Trial By Fire I. Discharge I

If there’s one thing that having powers has taught me, it’s that the more that’s going on your life, the less you’ll keep track of.
Ok, I lied. There are countless things that becoming a metahuman has taught me, but that seemed like a good explanation as to why I’m writing all this down. As for what you can call me, anything works. I have more names than I know what to do with. If you’re a SVRA lackey, god help you. But I guess that would mean you’d call me Discharge. Most people do. I always preferred that name, anyway, so I’m glad they chose the right one to call me by. I don’t remember too many of the other names, but I know for a fact that the SVRA been referring to me as Blackout for a time.
More on that later.
Anyway, names. Some of them were so bizarre, they just never stuck in my mind. If you’re interested, hunt down the SVRA’s files. They’re the type of people who go crazy over every scrap of information, each new development. I’m sure they know. Either way, I couldn’t care less. Anything else you want to know you’ll have to glean from my overwhelmingly sunny attitude. Now that that’s out of the way, I suppose I should start where all great stories do: at the beginning.
Nah, screw that. Too boring.
Fire, smoke, ashes, fire, and fire. Those were my immediate surroundings in what could once have been the Student Center of South Haven High School.
The entire place was designed for emergencies such as this, from the 6 exits and stone architecture to the dimensions of the room: as long as a football field and twice as wide.
Unfortunately, it was also a room made for eating lunch. This was a school, after all. If not for the countless tables in a school built for thousands of people, the fire may have been short lived, rather than the blazing inferno I now faced.
As soon as Zeta’s old friend, who’s been “reclassified” as Pyro, decided the school’s student center needed some redecorating, I was ready to bolt. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a coward, even in the slightest. But I left my fire resistant shirts at home, and I was rather fond of the one I happened to be wearing.
Anyway, after Zeta initiated one of the worst battle plans I’ve ever seen, it was pretty obvious that things weren’t going to go too well. I know I probably should have been scared at the moment, but I was fixated, just wondering what would happen next. It’s not every day you see a power switcher go toe to toe against a living inferno.
Though, I suppose he only had one of his eventual seven at the time.
So when they screaming at each other like they were in an episode of Dragon Ball Z, I promptly laughed myself into a coughing fit.
It took me a moment before I realized everyone was staring at me, as opposed to the two fire demons a few feet away.
Zeta let out a deep sigh and walked over to me.
“Hey!”
“….what?”
With a snarky grin he growled “Shut up. You’re ruining my fun.”
His ego satisfied, he turned around and faced Pyro once more, a wild gleam in his eyes.
Within the span of a couple seconds, there was fire flying across the room.
It would have been nice to tell who was winning, but given the inferno blazing all around us, as well as the fact that all fire looks the exactly same, it wasn’t until they stopped dashing around the room flinging fireballs that I got a sense of who was winning; no one. Both of them, it seemed, were completely fireproof. Wouldn’t have taken a metahuman to figure that one out.
I started to hear sirens in the distance, and it looked as if Pyro and Zeta were aware as well, on some level.
Having given up on the possibility of burning the opposing pyromancer to death, things started to hit a climax.
Both of them took a step back and stared at each other, locked in some imperceptible clash of wills. Then everything became much more visible as Pyro let out a strangled war cry and the two of them charged in unison. Zeta started by sliding under his legs, and letting loose a flurry of blows aimed at Pyro’s back. As his opponent turned to retaliate, Zeta quickly kicked one of his legs out from under him, quickly following up with a knee to the jaw. Pyro stumbled back, dazed, and Zeta followed up with a solid punch to the face.
Pyro staggered back, clutching his nose. It was unclear whether it was broken or not, because any blood evaporated before it fell past his flame woven silhouette, but the screaming and subsequent flares of pure white heat were enough to reveal the intensity of his pain. Zeta grinned, and his fists became wreathed in fire as he walked forward, preparing to finish Pyro, Mortal Kombat style. Zeta was winding up for a haymaker when Pyro lunged forward with both arms, catching Zeta and knocking him over. As I watched Pyro pummel him, I heard a familiar voice say,
“Well, I’m getting my ass beat. That’s rather embarrassing.”
I looked over and laughed at the feline spirit cringing beside me.
It was Zeta’s subconscious, to put it simply. All power switchers had a spirit of sorts that chose their powers for them: they recorded the powers their spirit thought they needed, not what they themselves wanted. Of course, Zeta only had one power at the moment.
“Yep. Sort of pathetic, really.”
“Cause you’re such a big help, right?”
“Fine. Tell him to stick to grapples and try to knock him down. His punches and kicks aren’t as effective when he can’t strike a vulnerable target, and pyro obviously has some increased durability given how many hits he’s taken.”
“Huh. That’s… not a bad idea. I’ll let him…me, know.” The serval disappeared, and I turned back to the fight in time to see the tables turn, Zeta latching on to one of Pyro’s arms as he over extended on a punch, before promptly flipping him to the ground and aiming a knee straight at his throat.
Pyro quickly rolled to the side, dodging the potentially lethal blow by inches. Giving into his rage once more, he dove for his opponent, who danced out of reach.
Or at least he tried. Lunging an inhuman-or rather, meta human-distance, Pyro made contact with Zeta’s legs and sent the both of them into a roll. Utilizing his power over flame, Zeta launched a blast at a nearby wall to slow the roll and land himself on top of Pyro, and proceeded to beat him with the closest object at hand, a charred table leg that was quickly turning to ash. Pyro held his arms in a cross as he attempted to ward off the onslaught of blows. One, two, three, four hits, and the leg snapped on half, one careening off yards away, the other falling apart in Zeta’s grip.
Too tired to roar, Pyro simple snarled as he flipped Zeta with his superior strength, braced his enemy’s leg against his own knee, and twisted it backwards in one fluid motion. With a sickening crunch, the sound of Zeta’s leg fracturing was still audible over its owner’s agonized cries.
“Zeta can’t win,” I thought, “Maybe before, he could have knocked him unconscious, but it’s too late now.”
Suddenly, baring his teeth, Zeta lunged forward and, latching onto Pyro’s collar, flipped his enemy under him and began to deliver blows.
Dull thumps echoed through the room, loud and rhythmic, as Zeta’s enraged fists struck home, again and again. Pyro growled. Then he roared. Then he hit, and in a fit of desperation, spat at his rival. But within the minute he was falling into unconsciousness.
Rising to his feet, favoring his uninjured leg, Zeta stepped over his fallen enemy: the first of many. He let out an unearthly cry, his voice growing in intensity as the sirens drew near. Confidence radiated off of him in waves as he planted one foot on Pyro’s chest and took a pose for the cameras pouring in along with emergency response teams.
Which made it all the more surprising when Pyro snarled, flipped Zeta over, jabbed him in the throat and knocked him unconscious in one swift, fluid motion.
What?
Did you think he’d win?
Too bad.
I have to admit, it did come as something of a surprise. I was even shocked. Especially when Pyro burned the whole school to the ground afterwards. He took a long time to cool down, but then, he always did, even before he became powered.
Anyways, I decided to play the hero and get Zeta out. Much easier than it sounds, since Pyro lost interest with the inanimate body once they started blasting him with CO2 foam and pressurized water. Luckily for him, Zeta’s power had fully shielded him from any burn damage, as the power had remained even after he lost consciousness. I took him back to my place, where I promptly dumped him on a couch before getting a few slices of hot oil pizza on a whim for my lunch, which I’d missed thanks to the fighting.
When i got back a few hours later, Zeta finally started to come to.
“Hey!” I barked. “You finally going to get off your ass?”
“Where am I?” He muttered. “And, who could that impossibly annoying voice belong to?” he muttered.
I pulled him to his feet, knowing that if he went back to sleep he wouldn’t be getting up for quite some time.  “What happened to me?” he groaned.
“We’ll, after you got back from the after party in celebration of your triumph, I took you back here since you were so drunk.”
“Really? That sounds pretty awesome.”
“No, not really. You got your ass kicked so hard it would have made your head spin, IF you’d been conscious long enough to feel it.” I said with a smirk.
A low growl was all I received in response. “Well, technically you did feel it,” I grinned.“That poor serval was groaning in pain for hours. Said something about the two of you being linked.”
Zeta walked over, and glared at me for a long, hard moment.
Then he set my shirt on fire.

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3 thoughts on “Trial By Fire I. Discharge I

  1. Yeah, hard to read. Although I give props, combat scenes are always hard to write. It often becomes one-sided, which has been very well avoided here.

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