Other Fan Fiction ❯ KISS Next Generation ❯ The Legend Endagered ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Nothin' To Loose:
by Trynia Merin
Disclaimer: KISS is their own organization. This story is fan fiction, and is not intended to harm. It is the work of a dedicated fan as a tribute to the hottest band in the world. Other characters that appear within are my own creations.
Mona pulled out of her kiss with Tyler, breathing deeply.  Green eyes glanced into hers, deep with the pathos of what she had just told him.
"Which one of us will it be, Mona?" he asked her, his hands gripping hers tightly.  "You've always trusted me before..."
"If I do tell, it might mean the difference between our success here and now, and our failure..." she said slowly.
"Did you tell Elliot and not me?"
"Stop acting like a jealous jerk!" she scolded him.  "I hate this too, but I alone know.  I haven't told Elliot any of what I just mentioned.  I am taking responsibility for keeping it a secret... for I cannot bear to be responsible for any more pain..."
"Whose pain?  Your own or ours?"
"Please... don't say anymore..." she broke away from him.  Another series of images pixilated in her brain, when she felt that silver shimmering encroaching.  Another focal point screamed to get her attention.
"Elliot..." she telepathed.  "Can you hear me?"
"Yes... Mona.  You're afraid of something... aren't you?  Did you have another precognition?"
"The focal point is almost upon us..." she telepathed to him.  "Where are the others?  Peter and Liz are here..."
"Jeannie and I are keeping an eye on Gene and Marcy.  I can sense where Paul and his love are."
"But Ace... where is he?"
"Paul's not certain.  He knows that we are watching.  But he cannot get a psychic lock on Ace that's clear..."
"Wait here," she said to Tyler.  "I need to find Ace..."
"But hey we're not finished talking..." he shouted to her as she broke away.
"Later..." she said, breaking away and rushing into the party.  Tyler sank into the shadows, angry and confused.  Still Elliot's messages buzzed in his thoughts, "What was that all about?"
"Mona had another precog, but she didn't tell you everything," Tyler pathed.  "She says that one of us is going to die... as payment for interfering... what the hell is she..."
"I was afraid of this..." Elliot's path returned.  "Just keep an eye on Peter ok?  I'm gonna try and go after her.  We can't keep secrets from each other..."
"Aren't you the one who's supposed to see the future?"
"I'm psychic, but I'm no precog.  I can read thoughts and emotions, and dreams.  But I cannot tell the shape of things to come unless they are thoughts in the minds of people.  Actual events... that's Mona's realm of the Celestial."
"Great," Tyler grumbled, keeping his eyes fixed on Peter and Liz.

"Mona... we need to talk," came Elliot's mindcast.  "Why did you keep that a secret from me..."
"He told you, didn't he?" she accused.
"Mona... if there is something bad going down, why are you hiding it from us... from me?"
"I can't be responsible for any failures..." she pathed back.  Instantly she closed her mind from his, refusing any further telepathic conversation.  She hated to do this, but the feelings of jealousy she sensed from him and Tyler were too much.  Any disruption could spell the difference between success and failure.  Personal feelings had to be put towards the team effort, not in romantic infatuation.
"Ace!" she called, wandering through the party in her Celestial costume.  She had put it on hoping that she would be more easily accepted as a guest to the party.  Most muttered in appreciation and let her pass without a second thought.
Suddenly she came across Trish, who was sitting in the kitchen with several others.  They were inhaling smoke from strangely shaped cigarettes.  She winced, recognizing the smell of pot.  Her mother smoking pot?  "Hey there, great costume!" Trish grinned.
"Have you seen Ace?"
"He went to the bathroom," she shrugged.  "A few minutes ago..."
"Hey lady, want some grass?" one of the other partygoers asked her.
"No way," she snapped back.  "That shit makes you stupid..."
"Whatever," he muttered, letting her push past him when she shot a disapproving glare at Trish.
"What's her trip?" he asked.
"I don't know.  Strange young lady..." Trish shrugged.  "Since when did a little grass hurt anyone?"

Mona rapped at the door of the bathroom, and there was a faint, "coming," in response.
"Ace... are you in there?  I need to talk to you... it's Moni... I mean Monica..."
"Hey baby... wait a minute..." came his voice, slurred.  She knocked again.
"Are you okay in there?" she asked.  "You don't sound so good..."
"I'm perfect!" came a cackle.  A wave of fear sized her, and she suddenly closed her eyes in concentration.  The focal point was here, just behind this door!
"Ace... I'm coming in,' she whispered, closing her eyes and concentrating.  In the blink of an eye reality faded and reformed in silver glitters.
She saw him standing in front of the vanity, hunched over.  There came an odd sound as if he were blowing his nose.  Glancing around him she saw a small plastic bag, and a few razor blades.  Fear pounded her when she saw the small mound of powder he was deftly chopping into small lines.  Rolling a ten into a small tube, he was inhaling the next line.
"Oh my god.." she got out, standing there in shock.  Still she couldn't believe what she was seeing.
"Hey," he grinned, turning around to look at her, wiping his nose.  "I was just about to open the door..."
"You... you..." she stammered, backing away.
"What's wrong?  If you want some... just let me know..."
"If I want..." she choked, her grey eyes flushed with horror when he held out a hand to her.
"I share with all my friends..." he got out, with another cackle, stumbling as he moved toward her.
"You son of a bitch..." she got out.  "Of all the stupid things to do... why?"
"This stuff is expensive... but I got it on sale... why are you freaked?"
Fear and anger turned to revulsion, hatred.  An angry sob came into her throat as hot tears formed in her eyes.  Slowly she bowed her head, glancing at the silvery boots on her feet that matched his.  Ace through the haze of the snort couldn't understand what her deal was.
"That's not the point!" she whispered.
"What?' he asked.
"That's not the point!" she repeated, voice rising in volume.  "Do you know what the hell you are doing?"
"Of course I do this all the time..."
"That's the problem!" she screamed, grabbing his arms and holding them with such force it made him drop the razor blade and bag of cocaine.  Grabbing it up she hurled it into the toilet and flushed hard.
"What did you do that for!" he snapped.  "That's ten thousand dollars worth..."
"I'm saving your live you idiot!" she shouted.  "Don't you know what cocaine will do to you?"
"Hey, who died and made you queen?" he snapped back.
"You idiot!" she screamed, grabbing his arms and shoving him up against the counter.  "How dare you!  How dare you!  It'll ruin your life!  Everything you love and care about will be sucked up in this shit!  And it'll take more and more to make you happy... till you either loose it all, or die!"
An almost fanatic look burned in her grey eyes, now bright sapphire blue.  "This shit will kill you, Ace!"
"Now wait a goddamn minute, woman!" he snapped back, breaking her grasp.  "Who the hell do you think you are..."
"Someone who thought she loved you... someone who thought you were someone special..." she sobbed, tears flowing freely down silver cheeks.
"What does this have to do with... hey... wait a minute... are you..."
"It's not that!" she spat, backing away as he reached a hand out to touch her face.
"You're creeping me out here..." he shook his head, his patience shot.
"I thought you were someone who cared about me, about yourself.  But all I see is a loser."
"Wait a minute... do you know who I am?" he asked, grabbing her arms and shaking her.  "Stop it now with that trash talk!  I'm lead guitarist for KISS!  You can't talk to me like that!"
"You're nothing but a drug user who doesn't give a shit about anything except his next high.  You're no role model... no hero!!"
"Get away from me!" she shouted, breaking out of his grasp.  He moved before her, trying to stop her in his own anger.
"What are you gonna do when there is no more money and all the coke and booze in the world can't take away the pain?  What then?" she asked.
"That's never gonna happen... I can handle it!"
"No way!  You can't handle it now! Trish deserves far better then you!  If she knew what you really were..."
"What has Trish got to do with this?"
