What would you do if you had limitless power at your disposal? Would you choose to help others, or would you choose to help only yourself? For the past 10 years I’ve been thinking about how I’d respond to that, and right now all I can say is, “I do not know.”
The result of my wonderment is Eclipse Star, a story that seeks to accomplish more than the sum of its parts. Throughout the course of the story, dozens of issues are brought up relating to all sorts of topics, including religion, politics, love, hate, vengeance, destiny, God, sex, violence, the human soul, family, pianos, and everything in between, (every good description has “and everything in between” at some point).
Eclipse Star isn’t for everyone. Some of you might not enjoy it. Some of you may downright despise it. But then again, some of you may love it, and like me, some of you may find that you need it. It’s an ongoing project that takes ridiculous time and monumental effort, and I’m beginning to hit my limit for how much of that can come from me alone. It’s a continuously evolving world and the only way for it to continue down any given path is for more interaction from anyone willing to give of themselves to the project.
So that’s the gist. It’s heavy-handed, but only if you want to see it like that. I just want you to enjoy something I’ve written. I want to change the world, but only a world I can create. Welcome to my world. Welcome to Eclipse Star.
Eclipse Star: Chapter 77
Recap: Last time, Chris returned to the Northern Lodge utterly distraught, Derek and Syrus formed an alliance after discovering Derek’s father’s dead body, and Lindsey uncovered some secrets about Chris that she’s about to share with the group. The Legion is heading to the North, today, on Eclipse Star! Read the rest of this entry »
Quite some time ago, I took the basic scripts from Furious Angels that I’d written back in college and gave them an update with more characters, more story, and a stronger emphasis on pushing things from a PG rating to a hard R. Since then, I’ve had some time to think about what needed to be changed and what I’d like to improve, so when I discovered that Remedy Entertainment was hiring for a writer and needed writing samples, I figured that Furious Angels seemed to fit in their wheelhouse, so I gave it an update.
What you see here is that update. Most of the changes are cosmetic with dialogue tuned a bit and the flow improved in spots. However, those who’ve read the first full version (version 2) will see a huge departure from the original concept. I was struggling with something major, and after I tried my little solution I suddenly became very excited. Let’s see if you can spot the change, and if it does indeed improve things. Enjoy the rewrite and please, more comments are very much welc0me. Read the rest of this entry »
Eclipse Star Exodus: Chapter 76
“The Long Hush”
Lindsey Narration: Things got out of hand too quickly.
–Images of the fight between the group and Syrus from the previous chapters, all from Lindsey’s perspective. Read the rest of this entry »
Eclipse Star: Chapter 75
Recap: Last time, Syrus flew to Trillium City with the group of teenagers hot on his tail. Though in possession of the Eclipse Star, he couldn’t stand up to all of them attacking at once with Lindsey finally leading in a simultaneous energy beam to finish him off once and for all. However, Chris doesn’t seem to feel the battle is won. As he stares at the crater where Syrus once stood, a sudden urge of dread overtakes him and the others. Genesis ends today, on Eclipse Star!
-A few blocks away, as civilians still flee in a mass panic, Glitch leans against a crumbling building, holding it up as it threatens to collapse.
Glitch: Everyone needs to evacuate the area! This is not a drill!
-He looks over and notices a terrified reporter limply holding a microphone as his cameraman just keeps filming.
Sam the Go-To Guy: I can’t believe it. The robots are back again…
Frank the Cameraman: Yeah but our ratings should skyrocket.
Glitch: (Almost in disbelief). You need to flee. What are you doing?
Sam: I’m, uh, I’m reporting.
Frank: (Shifts to face Sam). Into the camera, genius.
Sam: Oh, right. (Slowly pulls his microphone to his mouth). Hey Dave, hey Diana, it’s me, Sam. I’m out here near Franklin Parkway where it seems a lot of bad things are currently happening-
Glitch: HEY! You want to help?! Then go rescue some people! I’ve got civilians trapped in this building who need help!
Sam: I, uh…
Frank: (Bolting into the building). Let’s do this then.
Sam: Hey wait up! (Jogs after him).
-Back at ground zero.
Austin: Chris, your cheery optimism is always welcoming, but savor this victory.
-Chris’ eyes remain fixated on the crater.
Chris: We need to get out of here. We need to go, now.
Austin: I don’t-
-The ground starts rumbling all of a sudden. Everyone grows quiet and turns to the crater, watching in horror as debris begins levitating around the center.
-A hand bursts up from the rubble, tightly clutching the Eclipse Star.
Lindsey: No way!
-Syrus rips himself from the ground, dusty but unharmed, save for his tattered clothing.
Syrus: (His eyes are glossed over with rage as he practically froths at the mouth). You think that’s it? You think you children have won? You’ve accomplished nothing!
Jack: We need to hit him again!
Leena: With what? We’ve got nothing left!
-Syrus begins grasping the Eclipse Star so tightly that it pierces his skin, causing his hand to bleed.
Syrus: I will show you just how pointless this all is.
-His face contorts as he closes his hand completely around the Eclipse Star, embedding it in the deep flesh of his palm. He holds his hand in front of his face, shaking, as the area is hit with a violent quake.
-Syrus begins screaming as his hand shakes more and more. Everyone else is forced to shield their face as debris is getting hurled in all directions.
-The blood from Syrus’ hand stops dripping and suddenly sucks itself back up. Blackness starts creeping from his palm, coating his arm as dark tendrils engulf him. From his arm it spreads to his chest, then down to his legs and his other arm, finally snaking its way up his neck.
-Syrus lets out one final scream as a shockwave pushes everyone back.
-When they’re finally able to look up again they see Syrus looking himself over carefully. He is covered in a sleek black armor that comes to a point upwards from the knees and elbows. He’s seemed to calm himself a little bit, mostly due to curiosity at this new transformation, and steps out of the crater toward the group.
Derek: So that’s it, huh? Some black armor? That was the Eclipse Star’s true potential?
Jack: (Checking his Pulse watch). I’m not reading anything. My watch can’t even get a signal.
Derek: So it screws with technology. My dick screws with technology. Big deal.
Kevin: I think Chris may just be right about this…
Derek: You, too? Oh please. (Flicks out his sai). We beat him down once already; He can’t have anything left.
Chris: Derek, stay back…
Derek: HRAH! Fuck this noise!
-Derek rushes forward with his sai out, pulled back and ready to strike.
-Syrus continues looking himself over, paying no attention to Derek.
Derek: I’m putting you back in the ground!
-In an instantaneous flash, a long, thick blade appears from the back of Syrus’ hand as he imbeds it in Derek’s stomach. It goes through the other side as Derek gasps slightly, dropping his sai weakly on the ground next to him.
-No one makes a move forward as Derek stands rigid with shock.
-Syrus retracts his blade and grabs Derek, tossing him into the air.
-He starts firing energy blasts at Derek midair, blasting him relentlessly as the others watch, motionless.
-He brings his hand in close and points two fingers upward as he charges a peculiar new energy blast. It appears as if it’s a white-hot glowing atom. He points his arm straight at Derek and firsts this little blast.
-The sky explodes an unholy bright white, so intense that no one can keep their eyes open. The resulting boom presses them all to huddled positions, trying to keep themselves from being blowing away.
-As they look up to see what’s happened, they witness a spherical shape carved perfectly out of the buildings surrounding the explosion.
-Derek, however, is gone.
Syrus: I suppose he was always the eager one, wasn’t he? (No one says a word). So then, who to pick next…?
-Syrus scans the group. As he does so they all unconsciously take a step backward. He takes his time slowly antagonizing them with a simple look, pausing on some with a chuckle.
Syrus: (Looking at Danny). Maybe you’d like to try? (Danny stops breathing as Syrus turns to Scott). Or do you have the stones to throw the first punch?
-This continues as he walks increasingly slowly without any direction.
Syrus: Come to think of it, I certainly wouldn’t want another inspirational moment, would I?
-He quickly turns to Lindsey and fires an energy ball.
-Chris sprints and hurls himself in front of the ball.
-It hits him hard, throwing him back into the concrete of a nearby building. He slides down to a slump, alive but heavily winded.
Lindsey: (She turns around to see him). Chris!
Syrus: Now what did that accomplish?
-Lindsey stops suddenly as a thin energy beam shoots through her chest.
-Chris leaps up as her legs give way, rushing over to her to catch her before she hits the ground.
Chris: Oh God, Lindz!
-She begins to sputter a bit, unsure where she is.
Lindsey: Did I just…? What just happened…?
-She starts to fade in and out of consciousness.
-Austin powers up anything he has left.
-Everyone takes this as a signal to fight desperately against whatever fate Syrus has in store for the group.
-Austin has ignited himself in a ball of flames as he rushes at Syrus.
-Syrus stomps his foot down, showering the area with chunks of cement. These hunks of pavement pepper Austin until he’s fully disoriented, allowing Syrus to easily swat him away with a backhand.
-Kevin tackles Syrus but can’t push him back. Syrus holds his ground, casually reaches down to grab Kevin, and pulls him into a swift headbutt.
-Kevin goes loose for a moment as Syrus grabs him by the face and hurls him to the side.
-Jack sends a volley of punches at Syrus, each getting slapped away like they’re coming from an amateur.
-Jack fires off an electrical charge at Syrus but watches sadly as it’s shrugged off before Syrus’ heel swings around and clocks Jack in the side.
-Things begin moving too quickly to differentiate between teenagers attacking as Syrus is moving in a fluid motion, rotating in circles as he punches one attacker into another or swings his momentum into the closest body he finds.
-Austin lets out a yell as he grabs the ground and tears up a chunk twice his size, flipping it at Syrus.
-Syrus turns at the slab touches down in front of him.
-Austin throws all his energy into a solid punch that breaks through the concrete, shattering it on Syrus’ face before landing his own punch with the follow-through.
-Syrus remains unflinching as Austin’s whole arm quivers.
Syrus: Well that wasn’t awful.
-Syrus clubs Austin in the neckbone.
-Then hammers him in the side of the head with a flat hook.
-And a snap shin strike.
-Then a downward headbutt that knocks Austin to a slump.
-That concludes with a heavy boot to the body that carries Austin into the air.
-Syrus instantly steps back and swings his arms out, punches colliding Willy and Scott.
-Syrus turns to punch Kevin in the gut, then to his side to bop Clinton in the nose, and kicks backward to catch Jack under the chin.
-As the three react in slow motion to their damage, Syrus moves at normal speed, standing upright before sending them skidding away with a pulse of energy.
-The group of teens huddles together, beaten badly and hurting.
Austin: Okay, we need a strategy here.
-Austin hardly has time to look up as Syrus plows into the group huddle, delivering a straight jab to his face.
-Syrus continues firing right-handed jabs at Austin’s face, pummeling him relentlessly while smirking.
Syrus: Ah-ah, no cheating now! Speak up so everyone can hear what you’re planning!
-As Syrus pulls his left hand back for a haymaker, Kevin dives on him, holding the punch back. The rest of the group dive onto Syrus as well, doing their best to hold him.
-Syrus chuckles deeply to himself before flying straight up into the air.
Syrus: Tenacious, aren’t you?
-He rockets back to earth, the majority of the group still clinging to him.
-As he slams down, everyone is thrown from his body, skidding along the street until they come to a stop at a building or some wreckage.
-Instead of relenting, Syrus speeds off to distribute fly-by poundings.
-Chris remains out of the fray, looking on with horror-struck eyes. Lindsey is coughing weakly and shivering in his arms.
Chris: C’mon Lindz, you can hold on. Just hold on a little while before we can get you some help.
-Chris catches sight of Jack looking over, staring intently at Chris, rather than Lindsey.
Chris: Why aren’t you helping?!
-Jack coldly turns away.
-Nearby, Syrus has managed to beat he spirit out of just about everyone. He walks up to Kyle, facedown on the pavement, and kicks him in the side.
Kyle: HAH! (Holds his side and scrambles to his feet).
Chris: (Looks on with his eyes wide, filled with dread). I’ve seen this all before…
Syrus: Why is it that suddenly none of you are worth my time?
-Scott rushes up behind Syrus and swings a metal pole as hard as he can.
-Syrus whips around and grabs the pole with one hand, yanking it from Scott’s grip as he kicks Scott into a concrete slab jutting out of the ground.
-Syrus impales Scott through the stomach with the metal pole. Scott coughs a bit and slumps down, struggling to keep his head up as he pulls feebly at the pole.
-Clinton rushes forward to help his friend, charging something in his hands as he goes.
-Syrus knees up into Clinton’s stomach at the same time that he elbows down into his back, the spikes from his armor piercing him on both sides.
-Syrus grabs Clinton and tosses him to the side as he lies bleeding from two large holes in his body.
-Leena pulls out a throwing disc from her pocket and hurls it at Syrus while his back is turned.
-Jack sees this, curses under his breath, and bolts to Leena.
-As the whirling disc about hits Syrus in the back of his head, Syrus spins around and grabs the disc. He then spins around again and pitches the disc right back in one fluid movement. The disc screeches as it flies toward Leena.
-Jack throws himself in front of Leena and swishes his arm upward, knocking the disc away, but not before it slices to the bone.
-Jack holds his arm as blood flows out from behind his hand.
Chris: I failed. I wasn’t supposed to let this happen…
Lindsey: I can’t see anything…
Chris: (Looks down to see her rapidly fading). What?
Lindsey: I…I can’t breathe…
Chris: No! Don’t do this!
-She starts violently choking as she weakly reaches up a hand.
-It falls as her body goes limp.
-He touches her face and feels no warmth. He leans his head down to listen for breathing, but hears nothing.
Chris: She’s dead…
-Syrus stops at this, as does everyone else.
Jack: C’mon, that should do it already…
Austin: (Angrily puzzled). What?
-Chris just looks down and quietly sobs.
Jack: Why isn’t it working?
Syrus: (Casually walking up to Chris). Hnh. So she’s gone then?
Chris: Why did you have to kill her? Why did you have to do any of this?
Syrus: I said I’d bring Hell with me.
Chris: No. This isn’t how it ends.
Syrus: I’m sorry, but it is.
Chris: (Looks up, his eyes piercingly white). THIS ISN’T HOW IT ENDS!
-Light explodes forth from Chris as he screams, pushing Syrus and everyone back out of shock.
-Chris shuts his eyes tightly as the ground quakes around him, sending cracks rippling through the streets.
Syrus: (Shielding his eyes to the both the intense light and the dust whirling around Chris). What is this?
Jack: (Also shielding his face). About time.
Austin: What’s happening?
Jack: (Smiling). You’ll see.
-Chris’ cries carry out into the city, growing more and more strained and painful the longer he holds them.
-His hair suddenly flickers gold as his muscles tense.
Scott: (Barely keeping his head up). Khh…atta boy.
-A pillar of blue light bursts upward into the sky as Chris’ howling becomes its most severe.
-Chris falls silent as the light spirals upward and dissipates. His hair, however, is glowing bright gold.
-He quickly looks down at Lindsey and places a hand over the hole in her chest. The aura that surrounds him flows down from his hair and into his hands as he hums quietly. The light continues on and flows into Lindsey, causing her hair to shimmer faintly.
-Lindsey gasps suddenly and jerks upward as her eyes shoot open and then closed again. She passes out but heaves a long and healthy sigh.
Kyle: Holy shit.
-Chris stands up, still holding the now sleeping Lindsey in his arms. His hair has returned to its previous dull brown, but his hands still have a spark of gold surrounding them.
-He walks over to Scott and places Lindsey on the ground near him. Firmly grasping the metal pole, he pulls it from Scott’s stomach, holding a glowing hand at the spot of the wound.
-As Scott finally drops to his knees, released from his hanging position, he takes a deep breath and looks down to see his stomach completely intact.
Scott: Not a bad trick.
Chris: Also, you’re welcome.
-Chris picks up Lindsey and walks over to Clinton. He sets Lindsey down once again and reaches his hands out to Clinton, covering the open holes where Syrus punctured him. He closes his eyes as another healing takes place.
-Clinton sits up, weak but clearly out of the danger zone.
-Jack watches this as he holds his arm, wincing from the sharp pains. Chris gently cradles Lindsey and walks over to meet Jack, setting her down at his feet.
-He grabs a hold of Jack’s arm at the wound, causing Jack to flinch at this, but ultimately it’s apparent that the gash is healing.
Jack: Your hair looked a bit like mine there for a second, didn’t it?
-Jack’s injury healed, the light in Chris’ hands has completely faded.
Chris: Lindsey just died you know.
Jack: But you saved her. I knew you’d save her. (Bends down and picks her up). You always save her.
Austin: (Pats Chris on the shoulder). How do you always do this?
Chris: I want you all to get out of here.
Leena: But you, you’re…
Chris: I’ll be fine. I’m pretty resilient when I have to be.
-The group huddles closely as Syrus looks on, dumbfounded. Willy is carrying Clinton over a shoulder and Kyle is doing the same with Scott.
Austin: I’m not leaving you. Not this time. You need me.
Kevin: And me. (Places a hand on Chris’ shoulder). I trust you, and I trust that you shouldn’t have to be alone.
Chris: (Nods at Kevin and Austin, then instantly looks around). The rest of you, get as far away from here as fast as you can.
Leena: Are you su-
Chris: (Barks). NOW!
-Everyone except for Austin and Kevin takes off at a sprint away from Chris.
-Syrus finally snaps out of his stupor and blinks.
Syrus: You think they can just leave? What makes you think they can just leave?
Chris: Your fight is with ME! (He crouches down and powers up to max). This is what you wanted, isn’t it?!
-Austin and Kevin also power up what little they have left.
Syrus: (Turns his head inquisitively, searching for some sort of deception). And now you’re willing to fight, just like that?
Chris: Let’s go!
-Chris launches himself at Syrus as Austin and Kevin follow a few paces behind him.
-Syrus growls a wicked smile as he readies himself for the battle.
-As Chris strikes Syrus, they both disappear with a sonic boom.
-Austin and Kevin skid to a halt, stunned at their sudden disappearance.
BRAM! BRAM! BRAM!
-They look up to see Chris and Syrus exchanging blows in rapid succession in the air, disappearing and reappearing with every hit.
-Chris flies toward Syrus, throwing a punch out. Syrus grabs his arm and socks him in the ribs.
-Chris kicks out at Syrus, catching him in the head, then slams him with a double-handed smash.
-Syrus reappears with a punch to Chris’ gut.
-Chris vanishes and reconnects with an elbow to Syrus’ back.
-Syrus turns the tables with a heel kick.
-Chris returns with a solid knee to Syrus’ body.
-They both disappear and reappear with a straight cross, each connecting with the other’s fist.
-Syrus fires a quick energy blast at Chris, sending him away.
-Chris struggles against the blast but maintains control, tossing it away.
-Syrus comes straight down onto Chris’ head with a stomping double boot.
-Chris careens out of the air and lands with a crack to the pavement.
-He looks up as Syrus slams his fist down, just barely dodging out of the way.
-The two zip off after one another down the street.
-Syrus blasts a hard jab into Chris’ face, getting stopped by a full cross defense. The jab still pushes Chris back as the force carries the two further down the street.
-Syrus opens his mouth and starts charging a blast.
-Chris grabs the ball of energy forming in Syrus’ mouth, pushing back as it reaches completion.
-The two struggle against one another, Syrus trying to fire his blast and Chris trying to prevent it.
-Austin and Kevin come down hard on Syrus’ head with a foot each, causing him to clasp his jaw shut and harmlessly swallow the blast.
-Chris instantly pulls back and fires a strong Pulse explosion at Syrus’ stunned face, pitching him away from the trio.
-Syrus flips end over end before slapping the ground to right himself. He digs his feet in, skidding to a stop before launching forward again.
-He flicks out the blades from behind his hands and swings them above his head for a strike.
-Chris pushes Austin and Kevin away as he flips backward to avoid the strike.
-Syrus continues slashing at him, missing by mere hairs as Chris dodges and ducks, moving away as fast as possible.
-Syrus boots Chris in the chest, tossing him to the pavement.
-As Syrus comes down with a blade, Chris instinctively grabs at the item lying next to him, a sai, and deflects the blade into the ground where it imbeds itself.
-Chris grabs the other sai and stabs it at Syrus’ face.
-Syrus stops it with his other blade, pushing Chris back to give them some room.
-They both leap at each other, the metallic sounds of their weapons clashing against one another as they frantically try to make a damaging strike.
-Syrus finally gets the upper hand and rakes Chris on the shoulder.
-Chris winces and clangs the sai together.
-The sonic boom blows Syrus away and puts some distance between the two fighters.
-Chris grabs his shoulder to inspect for any significant damage.
-Syrus comes barreling back, his blades sheathed again, kicking upward into Chris’ body.
-Chris stumbles backward, dropping the sai as Syrus pulls his arm back, firing a devastating haymaker.
