Eclipse Star: Genesis Chapter Forty-Nine

June 11, 2009 at 1:03 am (Eclipse Star: Genesis) (, )

Eclipse Star: Chapter 49

“The Ghost of Christmas Past”

 

Recap:  Previously, the fight against the Hex-Duo robots was beginning to seem futile with four members of the group taken out of the battle.  Lindsey somehow managed to destroy Hex-Duo 5, while later Derek inadvertently destroyed Hex-Duo 2 even though he was aiming for Hex-Duo 6, the leader of the Hex-Duo.  At the point where it seemed that they had gone as far as they could possibly go, a new fighter showed up, giving a slight glimmer of hope.  Chris was back.

 

-Having just arrived out of nowhere, Chris slowly stands up and surveys the area.

 

Chris:  What happened here…?

 

-Everyone else in the area is unable to speak.  That includes both humans and robots.  Everyone is simply gawking at the sight they’re seeing.

 

Derek:  That’s just not possible…

 

Hex-Duo 6:  (Shakes hits head and breaks into the confusion).  Just who are you?

 

Chris:  Me?  (Smiles).  I’m the Ghost of Christmas Past.  (Snaps his fingers and points at the robot).  And if you keep up with your naughty ways then the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come will wipe you off this sorry planet.

 

Lindsey:  (She can hardly see through the tears in her eyes).  But…but…you’re dead.

 

Chris:  It’d seem that way, wouldn’t it?

 

-Camera zooms in to Chris’ face and onto his eye, fading to black on his pupil.

 

Three days previous…

 

-Chris sits in his hospital room, moping, head buried in his hands.

 

-The sirens are starting to go off around the Legion’s base.

 

Chris:  It doesn’t matter; it shouldn’t.  (He slowly stands up).  So what if she and Jack were meant to be?  So what if I’ll never be with her?  I’ve got to do whatever I can to keep her safe.

 

-As he starts to walk towards the door, the hospital takes a heavy hit from an energy blast, shaking Chris off his feet.

 

Chris:  What was that?

 

-The building suddenly begins shaking more violently as the ceiling crumbles away and bits and pieces fall around Chris.

 

Chris:  What is going on?!

 

-Chris ducks and covers until finally everything stops.

 

Chris:  Crisis over?

 

-The walls on one side explode away, spraying him with chunks of drywall.

 

-Chris covers his face and launches himself straight upwards, jumping as hard as he can.

 

Chris:  Seems like a good exit cue!

 

-As soon as he breaks through the top he catches sight of four rather large and deadly robots staring at him.

 

Chris:  Robots?

 

-As he’s heading into the air, Chris takes a swing at the nearest robot, missing horribly.

 

Chris:  What is it you all want?

 

Hex-Duo 4:  Oh, not much really.  If you could just die, though, that would be great.

 

-Serious punch to Chris’ face, breaking his cheekbone and sending him into Hex-Duo 1, who fires back with a spinning kick, clipping Chris under the chin.

 

-Chris’ eyes bulge from this one, realizing that this probably isn’t about to end well.

 

Hex-Duo 3:  Nothing personal kid; business as usual.

 

-Hex-Duo 3 grabs Chris’ face with one hand and pummels him in the gut with the other, throwing him to Hex-Duo 10, who fires a round into Chris’ back.

 

-The four robots pinball him back and forth for a while, hitting him hard, blood spraying from every shot, his face swollen, only one eye barely able to see anymore.

 

-The four all slam him at once with a foot to his head, sending him back onto the rubble of the damaged hospital building.

 

Hex-Duo 3:  Alright team, let’s send this kid to a better place!

 

-The four robots clap quickly.

 

Hex-Duo 3:  Hooah!

 

-The four unload, hitting Chris with a powerful series of energy blasts, pushing Chris into a state of panic that he’s yet to understand.

 

Chris:  (Thinking to himself, his eyes wide with fear).  After they’re done with me, then what?  Fight it Chris!  Fight it!

 

-Despite his best efforts, Chris is still unable to even move, let alone escape.

 

-The rest of the Hex-Duos’ group join the four hovering above Chris and they too fire beams downwards on Chris, quadrupling their power and shredding everything in the process.

 

Chris:  YAAAAAAHH!!!!

 

-Chris has begun screaming at the top of his lungs, unable to form any substantial thoughts beyond searing pain.

 

-The blast intensifies and pushes Chris down farther and farther into the shrinking pile of rubble, until the blast finally hits its max with every robot involved holding absolutely nothing back, hitting Chris with a final oomph of force.

