Spacer Seeing the Light286
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Seeing the Light |





    We scrambled. We had no choice, despite our exhausted and rag-tag state. And I'd like to think we did a little bit of good, but it's really hard to see an up side right now.
    "How come we never meet these guys when I'm not beaten to hell?" Scott wondered on the way.
    When we got there, someone had thrown a squad car through the wall into the second floor of the three-story building. There were a couple of bodies in the street.
    "Do not pull any punches," was the only advice I could think to give the ones who hadn't been here for our last showdown. We put a call out to make sure the other stations were on high alert, landed on the roof, defenses ready (we hoped), and went down into the third floor.
    It seemed that they had done the same. Dead and wounded everywhere—frostbite, blunt trauma, and sword wounds. No scorched skeletons or blinded people, so it seemed we were facing less than the full group. I scanned out to the limits of my range, found two of them on the second floor. Chang Yen I wouldn't be able to sense no matter what.
    "Two of them directly below us, guys."
    We went down the elevator shaft. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Scott was in gas form, Phoenix Talon climbed down the cable, and I took Thunderbolt with me. Scott took a look out into the hall beyond the elevator doors and saw no one moving. Crashing sounds in the distance, though. He moved through and spread himself out to obscure the door. A scream from another room.
    Phoenix Talon launched himself from the cable and landed in a ready position, beckoning the rest of us.
    Thunderbolt started bleeding from a wound in his chest. The doors closed. She was in the shaft with us.
    "Thunderbolt, how bad are you?" I asked, trying to remain calm.
    "I'll live."
    Phoenix Talon pried the doors back open and a caught a glimpse of a woman with a bloody sword floating a few feet from the two of us. "She's over there!"
    I ducked around where he had pointed and got the two of us out of the shaft. The doors closed again.
    Had there been someone there?
    Another scream, and a crash. Thunderbolt dragged all available energy from the environment, killing the building's power for the time being, and opened the door at the edge of the cloud that was Scott. In the room beyond was the massive bulk of Yeh Cha, identifiable even without the monstrous mask. Near him floated a slight woman in dark grey, her skirt and sleeves too long for her height. She turned as Thunderbolt stepped into the room, a smile curling her mouth. His energy shield died.
    Phoenix Talon ran into the room, turned the battery off on his bokken and nailed her with the blunt tip. She folded up around it, her own telekinetic shield taking some of the force but not all. Yeh Cha bore down on Thunderbolt; a massive fist connected, sending him back through the door to bounce off the wall near the elevators.
    Liang floated away from Phoenix Talon, trying to get her breath back, and the room went black. Scott went out a window to look for Chang Yen, who wasn't in the room his cloud filled but might be trying to sneak into the room where the darkness field was. He didn't dare go into Liang's range when he was already so damaged.
    This was pretty much the situation I had most wanted to avoid: we were all split up and not acting in concert. We're going to have to drill on this, assuming we ever get a chance to. I looked into the darkness for Liang's aura, just touched her before she sensed me and moved faster than my exhaustion-fogged senses could track her—still far quicker and smoother in flight than I am. Dammit. Since Scott had gone, I moved cautiously toward the door to the room the others were in, trying to get my back to a wall.
    Thunderbolt pulled himself back to his feet. He'd drained the building dry, and then been drained himself. He established contact with the void that was Liang to try to get some of that back; she noticed, and fought to draw him farther into the emptiness. The balance was tipping in her favor; if he went any further he wasn't going to come out....
    I felt a stinging sensation, looked down, and thought, Wow, that's a lot of blood.
    I suppose I'm lucky she likes to toy with her prey, since she could as easily have cut my throat. Instead—I'd apparently backed right into her—she'd brought her sword up and over and delivered a long but relatively shallow diagonal cut across most of my torso. At least none of the normal inside bits were on the outside, although things from that point on have a rather hazy quality in my memory thanks to blood loss.
    Phoenix Talon focused his ninja-trained hearing in the darkness and heard a deep growl as Yeh Cha picked up something heavy; he launched himself in that direction and delivered a fierce blow—like hitting a brick wall—then went into a roll to try to get out of the big man's reach. Yeh Cha spun faster than he'd expected and swung the desk at Talon, catching him with the metal edge. Glass shattered against his back as he flew through the window and into the cloud that was Scott, who grabbed hold of him.
    Talon launched himself back into the room he had just been ejected from and used his flash; it died quickly in the darkness field, but Thunderbolt got free of the struggle with Liang as she was distracted by the sudden flare of light. He drew his gun. The darkness expanded slightly, and out of it barreled Liang Hsiang, passing him before he could get a shot off. She hit the elevator shaft and, without losing a bit of speed, did a 90-degree direction shift and disappeared upwards.
    Yeh Cha made one of his massive leaps up into the third floor, landing so as to collapse the ceiling in the area of the elevators, then jumped again, following Liang Hsiang. Thunderbolt did his best to protect me from falling debris as I drifted in and out of shock. Then the darkness faded; the room was empty. Phoenix Talon glanced out the window and saw the two visible ones diving back down into Chinatown, beyond pursuit.
    "Thunderbolt, how's Needle?"
    "Okay, I think," he replied, weaving back to his feet.
    Just as a precaution, Scott sank a tendril into the closest transformer. "Energy drain me, you bitch, you're going to try and grab the whole damn power grid." He kept an eye out in case Chang Yen was still in the neighborhood, but there was no sign of her. Sirens filled the air. He put in the inevitable call.
    "Reilly," was the tense reply. "Please tell me you caught them?"
    Scott laughed sharply. "Caught them? We're still alive; this is considered a bonus at the moment. You probably want to be here. And send all of the coroners."
    "Oh, shit."

[Aside: Chinatown]

    When all was said and done, there were seven men and women who would not be going home again. Twenty-six more who won't be on active duty for a while thanks to injuries ranging from concussions to broken bones to severe frostbite. And the four of us, who have seen much better days.
    "These clothes are a loss, but you should be okay," the intern told me before I checked myself out.
    "Happens a lot in this line of work." Guess I'll be wearing the new outfit after all. I have fifty-some stitches, some new blood, and a cocktail of drugs in my system which is, as I noted, keeping me from getting any much-needed sleep. I'm angry, frustrated, and scared, among other things. Something new, strange. Too tired to properly catalogue emotions, too much else needs doing.
    We are all very well aware this was only half of them, which seems to reinforce what we learned at our first meeting: when their only aim is to fuck us up, they're easily able to do so. Next time, we're going to have to come up with something clever to distract them.
    We may have a grace period while they gloat over our defeat, but I'm not willing to count on it. Would Chang Yen show up on radar? On camera? If we weren't looking at her, but her image... I wonder how close she has to be to do her thing. Negate her and we might have something resembling a fighting chance.
    I wish we'd kept Sleipnir. I suppose Odin would show up five minutes later to finish pounding us into paste if we tried using it. On the other hand, we do know where a high-tech weapons shop is located. And Scott & Co. know how all the locks work.... I wonder what exactly they have in there. Have to take down the League cell first, I suppose, or they'll vanish like roaches once they know their security's been breached. I can't believe I'm thinking like this.
    It's not even noon.

[Aside: Elsewhere]

| Top | Previous Page Next Page


© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson