Part 12

Earth Takes a Stand

Chapter Twelve: Everything Goes "Boom"

by Anonymous

Raymond raced down the hall at breakneck speed. Only his magnetic boots prevented him from leaping high into the air in the zero gravity environment. As he ran he demanded of the Beta in his arms "Where does the ship get its main power?"

The Beta was terrified. He was being held in the arms of a suit of armor that could crush him more easily than a Prime could. He forced himself to answer "Engineering is two decks down, in the middle of the ship."

Raymond used his laser again to slice a large hole in the floor beneath him, and the floor below that. He turned off his magnetic clamps just long enough to force himself through the holes, otherwise they would have drawn him to the sides and prevented him from going down.

"Go down this hall, turn left at the second intersection, there, this big hall will lead you right to it. Let me go, I don't want to die! Let me get to a POD!"

"No, I'll hold on until I'm sure I have the right directions. What is the main power source?"

"Nuclear fission! This ship's too small for fusion. You'll see the reactor the instant you go through the door." The pair continued down the corridor until Raymond got to the heavy main doors that house Engineering. Raymond put down the Beta and with a mighty heave, tore the doors from the wall causing the most horrific of shrieks. Inside was the fission reactor. "Now let me go! I have to get to a POD!"

Raymond released the Beta who took off like a bat out of hell. He was no longer important. This is what he came here for.


The Betas led Laura and Chris to the PODs like bloodhounds. They let the Betas take the other PODs and made sure there was one left for them. In her state, they had no idea if Fairchild could survive reentry without some kind of shielding. Just after the Betas left, they felt some kind of explosion rock the ship. Did Raymond already start destroying it?

Chris rushed into the POD as another explosion, more powerful than the first, hit the ship. "This is it," he thought, "Raymond's done it now!" He was thrown backward when a third explosion apparently hit near the POD launching section of the ship. The PODs controls were rendered useless as the panel exploded in a shower of sparks. "Now what?"

As if in response, several Kintzi warriors turned a corner down the hall and propelled themselves at them, able to escape the bridge though the hole Raymond had cut in the door after they got this whole push-yourself-off-the-wall thing down. The hardest part was getting to a wall to begin with.

"I'll hold them off, get Fairchild into the POD and I'll take care of the rest!" Laura flew down the corridor to meet the Kintzi, almost helpless in zero G but they had numbers, and they could spring off the wall pretty well by now. Laura had her hands full as another explosion hit the ship.


Back in engineering, a message came over the communication screens. "This is the captain of the Earthquake. I received your distress call. What is your situation?" When Raymond didn't answer, the face on the viewscreens said "There's no answer, they must have been captured. Destroy the ship."

Quickly, a plan formed in Raymond's mind. He removed his helmet and rushed to the communication screens. Impersonating an Arion accent, with great difficulty, he responded to the message. "At last, you're here! We're just barely fending them off! We need reinforcements!"

The captain of the Earthquake nodded. "I understand. Beginning docking procedures. We were concerned when we saw all the Personal Orbiting Devices leaving the ship. We'll do everything we can to help." The captain was then very surprised when the communications screen suddenly went out, apparently shot out by one of the intruders! "Dock with the alien's ship, we need to get reinforcements over there immediately!!"


Laura and Chris were more confused now as the ship did not blow up. In fact, the explosions had stopped. Laura didn't waste any time thinking about it, she just tried as hard as she could to clear the corridor of the Kintzi! "Laura, I'm ready in here! Whenever you are, come on!"

"I'm trying... there's so many of them!" Laura couldn't clear them away. Every time she'd throw one down the hall two more would float back to rejoin the fight. If the Kintzi weren't a safe distance away, it would be too risky to try to take off!

