On a night like any other, two young men, one of 19 years and the other of 20, met in a pub to discuss matters at hand. The eldest carried a small yellow envelope in an inside pocket of his coat. They sat in a corner so they could converse in private.
"Here they are. Got 'em a few hours ago." said the eldest.
He was a young man of 20 years. His eyes were always brown, and his shoulders were narrow. His hair was short, always spiked, and was black with the tips dyed red. He always wore a black trench coat and a T-shirt underneath with baggy, black jeans and big black boots-even in the heat of the summer.
"Good. Just in the nick of time too. The boat leaves in two days." said the younger.
He was a boy of 19 years. His eyes ranged from light blue to hazel to green. He was broad shouldered and tall. He was always shrouded in a cloak, leaving most of his figure to the imagination.
"Yes. We should leave early tomorrow morning, so we can make it there by nightfall." said the eldest.
"We need to make sure that we make that boat, Lance. If we miss that boat...everything will fall apart." said the younger.
"Michael, for the last time, I know." said the one called Lance.
"I mean, I can't stress it enough. That boat is the key to our success. You know what waits at point B." said the one called Michael.
"Oh yeah. A reward fit for a king." said Lance rubbing his hands together in excitement.
"Right." said Michael.
The two then stood and exited the pub.
"Remember. Tomorrow morning, seven o' clock sharp, my place!" Lance called over his shoulder.
"I won't forget. Just make sure you don't sleep in!" Michael called back.
Then they went their own ways.
The next morning, at two till seven, Michael knocked on the door. It was immediately opened by Lance.
"Ready?" Michael asked.
"Almost. A few final touches and we're off." Lance ran upstairs, while Michael entered.
After a few minutes, Lance came stumbling down the stairs.
"Alright." he said.
"Wait. Do you have the tickets? Check right now." Michael said.
Lance pulled them out of an inside pocket in his trench coat, then securely tucked them back.
"Ok. Let's see...what else?" Michael said.
"You're positive you've packed everything you'll need?" Lance asked.
"Toiletries, clothes, snacks, money...I guess so." he replied.
"Same here. Let's hit the road!" Lance said.
They reached the halfway point by lunch, with two tickets for speeding. By nightfall, with a couple of warnings, they had found the port town where they would board the ship. They drove to the wharf where the boat had been docked.
"Ok. There it is. The S.S.R. Regis. Wow. That's a big ship." Lance said.
"It has to be. This is one of the newer warships. You know? Three decks for defense, and then room for one thousand passengers? Anyway, we need to find where we're going to dump this ride and a place to sleep." I said.
"I say we sleep in the car tonight, and dump it in the morning...save some cash." Lance said.
"Hm. I suppose that will work, but we'll have to get up earlier than planned." Michael said.
"That's alright with me. Let's find a place to dump it and sleep in it there."
They found a junkyard on the southern side of the wharf. They parked at the entrance and went to sleep.
The next morning Michael awoke to find a fat guy with scraggly facial hair covering his chin and neck looking in at them.
"Whoa!" Michael jumped away from the window and landed on Lance who awoke with a start.
"What the--?! Hey I'm sleeping here!!"
"I can't help it! I woke up to find that thing looking at me!!"
Lance looked at the fat guy.
"Bahahahaha! I...I...I think he's taking a liking to you!! Hahahahahahaha!!" Lance said tears forming in the corner of his eyes as he laughed.
"Dude, that's not funny!!"
Michael rolled down the window.
"Hey! You don't go staring at people when they're sleeping! It's scary!"
The fat guy gave him a smile and walked away.
"Now, THAT was scary." Michael said.
"Hey we gotta hurry and dump this so we can board that ship! It's leaving in ten minutes!" Lance said looking up from his watch.
They jumped out of the car, and ran into the dump toward the caretaker's building. They ran inside to find the creepy fat guy at the desk.
"Uh-oh." Michael said.
"Hey, you. We have a car we want to sell to you." Lance said.
The guy looked up from his magazine. He looked at them and smiled.
"Why hello there," he said directly toward Michael, "come back to me have you?"
"Um, I'm not gay in anyway. Can you just give us the money for our car?"
"If you dance for me." The reply came.
Our jaws dropped.
"You're not serious are you?" Lance said.
"Oh, I'm very serious. Dance for the money."
He sat back in his chair and waited. Michael sighed.
"I don't know how..." he said.
"The simplest jig will work." the man replied.
Michael did the disco move a couple times spun around then ended in the splits. The guy applauded.
"I got a good look at your ride back there...whew...you sure you want to junk a sweet car like that?" he asked.
"We're sure. We just want our money. There's a boat that we're about to miss..." Michael said.
"Hm. How much didja pay for it?"
"I paid 38,999 dollars for that car." Lance said stressing the "I".
"Hm. Forty grand, eh? I guess I could give you 2 mil for it."
"Tw-Twenty million dollars?!" they cried in unison.
"No! Pennies! Bahahahahaha! No seriously I'll give you twenty grand for that car out there." he said.
"Deal! Hurry our boat's about to leave!" they said.
"Oh, just so you know, I'm not gay! I just wanted to see if you would do it! Bwahahahahaha!" he said with a hearty laugh.
He handed the money over, and, while they were stuffing it all in their duffel bags, and grumbling to themselves, they dashed to the boat. It was drifting away from the dock as they reached it.
"1, 2, 3!" they cried as they jumped from the dock onto the retracting gangplank.
They had finally made it. With nothing but blue sea before them, they started on the adventure of their lives. Acquainting themselves with a few of the one thousand passengers onboard they settle in for a long journey that will bring them riches beyond comprehension.
The year is 2030. Marauders and pirates are everywhere-making travel over water dangerous. Ships have up to three decks dedicated entirely to defense. Even with these high defenses, the invention of crude plasma cannons make even the highest defenses look like mere wooden shields. The oceans are now littered with fragments of ships that could not withstand the rogues' attacks.
One cruise ship-the S.S.R. Regis-is docked temporarily at a port town before setting off to drop off dangerous gas at an island lab then to an island resort. The gas is called teslis. It's highly poisonous, but scientist think there might be some use for it in the medical field. It can restore certain tissues in the body that no known medicine, or procedure, can.
"Whew, it's kind of hot out here don't ya think?" a young man shrouded in a cloak asked.
"Ah, what are you talking about Michael? It's nice up here!" replied another young man wearing a black trench coat.
"You and I are like opposing forces, Lance. I prefer the cold of winter." Michael said thoughtfully.
"Hey guys!" someone shouted from behind them.
Lance and Michael turned to see their friend Caspian, who they met earlier, running up to them holding something.
"Hey guys check this out," he called, "I found it in the hallway!" He stopped a few inches short of bumping into Michael panting.
"What is this thing you have found?" Lance asked eyeing the object.
"I don't know," he replied, "I was hoping you would be able to tell me!" Caspian handed the object to Michael.
