Deciding it was worth taking the chance, I unloaded the sonics on him, blasting him at the same frequency that I’d used before, the one that seemed close to making his “body” shatter.
It was a risk, both because the sonics might not be able to generate enough power and because they always seemed to take on longer to work than my other options.
On the other hand, punching him didn’t seem likely to take him out and using the laser would charge him up, making it easier for him to unleash another blast like the last one.
Since it almost worked, I left the settings for the right arm the same—a narrow, intense beam. Guessing that pressure from two beams would be better than one, I widened the left arm’s area of effect to make it easier to hit the same spot.
It wouldn’t be as effective as two narrow beams, but I’d be able to hit the same place, and maybe putting pressure everywhere around the target would help. To improve my chances, I set the sonics to the maximum possible volume. I didn’t like anyone on that side of the room anyway.
It was a nice theory.
Funny thing about putting theories into practice, they don’t work quite the same as they did in your head.
I nailed Victor in the chest with the narrow beam of sound again without a problem. Just as before, the spot I hit rippled and so did the area around it. Hitting Victor with the area attack turned out to be harder, mostly because adjusting the settings took longer, but also because Victor noticed the attack.
He stared down at the spot on his chest and his eyes widened, trying to move to his left and then his right even as I kept the narrow beam on his chest. Then he looked up and stared at me. I didn’t know what his look meant, but I guessed that he was about to teleport or target me.
Either way, that’s when I got the wide beam’s settings changed and fired. The effect was instant. When the second beam’s effect covered his chest, the spot on his belly where the narrow beam hit caved in. Then everything went all at once.
Victor’s tall, Greek god version of his body dissolved, leaving a normal, if taller than average, man. He wore what he did at the office most days—jeans and a t-shirt.
It wasn’t the kind of thing I thought of as synonymous with evil intent. If it were, I’d have had to report myself.
Thinking that Victor would “turn on” his powers if he had the chance, I stepped forward and hit him on his collarbone the right side. It broke under my hand and Victor stumbled back, yelping in pain. Then I fired a goobot at him.
Victor fell back and stuck to the floor.
I didn’t know if that would prevent him from changing back, but if he’d never had an injury like that before, he’d have a hard time working through the pain.
With that, I found myself facing Rook and his two remaining henchmen. They’d come closer as I’d fought Victor. From the way they hung back, I guessed that they hadn’t decided on an approach to deal with me and might be discussing it over a comm connection.
That was good because I didn’t like my chances. As damaged as the armor was, I didn’t know how long it would hold out if they all started firing on me. Plus, they still had killbot inspired claws, so wading into melee was out or at least unwise. If I grabbed Cassie and tried to leave via the hole we’d made in the ceiling, I’d be giving them a free shot at me.
Spraying them with goobots might have solved the problem—except that they’d spread out enough that that would be harder. That left talking and maybe delaying them until Cassie got up (assuming Cassie got up) or until I had a better idea.
Or got desperate.
Deciding to talk, I took a breath and started, wishing that Vaughn were here to handle it and that Victor hadn’t sent him to Wisconsin.
Pointing my laser arm at the group of them, I said, “Don’t come any closer. No matter what you do at this point, you can’t get what you want. We’ve destroyed the birthing chambers. There are many more of us coming as well as heavier weapons, so even if you kill me, you won’t have time to take the chambers somewhere else to salvage what you can before they’re completely destroyed. Your best shot is to run right now.”
Over my comm, Kayla broke in, “You’re not wrong. Blue, the Mystic, Accelerando, and the jet are incoming in less than a minute.”
A minute? I could keep going that long.
Rook laughed. “Don’t you think I can see you? Your armor’s been repairing itself this whole time, but it’s not in good shape. You’re stalling. You think that maybe you can wait long enough for the girl to wake up and then you’ll have a fighting chance. Well, you won’t. Even if the Abominator tech’s been destroyed and all those people you say are coming appear, I’ve got people coming too and I do have something that I want. I want to kill the Rocket and you’re as close as I’m going to get.”
He stepped forward with his claws gleaming and his henchmen behind him.
I began to think of my next move, but then I saw movement from the ground as Cassie pointed her gun and a bright, white beam disintegrated Rook’s leg from the knee down.
Through what had to be massive pain, Rook managed to scream, “What the fuck,” as he fell.