Chapter 16: I SEE A BLACK SUN RISIN' That Means The End of Times is Niiiiigh
Dedicated to Adam West and my Aunt Cheryl
Italicized= breaking the fourth wall
Bank gothic= meanwhile
Lightning letters = mysterious guy sits on a throne of pure thunder
Other fonts and colors mean people besides ZAPMAN
Hullo! I'm the Snarky British Narrator Voice and I'll be narrating all subsequent chapters of The Phenomenal ZAPMAN. Anyway a quick recap! Last time: Dark ZAPMAN has faded into Mark's subconscious with the promise that he'll be back if Mark represses himself too much.... Meanwhile in his not-so-secret base, Hitler is planning something diabolical with the help of a dossier known as PROJECT BLACK SÜN, but first, turn your attention to the past.....
TENOCHTITLAN AUGUST 13TH, 1521 A.D. , THE FALL OF THE AZTEC EMPIRE.....
A large bat-like creature decorated in armor and ornate jewelry of turquoise and jade swoops down to land on the steps of the Templo Mayor....
"Knock Knock anyone home? I guess I'll let myself in" The bat creature pokes his head into the entrance of the temple and blinks all 10 of his eyes. As if in answer lightning flashes, and Tlaloc appears with a little miniature rain cloud following him overhead. "Camazotz", Tlaloc whispers the name with a certain venom, usually reserved for people with names like Steve. "Why have you come to attack my home? Surely the others in the Mayan Pantheon didn't approve of this?" Camazotz sneers, "No, they don't know about this. This is the day you fall before the might of Camazotz!" Tlaloc laughs, "You allied yourself with the Spanish? You're just as much a savage to them as I am Camazotz. Hahahahahahaha.... It won't be long until they cast you aside...."
Camazotz is visibly angry now and his face is flushed bright red, veins bulging in his neck. "Mark my words Thunder God, I won't rest until the Aztecs are nothing but a hushed rumor, snuffed out like a candle and then gone without a trace. For lack of a better metaphor.... you see this heart? You and Quetzalcoatl and the other gods are this heart", Camazotz snatches the still-beating of an innocent villager and lifts it high toward the sun. "You are this heart that I hold in my claws and then.....", Camazotz crushes the heart and then eats it. "Poof. Gone, like you never even existed. Good luck trying to save yourselves. Without a people to pray to, your powers will wane and then wither away. Please try understand..... I'm doing what's best for the Mayans to prosper.... even if it means others have to perish. Good-bye Rainmaker, may our paths never cross again because if they do, I will be ready."
Camazotz flaps his wings and flies, emitting a deep, throaty cackle that sounded like he didn't know how to control his vocal chords. Sometime after Camazotz leaves, Tlaloc travels to his sacred domain of Tlalocan to converse with the other thunder gods. Tlaloc tries to reason with the other thunder gods, but they don't listen to his pleas to work together as a group. "All along ever since 3200 B.C. each of us have chosen a champion from one specific family that we all agreed upon, but we did not train them and the chosen champion only got a fraction of the powers of one thunder god of one pantheon. This will not be enough to combat the evils of the world and..."
Tlaloc gets cut off by Set, animal-headed thunder god for the ancient Egyptians. "Why should we believe what you? It's obvious we won't last. We are relics of a forgotten age and the Spanish who attacked you know it. Eventually we will fade away as this new God takes over everything we can't-" Zeus slams his fist down with a mighty thud, startling even the mighty Thor and demon-faced Raijin.
"ENOUGH! I knew that one day we all wouldn't last so i picked a successor with which to rule over everything and everyone with fairness and justice. We are old and people no longer believe in us as they once did, but there is a way for all of us to last. We already have the family we have favored to carry on our legacy. We must give them ALL of our powers and seal ourselves away so that we can give them guidance when they need it. If we create a power source for our champion to harness, we will have purpose again in a world we no longer recognize and we will be able to keep our domains defended." After much debate, the other gods agreed to create one uniform champion with which to protect the world.
And so..... the Bolt Force, a magical extradimensional source of energy which houses every thunder god in existence and the memories and personalities of each member of the Numera family was born! It wasn't easy, but Zeus and the others were able to trace back distant ancestors from 3200 B.C. Even though the champion would have the memories and guidance of others, he would need a way write down his experiences and techniques for the next champion to obtain. The Book of Lightning was created as a way to store this information so that the champion wouldn't be rendered insane due to information overload. In later times, the book would be used as a way to house the lore of the different monsters, gods and artifacts the champions have encountered over the years.
This has continued until the present day with the current champion being Mark Numera. The champion of the thunder gods has gone by many names but the one people are most likely to remember is ZAPMAN, first thought up as a secret identity by Charles Numera in 1920. Sorry if this sounds incredibly boring, but that's just the way it is in this line of work, narrating and whatnot. Oh? You forgot I was here? How incredibly rude! No matter, just sit back as our hero experiences the most severe case of "Christmas in July" he's ever experienced.....
