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StormStrike #45

Created By Antony -- Aug/31/07

 


STORMSTRIKE #45




CARPE NOCTEM






A young couple walked holding hands in the artistic area of Alexandria. There were many other young people that freely moved about that laughed and smiled as if they had no worries in the world. The young couple slowly walked through the people and would exchange a polite smile or nod with many of them. They looked into the other's eyes and the smiles were large. They stopped walking and leaned closer to each other.

The female pulled back at the last moment as something caught her attention above. She said softly with a smile, "A shooting star. Must be a sign."

The male looked up to the sky to see a streak shooting across then suddenly stop and turn back. He watched intently as the streak began to circle above too fast to get a solid look at what caused the streaking of light. "They normally don't do that."

The people on the street watched in awe as the streak changed direction again and rapidly descended to the ground. When it collided into the ground, the people saw it was a single person who let out an energy release which caused a shockwave that was powerful enough to blowout nearby windows and flipped many cars parked on the street. When people regained themselves enough to look, they saw Lord Omega standing in the center as he slowly looked around himself. As he stood in the middle of the street, Lord Omega turned when a car skidded to a halt in an attempt to avoid him. He reached out and engulfed the car full of teenagers in a bubble of energy to lift it off the ground.

As the teens screamed in horror as the car floated two stories in the air, a police man from the other direction drew his weapon and aimed it at Lord Omega as he was positioned behind a wreckage of another car. "Freeze! And put that car down! Now!"

Lord Omega barely looked over his shoulder then looked up at the car with the scared teenagers. He chuckled then turned to the police officer. "You want it down so badly?" His voice changed to show anger as it boomed to fill the area. "Then catch it!"

As Lord Omega casually turned back, the car quickly moved towards the police officer. It slammed into the ground a couple of times before it reached the target as it hit the police officer and continued into an art gallery. As a result, what was once a car was turned into a twisted metal tomb.

A block away, an All-News Network van came to a sudden stop and Cameron Barnes jumped out of the passenger side. He looked intently as Lord Omega blasted a restaurant that exploded on the impact. Cameron reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone then dialed quickly as he motioned to the driver to get his camera ready. "This is Cameron. I need to go on the air right now."

Lord Omega slowly looked skyward when the air was filled with the sounds of rockets. He took a quick breath as he saw a small group of Metahunters approached rapidly. Lord Omega stood as the androids began to blast on their way down. Even though several shots hit him directly, Lord Omega barely moved from the impacts. He stood for a second then rapidly took off to intercept the androids.

Jai walked down the hallway deep in thought. She thought about many things and one of those things was the team she once knew that she was being asked to replace and lead. It was the reason she was not able to sleep this night. Jai had worked with the two she asked to replace Travis and Mike on more than one occasion but it was still not the same to her. And Ryder was another story. Jai remembered Aurora's words about not giving up on him yet and wanted to believe she was right.

Jai walked by an open door then stopped to look back in when she realized who was in the room. Without saying anything, Jai just watched him silently from the doorway.

Nathan sat in the room with a large television as he used the remote to rapidly flip through the channels. Between each channel change, he grunted with disdain. He stopped on a video music channel which had two guys in dreadlocks that danced and moved their mouths in unison to the song that blasted from the speakers. Then the words flash on the screen: Behind the Music: Milli Vanilli. Nathan shook his head in disgust then said, "Who can stop this pain?"

At first, Jai did not know whether she should laugh or not. She carefully braced herself against the frame of the doorway so that she did not make a sound. She continued to watch Nathan as he continued to flip through the channels. Jai found an amount of comfort having him around that surprised herself slightly. She remembered the time she was in Los Angeles to visit Franki when Tremor struck and it was Nathan that showed up to help her then stood by her when she was being punished for disobeying another order. Jai was snapped back into the present as she heard a slight smirk to her left to see Talia walked by into the room briskly.

Talia jumped onto the sofa next to her twin brother and extended a can to him. After he looked at the can for a moment then to her, Talia gave a smile then looked at the television. "What are you watching?"

Jai thought no matter how much Talia rubbed her the wrong way, there was always something special between her and her twin brother. Jai knew that Talia would do anything for Nathan and vice versa.

