She took twenty feet or more at a step. I’d seen Haley do the same when she wanted to. At the same time, Haley ran with more confidence. The woman I was fighting now almost fell twice, catching herself the first time and diving into a roll on the second.
It hinted that she wasn’t used to her powers or that blasting her with sound might have damaged one or more of her eardrums and her sense of balance along with it.
As fast as Haley could run, I knew the Rocket suit flew faster and this person had less control over her abilities. I let more fuel into the rocket pack and felt the suit lurch forward even as she poured on the speed.
I’d almost caught her when she began to glow and then vanished.
I slowed down, circling around the spot, trying to see if there were some kind of teleportation portal either on the ground or floating in the air where she disappeared. Then I looked up to see if maybe there might be a ship above her that had beamed her up as in Star Trek.
Even with the Rocket suit’s sensors, I saw nothing.
Knowing it was a long shot, I checked with my implant to see if it could detect an ansible or other implants in range.
It detected Earth’s main ansible, but nothing else close except for Marcus. The next closest object to appear was the ansible in the lab. Its connection status was labeled as a “poor.”
Then it asked me if I wanted a list of all public implant connections on the planet. I did, but not at that particular moment. All I’d been trying to find out was if there were any alien implant users nearby. Because while it didn’t seem likely that the people we were chasing were aliens, it wasn’t impossible.
A crashing noise knocked me out of my thoughts. I turned toward the noise to find Chris had hit the ground. A quick replay of what the implant had recorded in my peripheral vision showed that Chris had grabbed the guy and taken off—except then the guy had shifted his weight, redirecting them downward and jumped off before Chris hit.
As I watched, the man was running away in the direction the woman had gone.
Tara’s voice came over the comms. “Rocket, get him! R2, are you okay?”
Heavy breathing came over Chris’ connection. “I’m winded and my suit’s repairing itself. The guy didn’t get through, but it was close.”
Chris hadn’t even finished the first sentence before I’d aimed myself at the man, firing off more goobots as I did.
In all the time I’d spent sparring with Haley, you’d have thought that I’d be better at fighting people with massive agility and senses capable of noticing my smallest movement, but that was the nature of her powers. Anyone with her abilities was good at reacting to what I did.
So when I fired off the goobots, the man avoided all of them. When I aimed a wide blast of sound at him, hoping to incapacitate the guy with noise, he seemed to guess what I’d been trying even as I did it and jumped sideways as sound blanketed the space in front of me.
If the noise hurt him, he didn’t show it.
Leaning left and then right, I adjusted my flight path to go right for him. His eyes widened and he took a couple more steps only to jump to my right, sailing past me too quickly for me to catch him.
I circled right, making the turn as tight as I could without blacking out.
It wasn’t tight enough. He’d made it roughly to the spot on the lawn where his partner had disappeared and he went through a similar mini-light show. I couldn’t quite decide whether it looked more like a Star Trek style “beam up” or a bodily assumption into heaven as done by a low budget religious movie.
Either way, he glowed. In fact, he held out his hand and gave me the finger as he disappeared.
“Can I get some help over here?” Sydney crushed another “tentacled seeker” by jumping up and landing on it. It was far from alone. Dead and alive, I could see about a dozen. The dead ones outnumbered the live ones. I counted seven bodies.
Chris was already flying over to help her in his Rocket suit, firing bots as he went, exploding one of them before he even touched down next to her.
I’d decided to fly after her except that even as I turned, the light reflected off the building allowed me to notice a smear of red on my suit’s left arm.
It had to be blood and it had spread across the suit’s bicep. My time in space had left me with a suspicion that I should keep the means to collect DNA on me at all times. I had a kit for it on my belt.
I felt a little weird about not helping Sydney, but they didn’t seem to need me. Chris shot the weird tentacled things, blowing up two at a time, as Sydney crushed them with a metal hand or foot.
That’s not to say that there weren’t tense moments. Two of the monsters grabbed one of her legs each and tried to drag her away.
Though I considered stopping swabbing my suit to help, I didn’t have to. She fired a metal rod out of her armor that exploded the seeker’s body.
Chris smashed the other one and then there weren’t any left alive.
I finished collecting the blood. Even if it didn’t get me anything useful after being tested for DNA, I could call Amy.
Blood magic might tell me more in the end.