Mal’ahk #6: Apocalypse Now, Part 2
Dr. Jacob Regan & Dr. David A. Jones
Lost Haven, ME
And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. -Revelations 6:4
The first of the smaller ships met its end on the point of his wings as he slammed the two of them together and drove right down the center of it. Presumably sheering the pilot in half. The fire of the explosion washed over him and much to his surprise it didn’t seem to affect him in the slightest. Whirling to look behind him as his momentum carried him forward, Dr. Reagan narrowed his eyes at the tumbling two halves of the craft.
I am the Fire Sword of the Lord of Hosts. Fire is of little consequence to my person.
”Well that’s good to know.” As his wings carried him further up the next fighter his feet smashed into the front canopy and he drove his sword through it before flicking it out through the roof. The sword parted the void hardened front of the craft like paper sending a spray of whatever passed for blood amongst the invaders into the air. It was quickly flicked away by the rushing air.
Onward and upwards Dr. Reagan climb cutting down fighter after fighter after fighter. It was slow laborious work more akin to chopping wood as his wings slapped aside their energy weapons and his sword cut them appart.
We need my fire. This will never matter at this rate. We are too slow and too- Wait.
The air rippled around them and suddenly Dr. Reagan felt his gaze drawn towards a descending drop ship however what was more concerning was the chorus of whispers that rose in the air around him as he stared out towards one of the bridges. Suddenly a wash of eerie red light descended from the sky and struck the ground near the start of the bridge.
”What was that…”
I wish I did not know what it was.That lander is heading right into the heart of the bloodbath around here. That is the only explanation for what is about happen.
Wheeling in midair he lunged past and through any fighters that moved to intercept him. Something had the Angel of Repentance and Fire...scared? That could not bode well. In a diving arc he slammed into the canopy of a fighter and tucked his wings. Driving his sword through the roof he yanked it over by the sword and used it like a glider. Stamping down on the edge of the fighter it tilted and he yanked hard. It curved in a heavy arc as he directed it towards the lander. Until suddenly something fired a surface to air missile at him. With a leap he cleared the fighter right as it exploded. For one thing there was no way a surface to air missile like that could have destroyed the fighter. How he knew that was beyond him but still. Snapping the wings open he descended to the ground only to witness.
That was the only word for the man.
Wearing fatigues, a grey tank top, and a black tactical vest he leapt to the top of a police car which was parked at the bridge. They had been directing traffic but now with the invaders unloading from the troop transport there was not much they could have done. This man however was walking destruction. Dr. Reagan spread his wings and came to a beating hover as he watched.
The man was wearing what he assumed was a full face ballistic mask but it was in the shape of a skull. ”Who is that?”.
That is War.
Sure enough, that appeared to be exactly what happened.
In the blink of an eye the man leveled a light machine gun and opened fire into the front ranks of the aliens. The result was spectacular and devastating which seemed unusual given the fact that the weapon probably shouldn’t have had that effect. As the invaders spread out to seek concealment from his arc of fire he dumped the machine gun and produced a shotgun. ”Where is he-”
As the sword is a part of me, so is the Red Blade a part of him. They are just different expressions of it. He can manifest them at will.
The man, or angel. Thing. War. Moved from the position on the top of the police car to the nearest position where one of the aliens had concealed itself and fired three shots into the thing racking the shotgun each time sending shells arcing through the air. The others poured energy weapons towards him but he leapt behind the car he had just killed one of them behind only to bodily lift the car and slam it into the next position where one of the invaders was hiding.
He is getting stronger. This fight is about to get worse….
How much longer can I handle all this, will the power last long enough? David bit back his thoughts as several bolts of plasma raced over his head.
He rushed through the air, over open water now, with several alien fighters on his tail. Obviously having taken note of the more notable resistance. They slowed to his speed so they could fire on him. Turning all the way around, he unleashed an elongated stream of flame that burned its way through the clouds, a trade of furious energy attacks traveled between the jets and David. But where he stood his ground, the fighters broke off, and came in from different angles. Neon green bolts pelted David’s body, the energy crashed and exploded into fizzling sparks, the force of the blasts moved him a foot or so out of position.
