I checked the the sky, searching it for Vaughn’s cloud.
It floated above the field, smaller than most clouds, and, it struck me, smaller than the last time I’d seen it.
Daniel hadn’t been joking about not being alone in the air. At least fifteen people flew toward the cloud, dark figures outlined against the moon and stars.
I couldn’t see details, but if Daniel and Vaughn were going to get any help, it would have to be from me. Rachel and Marcus could fly, but not very quickly.
“Do you have this?” I asked Jaclyn. Glancing past her toward the barn, I saw some of the people on the ground stirring. Blowing them across the lawn into the barn might break bones, but it wouldn’t be a finishing move for everybody.
“Go,” she said.
Leaving the scene of Lee’s fight, I gave the rocketpack fuel, and shot upward, feeling like I’d left my stomach back on the ground. My GPS pegged the origin of Daniel and Vaughn’s signals as off to the right of the cloud. I kept low, maybe twenty feet above the ground, until I got near them and then aimed upward, letting gravity stop me just a little short of their altitude.
Most of the people flying toward us wore black vests like the Cabal regulars on the ground, and none of them looked like gang members.
Daniel floated about ten feet from Vaughn, close enough to telekinetically shield him.
In my head, Daniel said, “Ranged weapons when I say so.”
Evidently we were out of range of Prime’s psi-blockers.
The flyers moved more slowly than I did, but they stayed in formation, spreading out into a crescent shape as they got closer.
About half of their people held guns, and started firing, most of their bullets vanishing into the darkness, but some were on target.
I got hit a few times, but the bullets bounced off the armor. Meanwhile, Daniel used his standard technique of combining telekinesis, and precognition to create small shields of telekinetic force that didn’t stop bullets so much as alter their path.
I thought it was a clever way to combine powers, but could only wonder how much more quickly he’d be tired.
Daniel didn’t say to go until they were twenty feet away from us.
Vaughn concentrated, and roaring winds came from either side of the group blowing them together. That stopped the gunfire.
I fired the sonics at them, creating a loud pitch within human hearing range. As people held their hands to their ears, Vaughn stopped with the wind, and started throwing lightning.
Three people fell instantly.
One of the people still flying had the presence of mind to spray some kind of liquid from his mouth, but Daniel had apparently anticipated it and blocked it before it had the chance to spread out.
Instants later, the would be sprayer flew sideways, slammed by invisible force, and fell from the air.
Before any of us had time to think, the few of them that were left came within striking distance. Vaughn blasted away with lightning, creating flashes of light, and loud thunder.
Not that it hurt my ears. The Rocket suit had very good filters against loud sounds, but Daniel flinched a couple times.
As they did all that, I punched people.
I must have run into all the tough people back on the ground because these guys didn’t take much more damage than a normal human being. I took out three or four within the space of a few seconds, and then Vaughn, Daniel, and I were alone in the air.
“I don’t think the fall killed anybody,” Daniel said. “I slowed them down.”
Vaughn said, “Should have let them fall. Jerks.”
He sounded tired.
“Really?” Daniel asked.
“Not really. I don’t want to kill anybody. I’ve made enough stupid mistakes for one life.”
The winds keeping him in the air blew a little less, and he dropped a few feet.
“Crap, I’m tired. Do you think they’re done?”
I looked over toward the barn. Prime and Lee were still at it. Jaclyn, Cassie, Marcus, and Rachel were facing off against the guy whose leg Cassie cut off, the huge guy that Daniel dropped through the roof of the barn, and all those who hadn’t run away or been taken out by Vaughn’s mini-windstorm.
“We’d better go down there,” Daniel said.
He sounded tired too.
“Maybe you guys should hide, or sit in Night Wolf’s car or something? I’ll go down. I’m not tired at all.”
And I wasn’t. I’d fought a few people, but the armor did most of the work. That or I was still feeling the adrenalin.
Daniel eyed Vaughn for a second and said, “Good idea. We’ll figure something out.”
I turned my attention to the ground. The guy whose leg Cassie cut off jumped twenty feet through the air, landing directly in front of Cassie.
She didn’t run. She clicked on the button that shrunk her staff, and drew her sword.
Meanwhile Jaclyn and Marcus traded blows with the huge, bald guy. Being dropped through the roof of the barn had done him depressingly little damage.
I gave the rocketpack more fuel, shot across the distance to land a few feet to the side of Cassie, and with an excellent view of the Lee/Prime fight.
Lee/Gaius had acquired a few more slashes and holes, and Prime, though he’d regenerated all the damage, didn’t seem as fast as he had earlier.
I don’t know whether it’s because he was tired or because the noise of the rockets distracted him, but either way, Lee cut off Prime’s head just after my boots touched the ground.
The head rolled across the grass and dirt, coming to a stop just a few feet in front of me.
You might wonder what a person thinks at a moment like that. The answer: nothing particularly profound.
For example, all I thought was, “Holy crap. Head.”