Eclipse Star: Chapter 31
“Unable to Breathe”
Recap: After Derek had torn through the rest of the group, Chris showed up to stall for time and ended up fighting the rest of the battle himself, surprisingly holding his own against the raging teenager despite his increasing health ailments. As Derek grew to the dangerous point of killing Chris and threatening to do the same to everyone else who disagreed with him, Chris once more exploded in a flash of light and ended Derek’s tantrum before passing out completely. Now, Jack, being the only person to have actually seen clearly what happened, comes out from his vantage point to survey the scene.
(Before Chris and Derek’s fight had escalated to an enormous proportion, Austin, Kevin, Kyle and Danny had been sent away to prevent them harm. Only a few blocks away from the ensuing clash, they encounter an unexpected number of things).
Kyle: (Hobbling down the middle of the street, exhausted and beaten. He looks up and notices a police-style barricade blocking the road off with an entire squadron of soldiers behind it). What’s this all about?
Lindsey: (Jumps up and waves at the four from behind the barrier). Hey! You’re alright!
Austin: (Trudging up to Lindsey as she rushes from behind the blockade to hug him and the others). Yeah, we’re more than fine. What’s…? (Points towards all the soldiers standing ready with their rifles).
Lindsey: You can thank the Legion for this. They set up a perimeter all around the few blocks you guys were fighting in to keep civilian casualties low or something like that. The Commander explained it all very hurriedly when we left.
Kevin: The Legion was here the whole time?
Lindsey: Well sure. Why don’t you think any random people showed up in the middle of the fight?
Kyle: I just attributed that to a plot hole.
Lindsey: Nope, all the Legion’s doing.
Austin: Well I’ll be sure to thank them later.
Lindsey: So, is it all over then? Good guys won, Derek’s down for the count?
Austin: Not entirely.
Kevin: Jack found a way to restore himself so that he and Chris could fight against Derek properly.
Lindsey: (Gasps). Chris’s in the middle of all this?!
Kyle: I said about the same thing, but he’s a crazy little bastard.
Lindsey: When I found out he was gone I panicked!
Austin: Turns out he showed up here of all places.
Lindsey: Why is he fighting?
Austin: Jack says he’ll moderate the fight between Derek and Chris so they can settle their feud. Don’t worry, if anything goes wrong Jack should step in and help.
Lindsey: But this is still crazy! I mean, Chris was basically in a coma for the past two weeks, how is he up and expected to do anything at this point?!
Austin: (He, Kyle and Kevin looks back and forth at each other puzzled at how to answer this). I guess he just felt like he had something he had to do.
Kevin: He sensed that those close to him were in danger and he acted accordingly.
Kyle: I’m still going to attribute this to a plot hole.
Austin: (Seeing that Lindsey looks about ready to rush into battle to rescue Chris). Hey, don’t fret about it. Derek may have gone a bit crazy-
Kyle: (Interjecting). Batshit crazy.
Austin: -but Derek still knows that Chris was sick. I doubt he’ll do more than knock him around a bit before he goes back after Jack. (A shockwave hits them from the fight going on nearby, accompanied by a boom).
Kyle: Pff, that could have come from any rivalry currently duking it out around here.
Kevin: (Grasps Lindsey by the shoulders). Lindsey, do you have faith in Chris?
Kevin: And do you have faith in Jack?
Kevin: Then do not worry any more. This will all be over soon and we can get back on with our lives. (Another shockwave and boom hits them).
Commander: (Pushes his way to the front of the troops). So you guys didn’t die in the desert either?
Kevin: No, we did not.
Commander: (Puts a huge, unnatural smile on his face). Wonderful! And just what did we learn while we were gone?
Kevin: We have acquired the ability to fly and the knowledge of how to harness larger energy techniques.
Commander: That’s fantastic! (Instantly gets pissed again). But now we’ve got a stupid shit who doesn’t realize when he needs to be flushed and as a result the whole God damned Legion is out here in the middle of the night playing blind bandstand with their thumbs up their asses. (Emphasizing every word). I do not want to have to play the angry father to you little shits.
Austin: (Everyone’s a bit stunned). I assume that you’re pissed.
Commander: You’re damn right I’m pissed.
Austin: If it makes you feel any better, only Kevin, Danny and Derek learned anything new.
Austin: (Starts to point out Kevin and Danny). These two right-
Commander: I don’t give a damn what their names are. Since when did you decide you needed names? Did you learn so much that you believe you’re finally significant? No, don’t give me that look. If you want to cry, get out of my sight. Right now I’m not your father and I’m not your friend. I’m forced to sit out here and do my best to control the situation and I do NOT want to have to go over there myself to deal with the f*cker who got too big for his pants. Do I make myself clear?
Kyle: (Everyone is dumbstruck with their mouths hanging open). Wait…who’s pants are we talking about again? (The Commander backhands him).
Commander: I assume that you’re all under a lot of stress. Good, then we understand each other completely. Go get some rest. If you’re not out there getting yourselves killed for the greater good then you’re no good to me at the moment. (A building comes down in the distance). Shit, they’re taking out entire buildings now? (Throws his arm up and signals for attention. Most, if not all, of the soldiers are unsure of what to do in the current situation). Listen up. It’s escalating to more than just a small civil disobedience. They’ve shown excessive violence towards public property and have now become a major risk.
Lindsey: Now they’ve become a risk?! They’ve been attacking us for the past hour and now they’ve become a risk?!
Commander: I don’t have any time for your feminist bullshit right now, so go do your hair or something elsewhere and stop bothering me.
-Lindsey about rushes the Commander before Austin, Kevin and Kyle restrain her and calm her down, the group finally starting to walk away from the action.
-Suddenly they can see a lone figure shoot into the sky and hang there.
Austin: What’s that?
-A very ominous light begins emanating from the torso of the lone figure hovering in the air.
Commander: (Looking more irritated that worried). Oh shit. (Rolls his eyes and barks orders to everyone). We’re at highest alert! Everyone get down and cover your heads! (The figure fires his blast straight down behind the buildings). I mean now!
-Everyone is instantly blown off their feet due to the gusts coming from the war area. The energy beam is lighting up the whole sky and making the entirety of the soldiers scared senseless.
Kevin: (Shielding his eyes with one arm). That must be Derek!
Kyle: What gave it away?!
-Light erupts forth from the area so blinding that most everyone not important to the story hides their heads.
-The energy beam is at least quadrupled in size before blasting skyward and into the clouds, finally fading entirely and leaving the city in the dark shambles it’s always been in.
Commander: (Raises up once more). Everyone on your feet. Time to go salvage for survivors.
Lindsey: Chris! (Takes off running. Austin, Kevin and Kyle take off after her as she runs past the Commander. Danny is still somewhat baffled at all of this, but finally gets the picture and chases after the others).
Jack: (Standing at Ground Zero). So that’s the trigger… (Walks over to Chris’ limp body and checks for a pulse). How you managed not to kill yourself is only one of the mysteries I’d like to know. (Slings him over his shoulder). Let’s get you out of here then.
Lindsey: (Explodes onto the scene with the others). Jack!
Jack: (Somewhat confused). Lindsey? Hey, you made it.
Lindsey: (Frantic). I’m so sorry, I couldn’t find anything of yours in your room and then when I discovered that Chris was missing I…(Sees Chris on Jack’s shoulders). Oh Chris! What happened to him?
Jack: (Takes Chris off his back and lays him down on the ground). Don’t worry, he’s not dead, just unconscious.
Austin: He looks like a wreck. (Kneeling down next to Chris to listen to his chest). And he’s not breathing well.
Jack: He hasn’t been breathing much for the past two weeks, so I wouldn’t consider this much of a change.
-The Commander storms into the group, pushing Danny aside and literally throwing Kyle out of the way.
Commander: Jack, what the hell just happened?
Jack: (Surprised at the Commander’s attitude). Commander?
Commander: Shush. I don’t need you to act confused or puzzled or like you give a damn I’m here, just tell me exactly what happened. Where is Derek and why is this kid dead?
Lindsey: (Angry, near tears). He’s not dead!
Commander: (Uncaring). I’ll give him two hours. (Looks back to Jack). So Jack?
Jack: (Looking from Chris to Lindsey to the Commander and to the sky before deciding how to answer this question). Derek arrived in the city close to dusk along with Kevin and Danny. Instantly he began getting hostile towards everyone and by the time I arrived he started getting physically violent, mainly wanting to fight with me in particular.
Commander: I already know that much and I don’t really blame him. What happened that I should care about?
Jack: After Chris showed up I decided it would be best to act as the moderator between he and Derek since they have a lot of issues to get out. As the fight went on Derek became increasingly powerful, finally flying into the air and firing an extremely deadly beam straight downward.
Commander: (Annoyed and bored). All things I could have guessed. What happened just now?
Jack: Derek tried to kill Chris with the blast and from my vantage point I realized that the explosion would do more damage than just to Chris, so I stepped in and countered Derek’s blast with one of my own.
Commander: The counter blast we just saw was fired by you? (Half impressed, half worried). Chris had no part in it?
Jack: No, he had passed out before I fired my counter.
Commander: And where is Derek at this point?
Jack: I do not know. (A body falls out of the sky and lands with a loud THUD nearby). Actually I think that’s him now.
Kyle: Unless of course it’s just begun raining people.
Derek: (Derek is writhing around on the pavement; he’s extremely damaged all over but for some reason is also not dead. He keeps muttering as his body flails around). Ung…RAHG! What…what…WHAT?! (His eyes shoot open and then close again).
Commander: (He pushes his way to Derek first). Derek?
Derek: (Looks up with the only eye that seems to be responding). What?
Commander: What did you just get hit by?
Derek: I don’t…I was…BRAH! (Flips him off and passes out).
Commander: Charming. Someone drag this shit back to headquarters and throw him in the hospital wing. (Looks over at Chris). And probably him, too, since you think he’ll pull through.
-As the night drags on, Derek and Chris are taken back to the Legion’s base for medical care. After only hours, Derek is looking fine thanks to the healing pills the Legion ended up giving him. Chris however is still getting worse.
Jack: (Walks into Derek’s room, exhausted. Derek is sitting at the edge of his bed brooding but seems to be mostly fine other than some bandages here and there). Feeling better?
Derek: Physically I’m in top health.
Jack: All the damage was to your pride, right? (Derek slowly nods). I know the feeling.
Derek: (Emotionless). Jack, why did you come here? What do you want with me?
Jack: (Sits down on the bed next to Derek. Neither is looking at each other). Do you understand what happened tonight?
Derek: I was fighting with Chris and then he did something and I couldn’t fight anymore.
Jack: Are you sure he was the one who did it?
Derek: I’m pretty damn sure it wasn’t you like you’d like people to think.
Jack: No, it wasn’t.
Derek: Then why with the lies? Does it make you feel like a bigger man?
Jack: Not in the least.
Derek: (Sighs). Well what do they plan to do with me?
Jack: They aren’t happy, although that should be obvious.
Jack: Fortunately for you they’ve deemed you powerful enough to be made useful, so they’re not going to execute you or something along those lines. And as long as they think there are still people within their organization such as myself that can keep you in line should a problem arises, then they’re satisfied with keeping you alive.
Derek: So as long as they’re fooled into thinking you can kill me if you have to, then I’m not on a high death priority?
Jack: Basically. Since you’re the only one to show hostilities towards the Legion out of our group, they still consider us to be loyal enough to fight you if we have to.
Derek: And Chris?
Jack: (Rubs his face and eyes before speaking). He’s not going to make it through the night.
Derek: (Drops his head). My doing?
Jack: No. Something else that we can’t identify. I have a pretty good idea what it is though. (Derek looks over inquisitively). When we were captured and interrogated in the Regime’s military base, Chris was injected with a sample of the Locust Virus. It was supposed to kill him near instantly, but he’s lived this long. Regardless, he still has limitations for the miracles we’ve seen, so I assume that he’s probably about ready to die from it.
Derek: (The two sit quietly, not speaking for a second). So what can we do?
Jack: I don’t think there’s much we can do.
Derek: He’s dying then…
Jack: Yes. Oddly enough, I keep getting readings from him that go off the charts and then drop back down to nothing. I assume it’s just a sign that he’s about to leave us.
Derek: Let me see him one more time then.
Jack: (Weakly smiles for a brief second). I don’t see the harm in that.
–The two get up and walk down the hall to Chris’ room. Everyone else is there to pay their last respects. Lindsey is sitting next to Chris, crying softly. Austin is holding Chris’ hand with his eyes closed. The room is eerily quiet, enough so that you can hear each individual “tick” coming from the clock on the wall.
Lindsey: (Sees Jack and looks up with tears in her eyes). Jack… (Then sees Derek). DEREK! (She leaps up about ready to kill him, Austin grabs her and holds her tightly. She finally turns and buries her head in his chest, sobbing).
Derek: I wanted to see him before he…you know…
Kevin: He’s in God’s hands at this point…
Derek: Which is mostly what worries me.
Jack: Any change?
-Everyone around the room sadly shakes their heads.
Kyle: He’s been opening his mouth periodically as if he’s screaming, but he hasn’t made a sound. He just keeps clutching at his chest.
Derek: (Almost confused, pulling back for a second). His chest?
Jack: His heart’s failing him.
Derek: (Looks down at Chris as he clutches his chest again and looks as if he’s screaming in agony). Have the doctors x-rayed him?
Jack: Yes, many times. They’re at a loss.
Derek: Bring me an x-ray machine.
Jack: (Curious, cocking an eyebrow). What are you…?
Derek: (Annoyed). Just do it!
Jack: (Confused but intrigued. He leaves the room and comes back in while wheeling a large machine with a screen attached to a long pole). What do you want to take a look at?
Derek: Show his chest.
Jack: Alright… (Positions the screen over Chris’ chest and turns it on. They can see his heart beating irregularly, but nothing else is out of the ordinary). Satisfied?
Derek: Switch it to ultrasound.
Jack: Derek, it’s not going to make a difference…
Derek: Trust me.
Jack: (Jack messes with the dials and switches the image so that it uses ultrasound instead. They still see nothing). There’s nothing there.
Derek: No. (The room at large is staring at the screen and seeing nothing. Derek points to a specific part). There. Magnify the image. (Jack does so, zooming in on one specific part of Chris’ heart). That. (Everyone can finally see what is causing Chris’ health to decline. The image of some creature with flailing, bladed arms and an almost alien face comes into view).
Jack: What the hell is that thing…?
Derek: The problem.
Lindsey: (Frantic again). We should get some doctors to operate immediately.
Derek: No. I can almost guarantee that if any doctors got involved they would kill him, either accidentally or purposefully.
Jack: I agree. We have to keep this secret from the rest of the Legion. However there’s no way for us to save him ourselves with what we’ve got.
Derek: Oh I disagree. We’ve got all we need. (Motions over towards Kevin, who doesn’t quite understand where Derek’s going with all of this). I have a plan.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 30
Recap: After Derek had plowed through half a dozen other fighters, Chris showed up with the intent of slowing Derek down long enough for Jack to recharge his batteries. Although Jack managed to regain his former strength, (plus an added boost), his devastating punch wasn’t enough to leave Derek in the dust for long. Now, with his only real plan failed, Jack is resting all his luck on the chance than Chris can somehow defeat Derek, despite his increasing health issue. The fight gets super-charged today, in Eclipse Star!
Jack: (Walking over to Chris as he speaks to the group as a whole). Guys, you head back to the base, get some rest. I’m leaving Chris to finish things up with Derek here.
Kyle: (Baffled). What? Jack, you’re kidding, right?
Chris: (Breathing heavily and wincing with every breath he takes). Jack…I don’t think…
Jack: (Waves him off). Don’t worry about it Chris. I have absolute faith that you can do it.
Kyle: So we’re just gonna leave the raging madman here in hopes that the cancer patient will knock him out?
Kyle: (Speechless with his eyes wide open). …Well alright then. (Begins walking away).
Austin: (He and Kevin run up to Jack). Are you sure about this? Chris isn’t looking all that good.
Jack: Trust me. And if anything goes wrong I’m still here, so don’t worry.
Kevin: Jack, don’t let anything happen to him.
Jack: Hey, I’ve got things under control. Go meet up with the others. This will all be over shortly. (Under his breath). One way or another it’ll all be over shortly…
Austin: (Walks over to Chris and places his hand on his shoulder). Chris, are you going to be okay?
Chris: (Chris looks up into Austin’s concerned face and lies). Don’t worry, I’m fine. (Smiles). Go check on Lindsey for me.
Austin: As usual. Are you sure though? (Chris nods. The two hug and Austin joins Kyle and Kevin).
Kevin: Chris, be careful of Derek’s flying ability.
Chris: Sure. (Salutes as the three jog away).
Derek: (Arms crossed, tapping his foot). We done saying our goodbyes?
Chris: (Turns around to see Derek. Chris looks pretty unconfident and Derek has finally picked up on this fact). Yeah, I’m ready to get this over with.
Derek: You’re not looking so well comrade.
Chris: I could be worse.
Derek: I have a feeling I’m about to make it much worse, right?
Chris: (Shrugs). Most likely.
Derek: Then let’s get going. (Fires himself at Chris, already on the offensive).
Chris: (Puts himself in a fighting stance). Jack, be ready to tag in at any time. (Looks around. Jack’s nowhere to be seen). Jack?
-Derek plows Chris in the stomach, lifting him up into the air slightly. He combos the move with a knee to the chest and a kick to the body.
