Eclipse Star: Chapter 59
Recap: The fight with the Octa-Rangers came to a close with the group pretty worn out. Next on the agenda was making sure Chris’ grandma was safe, though when they showed up at her house they were nearly killed by someone that vaguely looked like Syrus. Before the imposter could do any more damage, four individuals showed up. One in full Legion gear named Fox, one in robes named Job, a girl with short blonde hair named Grid, and a man wearing a red mask named Iess. The four all had their faces covered but it was apparent they knew the one who attacked them. The attacker fled before he could be subdued, though the four suggested going north to a safe place they knew of. The group decided to trust them and headed north, but what sort of mysteries await them? Find out today, on Eclipse Star!
-Everyone is flying at a fairly quick pace. The four newcomers lead the group with Iess far in front, keeping to himself. Grid and Job are staying more with the group.
Jack: (Still riding on Kyle’s back). How far north is this lodge?
Fox: Pretty far. It’s about to get a lot colder than you’re all dressed for.
Derek: Little snow never hurt anyone.
Job: Well, this isn’t just a little snow, not to say you couldn’t deal with it I’m sure. But uh, have you ever been up north?
Derek: Nah. I mean I’ve been camping with my dad and such but we never went high into the mountains.
Kevin: I’ve been up around here before. My family and I took a trip a few years back. It was a way for us to get away from any distractions and study the Bible for a few days. I even learned to fish.
Lindsey: Wow Kevin, you guys came all the way up here?
Kevin: Not up this far, but we came into the mountains.
Iess: Well we’re not just going into the mountains. We’re going past those and into more mountains. Big difference of at least 40 degrees or more.
Job: Keep your Pulse powers raised higher than normal while you’re getting used to the chill. It will help to stave off hypothermia.
Clinton: If it’s really that cold up here, why didn’t we stop and get warmer clothes? And for that matter, why do we want to go here if we’re just going to freeze?
Grid: The actual lodge is plenty warm. Half the time you’ll want to go for walks in the snow just to cool off.
Fox: It’s well hidden. No one else knows about it save for we four and the owner.
Danny: Is the owner going to be angry with us just showing up unexpected?
Fox: No. Partly, we’re not unexpected. This guy seems to expect everything. Secondly, he loves company, so there’s no worry that we’ll be pushing his hospitality.
Jack: He doesn’t work for the Regime, correct?
Kyle: Uh, you guys don’t work for the Regime, do you?
Grid: Heh, nah, we hate them more than you guys do.
Leena: I don’t know; we hate them pretty bad.
Grid: They’ve done a lot worse to us for a lot longer.
Austin: What exactly ‘s your guys’ story anyway?
Grid: Uh, we-
Iess: That’s not important.
Grid: Well, it really isn’t. The short story is that we’ve been fighting the Regime for a few years now-
Fox: Roughly a year and a half.
Grid: Right, right. He likes to be precise.
Chris: I don’t mean to be rude, but…
Chris: Never mind.
Iess: No, go ahead and ask. (Stops and turns around in the air). Why don’t you speak up, huh?
Chris: Jeez, it’s nothing.
Iess: No, you want to know why you haven’t seen us this whole time, right?
Lindsey: Well if Chris doesn’t want to know, I sure do.
Derek: So then, where the hell have you four been up until a few hours ago?
-Everyone starts moving again.
Fox: We’ve been training for a long time to prepare for anything, which is what you’ll be doing for the next few months.
Kyle: Excuse me; did I just hear that correctly?
Scott: Sounds to me like these guys are about to put us under house arrest.
Grid: No no, nothing like that. You guys just need to improve a lot in a short amount of time.
Jack: How short?
Fox: Not exactly sure.
Leena: Okay, I’m usually not the one to toot the Chris-related horn (ug, that sounded wrong), but we do still have Chris here. He can take care of pretty much anything that comes at us.
Chris: Leena, seriously, you give me too much credit.
Austin: Bogus. Chris, you’ve got enough power to take out Syrus single-handedly if you had to.
Iess: No, he doesn’t.
Chris: I agree with that guy.
Derek: Pff, Syrus isn’t that tough. If I remember correctly, the last time I fought with him I won, or were any of you paying attention during that tournament a few months ago?
Iess: I assure you, Syrus can and will kill you.
Derek: We’ll see about that.
Iess: Yeah, we just might…
-Derek looks puzzled at this statement but says nothing in response.
