Kals laughed, “Oh, really… I can join you then? Do you think I’ll want to? That I’m desperate enough that I’ll sit around waiting for something interesting to happen in my life? You’re very impressed with yourself and whatever you’re doing. I think you need to tell me everything about it.”
I didn’t need the buzz of the Defenders’ protections to tell me that Kals had chosen violence (or mind control. The difference was arguable). I heard the tone of her voice take on an odd tone, but not quite the one I remembered.
Of course, we were hearing through Kals’ mind, so it might be different.
As she spoke though, Colette opened her mouth, humming something akin to noise-canceling headphones or the buzzers I’d designed.
As Kals stopped to take a breath, Colette shouted, “Surrender.”
Kals didn’t finish the breath, she responded with another word, “No,” and blocked it with an inverted copy of the sound.
That continued with one of them attacking and the other blocking in a cacophony of sounds that sometimes pierced the buzzers and activated the buzzers in our armor—because the Defenders apparently hadn’t updated the software of their buzzers with my most recent release.
Between our armors’ buzzers and the room’s, none of us rushed in to worship either Kals or Colette. It didn’t stop the noise, strange tones that reminded me of recordings of dolphins—except that the Xiniti implant in my head translated the words I didn’t know.
How long it went on was hard to say—less than a minute, but it felt longer. They started with words, but near the end, it was clear that neither of them would follow the other’s commands. They resorted to blasting each other with sounds carrying a load of emotion—a scream of fear, elation, love, or despair.
I didn’t know much about Dominator on Dominator duels. Even the Xiniti implant knew little more than that they happened. Still, it felt like they were tiring. Kals’ eyes widened at Colette’s scream while Colette backed away at one of Kals’ before taking a step toward her.
The big clue came when Colette started walking toward Kals.
She walked slowly and I knew why. The fluorescent green unitard she wore would immobilize her if she tried to use her full strength, but Colette might understand its limitations. I’d never used it, but it might take a second to react. She might be able to distract Kals enough to get into her head.
I realized this only as Colette leaned in with her head and pushed off with her feet, using the muscles in her legs and shouting as her forehead aimed for Kals’ face. Katuk must not have realized it either. He reached out but missed her.
I could only guess how Julie, formerly of Justice Fist, would have reacted. I doubted that Julie would have handled it as well. Kals swung out with her fist while making a wailing noise that hit many of the same frequencies as Colette’s shout. Kals’ fist hit Colette in the side of the head.
While I knew that wasn’t one of the best spots to hit if you were hoping to knock someone out, it worked for her. Colette stopped defending herself as Kals said, “Silence!”
Falling to the ground, Colette said nothing even when she hit the floor. Not giving her even a moment to lie there, Kals said, “You may only talk when I ask you questions or tell you to say something. Until I tell you otherwise, you cannot use your abilities. You may only answer my questions or follow my orders. My first order is that you lie on the ground until I tell you get up. Do you understand?”
Colette didn’t try to adjust her position as a crumpled heap on the floor. She did say, “I understand.”
Kals turned toward us and grinned, “You can come in if you want.”
Frowning, Haley looked in through the window even though we were still receiving pictures from Mindstryke, “How confident are you? I don’t think we should go in unless you’re absolutely sure she can’t break free.”
Smiling, Kals shook her head, “Katuk?”
Katuk let the helmet withdraw into the silver of his suit, “I’ve watched Kals subdue other Dominators before. This woman appears to be as controlled as any that she has fought. None of them have escaped.”
Looking over at us through the window, she said, “I’m good at this. I’ve had a lot of experience since taking over for my mom. If I wanted to, I could start to make her love me and turn her into my slave or a mole in your Dominators. I won’t because it’s wrong, but you don’t have anything to fear now.”
Haley looked over at me.
“I trust her,” I said.
“From what I’m sensing,” Mindstryke said, “I think you can. Colette doesn’t like it, but she’ll follow any command Kals says right now.”
Letting out a breath, Haley said, “Alright.”
I followed her to the door and we walked inside.
Glancing back, I saw that Mindstryke wasn’t coming in after us.
“I’ll be staying out here,” he said. “One person should stay outside.”
Haley glanced back at me and then at Mindstryke before the door closed behind us, “I know he wouldn’t put us in danger, but that doesn’t make me feel better.”
Ahead of us, Kals told Colette, “You may sit up now.”
Colette did, staring at Kals the entire time.
Turning toward us as we walked across the stone floor, Kals asked, “What do you want to know?”