Spacer Aside 213c
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Aside |





Talon and Scott quickly found The Truck, in a small warehouse with a half dozen people working to attach fresh plating to its sides. It already had new tires. The red light moved slowly back and forth across the grill, like an all-seeing eye.
    Scott dialed Needle. No one answered.

    Thunderbolt and Freki struggled in midair; the former managed to get the wolf-costumed man under him as they landed hard on the street. Freki left a crater in the asphalt but did not appear harmed, unfortunately. Thunderbolt avoided the knee-strike Freki aimed at him, but a dart from the rooftop stuck into the back of his neck. He staggered as the drugs hit his bloodstream, yanked it out and remained grimly focused on the man in front of him as he drew upon all the available energy to fuel his defenses.
    "He's raised his defenses," one of the ravens informed the other.
    "Oh, thank you," the other muttered sarcastically. "You said you were gonna be able to drop him!"
    "I'll take him, I'll take him!" Freki had regained his feet, circling Thunderbolt as he flexed his arms.
    A second dart struck home, but he stayed up, somehow.
    "Hey, stay out of this! I told you I could take him!" Freki pummeled the air vigorously, but did Thunderbolt no damage. Fortunately for him, the Revolution hero chose that moment to pass out.

    Inside, Phoenix Talon considered his options. He'd brought an extra charge of plastique this time. He conferred with Scott, confirmed that the other two weren't answering.
    "I've got an idea. Keep an eye out, there'll be fireworks soon."
    He crept over to the main door to the warehouse, and fixed a charge with a contact detonator there. From there he circled around to enter through the human-sized door beside it.
    "Hi everybody!" He lobbed a grenade toward Sleipnir and ran.
    The workmen turned as soon as he spoke, firing an array of guns. The grenade was cut in half by a flying spear from the upper level of the building.
    Scott considered that he had a score to settle with the truck, if only because if he didn't do something to it, it was going to run over Phoenix Talon. He condensed onto its hood and struck at the windshield. Odin's spear passed through him on its way back to its owner's hand. Said owner was now standing on top of the cab.
    "So, I see you've managed to follow me here," the would-be god intoned. "Don't worry, we've been expecting your arrival."
    "Well of course you do, you've got precognitives," Scott observed. "I mean, how stupid do you think I am?"
    "If you'll come with me, I'll show you to your friends."
    "Mmmm... nah," he decided. He was breaking "the rules," but first things first—this truck needed a stern talking to.

    Phoenix Talon looked around and saw only the now-deserted truckyard. His phone rang.
    "Hello, Phoenix," he answered.
    "Phoenix, you gotta come down and help us," Needle said. "Phoenix? Phoenix?" Silence.
    That hadn't sounded quite right. He decided that security had been compromised. He headed toward what looked like it might be the main building, under the theory that if Needle had been captured they might have her there. He listened for the explosion he hoped for behind him.

    "So be it!" Odin snapped, leaping back up to the catwalk. "You think you can defeat my mount? Give it your best try!"
    Sleipnir's weapons systems deployed like the arms at least two octopi, and the truck hit the gas, breaking down the main door.
    The plastique went off on impact. Scott rippled, absorbing the force of the explosion. The roof and one wall of the building began to fall. Sleipnir bore down on Phoenix Talon with a horn blare as he ran toward the other building. Scott reared himself up and slammed down at the windshield again, but was still unable to break through.
    Phoenix Talon set a 45-second delayed charge, reversed direction and dove under the truck, slapping his second plastique pack up as it passed over him. Unfortunately, he hit an axle, and the explosive slipped off the whirling shaft onto the ground nearby.
    Sleipnir tried to ram Scott with the building, taking down part of the wall into what appeared to be a large warehouse, half-filled with crates. Scott, naturally, went to gas form for the impact, then reformed and tried another strike with no better luck.
    Phoenix Talon got back to his feet, thinking that this was a bad scene. At least the truck had made a nice door. He scrambled over a fender to get inside, but was yanked back by the cybernetic noose from Odin's spear.
    "This is a fair combat between your machine and mine! Stay out of it!"
    "He's not my machine!" Phoenix Talon muttered, hanging in midair. He wriggled free of the noose easily enough and slid down its length to the ground. They were uncomfortably close to the spot where the explosive had fallen, which left him with a problem: how to get away while making sure Odin stayed near it. Odin snapped his spear around, winding the noose back into its end, and spun the weapon in a brief display that showed he did indeed know how to use the thing. Phoenix Talon gave him the finger. Odin nailed him in the midriff with the blunt end of the spear. He did a succession of back handsprings, trying to get some space, but Odin followed closely, pressing his advantage. Talon got his bokken out, flipped the switch, and kept retreating away from the building where Sleipnir was.
    Scott gave it another try, but there was too much falling masonry in the atmosphere for him to wind up for a really good blow. Sleipnir's robotic arms extended, tracking him, and fired a half dozen barely-avoided heat rays.
    "That's just cheating," Scott grumped. He changed targets, going for that red light, which he suspected held the sensor array.
    Something wrapped around Phoenix Talon's leg. That noose picked him up and lobbed him through a window. He tucked, rolled, landed in a shower of packing peanuts, and realized that he'd been returned to the building he was running from. A momentarily confused Sleipnir picked drifting styrofoam packing bits from the air with precisely targeted blasts.
    "Hi, Phoenix!" Scott chirped from where he was plastered across the mega-truck's front grill.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson