I didn’t even try to reply. The man with glowing golden spider legs had taken another swipe—only this time not at me.
He’d tried to stick a limb through the chest of the guy in the suit. He’d have succeeded too except that I saw it, grabbed the guy and jumped out of the way.
That put the two of us on the left side of the room with Sam, my lookalikes, and the kidnapped guys.
It left Rod alone in the middle of the room with glowing guy.
I pushed the suit toward Sam, and turned around with the gun in my hand, ready to fire. I didn’t just see glowing limbs reach out toward Rod. I also saw where the gun’s beam would go, the depth it would penetrate, and the distance it could go through air before becoming harmless.
I could fire at the speed of thought, and it wasn’t fast enough.
Before I’d turned completely around, glowing plasma hit Rod in the chest. He’d gotten off the desk, and had been putting his hand in his pocket when it hit.
He fell backward to the floor.
I expected to see burned skin or worse. Honestly, I expected to see much worse, but I didn’t.
He grunted, but pulled a handful of what looked like sand out of his pocket and threw it at the glowing guy.
It expanded, sparkling, and surrounding the guy in a glittering,dusty cloud.
The gun labeled it a “NON-RATIONAL EVENT,” but I didn’t pay a bit of attention to that. Sam must have enchanted his trench coat to be some kind of armor. It seemed rational to me.
Besides, the gun could fire at the speed of thought, and I was firing.
You know how the glowing guy’s weird, plasma legs held him above the ground? I widened the beam, and chopped through the legs behind him.
The beam burned through easily, and blasted a hole into the wall to his left. When he didn’t fall, I swung the beam downward, cutting through the limbs in the middle, aiming under his real legs, and ignoring the gun’s commentary.
He fell, plasma draining out and burning everything around him—melting the floor, and nearby metal table legs.
Rod backed away, turning back into troll-form.
Thanks gun. Hadn’t noticed.
Limping, he still managed to move fast enough to avoid the expanding puddle. Then he grabbed the nearest table and threw it at glowing guy.
When he hit, glowing guy shouted and pushed the desk off himself. Cracks in the casing covering his body repaired themselves as I watched.
The holes I’d made in his artificially generated legs had closed, and a few of them looked like they were growing, but not as quickly as before. The guy moaned.
Meanwhile, the Nine’s soldiers were running out of the room. It figured. They had good reasons to run. We were beating their tough guy—who’d by the way, killed a bunch of them while fighting us.
The other good reason dripped from the hole the gun had made in the wall. Muddy water was slowly but steadily landing on the floor.
When the first drips touched the spots the plasma melted, it steamed.
We were right next to the Potomac River, we were underground, and the gun had a lot of power behind it. It kicked Nick’s guitar in the ass for sure.
No surprise if it had punched most of the way through to the riverbed. Not from what the gun’s specs said.
“Hey, everybody,” I said, “We better get out.”
Rod turned back to human, nodding toward the escaping soldiers. “Yeah, they’ve got the right idea.”
Sam said, “Are they really running, or are they waiting in the hall to ambush us?”
I used the gun’s senses, and answered. “Running. Some of them even left their weapons.”
She glanced back where the glowing guy lay on the floor. He’d rolled over, but he wasn’t trying to chase us.
“What about him? He looks… hurt. We should do something.”
I shrugged. “We leave him.”
She looked like she was about to argue with me, so I said, “He’s not going to die. The second he feels better, he’ll attack, and none of us can take him for sure. He even tried to kill that guy.” I indicated the suit with my thumb.
He looked like he was about to bolt.
“Come on,” I said, and caught his eye. “I’ve got some questions I want answered.”