Demo: Part 21

I had a bad feeling the creature wouldn’t be on my side, and the fact that it was outside the wards made me suspect it was magic.

I desperately needed to tell people that it was there as soon as the fight was over.

Well, assuming it was real, and not the result of staring at a HUD filled with shades of grey (but not the sexy kind). I zoomed in, and saw nothing in that space.

I checked on Stephanie, finding her still covered with goo. She’d pulled out a knife, and was trying to cut the strands connecting her to the ground.

She wasn’t getting anywhere—which was good. I’d never be able to keep both Sean and Blue Mask contained if she were mobile. Speaking of which, I realized, I wasn’t going to keep them long anyway. All they had to do was get up the will to get out of my range, and they’d be free.

That touched off another thought, a very obvious one. As long as I was pointing my arms in their direction anyway, I used my tongue to fire off goobots at each of them, tapping to manipulate spots on the HUD.

I set them up to fire simultaneously, and each bot’s goo spread out in a perfect pattern, hitting each target and gluing them to the ground. I’d still have to keep the sonics on them though. Blue Mask’s sword might be able to cut through the goo, and Sean would be back in the action if he could concentrate on more than how much his guts wanted to escape.

All the same, I was beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t grab the flag and take the consequences. Before I’d decided to, the flag moved and as it lifted out Amy faded in, holding the flagpole in one gauntlet covered hand.

She glanced over her shoulder at me. “Ready?”

“I guess.”

Flag now in both hands, she took to the air. Nodding “We’d better hurry.”

I followed, the rocket pack roaring.

She wasn’t wrong. Even as we flew, a gust of wind blew Samita into the air, causing her to drop her staff on the ground, and carrying her past the far end of the arena.

As she hit the ground, tumbling, one of the massive stone balls rolled past on the track, followed by another, and they weren’t the only ones on the track. Samita wasn’t going to be climbing over without a realistic possibility of being turned into paste.

That left Gordon free to help Slugger—which he did by directing a blast of air into Tara’s face. She turned her head to avoid the wind, and in that moment Slugger hit her in the knee with his bat.

I may have imagined it, but I thought I heard the crack as it smacked against her costume.

I assumed that, like the League’s costumes, hers contained armor, but it didn’t hold up to Slugger’s swing.

She fell over, landing on her side.

Slugger said something to her, and she replied, but then he jumped the distance to our flag, pulled it out and began to run toward the line that divided the arena in two. If he made it, we’d lose.

Amy dove, aiming toward our side, eyes closed to avoid Gordon’s glowing moon device. As she did, I aimed myself upward and to the right, toward Gordon.

I couldn’t see the details of his face very well, but when I turned my attention to him, he was obviously concentrating, jaw tightly closed, on Amy.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her drifting left toward the bleachers, jerking rightward to fight the wind.

I slammed into Gordon with my shoulder, his armor taking most of the blow, but not all of it. He gave a wordless shout as I hit his lower chest and brushed past him.

It wasn’t a major hit—just momentum, and not even a full on hit. As I twisted around for a second round, the Rocket suit’s sonar hinted at the state of his ribs. It looked like I might have broken a couple.

From below came a deep throated growl, but that disappeared as the wind began to roar, reminding me of tornado emergency training videos I’d watched.

I could feel the air beginning to twist, and a sinking feeling in my stomach told me that whatever was coming would be bad.

The announcer’s voice cut through the growing noise, “Bloodmaiden has crossed the line. Team two wins! Participants should report to medical personnel immediately.”

I looked down, seeing Amy on the ground with the flag, but better, Rod pushing himself up from the ground, letting Slugger stand.

I’d hoped attacking Gordon might bring him back into play, but hadn’t dared to expect he’d be quick enough to seriously help.

It was great when this kind of thing worked out.

Whatever happiness I might have been feeling took a little bit of a hit as I noticed the main bleachers, the ones for the special guests.

People were already filing out—which meant they’d been filing out during the match. A few of them were running.

I glanced at my message queue in the HUD. Seven new messages appeared even as I turned my attention to the message center.

7 thoughts on “Demo: Part 21”

  1. Good, solid bit here. It does feel as if you intentionally reduced the combat scene detail here a bit, but this makes sense, as Nick is preoccupied to some degree with whatever it is outside the match.

    The only concern I have about this is that Nick seems to be far more able to focus in the face of distraction than we’ve seen before. Not that he hasn’t been growing in terms of leadership ability and focus, but there’s no confusion here, almost like he’s channeling Tara or something.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it just seems a little abrupt. Of course, the whole alien invasion thing might have had something to do with it too.

    Also:

    I normally don’t bug people about commas, but this sentence dragged at my eyes.

    “I assume that like the League’s costumes hers contained armor.”

    ‘like the League’s costumes’ should be separated out with commas, I’m pretty sure.

    1. I’ll definitely fix the commas.

      I may have to look at the rest in context later. It’s a little harder to be objective about larger issues without rereading.

  2. I just realized something. Bear with me while I get to it.

    There is some sort of Fae something or other happening around Nick and crew right now.

    Are the Fae aware of Lee/Gunther’s presence?

    Do any of the magical heroes have any clue what he is?

    I strongly suspect there’s going to be quite a reaction if Lee exposes himself to either the Fae or the magical heroes.

  3. Been a while since I’ve read/commented, Jim, glad to be back!
    Nick does seem focused, but not overly so. My first move once the sonics worked would have been goobots, but it took him a while to think of it. They’ve been doing constant combat analysis of these teams and creating strategies, it isn’t weird he’d be more confident with exactly what to do.
    One thing that did nag me was him flying off with Bloodmaiden. I’m sure his fuel systems were repaired by then, but he should have been out of fuel, yes? Or does his suit make more? That was unclear to me, but not the biggest deal.

    1. Glad you’re reading again…

      For me, a fight varies in it’s ability to confuse me. If I’ve trained to handle something, I can often handle it without thinking. On the other hand, you train more with some moves than others, and more with some combinations of moves than others. If you haven’t practiced something, you’ll have to think. My assumption is that Nick might not train with that particular combination of moves very often. Immobilizing someone with the sonics followed by immobilizing them again is redundant and would be hard to anticipate.

      As for the flying, the error message was simply wrong. Computer systems could easily interpret a broken fuel system as an empty tank.

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