Nathan opened the can of Dr. Pepper as he answered, "Nothing. Over two-hundred channels of American satellite television and nothing worth watching."

Talia snatched the remote that rested on his leg as he drank then laughed softly. "Don't forget that we're Americans now. Well, actually half American and half Canadian like that makes a difference." She began to change the channels without stopping on one. "So we should start getting used to watching mindless drivel too. After all, what kind of a country would spend all day and night following around a boney drunken airhead named Paris?" She stopped as she watched the face of Cameron Barnes on the screen. Talia smiled then said, "Mmm. Now that's hot." She looked at Nathan but already knew the look that was on her brother's face. Talia laughed softly.

On the screen, Cameron reported as the view spanned out to show the carnage that was happening behind him as Lord Omega fought off the last the Metahunters. "By all accounts, it would seem this particular one is the same one that laid both San Francisco and Houston to waste. Not to mention those reports from France and the United Kingdom. And where are the much approved by Congress police called the Metahunters? I'll tell you where they are. Those that showed up here in Alexandria are getting wiped out so fast and the rest must be busy getting a lube job or something."

Talia pushed the power button to turn off the television then looked at Nathan. After a second, she exchanged a quick nod with her brother. When she stood, Talia noticed Jai still in the doorway only no longer braced against the frame. "Don't tell me that we have to get some kind of approval to act. I'm really not in the mood."

Jai replied, "I never said we had to get approval for this." Jai was about to continue but was interrupted by an alarm that filled the air. "I think they know what's happening." Even though she knew with these two that it was not necessary to say the words, Jai let them out anyhow. "Let's get going." As she turned, Jai noticed Ray rushing towards her. "Ray."

He motioned for her to follow. "Come on. I'll show you how to get to the hangar." After taking a couple of steps, Ray continued, "I guess you're about to find out what the surprise is now." Ray led the three to transport on a rail system. "Get in." Ray took a seat in front and Jai took the other while the twins jumped in the back. After the doors were closed, he powered it up and it took off rapidly down the rails through a dark tunnel. After thirty seconds, they emerged from the tunnel into a large hangar.

Jai looked out at a familiar black jet then noticed another on the other side of the hangar. She looked back at Ray as the twins began to get out. "Two of them?"

Ray pointed to the closest one. "That's the one you're used to." He pointed at the other. "And that's the one I will need to teach you about when we have a moment."

"Teach?"

Ray nodded. "Yeah, the Billion Dollar Princess is the kind of jet to sneak up on someone. The Nightstalker over there is more like come at you in your face to punch you in the mouth." When Jai made a puzzled expression, Ray continued, "It's more like a tank. What it gives up in maneuverability, it makes up for in other areas."

Talia took a deep breath then said sternly, "Going to sit here all night?"

Jai glanced at Ray then got out of the rail car. She pointed to the closest jet then said, "We're taking that one."

Aimee Kent sat at a roadside caf typing away at her notebook. It was another night of having a difference of opinion with her mother Congresswoman Claire Kent over the new direction of metahuman affairs. On occasion, she just needs to get out of the house to keep the peace and this was one of those nights. While Aimee has the power of precognition, she has at many times gotten false readings to the point that she may be the only metahuman to voluntarily wear metagene inhibitors. At least, now inhibitors were a little less noticeable that resembled black cause bands. Aimee still can not bring herself to tell her mother who is a supporter for the Metahunters that she is in fact a metahuman. She thought about other metahumans she met including a fellow classmate at Lincoln Academy. Aimee thought about how he always reached out to her and tried to befriend her but now he is a member of Valhalla because he felt betrayed by the country he sought to protect. She knew that there was nothing she could do to make him see the light again but there was one person left that could and Aimee had not seen Jai in months.

Aimee heard the distinctive sound of an explosion in the distance that made her snap her head up from the computer screen. She looked around at the other people around who also seemed rather startled. Aimee slowly stood up as she noticed a bright flash that lit the night sky for a brief second. She watched as out of the flash came a rain of pieces that could only be from a destroyed Metahunter. Aimee had seen them close enough to recognize the largest piece as a portion of the chest area. She heard a commotion from people to her right. Aimee looked over to see them pointing skyward. She turned her eyes up just in time to see a figure land swiftly to the ground in front of her with such impact that she almost lost her footing due to the shockwave.

