Raiders Of Point Dread: Battle In The Clouds

By T. F. Cooper with Kirk Trigon (Based On "The Power of Point Dread" by Gary Cohn)

Far below the clouds where Lord Adam, in his Sy-Klone Raider, searched for the elusive Talon Fighter, word quickly traveled of the warriors, who lost their lives in battle with Skeletor’s forces. Fires flagged in the bravest hearts, and just when the enemy’s wild onslaught of bloodthirsty orcs, giant ants and bizarre machines seemed insurmountable, ..another army of mechanical monsters roared over the horizon.

From a cloud of dust, two gargantuan drills as thick as tree-trunks emerged, and a large, tank-like vehicle of grayish metal with huge treads and a turret styled like an elephant's head rumbled over the North Wall and into the fray beyond it! A great cannon, resembling an elephant's trunk, extended from the head of this metal monster, and its engine seemed to roar with the primal power of a prehistoric beast! Targeting one of the giant, mutant ants brought to life by Evil-Lyn’s magic, it sent a dozen bursts of sky-colored light, photon missiles, into the air over Eternos.  As the proud fighting men of King Randor looked on, the gargantuan insect disappeared under a blinding explosion of heat and light, and they laughed out loud, the fire-backed orcs marching beneath the big bug scattered for cover!

Ten thousand more of these weird tanks joined the fight, and among the King’s Royal Guard and the allied nations assembled at his command, the sight of Man-At-Arms’ monstrous inventions charging into war on every continent filled their souls with desperate hope!

From the clouds above, slipped silver and gold!

Aye, it was silver and gold ..and bronze flesh! Bared white teeth and a hunter's keen glare from steely, blue eyes!  From realms beyond, in armor of shining metal, struck a golden-haired she-devil, who slaughtered her enemies with an angel's smile!

Using the Sy-Klone Raider’s strange telepathic link, Lord Adam willed his thoughts into the mind of the amazon ..and found himself filled with the wise dragon Gharycon’s wisdom. "The fire in your own Freenorn blood has guided you here, sister! That blue stone in your blade tells you so!”

“Not even Death itself could keep me from your side, now that I know the truth, Vulnarian!” Readying her lightning arrows, the wild She-Ra, once known as Temathys, leaned into the winds. “And you will call me, Adora!"

War had made this big Vulnarian’s heart as steel, until this moment, ..humbled by his newfound sister’s devotion! “Then, obey me, Adora, and lead your sisters back to Etheria! Take Randor and Marlena—save yourselves!"

"My sisters are dead!" the Princess Adora screamed over the howling winds, shrugging off the weird intrusion of her twin brother’s voice inside her head. "On our pegacorns, we charged the fort on the Harmonic Coasts, together, hoping to route out the Priest-kings of Infinitias, ..when another Point Dread appeared, and—I’m the last of the She-Ishteu’Ra! I’ll kill, until the blood of our enemies drowns the Sun itself! Lead on, ..or get out of my head!"

Spying the icy clouds for signs of the possessed Talon Fighter, He-Man guided his aircraft, painted in the blue, grey and yellow of a fallen ally’s standard, through the clouds. “Get as close to the Fighter, as you can, She-Ra! Disable its peripheral weaponry, if possible, ..and leave the rest to me! I have a plan!”

In a mad dance through the winds, the wild Vulnarian in his Sy-Klone Raider and the last of the She-Ra hurdled past one another, ..and the shadow of the hawk-headed Talon Fighter fell upon their faces! For one shared moment, this marvel of the Ancients, its golden face blackened with cosmic ash, filled them with awe, ..and the ground below seemed a hundred miles away.

Death seemed much closer.

Black death with metal wings and the power of a god.  The skull-faced Enemy of Man at its controls.

Cosmic fire rained from clouds above He-Man and his allies! Weaving in and out of the icy mist ..and between the bursts of golden energy, the warriors sped downward, driven faster and faster to the ground by the sheer ferocity of the Talon Fighter's attack. Caged by a successive deployment of deadly rays, He-Man struggled to free the Sy-Klone Raider, ..when two bursts of blue-white fire tumbled the metal monster down into the clouds below! To his astonishment, he looked over his shoulder to find the Holy Warrior’s red-feathered falcon flying at his port side.

“Perilous situation, He-Man,” the Warrior Bird observed, “—even with the She-Ra and I entering the lists!”

“We’re three against one, but, the Talon Fighter’s might can’t be denied!” growled the half-naked barbarian behind the bulky controls of this strange, living fighter-craft, ..a war-machine possessed by the spirit of his slain android ally. “Sy-Klone Raider has returned manual command to me! Thinking independently, while attacking the Fighter as one, may give us an advantage! Keep the Fighter off-balance! Keep wearing down its peripheral defenses, ..but, keep your distance and wait for my signal!”

