Not seeing anything appear yet, I directed one of the spybots to fly ahead of us and sent Cassie a memory of the last few seconds along with directions for how to see the spybot’s video.
She sent back the words, “If everyone on the team had implants, it would be so much easier.”
Then she spoke over the comm, “Ronin, remember when Rook captured me? If I get the chance, I’m going for him.”
Speaking without inflection, Tara’s high pitched voice seemed lower than it was, “I know.”
Cassie grinned, her voice sounding in my head, “You heard her.”
“I did,” I thought back, but I kept my eyes on the spybot’s view of the forest. Over the comm I added, “Watch out for teleports. One could be happening right now.”
The spybot sped through the forest ahead of us. Equipped with simpler sensors, its view showed only black and white. Guessing that Rook or his men would be less likely to look upward, I flew it at about eight feet above the ground, swerving to avoid trees and tree branches.
The bot’s programming did most of the work. I provided the direction and the speed—the slowest necessary to remain in the air. It still felt fast. Rook, two henchmen and several crowbots came into view mere seconds later.
Wanting a good view, I sent the bot upward to land on a branch. After a moment, it gave me a view of the scene below.
Rook, mangled wings swinging and swaying as if they were about to fall off, stood near his two henchmen. The crowbots stood on the ground, all of them staring in different directions.
They didn’t seem to notice my bot. Standing with their backs to each other, they had their gun arms pointed outward, acting as if they planned to aim purple lightning at any second.
Once the spybot gave me the full scene, I understood why. Three men in Protection Force’s armor lay on the ground, their armor battered and shredded in spots. The closest one had pulled off the armor around one arm and appeared to be digging around the side of his armor—probably for the full suit’s release.
The other two were too far away to see details, but the arms did move. I assumed they were trying the same thing.
That wasn’t all, though. Rook’s other two henchmen lay on the ground as well, and shattered crowbots lay around them in pieces. Like the Protection Force soldiers, Rook’s henchmen’s armor had jagged tears and holes as well as dents.
Unlike the Protection Force soldiers, Rook’s henchmen didn’t appear to be moving. From what I could see, they weren’t bleeding out either, but the spybot’s cameras needed more light than they were getting.
Tara, Haley, and Vaughn had been busy.
Rook’s voice registered on the spybot’s audio sensors. “Can either of you tell if they’re alive? My sensors are on the fritz. The Rocket’s sonics must of gotten something—that or the fall. Dammit. If you’re alive, move or something. Abominator tech’s been activated.”
“Sir?” One of the two standing henchmen began to move his helmet in Rook’s direction. “I thought your sensors—”
Rook interrupted. “Don’t look at me. Look outward! They’re here somewhere. And yes, not all my sensors are dead. Now, shut up and look for the enemy before something else goes wrong.”
“And I thought he was a just a jerk to the League,” Cassie sent over the implant.
A glance at my HUD showed she wasn’t the only one of us following the spybot feed. It struck me that it might be going into the social media feed, but I didn’t have time to check on that. Human shaped figures surrounded by glowing white light began appearing in the woods around Rook.
Though I didn’t have time to check them all (there were at least twenty), the ones I could see through the spybot were male and female True based on Stephanie and Cassie. They wore the Abominator armor and carried guns that definitely weren’t standard Earth made weapons.
One of Rook’s henchmen began to aim his gun at one of the True, but Rook reached out with his good arm and pushed it down. If he said something then, it was lost in what happened next.
Another figure materialized; this one directly in front of Rook, but at least a foot taller. It was Victor, but not Victor as I’d seen him. This version of Victor stood around nine feet tall, had the muscles of a bodybuilder, all of them visible because the only clothes he was wearing appeared to be some kind of plate mail covered skirt and grey metal bracers on his arms.
Also for some reason there was golden circlet on his head and he now had a beard that went down to his chest.
His skin had a faint purple tinge that reminded me all too easily of both Rook’s arm and Jared. As tired as I was and as much I didn’t want to draw on whatever trivial reserves I might have collected in the last minute or two, I doubted I had anything else that would work on the guy.