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StormStrike #49

 


 

 

 

 

 

THE POWER AND THE PRIDE

 

 

 

 

The jet landed at the installation and the team quickly disembarked. Jai walked out with Ryder at her side. Jai said to Steven who was a couple of steps in front of her, "Let me know if there's any change on Travis, okay?" After he nodded to her and continued even faster with Aurora with him, Jai said to Ryder, "So Travis didn't really die after all. He's here only he's in some kind of weird coma. I wish I had a better way to say it."

Ryder just replied, "Weird."

Jai nodded. "Tell me about it." She stopped and grabbed his arm to have him stop while the rest of the group continued. "Look, I didn't mean to leave you alone like that. I just went somewhere that is not allowed to bring an outsider. I hope to tell you the full story one day."

"Sure."

"I thought I was the reclusive non-talkative one in the group," she said half-jokingly. When she got no response from him, Jai took a deep breath. "We'll talk more when we get settled." Before he could say anything, an alarm sounded. Jai looked around as some people were rushing by her. She noticed Sonya running by and called out to her. "Sonya, what's going on?"

Sonya replied without breaking stride, "Intruder."

Jai motioned to Ryder. "Come on." She quickly moved to follow Sonya although Ryder took a deep breath before he followed. Jai noticed the group she followed stopped and aimed their weapons at a corner that went to the left. She watched as a figure slowly emerged as Ryder walked up behind her. Jai said, "Aimee?" She noticed Aimee's face was scratched up with small amounts of blood. Jai said, "Everyone, put your guns down. We know her."

Aimee looked at Ryder. "So it is true that you're back." She looked at her hand a second then back at them. "I guess he was telling the truth."

Jai asked, "What happened to you?"

Aimee looked at her with a worried expression. "You have to help him before it's too late. He said the world depends on it."

Jai asked, "Help who? You're not making much sense."

Aimee replied frantically, "He'll die if you don't help him." She took a deep breath then said calmer, "Okay, it started a few hours ago when I got home. It was like this"

 

Two hours ago

Aimee Kent walked briskly into the house and tried to make it up the stairs before she could be stopped. However, she was not successful as she heard her mother call out to her from the dining room that was in plain view of the front door. Aimee took a deep breath then said without even a glance at the source of the voice, "I have things I have to do."

Her mother Claire snapped, "They can wait! Sit down and eat your dinner!"

Aimee reluctantly tossed her book bag next to the door then slowly walked into the dining room. She saw her mother sat at the far end of the table then made her way to her normal seat on the right side next to the close end where a plate already sat. After getting seated, Aimee said softly while she stared at the plate, "You were sure I'd eat here today, weren't you?"

"I have a few questions for you." After Aimee barely looked at her, Claire continued, "Have you been in contact with your friend?" When Aimee gave her a perplexed expression, Claire said, "I'm talking about Ryder Harrison."

Aimee looked back at the plate. "He wasn't my friend exactly. And he's in Valhalla now so I only know what is on the news." She looked over at her mother who was taking a bite off her plate. "Why are you suddenly interested in him?"

After swallowing the food, Claire answered, "Something happened a few hours ago in San Francisco."

Aimee replied, "San Francisco was decimated by that powerhouse. It's been under military quarantine ever since so what does that have to do with Ryder?"

"A craft from Valhalla landed there earlier today and our military was no match for them. However, we believe that a certain missing black jet arrived. And when the Metahunters arrived, no metahuman could be found. So I want to know what you know."

Aimee looked at the empty chair on the opposite end which was directly to her left. "Dad would never have gone for the use of the Metahunters. He believed in there is good and bad in everyone. To trust the heart of the individual to define the person he once said in a very famous speech." She looked at her mother. "And you used to believe that too. You really"

"Don't you dare tell me about what to believe! Maybe I should tell you the truth about your father. You know how your father died?"

"You two were in the bad car accident."

"That's only part of the truth. The accident was not really an accident. We were attacked by a metahuman. So you need to realize they can't be trusted."