And then an eight inch yellow beam roared into action once more as Chris fired on the Kintzi from the entrance to the POD. The awesome rifle's blasts finally gave Laura the edge she needed to get the Kintzi away from her, throwing them one by one down the hall where they wouldn't be able to float back in time to stop them! "Get back in the POD, Chris! Get back in!" Laura threw the last one away from her but they were already starting to float back as she flew back to the POD. "Get ready, Chris, I'm going to launch this thing myself!" The POD doors closed, and Laura flexed her dramatic star-born muscles to huge proportions to shove the large spherical POD out of the ship, rending the docking clamps. She saw the Kintzi approaching, but was afraid to push any harder or she might damage the POD!

An explosive decompression occurred as Laura finally pushed the POD most of the way out of the ship, bringing the emergency airlock doors closed seconds before the Kintzi could reach them! They clawed at the door but to little avail, zero gravity seriously impeding their ability to tear through it without being thrown back by their own strength.

And then Laura saw the five mile Arion ship approaching the "tiny" one mile alien ship they were just on. Anyone viewing the contrast between these ships could never believe that the Arions had so much trouble defeating this race. Their ships looked so much larger and more powerful. It was bristling with weapons and had the ability to cloak, something the aliens didn't have when the Arions invaded.

And yet these small ships were able to put off the Arion invasion longer than any other race had ever been able to. Their punishment was severe when the Arions finally broke through through sheer force of numbers and resources, suffering more cruelty and torture at the hands of the Arions than any race before them ever had Their planet was used as a training facility for Arion and Kintzi torturers, every member of Thaylen's race dying in horrible agony until there were none left to kill!

Laura tried to remain inconspicuous alongside the POD as she pushed it along toward Earth. If the Arion ship ever suspected that Fairchild and Chris were in it, she could lose the two most important people in her life!


Raymond's plan nearly through, he waited until he heard the dull clank of the Arion ship docking with the ship he was on. It seemed like every moment in his life led up to this. He was going to be a hero. He opened the door to the fission reactor and stepped inside. Tearing open the protective doors, he gazed into the very radioactive center of the fission reactor. His armor was all that protected him from the heat and radiation as he walked forward, daring like no man before him to step into the bowels of Hell!

Raymond had been saving his particle beam charge during the entire fight. He was hoping that the ship was run off a fission reactor, just like his armor was. Raymond's fission reactor, however, controlled the chain reaction by collecting the excess neutrons in his particle beam cannon for use as a weapon. Too many neutrons and the reactions would accelerate out of control and the reactor would go critical.

Now his particle beam cannon was put to use for the exact opposite reason it was created as he fired into the heart of the reactor. Exactly as he had hoped, warning alarms and lights went off all over the ship. The reaction was no longer controlled.

Raymond tore through wall after wall on the ship, nothing standing in his way as his tireless suit of power armor propelled him ever forward, away from the reactor. He finally reached the hull of the ship, too strong to simply tear through by hand. His laser once more cut a hole in the wall, the decompression blowing him out into space.

Raymond spread his wings and flew, flew as fast as his engines would take him away from the damned ship. He looked back and saw a monstrosity of a ship docked with it, five miles long and uglier than even the odd looking alien ship. It was trying desperately to pull away from the alien ship but the huge juggernaut was too slow to accelerate.

The alien ship exploded in a fiery ball as all the oxygen in the ship was ignited almost at once. The reactor had exploded like a fifty megaton nuclear missile, catching the Arion ship far too close and with its shields down! Explosions burst from the Arion monster on the side that was docked with the alien ship, and spread along quickly inside of the thing until finally coming in contact with the fusion generator that powered the Earthquake. This explosion was far more dramatic than the first, as the oxygen fireball was not even visible under the pure white explosive sphere of force created by the massive ship's power supply.

A second later Raymond was hit with the massive energy shockwave, sending his armor tumbling out of control farther into space. Just as he thought it was over he was hit with an even more massive shockwave, stunning him even inside the padded and pressurized suit. The first one must have been from the alien ship, ironically saving him from the brunt of the Arion ship's explosion by pushing him farther away.

