“I’m… just a guy,” I said, “but I’ve got a couple wizards on speed dial. You guys need to rethink what you’re doing. This is too loud for us to ignore.”
The vampire froze and then started shouting at me. No longer the image of sophisticated vampiric nobility, it hissed, “It’s all your fault! We were quietly turning Syndicate L into a tool for finding victims and recruits, but then a few of us got greedy and you people,” he waved his hand, including the mind controlled supers as well as Mateo and me in the gesture, “decided to raid us.”
He looked over at Nanosecond as she stood next to him, unmoving. “We weren’t loud before, but we’ll defend ourselves now. Kill them!”
Many things happened at once. The vampire looked at me, showing his teeth and stepping in my direction. At the same time, the flying vampire head flew upward toward the ceiling, Nanosecond blurred, running toward me, and Mateo’s rapier glowed with a brighter light.
It would have been nice if it stopped there, but it didn’t. A reddish glow grew around Chromatic as he chanted and raised his arms in a spell while all three hamsters charged Mateo and I. Athletica ran after the hamsters.
Unlike Nanosecond, my physical speed wasn’t any better than a normal person even if my mental speed was. The good news about connecting my weaponry to my implant was that my weaponry could respond at the speed of thought.
I blasted the room with noise and electromagnetic radiation designed to paralyze. The radiation was outside human sight and the sound outside human hearing, but that didn’t stop devices on Mateo and my utility belts from buzzing and counteracting the sound around us.
Nanosecond, to no one’s surprise, came at us first—and by “us,” I mean me. Even though I could fire at the speed of thought, I still had to aim at the speed of my arm. The good news? I didn’t have aim much. Paralyzation beams were a weapon where close was good enough.
My HUD showed the beam crossing the lower half of her body and her upper legs. It wasn’t as good as a headshot which would have taken her out, but it had an effect—she fell over, catching herself with her arms, but unable to bend her upper legs.
She struggled to right herself on her arms and knees, her butt sticking up in the air.
The beams also caught one of the karate hamsters, Rembrandt, I think. That was the one that did the spinning kicks. He fell face forward, turning the fall into a roll and ending up on his back.
I had to admire the thoroughness of his training even if it didn’t help when you can’t control your legs.
Beside me, Mateo held out his sword and the vampires shrank back in the light. The other hamsters didn’t. Mateo kept his sword in between one and himself.
The other hamster reached out and punched at Mateo’s face. Catching the punch in one hand, Mateo said a word from no language I recognized.
The hamster shook his head, eyes wide and looking over at the other hamster, “Hieronymous! Stop fighting, man! The vampire got into our minds.”
Hieronymous didn’t listen, giving Mateo a punch to the gut that I saw coming, but didn’t have time to do anything about. Mateo seemed to crumple inward, still holding his sword, but taking a quick, indrawn breath. Hieronymous’ specialty was pressure points if I remembered correctly.
As Mateo stumbled backward, the hamster he’d freed stepped in between him and Hieronymous. By process of elimination, that had to be Vincent.
Vincent sunk into a ready position, left arm upright as a guard, right arm near his waist ready to become a punch, “He’s one of the good guys, remember?”
Hieronymous didn’t say anything, but Athletica pushed herself off of a car bumper into the air, aiming herself toward Mateo. In the same moment, the red glow around Chromatic turned into a blast of fire that Mateo blocked with his sword.
I didn’t have time to find out what happened after that because the flying vampire head dove toward me with its mouth open, fangs ready to sink into whatever part of me it could reach.
My right arm turned out to be closest. It aimed for my bicep, but I twisted, punching it with my left arm and sending it flying sideways with its ears flapping to right itself, hitting a car with a metallic thump.
Even as I felt a touch of relief, a hand grabbed my left arm, yanking me sideways.
While I knew intellectually that vampires were strong, I hadn’t been thinking about it. Now I had no choice. I couldn’t pull away.
I used my implant to connect to the motorcycle as the vampire grabbed my other arm. “Nice armor. I wonder how well it will withstand my teeth?”
My bike’s engine came to life.