Samita glared at her but Amy grinned and Kid Biohack began to run, presumably adjusting himself as he went.
And it worked. He moved so quickly that he became a blur, but he wasn’t alone. Another blur ran out of the front doors of dePuit Hall, followed by a mass of The Thing That Eats headed college students.
Amy and Samita ran to the oval, shouting for Kid Biohack to stop, but he couldn’t. When he began to slow enough that I could identify his silver costume, the other blur aimed itself toward Samita.
Something happened as the blur closed with Samita and then it wasn’t a blur. It was Alden with a Thing That Eats’ head rolling over and over again on the grass.
Before Alden Thing could stand up, Kid Biohack pulled a silver rod off of his belt, pressed a button that extended it into a staff, and begin to hit Alden, standing between him and Samita the entire time.
I realized that I had a chance to take Alden down, made sure I that I still had goobots left and that they were the default ammo when both Kid Biohack and Alden blurred again, moving too quickly for me to be able to tell who was who.
Even as I realized that I couldn’t take him out, that it was impossible, Cassie’s gun blazed with light.
Even if I hadn’t known it from seeing it used before, it was obvious that the gun used some serious power. When you threw in the overly enthusiastic, telepathic targeting AI, it only become scarier because even with better than human reflexes, I doubted that she could make that shot. It could.
When the light disappeared, I half expected to find a charred corpse as I’d found a rooftop full of charred fish men when she’d first found the gun.
Alden Thing fell, becoming only Alden. The Thing That Eats’ head disappeared.
I doubted that he was “cured.” All she’d done was burn a hole through his thigh, but I supposed a speedster who couldn’t walk, much less run, wasn’t worth much to The Thing That Eats.
Alden stared down at his leg. If nothing else could be said, it was a clean shot and it had been cauterized. It had also removed a two inch chunk of femur.
As disturbing as it was, it was better than killing him, and since I knew we’d be able to get Alex in later, assuming we all survived, no permanent harm done.
That wasn’t all that happened though. As Alden fell, Philo Thing jumped into the air. From his trajectory, I could only guess that he’d been aiming for Amy and Samita.
He didn’t make it. He jumped into the air and stayed there, floating uselessly as Camille said, “Got him,” over the comm.
At about that time, the circle that Kid Biohack had worn into the grass glowed red and the crowd of Things spread out, walking along the edges of the circle facing us. Each identical head grinned at us in the same way with identical tooth filled mouths.
Kid Biohack stood over Alden. “Are you okay, dude? I wish it could have gone another way.”
Alden looked up from his leg and laughed, or maybe sobbed. “Doing great. It’s the best thing that happened all day.”
Cassie still pointed her gun in their direction. “Glad to help. Are you okay?”
Kid Biohack looked up at her. “Are you talking to me? I don’t know. I was feeling okay, but now I’m feeling kind of queasy.”
Still a troll, Rod’s nose twitched and he muttered, “Fuck!” As said in troll form, it felt like a nearby semi had pulled away.
Rod pushed Kid Biohack to the ground one handed and kept him there as his head warped, replaced by The Thing That Eats.
We all started shouting for Amy and Samita and they came, leaving the protective oval around dePuit Hall and running across the grass to us, Samita’s red robe flapping.
Vaughn pointed at the circle they’d just made. “Can we dump them in there?”
Amy shook her head. “Not a chance. We’d break the circle. I need to give them their own circle.”
“No,” Samita said. “Two.”
Closing her eyes, Amy muttered, “Yes, I know she’s right. Shut up!” As she opened them and took a breath, she said, “Sorry. Sometimes it’s like having one of those giant Facebook arguments going on in your head.”
“Why two?” I asked.
Taking out her spear and drawing a circle around Alden, Amy said, “Because we don’t have time to make a good circle. You know how the circle in HQ made The Thing’s head disappear? The circles here will keep The Thing out, but not completely. If they were in one circle, he might make Kid Biohack eat Alden to get more power and try to break the circle.”
“Or because I’m bored,” Kid Biohack Thing added, and then squealed as Rod pushed harder on its head.
Samita pulled a can of fluorescent green paint out of her pouch and spray painted a circle around Kid Biohack. The paint literally glowed in the dark.
“It was on sale,” she said, “and very practical for night work.” Twisting her head upward to look at Rod, she said, “You’re going to have to get your hand out of the circle as I say the final syllable of the spell. Can you do that?”
He did it, holding on to Kid Biohack Thing until the last moment possible, but nonetheless, a soft white glow appeared alongside the green.
Amy finished with Alden’s circle a little earlier, creating a second red circle.
“It kind of looks like Christmas,” Vaughn said, checking out each circle. Tinged with a green glow, The Kid Biohack Thing stared at him.