Fire’s too slow, I need something faster…
The air around his body ceased wavering, a sign that he was no longer channeling fire. The flames of wild fury, gone, replaced by the feeling of decisiveness, the need to reach his enemies quickly. Lightning gathered, and danced across his upper body. Bringing up both his arms, he led one hand over his other arm and swiped across, another hand flew over his chest, as if grabbing that lightning, and flinging it towards the invaders. Alternating hands and arms quickly, his torso blurred as he sent out a shower of sparks flying out towards the jets.
The flurry of fierce lightning blazed an electric pattern in the sky. While some of the shots went over, past, or behind the jets, there were many more that were dead on. A yellow flare gave him the impression of some kind of energy shield, but it quickly dispersed into soft embers. Several of his bolts struck the wing tips of the fighters, or pierced through and hit the engine in the back. Several small explosions told him he hit dead on, if he couldn’t feel it for himself, and the jets tailing him all crashed down into the water. Non-functional, and not a problem.
Except, the day was far from done. Something told him to look off to the distance, and then he saw it. A single fighter flew over him, racing towards a bridge in the distance, and he didn’t need any enhanced sight to see it’s target. Hundreds of civilians tried to pass over it, and they weren’t going to if that fighter had its way. He thought of the innocents lost so far, the innocents being forced into this fight, and blasted off as quickly as he could. However, these jets had one thing over him, it was speed, and at this rate he wasn’t going to make it.
David brought an arm back, and then launched it forward. A firebolt flared from his arm and towards the jet, which promptly broke into a bank, causing it to slow. It was enough for David. While the jet dodged his flame, the heat broke its shield, and he caught it by a wing. David swung himself around as fast as he could, and threw the jet straight down into the water. The wing broke off in his hand, and the jet itself launched into the water; throwing hundreds of gallons of water into the air around him.
A familiar sense of anxiety brought him back on his toes, he tossed his gaze around. For some reason, he felt his attention was divided purposefully, onto a man on the bridge, and another man flying some ways away. That feeling of anxiety manifested into some kind of aura around the bridge, but he couldn’t make sense of it. Looking at the two men, he got the feeling they were alien in the sense that they don’t belong, but not that they were directly related to the current problem. Images slowly poured into his head, pages from his bible, moments from his sunday school days, pictures and ideas he associated with certain figures.
‘The archangel of repentance, Uriel. I-is that right?’
Over the river near the center of the bridge, an Emergency Search & Rescue helicopter hovered in the air, the distant sound of its blades just audible from where they stood as a low, ambient din. Given the sheer chaos unfolding upon the bridge as vehicles slowed to a crawl and civilians abandoned their transports to make their way on foot, its presence was unsurprising. It appeared to be pulling close up to the top of the bridge’s central flat-topped support arch, where atop the massive structure a single distant figure appeared to be waving at the craft as it approached.
War finished with the first wave of the troops from the ship in spectacular order as he plunged an actual chainsaw up to its handguard in one of their chests. Despite the strangeness of the whole encounter there was still a decided sense of mounting dread pressing on Dr. Reagan’s sense. It was as if Uriel was sensing something but the aura of War was blocking the real threat. Not far off one of the cities other defenders flung one of the fighter craft into the water.
It is one of the others. I do not know this one. Though he recognizes me
Moving from his position, hovering over the carnage War was still engaged in, Dr. Reagan approached the being. ”Excellent timing. Something is about to happen. The man down there is literally War. He seems quite content for now to continue ripping into the ground forces but I think something else drew him here.” Dr. Reagan’s gaze was drawn back to the fight unfolding on the ground as the aliens unloaded some sort of heavy armament version of their standard armor pattern. It was equipped with a rapid fire energy weapon which proceeded to lay down a fusillade of fire and wrath on War’s position reloading behind several damaged cars nearby. The man responded by heaving a fragmentation grenade into the massed aliens and laughing at the resulting explosion. With the armored suit momentarily distracted by the explosion, War stepped out from behind the cars and fired the underslung grenade launcher of his rifle into it before stichting the suit with rounds. Changing cars he switched at magazines and drew the things fire away from the bridge.
