by Vendikarr DeWuff
Jared remembered the voice telling him how he had been chosen to wield the power of the blue scarab, how he had been granted great power to use in the battle against evil. Jared objected to this, saying he wanted nothing to do with the super-hero thing. The voice told him he was brave, honest, and good. He was chosen.
“Damn! Wonder if this is how Carter felt.”
The voice told him about his abilities — the power of flight, great strength, heightened senses, and becoming resistant to injury. The voice also told him that much evil in the world was due to magic. He was now sensitive to magic and immune to the effects of magic. Magic could neither fool him nor harm him.
Then the voice put him to work. He trained, day after day, week after week — or so it seemed. Jared realized now he learned in days what would have taken months due to the voice using his subconscious.
Jared heard a distant rumble and also heard the voice in his head one last time. “Your time here has ended. Your mission begins. Take care and remember — should your heart be corrupted, the power granted you will end, as will your life.”
“Great. Just great,” Jared said. He then heard another rumble and knew the sound was an explosive.
Jared stepped to the stone door and effortlessly pushed it away, flying down the corridor. The exhilaration of flight, to be able to defy gravity and propel himself, made him feel somewhat giddy.
“Oh, yeah!” he screamed as he neared the entrance to the tomb. As he landed, he found a couple of his diggers, including Musaf.
“Musaf, what’s going on?” Jared asked.
“Jared, thank Allah! We thought you were dead, being gone so long without supplies.”
“I’m fine, Musaf. What’s happening here?”
“Yesterday, a troop carrier arrived, began to take the diggers captive. They demanded to know where you were. When we told them you were dead, they started shooting people! We are all that’s left.”
“They’re looking for me? Why?”
“They were sent to find you and the artifacts. When they learned we had recovered no artifacts, they went crazy. We have been hiding here, defending ourselves. But we ran out of ammunition, and they began firing their cannon at us.”
Jared began to move to the opening, and Musaf tugged on his arm.
“We are trapped. There’s nothing we can do. Stay here.”
“Musaf, maybe there is something I can do.” Jared then moved Musaf to the side and flew out of the tomb, the first test of his power waiting for him.
Jared came flying out of the tomb and stopped some twelve feet above the ground. He took a rough count of about twelve men moving toward the tomb, a crew of four at the big gun on the troop carrier, and several scattered bodies, both his men and the mercenaries.
After a few stunned seconds, the mercs opened fire on him. He barely felt the bullets bounce off of his skin.
Jared turned in a downward arc and flew directly at the closest group of men, slamming into three of them, knocking the wind out of them. The others advanced on his position.
After rendering the three unconscious, he ran toward the next grouping. He was dog-piled by the mercs, about six in total. He braced himself and threw the men off of him. His amplified strength caused the men to fly off in different directions, some injured, some unconscious, and some never to rise again.
He stood and turned toward the remaining men. They stopped, dropped their weapons on the ground, and put their hands above their heads.
“Go to the tomb and surrender!” commanded Jared, and the three men ran off toward the tomb.
Jared then took to the air and flew at the cannon. It fired its shell directly at him.
The exploding shell stopped him in midair, and he dropped to the ground. Getting up, he put his hand to his chest and mumbled to himself, “That’s gonna leave a mark.” He took to the sky once again and took out the cannon, grabbing its muzzle and ripping it from the truck.
The men on the truck then raised their hands in surrender.
“Who’s in charge here?” demanded Jared. Two sets of eyes moved toward one man, and Jared advanced on him.
“Who sent you here? You’re too well-armed to be random grave robbers.”
The man stared at Jared and said nothing. Jared took the man and threw him from the truck, the man landing some thirty yards away. Moving toward him, Jared asked again.
“Who sent you?”
The man, now obviously shaken, screamed at him, “Marsh — Gabrielle Marsh!”
Jared looked at the fear in the man’s eyes and knew he was telling the truth. “Damn. Dadnever did know when to take no for an answer.” Turning to the man, he said, “You — run. Tell Marsh I am coming for him.”
“Who should I say is coming? Who are you?”
Jared paused for a minute, put his hand over his right eye where the tattoo sat, and said, “Tell him the Scarab is coming for him.”
The man began to run across the desert, and Musaf came running toward him.
“Musaf, radio the nearest city and let them know what happened here. I have to go.”
“Go? Where are you going?”
“I need to have a talk with Carter.” Jared then launched himself into the air, heading north.