-The punch collides with Chris’ face. He takes a few steps back where he falls down, stunned.
Syrus: (Stands upright and takes a moment to exhale deeply). So, this is fun, isn’t it?
Chris: (Rubbing his cheek, still in some slight pain). You could have killed me there if you had your swords out. Why prolong this?
Syrus: Oh, you know, it’s just so rare that I’ll have a chance for a match like this again. I figured I’d savor it just a while longer.
Chris: That’s a pretty bold mistake.
Syrus: Hmm, you think? Do I look damaged to you in the slightest? And I’ve been holding back on you, too. There’s no other way for this to end and you know it.
Chris: (Massaging his shoulder now). Yet you’ve been so patient waiting for this fight.
Syrus: Oh yes. (Sighs). Pity though, if you’d used the Shimmer Form to fight me, you might have had the advantage for a few fleeting seconds before it faded.
Chris: (A sly grin crosses his face as he gets to his feet). Who says I can’t do that again?
Syrus: (Shakes his head as he walks casually toward Chris). Hah, you must be delirious from that last punch to the head.
Chris: (The ground around his shakes slightly as he smiles, giving a quick laugh through his nose). Hngh.
Syrus: (Raises an eyebrow). Eh?
Chris: You wanted to see Hell? I’ll show you Hell!
-Chris powers up again, instantly causing a shockwave to boom out from him.
-Syrus pauses, surprised at this.
-Austin and Kevin look on, also surprised at Chris’ spike in Pulse energy.
-As Chris screams, his power raises near his maximum level, cracking the area slightly. Chris grunts quietly with his head down as his body tenses.
Syrus: (Sighs and shakes his head again). Foolish boy, you have no idea how this works. You can’t reach the Shimmer Form by simply powering up. (Chuckles and takes a few steps, until he sees Chris’ hair and freezes).
-Chris’ hair flashes gold for a second before fading again.
Syrus: That’s not possible.
-Chris looks at Syrus as his eyes clear up again, tensing his body even further as he resumes screaming.
-A vicious earthquake resonates from Chris’ spot, shaking the area so badly that Austin and Kevin instinctively fall to their hands and knees for balance.
-A ways away, Jack and rest of the group continue running as fast as they can.
Lindsey: (Slowly opens her eyes). Jack? (Intensely confused). What’s going on?
Jack: (Not looking down). Chris is fighting with Syrus.
-A shockwave reaches the group, pushing them forward to the point of nearly tripping.
Danny: What was that?
-They look back as the ground starts shaking. A light is glowing in the distance.
Jack: I need to be there. (Tosses Lindsey to Danny). Stay here!
Lindsey: Jack! What are you doing? Jack!
-Jack sprints back toward the battlefield. Meanwhile, at the center of it all, Chris is screaming louder and louder.
-A bright aura sparks off Chris’ body in places as his muscles tense, shooting cracks of electricity here and there.
-Fissures snake from his feet all around in a crater as his voice cries louder.
Syrus: (Looking all around, shocked). This isn’t how it works! You don’t understand!
-Chris clenches his fists, shaking them from holding them so tightly. His hair continues to fade in and out between gold and brown as chunks of the pavement nearby start coming up from the ground.
-A few blocks away, Glitch, Frank, and Sam continue leading civilians away, stopping to look up at the glowing light.
Sam: What’s that? (Frank swivels around and points his camera at the glowing sky).
Glitch: I don’t know. (Turns away from the glow). There’s no time to worry about it right now. There are more people that need help.
-Back with the source, Chris is pulling himself in tightly, his hair glowing freely now.
-Jack runs up and joins Austin and Kevin.
Jack: He’s doing it again, isn’t he?
Jack: I knew it!
Austin: Has he done this before?
Jack: Twice. Once at the Regime’s base and once against Derek.
-Jack checks his Pulse watch, hoping to gage just how strong Chris is getting. His watch has stopped entirely.
-The three look up as Chris, still tense, is pushing himself harder than they could imagine, tears streaming from his eyes.
-The camera zooms inside Chris’ head, showing flashes of Lindsey fighting at various times, sustaining injury and damage against multiple foes such as the Hex-Duo, the Octa-Rangers, and Syrus. These quick moments alternate faster and faster between them, flashing so rapidly that it’s impossible to make out a clear image over the sound of Lindsey crying out.
-Something snaps as Chris opens his eyes, energy detonating from him as he screams at the top of his lungs.
-The pillar of blue light streaks into the air as the shockwave pulsates forth, shattering the glass from every window and streetlight in the area.
-Everyone shields their eyes as dust and glass spray them.
-When Syrus moves his arm to watch as the dust clears, his mouth instantly hangs open in a gasp.
-Chris is hovering a foot above his little crater, eyes closed and at peace, his hair shimmering bright gold.
-He gently lands, takes a deep breath, and snaps his head upward in Syrus’ direction as he opens his eyes. They’re clouded over for a few moments before they fade into glowing pupils.
Syrus: (A fearful smile pulls at the side of his face). You can’t be serious. This is nonsense.
Chris: This is what you’d wanted, isn’t it? A real challenge?
Syrus: (Regains his composure). Please, it’d be in your wisest interest to attack me while you can still maintain the transformation.
-Syrus sprints forward and throws a punch.
-Chris hardly steps to the side, dodging it easily.
Syrus: So, you have a bit of speed, do you?
-Syrus sends a volley of punches in Chris’ direction. None of them can hit their target.
-Syrus begins throwing in kicks as well, furiously acting at a lightning-fast pace. Still, he can’t land a single hit.
-As Syrus punches, he carries through so hard that the force from each continues past Chris and rips up the ground. And yet, Chris remains untouched.
Syrus: You think this is funny?
-Syrus’ speed increases as the punches become blurs, sounding as if a propeller were buzzing about Chris. Every so often Chris blocks a punch instead of just letting it whiz harmlessly by.
Syrus: Fight back already!
-Chris thrusts forward with an elbow, catching Syrus in the face. The attack rawks him so fully that he screeches down the block.
Syrus: (In disbelief as he flies). How did he do that? No one’s that fast!
-A wisp of dust trails next to Syrus, suddenly…
-Chris reappears behind Syrus, kicking him into the air.
-Syrus spirals into the sky, high above the buildings. He can hardly keep his eyes open as his teeth are clenched to the point of nearly shattering from anger.
-Chris vwings above Syrus, clasping his hands together and bringing them over his head in a strong arc before clubbing Syrus with his full strength in a double-handed smash.
-Syrus zooms to the ground, smashing into it without even being able to right himself.
-He lays for a moment or two, looking up to see Austin, Kevin, and Jack worriedly looking at him.
Syrus: You little-
-Chris spikes into Syrus’ back with his knee, slamming down so hard and with such follow-through that the area craters around them and explodes.
-The three onlookers take a step back and cover their faces to block the debris.
-Syrus leaps from the cracked earth, only to get decked in the face from a fist coming out of nowhere.
-A series of hits like this go back and forth, pinballing Syrus throughout the street.
-Syrus lands and dodges a punch by a few inches, Chris’ fist gracing his cheek.
-The force of the punch tears a swath in the street as Syrus leaps back, shocked at what he’s witnessing.
-He looks back at Chris, but he’s gone.
Chris: You scared yet?
-Syrus jumps from the voice behind him. He turns to see Chris hovering lightly above the ground, completely calm.
Austin: This is just unreal.
Jack: It’s exactly how I predicted it.
Kevin: I don’t like the idea of using Chris as a tool, though.
Austin: Me either.
Jack: Right now it doesn’t even matter. Syrus can’t land a decent hit, so all that’s important is the end result.
Chris: (Walking toward Syrus). Boy I wonder what’s going through that head of yours right now.
Syrus: (Smiles and calms down a bit). So a few strong blows and already you assume the fight’s over?
Chris: Yeah, it’s been over for some time now.
Syrus: How long do you think that form will hold out? Another minute? Maybe a few more seconds?
Chris: I can do this all day if I have to.
Syrus: Hah! I think you’re bluffing. (Grabs the metal pole from earlier and swishes it around). Mind if I test your theory?
Chris: Please do.
-Syrus steps up to Chris and swings the pole horizontally, to which Chris ducks out of the way.
-Syrus repeats this, swishing it around, missing Chris every time.
Syrus: Hmm, not bad, but you could do better.
-Syrus heaves the pole at Chris, striking with a metal CLANG! as Chris blocks the attack.
-Gritting his teeth, Syrus spins the pole around, flips it above his head, and brings it down on top of Chris’ head.
-Chris blocks it yet again with a loud and echoing CLANG!
-Breaking down to frantic swings, CLANG ringing out each time, Syrus is unable to inflict any damage to Chris.
-Chris grabs the pole from Syrus, plucking it from his grasp with one simple tug before disappearing.
Chris: Let me show you how it’s done.
-Chris shows up behind Syrus, battering him with the weapon.
-Syrus recoils, partly from the surprise, and spins around as Chris swings the pole again into him.
-Syrus manages to block with the usual CLANG, but Chris keeps advancing, pushing Syrus back as he flips the pole around in a stylish manner.
-Chris leaps forward and slams Syrus in the head with the pole.
-Syrus grabs his head as Chris flips behind him, hitting him again with a wide swing.
-Chris pummels Syrus unrelentingly, TANG permeating the air in a rhythmic fashion.
-Finally, Chris appears in front of Syrus and swings the pole like a bat, holding it at the very end, and clubs Syrus in the face so hard that the metal bends clean in half.
-Syrus spins onto his back as Chris disappears.
-Suddenly a kick strikes Syrus into the air. He rights himself and tries to block but takes a damaging gut punch.
Chris: This is where I’d say, “you’ll pay for hurting my friends.”
-Chris thrashes Syrus left and right with harrowing blows, hammering him as he speaks.
Chris: I’d probably say, “that this one’s for Scott!” BOOM! “And this one’s for Kyle!” BOOM! “And for Danny” BOOM! “and Willy” BOOM! “and Derek!” BABABOOM! “Maybe one for me!” KABOOM!
-Syrus is tossed high into the air as Chris cups his hands and pulls them back, instantly charging a huge blast.
Chris: AND THIS ONE’S FOR HER!
-Chris fires his signature blast directly at Syrus.
-Syrus manages to defend himself, pulling himself in tight to withstand the blast as best he can.
-Right before it hits, Chris lurches his hands upward, causing the blast to shoot straight up and away from Syrus.
-It carries into the sky and dissipates harmlessly.
Chris: Yeah, something like that.
Syrus: Why…why did you do that?
Chris: (Crossing his arms). Oh come on, like I’m ending the fight while spewing some garbage like that.
Syrus: And so you feel you’re just toying with me, right?
Chris: (Thumbs at his hair). Notice your theory didn’t pan out.
Syrus: Have you forgotten that I possess the Eclipse Star?
Chris: Just about, yeah. It’s not like it’s doing you any good.
-Syrus lets out a howl as he charges his energy, a dark light emanating from the armor.
-He pounds Chris in the face with a strong hit, sending Chris flying through the air.
-Chris zips back and punches at Syrus, getting his fist caught and held.
-Syrus pulls Chris to the side and smacks him under the chin with a palm strike.
-Chris twists to the side and kicks at Syrus, getting blocked.
-Syrus grabs Chris’ feet and zooms to the ground, slamming him into the pavement with a sharp crack.
-Chris juts a punch up, missing Syrus slightly. Syrus punches back, also missing slightly.
-They both keep punching, missing every time.
-Finally, their fists collide and Chris winces, pulling his fist back.
-Syrus blasts Chris in the face multiple times with punches, slapping him around.
Syrus: Hahaha! You feel it yet?!
-As Syrus continues his punching, Chris suddenly stops reacting to the damage, standing perfectly unmoved despite Syrus’ continued assault.
-Chris chops at Syrus’ chest, hitting him hard.
-Syrus stops punching and takes a step back.
-He leaps straight at Chris, blasting a huge stream of Pulse energy right at Chris, engulfing him.
-Syrus stops, as there is only a cloud of smoke where Chris is standing. He lets out a thankful sigh.
-A kick rips out from the smoke and sends Syrus high into the air.
-He spins around and shudders energy around him, stopping instantly.
-Chris vwings to Syrus’ location, his arms crossed.
Syrus: (Breathing heavily, in a contained rage). You’re just a child. How are you doing this? How are you sustaining that transformation?
Chris: I initially did it because I had to, but now, I just sort of want to.
Austin: (Yelling up). Any time you want to finish this would be great!
Chris: (Waves Austin off). I’m busy right now, thanks.
Austin: Chris, we’re all, very proud of you, yes, but there’s no reason to prolong this!
Chris: (Faces the three on the ground, turning his back to Syrus completely). Don’t tell me how to do this!
Kevin: Austin’s right! Don’t make a mistake that could hurt us in the long run!
-Syrus realizes he has a slim opening and watches carefully.
Chris: NO! He’s caused every bad thing in our life for the past year and now that I’m finally not afraid of him I’m returning the favor!
Austin: Well we’re pretty well still terrified of him, so if you could do us a solid and twist his head off right now I’d really appreciate it!
Chris: Are you the one in control here? No, you’re not! (Noticeably on edge, clenching his fists and pointing at himself). I’m in control! I’m the one with the power! I’m the one who makes the decisions! And until you reach this level, you don’t have a say in it!
-Syrus sees his chance and strikes.
-Syrus unsheathes his blade and slashes right at Chris’ neck, following clean through.
-Everything freezes for a moment as silence overtakes the mood.
-Finally, the tinkling sound of metal falling to the pavement breaks the pause.
-Syrus’ blade has shattered on Chris’ neck.
Chris: (Giving an arrogant smile). Ah-ah-ah, can’t you see I’m talking with my associates? (Turns around and faces Syrus, not a scratch on him). I’d have thought you of all people would appreciate the few moments before they talk me into killing you.
-Syrus stares in disbelief at what he just witnessed. Slowly he floats higher and higher in the air, furrowing his brow with a serious anger.
-Chris watches him fly upward, smiling.
-As Syrus climbs to a point far beyond the buildings, up in the clouds, Chris allows himself to drift to the ground next to the others.
-His arm shoots up above his head as Syrus begins charging a black energy ball. The others look on with curiosity.
-Without saying a word, Syrus gradually increases the size of the ball larger and larger, causing it to pulsate with each expansion, sucking in a dark power from all around him as tendrils lash from his armor.
-Three of the teenagers on the ground feel their eyes go wide and their jaws lull open at this sight.
Austin: That does not look good.
Jack: (Astonished). Something that size is going to destroy everything from here to the Northern Lodge. If he throws that he’ll kill himself, too.
-Chris just smiles and watches with his arms crossed. Syrus builds the attack’s power to the bursting point, so large that it eclipses the sky almost entirely.
Syrus: Try this one!
-Syrus tosses it toward the group on the ground. It slowly comes crashing down, humming loudly as it falls.
-Austin, Jack, and Kevin all dig in their feet and start frantically charging energy blasts.
Jack: Ready, on my signal!
-Chris casually strolls past them as they charge up. Upon seeing him they lose their concentration and stop charging, letting their guard down, entirely baffled by Chris’ reaction.
-He walks past them and looks up at the incoming death ball. He shuts his hand and quickly charges an energy ball in it, clasping his hand shut around it as light sprays from between his fingers.
-Chris pitches his little energy ball directly at Syrus’ massive black sphere, rocketing up at a ridiculous speed. He turns around and walks back between his friends, not even looking up to see if his counter will do anything.
-The smaller ball collides with the larger ball, instantly plunging itself in a few inches as it stops the death ball’s progress completely.
-Syrus’ finishing attack goes in complete reverse from the force of Chris’ baseball-sized blast, picking up speed the higher it gets.
-It finally moves past Syrus as he stares on, wordless in his moment of stunned silence.
-The ball clears the clouds and breaks out of the atmosphere, heading up, up up…
Chris: (Whips around and clenches his fist). And boom goes the dynamite!
-The two balls detonate somewhere in space, piercing the sky with strobbing lights before fading as if nothing had happened.
-Syrus’ rage wells up to uncontrollable levels as he pants louder and louder, his veins bulging anywhere his skin is visible.
-He lets out a guttural scream as sections of the sky tear away and glow black.
-He fires himself directly at Chris.
-Chris turns around right as Syrus catches up with him, completely taken off guard as Syrus grabs him by the face and slides him across the ground.
-Chris breaks the hold and decks Syrus in the face. They continue skidding across the ground, throwing damaging blows to each other, pounding without caring to defend.
-Syrus grabs Chris by both shoulders and forces him into a strong headbutt that Chris jerks back from.
-Chris strikes back, resulting in the two clenching up and struggling against each other.
Chris: (Completely serious). So, this is what you were talking about, huh?
Syrus: I will not be beaten by a child!
-Syrus shoots an energy beam from his mouth, nailing Chris in the face.
-As Chris flips back, Syrus lays in with a combination of attacks, each meeting their mark as Chris genuinely attempts to dodge them.
-Syrus finds a grip on Chris’ ankles and fiercely swings him around, making a buzzing noise. He changes the angle of the swing and starts chipping into the ground, slamming Chris over and over before hurling him into a building.
-As the structure crumbles, Chris bolts out, only to get shot away with an energy blast.
-Every time Chris tries to move away, Syrus pops him in the face with a powerful hit.
-Syrus finally grabs Chris by the shirt and hangs him above the ground, charging an energy beam in the other hand.
Syrus: Where did all your confidence go?
-Chris reacts quickly to this, embedding his fist in Syrus’ stomach up to the wrist.
-Syrus coughs out loud, trying to breathe.
-Chris continues landing these unforgiving hits in the exact same spot.
-Syrus reaches out a hand to grab Chris, but Chris grabs it back, clenching his fist around it and breaking the hand.
-This causes Syrus to reef back and distance himself from Chris, his breaths raged and strained.
Chris: (No longer arrogant and cocky). Austin’s right; I’m ending this.
Syrus: (Through gritted teeth, blood oozing from his lips). You won’t take this from me…
Chris: (Holds out a hand and charges energy in his open palm). I gave you fair warning.
-Syrus pulls his remaining working hand up near his face and forms the same white-hot energy attack that was fired at Derek.
-Chris stops charging for a moment, surprised as Syrus instead points his hand and his attack at himself, as if holding a pistol to his head.
Syrus: I’ll see you in Hell.
-Chris tries to quickly fire his attack before Syrus’, but he is too late.
-Chris is hurled from the explosion point as the area is once more enveloped in an unholy white light, shredding the city block as the blast implodes upon itself, leaving nothing behind.
-Syrus is gone.
-A few moments pass as nothing stirs, a slight breeze blowing through to swirl the dust.
-Chris pushes out of a pile of rubble and coughs. His hair is back to normal and he finally looks like he took a serious beating.
-Jack, Austin, and Kevin also emerge from piles of fallen concrete, busty but relatively unharmed.
-The four get to their feet and brush themselves off.
-Chris looks down and sees Derek’s sai. He picks them up and looks them over.
Kevin: Is Syrus gone?
Chris: I think so.
Lindsey: Thank God! You’re okay!
-Lindsey and the others come rushing into the eerie clearing.
-Chris looks up and sees Lindsey sprinting toward him, crying from joy. He smiles as he sees her.
Lindsey: Jack! You’re okay! (She brushes past Chris, bumping him as she dives into Jack’s confused arms, kissing him). Don’t do that! Don’t do that! You could have been killed!
Jack: (Awkwardly going along with it, embracing her back). Y-yeah, I’m fine.
-Chris watches this, all happiness fading from him, leaving only a powerful feeling of isolation.
-He closes his eyes and screams out in rage, powering up.
-The others turn to see him explode away from the scene, flying off towards the now-rising sun in the distance.
-No one speaks as Glitch and a large number of Legion soldiers march into the open, quickly checking for anyone in need of their help.
-Glitch sees that no one is speaking.
Glitch: What’s happened?
-No one says a word.
End of Eclipse Star: Genesis!
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Eclipse Star: Chapter 74
Recap: Last time, as the group fought to suppress Syrus’ loyal soldiers, Chris, Jack, Austin, and Glitch made their way to the chamber housing the Eclipse Star, a chamber that was empty save for a single pedestal. Syrus arrived to challenge Chris to a fight but during the scuffle, Chris hacked the pedestal in half, revealing the Eclipse Star inside. Syrus immediately grasped the all-important item and brought the temple down on Chris’ group. Everyone on the outside watched helplessly as the structure fully collapsed while Syrus flew off for Trillium City. Is this really the end?
-Lindsey and the others frantically grab rubble and throw rocks to the side, desperate to clear as much out as possible.
Lindsey: C’mon, we’ve got to get them out!
Leena: Hon, I don’t know what to say. I don’t think it’s happening.
Scott: She’s right. Structurally speaking, that much debris falling all at once is enough to crush anything, even Jack’s barrier thing.
