By Sean McDonald
go left from here.”
“I say we go right. I see some guards over there.”
wasn’t the first argument I had with my armor, and it wouldn’t be
the last. The spirit trapped within inaudibly replied to me, “And
why, pray tell, do we want to get ourselves into trouble with them?”
“They wouldn’t post guards there if there weren’t something there
to guard. That’s probably where they keep the central computer.”
well. Right it is, then.”
I walked up to the door. The two guards
didn’t see me until I was right on top of them. Most minions I’ve
faced were buffoons and Countess Crey’s were no exception. Their first
sign of my presence was the red glow that reduced them to staggering
around like they had too much to drink at the last product launch
party. There are few things that amuse me more than suits showing
their true selves. With them stunned, there was no more need for stealth,
so I reverted back to my more visible form. The armor did its part.
Now it was time for me to do mine.
I drew my sword. The first vigilant
went down with a single massive blow to the head. The other one managed
to stagger away, but no matter. I gathered some of the armor’s negative
energy and hurled it at him. It hit hard, but it snapped him out of
his stupor. He looked over and saw the black and blue shrouded knight
before him. It was a sight Crey’s employees had learned to hate. “This
is a restricted area! Get lost, Spectreblade!” The suit-clad guard
let out an un-suitlike yell as he came charging at me at full speed.
Minions always charge at me. It never works. This particular minion
found himself flying through the air thanks to an upward slice hitting
him right in the chin.
“Goons,” I sighed indignantly. “Now if you’ll
excuse me, I have a day to save.” I walked past their unconscious
bodies and opened the door.
As I strolled through the lonely blue
corridor on the other side, I struck up a mental conversation with
the armor. “Blue seems to be such a popular color with villains. I
mean, how many labs with blue walls have we been in?”
voice echoed in my mind “I lost count at six score”
As I tried to
convert that to modern numbers, I continued to project my thoughts
to the armor. “You’d think at least once we’d run into one with red
walls, or even that stupid shade of green they use in schools and
hospitals and stuff.”
It was a mistake to let our minds wander. Someone
shouted “You’re gonna be as black and blue as that armor of yours
when I’m done with you!” I turned and saw another pair of suits. This
time one of them was a suit of high-tech armor. It was a metallic
white with blue shoulders that identified it as a Crey Cryo Tank.
I wasn’t afraid. I’d heard countless threats like theirs before. Besides,
my own armor was more than just iron. Dark clouds and haloes began
to form around me to shield me from their attacks as we braced ourselves
We shot a piercing glare at the tank’s unarmored little
helper and froze him where he stood so we could concentrate on the
more powerful foe. That more powerful foe attacked with some freezing
of his own. I felt the cold blast hit me, but I had felt worse. The
ice that formed on my armor slowed me down, but I kept moving toward
him. Once I was right in front of the cryo tank, the negative energy
that had pooled around my feet went to work, eroding my foe’s metal
shell. We started trading blows. At first I was just scratching the
armor, then my slashing started to show more substantial results as
my death shroud continued to corrode the cryo tank. My gleaming steel
sword shone brightly amidst the darkness surrounding me as I sliced
a gash in the weakened armor. A cold, white fog poured from the fissure
and onto the floor. I followed up with more strikes, carving more
outlets for the chilling mist. Realizing his suit was now nothing
but scrap metal, he ran for the exit. I hit him with a dark blast
as he fled, shattering what was left of his body armor and causing
him to collapse onto the floor. My attention turned to the straggler
I paralyzed and saw him face-down on the floor surrounded by the corrosive
dark energy. “So much for that goon,” I thought to myself.
computer was in sight. I just had to put the disk my contact gave
me in the drive and wait for the virus to upload. With the activation
of the virus, Crey’s latest corporate scheme would unravel before
its eyes. I walked up to the terminal and inserted the disk. A bar
appeared on the screen to track its progress. As the bar slowly filled,
I heard a strangely flat voice.
“Do you really think you can stop
the Countess?” The voice came from a helmeted man in blue and yellow
spandex. The emotionless monotone continued. “Resistance is pointless.
Give yourself up.”
“You first,” I responded. The shell of a man standing
in front of me was the ultimate suit. This exemplar of faceless conformity
was one of the Paragon Protectors, Crey Industries’ very own brand
of generic “heroes”. I was in for a fight.
All Paragon Protectors
wear the exact same costume as this one. The only differences between
them were their attack methods. I was hoping this particular one was
a claw or quill pattern Protector so my armor wouldn’t have to work
as hard to shield me. The glow emanating from his hands showed me
he wasn’t. He fired a power blast at me. I leapt out of the way and
threw a blast of my own as I dove for cover. Then I charged at him.
We fought intensely as the progress bar on the terminal continued
to fill. The battle was a spectacle of shimmering energy, metal, and
shadow, but I had gotten the upper hand. Then he raised his fist into
the air and yelled. As anyone who has ever dealt with the Protectors
will tell you, it is not good when one of them puts a fist into the
air. The heightened state he put himself in made attacking him all
but useless. I looked at the timer. There was still another minute
to go. I just had to hang in there a little longer.
I knew when he
was done with his power trip he would be an exhausted pushover, so
I stalled for time. The armor disappeared and in its place a veil
of wispy shadows formed. I was difficult to see in this state. The
powered-up Protector would have to find me to beat me. When he could
no longer see me, he spoke again with what little feeling he could
call forth. “It is pointless to hide from me.” Then he showed me why.
He began walking over to the computer to stop the countdown. I had
to blow my cover.
I jumped out and took a swing at him. It
missed. No surprise there. The fight was on again. I was hard to get
a bead on, but I still took heavy damage from the few blasts that
hit their mark.
Then I took a devastating energy punch that
knocked me to the floor.
The Protector stood over me, about to
finish me off when a voice from the computer interrupted him.
“Virus upload complete. Have a nice day.”
The Paragon Protector’s
moment of glory was over. I had won. My now depleted foe attempted
one last attack and was met by a helmet-cracking strike from my blade.
The hit was like that from my armor’s knighting ceremony all those
centuries ago, but painful.
“I dub thee Sir Doofus,” I quipped as
I stepped over him to leave.