Good 17-II

Comin’ For You.

A hush washed through the crowd quickly gathering around me. Which I found odd (people don't usually pay this much attention to cape fights), until I remembered the reason I was in this fight in the first place.

Am I…

Am I famous now?

I considered it, then took another look at the expressions on the face around me. Maybe infamous, then. That was more my speed, anyway.

I grinned up at the crowd suddenly, causing a few of them to recoil in shock. “Fear not, citizens!” I said, springing up onto my feet. “Just your friendly neighborhood… uh, me. Hi.” Another murmur swept through the crowd. “Oh, you might all want to run away now. I didn't exactly throw myself from…” I pushed myself up on my toes to see over the crowd, and spotted the alleyway entrance on the opposite side of the street. “Wow, all the way over there?” I prodded myself in a few places. I was hurt, duh, but not any more than I'd been before that little flight. “It is actually amazing I'm not dead.”

The crowd didn't seem to quite know how to react to me. A couple of people were taking photos, and I did my best to angle my hood to block my face. Probably futile, but it made me feel a bit better, so eh.

There was a flicker of motion through the crowd, and another look revealed the two Disciples, I'm going to call them Thing 1 (crazy) and Thing 2 (mildly less crazy), stepping out around the corner. “That wasn't a joke,” I said to the crowd, “you all should really run away now.” They stared at me. “What, do you think I'm fucking kidding?! Ru-” A foot slammed into my gut, knocking the wind out of me before I could finish, but they seemed to get the message. Some screamed, which helped get the point across.

Thing 1 wasn't messing around, and another blow knocked my feet out from under me before I could recover, and I hit the ground, again. Hello, concrete my old friend. You still taste like shit. I growled, pushing myself weakly onto my hands and knees, but then something slammed into my side, knocking me over again. It wasn't amazingly strong, though; like being hit with a speeding truck, only made of pillows. Thing 2’s whatever blasts, which apparently deteriorated with distance? Or maybe he'd just done a weaker blast because it was all he needed. Either way, I still went back down.

Fuck. I'd been trying to avoid this, but they weren't going to give me a second to get my feet under me unless I made them. And the only way to do that was my power.

Two quick switches sent Thing 1’s leg out from under him, and his falling form careening into Thing 2, knocking them both into an awkward pile. It also sent my already-low reserves dipping even lower: I'd been trying to conserve them as much as possible until I was back up to full. Still, the sacrifice was worth it: I managed to haul myself to my feet, ignoring the aching cries of pain from my everything, while the Disciples struggled to extricate their limbs from one another's. More importantly, it gave me a second to think.

Two v. one. Not impossible, but not great odds either. Especially considering they both seemed to have pretty strong powers, and I couldn't really use mine, and they'd already beat me up quite a bit. I'd ordinarily try and take the fight straight to them; Thing 1’s power would actually be a disadvantage in close-quarters, and if I maneuvered right I could use the threat of hitting his fellow Disciples to keep Thing 2 from using his force blasts. The state I was in, through, meant that even then I couldn't guarantee I'd win that fight. Maybe, possibly, but I'm not super fond of maybe & possibly when the end result might be me getting tortured and killed.

I could always run. They'd attacked me, after all. The only investment I had in this fight was getting some ass-kicking in, and I wasn't too attached to that. But if I ran, they'd follow, and even if I was uninjured, they'd probably still catch me. Thing 1’s power was no joke.

So somehow, I had to stay and beat these two in a fight, without staying at long range, and also without closing to close range, and also without using my power. So, basically-

Oh. I'm an idiot, aren't I? I raised one hand to my ear, activating my earpiece. “Any Outliers in the industrial area,” I said quickly, “I could use a hand. Two Disciples, outside a factory on Winston Road.”

There was a brief, terrifying moment of silence. Then, “I'm nearby, Skew.” Tide's voice. “I'll be there in just a minute.”

“Roger,” I replied curtly, even though I was relieved. The two Disciples were getting to their feet. They didn't seem to have heard my conversation, so maybe…

“Look,” I said, holding up a hand, “can we pause for a second?” The two of them glared at me, but didn't attack, so that was something. “Thank you. Let's start at the beginning. What do you actually want from me slash us?”

Thing 2 laughed scornfully. “You know what we want.”

“See, that's the thing!” I said, raising a finger. “You're assuming I do. But for all you know, I could be thinking of something else entirely! You're setting yourself up for failure.” They seemed confused. “So, I'll ask again, what is it you actually want from us?”

Thing 2 gnashed his teeth. “The datapad,” he ground out.

“See!” I clapped my hands. “Now we're making progress. We're on the same page and stuff. Second question,” and I dropped the upbeat air, “how the fuck do you know about that?!”

He stepped back a little, which I was quite proud of, but he recovered quickly. Thing 1 was still grinning his vacant grin, not really focused on me. “You have no idea what you've stumbled into, Outlier. You and your little posse are far over your heads, and I intend to see you drown in it. Now, where have you-”

He froze, an odd expression on his face. “Hah,” I crowed, “sucker! Fell for the oldest trick in the-” He collapsed to the ground, completely limp, and red began seeping from underneath his torso. That was not Tide’s doing. Before he even had time to react, there was a wet, schlicking sound, and Thing 1’s arms fell off at the elbow, before he too collapsed to the ground. Doing so revealed, where his body had been a second ago, an indeterminate, swirling mass of white, which quickly resolved itself into the shape of a person.

“Isn’t that funny,” said Edith. “I was just about to ask him the same thing.”

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