As the trees shook, flame exploded outward and upward from the spot she hit. Flying upward out of the gout of flame, Johnny Destruction roared into the sky and then dropped toward the ground feet first with a trail of fire following him.
Izzy shot into the air after him, diving as he changed direction, maybe catching him on the ground because there was another blast of fire and a moving trail of flame moving down the street.
For a moment I worried about the potential for fire, but the constant drip from the sky reminded me of Vaughn’s contribution. Where was he anyway? I half-expected to see lightning hit Johnny Destruction and the fact that it hadn’t worried me too. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be raining if Vaughn were dead and we definitely hadn’t gotten an alert from his suit that he’d been hurt.
I needed to figure out the overall picture. Vaughn and Izzy were a distraction. They’d figured out their role in this fight. I needed to find mine. Where was the center of the fight? Where would adding another person help most?
My map view of the fight showed me that Travis, Cassie, and Haley were clustered around the same spot, sometimes moving only to stop again, moving, I realized as if they were stopping to fight, get out of view, or check what was ahead before moving forward again. Further out, Marcus, Jaclyn, Vaughn, and Daniel moved with them, but darted around, probably acting to keep people back.
I needed to get my eyes on the situation, but I had a gut feeling that I’d make the most difference with Haley, Cassie, and Travis. Aiming myself in their direction, I checked the spybots, first seeing Jaclyn and Marcus.
Travis and Haley’s family lived in a subdivision of large, lookalike houses on the edge of where city turned into country. Two blocks down from where Izzy fought Johnny Destruction, bodies lay on the street—not Jaclyn’s or Marcus’—Cabal soldiers, all of them burned. I didn’t need my implant to label the damage with, “Abominator weapon.”
I’d seen enough of Cassie’s gun in action on Hideaway and I knew what its kills looked like.
Seeing five in my immediate view plus smashed cars and a house with a ten-foot wide hole in its side, I almost missed a blur run down the street in the direction where I knew Travis, Haley, and Cassie had to be.
Another blur ran out of a side street, this one tinged with purple, hitting the original blur hard enough that it stopped, stumbling backward a few steps, giving me a full view of him. Around seven feet tall and muscular, he was shaved bald and wore a black jumpsuit with a “9” on his chest.
If I had to guess, he was a Cabal soldier who’d been run through a power impregnator, getting an extra helping of speed in addition to his toughness and strength. Jaclyn, the purple blur, appeared to be faster, hitting him twice before he could do anything. The first punch made him wobble on his feet. The second threw him back almost a block.
He lay on the street, but as he did two True popped out from behind two different houses and started firing at Jaclyn, one of them using a “rifle” without a hole in the black, rectangular barrel. I identified it as a paralysis weapon. The other held a rifle attached to a backpack on the True’s back—a laser.
The paralysis gun didn’t work on Jaclyn. I’d built paralysis resistance into the team’s suits years ago. The laser worked just fine, its yellow-tinged beam visible even in the sun. It only grazed Jaclyn—not because she ran faster than light, but because she could run faster than the True could aim. Even with their talent for analyzing their opponents’ moves, that was enough.
Her costume absorbed the small amount of light that hit it and she hit the True, leaving it on the ground unmoving with one punch.
I expected her to go after the one with the paralysis gun then, but she didn’t. The Cabal soldier had pulled himself up and darted down a cross street. Jaclyn took off after him, knowing as I did that he’d be able to get around her and over to Travis if she didn’t.
As she did, Marcus dropped off the roof above the True with the paralysis gun, enveloping him entirely as a gray sheet, and tightening. The True fell over and Marcus reformed into a version of himself with wings, flying away, leaving the True on the ground with broken legs.
With that, I stopped paying attention to anything but what was in front of me.
I was closing in on Travis, Haley, and Cassie’s position and paying attention to the channel for this part of the mission.
“Rocket,” Haley said over the comm, “are you sure you’re okay?”
4 thoughts on “Sudden Changes: Part 5”
You know how I mentioned that the previous update took a while to write? This one took about a third less time despite being roughly the same length. One of these days I might figure out what makes the difference with these things and then become much more efficient.
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My guess is that the previous update framed the action in this one. Because you were forced to think about where the action would lead, you have been thinking about this update for several days before you started putting pen to paper.
A few suggestions:
“The paralysis gun didn’t work on Jaclyn. I’d built [paralysis resistance] into the team’s suits years ago [.]”
“It only grazed Jaclyn —not because she ran faster than light. She couldn’t run that quickly[. B]ut she could run faster than the True could aim—even with their talent for analyzing their opponents’ moves.”
I did have to do some thinking about this post when I was writing the last one. It probably did slow things down.
As for your suggestions, I reworded those spots. Thanks.
“he was shaved bald and wore a black jumpsuit with a “9” on his chest”
I bet some irreverent person has called them the Ca-Balds before.