I wondered if I should smash the window. It seemed a little bit overboard to smash it just because it was so covered by construction dust that I couldn’t see through it, but while the V4 had many abilities, I hadn’t thought to include tools for window washing.
As of last night, it now included the ability to spray holy water, but I didn’t want to waste it on washing a window.
In moments like this, I wished that I’d been less cautious about people recognizing my technology. The sonics might well have worked if I’d thought to include them.
On the other hand, so would a wet sponge.
Maybe if I opened the gauntlet around my hand and wiped it with the glove inside? It would work but getting that much dust inside the system seemed guaranteed to screw up something.
Trying the same thing without removing the gauntlet would scratch the window at the very least.
I shook my head. Putting this much thought into it was a waste of my time and what was the worst thing that would happen if I broke the window?
Brushing the hard, ceramic gauntlet over it, I listened as the window screeched, but thanks to years of working with better than human strength in different versions of the Rocket suit, I didn’t break it and did clear away enough dust that getting a decent view was possible—in about four inches of the window.
I leaned forward and it was everything I’d feared.
The police would have included people who weren’t mind-controlled and had an interest in doing the right thing. Syndicate L hired professional criminals, mercenaries, and dedicated members who were willing to follow orders for the right money. They might break with orders to save their own lives, but they had enough resources behind them that it took a lot to make them scared.
The lights in the sky were five more people in powered armor and one big one, at least 20 feet tall, that was more of a mech. On the ground, they had at least seven humvees with weapons, all of them probably military surplus. I’d heard that the military had a replacement for the vehicle, so I could only guess how many were out there now.
Deciding that I wanted a better view, I put the suit’s gauntlet up to the window and started to swipe across it again. In that moment, my HUD lit up with a new comm connection, this one from Amy.
I took the call, forgetting about the hand on the window, and watched as cracks spread out across the glass.
“Crap,” I muttered. Actually, I might not have said “Crap.”
“Something wrong?” Amy asked.
“Pretty much everything,” I said.
She laughed, “I got that impression. We’re teleporting straight to you. What are we jumping into?”
“This,” I sent her a picture of everything in my HUD—the landing stairwell, iron railing, the painted ceiling and the now cracked window.
“Got it,” she said. “We’ll be there just about… Now.”
And then they were there, all three of them. Amy stood, spear in hand, wearing the black, accented with glowing red, Bloodmaiden armor. Rod wore the black trench coat and mask that he wore before transforming into a troll. Samita wore the red, hooded jacket and pants she wore as Red Hex, carrying a wooden staff with iron ends. I felt sure it was a new staff.
Rod wiped a spot on the window clear with his gloved hand, frowning down at the smear of grime on his glove. Looking outside, he said, “Yeah, that’s pretty bad. Where do you need us, upstairs or outside?”
“Honestly? Both.” I took a breath, calming myself down. Between the fight outside and running up the stairway, my heart was still racing.
Amy glanced toward the window and than back at me, “I’ll go with… V4, right? Do the two of you think you can handle everyone outside?”
Giving a half-smile, Samita said, “We’ll manage. I think we’ll have to be careful, but—“
“Fuck careful,” Rod took a running leap and transformed on the final step before the window, turning from your average, bearded philosophy grad student into a massively muscled, wide-mouthed, drooling troll that was bigger than the V4 suit.
He ducked to avoid hitting the window frame with his head, or, more likely, his upper chest. As the glass blasted outward, he gave a deep roar that shook my suit.
I expected him to land on one of the humvees, but that wasn’t his plan. His leap carried him straight for the big mech. Almost as large as the mech, he pulled it into a hug with one arm, and started pounding on it with the other.
They dropped out of sight even as the people in powered armor turned to figure out what had just happened.
Shaking her head, Samita said, “Well, I’ll be careful.”
She took a step toward the window and then stopped, turning toward Amy, “You be careful too. Don’t absorb too much of them.”
Amy sighed, “Thanks, ‘mom.’ Don’t forget that I’ve got more than one thousand years of collective experience in avoiding that.”
Mouth in a firm line, Samita started walking toward the window, giving one glance back before she floated out, “It didn’t work for all of them.”
Taking a deep breath, Amy shouted after her, “Good luck to you too!”
Samita faded into invisibility even before she’d floated outside. My suit’s composite sensor view couldn’t find her either.
Deciding not to wonder how that worked because magic routinely gave physics the middle finger, I turned to Amy, “Avoiding sucking vampires souls shouldn’t be too hard, right?”
“No! It’s not hard at all.” She glared at me and let out a breath. “Let’s start up the stairs.”
She peered at my suit, “Did you know there’s a hole in your suit’s leg?”
“That’s why we’re taking the stairs,” I said.
Not replying, she started running and I followed her.
Behind us, lightning began to rain down from the sky, hitting suits of powered armor on its way down toward the ground.