The flash worked better on the audience than anyone else. All around me, people were saying things like, “Can you see what’s happening?”
Amy shook her head. Tara, like me, appeared to be unaffected.
She’d probably anticipated the explosion.
Not that that mattered. What mattered was that the blast hadn’t affected Gordon either. Either his hood or something in his mask had blocked the light.
More interesting, he slapped the full moon in the middle of his uniform’s chest, and it blazed with light. He aimed it at Akesha and Patiot, Jr, putting them back into the same trance Stephanie used.
Meanwhile, Stephanie hit one of the armor plates on her costume and sound exploded out on every frequency. The force field guarding the bleachers sparked again. It didn’t go down, but I noted that for the future—if faced with a force field, test if it has a resonant frequency.
This force shield might have a weakness there.
Not that that was anything more than a tangent, and one that almost made me miss one of the more significant moments of the match.
Izzy held her ears, and at the same time Gordon started screaming at Sean. It wasn’t as if he needed to because Sean was already covering Hector and Malik in a cloud of iron dust that made it impossible for them to see.
Simultaneously, he dove for the flag, grabbed its pole out of the pillar and flew back toward his own side.
At the same time, Izzy hadn’t been completely stopped by Stephanie’s blast of noise. After her moment of hesitation, she dove for team one’s flagpole, moving quickly enough that neither Blue Mask nor Slugger had a chance of hitting her.
Blue Mask tried, but his sword missed her.
She poured on the speed, crossing back to her own side at about the same time Sean did.
I couldn’t tell who made it first.
Fortunately, they had been filming it (them and everybody else). Lee, Dr. Nation, and a couple other teachers called a quick conference, watching the video over a few times on a computer screen that stood on our side of the force field.
Eventually, an announcer said, “They’ve come to a decision. They’ve ruled that The Power brought the flag across the boundary first, and so team one wins!”
Applause came from the stands—more than I would have expected. Sean had gotten a lot of press from the video showing him and Vaughn trying to hold the alien spaceship in the air. Izzy had played a much bigger role in keeping it up long enough for us to escape, but she’d been inside.
Cameras are kinder to visible subjects.
Of course, it didn’t all have to be for Sean. I’d gotten the impression Gordon and Stephanie were well known members of the senior class. Plus, it had actually been exciting to watch.
We weren’t the only ones keeping some secrets in reserve for the fight. Gordon hadn’t ever used the glowing moon device in practice matches.
I was still thinking about that when Tara said, “Everybody up. Let’s get out on the field.”
Even as we walked out to the field, the broken stone was being sucked into the ground, and replacement barriers were growing upwards to fill their places. The jagged stone edges smoothed out, becoming rectangular. Within a minute, only the torn up dirt offered any hint that we were the second fight.
Up in the stands Earthmover talked with Senator Abrams. He’d probably been doing it at the same time he’d been cleaning up the mess.
I never wanted to face that guy on his home turf.
Both team one and team four were waiting on the other side of the force field. There’s nothing to do then, but to say, “Good job,” to everybody as we passed. Sean nodded in reply, smiling as he said something to Gordon—who laughed.
When I passed Izzy, she shook her head. “I’m so glad it’s only a demo. I should have seen it all coming.” Then she smiled. “Have fun fighting Ghost.”
Slugger grinned as I said, “Good job,” replying with, “It was a game played well. I wish you good luck in every game you play.”
Then he shook my hand.
I restrained myself from pointing out that he’d be facing us if we won, but then we’d passed all of them. I sent a message to the jet as I followed Amy out toward our flag. “Any updates?”
An alert popped up. [You asked me to notify you of anything that came up unless you were fighting and didn’t have a chance of solving the problem. You are not fighting, and I haven’t updated you. Therefore you can assume that there are no updates.]
Reminding myself that it was an alien AI that spent a lot of time alone, I wrote back, “Okay. Continue on.”
It didn’t reply.
By that point, I stood next to Amy, Rod, Samita, and Tara. Tara met each of our eyes. “As you know, we’re facing team three. We faced them in the practice sessions, and we’ve got plans for how to beat them.
“They’ve got two speedsters—Meteor and Accelerando, one of which is always on fire and the other is extraordinarily strong. They also have Night Wolf who’s both strong and agile as well as two people who will be essentially intangible—Ghost and Mist.
“This is going to be a challenge.”