|Gold Digger the Insertion files
Author: Agent Reptile PM
What happens when an obsessed fan gets a chance to meet the characters from one of his favorite stories from the beginning of their tales? Hopefully will continue through the entire series if I ever get to see it all. Please read and review.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Sci-Fi - Chapters: 6 - Words: 94,230 - Reviews: 33 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 19 - Updated: 03-09-12 - Published: 12-16-10 - id: 6561845
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer, I own nothing mentioned in this fic which holds a copyright, and while I would say I belong to me saying I own myself could start a confusing theological debate on the nature of God. This story was done only for fun, not taking it too seriously so don't take it as such. Hope you enjoy and please be kind enough to review.
Chapter 6: Into the fathoms below.
Welcome back dear readers. When last we left off the vile Gryphon was expelled from El Dorado, but like most villains had excellent evasion abilities and managed to prevent us from ending things there and then by teleporting to his stronghold in Atlantis. It wasn't a total failure though, with our intervention at the legendary city of gold and the saving of the Kryn we have made great allies with the cat-people. But our hunt continues as our group finds itself out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a massive ship thanks to Gina's rival Penny Pincer…with yet another addition to our field team that was going to arrive shortly.
"Okay there; Alex are you sure that this little thing can give my Ginamobile nearly limitless power? It looks like a coaster with a series of LED lights attached." The famous Gina Diggers said as she held in her hand one of my newest products made in concert with Brianna.
"This, my lovely lady, is all that and more." I smile her while in one of my many alternate personas. "That little arc-reactor can generate the same power as a massive nuclear fusion reactor with but a fraction of the size."
"Yea but is it water proof is my concern." Britanny asked as she inspected the little do-dad sniffing it a bit. "I don't want to be trapped 3000 leagues under the sea and find out this thing doesn't like to get wet."
"Fathoms my luscious lycan; ocean depth is measured in fathoms." I point out. "And when Tony Stark says that it will work then it will work." Yep standing from head to toe in red and yellow metal was none other than Anthony "Iron Man" Stark himself. "This miniature arc-reactor generates enough power per minute to run that little kit-car for the next 2 years and yes it will be fully water-proof when installed."
"Well that's a relief, I still can't believe we are taking this hunk of junk instead of having you just build us a super-sub from scratch." Britanny's irritation was reasonable since, while a car-sub was a great idea for a Bond film, the intense pressures and temperatures of the bottom of the ocean were not a place I would want to explore in a car. But there was a time issue and from designs to production would take so much time that Gryphon would have a serious lead on us.
"Hmm, Dull minds like yours have always scoffed at what they cannot comprehend, Igor!" Gina piped in as she placed the reactor into its holding station. As the southern super genius set the blue glowing item into the adaptor, it locked into place and slid behind the crew-quarters. The resounding snap followed by the sound of pressuring gases indicated it was sealed in place.
"Look Gina, call me 'Igor' again and I'll 'scoff' you all over this hover-carrier!" Britanny growled at her older sibling.
"Anyway, I've made all sorts of modifications to this car…" Gina didn't even take notice of the werecheetah's attitude toward her and just continued on beaming with pride. "It's hull and chassis can withstand nearly any amount of pressure thanks to the magnetic force-field I've installed, it's brand new tachyon-charged secondary internal combustion engine can propel it at 200 knots underwater, and the addition of an electro-neutronic field to seal the hull makes my car a technological work of art."
"Yes well that may be true Gina, but I'm still hesitant at you not having multiple redundancies such as vibranium plating on key structural components or perhaps an emergency release escape assembly if the vessel gets damaged or the force-field malfunctions. Remember the outer most regions of human reach do not offer much in the form of second chances."
"Now that's probably the smartest things I've heard since we set foot on this floating tin-can." Britanny said as she took note of what was going on. "You know Gina you can learn a lot from this guy."
"Oh there is a lot I could teach her, but I would rather teach you. What do you say Cheetah? Free lesson before we leave?" I smiled at her with the best Don Juan act I could (which being Tony Stark was pretty good).
"Well sweetheart I would love to, but you're stuck in that metal tuxedo and I know that the loveable Alex I like isn't into quickies." Cheetah kissed me on the cheek after saying so. "But feel free to remember some of this guy's lines for later."
I was wobbly at the moment (even more so than free-falling into a tail-spin) and it was only Stark's playboy experience that caused me not to fall flat on my back.
"I think I'll go to the helo-pad and meet up with the rest of our group. I promised Stripe I'd let him see my human form today, and when we get back we can pick that wonderful mind of yours for useful tid-bits of information on Atlantis." That snapped me back to reality. Okay so Britanny just kissed me again, but it could have been just a friendly kiss rather than a romantic one while she took a special pride in getting to show the Kryn her human form.
"Sounds like he's as curious about you being a were-cheetah as you are about him being a half-cat, half-human sentient called a Kryn from El Dorado." Gina pointed out as she sat on the hood of her car. "Be sure to tell everyone not to expect me to come along with you all in Penny's mini-sub, I'll lead the way in my car."
Gina's voice was muffled a bit by the approaching sound of Ace's modified Osprey doing its final approach. For those that have never seen one of these aircraft, an Osprey is a bizarre hybrid of a prop-plane and a helicopter with VTOL capabilities. Faster than any helicopter, but with far more adaptive landing abilities than a conventional plane, the Osprey is favored by Marines and other such military forces for reliability, carrying capacity, and quick landings and take-offs.
"Okay if I feel like it." Britanny shot back at Gina. "Alex please try to get that rust bucket salvageable so I don't have to worry about explaining my sister's death to my parents."
"For a fireball like you? No problem." Before I was able to do anything though….
"GINA!" someone very important to this mission yelled. "How am I supposed to get my mini-sub into launch position with that crate blocking the whole bow of my hover-craft?" It was Penny, being her usual irate self. That girl needs to switch to decaf pronto.
With no shortness of fury, the dark-skinned woman nearly shoved a remote device into Gina's face.
"Here is the remote for the port-side crane. Get that heap outta here with the crane 'cause I know it can't move on its own….on account of it's a cheap piece of junk!"
"What is this! 'Pick-on-Gina's car day' or WHAT? And get that stupid remote out of my face before I lose my cool!" I decided to ignore this pointless bickering, while I focused more on getting Gina's craft up to shape. I dropped the face-plate of the armor down and turned on the MP3 player selecting AC/DC.
I was so focused on my work that I almost didn't notice that I had company.
"Hey there partner, how's the work going?" I felt a rapping on my helmet and a very delightful and energetic female voice call to me. In a shot I was up and my face once again exposed to the fresh sea air.
"Brianna how are you doing?" I smiled as my friend and co-inventor waved at me. Dressed in a plain t-shirt, denim mini-skirt, and hiking boots the youngest of the Diggers clan had a plasma cannon strapped to her back, a pee-bo on her shoulder, and a huge smile on her face. "I thought you were busy back in Georgia?"
"I'm doing great thanks." She answered as I decided to let the rival treasure hunters work out their own problems . "And after hearing that my two sisters found themselves on yet another insane adventure you can bet your last dime I'm not going to be sitting around at home. So I had daddy use one of his scroll things to teleport me to Ace's resupply depot."
"Hey I'm glad to have you, just who is watching Lily if you aren't?"
"Oh don't worry, my mom loves that little bundle of orange fluff. She said that she reminded her of Britanny when she was a kitten." Brianna elaborated as soon as she saw my befuddled look. "Chasing string, jumping onto laps, demanding affection…you know cat stuff."
"Got it, so who else is on this little endeavor?" I asked as my metal boots clanged against the deck of the craft along our trip.
"Well there is that absolute stud-muffin Stripe…" Brianna began to drool a bit as she mentioned him.
"Stud-muffin?" I ask aloud.
"What? I'm not going to apologize for finding Stripe hot. Look the time before with the dragon Britanny came home with you, and this time they bring home a guy like that? I'm not staying back and waiting for someone to come for me."
"And where does that leave Genn?" I asked as we just stood back and watched Gina and Penny make utter fools of themselves.
"Probably still in the bed recovering from last night." Brianna didn't even bat an eye as she said that. "I love the guy, but he seriously needs help with his stamina. Now you on the other hand….I'm betting that among your various guys there is one who is up to the challenge so to speak?"
"If I wasn't dating your sister…." I said faintly under my breath.
"What is going on here?" It was at that point when the topic of our discussion showed up, looking very different from what I had seen her as a few minutes ago. "Y'know for a pair of certified geniuses with IQ's over two hundred, you two sure act stupid!"
"Huh?" Brianna and I both asked Brit who she was referring to, but it became evident immediately as the now far shorter girl's attention was focused solely on the other two brains.
"She started it!" Gina retaliated.
Brianna and I just shook our heads. "I'm about ready to ask for a drink." Brianna said. "Care to join me?"
"Well I wouldn't dream of ignoring such a kind offer…Say back at Stark Tower sometime…." Before I could get pulled into Tony's womanizing personality any further, I was staring at Britanny's new form in her choice of swim-trunks.
"Hey Cheetah, what happened to cause your pretty face to go into such a scowl?" I asked as Brianna chuckled a bit seeing her sister in her smaller (exceedingly cute) human form.
"Nothing muffin, just more Gina/Penny nonsense." The lycan sighed. "Thanks for the new duds though. I'm just glad they shift with me…unlike my other cloths."
"Yeah, but if your swimsuit was like your other cloths sis then you would have an excuse to show your best side to a certain prince and claim it was an accident." Brianna said winking to Brit.
"What are you?...It's not like that at all Brianna and you know it." Britanny said while blushing. "I just find it nice to not be the only fuzzy person around all the time." The lycanthorpe's reaction to her sister's teasing meant that she already had some level of attraction to the prince, but I wasn't sure if it was simple infatuation (and as innocent as she claimed it) or if it was genuine interest.
"Yeah, well you certainly left an impression on him. The whole flight he was wondering about you and asking me all sorts of questions. If I didn't find it so sweet I would have been offended. Relax I'm only teasing you Cheets."
"Oh good. Look I am trying to make a good impression on our new friend and you know with Gina being Gina…Look anyway thanks for the info Brianna I appreciate it. You know Alex, you're being awfully quite lately. Something bothering you?" Britanny said with a great deal of concern in her voice.
"No, just didn't have a whole lot to say." I smile at her. "And I was hoping you would give me a moment to do this." I bent down and kissed her, not sure why but it felt right…probably some of Tony rubbing off on me. "You are just too cute in human form." I noticed her blush and gave her a hug before we had to prep for leaving.
"Anybody wanna ride with me? I'll drive carefully…I swear!" Gina asked as she climbed into her car.
