Chapter 22 – Overdrive System, Engaged
“You’re supposed to be dead,” Nova screamed as he kept firing beams of light at the teleporting Vulcan. “You’re supposed to be dead!”
“Sorry to disappoint, you fucking prick!” Vulcan shot a volley of fireballs from the air, but Nova blocked them with a barrier of hard light. Vulcan teleported again and landed at the far side of the room. He took out Agni and fired a few hot streaks at Nova. Nova disappeared in a flash of light before the shots hit him.
“I guess I’m going to have to fix that,” Nova said as he appeared in front of Vulcan and socked him in the jaw. “This time, I’ll kill you personally!” Nova charged energy in his hands, but before he could release it, Vulcan uppercutted him and kicked him hard in the gut.
“You couldn’t do it then, Silas, what makes you think you can do it now?”
“Because I can do this now!” Nova entered a code on a console hidden on his arm and said, “Overdrive System, engaged! Burst Mode, activate!” The sun patterns on Nova’s white armor began to glow more intensely, causing them to spark. He vanished in a brilliant flash and then reappeared in front of Vulcan and shot a blast of light at point blank range.
The blast was powerful enough to knock Vulcan through the wall, and into the other room. Vulcan struggled through the rubble, but Nova beat him back down. Nova created spikes of hard light floating above Vulcan. He let one fall, piercing Vulcan’s left shoulder. He let out a pain-filled scream as the spike began to sear his shoulder. Before Nova could drop the other spikes, Vulcan shot a stream of fire at Nova. Nova dodged the attack, but his concentration was broken, causing the hard light constructs to dissipate.
Vulcan got up from the rubble, staggering as he moved. Nova pressed on with his attacks, not giving Vulcan any chance to catch his breath. “Die, die, die,” Nova repeated as he continued to punch Vulcan in the face. “Why won’t you die? Why won’t you die? You’re supposed to be dead! Why won’t you die?!”
Vulcan released a wave of energy from his suit, drastically draining his power reserves, and threw Nova off of him. Nova crashed into the far wall. Vulcan fell to his knees. His left shoulder was throbbing with pain, but Vulcan kept moving. He struggled to get up as Nova walked toward him, sun patterns sparking.
“Why,” asked Nova. “Why do you fight me so hard? Why couldn’t you kill yourself or let it go? Why do you keep fighting me?!”
“You killed everything I have ever loved,” Vulcan growled. “Do you really think I could just let it go and let you live?!”
“Well, you could have,” said Nova. “You’ve been chasing me, what, ten years now? You can’t do anything to stop me! Then or now!”
Vulcan raised himself to his feet. He took a few deep breaths and said, “I can do this. Overdrive System, engaged! Ignition Mode, activate!” He let out a scream of pain and anger as the entire room was engulfed in flames.
All the soldiers stood at the ready as they waited for the dust to settle. Lt. Hicks was filled with anger, but he kept his composure. He was angry at Anderson and Daniels for having to sacrifice themselves. He was angry at himself for not being able to stop them. And he was angry at Deus and Nova for forcing them into this position.
“Something’s moving,” shouted a Shade soldier. Every soldier focused their aim at the cloud of smoke and dust. That was when it came out. A Golem had survived the blast and was coming for them. Its back was blown open and it was missing its left arm, but it rushed forward and started powering up its laser.
The Flares and Shades started shooting at the crippled Golem, but the bullets just bounced off its armor. The Golem fired its laser, but its aim went out of control. The laser beam ran all over the floor and walls, hitting several soldiers unlucky enough to be in its path. Hicks dodged out of the way and grabbed a couple of charges. He ran around the battlefield to get behind the Golem and threw them at the gaping hole on its back. The Golem’s head and shoulders blew off and the rest of its body toppled over.
The soldiers cheered their “Huzzas” as the Golem went down. Victory was theirs, but they’ve yet to win the war. The soldiers made their way upstairs, Hicks leading the way, in hopes to help Nightmare and Vulcan, if it wasn’t too late.
