The Awakening – Chapter 13

Chapter 13 — Chaos Strike, Part 1

Day 84 — Augusta, ME — The Home of Leighton Stroyer — The Backyard

“You just let them get away, right?”  General Ranger spoke as he looked at the soldier that stood at the fence.  “Do you have an excuse for this?”

“None sir,” the soldier spoke as another soldier walked over and then saluted.

“At ease soldier,” General Ranger spoke as the soldier handed him an electronic device as he looked at it and then frowned.  “This can’t be right.  This says she’s dead.”

“She wasn’t dead sir,” the first soldier spoke as General Ranger raised an eye at him.  “She and the black man were very much alive.”

“That was an hour ago,” General Ranger stated as he turned away from the soldier and then pressed some buttons on the electronic device.  “I’ve recalibrated the unit and it says it can’t find her within a five hundred mile radius.”

“What does that mean sir?”  The second soldier asked as General Ranger rubbed at his head.

“It means the woman must be dead,” General Ranger stated as he scratched at his head again.  “There is no other way to explain these readings unless—unless she found out about the tracking device that was in her skull and had it removed.”

“Is that possible sir?  The woman has been gone from here for only an hour,” one of the soldiers spoke as General Ranger looked at him.  “There wouldn’t have been enough time for her or anyone to remove the device sir.”

“That’s where you’re wrong soldier,” General Ranger stated as he looked down.  “When it comes to super enhanced humans, anything is possible.”

“Wasn’t there a failsafe in place for the device sir?”  The soldier asked as General Ranger smiled.

“Yes there is a failsafe in place,” General Ranger spoke as he turned the electronic device off.  “Okay, new plan.  Load up and let’s head back to base.”

“Yes sir,” a soldier responded as he saluted and then ran off to follow General Ranger’s order.

“If she’s not dead, she will be when that tracker explodes,” General Ranger stated as he laughed maniacally, walking in the direction the other soldiers had gone in.

Somewhere in the Air

Tara’s POV

“Thank the Goddess that there is wind out right now,” I said as I flew through the air, heading to Jacksonville to join the others.  “Looks like my lasso is holding up, carrying all of the things I would need.  I can’t believe Darren chose to stay home and not come with me!”

Sometimes I wonder about that husband of mine.  What is his problem anyway?  With all that’s going on and all that we discussed, there’s really something wrong in his thought process unit. Like really, he spent a whole damn hour, telling me about how he felt he was going to lose me, if we joined the others in the fight against General Ranger and his followers.  He said he feels that I would forget all about him and I wouldn’t love him anymore.  As if, how could he think something like that?  With all that we’ve been through over the years, how could he think I would ever not love him or forget about him?

There has to be something up and I think JT knows what it is.  While Darren and I talked, he kept talking about the same things, over and over.  He wouldn’t let it go that JT gave me my powers and he claims JT made all my wishes come true.  That’s not true, but in his head, that’s what he believes.  A while back, JT told me to talk to him, that he wasn’t completely innocent in the scheme of things and I keep wondering what JT was talking about.  Now that Darren isn’t with me and I’m headed to join him and the others by myself, maybe I can get an answer out of him, even if I have to use my empathic abilities on him and try to compel him to tell me what he knows about my absentee husband.

“I can see a few bridges, I think I’m getting closer to the city,” I said, passing over the interstate’s bridge as a few passenger in their cars looked up at me.

I better cut that out.  I don’t need to be drawing attention to myself here.  I don’t think JT would be too happy with me, exposing my powers like this.  I’ll fly higher until I get to where I’m going and I think that’s the building there.  I think getting here would’ve been faster if Darren would’ve just transported me.  I don’t know why I didn’t use my empathic powers to persuade him to do so.  I’ll just land in that alley down there behind the building and then transform back into myself and then walk in.  In all the years I’ve been Amazon, I never wondered where my clothes disappear to when I transform the way I do.  I guess that’s something I’ll have to ask JT when I see him.  Spinning around in a circle, my body exploded in a burst of light as my Amazon costume disappeared and my regular clothes I wear on the street appeared.

“There, that looks so much better,” I said as I picked up the bag my lasso changed into and carried my things down the alley, heading towards the entrance to the building.

Extensive Enterprises — The Lobby

“Hmmm, I wonder where everyone is,” Tara said as she walked through the lobby doors as a holographic image appeared before her.  “Ahhhh, it looks human, but I don’t think it’s real.”

= Hello and welcome to Extensive Enterprises.  State your business here. =

“State my business?  I’m a guest here,” Tara spoke as a beam of energy scanned her body as the holographic image fizzled a bit and then changed.

= You are not authorized to be here.  Again, state your business. =

“I’m supposed to be here, I am Amazon,” Tara stated as another beam of energy scanned her body as the holographic image fizzled again.  “What in the world is going on here?”

