through another door. As he came around a corner he met with a secretary who started to scream at the sight of him. She only managed half the sound of the first syllable before Deformer crushed her face in. He left her a quivering heap on the floor. He decided to perform a high speed search for his true target and found the Vagabond sitting quietly in a cell.

            “Took you long enough.” Vagabond said with a smile.

            Deformer cocked his featureless head sideways and made no sound.

            “I know you were seriously damaged. Geez, get a sense of humor. Now let me out of here. We have a lot of work to do.”

            In his search, Deformer killed four guards and took the keys from one of their bodies. He released Vagabond from the inhibitors that held his cosmic energy powers in check.

            “Release me.” The voice of Professor Zombie came from another cell. “I too have much work to do.”

            Vagabond looked in on the Professor. “So, you aren’t a total vegetable after all. I heard the Nyhtwulf creature warped your brain.”

            “Merely incapacitated me for a short time. I’m far more than what you see, Mr. Vagabond. Now, if you please, we can all be out of here.”

            “I’ll let you out, but after that our business together is concluded. You’ll be on your own, Professor. My partner and I have other plans.”

            “That suits me fine.”

Vagabond let the Professor out of his cell and unshackled him. In the wake of several bodies, the three of them escaped.

            The City of Galveston, Texas lay in ruins beyond anything the heroes had seen so far. It looked like the Tank armor, the Hearse, and three other artifacts all teamed up on the poor town.  Blast marks at the scene were over a hundred feet wide. Cars were crushed like soda cans. Buildings were knocked into each other worse than in old Japanese monster movies. They couldn’t see a single structure that wasn’t broken or burning from where they stood.

            Atomizer stood in a stupor, trying to form thoughts to words. It took him several seconds. “Just how big did you say Maniac was?”

            “40 feet by your measurements.” Galose responded. “He was built to deal with large scale threats and high troop numbers. Sadly, he wasn’t expected to become a high scale threat.”

            “We have to do something here.” Redeagle said. “There may be survivors.”

            “I agree.” Sandstorm said as looked at a broken ambulance.

            “I am picking up life signs, but we must move quickly. Maniac is walking toward the next town as we stand here.”

            They split into partnered teams; Anubis with Nightfall, Blacktide with Nyhtwulf, Atomizer with Redeagle, and Electrode with Sandstorm, while agreeing to meet back in a common area after they saved as many people as they could.

            “I am picking up radio communications that suggests more help is coming as well as military.” Galose said. “We can take long enough for them to arrive and still help many.”

            No time was wasted in seeking out the wounded and trapped. Anubis, Redeagle and Nyhtwulf had the gift of being able to sense life nearby. Electrode could feel the electric impulses in living bodies while Galose had advanced technology. Blacktide removed threats like fallen power lines and leaking vehicles by disintegrating them. For people trapped under tons of debris, Nyhtwulf phased through and brought them out. Anubis and Nightfall found a group of children trapped in a preschool with their teachers. Anubis pushed an entire side of the building up and out of the way so Nightfall could lead them to safety. Redeagle used his strength in similar form to allow Atomizer to reach the injured and pull them from danger. In the short time until flashing lights could be seen and the first fire engine arrived, they had already rescued over a hundred victims.

Meanwhile, miles ahead of them, heavy armored feet shattered the pavement as Maniac strolled towards another town. He laughed through his speaker grill, shaped like a crazed smile. Of all he was capable of, Maniac loved nothing more than destruction.

Friday, July 5, 2013

GZ Legends 54: Introducing Galose

  The heroes of PAC were oblivious to the taking of Calibur 5 and the Strykeforce Guard as they convened at their office. They locked Professor Zombie in a reinforced cell with heavy inhibitor shackles. Professor Zombie’s cyborg strength had to be taken into consideration for fear he would just snap lesser restraints. The evil Professor still lay in a stupor from Nyhtwulf’s attack.

            “Do you think you can get anything off him?” Commander Larratus huffed creating a cloud from his cigar. The luminescent lights shined off the sweat of his balding head. No one could miss the gleam.

            “I’ve already tried.” Nightfall said. “All I get is the image of a man in top hat and old fashioned tuxedo.”

            “Do you know who he is?” Anubis asked.

            “Oh yeah. He’s Jonathon Knight, calls himself Stormy. He’s a Minion of Set and really, really bad news.”

            “Any idea why he’s doing this?” Sandstorm asked.

            “Sure. He works for the evil side of the Balance of Good and Evil. He’s probably trying to score big ole brownie points for his master, Set.” Nightfall answered.

