Monday, May 28, 2012

Chapter 6: Porter's Revenge

The trees were not as pale and baron at their current new altitude. The forests were alive. Spring was upon them, and the solstice would soon be here. A hooded hunter stalks them from the forest canopy over the road, too stealth for even the Gunslinger's keen senses. It was getting late, deep into the twilight hours of the day, the oncoming night was so clear. Charlie looked up at the stars.

"Full moon, tonight..."

The Gunslinger looked up at him from lighting the fire. He approached the boy with his hand over his gun. "What did you say?" he grabbed him earnestly looking up.

"The moon....its a full moon...that's all..."

The Gunslinger threw down Charlie and took his gun out. He stared down the moon up above but to no avail.

This was not what he expected, this was never supposed to be a part of the trials. His new found awareness of the change shifted his gravitational balance. He stumbled back and dropped his pistol. Charlie got back up as the Gunslinger fell. Disoriented, he did not see the rock on the floor that collided with his head.

Rifle shots blast the trees to pieces overhead. They are being fired upon. Charlie panicked. The Gunslinger was out cold. Charlie was not strong enough to move him, and he could not leave him, especially after such a fit. So Charlie grabbed the rifle and headed towards the direction where the gunfire came from.

*  *  *

The Gunslinger wakes up and feels the rock-steady pillow damp with his own blood. He gets around to his knees and vomits. The Gunslinger hears gunshots and wastes no more time at his surrounding irreversible predicament. He runs into the treeline and can see the crossfire ignitions. Charlie is pinned down by two unknown gunmen. The Gunslinger sneaks around and jumps out behind them.

"Where'd you boys come from?" the Gunslinger guesses, both his pistols drawn and aiming at their guts. One tries to pull on him and the Gunslinger blasts him away. The other uses the distraction of his partner's execution to tackle the Gunslinger. They grapple with each other on the ground for control over the two scattered pistols. Charlie walks up on them and points his rifle at the surviving gunman.

The gunman looks up, "You..."

"I don't know you, stranger." Charlie declares.

He looks up at the rifle Charlie was holding. "You will pay for what you've done."

Charlie cannot make sense of what this guy means, but before he can ask him why he keeps staring at the rifle, the Gunslinger shoots him in the back of his head with both of his revolvers.

"Why did you do that!" Charlie screams in frustration.

"He was going to kill us."

"I wanted to know what he was talking about..."

"No you don't. I know already," the Gunslinger rambled, "It's not very important anymore."

"It's important to me? What could be more important!?"

"...the moon..." The Gunslinger stared up at the night sky again.

"What about it?"

"Where I come from there is no moon..."

"How could there be no moon?"

"...Because we live on the moon."

"What're you saying... that you're an... alien?"

"I'm saying that I don't think I'm on Endari Four anymore..."

"That's a joke. You're joking. Oh God, is that even a real thing? ....I think that rock did more damage than we thought," but upon saying that Charlie realized he was acting weird about the sky before he hit his head. "This is crazy..."

The Gunslinger looked back down at the kid, "Hence the falling and vomiting.."


"Oh, you weren't there for that...there was also vomiting."

"How could you be from another planet if everything is the same? We've talked about the Gunslingers and MountainTop, the five trials, the road...What about the road being exactly the same..."

"...Two worlds...exactly the same in every way...except their place in the universe..."

"...This is crazy..."

"You said that already."

Charlie let the rifle hang in his hand to the point where the barrel's tip was resting on the ground. How could this possibly be? There was no such thing as space travel or aliens...One thing was certain though, after they returned to the road they would take their horses and go their separate ways. Charlie assumed that the Gunslinger would give up his plight to achieve the Rite of Passage and return north.

The Gunslinger pulled his guns back out and swung around like he heard something.

"What is it?" Charlie lifted up the rifle and cocked it.

Two horses broke out of the treeline holding a net. The Gunslinger shot twice before jumping out of the way. The bullets missed and the net swooped up Charlie, and they carried him away. The Gunslinger whistled and ran after them. Before long they began to get away, The Gunslinger was winded and about to give up when his horse came to get him. Without breaking stride he mounted it. They chased after Charlie and the horsemen, furiously catching up to them, back to the road. Except it was not where they had set up camp, but farther down. A place called, "Porter Township Hall."

