That at least was good news. The bad guys appeared to be contained. Speaking of which, Russell Hardwick, Ryan, Zola, Art, and the two Protection Force guards were still stuck too.
Plus, Dr. Griffin was off to the side of the room.
So we were all good except for the four, twenty-foot tall, grey mechs and they were less of a worry than you’d think. With Izzy being stronger than a locomotive, it only took one blow to knock the head off of the first mech in. The head bounced off the shoulder of the mech behind it and rolled off into the night.
From the lack of blood, I guessed that the operator sat in the main body, something that Izzy had seen through her sonar. I aimed my own sensors at it, confirming my guess as Izzy blurred, dropping downward to punch the mech in the leg, pushing through the thigh and ripping the leg off. The mech fell over and she started ripping the back open to get at the operator.
The one that Cassie fired on hadn’t done any better. She’d started off with her gun, melting the upper half of the head along with the guns mounted on its right and left shoulders.
It turned toward her, running, probably with the intent of stomping on her. She aimed her next shot roughly where the groin would be if the mech had one and the beam melted through it, burning through what appeared to be an engine.
I fired off several boombots at the mech coming in behind it on the left, shooting a bot into the joints of each leg and a third over the shoulder and into the back where the two guns appeared to be mounted.
Even as the explosions started, I could tell that it wasn’t going down. One of the guns fell off and the right leg lost part of its casing, showing the steel, and wires underneath. It had been crippled, but it wasn’t down.
Except then it fell over on its face, landing on top of the one Cassie had shot. She laughed and began to aim her gun at the one next to it.
You? I thought over at Daniel.
It wasn’t going down quickly enough.
I was about to ask him why he hadn’t gone after the one next to it, the last one of the four now standing, but as I did, I understood why.
As the last one brought its guns to bear on Izzy (the bullets bounced off the invisible shield around her with little flashes of golden light), a blur of purple appeared behind it and it fell forward. Then, with no warning, Jacklyn stood on top of it in her purple Accelerondo costume.
In a burst of speed and her typical attention to detail, she’d shattered the joints where both the legs and arms met the main body of the mech. As it fell, she must have run up the back, smashing the two guns.
When it hit the ground, she jumped off, landing next to it. “Is that everything? I’d have been here sooner, but there were people outside.”
Cassie holstered her gun and started cutting open the side of the nearest mech. “I think that’s everyone. We took out a bunch of guys outside before you got here. If anyone woke up, they were there.”
Even as she said those words, Victor flashed purple and silver. In that moment, he became the large, bare-chested, metal skirt wearing version of himself that I’d fought.
Before I could figure out how to move my arms enough to aim the sonics at him or tell Daniel to mentally nuke the guy, he disappeared in a flash of purple, leaving the remains of the goo that stuck him to the ground. Worse, he wasn’t the only one missing. Rook and his henchmen were gone. Zola and Art had also disappeared, leaving Russell Hardwick, Ryan McCall, and their Protection Force bodyguards.
Jaclyn blurred as Victor glowed and wound up standing next to Russell Hardwick.
My implant provided an instant replay when I wondered what happened. As they’d disappeared, Jaclyn ran toward Rook. As he and his henchman disappeared, the purple glow started on Art and Zola. She hadn’t made it to them before they teleported away either.
Crap, Daniel thought at me. I didn’t have any hint that Victor would do anything. Something was shielding his mind from both telepathy and prescience. Better, I can’t find him clairvoyantly either—which means he’s out of range or immune to that too.
Try sensing Rook? I thought back.
Daniel closed his eyes and I could see the corners of his mouth tighten below his mask.
Nope. I’d bet out of range, but this is Rook. He might have anti-psychic gadgets.
Daniel stared at the spot Victor had been and frowned.
Thinking about the True, I said, Do you feel like the humanity is in imminent danger of being destroyed by the True? Maybe not tomorrow, but in the next few years?
I sent him pictures of all of the True that I’d seen so far.
Long term prescience isn’t something I can do on demand. That’s more of an unexpected surprise when it happens. I can try, though.
He closed his eyes and started breathing slowly, one long breath followed by another. As he concentrated, Izzy walked up to us, watching him.
Then Daniel shook his head. When he thought at us, I could feel him touch everyone’s minds—Izzy’s, Cassie’s, Jaclyn’s, and of course, mine.
I don’t see a disaster in the near future—at least not one that connects to the True. At the worst, we’ve got a few years. At best, maybe the threat’s over. There’s an interesting wrinkle, though. Nick, you gave me memories of different True. I don’t sense anything special from the ones descended from Cassie or Stephanie, but there is a hint of something coming from the ones created using Emmy. I don’t know what it is. I don’t think it’s as simple as humanity’s destruction. It’s more complicated than that somehow.
That’s all I’ve got.
In the background as he ended, Dr. Griffin walked over to Russell Hardwick, and Ryan and held out a black leather wallet in front of them. “FBI. You have the right to remain silent…”