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Apocalypse Averted

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Scholars Aide
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Apocalypse Averted

Dr. Blake Washington, Jr. Ph. D. was somewhat disturbed.  On the way home from another anthropological conference in Egypt, his flight was forced to make an unexpected stopover in Overbrook City.  All the passengers were hustled off the plane and the plane (rather quickly) taxied through the open doors of a lonely hangar on the opposite side of the tarmac.  Just as the doors to the terminal closed behind him, he noticed a large number of men in suits climbing out of limos and entering the hangar, which he also noticed was marked with the symbol of Pike Industries.

His natural curiosity, piqued by the suspicious circumstances, was dampened by how deadly tired he was.  He hadn't gotten much sleep during the conference as twice his rest was interrupted by visits from The Wraith.  The first was quick - he woke to find a collapsed man on his floor, the Wraith standing over him, a Sumerian sacrificial dagger in his hand.  She nodded at him, indicated that he should go back to sleep, and then left (with the intruder) through an open window while he was looking away, groping for his satchel.  The second time, SHE was the one who required help, as she had discovered from the intruder that he was part of a cult attempting to summon the being known only as Gloomweaver to our world.  With his advice as Dr. Washington, the help of Ra, God of the Sun, and the help of a strange white-haired woman who had herself a number of ancient relics, the Wraith managed to foil the plans of the cultists and seal once more the barriers that held Gloomweaver in his own world of chaos and darkness.

Needless to say, that second night took quite a lot out of him, what with confronting the spectre of Anubis, the innumerable traps inside the pyramid where the cult had set up their summoning ritual, and the (saints alive!) ZOMBIES he had had to face down again and again while destroying the three focii of the ritual.

 

So, he was rather glad when a number of armed and uniformed men moved between the passengers and him, clearly indicating that no one was going back towards the plane until the airline was ready for them.  It was the perfect excuse to leave the airport (passenger information indicated that it would be at least 3 hours before their flight was ready to resume), get a light lunch, and enjoy a coffee (sweet, sweet caffeine!!) and book at some local cafe.  Maybe even do some sightseeing in the industrial capital of the state.

After lunch he managed to find the one cafe NOT hosting some Bohemian-hippie "poetry reading", and was able to sit down in peace to read the latest installation in his favorite mystery series.  After awhile, he began to feel the uncomfortable itching that comes when someone is staring at you.  He looked up, and across from him was the last person he had ever expected to see, roaming the streets of a CITY no less!

"Professor Rhodes!"

"Come now, Blake, we both know each other too well.  Call me John."

"But...the City?"

"I felt something needed my attention here."

"What?  Who?  Where?"

"I'm not yet sure, but if you and I go for a brisk walk around this fine municipality, I'm sure it'll reveal itself.  Bring your satchel," he added.

Not quite sure what would drag The Scholar out of his comfortable houseboat in Florida all the way to Overbrook, but unsettled by the idea, Dr. Washington immedaitely stood up, left a $20 to pay for his cup of joe, and swiftly followed his former mentor down the street, straining to catch himself the disturbances in the leylines that always drew Prof...John so strongly.  He began to get a little worried as they headed into the factory district, and his soul chilled when they stopped in front of the gates to the Pike Industrial Complex.  The two heavily armed guards that had been there were impaled on the spiked fence and the security gate was shorn from it's hinges.

"We're going to need some assistance," said The Scholar.  He reached out into midair and plucked at one of the strings of the world that only he could perceive with such precision, and the bright light of a Time Portal appeared next to them, dumping out a confused-looking cowboy.

"Ain't neither of you the folks I was coming to help."

"Legacy, Mr. Fixer, and Nightmist don't need your help with the Baron.  The Cataclysm of Time you were headed into would have disabled Con's beacon on you anyways."

"Huh?"

"Don't worry about it, we don't have a lot of time before your return portal reappears.  Inside those buildings, we have a much bigger problem.  I think someone is attempting to bring about the Apocalypse."