= You are not authorized to be here.  Again, state your business or extreme measures will be taken against you. =

“Apparently this thing is serious.  Why is it saying I’m not authorized to be here?  Wait, maybe I’m not authorized to be here, being that I’m currently Tara James and not Amazon,” Tara stated as she sighed, put her bag down on the floor and then spun around in a circle as her body exploded in a burst of light as she’s transformed into Amazon.  The holographic image scanned her body with an energy beam again and then the image changed.

= Welcome to Extensive Enterprises Amazon.  What may I help you with? =

“Oh now I get some attention,” Tara said as she shook her head.  “Where is everyone?”

= Currently Malevolent, Chase, Alpha and Amaryllis are in the infirmary. =

“In the infirmary?  Where is that?”  Tara asked as the holographic image pointed down the corridor.

= You will be led to the infirmary.  Just follow the arrows to your destination. =

“Thanks,” Tara stated as she looked at the arrows on the wall panel and ran down the corridor, following the directions of the arrows until she got to her destination.

“Amazon, you’re here,” JT spoke as he turned around from where Helia lay on an exam table.

“What’s going on?  What happened here?  Is she all right?”  Tara asked as she walked over to JT and then hugged him.

“It seems General Ranger placed that device there in Helia’s skull to track her down, whenever he wanted to.  The computer analyzed it and figured out that it was a tracker and that it was also a bomb,” JT stated as Tara looked at him.

“It’s a bomb?  What is it doing in here?  Is the damn thing active?”  Tara asked.

“The computer deactivated it, but I’m taking extra precautions, I have a stasis field around it, to keep it cut off from the rest of us for the time being,” JT stated as Tara raised an eye at him.  “What?”

“How is this building so user friendly all of a sudden?”  Tara asked as she looked around.  “A talking hologram, a computer that can analyze things, a stasis field?  How did you get all of this stuff?”

“I…” JT stated as Tara shook her head.

“You used your magic to do this, didn’t you?”  Tara asked as JT nodded his head.  “Is this going to be a consequence to you later?  Is this spell or wish, whatever the hell it is, going to bite you in the ass later on?”

“I hope it don’t,” JT replied as he looked down.  “I don’t see this as personal gain, being that I cast a spell to help us.”

“Is Chaos ringing any bells JT?”  Tara asked as JT sighed.

“It was just a simple spell to retrofit the building for the things we needed is all,” JT stated as Tara sighed.  “The things here will help us save the world.  It’s not just personal for me, this is for all of us.”

“Personal gain is still personal gain,” Tara stated as an alarm sounded in the room.  “What’s that?”

“There’s something going down,” JT stated as he moved away from Tara, walking over to the computer terminal in the room and pressing a button.

“Looks like someone is getting their ass kicked.  Is that a giant robot?”  Tara asked as Brian and Walden walked over to the view screen.

“Man, is that real?”  Walden asked as he watched things on the screen.

“It looks real,” JT stated as he turned and looked at Tara.  “Amazon, are we going to stop this thing?”

“You know we are,” Tara stated as she sighed.  “How do we get out of this place?”

“I’m going to provide transportation,” JT stated with a small smile as Brian ran from the room and then came back within the blink of an eye.

“I’m ready when you guys are,” Brian stated with a smile as Walden just shook his head.

“If we’re going somewhere, let’s go,” Walden stated as JT’s eyes sparkled with energy as the four of them disappeared, leaving Amaryllis in the room with Helia.

Somewhere in Upstate New York

(<PAMPH>)

“That thing looks bigger in person,” JT stated as he and his passengers appeared in the sky, looking as if they were sitting in the clouds.  “What is it doing?”

“The way it’s acting, it looks like it’s searching for something,” Brian replied as he touched something on the side of his goggles and then frowned.  “Baby, with it’s pattern of destruction, it seems to be looking for something.  What do you think?”

“I think you’re right,” JT replied as he and Brian floated downward as Amazon grabbed Walden’s hand, carrying him through the air as they headed for the robot.

“Alpha, I think the two of us should use a direct approach, what do you think?”  Tara asked as she and Walden streaked through the sky as she got closer to the robot and let him go as he slammed into it, putting a dent in it’s armor.  “Nice, let’s see what my super punch can do!”

“This thing definitely looks tougher than it looks,” JT stated, streaking through the sky with lightning crackling around his body as he zapped the robot with multiple bolts, having no effect.  “Hey tin can!  If you’re looking for a playmate, follow me!”

“Babe, what are you doing?”  Chase asked as he ran around one of the robot’s legs, punching it very fast as the sounds of his punches made a clacking noise that vibrated the metallic armor.

“I’m trying to lure this thing away from the innocent people around here,” JT replied as his body grew in size, with him doing his best as to not to step on any people or buildings below him, unlike the robot nearby.  “There’s something wrong, the robot has a heartbeat.”

“What do you mean it has a heartbeat?”  Walden asked as he held on to one of the robot’s arms, being swung around as the robot tried to shake him off.

