Sky of Fire
By: Skyburn A.k.a. David McFarland

"This is Pilot Ryan 'Skyburn' Tanter of the U.S.
Marine Corps. My helo has taken a hit and is going
down, we need rescue aid pronto!"
"Skyburn what is your positi..."Static cut off the
Command Center's radio signal from the smoking
Comanche helicopter as it rapidly descended toward the jungle tree-line of Okinawa.
"Sky, we don't have much time!" A voice came from the gunner seat in front of him.
"Don't worry Buddy I've got a hold of her, just like
training drills." Sky could feel guilt start to
overwhelm him for lying to his gunner, co-pilot, and
dearest friend; Buddy. He knew they were going to die as the jungle canopy enveloped them.

"What's going on?" Ryan opened his eyes filled with
tears that clouded his vision. Suddenly his body
screamed out in pain, his arms, legs, chest,
everything. Before he blacked out from the feeling,
his vision cleared, and he saw four somewhat short,
pointy eared men with Jet-black armor-like suits and a harsh, desert-like landscape not-quite earthlike.

"Sky! Man! Wake up!"
"Buddy, five more minutes, its not even 3:00 am, we
aren't supposed to train until 6:00." Sky said
half-asleep, then woke up to a sharp whack on the
head. "WHAT I'M UP! Wait... this isn't Scott Air Force Base!"
"Uh!" Buddy grumbled. It's Okinawa, 2013, not
Boot-camp 2009."
Their downed chopper lay in a heap 10 feet away from
them, with a few small fires blazing on it.
"Put your hands in the air!" A few languages
surrounded them, most European. "Americans... make sure they get good... treatment at the base," an apparent leader of the World-Wide Liberation Army patrol squad laughed to his companions.
"Dangit! They found us before that rescue squad
could... they will need a bigger group to save us now." The pilot thought, then a sharp pain, from the butt of an assault rifle, ran across his neck and he blacked out.

He awoke once again, except now on a table... an
operating table, except there was no more pain,
replaced by the numbness of pain killers. Ryan looked around, and he seemed to be in a lab of some sort. A few creatures caught his eye as they came into focus; all looked very similar to the ones before, except instead of armor, they donned white cloaks. One took a needle up in his fist and spoke and somehow, Ryan understood him despite the difference in language.
"Don't be afraid, we rescued you after your ship
crashed here. You were in bad shape, we will have to
repair you." Then it hit Ryan. He remembered. After
the war, he built a small space craft to see if he
could break a hole in the time rift to go back in time
to undo something in the Third World War... but what?
What year was he in? Was he even in the same
dimension? All he could remember was he crashed on a strange planet after leaving Earth and breaking the time rift and he dreams of the War. Before the former pilot could question the creature, he was stuck with the needle it had held and fell back to sleep.

"Wake up you two, time for questioning! The
brown-haired one first!" The guard came into the cell,
unlocked Buddy and took him around a corner. Skyburn wondered how long they would remain captives. He figured until they died, were rescued, the war ended, or escaped. Then a sound pierced the air that brought him to his knees. A gunshot echoed through the halls. Soon the guard came back to the cell, only without Buddy.
"Your turn Blondie." He brought Ryan 'Skyburn'
Tanter into a room, and on the far end, was Buddy's
motionless body, with a bloodstain on his pilot's
jumpsuit, right over the torn-off name tag they had
abandoned during the crash, before capture.
"You can do this the easy way and live, or the hard
way and end up like your friend over there, in the
corner." The guard said." What is your Rank, Name,
Callsign, and Headquarters designation for starters"
"Why should I tell y-"
All of a sudden, gunfire burst out and Marines, U.S.
Marines, poured into the room... finally, it was over...
the war was over. Okinawa was taken, the last
stronghold of the opposition, Buddy; the last American casualty of WW3.

