ShikakuZetsumei t1_j6nuzwz wrote

Haha. Thank you for that. I mean, I certainly could've done more with the aftermath. As it stands, I only covered the events that the prompt suggested. Might've been interesting to do more with the team dynamic as well.


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j6kzk89 wrote

The otherworldly monstrosity held onto Alan, dragging him closer to the abyssal portal. It knew it was close to death, but it had gotten in one final strike. Its claws had torn through Alan’s armor, crippling him. And even as he collapsed to the dirt, it wrapped one of its remaining tentacles around his uninjured leg.

“Alan!” Tisara’s arrows rained down on the creature, but it held fast.

Far behind her, Rufus kneeled next to Boronas, trying to shake the armored dwarf awake. There was a look of horror on the younger man’s face as he realized what was happening. Boronas was unconscious, having drawn the monster’s ire to create an opening. And Rufus was a fierce fighter, but his magic reserves were weak. The crossbow by his side would be just as useful as Tisara’s bow.

There’s nothing any of them can do.

A sense of acceptance washed over him. His friends would bring news of the demon’s demise back to King Porventus. Their homeland, and their entire plane of existence, would be safe. It was a small price to pay.

“Looks like this is it.” He felt his fingers losing strength as the creature yanked again.

Then Rufus was running – the poor kid looked so desperate to help. Alan felt a sense of pride at that. Once upon a time, Rufus had been a weakling, freshly kicked out of the magic academy. And over the years, they had trained and fought until he could stand at their side as an equal.

“Be seeing ya, kiddo.” The monstrosity’s roar nearly drowned out his words.

But as the creature tugged him again toward the churning portal, the air changed. Rufus raised one hand as if to cast a spell.

“Let him go!” Four dark green beams erupted from Rufus’s palm.

They collided with the creature with frightening force. Each blast sent a shockwave rippling through the air. The first one caused the creature’s grip on Alan’s leg to loosen. Then, the next three sent it hurtling backward and through the portal. There was a sharp crack, as the dimensional tear closed. All that was left was Rufus’s ragged panting.

When the shock wore off, Alan said, “Rufus?”

His voice seemed far too loud in the now-empty chamber. Rufus’s pale face looked sickly in the glow of the arcane torches. His eyes darted from Alan to the location of the portal, and back.

Then, Rufus’s outstretched arm lowered. “I… I’m sorry. I should’ve said something.”

Rufus turned toward Tisara, who had a look of confusion on her face.

“I… I’ll go.”

Before Rufus could take more than a few steps, Alan said, “Rufus.”

The kid froze before turning a nervous face back toward him.

“Could you help me up here? I’m kinda down both legs.” He motioned at his injuries. “We can talk when we get out of this place.”

Rufus still looked ready to run. But a moment later, his shoulders slumped as he came over to help Alan to his feet. Tisara used the last bit of her natural abilities to rouse Boronas.

“Did we get ‘im?” was all he could muster.

About half an hour of careful backtracking later, they arrived at their campsite. Tisara tended to Alan’s legs as he regarded Rufus from across the campfire.

Finally, he said, “You’re a warlock?”

“Sorry,” was all Rufus said.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone? We’ve been traveling for so long.” He winced as Tisara tightened the bandage.

“I… I didn’t want you to kick me out.” Rufus’s voice was barely a whisper.

Boronas shook his head. “Now why would we do such a thing?”

Tisara let out a soft sigh. “Warlocks in Iverden are heavily persecuted. Don’t you remember where we met him?”

Rufus flinched at the reminder.

“Er… was that where we met him?” Boronas let out a nervous chuckle. “I’d forgotten.”

An awkward silence fell on the camp. Tisara busied herself with looking after Boronas’s injuries. When she finally got to Rufus, he shied away from her.

“You don’t have to. I’ll be on my way.” Rufus did not meet her gaze.

Tisara’s eyes narrowed, a sign that promised much retribution when this ordeal was over.

Alan quickly cleared his throat to diffuse the situation. “Well, I’d rather you didn’t leave. We’ve certainly earned a break from this adventuring stuff. Maybe we can travel a bit. We’ve worked well as a team. I don’t see why that should change.”

“Yeah. Do you know how hard it is to find someone who will put up with the princess’s temper?”