-Chris spins in the air and corrects himself so that he’s landing on his feet.
-Derek hits him upon landing, sending him flying again.
Chris: (Slams into a building, then falls onto his hands and knees. He’s straining to breath). Dang it Jack, why are you doing this to me?
Derek: Oh come on Chris, you expect Jack of all people to care what happens to you?
Chris: (Angry). No.
Derek: Well at least we’re on the same page. (Launches himself at Chris and hits him with a powerful elbow, blowing him through the concrete building and out the other side).
Chris: (Chris is lying on his back. He rolls his eyes while opening them and coughing. He looks up and sees Jack). What are you doing back here?
Jack: I can’t talk with Derek listening.
Chris: Jack, you ready to step in yet?
Jack: (Puts a finger over Chris’ mouth, indicating “shush”). I’m spent. I had one good punch left in me and now I’m as exhausted as I was before I took the PEZ.
Jack: “Power Energizer.” I coined it myself a few minutes ago. (Shakes his head). Anyway, that’s not important. You’re going to have to finish this fight for me.
Chris: But I don’t…
Jack: (Getting mad). Stop making excuses. We’re out of options. (An energy blast comes through the building). Yah! (Grabs Chris and pulls him out of the way. The blast carries on down the street and explodes harmlessly). There, that’s the last bit of help I can offer. Go get ‘em slugger. (Nudges Chris’ chin).
Chris: (Gets up). Crap.
–Derek comes through the hole and swings at Chris.
-Chris ducks under the high swing and gets Derek in the stomach with an upwards punch.
Derek: Gyah! (Kicks Chris in the face as retaliation. Chris is knocked to the ground again). So, talking to yourself over here?
Chris: (Looks around and sees that Jack is gone again). So it would seem.
Derek: Well, mental illness is no excuse to get out of a fight.
-Giving Chris no chance to block, Derek thwacks Chris in the side of the face with his forearm, disorienting Chris further than he already is.
-As Chris stumbles sideways, Derek flips backwards, kicking Chris into the air.
-While Chris begins to go skyward, Derek flies out of nowhere and plows into him in midair.
-Chris falls out of control, but before he can hit the ground, Derek has already come from below with a kick, followed by a brutal punch.
-Spinning out of control once more, Chris crashes through the window of a skyscraper and lands in an office cubical.
Chris: Ugn… (Grabbing his head with one hand, he pushes himself to a standing position with the other). I’ve gotta focus…
Derek: Feeling overworked?
–Flies through the broken window and collides with Chris, taking him through one office wall after another, smashing computers, fax machines, copiers, and thoroughly wrecking the 3rd floor of this particular office building.
-Derek hovers in the air as Chris is propelled into the break room, rolling to a heap on the floor. Didn’t think I’d work you this hard, eh?
Chris: (Grabs the counter and pulls himself up again. Derek starts advancing on him again). That’s it, I quit.
-Chris seizes a coffee pot and shatters it on the side of Derek’s head.
-Derek is knocked over and paws at the side of his head.
Derek: Bya! You bitch!
-Derek uppercuts Chris off his feet, kicking again to throw him into a copy machine.
-Slamming his head on the top over and over, Chris’ face begins to appear as the machine spits out paper after paper of a progressively worse-looking face, bleeding, as the glass also begins to crack.
-Chris grabs out at anything, snatching a stapler from a nearby desk and nailing Derek hard in the leg.
-Derek yelps and falls back.
-Chris turns around and swings the stapler again, piercing Derek’s forearm as they’re thrown up to shield Derek’s face.
-Derek grows angry and pops Chris in the head with a simple punch.
-Chris stumbles back and flips over a desk, landing and kicking the whole thing at Derek, computer and all.
-Derek sweeps the air in front of him with his arm, smashing everything apart.
-Chris appears behind Derek, strangling franticly with a telephone cord.
Derek: Enough of this…
-Derek grabs Chris and fires him back through the torn-up pathway and into the open void outside the 3rd floor window.
–Despite falling quickly towards the ground and nearly unconscious, Chris is smiling.
Chris: At least I can’t say this day was without highlights.
–Derek comes down from above with both feet, knocking Chris into the street below.
-Chris lands on the roof of a convertible that happens to have its top up. It instantly converts to having the top down upon being hit.
-Chris just lies in the mangled car, trying to convince himself to get up again.
Chris: I should just give in right here. I could have worse deaths than this. At least I’m in a nice car. (The car begins rising. Chris doesn’t seem surprised in the least). Oh damnit.
Derek: (From under the car, Derek looks furious but still enjoying himself). Convertible cars are for important people and girlfriends of important people, and you are neither. (Throws the car into a streetlamp).
Chris: (The airbags go off after the car lands with a thud. Chris rolls his eyes). Way to save lives there airbags. (Gets up while pulling the steering wheel off). So you can pick up cars, too? (Hops out of the car and begins walking towards Derek).
Derek: It’s actually lighter than it looks.
-Derek punches at Chris, who whips the steering wheel up, catching Derek’s arm inside it.
-He twists it and goes around Derek’s back, punching him from behind and totally blindsiding him.
-Chris tosses the steering wheel aside.
Chris: So you come equipped with power steering, too?
Derek: We are not amused. (Runs a hand through his hair). And now I’m done playing around.
Chris: (Somewhat smiles). Ah, but we never get to play anymore.
Derek: Be that as it may, I’ve been going easy on you. (Clenches both fists and stoops over as he begins grunting). You won’t last another minute once I start trying. (Continues powering up).
Chris: I do not doubt that claim, nor do I wish to challenge it.
Derek: No choice.
-Comes at Chris with all manner of attacking, first punching his face, then his gut, then appearing behind him and causing him back problems, then giving him a sharp pain in his left side and a slight ringing in his right ear.
-He finally tosses Chris into the air again.
-Crouching for a second, Derek shoots up with both fists and nearly breaks Chris in twain.
-Derek kicks him even higher, then elbows him back down to Earth.
Chris: (Struggling fruitlessly to keep his eyes open as he falls screeching back to the pavement). I wonder if it’s possible that the ground has gotten softer since I last saw it…? (Stops inches from the ground). Eh?
Derek: (Derek is holding Chris by the ankle). You’d like a chance for solid ground, wouldn’t you? (Throws him back into the air).
-Derek slams his shoulder into Chris, sending him off into the side of another building.
-As Chris hits the building, Derek smashes both fists into Chris’ stomach, pinning him to the building and also causing him to gasp and spit up blood.
-Derek begins to let Chris fall but kicks him in the head on his way down, forcing Chris’ skull to make contact with the building once more.
-From under Chris, Derek’s hand grabs his leg and flies him higher into the air, swinging Chris as he goes, smashing him into the building from time to time.
-Derek does a midair flip and severely knees Chris during his downward arch.
-Chris careens towards the ground.
Chris: Just let me make contact already… (Derek shows up just in time to stop Chris from hitting once more and drags him back into the air. This time, Derek hurls Chris over the top of a large building, ten stories in the air). Ung…heights… (Closes his eyes).
Derek: (Appears above Chris in the air). Happy landings!
-Derek flexes every muscle as he brings his whole body into an arch, pulling his arms back over his head, fists clenched together.
-Right as Chris drifts up to weightlessness, Derek unloads and pulverizes Chris with a vicious double-handed smash.
-Upon being hit with this monster attack, Chris is rawked through all ten layers of the building.
-As he hits each layer, clouds of debris blow out the windows of each floor and the top layer falls through.
-Finally, Chris hits the bottom level with an Earth-shattering rumble, the building having come down all around him.
-Dust has filled the entire area as Derek floats above the wreckage looking mighty proud of his work.
Derek: (Trying to see through all the black dust). Hah. If you’re not dead, I owe you a Coke.
Jack: (He’s completely astonished as he watches from his vantage point on the top of a nearby building). This is too much. (Notices that his hand is shaking uncontrollably).
Derek: (Growing impatient). Chris?! Are you down there?!
Chris: (If anyone could see the image of Chris through the dust and rubble, he’d look pretty pathetic. His clothes are basically torn to hell and he’s bleeding all over. He’s laying on his back with his eyes closed and his mouth open, not moving, not breathing. Finally with a cough…). Nhn… (His eyes roll open and his mouth closes finally. Then his chest starts moving again). This is ridiculous…I should be dead…why am I not dead…? (Leisurely gets up and trudges out from the remains of the building).
Derek and Jack: Well I’ll be damned.
Chris: (Chris looks up and takes a heavy breath. He grabs the zipper of his jacket and unzips it, although it could have slid right off. He throws the jacket to the ground and brushes himself off). Derek…I’m done.
Derek: (Glides back down and lands a ways in front of Chris). No, if that did’t kill you it just means this is getting interesting.
Chris: No more, please.
Derek: NO! It doesn’t end until I say it does! (Powers himself up even more. He begins lifting into the air as the ground shakes). No one else could stand up against me! You’re the old one worth fighting this long!
Chris: Derek, I don’t want to fight you.
Derek: You don’t have a choice! (Taking off, he propels himself towards Chris).
-Chris closes his eyes and clenches his teeth.
-The ground around him instantly cracks as he finally increases his strength.
-He’s breathing harder and harder and beginning to yell as Derek picks up speed.
-With Derek’s strength nearing full, he makes to finish Chris with another severe attack.
Chris: (Opens his eyes, the street is quaking and Derek is about to destroy him). I’m tired of people expecting so damn much from me!
–As Derek makes his move, Chris clotheslines him hardcore in midair.
-Derek continues on his path but is flipped backwards as he’s going, finally crumbling into a mess as he skids onto a sidewalk and through a row of newspaper vending machines.
Derek: (Not completely sure what just occurred). Where did that come from? (Erupting with anger). That is it!
-Derek blasts off at Chris, ready to strike.
-Chris advances on Derek at the same time, jumping up and hitting Derek hard in the stomach with his right knee, then swinging around and clocking Derek in the head with a kick from his left leg.
-Before Derek can be propelled from Chris, he’s behind him, throwing an angry punc to Chris’ head.
-Chris ducks under and grabs Derek’s foot, then begins swinging around and around, moving down the street as he’s going, taking out mailboxes, street signs, lampposts, and anything else that’s getting in the way.
-He turns towards the sky and sends Derek into it with a vicious throw.
Derek: (Forcing his eyes open, although he can’t see anything clearly. He’s in a blind rage now). Think you can take me in the air?! I live in the sky! I own the sky!
-Chris slams into Derek’s face with his knee.
-As Derek falls back, Chris grabs him and punches him once, twice, thrice, then lets go and smashes him back to the ground.
-A crater is formed around Derek upon landing.
-Lacking the ability to fly, Chris begins falling slowly back down.
-He looks down to see Derek getting up and looking rightfully pissed.
-Chris thrusts his arms down and starts firing energy blasts madly into the crater as he falls, detonating on top of Derek with excessive force.
Derek: (Shielding his head with his arms). YAAAAH! When did you learn stuff like this?!
-Derek fires one solid blast straight upwards, clearing all the dust away and hitting nothing.
-He looks around and jumps out of the hole.
-Turing to his left, he sees Chris and rushes him, punching with all his might.
-Chris punches back, their hands collide.
-Derek recoils instantly, clutching his hand in a heavy amount of pain.
-Chris doesn’t give Derek a chance to rest and chops him in the neck.
-Derek flinches and falls sideways. As this is happening, Chris boots him with a soccer kick.
-Derek rolls quickly to his feet a little ways from Chris, trying to create some distance.
-He begins to take to the air, but Chris has already grabbed his foot and forced him to face plant in the pavement.
-Derek kicks away from Chris and starts to run away.
-Unexpectedly, Chris comes from the opposite direction, tackling Derek full force.
-The two are thrown down the block, Chris on top, grappling with Derek.
-As they touch ground again, the street is torn up with Derek digging a trench not of his own free will.
-Chris picks Derek up from this trajectory and throws him with both feet through a building and out the other side, quickly landing and leaping through the hole to follow Derek.
-As Derek rolls to a halt, Chris lands a fair distance away.
-Derek gets up, his whole body quivering. He lets out a wrathful scream and turns his attention to Chris again, who’s begun sprinting at him once more.
-Out with the arm, Derek sends an energy blast at Chris.
-Chris moves to the side and throws a quickly-formed energy blast of his own.
-It scores a direct hit on Derek’s face, who howls and clutches his face with both hands, his head tilting back.
-Chris continues running and begins charging up an energy attack in either hand, then fires them backwards, propelling him forward at an alarming rate.
-Right as Derek drops his hands, Chris rams him in the face with a headbutt.
-Derek is flung a short expanse, where he looks as if he’s about to pass out.
-Chris comes at him, but right before he can attack, Derek turns and pulls out his sai, solidly blasting Chris into a building across the street with a sonic boom.
-Both fighters are breathing excessively hard and producing an alarming amount of blood.
-Derek twitchs as he stumbles around with his sai swaying limply in his hands
Derek: You… How dare you! You must think you’re so clever, thinking that you’ve beaten me. No, oh no, you’re dead wrong! (Puts his sai away and stands unwavering).
Chris: (Pushing himself away from the wall, staggering forward). Please, I just want this to be over. I don’t anything left to fight you with…
Derek: (Furious once more). You’re damn right you don’t! I’ve been holding back on you! I’ve been holding back on everyone! I’ve yet to unleash a real energy blast! (Sneering and laughing as he ponders what to do next). Hahahahaha! You just had to demand this, didn’t you?!
Chris: (Limping gradually towards Derek, his breathing terrible, he’s looking extremely pale. You wouldn’t have guessed that he just delivered Derek’s ass in a sling no more than 30 seconds ago). I’m not demanding anything Derek! You’re out of control! I give up! You win! Isn’t that what you want to hear?! Hear me admitting that you’re better than me?! That I can’t challenge you?!
Derek: (Cold). No. (Begins hovering). It isn’t enough to just have you say it. (Floats higher and higher into the air). I don’t believe you when you say it. Not when you still show potential for a comeback. I have to be sure that you aren’t just holding back.
Chris: Derek! I’m not holding anything back! I’m as weak as you could hope! I have nothing left!
Derek: (Derek gives a guttural laugh). Hahaha…prove it. (Flies high into the air, above the tops of all the buildings. He looks down upon Chris, upon the city). I will show you exactly what I am capable of. (Pulls his hands back behind him on each side).
Chris: Derek no, please no!
Derek: (Energy begins glowing inside his palms). That’s right, beg for it…
-Derek’s Pulse energy skyrockets to a disturbing degree.
Derek: I’d suggest defending this, Chris. (The energy glows extremely bright, right before Derek fires the blast at Chris).
Chris: (A look of dread has spread over his entire face). Oh crap… (Pulls his hands to his side and cups them, charging his own blast to counter Derek’s).
-Derek fires a monstrous energy beam down at Chris.
-Chris thrusts his hands above his head and lets out a yell as his own blast fires to connect with Derek’s, although Chris’ blast is very weak in comparison.
-The entire area is lit up instantly, flashing all around. Despite the fact that night had fallen hours ago, it looks like some sort of hellish daytime.
Derek: You’re not about ready to buckle, are you Chris?!
-Chris is looking pathetic, as if he’s being crushed by thousands of pounds worth of weight. Still, he’s standing and his arms are high above his head
Chris: I can’t do this…
Derek: (Showing no signs of fatigue from any of this). Looks like you’re right Chris. You’re weak! You’ve always been weak! Even weaker than all those friends of yours!
Chris: (Struggling to fight back against Derek’s impossible strength). Guh…they’re stronger in more ways than I could ever hope to be!
Derek: Hah! They’re worthless! Most of them don’t even have a point to being here!
Chris: Just leave them alone! Let this be the end of it!
Derek: No! My father taught me that weakness will not be tolerated! Everyone at the Legion is a fool who needs a real leader with real power! (Increases his power).
Chris: (He nearly buckles from the added stress). No…please!
Derek: Those friends of yours, HAH! It’s gonna be fun to finally shut them all up! Why did they even get into this in the first place?! I’m sick of them! Danny got into this because Willy was here and now they’re both worthless! Clinton hasn’t gotten any stronger, Leena just sits and bitches, Scott isn’t focused enough, no one is anywhere near me!
-Derek increases the strength of his blast again. Chris begins to look ready to collapse.
Derek: I’m never going to understand why Austin sticks up for you! Or Kevin! My God, if I have to hear one more bible reference I’ll tear his throat out! That smart-ass Kyle, he’s here because of luck! And Jack…
–Derek’s power goes up again. Chris has fallen to one knee now. His arms are just barely over his head, Derek’s blast having pushed through to mere feet above him
Derek: Jack has been lying to us from the beginning! Every sentence he speaks is a lie! Every sound from his filthy mouth is just another insult to everything my father taught mew to stand for!
-One more power boost as Derek’s lips curl into a smile.
Derek: Oh, haha, and then there’s Lindsey… I can’t stand the way you look at her! As if you thought you stood a chance! As if you had something to offer her! She knows that you’re worthless, why do you think she’s been falling for Jack?! She doesn’t love you! Get over it!
Chris: No… (Tears are streaming down his cheeks. He’s down on both knees. It looks like it’s all over).
Derek: (Enjoying this all too much). SHE DOESN’T LOVE YOU!!! SHE NEVER LOVED YOU AND SHE NEVER WILL!!!
Chris: No… (His eyes begin to go cloudy. He stands up suddenly, fully energized). It’s not true…
-Chris is engulfed in an immensely bright light, every muscle in his body pushed to their limits, the look in his eyes absolutely terrifying and primal.
