Sky of Fire:
Part Four
by: David McFarland

"Mr. Sky Burn, what do you have to say about the
charges."
"My client does not wish to speak at this moment."
The lawyer responded quickly.
Another reported pushed his way through the crowd of
his colleagues. "Mr. Sky Burn, are you guilty?"
His only answer was "No comment" from the lawyer.
"Sir, are you a murderer?" Sky Burn stopped in his
tracks. He normally wouldn't have, but at this he did.


"Sky Burn, we need to get to the courthouse." His
lawyer grabbed Sky Burn's shoulder.
Sky Burn glared at the reporter who had called him a
murderer.
"Sir, are you a murderer?"
"You're stepping on my cape." The hero said.
"Oh. Sorry." The foot was removed from the
camouflaged article, and the lawyer and client edged
through the crowd.


***
"Defendant, you are charged with the deaths of three
Council Members from the raid on one of their bases on
February tenth, 2005, at approximately nine-thirty

  1. m. How do you plead?"
The hero rose from his seat a little to lean into the
microphone in front of him. "Not guilty."
The crowd murmured a little, only to be sharply
interrupted by the judge's gavel. "Settle down,
settle down."
After some proceeding swearing in, et cetera, the
hearing went on.
"The prosecutor will give his argument."
"I call Mr. James Kilk to the stand." The
prosecutor's lawyer stood and walked to the stand.
Sky Burn's lawyer countered. "May I remind the Jury
that Mr. Kilk is a known Council Member and will have
a bias against heroes?"
The Judge looked at both prosecutor and the witness.
"Overruled."
James stood at the witness stand and was out under
oath.
The lawyer went up to him calmly. "Sir, is it true
that you were at the raid on your base on February
tenth?"
"Yes."
"Did you see the Defendant there?"
"Yes."
"Did he have another hero there?"
"Yes. One called 'Chillbain' I believe."
"Did the other hero use an assault rifle?"
"No, only the defendant. The other used ice."
"Did the defendant shoot at the three dead men?"
"Yes. I remember seeing them hit by one of the
volleys of bullets and then falling down dead, all at
the same time."
"That is all."
The Judge"s booming voice sprawled over the courtroom
with placidity and steadiness and to the defending
lawyer, "Does the defendant have any questions for the
witness."
"Yes, your honor," Sky Burn's defender rose and went
over to the witness' stand. "Mr. Kilk, is it not true
that a hero's Full Auto bullets are unique in that
they are rounded and more blunt than all other hero
bullets."
"I believe so."
"The forensics team found a total of thirty-eight
Full Auto bullets in the deceased persons. Along with
two slugs in one, and one sniper slug in another.
Only ten of the Full Auto bullets pierced major
organs, none of which included the heart, lungs, or
stomach. But, in each of the subjects, at least three
to seven bullets, sharp-tipped, not hero-issue. They
were matched with these eight weapons. All
Council-made, found on the scene." The lawyer,
Koffhardt, produced several photos of the
Council-rifles. "At least two of these bullets in
each of the deceased pierced a vital organ.
Pronounced cause of death. My client's bullets
unfortunately sped up the death. Virtual recreations
have proved that had the extra Council bullets not be
already through the body masses, they would have lived
to see the Ziggurat. No further questions your
honor."
"The witness may step down from the stand." He
motioned for several guards to take away the convicted
witness.
"Does the defendant wish to call any witnesses?"
"I call Chillbain to the stand." The said hero
appeared and was sworn in.
"Is it true you were at the said raid with Sky Burn,
the defendant."
"Yes, I have been on every mission with him for the
past seven months, included the one of February
tenth."
"Has he ever exhibited violent tendencies?"
"No sir. The only violence has used was in self
defense or public safety."
"What do you mean by public safety?" Koffhardt asked
Chillbain.
"Well sir, the arresting of villains. These three
deceased are the only three that have ever been lost
in the occurrence of our Super-group, the Xtreme
Warriors." Chillbain decided to dodge further
questions. "I have watched him shoot before. The
last time he missed his mark on a target, it was by a
couple of centimeters, and it was at,,, oh,,, five hundred
yards? Probably more. That was four months ago. When
he ever does miss otherwise, he completely misses.
Its all-or-nothing."
"Did you see him fire all of his shots?"
"Most of them. I remember these three that died. It
was in the middle of a crossfire. I assume that's
where the Council bullets came from, the crossfire.
They are generally horrible shots, especially when we
heroes try to dodge their fire. No one wants to get
shot by a lethal bullet. I saw him gun these three,
but they kept on fighting. A few minutes later they
started dropping dead."
"Your honor, if I may make a statement in reference
and explaining this phenomenon, if you will."
Koffhardt turned to face the Jury as he spoke. "A
augmented Council-member, which these three were, has
been known to live for up to two and a half days with
multiple half-dollar sized holes in their abdomens.
Mind you, it hurts a lot for them. But with the
addition of adrenaline, they are nearly invincible
until it wears off. I'm surprised heroes can make all
of the Council troops unconscious as it is instead of
them having to die to stop them. When these troops
were shot by their fellows weapons by accident, that
is what killed them."