"Everything Ace!" she sobbed.  "As long as you do drugs, you can never have a normal life.  Nobody will ever love you for who you are, because they will hate who you are with this... open your eyes and see what you are!  Before it's too late!"
"Too late?  I thought you were cool!""
" I thought that you were someone I cared about.  But you're nothing but a big disappointment!  A loser!" she screamed, shaking with anger in his grasp, which tightened in his own fury.  Before he could do anything else, she vanished from his grip in an explosion of silver sparks, to appear behind him.
"You're going to ruin everything!  Those drugs will destroy your ability to use your powers!" she added.  "I was wrong to even think you could handle the power of the Talisman.  You might as well kiss Trish goodbye.  Because of your stupid habit she's gonna die!"
Before Ace could react she was gone, running out into the party with tears streaming down her cheeks.  Everyone wondered what the row was about when Ace rushed after her on his platform boots.  Catching his foot on the carpet, he tumbled headlong onto his face with an undignified splat.  People clustered around him when he pushed himself up and shook his head in shock.  The jarring jolt had hit him as effectively as a crash, and the strange feeling of euphoria vanished like melting ice in a hot drink.  He shoved away the helping hands that reached down to help him up, and vanished in a shower of silver sparks.

Just then Trish came to his side, and leaned over him.  Slowly she asked, "Ace, what was that all about..."
"Nothing," he muttered, letting her help him up.  "Just some dumb kid..."
"What dumb kid?  She looked pretty upset.  What did you say to her?"
Ace glanced at her, then blinked.  A haze crept off his brain, followed by a sobering emptiness that spread over his whole body.  Leaning heavily on Trish, he shuddered.
"Ace... what's wrong... you look like you've seen a ghost..."
"I... guess I have..." he shook his head, trying to clear it.  "Those things she said about me... she called me a looser... a nobody..."
"Why would anyone think that about you?" she asked him.
"I dunno.  She just came into the bathroom..."
"What were you doing in that bathroom anyway?"
"Why is it such a big deal?" he grumbled.  "I was just..."
"Getting high?" she asked.  "If you wanted a toke you could have found me..."
"It was just a little snort, that's all.  She saw me doing the lines and she freaked out on me..."
"Oh..." Trish said, and then shivered.  "Well, snort's a pretty heavy thing.  I had no idea you could afford that..."
"What is the big deal?"
"Well... do you know how much it costs?  Liz always told me coke was a lousy deal.  You pay more and more to get high.  She says heroin's much better.."
"And are you some expert now?"
"I don't know that much.  But I do know that coke's not the best thing to get into.  It sucks you down... and you come down really hard..."
"What is this?"
"Just some friendly advice, that's all.  Cigs and pot are one thing, Coke's another.  It's a real pain.  You're better off quitting it while you're ahead..."
"Everyone's a goddamned expert," Ace snapped, breaking away from her.
"Look Ace, if you're using it, it's not my place to tell you to quit.  But I know that I don't wanna be wrapped up in the deals you'll have to make.  Or around you when you come down off it.  Cause you are gonna come down.  Hard.  I know... cause I tried it..."
"You did?"
"Yeah.  Good thing Liz and Karen were there.  It was not worth it... for the buzz you get the fall is much worse... I was a basket case for days... because I couldn't afford more, and I knew it.  Why do you think I'm so into cigs?"
Ace shook his head.  One mainstay of his world seemed to be buckling in.  He had assumed since Trish had smoked pot a few times that she would naturally want to sample other pleasures.  Could it be that what that crazed girl said was true?
"Why don't we get some air... it's kinda stuffy in here..."
Ace let her take him by the arm and lead her away as the emptiness spread from within.

Two figures straightened their bluejean vests, and glanced at each other before they walked toward the hotel.  They joined the cluster of KISS army fans and groupies who had congregated outside the large lavish apartment complex that they knew KISS had just walked in to.
"They are in there rubbing elbows with the big time," Darryl said excitedly to Sean.
"Yeah!  I bet they're sealing the deal with Ezrin now!  This is so exciting..."
"Wonder what the heck happened to those two gals we picked up at the concert," Darryl wondered, brushing a lock of blond wavy hair out of his face.  He pulled down his black t shirt with the white and silver KISS logo on it while Sean adjusted his Rock and Roll over t shirt.  One of the girls had painted her face exactly like Peter, and they peered past her to get a glimpse of the tv cameras gathering outside the swanky entrance.
Sean held up a banner that the two had made, with the portraits of all four members carefully rendered in homemade paint.  Darryl held up a pair of binoculars, glimpsing a shot of the Hollywood types on the rooftop garden.
"Hey, if we go to the top of that hotel over there, we can get a better view of the guys!" Darryl nodded, pulling Sean's arm.
"But what if KISS come out..."
"Are you nuts?  They'll probably be eating up all that schmoozing!  C'mon already!"  Darryl said, dragging his buddy away.
"What the hell is that?" Sean asked, pointing to a dark shape that drifted over the moon.  He grabbed the binoculars from Darryl, and lifted them to his eyes.
"Hey, what are you..."
"I saw it again!  It was like a large bat shape..."
"C'mon this is real life!  Not Gotham city!" Darryl groaned, and snatched the binoculars away.  Holding them up to his eyes he saw something flash past.
"You see it?"
"Whoa!" Darryl gasped.  Both boys rushed out to follow the progress of the strange object circling the top of the tower before coming in for a landing.  They glanced up anxiously when they saw more of them suddenly appearing.
"Get a load of that..." Sean pointed to a bright light that suddenly flared from the top of the building.  Like a purple wave it drifted out over the city, painting everything in brilliant violet for a second.  Suddenly they noticed a red flare to their left.
"Darryl... what the hell is that?"
"More of KISS' special effect maybe..." Darryl shrugged.
"Let's check it out..." Sean muttered, tugging his arm and leading him toward the hotel.  At that moment one of the security guards had stepped aside, and both guys managed to sneak through the revolving doors.  Their friends gave them the thumbs up sign before Sean and Darryl entered the lobby.

Marcy's eyes opened as she peered past Gene's cloud of frizzy black hair.  She shivered in his arms, pulling away from him.  Dark eyes held questions when they regarded the confused look in her green ones, "What's wrong babe?"
"I could swear I saw a red flash... a red ball of light.  Is that One of your new powers Gene?"
"I don't think so," Gene muttered.  By now she was dressed in a borrowed KISS t shirt the guys had sent for, with a pair of Gene's blue jeans rolled up several times, and her stiletto heeled shoes.  Karen had fetched the clothes quickly for Marcy a few minutes ago, hastily turning away.  As Marcy slipped into the clothing in front of Gene, Karen threw her a thumbs up and a wicked grin.
"Hey..." Gene grinned, and pulled her face toward his again.  Their lips met in the dark, but Gene stiffened this time when a crimson flash lit up the light as bright as day.
"Holy..." he muttered, taking his lips from Marcy's.
"You saw it too, didn't you?" she asked.  Gene's arm slipped around her waist, drawing her to his side protectively.
Suddenly Paul and Karen joined them, hands clasped.  Paul's cloud of frizzy hair was mussed, as was Karen's.  Apparently Marcy and Gene were not the only ones up to hanky panky.  A healthy blush filled Karen's face, her lips bright red.
"You guys saw it too?" Karen asked them.
"Yeah..." Gene muttered, glancing at an anxious Paul.
"Something really weird is going on here..." Paul muttered, mahogany eyes flickering back and forth.  His hand tightened around Karen's when he pulled her closer to his hip.  Their arms slipped around each other's waists.
"Maybe its one of our alien friends..." Gene wondered.  "Checking up on us?"
"Elliot?" Paul mindcasted.  "Is that you?"
His eyes flared purple, and he read the response seconds later, "No... we just saw it too.  Be on your guard... the source was not from any of us..."
"Paul..." Karen stammered.