Lindsey: Shut up! (She continues to dig as tears well up in her eyes. She gradually begins to take on a more liquid form as she loses control of her emotions).
-The others continue throwing debris aside, partly to placate Lindsey, and partly because there is always that strange hope.
-Meanwhile, deep underground…
Glitch: You guys okay?
-Glitch clicks on his chest, illuminating the now very small space.
-The other three, all huddled close together, are surprised to see a barrier field surrounding them, easily sustaining itself and keeping the structure from crushing the four.
Jack: I’m not doing that. Who’s doing that?
Chris: I have no idea.
Glitch: Oh? The energy field? I saw you do your technique enough, plus I have some of your memories and DNA on file in my data. It wasn’t until just now that I had a viable reason to implement my findings.
Glitch: I suppose I could turn it off and crush you guys. How ‘bout that?
Austin: Haha! No, that’s perfectly fine!
Jack: You have no problem holding that shield up?
Glitch: Nope. My energy recycles itself, so I could keep this field up for as long as I need to.
Chris: Well great, I guess we can set up a nice life at the bottom of a caved-in pit. That sounds like a great plan.
Austin: Ah c’mon. There’s always a way out.
Chris: Do you see one?
Austin: Nope, but I’m not the guy who just sees stuff and pieces everything together. That’d be one of my roommates from this caved-in pit I live in.
Chris: Okay, it’s worth a shot.
-Chris begins scanning all around the protective bubble, looking for anything that could help them.
Chris: Glitch, you said your energy recycles itself?
Glitch: Yes. I recently gave myself a few modifications.
Chris: What happens if we fire energy blasts from in here?
Glitch: They’d bounce around inside the shield, most likely striking us and compacting into a denser, more powerful explosion.
Chris: Can you generate more than one field at a time?
Glitch: I suppose it wouldn’t be impossible.
Chris: Which way is north?
Glitch: Er…that way. (Points).
Chris: Okay. (Chris cups his hands together and starts charging an energy blast).
Austin: Uh, what are you doing?
Chris: You mind adding to this?
Austin: I’m not great with science, but I heard something about explosions inside our little bubble getting bigger.
Chris: Jack, you too, please.
Austin: (Shakes his head and starts charging something as well). You’d better know what you’re doing.
Chris: I never know what I’m doing.
Austin: Which is where all the fun happens.
-Jack also charges an energy blast. The three meet their hands together as they charge.
Chris: Glitch, I’m gonna need you to shield this stuff in about three seconds.
-Right as the three are about to discharge their blasts, Glitch creates a field around the explosion. The energy begins surging within the little bubble, growing brighter and brighter.
-Chris grabs the energy ball and forces it into the ground near their feet.
Chris: Jack, you might want to throw up an energy shield of your own.
-The four huddle closer together as the ground begins glowing. While Glitch shrinks the energy field around the four, Jack throws up his own. At this point they are barely separated from the glowing explosion waiting to happen.
Derek: We need to call it. Syrus is only getting further and further away at this point.
Lindsey: And you’re just going to let your friends die?!
Derek: In those words: Yes. If I get to stop Syrus, then yes.
-The ground once again begins quaking violently.
Leena: Great, what now?
-The backside of the Forest Temple blows wide open as a spinning ball of death hurls from the explosion, landing just a few feet from everyone.
-Everyone hits the deck as more debris begins raining on them.
-The spinning ball of death stops spinning and comes to a stop nearby. Chris, Austin, Jack, and Glitch are inside, reeling but okay.
Chris: Glitch, could you drop your shield so I can throw up properly?
Glitch: Yeah. (Click).
Chris: Thank you. (Sick).
-The others run up to see what the commotion is.
Kyle: Well holy shit. You guys aren’t dead. Pay me. (Scott pulls some cash from his pocket and reluctantly hands it to Kyle).
Lindsey: (Grabs Jack). Are you guys crazy?! I thought you were dead! You can’t just DO that to me!
Jack: Calm down, we’re okay.
Chris: Syrus didn’t harm any of you, did he?
Derek: No, he left straight for the city.
Chris: Damnit! Even at full speed we can’t catch him!
Jack: I think I can do it.
Derek: Yeah, I’d like to see this.
Jack: I’ve been playing with the electricity abilities and I’m sure I can transform into a bolt of lightning, similar to how Lindsey and Kevin can change into water.
Chris: How much energy would that take?
Jack: I haven’t had a chance to really use this yet, but I’m pretty sure it’ll get me to Syrus with enough Pulse left for one good smash. After that, I’m completely worthless.
Lindsey: Then it’s not an option.
Lindsey: (Smacks him). No, you don’t. How badly do you want to get killed?
Derek: We don’t have time to argue. You either go now or the city’s a crater.
-Jack quickly kisses Lindsey and waves to the others.
Lindsey: Jack wait!
Jack: (Points at the group). You better be right on my ass for cover.
-Jack converts himself to an electrical form, zapping across the sky toward Trillium.
-The others instantly take to the air as well, following the trail left by the energy bolt. In mere seconds, Jack is no longer visible.
-Meanwhile, Syrus continues flying by himself, looking over the Eclipse Star as it glows in his hand.
Syrus: I find it rather odd that so many have failed to use this properly. I hardly feel any different at all. (Looks over his arms). I feel a power surge, yes, but I’m still in control of my actions. Were the others just too moronic to perform simple tasks?
-As Chris’ group flies, once again, no one is speaking.
Leena: (Quietly nudging Kyle as they fly near the back). What, no Eye Spy?
Kyle: I’m not really good at that game, truth be told. Kind of runs in the family. Also diabetes, so we’ll have to get our kids checked for that.
Leena: I don’t mean to sound all weird or anything, but, uh, if I were buried under a whole structure, let’s say an ancient temple or something, would you be freaking out like Lindsey did?
Leena: (Annoyed). No, I’m really buried right now. You’re just suffering from a diabetic coma.
Kyle: That would explain a lot…but if you were trapped, yes, I’d be freaked. I mean, our kids need a mother and all.
Leena: Okay, those kid jokes? Don’t make those.
Kyle: Can’t you just turn into air or something?
Leena: I’m not following.
Kyle: Lindsey’s got that water thing going, Jack’s a spark of thunder right now-
Leena: Thunder is the noise, lightning is the thing.
Kyle: Whatever, you’re really good with those wind abilities; can’t you change into wind?
Leena: Haven’t tried, so I have no clue.
Kyle: Well, if you get buried alive, give it a shot. It might just work out.
Leena: That’s…actually that’s pretty smart.
Kyle: Our kids will definitely be smart.
-This is the last anyone speaks until they get to the city. Inner monologues, however, those are still just as talkative as ever.
Chris’ Monologue: I can see everything happening in my head before we even arrive. I see Syrus standing before so many of my broken friends, and I…I don’t know what I’m expected to do. We’re walking into something horrible, and if we manage to get out of this, we’re not going to be the same people that went in.
-The images of Syrus breaking his friends plays over and over in his mind, speeding up faster and faster until Chris finally shuts his eyes tight before reopening them, a look of intense anger on his face.
Chris’ Monologue: I’m not letting that happen, no matter what.
-Syrus views Trillium as he approaches.
Syrus: It is time.
-He flies to the center of the city, tucking the Eclipse Star into a fold in his clothing. He hovers above the buildings, staring.
Syrus: With Trillium gone, the war ends. And then everything else becomes so simple.
-He throws a hand out, pointing his palm down at the city as energy begins to accumulate around his hand.
-The sky starts to cloud as a rainstorm becomes inevitable.
-Syrus’ hand shakes every so slightly as he reaches maximum strength.
Syrus: All so simple…
-Right as Syrus unleashes his blast, Jack pounds him with his body’s full force, bowing Syrus backwards and hurling his energy blast into the air.
-It sails up, up up…
-Syrus centers himself as he turns around, seeing nothing.
Syrus: Now where did he run off to…?
-Jack brings both feet down onto Syrus’ head, throwing him sailing down to the pavement below.
-He lands with a smash before standing completely upright.
-Jack is once more gone.
-As the group continues flying a ways off, Lindsey becomes flush with goosebumps.
Lindsey: Jack’s in trouble already.
Derek: That soon?
Lindsey: We’ve got to hurry.
-She takes off at a speed that has her screaming across the sky, distancing herself by a wide margin with the others.
-Back in the center of the city…
Syrus: Alright Jack, is that it? Are you out of lightning tricks? Couldn’t have been so easy to follow me at that speed, could it?
-People on the street are looking around, extremely confused as to why a man in black clothing is yelling to a person they can’t see.
-Around a corner, Jack peers around silently, panting deep in his chest.
Syrus: You’ve done quite well delaying me, haven’t you? So are you ready to keep fighting?
-Jack starts running around the building to strike again.
Syrus: I don’t think so!
-Syrus leaps straight through the building, looming overhead Jack in an instant.
-As the building starts swaying, the crowds of people on the street suddenly realize everything is very wrong.
-Jack grounds himself and throws a strong punch straight up at Syrus.
Syrus: Oh Jack, poor Jack.
-Jack looks up to see Syrus holding his fist without any effort.
-Syrus sweeps a kick underneath him and boots Jack in his entire body, knocking Jack down the block.
-Following this, Syrus imbeds his fist into Jack’s stomach up to the wrist, pinning Jack to the ground.
Syrus: Would you like to call out for help maybe? I’m somewhat curious.
-Jack grabs Syrus’ head with both hands and discharges a jolt of electricity.
-Syrus recoils as Jack slips away, kicking Syrus in the head as he moves.
-With eyes closed, Syrus catches Jack’s foot.
Syrus: Foolish boy.
-Syrus throws Jack into the air and points straight upwards.
Syrus: I hope you’ve made your peace with God.
-An energy blast soars up at Jack. He has barely enough time to throw up his barrier technique, and even that provides minimal relief.
-He plummets back to the ground, hitting it hard and trying to roll to his feet.
-Syrus’ boot comes down on his back, keeping him held firmly in place.
Syrus: It feels good to be the hero again, doesn’t it?
Jack: (Weakly). More than you know…
-Syrus points his palm down at Jack, energy forming around it again.
Syrus: And who am I do deny you a hero’s exit?
-Lindsey tackles Syrus from behind with a solid punch.
-As she lands next to Jack, she points her index and middle finger at Syrus and fires three quick energy blasts, all three hitting their mark in the distance.
Lindsey: Don’t do something that stupid again, you understand?
Jack: (Smiles). And just how loudly did Chris yell when you sped off alone?
Lindsey: Pretty loudly.
-Syrus returns with a haymaker to Lindsey’s face, tossing her aside as Jack leaps back up with another punch.
-Jack’s punch connects as well, this one hitting Syrus in the ribs.
-Lindsey snaps right back, hitting Syrus in the head with a roundhouse kick.
-As Syrus rolls to a stop, Jack and Lindsey each start charging elemental attacks.
-Lindsey begins spraying Syrus with a jet of water as Jack plunges his hands into the stream, discharging a current of electricity.
-Syrus is hit with the full effect of this, bringing him to his knees as the attack ceases.
Lindsey: Good teamwork, no?
Syrus: (Laughing in his throat). And that’s it, isn’t it?
Syrus: (Looking up at her, smiling). That’s supposed to be enough to cripple me, right? And now I’m helpless? (He stands up, unharmed. Lindsey and Jack take a step back). Both of your Pulse energies are hard to read right now. Could that be because you’ve gotten so very good at hiding them? Or is it perhaps because you’re already so tired?
Lindsey: We’re not afraid of you!
Syrus: Hm, I’d assume not, what with the reinforcements arriving just in time.
-Syrus turns back to see the rest of the group landing in battle stances.
Chris: You guys hurt badly?
Jack: We’re tired, but we’ll be fine.
Syrus: Oh joy of joys. Will I be treated to a series one-on-one battles, or just a chaotic free-for-all?
Chris: We don’t have to do anything. All you have to do is put the Eclipse Star down and walk away.
Syrus: It’s too late for that; I’m too far gone.
Chris: No one’s ever too far gone.
Syrus: I am.
-The entire city block is shook to pieces beneath everyone’s feet as Syrus powers up, screaming as he does.
-Innocent bystanders too stupid to leave are caught in this chaos with few being saved as the teenagers quickly move to pick them into the air.
Derek: (Not holding anyone). You guys deal with the morons rubbernecking; I’m taking him on headfirst.
-Derek speeds into Syrus with his arms out, slamming into him and starting a volley of punches and kicks back and forth as the two wrestle through the air at high speeds.
Jack: Glitch, go start protecting the crowds. They’re your only priority.
-The others drop off their passengers a good ten blocks down.
Kevin: Everyone, please, you need to get as far away from here as possible!
Austin: Seriously, this whole area is about to keep shaking apart.
-Derek fights on even ground with Syrus, straining hard with every move to keep up. Syrus just smiles and plays along before grabbing Derek’s next two punches and headbutting him while still gripping his fists.
-Derek recoils but can’t break away. Syrus repeats this a few times.
-As Chris and Austin fly in behind them, Syrus turns and tosses Derek to Chris.
-As Chris catches Derek, Syrus punches him in the face, then kicks Austin.
-Danny and Willy come up behind Syrus, one attacking from high and the other attacking from low. Syrus simply spins sideways between them before firing two small energy blasts into their backs.
-This repeats multiple times as people attack from obvious angles, each getting countered and thrown to the side.
Chris’ Narration: We’re not hitting hard enough. We need to hit harder.
-He and Derek look at each other and nod before taking off in completely opposite directions.
-As Syrus blocks punches thrown by Scott, Chris comes up at his face.
-Syrus knocks Scott aside and throws up a block to Chris.
-Instantly, Chris moves to the side and darts in another direction.
-Syrus turns and sees Derek coming from his other side, once more throwing up a block and once more seeing his attacker change course and run in another direction.
-This continues happening over and over again.
-Eventually, as Derek is rushing towards Syrus, Lindsey comes from behind and clobbers Syrus with a double kick.
-Syrus turns to attack her but as he turns, he spies Chris running up again.
-Covering this new attack, Syrus leaves himself open for Kevin to elbow him in the side.
-Soon Syrus discovers that Chris and Derek aren’t actually attacking, meaning when Danny runs up to strike for the side, Syrus attacks his blind spot instead, tossing Danny aside, then Willy from the other side, and Leena from behind.
Syrus: Clever trick, but it still isn’t working!
Chris’ Narration: Harder then.
-Chris and Derek strike Syrus at the same time, one from either side.
-Syrus lets slip a painful growl as the two disappear just as quickly.
-Syrus is caught off guard yet again, this time getting struck in the back of the legs by Chris and in the head by Derek.
-He stands up, shaking this off, right before-
-He receives a slam in the hip by Derek and a punch to the head by Chris, spinning completely in the air.
-The tactic doesn’t work a fourth time as Syrus strikes both kids at once, knocking them back.
Syrus: Is that the best you can throw at me?!
-Syrus throws a haphazard energy blast in no particular direction.
-The attack levels a few buildings and rips up the street all around.
-All of the teenagers land, unharmed.
-Everyone converges on Syrus at once, slashing and firing energy blasts as fast as they can charge them.
-Syrus dodges and blocks as many as he can, knocking attackers aside when he can, but he’s still taking a lot of heavy shots in between.
Syrus: ENOUGH OF THIS!
-Syrus powers up, creating a shockwave around him that throws everyone away.
-The shockwave stays up as he starts charging energy in his hands.
Syrus: Can none of you deliver a true challenge?!
-Austin slams against the energy barrier, ricocheting off.
Austin: Can’t get through!
-Lindsey comes speeding down the block at full power, hitting the barrier with everything she’s got.
-Syrus looks up just as she punches through, her eyes ablaze, as she hits him full-force, carrying him with her down the strip.
Lindsey: How’s this for a challenge?
-Syrus smiles and taps acknowledgement to her.
Syrus: Well done indeed.
-He strikes her back, sending her head-over-heels into a painful faceplant.
-Syrus looks over his shoulder and tosses a quick energy ball as Derek sneaks up to attack.
-Derek brings out his sai just in time to create a sonic boom that bounces Syrus’ energy right back.
-As Syrus comes out of a hasty block, he looks to rush up at Derek, though doesn’t counter the kicks from both sides, one from Chris and one from Austin.
-Syrus reaches out and grab the two, but still gets hammered in the face by Jack.
-Syrus claps Chris and Austin against Jack before force pushing them away, right as he turns around to uppercut Kyle.
-Leena catches Kyle in the air and throws her other hand out, kicking up massive wind gusts.
-Syrus is forced to shield his face as the debris attempts to sting his face.
-With this as cover, Lindsey zips in with an energy blast charged.
-Syrus drops to his back and kicks her into the air.
-Lindsey spins like a top as she soars higher and higher.
-She finally comes to a stop, screams, and fires every ounce of power she has straight down in one explosive discharge.
-Syrus brings himself in tightly as the energy beam hammers down from above.
-Lindsey remains airborne and maintains her beam’s strength, trying to force Syrus down.
-Chris recovers from his last injury and quickly charges his Pulse before firing his own blast.
-His beam collides with Syrus, now struggling heavily under the force of two full-powered beams.
Chris: HELP HER!
-Derek joins with an energy beam at another angle.
-Everyone else fires their biggest and strongest energy blasts at Syrus, combining their powers together.
Chris: DON’T HOLD BACK!
-Syrus finally shows the slightest bit of fear as the dozen energy beams shred the area around him and push him lower and lower, breaking through any defenses he may still have.
-The massive combined energy attack detonates, blinding everyone in an instant.
-As the noise dissipates, the teenagers land, coughing from the smoke.
Derek: We get ‘im?!
-Everyone waits for the dust to clear, revealing a crater the size of a city block where Syrus once stood.
-They hardly have the strength to stand anymore, but they all begin laughing and celebrating.
Jack: (Kissing Lindsey). Not bad out there.
Lindsey: Oh shut up, that was awesome and you know it.
Chris: Glitch, what’s the status of the bystanders?
Glitch: I managed to clear the area. There were very few casualties.
Austin: Hey, we’re okay though! We did it guys! Mission accomplished!
Derek: (Claps Chris’ hand in a tight handshake). We weren’t too bad working together there.
Chris: No kidding.
Derek: (Motions to the crater). You a little disappointed you didn’t get to go one-on-one with him?
Chris: No. Not even a little.
Derek: To each his own I guess.
-The group goes about limping around, checking on each other’s statuses. All the while, Chris keeps staring at the crater.
Kyle: Yo Chris, you’re kind of freaking me out here.
Chris: (Keeping his eyes fixated). Yeah.
Kyle: Uh, that wasn’t the reassurance I was looking for there.
-Chris continues watching the crater, starting to twitch a little.
-Everything becomes really quiet all of a sudden.
-The others take notice and also become silent.
Chris: (Breaking the eerie quiet as the camera zooms in on his face). It’s not over.
To Be Concluded!
Eclipse Star: Chapter 73
“The Eclipse Star, At Long Last”
Recap: Last time, Chris and Derek returned to the Northern Lodge after obliterating the Regime’s final Zanrethan bunker, but not before witnessing both an ominous red light to the south and feeling a sudden energy spike where they last left Octavious and Syrus. After discussing the situation with Max, Jack, Glitch, and Austin, they came to the realization that the Forest Temple, previously seen by Austin’s escaping group during the Hidden Plateau plotline, was in fact the default resting place of the Eclipse Star. It took this revelation to jog Chris’ thought process and piece together that Syrus had been knocked south after seeing the red light and, therefore, must be after the Eclipse Star. The group hurries to ready themselves against Syrus as he and his group of loyalists tromp into the ruins in search of the titular MacGuffin at long last: The Eclipse Star appears today!
Up North in each of the rooms, each of the teenagers collect themselves one final time within the past few days, getting ready to fly South and face whatever they find in the Forest Temple.
Derek pulls a leather jacket out from under his bed and reads the tag to himself. “Marshall.” He pauses on the name before throwing one arm through, then the other. He picks up his black sai and slips them through his belt.
Danny and Willy take turns stretching each other’s arms out, grasping their partner’s arms and slowly pulling them behind their back.
Clinton goes through the motions of suiting up in each piece of Legion armor he still owns, clipping boot clasps down before doing the same to thick glove clasps.
Scott sits by his open window, eyes closed, breathing deep as he nurses a cigarette. His eyes have dark bags under them but his face has a smile.
Jack stands before a mirror in his bathroom, fully suited in Legion SWAT gear, as the water runs. He begins going through the process of quickly dying his hair a golden blonde, flicking his head back to get a clear view in the mirror once the dye sets.
Leena checks her belongings one after another, picking pieces of clothing carefully. She sees the throwing discs Kyle gave her just a day ago, picks them up, and smiles. A note flicks under her door reading “Do you like me? Yes. No. Maybe?”
Leena’s door is thrown open, just catching Kyle at the end of the hall.