The Gunslinger got off his horse and slapped their asses to go back into the woods and wait. There were ten horses hitched to the posts outside of the building. One of the horsemen tied Charlie up outside and the other carried the rifle into the hall. The Gunslinger got around the hall without being seen and got the jump on the man tying up Charlie. He slit his throat with his knife and caught him, quietly laying him down. "We're getting outta here," the Gunslinger reassured Charlie as he untied him.

"What do they want with me?"

"It's the rifle. They've been tracking the rifle." He finishes untying Charlie. The Gunslinger puts his fingers in his mouth to whistle for the horses. But before he can they are reprimanded and dragged into the hall. 

*  *  *

The Gunslinger was clean knocked out by one of the guards who struck him right on his wounded head. A hood was thrown over Charlie's face as they were both dragged inside. The Hall was but one room, very small; nowhere special. Charlie could feel himself being tied around a stake, first his ankles, then his wrists. He could hear multiple footsteps around him and people going up and down steps. The Gunslinger still made no noise.

The hood was taken off and Charlie got a look around. The Gunslinger was coming-to beside him, tied to a stake as well. Three man stood in front of them with seven others on the bleachers behind them. The fist one was fat and tall, he looked like a grizzly in outlaw skins. The second one was slender and wore fancy clothes, as if he was never meant for the wild west. The third one who stood before Charlie and the Gunslinger was a perfect combination of the two. He held the bolt action rifle and had a gold fang cap on his tooth.

"We are the Porters." Gold Fang told them.

"..." The Gunslinger could barely open his right eye it was so swollen.

"Our father is dead...." the Griz spoke out, and Gold Fang finished the thought, "You were caught with his rifle..."

The Gunslinger said nothing. He didn't even look up at them.

"Fine..." Slick laughed as he walked up between his brothers Griz and Gold Fang, "We know you are a Gunslinger...and you gave the rifle to this boy as a decoy..."

Charlie looked over at the Gunslinger. He could not believe that to be true. He had faith in the Gunslinger, that he was looking out for his best interest, not setting him up. The Gunslinger lifted his head up, looking them dead in the eyes....and still did not speak.

"Then we will just have to kill you both."

The Gunslinger spat on Slick's shiny boots. He slapped the Gunslinger in the face with the back of his gloved hand. Griz came over to him next and beat his face in with his fists. Charlie screamed and tried to get free of the bonds.

"Enough, brother." Gold Fang insisted.

Griz backed up and Gold Fang issued an order to set the stakes on fire. The guards that brought them in both lit torches and descended the stairs.

"This is Porter Hall, and now you pay for the atrocities of our family."

"The Gunslinger told me about you people, filthy cannibals don't know the meaning of the word 'atrocity'."

"We are not cannibals." Gold Fang is insulted by the insinuation.

"We only hunt man." Griz added.

"After all, they are the world's most dangerous game."  Slick concluded sinisterly.

The guards both try to scream before they fall down the stairs. Two arrows run through their lungs and heart each. A hooded figure perched on the windowsill up above them releases two more arrows at once, taking down two more guards, and jumps into the bowels of the bleachers. Slick grabs the torch and lights the Gunslinger's duster on fire.

Charlie grinds the ropes against the wooden stake. He can feel it, they are about to break.

Gold Fang shoots at the mysterious intruder. "This is my father's hall!"

Griz pulls a tomahawk from his satchel and launches into the shadows, pinning the cloaked figure to the wall. He is too big to go down their and get her, so Slick goes instead. The ropes snap and the cloak is left pinned to the wall. Two gunshots rain down from the rafters. It is the intruder. Griz and Gold Fang open fire.

Now free from his bonds, Charlie unties the Gunslinger and holds his blazing duster as his limp body falls out of it. Charlie drags him from harm, grabbing the attention of Griz. He turns his guns on them, but before he can fire, Charlie has the Gunslinger's pistol pointed at him. He shoots him twice in the shoulder before catching his third shot right in between his eyes.

