Chapter 6

D Heikes

Aaron called several members of the Onami, and set up a meeting at Gordon Stacy’s office for eleven o’clock that night. Thauma Guard said she would meet him at the apartment, then follow him to the meeting. Shadow Pain was in as well. Aaron had hesitated calling on Dr. Ward again for this mission, since he had his hands full with two teenaged kids that had fallen into his lap, so to speak. Instead, he called upon an Empathic Illusion Controller called Ever-Night, brought to the Onami by two other members, Ginger Blaze and Khazm, who also joined the team. He would have liked to have called Kwang Ghe, but the fighter was deep in a mission with the ArchAngels of the Apocalypse, a Super Group run by two friends, Skida Marink and Celsius Bane, which had formed a coalition to fight side by side with the Onami. NyteHawk, and N0VA 1 rounded out the team.
At ten thirty, PhoenixHawk and Thauma Guard made their way through the night. An overcast had moved in and a light rain fell. Though Thauma Guard could protect him from physical harm with force fields, nothing kept the rain from matting his hair down to his forehead, or running down his back underneath his armor. Reaching inside of himself, he drew on the fires that burned within, allowing them to bleed very gently to the surface, heating the air around himself just enough to evaporate the rain that hit him. The effect was to cloud his body in steam, leaving a contrail behind him as he flew.
The distraction of the rain nearly cost him his life as he came through the tunnel from Talos Island into Founder’s Falls. The trail of steam following behind him acted as a beacon, clearly visible through the drizzle like a meteor streaking through the sky. From one of the cloud-reaching skyscrapers a shot rang out as a Crey Sniper shot him with a high powered rifle. The slug rang against his chest armor, but instead of penetrating or ricocheting off of the composite plating, it exploded, a small flash surrounding him and freezing him in mid flight.
The cold was intense, and though it took only a second for the fires that raged within PhoenixHawk to explode outward and clear the ice, it was long enough for him to plunge to the ground. Thauma Guard had been ahead of him, moving between the buildings, but as he hit the ground he heard her voice through the team communicators yelling "Ambush!"
He hit the ground hard, and rolled left to dissipate some of his momentum. Coming upright he found himself face to face with a full squad of Crey Security, ten or more. Backing them up were two Tanks.
"It’s him," one of the Tanks said.
The Security team rushed forward, some having holding steel batons, others brandishing guns.
PhoenixHawk spread his arms low and wide, opening a Burn around himself, keeping the attackers away from melee distance. The Security men with guns opened fire, but his armor turned most of the bullets away.
One of the Tanks blasted him with a bolt of cerulean energy, equal to one of his own attacks. The hit knocked him back, off his feet and out of the protective Burn.
The other Tank lashed out with and electric blast, but the energy dissipated in the force bubble that sprang up around him. Thauma Guard was standing behind him, tendrils of dark energy spreading around her arms as she wove the protective spells.
PhoenixHawk kicked himself up off the ground, and concentrated hard, pulling the energy into a tight, intense Sniper Blast that hit the Power Tank in the chest and sent it sprawling.
Thauma Guard threw a cone of dark energy at the Security team, opening a rift in reality and drawing dark, howling Tenebrous Tentacles from a nether world. The Tentacles wrapped themselves deeply around the Security team, leaching their life-force slowly from them, holding them in place.
A bright flash of fire burst in the middle of the Security team, who were already struggling with the howling things twisting at their legs, and now had glowing embers flying into their eyes, blinding them.
Ginger Blaze landed from a high jump next to Thauma Guard and reinforced the force fields around both heroes as Thauma had mentored her to do. Her husband, Khazm, fell into the security team, dark energy swirling around him, lashing out at the security force and draining more of their energy as his fists extracted a physical toll.
Shadow Pain flashed into existence between the two Tanks, her Katana a whirling blur. The Power Tank had regained his feet, lashing out again at PhoenixHawk, but his attacks were turned by the multiple Force bubbles surrounding him.
The Voltaic Tank was locked in combat with Shadow Pain. Arcs of electricity lashed out, missing nearly every shot, as the small hooded woman shimmered in and out of visible existence, striking at incredible speed against the Tank’s armored suit.
A fireball exploded over the trapped Security team as N0VA 1 entered the fray. The fiery explosion past completely around Khazm as he dispatched several members of the Security team, a testament to N0VA’s increasing skill. The blast, added to the leeching effects of the tentacles and blinding effect of Ginger Blaze’s ash, was more than the remaining Security members could handle. They collapsed to the ground, their bodies and senses overwhelmed.
The Power Tank rushed forward, getting between Shadow Pain and PhoenixHawk. PhoenixHawk tried to catch the Tank in a Ring of Fire, but the Tank brushed aside the hold as if it were nothing, and leapt straight up into the air, both hands raised high above its armored head, slamming them down with the force of its own weight and a harsh blast of energy combined.
The hit was devastating. Though incredibly difficult to hit directly, the shockwave from the Power Tank’s strike bowled over Shadow Pain, sending her tumbling. PhoenixHawk was thrown back, crashing down hard on the composite armor protecting him.
A green nimbus spread over the Onami Heroes as Ever-Night joined her team, the minor wounds any had sustained quickly disappeared. Shadow Pain recovered quickly and once more fell upon the Voltaic Tank. The Tank caught her only once with a blast from both hands before she landed a hard upward strike, lifting the armored assailant from his feet. Her katana lashed out like a viper, cutting through the weak points in the Tanks Armor, severing power lines and shutting down the Power Suit for good.
The Security team had been subdued, and the full force of the Onami members now fell upon the Power Tank. Though able to avoid the holding attacks that had stopped the Security team, the Tank was soon overwhelmed as N0VA 1 and PhoenixHawk poured on energy and fire blasts. Ever-Night cast a bright Flash illusion, momentarily overloading the visual inputs to the Tank and blinding it. Khazm added his dark attacks, as did Thauma Guard. Ginger Blaze caused a rain of burning embers to fall upon the Tank. In only moments, the sheer weight of the Onami crashed over the Tank like the cresting wave insignia that the Team took from its name, leaving the Tank unconscious among its cohorts.
"Sorry I got here so late," Ever-Night said.
"No problem," Khazm said. "You’re still on time for the meeting."
"Yeah," Ever-Night replied. "But I almost missed all the fun."
"It wouldn’t have been much fun if you guys hadn’t shown up," PhoenixHawk said. "Thanks for the assist."
"We’re always here to help our fearless leader," Ginger Blaze said, a wide grin on her face.
"The ‘Fearless Leader’ always seems to need help," Thauma Guard said.
PhoenixHawk shook his head, smiling at his friends. "I get no respect," he said.
"We respe…" Thauma Guard said, choking halfway through the words, then stopped and grinned.
"Just couldn’t say it, could you?" Ginger asked.
"I tried," Thauma said, sounding innocent.

PhoenixHawk sighed. "Ok, ok. Come on, wise guys, we have a briefing to attend." Speaking briefly into his cell phone, he called for a police team to pick up the unconscious Crey members, then moved off with his team to meet with Gordon Stacy.
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