Eclipse Star: Chapter 57
“It’s Morphin’ Time!”
Recap: While the group at the church managed to overcome the Regime’s attack, the group of Chris, Derek, Scott, Glitch, and Lindsey are still fighting on at the Arena against the Octa-Rangers. Scott is down for the count and Glitch refuses to fight, but he has an idea to patch in some incriminating evidence to the mega screens that’ll shed light on what the Hex-Duo robots were all about and Octavious’ true colors. The fight is now three against five. Can the group hold out long enough for the plan to work? Things get more intense today, on Eclipse Star!
-Stigma, (the red ranger), San, (the yellow ranger), Sampi, (the blue ranger), Sho, (the black ranger), and Qoppa, (the pink ranger), are all in formation, ready to attack the group.
-Chris, Lindsey, and Derek power themselves up and charge forward.
-Glitch takes Scott and shoots up into the rafters and out of sight.
Stigma: Rangers! Focus attacks on the remaining three! Lethal force!
Stigma: Ready Alpha Strike…
Chris: Renegade Crusher GO!
-Lindsey and Derek nod and blast ahead of Chris.
Sho: “Renegade Crusher…?”
-The Octa-Rangers seem slightly stunned for a moment as Derek and Lindsey shoot straight up instead of hitting the group.
-Chris quickly flicks his hands out, firing rapid flick shots at the five opponents.
-Each ranger takes a flick shot in the face, being knocked off balance.
-As they turn their attention to Chris, Derek comes down in the middle of the rangers and pulls out his sai, causing a sonic boom by drawing them against themselves.
-The rangers are thrown in various directions.
-Stigma and Sampi get up first, only to have Chris and Lindsey slam them from behind with a double-kick.
-They then both pull back and hurl energy blasts at Stigma and Sampi at the same time, hitting their targets and blowing them into the air.
-Sho gets up on his hands and knees, but receives a boot directly in the face from Derek, popping him up as Derek connects with a palm strike, hurling Sho into the wall.
-Qoppa gets up and looks around, confused. San gets up next to him and looks up.
San: We gotta help Stigma and Sampi!
Qoppa: Uh…which ones were they again?
San: The two in the air! Go help them!
-Right as Qoppa looks upwards, Lindsey comes by and grabs his helmet from behind, turning it sideways.
Qoppa: Oh no! I’m blind! Fellow rangers, I am blind!
Lindsey: Silly rangers. (She grabs Qoppa and pushes him into San). You two have fun!
San: Hey, stop messing around!
-Qoppa makes contact with San and immediately starts flailing, throwing punches and kicks.
Qoppa: AHA! I’ll smash you good!
San: Dang it Qoppa! It’s me! San!
Qoppa: (Even more confused). Uh…which one was San again? Must be a trick!
-Qoppa takes a big swing at San and begins wrestling with him.
-Stigma rights himself in the air and pulls Sampi out of the way of a blast being fired by Derek.
Derek: So you’re not such an idiot, huh?
Stigma: Neither are you three, apparently.
-Stigma lands along with Sampi.
Stigma: Renegade Crusher huh? Not a bad technique.
Lindsey: Chris, you just made up some words and yelled them at us, right?
Lindsey: That’s what I thought.
Derek: (Taps his head). Quick thinking. We’ve got it.
-San finally grabs Qoppa’s helmet and fixes it, causing Qoppa to stop flailing about.
Qoppa: Oh, San, THERE you are! I was blinded by the terrorists for a while.
San: Shut up and regroup.
-The rangers regroup.
-Meanwhile, Glitch and Scott are up in the rafters. Glitch is just finishing bandaging Scott’s hands.
Glitch: There. That should help a bit, but it’s only a temporary fix.
Scott: Better than nothing.
Glitch: Okay, there has to be a video feed around here somewhere.
Scott: They changed the setup of this place since we were last here. There used to be a hanging mega screen in the middle, but Syrus smashed that.
Glitch: The other two screens in the arena are built into the walls on either end. I don’t think we can tap in to those without tearing into solid concrete.
Scott: Then we head to the control room. They’ve got to have people monitoring the fight, you know, just to make sure no one uses any profanity or something.
Glitch: They’d sensor a brutal fight only if it uses profanity?
Scott: Yeah. Also probably if anyone started having sex without warning.
Glitch: That’s crazy.
Scott: No shit. Now come on, let’s go find the video feed.
-Back on the floor…
Stigma: I think we’ve had just about enough now. Octa-Rangers! Full power!
Chris: Full power? You mean they haven’t been fighting us at full power yet?
Lindsey: Well neither have I, so we should be fine.
Derek: Yeah, then again you haven’t been fighting two at once, have you?
Lindsey: It looks like I’m about to get my chance, huh?
Chris: You two, stay to the sides while I-
Lindsey: Derek, you take the blue one and the yellow one, I’ll get the pink and the black one. Chris, that leaves you the guy in red.
Chris: This isn’t going to-
-Lindsey throws herself into the fray with Derek trailing only slightly behind her. She grabs Qoppa and hurls him upwards with all her strength before ducking under one of Sho’s punches.
Qoppa: Yah! How’d a girl throw like that?!
-Qoppa starts to correct himself in the air before zipping down and fighting with Lindsey as she dodges Sho’s attacks.
-As Lindsey keeps dodging, Sho’s fists start glowing with a dark aura, rippling the air more as they shoot forward.
-Qoppa tries to grab Lindsey, but as she leaps behind him, Sho fires a heavy punch into Qoppa’s chest.
-Qoppa takes the severe hit and doubles over.
-Meanwhile, Derek has begun attacking his two rangers with quick hits.
-He grabs San’s helmet and boots him in the stomach, dodging under Sampi’s punch from behind and elbowing Sampi in the back.
-Sampi returns with a swing that Derek swats away, roundhousing a kick to Sampi’s side.
-San tackles Derek and rolls him to the ground, throwing a yellow glowing punch that cracks the ground as Derek dodges.
-Derek grabs San’s arm and holds him down, pummeling him in the helmet with punches with his free hand.
-During all this, Chris and Stigma are mostly just squaring off.
Stigma: So, you’re supposed to be the primary target?
Chris: Yeah, though I don’t like being thought of as an objective.
Stigma: My only interest in you concerns my mission and my obligation to Octavious and Balobyn.
Chris: Then listen, we’re not terrorists. We’re kids. Do we look like terrorists to you? Do we fight like terrorists to you?
Stigma: No. You’re sloppy, and yet you’re still strong. (Looks over at the others). Your teammates are doing remarkably well, wouldn’t you say?
Chris: They can take care of themselves.
Stigma: Maybe, but I don’t believe you have very solid teamwork.
-Stigma vwings from Chris’ sight.
-As Lindsey is about to throw a punch at Qoppa, Qoppa disappears as well as Sho.
-Chris and Lindsey look around, confused, finally resting eyes on Derek.
-Derek is dodging punches and kicks from Sampi and San, retaliating, then dodging again.
-The two disappear for a moment.
-Almost too quick to distinguish, Derek is being lifted up by a knee in his stomach, courtesy of Stigma. He gasps for air before a blur of colors rip him a new one, battering him mercilessly.
Lindsey: That was so fast…
-Chris takes a run towards Derek, sparking as he’s picking up speed.
-Derek continues taking hits, unable to keep his head up anymore.
-Chris disappears with a boom.
-Things freeze for a second as Chris’ foot buries itself deep into Stigma’s back, bowing him backwards before hurling him forward into the wall with a KRACKOOM.
-The other Octa-Rangers all look to see Chris in the middle of their group right before he sending them flying in all directions.
-Chris grabs Derek and lies him down on the ground.
Chris: Derek, you don’t look too good.
Derek: (Severely damaged). I didn’t ask for help…
Chris: Shut up. You’re no good to us right now, so just shut up.
-Stimga gets back up as the other Octa-Rangers regroup around him.
Stigma: That…koff…that was a lot stronger than I figured he could deliver.
Octavious: (From his viewpoint in the skybox). Shit. If that kid hits max power down there there’s no telling what’ll happen.
-The crowd is going nuts as Lindsey runs over to Chris and Derek.
Lindsey: So we’re down to just us, huh?
Chris: No, you’re getting out of here with Derek.
Lindsey: I don’t think so.
Chris: Lindsey, you’re not-
Lindsey: Stop it! Let me help you, okay? I seem to remember you asking for help just a few days ago, so what, did I just miss my chance or something?
Chris: (Getting extremely defensive). Don’t make this about something it’s not. I don’t want you getting hurt. If Derek can’t even deal with them-
Lindsey: Why do you think I’m weaker than Derek?
Derek: (Getting up, stumbling towards the Octa-Rangers). Because you are, Lindsey. You just don’t have the raw…guh…drive.
Lindsey: (Looking at Derek and then at Chris). Oh what, so you don’t care if he goes and gets himself killed? You think he can handle himself better than me even after getting beat to hell?
Chris: You just don’t understand how this works.
Lindsey: Then show me!
Stigma: Rangers, give them another taste of the Omega Buster.
Chris: Omega Buster…oh damnit!
Derek: You ready for this one? (Derek grins and puts his arms up).
Chris: Lindsey, please, just get out of here.
-Chris begins charging a counter attack as the Octa-Rangers start waving their hands in sync.
Lindsey: (Serious). You really think you can block their big attack all by yourself?
Chris: I don’t know.
Lindsey: Why aren’t you fighting like you did a few days ago?
Chris: Things were different back then.
Lindsey: Yeah, what was different?
Chris: I- (Images flash through Chris’ head of him talking with his father).
James: So Chris, what’re you fighting for?
Chris: I don’t know. I still haven’t figured that out yet.
James: It’s got to be something incredibly meaningful to you. Once you find something you can’t live without, you’ve found your motivation.
Chris: I don’t have anything like that.
James: So you don’t have anything, but do you have anyone?
Chris: I- (Back to the present). I didn’t have any other options back then.
Lindsey: This is about Jack, isn’t it?
Chris: (Continues charging). Lindsey, this is a really bad time to bring that up, don’t you think?
Lindsey: (Pissed). Well clearly it’s bothering you. Everything has to be about you, doesn’t it? You have to get your way or else everything’s just terrible, huh?
Chris: (Growing increasingly angry). Lindsey!
-The Octa-Rangers are about to fire.
Derek: (Weakly charging a blast in his hands as well). Alright you bastards, let’s party.
Lindsey: Admit it! The only reason you’re acting so pathetic is because I’m not in love with you!
Stigma: OMEGA BUSTER FIRE!
Chris: GET DOWN!
-Lindsey turns around, finally seeing the massive blast firing at her. She hardly seems surprised.
-Derek stumbles, not having enough energy to fire a blast and stand up at the same time.
Chris: DAMNIT DAMNIT DAMNIT!
-A massive explosion takes place. Lindsey gets up to see what’s happened, realizing that Chris jumped up, grabbed her, and threw her into Derek, knocking the two of them out of harm’s way before finally blocking the beam at the last second instead of countering.
Lindsey: (Shocked). Oh my God…
Sho: Did we get them?
Sampi: Well we definitely hit something.
Stigma: (Annoyed). I don’t believe this.
-Chris is still standing, though his legs are wobbling now. His arms are raised in front of his face, smoking and charred.
Chris: (Through gritted teeth). Lindsey, for the love of God, get the hell out of here, please.
Stigma: Rangers! V formation attack!
-The Octa-Rangers speed towards Chris and Lindsey in a V formation.
Lindsey: Chris, I’m s-
Chris: I don’t have time for this!
-Chris takes off to meet the Octa-Rangers head on.
-As they’re about to meet, something shoots from between Stigma and Sho and slams into Chris, knocking him into the back wall, breaking it down.
Lindsey: Dang it! This is my fault! I was just trying to push him a little…
Chris: (Getting up). What just hit me?
-The Octa-Rangers have stopped advancing. Standing between them is a new ranger dressed in a green outfit decorated slightly better than the other five.
Stigma: Who are you?
Green Ranger: (Elaborate pose). I am Digamma, the Emerald Ranger.
Stigma: Octavious never told me about a Ranger named Digamma.
Digamma: Octavious sees the need to keep things to himself unless absolutely needed.
Octavious: (Positively stunned). Who is that guy?! And what is he doing out there?!
Chris: (Gets up, somewhat fine). Great, a green ranger. Just what we need right now.
Lindsey: (Goes over to Chris, willing to assist him to walk). Chris, I know you’re mad at me, and I’m sorry.
Chris: (Pushes her gently away and begins walking forward, rubbing his shoulder). I know. It’s okay. I shouldn’t be telling you what to do all the time. I love you, so I worry.
Lindsey: Chris, we’ve been over this; you don’t love me.
Chris: Whatever. I’m over-protective for a lot of reasons. (Sigh). You know you’re stronger than Derek, right?
Lindsey: (Smiles). Oh yeah.
Chris: (Smiles back). Good, because I’m gonna need you big time here.
Lindsey: As long as you don’t tell me to leave.
Chris: No, this time I’m pretty sure I’ll need your help. It’s taking Glitch a lot longer than I figured to do this, so there’s a good chance we’ll just have to play this one out to the end.
-Meanwhile, backstage in a control room…
-Glitch and Scott are at a computer console as Glitch madly flips switches and presses buttons. A few tech workers are knocked out next to Scott as he watches the video monitor.
Scott: They look like they’re getting the shit kicked out of them.
Glitch: I don’t mean to take so much time, but Octavious had someone safeguard against computer hacking a lot better than I figured.
Scott: So what, you’re a computer, too. Just meld with the damned thing and let’s be done with this.
Glitch: It’s not that simple.
Scott: Well Derek’s down and a green ranger just showed up.
Glitch: (Not looking up from his frantic typing). I am aware of that.
Scott: We’re gonna cut this one close… (Pulls out a cigarette and starts smoking).
Glitch: Yeah, well, you’re probably getting used to that by now.
-Scott goes back to watching the monitor which shows Chris and Lindsey standing back-to-back.
Chris: I don’t know how strong the green guy is, but the rest of them can be handled unless they work in unison.
Lindsey: Is it time to start hitting harder?
Chris: I’d say so, yes.
Lindsey: Alright. Let’s do this.
Lindsey: Pink first?
Chris: Oh yeah.
-The two both charge energy blasts in their hands and fire next to each other, combining the blast to be much larger than expected.
-The Octa-Rangers leap out of the way, but when they look down both Chris and Lindsey are gone.
Digamma: They’re on the move! Watch your backs!
-Before the rangers have time to react, Qoppa blurts out a whimper as Chris and Lindsey tackle him from the front and the back at the same time. He falls to the ground, out.
-San looks over, getting hit in the face and the back of the legs at the same time.
-He spins around in the air, confused, until an axe kick comes down on his chest, throwing him to the ground as well.
-Sampi and San look at each other and zoom to the far walls, keeping their backs protected.
-Chris and Lindsey appear, flying towards them. The two rangers put up a block, ready for a head-on attack.
-Chris and Lindsey switch rangers at the last second before punching, hitting them in the side of the head behind their guard.
-Sampi and San fall to the side, getting kneed into the walls, becoming imbedded and both out of commission.
-Both Lindsey and Chris are breathing extremely hard.
Chris: Hah…you doing okay?
Lindsey: Hah…hah…I’ll be fine.
-Chris and Lindsey turn around and catch Stigma in their sights, rushing towards him with Chris speeding ahead of Lindsey.
-Digamma appears in front of Lindsey from behind Chris, pounding Lindsey in the gut with an authoritative punch.
-She gasps slightly as she’s lifted into the air. Chris turns around when he hears the sound.
-He starts to slow, not realizing that Stigma is pulling back for an attack.
-Chris notices Stigma’s attack right as it hits him in the head.
-Chris is thrown onto his back, smoking and in a lot of obvious pain.
-Lindsey is grabbed by the face. Digamma charges a quick blast and nails Lindsey with the hand holding her.
-Lindsey is flung clear across the arena floor.
-Chris finally gets up.
Digamma: I’ll give you credit for taking out four simple targets. However, myself and Stigma are not so easily dispatched by silly tricks.
Chris: Lindsey! Are you okay?!
Lindsey: (She gets up, wobbling). Ye-yeah…I’ll be okay. (She suddenly grabs her face, wincing from the pain). Just…just give me a second…
Chris: (To Digamma). You’re making a big mistake here.
Digamma: You made the first mistake by opposing Balobyn and Zanretha.
Chris: We followed the orders we were given exactly. And we never attacked Zanretha or Balobyn, only the Demon Regime. Octavious is the leader of the Regime. Your leader is the terrorist, not us.