Slick climbs out of the bleachers and watches his brother get murdered. Gold Fang turns around at the sound of the shots. Charlie fires three more shots, landing two into Gold Fang's chest. And Slick picks up the bolt action rifle as his other brother drops, running out of the hall.

Charlie drags the Gunslinger out of the building just in time as the fire catches the walls. Slick rides back up the road, back towards Porter Lake. Griz's fallen corpse burns in the hall. Unseen by anyone, Gold Fang crawls out of the hall before it is engulfed in flames. Charlie gets the Gunslinger to the horses before he drops down, winded. The remaining posse members crash down on Charlie. Charlie fires the pistol, but its chambers are empty. Another volley of arrows bring them to their end.

The stranger walks out of the doors as they crumble and burn. The sun reveals their savior.

With a bow slung over her shoulder and a gun on her hip, it was a little easier for Charlie to accept the fact that they were just saved by a woman. She picks up a hat off a dead man and puts it on. She already has a gun-belt on her hip like them, but she is not like them. She is beautiful and lethal. Her sun-kissed blond hair caresses her fallen prey as she gratuitously removes her arrows from their flesh.  

Charlie is astonished. He struggles to find words.

She looks around at the empty road and the nine riderless horses still hitched on the post. She kneels down next to them on the ground. "Don't worry, he's going to be okay."

"Why did you save us?"

"Most people ask me who I am first."

"Thank you."

The girl stood up in a knee-jerk reaction. She looked at Charlie's face like she couldn't understand him. The Gunslinger stirred awake. When Charlie looked back up, she was running into the inferno. "NO WAIT!" he yelled as he chased her to the doorway. "DON'T!" A sign that once read, "Porter Township Hall" breaks and falls to flames between him and the doorway.

Charlie turns back. The Gunslinger gets himself up onto his horse. He is still badly injured. Charlie watches as the Gunslinger walks the horse out to the road. He watches to see which path he will take: the road north to figure out what has happened to him, or the road south to continue his Rite of Passage.

Charlie mounts his horse and heads south. Fact is, the question was never answered whether or not the Gunslinger was setting Charlie up as a decoy, but in light of all that he still trusted the Gunslinger with his life and continued riding down the road.

Their blond heroine watches them head towards her clan's territory, the last ridge of the mountain before its final descent. They will find no sanctuary there...

She no longer has the dead man's hat on, it is replaced by her cloak. She slides the hood up over her golden locks while holding Griz's tomahawk in her other hand.

...Not without her ...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

And now, the epic conclusion of Act Ten: The Battle for New York City...


Times Square, New York

The clouds thunder and part and the Shadow Man is caught in the break of daylight. Sensei jumps at the opportunity as the clouds part further, channeling the storm into two fronts. Fitzsimons stands up, his eyes harnessed grey fury. Lightning from both storms pull down and around him, and draw together, making one massive bolt right through Fitzsimons. It releases from the ground and the storms rain down from all sides, sweeping into the mad research scientist. He was right. This was it. The Storm Harvester was taking him over for good. Philip had to do something...

DarkFlood blasts up and snatches the Man of Shadow. Sensei demands him, "NO!" The Shadow smiles, fulfilling his destiny as Philip transmits his powers. What he does not know is the man in black was no man at all, and absorbing his powers meant inheriting his entire entity. The Shadow Man was no more, but not dead.

Sensei was banished to the Infinite Abyss for failing his mission. A treacherous place where no living being has ever returned.

Philip uses the darkness he absorbed to inhibit the storm from brewing.

He cuts Fitzsimons off from the possession and frees him. The Storm Harvester is caught in between physical states and is at its weakest. Fitzsimons wakes up and sees the storm hovering right above him.

"Thank you..." he stammers, "Thank you, Philip."


Dr. Fitzsimons looked into Philip Dresden's eyes and all he saw was darkness.

"You killed my wife."

DarkFlood holds his hand up and creates a pulse blast inside of Fitzsimons skull, killing him instantly.

The Storm Harvester above searches for a new host.