 

-The sky goes blindingly white from the explosion as Chris is decimated.

 

-Or so it appears.

 

-The blast fires Chris into the ground, where he blows through into a hollow area far beneath the Legion’s base.

 

-He’s completely unconscious as everything fades to black for him.

 

*          *            *            *            *

 

-Chris lies facedown in a darkened tunnel of some sort.

 

-A cat comes up and starts licking his face, gently causing him to wake up, half naked and bleeding profusely from nearly every inch of his body.

 

Chris:  Kitty…?  What’re you…what’re you doing here…?

 

-The cat nips his hand, tilting its head in one direction, prompting Chris to follow it.

 

Chris:  What…d’you want…?

 

-The cat keeps brushing along Chris’ body until Chris pushes himself to a standing position, using the side of the tunnel to brace himself.

 

-He can hardly see the cat for multiple reasons other than the tunnel being near pitch black, although he still somehow manages to start following the cat.

 

-Every so often the cat will meow at him, as if telling him to keep going just a bit further.

 

Chris:  How far…we plan on going…?

 

-Chris falls over completely, passing out once more.

 

-The cat grabs Chris’ hand in its mouth and starts very, very slowly dragging him along.

 

-Hours later, Chris comes to once more, reaching a hand out and feeling a metal ladder in front of him.

 

Chris:  What now kitty…?  Up…?  You must have me confused…with someone who can currently do…anything…

 

-The cat nudges him to climb.

 

-Chris starts the climb, drifting in and out of consciousness, nearly falling off the ladder a number of times, before finally feeling something wooden thunk against his head.

 

Chris:  Door…?

 

-He pushes against the surface above his head, throwing a wooden panel off the opening.

 

-Chris pulls himself up, looks around for a second, and then falls onto his back, unconscious.

 

*          *            *            *            *

 

-The Hermit gently walks up to Chris, being very quiet, tip-toeing over as softly as possible.

 

-He leans his face in close to Chris’ and takes a deep breath.

 

Hermit:  …WAKE UP!!!

 

Chris:  (Chris’ eyes shoot open).  Mraw!

 

Hermit:  Mraw?  Now that’s a funny first word to start our friendship on.

 

-Chris can do little more than stare at the Hermit, confused and struggling to breath.

 

Hermit:  You must be Chris?  I’ve heard so much about you.  (Notices Chris’ incredible condition).  Oh!  My apologies!  You must be in a heck of a lot of pain right now, aren’t you?

 

-Chris slowly nods, confused.

 

Hermit:  Alright, we’ll talk later.  You get some rest now.

 

-The Hermit puts his hand over Chris’ eyes.

 

-Everything goes black once again as all Chris can hear is the Hermit humming quietly.

 

*          *            *            *            *

 

-Chris slowly wakes up.

 

Chris:  Where…?

 

-He sits up and rubs his eyes.

 

-He looks down and sees that his clothes are still ripped to shreds, although as he checks his hands he notices that there isn’t a speck of blood upon them, nor on the rest of his body.

 

-He jumps to his feet, stretching, taking a deep breath, sighing comfortably for the first time in a long time.

 

-The Hermit sits a few feet away from Chris, cross-legged in a chair.

 

Hermit:  I’ll tell you, out of everyone I’ve had to heal, you’ve made the fastest recovery thus far.

 

-Chris whips around, on guard, startled by the unexpected voice.

 

Hermit:  Hey, nope, I’m not your enemy; I’m just the guy who saved you.

 

-The Hermit gets up from his chair, walking casually over to Chris.

 

Hermit:  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I can only take credit for healing you back to perfection.

 

-The cat wanders into the room, rubbing itself in between the Hermit’s legs.

 

Hermit:  If Syntax here hadn’t gotten you to me in time, then you might as well be in a cemetery at this moment.

 

Chris:  (Confused).  Syntax?

 

Hermit:  Yes.  Syntax.  The Wonder Cat.  I believe you two got acquainted a while ago?

 

Chris:  Well then if I’m not in a cemetery, where am I?

 

Hermit:  You’re in an abandoned church.  It’s not quite a cemetery but you’re close.  Oh, and where are my manners, I’m Joshua by the way.  Your friends may know me better as the Desert Hermit.

 

Chris:  (Racking his memory).  Oh yeah!  The one who taught Derek and his group all those crazy fighting moves when they got lost in the desert!  (Laughs).  I hate to tell you, but Derek didn’t exactly restrain himself when we met up again.

 

Joshua:  Oh really?  Yeah, I figured he’d do something like that.  So what happened?

