rickhindle rickhindle at gmail.com
Sun Jan 31 12:44:52 PST 2010

“Revolutions Part IV: “
by Rick Hindle

[cover shows Thunderclap in the center, surrounded by bright light.
His eyes are closed and his arms and legs are splayed out]

Previously in “Thunderclap”: Thunderclap has gotten caught up in
trying to overthrow a government in Central America while trying to
rescue Suzie.  Back in Pinnacle City, a gang war has started to
spread, leaving an undermanned Protectors team trying to save the

[Montecaivo, Central America, November 4]

	Thrust’s soldiers punched, elbowed, kicked, and bit me as a dozen of
them jumped on me to stop me from pursuing their boss, who was holding
Suzie hostage.  Guns, fists, elbows, steel-toed boots, teeth, it
really didn’t matter what they had available, these guys were using
them on me.
	I heard ribs crack, followed by the sound of skin on bare skin –
their knuckles had torn through their gloves and my suit and were not
beating me to a pulp.  I wasn’t sure how much longer I could stand it
before I broke completely.  I had to do something, I had to rescue
	Laying there on my stomach, I tried to bring my hands together.  But
it was no use, my arms were splayed to either side of my prone body,
with guards on top of them, taking turns trying to break my fingers.
I threw out my right elbow with everything left that I could muster.
It hit flesh and the jaw beneath with a satisfying crack.  My victory
was short-lived, however, as one of the guards kicked me in the side
of the chest.  All air exited my body as I started getting
lightheaded, the pain taking over my body, the world shifting towards
	Suddenly, the world burned bright, almost like staring into the sun.
I felt intense heat and then nothing.
	“Are you ok?” a soft voice asked.  I tried to roll over.  “Stay
still,” the voice repeated.  It was heavily accented English, but in
my current state, all I could do was groan.
	Rough hands turned me over and someone gasped.  I must have looked
like complete crap.
	“How the hell are you still looking so pretty after that?” Solstice
Powers asked me.
	“What?” I mumbled.  I felt like shit.  Every inch of me felt like,
well, a group of people had beaten the crap out of me.
	“Not a scratch,” Steelhide’s heavily digitalized voice stated.
	I grumbled something and tried to sit up.  I needed Steelhide’s help
to do it.  Once I was in a sitting position, I was able to look at my
hands, arms, torso and the front of my legs.  “What the hell?” I
muttered as I looked myself over.  Not even a scratch.  Sure, my
clothes were torn and I was probably giving Lumbre and Solstice a nice
show, but I was perfectly fine.  Hell, I was starting to feel better.
	I then realized that Suzie was still in Thrust’s clutches.  Where
though?  “We gotta go,” I said, struggling to stand up and using
Steelhide to help me.
	“Suzie?” the American Ranger asked.
	“Yup,” came my response.  I looked around, “Where’s your Nazi buddy
and his friends?”
	The Ranger shrugged.  “Just disappeared after Ace and Playboy went
over the ledge.  I’m guessing they’ve got a transporter somewhere.”
	I nodded and looked around again.  Solstice’s face was an impassive
mask that she was trying to hold together.  I wanted to give her a hug
as the pain of loss seemed so fresh and so real that all she wanted to
do was cry and shake.
	The sound of engines roaring to life shook me away from thoughts of
Solstice Powers in my arms.  “What the hell?” Ranger said, his eyes
immediately moving to the huge hole in the wall.  Smoothly, a VTOL-
capable jet rose up from the cliffs below and then pivoted to reveal
Zorstorer aiming a massive machine gun at us.
	It came to life in a murderous rage, filling the sky with smoke and
deadly fire.  My first reaction was to turn and grab Solstice, who was
still in shock it seemed.  I propelled us to safety.  As I came to a
stop I turned back.
	Lumbre was standing there, her eyes a haunting white color.  The
bullets melted around her as she drew from whatever power source she
used.  I could only guess that she was taking all of the hate and rage
she had stored up.
	All of the sudden the world went white.  I was knocked to the
ground.  I could hear an explosion.  There was nothing else I could do
except watch the plane explode.
	My jaw sat open as I tried to sit up.  “Suzie,” I whispered. “Suzie,”
I repeated louder.  Then I just yelled, “SUZIE!!!!”
	Lumbre had collapsed.  She was breathing weakly.
	I couldn’t believe it.  I couldn’t save Suzie.
	What would I tell Tommy?

