Standing slightly behind Stephanie, Slugger and Blue Mask stood on either side of their flag pole. Sean and Gordon flew above them—at least at first. Team one had either opted for a defensive strategy or they’d been too slow to go on offense.
The way the wind had blown the broken bits of rock away from Stephanie argued that it was more likely to be intentional than not.
On the whole both teams were playing to their strengths. Team four had three fast moving, practically invulnerable members (Izzy, Akesha, Patriot, Jr) whereas everyone on team one was physically human normal so far as I knew—however fast Gordon or Sean might be.
On the other hand, team one had Stephanie who could immobilize from a distance, and Slugger and Blue Mask. I assumed they had to be useful somehow.
While I’d been thinking about each team’s strengths, I noticed one other thing.
Stephanie had changed something about the glow coming from her helmet, and Patriot, Jr and Akesha weren’t moving. Red, white and blue costume smudged with dirt, Patriot, Jr stared ahead, unmoving. Akesha’s powered armor had shed all the dirt, but she stood next to Patriot, Jr, all in grey, but equally unmoving.
Izzy didn’t stop.
She’d started a little behind the other two and flew a little slower, but she kept on going.
I zoomed in on her with the helmet and realized something obvious—she had her eyes closed. Viewing her with sonar showed that she was navigating entirely through sound alone.
She began to descend, aiming straight for where the flag on its flag pole stuck into a hole at the top of a stone pillar.
“Rocket. Look over there.” Amy pointed at team four’s flag pole. Sean and Gordon had left their own side to fly toward the other team’s flag. They didn’t quite look like they were acting as a team themselves.
They flew a distance away from each other, and not a tactically useful distance—it was whatever distance happened.
Gordon was using the wind to batter the glowing golden force shield Hector had put up around himself, Malik, and their flag. Sean had apparently pulled black dust and some larger rocks off of or out of the ground, and he was hitting the shield too.
They weren’t battering with any kind of timing though. Gordon’s winds scattered Sean’s dust. Sean’s dust blocked Gordon’s view of the target.
All the same, Hector stood on one knee, eyes closed and gritting his teeth. He wasn’t going to last much longer. Next to Hector, Malik stood with his bow in his right hand and several arrows in his left, ready to fire the moment the shield went down.
Like that was going to help in these winds.
As I began to wonder what Izzy was doing, Tara said, “Team four will probably lose.”
Amy said, “What? Oh, fu—”
At the last word of her sentence, the ground shook, and I turned my attention to the other end of the field. Slugger had hit Izzy with his bat, and judging from the crater she was floating out of, it might have hurt.
She still had her eyes shut, but she was moving her head from side to side, seemingly unsure of what she was seeing.
Using passive sonar, I examined that end of the field, finding exactly what I expected. Stephanie had hit on the same technique the Heroes’ League used to defeat Dixie Superman—force her to use sound only and then construct illusionary soundscapes. I’d noticed hard spots in Stephanie’s armor. I’d thought they might just be armor, but they could easily be sound generators.
The Rocket suit’s sonar showed the flagpole as being twenty feet to the left of where it actually was, and hid Slugger.
Slugger drew his bat back as she floated in place, probably guessing that all wasn’t what it seemed, and trying to see through the illusion.
That’s what I guessed anyway, but it turned out that Izzy was smarter than that. She opened her mouth and sang. It wasn’t beautiful. It reminded me of a fire engines’ siren combined with a train’s horn. It sounded like several notes at once, some of them clashing with each other. My suit identified them as frequencies I used to damage electronics.
I’d told her how to do this once, but she’d obviously been practicing.
She blanketed the area with sound, and even though she wasn’t pointing it toward the bleachers, bright lines ran through the force field in front of us. On the ground, Slugger and Blue Mask held their hands to their ears.
A number of the armor plates on Stephanie’s costume sparked, and for a moment she shuddered, finally bending over.
That broke Patriot, Jr and Akesha’s visual connection to the front of Stephanie’s mask. Patriot Jr’s jaw dropped as he took in the scene. Akesha began to run for the flag, her armor beginning to blur.
Almost at the same time a blindingly bright light came from the other side of the field. The Rocket suit blocked it out, but people in the stands covered their eyes.
Hector’s shield had fallen, and Malik had fired off an arrow with a flash grenade on the end—an arrow that didn’t have to hit to work.