As Ana ran for me, her suit’s color changed, turning silver—which told me a lot. First, that all of the suits might be able to turn on stasis and second, that they didn’t do it all the time. If I had to guess, that would be because it sucked power—which meant that we might be able to outlast them.
It made me wonder if it was possible to power a plate of armor with a battery that was inside the plate. In theory, assuming it stopped time in the right moment, that could last forever. The fact that they didn’t seem to be doing it that way indicated that it was more complicated than I assumed.
Knowing that I didn’t have time to think about tech, I swerved around Ana, swinging around her back, trying to figure out my next move. Assuming that I was right in guessing that I was dealing with stasis, it had to be turning that off.
Ana twisted toward me, aiming the gun under her arm and firing a white beam at me. It hit for a moment, throwing error messages under my suit’s status and noting that I’d lost another percentage of protection.
I circled in front of her, moving around too quickly for her to get off another shot.
Kee had been teaching me the building blocks that would lead to faster than light travel and direct communication (as opposed to using the communication system we used now), but I wasn’t anywhere near being able to use them. I might not be able to travel that way for another hundred years, but I’d reached a point where I was able to manifest something equivalent to a very small stasis field. It was far too small to cover me, but it was enough to allow me to connect to the place where Kee could teach me.
Though I might not be able to do much constructive with it, if I created one that included part of another stasis field, I might be able to destroy it. Of course, it might also be that there would be unanticipated alternate effects.
I might be better off hitting her faceplate with the associated risk of hitting it too hard and turning her head to mush.
I didn’t have much time to make decisions because out of the corner of my eye, I could already see beams directed at Jaclyn and Izzy, the blast of Cassie’s gun, and though I could feel both Daniel’s anxiety and his analytical mind moving, I didn’t need to because I could hear him over the comms directing everyone.
“Keep moving. Don’t cluster. If Blue and Accelerando keep on throwing them out through the windows or at the teleportation plate. That increases our chances of survival. Cap keep on targeting faceplates and joints, but—“ a flash of white light obscured the far end of the room, and Daniel paused, “wide angle blasts are great. Everyone try to get to the Rocket’s end of the room—past the teleporter. It’ll help. I don’t know why, but I’ve got a guess.”
I didn’t have time to think about it. I had to choose—straight physical action or timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly bullshit.
The universe didn’t cooperate. As I whipped around Ana’s mech’s silvery back, a bluish-white force field bubble appeared around her—which struck me as overkill, personally. I’m all for redundancy in design where needed, but force fields took a distant second place to plates of armor in stasis. To be fair, it did fix the faceplate and joint vulnerabilities, but all the suit needed was smaller fields over the weak points.
I hoped it wasn’t Ana’s idea. I’d assumed better of her.
Aside from which, I knew how to handle force fields, even ones based on Abominator tech. My sonics worked (most of the time).
I’d only begun to aim the sonics when the force field wobbled, extending itself in what I could best describe as a pseudopod that slammed into my armor, giving a solid hit that prompted a wave of repair notifications and knocked me backward into a group of Rook suited True who acted as one, pulling me out of the air, slamming me to the teleportation platform and slamming their clawed fists against me, some of them raking me with monomolecular wire enhanced claws.
The claws didn’t do much. As designed, the upper layers of nanotech broke up the wire, blunting their claws. I blasted away with the rockets, kicked, punched, and even fired the sonics in hope that they’d knocked something vulnerable loose inside the suits.
In the end, I got away more due to the relative strength of my suit compared to theirs. My kicks threw their legs out from under them. My punches knocked them a few feet backward and I even threw a couple—one into the wall and the other into a clump of new opponents running this way.
Flying away from them and swerving to aim myself at Ana and her suit, I aimed the sonics at the force field, narrowcasting the beams so they hit two nearby spots on her force field. The spots around the damage wobbled and the force field popped.