It was a dark green crystal that seemed to glow.
"Hm." Michael studied the object, turning it around, then handed it to Lance who did the same.
"I believe it's a crystal of some sort.” Lance said handing it back to Caspian.
"Well, duh!" he said. "I was thinking' you might know the price range for this baby on e-bay...?"
Completely ignoring this statement Michael replied, "You should probably put it back where you found it. Someone must've dropped it."
Just then they heard someone cry out.
"What was that?" Caspian asked.
"I don't know. Why don't we check it out?" Lance suggested.
Caspian started to walk away then called back, "Um, you guys can go ahead. I think I'll put this in my room!"
Then he ran into a doorway and disappeared from sight.
"Ok. Well I guess we should check it out now." Michael said. They turned and started walking toward the sound. Turning a corner, they saw another of their friends, Derrick, digging through the garbage.
"What are you doing?!" Michael and Lance cried in unison.
"What the-! Don't sneak up on me like that!" he cried startled.
"Sorry," Michael said, "but what the heck are you doing digging through the garbage!?"
Derrick stood up and brushed himself off.
"For your information I was looking for my lucky crystal. I can't find it anywhere!" he said.
A look of suspicion formed on their faces.
"Derrick, were you in the main hall on the second deck at any time today?" Lance asked.
"Um...," Derrick twisted his face in concentration, "yeah I was in that hall right after lunch. Why?"
Then they pelted him with a barrage of questions about the crystal.
"What was the color of the crystal?" Michael asked.
"Green." Derrick replied.
"How big was it?" Lance asked.
"It could fit in the palm of your hand. About the size of a tennis ball, I guess."
"Did it look like it glowed at the center?"
"Yeah! Exactly...but how would you know?"
Michael looked at Lance and said, "Just a few minutes ago Caspian, the short boy with the yellow hair, came running up to us with a crystal that matched yours."
Derrick's jaw dropped.
"Caspian? Why, I caught that boy digging through my stuff yesterday! He really makes me think he's a stowaway"
Then a look of fear came to his face.
"We have to get that crystal back in my room ASAP!!!" He took off running to look for Caspian.
We faced each other with bewildered looks on our faces.
"I wonder why?" Michael said.
Now let me take a few sentences to explain the source of power that runs this battleship, for it is like no other. This battleship is run by a pillar of energy poles. These poles of energy pull atoms out of the air, and feed them to a huge sphere that changes their make-up. Once the change is complete, the atoms are then fed to the entire ship-powering weapons, lights, etc. The poles are very unstable, though. If something were to touch them with an object, they would immediately collapse into the object. The object would now contain the power of an atomic bomb.
The first place Derrick looked was this main source of power. To his dismay the door was open. He looked in to see Caspian holding the crystal looking at the pillar of energy.
"Caspian don't!" Derrick cried. Caspian spun around in surprise, and then smiled when he saw it was Derrick.
"What do you want, Derrick?" he asked.
"Caspian I don't want any trouble." Derrick said.
A look of surprise spread across Caspian's face.
"What, you think I'm going to harm people on this boat? Never! In case you haven't noticed I have friends on this boat that I care about very much!"
Derrick slowly approached Caspian.
"Then why are you doing this? You know what will happen if you insert that crystal into any one of those beams."
A look of comprehension crossed Caspian's face. Derrick thought he was going to insert the crystal he now held.
"Derrick, I can assure you, I'm not going to insert your crystal into the generator." he said.
"But...if your not...why are you down here?"
"I was simply reenergizing your crystal." The reply came. "It's obvious you are unaware of the power you hold."
While Caspian and Derrick were chatting, Michael and Lance were still trying to find Caspian. They were worried because they didn't know why Derrick wanted that crystal back in his room ASAP.
"Do you have any idea why Derrick is so worried about that crystal?" Michael asked.
"Probably just a family heirloom that he wants to keep or something." Lance replied.
They turned a corner and bumped into one of the workers on the boat. They had previously made friends with him as well.
"Hey guys! How ya doing so far?" Michael and Lance shook hands with him.
"Hey, Tyler. We're doing just fine. And you?"
"I'm doing great."
Caspian popped back into Michael's mind and he asked, "Have you seen a short boy with blonde hair running around anywhere?"
Tyler thought for a moment.
Well the search continues then, Michael thought.
They continued down the hallway until they came to a T.
"Hm. The left leads to the boiler room, and the right leads to the ice chamber and kitchen." Michael said.
They both looked up and down the hallways but saw no sign of Derrick or Caspian.
"I'll take the kitchen and ice chamber." Michael said.
"Then I'll take the boiler room." Lance said.
They split up.
Once in the kitchen Michael looked around. He saw two doors. One lead to the ice chamber, the other to another room that he never knew existed. Curious, he walked over to it to see what was behind it.
As Michael was reaching for the doorknob, Manny, a short man who gets around by a little vehicle because he was crippled forever in a freak accident, came screeching across the kitchen shouting, "Hey! Get away from there! That room is off-limits to passengers!" Michael quickly withdrew his hand. After knocking about half the kitchen staff over, and spilling many trays of food, Manny pulled up and started bumping Michael away from the door with his vehicle.
"Oh, it's you again, is it? It seems like you are going to try to break every rule on this cruise before we reach our destination!"
Michael started backing toward the door that lead to the ice chamber.
"C'mon Manny you should learn to live a little."
As soon as he was finished Michael regretted having said anything at all. Manny popped a wheelie and flattened him to the floor. He lowered his face so it was an inch from Michael's.
"How do you expect me to live with this CURSE?!" He thundered the last word so everyone in the kitchen could hear. "Listen Manny, I didn't mean it. I'm sorry!" Michael said with great difficulty, as Manny was crushing his rib cage.
Manny snorted and squealed his tires as he rolled off Michael.
Michael stood up, brushing himself off. He, then, proceeded into the freezer. The boat leaned hard to the left as though making a sharp left turn.
"Holy crap! Don't tell me we're under attack!" Michael cried as he slammed into the wall.
"Hey! Derrick? Caspian? Are you in here?" he called.
The boat leaned hard to the right this time.
Michael hit three huge pieces of meat hanging from the ceiling and a shelf before finally hitting the far wall hard. With the wind knocked out of him, he sank to the floor.
The boat yet again leaned hard to the left, and yet again Michael hit the wall hard. Coughing and sputtering blood, he hoped it would be over soon. Just before Michael passed out, he saw the door fly open and two people in shiny clothing come floating over to him. He looked up and tried to make out their faces, but his vision was blurred with pain.
"It's OK Michael we'll get you out of here. Don't worry, the other destines are going to be just fine."
When Michael awoke he was still on the battleship.
"Hey, your finally awake." a voice said.
"Huh?" he tried to say but couldn't. It hurt too much.
"Don't try to speak your not strong enough yet." the voice said.