Digamma: Sometimes leaders have to do strange things to ensure their nation’s success. Balobyn is about to enter a golden age thanks to Octavious.
Chris: What are you, his biggest fan?
Digamma: Far from it actually. (Power stance, green energy pulsating visually off his uniform). I am vastly more powerful than any of these other rangers. You realize this, yes?
Chris: Yeah. That doesn’t mean I’m impressed, but I’m aware of the fact.
Digamma: Aren’t you curious to see exactly how powerful?
Chris: Not exactly. Hey Lindz?! You curious to see how strong this guy is?!
Lindsey: (Shakes her head, shrugging). Not really, no!
Chris: Well, that’s two against one.
Digamma: Stigma! Take the girl! I want the main target!
-Digamma launches himself forward, decking Chris in the face. Chris’ cheek ripples from the attack as he’s hurled off his feet.
-Meanwhile, Stigma disappears and reappears behind Lindsey, attempting to knock her out with one punch.
-She turns around just in time to catch Stigma’s hand.
-He struggles to get free from her grip.
Stigma: I don’t get this…how can a girl keep up with us?
Lindsey: I’ve been training with the boys, so I’m not exactly what you’d call “prissy.”
-She disappears after letting go of Stigma’s wrist and reappears with a kick to his head.
-On the other side of the arena, Chris recovers from his attack, vwinging from his position and punching at Digamma.
-Digamma blocks the punch before the two disappear, appearing every so often around the arena to deliver simultaneous attacks that cancel each other out.
-Finally, they appear above the center as Digamma smashes Chris in the face again.
-Every time they continue reappearing, Digamma is nailing Chris with a heavy attack. After enough of these hits, Digamma slams Chris with an elbow straight down.
-Chris falls and hits the floor, badly damaged.
Digamma: Is this the best you can deliver?!
-Stigma is backed into a corner, getting nearly destroyed by Lindsey with every blow.
Stigma: Gah Digamma! I need help!
Digamma: For goodness sake…
-Digamma looks over to Stigma and starts to move towards Lindsey.
-Suddenly the TV’s screech with static. Everyone in the crowd covers their ears and starts mumbling as the TV’s go blank for a moment.
Digamma: What now?
-The TV’s come back on with Glitch and Scott in the frame.
Scott: These aren’t on, are they?
Glitch: We’re patched in. They’re on.
Scott: What? Why didn’t you- Ha, alright then, let’s get some things straight here folks. My name is Scott Delaney, and Octavious would like you to believe I’m one of the twelve terrorists threatening your city.
Octavious: What’s going on-?!
Scott: He would also like you to believe that the Hex-Duo robots were manufactured in order to hunt us down and save your city. The robot to my right is named Glitch.
Glitch: My official name is Hex-Duo Model Number Seven.
Scott: He is one of the ten robots that ravaged the city. Glitch, show the footage.
Glitch: Here’s the truth.
-Glitch hits some more buttons. The screen becomes static again for a moment before jumping in with a scene of Octavious speaking with Charles in his lab.
Octavious: How is production coming along with these?
Charles: It’s slow, but it’s going very well. I have this one nearly completed here-
-Gestures towards Glitch/the camera.
Octavious: I don’t want one! I want an army of these things! How do you expect me to occupy a city with only one damned robot?!
Charles: The specifications only covered this one-
Octavious: Clearly someone didn’t brief you enough. I want ten. No less. Each should be loaded with more shit than a tank. Can you do that?
Charles: We don’t have that kind of money-
Octavious: I own a f*cking country! I don’t run out of money if I don’t want to!
Charles: Fine. Ten, just as you ask.
Octavious: Good. If I like the progress in another week then I may let you see a current picture of your wife.
-Static. The crowd starts to murmur louder.
-The footage cuts back in, once more with Charles and Octavious in the lab.
Charles: They’re nearly done. I just have to finish programming their orders and install safety chips.
Octavious: No safety chips. We’ve spent enough money as it is.
Charles: You told me a month ago that money was no option.
Octavious: I don’t care about them needing safety chips.
Charles: Without the chips we won’t be able to stop them from harming civilians if it comes down to it.
Octavious: So? We’re not loosing them in our country, are we?
Charles: Octavious, sir-
Octavious: Look you old shit, I don’t give a damn how many people these things end up killing as long as they kill the twelve little bastards I want dead, is that clear?
Charles: What you’re talking about is tantamount to a war crime.
Octavious: Well that’s why we aren’t slapping our name on them, isn’t it?
Charles: Would you like me to remove the Demon Regime’s logo from them then?
Octavious: I don’t care. Only a handful of people know my connection to the Regime, so it doesn’t matter. The public’s too stupid to know anything different. You realize I got my son Max into The Legion? The damned nation’s filled with idiots anyway.
-More static. The crowd is growing extremely angry.
Octavious: God damnit! Someone cut the power already!
-Octavious runs out from his skybox, rushing down to the ground floor.
-The screen comes back on, this time showing the Hex-Duo robots and their group as they’re flying to the Legion’s headquarters.
Glitch: (In the place of the camera). Six, I still don’t think we need to kill anyone. There has got to be another way here.
Hex-Duo 6: (Turning to Glitch). Listen Seven, I’m growing bored with explaining to you that I don’t care what Syrus thinks about human life. I wasn’t programmed to care about human life. We were given orders directly from Octavious not to care about human life other than his and his son’s. As long as we kill the primary target and eliminate The Legion, our mission is complete. Do you understand?
Glitch: (Quietly). Yes.
-More static. The screen comes back on to show the attack on the Legion’s base. Images of explosions and fire run rampant, showing the Hex-Duo robots specifically rushing up and slaughtering individual members of the Legion every so often.
-The camera, (Glitch), runs away, looking back on Hex-Duo 6 snapping The Commander’s neck.
-Glitch turns back to get clear shots of the remaining eleven kids, all distraught, in pain, and most of them weeping, horror-shocked.
-Static once more. The crowd is gasping, getting louder and louder.
-Before the screen can come back on, Digamma hurls energy blasts from both hands, destroying both screens at once.
Lindsey: What? You weren’t enjoying the show?
Digamma: That’s enough from you!
Lindsey: Face it, it’s over.
-The crowd is growing extremely hostile, booing Octavious’ name as well as the Regime’s and the nation of Balobyn in general.
Digamma: You will shut your mouth like a good girl, or you won’t have a mouth left with which to speak to me like that.
-Digamma starts to walk towards Lindsey, only to look down and see the dust vibrating slightly.
-Digamma looks back directly as Chris connects with a punch that rawks Digamma.
-Digamma is thrown clear off his feet, a crater appearing on the ground at the point he was hit.
-Digamma’s helmet shatters and bursts off as he crashes into the retaining walls, coming to a halt.
-Digamma stands up, shaking his head, his hand on his face. He looks around and sees the crowd booing him. Everyone else looks down and sees Digamma’s face.
Digamma: My helmet…? Oh no.
-Chris looks over at Digamma.
Chris: Maximilian is the green Octa-Ranger?
-Octavious rushes out at this moment on the ground floor, stopping and seeing Max.
Chris: (Picking Derek up off the ground while talking to Max and Octavious). You see this crowd here? These are the citizens of Zanretha. These are the citizens of my nation. They’re on our side now. You’ve lost. Leave now before things get worse.
Max: No. I didn’t disgrace my country or my people. And I’m not finished yet.
-Max begins glowing green again, crouching a bit to start gathering a crazy amount of energy while grunting. Within no time, things are beginning to shake, originating from Max.
Chris: Derek, come on, get up. I need to know you’re okay here.
-Chris continues trying to wake Derek up as he looks up and sees Lindsey behind Max, also powering up.
Chris: Ah no… Lindz!
-Chris drops Derek as Lindsey leaps at Max.
-Max turns around and slams her upward with both hands in a massive punch. She careens into the air as Max proceeds to charge himself up to maximum power.
Max: This time you’ll know your place!
-Chris leaps into the air as best he can, already charging a counter-attack in his hands.
-Max throws his arms into the air.
Max: See you in Hell!
-Max fires his ultimate attack, a massive upheaval of energy from all around him that seems to spring up from the entire arena floor. The energy explodes upward, erupting through the arena’s roof.
-The crowd freaks out and finally starts fleeing out any exit possible.
-In the city, Jack, Austin, Kevin, Danny, Willy, Clinton, Leena, and Kyle are flying towards the arena with Jack on Kevin’s back.