A knife whizzed by Boronas’s face, clipping a bit of his beard. That only seemed to make Rufus more anxious. With a sigh, Alan struggled to his feet. Tisara was at his side in a flash, helping him over to Rufus.

“How about we start over?” He held out a hand. “Alan Har, Paladin of Luristae.”

Rufus did not respond.

Alan tried again. “Please. You’ve been a good friend to me – to all of us.”

Finally, Rufus took the proffered hand.

“Rufus Hensbracht. Warlock of Axla, Goddess of the Green.”


Quick one cuz I'm busy and have something else to get to.

If you're interested in my works, the archive of my various writing responses can be found in my writing portfolio, link through my profile. There's also an original story, The Crossroads.

Thanks for reading.


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j6a853g wrote

My Nanowrimo project from 2013. I had been writing fanfiction and sporadic original stuff since middle school. In that almost decade of writing, I had only ever finished one fanfiction. (A fun and exciting accomplishment in of itself.) But it was Nanowrimo that gave me the discipline to finally finish an original project. The sensation of finishing an original manuscript, even if it's an imperfect, rushed mess, is hard to beat.

The more I played in that original world, the more I wanted to bring that story and others like it to more people. I learned how to listen to other, more experienced writers and editors, and have continued to iron out what many would consider 'beginner writer mistakes'. Still, I've now learned that getting an agent is significantly harder than writing, rewriting, and editing combined...


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j502rqx wrote

Broadly speaking? Practice writing as often as you can. I've been writing and editing for long enough that flash fictions are completable within an hour or two.

Specifically on flash fictions, keep in mind that space is somewhat limited. I try to keep my responses on this subreddit under 1000 barring extenuating circumstances. Pick a few simple points on world building and character development, and hint at them if you can. Never detail dump if you can help it.

Hope that helps.


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j4xvgw2 wrote

Jeff placed another potato in the press and watched as another bunch of fries fell into the basket. Back and forth, the repeated motion was soothing on his weary soul. There was no higher purpose here other than making burgers and fries for Frank’s Burger Shack. The food was mediocre at best, and the pay was garbage. But it was everything he wanted in his life these days.

“Frank! Get out here you greedy pig!”

The sound of shattering glass and a woman screaming broke his Zen-like state. Heat more intense than the grill suddenly tickled his back. He turned to find a young man standing in the doorway of the burger joint. The glass panels of the door lay in a shimmering pool at the feet of a hulking demon. Flames curled up the creature’s arms and flitted around the horns atop its head.

There was a softer crash from the office in the back. A few seconds later, a disheveled man burst into the dining room. A red mark on his cheek and a damp spot on his shirt suggested he had been napping. Frank never did more work than was necessary.

Bleary blue eyes blinked at the flaming demon and the ruined entrance of the restaurant. “What’s the meaning of this? What the hell’s going on?”

The young man grabbed a tray and hurled it at Frank. “You think you can treat my brother like that and get away with it?

Jeff let out a soft sigh as he pulled a batch of fries out of the frier. Frank had a nasty habit of verbally abusing his employees. But in a small town with no major chains, there were few stores offering jobs to the younger generation. And Frank knew he could get away with a lot because he was buddies with local law enforcement. They believed in ‘tough love’ as much as Frank did.

“You fired my brother after your negligence caused the accident! Why should you live while his dreams die?” The young man waved his hand at the cowering customers. “Drozamos, kill them! Kill them all!”

But the hellish creature did not move. Instead, its tail curled around its legs, and it bowed its head in subservience.

Jeff finished making the latest order before setting down the spatula. “Drozamos. How’ve you been? Is your partner well?”

Drozamos let out a rumbling growl. “They’re healthier these days, milord. Business is slower with all those exorcists running around. We’re supposed to be careful when coming to the surface.”

Jeff raised an eyebrow. “This is being careful?”

There was an audible gulp before Drozamos said, “It was supposed to be a simple grease fire. But my contractor…”

The ex-employee’s brother sneered. “I paid the price! Bobby just wanted a simple job to make some pocket money. Now, he might never move his hands again! They all deserve to die for supporting this pig!”

Jeff clicked his teeth in irritation. It must’ve happened during the night shift.

“Jeff, you bastard! You know this monster?” Frank, having apparently forgotten the danger, jabbed a finger at Drozamos. “Get that freak out of my restaurant!”

A spike of irritation flashed through his brain. Echoes of a past long abandoned demanded retribution in blood.

