Fan Fiction: The Rise and the Fallen


American_Night

 

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PART I: Scorched Earth, Scorched Sky

“The history of Paragon has been interwoven with super-heroes for so long, it’s hard to tell where the fiction stops and the real story begins. I don’t see this pattern changing in the near future or the distant future. Speaking personally, I couldn‘t be happier.” ~ Ed Van Faust, Historian

Columns of Fire Smoke billowed high above the city, with it’s orange belly shadowed by the noxious black tops as it fumed and rolled across the sky. The wind blew in all directions and water vapor streamed from the ground up and fell back down causing the flames below to flicker and pulse like a beating heart. The city was dark, it’s power gone, the sun set and it’s streets filled with the cries for help and mercy.

Deep beneath the clouds a battle was being waged, one for the fate of Paragon. Damien Ellroy a.k.a. The Crimson Comet caught the gust of wind beneath him and knew he was in trouble. The intense thermal drafts from the fires below caused him to loose his flight path falling dangerously low to the flames. The rain and steam falling and rising all around him made his eye-goggles foggy and he strained to see the next few yards in front of him. If he was lucky, most of the buildings in this area would have been knocked down by now and he’d be safe to fly straight. He couldn’t chance raising above the smoke line; the alien craft would be sure to see him and open fire. The shockwaves of sound, thunder and the violence below made him shudder, or perhaps it was the turbulence from the changes in temperature.

The skies had not been the friendliest tonight; if you didn’t count the laser blasts, constant bolts of lightning, fountains of energy, the occasional bullet or two that pierced the sky, columns of fire that raised up defiantly to the heavens, then there was the weather. All night since the battle began it had grown increasingly worse, the weather-watchers (super-heroes with weather powers) had been mucking up all day trying to slow the alien advance, and all of them working independently of each other had caused all kinds of trouble. Several unexpected tornados, and even a mild hurricane had been set loose. Whole squads of heroes had been pummeled by basketball sized hail that were misdirected, and it was now out of control. All the weather-watchers could do was focus their energy on trying to stabilize the atmosphere so it wouldn’t hurt the defenders and civilians of Paragon City.

To make matters worse a huge earthquake had done tremendous damage to the south side of the city, it was set loose by several rolling stones (earth elemental heroes) who tried to coordinate a huge shockwave that stun the invaders before they entered the heart of the city. As smaller quakes destroyed buildings and set loose a fault line, natural earthquakes began to appear all over the country and the rolling stones were asked to halt using their powers until the fault could be patched up.

The Comet spotted his target, a safe zone admits the carnage and chaos, a radio tower still stood amidst the darkness, backlit by fire. It signaled a haven, and more importantly, the headquarters for this division of Paragon Cities defense. He swooped down below as lightning shot down around him, and fell on top of a large concrete slab that once been the side of a building. He quickly scampered to the underside for cover and then darted across a row of broken metal bars that was once a fence and into the remains of a burned out factory. Inside were dozens of heroes recouping from the onslaught, Damien strode past them with focus on his face and towards the back where Major Flintlock awaited the news from the front.

The heroes lining the hallway were covered in soot, some of their costumes soaked with sweat, blood and water. Some sat squarely and tinkered with gadgets attempting repair, others helped patch wounds and used powers to heal the injured. Every once and awhile a person would stand up and walk forward towards the door, others that had sat patiently bidding their time would then join and a group of a dozen would go out once again to test their fates tonight. One thing for certain, no one was safe in this battle, even those once thought to be immortal had been proven wrong in the face of this alien enemy. It was truly a nightmare to those with and those without super-powers. Amongst the weak and weary were normal humans, they came with swords, they came with knifes, guns, grenades and anything else they could manage to turn into a weapon. Other humans helped to coordinate the rescue effort and helped evacuate refuges from the outer rim of the city into the inner safe zones, near Atlas Park.

Damien had never been in battle, a real war-like battle. He had never seen real combat but had earned his stripes enough stopping petty criminals. Along with his super group “The Victory Fliers” they had made themselves a name for being real patriots and do-gooders. Now he was the last, the others having fallen in the first hours of the battle. They had often kidded him on being the newest member of their group, his lack of experience had made him something of a novelty but they looked out for him nonetheless. In fact his life would have been over if it were not for the team leader The Infinity Falcon that had ordered him to remain in the rear while they joined in the main assault on the enemy forces at the outset of the battle.

