…. EPISODE 43…..
….. Posted by uc beverly…..
V is up the stairs before I even have a chance to react, with Draven right behind her.
I race up the stairs after them, just in time to watch seven heroes in full desert camouflage pile into the room at the same time three more come crashing through the sliding glass door on the other side of the kitchen.
“It’s a trap!” Deacon growls from beside me. “Get down, Kenna!”
He tries to shove me behind him, but yeah. Like that’s going to happen.
“Freeze,” shouts one of the heroes who came in through the window. He’s tall and blond, around my age, and looks distinctly familiar. He also looks distinctly dangerous. Which he is, I realize, as he lets loose a blast of ice straight at V and Draven.
“Bugger that!” Nitro yells, lobbing a fireball straight at the ice blast.
For the second time today his aim is right on. The ice turns to water and falls harmlessly to the floor as V and Draven turn to confront the hero.
V grabs him behind the neck and pulls his head down as she thrusts her knee straight up into his forehead. There’s a loud crack and then he hits the ground.
At the same time, Draven is focused on the other two door-crashers. With a wave of his hand, he has them on their knees, clutching their heads as blood leaks from their noses.
Deacon, Dante, and Nitro are locked in battle with four of the heroes who came in the front of the house and are doing their best to hold them off. Nitro lobs bright red and yellow fireballs at two of them, while Dante creates a mini-vortex of wind around a third and fourth. After an aborted attempt to use his water power that ended up putting out three of Nitro’s fireballs prematurely, Deacon has taken to punching whatever hero he can get his hands on.
Two other heroes are headed straight for Rebel, who is telekinetically winding a power cord around the feet of a hero Riley is holding suspended in midair. I grab the first weapon I can find—a cast-iron frying pan that is sitting on the stove with scrambled eggs still in it—and hit one of them in the face with it as hard as I can. He goes down like a rock.
The other hero sends what looks like a sandstorm at Rebel’s back. But her immunity sends it swirling around her harmlessly before falling to the ground. While that hero stares in shock at his failed attack, I bash him with the frying pan. As he’s falling, the huge guy V knocked down grabs her around the leg and yanks her to the floor as bolts of lightning fly all around us. Jeremy ducks between a
couple of the lightning bolts and launches himself at the guy’s back, and then the three of them are rolling around on the ground together.
More heroes flood in through the back door, and Rebel uses her power to lift them and throw them back out, one at a time. A few get through, and Draven turns to confront them while the other two heroes he was fighting pass out at his feet.
He can’t take on all of them though—there are too many. And their powers are too strong. One is zipping around the room so fast I can barely see her, while Dante is struggling with what I can only imagine is a hero with the power of invisibility because he seems to be fighting thin air. A hero with super stretch reaches between bodies to grab Jeremy’s ankle. One shifts into the shape of a mountain lion at the same time as another grows so huge his head hits the ceiling.
It’s a complete zoo in the not-so-spacious kitchen.
A girl with a nasty-looking weapon turns her attention on Rebel. I narrow my power into laser focus and send a flash of electromagnetic energy right at her. The weapon explodes in her face.
Lightning continues to zing around the room from one of the heroes Nitro is fighting, and between the two of them, half the kitchen is on fire. Deacon is doing his best to put the flames out, but he’s also locked in hand-to-hand combat with a hero whose power seems to be elasticity since he keeps bending and contorting himself out of Deacon’s grip. Dante’s wind is knocking things over and fanning the flames that Deacon can’t put out, and Riley is flying above the whole scene, throwing dishes, a toaster, boxes of cereal—whatever he can get his hands on—at the heroes. At least until one of the heroes jumps straight up and grabs Riley’s feet, and then the two tumble to the ground.
A hero woman in black leather slips past Draven and into the fray. I head straight for her, determined to keep her from hurting anyone. But before I reach her, she opens her mouth and lets loose a sonic scream so high-pitched that it shatters windows—and some eardrums.