Clinton: (Holding his hand to his ear). Jack, the radio transmissions are going nuts right now regarding our group at the Trillium Grand Central Arena. The Octa-Rangers are down, and Glitch played all the needed footage, but something’s wrong.
Jack: We’re just about there, so-
-Jack’s sentence is interrupted as they see the Arena’s top blow off and watch as green light flies into the clouds.
Kyle: Jack, that does not look like a good thing.
Jack: Full speed! We need to get there NOW!
-The church-defense group speeds off to assist.
-Inside the Arena, Max is still outputting a massive amount of energy.
Derek: (Finally coming to). Unh…the hell? I wake up to this?
-Glitch and Scott rush onto the Arena floor.
-Max laughs until he hears a faint sound coming from within the blinding green light.
-An energy blast shoots down from the middle of everything directly down on Max, hitting the ground and exploding in a hellish detonation.
-Everything goes white as sound fades to eventual peace, the crowd being too stunned to say anything. The only sound that can be heard is the noise of chunks of debris falling onto the Arena floor.
-Finally, the intensity of the light fades, revealing Max lying facedown on his stomach, green outfit ripped to shreds. He is struggling to crawl forward, his hand reaching out.
-Octavious looks on, dropping his arm having been covering his face. He rushes out to the middle of the arena, speaking through clenched teeth.
Octavious: God damn you, Max. You f*cked up everything.
Max: Father, together…we can kill him…
Octavious: We’re getting out of here.
-Octavious throws Max over his shoulder and takes off. The Octa-Rangers follow closely behind.
-Lindsey lands shortly after that carrying Chris on her back.
Lindsey: Not bad. Not bad at all. You nearly killed yourself, but not bad.
Chris: (Weak). Thanks…
-Glitch and Scott run up to the two.
Glitch: That was amazing!
Scott: We were about to step in to help, but it looked like you had everything under control.
-Derek stumbles over.
Derek: Octavious and that bastard son of his got away.
Scott: Ug, profanity just sounds so crude coming from you, you know that?
Derek: We could end this all right now if we go after them.
Lindsey: Derek, right now, none of us look like we’re really in any shape to go chasing after him, and definitely in no condition to keep fighting.
Chris: What’re you talking about? I could go another…hundred miles… (Chris passes out).
Lindsey: (Stroking his head). What a trooper…
-Lindsey and the others look up as Jack’s group flies down from up above.
Austin: What the heck happened here?
Lindsey: We hit a bit of a snag, but we handled it.
Jack: Lindz, we just saw the light beam. That wasn’t what I’d call a “snag.”
Lindsey: Well, okay, the light beam was after the snag. After the snag we had a bit of a snafu, then a fubar, but now we’re pretty okay I’d say.
Kevin: Anyone injured?
Scott: Check the wrists. (Holds up his arms). These are going to hurt for months. Oh, and also Chris is out, Derek is beaten pretty badly, and Lindsey needs a comb.
Danny: The Octa-Rangers got away, didn’t they?
Lindsey: Yeah, but we’re a whole lot stronger than them. We just need better teamwork.
Jack: I couldn’t agree more.
Lindsey: How’d things go at the church?
Austin: (Thumbs-up). Mission accomplished. Parents saved, case closed.
Derek: Was my father there?
Austin: I didn’t see him, no. I’m sorry.
Derek: He hated church anyway.
Lindsey: Well now that we won, let’s go see our parents!
-The group just coming from the church clamps up and grows awkward.
Leena: Uh, Lindz…
Lindsey: (Becoming worried). What’s wrong?
Jack: Lindsey, it was best for our parents to go into hiding for a while.
Lindsey: Okay, so let’s go to where they’re hiding.
Jack: No, you don’t understand. I asked them to do what my parents did and cut ties with us.
-Lindsey is heartbroken.
Jack: Lindsey, I’m sorry, it had to be done to keep them and us safe.
Lindsey: (Tears are starting to stream down her face). I couldn’t even tell them goodbye…? Tell them I love them…? Jack…why?
Jack: Lindz, there just wasn’t any time-
Lindsey: WHY?! (She bursts into tears, turns and runs away).
Leena: Lindz… (She runs after Lindsey).
-Chris groggily opens his eyes, rubbing his face.
Chris: Jack…that you guys?
Jack: Yes. We were successful.
Chris: Good. I did my half of the deal, too. Now can we go make sure my grandma’s alive?
Jack: I don’t-
Austin: (Cutting Jack off entirely). Heck yeah let’s go! I haven’t seen your grandma in forever!
Jack: We need to-
Kevin: (He shushes Jack as the others ignore him and all rush Derek, Chris, Glitch, and Scott to begin exchanging stories). Just let him have this. He’s done everything we asked him to do, please, he needs to make sure his family is okay.
Jack: (Annoyed). Fine. We can go there next. We might find another abandoned safe house.
Kevin: Well, personally, I hope we don’t.
Jack: Lindsey hates me now, doesn’t she?
Kevin: She just needs some time. She’ll be okay.
Jack: (Shrugs). Doesn’t matter. Most of you guys hate me anyway. It’s not like I’m useful at the moment or anything. (Shakes his head). Alright gang, listen up. (The others turn their heads to pay attention). We’re heading to Chris’ house now. Any objections? Good. Shall we move out?
Jack: Yeah I’m not getting sick of that yet…
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 56
“Keep the Sabbath Holy”
Recap: Last time, Chris, Derek, Lindsey, Scott, and Glitch answered Octavious’ challenge at the Trillium Center Arena and began facing off with the Octa-Rangers. Meanwhile, the rest of the group was preparing to go protect their parents in Brooksboro, responding to a threat made by Octavious at the time of the challenge. While Chris’ group fights on at the Arena, Jack’s team is about to be in for a fight of their own, but can they hold off the Demon Regime unaided by The Legion? Things are going to get tricky, today, in Eclipse Star!
-Jack and the rest of his group are flying through the skies of Trillium City, making their way to Brooksboro, a smaller suburb to the West of the massive city. Jack still lacks the use of his legs, strapped instead to Kyle’s back.
Jack: One final check: Are we all aware of our roles once we get to the church?
Austin: Protect our parents.
Clinton: Control the Regime.
Kyle: Don’t piss off the Legion.
Kevin: And end this day without any losses.
Leena: Are you sure we all needed to be present for this?
Willy: What? Keeping your parents alive isn’t enough to make you want to go?
Leena: Ug, don’t make this a guilt thing, William. I’m just saying, we’re so totally going to get in each others’ ways today, and if that causes one of our parents to catch a stray blast or something-
Jack: No stray blasts. No one makes a move unless I okay it, understood?
Danny: Uh, Jack? What if something unexpected happens?
Jack: Especially confirm any further actions with either myself or in my absence, with Clinton. Use the two-way ear bud I gave you. Final check for ear buds. Check 1.
Jack: Check 2.
Jack: Check 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Kyle: Hey Jack, I’ve still got nothing here.
Jack: I didn’t give you one. You’re strapped to me, so your main job is keeping me from getting killed. Should I die, I hold you responsible, and you hold my lifeless body until you realize the error of your follies.
Kyle: That’s harsh, but then again, you’re the dude with the crazy barrier technique, so roger, check, and let’s fly into the danger zone, oh captain my captain.
Jack: Good. We’re approaching the church. Clinton, any word from the Arena yet?
Clinton: The news broadcasts haven’t made more mention than that the Octa-Rangers will be appearing today in hopes of fighting the “terrorists,” which I assume is their pet name for us.
Jack: Let me know when the fighting starts over there.
Danny: (Looking at his wrist, then the sun). Wasn’t it supposed to start at noon or something?
Leena: Yeah, it was. So we’ve got another hour or so before anything happens.
Jack: I want us in place to protect the church before anything happens at the Arena. My hunch is that the Regime’s strike on our families will coincide with the Octa-Rangers fighting with the others.
Kyle: How accurate you think that hunch is there El Capitan?
Austin: And if it isn’t?
Jack: High casualties, to say the least.
Kyle: Bummer times.
-Near Brooksboro, various Regime soldiers are stationed, kicking down doors, entering the houses of the group’s families.
Captain: Strike force, go, go, go!
-A dozen soldiers bum-rush into a house with their guns drawn.
-They meet in the living room, finding no one in the house.
Solider 1: Captain, the Sonnen house is clear.
Captain: (Putting his hand to his ear, speaking into a headset). We’ve got another no-show here.
