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Chapter 2

The Rikti Crash Site

 

“Kayain,” said Cherry as kindly as she could muster while being seriously annoyed. “I told you to go before we came.”

“I really gotta go still!”

“How bad is it? Like number one or two?”

“At this point it’s number three!”

“Can’t you just go in those trees over there?”

“Oh all right already! I’m trying to be civilized but apparently you don’t want me to.”

“Are we there yet?” said Biggs.

“According to the topographical map we received it should be over this hill here,” said Cherry.

“An’ why don’ we jus’ take a car instead of this walking shite?”

“You know as well as I do that you guys totally destroyed all of our vehicles. Although I must admit the way you landed it on top of a fifty story building was quite a feat.”

“’S what happens when Lu Bu drives. An’ I know tha’ the folks here have vehicles, an’ computers. Regina said so.”

Cherry turned her head to look at him and said,“ Let’s just pretend that the city folks might not like us to come rushing into the city with our ATV’s equipped with weapons that can level city blocks with a push of a button. Maybe they’ll be glad to see us, and possibly not try and make us a smoking crater.”

“Yer no fun…”

The Vigilantes arrived a few miles off the Crash site. They traveled on foot for a good hour, which seemed like an eternity of torment for Cherry.

“I’m hungry,” said Solo.

“Eat a bug,” said Cherry.

“My feet are tired,” said DeVall.

“Get some exercise fatty!”

“If I make a face, will it stay like that?” asked Lu Bu.

“Probably not in your case.”

As soon as they came to the top of the hill, they encountered a large wall, the height of a skyscraper. Half of the wall was made of steel, and the other half was made of energy.

“Great!” said Kayain. “The ship is over there, and we’re stuck on this side.”

Cherry ignored him and said,” This is pretty advanced technology, this wall of force. The structure is huge! Who knew the locals had this technology?”

“It seems like we underestimated their abilities,” said Danyel. “Who knows? Maybe they’ve recovered the weapon by now?”

“I doubt it. They might just think of it as a sword. You can’t really tell a sword is magical unless you swing it around.”

“That’s not true! It’s not like a psi-blade or something, which makes a whoosh noise as you swing it. There’s much more practical and magical methods of testing if a sword is magical!”

“Ok, ok, so you can’t, chill out already.”

Danyel is one of those kind of people who love to talk for a long time about a subject, no matter how uninterested his victim is. The best tactic Cherry knew was to stop him before he started.

“Gee Dan, we’re all interested to know in case we run into a real magical sword. Why don’t you tell us?” said Kayain, just to annoy her.

“Well, you see...”

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After they searched the far perimeter of the structure, Danyel had to cut his explanation short as they reached some kind of entrance point. On one side, there was the Crash site, and they couldn’t see what was on the other. Both seemed to have a single entry point, and a gated area with plenty of barbed wire.

They approached the entry point that they wanted to enter, and met with 2 armed swat team members. They both just stared, and said nothing as they approached.

“Excuse me,” said Cherry. “We’d like to get in there if you’d let us.”

They continued to stare, the kind of stare that would give Kayain’s clueless stare a run for his money.

“So… if we could just get on by, that would be good.”

The guards looked at her and said,” …”

“Yea, so I’ll be going now. We’ll be going inside. Thanks a bunch.”

The one on the left cleared his throat loudly.

“Yes?” Cherry asked.

“Miss… security clearance?”

“Excuse me?”

“You know, your hero clearance. You did bring it, didn’t you?”

“Oh, yea… that old thing. I must have left it somewhere,” Cherry reached in one of her empty pockets. “Oh dear, I seem to have left it in the spaceship somewhere. But yea, we’re heroes all right.”

“Humm… you guys certainly dress like heroes.” As he said this Kayain looks over to Cherry who shrugs. “You don’t have your hero ID on you?”

“Not today. But I don’t suppose you could let us in, could you?”

“Nope. ‘fraid not. You see, we have many young heroes thinking they’re hotshots and coming here and getting seriously hurt. That’s why we’ve made this a high security clearance area.”

“I see. Well I’m not exactly young, I’m a leader of these guys here, and we don’t look like kids now do we?”

The guard eyed them, looked at her and said,” Well maybe not them…”

Cherry’s eye twitched. She had many things that she hated being reminded of, one was her height. It especially annoyed her when strangers mentioned this fact.

