Heroes Legion: America's Most Wanted
Chapter 7: Escape From Crystal Peak
Heroes Legion Mansion, Manhattan Island Ruins: October 18, 2014, 8:00 PM
"I still can't believe this place is still here, they glassed the island, but the building is untouched," Ravager said in awe.
After sneaking in past the patrols surveying the waterways, as STRIPE's forces worked to turn Manhattan Island into something else entirely.
There were no dead bodies to be found, the weaponry of the corrupted SLEET Air Fleet that had destroyed the city weeks ago had reduced all the people in the city to ashes, and the buildings that still stood in the city's iconic skyline were charred ruin…the whole city felt like a massive graveyard now.
While soldiers and TECH-NET groups worked along the outside perimeter of the rivers surrounding the ruined Burrough, setting up towers and what looked like the beginnings of some kind of wall.
What was it that SLEET/STRIPE was doing to the ruined island?
What were they turning it into?
The Heroes Legion had soon after found their way back and were now standing inside the new Heroes Legion mansion.
"Those magical masons built them to last and withstand everything possible" Murdoch explained.
After settling in, Raven Ducard placed the Titans in the room adjacent to the reading room.
She cast some healing spells, as well as restraining spells on them that would work up to 24 hours just in case they woke up and were still under STRIPE's control.
She remembered Spellbinder's little tricks all too well, so she knew that it was likely they were still under her spell.
If they rescued M-Leader, he would have to snap them out of it.
She then left them to recover and joined the others who had by this time gathered in the reading room to discuss their plans to break into where STRIPE was keeping M-Leader.
"Alright, listen up kids…" Hardcastle said, holding up a stick to point at the holographic map that was being projected into the middle of the reading room by way of the Robo-Warrior suits holographic projector "if what the intel we learned from that piece of junk Techne and Silicon fixed up in is anything to go by. M-Leader is being held in this part of the Alaskan mountains. I know the base stationed there, Crystal Peak."
"Sounds dangerous..." Shadow Knight inquired.
"It is, it was one of the latest bases we had set up before the Siege of Manhattan occurred, in response to what Spellbinder did with you lot, we built it to be anti-meta human incursion proof…and also anti-Magic. There are Anti-magic symbols everywhere, on every floor, and it's fitted with Power dampening versions of the Eldritch Field Emitters. Thousands of them which means for over a 30-mile square the area is a veritable superpower and magic dead zone. A death trap for any superhuman trying to break in, let alone break out." Hardcastle confirmed, "The place is surrounded by high mountains and cliffs, with only one way in, the mountain road. That road is monitored and if I know the standard procedure of SLEET security, if we set off an alarm, the entirety of SLEETm corrupted or not, is going to be coming down on our heads."
"The perfect base for the STRIPE conspiracy to use for their plots" Robo-Warrior added, "And the perfect place to hide M-Leader… if that M-Gene satellite didn't give us an edge in finding him."
"It's a good thing I built it" Silicon agreed, "I doubt even Heroes Links: One by itself could have found him without that satellite."
"Looks like a tough nut to crack indeed. With the anti-magic defenses in place everywhere" Murdoch said in thought, looking at the holographic map from his perch on the top of a bookshelf, "we couldn't use the mansions transport doors to take us inside the base and give us a way out."
"After that fiasco with the HMS Damocles" Ravager added, "SLEET will be on high alert for a 'rogue' stealth fighter plane. We probably wouldn't even get ten feet to the border before the picket line tries to shoot us down."
"We still have the new mansions transport doors," Murdoch said, "We can still use them to take us to Alaska, past the closed border, just not into the base."
"Even worse, we can't even use my powers to break in then. How are we going to get in?" Techne asked.
"I think I know a way," Shadow Knight said looking at the layout, pointing to a line that ran parallel to the mountain road for about two miles before jetting off into the other direction towards the mainline…it ran straight to the base.
"What is that?" Velocity asked.
"That's a railroad branch line, for our high-speed supply trains," Hardcastle answered.
"That's the way in; we use the Fallen Legion armor like we did before, catch one of the trains as it's making its way towards the base and use it as a hat." Shadow Knight declared.
"A hat?" Atlanta asked in confusion.
"A trojan horse" Raven Ducard explained, "we get in past their security systems undetected, they won't even know we're inside until it's too late."
"Right, of course," Atlanta said, nodding in acknowledgment "Worked for the greeks, it will work for us."
"Woah now! I've seen youtube videos of those armored trains. They go as fast as the bullet train. The bullet train! You want us to jump onto that thing when it's going by at 600 miles per hour. That'd be like jumping onto a moving missile the size of the Chrysler building made out of Diatitanium metal." Velocity then paused in thought, before grinning excitedly, "I love this plan. I'm excited to try it out. Let's do it!"
"Not to be Johnny raincloud over here and rain on your parade Velocity, but there's still the problem with the base." Silicon pointed out.