Just then they were joined by two teenager.  Tall dragon boots almost identical to Gene's glistened spectrally in the lights of the house, widening up to a pair of black spandex legs protruding from a short chainmail halter and spiked Destroyer Armor.  Instead of a batwing cloak, her shapely shoulders were enclosed in a long black caped lined with red silk.  Green eyes fell upon Paul and Karen from behind a reddish black bat design, her long tongue licking blackened lipstick.  Next to her appeared a young man, his smooth chest visible under the fairytale jacket belted with a star shaped buckle.  His wavy hair blew lightly in the breeze, onyx black eyes as dark as midnight with no stars.  Eerily he looked as if he could be Paul's brother, except his muscled chest had little hair on it in comparison. His lips were wider, his face a little fuller then Paul's.
"Fans?" Marcy wondered.
"You are in danger..." Elliot said ominously.  Midnight eyes fixed into theirs.
"What the hell..." Karen asked.
"IT's about to happen... I can feel it..." Elliot added.
"Excuse me, but who are these people?" Karen asked.
"What is about to happen?" Marcy demanded.
"The thing we warned you about.  Might I suggest you have your girlfriends join the others inside?" Jeannie asked.
"Who are you?" Marcy demanded.
"Gals, this is Elliot and Jeannie... or that's what they call themselves... they're the ones who gave us the Talismans... and taught us to use our powers..." Paul clarified.
"You're the space aliens?" Trish suddenly asked, striding up hand in hand with Ace.
"Yep, that's 2 of them," Ace cackled.  "Where are your friends?  In the spaceship or something?"
"You're kidding!  They look like KISS fans!" Marcy laughed.  "This is some joke, right?"
"I wish it was," Jeannie sighed, a pair of dragon green eyes fixing sadly into Marcy's.  "Believe me..."
Something about that look seemed infinitely sad, as if the young woman had seen some terrible tragedy that was on the tip of that long tongue.  Strange to think there was someone else in the human race that had a similar attribute to Gene's.  Even though she wore seven inch platforms, without them she would still be a very tall woman, at least 5 foot eleven.
"So you are really from outer space?" Marcy lifted an eyebrow.  "I find that difficult to believe somehow... you seem too familiar..."
"We chose an appearance that would be acceptable to your eyes," said Elliot, glancing at Karen.  A warm smile came over the once serious face.  Karen noticed how much nicer it was when he smiled, and wondered why he seemed so serious till then.
"Where are Liz and Peter?" Jeannie suddenly asked, glancing at Elliot.
"I dunno... they were going for a stroll in the park..." Ace shrugged.
"We must get them here now!" Jeannie said sternly.
"Leave that to me," Paul nodded at Elliot.  Onyx eyes stared into an imperceptible dimension, glowing lavender.  Paul's eyes glowed deep purple, as Star child and Star Bearer reached out with their powers.

"Peter!" spoke Paul's voice just behind Peter's ears.
"Damn!" Peter grumbled, pulling away from Liz' chest.  She fastened her gown again, and looked at him with question in her eyes.
"Peter... is something wrong?" Liz asked.
"Paul... you'd better have a damned good reason for this!" Peter spoke to the empty air.
"Something's going down, and we need you guys up here!" came the voice in Liz' head this time.
"Paul... that's groovy how you can speak in our minds..." Liz said to the night, strangely accepting this mental cast.  Peter shook his head.  For him it was damned eerie.
Suddenly Mona stepped out from behind the bushes with Tyler, coughing as they regarded the couple.   Peter snorted with disgust while Liz gave a chuckle.
"Admirers?" she asked.
"No, these are two of those alien kids who gave us the talismans!  Man, you have lousy timing..." Peter snapped.  "Can't you wait?"
"On the contrary, we are just in time," said Tyler.
"I'm sorry Peter," she apologized, blushing behind the makeup she was glad hid her flushed cheeks.
"Hey, don't worry little girl... it's okay..." Peter held up his hand.  Liz sensed the awkwardness between them and wondered if something had happened between the two she was not privy too.
"Mona, if you'll get them up there?" Tyler asked her, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
"Right on it!" Mona nodded, jerking her thumb.  Suddenly the world exploded into silver sparklers as Peter and Liz were transported in the blink of an eye.
On the terrace twelve people regarded each other with confusion.  "So were' all here, now what?" STAN asked.
"You must ready yourselves..." said Jeannie.  "It's about to happen, guys..."
"What?" Trish asked.
"D day," Mona whispered.
"You gals had better get inside," Jeannie said.  "Come with us..."
"Is that a good idea?" asked Elliot.
"It's part of the pattern!" Mona nodded.
"What pattern?" Trish demanded.  "Someone tell me what the hell is going on?"
Suddenly the sky exploded in silver bands, a blast of wind cutting them down.  Trish shrieked as she was thrown into Ace.  Paul sensed the presence of many minds, buzzing with desperation.  All around them appeared figures wrapped in bits of plastic and leather.  Their goggled faces fixed firmly on the twelve, glancing at the women with interest.
"We've found the meddlers!" said one who appeared to be Leader, raising a skeletal hand encased in leather and spikes.
"Leave us alone!" Mona cried.
"What do you want?" Gene asked them.
"The talismans!  You must give them to us... and perhaps you will not get hurt..." the Leader said, its face hidden behind a metallic faceplate, complete with goggles.  Was it a gas mask it was wearing.
"And you are..." Paul asked, hand on his hip.
"We are Destroyers and Reformers..." they all chanted slowly.  "The Destroyers of the Old order, and the Re-creators of the new..."
"So are we," Ace laughed.  "Go figure!"
"Shut up Ace!" they all groaned.
"We're KISS," Paul said.  "And now that we've introduced ourselves, just why are you here, again?"
"So... will you make this easy and surrender the Talismans, or will you do this the hard way..."
"Well.. Let me put it this way.  KISS never does things the easy way.  So you just try and take them," Gene growled low in his throat.
 "What would you possibly want them for?"
"To survive," the Leader said, voice tinged with regret.  "You must surrender them at once.  There is not much time!  Give them to us now!"
"Oh yeah, well there's a problem," Peter said, striding up before them.  "Cause KISS doesn't take orders..."
"Especially from freaks in costumes that look weirder then we do," Gene added.
"Maybe we should listen to them Gene... they look stone cold serious... I don't think..." Paul suddenly said, feeling waves of great regret and desperation coming from all the suited figures.
"Well, if that is your answer... let me make it clear.  If you do not surrender the talismans, we will kill your women..."
Guns raised to cover the girls of Sweet Revenge.  Marcy gasped, feeling Gene's grip tighten on her.  Karen opened her mouth to scream in fear and shock, while Liz and Trish simply stared in disbelief.
"You wouldn't..." Ace gasped.  "Are you the enemies of them?"
"They are meddling in Fate!" the leader snapped, pointing to Jeannie.  "I don't know what they've told you, but we need the Talismans far more then you!  If we can't have them... then we will kill you all!"
"Try it, jerkwad!" Peter snarled, eyes glowing green.
"Get them out of here!" Jeannie shouted to Mona, who was standing nearest to Karen and Liz.  "Teleport now!"
Mona jerked her thumbs and Liz and Karen vanished from view.  Before she could repeat the gesture a beam sizzled past her, disrupting her concentration.  Tyler threw himself into her, knocking her clear as another beam singed past them. Together they rolled over and over.  Without thinking Jeannie pounced on the strange figure who called themself Leader, hissing and spitting.
"You cannot change the shape of things to come!!" the Leader snarled, cuffing her in the face.
"If it's a choice between your world and mine... I choose mine!" Jeannie roared, a blast of fire slamming into the face of the Leader.
"Dragon Woman, you will regret those words!" the Leader hissed behind its mask, cuffing her under the jaw with a rifle butt.  Dragon Lady was knocked backwards.  Elliot, the Star Bearer, jumped to break her fall automatically.
"What now?" Paul asked.
"Get them!" Elliot said.  "Now is your chance..."
"The women..." Paul got out.
"We'll protect them..." Elliot pathed back.  "Keep these jerks distracted..."