Greenwood July 5th, 9:45 P.M. Greenwood Park, where Lapman is freezing people whole with his Freeze ray. One unlucky chap got his tongue stuck to a telephone pole for 4 hours....
Commissioner Laxly fills Mark in on the details of the last few hours. "ZAPMAN, thank goodness you're here! This madman in a santa suit keeps freezing people willy-nilly! If I were a younger man, I would take him on myself! I would've called you sooner but we've been having some trouble getting through to you." ZAPMAN reassures the commissioner, "It's ok. I've been through some rough stuff but I finally feel at peace with myself. You could say I feel "whole" again, wink wink. Now it's time for me to do what I do best: Annoy people with my terrible jokes."
"Hey Herbert, I know you're an ice person but it doesn't give you the right to freeze people! Giving me the cold shoulder, eh? How Rudolph of you. Herbert? Herbert?! Talk to me buddy, say something." ZAPMAN shakes Lapman gently, only to have Lapman grip Mark with an icy hand. A cold chill runs down Mark's spine as Lapman opens his eyes: a vacant, icy blue stare in what were otherwise empty sockets, a cold blue light emanating from Herbert's eyeballs.
"You look like Herbert, but you're definitely not Herbert. What have you done with him?" "Herbert" answers in reply, "You are correct, masked small child I am not Herbert. I am Thrym, King of the Hrimpusar. This pathetic speck was easy to manipulate. All he wanted was a friend and I was able to give that to him. Not long after I took over his body and now you are too late. My army will be here any second and Midgard will be doomed."
Herbert opens his mouth and a blue wisp leaves his mouth, leaving Herbert passed out and slumped on the ground. Ymir stands next to him looking at ZAPMAN with the same cold eyes as when he possessed Herbert. "Hi, you probably can't see because I'm so small, but why exactly do you want to doom Midgard? Also you speak really good English for some reason" ZAPMAN lights his hand in a shroud of lightning as a beacon for Thrym to see him. Thrym bends down and peers at ZAPMAN, like a scientist looking at an ant under a microscope.
"Oh! You're down there, I didn't see you. You are really really tiny. Well, small tiny person, this is one of your powers. You can translate all languages. As for why I'm angry, I guess I have time to explain it to you. A long, long time ago I was really smitten with Freya, Queen of the Aesir so I did what any sane person would do. I stole Mjolnir and demanded that I marry Freya in exchange for the return of Thor's beloved magic hammer. As the trade was struck I got ready to marry Freya. Only it wasn't Freya under the veil.... it was Thor! Now I've come to claim my revenge.
"Wait wait wait wait wait... Hold the front door.... You? and He? If I had some coffee, this is where I would spit it out. That is a poor excuse to destroy the Earth. I mean even if it is kind of the ultimate embarrassment. I mean come on can't we just chat about this?" ZAPMAN looks up at Thrym who is on the verge of turning beet red despite the fact he has blue skin. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! My fury will not be denied. Enough talk, my army is here and victory will be swift." Thrym thumps his chest, "Quickly my brothers! Come through the portal!" A beam of light strikes the ground and suddenly Thor is standing triumphantly over the bodies of an army of Frost Giants, grinning from ear to ear like a child on Christmas morning. "Thrym! It is time to end this. I may not have powers but I can still slaughter you."
Thor charges at Thrym and knocks him off balance with a mighty heave. "The mighty Thor is powerless? I don't believe it for a second! You can still fight little God. Which means I can still kill you." Thrym struggles to pick himself back off from the ground but Thor is hammering at his abdomen landing blow after blow. "Stupid Thor hahahaha your blows mean nothing to me." Thrym's laughter has a hollow echo to it that serves to enrage Thor even more.
ARGH! Thor grabs Thrym by the hair and rips his head off with his bare hands. "There! A trophy for you to gaze at during the night when you sleep." Thor lifts Thrym's head and tosses it at ZAPMAN, "What the- Ew ew ew ew ew! Get it away from me! What the heck is wrong with you?! We don't go around beheading people! It's not cool! This comic is something that should be enjoyable by everybody. What would children think?"
Thor simply smiles, showing his teeth with a twinkle and winking, "They'll think I'm the most beloved hero in all the nine realms and an excellent role model?" ZAPMAN glares at Thor, "No, this is not what a hero does, he doesn't go around showing his enemies' heads as a form of entertainment. Kids are scared of that stuff. It'll make them have nightmares. Just, just- Why? Why would you do that? I can't even right now. To be completely honest if I wasn't so disgusted right now I'd fanboy over you so hard. Ok deep breaths deep breath....."