"He's right. If we free M-Leader, we have taken a step towards taking back the country and SLEET from these bastards and clearing our names" Techne said with determination, "but the question is where do we go from there once were inside? This won't be like the HMS Damocles."
"I hope not!" Velocity exclaimed.
"What I mean is we can't use my powers to break in undetected this time" Techne explained.
"No doubt there'd be so many other things we'd need your technopathic powers to get around, alarms, booby traps…" Andrew Griffin pointed out, "there must be tons of them in that place."
"Thousands," Hardcastle confirmed.
"Right, and you'd know how many there are and what they can do. What with you being the former commander and everything." Velocity said wisely.
"Yeah…" Hardcastle said sadly, remembering how she had been in charge of SLEET only to lose it to STRIPE's agents "I do."
"Even the ways to get around them or shut them off?" Shadow Knight inquired.
Hardcastle seemed to be frozen in place after hearing the Dark Avenger ask her that question, before a smirk of triumph crept across her diamond lips, "Yes."
An Hour Later…
Thirty Miles from Crystal Peak, the now armored Heroes Legion looked down at the tracks of the Base supply line from an overlooking embankment where the road leading to Nome branched out away from the railroad.
Using the mansion's magical travel portal doors, the Heroes Legion and Hardcastle traveled to this spot.
They had a steady plan, and they were ready to execute it.
The base might have all of the best defenses against metahuman and magical abilities, but there were two things they didn't have defenses against.
The cloaking abilities of the fallen Legion and Mark II Robo-Warrior suit, and the power of the teamwork that the Heroes Legion possessed.
They had gotten this far, and now all they had to do was catch the train.
"It should be here any minute," Hardcastle said, checking the time on her watch.
"Here it comes!" Atlanta declared.
They all looked up and peered down the tracks towards the tunnel.
They could see a glowing cycloptic eye barreling from the darkness of the tunnel towards the light of the open-air Alaskan wilderness.
The front of the armored high-speed supply train roared out of the tunnel, heading towards the adjacent incline where the Heroes Legion and Hardcastle were waiting.
The train was quite an awesome sight to behold.
Sleek and metal, heavily armored with only a single window on the front as the only visible access point on the whole train.
"We have only one access way, the emergency access hatch on the top of the 14th car," Cyber-29 said through the speakers of the Robo-Warrior suit, "we'll have 90 seconds to adhere ourselves to the train before we lose it."
"This'll be like jumping on the back of a moving Zanreefer." Atlanta said eagerly, "I'm ready!"
"What's a Zanreefer?" Ravager asked as he put down the visor of M-Leader's armor helmet.
"It's a sea dragon, a big and fast one," Atlanta answered simply.
"Okay, ready…JUMP!" Silicon declared.
The Heroes legion jumped from the ledge and landed on the back of the fast-moving armored train.
This was a trick that had been seen by some of them in many movies.
Hollywood never seemed to point out the fact that trying to get a grip on the back of a moving train after jumping on it was easier portrayed on-screen than done in real life.
If it wasn't for the powered armor suits powerful anchoring magnets and Murdoch's sharp claws, they all would have rolled off the rooftop to the end of the fast-moving armored train.
With their armor suits Magnetic palms and Knees keeping them anchored to the rooftop, the Heroes Legion began to stomach crawl along the roof of the armored train car as it rocketed down the branch line towards the mountain area where Crystal Peak Base was located.
They had landed a few cars away from the access hatch they needed to open to infiltrate one of the freight cars.
But crawling across the moving train despite being anchored to it wasn't easy, especially when one out of seven tunnels that the train passed through daily on its routine route back and forth from Ardeth Bay base came barrelling up towards them as the train plunged into the darkness of the tunnel.
DUCK!" Shadow Knight shouted.
The Heroes Legion all pressed their armored bodies down as flat as they could to the surface of the rooftop of the train car as the tunnel roof whizzed by right over their heads.
It took 15 seconds for the train to make it through before they saw the sight of daylight again.
"Go!" Shadow Knight ordered, and they resumed crawling towards the access hatch.
"Duck!" Hardcastle shouted.
"What?" Velocity asked the former commander, seeing as she was the only other one besides Murdoch who wasn't wearing armor and therefore wasn't sharing the same communication band he and his teammates were using to communicate with each other.
"…I said DUCK!" Hardcastle shouted.
"Duck!" Shadow Knight shouted Velocity had heard that one.
"Woah shit!" Velocity declared when he saw the mouth of another tunnel coming right for his armored face.
This tunnel was a little lower; it scrapped the paint job on the Heroes Legions suits.
Murdoch barely managed to get his head down and avoid having the top of his fur burned off.
Once the tunnel had gone past them, the Heroes Legion continued.
They eventually made it to the spot where the access hatch of the armored train car was located.
Robo-Warrior, Silicon, and Ravager began using their suit's wrist-mounted laser cutters to start melting the locks and bolts around the access hatch which kept intruders from doing exactly what they were doing now.