Then Michael closed his eyes and went to sleep again.
He dreamed about the ice chamber, and about the two strangers who saved him. Had he just imagined them, and, somehow, in his subconscious saved himself? Or had they been real? If so, who were they?
The next time he awoke it was night, and he was still on the battleship. But something didn't feel right. Then it hit him: they weren't moving. His body was doing much better. He could sit up and look around.
"Hey Michael you're finally awake!" someone called from somewhere.
"Lance? Is that you Lance?" Michael said, this time without any pain.
"I'm right behind you." Lance said. "Oh, dude...what happened? Where are we?" Michael had so many questions. "Everything's alright, dude."
He lay back down, and rested a bit before trying to stand. Lance was immediately behind me.
"Whoa there." he said helping Michael up.
"Where the heck are we?" Michael asked.
"According to the others we are on some sort of island." he answered.
He couldn't believe what gore he saw!
"Oh man! What the heck happened!?" Michael asked looking at everyone.
"The explosion happened that's what." said Manny.
Michael almost fainted when he saw him.
"Oh my gosh! Manny?!" he said staring at the grotesque figure before him.
Skin was hanging loosely all over his body. He looked to be mostly metal!
"Manny...what happened?" Michael asked stepping back.
Manny stood there staring at Michael, with huge bloody circles the size of dinner plates Michael believed to be his eyes.
"... I was standing by the door to the generator. I didn't know what was going on inside....I could hear two people...I was listening to their conversation when..." he had to pause for a minute to regain his composure. "...the ship exploded Michael...and I took the full blow of it," he paused again, "The rubber on the tires of my vehicle melted off...and what was left of the metal was melted to me...then I was hit with the shrapnel. I thought I was going to die and the pain would be over soon...but no...ohhh no...it wasn't over yet. As you can tell I'm in one piece and still "living" if you can call it that. Anyway, when it was all over I was the grotesque figure you see before you. It helps that I can't feel anything below my waist. The chemicals are the only thing that kept me alive."
"Chemicals...?" Michael said.
Manny looked over at me with his eyes widening-if that was possible. It appeared as though he realized he said something he wasn't supposed to.
"Oh! Um...never mind...forget I said anything."
He rolled away.
There were tons of corpses scattered throughout the battleship that looked like they were torn to shreds then sloppily put back together. It's a surprise that the people who survived did. But there was also a small group of people that came out without a scratch though they claim to have been through the explosion too. These people may look the same on the outside, but they have extraordinary strength and stamina. Altogether there were a total of twenty-five survivors out of the one thousand passengers.
When we looked for the animals that were on the boat they were gone. There was a scorpion, three snakes, an octopus, a tarantula, a centipede, a king fish, a sting ray, a starfish, a jellyfish, and three frogs. Most of which are poisonous. There was one animal that did not escape or die during the explosion: a foreign creature that's the only one of its kind.
This particular creature is taller than the tallest man in the world, when standing on its block-end tail. This creature's body is segmented, and the first nine segments going down from its head are rare crystals that can't be found anywhere except on the body of this creature. It's said that these crystals can bring the dead to life if used correctly.
This particular creature was right where it was left: in its cage in the storage room. Michael was met with a great surprise, though, when he entered the room.
"Hello one and all." said the creature.
"Holy crap!" Michael said jumping back.
"Woopssss! Ssssorry, I forgot humanssss aren't ussssed to animalssss talking." it said.
All he could do was stand there and stare in amazement.
"Stay right there. I'll be back." Michael said.
"Where am I gonna go? I mean honesssstly." it retorted.
I quickly walked away to tell Lance.
"The thing talked?!" Lance exclaimed.
"It talked to me." Michael said.
"I think that explosion got to your head. That thing doesn't talk." he said trying to assure me it didn't.
Michael didn't need assurance. He wasn't going crazy...or was he?
"Maybe you'd better lay down." he suggested.
"I heard what I heard. That thing talked." Michael said confidently. "Here if you don't believe me I'll show you."
Michael turned and started walking toward the creature's keep.
"Ok, but I still won't believe it." he called after him.
This chemical that was on the ship is a dangerous chemical called teslis. This chemical is lethal to humans. The only thing that kept everyone on the ship alive, surprisingly, was the mixture of the different elements throughout the ship-ice in the ice chamber, fire from the boiler room, the fumes from the onboard garden, and so on. This mixture made it have the same effect on humans it does animals with slight tweaks.
The chemical has different effects on animals depending on the temperature it's at, what type of animal, and what size the animal is. If it's a rather large animal it takes more of the chemical to have a huge effect on the animal. If it's a rather small animal, like a mouse or insect, the possibilities are endless! If a small animal is hit with a huge amount of this chemical it could be mutated, enlarged, granted special abilities like flying. If the animal breathes in too much it could explode or just die, though. In the creature's case it was just granted the ability of speech.
When we arrived in the room Michael noticed something he didn't the first time: all the cages except the worm's was broken.
"What the heck happened here?" he asked the worm.
"Oh, your back. The other animalssss broke out of their cagessss shortly after the explosion." it informed.
"Oh. Dang." Michael replied.
"Holy crap! It does talk!" Lance said. "So, are you a snake or something? I mean you drag out your S's like snakes would if they could talk. Snakes would if they could talk." Lance said.
"Oh but ssssnakessss can talk. At leasssst the onessss that were in the cagessss. And yes I'm a ssssnake. That'ssss why I drag out my 'ssss'ssss." the snake replied.
"That's impossible! You were classified as a worm when you were captured!" Michael said.
"I wassss not captured! I came on my own free will!" the snake said.
"This is just too weird. I need to get some air." Lance said and with that he walked out.
Michael quickly followed him.
"OK... so you were right. It does talk." Lance said.
"Yeah." Michael replied.
"Well I'd better get back to the others. They all pitched in and made shifts in which all of us would do our share of the work to maintain the boat. You might want to hurry back too." he ran ahead.
Lance was almost at the end of the hallway when suddenly,
"What the-!" Lance shouted as the floor gave way.
"Laaaaance!!!!" Michael shouted trying to reach him in time.
"Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!" his voice echoed in the cavernous depths.
It slowly died down as he dropped farther and farther away from me.
"Laaaaance!!!! Nooooo!!!!" Michael looked hopelessly down into the abyss.
Lance fell and fell. Man! How far does this ship go down!? He thought. The ships floor was torn apart by going across land. Lance fell and fell toward the jagged bottom without any hope of being rescued.
Seconds from impact he saw what lie waiting for him.
He fell and was skewered from head to toe. The air left his broken and shattered body and then he was nothing but a shell.
Two years after the accident we were all still alive, and Michael still hadn't forgotten about Lance.
"It's been over two years since the...uh." Manny, who had gotten over his deformation, said trying to console me.
Michael thought the explosion softened his hard heart.
