Scorch: Thunder and Lightning is the fourth issue in a series of short stories by Telos.

Chapter One

Scorch's boots clacked against the pavement as he strode purposely through the wrecked gates into the apparently deserted scrapyard. A barbed wire fence surrounded the yard, which was full of wrecked and rusty cars, many of them stacked on top of each other. Scorch noted the body of the caretaker several meters away with a large hole in his chest.

Suddenly an overhead light sizzled to life, illuminating the scrapyard in a blinding glare. The light revealed two figures standing several paces in front of Scorch. One was a beefy man with long and ragged hair wearing some sort of armor. The other was tall and rather thin, with wild electric-blue hair and a leather jacket.

Scorch smiled behind his mask. They were Thunder (the beefy one) and Lightning (the one with spiky hair), two brothers who had become powerful supervillains in a nuclear experiment. Scorch had contacted them and requested this meeting.

Scorch stepped forward and firmly shook Thunder's hand, then Lightning's.

"I have a proposal for you," started Scorch. "I am going to gather four of the most powerful supervillains in the area, other than myself. I intend to -"

"Hey Scorch," cut in Thunder. "You can generate flame right? Can you gimme a light?" Thunder gestured to a cigar.

"No," replied Scorch. "Smoking is for fools. It is extremely detrimental to your health."

"Are you callin' me a fool?!" roared Thunder, raising a massive fist.

"Yes, I am!" replied Scorch, a fireball blazing into existence around his fist.

"That's it!" yelled Thunder, preparing to punch Scorch. In turn, Scorch prepared to ram the fireball into Thunder's face.

Chapter Two

"Enough!" screamed Lightning, just as the two were about to seriously injure one another. Lightning (who was obviously smarter than Thunder) used his electrical powers to conjure a force field between Scorch and Thunder, preventing them from attacking each other and giving them both a mild electric shock.

"Thunder, let's listen to what Scorch has to say. His offer could be pretty good. Scorch, just light Thunder's cigar. If he wants to kill himself via lung cancer, just let him." Lightning said.

Scorch grumbled for a few moments, but then a flame blossomed in his fist and Thunder lit his cigar and held it between his teeth, puffing out a plume of swirling smoke. Scorch resumed his speech.

"As I was saying, I intend to unite the five most powerful supervillains in the area, including me of course, under my banner, and we can become the Fearsome Five, and take down the heroes one by one! After we have beaten all the opposition in the state, we can expand our ranks and take down the entire region, and eventually the whole United States of America! The rest of the countries have far less super beings who might oppose us, and we might even be able to take over the world! Then we can rule with an iron fist, and make things however we like! You two are among those top four supervillains! You can rule the world!"

Lightning thought for a few minutes. He whispered something in Thunder's ear, then spoke to Scorch.

"Thunder and I will join you and your 'Fearsome Five' only for a bribe of $500000." He said.

Behind his helmet, Scorch's face went red with anger.

"You value money over world domination? You're both idiots, and I never should have requested that you join me! I'll find someone else!" Scorch yelled.

"Don't be a fool Scorch, listen to yourself! I am not beyond reason," replied Lightning. "I'm flexible, and I might be willing to decrease the fee to $400000, and the answer will be a yes."

Scorch's face went purple, and flames flew from his fingers.

Chapter Three

Lightning rolled out of the way, the fiery heat missing him by an inch. Scorch rounded on Thunder, gesturing upwards. As if on cue, searing fire exploded out from beneath Thunder's feet, roasting him to a crisp. He was temporarily blinded by the roar of flame, and his metal armor had the yellow trim charred off. Thunder collapsed onto the dusty ground, alive but stunned.

Lightning snarled, unleashing a supercharged bolt of electricity at Scorch, who dived out of the way just in time. Lightning relentlessly attacked him with more white-hot electricity, and Scorch was only just able to shield himself behind a car.

"Attacking us with your powers is not going to increase your chances of us joining you, Scorch!" yelled Lightning mockingly, as he blasted the car Scorch was hiding behind with lightning.

Thunder slowly got to his feet, rising to his full height. He took a moment to clear his head, then lumbered up beside Lightning. Using his powers, Thunder generated deep vibrations in the air, rattling the car. He blasted the car out of the way, only to find that Scorch was not there any more.

"Hey, eat this!" mocked a voice from above.

Thunder and Lightning glanced upwards to see Scorch crouching on top of a wrecking machine, grinning evilly. Using the 'camouflage' function in his suit, Scorch had been able to crawl away from the ruined car without Thunder or Lightning noticing. If they had looked a little harder before, they would have noticed an elusive shadow scamper out of the way.

