Defenders #9

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Defenders #9

Post  Paul Effin' Schultz on Mon May 27, 2013 3:38 pm

Defenders #9
"Sacrifice!"
By Paul E. Schultz

Several miles outside of Chicago, nestled amidst thick tree lines, stood a small, private airfield. A handful of men in coveralls milled about the grounds, moving in and out of the hangar and manned the controls of the satellite radio building. A sleek, black G-V stood waiting at the end of the runway, poised for action. The Cadillac Escalade raced through the outer gate marked "Private Property: Keep Out," maneuvered across the landing strip and circled the idling jet. A handful of brightly clad figures, Nighthawk, Spitfire, Demolition Man, X-51, Defensor, Red Guardian and Temple climbed from the Escalade, where they were met by one of the technicians.

"She's ready for take-off, Mr. Hayes," said the technician above the whine of the engines.

"Good work, Mr. Roth," said Nighthawk. "You and your crew are to be commended for your quick response. Especially at this time of night."

"My please, sir."

"What?" asked Red Guardian sarcasm dripping from her thick, Russian accent, "You don't have a replacement for the prototype the Dragon Man destroyed, Hayes? I'm disappointed."

"Dragon Woman," said Temple, unheeded.

"Well, I'm rich," said Nighthawk, smiling from one corner of his face, "but I'm not Tony Stark rich."

"Man, I hate flyin'," groaned Demolition Man. "It don't seem to agree with me."

"Statistically speaking," began X-51. "Flyin is--"

Demolition Man put a beefy hand across the machine man's "mouth" and said, "Nearly getting killed in the air twice in one lifetime is enough for me, thank you."

"Am I the only one who is more than just a little bit worried about going up against the likes of Zemo and his crew?" asked Defensor to Temple.

"Someone has to do it," she replied, trying not to sound unsure of herself, "and it damn sure won't be the Avengers."

"Okay, Defenders," announced Nighthawk. "Let's get--"

Suddenly, the radio satellite was engulfed in a halo of white light that lit up the tarmac. Defenders and crewmen alike shielded their eyes from the burst or radience. The air seemed to crackle with life, sending shivers through everyone around it. In the space of half a heartbeat, the light swallowed up the small air strip. Then as instantly as the light show had appeared, it was gone. As everyone's eyesight returned, they saw an enormous humanoid figure of pure light standing near the satellite. The air about it shivered like heatwaves. Two red eyes seemed to open as if it were waking for the first time. As the Defenders took in the incredible sight, the glowing giant spotted them.

"What...the...hell?!" gasped Demolition Man.

"Analysis, X-51!" barked Nighthawk.

"Inconclusive at this point, sir," announced X-51, whose hand had already shifted into a small radar-like dish. "Energy reading are off the scales. I cannot seem to--"

"Destroy all combatants!" sounded the giant in a voice both inhuman and electronically modulated. From its two claw-like hands, flashes of light sizzled across the air strip.

"Scatter!" screamed Spitfire.

The strange giant's light rays licked the side of the G-V, causing it vaporize as the Defenders and crewmen hastily spread out.

"The plane?!" gasped Roth. "It...it just disappeared!"

"Roth!" shouted Nighthawk, taking to the air. "You and your men get to safety!"

"You don't have to tell me twice!" shouted the technician as he ran for the cover of the hanger.

"Red Guardian!" shouted Nighthawk. "Hit that thing with everything you've got! I don't know what it is, but I doubt--"

"Way ahead of you, Hayes!" replied Red Guardian, leaping into the air, radiant jet-stream following behind her as she dove headlong towards the giant.

With a comet-like tail of fiery light, Spitfire zig-zagged across the air strip, shouting, "We need to get the civilians to safety!"

Demolition Man, Defensor and Temple, who at this point had grown to nearly eighteen feet in height, quickly grabbed the technicians closest to them.

"Sir," informed X-51, "I don't advise sending Red Guardian--"

The night sky lit up in a cascade of crimson as Red Guardian unleashed twin blasts of energy into the glowing giant. The creature seemed to pay the attack little attention, pausing momentarily. To their combined disbelief, the rest of the Defenders watched in awe as the creature seemed to increase in size, towering higher even than Temple herself.

"According to my scanners," explained X-51, "the creature has the capacity to absorb and manipulate energy. Even convert matter to energy."

"What are you says, X-51?" asked Nighthawk.

"The creature didn't simply vaporize the aircraft," explained the machine man, "but rather broke it down to its subatomic particles and absorbed it. It did the same to Red Guardian's radiation blasts."