David tossed them both a sceptical look, not quite believing the ideas flowing into his head. One, from what the Earth was showing, was supposed to be Uriel, and the other was war? The horseman? Fire, bloodied hands, and screams; the sounds of combat echoed in his head, and then the faint impression of cold river water.
“That’s supposed to be war? He looks nothing like I thought..” David mumbled to himself.
It still didn’t feel right. They were missing something. What was it?
”We need to figure out what is about to happen and stop it. He feeds on death and conflict. He’s waiting on something and I think it has to do with the bridge.”
“Are you Uriel?” He hesitated.
“Can you feel it too?” David asked the angelic man, and looked about. There were police trying to get people moving, other officers were fighting with ‘war’. Although they, along with David, were surprised by his weaponry, they didn’t dwell on it long. Everyone seemed to be focused on the aliens, the incoming soldiers attempting to take the land, and the fighters that Uriel and David had dispatched themselves.
A heavier feeling took root in his chest. ‘That’s the problem’ is what he felt. There was just the one helicopter, and the police ground vehicles at the entrances and exits to the bridge.
Just one helicopter? When the skies were at their most dangerous, and it was here before David and ‘Uriel’ arrived. “Isn’t it strange that emergency helicopters would be flying now?” He ascended and soared towards the craft to get a closer look.
As he flew towards the Helicopter, he saw one of its side-doors swing open, and two men disembark from it, carrying indistinct packages. From this far away, their appearances were still fuzzy and unclear, but he could already tell something was off about them. The irregular bulk around their chests was indicative of body armor of some kind, and he could scarcely imagine any reason why a Search & Rescue chopper would be unloading equipment onto an area like the top of the bridge’s archway. The whole point was to extract trapped and injured people…
As he grew closer still, the men atop the bridge reacted to his presence. One of them pointed to him, the others turning to look - and the helicopter pulled away from the edge of the arch, swerving in the air so that its opened door faced him, and that was when all pretense of legitimacy went out the window. Facing him now in plain and open view was a tripod-mounted, heavy anti-materiel machine-gun with three men crewing it, complete with its own ammo belt and ammunition box.
He barely even had time to register as much before the helicopter’s gunners opened fire, the heavy and audible cracking report of the machine gun rapid-firing was loud enough to be audible even over the cacophony of the helicopter’s blades, with a hailstorm of rounds scythed through the air towards him even as a torrent of spent ammunition casings began to eject downwards out of the mounted gun, clattering against the rim of the helicopter’s floor before bouncing down to eventually clatter amongst the clamoring masses of people swarming across the bridge.
David didn’t dream of dodging the bullets, if he didn’t stand in their way the people on the bridge would be torn apart. As the turret unleashed a hailfire of lead, David stood resolute, he briefly thought about trying to grab the metal to catch the spent casings, but he trashed that idea. This was no time to test powers, and thoughts like that only bore fruit half the time for him.
Soaring forward as quick as he could, David did his best to resist the pure concussive force of the bullets, but he was slowed more than he liked. The gunner took this chance to aim higher, shifting the spitfire of lead towards his head. David placed the palm of his hand in front of his face and continued on, as he got closer the gunner began shouting. Not a shout of fear, but of anger, fury, as if his own willpower could make the gun shoot harder.
David slashed that idea in half. He placed his hand over the barrel, ripped the still spinning turret from its mounting. The sound of hot metal screeching and bending under his fingers screamed out. Then he threw it further into the inside of the copter, denting the cabin, sending the gun banging loudly into the back.
“What the hell are you doing! Don’t you realize what’s going on?” He shouted in righteous fury of his own, taking a step into the cabin, forcefully pushing the gunner back inside.
The resulting stream of swears from the surrounding mercenaries - and that was exactly what they were, glorified thugs wearing surplus military fatigues and body armor - were barely coherent over the din of the helicopter blades. He did, however, hear several reiterations of “that flying fire freak.” What immediately caught his attention though, instead of the helicopter’s occupants and their dress, was the stack of plastic explosives piled into the back of the helicopter on top of a pallet, set into cases with anchoring rods and arming pins - and how there was a conspicuously uneven number of them across the top of the stack. The men on top of the bridge - their packages would account for some of what was missing. But not nearly all of it. Their intent was clear enough though.