Leena: One date. You got it? And only if we come back. That sounds fair?
Kyle: (Immensely happy). Oh I am gonna charm the pants off you…er…figuratively speaking of course.
Kevin sits alone in his room, sitting with his legs up in the armchair. He has a Bible in his hand as he flips through pages, stopping every so often to smirk at passages he finds inspiring or topical. He hits one page and taps a finger down.
Kevin: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”
Austin goes through the kitchen preparing sandwiches in a hurried manner. Numerous pieces of bread lay open with various ingredients strewn about them. Joshua walks in and smiles, going into the fridge to pull out a whole turkey. Austin laughs and continues making food as Josh joins him.
Glitch sits in the corner of Max’s room, his arm casing open as he makes minor adjustments to his wiring. He catches Max looking dully at this. He looks up as if to say, “What?” Max just shrugs and looks away, leaning back on his bed to rest.
Barbara is bundled up in front of the fireplace in the main sitting room, gingerly sipping a cinnamon-flavored drink as she stares intently on the flames, never looking up. We keep catching glimpses of her conversation with Syrus within the flickering fire, further causing her focused and worried gaze.
Lindsey moves around her room, whipping her elbow blades around, practicing how best to use them, a look of incredible seriousness on her face. A quiet knock taps upon her half-creaked door. She stops, somewhat annoyed and breathing strong, as Chris pushes his head through the door as it hangs low. He can barely make eye contact with her.
Lindsey: (Dry). Yeah? What’s up?
Chris: I’m sorry.
Lindsey: You’re sorry?
Chris: I haven’t been fair to you and I know it. I’m crazy about you, but I should know that you’re with Jack. I have to accept that, and I haven’t done a very good job of doing just that.
Lindsey: Don’t say that you’re in love-
Chris: (Holds up a hand). I know, I know. I’m not here to push that. I just wanted to say that I…I’m okay with you and Jack.
Lindsey: (Somewhat sad). No you’re not.
Chris: But I want to be.
Lindsey: (Lets out a sigh and smiles). Then thank you.
-Chris walks up to her and grabs her, pulling her in for a tight hug.
Lindsey: (Still in the embrace). Thanks for not kissing me just-
Chris: (Interrupting). I’m scared.
Chris: I don’t know what’s going to happen with Syrus but I’m scared of what it could be.
Lindsey: We’ll be fine. We have him outnumbered by over a dozen and out powered by who knows how much.
Chris: I’m still scared.
Lindsey: (Looks Chris in the eyes). Tell you what: You make sure to watch my back and I’ll make sure to watch yours.
Chris: And what happens if Syrus is too much for either of us?
Lindsey: Then we let Derek play warrior instead. Besides. (Flexes her arm in a sarcastic manner). How is Syrus getting past these bad boys?
Chris: (Smiles weakly). Things get bad, you get out of there, okay?
Lindsey: Hmm. You get to freak out on my behalf once without me being annoyed. That sound fair?
Chris: I suppose.
-She quickly leans in and kisses him on the lips for a few seconds. Chris is speechless.
Lindsey: Stop. That wasn’t to screw with you; that’s to give you that strange morale-boost that you need. Now go get ‘em, tiger.
Chris: (Smiles, holding up the hilt of his sword). Let’s do this.
-Everyone gathers in the main sitting room of the lodge, their preparations complete.
Lindsey: (Noticing Jack’s hair). Whoa! You changed your hair!
Jack: You like it?
Lindsey: Bold, impulsive, nothing like Jack at all. (Running her fingers through his hair). I like it, yeah. (She kisses him a few times).
Austin: (Walks up to Chris, noticing that he’s watching Jack and Lindsey). Sandwich? (Holds up a tasty-looking sub packed with all sorts of meats and cheeses).
Chris: (Looks at Austin, then the sandwich, and back and forth a few times). Yeah alright. (Grabs the sandwich and takes a bite).
Barbara: Chris, you know I’m going to tell you to be careful.
Barbara: So be careful.
Barbara: And I love you.
Chris: I love you, too, grandma.
-They hug as Joshua walks to the center of the room.
Joshua: You’re all welcome to come back once you’re done with today.
Jack: I won’t be coming back. It’s time to regroup with the Legion and build again.
Derek: And my father’s still missing.
Joshua: Let this place always be a home for you when you need it then.
Kevin: Josh, thank you, for everything.
Chris: I doubt we would have made it this far without you.
Joshua: Eh, you don’t know that for sure.
Leena: What’re we doing with Max?
Jack: I don’t want him coming with us, and he seems content staying here, so we’ll leave him here for now. I’ll be back in a few days with a Legion escort.
Max: I’m okay with that. (Falls back into an armchair and continues ignoring everyone).
Jack: Glitch, we’ll need you to direct us to the proper coordinates.
Glitch: Shouldn’t be a problem.
Jack: Then we’re off.
Chris: Bye grandma. I’ll be back soon.
Barbara: Bye then.
Lindsey: Bye Josh.
Joshua: Take luck.
-Everyone says their solemn partings and walks out into the snow. Daybreak is upon everyone as the snow falls heavily around their feet. Jack walks to the front of the crowd and powers his Pulse energy up before taking to the skies. Everyone follows him.
-Elsewhere, hundreds of miles south…
Ranking Soldier: Syrus, we’re having a hell of a time navigating this place.
Syrus: Most of the structure is underground and doubles-back on itself frequently.
Ranking Soldier: Figures we’re get bogged down by a maze of some sort.
Syrus: Keep notes. Map this place as you go in case we ever need to come back.
Ranking Soldier: Will do. (Joins the others in the hunt).
Syrus: (Wandering through the main hall with the hieroglyphs). Amazing. I started to doubt we’d ever get to see this place. Just think, the probability of finding the Eclipse Star’s shrine twice in a year? That’s nearly impossible. Unless… (Continues walking and notices the four empty pedestals). Those stones they had. They must have been from the counter-set. (Places a hand on one pedestal and laughs). In trying to defend themselves against such a thing, they’ve managed to remove the only defenses this place had.
-The group continues flying south, no one really speaking as they finally fly over the city.
Derek: There’s Trillium. That should be the halfway point, right?
Chris: Glitch, what time is it?
Glitch: Little past 1.
Jack: I figured we’d be further along by now.
Chris: Going slower conserves energy, energy that we may need should Syrus pose a serious threat.
Derek: Yeah but the trade-off is that we can’t get there fast enough to stop him from grabbing the Eclipse Star before us.
Chris: It’s not a great choice to make, but I’d rather be prepared than rush into this.
Lindsey: Chris is right; we don’t know if Syrus found anything or not, but tiring ourselves out before even knowing won’t help.
Kyle: Anyone want to play the License Plate Game?
Chris: If you can see license plates from up here, you can play.
Kyle: (Pause). Anyone want to play I Spy?
Kyle: Alright then, I didn’t want to play anyway.
Leena: (Sigh). Fine, I’ll play.
Kyle: Okay! I spy with my little eye…something that is hot.
Leena: Too soon.
Austin: (Flies in close to Chris). Hey, buddy, what’s up?
Chris: I’m nervous, that’s all.
Austin: You don’t look nervous; you look like you’ve seen dead people.
Chris: I have an extremely bad feeling about today.
Austin: Damn, your feelings are usually right, too.
Chris: I just…(Images flash of Chris’ vision. Syrus fights with the group, easily dispatching them. Lindsey dies and Chris is left alone as Syrus laughs).
Chris: I don’t think I’m ready for this.
Austin: We’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?
-Hours pass as the group flies south, searching for the proper coordinates. By 5 o’clock the sky is starting to cloud, but the Forest Temple is within range.
Glitch: Two miles to destination.
Jack: Okay. Everyone on foot. We’re walking in.
-They land in an area with heavy tree covering.
Leena: So weird being back here. I can still remember half the trees.
Scott: I remember you took a leak behind that one over there. (Points).
Leena: (Turns insanely red). Yes, thank you, we all needed to know that.
Jack: Quiet. (Everyone freezes for a moment or two). How close are we right here?
Glitch: 1.7 miles from the coordinates.
Jack: Clinton, do you remember the forest being this quiet when your group came through here?
Clinton: It was oddly quiet, but nothing like this.
-Jack clicks his Pulse-reader watch on. It starts beeping.
Jack: Yeah, we’ve got a number of Regime soldiers lurking about a mile and a half to the southwest, and they aren’t the sort that we usual fight.
Derek: How strong we talking?
Jack: They’re just walking around and even then they’re up around what the Higher Ups of the Legion would be clocked at.
Chris: What’s Syrus reading at?
Jack: I can’t differentiate by person.
Chris: Then the blip with the lowest rating.
Jack: Little over 2000.
Chris: Keep us away from that blip.
Jack: Okay, let’s move out.
-The team trudges in two uneven lines forward through the brush, Jack and Glitch leading the way, followed by Chris and Derek, and then the rest.
-After a short hike in silence, Jack holds up a hand and stops them.
Jack: Clinton, we close?
Clinton: (Moves to the front). Yes. See those trees up there? (Points to a row of trees with the tips sliced off). Just past those is where the temple sits.
Jack: Okay, I’m seeing anywhere between 40 and 50 enemies out there, so we need to start taking them down one-by-one in silence.
Chris: Won’t work. Any one of those soldiers goes unconscious and Syrus is gonna know.
Derek: He probably already knows we’re here.
Kevin: We could try overloading his ability to sense where we are.
Derek: And how would you propose we do that?
Kevin: If one or two of us shoots our Pulse energy to max, it will become harder to focus on anyone running around at a minimum output, similar to what Joshua said about the churches overshadowing individual energy patterns.
Jack: It could work.
Clinton: The more distractions we can manage, the better.
Jack: Glitch, you, me, Chris, and Austin, we’re going into the temple. Lindsey, you’re able to kick up the most smoke when you power up, figuratively speaking, so you’re in charge of the main diversion.
Jack: Derek, you can focus better, but your Pulse still gets pretty high. You do the same thing she’s doing, but do it within the middle of the enemies.
Derek: (Pulls out his sai). Nice thinkin’ Pony Boy.
Jack: Everyone else, clear those other soldiers and keep them busy.
Chris: Let’s go.
-Lindsey runs off into the trees as the two groups split off and go their separate ways.
-Syrus continues slowly walking down the wall, reading it as he goes. He suddenly stops.
Syrus: They certainly got here fast.
-He turns around as one of his soldiers runs up.
Ranking Soldier: Syrus, they’re here, aren’t they?
Syrus: Take the majority of your men and exit the temple.
Ranking Soldier: To meet them head-on?
Syrus: Yes. Send five to accompany me while the rest hold the entrance.
Ranking Soldier: Absolutely.
-The ranking soldier salutes and runs off to gather his men.
-Outside, Lindsey gets to a high point nearby the temple and begins charging her power to absolute maximum. As a result, the ground begins quaking violently.
Jack: Wow, she’s really putting her best foot forward.
-Derek rushes at the front entrance and cranks his Pulse energy to a staggering amount as well.
Austin: The front entrance is going to be swarming, but I know there’s a side way in. I saw it when we were leaving.
Glitch: On the north face?
Austin: Yeah. Forgot you’ve got those memories, too.
Glitch: Must be mind blowing, huh?
Austin: Hah! Absolutely!
-Clinton and his group run around to the opposite side as Regime soldiers rush out of the temple.
Clinton: Do it.
-His group charges energy blasts and fires them at their opponent’s feet, causing a wave of dust to explode up, covering the entrance completely.
-Energy blasts start firing haphazardly through the dust cover, only to be met with more potshots from Clinton’s team.
-While the fighting begins, Chris’ group slips around back while led by Austin.
Austin: Should be what looks like a crack back here…there.
-He points at a small opening mostly covered by foliage. Austin rips the bushes aside and allows the others to go in first.
-Once inside, the four slink along the wall, careful to peer around corners for any sign of Syrus and his soldiers.
-A few shadows dance across the floors from the hallway as Syrus rushes deeper into the temple.
Jack: Where to next?
Austin: I don’t know; I never went in this far.
Chris: (Seeing the hieroglyphs). What are those?
Austin: Just some designs on the wall. There’s a picture in another room of the Eclipse Star.
-Chris moves his hand slowly over the images, seemingly useless swirls chiseled into the rock.
Chris: Any of this make sense to anyone else but me?
Chris: Just my luck, then. C’mon.
-Chris takes them in the opposite direction as Syrus’ shadows, instead into a small side room with nothing in it save for a water basin.
Chris: Okay, gotta be somewhere…
Jack: We looking for a switch?
Chris: Nope. (Pushes a section of the wall to the side, revealing a tunnel and causing a sudden draft). Well? We’ve got nothing better to do.
-The four dive into the tunnel and beat feet down as fast as they can follow Chris’ lead into the enveloping darkness.
-Outside, Clinton’s team has spread out and taken cover as they shoot back.
Clinton: Danny, can you sense any Pulse readings from within the dust cover?
Danny: Nah, Derek and Lindsey are way too distracting.
Clinton: Then at least they’re doing their job well enough.
-A shockwave resonates from within the dust cloud, clearing it up to reveal Derek standing in the middle, his sai outstretched after being struck together.
-Three soldiers rain down right by the group’s covering, disoriented and confused. Willy, Scott, and Clinton rush from cover and strike each of them in the face once, knocking them out. They turn and sprint into cover once more as Derek slams the ground, throwing up another cloud of dust.
-Up on the high ground, Lindsey proceeds to keep her fighting power at max. Energy blasts begin shooting toward her as seven soldiers try to take her down.
-She throws up a half barrier attack as they continue advancing, ricocheting energy off her shield.
-One rushes up and attacks her from behind. She grabs him by the leg and flips him onto his back, knocking him out with an ax-kick to the jaw. She turns back to the advancing group, keeping one hand up as a barrier and fires back with her other hand.
-Inside the temple, Chris and his group snake through narrow corridors and low overhangs. Chris seems to know where he’s going, but the others can hardly keep up with him.
Jack: You sure this is the best way to go about this?
Chris: Hey, you saw the map, too.
Jack: What map?
Chris: Let’s hope Syrus said the same thing.
-As Clinton’s group continues firing, a mass of soldiers dive out of the dust and fire all at once in the direction of the group’s covering.
-Clinton and the others are left coughing and covering their eyes as the soldiers rush in, getting in a few good strikes to the head.
-One soldier reaches out and grabs Clinton by the face, charging a blast in his palm.
-Derek launches into the fray, starting with the back of Clinton’s attacker’s head, knocking him clean out.
-Clinton instantly claps his hands together, forms the shape of a gun, and fires a fast, hot blast right behind Derek.
-Several enemies are thrown all over the place from this blast, skidding into the side of the temple where various members of the good guys run up and deliver the final blow.
-Lindsey continues suppressing fire to her attackers but they’ve begun to surround her. As one from behind her throws an energy blast, she turns to liquid.
-The soldiers seem extremely confused as all that remains is a puddle where Lindsey once stood.
-As a solider steps forward, the puddle reaches up and wraps around his leg, hurling him into a tree.
-The other five soldiers regain defensive stances as the puddle whirls around, whipping them in the faces.
-Lindsey reforms in the center, spraying torrential spouts of water in all directions, washing the soldiers away.
-Kyle and Leena run around collecting the unconscious soldiers from the battlefield, moving them to the edge.
Leena: Haven’t they found the Star yet? Any time now would be great.
Kyle: Yeah, but aren’t you enjoying this?
Leena: Not particularly.
Kyle: Oh. Well then, what sort of food do you really like? You know? To eat when on a date?
Leena: Seriously, not a time I want to talk about that. (Cough). Especially with all this dust.
-Leena pulls out her throwing disc and hurls it at the center of the fray. She points her first two fingers at it and swishes them around before flicking them above her head.
-A hurricane-level gust of wind shoots up from the middle, instantly clearing the dust and lifting everyone within it into the air, including Derek and Willy.
-She throws her hand open and the pillar of wind tosses its debris, people included, in all directions.
-Her throwing disc returns to her hand as she pockets it.
Kyle: That was pretty cool.
Leena: (Lets out a sigh). Thanks.
Kyle: I was thinking like pasta or something. Can’t go wrong with pasta.
Leena: Shh. Not now. Later.
-Chris suddenly comes to a halt at the end of the tunnel, the other three in his team looking confused.
Austin: This it?
Jack: It’s a dead end.
Chris: No way this is a dead end.
-He places his hands on the solid rock face and pushes. Nothing happens.
Jack: We’ve got to turn around.
-Chris fires an energy beam, blowing a gaping hole in the rock.
Austin: Very nice work.
-As the smoke clears, all they can see is darkness. Glitch clicks a panel on his chest, instantly beginning to glow, illuminating the area. They get a view into a large chamber with a single pedestal in the center of a pool of water.
-The four take a few steps forward before looking around at the rest of the chamber.
Austin: How far down you think we are?
Chris: I’m not sure.
Glitch: My geographical sensors are going haywire right now, but I know we can’t be that deep.
Jack: The good news is, that door hasn’t been opened yet. (Points at the chamber’s main door, still closed).
Chris: C’mon then.
-He takes off at a run, splashing through the shallow pool as he makes his way up to the center pedestal. The others follow him.
Chris: This is- (Gets to the pedestal and looks down. It’s empty). No. That can’t be right.
Jack: Nothing? (Turns to Austin). You guys never came down here before, right?
Austin: No, we didn’t.
Chris: I don’t get it. (Slams his fists down on the pedestal). Where is it?!
Syrus: Fancy meeting you lot here.
-Jack, Glitch, and Austin swivel around to face Syrus, standing in the doorway with five soldiers. Chris doesn’t move.
Jack: How’d you make it down here?
Syrus: You three make a helpful energy pattern to follow.
Chris: It doesn’t matter anyway. Nothing’s here.
Syrus: (Somewhat surprised). What?
Chris: (Turns). The pedestal, it’s empty.
Syrus: That can’t be right.
Chris: We both wasted our time.
Syrus: I’d hardly call discovering this location a waste of time.
Chris: The Eclipse Star isn’t here, meaning we have no conflict with you.
Syrus: Is that so?
Chris: I’m asking you kindly, please, let it be done.
Syrus: But I- (Somewhat stunned, looking from Chris to the others, resting his eyes on the empty pedestal as well). How can it not be here?
Chris: You’re the one with the innate knowledge of the subject; you tell me.
-Syrus quickly trots up to the pedestal, grasping it with both hands, slumping upon confirmation.
Syrus: Was it all a trick?
Jack: (Whispering to Austin and Glitch). I don’t know what’s about to happen, but we need to get out of here as quickly as possible.
Austin: The plan?
Jack: Glitch, when I tell you, off go the lights.
Syrus: You. (Turns to Chris, chuckling). You’re trying to fool me, aren’t you?
Chris: No. We’ve both been made fools.
Syrus: (No longer chuckling). How can it- How can she- No!
Jack: Lights, off.
-Glitch clicks his chest panel again. The chamber instantly becomes pitch black.
-Several quick thumping sounds can be heard.
-A dull light shines from Syrus’ eyes, showing his five soldiers on the other end of the pool knocked out, Jack and Austin standing over them, nursing their knuckles.
Syrus: So I am forever shamed? No, I won’t have things end like this. I can still get at least one thing I want. (Points his gaze toward Chris).
Chris: (Reaches behind his back and clutches the hilt of his sword). Don’t. I don’t want to do this.
Syrus: You don’t have a choice.
-Syrus’ eyes glow intensely bright as he lunges toward Chris.
-Chris pulls his sword from behind his back, swishing it in an arc above his head. The blade glows as brightly as Syrus’ eyes.
-Chris starts slashing madly, trying to hack Syrus in half. Syrus sidesteps each attack, throwing his arms out and parrying the sword swings with his forearm armor, knocking the blows to the side.
Jack: Let’s go.
Austin: Not without Chris.
-Jack waits a few seconds as Chris and Syrus dance around the pedestal. As Syrus takes a step back and touches a foot into the water, Jack dunks his palm into the pool and fires an electrical current through the water.
-Syrus’ body tenses for a second as his winces from this. He turns to face Jack.
-Chris leaps into the air, spinning his sword in his hands, bringing it down with full force at Syrus.
-Syrus looks up and sees this. He brings his hands together while turning, clubbing the side of Chris’ sword as hard as he can.
-Chris’s swing is knocked off course, carrying him into the pedestal.
-The sword cleaves the pedestal at the middle, causing an unnatural light to explode forth into the room and throwing Chris across the chamber into the wall.
-Once everyone’s eyes adjust, they can clearly see source of the light: The Eclipse Star.
Syrus: How is this even possible?
-No one dares move for a moment or two. Chris shakes his head, getting up from his slumped position. His sword is no longer glowing.
-Syrus slowly walks up to the Eclipse Star, entirely focused on it.