"It's okay. I know it’s been two years since the accident. I just wish there was something I could have done." Michael said.
Manny felt it was best he left him alone so he went to join the others. It's amazing, though, that the chemicals haven't taken effect on us, Michael thought.
A few days ago he had stumbled across the kitchen. Looking around to see if anyone was there he walked over to the room Manny wouldn't let him into. He opened the door and was surprised to see the room contained over one hundred yellow tanks with biohazard signs on all of them. He walked over to one and read the label:
These tanks contain teslis, a toxic chemical that means automatic death to humans.
Effects include the following:
On animals: abnormal growth, abnormal abilities, and, in some cases, death.
On humans: coagulates blood (in other words death) in ALL cases.
He gave a little chuckle at the effect it supposedly had on humans.
"Oh, boy. How lucky we are to have lived through that horrible ordeal because some idiot decided this cruise ship would take dangerous chemicals to a lab. I'll just have to track this jerk down and give him my thanks." Although he didn't plan to thank him at all.
Michael was just getting used to Lance being gone when one night he had a dream. He was standing on the boat and was talking to Lance, but they weren't wearing their usual attire. They had the same glowing armor that the blurred images in the ice chamber had. Michael's was blue and Lance's was red. They were also holding staffs like the two strangers did. Michael's was mostly blue and Lance's had fire spewing from the top. Michael awoke the next morning thinking about his dream.
His dreams have a habit of coming true. He's not totally sure why, but he knew that this was not going to happen. Lance was dead. Period. No hope whatsoever. He still couldn't help but think: Is it possible? Is there some way he still may be alive? No! I have to keep my mind busy so I don't think this over too much. And that's what he did.
The next day Manny was acting weird.
"Manny are you okay?" Michael asked.
"What!!" he turned around very startled. "Michael! Shhhh!! Follow me." he motioned with his hand for him to follow.
He took Michael to ground level, and showed him an opening in the bottom of the boat.
"So what? It's a hole in the boat." Michael said looking questioningly at Manny.
"No, not the hole itself, but where the hole leads." he said. "Michael, you are staring at an opening in the boat that leads to the spot where Lance fell. I inspected it yesterday." he said.
Michael walked up to the opening the painful memories of that day coming back. He looked inside then looked back at Manny.
"Go on." he encouraged.
He slowly walked inside. It was amazingly cold down here.
"Brrrr." Michael started to shiver.
He kept going, and didn't travel far before he started to see the familiar yellow tanks with biohazard signs on them. A little farther and he started to smell the scent of decay. Farther than that and he came to a little opening. Right in the center of it was a patch of metal that had been peeled up during the land cruise. They were very sharp. At least I know his death was quick, he thought. Then it came to him: shouldn't there be blood on these spikes? At least dried? That is very peculiar indeed, he thought.
He heard a sound behind him and turned to see Manny rolling up behind.
"I see you've noticed there's no blood." he said. "Michael I don't mean to bring you pain by saying this, but...there's still hope for Lance." he said. "Michael...it's the teslis." he said a look of excitement in his robotic eyes.
"What are you talking about?" Michael asked starting to get a little uncomfortable being alone with him.
"Michael I'm talking about the gas and its effects! Don't you see? We can't die!" he said the excitement growing.
"You've gone mad haven't you?" Michael said backing away from him.
"Michael I've not gone mad. I'm perfectly sane." he said slowly getting closer to him.
"Manny! Manny! Where are you?" someone was calling from near the entrance.
Michael could hear someone walking down the path.
"Is anyone in here?" the person called.
Suddenly Manny broke off a piece of meal, while the person who was calling walked into view: it was Caspian. Manny poised then lunged at him.
"Manny no!!!" Caspian shouted.
He was to late Manny had plunged the spike right through Michael's middle.
"Uhhhh..." he fell to his knees once again sputtering blood.
Manny was shocked and horrified.
"No! Michael! You’re not dying!!" he quickly went to him, and gently picked him up.
Then he grabbed the spike, shut his dinner plate eyes tight, and slowly pulled it out.
"Michael!!!" Caspian ran over to them.
"Manny...why?!" he said terribly shocked and horrified.
"It was a mistake Caspian...a horrible mistake." Manny said.
"I feel sick." Caspian said.
He started toward the opening, but was too late. He fell to his knees and emptied his stomach.
"Michael...I'm so sorry. So terribly sorry." Manny said.
The place that Lance and Michael died was the storage area of the Telis. This let their bodies absorb even more of the chemical through their wounds. Lance had about a year and a half and a bunch of holes to soak the stuff up which made him very stiff when he awoke. Michael, on the other hand, had about two months, and one hole to absorb it with, before Lance came to revisit his horrible ordeal and found him. Manny was right, they were immortal. The Teslis is the reason they can't die. The gas dried up their blood, ripped it out of their bodies, and replaced it with liquified Telis. Manny left Michael's body down in the "basement", because it would be easier to make his "suicide" believable. Michael's body was recovered by Lance, who had awoken in a painful state, and he took him to his "house" he had made. He was their two weeks before he awoke.
"Ohhh. Where am I?" he asked no one in particular.
"Michael? You finally awake?" a male said.
"Who-who are you?" he stammered as he sat up.
"It's me...Lance...you wouldn't forget your best friend would you?" he asked.
"L-Lance? You're okay?" His heart gave a great leap.
"Lance you're okay!" he said gleefully.
Two thoughts pushed their way into his mind, though, through the happy thoughts, Am I dreaming? Or am I dead? He pinched himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming. He wasn't. Now how was he going to decide if he's dead or not?
"Lance...I'm not dreaming," he shook his head to indicate that that was correct,” but am I dead? Have I joined you and thousands of others in the great beyond?"
He didn't know any other way of finding out if he was dead or not.
"Michael...you and I are not dead. Well, not exactly." he answered.
"Huh?" This really confused Michael.
"We have both died, you and I, but are yet living. So...I'm not sure at this point what we are. Dead or alive?"
Michael grabbed his stomach as a sharp pain shot through it. He felt sick when his hands went into a hole. The color left his face, and his eyes shut.
"Michael!" Lance scrambled over to him but was too late, he had already passed out.
The next time Michael awoke it was night.
"Lance? Lance you there?"
He sat up again, and looked around.
"I'm right here." Lance said crawling over to him.
Michael sat there looking at him trying to remember what happened. The sharp pain in his stomach reminded him.
"Why is there a hole in my stomach?" he asked.
"I'm still trying to figure out what happened to me." Lance said unable to give me an answer.
Michael wasn't totally sure what had happened to him either. He tried to remember but couldn't.
"I think...I was there...but I can't quite remember...what exactly happened. I think I remember...some...animal...?" he shrugged. "I don't know. I guess you lose some memories when you die."
He seemed satisfied, and they went back to sleep.
The next morning he awoke to a horrible screeching noise.
