More than one bullet hit my suit, failing to get through the layers of protection provided by a combination of alien materials with design elements created by both myself and my grandfather. The costume might look like a motorcycle racing suit, but it was a Rocket stealth suit with more protection and a few new ideas.
The bullets didn’t bounce off. The outer layer absorbed force, causing the bullets to sink in, but then fall to the ground. The few that did bounce off had less force than before, landing at worst a few feet away and lying there.
It’s not as if it felt good, but on the other hand, I also didn’t have holes in my body. One shot did hit my helmet. That one bounced off, ricocheting into the wall.
Not wanting to find out what V8 would think about more destruction, I decided to fire back, pointing my arms at them and activating my paralyzation weapons. Since becoming a superhero, I’d encountered two different ways to paralyze people. One used electromagnetic radiation and the other sound. Supers on both sides had figured out how to counter each one.
I’d created new versions of both and combined them in one weapon.
So I aimed them at the two Syndicate L goons nearest me—which included one guy and the woman who’d been carrying C-4. They both went down, bodies falling on the concrete floor on top of their guns—which had to hurt.
At the same time, they weren’t dead and the guns didn’t fire off.
If my paralyzation attack hit the big vampire, it showed no sign of it, running toward Mateo. Then Mateo’s sword blazed with light and the huge creature leaped to the left, away from Mateo and directly at me.
That wasn’t how I’d been hoping this would go. If I were in the Rocket suit, I’d have been fine with going toe-to-toe with it, but not as V4. The V4 suit was stronger than a normal guy, but not strong as supers go.
I jumped forward, toward the people I’d paralyzed, and passing the big vampire as it landed where I’d been.
The vampire took a swipe at me with its clawed hand, but I was just out of reach. It didn’t get time for more than that. Mateo charged it, stabbing the creature in the gut. It bellowed but didn’t go down.
On one hand, it didn’t go after me—which was great. On the other hand, there were two more Syndicate L goons. They’d recovered from facing the wrong direction when the door opened and followed the others. That meant that now that I was standing next to the paralyzed Syndicate L people on the ground, I was less than five feet away from them.
Their eyes widened as I landed, though that might not have been as much because of me as watching Mateo fight the vampire behind me.
Either way, they looked as surprised as I felt.
Not wanting to lose the moment, I held out my arms and sprayed them with paralyzing sound and radiation.
One of them fell to the ground, hitting with a solid thump that might have knocked him out even if he weren’t paralyzed. The other one was faster or smarter. Either way, he stepped sideways as he saw me raise my arms, moving toward the other side of the room and raising his gun to shoot me.
Shaking his head as he did, he stared at the three people scattered around me on the ground and then over at the vampire behind me and said, “What?”
I felt like I knew exactly what had happened. Somehow, the combat around him had snapped him out of whatever ability vampires used to control people. On the other hand, assuming that the Syndicate L people were mind-controlled, that he’d broken it, and wanted to be friends was a lot of assumptions to make on the basis of a, “What?”
I took advantage of his confusion to barrage him with all the paralysis I could manage.
This time he fell to the concrete. If I felt odd about that, I quashed it. All of the Syndicate L people were victims, but they were also hired thugs, and right now Mateo was fighting the big vampire alone.
Mind you, he was doing a great job. The vampire hissed at him and swung with its massive arms as Mateo ducked the blow and slashed the creature’s thigh as he moved out of the way.
Screaming, the creature twisted to swing at him with its other hand and Mateo ducked again, backing toward me.
The vampire, meanwhile, wasn’t moving as well as it could. In the base’s humid air, its skin had begun to glisten with moisture. More interesting, the bloody slash in the creature’s thigh appeared to be burning. It wasn’t a roaring fire, but more like a fiery vein in a log that had been burning all night.
As I noticed that, it turned to face me, and I realized that the stabbing wound in the creature’s gut burned with the light of a single small candle.
I wasn’t the only one to notice. The vampire did too.
It covered the wound in its gut with its right hand and the moisture on it caught fire for a moment, burning with a bright, white light.