Sky of Fire:
Part Two
by
David McFarland

"U.S.M.C. Helo Pilot Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Tanter.
Area secure. Will stand by for the Blackhawks."

"Roger Colonel. Blackhawks moving in. Get a double
check of your area," the radio spouted back at the
pilot.

"Alright Buddy. Lets get a clean sweep." The RAH-66
Comanche did a slow 360 degree turn in the clearing of
the tropical Okinawa area. This was one of the final
battle-zones of WWIII. The clearing was silent. So
far nothing.

"Colonel, and contact."

"Negative HQ. Drop down the Raiders." The Marine
Raiders were some of the most elite of the U.S.
military. They had secured the island of Guadalcanal
in WWII, and countless other battles had proven them
some of the best fighters in the world.

The pilot, whose callsign was "Sky Burn", his
co-pilot, callsigned "Buddy", did a triple check, just
for the sake of saying that the area was safe for the
Raiders. His radar showed no contacts, other than the
three Blackhawks incoming from their makeshift base
and their escort fighters high overhead.

Ryan's eyes wanted to do the checking this time. His
vision faded off into the darkness of the jungle.
Nothing. Wait...something moved. "Buddy, get a
telescope of that area. Right over there, about 30
feet from that large tree. Then send me the visual."

"Nothing sir." Seconds later on his control panel
screen he saw a telescope of the area. Nothing. Ryan
wasn't satisfied. Neither were his instincts. His
instincts never lied to him when he really listened to
them.

The pilot switched his helmet Heads-Up-Display to heat
signature. To his horror, fifty red-hot blobs showed

Just as the Blackhawks were not forty feet off
the Landing Zone. Ryan went into a fight-or-flight
mode. "Buddy pelt that area from 10 o' clock to 1' o
clock! Blackhawks pull out! LZ is hot!"

The chin gun opened up at his co-pilots command, and
the Blackhawks slowed their descent. Ryan lifted his
helicopter over one hundred fifty feet, clearing the
treetops. He re-looked at the red-blobs, zooming in
on them. One carried a long-thick stick-like object.
It flared a pure white heat.

The Comanche Reconnaissance & Assault Helicopter
barrel-rolled and the Rocket Propelled Grenade missed
by mere feet, by the helicopter hit skinned the top of
the canopy. Gunfire met them. Two enemy helicopter
Friend or Foe signatures appeared on the radar screen.
As did their rockets. Bullets pinged off the armor.
Rockets whooshed past the cockpit as the U.S.M.C.
Comanche raced mere feet above the treetops.

"Cobra One and Two, light them up!" The two F-15 E
Strike Eagle fighters had already sprang into action
and swooped down like their namesakes. Two rockets
exploded just outside the canopy of the craft. Four
more World Wide Liberation Army helicopters surrounded
them.


***


The hero woke up in a puddle of sweat. His pillow was
soaked. As was the collar of his under-shirt. Ryan

went into the bathroom and splashed water on his face,
then decided to take a shower. He remembered that dusk
as vividly as the dream was. He remembered the
fighters and his wingman had rescued him from that
ordeal. He remembered the back-in-time trip to the
distant planet were he received his technology based
power, how they had weakened. How he had made it back
to earth. How his best friend had died at the hands
of an alien race. How his other was now to carry the
weight of their Super-group.

After the shower, Ryan woke up his roommate. "Chill,
ya up? Time to go check with our contacts."

It took a minute for the Zodian alien to respond.
"Shut-up. It's 4 am. Most villains aren't even up
this early.'

"What about the 5th Column Vampyri? They are usua-"

"Shut-up! Go clean your suit! Make some coffee!
Leave me alone!"

Tanter ran through his armor's diagnostics, but kept
it off for the time being. He made some coffee and
toast, which the smell of actually got his friend
awake. "So Chillbain, did the caffeine float right
through your door?"

"Ryan, don't bother with me until the coffee kicks
in."

***

"The contact says this is the place." The
katana-wielding hero Knife-Edge said to his
companions, Warrior Sholan, who brandished the same
weapon, Blaster Jockman, who was able to harness
energy into ranged blasts and used gadgets to aid him,
Chillbain, the ice-launching Zodian, and Sky Burn,
bearing an Assault-Rifle and had energy cuffs within
his wrist, all of these members were heroes of the
Xtreme Warriors.

"Typical. The 5th loves these places." Blaster
Jockman looked the old warehouse over. "Can't wait to
kick some Neo-Nazi cans."

"Me neither. Let's get inside. Now." Sky Burn
opened the door and walked it. From the second the
heavy, metallic door had creaked open the first
millimeter, gunfire could be heard.