"Ace.." Trish gasped, as she and Karen were backed away by Elliot, who had just moved before them.  Tyler stayed near a stunned Mona, who was shaking her head.  Jeannie soared over the heads of the line of mutants that suddenly cut Elliot off from the door.  She bracketed the two ladies on the other side.
"Ace... someone!" she shouted.  "Get the women out of here!"
"I can't think..." Mona gasped, shaking her head.  "My head's full of cotton!"
"Easy baby... calm down..." Tyler whispered, helping her up.  Black claws slashed in glistening arcs at the Destroyer that sprang from one side.  His high kick slammed into another.
"Ace.. Look out!" Trish screamed, getting away from Elliot and Jeannie.  Both struggled to bat back their attackers.
"Wait..." Elliot shouted.  Ace had been hemmed in on two sides by attackers, struggling to think of what to do first.  Should he fight or just teleport.  Jerking his thumbs he vanished to materialize next to Trish.
"Hey, they said to get you out of here!" he cackled, wrapping his arm around her and hugging her close.
"Surrender her at once..." came a hissing voice.  Both stared into the strangely shaped weapons pointed at them.
"Those are some major freaky ray guns..." Ace muttered.
"And they are pointed at us..." Trish gasped.
"Ace!" Paul shouted.  He whirled, his sight fixing them in an angry stare.  A pencil thin beam of energy skittered across the patio, sizzling into the attackers.  They dodged out of its way.
"Hold on, baby," Ace whispered, picking up Trish.  She felt a quick snatching sensation as reality vanished and reformed.  Inside she felt ill, holding to him around his neck.
"You... you just..."
"Teleported.  Isn't it cool?" he laughed.
"You saved my life... you're a hero..." she gasped, and pressed a kiss to his surprised lips.
"Ace, get her out of here!" Paul shouted or him.  Nodding, he jerked his thumbs and both he and Trish vanished.
"Stupid fool... he forgot Liz..."
Meanwhile Gene spewed a blast of fire towards the group that cut off the exit. Jeanie's group was surrounded by a ring of fire.  Grabbing Liz she flipped over the fire unharmed.  The fire dispersed, Elliot seemingly vanishing before the eyes of the mutants who raised their weapons.
"You can't fight what you can't see..." he whispered.  Paul's laser zinged past, hitting their guns with pinpoint accuracy.  Gene's blasts of fire singed soon after.  However the strange plastic seemed resistant to his fire when the mutants turned to face him and Paul.
"Uh oh..." Paul muttered. "Any other bright ideas, Gene?  They're not afraid of fire..."
Ace appeared again, without Trish.  "Who are these guys?" he shouted to Mona and Tyler.  Peter now jumped to their defense, a snarling spitting mass of energy that slashed and batted their attackers back.
"The mutants from the f... I mean the Destroyers!" came Elliot's mindcast.  "You must not let them get the women..."
"I can't teleport..." she gasped with disgust.
"Don't worry, there's more then one way out of this..." Tyler said.  Picking her up he backed towards the edge of the patio.
"Don't be stupid," said one of the other mutants, who was the Second Destroyer.  His costume was composed of many small pieces of leather stitched together with shoelaces.  Here and there were bits of chainmail, composed of the tiny rings from pull tab soda cans.
"Ty..." she got out.
"Hang on, Mona..." he whispered, throwing her onto his back.  He let himself climb over the railing, and drop out of sight.
"Stupid fools..." Second snorted in disgust.  "They sacrifice their lives in vain..."
"Oh yeah, you'll be joining them next, jerk!" Peter shouted, cannoning into Second.  They spun over, both grabbing the edge of the wall at the last minute. Peter's claws dug into the cement, while the spiked gloves of Second clung just as effectively.  With platform booted feet Peter kicked sharply into his knees. Paul's laser zinged past the Leader, who had reached the door to the party.  Already people within had turned to see what all the commotion was about.  Gene lay down a wall of fire, separating the Leader and two other Destroyers from the party within.
"Uh uh, we leave the peanut gallery out of it!" Gene laughed.
"Fools, you only delay the inevitable!" Leader hissed in anger, turning to face Demon and Starchild.
"What is your deal?" Paul asked them.
"If they succeed, we will die!" Leader hissed.  "They are not aliens... they are from your future..."
"What?" Gene asked.
"Are you kidding?" Ace asked, suddenly reappearing again.
"They lied to stop you from knowing the truth... we are the future.  And if you keep the talismans the women must die!"
"Why?" Paul asked.
"There will be a great catastrophe that destroys your world.  But it must happen, so that we may live.  Mankind cannot stop it from happening, and it must adapt to survive.  WE wear these suits... to filter the radiation that keeps us alive.  If we had your Talismans, it would give us enough energy to live..."
At that moment, a cloud of smoke exploded in a blinding flash.  Paul and Gene blinked, looking around one minute, and feeling something slam into them the next.
Ace flung his arms wide, eyes flaring bright blue.  Around him the air crackled and hissed as a blue lighting surged between his fingertips.  It zipped from his hands to the two Destroyers attacking the blinded Gene and Paul.  Two strokes sizzled in the gap of contacts, knocking them flat.
Peter helped Gene and Paul to sit up, as they all glanced around for Leader.  "Shock me!" Ace cackled, singing his celebrated song.  "And make me feel better!"
"Hey, where's leader?" Gene wondered.
"You'll not be around enough to find out!" shouted a voice from the side.  Again they were surrounded by more suited figures who appeared out of nowhere.  Second raised his gun to cover KISS.
"Now... where were we..."

Mona clung to Tyler's neck as he climbed down the building.  It was a hell of a trust issue, and she felt her head clearing in the fresh night air.
"Not far now baby," he said to her.  Neither noticed as Leader swung past them into the nearest window.  That thin cable rapelled her down with complete silence.

Darryl and Sean managed to bluff their way through the lobby, although they were almost knocked over by the rush of suits tumbling out of the elevators.
"What's going on?"
"Some terrorists have crashed the party," one gowned woman said.  "Security's sending us down..."
"Where is KISS?"
"Trapped up there..." the woman panted. Sean looked to Darryl, whose eyes widened.
"Hear that?" he asked.
"C'mon... that one elevators just opening..." he said, jerking his friend's hand as they leapt in at the last minute.  Before the security guards could stop them, the doors clanged shut.  Sean stabbed the button for the up, and they felt the elevator lurch under them.
"What are you doing?" Darryl asked him.  "Are you nuts?"
"If KISS is in trouble, as loyal members of the Army, it's our duty to help them!" Sean said, tugging on his vest.
"Are you freaking out man?  What the hell are we gonna do?"
A ding made them both jump, and the double mirrored doors slid open.  They gasped at the crowd of people rushing away towards them.  Sean and Darryl fought their way against the tide of escaping partygoers.
"Man this is just like that concert!" Darryl groaned.
"C'mon... I hear shouts coming from that direction..." Sean urged, elbowing through the sea of shouting screaming celebs.  Till they stopped short.  Both recognized the girl in Demon costume who stood near four gowned women.
"That's the chick from the concert!" Darryl said.
"But who is that clown with the gun?  The terrorist?" Sean asked, stopping him from moving.
"Oh man... but where is KISS?" Darryl asked.
Inside the party, Elliot and Jeannie herded the people together.  "You've got to stay here!" he shouted, lavender energy flashing into the eyes of the startled party guests.
Jeannie glanced anxiously, pushing Marcy into Karen accidentally.  Marcy grabbed Jeannie's arm, asking, "What is this all about?  Why do those mutants...those Destroyers... want to kill us?"
"They're desperate," Elliot shook his head.  "They want the Talismans for their own evil purpose.  They will stop at nothing to get them..."
"But they seemed almost sad... like they didn't want to do whatever it is they had to..." Liz said slowly.  "Are you sure they are the enemy..."
