Enemies 9-III

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To Slit My Throat

“Skew? Skew!” Ricochet snapped her fingers in my face. “Ya look like someone started two-steppin’ on your grave.”

I ignored her, deep in thought. If these really were the same villains as the ones Wisp had told us about… I had no idea what the implications were, but I was pretty sure they were big. My brain started spinning, pieces clicking into place. Most likely, this was the place the Cabal had raided before we’d taken them down and confiscated their loot. The timeline fit, if this site had been abandoned after the security was compromised. The school terrorists, I mentally assigned them the name ‘Prowlers’ because bad guys aren’t getting cool names on my watch, according to Wisp they’d been after something, with the hostages a specific way of getting at it. And if they were here now, that meant-

“The fucking datapad!” I swore out loud. “Goddamnit, it’s the fucking datapad!” I couldn’t know for certain, but it fit. It fit entirely too well.

The outburst garnered me looks of confusion from the others, but I waved them down. “I’ll explain later.” Christ, this whole thing was getting way too convoluted, and I reckoned I didn’t even know the half of it. “Right now, we need to get down there. This place could have something important left over, and we desperately need more information.  More importantly, at least three of those four are the ones from that hostage situation at Dresden High a few days ago, and it’s dollars for donuts that they know something about,” I waved my hand about, non-specifically, “this. That’s two very good reasons to take them down here and now, while they’re not expecting us, because I suspect that if we don’t, sooner or later we’re going to find them on our doorstep.” I cleared my throat. “Any objections?”

Tide raised a hand. “What are their powers?”

I dredged up what Wisp had talked about. “Green cloak is a teleporter with some kind of aftereffect, metal mask fires a beam effect, combat gear is unknown touch-range, fourth woman is an unknown. Foresight, you couldn’t make her out?”

“No,” he confirmed. “At first I thought it was lighting, but she’s definitely doing something that makes her hard to look at.”

“Okay, so at a minimum some kind of light refraction. Yayyyy.” I looked at all of them in turn. “I’m guessing that means that you’re all in?”

Ribbon shrugged. “Busting faces is like 80% of why I do this.”

“Like you said,” Tide agreed, “we need to deal with this now.”

Ricochet snorted. “I’m with miss scene girl; let’s bust some faces.”

Foresight just grunted, and I thought I heard him mutter something about agreeing with the chink (his words, not mine. Remember, kinda racist).

“All right, then,” I said, gesturing for them to gather in. “Here’s the plan…”

-----

When planning a surprise attack, mobile targets should always be priority. You’d think it’d be the heavy hitters, and they're definitely up there, for sure. But, there’s only so much damage they can do from a stationary position, and the whole point of an ambush is to put them off guard. Any power with mobility can ruin that, and ones that can move others provide a possible turnabout. When we went up against the Cabal, Edith, with quick and deadly movement, was our first target, followed by Junction, who could’ve moved the whole group of them to another location. It’s the same principle.
This time, Green Cloak went first.

“I’m just saying,” she was complaining, loud and obnoxious, as she rifled through a drawer, “if you'd come with us, we could’ve easily gotten them to go along with our demands.”

“I said from the start,” the blurry woman replied, “that it was a stupid plan, and all you did is prove me right.” She was bent over at a computer screen, fingers flying across the keyboard. “All you achieved is getting yourself beat up and letting the Tower know that we’re in town. If you’d managed to drag me along as well, we’d have lost the only advantage we have.”

The masked man grunted, apparently in agreement. He was scouring the floor in a grid pattern, a rushing torrent of orange, red and white energy blasting forward from a point just in front of his mask, eroding the ground away where it touched.

“There's no need to be a bitch about it,” Green Cloak muttered, tossing the drawer aside. “What I don’t get is why this guy only told us about this place after we hit the school.”

“We're being played, obviously.” The last member of their quartet was leaning against the wall, arms folded. His navy combat gear was pitted and scratched, not stylistically, but in a way that suggested he had earned every blemish. “The only reason we’re going along with it is because we literally don’t have any other options.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s a really bad reason to walk into a trap-” she froze, her hands halfway into another drawer. “Can you guys see this?” she asked slowly.

“See what?”

“I… think I may have tripped some kind of alarm.”

The blurry woman snapped around to face her. “What?! But he said- what are you seeing?”

“Words, blue ones. Little boxes that look like computer messages. ‘Do not move if you value your nervous system’.”

“Well, don’t move, then,” Combat Gear said dryly.

“Why are you even here? You’ve done nothing but lean against that wall and snark at us.”

"I'm here for this exact situation, where we fall into a trap and you're too incompetent to get us out of it."

She glared at him, and shifted slightly as if about to move, but then froze again. "Dammit. Screw this, I'm just going to-"

There was a snap-hiss, and she convulsed as flickers of electricity arced over her body. She collapsed to the ground, and the others spun around, trying to determine where it came from. 

And that, ladies and gents, was my cue. 

I stepped out from behind a door frame, and found myself under the very hostile gaze of three supervillains.

"Good afternoon," I said in my best menacing voice. "I believe it's about time we had a chat."

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