Kevin: I’m sorry for everyone’s reluctance here. Please, forgive us, but it has been very difficult to learn to trust anyone.
Jack: As usual, Kevin’s right. The last guy I trusted got us killed.
Austin: And the last guys I trusted saved our butts a few times in a row.
Iess: The last few guys you trusted are a bunch of kids.
Austin: Oh yeah, well how old are you four? You can’t be more than a year older than us.
Danny: I don’t know; they look older than that.
Fox: Don’t let our age fool you. We’ve been doing this longer than you have.
Derek: Quality, not quantity. We’ve stopped the Regime more than a few times in half a year. What have you guys done?
Job: We’ve struggled to stay alive as best we could, and I’d say we’ve done a pretty good job of that.
Willy: We’ve been doing that, too.
Danny: Yeah! And we only nearly died a couple of times.
Glitch: I don’t mean to interrupt, but you may like to know that the temperature just dropped approximately 57 degrees.
-Slowly the kids start to shiver and wrap their arms around themselves for warmth.
Kyle: Well, at least they warned us we were about to piss ice cubes.
Chris: How much further?
Iess: Another hour, unless you guys think you can go any faster.
Grid: Iess, back off. You know these guys aren’t up to our level yet, so give them a break.
Derek: I question the validity of that statement.
Chris: No, I can tell. They definitely know how to fight better.
Derek: Oh right, you can tell that because of the little scuffle they broke up before we got a chance to fight.
Willy: No, I don’t think that’s it, is it. They carry themselves differently, right Chris?
Chris: Yeah. Exactly.
Derek: Regardless, we’re not getting our deserved respect and it’s starting to tick me off.
Lindsey: Derek, come on, don’t push the subject.
Grid: No, he’s right for once. We aren’t giving you guys enough credit for what you’ve done.
Job: Yes. We couldn’t have gotten as far as we have if not for your actions.
Scott: So all of a sudden we’ve done great things, huh?
Job: Honestly you have.
-Glitch holds his hand up to his ear, then signals for attention.
Glitch: I’m finally picking up some news about the explosion at Chris’ house.
Austin: They still blaming us?
Glitch: Let’s see… (His voice changes to that of a TV anchorwoman). “Today has been a bad day for Brooksboro with one church in shambles and multiple houses burned to the ground. But all of that may be mild compared to an explosion that occurred in a small neighborhood on the outskirts of town. Eyewitnesses claim they saw a giant blast soar into the sky where it detonated without killing anyone, though an entire block of houses was demolished. Was this just another ploy by newly outed leader of the Demon Regime, Octavious, to cover up his false accusations against local teenagers? We’ll have more on the story as it develops.”
Kyle: Well I’d say that pretty much clears us entirely.
Jack: Regardless, we need to stay off-radar for a while.
Leena: Guess the best way to do that is just fall off the edge of the world up here then.
Iess: Get ready because it’s about to get a whole lot colder.
-The new chill hits the group. None of them speak for the longest time, attempting rather to keep themselves warm enough not to have limbs fall off.
-A little over an hour later…
Iess: I see the lodge up ahead.
Lindsey: I don’t see anything yet.
Grid: It kinda jumps out at you when you let it.
-A clearing appears just over a hill, revealing a massive lodge nestled between a pocket of trees. Everything seems to calm. Snow gently falls on utter silence with the ground being pristine. Despite shivering, the group lets out an audible gasp, clearly impressed.
Fox: Welcome to your new home.
Lindsey: Wow. It’s so peaceful. I almost don’t want to speak.
Grid: I had that exact reaction when I first saw this place.
Iess: Get ready to land.
Kyle: Don’t have to tell us more than once.
-Everyone lands and trudges through the snow towards the main door.
Job: Who’d like to do the honors?
Chris: Lindsey, go for it.
Lindsey: Really? Alright then…
-Lindsey goes up to the door and gently taps.
Scott: You call that knocking?
-The door bursts open. A gust of warm air hits everyone all at once. A man steps out, squinting to see who’s knocking.
Joshua: Is that…hey! It’s you guys!
Leena: (Nudges Kyle). Called it. Pay up.
Kyle: (Pulling money out of his wallet). Yeah, half the people reading probably called that.
Kyle: Nothing, never mind.
Joshua: I’m happy to see you all! (Catches sight of Iess and his group). Wow, I really didn’t expect to see you four here. (Realizes the kids have begun to shiver again). Manners, manners, come in already!
-Everyone rushes in, hurrying to get away from the freezing cold.
