At the same time that I blasted toward him, I pulled my arm back as if I planned to punch him. Even if I couldn’t move as quickly as he could or fully take advantage of the speeds that I could now observe, I could pull the arm back as I might if I had no special tricks and then fire off killbots as I closed with him.
The speed of my punches was limited by my body, but firing off the killbots was done at the speed of thought plus electronics interfacing with alien technology in my brain.
The killbots shot down toward the ground, curving upward to aim for his leg.
I’d fired off three of them, not intending to hit him with all of them, merely to make it hard to dodge. Even with his legs webbed in deteriorating goo, he could still move around—within limits. He couldn’t get a full step out of either leg, allowing him more of a sideways hop except there were a lot of sideways hops in all directions as the killbots ducked and weaved aiming for his lower legs.
The speed of the hopping made it look like film run at twice the speed. It might have been funny to watch if lives didn’t hang in the balance.
Plus, I mean, I wasn’t watching. I was directing the killbots and flying past Prentkos to land and then rushing back at him to punch him on the theory that it would be one thing too many.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Vaughn would later add the Benny Hill theme song, “Yakety Sax” to footage of the fight.
I couldn’t deny that it felt right—at least until the blood started flowing.
Two of my killbots hit Prentkos, both of them cutting through his right leg, but splitting to cut through both of the bones in his lower leg, the tibia and the fibula. Given what had happened with the goo, I’d wondered if Prentkos would be using Rook’s anti-killbot material, but if he was, my newly refactored killbots chewed through it.
Having seen the killbots work before and knowing that they used monomolecular technology to cut, it didn’t surprise me that the expression on Prentkos’ face didn’t change. The killbots cut so cleanly that a person might not feel it.
Prentkos didn’t. He’d lifted his leg as they hit. The damaged goo stretched and broke. Then he put the down the foot on the floor and the bottom half of the leg bent sideways.
That’s when he screamed.
I might have too in his position. Even beyond the bending as sharpened bone cut into the muscle around it, blood ran out of the holes. Some dripped, but some spurted.
I didn’t know the details of how Prentkos’ powers worked, but if your speed depended on your strength, it seemed possible that your blood might be under a lot of pressure. The part of me that looked at situations like this objectively couldn’t help but note that even though Prentkos’ costume was red and white, the blood was a darker red than the uniform.
The rest of my mind was going for the spray can full of skin substitute and wishing I’d thought to make a version that could be delivered by goobots before this moment.
Still, I ran over, ready to spray his wounds shut. I shouldn’t have been surprised that he tried to bat my hands and the spray can away, but I was. He hit the spray can out of my hand and it rolled down the asphalt, wobbling due to the dent he’d made.
I pulled out another, this time blocking his attempts to knock it out of the way with my arm. It was easier this time. His face looked a little gray which was unsurprising when you considered that he might only have as much blood as a normal person and some of that had spurted as far as ten feet away.
The fleshy foam covered both the outside and the inside of his wounds. I wasn’t sure how that would affect his healing, but that wasn’t my problem. All I needed to do was stop him from bleeding out and help him avoid infections.
All the same, he didn’t look like he was going anywhere for now. Though it was possible he healed more quickly than normal people, he wasn’t doing more than lie on the asphalt for now.
“Don’t move,” I told him, checking around me to see if anyone else on the team had arrived and then checking my HUD for their positions. Amy was only a block away.
Below me, Prentkos stared out into the park, saying nothing and making me wonder if I had to worry about shock.
I was about to message the group when Kayla said, “Rocket, there’s someone in the air moving toward you.”
Using at the Rocket suit’s 360-degree view, I knew she was right, but not entirely. No one was flying. A human shape in the sky dropped, landing almost at the moment I saw him. I didn’t recognize him by name, but the bulky muscles made me think of the Cabal’s soldiers.
His fist hit me in the side, throwing me into the air for a good fifty feet, stopping only when I hit the chain link fence of one of the baseball diamonds. Strictly speaking, the fence stopped me in the sense that when I went through it, I slowed down. I stopped near third base.
Knowing that even if I touched it, I wouldn’t be safe, I pulled myself to my feet. As I did, the Cabal soldier scooped up Prentkos and jumped away.
Noting that the Rocket suit’s systems all showed up as green, I shot into the air, trying to follow them.