Answering my unvoiced question, Kamia, her own force field glowing, led a group of Ascendancy soldiers, all of them bigger and more muscular than average. Neves, larger than any of the others, ran next to her.
All the rest of them wore form-fitting, red, reflective armor that showed the symbol of the Ascendant Guard on their chests—a clawed, feathered beast that reminded me of a gryphon.
Not all of them were running either. Four of them were flying, but not far off the ground. Instead of flying far above the group, they flew with them.
My implant supplied me with the information that they threw bolts of plasma, much like Solar Flare back on Earth, but less powerful. On the other hand, superheated plasma was still superheated plasma and there were four of them.
Plus, all of the Guard members had force shields. Even if they weren’t as powerful as Kamia’s, they still wouldn’t make this any easier.
And it wasn’t. The resistance fighters were firing at them the moment the Ascendant Guard appeared. Blasts of energy weapons exploding or bouncing off the Guard’s shields.
Sometimes in stories, I’ve read scenes like this described as strangely beautiful.
The blasts of light against the shields weren’t pretty. They meant that people on our side were going to be dying soon.
It also meant that these people were our problem. I didn’t know if we could take them, but no one else could—well, except for Tikki. And she had more to think about than our survival. If using her powers—even the weaker form of them she’d given Tikki—meant that she called attention to herself far worse things could happen than having a challenging fight with Kamia.
It wouldn’t just be Kamia either. Right behind the Ascendant Guard ran all the troops that the Ascendancy forces could spare from battering our shields. The implant estimated the currently viewable number at one hundred, but it felt like thousands.
Some twenty feet behind the Guard, the regular Ascendancy forces didn’t seem to be any hurry to face us. That or the Guard didn’t want them to be close.
Whatever the reason, the plan was obvious—have Kamia take down the shields and then everyone else would rush in. It was obvious enough that we’d even come up with a counter earlier, though a far from perfect one.
I looked over at Jaclyn, “Do you want to do this?”
Her answer was only to tighten her jaw, let her helmet enclose her face and leap upward at an angle that allowed her to land outside the outer ring. I activated the rocket pack and flew upward with her—sort of. Jaclyn took off more quickly than I did, but I passed her near the top of the arc.
She reached the ground before I did, landing in the middle of the Ascendant Guard and beginning to punch and move, knocking them back before they could respond.
As for myself, I slowed before I landed, aiming the sonics at them, setting them to find the frequencies that made the shields become unstable.
More than one shield popped, but I couldn’t stay there and keep it up because hovering in one place would make me a target for every Ascendancy soldier with an energy rifle and all the plasma throwing flyers as well.
And anyway, Kamia had to be the real target if we were to prevent them from taking down the shields.
So that’s why I twisted sideways and aimed myself toward the ground, landing in front of her.
As I landed, my suit took a blast of kinetic force from Neves, throwing me backward. I didn’t know what the Guard did to prepare for battle, but I suspected it involved punching Neves until he’d built up enough of a charge that he had all of his powers available.
It hurt and I almost fell over, seeing him stop flinging bolts of force in my direction and run toward me.
Neves might have been able to kill me then, but he spasmed as arcs of electricity crossed his shoulders and upper chest.
Rachel faded into view, floating above Neves, her hand touching his shoulder. His eyes widened as he realized the source of his pain and possibly recognized her as being similar to the Cosmic Ghosts. He swung at her, his fist traveling through her body at a speed that would have hurt me, Rocket suit or not.
Then he blurred, moving away from Rachel, and aiming himself at me. From what I’d seen of him, he was on par with the Cabal’s reserves except more disciplined as a soldier. He would have hit me and I couldn’t guess how much damage he might have done, but he never got the chance.
Jaclyn rushed in from the right, hitting him in the side with her shoulder, knocking him sideways and out of my reach. From what I’d seen of his abilities, she’d also powered him up, but I didn’t have time to think about that. Kamia had pulled out a gun, but oddly she didn’t fire it.
Her eyes narrowed and for a moment I felt something almost like telepathy. My implant reported, “Communication attempt. Probably hostile.”
I’d turned off its ability to communicate with the outside world and wasn’t sure how it would know, but I didn’t have time to think about it as I aimed my sonics at Kamia and all the other Guard members as they rushed me.