 

Chris:  Well, my friends and I fought against him, although I was the last one left in the end.  I remember fighting with him and losing and then…I don’t really remember.  Jack said that he stepped in and saved me.  It was a close call, though.  Well, not as close as this, but still close nonetheless.  (Scratches his head).  Come to think of it…how the heck did I survive this one?  (Quickly turns back over to Joshua).  Er, other than you and the cat saving me of course.

 

Joshua:  Well, let’s see…I wasn’t there, so I have no idea what happened.  (Crouches down and calls around his feet).  Syntax!  Come ‘ere please!

 

-Syntax the Wonder Cat trots up to him.

 

Joshua:  So what happened?

 

-Syntax starts meowing, with Joshua meowing back every now and then.

 

-After this conversation seems over, Joshua has a rather surprised look on his face.

 

-He stands back up to his full height, scratching his chin.

 

Joshua:  Hmh, seems that you were attacked by a group of pretty nasty robots.

 

Chris:  The cat told you that?

 

Joshua:  Well yes.  Of course.  You didn’t very well tell me, did you?  (Chris shakes his head).  No, it seems that you were attacked by about half a dozen of them at once.

 

Chris:  Felt like they hit me with their full power, so how did I survive?

 

Joshua:  Ah, I’d be confused about that, too, but you see, the fact of the matter is, there was a tunnel underneath the Legion’s base, hah, you’d be surprised how many underground tunnels there are around the city, and the incredible force of the mechanical men’s beams kept pushing and pushing until you were forced through the upper crust of the tunnel and spit into safety.  Ironic if you think about it; if they’d shown just a little more restraint then you’d probably be dead.

 

Chris:  (Thinks to himself).  Yeah…and that’d be a pity…  (Looks up hurriedly).  Sorry, I never properly thanked you for everything.  Kinda wish I wasn’t in a bunch of tattered clothes though; I feel a bit silly to say the least.

 

Joshua:  Hakuna matata, friend.  (Curious of something).  Uh, by the by, how did you manage to escape the blue light that night in the desert?

 

Chris:  Blue light?  Oh, you mean the Regime’s base exploding?  I’m not sure actually.  I remember being in a room, getting interrogated, and then I blacked out.  Jack told me later that he caused the explosion by mixing some unstable chemicals or something.  Basically I don’t remember.

 

Joshua:  You seem to have a lot of times where you just plain don’t remember and get out of trouble via shear luck, don’t you?

 

-Chris shrugs and nods.

 

Joshua:  Well, we should fix that.

 

-Joshua turns to a nearby room and cups his hands around his mouth to yell.

 

Joshua:  James!  Come here my friend!

 

-As soon as Joshua yells this, a man walks into the room.

 

-This man is wearing knee-high, dark riding boots and is dressed somewhat minimalisticly, yet elegant at the same time, with a white blouse and a blue jacket.  He’s got on black pants, tucked into his boots, and two rapiers hanging from holsters on either hip.  A red vest is pulled around his chest.  The man isn’t exactly tall, but his eyes have got a sort of light in them to suggest he doesn’t seem to care.  His hair is a shimmering blonde, short but wavy, albeit somewhat balding already.  A mustache completes his look, so blonde that it blends into his face, undistinguishable if you weren’t looking for it.

 

-The man walks through the doorway and up to Chris.

 

Joshua:  Chris, this man here is going to teach you everything he possibly can about combat.  His name is James, and he’s very good at what he does.

 

James:  (Smiles).  I know what you’re going to ask, and don’t worry, I’m going to teach you everything that Josh taught your friends a few months ago, not to mention a few family secrets, (winks).

 

Chris:  Family secrets?

 

James:  Hah, well yeah.  I figured I might as well teach my son a few important tricks his dad used back in the day while I’m at it.

 

Chris:  Oh…soooooo, your son is training with us, too?

 

James:  Yeah, uh, n-  (Turns to Joshua).  You didn’t tell him?

 

Joshua:  Oh, I forgot.  (Turns to Chris).  Chris, James here…well he’s your father.

 

Chris:  (Squinting at James, confused).  But…I thought my dad was dead.

 

Joshua:  He is.

 

Chris:  Then who’s this guy?

 

Joshua:  He’s your father.

 

Chris:  But my father died before I could ever meet him.

 

Joshua:  Yes.

 

Chris:  Yet this guy here is my dad.

 

Joshua:  Yes.

 

Chris:  My real father.

 

Joshua:  Ye-, (turns to James).  Yes?

 

James:  (Gives Joshua a startled look).  Yes.

 

Joshua:  (Turns back to Chris).  Yes.

