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Excerpt for Resotek Elite: Spite of Theta by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Resotek Elite

Spite of Theta

Prometheus Saga Episode Two

Brett P. S.



Copyright © 2018 Brett P. S.

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.



Table of Contents



CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

EPILOGUE



Chapter 1

I am Many More

Damocles, Gamma’s Capital



Wisps of blackened smoke circled around the villain’s clandestine figure in the heart of his crumbling empire. It ate the metal wires and piping in the throne room; a corrosive force ushered from the depths of Marcus Stanley’s body. He stood resolute, heaving chunks of air while Gamma weathered his stance. Gamma, a resonator supreme, formerly Spectrum, rotten to the core. He’d lost his humanity the moment he fashioned that precious his hard light body of his.

A scar ran across his face from the explosion, healing at a weakened pace from his exhaustion, though swiftly nonetheless. Marcus dug into his overcoat for his gun, for what little it would do. He leveled his sights on the blonde superhuman, chiseled features and a murderous glare. Gamma’s energy swelled around his hand, light waves compounding one after the other until Marcus could no longer stand to stare directly at it. God, it kept growing bigger and brighter. Gamma seethed a guttural growl, clenching his teeth.

“That hurt.” He groaned. “That actually hurt. In ten years, I’ve not once felt this.”

Marcus fired off two shots to Gamma’s skull. The first one ricocheted off his shoulder, but the second round blasted a hole through his skull. Gamma’s head drooped, and he took a knee, though his power continued rising. The light waves compacting, profuse and vibrating, lashed against his skin even from this distance. He laid waste to a continent ten years ago, but this was worse … far worse.

“You can’t win, Gamma,” Marcus said, popping off another shot.

This time, the metals of the bullet broke into pieces and swirled into the maelstrom of Gamma’s light waves. Gamma lifted his gaze, his forehead scabbed up from the wound. He gasped for air as his lungs rerouted through his once shattered nostrils.

“Fool, I vaporize armies with a thought,” he screamed. “No matter your resonance, you came here as one man!”

Time to pull them into the fray. He’d held back long enough. It was foolish to believe he could slay the demon king with a gun. Marcus holstered his gun and tapped into the threads he’d gathered over ten years, fleeting strands of consciousness from every man, woman, and child he’d ever laid eyes upon and more.

He raised his hands and drew them down. He reached for everyone left in this broken world who longed for freedom. On this day, he’d wager it all, and when Marcus felt the first trickle, he knew somehow … that he would not outlast the gamble. Fine. If this was his time, let it be for a world free of tyrants and kings.

“I am not one man,” he said under his breath.

“What?” Gamma shrieked.

“I said I am not one man!” Marcus yelled. “I am so many more. My name is Theta, and through the hearts of all those who cry out for freedom, I am the last man you will ever see.”

“Lies! Words of a dead man!” Gamma shouted, raising his hand as the bulb grew to completion. “Remember you brought this on yourself. You and this wretched world can go straight to hell!”

Marcus swung his hands, dragging them down. One billion voices sang in unison, their psychic energies crushing a god. Gamma reached forward to throw his world ending light wave bomb, only to see the light fade from his grasp. The next steps he took, he did so as a mortal. His wounds no longer healed. His footsteps dragged as he approached Marcus.

“What …” Gamma said, struggling to mouth the words. “What are you doing … to me?”

“You were always afraid that a resonator would take you down, Gamma,” Marcus said. “But this is different, the will of mankind, one billion lives bearing on you with the ferocity of God almighty.”

He raised his gun and strode over to Gamma, his stance wavering. He leveled the barrel in between Gamma’s eyes and looked down on him from above. Gamma snarled, unable to mumble the words to curse him.

“I pity you, you poor monster,” Marcus said. “You never knew love. You never knew weakness. If I should ever meet a lonely creature such as you, best be sure I’ll do the same.”

Marcus pulled the trigger and blasted a hole through Gamma’s hard light skull. He fired again and then some more until he’d emptied his magazine. Shell casings clanged on the scarred floor, and Gamma’s precious hard light body followed with a thud.



Chapter 2

New Monsters

Universe Membrane



Memories of a broken past echoed in the shallow depths of Marcus’ consciousness as he closed his eyes. His mind muddled, he lay beside a monstrous corpse. A body of hard light dissolved from the weakness he’d inflicted with the outcries of millions of voices shouting all at once. What once began as a subtle chain of events spawned a god in human form, a dead god now. Marcus still heard them ringing in his ears.