"Would it be so bad to give them the talismans?" asked Trish.  "I mean... they said something about needing them to survive..."
"We must not let them get the Talismans..." Elliot said ominously.
Suddenly the windows imploded, sending a million shards of glass streaming into the window.  Jeannie threw herself over Marcy and Karen, while Elliot pushed Trish and Liz to the shag carpet.  Shaking glass off her head, Jeannie lifted it to peer into Leader's face.
"Enough... step away from the women..."
"You won't kill them!" Jeannie hissed.
Darryl and Sean slowly began to creep forward, wondering if they could somehow help.  Suddenly they felt hands grab them from behind. Shouting they were thrust into the large sumptuous sitting room.
"Let us go you creeps!" Sean shouted, struggling and kicking.
"What are you guys doing here?" Jeannie groaned.
"Trying to help you guys..."
"Who are those fools?" Leader asked, her head turning. The momentary distraction was all Star Bearer needed.  Elliot rose, his eyes gleaming lavender.  A bright beam zinged into Leader's hand, knocking the gun from it.
"Back off..." Elliot shouted.  "Next time I'll not miss!"
"Elliot... wait..." Karen said, raising a hand.  Jeannie tugged her down, and indicated the two KISS fans.
"Let them go..." she growled.  "Or I barbecue you..."
"Sure... why not.  Release the brats..." Leader said.  Both guys rushed away from their captors, joining Jeannie and Sweet Revenge.
Leader reached up, and pulled off her mask, revealing a red skinned face, and yellow eyes that gleamed feral.  Wispy blond hair framed her face, her skin scaley and spectral.  "You fool... don't you see that we are the next step in human evolution?  Would you deny us the future for your own selfish whims?"
"What do you mean?" Karen asked.
"These children... they are from your future," Leader said sadly, while Elliot fixed her in a stern gaze.  "They are trying to erase the past... our past.  If they are not stopped, we will cease to exist..."
"Is this true?" Trish asked.  "Are you a temporal paradox?"
"Yes... and that is why we must either have the Talismans... or kill you or KISS... if you are together... then we will die..." Leader said.
"Why?" Trish asked.
"In fifty years, an asteroid will hit Earth.  A satellite will try to stop it.  Even that is futile, for the spacecraft that will try to knock it out of orbit explodes, detonating its radioactive fuel over Earth.  A thousand little missiles rain on Earth... and cause untold millions to die.  In effect Earth has a nuclear winter.  But there are enough people who survive in underground shelters, because they knew the asteroid was going to hit.  However enough of the radiation filters into their drinking water and supplies.  Their bodies grow accustomed to the radiation after months underground.  When they reemerge, they start to mutate naturally over the course of time.  Mankind survives because it adapts, and requires the large amounts of ambient radiation to live."
"But how could you mutate?" Trish asked.
"By the power of the Talismans..." said Leader.  "Scouting parties found the Talismans in a basement.  They were fixed in the power, and changed to survive.  Taking these ancient objects to the others... we used the powers within to change our bodies.  Slowly the mutations began to happen."
"So that's why you want them?" asked Liz.
"Yes.  But these children stole them from their time.  Before they were to have been found by the first survivors.  That is why we came back... to make sure that KISS keeps the Talismans..."
"But why are you asking for the Talismans then?"
"To keep them safe for KISS.  And to make sure that you don't remain with KISS.  Because if you do... the chain of events that created our world will not happen.  You see... you women must pursue your own destinies.  If you remain with KISS there is a chance the roles you play will be detrimental..."
"Aren't you screwing things up by telling us what's gonna happen?" Trish asked.
"You always comprehend, Writer.  But you must learn to tell this tale so the shelters will be built.  And you Marcy, must follow your dream to be a geologist...and convince NASA to chart asteroids, and ways of deflecting them..."
"How did you know I wanted to be a geologist?" Marcy asked.
"You and KISS cannot both share the spotlight for long.  Sooner or later one of you will be the most popular band in the Word..."  Leader said.  "KISS must share the spotlight alone... while you go on to live the lives separate from rock and roll..."
"I'm sick of this!" Elliot shouted.  "If things happen this way, then my parents will die!  How can you justify killing millions of people when they could stop the asteroid from hitting..."
"There is no stopping it... child," Leader sighed.  "Even if the course of this asteroid is diverted, another has a high probability of hitting... mankind must evolve or die..."
"But why kill us if you can't have the talismans?" Marcy asked.
"Because... if you die, KISS will be even more determined to live on..."
"But the way you have things KISS goes into obscurity... you are wrong!" Elliot shouted.  "They don't remain the hottest band for long..."
"Enough..." Leader said, and suddenly pulled a pistol from behind her back.  A shot blazed toward Marcy, whose eyes widened in fear.  They didn't notice Sean who had crept up behind Leader, unseen by the others.
At the last minute, Elliot threw himself before her.
"Elliot! My god no!!!" Jeannie screamed.  A laser beam slammed into him, knocking him over.  Jeannie flew to catch him, only to be slammed with a laser in the stomach.  Her armor deflected most of the blow, making a lethal blow a stun.   Sean grabbed Leader from behind, pinioning her arms while Darryl grabbed her gun.
Marcy leaned over Elliot, propping his head up as Karen rushed to find a phone.
"Stay there, jerk!" Darryl said.  "Nice and easy now..."
Jeannie huddled on the floor, whispering desperately to Elliot on her knees.  She fought back the pounding fear as she grabbed his hands.  "Come on now... stay with me..."
"Jeannie... that was a very stupid thing to do..." he whispered.
"Elliot... you're gonna be ok..."
"I called 911..." said Karen, rushing back.
"Is he okay?" Marcy asked.
"Oh shit... oh no..." Jeannie gasped, cradling him in her arms.
"What do we do about this chick?" Sean asked.
"You cannot stop me... even now KISS will be defeated..." Leader laughed sadly.
"Aw, shut it!" Marcy snapped.  Angrily she pulled back her fist, and sent it cracking into Leader's jaw.
"Why did you do that?" Trish asked.
"You see what she did to that young man who tried to save me?" Marcy asked, broiling with anger.  A hacking cough made them jump, and rush back to where Jeannie huddled over Elliot.  Blood dribbled down his white painted chin, over his smooth chest.  Liz moved to tie up Leader, with Darryl while Sean rushed over to him.
"Paul?" he asked.
"No... not Paul... it's Elliot..." Jeannie gasped.  "C'mon... don't die on me!"
"Jeannie... you... always were over dramatic..." he whispered, looking weakly up at her.
"You saved my life..." Marcy whispered, holding his hand.  She dabbed at the blood, helping Jeannie to support him.
"I saved the future..." Elliot whispered.
"Oh man, are you okay?" Sean asked, leaning over him.
"No... it's not long before I... I... I'm so cold..." Elliot answered, his eyes fixing into Sean's.  Someting silent pased between the two men, and Sean's eyes widened in wonder.
Karen threw a blanket over him, as Liz rushed towards the Phone.  She dialed again, her anxious voice speaking into the phone.  Trish stood numbly by.
"What about the guys..." she asked.
"Stay here..." Marcy said sharply.  "These gals are trying to save us..."
"Elliot... don't leave me..." Jeannie whispered, as his breath rasped in his chest.
"Oh man..." Sean gasped, moving closer to lean over Elliot.  "They wasted you... those SOB's..."
"Not much time... still a chance..." Elliot said, fixing him in a firm gaze.  Momentarily his eyes glowed lavender.  Again Sean felt his body freeze as invisible waves of power passed over him.
"Stop... save your strength..." said Jeannie, shaking him.
"Too late for me... but not for you.  Stop them... save the future..." Elliot whispered, his breath as weak and faint as dead air on her cheek.
"No..." Marcy gasped.
"Elliot... dammit don't you dare leave me!" Jeannie growled, shaking him.  Slowly he leaned up, and brushed his lips to hers.
"Let me breath my last breath into your mouth..." he whispered.