In desperation it possesses Faulkner. Philip smiles. His last trap finally sprung. This would be the Storm Harvester's ultimate undoing. Not too long ago, in the Afghan Hindu Kush Philip touched Faulkner's dead heart with that of the Divine Catalyst when it was still in plant form. The affects lay dormant until triggered by this very moment. The contradiction of two opposing forces living in themselves obliterated each other, cancelling them out. But the Divine Catalyst survived through Philip.

Faulkner collapsed into himself and the Storm Harvester was wiped from existence. The ultimate death for a cosmic force. But even fools know that nothing dies forever. DarkFlood knelt down next to Faulkner and Fitzsimons dead bodies. The battle for New York City was finally over. The fallen skyscrapers lay lateral across the sporadic stone spikes still sticking out of the two streets. Times Square was in ruins. It was a nightmarish scene. But the battle for New York was over...

Everything would change once again...

Lazarus carried Dr. Randolph's dead body to the square. After the tide of the battle had swayed, and enough soldiers died, including Faulkner and Fitzsimons... the Alchemist and Ollie retreated into the city. 

Yvonne pounced on Jason hiding backstage. "Coward!" she hissed at him. She had been psyching herself up to make her first kill. After seeing all the death around her, her blood-lust grew past rational control. She zeroed-in on the weakest of them and had now separated him from the rest of the group.

Yvonne was finished hunting her prey. Now was the time...

The beautiful french girl with long dark hair straddled Jason as she choked the life from him. The death of Faulkner was bizarre and wrong. Its fumes sought her out and compelled her away from Jason. The kid runs as she approaches DarkFlood still knelt down by the bodies.

"You did this..."


"You are more powerful than any of them, stranger..." Yvonne circled around him slowly, rubbing his shoulder with her fingertips, "Why not take what is yours and stop letting life pass you by?" She knelt down in front of him, facing him. Yvonne kisses DarkFlood and he enjoys it before pushing her away. Yvonne falls back onto Faulkner's body and the lingering essence of death drains into her. It is a strange sort of feeling, one unlike any death she has come across.

Like a phoenix, the Storm Harvester's ashes gather in Yvonne, to one day resurrect.  

Lazarus drags Randolph's body over to Philip and releases him as Moses and Vlad return. Philip looks down on the doctor. His men stand behind him, all affected by the battle, all stronger than ever. "Many of the prisoners died." Vlad told them, but Philip did not care. "You could have prevented all this from happening...."

"That's not how it works." Philip did not face Vlad to answer him. In fact, he was growing sick of their puny human insolence. And so was Vlad...sick of hearing the same excuse day in and day out without ever an explanation.

"IS THIS HOW IT WORKS!" Vlad held Randolph's head up revealing his vacant face. "Did you know he was going to die when you brought him here to the fight?"

"He was never meant to be more than human."

"You knew and you still did it?" Moses spoke up.

"You don't understand..."

"You're going to lead us all to our deaths, aren't you..." Vlad persisted.

"How long until we die?" Lazarus wanted to see for himself.

DarkFlood looked back at the first three. He knew there would be many of his disciples in the days to come, and like the first three...they would all eventually get to know Philip well enough to realize what he truly was; and therefore his fate was already decided. He would always be alone...

"Everyone dies, you should know that most of all."

Monday, May 7, 2012


 Times Square, New York

Moses threw obstacle after obstacle into the ground after retreating from the stage. The Alchemist walked through the air like a mist was carrying him. He swiftly kicked and jumped over Moses' obstacles. Moses was worried and tried to keep up with everything around him. He fell back into the battle between revolting refugees and the soldiers imprisoning them. Moses used them as a means to get his shit together. He backed up next to a parked car and tried to visualize everyone fighting around him on the concrete.

DarkFlood blocks another strike from Faulkner as he pushes back and feels Moses' mind projecting from the square. He needs help. DarkFlood closes his eyes and transmits his sonar and visions to help access what Moses needs. Moses screams in hysterical pain and a cliff shoots up out of the street that lifts him and the parked car up twenty feet. DarkFlood takes the hit from Faulkner and Fitzsimons moans on the floor, distracting both of them.

