Chapter 26 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo
“How could you?” shouted Cori’s dad. “You let all those people in the mall die.”
Cori looked around. She was at home in Australia, a place that she hadn’t lived for years, but she was Rigel and in costume. “No, Dad, this isn’t you. I’m in my own mind being attacked.”
She felt a hand on her shoulder and turned. A black-gloved fist slammed into her jaw. She fell to the ground with the taste of blood in her mouth.
The Ace of Spades stood over her.
“You think I’m afraid of a fistfight?” she asked him.
“No,” he said, drawing a pistol from his belt, “but you’ll be traumatized by this.” He pointed the gun at her father and fired three times.
Three bullets hung in the air in front of her dad caught in the grip of her telekinesis.
“I didn’t know you could react that quickly,” the Ace said. “Maybe I can find something else that keeps you up at night.” He snapped his fingers. “Time for a new scene. Pity that I have to destroy you, Cori, but I’m going to have fun doing it.”
Outside the mall, Nightstar was actually impressed at the job mall security was doing evacuating people. The parking lot was a nightmare, but by and large, everyone seemed to be exiting in a relatively orderly fashion.
He thought loudly to Rigel, “Cori, we’re coming in. It looks like the mall has a good evacuation plan. Anything we should know about the base?”
There was no response. She wasn’t listening.
He pulled out his communicator. “Rigel, we are going in. How can we coordinate with you?”
Still no reply.
Freedom Squad had been divided between the two vans. Nightstar originally had Defiance, Solaria and Velocity with him, but Solaria was inside after taking care of her ‘cause a fire’ mission. Velocity was racing through the mall trying to round up stragglers and make sure that no one was getting crushed in any exit doors. That meant Nightstar was alone with Defiance.
Although Rigel has assured him that Defiance was back on the side of angels, Nightstar had to admit that the thought of being alone with Defiance made him nervous. Protector’s shield was propped up against the inside of the Freedom Van. Nightstar considered picking it up.
“The Ace of Spades has Rigel. She’d respond otherwise,” said Defiance. “We need to attack him now. If he’s under the building, I’ll make a big enough hole to get us there. Whatever he throws at us, I can take it.”
“I’m trying Protector,” said Nightstar.
“Hi, Nightstar. I’m close to Rigel. Something’s wrong with her. Her eyes are glowing, and she’s just standing still.
I’m not sure what she’s doing, so I don’t want to touch her in case I mess up her concentration. Chameleon is here and unconscious. Rigel threw her into a wall. What’s going on with the fire?”
“It’s our way of clearing the mall. Listen, stay with Rigel and protect her.”
“That’s not good. Let me check with Ion,” said Nightstar. “Ion, how are you, Rockslide, Snowfall and Starlight doing?”
“We’re ready to go in, but I keep pinging Rigel’s communicator and she’s not answering.”
“Protector’s with her. She’s concentrating on something telepathic. Did she tell you what she was doing?”
“No,” said Ion, “but I can kinda feel electrical systems. It’s something I’ve been practicing. There’s a tremendous surge going on under that building. We need to get in there.”
“Okay,” said Nightstar, “you go in on your side, we’ll charge in on ours.”
“Good,” said Ion, “I love this plan. We split up so we can do more damage.”
“And hopefully, distract the Ace of Spades. Remember, the Ace has access to all the defenses we have at Freedom Squad Headquarters,” said Nightstar.
“I’m more worried about the fact that he was in Poltergeist’s head. Remember, he invented some great invisibility projectors as well as devices that could manipulate electrical and magnetic fields. Watch out for the stuff you can’t see,” said Ion with a grin.
“I can’t see anything,” said Nightstar, joking despite the worry he was feeling, especially for Rigel. “Why do you think I wear the mirrorshades all the time?
“I thought you were exposed to too much Corey Hart as a kid,” said Ion.
“Who?” asked Nightstar.
“Let’s just go. I’ll explain later,” said Ion.
Nightstar contacted Velocity. “How are things inside?”
“People are pretty much out.”
“Velocity, I need you to find where the entrances to the basement are.”
“Actually, Nightstar, I’ve seen several entrances to the basement. They’re pretty well-marked, but all of them are locked up.”
“Get Solaria and unlock them. Defiance and I are going in. Ion’s taking his team on the other side, and Protector’s with Rigel.”
Velocity was suddenly beside the van. Nightstar nearly ignited his psychic blade in surprise.
“Open up. I need to take Protector his shield,” said Velocity.
Defiance opened the door and handed the shield to Velocity. He was gone.
“Come on,” said Nightstar, getting out of the van.
Defiance flew over to a large loading dock. Nightstar teleported beside him, and Velocity ran up with Solaria.
