Well, here it is ladies and gentlemen...the last chapter of Nightblaze's first short story. It's longer then the others, but that's because a ton of awesome things happen! As I have said in the other 5 chapters, please let me know what you think. I'm especially interested if you think I should continue my Nightblaze stories! Anyway, read on my friends.

Chapter 6:


Back at the below ground basement of the Widener Research Facility, Aquaman was struggling in his battle with Alloy. The hero found himself growing tired, and unable to summon as much water as usual when he created his waves that were thrown towards the metallic thug. Alloy on the other hand seemed impervious to fatigue, and like a machine, kept coming at Aquaman full force. It got to a point where Aquaman was out of breath, and struggling to stay standing. Alloy, with his big burley muscles, picked up the superhero by his orange shirt with one arm, and used the other to punch him repeatively in the face. Aquaman spat out blood as he was beginning to get dizzy and felt his consciousness fade.

"If you think that getting me wet is enough to keep me down," Alloy's deep voice trembled as the lust of blood excited him for more fighting, "then you DESERVE this beatdown, water boy!"

Sneaking behind large metal crates in the basement, Nightblaze watched the pummeling of Aquaman and knew he needed to act quickly. The hero had the element of surprise on his side, and he definitely didn't want to waste that asset.

"Nightblaze!" Eric spoke into Nightblaze's ear. "I just wanted to remind you that this whole room has been completely soaked during the battle between Alloy and Aquaman. Your suit's telling me that your hydration levels are slowly starting to rise…you're only about 5 percent hydrated right now, but there are plenty of opportunities to get wet down there…be careful!"

Nightblaze knew the risks of what he was about to do. Zach Davis was a very unordinary man due to the chemical makeup of his blood system, which was a mysterious mixture of normal blood and enough concentrated Zichromate that there is no logical reasoning that could explain why Zach was still able to live. As a result of this chemical reaction that was a scientific quandary, Zach was able to heat up his body to immeasurable amounts. He was also able to maintain balance and control over any kind of heat. He could mend and manipulate fire, and even create it through raising his body to high temperatures. Zach's body had one more peculiarity thanks to the mysterious element within him. As the hero interacted with water, his temperature would decrease until he was dry. Drinking a glass of water, washing his hands…these "normal" things didn't have much noticeable effect on Zach. But should he find himself swimming in a lake, having an excessive amount of water poured on him, or in a severe rainstorm…Zach's body would reach a state of temporarily normality. He would not be able to use his powers until he found a way to dehydrate himself. Thanks to Zach's extraordinary make up, this didn't take as long as it would for others…but needless to say, when being present in a damp room full of water and wet things, getting wet in the presence of Alloy was one thing Zach Davis DIDN'T want to happen.

"Aquaman's not going to last much longer against that psycho." Nightblaze's resolve could be identified in his voice. "He didn't want to team up with me because he didn't think I was much of a hero…I want to take this chance save him and to prove him wrong. To be honest, up until recently I probably would have agreed with Aquaman's first impression of me, but Amanda helped me see otherwise. Eric, I need a distraction."

"Do you have anything special in mind?"

"Using your XLR8 auto pilot system, take control of my motorcycle, and crash it into Alloy." Nightblaze sighed as he thought about ruining his nice bike.


"I know." Nightblaze sympathized with Eric.

"That thing took me months to make…" Eric grumbled, "Really? I mean, do we need that big of a distraction…I can kill the lights, I can set alarms off…how about hacking into the US government and sending in some of SWAT'S finest? If you give me a minute, I could pull that off too!"

"No I need something that's going to give him a big bruise, and slow him down a bit while I make sure Aquaman's okay." Nightblaze responded, "I'm already feeling a little weaker then usual, so I'll have to use XLR8 to give me a little extra "boom" to my explosion."

There was a long pause, and Eric responded. "Copy that, she should be crashing in within a matter of seconds."

Alloy gave Aquaman another punch for good measure, and then tossed him on the steel floor, against a wall and next to the large hole that the superhero came into the basement through. As Alloy walked slowly towards Aquaman he shared with him a evil smile of murderous intent, as his left arm started to shift into a large battle axe.