“Look, you… The Rikti have a weapon in there that could be the cause of the destruction of this planet! We need access to get the weapon back and save your world.”

Again he remained emotionless, and yawned a bit,” Yea, sure. We know that. The Rikti ALWAYS have a weapon of mass destruction… and so does every other ga’damn villain in this stinkin’ town. You above all people should know that by now. If you want to make a panic, wait in line little missy.”

Cherry had enough, she was about to mind control him and let them in one way or another. Kayain sensed this was coming, and stepped up.

“Hiya fellas! Name’s Kayain, you may not have heard of me, but I guarantee you I’m gonna be the next best thing here in…well wherever it is we are.”

They continued their stare as if he were about to do some kind of circus trick. Cherry had come to the conclusion that staring should have been an Olympic sport. These were exactly the kind of minimum wage, Joe Lunchbucket guys who went to work every day, pulling strange hours and taking complaints from everyone, who could get down a perfect patronizing stare. These guys would have been gold medalists, right next to toll booth operators.

But these men had never before met Kayain. Years of experience taught Cherry that Kayain played a mean psychological battle. He’s like a parasite, he gets under your skin, and eats away from the inside.

“So, obviously you’d be doing not only me a favor, but you’d also be doing yourself a favor by letting us in. Seeing as how popular I will be, I’d be giving you an autographed shirt in the future. Hey, if you were to sell that sucker in Matronia, you’d get 50 credits! Imagine that! I mean really think about that; me marking on an object is worth money! How’s that for popularity? And to think I’d be doing such a favor for losers like you. Because I’m such a freakin’ classy guy, that’s why! Classy with a capital C… which is also for Cookie, like what that weird blue monster says, you know the one ‘C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me!’ Yea that guy. Oh and speaking of monsters, did you guys happen to see the new Dragonfire movie? Boy, I tell you, it was the worst one yet! The acting in the movie was worse than if my grandma was acting in it. And that’s sad, cause my grandma is like a bajilion years old. But she’s a nice old lady, she still bakes me her special cakes. Oh just thinking of those delicious cakes makes me think of my old home on the lakeside, you know the one with the old maple tree in the front. Man I had some good times in that tree. I once built a tree house up there, and then we had campouts up there, where we told ghost stories and-“

Suddenly, the guard opened the door, and said,” Go… just get out of here, and please shut up!”

“Oh! How kind of you sir,” said Kayain. “Isn’t that nice Cherry?”

“Very.”

“Well, sir, I bid you a good day. I’ll be back sometime and I’ll tell you about my pet Hamster, Fabio… boy I loved that little guy. Sometimes I’d pick him up, and then he’d make those cute little squeak noises. Man I tell you-”

“JUST GO!” he said.

“Yes, Kayain, let’s go now.” Said Cherry.

They all went into the crash site. They entered a military complex on the other side, equipped with more barbwire and lots of metallic structures. To one side was several barracks and hanger areas. To the other side, there were radio towers and gadgets that went ping when things got near it. Military soldiers were scattered around, doing their own various important things. They watched as some were keeping watch, and some walking in and out of various buildings. Cherry looked for someone to stop for a moment to talk to. The only person they came across was an officer engaged in conversation with some medics.

“And we also need at least 2 per team. I want the Rikti menace pushed back farther this time. If we intend on reclaiming the city, we’re going to need all the combat medics we can spare. If those heroes would show up, we’ll reclaim the subdivision in no time.”

“Excuse me,” said Cherry. “I couldn’t help hear you needed some heroes.”

“Oh, speak O’ the devil. Glad you could make it heroes. Are you ready for your assignment?”

“Actually, we have some new information. It seems the Rikti have gotten a hold of a new energy source, and they can get reinforcements at any given time.”

He raised one eyebrow at her and said,” Yea, we already know that. There has been a recent increase in Rikti activity here. That’s why we need your help in quelling the population in the city. That’s the reason we called you down here. I assume it wasn’t you who I talked to on the phone?”

“No, but-“

“It was me sir,” interrupted Kayain. “Sorry for my cohort’s behavior (she’s a little slow sometimes). She just doesn’t listen to me… her leader.”

Cherry raised her finger at Kayain and was about to say something, but the man said,” Oh, I know how that goes. I’ve had my fill of new recruits all month. Well, I gave you most of the details on the phone, but the overall rundown is to make a strike on the city sector to quell this new batch of reinforcements.”

