Sky of Fire:
Part Three
by David McFarland

"If I don't see it, I don't believe it."
"Yea Chill. You've said it before. Did ya' ever
really think about it?"
"No."
"Here we are, sitting in this warehouse. Maybe The
Council has us surrounded. Maybe they are all
invisible with some new mumbo jumbo tech they have.
Other Heroes got um. Maybe they got us outnumbered
seven hundred and fifty-three to two. Just 'cause you
can't see um they ain't there?"
"You know what I mean Sky."
As if on cue, a smoke-grenade came plummeting over a
cargo box toward the two heroes standing back to back.
"And what about now?" Sky Burn coughed from the
smoke. "Just 'cause they are covering us with smoke
and so we can't see 'um they aren't r-" Chillbain cut
him off.
"Sky?"
"Don't inter-"
"Just shut up."
Once again, as if on a cue, rounds came pouring in the
area. Fortunately, the Council smoke grenade had also
covered the heroes' position from their foes, and no
bullets managed to land a hit.
The counter-assault on the other hand, did.
Two costumed heroes emerged from the smoke. In shock
they looked at their foes.
"You just had to say seven-hundred and a fifty two
didn't ya. You couldn't say five."
"Oh come on. It's not near seven hundred. Closer to
sixty."
"Still." Chillbain launched himself forward at a
Council soldier and in midair made an ice-sword
appear.
"Get them grouped." Sky Burn said.
"Gotcha..." Chillbain knew exactly what he was
planning. While there were at least three larger
robots, the troops were weaker.
The troops gathered around Chillbain as planned while
Sky Burn sniped them out, taking out many in only one
shot.
"Now!" Chillbain jumped into the air and took flight
back toward his companion, who meanwhile, placed his
assault rifle at his hip and unleashed a fully
automated assault. At least twenty of their foes went
down to this, and ten more were on the brink.
"Nice. Now watch this." Chillbain lifted his hands
and the air around them became suddenly cold. The air
became dry as well as water vapor cooled and gathered
above the group of forty-or-so villains in an icy
storm descended on them. The ten that were almost
unconscious fell to this.
Before they could turn and run, Sky Burn did it for
them. A M203 Grenade was dropped into their midst and
they were scattered and hurt by the blast. The heroes
then leapt forward and unleashed powerful melee
attacks. On one end, and ice sword clashed with metal
and clothing, and the other, energy enveloped fists
and the butt of an assault rifle bashed in ribs and
broke bones. Wolfpack robots made an effort to chase
down or shoot the heroes to no avail. The energy
blasts harmlessly scorched the floor or took down
their own fighters, which the former happened on more
occasions.
Soon, over fifty men lay flat on the floor. On the
robots remained. They stood in a firing line at
attacked Chillbain and Sky Burn, who shot ice and hot
lead at them.
As if rehearsed, because in fact it was, the two
heroes each went in between two of the bots, leaving
one on the outside and the inside one was the same for
the both of them, they waited until the robots fired.
They ducked and their backs were seared by the passing
energy, but the middle robot had been done worse to.
It looked as though it was melting, then after a few
seconds of liquid metal dripping off of it, the robot
that had been caught in crossfire exploded, hurtling
the heroes into the other robots. The two robots
grabbed the heroes. As they unfortunately started to
squeeze the breath out of them, Sky Burn whipped his
rifle off his back and shot the wires connecting the
head to the rest of Chillbain's captor. The robot
made a whining noise as it shut down and collapsed,
and its claws sprung open. Chillbain took a second to
regain his composure.
"Sky! Move your head to the side!" Just as he
followed Chillbain's command, a bolt of ice chilled
his ear as it was flung into the head of the remaining
robot. It turned, angered, and rose its weapon at
Chillbain, who responded by putting a large shard of
ice in the barrel of the weapon.
Sky Burn braced himself as the weapon fired, melted
the ice and nothing more. The water inside the gun
short-circuited and the robots security protocol
activated, causing the weapon to detonate. A shard
from the explosion missed Sky Burn by no more than a
centimeter and embedded itself into the robot.
Another chunk, though, did not miss his head.

***

Sky Burn awoke in a makeshift prison, similar to those
in the Council's caves, but less sturdy. The sounds
of a battle outside greeted his groggy head.
"They must have disrupted the teleportation grid.
That's odd, they don't normally do it above ground."
Then, suddenly, his brain recognized a feeling. The
want to get out.
Energy fists slammed into and broke down the cell
door, then into the only guard. Sky Burn set his
arresting device to teleport him away, and he
continued. He stopped at a corner. Crisp orders were
being yelled. "Squad one go reinforce the 20th
Platoon. Squad two stay here. Squad three set up a
defensive barrier in that hallway. I want you two on
point." This reminded Sky Burn of war.
Instinctively, he burst around the corner, and the
butt of his rifle caught a guard in the jaw. The
impact caused it to misfire, sending a high-powered
round into the chest of the Commanding officer. The
CO fell to the ground bleeding. Sky Burn shot the
rest of the seven man squad.
The other squad, squad three, returned just as the
brawl was over. This squad was only made up of six
Council troops, but they carried heavier weapons. The
next ten seconds were spent dodging rockets. At one
point, Sky Burn caught one. It came at him and he
slowed it in a foot-ball style catch, then its engine
cut off, for the purpose of letting the rocket use the
momentum to get to its targets for long range shots.
Sky Burn flung the projectile away, knowing that at
any second it would explode from the timer.
He didn't remember unslinging his rifle, but soon, the
other squad lay on the ground and Sky Burn's gun was
smoking. After 'cleaning up' the two groups, he
proceed toward the distant sounds of battle.
As he looked around the corner Chillbain looked
overwhelmed. Skyburn jumped onto a tall pile of
crates unnoticed, steadied his gun and put a high
caliber bullet into a Councilman. A robot exploded as
Chillbain punched it, sending him flying back. A
flurry of bullets caught and downed the remainder of
the foes.
"About time you got here. That's all of them if you
got the rest back there."
"Good job. Let's go. I need to go to the bathroom
really bad."