"You don't understand..." Fitzsimons coughed on the floor, "Soon I will become him completely."

"Then who is really the enemy!?" Philip yelled out as Seventh and Broadway were decimated by razor sharp cliff spiking out of the ground. "THE THIEF..." the two streets hemorrhage asphalt, "...OR THE MURDERER!"  The stone spikes come to a fine point where many have plunged into the hearts of Fitzsimons' mindless soldier drones. But it does not stop the Alchemist.

Moses turns himself into a stone giant. The Alchemist laughs, he feels his opponent is now ready to fight like the gods they were.

He pulls a giant golden sword out and cuts a curved slice up to Moses' stone giant head. The Alchemist puts the sword away and runs up the slice before it fades, leaping onto Moses' shoulder. Moses shrinks back down to normal size, his head last, and they both plummet back down to the floor. The Alchemist throws two golden ropes from his hands attaching to the walls of the towers and Moses raises the ground below him to catch his fall. The Alchemist throws two golden discs at Moses and he counters by raising a wall to block them.

The discs shatter into dust and dissolve the wall. The Alchemist blows the gold dust forward and it forces Moses to inhale the golden slivers, scraping his lungs. Moses coughs and heaves. He doesn't know what to do. The Alchemist drops down on his back with his elbow. Moses turns over and pulls the concrete of the street through his chest knocking the Alchemist in the face. Moses slams his fist into the road and pulls up electrical chords connected to a streetlight. He swings the chords down and they crush the street light into the Alchemist.

The ground shakes and a short earthquake drops Moses down into the trench he formed from the pulled-up chords and the crack. He looks for his enemy. The Alchemist runs in the dark cavern, his shadow shining off a reflection for Moses to see. He chases him down and the Alchemist jumps out from behind him. He grabs Moses' face and turns him to gold. He is frozen into a statue. Moses pulls the earth beneath his feet once again and manifests enough pressure to break the golden hold. The Alchemist loses control over his opponent and the gold cracks. Underneath the shedding gold skin, Moses is pure stone...

He can feel it. He is more dense. It takes more to move but he adapts. Moses feels everything more as the weight of the world folds all around him. His gravitas shifts and he sees the world a little differently from now on. He is the stone, one in the same. And he could do whatever he wanted. The stone skin re-solidified into different colors. He could mimic his old appearance. Luckily he was bald to begin with, along with the black vest he was wearing it didn't take much. And what the hell, he decided to keep his grey-stone arms.

Moses was reborn in his natural habitat beneath the earth's crust. 

Lazarus and Yannie hold each others hands, father and son, and bend the light around Hydro. He is bound by the light. If he touches it he will be thrown through time and space. Randolph pants on the ground as the build up of unnatural energy is forcing him to go into cardiac arrest. He releases rogue pulse blasts to try and ventilate the overflow. They cut into the skyscrapers and cause them to buckle and break, plummeting into the square. The Hatter walks up to him and stares down at the dying doctor, smiling "Just as I thought..."

"No..." Randolph squirmed.

"I knew you would be an easy win..." The sociopath laughed at the mistake, " especially when your so-called friend already signed your death warrant."

The Hatter was not making any sense. Randolph could barely concentrate. His heart was failing. The pain was blinding, it cut him off from the world. All he could hear was his heartbeat dying out. This was the end for him. Lazarus and Yannie slam the cage down on the Hatter, trapping him with Hydro. Hydro extends his arm into the Mad Hatter's face as he mutes his screams. Yannie closes the cage, combining it with Hydro's water, and the three of them are sent off through space and time.

The alleyway fight is over. But all is not lost... Lazarus looks at his hands, they are flesh, he was no longer like Sensei or Yannie, a being of light. He was human once again. Lazarus knows the selfless sacrifice his son had made, and loves him for it. He could only hope that one day he can join him in glory, but right now he was needed by his friend. The kind doctor who looked after his boy for free after he nearly died in the fire. Laz runs over to the still body on the ground. He stands over him, never expecting to see that...

