Hiccup smiled as he rubbed behind the back of Toothless' ear- the canine having been around him more often than before since his escape from the Dollhouse. It was evident the dog had missed him, and he'd admit he'd missed him too. The two were currently sitting in the computer room, with Hiccup going over security footage from various cities. Each one seemed to have similar cases- weapons shipments going missing. Some had cases of rare energy sources being gone too.
His attention returned momentarily to one of the problems they faced in Vespa City, of Doctor Vanessa Bloome and Doctor Samuel Liotta's Hive formula being stolen. The Hive formula was apparently an attempt at a mind control serum, though not made with ill intentions. Moreso to further the rehabilitation of mentally ill people. And now it's gone, in the hands of BEWILDER
All of this was starting to add up and Hiccup had no doubt that BEWILDER was behind every other break in- stealing weapons to modify them and sell them off to the incoming alien invaders. From his count, they still had around a week before they arrived to Earth.
Frustrated, he ran a hand through his hair and sat back in his chair, Toothless whining softly. "What?" He asked, watching as the dog motioned over to the empty bowl nearby. He gave a roll of his eyes before standing. "Guess it is lunch time huh?" He asked while rising from his seat.
"Come on bud." He said, walking out towards the kitchen. He saw The Twins pampering with something on the dining room table, but didn't question it yet. His primary focus was food and a lot of it. He burned through a fair amount of calories in his training recently, and needed to replenish them.
After fixing himself a plate of lasagna and Toothless a bowl of organic dog chow, he pulled up a chair at the table. "What are you guys working on?" He asked
Tuffnut looked up, his eyes cold. "Top secret- this is a weapon that'll give us an edge during the big alien fight!"
"More than an edge- it'll give us the whole damn battlefield." Ruff said with a smirk. They were clearly not going to reveal anymore about the device, but it was something he was keen on learning about. He'd figure out more later.
Mala let out a small sigh as she sat upon the edge of a building, watching the civilians go about their way. She'd admit, she thought patrolling the city would be more fun. She was wrong- this was boring her to death. Throk's constant hovering nearby didn't help, nor did Gustav's face being stuck in a pair of binoculars.
"What are we looking for?" She finally asked, watching as Gustav turned towards her- eyes still in his binoculars
"Signs of BEWILDER- or alien life. Apart from the one we found a while back." He said, thinking back on that pod that sent Eret to the ground. They'd gone back to recover the pod later, but it was gone.
"I don't think we're gonna find them out here." Mala said as she stood up onto her feet. She'd gotten quite used to the Windshear suit by now, and grown to love wearing it more than her previous one. But she had to admit, the responsibility that came with it could be a bit overbearing at times. She often wondered if she truly deserved to wear it.
Gustav's search came to a halt. "Yeah, you may be right." He said.
"Guys...is that thing cleared to enter the city's airspace?" Throk asked as he stared into the sky. Mala turned around, Gustav too. The boy dropped his binoculars at the sight.
"Shit." He said as the large ship hovered overhead, with a wingspan that stretched over nearly twelve buildings. It's hatch opened and the downpour began, several cream skinned creatures dropping down into the ground. They were all of large builds, similar to bodybuilders. Their heads were of odd shapes and had strange metal platings over them- helmets maybe? They carried various weapons: blades and guns. The same guns that were being sold by BEWILDER.
"That's them...that's them, they're here. They're here early, the aliens are here early and we're the only ones here!" Gustav had lost his cool by now, leading Mala to send a sharp slap his way.
"Get a grip! We need to hold these freaks off until the others can make it!" She shouted before leaping from the roof, her weapons drawn and ready to go. Landing in a roll, she popped up and sent three bladed talons flying at three of the creatures- but merely bounced off of their skin and landed onto the ground. The civilians had begun to run as the creatures had started to open fire in random areas- looking to do as much damage as possible. Some of them seemed to be marching off to search buildings.
Gustav took notice of this just as Throk shot off into a crowd of the creatures, burning his equally through most of their armor, but barely making a scratch in their bodies. His enhanced strength should be able to lend a hand, he realized that after sending one of them flying down the street.
"These guys are durable!" He shouted as Mala rushed over to lend a hand. She launched herself into the air and landed onto one of their backs, slapping an explosive device onto it. She sent out a grapple line towards two more, then connected the line to that creature's back. She finished by flipping away just as they were all bound together, a large explosion encompassing them.
"That seemed to do the trick. Try to raise the levels of your heat!" She called over to Throk.