"I'll go." The female elf of our group said as she hopped in, much to her husband's protest. Dropping the canopy top, Gina made a bee-line for the waves crashing into the ocean with a huge splash. Penny, who was soaked because of that, was not happy.
"Okay enough horsing around. Everyone else get into the sub." Penny's pushy attitude was met with almost complete obedience, except that my emergency sensors went haywire.
"Brianna get into the sub and prepare for emergency launch. We have multiple bogies incoming fast." I stood erect for a second as Brianna took charge and raced to get everyone into the safety of the mini-sub and into the waters.
After my friend was clear of me though, I selected the energy saver ability, activated my thrusters and exploded from the deck into the air to try and head-off the would-be attackers.
"Alex what the heck are you doing?" Britanny yelled over the radio.
"Just taking care of some trouble-makers beautiful." I smile I buzzed across the cockpit of a MiG-35 at super-sonic speed and doing a quick scan of their radio frequencies. "Don't worry your pretty little head about me."
"Hey Ace, you didn't tick off anyone on the way out here, did you?" I heard the lovely lady ask her pilot as I was having way too much fun annoying the group of flying guns for hire.
"HMM…As a matter of fact I did!" Ace proudly, and very smugly, commented. "Just some mercenary nerds trying to sneak past a U.S.A.F. Boeing E-3 sentry. An A-10, an SU-25, and a set of High-tech MiG-35 'Kingfishers' with cloaking devices. I illumantated them all with my microwave laser on my osprey and made them look as big as barns on radar! I propably screwed up their whole operation! None of them can catch me in my osprey though…I wouldn't worry about those chumps."
"Ace you better think that one through again because I'm in the middle of a dog-fight here with them." I said in reply. "Just hurry and launch, I'll be there in a bit."
As I banked hard waiting to see what exactly these guys were going to do, alarms went off indicating they had a weapons lock on me . "Well looks like someone wants to play." I smiled as the advanced computer unit inside my armor immediately identified the opponent and their weapon. I shifted my weight, twisted my upper body, and aimed my hand at the A-10 focused on the hover craft. In a flash of light and sound the intense burst of repulser plasma blasted into the main body of the warthog.
"Dark Boid ta Night Flight…wha ta fuck just happened?" I heard on over the inner comm. "First da scum-suckin' joik dat cost us our mission, six million samolians in pay, and our reps with that cute li'l microwave laser o' his! No' we got some flying freek 'na tin suit shooting some beams at us."
"Don't worry Mates! Let's open up a can of ice-cold payback 'n' serve 'im up our specialty!"
So this was Night Bird, or Boid as she said it with her thick Brooklyn accent. No idea who the Aussie was, but they and the rest of their crew were going to find out the hard way why the title is "The Invincible Iron Man".
Being far more maneuverable than any of the aircraft I was facing, I had no difficulty avoiding near misses as I tried to put myself between my friends and these psychos. The MiG's autocannon unleashed a massive barrage of armor-piercing rounds right at me that would have decimated any conventional defense system…but I don't use conventional systems. Super-advanced dampener fields, composite alloys with vibranium and ademantium throughout, kinetic impact shields, and other little trinkets caused the rounds to fizzle out or bounce off my armor without me feeling a thing.
After the salvo, I raised my left arm, popped the forearm open, and launched a single missile at the MiG. Only being about 7 inches long it didn't look like the projectile would do much to a jet…until
Impacted right at the cannon and ripped the whole wing off causing the pilot to bail out and hope to be picked up later.
"Who the blazes is this wanker?" I heard the aussie exclaim as I went full throttle after the SU-25.
"I am IRON MAN!" I roared with joy and drove my fist right through the SU's wing while impacting at almost super-sonic speed. Ace didn't waste the opening I gave him and launched the sub into the depths with all crew (minus myself) safely aboard.
"Dark Boid ta Red Club! Time fa us ta hit da drink and blow dat mini-sub dey dropped to smiddariens! You try ta keep 'Iron Man' busy." Apparently Dark Bird didn't figure that I too could follow them under the sea, but that was not as important right now as keeping myself alive.
"Gina not sure if you are up on current events or not, but we have a slight problem heading your way." I called over the radio. "At least one if not two hostiles incoming and armed to kill."
"I knew there was something foul afoot! We must hurry!" I heard Mesha comment as I saw of the few remaining targets dive.
"GINA! This is Penny, we're under attack by some merc-weirdos. They nearly sank my hover-carrier and now they are coming after us. We need help!"
"I'll keep them off your tail, just get the one down below." I was still in the thick of things as some valley-girl was trying her darndest to bring me down. Good news was Stark tech was still far ahead of any other human technology on this Earth so I had a vast advantage on this kid.
"Like this is soo tough." I heard her squack. "Like he's so fast and small I can't get a good lock on him."
"There's another reason that's not going to work toots." I thought to myself. "Stark enterprises jamming equipment completely scrambles your weapon-lock abilities…at least long enough to do this…."
I raced for more air, climbing several hundred feet in mere seconds with the MiG right behind me. The occasional burst of cannon-fire hit me, but still didn't do much damage. I gunned my thrusters for a bit, just to see if she would take the bait.
"Like I have you now you…." That's exactly what I wanted her to do. In focusing to keep up with me she was caught off-guard when I hit the break, pulled serious negative G's (absorbed mostly by the suit) and lined up perfectly to shoot one burst of super-heated plasma straight into her engines.
I didn't have time to see how effective my shot was as I had to stop my rapid decent and regain control. But I thought I heard her shoot a stream of profanity…a rather poorly worded stream at that…before popping her shoot.
"Alex man don't know if you hear me … but we got serious problems down here so I'm firing everything I got. Best you not be in the skies when this comes your way." Ace's voice resounded in my head as I changed plans and just dropped for a while. A few seconds with controlled bursts to slow my decent was all I needed and then.
"AAAAHH!" Instantly back to my normal human self, gasping for breath and in shock at my fall. It took all my mental concentration to focus on changing into someone who may have been able to survive.
If we were going to Atlantis anyway, I figured I may as well fit in with the crowd. My bald head and slightly muscular form was replaced by a thick head of blond hair and massive 6' build covered in orange and green scales. Completely human looking, minus the loss of one hand that was now in the form of telekinetically controlled water, I swan-dived into my new element and raced like a marlin through the waves. I felt attune to this world and the thick rush of water past my gills revitalized me. Yes you heard right I said gills. It was mere moments before I was able to catch up with the mini-sub and avoid the massive explosions rocketing towards the surface.
"Outrageous!" I commented actually talking through the water as if it were air. That's right I was now in the form of Arthur Curry, also known as "Aquaman King of Atlantis". While made fun of constantly in the Super Friends cartoon, Aquaman is not the lame-brain he's made out to be. With grace and speed unheard of by any normal human, I quickly was able to overtake the sub.
"Egad is that a man out there?" I read Stripe's lips as he looked in total shock at me glidding past.
Britanny smiled at me and then looked at Penny for something. Penny's very apprehensive attitude was clear even without hearing what was being said, but she indicated that it was clear for me to enter the rear airlock. Momentarily I was standing before my friends, abet a bit on the soggy side.
"What hoe my good friends." I greeted them with Aquaman's usual gusto and off-beat govial nature. "And where have Gina and Mesha headed for?"
"Were you swimming out there just a moment ago?" Stripe asked as he wasn't sure what was going on.
"Indeed my furry friend." I said slapping Stripe in the back heartily. "But is not the sea the home of the King of Atlantis? Though true it is not my Atlantis we are going to."
"Wait you're telling me you could turn into the freaking king of these people and you didn't try that already?" Penny nearly yelled at me, much to everyone else's dismay.
"Hey now calm down." Ace said not even shifting his focus from operating the sub. "As far as I'm concerned I owe him one for covering our backs top-side…though I'm sure I could have taken them no sweat."
"Heh, I did all the shooting you blowhard, and shouldn't you be siding with your girlfriend?" Penny fumed at her intended other, who seemed to have no interest in her whatsoever.
"Hey everyone, what about Gina and Mesha? We've got to get to them." Britanny cried out as she pointed towards the window into the darkness.
"What? Have our friends been lost into the abyss?" I said in dreadfull fright as to the safety of the two separated friends.
"No joke. They might be hurt. Anyone see where they went?" Ace asked as he looked away from the HUD screen.
"I think I know where…and if I'm correct they're headed for serious danger." Stripe said with a deep well of concern in his voice.
"Great Neptune Prince Stripe tell me where they may be going and I shall make all speed to fetch them!" I turned with great haste towards the airlock I had just left, thinking of nothing more than to save those in need.
"Wait!" The Kryn said as he grabbed my shoulder. "I have no doubt as to your bravery King of Atlantis, but we are already down two companions and a vehicle. If you go rushing off to save them then we would separate our forces even more."
"By the great halibut you are right." I said in agreement. "Truly you are a cunning ruler, but here in the depths of Oceanus we are not so alone as you may think. I shall remain with you, but perhaps I can call upon some outside help."
I closed my eyes and focused my mind, calling out to any and all sea creatures in the area.
"What on Earth is that screwball doing now?" Penny asked as she stared at me like I was a lunatic.
"Hey back off Penny! Alex here may be odd, but every time he does something completely crazy it usually works out even better than expected." Brianna said in my defense, arming her various weapons systems on the work station she was at.
"What great fortune." I beamed with pride as a group of very large sperm whales appeared on our sides.
"Are those…whales outside?" Britanny asked as the great beasts echoed their great calls to eachother in route to us.
"Aye, they shall aide us in our search for our friends. Yonder ho Ace my good man we have not a moment to spare." I pointed my right (see replacement) hand towards the front of our craft.
"Ah yes, that would be the direction….How about I take over navigation?" Stripe said as he sat back down and helped guide Ace through the gloom.
"Splendid. Soon the foul villain shall be crushed by the mighty forces of justice." Please remember I have little control over how I speak when in character and was only lucky that Britanny and Brianna found my…different dialogue to be cute rather than crazy.
Sadly it was my very choice of words that would come back to haunt me since we had little time to wait before our next onslaught. And it was us dealing with being crushed.
"AAAAHH!" Penny screamed as the massive tentacles of a great Kracken were upon us.
I attempted to command the beast to leave us pass in peace, but the dark hold of Gryphon upon it was more than my telepathic commands. It was only by good fortune that the pod of whales I had called upon were able to give us some support as they rammed the massive cephalopod with their great heads and bit hard into its arms.
"Yo Penny…quit screaming in my ear! I'm tryin' my best to get us outta here. Geez!" Ace's mastery of the controls was put to the ultimate test with the great beast trying to tear the ship apart. The good news was that while squids are known for their brains, and able to deal with multiple problems, they are not known for their ability to deal with multiple aggressors simultaneously.
