Strength: Earth's mightiest disciple
Screams of terror and the sound of destruction filled every major city in the world that night. The invaders were set to wipe out all of humanity. They would have succeeded if it wasn’t for one singular person. He alone saved the entire world on a day forever after that known as Invasion Day. He became the mightiest hero.
April 17th, an armada of spaceships appeared worldwide and began to lay waste to everything. During all this panic, governments around the world scrambled to combat this unexpected and unrelenting menace. While they were inactive, a singular man walked calmly down the street. As all ran for their lives from the assault, he walked towards it. His face is hidden behind a black glass mask, almost as if it were made from obsidian. He sauntered right into the fray with only a loose pair of white baggy pants and black boots. His exposed upper body was riddled with scars and forearms wrapped in bandages. His black hair blowing wildly in the air. On these bandages, thousands of small markings were made. As if they were strange runes of some forgotten language.
During all this terror, he waltzed over to a fallen over streetlamp. Rolled his shoulder for a warmup and gripped it. His fingers crushed the tube until it took the rough mould of his hand. The streets grew emptier as fewer and fewer people began to run by. The masked figure lifted the streetlamp up with great ease and carried it at his side. The same way javelin throwers would at the Olympics. He tilted his head to the side and held up his thump. In his line of sites were one of the enormous spaceships that were laying waste to the city. It was a towering figure of doom, shielded by a strange green glow.
“Hear my words,” he spoke calmly in a gravelly voice. The air buzzed all around him. It began to feel hot almost. Hairs on people’s forearms stood up. It was as if the entire city was shrouded in a strange aura. He took a deep breath and continued his walk towards the enemy.
“What does it take to be strong?” he began. The buzz and heat in the air began to pulsate. Detonating and sending a shockwave through the air with every word. As each boom echoed, his words thundered through the air. It spread so far and wide everyone could hear it, even the invaders. People turned their heads. Some came to a complete stop, thinking it was the invader’s speaking.
“What is the true meaning of strength,” he continued. His lazy walk transforming with a single skip forward into a jog. He hoisted up the streetlamp and pulled it back. A light blue glow surrounded it and pulsed brighter with each passing second. The daunting ship lazily turned to him. All of its weaponry focused on this one target and powering up.
“Show me your strength, and I’ll show you mine,” he concluded. Then he brought his right leg crashing down into the earth. Smashing through the pavement. His finely chiseled body pulled tight as he brought his arm forwards. Then as the sound barrier was broken, the sonic boom that followed. Signalled humanity’s first counterstrike. He flung the now burning light blue streetlamp at the ship that loomed over the city centre. Each building the streetlamp passed had its windows blown out. Foundations were shaken, and people hoisted from their feet from the dragging wind.
Then it finally hit its target. The light green barrier that shielded the ship was popped like a balloon. A small flash appeared as it sunk into the hull of the ship. Like a star would twinkle in the gloomy night. With a loud knock, all sound was robbed from the world. People would scream, but no noise came out. Fire would silently burn and devour further. Gunshots would go off without as much as a click. Then an explosion followed. An all-encompassing boom. Deafening every other noise and eclipsing the brightness of the sun. People were frozen in place and bathed in the white light, like the birth of a star. A gigantic white sphere burned in the stead of where the ship once was.
A raging torrent of pure energy, sucking in air at an incredible rate. It began to spin violently and swirl out of control. Dragging all the debris, it could find into it. Thousands of tentacle-like energy bursts tore loose and sliced through the surrounding skyscrapers. Incinerating everything in its path. The tumbling buildings being pulled apart by the sphere and engulfed. A furious roar erupted from the sphere and made the surroundings tremble. People clutching at their ears, trying to drown out the horrible noise, could not help but look at the sight. A pure destructive force was unleashed before them, consuming everything in its path as it shrank and spun out of control. The roar became softer and was replaced by the rushing wind. Tugging on everything. Then finally as the massive star shrank down to a tiny speck. It disappeared, leaving the city bathed in stagnant air and silence. Everyone watched in awe, stupefied by what they saw and heard. Then with the debris that wasn’t pulled into the sphere came crashing down to earth. Life resumed.
“One,” said the figure.
For the following six months, the earth was ravished by war. Yet, in that time, an area over Southeast Asia became known as the dead zone. This so-called dead zone was named for everything that entered it would not return. Cities in this area would be reduced to rubble. Yet even with no possibility of any human living inside the dead zone, the invaders kept diverting more ships towards it. Every fleet they sent that way would be destroyed. Those living on the fringes of the dead zone reported hearing a single voice booming in the distance. Explosions and other phenomena that occurred. It was not until nearly the end of the invasion that a team was sent into the dead zone to investigate.
More than half of the invaders were dealt with at this point, but only three kills were confirmed outside the dead zone. The task force consisted out of a group of multinationals. They would track down the source of this killing machine in the dead zone and see if they could enlist its aid. But as they neared a disturbance point in the dead zone, they were stunned at the sight they saw. It was an invader graveyard. The earth scorched bare, no remnants of a city to speak of. Only wrecks from their fleet and in the centre of it all. A single human. As they studied from afar. What would be known as their final assault before retreating, occurred.