Instead, Jeff took a breath and said, “Please shut up, sir.”

A sliver of power slipped out from his control and the air shuddered. Drozamos’s summoner stumbled backward looking pale. A damp spot appeared on Frank’s pants.

“I had a good thing going on here, you know?” Jeff patted the cheap, painted surface of the service counter. “I’d rather not let it go.”

Drozamos responded immediately. “Of course, milord.”

“The people, I can fix. They won’t remember this.” Jeff waved a hand and the customers blinked sleepily. “Let the customers go. They don’t deserve this. They just came in here today looking for a cheap, halfway-decent meal. Not like this town offers much else.”

The young man puffed his chest in rage. “I – ”

But the flames behind him dissipated, allowing the customers to file out in a trance. Once the last car had left the parking lot, Jeff turned to Frank. “I’ll fix this place, but I expect continued employment and no questions asked. Do you understand?”

There was a thud as Frank fainted in fright. Jeff took a breath and reeled in his aura.

“Drozamos, go back. Your mission is complete. Here’s a bit of soul energy as payment.”

The demon blinked in surprise before stammering, “Thank you, milord.”

In a puff of brimstone ash, a portal appeared and swallowed Drozamos. As the smoke cleared, Jeff approached the only person left. The young summoner trembled as he realized he was alone.

“Now then, young man. You and I are going to have a little talk about responsible demon summoning.”


Another quick story today.

If you're interested in my works, the archive of my various writing responses can be found in my writing portfolio, link through my profile. There's also an original story, The Crossroads.

Thanks for reading.


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j4t5d0r wrote

I really liked the way you took this. With all the trademarks, a lengthy legal battle would put the hero into crippling debt. Sure, maybe the OP wanted more focus on the protagonist, but this was a fun response all the same.


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j4t4wg0 wrote

Sal watched as Lord Elos cackled and placed one boot on the head of King Orgainne. All around them, skeletons moved chests of gold and crates of artifacts into the town square. More skeletons guarded soldiers and civilians alike. Though the living outnumbered the dead, no one seemed willing to fight. A contingent of bandits made doubly sure of that.

“The treasures of the kingdom are mine!” Elos held up a gleaming shard of dark material. “Behold! The Stone of Nheskir! With it, I will become the ruler of the undead!”

Orgainne let out a grunt as Elos stepped harder.

“Father!” A young woman tried to rush to Orgainne’s aid, but a man in armor held her back.

“No, Nadira! It’s too dangerous!”

“But – ”

“We must believe!” An old man in a wrinkled robe placed his hand over Nadira’s. “The prophecy will come true! The hero will come to save us!”

Hearing this, Elos only laughed harder. “Hero? There hasn’t been a hero in this land for centuries! The Great Sage’s fabled Site of Arrival? Empty! I had a few of my men watch that place during the week this ‘hero’ was supposed to emerge. Just in case. Sorry to disappoint you, Elder Wavel.”

Elder Wavel slumped. “No…”

Disheartened murmurs ran through the captive crowd. Nadira let out a strangled sob. Their misery only seemed to strengthen Lord Elos. Not a single person tried to fight against their fate. With a sigh, Sal got up from his seat amongst a group of captive adventurers.

A nearby bandit raised his sword. “Hey! Sit back down!”

Sal ignored him. The bandit swung with a cry, only for his blade to pass through an illusory figure of Sal. The clang of the bandit’s sword hitting stone drew Elos’s attention.

“What’s this?” An amused grin formed on Elos’s face. “Do we actually have a hero?”

Sal waved his hand. “No, no. I’m just here for the hero’s sword. You carry on.”

That smile faded. “Excuse me?”

“I figured this was the easiest way to get to the thing without all the politics.” He walked past Lord Elos toward one of the piles of artifacts.

The silence was deafening. All eyes were on him, some in disbelief, others in hope.

It’s always like this.

Without waiting, he began rummaging through a pile of gold and jewelry.

“Stop right there!” A blast of necrotic energy collided with his back, but his armor absorbed the brunt of the damage.

“Can you not? I’d rather not do this right now.” Sal dug a bit deeper into the pile and pulled out a gleaming blade. “Ah, there you are. You wouldn’t believe how much this thing sells for.”

Elder Wavel let out a gasp. “It’s him! No one else can – ”

“Touch this blade?” Sal waved the sword around. “Nah. It’s just a simple ward. Easy enough to remove. Makes selling it way more convenient.”

The old man’s face reddened. “Sell – That is a priceless artifact! You’re supposed to save us from his evil! It’s your destiny!”

Sal rolled his eyes and put the blade into a pocket dimension. “Let me ask you something – old wizard man – since you’re so enamored with this destiny thing. What is your part in this ‘destiny’, hm? What prophecy is it this time?”

Wavel’s jaw trembled before he said, “I… I am to be a guide and mentor. To guide you into defeating this world’s evils.”

Sal nodded. “Right, right. A wise mentor that does little more than train me and then dies when his mission is fulfilled.”

“What – ?”

“Do you think it’s your destiny to die just so a ‘hero’ can have a growth spurt?”

Elder Wavel blinked. “Er… what? No, that’s not how it works!”

“That’s exactly how it works!” Sal turned on the cowering masses. “And you lot! Did you even try to fight against Elos? Sure didn’t see any blood on my way into town. Just a lot of knights being surrounded by the undead. Seems like Elos was here to take hostages and you all just let him.”

Silence followed his observation. Then, Lord Elos let out a soft chuckle.

“Such an astute hero. You’d do well by my side. Together we can – ”

“No thanks. I’m gonna pawn this sword and enjoy my vacation.” Sal jabbed a finger at the crowd. “If they want saving, they can save themselves.”

Lord Elos’s eyes narrowed. “They wouldn’t dare. They’re too reliant on their prophecies and heroes to save them.”

“Yeah? Well, this hero is here and he’s saying, ‘good luck’. I’ve had it with these stupid prophecies and whatnot.” Sal waved his hand. “You want your kingdom back? He’s one necromancer with the power to control about a hundred skeletons. That stupid gem maybe doubles it. Behind him is a bandit clan of about fifty. You’re a city of adventurers and a standing army of almost triple that. You do the math.”

Through the stunned silence, a few resentful faces grew thoughtful. Sal gathered mana in the air and wrapped it around himself as he had done in past lives. Teleportation – a high-level spell most spellcasters could only dream of accomplishing. And as his surroundings began to shift, he gave the stunned crowd one last wave.



Might be a fun idea to expand on. I'll put it in the list with all the other ideas that could use expanding upon :P

If you're interested in my works, the archive of my various writing responses can be found in my writing portfolio, link through my profile. There's also an original story, The Crossroads.

Thanks for reading.


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j4m429z wrote

Isobel Grove let out a soft sigh as she stirred the murky substance in the cauldron. The room was dark, but too much light would spoil some of her more valuable ingredients. One hand reached up to brush away a strand of stringy, gray hair.

What a fate, reduced to brewing basic potions for that accursed kingdom.

Acrid fumes drifted up from the turgid surface of the cauldron, tickling her nose. They curled through the air before drifting out from a vent near the ceiling. After a few more minutes of simmering, she added some diced ginseng roots and the smell abated. Her seat creaked as she sat back with a sigh.

I’m getting too old to play their games as well.

She dozed in her seat as the potion simmered to completion. The amount of wood she had used would cause the temperature to drop at precisely the right time. She was old and, at this point, could probably make a stamina restoration elixir in her sleep. Several hours later, a knock on her door caused her eyelids to flutter open.

“Grandma? I’m back. Are you still busy with work? It’s almost dinnertime. I made some stew.”

Isobel stretched, feeling her old bones pop. “Thank you, Elias, I’ll be up as soon as I finish here.”

The stairs creaked as Elias ascended the basement steps. She scooped the potion into the waiting bottles and stoppered them. With a wave of her hand, the cauldron hissed, and the residue began to dissipate. She left her basement lab and made her way to the kitchen of her woodland cottage.

“I thought you’d finally had enough of me and left.” She let out a chuckle as she closed the door to the stairwell.

A young man with cropped, white hair stood near a woodfire stove. A savory scent filled the air, banishing the stench of her lab.

He turned with a wry grin on his face. “Where would I go? This is the only place I get treated with some semblance of civility.”

Isobel let out a cackle of laughter and sat down at the table. A moment later, Elias placed a bowl of stew and a plate of bread before her. Once he served himself as well, they began to eat.

Partway into the meal, Elias spoke. “I stopped by Everspire on the way back from the hunt to pick up some nails and pitch. Our roof is leaking again.”

