2: THE FIRST FIGHT
The wind surrounded his body and tugged at his blond hair roughly as he made his way through the rainy streets, his head bowed to prevent the fat, icy drop of rain from splattering into his face. Nick hunched his shoulders as another roar of wind knocked into him along with a wet wall of rain.
Slowly he turned into the alley way which would lead him back to his own home, trying to ignore the freezing pain in his ears… as well as the tearing of his heart in his chest.
The Backstreet Boys were gone. His friends were gone.
Why? Why, why, why, why, why? Why had they wanted to end it? If they loved what they did together, then they would have stuck with it! They could have found a way to make it work! Was he really such an awful person that it led the others to leave?
"Out alone, Ninjaman?" a cruel voice suddenly hissed.
Nick froze slightly as he sensed the presence behind him. Immediately he dropped to the floor, just as a blue flare of laser light soared through where he had just been standing. Quickly his wet fingers gripped the amulet tight to his chest and he felt a tremendous surge of energy rush through his body…
He leapt to his feet and turned to face his opponent, his swords drawn and ready for battle - now fully clad in his ninja hero's costume.
A tall man in tight, black clothes glared back at him through a dark pair of shades. His face was pale as death and there was not a single hair upon his bald head. This was the style all of Zator's men had.
"I'm really not in the mood for you creeps," Nick spat as the wind howled through the alley.
"Is that so?" Bald man replied, idly spinning his gun about in his hands. "Too cold and wet for a baby Backstreet Boy like you?"
'But I'm not a Backstreet Boy anymore…'
Nick gritted his teeth and suddenly sprang forward, his swords seeking to banish this man and his cruel reminder. Bald man smiled at him and held out an arm to block Nick's sword attack. Nick expected the blade to cut straight into the man's arm, but to his surprise the man suddenly grabbed the sword in his bare fingers, not so much as a single bead of blood escaping him.
"Your toys can't hurt me!" he hissed, using the sword to drag Nick closer to him. "I'm merely a droid and you cannot harm me for I have no pain sensors!"
He suddenly reached out with his second hand and viciously smacked Nick about the face. Nick cried out and Bald man released his sword, causing Nick to fall backwards into a muddy puddle on the wet pavement.
Grimly Nick wiped his face free of mud and clambered to his feet, swinging around to face Bald man for the second time.
"You don't give up do you?" Bald man said. "Zator told me you were a strong one… But let's see how you like this." He suddenly raised his hand to the night sky and a ball of purple light began to form. It grew brighter and brighter and Nick found himself unconsciously backing away, his sword ready to smack the ball of light should it come anywhere near him.
Bald man smiled at him and then flung the violet ball at him.
Nick did not even see it coming. His vision was suddenly filled with purple light and then the pain began. It burn him, it froze him. It tore at his limbs so hard that Nick felt as if they might be wrenched from him. His blood seemed to be filled with acid and he could feel it burning his skin.
He gasped as he fell to the ground once more, writhing and moaning in agony. The sword slid from his hands as his fingers dug themselves into the palm of his hand cutting through the flesh to draw the blood out from below.
Nick weakly turned his head and saw Bald man stepping towards him, shaking his head in amusement.
"I thought it would be harder to take you down than this. You're a pathetic being… I only hope your friends prove to be more of a challenge than you did," he said.
Nick's eyes fluttered closed. As a team, they could have hammered this droid. They were unbeatable. Nick was nothing without them…
"Now give me your amulet," Bald man demanded.
Nick gasped again as he felt stabs of pain plunging into his legs and his fingers dug deeper into his hands. Forcefully he unclenched one of them and then reached up to where his amulet hung about his neck.
"That's it," Bald man whispered. "Give it here, boy!"
Nick nodded and his fingers crept closer to the jewel, but then at the last second he dug his hand into his cloak and pulled out a shuriken (throwing star) and then flung it at the droid.
There was a bellow of rage from Bald man and then the pain that had consumed Nick suddenly evaporated. Curiously he raised his head, hardly daring to believe that the weapon had done any harm.
Bald man had his hands pressed against his face and was stumbling backwards. Nick quickly pulled another shuriken from the fold of his cloak and hurled it at him again. The weapon collided with Bald man's arm with a clang of metal upon metal, but it did nothing.
Suddenly, Bald man dropped his hands from his face and Nick saw that his previous weapon had managed to hit him straight in the eye, which now dangled from it's socket by a cluster of wires. He was half-blind!
Nick struggled to his feet and seized his sword again. Maybe he could do this alone. Maybe he didn't need the others…
But his heart still cried in his chest.
Determinedly, Nick gripped his sword tightly and faced his aggressor. "You'll never take my amulet!" he hissed. "Never!"
"We'll see about that!" Bald man snapped. He raised his hand again and another ball of purple light began to form.
Nick gulped slightly, still numb from the previous attack of purple energy. He waited for a moment and counted to three, while the purple energy ball grew in intensity. Just as Bald man threw it at him, Nick flung himself to the right and dived to the ground.
"Blast!" Bald man spat, as his energy ball hit nothing but an empty trash can.