 

Chris:  So my real father’s not dead?

 

Joshua:  No he’s dead alright.

 

Chris:  (Looks from Joshua, to James, and back to Joshua, trying to understand this entirely).  So I-  (Stops).  No.  I get the feeling that I’m not going to understand this even if I try.

 

Joshua:  (Smiles and nods his head).  Most likely not.

 

-Joshua claps his hands and hops a bit.

 

Joshua:  Well, I’ve got other business to attend to.  Don’t worry Chris; you’re in good hands here.  I’ll be back to check on you every so often.  You two get more acquainted in the meantime.

 

-Joshua starts to walk out.

 

Chris:  Wait!  I…  (Joshua leaves).  Oh never mind.

 

-Chris turns to James and points at him.

 

Chris:  James?

 

James:  Yep.

 

Chris:  (Points again).  Dad?

 

James:  (Laughs).  Yep.

 

Chris:  Okay, what first?

 

James:  Well, (fighter stance), let’s see what you know.

 

-Chris looks around the church.  They’re in a main chamber.  The ceiling is vaulted in the middle, making it more than three stories high.   A balcony with an organ rests over the main doors.  Pews are all aligned properly, although the whole church is dusty and overrun with cobwebs.

 

Chris:  Shouldn’t we go outside or someplace- YAH!

 

-James throws a punch at Chris, who narrowly ducks out of the way.

 

James:  Nope, this should do just fine.

 

-James throws another punch, which Chris blocks this time, followed by a number of rapid punches and a kick that catches Chris in the stomach, causing him to grab his gut and lean forward.

 

-James elbows him in the face, then comes to Chris’ side and kicks him in the back as he’s falling backwards.

 

-Chris pops into the air, where James jumps up and stomps him to the ground.

 

-Chris coughs as he hits the ground, grabbing his stomach again.

 

Chris:  Sorry, I haven’t had much opportunity to practice recently…

 

James:  Well this is why we’re here, isn’t it?

 

-James comes down with a boot outstretched, ready to cave in Chris’ face.

 

-Chris rolls out of the way, coming up with a backwards kick at James, who blocks it and rolls into the air, hovering.

 

-James points over at a pew and clenches a fist.

 

-The pew shakes instantly, tearing up from the ground.

 

-James turns back to Chris and swishes his hand in Chris’ direction, opening his fist as he does so.

 

-The pew flies through the air, crashing down at Chris, who uppercuts the pew into splinters.

 

-James comes up behind Chris and kicks him in the back with both boots, in a constant corkscrew spinning motion.

 

-Chris is thrown forward over a bunch of pews before smashing into one.

 

-James appears above Chris’ head, pointing his hands downward, hands cupped but shaking.

 

-Chris fires an energy blast upward out of habit, although James jukes around it in the air, turning around and instantly firing a ball of his own.

 

-Chris flips up into the air, getting kicked at.

 

-Chris manages to block the kick with a kick of his own, launching himself backwards into the air and onto the balcony.

 

-In the meantime, the blast goes off where he was sitting in the pews, staying completely contained to a ball form that expands outward slowly but steadily before overtaking half the church area.

 

-Chris can only stare at the blast, impressed as it causes the whole room to dance and shimmer, sucking parts of the pews into it, almost as if a small, blue sun has just formed in the middle of the church.

 

-As Chris is stuck in awe, James comes up from above and shoots another blast, this one a beam, downward at Chris.

 

-Chris has time to throw up his own beam attack, countering the one in progress, pushing back with everything he’s got.

 

-James pulls one hand out of the beam, creating a separate energy ball in it.

 

-James plants it in the air and moves swiftly, allowing Chris’ beam to shoot past him and into the energy ball, which explodes with a quick, bright flash, momentarily blinding Chris as he shields his eyes.

 

-When the intense light passes, Chris looks around and sees that James is gone, searching everywhere for any signs of his presence.

 

-Out of nowhere a small speck of an energy ball flitters towards Chris, hitting him in the side of the head, stunning him slightly.

 

-James comes in from the side, kneeing Chris in the side, followed by a shot to the back

 

-As Chris is floating into the air, James performs another spinning double-boot that sends Chris hard to the ground.

 

-Chris is struggles to get up, coughing.

 

-James floats down next to him, arms crossed, a smile on his face.

 

James:  Not bad, son.

 

Chris:  Not bad?  I couldn’t even touch you.  You were amazing.

 

James:  Well, keep in mind that I’ve had a few years more practice than you.

 

-Chris pants hard, one eye slightly squinting.  He puts himself into a sitting position, his arms resting on his knees.