"Duck!" Shadow Knight declared.
After this tunnel had passed over them, they found that the train was now traveling alongside a steep drop off which emptied over the edge on the left into a deep cliff where a river ran through at the bottom of a 400 ft drop.
That was when they managed to get the hatch open.
One by one, carefully and cautiously, the Heroes Legion and Hardcastle entered the cargo car of the high-speed armored supply train.
Robo-Warrior closed and sealed the hatch behind him so that when they arrived at their destination the sight of one of the usually locked access-way hatches being left open wouldn't warrant an investigation.
He climbed down the access ladder and rejoined his comrades.
"Man…" Velocity said with a sigh of relief, "Now I know how Tom Cruise felt in Mission Impossible!"
"Okay, we made it in." Hardcastle said, "the train will take us past the main security wall and into the courtyard where we can make our way inside past the rest of the defenses and explore the interior of the base to find M-Leader. They don't have any security measures to detect cloaking signals inside the perimeter. This is something I'll have to have fixed once I've taken SLEET back. Once inside, we'll have to find one of the slipstream jump drive devices in the armory so we can get out of here, if that fails, we might have to come up with another plan to escape."
"Why do I get the feeling that breaking in was the easy part?" Silicon wondered.
"Because you're right…" Shadow Knight answered.
Crystal Peak, Level 5 Detention Cell: October 18, 2014, 9:10 PM
M-Leader gasped in pain, trying to regain his breath after losing it for the 14th time so far.
Col. Edward Fisk had been interrogating him for hours, but no matter how much pain M-Leader endured, he would not tell him anything.
He refused to do so.
Only for his former commanding officer to torture him again when he refused to do so.
The torture stopped, and M-Leader suddenly heard Col. Edward Fisk talking to someone in the same room where he was overseeing M-Leader's torture.
Either he had left the two-way speaker on, or M-Leader could hear what was going on in that room via his telepathy powers.
Whatever the case, he stayed silent and listened to the conversation going on inside the hidden room outside his cell.
"Slater?" Col. Edward Fisk asked surprised, "What are you doing here? I thought you were overseeing Project: Fallen king?"
"I am…" a second male voice responded, "but Commander Malcolm Talbot has informed me that a potential threat to the future we intend to create has been unleashed on the present time…our time."
"Oh no, not more of that Time Travel bull…" Col. Edward Fisk groaned in dismay.
"Shut up and listen. I honestly don't care if Talbot is who he says he is, but my superiors in FEIND do, and everything he said that could happen if we do what he says HAS happened. So if he says there is a threat to our mission to save the world from the Meta-Apocalypse, we'd better take the matter seriously." Slater insisted.
"Would this threat have anything to do with the Heroes Legion?" Col. Edward Fisk inquired.
"He says that it is…" Slater acknowledged, "He also says that we should move onto getting rid of both M-Leader and Meta-Master."
"Meta-Master is not a problem anymore" Col. Edward Fisk assured, "that madman won't be bothering anyone anymore. He's a mad dog without teeth now."
"We still have to deal with the rest of the active metahumans lurking in our populace" Slater pointed out.
"You need not worry about that, Slater…" Col. Edward Fisk said with determination, "I expect to deal with the metahuman problem within the month."
"Oh?" Slate asked, "How so?"
"My division of STRIPE has developed an extraordinary device based on studies done on the deceased brain of that Morpheus fellow. First things first…" Col. Edward Fisk said, "I need to mentally break M-Leader, then…he'll be more than ready to be plugged into the machine…"
"Wait for just a second…" Slate's voice said curtly, and then Slater's voice shouted "You fool. You left the speaker on. He heard every word you just said!"
"So what if he did?" Col. Edward Fisk responded unconcerned, "He's not going anywhere."
Crystal Peak, Alaska: Level 1: October 18, 2014, 9:14 PM
The supply train came in, screeching to a stop.
Soldiers opened the cargo doors of the freight cars and began unloading the supply crates.
They were completely unaware of a normal-looking black cat skittering past them unnoticed, following the cloaked Heroes Legion to the spot that they had been told to go to as part of the plan.
Hardcastle, who had hidden inside one of the supply crates waited until she had been put down near a pile of similar supply crates, empty ones that were meant to be loaded onto the train for the return journey to Nome.
For a moment, she looked down at her now normal-looking human skin.
She remembered when they had crossed into the base, how her skin had transformed before hers and the Heroes Legion's eyes inexplicably.
The power dampeners of the base seemed to be the reason for her being back to being flesh and blood, a fact she planned on capitalizing on when this was all over.
She may not be bulletproof anymore, but she was still a soldier.
She could handle herself without her diamond form.
Once she had been set down, she peeked out through the lid of the crate to see that no one was nearby or watching to see her exit, and then she made her way over to her door that she needed to enter to do her part of the plan.
"I'm at the door" she whispered into her earwig communicator.
"And we're already inside, those access codes you gave us still work…I wonder why they didn't change them when they pulled that coup?" Silicon's voice spoke to her on the communicator.