"What the heck!" Michael said annoyed by the rude awakening.
"Hey keep it down, down there!" he shouted forgetting that he was not alone in the tree house.
Realizing that he might have woke up Lance; he glanced over to his mat. Nothing. Lance wasn't in his bed! Putting two and two together, Michael realized he must be down there wherever that thing is that's making the screeching. Pulling on his cloak, he rushed over to the window to have a look around.
Looking down he saw the most grotesque creature he'd ever seen. This thing might even beat Manny! It looked like an insect. It had the torso and arms of a human, but its head was that of an insect. It had little pincers at the mouth, and those luminescent green eyes. Instead of hands it had giant pincers that could break boulders with ease. Its legs, on closer inspection, were actually giant blades.
After fully taking in this horrifying creature, Michael came to my senses and ran to the ladder and slid down to the ground.
"Hey, good morning!" Lance called as he dodged a wide swing from the creature.
"Lance watch out!" Michael cried.
"Huh?" he took the creature's left pincer full in the chest.
"Wooooah!" he flew about thirteen yards away.
"Lance!" Michael ran over to him.
Lance jumped to his feet without a scratch on him.
"Lance...?" he looked at Michael with a smile on his face.
"It's okay dude."
He grabbed a spear, which seemed to appear out of nowhere next to him, and used it to launch himself up and over the creature, so he landed a few feet behind him. Was it Michael's imagination, or was Lance toying with this thing? Lance shifted his hands to the bottom of the shaft of the staff and jammed it right through the creature's middle. With an earsplitting screech the creature drew its last and fell to the ground.
Michael stood there gaping at the creature and Lance, who was tugging the spear out of it.
"Pretty cool, huh?" Lance said walking over to me.
"Whoa." That's it.
That's all he could say after seeing such a display.
"Um Lance? When did you learn to do that?"
The spear suddenly disappeared.
"Don't be so surprised. You can do it too."
"Really?" Michael said. "I don't really feel any different from before the explosion though."
"Well...it's not exactly a physical change...it's more of an inner change."
"What?" He had no idea what Lance was talking about.
All of a sudden there was a blinding flash of light.
"Whoa!" Michael stepped backwards and fell over a root.
As quickly as it appeared the light vanished. The creature had disappeared too. In its place was a small orb of light the size of a basketball.
"What is that?!"
"A spirit." said Lance. "You know? Life force?"
Lance stepped up and grabbed the orb.
"Bon appetite." he said as he took a big bite of it.
Michael stood up and walked over to it.
"These things are harmless. Well, most of them anyway. Some can be pretty violent. The nasty spirits are called jin."
Michael didn't move so he assured him, "Here take a bite. They're delicious."
"What?! No way! What if it's, like, a dormant Jin or something? It could take me over. Right?"
"Yeah, I guess that's possible."
And with that he took a bite.
"Dude, chill. I've been eating these things as long as I've been out here. They're harmless."
Michael still didn't trust the innocent orb before him, but, if Lance thought they were safe...
"Whoa this thing's delicious!"
"See? Told ya."
Spirits are surprisingly filling. One was enough to fill both of them.
"Now that we've ate, I think it's time you perfected your powers like me."
Cool. I'll get to do what Lance can and then some maybe. Michael thought.
"Ok let's start with the basics: getting a weapon."
This shouldn't be too hard. I mean, if Lance can do it, I can too. Michael thought.
"Alright. Think of a weapon, and, for our sake, you might want to make it a small one, like an axe or sword or something of that nature."
He closed his eyes to concentrate. Ok, simple enough. A weapon. A small weapon. Ok I guess a sword will do.
"Ok." He said to let him know he was ready for the next step.
"Alright. Now, take this crystal and put it around your neck."
He conjured a crystal out of nowhere, walked over to Michael, and gave it to him. He eagerly put it around his neck.
"Ok. Now concentrate on your weapon of choice as hard as you can. You want it in your hands. You need it in your hands. Will it into your hands now!"
With that there was a bright flash and Michael could feel the sword in his hands. This sword wasn't some sissy sword either. This bad boy was probably close to six feet long and one foot wide. That was just the blade too! The handle was another one-and-a-half feet. He nearly fell frontward with the weight. So much for small.
"Holy crap! Did I make this?!" he said.
Lance walked over to him and gave him a pat on the back.
"Yep. Good job."
"Can I do this with any weapon?"
Lance looked at the floor.
He looked at me with a sorrowful face.
"You can't. The first weapon you make is it. That's the weapon that you conjure for the rest of your...I-I mean."
He realized what he just said and fell silent. Since they couldn't die, at least not permanently, Michael would be stuck with that sword for all eternity.
"Well this sword is pretty cool. But...um...where do I keep it?"
Lance was relieved that he wasn't upset.
"All you do is loosened your grip and it disappears. It's a fail-safe way of keeping your weapon. Someone tries to take it during battle or whatever, it disappears."
He loosened my grip and the sword disappeared.
As with any ability, you want to exercise it. Hone it. Well Michael honed his abilities all over a half mile radius of their make-shift home. He actually accidentally wiped out a little area of trees with one swing while practicing. It's a good thing he had Lance to practice on and not the local animals because he would've wiped them all out.
They didn't need to go very far to practice because their tree house was in the center of a large clearing. They could go far enough to avoid the house, but close enough to avoid the trees.
They'd usually start out by practicing summoning their weapons. They would summon their weapons, and then make them disappear. They did this a couple of times, then, when the other wasn't expecting it, strike. Their skirmishes didn't last long-Lance usually mopped the floor with Michael. This is surprising considering his weapon-a spear.
Close to a year of being at the tree house Michael remembered the battleship. What was it like now? Were the people still alive? Should they return? With their injuries completely healed the trip wouldn't give them too much trouble, so they decided to return. They didn't have anything of real value in the tree house so they just left it as it was with the clothes on their backs.
Lance knew the way, having come back to find Michael dead at the bottom of the ship. They almost had to fight, though, when they stumbled upon a native village.
These things were twice the size of an average man, like, ten or twelve feet high. They had fangs half-a-foot long, and had razor sharp claws as well.
As soon as they saw Michael and Lance they clicked into attack mode. They whipped out spears and what Michael believed to be highly advanced guns. They gave each other "oh crap!" looks and ran for it. After running a little ways down the trail, they dove into a pit that was on the side of it. After a few moments of silence they heard the last of the natives pound by the pit.
"Here let's shed some light." said Lance.
With that he snapped his fingers and produced a small flame in the palm of his hand.
"Whoa! When did you learn to do that?!" Michael said.
His surprise was short-lived, though, when he saw the many webs on the walls. Accompanying these webs were the many skeletons of humans and animals. Now, if you put two and two together, you get one of two possibilities: there are giant spiders down here that have enjoyed many treats, or there's a bunch of little spiders that hunt larger prey. Michael was very disappointed when not only two giant spiders about 5 feet tall came out from under one of the webs, but a large web sack cracked open and spiders one foot tall came pouring into the area.
