Who was the second glow? Russian Victory Jr.? Victoryboy?
The way I remembered it, all Russian superheroes were state sponsored. The ones that weren’t state sponsored were officially criminals no matter what their motivation.
A third glow appeared behind the two I’d already noticed, reminding me of something. Russian Victory was part of a group of three soldiers in powered armor. My grandfather had mentioned it was connected to Russian folklore somehow.
For the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of the group though.
Marcus’ voice came over the speakers. “Blue, do you see what’s behind you?”
“I see them. I’m going to try to outdistance them.”
That was the smart play. If they couldn’t catch her, they couldn’t fight her, and Izzy was one of the fastest people I’d ever seen in the air.
The only thing that bothered me about that plan was that if she couldn’t quite outdistance them they might follow her back here. They probably didn’t have that much fuel available, so that wasn’t likely.
“Got it,” Marcus said. “Don’t forget that if you get stuck, we can paint them with lasers. We don’t even have to burn them. Knowing that somewhere out there in the dark is something that can hit them might be enough.”
“I’ll remember,” Izzy talked quietly, almost grunting as her speed jumped toward Mach four. “Wait until I say something. Let’s not escalate if we don’t have to. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
By then everyone in the room was watching the screen again. Courtney took a breath as Izzy dove downward, hitting Mach 4 while flying only a few hundred feet off the ground.
I didn’t even want to think of what that might sound like to someone on the ground. It was lucky for everyone that this was one of Russia’s less populous regions.
At least it seemed that way at first.
Frighteningly, the Russians kept up. On the jet’s side of the screen, it was easy to see why. The Russian powered armor was considerably bigger than it needed to be to hold one person–maybe twenty feet tall.
I didn’t know precisely how their armor worked, but you could store a lot of energy in one of those. Of course, given the smooth, aerodynamic design of these suits, it seemed possible that they existed solely to chase invading metahumans off Russian soil.
Izzy twisted and shot upward.
Only one of them turned at the same moment she did. The other two didn’t hit walls or anything like that. They were flying over a wide open area. The darkness didn’t give me much detail. I couldn’t tell whether it was a grassy plain or farmers’ fields, but I couldn’t see any mountains.
Izzy dove again, following a long, rolling hill. Russian Victory stayed on her tail. The other two stayed in the distance.
Cassie leaned toward the screen, both hands on the table. “Izzy or Marcus could end this easily. Choose the right moment and hit them with Izzy’s scream or the jet’s guns and they’ll go down.”
“And hit the ground at Mach 4?” Courtney asked. “They’d die.”
Daniel cut in before Cassie could reply. “Courtney’s right. Plus, they probably saw Izzy fly in. If they’ve guessed she’s from the US we’d create an international incident.”
“Not that we won’t have one anyway,” Amy said, “but if no one dies they can ignore it.”
Haley had moved closer to me as more of us crowded in. She grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze. “I wish I could help her somehow.”
Though I could barely see her with Cassie standing between us, Jaclyn nodded. “You and me both. All I can think as I watch this is that I’m not fast enough to make it there if she gets in trouble.”
Vaughn grinned. “And when you’re saying that, you know she’s far away.”
On the screen Izzy flew higher, and I realized why. Wherever they were, it wasn’t empty any more. Now they were flying close to cities.
Izzy’s altitude showed as 30,000 feet, decreasing the chance that the constant stream of sonic booms she must be creating would hurt anything.
The flame coming from the end of Russian Victory’s Rockets increased as the cities grew closer. The distance between him and Izzy shrunk as well.
Sydney’s voice came over the speakers. “This is Railgun. I’m handling the weapons console. Shift wants me to ask you if you want me to fire.”
“Tell Shift I’ll ask for help when I need it.”
Almost at the instant she stopped talking, she flipped over, aiming herself directly at Russian Victory. He opened fire too slowly, sending laser beams uselessly in the empty sky as she shot over him, and grabbed his legs, flipping him over so quickly I could barely see it even in the jet’s cameras.
When she let go, he flipped end over end in the air, directional rockets firing in effort to stabilize him. At several times the speed of sound, it didn’t happen quickly.
Izzy by contrast had let go when she was pointed in the direction she wanted to be going, and was already flying north.
Except then what seemed to be a strangely shaped blast of flame fired upward from the ground.
The jet’s camera zoomed in, and I realized it wasn’t only fire. It was actually a fire covered woman with huge, fiery wings.
She wasn’t alone. A man stood on a flying carpet, floating next to her, but not, I noted too close.
In the sky creatures began to form out of darkness and cloud–lions, tigers, bears, gryphons, and dragons. In instants they extended as far as the eye could see.