003: Part 14

by CM Towns

   Huntsman looked up at the towering alien. He knew Cektic possibly better than any other villain running around. He may have never crossed paths with the beast but Reed always had a keen interest in one of the FIVE. A nickname given to five alien specialists who had come to Earth to back up the FIRST WAVE assault. A small alien armada designed to scare the Earth into submission but was surprised by a military that had started adapting new alien-inspired technology. Along with costumed vigilante’s and especially the work of Reina Titán and Red Sprite the small armada was defeated. The Five arrived too late to assist that armada but decided to try and cause as much chaos as possible for future invaders.
   All this was important to Huntsman because it was one of the Five that set off the weapon that made him what he is today. Reed remembered it all too well; the backseat of his families car. His dad at the wheel and his mom on the passenger side. The radio was playing classic rock and to this day Reed flinched whenever he heard the song Close to You by the Carpenters. The sound of the weapon-a type of bomb-was a pop. The Earth shook below and all the glass in surrounding areas shattered. That was all he saw before he woke up a year later in a government hospital.

   During the coma his wounds healed far quicker than the doctors expected and so he was put in observation. The scientists assigned to look after him watched as his body went through a physiological change. The scientists believed it was a combination of things. Proximity to the blast-far enough distance to survive, close enough to be effected. His age helped as it appeared younger kids were less effected by the weapon and pulled through with minimal physical ailments. The third reason was genetics. The weapon, after initial explosion, would produce protein machines to devour its targets, however it was designed for alien race different than Earthlings so it interacted strangely with the human biology. The number of people who did die from being infected by the protein machines did so in a way that was not the intention. It broke down their immune system or solidified parts of their body-like the heart-into metal. The protein machines interaction with Reed was probably even more different because as he had Haemophilia A. So for his lengthy coma his body went through a metamorphisis and somehow, someway, the effects of the blast and infection mixed with his biology and bleeding disorder produced what he is today.
   Reed was lost, confused, and angry after he finally awoke. They kept him mostly isolated and it was days before they told him what happened to his parents. Father dead, mother frail-constant pain and had problems focusing and remembering. He learned there were other survivors-some physically scarred for life, others with abilities mostly minor. They wanted to keep Reed contained until they could figure out what he was capable of. It would be a week before they knew what Reed could do. It was another couple of weeks before Reed left the facility of his own accord having grown angry with the doctors and government stooges.
   During that first week however Reed learned that the alien who caused his transformation was known publicly as OREX but that was really only the first four letters of a rather hard to pronounce name. Reed was happy to hear the alien had died but disappointed that two others were still alive and well. Beside Cektic there was LAIRDZ, both of whom had hooked up with the second wave armada-but that was another story.
   At that particular moment Huntsman was a little too surprised to ready his arm cannon and so he got a strike to the gut which sent him a short distance down the street. He was able to catch himself in the air but when he pointed his weapon, Cektic was not where he stood a moment earlier. Huntsman heard the wailing and looked up to see Cektic coming down at him. The alien smashed Huntsman into the street, picked him up and tossed him into the corner of a nearby building. The alien criminal threw a car his way but Huntsman raised his cannon, blasted it-explosion on impact.
   The purple alien rushed through the fiery wreckage, gripping the surprised Huntsman and pulled him back from the wall before slamming him through. The pair were now in a vintage clothing shop.
   Cektic shouted, “WEAKLING!” before grabbing the prongs of Huntsman crown and smashing his knee repeatedly into Huntsmans face. He laughed wickedly after tossing the hero back out into the street. Huntsman rolled and once he stopped he flew up to put some distance between Cektic and himself.
   Cektic calmly walked the street, looked up and did not flinch at the laser blast that came two feet from his head. Huntsman fired a second time, closer to the target. The third shot almost nailed Cektic but he moved suddenly out of the way before he launched off the ground, banking off the side of a building onto another. Cektic scaled quick while Huntsman shot of a couple blasts that missed. Once atop the building Cektic sprinted away. Huntsman flew after him as the purple alien moved rooftop to rooftop, leaping across streets and dodging laser blasts. Cektic dropped down to a streets below and Huntsman followed suit, still firing and missing the moving target.
   When both landed on the street Cektic commented, “Such a waste of power. Orex was stupid. Wasting that weapon. Sure, caused some murder but caused a waste of potential. Your military recruited others. A couple similar to you. Did you know that?”
   Huntsman held his cannon aimed but did not answer.
   “Not that it matters. Powers sometimes can destroy their vessel. Other times-” Cektic looked at his hands, “Other times beasts like myself do the job.”
   “What are you talking about? I’m the only one. You’re lying,” Huntsman said.
   “Maybe I am. Maybe they got their gifts another way. Or maybe the other ones were inferior clones. Perhaps they were just not as durable as you,” he said before applying a back hand strike to Huntsman. After that strike found its mark Huntsman found a blast into the chest of the purple alien.
   Cektic rolled from the shot over onto a sidewalk. Huntsman fired a couple more times but the alien hopped a marble staircase and moved into the nearest building. Huntsman gave chase, entering the lobby of large building and walking carefully with his cannon ready to fire. Inside he saw the front reception area. His head swung around a few times as he cursed. Cektic was far faster than he had any right to be. Huntsman moved quickly-or as quick as a full metal kid could-over from one side to the another. Checking the elevators, checking the waiting area and considering going up. Huntsman talked down to himself and went back to the reception area and saw the ceiling had some cracks, his eyes followed them to a hole above. Huntsman fired a few shots up before flying onto the next floor.
   “Where are you?” he whispered. Huntsman saw the window at one end smashed and flew in for a closer inspection. Once he peaked out he got hit by a purple tail. Cektic maneuvered in and caught Hunstamn with his feet, grabbed his ankle with his tail and jumped out slamming Huntsman as they landed on the ground. Cektic held onto Huntsmans ankle and swung him back and forth, six times into the ground. Huntsman tried blasting upward at but Cektic kicked his cannon arm before slamming a couple fists down into the chest area.
   Cektic walked away as Huntsman started to pull himself up from the imprint his body made. While Huntsman did not necessarily feel pain through his body he did get blistering headaches when he took a beating. A fact he had yet not shared with his teammates. Huntsman got to one knee, then up to his feet just in time to get hit by a car-smashing him back into the ground.
   Cektic retrieved Huntsman and dragged him back down the steps into the street. He pulled the metal man up, used all his strength to smash him through the street into the sewer below. Cektic signaled to a nearby armored black truck and a masked man hopped out, ran over to the alien, and handed him a black orb the size of a large tomato. Cektic clicked a button, dropped it into the hole and the two made distance between themselves and the pit. The man back into the truck and Cektic pacing along its side. Seven seconds later an explosion occurred, taking out a large chunk of that street.
   “Like I said, waste of power,” Cektic smirked as he moved to the next targets.