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Return to Darkness
Part three – The Nazi Force


By Eli J. Litzelman


    A beautiful sunrise spread over the eastern sky.  Filled with reds, purples, oranges, and yellows it brought with it a silent alarm, warning everyone something was about to happen and no one could do anything about it.  It filled every soul, irritating them constantly.  No one spoke.  They all knew something was definitely wrong.
   
RoboZon opened a sewer exit.  He left a trail of dead Vahziloks in his wake.  His feet made a muffled clump as they landed on the City Hall parking lot.  He continued forward without shutting the grate behind him.
   
“Watch out - it’s a cape.”  Three Hellions turned to face RoboZon.  One drew a gun and fired.
   
RoboZon caught the bullet in mid-air.  Smoke curled slowly upward from the tips of his fingers.  He stared blatantly at the hellion who had made such a humongous mistake.  He then dropped the bullet.  Performing a roundhouse kick to the ear, RoboZon forced the street gang member to set a straight course for the pavement.  The former hero then lunged forward into a crouch, sinking the spikes on the back of his feet into the throat of the Hellion.  Standing up, he spear-handed the next man under the ribs and then struck him in the jugular.  Stealing the man’s gun, he jammed it into the third and final Hellion’s chest.  The report of the shotgun echoed through the parking lot, followed shortly by the soft click of the bullet RoboZon had dropped at the beginning of the fight.
   
He continued forward.  Instead of walking, this time he was flying, arcing higher upward toward the top of Atlas.  He landed in attention, bowed, and put his hands down in front of him.  He then closed his eyes and breathed in deeply.  He stood there for a moment, completely motionless.  He suddenly lunged forward in a front-kick, landed forward, punched right, and then punched left.  He continued to kick and punch, with an occasional block.  He started with simple moves, to flex his muscles.  Although his body moved, RoboZon’s mind had not yet conformed to the process and was thinking, “Why have they sent me on an apparent suicide mission?”  He began moving around the globe.  “And they all know it’s a suicide mission.”  Gradually, he began to move faster.  “There has to be some purpose.”  More exotic moves began to come forth.  “What’s the purpose?”  He was verging on lightning speed.  An idea was forming in his head.  Faster and faster he circled.
   
He knew what was about to happen.
   
His body suddenly stopped in the same direction it had started in.  He put his hands to his sides and bowed once again.
   
He was ready.


The Human Experiment crawled through the sewers.  Stepping over the dead Vahziloks and an occasional Hellion, he made his way forward.  Peeking around a corner he saw a Council sentry.  He concentrated a moment then launched gravity toward the guard with about as much force as a speeding semi.  The guard was propelled off his feet and flew backwards.  He was suddenly caught before he hit the pipe behind him and set softly on the ground so as to keep from making noise.

The Human Experiment stepped around the corner and walked gently toward the soldier.  The trooper tried to get up, but the hero sent a lever from the other side of the room into his head.  The Human Experiment was now next to the guard and leaned down to check his pulse.  He was unconscious but still alive.  The mutated hero slapped a transponder onto the soldier and moved on.

This had all started when one of his contacts led him to an abandon office building under rumors that the Council was taking hostages and forcing them to become recruits.  He gathered a team of three and raided the first building.  Inside, they found attack plans for capturing both men and women from buildings all over Paragon.  The Human Experiment and his crew went from one location to another, saving every person inside.  But, it was in the last building where they found the overseer of the operation. 

When surrounded by the heroes, the overseer broke.  He talked of hundreds of troops being moved into the sewers and specially designed silent bombs that eliminated all sound within its blast radius for eight minutes.  Along with the silent bombs, regular explosives would blow up directly under City Hall and the Nazi army would come to the surface under cover of silence while a distraction would preoccupy the oblivious heroes.  When asked about the distraction, he claimed he was never told what it would be.  He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a device.  He smiled and said, “Now, you won’t be able to contact your little friends.”  He pressed a switch and instantly all electronics shut off, from lights on the ceiling to the communicators that each hero was carrying.

They decided to split up.  The Human Experiment would head into the sewers to take care of the bombs as the rest would go to Atlas Plaza and warn the heroes.

So here he was, crawling through the grime and rust of the Atlas Park sewers.  He rounded the bend and saw the Nazi encampment.  The Human Experiment almost dropped to his knees from just seeing the enemy forces.  They were packed from one slimy wall to the other for as far as the putrid sewer would allow him to see.  The only good news that met his eyes were the bombs suspended on the ceiling. 


