I barely saw him leave—just a blur of green and white. Jody followed, running away so quickly he might as well have teleported.
Out of the corner of my eye, Jaclyn appeared in the air, arcing upward, and landing at the edge of a third floor cell as I flew in. We both skidded to a stop on the floor, ripping the brown carpet.
Dayton stood on the walkway, past the shattered remains of the wooden door and its frame. He began to turn his head back toward us, probably noticing the noise, but even as he did, his eyes widened, and he began to pull himself over the metal railing.
I couldn’t see if he made it because fire filled my vision except for a string of errors from the suit’s readouts, all of which could be summarized by the phrase, “It’s getting too hot.”
I didn’t need to be told. It felt hot.
Anyway, one error message did tell me something I couldn’t tell from my own senses—the rockets’ fuel was nearing its autoignition point i.e. the temperature at which the rocketpack goes boom.
I dived to my left, hoping to put a wall between me and the blast. It worked. Getting out of the direct blast brought the temperature down—the difference between standing in a river of fire and standing next to it.
From inside came the sound of tearing metal and a high pitched shout. The flames disappeared, leaving a scorched path down the middle of the carpet.
On the other side of the room, Jaclyn stepped away from the prisoner, a short, blond guy she’d evidently shielded from the blast.
“Ready?” She pulled up her arms, and bent her legs a little, ready to sprint in. I took her meaning. If Destruction Boy were watching the doorway, we’d have a better chance if we moved quickly than if we carefully peered out the door.
“I think,” I said, and then stopped. “No, wait. Roachbots.”
My most recent repairs and revisions had integrated them more deeply into the suit. A few clicks to my palms later, and a couple roachbots shot out of an armored box hanging on the Rocket suit’s belt.
Near the top of my vision, a small box showed me the scene in “Roachbot Vision.” The first bot flew left once it reached the walkway, and clung to the bottom of the next floor’s walkway. The second flew to the ceiling.
I could switch between their perspectives, and did.
From them, I got an overall view of the room. Five floors of cells, each floor with its own walkway, stacked on top of each other. Chairs, tables, and a big screen television sat in the open area on the first floor.
Destruction Boy lay on the walkway opposite us and up a floor, covered by metal railings. Meanwhile, Dixie Supergirl had been flying from cell to cell, smashing open the cell doors, starting on the sixth floor. Now she’d turned, and started to fly downward toward Sean.
Well, kind of toward Sean, but more toward the cloud of steel railings and steel reinforced concrete flying above him. The roachbot couldn’t locate Dayton or Jody, but on the bright side it didn’t send me pictures of charred skeletons either.
“Sean’s taking on Dixie Supergirl. Destruction Boy’s over there, possibly hurt.”
She said, “I’ll check Destruction Boy. Bring Dixie down where I can reach her.”
“Right—” I began, but she blurred, ran to the edge of the walkway, and jumped. I followed her out the doorway, and turned on the rockets.
Above me, a chunk of railing hit Dixie, throwing her sideways into the fifth floor walkway. It didn’t knock her unconscious. Instead, she hovered there, and gave a strange, almost yodeling scream.
To say that it was loud would be an understatement. Glass started cracking everywhere. The building’s walls vibrated with the noise. The railings on the walkways blurred, and the one directly across from Dixie Supergirl vibrated so much it came loose, falling onto the walkway.
I’m sure the noise was unbearable, but I wouldn’t know. The same systems the Rocket suit used to protect itself (and me) when I attacked with its weaponized sonics activated when she screamed. After the initial burst of noise, it faded to the level of normal conversation.
Sean didn’t have any protection. He grimaced, and held his hands over his ears.
The railings he’d been hitting her with fell. The cloud of metal he’d held around himself for protection fell with them. After a chunk of steel and concrete hit him in the shoulder, he fell too.
If I were going to catch him, I’d have to fly through that crap.
Worse, if I wanted to be able to live with myself later, I’d have to try.