Superpowers In A World Gone Mad
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Countdown, Issue #002

June 14, 2013 in Countdown Tags:

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Issue #002 – – – – – controlled by Rene Sawatzki – – – – – Credits 6

In Countdown’s admittedly limited experience, giant killer robots come in three types.  There are the rough-looking cobbled-together piles of dangerous spare parts, of the kind produced by c-list quasi-supervillains and crazy scientists with limited government backing.  Then there are the ones with a military appearance; American, British, Nazi, whatever flavour their creator preferred. Then there are the gleaming, futuristic, terrifying ones of the kind you’d expect to see the latest sci-fi action  hero fighting in the final scene of a Hollywood blockbuster.   The robots that were presently closing in on him were of that last kind.  Unfortunately.

Countdown activated his chameleon ability, but since he was in the middle of the warehouse there wasn’t a great deal of cover to be had.  His legs went slate grey, the colour of the ground beneath his feet.  His upper body darkened and took on hues of the shadowy light in the room.  Immediately the Giant Killer Robots buzzed electronically and their eyes took on a green hue.  They can see me perfectly with some sort of special lens, Countdown (correctly) surmised.

“Okay then,” the hero sighed.  Reaching into the time stream Countdown plucked at the past, hoping to bring something big and dangerous in to smash the mechanical enemies into spare parts.  But there was something wrong.  The past felt unfamiliar.  He couldn’t grasp onto anything he recognised in the time areas he would have expected to find them.  “Huh.  Setback,” Countdown grimly determined.

“Your best bet,” came a voice from the rear of the warehouse.  “Would be to surrender, mate.”  It sounded like a young man, perhaps a teenager and the accent was British. Or maybe Australian.  Countdown often mixed the two up.  “You say that because you don’t realise the power at my disposal,” Countdown called out, going for the bluff.  “In just a second I will incinerate these metal contraptions with laser bolts from my eyes.”
“I think, if you had a power like that, you’d ‘ave used it the minute you saw my Chrome Concluders closing in.”
The young man strode into the light and Countdown could see he was indeed a teenager.  Dressed in a tight black suit with silver piping down the sleeves and legs and a short silvery cape that hung halfway down his back, the young man had a blonde buzz-cut and a fluff of fledgling beard on his chin.  “What I think,” the villain said.  “Is that you’ve got nothing.  You’re some half-hearted Abnormal with the power to blend into the background.  You’ve broken into my warehouse looking to indulge in a little burglary and you’ve come up against more than you expected.”

“That’s it,” Countdown said, improvising quickly, “You got me!  I was just going to steal some things, but I didn’t know this was a villain’s lair.  I’ve made a mistake.  Can I go?”
“You have made a mistake, son,” he responded.  (Why was this pimply kid calling him “Son?”  He was half Countdown’s age.  Irritating.)  “Now you’ve fallen into the clutches of  Doctor Chrome.”
“Doctor Chrome?” Countdown asked.  “Really?  That’s what you’re going with?”
“Yeah.  What’s wrong with it?” Doctor Chrome asked.  Then, as if realising he was being baited he said: “You seem to be in a rush meet your death,”
“Not really.  But death does seem, just lately, to be in a rush to meet me,” Countdown agreed.  It was at that moment that the giant amoeba appeared in the warehouse, its glutinous form smothering everything and everyone.

It went like this:
While Countdown was talking to Doctor Chrome, or Kid Chrome, or Little Boy Chrome, or whatever he was called, he’d been using the breather granted by the obligatory monologue to feel along the strands of time.  It appeared that the world hadn’t just ended and been remade a little in the present time, but reformed from scratch right back to the dawn of time.   (Countdown didn’t want to dwell on that too much, just yet.  It was too big.)  The changes meant that he needed to feel the pattern of the new timeline before he could summon things from it.  It wasn’t difficult, it just needed a few moments, which Chrome Lad had helpfully given him.  (Why do supervillains always want to talk so much, anyway?)  Once he’d managed to grasp the new structure he’d simply latched onto the biggest thing in the early time stream he could find and dragged it through.  Voila, Giant Amoeba.

The Giant Killer Robots were blasting and lasering and hacking with hands that turned into wicked-looking saws, but it did them no good at all.  The amoebic mass which smothered them simply glooped right back into place, effectively immobilising them.  Somewhere amidst all that primordial slime Countdown could hear Doctor Chrome shouting something about how “unfair” this was.  “Stop whining,” he informed the villain as he manoeuvred his way through the creature, using his limited connection to the thing he had brought out of its time to command it out of his way.  Doctor Chrome was still shouting angrily from inside the warehouse when Countdown walked casually out of it.  He’d determined not to try and arrest the villain.  After all, he hadn’t actually seen any crime being committed and technically he was the intruder.

Once outside the evening air washed over him, raising goosebumps on his skin. From the looks of things he was somewhere near the city center.  Helix Park spread off to his left while the neons of the city’s night trade flashed and glowed to his right.  Which would make Madden Heights, his home, to the South.  He wanted to find out if he still had a home in this new reality.  After all, when the Countdown business was done, John King still needed somewhere to sleep.  Unless he wanted to be the world’s first superhero bum and just crash under a pier down near The Docks?  It didn’t sound appealing.

Countdown started marching towards what may or may not be home – eager to put some distance between him and Chrome Hormone before the amoeba dissolved back to its own time period.  (What the Hell was up with this world anyway?  Amoebas are single-celled organisms.  You can’t make a single cell big enough to cover a warehouse.  That’s just plain stupid.  Obviously, the creator of the brave new world wasn’t big on the Science.  Which didn’t bode well for what else might turn up here.)

Countdown felt something hot in the hidden storage pouch of his costume’s shirt.  He pulled it out.  The pocket watch Old Father Time (he hadn’t said that was who he was, but Countdown decided to take a flyer at it.  Seemed as likely as any of the rest of what was going on) had given him.  It was glowing very faintly and the hour and minute hands were spinning in opposite directions like some manic Geiger counter.  “Now what?” countdown sighed.  Because he was pretty sure this was some kind of alert and he rather doubted it was warning of the approach of anything Countdown would like.

5 Responses to “Countdown, Issue #002”

  1. False Bill Says:

    Seem the Big enemy hasn’t a poor grasp of history and science, well I suppose that is something in our favour, but shame about the watch warning but next to useless.
    Still onwards and upwards.

  2. Botan Says:

    Countdown, Issue #002 | Abnormals

  3. lishou Says:

    Countdown, Issue #002 | Abnormals

  4. Cara Says:

    loved this story!

  5. lic aao syllabus 2016 Says:

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write.

    The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe.

    All the time go after your heart.


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