-They step into the main room, opening up to see a huge area with a staircase leading up to two more stories. A few fireplaces burn in the room with extremely comfortable looking couches surrounding them.
Joshua: Everyone over to a fireplace before you freeze to death. Go go!
Kevin: Thank you, sir.
Joshua: (Laughs). Yes yes, hahaha!
-For a bit the group doesn’t speak, instead opting to warm themselves up. Derek looks over and notices Iess and his group still standing near the door speaking with Joshua in hushed terms, stepping out of the room.
Derek: Something about them doesn’t seem right…
Lindsey: You’re just saying that because they’re strong and you don’t like competition.
Derek: That’s not true.
Scott, Kyle and Austin: That’s bullshit.
Chris: Derek, you can’t stand anyone telling you what to do, so a few strangers telling us to go north gets under your skin like a needle, especially when they weren’t lying about a safe place to stay.
Derek: Oh yeah? Well how do we know it’s really safe?
Kevin: When was the last time Joshua led us astray?
Willy: He healed you and gave us shelter from the Hex-Duo robots.
Danny: He trained us in the desert.
Chris: He let me meet my father.
Derek: So? What’s he done for us lately?
Kyle: Guy’s got a point here. No wait, what’s the opposite of that? Right, he’s way off. Hey, is that cocoa…?
Clinton: Strategically this place is soundproof. Our Pulse energies don’t register for very far, even when we’ve got ourselves pushed to maximum output. This far north completely shields us from detection.
Chris: Wait a sec, any of you guys see a cross on one of the steeples when we flew in?
Glitch: There’s one on the far side, yes.
Chris: I thought I saw one.
Scott: (Lighting a cigarette from the fireplace). Why? You getting the urge to go give thanks or something?
Chris: No, my dad mentioned something about churches right before I left. He told me that Pulse is completely masked while in real churches. If Josh has a church set up here, there’s a chance this place doesn’t give off readings of any sort.
Austin: Whoa, that’d be cool.
Clinton: I’m sure that’s just superstition.
Chris: Well, I didn’t feel anything happening during my three days, plus I didn’t feel my power increase until after I stepped out of the church.
Willy: Hey Danny, when did you know Chris was coming?
Danny: Uh, let’s see…few minutes before he showed up.
Lindsey: Which would put Chris a few minutes away, just stepping out of a church. Bam, proof.
Jack: (Booting up his watch). Let’s see if this theory matches research.
-The watch clicks on and scans for power for a bit. Finally it settles on a low blipping hum.
Jack: I’ll be damned. It’s true.
-Joshua walks back in the room. Suddenly Jack’s watch flips out entirely.
-The group covers their ears right before the watch pops and fizzles out.
Jack: What the heck was that?
Leena: Well I’m no scientist, but I think your watch just broke.
Danny: (Pats Jack on the back). Bummer.
Jack: It blew a circuit. Probably a result of exposure to cold weather.
Austin: Yeah, or Josh is radically powerful.
Chris: Shouldn’t matter. My dad said churches mask power because God’s strength is way more prevalent than anything else, so-
-A few members of the group shut up for a moment to mull that statement over.
Jack: Hold on, I just remembered something. Willy, you said Joshua healed Derek?
Willy: Yes. Healed both Derek and Austin.
Jack: You think he’ll be able to do anything about these legs?
Willy: Worth a shot. Might as well ask him.
-Joshua parts ways with the other four as they exit the lodge. He walks to meet the kids near the fireplaces.
Danny: They leaving?
Joshua: Who? Oh the other four. They’ll be back. They just have other things to attend to at the moment.
Jack: So you’re Joshua, correct?
Joshua: Yes. Oh that’s right, you’re the only one that hasn’t had a chance to meet me yet. You’re Jack, correct?
Jack: Yes, and I don’t mean to impose but do you think you could help me with my legs?
Joshua: What’s wrong with them?
Jack: I was injured during the battle with the Hex-Duo and I haven’t been able to walk since without undergoing an extreme amount of pain.
Joshua: Sounds like you’re paralyzed then, eh?
Joshua: Oh whoa, that sounded really cold, didn’t it? Of course I’ll help you out. Come on upstairs.
-He starts to walk a few paces before walking backwards once more.
Joshua: Right, legs don’t work. Lot on my mind at the moment, please forgive me. Alright everyone, on your feet, Lindsey, if you wouldn’t mind carrying Jack since you two are dating. All together? Yes, good, great, on we go.
