Part 7 – Nanowrimo Freedom Squad
(Just more of this year’s Nanowrimo Story – very raw, but still enjoy!)
About a hundred yards away, Ion was dodging missiles and doing his best to exchange fire with Barrage. She was a high-tech villain, and Ion kept hoping that somehow his bolts would be able to fry her circuitry. Golem and a pair of zombies shambled after him. Death Queen would raise her hands and launch a bolts of some kind of cold darkness at him, but up to this point, she hadn’t hit him, and he’d managed to keep everyone busy.
Ion could see Protector struggling against Defiance, but he didn’t have the ability to get over to help Alex. Poor Rockslide had come back down to earth and was lying in a heap near a pond. “C’mon big fella,” said Ion, “don’t lie there until a bunch of kids start climbing on you.”
The police had tried twice to start advancing on the villains, but they didn’t have the firepower or the armor to stand up to Barrage and Golem. The Death Queen was protected as well by some kind of mystic force field.
However, Ion gave the cops a fist pump as a few of them took down the zombies. “Great job, Megalopolis’ finest.
Unfortunately, Ion was getting tired.
He glanced up at the sky, hoping to see a blaze of light. Maybe he’d see a shiny Freedom Flyer racing to land. Instead, he saw what looked like a rogue fogbank flying down at him.
“Aaahhh!” came a man’s voice from within the cloudbank. Then, the fog crashed in front of Ion.
“What is the world is that?” asked Barrage , who stopped firing at Ion in her surprise.
Ion couldn’t blame her. He wasn’t sure what to make of the mysterious cloud.
A man in a blue and white costume with snowflake patterns stumbled out of the cloud. It was Snowfall. “I don’t really fly well. I’m still working on it.”
“Too bad you’re not going to be around long enough to learn,” said Barrage.
Snowfall raised his hands and ice coated Barrage’s armor, snuffing out her rocket jets. She fell onto the grass with a thunk.
“Hi, Ion, sir,” said Snowfall, “I am very good at putting people in their own personal ice cubes, however. Maybe you can teach me to fly.”
“I can’t fly,” said Ion.
Golem was running at them.
“I can move out of the way of big things. What about you, Snowfall?”
Snowfall extended his hands and the ground in front of him was suddenly covered in ice. The ice patch spread out growing larger and larger. “How’s that?”
“Um, not bad, but it makes it hard to run.”
Golem hit the ice and slipped, falling forward and sliding toward Ion and Snowfall.
“Uh oh,” both heroes said at once.
“Ice Wall!” said Snowfall, furrowing his brow as a wall of ice grew into the air to block Golem’s sliding body.
Ion tried to run, but the ground was too slick.
With a crash, Golem went through the newly-formed ice barrier, shattering it, before knocking Snowfall and Ion sideways.
Ion moaned as he picked himself up off of the wet ground. Barrage was standing beside him, steam coming from the surface of her armor. “Snowfall’s not really with us. He’s just trying out. Maybe we can talk?”
“Fortunately, Ion, you have two things going for you,” she said.
“Oh?” asked Ion. He tried to summon up enough of a charge to zap Barrage, but the steam, the water and his general fatigue were making it difficult. He needed to stall. “What are they?”
“First, my primary weapon systems are offline. Second, you make me laugh. So, I’m not going to kill you,” she said.
“That’s reassuring,” he replied. There still wasn’t enough charge, just a few sparks on his fingertips.
He saw her armored kick coming, but there was nothing he could do about it.
To his surprise, Ion realized that he was still conscious, though he was having some trouble seeing and could easily imagine little cartoon birds flying around his head. Pain ripped through his insides, but he could still move. “Something to be said for electrically-enhanced physiology,” he muttered. “Okay, Ion, remember, Protector said to keep them busy. Solaria should be coming, after all, Snowfall’s here, right? The cops are around. Somebody’s going to turn the tide of battle.”
With a thump, Snowfall landed beside him.
“Looks like you are out cold,” said Ion, who realized that he was on his hands and knees. Despite himself, he chuckled. “Out cold, get it?”
“These two are done,” said Barrage. “Shouldn’t we help Defiance?”
Death Queen gave an evil laugh. “Help him? He should be finished with that fool with the shield any moment. However, the mystical protections that are keeping the police at bay won’t last forever. I think the mayor has escaped us. Still, we’ve sent a message. Golem, if Ion keeps moving, step on him.”
