Part 3

Earth Takes a Stand

Chapter Three: Beauty and the Behemoth

by Anonymous

Laura found almost nothing at the first scrap yard, the one in which Aurora had her battle with the Chevy. Of course the mangled wreck of the Chevy was still there, but it provided very little in the way of clues. It seemed that everything was made from scratch, nothing purchased or stolen from anywhere, unless you count the scrap yard. This left no leads to follow, no clues to find, nothing.

Then Laura remembered the orb that Aurora had said landed on the Chevy's hood. Looking closely, she saw that the four arms that held it in place were now flattened back into the hood, and the orb was gone. There was nothing to find here. She moved on.


Meanwhile, Chris met a dead end at the high-energy particle physics lab. The problem with the gauge was minor, and although rare was known to happen. The technician simply shouldn't have panicked like he did before checking that possibility. Everything was still running quite smoothly, and the research continued. Prying into what exactly they were studying here, he received a mass of jargon about top quarks, gluons, and antiprotons, plus a number of personal projects different physicists were working on. He thanked the man for his time and left.

Outside, Chris wondered how Aurora and Laura were faring. Since Aurora could be anywhere, he decided to check the scrap yards for Laura. Doubtless she had finished looking around at the Aurora's battlefield, so he headed for the nearest one to it at a steady pace of 40 miles per hour!


Chris's first clue that something was wrong was the mass of people hurrying away from the very place he was headed. Several weird sounding blasts and a crunch greeted his ears as he got closer.

Upon arriving, he was greeted with a very unpleasant sight. A gargantuan construct very similar to the one Aurora had fought was standing silently in the scrap yard. The top was made of some sort of sedan, too beat up to guess the make or model and most of it was missing. The legs were exactly as Aurora had described them, chicken-like and scrapped together from all sorts of old pieces of metal. And the two gun turrets were facing directly at the figures beneath it!

Laura lay unconscious on the ground, her neck resting awkwardly on a scrap of cast iron that had dented very deeply from the impact she must have made. A figure in armor was doing something to her that he couldn't quite make out.

"Get away from her!!" Chris was furious as he reached for a piece of I-beam, much to heavy for any Terran to ever possibly lift! The armored figure quickly looked up and saw the impossible sight of a 6 foot man holding an immense iron girder!

The armored figure spoke in a booming voice from a loudspeaker. "Beta command prompt 4, KILL." The massive construct behind him sprang to life, bright halogen light emanating from the headlights, gun turrets aimed for Chris's torso, walking slowly and unnaturally toward him with a grind and whine of gears and motors straining under the ton and a half of steel the legs were supporting.

The armored figure took this as his cue to depart, and wings unfurled soared skyward once again. Chris was alone now in an unfriendly scrap yard, an I-beam his only weapon, determined to protect the life of a better friend than he would ever admit.

Aurora had tried to describe the unholy shriek the machine made just before it began to fire. She was way off. Chris could find no words for it either, besides that it sounded like some mechanical predator trying to defend it's territory against some potential competitor.

Chris ran behind a pile of scrap as soon as he heard the noise, not out of fear but out of intelligence. He knew that signaled the beginning of the attack, and he didn't want to get hit by a barrage of shots that could make marks on Aurora's invulnerable flesh!

Chris decided he needed to out maneuver this thing, rather than face it head on. He listened as the tell-tale ka-chunk of its steps told him exactly where it was. I-beam still in hand, he ran to hide behind an adjoining scrap pile, behind the prying eyes of the machine, heart racing and nervous sweat beginning to form on his forehead.

Chris decided he had one of two chances. Try to wake up Laura and gang up on the thing, or try to stay behind it. It would be dangerous to do either, since Laura was in a clearing of sorts, and he would be in full view. The steps began to come closer and he prepared himself. He could tell that the beast was coming clockwise around the pile of old washing machines and assorted scrap that he was hiding behind. Grim determination on his face, he decided it would be now or never.

Chris raced around the other side of the scrap pile and swung the I-beam into the lower legs of the thing with all his might, greatly enhanced by Aurora to levels no pure-blood Terran could ever hope to match. The result was impressive indeed! He managed to sweep the legs right out from under it, and the whole thing fell straight down for 9 feet before impacting on the hard ground, back end first, crumpling into an unrecognizable mess!

Chris's heart rate was just starting to come under control when he realized what he had done. For the first time, he had single-handedly destroyed a massive threat to even a Velorian! He surged with pride as he surveyed his handiwork. His genetic enhancement had given him over 20 times the strength of any other Terran, and yet he still always felt like the weakest of the super strong.