These people were trying to bomb the bridge during an alien invasion.
Before he could redirect his full attention and fury onto the occupants, one of the mercenaries calmly stepped up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, dangling a grenade with a pulled pin in front of his face.
What exactly the mercenary said next was completely lost due to the volume of noise from the chopper blades, but David got the gist of it.
The mercenary dropped the grenade, letting it and its separated arming lever plummet towards the surface of the bridge. David would have given the man a look of scorn if this body had a face, or backhanded him into the wall if he had the time, but none of these were possible. So he dived back out for the grenade.
‘Was it simply going to explode, was it going to have shrapnel?’
If he was a military man he might know for sure, but that’s not what he was, so he had only one plan to be sure. Catching the grenade in one hand after finally catching up, it also occurred to him that he had no idea how long it was. Throwing it like a baseball was entirely out of the question, so he clamped his hands around it, and curled his body over it as much as he could. Then pressed his hands inward.
The grenade popped in what would have been a loud, ear-splitting, explosion, and it was. To David, who was subsequently sent flying into the water, just short of the bridge by the force of the explosion. Luckily for those on the bridge, it exploded several dozen feet above them, with something else taking the full brunt of the blast.
The flying being of fire didn't give Dr. Reagan time to respond as he turned in air; obviously sensing something amiss. It was like something was scratching at the back of his brain and he couldn't but the pieces together. That was until he turned and zipped towards the lone search and rescue helicopter circling the bridge.
Turning to watch him go he tracked the movement and then realized that the helicopter had let people out on top of the bridge but had not seemed to do much of anything else.
As if on cue the helicopter opened up with a spray of bullets. That was definitely not standard for one of those and the being who had so recently appeared flew right into it.
we need to help
Looking down at War dishing out even more punishment to the invaders and the surrounding environment. With a huff Dr. Reagan swooped on his wings and dove low under the machine gun’s arc of fire skimming the surface of the river. He watched as the other being ripped the gun off its mount to toss it further into the helicopter’s cabin. Whirling, he drove straight up underneath the helicopter only to see the other being racing towards a small falling object. He caught it and then it detonated.
Surging upwards Dr. Reagan brought the sword to bear and in a single swoop he sheared through the sidewall of the helicopter before he peeled back the metal. Driving his wings into the gap he pried opening a hole on the opposite side.
Gun fire answered him as the men inside open fired on the opening. He moved to the side using the sheet metal of the helicopter to shield him as they shot at his wing which was still wedged in the opening.
They are persistent
He hung there for a long moment thinking about what needed to happen. Then suddenly he drove the sword straight up into the first set of blades. It ripped part of them free and all of a sudden the helicopter dropped forwards into a slow spiraling fall, keening alarm indicators starting to cry out in the cockpit as all of the mercenaries lost their balance and were sent tumbling across the cabin as the helicopter spun out of control.
Leaping free, he arched backwards and snapped his wings open before striking the back of the helicopter feet first and sending it juddering towards the side of the bridge currently under assault by the aliens.
Turning he scanned the bridge and the people. Where had the other entity gone?
David blasted out of the water, as fast as he could, anxious to rejoin the fight and to finish his business with the helicopter. Only to see it spiralling towards the side of the bridge, with the nearby people scrambling to get out of the way.
Damn, another one? Why is it, there are so many superpowered killers?
Is what he thought, then he remembered who it was, or at least who he believed it was. A problem for another day. He flew towards, then at the falling copter, and caught it. David grunted as he pushed upwards, slowing their descent, and then dropped them as softly as he could onto an area of the bridge the police cleared for him.
Looking inside he could see the men had been knocked out, from being knocked around the cabin, and battered by a certain unsecured gun.. As for the bombs, they seemed inert. Judging by how fast and chaotic the day had been so far, David reasoned he didn’t have enough time to freeze them into a dormant state and called out for a nearby officer.
“Get a bomb squad, check the back of the copter, maybe the bridge too!”
