The split screen showed two very different scenes. The view from the jet showed the spread of the cloud creatures. In moments they would have her completely surrounded in roiling white, gray and black sphere.
Izzy’s side of the screen showed only creatures, mythological and real, as far as the eye could see.
“Shift? Railgun? Whichever of you has the com,” Izzy said. “Get the jet on the other side of the creatures. I’m going through and I’ll need a fast exit.”
Izzy’s speed had slowed down from more than the speed of sound to practically nothing. Russian Victory had righted himself and his sidekicks were following him in.
Marcus’ voice came over the air. “You’re sure you can go through?”
“I’m sure,” Izzy said quickly. “No time to talk.”
The jet’s view changed as it flew to the other side of a growing sphere of phantom creatures.
“Railgun,” Marcus said, ” have the anti-personnel lasers ready in case something follows her.”
“You want me to shoot them?” Sydney barely sounded like she believed him.
“Well,” Marcus said, “not really. A blast of scary, bright lasers would be good enough.”
On Izzy’s side of the screen, the man on the flying carpet held up his hands and said a word.
Marcus asked, “Hey Hal, can you translate?”
Haley turned to me, frowning. “He’s not asking me, is he? I don’t know Russian.”
A computer voice said, “The translation is ‘Halt’.”
Courtney started to laugh. “Your AI’s name is Hal?”
I stared at the screen. “It wasn’t.”
Of course, I’d never asked the AI what it’s name was, and it hadn’t formally introduced itself either. For all I knew, it’s name might actually be Hal.
Hopefully it wouldn’t start pointlessly killing everyone on the ship any time soon.
The man on the flying carpet said something else. The AI supplied a translation.
“He says, ‘You’re flying through Russian airspace. Identify yourself and explain why you’re here’.”
Izzy didn’t say anything, and my program noted that her comm had been set to mute.
I’d figured out why even before she started, but not much.
The center of Izzy’s screen changed as she turned her head to the right, putting the man on the flying carpet and fiery bird woman off to the left.
What was now in the center of the screen was a dragon–all black with glossy scales, grey claws, and white teeth. It dwarfed anything near it, crouching as if about to attack, wings ready to unfurl.
Then the camera started to vibrate, causing everything on the screen to turn blurry. For a moment it wasn’t obvious if this meant turbulence in the air or something else.
Then it became very obvious.
The dragon disintegrated, turning from a recognizable form into nothing, bits of a gooey substance scattering into the sky.
Izzy had screamed, her own internal sonic weapon making the ones in my suit look like a car horn by comparison. My grandfather had been very aware of the difference when he’d fought Dixie Superman.
The man on the carpet held his hands to his ears while the carpet carried him further away. The flaming bird woman’s flames went out for less than a second and she began to fall.
Then her body erupted into flame, and her wings grew, but Izzy didn’t wait for it. She flew forward toward where the dragon had been. She’d annihilated everything around it, leaving a hole fifty feet wide.
As she flew through, the creatures turned toward her and tried to close the gap, but they didn’t have time.
She was free, flying upward toward a glowing hole in the sky. She reached the hatch of the League jet and stepped inside as the door slid shut behind her.
“Blue’s on board. We’re on our way home,” Marcus said, and the jet began a long burn, accelerating so quickly the Russians had no chance to catch them.
I leaned back in my chair. It was over–finally. Well, at least this stage of the project was over. From this point forward we’d only have to worry about the bugs.
“Whoa,” Vaughn shook his head. “Glad she didn’t use that against us back when she was doing the supervillain thing.”
Amy raised an eyebrow and looked at Vaughn. “Supervillain? That’s hard to imagine.”
Vaughn grinned at her. “I know, right? Izzy’s not supervillain material even if her grandfather was. She got mentally influenced by Evil Beatnik, and flew to Grand Lake to get revenge.”
“Exactly,” Jaclyn said. “Except you’re wrong about that one. When she broke into the county jail, she used it while she was fighting the Rocket and I. Sean and Jody were there too, but they weren’t much use.”
Vaughn nodded. “I remember hearing about that now.”
I sat up in my chair again. “I think we met up outside afterward. Be glad you missed out. With all the concrete falling, you might have died,”
Haley backed away from the table. “Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been on vacation and missed all of that.”
“I don’t,” Cassie said. “I had a great time that summer. It’s time to think about now though. Do you think the fight with Russians messed the plan up?”