For this week’s flash fiction challenge by Chuck Wendig (I have decided that ‘Wenflafillenge’ is a silly word. You can have it), the theme was ‘over the top pulp insanity’. At 1150 words, this one is a little longer than it should be, but who’s counting? Not exactly my usual style, but it was good fun to write.
The Freedom Fighters and the Flying Battleship
The skyscraper shook with an explosion, causing showers of glass, steel and concrete fragments to rain down everywhere. Aided by short bursts from the jetpacks in their battlesuits, the three Freedom Fighters – Starburst, Black Ronin, and Mr. Comet – leapt from their flying car through the new hole in the outer wall, straight into the secret laboratory of the evil Dr. Ahrenfeldt. Inside, glowing tubes and wires criss-crossed the room, carrying fluids and energy between the contraptions that filled the room, one more hellish-looking than the next. On a platform in the middle of the room, surrounded by computer monitors and instruments, stood the Doctor himself, along with his personal guard of genetically-modified alligator-men.
“Surrender, Dr. Ahrenfeldt!” Starburst called out, raising her battlesuit-armoured fist at the evil scientist. “Your insidious schemes have come to an end!”
The Doctor spun around, an evil sneer on his face. “You’re too late, Freedom Fighters! I will have this city at my mercy in just a few minutes! Guards, attack them!”
Standing on a levitating platform, the Doctor quickly disappeared through a hatch in the ceiling while the alligator-men covered his retreat, slowly advancing on the Freedom Fighters, snarling and baring their knife-like teeth. However, even though the alligator-men were strong opponents, they were no match for the Freedom Fighters, and a short battle later, they had cleared the room of all enemies.
“Great!” Black Ronin said. “Now let’s get after that…”
Suddenly, another strong tremor ran through the tower, and a dark shadow fell over both the tower they were in and the neighbouring buildings, as if something of immense size was blocking the sun. The Freedom Fighters ran to the hole in the wall and looked out. The five top floors had detached themselves from Dr. Ahrenfeldt’s tower, revealing themselves as a heavily armoured flying battleship, bristling with laser cannons! Within moments, the cannons started opening fire on the city below, causing one skyscraper after another to crumble into rubble.
“What do we do?!” Black Ronin asked. “He could lay waste to half the city before the Air Force would even get here!”
“Then we’ll have to stop him ourselves! Come on!” Starburst thumped her jetpack on again, and the three Freedom Fighters jumped back to their flying car and flew up towards the battleship at top speed.
“There!” Mr. Comet shouted and pointed at an opening in the hull of the flying behemoth. “That looks like a shuttle bay!” Dodging and weaving to evade the laser beams that burst through the air all around them, Black Ronin expertly piloted the car through the small bay opening and brought it down hard on the deck, careening straight into a squad of alligator-men who had been guarding the bay, before coming to a rest against the bulkhead.
“Great landing, eh?” Black Ronin said proudly, admiring the chaos their forced entry had caused.
“Better than usual,” Mr. Comet noted dryly.
“Come on!” Starburst said. “We have to find the command bridge… and quickly!”
Fighting their way through the ranks of alligator-men that filled the corridors of the battleship, the Freedom Fighters soon made it to the bridge and entered, having found the door curiously unguarded. Inside, Dr. Ahrenfeldt was standing in front of a large panorama window from where he could enjoy the destruction being wreaked by his flying dreadnought, looking like an arena owner who was waiting to welcome new gladiators into his ring.
“There you are! I was wondering what was taking you so long – no, no,” he interrupted gleefully as Starburst was about to say something, “this is not the end yet. I have one final surprise for you – an old friend I want you to meet.”
He hit a big red button on his console. A hidden door in the bulkhead slid open, and an unnaturally large and muscular man stepped out. At almost nine feet in height, he towered above the heads of any of the Freedom Fighters, and his bulging muscles spoke of a superhuman strength even beyond that of a battlesuit.
“Golem!” Mr. Comet exclaimed. “The Freedom Fighter you captured last year! What have you done to him?!”
“Just a few modifications,” Dr. Ahrenfeldt gloated. “A little brainwashing, hormonal treatments for greater strength and aggression… you’ll find out.”
Growling, Golem dropped into an attack stance and advanced on them. It seemed like there would be no negotiations with their old comrade. The Freedom Fighters spread out around him, wolf pack-like, waiting for an opportunity to counterattack. Suddenly, Golem jumped forward, grabbed Black Ronin, and threw him bodily into the nearby bulkhead with enough force to bend the metal. Black Ronin slid to the floor, obviously out for the count.
Mr. Comet quickly exploited the opening to charge in and deal a heavy blow to Golem’s head; but the giant simply shrugged off the hit that would have stunned most normal men. A single retaliatory backhanded strike brought Mr. Comet down on the deck and the giant loomed over him, preparing to strike the finishing blow.
Suddenly, a computer monitor crashed into Golem’s head from behind. Furiously, he turned around and saw Starburst who was standing on a console just a few yards in front of Dr. Ahrenfeldt.
“Come here, you big tank of lard!” she taunted him. “Try to take me on if you can!”
Howling with rage, Golem launched himself at her. At the very last moment, Starburst punched the jetpack alive and launched up towards the ceiling in a cloud of smoke, evading Golem by a hair’s breadth. Caught by surprise, Golem tumbled into the Doctor and sent them both crashing through the panorama windows, falling to their deaths far, far below.
Moments later, an explosion rocked the whole battleship, and it started to list to one side and rapidly lose altitude.
“It’s going to crash!” Starburst shouted and started towards the door. “Come on!” Hoisting the still unconscious Black Ronin up on his shoulder, Mr. Comet quickly followed her back into the warren of corridors.
The Freedom Fighters made it out of the doomed battleship in the flying car just moments before the large construct crashed into the ground, destroying another city block in addition to the many buildings it had already blasted to rubble. They set down on the rooftop of a nearby building and stood for a moment in a silent contemplation of the extensive destruction that the insane scientist had caused.
“Well, I guess that was that,” Black Ronin finally said.
“Not yet,” Starburst said. She had taken her helmet off and shaken her long, raven-black tresses free, and was now looking thoughtfully at the crashed dreadnought. “Dr. Ahlenfeldt would never have been able to raise the resources for something on this scale himself. There must be something greater behind this…”
As always: Liked the story? Hated it? Or somewhere in between? Comments are the sweet, sweet manna that nourishes all writers, so tell me about it! And critique and suggestions for improvement are just as welcome as positive comments; I’ll never get better without them.