The wind began to howl as it swished over the globe Atlas continually carried.  RoboZon’s cape moved at a forty-five degree angle as he stood in mid-air.  His hands were crossed behind his back.  Like a hawk looking into a river, he remained motionless.

Ms. Liberty was training a novice hero dressed in a green and purple suit of various origins.  “How typical,” RoboZon thought.  Soon, however, the young hero jogged off and left the famous hero alone with the torrent of tourists.  RoboZon knew they would run at the first sign of a threat, however, and therefore they were harmless.  The hero’s body jerked as he started the long plummet to the ground.

Archer of Ramesses was tense and knew everyone else was also.  In the corner of his vision he saw the green figure of Daughter of the Wood walking toward him.  “Hey, Archer.  You won’t believe what I saw today…” but the Egyptian warrior had his attention elsewhere and was not listening.  Then he saw a shape falling from the top of Atlas.  That was enough to move him into action.  He pulled his bow over his shoulder and strung an arrow with the ease of a million experiences.

The destiny of the city, and even quite possibly the world, had been hung on a thread.  Pressure had suddenly been added and the strand was ready to break.  Fate had to make a decision:  crush the world and let it fall into the hands of greedy villains or save the world and let it continue on in its boring existence.

Fate made its decision.

Archer of Ramesses saw the figure was RoboZon and held his fire.  Ms. Liberty saw a glint of light from the spike on the back of the ex-hero’s legs and from the years of experience rolled forward just before RoboZon’s knee smashed into the platform.  Sparks from the crash were still falling as the metal master lifted his head to stare at the heroine.  The surrounding heroes turned to look at the image of RoboZon. 

Screams from the fleeing citizens could be heard in the sewers as the commander looked at a small keypad in his hands.  He spoke into a microphone next to his mouth.  “Gentlemen, our time has come.”  He then pushed the large button in the center of the device.  The bombs went off as The Human Experiment strained to contain the blast.  A pure, symmetrical ball of silent energy pulsated on the ceiling.  The yellowish-red light glowed on the faces of the astonished soldiers.  The hero dropped to his knees, unable to stand under his own power.  He tasted blood dripping from his nose and felt more coming out of his pointy ears and rolling down his cheek bone.  He had to hold it… just a little longer… a little longer.  The light vanished and The Human Experiment dropped his hands to the floor.  He coughed as yet more blood clogged his throat.  The world was fading from him now, becoming blurred and wobbly.  He heard the distant noise of someone yelling.  “There he is.  Shoot him!”  The rocket blew directly beneath the hero and threw him in the air.  By the time he hit the ground he was riddled with bullets.  He lay in the green fluid of the sewers and blankly looked up at the ceiling.  His will and determination had allowed him to live through what most people would consider impossible, but here, at the end, his determination was gone and his will used up.  He was tired of fighting and was ready to die.  He closed his eyes and let his spirit leave this world. 

The commander nudged the dead hero and shook his head.  He was now faced with a choice.  His reaction was instant; he would not return to Requiem.  “Lieutenant.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Order all troops to the Atlas Plaza sewer entrance.”

“Right away, sir.”

Unfortunately, this meant leaving all heavy weapons behind.


RoboZon rolled to his feet and kicked.  Ms. Liberty had already drawn her sword and deflected his attack with the broad side of it.  Another hero landed from a super-jump directly behind the black and white hero.  Without even looking back, RoboZon forced his power backward with a kick and sent the super-jumping hero flying backward into the plaza.  The impact broke his back and he slid slowly into the shallow water.  The famous hero trainer brought her blade at neck level and was swinging it toward the metal master.  RoboZon punched the bottom of the weapon, causing it to jump over his head.  The initial shock and surprise was gone and Ms. Liberty was now focused.  She spread her feet for stability and pulled the broadsword back in the other direction.  This time the swing was too fast and RoboZon did not have time to punch it over his head.  Instead, he ducked.  His reaction was slow, however, and the sword arced half an inch over his head.  At that moment the metal master knew Ms. Liberty had more experience and it was only a matter of time before she was the victor.


Two heroes exited the train.  They both rushed to look at Atlas Plaza.  They saw a slight bit of commotion but City Hall was still standing and they sighed with relief. 

“Well, it looks like our job is done.” The one named Street Revenge started walking back toward the train.

Fire of the Dragon looked at the camouflaged hero.  “But The Human Experiment couldn’t have taken out an entire invasion force.  They’ll exit through the sewers.”

