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Once he was an ordinary high school kid. He excelled in sports, and his grades were average, but then a strange and wonderful thing happened. In a freak accident, his very atomic structure was merged with that of a scientist, and the two joined to become Firestorm, The Nuclear Man!

Those days of a shared existence are forever over, but now College student Ronnie Raymond carries on the tradition he started with Dr. Martin Stein , as he fights the good fight, and struggles with maintaining his grades as well as knocking the villain of the week back into the last one! He has the power of atomic manipulation, can fly through space and can fire nuclear blasts capable of leveling a city block! But he still can't get to class on time!

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man

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Firestorm #8

Trials and Errors

By Ralph L Angelo Jr



Ronnie Raymond, secretly the super hero known as Firestorm, sits in his Bio-chem class, next to Jennie Graf, the pretty blonde he's been keeping company with of late, as his teacher Prof Jacobs, finishes a diagram on the black board before turning back to the class.

"And that class, is the rudimentary circulatory system. This is important, and will be part of a test next week. So brush up on related curriculum , I'll see you next week."

Jacobs closes her text book, as the class begins to stand and make their way out.

"Ronald, I'd like to see you a moment please?" The thin woman with the short grey hair and the polite smile asks.

"Sure, excuse me a minute, Jen." Ronnie walks up to Jacobs desk.

"What is it , Professor?"

"How are you Ronald?"

"I'm fine, I just needed a few days rest after all the excitement recently." *

*See our last few issues.

"Good Ronald, I'm glad to hear it. Now as to what I wanted to talk to you about, I noticed your grades are falling slightly , of late. I'd like you to put a little more time into your studies, and not so much into your extracurricular activities."

"I-I don't exactly have many extracurricular activities, Professor. I work my butt off trying to get good grades here, but you have to remember, it's been a few years since I was in school."

"Yes Ronald, I remember. You had some sort of modeling career since high school." It wasn't a question, but a statement.

"Yeah, it left me a few good bucks to live on. Nothing major, but I should be able to get through four years of college on it, and basically only work a part time gig every so often."

"Good, so then you should have more then enough time to spend on your studies. Seriously, Ronald. I need your grades up in this class."

"Okay Professor, I'll do better. I promise."

"That's all I ask, Ronald. Have a good day."

Ron and Jennie walk out of the classroom and into the bustling hallway.

"What's the matter Ronnie?" Jen asks in her slight southern drawl, while looking in his eyes, at his face.

"She just told me that she wants my grades up. Why do I feel like I'm her pet project or something?"

Jennie looks back towards the classroom they just left and scowls slightly. "Ronnie, I don't know, maybe she just cares about her students? But I have to tell you, it is weird how she's tough on you."

Ron turns towards her, almost startled. "You noticed that too?"

"Yes, I did. I don't really understand why she's so interested in you. Maybe you remind her of a relative or maybe she had a son who died or something?"

The two continue walking, out into the daylight, and towards the dorms.

"Your roomies home?" She asks

"I think so. They only had classes in the morning today."

"How do you like sharing a room with two guys you never met before?"

"I'm used to the shared living thing, I've lived in big groups before." 'Boy, if she only knew' He thinks to himself, referring to his Extreme Justice days.

They walk and chat in small talk along the way, entering the dorms.

Finally arriving at Ronnies dorm room, they open the door, and Ron's two room mates turn around from the couch where they're watching a video tape.

"Hey Ronnie! What's up man?" The, tall thin muscular boy with the curly red hair asks.

"Not much Brian. What are you and Marco doing?"

Just watching 'Episode One', again."

"Hey Ronald! Whatchu doin' man?" Marco waves from the couch gleefully.

"What do you think, Marc. Getting reamed out by my bio teacher. Typical college stuff, I guess."

The young man on the couch, Marco, smirks. His black hair and overstuffed belly shake slightly as he laughs. "Yeah big man, ain't it fun?"

"Not really, but it sure brings back memories." Ron answers.

Brian McCormick suddenly snaps his fingers, "Oh man, I think you got a message on the machine I think, It didn't sound like anyone I know either."

Ron walks over and pushes the button, just as Brian and Marco both yell "Wait a second!"

But it's to late, as the answering machine begins to roll through its message.

