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The Black Sea

Three gazes of day (gazes of the day are small shades of light that barely shine/gleam through the scorched sky, a gaze through the day last 6 hours while the rest of land shines only darkness unless the moon would be present allowing an extra 6 hours- only source of some light at night are the shifting dark scorches of black and dark grey) have passed since Zero, Brandis, Athame’, and Nightmare left the Hidden City. It is now gaze -night, Nightmare drive's his ship- the Death Bat- down the wastelands at a steady speed as Zero navigates him to New Babylon. Brandis sits on the floor meditating as Athame' sits and reads, occasionally looking out the window and at Brandis.

Zero: Head South East. Toward where the Hawaiian Islands.

Nightmare: Hawaiian Islands? You're kidding right? Those were destroyed some time ago due to the vast amounts of volcano eruptions of the unstable realities.

Zero: Trust me...they there..

Nightmare: Then if so, shouldn't we go Southwest, it would be faster?

Zero: No... If we do so we end up in demonic territory...

Nightmare: What?

Zero: Ya been tied up in your little bubble for too long, The entire western hemisphere is demonic territory... ran by the natural demons, pure demons, vampires, and all kinda creatures and monsters. We go east it will take a while but we come up behind and around the bad parts.

Nightmare: Alright if you say so but--

Nightmare is cuts off by a bizarre sound coming from the ship. The sound gets louder, and each person on the ship loses balance as the ship staggers to slow down.

Nightmare: Oh no!!!

Zero: What is it?!

Nightmare: Something is wrong... I have to make an emergency stop, see what's wrong! Everybody hold on!

Nightmare smoothly stops the craft, somewhere in the wastelands, but it still stops abruptly.

Athame': What Happened?

Nightmare: I'm not sure... must be the engines, I'll go check it out.

Zero: I'll come with... give you a hand.

The two take a few tools and head downward into the ship.

Athame': So... um how did you like the city?

Brandis: It was neat I thought. Almost like my hope 'kept more civil you can say.

Athame': So if your mom gets better you think she and you will stay?

Brandis: You mean when my mom gets better... and I don't know. Maybe for a bit until she if able to make the journey back home... but not forever, we have our own lives... our own responsibilities on Drago Mountain... that's our home..

These words put a sad look on Athame's face for a moment.

Interrupting the conversation.

Nightmare: Just As I thought, two of the engines are clogged with sand and ashes from the surface...

Zero: But you can fix it right?

Nightmare: Nothing I can't. Will take a bit, but should be able to flush it out in a couple hours..

Zero: I'll give you a hand... we have to get to New Babylon as soon as possible.

Nightmare: Alright. will be faster... take this radio. I'm going to head out side, you head down to the engine room, and I will give you instructions as we walk through the flushing process.

Zero: Ok, and uh...where the hell is the engine room?

Nightmare: You can miss it, go down the stairs keep going till you see a sign that says "engine room."

Zero: Of course... smarty.

The two split and head to there area of ships. Two hours past, Brandis has fallen asleep while Athame' sits and meditates. She soon is disturbed through her mind senses, she is not sure if what she senses is right but Brandis awakes because he hears something in the distance.

The two head out side.

Nightmare: Alright Zero run a full... Hey you two alright?

Brandis: What do you see?

Athame': I don't know... I sense something... but I can't see it.

Nightmare: Hear whAAA!!!

Nightmare is suddenly knocked away by some unknown and invisible force. Brandis and Athame' are too knocked away and Brandis is even picked up by it. Zero hears the commotion through the radio communicator Nightmare gave him and he heads out side to see Brandis being cradle be force in the air and Nightmare unconscious and Athame' on the ground.

Zero: What the hell is it?!

Athame': I don't know but I'm going to find out.

Athame' then uses a magic spell combined with a hand gesture to reveal the foe to be a large Scorpion creature with to tails and stingers to match. It also has two sets of claws and is about 30 feet in length and 20 in height. It is called the Surface Slayer, it feeds on stray ship parts and its crew.