With all the weapons the sub had being launched out at our air-borne aggressors beforehand, there was little the sub itself could do to defend its occupants. I escaped out of the airlock and rushed out at the formidable beast as fast as a mako shark. The impact of my fist into the side of the creature was resounding through the water as I struck again and again, but the thick leathery hide and muscular body seemed to absorb everything I threw at it.
"Great Neptune's beard what will it take to stop this fightening foe?" I cried out. I clenched my water fist tight and…then realized that perhaps if punching it wouldn't do much, perhaps it could be hurt by slicing. I formed the water of my hand into a blade and drove it hard into the mantle of the beast. Instantly it cried out in pain and released the sub, if for a moment.
"Go my friends I know your time is nearly done." I said to my mammalian assistants who took their leave to shallower depths. "Now monster LEAVE MY FRIENDS ALONE!" I screamed out and drove my blade into its flesh again. Just like a highly focused hose stream, the watery blade was able to rend into the thick layers of mollusk muscle. Under the effects of whatever dark energies Gryphon had though, the thing wouldn't stop focusing on the sub and its occupants. Unable to escape, and out of reach of its arms, the oversized calamari couldn't stop my relentless assault of its head and body.
Catching the sub again, it found that one arm was free to try to smash me. I could feel the movement of the water and before the squid could reach me I dove to the side and went underneath the monster. As I did so I trailed my blade along, slicing a line deep into the hide of the poor wretch. Maddened by pain, the psychic commands of its master, and the rather difficult prey it was trying to catch, the intense hate pouring off of this one animal was tremendous. It was made all the worse when I decided to see if blinding it could stop it's rampage.
"I pity thee, but I cannot let you dare to harm those in the sub." I pulled back my hand and thrust my fist into the dinner-plate sized black eye before me. Various goo, mess, and bloody parts spewed out of the wound. The great arms of the ravenous denizen of the abyss were franticly jetting around with seething rage. Wiping around like great cords of iron, these tree-trunks of muscle would have easily snapped me in two if they hit me. Then I realized what finally happened; the hatred this thing had for me was far greater than the control Gryphon had so it was focusing on killing me rather than catching the sub. With half of the numerous limbs now trying to kill me, I had to focus on keeping myself alive.
When one tentacle came crashing towards me, I slashed at it with all my strength and cut deeply into the monster. I didn't wish to stay in-close to my foe, so I exploded away and started pounding the gaping hole that was once it's eye with concentrated bubbles. Like snow-balls, open gaps deep in the water formed in my hands and as soon as one formed, it was launched towards the wound I had inflicted. While a bubble may not seem like a useful projectile, being hit by one several hundred feet under the sea with a speed of at least 90 mph would tear through the hull of a battleship. But impact alone wasn't what did the real damage, it was the implosion of the bubble.
Since there was no air to form the balls in my hand, there were pieces of missing sea that couldn't remain and when they hit their target…BOOM! They imploded with tearing force. The beast couldn't deal with this much longer, so the moment that it lost concentration on its hold on the sub Ace didn't waste time asking questions. Two sizable canisters were jettisoned from the craft and almost immediately ruptured with a tremendous resound permanently incapacitating the creature and allowing us to escape. If I was human the rush of energy would have liquefied my organs and blown out my ears. Thankfully my super-human body gave me defenses against such and didn't feel much of anything…though likely that was because the body of the squid absorbed a great deal of that.
I smiled a bit as I saw my friends escape safely with their lives, but I still was saddened by the creature forced to do the dark sorcerer's bidding having to die. It was necessary, but in from of the King of the Seas the loss tore at me. Using this righteous indignation to motivate me, I hurried with all due haste towards the submersible. Sadly I was too late as when I reached the sub, a terrifying form with glowing red malevolence appeared and….
The next thing I knew I was standing petrified my normal self being held against my will in attention with Tark, Stripe, Britanny, Brianna, Penny, and Ace being trapped as well.
"It seems you are awake; good. I would hate to interrogate you while you were unconscious." I heard the slimy voice of Gryphon say to me as I woke to see his twisted face, still not completely healed from the beating I gave him just days before. Covering himself in a cloak, the dark magic user looked for all the world as if he was trying to be Voldemort's stunt-double.
"Bite me fish-face." I spat back at him.
"Oh I wasn't talking to you human…though your curious physiology makes you quite something of interest to me." Gryphon said as he turned towards my tiger-striped companion.
"Let the other's go Gryphon. This is just between you and me! Just as it's always been!" Stripe would have torn the Atlantian to shreds if he were free, but with Gryphon's new mastery of the arcane that likely wouldn't happen any time soon. I had to think, and think fast, if I was going to get my friends free from this trap. I just needed Gryphon to focus on someone else so I could shift forms without him blasting me.
"You are hardly in a position to give orders, oh Lord of El Dorado." Gryphon bit back at the kryn prince, and at the pain he was going through from the lumps and welts on his damaged face. "With the powers I have gained from your artifacts, I could destroy you as easily as I destroyed my weakling masters; the late Masters of Atlantis."
The dark pride this black patch of selfish hate had was disgusting me greatly, but the raw power he had at his disposal likely meant he could even challenge Dr. Fate. I had to think of someone, anyone who wouldn't just beat him, but who could negate his powers completely.
"That's it." I thought to myself. "His power, no matter how great, is magic and magic can't affect…." I hid the last word from my mind, just in case he was telepathic.
"But I find it much more enjoyable for me to torture your friends slowly, while the armies of Atlantis prepair to take over the upper world with my ultimate weapon." Typical villain BS aside, Gryphon was now a serious threat to the whole world and needed to be stopped asap.
"Dream on psycho." I heard my brave lady cry out. Britanny's strength was beyond just physical as she continued to lash out even if but with her tongue.
"Silence." Gryphon cried as he started to choke Britanny through his will alone. "I remember you brash one. While your friend who did hurt me is too valuable a specimen to harm…for now…I think that hurting the one he cares about would be a far sweeter torment."
"Go fuck yourself." That did it. I didn't fucking care if this was a long shot, or if I had to give up being male for a moment or two, Britanny in pain was too much for me to deal with and I luckly found that Gryphon's magic was just as weak to a certain form of iron as any other.
"AAAAA!" With a bird like cry I flew at the Atlantian the moment I finished shape-shifting. Shorter, stronger, and now with two huge wings I was more agile than Gryphon with the added bonus of my weapon instantly negating his power over me. The crackling burst of electricity from the mace in my hand shared my raw aggression at seeing someone I held dear hurt.
"What in blazes is…."Gryphon turned around just in time to see the bright orange headpiece and green shirt of a certain Thanagarian flash in his eyes, and an enth metal weapon strike him in the gut. Like Kryptonite to Superman, all the strength Gryphon had died the instant the mace was near him. And without any defense from my attack, I likely shattered several ribs on my first blow.
"When Britanny said you could become female I thought she was joking." Stripe said as he got a look at me in one of my…less than ideal forms (from my perspective).
"Don't get used to it Stripe. This is only a temporary situation." I didn't stay long as Hawkgirl though, not wanting to go nuts again. But I needed someone who could challenge Gryphon, who would know the ways of magic and counter his every move, and who would have no moral qualms about killing this guy if needed.
"Nice wings you had Alex, need a hand with this joker?" I head Gina say from behind me. Stripe was already at Britanny's side as I placed myself between Gryphon and my assorted friends.
"You dare?" The malevolent Atlantian was on his feet faster than I expected.
"Of course we do. We're the ones who kicked yo' butt the last time we met and we're gonna do it again here." Gina sat at some sort of hover-chair's controls while she was flanked by Mesha, two bulky Atlantian males, and a female Atlantian who was charging a mystic bolt in her hands.
"Your hour is at hand, dear brother!" The unknown female, who I guessed was Princess Tyr said.
"You can say that again Tyr." And I was correct on my guess.
"BLAST HIS BUTT!" Gina ordered as two energy blasts struck at the master of this domain. I wasn't really surprised when Gryphon blocked both blasts with a shielding spell. But it was time he faced a true master of the mystic arts and his better in every way.
"So Tyr, you have found the Lost Gem of the Ancients…It's magic-nulliying power may have allowed you passage through my magical wards, but you are still doomed."
"No whelp, it is you who are 'Doomed'." I said as I brought an armored fist across Gyphon's face. I was now dressed in silvery metal armor with a green cloak drapped over my head and a matching vestment and tunic across my torso to mid-calf. My face covered in a horrible metal faceplate with only my glowing eyes to showing that there was some living flesh under there.
"Mesha! Use your powers to 'wizard lock' this chamber!" Tyr cried "We don't want Gyphon to summon any help! Tanis and Garen will Bar the entrance from Gyphon's guards!"
"Brilliant strategy princess." I smiled cruelly under my faceplate and summoned a shield around myself that blocked Gyphon's ability to directly attack anyone else by me. "But you need not worry as this one's fate is sealed."
"Pitiful fools, feel my power!" The bold master of this domain launched a bolt of concentrated magic at me, only to be in utter dismay as I simply batted it away without a care.
"Pitiful? You dare to call Doom pitiful? Allow me to demonstrate my true power." I concentrated my will around the forcefield and immediately multiple streams of yellow magic shot out at my advocacy tearing into his flesh. While he was caught trying to block my attack, I was able to unleash my own concentrated mystic bolt. The sphere of power shot from my hands and hit hard into the already wounded magician sending him flying several feet across the room in a heep.
"See now fool how none can defy Doom?" I said to Gyphon, who was still conscious, but barely. "Surrender and I may find mercy in me not to obliterate you."
"Obliterate me? You human worm I shall….what is happening?…"Gyphon, who before had a healthy shade to his skin, now had the appearance of dried seaweed. Inside my environmentally protected suite I couldn't feel the change in the atmosphere, but my sensors indicated a drop in humidity.
"I'm happening Gyphon!" It was Gina. Hovering high above our heads her reconstructed Ginamobile pieces were now a very powerful hover-chair with more tricks than I originally gave it credit for. "I suspect that, being an Atlantian, you have a need for a large amount of water in the air, which explains the high humidity rate in here. My Ion-accelerator should be enough to dry you up to bleached bones."
'Marvilous, brilliant, simple and effective'. I admired the brilliance of Gina with great delight. Thinking perhaps she would be someone who could be of use to me….till I remember I was not Dr. Doom, but only using his powers for a moment and thought that if Gyphon was affected then so….
"Gina wait…." A weak female cry came from a now immobile princess. "That device, it…it's killing us!" Try was gasping for breath spralling on the floor. Her compatriot echoed the cry for help and immediately Ginat turned her weapon off.
"Hang on Tyr, I'm turning it off now. Garen grab the gem and free the others with it's dispelling powers."