Dr. Randolph was dead.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Times Square, New York

"...A thief of the Cosmos,"

" the Divine Catalyst is nothing more than immortal incarnation, an immovable object who stole a planet from the fates of the Cosmos and gave humanity the undeserved gift of self awareness and curiosity. The Cosmos knew all of time and could foresee this happening. In their infinite wisdom they let history unfold as it should, but not without imprisoning the immortal force on the planet as an inanimate object."

"In the time since, it has become powerful enough to transfer material shells, even into living bodies, such as a planet, and eventually...a human...before it makes it final attempt, over the backs of those it once blessed, to escape its planetary confinement...back into the stars..."Fitzsimons gasped as if he had been refused oxygen for several minutes.

Faulkner stepped in front of him like a mindless drone bent on killing DarkFlood. The Shadow Man used the darkness from the storm and the shadows cast by the skyscrapers to overcome Sensei. He was a giant phantom in the sky crashing down on the prisoners as Sensei flew up, a shooting star, and slices into the sea of shadow with his sword.

Randolph fought with the Hatter behind the stage. Each time Doctor Randolph let out another pulse blast, he was launched back. Now out in one of the alleyways, his power was exhausted and the Hatter approached him swinging his cane. Yannie appeared and grabbed Randolph's wrist. It felt cold. The grasp of pure light around his arm was fusing and boiling over. It recharged him and Randolph shot two more pulse blasts. The Hatter swung the can like a bat, knocking them both into discharge. Yannie disappeared and unbeknownst to Randolph returned to Lazarus who was retreating down the next corner.

Geronimo kept the epic clash in the sky from harming the prisoners as Ollie moved in with his squadron. Vlad only had a couple of minutes to rally all these people together. A stranger in a foreign land...only sharing one thing in common with them, one thing that made them feel like kin, persecution in the streets for nothing they could control themselves, fear of the masses.

"My friends....I know you're scared!" he calls out to them, "No one is coming to save us now."

So far this motivational speech was not doing the trick. The prisoners felt vulnerable, weak, nothing to fear but death itself. Vlad had to bring his words together and find a way to unite them. How better a reason then what had brought them together in the first place...

"But our lives are worth fighting for! They kill us because they fear us! Now they have done the worst thing imaginable! Brought us together to execute our kind! If we can band together right now as brothers and sisters... We are the next evolution of man and we can overcome this!"

The crowd cheered in the rainy, spot-light scattered military camp that was once Times Square and everyone stood together after hearing Geronimo. His words would echo throughout the generations, and he knew this was always a path for him. He knew the leader was within him, but never knew what would bring him to use it. Vlad led the charge as Ollie stayed in back of his flanks. Vlad froze the gravity of his opponents rendering them and their weapons useless. The prisoners rushed the troops.

Amongst the fight were many of the run of the mill abilities like super strength and super speed. One guy flew up into the air, swooping back down and picking up soldiers to drop them to their deaths. Another broke the fire hydrant and tapped into the spewing water. The water froze and he covered himself in the expanding ice, knocking back soldier after soldier.

Ollie let his men go first and get stuck in the field. He grabbed one of his own soldiers and snapped his neck, gaining the power to penetrate the zero gravity blockade. With Ollie and Yvonne they represented a breed of super human that becomes the majority common power.

 DarkFlood knew from his dreams that either one of them would become the leader. King or Queen of a specific sub-species of super humans that live forever with enhanced abilities as long as they kill. The taking of a life in essence is their immortality, the better the kill, the more powerful the man, or super human...the greater the power up. Every killer was different, some were natural born psychopaths like Oliver, and some were decent people with amazing potential such as Yvonne.

Ollie tackled Vlad and distracted him, releasing his troops to fight. They grappled on the ground, the soldiers fight the rallied prisoners; and Sensei cuts down the shadow back to merely a man like the rest of them, even though they still hover above the street as they continue to fight. The Shadow Man turns his scythe into a katana blade like Sensei's and they fight along the skyscrapers like they were back in the Himalayas...