“We are free!”

The thought strands broke from his tether, released, and scattered to the corners of the globe. Marcus Stanley fell deep inside, dropping into a chasm of cool black, azure clouds misting around him. The flurry broke into a maelstrom, swallowing him whole. This was the heart of his resonance, the final testament of the tired resonator. He struck down a god with one million voices. Marcus relaxed. He was ready for this. He was ready.

Poised to drift into the end of his time on this earth, Marcus struggled to relax. Something wasn’t right. He should be dying. His heart, his mind, his very soul should have eroded from the power he’d levied against Gamma. A human being shouldn’t endure such a feat.

“Why am I …” Marcus said, his voice trailing off into the dark.

He reached up with what he thought were his arms, billowy tendrils of twisting light and shadow that extended beyond the boundaries of his thought prison. Marcus took hold of the portal that loomed on high, a fissure of white light that marked the outside world.

His arms stretched, then shrunk, hoisting him up. Somehow, he knew this realm, though he hadn’t experienced it before. This was his personal domain, a pocket universe created via his resonance. His power rested deep in these blackened depths, connected to something even darker and much more frightening.

The light of the world enveloped him and Marcus broke free, free to explore and brave a vast universe of possibilities and consciousness. His body lay broken, an empty husk devoid of his soul. The throes of physicality and singular form no longer limited him, save for his humanity. That much, he did retain. He would not follow Gamma’s twisted path.

Theta, as he called himself, pushed through the barriers of time and space, a membrane easily permeable for his kind of power. He soared through starlight, encircling Earth in a new glow each time, each pass feasting his eyes on the wonder brought by cosmic beings with horrible intentions. The Architects. Immaterial immortals. He would see to them eventually, although he fixated on one such reality in particular.

“Richard Adamson lived?”

Theta’s consciousness expanded, and he gazed upon this earth from a vantage point capable of viewing many years at once. He looked through decades of time and hardship, saw a once bright young man grow as a hero. In Theta’s timeline, Spectrum usurped Savage Steel. So many differences from a single change. The press of a button caused a sequence of events that rippled through the spectrum of time.

Theta looked on, stretching to see a more complete picture, but the scope of his powers left his vision muddied. He searched the existing timeline for fragments of familiarity to cling to. Beyond the era of Savage Steel loomed … explosive destruction. Violence. Death. Pinnacle spawned hatred and that hatred festered in the visage of one man. Theta gazed upon the face of corruption, the chiseled grin of an overlord who took joy in crushing the skull of his enemy. A city demolished in an instant. A world tethered to his will.

“Magnum.”

Marcus Stanley grinded his ethereal teeth and dove head first into the present. He would put an end to monsters like Gamma, no matter the universe, but he would not murder a man in cold blood. He would strike down this Magnum at his finest, at the height of his power atop his mighty throne. Yes, the time was swiftly approaching when the false son of Magnanimous would answer for his crimes.



Chapter 3

Just Tipsy

Grand Fromage Café, Chicago



Magnum, metallomancer supreme, descended upon Paris, France. His crimson cape fluttered behind him as he touched down on solid ground. The cheers of onlookers surrounded him, hopeful faces mixed in with fearful expressions. Harold Jenkins was his true name, his former title, Inheritance. However, that was a past he preferred buried, save for a few lucky donors at opportune hours.

Magnum puffed his chest out as he strode to the entrance of the Grand Fromage Café, a favorite of Evelyn’s in this city. For the daughter of the richest woman in the world, she could have chosen any location, and Magnum could have made it a reality. This was a joke. It had to be.

Magnum huffed in a puff of air from the summer breeze and pushed open the door, squeezing his chiseled figure through. He glanced to the right and found her, a young woman with rainbow stripes in her hair. She wore a black dress with white frills around the neck and bottom of the garment. Why he paid so much attention, he’d never figure out. Magnum furled his cape around his shoulder and made his way over. He slid into her booth on the side opposite of Evelyn and grumbled.