Then he flew back up towards Uriel. It bothered him, an angel, as far as he knew, almost commiting accidental manslaughter. He really, really, didn’t want this to be his problem. But for now, there was another problem.
“The helicopter had bombs, those men at the top are definitely involved. Try to be careful, and please try not to kill them.”
Dr. Reagan opened his mouth to respond but instead it was Uriel’s words:
”They accepted the consequences of their actions and the results of it are not for me to know nor determine. To question the fall of the sword is to question the Lord of Hosts.” Internally Dr. Reagan scowled and pushed at the consciousness of Uriel. It was like trying to move a brick wall. It wouldn’t budge no matter how much he strained until finally it receded and he found himself back in the driver’s seat.
He didn’t like that one bit. Despite all his commentary of the free will of the host Uriel seemed perfectly content to assume the driver seat. That was something to be discussed at another time.
”BUT! As the Angel of Repentance there should be an opportunity for them to do so.” He waited and it seemed as though Uriel considered this internally before Dr. Reagan nodded externally and turned towards the top of the bridge. There was going to be a serious reckoning when this was all over. It had never crossed into his conscience that Uriel’s definition of right might have been different than his. Now it was awkwardly clear that it might in fact be very different.
Moving towards the top of the bridge on heavily beating wings he swooped around the exterior in a wide bank before he landed on one of the pylons. The mercenary drew a submachine weapon and leveled it at him. It opened fire with a vicious rattle. Sweeping his left wing in front of himself he walked towards the man using the wing as a shield.
”You have been found a sinner and stand before the judgement of the Lord of Hosts. Throw down your weapon!”
He felt power flow from him and towards the man who suddenly lowered his weapon in confusion. There was a clatter as he dropped it from numb fingers and Dr. Reagan moved his wing away to watch the man he stood with his head in his hands. Sobbing. “I-I can’t. There isn’t anything I can do to make this right! The bridge. The bridge will explode and I don’t have the detonator!” Dr. Reagan’s eyes widened, just to the right of the man was a placement of the plastic explosives. Beyond that he wasn’t sure what the man would do if he removed his attention. Uriel had been specific, for now at least without the full light of his Halo he couldn’t compel the masses to repentance. For now it required focus.
In that moment Dr. Reagan found himself doing something he never did.
Praying. Praying that the other one would find the detonator. He couldn’t leave this man up here in this state. If he did, he had no idea what he would do. Being confronted with your wrong doings all at once was a highly traumatic experience. The man could very well be like Paul….conversely he could be like Judas. They were on a bridge after all.
David found himself thankful, that he could be wrong, it was relieving that his faith in strangers wasn’t misplaced. Was this part of the grand plan? Focusing himself back to the task at hand, he moved closer to the bridge alongside Uriel, with the both of them separating at an exchange of nods. Uriel to handle one man, with David to handle the other who must have gone further.
Resolving not to lose the last bomber, David soared above the bridge, eyeing everywhere he could have gone, then he felt a strange power surge through him. He didn’t know what it meant or where it came from, the only thing he could say if asked would be ‘resolved’. Then he saw it, a man ducking into one of the arches, into the maintenance accessways. David swooped down at full speed. The area underneath the arch was filled with girders preventing an easy flight, he’d have to be some kind of aerial ace to navigate it through the air.
Except, he played hopscotch with his daughter all the time, along with competing in a charity jump rope contest for parents. Navigating the catwalks was going to be a piece of cake; is how he felt. While David Jones might have accidentally slipped due to arrogance, the newfound power coursing through Terra Firma now ensured spot-on accuracy Still, it was hard to overlook a brightly colored man skipping towards you.
The bomber cursed and unholsted his sidearm, metal pinged on the girders beside him, even on him, causing his aim to wobble, but never falter. David was getting close, but the other man was desperate. Upcoming service workers, who hadn’t yet managed to dislodge themselves from their work and evacuate, made their presence known by shouting in fear. They were pleading with their comrades to get them up faster, the alien invasion had caught everyone by surprise, and now an armed thug was closing in on them.
One of the servicemen managed to get his harness free of his work equipment and was ready to ascend, when the man suddenly grabbed him and placed his pistol to the workers’ head.
“Stop right there freak!”
