Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Night Before - 4



"I am a man of many terrifying achievements," said Scourge. "But even you, Skull, must admit this towers over all others."

He swept an arm over the console in front of him. The tall, spindly man wore a perfectly fitted suit, black and utterly unblemished. The top of his face was covered with a dark mask, the lower half was sickly pale. It was a face the Skull had seen too many times before. The last time, he had seen it die.

"A device that can snatch objects - people, technology, weapons - from anywhere in time," Scourge continued. "All of history is at my fingertips. The man who designed it was an unparalleled genius. It was unfortunate he lacked the vision to see the consequences of his invention."

"You're taking a lot of chances for a guy the entire Society is going to be after once they find out you're alive," said the Skull as he made his way across the walkways criss-crossing the room. "You think some ray-gun from the future is going to save you this time?"

Scourge began to type on the panels that surrounded his perch, blue light spearing from one end to the other of the machinery surrounding him, that distinct hum penetrating the air. "You've always been stuck on the street, Don, with the bank-robbers and the mutant muggers. You've never been able to see the bigger picture like Elizabeth could."

The Skull paused for a second at her name. He had made it to the highest level of the structure and stood opposite Scourge.

"It wasn't the Society who stopped the Third Reich," Scourge said. "Hitler blew his brains out after he saw the power of the nuclear bomb in Dresden, not the power of some man in a cape. Technology has always shaped history, and with this technology I will shape it. Forever."

The hum was again becoming a roar, and the air above metal plate at Scourge's feet began to crinkle and wave. The Skull broke into a run, hurdling over railing and leaping from one fragile platform to the next. He was halfway across the room when there was a plume of light and something appeared beside Scourge.

"I'd stop there if I were you, Don. I've found myself a hostage. Do you recognise him?"

"Jesus Christ, not here," whispered the Skull as he skidded to a stop. Scourge pulled an unconscious figure to its feet.

"Your eleven year old self, from 1930, long before you took the Skull formula. When you could die."

Scourge wrapped a glove-clad hand around the boy's throat, lifting his feet from the ground. With a sickening click he drove another hand into the child's spine.

"And when he dies, so do you."

"Did I miss anything?" Blink said as he snapped into place beside the Skull, tossing a long boomerang casually over the rail. "I've missed something, haven't I?"

"Grab the kid," said the Skull, "take him to the Skele-bunker, and wait for me."

"You sure?"

"Do it."

The atmosphere rippled for a moment, and the sound of glass shattering rang from the bottom of the building. Blink and the child had disappeared, leaving Scourge, for a rare moment, looking stunned.

"It seems I've underestimated our friend Blink's development during my absence," said Scourge, pulling his glove from one hand and then another. "I'll have to subdue you more traditionally."

The Skull had opened his mouth to reply when Scourge appeared in front of him, his white fist at the Skull's chest. The blow sent the Skull hurtling towards the back wall. Skull felt his vertebrae shocked out of place as he slammed into the concrete and dropped onto the grating below breathless and in agony.

"The Stone of Gethsemane," Scourge said, the dull orb around his neck now hanging outside of his ebony shirt. "It has a fascinating list of effects on the wearer. None, however, like the regenerative abilities you possess."

Scourge jumped in space again, arriving in front of the slumped Skull. This time the Skull caught the fragments of light that scattered before he appeared, the whine on the edge of hearing. Teleportation, he thought.

"You give me the Skull formula, and I'll let you walk away from this. Hell, I'll let you keep the rest - I only need the one dose," said Scourge as he hoisted the Skull into the air by his collar. "Oh, and you were wrong before. When you said the big bad Society would be coming once they heard I was alive?"

He leaned closer, his mask almost against the Skull's face. "I assure you: I'm still quite dead."

"Don't care," choked the Skull. "Look down."

Scourge glanced down quickly enough to see the icicles growing from the metal, spiking around his polished shoes. The Skull forced his own boots down, hard, breaking the grate the two men stood on from the wall. With another kick, the Skull threw himself across the gap to the next walkway and sent the panel spinning towards the ground.

Scourge fell silently, tangled in metal and ice.

Still wobbling, the Skull ran along the pathways, their frames now rattling uneasily. He'd made it to the glowing console when Scourge floated back into sight. He was suspended in the air, arms spread and bare footed, while the Skull hammered rapidly at the switches and keys.

"You're outclassed, Don. There's nothing you can summon in time."

The silver plate began to pulse.

"You know what they say, Scourge?"

A shadow shot from the ground and swelled into a shape. Beams of light encircled the figure, painting it black and white.

"Two Skulls are better than one."




  1. Now that is awesome, a device to grab things from time, think of the havoc you could reek.

    1. Yeah, all those poor people in the future, suddenly having their weapons vanish in the middle of a battle. ....I bet most of them died.

  2. You could factor arbitrarily large numbers in constant time, and break modern cryptography.
    You could get someone to detail the exact 'cause of your death and put it in a certain vault by a certain date and then keep avoiding it.
    You could play portal 2 before anyone else!
    Or kill hitler! :D

  3. Now two Skulls will kick lots of butt. Scourge is quite tricky fellow, and it is a nice device.