Fly 21-I

HANNAH
Too Great And Terrible To Imagine.

I threw up.

I don’t think I was the only one, either. I managed to pull my scarf away in time, as my stomach roiled in revulsion at the horror we’d just witnessed.

No, scratch that; that we were still witnessing.

The… thing that used to be Paladin screamed again, stabbing into my brain like a pair of needles. The sound of it was unnatural and raw, filled with tones and shades that a human body couldn’t even come close to producing. My ears rang, my vision swam, and if the sight hadn’t already made me vomit, it probably would have done that too.

The beast, the only word I could think of to describe it, flailed around, not seeming to be fully in control of its own body. Every movement it made tore gouges into the ground, sending sprays of concrete flying out at dangerously high speeds. One large chunk clipped the giant man, gouging a piece out of his arm, but his terrifying grin didn’t falter. “I must admit,” he said, blood dripping down his forearm and onto the datapad, “this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but on the whole, I must say I’m rather happy with it.”

Faster than I could blink, he was blown backwards, slamming into the side of a building, and Awestruck stood in the space he’d just occupied. The hero’s fists were clenched, trembling, and his face was contorted in a horrifying mask of rage. “FIX HER!” he bellowed, spittle flying from his mouth.

The giant chuckled, as he began extracting himself from his crater. “I can’t think of any reason why-” Another shockwave pummeled him back into it, cutting him off and making the building tremble worryingly. The giant smirked, and dissolved into that same awful storm of meat and bone, shooting out and dodging around a few more shockwaves before reforming. “-I should do that,” he finished. I noticed the injury to his arm had been healed completely, and that somehow, he was still holding the datapad.

Awestruck roared incoherently, but the giant had already disappeared by the time the next shockwaves reached him. Balthazar and Galvanize had been slowly trying to approach the golden beast, but the fighting seemed to be agitating it, and it screamed again, and lashed out with one… limb. The scream actually affected Awestruck, making him clutch his hands to his ears, and the very tip of the misshapen limb grazed Galvanize. Or, it looked like a graze. If I hadn’t seen the contact, I would have thought it had fully backhanded the mech, because it went flying, sparks shooting from the gash along the front. It hit the ground and tumbled, rolling to a stop as its lights dimmed and flickered.

Balthazar hastily backed away again.

The giant appeared beside it, staring up at the closest thing it had to a head. “Hm. Strong. Much stronger than she was.” As tall as he was, it was still larger than him by a large margin.

“Step away from her.” To my surprise, the voice came from beside me. Comet had stepped up, helmet covering her face, but her posture was resolute.

“Her?” He laughed. “You seem to be making some optimistic assumptions.”

“Step,” she repeated, “away.”

“Oh, believe me,” he replied. “I’d love nothing more than to stand back and watch it tear you all to pieces. But as I’ve been recently reminded, that would be thinking small.”

He disappeared, and a large gash scored its way along the beast’s side. It roared in pain, and lashed out with enough speed that I barely saw the motion, but it didn’t connect. Another gash, on the other side, and again it swung and missed. What is he trying to…

A few more, and its screams grew more and more pained and frantic, until he sliced across its chest one more time, and in an instant, it turned and bolted away, smashing through the side of a building, still screeching.

“Jane!” Awestruck yelled, and flew after it.

“Excellent,” said giant said as he watched it flee. “Now, I would love to see where that ends up, but I think,” he waggled the datapad at us, “I’d rather go spread the word.”

His whirling form shot off into the air. “After him!” Comet yelled, as fire began to whirl around her. The other jolted into action, but as they did, the meat storm began to slow. Not in its swirling, which only grew more intense, but in actual lateral motion, until it came to a complete stop.

The giant reformed, and fell to the ground, landing with a heavy crunch. He stood, and turned to look at us. “Surprising. I wasn’t expecting actual competency from the children.”

“Wrong direction, f***nozzle!” yelled a familiar voice. Standing on top of a nearby building, almost looking like they were posing, were the four other Outliers; Ricochet, Skew, Void, and the one whose name I didn’t know who looked like a Hot Topic mummy.

“Remember me, ***hole?” Skew yelled. What happened to being completely incapacitated.

The giant smirked, but it didn’t have as much humor in it as before. He shot off again, and Void raised a hand. He began to slow like before, but it didn’t seem to take, and he rocketed off again. She swore. “Outliers, follow him!” she yelled down towards us as she lifted off into the air. “Don’t let him get away!”

“Stay where you are!” Comet commanded, turning to face the vigilantes in question. “You do not have the-”

“Do you want to argue about this now?!” Void yelled at her. “We’ll handle this, and you deal with whatever the **** that golden thing was!”

Comet stared at her, but made no motion to stop the Outliers as they rushed off. Instinctively, I moved to follow them, but Stump’s arm grabbed mine from behind. “With us,” he said grimly. “I think we might be needing you.”

As a group, we took off in a run, following the path of wreckage the beast had left behind. “Where is it going?” Thrust pondered out-loud.

Silently, Comet point a finger at the path it was making, then moved her finger straight up onto the skyline.

The Tower.

“She’s going to safety,” I finished out loud.

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