Thursday, February 18, 2010

DEFENDERS/ TRANZ #3 Part One, "Free of the Fallen World!: Thwart the Spell of the Wolf

“The heat, the smoke, the manual labor---it’s at the edge of what any man can bear!” thinks Corporal Dayly.

The force of the Tranz-Rupture causes several thinking people to bleed over into one another's minds---a maddening disaster, without explanation, while the valley burns, as though to the clouds themselves.

“Darned if I’ m giving in though! If only all these weird impressions would cease! Childhood memories, hidden fears, thoughts of the afterlife, yearnings for home---it’s a flood! But I’m an individual! I won’t have my reality played with! The reality is that huge fire, and I’ve got to keep digging for all I’m worth, till this thing’s out and I’m back home sooty hair and all, playing drums again...!”

Strangely, his individual assertion echoes in waves throughout the Tranz-Ruptured collection of thoughts present; all around him, the embattled reservists snap back to their senses, straining to focus on the massive destruction bearing down on them all.

But at this moment, incredible headwinds shake the forest---scattering the runaway menace of the fire all over the surrounding, desert climate-dry brush, unchecked!

Even without the Tranz-Rupture, despair might echo through the hearts of the brave soldiers... American and Canadian alike, they brace against the stout winds, sweltering vapors of heat singeing their sweat-covered faces!

Mountie Blanc gains a moment’s lucidity, and calls out to his fellows: “Pull together! We’ve all got to keep on this thing! Don’t give up, you hear?”

Above him, Nighthawk observes the impressions flowing from the minds below, attempting to orient himself in flight. “Look at them---no powers to speak of, fighting this raging wildfire on nothing but guts and determination! How could I presume to inspire them, flying above the fray in my bizarre spiritual detachment?!?

And yet...I mustn’t doubt myself! Whatever’s causing this razor-sharp cut across our minds leaves us vulnerable to one another’s unfocused thoughts! Even a guy with nothing but a jet-pack and a funny suit’s got to pull his weight---even when he’s being tossed from the sky with Force Ten fury!

It’s ---good Lord!

It’s like some massive dragon of flame appearing above us! Am I hallucinating? But it’s no illusion! How do we fight THAT? It’s a sort of manifestation of the elements---part of this wave of transforming power! I see that’s not stopping my jade-jaw friend from leaping into the fray, though! Here’s hoping there’s something left of you besides a gamma-ray inspired crisp, big guy!”

Smoky Dean loses his radio contact, but charges in behind the brigade of reservists, barking instructions. “They fight fires differently out here than they do where I’m from down South,” he thinks. “They even SWEAR differently! Got to ask’em to clear up a few words for me...when we shut down this wildfire!”

His mouth drops open: Gnome the Troll has mobilized his battle armor, rolling on dilapidated treads, dented and damaged, passing through the burning woods to rendezvous with the lupine sorcerers...

Hellcat breaks into a full speed sprint, pursuing Corpse Flower to where her humanoid partner stands before a vast machine, chanting. “Hate to disconnect your prayer line, Fuzzy Guy,” she declares, firing a grappling hook and swinging into the back of Remus, “but you’re going to have to drop that signal pronto!”

“Little she-cat wench!” snarls Corpse Flower. “What can a powerless creature like you accomplish but death?”
“You never know till you put your shoulder into it!” Hellcat jibes, as she wrecks the front panels of the machine with her costume’s claws. “Just call me the little engine of destruction that could!”

Suddenly, lasers from the machine begin to pin her down, as she holds herself in a plank pose just beneath their searing reach. Remus turns again and resumes, “Sulinar Vix, your servant calls upon you to now unleash the power from beyond the stars! Salvage this primitive, backwards world with transforming might! Let all the elements be called into form, to rip this reality free from its lowly moorings!”

Machine Man, using his anti-gravity units built inside his robotic frame, arrives with his hand transfigured into a high-caliber pistol; he opens fire on the laser portals, which begin to spew sparks!

“Daddy always said, ‘Aaron, you’re a real pistol!’ And thanks to him, I never leave home without my ‘hand gun’!”

“Blast you, mechanoid!” snarls Remus Sharptooth, who fires a bolt from his hand that shatters the generator next to Machine Man. The explosion rips apart the chassis of the android’s skull.

Hellcat rises and charges Sharptooth, as the singed she-wolf bolts away in pain.
Meanwhile, the Valkyrie stands beside Emma Jorgenson, their hands clasped, eyes closed. “I feel your friend Clea guiding me,” says Emma, “ and through my thoughts, we hear the imprisoned Vikings, Marc Kane and Prince Nicola.”

“I am without my carved rune staff,” says Marc Kane from the darkness, “but I’ve conjured a mental image of the hand molded runes created for me by our black companion, Nido. Each of us must draw forth one, to complete the spell of five runes. With their signs we may find my lost brother, who is the key to stopping this Sharptoothed One! His mixed essence makes his mind impenetrable to my probes. ”

Clea watches on, borrowing the amulet, the Eye of Agamotto, from her mentor, to pierce the astral plane of these events that lay a century and a half up the time stream from their location. Her image appears in their midst, transported to the present by the projection of the Eye.

In turn, Nicola, the Marc, Valkyrie, and Clea reach into the bag, to pull forth, on the darkened astral plane, a glowing Viking rune each. “Stephen!” Clea asks, through her mind rapport with the Master of the Mystic Arts, “how is it I that must participate in this spell? Are you not...?”

“I sense that two male presences---one, still unrevealed beyond the barrier you must cross, and three females, are necessary to complete it,” relays Doctor Strange. “I am trying to discern the manner of energy which is being conjured, so that we might combat its nature together! For the Valkyrie, however, I might lend, on this spiritual plane, a means of travel, for that great leap into the creative power of the unknown...”

With that, Valkyrie’s winged pegasus Aragorn appears beside her; she and the Marc Kane mount the flying horse, and begin to traverse the cosmic barrier towards the mental defenses of their mysterious foe.

Emma chants, creating a focus for Valkyrie and Marc Kane's "ride" into the powerful telepathic barriers of the lupine sorcerer's mind, as his spell with Sulinar Vix nears its completion, to summon transformative power from beyond the stars...

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