Chapter 21 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo
Ion reminded himself that no matter how fast they were going, Starlight wasn’t going to drop him. The alien robot or person of whatever he was had carried him safely to the wreck on the interstate the night before. Starlight had also carried ambulances.
They were moving faster this time.
Ion activated his communicator. “Rigel, if Starlight and I get there first, should we engage Fusion or wait?”
“He’s at a nuclear reactor. Do everything you can to stop him. There’s no telling what he might do,” she said.
“Understood,” replied Ion. “Starlight, did you hear that?”
“Affirmative,” said Starlight. “I have also spotted our adversary. He is emitting a cloud of intense radiation. I will put you on the ground before I engage.”
“How intense?” asked Ion, even as Starlight soared down to the green quad of the Megalopolis State University campus. The grass on the far side of the quad was black. A large humanoid figure in a bright red suit marked with a yellow radiation warning symbol marched toward the Physics Building, home to the university’s reactor.
“Never mind,” said Ion. “I’m sure it’s bad.”
“His current level of emissions cannot sustain the field of radiation that surrounds him. Although this is conjecture, it seems logical to assume that he was contained in a confined space his radiation could not escape. Over time, his containment unit’s radiation exceeded his own natural levels. In short, he has been exposed to his own emissions.”
“What do we do?” asked Ion.
“I will absorb as much of his energy as I can, drawing it from the atmosphere and the surrounding area. Once I have done so, I will fly into space and release the radiation where it can do little harm. While I am doing so, I will be unable to assist you,” said Starlight.
“I’ll figure something out,” said Ion. “I’m good at dodging. Go!”
Starlight flew over to the large figure. “Fusion, I am Starlight of Freedom Squad. Please surrender yourself to the nearest Terran authorities and cease your nuclear emissions. If you fail to comply, we are authorized to use force to compel your surrender.”
A hairless golden head turned to face Starlight. Intense energies visibly swirled beneath his skin and clouds of light seemed to pour from his eyes. He screamed at Starlight and the air around him seemed ready to burst into flame.
“Radiation absorption commencing,“ said Starlight.
Fusion raised his hands and beams of energy struck Starlight. The alien remained hovering over the campus and spread his arms. Starlight began to glow, becoming brighter and brighter with each passing moment. It soon became impossible for Ion to look at him.
Ion’s communicator buzzed. A warning message displayed indicating that Starlight was offline and gave Starlight’s last known GPS. “This is Ion, Starlight’s alright. At least, I think he’s alright for a cosmically-powered alien who has absorbed enough radiation to power a small nuke.”
Starlight launched himself into space.
“Starlight’s on his way to space,” said Ion, feeling more like a reporter than a superhero. “That means… oh, boy… I’m alone with Fusion.”
“No, you aren’t,” said Solaria, landing next to him. “The day that you are alone against Fusion, everyone’s in trouble. Now, let’s see what electricity and flame do to this guy.”
“Sounds good to me,” Ion said.
The two heroes both fired their powers into the living nuclear nightmare called Fusion. The flames and electrical bolts blew holes into Fusion’s radiation suit, but if they had any effect on Fusion himself, it didn’t show.
Solaria took a breath. “Okay, that was my best shot. What about you, Ion?”
“I think we got his attention,” Ion said.
Fusion flung an energy blast at them, but fortunately, Ion had more than enough time to scoop Solaria up in his arms and move out of the way in a blue blur.
“Thanks,” she said. “You are pretty fast.”
“I’m okay, but I was really happy to see that Velocity guy. I’m a big fan of speed, especially in situations like this.”
“Agreed. Don’t put me down quite yet,” she said. “But don’t get any ideas.”
“Me?” said Ion, as they dodged another blast. “Ideas? No, no ideas here. Not in the slightest. Wish I had one though besides stall until help arrives.”
What seemed like a red and white meteor came flying out of the sky and slammed into Fusion. Without a word, Defiance grabbed the super-villain and lifted him off the ground.