Radio Operator: Regime Strike Team 3, we’ve been receiving the same status from every other strike team currently operating. Reports are that they’ve been tipped off to our intent, so the families have gathered together in a neutral zone.
Captain: Any idea where that’d be?
Radio Operator: Our intel tells us that they’re gathering at the Church of Faith on Zealot and 12th. Octavious wants all units to advance to the new target immediately.
Captain: Have the terrorists shown at the Arena yet?
Radio Operator: Not at present, but they’re expected to. However, we are still unsure how many will respond and how many will instead be at the church. We anticipate at least half a dozen soldiers trained in advanced combat, so extreme caution.
Captain: Hence all units reporting at once. Roger, we’ll move to the new target location. Strike Force 3, out.
Solider 1: Sir, what are our orders.
Captain: Burn the house to the ground, then move out to Zealot Street and 12th, immediately.
Soldier 1: Yes sir.
-The soldiers pull up their rifles and click a button on the bottom, then blow flames from the barrels, incinerating the living room and setting the house on fire.
-The task done, the soldiers depart.
-Elsewhere in town, Barbara, Chris’ grandma, has refused to leave her house, instead sitting in the living room in her recliner, watching TV.
TV Reporter: We’re live here at Trillium City Grand Central Arena waiting for the Octa-Ranger’s big performance today against the terrorists threatening our city. It’s expected to be a big day, with the arena packed to exploding point.
Barbara: No pun there…
TV Reporter: I haven’t gotten a chance to speak much with either Octavious or Maximilian, but as they passed by on their way to make some final arrangements, they assured us that everything is expected to go smoothly today.
Barbara: What exactly does “smoothly” mean anyway?
TV Reporter: I’m told that after the show we’ll be granted a chance to interview the Octa-Rangers, so make sure to stay tuned after the regular broadcast for our exclusive.
Barbara: Typical TV crap. Ug.
-The sound of a shotgun being cocked comes from outside.
Barbara: (Unphased). It took them long enough.
-The front door is kicked open as Regime soldiers rush into the area, more coming from windows and down the stairs, guns drawn on Barbara.
Strike Team Captain: Don’t make any sudden movements. We have the house surrounded.
Barbara: (Still sitting in her recliner, watching the TV). What do you think an old woman is really going to do to you?
Strike Team Captain: Enough lip. Get up and come with us.
Barbara: No. My grandson is supposed to be on TV today and I don’t want to miss it.
Strike Team Captain: I think your grandson is the least of your worries at the moment.
Barbara: He’s the least of mine, but definitely the most of yours.
Strike Team Captain: I’ve heard enough of-
Barbara: Noon. This program starts at noon. If my grandson doesn’t show up by noon, then I’ll go with you.
Strike Team Captain: We’re not making deals here lady, we’re-
Barbara: Wait ten minutes. I’m an old woman. Wait ten minutes for me or you’ll have to drag an old woman out against her will. Can your conscience handle that?
Strike Team Captain: …Ten minutes.
Barbara: Thank you. And don’t point those guns at me in the meantime; I’m trying to relax here.
-The Church of Faith on Zealot and 12th…
Jack: There it is guys. Let’s hurry. We’ve only got a few minutes.
Clinton: It doesn’t look like anyone’s forced their way in yet.
Jack: Kevin, this is your parents’ church. Does everything look regular to you?
Kevin: Yes, though there are a lot more cars in the parking lot than usual. Today seems to be quite a turnout.
Danny: Well that’s good! Uh, right?
Jack: We’re landing. Danny, Willy, stay out here and let us know if anyone shows up.
-Kyle, Jack, Leena, Clinton, Austin, and Kevin land in front of the main doors. Kevin rushes forward and opens the double doors.
-As they walk in, the church is in silence for a moment before erupting with cheers as hundreds of people see the group enter.
Jack: This is the right place, right?
Kevin: (Smiling). Yes.
Father Jerome: Kevin! My son!
Jack: Don’t get caught up in this. We’re still here to defend everyone, not visit with our families.
Kyle: Don’t be a party-pooper, Jack. We haven’t seen our parents in half a year.
Kevin: Dad, is everyone here all right?
Father Jerome: Absolutely. Why wouldn’t they be? God is looking over us on this blessed day.
Jack: Well, it won’t be so blessed when a few squads of Regime soldiers bust through the doors and try and kidnap everyone here.
Kevin: Dad, is it alright if I address everyone?
Father Jerome: I couldn’t be prouder to hear my son ask such a thing.
Kevin: Thank you. (Kevin runs up to the front of the congregation to cheers from everyone). Please, please, as great as it is to see everyone overjoyed here today, there is something very serious about to happen!
Mrs. Sonnen: (Jumps up and points behind Kevin). Hey! Look at that! It’s the kids!
-As Kevin turns around, he sees that there is a large screen pulled down with the news being projected on it. Sure enough, the Arena is lit up as Chris, Derek, Lindsey, Scott, and Glitch appear center stage.
Mrs. Sonnen: That’s my daughter there! Go get ‘em Lindz!
Jack: Kyle, take me to the front.
Kyle: You da boss.
-They walk up to the front.
Jack: Excuse me, my name is Jack Voss. I’ve been training a small group of kids, some of whose parents are here today. As we speak, Regime soldiers are on their way to attack this church in hopes of gaining more information about us, as well as finding a way to force us to surrender. Everyone, get away from the windows immediately.
Mrs. Sonnen: Look how strong they’ve all gotten! Oh, I hope they’ll be alright…
Jack: Can you please listen?!
-The crowd is having a hard time paying attention as the chaos on the screen behind Jack, Kyle, and Kevin is far too interesting.
Kyle: Wow, our boys are kickin’ ass out there. Oop. (Grabs his mouth). Can I say “ass” in here?
Father Jerome: We sort of frown on it.
Father Jerome: All is forgiven.
Willy: (Coming in via the ear-bud to Jack). Hey Jack, we’ve got an awful lot of soldiers marching this way.
Jack: How many?
-Outside, Danny and Willy are on the roof of the church counting swarms of soldiers as they walk up.
Willy: Uh…Danny, how many?
Danny: I lost count.
Jack: Great… (Gets agitated). Everyone! The soldiers are here! Please, pay attention!
Kevin: Jack, you’re not going to get them to listen if you’re just yelling.
Leena: This is getting ridiculous…
-Leena runs to the front and grabs the screen, ripping it down.
-The crowd gasps in shock.
Leena: Alright, we can watch as my cool friends show why they’re better than me, or we can keep ourselves from dying. All in favor of not getting killed?
Mr. Tracey: My daughter’s right! We should listen to her!
Father Jerome: Everyone calm down now. (Throws his hands up). Can I HAAAAAVE CALM!
-Everyone grows silent.
Father Jerome: Jack, please help me protect my church.
Jack: You got it, Father. (His hand goes to his ear). Danny, Willy, can you hold off the attackers from out there?
Danny: Uh, you think we can do it Willy?
Willy: Not as well as your barrier technique could, Jack.
Jack: Alright then. Kyle, we’re going to the roof.
Kyle: Oh great.
-Barbara’s house. She’s still sitting in her recliner as Regime soldiers grow impatient.
Strike Team Captain: Are you satisfied? Your grandson showed up, now get up and GO.
Barbara: Look at him. He just…he doesn’t seem like the same kid he was when he left. He looks so sad.
Strike Team Captain: I’m not here to listen to you reminisce about your grandson; I’m here to take advantage of a way to kill him.
Barbara: Don’t lay one hand on me then. I’ll have no part of this.
Strike Team Captain: Don’t make this difficult.
Barbara: Then just shoot me. If you’re just here to use me as bait, I’d rather you shot me.
Strike Team Captain: Men, guns at the ready.
-Rifles are raised.
Strike Team Captain: Three seconds. One…two…
-Safeties are taken off guns, fingers on triggers.
Strike Team Captain: You asked for this, old woman. Open fire.
-The Strike Team Captain pulls the trigger on his gun.
Strike Team Captain: Oh hell…
-The Strike Team Captain looks up and sees that standing between him and Barbara is Syrus, a rifle shell in his hand.
-Syrus grabs the Strike Team Captain’s faceguard and rips the helmet off before chopping the Captain in the throat.
-Strike Team Captain clutches his throat and drops to his knees.
Syrus: All of you, stand down.
Strike Team Captain: (Choking, struggling to speak). K-kill him…
-Syrus knees the Strike Team Captain in the head, sending him through the side of the house.