Chris: (His voice booms out, guttural and enraged). IT’S NOT TRUE!!!!!! (As Chris screams, he is now completely in control of the situation).
Derek: (Unable to see anything around his own blast, but knowing something’s wrong. His confidence instantly breaks). What the hell…?
-With another scream, Chris’s beam explodes in size, obliterating Derek’s stream and overtaking him instantly, firing him way into the sky.
Derek: (Screaming for dear life). WHAT IS THIS?!!!
-Having done this, Chris’ arms fall limp at his sides and the light fades immediately.
-His body starts convulsing as his eyes roll back in his head, falling forward, abruptly unconscious.
Jack: (Being the only person to have seen exactly what happened, he is shocked). So that’s the trigger…
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 29
“Stalling For a Water Break”
Recap: After Jack failed to put Derek down by himself, he set up a plan that would hopefully yield some positive results. While he sent Lindsey to retrieve his gear, Kevin, Austin, Danny, and Kyle all fought diligently against Derek, but made no headway. Although their combined forces have proven to be too weak to stop Derek, a new ally has shown up to continue the fight as best he can.
Chris: (Breathing with much difficulty). I assume Derek’s been getting a bit out of hand?
Derek: (Very surprised to see him). Chris. So nice of you to finally join us. I heard you were on your deathbed.
Chris: Yeah, it would appear that way I suppose.
Jack: (Really confused). Chris! What are you doing here?!
Chris: You left your stuff in my room. (Unslings the backpack from his shoulder). After I heard there was a problem going on near the edge of town, I figured you’d probably need some of this stuff.
Jack: (Looks Chris up and down very carefully). Is that my hat?
Chris: (Grabs the bill of the cap on his head defensively). It was one of them, yes.
Kevin: (Tears welling up in his eyes as he hobbles over). It’s been so long since I’ve seen you!
Chris: (Smiles). Hey Kevin. (Nods). Yeah, I’ve missed you guys, too. Glad to see everyone okay. (Tosses Jack’s backpack to him). Hope you can find use of something in there. Looks like a total mess to me.
Jack: (Rifles through his backpack quickly keeping track of the goods in stock). Change of clothes, radio, bungee cords, rope, flashlight, pocketknife, headphones, sandwiches, only one spare hat, paper clips, stapler, aha! (Pulls out what looks like a PEZ dispenser). This is exactly what I needed!
Kyle: (Rushes over). Hey, gonna share those with the group at large? (Waves at Chris). Oh hey Chris.
Chris: What exactly are those, Jack?
Jack: As I’ve explained before, they’re a prototype healing pill. These are similar to the ones that the Legion uses, except I have outside sources working on better ones. Problem is, I haven’t tested these much. A single pill does a bit to help, but it’s far from perfect, and I’m cautious since it’s possible to overdose on these things.
Derek: (Growing impatient). So who’s gonna fight with me?
Chris: Why so eager to fight everyone, Derek?
Derek: You missed the vague explanations and I’d rather not retread old ground. Suffice it to say, I’m taking over and I’m willing to fight anyone who says otherwise. Now who’s going to fight me?!
Austin: (Steps in front of Chris and Jack). Derek, I’ve still got some fight left to deliver. (Turns his head back towards Chris). Great to see ya buddy.
Chris: (Smiles and nods). Same here. (Moves past Austin towards Derek). But you guys had your shot; let me try.
Austin: (Pulls Chris in close to whisper into his ear). Derek’s strong, really strong. He can fly now. None of us stood a chance against him, not even Jack. Aren’t you sick?
Chris: Yeah, but if I can stall long enough for you all to rest, then maybe we’ll have a chance to wear Derek down until he’s exhausted himself.
Austin: If you’re sure about this…
Chris: Trust me.
Austin: (Hugs Chris). Be careful.
Chris: No worries, right?
Derek: So, I’m fighting Chris then? What a day, first I destroy Jack, now I get to destroy Chris! (His mood has improved significantly). Everything’s comin’ up Derek!
Chris: (Proceeds to walk closer to Derek). So, what have you learned in these past few weeks?
Derek: (Snubs his nose at Chris). Not much. Just how to fly, shoot dangerous energy blasts. Standard stuff really.
Chris: Well hopefully you’ll be able to stand up to what I’ve learned.
Austin: (Leans in close to Jack). What’s Chris learned these last two weeks?
Jack: (Whispers back). Not a damned thing.
Danny: (Finally comes to his senses after his beating from Derek. He hops to his feet and yells over at Chris). Holy dangit! Chris!
Chris: (Smiles and waves at Danny). Yes, hi Danny.
Derek: (Bored and impatient). Are you done getting reacquainted with your chums?
Chris: (Turns around to face Kyle). Kyle, nice to see that you’re not dead.
Kyle: Thanks! I’ve been doing a lot of pushups! (Jack looks at him questioningly. Kyle shrugs). Okay, I’ve been watching some kung-fu movies lately.
Chris: (Turns back to Derek). That about does it.
Derek: Good, formalities out of the way, let’s get started before I get bored again.
Chris: Sounds good.
-Chris gets into a fighter stance. Despite the façade he’s putting on, Chris is showing hints that he’s trying hard to breath normally. His eyes are also twitching an awful lot for someone who’s supposed to be acting calm and casual.
-Luckily, Derek has picked up on none of this.
Kyle: (Pointing to the PEZ dispenser). Jack, you gonna share those things with us?
Kyle: You greedy little…
Jack: Like I said, these are prototypes. I don’t trust giving them to anyone else before I’ve seen the results for myself.
Kyle: Then take them already.
Jack: I need some water. They won’t do me any good without water. (Looks in his bag). And of course, there is no water in here.
Kyle: Not good at swallowing pills?
Jack: No, these need H2O to make ‘em work. Another reason why they’re still prototypes.
Derek: Prepare for battle! (Powers up).
Chris: Boy, you’re really getting into this, aren’t you?
Derek: I may be a little excited, yes.
-Derek tears across the pavement towards Chris. He takes a swing and misses as Chris ducks out of the way.
-Derek takes another swing and misses that one, too.
Chris: This is what you’ve learned? You really must be too excited.
Derek: Perhaps, yes. (Clips Chris in the jaw).
Chris: (Rubs a bit of blood from his mouth). Great, now I’ll have a fat lip for a week.
Jack: We need to go find some water before this gets too out of hand and Derek flips out again.
Kyle: Right. (Looks around). There’s bound to be water in a store around here or something.
Jack: There aren’t any stores around here for a few blocks at least; this district is mainly just office buildings. And since this is Saturday, thankfully the buildings are mostly empty.
Jack: Yes. Still, there’s a good chance that one of them has a water fountain or something like that.
Kyle: (Picks Jack up and helps him walk). Well then no time to lose. Let’s boogie.
Derek: (It seems as if he’s not even trying that hard to hit Chris). Please don’t make this a disappointment to me.
Chris: (Blocks another punch from Derek). I hate to point this out, but you’re the one not doing much here.
Derek: So it would seem… (Appears behind Chris, tapping him on the shoulder). Hey, back here… (Chris turns his head, Derek disappears and reappears in front of Chris, nearly taking his head off with a devastating hit). Just as I thought, you’re not as fast as I am. But then again, why would you be?
Chris: (Getting up from the ground, still trying his best not to show how much pain he’s in). Well I didn’t know you wanted me to be moving that fast.
Derek: Still, I doubt that you can. (Disappears from sight).
Chris: (Mutters to himself as his eyes dart frantically around the area, trying to find any sign of Derek at all). Crap…
–Derek appears in front of Chris, about ready to strike.
-Chris instantly reacts, grabbing Derek’s arm and deals a half dozen crippling punches to Derek’s side, each one making a loud enough sound to be heard from a few streets down, at least.
–Derek’s eyes bulge, his mouth hanging open, somewhat drooling. As soon as Chris lets go of his arm, he clutches his side and drops to his knees.
Derek: You…you actually…
Chris: Just a little of what I’ve learned. (Quietly mutters to himself). But I’m not gonna get that lucky again…
Derek: (His eyes roll quickly upwards to see Chris. His expression changes from that of someone who’s enjoying himself to an individual that’s rather pissed). That’s the last time I take it easy with you. (Moves instantaneously fast, blowing Chris clear off his feet with a punch).
Jack: (After being lead behind the backside of the buildings, Jack points Kyle towards a door). There, that one.
Kyle: (Tries to open the door). It’s locked.
Jack: Smash it.
Kyle: No way, this is private property. You should have brought a bottle of water with you.
Jack: You wanna run back to the base and get me one?
Kyle: We’d better smash the door in. (Pulls back and punches the door, denting it severely but not opening it). Ah, it won’t open, Jack.
Jack: (Checks his backpack for anything that can help). This is ridiculous, we’re so tired that we can’t even tear a simple steel door off its hinges… Aha! (Pulls out a few paperclips). This should only take a few seconds…
Kyle: You ever pick locks before?
Jack: Perhaps, but you can’t quote me on that. (Starts to pick the lock).
Derek: (Grabs Chris by one of his feet and begins swinging him around and around). You getting dizzy yet? (He’s smiling again having regained his pleasure).
Chris: (Gritting his teeth, he’s desperately trying to reach down and untie his shoe). I’m always dizzy. Part of having motion sickness.
Derek: Up, too late!
–Before Chris can get free, Derek launches him across the street and into a telephone pole. It shatters upon Chris hitting it.
-Chris slumps down and finally looks a little worse for the wear.
Chris: (Wincing, trying not to grab his chest). I should have stayed in bed…
Derek: (Flies gracefully over to Chris). Get up, that couldn’t have hurt that badly.
Chris: (Unfortunately, it did. Still, Chris gets up and feigns that he’s just fine). Thanks for letting go. I probably would have thrown up if you kept swinging me any longer.
-Derek kicks Chris in the face, popping him into the air.
-He then roundhouse kicks Chris into the side of a building.
-Bricks crumble as Chris slumps back down again.
Derek: I may look like I’m having fun, but this is going to get old really fast, so please, do something.
-While Derek’s standing in front of him gloating, Chris pounds him in the gut.
-Derek doubles over from the punch.
-As Chris is getting to his feet, he picks Derek up and slams him down again, then kicks at him.
-Derek catches the foot and twists, sending Chris into a falling spin.
-Derek thrusts his knee out in a jump and ends up hitting Chris in the back with his attack.
-Chris skids onto his face. He finally lets out a cough and tries desperately to catch his breath.
Jack: (Still picking the lock). Almost… (Click). Got it! (He and Kyle throw their arms into the air to celebrate. There is a pause as the doorknob falls off, their eyes bugging, speechless). Oh come on, how is that even possible?
Kyle: (Moves Jack aside). Enough jibba jabba, outta the way, foo. (Kicks the door open). Hell yeah. (Jack and he hobble through the open door and come face to face with a very nervous-looking security guard).
Security Guard: (He’s shaking and holding a baton). Hold it…hold it right there!
Jack: I’m sorry to bother you, but do you by any chance have a drinking fountain in this building?
Security Guard: (Slowly shakes his head). Nuh…no, sorry.
Kyle: (Getting in the guard’s face, somewhat angry). What kind of office building is this then?! Not up to health standards if you ask me.
Security Guard: Try…try the flower shop on the corner…maybe…?
Jack and Kyle: (Look at each other and smack their heads). Of course! (They “dash” back out the door, leaving the security guard befuddled).
Security Guard: (Pulls a flask out of his breast pocket). I’m either drinking far too much or not enough. (Takes a swig).
Derek: (Walks over to Chris’ hardly moving body). That’s all it took? (Kneels down by Chris’ head).
Chris: (Looks up at Derek). Nah, plenty more left. (Takes a pathetic swing at Derek, but ends up getting another swift kick in the teeth, sending him onto his back).
Austin: (He and Kevin are looking on restlessly). I think we’re gonna have to step back in.
Kevin: You may be right.
-As Chris gets to his feet, Derek flies at him, striking him and causing him to stumble backwards.
-Derek dives at Chris on the way back, knocking Chris forward.
-Derek comes around yet again and knocks Chris off his feet, then flies back and keeps smashing into Chris repeated.
-This continues with Derek zooming back and forth, smashing into Chris, unstopped by anyone until he finally discontinues this attack, letting Chris spit out a tad of blood while he breathes heavily on his hands and knees.
Derek begins coming up behind him to punch Chris in the back, but Chris spins around and grabs Derek’s fist.
-Derek tries to free himself, but can’t seem to do it.
-He punches with his other hand, also getting caught.
Derek: (Trying viciously to pull away). If you don’t start fighting consistently, then I’m going to have to end this faster!
Chris: (Angry). Fine!
-Chris pulls Derek in for a powerful knee to the jaw.
-Derek’s head recoils back, blood trailing in the air.
-Chris punches Derek in the chest with both hands, knocking him a good distance into a mailbox. Mail shoots out the slot and flutters all around Derek.
Derek: (Sits up and yells at Chris). You’re cheating somehow! (Powers up again after his anger rises more and more. Letters are swirling around him as his power goes up). But no more!
Chris: (Puts his guard up, knowing that he’s not about to like what’s soon to come). Go ahead, see what you can do.
-As Derek zooms at Chris once more, using his ability to fly instead of bothering to touch the ground, Chris’ fists tense and it becomes apparent that he’s going to actually start trying.
-Derek fires a quick energy beam at Chris, who puts his arms in front of his face to provide some protection.
-Regardless, Derek’s beam begins pushing Chris back little by little until he solidifies his footing and stops in place.
-As he looks up, he sees a fist coming through the beam and is too late to react, getting smashed in the face.
-As his guard drops, the beam fires on, blowing Chris down the road and leaving him looking pretty well defeated.
Derek: So, what do you think of my new energy skills?
Chris: (Gradually gets up, but now he can’t hide the fact that he’s struggling to breathe. He’s also only looking out of one open eye). Not bad.
Derek: Not bad? (Feeling undignified). Not-not bad?! That’s all you have to say to that?!
Chris: (Smiles smugly). I’m still standing, aren’t I?
Derek: Not for long! (Flies into the air again, firing blasts down at Chris, who dodges these poorly aimed blasts with little effort).
Jack: (He and Kyle arrive at the flower shop almost a block down the road. Jack reaches into his backpack and pulls out the stapler). Ya! (Throws it through the glass door of the flower shop).
Kyle: (Shrugs). Well that works. (They enter the store).
Jack: Okay, we need to find a drinking fountain, a faucet, a hose, a watering can, anything.
Kyle: Basically a source of water then…?
Jack: Shut up and look! (Sees a vase full of water and flowers). Success!
-Derek is still firing blasts at Chris until one of his blasts is caught and hurled back at him, prompting him to soar down at Chris.
-Looking up just in time, Chris blocks Derek’s strike with his forearm, but the resulting force generates a crater around Chris.
Derek: (Smiles again at last). This is it! Hah, this is the challenge I was looking for!
Chris: (Thinking that at any second he’ll pass out from overexerting himself). Wonderful.
Jack: (Grabs the vase and throws the flowers out of it. He pulls his PEZ dispenser out of his pocket). Here we go.
Kyle: Yeah, time to see if this all was gonna pay off at some point…
-Jack rails the entire dispenser of ten, takes a mouthful of water, and gulps them down.
Kyle: (Freaks out). Holy crap! I thought you said it wasn’t safe to eat too many of those!
Jack: It’s do or die time.
Kyle: (Sits for a second with an eyebrow raised). You feel anything yet?
Jack: (Looking himself over). Well, I do feel a little-YAAAAHHHH!!!!
-Instantly, Jack’s power skyrockets as he returns to maximum strength.
-The front windows blow out of the store and the entire street is rumbling from the effects of Jack’s power increase
-As Jack is looking himself up and down again, it’s apparent that his muscles are nearly shredding his shirt apart after bulging to an amazing degree.
-Both Derek and Chris stop fighting and look down the street to see what the hell just happened.
Derek: What the hell just happened?
Jack: (Steps out of the flower shop and yells down the street at Derek). You ready for another round?
Chris: (Squinting his eyes to see the scene clearly). Jack…?
Kyle: (Dancing excitedly). Hahaha! This is amazing!
Jack: Chris, you doing alright?
Chris: (He lies). Yeah, I’m doing great.
Derek: I’m busy with Chris at the moment, Jack, so you’ll have to wait a while if you want another chance.
Jack: (Walks slowly up the street again). I’m not sure I’ll have this chance again. (Dashes up the street at Derek).
–Jack seems to destroy Derek with a disturbingly powerful punch that fires Derek skidding down the street a few blocks, tearing up a line of concrete upon his landing.
Jack: I owed you that.
–A few moments pass with everyone holding their breath in astonishment.
-Finally, after what seems like an eternity, Derek gets to his feet, dusty but looking nearly unharmed at all. He has a cold, emotionless look on his face.
Derek: Jack, it’s rude to interrupt.
Chris: (Stunned). No way…
-Jack’s mind is racing, panicking, flipping out now.
-He definitely devastated Derek just there, he was sure of it, but although his body still looks somewhat ripped, Jack knows damn well that all the “extra” power the pills had given him via overdose was just used up and then some.
Jack: Kyle, I want you, Austin, and Kevin to get the hell out of here.
