Part 1

Earth Takes a Stand

Chapter One: The Scrap Yard

by Anonymous

Aurora found herself on the familiar route back to Los Angeles early one Sunday morning. The Arions had been far too quiet lately, and she was having more and more trouble trying to find them. The latest problem she heard about sounded extremely Arion in nature: A coolant problem at a high-energy particle physics laboratory just outside of LA. A little planted evidence here, a bit of suspicious looking sabotage there, and the Arions could have everyone pointing fingers at everyone else trying to figure out who just tried to contaminate one of the largest cities in the United States.

As she was accustomed to doing, she had flown over completely nude so she wouldn't shred her costume with her supersonic flight. Besides, the friction felt good against her bare breasts and overly-sensitive nipples. She'd brought a set of street clothes with her along with her costume on Chris's advice, just in case. It wasn't like it was inconvenient for a Velorian to carry an extra pound and a half! Even though it was early morning in California, Hawaii was still draped in darkness due to the time zone difference, and the change in light level was dramatic and invigorating as she flew into the rising sun.

After a quick dip in the ocean to cool her superheated body she slipped on her costume and left the small bag holding her street clothes near the shore where she could find them later. Albeit, where only she could find it later, buried as it was several feet underground! She saw that the beach was opening for the day, and there would doubtless be people around for several hours. That was okay though, she would be in the area for at least that long if the Arions really were involved.

Her arrival at the particle physics lab had proven to be a false lead, however. There was only one full-time technician on duty, and it turned out he had panicked at a false reading a broken gauge had given him. Damn! Not only was she pissed because she had flown over all exited over nothing, but now she had a few hours to kill in LA. It wasn't worth the bother to fly all the way back to Hawaii and then back again in a few hours just to pick up a backpack!

A little later, she considered reporting the technician to his superiors. She was just now getting over her frustration at not meeting any Arions and realized just how serious a false alarm at a particle physics lab is! Thinking back, however, she recalled only briefly glancing at his name tag and couldn't remember his unusual name. Well, whoever needed to know about the alarm would probably know about it soon enough. That sort of thing isn't exactly low profile!

She had flown to the top of the tallest building in the area to contemplate a few things. First and foremost, how a technician experienced enough to be the only one on duty could have made a mistake like that. Secondly, how she was ever going to stop an Arion invasion that she didn't even know for sure was happening! That was a comforting thought, that they'd given up and gone home. One that disappeared quickly.

Shortly after these and a number of other thoughts had become organized in her mind, she became aware of a high-pitched whine, like a capacitor being charged, and had the funny feeling she was being watched. Turning to the source of the sound, she observed a small orb with what looked like a large eye directly in the middle of it. It floated in the air as if it was a soap bubble, very light and calm, barely making any noise save for the capacitor charge and tiny hover mechanism. Looking more closely, she saw that it seemed to be made of several old pieces of various items, a virtual Frankenstien's monster of a construct. The casing looked like a reshaped toaster carcass, and the "eye" in the middle looked like it came from a hand-held camcorder.

Peering inside with her super vision, she saw a mass of resistors and diodes she couldn't even begin to comprehend. Blast these Terrans and their primitive circuitry, they may as will be using vacuum tubes! Suddenly the lack of noise as the capacitor became fully charged startled her. A panel opened in the top of the orb and a steel tube rose out from it slowly, a complicated mess of wires and whatnot attached to it. She cocked her head now, curiosity fully piqued.

A bright red light streamed forth from the turret and Aurora gasped in surprise. It was a weapon of some sort! She moved quickly to the side, but the turret swiveled to follow her every movement. A little more of this and she might actually start to feel it! Rushing forward, she took a swat at the little thing, but it nimbly backed off out of reach. The continuous red stream stayed focused on exactly the same spot on her chest just beneath her collarbone the whole time. She swatted twice more, but missed again and again. Finally, she got tired of this, and the heat was starting to get uncomfortable.

Aurora hadn't used her heat vision much. Usually her powerful arms and legs could pound or crunch anything they came in contact with. Unfortunately for her, she was having a hell of a time coming in contact with this annoyance! Using an ability she knew she had only used precious few times before, she unleashed a powerful violet blast from her eyes, instantly vaporizing the weak metal construct as she realized she had used far, far too much power!

Now she had no clues to go on, every scrap of evidence slowly floating away in a silvery cloud. The device was clearly not Arion in nature, it was not only far too primitive, but far too fragile! That left the Terrans to blame. But who? And more importantly, why?