Lord Omega did not even acknowledge Aimee as he turned away then walked out into the middle of the street. He looked to the sky as the last android descended towards him. He extended his hand towards a parked car that was about twenty feet away. As he moved his arm up, the car shot skyward and rapidly collided with the Metahunter causing both to explode in the air. He looked around at the people then his attention locked on one that stood the closest to him. Lord Omega unleashed a bolt of energy into the person. As the person evaporated into nothing, Lord Omega watched as those near the person began to run in the other direction.

From behind him, a male voice yelled out, "Stop!"

Lord Omega turned to the source of the voice to see a male that stood to the right of a startled Aimee who eyed the person. He quickly took to the air towards the male and slammed into him. Within an instant, Lord Omega had the male pinned to a wall and off the ground with his left hand by the throat. Lord Omega said menacingly, "Ready to die?"

As the male fruitlessly struggled to free himself from the vice like grip, Aimee quickly looked at the metagene inhibitor on her wrist. Without thinking, she pulled it off as she moved as fast as she could. She reached out to touch Lord Omega. Aimee figured she could distract him to allow his prey to get away. However, when she made contact with Lord Omega, Aimee let out a scream of pain and she could not let go as a flood of images hit her like a tidal wave continued. Then without warning, Aimee felt a power unleashed on her that hurled her back through the air. However, she was already unconscious before she landed.

Lord Omega walked towards the fallen Aimee as the remainder of the crowd ran away from the area in a chaotic manner in all directions. He reached her and just looked down at her. Then when the air suddenly filled with the sound of a jet that grew louder, he looked upward to the source. Lord Omega glanced back down at the fallen teenager then rapidly returned his attention to the jet as he let out a blast of energy towards it.

In the cockpit, Jai pulled back and turned hard which caused the jet to tilt to avoid the blast. She heard a small moan from the seat next to her and looked over at Talia who glared at her. Jai looked back ahead then said to Talia, "Think you could get out there and keep him busy while I land this thing?"

Talia replied as she got out the seat, "I'll probably have him caught by then."

Nathan who sat in the seat behind Jai said to his sister, "Be careful."

Talia flashed him a quick smile. "Hey, you know me." She ran to the airlock in the back.

Nathan said as he moved to the seat vacated by Talia, "That's what worries me."

Jai once again found herself almost amused by Nathan although she was pretty sure he was completely serious. She looked at the light on the instrument panel that indicated that the airlock was open which Jai knew meant while open she would lose a bit of the maneuverability. She noticed that another blast was coming and turned again to avoid it which was a little harder to do. Jai noticed Talia was already out and avoided the blast on the other side. She pressed the button to close the airlock outer door as she had to avoid yet another blast.

Talia noticed that Lord Omega had concentrated on the jet instead. She flew to a position to get in behind him. When she got close enough to get a clear shot Talia let loose with her black matter. She landed near him as he turned to her covered in her power. Talia tilted her head slightly to the right as she eyed him. "Why the mask?" When she noticed the only answer would be a silent stare from him, she smirked. "Well, you weren't so tough after all." She noticed that he slowly turned his head to his left. "After all, I sort of have this ability to neutralize powers and all. It was just too easy to be" Talia noticed a parked car he looked out suddenly lifted off the ground and shot towards her. She quickly flew upwards as the car hit the ground where she stood which exploded which caused her to slightly lose control of her flight for a second. Talia regained herself to see Lord Omega flying towards her quickly. This time she used her black matter in the manner of a concentrated shot which hit directly. Talia watched as he went back until he slammed into the pavement below with such force that it created a crater in the street. She swooped down to the street and landed next to the large hole. Talia looked up to see her brother and Jai approaching.

Nathan asked, "Where is he?"

Talia pointed down the hole as she answered, "Down there somewhere."

"He's beaten?" Nathan asked.

After Talia gave a slow shake of the head, she responded, "I doubt it. He seems to be able to take a lot of punishment."

"Good. I plan to give out a lot."

As Nathan jumped into the hole to the sewage system below, Jai looked around and noticed Aimee on the ground. She said as she motioned towards Aimee, "I know that kid."