The Crimeson Comet, now alone, was running errands for the military forces that were helping to protect Paragon. He had a radio transmitter placed inside his helmet which he now had tunned to the military frequency so he could help out wherever it was needed. In the absence of his fallen teammates, he could think of little else to do. The Major stood with his hands on his hips, his eyes concentrated on the map at the table, it was covered with arrows and checkpoints everything on it lead to the conclusion that his forces were being pushed back further and further. He looked up, a tired and hopeless expression revealing itself to his flying courier, “What’s the word Comet?” Damien’s young innocent eyes searched the room and slowly handed over a rolled up map, given to him by the late brigade commander at a blockade a few hundred yards away. He had peered over his shoulder to see it get swarmed by a mass of alien shock troops and heavy alien land craft, it was obvious that it was overcome as he flew away into the night sky. “Not good sir.” he replied, “Not good.”



In The Rear With The Gear

“You don’t understand we can’t keep pushing the wind to the south if we have gusts from the north caused by the fire-bugs (fire elemental heroes). They keep billowing that furnace and it’s creating a rolling cascade of heat that we can’t stop!” Ramiden pleaded.

“The collision of the two will cause another tornado to spawn right in the middle of town for crying out loud.” Alvatore added.

“Fire-bugs don’t control the weather, you guys do! Make it rain or something and put out the flames, they’re useless anyway; I have reports that it isn’t slowing up the advance as much as we thought it would.”

“Rain!? Are you insane? That’ll just cause a downdraft of cool air…it’ll cause a cyclone!”

Ramadan was a tall bald headed weather-watcher who was beginning to loose his cool. He hadn’t counted on so many variables; heat, wind, moisture, electricity, landscape, and motion, it was simply too much to try and piece everything together. The man standing opposite of him had been a former colleague and now was partly to blame for the predicament. Alvatore was an ancient Egyptian spirit embodied in a normal man and along with him, Ramiden had been focusing on trying to slow an entire legion of aliens from marching on Galaxy City. The lady across the room waving her hand about was the Maiden Mistress, a mind-reader (psychic hero) who had been placed in charge of the inner city and entrusted with it’s defense. She was abnormally tall and slender and moved with an ocean wave of grace as her bright blue eyes pierced Ramiden’s and shown her intensity.

Despite that there was a lot of action on the outskirts of town, they stood in what was considered “in the rear with the gear” compared to the frontlines near the shore and in the port. The aliens had invaded fast and hard and hundreds of heroes were slaughtered instantly in massive wave after wave of alien soldiers as they destroyed police stations, fire stations, the electrical plant, attacked the reservoir and sent hundreds of armed craft along with thousands of troops to level Paragon to the ground. The military had already fallen back and now was content to simply fight the aliens in smalls squads around the inner city, they effectively helped eliminate the few aliens that otherwise seeped through the outer defenses that the super-heroes had formed.

The idea of mind-numbing weather and super-heroes fighting out there didn’t really concern the Maiden, they were after all used to such things; the thought of normal people trying to survive in it, let alone some soldiers fight in it was too much, but right now there were bigger things on her mind.

“We really don’t have time to argue about this Ram, do the best you can, just try…”

“If we don’t work together to fix the situation it’ll only get worse! We have to try and contact the others and coordinate to stabilize the air pressure. If it continues to fall this whole city will be the center of the biggest storm in recorded history!”

“We appreciate your position Maiden, but you must appreciate ours, we are only two people and we can’t be expected to undo what it took dozens of super-heroes to create.” Alvatore chimed in.

“You’re weather controllers! Go control the weather!” the Maiden seemed highly uncharacteristic of herself when she shouted, it didn’t befit her physical movement that remained slow and graceful and her soft voice.