“I have come as you requested,” Magnum said. “Let’s get this over with.” He raised his hand in a beckoning gesture to the wait staff. “I demand a drink for myself and the …”

Evelyn reached up and grabbed his forearm. Her hand couldn’t wrap the circumference, and her grip felt loose, sloppy. Magnum cocked his head, pausing in mid-speech. He sized her up before he noticed the frothing glass on the table behind her other hand. His keen senses caught a whiff of the beverage. Sparkling cider, expensive, but just soda. Someone must have thought twice before granting Fortune’s daughter alcohol. So old and still coddled like a child. It’s her own fault if she believed the lie though. Evelyn wavered her gaze, looking at him with drooping eyelids.

“You’re late, Harold.”

Magnum scowled the crowd looking at their little spectacle. It was enough to avert prying eyes but not the attention. He returned his gaze to Evelyn.

“I was busy,” he said, gritting his teeth. “A riot broke out on 12th, and I needed to …”

Evelyn cut him off. “Bologna! You have the whole Order for that, but this was our special …”

“Meeting!” Magnum shouted, prying her hand from his arm. “This was our secret meeting. Nothing more.”

“God, Harold, call it what it is. Why are you so afraid?”

“Why don’t you quit your stupor? We both know you can’t get drunk. Your passive defense won’t allow it.”

“I’m not drunk! I’m tipsy.” She paused, then widened her eyes. “Hey, don’t change the subject.”

A cold chill ran across Magnum’s neck. He thought as though he’d heard the air speak. It was as if a voice whispered through the ventilation or the gentle breeze outside their booth window. A resonance user? He sensed no metals in the shape of weaponry within his immediate location. He pressed out with his influence and searched for attackers while feigning interest in their conversation. He glanced outside his window and caught a flicker of azure mist that flew past.

“Harold, are you even listening?” Evelyn shouted. “You made me wait for an hour. My time is valuable! I …”

Evelyn’s words grew quiet. Magnum lurched back, expecting looks that could kill, though when he regarded her, he noted the pale look in her eyes. Her shouldered drooped, her hair changed to pitch black. Magnum grimaced, reached forth, and wrapped his hand around Evelyn’s neck.

He gritted his teeth. “Let her go.”

Evelyn’s face glossed over, and her next words carried a fleeting weight to them.

“You are everything I’ve come to know and more, false son of Magnanimous.” That made him angry.

Magnum squeezed. “Evelyn, throw him out so I can grind him to a pulp.”

“It’s no use,” she said. “I am in complete control. No mind can overpower my dominate will … I …”

For a brief glance, Evelyn’s brow furrowed and a subtle grin bore across her face.

“Harold!” she screamed.

Magnum blinked. The air around him grew cold, and his world fell into a deep, dark pit.



Chapter 4

Beyond Time and Space

Universe Membrane



Magnum rose to his feet, surrounded by a deep fog that blended into pitch black depths. What seemed like sunlight shone against him from a dual perspective, one far behind him, the other some distance ahead. Two orbs of white light, one rising and the other setting.

Magnum breathed in deeply the thickened air. This was no earthly atmosphere. Magnum’s raised his cape and concentrated, lifting his body higher and higher as he counted the wisps that passed him. He searched with a keen eye for the vagrant who trapped him here.

“Let’s get this over with,” he said. “I would draw this out, but in case you haven’t noticed, I have a date with an important woman.”

“You’re as arrogant as you always have been,” the being said. “I’ve seen your past, the atrocities in your name. You’re a murderer, a vigilante, and a tyrant all in one.”

Magnum folded his arms, hovering. “Have we met?”

“No, this is our first direct encounter,” he replied. “My name is Theta. I hail from another world far beyond the scope of your singular dimension.”

“Another Earth?” Magnum paused. “And what brings you to my kingdom? Is there really such a shortage of tyrants that you need to look for more?”

“You don’t even deny it!”

“I don’t need to apologize to the likes of you, boy!” Magnum snapped. “Now, quit your pampered wining, and show yourself!”

Theta materialized a translucent being with soft blue skin. His form rippled and flickered like flames. His suit bore a similar color and glow, akin to the hard light structures Fortune employed. No new tricks so far. Magnum spat down into the dark void that swelled below him and grinned.

“Now, that’s more like it.”

He reeled back and threw a right jab into Theta’s core. He augmented his penetrating power through the shards of metals laced in his vest, but he flew straight through the ephemeral form. Not hard light? Magnum turned to see the form rematerialize in front of him. It never is that easy.