"No need Dr. Diggers. The paltry incantations which hold our allies are easily dispersed by someone of my mystic skill." With but a motion of my hands Tark, Stripe, Britanny, Brianna, Ace, and Penny found themselves free of their petrification. "But then again someone like Gyphon is but a child to the likes of Doom."
"Okay then, Mesha take care of this looser before he regains his strength." Gina said taking control of the situation.
"Of course Gina. My wizard-lock is more than enough to seal off his powers." The female elf was fully capable of dealing with the now impotent cur, so I focused on my other friends. The minor and useless cursing of Gyphon was about to cause me to blast his head off though as I had enough of his petty pontifications.
"Are you unharmed Ms. Cheetah?" I asked taking my Britanny's hand in my own and kissing it. "I hope you will not hold the delay of your freedom against me." I could see how unsettling my current visage made her, and regained my more human appearance.
"No problem pal, but if you could turn into Thor for a bit and let me borrow that hammer I would like to try it out on that jerk's noggin." The vindictive nature of my feline friend may have been something I wished to indulge her, but with that attitude she'd never lift Mijoner.
After a bit of bickering between Gina and Penny, Mesha tackling Tark and smothering him with affection, and a major powershift in the thrown of Atlantis, it looked like all was going to be well here…till Stripe pointed out a major issue that no one remembered.
"Princess Tyr, the threat of Gyphon may have ended but the affairs between our countries have not." The young prince was right of course, we were friends of both the Kyrn and Atlantians, but the Kyrn and Atlantians were not friends.
"Lord Stripe? I hadn't even noticed your presence!" And now things were about to go to Hell in a handbasket. As the immediate issue was being resolved, the long lasting problems which plagued the Kryn and the Atlantians felt as if the chamber we were in was going to turn into the OK corral.
"I am speaking of the war between Atlantis and El Dorado that has carried on for centuries…!" There was a deep force behind Stripe's voice at that, and Britanny hung to me tightly, and kept squeezing my arm to prevent herself from crying out.
"You've come to surrender Kryn?" The taller of the Atlantians with Tyr asked in confussion.
"No Garen." All my fears at what was going to happen were washed away as the new leader of the Altantians did exactly what I had hoped she would do. "There must be an end to the fighting Lord Stripe, and with the destruction of the evil lords of Altalntis at the hands of my brother, Peace can be achieved."
The petite fish-person took the crown of the Kryn from Gyphon's brow and said these parting words to her brother. "My thanks to you Gyphon, some good actually came from your lust for total power."
Turning once again to the cat-like male, Tyr bowed her head and offered the jewel incrusted symbol of power to her supposed advocacy. "I return all that he has taken from you Stripe. Here is the crown he stole from you. Let there be peace between our peoples."
Britanny sighed in relief and then elbowed the restrained prisoner in the back of the head "Where's the rest of Stripe's heirlooms Gyphon?"
"And don't try anything smart, this little baby can turn your brains into scrambled eggs in less time than it takes to blink." Brianna said as she pointed a plasma rifle right into the fishy captive's face. The sound of the energy chamber warming up was a very satisfying whirling hum which for some reason just made me want to shoot someone (or something).
"There, in my vault." Gyphon tilted his head indicating that additional materials resided behind a very large set of doors with elaborate handles. Gina immediately headed towards where the remaining prizes were indicated to be when Tark was overheard saying.
"Mesha, I sense evil magic behind that door."
His wife had a far more directed response to what was going on. "GINA, DON'T TOUCH THAT VAULT!"
Which of course didn't do much as Gina had already touched the handle and….
In a burning release of fire and brimstone stood a touring monstrosity which appeared to have come from the depths of Hell itself. A monster of stone and metal several stories tall with 5 arms and what looked like seven heads with the center one having bull's horns, it was a fiendish monstrosity of absolute terror and malevolence that just reeked of evil.
"There are your artifacts Stripe! They power the most awesome power of Earth!" Gyphon's pride at his sick monstrosity of magic was repulsive. It was a miss-shaped mechanism with twisted construction that matched the twisted soul of it's master. "ARMAGEDDON! Kill them my slave!"
In hushed tone Britanny made vocal our shared opinion "Gyphon, you evil sack of shit."
I was trapped in awe at this beast, and barely had time to jump out of the way as the massive right hand came crashing down into the floor.
"Look out it's striking!" Tyr cried out as I was brought back to my senses.
"INCOMING!" Brianna cried. "I've always wanted to say that!"
While Brianna's extatic disposition may have exuded confidence, it didn't exactly help with the problem at hand.
"There is no excape." Gyphon wheezed in insane delight. "Ha! Ha!"
"Shut up Gyphon."(What a shmuck) Britanny's retort was unnecessary as the massive fist carried forth into the ground and
"Egad! That behemoth just destroyed Gyphon." Mesha pointed out as the great fist of Armageddon turned its creator into a squashed bug.
"Good riddance!" Stripe said as he just barely escaped his own death. "Anyone see Gina? She wasn't disintegrated by that blast was she?"
"Never mind her now Stripe!" Britanny cried out. "That giant's about to barbecue us!"
"Gina's fine!" I yell out.
"You see her?" Taker asked, while his focus was completely set on the flaming foe in front of us.
"No…no I don't. But trust me okay she's alive…just not here." I said wondering just what I could do to help. But from the look on Britanny's smiling face the fact her sister was okay was good enough news.
"Nice to know she's okay, but will somebody do Something!" Brianna yelled out as she took a prone shooting position and aimed at he target.
"Quickly everyone, under my Wall of Force! It should protect us from the heat of those flames." Tyr's abilities were sorely put to the test, but maybe I could help.
"Where's King Kong when you need him?" Ace bellowed.
"Sorry no apes here, but maybe another jet-jockey can even things up." For the third time I found myself in need of the extraordinary powers of the Green Lantern. The emerald beam of solid light raced from my ring and surrounded Armageddon. It took all my will to keep the shield from cracking, but perhaps….
"Tyr focus you will with mine!" I yelled out.
"Trust me. This rig uses will-power to work and I need you to help me by combining our wills together to form a stronger shield." Without a moment's hesitation she agreed and while the roof was collapsing all around us, the heat of the flames never got anywhere close to breaking our defensive line.
"Oh, no! it's breaking the citadel!" Mesha pointed out.
"Focus with me princess or we may be flash fried before we get crushed." I commented to her as red-yellow bursts of heat pounded relentlessly at the only protection there was between us and certain obliteration.
"It is holding friend. If we keep this up then we shall be okay." Her confidence was not in false faith, it was clear that we were more than a match for what this thing was throwing at us.
"What's so bad about that Mesha? Let the sucka go!" Ace's retort may have seemed pompous, but one could perhaps understand his confidence…understand it, but not fall prey to it.
"The situation is worse than it looks Ace." Tark started.
"Not only is it now free to ravage the cities of the world, it's letting all the water from outside in here!" and his wife finished.
"I fear the water pressure will be too great even for our combined efforts." Tyr said to me…her fear seriously hampering the ring's construct. "Tanis and I can survive the rush of water, but I fear the rest of you would perish!"
"Tyr break off and try to keep them safe. I know I can hold this back by myself but I'll need you to get everyone out to safety." I said to my friend and immediately I felt the full brunt of holding the water above where it was.
Sadly the change in focus did have a few weak-spots and "The shield is weakening I….argh my hair!" Penny cried out as she got a little wet.
"Of all the vain…Look lady just get out of here before…"
"Indeed, the portal we came through is still open!" the masculine fish-man said pointing to a shimmering screen. "Hurry into it before it's too late."
"Alex come on we have to go." Britanny said to me while tugging at my shoulder.
"You go ahead Cheetah. I've got this one all wrapped up!"
"Are you crazy, come on…" Though she tried with all her might, Britanny couldn't budge me in her human form.
"Stripe get her and go will you. I'll be fine." I yelled out to my rival to Britanny's heart and renuied my attention to the problem at hand.
"It is best not to argue with the man Cheetah." Stripe said as he threw Britanny over his shoulder and lept through the portal with her, only giving me a passing salute.
"Okay Buster, let's see how well you handle the most powerful weapon in the universe." I smiled as Armegeddon began pouring on the hurt.
"IN BRIGHTEST DAY IN BLACKEST NIGHT…." I began the sacred oath handed down through endless millennia and from countless Lantern to Lantern.
"NO EVIL SHALL ESCAPE MY SIGHT…" I could feel the power surging in the ring as I met the torrent of energy cascading down on me blow for blow. The ring on my finger seeming to want to bust all the while.
"LET THOSE WHO WOSHIP EVIL'S MIGHT…." I could feel the strength within me like a mighty damn about to bust, an upwelling of will and power unimagined was now about to explode through me to an unexpected target.
"BEWARE MY POWER…" What happens when two unstoppable forces meet? This…
"GREEN LANTERN'S LIGHT!" The massive release of power was unlike anything I had felt before. The tremendous cosmic energies that exited my ring first started to push back the robotic beast, but then more and more my green radiating light overtook the yellow-red force from the magically powered creation of evil and
Like a rocket the foe was sent skyward and out of sight. The power of will was far greater than magical machinations and the waters were pushed back far enough for me to fly towards the swiftly closing portal.
"Did anyone see what that was?" I could hear Penny ask as I raced to my salvation.
"I'm sorry it was just too bright for me to discern what happened, even with my elvish eyes." Tark said as he hugged his wife dearly.
"Do you think Alex is…you know…?" Britanny said as she cried into Stripe's chest.
"I do not know…the artifacts of my people were their greatest source of power, but yet Alex has shown a great reluctance to be defeated."
The fight had taken a great toll on me truth be said, so when I rushed out through the portal and into the pool I found myself going back to normal just from exhaustion. Coughing a bit, I stumbled up and out to the rim of the passage way.
"Hey guy's what's up?" I called out, my head clearing from the rush of adrenaline.
"ALEX!" Britanny, while in mid transformation, cried out and lunged at me. "You're alright!"
"Ah Cheetah, I can't….breathe…" The massive amount of female muscle giving me a death grip, and vibrating so heavily with purrs, made me feel as if I was going to be crushed by a jackhammer; a wet jackhammer.
"Don't you ever do that to me again. I thought I lost my bestest buddy."
"Congratulations my dear friend." Stripe said as he slapped me hard on the back. "You defeated that monster and saved the world. It seems I am again in your dept."
"Indeed. Atlantis too owes you much…Alex is it? For saving us." Tyr smiled as she bowed to me a bit.
"Thanks, but it's far from over." I said as Britanny let me go. Her dripping fur mixed with her frown made her look even more depressed.
"But we saw you…" Brianna started.