Aimee glared at her mother. "A metahuman attacked? Why? And why didn't you say so before now?"

"I always thought you were too young to deal with the truth until now. You can have a bright future in politics because people thought so highly of your father."

Aimee asked, "Why would a metahuman attack Dad? He was always fighting for their rights as well as all the underdogs out there." She made a sour face when she asked, "And who said I wanted to go into politics?"

"With your attitude maybe it's best you stay out of politics."

Aimee glared at her mother. She stood up and walked towards the door. She grabbed her book bag and walked out even though she heard her mother telling her not to leave. When she got outside, Aimee looked up into the sky at the stars as she took in a deep breath of the chilled air. She glanced back over her shoulder at the house. Aimee barely heard a slight rush of wind and quickly looked skyward again. "Whoa." Aimee braced herself as she watched him fly in fast towards her and grabbed her up then went skyward again. She slowly opened her eyes to see she was already high above the city then carefully asked, "Are you going to kill me?" After only getting a silent stare for an answer, Aimee asked, "What do you want with me, Lord Omega?" When he gave her a frown, she continued, "I know who you are." Aimee was not ready for the sudden stop.

"Look, kid, we need to talk." He shook his head at her. "And for the record it's really me."

"So you're really back?"

Travis nodded. "Sorry for the abrupt manner of grabbing you but I have my reasons. I need to talk to you where we won't get interruptions."

Aimee gave a very subtle smile. "I know just the place." When he gave her a puzzled expression, she said softly, "It's a cafe I go to whenever I just want to think. As a matter of fact, that's where I came face-to-face with Lord Omega."

"I know exactly where that is."

Aimee asked, "You do?"

Travis flew northward. He landed about a block away behind one of the buildings that aligned the street. "Maybe flying right to it may not be a good idea."

Aimee eyed him as he turned and began to walk. She ran a few steps to catch up with him. "Wait. How do you know?"

"I'll explain later."

Aimee stopped and folded her arms across her chest. She made a frown until he stopped and turned to her. "I'm not going anywhere until you tell me. I need to know I can trust you."

Travis walked up to her and stood a moment then allowed a small grin on his face. "Do you think I would be acting like this if I were Lord Omega?" He stepped closer and said in a softer voice, "It's me. Travis Blake. Lord Omega took over my body and was recently defeated. I'm back where I belong. The way I know about the cafe is because... well, because I still possess all the memories of what he did in my body. And I guess it's a curse I will have to bear the rest of my life with all the deaths he caused." He took a long breath. "And that includes a former partner of mine in the Dallas PD."

Aimee felt herself relax. "I'm sorry. But I'm still confused why you need to talk to me."

"Let's go and I'll explain it to you."

Aimee nodded then walked with him to the cafe she had spent many evenings. When they got there, Aimee made her way to the normal outdoor table she was accustomed to sit. After Travis sat down across from her, she said, "Okay, now why me?"

"You don't waste time, do you?"

Before she could answer, a waitress walked over to the table and smiled. She looked at Aimee and said, "It's you again. So what will it be tonight?"

Aimee answered, "My usual." She looked at Travis. "Any idea what you would like?"

Travis replied, "Nothing."

Aimee exchanged a shrug with the waitress who then left. She said to him, "You could at least have a bite with me. Don't have to be all anti-social."

"It has nothing to do with that," Travis replied. He leaned closer and spoke softly. "Do you know what my powers are exactly?"

Aimee nodded and answered back softly, "You can obviously fly. You're stronger than normal people. I mean there are others stronger but still. And you have those force blasts. Oh yeah, you have some good hearing too." Aimee smiled a little thinking back to when she whispered something to Ryder and found out Travis heard it. "It's unusual for a metahuman to have so many different abilities."

"It's just one power. My body absorbs cosmic energy and converts it into everything I can do. And it also sustains me. I don't need to eat, drink, or sleep."

Aimee was a little surprised by that answer. "Lord Omega did other things too."

"I know. Things he did that I can't came from him. It's hard to explain."

