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OUT OF THE FRYING PAN...
by Craig Rettig
This issue takes place after Covenant #5 and in the middle of Pulse #8.—Continutity Craig

Messenger of fear in sight,
Dark deception kills the light.
Metallica, The thing that should not be


Alex woke up to a flash of pain from his body. Suddenly, he noticed how hot it was.

"Jesus $%&ing Christ!" he yelled as he realized the room he was lying in was on fire. Alex tried jumping to his feet, but fell back down, almost as quickly due to the pain. He looked out the window over his head and saw a street light across the way. Grabbing it with his power, Alex yanked himself out the window and onto the street.

Alex looked back at Dvorak's building, now completely engulfed in flames. "One heck of a way to cover yourself, Dvorak," he thought to himself. The sound of sirens in the distance quickly brought him back to the real world. Alex looked around and saw the neighborhood gentry start to pile out of their houses to see what the commotion was about. Some of them saw him lying there, they began running towards him to see if he was okay.

"Dandy..." Alex thought to himself. "Gotta get out of here." Alex used his power to lift himself atop another nearby building, much to the amazement of the people below. Alex tried to get up, but his left leg was in too much agony to keep him upright for very long, and he quickly fell down again. Just then, he remembered an issue of Blue Beacon he read not too long ago.

Using his power, he fashioned a jointed cast around his leg. "Let's hope comics ain't all sci-fi garbage," he said, pulling himself to his feet again. Stumbling around a bit until he got the joint where he needed it, he walked across the roof. "Gotta get out of here," he said again, looking at his options.

Forming two forty-foot long extensions to his legs, he reached from one rooftop to the other, quickly grabbing the attention of the crowd below and the arriving policemen. It didn't really matter, though, eighty-foot strides got him out of hearing range pretty quickly.

Alex managed to make it back to his neighborhood with no further trouble. Shrinking his stilts down in an alleyway, Alex managed to unlock and enter his apartment without being seen. "Ah, the graciousness of neighbors in a low-rent district," he thought to himself as he fell into his favorite chair. Reaching out with his power, he turned on the old black-and-white TV he acquired not too long ago.

"The news tonight surrounds the mysterious battle that has taken place in this University of Cincinnati parking garage you see behind you," said the attractive female reporter, pointing backwards to a wrecked building. "Presumably, this parking garage was destroyed mere hours ago, apparently in a battle between several Omegas. Several bodies have been found on the site of the incident, but local authorities have not yet stated who they are. With us now...." Click

Alex shut the TV off. "Swell," he said aloud, "Omegas are now fighting it out in my town and didn't invite me." Alex shifted, and a searing pain ran through his leg again. "On second thought," he grunted, "maybe that's a good thing."

Alex peered down at his leg. Feeling around the joints, recoiling at the various twinges of pain, Alex was gladdened to find that it wasn't broken, but oh, how it would hurt in the morning he thought. Alex yanked on the handle on the side of the chair, raising the footrest. "I think I'll just go to sleep right here," he said, closing his eyes and going to sleep almost instantly.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Alex started as he heard the alarm going off in his bedroom. "$#|+!" he yelled, forgetting for a brief second about his injured leg before the pain reminded him. Alex re-formed the cast from the night before and slowly rose to his feet. Stumbling to the bedroom, he shut off the alarm. As he turned around, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. "Christ," he muttered, looking at the black paint on his face, and the various cuts and bruises, "I look like total hell. Hope a shower cleans me up before work."

Alex was amazed at how well a hot shower cleared his mind. Dvorak could wait a few days until he healed. At least now, though, he knew what he was up against. Dvorak had to be taken down hard and fast, with no time for gratuitous grandstanding. Finding him, though, would be the tough part. Dvorak probably didn't get to where he was by being flashy and standing out in the open. His flunkies, however, would probably be willing to tell him, if not right away, after getting a few limbs broken.

Alex checked himself in the mirror again. There were obvious places where various injuries still showed, but he could always say he went to a concert at Bogart's. In fact, Cannibal Corpse had played last night, so there was his excuse—hazards of the mosh pit. Alex threw his uniform on. With a little effort, he managed to form a smaller version of his cast underneath his pant leg, bracing it so he could walk. Alex drug himself to work.

After the initial lies to his co-workers, Alex's day went pretty smooth, that is, until Looney Toons was interrupted by a sharp display of static, and then some large, metallic, four-armed thing came on over the air...

"Greetings," it said. "I am Shiva. I am Death's destroyer. I send you this message so that you might know of my coming and despair. In three days, a virus of my creation will begin to spread out on the surface of this planet, from special bombs I have invented. It will kill 86.5% of the population of Earth. To prove that I am not lying, in three hours my bride, Kali, will attack and destroy the city of New York, in the Americas. Then she will head west, annihilating all in her path. That is the message of Shiva. Have a nice day."

"...B-B-B-B-That's all, folks!"

Which pretty much said it all, in fact. Alex heard several of the utensils drop to the floor. Dvorak was going to have to wait. Cincinnati was a big city. More than likely, one of the virus bombs was planted in or around it. One of Alex's co-workers, Jim, summed up everybody's feelings in one word, "F*ck....."


NEXT:
Alex deals with the effects of Rig Veda.
See Pulse #8, Legacy #6, and Seekers #5 for the initial effects of Shiva's actions.
[Shiva's speech imported from Pulse #8. —Thanks, Mark. ;) ]

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