Excerpt: The Attack
He broke off, feeling a sudden tingle of current: disturbed electrons, highly excited ions making his hair stand on end. “Bozhe moi!”
A second later he heard the telltale whine from the sky and a glowing Martian ship appeared as though shot from a cannon. Another vessel zipped down to join it. People screamed and covered their heads. “What's happening?” They dashed for cover behind wagons and cars. “It's the end of the world!”
Niko and Clara cowered behind a tree and watched as dagger-like projections extruded from the ship's belly. A blinding ray lanced out from one of these to strike the facade of the New York Stock Exchange. A crack appeared in one of the Greek columns.
Hands shaking, Niko set his induction gun to maximum and aimed it at the Martian ship. Zzzzzt... he could see the electrons streaming out and bouncing off the sphere. Nothing. “Damn! It's not even scratching it!”
Clara whipped out her sonic umbrella and together they aimed at the second ship. They might as well have been using toy squirt guns for all the good it did. Ignoring their futile attack, the ship struck again, shattering another column. Stone fragments flew in every direction. People fled, screaming in terror.
One more strike from the Martian attack disc and the marble roof of the Stock Exchange crumbled. The ceiling fell in with a thunderous crash. Billowing clouds of dust filled the street.
The alien ships vanished as quickly as they had come.
Screams could be heard from those trapped under the rubble. Injured people staggered away, blood streaming down their faces. Sirens began to wail. Police wagons and ambulances converged on the shattered building. Bystanders rushed to try and rescue the victims, while others stood crying and wringing their hands.
Niko and Clara found themselves clinging together. He stood up, shaking uncontrollably. “Bastards,” he muttered, his fingers clawing an invisible foe. “Goat-sucking devils' sons. I'll rip them all apart. Come on, we've got to go help—”
“No. Calm down. We've got to get away.” She dragged him off. Still clinging to each other, they pressed their way through crowds of people crying and milling about in shock.
“Are they going to blame me for this too? Even after they saw the ships?”
“They'll say that those are your ships. After all, you are the Lightning Wizard.”
New York City roiled like an anthill disturbed by a stick. People milled about in tense knots, sharing their stories.
“I thought maybe one of the gas mains...”
“I thought it was the boiler factory!”
“My husband works in there,” cried a hysterical woman cradling a stew pot. “I was going to b-bring him dinner!”
The streets radiated anguish, tension—anger at the unknown culprits. “We'll find the bastards who did this,” a man shouted. “We'll take 'em apart!”
Niko and Clara hurried past, only to hear a woman's shout behind them. “There he is!” she cried, pointing. “That's him—Nikola Tesla! He's the one responsible!”