“Will do… oh darn, what was your name again?”

“Lieutenant Smith sir.”

“Right. For some reason I thought you were another guy I spoke to, guy by the name of Corporal Punishment.”

“Nope, can’t say I’ve met him.”

“Well we’ll be off, doing what hero’s do best. I guarantee you at least 10,000 before our coffee break. Oh, and by the way, I seem to have misplaced my map, do you happen to have an extra?”

The Lieutenant searches his pockets, and pulls out a folded map. He shows them all the critical points they need to retake. Kayain thanks him and they leave towards the city.

They use the jump suits to travel around the base and to the outskirts of the city. Cherry orders them to stop for a moment to say a few things to Kayain.

“Kayain. That was quick thinking on your part, but next time let me handle it.”

“Whoa, is that any way to talk to your leader?” He said with a smile.

“Kayain, you’ve got 3 weeks with Tylar, and remind me to throttle you when we get back.”

“Aaw man!”

“Now let me see that map,” She says as she examines it. “Right now, we are here. The crashed ship is over here, and the city is due west. We’ll need to cut through this section in order to get to the ship. As we go by, I want Danyel, Diana, and Solo with me. We will get to the ship and see if the shields are still in use. If so, Solo will set up our equipment to open an area for us to get in. I’ll signal to the rest of you guys when we have it open. In the meantime, Kayain, take these men and clean out the city like a good cohort does.”

Kayain mocks her by copying her silently behind her back with hand gestures. She adds,” And after we get back, you get to scrub the showers for the rest of the week.” Another of Kayain’s wonderful qualities is whenever he is in trouble with the ladies, he tends to get himself in deeper trouble.

Before he could say anything, they heard a loud whoosh noise, like the sound of the wind blowing. And out of nowhere, several figures emerged with a flash of green light. 12 fully armed Rikti warriors materialized out of thin air in front of them, and each had their weapons at the ready.

“Hoo, looks like the party’s just begun!” Said Kayain as he jumped into them.

The fire commenced as Kayain charged them. Lu Bu came in shortly after, as he threw a knife and hit the forehead of a Rikti soldier and drew his war axe in 1 swift motion.

Cherry held a psionic barrier up to deflect the Rikti weapons. She lifted a pair of Rikti up when she let the shield down. She lifted them high in the air, and dropped them hard on the ground. Danyel deflected shot after shot with his wind manipulation powers. Diana, skirted across the field faster than any of them, dodging shot after shot coming at her. The others used what weapons or powers they had and began blasting the Rikti.

Kayain and Lu Bu squared off with the fighters in the back

“Hey you!” said Kayain as he threw the finger at the Lead Soldier.

The Rikti shot Kayain square in the chest, creating a large wound. The wound healed almost instantly as Kayain smiled and threw the finger again. The Rikti became angry and pulled out his energy blade.

“That’s more like it! Don’t make it too easy for me!” he said.

The Rikti and Kayain ran at each other at full speed. Kayain came low, and went for the trip. The Rikti caught it in time, and jumped over it. Kayain, followed up with a series of kicks that cracked through the Rikti’s battle armor. The Rikti responded with slices of his own that normally would have severely injured, or disemboweled normal people. Kayain’s body however was integrated with his regeneration so well that he developed a natural resistance to bladed and blunt weapons.

Kayain’s cuts healed faster than the Rikti could make them, and the Rikti was getting seriously hurt now. Kayain decided to end the fight by grappling him. The Rikti struggled to push him off, and Kayain took the opportunity to catch his right arm, and break it at the joint. If Rikti could scream out loud, this one would have outdone a little schoolgirl. He reached for his pistol with his good arm, and Kayain planted an axe kick to his neck, making him gag. Kayain knocked him out with a finishing kick to the forehead.

The monster Lu Bu, used his Nano-Augmentations to make his skin nearly invincible to most attacks. He was so tuned with his weapon, he was like a champion figure skater with a dance partner on the battlefield. Lu Bu cleaved through his foes like a knife through butter. Shots were focused on him, and were barely damaging him. Lu Bu merely smiled as the frustrated Rikti hit him with their blades, and hardly hurting him at all.

Kat O’9 had brought his animated chains, and they entangled as many Rikti as he could manage, thus ending the surprise attack.