Hopping lightly down from the roof, she started in the direction that the orb must have come from, the streets more or less deserted as it was early morning. Even the gang members had gone to sleep by this time. This was a bonus, there were no spectators around to get hurt. A media star like her nearly always attracted a crowd if there was one to attract.

She kept her ears open for any sign of where the orb had come from. About two blocks down, she heard a different high-pitched whine, and turned into an alley to try to find the source.

It was your stereotypical deserted alley. A fire escape led down from the building on the left, a large dumpster took up nearly half the alley about midway through, the place was dirty and paper and bottles littered the ground. Nothing unusual.

Until the dumpster lid flew open with a resounding clang that most likely woke up anyone who was still sleeping in about a 3 block radius. A thick metal pole with a hinge in the middle straightened out to elevate a bizarre looking contraption on its top. The thing had a solid metal sphere on each side of the "head," connected by a long steel cable. A loud bang propelled the odd bolos toward Aurora, wrapping around her arms and pinning them to her body!

Before she could make sense of the situation, two more arms quickly rose from out of the dumpster and reloaded the contraption, then it fired again and was quickly reloaded. This continued until a total of 5 solid metal bolos now wrapped Aurora like a chrome mummy from just under her chin to just above her knees.

The firing mechanism was staring straight at her almost as if it had eyes. Maybe it did. Regardless, the entire dumpster began to roll toward her on four small wheels underneath it. It stopped a few feet short, and the back end began to lift off the ground. It had obviously been meant to ensnare her, and then topple over on top of her! A dumpster that size weighted a considerable amount, and could easily crush a normal human under it.

But Aurora was just abnormal enough to respond to this situation. Flexing her incredible muscles to nearly three times their relaxed size, she easily tore through her bonds and raised her arms to stop the dumpster's assault. Garbage poured over her as she stopped the thing just after it passed the 90 degree mark. Furious at getting old food and God-knows-what-else all over her, she tore the dumpster in half! She quickly found the machine inside of it and tore into it with her bare hands. She ripped the firing mechanism from the pole with a single tug and crushed it into a small metal ball. Picking up the hinged pole like a baseball bat, she tossed the ball into the air and swung with all her star-born might, sending the newly dented sphere literally into orbit!

Her temper abated for the moment, she began to search through the remaining wreckage for any sign of Arion or Kintzi involvement. An alien power source, an impression left by a super-strong finger gripping the metal too tightly, some weird writing, even a UPC symbol would be helpful at this point!

click, whirrrr Aurora turned, expecting to see some news photographer catching her, covered with garbage, tearing apart a dumpster in a deserted alley. She suddenly felt extremely self-conscious as she realized how that would look to someone who didn't know what just happened! Instead, she saw another small orb, similar to the first one except this one went click.

"All right, who are you and why are you trying to piss me off!?" Aurora demanded, hoping that the orb had a microphone as well as a camera in it. Instead of answering, it turned and sped off far more quickly than it looked like it was able to. She ran after it with all her Velorian speed but found that while she was faster, it was more maneuverable. She tried to follow it through the maze of Los Angeles streets but lost it a number of times, her super sensitive hearing being the only clue as to where it was going. It's hover mechanism was very quiet, but well within her amazing ability to hear.


Moments later found her wandering a nearby scrap metal yard. Sure enough, enough old microwave parts and discarded VCR equipment was in plentiful supply for the taking here. She came to the conclusion that whoever was attacking her with these pitiful scrap-metal machines was looking for a showdown here.

click, whirrr She turned to see the little orb again, mockingly floating in the air well out of reach. "Whoever you are, you've pissed me off, all right? I'm getting sick of getting poked and hit now, so show yourself and we'll get this over with!"

At that, the little orb flew over her head and landed on the wreckage of an old '57 Chevy. Actually, it was only the front end of a '57 Chevy, the back end looked like it had been broken off in whatever accident landed it here in the first place. Suddenly, four small metal arms flipped up to secure the orb on the mangled hood, the headlights flipped on far more brightly than was normal for headlights, and the car actually rose off the ground, supported on two chicken-like legs!

The thing towered 9 feet in the air, the legs making up more than three quarters of its height. The knee joints bent backwards, making it walk a bit unnaturally and adding to its imposing appearance. The legs were made of a twisted agglomeration of just about every kind of long, thin metal part you could imagine. Everything from steel rebars used to hold concrete together to old car fenders were incorporated into their design. The '57 Chevy made up the "body" of the thing, if there was such a part to it. Two turrets of some kind were attached unceremoniously to the undercarriage of the vehicle, and seemed to follow her like eyes. The car swiveled and tilted freely on the legs and kept her centered in the incredibly bright headlights. Motors and gears whirled and cranked noisily as it moved around.