-Jack and Austin sprint at Syrus. He waves a hand behind him, causing the water to shoot up and blast the two with a water jet.
-Chris leaps up and hurls his sword at Syrus.
-Syrus touches the Eclipse Star and time instantly slows to a crawl all around him..
-He breathes in and looks up, seeing the sword point mere inches from his head.
Syrus: Amazing. Simply amazing.
-He grabs the sword firmly in his hand and throws it back at Chris.
-Time resumes its normal flow as the sword’s hilt collides with Chris’ forehead, knocking him spinning head over heels.
-Syrus firmly clasps the Eclipse Star in his hand and looks back at Jack and Austin.
Syrus: Nice try boys. I’ll admit, you beat me to the punch, but you didn’t seem to know the secret. (Stares back at his prize). And for that matter, neither did I. (Looks up). We have no further business here.
-He reaches his other hand out and closes it while pointing at the walls. They instantly start crumbling.
-As Jack, Austin, Chris, and Glitch scramble to get away from the walls, Syrus vwings to the door.
Syrus: You requested that I let it be done. And so I shall. Trillium’s time is done, and so is yours.
-He exits as the room obliterates itself.
-Outside, the rest of the group have reconvened outside the main entrance, every one of Syrus’ soldiers lined up, unconscious.
-The ground begins shaking fiercely.
Lindsey: This isn’t good.
-Parts of the structure start toppling over, landing all around the group.
-As they dive backward from the temple, they see Syrus casually walking out, a dark aura surrounding him.
Kevin: Where are the others?
Derek: Take him out!
-Syrus stretches his arm out and clenches his hand, throwing up a barrier of earth as dozens of energy blasts rain down on him.
-He pushes and sends debris flying in all directions. The group stops firing and hides in cover.
Syrus: Those four you sent in after me? You might want to go check on them. (Points at the shrine). They were in the lowest levels when I brought the ceiling down on them.
Lindsey: You bastard!
Syrus: Good luck with that.
-Syrus takes to the air and flies off at full speed.
Clinton: He’ll be heading for Trillium.
Lindsey: I don’t care; Jack and the others are in there.
-She sprints toward the entrance as the structure finishes collapsing, sending a puff of dust out every crevasse.
-The teenagers shield their eyes and try to see anything. Leena starts blowing the dust away with gusts of wind, but they don’t see anyone emerging from the rubble.
Danny: They can’t be dead. Can they?
-Lindsey runs up to the entrance and starts throwing rocks aside. The others join in.
-Syrus continues flying, looking over the Eclipse Star.
Syrus: All that trouble, just for this little stone. (Tightens his grip on it). I can’t let it consume me like so many others. (Shuts his eyes). They were all fools, but I. (Opens his eyes and smiles). I shall make her proud. And together we shall make Him pay.
-To Be Continued!
Eclipse Star: Chapter 72
“The Momentary Calm”
Recap: Last time, Chris and Derek managed to infiltrate the Regime’s last Zanrethan stronghold and completely topple it, causing Octavious to order a full retreat from the country, but not before forcing a confrontation with Syrus that left him spinning into the distance while Octavious and the Octa-Ranger rounded up their men. Could things finally be at a resolution point? You’ll have to read on, today, on Eclipse Star!
-Syrus slowly gets to his feet after being hurled miles and miles by Octavious’ blast. He dusts himself off, being more or less unharmed. A deep sigh, a few looks around, and some careful planning behind him, Syrus sets out for the south where the red light previously ripped across the sky.
-In the complete opposite direction, Chris and Derek land in the snow with a soft crunch outside the Northern Lodge, still wearing their stolen Octa-Ranger uniforms.
Chris: (Exhausted). Who’s up for some sleep?
Derek: I second that.
-As they walk through the main doors, they come across Austin, Kyle, and Joshua fast asleep on the couches.
Chris: Aw, isn’t that cute?
Derek: Well, at least they didn’t wait up for us.
-Jack and Lindsey walk in the back door, quietly giggling and looking half-froze.
-Once they see Chris and Derek they actually freeze.
Jack: Oh, hey guys, you made it back.
Lindsey: (Awkwardly making conversation). How’d it go?
Lindsey: Did you-
Chris: (Cutting her off). Were you two out in the woods this whole time?
Lindsey: What? What makes you say that?
Chris: You’re just walking inside now.
Derek: And your hair’s a mess.
Chris: And you’re half blue.
Derek: And your shirt’s not tucked in. (Points at Jack).
Jack: So? Since when do I have to tuck in my shirt?
Chris: Since always, especially when staying outside in below zero temperatures. The hell is this?
-As Chris becomes obviously bothered, the three sleeping beauties wake up.
Austin: What’s going on?
Kyle: Cinnamon buns are not currency…
Chris: These two are just now coming inside after doing…who KNOWS what.
Austin: And who cares? I’m happy to see you and Derek back safe.
Joshua: The pink outfit is a little much, though it is certainly slimming.
Chris: I know, right? (Shakes his head). Okay, to summarize, we managed to get into the Regime’s base, we imploded it, and that’s about it.
Derek: And we saw a red light waaaay to the south.
Chris: Yeah, we did see that.
Joshua: What sort of red light?
Chris: Some crazy light, like a pillar that shot straight into the sky. Looked like it nearly shredded thin air.
-Jack becomes rigid at this.
Jack: Hold on, a weird sky-piercing light appeared and you two, both of you, witnessed it?
Chris: Yes. Josh, have any ideas what it might be?
Joshua: Yes and no. (Looks to Jack, then to Derek, then to Lindsey and Chris). It just doesn’t exactly make any sense though.
Austin: So right when we resolve everything, something else pops up to create trouble?
Kyle: Isn’t that just always the way?
Jack: We might want to ask Max a few questions.
Chris: That actually makes sense. Derek, go get him.
Derek: Me? Why me?
Chris: Because I’m not done talking here with these two.
Lindsey: Chris, stop, stop it right now. I really don’t want to turn this into a thing, whatever it may be.
Chris: Just tell me what you two were doing.
Jack: Talking, making out, and more talking. We are dating; is that so surprising?
Chris: How much making out are we talking?
Lindsey: (Frantically runs her fingers through her hair). I’m not doing this. I’m getting some sleep. (She walks upstairs as Max and Glitch come down).
Glitch: Something wrong, Lindz?
Lindsey: Always, apparently.
Glitch: Well, hope you sleep well.
Max: (Walking up to a couch and slumping). Okay, so the robot overheard you guys saying you needed to talk to me. What ended up happening?
Chris: The Zanrethan Regime base collapsed.
Max: Good. I didn’t understand why we needed an underground base anyway.
Jack: They said they saw a red light in the sky to the south after blowing up the base. Any idea what that could be?
Max: Red light? (Thinks). Could be Stigma’s special buster?
Derek: This beam was a lot further south than the city, plus the beam was large enough that I can safely say none of the Octa-Jackasses fired it.
Max: Then I have no clue. (Snaps his fingers). Wait, didn’t some blue light blow up our base in the desert?
Jack: Yeah, but that was a result of chemicals.
Max: Chemicals? Really?
Jack: You didn’t get my debriefing while you were in the Legion?
Max: I didn’t think I needed to. Why? What’d you say?
Derek: That the crazy lightshow was caused by him mixing chemicals in a desperate attempt to escape.
Austin: I remember seeing that light. Scared the hell out of Syrus. It’s the reason he let us go, actually, otherwise he was ready to kill us.
Max: Well, there were four of you at the base. Who else was there?
Kyle: I was, but, uh, I was unconscious.
Chris: So was I.
Jack: And so was Lindsey.
Derek: You sure about that?
Austin: Hey! I’ve got it! Glitch, you’ve got our memories from that time, don’t you?
Glitch: I should, yes.
Austin: Maybe you can confirm what happened?
Glitch: I’ll give it a try. (Glitch holds his hand up to his right ear as he processes the data). Okay, I see you guys running, running, running, and I see the blue light from three angles, but none of them show where it’s coming from.
Chris: Can you look at individual memories?
Glitch: Sure. (Moments pass). Oh, oh wow.
Derek: What is it?
Glitch: Everyone at the base has their eyes closed, so the memories are black with just a bunch of noise. Except for yours. (Points at Chris).
Glitch: Yeah. Your memory is just super screwed up. I have no clue what I’m looking at.
Jack: He had just been implanted with the Locus Virus, so yeah, he would have been pretty screwed up.
Joshua: (Just sitting back, listening). Hm, this is so fascinating.
-Everyone turns to him.
Joshua: No reason. I’m just enjoying everyone talk.
Austin: (Getting up and stretching). So we don’t know what the red light is, and Max doesn’t know either, so what do we do next?
Jack: I want to see this thing for myself.
Derek: Not happening. The light’s already gone.
Jack: But you at least know where it was coming from, right?
Austin: South? Only thing from the south I know of is, well, was the Regime’s base. That and the Forest Temple.
Max: Wait, what Forest Temple?
Austin: You know, the one in the forest. It was like, what, hundred miles from your base?
Max: We didn’t know about anything like that. What did it look like?
Austin: This thing was huge. Looked like a structure made thousands of years ago. I mean even longer than that. The rock was pretty eroded, but you could see hieroglyphs all over the walls. Damnedest thing.
Chris: That’s right, you told me about that place. It’s where you got the spiritual stones, right?
Max: (Entirely fascinated). Can you point this place out on a map?
Austin: Maybe? What does it matter? You really want to do spelunking at this hour?
Chris: Glitch, can you access Austin’s memories?
Glitch: Sure. (Focuses again while he processes the data). Yup, this one’s totally clean.
Max: Robot, patch that through to the TV screen.
Glitch: Yeah, sure.
-Glitch slowly walks over to the large TV in the middle of the room and hooks himself up to the AV ports.
-The memory appears on screen as if it were coming through Austin’s eyes. He’s looking back and forth between Clinton, Willy, Scott, and Leena.
Austin’s Voice: You guys sure you don’t want to keep exploring?
Austin: (Watching his own memory, blushing). This is so trippy.
Austin’s Voice: Aw c’mon! When are we ever coming back here, huh?
Scott: Hey, we got some fancy rocks out of the deal. (Holding up the yellow stone). How much you think I can pawn this sucker for?
Austin’s Voice: No pawning the rocks!
Clinton: We should get going.
Austin’s Voice: Fine, fine. Everyone wave bye bye to the Forest Temple.
Everyone: (Mockingly). Bye bye.
-Austin’s POV looks up at the temple, getting it in full view.
Max: Wait, stop. Freeze the image.
-Glitch freezes the image on the Forest Temple. Max stands up, getting frantic.
Max: That’s it. That’s the shrine.
Max: (Extremely excited). You thought it was a temple? He thought it was a temple. I can’t believe it. I don’t even know what to say about this. Robot, what are those coordinates?
Jack: Shut off the image. You. (Points at Max). What is that temple, really?
Max: You don’t know?
Austin: It’s just a place we found some special stones.
Max: But not the special stone.
-Everyone seems to piece it together.
Kyle: Okay, I’m lost. Someone want to fill me in?
Jack: That’s where…?
Max: That’s where the Eclipse Star’s default resting place is.
Kyle: Oh. Well snaps.
Derek: That’s it? So what? The Eclipse Star’s gone anyway. Chris threw it out the window when your guys tried raiding the museum. It flew out into the sky and disappeared.
Jack: (Sighing). That would mean it would revert to its default location, correct?
Max: Exactly. The Regime’s been looking for this ever since the Eclipse Star got lost again. The archeologist who found it died shortly after returning.
Max: No, hung himself.
Chris: Glitch, if you had this memory, why didn’t the Regime know about it?
Glitch: Charles was the only one that looked over our memories. He reported only what seemed relevant. He must not have known what that place was. I certainly wasn’t programmed to know.
Joshua: This is most fascinating indeed.
Derek: Okay, then that’s where the Eclipse Star is. No problem. We head over there and go bring it back. Simple as that.
Austin: I suppose it really would be that simple. What do you think Chris? (Looks over. Chris is standing still, clearly thinking). Chris?
-We zoom into Chris’ memory. He’s thinking back to seeing the red light, then the second explosion (Octavious’ blast). The image of Syrus getting hurled by the blast flashes across his head. He gasps.
Chris: Oh shit.
Chris: The other explosion we felt.
Derek: What about it?
Chris: I just saw what it was.
Derek: How did you-?
Chris: (Pacing, panicked). Don’t-don’t ask me. I just know. It was Octavious. He hit Syrus with a massive energy blast that threw him south.
Derek: So he’s dead. That’s good news.
Chris: No he’s not. He’s fine.
Derek: Again, how do you-
Chris: Can’t explain. Oh God. Oh God oh God oh God. Syrus knows where it is, too. He went to the red light; he had to. Shit. SHIT! If he gets that…shit!
Jack: Then we need to go. Now. Glitch, go wake everyone up and tell them to meet downstairs ASAP.
Glitch: Right. (Runs upstairs).
Derek: Still, I don’t see the big deal. So Syrus gets the Eclipse Star; what’s he gonna do with it, huh?
Max: Hah, you really have no clue what that thing does, do you?
Derek: I know it’ll give him a power boost, but I’ve fought him multiple times and I know, he’s not that tough.
Chris: No, you’re wrong. You even understand how much he’s withheld? And add on whatever the Eclipse Star can add…I don’t want to think about that.
Max: Your friend’s right. If Syrus gets a hold of that stone, it’s all over for you and this little crusade of yours.
-Hundreds of miles to the south…
-The Forest Temple, now known to hold the Eclipse Star, stands quietly as the sun slowly comes up. Suddenly, the sounds of footsteps begin to pat through the brush. Dozens of figures step through the clearing.
Syrus: I need to get to the bottom-most chamber of that shrine. You’re not to touch anything unless otherwise advised. Am I clear?
-Around fifty soldiers salute to Syrus and nod.
Soldiers: Yes Syrus!
Syrus: Good. Now go find me that gem.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 71
Recap: Previously on Eclipse Star, the Demon Regime sent an army of Hex-Duo robots to attack Trillium City, ultimately getting shut down by Joshua’s Teens (team-name pending). But that wasn’t all, as the Octa-Rangers were thrown into the fray as well, though they, too, were defeated. In the battle, Maximilian, Octavious’ son, was taken captive and brought to the Northern Lodge. Chris and Derek snatched his teleportation belt and made for the city one last time to put things to rest. They hit the teleport button and disappeared, but where did they end up? Those answers and more, today, on Eclipse Star!
-Chris and Derek reappear in an open chamber of what appears to be a sewage system. They take a second to recalibrate and then look around.
Derek: Damn, your head spinning, too?
Chris: (Looking noticeably sick). Way more than you know.
Derek: (Coughs and shakes his head, reorienting himself). Okay, I’m fine now. (Looks around). Sewer system?
Chris: (Propping himself against the brink wall). That’s what it looks like anyway.
Derek: Well, we did say it’d probably send us underground. Funny thing is, sewer systems like this don’t really exist.
Derek: It’s fantasy. Sewer systems are generally no larger than a few feet. One sewer worker can barely fit through pipes to perform maintenance, but open catacombs like this don’t exist in things other than movies or comic books.
Chris: I swear I saw a documentary about New York where they showed wide-open sewers.
Derek: Look, we can debate the existence of a fictional city like New York again, or we can get on with this.
-Chris and Derek begin walking down the open catacombs of the strange sewer system, quietly stepping, only the slightest sound of their feet pattering on the ground echoing around.
Chris: So how long do we want to walk until we-
Derek: (Holds his hand up). Shh. (Pause). You hear that?
-Chris listens intently with Derek, neither of them breathing.
-A few yards down around the bend the sounds of two more footsteps can be heard, along with casual conversation.
Ranger Sampi: (Rounds the corner with Ranger Qoppa, both wearing their full uniforms while carrying new helmets). So he’s like, “Look, you wanna put on spandex and fight teenagers, go for it, but you’re killing your mother,” and I’m all, “No way man, you’re not my real father.”
Ranger Qoppa: Strange. My dad was totally supportive. He even picked out my suit’s color.
-Chris and Derek duck into a side drainage pipe before the two Octa-Rangers can see them. They walk past the hidden pair, still chattering away.
Qoppa: I mean, salmon’s cool and all, but I think it sort of undermines my intelligence.
Sampi: Nah, you’re just over-thinking things.
-Chris and Derek slowly crawl out of the duct and step lightly behind the two.
-The four round another corner, leaving the scene and casting only a shadow.
-Two silhouettes slump out of frame as another two drag something out of sight.
-Quick shuffling noises can be heard as two shadows reemerge once more.
-Chris and Derek round the corner again, now wearing the outfits of the unconscious rangers.
Chris: (Slipping the gloves on his hands. He’s wearing the pink uniform). Well that was simple enough.
Derek: (Wearing the blue, sifting around his chest plate). These must be the new armor upgrades they were talking about.
Chris: Don’t really feel like much.
Derek: I don’t think they’re on right now.
Chris: And the belts are missing. (Clips Max’s belt around his waist). Anything happens, get back to me and we port out of here.
Derek: That thing goes both ways?
Chris: (Shrugs). I just naturally assumed.
Derek: Glad to know our escape plan is a hunch.
-Chris starts looking himself up and down.
Derek: What the hell are you doing?
Chris: I just noticed how slimming this material is.
Derek: Christ, you’re kidding, right?
Chris: I mean, look, my hips are totally concealed.
Derek: Pff, fag.
Chris: Just put on your damned helmet.
Derek: Least I picked the blue outfit. (Puts his helmet on as Chris does the same).
Chris: Can you hear me through this thing?
Derek: Yeah, just fine.
Chris: Good. Let’s make this quick then. We get in, we find some way to bring this structure down, then we leave.
Derek: Split up?
Chris: Nah. Let’s play this close.
-Chris and Derek walk off to search further down the sewers.
-Meanwhile, back in the Northern Lodge’s couch room, Austin and Kyle are slumped in front of a glowing fireplace.
Kyle: Okay, how about this: “Hey Chris, you know that girl Rachel you knew? What’s up with her?”
Austin: It’s direct, and I like that, but it’s also insensitive, which I’m against.
Kyle: How about, “Chris, I ever tell you about my grandfather and how he died of cancer?”
Austin: What’s the context?
Kyle: Context of what?
Austin: Of the telling.
Kyle: Breakfast, probably.
Austin: Did you grandfather really die of cancer?
Kyle: He died of something, might as well have been cancer.
Austin: Where you close?
Kyle: To my grandfather?
Kyle: Which one?
Austin: The one who died of possibly cancer.
Kyle: Oh, not really.
Austin: Hmm, no go. Chris will totally pick up on that.
Kyle: Your turn then.
Austin: (Sits up a bit). “Chris, your grandma told us a story about a girl you once knew named Rachel. How is she?” (Instantly stops). No, that’s horrible.
Kyle: I think you had something there for a while, until you added that stupid part at the end.
Austin: You think?
Joshua: (Walks in). Ooh, let me try: “Chris, are you aware that you have unresolved issues with death as brought upon by a childhood friend’s terminal illness?”
Kyle: That could work.
Austin: The whole situation sucks at any rate. I mean, who lets a little girl die of cancer anyway?
Joshua: (Sits down). We slamming God for that one?
Austin: Unless someone else could have cured the little girl.
Joshua: You going to keep repeating the fact that she was a little girl?
Austin: A little girl.
Joshua: How do you know God didn’t help her?
Kyle: I know this one, don’t tell me.
Austin: Because then we’d have another teammate named Rachel following Chris around wherever he went.
Joshua: Would anything have been accomplished the past few months if Rachel were still alive?
Kyle: I bet you if they were together, Chris wouldn’t have acted like a dimwit and bumped the Eclipse Star off that pedestal.
Austin: And that justifies letting a little girl die?
Joshua: Ah-ah, you’re just looking at it from the perspective of someone looking backward. It’s like playing armchair coach at a football game.
Kyle: You lost me.
Joshua: Anyone can tell you what play a team should have run after the play is already run. Don’t you think a smart coach would have just told his team to score a touchdown?
Austin: We’re not talking football; we’re talking about-
Austin and Joshua: A little girl.
Joshua: Yes, I know. Do you think that little girl is currently suffering from cancer?
Kyle: She died, right? I’m not missing something here?
Austin: No, technically she’s not suffering anymore, but I don’t see why she should have die in order to be cured.
Joshua: So you’d rather her body be cured and her soul turn black and die?
Austin: She should get to have her cake and eat it too.
Joshua: First, you’re getting that backwards; It’s “to eat your cake and have it too” since having a cake and eating it doesn’t mean much but eating a cake and getting to somehow keep it is a magical entitlement wish.
Kyle: That does make more sense…
Joshua: Secondly, this life isn’t the important one.
Austin: Little girl, dead.
Joshua: I’m not saying God wants to see little girls die. That’s awful. But that same little girl now gets to spend the rest of eternity sitting beside Him and enjoying His majesty? How can you not cheer for that?