Athame' and Zero have no choice but to battle it to set Brandis free. Athame' uses magic, sorcery, and the elements and throwing forms of ash, sand, stone, and even left over bones in the area. Nightmare still lies unconscious next to the ship.

Zero: Lets See what this new arm can do exactly!

Zero uses his Proto-Plasmic arm for the very first time. As Nightmare told before, his arm transmogrifies (shape shift) into a blaster just by the mere command and thought of Zero, and it does. Zero begins blasting Plasmic blast towards the beast. This force, along with Athame's, causes the monster to drop Brandis finally.

Brandis immediately stands to his feet, and then engages in the battle. Using his strength he throws various large boulders at the creature.

Everyone's effort seems pointless for the Slayer still plunges its tails into to the ship to begin draining its energy for itself.

Brandis: We need to draw it away from the ship!!

Everyone continues to fight with no effect, the creature continues to drain the craft energy.

Nightmare: Oy... did anyone get the size of the space shit that hit me? What the? What is that thing?!

Automated Voice from Nightmares wrist gadget says: A Surface Slayer- Electric and organic Scorpion creature- capable of siphoning energy from and electric field to sustain its life.

Nightmare: My ship?!

Nightmare then unzips the right zipper on his lab jacket, on his right arm revealing an expanded version of the wrist gadget on his arm, his most prized invention. He then presses a button sequence and his body begins to expand as he yells. As his body expands so do the clothes he wears. He then transforms enough to where his muscles are twice his size and his height has grown three feet.

Nightmare then charges like a bull toward the creature grabbing the tails attached to the ship and detaches them. With great force, Nightmare then squeezes the tails together, which puts its attention of the creature on him, and ties the tails together. Brandis, Athame', and Zero look on in shock as Nightmare takes on the monster by himself.

The beast tries to crush Nightmare with its claws but Nightmare simply grabs each and rips them apart. Ooze from the creature splatters every where when he does so.

Nightmare: SMASHY SMASHY BITS!

Nightmare then delivers a powerful punch to the creature, sending it flying into the wasteland mist. Nightmare then presses another button sequences which turns him back to his original state.

Nightmare: Done and done.

Zero: What the hell was that?

Nightmare: That my friend was butt kicking 101.

Brandis: I think he means your transforming act.

Nightmare: Oh that was Nightmare phase one. I can do it with this thing on my arm. Its called the Molecular Density Manipulator; or the MDM. It can increase my mass and muscle matter allowing me inhuman strength as well as invulnerability. Or it can even decrease my mass and muscle matter allowing me to pass through solid objects, which I call Nightmare phase two. It also has an analysis decoder on it that able it to classify species. It can even tell time, has a compass, weather analysis--

Cutting him off.

Zero: Yea, yea, yea How long 'til we have this craft back up and running?

Nightmare: Well I don’t know, the monster sure did siphon a lot of energy from it... I won't know until I do a full diagnostic check on the ships interface.

All then walk into the ship and Nightmare runs his check.

Nightmare: Just as I thought...

Zero: What?

Nightmare: The ship is fine, but all the energy that monster took out caused a few of the electro rods to burn out in one of the engines. Going to have to replace it or we wont get off the ground.

Zero: Fuck... where we going to get one of those...

Athame': Well we are too far from home...

Brandis: ...and we don't have time to go back either.

Nightmare: Well here is something, electro rods give off 90 percent solar energy, the computer is picking up something similar about... 25 miles south west...

Zero: Toward Demonic territory...

Athame': We do not have any choice...if we go back we will loose 3 gazes.

Brandis: ....

Zero: Fine... looks like we are going toward demonic land, lets just get in and out, longer we stay more chances we run into falling into more trouble.

Nightmare: Alright, let me set the ship to stealth and we will head out...

Zero: No one of us must stay with the ship...

Brandis: No Zero, together we a stronger, separate we are stronger.

Athame': He is right, we will all go.