After ten minutes of hyperventilating and lecturing Thor, ZAPMAN takes his mouth out of his paper bag, his eyes twinkling. "I can't believe you saved me like that! That was so awesome! And horrible! And awesome! I thought you'd be blonder. Or that you'd have little pointy wings. I am digging the scruffy beard though; it makes you like a barbarian. Red hair is a good look on you. Thor holds up a hand and chuckles, "Reports of my appearance seems to be greatly exaggerated ho ho ho. Little pointy wings do not benefit a warrior in the midst of battle? Why would I even have them? These are so truly stupefying questions."
Just then, Warg and Phenex swoop down ready for action, "Hey, long time no see Mark... Wait a minute, I thought you were dead for five years. Most people think you've dead for five years. Including me. ZAPMAN replies, " Alan, it really is good to see you, you pain in the butt. You too Danny", Warg (Alan) punches Mark in the arm and Phenex (Danny) gives a curt little bow, "I know I called you guys for backup but Thor just showed up out of nowhere and took them all on before I was even done talking with the head Frost Giant.
I knew you guys would be disappointed but hey that's life. It's time to get Bolt Force back together. I know I've got powers now that I never knew I had like duplicating myself and calling upon the memories and powers of Thunder Gods and muscles upon muscles and yadda yadda blah blah, but I can't do everything myself. It's time to get the band back together waddaya say?", ZAPMAN asks. ZAPMAN holds his hand out "I will follow you to the ends of the Earth", Phenex says, placing his hand on top of Mark's. "Oh! Oh! and... Yule Lord this is directly to you especially...... you can't brutally kill people. No killing".
Warg gives a hrmph and then begrudgingly places his hand on top of Danny's, " Um... It's Warg now. I've changed my name for like the billionth time. Oh what the hell..... You ever tell anyone this I will slit your throat with my claws while you're sleeping, but... I miss you guys. Besides, what else am I going to do with my weekends and Friday nights?" Alan retorts. "Aw yeah boy! Bolt Force is back baby! Whoo! Ok Thor, One last question: If I have the powers of Thor, does that mean I can lift Mjolnir?....."
Elsewhere on the other side of town, Hitler (You blokes have forgotten about him too haven... TCHA?!) enters a secret room in his hideout. "Aaaah.... My pile of gold! I love you more than anything in the world. You're like my babies! I'll groom you when you're old enough to share in my new world order." Hitler is interrupted by a knock on the door. "What do you WANT?!", Hitler screams. "My deepest apologies, but I just thought you would like to know that Thrym has failed in his attempt to freeze the world. Someone stopped him sir." The unnamed man is quivering in his boots, beads of sweat running down his face. Hitler grabs a gold bar and shows the unnamed man the bar like he would an expense and exotic piece of food.
"Good for him. What do I care? See this gold? I stole it from the Incans and the Aztecs and the Mayans. This gold makes me a very rich man. I don't need to worry about such trivial things as who stopped whom. If this man comes after me I will be ready. You forget, fool..... GERMAN SCIENCE IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD!" The unnamed soldier shakily raises his hand, "Sir, If I may.... is German science really the best in the world?" In response to the question, Hitler is baffled. "What?! We have time travel, jetpacks, a bionic dinosaur, and a fro-yo machine! How is that not amazing? Fro-yo is delicious! You need to watch yourself boy, you will not get the chance to talk back to me again"
The unnamed soldier turns to leave as Hitler points his finger outward, "Thank you, sir, this won't happen again I swear it." The soldier can feel tears beginning to flood his eyes as he takes a step towards the doorway. BANG! The soldier falls to the floor and Hitler steps over his body. Hitler blows away the smoke from his metallic hand, " Another miracle of our science, hidden gun fingers. Yes, little soldier, this most certainly will not happen again HAHAHAHAHAHA" Hitler cackles with his gold bar still clutched tightly to where his heart would have been if he still had one.
Greenwood August 21 12:05 A.N. Hitler's Laundromat Not-So Secret Base and Fortress......
Camazotz awakens from his slumber. How long has it been since he had last been asleep? It didn't feel like very long.... Camazotz struggles to get himself out of the strange golden sarcophagus he finds himself in before eventually busting through the strange material with his razor sharp teeth. "That's better, but where am I?"
Camazotz looks around at the facility which had unknowingly been his home for the past 64 years. His stomach growls an unearthly gurgle, it was hungry for the good stuff darn it and it wanted something now. Driven by his desire to satisfy his hunger and his lust for blood, Camazotz zeros in on his target, a young man named Gunter (jolly good name that Gunter). Gunter fails to notice Camazotz swooping behind him, claws outstretched as he destroys all available sources of light. Gunter squints into the darkness trying to see if there was anything watching him.
Two eyes peer back at him, before more eyes slowly open resulting in what looks like a mass of eyes all over a face hidden in shadow. "Hey, who's there? I'm warning you, I know Tai Chi- AAAAAAAH!" Camazotz lunges at Gunter, holding him tightly in his claws. Gunter keeps screaming, desperate to get away from whatever this ungodly creature was. "Hush little child, rest knowing that you will soon reunite with your family in Xibalba and that you have personally served as sustenance for Camazotz, god of Death." Camazotz bites Gunter's head clean off and sucks on his blood for what seems like an eternity to regain his strength. Camazotz smacks his lips as if pondering something, "That was most..... exquisite. Shame about your head though. We could've used it in the ball-courts back in Chichen Itza.