"Are you saying it's unstoppable?" gasped Nighthawk.

"Not unstoppable," replied X-51. "But rather--"

Twin streams of razor-like light sheared through the night, vaporizing X-51's body. To the combined horror of the machine man's teammates, they watched as his head toppled to the asphalt and skidded about like a tin can.

"No!" shouted Spitfire, racing to scoop up her fallen companion's head. To her surprise, she noticed his eyes were still aglow.

"I'm all right, your ladyship," X-51 explained. "Merely lost my head, you might say."

"Again with the jokes?" Spitefire replied, half laughing, fighting tears.

The glowing giant repeated, "Destroy all combatants!" and unleashed twin streams of flashing energy. The Defenders scattered as the energy attack at away at the asphalt, leaving an enormous crater.

"Why does that sound so damn familiar?" grumbled Demolition Man, setting down one of the technicians.

"Say what?" asked the man.

"The guy's 'battle cry'," said Demolition Man. "I've heard it before, but I can't place it."

"I know what you mean," said the technician. "Like somethin' I used to hear when I was a kid, but--"

"That's it!" whooped Demolition Man. "Back when I was a kid, I played a lot of video games back in the arcade in the old neighborhood. That battle cry belonged to a game called 'Videoman'!"

"My, God, I think you're right," said the technician. "The game was unbeatable!"

By this time, Nighthawk had joined the two men. "Are you saying that's some kind of stone-age video game come to life?"

"Sure looks like it," declared Demolition Man.

"Well, what the hell's it doing here?" shouted Nighthawk. "And how the hell do we stop it?"

"That's just it," replied Demolition Man. "Videoman was unbeatable."

Above them, Red Guardian continued to pelt the radiating giant with blast after blast, unaware of what was being said down below.

Spitfire, still carrying X-51's head, raced up beside her companions, announcing, "X-51 has a plan!"

"Spit it out!" retorted Nighthawk.

"If the creature is a being of pure energy," said X-51, "perhaps we can drain some of it off, perhaps even incapacitate it."

"Sounds like a plan," replied Nighthawk, taking to the sky.

"But, how--" Spitfire watched as Nighhawk sped towards Red Guardian.

Above the crackling of energies, Nighhawk shouted to Red Guardian, "Tania! Your blasts have the opposite effect! Reverse them and absorb as much of his energy as you can!"

"What?!"

"Just do it!"

From below, the grounded Defenders watched in amazement as Red Guardian created a vortex of brilliance around the glowing giant, channeling it into herself. In a spectacular light show, Red Guardian's aura seemed to increase in size and intensity as the giant let out an electronic howling sound.

"It's working!" gasped Temple, shielding her eyes. "But, how much can she hold?"

"Something tells me we'll soon find out!" shouted Defensor, feeling helpless in spite of his nearly indestructible vibranium armor and shield.

The glowing behemoth seemed to shrink before their disbelieving, squinting eyes and, in one final flash of light, it was gone. Standing in its place, bathed in the light of the glowing Red Guardian, stood a young, black haired man in glasses. He wore a black and yellow uniform of gloves and cuffed boots. The young man took a slow glance around himself, eyes wide with terror, and crumbled to the ground.

"Hayes!" shouted Defensor, pointing to the sun-like Red Guardian still hovering in the sky. "Do something! This doesn't look good!"

Nighthawk crouched to take flight, wings outstretched, when Red Guardian held out her hands, shouting, "Stop! Don't come any closer! It's too dangerous. There's no telling how much or what type of radiation I've absorbed! I don't know how long I can contain it!"

"Mi amor!" gasped Defensor. "My armor! Perhaps I can--"

Red Guardian looked to Defensor, "I doubt even your vibranium armor could absorb this much energy."

With that, she looked skyward and was gone in a streak of light.

"Tania!" shouted Defensor, falling to his knees.

"Where did she go?" gasped Demolition Man.

As if in answer, a bright red star erupted high in the velvet sky.

"No!" cried Defensor, removing his helmet. "Mi amor!"




Paul Effin' Schultz

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Re: Defenders #9

Post  Mechajared on Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:18 am

Awesome story Paul, I've really been getting into it. You have a knack for making B-listers as cool as the A-listers.

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Re: Defenders #9

Post  Paul Effin' Schultz on Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:53 pm

Isn't that what it's about? Seriously, they're my favorite characters, heroes and villains alike, because they're not aware they're B-listers.

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Re: Defenders #9

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