“Either there’s someone in the robot or the robot is a person,” JT stated as his eyes flared with psychic energy as the robot raised it’s other arm and fired missiles and rockets at him.  “No!”

“Look out!”  Tara screamed as JT held up his arm, shielding his face as a strange energy flared around his body, looking like a large bird, made of black flame.  “What the hell is that?  Is—is that a new power of yours?”

“Oh no!”  JT exclaimed as the energy wrapped around him as he disappeared.

“What the hell is going on?  What just happened Amazon?”  Brian asked as he ran around in a circle, creating a cyclone as his body floated into the air.  “Where is he Amazon?  What just happened?  He screamed as if he was surprised at that?”

“I think he was,” Tara replied with a frown as the robot grabbed for her, holding her tight as the face of the robot changed.  “Awwwww!”

“Amazon, no!”  Brian screamed as he took off running as there was a loud noise that sounded like metal grinding against metal as another robot arm appeared and then grabbed him in mid-stride, holding him tight as he thrashed about.  “Amazon!  How are we going to get out of this?”

“I’m thinking!”  Tara screamed as Walden continued punching at the robot, having no effect on it as a panel on the robot opened to reveal cat-like figure that jumped out, lashing out at Walden, trying to grab him.  “Alpha, watch out!”

“Is that a cat?”  Walden asked as he let go of the robot’s arm, falling to the ground.  “This is going to hurt!”

(<PAMPH>)

“Not today!”  JT’s voice was heard, appearing in a flash of light as he flew towards Walden, grabbing him by the arm as he carried him up into the air.  “Are you okay Alpha?”

“Where have you been?  Are you okay?”  Walden asked, looking at JT strangely.  “What’s with the new clothes?”

“Let’s just say, I’ve been on a journey,” JT replied as his eyes flared with energy as the cat-like figure jumped into the air, trying to grab for him and Walden.  “Hey, down girl!”

“What is that thing?”  Walden asked.

“She’s a cat,” JT stated as his eyes flared with energy as the cat-like figure was enveloped in an energy bubble.

“How do you know it’s a she?”  Walden asked.

“Because I saw her being captured by Ranger and his men and I’ve seen the things they’ve done to her,” JT stated as he waved his hand at the cat-like figure, freezing it in place.  “They experimented on her, just like they did with Helia.”

“Like he did with me, is that what you were going to say next man?”  Walden asked as JT sighed.  “Can you undo what that fool did?”

“I’m going to try, but we first have to stop the robot,” JT stated as another panel on the robot opened as a woman he had seen before appeared.  “You!”

“What’s going on man?”  Walden asked as JT’s body shimmered with energy as his body turned intangible for an instant as he fell from JT’s grasp.  “Hey man!  Hey!”

“You tried to do something to my mind!”  JT snapped as his body caught on fire as he gestured with his hand as a bird-like claw, made of fire grabbed the woman, holding her tight as Tara broke free of the robot’s grasp and flew down to grab Walden.  “You will pay for what you did!”

“Malevolent, snap out of it!”  Tara screamed as she flew up to where he was, carrying Walden by the hand. “Man, we don’t have time for you to be acting all wonky!  Let the woman go!”

“She tried to mess with my mind!”  JT snapped, his voice shaking things up around them as another panel opened up on the robot and a man flew out.

“I don’t care what she did.  Hell, it’s not like you haven’t tried messing with our minds before,” Tara stated as Walden looked up at her.  “She’s just like us, we shouldn’t be fighting with her; we should be helping her.”

“No, I won’t help someone that tried to hurt me!  That woman tried to corrupt my heart, taint my soul with sadness and pain!”  JT snapped as his eyes flared with energy as the flame turned black as the fire took on the form of a giant bird that enveloped him and the woman and they both disappeared.

“No!”  Tara screamed as the man that had flown out of the robot grabbed her, trying to tackle her as she, Walden and the man tussled around and fell to the ground.

“Is this fool crazy?”  Walden asked as the guy punched him again.  “Does he know I’m pretty much invulnerable to his punches?”

“The master wants you two!”  The man exclaimed as he punched Walden again.  “I’m going to take you to him, dead or alive, you choose.”

“You’ll have to kill me before I let you take me any damn where!”  Walden screamed, looking around, noticing a strange blur as Brian became visible as he punched at the guy quickly.  “Chase, how did you get free of the robot?”

“Let’s just say Malevolent taught me to improvise with how I use my skills,” Brian replied as he punched the guy again.  “I think he’s out.  We need to get away from here or something.  It seems nothing is stopping the human carrying robot over there.  Amazon, are you all right?”

“No, I’m not all right!”  Tara snapped as she looked up at the sky.  “Where in the hell is Malevolent and that woman?”

“That’s something we can’t worry about right now,” Walden stated as the robot made a strange noise as it stopped moving.  “Ah guys, it stopped.”

“Is there something wrong with it?”  Brian asked as he ran towards the robot, being deflected back away from it by a strange force.  “Be careful guys, there’s something around the robot.”