"I had hoped to kill Nightblaze tonight," Alloy said as he inched closer to Aquaman "but we don't always get what we want. I guess we have that in common, I imagine you were hoping to continue to living today…but that's not going to happen. I'll get that fire starter some other time, tonight, you'll just have to settle my appetite!"

Suddenly, just as Alloy raised his axe arm and prepared to slice Aquaman in half, XLR8 busted through one of the doors leading to the staircases out of the basement. It was going well over two hundred MPH on its own, and as Nightblaze saw the vehicle searing in he created a large fireball and threw it at his motorcycle. As the bike burned, it became overpowered with heat and probably reached a speed over three hundred MPH, as it hit Alloy and sent him through another wall. The Fireball was so powerful, it blew up the motorcycle and created a firestorm within the small maintenance closet that Alloy was pushed into due to XLR8's high impact.

"Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it." Nightblazed muttered to Alloy, as he ran over to check the status of Aquaman.

The superhero was barely holding on to his consciousness, but he was breathing. Nightblaze tried to shake his shoulders to get a response from Aquaman, but after his fight with Alloy, the blonde haired man was to beat up. The hero in black saw the large hole leading into Crimson Bay next to them. He considered what water does to him, a individual who had control over the plane of fire. "Maybe it will have the opposite effect on someone who has control over water." Nightblaze thought as he held Aquaman's body into the water, his head completely submerged.

"I really hope I'm right about this." Nightblaze thought out loud as he held Aquaman under the water, "Otherwise I'm going to have to come up with an interesting way of explaining how I accidently drowned the first superhero I ever met."

As Nightblaze had his ally submerged, strength began to rapidly return to Aquaman. Suddenly the man's arms moved to push Nightblaze off of him. Aquaman allowed himself to fall into the Bay, and within a few minutes jumped out of the water, fully rejuvenated.

"I owe you my life, Nightblaze." Aquaman said as he put his hand on Nightblaze's shoulder. "You didn't have to come back for me, but I'm glad you did."

"You helped me accomplish my mission, and now I am going to help you accomplish yours." Nightblaze responded. "Or have you been too busy getting beat up by Alloy that you forgot about the fact that Derek Widener is about to poison Crimson Bay and kill all your fish friends?"

Aquaman realized that by now Widener could be at a prime distribution point in the facility to release his toxin. The hero of the sea also considered Alloy, who was beginning to moan in pain as he slowly started to walk through the fires and back into the scene.

"Don't worry about the can opener over there." Nightblaze said as Aquaman helped him to his feet. "I'll take care of him, you go do what you came to do."

The two heroes nodded out of mutual respect for each other, and Aquaman rushed out of the basement the same way that Derek had left not to long ago. Nightblaze turned his attention to Alloy who now had walked over the flames and was moving closer to him. His head had a massive cut in it, which was gushing blood that was colored both red and silver. His right arm was dislocated out of place, and also dripping lots of blood. His shirt had been burnt completely off and most of his chest looked like charcoal.

"You look like you could use a band aid." Nightblaze mocked his adversary. "Come on, big man…you've lost, let's call it quits! If you give up now, I promise I'll go upstairs, find a first aid kit, and help you patch up those bruises."

Alloy didn't respond verball, but slowly grabbed his right arm with his left arm, and with one quick jerk, popped it back into place. After both his arms were semi-recovered, he used his hands to crack his neck. Nightblaze watched as the silver blood all over Alloy's body seemed to give the man some kind of rejuvenating sensation. His skin began to return to its mocha color as the burns disappeared.

"Didn't think he'd give up…" Nightblaze talked to himself as he watched this amazing sight. "But I really didn't project that this would be happening either…Come on man, that's not fair! What the heck are you?"

"I never had an injury that I couldn't recover from in all the years that I hunted people like us." Alloy's heart was full of so much rage right now that he couldn't come up with a quick comeback or cheesy insult. "I've killed quite my share of people like us. And the ones I didn't kill, man we had some pretty intense fights, and I always won….that is until I met you, Nightblaze…and you gave me the first injury that my body couldn't recover from without scientific help."

"Well, by my count…" Nightblaze interjected as he did his best not to be intimidated by this crazy man. "Yeah, I burnt your arm off…but you got a new one, so we're even right? How about a truce? I'd really like to go make sure, you know…my city's water isn't poisoned."

