Courtesy: Part 58

I didn’t shed tears, but if I weren’t having to again slaughter humonsters, I could have. I punched a humonster that jumped down from the top of a mound toward Alex in the face, splattering it across the side of the mound it jumped from.

We might finally be done with this.

Alex stumbled toward the glowing mound, shaking his head, his footing becoming more sure with each step. He only had to make it twenty feet, but I’d seen how unpredictable twenty feet could be. 

Still, he had Kals and whatever Bloodmaiden was in control for help. It needed to be enough.

Besides, except for the one I just killed, the humonsters had stopped jumping down and I’d even seen one jump back up—which did not bode well.

It hinted at another change of tactics.

I didn’t even have time to explore that line of thought before the humonsters shouted another command, “Betray them!”

I half-expected our side to fall apart in a mixture of comas and infighting, but we didn’t. Though I felt the strength of it, I could ignore it.

Even better, Sean, Dayton, Alex, and Kals were completely unaffected. Jody, however, changed course.

He turned his daggers, each of them monomolecular blades that I hadn’t designed and turned toward Dayton, making a series of swipes at his body.

Still running energy through Artificer portion of myself, I could keep track of every strike. To my eyes, Dayton moved slowly, but perfectly, dodging each one by distances too small for me to see without the suit’s sensors.

Whoever’s movements he’d copied to do it worked.

Jody didn’t even try to attack Sean who was both in the air and out of his immediate reach. Instead, he ran for his closest opponent—me.

I felt as if the two of us existed outside of time. Everything else stood still. I fired off five goobots—which should have been more than enough.

They spread, none of them close to each other, but all of them set to arrive at the same time, forcing him to take them all at once.

With speedsters, time was divided into smaller increments than the rest of us, including me in that moment, could perceive. Jody dipped down, cutting the lowest bots in two and coming up behind of the remaining ones. By then, I’d already set them to explode pointing in his direction.

He dodged all of them, every last strand of goo missed him despite coming within less than an inch of touching him.

I’d have been impressed if I weren’t already preparing for his attack. He ran toward me, blurry less because of his speed than because he was partially out of phase with our universe.

I decided not to send out more bots because I didn’t want to waste them but also the timing for what I was about to try would be tricky and I didn’t need the distraction.

He ran towards me daggers in hand and he was smiling. If I was right and my understanding of monomolecular blades was ahead of everyone else, I’d be fine. Otherwise, I hoped my distraction would work and that Alex would have time to heal people soon.

When Jody came within ten feet of me, I turned on the sonics full blast, trying to blow out his eardrums and his balance with them. If I got lucky, I might also blow out his equipment.

Alex could heal his ears later—maybe.

Arete through the humonsters had ordered him to betray us. He hadn’t ordered him to grin like a maniac while doing it.

Jody cringed as the sound hit his ears and bent forward into a roll on the left side of the row, the best place to avoid the sound—intentionally. If I timed it right, I’d hit him on the way out of the roll.

He came up with daggers in hand, ready to stab me in my side, relying on his speed and being out of phase to save him from getting hurt.

I went with a simple side kick, aiming for his knee.

He saw it and his smile drooped. He pulled up his knee into a kind of block. In a normal fight, it would have been better than leaving it on the ground. My kick might have slid off it. In this fight, it still slid, but I could generate tons of force with my leg and I wasn’t holding back.

His costume included well-designed armor, saving his leg from being snapped off, but I could see the armor break. 

It broke well, absorbing most of the impact into the armor itself and staying together even though I could see cracks and the lined imprint of my boot.

Still quicker than I was, he hit me with both daggers, doing no damage to the Rocket suit at all. I grabbed at his arms, but cursing, he dodged me, showing a hint of a limp.

The edges of his body blurring, he ran down the row toward Alex and Kals.

3 thoughts on “Courtesy: Part 58”

  1. I didn’t expect Jody to have a cast-iron excuse when his sudden but inevitable betrayal came up. Even the grin can be excused – a challenge can be exciting. That’s probably not the reason but it could be.

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