DarkFlood stares at Fitzsimons as Faulkner tries to help him up. The Mad Hatter cracked Dr. Randolph in the face with his cane and laughed, "That one was just for me!" Lazarus heard them fighting but could not help as he continued keeping Hydro from reaching the square with the help of his son, Yannie. Yvonne stalked Jason backstage who was scrambling for a way to help. Meanwhile Moses StoneThrower faced scrutinizing odds against his foe, the Alchemist. He knew not who he was besides his name, but the implications of such a name imbedded the deepest fear in him; master of gold and immortality, he was a god...and Moses just a man...

Gold clashes against stone. How could he beat the Alchemist?

Thursday, May 3, 2012


 Times Square, New York

Philip Dresden has always seen this day coming in his dreams. He knew what must happen, but not how the pieces would fall, and many would fall. The sides were set, the arena ready for the great battle. This was the beginning of the end for the human race. No matter what happened today, no matter which side would claim triumph over the world to come, the outcome would remain the same. One day our Sun will go out and destroy the Earth and there will be no winners.

Philip had to find it in himself to fight for the time they had left, to not let humanity surrender so easily to anarchy. Once the world sees what happens here in New York...

"...Everything will change." DarkFlood told his men, Moses StoneThrower and Vladimir Geronimov.

"What do we do?"

"We wait..." DarkFlood told them.

"For what?"

"Not what...but who..."

* * *

Jason crawled out of the way as Sensei knocked the Shadow Man back with his pure white samurai sword. He looked exactly the same, except for his robes of light, that is what Jason would a dream. He had to move. He tried to run to Lazarus and Yannie but saw Hydro confronting them. Jason wanted to stay and fight, he admired Yannie for his bravery, but he knew DarkFlood was out there somewhere, and needed to be reunited with Sensei. So he ran...

In the windowsill of one of the square's many skyscrapers a man and woman vigorously go at it as they fear the end of the world is upon them. Her cheek is pressed against the glass. He scratches at her back and bites her shoulder and the snipers all across the square are too distracted by this to see DarkFlood, Moses, and Geronimo. That is until the woman presses her hand on the glass double-pane, shatterproof window and crushes it to dust. Her transformation gone by unnoticed. They lose their balance and both plummet naked to their deaths in the middle of Times Square. The crowd of people being rounded up go mad and the spotlights are turned on to aid the snipers.

Their cover is blown and DarkFlood tells them to drop down. Before he can, he is stopped by a sixth sense, or at this point a ninth or tenth sense. Something tells him not to go just yet. Even though he would be abandoning his men in the fight, he needed to wait...

Up in Westchester County a man looks at his hands as the very strands of his flesh come apart and turn into negative electricity, what ancient civilizations used to call absent lightning. He feeds off of regular electricity, and the only way to stay alive and with his family is to wipe the entire eastern seaboard of electricity. Times Square goes dark, along with the rest of Manhattan, Jason finishes climbing the rafters above the Times Square Building itself. Philip watches him from the adjacent rooftop as the kid punches into the mainframe of the building and uses it as a giant conductor to jump-start the city's power supply.

The building's lights come back on and reveal Jason to the snipers. DarkFlood teleports over to him and gets him out of plain sight before he is shot. The storm above cracks a bolt of lightning to the ground, pinning DarkFlood in place. He has not been able to finish his teleportation, both he and Jason are stuck in between dimensions. Fitzsimons drags the bolt of lightning to Times Square where he releases them. DarkFlood gets up. They are on a stage in front of every human who has transformed in the city. Jason catches his breath as he looks around, "We're going to die..."

Vlad and Moses posed as captives walking through the interment camp. At the crossroads of every street in the square were fences edged with barbed-wire almost fifty feet high. Above that, in the actual intersections were guard towers equip with floodlights and turrets. Soldiers herded the people in through the gates and used a process to separate them that both Vlad and Moses were going through now. First their information was taken down, name and background, etc. After that they were forced to show their powers to government research scientists at gunpoint. Yvonne, Oliver, and the Alchemist all supervised this phase of the process. They enjoyed the rich essence of killing a champion. Yvonne had still yet to murder anyone herself, and felt safe overseeing this part of Fitzsimons' process compared to the final stages.