So he did, David planted both his feet firmly onto a beam and waited.
“What are you going to do? Can you get out of here before the bombs blow?”
The bomber did not answer, and instead visibly glanced at a digital wristwatch on their free arm. Evidently escape was not a priority - but timing was.
“If you kill that man, I’ll make sure you won’t leave this place. I’ll survive, but will you? Surrender now and we all go up happy!”
The bomber gave him blank stare, before calmly asking,
“Have you ever heard the story of five thieves?”
David didn’t know what to think, why bring up a random story, was it related? Or was it simply stalling?
He hesitated, but replied.
“What about it?”
The bomber’s lips curled in a grimace. “Guess not.” He muttered. With his free hand, he began to reach for his belt - David’s eyes were drawn to the detonator there. It looked mostly standard-fare, albeit the head of another digital watch had been adhered to its side. It wasn’t oriented the right way for him to catch how much time was left on it though - if it was even counting down...
It must have been the latter, this farce had gone on long enough, David thought. Hostages, crazed gunmen? This was a ploy he’d dealt with before, though, with far more skilled opponents. The only thing left to spice up this affair was that bomb, and he would not allow that to take the lives of everyone trying to run, or the lives of the emergency personnel doing their best in such an unforeseen crisis.
A thug with an itchy trigger finger was no match for a disciplined and trained merc from the HoH. While there was some distance between them, along with a number of beams in the way, David felt like he could do this, no matter how much time was left on that detonator. It would stop now.
He shot his arms forward as fast as he could, power surged through them as he focused on what he wanted. That gun and detonator had to go. Lightning and foreign energy charged through him and out his fingertips. Fortunately, his aim was true. In the blink of an eye his lightning superheated the man’s weapon, turning it to molten slag, causing him to scream and hastily lose it. Another bolt burned a path through the air and struck the detonator, turning it into tiny, melted pieces of scrap, and junk. The melted gun was the first to fall, then both the hostage and hostage-taker screamed as they plummeted towards the water, only to be caught by fiery red arms.
As David flew them all topside, he briefly wondered if ‘Uriel’ was doing alright. But something was bothering him, the Hounds of Humanity mercs were all fueled by intense hate for metas, in the thickest fighting with them David had felt like he was being swallowed sometimes. Is this man the same?
“Did you really want to take us all with you?”
The bomber said nothing, and simply went limp in David’s grasp. He stared blankly out at the city, where alien strike-craft buzzed over skyscrapers and blocks, like distant fireflies. After a few moments he raised his arm again and looked at his wrist-watch, which David could now clearly see. It was 2:58 in the afternoon, assuming the watch was correct.
David was shocked by what he felt through his empathic senses, if it indeed was coming from the bomber. The Hounds had always felt like fire, temporary, but hot and alive. But this man, he was empty, a void.
“You… You wanted to die?”
“I still do not want to die. It just wasn’t relevant.” The bomber’s voice was eerily steady.
“Relevant? You’re talking about your life!” David shouted, he had never seen anything like this. Though he was unsettled still by his connection to others by the Earth, he didn’t even bother thinking about it, what this man just said was crazy.
“What are you even trying to accomplish?”
“Not sure. I was just supposed to set it all off. They didn’t even say I had to be there, I just assumed it would shake out that way.” The man shifted awkwardly in David’s grasp. “You planning on landing anytime soon?” The utter lack of concern - or anything else for that matter - in his voice was nothing short of alarming.
“You didn’t mind it ‘shaking’ that way.” David looked at him with pity, with anger, but remained silent.
He lowered them to a nearby officer, who was shocked at first, but thankfully seemed to recognize Terra Firma. Firstly, he lowered the service worker. The officer nodded and waved one of his allies over, and then the two prepared to receive the bomber. Clearly recognizing that he was part of the problem.
“Get some help.” Was all he could muster, stopping himself from putting the man into the ground, the hard way. The last thing the bomber did before David handed him off was raise his arm to check the time again. It was 2:59. Probably only moments away from three. Even as he was led away, the man turned his gaze to the West, to gaze at the Eastern Brooksdale bridge in the distance.
