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Trapped in Dark Astoria
Part Five – Predecessors of the Future
City of Heroes fiction

By Eli J. Litzelman


    RoboZon was the first one to the fallen body of Katie Blackwell.  Tendrils of dark power licked his skin as he leaned down to check her pulse.  It was very slow and unsteady.  Archer of Ramesses was next into the middle of the room and stood by RoboZon.  He spoke quietly, “If she is still alive, we will have to take her to the medical center swiftly.”

    RoboZon turned his head and looked at his former teacher.  “How… how is this possible?”

    Daughter of the Wood came running up to them.  “No time!”  Her finger pointed behind her and as the heroes looked, they saw scores of villains surging out of the darkness toward them. 

    The ancient Egyptian warrior nodded.  “Correct.”  He then lifted his hands high in the air.  With a loud crack of energy and a violent flash, all the heroes and the hostage disappeared and reappeared at the top of the tunnel.  Archer of Ramesses grunted and fell to a knee.

    “Are you alright?” RoboZon said.

    “I am… okay.”  The archer grunted and stood up.

    “Let’s GO!”  Daughter of the Wood yelled as she ran out in front.  RoboZon hoisted Katie onto his shoulder and took off after the small green heroine.  Limping heavily, Archer of Ramesses followed closely behind.  The fog drifted through the gravestones in Moth Cemetery and an eerie wail echoed through emptied caskets.  As loose gravel began to overturn, zombies emerged from the ground and descended on the fleeing heroes.  Propelled by shamen, the moaning carcasses hobbled forward.  Emerging from all sides, the undead began to circle the escaping super heroes.  The heroes stopped.  There was nowhere to go.  They could not go forward and they could not go back.  Archer of Ramesses was too tired for another transport and RoboZon could not fly without his suit.

    Daughter of the Wood’s green eyes deepened.  Her robe was dirtied and the giant hole the totem had put in the garment earlier flapped slowly as the breeze passed by.  She dropped her left hand down to her sheath and the fingers of her right hand caressed her precious sword.  The katana had been hand-crafted by her master, Archer of Ramesses, sometime in the Ming Dynasty, but somehow the ancient archer had had foresight and the blade seemed to be an extension of Daughter of the Wood’s own body.  Clasping it tightly, she drew the katana in a slow, wide arc in front of her.  She snapped her wrist and the shining steel snapped up.  Moving her left hand away from her sheath, she put it flat on the side of her blade and felt its smoothness.  With another quick motion the sword lashed out in a circle and a whirr could be heard as the blade cut through the air.  Arriving back at its original location, it stopped less than a shadow’s width from her hand and a sudden burst of air lifted the tiny hairs on the back of her wrist.  Her focus became complete and her position was steady against the army of opposition.

    A bright flash engulfed the heroes and a hooded blue figure appeared in the midst of them.  He looked up into the sky and shouted, “ARILIGOTH ‘IN MOROLIN!”  High above, a flaming semblance screamed over the assembled mass.  Every villain instantly became terrified and ran about wildly in fear.  Without turning from his creation, the blue figure called to the heroes.  “FLEE! FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES FOR I SHALL HOLD OUR ENEMY!”

    Daughter of the Wood looked toward the newcomer.  “But…”

    “GO!”

    Sneering, the small green hero took off through the fog with her teammates stopping only to sever a zombie’s head from his shoulders. 

***

    RoboZon smashed down the abandoned hospital’s door and the three heroes and one hostage piled in.  Two Freakshow members caught rummaging around with one of the computers were swiftly decapitated by Daughter of the Wood’s katana.  RoboZon and Archer of Ramesses crossed the floor to the elevators and RoboZon pushed on the button.  “It’s not working.”  The archer teleported the group up a level and sagged to the floor.  Dropping Katie onto an operating table, RoboZon rushed to the medicine cabinet.  He scanned the various bottles before snatching one off the shelf and returning hastily back to the rescued hostage.  Unsealing the bottle, the worried hero opened Katie’s mouth and poured in the liquid.  Her eyes launched open and she sputtered harshly.  Reeling on the table, she suddenly laid back and stopped breathing.  Now desperate, RoboZon pumped down on her chest with all his might.  The hero leaned down and connected his lips with hers.  Breathing out, he forced air into her lungs and pushed down on her chest again.  She unexpectedly gasped for air.  Blinking several times and gulping for oxygen, she slowly regained her composer.

    Katie Blackwell sat up and looked around.  “Where am I?”

    RoboZon replied, “In the old, abandoned hospital in Dark Astoria.”

    She turned her gaze to the hero and said, “Thank you.”

    “It was a pleasure.”

    Daughter of the Wood lifted Archer of Ramesses into a sitting position and called, “A little help here?”
       
    Suddenly, another blinding burst of light engulfed the room and the hooded mystical figure appeared.  Turning to RoboZon, his glowing white eyes flickered.  “Your friend shall be alright.”
    RoboZon shifted uncomfortably.  “How is this possible?  I saw in a vision…”

    “Visions are simply estimates of what is to come.”  He leaned down and picked a small rock off the floor.  “Obviously, if I drop this rock it will presumably hit the floor.”  He dropped the rock.  Bouncing on the tile, it wobbled for a second before the mysterious newcomer scooped it back up.  “But, what if something had stopped its trajectory?”  Once more he dropped the small stone and it began its course to the ground.  Before touching the flooring, however, it stopped and hovered an inch from the tile.  “I hope this has been revealing.  Farewell, for I shall see you very soon.”  Casting another glance at RoboZon, the mystic was enveloped in light and disappeared.

    The only evidence of his having been there was the sharp crack of the rock against tile once again.    


TO EPILOGUE >


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