I wrote a superhero mashup a while back (superhero punk but also could be considered superhero noir). That one was a story titled Just Another Day. The blog it existed on is gone so you won’t be able to find right now (I should probably reshare it at some point).
Well, over at Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds he prompted another superhero mashup. Long story short I liked the character Nick from the story. Though we haven’t seen what exactly his powers are, we do know that much of what he can do isn’t flashy or showy, much like his super suit.
Today we learn a little more about Nick in the story…
Blade of the Broken Phoenix
Light exploded underneath the alien craft. A blast of illuminating force cut the air to sear the earth in front of Nick. The light continued in a line ripping and burning the ground as it encroached on his space…
Wait, stop. We can’t come into the story right here. Listen as the person about to be sliced in half by this alien laser, I think it stands to reason that we should at least know how I came to this moment in my life.
It was a typical Saturday night (ya, here we go with the story). I spent a few hours at the bar to be shot down by the girls. I’m not going to get into it here but it sucks when you don’t have a flashy costume or cool special effects powers. But I digress.
I was on my way to Annie’s, the greasy spoon I go when my efforts in love fail. So ya, I end up there every Saturday night. But Annie loves me and she makes it worth the trip. Anyway, it all started when I was on my way to Annie’s.
See, I walk pretty much everywhere. Hey, not everyone is blessed with flight okay. Well that, or I take a cab. But mostly I hoof it. Helps to keep me in shape and Annie doesn’t harp on me so much when she knows I been walking.
I like to take 58th street most of the time. It runs through a “normal’s” neighborhood. Sometimes I can get a good workout in when I run across a few that want to test my abilities. But really I do it as a public service. I have to do my part to keep the streets safe for everyone.
Near the corner of 58th and Blain I witnessed a mugging unlike any I have ever seen before. Two bigger gentlemen (they were thugs, let’s be real here) had taken to a smaller guy and had him on the ground. They kicked and punched at him and he defended the best he could. No good deed goes unpunished but I couldn’t just let him take the beating.
Really, it didn’t take much for me to make my point. It can be hard to argue when you are picked up by the scruff of your neck and bodily thrown to the other side of the street. When they stood up again they took a last look at me before they ran.
“Hey, you alright,” I said to the man on the ground. He answered with a groan. I offered my hand to help him back to his feet but the intensity of the heat coming from his skin knocked me back.
And then he flooded me with words, if you can even call them that. A bizarre series of syllables and clicks and whistles. I honestly can say that I don’t know if he was thanking me for taking care of the thugs or if he was cussing me out.
“Where you from,” I asked. He gave me an odd look and then repeated the word “from.” I thought maybe he was testing out the words but I gained the general impression that he wasn’t from around here. Not that I was judging, but it seemed a bit fishy to me either way.
The heat died down and with it his voice, or at least it seemed that way. He watched me as I looked around the area. Didn’t find anything he might have dropped in the attack but at this point if it had been something odd I might not have even found it anyway.
“Croktok,” he said and thumped his chest with his right “hand.” It wasn’t really a hand, per se, a bit more like a hooked talon. The more I looked at him, the little things that marked him something other than of this earth stood out.
I figured maybe he was trying to introduce himself. “Nick,” I said as I pointed at my chest with my thumbs. I’m all about intergalactic relations, let me tell you.
He nodded at me. A bit odd, stiff maybe, but the gesture seemed to convey a similar message as one we might share. But then the oddest thing happened. He began to speak. Gone were the strange noises. Words fell from his lips as natural as the words I speak now. Just like that he knew our language. “I am in need of help,” he said.
“I can see that. But I think you’re in the wrong neighborhood for that.”
“They come,” he said. “I need to leave here. Do you have a safe place?”
A bit forward sure, but maybe he isn’t hip to the customs yet. I eyed him up and down. He looked harmless, heck, the normals tore him up a bit. “I am going to get some food,” I said. “Stick with me. I’ll watch out for you.”
He nodded and then fell in beside me on the way to Annie’s. Her coffee was dangerous but her shop existed as a supers free zone. We wouldn’t have any heavy weights trying to test him or throwing their weight around. Like I said, me and Annie were tight. I always got some special consideration.
You ever have that feeling like you’re being watched? Ya know the one I’m talking about, like something a bit out of the world is focused on the back of your head. I couldn’t shake the feeling, looked all over but didn’t see anything or anyone out of the ordinary.
Well, that is until I saw the ship. A floating disc big enough for a single pilot, by the look of it. One of those things from a while back that become the flying saucers we all think of when we hear the word.
The thing shot out from behind me and spun in the air in front of me. A silvery disk with a bulbous top and bottom in the dead center of the thing. As it hovered in front of us a silvery rod extended out of the bottom, aimed in our direction.
If you weren’t sure about it, this is where we came in at. Back up to speed. Floating disc hovering in front of me and my odd companion. Beam of light flashes from a rod in the bottom of the disc right at my feet. The light cuts the earth in a stream as it inches closer to me. Still with me right?
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t fret too much about an attack from an unknown source. But here’s the problem. Of all the things that I am impervious to, light concentrated into a beam form (such as a laser) is a dangerous thing to me. Hell, it’s a dangerous thing to most everything.
My new friend jumped in front of the beam as it rose up toward my torso. His skin flared with bright light, searing heat. A white hot glow suffused his skin as he soaked the energy into his body. The glow burned my eyes like staring into the sun, but before I looked away I saw a beam of light shoot from his eyes and blast into the ship.
Though I didn’t see the explosion, I don’t think anyone from miles around us missed it. The air sucked away from us and then pressure slammed me into the ground. This close to the center I heard nothing. The whole thing happened in what I felt before I lost feeling to nothing more than pressure.
When the pressure ended oxygen rushed back to fill the void. Air burst into my lungs in great gulps. I fought my way to my feet through a dizzy head rush unlike any I have felt before. The spots receded from my vision as I scanned the area around us.
For the power of the explosion I expected to see the city block turned inside out. Instead my view fell upon the burning husk of the ship that attacked us. And Craktok, well, he stood among a pile of ashes. His body whole and unharmed though not a stitch of clothes covered him now.
“I hoped to avoid that here,” he said. “We should go and find this Annie’s. The change always makes me hungry.”