-Syrus just stands looking at the other soldiers as they decide whether to fight him or lay down their arms.
Syrus: Seeing as how I am a guest in this home, I will leave it to the host to decide how she would prefer these intruders be dealt with.
Barbara: They ain’t friends of mine, so as long as I don’t have a mess to clean up I don’t really care what you do with them.
-Syrus raises his hand, clenching it into a fist. It begins to vibrate and shake as it glows silver.
-Suddenly, all the guns zooming to it, magnetized to do so.
-The soldiers now stripped of their rifles, Syrus throws the guns down before pointing at the front door.
Syrus: I assume Octavious will be displeased to learn of my involvement?
Regime Soldier 1: I doubt he’ll leave you alive at this point.
Syrus: Pity that in order to keep myself alive I must insure that you all…are not.
Regime Soldier 1: W-What?
-Syrus begins vibrating his entire body, powering up before striking.
-The Regime’s soldiers instantly figure out what’s about to happen, fleeing as best they can.
-As they rush out the various exits, each is met with swift death as delivered by Syrus’ hands, cutting them down one by one no matter where they exit.
-Back at the church…
Jack: (Strapped to Kyle’s back, the two stand atop the church with Danny, Willy, and Kevin). We definitely have a situation on our hands here.
Kevin: All exits are completely blocked from the church. I don’t see any way for us to get everyone to safety.
Jack: (Tapping his ear bud). Clinton, is everyone away from the windows and doors?
Clinton: (In the church). Yes. Austin and Leena have gone around and locked all the doors save for the front two.
Jack: Make sure all the exits are sealed. I’d rather we don’t give the Regime any options for attack here.
Willy: Jack, if the church is set on fire…
Jack: In the event of the church being set on fire, then we focus on creating an opening, but for now, we funnel every bit of aggression to a single manageable point. Understood?
Kyle: So, do we start taking pot shots at our fans in the SWAT gear?
Jack: We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. No one makes a move until they show definite signs of aggression.
Danny: Those cannons on their arms sure look pretty aggressive to me.
-The group on the roof looks down to notice that a large number of the Regime soldiers have arm cannons.
Willy: That size of cannon…I don’t think they’ll have much problem punching through the doors.
Jack: Don’t worry. We’re at a level where those can’t hurt us.
Kyle: Sure, I know that by now a bullet probably won’t kill us. But exactly how many bullets can we take before we start to feel the pain?
Jack: …To be honest, I haven’t run tests like that.
Kyle: Well good news: I think we’re about to get a chance.
-The Regime’s soldiers stop marching and point their rifles and cannons to the roof.
Regime Captain: (Speaking into a loudspeaker). Attention terrorists. Be advised that we will not hesitate to open fire should you choose not to comply with our demands.
Danny: We don’t comply with anything! (To Jack). Hey, what does ‘comply’ mean?
Regime Captain: Surrender and come peacefully, otherwise we’ll pick you apart and take the remains to Octavious.
Jack: We do not accept your demands. Now leave before we have to fight back.
Regime Captain: Alright men, open fire.
-Jack throws up his barrier around the church as hundreds of soldiers open fire at once.
Clinton: (On the radio receiver). Jack, integrity is holding up on the structure. How long can you keep that up? Jack?
Kyle: Um, Jack can’t exactly talk at the moment. He’s sort of struggling.
-Jack is indeed holding the barrier up over the church, but is under an extreme amount of strain, his eyes closed and teeth clenched.
Kevin: Hold on Jack. Just hold on.
-Syrus finishes dispatching all of the soldiers besieging Barbara. He lands and walks back through the front door.
Barbara: I thought you were the bad guy.
Syrus: Loved ones are not useful bargaining tools. Contrary to popular belief, seeing a family member in trouble does not make an enemy weaker.
Barbara: Now I’m worried.
Barbara: Because you’re not an idiot. Will my grandson have to fight you?
Syrus: Eventually, yes. I actually look forward to it.
Barbara: Do you plan to kill him?
Syrus: If I have to, yes.
Barbara: Please don’t.
Syrus: I’m sorry.
-Silence for a few moments.
Barbara: Sit. My grandson is on TV.
-Syrus watches in silence as Chris and the others fight the Octa-Rangers.
-Back at the church, Jack’s barrier is beginning to blink rapidly.
Kevin: Jack’s not going to hold out much longer.
Austin: (From in the church, addressing the crowd). Alright everyone, we’ve got a problem. Our main plan is somewhat failing, so be prepared for things to get really loud and really explosive…really quick.
Regime Captain: Hold fire! (Soldiers cease firing). Cannons charging!
-The soldiers with cannons on their arms lift them up and point at the barrier, drawing energy for an attack.
Kyle: We’re gonna feel this one…
Regime Captain: Cannons fire!
-Jack’s barrier holds up momentarily, but flashes as he opens his eyes.
Jack: That’s it!
-The barrier shatters and fades away.
Regime Captain: Hit it again!
-Cannons charge and fire at the main doors.
-The cannon fire connects near the front and explodes.
Regime Captain: Hold fire!
-The smoke clears. Kevin, Danny, Willy, and Austin are standing in front of the church, arms up after recently firing a counter blast.
Kevin: Leave this place as enemies or be welcomed as friends!
Kyle: (On the roof, slapping Jack’s face, trying to get him to wake up). C’mon Jack, you’re needed here. We’re starting to move past what was planned and you told us not to do that unless you said so.
Regime Captain: Okay, so four kids are about to take on a small army?
Austin: Hey guys, I don’t think they really know who we are.
Willy: They seem to think we’re terrorists or something.
Danny: Is it regular to bring an entire army against a couple of kids?
Austin: If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they were afraid of us.
Kevin: And yet we stand here unafraid of our fate.
Regime Captain: Enough stalling. You’re severely outnumbered and out-powered. Give up now and your families will be spared.
Kevin: And the meek shall inherit the earth. (Fighter stance).
Austin: I’m sure they will eventually, but in the mean time, let’s put meekness aside and demonstrate why Octavious is so scared of us in the first place.
-The four in front of the church charge themselves up and prepare for battle.
-Meanwhile, Syrus and Barbara have managed to get to a point of peace for the night.
Barbara: Why exactly does your nation want these kids dead?
Syrus: They have caused us numerous problems and destroyed millions of dollars worth of equipment.
Barbara: You call those robots “millions of dollars worth of equipment?”
Syrus: What would you call them?
Barbara: A waste of effort, clearly.
Syrus: Actually, I can’t disagree with you.
Barbara: Charles made ‘em, didn’t he?
Barbara: When will I get my husband back anyway?
Syrus: It’s not my decision; otherwise I would have let him come home years ago.
Barbara: Octavious sees the problem with making his scientist prisoner build tools to kill his own grandson, right?
Syrus: Octavious doesn’t see much unless he wants to.
Barbara: Charles isn’t going to make something that’ll actually kill Chris, no matter how much Octavious wants him to.
Syrus: Once again, I can’t disagree.
Barbara: How long did it take before Chris ruined your toys?
Syrus: In total, three days, but more specifically I’d say under an hour.
Barbara: And that’s a coincidence? Millions of dollars worth of equipment…hmph.
-The church is about to become the site of a massive fight. The four in front have charged themselves up while the Regime’s soldiers have readied themselves for an attack and charged cannons to fire. Jack is still unconscious on the roof with Kyle as Clinton and Leena keep everyone calm from inside the church.
Leena: So if they break through our outer defenses, we’re the backup?
Clinton: Pretty much.
Leena: That’s reassuring. How strong are you, really?
Clinton: I’d rather not go into details…
Mr. Tracey: Hey Leenie! Exactly how much danger are we actually in here?
Leena: Dad, don’t call me that.
Clinton: Sir, to be frank, there’s a high chance this entire structure will be coming down within the hour.
Mrs. Sonnen: Well if someone didn’t tear down the screen, we’d still be able to see how my daughter’s doing in the Arena!
Father Jerome: Everyone, I need you to trust me and gather your belongings immediately. Our children will fight strong, but we must be ready for our part to play.
Austin: (Outside the church, directing his speech towards the Regime Captain). Okay then, so you guys want me to hit first, or you feel like wasting your efforts?
Regime Captain: Group A, fire!
-Dozens of Regime soldiers unload at the same time, aiming at Austin and his group.