“Let me try,” Tara said as she jumped into the air, flying towards the robot as she slammed into an invisible barrier.  “Yeah, there’s some kind of barrier around the robot.”

= Hello Amazon =

“What,” Tara said as General Ranger’s voice was heard as she looked around.  “That’s Ranger.  Where is that monster?”

= I’m not the monster here Amazon, it’s people like you that are. =

“We’re not the monsters here!”  Walden yelled.  “You are evil, you are hurting these people!”

= I’ve hurt no one here.  If you want this to stop, all you have to do is turn yourselves over to me. =

“Never!”  Walden yelled, preparing to fight as there was a strange noise as the robot started moving again.  “Look, the robot is moving again!”

“Oh no!”  Brian yelled as the robot’s leg raised and then came down on top of a house.  “No!  There were people in that house!”

= You all could have made this very easy, but you chose a different way.  Oh well.  Case, destroy every thing there!  Destroy them all! =

“Damn you monster!  Damn you!”  Tara screamed as she flew towards the robot again, bouncing off of the invisible barrier, being knocked clear across the town.

“Damn, I’ll go get her!  Alpha, try to stop that damn thing!”  Brian screamed as he ran as fast as he can, trying to get to Tara as the cat-like figure that lay on the ground disappeared in black flame.

Between Here and There — The Limbo Dimension — Castle Limbo

“Please, let me go,” a woman’s voice could be heard as JT stood in front of a mirror.

“Guardian, who is she?”  JT asked as he watched the mirror’s image.  “Is she really an innocent in all of this or is she an enemy?”

“My liege,” the image in the mirror spoke.  “She is not your enemy, but she is a soul that you already know.”

“I know her?  Who is she?”  JT asked as he looked at the mirror closely as the image changed.  “That—that’s Elizabeth…”

“My liege, in the world that you are a part of now, she is not the Elizabeth you once knew.  She is innocent and hasn’t been touched by chaos magic,” the image in the mirror spoke.  “Take into consideration that your actions are altering her life in that world.  Your use of chaos magic has altered the present and will very much alter the future.”

“In what way Guardian?”  JT asked as he turned and looked at another mirror.  “How have I altered the present and the future?”

“The three of you have been gone for five years,” the image in the mirror stated.  “Her children have…”

“Time isn’t a factor and you know that Guardian,” JT stated as the image displayed in the mirror changed.  “Are those children?”

“Yes my liege,” the image in the mirror spoke.  “Those are her children and with her being gone for the length of time that she has been, her children have grown jaded and evil, bent to the ways of the evil you are trying to fight.”

“Ranger has her children?”  JT asked as another image was displayed in the mirror as JT’s eyes flared with energy.  “The first time I saw her, she said something about someone had done something to hurt her kids.  I brought her here because the last time I saw her, she—she showed me Xander and I r…”

“My liege, the prince is where he belongs,” the image in the mirror spoke as JT shook his head as tears streamed down his face.

“The prince isn’t where he belongs, he’s nowhere!”  JT snapped as a crack formed in the mirror but quickly repaired itself.

“My liege, the prince was never supposed to have existed where you would see,” the image in the mirror spoke as JT shook his head again.

“Shut up Guardian!  Shut up!”  JT snapped as the castle shook and the floor rumbled.  “How dare you tell me that my son wasn’t supposed to have existed!!”

“My liege…” the image in the mirror attempted to speak again as JT waved his hand at the mirror as the surface of the mirror exploded as a woman materialized before him.

“Where—where am I?”  The woman asked.

“You’re in Limbo,” JT replied as he wiped at his eyes as the ribbon-like energy shot out from his body, enveloping him as his clothing changed, revealing a new look, a costume made of black fabric with a white firebird on the chest.

“What’s Limbo?”  The woman asked as JT turned and started walking away from her.  “Wait a minute, where are you going?”

“Silence!”  JT snapped as he waved his hand as the woman disappeared in a burst of black flame.

To Be Continued…

To Protect and Serve – Chapter 7

Chapter 7 — The Arrival of Demonloque

Aug 6, 1995 – Somewhere in Texas – All Star’s Tour Bus

“Wanda, I’m going after them,” JT spoke, grabbing Wanda’s communicator.

“No JT, you can’t go,” Wanda stated, trying to grab his hand.

“No Wanda, I’m going after them and I’m going alone,” JT stated as he jumped into the air, taking flight.

“Hey, honey… Don’t leave, wait!”  Joey called out.

“Wanda, stop him!  He knows that if given the chance, Marek will and can hurt him this time,” Hank said as he shifted back to his natural form as Wanda waved her hand in JT’s direction, ensnaring him in a magical energy field.

‘Stop JT, you can’t go after them alone.  One of us is going with you.  I’m not letting you out of my field until you agree to those terms.  Don’t try to sync with my powers, because I know most of your weaknesses and I’m prepared to use them against you,’ Wanda telepathically spoke to JT.

