Prologue – Superman

"I need a status report, Lieutenant." A voice crackled over the COM unit in his ear. Had it been broken or audio scarred, he probably would have never woke up. Slowly tensing parts of his body, he felt them all; no missing limbs. He breathed in and got nothing but dusty. Coughing, his body shook, rubble falling off of his previously motionless body. He got to his knees and felt something large, heavy and long fall from his back across his side and onto the ground, or what was above the ground. Dirt covered his face and uniform, almost looking like a ghost in the destruction. The only colour was a single trail of blood, coming from a body a few feet away, facing upwards and impaled on a support beam.

"Lieutenant, do you read me?" The same voice crackled in his ear again. He took off his helmet, a crack along the right side. He brushed as much of the dust and dirt off as he could before putting it back on. Looking down, he noticed his sidearm was gone. His rifle had been lost during the explosion. His ears had stopped ringing. Raising a hand, he placed a single, gloved finger against the small button inside activating the COM unit. Speaking, his voice recorded by a microphone in one of his teeth, and then sent via microchips inside his skull to HQ.

"This is Lieutenant Static. Colonel, can you read me?" Static coughed, trying to breathe clear air but only getting everything else. Dirt and dust, probably blood as well.

"Lieutenant, I need a status report. What is your situation?" The Colonel asked.

"Sir, the situation is FUBAR. Private Richard is down; Private Daw and Jon are unaccounted. It was an ambush. The place was rigged to blow the moment we entered the apartment. I have no idea how I survived the blast." Static explained.

"Can you salvage anything from the wreckage?" The Colonel asked.

"No, sir. I'm down on the third floor. The floor must have given out during the blast." Static replied, looking around and seeing the number '3' in red paint on a wall, next to a door which probably led to a stairwell.

"Shit. Alright, Lieutenant. Hold on until we get an extraction and recovery team down there." He ordered.

"Yes, sir." Static replied, lifting his finger from the button. "Not like I have anywhere else to go."

He turned around to see if he could find any form of weapon. He was in a rough neighbourhood of what remained of New York City, and part of a gangs building had just exploded, so there was going to be trouble before anyone arrived to help him get out of the situation. He climbed over the rubble to the remains of Private Richard and stripped the body of all its weapons. A pistol with a few clips, a couple of grenades and a small pack of cigarettes, lighter inside the pack. He took one out and lit it before slowly making his way to the stairwell door. Breathing out the smoke, he tried the door. It was jammed. However, a quick, solid kick to the centre blew it right off its battered hinges, sending it flying down the stairs opposite. Three young men were standing on the flight heading upwards, shock in their faces.

"Damn, nigga. You done gon' an' shot ma shit up. Da fuck you gon' do 'bout it?" One of them asked. He was wearing a bandana over his face, and judging from the tattoos on their left forearms, his fears had been confirmed.

"This is a military operation. Leave the area, now." Static ordered them. The one on the right of the man with the bandana stepped forward.

"Like the five-oh is gon' tell us whatta do, beeyatch!" He threw his face forward, possibly to intimidate him. Static had no time for this. He pulled up the pistol only to have it knocked away by the third man, who was wielding a metal pipe. Bandana moved in and kicked his legs out from underneath, forcing Static to the ground. His cigarette rolled away. Pipe swung the pipe again, but Static brought up his arm, blocking it with his wrist, the uniform taking most of the impact. He used the sudden surprise to reach over with his other hand and grab a grenade, pulling the pin. The three instantly backed away.

"Back...the fuck off." He growled, slowly getting up. He picked his pistol off the ground, nearly falling down the stairs, and looked at the three.

"You won' do it." Bandana pushed him mentally.

"No, you're right." Static said, putting the pin back in place. He then dropped the deactivated pistol and whipped up the pistol, only to face three MAC 10s. "Shit..."

"We gon' fuck you up now, mu'fucka!" Pipe yelled. The three all pulled their triggers at once, while Static didn't even flinch. Bullets shattered the wall behind him, nearly taking it down. There was nothing but gunfire until they ran out of ammo.

"What da fuck?" The second man gasped. Static hadn't fallen, nor had he even taken a single bullet. Bandana started reloading, and had the fresh magazine almost in when there was a loud, sickening crunch. He slowly looked down and saw two feet of steel sticking out of his chest.