Despite his out of control tumbling and seeing that the Earth was so far away, Raymond cheered for victory! He had destroyed not one, but TWO Arion ships! And countless Arions inside of them! This was what he had been trying to do since he put the first rivet into his armor. He had struck a mighty blow against the Arions, and showed them that the Terrans would not simply stand by any longer as their planet was used as a battle ground!


Laura accelerated as fast as she dared away from the two ships as soon as she was clear of weapons range. She and the POD with Chris and Fairchild in it suffered only mild bumps from the explosion because of Laura's incredible flying ability. She couldn't help but wonder if Raymond had made it out alive. Inside the POD, Chris was stroking Fairchild's face and hair. So beautiful, so powerful, how could this have happened to her? He gave a rousing cheer himself as the two ships exploded, a clear view from the windows very visible. The POD's controls were completely useless. They were dependent on Laura to bring them in safely. But that wasn't what worried Chris. He needed to know that Fairchild would be all right.


Even in bright daylight, nearly everyone in North America saw the huge explosion in the sky directly over Chicago. It looked like a star gone supernova. That was pretty close, actually, a fusion reaction in its last death throes did occur. Some saw it as a sign from the heavens, others thought it was a new Arion weapon of some sort, but most just admitted they had no idea. In any case, life returned to normal fairly quickly. Modern day business couldn't stop just because the sky flared up for a little bit. The stock market went down a little that day, a few new cults sprang up and fizzled out in a few months, and the tabloids even got bored with it after a month.

A few people were unfortunate enough to miss the great fireball though, and among them were Lisa Jencott, Steve and Jennifer Iwikos, and Dave Wiles. They were at a police station in Los Angeles, answering questions for Detective Whitely and Black Ops agent "Smith." The group was not to be disturbed for any reason, but it still made the others a little nervous not to mention a reason that big.

Dave was talking. "Actually, I think that's what Raymond wanted. He mentioned to me once that he could imagine a whole platoon of these suits flying into combat against the Arions. He said they'd be unstoppable." Detective Whitely was oddly silent during the whole procedure. Agent Smith did most of the talking.

"So you think he'd agree to turning over the plans to the military? You'd all have jobs for life working for us, continuing to improve the suits, Raymond of course would instruct new pilots on how to use it. Budget would be the only concern here. We could build just a few of these things and see how they work out, then make just as many as we need to wipe out the Arion invasion."

Then Lisa asked the question they all knew were coming. "What about the Velorians, though? What's going to happen to them?"

Whitely had an answer prepared for this, but was actually hoping it wouldn't come up. "If they'd like to stay on Earth, that would be fine. But we'd need a way to control them. As it stands, there's nothing we can do really to stop them from doing anything they want to. With a few of these suits we'd be able to keep sort of a 'police force' over them. We'd keep them from just running amok."

The conversation continued. They all wanted to make sure that there wouldn't be any legal problems, that Raymond would be all right, that the plans for the armor wouldn't fall into the wrong hands. Detective Whitely finally asked a question. "So tell me something. How in the Hell did you come up with a weapon so powerful that the U.S. military can't copy it on their own?"

They all fell silent for a moment. Then Dave spoke up. "Well, the U.S. military asks for the lowest bidder on projects. They're always working under a budget and they need results faster than anyone can really come up with ideas. When we got together we pooled our resources, decided to do something radical and innovative, and didn't give a damn about budget or deadlines. We weren't paying ourselves, we used scrap or made things from scratch where we could, and..." he paused. "Is this confidential?" He was assured that it was. "We took some things from work if we didn't think they would be missed."

Lisa added, "When we had to use some equipment at our companies we just said we were working after hours. No one bothered us, we're all trusted employees. We just had to be careful not to push our luck. It took a while, but we finally had this power armor."

Steve jumped in too. "We didn't really do anything amazing, the technology's been around for a while now, but no one ever had the time, the budget, or the people to do this before. If you want to talk to the man who put it all together, talk to Raymond. This would never have happened without his leadership. He's a born leader, always has been, and the best damn problem solver I've ever met. And he was the one who did anything I would call amazing. All we did was add on to the armor he made. The man's a genius."

