It was good that I’d improved the Rocket suit since we’d first faced the Cabal because if I’d been wearing the old suit that hit would have killed me.
As it was, I still saw a slew of error messages run through my HUD, but not the kind that told me to expect an imminent systems failure—the kind that meant that the suit was repairing itself, but still intact.
This was good because he’d punched me hard enough that he threw me backward, hitting the concrete lip on the right side of the door.
In terms of system repair, the only important thing that had been damaged was the rocket pack and it was cracked. It could have been a big deal in another fight, but we were underground in a parking garage.
It limited my mobility, but not much.
My major concern wasn’t an inability to fly in that moment. It was that I’d been thrown into the big room that Sean, Izzy, and Jaclyn were working on. This mattered on multiple levels.
The first and most practical was that he’d hit me hard enough that I was tumbling and struggling to catch myself. The second was I was now in the room with the monsters and not in a situation where I could fight. Third, friendly fire was a distinct possibility.
Jaclyn might not be a problem—she was on the left side of the room and throwing punches—but I still had to worry about Izzy and Sean. Izzy’s scream could do real damage and while I’d never tested my armor against Sean’s ball bearings, I didn’t want to.
Maybe it was the way I was tumbling at 70 miles per hour, but the phrase, “attacked by Sean’s balls,” struck me funny. Instead of laughing, I tried to get my head into the right place to stop flipping over.
When my arms hit the ground again, I got them into position and pushed upward, throwing my body into the air. Still tumbling, but now in the air and able to take advantage of years of practice in aerial acrobatics, I got my legs under me as I hit the ground, successfully bracing myself and not falling over.
Engaging the small anti-gravity I had available plus control subroutines hadn’t hurt either.
They didn’t stop me completely, though. Concrete cracked as my booted feet hit, shattering, and sinking into the floor. I had enough presence of mind to check behind me since I’d ended up facing the room I’d come from.
As of that moment, Sean’s balls were still acting as a circular sandblaster against the various mushroom monsters. So long as Prime didn’t throw me into its path, I’d be fine. I wasn’t that close—50 feet-but I was still closer than I wanted to be.
Worse, Prime was running toward me and fully capable of throwing me into the stream of balls. I could hope that Sean would notice, but I couldn’t assume.
I did my best to get out of Prime’s way, darting to my right, running over splattered mushroom bits, and aiming my arms at Prime to fire off the paralysis ray. Though supers’ armor commonly protected against either the sonic or electromagnetic radiation-based method, designers generally didn’t protect against both.
In the first bit of good luck I’d had since Prime attacked me, Prime stumbled, falling over, his right leg straight and useless. That meant that electromagnetism worked in his case. The sonic-based method was generally all or nothing, blocking the use of all of the victims’ limbs at once. Electromagnetic radiation might block the use of one limb and not another.
Lying on the ground, Prime wrenched a tire off a parked car and threw it at me. Even though I couldn’t move with his speed, I recognized what he was doing in time to move a step to my left, allowing the tire to fly past and get caught in the same magnetic pull that pulled the ball bearings along.
I checked around me to see how things were going for everyone else. Results were mixed. More tendril monsters had entered the room from the far end—too many for Jaclyn, Izzy, and Sean to take out at once. Even though they’d taken out a lot, the far end of the room was filling with creatures.
They had to be about to make a push to reconquer the room.
The same could be said of the room I’d been thrown out of. Jody, Dayton, Daniel, and Amy were fighting wall-to-wall tendril monsters coming in from the other direction.
The twist in that case? Bouman, Logan, and Yellow Mask were fighting on our side. The big, yeti-like creature that Logan had become ripped through three tendril monsters at a time. Yellow Mask’s rapier burned with a piercing white light as she chopped off limbs.
As for our former mayor, he’d completely detached from the fungus that surrounded him and was stumbling forward into the bigger room where I was with Jody and Dayton acting as rear guard against the tendril monsters that were trying to follow them out.
“Hey,” I shouted at Bouman, “you’re the one blocking teleportation, right? You’re not doing it anymore, are you? Because if you are, stop.”
Because if he stopped, we could end this thing—hopefully before a mass attack on us from all directions.