David groaned and fell to the ground on one knee, bracing himself with his other arm. Fear, anxiety, pain, so many negative emotions washed over him again, and he almost couldn’t bear it. It was no worse than when the aliens had announced their violent intentions, but it was too much, too soon. The sound of multiple explosions bloomed in the distance, the keening, quaking sound of metal and concrete splitting apart underscoring them, and already David knew what it all meant.
So it wasn’t Uriel I had to watch out for… it was us humans, again…
The man before Uriel had been reduced to a catatonic slack jawed being having experienced the weight of his past. Hopefully with an understanding of it he could move on. Let go. Seek the fullness of redemption as Dr. Reagan understood it at that moment merged with Uriel as he was. For all his violence and apparent callousness to human life Uriel was in fact the angel of Repentance for a reason it seemed. A sudden chill washed over Dr. Reagan as he looked up. In the distance a series of explosions rippled across one of the other bridges.
Turning his gaze to the base of the bridge where the last of the Aliens were making a fighting retreat his blood ran cold.
War launched himself over the burned out barricade of police cars and ran at the Alien lines shrugging off energy weapons like they were nothing, instead of weapons War ripped them apart with his bare hands. It was a truly gruesome sight as he painted the exterior of the big with them. Though what happened next was almost far worse. As the lander closed its exterior doors and fired its propulsion to begin its ascent. War’s hands glowed and in one of them a sword appeared bleeding sickly red light. From the end of the sword a chain extended around his wrist and forearm. As the craft began to ascend he hurled the massive blade into its exterior hull and it caught there. Then with a massive exertion that cracked the ground he stood upon he physically hauled the lander in an arc smashing it to the ground.
From his perch atop the bridge Dr. Reagan could only stare in horror as the Second Horseman grew even stronger with yet another act of aggression complete.
The Second Horseman.
”War is the second Horseman….where is Conquest…”
That is a disturbing question.
Fixing his eyes on the ground where the being of energy had landed Dr. Reagan leapt into the air and soared down to him.
”At least we saved some. Though I’m afraid War grows stronger still”
He deposited his own wouldbe and thoroughly catatonic terrorist on the ground gently. Near the burning bridge he could just about hear the wails of the dead and dying. ”We should try to find any survivors.”
David slowly rose back up to his feet. He felt as if he was at his limit, aliens, horsemen, an angel, the bombs. It was all so chaotic and strange, yet, that was his life now. He hated that he couldn’t have been there for everyone that was lost, but he did have a duty to those still alive, and the ones he can’t bear to lose.
“Agreed. But I think you know how we can be the most useful now.”
Dr. Reagan felt his eyes slowly drift to the other bomber as though Uriel was subtly hinting at what needed to be done. Despite the supposed benefits of Uriel’s Glory, Dr. Reagan was far from sold on it considering how it had caused a cultist to claw out his eyes and the other bomber to subside into a semi catatonic state. In either case he had yet to see the outcome of it but given that there was some obviously orchestrated plot afoot he was loathed to stand by when he might be able to help.
It was then that it hit him. He was using utilitarian ethics and it made him sick. How could he be the judge of if either of these men’s suffering was sufficiently outweighed by the outcome. It was impossible
For you. But, not for the Lord of Hosts whom I act on behalf of
The statement bothered him deeply but on the other hand they didn’t exactly have time right now with the Apocalypse on them and literal aliens falling from the sky. Turning his gaze to the second bomber he stepped forwards and his wings shook out and spread slightly as the glow around him intensified.
”You have been found a sinner and stand before the judgement of the Lord of Hosts. Tell us why you conspider to murder hundreds of innocents!
Honestly, it was kind of rich coming from Uriel but on the other hand. They didn’t have time right now for him to question. Seeing the outcome this ‘repenting’ had on the last man, David stepped forward, with an idea that he had only vaguely become aware of recently.
David reached his hand and grasped the bombers’, a gentle flow of warm radiance flowed from his chest, and through their hands. He realized what this was, he was sharing a fraction of his power, and a fraction of his mind. The power to resist the overpowering nature of Uriel, that was what was needed, but not enough to completely block the man. He nodded to Uriel to continue.
