PART VII: Blitzkrieg
Day of The Attack
Old Guard Academy, Steel Canyon
As the sounds of battle erupted around him, Baron Blitzman
was smiling wide from ear to ear. He had just heard the most wonderful news. Alastair Cromwell
, The Imperial, an icon and a hero to many throughout Paragon City, had finally been killed. He was dead. Everything was going according to plan. And what a plan it was! Baron Blitzman couldn't help but reminisce. It was such a simple plan. First Sebastian Kain
, the mysterious benefactor, broke Baron Blitzman free from jail. And then, three weeks later, Baron Blitzman had broken everyone else
from jail. Voila...instant supervillain army!
Blitzman and the escapees had formed a group, a collective of like minded villains. They called themselves ERA. The aforementioned Sebastian Kain was the figurehead and financial backing of the group, but it was guys like Baron Blitzman and Phanto
who did all the heavy lifting. The pack mentality was rife in ERA. If you weren't in their gang, it didn't matter who you were. If you're not part of their group, you're the enemy.
But why? What was the point of all this? Why break all these lunatics out of the ziggurat? Why kill The Imperial? Why attack Xanatos
' school for heroes?
Too many reasons. Entertainment? Perhaps. Chaos and destruction certainly passed the time. Revenge? Most definitely; many of the escaped convicts had scores to settle. Ideology? Probably. There would undoubtedly be complete nutcases within ERA that thought that the world needed changing. Money? Without question. But perhaps most importantly...protection. ERA was something that the villains of Paragon City had been lacking for a long time; it was support. Money and muscle whenever you needed it. An unparalleled underground network of contacts and opportunities. Access to black markets the world over and, in some cases, across dimensions. To preserve all of this, to preserve all these fantastic supports, any and all who dared to oppose it had to be dealt with.
had been dealt with. Beaten to death by his Rogues Gallery
The Imperial had been dealt with. The life squeezed out of him by the infamous Phanto.
And now it was Xanatos' turn. He wasn't even particularly special. He just happened to be #3 on the hit list.
The sound of battle brought Baron Blitzman's focus back to the present. Yes. Here he was. Finally. The Old Guard Academy. Xanatos' gift to the city. His school for heroes. His legacy. It was going to be so much fun taking it apart brick by brick. Unfortunately though, the teachers and students here didn't want that to happen. Not to worry; more fuel for the fire.
With a snarl, the purple-headed speedster shot towards the crowd of rookie heroes, the bloodlust in his eyes plain for all to see, as throughout the Old Guard Academy, heroes and villains were fighting for their lives.
, a man who's superhuman speed could be matched only by his superhuman ego, was zipping about the battle-ground that had once been the central hall of the Old Guard Academy. Things had gone from bad to worse. The large open hall, not too dissimilar to a Roman temple of old, was quickly falling into ruin. The solid marble flooring was now little more than rubble. Turned to dust and ash by all the superpowers being thrown around. Piles of glass shards littered the floor, some from the many large doors that had been ripped from their hinges and used as makeshift weapons, but mostly as remnants of the glass ceiling that had been the academy's view of the stars. Now it was little more than a point of entry for any villain capable of flying.
All around Johnny Turbo various costumed heroes and villains fought tooth-and-nail for their lives. Their powers varied in form and function, but the result was always the same: destruction. Entire wings of the academy had been destroyed by gunfire, energy blasts, fire balls, and all other manner of super powered projectile. Walls had been caved in as countless heroes had either been thrown through, or decided to walk through, them. Various parts of the building were on fire; dead bodies, both hero and villain, slowly roasting amidst the sound of battle.
And in the middle of this conflict were two men, two heroes. Xanatos' friends, allies, and in many ways his protégés; Rave Spider and Johnny Turbo.
"Did you hear what I said? Did you hear what I said? Did you hear what I said? Did you hear what I said? Did you hear what I said?" pestered Johnny Turbo as he fought off two sword-wielding villains at once. His powers of superspeed keeping him one step ahead of them.
Rave Spider said nothing in response. He was too busy focusing on the task at hand. While Johnny Turbo was taking on two sword wielding fanatics, Rave Spider was taking on ten times that many. Not all of them used swords. Some used guns, some use staves, a few of them even had genuine superpowers. It was all for nothing though. Rave Spider was a man blessed with two things. An extraordinary healing factor, and superior martial arts training. He danced around the villains, almost effortlessly, one-shotting them as if he were swatting flies.
"Fine, ignore me..." Johnny Turbo huffed as he continued to fight the two swordsmen. They had adapted to his fighting style, and were swinging their weapons randomly in an attempt to catch the speedster off-guard. It didn't work; they were unconscious within seconds.
