I flew past the hotel, a thirty-three-floor needle of mirrored glass that stood near a parking structure to its left and a rust colored 19th century building to its right—though a path that led to an old bridge stood between them.
I might be ready to disappear to an alternate world, but maybe I could do something.
The dinos swarmed down the wide sidewalk overlooking the river, but without the enthusiasm, I’d seen before. A few of them pointed at me and shrunk closer to the building.
Ahead of them, Bloodmaiden could only be described as being in her element. When she wasn’t skewering dinos with her spear, she threw it, punching them with gauntlets that burned with fire as she waited for it to come back.
Anything that came near her died and she never seemed to get tired. If anything, she seemed to have more energy.
“Voice,” C said over the comm, “get into the hotel and tell the civilians to stay inside. See if you can call back the people who are already trying to leave.”
“There’s some guy in there panicking,” the Mystic said. “I’ll send you a picture once you’re in my range. If he stops egging them on, we’ll be much better off.”
Doppelgänger stood next to Bloodmaiden. Though she (I assumed) was still tall and gray, she’d modified her form. The Heroes’ League costume covered her torso, exposing her legs and arms, but the skin around her limbs had thickened and hardened. Aside from the armor, her legs and arms had already thickened to the point that they looked like a bodybuilder’s.
Muscles and armor weren’t the only modifications she’d made. She had claws too. They looked exactly like Wolverine’s in the X-Men movies except that they weren’t metal.
I wondered how well they worked in real life. It seemed like the kind of idea that someone who read comic books would come up with, but I couldn’t argue with the results. She moved in a blur. To my eye, she didn’t seem as fast as a speedster, but she was faster than most and had the strength her muscles promised. When she slashed, she cut, and her claws didn’t get stuck. When one broke, she grew another, healing her own wounds just as easily.
The two of them covered for each other, standing side by side or back to back. Above them, the Mystic slowed the dinos down, choosing the best moments to use telekinesis, tripping the front row of a charge and knocking over as many as five rows behind it like dominoes before the crowd stopped.
Ghost caused as much mayhem as her namesake, becoming visible in the middle of a crowd of dinosaurs and firing her pistols, frightening them into jumping sideways to avoid her bullets. They fell into the river on the left of the sidewalk or tripped over the bushes to the right.
As clever and as brave as they were, they’d get tired in the end. Even if they hadn’t been hurt Bloodmaiden and Doppelgänger had been hit. The Mystic would get tired. Ghost would run out of ammo.
I could make it a little easier and maybe save them from a few bad memories. I let the energy build, dropping into the middle of the sidewalk. The concrete turned black around my feet and the dinosaurs dove into the water to avoid my shield’s heat, their feathers beginning to burn.
When I felt like I had enough, I let the energy go in a long thin stream—thin as my energy blasts go anyway. It burned everything in front of me, nearly disintegrating the closest, leaving several pairs of smoking boots. Further down the block, they were less fortunate—terminally burnt, but still conscious and wailing.
Still, the League costume’s readouts showed that none of us were near the blast. I could only wish the military had technology like it.
I let off a second blast that was stronger than the first to end their suffering. It blackened sidewalk, killed grass, and burned bushes, but it did stop the noise.
With that, I took to the sky. They’d be able to handle the few that were near. More would come, too many for anyone to handle, but that would be true until we stopped them at the source.
I didn’t have time to wonder when that would be because C’s voice filled my ears even as I rose above the city. “Control’s locked on to you, but it will be easier if you hover. You’ll be translated to another universe and appear within one of their domes. When you’re done, we’ll move you to the next.”
Hovering above the city, I watched more dinos step out of the gates, beginning to fill the holes I’d made in their ranks. They sniffed the burnt remains of their fellow soldiers when they reached them, looking around as if expecting to be attacked.
“How will you know when I’m done?” I asked.
C said, “The Rocket built a cross-dimensional transmitter into the costume’s comms. You’ll be able to tell us and we’ll be able to lock in and watch you. Ready?”
“Ready,” I told him.
The world changed around me, blurring, but then the sky disappeared, replaced by a giant concrete dome, supported by steel beams. Below me, eight black and silver discs glowed and dinos walked up ramps to stand on the platforms, disappearing when they reached the middle.
I dropped, letting the energy fill the shield around me, feeling it vibrate, hearing it hum. I knew what it would take to equal the blast of a small nuclear bomb.
It wouldn’t take as much as you’d think.