 

Chris:  I’ve never even seen an energy attack like that.

 

James:  Which one?

 

Chris:  The- (Stops and thinks).  Come to think of it, any of them.  (Looks over at James).  Mainly the big one.  The one you shot at me that looked like it could sustain itself without any extra work from you.  That one was awesome.  If I’d been anywhere near it I’d probably be dead.

 

James:  Nah, maybe a bit dizzy but I doubt you’d be dead.  (Stretches his arms).  Don’t feel bad though, I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting that one.  And I don’t expect you to get it right for a long, long time.

 

Chris:  Fighting you was crazy.  Last time I saw anything like that was against this guy named Syrus.

 

-James perks up.  A serious look crosses his usually jovial face.

 

James:  Syrus?

 

Chris:  Yeah.  He’s this guy that we’ve run into a few times over the past year.  He’s from Balobyn.  I fought him once.  My friends fought him a few times as well.  From what I hear, the guy’s untouchable.

 

James:  Chris, I want to make this very clear to you, so pay close attention.

 

Chris:  (Takes notice).  What’s up?

 

James:  Syrus is…(Thinks for the right words).  Well Syrus is incredibly powerful, but what makes him dangerous isn’t his power; rather his motives for what he does and the fact that he’s never willing to give up in a fight.  He’s driven to succeed.  He’ll never loses if he doesn’t want to, and when he does lose it drives him harder towards victory in any rematches.

 

Chris:  How do you know all this?

 

James:  (Shakes his head).  That’s not important.  What’s important is that you understand why he’s so dangerous.  He has something he believes in that he’s fighting for.  It’s this drive that makes his so deadly.  It’s what I had when I was a fighter and it’s what you’ll need in order to survive.

 

Chris:  (Thinks).  Hmh.  (Shrugs).  Not really sure I have much reason to want to fight.

 

James:  I’m sure you’ve got some reason.  Now get up, come at me with everything again.

 

Chris:  (Perplexed).  But I can hardly stand up after fighting you.  How do you expect me to beat you?

 

James:  I don’t.  I expect you to try.

 

-James launches himself at Chris.

 

*          *            *            *            *

 

-A day has gone by.

 

-Chris and James are sitting near a fire, the only light currently in the church.

 

-Chris is badly beaten, face swollen and eyes hardly able to stay open.  He’s got a blanket pulled around him.

 

Chris:  So you’re my dad?

 

James:  For the last time, yes.  Haha, not really sure what to have expected, huh?

 

Chris:  (Shrugs).  Not really, but then again grandma never told me much about you.  Actually that’s not true; she didn’t tell me anything about you.

 

James:  That’s because she never met me.  I’m thankful she took care of you though.  Thank her for me when you get the chance, please?

 

Chris:  Sure thing.  (Sheepishly looks over).  Um…do you mind if I ask a question?

 

James:  No harm in asking.

 

Chris:  What was mom like?  You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to obviously; I’m just curious.  Grandma never told me much about her either.  The most I know about her comes from a video the Legion gave me, but all it did was make me ask more questions.

 

James:  (Leans back in thought).  Your mother was wonderful.  She was my reason for fighting.  (Points casually to Chris).  Oh yeah, that reminds me to tell you; keep looking for that reason to fight on.  (Goes back into his own thoughts).  But yeah, your mother was really beyond description.  She was strong, like you and me.  She could do all this fancy light-show and flying and such, but she never really liked to.  Neither did I actually.  She was far more dangerous in close-combat.  I definitely never wanted to get on her bad side.  So powerful.

 

Chris:  How’d you meet?

 

James:  Um, hah, while fighting actually.  It’s a bit complicated to explain, but once we met it was a whirlwind romance.  Next thing you knew, we were married, and then after that you were born.  She died a little after that.

 

Chris:  How?

 

James:  (Remorseful look).  She was killed.  She was killed trying to keep me alive.

 

Chris:  How did you…um…you know…?

 

James:  Die?  (Shakes his head).  Not important.  (Laughs).  Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to do it again.  (Looks over to Chris).  We need a happier subject.  Any special girls in your life?

 

Chris:  Kinda.  (Looks down at his feet, heartbroken).  Not particularly a happier subject.  She’s not interested in me.

 

James:  Oh?

 

Chris:  She’s got a thing for this other guy, Jack.  (His expression switches to somewhat vengeful).  Wish I’d never met that guy.

 

James:  Hey now, don’t talk like that.  Come on, there has to be something good about this guy.