"Shut up!" Jeannie whined.  "Stop it!"
"So cold... Jeannie... keep me warm... No... don't grieve... there is a second chance... for those that believe in the Legend... because... legends never die..." he whispered, and she cuddled him close on her knees, hugging him to her body.  As if to stop the encroaching cold.  Marcy felt his temperature vanish under her own hand.  Liz returned to find the others clustered around the fallen boy, anxious eyes fixed into each other's.  They watched as his eyes rolled into the back of his head, and his body arched into Jeannie's arms.  The next second he went limp.
Silence ensued, thick and tense.  Jeannie listened at his chest, gasping as she lay him down.  Marcy felt in his neck for a pulse.
"Oh no... no...." Jeannie gasped.
Marcy tipped his head back, and breathed into his mouth.  Jeannie pressed down on his chest, compressing it.  "C'mon baby... don't leave yet..."
"One and two and..." Marcy said.
"Oh man..."
"Guys..." Sean gasped, snapping out of his odd trance.  "Is he..."
"Don't say it..." Liz nudged him.
"C'mon... breath Elliot... breathe!" Jeannie cried, continuing to compress his chest as Marcy breathed into his mouth.
"Guys... don't... it's too late..." said Trish, leaning on Marcy's one side.
"Shut up!" Karen shouted at her.  For a long time it seemed like they worked on him.  Tense minutes stretched into a half hour.  Sean and Darryl looked on, wondering what they could do.  Why did his head suddenly buzz, Sean wondered.  Strange nightmareish images moved in the back of his thoughts, and it took all his concentration to blot them out.  Through the shattered window Tyler swung, with Mona in his arms.
"Who the hell..." Darryl got out.  "Hey wait... you're from the concert..."
"Elliot... oh my god!" Mona got out, leaping from Tyler's arms.
Both rushed over to their fallen friend.  Jeannie was working on him frantically trying to beat life into his still cold body.
"Oh man..." Tyler gasped.
"No..." Mona gasped, dropping to her knees.  Tyler gripped her shoulders tightly.
"Elliot..." he gasped.
"Jeannie... it's no use..." Mona whispered, laying a hand on her shoulder.
"Elliot... speak to me... wake up!" Jeannie urged.
"It's too late..." Tyler shook his head.
"No!" Jeannie shouted. Marcy moved back with the others in sweet revenge, feeling as if they were intruding.
"He's dead..." Mona sobbed, tears dripping down her silver painted cheeks.  "Oh God... he's gone..."
"Shut up!" Jeannie cried.  "Elliot..."
"It's no use..." Mona repeated.  "He won't wake up..."
"But the paramedics..." Liz said.  Suddenly into the room burst several people carrying a stretcher.  They moved towards Elliot, to join Jeannie.
"He's over here..." Trish indicated.  Instantly they swarmed around Elliot, pulling out their equipment.  Marcy grabbed Jeannie's shoulders and tugged her away from Elliot.  Tyler moved Mona away from them as well.
"Let them work on him..." Marcy urged her.
"Elliot... Elliot!" Jeannie cried, breaking free of Marcy's grasp.  She moved to the side.  Darryl and Sean turned to the fallen Leader, only to find that she had vanished in the confusion.
"Shit..." Sean muttered.  He glanced back at the crowd buzzing around Elliot.  They were packing up their equipment.
"I'm sorry..." came the voice of the paramedic.  "He's gone..."
"Elliot!!!" came Jeannie's loud cry that split their ears.  "NOOOOOOOO!"
Fate had exacted its price.  Everyone felt the passing of something, the slow silence of desperation turned to despair.  Nothing would be the same.  Or would it?  Sean felt the whispering in his mind, and knew that this was only the beginning.
"Legends never die..." it repeated softly in his brain.  "As long as there are those that believe in them..."
"Legends," Sean muttered, and numbly followed Darryl and the others out to meet KISS on the patio.  His steps seemed to move of their own will, his own mind detaching from his body....

Paramedics closed around Elliot, who was pulled from Jeannie's lap. Angrily she batted them off, but Marcy took her shoulders and forced her away.
"Oh man..." Darryl muttered
"Guys..." Sean gasped. "Is he..."
"Don't say it..." Liz nudged him.
"Guys... don't... it's too late..." said Trish, leaning on Marcy's one side.
"Shut up!" Karen shouted at her.
"Let them help..." she urged. "There's still a chance..."
"What about KISS?" Darryl asked. "Where are they?"
"Fighting outside..." Trish gasped, standing away from the bustling cluster of bodies that congregated around Elliot now. They thrust an oxygen mask over his face, and proceeded to pull his lean body onto a stretcher.
"Elliot... No..." Jeannie cried as they pulled him away from her.
"Let them help..." Marcy urged.
"But he's not like..." she gasped.
"Let them go..." Mona sobbed, lifting her head from Tyler's chest.
"Wait… where the hell is the chick?" Marcy suddenly asked.
"She just disappeared… there was nothing we could do!" Sean shook his head, holding up empty ropes.
"It was like that Star Trek Transporter effect," said Trish, shaking her head. "One moment she was there, the next she was gone."
Darryl fingered the laser weapon he still held, testing its weight, "The only thing she left was this thing…"
"Keep that pointed away from us," Tyler muttered, snatching it away from him. "I'll take care of that… thank you very much…"
"Whatever… but sorry man…" Darryl apologized.
"There was nothing you could have done," Mona shook her head. "They posses powers that you could only dream of…"
"Are they aliens, or time travelers?" Trish asked, looking directly at Mona. Jeannie huddled on the floor, hugging her knees coldly as she watched hem place Elliot into a body bag, and slowly pull the zipper up.
"Where are you taking him?" she asked.
"The morgue… can you identify him…"
"Can it wait?" Marcy asked, gripping the paramedic's arm.
"But KISS… they're still out there!" Darryl shouted, running to the window. Sean was quick to follow, with Tyler close behind them.
"Now wait a minute…" he snorted, while Mona lifted her head. A huge explosion shook the building under them, and they tensed.
"Hey, those freaks are still here"! Tyler shouted. "Jeannie what do we do? KISS is still out there.. holding them off… but there are dozens of them!"
"Get them out of here!" Jeannie snapped, jerking to attention. "Mona… now! Teleport everyone downstairs!"
"I'm on it!" Mona shouted. Both women were glad for the distraction.
"Everyone, stand close together!" she shouted. Marcy and the others stood close to each other, and vanished quickly before the astonished paramedic's eyes. Soon the other group including the stretcher that held Elliot vanished.
"And now you guys…" Jeannie turned to them.
"Wait a minute! You guys will need all the help you can get!' Sean said, gripping Jeannie's arm.
"Don't start with me, you idiots! Get them the hell outta here!" Jeannie snarled to Mona.
"But we want to help!" Darryl insisted.
"Whatever! Just keep your head down and keep outta the way!" Tyler snapped. "Take this and guard our backs, and try not to hit any painted faces?"
Jeannie snorted, and reached for something on her back. To their amazement a large gleaming weapon appeared in her hands, much in the shape of what appeared to be a battle-axe, but more the size of a guitar.
Sean glanced back to see something shiny gleaming near where Elliot had lay.
"What's that?" he asked.
"His guitar…" Tyler muttered, grabbing it. "Here… you take care of this… and don't let anything happen to it!"
He thrust the guitar into both their hands, and leapt into the air. Flipping over he merged with green energy, landing again on all fours. A large black Lion in silver bandoleer straps and black pants took his place, his gold mane curling around the black and white painted face. Mona jerked her thumbs, vanishing into silver sparklers while Jeannie seemed to leap into the air and fly out the door after them.

Meanwhile Paul and Gene stood back to back, just managing to keep the circle of encroaching warriors at bay. As soon as one would advance, a pencil thin beam of laser light would sweep the perimeter to the left. A stream of fire covered the back 180. It kept them back, but for how long.