"My children, dinner is served!" one of the spiders said.
Now, Michael has arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, so his first reaction was he couldn't breathe. Lance hit him in the chest, so he would breathe properly again. Then he blew with all his might on the flame he produced. What do you know? He's a flamethrower! The walls, being covered in webs caught on fire immediately. The spiders shrieked in pain at the heat and light. Lance grabbed Michael's arm stood and launched them out of the pit. Once out, he produced his spear, cut a nearby bush out of the ground and threw it into the pit. Wow, automatic bonfire. With the spiders' shrieks of pain in their ears they quickly ran for it.
A few steps later, Lance quickly drug me behind a tree. Those creatures in the village were still looking for them. They pressed themselves against the tree hard hoping the natives wouldn't see them. Looking in every direction they passed without seeing us. When the last of them passed the tree Michael and Lance quietly tip-toed away. Michael's very first step lands on a twig. SNAP! They looked back in unison.
"Ah crap! Not again!" Michael said with frustration.
The chase was on again. They ran as fast as they could in the opposite direction of the hideous people behind them. The path forked and they took the right path. They continued on until they stopped abruptly a cliff appeared in front of them.
"Michael, climb on my back!" Lance said.
Michael quickly jumped on. Lance immediately took off running at the gorge. His foot hit the cliff and he launched us both up into the air. We soared right over the gorge and landed gracefully on the other side. The things chasing us stopped at the cliff and immediately opened fire with their guns.
"How the heck did creatures like that get hand-held plasma cannons?!" Michael shouted as they ducked and dodged as the lasers zoomed passed their heads.
"I don't know! Just keep running!" Lance replied.
While they were throwing their spears and shooting at them, Michael and Lance ran for their lives (yeah their "lives" wink . We broke into some trees and stop to catch our breath.
After a while Lance said, "Dang, one mishap after another."
"Yeah, what did we do to deserve this?" Michael said.
"I don't know, but we obviously made someone angry." Lance said.
Then they both broke into a fit of laughter. I'm thinking this was one of those times where you're just so upset, or maybe it was relieved in their case, that you show a different emotion than what you feel. When they calmed down, Michael remembered the spider pit.
"Hey Lance where did you learn to do that thing with the fire? And how did you learn to jump like that? That gorge had to at least be twenty yards."
He paused to think about how he would word it.
"Well..." he began.”It all started when I awoke at the bottom of the ship."
"I awoke and I was on fire. Of course I was also skewered as well. I didn't feel too good."
Whoa this is already sounding weird.
"Well, as soon as I managed to get myself off the spikes, I realized I wasn't burning-I was simply on fire. So I tried to do something with this fire, and realized I could manipulate it as I saw fit. So I've been perfecting this ability the whole time I was out here. I completely perfected it a few days before I found you, so I didn't think I needed to practice anymore...The jumping thing...I don't know...you probably can do it too. All you do is jump without fear. You have to have faith you’re going to make the jump before you jump. There can be no doubt in your mind. Once you drop the fear you can jump as far as your mind can think of."
Well this little talk was enlightening.
"Why didn't you tell me this earlier?! I could've got some practice before we came back to the ship!"
He looked up at the sky.
"Listen its getting dark. I doubt we'll want to be out here when the sun goes down. You'll be able to practice at the ship."
The part about being out here after dark didn't appeal to Michael, so they started for the ship again. They didn't have anymore encounters the rest of the way back. Just a peaceful walk in the woods.
After an hour of walking they broke into a clearing. This thing was huge too. The ship was right in the center, and off to our right, there was a huge rut in the ground that probably leads to the ocean because it was filled with water. We finally made it. They had finally made it back.
"Hey now's as good a time as any to practice your jumping. There's no need to worry about falling because we're on solid ground."
Michael guessed it was worth a shot.
"Here I'll stand where I want you to jump ok?"
He walked about three feet in front of me and stopped.
"Oh come on. I can make that!"
"I think its best we start small."
I took a step and was there.
"Yeah really swell."
"Ok you want a challenge?"
He walked back towards the forest.
"Jump up to the first branch right there."
He pointed to a branch that was 15 feet over their heads. He jumped up and lightly touched it.
"Go ahead. Jump."
Michael squat all the way to the ground. He thought about what he said: "There can be no doubt in your mind..." He sprung upward, and went about a foot-and-a-half from the ground and stopped.
"Oh, thanks for the words of encouragement."
"Not a shred of doubt. Remember that."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
He squat down again.
"No doubt in my mind. I could touch the top if I wanted to." he said to himself.
He sprung upward with such force that he didn't just touch the first branch, but second, third, and fourth, all the way to the very top.
Yeah, the jump would've been pretty impressive, if he didn't have 50 feet between me and the ground.
Michael put his hands out to brace what little of the impact they would. Suddenly a jet of blue light erupted from his hands. He felt himself slowing down. He touched the ground gracefully rather than landing with a sickening splat.
"W-What was that?!"
"Congratulations! You've just discovered your powers. Ice, very cool."
"Ok. You know my fire powers right? Well you have ice powers. Try to manipulate it."
Michael had no idea how to manipulate it so he just held out his hands. Ice blasted from them and completely encased Lance. After a few seconds of shocked silence, the ice began to sizzle and melt. When he was completely defrosted, he looked at Michael as though he did the stupidest thing in the world.
"You don't just do the motions. You have to think about how you want the ice to come out, what you want it to do, etc. Think about what you want the ice to do then hold out your hands."
Michael wondered how he'd look with ice hair so he thought of a mirror then opened his hand palm up. Slowly ice poured out of his palm and formed a smooth disc that reflected images. Michael looked in the mirror then thought about his hair frozen. His hair froze in upward spikes. Lance looked from the mirror to my hair.
"Yeah. I thought so too."
"That's it. That's all you have to do to control your powers."
Michael defrosted his hair. It lay matted to my head.
"Ok let's head over to the ship."
They took their time getting to the ship. They jumped around the place in a two man game of tag. When they finally reached the ship Michael crouched down then launched himself to the top deck. He was starting to get the hang of jumping. Lance landed on the deck as someone came busting out of a door. He stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of us. Michael immediately identified him.
"Hello Caspian." he said.
"Michael? Lance? A-Are you real?" Caspian said.
"In the flesh." said Lance.
"But...you died..." Caspian said weakly. "I saw it..."
"Ah, but now we are back." Michael said in a normal casual voice.
He sank to his knees. Michael started to wonder if he'd go into shock.
"Manny's been locked up. I told everyone. I couldn't hold it in. Not after what I saw..." he said apologetically.
"We understand. We wouldn't mind talking with him though." I said wondering how they could contain a cyborg capable of ripping metal spikes off the ship.