She slowly glided towards the window of the room, a large plate glass that seemed unable to halt the gruesome display beyond it. In the distance the sky was lit up by fire, blue bolts of lightning, purple flashes of laser blasts, the swarm of alien aircraft and shadows of thousands of people fleeing towards Atlas Park seeing refuge from the destruction. Suddenly the window blew apart and shards of glass peppered the office room, the concussion of the blast and the roaring sound of the lightning bolt caused the Maiden to wince. As the Maiden slowly stood up and began examining the glass embedded in her arms and neck, she caught a glimpse of a large siloutee on the horizion, it’s large swirling body churned with a massive force, a deep rumbling shook the entire office and the Maiden strained her eyes to make the outline of another tornado touching down.

The Maiden sighed and turned to Ramiden, “Perhaps your right.”


In The Trenches

The crushing sound of flesh against metal began to jar the Knight. It normally wouldn’t have occurred to him at all, but after several non-stop hours of constantly pounding away at these armored aliens he was beginning to feel his bones ache.

“I’m supposed to be invincible!” he thought to himself.

But as the night wanned on he started to feel those laser blast get more and more painful. Sweat began to collect in the corners of his eyes and his ears began to hurt from the constant sound of his thundering fists slam into the alien army. The smell of sulfur from the fires, of ozone and rain, of steam and burning rubber and plastics filled the air around him. It was nothing however compared to the smell of the aliens that lay in heaps at the Knight’s feet. He locked his legs into position and braced for an oncoming barrage of laser blasts, they shook his sturdy frame and pushed him back an inch or two, he then moved forward a footstep and slung a haymaker into the chest of the forward alien sending him reeling like a cannonball into the group behind him.

The American Knight knew exactly how important his job was, he was on the frontlines, a tanker through and through. He along with hundreds of other tankers stood shoulder to shoulder, stretching across the entire freeway, a venerable wall of super-heroes. All of them punching, kicking, biting, clawing, pushing, shoving, ramming, and tossing the enemy back on top of one another. Wave after wave of aliens poured and surged towards the line of tankers and then broke like breakwater and surged back for another wave again. Every now and then one or two would climb the pile of aliens at the front and scamper of the shoulders of a tanker only to be blasted by those heroes overhead.

The last remaining blasters in the city now paired up with tankers and formed a dual “line in the sand” one above and one below, scorched Earth and scorched sky. Those that made it past the tankers would be stopped by the blasters, although those above already had their hands full. The skies had been buzzing with flying aliens with jet packs since the invasion began. If that wasn’t enough flying aircraft fired a combination of missiles and plasma cannons at the hovering defenders. Occasionally a falling alien aircraft would hit the ground sending the parts into a popcorn frenzy while a greenish neon plasma explosion erupted into the sky.

Blasters now had a fluxeuating line of defense as opposed to the tankers “wall”, they constantly rose up and down back and forth in slow sweeping motions, keeping track of most of the aliens movements. The sound of deafening combat, millions of blasts, explosions, the quaking of the earth, the crack of thunder, the sharp pierce of a tankers ice armor, the crackle and roar of fire and the ever presence thud of a super-hero giving an alien what for with his bare fists.

The American Knight fit this category, his super strength was not much to laugh at, he braced his left arm with the right shoulder of the tanker next to him and took a laser blast in the chest, he recoiled as he knocked the alien who had fired at point blank range, back over a dozen feet and onto another squad that was coming up towards him. He didn’t see the butt of the laser rifle that popped him in the jaw, but instinctively brought his left hand across and pulverized the helmet of the alien who held it. He could feel sweet and alien blood drip down his forehead but his hands continued to pound away non-stop, never taking time to wipe it away. After awhile his arms looked like jackhammers, working, grinding and chewing up the alien filth in front of him. He looked a mess, as his costume now clung in tatters, his boots half melted to the pavement of the freeway as fires burned beneath it. Down below rolling stones and pyros (fire heroes) had turned the underpass into an oblivion of fire, heat and lava. It was the only thing that could be done to help prevent the aliens from circumventing their dual line of defense.

The scrappers for the most part were long gone, killed in the first few moments of the battle when they coordinated a massive attack near the outskirts of the city. There they were quickly outnumbered and stripped and beaten down; those few defenders and blasters that were brave enough to join them met with equally grisly fates as they were washed over by the hordes of aliens.

