Scorch: Laserbeams is the fifth issue in a series of short stories by Telos.

Chapter One

Scorch's black limousine screeched to a halt outside the the building site. It was where a skyscraper was in the beginning stages of construction, and also where he was going to meet Impulse. Scorch flung open the car door and proudly strode out, making his way to the center of the building site. It was Saturday morning, and the people working on the skyscraper had the day off. Thus there was nobody other than Impulse to possibly interfere with his sinister plans. Impulse was waiting for him, wearing a metallic black battlesuit. A pair of shiny gray gauntlets sat upon his wrists, and a cold gunmetal visor masked his face.

Impulse extended his hand in greeting, but Scorch didn't shake it. Instead, he got right to business.

"Let's get right to the point," Scorch began. "I'm building a team of supervillains to overthrow the American government and take control of the country, and eventually the world. I want you to be on that team. Any questions?"

For a moment Impulse said nothing, staring up at the cloudy, bleak sky.

"What if I say no?" Impulse asked with smirk, and Scorch picked up a thick Italian accent.

"Then I wonder just how idiotic you are to refuse such an offer, and begin to doubt my own intelligence for asking you in the first place." Scorch replied, unimpressed at how the meeting was going.

"Well..." Impulse droned, raising his index finger to the side of his head as though deep in thought.

"Forgive my rudeness, but will you please hurry up and decide? I am low on time, and have things to attend to!" Scorch barked.

Impulse remained silent for another two minutes or so. Eventually Scorch became so impatient that he ignited a pulsing yellow fireball and held it towards Impulse's masked face. Impulse backed away from the ball of flame, raising his hands.

"Okay, okay!" he spluttered nervously. "I will join you Scorch. We will crush all opposition to our iron rule!"

"Good," Scorch murmured, before moving away. "The car's back here. Congratulations, you've just been added to number two on the official most wanted persons list, just under myself of course."

As Scorch turned to enter his limousine, Impulse stopped and raised his gauntlet, pointing it at Scorch.

"What're you do-"

Scorch was cut short as a laser blasted him against the car with enough force to shatter the window. Impulse chuckled ominously, and prepared to unleash another burst of energy.

Chapter Two

Before Impulse could attack again, Scorch assaulted him with a torrent of swirling flames. Impulse just laughed and boasted, "Don't bother, Scorch! My battlesuit can withstand an atomic blast!"

Scorch ignored him and unleashed another surge of fire. Impulse cackled wildly and smashed him with a bolt of writhing crimson energy.

"Do you really think I can pass up the one million dollar reward for your capture? I was never interested in joining your stupid 'Fearsome Five'! I simply want to turn you in to the cops!" Impulse chuckled. He beckoned and nearly twenty policemen revealed themselves, coming out of the shadows. Scorch snarled and launched a fiery barrage at the police. Most of them were able to dodge the attack, except for one unfortunate police officer who was caught in the blaze and instantly incinerated.

That was when the police all started firing their guns. Scorch hurriedly activated the anti-magnetism function in his suit. This was a new feature that utilized cutting-edge technology to repel any nearby metal. The bullets that came shooting towards Scorch simply fell to the ground as soon as they came within a meter of him. His limousine that was behind made a squealing noise as the metal was repelled away from Scorch. The shiny black car was pushed back down the street until it was out of range of the anti-magnetism device in Scorch's suit. Even Impulse was thrown backward, crashing into a pair of frightened cops.

Scorch lashed out with his powers, striking the fallen Impulse with rippling waves of heat.

"I may not be able to burn you normally, Impulse, but if I set fire to the air surrounding your head, you won't be able to breathe. If you inhale, your lungs will be utterly... scorched!"

Just like Scorch had said, Impulse began to have difficulty breathing.

"Get him while we can!" shouted one of the policemen, firing his pistol. Scorch ignored them, concentrating on taking Impulse out of the equation. Suddenly his helmeted head unexpectedly was smashed, sending him reeling. Scorch left Impulse and wheeled around to face his attacker, a terrified policewoman holding a large red brick. Scorch summoned a whirlwind of hellish flames.

Chapter Three

"P-please, don't hurt me!" stammered the woman, dropping the brick. "I'm sorry, I-I just-"

"Just leave! Go, before I change my mind and obliterate you!" roared Scorch, returning his focus to Impulse. Luckily for Scorch, the helmet had protected him from any major injuries inflicted by the brick and prevented any further pain. He would probably only have a small bruise. The policewoman fled back down the road, screaming as she went. Scorch glanced back to where Impulse was - only to find that he was no longer there.