The five Warriors glided inside silently, though they
doubted they would be heard over the sounds of
fighting. They were in the lobby of the warehouse,
vacant of other sentient life. A quick look around
the corner of a hallway to the side proved useful.
As the group walked around the corner they saw a dark
light radiating from another hallway on their left,
but no 5th Column soldiers were seen. Heard, on the
other-hand, was still the case. The firefights had
nearly completely halted. The dark light had grown.

Someone spoke from the hallway. "Accept the shard!"

Warrior Sholan whispered to his teammates, "Shard?
That sounds like something the Circle of Thorns would
say."

The voice spoke again, angrier this time. "Accept
the Nictus Shard!"

This time, a response came. "Never!"

Not even a second after this, the heroes sprang into
action and launched around the corner, the three
ranged heroes launching ice, energy, and hot lead.
The two katana fighters jumped over their arches of
fire into the group of villains. While the two
sword-fighters hacked away, explosive blasts hit enemy
after enemy. Bullets sprang through more, and ice
propelled and encased still more. Sky Burn unleashed
a fully automated series of bullets into his foes.

When the superheroes actually got a look at those
they had made unconscious from pain, they did not bear
the uniforms of the 5th Column.

They wore more tanish-brown uniforms that looked like
military dress uniforms, only toughened up. They had
a cloth over their face, finished off by eye goggles
and earpieces. Shoulder pads and armor adorned them,
and the uniforms were completed with combat boots and
gloves.

A dark purple shard of what looked like glass lay on
the floor. It was the source of the dark light.
Chillbain went to pick it up, when a startled sound
came from the shadows of packing crates.

"No! Don't touch it!"

Instinctively, Sky Burn,Sholan, and Knife-Edge brought their weapons up into a
fighting stance.

"Don't shoot either!" A soldier wearing a red and black 5th Column Rasaerai
combat uniform walked forward with his arms in the air. "It will possess you."

"What will?" Knife-Edge asked.

"The Nictus. That is a Nictus Shard."

"What the heck is a Nictus."

"The Nictus are an alien race, spirit-like, called
Khlydians. They possess creatures and share control
of their bodies. They give them power. I suppose
they intended for me to be one of their 'Galaxies.'
The Galaxies are possessed by the Nictus then trained
by their leader. Right now, our leader Requiem is in
a dispute with the Nictus leader for control of the
5th Column. This new group you see before you is The
Council."

"Ok then. Thank you for your time." Sky Burn took
his new Teleport-Arresting-Device, aimed it at the
former 5th Columner, and pressed the button to send
them to the Ziggurat in Brickstown. It took a few
seconds for the GPS satellite to zero in on the
coordinates and send them to the Teleportation Grid
Central Command Headquarters, to take away the
villain. The heroes then proceeded to do the same to
the rest of the group they had previously finished.

"Well, that's the last of 'um."

"Maybe it will be a good idea to split up. These
guys are easy enough. If you get in trouble just
holler over the comm. Umm...lets see, you guys all
split separately, and Chill and I will go along
together." The reason for Sky Burn's decision was
logical. Chillbain, who wore a white bandana
completely covering the top of his head, had recently
been severely hurt on his last mission while he was
solo-ing. On top of that, his powers had been
temporarily lost, and he was still recovering, and
needed a little help. All of them knew this, but none
dared say it. Chillbain was their leader, and he
needed all the dignity and respect they could give
him.

They all trotted down respective corridors of the
warehouse and did what heroes do best. Get rid of
villain threats.
Gregory Wolfhardt looked at the rest of his squad.
Eight of the finest 5th Columners there were. His
Captain, an Oberst, bore a shotgun slung over his
shoulder. The others carried their weapons of choice.

Wolfhardt, the only one of them who had actually
fought for the Nazis during WW2, thanks to
experimenting, preferred a rifle. They were sturdy,
could load different types of ammunition, were
versatile, and all around good weaponry. The helmet
he wore was standard 5th Column issue. From what he
saw, The Councils helmets were poor. This squad had
proven that, and the dead bodies they had stacked in
the corner reinforced it. They offered little head
protection; they themselves didn't appear to be
skilled at weaponry either.He was awoken from his thoughts
when he heard voices.

"Captain! Heroes!"

"Don't be so sure. Could be more Council."

Another squad member wielding a heavy, silvery
machine gun at his hip spoke. "Whoever it is won't
last long."

Two heroes walked around the warehouse corner. One,
adorned in sleek, light blue and white tights, a
bandana over his skull and glasses, noticed them
immediately and called to his companion then flung
shards of ice at them.

The other, whom his friend called "Skai Burrne," was,
covered in green and light brown camouflage. His
blonde hair slightly curled over his black headband,
and his torso and arm armor was dull as to not give
off glint. He had black gloves and camouflage pants
and combat boots. Worst of all, he carried an assault
rifle.