Still restrained by the two police officers David had handed the bomber over to, the afflicted man, exposed to the unbearable and ineffable presence of the Lord of Hosts, immediately pitched forward as far as the men restraining him would permit and retched onto the surface of the bridge, spattering David’s feet with vomit and bile from the lack of warning. The bomber continued to heave, and then dry-heave onto the surface of the bridge for perhaps a minute straight - his expurgations punctuated and underscored only by the sonorous wail of his grief-laden sobbing, with teary streams and ribbons of snot falling from his face as he was uncontrollably stricken with the unbearable repulsiveness of everything that he had done - and everything that he was.
As Dr. Reagan stood watching this happen and it dawned on him that perhaps this wasn’t an uncontrollable phenomenon. Closing his eyes he focused on just the presence of the bomber as he could feel him before him. The vomits acrid stench filling the air. ”With repentance comes mercy. Clear your conscience and tell us what is happening. Who wants these bridges destroyed.”
The man choked for breath and raised his face - now stained and smeared with bile and mucous - and between tremendous gasps for breath and teary, wracking cries, he finally spoke.
“I was...I was told to do this by a man...I do not know his name...he coerced me with threats against my salvation...he is...he is…”
As the man’s voice faltered, a vision of the one he spoke of bloomed in David’s mind, and Uriels’ as the bomber’s mind surrendered what it knew. A tall, lean man wearing slacks and a dark-red silk shirt beneath a long coat. He was in his autumnal years, that thin period of time where physical ability and the strength of youth briefly matched the wisdom and discretion of years - he has long dark hair, worn in a pony-tail. His face was tall, with handsome features and an easy smile gracing his lips.
There was something wrong with his eyes - whether it was from the imperfections in the bomber’s memory or due to some supernal perception of Uriel, those windows to the soul were an abyss - cloying, ravenous patches of shadow that clawed at the light and pained David to look at directly.
In the vision, the man was speaking.
“Do you know…” He uttered in a hushed, conspiratorial tone. “...the story of Five Thieves…”
As soon as it had come, the vision went.
“...knew all that I had hidden...the children in Columbia...where I was hiding them...the threats he made, the unspeakable things he promised…” The bomber was still sobbing. “I knew I would burn, but I thought...I thought everyone here...they would die quickly...painlessly...that god would justly assort the just and the wicked...but I see now nothing was ever enough...it was never enough...I was sent here just to suffer! This is my prelude to the fires below! My heart! It is bursting! I can feel death festering in my skull…”
The bomber descended into a torrent of incomprehensible, incoherent gibbering, ranging between begging David for absolution and cries of mixed guilt and requests for the most obscene of punishments.
"You can never make up for what you tried to do. But you can take responsibility, allow the police to take you in. Confess everything you've done." David patted him on the shoulder, and shook his head.
“...No! You do not understand! I am damned either way! In my failure, those who serve evil have consigned the innocent to Hell upon Earth, and to Hell in the thereafter! Those I was keeping safe, who I swore to defend, have been damned for my weakness! There is no salvation!” The bomber cried out. David, with his connection to the man, could sense a dawning chasm of oblivion. A dread epiphany had come over this man - if he was not brought down from his state of dark fervor, he would consign himself to it.
"Can you feel it, that warmth, it means you're alive. Even if you feel damned, even if you are, you're alive now. Grasp that feeling, learn from your own mistakes to stop those who follow in your path. What do you think? Do you want to learn from your mistakes, do you want to bring the man behind this to justice?"
“NO!” The man howled. “I want those who I swore to defend to live! To not be condemned to anguish! They are the ones I did this for! I have failed and they will be subjected to the most obscene of torments for all time! I deserve the inferno! But...the one who is responsible…” The man’s clouded eyes began to clear. “Yes...he needs to be punished as well! I can help you find him! He is here! In Lost Haven! He is...nearby...watching! Watching his work...the four...he wanted to bomb FOUR of the bridges...all but the middle one, leading North to Brooksdale…I do not know this man, or where he resides, but one of the others...if any of the other bridges were spared, one of the others with the detonators might know! And there will be more! He will never stop unless YOU find him…!”