"The fu...the fu...the fu..." He tried to breathe, nothing but blood and gurgling coming out of his mouth. Slowly, Bandana was lifted into the air, slowly sliding back along the blade. With a single, strong movement, the blade was torn out of his side, his chest exploding, blood showering the other two men. Pipe screamed in horror, while the second one just stared. Standing behind where Bandana had been was a tall man. He had silver hair, grey eyes and nearly pale skin. He was wearing black trousers, black sneakers of some form, black shirt and black trench coat over that, with metal bearings instead of buttons, as well as silver linings around pockets, the neck and edges of the coat. Red stained the sword, but with a quick swipe, it all splashed over the wall beside him in a long line. Pipe had reloaded his MAC and cocked it, firing at the newcomer.

"Mu'fucka gon' pay now!" He yelled, pulling the trigger. Bullets were poured into the man, his body jerking to the impacts. Blood spurted from the wounds, painting the stairs behind him until it was impossible to see the concrete. Pipe fired the last ten rounds into the man's face, nearly removing the head. Once the firing stopped, the man slumped against the wall, but didn't fall to the ground. Pipe then turned to Static, fear in his eyes and was holding the MAC like a cudgel. Just before he swung, there was a sudden burst of laughter. Everyone froze, Static in a 

position to defend himself. Pipe turned around and saw the man had managed to get back off the wall and onto his feet. With a quick movement, he managed to propel his head forward until its ravaged face was looking at Pipe, a grin on his face.

"Did you honestly think shooting me would work?" The man laughed. The blood on the stairs behind him, and on the walls, seemed to peel off of them and turned into what looked like black...fog. Slowly, it was absorbed by the man, the wounds healing; nothing remaining for anyone to notice he had just been filled with thirty rounds of led.

"What...what are you?" The second man screamed, backing away, trying to escape.

"I am what created Nightmares." The man said calmly. Pipe turned and ran through the doorway, hoping to escape. He stopped the moment he got through the actual doorway, a hand clutching at the back of his skull. The man had extended his arm, stretched his arm, and began to carefully squeeze his fingers. Pipe tried to yell for help, but it was too late as the entire backend of his skull was torn backwards, his brain exposed. The second man didn't try anything, just moved to the corner and collapsed to his knees. The man stepped forward and stood over him, looking down, the sword raised.

"He doesn't need to die." Static warned the man.

"No. But I like it nonetheless." He swung the sword, slicing the man in half, through n arm and both his legs, diagonally across his torso. "it brings a form of satisfaction."

"Jesus Christ...I'm going to get my ass chewed out for this. The bodies obviously mean you were here. The blood on the guy out there will show the forensic guys that he died after the explosion. And what was with that anyway? You trying to fucking kill me, Reaper?"

"That apartment had been rigged and cleared for nearly a month. I must have forgotten."

"You could have told me. Three rookies just got slaughtered because of you you give a shit anyway." Reaper turned from the dead man to Static.

"Figured all that out by yourself, did you?" He taunted. Static stepped forward and grabbed Reapers coat, slamming him against the bloodstained wall.

"You piece of shit. I'm the one that gets all the information for you, and you fucking abuse it. I told you where a nuke was; you blow up Washington, turning this country into a fucking civil warzone. I tell you where your letter is, you kill the Pentagon." Static growled. All of a sudden, he was thrown backwards against the opposite wall, a force pushing all over his body. Reaper straightened his coat and then looked at Static, who was held by his own power. He carefully raised him a foot off the floor, leaving a drag mark up the wall.

"And it's me that's trying to save your goddamn planet. Would you rather I have just left it all, and watched as you were all destroyed? Because of me, only two of your New York towers fell, not the entire East Coast. And if not for me, Saddam would still be alive, working on his MECH plans. Because of me, you are all still alive. I don't give a shit what happens to some of you. I couldn't care less if a quarter of the world died. But with more than that gone, I wouldn't have any fun. Would you like me to go back to how I was before? Would you like a hundred people crucified publically a day? In this day and age? Because of me, and because of your great grandfather, this country is where it is. If I had let him die, you would be living under a dictatorship, not whatever you are under now." Reaper explained calmly. He blinked and Static fell to the ground, clutching his throat. "Wayne, I find your lack of faith in me disturbing."