Ryan woke up on the table again in an empty room, and when he sat up, he suprisingly tore off the metal
guards around his wrists, and when he moved his feet, the ones around his ankles shattered into pieces.
When he went to pinch himself thinking it was another dream, his skin as tough as a titanium alloy, and yet, it still retained some of its normal soft texture. Sirens sounded as he burst through the door without opening it; he was free again!
Then a series of lasers boxed him in a section of the
corridor that led from the lab room. Trapped. Gasses
slowly filled the hall. "Not again!" Ryan dropped his
knees as he fell unconscious once more.
"Hey Ryan, ya busy?"
"Actually yea Bill. Just working on this again."
"Ryan, you've been workin' on that thing every spare
moment you've had since the war. You need to clear
that's space out. For crying out loud, it's been 2
years already! Your car is getting lonely out on the
driveway. A garage is meant for a car, not a
time-traveling space-ship."
"Bill, don't you have other neighbors to bother on a
Saturday?"
"Ryan, How do you know that it will work anyway?"
"I don't. I hope it will." Ryan dropped his welder
and thought to himself. "I hope it will. For Buddy's
sake."
"What is that tan piece you just welded on for? The
rest of it is black and gray."
He was referring to the brown-tanish piece of metal
Ryan had just been welding under the cockpit. The
former RAH-66 Comanche pilot stepped away. The piece read, "Major Ryan 'Skyburn' Tanter and Lieutenant Fredrick 'Buddy' William."
This time he awoke in a labor camp and was
immediately given a shovel and told to dig. When he
turned to see where he had been pointed to, a weight
was felt on his neck; a collar. When he went to run as fast as he had been able to or tried to find the
strength he had found at the lab, both were as human
ability, probably prohibited by the collar. Ryan
stared over the edge of an enormous pit filled with
toiling workers, all looked like the ones he had seen
at the lab or when he first woke up after the crash,
only they were dressed in soiled rags and looked as
though they had been working for years. A few were
different. Some were large, some had altered skin
color, and other small differences.

Over the period of the next few weeks he learned all
of the answers to the questions he had. The guards
there called him Skyburn, the only liberty he had was
choosing what he was to be called by and only that. He chose his name from his call sign in WW3. He was on the Planet of Zodia, inhabited by a race called
Zodians, and the other laborers were all Zodians, but
they were mutants and had powers, but were inhibited by the collars they wear on their necks.
When he prematurely escaped, they captured him. He was meant to hunt down these creatures he was
imprisoned with. He was given another chance to be
free; under the conditions he hunted the Mutants and
put them in these labor camps. He refused to be a
bounty hunter.
Skyburn met a few and befriended them, one called
X-ternal, especially reminded him of Buddy. Another,
Chillbain, became one of his closest friends. Before
he knew it Skyburn was shipped off to a different
labor camp. Days, weeks passed. Then one day early in the morning, blasts were heard outside Skyburn's bunkhouse. As soon as he looked out, Mutants from the former camp were rushing, more of flying, in the gate of the labor camp, fighting the guards. Skyburn rushed out and was soon released from the bonds of his collar and joined the fun blasting energy freely from his hands... and flying and zipping around at incredible speeds. Months of liberating camps passed, and order was restored to Zodia.

"We need a government!" An appointed Councilman
screamed to his fellows.
"What about one supreme ruler?" Another suggested
calmly.
"That was what Zodia used to have! Do you want that to have?" The first roared back.
"There must be something!" Throughout the whole palace hall, Zodians started screaming at one another, none satisfied with the others comments on ruling. None of them noticed a new entry into the area.
"People, people, please. Calm yourselves." Ryan glided past, floating a half-inch from the floor, but still
standing erect on air. "Back on Ear-"
"Oh not another one of your Earth stories! It's always
'This is how we do it on Earth,' or 'From my
experiences on Earth I-' "
"Let him speak."
"Well, in my count- faction of The United States of
America, our government is a Democratic-Republic.
While it has its flaws, It's the best thing we have on
Earth. Let me explain it to you." And so the former
helicopter pilot explained everything he could about
Democracy, and the Zodians, while some opposed it,
eventually decided it was a good idea, and ratified
their own Constitution and Bill of Rights, with large
suggestions from Chillbain and X-ternal, which were
used. Ryan Tanter declined a request for him to be
their President.