"This is getting old!" Gene shouted to Paul. One figure beat aside Gene's flames, encroaching closer. Seizing him by the front of his modern uniform, Gene hurled him into the line of others. Paul's fist flashed out and cracked into the jaw of another.
"You're not kidding! We're holding our own… but what now?"
"Maybe a little fear…" Paul muttered, reaching out. A purple mist seethed over the dozens of Destroyers. For a moment they fell back, giving Gene and Paul enough time to catch their breaths.
Back and forth Peter leapt, kicking and slashing. His obsidian claws sliced easily through the armor of the Destroyers, drawing blood. Nimble cat paws kept him just one step ahead of his lasers. Simultaneously Ace ported from place to place, kicking with silver space boots from every place at once. Occasionally shots of pure electricity crackled from his fingertips to stun his opponents.
"I have faced fear," Second snorted as he shook his head. Slowly the purple light died in Paul's mahogany eyes. How had his power failed?
"Shit…" he muttered.
"Try something else, Starchild!" Leader laughed, suddenly appearing to the right.
Jeannie arrived on the scene first, just as Second recovered from Paul's fear shot. A gleaming blade arched as she hurled herself forwards. Second barely managed to dodge the blow, which sliced a thin cut across his chest instead of slitting his neck. As Jeannie whirled around he raised his weapon to fire, and she blocked with a dragon booted foot at his wrist.
Ace glanced nervously back and forth, while Mona appeared out of nowhere near him. In her hands appeared her guitar with a flash. She began to play a dissonant serious of chords. Ace watched in amazement when a blue sphere of energy surged from its heart and blazed into the midst of the mob. Blue lightening leapt from Destroyer to Destroyer.
Tyler launched himself near Peter, who was pinned under the great weight of four Destroyers. One held a blade to his neck.
"Say good night, pussycat."
The next moment he felt something close over his own neck, sharp pains biting forward and backward. A sharp click sounded at the base of his skull, and he went limp. Peter's claws beat the others away. Both Cat and Black Lion bounded clear of the other three to join Ace and Mona.
Meanwhile Mona continued her dissonant lightening burst. She did not notice Ace's look of panic when Leader strode up behind her, weapon drawn. Out of nowhere Leader had appeared. Ace suddenly grabbed Mona around the waist and vanished with her, to appear near Gene and Paul. She looked up at him questioningly till she saw Leader glancing in confusion, pistol smoking.
"You saved me?" she asked him, as he held her protectively at his side.
"Yeah… I guess I did…" Ace cackled, gently. "Not bad for a looser, huh…"
"I still think you're an idiot for using drugs…" she said, turning to look at him. "But thanks for saving me…"
"Hey, it was the right thing to do," he shrugged, a smile on his face.
"Look out!" she shouted, jerking him behind her. A shot zinged past Ace's cheek as he was tugged away.
"I'm trying to teleport… but why can't I?" Ace asked, panting.
"You have to rest… till your power comes back…" Mona scolded him. "you can't just teleport without some loss of power…"
"Now you tell me!" Ace groaned. He gripped her protectively as he kicked one of the Destroyers away. Grabbing her guitar, she passed it to him.
"Play something… quick! It's the only way!"
Under his fingers the Gibson wailed with strange riffs. Sound reverberated without need for an amplifier, sending out a sheer pitch that caused them to clamp their hands over their ears and back away.
Gene's hand flashed out, grabbing a Destroyer by the throat and pulling it off of Jeannie, who momentarily had her back turned. With contemptuous ease he held the mutant by the throat, and slowly began to squeeze.
"Gene…" Paul warned, glancing out of the corner of his eye.
"No killing, unless they get us first…" Paul snapped.
"Tell them that! They murdered my love!" Jeannie snarled. Raising her battle-axe high, she swung it in glistening arcs. One contacted with the neck of a Destroyer, easily decapitating it. Flipping head over heels she bashed her own boots into the chest of Second, pinning him down.
"Now…you will pay for what you have done! Where is your leader…"
"Jeannie…" Paul gasped, when he saw her lay the blade of her weapon just under his chin. Sheer anger burned in her eyes, the intense hatred stabbing into his heart.
"I am here…" Leader said slowly, advancing on Jeannie. "Let him go."
"Call off your attack!" Gene bellowed back at her. "If you want your Second to live."
Immediately all Destroyers froze, their heads turning a second later. Ace released Mona, and both glanced questioningly at the source of the command. Tyler and Peter bounded over to join where Gene and Paul stood near Jeannie.
Leader dropped her weapon, and held up her hands. "Let him go. Now."
"Drop your weapons and leave us alone!" Jeannie shouted.
"Do as she says," Leader nodded. Instantly they dropped their weapons in a cacophony of clangs. Taking Mona's shoulders, Ace guided her over towards Gene and Paul.
"Now… release Second…" Leader said, her gold eyes fixing into Jeannie's.
"I don't think I will… after what you did. You murdered Elliot…" she shouted. "I will have blood for blood!"
"Jeannie… don't!" Mona cried. Tyler reached over and gripped her hand.
"Jeannie…" Paul gasped, laying a hand on her arm. "Don't do it…"
Snarling she threw off Paul's hand, and raised her axe over her shoulder. Green eyes blazed with red fire when she brought the blade down.
Suddenly a hand arrested its progress. A hand sheathed in spikes like her own. In anger she peered into the eyes of the Demon, a low growl escaping her throat.
"Let me go!" she hissed.
"Jeanie… this isn't the way to do it…" Gene said slowly. "Put the axe down. Now…"
"I demand blood for blood!" she shouted back. "A life for a life."
"That may be. But it's not cool. Do you wanna be like them?"
"I am vengeance," she hissed back.
"But you're a woman also," Gene said. "Killing is justified, believe me. But not like this. It's too easy…"
"I want Elliot back!" she snarled.
"Will killing him accomplish that?" Gene asked her.
For a moment her eyes blazed red hot, her roar muffled in her throat as she pulled away from him. The weapon vanished from her hands in a blaze of fire. Eyes squeezed shut she turned away for a moment. Paul made a movement towards her, hand outstretched, but Gene stopped him.
"No…" she muttered. "It won't bring him back…"
Leader shook her head, and barked a command. Reaching at her hip she touched a button. Instantly blue fire arched around her shapely form. In tandem all Destroyers reached at their hips and did the same, their armor clad forms painted with crackling energies. A wind blasted Gene and Paul's hair from their painted faces when a hole seemed to open in reality.
"Stop them!" Tyler shouted. One after the other each Destroyer transmuted into glistering clouds of fire that was sucked towards the rip. A second later the wind died, the air dead and silent.
"No!" Jeannie screamed, running towards where Leader had stood.
"Guess that settles that," Peter shook his head.
"Jeannie…" Mona whispered, breaking away from Ace to join her friend, who dropped to her knees. Huddled over, the Dragon Lady breathed slowly in and out. A loud roar echoed over the rooftops as she threw her head back and opened her mouth.
On either side of her stood Tyler and Mona, laying their hands on her shoulders. Paul and the other members of KISS looked on, unsure of what to do. Eternity froze for a moment, then was broken by Paul striding over to the three youths.
"Guys… I'm sorry…" Paul said slowly, extending a hand.
"It's not your fault," Mona looked up at him, standing by Jeannie. Still the Dragon Lady huddled over, not making a sound save her own ragged breathing. Tyler hugged her close to his stomach, slowly helping her to stand.
"Girl…" Gene said, moving over to Jeannie. Slowly she looked up from Tyler, her green eyes moist with what seemed like tears.
"Gone… just gone…" she whispered. "I wish I had killed them all…"
"Yeah. But are you going to let them win?" Gene asked her. "They may have escaped now. But that doesn't mean you have to like it…"
"Why did you stop me?" Jeannie asked him.
"Killing Second and Leader would have been the easy way out. But you know like I do that KISS never does things the easy way… and if you guys have any connection to us past the warpaint and costumes… you'd dig why."