Everyone on my team freezes—everyone but blissfully immune Rebel—their hands clapping over their ears to block out the sound. The heroes must be wearing earplugs, because they keep fighting. It takes only seconds for them to subdue my friends, some of whom have blood leaking out of their ears, but the woman continues to scream.
I fall to my knees, sharp agony shooting through my head. Through my whole body. I try to fight the pain, but that only makes it worse. At least until I see Draven on the ground, a hero on his back, handcuffing him, while another beats the hell out of him.
Anger wells in me, a fury that’s more than fury, a hate that’s more than hate, a hollowness that starts in my core and overwhelms my entire being. What I’m thinking. What I’m feeling. What I’m seeing and what I’m hearing. It overtakes me, until nothing exists for me but it.
I stagger to my feet and stumble across the room toward the screaming woman. I can feel the heroes staring at me. They start toward me as freeze blasts and lightning bolts and sandstorms fly at me.
I hold my hands out as if to block them, and as I do, something strange happens.
Not stops as in freezes, but stops as in disappears.
The lightning bolts poof into thin air.
The freeze blasts disintegrate.
The screaming woman warbles and chokes, her deadly shriek completely silenced. It’s just for a few moments, five seconds max, but that is all the time my team needs. Draven jumps to his feet with a roar, the handcuffs dangling from one wrist as he throws his arms out and sends biomanipulation waves straight at every hero in his sight line.
The kitchen faucets spring to life, water flooding out of them so fast the hardware breaks and water starts spurting straight into the air. Deacon gathers all the water and sends it crashing toward the heroes near the glass door in a giant wave that propels them through the broken glass. Then he maintains the wave, making it impossible for them to fight their way back in through the barricade of water. Riley flies through the door after them—above the wall of water—and V and Jeremy leap out one of the kitchen windows to join the battle outside.
Rebel sends out a telekinetic blast so powerful that it lifts four heroes right off their feet and pins them against the wall, while Dante and Nitro create a fiery vortex that cages all the remaining heroes inside of it.
Well, all except sonic scream lady, who I take care of with another well-placed slam of my frying pan. She falls face-first to the kitchen floor, hitting her head on the corner of the granite countertop as she goes down.
I don’t know if she’s dead, and for the first time since this nightmare began, I can’t bring myself to care. The heroes have done so much damage, have hurt and killed so many people. I would never deliberately kill anyone, but if she hit her head on the counter hard enough to crack her skull, I’m not exactly going to be crying for her. I have too many other, better people to cry for.
Draven finishes with the heroes he’s fighting inside, then beelines for the clash outside. Once that happens, it’s only a matter of a couple minutes before the hero
force is laid out on the ground in front of us. Most of them are passed out, and the ones who aren’t are in bad enough shape that they won’t retaliate, which is all that matters—at least to me. V is another matter altogether though, as she and Draven go through and knock out everyone.
“What are we going to do with them?” I ask as Jeremy runs down to the lab to find something to tie them up with.
“I’ve got some ideas,” Nitro says. There’s a look on his face I’ve never seen before. One that’s filled with rage and hate and so much fury it’s a miracle he doesn’t spontaneously combust where he stands.
I don’t blame him. The scientists who were used to bait us were my mother’s friends. Each of them was kind to me in his or her own way, and each of them feels like family. That they died because the heroes wanted a way to bring us down—to bring me down—hurts immensely.
But then again, that’s kind of the point of their whole futile exercise, isn’t it? Jeremy comes back with a couple rolls of duct tape, and we all go to work binding hands and wrists. We use a lot, doing our best to ensure that they won’t get free. Then Jeremy goes from hero to hero, taking whatever electronics they have on them and piling them high on the kitchen table.
Only then does he nod to Rebel, who uses her power to pick the heroes up, one by one, and carry them down the stairs and into the environmental chamber in the lab. I follow behind to close the door and lock them in. If there was a key, I would throw it away. And just like that, the threat is neutralized and we’re safe. At least for now.