Jack: Because Chris and Derek have a score to settle.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 28
“Move Faster Darn It”
Recap: Despite Jack’s best efforts, Derek presented to be much more than he could handle due to the fact that he exhausted himself by using his barrier technique, a move that he has yet to perfect. Although both Kevin and Austin have stepped into the fray, it seems that Derek may still be too powerful for the three to subdue. The best plan is to send someone back to the Legion’s base to retrieve some of the prototype healing pills, but even that plan seems thin. What will it take to put Derek down?
Jack: (Derek continues to fight with Austin and Kevin off in the distance while Jack talks to the other two staying behind). Okay, we just need to hold Derek off for a few minutes until Lindsey gets back with my gear. And then we have to hope that it does any good. (Sigh). Great, I hate plans with too many ifs involved.
Kyle: We should be fine. I mean, we’ve got Austin and Kevin-
Danny: And me!
Kyle: Right, and Danny. There’s no way that Derek can blow through all of us.
Danny: Yeah. It’ll be really hard to kill all of us.
Jack: Sadly I’m not much help as of now. You’ll have to make do without me.
Danny: No problem! Danny away! (Takes off towards Derek).
Kyle: Is he going to die first?
Jack: I would not doubt it.
Derek: (Blocking Kevin’s attacks left and right). Is this the best you can come up with? C’mon, we trained together and still you’re not much stronger than the rest of the sheep.
Kevin: I’m not fighting to show you how strong I’ve gotten. I’m being forced to slow you down a bit so that you don’t kill everyone.
Derek: And you’re doing a smashing job. (Gut punch, then knees Kevin in the face. Kevin is thrown away from Derek). See what happens when you’re sandbaggin’ it?
Austin: (Yelling up at Derek from street level). Come down here already! You scared to give us a fighting chance?!
Derek: You’ve got a fighter who can fly and he’s not even trying. Maybe you should convince him to fight back!
Danny: Danny to the rescue! (Bolts towards Derek, intending to pound his face with a solid punch. Derek floats to the side of him, knees him in the chin, and then roundhouse kicks him towards Austin).
Austin: (Catches Danny, holding him upside down with his legs flailing). Easy there tiger.
Danny: (Generally confused). Bwah?
Kyle: Ah come on Derek, I can’t fly!
Derek: And even if you could, do you think you’d do much good?
Kyle: I’d at least do a pretty good job of presenting a slight inconvenience, which I’m sure you’d hate. Now come down here so that I can bother you properly! (Points to the street).
Derek: Why don’t I just bring you up here? (Flies down to Kyle and grabs the back of his shirt, lifting him up into the sky).
Kyle: (His eyes go wide). Hey! Shirt grabber! (Derek throws him up and then begins juggling Kyle in the air with punches).
Derek: I could make a fun game of this.
Kyle: (Getting punched). Bwuh! You’re not supposed to use your hands in hacky sack! Bwuh!
Derek: Fair enough. (Begins to juggle Kyle in the air with kicks instead).
Kyle: (Now getting kicked). Blar! That’s more like it! Brah! (Looks down at Derek and blasts him with an energy attack. Derek is engulfed in smoke). Hah hah! Now who’s the sneaky one? (The smoke clears and Derek is unscathed. Kyle begins to fall towards Derek again). Well crap, that was supposed to work. (Derek grabs Kyle and fires him towards the ground).
Austin: (Catches Kyle with some difficulty). Derek, I’m sick of playing catcher!
Kyle: (Upside down). You could put me down now, that’d be good. (Is dropped). Oof! (Rubs his head). Thanks a bunch.
Austin: Come on Derek, you know that there are only two people that you really want to fight with and one of them isn’t here.
Derek: And the other one didn’t present much of a fight now did he? (Looks down at Jack).
Jack: (Finally gets to his feet, but he’s pretty beaten at this point). You wouldn’t be so confident if you couldn’t fly.
Derek: (Sneers and floats back down). Have it your way. For you, and only you, I won’t fly. (Danny comes screaming at Derek from the sky. Derek launches himself up into the air and pummels Danny, ending by flicking him in the forehead). I’m not extending this courtesy to the others if they keep fighting in groups.
Danny: (Rubbing his forehead). Ow! Why’d you flick me?
Derek: (Lands again). Jack, if you can fight me I suggest you do so any time now.
Jack: (He keeps going over all the possible outcomes in his head. All of which keep resulting in him passing out nearly immediately from being blasted, smashed, or thrown into any number of obstacles). You’re on! (Clenches his fist).
Derek: (Slight smile). Hoorahs all around then.
-Derek vaults himself at Jack with his arms outstretched, ready to either pound Jack in the head of blast him to bits.
-Jack looks up and merely falls backwards, probably not of his own choosing.
-Derek on the other hand did not anticipate this and misjudges his speed, smashing into a telephone pole.
Jack: (Smiles). Hey, now there’s an outcome I didn’t expect.
Derek: (Getting up while rubbing his noggin. He breaks the telephone pole in half with one good punch). Was that your instinct kicking in or just fortunate timing for your body to give out on you?
Jack: (Standing up again). I’m going to go ahead and say that it was my keen reflexes and smashing good wit.
Derek: (Not amused whatsoever). Alright then, let’s see if you can’t do that again, eh? (Appears in front of Jack, nearly exploding his stomach with the force from his punch).
Jack: (Using up all of his strength in an attempt not to convey exactly how much pain he’s just been put in). Would you believe that you just got a lucky punch in there? (Derek takes his fist out of Jack’s gut). Teh, didn’t think so.
Derek: (Showing very little emotion). Jack, is this little bit of humor a result of massive amounts of blood clots?
Jack: Nah, but I think it is making me go cross-eyed. And now my attack! Hoo, HAH! (Thoks Derek square in the eyes with the tips of his fingers).
Derek: (Grabs his eyes with one hand and swings at Jack with the other). Ah, you bastard! (Jack’s body gives way again as he falls under Derek’s punch and lands a solid headbutt into Derek’s gonads, completely by coincidence). YAHH!!
Jack: (Lying face first on the ground). Man, maybe I should fight with concussions more often. (Derek regains his sight and the feeling in his testicles and picks Jack up by his belt). Or maybe not…
Derek: You’re not going to like what I’ve got in store for you next. (While holding Jack in one hand, he punches him in the face with the other. He keeps doing this a few more times until Jack finally spits out a mouthful of blood). Damn, I was expecting candy.
Jack: Nope, sorry.
-Jack reaches down and undoes his belt. He instantly falls out of Derek’s grasp.
-Upon hitting the ground, he spins around and kicks the feet out from under Derek, forcing him to fall sideways.
-Jack then comes up and knees Derek hard in the side.
-Derek rolls off Jack’s knee and as he’s getting to his feet, he slaps Jack in the side of the face with the belt that he’s still holding, then wraps it around Jack’s throat.
Derek: I hope you don’t mind breathing much, Jack.
Jack: Me? Nah, I haven’t been able to breath since you punctured my lung a few minutes ago.
Derek: (Begins to tighten the belt around Jack’s neck). This has been fun Jack, perhaps we’ll have to do this again sometime. (Stops and pretends to be thinking). Well, heh, maybe that’s just me being optimistic. (Gets an evil grin on his face). Goodbye Jack. (Looks down at Jack’s watch and sees it start beeping rapidly all of a sudden). Wha…? (A huge blast is fired from behind Derek, but before he can turn around to see it, he’s blistered with an explosion to his backside). YAAAHHH!!! (He turns his head to see Kevin standing with his hands in the typical energy blast position).
Kevin: (Panting). Derek…
Derek: (Beyond livid). KEVIN?!
Kevin: Derek, you’ve grown too lustful for power, and such greed can only lead to discontent.
Derek: (He’s so dumbstruck that his mouth is hanging open). Are you seriously quoting the bible at a time like this?
Kevin: Even a paraphrase is better than nothing.
Derek: Oh I am just pissed! I think I’m going to kill Jack just to show you how pissed I am! (Turns back around. Austin’s holding the other end of the belt that Derek’s clutching so tightly).
Austin: Hiya sugar. (Slams Derek in the face, who is then hurled backward).
Kyle: (Running away from the action as fast as his legs can take him while carrying Jack on his shoulders). Sorry Jack, we couldn’t let him pop your head just so that you could prove a point; we might end up needing you somewhere along the line.
Jack: (He’s barely coherent of the world and just has a goofy smile on his face with one eye nearly closed shut). Heh, no worries from this end.
Derek: (Jumps to a standing position once more). How many of you do I have to beat down before you just roll over and take it?!
Austin: I’d say from the looks of it, probably just three more.
Kevin: But we’re not about to give up.
Danny: Yeah! We might even win!
Derek: On the positive side of things, at least it won’t be boring since you’ll all be trying. So who’s going to throw the next cheap punch?
Danny: Yah! (Runs at Derek, oblivious to the fact that he’s probably going to get his face smashed in by being so eager).
-Derek throws Danny to the ground.
-Austin comes at Derek from another angle, but Derek swats him aside.
-Kevin comes in from his rear, but Derek kicks behind him, clipping Kevin in the side of the head.
-Danny gets back up and tries to attack Derek, but his punches just can’t find their mark as Derek moves out of the way of each, finally smacking Danny in the face.
-At this point, both Kevin and Austin have recovered from their glancing blows and attack Derek from both sides.
-Derek reaches out and grabs Austin’s arm as he comes in to punch, swinging him into Kevin and sending them into a huddled mess.
-Danny shakes off his hit just as Derek grabs his head and smashes his face with a head butt.
-Danny stumbles backwards and trips over the other two.
Derek: This is almost comical guys. (Holds his arm up, powering up a blast).
-The three realize that staying in their current position would be rather foolish, so all scramble to get up and run.
-Derek discharges, clearing the area where they were all lying moments ago.
-He fires another two blasts to his left and his right, one right after the other.
-On his left, Kevin jumps out of the way as he’s nearly overtaken by the blast.
-To the right, Austin ducks as the attack is about to claim his head.
-Danny comes up behind Derek at this moment and grabs the back of his head.
Danny: Aha! I got you!
Derek: (Thrusts his elbows back into Danny’s stomach). Tag, you’re it.
-Derek grabs Danny’s hands and flips him over his head, bringing him face first onto his knee, then kicks him skidding across the pavement.
-Both Austin and Kevin are attacking from opposite sides again. Derek blocks both attackers, catching one punch and one kick.
-He throws both of them straight upwards.
-Derek rises to meet them, first striking Kevin with an uppercut, then turning around and kicking Austin, who, lacking the ability to float, falls with a thud.
-Recovering quickly from the uppercut, Kevin grabs Derek’s head with one hand and pelts him with a serious haymaker with the other.
-Derek finally feels the effects of someone’s attack after so many failed attempts.
Kevin: So you’re still human after all?
Derek: (Grabbing his nose and floating a few feet in front of Kevin). You’d think that, wouldn’t you? (Fires a punch at Kevin’s chest, then in a series of disappearing and reappearing attacks, he hits him three more times from every side, finally double-handed smashing Kevin to the ground). None of you, and I honestly mean none of you here, can move faster than me. (Lands). Kevin, it seems that you, too, are still human, eh?
Kevin: (Cringing as he gets up). Yes, it seems that I have a long way to go.
Derek: Austin, you getting up yet?
Austin: (Managing to force himself to get up). Yep. Just felt like resting there for a little bit.
Derek: And Danny? (Rolls his eyes). No, let me guess…
Danny: (Jumping at Derek from behind). Yah!
Derek: (Moves to the side and elbows Danny in the spine as he passes. He puts a foot under him and flips him into the air where he grabs a hold of him). Here, take this. (Tosses Danny over to Austin). Tell him that he’s not doing much good sneaking up behind me while yelling like an idiot. Jack, seems that your lousy group isn’t fairing too well today. (Turns towards Jack, who’s all alone across the street sitting up against a lamppost). I’ve beaten you guys pretty severely and…hey, where’s the fifth one?
Kyle: (From way down the street, it becomes apparent that Kyle’s been charging an energy blast for a while now. From the looks of things, Kyle’s managed to create a pretty lethal-sized attack). I present to you, the famous “Dammit Blast”. Enjoy. (Fires one hell of a blast that screams towards Derek, who isn’t even looking in the direction that the blast is coming from).
Derek: (Sees the blast out of the corner of his eye and finally a look of panic creeps across his face). What the hell?
Kyle: Hasta la vista Derek.
-With hardly any time to reach, Derek reaches his hands inside his jacket and in one swift motion brings his sai out, grazing them together.
-The result causes them to generate a sonic boom a split second away from the blast obliterating him.
-The detonation still goes off without a hitch, however, and the windows on the block all blow out simultaneously as everyone is engulfed in a bright light.
Jack: (Shielding his eyes with his arm, he tries his best to see what happened). Did we get him?
–As the light fades and the dust clears, everyone can see that Derek is no worse off than he was before, although he does look pretty shaken up and even more pissed than before, if such a feat was possible.
-In front of him is a crescent moon-shaped crater, with Derek in the area untouched.
Derek: Not bad. Not bad at all, except for one slight detail. (Flips his sai around in his hands). You failed!
Kyle: (Drops his hands, defeated). Well darn it.
Jack: (Sweating, very worried). What the hell is taking Lindsey so long…?
-Elsewhere at the Legion’s base…
Lindsey: (Scouring Jack’s room). Where is it?! (Throws a pile of books to the ground as she looks through all of his things).
Leena: (Leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed). No luck?
Lindsey: No, none! (Rummages through his closet, tossing clothes and papers over her shoulder).
Leena: Where would he keep all his stuff?
Lindsey: (Nearly in tears). I don’t know! He didn’t tell me anything! (Scans his desk for anything and finding nothing, throws another pile of books off his desk in frustration).
Leena: (A notebook titled “Journal” lands at her feet). Hello, what have we here? (Picks it up and starts reading it).
Lindsey: (Looks over and notices that Leena’s just looking through his journal). You’re not helping! (Frantically thinking of anything). Go tell the others to help Jack out! He’ll need some help!
Leena: Lindz, everyone else is exhausted. We’ve been walking for days now; I promise you that we’d only be getting in the way.
Lindsey: (Looks up, tears in her eyes). Please, help me.
Leena: (Sighs). Well, where was the last place Jack had been before he ran off to find us?
Lindsey: He was… (Has an epiphany). That’s it! He was in the hospital wing with us! (Takes off running to the hospital wing).
-Back on the streets…
Jack: I don’t get it; this place should be swarming with Legion soldiers right about now.
Kyle: You wanted soldiers to show up?
Jack: Would have been nice.
Kyle: You’re out of luck, none are coming. The Commander sent Lindsey and I to look into it and that was it.
Jack: Well crap.
Derek: (Nearly falls over from laughing). Hahahaha! Jack, it looks like the Legion is trying once more to get rid of you! Wahahaha!
Jack: (Wills himself to stand up at long last). So they’re just giving me the honor of dealing with you personally and without interruption. (Fighter stance). Seems like they just have a lot of confidence in our abilities.
Derek: Still standing? (Puts his arms on his hips and laughs). You’re joking! You just don’t know when to call it quits, do you?
Jack: Nah, I’m just not the quitting type. (Takes one step and nearly stumbles over his own feet).
Derek: (Quite amused at all of this). Your body might just not let you continue on. (Gets into a loose fighting stance). But if you insist, I’ll help you to get back into that crumpled sitting position you were in just now.
Jack: (Puts up his defense, which is noticeably crappy). Oh goody…
-Back at the base…
Lindsey: (Runs into the hospital wing to look for Jack’s things). He must have left all his stuff in here! (Enters Chris’ room). They’d be right… (Gasps and puts her hands over her mouth as high-pitched “Eeeeeee…” can be heard coming from the life support machines). Oh no…
-On the streets…
Jack: Great, this is just what I had hoped it would come to. Darn it, I wish Lindsey could have gone faster…
Derek: Prepare yourself Jack, this may leave a mark. (Jogs over to Jack, his fist ready to smash Jack’s face into wet chunks).
Kevin: (Throws himself at Derek with all his strength). No Derek no!
Derek: (Turns around, annoyed at Kevin’s persistence). No more from the cheap seats. (Pulls out his sai again, creating a sonic boom at Kevin that knocks him into the next city block).
Jack: Leave them all out of this Derek. (Weakly walks over and punches Derek in the head, although it barely makes a “pat” noise as Jack’s completely depleted his energy).
Derek: This is just depressing really. (Jack takes a few more swings at Derek, none of which are doing any good. Derek finally swats him lightly, causing him to stagger backwards before falling into Derek’s arms, basically hugging him). Sorry Jack, I love you too, but I do feel the need to see other people.
Jack: (Pathetically exhausted). Ah, but can’t we just be friends?
Derek: Nope. (Picks Jack up by the throat and holds him in the air. His body has gone nearly limp already). It’s too bad that it had to end this way. (Looks back around at the other four, all of which are doing their best to stay on their feet). Does any one else feel like giving it another shot?
-A figure carrying a backpack steps out into the street. He’s walking with his head down, a ball cap drawn over his eyes. He seems to be having some difficulty breathing, but this looks about as normal as any of the others standing on this particular street.
-He tilts his head up, looking Derek square in the eyes. He’s showing very little emotion in his face, with very little color to match.
Chris: It looks like it’s my turn.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 27
“Second Winds of Change”
Recap: Upon his return to Trillium City, Derek announced that he would be resigning from the Legion, or at least from Jack’s control, and encouraged any to follow his example. Derek has already demonstrated that he has mastered some new techniques and is giving Jack a run for his money. Is Derek actually stronger than Jack at this point, or is Jack just waiting to show his real strength?