“I think you can put me down now,” said Solaria. “And stalling until help arrives wasn’t that bad an idea. Speaking of which, where is Snowfall? He’s got to learn to fly better.”
Fusion glowed brightly, and Defiance fell to his knees. Fusion smashed Defiance with one nuclear-powered punch and followed it with another.
“No, you don’t,” said Defiance, catching yet another punch. Defiance hit Fusion in the center of his chest with a thunderous impact. Fusion flew through the air and crashed into the Megalopolis Physics Building.
“Defiance!” yelled Ion. “Get him away from there. That’s where the reactor is.”
Defiance nodded in acknowledgement. Fusion stood up and the wall where he had landed seemed to be melting.
“This is really not good,” said Solaria. “What do I do, boss?”
Rigel landed in front of them, and Nightstar and Rockslide alighted with her. “Solaria, make a perimeter. With that thing’s radiation levels, we need to keep people away from here. Ion, Nightstar, Rockslide, let’s help Defiance any way that we can.”
“I can fight him,” protested Solaria.
“And you can fly quickly and create burning barriers which can scare people off,” said Rigel. “Come back when you are sure that a perimeter has been established or when your communicator starts showing us going unconscious.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Solaria, flying off.
Fusion had the upper hand on Defiance again and threw the hero through a blacked tree truck. Rigel reached her hand toward Fusion and telekinetic power wrapped around him. She lifted him in the air and started spinning him around.
“He’s fighting his way free,” she said, feeling beads of sweat forming on her forehead. She could hear the strain in her voice.
“I’ve got him,” said Nightstar. “Rockslide, follow up if this doesn’t work.” An instant later, Nightstar stepped out of a rift below the spinning Fusion. He leapt in the air and slashed Fusion with his psychic blade.
Almost immediately, Rigel dropped Fusion. “He might be stronger than Defiance,” she said.
If Rockslide heard her, Fusion’s strength didn’t deter him. Like a living avalanche, he tackled Fusion, burying him beneath his own stony body. For a moment, it seemed that Fusion had been defeated, trapped under Rockslide.
Defiance stood up as Rockslide started to glow.
“Rockslide, get off him!” ordered Rigel.
Nightstar ran over to Rockslide, but with his nearly trademark blue blur, Ion grabbed Nightstar and rushed him to safety. An explosion sent Rockslide flying into the air.
Rigel reached out with her telekinesis to catch her teammate. As she concentrated on Rockslide, she worried about what Fusion might be doing. She put Rockslide down as quickly and carefully as she could.
“Rockslide?” she telepathically thought to him.
“Pain,” he thought back.
Meanwhile, the nuclear villain stepped out of a crater of steaming charred earth.
“Ion, I was okay,” said Nightstar.
“Does that mean ‘thanks for saving me, Ion, from an exploding Rockslide’ wherever you come from? If so, then you’re welcome, Nightstar.”
“Sorry, but as far as I can tell, I’m mostly immune to the effects of your world’s radiation. I need to try and hit Fusion with the psychic blade again. Sometimes it doesn’t work as well as I’d like.”
“We can talk about the whole your world’s radiation thing, but flying rocks still hurt, besides, it looks like Defiance is taking another shot at him.”
Defiance punched Fusion. It seemed to have little effect, but Defiance followed it up with another punch. When that seemed to have no effect, Defiance grabbed Fusion by his red radiation suit. “Let’s see how you do in the upper stratosphere.”
Fusion placed a hand on each of Defiance’s shoulders. Before the former super-villain could soar into the air, radiation pulsed through him. His knees buckled from the pain.
Rigel could see Defiance’s skin burning, and her communicator flashed a radiation warning. “Not good,” she said.
She launched a telepathic attack at Fusion, hoping that she could short-circuit whatever semblance of a brain still existed inside him.
A terrible backlash struck her, making her feel as if her skull were about to split open. An Ace of Spades spun around in her mind. Even as that happened, she felt a cold premonition.
They were all in terrible danger, and it had nothing to do with Fusion.