"Probably because they figured I wouldn't be alive to tell anyone them, least of all you kids." Hardcastle figured, "Now all you have to do is break into the security room on Level 2. There are no cameras down there because of the booby-trapped floor so if you make it past them you in the clear. There is an air vent at the other end of the hallway. Get Murdoch in those vents and he'll do the rest as we planned. But watch out, the white tiles of the floor in that hallway are designed to deliver an electric shock to anyone walking through there without scanning their access badge on the card reader on the other side of that door you entered."
"We hear you." Shadow Knight confirmed, "We'll contact you again when we've taken the security room."
"Now we have only twenty minutes before the network shows that a SLEET Commander's access codes have been used to gain entry here. They'll figure out what that means soon enough, so you kids find and rescue M-Leader as quickly but as carefully as you can. Meanwhile, I'll try and get SLEET on the horn…" Hardcastle said with determination, as she punched in her access code on the door.
"Woah, wait a minute!" Velocity said in response, "you WANT to get SLEET on the horn? I thought we were trying to do all this without tipping off the bad guys."
"Don't make the same mistake STRIPE does Speed Trap," Hardcastle snapped, "every group and organization is made up of a variety of individual people, and not all people share the same sentiments as each other. Just because they are in control via their little puppet mastery doesn't mean that everyone in SLEET is dirty. If I can get the word out about what's going on here, the real soldiers and agents of SLEET will rebel and try and take back control from STRIPE…and that might be the quick end of this whole operation if they only control a small bit of SLEET."
"And if it doesn't work that way and the good guys are in the minority?" Raven Ducard asked concerned.
"SLEET gets split in half between loyalists to either STRIPE's agenda against 'metahuman terrorists' and those who honor the true purpose of SLEET, and we very well might end up in the second American civil war as a result." Hardcastle answered, "But either way, it's better than the alternative."
"Okay, we'll go and rescue M-Leader. Good Luck commander." Shadow Knight said into his communicator, "Let's go. Remember, only step on the black tiles."
The cloaked and armored Heroes Legion made their way cautiously past the booby-trapped black and white tile hallway and made it to the wall where the air vent was located.
After her friends had opened up the access panel, Raven Ducard scooped up her Gaurdemon and placed him inside the air vent.
"Okay, I have the bases schematics…" Robo-Warrior said to Murdoch on the commutator headset the cat was wearing, "I'll walk you through to the security room one floor below us."
Making his way around inside the air vents, Murdoch couldn't help but grimace at all the dust and grime in the vent.
"Ugh…" Murdoch groaned, "Why is it I always get stuck with the icky jobs? I bet this never happened to lassie. Dogs never get this kind of treatment."
Meanwhile down in the security room on level two, two security guards monitoring the base's maintenance and security system suddenly began detecting a "blockage" in the bunker's airflow in the air vents above.
They then activated the ventilation systems purge function, and watched as the little red dot on the readout screens displaying the schematics of the ventilation system representing the blockage suddenly went whizzing around inside the vents….heading straight for the vent that emptied above their heads?
Then the security guards heard the sound of what sounded like caterwauling coming from the overhead vents.
That was when the overhead vent grate burst open, and Murdoch dazed and covered in dust fell out…and fell spread-eagled onto the floor.
"Ow." He moaned.
His cry of pain sounding very much like a regular cat's meow.
"What the…?" the security guard on the left declared in disbelief, "What was a cat doing in the vents."
Murdoch quickly took off through and out the open door to the security room, with the soldiers in hot pursuit.
He turned around the corner and managed to lose them by using his natural agility and prowess to outrun them and make it back to the control room, where he quickly set to work.
First, he shut the door and locked it with his magic.
That wouldn't hold them for long, but it would hold them long enough for him to do what he was supposed to do.
He looked for the security door override switch, and once he had found it, he flipped the switch.
Down below in Level 3, Col. Edward Fisk was in the middle of another torture session with M-Leader when suddenly he heard the sound of the access doors on Level 3 opening up.
"What the…?!" he declared, and suspecting that something was up he drew a blaster pistol and left the room to try and see what was going on.
While M-Leader, who had heard this, began to wonder what was going on.
At least until he realized who might have been responsible for the sadistic Colonel leaving him unattended in his cell.
Especially when he saw the sight of the hidden door to his cell open before his eyes, and the now visible armored Heroes Legion showed up right before his eyes.
"It's about time you all got here."
Meanwhile in the bases communications control room, after getting the signal from the Heroes Legion and using a stun grenade she had pilfered from one of the supply crates on the train to deal with the soldiers working that area of the base, Hardcastle was busy opening up a channel to all SLEET forces.