 

Chris:  Um…(Looks upward, taking a deep breath).  Nope, I really can’t see anything.  I mean, other than the fact that he’s apparently saved my life a few times I guess.  (Gives up and nods his head knowingly).  Yeah, the guy isn’t really that bad.  I’m kinda the wrong person to ask about it.

 

James:  What’s the girl’s name?

 

Chris:  Lindsey.  (Smiles).  I met her back in grade school.  I’m pretty sure I was in love with her back then, too.

 

James:  Sure?

 

Chris:  Absolutely.

 

James:  You still love her?

 

Chris:  Yeah.  More than anything really.

 

James:  Well then there’s your reason to fight.  Just think of her whenever you find yourself in a critical battle and remember that it’s all for her.  (Points at Chris to solidify his argument).  Don’t forget that now.

 

Chris:  Hah, it’s a bit hard to think about someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you.  If anything I’d think that’d make me fight worse.  (Looks down at his feet again).  Makes me depressed now even thinking about it.

 

James:  Well then, up and at ‘em.  (Stands up).  You’ve had enough rest, time to fight again.

 

Chris:  You serious?  But I’m tired.

 

James:  No excuses.

 

-James fires a small blast at Chris, who jumps up, startled but ready to fight again.

 

*          *            *            *            *

 

-Another  day has gone by and slowly it seems that Chris is getting the hang of a few things.

 

Chris:  So like this?

 

-He flicks a small blast at James.

 

James:  Yeah.  All in the wrist.

 

-James does it correctly.

 

-The tiny energy ball flicks out and flashes as it disappears upon hitting the wall.

 

James:  Remember, the point isn’t to do damage to your opponent, it’s to disorient them, disarm them, or defend yourself from large energy balls.  Now stop this one.

 

-James charges a decent energy ball in his hand, firing it at Chris.

 

-Chris covers his eyes with one hand and literally flicks a small blast from his fingers.

 

-The tiny blast connects with the larger one, causing it to explode.

 

-Chris opens his eyes.

 

Chris:  Hey hey!  Like that?

 

-Chris can’t see James anywhere.

 

Chris:  Dad?

 

-Chris takes a boot to the side of the head.

 

*          *            *            *            *

 

-Night again.  Chris is sleeping, entirely passed out from exhaustion.  James is leaning against a nearby doorway, arms crossed.

 

James:  He’s got a lot of power that he isn’t using.

 

-Joshua steps out from the shadows and through the door, his arms behind his back.

 

Joshua:  Well, can you blame him?  He’s only a kid.  (Looks James in the face).  And if I remember correctly, it took a lot of convincing to get you to fight the way we needed.

 

James:  That was different though.  I was at least twice his age.  And I already had a lot of experience with this sort of thing.

 

Joshua:  (Raised eyebrow).  This sort of thing?

 

James:  (Laughs).  Okay, so I didn’t.  I just wish we didn’t have to put him through this.

 

Joshua:  He chose this for himself.  We’re just guiding him on that choice.

 

James:  It’s incredible though; when I spare with him I swear I saw his full potential.

 

Joshua:  Which potential are we talking about?

 

James:  Every so often I see glimpses of what he’s holding back.  (Cocks his head towards Joshua).  I’m telling you, he’s capable of transformation.

 

Joshua:  Oh?  The Castitas Lux Lucis?

 

James:  Hahaha, we just called it the Shimmer Form to save time.  (Turns back to Chris’ sleeping body).  And I bet this generation will call it something different, too.

 

Joshua:  You really think he can do it properly?

 

James:  I’m sure of it.  He probably already has on accident and doesn’t know it.  Took me a while to figure out how to do it properly.  (Shrugs).  I don’t particularly enjoy doing it, but then again few people would from what I hear.  (Looks back to Chris).  Mark my words, he’ll do it.

 

-Chris snorts and wakes up, startled slightly.

 

Chris:  Huh…?  Oh hey Josh.  You’re back?

 

Joshua:  Just for a little while.  I have some good news for you!  Your friends are just fine!

 

Chris:  (His face lights up).  They are?!  You’re sure of this?!

 

Joshua:  Absolutely.  I saw them myself.

 

Chris:  You did?!  Did they ask about me?

 

Joshua:  Oh my yes.  They’re pretty torn up about your disappearance.

 

Chris:  Did you tell them I’m okay?

 

Joshua:  No.  (Confused).  Should I have?

 

Chris:  Yes?

 

Joshua:  Oh.  I’ll try and remember when I see them again, but they seem like they’re in an awful hurry.  I’m not even sure they’d listen if I try to tell them.  Honestly, you try and tell kids anything these days and they look at you like you’re stealing their precious time.  (Brushes his hands).  Well, speaking of time wasting, I should be on my way again.

