Join Date: Jun 2009
Companion story to Robert Butler's C.O.R.E. The Echelon Entanglement
The Darkness: Third Kill
Mr. Victory, dead!?!?!?
Can’t believe a said it either Spy, but the answer is “yes”.
OK. What the hell happened?
Mojave Desert, 1 hour and 25 minutes prior:
ETA 14 minutes and 36 seconds. Best I can tell from the radio chatter, C.O.R.E has already left the area with Echelon. Wish we’d been here sooner, as Blackhorn disappeared during the fray. Long-range scans show he’s still in the general area though. Weird energy fluctuations, he may be injured. Comet, please link into the system grid (and hope this works)- Shard says and thinks as he slowly angles the nose of the craft downward.
The Comet takes a seat in a high-tech looking chair near the back of the compartment. He methodically connects couplered hoses from an instrument panel to his containment suit. After entering complex date into the keyboard, he reclines into the arched seat. Those around him swore they heard him exhale, which is impossible with an intangible body that uses a modulator to form his synthetic voice. It’s programmed with a million words, none though to mimic cursory sounds.
Looks to be a brief flight Captain Freedom, so glad you could fill in for Razor on such short notice- says Mr. Victory.
Glad I can help son. Fortunate I happened to be at SDL Hall at the time. I’m sure Razor has important business elsewhere.
American Banner ads- Yeah, sounds like Saint Katherine’s Bay may have a clue to the meteorite. Hopefully Shadowhawk and company will be able to use Razor’s expertise. Either way he….
What’s the status Comet?- Shard shouts as he looks over his shoulder.
All good compadre. We’ll have max level in thirty more seconds. After that we’ll see what, well let’s just say we’ll see…-Comet replies.
As I’m the odd-man out of this grouping, what is Comet attempting to accomplish? -asks Captain Freedom.
Essentially a cloaking device Cap- says Mr. Victory.
More-so an untested cloaking device- adds American Banner.
I’m trying to concentrate here- says Comet- but Banner is not entirely correct. It has been tested and was functional for nearly a minute.
Yeah, hiding your Segway- chides Shard with a chuckle.
As V was saying, he’ll be using his energy to cloak this craft- says Shard. It’s a pretty complex but effective operation. He’ll be all but incapacitated once I flip the switch, but via his energy we’ll be nearly imperceptible in terms of sight and sound. The visual effect is similar to what you say in the Predator movies. Unless you’re specifically looking for this air-craft, we won’t be detected. Only concern is the Mojave sand. The thrusters will be muffled for sound, but it won’t be able to mask a probable dust cloud when we land. I plan a rapid descent and immediate disembarkation so we minimize the environmental clues that will coincide with our arrival.
You’re the master tactician Captain Freedom, what’s the plan?- asks American Banner.
Not one to step on your role Banner, but since you asked, as with all bullies, be they Axis or others, a direct frontal assault is preferable if there is a chance for surprise. This cloak sounds like it should do the trick. The sand will eventually give us away, but in some ways it may al provide a natural cover. As far as I know Blackhorn’s vision is the same as ours, so a little dust in his eyes will be a plus. I suggest Mr. Victory and I charge first in a side-by-side formation. Between my shield and his tough as leather hide, we should be able to deflect any initial energy blast while we maneuver to a more advantageous position. Wish Comet could provide some energy projections while we form up, but his sacrifice for the cloaking feature will be advantage enough. Shard, how long after landing can you join the fray?
Give me 20 seconds to secure the ship Cap. After that I’ll be right behind you.
Good. Perhaps a few crystal projectiles directed at his face will keep him off-balance. How about you Comet, we’ll need your energy project and flight abilities. How long till you can disengage from those wires and be ready for battle?
Not sure Captain. This is going to be a major drain as I hope to give us 4-5 minutes of full cloak. We’re in uncharted territory. Sorry to say, but it could be 20 minutes or more.
That's disappointing son. We’ll have to make due. My guess is this encounter will be long done well one way or another before 20 minutes. I’d say we all just assume that Comet will be unavailable for the apprehension.
Not a problem Cap- says Mr. Victory. I haven’t been able to cut loose in a long time. Got allot of pent up energy that I can direct to Blackthorns’ jaw via my fists. I’m predicting one punch and one fall.