"Well, we can't have that, can we?  I haven't yet dealt with all them varmints that survive the Apocalypse to make life impossible for humans in the future."

Completely confused by this back-and-forth, but understanding that a fight was about to begin either way, Dr. Blake Washington reached into his satchel for his own totem - the magical staff of Ra, God of the Sun.  As the persona took over, his eyes blazed forth with fire.  "Let us go forth, then, and confront this miscreant and take him to task for his misdeeds," said the Sun God as his mantle of power settled over him.

An grimly amused look on his face, The Scholar sauntered through the open gates, following the path of destruction leading to one of the buildings.

 

 

Inside, Ra had a brief flashback to his adventures in Egypt upon seeing the circle of summoning etched into the floor.  This time, it was no mere mortal who stood in the center, muttering in ancient Latin.  It was Belaziel, The Apostate.  Even as the three of the readied themselves for the fight, his sword Condemnation flew at them, seemingly of its own accord, cutting into the Scholar's shoulder.  Brief discomfort crossed his face as John Rhodes ignored the weapon to reach into his fanny pack and pull out what he would need to survive this fight.

 

[More to Come!  Stay tuned for the rest of the fight in the near future!]

Rabit
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(Moved to fan fic forum)


"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart." - Mal

Unicode U+24BD gets us Ⓗ. (Thanks, Godai!)

Odin
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I love fanfiction. Can not wait to read the rest!

Scholars Aide
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[Apparently "near future" means "almost six months from now".  But, either way, here is the rest.]

 

As the heroes moved forward to confront him, Belaziel grunted irritably at them and made a peremptory gesture in their direction, clearly not wanting to interrupt his ritual.  A demon materialized from one of the runes running along Condemnation's edge and interposed itself between him and the heroes.  Hissing aggressively, it advanced on them, murderous intent clear in its eyes.

As he settled his hat more securely on his head, Chrono-Ranger was briefly distracted from the fight by a communication from Con: "That demon is one of several that may spawn the New Jersey Devils, Jim.  Take it out!"  Immediately, Chrono-Ranger's pistol let fly, taking a chunk out of the beast's arm, but otherwise seeming ineffective.

As the pain from Apostate's invidious glare shook him, Ra invoked his own flames, which briefly shrouded the monster from view, but quickly died away, no doubt being held back by the infernal power that was concentrated around the summoning circle.

Or perhaps not.

All three heroes briefly shivered, even flame-wreathed Ra, as they approached closer, at last noticing some of the other "occupants" of the room.  Their attention was drawn to the cold fog drifting across the floor from an open vat of some sort.  All they could tell of the liquid inside was that it must have been shatteringly cold, for snow crystals could be seen forming in the air around it, before falling to the floor, melting, and refreezing as ice.  As Chrono-Ranger caught a whiff of the stuff, he coughed violently for a moment.  "That sludge must be unhealthier than improperly brewed moonshine!"

"Then it would behoove us to settle this matter forthwith," agreed Ra, backing away from the chill uneasily.

A cry from Apostate and a strange rumbling brought their attention back to the main issue, as a mighty obelisk crashed through the earth, interposing itself between them and the devil with the sword.

"Those runes carved on the side of that thing are bad news," said the Scholar.  "We need to bring all our resources to bear, here.  Don't dismiss ANYthing!"

Another communication from Con burst into Chrono-Ranger's head: "That obelisk would be perfect to help protect the bunker from all the beasts around here, Jim.  Attach a homing beacon to it, erase that third rune up from the bottom (that one links it to this particular time and spatio-coordinate in the Multiverse) and I'll pull it out of that building and back here where it will help us!"

"Stop distractin' me Con," Chrono-Ranger muttered as he stepped too close to the vat in an attempt to get closer to his true target here (he thought) - the Apostate.  As the ice crystals formed along his mechanical arm, he felt the cold penetrate his bones, and was forced to retreat.