"I pushed him back, but I may have just made him more angry." I said sitting down and taking my wet boots off. Britanny just had to choose that time to shake like she was doing the Twist on speed and dowsed everyone with water.
"Don't do da…EEK!" Penny said as she got a face-full of kitty smelling water.
"But how do you know it wasn't destroyed?" The larger of the two male Atlantians asked me.
"It's too powerful to be decimated like that. It's busted perhaps, but being magical it will restore itself will it not?" I asked looking at Stripe. "Or am I wrong about the power of your family's artifacts?"
"I must agree with Alex on this one. The artifacts of my people are far too strong to be easily destroyed."
"If that is true then that creature will rip Atlantis to ribbons if we don't stop it immediately." The one called Garen pointed out.
"But what about Gina? We could use her help." Mesha pointed out as we were trying to figure out our next step.
"Yes but what happened to her? Alex you said she was okay, do you perhaps know where she has gotten off to?" Tyr asked me.
"I know she's okay because this is her comic and the lead character doesn't die in their own comic…or at least doesn't stay dead for long since it took Superman a year to get better."
"What is he talking about Cheetah?" Stripe asked, having not gotten my usual story beforehand.
"Perhaps he is just dealing with the effects of that fight with the monster?" Tyr thought.
"Uh no he's crazy, but not that crazy….you see Alex here isn't from our world he's…Well he's completely human but not…well not completely human since he can change his form into different characters but he's not from this universe." Britanny said trying to explain it. "Look don't ask me for details it makes my head hurt."
"Not from our universe?" Tyr asked in wonder. "But he looks just like any other human, or at least every human I have ever seen."
"Yea well I don't get it completely either but Gina is fine, just lost for now and I'm sure she'll be okay." I said as Britanny went back to hugging me like a stuffed bear.
"If that is the case, then I hope your pool may tell us where she is." Mesha commented to Tyr, while Tark attempted to console his wife. "I tried to teleport her away from the trap's explosion, but the magic surge distruped the incantation."
"Do not worry my one, we know she is safe wherever she may be. And she is very resourceful."
"Hey I got it why don't we just have Alex try that telepathic guy Savier, Zaviore, whoever, and find Gina then fly out and get her back?" Brianna asked as she popped the releases on her weapon and started cleaning out the moisture from it.
"It's Xavier, and I have a very good reason not to." I said patting Britanny's rock-solid back. This caused everyone to look at me with great interest.
"And that would be…." Penny nearly yelled at me.
"Plot development." With a completely straight face I said that, and as expected everyone was about to punch me. "And a way that we can stop Armageddon."
"So what do we do then? Just wait around and hope Gina can stop this guy?" Brianna asked as she was wringing out her shirt. "Can't we just remove it's batteries or something?"
"That's it." Tyr said as she thought about it. "The only way we can destroy Armageddon is from the inside."
The current ruler of Atlantis walked towards the pool we had just used as an escape path and used her magic to turn it into a portal where we could enter our foe from.
"I will use the Pool of Legends to create a gateway to one of the air-filled cavities inside it. From there you must seek out the source of Armageddon's power and destroy it."
As the water swirled and whirled about I was left to wonder.
"How exactly do you know this is where the power source is?" That caused everyone to look at me for a moment. "Does anyone have a design chart or some sort of innate understanding of the construction of the animatron?"
"Don't worry Alex." Stripe said. "Kryn and Atlantian technology is very similar in design and Gyphon used my people to build it so it is reasonable to deduce that he would need them to breath while working on it…though there is no certainty as they were stone at the time."
"So we just leap into danger not knowing exactly what we may deal with and only a vague plan to go by? Sounds fun to me." Brianna smiled as she activated some sort of targeting visor and pulled out a pair of assault carbines.
"Yes, but it is truly a dangerous mission." Garen acknowledged. "Tanis and I will go."
"Then be careful Garen." Tyr said with great confidence, but with a slight edge of fear in her voice.
"I'm witcha G." Ace calmly said as he put on a pair of swim goggles that he somehow was carrying with him.
"And what about you?" Penny asked, for some reason I can't fathom to this day very annoyed at me. "Are you going along?"
"Spartans never run from battle." I replied to her as my skin grew a distinctive shade of grey, my cloths changed to red and gold armor, I lost all the hair on my head, and I dropped a few inches. "Live with purpose, die with honor." I muttered to myself as I grabbed the two massive curved blades on my back and heard the click of the chains on my arms connect to the ringlet on the hilt of the blades.
"Forgive me if I do not wish to agree with that last part my friend. I don't wish death to anyone this or anyother day." Stripe said as he looked at the shimmering pool before him.
"Then….then you are a wiser ruler than I ever was Prince of the Kryn." I said. "But this day battle is called out and I will answer."
"And what name does battle call out to that you answer as this one Alex?" Tyr asked me as her arcane abilities continued to hold the portal open.
"Kratos." I almost sneer and jump forth towards my destiny, only to be stopped by the kindness I needed.
"Hey Alex.." The soft voice behind my shoulder said to me. "Before you go please just promise me you're going to come back okay." It was Britanny and she walked towards me and wrapper her hands around my arm. "I mean Gina's gone and I don't want to lose anyone else okay?"
"I have no plans to die again Cheetah, not after all I've had to do so far." While I had not killed anyone, Krato's memories of death, betrayl, murder, and slaughter were enough to drive just about anyone to madness. I was only graitful that his final battle removed the madness of the nightmares.
"Good." The werecheetah smiled as she kissed me on the cheek and then slapped my backside. "Now go out here and kick bad-guy tookus while I go looking for Gina."
"Don't worry Cheetah, there will be battle the likes of which would cause Olympus itself to fall." I smiled boldly as I leapt forth into the pool screaming a battle cry at the top of my lungs.
The rush from passing through the mystic was met with an even greater one as my inborn Spartan drive to fight was called forth with the presence of a series of hulking automatons. They stood about 6' at the shoulder with menising blades and claws. I smirked and chuckled as they started to lumber forth at me through the foot of some unknown glowing goo on the floor. While their gleaming red visor eye made them seem completely inhuman and perhaps frightful to a lesser man, I had torn the eyes out of cyclopses, killed false gods, and crushed the Sisters of Fate under my sandled feet.
"So Gyphon sends toys to do his work, so be it." I drew the blue glowing golden edged blades of Athena from my back and was about to charge at my new targets when I heard others coming through the gaitway.
"Alex man wait up ge!" the familiar voice of Ace called to me.
"What is it!" I barked at him. "Can't you see I am in the middle of a fight?"
"Yea dawg, I just wanted you to save some for the rest of us." The young man was as cocky in fisticuffs as he was in his plane. I smiled at this and launched my sword into the chest one of the machines. The blade imbedded into the metal shell, I pulled back on the chain, and wrenched the monstrosity from it's footing. Tossing it towards my darker skinned compatriot I chuckled.
"Here enjoy." I roared as I faced the approaching foes and launched myself at them.
"He's absolutely mad." Penny cried out as she cowarded behind my more useful allies. I was more interested in the robot I was terminating by driving one of my blades into the head and then slicing it in half with the other.
"Mad he may be Ms. Pincer, but he is making headway and we have little time to argue." Strype called out to me as I danced about jumping, slicing, smashing, jabbing, cutting, and blocking.
"Great all a bunch of meat heads with no brains. These things must be the internal defenses that protect Armageddon from intruders like us." Penny observed far too late to be of use, and since it was blatantly obvious what these things besieging us were I have no clue why she thought it necessary to state the obvious. "It's hopeless to fight them so we've got to find a way around them."
"Hopeless whelp? I shall show you hopeless!" I switched weapons as I grabbed hold of the Blade of Olympus and drove the glowing blue sword that ended the Titan Wars into two of the monsters in front of me and would have gored them as I sliced them in half had they any organs to spill forth. "These are but toys. Show me a real fight you useless machines."
My ire was growing by the second. I headbutted one of these things, smashed it to the ground, and tore it in half.
"Penny you find a way around these things in case more show up…" Stripe commented as he performed one of the most flawless grab, swing, and throw combos I had ever seen. "while the rest of us keep these creatures preoccupied."
As the catman finished his move the anthropomorphic machination was thrown several feet into one of it's comrades stunning both. As the former god of war I was greatly impressed, but would keep that to myself.
"The wind-up , the pitch, and sstie-rrike three!" Ace said as he was doing very little to help the situation.
"I thought you wanted to fight these things boy. If you do not silence your toungue and use your fists I shall throw you back to the others who likely are doing something far more useful than you." I yelled at my friend, while switching weapons again and smashing one of my taller foes in the head with the Barbarian King's hammer, following up with Athena's blades cleaving the arms off my foe.
"Could someone take this guy down before he notices I'm setting him up?" Penny said as she was on all fours behind one of the smaller robots. She was quickly answered by the heavily finned Atlantian called Tanis.
"Argh! lucky shot" I heard Stripe say as he was launched overhead. I couldn't help the prince land, but I did draw Typhon's Bane, pulled back on the mystic string, and released causing a compressed blast of near solid air to obliterate the target's head.
"We should end this quickly my friends" the giant of a man called Garen said as he elbow smashed one of the things in the head followed by Ace tripping two of the things.
"What's the rush? I'm havin' a good ol' time." Ace's overconfidence was doing no one any good and he was at this point a complete gold brick. Were this the comic alone I am sure that these things would be the only wave of advocary we faced, but as this was not the comic things were not going easy for us.
Down the same path that the mere 4 in number had come, now more than a dozen of these cylon like things were marching.
"Yeah that's right! Ace is in the house! It's time ta…what?" At that point the fact we were soon to be overwhelmed was made evident and the very confident pilot gulped hard. Thankfully facing overwhelming waved of foes is what Kratos does as a warm-up every day.
"RAAAAAHHHH!" I yelled at the top of my lungs as I summoned forth the Rage of the Titans. My body began to pulse with the anger and hate of years of injustice forced upon me and the melevalant glow of orange yellow flame was all around me. "All those who do not wish to die I suggest leave now…" I swung the curved blades of my destroyed protector around in arcs like the blades of a turbine. I unleashed the blazing electrical blasts of Chronos' rage, made arching gashing throught my paralyzed opponents, tore through chests, ripped off arms & legs, and exploded blasts of the Titan's wrath upon the foes breaking upon me as a great series of waves.
"What demon is that man possessed by?" Garen asked as I gutted three robots in one movement.
"I have no idea, but I'm not going to complain." Ace said while I stomped upon the back of a robot at my feet and ripped it's torso from the rest of the body, then proceeded to use it to bash another robot into scrap.
"Indeed. Alex how long can you hold those things at bay?" Stripe yelled as he rose back on his feet.
