Paradigm High

Issue 12: Showdown

The heroes prepare themselves for the final match of the tournament. They’re facing off against foes old and new: Roman Malcolm, Weapon XX, Viper, and the Alchemist. The two teams trade intimidating stares before the arena transforms into a forest! Under Spence’s command, the heroes converge on Roman and pummel him down before he can become a problem. Once he’s dealt with, they swiftly dispatch their remaining opponents. Paradigm High is victorious!

The next day, Bombshell has a chat with Blink, and he reveals that his power works by taking him through an alternate dimension he calls Nowhere. He’s seen strange people snooping around in there, and he suspects that it might be the Chaos Force, using Nowhere as their hideout and means of transportation!

The heroes bask in their much-boosted reputations. Juke apologizes to Spence and wants to be friends again. Prom is on the horizon, and everyone makes plans for the big night. Spence and Blue Beacon agree to go together as friends. Bombshell attends with Seraph, and Max goes stag. Nobody from school asks Scarlet, but Jace offers to be her date for the night.

Spence hijacks the DJ’s rig and transforms the terrible music into something dance-worthy. The night is young, and everyone is having a great time – that is, until the heroes’ dates start to disappear, one by one. They search for their missing dates, but they’re nowhere to be found. Then, Spence receives a video call from none other than Krauser! He’s kidnapped their friends, and they’re all going to perish in 30 minutes if the heroes don’t rescue them! Spence orders Reggie to trace the call. Reggie displays a trail leading to a skyscraper in New York City. Bombshell grabs Blink, who teleports the heroes to their destination.

The Paradigm students spend crucial minutes trying to hash out a plan, but tensions are running high! They kick in the door and find themselves facing off against soldiers of the Chaos Force! The heroes unleash their fury upon the soldiers, who stand no chance. Chaos Energy Controllers join the fray, but Spence and Max hold them off so Red and Bombshell can run toward the screams echoing from Seraph down the hall.

Spence uses his destructor gauntlets to shred and detonate one of the Chaos Controller’s energy packs. The explosion knocks the soldier unconscious, but everyone else in the area manages to avoid it. Max takes on the last Chaos Controller solo while Spence flies out the window on his hoverboard. He’s heading for the roof, as he’s the only one who can reach the victim on the top floor in time!

Meanwhile, Bombshell and Red fight through a Serum-powered brute before bursting into the room where Seraph is held captive. They find him manacled to the wall with a device holding a multitude of needles into his skin. His powers are running wild, casting soulfire out of his back in reflexive attempts to escape. Bombshell rushes in to free him, and Red heads back to the stairs to reach the next prisoner.

Max has already reached the stairs, and the Chaos Controller is in hot pursuit. Max uses his prodigious leaping abilities to stay ahead of him, then takes him down with a well placed disc from around a corner. Max presses on, battles through more soldiers and a twisted amalgam of man and machine – the Chaos Force’s own version of a chimera. Max manages to slip past the Chaos Chimera and locate the door where the next prisoner is being held. He cuts through the metal with his discs and leaps through the hole to find his ex-girlfriend, Majestica, shackled to the wall. He cuts her free with a deft maneuver with his discs, and then he distracts the chimera so she can escape.

Spence reaches the top of the building, wrecks the rooftop door, and heads down. Just as he does, he is shocked by a massive charge of electricity, which fries all of his gear and knocks him out cold!

Red charges up the stairs, leaping up in the middle of the staircase to accelerate her movement. She dashes out onto the floor where another victim is held captive and takes some bullets from Chaos soldiers. With a mighty ground stomp, Red sends a kinetic wave at the soldiers, blasting them all around the hall. She walks past them and punches through a metal door to find Jace, restrained but otherwise unharmed. He kisses her after she tears him free of the wall, and together they head to the roof to see what has become of Spencer.

Spencer awakens to the bitter wind blowing over the roof. He pulls himself to his feet and finds himself face to face with none other than Krauser! Krauser stands at the edge of the roof, and he’s holding Blue Beacon by the throat. Spence notices that her power gloves lie on the roof, torn and crushed! She is powerless! Spence demands that Krauser lets her go, and he complies by tossing her off the roof. Spencer does the only thing he can – he dives after her, grabs hold, and shields her from the impact with his own body. There’s a loud crack, and everything goes black…

Spencer awakens to a splitting headache and numbness everywhere else. He’s in the hospital, and his father is at his bedside. Spence’s dad apologizes for everything he’s done; he realizes that his son is a true hero, and he promises to leave the CSA and defend Spence any way he can. Spence sleeps again. When he wakes up this time, Ironlung is there. He nabs a stretcher and carts his buddy out of the hospital, zapping a security guard who tries to stop him. Ironlung takes Spence home and promises to fix him – but he’s going to need Spence’s help designing the augmentations!

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