Grant watched Thump drop to a heap on the road. The group’s best hand-to-hand specialist was defeated in just a few maneuvers. White Noise was yanked out of the sky and body slammed into the sewer pipes beneath the road. Stretch and Krystal were defeated within seconds of White Noise. The only member of Fortress stand was him. His only power was the ability to communicate in any language.

Sure, he had learned hand-to-hand from Thump and even worked out with Krystal. He was in shape, in fact considered an Olympic Athlete in several sports. But he was not trained for direct confrontation.

“What are you going to do, Cryptik?” The voice of the SWAT commander came over the ear bud they all shared.

Thought built up behind Grant’s eyes. He had earned his spot on the team, not just by his unique abilities, but because he learned how to adapt. “I guess I am going to have to stop this thing.”

The thing in question was six feet tall with the general appearance of a human, but did not have a face. It’s hands had three fingers, and it was bullet and blast proof. When Krystal hit it, she managed to take it off its feet, but it just stood up and charged back in.

“Commander Scott, if I go down, you are on your own.” Grant moved out into the road in the direct line of this thing.

The thing paused a few heartbeats, then continued forward at a faster pace. Grant shifted on his feet, bringing his hands up, and keeping his knees flexed. “Just make it quick, Grant.”

As the creature got closer, it raised an arm and clenched a fist.

Grant noticed that an orange-shimmering path formed from the thing’s hand and extended for him. The trajectory had it collide with his legs. He didn’t feel anything from the orange-shimmer.

The fist launched, turning into a blur. Grant’s eyes widened, and he jumped, tucked his legs up, wrapped his arms around them, and rolled. His momentum sent him over the creature to land on both feet behind it.

The thing buried it’s hand into the asphalt, sending chunks spraying and causing a small tremor.

What just happened?

Grant looked at his opponent and saw the path again. This time it came from in front of the creature in a circle from the other arm. The path of the shimmer carried into Grant’s torso. Again, there was no sensation from the shimmer touching him.

The thing spun, using the other arm. It followed exactly the path Grant saw in orange.
As the arm careened closer, Grant spotted a green flash. It was over the torso of the creature. The flash contrasted with the silver-grey of the skin of it.

Grant squared, letting the odd shaped hand pass over him. Raising up, he balled up a fist and connected it with the green flash.

There was a hollow boom as Grant finished his punch. Looking at his hand, Grant couldn’t see anything wrong with it. His gloves were reinforced and protected him from most things. He felt the contact, but nothing hurt on him.

The green flash appeared again, this time around the neck area.

So far, this thing hasn’t led me wrong.

Using the long, meaty side of his hand, Grant nailed the green flash with a perfect chop. A crack appeared in the skin of the creature where Grant made contact.

The orange path appeared, this time twins. They directed from both hands and would meet on his head.

Damn! If I back out of that, I don’t think I will get another chance.

Like the double orange paths, two green flashes appeared. These were at the creatures knees, on the inside of each leg.

Grant danced and kicked with the instead of one foot onto the opposite knee, then swept it back to the other knee. The creature started to lower, taking the orange path with it.

Grant planted a hand on the shoulders of the falling silver creature, and flipped over to the other side as the metallic like hand clanged where he stood an eye-blink ago.

Turning to face the slumped creature, Grant saw several green flashes over the torso, arms, and head of the creature. Grant paused.

I don’t know what those things are, but I am glad they are here.

The creature pushed off the ground in an attempt to stand. Grant slammed a fist into one of the green flashes. The creature slammed into the ground.

Another twitch, the green flashes adjusted, and Grant kicked one. Again the creature fell flat.

Krystal and Thump walked up behind Grant. Their breathing coming in ragged gasps. Thump’s face was bruised, and an eye was swollen shut. Krystal showed cracks, but they were fading.

“It’s down, Grant.” Krystal put a hand on his shoulder.

“Yeah, don’t kill it.” Thump moved to his side.

“I don’t want to, but it won’t stay down.” Grant turned to face the man who had taught him how to fight. “What do I do?”

“Try this.” Krystal handed him a device that looked like a gun, but it was modified with wires, pipes, and other various electronics. She was an inventor on the side and made this.
Grant took the device and waited.

The silver creature stirred and rumbled to get up right. A single green flash appeared on it’s head. Grant aimed and pressed the button.

The silver creature froze in place and didn’t move.

SWAT moved in. So did ambulances and other rescue crews.

“Cryptik, how did you do that,” Thump asked when he had been seen by some EMTs.

“What are you talking about?” Grant tilted his head looking at the heavily scarred man.

“None of us could make a dent in that thing. Not that you are a slouch, but let’s be real here.”

“You didn’t see those lights? The orange and green ones?”

“No.” Krystal answered. “What lights? Where were they?”

“Ummm…This is going to take some explaining.”


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