Let’s not get cocky son. I’ve seen allot of unbelievable outcomes over the years, and unlike the movies the good-guys don’t always win.
We’ll see Cap, we’ll see- says Mr. Victory as he cracks the knuckles of his massive fists.
Comet, are you ready?- asks Shard.
Give me 30 more seconds. How far out are we?
Within 10 miles. I’m concerned about the sound we’re generating at this speed. Want to get it muffled ASAP.
Check. Get ready. Engage system connect in 10 seconds.
Great. We should have at least 3 minutes of invisible descent.
Alright gents. Let’s get ready- says Captain Freedom.
Definite lock on Blackhorn Captain. He’s just……standing there. Don’t know if that means he’s hurt or waiting for us. Guess we’ll find out soon.
Comet shudders as massive energy leaves his body. Everyone knows it’s “go time”. After two minutes of relative clams, Shard makes a quick left on the stick, followed by an abrupt downward thrust. He makes a quick pull up on the throttle and like that the craft touches ground.
Move!- shouts Captain Freedom as the hatch hisses open.
A cloud of dust and sand surrounds the area. Approximately 30 yards away an imposing outline is easily visible. Captain Freedom, Mr. Victory, and American Banner exit the craft in a rapid and fluid motion. They advance 15 yards till Captain Freedom raises his fist. The trio stops just outside the bulk of the dust cloud, wondering what’s coming next. Blackhorn stand immobile, eyes cast down. Muscles tense as Captain Freedom lowers his shield ever so slightly.
We wait for Shard- Captain Freedom says- not taking his eyes off Blackhorn. Despite the residual dust, he doesn’t even blink.
Seconds later Shard lets loose with a quick shout as he exits the craft. Mr. Victory turns and says- Here comes Shard get...
A blast of light, or technically darkness, explodes in the area. Where once American Banner once stood behind Mr. Victory, now he has an unobstructed view of Blackhorn. Shard stops in his tracks and rolls into the sand. Captain Freedom begins rapidly backpedaling, pushing American Banner with his free hand.
Retreat! Retreat!- shouts Captain Freedom.
When a living legend lets loose with such a blood-curling cry the response is immediate. American Banner turns and sprints towards the craft. Shard rises from the ground and within 4 steps is back to the ship’s hatch. He scrambles in, and after a quick look at his motionless friend Comet, dives into the pilot’s seat. Within seconds American Banner and Captain Freedom leap through the same hatch. Comet hits the thrusters and the craft rapidly rises. He initiates a defensive flight path; mind still numb to what he just witnessed. Did it really happen?
There were no other blasts, which really surprised me- says Shard. Thought for sure Blackhorn would at least try to take us down. Either he couldn’t or didn’t.
Incredible- replies Spy. Absolutely incredible. Captain, what can you add?
Well Spy, I was focused on Blackhorn, so I honestly missed “it”. I will say I swear his head didn’t even move. None-the-less, in a flash there was just a bolt of pure darkness.
He had turned to say something to me Spy- says American Banner. I was looking directly at him and then there was nothing. It happened in the blink of an eye.
How is it possible? Does Blackhorn have the meteorite’s power already, or did he just let loose with his power reserves? Nothing like this has ever been recorded in past encounters.
To totally evaporate Mr. Victory, he had to be juiced. I fear he has the meteorite. We may be too late- adds Shard.
Then why not take out the plane, and therefore the rest of Victory Squad?- asks Spy.
Sudden power drain from the blast perhaps?- suggest Comet. The energy to kill Allen had to be immense. Perhaps he was staggered momentarily too. Either way, I feel fortunate to have made it out.
No way to sugar-coat this; it’s bad. In just under 3 weeks we’ve lost Bronze Scarab, Jackrabbit, and Mr. Victory. We’re on edge. Just before your arrival I heard that the Fortress may be compromised. We all want to be avengers at this point, but I don’t want us running off half-cocked- says Spy. Let’s head down the hall and check in with the C.O.R.E. members. Time-Rider should be done with their debriefing. Maybe they’ll have some insights from their encounter. Next, let’s call in Phantom Marvel. Have a feeling we’re going to need some new yellow and blue muscle…
End Part 1