A momentary lapse in concentration was all the two dozen villains needed in order to dog pile Rave Spider. Within moments the young hero was covered in rogues, each of them clawing, stabbing and shooting at him. His costume was torn to shreds, ripped almost entirely from him by the hungry criminals. Their bid for domination was short-lived however, for their attacks had ignited within Rave Spider something extremely powerful. The young hero began to glow a dull orange as blow after blow continued to rain down upon his skinny form. Mistaking the glow for an attempt at a counter-attack, the villains continued to strike at the helpless hero...to no affect. Unbeknown to the villains, Rave Spider was storing the energy from their attacks. They were pushing him to boiling point. With a smile too sadistic for a hero, Rave Spider allowed them to.
The explosion, centred on Rave Spider, shook the Old Guard Academy to its core. The attack, reminiscent of a nova, had sent large waves of energy blasting violently outwards into the colosseum -esq foyer. Pillars were sliced in two, the few windows not yet broken shattered into tiny pieces, and the sound of battle was bellowed into a whisper as all eyes fell upon Rave Spider.
"Aw yeah! It's TURBO TIME!" said the enigmatic speedster for no apparent reason as he began to whirlwind towards his semi-conscious friend, all the while oddly smirking. "Hey Rave Spider d'ya think we've won ye-"
A single raised hand silenced Johnny Turbo. Rave Spider had stopped to catch his breath, and had little interest towards Johnny Turbo's claims of an early victory. They were still surrounded by villains. Villains that were doubling in number every minute as more and more piled into the academy. All around them the sound of battle raged on, despite how many villains now lay unconscious courtesy of the nova manoeuvre.
"Come on buddy," said Johnny Turbo as he helped his friend to his feet, "Let's keep going..."
Twelve more dead. Died on impact. This was fantastic. Baron Blitzman was carving through the newbie heroes like a man possessed. His powers of superspeed almost unmatched by anyone in Paragon City. He was the fastest. He could sense it. No-one else could possibly match him!
As he tore a path of destruction through the Academy, sparks of yellowish lightning trailing behind him as he left a pile of bodies in his wake, Baron Blitzman could not help but feel uneasy. In the back of his mind he could sense something. A tingling sensation that threatened to undo him. He could sense another. Another man with tremendous speed not dissimilar to his own. Another speedster.
"No!" roared Baron Blitzman as he scanned the smouldering battlefield for signs of his enemy. He refused to accept that anyone could match his speed! He was the fastest. He was Baron Blitzman. "Who would dare...?"
And it was then that he spotted him; Johnny Turbo. In Blitzman's eyes; little more than a careless, chauvinistic, egotistical, sorry excuse for a hero. A man who took his speed for granted. A man who squalored it chasing women and partying. Speed was a gift from on high. It was as much a divine blessing as it was a super power. To see someone so...unworthy yielding such impressive speed made Baron Blitzman's blood boil.
As he pondered these thoughts, Baron Blitzman ran full pelt towards the rival speedster, yellow lightning dancing around his hands as he prepared to attack the young hero. His feet burning a pathway across the ruined marble floor of the Old Guard Academy. A cloud of dust surrounded him as he advanced, turning the purple headed speedster into a lightning-fuelled dust cloud.
"Johnny no!" Rave Spider roared, seconds too late, as the two speedsters connected. A yellow lightning bolt tearing through the ceiling of the Old guard Academy as Baron Blitzman struck home. Rave Spider could only watch in despair as the body of his friend was quickly thrown aside by the rampaging supervillain. It hit a nearby wall hard, leaving a full body indentation, before crumpling to the floor. The Turbo was down.
Before Rave Spider had the chance to raise his hands to defend himself, Baron Blitzman was upon him as well. Pummelling him with punch after punch after punch. His eyes awash with madness. The sheer speed of his attacks almost overwhelming the mutant's healing factor. Rave Spider slipped in and out of consciousness as his head and torso were brutalised by the Baron. As the darkness slowly crept in, Rave Spider saw a blue and yellow blur hovering in the distance. It seemed vaguely familiar.
"E-everything will be al-alright..." said Rave Spider, as he passed out.
"If you say so, boy." replied Baron Blitzman as he tossed the limp hero aside, landing next to the similarly unconscious form of Johnny Turbo. Blitzman smiled as he saw them lying there. It was a smile that lasted only moments. Something was wrong. Something didn't feel right.
And that was when it hit Blitzman. That old familiar chill.
"It's been a while Baron."
The Last of the Old Guard had arrived.