“What is this trickery?” he said, cocking his head. “Some kind of passive defense?”

Theta turned to face him, blue tears flowing from his eyes. “No defense. I am consciousness, expanded and untethered by a physical body, and my next words will be the last you ever hear.” Magnum cocked his head, and Theta raised a hand. “Magnum, false son of Magnanimous, a careless giant in a world of ants. You will kill yourself now.”

Magnum grunted and did as he commanded. His cape flared and broke into hundreds of metallic shards that circled around him in a maelstrom of gold and copper glory. With one stroke of his hand, the fragments solidified into a gilded lance that hung high above his head. Magnum clenched his fist to draw the lance to his neck, and it circled around with vibrant speed.

Magnum watched as Theta looked at him, tears in the boy’s eyes, and in his last moments, it occurred to him that this was no way for Magnum to go. He wanted to do it. It was his idea. It felt like the right action to take, for reasons beyond his ken, but while Harold would have driven the spear through his own neck, Magnum would refuse. And Magnum was the one in control. He opened his fist, the gilded spear inches from his thickened neck, and spoke words not even this petty god could comprehend.

“No.”



Chapter 5

Magnum’s Stand

Universe Membrane



Magnum focused on the metals within his gilded lance, repositioning the tip to point directly at Theta’s incorporeal form. He cast a wicked grin and broke it into hundreds of shards that flowed around his body like reflective spirals in the dark of a void between worlds.

“You dare defy me?” Theta snapped.

Magnum huffed, folding his arms. “Please. I deal with the most powerful psychic in the world before breakfast. You think I wouldn’t pick up a few tricks?”

Theta sized him up. Most psychics browsed unsuspecting minds with no adverse effects. A person generally never knew the difference, unless they looked you in the eyes. Something about the piercing glare spoke of telepathic intrusion. This would be a good test, see how far the little pup digs once he’s found what he wants.

“I see,” Theta said. “You divided your consciousness. You allow a caricature to dictate your actions for you.” His form fluttered. “You know, most people are genuine human beings.”

“Most people would have died. If that little parlor trick is what you call a power, then you’re in for a rude awakening.”

“Enough!” Theta screamed. “In this dimension, I am the master! I hold sway over time and space, and I will bear it down on you, Magnum. Just the same. Just the same!”

Theta’s form expanded into a being comprised of an intense azure mist, enveloping Magnum and his metals, a wall thick enough to block out one of the two suns. They weren’t suns though. Magnum breathed in a cool summer air that flowed through the channels from his right.

Her fragrance was not something he could easily forget. That and the heavy air, the weight against his body. It felt different, lonely, but Magnum had no doubt. This dimension was an aspect of the Primal Verse, a secret realm, a causeway to the next universe and beyond. He steeled himself against Theta’s lashing screams as the cloak of the boy threatened to overtake him. He stood tall, hovering in stillness while Theta swallowed him whole.

A glint in the dark ripped through the mist, puncturing a hole large enough for Magnum to soar through. He flew up to gaze upon the form of the newfound god. Theta reverted to a humanoid form, clutching the tear in his ephemeral cloak. Magnum looked down from on high, watching with glee as the child struggled to come to grips with the unbelievable, that a metallomancer had wounded him.

“It’s not reforming …” Theta’s words trailed off. He cocked his head toward Magnum. “What did you do to me? This … it’s not possible. I don’t even …”

Magnum chuckled. “Incorporeal trash. I’ve dealt with your kind before. You’re still trying to figure it out, so I’ll just tell you.”

Theta leapt at him, and Magnum dodged the first blow. Theta’s form moved like the wind, but Magnum was faster, much faster. Physical body or no, Theta’s abilities were limited to familiarity. Memories of a human body coddled the boy, from the way his arm bent to the swift but predictable pattern of attack.

Magnum soared into the infinite as Theta struggled to keep up. He closed in on Magnum, and with a lashing battle cry, he zoomed in for a direct hit. So predictable. Magnum gathered his resonance into a single shard resting within his hairline and shot true, ripping a second hole through Theta’s form. This time, the shard severed his left arm.

“It’s not my metal that’s cutting you, boy!” Magnum yelled, lashing out strike after strike with a twist of his arm. Sinew and bone his body may be, but Theta’s was resonance. “It’s my force of will!”