"This is an emergency announcement from Commander Hardcastle, I am alive and well, and I am here in Crystal Peak Base. The reports of my demise were greatly exaggerated. The truth is that SLEET has been betrayed. The organization known as STRIPE is not what it seems. While the president and the country believe they are a sanctioned response to super-powered terrorists, the truth is they are to blame for the Siege of Manhattan and the death of Commander Arcane as well as the massacre of innocent people in Manhattan. They tried to kill me because I had a dormant M-Gene and because they knew I wouldn't stand for any of the orders they have had my replacement give out from them instead of the president, or the UN, for you all to just blindly follow. Right now as I speak, the STRIPE conspirators are torturing M-Leader here at Crystal Peak base in Alaska to turn him into a weapon to slaughter millions of people all because of what they might be and what they might do, who they are."
Hardcastle paused for effect, "This evil that has taken this country by the throat, it is the very same type of evil that this organization was originally founded to fight against. You all made an oath when you joined: To never allow injustice, never allow the evils of the past to repeat. We have all failed that. I know some of you are still loyal to that creed; this is your chance to make up for that failure. I know I'm asking you all to commit treason and rebel against orders, if STRIPE's infection has spread, I might very well be asking you to become fugitives as I and the Heroes Legion have become. But I assure you, it is the right thing to do. Join us and stand up against this corruption. What you do now, will make all the difference for what kind of future we want our families or children to grow up in. That is all…"
She shut off the communicator.
To tell the truth, she didn't expect anything to happen.
That was when she saw a series of flashes and explosions coming from the courtyard.
She looked out the observation window to see that a firefight had broken out in the courtyard of the base.
She realized that there were Arcane loyalists here in the base, and they were taking on STRIPE's supporters.
That was when she heard the communications switchboard come alive with clashing conversations, all seemed to be about the same thing.
The battle bellow was repeating itself all across the entirety of SLEET's forces and bases of power throughout America, they were engaging with STRIPE's forces…and even some of the SLEET forces stationed around the globe were coming to help out.
If she wasn't a trained military woman, she would almost cry at realizing that she and the Heroes Legion were not as alone as they had feared they had been when they realized they were going to be going against a shadow cabinet that had taken over the country.
There were still good soldiers in SLEET.
But despite feeling elated by all of this, she knew that they had a limited time before Loyalists to either side showed up in the skies above Crystal Peak.
Now she had to find the Heroes Legion, and get the hell out of there.
She saw the Heroes Legion running out from the main entranceway to the base's lower levels, with M-Leader in tow, and she began to make her way down to them.
Then suddenly the lights went out.
What had happened?
In the courtyard, the Heroes Legion we're doing their best to make their way to the rendezvous point.
They did their best to avoid the battle since they weren't entirely sure which side they should be fighting for, all of the armored soldiers looked the same.
If they struck back, they might hit the soldiers who were fighting for them.
They also did their best to defend M-Leader, who was very weak due to the torture he had endured.
"This is the spot!" Shadow Knight declared, and he pulled out the Slipstream Jump Drive that they had secured from the Bases armory as planned.
"Where's Hardcastle?" Ravager asked, looking around the battlefield for the crystalline commander of SLEET.
"I think she can take care of things from here," Shadow Knight said, looking at the battle erupting all around the courtyard of the base.
"Okay, mission accomplished. Let's get the hell out of here!" Robo-Warrior declared.
"With pleasure!" Shadow Knight declared and got ready to activate the jump drive device which would take them away to safety outside of the base's 30-mile anti-superpower/anti-magic perimeter.
But just before he could activate the teleportation device, something unexpected happened.
All the lights in the base suddenly went off, and all around the area, all the power-armored soldiers on both sides dropped to the ground…paralyzed.
The Heroes Legion's power armors began to spark and malfunction, but they were still mobile.
"An….electr….ulse!" Cyber-29 said through the damaged Robo-Warrior suits speakers.
"The jump drive is fried!" Silicon said in dismay.
"I can barely move in this thing now!" Robo-Warrior declared.
That was when suddenly the Robo-Warrior suit and the Fallen Legion armor of the Heroes Legion all fell off of their bodies one by one, falling into a pile of modular pieces at their feet.
"An Electro-Magnetic Pulse! Where did that come from?" Techne asked in surprise.
As if to answer their question, a sliding panel door opened up on the other side of the courtyard.
Out from inside the base's elevator lift emerged a larger and more armored and weaponized version of the Heroes Legion's Battle-Falcon.
"Hello Heroes Legion, allow me to introduce the newest addition to our arsenal. The War-Eagle!" a male voice declared from inside the tank-like APC.
"It's Col. Fisk!" M-Leader declared, he'd recognize that voice anywhere.
"Heavy weapons capable of ripping apart those armored playsuits of yours, as well as a powerful EMP similar to the kind we used to sabotage Ryker's Island. It's more than enough to disable your armor, even your's Robo-Warrior. It's a beautiful weapon of War, it was going to be put into combat testing two days from now…" Col. Edward Fisk admitted, "But a wise soldier always takes a clean shot at his enemy whenever he sees an opportunity to do so. As soon as I'm done with you, these babies will be put into production. We're going to need it, seeing as you've just started a Civil War. You weren't happy wrecking New York, you had to go and wreck our mighty country too? And just when it was recovering from those terrorist attacks…"
"That you and the rest of STRIPE co-conspired on… We didn't start this or wreck this country, we didn't destroy New York, you lot did! We just exposed the truth about what you were doing here." Silicon said in defiance.