Camazotz is flying through the halls of Hitler's NSSB (Not So Secret Base) when advanced UV raygun turrets knock him to the ground. Within seconds a weakened Camazotz is blinded and captured. Contained in a mesh of steel wiring, plasma, and solar panels which directly transfer energy from the sun, he is brought to Hitler's quarters. "Now, now, gentlemen, no need to be rude. After all we can't have our potential business partner barbequed.... now can we? Release Camazotz and please..... do be gentle about it he has very sensitive skin." Hitler snaps his fingers and three guards release Camazotz from his bindings with what look like ordinary X-ACTO knives.
"So.... I see my reputation precedes me with you humans. That is most excellent. Now about this business deal?" Camazotz flashes a smile that showcases his many rows of sharp teeth. "Yes, the business deal! Where are my manners? Please make yourself at home. You do not know me but I know of you: Camazotz, feared king of the Vampires and Mayan God of Death. Once the king of the vampires from every culture in the world, you are king no longer.
My name is Adolf and my intelligence reports of a solar eclipse happening today. Now legend has it that this particular eclipse has the ability to grant vampires the ability to survive while in direct sunlight. Your weakness would become your greatest strength. Once that happens you and I can take over the world. We have until 4:48 P.M. to gather our respective armies and make all the necessary preparations but-"
Camazotz looks at Hitler with his head cocked. "Adolf, I know what is at stake for me and my kind, but what's in it for you? What do you hope to gain out of all of this? Respect? Power?" Hitler barks out a laugh, "I do not need respect. You don't make a name for yourself out of respect. This is my chance to remake the world in my own image. A world of Fire, Blood, and Brimstone. A world where I achieve the ultimate gift: everlasting life, the ability to live forever. A world ruled by total fear." Camazotz nods his head. "I suppose you can't go wrong with fear. Fear is a powerful weapon indeed. I think that we will get along famously, you and I" Oh, why don't you guys just get the secret handshake bit over with already?! This feels like the most twisted version of a bromance in recorded history!
It had been one month since ZAPMAN saw Thor fight Thrym and he was not prepared to fight the Armies of the Night. Far from it- he was brushing up on his knowledge of the Book of Lightning. I remember when I first got this thing. My dad had just died, but there was this package with the words "For you to open when you're ready to learn. I'll think you'll be phenomenal at this.- Love Dad". I was too hurt to open it, so I saved the package for when I thought I was ready.
Unfortunately, I died before I had a chance to look at it to see what was inside. My powers had always operated with a failsafe in order to keep from going full on nuclear lightning mode. A way that was safer everyone, something I could handle. I didn't get that choice though because the thing I was up was something so great, it gobbled up history and spit it back out into something unrecognizable. I tried to fix what I could but it was too much pressure for one person to handle.
So history changed for better or worse and it's all my fault. I wasn't ready for the power and I sure wasn't responsible enough with it. I'm not sure how much has changed from the five years ago I remember. Being unconscious might have something to do with it. I remember Dad had powers similar to mine and was the ZAPMAN before me, but in the original timeline that was it.
All of these other ZAPMEN were members of my family on different realities and different times. There wasn't any Thunder Gods to worry about or whether or not Amanda is still alive or that my dark side wants to see me dead if I don't do what he says. In many ways for all the things that have become goofier in my life, a lot of them have become deadly. So I need to be ready for whatever comes. I have to stop worrying about the past.
I know I messed up but I paid the price for it. The Council of Thunder stripped me of my powers for a whole five years- hopefully there was one in the first timeline- I've got to stop thinking of this as a timeline. This is a different reality. I unmade and remade everything I know. That's got to be the scariest thing about all this.
Before I was human. I was just good ol' Mark Numera in a suit with little lightning bolts and those stupid brass knuckles I loved so much. I had to take them out after a week because I kept stabbing people with them on accident. Let's just say that gangboss named Mr. Eyepatch? He runs the Outlaws and he's not too happy that I made him into Mr. Eyepatch. Again, I sent him a formal apology letter and some chocolate but I mean, what do you do when you accidently poke someone's eye out and now they're after you?
That was some good times.... Now I'm not sure what I am. I mean I guess I'm energy in the shape of Mark Numera in a suit, I guess? I'm glad to hear my dad's voice though. He's there to help me out they all are.... all 161 ZAPMEN before me. I mean yeah it helps to have guys like Indra and Thor and Zeus and Taranis and Jupiter and Shango and Raijin etc etc etc, but at the end of the day...... Family is what will help you survive when you get lost and you don't know what to do.