Jack: (Takes a deep breath and checks his watch. It’s still going crazy from reading Derek’s power). Before we get back into this, you mind answering a question for me, Derek?
Derek: I don’t see the harm in you at least asking.
Jack: Where did you learn how to fly?
Derek: (States very matter-of-factly). Desert hermit. It’s amazing what hermits can teach when they’ve been isolated for years.
Jack: (Continues to check his watch. He notices that Derek’s power is dropping. Jack smiles). Alright then, ready for the second round?
Derek: (Pounds his fist). Depends if you’re ready to give in yet.
Jack: Nope, you’ll have to do better than a few sneaky tricks.
Derek: Well good, I have plenty more sneaky tricks left to use.
Jack: I figured about as much. (Fighter stance). Let’s go.
Derek: First, prove to me that you’re not just stalling for time. (Thrusts one arm out and begins charging an energy blast).
Jack: Why would I be stalling?
Derek: You might be waiting for back-up, or for one of these brave souls to jump in to save you, or maybe you think I’ll get tired first. I’m just curious.
Jack: Nope, no tricks from me. (His watch goes crazy again).
Derek: For your sake, I sure hope so. (Fires his blast. It scoots slowly through the air towards Jack, who just stands ready to catch it).
Jack: Since I’m still in an authoritative position over you, I should let you know that straight-on energy blasts do little use.
-Jack braces himself and grabs a hold of the blast. It is moving painfully slow, so slow that Jack could probably have just casually strolled past it, but evidently he’s got something to prove, so he’s decided to deflect it instead.
-The blast isn’t budging an inch from its desired path despite Jack pushing against it. As a result, he too is being pushed along. He begins muttering to himself.
Jack: Why is this thing so damn heavy? (Pulls one hand back into a fist, and punches back against the energy ball. It streaks back towards Derek).
Derek: Oh come on Jack, you’re not teaching me a lesson very well if you’re just going to send it back at me. (Backhands the blast back at Jack, it picks up speed the more it’s getting hit). You should probably know that this is another new technique of mine.
Jack: (Uses both hands to hit the ball back). Crap, this thing’s getting harder and harder to hit back.
Derek: You might want to move out of the way Jack; this is going to be one hell of an explosion when it goes off. (Smashes it back with both hands. It zooms towards Jack again).
Jack: Are you satisfied that I’m not using any tricks? (Hits it back).
Derek: Almost. (Hits it back).
Jack: I assume that there won’t be any tricks from you, either? (Gets ready to hit the ball back. Derek appears behind Jack and grabs hold of his arms, facing him directly into the blast).
Derek: You would assume wrong. (The blast makes contact with Jack, but it just falls to the ground and with a “spuh” sound disappears. Derek lets go of Jack, who is confused beyond recognition).
Jack: Huh? What was the point of that?
Derek: (He’s pretty proud of himself as he laughs heartily). You should have seen the look on your face! Wahahaha! Ah, but I’ve seen all that I’ve wanted to see. At this point, I could probably kill you without much effort.
Jack: (Raises an eyebrow, disgusted). You think that just because you get the better of me once that I’m beatable? Now you can’t even use that technique on me; I know the trick behind it.
Derek: I wasn’t worried on whether or not that particular attack could destroy you; I was merely proving a point. And now if you absolutely believe that you stand a chance against me, please, come at me with everything you’ve got.
Jack: Sorry Derek, just because you’re easily angered doesn’t mean that you’ll get me all flustered just by insulting me and besting me with ridiculously showy tricks. (Brushes his nose at Derek). Seems to me that you’re hoping I lose my focus.
Derek: (Grits his teeth). Rrr…Jack, stop talking, you’re just wasting my time. Now fight. (Flexes his fist, cracking his fingers).
Jack: After you, please. (Waves his hand to offer Derek the first strike).
-Derek slowly moves towards Jack, who puts up his guard as a response. As he’s walking, Derek suddenly disappears from sight.
-Jack looks all over and then turns himself around quickly, elbowing the air behind him. The attack connects right under Derek’s chin as he’s reappearing.
Derek: Gah dammit!
Jack: (Begins running at Derek). You can’t just keep using the same moves again. (Pounds Derek in the stomach, forcing him to hit the ground and bounce). I’ve trained you, I know how you fight and I’ve seen you do that move over and over again. (Kicks him into the air). Maybe the hermit didn’t teach you how to diversify your moves?
-Jack jumps into the air, ready to slam Derek back to the ground. Right as he swings, Derek disappears again.
-Jack looks around and can’t find Derek anywhere, finally letting gravity take him back down to earth.
Jack: Now where’d he go? Oh you’re kidding me… (Punches behind him again and hits the palm of Derek’s hand. Derek closes his hand around Jack’s fist, keeping a firm hold).
Derek: How’s this for diversifying my moves? (Pulls Jack in close while still holding his arm and punches him hard in the gut). You might do well to listen to your own advice. (Pounds him again). You’re just too slow to keep up, Jack. (And again). Even if you’ve got better skills I can run laps around you. (Three more devastating punches). Now get out of my sight if you’ve got nothing more to add to this exchange. (Lets go of Jack’s arm and punches him a fair distance where Jack lands on his back, grabbing his stomach and coughing).
Jack: Ahhh…Ragh… (Woozily gets to his feet, still holding his gut). Okay, I’m about ready to admit that you’ve gotten a bit stronger.
Derek: What was that?
Jack: But that doesn’t mean that I’m any weaker. (Stands upright again and ready to fight).
Derek: Jack, seriously, just lie down before you hurt yourself.
Jack: Nope, I’m too proud to do that. You should understand.
-Jack bolts towards Derek, screeching through the air and moving faster than anyone else can track.
-He reappears with a fierce knee into Derek’s face, which throws him backwards.
-Jack kicks but Derek blocks it, and the same thing happens when Jack kicks again with the other leg. Once Jack lands he elbows Derek in the chest.
-Derek takes this hit, but instead of reacting much to it, he grabs Jack in a bear hug.
Derek: I’ll give you three more minutes of this before you pass out completely.
Jack: (Struggling to breath while in Derek’s grasp). Oh come on…I’ve got at least four left in me…
Derek: Still just stalling for time.
-Derek grabs the back of Jack’s jacket and throws him into the side of the building next to them.
-Jack plows through the cement and lies in a pile of rubble from the hole he created.
Jack: (Steadies his head with one hand). Oooooo… (Shakes his head). This just doesn’t make sense. That barrier of mine must have taken more out of me that I realized. His power just isn’t reading that high. (Taps his watch). Nope, still not over 500. I know that I’m stronger than that. Or at least I would be if I were at full power again.
Derek: (Yells in at Jack). Hey! You coming out of that hole or do I have to come in?
Jack: (Throws a chunk of cement off himself and stands up). I need a plan, a good plan, a fast plan.
Derek: That’s it, I’m coming in! (Steps in through the hole). Jack? Hello? You in here?
Jack: (Picks up the chunk of cement and throws it at Derek. It smashes into the side of his head, knocking him back out of the opening). I need a better plan that that. Even I thought that was cheap.
Derek: (Holding the side of his head. He’s pissed). Yah! Jack! What the hell was that?! I’ll bring this whole God damned building down on you if I have to! (Starts charging up a huge blast again).
Lindsey: (Comes running into the intersection. She sees Derek and stops, confused). Derek? Is that you?
Derek: (Loses concentration and looks back towards Lindsey’s voice. His blast fades). What? What are you doing here?
-Jack flies through the opening and cracks Derek in the back with a massive uppercut followed by a series of quick punches in rapid succession.
-He finally uses both hands to slam Derek in the back of the head, making him face plant into the pavement.
-Jack looks up and finally sees Lindsey.
Jack: Lindz? What’re you doing here?
Lindsey: We got word from the Legion that something was going on down here, so we came running as soon as we could.
Lindsey: Yeah, Kyle and I. (Looks behind her). Um, Kyle was here a minute ago.
Kyle: (Comes running from way down the street panting heavily). Okay…heh, heh, you run too fast. (Looks all around the area). Oh hey guys. (Looks at Derek with his face on the yellow line in the middle of the road). What’s with Skidmark?
Derek: (Finally brings his head up and pushes himself to his knees). Looks like the gang’s all here then. (Reaches behind him in the blink of an eye and grabs Jack’s shirt). Jack, that was pretty sneaky for someone who’s against all my sneakiness. (Turns his head to face Jack). Care to explain?
Derek: (Rises to his feet. In the process, he picks Jack up over his head and slams him hard into the position that he was in a few seconds ago. He stamps his foot into Jack’s spine and leaves it there). If I felt like it I could make you a paraplegic right here and now.
Kevin: (Finally speaking up again). Derek, cut it out!
Derek: (Annoyed, hardly taking his eyes off Jack). Kevin, do not bother me when I’m gaining an awesome victory over Jack.
Kevin: You’re abusing the power that you’ve got.
Derek: No, I’m demonstrating a slice of it. I haven’t even begun to abuse it yet.
Austin: (Angry). Chill the hell out Derek, alright?! We’ve been back in town for less than an hour and already you’ve managed to cause some substantial collateral damage. I just want to go take a shower and relax a bit; can we please just go do that and then kill each other tomorrow?
Jack: (Weakly speaking up). That sounds like a good idea to me…
Derek: You be quiet! (Points his hand down at Jack and a powerful looking energy blast appears). Jack, I’m ending this a full minute before you said it would last.
Kevin: Derek, no!
Derek: Sayonara Jack!
-Derek starts to fire his beam as Kevin rockets into Derek’s face with a headbutt.
-Derek is hurled away from Jack as his blast goes off, tearing up a clear line across the road.
-The others dive out of the way as it blows past them and decimates the side of a building.
Kevin: (Standing with his fists clenched, his body shaking). Enough Derek!
Lindsey: Jack! (Runs over to him and kneels down). Are you alright?
Jack: (Smiles a bit). Well, other than the footprint in my spinal cord, I’m doing pretty okay.
Kyle: Yo! The building’s coming down! (Sure enough, the building that Derek shot begins to come down on everyone, so they respond by scattering and yelling like idiots).
Lindsey: Hoy! (Throws Jack onto her shoulders and runs out of the way. The entire intersection is now filled with a fallen building).
Kevin: (Surveys the area). Is everyone alright?
Jack: I don’t think that anyone got caught in the debris.
Danny: (Massages his head). I still wanged my head pretty good.
Jack: But are you okay?
Danny: Oh yeah, I’m fine. It just kinda hurt.
Jack: You do know that I’m probably bleeding internally, right?
Danny: (Blinks). You feeling alright?
Jack: Oh yeah, never better.
Kevin: (Pleading again). Derek, do you see what happened? You’re completely out of hand, you need to stop. (Looks around, Derek is gone). Derek?
Derek: (Flying out of the sky). So you’re against me, too?!
Kevin: (Whips upwards to see Derek about to break his face). Yah!
Austin: Kevin, duck!
–As Kevin just barely reacts to anything being yelled at him, Austin clubs Derek in the face with a lamp post.
-Kevin has luckily seen this and has ducked.
-Derek however is coming straight for Austin and is knocked spinning senselessly into the side of yet another building.
Derek: (Furious as he gets up). You little bastard! Where’d you come from?!
Austin: (Throws down the lamp post and gets ready to fight Derek). I just gotten tired of all your mindless bitching. Cool the frick down already.
Derek: RAH! I’ll show you mindless! (Charges both hands with energy blasts and looks to fire upon Austin and the city in general). How’s this for mindless?!
-Kevin comes down from above and wails on Derek’s head with both feet.
-Derek is blasted to the ground where more pavement is broken.
-Kevin remains floating in the air while Derek’s eyes nearly pop from there sockets by how pissed of he’s gotten.
Derek: (His entire body is quivering with rage). Double teaming me?! You think that’s going to do much more than irritate me?! (Vwings in front of Kevin). I thought you were on my side!
Kevin: I was on your side, but you’re just not making any sense! We have to lead through example. Everyone is welcome to join us! A kingdom divided amongst itself cannot stand, Derek!
Derek: BAAAAHH!!! Enough with your philosophical bible crap!
Kevin: Regardless of how you feel about me I don’t want to fight with you!
Derek: So you throw a few punches and now that you’ve got my attention you’re backing out? I don’t think so! (He and Kevin exchange heavy punches while high in the air as the others are formulating an attack plan from elsewhere).
Jack: (Finally getting to a sitting position). Okay guys, we’ve got a bit of a problem it seems.
Kyle: I’d say that we’ve moved past problem and have hit snafu.
Lindsey: What’s Derek’s power at?
Jack: According to my watch, which may or may not be accurate, Derek has gone past 700 and is officially stronger than any of us except me.
Scott: What about Kevin or Danny? They both trained with him, so aren’t they about even?
Jack: Kevin’s close to Derek’s strength but Danny…
Danny: (Smiling and excited). I’m super strong, right?
Jack: Sure why not. If I hadn’t tapped myself out with my barrier I’d probably be able to knock Derek on his ass.
Lindsey: So why don’t you use one of those weird candy things?
Jack: They don’t work exactly like that but it’s worth a shot. (Reaches into his pocket and realizes that it’s empty. He frantically pats around his pants until he realizes that he doesn’t have what he’s looking for). What? Where is everything?! (Thinks to himself). This isn’t like me; I always carry my gear with me. Damnit, I must have forgot to grab everything when I stormed out of the hospital wing.
Lindsey: Well what do we do?
Jack: I need my gear. Inside it are all my supplies, such as those energizer pills. It won’t make me full strength, but it’s the best thing we’ve got to work with at the moment. I can’t run back to the HQ in my current condition so someone else is going to have to go for me.
Lindsey: I’ll go Jack.
Jack: I figured that you would. Take the others with you, get them out of here. We need to reduce the chances of them getting injured.
Lindsey: Right. C’mon guys!
Kyle: I’ll stay here and see if I can lend a hand or something.
Lindsey: Right. (She runs over to where the rest of the group is huddled). Everyone, we’re getting out of here.
Leena: Lindsey! Gladly! (Lindsey, Leena, Clinton, Willy, and Scott all take off running).
Willy: Danny, come on man!
Danny: Nah, I’m stayin’ here! I’ve got the inside scoop on Derek’s skills, plus I’m super powerful!
Willy: Danny, please, we need to get out of here! I don’t stand a chance against Derek right now!
Danny: (Nods). Willy, I’m sorry, I’ve got to help.
Willy: (Sighs and nods). Okay then. Good luck.
Danny: (Nods back and smiles, giving Willy a thumbs up). No worries.
Willy: Scott, Clinton? Are you two coming or going?
Clinton: (Looking back and forth). I…I…(Shakes his head). I need to get out of here. I can’t help this situation. I can’t even figure out where to begin.
Scott: And I just don’t care. Let the idiots fight. I’ve got better things to do right now.
Willy: Then let’s go! (They all take off after Lindsey and Leena).
Derek: (Looks down from his tussle with Kevin). What?! You’re all leaving?! No, no no no! I’m not done with you all yet!
Kevin: Derek let them go!
Derek: Forget it! (Backhands Kevin, spinning him away. Derek pulls his arm back and fires a good-sized energy ball at the group).
Lindsey: Oh crap!
Austin: Guys get moving! (Dives in front of them and stops the blast. He’s straining every muscle in his body to keep the blast from wiping them out). Go go go! I can’t hold this for very long!
Lindsey: Right! I’ll be back soon Jack! (She and the others take off).
Derek: Austin?! You think you’re going to be able to stop that thing?! Why does no one understand how strong I’ve become?!
Kevin: You’re beginning to sound like a scratched record! (Chops Derek in the neck, causing him to lose control of the blast again).
Austin: (Grabs hold of the blast and swings it around and around, finally throwing it back at Derek). Why don’t you come down from there Derek?! I’m sick of seeing you floating out of reach!
Derek: (Shaking his head to clear it). One attacks from the left, the other from the right, and now you’re using my own moves against me? I may be a broken record but I’m still a number one hit! (Boots the blast way into the sky where it explodes).
Kyle: Derek! That sounded really stupid!
Derek: Shut up! I’m too busy fighting everyone to think up snappy dialogue! But I’m done with this pointless exercise! (Fires himself up and charges his energy). Hey Jack?! What’m I hitting on the scale?!
Jack: (Checks his watch). I choose not to answer that! (Mutters to himself). Those guys had better hurry…
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 26
“In Need of a Mutiny”
Recap: Last time, after successfully completing their training with the desert hermit, Derek, Kevin and Danny were sent on their way. As they arrived back in Trillium City, they ran into Austin and his group who had also recently returned. When Austin suggested that they head to the Legion’s Headquarters, Derek ultimately declined and offered his own solution.
Derek: (Smirks and clenches his fist.) From now on we do things my way.
Austin: (Confused). Excuse me?
Derek: The Legion- Jack- is holding us back from accomplishing what is rightfully ours.
Austin: (In somewhat disbelief). And what exactly is rightfully ours?
Derek: Power. (Cups his hands). Unbelievable power. (His eyes grow large). All right here, in the palm of our hands. (Looks up). We could run this city.
Austin: (Pause). You’re crazy. (Begins walking in the opposite direction). I can tell that you guys must have had a long trip but so have we and we’re really tired. I’m heading back to the Legion’s base. (Turns towards Derek and his group). I hope you decide to come, too.
Derek: (Responding coldly). No.
Austin: Fine then.
Scott: (Strongly considering the options). He may be onto something.