"Looking for me?" taunted a voice to Scorch's right. He turned his head just in time to be sent hurtling backwards by a surge of laser energy from Impulse's gauntlets.

Scorch groaned as he tumbled into a cement mixer.

"Is that all you've got?" came Impulse's voice as Scorch was blasted through a wall. Impulse laughed menacingly, before releasing another pulse of energy at Scorch, sending him flying.

"Time to up the power!" chuckled Impulse as he adjusted a switch on his gauntlets. Just as he was about to make toast out of Scorch, a pair of handcuffs snapped around his wrists.

"What the?-" began Impulse.

"That's enough! You said you'd help us apprehend him, not kill him in cold blood!" said the policeman who was holding Impulse.

"It would be killing him in self-defense!" countered Impulse, but the policeman shook his head.

"He's unconscious, that's just murder."

In truth, Scorch was fine, other than some bruises. He was simply 'playing dead' so that he could gather his power for a final strike that would finish off both Impulse and those irritants, the police. However, with Impulse to be taken into custody, he could use this to his advantage...

With that, Scorch sprang to his feet and pointed at Impulse, who was being escorted into the armored car.

Chapter Four

"I see you're in a bit of trouble," Scorch smirked. "Police always break their deals, I thought you would know that by now!"

Impulse scowled and made a grunting noise.

"If you want some help, just ask! We could team up, and annihilate these pathetic liabilities!"

Impulse growled, then reluctantly agreed. With the handcuffs on and his hands behind his back, Impulse couldn't fire his gauntlets without potentially breaking his own spine. Scorch clicked his fingers, melting the handcuffs. Impulse's wrists were protected from being seared by his armor. Scorch created a sizzling fireball and allowed it to extend from his palm, before shooting it straight through the chest of the policeman holding Impulse.

Scorch laughed as blood-colored ribbons of fire exploded out from his fists, twisting and surging forwards like a fiery tsunami. He quickly took out all the other police in sight, but there were more still in hiding. He snarled and sent more curling flames everywhere, charring the surrounding rubble black. Impulse stepped out of the armored car, impressed at Scorch's power.

"Nice one!" He complimented Scorch.

However, the fiery supervillain didn't answer. Instead, he ignited the fuel tank in the armored car, blowing it up and sending a humongous plume of flame into the air. Impulse was protected from the fire by his suit - but was caught by some falling rubble. Scorch laughed and left him there.

He strode arrogantly away, glancing around victoriously. He opened the door of his blackened limousine and instructed his butler/chauffeur Glatus to take him home. But as Glatus started the engine, the bonnet of the car buckled under a wave of rose colored energy. The force of the blow blasted the windscreen in, scratching Glatus with many razor-like shards of glass.

"Pedal to the metal!" ordered Scorch, and Glatus obeyed. The car lurched forward, hitting Impulse and rolling over him. Once again, Impulse was saved from death by his battle-worn armor but was still badly wounded. Scorch and Glatus drove off and disappeared onto the backstreets.

Chapter Five

Impulse groaned as he picked himself up. His torso hurt badly where Scorch had run him down, and his limbs ached from being briefly buried beneath nearly a tonne of bricks and broken masonry. He removed his helmet and vomited a pool of blood onto the road. He groaned and spat more warm blood that dribbled down. Impulse gazed back at the carnage left behind by the battle.

The building site was in utter ruin, demolished by the explosion cause by the ignition of the armored car's fuel tank. They might as well just start over on that skyscraper, thought Impulse. About two dozen dead police officers lay amidst the destruction like mangled crash-test dummies. The scene was reminiscent of a warzone after an intense year-long conflict, complete with bullet holes in nearby buildings and scorch marks where Impulse's lasers had missed their target and collided with closeby objects.

Curling his upper lip into a snarl, Impulse limped away, red blood trickling down his chin. His battlesuit had sustained serious damage all over. It was dotted with scuff marks and scratches, and one of the knee joints wasn't working properly, hence Impulse's limp. The helmet had a large dent in the side, and all the paint had been burned off, revealing the plain metal beneath.

Impulse staggered away to a phone booth, where he called a taxicab to pick him up.

"Number 42 Twelfth Street," he said to the driver. The taxi's tires squealed as they zoomed away. Impulse arrived at the abandoned warehouse he used as a base, handed the slightly concerned taxicab driver a $50 note and stumbled out of the car. He made his way inside, spitting out a trickle of blood.

Meanwhile, Scorch was in the back of his limousine, the cold wind whistling through the broken windscreen.

"That was a very close call, Glatus." Scorch commented as they drove down toward Scorch's mansion.

"Too close, sir."

"Let's just hope it doesn't happen again."

The End