Spacer 30 Stories High 214
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | 30 Stories High |





    A faint trickling sound came as more water flowed over the existing ice and began freezing. Lovely.
    "Greetings, Revolution members," someone said over an intercom. I waited patiently for the threatening speech and kept looking for the wall. "As you can see, you are in my realm of snow and ice now, and for those valiant enough, you might be able to fight your way back to the land of the living. Oh, don't doubt it, at the moment you are well and truly dead. If you prove yourselves worthy, we may let you live...." The voice trailed off in laughter.
    "Well, that was encouraging," I sighed, scanning around us for signs of immanent attackers. I just hoped that he wasn't going to use robots.
    Thunderbolt could sense the batteries despite their heavy shielding, giving us a sense of how big the room was—huge. A hundred feet above was a fan. So we were at least partially underground. God knows what they kept in this place normally. They could stack a dozen woolly mammoths for sub-zero storage if they wanted to.
    An airlock cycled, and I saw a large, cybernetically augmented wolf—or at least its aura—enter the room about halfway up to the ceiling. I set up shields automatically, so at least Thunderbolt could see where I was, both of us outlined by the faint light.
    "Cyberwolf, two o'clock," I informed Thunderbolt as it flew in a circle, growling. The room seemed to shake for a moment or two. "I'm thinking our best way out is through that fan. However, the only way for us to get up to the fan is for me to carry you. This means that if anything happens to me, you will take a seven-story fall. Just checking that this okay?" One of these days, I swear, I'll sit down with those biology texts and figure out a way I can be a little less bloody fragile.
    "I'll just make sure that nothing happens to you," he agreed solemnly.
    "As long as we're agreed on that." I grabbed hold of him, and we went up. The wolf attacked as we passed by, and bounced off the shield with a startled yelp.
    It recovered quickly, however, and opened its mouth to breathe fire at us. Thunderbolt seized onto this new source of energy; the flame streamed toward him and wrapped around him.
    "Don't panic," he suggested belatedly, hearing my surprised sound. At least we were warmer now, and there was more light.
    I followed up his attempt with an attack of my own, although I like hurting animals even less than I like hurting people. It was just a wolf, after all. No one asked if it wanted to be hauled out of some forest, cybernetically augmented, and sent to kill people. It yowled and shook its head.Thunderbolt seemed wrapped up in the battle, about to direct a blast at the animal.
    "Shoot the fan out," I suggested quietly.
    "Oh. Sorry." He fired a gout of flame straight up, giving us an exit out of the room, back to the land of the living.
    Styrofoam packing peanuts swirled in the superheated air, but that was of much less interest than the big black truck taking up one end of the room.
    "Odin's outside," Phoenix Talon informed us with a brief wave. He hurled himself through a broken window and charged the cybernetic pseudo-god. Odin blocked the bokken casually and sent Talon spinning to the ground.
    The only way I was going to be of any use with that truck was if I got a chance to drive it, and that wasn't happening; I followed Phoenix Talon outside, but missed my grab at Odin. Damn cybernetics.
    Inside, Thunderbolt was left face-to-headlights with Sleipnir. He blasted the truck with the leftover flame from the wolf, but it washed over the machine without effect. Scott bashed at the sensors and was rewarded with a wisp of smoke. It stopped shooting peanuts out of the air, weapons questing blindly for targets.
    Phoenix Talon landed a good blow to Odin's head. Sure, he needs more brain damage, I found myself thinking.
    I didn't miss this time, however. Odin screamed. And kept screaming. Windows were shattering. In response, Sleipnir aimed its weapons straight up and brought the roof down, then backed up with a roar, destroying the rest of the wall as well. There was an explosion underneath it, which did further damage to the building and actually lifted the truck off its wheels, onto one side. Scott plucked Thunderbolt from the wreckage as Sleipnir righted itself with a burst of jets.
    Odin strode through the chaos and climbed up into his steed's cab, still voicing that unearthly scream. The entire warehouse was collapsing into the deep underground chamber we had been held in.
    Phoenix Talon lobbed a grenade at Sleipnir. Its engine revved. Scott streamed toward the truck, intent on exploiting the chink he had made in its armor and draining it of power. Unfortunately, he quickly realized that the truck systems were segmented, so that damage to one area left the rest of the vehicle fully functional.
    Then—I wish I was kidding—a shadow fell across the city. We all heard a high-pitched scream, and looked up.
    Godzilla was coming out of the harbor. I stared for a moment in slack-jawed astonishment.
    "It was fictional! I visited the damn set!" Phoenix Talon muttered. "It was a guy in a rubber costume!"
    "I think it's your friend the Toy Man." I was too impressed to be scared—what the hell were we supposed to do to that?
    Sleipnir took off, Scott still hanging on gamely. From what he could see, Odin was freaking out.
    "The serpent! The serpent! I'll crush it!" he shrieked—for once, a villain's monomania worked well for us.

[Aside: Elsewhere]

    All I could think to do was try to decoy it back out into the water, but before I could suggest that we do so a quartet of F-15s streaked past, firing missiles at the monster. Godzilla screamed; atomic flame turned one of the planes into a short-lived, ashen shadow.
    I think I went into shock. This was so far beyond the realm of anything we were even vaguely equipped to handle, that rational thought seemed useless.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson