Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blue Nexus #16: Thunder and Lightning

            Kyle shot down in a blue, straight line, landing and rolling on the field as Lightning and Thunder Tiger both uncovered themselves from their defenses. Kyle stood up erect, looking both ways to face his opponent once.
            “Stand down,” he ordered.
            “You afraid to hurt someone?” asked Lightning.
            Kyle laughed. “You.”
            Lighting howled with laughter, then launching himself, in the form of a lightning bolt, right toward Kyle, who leapt back, knowing that Thunder Tiger was right behind him. Kyle pulled up, flipping behind Thunder Tiger.
            Instead of Lightning hitting Thunder, though, Thunder clapped his hands and burst Lightning back—almost as if they’d practiced that technique—then leapt into the air with one large, one-legged jump. Kyle snarled, figuring that this guy was going to be pretty darn strong.
            Kyle crossed his arms in front of him as Thunder came upon him, punching at him, right into the center of the “X” Kyle made with his arms. A blue shockwave ripped through the sky, illuminating the metal sides of the stadium for just a moment, as Kyle winced, feeling that Thunder wasn’t even trying in that hit. Kyle swung at him, but Thunder had already made his next move, clapping his feet together to fling Kyle higher into the air.
            The wind rushed by him, but Kyle was perfectly fine with that. If he could keep the fight away from the stadium, it was all the better. Thunder Tiger was approaching him by taking large steps, each one sending a gust of wind down toward the ground. Knowing he couldn’t fly was yet another advantage Kyle had over this guy.
            He recovered from the shockwave, flipped, and flew down toward Thunder Tiger, who clapped his hands to create another shock wave. This time, Kyle managed to drive through it, and punched Thunder Tiger in the gut. He grunted and fell through the sky, Kyle pursuing, moving around as he did so. Sure, a concentrated blast would hit him, but how well composed could anyone stay while falling through the air.
            Kyle managed to reach Thunder Tiger, then wrapped him up, and flew faster toward the ground. Thunder Tiger pounded his back, Kyle’s grip loosening, but it overall didn’t really affect the plan. Kyle swooped up at the last second, dropping Thunder Tiger. He rolled pretty hard, right into the goal-post, too. Kyle, trying to act cool in front of everyone, landing on his tip-toes on the right side of the post.
            “Done yet?” he asked, trying to mask his voice so the audience couldn’t hear. They were all chanting for him to defeat the two. Lightning Tiger angrily looked their way, some lightning sparks appearing in his hand.
            Kyle leapt off of the post and blasted Lightning Tiger away.
            Thunder Tiger jumped at him, screaming bloody murder as he did so. Kyle was punched right in the face, then his head slammed against the goal-post, denting it. Thunder didn’t pull up, either, punching him again in the face to draw blood. Kyle retaliated by slamming his shoulder into Thunder Tiger, then kicked him away. Thunder Tiger clapped his hands behind him to stop the momentum and even carry a bit of his own with his next attack. Kyle ducked underneath it, trying to stop Thunder Tiger, and found he had just enough strength to it. The two were locked there, though.
            The blue aura intensified as Kyle drew forth more strength and began to move Thunder back, then was able to shove him away and punch an energy beam right at him, hitting him square in the chest. Thunder fell back, rolling as a bolt of lightning arced over him, coming right for Kyle. Kyle side-stepped it, kicking Lightning Tiger accidentally too close to the civilians.
            With blinding speed, Kyle shot over and kicked Lightning Tiger toward the field. Realizing that too might have been a mistake, Kyle put forth tons of energy to create a large wall, then was hit backward by the shockwave Thunder Tiger produced. Kyle didn’t hit anyone, but did flip over a short fence and landed awkwardly on his neck. He helped himself back up, not quite tired but quite sick of this fight and the danger it presented.
            Thunder Tiger awaited him at his spot on the goal-post, not looking tired himself. Lightning Tiger was getting back up, charging up for yet another attack. Kyle took note over where he was, then blasted off for Thunder Tiger. Lightning made his move, bolting toward Kyle at the same time. Kyle couldn’t pull up in time, so he punched outward, his fist meeting with Lighting’s. Thunder Tiger suddenly appeared, his knee slamming right into Kyle’s face, then he kicked Kyle into the air.
            Kyle spun around, seeing the hulking body of Thunder Tiger coming right for him. He dodged the first two punches them speedily kicked Thunder Tiger in the neck, then flipped and kicked him downward once more. Kyle hung in the air as Thunder crashed to the ground, and wiped—or, more like smeared—at the blood on his face that was pouring down like nothing from his nose and two streams from his forehead. He had some difficulty opening one of his eyes but was otherwise okay. His cape was slightly charred from Lightning Tiger’s bolt.
            Both Lighting and Thunder Tiger reassembled themselves at the fifty yard-line, standing side-by-side as if waiting for Kyle to make another move. Kyle dropped himself down to their level.
            “Well, Blue Nexus, seems you really are all the hype says,” Lightning Tiger said.
            “We’d like to strike a deal with you,” Thunder Tiger said.
            “Shoot,” Kyle replied.
            Lighting Tiger pointed an electrified finger to the stadium. “We want you to actually start trying against us. If you keep holding back, well…”
            A bolt of lightning shot over the top of the stadium.
            “I can’t do that,” Kyle said. “We would destroy the whole stadium. I’ll stop pulling my punches if we move the fight somewhere else.”
            “What’s the point in that?” asked Thunder Tiger. “We came for a night of thrills, not just to fight you.” Thunder Tiger put up fisticuffs. “Though this is a surprising bonus.”
            Kyle sniffed, feeling the blood suddenly begin to pour from his nose and onto his lips again. They were cracked and bleeding, too, from the knee to the face he took.
            The stadium was otherwise quiet as the three of them spoke, and was indefinitely frozen after the lightning bolt Lightning Tiger sent their way. A pin could have dropped and the same amount of noise would have been made. Kyle noticed behind Lightning and Thunder Tiger that three cops were lined up, their guns pointed at the two criminals. Kyle wasn’t sure what orders they were waiting for, and were more than likely standing on the side of caution. Lightning Tiger would easily catch those bullets and kill the three cops.
            Kyle clenched a tight fist. Damn them. If he stopped pulling his punches, he would have a better chance at beating them. That much was obvious. However, he had the feeling those two weren’t giving it their all either. The bolts of lightning and the shockwaves wouldn’t affect Kyle too much thanks to the Nexus energy surrounding him, but to a normal person those were extremely lethal forces. Though in a metal stadium, the—aimed—lightning bolts from Lightning Tiger might just prove to be far worse.
            If there were somehow a way to stop Lightning Tiger’s bolts without killing him, almost like cutting off his energy source, then Kyle had a legit shot at saving the day. With Thunder Tiger it seemed easier—to simply prevent his arms and legs from touching each other. That could be done through a simple ligament breakage—if Thunder Tiger weren’t so loaded with muscle.
            Kyle’s fists turned blue as he began to once again gather energy within them. Lighting Tiger clapped in excitement while Thunder Tiger tensed up.
            “Alright, let’s go then,” Kyle said. “No holding back, and nobody but you two gets hurt. Sounds perfectly fine to me.”
            “You know, brother,” Lightning Tiger said. “There’s one reason why we haven’t been able to win this fight.”
            “What’s that?” asked Thunder Tiger.
            “You’re too damn slow, ha!” shouted Lightning, and burst toward Kyle quicker than Kyle could have anticipated.
            His instincts kicked in as he leaned far back to avoid the punch, then swiftly kicked Lightning Tiger in the kidney. Lightning recovered, but was not ready for the fist full of energy that came his way, sending up a blue cloud of smoke. In the confusion, Kyle turned around, and yelled loudly, “RUN AWAY!” to the crowds.
            Sparks filled the air as Kyle dodged yet another punch, that time relying on his best of reflexes. Lightning Tiger took to the offensive, trying every technique he could against Kyle, who, at the exact same speed, was able to dodge or parry each of the blows, but too slow to make an attack of his own.
            Kyle rolled away, then bounced and jumped into the air, Lightning Tiger following with a smirk. Kyle’s smile was wider, and he smashed his fists together to produce a bright blue light. He vanished and reappeared behind Lightning, punching him straight in the back. For a moment, his lightning shorted out.
            “Gotcha!” Kyle yelled.
            Lightning Tiger whirled around and back-hand slapped Kyle across the face. Kyle spiraled downward, catching himself midway between the stadium and the ground, suspending himself while Lightning rode a bolt toward Kyle. Kyle punched forward, managing to hit Lightning Tiger right in the mouth, spraying blood. Kyle spun around him, kneed him in the back once again, then elbowed him in the back of the head toward the ground, where he crashed and made a small crater.
            Thunder Tiger bounded toward Kyle now, moving at a pretty decent speed as well. Not nearly as quick as Lightning Tiger, but still, impressive. Probably trying to ride some sort of momentum, Kyle figured.
            He was upon Kyle as Kyle geared up a punch. Their fists collided, sending a wave of pain up Kyle’s right arm. Kyle returned the favor with an elbow to Thunder Tiger’s face, then with a charged up right hand, sent a resounding right hook into his elbow. Thunder Tiger flew into the air, then hit the ground.
            Instantly he bounced back up, booming at Kyle and hitting him dead-on with a shockwave. Kyle lost his breath for several seconds as he flew back and hit the ground. He recovered his breathing just in time while Thunder Tiger ran at him. Kyle charged him as well, then broke down, cut to the side, and kicked Thunder Tiger hard in the ribs. Nothing broke, he felt, but was pretty close to it.
            Kyle shot out his right leg, stopped, then carried that opposite momentum to once again tackle Thunder Tiger, this time driving it home with his elbow. Thunder Tiger cried out in pain as he hit the ground and Kyle rolled off of him.
            From the opposite end of the field, Lightning Tiger screamed. Kyle, worried, punched twice his way, and both energy beams hit their mark with practiced accuracy, knocking Lightning Tiger back and putting him on his back.
            Thunder Tiger sprang up, and as he did so, kicked Kyle back. Kyle shook the hit off and waited while Thunder Tiger got back to his feet.
            “I’ll concede the match to you now, Blue Nexus,” he admitted, breathing heavily. “You certainly caught us off guard this evening. When we next we meet, I promise that things will not go like this at all.”
            Now that he wasn’t moving as much, Kyle was beginning to feel the pain in his shoulder as well as the swelling up his arm. He could carry-on the fight, but would be much worse for wear the following few days. He was glad he didn’t keep on fighting while Thunder Tiger continued talking.
            “Perhaps next time, our chief, Fire Tiger, will arrive.” Thunder Tiger chuckled. “I hope you don’t believe my brother and I are so strong when we are united. Even together we are mere poultry compared to Chief Fire Tiger.”
            “He’s nothing but a B-list super villain?”
            Thunder Tiger glared at Kyle. He was about to speak again when an arrow whizzed across his face, nearly taking off his noise. Both of them in shock, Kyle and Thunder Tiger looked in the direction of where the arrow had come from.
            Standing in a now-emptied part of the stadium, though difficult to see clearly, was a person standing with a bow slightly tilted and a quiver of arrows at their left side. They were wearing a hood and had a skirt that was opened in the front. Kyle hoped whoever it was also had pants on, if that were the case. Suddenly, too, the arrow began to glow purple.            
            “It’s over, Thunder Tiger!” they exclaimed. Kyle was stunned.
            “Sandy?” he muttered.
            “Who are you, girl?” he asked.
            “Don’t worry about my name!” she exclaimed. Something was different about her voice. Kyle knew Sandy well enough—and knew she was stupid enough to try something like this—that he could recognize the slightest hint of her voice underneath what sounded like a woman’s voice, not an eighteen year old girl.
            “Get away from here!” Kyle exclaimed. “You don’t know what you’re doing!”
            He waved for Sandy to leave, then felt a great boom hit him against his exposed body, knocking him back out of the air. He hit the ground and groaned as he got up. Thunder Tiger was bouncing away, and Lightning Tiger was doing the same on his bolts of lightning.
            Sandy leapt down from the stadium and was running toward Kyle when two of the cops came out of nowhere and detained her, a third one rushing toward Kyle. He scrambled to his feet and took flight, keeping himself in the air and looking down as Sandy kicked and screamed for her freedom as the cops held her down. Kyle swirled around, seeing if he could find the two Tigers, but they were already gone.
            “Damn it,” he muttered. At least most of the civilians managed to get out okay.
            He darted off in the opposite direction of his house so the cops wouldn’t follow him, and then lowered down the brightness of his aura as he landed atop a building, taking a knee to hide in the shadows.
            His right arm hung limp at his side as he relaxed. Silently, he swore at Thunder Tiger for injuring it. The next time they met, he would get them for that.
            Plus, he wouldn’t be so caught off-guard either. Both sides in that fight weren’t ready for a battle and it clearly showed. If Phoenix or Hood Nexus were watching, they’d both probably be a little mad at him for his inability better contain the battle, and let it escalate to the point where innocents were being held in danger. Though, perhaps it was also his own confidence’s fault.
            If he hadn’t been so careless and was more into the battle—such as trying to find out where and how to shut down the two—the fight would have ended rather quickly. He knew now, obviously, but he could have spared several minutes as well as kept several people out of harm’s way. He jabbed at the ground in frustration.
            What’d he even get out of that fight? A limp arm, probably a few style points from the crowd, two enemies that would be on the prowl for him no doubt, as well as the revelation that Sandy was a complete nut.
            That was what stunned Kyle the most. Sandy, somehow, was able to slip away and put on a whole new wardrobe to prepare for battle. Where was she stuff that bow, those arrows? And how was she making them glow? He could ask her, from one super to another, but she was currently in the back of a cop-car. Her being eighteen wouldn’t make that situation any better, either.
            Kyle stood up. His house wasn’t far at all. If he transformed and walked home, he would be a much less of a risk than flying home. The cops would be in full-force, so, maybe they would even be kind enough to give him a ride.
            Blue Nexus went away and Kyle climbed down the side of the building cautiously, making sure nobody was looking when he did. He dropped down, grunting as he hit the ground, then brushed himself off and started walking, bumping right into someone who was walking quite frantically. He apologized before recognizing the man.
            “Mr. Evart?” he asked, slightly bewildered at seeing his English teacher galvanting at night.
            Mr. Evart smiled at Kyle. He had hair the same length as Kyle’s but it was a bit wavier. He had large, black-rimmed glasses and always seemed to have a small, gentle smile on his face. He was dressed like he would at school, with a polo and khakis.
            “Good evening Kyle,” he said. “What brings you this far into town?”
            “Oh, I was just doing a friend with the thing—I mean doing a thing with the friend,” Kyle said, his face turning red.
            “Ah, well, don’t be stupid about it,” Evart said. “Say, you didn’t want to go to the football game?”
            “Kinda glad I didn’t,” Kyle said, realizing in a split second that the news probably hadn’t gotten around this far into town yet. “I’ve had a couple friends text me about a couple of weirdos attacking the place.”
            “I’ll assume the Blue Nexus showed up and made everything okay?” Evart asked.
            “From what I’ve heard.”
            “Glad to hear they’re alright. I’m sure there’ll be no stopping the chatter in class on Monday about it. Never a dull moment, am I right?”
            “Yeah, totally. What’re you doing downtown tonight?”
            Mr. Evart blushed beneath the streetlight. “I may or may not have had a date.”
            Kyle smiled, feeling the pressure was off him. “Aw, yeah Mr. Evart, get it!” He nudged his English teacher.
            “Please, Kyle…no,” Mr. Evart said, his smile instantly fading. “She was…no.”
            “Oh, I feel you,” Kyle lied, nodding with false sympathy.
            Mr. Evart sighed, letting his shoulders sag. He reached out and patted Kyle on the shoulder, opened his mouth to say something, then laughed and said goodnight, leaving Kyle behind.
            Kyle waited for Mr. Evart to continue on his way before taking a bit of a longer route home, one that would be less occupied so he would run into fewer people. It was when he reached the base of the hill that he realized he completely forgot about his skateboard that was hidden beneath the opposing team’s stands. He stomped his foot in frustration, and looked behind him as if to go back and get it.
            “I’ll get it tomorrow,” he muttered, and ran back up the hill, leaving behind the whirring of sirens and complete array of confusion. A mess he would be sure to help clean up later.

            The news team was all over the football field at around one in the afternoon the following day, so Kyle decided that he would have to make a public appearance then. He did have to be responsible for the damage done to the field as well as would have to answer who these mysterious criminals were.
            As Blue Nexus, he slowly flew over the town. If he flew at normal speed, he would be there in mere seconds. He flew slower trying to come up with some viable excuses or explanations for what happened, as well as solid wording for solutions. The public needed answers, and their resident super-hero would need to be the source of the answers.
            However, he was very surprised to see that he wasn’t going to be the only super there to discuss the night’s events. Kyle smiled then wiped it away as he saw Phoenix—now in his red outfit like the first time they met at school—standing amongst the media people, several of which were actually out of East City. Kyle was even more surprised to see that the members of TV Production from his school were there, but wasn’t too surprised to see Phoenix answering most of their questions rather than other people’s.
            Kyle dropped down and landed behind Phoenix, who seemed to not notice Kyle falling from the sky. Kyle stood directly behind him, his back facing the reporters.
            “—but knowing them, like I said, they’ll still be around,” Phoenix wrapped up saying. “They’re kind of stupid like that.”
            Already the reporters were beginning to swarm Kyle. Phoenix, though, spread out his wings, forcing all of them back, shocking a few.
            “Sorry folks, that’s all the questions we can answer for today,” he said. “Now we’ve got some business to discuss, so, excuse us.”
            He closed up his wings, folding them to be a part of his forearm’s armor, then put his arm around Kyle’s shoulder and led him through the crowd, pretty much parting the sea. Kyle was astounded. A man in a red suit with wings and a beaked mask just split apart people in fancy clothing that were probably making more money than Phoenix. Which raised the question of what Phoenix did for a living, but Kyle figured he could probably just get food and shelter from the headquarters on the Moon. It was free up there for sure.
            They walked to be at about the middle of the field, where Kyle got the chance to take in all that went down. There were several burn marks and holes in the ground on the field. A much smaller burn mark was at Kyle’s feet, probably from where Sandy shot one of those purple arrows. What was the biggest shock was the dents in the stadium and the fences. Most of the fence surrounding the stadium—separating it from the stands—was completely caved in, with most of the links broken off. The box at the top had shattered windows and its left side look it took a hit from a wrecking ball. The goal post on the side of the field closest to the school was leaned over slightly, which Kyle knew would be a pain to fix.
            “Looks like someone had quite a bit of fun,” Phoenix said, also inspecting the stadium.
            “You know you’re around here much more than usual lately, what’s been going on?” asked Kyle.
            Phoenix shrugged. “This time I felt I should check out what’s going on. You’re not much for being investigative, so, I thought I could pitch in and help find the two Tigers.”
            “I think I can find someone that creates sonic waves and another that creates lightning bolts,” Kyle said, crossing his arms.
            Phoenix smiled and laughed. “Maybe, who knows. Do you not enjoy my presence, Blue Nexus?”
            “No, it’s fine, I was just pointing it out.”
            Phoenix surveyed the field again. “And I heard that there was a little confusion regarding you having a side-kick.”
            “Your friend. The one with the bow and arrow who knows you are.”
            Kyle sucked in a sharp breath of air. Sandy.
            “I had no idea what she was doing,” he said sternly. “Honestly she did way more harm than good. Not too surprised about that, though.”
            “Oh, because you have so much experience?”
            “Well, I mean, I wouldn’t be reckless enough to go charging into those two with just a bow and arrow!”
            “Eclipse said she was using magic.”
            “Magic? Like Brenda?”
            Phoenix walked over to Kyle, then stooped down and poked at the burn mark, coming back up, and showing his fingers to Kyle. Sparkling, purple dust resided there.
            “Not entirely sure what kind of magic it is, probably from Earth I can’t imagine how some random girl from Virginia gets her hand on interstellar magic, but it’s magic nonetheless. You’ll have to ask her how to she got her hands on it.”
            “She’s probably in prison right now,” Kyle replied flatly.
            “Well damn it then,” Phoenix said. “I’ll go and ask her. I’ve got some universal pull when it comes to the cops. And I’ll take this back to Eclipse so we can determine where the magic is from.”
            Kyle nodded. He wished he had some pull with the cops, particularly the cops in his own freaking town.
            “Oh, hey, wait,” Kyle said as Phoenix turned away and loaded up his wings.
            “What’s up?” asked Phoenix.
            “Since you’re gonna be off asking the cops about Sandy, and I’m gonna be looking for the two Tigers, could you tell me where they came from?” asked Kyle. “Like, they obviously weren’t born that way or anything.”
            “Yeah, that’s probably important stuff,” Phoenix said. “They’re mutations off of a mutation. When Riko and the Sentinel started the whole super hero thing a few years ago, a scientist named Boomer created Fire Tiger, mutated him in some weird techno-babble way. He replicated the experiment to a lesser extent to create Thunder and Lightning Tiger when more of us appeared. We’ve never been able to find him, he’s always off the map, but he’s never really done much besides that.”
            “Wow, not even Eclipse can find him?” asked Kyle.
            Phoenix shook his head, starting to take flight. “Nope, apparently he has some mental barrier, and apparently it got stronger a few months back, before Black Nexus. If you wanna find him, too, you’re more than welcome! See you around, Blue Nexus, and good luck with the two Tigers!”
            He turned and burst off. Kyle looked behind him and saw the reporters slowly get their cameras ready and a few beginning to approach him. Panic swelled within him, and before anyone else could call out his name, he shot off into the sky, turning as he ascended back toward the heart of the town to begin his search.

Next time: Kyle begins the search for Lightning and Thunder Tiger, but when he finds them, will he be able to take on their combined power again? Find out in "Blue Nexus #17--Lightning Crack, Thunder Clap"

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