Nightmare. Don’t worry man, the Death bat has automated defense when in stealth, anyone who doesn’t have a 98.6 body temperature will be incinerated if they get to close to the ship.

Everyone then pack up and leave the ship. Once out side of it Nightmare activates the stealth setting and the ship vanishes to the eyes and all four begin walking to the signal, which they follow on the navigation unit of Nightmare's MDM.

The four walk almost all night and they get to a shore where the water is Blacker than the night that surrounds them.

Nightmare: This is going to slow us down..

Zero: Shit! Now, what are we suppose to do?

Brandis: Hmm never seen water so black...

Athame': I know... that can't be a good thing...

Nightmare: Don't worry, I cam prepared.

Nightmare then looks into his bag that he grabbed before he left the ship and pulls out a cube like structure the size of a CD player. He then inputs a disk into.

Nightmare: Stand back...

Everyone does.

Nightmare: System transform!

The box then turns into motorized sail boat.

Athame': Jack, you always think of everything.

Nightmare: Hey, its what I do.

All climb into the boat and begin to float out into the water. Zero immediately begins to fall to sleep for rest as he listens to the others.

Brandis: So Jack, how did you become so smart?

Nightmare: Eh... it's pretty long story nothing great either...

Brandis: Try me..

Athame': If you don't tell him Jack I will...

Nightmare: When I was born... I was sick... not just sick, but very small for a human baby. My parents didn't think I would live a month. They were doctors, their specialty was mainly bio-chemicals. Anyway, shortly before the wars and reality shifts, my parents set out to find the legendary hidden city, they did and it was through the help of the Hidden-Atlantians, my parents were able to heal and cure my birth defect, but neither lived long enough to see the affects of the serums and meds the city had to offer. Both died before I was 13.

Brandis: Alright, but how did that make you smarter?

Nightmare: Getting to that... As time passed the serums and meds had interesting side effects. Not only did it help with my muscle mass and organs but they enriched and enhanced my brain... the hardest equations and problems were simple as scratching an itch. I soon saw I was able to create any invention my mind would come up with... some which I kept for my self others I use to benefit the city...as you all saw.

Brandis: So you're like a super genius or something?

Nightmare: Super no, genius....well can't toot my own horn but YES!

Zero wakes up.

Zero: What is that?!

Everyone looks toward and pass Zero to see A thick mist role in from the Black see.

Athame': I don't know, I can't sense anything in it.

Using his eye.

Zero: Well I can!

Zero then runs to the wheel and begins steering away from what he sees in the mist.

Nightmare: What are you doing!? You're throwing us off course!

Zero: Trust me! Better off course then what's in that Mist.

The thick mist clears slightly for the others to see another ship similar but bigger than there own. It resembles an old Pirate ship, with blood red sails. The ship itself is made of skulls and bones with traces of dried blood on them, and very little pieces of wood. The spiked chains, hanging from the ship, carried victims tortured slowly before their death. The crew itself, were not human, but natural demons with a few crazed mutants with a thirst for blood and looks to match.

Brandis: Great!

Zero: Exactly more pirates!

Zero continues to try to evade the pirates but the fierce cannons are blasted from the other ship, known as the Eisenez.

Zero: Jack!! Tell you have like rocket cannons or jet boosters or something on this thing!

Nightmare: Um... Sorry!! Its a non- fighting vessel!

Zero: Great! Fantastic!

Soon the pirates catch up to the ship, and everyone is forced to fight, but with very little room their effort seems almost pointless. Soon Athame' is caught, and held at sword pint by the ships Captain, Crosafix. He has blood red eyes, black skin with red and black tattoos on his face a body. He wear layered and tattered clothing made of leather and various skins of things and people he has killed. The necklace around his neck has everything from teeth to ears and bound together by human hair. His boots run up to his knees and has years of stained blood on them. His hair is short and nearly bald covered with a black and dirty bandana. He wields only one sword, and the hilt is made of a femur bone and a crooked saw blade.