Velocity said, “I thought we should stick together.”
Defiance smashed through the loading gate. Once he spotted a door to the basement, he tore it off its hinges. “I can’t wait for this,” he said as he marched down the stairs.
On the other side of the mall, Ion had traced the electrical surge to a spot under the parking lot. “Okay, Rockslide, show me what you can do.”
Rockslide reached down through the pavement and seemed to pull the rest of his body down afterward. There was a terribly loud smashing noise, and more than a few people in the parking lot started pointing.
Snowfall generated a thick fog around them.
“Nice going,” said Ion, looking down at the hole Rockslide had left in his wake. “Okay, everyone into the hole. It doesn’t matter what you smell.”
“Right,” said Snowfall, as he, Ion and Starlight followed Rockslide downward.
They came down into a large set of machinery. Rockslide was pounding his way through a metal door. From the other side of the door, shouts could be heard. “Sounds like guards to me,” said Ion, glancing at the machinery. “I could probably figure out what all of this is with enough time, but I think I should just short it out for now.”
There was a blue light and then a popping noise. Sparks shot out of the machinery. There was a low pitched groan that rumbled through the walls, and the lights went off.
Starlight glowed brightly enough to illuminate the room.
“I’m adding Night Vision goggles to the utility belt,” said Ion.
Rockslide slammed the security door. A massive dent appeared. With a loud rumble, he smashed against it a second time and it came free. A hail of gunfire greeted him from the corridor beyond. The massive rocky hero slowly advanced into the onslaught.
Ion, Snowfall and Starlight followed Rockslide, using the large earth elemental as moving cover. Ion said, “Just remember that everyone in this place could potentially be mind-controlled. Be careful with them.”
Rockslide reached the guards and smashed them with a few powerful sweeps of his arms.
“Ion,” stated Starlight, “I am not certain if I understand your use of the word ‘careful’.”
“Just do your best, Starlight.”
Another security door stood in front of them. Rockslide hesitated and began rubbing his arms. Bullets fell out of him, ringing against the floor.
“Don’t worry, my fellow heroes,” said Starlight from behind his featureless white faceplate, “I will take the lead while Rockslide removes those nefarious bullets.”
Snowfall looked over at Ion. JR shrugged and whispered, “I don’t know where he gets it.”
The glow around Starlight’s hands intensified. When it became blinding, he emitted a blast at the door, which promptly melted.
Snowfall flash-froze the metal puddle. “No sense in getting burned.”
A large chamber opened in front of the heroes.
“Intruders identified. Eliminate Ion, Snowfall and Rockslide. Apprehend Starlight for further analysis.”
Ion heard movement, but didn’t see anything. “Poltergeist’s tech,” he whispered. There was no telling what was in the room. “I need a blizzard right now,” he said to Snowfall.
Flakes appeared in the air racing outward from Snowfall’s gloves. They swirled through the chamber, covering storage boxes, the floor and outlining the shape of what appeared to be three large security robots or possibly men in battlesuits.
Ion grabbed Snowfall and raced out into the room and behind a crate of some nature as missiles crashed into Starlight. The corridor that they had left and part of the ceiling of the room in front of it collapsed. The heat from the resulting blast filled the area in front of the corridor with steam from vaporized snow.
“Thanks, Ion. That was close,” said Snowfall. “But Starlight?”
“Please surrender yourself immediately to the nearest Terran authorities,” announced Starlight from within the mist.
“Starlight’s okay,” said Ion. “Stay behind cover, and I’m going to try and EMP these guys.”
He ran out and tried his EMP. The robots paused for a moment.
“Oh,” he said, “the Ace gave them some kind of shielding. They are recovering too quickly.”
Rockslide launched himself from the rubble and crushed one of the robots. Starlight pointed his hands at another and blew it to pieces. Snowfall iced the last one over completely.
“It’ll thaw eventually,” he said.
“Nice work, guys,” said Ion.
Emergency lighting turned on in the chamber.
Ion sighed. They needed to find the Ace. He wondered how the others were doing.
They broke through another security door, but instead of finding robots or guards, they found a packed hallway with a short ceiling filled with people. They looked like a mix of mall shoppers and homeless, and they all stared blankly at the heroes.
“That’s one way to block us off,” said Ion. He didn’t know if there would be enough time to find another passage.
“Um, guys, let’s start moving them? Gently?” Ion said.
Posted on December 5, 2013, in Freedom Squad, HeroNet Files, NaNoWriMo and tagged Defiance, Freedom Squad, Harry Heckel, Ion, Megalopolis, Nanowrimo Novel, Nightstar, Rigel, Rockslide, Superhero novel, Superhero team, Superheroes. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.