Kyle: If he pulls out a Gobstopper I don’t know what I’ll do.
Leena: Just walk, ya goof.
-Everyone listens and follows Joshua up the stairs.
Joshua: Second floor here has some vacant rooms for anyone that’s interested. Same with the third. I’m taking Jack up to the third floor. Pick any room you’d like if you want rest, otherwise follow the leader.
-Joshua continues walking. Scott, Leena, and Derek break off to find a room.
Derek: I’ll catch up with y’all later. Don’t do anything fun without me.
-They reach the third floor and continue down a long hall. As they walk by the rooms they catch sight of just how nice and cozy the rooms really look with fireplaces of their own, large beds piled high with pillows and quilts, armchairs, and even bathrooms adjacent.
-Joshua ends at the last room in the hall.
Joshua: Okay, this can be your room, Jack. Lindsey, please bring him in and set him on the bed, please.
Lindsey: Wow, these rooms are so nice. I can’t wait to sleep here.
Joshua: Oh no. No no, you won’t be sleeping here. Your room is down the hall. This is Jack’s room. No bunking up. You’re only 17.
-Lindsey turns at least eight shades of red.
Lindsey: N-n, that’s not what I meant.
Joshua: Oop. (Smacks his mouth). Hahaha, my mistake! Okay, back to Jack. Let’s see if we can’t do this right, shall we?
Jack: What do I have to do?
Joshua: Oh, just lay there for a moment.
-Joshua places his hands on Jack’s legs and closes his eyes. He hums for a bit while the rest of the group just watches, curious to see what’ll happen next.
Joshua: Alright, all done. Sins forgiven. Man, that was easy.
Jack: (Almost annoyed). Wait a sec, I needed my legs healed, not my sins absolved. Think you can take another crack at this.
Joshua: For a first impression, Jack, I can tell your priorities are way off most of the time.
Jack: (Now really annoyed). I’m not trying to make a lasting first impression; I’m trying to walk!
Joshua: Fine. So get up and walk already.
-A few group members snicker at this remark. Kevin can hardly keep from busting up laughing.
Jack: You’re serious? (Raises an eyebrow). You’re serious. Okay then.
-Jack slowly does his best to stand up. He gets to his feet, though his legs are wobbling. He stands on his own for a moment or two before shuffling around, finally sitting down in an armchair with a huff.
Lindsey: Alright! Jack, your legs work again!
Jack: (Wincing and out of breath). Heh, heh, I don’t get it. I can walk, but it isn’t easy to do.
Joshua: No, I suspect it won’t be. You learn to forgive yourself and those legs will probably be good as new. (Walks out of the room and waves his hand). It’s up to you.
Chris: Hey Josh, where you going?
Joshua: I’m off to my room on the first floor. Just search around and you’ll find it if you need anything. Kitchen’s open to anyone that needs it. If you want to take a bath, I suggest letting the hot water run for a few minutes. Still need to warm up a bit. And with that, I bid you all good night.
Danny: Night night.
Jack: What’s his deal anyway?
Lindsey: What? You not a fan of Josh?
Jack: How quickly did Derek and Austin recover?
Austin: Took us till morning before we felt 100 percent.
Jack: Well, maybe that’s the problem.
Kevin: Joshua said the problem was you couldn’t forgive yourself. Is there something weighing heavily on your head?
Jack: What is this, story time? Go to bed everyone.
-Everyone but Lindsey start exiting Jack’s room.
Chris: Fine, you’re welcome for the company by the way.
Jack: Didn’t ask for it.
Austin: Get some sleep, Jack. Hopefully you’re all better in the morning so that we don’t have to hear you piss and moan any more.
-Everyone leaves but Lindsey.
Lindsey: Jack, don’t-
Jack: You know what I don’t want right now?
Lindsey: Yeah, you don’t want a lecture. (She stands up and walks to the door). You know sometimes I’d prefer to agree with everyone else when you act like this.
Jack: I’ll keep that in mind. Now good night.
Lindsey: (Looks back at Jack. She speaks softly, clearly hurt). Goodnight, Jack…
Jack: (Slumps in his chair, sighing). So attempting to get my legs fixed only managed to turn people against me. (Closes his eyes). They’re really going to hate me for what I do next.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 58
“Little Did They Know…”
Recap: Last time, the Octa-Rangers were taken out one by one via Chris and Lindsey’s teamwork. Glitch and Scott managed to patch into the Arena’s TV screens and deliver the incriminating evidence against Octavious that completely simultaneously cleared the group as terrorists. Having left in shame with his son Max and the Octa-Rangers, Octavious is too far gone to chase after. Instead, the group plans to check on Chris’ grandma since she was the only family member besides Derek’s father not to be present at the church. Strange things are brewing today, on Eclipse Star!