‘Fine, Hank can come with me.  Wanda, you get everyone back on the bus and fix that hole in the roof.  You get those guys to the next destination so that they can rest for the next couple of days.  They need to be in tip-top shape for their next concert,’ JT telepathically broadcasted his thoughts to Wanda as he enveloped Hank in a telekinetic energy sphere and then lifted him up to where he was.

“Wanda, why did JT sound like that?  He sounded like something—something out of a horror movie.  I’m really scared now.  Can we all wake up?”  Joey asked, grabbing Chris’ arm.

“Get off me man,” Chris said, shaking his head.  “He’s not going to hurt you, he’s your boyfriend.  Besides, he just flew away.”

Somewhere Else in Texas

“JT, slow down… I can barely keep up with you man.  Where is all this extra speed coming from?  I don’t ever remember you being able to fly this fast,” Hank stated.

“A lot of things have changed with me since you last saw me before we got back together here on Earth,” JT stated as Hank looked at him strangely.

“Changes like what?”  Hank asked.  “What happened to you?”

“When the Elders found me, I was given my full powers back,” JT replied as Hank’s eyes widened.

“You got ALL of your powers back?”  Hank said as he ad JT streaked through the sky.

“Yeah, I got them back, but for a price,” JT responded.

“What did you have to give up?”  Hank asked.

“I had to become one of their watchers,” JT answered.

“You had to become one of their watchers?  What’s a watcher?”  Hank asked.

“Since I’m already psychic, they just amped up my powers by one hundred-fold.  The drawback to that is, I’m now the gatekeeper of Limbo, taking the place of one of my ancestors that had the job.  I’m that person that makes sure nothing escapes from Limbo or no one enters there, unless they’re supposed to be there,” JT explained as Hank shook his head.

“All that happened within a year?  What happened to the others that were with you?  Vicky Bale?  A’Lana Dayle?  Andy Claybourne?  What happened to them?”  Hank asked.

“Video decided to go have some downtime, spending it with her parents.  Spider Girl got married and wanted to take time to start a family and as for Speedster, he returned home and became more depressed,” JT stated as he stopped flying.

“Why have we stopped?”  Hank asked.

“I’ve located the place where we’ve been going,” JT replied as he looked around.  “Marek’s inside that building, but there’s no sign of Joshua or Tyler.  I wonder where they are and why I’m not able to detect them telepathically.”

“Are you sure he’s in that building?”  Hank asked as JT nodded his head.

“Yes, I’m sure,” JT replied with a frown.

“Well let’s go in there and get his ass.  We’ll make him tell us where our friends are,” Hank said as he morphed into a bulked up version of himself full of muscles as the two of them disappeared and then reappeared on the ground.  “I have to get used to you being able to do that.”

“I’ve always been able to do that,” JT stated as Hank looked at him strangely as he waved his hand at the wall, knocking a hole into it as the two of them stepped in to see Joshua and Tyler, stark naked and chained to a wall as Marek stood next to them with an assortment of sex toys.

“Hello boys,” Marek spoke with a wide small on his face as he laughed.  “I’m glad you were able to join us.  You’re just in time for the festivities.”

“What festivities?”  JT asked as Marek waved a hand in his direction as JT’s thrown against the wall as chains appeared to hold him in place.  “What the hell!  Let me go!”

“Stop freak, let him go!”  Hank yelled as Marek smiled and then waved a hand in his direction, knocking him down to the floor as he walked over and stood over him.  “Get the hell away from me!”

“Now now little Hanky, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you,” Marek stated as he reached down and grabbed Hank’s crotch as Hank screamed out.  “It seems you’re not packing as much as you used to.  What happened Hanky, you didn’t morph into a more suitable man?”

“Get your fucking hands off me freak!”  Hank screamed as his visage changed as Marek laughed and then slapped him across the face.

“Little Hanky, you can’t do anything to hurt me, I’m in your head,” Marek stated as moved away from Hank as he motioned with his hand as Hank floated up off the floor and then moved through the air, landing against a wall, having chains placed on his arms and legs, same as JT.

Three Hours Later – All Star’s Tour Bus

“Have you heard anything yet Wanda?  It’s been three hours already.  I’m getting really scared for Joshua and Tyler.  I hope JT and Hank finds them,” Joey stated as he sat uneasy in his seat.

“Don’t worry about it Joey, JT and Hank can take care of themselves.  I’m quite sure they’ll get Joshua and Tyler back without a problem,” Wanda stated as she stopped talking, noticing the strange phenomenon in the area as Joshua’s body appeared and then fell to the floor before her.

“What in the hell!  Joshua?  Joshua, are you okay?  I think he’s unconscious or something,” Lance said as he hopped over a seat, getting to where Joshua’s body lay on the floor as he lifted his head, placing it into his lap as he pulled a blanket from under the seat that he used to cover Joshua’s naked body with.  “How did he get here, like this?”