Isobel paused, spoon partway to her mouth. “Did you remember your disguise?”

Elias rolled his eyes and replied in a dull voice, “Yes, grandma.”

“Good. You know that kingdom is wary of your hair color.”

“I know. You’ve been telling me that for over twenty years now.”

The mood dropped as Elias pushed his stew around in his bowl.

Finally, he said, “I still think it’s ridiculous that they would try to arrest me just for my hair.”

Isobel huffed. “The Queens of Everspire have always been a bit too superstitious. They seemed pretty relieved when you turned out to be their firstborn.”

Elias scowled. “Deal with a payment and a prophecy, huh?”

She shrugged in response. “Prophecies come true in the strangest ways. Their kingdom will fall, one way or another. It might end up being some random person with white hair that just happens to be present during the battle.”

Elias’s gaze grew thoughtful. “The situation in the kingdom seems to have gotten worse in recent months. A lot of merchants are starting to avoid the city because of their discrimination.”

“We both knew the day would come when your parents gave you up to cheat my payment.” Isobel set down her spoon. “Be honest with me, Elias. Would you rather have grown up in that place knowing what you know now? Even as royalty, you would’ve been barely better than a servant.”

He snorted. “I doubt I’d know half the skills I know now if I stayed there.”

They finished their dinner, and he brought her a mug of herbal tea. She watched him as he cleaned the dishes.

“You know, I received word a few days ago that certain groups are beginning to mobilize. They could use a strong fighter. Maybe even a leader.”

Elias’s hands paused and his shoulders tensed. “I don’t want to lead. I just want a fair price for common goods.”

“You could get back at your mothers for what they did.”

With a shake of his head, he said “I don’t have parents, grandma” before getting back to cleaning.

“Just keep it in mind. My contacts told me it’s a sizeable group. Seems like people from all walks of life are sick of the stranglehold Everspire has over the economy. Men and women, elves and lizardfolk. They even have a dwarven clan helping with their weaponry.”

He made a noise of disbelief. “The elves are getting involved? They never get involved in anything.”

“It’s what I’ve heard.”

After a pause, Elias finally said, “I’ll think about it.”


I like the idea of a story where the witch isn't deceiving the hero...

If you're interested in my works, the archive of my various writing responses can be found in my writing portfolio, link through my profile. There's also an original story, The Crossroads.

Thanks for reading.


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j0o7wmp wrote

You guys wanted this follow-up… Fair warning, there’s no happy ending to this one.


Cloudburst knew he should have checked in on Null more often, but the villains had been learning. Ever since Cybertech had rampaged down Richmond Street, things had changed. Attacks near public spaces had become more deliberate. Some went out of their way to have flashy displays. While others began trying to hit major infrastructures.

“That was the third attempted robbery this week.” Freestyle laid his head down on his arms. “Where are they even getting all those weapons?”

Night Wolf nursed a mug of coffee as she asked, “How many casualties this time?”

Cloudburst reluctantly replied, “Not too many, but not zero either.”

“You’re sure we can’t get Null to help out more?” Blaze tapped the tabletop in irritation, his powers causing the surface to sizzle.

Snow Raven shook her head. “No, they’ve got eyes on him now. The last two weeks have only confirmed our suspicions.”

The past few months had been rough. The first time they suspected anything was when a small-time villain blew up a local monument. Despite the chaos and threats of violence, he surrendered when Null arrived. That was when the Supers Collective had begun limiting Null’s activities. Cloudburst and the others had to work overtime to compensate.

“We need a plan, dammit!” Blaze seared a hole into the table. “Anything to slow the villains down! Strike fear into their hearts.”

“Are you hearing yourself?” Freestyle shook his head. “That would go against everything we stood for!”

“And letting so many people die isn’t?”

Cloudburst rubbed his temples as the familiar argument began anew. But before they could start brawling, an alarm sounded.

Night Wolf looked over at the computers. “Another one?”

Cloudburst squinted at the text scrolling past. “No, something’s – ”

An explosion rocked the building. Then, an oversized metal fist punched through the far wall. The impact shook the floor and knocked everyone off their feet. A robotic faceplate peered into the room, one electronic eye scanning them with a red light.

“Supers identified.”

Blaze and Cloudburst recovered at the same time. They raised their hands, sending plasma and lightning leaping through the air.