-The intro for Channel 70 begins, then fades in to Diana and Dave at the desk.
Diana: Good evening. I’m Diana Miranda.
Dave: And I’m Dave Trenton. (Takes a swig of whisky from a bottle).
Diana: Dave…put the alcohol away, please…
Dave: You know what your problem is? You don’t get laid. That’s your problem. That’s my problem, too. That’s everyone’s problem. That and kids with damned laser hands! I’ll get you kids!
Diana: In news relating to things other than Dave’s alcoholism, today was the day Octavious had hoped the supposed terrorists would show up at Trillium City’s Grand Central Arena to do battle with his team of fighters known as the Octa-Rangers.
Dave: Boy that was sure a good idea, wasn’t it?
Diana: Dave, please.
Dave: Octavious meant for the challenge to take place at noon and since it’s a little past 1 as of the broadcast, there’s a good chance all of that is over by now. So instead of prattling on about idiotic things like that, Johnny, what does the weather look like outside?
-Shift to Johnny Jenson at the weather station.
Johnny: Well Dave, it looks like we’re experiencing heavy showers of green light originating from the center of the city here. Let’s go the map, shall we? (He points at the screen, showing a map of Trillium City with the middle being scribbled green). See here? This is what I like to call the “Uh-Oh Effect.” Now, it’s hard to tell, but usually this is caused by aliens intent on harvesting our organs. Hear me out here on this one, ‘cause it’s about to get complex. First, they plant their species in our stomachs. Then, at some undetermined time, they beam down green fertilizer rays from their spaceship which is actually located underground. Eventually, (Pulls out a marker and draws a dollar sign on the map), profit. How? I am still unclear of that, but expect these mutated super aliens to appear shortly. Also, highs of mid-70’s, partly cloudy. Back to you guys.
Diana: (Sigh). Johnny, there are no such things as aliens. Thank you though for the weather.
Dave: Diana, you shouldn’t shrug off the possibility so nonchalantly. You have no idea if aliens really exist or not.
Diana: Oh right, but you know for sure that kids can fire “hand cannons” or something.
Dave: No, no, “hand beams.” And yes, they can. Johnny, give us the sports report.
Johnny: (Back to Johnny). Thanks Dave. Today’s been wild all around with the Octa-Rangers duking it out with what appears to be those mutant aliens I mentioned earlier. Now may be the perfect time to panic and watch some clips from today’s event. (Clips begin to play as Johnny watches). Ooh. Yeah. That was cool. Oh wait, check this out. Ka-BOOM! Haha! All in all, I’d say a pretty exciting day.
Diana: Johnny, who won?
Johnny: Diana, sports aren’t all about winning and losing. That’s why today’s event ended with a score of fun-to-fun. Also, I got a hotdog and it was pretty darn good. Back to you guys.
Diana: Thank you once again, Johnny.
Dave: I’m sure news happened elsewhere today, and guess what? It did. In nearby Hillsboro-
Diana: Dave, you read that wrong. It’s Brooksboro.
Dave: Whatever. In Brooksboro, reported arsons ripped through neighborhoods and damaged thousands of dollars worth of property. At the risk of editorializing, AHAHAHAHA!
Diana: Also attacked was a local church. The Church of Faith on Zealot and 12th street suffered fire damage, though more surprising were firsthand reports of massive floodwaters. Johnny, did the weather station predict any record rainfall?
Johnny: Weather what-now?
Dave: Johnny, she wants to know what’s the deal with the flood.
Johnny: Oh! Yes, the flood! You see Diana, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much-
Diana: Johnny, I don’t need to hear this.
Dave: Yes you do. Johnny, continue.
Johnny: Well, long story short, the seeds were planted and fertilized with the green light, so all that was left was to water it using ancient arrogation secrets.
Johnny: Yes. Did I mention that the aliens are also an ancient race?
Johnny: Oh, well that’s pretty important actually.
Diana: (Sigh). Anyway, eyewitnesses report the water originating from the church itself. Most experts are baffled-
Johnny: I just told you; Aliens!