Austin: So it’s a case of the ends justify the means?
Joshua: You should be aware, the guy who wrote that book did so as a satire. You know that, right?
Austin: I know that, uh, no, I didn’t pay much attention when we read that book.
Kyle: Was Italy a real place?
Joshua: That’s where Italian comes from, yes.
Kyle: Oh. (Beat). What’s Italian?
Joshua: So who talks to Chris?
-The three begin hemming and hawing again thinking of how best to broach the subject.
-Back in the subterranean lair, Chris and Derek find themselves walking into a much larger, vastly open main chamber with multiple buildings stretched out as far as they can go.
Chris: Wow, I didn’t expect to see this here.
Derek: You certain that belt was a short-range thing?
Chris: No clue.
Ranger Stigma: Hey! There you guys are! Why’d you turn off your communicators?
-Chris and Derek stop for a moment as they look back and forth between each other, silently. Finally, Chris looks over at Stigma and shrugs.
Stigma: Yeah, I’m not really surprised. C’mon, Octavious wants us for another debriefing.
Chris: Last one wasn’t brief enough?
-Chris slaps his gloves over the mouth of his helmet as Derek stares him down.
Stigma: Heh, that was almost clever for you. Then again you do wear pink. Now get your asses in there.
-Chris and Derek nod as they follow Stigma into one of the larger buildings.
-Once inside, they begin passing armed Demon Regime soldiers as they go about their business.
-Finally they enter a room where Octavious is pacing back and forth.
Octavious: ‘Bout damned time!
Stigma: Sorry sir, we’re a little on edge right now.
Octavious: Why are you two wearing your helmets?
Chris: (Quietly imitating Qoppa’s voice). Uh, his face got smashed pretty badly during the fight.
Derek: (Not disguising his voice at all). Yeah, and he’s just fuck-ugly.
Octavious: (Grinning). Ahaha. Okay, fine, keep your silly space helmets on. You can clearly still hear me talking through those, and I don’t particularly care about hearing you speak, so shut up and listen. Wait, where’s Syrus?
Stigma: He’s in his room.
Octavious: You, the fuck-ugly ranger.
-Chris cautiously points at himself.
Octavious: Yeah, you, go fetch him.
-Chris slowly salutes and turns around. He stops for a second and turns back toward Octavious.
Chris: Uh, where…?
Octavious: Oh, uh, building D, room 12.
-Chris salutes again and leaves the room.
Octavious: Whatever. Anyway, where was I?
Stigma: I assume this is about Max again?
Octavious: Shit! Yes! Who let him get kidnapped?!
Derek: I’m guessing Syrus.
Octavious: Right! Jeez, you’re really on today. The hell is your name again?
Derek: Fuck if I know.
Stigma: That’s Ranger Sampi, and he’d do well to remember to whom he speaks.
Octavious: Yeah yeah, whose idea was it to name you guys after stupid obsolete letters? (Waves his hand in frustration as Stigma begins speaking). Fine, doesn’t matter, more important things. We need my son back. Mind you, not for personal reasons, but it looks bad for a nation’s leader to lose his son in a failed attempted-conquest.
Stigma: How do you propose we get him back?
Octavious: Didn’t I teach you rangers some failsafe maneuver?
Stigma: Formation Omega-Omega 2. It’s rather deadly.
Octavious: Right, so how again do you pull it off?
Stigma: Uh, I actually don’t know. San, you remember?
Ranger San: Oh, uh, yes. Ranger Sho, could you assist me?
Ranger Sho: No way man, I ain’t messing with this failed move.
San: Okay, Sampi, could you please?
Derek: Yeah why not.
-Derek and Ranger San step forward, standing a few feet apart. Derek watches San as he starts moving in some elaborate dance formation until finally stopping.
Derek: Jeez, are you serious? That’s super gay.
Octavious: I agree. What the hell is that?
San: Formation Omega-Omega…2?
Octavious: Did Syrus teach you that one?
San: Uh, you…did?
Octavious: You, back of the room.
-San cringes and slinks to the edge of the room.
Octavious: I assume the teleportation belts worked?
Stigma: Yes, perfectly.
Octavious: Well that’s good news. At least Charles didn’t screw that part up.
Sho: Then Max must still have his belt on. We could get Charles to reverse the signal and suck him back here.
Octavious: Now that sounds like a plan that could work. None of this “Omega-Omega” crap.
San: (Raises his hand). “Omega-Omega 2.” The first one didn’t work and…uh…I’ll shut up now.
Octavious: Stigma, get Charles up on the intercom. Might as well kill some time before Syrus gets here.
-Chris, still dressed as Qoppa, walks slowly out of the main building and looks around.
Chris: Great, “building D” means nothing to me. And why the hell am I going along with this anyway? Oh well. (Taps a nearby guard). Hey, which building’s D?
Regime Solider: Building D? Third on the right.
Chris: Thanks. (Starts to walk away but suddenly stops). Hey, do I outrank you?
Regime Solider: Technically, yes, in this division I think so.
Chris: Oh. Okay, just curious. (Starts to walk away but stops again). Which division is this again?
Regime Soldier: Zanrethan Division Alpha. That’s…that’s why we’re stationed in Zanretha.
Chris: Well duh, I knew that. Carry on.
Regime Soldier: (Quietly). Jeez, that pink ranger’s an idiot.
-Chris walks off toward building D, shaking his head.
Chris: Why am I talking so much? And why haven’t Derek or I been caught yet? They’re almost making this too simple.
-Chris walks through the doors of building D and watches the room numbers as he passes them
Chris: 9…10…11… (The hallway stops). And no 12, of course. (Looks all throughout the hall). If this were anyone but Syrus I’d assume he’d have his room protected with some ridiculous passcode like “Alpha-Beta-Theta.” (Waits. Nothing happens). See, my suspicious are confirmed.
-Chris keeps walking, finding room 13 instead.
Chris: Well, this is as good as any.
-He pushes the doors open. The lights are off. A brief feel around the wall yields the light switch.
-Once illuminated, the room appears to be filled with video screens left and right with the largest monitor sitting in the center. Every screen clicks on and showcases footage of the kids fighting at various times with the center screen displaying Chris’ fight with Hex-Duo 6.
Chris: Wow. This is almost sick…
-Chris becomes entranced just watching the center replay over and over.
Syrus: Is there something you need in here?
-Chris whips around, somewhat surprised to hear Syrus’ voice without warning.
Chris: Oh, Syrus, there you are. Octavious wants you for some meeting.
Syrus: He wouldn’t if his son wasn’t a fool. (Stops). Wait. Did you call me “Syrus?”
Chris: That’s…that’s your name, right?
Syrus: Yes. But you didn’t call me “sir.”
Chris: Oh. You outrank me then?
Syrus: Yes, but I hate being called “sir.” You’re supposed to be the stupid one…
Chris: Well I can’t be that stupid.
-A moment passes as Syrus eyes Chris up and down.
Syrus: Take off your helmet.
Syrus: Because I’m your commanding officer and I order you to do so.
Chris: I’d rather not.
Syrus: Can’t you feel it?
Chris: Feel what?
Syrus: That humming?
Chris: No, I don’t.
Syrus: The last time I felt this humming was in the failed museum raid.
-Chris begins stepping toward the door.
Chris: Octavious wants us-
Syrus: How stupid do I look?
-Syrus leaps at Chris, throwing a strong punch.
-Chris ducks as Syrus takes a chunk out of the wall.
-Chris throws his hands up and hits Syrus with a quick energy blast to the chest.
-Syrus is thrown through to the next floor as Chris begins running.
-The top floor is ripped up in a wave chasing Chris with Syrus crashing down in front of him.
-Syrus reaches out and grabs Chris by the throat, pulling off his helmet.
Syrus: (Visibly happy). I knew it. (Laughing). I knew it! This is just so…exciting.
-Back in Octavious’ briefing room.
Charles: (On screen). I suppose it’d be no problem to zero in on Max’s signal and force him to teleport back. You want him in your briefing room?
Charles: Alright, give me a second to pinpoint him…there. Right now?
Octavious: Oh yes.
Charles: Then here we go.
-Charles presses a few buttons and punches in the warp code.
Syrus: Do you realize how long I’ve been waiting for this?
Chris: I don’t really care.
-Chris and Syrus suddenly appear in Octavious’ briefing room. Everyone looks around confused.
Octavious: This isn’t Max. This is just Syrus and the pink ranger.
Derek: (Notices Chris’ helmet missing). Uh-oh.
Syrus: What did you-?
-Chris grabs Syrus’ hand with one hand and pounds Syrus in the head with the other, knocking him into Octavious.
Chris: Derek, we’ve gotta bail!
Derek: I figured.
-Chris charges an energy blast in his hands and fires it into the room as he dives out with Derek doing the same.
-Syrus and Octavious get up from the smoke, shoving each other away. The room is totaled.
Octavious: What just happened?!
Syrus: Don’t pay it any mind. I’ll take care of things.
-Syrus vwings away as the other three Octa-Rangers sit coughing.
Derek: We still need to take this place out.
Chris: Yeah. (He grabs the Octa-Rangers emblem on his chest plate and twists it, powering his suit on). We’ll need the extra oomph here.
Derek: (Powers his suit on as well). I say we do what we did to the warehouse.
Chris: This place looks too stable for that. We need a different plan.
-Syrus erupts from the building, flying directly toward Chris with his arm extended.
Syrus: You can’t run from this!
-Right as Syrus is about to grab Chris, Derek grabs Syrus’ hand and swings him into the ground.
Derek: Well well well, look who showed up again.
-Derek nods at Chris and Chris keeps running.
-Syrus looks up, noticeably bothered.
Syrus: No, I want this now!
Derek: You’ve still got a rematch with me buddy boy.
-Derek clenches up with Syrus, holding his ground thanks to the suit’s added power.
-Chris keeps running, ducking into building D.
-Soldiers look at him, suddenly realizing something very wrong is happening.
-He leaps at them, taking out foes left and right in a flash. Guns begin firing after half the troops are unconscious, but it’s too late for them as Chris has become a blur, skimming across the room.
-He explodes through the walls, skidding to a halt in front of a series of mail tubes.
Chris: Now there’s an idea….
-Chris starts charging Pulse energy in his hand. He opens the mail tube and begins placing energy balls inside as they get sucked through the system.
Chris: This had better work…
-Back outside, Derek and Syrus are exchanging blows.
Syrus: Why are you wasting my time?!
Derek: Wasting? You’re not exactly winning at the moment.
-Syrus catches Derek under the chin with a palm strike, sending him toppling over.
-Syrus dives on his chest and plunges his fist into the armored chest plate, tearing out a chunk of circuitry and wires, shutting the suit down.
Derek: The hell?!
-Derek cups his hands together and jams them into Syrus’ chest, unloading everything he can charge in an instant.
-Syrus is rocketed up into the ceiling of the underground chamber.
Syrus: (Grabbing hold of some hanging ladders to regain his stability). I should have expected that. I must be getting too excited.
KROW! KROW! KROW! KROW!
-The buildings all around begins exploding, completed eradicated as energy balls suddenly serge through them.
-Syrus shields his face, looking down to spy Chris coming from building D as it, too, explodes.
-Syrus turns upside-down and kicks off from the roof at Chris.
-Chris dives at Derek, hand outstretched.
-Derek throws his hand out as Chris presses the button on his belt.
-Syrus slams down into the concrete where Chris and Derek once stood. He stands up from his crater, no dead children under his fist.
Octavious: (Coughing). Syrus! Hah! Where’d they go?!
Syrus: They’re gone.
Octavious: So go after them!
Syrus: I don’t know where they went.
Octavious: You’re kidding me!
Syrus: We need to get everyone out of here before the ceiling caves in.
-Somewhere over the city…
Derek: Holy jeez! Hahaha! I can’t believe that worked!
Chris: (Trying to catch his breath). Oh man, I didn’t think it would. (Takes off Max’s belt and crushes it in his hand).
Derek: Why’d you do that?
Chris: It sucked me back once; I don’t want it happening again.
Derek: Okay, that makes some sense.
-Chris grabs the emblem of his chest piece and tears it off, shutting the armor off.
Derek: Okay, now explain why you did that.
Chris: I don’t know what these suits do, but it didn’t feel like something that should be constantly pulsing through our body.
Derek: You kidding me? All they were pulsing was extra power. We coulda used that!
Chris: Look, you want shortcuts, fine, but no good will come from that.
Derek: This from Mr. Three Days?
Chris: Your point?
Derek: Whatever, your dad’s dead.
Chris: Ooh, and where’s your dad?
Chris: Sorry, that was uncalled for.
Derek: Just shut up. We annihilated the Regime’s base, so let’s go.
-A strange twinge hits Chris and Derek.
Chris: You feel that?
Derek: Yeah. The hell is it?
Chris: I don’t know.
-They look off toward the South as the city beneath them rumbles very faintly.
-While they can’t hear it, they see a red light rip the morning sky wide open off in the horizon.
Chris: What is that?
Derek: It looks just like that light I saw in the desert, except this one’s red, not blue.
Chris: You saw a light in the desert?
-The light fades.
Derek: C’mon, this isn’t our concern.
Chris: You kidding me?
Derek: Do you really want to go deal with that right now?
-The two point themselves North and begin flying back to the lodge.
-Meanwhile, emerging from the Regime’s bunker base…
Octavious: That’s it, we’re ruined.
Stigma: Sir, we can rebuild, we can-
Octavious: No, we’re done here. Zanretha isn’t right for the taking anymore. We’ll deal with things elsewhere. (Notices Syrus staring off to the south). And just what the hell are you doing?
Syrus: There was a red light just now.
Octavious: Oh wow, a red light. Do I look like I give a damn?
Syrus: Something isn’t right.
Octavious: You know what? I know exactly what isn’t right. In fact, I’m looking right at it.
Syrus: (Looks over, somewhat confused). I don’t-
Octavious: You know how many times you’ve failed me now?.
Syrus: I’ve failed you? (Laughs to himself). You must be joking.
Octavious: No, as far as I’m concerned, the only reason none of our recent plans have succeeded is because you’ve managed to strew them up.
Syrus: (Irritated). Choose your words carefully…
Octavious: Who just let a couple of fucking children blow up our last refuge? Who stood idly by as my men and my robots attacked the city? Who fought his own men, watched as a multi-billion piece of machinery was destroyed, and lost a tournament to a 16-year-old boy?
Syrus: You don’t know what you’re talking about.
Octavious: Then why am I not holding the Eclipse Star in my hand right now? Tell me, whom did I put in charge of a simple museum heist?
Syrus: (Gritting his teeth). All of those plans were ill advised to begin with.
Octavious: Face it; you’re no good to me anymore.
Syrus: You know whom I serve.
Octavious: Yeah, and so do I, but you go through me to get to her, and my orders haven’t been to fuck up every step of the way!
Syrus: I wouldn’t-
Octavious: Wouldn’t what? Challenge you? The fuck are you? A solider, in my army! You don’t think I can’t kill you if I decide?!
Syrus: (His body is beginning to shake with rage). I’d relish the attempt.
Octavious: Then come at me, or are you still too brainwashed by some fucking dead carpenter?
-Syrus leaps at Octavious in a blind madness.
-Octavious puts an arm out and detonates a ridiculous amount of energy all at once.
-Syrus takes all of this without being able to cover himself. He’s thrown miles and miles through debris, disappearing from sight.
-Octavious lets out a sigh and holds his hand out to Stigma.
Octavious: Fucking peasant. Made me dirty my hands. (Stigma pulls out a cloth and begins cleaning Octavious’ hand). Good boy. Now round up every last solider you can and tell them to pull out of Zanretha. We have some rebuilding to handle.
Stigma: Yes sir.
-Chris and Derek look back after feeling Octavious’ blast.
Chris: That one was a lot closer.
Derek: And a lot more powerful. (They look at each other silently for a moment). Let’s get the hell out of here.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 70
Recap: When we last left off, the Hex-Duo army was finally put down for good. All Charles Robotics facilities in Trillium City were wiped out and every robot was turned to scrap. Even the Octa-Rangers and their Super Octa-Zord didn’t stand a chance. Now the group flies back to the Northern Lodge to meet up with Iess and his group, though they’re two members larger: Chris’ grandmother and Octavious’ son, Maximilian!
-The group lands outside the Northern Lodge, setting Chris’ grandma down but keeping a firm grip on Maximilian.
-Jack greets them, walking out the front door on his own.
Jack: Mission accomplished, eh?
-Lindsey’s eyes grow huge as she realizes Jack is walking again.
Lindsey: Jack! Holy cow, you’re walking! (She dives at him and gives him a big hug). When did this happen?
Jack: A few hours ago. Joshua helped.
Austin: Hey, great to have you back on your feet.
Joshua: (In Jack’s earbud). Glad to hear you finally trust me!
Jack: (Surprised, holding his ear). What the heck? How are you…?
Joshua: Hey, you made these earbud things sound so cool, so I made one for myself. Sounds like it works great!
Jack: Yeah well, the others are back.
Joshua: Oh good! I’ll be out right- (Walks out the front door). Now. (Opens his arms wide). Welcome back! How did the mission go?
Kyle: If I may speak for everyone, and I will, I’d say this was a smashing success.
Chris: We even managed to nab Max, too.
Joshua: Max? New team member?
Leena: No, we don’t need any more of those.
Jack: Max is Octavious’ son. (Smiles). This is great. Now we have leverage.
Chris: Should we wake him up?
Joshua: Bring him into the couch room.
-Everyone follows Joshua as he leads them into the main sitting room with all the comfy couches.
Joshua: Go ahead and put him there on the blue couch. And who broke his arms?
Lindsey: (Sheepishly raises her hand). Uh, that’d be me.
Jack: (Whispers). Nice.
Lindsey: (Whispers back, giggling). Thanks, those elbow blades you gave me really helped.
Jack: Glad to hear it.
Joshua: First then, we fix those arms. (Joshua pulls out a first-aid kit and bandages Max’s arms, then moves his hands over the wounds while humming). Okay, now we can wake him up.
Derek: Wait. (Walks up to Max and grabs his belt, pulling it off). There, now he’s fine.
Danny: Uh, should we all start taking parts of his clothing off?
Derek: No you moron! What do I look like? Some sort of gay dude?
Joshua: Hush Derek.
Austin: Danny, Max has one of those belts that can teleport him somewhere. The other Octa-Rangers had those, remember?
Danny: Oh yeah!
Jack: So let’s wake him up. Who’s doing the honors?
Scott: (Walks up to Max, pulls some smelling salts from his pocket, and waves them under Max’s nose). Wakey-wakey, eggs and bakey.
Max: (Slowly comes to). Wha…? (Realizes where he is). Whoa! How did I get here?!
Leena: Where did you get smelling salts…?
Scott: I’ve found it’s always a smart idea to keep something like that around, knowing my habits and all.
Jack: (Sits himself down in front of Max). Do you recognize my face? Do you remember me from the Legion?
Max: (Squints). …Yes, Jack Voss. (Looks around). And the other kids famous for ruining my father’s plans. I assume this means I’m your captive?
Chris: It would sure seem that way.
Max: Oh, and then it was you that beat me, again?
Chris: Nope, it was her, again. (Nods toward Lindsey).
Lindsey: (Waves). Hey Maxie.
Max: Ugh…my father will never let me live this down…
Jack: You’ve got bigger problems to worry about. We need to know a few things, the first concerning the Demon Regime’s next plans.
Max: May I have a glass of water.
Jack: (Acting tough). You haven’t earned the right to have water.
Kevin: I’ll go get him some water.
Jack: Hey, no, you’re undermining my interrogation here!
Willy: Jack, he’s completely docile. I think some water is fine.
Max: I’m severely outnumbered, I don’t know where I am, and at the moment I’d rather not see my father, so I’m your prisoner as much as you’d like me to be. Tie my hands if you don’t believe me.
Barbara: He seems like a pretty nice boy. You should ask him to join your little club!
All: (Annoyed). No.
Kevin: (Hands Max a glass of water). Here you go.
Max: Thank you. (Drinks). So, you wanted to know what the Regime does next?
Max: No idea. That’s father’s business, not mine.
Jack: Where is the Regime stationed in Trillium City?
Max: What makes you think we’re stationed there?
Jack: Your attack came from within the city and the others escaped via those teleporter belts, which couldn’t have let you travel very far.
Max: So you know about the teleporter belts? I mean specifics and the like?
Jack: A friend of mine gave me some prototypes to play with about a year ago. The tech wasn’t all there, but the application showed that the best hope was short-range teleportation. Long-range wasn’t possible.
Max: True. There’s a base in Trillium, just like there’s a Legion base in Brooksboro.
Jack: How much do you know about that?