Scorch opened his palm, forming a writhing yellow fireball. Scorch tossed the fireball down at Lightning and Thunder, who both dodged it deftly. Unfortunately for them, although the blazing sphere did not hit them, it still burned the earth in front of them. Scorch was then able to manipulate the flame to trap Thunder and Lightning in a fiery circle.

"Join me or burn!" snarled Scorch.

"Oka-" began Lightning.

"Only if you give us cash!" interrupted Thunder stupidly.

"Then die!" shouted Scorch. As he said this, the flames grew in size until the fire ring was a raging inferno. Then the flames spread inwards.

Chapter Four

Lightning panicked, struggling to think clearly. He probably had only minutes to live, and Lightning was not going to use it saying goodbye to Thunder. Suddenly, an idea sparked in Lightning's brain! He might live!

"Thunder!" yelled Lightning to get his attention. "Use your powers to vibrate that wrecking machine!"

Thunder nodded, not even bothering to ask Lightning why. There was a deep rumbling noise as Thunder vibrated the machine Scorch was standing on. Scorch stumbled, struggling to keep his balance. Thunder increased the density of the vibrations, and Scorch fell backwards, banging his helmeted head against the hard metal.

Scorch would have smashed into the ground seven meters below, but he was able to grab onto a piece of twisted metal with one hand and was now dangling helplessly. Losing his concentration on the ring of fire, it thinned into a mere flickering flame, like a candle in a breeze. Thunder and Lightning stepped out, sweating heavily but not harmed.

Agonizingly slowly, Scorch pulled himself up, using his free hand to grab onto a metal ridge that jutted outwards. He hoisted himself back onto the top of the wrecking machine - only to be sent hurtling back to the dusty ground by an electric shock from Lightning.

This time, Scorch was not so lucky. He slammed into a boulder so hard that he would have broken several ribs had he not been wearing his suit. He groaned softly, and painfully got to his feet.

Renewing his attempts to defeat Lightning and Thunder, Scorch rushed at them, unleashing a surge of flame. Lightning dodged the fiery assault and sent Scorch flying backwards with a bolt of energy. Scorch landed hard in the dust, spraining his wrist.

Lightning thrust his arms upwards, and the sky flashed. His eyes gleamed gleefully as a strike of lightning cascaded down from the boiling black clouds and electrocuted Scorch with over 1,000,000 volts (not amps!).

"Leave, Scorch!" demanded Lightning. "We're done with you!"

Chapter Five

Lightning paused, allowing Scorch to crawl to his feet.

"What are you doing!" yelled Thunder. "Let's just kill 'im now, while we can!"

"No, Thunder. Scorch, you are to be gone from here in the next three minutes, or else I WILL destroy you."

Scorch nodded gloomily, and left the scrapyard as fast as he could with his sprained wrist. He stumbled past the entrance, and limped back to his limousine, driven by his loyal butler, Glatus.

"Sir, you are wounded-" began Glatus, but Scorch cut him off.

"Not now, Glatus, just take me home. I can heal my wrist myself, and I have plans to make."

"As you wish, sir."

"Thanks, Glatus."

The shiny black limousine took off down the road in a cloud of dust and smoke, leaving Thunder and Lightning far behind. Scorch sighed angrily, realizing that his team would have to something like the Threatening Three. Then again, there were several other well-known criminals that could join instead, like Dragon's Breath or Shadowbane. But none of them would be as efficient as Thunder and/or Lightning.

Eventually, the sleek black limousine pulled up in front of Scorch's mansion, & he climbed out of the car. He strode up along the path, tugging off a glove & placing his right hand on the scanner. The steel door slid open, and Scorch entered, ascending into his shadowy mansion. He called down to his butler, "Will you arrange a meeting with Impulse for me Glatus? 10am tomorrow morning at the building site on Thomas Street."

"Yes, sir!" Glatus replied from downstairs.

Scorch removed a gauntlet, and tightly wound a black sliver of cloth around his wrist, fastening it with a safety pin. Then he removed his armor and thought about his actions. I should have just given them the money... Scorch thought. Why did I get so uptight? What's $500000 to a billionaire anyway... Stupid money, stupid Thunder, stupid Lightning, stupid me. he thought.

He staggered upstairs to his bedroom, where he collapsed onto his bed. The bed was king-size, though Scorch and Glatus were the only people who ever lived in the mansion. His floor consisted of polished mahogany floorboards covered by a thick expensive rug. A crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, but Scorch rarely used it. He settled his exhausted head onto the pillow, and felt sleep tug at his eyelids. He closed them, and found he was asleep in seconds.

The End