Talia looked over at Aimee. She looked back at Jai and was about to say something but was interrupted when the ground between them erupted which caused both to fall backwards on their backs. Talia looked to realize that it was caused by Lord Omega going skyward while locked in battle with her brother. She took off after them as Jai regained her feet.

Lord Omega took a second to glance back to see Talia flying up behind him and gaining.

That was all the time Nathan needed to really put everything he had into a single right. As they began to drop from the sky, Nathan shifted himself to position Lord Omega to be underneath so when they hit the ground it was not Nathan who took the brunt of the fall. Nathan quickly grabbed a car they landed near and lifted it off the ground to slam it on top of Lord Omega. He huffed as Talia landed at his side.

Talia looked at the wreckage but could not see Lord Omega. "Somehow I don't think it's over yet."

Jai had made her way over to Aimee and noticed she started to stir. She asked, "Are you okay?"

Aimee shook her head in hopes to clear it. She nodded then looked up at the source of the voice. She shook her head again. "You?"

"I asked if you are okay."

Aimee nodded then said, "Yeah, I think so."

Before she could say anything else, Jai grabbed Aimee by the arm to help her up. As Aimee stared at Jai's grip, Jai said, "Now, get home." Jai turned and ran towards the jet.

Aimee stared as she saw Jai run into the jet then it took off. She looked back at her wrist then remembered that she took off the metagene inhibitor to block her powers. She looked to the jet. "Oh, damn. I really hope that was another false future."

Talia watched as Nathan worked through the wreckage as he looked for a sign of Lord Omega. She had already offered to help him but the response he gave her made her know this was one of those times he was totally focused on the opponent. Even though she had other siblings, Talia was closest to Nathan by far and she knew when he was even snappy to her that it was not good to press the issue. As the amount of debris left got smaller, Talia asked softly, "Well?"

Nathan turned to prepare to answer her when he saw the ground behind her explode. As Talia turned around to it, Nathan already saw Lord Omega rise up from the ground. Nathan noticed that he was about to fire at Talia. He grabbed his twin sister and tossed her aside as Lord Omega shot an energy blast at her. As Talia landed awkwardly on the ground, Nathan took the shot directly in his chest. The force of the shot hurled him back into a small building and through the window and continued through two walls and out the back of the building before he landed on the ground.

As Lord Omega took off, Talia got to her feet and quickly looked around for her brother. She noticed the damage to the building that was not there a moment ago. She said softly, "No." She flew in the direction of the damaged building and followed the path. When she exited the other side of the building, Talia stopped and her heart skipped a beat when she saw Nathan on the ground. She flew to him as fast as she could which only took a second. With tears in her eyes, she grabbed him then felt something odd on her hand. She slowly moved her hand from behind him to see crimson fluid. And it dawned on her that she never seen her brother's blood before. As the tears ran down her cheeks, Talia looked up as she yelled, "Noooooo!" She stopped when she noticed that the jet streaked by.

In an apartment in Montreal, Aurora slowly stirred as she opened her eyes as she felt Steven next to her. She moved even closer to have her body press against his. When she felt him move, she grinned. "I guess if we are in this new StormStrike all the time, there won't be as many nights like this one, huh?"

"I'm sure we'll be able to work something out."

Aurora laughed. "I'm sure." She sat up in the bed. "I'm going to get something to drink. Want me to bring you back anything?"

"No."

Aurora gave him a quick kiss then jumped out of the bed. She made her way into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. She withdrew a can of soda and closed the door. She opened the can then as she took a drink, Aurora noticed a flashing blue light out of the corner of her eye. She looked at the light to notice that it was Steven's communicator on the coffee table. Aurora used her power of magnetism to pull it to her. She went back into the bedroom and asked, "Hey, what does this thing mean when it's flashing like this?" Aurora noticed that he had already had the television on and the news report about what happened in Alexandria. When he looked at her, Aurora looked at the communicator she held then looked back at Steven. "Some kind of signal I take it. So I guess that means we're leaving now."

Steven looked at her then nodded.

On the jet, Jai had a fleeing Lord Omega in her sights. She opened up the throttle to go as fast the jet could to try to catch up to him.

Lord Omega stopped and looked back over his shoulder at the approaching jet. He then flew straight up.