"Ronnie, are you there? It's Loraine* We had a date on Saturday, and you stood me up. What's going on with you? You chase me down for weeks, and then you blow me off? Why'd I even bother giving you a second chance." Then the machine Clicks.

*Reilly--Firehawk.

Everyones face turns towards Jennie, whose own face is stark white, as all the blood drains from it, she turns angrily towards Ron.

"You said you were single, and that you liked me. Why'd you lie to me? Why'd you have to lead me on. I thought you were nice. A friendly face in a place that was so different from what I was used to. But you lied. You're just like all these other creepy New Yorkers."

She turns and walks out quickly, angrily. He hand covering her face as she disappears into the hallway mass of students.

Ronnie turns back to his room mates, anger coloring his own face. "Nice move, you idiots. You just cost me somebody I was really starting to like."

"B-but Ron--" Marco Rollo begins, as Ron cuts them both off with a slashing hand motion, as he storms off into the hallway and then outdoors, searching for Jennie, when suddenly he hears screams coming from the other side of the campus.

"Oh great, what now?" He asks angrily to no one in particular. He runs behind a building in the opposite direction of everyone else, once there, and once he makes sure he's alone , he pulls the mental switch that turns him into Firestorm, the Nuclear man!

Firestorm arcs upwards, over the low buildings, and espies what everyone is running from.

"What the heck is that?"

Ba-KOOM!

Firestorms vision is drawn directly to an explosion, as he arcs straight towards the billowing smoke.

Suddenly a large , dark rounded figure steps forwards from the smoke. A dark armored suit , whose head turns towards Firestorm immediately.

"There you are." The electronically enhanced voice bellows, I was looking for you, Firestorm. Time to die."

He raises both hands and fires explosive beams, that pass through Firestorms intangible form harmlessly.

"Wake up, big guy. You can't get me that way."

"The names 'Karbon' , Firestorm. My mission is your destruction."

"Riight." Firestorm grumbles low under his breath. "You really picked a bad time to call me out, doofus."

Firestorm punctuates this with a nuclear blast from his right hand, knocking the big armored figure off of its feet.

Shoom!

"This is going to be messy, Mr Roboto." Firestorm fires a beam at the suit, seeking to turn it into oatmeal, but the results are not what he expected, as he suddenly screams in agony!

Shkow!

"Arrgghh! Wh-what?" Stammers the surprised Nuclear man

"Surprised you, did I Firestorm? That's an energy field made to feed back your matter restructuring energy upon you."

Firestorm shakes his head as he floats in the air. "Okay, that hurt, and was a surprise. But that's one for you, now it's my turn."

Suddenly the armored form streaks upwards on flaming rockets from each boot slamming into Firestorm. "No Firestorm, I'm still as you say, at bat."

Thoom!

An instant later Firestorm goes intangible, allowing the big, armored figure to pass through him, before spinning around, and blasting it with another nuclear blast!

Ta-KOOM!

Karbon spins out of control, as Firestorm fires another nuclear blast, slamming the dark armored figure into the grass on the campus grounds .

Shoom!

"Gotcha, Shake THAT off, creep." ' Wow, this guy's strong.' He thinks 'That last tackle of his almost killed me! I have to take him down, fast!'

Firestorm turns the ground around the big armored assassin to steel, encasing him in it, leaving only his face showing.

"Okay creep, maybe I can't affect you directly, but indirectly, I can kick your butt. Now who are you, and what's this all about?"

"It's about testing you, Firestorm. A test you passed, better then I could have imagined. We will meet again, I assure you. "

"What?" Firestorm begins to stammer out, when suddenly, Karbon explodes!

Pa-KROOM!

Instantly, and instinctively, Firestorm creates a steel dome over the explosion, containing it, and saving anyone still nearby form total annihilation.

He lands silently, and dissolves the dome.

"He's gone. Killed himself. Nothing left at all but pieces of his metal suit. Maybe it was a robot?" Firestorm asks aloud.

Miles distant, a man removes a helmet from his head, and his eyes glow momentarily as he fits form fitting goggles back over them. His lanky form and bald head we've seen before, the goatee bristles on his chin with excitement as he begins to pour over data coming into his computer , as his white lab coat shakes to and fro with his quick movements.



"Yes Firestorm." Dr Zero Begins, "We will most definitely meet again."










Next : Screams in the night. The Scream killer epic begins

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