Alloy paused as he digested the hero's comment. He started to chuckle softly. Nightblaze was becoming further and further convinced that the man had lost his mind. After a few moments of soft laughter, Alloy calmly responded once again. "Yeah, but that's just it…I'm never even with anyone. "

Suddenly the rage that Alloy was bottling inside of him came to the surface, and Nightblaze saw it flaring in the Hispanic man's brown eyes. Alloy's left arm became a large meat tenderizer as he ran towards the superhero and yelled "That's why you have to die!"

As Alloy threw his spiky mallet down towards Nightblaze's skull, the hero quick dodged to the right and Alloy found his arm stuck in the steel ground. Nightblaze backed up and prepared himself for Alloy's next move. The villain struggled to get his arm out of the steel that he had busted a hole in. Nightblaze smirked as he felt more comfortable about this battle, since Alloy's intelligence seemed to rival that of a metal meat tenderizer that his arm resembled.

"I'm sorry; do you need a HAND Alloy?" Nightblaze spoke as he stretched out his arms to ready a fire blast. "Don't worry, I know you don't much care for me…I'll keep an ARMS length distance from you!"

"What are you going to do now?" Alloy provoked his enemy as he struggled to get his arm free, "You know you CAN defeat me and go save your city…but that's only if you melt my entire body like you did my left arm. But if you shoot that fire at me, you better make it count! Because I promise when I get this arm out, I'm going to crush you!"

Nightblaze hesitated. At first he WAS going to melt Alloy, but that wasn't the kind of hero he wanted to be. He didn't want to be the guy that the others heroes like Aquaman didn't want to team with because they frowned on his tactics. He didn't want to face another disappointing look from Eric back at the hideout that was shortly followed by another guilt arousing lecture. Most importantly, Nightblaze didn't want to be the kind of hero that Amanda Cho-Ming would unable to count on. She taught Zach that he wasn't a runner, Zach also knew from the bottom of his heart that he wasn't a murderer either.

Unfortunately, in that hesitation, Alloy was able to use his superior strength (that was brought on by a much stronger left arm, thanks to the Adulium fusion) to rip his arm out of the floor. As the thug ripped his arm free, he also stripped a large plate of metal that was directly under Nightblaze's feet. Suddenly, as the floor quite literally was ripped from Nightblaze's feet, he fell into the water of the Crimson Bay. Before he got too far into the cold lake, he felt a large muscular arm grab him and pull him out of the water and hold him in the air.

"We're not done playing yet." Alloy sneered at Nightblaze, as he punched him hard in the stomach and threw him into a large metal structure.

Nightblaze coughed painfully, as the impact of the punch knocked the air out of him. As he flew into the metal box and fell to the ground in agony, the hero felt the lack of strength in his body. He could tell that he was at this moment powerless, and a sitting duck to Alloy. The hero didn't completely panic, because fire wasn't the only thing that made Nightblaze a formidable opponent. He also had a best friend that he was in contact with who was genius and could come up with a strategy to get out of any situation.

"Eric," Nightblaze winced in pain and could barely speak. "Eric do you copy? I got myself in a bit of a jam here…"

There was no response. Nightblaze realized that his communicator must have shorted out when he fell into the water. Nightblaze cursed as he now thought about how important it was to invest in waterproof equipment so that he wouldn't find himself in this kind of situation.

"I'm on my own." Nightblaze thought as he looked around the room trying to think of a means of winning. "I have to come up with something…If I had Eric around, what would he tell me right now? Probably something very geeky…something about metal that would help me come up with a weakness of Alloy to pick on. Last time he said that metal melts…what else does metal do." Nightblaze continued to look around him and noticed the large box that he was leaning up against. It had a large orange sticker with many black lightning bolt symbols on it. Nightblaze read the label, HIGH VOLTAGE. The superhero smiled as he saw a way out of this predicament. "What else does metal do? It conducts electricity!"

"What's with that panicked look, Nightblaze?" Alloy taunted, "No comeback? No smart alac response? You're losing your touch! You know for a second there, it looked like you were kind of scared…"

Suddenly Alloy's lights turned on as he realized that the hero had plenty of time to shoot out a fire if he wanted to defend himself from Alloy. It occurred to the villain that since he pulled Nightblaze out of the water, the hero seemed surprisingly normal.