Max: I was in charge of the Legion for a brief few days; I know about the fallback plans. (Takes another drink of water). And no, your next question regards my level of control over the Legion and the answer is no, I’m completely disconnected. The Oca-Ranger stunt a few months ago insured I was shamed away from that position, thankfully.
Derek: Wait, “thankfully?” If I were in charge, I wouldn’t be so happy to let it go.
Max: Yes well, I assume you’d be in charge for legitimate reasons, right? See how loyal everyone acts when you gain a leadership position by happenstance.
Jack: Family-related conspiracy isn’t what I’d consider happenstance.
Max: It is if you’re not the one planning it.
Kyle: This is getting boring. I’m getting a sandwich. Anyone else want a sandwich?
Max: Look, use me as your bargaining chip or whatever, but I’m in no hurry to leave, so tie me up and plan this rationally. You have my father in the perfect position for your side, so don’t waste it.
-At this moment, the sound of four new party members landing just outside can be heard.
Chris: That sounds like Iess and his group.
Joshua: I’d better go speak with them. Glitch?
Glitch: Yes Josh?
Joshua: Could you take our new guest up to one of the rooms on the top floor?
Glitch: Sure thing.
-Joshua leaves the room. Glitch grabs Max and takes him upstairs. Jack, Chris, and Derek follow.
Lindsey: I think I’ll join them up there. You coming?
Leena: Pass. I’d rather not be around all your various crushes at the same time.
Lindsey: What? I’m only dating Jack.
Leena: And toying with Chris and now you’re fawning over Max. Whatever.
Lindsey: Yeah, whatever indeed. (She walks upstairs).
Leena: You forgot your bladey things!
Lindsey: So go sharpen them or something! (Gone).
Leena: Oh she’s funny.
Chris: (Walking down one of the upstairs hallways with Derek). Hey Derek, you feel like going on a totally reckless mission, just the two of us?
Derek: (Sees Chris holding up Max’s teleportation belt and smiles). Progressive action. You’d think you were a whole new character.
Chris: Sooner we get this whole larger thing over with, the sooner we can focus on finding your dad.
-Chris and Derek nod to Glitch as they run into a side room and leap out the window, taking off at full speed to the city once more.
Lindsey: (Joining Jack and Glitch in Max’s new room). Hey, where’d Double Dragon just fly off to?
Max: (Settling in). Double Dragon?
Lindsey: Oh right, a girl can’t make geeky references? Also, shut up.
Jack: They’re taking care of any loose ends from the Hex-Duo fallout, which is surprising. Chris isn’t usually the assertive one, but that’s what I like to see.
Lindsey: Feeling jealous?
Jack: Right now I’m just happy to walk again. (Smiles). Hey, come outside with me.
-Lindsey smiles and follows Jack as they hop out Max’s window.
Max: Does anyone around here use stairs and doors or are you all a bunch of savages?
Glitch: (Shrugs). Savages, mostly.
-Jack grabs Lindsey’s hand and flies into the woods a bit with her.
Lindsey: So where we going?
Jack: There’s something I want to show you.
Lindsey: It isn’t in your pants is it? Because this isn’t the sexiest way to introduce me to that.
Jack: No, nothing like that. (Thinks). No, nothing like that.
-They land in between some trees a ways from the lodge.
-Jack grabs her and presses his body against hers, throwing her up against the side of a tree as he begins to make out with her. She doesn’t put up any sort of a fight.
-After a few moments of non-cool non-superpowered-action stuff, the two can’t help but smile at each other like idiots.
Lindsey: You should really tell me stuff like that more often.
Jack: Wait, bigger surprise.
-Jack grabs Lindsey’s hand again and places it on his chest.
Lindsey: Uh, I still stand by what I said earlier…
-Jack closes his eyes as he begins breathing heavier. The hairs all over his body prick up as a current of energy rushes to Lindsey, prickling her hairs as well.
-Jack’s chest glows intensely bright, enough so that Lindsey has to shield her eyes with her other hand.
-The ground starts humming from the output of Jack’s Pulse.
Jack: So, what do you think?
Lindsey: Wow, I don’t get it; you haven’t been training for months, so how are you this strong now?
Jack: I’ve been paying attention. What you guys did wasn’t purely physical. I noticed a lot of it was mental and did the exercises myself at night.
Lindsey: This is just…I don’t know.
Jack: You sound disappointed.
Lindsey: No, I’m really not. (Smiles). I just can’t figure you out.
Jack: I’ll try and help more.
-They continue to engage in really boring, high school romancy make out sessions with cooing and ahhing and blah, ugh, forget them, making-out’s gross! More plot!
Barbara: (Back with the plot in the sitting room). What’s all this about toying with Chris?
Austin: It’s a long story.
Barbara: So Chris finally said something to her?
Austin: Not exactly. (Thinks). No wait, I think he did. I forget how it happened. Anyway, things are out in the open but nothing got resolved.
Barbara: That’s a shame; I always thought they’d be cute together. She’s dating this Jack guy?
Danny: Yeah. He’s sort of a jerk.
Barbara: Ah, so that’s why she’s dating him.
Leena: (Slumps down). Pretty much, yeah. (Picks up Lindsey’s elbow blades). Jack even found her some weapon things.
Kyle: Oh yeah! I forgot something! (Runs up to Leena and pulls out some bladed throwing objects). I got these for you yesterday from the same place Chris got those elbow blades for Lindsey.
Leena: Hold on, Chris got Lindsey those stupid things? (Pause). And you’re just now giving me my gift? Gimmie.
Danny: Why didn’t Chris use his sword today?
Austin: What, the Rachel Blade? (Snickers). Probably better that way.
Barbara: The Rachel Blade?
Kevin: Last night a number of us found a cave a few miles north of here. One of the larger rooms was filled with weapons of all sorts, so Chris selected a sword and named it Rachel.
Austin: He seems to love that name.
Willy: Probably just a placeholder for “Lindsey.”
Barbara: No, I don’t think that’s it.
Austin: I know he’s your grandson, but you’ve got to understand, he’s still kind of a goober about Lindsey.
Barbara: Oh I understand that he’s a goober, but this is something else. Has he ever mentioned Rachel before?
Leena: He tries to name things Rachel all the time.
Barbara: No I mean the actual Rachel.
Austin: (Intensely curious). Actual Rachel? No, never.
Barbara: (Sigh). Rachel is a friend of his from childhood.
Barbara: No, very real.
Leena: And what, she wasn’t in love with him, either?
Barbara: No, she passed away.
-The room is awkwardly silent.
Barbara: He was around seven when it happened…
-The scene fades to white as Barbara continues talking, flashing back to Chris’ childhood.
Barbara Narration: Rachel was a neighbor girl who lived just down the street. We went to church with her family every Sunday and the two of them would usually play when they got home. They were also very cute together. Chris didn’t really have any other friends at the time. It was hard for him since he liked to stay indoors if he could help it. He just wasn’t the adventurous time back then.
-The scene shows Chris lying on the living room rug playing with action figures as a knock comes at the door. He runs to it.
Chris: Who’s there?
Rachel: (From the other side). It’s me! Chris, come out and play!
-Chris opens the door and reveals a seven-year-old girl about his height with brown hair hanging past her shoulders. She’s dressed in outdoorsy clothes.
Barbara Narration: Rachel was the only one able to get him to do anything. Her parents let her run around all the time and she felt the need to drag Chris around with her to the woods and stuff. It was good for them.
-Rachel leads Chris by the hand into a heavily forested area across a field.
Rachel: C’mon! I wanna show you something!
Chris: What is it?
Rachel: Something cool!
-Rachel stops running and begins coughing.
Chris: Rachel? Rach? What’s wrong?
Rachel: Just a cough. (Stops coughing and smiles again). Now don’t lose me!
-She takes off running, leaving Chris in the dust. After running a ways they come across a church in the middle of nowhere, completely rundown and abandoned.
Chris: (Entirely out of breath). This…this is it?
Rachel: Yeah! Isn’t it cool?!
Chris: It’s just a building.
Rachel: It’s a church! Isn’t it weird that there’s a church in the middle of the woods?
Chris: I guess?
Rachel: What do you think it was for?
Chris: Sunday School?
Rachel: Ew, who would build a church out here for Sunday School?
Rachel: Or bandits! OOH! Bandits!
-Rachel takes off running into the church, completely disregarding how dilapidated it is.
Chris: Hey we shouldn’t be here!
Rachel: But I wanna check for bandit gold.
Chris: Bandits don’t go to church though.
Rachel: They go to bandit church. Who else would build a church out here?
-As Rachel starts to look around, she begins coughing quietly again. She takes a few steps forward and trips as a few floorboards give way.
-The sound of hissing instantly begins coming from everywhere as it becomes apparent that Rachel has stepped into a den of snakes.
-She becomes silent as a large snake sits up, ready to strike.
-Chris slams a chunk of wood down on the snake’s head. He grabs Rachel’s hand and runs her out of the church.
Rachel: I don’t think bandits went to church there.
Rachel: Because bandits hate snakes.
Chris: Jesus hates snakes, too.
Rachel: Only bad snakes. Those were good snakes.
Chris: How can you tell?
Rachel: Because they let you smash them. Bad snakes bite first.
-The two run back home as the scene fades into the next, showing Chris and Rachel seated next to each other at church.
Barbara Narration: The two of them always sat together during Sunday services, and afterward they’d sit and try to make sense of whatever the pastor said that morning.
Rachel: So do you think Heaven is really that bright and shiny?
Chris: I don’t know why it wouldn’t be. Why would he lie about all that?
Rachel: Well, he’s never seen it.
Chris: I haven’t either, so I don’t know.
Rachel: I think I saw it once. It was really nice. (She starts coughing again).
Chris: Do you think killing that snake is going to keep me from getting into Heaven?
Rachel: No, God knows you did it because you were scared.
Chris: I wasn’t scared!
Rachel: Then why did you kill that snake?
Chris: It was gonna bite you!
Rachel: Maybe. Oh well, God will forgive you. He knows you didn’t mean it.
-Rachel begins coughing again. It sounds worse than the previous times.
Barbara Narration: At one point Chris and I went to church but Rachel wasn’t there. We asked the pastor and he told us her family was in the hospital with her. I took Chris over after the service but when we got there things didn’t look good.
-Barbara walks Chris into a hospital wing to see Rachel. She is hooked up to a number of machines with her mother and father looking distraught.
Barbara Narration: Rachel always suffered from coughs but it just seemed like she had asthma.
Chris: What’s wrong with her?
-Rachel’s mother begins crying. The father holds his wife and turns away.
Doctor: Who are you?
Chris: I’m her friend! Tell me what’s wrong with her!
Doctor: Look, if you’re not family, you need to leave.
Barbara: Tell the boy what’s wrong with his friend. What’s so wrong with that?
-Rachel looks over from the bed and sees Chris. She starts waving at him as she takes off her ventilator.
Rachel: (Extremely weak). Chris…c’mere.
-Chris walks over to Rachel’s side. As the doctor starts to say something, Barbara grabs his shoulder and gives him a dirty look. He shrugs and walks away.
Chris: Why are you in the hospital? Did you go back to see the snakes?
Chris: Then what’s wrong?
Rachel: I don’t know… It hurts to breath…
-The scene elapses over time showing Chris coming and going day after day, month after month as Rachel gets progressively worse.
-Things stop for one last scene.
Rachel: Do you think I’m gonna die…?
Chris: No. I’ve been praying for you, so God won’t let you die.
Rachel: You think that’ll work…?
Chris: It should.
Rachel: Then why am I still sick…?
Chris: Because…maybe because I killed that snake. This is all my fault I bet.
Rachel: (She weakly shakes her head). You saved me…
Chris: Then I’ll save you again! (Chris dives onto Rachel’s bed and starts praying over her). If I pray hard enough, it’ll work! God will help! He has to!
-Rachel begins coughing again.
Chris: He wouldn’t just let you die! He can’t! He’s not like that!
Rachel: Do you think Heaven looks really nice…?
Chris: No! I don’t! And you don’t need to see it! (He closes his eyes and keeps praying as tears stream down his face).
Rachel: What if God doesn’t fix me…?
Chris: He always fixes people.
Rachel: What happens if He doesn’t…?
Chris: He will. I know He will. He has to.
Rachel: You can’t help me…
Chris: Yes I can!
Rachel: God isn’t going to help, either…
Chris: He has to! He has to…
Rachel: I can’t see anything anymore…
Rachel: I…I can’t breathe…
Doctor: (Walks into the room). You need to give her some time to rest.
Chris: She’s going to be okay!
Doctor: Come back tomorrow and you can see her again.
-Rachel’s eyes flitter closed as she struggles to breathe. The doctor takes notice and starts checking her.
Doctor: Rachel, hon, is everything okay?
-She doesn’t respond. Suddenly all her monitors begin going nuts as she begins seizing.
Chris: What’s happening?
Doctor: (He hits a call button next to the bed). Code Blue! I need some help in here!
Chris: What’s happening?!
Doctor: (Trying to help Rachel wake up). You need to get out of here.
Chris: But I can help-
Doctor: No you can’t! Now go wait with your grandma!
-Chris gets shoved out of the room as nurses flood in to help Rachel. He stands right outside as she cotinues convulsing and eventually stops moving altogether.
-After a few minutes of desperately trying to resuscitate her while the monitors blare a flatline tone, the doctor finally stops and checks the clock.
Doctor: Time of death, 3:18 pm.
-Chris stands dumbfounded, looking at his lifeless friend lying there.
-The doctor looks up and realizes Chris is still standing in the doorway. He walks over and tries to pull him away.
-The scene plays in silence as Chris breaks free from the doctor and rushes to Rachel’s side, crying and screaming as he tries to do anything to wake her up.
-The doctor and some nurses restrain Chris and pull him away as the scene fades out.
-The scene fades back in at the Northern Lodge.
Barbara: Rachel died from a terminal form of lung cancer. There was nothing anyone could do.
Austin: I never heard about this…
Barbara: I don’t suppose you would. Chris hasn’t brought it up since he was little.
Kevin: Is that why he stopped coming to church?
Barbara: We had a few shouting arguments when he was still young, but ultimately I agreed with him that there was clearly no point to go back. All it did was make him miserable to go to church without his best friend. It wasn’t helping his already strained relationship with God to associate his place of worship with awful feelings.
Kevin: I can understand that much.
Scott: Uh, I don’t want to sound like a jerk…no more than usual…but was it, uh, (he coughs and pulls out a pack of cigarettes, pointing at them quietly).
Barbara: No, Rachel’s family never smoked.
Scott: Oh good. Well I mean, not good, but at least, yeah…
Leena: Well then what caused the cancer?
Barbara: No clue.
Danny: The moral of this story isn’t that God causes cancer, right?
Austin: Well, He sure as hell doesn’t cure it.
Barbara: The moral of this story is that Chris is kind of a goober and he doesn’t handle death very well.
Kevin: (Thinking to himself). That’s why he hates being in a leadership role.
Kevin: Well isn’t it obvious? He doesn’t trust that God has his back in any situation, so whenever we push him forward he feels that he’s standing completely alone.
Leena: May I point out this also explains his obsession with Lindsey’s well being?
Austin: (Smacks his head). Oh man! Of course! He’s using Lindsey as a substitute for Rachel! Since he couldn’t save Rachel, he has to save Lindsey. Or at least, he thinks he has to. This makes so much sense!
Willy: So do we tell her?
Leena: No. Absolutely not.
Kyle: Wouldn’t that solve everything though? Lindsey’s a girl and girls melt at that sort of sentiment, therefore she’d leave Jack and be with Chris, making him and by proxy all of us very happy.
Danny: I like this plan!
Leena: Well I don’t. It’s manipulating emotions and we don’t even know if this is really as deep-seeded as it sounds.
Willy: She at least deserves to know.
Austin: Not until we talk to Chris about it.
Barbara: Please, don’t make Chris talk about it if he doesn’t want to. I’ve seen it shred him up inside and I’d rather not see it happen again.
Kyle: So this is going to wind up being one of those “Keep it under our hats until it has to be said” sort of things, huh?
Austin: I Guess so.
Clinton: I don’t buy it.
Austin: What don’t you buy?
Clinton: I don’t agree that this explains everything about Chris. If he’s driven to save everybody, wouldn’t he want to be in a leadership position? It only makes sense.
Leena: Nothing anyone ever does makes sense to anyone other than the person doing it, and usually not even that. End rant. I’m going to bed. (She walks up the stairs and into one of the rooms).
Joshua: (Walks into the room at this point). Well that was a total waste.
Austin: What was?
Joshua: Oh nothing. Iess and his group are gone though, so you don’t have to worry about them anymore for a while.
Scott: Hey, that’s good news. (Unsure). That’s good news, right?
Willy: (Also unsure). Uh, I think so.
Kevin: So what do we do now?
Joshua: Leena has the right idea with sleep. There’s not much anyone can do until Chris and Derek get back from whatever they think they’re doing.
Barbara: Where did Chris go?
Joshua: Fighting the good fight. He’ll be fine. You’re welcome to stay here if you’d like, by the way.
Barbara: Thank you. I might as well since my house is in splinters.
Austin: You know, we can help you rebuild that when we get the chance.
Scott: Better idea: We get the Legion to build her a new house.
Barbara: With the shoddy work they’ve been doing lately, maybe not.
Kyle: Hahaha, I like Chris’ grandma.
Barbara: Alright, I’m picking a room and setting up camp. Goodnight everyone. (Walks up the stairs and into a room).
Austin: Well Josh, what’s the most important thing we need to know?
Joshua: Hmm…you need some sleep. Badly.
Danny: Ah! That means something really bad is going to happen! …Right?
Willy: I think it means we need sleep.
-Everyone seems to filter out of the room. Only Austin and Kyle remain.
Kyle: Who talks to Chris about Rachel?
Austin: I’ll do it. Just not right away. I’ll give him a few nights to recover, then I’ll approach the subject gently.
Kyle: (Leans back into the couch). How long you think it’ll take the Wonder Twins to wrap things up?
Austin: (Leans back as well). Probably close to morning. It takes about three hours to fly down and three to fly back, assuming they aren’t exhausted. Plus add a couple hours for dealing with…whatever they’re heading into. So yeah, morning at the earliest if everything goes well.
Kyle: Then let’s hope it goes well.
-The scene shifts to Chris and Derek flying south toward the city.
Derek: I bet this belt’s gonna teleport us underground.
Chris: I’d be disappointed if it didn’t.
Derek: Chance we’ll be severely outnumbered?
Chris: Pretty high.
Derek: Good. I was worried this might be boring.
Chris: Do we have a specific plan on what to do when we get in there?
Derek: Take out the base, head back north, victory Sundaes. That’s my current schedule.
Chris: Sounds good to me. (Pulls out Max’s belt). Shall we?
-Derek claps a hand on Chris’ shoulder as they near the city.
Derek: Let’s do this.
-Chris presses the button on the belt, causing he and Derek to vanish without a trace.
–To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 69
Recap: Trillium City was under siege by an army of Hex-Duo robots, but thankfully the group was able to issue a shutdown code to every mechanical soldier, turning them off and allowing enough time to blow up the two big Charles Robotics facilities. There’s still more to do though as the group discovers an even bigger threat: A building-sized Hex-Duo piloted by the Octa-Rangers! They’ve got to fight for the city, today, on Eclipse Star!
Chris: Willy, give me your ear-bud.
-Willy pulls out his ear-bud and tosses it to Chris, who in turn sticks it in his ear.
Chris: Jack, tell me what I’m looking at.
Jack: (At the Northern Lodge viewing the situation on TV). News stations just came back online and the first thing they started broadcasting was one hell of a large robot. And apparently the Octa-Rangers are in the cockpit.
Chris: The Octa-Rangers?! You’re kidding me!
Jack: That’s what the cameras are showing.
Glitch: (Coming over the frequency). Guys, we’re a few blocks away from this thing. Please advise.
Kevin: (Taps Chris on the shoulder). Help civilians, maybe?
Chris: Yes, Kevin, good idea. Glitch, tell your group to clear the area as far as you can. Protect civilians and whatnot. Relay that to Lindsey.
Glitch: Will do.
Glitch: Help civilians.
Leena: (Rolls her eyes). Well obviously.
Lindsey: Alright, stay low and do everything you can to help. Let’s go!
-Her group takes off to round up bystanders and get them the heck away from the area.
-Meanwhile, Chris’ group of four takes off at full speed toward the behemoth.
Derek: So your plan is to…what exactly?
Chris: You’re strong; you piece things together.
Derek: I think we should take out the Octa-Rangers one by one. If they’re down, the giant robot might go down, too.
Chris: That’s what I was thinking. Willy? There’s no nice way to say, uh, go help civilians instead of fighting.
Willy: (Beams) Haha! Fine by me!
Chris: (Smiles) Glad you understand.
-Willy spirals away from the group and down toward the ground as Chris, Derek, and Kevin go in for the attack.