Thumbing through the pages to see if he had missed anything, Mark came across an entry by Asim Numera circa 832 A.D. titled QUZAH. QUZAH: Ancient Thunder God of my people. Not much known about him except that he had an artifact known as Qaws Quzah, or Bow of Quzah. A magical bow that can shoot rainbows as arrows. Perfect for destroying nasty ghouls or Djinns.
"Wait a minute, this feels like something Indra would do! Man, thunder gods and their rainbow bows. Go figure." In a clap of thunder Indra appears riding his elephant Airavata. "Hey there little Numera! I heard my name and thought you summoned me to do something awesome! Who are we kidding everything I do is awesome.... and yes, Quzah is secretly my brother. Technically you're not really supposed to have brother thunder gods do different pathenons but Zeus and Jupiter did it, Tlaloc and Chaac did it, why can't I? Anyway I come bearing sweet sweet gifts.
I hope you have a place to store these because here we go. First, Quzah's Bow, not as cool as mine but it'll do. Second, my other bow the Indraastra, which can fire an endless storm of arrows. Third, the Vasavi Shakti, a magical dart that hones in on anything. Fourth, the Anjalika Astra, honestly I'm not sure what this one does.
Fifth, my Vajra, basically my version of the classic throwable thunderbolt. I promise the thunderbolt thing is coincedental, don't blame me. Lots of thunder gods have throwable thunderbolts. The more the merrier, right? Anyway, sixth weapon is the mighty Visoshana!" Indra beams, "So, what did you think of my gifts?"
Mark replies, "Well to be honest I think they're cool but Visoshana? The drying weapon? What do I do with it. Is it like a towel. Do I use oxiclean on it and soak up all messes? Like Scrubbing Bubbles or something?" Indra laughs, "The Visoshana is awesome, you'll see." Mark gazes at the Indraasta before wondering out loud, "The Indraastra, where have I heard that before? Maybe it was Naruto?" Indra is puzzled, "I wish I could help you with that but what's Naruto?" Indra leaves just as quickly as he was conjured, once again leaving Mark alone to study the Book of Lightning.
"Mark, are you ok? Are you asleep?" Mark blinks, "Huh? Oh, it's you Tlaloc. No, I wasn't asleep, I guess I just stared off into space for too long. What's up?" Tlaloc turns torwards Mark, "This is a matter of grave importance. Long ago I clashed with a god from another pantheon. Camazotz, the Mayan god of Death."
ZAPMAN snickers, "I'm sorry, but did you just say tater tots? Am I fighting Tater Tots the death god? And how come you aren't speaking like a California hipster surfer dude? Must be pretty serious." Tlaloc bares his fangs, "Focus Mark Numera! He is almost solely responsible for the defeat and eradication of my people. You have no idea how that makes me feel."
Tlaloc takes his mask off, revealing his true face. "I almost lost my brother Chaac to that monster....." Susanoo is accidently summoned and sheepishly bursts into Tlaloc's conversation with ZAPMAN. "Hey, Tlaloc buddy I didn't recognize you there. Oh no he's hot"" Susanoo thinks to himself. Susanoo clears he's throat awkwardly. *cough cough "So, now that I'm here, ZAPMAN, I wanted to tell you that Raijin wanted me to show off his pet Raiju. I figured the little guy could help you on missions. Would you look at the time I need to go check on my hat collection. Yeah that's a good excuse." Susanoo disappears just as quickly as he came, hiding his face with his hat.
A bluish-white wolf springs up and knocks ZAPMAN flat onto his back before taking the shape of a dog, fox, cat, and weasel?. "Oh cool, another little guy to add to my collection. Thanks Susanoo and tell Raijin that he needs to being so shy! Let's see..... now I've got a snake, an elephant, a thunderbird, and a wolf-dog-fox-cat-weasel... thing. Oh joy. They could start their own ZAP-PET series. I like the gifts really I do, but it's a lot of responsibility on one person." ZAPMAN picks himself off the ground and continues speaking with Tlaloc. "Well, If they're too much to handle just remember that you can rely on the Tlaloque for help." Tlaloc says. Tlaloc snaps his fingers and four figures who look like miniature versions of Tlaloc appear out of thin air.
"Do you need your shoes shined?" one asks. "How about some grapes to snack on if you get hungry?" another says. The last two unable to think of anything to do, bow their heads, "We live to serve you." Mark raises his eyebrows, "Thanks for the offer but I'm not really comfortable with that. Also..... No way. You never told me I had my own personal army of thunder elves! Why didn't you tell me that? I mean this feels like something you should tell me. They could've helped me with my homework and making food." Tlaloc retorts, "They're not a crutch. They like helping way too much and this tends to get problematic. They're not elves either. They're my personal helpers. Besides, you could easily duplicate yourself, but yes they are nice to have around when things get tough Now...." Tlaloc tries to finish what he was saying but ZAPMAN doesn't give him a chance to. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, Dad. I get it. No bright light, don't get them wet and never feed them after midnight. That being said..... I think they're ready to help kick this Tater Tots guy's butt." ZAPMAN says indignantly.
