“Going visible,” I said, and took the stealth suit out of camouflage mode. Now the stealth suit appeared in “classic” mode—all black with silver helmet and a silver “R” on the chest.
Waving with my right hand, I tried to get their attention while checking the comm to see if they were listed as using the common Heroes Alliance protocols. They appeared on the list as “PF AFS Unit 1” and “PF AFS Unit 2,” but they weren’t the only Protection Force people on the list. I didn’t have time to count, but there were at least ten, maybe twenty more.
Even though they should already be seeing us on their comms, I broadcasted my identity on channels commonly used for collaboration between hero groups.
My HUD identified them as unused, but this was understandable. Protection Force would have its own protocols.
In the nearly 360 degree vision that my HUD allowed me, I saw that Vaughn, Camille, and Haley were all out of camouflage mode and broadcasting their identities too.
The people in powered armor continued to close, but no one was responding to us.
I twisted around and aimed upward which turned me to face them while putting me above them with the sun at my back.
This finally gave me time to give their armor a good look. Like a lot of powered armor meant for flight, they were descended from the WW2 era Rocket suit. The bigger defense contractors had all done their own versions, and these looked like models from the early 90s.
Dull gray like battleships, they had guns hanging under each arm. One had to be a rifle, possibly automatic. The other had a short barrel that stuck out of a rectangular box that hung off the arm. The Protection Force logo (the letters “PF” on a shield) covered the middle of their chests.
At the same time, I felt the Rocket suit wobble as Vaughn turned to float next to me.
I hoped we didn’t have to fight them. Based on what I guessed about the suits, I thought I might be able to take them, but Vaughn wasn’t going to be able to take hits from a rifle.
Haley, meanwhile, had announced, “We’re going low.”
It was the smarter tactical choice for her and probably Camille too.
The two people in powered armor did almost the same maneuver I had, flying upward and hovering. They stopped about twenty feet away from us. One of them turned on the suit’s PA, “Rocket, tell your friends to get away from our operation.”
Vaughn spoke before I did. “Seriously? We’re here to help out. We tracked one of the gang members here. They’re going to attack—”
Appropriately, at about the same time that he said “attack,” reddish blasts of energy hit both of them, knocking them out of the sky.
I tipped sideways and gave the rockets more fuel, diving and twisting around again. The reddish beams hadn’t left any mystery as to which direction they’d come from. The source had been behind me, but lower. I followed the direction of the beams to see a black woman in a gold accented, red costume. A reddish glow surrounded her.
Worse, she wasn’t alone. Flying next to her was the Eagle armor, wings outstretched and weapons hanging underneath her arms. Rook, the Eagle suit’s designer, had loved the WW2 version of the Rocket suit too.
Eagle suit, meanwhile, wasn’t just flying. She fired the huge gun under her right arm into the engine of one of the Escalades, creating a hole in the hood, and stopping the car. Then she did the same to one of the armored trucks.
I didn’t want to think about the force that had to be behind that gun. The problem was, I had no choice. I was in the wrong suit for what we were doing.
I needed a different one. I tapped my palm and summoned the delivery pod.
Now we just had to survive until I could be useful.
The woman in red took a few shots at Vaughn and me, but she didn’t seem to be trying to hit. We were diving to catch up to Camille and Haley and they were avoiding fire from below.
All the Escalades and armored trucks were stopped now, and men in armor stood around them firing weapons into the sky. I’d missed when that had happened or how.
Suspecting it had something to do with Alden, I got on the comm. “My armor’s about to be upgraded. Till then we need a plan, something that slows the fight down and lets civilians escape.”
Haley and Camille stood on the top of a one story, concrete factory painted in red, blue, green and yellow. Vaughn and I landed near them.
“I think we can go for the win,” Vaughn said, and lightning stretched out and hit the Eagle suit.