“Good work all,” said Cherry. “There is still plenty more though. And while we separate, I expect all of you to clear out all the Rikti you can.”

“Aye, Cap’n,” said Biggs, “And God be with you… You’re still going to hell though.”

Biggs usually made statements like that, no one paid any attention to him.

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Kayain leaped in front of the rest, scanning the area for Rikti. He stopped for a moment to look around from a building top.

“I don’t see jack shit… Where could they have gone?” wondered Kayain.

“Maybe we scared them away?” suggested Biggs. “We usually tend ter scare people when we come aroun’.”

“Yea, but that’s only because we somehow end up setting things on fire. Bad luck I say, and some extreme coincidences,” he says as he looks at Kat. “Like that time we were all playing Dungeons and Dragons, and you wanted to make some kind of incredible check. ‘What have we got to loose’ you said… Next thing we know, boom, the hotel is in flames.”

“Well,” said Kat. “The hotel thing was a direct result of us, I admit, but at least I made my check.”

“Heh, I remember that,” says DeVall. “He was yelling that out as we all ran out of the building.”

“Well, the point being, we haven’t scared anyone away just yet. They’re probably waiting to strike again.”

“Or maybe they’re over there,” said Kayain. “Attacking that man with a sword.”

Everyone turned to look where Kayain was pointing. Indeed there were many Rikti warriors ganging up on 1 solitary man with a sword. He was incredibly good with the blade too. He even got to deflect a few shots with it, back to the shooter. But they were starting to overwhelm him, and Kayain didn’t know if he could take them all.

“Let’s go help the sap,” said Kayain. “We’ll need to have 100 kills sometime or another.”

They leaped into the fray as fast as they could. Lu Bu turned off the gravity in his suit in mid air, and came crashing down as hard as he could manage. He slammed the ground and shook it violently, causing the Rikti to fly upwards. The lone man was able to keep balance during the tremor, and continued to fight. Lu Bu swung his axe at a Rikti who came down, and batted him back into the air like a baseball. Kayain rushed over to the man and fought alongside him.

“Hey man! Mind if I crash the party?”

“Not at all good sir! HA!” he said to Kayain as he sent a Rikti flying with a mighty swing of his sword.

The battle turned quickly with the 5 of them joining in. DeVall blasted as many as he could, then was tackled by a group of Rikti monkeys.

Kayain leaped over and started tossing them off as fast as he could. They pounded on him until he was unconscious, while Kayain tore them away.

He swore under his breath, and rejoined the fight. And after a few minutes, the remaining Rikti retreated. Kayain dusted himself off and gave a thumbs up to the man, who he finally noticed was dressed very peculiar. He wore simple, wizard-like robes, engraved with emblems that Kayain knew to be magic runes. He looked middle aged with snow-white hair in a ponytail, and a trimmed full beard.

“I thank you all,” he said. “My team was getting overwhelmed and I arrived as they were defeated. They were teleported to the hospital, and the Rikti ganged up on me.”

“Hey, no problem man. But now you have to join my fan club,” said Kayain as he grinned. “It’s easy, and best of all, today only it’s free!”

“Umm… I don’t know,” he said, trying to change the subject. “Hey, what about your friend there?”

“Oh him? He’s already in the club.”

“No, I mean is he going to be ok? Or should he hit the hospital?”

“Na! He’ll be fine. He just needs a little, shall we say, inspiration.”

Kayain picks up DeVall and searches his pack for something. Kayain pulls out a Ziploc bag with a biohazard symbol on it. This bag contains Kayain’s most sweaty, dirty, and smelly underwear. It was one that he didn’t change after a week of training.

He opens it and sniffs it and nearly gags. He puts the vile thing under DeVall’s nose, and instantly he revives choking and gagging.

“See? He’s fine,” he says as he puts the underwear back and pulls out a picture of himself. “Now you see, as a starting member, you get this autographed picture of me. That’s worth a lot where I come from. Then buying more of my endorsed products will earn you points on my website, and you can win more fabulous Kayain things…”

“Well, you see-“

“Oh, well you know buddy, I forgot to ask your name. Mine’s Kayain as you can see on my picture there. The big smelly green guy over there is Lu Bu, the little dude is Biggs, the guy vomiting is DeVall, the kinky bondage guy over there is Kat O’9 Killian. Nice to meet you.”

