(Wednesday, June 18th)
“Here they come, people. Get ready – if they have teleporters, that formation could change at any moment. Remember, if you get a potentially fatal shot, take it. We can’t afford to hold back.”
Eclipse’s voice echoed softly across the comlinks that each member of the harbour defense team wore. Mayfly hovered anxiously in the sky, watching the approaching Antiheroes breaking into teams. She shook her head as Epsilon’s voice broke over the comm – he had dropped from the sky with impressive speed as the armada approached, eyes peeled and ready for anything. “This is weird, guys. Why are they coming in straight?”
“We’ll see in a moment. Now, do you think you can be as quiet in battle as you were in the briefing?” Blastwave shot the rebuke from her position at the foot of the dock. The energy projectors were stationed near the water’s edge, behind a barricade of molded steel, and were waiting for the moment that the Antiheroes came into range. Charon and Styx were flanking them, ready to move into close combat.
“Doubt it. Stress makes me nervous.”
“Well, now you’re making me – huh, what’s that?” Blastwave gestured towards the advance, even as she began to gather rippling waves of heat into her hands in preparation for the attack. Far away, the middle team of Antiheroes were flanking a figure dressed in orange and ready. She ducked down behind cover and spoke quickly. “Could I get a read on that, please? Looks like artillery of some sort.”
“Artiller…” Mayfly peered at the figure, even as Epsilon scanned towards him. The two of them shouted the warning at the same moment. “Overkill!”
Below, Handyman and Blastwave shared a shocked look. Then, without needing to discuss it, they dove in opposite directions, just as the first massive blast of energy pulsed across the harbour. It vaporized their cover, shattered three piers, and petered out just shy of the harbour restaurant. At that moment, the flanking teams put on bursts of speed, curving towards the suddenly-exposed defenders’ artillery.
“Damn it, when did he change sides?!” Biting off another curse, Gwenivere drew her sword, a simple silver hilt with a blade forged of pure wind, and dove towards the left flank. After a moment’s hesitation, Mayfly curved after her, fists clenched. Their targets split into two groups as they approached; a pair of men in dull blue combat suits released their jetpacks and plunged to the harbour’s ground, landing with the sound of cracking timbers, while a man wreathed in fire and two hawkpeople spun to meet the attack. Mayfly found herself flying in loops to avoid wreaths of flame as Gwen fought a pitched swordfight against the others.
The air rippled around her, and the flame-covered man staggered and dipped. Mayfly darted in, landing a heavy blow on his chin, and he dropped from the sky. She glanced down towards the ground as she flew to support Gwen, seeing Blastwave gave her a thumbs-up before redirecting the heat she had stolen from her opponent towards one of the two men advancing towards her. On the other side, Charon and Styx had their hands full trying to hold off five opponents by themselves, while in the air Epsilon and Spinaround dashed and weaved, trying to loop around their four opponents towards Overkill, who grinned and let off another blast. This one obliterated the harbour’s main pier, sending timbers and shards of metal raining into the water. He raised a third blast, which rocketed across the water – only to impact a sudden wall of energy that buckled under the strain, collapsing after a moment but leaving the third harbour zone mostly unharmed.
“Don’t mean to sound rude, but I think we’re supposed to protect that.” Omnibus’s faint voice came across the line. “Could someone look into removing that ruffian?”
“We’re… trying…” Spinaround was vibrating rapidly as he leapt from opponent to opponent, using their own velocities and speeds to try and attack them while keeping himself in the air. “This isn’t… exactly a family… picnic, you know?”
“You’re right. We have the worst company outings.” Eclipse managed the quip as he pulled a veil of darkness around himself and his opponents, then winced as a blast of green light almost blasted his arm off.
A volley of laser fire richocheted around the heroes as Handyman joined the battle, providing support to Charon and Styx. “We’re getting pinned down over here – Overkill took out half our field, and our enemies still have some aerial manueverability. Think one of you flyers can get the hell down here?”
Gwen gestured to Mayfly, a line of blood running down her side. “Go! I’ve got these two!”
“No, you don’t!” Mayfly slammed into one of the hawkmen, only to twist desperately to avoid a sudden knife thrust that clipped off her armour. She glanced down and winced, seeing exposed circuitry.
The tone of her voice was inarguable, and Mayfly broke off. As her opponent started to pursue, Gwen twisted to catch at him with her sword, sending him tumbling head-over-heels. The action left her open to another strike, and she twisted back barely in time to catch it.
Mayfly dove down, just in time to see one of the men in combat suits lining up a flechette on his suitarm against Blastwave as she poured energy into the other. She slammed into him, knocking his angle as he fired, and the tiny dart-rocket slammed into the ground at Blastwave’s feet, exploding into a ring of frost that knocked her sprawling. She rolled up just in time to dodge another attack.
“Hey, watch it! You might hurt someone!”
Mayfly tried to smile, but was instantly distracted as she saw the fire-wreathed man from earlier climbing out of the harbour, the water boiling around him as he approached. Breaking off to return her attention to him, she could only hope that the others were doing better than she and Jim were. If not, this battle was going to end badly…