Leena: Oh don’t tell me you’re siding with the crazy man.
Derek: Don’t forget; the crazy man always turns out to be right in the end.
Austin: (Finally turns back around and walks right up to Derek). Derek, what you are suggesting is crazy; you know that, right?
Derek: How could it be crazy?
Austin: We do not possess the type of power and more importantly, the experience, needed to take control of a city. And if we took control of the city, then what?
Derek: You’re right. We may not have the experience, (Begins pacing), but we definitely have the power. (Looks up quickly). Well…at least some of us do. (Looks at Austin and sneers). Heh.
Austin: (Shakes his head in amazement and frustration. He starts walking away again). I’m too tired to deal with this right now. Kevin? Danny? Either of you siding with him as well?
-Kevin stays awkwardly quiet as he clears his throat.
Danny: Well…yeah, actually.
Derek: Don’t try and convince my soldiers otherwise. We three understand far more than your bunch of refugees.
Kevin: (Softly suggesting). Derek, this isn’t how we’re going to get them to side with us. Lead through example.
Derek: You’re right. (Smiles). Allow me to demonstrate a sample of what we’ve learned.
-Derek closes his eyes, tilts his head down, and clenches his fists again. He slowly begins to levitate higher and higher until he’s at least ten feet in the air.
Leena: (Everyone from Austin’s group is baffled). You can float?!
Derek: Correction: I can fly. (Flies into the air while spinning, then comes back and lands in front of Austin, advancing aggressively with each step). You see? We’ve learned things that not even Jack could teach us. We’re ready to take control for ourselves.
Austin: You learn how to fly and suddenly you’re king shit of turd mountain?
Derek: Hah. (Backs off and walks back towards the others). Flying is the least of what we’ve learned. (As he walks he brings his right hand up and begins charging an energy attack). Jack refused to teach us anything but the most basic of energy combat.
Austin: That’s because he didn’t know any more.
Derek: Exactly. But now we do. (Fires the blast into the air where it viciously explodes, blinding everyone around with how intense the light is, pushing them to their knees with its force). We learned this in less than two weeks. I can teach you, but you have to pledge your loyalty to me.
Kevin: (Getting worried). We didn’t agree on that.
Austin: (Rubbing his eyes and speaking through gritted teeth). I’m not about to let you just show up out of nowhere and expect us to take you seriously just because you’ve learned some new tricks.
Derek: Some new tricks? You think that’s all this is? (Now getting angry). I’ve grown exponentially stronger since you’ve last seen me and you think this is all some trick?
Kevin: Derek, it’s too soon. They’re not ready yet.
Derek: (Pissed). Quiet! (Turns back to Austin). I know what’s best for us all. My father taught me how important it is to take control of those who have no idea how to lead, now, if you’re not with us, you’re just getting in the way.
Austin: (Pause). Ultimatums, huh? That’s what this is getting reduced to? No room for talking?
Derek: Talking’s run out its usefulness. It’s action’s turn.
-Meanwhile, across town near the Legion’s Headquarters…
Jack: (Jogging down the street, still fuming about Lindsey). Right, she thinks I’m heartless. She doesn’t get it, he’ll be fine. Something always comes along to set things right, that’s just the way things work. Worrying about him is only going to make everything worse. (Derek’s blast goes off in the distant sky). What the hell was that? (Picks up speed). I’m getting sick of random unexplained things happening.
Intercom: Report, all Legion members. There have been reports of a disturbance coming from Southern Trillium City. Approach with caution.
Jack: (Tapping his ear, listening to the intercom). Hmm…looks like I’ll be the first one to respond then. (Takes off at full speed).
-Southern Trillium City…
Derek: So, who’s with me?
Kevin: I’m not going to allow you to get out of hand, Derek. Just let them be for now. They need rest. We need rest.
Derek: I’m fine.
Austin: You’re crazy.
Leena: (Very cautious). Derek, listen to some reason, alright?
Derek: Reason? From you of all people? You don’t even have a reason for being here in the first place. (Takes a look at everyone, his eyes twitching a bit). Come to think of it, most of you don’t have a reason for being here.
Kevin: Everyone is important and has their own reasons for why they came.
Derek: Bullshit. (Continues pacing). I’m starting to understand now… Why they wanted to get rid of us… There are just too many of us. And now I understand why I’m here. I’m here to thin out the crop; weed out the rotten fruit.
Austin: You’re talking like a madman.
Derek: (Shakes his head and acts as if he’s coming out of a daze). You’re right. That did sound pretty corny. But the jist is pretty accurate. (Waves his hand around in a circular motion as he walks). So, time to choose. Me or them?
Jack: (Runs into the middle of the intersection where the others are all standing. Upon seeing everyone he’s stunned). I don’t believe this!
Derek: (Smiles, not too surprised). Aha! Just who I wanted to see.
Austin: (Happy). Jack, you’re alive!
Jack: Everyone is. Lindsey and Kyle are back at headquarters and they’re just fine.
Derek: (Serious). What about Chris?
Jack: He’s there, too. (Stops for a moment). But he’s not doing so well.
Austin: (Intensely worried). What happened?
Jack: We tried running back through the middle of the complex but we found ourselves outnumbered.
Austin: (Motions towards his group). We ran off into the forest. Syrus chased us for half a day, but we left when something back at the base exploded.
Jack: I figured Syrus followed someone. He wasn’t at the base when we were captured or came to.
Derek: We were in the desert when that explosion went off. Did Chris get caught in it or something?
Jack: Not exactly… (Shrugs). Before the explosion we were interrogated and Chris was injected with the Locust Virus. He’s near death right now and the Legion can’t find a cure for him.
Derek: (Almost quiet and remorseful). That doesn’t surprise me.
Jack: It might do him some good to see you all though. He was the one in my group doing all the worrying about everyone else.
Derek: (Louder and less remorseful). Again, that doesn’t surprise me.
Austin: I would really like to see him.
Jack: Then let’s go back to the base. He’s in the hospital wing and-
Derek: (Cuts him off). And now we’re back to this argument. Jack, you weren’t here to get the full effect of my speech so I’ll cut it short and give you the important facts.
-Derek disappears and reappears in front of Jack, slamming him in the face with a powerful punch upon reappearing.
-Jack goes flying onto his back, skidding across the street.
Derek: (Rubbing his knuckles). We’re done with the Legion.
Jack: (Gets up quickly while rubbing the side of his face. Everyone else is unsure how to respond). I see. Well, I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming.
Derek: Of course, you make it your business to know.
Jack: Something like that. And now I finally get a chance for a workout. (Smiles and starts stretching out). Thank God. I’ve been so damned cooped up these past few weeks. It’ll feel good to finally get some real exercise.
Austin: Jack, you’re not seriously going to humor him are you?
Jack: (Somewhat disjointed from his right mind). I’ve got a great sense of humor, I find Derek rather humorous, I’ll humor him for the time being.
Derek: (Surprised). Amazing. I can’t say that I’d expect you to do something like this.
Leena: Jack, watch out, he’s learned a lot since we got separated.
Jack: Yeah, I saw his blast. I’m not impressed.
Derek: (Waggles his finger). Be warned, that’s not all I’ve learned.
Jack: Right now I’m not too concerned.
Derek: I assume that to mean that you’ve held back a lot from us?
Jack: Nope. (Cracks his knuckles). Not a lot, just enough. (Cracks his neck). You weren’t ready to learn it then, and I’m pretty convinced that you’re not ready to know it now.
Derek: What makes you say that?
Jack: Because, the more I taught you, the more you thought I was keeping a secret and the more bitter you’d get. Eventually you would have learned everything but still think I was keeping something vital from you and you’d just lash out without thinking. And here we are, right where I predicted.
Derek: But now I know more than you do.
Jack: Sure, we’ll see.
Derek: (Getting noticeably angry again). Stop mocking me!
Jack: (Smiling and remaining unusually calm). I’m not mocking, I’m humoring. Can’t you tell the difference?
Derek: Alright Jack, let’s see what you’re capable of! (Gets into a fighter stance and powers up).
Jack: (Also gets into a fighter stance. His watch begins beeping and such in response to Derek’s powering up. Jack glances over at the watch). Still not worried…
Austin: Jack, he can fly.
Jack: (Jack shows his first sign of worry as he looks over at Austin). What?!
-Derek takes off, rocketing towards Jack.
-Jack barely looks back to see Derek streaking towards him, ready to smash his head in.
-Responding to this, Jack leans quickly out of the way, letting Derek fly by with a missed punch.
-Derek screeches to a stop on the pavement as he turns back around to face Jack.
Derek: Surprised to see some more of my new “tricks”? (Begins running at Jack again).
Jack: Not entirely. (Stands his ground as Derek charges him).
-Derek throws a punch that Jack sidesteps.
-After the failed swing, Derek comes around with an elbow, which Jack grabs and pushes back, then plants a mean fist of his own into Derek’s face.
Derek: Gah…(Shakes his head to clear it). So, you really have been hiding a lot of what you know.
Jack: You truly shouldn’t expect any less from me. You haven’t seen me at my full capabilities for a good reason. (Checks his watch again. It’s still beeping). Nope, still not worried…
Derek: (Turns his head away from Jack). I guess I’ll have to force you to show me what you can do then. (Turns his head back towards Jack). And I’m gonna take my sweet time.
-The action moves in slow motion as Derek advances on Jack.
-Jack takes a single step back and prepares for something big this time.
-As Derek gets close, Jack brings his guard up but Derek uppercuts through it.
-Jack reels from this hit. Derek spins completely around with the follow-through from the punch and grabs Jack’s collar.
-Derek flips both of them once forward, then throws Jack to the ground, pulls his arms back, and fires five extremely quick blasts straight downward, propelling him upward slightly
– Jack connects with a solid punch directly up into Derek’s gut, leaving him stunne).
–Smoke whirls all around both Jack and Derek. Jack’s fist is completely imbedded in Derek’s stomach as they’re both lifting into the air.
Jack: Looks like it might take all of your sweet time.
Leena: (The others didn’t really catch all of this movement and are completely stunned). Did anyone see what just happened?
Austin: I…I can’t say that I did…
Kevin: (More worried that this is quickly getting out of hand). Derek, now is not the time for fighting! Chris needs us more than you need to prove yourself to Jack!
Derek: (Gagging a bit with wide eyes). Ghh…no. I’ve come too far to let a lucky punch mean anything. (Grabs Jack’s arm and spins upward, throwing Jack high into the air. Derek zooms skyward and appears just above Jack). You might feel this one, Jack.
-Derek pulls back a fist and gets ready to pummel Jack with a face-crunching punch.
-Although Jack’s spinning violently higher, he suddenly opens his eyes and swivels around to face Derek, although he’s upside-down. He pulls his hands in close to his stomach and charges a quick energy attack.
-Right as Derek is about to connect with his attack, Jack lets loose with his own counter-attack, sending Derek screeching into the side of a building.
-Derek crashes upward through it and flies up through the roof, landing on his back.
Jack: (Smiles and rights himself in the air so that he’ll land on his feet). Hopefully that’ll quiet him down for a bit. (Checks his watch again). Damn, it’s just making him pissed. (Lands).
Derek: (Peers over the edge of the building. He does look pissed and has his teeth noticeably clenched). Jack!
Jack: (Looks up and smiles again. He knows that he’s just adding wood to the fire at this point with his calm attitude). Yes Derek?
Derek: I’ve decided that I don’t have time for this after all! (Thrusts his arm up. A nasty looking energy blast begins charging up in his upturned palm).
Jack: (Still calm). Now Derek, don’t do anything stupid.
Kevin: (Pleading). Derek! Not here, not now!
Jack: (His watch goes ballistic). Oh crap…
Derek: (Points his hand towards Jack). Fire!
-Derek’s blast aims to erase Jack from the streets. Jack closes his eyes for a second and tenses every muscle in his body.
-Jack looks up and throws his arms out just as the blast is about to hit. Just as he did before at the Regime’s complex, Jack puts forth an energy barrier.
-Derek’s blast hits it and stops instantly, but tries to punch through Jack’s defense.
-Jack strains to repel it, but it keeps pushing harder as Derek pushes it from up on the building.
Jack: Gotta…hold out…
–Jack’s eyes flash for a second as he lets out a yell. His barrier expands rapidly, launching the blast away into the air and detonates, creating a good-sized lightshow.
-Soon after, Jack’s barrier fades and he lets out a sigh of relief.
Jack: Phew, nothing to it.
–With a faint “ving” sound, Jack is too late to anticipate Derek’s attack at incredible speeds. Derek slams Jack from above, forming a small crater where Jack was standing.
Derek: (Takes a deep breath as he stands above Jack’s crumpled body). That barrier move would have been useful to know a week ago.
Jack: (As he begins to move again dust and bits of debris fall off him. He pushes himself into a sitting position and coughs). That barrier move is something that I can’t teach.
Derek: (Sneering). Tisk tisk, this is the quality of teachers that we’re churning out nowadays? Too lazy to even attempt to teach difficult students?
Jack: (Looking up at Derek. Now Jack seems pissed as he gets to his feet and brushes himself off). Derek, what do you want?
Derek: I want the position that you have. The “leadership” that you’ve been given over your peers.
Jack: I’ve earned it through their respect.
Derek: (Smiles). What a coincidence. That seems to be what I’m doing at this exact moment. (Jack takes a swing at Derek, who just grabs his fist). Jack, you’re tired already? (Begins crushing Jack’s hand). That barrier isn’t perfected yet, is it?
Jack: (Struggles to get his hand loose from Derek’s grip). No, I can’t get the desired effect yet without outputting too much energy. Guh…that’s why I can’t teach it yet.
Derek: Well it’s good that you can admit your shortcomings. (Crushes Jack’s hand harder, bringing him to one knee as a result). Ah, now this is a position that I like to see you in. Sitting there, groveling at my feet. (Jack punches with his other hand, but Derek catches that one, too). You’re too tired to continue on, aren’t you?
Jack: Nope, I’ve got plenty more fight left in me…
Derek: (Forces Jack to both knees in agony). Forgive me for my confusion but it looks much different from this angle.
Kevin: Derek! Enough!
Derek: (Looks away at Kevin in disbelief). Do you just not get it? Do you not understand what I’m trying to accomplish?
-Seeing the opportunity, Jack pulls his hands free from Derek and clips him under the chin as he’s rising to his feet.
-Derek takes the full force of this attack and is thrown up and out of the crater where he lands with a thud.
-Jack shakes his hands and jumps backwards out of the crater.
Derek: (Flips to his feet, enraged). You bastard!
Jack: Hey, I told you I’ve got some fight left in me.
Derek: (Smiles coyly). Well, I guess that just means that I get to enjoy disgracing you a bit more, don’t I?
Jack: I guess so. (Smiles and gets into a fighter stance). Good thing I just got my second wind.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter Twenty-Five and a Half
“Journal Entries vol. 2”
Well, my dues have been paid and now it’s time to demonstrate just how far ahead I’ve become. We spent the last two weeks in the middle of the desert being taught by some weird hermit how to fly and control Pulse more efficiently, and now we’re finally deadly. I was amazed just how much Jack had been withholding from us in terms of energy combat. It’s so simple, too. He purposefully fed us false information in hopes that it’d stifle our progress. It’s because he’s scared of us; he’s scared of me. Then again I don’t particularly blame him for being apprehensive around me. I can at least sympathize and understand how he must feel going from underdog prodigy to outclassed wannabie in a few short months. He used to be the Legion’s secret Golden Boy, capable of things he wasn’t supposed to do, but now he’s far outmatched next to me and the others. I’ve seen the way he looks at me and Chris. He’s aware that should either of us come to the conclusion that Jack’s worthless there’d be nothing stopping us from pushing him aside and taking his spot as that coveted Golden Boy.
I’ve made some progress with my thoughts as well these two weeks. During the day my body was being trained and conditioned, but at night I was setting my mind in order. I’ve been toying with some concepts, trying to figure out how to play them off, running figures in my head, and I’ve come to terms with them. Kevin brought up my relationship with my father not too long ago, and it got me thinking. “Weakness is unforgivable.” My father’s words. He taught me how important both physical and inner strength can be. He even went so far as to demonstrate when they fail. He failed when he had his masculinity taken from him in front of me, but he succeeded in the lesson he’d hoped to teach me. Yes, I’m sure of it now, the whole thing was planned. He wanted me to see he wasn’t indestructable. Of course, it’s so obvious. How could I be strong when I’m just the offspring of someone stronger? I could rely on him too much and that’d make me weak. That’d make me my mother. No, by breaking down in front of he, he forced me to realize that I had to be my own strength. I couldn’t get help from anywhere. It had to be me and me alone in everything. The group is just a formality until I can make everyone aware of my rightful place. This world is going down the wrong path, and the Legion is in dire need of salvation. They need a real Golden Boy, one who isn’t afraid to show that he doesn’t need them anymore. They need me to force them to see their shortcomings.
The events at the Regime’s base still bother me. None of it makes sense. None of it adds up. Perhaps the Legion was giving us a lesson similar to my father’s? “You can’t rely on anyone but yourself.” Yes, it’s possible, but it’s only fair I return the sentiment. The lesson was pushed too far when everyone was separated. Haven’t seen anyone else since we split, so it’s just been me, Kevin, and Danny alone in the desert with the hermit. For all I know the others are dead and gone. Or in hiding. I’d be surprised if I see Chris again. But Jack…I suspect he’ll appear again when I’d rather not be expecting him. Or better yet, when I am anticipating him to show up. I’ve already proven that Chris is not my equal, but Jack still needs to learn this fact.