The man chuckles and says,” An interesting group you have here. My name is Gungir. And once again I thank you for your timely rescue. My team and I-“

“That’s fabulous and all, but you dropped my picture.”

“Well I don’t really want to be in a club.”

“Why not? You get prizes when you buy my endorsed product!”

“I’m telling you I really don’t need it.”

“You’re going to hurt my feelings… and after I saved you and all…” Kayain said, looking genuinely sad.

“Please, don’t-“ he sighs and shakes his head. “Oh, look. Please don’t get upset, I’m sorry. Alright, if it will please you I will join your club.”

Kayain instantly went back to his arrogant grin and said,” Ah, I knew you couldn’t resist. Say, we’re busting some skulls here, care to join us?”

”Yes I shall, if you’ll have me,” he said while crossing his arms. “I’m sure my friends will enjoy your company as well once they get back.”

“You’re ga’damn right about that! EVERYONE loves me… Hey, can I see that sword of yours?

Gungir reluctantly hands the sword to him and Kayain swings it around,” My sword Ymirbane is carved from the bones of Ymir. With it, I fight to please the gods, and someday return to my rightful place with Odin as- what are you doing?”

Gungir watches as Kayain stupidly swings the sword around. Kayain finally hands it back and said with a grin,” Just checking if it’s magical.”

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“This thing is huge!” said Solo. “Means I’d better get a move on.”

“Please do, the sentry units here were pretty tough,” said Cherry. “Danyel, you and Di make sure the perimeter is clear.”

“Will do sis.” Said Daniel.

“Roger wilco!” Said Diana.

Solo set up the device Tylar gave them, and began to operate it. The device resembled a large laser gun. It was specifically meant to cut into a wall of force with it’s own energy. Solo was a field engineer, so he could operate most any device Tylar makes. However, this particular machine gave him the impression he was doing something wrong.

“Hey Cherry, the machine doesn’t seem to be working. I think I’m using the most output, but it’s not doing anything at all. Not even a small hole in the wall.”

Cherry went over to examine the machine. She knew for a fact this was Tylar’s most powerful shield breaker. His device supposedly breaks down energy from the molecular level. The gages showed this thing was giving it all it had and more, but the wall of force remained as solid as ever.

“Then it seems we underestimated them again. I’ll notify the crew about this,” she said as she pressed her wrist communicator. “Cherry, to Valentine, come in.”

“This is Valentine,” she said.

“Put me on global so the whole crew can hear me as well.”

“Done.”

“Listen up everyone. We cannot penetrate the Rikti’s defenses with our current equipment,” Cherry heard laughter somewhere on the radio. “May I ask what’s so funny Kayain?”

“He he, you said penetrate and equipment, that was funny.”

“Kayain you now have toilet scrubbing duty for 3 weeks.”

“AAAW!”

“I want you to work on something much stronger than this Tylar to penetrate- don’t even think about it Kayain- the shields.”

“Hold on guys,” said Danyel. “I can see the flow of Mana in the shields, meaning you were right in assuming that they’re using the weapon to power the shields as well. We’re going to need a special unit for this.”

“In that case, Tylar, I want you to work with Danyel on this one.”

“If I may, sis,” said Danyel. “I’d like to research things down here on the planet. Like I had mentioned before, there’s other magic folk here, they may have some advice for us.”

“Just looking for any excuse to stay here aren’t you? We’ll find a place down here where you can work with Tyler.”

“Yea, you’re right, I’m looking forward to meeting the wizards. Tylar, you cool with that? Coming down here and all?”

“Yes, that’s fine.”

Cherry smirked as she said,” Ami? I’m gonna need you here too, never know when we’ll need you. Please bring your stuff and come with Tylar, he’ll need all the help he can get.”

“Yes, captain.”

Cherry already knew Tylar was silently jumping for joy behind his communicator. Grinning to herself, she wondered if he would keep it together around her. She knew Tylar had never had a girlfriend in his life, and Ami had her own crushes before, but never acted on them. She also knew pairing them up from time to time wouldn’t cause trouble, because they both are to shy to admit they like each other, let alone start making out while on duty.

“Ve, I want you to take them when we’ve found somewhere to stay. I’m sure with our combined technology here we can make something that can break these shields.”

