Enemies 9-VI

So Wrong It’s Right.

Ever seen concrete peel back like a flower? It’s a strange combination of disconcerting and beautiful.

With a rumbling groan, the roof of the room split in two, beams of sunlight piercing through the clouds of dust. Under different circumstances, I might have taken the opportunity to laugh at Foresight's hacking coughs, but I was slightly distracted by the fact that the room we were standing in had been literally torn out of the ground and pulled up through at least twenty feet of concrete.

As the dust settled, I surveyed the situation. The secret lair had been under the road, it seemed, and the central lab was now turning a four lane into a one-way. It hadn’t been brought all the way up to the surface: the floor was still about a foot below the road. It would’ve taken ridiculous amounts of power to do that, an earthmover or telekinetic, and judging by the rough nature of our ‘ride’, probably the latter. And in this city, that meant-

I raised my eyes up to look through the split-open roof at the afternoon sun, and the caped figure silhouetted against it. My goggles are polarized, so I could just make out the silver and black bodysuit and the stylized ‘A’ on the chest.

Awestruck.

Barely even thinking, I threw my hand out, flinging everything I had left at him, dredging as deep into my power as I could, and pulling up everything I had left.

It was about as effective as running into a brick wall, brain first. I staggered backwards, reeling from the blowback. God, it fucking hurt. It was like an ice-cream headache hatefucked a trepan performed by a blindfolded ape.

I fell onto my ass, clutching my head, scrunching my eyes closed to protect them from the light that was suddenly far too bright. Great. I’d just thrown away my best shot and had nothing to show for it but the icepick up my nostril. He hadn’t even-

I squinted up into the light for a brief second and corrected myself. He’d definitely dropped a few feet. I didn’t know I’d done it for sure, but he was just hovering there, and there was no reason for him to have dropped on his own. Point: Flint, I guess.

“That wasn’t wise,” the hero said in his booming voice. He sounded a bit peeved.

“Skew!” a voice called out across the room. Lis-, no; Ricochet; I was out of it enough that it took me a second to recognize her voice.

“‘m okay,” I called back, as loud as I could without blowing out my own eardrums. “I think.”

I probably wouldn’t have noticed if my eyes weren’t screwed shut, but it was quiet. Almost eerily so. There was the faint hum of cars in the distance, but otherwise, nothing. It wasn’t portentous or anything, just a subtle detail that helped accentuate how completely and utterly f-ed in the a we were.

Let me give you a run-down. Awestruck is basically the face of the Tower in NC, and for good reason. He's a Dragon Class, which is basically just a slightly longer way of saying ‘you’re fucked'. It’s also sometimes called the Superman Class, because... well, do I really have to spell it out for you? Basically, it’s a designate for a set of powers that in some way include flight, strength, speed, toughness and some form of offensive ability. Doesn’t matter how: Pyrhha's basically the ultimate Dragon Class, and pretty much every one of her abilities come from the same power. There’s about twenty of them all around the globe, and Awestruck's up there with the best. I've seen video of him getting hit in the face with a passenger jet. He barely flinched, and the jet looked like it had been torn in two by the hand of God. He can also create directed shockwaves powerful enough to blow through buildings, and fly faster than the speed of sound. Blonde hair, blue eyes, jaw of steel, build of a Greek god, adored by the public, because, really, he’s the closest to Superman we’re gonna get.

Say it with me now, folks: “You’re fucked.”

I missed the next bit, because, again, skullfucked with a pinecone dildo, and I’m sorry for the crudeness, I’m just trying to communicate the sheer amount of pain I’m talking about here. I’m actually running out of similes. Anyway, best as I can figure, someone, probably Ribbon or Ricochet but I wouldn’t rule out Foresight, tried to attack Awestruck.

This went about as well as you’d expect.

The next thing I knew, I was lying in a pile of rubble about twenty feet down the road, covered in even more dust than before. Also, pain. More pain than before too. Remember that bruised rib I'd recovered from? Neither do I, because it turns out I hadn't, and it had invited some friends over. And then the friends got drunk, and did some hard drugs and completely trashed the place. And then some idiot tried to light his own fart and set the entire place on fire. And then Flint remembered that he was in the middle of a combat situation and snapped out of his stupid little story. 

Every part of the lab that was above street level had been - heh - leveled. I'm pretty sure I was resting on the remnants of a desk and supporting pillar. The other Outliers, as well as the unconscious bodies of the Prowlers, were in similar positions to me, except for Foresight, who had somehow landed on his feet, and was staring back at the giant cloud of dust with narrowed eyes.

I hate him so much.

Out of the cloud floated Awestruck. No dust settled on him, and he left a small plume behind him as he left. It was pretty cool-looking, I'll admit. Three silhouettes faded into being behind him, and then resolved themselves into fully-realized figures. 

Okay, awkward admission time. I knew they were the other three members of Valiant, the Tower's premier hero team. I knew that they were a telekinetic, some form of... something, I dunno, and a Forge. What I didn't know were their names. Look, not all of us can be cape nerds, okay? Some people have better things to do.

On the left, a hulking suit of mechanized armor, sleek in some sections, and oddly bulky in others, hovering slightly off the ground. In the middle, a thin man in a business suit with a bright purple bow tie and bowler (everyone's got a schtick these days). On the left, a woman with glowing golden armor and wings of the same material stretching out behind her. With Awestruck, they were the four strongest heroes in the city, possibly the country.

I couldn't help it. I started giggling. "Skew?" came a wary voice from nearby. It sounded like Tide. "Why are you..."

I seriously could not have stopped if I tried. It just kept spilling out. 

"Skew! What the hell is wrong with you?!"

I managed to stifle the giggles for a second. "We," I choked out, "are so completely fucked."

Hilarious, innit?