"We make our own rules," Paul said, folding his arms across his chest. "And killing someone just cause they killed someone close to you might seem like the right thing at the time, but it's just not the way to make it right. I don't think Elliot would have wanted you to do it."
"I think he would have," Jeannie shook her head. "but the fact remains he's dead. And there wasn't a goddamned thing I could do to stop it…"
"It should have been me that died," Mona sniffed, wiping tears from her eyes. "I should have told you all my premonitions."
"Doesn't matter," Jeannie waved a hand. "Screwing with time has screwed us…"
"Majorly," Tyler shook his head.
Just then Sean and Darryl, who carried a glittering silvery guitar in their hands, joined them. They rushed to Jeannie's side, questions in their young eyes. "WE saw everything girl… you wasted them…" Sean whispered.
"Man are you guys okay?" Darryl asked. "you really kicked ass out here"!
"Hey, I remember you guys!" Ace cackled. "What are you doing here?"
"I thought these two were your girlfriends," Gene shook his head. "So what the hell…"
"They're just innocent bystanders, Gene," Paul shook his head.
"We're both loyal members of the KISS army," Sean said, fingering his patch. "We just wanted to make sure you all were ok…"
"I suppose you did save my butt back there," Jeannie looked to them reluctantly. "for that I thank you. But it's too little too late…"
"What will you do now?" Paul asked Jeannie, resting a hand on her shoulder.
"Are you from the future?" Gene asked her, his brown eyes fixing into hers, then glaring into Mona's.
"Yes," Mona said. "we weren't sure you would buy it…"
"Hey, it's just as far out as you being aliens," Peter snorted.
"Does it matter?" Tyler asked him.
"But you gave us these powers…." Paul pointed out. "And we've stopped the Destroyers. So what do we do now… and what do you do now… that Elliot…"
"I don't know…" Mona sighed.
"What do you suggest, Jeannie?" Tyler asked.
"Why are you asking me?" she grumbled.
"You're the leader," Gene said slowly. "Aren't you?"
"Why me? I got us into this mess in the first place," she snapped.
"No… we got us into this," Mona corrected her.
"Besides, natural selection says you're the leader. That's why I'm asking you what we're gonna do now…" Tyler repeated.
"Kid…" Gene lifted an eyebrow. For a moment she glanced at her boot again, eyes fixed on the ground. She swung her gaze out to the vast panorama of New York city, her thoughts stretching out to embrace the night. The next moment she turned, her face firmly fixed into a decision.
"We have to go back," Jeannie said, her hands forming into fists at her side. "To the future…"
"To the future?" asked Tyler. "But the other focal point…"
"We have to take Elliot home," said Jeannie. "It's the right thing to do. And then we have to decide what the hell to do about Leader. I want to find out how the hell we can stop her from meddling any more!"
"Sounds like you have a plan…" said Gene.
"But we aren't four anymore without Elliot…" said Mona slowly.
A cough came from Paul, and he glanced over at Sean and Darryl, who brought over the glistening rhinestone guitar. Starlight seemed captured in its surface when they held it up to Jeannie.
"This was his, wasn't it?" Sean asked.
"Hey… we were just thinking… since you guys came from the future and all… maybe you might need some help…" Darryl suggested.
"Are you nuts?" Tyler groaned.
"That's sweet of you…" Mona said. "but it's no walk in the park…"
"Looks like you'll need all the help you can get," Sean said. "And it's not like we've got lots to do here lately. I mean we just graduated high school and all, and well…"
"Absolutely not!" Jeannie snapped. "You're only children…"
"So are we!" Mona reminded her. "I say we let them help…"
"Face it, we need all the help we can get," said Tyler.
"All right! Just don't say I didn't warn you! This isn't some cool road trip!" Jeannie grumbled.
"Are you guys gonna go now?" Ace asked.
"Yes…" Mona turned to him.
"Must you leave?" Paul asked. "There's so much we don't know about our powers…"
"You'll learn… in time," Jeannie said to him.
"But the girls…" said Peter.
"Mona… bring Elliot up here…" Jeannie said. In a blaze of light a black wrapped body appeared at their feet. She reached down, and hefted it over her shoulder.
"Will you be okay?" Gene asked her.
"We have to be," Tyler said.
"Come here you guys," Mona gestured to Sean and Darryl. "If you still wanna help us that is…"
"Monica…" Peter said, taking her shoulder. "You be careful little girl…"
"I will…" she whispered. "And you too…"
"Take care of her," Peter said to Tyler, who nodded.
"You can be sure of that," he answered.
"I guess this is goodbye then," Jeannie turned to Paul and Gene.
"Yeah. Take care sweetheart. And remember what I said…" Gene said slowly. "You taught us a lot, but it looks like you learned something too…"
"Yeah," Paul said, and taking Jeannie's hand he kissed it gently. "Don't loose your cool. Don't become like them… a killer without a heart…"
"I don't know if I have one anymore," Jeannie muttered. "Or use for one…"
She turned to Mona, and nodded.
"You guys better stand back…" Tyler warned KISS.
"Take care of your women… and protect the power," Mona called to KISS, who moved back. She jerked both thumbs over her shoulders, energy crackling into the night. Instantly it wrapped all five figures in its aura.
"Good luck!" Paul shouted to them. A similar blast of wind blared into the faces of KISS when the youths flamed into white-hot fire. Eternity stopped, then restarted in grim silence.

Left alone on the rooftop, Gene glanced to Paul, then to Ace and Peter. A nervous cough came from Peter's throat when he glanced back to Ace.
"Now what?" Paul asked.
"We've got a party to get back to, and women to entertain," Gene answered.
"Not to mention one hell of a story to tell," Peter groaned. "How in hell are we gonna explain this?"
"We'll think of something. We always do," Gene shrugged. "any suggestions, Space Ace?"
"Nothing at the moment. Maybe we could just say that the punch was spiked?" Ace cackled. "You know how these New York parties are. I mean we're all groovy…"
"Shut up and let's go find the girls," Peter muttered. "I feel like I wanna sack out for six weeks straight after this!"
"You and me both, pal!" Gene nodded. They left the ruined patio behind, moving into the lights and sounds of the emergency crews that suddenly descended on the building.
Paul couldn't help but wonder what the youths would face when they arrived at their final destination. He grieved for Jeannie for the loss of Elliot, one who had so patiently trained him in the use of his powers. Gene felt sorrow for the young Dragon Lady, who seemed so much like him. Could she handle the powers that she herself had shown him to use?
Ace felt disappointment that these three youths were in fact time travelers, not space aliens. Still Mona's words of reprimand burned his ears. Peter sighed when he thought of the young Elliot who had been so senselessly killed. That depth of sorrow in all their eyes spooked him whenever he recalled it. What horrors had they seen if these Destroyers were from the same time as they? How far off in the future were they from? Or how soon?
There were no clear answers to all their silent questions. Only the here and now existed for them. Four men whose lives were never the same. If not for the talismans they carried now, it would have been some strange dream. A sober silence claimed them, and they walked right past the cloud of reporters with their buzzing cameras. They seemed like annoying bees that flittered and clustered with no purpose but their own busy lives. Out there was the true mystery; the future that was the shape of things to come. Could it be changed, if these children were the offshoots of it?
Gene shivered, and fixed his mind on more immediate concerns. There were the questions to be answered, and the new album to be produced. Not to mention the new Destroyer Tour which they had only barely begun on the heels of the Alive Tour. Then there was the record deal with Mercury and Sweet Revenge.
Past the ambulances and police cars KISS wandered into the haven of security and flashing sirens. Pushing past security guards Sweet Revenge rushed up to them. Questions were met with sad smiles and gentle shushes when each member of KISS took his lady aside and walked her without answers to the waiting limousines.
There was too much to be done now. And not enough time to ask the vital questions of what tomorrow would bring…
Tomorrow would take care of itself, wouldn't it? Hadn't it already?