“That’s a 10-4, sis,” said Valentine. “Just gimme a ring and I drop off the cute couple.”

“HA!” said Kayain.

She knew that both Tylar and Ami were blushing now. She never teased them herself, but she had to admit it was funny when everyone else did.

“That’s enough you guys. Gina, I want you to come with them and protect them.”

“Not a problem,” said Regina.

“Kayain, I’m going to meet back up with you. You keep doing your thing.”

“Heh heh, you said-“

“Kayain, shut up and get back to work.”

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When they met back up in the city district, Kayain’s group was already fighting more Rikti, and Cherry noticed there were other people there, and one was on fire. She was about to yell at Kat, when she saw that this person was perfectly fine inside the flames, and used them against the Rikti. These other people possessed superhuman abilities. One man was shooting what looked like energy from his hands. Another lady seemed to be healing people instantly, while someone else was manipulating the earth to crush the Rikti. It took a moment for her to take it all in. She had never seen so many super powered people all in 1 place.

“Would you look at that,” she said. “There’s over 20 of them all here! Each of them with super powered abilities.”

Kayain was hard to spot out of the super powered heroes, he looked so natural tossing enemies around with them. A man with a sword noticed Kayain in the air and knocked a Rikti drone upwards. Kayain, axe kicked the bot, spiking it to the ground like a volleyball. She noticed Lu Bu cleaving his way through the Rikti ranks, and parting them like the Red Sea. After a matter of minutes, the Rikti were cleared out of the area.

Cherry approached Kayain, and asked,” New friends of yours?”

“Not yet, but sooner or later they’ll know my name… everyone does.”

“Hello madam, I am Gungir,” he said. “Are you a friend of Kayain’s?”

“More than that, unfortunately,” she replied.

“Hey…” said Kayain.

“My name is Cherry. I’m the captain of the Vigilantes, which are these scurvy dogs you’re looking at now.”

Gungir nodded to the rest of them and said,” Nice to meet you. I would also like you to meet my group.”

He presses a small device on his armor, and it keys his wireless microphone. His friends come in as fast as they can. Some can fly, some can run at superhuman speeds, some can teleport, and others can jump high and fast like they can.

“This, is a close and personal friend of mine, her name is Lady Darkness.”

“Pleased to meet you.” She says.

“HI!” says Kayain with a grin. He keeps his eyes at her chest level as he says, “ That was some fancy healing powers out there and all. You were probably the breast- I mean, best healer out there!”

Cherry reaches and grabs Kayain by the ear and pinches it hard as she calmly says,” Kayain. Heel.”

“OW OW OW! Ok I’m sorry!”

Gungir raises his eyebrow at them and says,” Ok. Well. This is my dueling partner, Lord Daniel. I’d have to say he’s about on par with me as far as swordsmanship.”

Lord Daniel, dressed in decorated armor with a fancy cape attached. He has long, dark hair, and a youthful, hawk-like face.

“Hail!” he said with a small wave. “I saw you on the battlefield, you’re pretty good.”

“HA!” laughed Kayain. “You should see me when I have my Vindicator weapon. You’ll be so impressed you’ll cream yourself.”

He chuckled and said,” Oh, I like your style. So, you’re good with a sword you say? I’d like to see you in action. Care for a duel sometime?”

“You’re on! But I need to get my real weapon back. Otherwise it’s like that feeling you get when you jerk it with your off hand… you know, it feels like cheating on your good hand.”

Lord Danyel laughed out loud as he slapped Kayain’s back,” Oh I can see we’re going to get along just fine.”

“This man is Sir Bandwidth,” says Gungir. He introduces a very large man, also armored like the rest of them. But unlike the rest of them, he was on fire, and no one seemed like this was unusual.

“Pleased to meet you all.” He said with a smile.

“Wow,” said Kat. “So you’re just on fire like that when you want to? Cause I thought for a moment I did that and didn’t realize it.”

“No, you didn’t do this, this has always been my power.”

“To set yourself on fire?” said Kayain.

“Yes, the fire protects me from harm, and likewise I can use it against my enemies.”

“That’s pretty neat,” said Cherry. “Kayain, if you want your power back, go set yourself on fire. Please.”

“You’re not funny,” said Kayain as Cherry smirked at him.

