Trees & Shields: Part 19

I wouldn’t have been able to find her without the implant. There were too many people moving too quickly for me to pick out details. Beyond that, the frequent blasts of energy didn’t help, forcing my helmet to darken to protect my eyes.

The implant buffered the last few minutes of whatever I’d seen or heard and could sort through it with a computer’s attention to detail. So when I started to look for her, the implant tracked her through the last few seconds and made her blink in real time.

I wondered how many things I could have used that for since we’d gotten here.

Even with the implant, it still wasn’t easy to pick her out of the crowd when needed. She ran with other members of the Ascendant Guard, shielded by even more Ascendancy soldiers.

I needed to get over there and take her out before she took down the inner ring’s shields except there was a problem. Like us, they had implants, and unlike us, they weren’t afraid that Kamia would target them if they stayed connected.

The upshot of that meant that if they saw me flying that way, almost everyone in the Ascendancy forces could shoot at me. That meant that even if I were willing to die to take out Kamia, I might not make it over there.

For the record, that kind of noble suicide was far from my first choice.

The problem was that I didn’t see another obvious option so I decided to do my best to avoid becoming an inspirational story.

I shot upward and then down like a ballistic missile, going on the theory that  most people don’t look up and that even if they did, they wouldn’t be shooting at me much on the way up and I’d be moving too quickly for them to get off a good shot on the way down. Also, I was assuming that even if my theory was wrong, I’d still take less damage than if I flew over the top of the group.

It didn’t turn out to be that simple.

By the time I flew over the top of the remaining shields in the outer ring and dove toward Kamia she’d already moved closer to the wall. Worse, I realized that Cassie wasn’t firing at her with the gun—which she should have been because Cassie knew how much of a danger Kamia was.

Instead, Cassie frowned and put the gun into its holster, pulled out her sword, and ran in our direction. At the same time, I realized that Kamia had smiled. It didn’t take much to figure out why.

At the same time, the notion that they wouldn’t fire at me much on the way down? That turned out to be wrong. Despite all the different noises, at least one of them must have picked out the whine of the Rockets amid the white noise of energy blasts.

Then they’d passed on my position to all their best friends and everyone who could took a shot at me. Fortunately, while I might have been wrong about how easy it would be for them to hear me coming, I’d planned ahead.

As I flipped over, I’d fired off as many of my regular bots as I could. They might not be able to penetrate the average Ascendancy soldier’s armor, but that wasn’t their job here. I set them to target the front of soldiers’ helmets and explode.

Once they hit, I turned on the sonics, setting them to alternate between high pitched frequencies that would hurt or maybe deafen the soldiers and frequencies that I’d found worked against their shields.

While it didn’t destroy them in an instant, it worked okay. Small explosions in the soldiers’ faces left them stepping back into other soldiers while the Guard members with working shields didn’t do any better. They had to wipe bot bits and soot off their shields.

That didn’t mean I wasn’t a target though. Ascendancy soldiers that weren’t right below me started firing from the moment I started downward. I didn’t get hit more than three, maybe four times before I twisted and aimed for Kamia.

The bad news was that it wasn’t exactly a surprise to her that I was coming. She didn’t have much warning, but she had enough to turn and bring up her gun. At the same time, her expression—a dropped jaw and wide eyes—didn’t show confidence.

This time her gun’s opening shot grazed the side of my suit without penetrating and I aimed both arms sonics at her shields, giving the strongest blast I could without risking damage to the sonics themselves.

Her shield went down in a flash of blue-white light.

6 thoughts on “Trees & Shields: Part 19”

  1. I took another lap of the series and I’ve caught up.. So that’s annoying that I now have to wait like I was before.

    Also, is the Coffeeshop Illuminati actually run by the evil beatnik?.. I miss that guy/thing(?)

        1. The Coffeeshop Illuminati were a group of supers that appeared in the Compound Kids arc. Some of the other supers in the Stapledon program were connected to them. I didn’t connect them to Evil Beatnik, but it wouldn’t be hard.

  2. Nick has really upped his tank build. Quite a bit of the story he has been the second or third strong, second or third fast, tough etc. Here he is taking the hits and keeps coming at them like a terminator.

    Go Rocket! Go Rocket!

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