"H-He's on the second deck. Room 389."
They started toward the door. Michael turned around.
"Caspian...are you going to be ok?"
Caspian looked up at him.
"Well...I mean...you have been gone for a while now. Wouldn't you be a little shocked to see someone who's been dead for a while come back to life?"
"Caspian, I've seen too much today to be shocked. I think my nerves are shot."
He gave Caspian a little smile then turned to follow Lance. They went down a flight of stairs then took a left. Though they were sparse, there were a few people. All of them did double takes as the two passed them in the halls. They went down another flight of stairs and took a right. Lance looked at the room numbers.
We could hear him inside the room.
"It wasn't my fault...Michael's not dead...no...He’s alive...that's what the Teslis does...we are immortals...every last one of us..."
His mumblings greatly disturbed Michael. It started to come back to him how he had prevented me from going into the room full of Teslis. Was he the idiot that tried to take the chemicals to the lab? Or was he simply told not to let anyone in there? He had no idea of knowing right now.
"Michael?" Lance said.
"Hm? Oh, um, yeah, let's do this."
He opened the door. Manny immediately ceased his mumblings. The room was totally trashed. There were slash marks on the walls. The floor was covered in scratches from the rims on Manny's wheels. Manny looked up at them.
"Ok just to clear this up: we are not illusions and we are not ghosts. We are the real thing. See for yourself. We're solid."
Michael walked up to Manny and touched him.
"Ayah! You're cold!"
He looked where he touched him and saw a small patch of ice. He looked at Lance.
"It's part of our powers. Watch."
He also walked up to Manny and touched him where Michael did.
"Ahhhhh. That's much better."
The ice melted and steam rose from it evaporating.
"So Manny. We cool?"
He looked up at Michael who saw an immediate change in his manor. He no longer coward but stood up straight. His eyes didn't dart around nor did he shake uncontrollably. He was normal again.
"Yes we are cool."
They shook hands. Michael started to walk out of the room.
"Hello?" Manny called.
Michael turned around.
"My shackles? Aren't you going to release me?"
He looked at him.
"Manny, we may have made up...but...you still killed me."
And with that they left him, while he shouted rude remarks and begged that they release him. That night they were getting ready for bed when Lance decided to enlightened me further about our powers. As Michael was turning the lights out a voice came.
Hey Michael, check this out.
He looked over at Lance's bed expecting to see him holding something or doing something stupid, but he was just laying there trying to sleep.
Yes? What is it? You can tell me telepathically.
We have telepathy. We can speak to each other with our minds.
Not knowing if there was some secret to using telepathy, Michael spoke in his head.
Can you hear me?
Lance turned over.
Loud and clear chief.
Whoa this is freaking' awesome!
I know! I discovered this ability while you were sleeping at the tree house. I could hear your thoughts, so I thought I might talk with you while you were asleep.
Is that why I always had dreams about nude beaches with that fat guy from the dump?
Yeah. That was pretty funny!
From your point of view! You think I enjoyed having those dreams?! I ought to throw something at you!
"But that wouldn't be very nice."
Michael about jumped out of his bed when he heard the voice. It couldn't be Lance. This voice was scratchy. Almost a growl.
"Who's there?" Michael said with uncertainty.
"Just me." The reply came.
Lance I think there's someone else in the room. Take a look, but don't be obvious.
Oh you won't be able to see me with the naked eye.
That's what you think. We're not ordinary.
Suddenly Michael saw two fluorescent red lights the size of golf balls in Lance's bed.
What the heck is that?!
I CAN SEE YOU!
There was a flash of light then silence.
It's ok. Just go to sleep.
Michael pulled the covers up to his chin then rolled over.
The next morning they awoke to the sound of an explosion.
"What the heck's going on?" Lance said sleepily.
"I don't know." Michael said kicking the covers off and jumping to the floor.
Lance soon followed. They quickly dressed and hurried to the top deck. When they arrived, they found Manny already there.
"They let you go?" Michael asked.
Manny, startled, quickly turned around and was relieved to see it was only them.
"Shhhh. Keep it down will ya? I've been digging at the wall for the past 72 hours trying to get these shackles off. My curiosity about the explosions just helped it along."
They noticed that shackles were on his wrists and there were chains dangling from them.
"You'll be in big trouble if they realize you've escaped." Michael warned.
Manny did his best to smile a scheming smile.
"Oh no they won't. I'm making a grand escape! I'm going to go out there and find out what the explosions are."
They stood there for a while listening to the explosions. Michael started to wonder why nobody else came up here to see what the explosions were. After a few minutes Manny took a deep, rattling breath and started to roll toward the path that led to the ground.
"Hey Manny don't forget to come back and tell us what's out there!" Michael called after him.
"Don't worry I will!" he called back.
"Hey Manny...be careful out there!" Lance called.
Manny didn't say anything, but Michael knew he was happy that Lance was worried about him.
The two of them stood there watching Manny until he disappeared into the forest. A few minutes later the door flew open behind them and they turned to see a panting Derrick and Caspian-bent over, panting-behind them.
"You...You didn't...did you?" Caspian said gasping.
Derrick, after catching his breath, stared hard at me.
"What?" Michael couldn't hear them over the explosions.
They about jumped out of their skins when he yelled.
"Jeez! You don't have to yell!"
"What are you talking about? Of course, I have to yell over the explosions!" Michael replied.
They both stared at Michael as if he were crazy.
"You mean to tell me that you can't hear them?" he said.
"What are you talking about?" they said in unison.
"The explosions! Can't you hear them?!"
They shook their heads.
Michael looked at Lance. What's going on? Why can't they hear them? Lance shrugged.
Derrick shook his head as though to get water out of his ears.
"Quit changing the subject! You let a killer loose!" Caspian shouted. "How could you let him escape?!"
"I'm not changing the subject!" Michael shouted back. "There are loud booming noises ringing in my ears! There coming from about five miles that way."
He pointed in the direction Manny went.
"What?!" Caspian said. "How could you possibly know that for sure?!"
"Just forget it!" Michael said getting frustrated. Why could they not hear them? Are they just being ignorant? No. They could hear them. They had to.
Lance and Michael started to walk back into the ship.
"Hey! Come back here! We can't let you go without some punishment for letting a prisoner escape!"
Michael turned around about to make a smart retort, but before he could say it he saw Lance's eyes glow bright red.
"Oh! Uh, sorry. Don't mind me!"
It's nothing. Just forget about it.
They walked down the corridors that lead to their room. They passed a hall, and, out of the corner of his eye, Michael saw something.
"Hold on Lance."
He turned around, and headed toward what turned out to be a big hole. Lance followed.
"What's wrong Michael?" he asked.
"This hole...seems familiar. I remember it from somewhere."
Right then everything that happened rushed back into his mind. It was so overwhelming that he lost balance for a moment.
He grabbed his head, and tried to steady himself.