“Attack! Get outside!” Cloudburst tackled the robot while Blaze dove into its chest.

The construct teetered and fell backward from their combined attack. Screams rang out as the metal frame crashed through a building. The smell of blood filled the air.

“Blaze!” Cloudburst built up energy in his arms and drove them into the robot’s head.

As electricity danced across the machine, Blaze reemerged holding wires and metal. The robot stopped moving, but the damage had already been done. The street was ruined, and several bodies lay beneath the rubble.

Then, a hollow clapping filled the street. “A bit disappointing. I thought my battlebots would have fared better. Oh well. What’s the human term? Quantity over quality?”

Explosions rang out in the distance as two more of the bots crashed through the streets. An android strolled toward them even as the other Supers landed nearby. Only one villain had that sarcastic and inhuman voice.

“Cybertech.” Cloudburst stepped forward.

The robotic villain had been quiet for months. The constant attacks had kept him from thinking about Cybertech much.

“What a shame Null isn’t around. I’m sure his power would’ve been much appreciated right about now. Too bad no one ever thought anything of him.”

Cloudburst felt his heart stop. They know.

“I mean, have you seen the articles of the Sham Hero? That saying really caught on, didn’t it? What was it again? ‘First on the scene, never does a thing’? I can’t even claim responsibility for that one. That was on you humans.” Cybertech opened their arms. “The rest of it was child’s play. All I had to do was manipulate what bits of media he saw and…”

Electricity hissed through the air. Cloudburst accelerated forward and put a fist through the android’s body. Cybertech only laughed in that broken way of theirs.

“Face it, Cloudy. The time of humans is coming to an end. And you Supers will only be complicit.” The android’s eyes dimmed before the body fell limp.

Cloudburst threw it aside in disgust.

“Snow Raven, Freestyle. With me. The rest of you, hold the line until we can bring Null here. We need to stop Cybertech before they destroy the city.”

No one questioned his orders. Almost two dozen Supers leaped through the air to engage a different battlebot. Cloudburst turned to the remaining two.

“Grab ahold.”

“Ah, man. You know I hate traveling like this.” Freestyle complained but grabbed onto Cloudbursts’ hand.

Snow Raven did the same, though the worried look in her eyes did not wane. With a surge of energy, a cage of electricity surrounded them before launching into the air. As they flew, a track of lightning appeared and guided them to their destination. Freestyle let out a grunt as they accelerated. A moment later, they landed near a small ranch outside the city. Cloudburst did not wait for his compatriots to recover as he went and knocked on the front door.

“Null! Are you in there?” A cold feeling filled the pit of his stomach when there was no response.

With a grunt, he kicked open the front door and went inside. It did not take long to find Null. Cloudburst exited the home as the others approached.

“Cloudburst… is he…” Snow Raven seemed as exhausted as he felt.

He shook his head. Freestyle kicked the side of the building with a sharp curse. Snow Raven only bowed her head. Even now, the battlebots rampaged through the city. Bursts of fire and plasma spiraled into the air as Etna and Blaze did what they could. They would not hold long against Cybertech, not while trying to protect the innocents as well.

“He had a wife and child, didn’t he?” Snow Raven looked back toward the building. “Are they also…?”

Freestyle let out a scoff. “You mean you didn’t hear? They got divorced a few months back. She took the kid. Pretty sure she couldn’t handle all the negative press, even if they never knew her.”

Cloudburst blinked, stunned. Null never said anything about a divorce.

Another explosion shook the city, reminding them of what was at stake. Cloudburst took a deep breath and rubbed his stinging eyes.

“We have to get back.” His voice cracked a bit at the end, but neither of the other two acknowledged it.

The mourning would have to wait – Cybertech had made their intentions clear. But even as they flew back toward the fighting, his confidence waned. The world had become a darker place with the loss of his friend.


A few bits of inspiration:

One Punch Man – similar mockery, but Null was not as resilient against the public

codeki’s comment – it got me thinking about how Cybertech was not human and couldn’t care less if there was collateral damage

Ultron – naturally


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j0nocf5 wrote

Basically. It's a pretty shitty lose-lose situation. Either villains know and are constantly gunning for him, or they accept the occasional losses from the common folk messing around with him and pulling stunts like what the police did in this instance. I imagine that drains on him mentally like nothing else and he's probably decently depressed and/or suicidal :/


ShikakuZetsumei t1_j0mc8k9 wrote

Cloudburst hovered above the street, staring down a monstrous tank. Cybertech’s robotic voice echoed out from the vehicle, cold and mocking. Behind it lay a path of ruin. Buildings had collapsed under its twin cannons as it fled from Johnson Research Labs. A few bodies poked out from the rubble. His heart clenched.