Jai adjusted the jet to follow Lord Omega's climb. She was keeping her eye on the altimeter and was somewhat surprised how high he was going without signs of slowing down. Jai also knew the limits of how high the jet was able to go as well. She was about to reach the known limit. However, Jai did not want to lose his trail so she pushed on. Jai did not think anyone could survive how high up she was and he was much higher than her current position. Jai noticed he suddenly stopped for a second then reversed himself to descend. She watched as he was now flying directly towards her. Jai knew if she waited for the last moment that he could be gone by the time she adjusted so she decided it best not to play chicken with him this close to the limit of the jet. Jai veered the jet to begin her change in course. As he streaked by, Jai had a strange sensation in her head for a brief second. She shook it off then turned the jet around to continue her pursuit.

Lord Omega nodded then flew westward.

As Jai followed, she heard the radio kick on and Kurt's voice came through. "Jai, are you okay?"

"I'm fine. Why do you ask?"

Kurt replied, "Aimee Kent just called me. She said that you're in danger and that you will not win against Lord Omega. We both know that her precog power is erratic at times but"

"If he gets away then who knows when we'll find again."

"Jai, be careful. I don't want to lose you too."

Jai thought about what he meant by that and her mind thought about Travis, Mike, and Ryder. She returned her attention to the now and noticed that she was flying over the northern part of New Mexico. "Hey, I think he's leading me on a chase but I'll be careful." She took a breath. "Who is this guy?" Before an answer could come, she swiftly added, "Look, I'm out." She flipped the radio off to give her full attention to the chase which lasted for another forty minutes and into another state. Jai was fully aware of what state she was in when he banked into the Grand Canyon. She followed him in to see he had landed in a particular spot. Jai hovered the jet to see him below as he slowly pointed to her. She wondered why he did that but seemed to be allowing her to land the jet. Jai knew she could land it there because she already did that once before in that same spot. She lowered the jet and powered down the engines while not taking her eyes off him as he stood. Jai opened the landing ramp and exited the jet. She asked, "What are you doing?"

Lord Omega looked her up and down. "So you're the one."

"What?"

Lord Omega continued, "Without you, victory will be complete. Without you, none can stop me."

Jai asked, "Are you saying that I have the power to stop you and you know this?"

Lord Omega laughed. "You stop me?" He laughed again then suddenly stopped to glare at her. "You can barely make me break a sweat. No, you can not stop me."

"But you called me the one."

Lord Omega grunted then extended his hand towards her.

Jai felt a power grab her and lift her off the ground. She had a hard time even moving while held in this power.

"Now you see how easily I can beat you. You can never beat me. However, he can."

Jai asked, "He?"

Lord Omega continued as if he felt answering her was beneath him. "And without you, he will not have the will to even try. Thus, victory will be complete and humanity's days are over." He looked around at the ground then back to Jai. "Does this place look familiar to you? It should. You picked it." As she made a puzzled expression, he added, "That's right. I pulled it out of your mind. You've been here before."

Jai noticed the area was the one where she spent a camping trip with the other members of StormStrike when they first got together. It was to promote them getting to know each other better as they were all strangers at the time. She looked at Lord Omega and wondered.

He smirked. "And now, it's time to kill his will." Lord Omega walked closer to her until he stood right in front of her. "Jennifer Cabarini, ready to die?"

Jai was a little startled he knew her name. However, she felt there was only one possible thing she could try since it was the last resort. Jai had been building it up inside since he put her in the status she was currently held. And now, she felt it was the right time and she unleashed all the fire power she could muster. She flooded the area with fire the erupted from her. When it ended, she hit the ground panting to regain her breath as going nova as Ryder called it always drained her. Jai felt someone roughly grab her up off the ground.

"Is that all you got? I'm disappointed."

Jai opened her eyes to see him starting from the feet then working her way up to see her maneuver had burned away some of his garb. Then she finally reached his face to see his mask was now only burning remnants that he did not even acknowledge as an inconvenience. However, Jai was able to make out the face and it was one she thought she would never see again. "What the? Impossible." She blinked a few times to hope her vision played tricks on her but no such luck. "Travis?"



NEXT ISSUE:

Armageddon: Part Two.

STORMSTRIKE #46

OBSCURUM CADO




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