They talked more about whether or not Raymond would actually go along with all this, and then Steve's beeper went off. "Oh shit, it's Raymond. He must have gotten into trouble. He would only page me if he really needed to. Where can I find some short wave radio equipment around here?"


A few miles away, Bacstin was headed for the California coastline on Tabral. She had told the communications officer to preprogram the PODs to splash down a few miles north of San Fransisco, where she hoped no one would see them. There were a lot of them. When she and nearly every other North American saw the bright explosion in the sky, she knew the ship had been destroyed. She'd never seen a ship blow up from a planet's surface before, and was amazed that a little mile long ship run on fission power could actually be seen exploding from the surface.

She waited for over an hour before she saw the first one streaking through the sky like a meteor. Then another, and another, one by one they began to streak across the sky, headed for the ocean just a little bit off shore. POD after POD splashed down as Bacstin could hardly contain her enthusiasm. Here was her army, her resistance group. Every one of the Betas in these PODs hated the Arion Primes, every one of them treated like dirt since the day they were born. It was time to strike back, and they brought with them the weapons to do it.


Shortly after the explosion, Raymond had started heading back to Earth. One more thing Dave had done for him was to help him get back to Earth where he wanted to go. He looked at Earth through his monitor in his helmet, that beautiful blue ball he had seen from this height once before, and not that long ago. "Los Angeles." He said. A small green phrase popped up in the lower corner of the monitor. It said "working..."

After a while, a small green square popped up on the Earth on his monitor. This was his window, if he could make it to that square at the right speed and angle, his trajectory would take him right back to Los Angeles, not Washington D.C. like last time. He headed for the square with a broad smile on his face. This had gone so well, and there was no sign of Laura or Chris or Aurora anywhere. He was going to get back to Earth scott free! Of course his armor was very battle damaged, especially from that last Kintzi's claws and the explosion, and would need repair, but he had enough "immature" carbo-metal to fix the damage. It wouldn't be long now and he'd be home again, basking in his glory and trying to remove the last of the alien menace from his planet.

But what Raymond could never have known was that Captain Thaylen had signed his death certificate when he fired the Orgone energy at him. Raymond had no idea what Orgone energy was, or what it did. Thaylen's plan was to confuse and distract Raymond with a combination of pleasure and pain, Orgone and a mind assault, so even his obsessed mind couldn't overcome his mental powers. What neither of them knew was that it didn't work because his the psuedo-living metal his armor was made of absorbed the Orgone.

The metal was just alive enough to need to eat, and to be able to mature. It was just alive enough to be able to absorb Orgone energy and have an effect on it. Of course, carbo-metallic compounds couldn't get aroused, but it could be stimulated in other ways. Ways the Arion scientists who designed it would never have dreamed of.

For the longest time, while wearing the armor, Raymond was aware of a terrible itching sensation. When he took it off he felt sensitive and weak. He though it had something to do with the Velorians and their powers. Just before Raymond was ready to enter the atmosphere, that itching could no longer be ignored, and was actually starting to get quite painful. A little while longer, and it started to burn. He had passed through his window and was on his way home when the sensations became so painful that he couldn't stand it anymore, and he paged Steve.


It turned out that the police station had a short-wave radio transmitter, and Steve tuned it to listen to Raymond. "Raymond, are you there? Are you okay? What's wrong?"

"Steve, it hurts like a son of a bitch! I don't know what's wrong! Is it possible that the nuclear reactor has a leak in it? I need to know!"

"No, it's not possible. I made sure of it myself, there's not a single radioactive particle getting out of the power supply. What was that explosion we saw in the sky? Do you know? And where have you been?"

Raymond's voice was twisted with pain, almost as much as when he had been attacked by Thaylen's mind assault. "I've been in orbit, Steve. I destroyed two Arion ships! Two of them! One of them must have been five miles long, you should have seen it! But oh God it hurts! I feel like I'm being eaten alive by butterflies."

