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Working on something as we speak




As Icon approached the Purifier, he was surprised to find that the massive black monolith was much more imposing the closer he got.

“That…is the end of the world.” Flux’s words again echoed in the back of his mind as he looked over the structure for any obvious weaknesses, and just as he expected, he found none. There were no seams, no “cracks in the armor,” so to speak. It appeared to be a single solid construct of impossible design.

As he approached the base of the Purifier, he could see that some of the Guardians had already begun to assemble before the alien structure. Iron Knight, Radiance, and Flux had already gathered. He could see Lyger making his way there traveling across the rooftops, with Terra Firma landing close by not long after. Icon slowly descended to the ground, landing between Radiance and Flux, when suddenly a voice called out, a voice belonging to someone he hadn’t seen upon his approach.

“Can’t say I care for their architecture…Time we returned this bastard to sender…”

“Well, what do you boys say we blow this thing to Hell?!” Radiance said as she looked up at the massive structure.

The Vigilante marched up to the obsidian tower, peering upwards towards the enormity of its height, and remembered that the rod they provided the Aquilifer with was powered by a type of alien magic. Remembering the portal to Hell, he started to take off the gravity gauntlet over his right hand, swung his arm over a few times, rotating his shoulder, he reared back for a haymaker, and…

…shattered almost every bone in his right hand. The tower remained otherwise undisturbed other than a small smear of red blood trickling down the base.

"Alright. Not constructed by magic. Good to know. Big Blue, have at it. I just softened it up for you."

“I don’t need to be the smartest man in the room to realize punching this alien spire will not achieve anything,” Iron Knight suggested after witnessing one of his fellow Guardians shattering his hand against the metal exterior of the Arlaaekan superweapon. “We need some sort of plan of attack. I would normally try to hack into this thing, but I can’t risk either compromising my armor to whatever is running this machine or speeding up the countdown to doomsday.”

Chris then turned to Flux. Since she had aided him and many other heroes in the final confrontation with the Hounds of Humanity, Chris knew he could trust her. For, had the Hounds crushed the heroes of Lost Haven, Arlaaekan victory would have certainly been assured, as without the heroes, there would have been far less resistance against the alien invasion.

“Any insights on how we can get rid of this metallic monstrosity?”

Ping.

An arrowhead on some cabling, while it didn’t bury itself into the hard surface, found purchase on the Purifier. Moments later, Fletch skidded towards the gathering heroes of the tower, her body still aching from the shockwave of the Purifier’s impact on Earth and stops a few metres away from the group. Looking at the towering object on the planet, she gathered herself as she hobbled over to the rest of the group. As the group tried a few ideas about dealing with the threat, her mind thought back to the alien tank, of all places. While her mind was still wanting to shut down with everything that was overwhelming her, the same question came to h er mind. As she looked up when reaching the group, her head tilted towards Iron Knight.

”Hey Iron Knight. Not sure what this is or what it is capable of, but would you say this is also something that is driven on electronic circuits?“

“The probability is definitely high, but this structure is composed of some sort of alloy of unknown origin. For all we know, the fruits of our labors would merely be turning my armor into a large and quite expensive paperweight. Let’s keep the EMP in our back pocket as a last ditch effort.”

”About that. I assume you would have already done this if it was possible; but would you happen to have any sort of penetrating radar to peek inside?” Terra added, gesturing hand towards the aliens’ unsightly tower.

“Unfortunately, the alien alloy seems to be interfering with my scanners. But whatever is inside, it cannot be good.”

As the heroes debated the best course of action to deal with the massive monolith, Icon noticed movement coming from the top of the tower. It was as if the top of the Purifier was opening, and a large plate-like structure began to position itself at the peak.

“I think we may be running out of time.” Icon said as he lifted off the ground and raced skyward. Once Icon had ascended to the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere, he slowed his ascent to a stop and then repositioned himself, facing Lost Haven below. From his position high above the city, he locked onto the tower’s position and accelerated toward it. Icon thought that despite the Vigilante’s lack of decorum, he might have been right when it comes to how best to deal with the alien superweapon. As Icon approached the city, he steadily increased his speed.

Once he was again within the city’s limits, Icon increased his speed yet again, this time, a thunderous boom echoed as the cobalt and silver clad hero shattered the sound barrier just before he collided with the Purifier. To say that the collision lacked the desired effect would have been a massive understatement. Instead of driving himself through the tower, causing the gigantic monolith to collapse in on itself, Icon found himself careening away from the structure, crashing through one side of a nearby skyscraper and out the other side, his momentum propelling him away from the tower.

After several long moments, the stunned hero was able to regain control of his faculties and slow his trajectory. He again directed himself toward the structure and, feeling deflated and embarrassed he touched down at the base of the structure near the other heroes.

[b] “It doesn’t look like a physical assault is going to get the job done. Let’s hit this thing with everything we’ve got. Maybe we can overload the damn thing.” Icon said as his eyes began glowing with a crimson energy before he unleashed a massive optic blast at the tower.

Terra nodded, and formed up alongside Icon. ”Right behind you!“ He said, then took a wide stance. His arms spread out to the sides, swiftly crossed over his chest, lightning shimmered into existence around his forearms then shot towards the tower in a horizontal arc as he flung his arms out.

“That had to do it.” Radiance said as the gathered heroes relented in their assault on the Purifier. The mightiest heroes on Earth had unleashed their full might upon the menacing structure in an unprecedented attack that by rights should have collapsed a mountain. However, as the dust from the attack settled, they could see that the attack not only failed to topple the monolith, it didn't even make a dent.
“How is that possible?” Lyger asked aloud to no one in particular, astonishment rang in his voice.

“That doesn't matter.” Icon said. “What matters is, is there anything else we can do?” Icon said just as a radiant shimmering light began to emanate from the top of the structure.

“There might be.” Flux said as her eyes widened with a sudden realization. She paused for a moment, as if trying to recall something that had been hidden away in her memory, the details of which had faded with the passage of time. She looked up at the monolith, scanning its surface as if searching for something. Then after she seemingly found what she was looking for, she pointed excitedly.

“There!” She exclaimed, still pointing at a specific point on the Purifier.

“What are we looking at?” Lyger asked as he looked up in the general direction that Flux had indicated.

“An exhaust port. If my memory serves me correctly, it leads right to the heart of the Purifier. If we can hit it with enough energy, it should temporarily bring down the defenses, shields and all. It'll leave it vulnerable until the system can reset itself. We should be able to bring it down before the shields come back up.” Flux explained.

“Right. Then what do you say we stop standing around and hit that thing with everything we got?” Radiance said, eager to end the threat of the Purifier once and for all.

“It's....not that simple.” Flux said, her voice taking a darker tone. She paused as she tried to find her next words. “It has to be done from inside the machine. The exhaust port should be large enough for someone to get inside and detonate the attack. But whoever goes in will be engulfed by the purging light. It's a one way trip.”

The gathered heroes stood in silence as they pondered what Flux had just told them. In order for them to save the world, someone would have to make the ultimate sacrifice. The reality of the situation set in for everyone, and after a brief moment of contemplation, Icon stepped forward.

“I'll do it.” He said as he looked at the manhole sized opening just under the emitter which was releasing an increasing amount of the shimmering light.

“Are you sure? I don't think that even...you could survive.” Flux said as she looked upon Icon.

“I'm sure.” Icon said, looking away from his teal skinned ally.

He looked back up to the monstrous construct, and was about to lift off, probably for the last time, when he felt a gentle tug on his arm. He looked back and his eyes met those of Radiance, and a sudden pang of nearly unbearable sorrow washed over him as he saw the pain in her eyes. Her grip on his arm strengthened as she leaned against him.

“Scott...” Her voice cracked as she said his name. “There has to be another way.”

“There isn't.” He said softly in his own voice. “You know that this is the only way.” Icon said.

“Scott, you don't have to do this.” She said, almost pleading. A plea that she knew better than anyone, would fall on deaf ears.

“If not me, who?” Icon said as she pulled him closer. “It has to be me. There's no other way.”

“It's just not fair. This was supposed to be our wedding day. This was supposed to be the start of our life together.” She cut herself short, not wanting to verbalize what she was thinking

“I love you, Alexa.” He said as he leaned in to kiss his love one last time.

Suddenly, the deafening roar of thunder, the sound as intense as a thousand locomotives racing toward a singular destination reverberated throughout the city as a massive thunderbolt crashed down atop of Icon. As the immense jolt of electricity coursed through his body, Icon felt as though his bones were breaking one by one. By the time the second bolt of lightning struck him, his legs were completely useless, and he was unable to move.

“I love you too. Alexa said as she looked down at her fallen lover. “Forgive me.” She said as she took to the skies and made her way toward the Purifier.

“You've saved us all so many times, it's time that we repay the favor-” She said, almost to herself. Though, she knew that with his highly sensitive hearing, that Scott would be able to hear every word. “-even if it means saving you from yourself...I love you Scott, I hope you understand.” She said as she made her ascent.

Scott, from the first day that I met you, I knew that there was just something special about you. Right from the start, you were honest and open with me, and you invited me into your world without looking back. As days turned to months, I've seen firsthand what a remarkable person you are through and through. As she rose through the sky, Radiance’s thoughts shifted to something that had been heavy on her mind for several months. Something that she had thought about and labored over almost every minute of every day, something that had been interrupted by the invading armada as she had just begun to recite...her wedding vows.

You are so full of warmth that you lift me up and provide me with strength when I feel that all is lost. I am constantly grateful for your open heart and profound empathy. You inspire me constantly to slow down and lean into the moments I love the most: the companionship, the intimate moments that we share, the journey. Whereas I am like a hot air balloon, ready to jet off at a moment's notice, you are the pilot that grounds me when I need fuel.

Silently she made her way up along the monolith until she reached obsidian grates that covered the exhaust vent. She examined the opening, and determined that she should be able to squeeze in between the grates without too much trouble. She contemplated slipping in through the grates, but hesitated. With a thought, an electrical field covered her entire body, giving it a slight illumination. She hoped that the field might buy her enough time to overload the Purifier before…

Without you, I would slowly deflate and come crashing down to Earth; but with you, I have direction and safety...and peace. Someone once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” I will continuously work to know better and be better for you-in mind, body, and heart. When life is smooth sailing, and when challenges arise; I promise to always be there for you, to work together through all of life's twists and turns, and most of all, to provide a lifetime of adventures and new opportunities. And everything, always, with all the love I have to offer.

She looked down to the heroes that were still gathered at the base of the monolith, some were tending to Icon, who despite his best efforts, was still unable to get to his feet. She watched him for a moment, and memories flooded back. The first time she saw him in public, and how his mere presence left her in awe. To how she deduced his secret identity after the whole Diplodoc fiasco. She remembered their first date, to the moment that he proposed, to the moment she walked down the aisle just minutes before their nuptials had been interrupted by an invading alien force. She took one last look at him, and wiped a tear from her eye as she slid inside the exhaust vent.

I love you with all my heart, with all my soul; head, shoulders, knees and toes. With every inch of my being, and with every thought, I love you.

She was immediately engulfed in the burning white light that flowed through the Purifier. At first, the electrical field seemed to hold, however, it was only a momentary respite. The light burned, but even as every nerve ending in her body screamed out in pain, she reached down deep and expelled the most powerful electrical charge that she had ever been able to summon. The lights in the Purifier flickered, but continued to shine. Then she summoned up another electrical blast, the lights flickered again. Then another, and another, each charge larger in scale than the last.

It was getting harder for her to focus, her breathing was becoming labored. Her eyelids were becoming heavy. The temptation to give in and succumb to the Purging Light was real, however, she knew that she couldn't give up. She couldn't let them down, she couldn't let HIM down. So she reached down one more time, and unleashed an electrical torrent within the confines of the Purifier even as the burning white light tried to claim her. She let out a guttural scream as she expelled the last of her energy. And with that, the Purging Light within the Purifier flickered, and then went dark, and with her final breath, Alexa Winstone, the hero known as Radiance, truly became immortal.
Icon struggled to get to his feet, even with the help of the Iron Knight and Lyger. Staggering, he watched as the Purifier went dark. Overcome with panic, he somehow was able to leave his feet, and without a thought he rocketed into the air toward the exhaust vent. As he reached the vent, he grabbed the obsidian grates and pulled them from the body of the monolith. He forced himself several feet into the weapon until he could feel Alexa.

“No, oh god no.” He repeated over and over as he pulled her from the infernal machine. With his enhanced hearing, he listened, but could not hear her heartbeat. “Oh, no, no, no, no...” he said with tears in his eyes.

“Come on baby, please.” He said as he cradled her to his chest and made the slow descent back down to the Earth. When he landed, he laid her lifeless body on the ground, and knelt down beside her, cradling her head to his chest. “Alexa, it should have been me.....it should have been me.” He cried, unaware of the others who had gathered around them.

“Now's our chance.” Lyger's gruff voice broke the silence. “Hit that son of a bitch with everything you've got!”

Terra looked on at the sight of Icon cradling a woman, crying awful tears over her. While he had merely been acquainted with Icon, even Terra could tell what had just happened. Terra couldn’t help but wonder if they were married yet, or if they were dating. As he pondered their situation, his mind dwelled on his own. If he had to witness his own wife dying before his eyes, just what would he do? It was an awful thought, taking great will to shake off. Right now, he looked forward to seeing his family again, to hold them in his own arms. Before that though, he had to wrap things up here. Being neither a friend nor family to Icon, he could only offer prayers from within his own mind, as well as help bring this story to a close.

”Icon, fall back, you’ve done enough.” Terra said firmly, his voice filled with reassurance, as he then shifted his attention towards the Purifier. ”And now, the end!”

The air around Terra suddenly snapped with energy. Spreading his arms out wide, a radiant energy, pulsating with raw power, began to gather in Terra's palms, growing in intensity with each second he held that pose. Ruby embers danced and swirled around his arms as they imprinted his movements into the air. Bringing his hands together in front of his head, Terra gathers the pure energy of the Earth, his pity, and Icon’s sorrow all into the pulse of power within his palms. In one swift, sharp motion, Terra shoots his arms out to the side, launching a powerful and vibrant ray towards the vile machine.

Even before Iron Knight formed the Guardians with Icon, the two superheroes had already endured many trials: demons, Knightmare, Doctor Diplodoc, and even the Hounds of Humanity. In each of these crises, the assembled heroes emerged victorious. The closest anyone had come to losing their life was when the Hounds of Humanity used their orbital satellite against Iron Knight and placed him into a coma. Yet, during the Arlaaekan Invasion, three Guardians had fallen and there was nothing the others could have done to prevent it.

Iron Knight saw that his friend was in pain. It seemed like it was just yesterday when Icon, Radiance, and a few other future members of the Guardians had rendezvoused at Settler’s Clearing in response to the mutagenic domes Doctor Diplodoc formed across the United States. Neither Icon nor Radiance told it to Iron Knight, but it was clear even on that day that there was something between the two.

As a friend and fellow Guardian, Iron Knight knew he should be consoling Icon. However, the fate of the world was on the line. If whoever of the Guardians still standing could not capitalize on the sudden vulnerability of the alien device, countless more lives would perish and Radiance’s sacrifice would have been in vain.

“Let’s focus our fire on the same spot,” Iron Knight declared as he fired a laser at the Arlaaekan doomsday weapon and focused his aim at the very same spot Terra Firma had.

As if on cue, the remaining Guardians, save for Icon, opened fire with everything they had on the Purifier. However, this time was different. Without the protection of its defense system, the Purifier absorbed the combined assault of Earth’s protectors. The massive monolithic structure heaved under the assault, until finally, the Purifier began to buckle and sway. Then, there was a deafening crack as the Purifier began to collapse in upon itself.

The sudden collapse of the monolith set forth a massive clastic flow, rubble and debris rushed out in all directions threatening to envelope anyone within it. As the massive cloud of dust and debris rushed toward the heroes, they suddenly found themselves within a protective bubble, keeping them safe from the onrushing debris. At the center of the protective shield stood Flux, who strained to keep the shield up against the onslaught of the clastic flow. For what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only several moments, Flux struggled as debris from the monolith battered the shield, until finally the flow finally passed, and the dust began to settle.

“I didn’t know you could do that.” Lyger said unable to mask the amazement in his voice.

“Neither did I,” Flux admitted breathlessly.

Once the flow had abated and the scene cleared, the remaining Guardians looked upon the wreckage of what had once been the Purifier, now reduced to a harmless pile of rubble, and could only wonder, and brace for, whatever would come next.

***


Miles above Earth in the Arlaaekan mothership, Captain Jin’Karyon found himself staring at the reports from the battlefield, and suddenly wanted to sit down. Suddenly, he felt flush and his legs felt like lead.

“Impossible.” He said under his breath, his words barely audible, even to himself.

“What is it, Captain?” Came a voice from behind him. The voice made him shudder.

“It appears…My Lord, that the so-called heroes of Earth have managed to somehow…-” Jin’Karyon paused for a moment, not wanting to be the one to deliver bad news to the Autocrat. He had heard tales of those who had displeased their ruler, and wanted to avoid becoming yet another cautionary tale. However, he knew that making the Autocrat wait posed its own dangers, so he decided to come out with it. “-destroyed the Purifier.”

For a long moment, the Autocrat stood in silence. As hard as he tried, Jin’Karyon could not decipher what was going through the ruler’s mind. Finally, the Autocrat let out a long, slow breath.

“Prepare the teleporter, Captain. I am going to deal with these ‘heroes.’” the Autocrat finally said.

“Should I prepare the Elite Guard as well, My Lord?” Jin’Karyon asked.

“No. I am going to deal with them myself.” The Autocrat said as he departed the bridge.
Quick updatate: We're working on finishing up the collab, hopefully that will be done soon. Then we're just a few posts away from finishing the invasion arc and we'll be ready for a short time skip and get this thing rolling again
Okay, so computer issues took a little longer than expected to get resolved. Long story short, I have my new laptop and am currently working to get caught up in the post for the collab.
Been having some computer issues which should be resolved by the end of the week
Hey guys, getting settled at my new job and the lack of constant stress has been life changing, I got some work done in the collab and I’m going to be doing more writing in the next day or so.
hey guys, I've been working way too much and been exhausted. Haven't had a day off since two Tuesdays ago, including some doubles. Gonna try and work on the collab tomorrow sometime
Posts coming soon. Hoping to wrap this arc up sooner rather than later


Icon lowered his head as he drove his body through the small, single pilot alien craft. The ensuing sound which was reminiscent of a freight train colliding with a tractor trailer was deafening. It was a sound that one felt as opposed to heard. The cobalt and silver clad hero quickly glanced over his shoulder just as the wrecked craft crashed down into an empty park below. He made a quarter turn midair, then raced toward another craft. His heart pounded as he raced toward the oncoming craft, feeling a slight pang of guilt from the satisfaction he felt at the destruction of the last ship, however, he shook that feeling off in time to unleash an optic blast which utterly obliterated the oncoming vessel.

“Take it easy Flyboy, you're making the rest of us look bad.” He heard Radiance say. Though their com devices had been fried in the EMP that helped bring down the massive war machine, Icon was thankful that his enhanced hearing made the coms obsolete, for him anyhow. He looked back at Radiance and gave her a brief grin, however, it was fleeting.

The large cigar shaped ship, which seemed to serve the same purpose as a navy battleship cast a long shadow over the city, blocking out the sun as it took a position over the Lost Haven Harbor just off of the coast of Little Ulster. From his position, Icon could see movement on the craft itself. Parts in motion, pieces sliding in and out, revealing multiple batteries of armaments, all pointing toward Lost Haven.

They're going to raze the city. Icon thought to himself as he realized just how far the invaders would go to protect the Purifier from any external threats.

“Not today, you son of a bitch.” Icon said as he rocketed toward the massive ship.

***


Lyger wasn't going to let the others have all the fun. While he couldn't fly, and thus was more or less useless when it came to dealing with the alien fighter ships that had descended upon Lost Haven, he was determined to get to that tower and find a way to bring it down. The sudden arrival of the tower had really shaken Flux, and she seemed sure that the emergence of the tower, this “Purifier” meant that the fight was lost. But he'd been down before, he'd seen the heroes of the world come together and pull off miracles...and he hoped that they had at least one more left, because if the world was ever in need of a miracle, it was now.

Lyger fired a grappling line from his wrist gauntlet and ascended to the rooftop of a nearby building. Once he made it to the roof of the building, he ran, jumped and bounded from rooftop to rooftop. His instincts had proven correct, he had run into no alien resistance until he reached the sixth building. A lone Arlaaekan crouched at the far ledge of the building, looking through the scope of his long barreled blaster. Before the alien sniper even knew that he was there, Lyger grabbed the alien's head and drove him face first into the stone ledge, then bounded away before the alien's limp body hit the rooftop.

It wasn't long before he came across more of the alien butchers. Just ahead, on the next roof he was able to see a pair of heavily armed alien gunmen. Unlike the sniper which he had so easily dispatched, these aliens were not worried about discretion. In fact, the weaponry that they carried looked to be designed to cause as much damage in as little time as possible. Aside from the now familiar Arlaaekan blaster rifles, the pair also carried what looked to be the Arlaaekan equivalent of rocket launchers. Lyger quickened his pace, and as he neared the pair of aliens, he jumped toward them, hitting the first armed marauder square in the back, driving the air from his lungs and sending him crashing face first on the rooftop. Before the stunned alien could finish letting out a wheezed breath, Lyger had turned his attention to his partner. The feline hero struck at the alien with a barage of open and closed fisted strikes which kept the alien off balance, before shattering his left knee with a sudden well placed thrust kick. The alien gunman crumled to the ground and clutched his leg shouting out in pain. Looking down at the injured alien, Lyger silenced his cries with a single punch, shattering his jaw in the process.

Without missing a beat, he bounded to the next rooftop where he came face to face with a pair of armored aliens.Unlike the others, they were not taken by surprise. As he rantoward the pair of aliens, he could hear them speaking to one another, and though he could not understand the words being spoken, he understood their meaning. They were frantic, almost in a panic as he approached. Even as they leveled their weapons at him, they did not seem as sure of themselves as they might otherwise be. Lyger anticipated their reaction, dodging to the left and then to the right as plasma bolts fly past him. Lyger dodged another volley of enemy fire before leaping towards the pair of alien soldiers. His foot connected with the firsts just under his chin, sending blood and tooth fragments into the air. He had barely touched the ground before he turned and drove his elbow into the temple of the other, a shot which staggered the alien, but did not topple him. Lyger did not relent; he struckthe alien with a series of quick kicks and punches, be fore landing a knife edged thrust to the invader's throat which finally put the alien down.

Suddenly, just as Lyger was getting ready to move onto the next rooftop, something hit him.

Hard.

The impact knocked him off his feet, sending him into a nearby electrical junction box. The collision crumpled the large green metal box sending sparks shooting into the sky around it. Lyger sat hunched over against the ruined junction box as he tried to recover from the shock of the sudden attack. His eyes darted around looking for the source of the attack as he tried to regain the breath that had been knocked out of him. However, much to his surprise, there was nothing. Then there was a shimmer in the air, and a form began to materialize, like a ghost making itself visible, right in front of him. This Arlaaekan was different than the others. This alien was much larger than the others, standing at about seven feet tall. It was an imposing figure, and for an instant he could hear his father's voice in his head, describing the bruiser of an alien as only Jack Porter could.

“Man, that fucking thing is built like a brick shit house.”

As Lyger would soon discover, his attacker was not only large and powerful,but he was also incredibly fast. Before he could get to his feet, the large Arlaaekan was on him, his massive hands gripping his face and head, much like someone palming a basketball, and yanked him up, and then slammed him back down to the rooftop, again knocking the wind out of him. Lygerinstinctively rolled over to his stomach and forced himself up on his knees, however, before he was able to get to his feet, the alien brute took a bounding step and landed a well placed kick to his medsection, a kick that sent Lyger hurtling through the air, landing in a lump about a dozen feet away.

I can't keep this up, this son of a bitch is going to kill me. Lyger thought to himself as he forced himself to his feet. The kick had actually been a blessing in disguise, it had given his the separation that he needed to gather his bearings somewhat. Just then, the bruiser charged at Lyger. Using his cat like reflexes, the hero was able to jump out of the way, barely escaping what wouldcertainly have been a catastrophic impact. The large alien lunged again, and again, Lyger was able to dodge the attack, but not before landing a strike of his own, a hard open palm strike to the alien's temple. This staggered the brute, sending him backwards several steps while he tried to clear his head. However, Lyger didn't give him the chance. He dove in toward the brute, getting as close as he could to his massive opponent. Once Lyger was in close, too close for the stunned brute to strike, he unleased a series of knee strikes, to the alien's midsection, followed by a flurry of punches, forearm, and elbow strikes which battered its he and neck.

Though the alien brute had been staggered, it still stood. Lyger jumped away from his larger opponent, who had recovered slightly from the hero's assault. The alien let out a gutteral roar and rushed towards Lyger, who just like before dove out of the way, easily avoiding the charge. However, in the brutes rage, he did not notice that this time Lyger had been standing in front of the damaged electrical junction box. The alien brute slammed his fist into the box, sending hundreds of thousands of volts of electricity coursing through its body. The alien cried out in pain for several long moments, that to both combatants seemed to be an eternity. Finally, mercifully, the alien brute fell silent as its body slumped to the ground.

***



Icon counted three smaller alien craft coming towards him from the West, and another four from the North. Icon veered toward the first three ships, which began firing plasma bolts at him as he approached. Icon took immediate evasive action, barrel rolling to the left and returning fire with an optic blast which nearly vaporized the first craft on impact. Icon lowered his head as he flew through the resulting fireball, slamming into the second craft which had been trailing close behind the first. Then, with a quick turn of his head and another optic blast, the cobalt and silver clad hero felled the third of the Westwardly alien fighter crafts.

Before Icon could look to get a position on the other four fighter crafts, a plasma bolt struck him from behind and above. The sudden attack was painful, and nearly knocked the wind out of him, he quickly realized that he had been on the receiving end of far worse. Suddenly he stopped his forward momentum and hovered in place. The first of the alien craft was moving to fast to register the fact that its target was no longer in motion. Icon reached back and drove a fist into the bow of the craft, sending a mixture of sparks and metal debris into the air an instant before the entire fighter exploded from the collision. The second fighter made its approach, firing multiple plasma bolts at Icon in rapid succession. Two of which hit him, however, Lost Haven's hero was able to steel himself against the incoming volley, and return fire with an optic blast which reduced the fighter craft to little more than a fireball falling from the sky. The two remaining fighters were eliminated in short order. Icon circled around and went in pursuit of the third craft, firing off a pair of optic blasts, one which sailed just to the left of the fighter, however, the second clipped the craft's wing, sending it into a tailspin where it crashed into Lost Haven Harbor. The final craft made its approach, firing hot plasma at the hero in rapid succession, however, Icon easily flew out of the way, avoiding the enemy fire. Icon circled around and flew through the alien fighter craft, sending the fiery wreckage crashing to the waters below.

Icon hovered in midair for a moment, quickly looking all around for any more of the pesky alien fight craft when a massive bolt of energy whizzed past his head on its way toward the city below, where it struck one of the city's skyscrapers. The building's ensuing collapse reduced it to rubble.

“NO!” Icon cried out as several more of the energy bolts rained down on the city. Icon spun toward the source of the attack, and came face to face with the large cigar shaped vessel, its cannons bared on the city below.

***




Bill Hoyt watched the events unfold in the city in horror with the rest of the employees who had remained in the office at Winstone International. As a member of the board of directors, he could have remained in his office and watched the events from there. However, he had never seen anything like this in all his years, and he didn't know if he, or anyone else for that matter would live to see another day. He started his career as a front desk receptionist for Alexa Winstone's grandfather over forty years ago. He worked his way up through the company to Executive Vice President, a position that he was so proud to see Alexa, who he had seen as a daughter of sorts, take over when he was again promoted to President.

He had sacrificed so much for Winstone International. The company had occupied so much of his life that he never had time for a wife or family. So he looked at his employees as his family. There was nothing that he wouldn't do for them, so if this truly was the end, he wanted to be right here among his family.

He hoped that somehow the world's heroes would again pull off a miracle and save the day. He had seen them save the world from Dr. Diplodoc's meta domes, he watched as they defeated the Hounds of Humanity and their space laser. He was also there when they repelled the actual forces of Hell and sent the demonic forces back to where they belong during D-Day. But somehow, this felt different, and he didn't know if the newly minted Guardians, even with help from the rest of the world's heroes would be enough this time. He still had a sliver of hope. However, that hope quickly evaporated when he saw the massive ball of energy, which to him appeared to be almost as bright as the sun, coming right toward him.

The impact eradicated everything, and everyone in the immediate impact zone. Metal beams twisted and melted, and the entire building trembled. Then, Winstone International, the third tallest building in Lost Haven cried out as it fell to Earth.

***


Radiance waited for her opponent to get closer. She had already taken down several of Arlaaekan flight suits, which in a way reminded her of the suit of armor worn by the Iron Knight, though they were not quite as stylish. The purple and black suits also seemed to be quite susceptible to electricity, which she found to be exceptionally convenient. So she waited, and when the suited alien got close enough, she wrangled the speeding suit of armor and released a powerful electrical discharge, which fried the suit's flight system, causing it to quickly lose altitude until it crashed to the city below.

She didn't have time to celebrate, as a bright bolt of energy lit up the sky as it raced toward the city. Then another, and another, each impacting buildings throughout Lost Haven, each target collapsing moments after impact. She wanted to be sick as she looked over the destruction in the city below. Then, as she surveyed the destruction, an icy chill ran down her spine as she saw the pile of rubble that sat where Winstone International had once stood.

***


Icon slammed shoulder first into the large, cigar shaped vessel just to the left of one of the massive cannons that adorned the side of the craft. He reached over and tore into the cannon's housing and yanked. He strained to pull the cannon free from the side of the craft. The metal groaned and whined in protest until finally, Icon separated the cannon from the ship. Then, like an oversized baseball bat, Icon swung the cannon, connecting with the cannon housed next to it. Black smoke poured out of the side of the ship as Icon moved onto the next cannon.

He flew around the ship, hitting each of the cannons with an optic blast, reducing each to smoldering craters in the ship's hull. Once he had taken out the cannons, Icon moved above the ship, only to find that it too was heavily armed. The ship's defenses began firing, rounds of hot plasma flew past him as he dodged to the left, and then again to the right. Once he was again over top of the ship, he let loose with a massive optic blast as he flew toward the ship. He maintained the onslaught as he crashed into the ship. Metal crunched as and surprised Arlaaekans cried out in shock as he drove himself all the way through the ship, emerging from the bottom of the hull. Thick black smoke poured from the ship's wounded hull, but Icon was not done. He flew along the bottom of the craft, releasing a sustained optic blast as he went. Once he had moved past the ship, he looked back just in time to see the craft separate into two halves, bout of which crashed down into the harbor below.

Icon took a deep breath as he watched the remains of the ship slip below the waves. With the immediate threat taken care of, Icon turned his attention to the massive black tower that now stood prominently over the Lost Haven as he raced back to the city.

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