 

-Joshua walks away again.

 

Chris:  Aw, but he just got here.

 

James:  Hey, now that you’re awake I think it’s time for more training!

 

-James blasts Chris, who jumps into the air, awake, albeit annoyed.

 

*          *            *            *            *

 

-The day goes by, with James giving Chris every bit of advice he can give; catching up with his son as best he can during the time he has to give to him.

 

-Chris is slowly making progress every so often, learning a thing here and there.

 

-After hours of training, Chris and James take a final rest.

 

-Chris breathes hard.

 

Chris:  Hah…hah…dad, I don’t know how you can keep going after all this time.

 

James:  After lots and lots of practice you’ll be just as good as me, if not better.

 

-Joshua walks into the room.

 

Joshua:  Evening you two!  Taking a breather I see?

 

Chris:  Yeah, but just a small one.

 

Joshua:  Ah.  Well I hate to be the one to kill this reunion but I’m afraid I must.  James, I’m sorry, your time is about up.

 

James:  (Nods).  I figured as much.  I’ve been keeping track.

 

Chris:  What?  Wait!  You can’t go!  We’ve just started to get to know each other!  And I’ve got a lot more training to go!

 

James:  Sorry but that’s just how it goes this time.

 

-Joshua walks over to Chris and holds his hands out.

 

Joshua:  Hold still for just a second.

 

-Joshua’s hands start glowing as he begins slightly humming, eyes closed.

 

Chris:  What’s…?

 

Joshua:  Shush.

 

-Joshua stops and opens his eyes.

 

Joshua:  There, all done.

 

-Chris looks down and sees that he’s wearing new clothes.  Blue jeans, blue shirt, and a gray fleece vest to go along with it.

 

Chris:  Whoa, not bad.

 

Joshua:  I got your fashion sense right, right?

 

Chris:  Heh, yeah, about right.  (Hops up and down).  I don’t even feel tired anymore.  Thanks.

 

Joshua:  Don’t mention it.  (Looks over to James).  James, I’ll be waiting for you in the other room when you’re ready.

 

-Joshua walks out of the room.

 

James:  Alright son, don’t forget what I taught you.

 

Chris:  Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be forgetting any time soon.

 

James:  You’ll have to look out for your friends.  They’re going to need you.

 

Chris:  I know.  They’re in trouble right now, aren’t they?

 

James:  I don’t know for sure, but with a group of highly trained assassins after them you can bet that they probably are.

 

Chris:  I’m not going to be too much help though.  I mean, the robots nearly killed me last time; I doubt much will be different this time around.

 

James:  Plenty is different.  You’ve gotten incredibly strong over the past few days, you just don’t realize it.

 

Chris:  No, I didn’t.  Dad, I don’t get it.  Everyone seems to demand that I’m some powerful guy.  I don’t want that.  I don’t want this power.

 

James:  (Kneels down in front of Chris and places a hand on his shoulder).  Son, listen to me very carefully.  Your power is a very delicate thing.

 

Chris:  Yeah, and I’m not the one who should have it.  Derek should, or Jack, or someone else, but not me!

 

James:  Don’t be strong because you want to, be strong because you have to.  You have people who need you.  The woman you love, needs you.  Nothing more should matter.

 

Chris:  But…I’m still no stronger than when I showed up here.  I don’t feel any different or any more powerful.

 

James:  You will.  As soon as you step out those main doors it’ll hit you.  You’ve gotten infinitely stronger, but you won’t know it until you leave the church.

 

Chris:  Why?

 

James:  Churches are sacred places, abandoned or not.  Real churches mind you, not fake ones.  No, power doesn’t matter in a church.  No one’s power can be felt in a church.  They’re somewhat like a “no reception” zone for one of those, (snaps his fingers), one of those, um, what did you call ‘em?  Cell phones, yeah.

 

Chris:  How come?

 

James:  A church, a real church, is a place of God, and God’s power eclipses yours completely, like how the moon eclipses the stars around it, or a brighter star overtakes a more distant one that appears nearby.

 

Chris:  (Pause).  So what you’re saying is, I’m like an eclipsed star?

 

James:  (Smiles).  Something like that.

 

-James stands up and hugs Chris close.

 

James:  Don’t be strong because you want to, be strong because you have to.  (Looks down at Chris).  I love you son.  I wish I could have been there for you.  I’m sorry things had to end up the way they did.

 

Chris:  Dad, I…

 

James:  I’m proud of you, no matter what happens.