There’s only one piece of the puzzle I’ve yet to fit together. What was that blue light the night we got split up? Was that the Regime’s doing? Or was that one of our own? There’s no way it could have been Jack, but could it have been…? No, there’s no way Chris could generate something like that. I can hardly generate that now after my training, he wouldn’t be able to push that deep into his reservoir without severe consequences. Though, I’ve felt exactly how deep he can go. Back in the tournament, holding onto him as he began to reach deeper and deeper…I won’t go so far as to say I was scared. However, I was extremely cautious, even so far as having to break his shoulders. Maybe I haven’t seen the last of him, after all?
I constantly worry about the others. Are they okay? Have they lost their way or have they come home? It’s not even as simple as just returning. I know that some are lost and may never recover, but we must try. I hold out hope for them, as best I can. In our lives, two weeks has become a long period time, yet nothing at all. It’s hard to say for sure how time works for us. It either goes by far too quickly, or it’s over in a flash. Four months ago I couldn’t fly. Now I’m able to climb over the clouds and look for miles. Such miracles! How could we have gotten this far, yet gone nowhere? Shame.
Derek, Danny, and myself have been going through a period of personal training from a man we call “The Desert Hermit.” A few weeks ago we were with the rest of our friends on a mission to infiltrate a military base belonging to the Demon Regime but when our presence was discovered we were split into three groups. We have found ourselves in the desert, but not without hope. With the help of our newfound friend, we have more hope than ever before. Our skills are far more advanced and our health has never been better. I’m almost sorry to have to leave so soon, but I wish to find out what happened to everyone else.
The question still lingers on my mind: Could I have done more? If I had done something different, could I have helped avert the splitting of our team? Would Chris be here beside me, flying until the air becomes difficult to breathe? What if I had pushed a little harder? What if I was less concerned about the soldiers we fought than the safety of the others? What if I had used all my potential instead of withholding as much as possible so as not to lose control completely? I wonder these things. And I worry that by not doing something more, one or possibly all of my friends are now dead. It’s a terrible thought.
I must take care of Derek and Danny. We are now the only three left together that I can help, so I must do everything to keep us from separating. We have gone through something special, and I pray that we won’t lose the bond from the experiences we’ve shared here. I’ve heard Derek speak of how the Legion has led us astray. I can’t say I fully support his anger, but…I may agree with him. I want to believe the Legion still has our best interests at heart, but it seems otherwise. I consistently find details that don’t add up. No map, no radio, no timeframe or pick-up point. Something just felt wrong then, and I doubt it’ll feel any better when we return. Lord, forgive me for my judgments. Help me make the right decisions in these passing weeks. Lord, give me the strength to do what is right and follow my convictions for the best.
I still pray for the safety of the others, and I pray we find them alive and well. I pray that the next month shall be better than the previous month. I pray that our hardest times are far behind us, but in my heart I do not believe that will be the case. I fear that our troubles have hardly begun. Lord, protect us in these days to come. Amen.
What? No, I’m eating right now. I’ll write later, Kevin. Yeah, I promise I won’t forget. After my nap.
We’re all doing pretty fine, considering the hardships we’ve gone through a while ago. I lost track of Chris and Lindsey at the base, but I’m pretty sure they’re fine. Derek’s gone, too, along with Kevin, Danny, Jack, and Kyle. I have no idea where they ran off to, but I doubt it’s as cool as the two weeks we’ve had in the forest here! So cool! A bit ago we stumbled into an old temple of some sort and found four glowing stones in different colors. I don’t know what they do just yet, but I’m anticipating something awesome. Why were they just sitting there in the first place? Such mystery! I love it!
The most difficult part of wandering the woods with three other guys is that we’re also having to take care of a girl. Leena’s special, but that’s just because she’s a girl trapped with four boys in the middle of a thick jungle. Poor her. Unfortunately, this’d be the perfect camping trip if she wasn’t complaining every few minutes about things that are and aren’t our fault. Oh well, that’s just how she copes I guess! Everyone’s got their ways. I’m the first to look for something positive and latch onto it, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Clinton seems to detach himself from the emotional aspect and bury himself deep in the analytical side of things. He somewhat shares this trait with Jack, but not in exactly the same way. It’s more internalized for Clinton than Jack.
Scott’s a curious one. It’s almost as if nothing’s happened in his life for years, so none of the recent events have even bothered him. He just kinda walks through things like he’s fine whether they happen or not. I like that! Taking things in strides, always good. I’m the same way. Everything happens whether we want it to or not, so why worry? It’s not like we can change the past, and who wants to change that anyway? If I could, I’d just leave everything up to chance instead of trying to control everything. Where’s the fun in knowing exactly what comes next? Life’s an adventure and it’s gotta be lived without the knowledge of the plot twists coming your way. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Syrus letting us live was certainly a point twist I wasn’t expecting. Okay, that’s stretching a bit, because I sort of thought something would make him leave us alone, but I wasn’t expecting it to be such a random light-beam that’d do it. Where’d the light come from anyway? Clinton figures it came from the Regime’s base since Syrus left as a result. But what caused it? Is that the Regime’s way of calling Syrus in case of emergency? Maybe someone even stronger than Syrus generates that signal when he wants to contact Syrus and Syrus is too afraid not to respond. Could be a possibility. The look on Syrus’ face seemed pretty scared to me. But then again, it also looked kinda surprised, like he’d never seen something like that before, or at least not on a regular basis. Maybe it was something else entirely? Is there someone else involved in this whole thing? Could there be a third party besides the Regime and the Legion? All I know is, I don’t know! Fun to speculate at least.
We should be back home in a week or so and I can’t wait to see everyone again. I know they got back safely. I’m…I’m sure of it. Nothing could really happen to us…right?
At approximately 11 am our group of twelve is discovered infiltrating an enemy base. By 11:20 myself and four others make our escape west of the base into a densely wooded area. Shortly thereafter we discover we’re being pursued by a handful of the Regime’s soldiers and a high-ranking warrior named Syrus. We run for nearly 6 hours, coming to a clearing by 5:50 pm. By then we have lost all our followers save for Syrus. We’re exhausted with no hope of defending ourselves. We have roughly three months of training experience, (no field combat experience), and the sun has set, whereas Syrus has clearly been involved in a number of high-level missions and battles, one of which has given him fame as a Balobynian hero, (the details of which are sketchy and difficult to piece together, though I understand that it involved a plan to assassinate the Balobynian leader, Octavious). Then, at approximately 6 pm exactly, a beam of intense light is seen in the distance in the direction of the Regime’s military complex. As a result, Syrus flees, allowing us to make our escape. This is where all reason breaks down.
The obvious question involves the beam of light. Where did it original and from what? I’ve done some rough calculations as to what sort of power could generate a beam that size and intensity, and I don’t know anyone who could create it. Certainly no one from our group, and not from any of the higher-ups from the Legion. It is possible that the Legion had access to a high-powered cannon and finally pinpointed the Regime’s base, firing when confirmation came in from someone on the mission, (likely Jack). It is believable that such a weapon exists and that the Legion would purposefully leave low-ranking soldiers uninformed, but it still doesn’t set well with me on a gut level. The truth that so many facts from this mission have been omitted in any briefings points to something being amiss. I just can’t figure out what.
Clearly, the Legion either doesn’t trust us or they downright wish to eliminate us as a possible future threat, but why wouldn’t they just do the required work to train us properly and bring us closer so as to make better use of us? If we have really exceeded expectations as much as we have, why no desire to exploit us to this advantage? Perhaps this mission was a means to do just that, expecting Jack to be informed enough and deciding that the less information we have, the more efficiently we can manage our task. In some way I can understand this logic. If no previous group has ever found this particular military base, then it may be best to allow for a blank slate for the next group sent in. I understand with the possible logic, but I by no means agree with it. Being well informed gives a far greater advantage than pure happenstance. The latter is too unstable and risky. Reducing risks produces a greater end game when planning a war like this, no matter how quiet everyone is trying to keep it.
I’d calculate the chances of the other members of our group being alive at 50%, assuming we’re only counting one or two. The percent goes down the more members we assume are alive. If we want a figure as to all member survival, I’d place it at 6%. The amount of soldiers readily available in the base at the time of our discovery was overwhelming. I’m amazed even we five made it out unscathed. If I believed in such things, I’d say it was a miracle, but in reality it was more or less just a case of good timing. In the future I would much rather have a full plan of escape rather than Jack’s concept of making things up on the fly. That’s no way to lead a team. We need someone who has a better understanding of the strength-to-ability ratio, like Derek. Jack may know skills that we don’t, but he’s yet to show anything inherently useful, and he certainly hasn’t demonstrated an overwhelming amount of power hidden from view. Given the situation, I couldn’t foresee Jack surpassing three, maybe four times his base power reading. Derek, however, could increase his abilities by ten given the right motivation. Lindsey, close to fifteen assuming she can control it, though that’s just an estimate. Chris…too much credit is given to Chris. These theories all assume that these members survived at all and are therefore speculative.
However, if it turns out someone from our group did cause the light beam, they’d have to be 47 times stronger than any of us, at least. A thought like that is just scary. Whatever created the beam, man or machine, scares me, as little as I enjoy admitting that. I do not now, nor ever, particularly wish to encounter something that powerful, from any proximity, especially if it’s in opposition to myself or others I’m tasked with protecting. I have no problem calculating in the middle of battle, but I’d rather leave the fighting to someone capable of pure battle. If Derek survives, I’ll suggest he take the place as the muscle to my plans. Together, we’d make a formidable partnership.
Danny’s missing. It’s almost like a part of me is missing, too. I realize such a statement is trite, but I’m at a loss for better explanation. I’m not writing to impress, I’m writing more to keep my mind from turning too far inward unto itself. I have few chances to speak up around the others, mostly because I have nothing especially profound or relevant to say that hasn’t already been said. I’m sure at least one other person will mention their thoughts on the whereabouts of the others, assuming they haven’t already. What are my thoughts? I worry about them to the point of illness, and I can’t even vocalize it without fear of breaking down. Austin must feel similar, because I’ve seen the look on his face of someone internalizing a lot of fear and grief. He feels the same way about Chris that I feel about Danny. The two are nigh inseparable, perhaps not to the extent of Danny and myself but still to a high degree. They’ve always been close. They balanced each other well. Austin didn’t have to worry about anything because Chris worried too much for either of them, and Austin was the only one capable of calming Chris down when he became too overwhelmed with this or that. With Chris absent, Austin is forced to deal with more immediate problems without a cipher to directly separate himself from them. He’s attempted to use Leena as a replacement, but her problems appear too vapid compared to what we’re all dealing with on the grander scale. She’s more concerned about herself than the safety of the others, even her best friend. I can’t understand that, but it must just be a means of how she copes. We all have our ways, and hers must be more cynical.
I want to keep a positive outlook, but I can’t. Regardless if everyone survived, something has definitely changed. We aren’t going to be reunited on positive terms. The riff between some members has already begun and grown to the point of no return. Derek and Jack will have words at some point, not to mention Derek and Chris. Despite Derek beating Chris in the tournament and Chris’ lack of drive towards confrontation, the story between those two is far from over, assuming both have survived at all, (of which I do believe).
Furthermore, the beam seen the night of our escape. Everyone will have an opinion of it. Mine is: I don’t like it. Nothing with that amount of force is a good thing, even if it came from someone on our side, and especially if it’s someone within our group. That sort of power corrupts a person in ways we can hardly understand. As much as I’d hope we never see that beam again, the chances are high that it will reappear. I’d ask Clinton for his calculations, but I’d rather not bother him with something of that nature. If he hasn’t already wrestled with the thoughts, I don’t want to be the cause.
I miss having Kevin around as well. He doesn’t speak much, but he is certainly of the opinion of faith, and I respect that. I wish he would speak more. We desperately need someone to cut through all the shallowness of our emotions and say something important. I don’t see many of us saying anything truly relevant save for Kevin. Even if we don’t all believe the same things he does, he speaks with such conviction that it’s inspiring. I really just wish he’d speak more. Assuming he’s still alive, that is.
That’s all any of us can do right now. Just assume things one way or another. Assume everyone’s dead. Assume the Legion wants us dead. Assume there’s more going on than we’ve been informed about. I don’t want to assume anything more than I need to at the moment. I don’t think anything really matters except us returning to Trillium City. We can’t do anything more until we get back, so that needs to be our main concern. The most we can do is hope and pray, and that’s all we should be expected to do anyway. Just escaping with our lives is enough to be proud of. Anything more, hoping included, is just above and beyond the line of duty.
I swear, if I ever have to spend longer than five minutes alone with guys again, I’d better have a ring on a my finger and he’d better have a job that pays seven figures. I’ve been stuck with four boys for two weeks and I want to die now. If God or someone with equivalent powers could strike me down now, that’d be great, thanks. Seriously, just imagine wandering around in some stupid woods with a bunch of Boy Scout rejects who can’t help but talk about the same stupid things over and over again. You’d want to kill yourself, too.
All I hear back and forth is, “I wonder if the others are okay,” and “Hey, what do you think that blue light was?” I don’t really care about either right now. I mean, sure, I miss the others, especially Lindsey, and I’d like to know why we’re randomly getting light shows in the middle of a desert, but I’ve got more important things to worry about currently, like getting home. Lord do I miss indoor plumbing. I’m not so much of a girl that I can’t just go behind a tree, (because I really don’t have a choice), but that doesn’t mean I like it. And you just can’t truly appreciate the wonderfulness that is running water, HOT running water, when you want to wash your face or your hands or something like that. And no make-up, of course, but luckily I’m not trying to impress anyone here, (I’m really not), so it could be worse. It’s kinda too bad Kevin’s not here. Then I may be more unhappy about the lack of make-up, but only just a little. He’s only slightly better than the others, and that’s not saying much. Jack’s more Lindsey’s type, (crap), so she can have him. And Chris. Poor silly boy.
I really don’t think we should go back to the Legion when we do make it to the city. That’s another thing the boys grumble about now and then, but they’ve never had a full conversation on the matter. If someone asked me, I’d say we jump ship and cut our losses. It’s just getting too dangerous for people like us anymore. I don’t know how likely our bosses will be to send us on a more…appropriate mission after this one, but I doubt it. We’d probably get sent straight to Balobyn and expected to storm the royal castle and force the nation’s leader into giving all power over to the Commander or something. It’s just ridiculous.
There isn’t much to comment on out here. The forest is at least quiet, other than the sounds that guys make every FREAKING minute of the day, and all the noises they make when they get too excited and start climbing trees and stuff. Who climbs trees anyway? What’s so great about it? It’s not like there’s a magic portal up there that’s getting us home any sooner, because if there was I’d have already taken it and been far away from boys forever.
That light? Totally saved our butts, so I don’t care if it was good or bad for anyone else. My ass is fine, so that light is good in my book, whatever it was. Syrus is also okay in my book. I wasn’t there when he beat the hell out of everyone at the museum, so I haven’t really dealt with a Syrus whooping like the others have. All I know is that he didn’t kill me and I like that sort of thing. You know, not being killed, especially by someone who entirely could have killed me without trying. We’re not that strong, so if he wanted to pop us off it would have been no trouble. It wouldn’t have even been that hard to do before he flew off to go check out that mystery light. I bet he could have just capped us one two three and been on his merry little way, completely unaffected by killing five more-or-less kids. Dude let us live, and I’m fine with that.
I’m pretty okay with the other four I’m traveling with, too. Austin’s a nice enough guy that I’ve got no problem with him leading us around. He’s got enough brains to ask Clinton about anything he doesn’t know, and that’s a good quality. Jack’s not like that at all. If Jack doesn’t know something, too bad for us because he’ll still pretend his bullshit’s fact, even when we know better. But Austin, nah, he asks. Not really a leader so much as a good, tall guy we can easily spot from a distance, and that’s all we need right now. That and a blowjob. But with four guys and a prude, that’s not happening on any terms I’d care to think about.
Now, not that you ask me or anything, but Leena needs to get laid, and the sooner that happens the better. She’s not awful, she’s just got the attitude of someone who wants it really bad but isn’t getting it because she’s got standards or morals or some stupid crap like that. I remember when I was like that. I was a fetus. I changed pretty damned quick, so guess it was a phase. I don’t care who she likes or who anyone likes, really. If she asked me, I’d have sex with her. It’s just business, and it’d be a great favor for the rest of the group who have to deal with her complaining all the time. She just needs to be loosened up, and I’ve got no problem loosening her.
Are the others dead? Yeah probably. That’s the risk you take when you sneak into an enemy military base with no real info, training, or a competent leader calling the shots, and having an incompetent leader arguing with an equally incompetent wannabie leader just spells disaster. I should have made bets on the whole thing. I would have cleaned up. Oh well, win some, etcetera. There’s a chance that a few guys survived, but if I see ‘em then I see ‘em, and if I don’t, well I still made a hefty bank from everything leading up to the mission’s failure. Best chunk of info I ever sold ‘cross lines.
Jack won’t tell me what happened at the base. He keeps insisting that he doesn’t know either, but I’m not dumb enough to believe something like that. I know he knows what happened. The official debriefing has Jack explaining that a bunch of chemicals went off when they were mixed but I don’t believe that. I remember what the area looked like pretty well, and I didn’t see any obvious chemicals anywhere. Maybe Jack found them hidden elsewhere? I don’t know how long I was out, and Jack won’t tell me any of the details on that, either. It’s extremely frustrating. I don’t know what exactly he thinks he has to protect me from. Does he really believe I need to be sheltered from the truth?
