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Stories # - L | M - Z | Authors
Trapped in Dark Astoria
Part Three – Forever Changed, Forever the Same
City of Heroes fiction
By Eli J. Litzelman
RoboZon slowly regained consciousness. He
blinked several times before the dark surroundings became clear.
To his relief, he was still wearing his suit. He figured either
the shaman wanted it for his leaders and this was the easiest way to
transport it or the mystic simply could not figure how to get it
In front of the hero the shaman was sitting by a fire. His white
palms slowly rubbing against each other, he turned and imbedded his
murky eyes into RoboZon. After a second, the mystic turned back
to his fire without saying a word. Although the bound hero tried
to get up with all his might, he was firmly held down. He opened
his mouth and tried to speak but all that came out were short
gasps. Without looking at the metal master, the Death Shaman
irritably replied, “A man who is hopelessly doomed to death does
not need to say or do anything.” The hero then passed out
For the next two days RoboZon slipped in and out of
consciousness. Most of the time all he saw was the moving ground
as he was being carried by a zombie. Soon however, blood would
fill his mind and he would pass back into nothingness. Other
times, he would awake while the mystic was sitting by his fire or
setting up camp. The trail began to vary from deserted Circle of
Thorn lairs to simple hollowed-out caverns that had no light in them
whatsoever. The shaman guided through the latter without even
creating light. He seemed to feed off of the darkness as he
descended ever downward.
RoboZon awoke again. He was almost back to his
original strength, but being carried over someone’s shoulder day
after day had made him very sore. If he was certainly doomed to
death – as was the world – nothing he could do would change
that. Even with that in mind, he could not just sit around and
wait for his doom to come. He would not be known as someone who
died without putting up a fight. A simple but ingenious plan
began to assemble in the depths of his mind. It presented many
risks and even if he bypassed all of these, it would still come to
nothing in the end. But that did not matter; whatever fate or
destiny lay before him, he would not wait for it to occur.
Gritting his teeth, he prepared himself. Jamming his elbow
upward, he hit the zombie on the back of his head. The weak
tendons gave way from rot and the undead’s head came loose.
The Death Shaman heard a crash from behind and spun
to his comrades just in time to see the hero crash to the ground.
Before the villain could fire his dark energy however, RoboZon
disappeared, leaving the shaman to wonder if the superhero had even
existed. The living dead mumbled in confusion and the mystic
called into the dark. “You cannot hide forever, hero. You
cannot escape your destiny. Come and fight like a man.”
A voice echoed through the caves in response,
“I will not come to you like a dog begging for bread. You will
come to me.” Before any reply could be made, the mystic
disappeared in a flash of light. Before he was even completely
solid again, RoboZon’s fist was arching toward the
villain’s head. Without blinking, the villain grabbed the
hero’s wrist, thrust his free hand at the opponent’s face,
and released a black pillar of energy. RoboZon avoided the blast
by leaning back and kicking both feet into the shaman’s
torso. He then executed a back-flip and landed on his feet.
The zombie controller flew back into a far wall and rolled to his feet
just as RoboZon began to sprint forward. Planting his feet in the
dirt, the mystic concentrated on the space between himself and the
hero. He created two balls of negative energy – one in each
hand – and threw one of them at his enemy. The metal master
leapt into the air and stretched his body out behind him so it was
parallel to the ground. The energy passed safely underneath him
and he glided swiftly toward his target. Unexpectedly, the Death
Shaman threw the second sphere of energy. It arced upward,
slammed into RoboZon’s chest, and exploded. The hero
smashed into the ceiling before plummeting toward the ground.
Slamming his forearms into the ground to break his fall, he used the
forward motion to push himself into a handstand and shot himself back
at the shaman with his feet in front. He then parted his legs and
crashed them back together on the villain’s temples, instantly
ending his rival’s existence. “I love these
things,” exclaimed RoboZon as he looked at the teleportation
indents on his palms, another gift from his father.