* * *

[Protectors Island, Pinnacle City]

	The Liberator stared at the massive display board, a frown never
leaving her face.  Currently, the display showed Pinnacle City and the
Protectors and their allies spread out, trying to stem the fighting.
A number of icons were off to the side, showing the Protectors who
were on assignment in Central America.
	She ignored the symbols bellowing to the American Ranger, Ace,
Solstice Powers, Steelhide and Thunderclap.  Her eyes tracked Velocity
and Lightspeed as they dealt with the gangs on the East Shore
alongside Mike Cesar and his team.
	Crossbow had been unsure whether or not the two newest Protectors
could handle themselves.  The Liberator was sure at this point that
Crossbow would be satisfied by the work they were doing.  At this
point, Crossbow was working with the latest reincarnation of the Kid
Militia.  They were few in number, but having a telepath, a half-god
and who knows what else available was always handy.  They were raw,
though, very raw, but the Liberator was happy that having Crossbow
there would allow them to be under the watchful eye of one of the best
superhuman trainers on the planet.
	Other designators were displayed on the board.  The possibly-a-
goddess Athena and her partner Clusterbomb had been recruited, along
with Down-Low and Nighthawk to help out as the gang war began to flow
past the East Shore Highway and into more populated areas like the
MacLanahan River Hills, South Campus and the mixed development revival
of the Mid-Shore.  As the Liberator stared at the big board, another
blast of police radio traffic came through the speakers.
	Nodding along to the report, the Liberator’s eyes whipped across the
massive view of Pinnacle City.  She quickly located the intersection
in question and analyzed any possible assistance that the Protectors
could lend in this situation.  Reaching down, she picked up a phone
and pressed the ‘4’ key.  “Johnny,” she said tersely, “power up a
jet.  I’m going to need to take a ride.”

* * *

[Magadan, Magadan Oblast, Russia]

	The Baron smiled below his mask as Cain and Abel walked forward,
tearing into the thin lines of the Russian soldiers who were trying to
protect the port city of Magadan.  A former gold port, the city was a
perfect entry point for the invading armies of the Medusa
Corporation.  Intelligence had confirmed that there would be limited
defenses in place in the area, not to mention a population that might
be heavily inspired by the money that the Medusa Corporation would
pour into its new territory.
	But for now, only the poorly trained and armed Russian soldiers were
standing between the Baron, Red Bear and their mistress the Queen as
they advanced on Magadan.
	The Baron ignored the screams of soldiers as they fell at the hands
of the Medusa Corporation foot soldiers and looked down at the small
computer in his lap.  He was checking on various reports that were
being filtered from the soldiers to the command base on board a
freighter currently docked in Nagayevo Bay.  A combined group of
superhumans and ‘normals’ had captured Sokol Airport and were
preparing to welcome in the first cargo plane filled with
reinforcements and advanced communications equipment to allow the
Baron to improve and secure Magadan as the new capital of Medusa.

* * *

[Montecaivo, Central America]

	I stood at the edge of the massive hole that Zorstorer had made
earlier in the day and looked down at the rocky cliffs that led down
from the castle to the town below.  The smell of sulpher wafted up
from the town as the underground began outwardly fighting against the
now rudderless government soldiers.  Burning flesh soon followed and
it made me wonder if someone with fire-generating powers was attacking
or if that was just what happened when somebody’s powers turned their
bodies into living fire.
	I had managed to secure the clothing of one of the dead mercenaries
who had worked for Thrust, so at least I was wearing clothes.  But
that was probably the only thing going for me as I stared at the still
smoldering wreckage of Zorstorer’s aircraft.  Steelhide was floating
down below me, investigating the crash site with his advanced scanning
equipment.  Solstice and Ironwing were somewhere else, trying to find
Ace or Playboy’s remains.
	What did I get myself into, I asked myself.  In the last few months,
I had gone from mourning my father’s death to inheriting his mantle as
Thunderclap.  I had battled petty thieves, the Red Samurai, the Ice
Queen, the Baron and his ilk, and now taken down a city state.  Pretty
heady stuff for a twenty-six year old, I concluded.
	Steelhide must have finished his search pattern as he was making his
way back up towards the castle.  He flew past me, his metal skin
reflecting the mid-day sunlight directly into my eyes.  I turned away
and tried recovering from my blindness as he landed next to me – I
assume he had flown up and in through the hole he had put in the
ceiling during the battle.
	“Are you sure?” the Ranger asked Steelhide as I walked up to them.
	Steelhide’s confirmed it.
	“What’s going on?” I asked.
	The Ranger and Steelhide looked at each other.  Were they
communicating psychically? I wondered.  Finally, the Ranger looked at
me.  “There were no bodies.”
	I considered this for a moment, “As in, they were incinerated when
Lumbre hit the plane?”
	“No,” the Ranger replied, “there were literally no bodies.”
	“The wreckage is fairly intact,” Steelhide’s voice said in measured
tones that emanated from a speaker somewhere on his helmet.  “But
there seems to be no organic material.”
	“Are we one-hundred percent certain that there are no bodies down
	The Ranger nodded.  Steelhide did something that I guess could be
taken for a nod.
	“Then where the hell did they go?”

To be continued...

Author’s Note

Damn this took a long time.  Long enough that I had to write a forward
to it.  It’s also a bit shorter than I normally want to write, largely
because I’m kind of tired with this storyline and want to get the ball
rolling on what happens next.  The “Revolutions” storyline continues
as the focus begins to get back to Pinnacle City a bit more.

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