"Crap..." Static gasped for air, flowing into his previously crushed lungs.

"I could destroy this entire planet in less than a day, turn it into a burning cesspool. Instead, I help you because I like where it's going. This is not to help you, it's for me. So don't fuck with how I roll." Static raised his head, looking at Reaper. But all he saw was black fog fading away.

"Prick." He coughed a couple of times and slowly got to his feet. A few seconds later, he heard a door somewhere below him blow open, military commands wafting up the stairs. "It's about fucking time!"

"State the situation." An EAR soldier demanded. Goddamn EAR; they instantly outranked anyone during a situation. It was their job to go in, find out the situation and get out those that mattered, not everyone.

"Room was rigged to blow. All other operatives deceased. Three males deceased. He was here." Static said blatantly. They never had time to listen to a full debriefing. It was always easier to just state the simple facts, which usually lead to more casualties during a worse situation.

"Understood. Report outside for transport back to HQ." The soldier barked.

"Yeah, I'll be sure to get on with that." Static replied, clutching his wrist where the pipe had hit him. It smarted slightly. He climbed down the stairs, moving out of the way of more EAR soldiers. He had to get outside, get another cigarette. Once he was outside, he undid the buttons n the side of his body, letting his uniform slip to the ground. He stood in the LA air, breathed it in, coughed and got another cigarette. Looking up as he lit it, he saw that an entire section of the building he had been in was gone, nothing but a gaping hole. Bastard had a taste for explosions.

"Lieutenant Static!" A voice barked behind him. He spun around faster than a bullet, hand snapping to his forehead in salute. Colonel Campbell Richmond strode quickly towards him. Static quickly sucked in as much smoke as possible before the Colonel tore the cigarette from his lips, throwing it over his shoulder. He wanted to follow it with his eyes, but couldn't be bothered dealing with the Colonels crap.

"Lieutenant, you were given direct orders not to enter the apartment or engage any hostiles!" He yelled.

"Sir, I did not engage with anyone, sir!" Static barked back.

"At ease." Colonel muttered, slowly turning to face the building. "If you hadn't gone into that apartment, we might still have some evidence as to where this slippery bastard has been for the last twelve months."

"I did not enter the room. Private Daw was the one that opened the door before I could relay orders to them. We did not engage in anything." Static explained.

"So then why do I have three dead gangsters?"

"They tried to engage me."

"So you tore them apart? I know your good, Lieutenant, but no man can remove the back of a person's head."

"I know, sir. No man. He was here. I saw him for a second before he was gone."

"So he was in the room? Or the building?"

"Neither. I think he was somehow warned when the explosives went off, and he came here to investigate." The Colonel stared in surprise at Static.

"So he really can teleport?"

"Looks like, sir. He didn't go upstairs, and no one reported anything as they came up. There was nowhere else he could have hidden." Static explained. The two stood there in silence for a while as the EAR team finished sweeping the building. There were a couple of gunshots, and reports of a drug lab, but nothing more. The bodies of Daw and Jon had been recovered, found torn apart by the blast, limbs and innards plastered on walls and floors. Static shook his head as he heard the reports coming in. He turned away from the building and walked off behind one of the many trucks around the place. He pulled out another cigarette and lit it, this time able to get halfway through it before he was interrupted.

"Your species really knows how to take its time. I could have cleared that entire building by now." Static nearly jumped out of his skin and twirled around, Reaper standing just a few inches from him, staring down.

"Yeah well...we like to be thorough." He mumbled.

"No, you like to be greedy. Your men up there get paid by the hour, so the longer they dick around, the more they get paid. So pathetic." Reaper described "What ever happened to an honest days work?"

"Probably got thrown out the window when you went and killed a third of the population of the world, starting shit about vampires and werewolves and demons."

"Probably." Reaper grinned, turning away from Static. His coat swirled about in the wind, as well as how he moved. It blocked Reaper from his sight for a moment, and in that moment, he was gone. The coat tailed around, into the black smoke and vanished along with its owner.

"Prick..." Static muttered, turning away as the remains blew away, returning to the enjoyment of his cigarette.