"Truth is overrated; as is due process and human rights when it comes to dealing with inhuman monsters. You need to break eggs to make an omelet. Why should protecting this country from threats like Metahumans be any different? You invade a SLEET base, cause utter chaos to ensure within our defense system, leaving us vulnerable to enemy attack, split this country in two and you think you're the good guys in this story? The rest of the country won't think so, the ones who are on the right side of the conflict that you started that is. You're more than fugitives now, your terrorists! We're the real heroes, defenders of America's AND the world's security and freedom!" Col. Edward Fisk declared.
"The real Heroes?! I don't even think murderers like you even know what that word means!" Andrew Griffin snapped in rage, not caring that he was exposed " you and everyone in STRIPE are goddamn disgraces to the military and everyone who ever died in service!"
"ENOUGH!" Col. Edward Fisk shouted, "I won't tolerate you trying to make me look like the bad guy. I know what you are all are, what kind of future your kind's existence will bring to this country, to this world. That is why you all must be put in your place, six feet under!"
That was when the weapons on the War-Eagle came online and began targeting the Heroes Legion.
They had nowhere to go, nowhere to hide.
While they were still within the 30-mile perimeter, they were powerless and their armor was now next to useless.
This was the end of them!
"You played a good game Heroes Legion, you almost won too…" Col. Edward Fisk's voice said through the War-Eagle's speakers, "But sometimes no matter what you do, fate doesn't play favorites. Sometimes you still lose. Goodbye, you freaks!"
But before the corrupt Colonel could massacre them, something rather miraculous happened.
From across the other side of the courtyard, a flash of light appeared, and from out of it raced the super vehicle known as The Mirage!
But it looked different somehow, it had some features on it that they and Shadow Knight didn't recognize.
It skidded to a stop, coming between the War-Eagle and the Heroes Legion.
Its heavy weapons coming immediately online, and taking shots at the War-Eagle…which being miasmic energy-based packed quite the punch at close range!
The War-Eagle was knocked onto its side by the powerful Miasmic blaster cannon on the roof of The Mirage which quickly popped out and fired upon the Colonel's APC.
The cockpit hatch of The Mirage opened up, and inside was, they couldn't believe it, Marty Osmond was at the wheel of the super vehicle.
"GET IN!" he screamed, "You want to live? Get in!"
Seeing their chance to escape, the Heroes Legion quickly piled into The Mirage.
Andrew Griffin started but paused, "Wait, we can't leave Cyber-29!"
"We can't help him if we're dead!" Silicon pointed out, "we'll come back for him once we've shaken this nutjob!"
Realizing that he had a point, but hating it nevertheless, Andrew Griffin reluctantly left the pieces of his Robo-Warrior suit and Cyber-29 behind and climbed into the Mirage.
Once they were all in the cockpit hatch shut closed overhead.
They all watched in surprise as the overturned War-Eagle righted itself via rocket jets on the side of the war machine.
The War-Eagle then began opening fire on The Mirage with the armor-piercing rounds of its anti-aircraft guns.
The Heroes Legion all flinched as bursts of fire and loud sounds of ricocheting bullets rocked the outside of The Mirage like heavy rain or hailstones.
Shadow Knight quickly took action, "Computer, Shadow Drive, NOW!"
"Unable…" The Mirage's A. I responded, "The vehicle assaulting us is putting out an electromagnetic pulse that is interfering with my scanners. We can't safely Shadow Walk away with the Shadow Drive so long as it's active…and that vehicle is too armored for the Miasmic weapons to penetrate well enough to disarm it."
"Then we're going to have to make a break for it. Fasten your seat belts!" Marty Osmond declared, and then he put The Mirage's engines to full power, turbines to speed!
Everyone inside The Mirage held on for dear life as Marty Osmond made the super vehicle do a lazy S turn before sending The Mirage rocketing through the main door of Crystal Peak and out onto the bridge connecting the base to the mountain pass roadway.
The War-Eagle took off after it in hot pursuit.
It fired an explosive shell at The Mirage, which it barely avoided by swerving around a curve in the winding road which moved with the side of the mountain slope.
"He's chasing us!" Velocity declared.
"Oh really?" Shadow Knight said sarcastically, crawling from the back seat into the front seat of his supercar, "I hadn't noticed with all the explosive shells going off over our heads out there! Let's see if we can't slow down or get rid of 'Colonel Sanders' back there!"
Shadow Knight turned on The Mirage's rearview camera screen, which showed the War-Eagle catching up to them from behind.
He then eyed the control panel of The Mirage, and flipped a switch marked "Caltrops".