As their battle raged on, Gustav made his way into one of the nearest buildings. He stuck to the shadows, watching as the creatures began to gather civilians into a single group, their weapons aimed at them. He took a moment to draw a weapon before making a move- throwing his own explosive disk at one of them. It magnetized itself to the alien's arm and sent him flying through a wall once it went off. The other aliens turned around just as Gustav got his hands onto the weapon of the one he'd just dropped, opening fire.
The weapon seemed to fire in bursts, and it appeared to be some sort of concentrated laser. Though he could see some form of billet leaving the barrel aswell. A bit odd, but given the fact that these were originally human weapons, it made some sense to him.
He ducked as a hail of gunfire unleashed upon him and began to weave his way through it all, getting closer with each step. As he finally neared the group of three, he slammed another explosive into the barrel of his gun and dropped it- leaping over their heads. He quickly took out a spare grapple rope and tied it around the civilians, firing the line towards a wall far away. As they were pulled away, Gustav turned and pulled his cape over his head to block the explosion.
The force from it sent him flying across the room and into a wall. He fell onto the floor with a loud grunt, getting up slowly. What he hadn't noticed was one of the aliens still clutching their gun and opening fire on a stone pillar above him. The pillar collapsed onto Gustav just as he recovered from the collision, nearly crushing him.
"GUSTAV!" Shouted Throk who'd just entered the building. He heard the sounds of conflict from outside and had finished off the ground troops out there, making it in just in time to see his friend being crushed. He sent a powerful burst of heat at the alien that shot him before flying over and removing the rubble.
Gustav looked worse for wear, but was alive and awake. He stood up very slowly and looked to Throk, then to the streets. Mala was still preoccupied and there were more coming. Gustav pointed outside. "Go- handle them!"
"But you're hurt!" Throk retorted.
"I'll be fine, just a bit winded. My suit took most of the damage." He managed to spit out, trying his best not to clutch his ribs in pain. He wouldn't let on just how hurt he actually was. Throk was hesitant, but the sounds of turmoil from outside managed to sway him. He took off in a burst of flame towards the outside.
Gustav watched then turned towards the civilians, pressing a button to remotely undo the grapple line. They all took off whilst giving him thanks. He smiled at each of them, then recovered his line. And with one last look towards the streets, he took off from the scene. He couldn't stay here- otherwise he'd die.
"Seriously, did you happen to see what the Twins were working on? It's kinda concerning." Hiccup said as he took a bite from a bagel and nudged Astrid gently.
She shook her head. "Not a thing, I'm definitely interested. Sucks I won't be there to see it in action." She said. Hiccup frowned but placed a hand over hers.
"You'll be with us in spirit. Maybe you could make it rain so the enemies slip?" He asked with a chuckle. She laughed softly at his joke. Just then, the door to the kitchen flew open and Gustav stumbled through, falling onto the counter. Hiccup and Astrid moved to their feet, Hiccup rushing to give the boy some support.
"It's starting." He stated while panting wildly. Judging from the burn marks on his suit and the bruises, he'd just faced something phenomenal. "They're here!" Gustav shouted with a gasp, before finally passing out into Hiccup's arms. Hiccup stared at his protégé in disbelief, along with shock. His eyes lifted to meet Astrid's, her face reading the same. He shook his head while lifting the boy up, then rushed out of the kitchen.
"He's stable now, but he has several broken ribs, severe burns and a hairline fracture. I'm surprised he even made it all the way here before he collapsed." Vanessa said as she pulled her tablet away from her face, looking over to Hiccup and Astrid.
"He's tough. The motorcycle helps too." Astrid responded as she turned to Hiccup, who'd just made his way over to the side of Gustav's bed. He was shaking his head and mumbling something unintelligible, atleast from afar.
"I should've been more careful...God should have I even chosen him for this?" He asked, finally speaking aloud. Astrid moved over to place her head onto his shoulder.
"This isn't your fault, nor is it his. He knew the risk, we all know the risk. He's fought hard these past two years, and proven himself an Immortal. There's no reason to rethink it now Hiccup, no reason at all." She said, watching as his eyes began to water. She grabbed his face and turned him towards her, their noses only inches apart.
"But...but what if I'd just trained him more? What if-"
"What if he wasn't human?" She asked, finally finishing the statement. "What if he had your abilities, or mine? Did you ever feel that way about Scott or Heather? Mala? The Twins? Or is it just because Gustav is young?" She asked.
His breath hitched as he searched his mind for an answer, but found his tongue too lost to speak. He nodded in response to her, finally meeting her eyes. "I just...I don't want his life to be cut short…"
Astrid shrugged "Little late for that one. He's in this- we all are. He's an Immortal, and he's ready. He was just caught off guard in the moment, it happens. But once he's healed up, he'll reign hell upon his opponents." She said. He finally broke out of his mindset, smiling softly before hugging her.