“I—I think JT teleported him here,” Wanda replied, looking down and back at Lance.  “Why didn’t he contact me telepathically or through the communicator to tell me this?”

“That’s something I can’t help you answer,” Lance replied as he looked down at Joshua.  “What are we going to do with him?”

“Let’s get him in a bunk until we can get him and Justin to a doctor,” Wanda replied as she used her powers to levitate Joshua’s body off of the floor, grabbed him and then carried him to the back of the bus to the bunk area.

“Put him in the bunk with Justin.  When he opens his eyes and sees Justin, he’ll know he’s okay,” Joey suggested as he and Lance walked back to the front of the bus.

“Barbara, something is very wrong here.  Where are they?  If JT teleported Joshua here, why not teleport the rest of them back too?”  Wanda asked as Barbara pulled the curtain closed to the bunk.

“I’m sure it’s nothing.  They—they’re probably on their way back here or they are doing something else to make sure that Marek is not causing unneeded problems,” Barbara stated as Wanda’s eyes glowed and then she screamed.  “Wanda?”

“No!  This cannot be!  This can’t be happening!  We must get to him in a hurry, but it’s already too late!”  Wanda screamed as the tour bus came to a screeching halt, causing them to fall forward to the floor.

“What’s going on back there?”  The bus driver asked.

“What’s going on Wanda?  What’s happening?”  Barbara asked, getting up off the floor, but not getting too close to Wanda in the state she was in, afraid she would be attacked by her cat form.

“It’s happening!  The world you know is no more!  I rule all now!  Bow down to your new master!”  Wanda screamed, her voice sounding more like Marek than her own.

“What?  Marek… How did you possess her?  Where are JT, Hank and Tyler?”  Barbara asked, projecting beams of ice at Wanda’s body.

“Are you referring to my slaves?  They’re here with me, doing my bidding, just like you will be, very soon my dear,” Wanda stated as her eyes glowed.

“I don’t think so you monster,” Barbara stated as Wanda smiled.

“I do think so.  As Black Cat here hypnotizes all of you, you’ll all be mine, to do my bidding,” Wanda stated as a psychic projection of Marek appeared over her face.

“I won’t let you; you’ll release Wanda, now!”  Barbara screamed as Joey, Lance and Chris ran off the bus.

“Damn, we forgot about Justin and Joshua!  They’re back there on the bus!  They’re going to get hurt in there!”  Joey screamed as Justin and Joshua appeared in front of them, scaring Joey as he fell backwards to the ground.

“How did they get out here?”  Lance asked, moving over to Joshua and Justin’s body as they lay on the ground.  “Let’s get them and hide somewhere.”

“I think he was the reason,” Chris said, pointing up at the air where JT floated.

“Oh thank goodness,” Joey replied, looking up at JT and then frowned when he saw the red glow to JT’s eyes.

“What’s wrong Joey?”  Lance asked.

“Look at his eyes,” Joey said, pointing in JT’s direction as JT’s clothing changed to all black in the blink of an eye.  “Look at his clothes!”

“Oh God, is—is that a bad sign?”  Lance asked as Joey cried.

“I don’t know, but I have a feeling that I’ll never have my boyfriend back,” Joey said, wiping at his eyes.  “I just met and fell in love with him and—and I don’t think he’ll ever be able to be with me.  I won’t be able to spend the rest of my life with him!”

A Valentine’s Day in the Past – Jacksonville, FL – The Home of JT Mendez

“Tim, why can’t you love me the way I love you?”  Marek asked, holding JT’s hands in his own.  “When I first saw you, I knew you were the man for me.  Just let me love you and let’s see what happens between us.”

“I don’t love you Marek.  I don’t have any feelings for you at all.  I barely know you, now after all that’s happened,” JT stated in a calm manner.  “I don’t remember what it was like to…”

“You remember everyone else, but you don’t remember what it was like ot be with me!”  Marek screamed as JT stepped back.  “You loved me—me, the man that saved you from Lord Zeos, the evil guy that tried to make you his slave for all eternity!”

“It’s not my fault that my short-term memory was damaged.  It wasn’t my choice to have a bomb explode near me and I got caught in the aftershock of it,” JT stated as Marek shook his head.

“Honey, it’s your fault that you tried to save those people from it.  If you hadn’t tried to use your telekinetic powers to shield those people, you never would’ve been near that bomb in the first place,” Marek stated as he pointed his finger in JT’s face.

“I’m leaving.  I’m going back to the X-Ternals, where I belong.  At least with them, I can be me and no one cares about what I do.  If I want to save the world, I’ll save it, but I don’t have to answer to you or anyone else for that matter.  Just leave me alone Marek!  I have a father, I don’t’ need another one!”  JT snapped as he pushed Marek backwards and then turned to leave the room as Marek shook his head as JT fell to the floor.