Suddenly an extremely tall and beautiful woman teleported in front of them, she had dark purple or blue hair so deeply colored that it appeared nearly black. Her skin was smooth and well tanned, giving her a youthful appearance, but her eyes changed your mind about that. She had coldest eyes any of them had ever seen, as if she was calculating your soul's worth on some sort of an unseen scale. Only Cherry had ever pulled off a meaner looking face then the one frowning right at Kayain.

She was dressed in high combat boots, and a skintight dark purple outfit that revealed more than it concealed. She had a blood red monocle covering one of those cold blue eyes and a long black dark purple cape with gold runes covering it. And yet Kayain had to raise an eyebrow at her. By the look of her face, he knew this was the kind of woman who would annihilate him as soon as look at him, the kind of woman he’d get along fine with, dirty jokes and all.

Everyone was quiet, as though expecting her to attack at any moment. She finally said,” So. Are you going to introduce me, or do I have to do everything myself?”

“Right,” said Gungir. “You know I don’t like when you give that look Anubis.”

“Do as you wish.” she said and put on her emotionless face.

“This mighty warrior is none other than Lady Anubis. Anubis, like me, shares the same fate of being cursed to a mortal body.”

“Indeed. It is as near as I can get to amusement, watching you humans gawk at this form. And- What is that thing doing?”

Biggs, barely reaching her thighs in height, was right at her legs, looking like a dog about to hump a leg. He was grinning broadly because he preferred women that he had to climb.

“How are ya doin’ lass? Name’s Biggs. I hear ya think yer some kinna god,” He hands her a pamphlet. “Consider you turn to the real God, the creator of all Heaven and Earth.”

Lady Anubis stares at him and says,” I know the creator you speak of mortal. Before I was forsaken to this body, he would take me to Valhalla for poker games with Odin, Santa Clause, and the tooth fairy.”

“Really?” he said

“Yes, and let me tell you, him being The Creator of everything, he makes some mean bean dip.”

Everyone was quiet, not knowing what to say to that.

“I believe you mortals are also familiar with humor, yes? I’m jesting about all that. But I wasn’t jesting about his bean dip. I think it’s is heavenly.”

“I think I’m in love,” whispered Biggs, very loudly.

Lady Anubis looks at the pamphlet and scans it very fast. She raises an eyebrow and says,” What is all this? It’s all a bunch of random and useless information. Nothing here is biblical… I’ve never heard of the book of Pod, nor the book of Curious George. And all I see in this part is a phone number!”

She looks at Biggs who makes a phone sign with his hands and mouths the words,’ Call me’.

“Well,” says Gungir. “I’m glad we’re all acquainted. So what brings the Vigilantes out here?”

Cherry started before Kayain could say anything,” Well sir, we’re trying to find a way to get in the crashed Rikti ship. They have obtained a powerful weapon that belongs to Kayain.”

“The Vindicator weapon,” says Lady Anubis.

“Yes, how did you know?”

“I’ve seen it before. A few years back. A man came here with the Vindicator weapon. He did some incredible things with it, and was able to imprison a powerful foe. I had the opportunity to speak with him. He had a magical mark on his cheek that signified who he was. Kayain is it? You too have a magical mark like his. Yours is fire shaped.”

Once the weapon chooses a Vindicator, they receive a magical mark signifying who they are. Only those who can see the flow of Mana can see the mark; like wizards, and other magical beings.

“I have a bigger one on my butt, you wanna see?” says Kayain with a smile.

Lady Anubis smirks at Kayain's smile and said,” Your ass is already in plain view, mortal. But as you were saying?”

“Right,” said Cherry. “The Rikti stole the weapon and are harnessing the power to strengthen their shields. They are also using it to create a rift in space most likely leads to their homeworld. They’ve already attacked my homeworld, and nearly succeeded in killing the Patriarch.”

“Oh, you guys are offworlders then? Welcome to our humble little planet then. Sorry to hear about your homeworld, those Rikti are always up to no good.” Said Lord Danyel.

“Do you guys get many offworlders here?” asked Danyel.

“You’d be surprised,” he said. “We get all kinds here. Most looking for a place to test their might. Some looking for refuge from their world that persecuted them for having their power. And some… Well some are looking to cause trouble. You’ll find most of those guys put away safely in the Ziggurat, our jail.”

“Well, looks like we’ve got nothing much to hide about our identities then,” says Cherry. “But about the Rikti, they have a constant source of energy now, and they can easily pull another fleet of ships through the rift unless we get that weapon back. This planet is in danger of a full scale invasion once that does happen.”