From the back of The Mirage, glowing purple spike balls fell out from secret compartments out onto the road behind the fleeing super vehicle.
The War-Eagle ran over them, the Caltrops exploded, but all they managed to do was momentarily lift the tires off the ground and slow it down.
The War-Eagle responded by blasting its side-mounted energy weapons at The Mirage.
The Mirage responded by automatically locking on and firing its energy weapons at the War-Eagle.
However, no matter what The Mirage did, it didn't seem to make a real dent.
The War-Eagle however, like the Bird of Prey it was named after, seemed to be the better armed between the two.
It got in a couple of good shots.
"Warning: Hull integrity reduced to 80%. Repair Systems activated. Hull reduced to 60%...40%..." the computer A. I warned.
"We're not making enough distance to outrun those guns!" Ravager pointed out, "This keeps up we're going to be a molten smear on the side of the mountains!"
"Okay then, let's see if he can fire that thing's weapons without seeing." Shadow Knight said, and flipped a switch marked "Smoke Screen".
From out of the back of The Mirage, a thick cloud of purple fog spewed out.
Inside the War-Eagle, Col. Edward Fisk saw that his visibility on the screen showing the path in front of him was becoming blurry, and The Mirage was fading from view along with the road.
Without even flinching, the colonel switched to thermal tracking and radar pulse sonar which allowed him to be able to see and still pursue The Mirage.
He fired another blast at The Mirage.
"Something tells me that didn't work!" Ravager declared.
That was when two SLEET Attack Omni-jet fighters came roaring up alongside them.
For a moment, the Heroes Legion thought they were going to open fire on them.
"Col. Edward Fisk, cease your pursuit of that Vehicle or we will open fire on you!" the SLEET soldier piloting the attack jet declared over the plane's speakers.
The colonel responded to this ultimatum by opening fire on the Plane, blowing apart the right-wing of the fighter plane, and sending the plane careening into the mountainside.
He then targeted the remaining Jet and blew it to pieces with a single shot of his anti-aircraft weaponry.
"I don't take orders from traitors to my country; I deal the sword of justice to them!" Col. Edward Fisk declared from inside the War-Eagle.
"You coward!" Shadow Knight declared in disgust at the Colonel's act, even though he knew their enemy couldn't hear him.
Upon the mountain peak, the sounds of the two dueling super-vehicles weaponry cause the overhang of snow to break loose and come tumbling down the mountain towards the road that the vehicles were chasing each other down.
"Warning: Avalanche Detected on the left side approaching fast, take evasive action!" the computer A. I of The Mirage warned.
Marty Osmond, who was still behind the wheel of The Mirage looked up in the direction that the computer warned him to see that a literal wall of snow was coming down the mountain towards them.
Knowing that even at this speed they couldn't outrun it, Marty made a calculated decision and drove The Mirage right off the road, where they started barreling down the mountain slope…with the War-Eagle following behind and the Avalanche right on its heels.
"Woah Jane, stop this crazy thing!" Velocity groaned as The Mirage bucked and slid from side to side as it slid down the steep mountain slope, "And to think I used to buy tickets for this kind of ride!"
"Uh, guys…" Silicon said concerned, "I've been reviewing the topography of this area, and if I'm correct…in about four minutes this slope is going to end."
"End, what do you mean it's going to end…?" Atlanta then stopped when she realized what she was saying "A cliff!"
"Abandon super vehicle!" Velocity declared, "Women, and super cool speedsters first!"
"Oh no…" Shadow Knight said, with fierce determination and a devious smile on his face under his mask "nobody's abandoning ship. Marty, move over…I need to take the wheel!"
"No problem!" Marty Osmond acknowledged.
The Heroes Legion watched as while Shadow Knight and Marty Osmond exchanged seats, up ahead the drop off of the approaching cliff was coming up fast.
What was their team leader up to?
Raven Ducard was the first to realize what his plan was, and she held on to her seat as she expected to soon feel the sensation of dropping hundreds of feet through the air any minute.
Once he was securely in control of the steering wheel, Shadow Knight flipped another switch, one that had the symbol of an airplane on it.
"Flight Mode Engaged" the A. I computer said.
Outside, from the top section of the chassis of the super vehicle, wings came out from their secret compartments and the tires retreated into their side compartments which sealed behind them.
The Mirage tobogganed down the remainder of the slope before shooting right off the edge and into the abyss.
Velocity screamed like a little girl, right before The Mirage's flight mode fully activated and flew off like a jet down over the valley heading for the outer perimeter of Crystal Peak.
"Well I feel foolish," Silicon said as relief overtook him, as well as the others "I forgot that this thing could fly!"
"Spooky, don't you EVER do that to me again!" Velocity screamed.
"What's that smell?" Atlanta asked concerned.
"Uh…" Velocity turned read under his mask in embarrassment, "it's my new cologne? would you believe it's my aftershave?"
The Heroes Legion groaned in disgust.