***

It was barely and hour before the Jury and the
Bailiff returned.
"The Jury has found the defendant Sky Burn not guilty
of murder. The act has been ruled as self-defense and
public duty and accidental, and was obviously
committed by someone who now serves their time in
prison."
The Judge looked around briefly. "Court adjourned."
He said.
The prosecutor and his lawyer hung their heads. The
lawyer himself looked especially worried and rubbed
his temples. As Sky Burn exited the courtroom, he
thought he even saw a single tear drop from his eye.
That made him wonder quite a bit and confused even
more. Surely he had enough money from all of the
clients he had worked with; he was a lawyer renowned
through the city.
But why was he crying?
"Hey, how do you like my new threads?"
"They are hideous. It hurts my eyes to look at them."
Chillbain joked with his friend.
"Hey. This is new armor!" Sky Burn held up his new
lightweight titanium costume.
"The burn! The burn! My eyes!" The ice-empowered hero
continued his mocking.
Sky Burn spread his new suit out on the bed to examine
it. It was amazing to him what the people at the
'ICon' store could whip up. He had to trade in his
old costume, along with a lot of money, to get this
stuff.
The armor itself was incredibly strong. It could take
a U.S. Military tank SALVO round straight to the
center and merely scratch. It was a series of thin
Titanium plates with chemically enhanced spider-webs
woven into it, which by itself was miraculous. Added
with the fact that there were thousands, even hundreds
of thousands, of carbon-nano-rods in ever square inch
of it, as reinforcement, made it incredibly strong.
What lay underneath was what cost the bulk of it.
Underneath there was a less than paper-thin layer of
pure diamond. It would have given the underside of it
a glossy, glass look if it were not covered by a layer
of hydrostatic gel to support the armor and make it
seem even more light-weight to the wearer, to the

point that it felt like normal clothing.
The upper-body armor could fold on its hinges like a
long-sleeve shirt, allowing it to collapse into small
compartments for storage. And hiding from civilians
who didn't need to find out Sky Burn's identity.
The lower-body armor was made the same. For the
joints, a few extra chemically enhanced spider-web
layers were added where the armor would get in the
way. This had to be traded for his tough cargo pants,
but that didn't bother him much.
Except for the black armored gloves, the armor was all
camouflaged green and a light brown. He transferred
out his green-bandana strip that acted as a sweatband
and kept his hair up with a black one. The red and
black sunglasses were dropped for a clear monocle. It
strapped to the side of his head like half a pair of
glasses. It didn't cover anything, and he could see
all the way around it. Its general color was a red
color, but the majority was clear, allowing his view
to be undisturbed. It was similar to what the Marines
and Army were using in their 'Land Warrior' program.
It projected a targeting reticule for his gun as his
glasses had, but this allowed for more versatility.
He hung this up next to several of his other costumes.
One was black and olive green suit of armor similar
to his current one, but this had a helmet and
different patterns. Another was a classic black suit
of tights. The last one was a formal olive green,
military officer-like costume. The helmeted suit of
armor was his newest. He had a couple of copies of
his assault rifle in case one broke, as well as a
fully disassembled one in case he needed parts for the
others.
Tanter was somewhat bored, so he went to the
apartment's living room and plopped down on the couch
and flipped through the channels on the remote. He
took a soda out of the mini-fridge and sipped it as he
went. Something caught his interest on one of the
news channels. He turned it up just as Steven walked
in the room. "What tha? Is that what I think it is?"
"Yep." Ryan said.
The reported was holding a microphone as she spoke.
"Merely hours after the trial, this lawyer, identified
as a Mr. James Redd, was murdered. It is believed
that this was done by The Council in retribution for
his failing to see that the hero, Sky Burn, was
convicted. Several jurors have also been killed, but
their names have yet to be disclosed by the Paragon

PD"
"Well. It looks like I won't have to worry about The
Council anymore." Sky Burn turned to his friend.
"Why is that? Shouldn't they want you more than ever
now?"
"Compared to them, I'm invincible."