"I have some experience with obelisks myself," thundered Ra, approaching the enormous object that prevented them from doing more than irritate Apostate with their energies and bullets.  Driving a spike of flame into the ground, he surrounded the infernal relic with fire, blasted the third rune from the bottom with his hand and then shattered his staff across the center, all while muttering in an ancient proto-language from before the dawn of civilization.  Briefly, the thing shimmered in and out of phase, but a surge of energy and a suddent assault from Condemnation pushed Ra back before he could complete the banishment ritual.

Just as he completed the transformation of his physical form to an energy being, the Scholar felt a new sensation - a dangerous pulsing of energy, interacting with his own.  Looking off to the left, he saw that the backlash from Ra's attempt had blown a hole in one of the walls, exposing an orange-colored vat marked with several signs indicating the prescence of hazardous radioactive material.  Immediately banishing the current configuration of energy (as it would prove disastrously reactive to the energies now spilling from the second vat) he hardened his skin against all forms of intrusion - physical, mental, or biological.

Another cry of triumph pierced the room as the circle surrounding Apostate glowed yet against, this time bringing forth two artifacts from the nether regions - an effigy that resonated with the same corrupt energy spilling from the giant obelisk and a gauntlet that glowed darkly with infernal hatred.

As the Scholar sped up his reaction, he took a moment to cut the string holding the demon's life bound to this plane, concentrating his remaining power on interrupting the protections around Apostate.  The obelisk, however was lending it's strength and infernal resistance to the other relics, making it impossible to do more than scratch them.  He knew, somehow, that even were they to manage to remove the obelisk, the effigy that resonated so closely with it would just cause it to reform almost immediately.  Unless they could also destroy that at the same time.

Activating the ram function on his arm, Chrono-Ranger shot his steel clad fist into the side of the huge stone edifice, striking precisely on the spot Con had indicated, which Ra had weakened.  The raised stone carving of a sundial disintegrated under the blow and Jim opened his fist to place the carefully concealed time-beacon onto the same spot.  "Great work, Jim, but something is still holding the structure in place.  Something with a similar energy signature...  I'm scanning right now to determine what...  Oh my circuits!  Jim, you have to get out of there now!  The radioactivity levels in that room have spiked to levels that are completely unsafe for an unshielded organic form!"

"I'm not leavin' my friends in danger," growled Chrono-Ranger, "Now tell me how to get rid of this consarnit rock!"

"No, you have to leave now.  Much more exposure and you'll die of radiation poisoning!"

"The statue, Jim!  Destroy the statue and the obelisk will be decoupled from this reality!" interrupted the Scholar.

"I'm strainin' just to hold ma beacon in place, here.  How d'you expect me to "decouple" some statue at the same time?  And what in tarnation does that word mean, anyway?"

"I'll remove this obstacle," stated Ra, understanding the energies which can tie one relic to another.  A blast of flame akin to the heat of a solar flare engulfed the statue, reducing it to cinders in moments.  The backlash also charred the other relics, leaving them severely weakened.  As the statue crumbled into the dust, the obelisk toppled as well, smashing a large hole in another wall before disappearing into a Time Portal into the far future. 

As it disappeared, however, the hole it created revealed yet another vat of supercooled liquid.  The two enormous tubs, exposed to one another's energies, began to cause the very air to freeze.  Choking on the ice he was breathing in the suddenly negative degree room, Chrono-Ranger stumbled and fell to his knees.

"That's it!  I'm pulling you out Jim!" shouted Con, activating the emergency recall.  Chrono-Ranger fired off one last round into Apostate's side, before darkness began to cover his eyes.  The last he heard was the Scholar's calm voice "Thank you friend, we couldn't have done it without you."

As Chrono-Ranger's image faded from view, another infernal gauntlet appeared in midair in front of Apostate and he finally ceased his chanting.  "I don't know how you have gotten past my demon and my maledictions, but you have finally raised my ire.  I shall destroy you and then continue with my great work of cleansing the face of this earth of your unworthy race of insects."