Chris: Okay, let’s rock and roll!
-The Octa-Zord fires a blaster from its eyes at the three, missing its target only slightly.
Derek: We got eye cannons!
Chris: I noticed!
-The three duck and dodge blast fire until the robot stops for a moment. It’s headpiece breaks away to reveal the pilots, each now wearing beefier suits with metallic sheens.
Stigma: So glad of you to join us!
Chris: I thought we beat you guys a while ago? What do you stand to gain from this?
Qoppa: I’ll tell you!
Stigma: (Holds a hand up). Hey, yo, I got this.
Qoppa: Yeah! He’s got this!
Stigma: (Back to Chris). What we stand to gain is a victory for our mighty nation! What we stand to gain is honor for Balobyn and praise from Octavious himself!
Chris: So you think a giant robot is the best option?
Stigma: Sure. Why wouldn’t it be?
Chris: You know, stability for one.
-Derek and Kevin come flying out from behind the robot, each hitting a leg at the knee joint.
-The robot buckles backward and starts to fall.
Stigma: Rangers! Quick Maneuver Epsilon!
-The Octa-Rangers pull some levers and dials in unison, causing the giant zord to swivel at the hip, catching itself before it hits the ground.
Stigma: Hah! Can you do better than-
-Chris smashes through the back of the head and grabs Stigma, plowing him into the ground.
-The Octa-Zord recovers and begins fighting Derek and Kevin once again, moving surprisingly quickly for something its size.
-Chris and Stigma grapple and spin as they skid on the pavement before Stigma gets a chance to throw himself clear.
Stigma: Hah, alright, that was pretty good. But you’re just wasting your time.
Chris: Hey, I got nowhere else to be. My time is yours.
-Chris takes a swing at Stigma. Stigma stands his ground as Chris’ punch bounces off Stigma’s chest.
Stigma: (Waggles a finger). Ah-ah-ah. We’ve had a bit of an upgrade since we last fought.
Chris: Upgrade huh?
Stigma: That’s right. New armor, courtesy of Charles Robotics. Our strength and durability have increased far beyond our normal limits.
Chris: I don’t really care about your normal limits; I’m more curious about mine.
-Chris takes another swing and begins the two of them exchanging blows.
-Kevin and Derek continue buzzing around the Octa-Zord like flies, being general annoyances but not doing any real damage.
Derek: You got a favorite color?
Kevin: I have no preference at the moment.
Derek: Alright then, I’ll take the black-
-Derek is smacked by a backhand as he ponders what to do next.
-Qoppa leans out of the cockpit.
Qoppa: Yeah! You like that?
-Kevin stomps down on Qoppa’s head, knocking the pink ranger clean out of the zord.
Kevin: Derek! I went with pink! That okay?
Qoppa: (Spiraling to the street below). It’s salmon~!
-Derek orients himself as another massive robotic hand swats at him. He punches it away and begins to repeat this process as more punches and kicks rain down upon him.
-Eventually, the robot claps both hands against him, closing him in.
-Derek is now being pulled between two huge hands.
Sho: (He and the other two rangers are staying inside the cockpit this time). That hurt much?
Derek: (Struggling). Ghhhh…nah, not really.
Sampi: That’s totally a lie. You’re lying! That’s got to hurt!
Derek: Heh, oh really?
-Derek pulls his arms to his sides and flies straight up, carrying the Octa-Zord with him.
San: (Flipping levers and dials). Hey hey hey! This thing’s not supposed to bend like this!
Sho: So fix it!
San: I could really use a maneuver order here!
Sho: Uh…which one fires rockets?
Sampi: Maneuver Rockets-Fire…fire! (Hits a button).
-Rockets appear from the zord’s shoulders and fire straight up at Derek.
Derek: Alright then, that makes sense.
-Derek lets go of the robot and zooms off to lose the rockets. They persist on following him.
Derek: Hah! You’ve got trackers in those things? You’re making this WAY too easy!
-Derek does an about-face and flies back at the Octa-Zord.
-The rockets turn around and follow him.
-Derek stands on the opposite side of the Octa-Zord, arms crossed and looking proud of himself.
Derek: You guys are doing all the work for me, aren’t you?
Sampi: Maneuver 1337 Hax!
-Sampi pulls another lever, causing the center of the Octa-Zord to open up just as the rockets blast through it.
Derek: Oh shit.
-Both rockets hit Derek head-on, throwing him through a number of buildings where he finally lands, skidding on his back, totally wasted from the double explosion.
-Meanwhile, Chris and Stigma are fighting back and forth as cars trying to get out of their way.
-Chris flips over a car as it slams on its breaks, skidding into Stigma.
-Stigma smashes the back end of the car, flipping the front end up under Chris’ chin.
-Cars start to pile up behind the two, only having minor fender benders but still crashing into one another.
-Chris looks back at the damage being done.
-Stigma throws a punch that grazes Chris’ cheek, just as he moves his head out of the way.
-Chris throws one back directly at Stigma’s chest. The punch is caught by Stigma using both hands to absorb the blow.
-Stigma elbows at Chris, missing as Chris ducks.
-Chris throws an awkward left straight-punch as he ducks backward. The punch still lands in Stigma’s right side, causing him to wince sideways.
-Chris follows up with a kick from his right foot that hits Stigma in the head right above the neck.
-Stigma slams his helmet against the ground, bouncing as he hits.
Chris: (Tapping his earbud). Glitch, I’m over on Washington and 17th; can you send someone over to divert traffic?
Glitch: Yeah. (As he’s directing civilians into buildings). Austin! Washington and 17th! Chris needs traffic control!
Glitch: Austin’s on his way over.
-Stigma fires a blast at Chris, blowing him across the street through a storefront.
Stigma: You need to be put down!
-Stigma charges after Chris with his hands glowing.
-As Stigma points them down at Chris, Chris slams the ground next to him, throwing up a cloud of dust and glass.
-Chris comes through the cloud straight on, mashing Stigma in the face, cracking his helmet around the visor.
-Chris leaps out of the ruined storefront, headbutting Stigma at the crack.
-He reaches out and grabs Stigma’s foot, pulling him back through the storefront and hurling him out the back end.
Syrus: (From an underground bunker, viewing a screen displaying the fight with Chris). Ranger Stigma, land and kick straight back immediately.
-Stigma lands and kicks back, catching Chris right in the face, stunning him.
Syrus: Downward elbow strike to his neck.
-Stigma leaps up and hits Chris with a downward elbow strike at the collarbone, badly phasing Chris as he drops to a knee.
Syrus: Full body tackle.
-Stigma throws himself at Chris, the two launching themselves out into the street again.
Stigma: Wow, this is actually working.
-Chris’ eyes flick open as he stares at Stigma’s helmet.
-Chris cranks his Pulse energy way up, tossing Stigma off him and down the block.
-Derek’s eyes also flick open as he regains some consciousness, the quaking of the Octa-Zord’s footsteps helping to rock him back to reality.
Derek: (Rubbing his head). God damn. Fine. (Stands up and growls his next line). Fine.
-As the Octa-Zord continues taking steps forward, Derek’s power skyrockets. He begins screaming as the zord stops moving. The ground, however, is still quaking, much worse than before.
San: He’s charging for a really big attack.
Sho: Yup, sure looks like it.
San: So we should…?
Sho: Meet his attack with our own.
San: Yes! That is exactly what I was going to suggest!
Sho: Sampi, what maneuvers do we have left?
Sampi: (Reading off a long list). Um, let’s see, we can’t use the Omega Cannon at the moment, so I’d say our best bet is the Desperation Chest Buster. Sound good?
San: I’m down with that.
Sampi: Great. (Flips some levers). Maneuver Desperation Chest Buster!
-The Octa-Zord’s chest opens up to begin charging a crazy-huge energy attack, releasing it almost instantly.
-Derek throws his hands forward, cupped as they meet, and unloads his entire energy payload, screaming as his does so.
-The two energy attacks collide and begin pushing against one another. Derek starts taking a few steps forward, pushing a lot harder than the robot can.
Derek: DEREK MANEUVER EFF YOUR COUCH!!!!
-The energy attack begins generating a pulsewave that shatters all nearby windows.
-Derek’s beam completely engulfs the Octa-Zord’s beam, slamming into the robot and throwing it backward.
-Derek’s beam dissipates as he drops his arms, exhausted.
Derek: Hah, hah, ah man, that wasn’t so bad.
-The Octa-Zord lands on its back, the front pretty badly charred and ripped up.
Derek: (Hunched over with his hands on his knees). Hah. (Flips off the Octa-Zord). Right there buddy.
-Qoppa lands in a crater next to Derek, totally wiped out. Kevin lands next to him.
Kevin: Nice blast, Derek!
Derek: (Looking down at Qoppa, his eyebrows raised). Not bad work yourself.
Kevin: He’ll be fine, but he’s probably knocked out pretty good.
-Derek takes a step forward and raises his foot. He starts to bring it down on Qoppa’s head, but Kevin stops him.
Kevin: Hold on! There’s no reason to kill him!
Derek: (Derek looks from Qoppa to Kevin and back). Well, I guess he is the pink one, so it’s your call.
Derek: (Unsure). Now what?
Kevin: The big robot’s down, so I don’t know.
Jack: Hey, who’s still got radio conferencing down there?!
Chris: (Still fighting with Stigma). Jack, I’m still here. What’s up?
Jack: You’ve got a second megazord coming your way.
Chris: You’re shitting me.
Jack: ‘Fraid not. And this one looks like a tiger.
Chris: (Aghast). What?
-As Chris and Stigma clench up, a massive white tiger zord barrels overhead, running to meet up with the downed Octa-Zord.
Stigma: Hahaha! Looks like Digamma showed up for reinforcement!
-Stigma starts trying to pull Chris in as he throws his knees out, but Chris keeps stopping each knee-strike.
Chris: (Clenching his teeth). I don’t care who shows up to help, it’s not going to-
-Chris stops as he looks Stigma straight in the tinted visor. He squints and catches the briefest glimpse of Stigma looking back, though not directly at Chris, but rather at the screen within the helmet showing Syrus.
Syrus: (Notices this instantly). He knows about the visor!
Syrus: Fire your strongest energy attack now!
-Stigma briefly sparks before unleashing a powerful bright red-tinted energy blast directly at Chris’ chest.
-Chris takes all of this, once more getting thrown through a number of buildings.
-As this is happening, Digamma’s tiger zord meets up with the Octa-Zord.
Derek: This isn’t gonna be good.
-Lindsey and Glitch land next to Derek and Kevin.
Lindsey: We just heard that…(pointing) that was showing up.
Derek: Well, it’s here now, so no worries I guess.
-The tiger zord flops down on the remains of the Octa-Zord, fusing the two together as strobe lights kick in. It jumps back up, even bigger and tougher looking.
Qoppa: (Regaining consciousness). Oh hey, the Super Octa-Zord! That’s so cool!
-Lindsey elbows down into Qoppa’s helmet, shattering the facemask completely. Qoppa is once more out.
Lindsey: So who has a plan?
Kevin: I actually have one.
Lindsey: Care to share?
Kevin: It’d just be quicker if I go ahead and do it.
-Kevin starts concentrating and glowing an amber hue. He begins to grow exponentially larger until he matches the size of the Super Octa-Zord.
-The Super Octa-Zord stops advancing as the cockpit breaks away to reveal the four rangers sitting in it.
Digamma: (Now wearing a pristine white ranger outfit). You’re kidding me! There’s no way that’s possible!
Kevin: (His voice is now infinitely deeper). Hahaha, you guys attacked our city, remember? We have home-court advantage.
Digamma: Okay, who’s ready to-
-Lindsey hits Digamma, carrying him out of the cockpit and into the fray with her.
Sampi: Um, did we just, uh, lose our replacement leader just now?
Sho: Yes, just forget him, we’ve got a big-ass black dude standing in our way. Pull out the Octa-Sword!
-Sampi flips some levers and the Super Octa-Zord produces a glowing energy sword out of nowhere.
-The Super Octa-Zord steps forward, trying to cut Kevin down, but he steps out of the way, kicking the Super Octa-Zord in the chest. They begin fighting back and forth.
-Digamma and Lindsey careen through the air as they punch back and forth.
Digamma: What was that all about?!
Lindsey: I felt like I was missing some sort of fun!
Digamma: I’m not about to get beaten by a woman!
Lindsey: You’re not about to have a choice, Maximilian!
Digamma: Don’t you dare!
-The two continue brawling in the air.
-Stigma runs through the debris, looking for Chris, but he doesn’t seem to be anywhere.
Stigma: I don’t get it, where did he go?
-Chris flies out of nowhere and stomps Stigma in the head with both feet, taking him to the ground and riding his helmet as they go.
-Chris shifts over to stand on Stigma’s chest before punching down onto his helmet.
-Chris continues pounding as they keep skidding.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM!
-Chris’ eyes look scarily intense as his teeth are gritted.
-Stigma’s helmet explodes into a shower of pieces. Chris takes one last look at him and throws a final punch.
-The ground around Chris and Stigma craters out. Stigma is totally K.O.ed, though still alive.
-Chris hops off Stigma’s chest and lets out a sigh. He picks up a sparking piece of the inner visor.
Chris: Can you still see me in there? Huh? You don’t leave us and our home alone? That happens to you. (Drops the piece and looks around). Now where’s my grandma? (He flies off).
-On the other end of the screen, Syrus stares at the static on the display, speechless. His lips quiver as a smirk crosses his lips. He leans back in his chair and starts laughing to himself, clapping as he does.
-Lindsey and Digamma land on the top of a building as Digamma begins throwing serious punches and kicks in her direction.
-Digamma chops at her neck, missing as she ducks.
-He follows up with a series of punches, hitting her each time harder and harder.
Digamma: Oh my, that can’t feel good.
-Lindsey throws her hands up to block but still continues to take heavy shots.
Digamma: You can’t compete with our armor’s upgrades. They make us faster, stronger, and more durable.
-He stomps at the building, causing it to collapse.
-Lindsey loses her footing as the building begins falling, leaving herself open to an attack.
-Digamma leaps out and smashes her in the face with an epic knee.
-He pinballs her in the air several times before booting her as high as possible.
Digamma: You’re not much of a fight, are you?
-Digamma pulls his arms back and starts charging his energy attack.
Digamma: Digamma Beam, FIRE!
Lindsey: Dang it!
Digamma: What the hell?
-Lindsey floats in the air, perfectly okay, holding her elbows blades out after slicing Digamma’s beam in half.
Lindsey: (Smiling). Heeeey, that was kinda cool.
-Lindsey disappears and reappears instantly above Digamma’s head, stabbing her elbows blades down into Digamma’s shoulders.
-His armor cracks and splits as he screams out.
Lindsey: (Smiling). Ooh, that can’t feel good.
-She slices out with a flourish, sending the arms of Digamma’s armor falling to the ground.
-She spins and cuts Digamma’s helmet in the same fashion, sending two pieces falling to either side.
-Lindsey holsters her elbow blades and grabs Digamma’s right arm, breaking it in one swift motion before moving onto the left arm and repeating.
-Digamma continues to scream out in agony.
Lindsey: And now, the Lindsey Super Awesome Finisher!
Digamma: Oh no…
-Lindsey screams out as Digamma winces. She lightly chops Digamma in the back of the neck, knocking him out.
Lindsey: And that was a girl that did that. Ouch to you.
-Kevin and the Super Octa-Zord trade blows back and forth, though Kevin has yet to be hit by the energy sword.
-The zord starts firing lasers at Kevin repeatedly, pushing Kevin stumbling backward.
-The Super Octa-Zord pulls the sword up high and brings it down hard and fast at Kevin’s head.
-Kevin reaches out and grabs the zord’s arm, struggling to stop it but managing to get control.
Octa-Rangers: NO NO NO!
-Kevin forces the sword around on the Octa-Zord, pulling it down and then stabbing the zord through the midsection as sparks shoot out all around.
-The Super Octa-Zord takes a few steps backward as it begins glowing. Three brightly colored rangers leap out of the exploding robot.
-Rangers Sho, San, and Sampi land on the ground, panting through their helmets.
Sampi: Rangers, I think we were soundly defeated.
Sho: We’re not done yet.
Leena: Oh I think you’re done yet.
-The rangers look up and see Leena, Kyle, Glitch, Scott, Austin, Danny, Willy, and Clinton standing around them.
San: Ah man. Octavious is gonna kill us.
Sho: Desperation Maneuver-
-Leena kicks Sho in the facemask, shattering his visor.
Leena: Desperation Maneuver Shut Up Already.
-San and Sampi look at each other and nod. They grab Sho and hit the Octa-Ranger emblem on their belts, causing them to glow and disappear.
Kyle: Huh, I wasn’t expecting that.
Leena: Oh come on, we were all expecting that.
-They start to walk away.
Danny: A little.
-Stigma manages to regain consciousness long enough to hit his emblem as well. The same goes for Qoppa.
-Digamma, however, is totally out as Lindsey flies him to the rest of the group.
Lindsey: Where’d they all go?
Glitch: They seem to have some sort of short-range teleportation device.
Lindsey: At least I got the white one.
Austin: That Maximilian?
Austin: What do you want to do with him?
Lindsey: I want to ask Jack. Who has an earbud?
Glitch: I’ll ask him.
Lindsey: And where’s Chris?
Glitch: Uh…huh, I don’t know.
Austin: Last I saw of him he was fighting Stigma.
Lindsey: Well, we should go find him. Everyone else is accounted for.
-The ground starts rumbling.
Leena: Great, what now?
-An enormous explosion rips into the sky from the shoreline where Iess, Grid, Fox, and Job said they’d be.
Lindsey: That was either a very good thing or a very bad thing.
Austin: Let’s find Chris first, then we worry about those guys.
-Chris has flown to the point where the cameras last saw his grandmother.
Chris: (Tapping his earbud). Jack, I’m at her last location, just as you said.
Jack: Yeah, the news cameras don’t seem to care much to show anything except the downed mechs. What’s the area look like down there?
Chris: The ground is all charred up and there’re parts from broken Hex-Duo robots everywhere. Whatever happened here, it was pretty chaotic.
Jack: It’s been pretty chaotic all over the city.
Jack: The others have Octavious’ son, by the way.
Chris: That’s super; I don’t want any more party members at the moment. It’s hard enough keeping track as it is.
Chris: Hold on, I think I see someone.
-A group of two or three dozen come out from hiding once they see Chris in the street.
Chris: Hey, the fighting’s all over. You’re safe now. Have any of you seen an older woman with black hair around here?
Barbara: Older woman? You’re calling me an older woman now?
-He rushes to his grandmother and hugs her closely.
Chris: What the heck happened to you?! I saw you get blown up or something on TV!
Barbara: What? Oh you kids and your TV. You can’t believe everything you see on those things.
Chris: So really, what happened?
Barbara: I was saved by someone who looked an awful lot like your friend Derek.
Chris: Derek? No, he was with me.
Barbara: Hey, I’m just telling you what he looked like.
Chris: Is he still here?
Barbara: No, he ran off immediately afterward.
Chris: (Taps his earbud). Jack, my grandma’s okay, but we might have a problem.
Jack: We’ve had a lot of those.
Chris: She says someone that looked like Derek saved her.
Jack: (Confused). Derek? Derek was with us at the Northern Lodge when we saw her attacked on the news cameras.
Chris: That’s what I said. If there’s yet another super-powerful guy running around out here, I want to know where he is and what he’s doing.
Barbara: Well I just told you he saved me, right? Then he’s a good guy.
Chris: Grandma, I haven’t seen you since, oh man, since this all started, right?
Barbara: Yeah, that’s about right.
Chris: I tried to come see you a few months ago but the house got blown up by some guy that looked like Syrus.
-Barbara becomes far more serious at that name.
Barbara: Did you kill him?
Chris: What? No, he got away.
Barbara: The next time you see that man, I want you to kill him. Don’t even wait; just kill him.
Chris: I don’t understand.
Barbara: Just do as you’re told! I don’t want to see you getting killed!
Chris: Oh…okay then?
-The rest of Chris’ group flies down next to him and Barbara.
Austin: What’s all the yelling?
Barbara: (Instantly less serious again). Oh Austin! Is that you? You’ve all gotten so big!
Austin: Oh, Chris’ Grandma! Hey! Thank you!
Barbara: I don’t believe I know everyone here.
Chris: We’ve got to meet back up with some people, but I want you to come with us. We’re going up north. Will you come?
Barbara: I’ve got nothing better to do, so sure.
Chris: That’s great! Hey, finally things sound like they’re ending well!
Lindsey: Well Mr. Positive, we’ve still got places to go and things to do.
Chris: (Smiles). You’re right. Lead on team leader.
-Lindsey smiles back as the group takes to the skies and starts flying back to the Northern Lodge.
-To Be Continued…