Among the figures flying along with South Beach Surfer were two women curled up as if somersaulting through the air. I knew them instantly—Ina and Leena, the Human Cannonballs.
They were from Mime’s team, a group with a Circus theme. I’d never done the necessary research to know if someone just liked circuses or if they’d been circus performers cursed (or blessed) with thematically appropriate powers.
Either way, they were weird—not the people, their powers.
South Beach Surfer pointed toward one of the larger groups of zombies and both Human Cannonballs hit the middle of the group, exploding. The blast of fire burned that group of zombies to cinders along with all the plants around them, starting one of the nearest trees on fire—a large evergreen.
That turned out to be no big deal because Mime had been flying along behind them, flapping his arms like wings, the same way we all pretended to fly when we were five.
It was a ridiculous but flexible powerset. I’d done a little reading about it. Mime could do almost anything as long as he successfully performed it. The vulnerability? If he had no observers, he had no powers.
If they wanted to get the most out of him, they’d train their team to recognize his moves. I could only imagine they played a lot of Charades.
In this moment, he had all the observers he needed, zooming past South Beach Surfer while miming that he’d lit a rocket on his back. Maybe he’d a rocket coming out of his butt or maybe a fart?
I wasn’t clear on the details, but I could hear the roar as he flew down to the ground, mimed pulling a hose from a fire truck and started spraying the trees near where the Human Cannonballs hit with a stream of water that appeared where the end of the invisible nozzle would be if Mime were holding a hose.
He aimed the stream of water at the fire in the nearest trees and began to douse them.
At the same time all of this had been happening, another member of Mime’s team appeared in the sky. “Strongman,” a name so obvious it could only still be available because no one else wanted it, dropped out of the sky like a rock, hitting the road and throwing chunks of asphalt into the air.
He didn’t stop there with the property damage. He pulled a chunk of road off the ground and and placed it in front of the fence, pushing it into to the ground. Don’t ask me how he kept it together through the process. Pushing it into the ground should have shattered pieces off of it even beyond the impossibility of keeping it together while pulling it off the ground.
Remembering the Stapledon class I’d taken on magic and the supernatural, I could only guess that his powers might have some magical connection to the earth. He wouldn’t even be the first superhero I’d met that did.
Whatever the case, he’d moved on to yanking up the next section of road at about the same time Mime started pouring supernaturally sourced water on the fire.
That they’d been able to do so much so quickly gave me hope, making me feel like it was less likely that we’d be overrun in the next few seconds.
Looking down the road though, I saw that for the illusion that it was. The zombies were still pouring out of the forest.
I’d been burning them the whole time everything else was going on and it wasn’t stopping them. We needed to destroy the source of this and I had a bad feeling that we’d moved past the point where there was only one source.
I called South Beach Surfer with my comm, “Do you have a plan? Ours was killing them all, but we don’t have enough people for that to work.”
Amy’s spear flew past me through the air, shriveling a line of zombies and then another as it flew back to her.
The Human Cannonballs hit the ground again, taking out another mass of zombies.
South Beach Surfer said, “We have more people coming.”
“More fire? Fire’s the only thing that kills the spores,” I said.
“Yes. More fire. Give me a second,” she hovered, staring at a screen on the bracelet on her wrist. Then she talked into it.
I didn’t hear anything at first, but then she was back, “Shifter’s flying over a section of forest that way. She says there are thousands of them growing in one spot.”
“Thousands?” Switching to the League’s channel, I said, “Hal, are the repairs complete? I’m going to need you to aim the main gun at a spot and then clean up anything that’s left. Just don’t get any spores into the main compartment. We don’t need them in HQ.”
[The cabin is again air tight. I’m already in the air. Based on the bots’ footage, I’ve been anticipating this call. Where is the target?]
“Look for Shifter. I’ll get you coordinates,” I switched away to the South Beach Surfer channel, but then received Hal’s reply.
[Never mind coordinates. I’ve spotted her.]
I told South Beach Surfer, “Tell Shifter to move. That spot’s about to stop existing.”