Haley’s face tightened as her other arm raked it across the eye while her legs dug in to the underside of its globular face. Blood spurted out from under the The Thing’s chin and it spit her arm out.
Haley had the presence of mind to land on her feet, but wobbled as she landed. Her costume, in the meantime, had already repaired itself. I might have taken it as a tribute to my work, but that wasn’t nearly as high in my mind as the question of whether the costume had adjusted correctly to the change. If it were pushing broken bone into flesh or muscle, it could only be hurting her.
She could adjust the suit though. I had to get it away from her, so she could get away from the fight.
I pulled myself off the floor, engaging the rockets and aiming myself at The Thing.
It noticed. It would have been hard not to notice. The rockets were more quiet than they’d been in my grandfather’s day, but they were still loud. It weaved, turning toward the front of the room. Because it had Lucas’ reflexes instead of mine, it was halfway across to the front before I was halfway to where it had been.
I dropped to the floor near to Haley, still watching it go. Maybe I should have gone straight after it, but we were playing zone defense on this one, and it was out of my zone.
Camille and Vaughn stood near the command center, but weren’t pretending to watch the console any more. Camille stood with her fists clenched and staring at The Thing.
It dropped like a rock, hitting the floor hard enough I could feel as well as hear the thump, and ripping up a chunk of carpet as it went.
Assuming we managed to stop The Thing without killing Lucas, he was going to have a serious case of rug burn.
It struggled to move, unable to float, barely able to move its arms and legs. Maybe we had it.
I glanced over at Haley. She stood, arm hanging limp at her side, still covered by her costume. Her face, what I could see of it below the mask, was pale. “How are you doing?”
“It hurts. A lot. It broke my upper and lower arm.” She kept her voice low and seemed to fight for each word.
“Should I bring you to a doctor?” I watched as a drop of blood fell from her sleeve and hit the carpet. It was a good thing that it was dark red. I wondered if that had been the original plan.
She shook her head. “Do whatever you’d do if I weren’t here. My grandfather showed me how to heal broken arms by shapeshifting. I’ll be okay.”
Out on the floor, The Thing struggled. It pulled itself up on to Lucas’ own legs—which looked odd when you considered the size difference between them and The Thing’s head.
It tottered forward. I didn’t know how at first, but then thought I might have it. For all that it couldn’t walk before in however much gravity Camille was throwing at it, it had to be using both strength and Lucas’ ability to fly, and it wasn’t doing all that well.
On the other hand, it was moving, and moving straight for Camille.
Vaughn threw lightning at it. I cringed internally at the thought of all the computers up there, but watched as jagged lines of electricity crossed the distance between Vaughn and Lucas.
The lightning did nothing, or at least nothing he’d hoped for.
The Thing nearly fell over, but it raised its hands and the lightning changed direction. In a move that should have come out of a Star Wars movie, it hit all around and including Camille. Monitors shorted out, creating a burnt electronics smell that I knew very well.
When I’d designed the team’s new suits, I designed them to protect against lightning. With someone on the team who threw lightning, it seemed like an obvious precaution.
So Camille was probably okay. She’d dived to avoid the lightning that must have surrounded her, but she wasn’t hurt.
That wasn’t the worst of it though. She’d stopped concentrating, and that meant that The Thing was free.
It aimed for the open hangar door, and I gave the rockets fuel and took off, chasing it. I could have aimed the Rocket suit’s laser at it, but that would have damaged Lucas without hurting The Thing. Fists, on the other hand, hurt it, but not him—as Haley had showed. She hadn’t spent as much time with Lee as I had, and she’d ripped into it.
A question nagged at the back of my mind. How many people could I let it kill in Lucas’ body? Also, how many people could I let it infect?
I might have to activate a killbot just in case.