Street Revenge turned back around, the seriousness of the situation framed in his face.  “I’ll hold them; you go warn the heroes.”  Before the red and black hero could respond, the masked hero had already jumped from the wall.  He hit the ground running and bolted for the sewers.  At the age of eight this man had watched his father and mother die in a gang war.  He had raised himself on the street, where rules did not apply and stealing was a way of life.  After not being able to show any powers, he stole his identity, took his communicator off a dead hero, robbed a hospital teleporter, “borrowed” a rocket pack from the arena, and illegally bought weapons from the biggest underground arms dealer in the world, all to fulfill his vow of hunting his parent’s murderers until his last breath.  This was the kind of man needed to stop an invasion.

From inside the sewers came a shout, “Fire!”

“Come and get me, you Nazi rats!” Street Revenge yelled back as he grabbed two grenades out of his vest, pulled the pins with his teeth, and hurled them into the opening.



Archer of Ramesses watched his friend fight over his bow and arrow, but he did not fire.  He heard someone behind him powering up for a shot and sent a mental message, “Halt!”  He knew that would only make him hesitate for a second, but that was all it would take.  He then sent another message to RoboZon, “RoboZon, what are you doing?”          

“It’s a long story, but basically I have no control over my body.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“The good news is, yes, there is something you can do.  The bad news is that the shot is virtually impossible.”  Even in his mind RoboZon could do imitations and mimicked the commander from Star Wars; “You are required to move straight down this stretch and impact the far right wire on my neck.  The target area is one point five inches wide behind the cloth wrapped around my neck and if you miss to the left you will cause certain death.  Your odds are approximately one in fifty-three million.”

“Good enough - for me, that is.”  The ancient Egyptian warrior teleported to a blind spot behind his former apprentice and let his arrow fly.  The long, wooden projectile accelerated quickly before the wind caught the feathers on the end of it and made it spin.  It began to whistle from speed as it closed the gap between itself and the target.  Even as the arrow was moving forward, RoboZon was still moving, making the shot seem even more impossible.  The arrow hit the fighting hero.

RoboZon stumbled to his knees and sent a strained message to his friend, “Archer…”

“Yes?”

“Nice shot.”  He then clattered to the concrete ground.

From the Plaza they heard a voice, “The Council - they’re invading.”  Fire of the Dragon then pointed toward the sewer entrance.

Ms. Liberty slapped a hospital transporter on RoboZon and they took for the sewers.

Street Revenge pulled a modified M16 sub-machine gun over his shoulder and pulled on the feather-light trigger.  He looked over the Red Dot scope to see the rare spectacle of the sun reflecting off the bullets as they rocketed out of the extended barrel.  From inside he could hear shouts and screams.  He could even hear the clinking sounds of the casings impacting on the ground.  But the sound he least wanted to hear was the almost silent click that signified his gun was empty.  Releasing the weapon from his grasp, he pulled out a forty caliber semi-automatic pistol in one hand and a sawed off pump shotgun in the other.  He fired the shotgun then jerked his hand forward and back to reload, while continually shooting the small firearm.  Sweat was beading on his forehead and the distinct smell of smoke fill the air.  The sound of the train could be heard above and mingled with the shout emanating from his mouth.  He felt each gun become lighter and lighter until they were finally empty.  He let the weapons fall to the ground and reached for a rock.  He then hurled the rock into a soldier’s jaw at point-blank range.  As that trooper was falling over, another stood behind him.  His gun was out, ready, and unloading.  The constant impact of bullets lifted Street Revenge off his feet.  As he flew backwards he left a trail of blood in his wake.  He was then hit by a burst of flame hot enough to seal his wounds.  A wet thump could be heard as he hit the cold, hard gravel and slid several inches.  He struggled to breathe under the blood that was rapidly filling his mouth.  As his vision began to fade he could hear multiple battle cries and saw dozens of boots stepping over and around him.  He had done it.  The heroes were here.


The Council commander groaned and rubbed his temples; a headache was in full force.  He knew by now the heroes were alerted to their presence.  His troops had suffered numerous casualties from the front and they had even been attacked from the back a couple of times.  This invasion was a complete nightmare.  “Lieutenant!”

“Yes, si-”

“Order a retreat to sector seven.”

“Yes, si-”

“Just shut up and order it!”  He then hiked off through the green slime to his ordered location.

The invasion was over within minutes.