Spurring fierce Swiftwind roughly forward, with her powerful arms holding firm to his reins, the She-Ra’s winged steed rushed over the winds and higher into the thick, icy clouds, overhead. “I’ll lead Zoar into the clouds and attack the Fighter from there, ..but, I won’t stand down, brother! Not against him! Not ever!”

At the hawk-faced Fighter’s controls and hurtling through the clouds at unmatched speeds, the Snake Mountain King kept deft pace with his speeding prey—his ancient mind measuring how quickly he might overtake him.  “I control the wind-raider technology Sy-Klone foolishly plugged into your brain, He-Man, ..and, soon, I will control you!”

Bronze muscles trained in the deadliest jungles—coursing with the savage strength of fifty-thousand men—swelled and sprung, as the Vulnarian struggled to control the Raider’s flight, ..barely escaping flashes of fiery death pumped from the guns of the Talon Fighter. A sharp pain tore through He-Man’s skull, even as invading electrical impulses, like the sharpened heads of flying arrows, stabbed into his brain!  He felt the Sy-Klone Raider lurch to the right, ..and then, down toward the Royal Palace at Eternos!

With a grunt and a shrug of intense concentration, He-Man regained control of the flying weapon. “Lord of the Wastes—Master of Nothing! The will of man is stronger than you know, ..and the Sy-Klone Raider still answers to mine!”

The ancient Talon Fighter tumbled through the air, locking into position behind the Sy-Klone Raider, as the Talon Fighter’s sleek, golden replicants filled the air above and behind him, such that their number blotted out the sun!  In the shade of their swarm, the black-hooded Lord of the Wastes cackled aloud.  “Space refraction, witless fool—the same I once used to clone the Warrior Goddess Teela! Look at the world below us and know that Skeletor will win this battle! Finally, in death, will the Most Powerful Man in the Universe kneel before me!

The maniacal laughter of the Snake Mountain King rattling the clouds, powerful guns that fired stripped photons faster than the speed of sound clicked offline, ..Sy-Klone Raider rushed downward again, toward Eternia!  Smaller and less powerful, it was more maneuverable than the deadly Talon Fighter, and the big Vulnarian would press that advantage to the edge. Stoneless devil! Man fights here, in me, ..and I don’t need guns and machines to destroy you!”

With heaving chest and burning lungs therein, the big man pitched himself out into the wild howl of the winds all around him, ..and, with his hoary Sword of Ancients, struck the Talon Fighter with a fierce and swift blow!  Its ancient machinery bellowed and groaned, like an injured beast, as the right wing and the large gun mounted upon it came roughly off!

High over the battle-torn Fertile Plains, the golden-haired barbarian leapt back onto his flying machine. “Zoar, Adora—now!”

Red-feathered Zoar and the last of the She-Ra descended from the clouds, pounding the Talon Fighter with a deadly array of lightning arrows and demi-photon missiles, ..destroying the machine’s space refraction capabilities. As the Fighter’s guns whirred into position to repel the assault, the grotesque, rotting thing at its controls turned to the terrible chill at his back ..and the sound of screaming winds that filled his ancient heart with terror!

The two ships plummeted toward Eternia, as the dawn winds howled around them.

Below them, on every battlefield and deep into the shadowed bunkers, where they hid like rats, the Evil One’s outrage rattled the minds of his generals with the force of an earthquake!  Beast Man of the Jungle Gorr, Tri-Klops of the Titanos Mountains, Trap-Jaw of subterranean Sybronn and the Mer-Man of undersea Moratain, as one, cried out to their undead master, as his cloned fleet of Talon Fighters vanished in a blinding wave of light and energy!  These monsters, Skeletor’s four Priest-kings of Infinitias, offered him use of their bodies to house his ancient malevolence, ..but, their offers came too late.

From the benighted cage of the hawk-headed Talon Fighter, the Lord of Destruction, closer to claiming godhood eternal over humankind than ever before, locked his aircraft’s targeting systems on the fleeing Sy-Klone Raider one final time, ..even as he saw the ancient, stony surface of the Rock of War rushing up to meet them! “The full power of Point Dread, the ultimate weapon, is mine to command, He-Man! Grayskull will be next, ..when I’ve destroyed you!”

Through the empty sockets beneath his black hood and golden, skull-like Mask of Oblivion, he watched the sleek Sy-Klone Raider twist abruptly, impossibly upwards ..and into the blue skies overhead!  With armies on every shore, laying waste to all, who dared stand against him, he cursed the half-naked savage at the Raider’s controls…

“I am eternal, barbarian! By the Dark Gods, ..what have you done?!”

Before the craggy face of Point Dread eclipsed all else…

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