The aliens glistening armor shown like a mirror and terrified even the staunchest of heroes as they approached the inner city, it could only mean that the scrappers and others had failed and been destroyed. As punch after punch dragged on, the thought of getting tired didn’t worry him, he had been exhausted before and knew that he could find inspiration to go on, even in dire circumstances like this. What worried him was the fact that until now he never thought he could really feel pain, he was after all invincible right? But now after this kind of abuse he felt it quite often as each alien punch, each laser blast stung a little more than the last, he muscles tightened and his brow curled., he had to wonder, “What if I’m not invincible? What if I can’t take much more? What happens then?”

The only consolation was the thought that somewhere…someone could come up with an idea; any idea, that would be able to stop the alien advance…soon.

To be continued…


 

Posted

PART II: Harrowed Ground

“Every man and woman, human and super-human that fought in the first hours of that hellish battle had two things in common. One was an strong sense of courage and loyalty, the other was that we were all too naïve to realize just how much danger we were in.” ~ Doctor Shadow

Deep in the factory district, now officially dubbed “Delta Sector” by the military; remaining U.S. army forces along with two platoons of super-heroes fought street by street, block by block to thwart the oncoming advance of aliens.

Surprisingly in the last two hours they had been doing fairly well in compared to other parts of Paragon. Though the vast buildings had now been humbled and turned into rubble, the defenders continued to slow and in some cases halt squadrons of airborne aliens and destroy numbers of land based craft; thus helping to buy time for the military to redeploy and begin a somewhat risky counter-assault.

Lt. Colonel Thomas McMann rode full stride aboard his humvee, his leg perched on the door frame with his body half-exposed, holding an assault rifle against his hip. His thin lips clasping on a fat cigar that gave off a warm glow when he inhaled, his boys loved it when he had lit it off the corpse of a burning alien a few minutes earlier. That’s what he always did, what he did better than any other officer, he inspired his men. He always strived to be something they could look to, something they could fight for, an icon. That’s what he was doing right now, riding his command car into battle like warrior on a horse he was setting an example, eager to meet death with vigor.

In the colonel eyes icons shouldn’t be just for super-heroes; he had always thought of the military as heroes when he was a boy, had always thought the cameo jumpsuit looked like a costume. He didn’t think it was the distinct providence of people with super-powers to be the only ones to get the glory and he was going to make damn sure that the U.S. military was going to get its share when this was all over with. He hopped off the side when the vehicle came to a stop and started waving his arms around fanning his troops in both directions.

“I want Baker and Charlie company to my left, Delta and Echo to my right, we don’t have time to set up for a mortar barrage so just position every man for urban fire coverage, two deep.”

Trucks of soldiers began to pull to a halt behind his command car as soldier poured out running in all directions, he grabbed one by the shoulder, “Ditch the night goggles kid, it’s bright enough as it is.”

The colonel was right, the ambient light from the fires had given the entire area a full moons glow, except that it was the color of sunset. “What a perfect battle!” , the colonel murmured out the other side of his mouth, the large cigar slightly quivering.

The Colonels thick southern accent shown through with the cigar in his mouth. He often tried to hide it; the other officers at the Pentagon often patronized him because they thought he was an unintelligent backwater sort of man.. He was however one of the smartest officers in the field, he graduated West Point at the top of his class and knew more about hostile urban combat than any other active officer in the field today. McMann knew this was the stuff legends were made of, and it was time he made his mark. He raised his rifle above his head and began to shout out “Victory”, this followed with a large collection of the soldiers voices all in unison shouting, raising their cries to the heavens, trying to send a message to the aliens that they wouldn’t forget.

The colonel lowered his weapon and focused his eyes in the distance, shiny armor reflecting the firelight was coming down the road. “Give it to em boys!” the colonel shouted as he ducked around the open door of his humvee, opening fire and seeing the reflection of the bullets ricochet off the armor of the aliens.

The bright green flicker of laser blast began to erupt around him, purple bolts of energy cracked into the windshield and into the door frame he was shielded behind, his rifle firing, his blood pumping, he lived for this. As the minutes rolled on, the aliens continued to gain ground, in fact to the colonels surprise it didn’t seem that they were even slowing them up anymore. The previous reports showed that their forward progress was slowed in this sector, but now they’ve gained momentum again.