Two weeks have gone by and I’m beginning to grow increasingly anxious about everything. No word from the other 8, and no real sign as to where they could have gone after we were discovered at the base. The Commander refuses to tell me what he knows, either. There are details that remain classified, and though I don’t doubt Jack could gain access to them if he tried, I do doubt that he’d share the details with me once he found them. So in the meantime there hasn’t been much to do except try to stay sane. I’m going crazy from the lack of activity, but I can’t justify doing anything particularly active at the moment. It just doesn’t seem right. None of this seems right. How can any of it feel right without Chris and the others ready to join in, too?
Two weeks is a long time to be bedridden. If I were Chris, I’d have exploded from being stuck in one place for that long. But he can hardly move. He’s been sick since we got back from the mission and he just keeps getting worse. Jack doesn’t seem to care whenever I bring it up. There’s got to be more we can do, but it seems like no one cares enough to find a cure for whatever’s affecting him. I forced the explanation out of Jack and even though it sounds crazy I don’t believe we should just give up. He explained it to me as something called the Locust Virus, and while I don’t understand the raw details, the fact that it’s slowly, (and painfully), killing Chris, killing one of my best friends, is unacceptable. If Chris can’t sleep well, none of us should be sleeping well. So I…I haven’t been sleeping well, either. I just don’t want to be gone in case…well…I don’t want him to be alone…
Kyle and I have been taking shifts watching over him, helping him any way we can. Kyle and him have really shown they’ve got a connection. Sure, Chris’ best friend has always been Austin, but Kyle and him get along extremely well. I’ve yet to see either get mad at one another, and it’s nice to see. It’s really nice to see some of us just getting along, without any drama attached to it. I really miss everyone together, but I don’t exactly miss Derek and Jack arguing all the time, Scott pushing Leena to get a reaction, and everyone just worrying about who’s stronger at any given moment. I don’t care who’s stronger; I just care that we’re all okay.
I’ve been trying to get Jack to help with Chris as well, but he doesn’t seem to want to offer any help or comfort. He just keeps saying “He’ll be fine,” but he never explains how. “He just will be.” There’s no warmth to the way Jack’s speaking anymore. It’s like…it’s like if Jack isn’t in a position where he’s the most important, then he doesn’t care. Just another reason I wish everything could get back to normal, even if that means more drama. At least everyone will be back to themselves, for better or worse.
I can’t even get Jack to help that much with the littlest things with Chris. We’ve all been writing these diaries for a bit, but Chris can’t even hold a pencil long enough to write anymore, so Kyle and I have been writing down what he asks us. I know it’s not the same for Chris, though. He’s having to hold back what he really wants to say, especially to me. He thinks he’s going to die, but he won’t let me hear it. It’s sweet, but I don’t want him protecting me from his problems. Not if I’m asking to share them. I can help him, but only if he’ll let me. I just wish everything was back to the way it was…
Alright, so let me lay this all down for you keeping score. Twelve of us trek out into the middle of nowhere. That’s twelve. Number of months, number of disciples, number of…twelve. All of us under 18, roughly, (I think Jack might be 18 by now, I can’t remember and I don’t care). We get dropped off and told by the army guys we work for to find an unfindable base in some ridge miles and miles south of our great city called Trillium. And guess who finds the base? Me. Yup, I found it, and no one’s talking about it. I bet no one else has so much as mentioned that “Hey, that was totally cool when Kyle found the base out there in the ridge.” Whatever, I’m not a glory hog. I’m no Derek, I’m just Kyle. I know I found the base, so in a way, I blame myself for why we’re all split up right now.
Then again, I also blame Jack, because hey, the guy’s just itching to get blamed for something. The way he’s been acting he knows he’s to blame for something major. Maybe it’s just that he feels like he was the leader of our group or something. Dang Jack, let it go. Who cares about being the leader of a bunch of teenagers? “I’m king of the idiots and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise!” Please, they can fight for the top spot, I’m fine being the guy who finds stuff and actually does good things instead of getting us captured like rookies.
We did get captured, and that’s where things get fuzzy. I remember that we took on a bunch of soldiers who thought it was fair to rofl-rape us, and let me tell you, it’s not funny at all. No sir, I don’t care much for being jumped on by a half dozen guys and getting pummeled relentlessly. Not my idea of a good time whatsoever. Pizza and a movie? Great time. I just don’t have anyone to ask. I’d go with Lindsey if we had time between taking care of Chris. Not in the romantic sense or anything, it’s just that she’s a good girl to relax with. She’s a good best friend type of girl. Those are the best. Chris picked a good one.
Yeah, Chris needs to get up here pretty soon. I don’t blame him for not wanting to though. Jack hasn’t told me jack, (hah), but Lindsey filled me in. Locust Virus? Sorry bud, couldn’t have happened to a more undeserving guy. Chris is a stand-up guy. I can relate to him. I mean, he just wants to get with his dream girl, and she’s right there in front of him all the time. She’s even closer now that she’s been helping take care of him. Right now it’s me, her, a few nurses, and Jack pitching in to keep Chris going and that isn’t split evenly at all. It’s like me 30% of the time, the nurses 10%, Jack 5%, and Lindsey filling up the rest. She hardly leaves unless she has to use the bathroom, and I know she’s considered just using a bedpan or a catheter so that she doesn’t have to leave. It’s a shame that she doesn’t realize she’s in love with the guy, too, or else we could end that whole plotline a heck of a lot quicker.
I really don’t want him to die, either. I need him to stay alive, otherwise no one’s gonna listen to my snarky comments on everything. The others just give me that look that means, “Shut up,” but Chris smiles and nods along, like he’d say the same thing if I didn’t. I can’t have my primary audience die from some crummy virus like that; it’s just not right I tell you! Someone’s got to find a breakthrough cure any moment now. It’ll be the dumbest thing, too, like lemon juice or some random new technique someone luckily just learned, as if our lives don’t suffer from deus ex machina enough as it is. Seriously, it’s like our life is being written by an anime fanfic writer. That or a desperate sociopath. Whoever’s writing our woes, I don’t trust him one bit. Chris, though, he’s good people.
I wonder where the others got off to anyway? We were all together and then we got split. I think in three separate directions, but I could be wrong. Here’s something that Jack’s failed to discuss at any point: He freaked out and panicked because he said he saw Syrus, but when we were captured Syrus was absent from both our pre-beating and our interrogation beating. So then, where was Syrus during all of this? He’d have to be the highest-ranking guy in the whole base, so why wasn’t he the one interrogating us like that? My bet is that he chased after some of the others, but Jack won’t listen to any of my theories. Why does no one listen to me when I’m figuring everything out for them? This plot isn’t that difficult to figure out. A third-grader could do it, seriously…
Twelve Legion recruits were sent to the Katirian Wastelands two and a half weeks ago. Currently, only four known survivors made it out of those wastelands: Chris Collins, Lindsey Sonnen, Kyle Reid, and myself. All the others were lost and we’ve had no means to contact them since their disappearance, nor have we heard anything from them, so either they have not attempted to contact us, have been unable to contact us, or are dead. Looking at the conditions, it would appear to be a combination of the three. Too much time has passed to assume much more than that, but no further plans should include them from here on out.
More pressing is the reality that of our remaining four, one may soon be gone. Chris was injected by something called the Locust Virus during an interrogation at the Regime’s base in the Katirian Wastelands and given a prognosis of under one day to live. He has somehow lived past two weeks, but his condition is worsening every hour and within the week I predict he will no longer be with us. There’s no known cure for this virus and no known treatment. We’ve been keeping him comfortable, but that’s as much as we can really do. We need to cut our losses and move on with whatever comes next, which I’d like to be more investigation of the Regime’s ruined base. Despite most of it being destroyed via a chemical reaction I caused, there is still a significant enough portion that needs to be investigated, and I’d rather I did it personally instead of a neutral party from the Legion. I have intimate connections with the base’s layout and I know where the most important buildings are located. I’ve given my detailed accounts of everything on multiple occasions, but I’d much prefer returning and explaining everything with firsthand experience.
The loss of the others thins out our ranks significantly, but this may be for the best. A number of the others have become very difficult to control, such as Legion member Derek Tolkein, but their loss only frees up the chance to better-train Legion member Lindsey Sonnen in hopes of containing and controlling her abilities. Her Pulse ratings continue to climb but they fluctuate too drastically to know exactly where she stands in terms of power. She needs to learn how to use all of this before she gets to a point where this power is too much to contain and explodes forth in one way or another. I’ve seen what can happen when an unchecked power goes off like a powder keg, and it’s not a favorable outcome in my opinion.
Personally I feel as if I have been lacking in my role as the group’s unofficial leader. Though I was designated leader by default, I’ve not recently done anything to confirm this status and have instead become too complacent for my own good. I intend to rectify this as soon as possible, either by pushing through to the next plateau of Pulse abilities, or by reclaiming my dominant position in some other impressive manner, possibly a show of said dominance. I have no personal desire to be “the best” or “the strongest,” however I feel it is a necessity for me to remain above the others at this current stage due to their inexperience and lack of clear judgment in times of extreme risk. Assuming any of the other members return, I will make it very clear exactly why I was unofficially chosen and prove to them that they have a long way to go even to make it to where I currently stand.
Though the words being written are mine, the hands writing them are not. I’m forced to remain in bed due to what sounds like a fatal illness and as a result I don’t have enough strength to do this on my own. I have no choice but to lie back in bed and just quietly chatter to the others as they write down my every word. It’s fantastic. Obviously I should be annoyed at whatever’s killing me, but I’m more confused than anything. I’ve been kept out of the loop with the details of what’s killing me, and while it’s nice not to know specifics…I’d sure like to know the specifics. If it’s going to kill me, can’t I at least know why I’m going to die other than being told, “Because the virus is fatal”? Unfair.
We got separated from the others in our party, but I don’t really want to talk about it. Someone’s bound to have mentioned it by now, so I won’t waste time on it. I will say that I’m baffled by Jack’s explanation for us getting out of the base. Chemicals mixing? That sounds like a lie. Sorry Lindsey, I don’t mean anything by it, I just don’t believe it. Jack’s fine enough, but he’s still got something he’s not telling us. I don’t know what it is, but it’s there. Maybe he likes Leena? No, didn’t think so. No one likes Leena. Just kidding!
Okay Kyle, where did I leave off? Oh, right. Yeah, Jack hasn’t told us the truth for months now. Why didn’t he let us in on his whole plan from the start? How did he know where everything would be when we got in there, more or less? He’s got some weird connection in there, I’ll bet you. And he keeps looking at Lindsey like he’s already won her over or something. She’s not that easily tricked. She may be nice to you, but there’s no way she could be into you like that. I doubt she’s into me either though, so I guess that doesn’t really mean much.
You really think there’s a chance? How? I mean, yes, I know her on a level that few others do, and definitely no other guys around here do, but how far will that really get me? And don’t tell me to be patient, either. I’ve been patient for over 8 years now; I’m allowed to be impatient as of this date. You like anyone here? Yeah, you’re right, that’d only leave Lindsey and Leena, wouldn’t it? I don’t think you’re trying to cut in on Lindsey or anything, I didn’t mean that. You and Leena are somewhat cute together, you realize that? Yes, I do think I’m funny.
Jack, I don’t know why you’re even bothering writing for me today. I told you you didn’t have to. I’ll just wait for Lindsey or Kyle. No don’t read through what they wrote for me just don’t…damn it, Jack. Yeah, I do think you’re not telling me something. Why? Maybe because you’re not telling me something! It’s obvious enough that we didn’t get out of there from chemicals going off. What? No, I don’t know anything about chemicals, but that doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. Fine, you’re the chemist I guess, you tell me again how you mixed two chemicals and blew up an entire military base. Okay, half a military base then. Whatever. But how did we not get blown up in the explosion? Oh right, your shield bubble attack thing. Forgot about that. It can really withstand an explosion that big? Cool.
We left off talking about the base exploding, Lindsey. Jack just had to convince me again that he wasn’t covering anything up. No no! Don’t read through everything else! It’s private! Thank you. You’re good to me like that. Jack read everything else even when I asked him not to. Because he’s…he’s not as good to me. And he forgot to bring me any juice or anything. I don’t understand how any girls could be into him. No, not implying anything, I just don’t see how they could, assuming any are. Well I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m kind of tired, I think I should just rest some more today.
Hey Kyle. No, my head just hurts today. I can’t sit up any higher than this. And my voice isn’t able to do much. I really need to keep resting. Thanks.
(Shakes his head).
As of today, Chris is no longer able to talk with us, so we will be discontinuing the attempt.
Damn those kids. How in the hell was I supposed to know they’d actually find the damned base out there? None of us could have pinpointed it, so why were twelve idiots able to locate it, infiltrate it, and blow it to shit within a few day’s time? It doesn’t make any sense. Dumb luck isn’t known to be that forgiving, and if it is, why don’t I have any moments as forgiving as that?
They’re starting to ask questions more than they should. The girl keeps pestering me whenever she sees me in the cafeteria in between feeding the sick one. She keeps wanting to know more about the mission and details that are far too classified for anyone but myself and a few others to read. And that Kyle kid just sits outside my office and stares in, not saying a word. He just sits with his arms crossed and glares at me like I’m hiding something from him, which I am, but I have to. I’m the Commander for God’s sake; of course I know things that no one else does. Information is priceless in these days since we were able to save so few pieces of it from anything pre-disaster. We can’t even pinpoint the exact year the disaster took place. We have snippets of books and movies and TV shows and pop culture and such but no overall history of the world. It was all lost. Why a bunch of useless crap survived and nothing worth knowing made it is beyond me, and just another case of dumb luck not favoring me.
It’s nice that the sick kid hasn’t been able to ask me any questions. I’m not happy that he’s on the verge of dying, but at least I don’t have to explain anything more to him that he wouldn’t understand in the first place. Maybe everything will just work itself out and I won’t have to tell him everything after all. The chances of him ever getting out of that bed are slim enough. If he somehow manages to recover, I’ll give him the tape. Otherwise there’s no need to make his last few days more difficult than they already are. And if he doesn’t make it, I’ll just destroy the tape like I’d been hoping to do anyway.
The one person I’m very suspicious of is Jack. He hasn’t been asking me any terribly pressing questions, which is extremely odd for him. Usually he’s attacking me left and right with questions that I can’t even begin to answer for him, usually because I don’t have an answer, but currently he’s been almost silent. He just spends his time brooding, and that’s rather unusual for him. Perhaps he’s finally exhausted his thirst for Legion secrets? Or is it he’s just figured them all out by now? He does have far too many means of discovering things he shouldn’t. He has more connections than I seem to have most of the time. To my knowledge, at least he doesn’t know about the tape. If he did, then we’d have some problems.
While I can’t explain the Regime’s base’s destruction away, (because a chemical explosion doesn’t look like that), I don’t particularly care. The base is gone, victory for the Legion. We’ve had too few victories, that even one that results in so many casualties is a fantastic victory. Besides, the other two groups didn’t die in the explosion or during their discovery. One group was pursued by Syrus, so their chances of survival are low, but Syrus is too unpredictable to guess whether he let them live or not. I’d guess he did, but that’s only a personal guess. Our official standpoint for the other 8 teenagers is MIA, presumed KIA. Only God knows if that’ll change.
-Legion Commander ‘Decimus’ Spurius
I’ve seen that light before. It’s impossible that I’d see it again, but it’s remarkably the same light I witnessed so many years ago. Could it be possible that he didn’t…? No, I saw his corpse. I know he’s dead. I held him in my arms. My own two hands felt the wounds in his chest and throat. No amount of healing could restore him. Yet…the light was unmistakably reminiscent of that which has been seen before. James had no children though, so it is nothing more than an elaborate coincidence.
Someone has grown to a level of which we’ve not seen since the world changed. I refuse to call it “The Great Destruction,” or even the more optimistic “The Great Reconstruction,” because neither carries the same weight of actually witnessing it yourself. When the world changed, there was no possible way to make sense of anything. The best we could do was hold onto whatever we could find and hope we made it through to the other side. I braced myself and crept deeper into the shadows growing in my heart. James chose to pray. I envy him.
I couldn’t get a good enough view of who was involved in the explosion. I saw four teenagers boarding a helicopter, with one in a fatal condition. I could sense that he was the one from before. The one that had intrigued me so deeply. It was an utter shame he didn’t make it to the final round of the tournament with me. I so wished to compete with him and directly judge what he was capable of. The other child was strong, but there was no true reason behind his strength other than a purely selfish desire. I’ve yet to fight someone with that as their motivation and be justly excited. The only fights worth having are with warriors of true motivation. Only then are you guaranteed a real battle. None of the other teenagers seemed to have that drive, and that’s a shame. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been so apathetic to kill them when presented the chance?
I am now unable to be merciful to them anymore. I have expended too many possibilities that I cannot get away with another. I still have a duty, and now that they’re becoming reasonably dangerous to our cause, I’ll have no choice but eliminate them should they get in the Regime’s way again. Project Locust is the next step in wiping the Legion from our path, and though I don’t agree with it, there should be no more failures. If only the one teenager…Chris…wasn’t so near death when I saw him again. Such a shame. If he was really the one that destroyed the base…really the cause of hundreds of Regime soldiers…I mourn the chance to battle with him before his death.