Crosafix: Vast! One more step and this little beauty receives a knew mug across her throat!

Brandis, Nightmare and Zero have no choice but to put there hands up in surrender. They are then bound at the wrist and ankles, hog tied at the neck to prevent escape; the cuffs are made to neutralize powers. The four are then thrown into a detention cell, similar to the pirate Zocko's ship the Renegade, it also neutralizes their powers. Across the cell cage they see another prisoner of the ship, she has blond hair, is very slim, and young to about the late to mid 20's. She only wears tattered clothing that covered only her mid-region. She bears cuts, bruises, and even dirt, and appears to be in somewhat pain. Athame' is not able to tell, but to the others she appears human.

Brandis: Miss.. excuse me?

The girl says nothing.

Brandis: What is this place?... miss?

Nightmare: Can you talk?

She then begins to sign but only one able to understand her is Athame'.

Athame': She says she has been hear for months, captured by the ships crew. She has been forced to do many things against her will, and has seen the most unspeakable.

Everyone continues to look around.

Brandis: This place reeks of blood... and death.

Zero: Blood... I know what this is... I had only heard stores from other pirates, and humans my people had given refuge to...

Nightmare: Story? about what?

Everyone turns there attention to Zero.

Zero: It is said in some of the seas of the world, there exist a race of pirates that do things unthinkable. They are said to kill, rape, torture... and even eat not just humans but other creatures to... They have no grasp of reality and care about no one or anything but satisfying there thirst for blood.. they are called Hannibal’s.

Nightmare: Well that just makes me want to stay longer. (sarcastically)

Brandis: We have to get out of here.

Interrupting with two other pirates.

Crosafix: Well good luck at doing that mate’s! Because no one ever has gotten free of this ship. Sit tight, because you're in for a very long voyage.

Hours pass and not a single pirate comes into the cell. But everyone is awaken, the next gaze, by screams of terror from the outside. Everyone wakes in fear to see where the screams are coming from, Brandis then tells them its coming from out side and point to filthy window. Zero then cleans the window with his shirt so all can see out side. Upon looking out side they see, the ship has docked at shore, and the Hannibal pirates pillaging a small village. The inhabitants of the village appears to be part of a race of nature demons that are peaceful. The demons look almost human but have tusk along where there eye brows should be. Women and children flee and men protect there families but all fall to the merciless pirates. The Hannibal pirates run through the village burning it to the grown, robbing houses for precious items, Raping women, torturing men and children and destroying everyone in their path. The entire time Crosafix and his pirates yelled and screamed with pride and bliss. This continues for a few hours, soon the village sits in flames and all the inhabitants are dead as the pirates sail off in to water. Athame' begins to shed tears and Brandis holds her.

Nightmare: I didn't sign up for this! I got to get out of hear!

Zero: Calm down!

Zero says as he slaps Nightmare.

Zero: We panic, we can't think, we can't we're dead!

The pirates sit on the ship cheering, fighting, and chatting about their trip to shore as Crosafix himself grows bored watching his own crew entertain him. Looking toward the cells.

Crosafix: Aye!

The crew stops to listen to their captain.

Crosafix: We have had a mighty fine trait today ay?!

The pirates cheer.

Crosafix: Great, I say we top it off with a cherry?!

The pirates cheer harder as they head to the detention cell. Everyone is startled when the pirates come into the cells Brandis, Zero, and Nightmare try to fight but their effort is pointless as the pirates grab Athame' and the other girl and hoist them above their heads to take them to the Captain on the deck. Nightmare, Zero, and Brandis scream and yell for the pirates to let them go. Soon the girls are out the cell area and on the deck being stripped, strapped down and prepared for the pirates lethal pleasure. Athame' screams in pain and fear.

Brandis covers his ears in anger as he hears Athame' scream and the silent screams from the other girl. Zero tries to calm him down as well, but the sounds are too much to Brandis ears. He soon begins to kick and punch the cell door in anger, Zero tries to calm him down more but Brandis just pushes him away and continues to slam against the cage door doing harm to himself as he hears the screams grow louder.