Aimee said, "I understand. I think. So what is it that I can help you with? I'm not that important of a metahuman. And we both know that my powers suck and not always right."

Travis asked, "What if I told you that you were wrong?"

"Then I'd tell you that you must be insane. I know what I know."

Travis slowly shook his head as the waitress returned and placed a plate of fries in front of Aimee. He waited for the waitress to leave then said softly, "While Lord Omega had possession of my body, I was in another well, I was in another place. There are multiple universes and some have many similarities to our own." After Aimee just gave a blank expression, he shook his head rapidly. "Okay, have you ever seen that old television show called Sliders?"

Aimee replied, "I think I have seen one or two in reruns as a kid."

"Well, it's something like that. And where all the places converge, there is a thing called the Gate. It helps keep things in order. Anyhow, your power has been causing problems with the Gate."

"I don't get it. How can my problem powers do that?"

"Because you were actually seeing the future every time. Only some times you were seeing into another universe. You're more powerful than you realize. By sheer power output, you may possibly be the only one on the same level as Tremor. Only difference is that Tremor's powers makes her an offensive onslaught while your powers are more subtle."

Aimee laughed. "That's a funny joke. Me being on the same level as Tremor."

"I wouldn't advise you facing Tremor in battle because she'd rip you apart inside of two seconds if she wanted to. I'm just saying your particular powers have an output that high."

Aimee smirked this time. "Sure. And what am I to do? Use my power when I don't know if I am seeing another dimension or something? Right. I don't have that kind of control and never will."

"You will be able to control it and I'm going to help you."

Aimee glared at him. "How will you do that?"

Travis waited a moment as he looked around quickly. "It's my new mission." He looked her directly in the eye. "Or you can say it will be my punishment for what Lord Omega did. If I don't succeed and you continue to cause problems to the Gate, the entire multiverse could be destroyed."

Aimee asked, "So that means from now on you will be my new metahuman power teacher?"

"If thinking of it that way helps you sort it out then I guess so."

Aimee waited a few seconds then said, "I'll just consider myself you're new student. I must say though that I have my doubts. But we'll see." She gave a very small grin then she noticed he looked skyward with a determined expression on his face. "What?" She looked up and only saw the stars of the night sky. "You see something?"

"It's what I'm hearing."

Aimee asked, "What do you hear?" As soon as she got the question finished, she heard the faint sounds of approaching jets as Travis quickly jumped out of his chair. And the sound was very distinctive to Aimee as she heard them before when she was the attempted kidnapping victim at her home. Her heart skipped a beat. She said softly, "Metahunters." When he gave her a quick look, Aimee said, "Not my powers. I just remember what they sound like."

Travis extended his hand to Aimee. As she eyed his hand, Travis said, "Do it. You're going to need it."

"I don't want to. And why would?"

Travis quickly made contact with Aimee's hand before she could move it as his other shot a blast that ripped away the metagene inhibitor she wore on her wrist. He looked to the sky again as Aimee quickly pulled her hand away. The sky was filled with twenty Metahunters that landed across the street from them.

"Identified." A very short pause. "Target acquired."

Travis stood between Aimee and the androids. He said to Aimee without taking his eyes off the androids, "Run!" As Aimee turned and began to run in the opposite direction, Travis prepared to act as three moved towards him. He was a little surprised when the three sped up and flew pass him. "What the Hell?" He looked over his shoulder to see the three were closing on Aimee. He looked back at the remaining ones across the street as they all flew skyward in unison. He turned and flew towards the ones after Aimee. He flew as fast as he could to close the gap. As they were about to reach Aimee, Travis fired his energy blasts that quickly took out two of them. Travis missed the third as the Metahunter maneuvered out of the way but broke off the pursuit of Aimee. Travis landed in front of her as she stopped running.

Aimee asked between breaths, "What was that about?"

Travis shook his head. "I have no idea. They ignored me to go after you."

"Why?"