"What the hell is this!?" Aurora wasn't exactly expecting a '57 Chevy to grow legs and start walking around the scrap metal yard. Then again, she had been expecting a super powerful alien bent on the eventual domination of Earth to be here, so this seemed almost normal by comparison.

A loudspeaker apparently built from the car's stereo equipment let out a loud, horrific shriek that she couldn't place. It was oddly familiar, but she couldn't for the life of her think of what made that kind of tormented squeal. One thing was certain though, it sounded vaguely like death.

Blue bolts of some sort flared out from the twin turrets on the car, alternating left and right for a greater rate of fire. Each impact was powerful enough to nearly singe her flesh, but not quite. It was extremely uncomfortable though, and there were a lot of them. The assault was merciless and continuous, not letting her regain her balance. She ducked behind a pile a scrap to get her bearings back for a moment. This was the most powerful of the attacks yet, by far! Even the dumpster would only have tingled had it actually landed on her.

She found a car door among the wreckage and tried to use it as a shield of sorts. The behemoth was turning around the corner of the scrap pile as she was picking it up. Seeing her almost immediately, it turned directly toward her and began firing its pattern of left-right-left again. Each searing blast dug halfway into the car door she was using, occasionally blowing large holes all the way through it! Within seconds, there wasn't enough left of it to be of any use. She threw the remaining steel at the thing that was attacking her, hitting it dead on the right headlight. The impact shattered the bulb and badly dented the frame.

The thing slowly tilted backwards, obviously top-heavy. It struggled to right itself, but found it difficult on the uneven terrain of the scrap-metal yard. Seeing the pause in the assault, she ran toward the tall legs, wrapping her arms around the left one. She easily tore the lower half of the "shin" part off the rest of the leg, and that was that. The metal giant could no longer balance itself and fell to the ground with the resounding crash of steel against steel.


"Fair! What the hell happened to you!?" Chris was perplexed. Usually, when Fairchild came back from a battle, she was slightly bruised and naked, her costume being ripped to shreds by the titanic struggle. This time, however, there were no bruises, and her costume was more or less intact in most places, but her flesh was red and a little tender in spots. But most of all, she looked and smelled like she'd just crawled out of a dumpster!

"That's the problem, Chris. I don't know what just happened! There was this big steel ball that shot at me and I vaporized it, and then a dumpster attacked me, and then I got into a fight with a walking car in a scrap yard! It doesn't make any sense and I want to take a shower and I left my backpack in LA!" Fairchild was flustered beyond anything Chris had ever seen before, and he didn't want to press the subject until she was feeling better. He knew her temper.

He heard the shower turn on to full power just before realizing that she had mentioned a "walking car." More confused than ever, he could barely contain his curiosity.

Ever since they had hooked the hot water tank in the house up to use the heat from the lava in their basement, they had a nearly infinate supply of hot water. The only restriction was that the shower tended to use water faster than the tank could refill itself. It was over an hour before Fairchild stopped feeling old food and cat litter all over her, and got the last remaining strands of something she didn't want to know the origin of out of her long blond hair. It was another 15 mintues before she got the psychological icky off herself. She wasn't sure if she'd ever feel clean again!

She finally got out of the shower to find Laura in the kitchen with Chris. He had called her while Fairchild was in the shower so she could tell the both of them what was going on at once.

She started with the small metal orb that had shot at her, how it was just "there" all of a sudden and she barely heard it approaching. Then there was the attack dumpster that had poured all the garbage all over her, and Laura couldn't (or wouldn't) supress a laugh at Fair's expense. The very concept of an attack dumpster was rediculous, but having garbage poured all over her just made it too funny!

Fairchild got very serious when she mentioned the walking '57 Chevy that shot at her. Those blue bolts were powerful, and she could have gotten seriously hurt if she couldn't get her balance back quickly enough. The horrible shriek it made was still a mystery though.

Someone was out to get her. The technology was obviously not Arion, but still powerful. Theories and ideas flew wildy for a long time, everything from some third alien race they didn't know about yet to an Arion Prime who was for some reason striking out on his own, using what technology he could get his hands on. In the end though, of course no one knew any more than when they started.