“Stand back.” The nearby police officers looked at him in confusion. “The fight could get dangerous.”

Instead of complying, the looks of confusion only intensified.

One officer spoke up: “I thought you could shield us from harm?”

Anger caused his stomach to tighten further. He had to take a breath to avoid lashing out. They did not know that Cybertech was not the only one at fault for the deaths and destruction.

“No,” he replied. “That’s Null’s job.”

There was some murmuring about Null, but some of the officers began backing away. One man’s eyes widened, but there was no time to deal with it. Without another word, Cloudburst rocketed toward the tank. Electricity crackled around his body as he collided with the outer shell. The tank stalled, and a camera turned to face him.

“Ah. Cloudburst. You’re a bit late. It’s been quite a day for the humans.” Cybertech let out a stilted, robotic chuckle. “I forgot how squishy humans were.”

Cloudburst scowled. “Begone, construct.”

He sent a massive surge of electricity through the tank. But Cybertech only laughed.

“The new insulation seems to be working well. Now get out of my way.”

The tank suddenly glowed and Cloudburst found himself jettisoned away from the vehicle.

Panic flooded his mind. No!

But it was too late to change course. He crashed through a building, causing it to shudder. There were screams as people who had not escaped got caught up in the damage.

I need to finish this before it gets any worse.

He reached out and grabbed a steel rod dislodged from the building’s foundation.

“I don’t have time for you today.”

The electric fields in the air distorted, and the rod shot forward with a bang. Cybertech’s tank skidded several feet to the side from the impact. Cloudburst was already on the move, charging up electricity in his palm. A thick bolt of lightning leaped from his hand toward the steel rod. This time, the tank’s lights flickered wildly.

“No… matter…. I’ve already….” Cybertech’s voice box fizzled out and the tank fell silent.

With a sigh, Cloudburst flew back over to the police.

“You.” Cloudburst pointed at the man who had seemed nervous when he mentioned Null. “Where is Null?’

Indignation filled the officer’s face as he realized he had been singled out. “He was hanging around the lab campus, and their security called us to deal with it.”

Cloudburst looked to the other officers. Most of them seemed shocked, but a few looked guilty.

“The Supers Collective will deal with you later.” Cloudburst took another step and repeated, “Where is Null?”

But the officer continued. “We were just doing our job! What’s it matter if that hanger-on wasn’t here?”

“Kemmers! Answer the man now!” His superior officer apparently got fed up with his excuses. “What did you do with the Super?”

Officer Kemmers held fast. “S-Sir! Why are you defending him? Everyone knows he doesn’t do anything. ‘First on the scene, never does a thing.’ It’s all over the news!”

Something snapped, and Cloudburst said, “He’s the reason no one dies whenever we fight!”

He inadvertently let off a crackle of electricity, causing nearby electronics to flicker. The officer paled.

Finally, in a small voice, he said, “He’s in a holding cell at the precinct.”

Cloudburst left in a flash of energy. Moments later, the local precinct came into view.

“Cloudburst?” The officer at the front desk looked up in shock.

“Where are the holding cells? One of your officers arrested Null. Everyone involved in this is now culpable for the resulting deaths and destruction.”

Stunned, the officer could only point to a hallway on the left. Cloudburst strode past the front desk without another word.

“Null!” He kicked open the door to the holding cells to relieve some of his frustrations.

Null looked up as he entered the basement. Even through the mask, Cloudburst could see the bruises beginning to form.

“How many died this time?” Null’s emotionless voice rang out.

Cloudburst shook his head and quickly made his way over to the cell. A quick jolt of electricity unlocked the door.

But Null remained seated. “Sorry I couldn’t get out of here in time.”

“It wasn’t your fault.” The words felt hollow even as he said them.

Null only gave him a sad smile.


Rushed a bit to finish it since I was having lunch while writing.

If you're interested in my works, the archive of my various writing responses can be found in my writing portfolio, link through my profile. There's also an original story, The Crossroads.

Thanks for reading.

(Follow-up Story in Replies Below)