***

Back at the apartment the two lounged. Their last
experience at the warehouse had been exhausting.
"I never want to go back to Independence Port if I
don't have to." Nathan took a soda out of the
refrigerator. It made a 'cluck' and a 'ffffft' noise
as he opened the Coca-Cola. "By the way, you never
told me who your girlfriend was."
In a grin, Ryan replied. "I ain't tellin' ya'!"
"Oh come on, we are best friends!"
"Fine, I'll give you this much. She's a hero."
"Are you sure it's a 'she?'"
They both chuckled and Ryan gave him a light punch in
the arm as Nathan sat down beside him. "Of course
man."
"I mean, ya' know, if she wears a helmet or a hood
every time you see her it could be hard to tell."
"I've seen her outside of her costume."
"See look good?"
"Yea. She's athletic, not really muscular. She looks
good. Speaking of girlfriends we need to get you one
Nate."
"Unless you see a Zodian girl runnin' around, no."
Nathan changed the subject. "So, how far have you
gone with her?"
"I'm not telling, but just so ya' know, I've only seen
her with clothes." The talk reminded him of similar
talks about girlfriends with his friends in high
school when they all had girlfriends. "Now then, let's
watch some TV."
"What's on?"
"Eh" Ryan and Nathan traded the remote as they
scrolled through the guide on the screen. "Only crud."

***

A face greeted Ryan. It was dark. Void of features.
But it was a face. He didn't know how he knew it was
a face, but he did none the less. "You. You. I am
coming. You can not escape me." The voice spoke out
to him. It was as if it was in Ryan's head.
He looked down on himself. His armor was not to be
found, nor his gun. The thing lunged at him. Ryan
tried to activate his energy cuffs, but nothing. It
was like they weren't even there. He punched at the
thing, but it was as if the blows were under water.
They were slow and weak. It was a scary sort of weak,
like he had not worked out in years and the only
muscles left on his arms were the ones needed to lift
it.
He tried to scream for help, but nothing came out. As
the creature came closer, Ryan saw it was huge. It
was darkened by the blackness of the area around them.
Ryan ran. It kept getting closer.
He tried to go into a super-speed sprint. Nothing.
The Thing picked him up and brought it to its face.
It was a machine.
Through a plexi-glass screen he saw a face constantly
changing in emotions. One second it was a terrified
helpless face. He blinked and it was a face seeking
revenge. He remembered it. It was from one of his
previous missions. One of the last 5th Column
soldiers he had seen. It was the one that had gotten
away.
The machine rose a claw and it propelled it at Ryan's
face.

***

Ryan screamed. He awoke and sprung forward with his
energy fists at ready. They lightened the dark
bedroom. His lamp lay smashed on the floor. He must
have hit in during the nightmare.
"What the heck was that?" Nathan burst into his room.
"Nothing. Just a bad dream. I gotta stop eating
mexican food before I go to sleep." They laughed at
this and went back to bed.
Ryan had the same nightmare again. Only this time he
was in his uniform, and his powers worked. It was a
hard struggle. Just before it brought its foot down
on him, a figure clad in black and blue tights stopped
the descending mechanism. It was Chillbain in a Super
Group Uniform. Two katana-wielders lunged at the
beast. Warrior Sholan and Knife-Edge. Another large
figure blasted in from a distance. Blaster Jockman.
A short figure in the Xtreme Warriors colors went into
a melee frenzy. Platinum Hawk. More heroes attacked.
Lilarien, Baudelaire, Fists of Fire, Healer Man,
Helping Darkness, Hurriblast, I Spike, Ice-Lord, and
Lady Silvertree. All of the Xtreme Warriors had
helped save him. Sky Burn stood alongside his
comrades. His rifle leveled at the creature. It
fired.

***

In the morning Ryan told Nathan both dreams. Nathan
listened intently.
"That can't be good. Sometimes dreams mean
something."
"And sometimes they don't Nathan."
"Well, all we can do is hope for that."
They looked out the window at the barely cloudy skies
of Steel Canyon. The morning dawn made it look as
though the skies were on fire.
Their troubles were just beginning.
TO PART 4 >
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