-Austin clenches his fists and throws his hands forward, creating a wall of flames that shoots forward in an arc.
-Regime soldiers stop and take notice of this, some turning to flee.
Regime Captain: Group A, fall back! Groups B and C, torch the church!
-Austin slams the ground at the end of his attack, blowing soldiers back. He turns around to see soldiers rushing around the sides of the church, rifles up and being clicked over to the flamethrower option.
Austin: Dang it!
-Danny, Willy, and Kevin have each unloaded with their own blasts in separate directions, blowing the advancing soldiers off their feet and into nearby buildings.
Regime Captain: Groups B and C, push forward! Groups D, E, and F, provide cover fire!
-Bullets begin firing all around everyone while Danny, Willy, and Kevin attempt to maneuver out of harm’s way while still providing return fire to keep everything in a state of chaos.
Kyle: This is just great… (Kyle leaves Jack alone and rushes to the edge of the roof). Hey Captain! Let’s make some sort of peaceful resolution to all of this!
Regime Captain: Group A, regroup and fire on the roof!
Kyle: They’re just asking for trouble then…
-Kyle dives towards Jack, covering his head and Jack in the process as bullets ricochet all around them.
-Regime soldiers continue pushing through the line of fire and manage to aim at the church, blowing flames up the walls.
Danny: Uh-oh! Jack, they’ve hit the church! Jack?
Austin: Danny, Jack’s out, remember? You need to put that fire out!
Danny: Okay, I’ll try!
Regime Captain: Cannon troopers, hit the flaming wall!
-As Danny frantically tries to blow the fire out with mild wind-based projectiles, he turns around to get plowed by a bunch of intense charged cannon fire, knocking him off his feet and into the church’s wall.
Willy: Danny’s hit hard!
Regime Captain: Hit ‘em again!
-Cannons fire and nail the side of the church, denting it pretty badly.
Leena: It doesn’t sound like things are going too well out there…
-Father Jerome is holding his hands up towards the wall that’s been dented. His eyes are closed and he is humming slightly.
Father Jerome: Things always seem bad to those who do not have faith.
-Barbara has brought Syrus a glass of water at this point as the two continue to watch the events on TV.
Barbara: So why aren’t you at the Arena fighting right now?
Syrus: Because Octavious believes too heavily in his Octa-Rangers.
Barbara: And let me guess, you don’t, right?
Syrus: Of course not. The concept is foolish at best.
Barbara: And at worse it’s just hilarious.
Syrus: A handful of children begin to cause problems, so Octavious’ solution is to train his own batch of children. They have no motivation for fighting other than Octavious wants them to. That’s not good enough.
Barbara: So what do you fight for?
Syrus: Currently, I’m having a hard time knowing exactly what.
Barbara: Good thing you’re not fighting right now then, huh?
Syrus: I suppose so.
Barbara: Well, what happens next? Do you kill me for knowing too much?
Syrus: No. I repair your door and leave before one of us asks a truly awkward question.
Barbara: How do you think you’re going to kill my grandson?
Syrus: I clearly didn’t leave soon enough.
Barbara: I mean, how do you really think you’re going to do it?
Syrus: He’s strong, but he’s still a child. Everything I’ve seen him do is impressive, but I’ve done much the same at various stages in my life.
Barbara: You saved Octavious once from an assassination attempt, didn’t you?
Syrus: Yes. It was a man named Donovan. Why do you ask?
Barbara: Did you kill him?
Syrus: No. I sent him to Hell, but I couldn’t kill him.
Barbara: What were you fighting for back then?
Syrus: It was my duty.
Barbara: You’re not that loyal to Octavious, and I don’t believe for a second that you care much about Balobyn. So what duty are you talking about?
Syrus: I answer to a higher authority than Octavious.
Barbara: You’re telling me you work for God?
Syrus: No. In Donovan’s case, it was my duty to send him home. In the case of your grandson, it will be my duty to keep him from interfering any further. If he can stay away from me, then I see no reason why I’d need to kill him. As of this second, it’s my duty to keep potential threats from gaining motivation towards further complications.
-Syrus begins to walk out of the living room.
Barbara: So then you’re going to the church?
Syrus: No. I see no reason.
Barbara: You have that much confidence in the kids?
-Syrus stops and turns around again, stoic.
Syrus: I came here to prevent your grandson from becoming a greater threat. Strategically, it was a better option than wasting my time saving inconsequential lives.
Barbara: Just get out.
-Back at the church, things have started to take a very drastic turn for the worst as the entire right side of the church is engulfed in flames.
Kyle: (Still covering his head). Well, at least we go out doing something of worth.
Jack: (Finally coming to). Ungh, Kyle, how long have I been out?
Kyle: At least ten minutes. You and I are pinned on the roof while one of the church walls is on fire.
Jack: That doesn’t exactly sound like what I had in mind.
Kyle: What did you have in mind, exactly?
Jack: Take out the captain, Kyle.
Kyle: Knock him out of the fight?
Jack: No, kill him. We’re not taking chances. Kill the captain and they won’t have anyone to listen to. Then we can pick them off one by one.
Kyle: Uh, Jack, I don’t do murder.
Jack: I’m not arguing here. (Taps his ear). This is Jack. I’m fine, but we need to take down the Regime’s captain. Kill him immediately, repeat, kill, not stun.
Kevin: Jack, that’s too excessive-
Jack: We don’t have the option at the moment. It’s either he goes down or your parents get a fiery grave. Which would you prefer?
Kevin: I refuse to kill anyone.
Jack: Then find me someone who will.
Willy: I won’t.
Austin: Jack, not doing it.
Leena: I don’t mean to butt in, what with sitting in the church away from the fight and all, but doesn’t it seem kinda funny that the only three guys who would have done exactly what you said are currently fighting miles away?
Jack: Yeah, you shouldn’t have butted in.
Kyle: Well Jack?
Jack: We need that fire put out. Is Danny okay?
Willy: I’ve got him on my back. He’s alright, but he’s not gonna be much use until he gets his head clear.
Jack: Clinton, get everyone in the church to start evacuating.
Clinton: The exits are sealed, remember? You want me to parade all these people right out the front door?
Jack: We’re out of options. (To Kyle). Kyle, get me to the front door.
Kyle: There’s no way you’ve got enough in ya to hold a shield for longer than a clear shot or two; how to you expect to protect all those people?
Jack: I’ll find a-
Kyle: No Jack, that’s horseshit. My parents are in there, and so are Lindsey’s and Kevin’s and just about everyone else’s. Your plan’s gonna get every one of them killed, including us, so tell me, you have something better than just hoping for it all to work out, right?
Jack: (Finally breaking a little). I don’t…I’m not sure if I…
Kyle: Oh Jesus… (Gabs Jack’s ear bud and starts tapping it). Testing, testing, this on? This is Kyle. Jack’s out of commission for a moment while I take over command. Any objections? None, good, Austin, cook the other three sides of the church.
Austin: What?! Are you crazy?!
Kyle: The Regime ain’t getting’ through those flames. Bake the church to stall for some time. Willy, get Danny inside right now.
Kevin: Kyle, what are you planning?
Kyle: (Charging something in his hand). I’m not entirely sure, but it’ll make for one hell of a bang.
Austin: (He takes a look at the church and then at his hands before shaking his head). Kyle, you better know what you’re talking about…
-Austin charges a fire-based attack in his hands and hits the side of the church with it.
-He runs around back and hits the rear of the church.
-Willy rushes in through the front door with Danny on his back.
Kyle: Kevin, come get Jack from me and take him inside.
-Kevin rushes up to the roof of the church and hoists Jack onto his shoulders.
Jack: (Finally snapping back into it). Wait, Kyle, what’re you doing?
Kyle: Get Jack inside and shut him up.
Kyle: Austin, you there?
Kyle: Don’t hit the front of the church quite yet. Wait for Kevin to get inside, then seal off the front.
Austin: Kyle, this is crazy.
Austin: Crazier than Jack’s plans.
Kyle: Yes. Now get in the church with the others.
-Kevin runs towards the front door with Austin and dives inside as Austin leaps inside as well, shooting flames out the front of the church.
-The Regime soldiers can’t seem to get close enough to do any more damage.
Regime Soldier: Captain, we’re unable to make a direct assault on the church. They’ve got it completely engulfed in flames.
Regime Captain: Its structural integrity is ridiculous. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was being held up by God’s will.
Kyle: (Raises his hand, a glowing ball of energy). Alright then. This should hopefully work.