“You can’t leave me JT!  I love you and I’ll keep you forever.  As long as you’re in that coma, you’ll never be able to leave me,” Marek stated as he raised his hands as JT’s body floated up off the floor and then moved into his arms.  “You are forever mine JT, forever!”

Aug 6, 1995 – Somewhere in Texas – Outside of All Star’s Tour Bus

“What’s wrong JT?  What’s going on?”  Joey asked as JT appeared in the clearing next to the bus.

“I’m not JT!  I wish you’d stop calling me that!”  JT snapped as he walked past Joey.

“If you’re not JT, then who are you?  What should I be calling you?”  Joey asked, his body trembling as he watched JT.

“You may call me Love, but everyone else will refer to me as Demonloque!”  JT snapped as energy radiated from his body, causing everyone around to shield their eyes.

“Okay Love, how about you help us with Wanda… It seems she’s flipped out.  We need to get away from here and find some place safe to be,” Joey stated as Lance grabbed Joshua and hefted him up on his shoulders as Chris grabbed Justin in his arms and started walking away with him.

“Where are you two going?”  JT snapped, pointing at Lance and Chris as he waved his hand at the men as they floated into the air, landing near where he and Joey were.

“Ah—ah, we’re going nowhere.  We were just trying to get into the shade,” Lance stated.

“Silly boy, haven’t you learned that I am psychic and I can read your mind?  You should be very ashamed Lance.  What a filthy mind you have.  I see that you have a crush on Hank,” JT stated as he floated over to where Lance and Joshua were.  “I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but Hank doesn’t have feelings for you anymore, he’s fallen in love with someone else.  That’s what happens when you procrastinate.”

“What’s going on?  What’re you doing?”  Joey asked as JT used his telekinetic powers to lift his body into the air.

“Stop!  What’re you doing Tim?  What have you done?”  Hank asked, using his morphing powers to pose as JT’s father.

“Daddy?  Daddy, what are you doing here?”  JT asked, his eyes no longer glowing as Joey’s body fell to the ground.

“Son, what caused you to become this way again?  What has caused you to lose your purity?”  Hank asked, floating over to where JT and Joey were.

“I—I don’t know Daddy.  I went to save them, I really did, but they were already dead when I got to them.  I couldn’t save them!  If you can’t save someone, what’s the point in being good?”  JT asked as the tears streamed down his face as Hank looked at him strangely.

“Son, who’s dead?  Who did you try to save?”  Hank asked.

“I tried to save them all, but—but no one survived.  I held Rachel in my arms as she spoke her last words.  I—I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget that, ever forget that at all!”  JT snapped as the strange ribbon-like energy flared around his body as his clothing changed to reveal his regular costume.

‘Oh thank God.  He changed back into his regular clothes, so I guess his dad is getting through to him.  I thought we were all goners when he started talking a few minutes ago.  What have I gotten myself into, falling in love with a super hero of the worst kind?’  Joey thought to himself or so he thought as JT’s head snapped around, looking in his direction.

“I’m sorry Joey.  I’m sorry that you and the others went through this.  I didn’t mean for any of this to happen with you guys.  I—I was weak and Marek… He—he was able to use the past against me,” JT stated as he walked over to Joey and tried to hug him as Joey pulled away from him.

“Look man, just stay away from me.  I don’t know what you are anymore.  You scared the hell out of me… I didn’t know if you were going to kill us or what!”  Joey snapped, throwing his hands up as JT looked down.

“I—I said I was sorry Joey.  It—it wasn’t my fault.  Please—please don’t do this Joey,” JT pleaded as he reached out to Joey as Joey stepped backwards again.

“No man, no!”  Joey yelled as he turned away from JT.

“Fine,” JT said as his eyes crackled with energy as the strange ribbon-like energy flared around his body quickly, changing his clothing back to the black with red markings.  “If you don’t like me anymore, then there’s nothing left to be good for!”

“Oh great, that didn’t help matters any,” Hank said as JT disappeared in a flash of light as he morphed back into his normal appearance.

“I—I thought you were one of Marek’s slaves,” Lance said as he walked over to Hank and then hugged him around the neck, lingering a bit.

“No, I’m not one of his slaves.  It’s kind of hard for him to turn me into a slave when I can move faster than he can,” Hank stated as he averted his eyes from Lance’s.

“Well I’m glad of that,” Lance said, smiling at Hank and then looked down quickly.

“I’m going to need to call the others in for some back up, to help us with this current situation.  Since Joey just pushed JT back into his evil state of mind, nothing really matters to JT now.  With JT’s evil persona in charge, he doesn’t care who or what he destroys in the process of his angered state,” Hank stated as he glared at Joey.  “Thanks a lot man.”

“That’s not fair Hank,” Lance said, looking at Hank and then looked over at Joey.

“It’s his fault,” Hank said, pointing his finger at Joey.

“Don’t blame this on me.  I didn’t make him that way!  He scared the hell out of me and I don’t like being scared that way,” Joey stated as Justin and Joshua woke up.