Diana: Most experts are baffled as to the cause, but more people are wondering what happened to the people inside the church. As of now there are no leads to explain their disappearance.
Dave: (A piece of paper is handed to him). Ah, so Sam the Go-To Guy is on the scene at the Grand Central Arena, or whatever the hell it’s called. Sam, you coming in Sam?
Sam: (Standing on the arena floor with the group in the background recovering from the fight). Hi Dave, hi Diana. It’s me, Sam, and I’m at Trillium City’s… Grand… Fighting… Plaza… Central… Uh, the Arena. Things have just wrapped up with the Octa-Rangers and the “terrorists,” who were kids that proved they weren’t actually terrorists. It was quite a sight to see, assuming you could see it. There were a lot of explosions and some crazy lights and everyone was moving really fast. A stray blast hit my in the face at one point and burned my eyebrows off. I just now regained consciousness after a piece of the ceiling fell onto my head. My leg was trapped under a steel girder until a nice robot came and lifted it off me, though he accidentally crushed my foot when he walked away.
Diana: Sam, are those the kids in the background there?
Sam: Over there? Yes, those are them. Well, them and some other kids that I don’t know about. They just flew in through the open roof.
Dave: Flew? Sam, did you just say those kids flew here?
Sam: That’s right Dave. Actually, all of them have been flying around. Frank, did you see what happened out there?
Frank the Cameraman: (From behind the camera, muffled). It was awesome. While you were out, that one kid jumped up and fired a crazy beam from his hands.
Dave: Hand beams?!
Sam: I’ll go over and see if I can get an interview with them. Excuse me!
-Sam walks over to the group as the camera follows him.
Sam: Excuse me fellas. My name is Sam Spitz. I’m with Channel 70 News.
Kyle: (Heard from the back). I love those guys.
Sam: Can you tell us what happened out there just now?
Chris: Uh, well, the Octa-Rangers were better trained as a group force than individually and then Max showed up and nearly killed everyone.
Sam: Were you afraid out there?
Chris: I w-
Lindsey: (Jumping into the frame, grabbing the mic). Afraid? Are you kidding me?! That bunch of losers didn’t stand a chance against us! We had this fight from the very beginning. Which fight were you watching? It was almost too boring beating the snot out of Octavious’ goons. I would have done it myself if I didn’t think Chris needed the exercise.
Chris: That’s not entirely-
Sam: So your names have been cleared, is that correct?
Jack: We’ve given our case, but I’d hardly say this clears us completely. Within the week there will be all sort of military hearings and police action taken to figure out the truth, but for now, yes, we’re cleared.
Sam: Do you now where Octavious went?
Chris: Uh, no, I’m not-
Dave: Sam! You see that kid there? The one that’s talking? Him! That’s the kid! And the one behind him!
Sam: Who? Him? (Points to Derek).
Derek: What’d I do?
Dave: Those are the bastards that destroyed my apartment! Can you hear me kids?! Huh?!
Diana: Dave, they can’t hear you.
Dave: Sam! Give your earpiece to the jerk in the front!
Sam: (He and Chris are whispering to each other). It appears that they need to get going. They have family that may still be in trouble.
Dave: No! No no! Don’t let them leave.
–The group walks off and flies away, a few of them waving. Sam waves back.
Sam: Bye now. (Turns back to the camera). That’s all from me. Back to you guys in the studio.
-Cuts back to Dave and Diana.
Diana: Dave, please, calm down. Have a drink or something.
Dave: (Defeated). That was them. They were right there. So close… (Fired up again). I’m practicing for you kids! When I find you I’ll shoot you with my own hand beams! HAND BEAMS! GAH!
Diana: For Channel 70 News, I’m Diana Miranda.
Diana: Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.
* * * * *
-The group flies at a steady pace back towards Brooksboro and Chris’ grandmother. Chris is riding on Austin’s back, Derek is on Clinton’s, Scott is on Glitch, and Jack is on Kyle.
Chris: So the soldiers at the church nearly killed you guys?
Jack: Yes and no. The situation never left our control. However, there were some moments that pushed the boundaries of manageable.
Kyle: Jack, if I remember correctly, you broke down for a while and couldn’t keep yourself together.
Jack: Kyle, you do not remember correctly. What you saw was merely a front towards a greater goal. I’ve noticed that you all respond better when there is a clear need to act, and so I placed myself in a position where you would feel the need to respond accordingly. It was a gamble, but it paid off.
Kyle: Gamble, right…
Lindsey: Chris, I really do hope your grandma is okay. She’s such a nice woman.