"I have dared to strike down the petty gods of Olympus, bashed in Hercules's head, laid low Poseidon, tore Hermes's legs off, impaled Hephaestus, slaughtered the Sisters of Fate, Theseus and Perseus I made into carrion, and struck down Zeus himself with not but my bare hands and hope. THESE THINGS ARE NOT EVEN A WARM UP!"
"I think he has a handle on things then." Tanis said as he found himself currently able to relax a bit, but only for a bit.
"Oh like heck I'm going to let him have all the fun. Hey Alex save some of that for me!" Brianna cried out as she brought her cannons to bear on a target. High powered energy blasts ripped into a number of the approaching mechanic targets.
"So you wish to prove yourself today Amazon?" I forced myself to smile through the rage effect upon me. "Then let us begin…One." I said as I smashed hard into the cranium of one robot. "Two." The Athenian Blades cut X wise across another target launching its bisected remains into the air."
"Five…" Brianna smiled yelling over my head and a cluster of mini-missiles impacting a group of foes.
Kratos pride couldn't let him be beaten at anything so I proceeded to start hacking and slashing like a lumberjack.
"Three, four.." I continued on with a mixture of agile combos and raw brutal aggression. Like ripe grain before the scythe these pathetic defenses of Armageddon were falling as soon as they attempted to help their comrades. "TWENTY!..."
"Oh come on you cylon knock-offs you are making this way too easy." Brianna giggled with delight. "At least make this interesting." The challenge was left unanswered as the intense heat of her weapon's release left two foes as charged blackened slag.
"If you are done standing around I need you and your razor blades over here pronto." Penny called out to the Atlantian guard.
"What is it Penny? I don't want to not be able to help our friend if he needs it." The fishy friend said he made his way towards the maiden.
"Use your razors to cut this cable. I wanna see what happens."
"Very well, but please do not refer to my cortal fins as razors!" Tanis said indignantly.
"Well, they're sharp aren't they?"
"They are supposed to be attractive; mine are only sharp because I am a guard." Regardless of the Atlantian's disgust at how something imperative to his ability to procreate was, he obliged with proficiency and the results were immediate.
In a millisecond the vast wave of foes assaulting us were now useless hunks of junk. I calmed down, dropped the rage of the Titans, and returned my blades to my back.
"AHAH! JACKPOT!" Penny smugly congratulated herself.
"The creatures, they're just falling down like lumps." Stripe said as he was beside himself in shock, and a bit of exhaustion.
"Please whatever you do, don't ask her how she did it." Ace warned. "She's just waiting for an excuse to star frontin'!"
"I think she's going to tell use anyway." Tanis said looking towards the preening female.
"Ya damn right I am. Armageddon, however lifelike, is still a construct…a robot. It's just not economical for all of those creatures to have brains. So I figured that there must be a central intelligence controlling them, and that cable Tanis cut was some kind of transmission antenna. What would you helpless little boys do without me?"
"I'm sorry were you saying something wetch, I was busy doing something important." I said as I approached, deliberately crushing one of the robot's heads under my sandal.
"We have no time for petty infighting." Stripe said assuming command of the situation. "We must make headway to the power system of this beast and deactivate it immediately."
"Agreed." Garen interjected. "We best make our way quickly before a backup of some sort is activated." Having total agreement with that, we made our way through the vast corridors, pipeways, and communication hubs that made up the inner workings of this evil construct. It was fortuitous that the route we took was a short one.
"So this leads to Armageddon's power source eh? Spooky." Ace observed, and I couldn't argue with his assessment.
"Okay Stripe, but let's take five first, I'm bushed." Penny said as she breathed heavily from our endurance run. "I didn't come along to wear myself out. "
"Speaking of which, why did you come along? According to Cheetah, you and Gina are bitter arch-rivals!" The head of the Kyrn asked with concern for who was in his company right now.
"Arch-Rivals? HA HA!" Ace chuckled coldly. "Stripe, those two are just a little short of being archenemies, every time they meet, they've always breaking bad on each other…f'instance…" Ace then listed a myriad of grudges, sins, and professional arguments that Penny and Gina had through the years. The range of petty battles went from the comical to the insane and I couldn't help but laugh at each one.
"And what about the dread caves of…" Ace began another tale, only to be cut off before it started.
"ACE!" Penny yelled. "Shut up. You're embarrassing me."
"Yea but it's still true. ALL OF IT." Ace picked at his other.
"Gina Inviting you along seems stranger than ever, considering how you two treat each other and you coming along is even stranger." Stripe said in thought.
"Don't underestimate Gina's reasoning Stripe…She knew I would follow her anyway, so she invited me to team up with you all so that either she or one of you could keep an eye on me. I, on the other hand, agreed to come with you so I wouldn't be the only target if I was attacked. Saftey in numbers."
"Well now that makes far more sense than I had thought. Perhaps you have more sense than I gave you credit for." I said to the irate female, who looked as if she was going to punch me.
"Come on now Alex, no need to be rude." Brianna said as she licked her lips. "I'm sure Penny will be able to help us figure out a way stop this thing so we can get home and I can take a look see at what's under that badass armor of yours." The youngest of the Diggers clan was going over the top making sure I heard her licking her lips at the idea.
"Hold it everyone." Tanis observed. "Something strange is happening to the power source." I had wished that the Atlantian had spoken up earlier, since now we were in deep trouble.
"Check this." Ace said. "That thing's flaring like a blast furnace. It looks like Armageddon's finished resting!"
"At least we can see everything clearly with that light coming from the power source." Penny observed, and oh how she observed. "Most of the building material here is made with the gold from El Dorado." The level of avarice she was exuding right now would have made her an Orange Lantern in seconds had this been the DC universe. Thankfully that did not happen.
"Quit thinkin' about how much money you can scrape off of the walls Penny, Armegeddon's wakin' up!" Ace yelled.
"Ace, you're working my last nerve!"
"What do you make of this Stripe? After all your people designed and built this horror!" the giant of our group asked with dread in his voice.
"It's about to move Garen. It's going to destroy the rest of Atlantis just as it destroyed the Royal Citadel. Once it absorbs all of the energy from the destruction , it will be able to function without my people's artifacts to power it."
"Then it will be unable to be stopped by any means at our disposal." I observed.
"Then we'd better get down there right awWA-Y!" Tanis said as the entire floor shifted and the room began to invert.
"It's tilting. HANG ON!" Stripe sai as we tumbled around like beads in a centrifuge.
"Ugh! Find something to hang on to. If it shifts the other way…" Tanis began.
"We'll fly right into that blast FURNACE!" Ace finished as he was bashed into the wall.
"I'm calling princess Tyr. Only she can rescue us."
"Then make it quick Atlantian." I said as I drove Athena's Blades into the gold of the temporary floor. "And everyone grab onto me!"
"Not how I hoped to get personal with you, but I'm not one to complain." Brianna said as she held on pressing herself to one of my arms as tight as she could.
"What your you…" Penny said, only to have Ace wrap one arm around her waist and grab my ankle with his free hand.
"Whatever any of you do, do not let go." I said trying to force my blades into the wall even further for a better grip.
"Did you bring a communicator or something?" Stripe asked as he had grabbed hold of the armor piece guarding my shoulder.
"Sort of…." The very fishy man strained as he did something unperceivable to the rest of us. Garen just grabbed me around my midsection and held onto his friend with his free arm. Thankfully no matter how the monster moved we were safe from plummeting to the flames for now.
"Look the portal." Penny observed as a shimmering opening formed below us.
"Yes, but it is too far for us to reach till the room moves again." Garen said.
"Hold on, and do not let go." I said in a focused, hushed tone. To the shock of everyone but myself I began to slowly drag myself and all holding on towards the path of escape. Thankfully no matter how much the placement of the room moved we were able to progress towards our freedom as the heavy curved blades dug into the gold walls; my armor protecting my chest and arms from the gaping holes left by our progress and the cutting edges they had.
"This is completely insane." Penny said it terror for her life.
"Yea but it's working so don't you dare start rocking the boat."
"I must admit I would not have thought of this, but it is working my friend." Stripe said in words of encouragement. "And do not feel you need to rush."
"I climbed the back of the king of the titans to reach the Temple of Pandora." I said huffing and growling through my trial. "It took me 11 days to ascend to the top, but I made it. If you will hold on we will get out of here alive."
It was only a few minutes, but they were the most jaw-dropping of minutes. We went from flat on the floor, to hanging from the ceiling, to having my blades into the side of the room and walking towards the gate. It was not something I wished to repeat but we did make it.
"It's Alex and Stripe!" Britanny cried out in joy as I and my opponent for the werecheetah's love were the first to emerge from the pool. "What happened out there muffin."
I had wished Britanny had made clear whom it was she viewed as such, but I answered first in an attempt to stake my claim. "We had a slight conflict, but nothing serious. Sadly any attempt to destroy the thing from the inside is lost to us."
"I knew this would happen!" yelled the irate female who was working my last nerve for too long. "That whole debacle was a farce. We don't have a prayer of stopping that thing."
Ah yes Penny Pincer was being as ornery as ever and the very idea that she was being an absolute pest was lost on her.
"It's always nice to hear your cheery optimism miss sunshine and light." Ace said, just about crawling out of the pool. Why in the world he puts up with her I just cannot fathom.
"I'm getting sick of your mouth Ace."
"Oh put a sock in it Penny." Brianna growled. "I just had to ditch my favorite plasma rifle back there and all you did was get a little wet."
"Why do you upper-worlders fight so much?" Garen asked as he helped his friend to the surface. I just turned my head towards the lovely lycan and ignore the love-birds. Having enough of being the killing machine from ancient Greece, I went back to being me.
"Hey Alex, you okay? You seem a bit…distant lately." Britanny said she placed her hand on my shoulder. "I know you like to play the hero and such but…"
"It's not that Cheetah, it's….can we talk in private for a moment?" I asked as the far taller woman smiled and walked with me.
"Okay so what's on your mind cutie?" Britanny's hyper radiant eyes were like beams into my heart and I couldn't help but find myself staring at her in overwhelming curiosity.
"Well, you for one….and…I'm not good with this.."
"Well just start from the beginning. I know I'm a super strong & sexy werecat, but I'm still just a regular gal at heart." Britanny smiled as we sat down together.
"Well yea I know, and that's part of it…Britanny I really like you, I really like being with you, I love our time together, and I want…I want very much to be with you, but I…"
"Are you asking for a make-out session?" Britanny giggled. "Well I could make this a quick one but really I have to go pick up my sister soon." As any Gold Digger fan knows all female members of the Digger's family are super passionate women who have very little in the way of restraint for those they love. This did little to change the fact I could feel my face growing red with nervousness and the top of my head was throbbing like a…the one on top of my shoulders people.
"Wow you are nervous aren't you? I guess you really haven't been that close to a lot of women huh?" Britanny chuckled a bit saying this.