"You alright?" Lance asked
When Michael regained his balance, he looked at him.
"This is where you fell through the floor..."
"We had just spoken with that snake in 412. We were heading back to help with the daily duties. You ran ahead and the floor gave way...I remember hearing you screaming all the way down...then silence..."
Lance was speechless.
"It's ok though because you're back."
"You...said something about a snake?"
"Oh yeah. He's in here."
Michael walked around the hole and lead Lance into room 412. The snake was still there.
"Wow. You're still here. Has no one discovered you?"
"No. I've not had a ssssingle visitor bessssidessss you two."
There was a pause, then the snake said, "Well, actually, there wassss that one fellow. A human shrouded in dark garmentssss came to this room. He...demanded something of me."
"Really? And you couldn't see his face? What was it, exactly, that he demanded of you?" Michael asked.
"An ancient secret that mere mortals aren't allowed to know."
"Oh I must correct you there. We are not just mere mortals." Lance said.
His eyes started to glow red again, and two baseball-sized fireballs appeared in his hands.
"Lance, stop it! I'm not sure what that is...but it doesn't look very safe...don't use it...please?" Michael said.
The snake was silent.
"Boy...do you know the power of which you command? That's ancient dark magic."
"What?" Lance said.
"That's the ancient dark fire magic."
"I knew it was fire magic...but...dark fire? What's the difference?"
"Fire magic-just plain fire magic-is good. There's no darkness within the fire, but dark fire is fire magic infused with darkness...it takes over the wielder little by little every time you use it. After awhile, it controls you."
"Wow you sure looked cramped in there." Michael said desperate to change the subject.
"Yessss. You wouldn't believe how cramped it issss in here."
"Well we can let you out."
The snake seemed to perk up.
"Really? You would do that?"
"Sure. I mean you're not dangerous."
Michael walked over and opened his cage. The snake immediately sprang out.
The snake floated in the air and slithered out of the room. We were left with an awkward silence. After a moment or two Lance turned around.
"Snakes can fly?"
Michael shrugged and walked out of the room.
"Where do you think we should go now?"
Michael stopped dead in his tracks.
"Hey Lance...do you hear that?"
He stopped to listen.
"I don't hear anything." He replied.
"Exactly." Michael said. "What happened to the explosions? Manny's out there..."
"Maybe we should check it out?" Lance suggested.
They hurried along the hall and up two flights of stairs to the top deck. Once there they looked out over the clearing. At the very edge we saw something moving.
"What's that?" asked Lance.
Michael squinted in hopes of seeing what it was.
"Would you believe me if I said it looks like a giant scorpion?" he asked.
"After what we saw yesterday I will believe you." he answered.
They watched as it moved along the edge of the clearing. Suddenly it stopped, looked directly at them and rushed into the forest.
"Did you see-?"
"You know this kind of reminds me of the part in those movies where the lookout spots intruders and goes to warn its master." Michael said starting to jump over the side of the boat.
Lance stopped me.
"If we give chase it probably will, but there's a chance that it-"
"Did you see that?! It looked directly at us! For all it knew we could've been enjoying the scenery!"
Michael jumped over the side and Lance followed. They ran across the clearing. Suddenly something shot past Michael very fast.
Then it slowed down and he could see Lance running circles around him.
"Lance why don't you ever share these powers with me?!"
"It's fun to show off!" he called.
Suddenly Michael could feel himself getting faster and faster. He was starting to run at Lance's speed. He could no longer run circles around him.
"Michael watch out!"
Michael looked ahead and ran into the forest at top speed.
Branches whipped at his arm. He put his hands in front of him and shot ice ahead so that it made a wall. He ran up the wall and did a back flip off the top that killed his speed.
He breathed a sigh of relief. Then Lance came dashing up behind him and ran into him. They slammed against the ice wall hard.
They lay, crumpled in a heap, at the foot of the wall. As they were recovering, they heard a twig snap somewhere to their right. They lay motionless for a few seconds, and then they heard leaves crunching. It was drawing closer-whatever it was. Then it was upon them. They saw something standing over them then,
"Michael? Lance? What are you doing out here?"
It was Manny.
"Manny? I thought you were inspecting the explosions. Why are you back so soon?"
He backed away slightly.
Suddenly his eyes glowed bright red. Michael saw that X's were engraved in his eyes.
"But it need not concern you." Manny said in a cold voice.
Then his eyes turned 90 degrees to the left til they were plus signs and they stopped glowing. He had rolled over to Michael and grabbed his collar.
"Michael...help me...he's controlling me!"
Michael yanked his hands away.
"Manny who? Who's controlling you?" he asked.
"HE is!" Manny said in a small, frightened voice.
He took a sharp intake of breath and his eyes grew wide. Then he shut down.
They dragged him all the way back to the ship. Once there people rushed over to help. Michael and Lance thought he passed out, but didn't know how to care for him since he was mostly metal. Syringes couldn't penetrate his "skin." Finally, after about an hour of trial and error, Lance came over and torched a small area on his arm. Slowly but surly the metal melted off. Once he exposed a vein, he stopped to let them inject him with adrenaline. His eyes were red X's again, and he sprang to life immediately.
"Don't touch me!" he said in that same cold, ominous voice.
"Manny we're trying to help!" Michael said trying to calm him.
Just as he did in the forest, his eyes turned back to plus signs.
"Michael? He's not harming anyone is he? I can't control him! Help me!"
Then he started thrashing violently.
"Shut up worm! I control you! You will do as I say now!"
What was wrong with him?
"No! Get out of my head!"
Ok now this was getting really weird.
"Darkness reigns! Darkness reigns supreme!"
His voice kept changing. It was small and weak one second and dark and cold the next. What was up? Finally Michael could take it no longer and went up and back-handed him. His thrashing stopped immediately. He looked up at him with a tiny scared expression that changed into a cold stare that was seething with hatred. He grabbed me by the neck and hoisted me into the air.
"How dare you hit a king?!"
Michael's first thought was that Manny would snap his neck and it would be over. This was quickly replaced, however, by a pleading thought in his head: Kill me now! Please kill me now! Lance upon hearing Michael's plea started pelting him with fireballs. This would've been a good idea had they not bounced off of Manny and zoomed in every direction. Everyone except Lance and Michael ran out of the room on fire, screaming. Manny hurtled Michael across the room into a wall that collapsed, and he landed on the floor in the next room. Lance stopped his futile attempt to roast Manny and helped Michael up. Then, Lance had a brainstorm.
"Michael grab my hand!"
Lance's right hand clasped Michael's left, then a light emanated from us.
"Okay. Now, direct your ice at 'him."
Michael concentrated on Manny with all his might. Then ice and fire came pouring from us. They hit Manny hard, so hard, in fact, that he was sent flying back.
He hit the far wall and crashed through. They watched in awe as he smashed through wall after