"Can you take off the armor? Maybe something got inside."

"No way, I'm coming in for a landing. I just got back in the atmosphere. I'll have to land first, but I don't think I'm going to make it. Tell Dave that his entry window program worked great though! I can see California, I'll be back in Los Angeles in no time. It hurts, it hurts..."

"Raymond, this is Dave, I'm here. Don't let go buddy. Stay with us. We'll talk you through so you don't lose consciousness. We need you man, we need you!"

"I'm not going to make it. I'm too high. Everything's getting fuzzy." Raymond's voice sounded out of it this time, like the pain had stopped and he was just tired.

"Raymond, this is Lisa. Listen to me! You're not going to die! Do you hear me!? You're not going to die."

"Lisa, hi there, sorry we had that argument. Hope you're not mad at me. I never thought it would end like this. There's nothing I can do. It just keeps getting fuzzier, and I can't feel my arms and legs anymore." Raymond was getting worse. He sounded drunk this time.

"Raymond for God's sake, fight it! Come back to us!"

There was only silence on the other end. "Raymond!!" Lisa burst into tears and buried her face in her arms. Steve held Jennifer to him, and Dave just closed his eyes and let the tears roll down his cheeks.

Then agent Smith looked around and saw that Detective Whitely was gone. Poor guy, he probably couldn't take it.


Laura and the POD with Chris and Fairchild in it passed the other PODs on their way back to Earth. They seemed to be on nearly the same trajectory Laura was on, but not quite. They were headed farther East than Laura was. She didn't bother checking it out, they were probably just landing randomly anyway. But as she was setting the POD down in Hawaii, she saw a much smaller streak fly through the air. She focused in carefully on the fireball, it was Raymond! So he had survived.

Then she rethought that out. If he did survive, why wasn't he moving at all? Why wasn't he slowing down? Certainly he should be making mid-course corrections for wind and such, shouldn't he?

She set the POD down gently at their house in Hawaii. Chris stepped out of it holding Fairchild's limp body. "She's been like this the whole time. I still can't believe it happened."

"Chris, I need you to stay here and watch Fairchild. She'll be okay for a long time in that state, I can try to revive her later, but right now I saw Raymond..."

"How dare you! Fairchild is laying here in a coma and you want to go after Raymond again now that the truce is over!? What kind of a heartless...!"

Laura backhanded Chris and sent him sprawling on the lawn. "Shut up! I'm going because I think something is wrong with Raymond. Fairchild can wait a lot longer than he can if something is wrong. Now stay here and watch over her!!" Laura was furious as she flew off in the direction she saw Raymond streaming toward.

Chris was left at the house, with a jaw that hurt like anything and Fairchild in her suspended animation.


It wasn't long before Laura had found Raymond. She had a pretty good idea of where he was going and found him a few hundred feet above the ground, wings still spread and headed for a collision with the ground that was far too fast to possibly be controlled. It was a few miles East of Los Angeles. She saw his armor hit the ground, digging a huge trench in the dirt but otherwise all right. She heard the impact a moment later.

She landed to find Raymond just as unmoving as Fairchild was. "I'm glad it was you. I thought it was the Arions coming." Laura turned to see Detective Whitely step out from the shrubbery nearby, his car parked behind some trees a bit farther away. "I wanted to get here before anyone else did, I was just hoping I could do something."

"What happened, and how did you know where he was going to land?"

"He was talking to us via short wave radio a few moments ago. He kept saying 'It hurts.' Something finally clicked in my head. I told you that the armor's made of a carbo-metallic compound, and it has to eat, right? Well we couldn't figure out where he was getting the food it needed. Then when this happened, I figured it out. It's been eating him. The carbo-metal's been munching on his skin ever since he put it on, and it must've finally gotten to the point where he couldn't take it any more.

"Unfortunately, it happened while he was coming back from orbit, so he couldn't take off the armor to stop it from happening. I just couldn't tell you why it happened all at once. Anyway, if you could take off his helmet, we can confirm this idea and get it over with."