"No, no I haven't…and I'm going to be the first to say that this is the closest I've been with someone in a very long time and…I am worried about something…about how you feel about me and…about how you feel about Stripe…"
"Stripe? What has he got to…oh you're thinking about how I reacted with…oh you…" In an instant I found myself wrapped in Britanny's hug and held tight to her side. "I'm so sorry Alex I didn't mean to upset you."
"Really? So you…"
"Oh don't get me wrong I think that Prince Stripe is a hottie, but I'm not someone to just trade up when I've got someone who's going to drop someone as caring, polite, nice, and courageous as you just because a guy has a great face…or great abs, or cute butt, or…"
"I get the point." I nearly yelled. "Sorry. But yea I've kind of been worried about that since he showed up."
"Well don't." Britanny said as she ran her hands over what little hair I had on the back of my head. "And don't worry about that shape-shifting thing or transformation thing, or whatever you call it either because from everything I've seen it's just like me when I'm human or hybrid, or even animal. You may change your shape and act differently, but deep down I can tell it's you, my awesome buddy Alex McLean who is the real hero and you've proved that to me a number of times here."
"Well shucks Cheetah I'm…well I'm not sure what I'm feeling but it's a whole lot better than earlier." I smiled as I wrapped my arm around her back and joined in her hug…trying very hard not to squish my head to her breast that was inches away.
"Good, because the last thing I need is for my sweet guy to think I'm not thinking of him all the time. If you want to get even closer to your wonderful big sexy werecat, I won't mind." I could feel Britanny's purring reverberate through my body and gulped as I caught myself gazing at her. "In fact I would love for you to get close and…"
I was caught in a world of euphoria and excitement that I never had felt before as I finally found myself feeling comfortable enough to…
"There you are you freaking hornballs!" I heard the same super irritating, irate, pestering female voice that had been the bane of my existence half an hour ago. "If you two oversexed freaks are done we have a world to save."
"You know Penny, you have a seriously bad sense of timing." Britanny said as she started to gauge the floor with her claws.
"Tell me about it." I said I grit my teeth and followed Britanny's lead. "So you better have a damn good reason why you interrupted us."
"You two can get your cheap thrills later. Princess Tyr is ready to send you to get Gina." The negroid female said as she pointed back towards the portal with her thumb. "Honestly you're acting as badly as Gina does these days."
"Well at least I'm not a VIRGIN like some frigid people I know!" Britanny barked back.
"Uh Brit…" I started to whisper.
"What? Huh did my ears deceive me? Is that true Penny?" Ace said, having listened in on our conversation. "Wait 'til I tell the crew back home!"
"Ace don't be cruel!" Tyr responded as Penny was struck shock still and blushing like mad.
"Uh Britanny…" I said getting her attention.
"Uh…did I say virgin… I meant to say." Britanny's blush was so evident that it seemed her facial fur was a massive sunburn.
"Is the fact I'm one a problem?" I said interrupting her and stopping her dead in her tracks, though her blush only went away a little bit.
"What?...Oh no Alex with you it's an endearing characteristic. I mean you're so nice and kind and it's cool that…why don't we just go try to save Gina okay?"
"Uh got it, first save face then we can suck face later…" I swallowed hard.
"Hey that's a good one. I'll have to remember that." The Cheetah babe said as we left our little cove to rejoin the group.
"Hey there you two. Did you have fun?" Brianna said as she flipped her visor down .
"Not now Brianna, but as soon as we get home we'll make up for lost time." Britanny said straight faced.
"Well be that as it may, we have found your sister and we are ready to send you to her. I'm curious, how many will be going on this mission?" The Atlantian princess said as her incantation activated the portal.
"I'm going. I've spent enough time waiting around here." Cheetah said as she popped her knuckles and streached a bit.
"Well she's my sister too so I'm going along for the ride as well." Brianna smiled with a gleam in her eyes and her rifle in her hands.
"Since my job is to keep you safe Cheetah, I should go as well." I said as I started to walk towards the pool again.
"No you are staying here." Britanny nearly commanded, only to almost instantly passify the situation with non-threatening use of her hands. "I appreciate the gesture and understand you promised to keep me safe, but I would rather handle this on my own as picking up Ms nerdy hormones is a cakewalk compared to the situation here with Armageddon."
Taking a moment to catch our breath, I agreed.
"Yea besides Alex. If anyone besides Gina could figure out how to slow that monster down it's you. We'll be back soon so don't worry about us." Brianna added to Britanny's explination.
"Indeed. We will try to figure out things from here. Just please be safe you two." Stripe said as he nodded his head in agreement.
"Awe where's the fun in that?" Brianna said as she jumped into the swirling vortex.
"See you soon babe." Cheetah smiled and blew me a kiss.
"Damn super-powers and a super hot girl. Any chances of sharing that luck with the rest of us?" Ace joked. The man's constant optimistic attitude was in top form it seemed.
"No, but I'll see if I can give you a starship or two to play with." I replied. "Anyway, does anyone have a clue how to hurt this thing now that we can't remove it's batteries?"
"Sadly no I do not, nor am I aware of any way that this fiend can be harmed permanently." Stripe said.
"Do we at least know what it's doing right now?" Penny asked out loud.
"That is a fair question, and from what I can tell the thing is making headway through the upper levels of the city." Garen said as he looked over at some sort of consol with a communications system.
"We need to be more precise than that." Tyr completed her incantation and was able to leave the side of the pool. The teal skinned member of the Atlantian court gave off a sensation of deep concentration and focus as her eyes went into a thousand yard stare.
"Uh what's going on?" I whispered to Tanis as I couldn't figure out if the princess was thinking…or if she was doing some sort of subaudible form of communication.
"Princess Tyr is attempting to solicit from the local governors the situation they are facing. Sadly it does not seem like things are going well for them and she is ordering a complete withdrawl from a number of the layers of the city. No matter what they are trying there is no stopping that thing."
"Then we can only hope that Gina will be able to think of something once she is rescued." The tone in Stripe's voice conveyed the sense of helplessness that was sweeping over all of us, and yet I knew I couldn't just stay put and do nothing.
"I can't do nothing." I said as I shook my head and tried to think of what I could do, if anything.
"Alex I know that you would love to help but right now dawg there is nothing anyone could do. Afterall no man could…"
"Not a man." I said to myself. "Tyr your people operate mainly through sight do you not?"
"Yes quite Alex. Although we Atlantians have far better senses of hearing, balance, touch, and taste than humans and have a greater affinity for magic on average, our sense of sight is our primary sense and therefore our civilization has a rather complex and powerful lighting system throughout our relm. But what does that have to do with anything?"
I smiled the biggest smile I had since this adventure started.
"And this light source, what frequency is it at?" I asked grinning ear to ear.
"Why it is a perfect match for the light of the Sun. Although we do have a greater humidity than the surface we still need sunlight of somesort to grow our food."
"That's just what I need. Tell whomever is in charge to focus completely on getting their people out of there and I'll slow that thing down as best I can."
"Very well, but what does sunlight have to do with you being able to help my people?"
"And what was that about not a man a little earlier?" Penny asked, probably hoping for some female transformation.
"Ace said it himself, no man could help. But Superman can." I had never tried to use the powers of a Kryptonian before, never got to show him off at all really. But if anyone would be able to throw-down with a being as dangerous as this Armeggedon, then it would be the Man of Steel. Red boots, cape, blue pants and shirt, and yes the iconic red "S" on the Pentegon over the chest went along with my complete transformation of size, jawline, hair, and biology.
"Superman, how freaking corny can you get pal?" Penny huffed, and I ignored.
"Princess Tyr, how do I get to Armeggedon?" I asked with great urgency as I felt every cell in my body filling rapidly with power. I felt invincible, beyond strong, beyond any other character I had yet to use, and along with that I felt the deep need of control that Kal-El lives with every day to safeguard those he cares about for accidental harm.
"While the magics that power the fiend greatly interfere with my ability to teleport you, I can open a gateway to a section of the city that is relatively close to it. But I make no promises on if I can get you back safely."
"That is a risk I am willing to take." I said as I once more walked into the wet portal.
I found myself in the midst of screaming, panicing people all running as fast as they could from the thing lumbering towards them and demolishing their homes. They stopped for a second to gasp in awe at the newcomer, but that only made their fear greater.
"Who is this?"
"Is he a surface dweller?"
"Quickly run don't stop…"
"Wait please." I tried to ask. "I'm here to help. Who is in charge here?" it was to little or no avail as the masses were so frightened by the monster no one dared to stay for a moment to answer my questions. I didn't blame them one bit though. Through the smoke, the fire, the lost loved ones, they had every reason to be scared. But that wasn't going to stop me from giving them a reason to hope.
I levitated off the ground till I felt I was safely high enough not to cause any damage to those I was trying to save. From there I took off, yes faster than a speeding bullet, and bore down at hypersonic speed at the massive beast that was the cause of such missory and pain. Mach 2, 3, 4…I raced hard and
As the shockwave from my flight exploded over the city, I smashed into Armeggedon with more force than, you guessed it, a freight train. It was a complete shock to the thing and it lost its footing and fell to the ground in a heep.
"This ends right now." I glared at this callous and grotesque abomination of science and sorcery. Seeing that I had a momentary advantage I took in a deep breath and blew. Not the hurricane gall force blast, but a super cold wave of air that I used to build a freezing crystalline barrio around Armeggedon's body. As the fires from the head seemed to dwindle down, I knew I had some time to try and help with the rescue operation. I also figured that the best way to help was to remove the smoke and flames that now ravaged the city and therefore I flew cautiously overhead using my ice breath to slowly drop the temperature as best I could. All the while I was scanning the area with my X-ray vision caught praying that either everyone got out or that I could find someone left I could try to save.
I wanted to cry like never before, but I couldn't do that. Not while these people, yes people, needed help. I couldn't show fear or sorrow as I soared overhead accelerating the local firefighting forces attempts to subdue the blaze. Without the beast's exacerbating the situation, the fires were thankfully able to be contained. I knew that I didn't have much time remaining before Armeggedon escaped the confines of his icy incarceration, but I had to land to make my intentions clear.
"Who…what are you?" A frightened yet very courageous middle-aged Atlantian asked as I approached him. As he was surrounded by those that looked like local guards I felt confident he was someone of power I could talk to.
"Indeed, and I would wager my gills that is all that matters. But please what do we call you friend?" I took his offered hand in mine and shook it. "Myself, I am Governor Geis and we have been focused on getting our people to the lower levels as soon as we can. But as I have mentioned to Princess Tyr we only have two days at most if that things gets up again."
"How have your defenses been holding, if at all?" I asked, as I gazed back to where I had laid my foe out cold if you will.