-Kyle stands in the middle of the church’s roof at the peak and points his hand skyward.
Kyle: DAMNIT BLAST FIRE!
Kyle: Ooh…that’s not what I wanted.
-He puts his hand down and shakes it a few times, looking at it like he’s looking down the barrel of a gun.
Kyle: I’m never gonna understand these things. Feh.
-Kyle flicks his hand sideways.
-Kyle’s huge blast fires from his hand and travels towards the Regime Captain.
Kyle: AH! Pull up, pull up!
-Kyle lifts his hand up at the last second, sending the blast into the air and past the cloud covering.
-The sky is lit up as all the Regime soldiers cower on the ground, covering their heads.
-Everything clears and Kyle regains his composure.
Kyle: Ahem, yes, that’s what I meant to do. (To the Regime Captain). That’s just a demonstration of what we’re capable of doing! Can you do that? I didn’t think so. Now take your group and-
Regime Captain: All groups, fire on the church!
-Kyle covers his head and runs from bullet and cannon fire.
-Inside the church, everyone has gathered their things and prepared for something.
Father Jerome: Everyone, things look dire, but have no fear. There is always a way out of situations such as these.
Jack: Father Jerome, do you have any basement exits in your church? If so, I need you to listen very carefully to me.
-Jack pulls Father Jerome in close and whispers to him.
-Father Jerome nods sadly.
Father Jerome: Kevin, come here to me son.
Kevin: Yes father?
Father Jerome: Kevin, you’ve made me proud, and I will miss you.
Kevin: What do you mean?
Father Jerome: Congregation, we have precious little time. Please say your goodbyes to your children.
-The group of teenagers is clearly heartbroken as their parents come by, hug them, and then tearfully leave.
-Kevin’s father hugs him tighter than most as he openly weeps.
Father Jerome: Alright. May God lead us to safety!
Kevin: I don’t-
Father Jerome: Sometimes our purposes are confusing and sometimes they don’t seem fair. Even worse is when you think someone’s purpose is over. Right now, that’s what we’re all experiencing. Except for you and your friends. Whatever purpose God has planned for you is far greater than we can comprehend.
Kevin: I know what you’re leading to dad and please don’t.
Father Jerome: I’m sorry son. I love you. We all love you. May God protect you all.
-Father Jerome stands up and quickly takes the entire church congregation with him down a series of hallways until they are out of sight.
Leena: (In tears, clearly just having said goodbye to her parents). Jack, what just happened?
Jack: Father Jerome told me there is a series of tunnels under the church that lead all around the city. He’s taking the church and leaving.
Danny: So we’ll see them later?
Jack: No. I asked him to do just like my parents.
Leena: Then where are they going?
Jack: I don’t know. It’s the only way to keep both them and us safe.
-Leena dives at Jack, pummeling him as she bursts into tears.
Leena: HOW COULD YOU?!
-The group stands in mostly silence as the events fully hit them. The sounds from outside are beginning to become deafening from gunfire and explosions on the church.
-Finally, Kevin’s head perks up.
Kevin: I have had enough of this.
Austin: What? Kevin?
-Kevin walks towards the front door of the church, his fists shaking.
-Austin and Willy run towards Kevin to stop him but both get blown back as Kevin turns, knocking them to their feet.
Kevin: Stay here.
-Kevin leaps at the door in a run and hurls himself through it, erupting out through the flames.
-The Regime’s troops take one look at him and begin firing.
-Kevin quickly leaps onto the roof of the church.
Kevin: Kyle, are you okay here?
Kyle: (Huddled with his hands over his head). Me? Oh sure, never better.
Kevin: Good. Hold onto something.
-Kevin closes his eyes and points his hands downward.
-Kyle sees cannon fire about to tear Kevin apart, so he leaps in the way and blocks everything, taking some heavy hits.
Kyle: What’re you doing?!
-Water begins pouring from Kevin’s hands in copious amounts, running down the sides of the church, rapidly putting out the fire.
-The Regime’s troops stop and begin to stand in awe as the water spills over the church’s walls but doesn’t continue past that, instead building and collecting.
-The water gathers in such a great amount that soon tidal waves are leaping up over the church, towering over it and shielding it completely.
Kyle: Jesus, Mary, and Goku…
Kevin: “And on that day, all the springs of the great deep burst forth and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.”
Regime Captain: All units fall back! I repeat, fall back!
-The Regime’s small army begins fleeing as frantically as they can while the water builds to incredibly scary levels.
Kyle: “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.”
-Kevin opens his eyes at this and looks at Kyle, surprised.
Kyle: What? It’s in Psalms. Look it up some time.
Kevin: (Smiles). I’m glad we could share this moment, Kyle.
-Kevin releases his hold on the water as it instantly drops down and floods the streets, carrying the Regime’s soldiers with it.
Kyle: They’re going to be okay, aren’t they?
Kevin: Yes. Not all of God’s wrath is lethal. Some of it is just darned impressive.
Kyle: Doubly noted.
-Kevin and Kyle leap off the roof of the church as the others come out the front door. Clinton is carrying Jack.
Jack: Kevin, I don’t know what you just did, but that was one hell of a spectacle.
Kevin: It was a non-violent means to an end. And no one was forced to kill.
-At this point, the Regime Captain crawls out from under a nearby semi and points his handgun at Kevin.
Regime Captain: Moses isn’t saving you this time…
-The Regime Captain takes a shot and hits Kevin above the left ear.
-Kevin falls forward, but suddenly turns around with a furious look in his eyes.
-He yells out and leaps at the Regime Captain, stopping inches from punching his head off, though the energy being put out cracks the street around them and blows out all nearby windows.
Kevin: (Shaking, worried). Dear Lord…this is what Chris felt…
Regime Captain: (Terrified). But I shot you…I shot you right in the head…how are you still alive?
-Kevin stops shaking and embraces the Regime Captain in a hug, not saying a word for a few moments.
Kevin: I forgive you. I could easily end your life, yet I have done nothing but turn a blind eye to your actions. You cannot harm me, but I fear for you.
Regime Captain: I don’t…why are you doing this?
Kevin: It isn’t my place to have this much power, not is it your place to be afraid of me. I forgive you. Tell everyone what has happened here and how you have been spared. Do not forget this.
-The Regime Captain gets to his feet and confusedly turns away in a dead sprint, leaving his gun behind.
-Kevin walks back to the group as they just stare, stunned.
Austin: Kevin, you’ve had that much power this whole time?
Kevin: Don’t you see? It’s just like Chris said. We all have this sort of power. It just requires a real motivation to be used, and once it’s out it’s difficult to put back in.
Jack: We need to get moving. If the Regime regroups then they’ll come right down on this spot with twice the firepower and half the sympathy, especially if that guy really does tell everyone what happened here.
Kyle: Hey by the way, where’d our parents go?
-Silence answers Kyle’s question.
Kyle: Oh. So then…they’re gone huh?
Jack: Yes. I’m sorry Kyle, but it’s the only way to keep them safe.
Kyle: You couldn’t have asked them to wait for me?
Jack: You chose to stay outside. I didn’t want to interfere with whatever you had planned.
Kyle: Damnit Jack, a few minutes! Jesus, does everything have to be such a control thing with you?
Clinton: We weren’t sure exactly what was about to happen, so Jack made a call and Kevin’s father had the final say.
Leena: You parents…they actually asked me to talk to you a bit.
Kyle: My parents spoke to you?
Leena: Um, well, I spoke to them actually. The resemblance is uncanny. They said the usual parent stuff. “Tell Kyle we love him and that we’ll miss him.” That sort of stuff. I didn’t get the feeling they wanted to make a big thing out of it.
Kyle: (Sighs). Yeah, any wonder why I act this way? Sorry to get all agro on you there Jack. I’m just a bit on edge.
Clinton: Where to now?
Jack: (Checks his watch). Well, we need to meet back up with the rest of the group. They’ll probably still be fighting at the arena about now.
Leena: Alright then, so let’s go meet up with the champions and take ‘em out for a victory shake or something.
Danny: Uh, but didn’t we win, too? Shouldn’t they treat us to something?
Jack: We’ll figure that out when we get to them. Come on, we’ve got a bit of ground to cover and not much time in which to cover it.
Austin: We flying?
Jack: Might as well go out in style.
Austin: Good choice.
-The eight take one last look at the church before taking to the air and off to the Arena.
To Be Continued…