Nick withdrew another shuriken and aimed it at Bald man's face. He released it and the jagged star hit Bald man in his only remaining eye. There was a small splutter of sparks and then the glowing eye rolled onto the pavement. Bald man stared about him blindly and then roared in anger. He raised both of his hands and this time they both filled with green light.
Again, Nick flung himself to the ground and rolled to the right, narrowly missing both attacks as the green beams soared over his head, so close that he felt the heat of the energy balls.
"You missed!" Nick taunted, leaping forward and smashing his sword into the Bald man's blind face.
A huge rip suddenly appeared upon the face of Bald man and the skin peeled away to reveal the mechanics of the droid below. Once again, Nick brought his sword down and there was an awful screech as the blade sliced into the circuits and electronics of the droid.
"No!" Bald man shrieked.
Nick fell back for a moment, panting and gasping in exertion. His whole body still ached from the agonising purple light, but he had to find the strength to finish this fight. For the final time he drove his sword into the face and this time the entire head was wrenched away from the droid's body and clattered to the floor before rolling into a puddle where it jerked unnaturally for a few seconds. The body fell down heavily, the wires buzzing angrily in the neck before that, too, feel silent.
Nick breathed a sigh of relief and slumped to the wet pavement below, exhausted. His arms throbbed and ached as he sheathed his sword and he found himself falling back to lie upon the cold, hard pavement.
He felt the frosty drops of rain falling onto his skin to mingle with the warm tears that leaked from his eyes. It wasn't the same without the others…
Slowly Nick dragged his body to his feet and placed a hand to his face to wipe away his soaking fringe. As he pulled his hand back, he suddenly realised that it was covered in blood. He returned his hand to his forehead and felt around until a stab of pain informed him that there was a huge cut upon his head and no doubt his entire body would be bruised from the purple energy ball.
He staggered forward a few steps and felt the alley about him almost tilt. He moaned slightly, his fight with the droid having taken it's toll, before stumbling back to the floor.
"Aaww, the poor little Backstreet Boy is all alone… Are you sleepy? Do you want someone to tuck you in?" a malignant voice whispered over the sound of the rain.
Nick's eyes snapped open and he turned his head to see another bald headed droid standing before him.
'No… I can't fight another one!' Nick cried inwardly. He needed his friends…
But he didn't have friends anymore…
Nick reached for his sword again, wondering if he would ever make it through this night alive. The second droid regarded him in amusement and then raised his hand.
"Say goodnight and prepare for some… interesting dreams. You'll pay for the destruction of the first droid!" The purple ball of energy began to form within his hand, just like the first one had done.
Nick braced himself and threw himself to the alley wall, just as the purple beam sliced through the air where he had just been. He wiped his wet hair away from his face and took on a fighting stance with his sword.
"I beat your buddy and I'll beat you," he threatened, praying that his strength would hold up that long.
"Really?" the second droid sneered. "You think you can beat me and my… friends?"
From out of the shadows behind the droid, another bald man stepped into the light. Nick's heart lurched in fear, but he gripped the hilt of his sword determinedly. But then he saw another droid to his right… and another one to his left. Nick spun around, eyeing all four droids in horror.
"Speaking of friends," the second droid said. "Where are those gung ho followers of yours?"
Nick gritted his teeth and tried to force back the tears. Where were they? No doubt Brian was fussing over his pregnant wife while Kevin took Kristen to a movie… And none of them would be thinking of him.
"So the ninja has decided to strike out alone?" the third droid snickered. "Poor baby. You're nothing without your friends!"
In unison, all four droids raised their hands up and the purple balls of agony began to burn and glow within their grasps. Nick could feel his hands shaking and the sweat and rainwater that trickled down his face. His eyes darted from one droid to the next and the burning energy that they held.
'You're nothing without your friends!'
They were right. He was nothing without them. He couldn't sing without them, he couldn't be a super hero without them. He could not even be happy without them…
All at once, the deadly energy balls soared towards him. Nick leapt up into the air, causing the balls to miss their target, but also causing his own body to hit the ground clumsily when he landed. Weakly he struggled back to his feet.
The four droids were laughing at him and beginning to step closer to him, tauntingly. Nick held his sword in his good arm, while the second hung limply by his side.
He could not fight them. He could never win.
He turned to the droid that was advancing behind him and smashed his sword into it's face. It bellowed with rage and placed a hand to his face. That was the only diversion Nick needed.
Swiftly he began to limp towards the end of the alley trying to ignore the nausea and the fear that mingles unhappily within his stomach at the screams behind him.
"He's getting away! Get him!"
Nick finally made it to the end of the alley and he darted across the street and jumped onto the roof of a car. He turned his head to see the droids as they exited the alley themselves and he dashed forwards and leapt towards the flat roof of the garage. From there, he clambered up onto the main roof and slid down the other side.
He dropped into the yard, whimpering slightly as he felt something crack painfully in his arm, but he could not afford to nurse his pain. The droids would still be pursuing him. He dashed across the yard and fumbled clumsily with the bolt of the gate until it swung open into the road beyond.
Limping, Nick dashed as fast as his weary body would allow him until he finally approached the street of his own home. Nervously he looked about, but there was no sign of the droids.
Gasping and stumbling, he slowly made his way home.
His first fight alone had been anything but successful.
'You're nothing without your friends!'
Nothing at all.