Kamia’s shield’s collapse surprised me almost as much as it did her, but I knew that it might be coming and more to the point, I was flying straight at her.
Of course, the fact that she didn’t expect her shield to go down, didn’t mean she wouldn’t try to dodge. When you considered that she’d been fighting Xiniti and winning, she had to be more than who owned Abominator weapons.
Even as I closed with her and despite the Rocket’s suit’s speed, she moved. She didn’t move enough to avoid being hit, but she did move enough to avoid taking both my fists to the middle of the chest.
I hit her in the left shoulder.
Her body armor didn’t protect her enough. Dull red, accented with black at the edges, it cracked as I hit her and to my ears so did she.
Technically, I heard it through my helmet’s internal speakers, but it was a moot point because I wasn’t wrong about that. I’d hit hard enough that a chunk of her armor had shattered and fallen off. I could see jagged white bone poking out through her skin underneath.
I didn’t absorb that all when I hit her shoulder, and knocked her sideways, twisting left to avoid the blue of the inner ring of shields. Then I dropped to the ground, running at her even as I wondered if she’d still be standing after that hit.
I’d broken her collarbone. Lee had made me break different bones in practice enough times that I knew what it looked like.
She should have issues with using the arm at the very least. She probably wouldn’t be able to use it at all. If I broke the other collarbone as well, or maybe a leg, she might have to surrender.
At least that’s what I told myself. In reality, it couldn’t be that simple. Her shield flickered back on and as it did, Kamia pushed the piece of collarbone back inside her skin with her other hand, grimacing as she pushed the broken halves back together.
I’d seen that before too—mostly when I fought Lee or even sometimes Cassie in practice. Kamia could regenerate.
Worse than that, while I’d shot all the nearest Ascendancy soldiers in their helmets, distracting them, distractions like that don’t last very long. They last for seconds and we were past that point.
Two Ascendancy soldiers, Ascendant Guard members judging from the shields glowing close to their bodies, swung around to run at me. Both of them were nine feet tall if my HUD was to be believed. That meant bigger than Travis, my previous standard for large, intimidating humans with claws.
Wearing the Rocket suit put me on the level with people larger than I normally was, but not this large.
They stood in between me and Kamia, blocking her from my view. It would have been nice if they were the only ones who’d had that idea, but far from it, all the nearby Ascendancy soldiers were heading my way.
In that moment, the smart choice might have been to activate the rockets and do some “strategic repositioning,”—otherwise known as retreating.
As good an idea as that might have been, it didn’t occur to me. I knew Kamia stood behind the two giants ahead of me and I knew I had to stop her from getting near the inner shield ring.
So I didn’t fly over them, I aimed the laser under my arm at one of them and put it on full power while bathing the guy in sonics meant to attack his shield.
This wasn’t an Abominator shield. It fell under the combined assault and the beam pierced the Guardsman’s armor and chest. From the soldier’s wide-eyed expression, that wasn’t what he’d expected to happen.
He fell over and I turned my attention to the other Guardsman. At any rate, I tried to do that. No matter how much downing the first Guard member might have surprised the other, he hadn’t stuck around to think about it.
He’d started moving almost from the moment I fired, running towards me with his claws out, throwing clouds of ash into the air with his every step.
In one of those sequences you hear about or sometimes see on TV, everything around me slowed down and I realized that he moved faster than I could react. There was no way I’d be able to dodge his claws. His claws glinted with the same gray color I knew from Haley’s claws. I didn’t know how strong this member of the Ascendant Guard was, but knowing that he was larger than Travis, he might be stronger.
I couldn’t assume that his claws wouldn’t pierce my armor. Travis’ could under the right circumstances.
I leaned leftward, hoping I could catch him with the sonics or the laser beam before his right claw met my chest.
It didn’t work, but not because he hit me. It didn’t work because I was no longer alone. Twin beams of burning light hit the Guardsman’s shield and it fell. Katuk’s beams cut into the Guardsman’s legs and the body toppled.
Katuk stood next to me as Kamia pointed her gun at us.
Not one for long flowery speeches, Katuk met her eyes and said, “One of us will get you.”