I raised my left arm, fist pointed upward, shielding my chest. My right arm hung near my waist, ready to punch.
I didn’t punch Skewer.
Pushing down on two buttons on my right palm, I blasted him with the sonics.
As his blades changed back into hands, and he tried to cover his ears, I punched him in the stomach . It wasn’t a particularly fair tactic, but Lee had liked the idea when I first mentioned it to him so I’d practiced it along with my other combinations.
I didn’t pull my punch either.
Skewer flew backwards towards Payback — which would have been impressive if I’d intended to do it.
It also wasn’t as good a thing as it sounds.
According to the paper I’d read while researching the group, Payback created a force field that absorbed kinetic energy — which he could then choose to release. In short, I’d effectively just charged him up.
Neither Skewer nor Payback went down. Skewer slowed as if landing on a giant cushion, not quite hitting Payback.
Then I heard a noise that sounded like a small cannon firing, or maybe a large burp. Either way, Skewer flew back at me just as fast as he’d flown away.
Fastball specials seem a lot cooler when you’re not on the receiving end.
Skewer hit me, knocking me over, but not really getting much use out of it at first because he kept on rolling.
Unfortunately he stopped himself just a few feet past me, and leapt at me before I managed to move.
Transformed back into blades, his hands hit the middle of the Rocket suit’s chest. I felt the impact, but not much.
He stopped, frowning.
I began to raise my arms, ready to give him another taste of the sonics when Cassie said, “Hey, over here.”
Her legs still surrounded by ice, she held up a flash grenade, giving it just the smallest of throws.
It blew up in Skewer’s face. My helmet filtered it, but he screamed as it went off, and kept on shouting as Cassie pulled a small, metal tube off her utility belt, pointed it at him, and extended it instantly to quarterstaff length, hitting him in the head.
He fell over, blindly rolling into the ice surrounding Cassie’s legs as he tried to push himself up.
I aimed the sonics at the ice, and watched cracks appear across the side facing me. Cassie hit Skewer in the head a second time, and then brought down the staff, shattering the ice.
He shouted, and fell to the ground, but still didn’t fall unconscious.
Just past Cassie, I could see Jaclyn, but couldn’t see Spike at all. Judging from how Jaclyn seemed to be looking toward the top of Radotron Industries’ roof, it didn’t take much to guess that she’d knocked him further away this time.
I wondered where Haley was, but didn’t have time to think about it.
Cold Cash had just frozen Cassie, Jaclyn, and I again, catching Skewer along with us.
Meanwhile Cold Cash shouted, “Hey brother, sorry ’bout that,” — presumably to Skewer.
We had to do something about that guy.
Well, both of them actually.
As Skewer remolded his body, cracking the ice around himself, I shattered Cassie’s ice a second time with the sonics.
Jaclyn shrugged off her own, running toward Cold Cash and Payback.
Skewer stood up, and Cassie hit him full in the face with the staff again.
When he slashed toward her with his hand/blade, I punched him in the back of the head as hard as I could.
That time, he hit the ground and didn’t get up.
I felt a moment of sickness in my stomach as I realized that I’d left a hand sized dent in his skull, but then the metal molded itself back into a more normal shape.
I felt suddenly better except for worrying that he might not be unconscious after all.
When he still didn’t get up, I turned toward the building.
Haley stood over Cold Cash’s body, but didn’t look triumphant about the win. I guessed that she must have used poison, something she seemed unnecessarily sensitive about.
Jaclyn stood in front of Payback, pounding him with her fists, but not doing any visible damage.
I couldn’t think of a good way to warn her that Payback was just absorbing everything except by shouting, “Accelerando, stop. He’s–”
With a big booming noise, he shot enough concussive force at her to send her upward into the air, out over the lawn, and into the street. She hit one of the police cars that must have just shown up.
Then he turned toward Haley, but she jumped up, flipping backwards to land on the roof of the building.
He blasted again, caving in the front wall. Bricks flew inward and the roof sagged.
Haley jumped off and landed on the grass.
I gave the rocketpack some fuel and shot over there, landing between the two of them.
I couldn’t punch him without adding to his available power. Sound being basically concussive force, I couldn’t use the sonics either, but my armor could probably take anything he could dish out.
“Rocket,” I heard from just behind me, “I can take care of myself.”
I didn’t say anything. I tried to think of something I could do.
Then I heard the sound of roaring wind and Vaughn shouting, “Hey motherfucker, eat lightning!”
Jagged white lines filled my field of vision, and the sound of thunder buffeted my ears.
Lightning would definitely work.