Reaching into the gauntlets, his head jerked down in shock as both shattered into icicles when he clenched his fists.  He stared amazed at the ice coating the edge of Condemnation and the ruined remains of the second gauntlet.  "What sorcery is this?" he exclaimed.

"Not sorcery at all, my avian friend," answered the Scholar, looking tensed for action, but relaxed at the same time - a pose only he could pull off. "Merely physics in action, as is THIS!"  Letting loose a torrent of energy, the Scholar lashed Apostate back and forth across the room.  The many bullets that Chrono-Ranger had put into him allowed John Rhodes to exploit the holes in Apostate's defensive aura and hurt him more than would normally be possible.  Ra joined in, blasting the devil with fire from his staff, pushing him back towards the circle inscribed on the floor.

With his minions killed or banished and his protective relics destroyed, the Apostate knew he only had moments left to finish his ritual before the putrescent beasts before him managed to foil his plot.  Dropping all pretense at attack, Apostate relied on the strength of his magic to protect him and he reached into the ether to pull out the energies that would destroy this world and all unworthies such as these that were in his way.

A light brighter than any even he had seen before struck Ra's eyes and he knew that they had reached their last moments.  Calling out "You shall not end my world today!" Ra let fly with the staff, putting all his might behind the throw.  It struck the magical shield constructed by the circle and began slowing down, as though the air itself had become gelatinous.  Just when it seemed as though his effort would be in vain, a tongue of plasma (liquid and energy combined) struck out like a rattlesnake from where the Scholar had transformed again, bursting the "bubble" that was holding back Ra's Staff.  With the opposing force gone, the Staff of Ra rocketed into the circle and struck the Apostate in the back, setting him alight.  As he screamed in agony, the flames engulfing his body spread, reacting precipitously with the chemicals floating through the air at ankle height.  As the very air around him began to burn, Apostate saw the runes he had inscribed on the floor melt away.  With no focus for the energies of the ritual anymore, the gate closed in on itself and the light of destruction he had begun to create disappeared into the nothingness from which it had been summoned.   A burst of flame and the two ends of the Staff of Ra tumbled to the ground.

Just before collapsing on the floor, Dr. Blake Washington (having destroyed the totem that allowed him to take on the form of Ra), saw the flash of warning lights in the next room indicating a dangerous growth in the pressures of the radioactive vat located therein.  "Run, John, it's going to blow.  Save yourself while you can."

Humming slightly, the Scholar sauntered over to where his former student lay and easily lifted the prone man onto his broad shoulders.  "You've never yet learned how not to be dramatic, Blake.  It's one of your most endearing foibles."  Pulling on another of reality's strings, the Scholar disappeared from the Pike Industrial Complex just as the flashing lights turned red and the still screaming Apostate was caught in a pillar of flame that burst through the roof and bathed the entire industrial neighborhood in an orange-red light.

********

(Later that evening, on his TV set at home in the Everglades, the Scholar watches the news.)

"Disaster struck today at Pike Industrial Complex in Rook City.  Officials are still investigating, but unofficial sources have confirmed that a series of coolant vats being placed in too close a proximity to hazardous waste caused the explosion which killed a dozen men working security and potentially millions in property damage to the Pike Industries Research Facility."
"Thanks to a quick response from the city's cleanup crew, a volunteer force fully funded by Montgomery Industries, no other loss of life or damage to the city itself is suspected."
"CEO Graham Pike was unavailable for comment, but a statement from his office assured city officials that all necessary inspections would be allowed, all records would be open, and the CFO would open company accounts to inspection to make sure that whoever caused this terrible tragedy would be brought to justice."

Hmmph, that'll be the day, thought John Rhodes to himself, as he turned off the TV to commune once again with the natural world in hopes of maintaing the harmony that had briefly been restored.

********

Snoring lightly in his seat on the airplane, Dr. Washington was oblivious to the world.  The suspiciously long loading time for the luggage, the quiet fear of the flight attendants around the two black-suited men who took up positions next to the door to first class - these signs and others were never noticed as he slept on smilingly, knowing that, for today at least, the world - was safe.