Meanwhile back at the cliff, Col. Edward Fisk had been so hell-bent on killing the Heroes Legion, he just realized that not only had they just flown away before his eyes…but they had just flown away over an approaching cliff.
He quickly put on the brakes, and the War-Eagle APC came to a skidding stop at the edge of the cliff.
He sighed in relief and sat back in the driver's chair before a sudden and terrifying realization hit him.
He wasn't safe.
Wasn't there an Avalanche behind him?
As if to answer that mental question, the War-Eagle rocked and shook violently as the Avalanche slammed into it.
Sending both it and the corrupt Colonel out into the abyss, where the APC fell to the river valley below and crashed into a big ball of fire.
Back in the Mirage, Shadow Knight began to steer the super vehicle back towards Crystal Peak.
"What are you doing?" Marty Osmond asked.
"Going back" Shadow Knight answered, "I never leave a man behind!"
"Are you nuts?!" Marty Osmond asked, "It's a warzone back there!"
"Cyber-29 is one of us, we are not leaving him there to be picked up by STRIPE or blown to bits by the battle" Raven Ducard interjected.
"Exactly!" Andrew Griffin added emphatically.
"He's a machine" Marty Osmond scoffed, "He doesn't matter! Only getting to Safety matters."
"Just a machine?" Velocity said in shock, "You were with us all this time, you met him, you know he's not just a machine, what the hell?"
"Yeah…:" Shadow Knight said with narrowed eyes of suspicion, before placing the Mirage on auto-pilot and grabbing Marty Osmond by the neck, "What the hell, or should I say, WHO the hell are you?"
"Shadow Knight?" Marty Osmond chocked, "what is your problem?"
"MY problem is that Marty Osmond would NEVER act like this…and Marty Osmond couldn't possibly have learned to drive the Mirage, let alone procure it since it's currently parked back in the Mansion in Manhattan!" Shadow Knight snarled, "Now WHO the hell are you and what did you do to my friend?!"
"Damn it to hell…" the fake Marty Osmond hissed, "I don't have time for this. Mariko-17, are the temporal quantum spatial coordinates for March 14, 2015 locked in?"
"Locked in Chameleon" a secondary voice responded… a voice that sounded as artificial and as sentient as Cyber-29.
"Then activate the Chronal Drive Device, now!" the fake Marty Osmond shouted.
"The cockpit door was damaged in the chase, I don't think that would be wise" Mariko-17 warned.
"JUST DO IT!" the fake Marty Osmond shouted.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Murdoch asked, "who was that?"
Before anyone could say or do anything else, something strange happened.
The Mirage took off like a rocket at Mach 4, sending the Heroes Legion and the fake Marty Osmond back into their seats, pinned by the G-force.
While outside the vehicle, the strange metal coils and emitter devices began to glow and crackle with a strange type of energy that was most certainly NOT electricity, while this chamber housing some kind of glowing green crystal glowed even brighter as whatever process it was powering in the device that was attached to the Mirage began to take effect.
Shadow Knight paused in stunned recognition, he knew that strange crystal…it was the same one his time-traveling future self had been holding in his hand!
That was when it happened.
The space in front of the flying Mirage, heck, all reality itself seemed to collapse and bend on itself in front of the Mirage, forming some kind of hole, or portal.
A portal that The Mirage took off into, faster than it was currently traveling as if it had just been stung by a bee…or launched from some kind of slingshot.
Upon entering the portal, the Heroes Legion found themselves within a strange azure colored tunnel, made up of a series of chaotically flowing streams of crackling blue energy, and everything was shooting forward at an incredible rate of speed towards a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
It looked almost like how hyperspace was visualized to be like in those Star Wars movies.
Once inside the strange tunnel, the Heroes Legion held on as they were rocketed and rocked around.
"What's going on?" Raven Ducard screamed.
"HANG ON EVERYONE!" Shadow Knight declared.
"JANE, STOP THIS CRAZY THING!" Velocity screamed in protest.
"Warning, warning" Mariko-17 said in alarm, "Cockpit integrity compromised!"
"What does THAT mean?" Ravager asked concerned.
As if to answer, the cockpit canopy of The Mirage broke off and the Heroes Legion and the fake Marty Osmond were then sucked out and found themselves tumbling forward through the void towards the bright light.
As they fell through the strange tunnel, tossed around like debris sucked up by a twister, Shadow Knight watched in horror as when they got closer towards the light at the end of the tunnel, his friends and teammates vanished in flashes of light in sequence.
Frantically trying to grab Raven Ducard's hand, Shadow Knight reached out for her, but she vanished before he could even touch her fingertips.
Then it was his turn to be swallowed by the tunnel, but before he was, he saw The Mirage and the fake Marty Osmond fly off ahead and enter the light at the end of the tunnel.
The next thing Shadow Knight knew, he was being tossed through the air and scraping against an asphalt road in some city street somewhere.
His head slammed against the side of something metallic, and he fell into the blackness of unconsciousness.