"Oh that's too funny!" Alloy began to laugh as his right arm turned into a buzz saw. He continued speaking through his laughter. "If you get wet you can't set things on fire? Oh man, that's so pathetic I can't even think of a way to make fun of it! How do you put yourself in situations like this if you know its so easy to lose your powers? And you know what the saddest part of all this is, Nightblaze? If you had only melted my entire body when you had the chance, you would have been able to walk out of here alive! That's the difference between you and I…I know what it takes to win, and you just don't have it in you to be a winner!"

"You know, I think I'm starting to figure you out too." Nightblaze spoke as he begun to stand up straight and move his hurting body slowly to Alloy. "You've been so fixated since I burnt your arm off on "settling the score" as if we've known each other for years…You talk about how you used to kill people "like us", but you don't even know me! Just then, you talked about "the difference between you and me" as if you knew plenty of similarities. It's clear you think there is some kind of connection between me and you just because of our extraordinary gifts. Here's a newsflash Alloy…I am nothing like you! You're a crazy, psychotic killer, who is uses his powers to harm other people and make this world a worse place. Me on the other hand…yeah I know I have my issues and I'm far from perfect…but I'm trying to do what I can to stop freaks like you from doing whatever you please just because you have the power to do so. You have more in common with Derek Widener then me. You think just because you can turn your hand into a sword you can kill people, and he thinks just because he has the money he can use it through schemes like this crazy water plague idea to exploit the rich…Well, news flash part 2…I'm going to stop you right now, and then I'm going to stop him!"

"Good luck without your pyrotechnics!" Alloy cried out in anger as he tried to chop through Nightblaze with his buzz saw.

With just enough strength to make it happen, Nightblaze hurled himself on the ground and slid under Alloy's enormous legs thanks to the wet surface and the hero's soaked body. The man made of metal's arm chopped deep into the high voltage box, and electricity surged through his body. Alloy screamed in intense pain as the volts shot up and down his lightning rod of a body. Nightblaze knew that if he left Alloy like this for too much longer, he would surely die. The injured hero hobbled over to the burning wreckage where his motorcycle laid in pieces. He saw, past the embers of a raging fire in front of him, one of the large black leather tires. Nightblaze hesitated as he looked at the flames, remembering that he was currently powerless.

"Well Davis," Nightblaze thought to himself, "Guess it's time for you to get a little taste of what everyone feels when they mess with you. Serves you right for falling into that bay, moron."

Nightblaze closed his eyes and expected to feel, for the first time in his life, the painful sensation of being burned. It was as he moved quickly through the flames toward the tire, that he experienced a new sensation. As the hero moved into the fire, his body absorbed the heat and Nightblaze could feel his body drying off and dehydrating. Instead of being hurt like a normal person, Nightblaze regained his strength…he actually currently felt stronger then before!

Not having enough time to enjoy this new sensation, Nightblaze grabbed the tire and ran back to where Alloy was being electrocuted. Nightblaze took the tire and with all of his strength, hit Alloy away from the high voltage box. Even after losing contact with the source of electricity, Alloy's body still convulsed as lightning maneuvered through it. The man took many steps backwards and then fell into the hole that Aquaman had created to the bay.

"Nightblaze!" the red headed hero turned around to see a frantic Aquaman behind him. "I've checked this entire facility and I can't find Derek Widener! Is it possible that he left without letting lose the plague?"

"No…" Nightblaze pondered that idea, "Derek is way too competitive for that. The man doesn't have a word in his vocabulary for losing. He must have become desperate once we came…he'll try to do something really stupid."

"You speak like you know the man?" Aquaman asked, curious.

"We have a history…" Nightblaze replied, "This facility was MADE for the purpose of releasing that stuff…so where would he do it at?"

Suddenly, Nightblaze had an "ah ha!" moment. It made sense why this was the only Widener Research Facility next to the bay…Widener needed a large source of water to poison before he took his show to the rest of the world.

"Oh Aquaman, we're idiots!" Nightblaze said as he started to run out of the building, Aquaman following behind him. "Derek made this facility to throw off Glamnock and anyone else who got onto his plot like us. All he needed was people to make those Adulium containers to contain the poison…if it's toxic enough, I'd imagine he could just release it wherever he wanted! Even right outside into our very own Crimson Bay!"