“Sounds like something major,” says Bandwidth. “The same thing happened a couple years ago to our world. Lucky we pushed them back. Is there anything we can do to help?”

“Well, we’re going to have to look into this,” says Cherry. “We’ll need somewhere we can research a way to breach a wall of force with magical properties to it.”

“You could go to D.A.T.A, and M.A.G.I. down in Atlas Park’s City Hall. I bet they could help you with what you need.” Said Lady Darkness.

“We’ll also need somewhere to stay, know any places we can go?” asked Cherry.

“Well, there’s a lot of places to go in Steel Canyon. Some places don’t mind supers, while others do,” said Lord Danyel. “If you want, I can help you find somewhere to accommodate you.”

“That would be most appreciated, thank you.”

“What about money?” asked Danyel. “What do you guys use as currency?”

“Dollars, coins.”

“What about rare metals? What kind of metals are valuable?”

“Well, people like Gold, Platinum, Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires, etcetera.”

“Humm… sounds easy enough. I can make those.”

Lord Daniel raised an eyebrow at him and said,“ Make them?”

“Yea, I’m good at alchemy.”

He considered this a moment and said,“ Amazing… Say, I can spot you some cash for now if you can make me a real diamond.”

“What size?”

“Any is fine.”

“Will a fist size one do?”

Lord Danyel was now very interested. Here was someone who could make precious metals, and in a large size too. If he wanted to he could have a diamond that was the size of a sofa. He would definitely be the talk of the town if he threw a party with a couple of  super sized diamonds. But first he had to see what Danyel could do.

He points at Lu Bu and says,” Make it the size of his fist, and I’ll give you all the money you’ll ever need.”

“Done.”

Danyel couldn’t see what the big deal was with diamonds, in Matronia they’re used for cutting steel, and other construction work. They had a very low value back home.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what do you need to make a diamond?”

“Well in the alchemy I’ll be doing, I’ll be taking a component and using-“

“We don’t need an alchemy lecture Danny, just give him the gist of it,” said Cherry automatically.

“Fine,” He said, looking disappointed. “Basically I get the components and transform a material into something else. It’s not hard work, just time consuming.”

Lord Danyel wondered if he really could turn a sofa into a diamond. He’d have to convince him to try later.

“Great!” says Kayain. “While you guys get that done, I’ll be responsible for finding the liquor store, and keeping a fresh stock of beer at all times!”

Cherry frowned at him and said,” You will not be going out on beer runs. You are to go and get proper food sources.”

“Aaw! Can’t I get any beer at all?” he asks.

“Just a little,” she says, giving him her stern look. And if they have any Champaign, you know what kind I like.”

“Fan-freaking-tastic,” said Kayain.

Cherry pulled a couple of the Vigilantes aside and said,” Go with him please, I expect him to fail.”

“Aye Cap’n,” said Biggs. “But before we go, I suggest an agreement between us an' Lord Daniel in the form of a contract.”

Cherry knew where this was going. Biggs had pre-written, fill in the blank contracts, and took them wherever he went. It always amused her how people signed it without reading his fine print.

She stopped walking, but didn’t turn around so they wouldn’t see her smile as she said,” Make it so corporal. You know what to do.”

“Aye Cap’n,” he said as he pulled out a contract from his bag. “Now L. D., come over here and I will give you a contract for your payment.”

“A contract? Ah, very professional of you.”

Lord Daniel read briefly over the contract as Biggs showed him where to write in the words Diamond and Cash Payment. Everything seemed in order to him, and he signed it as Biggs signed in the space named ‘Vigilantes Representative’.

“Very good L.D.,” said Biggs. “As Cherry has never broken ‘er word, your payment shall be received promptly after ya fulfill yer part of the contract.”

“Indeed. You guys seem reasonable and fair, and I trust you shall.”

Biggs caught up to Cherry, and handed her the contract. As she skimmed through it, everything seemed like it was in order.

“So where’s the catch?” She asked.

Biggs pointed to a bit of fine print that could easily be overlooked. It read,’ Payment received upon baptism.’

“Ah. You know, you’re dastardly, sneaky, and very sticky. And furthermore, you’re going straight to hell.”

TO CHAPTER 3 >


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