It was now Vlad and Moses' turn to showcase their powers, they both found no better a moment than the present to begin their assault. Moses pulled chunks of the earth out of the ground and Vlad turned the gravity off in the camp. Everyone floated into the air. He magnetized all the guns to the floor and brought himself over to the scientists. The prisoners were set free. Fitzsimons, Jason, and Philip could hear them cheering as they took the gates.


The Mad Hatter jumped on stage and kicked Jason in the face with a roundhouse. "Be still, boy!"
The Square went dark and the shadow wound up together like a swirling curtain on stage to create the Shadow Man. Light blasted through as Sensei knocked Hatter to the floor with the handle of his sword. Lazarus and Yannie still fight Hydro in the alleyway.

The boulders Moses controls crush the weapons and pin down the soldiers and scientists as Vlad resets the gravity. He levitates Moses and himself to the stage. Jason backs up next to DarkFlood, Moses, Geronimo, and Sensei. The Alchemist, along with Yvonne and Ollie get onstage next to Fitzsimons, the Mad Hatter, and the Shadow Man.

"We're outmatched..." Moses whispered to Philip.

"No we're not. She won't fight..." he pointed to Yvonne.

"Wrong again, DarkFlood!" the Hatter yelled out. Fitzsimons nodded his head and one of the soldiers radioed Faulkner. He was posted outside of the Square rounding up all of the prisoners trying to escape. They were escorted back into the camp by Faulkner's squadron.

"Vlad, go." Philip knew nothing could stop him, especially after this...

The Shadow Man disappeared and so did Sensei. Vlad flew away and Fitzsimons ordered Oliver after him, "Kill the Russian."

Faulkner walked onstage and Yvonne backed away from the line. "Now you're outmatched," Fitzsimons informed him. It was Philip, Moses, and the kid versus the four of them. Philip knew what he had to do. He teleported back to Moses' Apartment where Dr. Randolph was still waiting.

"What do you say, Doc? Come to the rescue one more time?" Philip rubbed his hands together and they began to light up in a blue flame. "Concentrate on which of my powers you like most..." Philip threw his hands forward and propelled a charge into the Doctor's chest. He fell over and tried to say something. "No time!" Philip grabbed him and teleported back to Times Square. Randolph got to his feet on the stage and felt the new sensation coursing through his body. He stared over at every adversary ever to come across Philip, past and present. Directly in front of him was the Mad Hatter.

"Enough of this!"

"Tonight you pay for what you've done."

"Kill them all!" Fitzsimons yells out as The Alchemist attacks Moses, and the Hatter punches Dr. Randolph. Faulkner does not go after Jason but joins Fitzsimons in their final confrontation with Philip Dresden. "It's okay kid, I got this... Go help your Grandpa."

The Battle for New York City was upon them. Sensei flies around the square with the mysterious warrior of shadow; as Vlad calls upon the prisoners to fight for their freedom against Ollie and the super squadron of soldiers. Jason backs away and Yvonne stares at him from across the stage. Lazarus and Yannie run their spirits' array around Hydro, ensnaring him, trying to contain his unyielding fury. Moses collides with the Alchemist, stone against gold and Randolph launches two pulse blasts at the Mad Hatter; all of which happening around Philip who tries to reason with Fitzsimons one last time.

"If you stop all of this now I might still show you mercy."

"You are not the only one who can see into the future, DarkFlood. This was never meant to be how the world goes out."

"What are you talking about?"

"You wrought this on us all, Philip Dresden. As long as you keep the Divine Catalyst alive, you bring about the end of days..."

"You're lying."

"You know not the bounds of my existence. I am the Storm Harvester, the constant throughout time and space, keeper of the key to the universe..."

Philip could recognize the difference between talking with Fitzsimons and addressing the Storm Harvester, this was one of those times...when all traces of humanity were erased from his voice and his eyes bled the winds of the tornado in his pupils. Philip had to know after all this time, what all this really was...

"Then what am I?"

"The Divine Catalyst."

"And what is the Divine Catalyst?"

"...A thief."