Zero: we gotta do something!

Nightmare: Wait! Zero! Your arm! The metal alloy should disrupt the stasis field in the bars reflecting the ions back to the generators causing it to overload!

Zero: What?!

Nightmare: Just stick you arm in the beam!

Zero does so and his arms does exactly what Nightmare has hoped.

The three then escape and head to the deck to find Crosafix about to do the worse to Athame' and the other girl. He is interrupted by a flying kick from Brandis. Nightmare and Zero join in, begin fighting off the pirates with their abilities. Night mare is forced to use his Nightmare phase 2 because Phase one would sink the ship. So he passes through the pirates like a ghost causing some to kill and hurt each other. Brandis unstraps the girls as he fights off Crosafix and 6 other pirates. Athame', even still distraught from what almost happens, begins to lend a hand to Zero and Nightmare. During the struggle in the battle, the blond girl is knocked into the Black Sea, Brandis tries to save her from falling but is stopped by the pirates. Her body does not resurface, so Brandis dives in after her to save her.

The seas is thicker than fog and Brandis can not see 2 inches in front of him, he almost manages to save the girl but is stopped by several creatures in the water called Octo-spyds, who have 8 arms/ legs and larges heads (think a combination of a spider and squids mixed with the glow and effect of a jelly fish when it touches the skin). The creatures burns his flesh as the glow in front of him giving him little to know light. When he manages to get them off for good the girl is gone. He then heads back to the top of the water and uses his levitation to place himself back on the ship, but by the time he does so Crosafix has captured and injured Athame' again.

Feeling embarrassed and humiliated, Crosafix take the four to the nearest island in the neutralizing cuffs. The island looks almost tropical but has a dark sense and aura about it as if something lived there. Here he has his pirates ready six tree and 9 steel and rusted spikes preparing Nightmare, Brandis, and Zero for his infamous Crosifixation. After an hour of preparation 3 crosses sitting 10 feet long stand sitting with Nightmare, Zero, and Brandis standing in front of them.

Crosafix: Centuries ago, a martyr died...sacrificed.. himself for the sins of humanity... you 3 want to be heroes? Martyrs? Then so it shall be!

He says as his pirates cheer and grab Brandis, Zero, and Nightmare and force them on the crosses (still in the neutral cuffs). Each pirate takes one spike and simultaneously to each hammers in the spikes into the feet, and hands of Brandis, Nightmare and Zero. The three of them scream in terror, and pain as this is being done. Athame' cries and weeps, and tries to look away but Crosafix makes her look at his work.

Crosafix: Look my blind precious I know you can see this!! Know that they are doing this for you!

Athame' cannot see the aura's of her friend but she hears their pain and suffering. Once the spikes are in each, the pirates remove the cuffs and pull the crosses upward so that each sits plunges into the islands surface. The agony and pain of the three grows louder. The pirates do nothing but laugh and cheer as the three sit ten feet in the air. Soon the Pirates leave with Athame' and sails off on their ship.

Hours pass as the three screams continue to eco in the dead air. Soon Nightmare passes out from the lost of blood, then Zero follows. It's almost as if they were sleeping, but in reality they were slowing dying. Brandis will and strength seemed to go on longer, causing him much pain but even more strength. He soon grow weary and eager to save himself and his friends- with thoughts of his mother he may never see get better, his friend Athame' with murderous pirates, and his friends Nightmare and Zero dying next to him- he could not bare the thoughts. Soon, combined with his strength and sheer will, Brandis brutally pulls and rips his hands and feet forward to bring them over the spikes. The sight of his blood pouring like a faucet from the wound does nothing to him but feed his will. After great force is tried he pulls free and falls ten feet to the ground of sand below.

The wounds do not close and blood soon covers the sand around him.

Brandis then looks up to see a black shadow and blur just before he passes out.