The two ran down the street towards the bay and saw Derek Widener standing at one of the ports kneeling down with his metal suitcase. The pale faced criminal with blue eyes opened up the suitcase and pulled out a silver Adulium canister full of a green gas that was clearly the poison that Widener Corporation scientists had created.

"Derek! Don't do it!" Nightblaze yelled as the two stopped running once they hit the port, where Derek could see them.

"Move an inch, either of you, and I release this stuff." Derek put his arm out, holding the canister over the water. "I've seen you both in action now…you have incredible power, but in the time it takes you to launch water or fire at me, I could drop this in."

"You don't want to do this…" Nightblaze spoke to his childhood nemesis. "Don't you understand that countless people will die? Is that really worth making a profit from?"

"Absolutely!" Derek said, villainous passion filling his eyes. "This is about more than the money, you ignorant buffoon! You see, freaks like you two…the World recognizes you because of your power. Those of us that haven't been given such handouts have to make our own way through the use of mental brilliance and power forged through economics! I've been blessed with both, so it's only natural that I become the icon that this world looks up to as the pinnacle of Greatness! You see, I've already made the arrangements…tomorrow morning the press will receive word that the Purification Initiative was broken into and sabotaged by the crime lord, Victor Glamnock…and his two accomplices, Nightblaze and…you in the orange and green tights, I never really got your name…oh whatever…Glamnock was stopped by my security, but you two managed to reverse the technology within the purification system which then poisons Crimson City's water supply. Of course, we'll have to bend the truth a little, and mention how you two escaped my ironclad security and began releasing canisters of the Plague all over the world. I'll give it a few weeks, maybe a month…and yes, I've calculated roughly about ten thousand people will be expected to die in this time. However, after enough time has passed, all over the world papers will have stories of Widener Corporation and the anti-plague they have developed to cure and purify the water, riding the world of the poison that YOU TWO released. Of course, after tomorrow, the two of you may want to consider a life of hiding in the shadows, as it may not be long until you are deemed threats to national security. I on the other hand, within a month will be considered the single greatest man that this world has ever known. From there, the opportunities for me will be endless! The power, the fame…everyone in the world will know the name Derek Widener and second to Jesus, I will be the most revered man on Earth! That, you foolish vigilantes, is the true Purification Initiative

"Do you really just expect us to stand by and let you do all that?" Nightblaze growled, as his hatred for Derek Widener reached a new depth. "All this trouble, just so you can fill your horribly large and egotistical appetite. You make me sick, Widener…You're the real plague that this world should be saved from."

"Careful, Nightblaze!" Aquaman spoke softly to his partner, "Regardless of the history between the two of you, if Derek drops that canister your city is done for. It sickens me that he'd kill off an entire city just to make a statement to the world that he'd then use to make himself seem like a hero…I have never met such a vile man! Argh, if only that was a regular container…then you could melt it and everything in it including the toxic gas before it touched the water!"

"If only…" Nightblaze said, as he pondered that strategy. The truth was, since the fires in the research facility had rejuvenated the hero, Nightblaze had felt as if he had an oversupply of heat energy. He didn't know what this sensation was, but he knew that something was different…maybe he could burn through the ultimate metal? Nightblaze also took a moment to consider the fact that the heroes really had no other strategy. Of course, for the hero to do this, he knew that it probably meant significant damage to Derek Widener. If targeted correctly, Nightblaze figured he wouldn't kill the villain, but with this mysterious overcharge, he had no idea what to expect.

"What's to stop me from lighting you on fire right now with that canister?" Nightblaze provoked Derek. "You've read about me, you even hired a super freak to try to kill me…you know what I'm capable of and you know how long I've been working to stop you and this plan. Here we are right now in the final moment, what's to stop me from lighting this entire place up?"