Inside Hitler's NSSB Camazotz and the Society of Vampires are holding a secret meeting..... Dracula is very worried for his friend ZAPMAN's safety.....
"So.... You're saying that this solar eclipse it can take away our weakness to sunlight? I mean that sounds great and all but I mean is it worth it? I mean you're trusting Hitler. He's a maniac. Are you seriously considering this.?" Dracula asks Camazotz. Camazotz replies, "Are you having a change of heart. You of all people? You once commanded thousands to kill in your name. Why have you changed now.
You are Dracul, son of the Dragon, feared by all who dare to speak your name!" Dracula nervously slouches his back, "Well, maybe I don't want to be feared anymore. I did some horrible things as Dracula and I'm told that I did even worse in my past life. Maybe I'm lucky that I don't remember the life before I became a creature of the night. Maybe I don't want to be a monster anymore!" Dracula turns his back on the society and flies out of the room in his bat form (which is too adorable to take seriously I might add).
Camazotz takes his stand at the podium used by the members raising his mug that says "World's best Grandpa". "So, what say you members of the society? What to do with DRACULA?!" Camazotz half-asks, half-yells the question. "Traitorrrrrrrrr..... Rip hisssss throat out." Count Orlok hisses his answer like he's forgotten how to speak. His yellow eyes, shriveled face, rat-like teeth and black trench coat almost make him look like a a deformed circus freak.
Next came the reply of Soucouyant, the vampiric fireball hag. "I say we burn him in endless fire!" she cackles. The Flame Creatures of Cthuga and the Fire Vampires of Fthaggua murmur their agreement with the fire hag. The Cihuateteo offer a different solution. "Flay the skin from his bones with a thousand obsidian knives." Camazotz shakes his head and it's back to square one. One of the Star Vampires, M'Thothlagarar, quivers excitedly in his seat looking like he might wet his seat. "Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me! I know I don't have arms but if I did, I'd be raising 'em! Why..... don't we eat him?! That would solve all of our problems!" Everyone audibly groans and Camazotz does what would appear to be a face palm if he had actual fingers instead of claws.
Greenwood City 4:43 P.M. It is now five minutes before the fated solar eclipse.......
ZAPMAN is standing at the front door of Hitler's Not So Secret Base, the Laundromat to Clean Your Nifty Things. "Secret Base Laundromat? Does this guy take me for a sucker? Of course someone wouldn't make their secret base a laundromat..... which is exactly why this Tater Tots would totally make a secret base here! It'd be the perfect cover because no one would stupid enough to think he was here." ZAPMAN enters the laundromat, "Oh Lucy! I'm home! That's weird it looks like no one's here....." Whoops! It looks like ZAPMAN's discovered a secret button inside a Shakespeare statue that leads to the real secret base. "Oh! Cool.... There's little poles to slide down on. Is it bad that it makes me feel like a fireman a little?" ZAPMAN slides down, unaware that he's about to meet someone with a very fault memory and a very personal grudge against him.
"Good..... You're here.... I've waited a long time to meet you..... MR. PIZZA DELIVERY GUY!" Camazotz ushers ZAPMAN closer with his claw. "What? I'm not the pizza delivery guy.... My name's ZAPMAN and I'm here to put an end to your doomsday plot. Which I might add sounds like something from The 7 Golden Vampires. Don't tell me you secretly know kung fu? Did Dracula teach you? You know what? I don' really care enough to find out your answer."
Camazotz's face registers a flicker of recognition. "Wait, ZAPMAN? Why does that name sound familiar? Yes..... You made me miss my pay-per-view luchador match! You want to know how I got these scars?!" Camazotz screams at ZAPMAN. "Not particularly no...." ZAPMAN shoots back. "Well I'll tell you...." Camazotz continues unabated by ZAPMAN's lack of interest. "It was 1952 and I was watching my pay-per-view luchador matches and you came in and messed my face up! I couldn't get any good channels after that." Camazotz is panting heavily with rage. "Wow you look really worked up there. Would it help if I said I didn't do it?" ZAPMAN asks. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Camazotz roars at ZAPMAN, flecks of spittle smear across ZAPMAN's mask and cover his hair with globs of spit. "Ugh! This will take forever to clean out. Alright ugly it's clear talking you to death won't work so let's dance."
All of the sudden, Hitler strolls up like a model on the runaway from a secret back passage. "I couldn't have said it better myself, Herr ZAPMAN. I have also waited to seek my vengeance. You singlehandedly cost me WORLD WAR II!" Hitler fires a torpedo from the back compartment on his robotic arm, narrowly missing ZAPMAN by inches. "Whoa! Listen whatever the others did, I'm sure we can work something out." Hitler and Camazotz continue to move towards ZAPMAN. "Others? As far I'm concerned, there's only one ZAPMAN..... and that's you poor boy. I doubt you can beat us both by yourself" Hitler laughs, undoubtedly sure of his total and complete victory.