“Sigheard, give me the mic!” shouted the colonel shouted over the sound of the rifle. The short stout fellow banged the mic into the colonels arm; “Delta Actual to Rolling Thunder 6, advancing unfriendly in my sector, request any remaining armor be re-deployed at my position, over.”

“Sir!” cried Sigheard as incoming aircraft began to strafe the street lines across his troops causing gaps in the men’s formations.

The colonel didn’t hesitate but began firing up in the air causing hot shells to bounce of the side of the humvee. The air around him and Sigheard had now filled to a blazon volley of purple and green laser blasts turning the humvee into Swiss cheese.

The colonel grabbed Sigheard by the collar, “Come on Siggy!” he dragged his young aid to a large girder and ducked behind it as his command car exploded into smithereens. “Rolling Thunder 6 to Delta, negative your request, hold in place, over.”

The colonel replaced his magazine and cocked the rifle once again, spit out his cigar and grabbed the mic, “Delta to Thunder, I say again, massive troop movement in my AO armor is needed NOW!” he dropped the mic and began firing behind him at aliens that were beginning to land behind his troops line.

“Son’s of *******!” he open fire with his grenade launcher and began seeing them fly back from the concussive blast into the brick wall of a building, only to rise up again and begin firing.

“Six to Delta, there IS no more armor left sir, over.”

The colonel raised up and hit an alien with the butt of his rifle, and turned to see Sigheard had been hit.

“Come on kid!” he kneeled down and threw the young aid over his shoulder, still firing his weapon in his free hand and began running back to the skirmish line that his troops now held a two blocks away.

Laser fire rained down around him from above and behind as he stormed his way past boulders of buildings and twisted sculpture of girder steel. Explosions to the left made the ground quake and he lost his balance falling to one knee. Tossing his weapon aside he raised up again, and marched forward towards the hulk of a burned out car that sat on it’s side; behind his soldiers were still firing at the oncoming enemy.

“Make a hole son” the colonel ordered as he bounded around the vehicle and laid down his fallen aid.

The mic chirped once again, “Six to Delta, how say your position, over?”

“Delta to Six, be advised, they’re on the move…”


The Brewing Storm

“What is it Vince?” Yolande gently put her hand on her husbands shoulder.

“Someone is speaking to me. In my mind.” he turned to face his wife, Catherine “The Cat” Learemy.

Vince and Catherine were one of those rare husband and wife pairs that just seemed to get all the press. Together they were a great duo and of course a confident pairing with their super-hero lives helped to reaffirm a happy marriage.

Vince turned his head slightly to the side, “I think it’s the Maiden Mistress, she’s telling me that we need to try and focus on restoring the weather.” he looked up at the sky, the hundreds of bolts of lighting were increasing in size and frequency.

They stood on top of one of the largest buildings in the remaining outer city. Hundreds of feet down swarms of aliens flooded the streets in disorganized clumps of troops that continued to surge forward as several heroes did their best to sabotage their march. They had brought down several buildings to block the canyon of skyscrapers. Pyros had engulfed the canyon with tunnels of flame that barreled down the narrow passages and consumed the aliens. Vince had been instrumental in causing huge gusts of wind to help feed the flames and at the same time provide resistance to the aliens forward momentum. Catherine had helped transport wounded civilians as well as the occasional hero out of harms way and to medical centers and field hospitals that were now constructed in the inner city.

“What have I told you about listening to strange women in your head?” she rebuffed almost comically.

“It’s getting out of hand.” he said in a zombie-like state.

“The women?”

“The weather,” he faced front again and seemed to snap out of it, “I need to get back to the plaza in Atlas right away!”

“Alright hold tight.” Catherine grabbed hold of her husband and he braced for the familiar feel of her teleportation.

The white flash of light and the aqua blue afterglow followed their silhouettes and instantly they were gone. Back in the inner city army personnel were running in both directions, those that still retained some courage or perhaps had not yet been in battle were storming off to the front lines, while other wounded soldiers and those that had been vanquished by fear ran back towards Atlas Park and safety.

