I didn’t. With the new suit acting at the speed of my thought (where it could), I might be faster than normal people, but Nanosecond was faster than I was.
I’d been hoping her name was just marketing.
She ran at me, moving too quickly for me to see much more than a blur of long hair and fists. Her hands hit the suit in a string of blows that reminded me of the sound of rain but weren’t doing much of anything to my armor.
That told me something about her. There are two kinds of speedsters, the ones that are fast because they’re physically fast and strong, and the other kind, the ones that manipulate time or space to appear to be faster even though technically they aren’t.
She was the second kind.
Okay, maybe she was a mix, but she was definitely on the physically human end of the pool because nothing she threw hurt the suit or even made me stumble.
That didn’t change the fact that I couldn’t hit her if my life depended on it. Not even a wide area spray of paralyzation combined with a turn did any good. That or her armor included countermeasures to both methods of paralyzation. Either way, I had another option, courtesy of Chromatic who’d charged me up.
I’d turned the outer skin of my suit into a taser by releasing some of the energy I’d designed the suit to absorb.
She punched the suit only once before discovering the change, saying a word that stood in for ouch but wasn’t. It was four letters long but had only one letter in common.
It didn’t take her out though.
Not wanting to kill her, I didn’t feel comfortable swinging my arms around in hopes that I might hit. Even if she had armor in her costume, the V4 suit could generate tons of force and if I wanted a chance to hit her, the more force and the more speed, the better.
I adjusted the paralysis weapons to the widest possible settings and pumped more power into the weapons than they were designed for, swinging around even as she began to back away from me.
She must have been assuming that I was trying to hit her because it was the right move for that, but it put her into the path of the weapon.
Even as the suit informed me that the weapons were overheating and I began to lower the power, she fell, her momentum carrying her in the direction of the stairway and worse, the direction of a more than 30 story drop.
She didn’t drop. I wasn’t quick enough to catch her, but I didn’t have to. She fell before she reached the railing, rolling into it as Amy floated over it.
The whole thing would have been more dramatic if Amy had to catch her, but disappointing in the extreme if Amy had tried and missed.
Amy looked down at Nanosecond’s body and asked, “How long until she’ll be able to move?”
Thinking about how I’d overpowered my weapons and not knowing if Nanosecond generated a field that warped time around her, I said, “I have no idea.”
Shaking her head, Amy said a few words and waved her hand at Nanosecond. Blood red tendrils appeared in the air around the speedster, joining together in a spiderweb of veins.
“I know it looks gross,” Amy flew over her and landed next to me. “But she shouldn’t be able to get out—not unless she’s secretly trained in magic.”
“I hope not,” I began, but noticed movement in the hallway behind me my helmet’s peripheral vision.
Turning, I found Mateo stepping through the doorway into the stairwell. He didn’t look good. Aside from limping, dust-covered his blue cape. His wide-brimmed hat had been dented. The blue mask, of course, was pristine.
Unsure in the first instant I saw him of which leg was limping, I realized that the answer was both of them. And the pain or soreness must not have been limited to his legs. Every limb moved like he’d had a grueling four-hour workout.
He stared at the red threads encasing Nanosecond first but then said, “She hit me more times than I could count. Do you think you can bring her back to herself?”
Amy took a breath and stared down at Nanosecond’s body. In a moment so brief I couldn’t guess its length, I felt something around me move. It might have been air, but I was encased in the V4 suit. Blood magic seemed more likely in that Amy stopped staring as I stopped feeling it.
“No,” she said. “I recognize the power source, but not the technique. It’s blood magic designed to affect the mind. I could take it apart, but not quickly.”
She turned to look at Chromatic, “He’s affected too.”
Raising her right hand, she said a few words, and the red tendrils wrapped around Chromatic as well.
Mateo blinked and looked from Nanosecond to Chromatic, “All the red stuff makes sense now. Give me a second and I think I’ll be ready to fight again.”