"How would you and Chillbain like to see Earth,
X-ternal?" Tanter asked X-ternal on a relaxing day,
sitting in the Royal Palace of the Capital city of
Zodia, after celebrating the new government and order
at a local political party. "I've been here on Zodia
for a few years now. Remember that ship I told you
about, the wreck we got scavenged my combat suit from? I figured out what time I made it to from when I left 2016. I made it back here sometime around, mind you, Iovershot by about 15 years and 500 light-years, 1995, then after we restored the government here, in other words, right now, it's the year 1998 on Earth, but I don't think I'm in the same dimension as my former Earth. The way I figure it from Zodian space maps, it'll take us around... a year and a half to get to
Earth, give or take a few months."
"Well, that's cool Skyburn, I'd really like that. I
can't believe you figured that all out. But then
again, how do we get to Earth?"
Ryan 'Skyburn' Tanter looked at him will a sly smile,
"Anyway we can."
"So how much will this assault rifle cost?"
"Just about $1,000, or 100,000 influence."
"I'll take it." Ryan gave the dealer a stack of bills
and took the assault rifle and some ammo.
"Do you need to learn out to use that thing? The
Paragon City training facility is right over there."
"No thanks, I'll be fine." Ryan walked out the door
and into City Hall. "I'd like to register for my hero
license."
"Ok Hero name?"
"Sky Burn. Two words."
"Powers?"
"Assault Rifle and Energy Manipulation."
"That would make you a blaster."
"Umm... ok..."
"How did you get your energy powers?"
"Cuffs are built into my wrists; advanced
technology."
"That would make you a technology origin. Please read
these forms, really read them, not just skim, and sign
these forms, hand them back to me and by that time we
will have your license all ready, ok?"
The forms simply stated that the only villians
Skyburn could complete annihilate had to be non-human
and not living. Ryan was ok with that; he just had to
be careful. They also said that he must abide by all
laws and listen to law enforcement, etc. Soon he
signed them, and as soon as the man at the hero
license desk looked at the signature he said, "You
know you didn't have to sign your real name. Oh well,
here is your license. It's waterproof, fireproof, and
won't break even if frozen. There is a little chip in
it so that reads your security level, and can be
raised by trainers." The kind man gave him another
card shaped disk, "This is your hospital tele-porter
device. When you are injured to a certain point, it
will tele-port you to a nearby hospital. Off you go!
And good luck! By the way, you first contact will be
assigned to you by Ms. Liberty out front."
"Thank you sir."


Years Later, Skyburn found himself fighting scores of
villains that posed more a threat than Hellions,
Skulls, or Trolls. Freakshow, Nemesis, Council, and
Crey Industries were his target, and to rid the City
of Rikti were his goal.
Before 2000, he fought enemies along the streets and
in their bases. Not substantial strength, but they
sufficed him.
He made countless friends, some heroes, some not. He
considered Paragon City his new home. At that time,
if you stood on top of Atlas's Globe, you could see
the towers of Steel Canyon, a sliver of the beautiful
Baumtown, that seemed like another part of Steel
Canyon, the wonders of Talos Island, and Independence
Port that Atlas had fought and died against the Nazis
over 40 years ago.
That all changed in the year 2000. One night,
spacecraft filled the night air as Skyburn was on
patrol with a Chillbain and X-ternal. They could only
stand in awe as for hours the craft hovered over
Paragon City. Officials hoped that these beings were
here to make peace, and hopefully they could share
technology.
They were wrong. Hours after they appeared, a
spacecraft positioned its center over Atlas's globe in
a sign of dominance over the human race, and let down
scores of troops: The Rikti invasion had begun. More
spacecraft positioned over places of high authority
and teleported down alien beings. The huge circular
ships fired volley after volley of particle and laser
cannons at heroes who attempted to destroy them and
their troops.

