Old Friends & Enemies: Part 13

Other voices said something impossible to understand in the background of the staffer’s connection and he said, “We’ll see what we can do. It sounds like we might be able to help.”

“Great,” I said. “Don’t have time to talk.”

This was true. While Daniel had been able to pass the soldier on the crushed car before the guy could jump up at him and Master Martian, the soldier wasn’t stopping. He leaped in Daniel’s direction even as I gave the rockets more fuel and shot forward, knocking the man back down toward the street and into the back of a parked mini-van.

The soldier’s momentum pushed him into the right door’s back window through to his waist, warping the door roughly into the shape of a cone.

Passing over the smashed van, I barely had time to feel any relief before I saw another Cabal soldier land behind me—by mere inches. The guy wasn’t quick enough to grab my legs, but he had the chance.

Using the helmet’s 360 degree vision, I pointed my arms behind me, targeting him first with a boombot—which hit and exploded, knocking him backward—and then with a goobot—which coated him in sticky goo.

He hit the street on his back, sticking to the middle of the road. It wouldn’t get me much time, but it was something.

Hurrying up to catch Daniel, I had time to wonder how these guys were getting so close. Sure, maybe one of the Cabal had some kind of prescience or maybe even a more focused, targeting only, prescience, but that would be only one person, not the sort of thing that would lead to a constant rain of murderous jerks.

Checking behind me with my helmet led to another thought. I’d passed over the van where the True monitored Master Martian’s apartment at the beginning of the chase. If anybody here would do an excellent job of predicting where we’d move next, it would be them.

I wasn’t wrong either.

Once I started looking, I picked them out. The two women were running after us, one of them down the sidewalk and the other on the street running next to the parked cars. They weren’t capable of matching Jaclyn, but Tara could push herself past normal human limits. There was no reason they couldn’t do the same.

I fired off goobots at them, gluing the one in the street to the side of a black Mercedes Benz sedan. The other woman dove forward as the goobot closed in, forcing it to hit the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, two more Cabal soldiers fell from the sky, followed by a third with a depressingly familiar power—magnetism—to judge from the metal staff he hung onto as he floated down. Of course, the staff wasn’t the only hint as to his powers. An SUV and a pickup truck floated up from the road to whirl around him.

Olive skinned with black hair, the man wore a costume with an eagle just like the others, but unlike them, didn’t attack the moment he saw us. Shouting, “Surrender,” he raised up the truck and SUV behind him in a move that hinted at what would happen next if we didn’t listen.

“If you don’t surrender Master Martian, I’ll kill them,” he nodded at the SUV which held a man, a woman, and two kids in the back, all of them held in place by their seatbelts.

Daniel spoke into my head, If you think you can catch the SUV, I think I can put the man to sleep.

Let’s try it, I thought back, feeling that Daniel had brought Haley and Yoselin in on the link.

Daniel knew what I’d been working on—gravitics for the Rocket suit. I didn’t yet have them where I wanted with regards to acceleration, but in combination with the rockets, they increased my range and in this situation, they’d allow me to hold more while flying than the rockets ever would.

Turning around, I hovered above the street, facing the Cabal soldier and knowing that behind me, Daniel was doing the same.

“Hey,” I said, increasing the volume on the suit’s amplifiers so that everyone could hear me, “relax. I don’t think either of us wants those people to die. As you can see, the Mystic’s stopped flying away too. What do you want Master Martian for?”

Ignoring me, he shouted at Daniel, “Float Master Martian over to me.”

Through my helmet, I could see Daniel hold up his hands and let Master Martian begin to float in his direction.

The Cabal soldier blinked—several times in a row. Shaking his head and then nodding toward Master Martian, he said, “Hurry it up.”

Then the soldier yawned and Daniel thought Now, at me.

I gave the rockets fuel, aiming myself at the SUV as the truck began to sink. The Cabal soldier’s eyes widened as he watched me fly toward and then under the SUV as it began to drop. Then his eyes shut and the pickup truck dropped into the street, hitting on its side and then rolling into parked cars on the far side of the road.

The SUV dropped into my hands and I felt myself drop toward the street, stabilizing about three feet lower than I’d started, but holding the SUV in the air. By that time, the soldier lay in the middle of the street sleeping.

The other two soldiers that had landed at the same time? They weren’t sleeping at all.

6 thoughts on “Old Friends & Enemies: Part 13”

  1. “sure, maybe one of the True had some kind of prescience”

    Should be “one of the Cabal”, since Nick then turns around to identify the True as the source of his troubles next paragraph.

  2. Wouldn’t it suck if the True and Cabal operatives all had phablets and bluetooth headsets tied back to someone far offsite. Ooh even worse would be if they had a bug in the DC teams dispatch, custodial contractors paying attention to security, nah. Maybe the metropolitan police department and other agencies of interest as well.

  3. That’s the worst part of fighting actual bad guys. They can always grab a hostage, and unless you’re willing to let them kill civilians, they’ll do it every time. What happens if next time they have a psi blocker up ? Theres no good choice.

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