            “Doctor Vampire mentioned the Balance when he was talking about Anubis.” Atomizer said. “What is all this stuff? Who’s Set?”

            “The Balance is a cosmic force that keeps order across the universe.” Nightfall explained. “There’s a good side, and evil side and a neutral axis. Each side is controlled by a member of the old pantheons, those that are left from the War of the Gods. Set, who was the Egyptian god of Evil, governs the evil side of the Balance. For an extra special note, some places in our universe are special nexus points and guess what planet is one of them?”

            “Earth.” Electrode said.


            “So why don’t we just go to the leader of the good side?” Anubis asked.

            “The business of doing good or evil is to be done only by direct representatives. That’s us, guys.” Nightfall shrugged. “The gods don’t get involved directly unless it’s something at their level.”

            “Now, wait a minute,” Atomizer said. “Wasn’t there something about breaking the balance when those artifacts were loose?”

            “Yes. If the Balance is tipped too far in either direction, Chaos can be set free and that would be really bad for all of creation. Chaos is the absence of balance. He’s the opposite of a balance between good and evil.”

            “I just had a really bad thought.” Blacktide interjected.

            Everyone looked to Blacktide as he fell silent for a moment.

            “Wouldn’t breaking the Balance of Good and Evil be about the most evil thing anyone could do?”

            “But he would have to know that the Chaos guy would get set free, right?” Atomizer said.

            “Maybe he’s changing professions.” Sandstorm said. “Maybe he wants to work for Chaos instead of Set. Either way, we need to figure out how to stop him. The Earth is starving without sunlight. We’re running out of time.”

            “We have to undo the things he’s done and hope that we can draw him out. I have no idea where he’s hiding.” Nightfall said.

            “Hey, maybe Nyhtwulf can track him?” Anubis suggested.

            “I cannot. I have never met him. I have to at least be close enough and know who someone is so I can get their mental scent.”

            “Alright, you people! Look alive!” Commander Larratus boomed and startled them all. “My phone just buzzed and we’ve got a visitor on the roof! Move it!”

            Up on the roof, Galose made no attempt to conceal himself. He stood on the vacant helicopter pad where the lights reflected off his blue and gray armor. His single red optic shined red with targeting lines of yellow. There were no weapons visible and he stood stock still.

            The first to arrive were Electrode, Sandstorm, Anubis, and Nyhtwulf. They took positions surrounding the new arrival.

            “I mean no harm.” Galose said in a baritone mechanical voice. “I am 1st Marshall Galose of the Cyborian Legions.”

            “Why are you here?” Sandstorm asked, remembering this wasn’t the first stranger to pop out of nowhere to them since the sun was blocked. The remainder of the team arrived at that moment.

            “What’s a Cyborian? Are you some sort of cyborg?” Anubis asked. “I think we’ve had our fill of cyborg stuff.”

  “No, Anubis. Cyborians are not a cyborg race. We are all permanently bonded inside of a multi-dimensional suit of armor when we come of age. I live in another dimension compared to what you see in front of you. We do this to protect our race, but I am not here to deliver a history lesson.”

            “How do you know his name?” Sandstorm asked.

            “I found you via your worlds internet news feeds. Further, I have accessed files and know a great deal about you.”

            “So you’re a super spy?” ‘Anubis gripped his lance tightly
            “No. My intention was to locate persons on this world who would be considered heroes, for lack of a better term. I know what is blocking your world’s sun, but I know of another threat, awakened by recent events, that is far more dangerous. I have come to seek your aid in that matter. In return, I will aid you in yours.”

            “Well, we already know there’s a ship in orbit that’s causing the blackout, we just can’t reach it.” Anubis said.

            “I can aid you in this. I can aid you in liberating your White House as well.”

            “What do you bring to the table to do that?” Electrode asked.

            In response, panels opened on Galose’s forearms and shoulders. From each shoulder a broad barreled energy cannon extended and swiveled on powerful mounts. From each forearm a slightly lesser version, rifles extended and all of them glowed to life. Their appearance was even more advanced than the alien weaponry they had been fighting so far. Everyone startled slightly at the appearance.

            “Hold. This is a demonstration only. I am armed with the best Metron energy class weaponry my race has developed. Our dimensional technology is thousands of years beyond your world. My armor can withstand a full megaton blast of your technology’s best weapon and remain unscathed. However, I am only a small example of what we are capable of. Right now, a renegade of our world is loose on yours. He his Maniac, and if we don’t stop him, he will destroy the Earth.”