It was raised right at Wolfhardt. He ducked out of
the way just before the sniper blast would have gone
straight through his abdomen. Instead, it punctured
the leg of his Captain. All of the Columners
responded with gunfire. He and his Captain were left
standing near the end of the fight. The gun-wielder
slung his rifle and red energy engulfed his hands.
One fist knocked straight into Wolfhardt's chin,
sending him sailing into the wall, ricocheting of it,
and behind some crates. They both turned their
attention to the Captain.

Blast of ice and lead after lead and ice punched into
the Oberst one after another. Just when he was about
to fall to his knees, he quickly changed form into a

large, snarling, smelly War Wolf. The creature swiped
at one of the heroes and caught him in the side. As
he brought the ice blaster close to his mouth to bite
him, the other hero landed a kick followed by a punch
at the intended mouth, snapping his neck. The
creature died instantly.

Without pain. Without remorse. Without regret.

"Chillbain, are you all right buddy?" Sky Burn said
to his comrade. The three large cut marks had drawn
blood and were soaking the area of impact with it.
"I'll...be ok. Say, didn't you hit an eighth one?
There are only seven here." Chillbain remarked as
they 'cleaned up the mess.'

The shadows flinched at this, but neither hero
noticed.

"The little bugger must have run off. Come on. Let's
get moving."

Little did they know that two eyes looked after them
from the darkness. Two eyes of pain, anger, distress,
and hatred. Two eyes covered by a mask of strength
and loyalty. The mask blended with the malice; the
true feelings. The soldier wanted revenge.

"There! Hit the bot there!" A hulking robot with an
energy-cannon arm charged the five heroes that had
regrouped to fight this foe.

Knife-Edge and Warrior Sholan hacked away at the head,
legs, and arms trying to render it useless. One of
the katanas hit a cord, and the swiping arm gave went
limp. The Wolf-pack bot tried hopelessly to swing it,
but failed. The other arm connected with Sholan and
then fired at Sky Burn, and hit. As it computed the
hit, Blaster Jockman launched an explosive energy
burst into the cannon of the hulk, which was sent
reeling back into the lower-torso of it. The robot
snapped in half of the force, and was gutted by
Knife-Edge's blade. It looked like it was having a
seizure for a second, then went silent.

Chillbain's face turned over the battle area.
"There!" He sent a large burst of ice at a foe, which
fell.

"That should be the last of them." Jockman said.

"Wait a second." Chillbain ran his hand over a
wall-face that looked strange...almost...too smooth to

be real... to...clean compared to the area around it.
As he continued to rub it, a female voice abruptly
stopped his hand it the middle of a stroke.

"Access Denied. Please retry to scan your hand."

"Ha. Their own technology causing their demise."
Chillbain sent a cold blast through the wall face he
has just touched, which sparked as he expected, and
then the wall beside it rose vertically up. Just as
it did, dozens of Council members poured through
aroused by the movement of the wall.

The occurring battle was fierce. Gunfire, dark
energy, raw energy, ice, and fire everywhere. Melted
metal and unconscious villains went to the floor.
Chillbain, still partially hurt by the encounter with
the Wolf-creature, suddenly went into a kneeling
position. Sparks flew from the side of his thigh. It
didn't take long for what had happened to register to
Warrior Sholan. A Council bullet had hit, and
actually destroyed, his hospital teleporter. Another
round connected with Chillbain's chest, and sent him
backwards, hitting his head hard on the floor. Just
as a Council Galaxy trooper was about to strike a
final blow on the fallen hero, Sholan's sword plunged
through his lung. He gasped for breath and was
knocked out from the pain within seconds. The katana
withdrew out of him. Just as another Council soldier
was about to shoot Chillbain, Sholan took off his own
hospital teleporter out and slapped it on to
Chillbain's arm, where it adhered and took him away to
the hospital to be healed in the regeneration vats.
Not half a second after he disappeared, several
bullets whizzed right through where his head would
have been.

Sky Burn gunned down several more troopers and hit a
flying robot with an energy punch, which sent it
hurtling through the air, then exploding. "Go! Move
forward!" Upon Sky Burn's command, him now the team's
leader because of Chillbain's absence, the other three
charged, downing villain after villain. Soon the area
was a wasteland.

"Well. That's it for now. Good work team. Let's go
give Chillbain some 'Get - Well- Soon cards." The
foursome smiled at the humor. Sky Burn was, of
course, joking. Chillbain was probably already on his
way back to see if he could help anyone.

Wolfhardt came out of his hiding place. A quick
examination of the warehouse showed that no one was
there. It would be a long walk back to headquarters.
If the headquarters were still the 5th Column's. He
decided against it. Wolfhardt knew that Requiem would
be possessed by the Nictus. Vandal, on the other
hand, was mostly machine, the likely-hood of such
possessing was slim. The program that had given him
nearly eternal youth had been headed by the weapons
designer. Truly, Vandal would want what Wolfhardt
could help him get.

Dead Superheroes.
TO PART 3 >
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