"Sadly they aren't able to do much, but knowing General Virs as I do he will fight to keep that thing back even if it's his own two hands."
"I take it that he's on the front lines then with his men?"
"That would be exactly where to find him."
"Governor Geis tell General Virs I will focus on keeping that thing from progressing any further into the city and have his men fall back to help with the evacuation."
"I'll relay the message Superman, but don't take it personally if he doesn't go along with it. Military pride and all." The goveneror chuckled a bit.
"You can tell the General that I have no desire to imply his soldiers are not courageous and willing to do whatever it is necessary to defend their people and their homes, but they do not have the tools to hold this thing back, much less repel it." I commented as I flew back towards where I immobilized my advocacy…though I knew that he likely was able to get up soon.
Thankfully Armeggedon was only just begging to rise from his interment so I had time to think of a plan and contact General Virs myself.
"Halt, identify yourself." Came one soldier weary and tired, seeming on the verge of collapse, yet still had the will inside him to hold his weapon up at me. I raised my hands and drifted down to his level.
"I am not here to harm you. I am Superman and I am here to help."
"Super…man? What are you? Human, or…."
"What he is soldier may be our saving grace thank Neptune." One grizzled old man with worn features and aged skin covering worn muscle said as he approached me. "And that's all that matters to me."
"General Virs?" I asked.
"Indeed young man, though right now age has little importance and I quite frankly don't care how you stopped that thing but am glad you did."
"General that thing is not defeated, only restrained for the moment." I corrected him. "Soon the power it has from the latest surge of its energy core will be able to break it free and it will continue on its path of destruction."
"And what exactly do you suggest we do about it?" He shot back a he looked over where his men lay dead and his defenses crumbled.
"For now? I suggest that you fall back and help evacuate your people to the lower levels to buy them some time. I will try to hold that thing back as long as I can till it does run out of power substantially and needs to fully recharge." The General agreed with a nod of his head, though many under his command did not.
"Sir please we can…"
"Soldier enough! We have no reinforcements and all our batteries are overrun." The proud warrior said with great pain. "And we've lost too many men as it is."
"General there is no cowardice nor shame to be had, and your men have fought the best they can. Like you I am only trying to save as many people as I can from this monster."
"Don't get philosophical on me boy I know that….it's just not easy for old sharks to not fight. Men, gather yourselves, your provisions, and your wounded brothers and head back towards where the civilians are while we can. Leave no one behind and when we get there start assisting as best you can. And you 'Superman' keep that damned-to-the-abyss thing as far from us as you can."
"That's what I intend to do General." Once more into the air I was able to see that my fears were confirmed as the mountain of ruin had just broken free of the ice I had kept him in. With the fires once more roaring from the multiple demonic heads, I knew that it was game on again.
No words were spoken, and none could be said, as the beast bore of Gyphon unleashed it's furious blasts at me. Though seemingly mindless there was a vengeful and ravenous consciousness seeming to emanate from within some part of this things. Torrents of yellow red flame roared like dragon's fire from the hellish mouth and beams of vile will lanced from its smaller hands. The larger arms of the beast attempted to swat at me as if I were a bug as I raced around the towering things torso, stopping only to make a quick blast at its sides to keep focus on me.
Rage and frustration filled this thing's actions as attempt after attempt to end my existence failed. From avoiding its grasping claws to dodging punches, to the perfectly timed twists and turns through the air that gave me clear passage around this thing, I was able to keep all the fighting on me and its focus far from innocent lives. Slowly it trod forth towards me with dedicated intent and menacing desire, slowing ebbing away the charge it had left inside its core. My cold freezing breath seemed to help in this as I made quick breaths at its side sometimes freezing a limb in place or two together. The heat from the belly furnace though kept those from lasting much longer than a minute or two, but that wasn't the point. Keeping the thing heading back through its previous wake of desecration and demolishment was as it could only feed from new destruction.
"RAAARRRR!" Roars like thunder filled the air as streams of flame as big around as volcanic blasts ripped the air around me. Though I was able to avoid the blast, and the heat did not faze me, it was too close for comfort and I dove down to the gargantuan legs faster than the thing could react.
"Let's see if you like this!" I said driving my right fist deep into the giant's kneecap. Though pain was not something I felt it could feel, I was sure that if I at least momentarily crippled the demon's leg then it would be all that much slower in the assault before it recovered.
Fortune seemed to be with me again as Gyphon had not designed this thing to deal with ones of Kryptonian strength and speed since I was able to cuff the kneecap sending destructive shockwaves through it and dropping Armageddon to the ground on one side. Had I not raised back to the heavens (or at least the top of the cavern) the shockwave from the collapse would have thrown me for a mile. As it was I was able to gain great height above the flaring crown and in an act of either stupidity or courage (perhaps both), I barreled down like a great meteor into Armageddon's back. The impact drove the fiend not only to the ground, but into it and causing it to collapse in a heap.
I wasn't done though. Because I couldn't let up and allow this thing a respite and I knew if I gave it any time to recoop this may be for not. Superman was never one to slack and I held nothing back in my attempt to rend the vile thing from existence and save what was left of this people. I pounded at the great monster's back like the force of H-bombs again and again and only gave myself a moment to recharge my power from the artificial sunlight. The shock from my punches raced through the demolished metropolis in great typhoons and crumbling down what little remained, thought thankfully no living thing was left to perhaps accidentally fall by my attempt to beet Armageddon to pulp. If I were to see what I was doing from a distance it would be as if an ant had felled a man and was smashing the person by himself. Comical perhaps in retrospect, but deadly serious now.
"That is ENOUGH!" A great voice of fury cried from the center head of my advocacy as the demon was just able to rise to its feet, it's body just barely reconstructing from the damage I gave him.
"Gyphon!" I said in shock, only to find myself finally nabbed in one of his great hands.
"Indeed you have proven yourself to be a greater foe than Stripe. BEGONE PEST!" I didn't have time to break free as I was tossed though the make-shift sky above Atlantis and crashed to the ground where the people I was trying to save lay and buried deep into the ground of the city.
"Yes, Greetings doomed ones, and a special greeting to you, Princess Tyr." I could hear the voice of one I thought was dead cackle with glee as I shook my head to clear my mind of the shock at what had happened.
"Again, you believed me crushed my Armageddon s hands, but I was absorbed by him though special energy." Like every other deranged lunatic of a villain Gyphon just loved the sound of his own voice and blathered on.
"I am now more powerful than ever, thanks to a special incantation that allowed Armageddon to absorb me instead of destroy me. Now if you wish to save you precious city, you and your…living allies…must surrender to me by tomorrow's end! If you don't the seas of Atlantis will change from crystal blue to crimson red!"
As the fool blathered on, I was able to pull myself out from the rock that I had recently been imbedded in and shook the debris from my garments and hair.
The populous stood amazed and wondered if they were truly to be slaves, or perhaps their hero would rise to fight again.
"Superman?" A small girl asked me, holding her sole possession of a doll in her hand.
"Don't worry. It will be okay. " I kneeled down to her level. "You will not be forced to live in fear again, and this fight is far from over."
"How is this possible." I heard Gryphon scream at the top of his voice. "You are like some sort of Cockroach! Why don't you just die."
As my maddened aggressor bellowed in hate, his mark was off. A single beam of power raced from one of his many fingers towards me, but was going to let it hit the girl. I didn't have time to fly her away so I choose to place myself in the path of the beam and push the girl to safety.
Gyphon bore down on what energy he had left and I was being blasted back into the floor. I wanted to just give up, to give in, but I didn't and I couldn't. I dug my feet into the ground, caught the beam in my hands, and almost at the point of exhaustion to stand I walked back towards the insane monster.
"You can't be real, you can't….Where does this power you have come from? How can you be so strong?" I could hear the great fear in Gyphon's voice as I gained foot hold after foot hold and trod slowly through the city. Though each step was a great labor, I would not allow myself to yield to this…not now, and not for myself. If one asks where a great hero gains his strength, his courage, it is from his heart, his will not to fall and faith to carry on. And Britanny was right when she said that I was the one in command. Yes the rays of the artificial sun was giving my Kryptonian body great powers, but it was not his courage, not his strength that gave me the will to carry on. It was from my own heart, my own will to not give up and not to give in. I would not fail this time, I could not fail.
"You fight for yourself Gyphon, you always have." I was able to spout out. "You fight for greed, or cruelty, for power. You fight for nothingness."
I was able to pick up the pace as I felt as if a second breath was building inside me. "All your life it has only been for you and for personal gratification, and that ends right now." I punched the beam with my right. I couldn't believe I did it as if I was in one of the 1930's Superman cartoons, but it did happen. I followed up with my left hand, and another right, slowly gaining speed and even taking back to the air.
"I fight for more than myself and always will. I fight to defend the innocence, protect the weak, to allow others to remain free no matter what personal sacrifice must be made." With each foot, each yard I gained on Gyphon the stronger I felt. More and more he unleashed upon me without end. All that concentrated hate, fear, rage, and evil forced upon me was enormous, but I still kept coming on. "That is the reason I will not give up, I will never give in to you and to those like you. You are nothing for you fight for nothing and live for nothing. I fight for truth, justice, and for what is truly the AMERICAN WAY!" with that last yell at the top of my lungs I unleashed a right uppercut on Gyphon's outstretched hand, a left cross at his main head, and ended it with a roundhouse connecting to the intersection of his crown and horn that caused him to spin and crash to the ground.
As the flame of Armeggedon's head slowly died down, I was able to catch my breath for a bit.
"You think you have won? But you and I know the artifacts in my new body haven't even begun to deplete. You have bought yourself a day, maybe two at the most before they are able to recharge me, but I will rise up and bring down chaos upon this world. So fight for your truth and justice, I will always rise no matter how much you bring me down again." Gyphon laughed with glee as he took his respite.
I took a moment to allow the cells of my body to replenish as I dropped to the ground feeling even worse than when I fought Dreadwing not a month earlier. But it was worth it. Yes the war was not yet won, but for now the people could escape to safety and Gyphon was completely immobile.
"ALEX!" I heard Britanny cry with tears of joy as she nearly tackled me to the ground in a great big "cheetah" hug. "Oh are you okay, that meany didn't hurt you too much did he? Oh look at you, I think you need some Cheetah special TLC ASAP."
"I'm okay Cheetah, just a little tired." I smiled at her and returned to being normal me.
"I bet, but don't worry your loving Cheetah is going to take you home give you some special attention." Before I knew what was going on I was lifted off the ground, and was being rushed off to who knows were.
"Hey what the…"
"Oh hush you. You just beat a titanic colossus to the ground single handedly and saved a city so your manliness quota has been filled for the next year. For now let's just go home."
To be continued…