A deafening roar burst through the cavern and
RoboZon glanced over his shoulder. The living dead had found his
location and were slowly converging on him. Releasing his flames,
the hero flooded the cavern with light. “You want me? Come
and get me!” The lead zombie grunted in comprehension,
pulled a rifle over his shoulder, and fired. The metal master
leaped in the air. Arms spread wide and feet extended beneath
him, he guided his fall. As he approached his adversaries, he
back-flipped and landed in a crouch. Rising and punching twice,
he then changed his stance and struck with the back part of his
fist. He then used the momentum of his changed footing and
performed a roundhouse kick. Lifting his other leg off the
ground, he spun and kicked again. The legendary hero then –
without putting his leg down – kicked backwards to stay an attack
from the rear. With two more quick strikes to the front, the
fight was over.
RoboZon went down on one knee and rested. He
breathed heavily and smelled the overwhelming stench of sweat in his
suit. After awhile, he stood and scanned the camp for anything
useful. Finding nothing, he continued on his trek.
The hostage, Katie Blackwell, awoke to sound of her
own raspy breath. She was nearing starvation and she barely had
enough strength left to stay conscious. Licking parched lips with
a dry tongue, she heard the resounding rumble of her empty
stomach. She parted her eyelids to reveal two bloodshot blue
eyes. Her blurred vision could just make out a sleeping green
heroine and an Egyptian archer. The latter turned to the civilian
as she woke. He tried to comfort her. “How was your
sleep?” As the hero had predicted beforehand, she did not
respond. Archer of Ramesses face then became grim.
“Do you still feel the dark energy inside of you?”
Katie nodded slowly and croaked, “Yes…”
The archer suddenly turned his head to the side. “Someone
moves close by.” Several quick steps echoed softly through
the dark halls followed by utter silence.
RoboZon moved into view and spotted Archer of Ramesses first. “There you are.”
A grin spread across the archers face. “Good to see you, friend.”
“Good to see you too,” said the metallic hero as he undid
his old mentor’s bonds. He then noticed Katie.
Instinctively, he reached behind her and untied the ropes around her
wrists. As the twine came loose, she fell forward into his
arms. He positioned her back against the pole she had been tied
to and reached into his belt for some rations. Their eyes met for
the first time when he offered the food to her. Although red from
bloodshot and darkened from the energy that pulsed inside of her, her
eyes now glowed with hope; hope that he had given her. They
connected at that moment. Linked together as one person - forever
the same, yet forever different. His heart seemed to accelerate
and slow at the same time. His muscles seemed to tighten
furiously, but he still felt relaxed. At that very instant he was
changed for the rest of his life and he could feel the difference
inside of himself. His mind would no longer wander aimlessly
through memories of no significance. He would no longer feel
concern over just himself. He remembered why he was a hero; why
he defended the innocent and protected the just.
She accepted the provisions and began to eat as fast as she
could. She then looked up and almost silently whispered,
“Thank you…” RoboZon knew she was thanking him
for more than just the food.
“Hey! I'm hungry too!” Daughter of the Wood called from across the room.
RoboZon sighed and handed Archer of Ramesses some more rations.
“Here. Untie her and give her these. I’ll help Mrs.
Blackwell to her feet.” He put his arm around the hostage
and lifted her to a standing position. “Can you walk?”
“I'm… not sure.”
He helped her take a few steps before she could walk on her own.
Just as everyone was preparing to leave, a loud boom echoed behind
them. The Adamastor roared to the sky. The giant menace
looked down at them with his glowing green eyes and appeared to smile.
RoboZon turned to his companions. “Run, I’ll hold him.”
“What!?!” exclaimed Daughter of the Wood.
Archer of Ramesses stared the daring hero in the face. “That is not wise…”
The Egyptian knew there was no point in arguing. His friend had chosen
his doom and there was no way to change his mind. Nodding to his
old apprentice, he led the rescue party away.
RoboZon turned back to the giant zombie. “I have found
you. Now it is your turn to suffer.” He then jumped
into the air and dove into the
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