"Your pathetic morals." Derek responded as he continued to hold the canister over the water. "I've read all about heroes like you two! You go around, sticking your noses into other people's business to try and "save the day". Why? Not because you care about them…no its so you can be given the title of "hero". Really, if you think of it, Nightblaze, what you and I are doing here is actually not that different. We both are playing a game in which the object is to become the legend in the eyes of the world, or maybe even just the eyes of those we care about…but we're just on different sides. Who are you, anyway? You're a nobody. Take off that mask and put away your powers and you're just a nobody…that's who the world knows you of. You kill me now, and you sacrifice your title of HERO and gain the title ENEMY. You don't want that…I killed a man this evening. Do you know why? He was standing in the way of my objective, and I knew I was powerful and important enough and that who I am matters to the world…that I killed him for getting in my way. You're in a similar position here Nightblaze, you have an objective, to save Crimson City, and I'm in your way…the difference is, you won't kill me because behind that mask, whoever you are, is unimportant. You don't matter. You don't have it in you to sacrifice the title "HERO" to do what needs to be done. Don't worry your tights wearing friend doesn't seem to have what it takes either…."

As Derek kept speaking, Nightblaze nudged Aquaman and whispered as softly and discretely as he could. "Here in a second, you need to push me over to the left, got it?"

"My goodness," Nightblaze interrupted Derek, "do you ever shut up? My goodness you love to hear yourself talk, don't you? You want to talk about the me behind this mask? Well the real me thinks that you're just a lonely, self absorbed, sick man who has a very destructive appetite for respect and longs to be needed…you're also smart enough to realize that past your big company, family money, and long charismatic speeches, you're such a loudmouth wretched snob and you have nothing significant to offer this world. The way I see it, you're going to release that plague anyway so I won't be long for this world, I may as well take you out with me that way I've done everyone one last service."

Nightblaze extended his arms and Derek's face went from calm and confident to very fearful. Aquaman quickly turned to Nightblaze and yelled out, "No don't do it!" With that comment, Aquaman pushed him over, and quickly realized that this was exactly what the superhero wanted him to do.

Derek quickly pressed the "release" button on the plague canister and dropped it. During that exact same second, as he was falling to the ground, Nightblaze heated his body up as hot as he could and sent all the energy to his arms. The fire within him felt very different this time, and much more powerful. Out of Nightblaze's arms came a surge of fire that was so hot it was released blue as if it was a blaze of warm lightning. The magnificent inferno was aimed not at Derek but at where he dropped the canister. The flame hit the canister hard and surrounded it. At first the metal simply turned red and was unharmed. Within seconds though, the metal melted from the heat that rivaled that of the Sun. Instantaneously, the gas was also distinguished.

The impact of the fire wave onto the metal container was so power it created a seismic wave that knocked Derek Widener off his feet and into the ocean. As Derek fell into the water, the right side of his face hit the melting canister. The pain he felt from the fire and the distinguishing poisonous gas was unlike anything he had ever felt before. The man screamed out in agony as he felt as if his skin was peeling off his flesh. As soon as the short burst of intense fire disappeared, Aquaman rushed into the water, retrieved Derek Widener, and brought him back onto the land. Nightblaze and Aquaman looked in horror at the criminal. His body convulsed in pain and half of the billionaire's face was covered with blue embers and still burning, despite the fact that he had fallen into water.

"How tragic." Aquaman said as he checked Derek's pulse. "The man developed a plague to set loose on the entire world and in the end he was the only one that experiences it's terror. Widener must have fallen into the canister the second it was burning, so he was exposed slightly to it's toxins. Luckily, I "borrowed" some of his antidote in that research factory when I was looking for him. I'm going to take this man to the nearest hospital and leave the antidote next to his bed and surely any of the doctors will know what to do with him."

"I wish we could take him to the nearest prison and throw him there…" Nightblaze spoke as Aquaman picked up the now unconscious Derek Widener and threw him over his shoulders. "But he's got to many friends in high places…just watch, tomorrow this whole evening's terrors will be thrown under the press's rug and Derek will appear completely innocent. He was right to an extent…If we use this facility as proof that we found Derek's poison to incriminate him, everyone would start asking questions about who we are…and I guess we'd lose the title of "HERO" along with the ambiguity that allows us to do what we do."

"That's one of the prices you pay for being a hero." Aquaman replied calmly as he looked back at his new friend. "Take pride in the fact that Derek DIDN'T release this poison to the world today, because of our good work. Now, tomorrow the world may know a different story, but if that means that we can survive for another day to do the exact same thing that we did tonight…well, then that's a price I'm willing to pay, how about you?"

"I am…for now." Nightblaze replied as he walked the other way, ready to be done with his exceptionally long night. "Crimson City has lived to see another day…That's definitely victory enough for me!"