***

A week later, a couple sat quietly in a quiet
restaurant in Founders Falls, chatting. The male, a
blonde haired, somewhat tall, looked over the menu
just before the waiter came. "I would like the... crab
legs, and my date here would like the... Lobster?" He
said somewhat inquisitively.
"That's a bit expensive isn't it?" The red haired
woman said. Her a few locks of her hair fell in front
of her face, and the rest was pulled back into a
ponytail.
"I just got a bonus. I can afford it."
"Then yes, a the Lobster will do."
"Ok, then." The waiter said. "What would you like to
drink?"
"Hmm." The man said. "May I have th-"
An explosion cut him short. The window they were
sitting by shattered into a million pieces.
"Crud! Not now!" The table flipped over, several times
and landed on its side, and the couple ducked behind
it. The waiter lay dead, riddled with bullets.
People ran and screamed, some where gunned down. A
blue blast flew over the two people.
"Malta." The girl said. Out of her large purse, she
managed to produce a red spandex suit, and she whipped
it on in a mere few seconds. Out of thin air, a suit
of armor produced itself into the man's hands. "How
the heck did you do that?"
"I designed a device that will lock on to my energy
signature and phase to me whenever I need it." A gun
followed the suit seconds later. The two heroes, now
clad in their uniforms, jumped from their cover.
Before them were two Malta Hercules titans, three
Operations Engineers, a Sapper, and a Gunslinger.
"Crud."
One of the Operations Engineers placed an Auto Turret
down one to have a fiery fist smash it to bits moments
later. He looked up to another fist in his face and
fell unconscious.
Just as this happened, another Malta member, a
Tactical Operations Commander, appeared. Meanwhile,
the Sapper found himself at the mercy of an assault
rifle. Hot lead pierced his body, and one found
itself in his weapon, which exploded with a blue aura,
temporarily its own tiny-star, with orbiting debris,
before it collapsed. The hero looked to his side, to
see the Tactical Operations Commander, as well as the
two other Operations Engineers lying on the ground.
His date was now occupied with the two Hercules
titans. Both fell quickly.
"Nice work Sky Burn." The female hero said.
"Not so bad yourself." They started to walk away when
they were met by a forceful blast.
"It's a Zeus!"
"The freaks merged!" The assault rifle went off
again, finding its mark on the giant machine, just as
the woman reached it. Flames enveloped her, and more
irradiated from her. The beastly thing flung her away
with one mighty sweep of its arm. She lay motionless
on the ground.
"No!" Sky Burn yelled. The Zeus Titan turned toward
him and raised an arm, releasing the guard of the
energy weapon. In seemingly one quick motion, the
camouflaged clad hero activated his energy cuffs in
his wrists, used his super-speed to move up to and
jump onto the thing's back and sliced its head off
with a karate-style chop. He then unslung the rifle
from he shoulder and sent a sniper-round into its
interior until it lost momentum. By then, the Titan
had stopped and slowly fell, sending Sky Burn
sprawling on the ground, but relatively unscathed.
The hero crawled over to his date. "Kathy!" She had
a pulse, but her breathing was hard. She murmured
something. "What?"
She finally gained a little strength. "Don't use my
real name. We are in public."
Sky Burn smiled as he hugged her tightly. "Ok then,
Burning Barrier."
"So," Chillbain alighted feet from the two. "This is
the girl you were telling me about. I knew something
was going on when your armor disappeared. Good thing I
can track your communicator."
"You must be Chillbain." The fiery hero said.
"Rya-er, Sky told be so much about you." Sky Burn
helped his girlfriend up and kissed her lightly.
"Most of it's good." She smirked.
"As long as he told you the about all the times I
saved his sorry hide."
"What's this?" Sky Burn was now hunched over the
Tactical Operations Commander. He took a card out of
the Malta soldiers pocket before sending him to the
Ziggurat. "It says, 'Eliminate Sky Burn and we will
pay you and Malta well.' Signed' Crey Industries.'"
Ryan looked up at his two comrades.
"Now that just ain't right." Chillbain shook his
head. By this time several civilians and police
officers had gathered around. "Why would Crey want
you dead?"
Tanter looked at his roommate with a look saying,
"Are you that stupid?"
"What? I thought I'd ask."
"Let's review the facts, shall we? One, I'm a hero.
Two, I previously raided several Crey labs. Three, a
few weeks ago I helped arrest Hopkins, the Countess's
right hand man, and three, two days ago I helped
arrest Countess Crey herself. Now ask that question
again. That also explains why The Council was after me
so bad and who actually killed that one lawyer."
"Sir, would you and your date still like to eat at
our restaurant? Along with your friend here? It will
be on me, for protecting us, of course." The manager
greeted the three heroes warmly. He obviously didn't
care, or know, that this was supposed to be an
assassination. He didn't need to know either.
"No, I'll take a rain-check."
TO FINALE >
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