The entire building shook with every blow as the wolf fought against the god. Ignoring their surroundings and their abilities, both armored warriors were looking to kill each other with their bare hands. Deus grabbed Nightmare by the throat and repeatedly punched him in the gut. Nightmare tried to break free, but Deus’ grip was like a vice. Nightmare kicked him in the jaw with his right foot, and then brought his heel to Deus’ temple. Nightmare broke free from the choke hold and drove his knee to Deus’ gut.
Deus keeled over, but then he uppercutted Nightmare. Nightmare fell to the floor, a bit dazed, as Deus got up to drop his elbow on Nightmare’s throat. Nightmare rolled out of the way at the last second. Both warriors stepped away from each other, breathing hard, but ready to defend themselves should the other attack.
“We seem to be at a stalemate,” Deus said in between breaths. “We can keep fighting till doomsday and a winner will yet to be decided.”
“Or you could just surrender,” said Nightmare. “You’ve lost, Deus. Your army is defeated. Your lapdog is dead. Your fortress has been taken over. What more can you do?”
“Well, there is one thing I can do, and it’s something you can do, too.”
Both of them got to their feet, entered the code on their arm console and said, “Overdrive System, engaged!”
“Almighty Mode, activate!”
“Berserker Mode, activate!”
The grey accents on Nightmare’s armor began to glow silver and his golden-yellow eyes turned red. Deus’ plain, golden armor had tribal-like markings rise up to the surface in the same blood-red color as his visor and cloak. Deus drew his sword from the sheath on his side, and Nightmare dipped his hand into a Void and pulled out Noctifer, holding it in its sheath at his side.
“I will avenge Ifrit’s death,” Deus growled.
“And I will avenge the souls you killed,” said Nightmare in his ghostly whisper.
Deus rushed Nightmare with blinding speed, bringing his blade in a downward arch, but Nightmare blocked it with Noctifer without taking it out of the sheath. Both warriors kept pushing against one another, trying to break the other’s resistance. Deus slashed and slashed, but Nightmare continued to block. He saw an opening and Nightmare side-stepped away from Deus and hit him with the end of the sheath.
Nightmare connected the sheath to his hip and drew Noctifer out. Its blade shone with a silver-blue light and gave off a quiet hum. Deus charged at him in full force and attacked, but Nightmare parried each attack with relative ease. Nightmare went on the offensive and slashed multiple times, aiming for Deus’ chest. Deus parried every attack with a counterattack. In their accelerated state, they saw each other’s movements in slow motion, but the rest of the world around them moved in a blur.
Their swords clashed and danced as they tried to outmatch each other in skill, speed, and power, but each attack was met with a counterattack. Realizing that swordplay alone will not determine a victor in this fight Deus jumped away and fired a rapid succession of energy spheres at Nightmare. Nightmare ghosted out of the way, his Dark Void shield only effective against physical objects, and shot a partially-charged Moonlight Slash. The attacks missed, The Slash destroyed a few of the pillars in the room, whereas the energy balls blew open a large hole in the wall that led outside.
Nightmare concentrated dark energy in his left hand, but it dissipated before it could fully form. He saw Deus’ hand glow a dark color and realized that he was cancelling Nightmare’s abilities. “Fuck this,” Nightmare seethed and pulled out one of his guns and started shooting.
Deus ghosted away, circling the room as the bullets came flying, leaving a trail of liquid as he moved. He ran his sword across the trail, sparking it, and a ring of fire encircled both of them. Unable to rely on his Shadow Bracers or Shadow Hand, Nightmare continued to shoot at Deus, using both guns now, but Deus continued to ghost around and shoot energy balls at him.
Deus released a large ball of concentrated energy. Nightmare holstered his gun and pulled out Noctifer, but he was too slow and the blast blew him out of the building. He fell almost twenty stories, but within the last ten, he pulled out his grappling hook and controlled his descent. He still hit the ground with a hard thud and the breath was knocked out of his lungs. Pain shot through his entire body when he tried to move.
It started to rain suddenly, the summer heat wave finally broken. Nightmare looked up at the sky, expecting to see clouds, but instead he saw the silver length of Deus’ sword at his throat.
Deus raised his sword in a motion to stab Nightmare through the jugular and said, “You lose.” Before he could move, however, floors from the building began to explode.