“I wouldn’t do that,” said Ion. “I’d leave a big stain.”
Ion considered several things, including the chances that Rigel and Nightstar would appear, where the heck Solaria was, whether he might be able to come up with some crazy plan like using whatever ice was left on the ground to send electricity cascading in all directions without killing Snowfall, and how if he survived this, he would definitely design a utility belt. He took a little solace as none of the options except the utility belt seemed to have a chance that at least he really did make Barrage laugh.
“Would you let me surrender?” he asked, risking a glance at Protector.
Alex was still standing, gripping his shield. Blood was coming from his nose, and he could taste it in his mouth. He was determined to keep standing. Defiance paused.
“Why don’t you fall down?” Defiance asked him.
“I told you,” said Alex, as he stood on legs that felt like rubber. “I’m the Protector.”
“Perhaps you are. Your predecessor would be proud. I’m sorry about this. One day, you will understand. Still, you impressed me. You don’t have his presence or experience, but you have the same sort of heart.”
“There’s something that I have that he didn’t,” said Alex, “something that might make me better than he was.”
“What’s that?” asked Defiance incredulously.
A blast of energy struck Defiance with enough power to send him flying in the direction of the other villains and Ion.
“I have a team,” said Protector.
Starlight was at his side. “My apologies, Protector. I had not properly compensated for his initial attack,” said the alien.
“Stop them, Starlight.”
“Are you certain that you do not require immediate medical attention?”
“Stop them,” spat Protector, as he did his best to remain on his feet. He was determined not to fall.
Starlight flew over to the other villains, a radiant light shining from him. “I apologize if this is not communicated correctly. Attention, villains, criminals, arch-fiends and evildoers of Megalopolis,” he said in his flat robotic tones, “Please surrender yourselves to the nearest Terran authority.”
“Who is that?” asked Barrage.
“Powers of Darkness, I command you to snuff the light of life from this… Starlight,” said Death Queen. Black screaming tendrils snaked up toward Starlight.
Ion took a deep breath, then made his move. Rather than risk a blast, he grabbed Snowfall and ran with every bit of speed he had over to Protector.
“Whoa,” he said when he reached Alex, “you are a mess. Can you still hold that shield?”
Protector straightened up and raised the shield to defend Ion and Snowfall as well as himself. “Yes,” he said in a tone that scared Ion.
The tendrils swirled around Starlight.
“Quantum flux detected, indicating power recognized as magic by Terrans. Compensating with quark emissions,” he stated. He emitted a glow from his hands and the tendrils vanished.
Ion had just breathed a sigh of relief with the tendrils reformed.
“Difficulties in compensating for quantum fluxes noted,” said Starlight.
Defiance suddenly flew into Starlight striking him with a thunderous impact. The alien hero crashed into the ground, digging another crater into the soil of the park. This time, he flew back into the air.
“Compensation protocols successful,” stated Starlight.
Barrage had apparently fixed her weapons systems as she unleashed a hail of laser bursts into Starlight. Her attack seemed utterly ineffectual. “I repeat, please surrender yourselves to the nearest Terran authorities, or I shall…” he paused, “… find one of the good citizens of this fair city to conduct a citizen’s arrest, as being an alien, I do not have the authority myself to arrest you. Rules are rules, as you know.”
Ion laughed and held his ribs in pain as he did. “Next time, remind me to show him something different.”
Protector didn’t look amused. “See if you can wake up Snowfall. Where’s Solaria?”
“I have no idea, and I will. Has Rockslide moved?””
“I think so,” said Protector, “but I’m not sure how well he’s going to be able to fight.” Protector swayed slightly and then caught himself.
Defiance floated in the air in front of Starlight. He looked in the direction of Protector, Ion and Snowfall, then over to the rubble of Rockslide, which was definitely reforming.
“It’s time to kill them and make them into my undead slaves!” shouted Death Queen.
“No!” said Defiance. “No killing. You all agreed. The mayor isn’t here. We’ve made our point. Let’s go.”
He flew down next to the other villains. Death Queen gestured and then all of them were shrouded in dark mists. The mists dispersed and the villains were gone.
Police poured into the park, followed by a platoon of reporters and cameras.
“We did it,” said Ion.
Protector looked around at the shattered statues, “I don’t think we won.”
“Alex,” said Ion softly, “We survived.”