ZAPMAN smirks, "You're right. I can't beat you both by myself. I can see you guys brought your army. Luckily for you, I made this a fair fight." ZAPMAN materializes a walkie talkie. "Alright Captain Ryan, Let 'em have it!" Captain Ryan and his men open fire upon Camazotz and Hitler with their jets, the sky becomes swarmed as plane after plane is shot down by each side, desperate to win over the other.
Camazotz takes to the sky with his wings and Hitler follows suit, his mechanical body forms a large jetpack for him to use so that he can fly. "Stupid Jetpack Hitler" ZAPMAN mutters under his breath. ZAPMAN scans the horizon and sees the two escaping into a heavily guarded airship. This wouldn't be a problem for our hero as he could just phase inside. However, just as he was about to, Stardust the Super Wizard of all people showed up and put a hand on his shoulder. "Fear not ZAPMAN...... For you are now in the power of STARDUST!"
"Captain Ryan!" ZAPMAN whispers, "Why did you bring Stardust here? His idea of justice is a bit more flexible than my own. One time he turned members of the Fifth Column into Popsicles and fed them to rats with men's heads. I heard another time he stranded gangsters on an alien planet full of gold only for the gangsters to discover that they couldn't handle the planet's gravity.
Perhaps the scariest thing Stardust's ever done make a guy's head so huge that it swallows the rest of his body. That isn't the worst part though. He chucks the giant into space where it's picked up by this headless "Head-hunter" thing, which then proceeds to swallow the giant head into its own flesh. Stardust is more than a little unhinged, so you have to be really sure about this or people could die." Captain Ryan answers back with a thumbs up.
"Stardust, you don't need to come along if you don't want to" ZAPMAN says. "Oh but I do want to go. I know a thing or two about people not trusting you ZAPMAN. I know you do too. I'm here to prove that I've changed. I'm not the same person I was all those years ago back in the 30s and 40s. Now C'mon, we've got an evil dictator to punch in the face." ZAPMAN and Stardust start picking up speed on their way to Hitler's Airship.
"Pass me a bagel, Atilla. I've never had one and I'm curious to see what they taste like." Stalin says. Atilla passes Stalin a bagel and puts cream cheese on it. "It's quite delicious with this dairy substance on it." Stalin slowly chews the bagel when ZAPMAN and Stardust phase their molecules to gain access to the inside of the airship. "Stalin, Atilla, Genghis, Napoleon, Hitler, jeez. That's a lot of dead people. What are you guys doing here?" ZAPMAN asks. "Eating a bagel. What does it look like?" came Stalin's swift answer.
"No, what are you guys doing here? Like why are you not dead?!" ZAPMAN restates his question. "Oh! Isn't it obvious? We sold our souls for power." Stalin says cheerfully. "And I suppose Rasputin is going to show up too right?" On cue, Rasputin bumbles through music box in hand. "How long were you standing there just waiting for me to speak your name?" ZAPMAN asks. Instead of answering Rasputin puts on music with his boombox and starts breaking dancing. "Ra ra Rasputin Russia's greatest love machine." ZAPMAN switches off the music with his powers.
"No, not cool we're not going through with this Rasputin. No dancing to your own theme song. There there buddy you'll get your chance next time." Attila puts a comforting shoulder on Rasputin's arm. Rasputin pouts and sulks away, slipping his hood over his head. "What's so wrong with dancing? Mother always said I had horrible taste in friends. She never would've let me dance either. You don't deserve my sweet dance moves." Rasputin moonwalks out of the room and into another hallway.
"So, ZAPMAN where were we? I'm so sorry about Rasputin. He can be quite moody as a side effect of his multiple assassination attempts." Hitler apologizes goes to kick him in what appears to be the groin. "What?" Hitler says clearly shocked. "I know I know. It's wrong to kick someone in the privates, but you don't have any. What you do have is an off-button. Which is conveniently located right where those private bits should be." ZAPMAN triumphantly states matter-of-factly. "No...... this isn't possible!" Hitler doubles over. "I don't know what should make more upset. The fact that you get taken down so easily or the fact that your precious "German Science" is far enough behind to actually have an off switch." ZAPMAN chuckles.
"Hey ho, let's go. Hey ho, let's go. Hey ho, let's go. Hey ho, let's go." With Hitler taken care of, ZAPMAN suspends the rest of the men on board the airship in mid-air. "They're forming in straight line. They're going through a tight wind. The kids are losing their minds. The Blitzkrieg Bop." ZAPMAN sees Captain Ryan and Stardust trying and failing to subdue Camazotz.