Vanessa coughed to make her presence known, both of them turning to her then. "Yeah, still here. Um, these aliens are working with the guys that stole my project right?" She asked. Astrid and Hiccup nodded
"Good. Just wanted to make sure I punished the right ones." She said as she finally turned to walk away.
"Hey Nessa wait." Hiccup called, leading the woman to turn around.
"When did you become medically certified?"
She scoffed at his remark, then let out a chuckle. "Who said I was certified?" She asked before finally leaving the room, and leaving the two in disbelief.
Hiccup coughed as he looked towards Gustav's sleeping form. "He looks peaceful…"
Astrid smiled as she kissed his cheek, taking a hold of his hand. "He does."
They stayed there in their own silence for a moment before Hiccup finally spoke again. "She's doing malpractice isn't she?"
Hiccup took a slow look around the room at everyone present. There they were, The Immortals- from their fearless leader, Night Fury. To the blue blur, Typhoon. the living energy bomb Nightlight. The walking armory named Nightmare. The silent killer, Windshear. The forest fowler known as Huntress. The pack of pranksters called the Terror Twins. And the powerful puncher Changewing. This is what they had to work with. This was the only hope for this planet.
Hiccup let out a breath before starting his briefing. "The aliens are here, Atali has more information on them so we'll be getting it from her before we head out. But I need to stress this, be as careful as possible out there. This is unlike anything we've ever seen before, anything we've ever even faced before. I need all of you to make it out of this okay?"
There were nods and various answers, all of them seemingly saying yes. "Alright...alright, good. Atali, if you would." He said as he stepped aside to allow the Demigoddess to speak.
"These creatures are known as the X'hall. They have been conquering planets throughout the universe for years, absorbing resources and collecting information from each planet to build their ranks, their resources and their firepower. With the things they've acquired from This Bewilder group, there's no telling what they're capable of now. They're technically a semi-organic life, have metal, have organic. The race they originated from died out years ago, with only a few scientists able to preserve their life force and start manufacturing cybernetic clones of them in an attempt to keep things alive. That plan failed, as they paid for that failure with their lives. These creatures overtook everything on their planet and began to grow smarter- then set off on a seemingly endless power quest."
She took a pause as her eyes went towards the projector behind her. "These creatures are brutal. They're about as strong as Hiccup, but their skin is far more durable."
"Oof." Scott said.
"They're all connected though. A hive mind- their mothership housing the main device that keeps all of them active. We have to destroy that mothership as fast as possible, I recommend sending a team in while another deals with the ground forces."
Hiccup nodded as he approached. "Great idea." He began, turning towards the team. "Changewing, Typhoon and The Terror Twins- you'll handle that. Nightmare, Huntress, Windshear- you're with me on the ground."
Atali watched as he planned this out, summoning her axe to her hand. "I'm upset Haddock. I've been here for...I'm unsure of how long, but I still have seen no sign of Grimmel. I'll be taking my leave now." She said, bringing a look of surprise to the Night Fury's face.
"What?!" Nightmare shouted as he stood up. "We need you- we're facing an alien attack here!" He said.
"I am aware, but this is your battle- not mine." She said
"No, no- hell no." Windshear said as she finally stood up, the tensions starting to rise further at the table. "We put you into a home for all this time, you've fought with us before and we've helped you as much as we could searching for this creep- now you wanna up and leave when things get heavy?" She asked, stepping towards the woman from there.
Atali looked down into the young hero with a glare, hand tightening around the handle of her axe. "Watch your tone, child."
"No, you watch your tone. I don't care if you come from the gods, if you leave us now, you're no better than the lowliest human." She returned the same sentiment that she'd been met with, not stepping down dispute the obvious height (and power) difference between the two.
Atali glared at her, not shifting for a second. Even as her axe slid down to allow a better grip, she didn't falter. Mala didn't either. "Watch it."
"Make a move...I dare you." Mala said.
"Hey, that's enough!" Hiccup called over, drawing both of their attention. "Mala is right, though she went about expressing it a bit aggressively." He said with a look towards Mala. "But we need your help here, and we've helped you as much as we could so far. What's wrong with helping now?" He asked.
Atali seemed to mull over her options here, then rested her axe onto the floor. "Your plan had better work, because I do not plan to stay for long." She said before stomping off.
"Good...now then, let's get going." Hiccup said as he turned towards the team once again. They all had their game faces on. That much was good. Hopefully this would be easier than they thought.
They loaded up into the Immortal X-Wing, Hiccup at the helm. He set up the course for the city while ensuring their weapons systems were ready to go. He had a bad feeling about all of this, but still bit it back.
This wasn't the time for fear...or regret. This was the time for action.