He remembered when Kara was still alive, in the fight with Sil, when he had to be let down simply because he couldn't take the speed she needed to catch up with Sil. True, he easily survived the hundred-foot plunge into the cold ocean below, but he still felt useless and weak in the face of these ultra-powerful aliens they were up against.

This time, however, he had come out on top where Laura had failed! He wasn't going to let her forget this for a long, long time! He set down the I-beam and rushed over to Laura, never noticing the small orb from the hood flying off behind him. "Laura? Laura are you okay?" He lightly slapped against her cheek to wake her up, which for one such as her was over 50 pounds of force! "Laura get up girl, you're okay, aren't you?"

Laura held her head painfully and slowly rose to a sitting position. "Owww... I wish I could find some aspirin on this planet strong enough for me..."

Chris laughed as he realized no permanent damage had been done. How could it? She was at least half Velorian. He still wasn't exactly clear on that subject, but now wasn't the time to ask. "What happened? Who was that guy in the armor? Did you get shot?" He figured three questions were enough at one time, and forced himself to stop.

"Well, I got here, and found one of those orbs Fair told us about. I tried to catch it, but it was too fast. It landed on a car over there, and, hey? Where is it?"

Chris couldn't help but smile broadly. "I stopped it."


"No shit. It's right over there, got it with that I-beam next to it. Never even laid a finger on me." He swelled as he was able to start bragging of his achievement to a virtual goddess!

"Shit." Laura laid back down. She was never going to hear the end of this.

"Anyway, Laura, I need to know what all happened. Tell me the rest of it." Chris took her pulse and checked her over for signs of anything that might be wrong, but mostly just to look over her again. Like all Velorians, she was so beautiful! Beautiful, and powerful. He wondered again what it would be like to get hit with those blasters that caused even Aurora some pain! That's when he noticed a red spot over her right breast, it looked like a rash of some kind.

"Yeah, well anyway it started shooting at me, it's a damn good shot I'll give it that, and I tried to rip its leg off like Aurora did. The bastard stepped on me! Wait a minute... you said there was an armored guy here, you weren't talking about the car-thing, were you?" Laura looked as if she'd just put 2 and 2 together, and was checking to see if the answer was really 4.

"Yeah, wings, a machine gun, claws, the works. Looked pretty tough to me, but he flew off as soon as I showed up. He was doing something to you, I'm not sure what. Does it have anything to do with that rash over your breast?"

"Huh? Ow!" Laura touched the spot a little too hard and found that it was very tender, as if something incredibly sharp had been rubbing against it for some time. "What is this? Well, anyway, like I was going to say, I got hit from somewhere, I thought it was from behind but I didn't know there was anyone else here. It hurt like hell though. That's when I lost my balance and got stepped on. The two together must have knocked me out."

"Now this makes absolutely no sense. What was he doing that was more important than finishing you off, and if he had a weapon that could have done that to you, why didn't he stay to fight me? I mean, the two of them both on me... I don't want to think about it."

Laura stood up with a little effort, her back was sore. "Could you check to see how it looks back there, Chris?" Laura turned her back to Chris and started to remove her shirt.

"Uh, Laura, you can keep your shirt on. It sort of doesn't exist in the back." The entire backside of her shirt was missing, black charred spots marking the edges of the remaining fabric that just barely couldn't be seen from the front. "This is weird, the mark it made on your back is only about 2 inches wide, but a much bigger area of your shirt is gone. How does it feel when I poke it?" Chris started to lightly apply pressure, and slowly increased it.

"Ow!" Just when Chris had applied enough to poke a hole through thin sheet metal, Laura all but jumped. "That hurts! What the hell was it?"

"You're askin' the wroooong guy. I don't know shit from shoe leather when it comes to this sort of thing. I realized that when I went to the particle physics lab. Just got a flurry of mumbo-jumbo I couldn't make heads or tails out of." Chris hated to admit it, but it was true. He hadn't gotten any further there than Laura got here. "I'm still pretty sure that it has something to do with this though. The guy I spoke to said there were a number of 'personal projects' going on. So what do we do now?"

"I don't know. Head back to Hawaii and wait for Fair I guess..."


Laura and Chris waited for a few hours back at the house before they decided that Aurora wasn't coming back any time soon. A quick flip onto the news told them why. Actually, it wasn't the news... it was a commercial during the news. Apparently the major networks didn't want to waste any time hyping the man in the armor, since a talk show was already advertising an exclusive interview with him!

Laura turned to Chris, "Fifty dollars says Fair's going to be in that audience."

A frown came over Chris's face. "No bet."