The comm clicked and I heard C’s deep, bass voice. “Critical Mass. Please go to Gateway B. They’ll need your help.”
Taking a last look below, I let more power in. The sheath around me glowed with more energy and I flew upward, flying over the line of 19th century buildings with their carvings and decorations.
On the other side, the buildings changed from Victorian leftovers to modern parking garages—even if one of the modern garages looked Victorian, all red brick and ribbon-like carvings in fake stone around the corners.
I had no time to investigate the architecture, either to appreciate it or mock it. Dinosaurs filled the streets between the fake Victorian parking structure and a more normal gray, concrete parking structure that actually looked like a parking structure.
I’d seen them making the gateway disappear and reappear further down the street. What they’d gotten out of it was a force that appeared to be converging on the hotel. And how much sense did that make? While I understood that they ate people, it wasn’t where I’d send my forces if I had any control over them.
What bothered me was that there seemed to be so many more dinosaurs than I’d seen on the other streets, and it wasn’t because the other team had been slacking off.
They’d recognized what was going on, placing Night Wolf’s car and a cat shaped mech in front of the hotel. Both of them had sonic weapons like the Rocket’s suit and used them to keep the dinosaurs away while they fought. The Wolfmobile had fired off missiles that left tanks and a few of the twelve foot tall dinos burning on the ground. The Catmecha’s laser in combination with its clawed feet cut through the crowds that came near the hotel.
If that weren’t enough, Railgun stood between the two vehicles, spraying slivers of metal into the crowd like a giant, silver-gray humanoid machine gun. Occasionally, she’d shoot down one of the small, winged dinosaurs.
A large dumpster stood behind her. To my eyes, a quarter of it had already been absorbed and fired away.
By themselves that might not have been enough to control a crowd of dino soldiers that spread down nearly two blocks from the hotel, but that wasn’t all. Walls of impenetrable darkness around fifteen feet tall and just as thick surrounded the front of the hotel.
That must have been Shadow’s work, but I couldn’t see where she was. Storm King stood on the roof of the modern car structure.
A dark cloud hung over the block and lightning flashed from it into the dinos.
“Same thing as the last time?” I asked.
C said, “That’s right.”
I did, dropping as I let energy into the sheath and then let it free in a burst of light and heat. I aimed it down the street, carving out a gap in the crowd that was almost as wide as the street and more than a block long.
Screams of pain erupted from the dinosaurs during the beginning of the burn, but by the time I’d finished it was much more quiet. I hadn’t killed them all. They’d stayed alive on the sidewalks and the side of the road. I could only fire down the middle of the street unless I wanted to annihilate buildings and start the downtown on fire.
Night Wolf’s voice came over the comm. “That clears them out. Damn. I think we’ve got a fighting chance now. Thanks.”
Again, that wasn’t completely true. The dinos were still stepping out of the gateway in the intersection in front of the hotel, but ones that had survived the blast weren’t in any hurry to mass in the street and charge. They stayed next to the buildings, still cowering.
“Uh-oh,” the Mystic said. “New problem. The hotel residents are leaving.”
He wasn’t wrong. The hotel’s lower floor had clear glass and people were filling the lobby, many of them carrying suitcases, and running for the door.
The comm crackled and Voice said, “I’ve got this.”
Stepping out of shadows near the front door, she stood in front of doors. As they opened, she pointed at the hotel. “You can’t come out here. Back inside.”
You wouldn’t think that a terrified mob would listen to a slim, blond woman in a pink and white costume, but you’d be wrong. They turned around and went back into the lobby.
“Bad news,” the Mystic said. “They’re going out the other side of the hotel—the river side—and running toward the parking garage. Worse news, a bunch of dinosaurs made it to this side too. Bloodmaiden, Doppelgänger, Ghost and I are going to do our best to hold them off, but we could use any help you’ve got.”
Before anyone else said anything, the Rocket broke in. “You know how we didn’t get here instantly? We didn’t know where all the dinosaurs went before we showed up, but we’ve been seeing them at other downtown hotels. Accelerando’s been helping, but we can’t do much from the jet—“
C said, “Rocket, Night Cat, and Critical Mass, we got coordinates from Guardian. Expect to be translated over at any time. Blue and Blur join Acclerando in checking the hotels.”