Three giant dreadnaught class spaceships flew overhead with a slew of small fighter ships in tow. They opened fire from a distance, giving the sole man no chance to defend himself. The earth patch he was standing on was obliterated. Yet, they kept firing their relentless barrage. His figure disappeared in fire and smoke. The ships encircled the position without letting up their fire. With all of them in position, they stopped their bombardment.
The dust was settling when a sudden buzz could be felt in the air. The task force could feel their hairs stand up and an immense sudden heat fall over them.
“Is this the only form of strength you can show me?” echoed a voice through the entire valley. A few hatches on the invader’s ships opened. They leaned out their ships and cried in unison. A horrible hollering that seemed to be a response of some sort.
“Very well then. I’ll show you my strength again,” announced the voice. From the smoke, an intense current of air sprang forth. A massive slash opened up in the smoke that covered the patch where the man stood in the blink of an eye. As if seeing this trick before, some of the invaders ducked back into their ships and pulled away. Yet many were caught in this unseen attack. As if by magic. Thousands of the smaller fighter ships detonated all around. Spewing forth fire and shrapnel. Leaving a burning halo all around the crater where the man stood.
The response was an immediate continuation of the assault. Though unlike before, the man did not stay in place. Instead, leaping up high and landing on one of the dreadnaughts. As he ran the length of it, he tore off pieces of the thick hull and would effortlessly sling the fragments at the other fighter ships, destroying them on impact. Without remorse, the smaller fighter would bombard the ship in an attempt to subdue this lone man. But even if their attacks came close to landing, it always seemed to either just miss him or be destroyed before it could touch him.
Then one of the other dreadnaughts unleashed an attack that the rest of the world grew to fear. It charged its main cannon and fired a continuous beam of unbridled power. The energy beam tore clean through the other dreadnaught, forcing thousands of explosions to erupt inside the ship. They dragged the laser across it, carving through their own ally, and blasted the man. He was caught and was forced clean through the ship and into the ground. The beam dug deep into the earth. Spraying molten rock and earth as high as the clouds. The surrounding air grew so hot that it caught fire, and the fragments of the former assaults began to melt.
With a loud powering down noise, the beam finally stopped. Leaving in its wake a burning hellscape and a tunnel of molten earth flowing deep underground. The unbelievable power of this attack devastated the surrounding area. Still, almost all of the small fighters were also destroyed by the escaping power. Even the task force had to seek cover from the incredible heatwave being blasted over them.
“Emperor skill,” echoed as the ground began to tremor. With this voice barely finishing the two simple words. The two remainder dreadnaughts began to power up their ultimate attacks together.
“Divine aura,” it continued as the ships took their aim.
“Times a million.” was the last thing the task force heard. As a volcano would erupt, as did the tunnel. Liquid hot magma and smog engulfing the sky for as far as the eye could see. A harrowing bang sounded that splintered nearby steel with the soundwave alone. Yet during all this. A golden aura warrior was seen streaking across the sky. Fist coiled back, ready to strike.
When his fist landed true. The first dreadnaught was engulfed in fire. Spraying remnants of what was once a terrifying battleship far into the horizon. Fiery tails following them like lines behind an aeroplane. The last of the fighter ships were torn to shreds by the shards. Then from the black smog and fire fell the obliterated fragments of the ship. Yet before it could crash into the dirt. A bright flash appeared. As blinding as the sun and as brief as a wink. The up-powering sound of the other dreadnaught stopped. It hung in the air, staring at the corpse of its ally digging with a thud into the earth. The task force members looked frantically around to see if they could spot the golden warrior.
High above the black smoke that domed the part of the dead zone was where he was. The sole saviour was plummeting back down. Singed, bleeding, bruised, and his clothes tattered. He pierced the dark veil and crashed onto the deck of the remaining ship. The impact had such force that the steel crumpled like foil around him. With that thud, the damage from the flash was revealed. Several loud conks and screeching steel sounds began to resonate from the ship. Soon parts slid out and dropped to the earth as the entire dreadnaught came undone. With hundreds of sliced pieces on one of them, the figure came back to his feet. With one mighty jump, he launched himself into the air and, in turn. Splintered the ship into pieces. It looked like shattering glass raining down from the heavens.
The task force watched, stunned. Their mouths hung agog, and each stretched wide. They had just witnessed a single person do the same amount of damage in a single fight as the rest of humanity did in six months. While they looked in awe at what was in front of them. He landed as soft as a feather in front of them.
“Eleven-thousand-nine-hundred-and-eighty-six?” he asked nonchalantly with both hands in his pockets. Pulling a face as if he was doing tricky maths.
After this final battle, the remainder of the invaders fell back and abandoned their assault. The world was in ruin, but it could be rebuilt with the technology that was left behind by the invaders. The rebuilt world would also be completely different than the one that came before. Peace reigned, and the hero disappeared without ever making a public appearance. That was until forty years after Invasion Day. When he returned with one question.
“What is the meaning of strength?”