“What’s going on?  Where are we?”  Joshua asked, looking around.

“We’re somewhere between Dallas and nowhere,” Lance answered as he looked over at Hank again.

“Why do I have a banging headache?  It feels like someone dropped an anvil on my head in one of those zany cartoons,” Justin said as he stood up and then leaned against Chris.

“I’m sorry to say, but you two are the victims of Marek’s psychic attack.  Now it seems we have a total of four of you now.  I’m going back inside to see what’s going on with Wanda, Barbara and the driver.  You all stay out here until I get back,” Hank said as he jumped into the air, taking flight as he flew over to the bus and then went inside.

“I thought this was all a dream, but I guess it’s all real,” Joshua said as he rubbed his head.

“What’s the status of things ladies?”  Hank asked, walking onto the bus and heading for where he saw Wanda standing.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry.  I didn’t mean to kill her.  She—she jumped on me and—and I blasted her with a magical energy bolt.  I didn’t mean to do it,” Wanda stated as she held Barbara in her arms as she cried.

“Wanda!”  Hank screamed, grabbing Barbara’s body from Wanda as he flew off the bus at his highest speed.

Jacksonville, FL – X-Ternals’ Compound – The Command Center

“I didn’t quite understand your message hank, repeat it again,” Michuro Hino, known as Atlantis spoke into the communicator, listening to Hank’s message as she tried to contemplate all that was said.

= I said everything is fucked up right now!  I’m on my way to HQ because Barbara is gone, she’s dead! =

“What?  How in the hell is she dead?  What happened?”  Michura spoke into the communicator as she paced around the room.

= All this has to do with Marek!  His ass has returned again!  He took possession of Wanda’s mind and through her, he used her powers and killed Barbara!  Wanda didn’t do it, Marek did it, since he was in her body! =

“Do I need to fly out there Hank?”  Michura asked, looking around as she shook her head.  “I can take one of the jets and be there within the hour.”

= Wait, I don’t think that’s necessary.  I think I was wrong… she’s moving Michura. =

“I’m glad she’s alive, but we still have another problem on our hand,” Michura stated as she looked at the computer console.  “JT’s not himself.  I’m coming out there with Illusion.  We can help with what’s going on.”

= Put a hold on that, I don’t think it’s necessary Michura. =

“Well it’s too late, we’re coming to help,” Michura stated as she pressed a button on the computer console, sending a signal to her teammate to meet her in the hangar.

Somewhere in Texas

“Oh Barbara, I—I thought you were dead.  You—you looked so pale when you were in Wanda’s arms on the  bus back there,” Hank said as he hugged Barbara.

“I’m okay Hank,” Barbara stated with a small smile.  “Why don’t you get us back to the bus… I have a feeling that things with Marek isn’t quite over just yet.”

“What do you mean?”  Hank asked as he and Barbara flew.

“Where’s JT right now?”  Barbara asked.

“He disappeared after Joey rejected him,” Hank replied as they landed on the ground in front of the tour bus.

“Thank God, you’re okay Barb,” Justin said as he approached Hank and Barbara.

“Justy, why are you up and moving about?  You should be somewhere, lying down.  We still need to get you and Joshua some medical attention,” Barbara stated as Hank placed her on the ground to stand up on her own feet.

“Since you’re not dead, I would like to know how you survived Wanda’s attack on you.  She’s just as strong as Black Witch and you almost died going up against her.  How did you do it?”  Hank asked as Wanda moved over to Barbara quickly.

“I’m so glad you’re alive right now.  I—I thought I had killed you when my magi-bolt blasted through your midsection,” Wanda stated as she looked down with tears in her eyes.

“You should remember,” Barbara spoke as she looked over at Wada.  “You taught me to freeze my body to help minimize any physical damage when I get injured.  When I froze the area where you had zapped me, that allowed me the time I needed for my body to completely rejuvenate.”

“I didn’t know you could do that,” Hank said as he looked at Barbara strangely and then over to Wanda.  “Since JT and Tyler are gone for the moment, Atlantis and Illusion are on their way here to help us out.”

“I feel like we’re sitting ducks here.  Can we please leave from this spot?”  Joey asked, looking over at Hank.

“Sounds like a good idea.  We really should be going,” Barbara stated as she looked at Joey.  “So, what happened with JT?”

“He’s no longer JT anymore, he’s calling himself Demonloque,” Hank stated, looking down as he shook his head.  “It seems Marek started his transformation back to his dark side.  I got him back to being normal, but stud-muffin here said he didn’t like him anymore and he freaked out and changed back into Demonloque.  So he and Tyler can be anywhere, since I’m assuming Tyler is still under Marek’s control.”

“Doofus,” Chris said as he and Joshua smacked Joey in the back of the head in unison.

“There’s no law that says I must continue liking him when he’s evil.  So lay off of me guys!”  Joey snapped as he pointed his finger at Chris and then turned to Joshua and glared at him.

To Be Continued…