The Statesman made his way through ship after ship,
launching the burning wreckage into the sea, and other
heroes followed his example. The United States
Airforce responded quickly, doing what it could
against any form of invader. Unfortunately, one of
the most powerful division of military in the world
could to little. It was up to the heroes.
"Come guys, hurry up! We need to get to Atlas Park!"
"Skyburn, you can run twice as fast as we can fly
thanks to your energy!" X-ternal yelled at the speedy
gunman.
"Still, the Rikti aren't going to wait for us." The
trio of leaders of the newly formed supergroup, The
Xtreme Warriors weren't slowing on their advance to
Atlas Park. They figured that if they could free City
Hall, it would be easier to form a response to the
Rikti. Apparently, many others did too. The bulk of
Marines and Army Rangers, heroes without superpowers,
fought alongside those with them to get rid of the
menace. Skyburn, X-ternal, and Chillbain arrived in
time to help push back Rikti forces.
"Fight like your lives depend upon it!" Skyburn
launched a sniper volley into the headplate of an
armored Rikti Soldier, cleanly killing it.
A Marine close by looked at him over his M-4 assault
rifle. "They kinda do depend on it." At that, the
Marine took a shot from an invader's rifle to the
chest.
"Dangit! Chillbain! X-ternal! Cover me as I get
this guy to the hospital!"
"No need to worry about that." An Army Ranger slung
the downed soldier over his shoulder and took off
toward a first aid station... across the field of fire.
"Now there goes a real hero."
At that, Skyburn unleashed a fully automatic spray of
fire into the Rikti ranks, severely damaging a few.
Chillbain summoned a large ice storm over the group
of Rikti that surrounded the base of the City Hall
block, causing them to retreat a little. X-ternal
fired a bolt of telekinetic energy, forcing them back
further. Other heroes used their powers to clump them
together. Abram Tanks stormed the area, firing salvo
after salvo of armor piercing rounds into the closing
Rikti groups. The group of 400 Rikti were getting to
a point where the front row had to lay prone, the
second row had to kneel, and the top row had to stand,
just so that they could fire enough rounds to keep
heroes away. Ms. Liberty led a charge to the platform
where she once helped train heroes, slashing at Rikti
soldiers, followed by blasts of all kinds, whether
assault rifles from Marines, Army Rangers, and heroes,
to fire blasts. Few heroes dared to get within melee
range, but those with incredible strength, swords,
claws, and axes waded into battle along side Ms.
Liberty. Soon, Rikti were forced underneath the
platform of Atlas and to the closer recesses of City
Hall.
From the crowd of heroes someone heard a single voice
screamed "NOW!" and in the midst of the crowded Rikti,
three lone heroes appeared from being invisible, to
unleashing a miniature nova, annihilating close Rikti
Soldiers. Immediately these three were teleported by
other heroes away from the brawl to a safe recovery
area, obviously weakened by the valorous move. All of
the heroes gave a cheer, but surviving invaders stood,
and fired back, killing many heroes and soldiers. The
heroes attacked once more, but the spaceship that was
also being attacked turned its guns away from the
flying heroes attacking it to those attacking its
troops.
Skyburn saw this. "Everybody under Atlas!"
Immediately all heroes and soldiers within range dove
under the cover of Atlas's globe and killed the
remaining Rikti under it... just at the ship fired a
beam of energy down from its main cannon, enveloping
the outer portions of the structure. As soon as it
passes, heroes swarmed out and were greeted by volleys
of energy blasts.
"Attack!" Ms. Liberty yelled, and those who could fly
rose to strike the ship.
"Come on!" Skyburn, now alongside his teammates,
which now included a Captain of the Xtreme Warriors,
Red Hessian, assaulted the ship. All four flew up.
Only three made it there.
A bolt of energy screeched feet from Skyburn, and
impacted X-ternal. He was too high up and too
far-gone to be rescued. They didn't even notice he
was down until after the ship was flung into the far
edge of Paragon City.
"Where's X-ternal?" the Red Hessian looked at
Skyburn, her face puzzled as she alighted on the
ground and sheathed her Katana, covered in Rikti
blood.
They looked around, hundreds of Heroes, military men
and women, and Rikti bodies lay strewn on the ground.
A hero knelt down in front of City Hall, giving CPR to
another hero. Skyburn and Chill ran to see if they
could help. When they got there, they were shocked.
There lay X-ternal, a leg missing, and a huge hole in
his side and his arms in odd positions, obviously
broken in several places. "I saw him breathing,
knocked out, then he stopped so I started CPR." As
soon as he said this, X-ternal's Zodian eyes
fluttered.
'Chillba...in... my... broth... er... Zodian." The sad mutant
knelt at the wounded's side. "Take... command... of the...
Xtreme... Warriors."
With that, he passed, and from that day forth,
Skyburn swore that the Rikti menace would be ridden of
the Earth.
It was then, no surprise that Skyburn face as many
challenges and Task Forces as he could, always trying
to get stronger so he could purge the City of the
aliens.
"I must avenge X-ternal. I will avenge X-ternal. I
will aid Paragon City any way I can." Review this story
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