Chris: When I spoke to her on the phone yesterday she seemed out of sorts. I don’t think she’s happy with me leaving the way I did.
Austin: I think very few of our parents were really happy with us leaving.
Derek: My dad gave me nothing but support.
Austin: Yeah, but then again you were raised to be a fighter, weren’t you?
Derek: I was raised never to accept weakness. There’s a slight difference, but the distinction is probably lost on someone like you.
Chris: Look, all I know is that I’m glad everyone else’s families are safe. No, having to say good-bye is not ideal, but at least we know they can’t be used like this again.
Lindsey: Even saying good-bye is a little too much to ask, isn’t it…?
-She shoots Jack a dirty look.
Jack: (Unphased). I don’t apologize for my decision. I stand by everything I’ve done up until this point and I intend on standing by my choices in the future, too.
Leena: We almost there? I want this to be done so that we can get some rest again.
Scott: Um, so I hate to bring up what we’re all thinking, but Jack, we don’t get to rest after this, do we?
Jack: …No, we probably don’t.
Danny: Why not, Jack? We beat the bad guys, so why can’t we take a break?
Jack: It’s not that simple. We need to find the Legion again and regroup. I know the person who’d be next in line behind Max and I can trust him.
Kyle: It’s not you, is it?
Jack: No. I haven’t checked where I rank in the hierarchy for a while, but I’d say at least another dozen people would have to die or be discredited before I get promoted.
Derek: Please tell me you aren’t orchestrating something involving twelve soldiers getting blown away.
Jack: No. I don’t even know where specifically they are at the moment.
Clinton: You mentioned that the Legion has another base in Brooksboro. Wouldn’t headquarters be set up there, at least temporarily?
Jack: Yes. We should go there as soon as we’re done with our business at Chris’ house. I’d like to get this all done with as quickly as possible.
Chris: Sorry to be such an inconvenience, Jack. We’re almost there anyway. Go ahead and land over there.
-The group sets down a few houses away from Chris’ grandmother’s house.
Chris: Well, it doesn’t look like anyone’s been here. Except for the front door. Why isn’t there a front door?
-Chris takes off at a run towards the front door.
Chris: Grandma! Are you alright?!
-He reaches the front door.
-Chris is hurled off of his feet after being struck in the head. He flies into the house across the street, exploding it completely.
-The group gets into battle formation, unsure exactly what they’re about to see.
Jack: Damnit. Lindsey, go check on Chris.
-She runs over to Chris’ current location in the rubble.
Jack: It might be Octavious but be ready for anything…
-Chris gets up, wobbling and shaking.
Lindsey: Chris, are you okay? What the heck just hit you?
-Chris grabs his head, blood running down his arm from a head wound. He looks up and continues shaking, terrified.
Chris: GET AWAY FROM THE DOOR!
-The group reacts slightly too slow as the entire front of the house explodes, spraying splinters and wreckage onto everyone.
-While everyone tries to get up from the street, Chris starts to walk forward ready to fight.
-Finally, a figure steps forth from the dust and out of the house. It is a man with pitch-black armor dented and scratched all over. His right arm hangs loosely to his side, clearly broken. Blood is pulsating from various gashes he has all over his body as he stumbles out. He’s breathing erratically and looking as if he’ll fall over at any second.
-The man does indeed look somewhat like Syrus, though not exactly. His attitude is completely different from anything Syrus has thus displayed, as are his mannerisms.
“Syrus”: Why can’t you just die already…?
-Jack sits himself up, looking around at the area and what they’re up against.
Jack: Evasive action! Don’t make a move unless I say so!
“Syrus”: (Clearly only focusing on Chris). Come. God DAMN you! Come!
Lindsey: That’s not really Syrus, is it?
Chris: I don’t know. He looks like he just took a massive beating and doesn’t feel anything like Syrus. Something isn’t right about him, but I know he’s way out of my league.
Lindsey: If I can hold him off until you recover? Then can you take him?
Chris: No, and Lindsey, I really mean it when I tell you this time to grab the others and get out of here.
Lindsey: Chris, I’m not leaving, no matter what. You know that.
-Chris looks over, his eyes welling up.
Chris: I can’t save you from this one. Please, go!
“Syrus”: Enough of your sentimental whining! I’m taking you to Hell with me!
-Chris prepares himself for a monumental beat down as Lindsey also readies herself.
“Syrus”: Now die already!