Laura reached down to take off the helmet, and was suddenly struck with a green spark that startled her. She reached again and the sparks continued, she didn't pull her hand away this time. She tried as hard as she could to take the helmet off, but it was harder than she thought it would be. "I'll have to get a better grip on this helmet. Stand back."

Laura wrapped both arms around the helmet and pressed it up between her ample breasts, the green sparks seeming to concentrate on her nipples. Before she had even gotten her grip set, her nipples were fully erect, about an inch long and half an inch wide, tenting out the front of her top. Detective Whitely didn't miss much, it was his job, but he'd be surprised if anyone missed this!

Laura put her feet on the elbow joints of the armor so she could have something to pull against, and not just lift the armor into the air. The green sparks continued as she flexed her muscles to proportions that the detective had only seen on professional bodybuilders, MALE professional bodybuilders! He couldn't help but stare as her arms grew huge and she pulled with all her might, the combination of the green sparks and getting the chance to use all her strength like this was turning her on to the point where she was almost ready to climax with him just watching her!

"Detective, I need you to do me a favor." She was still pulling, and the metal was groaning and shrieking under the stress, but still not giving. She must have been pulling with millions of pounds of force, using every muscle in her body to its fullest, and yet the unbelievable carbo-metal of this armor did not let her win. "I need you to make me come."

"Excuse me?" "I get stronger when I'm in the middle of lovemaking. It looks like I'll need that to break this lock. Heh, if you get me off, I'll do the same for the helmet." She smiled.

Detective Whitely was dumbfounded. He was always attracted to strong women, someone who could take care of herself. His first wife was an armature boxer. But never in his life did he imagine that this super powerful, incredibly beautiful woman would ask him to touch her in every way he wanted to. When the smell of wildflowers hit him, his mind was made up.

Whitely was almost afraid to touch her, she looked so powerful, and she lifted the front half of that three ton armor like it was a rag doll, but he finally put his hands on her back, and saw the same green sparks from before. They didn't hurt, but they struck him as a little strange. He could feel each and every striation in her warm muscles as if it was molded from pure steel, not giving in the least no matter how hard he pushed. "Don't be afraid to use all your strength, I might even need all of it." She urged.

Whitely started by running his hands all over her back, God she felt like solid steel. Then he moved to her sides, and after overcoming his inhibitions a little, reached around to feel her breasts. Even they felt impossibly solid! He ran his hands all around her for a moment, listening to her hum with pleasure. It gave him confidence, and his moved his hands under her top near her nipples, taking them as tightly as he could into his hands. They were huge! He rubbed and squeezed them with all the grip his his hands could generate, with strength that would be extremely painful to a Terran woman, but it was only exiting this super woman!

"Oh yes... that feels so good, now move down, down lower... I think you know what I mean." He did. He ran his hands down her rippling abdominal muscles, down the waistline of the bottom of her costume. He slowly slid it off of her, revealing that she wore nothing underneath it. She spread her legs a bit wider, but was careful not to slip off the elbow joints of the armor.

His hands wandered around her inner thighs, stroking her in places only a lover should, but this was something she needed, and wanted, right now. Then tried to penetrate her with his fingers. He couldn't. "Don't worry about it. Just do your best." She urged him on, but what could he do for this super woman when he couldn't even reach her most sensitive of places?

So he nibbled, no, he bit hard down on her inner thigh. "Oh yes that's it! Only Fairchild has ever found that spot!!" Whitely was suddenly very pleased with himself, he'd found one of the special areas on a woman's body that could drive her absolutely crazy. He ran his teeth all along the inside of her thigh as she continued to moan in pleasure, going faster as he felt her heading for the edge, using all the strength in his jaw one final time as she reached orgasm, finally tearing the helmet off of the armor with a twisted shriek of metal that could probably be heard all the way back in the city!