"I don't know. I think I better get you out of here. They normally don't give up that easily." Travis heard a very soft sound behind him as he noticed the expression change on Aimee. He slowly turned to see a lone Metahunter was there but this one was a little different than the others but he remembered this one quite well.

Lucifer looked at Travis with almost a smug expression. "You should stand aside while we get the one we came for."

Travis shook his head. "You're the one that killed Mike. You're going to have to go through me to get to her. And I'm looking forward to this one."

Lucifer responded, "It is futile to think you will win." Lucifer continued to look at Travis as many Metahunters quickly landed behind him.

Travis also looked skyward as others hovered over him.

Lucifer continued, "It is unfortunate that you are no longer Lord Omega." As Travis glared at Lucifer, the android continued, "Yes, I know who you are. Or who you were. We can scan DNA to know bloodlines. You are Travis Blake, eldest child of Joseph and Vanessa Blake. That information is valuable."

Aimee asked softly, "Why is this one so different? He's not like the others."

Travis replied, "He's some kind of next generation Metahunter. And since there seems to be only one, maybe he's some prototype."

Lucifer said, "You can make the first move, Travis Blake. It is your decision whether you live or die today."

Travis thought a moment as he looked around himself at the position of all the androids. With how they were surrounded, Travis stood his ground to keep Aimee close. He looked back at Lucifer who did not move towards them. Travis smirked much to Aimee's surprise. Travis said, "Son of a bitch." He looked at Aimee with a small grin then looked back at Lucifer. "I'll be leaving with her."

Aimee asked, "Are you insane? You think they will just let us go?" Aimee was surprised when he looked back and gave a quick nod.

Travis said quickly, "They were trying to take Lord Omega alive for some reason. I think that order is still on. Plus, they want you alive too it seems." He said to Lucifer, "Am I right?"

Lucifer waited a moment then said, "I believe this is what you humans would call a Mexican Standoff. Only it is not that easy." He took a step back then ordered, "Acquire the target. Initiate subroutine 5150."

Travis saw the androids begin to aim towards him. He saw the ones in front of him began to fire but he used his own energy blasts to intercept the shots.

An android from above flew in from behind and grabbed Aimee then quickly took to the air.

As Aimee screamed, Travis turned as a blast hit him flush in the chest. The force from the blast pushed him back into the street where he slammed into a car that was moving down the street. After the car skidded to the halt from the impact, Travis looked at the shaken passengers. "I think you guys might want to get out of here."

As two Metahunters emerged after him, Travis took to the air and slammed himself into the first to take to the ground. He fired at the second with a direct hit that exploded into pieces as he pushed his fist into the one he brought down. As he pulled out as much as he could, Travis noticed the Metahunters flying in the sky crisscrossing each other to form a barrier between himself and the one leaving with Aimee. He looked at his chest then back to the sky where he noticed none made a move towards him. Travis took one quick breath than flew skyward. He flew through the Metahunter blockade and as he went by each that Metahunter would change course to follow.

 

Aimee noticed Lucifer flew up beside the one carrying her. She felt the Metahunter toss her over and Lucifer roughly caught her. She looked as the first one that carried her fell back as Lucifer increased his speed. Aimee looked back to see Travis heading up in pursuit. She felt Lucifer began to descend sharply.

Lucifer looked back towards Travis. "Typical human behavior. He did not learn from the last time."

Aimee glared at Lucifer. "You were never after me. He's the one you wanted the whole time. Or you want something about Lord Omega that he must still have."

As they were about ten feet off the ground, Lucifer said, "You are too smart, human." He tossed her away.

Aimee hit the ground and came to a rolling halt. She had to fight not blacking out from the painful landing. She opened her eyes to notice she stopped near a fence. She had a hard time looking beyond the fence in the night but she noticed a building in the distance with a small light on. She got to her feet and looked around more on the other side of the fence then it dawned on her that she has been here before. "*bleep*." She looked back to find Travis and just as soon as she spotted him, Aimee witnessed him being fired upon and getting hit before crashing into the ground on the other side of the fence. She saw him try to regain his feet as more hits came from the Metahunters until he was on the ground at the feet of Lucifer.