-The Syrus-looking figure is slammed over the head with a double-handed smash from someone new.
-The new figure lands in front of Chris and Lindsey. He is wearing a mostly black outfit with a red bandana mask pulled over his eyes and then wrapped over most his face.
Red Mask: (He speaks with a very raspy voice). You two okay?
Lindsey: Who are you?
Red Mask: I’ll explain later. Just stay low and go find cover.
Lindsey: (Whispering to Chris). Should we trust this guy?
Chris: Something doesn’t feel right with him, either.
Red Mask: (Clearly talking to the Syrus-imposter). You think I’m gonna just let you come here and kill them like this?
“Syrus”: (Slowly getting up, far too battered at this point). Why am I not surprised to see you here, too?
Red Mask: Doesn’t matter where you go. I’ll hunt you, and I will kill you.
“Syrus”: I’m not done yet.
Red Mask: You couldn’t beat me at full strength. You think you can beat me like you are now? Someone did a real number on you, and I regret that they didn’t just finish you when they had the chance.
Jack: (Trying to decide what to do here). Okay, we need to get out of here before something even worse happens.
-Three more individuals show up from different spots. One wears full Legion gear, another chooses to dress mostly in robes and a turban, and the final is a shorthaired blonde woman dressed in a jacket with black gloves. All of them have their faces covered.
Masked Woman: You all okay?
Jack: Who are you?
Masked Woman: I didn’t ask that. I asked if you’re okay, which you seem to be. Good, we got here in time.
Kyle: Your friend up there looks like he’s about to go nuclear.
Masked Woman: He does that from time to time. The others should take care of it.
-The man dressed in the robe rushes up to the man in the red mask.
Robed Man: Okay, that’s enough. He’s down. He can’t do anything more.
Red Mask: He can always do something more.
Legion Gear: Kill him! We can end it here!
Red Mask: Heh, finally he agrees with me.
-Red Mask starts charging a blast in his hands far larger than anything the others can comprehend. The entire area rumbles dangerously more than expected.
Red Mask: This time, DON’T COME BACK!
-The Syrus Imposter throws a blast at Red Mask, hitting him in the face.
-Red Mask launches his blast into the air. It travels up and up, leaving the atmosphere altogether.
-Everyone sees it explode with a flash that blinds everyone.
“Syrus”: I’ll always come back.
-No one can clearly see what happens as they’re still blind from the other explosion. However, a new one rips apart the city block.
-The dust settles again. The first up are the four strangers.
-The woman runs over to Red Mask and smacks him.
Masked Woman: You crazy?
Red Mask: I should have expected him to do that.
Masked Woman: Well duh.
Legion Gear: Is everyone alright?
Jack: (Cough). Yeah, I think we’re fine. Figuratively speaking of course.
Chris: Who are you guys? And who was the guy who looked like Syrus?
Red Mask: He was nobody. You don’t worry about him.
Lindsey: (Tugging on the Masked Woman’s jacket). Seriously, who are you guys?
Masked Woman: Heh. Don’t worry about that for a while. We need to get you all away from here.
Chris: What about my grandma? Is she okay?
Masked Woman: Trust me; she’s fine. She’s nowhere near here. Don’t worry about her right now.
Jack: You, in the Legion uniform. Are you a ranking officer?
Legion Gear: At the current time, no.
Jack: What’s your name?
Legion Gear: You can refer to me as Commander Fox if you have to.
Danny: Can we just call you Fox?
Fox: For simplicity, yes.
Jack: I’ve never heard of you. Why is that?
Fox: I stay hidden. There are levels of the Legion even you don’t know about, Jack Voss.
Red Mask: We’ve messed around enough here. We’ve got to go.
Lindsey: Come on, what’s your name?
Red Mask: Call me Iess.
Masked Woman: And I’m Grid. The guy in the robe is…Job!
Job: Job? Oh yes! Sorry, I didn’t quite hear you over there! My ears are still ringing from the explosion!
Iess: Alright, so you know our names. Now let’s get out of here.
Chris: Where are we going?
Iess: There’s a lodge way up north into the mountains. It’s large enough to house all of us and the owner won’t mind.
Lindsey: You sure about that?
Grid: Trust us on this. The guy loves guests.
Fox: There’ll be time to talk later. We need to move.
-The group takes to the skies and starts to fly north.
Kyle: Why do I get the feeling everything is about to get a whole lot weirder?
Leena: Because it probably is.
To Be Continued…