Archer of Ramesses walked into the hospital and took the elevator to the top floor.  As he walked on the tile floor, he glanced briefly at each bed he passed.  Most were full but a few remained empty.  As he passed one he stopped and signaled a nurse.

The woman walked slowly toward Archer of Ramesses.  “Can I help you?”

“Do you have the name and status of this man?”

“Certainly.”  She pulled out a clip board, scanned the top sheet briefly, and flipped the page.  “Here he is.  His name is Street Revenge.”  She looked up.  “It seems he’s lost a lot of blood, but he’ll survive.  Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“Thank you. That is all I require.”  He then continued down the isle.  Finally reaching the end, he turned left.  On the bed lay RoboZon.  To his left stood Daughter of the Wood and to his right sat the doctor.

Upon seeing the Archer of Ramesses, the doctor stood up.  “Welcome Archer.  We’ve been waiting.”

“How is he?”

“You made a very lucky shot, three quarters of an inch to the left and he would be dead.  Right now he’s under heavy sedation.  However, it seems there’s some sort of electrical current separating his brain from his body.”

“Is there anything we can do?”

“You know when he was in that whole thing with Crey Industries that they poured a healing chemical in him, right?”

“Yes.”

“Well, it seems this chemical targets whatever it deems most dangerous and begins slowly healing it.  Right now it’s probably fighting the electricity.  All we have to do is keep him sleeping until it destroys whatever this thing is.”

“How long is that going to take?”

“That’s the problem, you see…”  Suddenly he turned white and gasped in horror.

“What is it?”

“Remember I said the chemical will fight whatever it deems most dangerous?  That could mean…”

RoboZon’s feet suddenly shot straight out to the side and impacted both Daughter of the Wood and the doctor at the same moment, rendering them both unconscious.  Archer of Ramesses already had his fire sword out and swung it down toward the metal master, but the legendary hero rolled off the bed and stood up.  He then rushed forward.

In the three thousand, three hundred, fifty-six years Archer of Ramesses had lived, he had studied virtually every form of fighting available.  As they moved back into the hall amongst fleeing doctors and nurses, the Egyptian warrior bobbed back and forth while RoboZon moved forward in the traditional firm stances related to the Japanese.  Their feet were almost silent as they moved to and fro about the room.  Impacts echoed through the area as each party blocked hits and even received a few.  It was a fight between master and apprentice. 

Archer of Ramesses was taking the upper hand and had driven RoboZon back into the small confinements they had started in.  The metal master suddenly grabbed Daughter of the Wood’s katana from its sheath and thrust it forward.  The yellow hero turned sidewise to avoid the sword and put himself against the wall.  RoboZon turned the blade perpendicular to himself, however, as he drove it again toward Archer of Ramesses.  It cut through his robe, into his chest, pierced his heart, out his back, and through the wall all the way up to the hilt.  He struggled to survive, but the stab was lethal.  He breathed his last breath and sagged against the sword.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”  RoboZon tried to scream but his body did not even flinch.  He put both hands above his head, burst through the ceiling, and soared into the sun.

Daughter of the Wood opened her eyes and blinked a few times.  She stood up and looked around.  She then saw Archer of Ramesses and her jaw dropped.  A scream of anguish could be heard throughout the building.  Her teeth then locked.  She grabbed her sword, pulled it out so fast the blood shot off, and sheathed it.  Grabbing a devise that monitored RoboZon’s health and location through an implant, the green haired woman ran to the elevator.


Archer of Ramesses felt something soft and almost fluffy against his face.  He opened his eyes and stood up.  What he saw was completely out of anything he had ever seen before.  Under normal circumstances he would have been a little unnerved, but something about the atmosphere in this place made him peaceful.  To his right, within arm’s reach, was a forest composed of trees around thirty feet in diameter and over one thousand feet tall.  The moisture accumulating in the needles made standing under the tree simulate being in a light rain.  To his left, also within arm’s reach, was the corner of a castle that doubled the height of the trees and was the size of a small city.  Just around the castle was a plain of grass.  Beyond the grass lay a river five miles wide, and even beyond that were snow covered peaks.  On top of each mountain was a castle and at the base of each a tunnel.  Each mountain was linked by a bridge.  From the distance he could see, the Egyptian warrior concluded that either this place had a significantly larger globe than the earth or it was simply flat.  He then felt a hand on his shoulder and heard a voice.

“Welcome to Gorthivith.”     


TO PART 4 >



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