As Travis looked up at him, Lucifer said, "You will now meet the commander." Lucifer stepped aside as the Discord Commander walked with a disdain expression on her face.

Travis asked, "Who are you?"

She looked at Lucifer then back at Travis. She quickly unleashed an electrical barrage at him as he began yelling in pain. She stopped the discharge then looked at Lucifer with a small nod before she turned back around.

Lucifer ordered, "Execute." He looked at Travis with a small grin as the Metahunters all begin to aim at Travis.

Aimee gasped as she looked at her hand that Travis grabbed earlier. She then remembered. She turned and ran as fast as she could as she heard blasts being fired but she did not look back.

 

Current time

Aimee said, "And that's when I made my way here. I only knew about this place because I saw the future when he grabbed my hand. But you must save him."

Sonya asked, "So where was this place with a fence that you saw?"

"You guys don't know?" Aimee looked around the room at the blank stares. She was slightly frightened by the scowl from Nathan that she quickly looked away from him. Aimee looked back at Jai. "It's your home." She sighed. "They're at the place you used to use as your base of operations."

Jai replied, "You mean the Compound?" She looked at Seth. "Before you say we can't do this now, we have to."

Seth shook his head. "He was taken by the Hunters. We have to go on the assumption that he's dead already. As much as I was against him being here in case he had a Lord Omega relapse, before that he was a soldier for the cause. Soldiers die."

Before Jai could reply, Nathan stepped in. "No. They set a trap for him to get him alive for some reason. He's alive for now and we're going to get him back."

Seth said, "I give the orders around here."

Nathan glanced over his shoulder at Talia who gave him a subtle nod when their eyes met. Nathan returned the nod. He looked back at Seth. "And I nor my sister works for you. We're agents of the FSB and even our superior in Russia has a hard time keeping us tied down. So what makes you think you can do better?"

Seth nodded then said, "I won't have to stop you. Trust me, I know he can though." Seth motioned to the one at his right. "He can do very bad things with his phase-shifting powers." Seth gave a small grin. It was short lived as he felt something suddenly cover him. He noticed when it subsided he was not the only one covered with black matter. He glared at Talia.

Talia frowned at him. "Don't you threaten my brother!"

Seth looked at the one on his right also covered in the black matter who just shook his head. He looked back up at Nathan who stood over him. Seth looked at Jai. "And you agree with him?"

Jai nodded. "We have no choice."

After Seth looked back up at him, Nathan said sternly, "You said he was a soldier. You got something wrong. You believe that the foes we will face will be too numbered. But foes come and go, but our soldiers stay eternal." He looked at Jai. "And it's time to get him and the Compound back. To be honest, I'm sick of letting them have it and not busting them up for even being there. My sister and I helped put that place together and with each passing day I feel more insulted with them being there. You wouldn't want to be known as the reason I feel insulted, would you?"

Seth coughed nervously then looked at Jai. "Do you think you're ready?"

Jai stepped forward. "That's not the point. They brought the war to us and now it's time to show them paybacks are Hell." She looked at the others. "I'm not going to order anyone to do this. It's your choice but I'm going with the twins to do this." Jai looked at Steven.

Steven laughed. "He's my brother that I just got back. You really have to ask? I'm insulted." He winked at Jai that gave him a half-grin. He leaned closer to Aurora. "I know it will be tough for you since walking into a den of Metahunters is bad for you. You don't have to do this."

Aurora looked at Nathan that nodded to her. She looked at Talia who just looked at her. She smiled at Steven nervously. "Of course, I want to help. But"

"Aurora, it's understandable. You'd have a target on your back." Jai looked at Ryder who stood in the doorway with his arms folded across his chest. She could not read his emotionless expression. "What about you?"

Ryder shook his head. "That's a suicide run. You guys may be strong but there's no chance in Hell of surviving this. There's not enough power in this room for that. I've seen enough. I want transportation back to Valhalla."