Detective Whitely collapsed next to the armor, not paying attention to it yet. He had just spent all his energy trying his hardest to please this woman of steel, and couldn't believe it when he actually accomplished it!

Laura laid down on her side next to him. "You were incredible, for a Terran." She smiled.

"What were all those little green sparks all about?" Whitely had to ask.

"You mean these?" Laura ran her hands across Whitely's chest, about an inch and a half from his shirt, and a green spark would occasionally leap from her hand to him. "Watch this." She moved her hand down his body to his crotch, the sparks increased in number and size when they started to arc to the front of his pants, which was nearly standing up with a life of its own by now. "It's called Orgone. Basically, it makes you horney. The armor must have gotten hit with it at some point when we were on the ship. I picked it up from the armor."

Laura let the sparks hit his crotch for a while longer, then began to massage his cock with her hands. "And now, since you did such a good job just a minute ago, I think you deserve a reward."

Whitely smiled. "So who am I to argue with a super woman?" Laura unbuttoned his slacks and slid them off of him, followed by his boxers. She was almost disappointed with his cock, it was nowhere near a match for Chris, but she had to remind herself that he was only a Terran after all.

She slowly and ever so gently slid her hand down the length of his cock, and his breath started coming deeper and at times a little erratically. She increased the pressure just a bit, and felt his hips buck under her slightly. She then lowered her tipple D breasts to his cock, the shower of green sparks arcing much more violently than before from her nipples to his cock. Continuing lower, she pulled him into her mouth, making him gasp in pleasure. She had to remember to be gentle.

She applied some light suction and began to slide him in and out of her mouth, letting her tongue dance all along his length. She finally saw that it was far too much for him, and resumed stroking him with her hand. In a few seconds, she heard his low grunt as he spurted hot cum on the grass near them.

"Wow... that was great." Whitely took a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it. He pulled his pants back on and offered Laura a cigarette as well.

Then the two of them came back to the armor again, and found a grisly surprise. Raymond's body looked like it had been dead for weeks. The eyes were sunken, the hair was almost all gone, the complexion was extremely dark and wrinkled, and all the fat was missing form his face as it looked like his skin had been shrink-wrapped around the bones of his skull.

"There's no way he got this bad in one day. That armor must have been eating at him pretty heavily for this to happen, if that was the case he would have stopped days ago, or someone would have noticed."

"Unless the Orgone had something to do with it," Laura offered.

"That could be. If it's a stimulant of some kind, it could have accelerated the process. But this is a little extreme I think. Look, Laura, I need you to do something. The U.S. military wants this armor. I don't want them to get it. It would unbalance the military power of the world if the U.S. started building these things. From what I understand, this guy is the only one who knew how to build the armor itself, his friends just added weapons and things. Now that he's dead, we need to get rid of the armor so it can't be reverse-engineered. Can you get rid of it for me?"

Laura thought about it. It would be an incredible help if the Terrans could join the fight against the Arions. She knew first hand what this armor could do. She fought it herself, and didn't fare too well.

On the other hand, it turned Terrans into super beings overnight. Could anyone be trusted with that kind of power and responsibility suddenly heaped on them? Raymond certainly thought he was doing the right thing, but he was wrong. And killing Aurora and herself would have brought the Arion invasion on that much sooner.

Plus, Whitely was right, it would unbalance the military power of the world. The U.S. would have armored soldiers who could destroy battalions of jeeps and artillery single-handedly. Soldiers who could tear into enemy tanks with their armored claws and shoot down planes they could out fly because of their small size. No, she couldn't leave the armor on Earth.

"Yes, I'll destroy it for you. I'm going to take it back to Hawaii and talk to Aurora and Chris about it, then we'll get rid of it. Good-bye detective, I hope you don't catch any flack over this whole thing! And you were great!"

Detective Whitely watched Laura fly off into the sky carrying the once mighty armor. He lit another cigarette and looked at the horizon. "Looks like there's a storm coming." He got back into his car and drove back to Los Angeles.