 

-James lets go of his son and sadly turns, walking into the next room.

 

Chris:  Wait, dad!

 

-A bright light emanates from the next room, blinding Chris momentarily.

 

-When he can see again, he knows that his dad is gone.

 

Chris:  I won’t let you down, dad.

 

-Chris turns around and places his hand against the large, wooden main door.

 

Chris:  The others need me.  (Takes a deep breath).  Okay, here goes…

 

-Chris pushes the door open.  A small breeze cools his face.  He looks out, seeing that it’s evening.

 

-He lets the door close behind him.

 

-As soon as the door closes entirely, Chris is hit with a wave of energy, instantly powering up without meaning to.

 

Chris:  What the…?

 

PLOOM!

 

-His body flexes once, the ground thumps from the power being put out.

 

-Chris is stunned, having been hit with the full force of his newfound power since leaving the church.

 

-On the battlefield, an image of Chris flashes across Danny’s mind.

 

Danny:  It can’t be…Chris…?

 

-Danny looks over at Hex-Duo 2, who seems to be saying the same thing.

 

Chris:  (In front of the church).  This is incredible…he was right…  (Clenches his fist).  Alright.

 

-Chris looks up and around, taking another deep breath.

 

Chris:  Where are they…?  (Looks off towards the south).  There, that has to be them.  (Shakes his head).  They’re not doing well.  I can hardly feel anyone at all, but I know they’re there.

 

-Chris puts his game face on.

 

Chris:  They don’t have much time.  I’ve got to get there now.

 

-Chris starts off at a quick run, slowly working his way into a faster pace.


-Back at the battlefield, Derek is about to fire his energy blast at Hex-Duo 6.

 

Derek:  I’ll see you in HELL!!!

 

-Derek fires his blast right as Danny smashes into him, sending the beam towards Hex-Duo 2.

 

-Chris is sprinting now.

 

Chris:  How far away are they?  I swear the church was at the edge of the city…so how far would that make them?

 

-Chris picks up the pace, hopping over cars as he runs into the freeway.

 

Chris:  Why would they head into the middle of the city?  Don’t they know there’s just more people there?

 

-Chris zips by cars, getting honked at before the drivers of the cars realize it’s a person on foot that’s cutting them off.

 

Chris:  Dang it guys, just hold on…

 

-Chris ups his speed, tearing into the freeway as he’s running, chunks of cement getting torn up.

 

-Cars are pulling over to get out of his way.

 

-On the battlefield, Hex-Duo 6 is furious that Hex-Duo 2 is gone.

 

Hex-Duo 6:  You will all pay for this!!!

 

-Chris starts taking short hops every few yards.

 

Chris:  I can’t believe how light I feel.  But…(Closes his eyes and shakes his head).  No, I’ve got to fly.  No way around it.

 

-Chris runs into a tunnel, blasting out the other side, taking to the air, although keeping himself low to the street, not wanting to go very high.

 

-He’s still tearing up the street in the process.

 

Chris:  Just a little longer everyone.  I’m on my way!

 

-Chris flies higher and higher, increasing speed.

 

-On the battlefield, Hex-Duo 6 is charging its finisher blast along with the Hex-Duo robots.

 

Hex-Duo 6:  Prepare for death!!

 

Danny is still looking towards the North, smiling.

 

-Everyone begins to take notice as the ground starts to slightly hum and vibrateg under their feet.

 

Chris:  JUST HOLD ON!

 

-Chris pushes himself harder than ever before, screeching through the air at an amazing speed, going ever faster.

 

-Once he starts hitting the section of city with large buildings, windows crack and shatter, with the glass getting caught in Chris’ jet stream, being pulled along.

 

-Chris flexes his whole body to get maximum speed out of himself, yelling as he’s fired along, turning into a glowing blue missile, his body engulfed what looks like blue fire.

 

-Derek turns completely away from the Hex-Duo robots, eyes squinted, seeing something abnormal in the sky.

 

Derek:  What the…?

 

CRACKOOM!!!

 

-Chris comes to a skidding halt, digging into the street upon landing, turned to face the group.

 

-The shockwave hits everyone with a POOM, causing everyone to cover their faces from the sudden rush of air carrying dust, glass, chunks of rocks, and various other substances that have been carried along by the jet stream.

 

-Chris slowly stands up.

 

Chris:  You didn’t think I’d miss this, did you?

 

-Chris looks around the area.

 

Chris:  What happened here…?

 

-Derek is stunned, just like the rest of the group.

 

Derek:  That’s just not possible…

 

To Be Continued…

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