The explosion erupted out of the compound like a gout of flame, a huge, rising, massive pillar of fire bursting up from Hell itself. The heat and energy signature of the explosion registered even on the satellites orbiting the compound, far above.
Military troops had been positioned outside the compound, waiting for the signal from Captain Electric to move in. Unfortunately, they were far too close to the explosion’s epicenter to escape.
Most of the troops, heavy armor units, were vaporized where they stood, the metal chassis of the hulking machines melting into slagged piles of annihilated metal. At least the troops inside the machines died instantly, their bodies flash-fried into little more than ash…
Out further, several other units had been en route to the site when the explosion went off. They were far enough away to escape certain death, although the shock wave swept across them, forcing vehicles to swerve off the road or be sent tumbling by the raw power pouring out.
The world, understandably, went into shock.
It took quite a while before the details of what had happened at the center of that explosion were made clear, at least to the few individuals with high enough security clearance to access the restricted files.
The signature of the power release was mapped to the central core unit of PowerPlug, the sidekick to Captain Electric. The man carried around a nuclear fusion battery on his back; it was understandable that the thing would experience a catastrophic meltdown at some point.
Unfortunately, Captain Electric, one of the world’s foremost superheroes, was also believed to have perished in the explosion. He and his sidekick were fighting against Dr. Hazard, a brilliant but disturbed individual who put his created robots to many malicious uses.
Both the hero and his sidekick were given full military funerals with all honors bestowed upon them – even though there were no bodies to bury.
But just after the explosion went off, the site was abandoned – there were no vehicles close enough to reach the epicenter that had survived the blast. Choppers were immediately scrambled, but it took them nearly an hour to reach ground zero.
And thus, no one saw as, about five minutes after the initial blast turned the compound into rubble, the rocks shifted slightly, moving aside.
Slowly, a gloved arm pulled itself up out of the rubble, clearing a path up to the sunlight as the dust settled back down.
The arm hauled itself up, clearing the way for the rest of the body to appear. A man, bruised and battered but very much alive, crawled out, blinking in the cloudy sunlight.
It was hard for the man to rise to his feet; he suspected that he’d broken several ribs, and possibly one of his arms as well, from how his left arm dangled down uselessly at his side.
But he managed to climb to his feet, and limped slowly away from the center of the explosion.
There were still patches of the man’s costume sticking to his figure. The outfit had been all but destroyed by the fury of the eruption, but it held together and did its job long enough to protect the figure within.
On the back of the torn, tattered suit, the shape of a lightning bolt was still faintly visible.
Silently, filled with raging determination, the man staggered away.
Any observer, looking into the man’s eyes, would have turned away and shuddered. Those eyes burned with an unhinged, deranged fire.
The man was filled with a red-hot determination.
He was not done with this world yet.