Jai sighed. "I'm sorry to hear that. Ray will use one of the jets to get you back there pretty fast as long as he gets safe passage out. I was hoping you would rejoin us."

Ryder replied, "I didn't sign up for an obvious suicide run." He looked at Ray that stood on the far side of the room and motioned to leave. He walked out and noticed Ray ran up to catch up with him as he continued to walk.

Jai sighed softly then looked back at Seth. "Maybe now we should see if Ariel and Hunter Enterprises have any last minute information we could use." After he nodded and left the room, Jai looked at the ever-serious Nathan. She gave a subtle grin to him. "Was it me or did you quote Tupac to him?"

Nathan responded, "It worked, didn't it?"

Jai said, "You keep surprising me." She looked at Aurora who was struggling to not burst out laughing.

 

Ray said, "I'm surprised you decided to turn tail and run like a coward, kid. But I'll get you to Valhalla in the Billion Dollar Princess. They'll need the other one."

Ryder shook his head without breaking stride. "You don't get it. There are people in that room back there I would give my life for. And the fact a person I considered my dead brother is in the middle of it. And you think I'm a coward." As they entered the hanger deck, Ryder asked, "How fast can that thing get me to Valhalla at top speed?"

Ray replied with a disgusted tone, "Don't worry, kid. I'll get you out of the danger and back to Valhalla when I get you there."

Ryder responded, "We have very little time if I know those people back there. Those people back there are trying to be brave and go into a war. That's stupid. You don't go to a war with only a select few. You bring the biggest army you can find." As Ray gave a smirk, Ryder nodded. "And Corbian has one. I plan to make him use it."

Ray said, "If Corbian says no, you do realize you could be in more danger than they are facing."

Ryder nodded. "That's why they must not know. If Corbian says no and they were with me, they'd waste valuable time for Travis." Ryder heard the door open and saw those he called teammates enter. As they eyed him, he looked back at Ray and said softly. "Besides, I have a trump card to get Corbian's attention." As Ray turned to head to one jet, Ryder looked back at them. As they slowly made their way to other jet, Ryder noticed Talia was giving him a glare and their eyes locked for a long period. He turned and made his way to catch up to Ray in the jet.

 

Jai began to fire up the engines as she watched the other jet take off and go stealth. The radio buzzed and she answered. "What do you need?"

Victoria answered back, "Miss Hunter said to head to Salem City because she has a special package that may help you."

Jai asked, "Did she say what the package would be?" She noticed someone sitting in the co-pilot seat. "What are you doing here? We don't need your help no matter if you can go through things."

"I can pilot this thing. Besides, have you been trained on how to use the weapons systems yet?" After Jai shook her head, he continued, "Then it's settled."

Jai took a minute. "Fine. Just don't mess up. Right now, we're heading to Salem City to get something from Hunter Enterprises."

 

As the second jet lifted off the ground and moved out also in stealth mode, Aurora with her arms folded to hold herself tightly watched with Seth at her side. She thought to herself.

Seth said sarcastically, "I knew not to trust a Masters."

Aurora glared at him. "Don't you think I want to be there with them? But you can't understand how those things react to me. I'm just not up for it."

"So you don't have what it takes. Honestly, the power of magnetism could help them greatly."

"Don't you think I'd go if I was that powerful? My brother, sister, and boyfriend are on that jet. If I can't avoid it, I'd fight them but I'm just not as powerful as" Aurora's eyes lit up. "Of course! Why didn't I think of that before? They could use magnetism. Only there are others more powerful than me."

"You better not be talking about that father you have."

Aurora turned away from him. "Not just him. I'm talking about those who follow him. And I'm talking about powerful magnetic powerhouses I call my mother and Rex." She glanced over her shoulder at him. "And you better not try to stop me."

 

 

 

NEXT ISSUE:

The team will finally see what became of the StormStrike Compound since it has been under the control of the Discord and the Metahunters. One character will lose a family and begin a new chapter. And the official new lineup begins in

STORMSTRIKE #50

EVOLUTION

 




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