Magnum ripped through Theta’s incorporeal misty figure with a single shard, chasing him across this Primal Verse until he barely recognized his features. Theta dropped into the wet basin of the dimension, hurdling up his tattered cloak and torn face. Magnum touched, soaking his boots, a single shard of copper encircling his open hand.

“You glimpsed my atrocities,” Magnum said. “But not what came after, the glory of my true power. Every year dozens of resonance users sign their might away to me on their death beds.” Magnum glanced to his hand, and the shard shot to Theta’s neck. “How long do you think it’d be before someone offered me the power to kill immaterial beings?” He huffed. “Honestly, I’ve forgotten his name, but that’s not what matters. Don’t you agree boy?”

Good. The fear in his eyes said it all. Magnum heaved a sigh as Theta’s form dispersed entirely, the path of a coward. Magnum raised his hand high into the air and focused on the glowing portal ahead of him. Rays of light beat against his chest while a serpent of blue wind encircled him.

“You’ll never return,” Theta said. “I’ll bar this dimension and keep you from ever returning to your world.”

Magnum steadied his thoughts. “You think I don’t know why you separated us? That woman frightens you, doesn’t she?” The wispy waves continued to encircle him. “I wonder how long you would live if I summoned her.”

“You hold no such power, Magnum. I’ve viewed the entirety of your history in an instant. I …”

“Believe what you will. I don’t give a damn, but in case you hold any doubts …” The next words flowed from his lips with a confidence unbefitting of the bold lie it was. “Evelyn Adamson, granddaughter of Savage Steel! I summon …”

Before Magnum could finish his sentence, the brightness of the portal zoomed in and enveloped him in a blinding flash of mist and light. Magnum blinked. The familiar smell of coffee filled his nostrils, and the sight of the woman he’d come to know over his years of service to an ideal greater than any one man filled his body with a calming serenity.

“Took you long enough, Harold.” No respect.



Epilogue



Fears settled in the café while Magnum rested his burly hands on the booth table, setting them around his coffee. Much to his surprise, his battle hadn’t taken place in an instant. During the two minutes he’d been absent, Evelyn had set up her booth with scented candles and designer coffee with etched drawings in the frothy crème. Magnum reached to feel the heat coming off his mug. Still warm. He’d let it wait.

“All sobered up?” he asked.

Evelyn sipped her piping hot coffee. It should have burnt her tongue and more going down.

“I think so. Must have given me the weak stuff. The waitress said coffee helps, so I drank like seven since you phased out.”

“Seven, eh?” Magnum cracked a grin.

That much all at once would damn near put her personality on pins and needles. Thanks to her passive defense, though, the poison never actually hit her system. Her resonance allowed her to regress most bodily conditions to a previous point in time in seconds. Bullet wounds healed instantly, and no alcohol short of paint thinner could give her a buzz.

The woman was immune to any toxin, blunt force trauma, and death itself. The frailness of her ordinary human body belied her extraordinary features. Magnum smiled while he thought it. Could there be something more to her than her powers? He stared harder, scanning her features. Evelyn noticed him after a second and lurched back.

“Harold, what are you doing?”

“I’m looking for something that isn’t there,” he said. “I want to know what makes you special to … a special asset.”

“Listen, just enjoy your coffee. It’ll get cold.”

Magnum huffed and grabbed his mug. He eyed the black liquid and dipped his finger in the mixture to test the warmth. A little hot, but acceptable. He brought it to his lips and sipped a gulp.

“Evelyn, can you sense his presence?”

“Not any more. He’s gone, so far as I can tell.” She paused, setting her mug down. “His name is Marcus Stanley.”

“I remember that name. He works at your school.”

“He died ten years ago. Age related circumstances.”

“Then, it was him.”

Evelyn shook her head. “No, from what I gather, there’s some truth to Theta’s story. This being was not the Marcus we knew, though I suspect we won’t be hearing from either for a long while.”

“You’re reading my mind again, aren’t you?” Evelyn shrugged, and Magnum shot up, rattling the table as he rose. “Whatever I said, disregard it, woman. The primal verse warps a man’s mind, makes him say what he doesn’t mean …”

Evelyn Smiled, touching Magnum’s hand. He froze. “Oh, Harold, it’s the thought that counts.”




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