ZAPMAN fires a blast of electricity which stuns Camazotz long enough for Stardust to trap him with his anti-mobilizing ray. "Good work ZAPMAN, thanks for having my back. Now let's round up the others. We've got a job to do" Stardust says. One by one ZAPMAN and Stardust start to file people into jail cells. "You think a jail cell is big enough to hold all of us? I was so CLOSE! You haven't seen the last of me! NO PRISON CAN HOLD ME!" Hitler screams in deranged rage. "Where you're going, I should hope so considering there's lots of room. The moment's gone now. You and Camazotz won't be able to achieve immortality because the eclipse is over." ZAPMAN shoves Hitler into a personal holding cell to where he can't move and puts a muzzle on Camazotz in order to prevent him from lashing out.
"Stardust.... I just want to say I was wrong about you. I'm glad to fight by your side." ZAPMAN smiles and offers his hand for a handshake. Stardust gladly shakes Mark's hand vigorously. "No, it's ok. It's just good to be back. Who knows? Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks. Speaking of new tricks, I've got something I need to show you. I was looking into Hitler's secret base and I found a few people you might like to meet." Stardust and ZAPMAN teleport to what remains of Hitler's secret base. Inside they're greeted by Frankenstein's Monster, Nikolai Tesla, and what appears to be a werewolf and a bionic t-rex.
"Hello there Monsieur, my name is Jerry Stephon and this werewolf here is named Larry. We've been trapped here for a very long time. It's thanks to you that we're able to be free again." The T-rex sticks his good arm out and ZAPMAN shakily extends his own hand before the awkward handshake surprisingly devolves into a fist bump.
"You can talk? But you're a dinosaur. Albeit with bionic parts, but you're still a dinosaur. And you're talking with a French accent. I think I might faint. And Nikolai Tesla! You're my hero!" ZAPMAN starts to gush over how amazing Nikolai Tesla is. "Sir, it's an honor to meet you. I think this is quite literally the best day of my life." Tesla places a hand on Mark's shoulder. "Young Numera, I've spent decades researching the Bolt Force and what it can do. But never before have I seen someone use the Bolt Force's true potential as you have. Truly phenomenal. We have much to discuss you and I, much to discuss indeed..."
Two hours later......
"Hey Mom, I know I graduated college a month ago but I've been thinking. I don't think I want to write stories about ZAPMAN anymore. Or fix cars. So I quit my job at the Daily Volt and my part-time position at Mullets, Motors, and Moshpits. I've applied to be a computer programmer. I just wanted you to know I start tomorrow.
I've got some new roommates so my apartment may feel cramped, bye." Mark leaves a voice mail for his mom filling her in on his recent life events outside of his life as ZAPMAN. Frankenstein's monster, or Frank for short comes up and gives Mark a big bear hug. "Thank you for letting Frank and his friends stay here. Frank likes it here. It's warm and sunny but not too hot. Frank hate fire." Dracula, Tesla, Larry, and Jerry each say their respective thank yous.
"You guys needed a home and I'm more than happy to share. I just hope we don't see Tater Tots, Nos-festering-wound or Space Pirate Captain Orlok anytime soon. I've had enough of vampire fighting for one day." ZAPMAN sheepishly chuckles, "No offense Drac." "None taken Mark. You know what Camazotz said to me before we left? He said that he felt betrayed by his own flesh and blood. Well, just because he turned Orlok and Orlok turned me, that doesn't make us family. As far as I'm concerned, you're my family now." Now it's Dracula's turn to be on the receiving end of Frank's hugs. "Ooh C'mere little vampire, group hug!" Frank stretches out his arms and squashes everyone in a tight hug.
Hi again, Snarky British Narrator here and I would just like to say that this my friends, is how you end a chapter on a heart-warming note. Sadly, I wish I could end the chapter here but dark forces are at work elsewhere........
"Rasputin! Why have you summoned me? You have good news I hope." A shadowy man wreathed in fire appears. Rasputin gets onto his knees and bows, "No my Lord, please forgive me. Hitler has failed in his objective. I called you in hopes of forgiveness." Rasputin continues to grovel at the man's feet.
"Get up off the ground Rasputin. You'll live for another day...... if you bring me Mark Numera. He's cheated death once and he has to pay for it. His soul is worth quite a pretty penny. Oh... and take Anton with you. Do not fail me Rasputin or ZAPMAN will be the least of your worries" The man in flame chuckles gleefully at the prospect of Rasputin's anguish over this decision.
"No, please my lord. Anyone but ANTON I hate that guy. He doesn't like cats. What kind of freak doesn't like cats?! Please.... I beg of you El Chamuco!" Rasputin clutches at the man's robes and his hands catch fire. "Oh, I do love it when you beg but enough is enough. I own you Razzy remember? So you'll do whatever I say. You're not in a position to argue with me." The man in flame creates a portal and vanishes in a ring of fire.
Looks like Rasputin is up to no good. It looks like he's made a deal with the prince of darkness himself El Chamuco, ruler of the demons. How will ZAPMAN get out of this one and what does Old Nick want with our hero? Tune into Chapter 17: House of the Rising Sun to find out! Even though I'm technically snarky and British I have a soft spot for the 4th of July. So happy belated 4th of July everyone!