In between in the plaza was a triage center along with a few super-heroes that helped heal the inured and get them back to safety. Behind the plaza in the office complex a collection of weather-watchers was forming, there they began to formulate a plan to halt the instability of the climate that was causing destruction all over Paragon. Still remaining to help quell the storms and the violent weather were Ramiden and his associate Alvatore. They stood in the lobby now, admist a quickly forming circle of fellow weather-watchers discussing what could be done. “Chaos theory implies that…”

“Don’t speak to me of chaos theory, this is practical application!”

“Calm yourself Storm Talon, we must cooperate if we are to succeed in this task.” Alvatore pleaded.

“He’s right, everyone was so quick to create this monster and now that it’s out of control we’re all going to have to work together to destroy it.” De De Myers explained.

De De was not your average hero, for most of her life she had been an average house mother until a fateful accident with household chemicals deformed her and gave her the ability to control the same chemicals at will. Inherently she was able to manipulate the chemical composition of air and moisture, a nifty form of weather control.

“The first thing we must do is to ascertain the exact composition of the storm and then decide what elements to work with.” Hurricane Jane said.

“I agree.” Ramiden allowed. It was no small secret that Ram always favored Jane, and why not? Her stunning looks and platinum blonde hair made her a dazzling woman, it was no wonder she happen to be the weather girl for WHERO the local news studio.

Jane had come from a very wealthy family in Beverly hills, and after a trip through the Bermuda Triangle she had returned with tropical weather control.

“Sorry I’m late, I just got the word.” announced Vince as he entered the lobby, there were already half a dozen weather watchers here, probably all that were left, he thought to himself.

Catherine stood in the doorway, “I’ll help outside with the wounded.”

“Alright dear,” he turned on his heel and gave her a peck on the cheek and a long look, that conveyed “be safe.” She simply nodded and rushed outside to help evacuate the others. “We should have known better…” Jane’s voice trailed off.

“What was that?” Ram inquired.

“I said we should have known better.” she looked intently into the faces of the other heroes, “We should have known that the weather is simply nothing that can be constantly manipulated with, not all at once, not pulling on it in so many directions, not by hundreds of heroes at the same time.”

“We’ve simply never been under these circumstances, there’s a first time for everything Jane.” Alvatore said.

“The wind must be stopped at once, it’ll tear down the buildings around us and those in Atlas Park before the aliens reach them.” De De warned.

“Join hands, we don’t have much time.” Ramiden reach out both hands and took Jane’s in his left and Alvatore in his right. The others formed a chain and began to focus, outside the storm was brewing.

Catherine knelt down beside a young man. As she began to wipe away the blood from his cheeks Catherine realized he had been hit in the head by debris. She turned her head from side to side quickly, looking for a doctor but found only more people limping with bloody limbs, some holding gashes in their arms and sides. Nearby an old man covered in dirt lowered his grandchild onto a pile of blankets that had been placed there. The little girl was no more than five and was apparently dead.

Catherine stood errect and began to pace around some of the wounded, not realizing what she could do, if anything. In the past there had always been somewhere to take injured people, she could always count to on teleporting them to safety. But the one thought that now drifted into her mind and pierced her spirit like a knife was, there is no safety anymore.


The Darkest Dawn

Somewhere on the horizon the sun was rising and the dawn of a new day had begun, but it could not be seen from here; not on the front lines of the battle. Black smoke still covered the sky, and dark clouds hung above it with flashing lightning but the wind had died down some causing the dust, smoke and ash to simply hover in the air around the wall of tankers and blasters that had formed along the highways in the outer city. Here was the line in the sand that could not be breached at any cost.

Still hammering away at the alien soldiers was the American Knight, battle weary and worn his super strength now began to fail and he occasionally caught himself throwing a punch that he knew had no power to it, his muscles now cramped after hours of non stop fighting, and his invincibility now seemed to be a myth as he bore several open wounds now, cuts, gashes and bruises from the melee that he had endured.

Meanwhile a few defenders kept the tankers patched up as best they could mid-fight, and the blasters overhead were beginning to show the strain as well. Every now and then the Knight would see a blaster fall from the sky, not from injury, but from sheer exhaustion. He knew that they simply didn’t possess the endurance as the tankers or the stamina for this type of fighting. How much longer could they last? How much longer could any of them last, the aliens seem to have a limitless supply of troops.

As the Knight continued to pound away at the aliens around him, grabbing the off one or two that tried to crawl over his shoulders and under his legs, his mind drifted towards the portals the aliens came through. Surely by now someone would have thought of a way to destroy the portals, or at least close them. He knew that what was happening in Paragon was happening all over the world, and if the portals remained open much longer there wouldn’t be much of Paragon or the world left to fight for.

For over 10 hours now the American Knight and the other tankers that had formed a wall across the highway, had fought bravely and without fail. Now that was about to change. It started with several blasters falling out of the sky, some must have been injured, others simply overwhelmed by the jet-pack equipped aliens, but suddenly every tanker on the line realized too many alien aircraft began to appear overhead firing large energy cannons directly on the line in several key locations.

The Knight knew something was wrong, but the idea that they were attacking the tankers was ridiculous, they could withstand that attack, they’d taken it all day…right? By the time he pieced together what they were doing it was far too late, the alien aircraft had been firing not at the tankers, but at the concrete supports under the highway causing whole sections to give way and large gaps in the line to form. Beneath the highway pyros had made a torrential lava flow that spewed magma and heat to prevent the aliens from getting by under them, it now served as an executioner for the tankers that fell into it.

The American Knight quickly saw the gaps in the line and began pushing other tankers over to try and form new lines to compensate but it was too late. Blasters who had been hovering above now starting receiving murderous laser fire from both above and below, and they quickly began to be pushed back, most hovering away to other positions while some simply retreated in earnest.

The tankers were going nowhere though, they stood steadfast as some simply disappeared in the mass of alien bodies and armor, still others worked furiously at beating back the opposition, finally the Knight had been through enough.

“TANKERS! GO FORWARD!” he shouted with all the strength he had left, and with that he let his right hand give the ultimate punch of his life sending the alien into the air like a cannonball.

The sheer sight of hundreds of tankers that began to actually push back the tide was awe-inspiring. Blasters from above swooped in for a massive wave of fire blasts, ice blasts, energy bolts, electrical surges that struck down on the aliens deep in front of the tankers, effectively plowing the road for the tankers assault.

The Knight began by one step forward, he was done being pushed around. The second step forward, he was tired of being wounded. The third step forward, he was tired of being exhausted. The fourth step forward, he was fighting to defend Paragon, his home. The fifth step forward, they were actually doing it, they were pushing back the enemy. Every step made the tankers work more and more, their strikes became disastrous, other tankers along the line used sledgehammers made of rock, swords made of fire and ice while some simply used their fists. The swelling hope that was now building in every super-hero on the line seemed tangiable, it resonated through every heart and the feeling of panic for the aliens was just as obvious as they stopped their advance and for the first time had to hold their own ground.

If only the scrappers where here now, the Knight knew tankers where no match for an offensive assault against the aliens, the Blasters couldn’t do it on their own and the guys on the ground just didn’t have the strength to push back and army, the most they could hope for was to buy some time now. But it was already too late.

One by one, out his peripheral vision the Knight could see a tanker fall, some got covered in aliens, some simply went down, he tried to hold down the heads of the aliens in front of him to see what was happening but in a matter of minutes the entire wall of tankers that had surged forward, was now falling apart. Large groups of tankers now began to fall and be swarmed, suddenly a dozen large aliens suddenly leapt on top of him forcing him to the ground with their sheer weight, he felt his back fall upon the ground.

The clicking and clawing and punching of dozens of little fists against his body was simply too much, he writhed to break himself free but was unable to right himself. His feet never seemed to reach the ground, he would reach out a hand only to grab another alien, pulling it down trying to force himself up, but there didn’t seem to be any way to stand. The air was getting tighter and tighter now as he could tell other aliens where climbing over him and marching forward, he could feel their combined weight and the vibrations of their footsteps as they passed him by. His vision was still blocked by the dozen or so aliens directly on top of him though, they seemed to have him pinned to the ground, and it was only getting darker.

To be continued…