Picking Up The Pieces, Part 7: Shifting Tactics

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(August 15th)

Once again, two groups faced off against the backdrop of a quiet street, the surrounding building bearing silent witness to the titanic forces about to clash.

“Come back for more punishment, eh? Not too smart.” Dr Ecchs smiled grimly, raising a hand towards his three minions, standing a few feet ahead of him on the street. Nightshade grinned, Phil clicked his claws together, and Casey drew out a baseball. “But hey, three strikes…”

“Yeah, we've heard it all before. Before we start, though, I have one question.” Timebender smiled cheerfully. Behind her, Handyman drew his gun, Lucky Lad set himself into position, and Mayfly hovered a foot off the ground, as usual.

“Ask away.” Ecchs spoke cautiously, his eyes half-narrowed.

“How is this making you money?”

“Well, clearly we… that is, we just… um…” Ecchs looked at Casey, and then back towards Timebender. “It's not about money.”

“What? Yes, it is!” Nightshade twisted to stare at him. “We're a business! I'm the freaking vice president! Of course it's about money!”

“Well, it could have been… but not this time!” Ecchs glared at his subordinate, while Phil watched worriedly and Casey continued to stare impassively at his opponents. “This is about reclaiming our image as powerful villains, Nightshade! It is our reputation at stake!”

“Oh, like your reputation could suffer any more than it already does.”

Ecchs' eyes narrowed further. “I don't need your sarcasm, young lady.”

“I think the fact that we're not making money suggests that you do!”

Behind them, Casey launched into action. Ecchs threw his arms up in frustration. “I don't recall the cash flowing in while you were running the place!”

“I was doing fine! Just because I maybe burned the building down a little, you have to… oh, crap, they're starting without us!” Spinning in place, Nightshade grabbed Phil by the shoulder. “Move, greenboy! Go go go!” She dashed forwards, to where Casey was already lobbing fastballs towards Mayfly, who ignored him to fly past and divebomb the unprepared Phil.

“Hey, wait, what the -” Nightshade tried to move forwards, only to trip as Lucky slid forwards, sticking out a leg to send her sprawling. She rose quickly. “Oh, that is it! You're going down, twig-boy!”

Meanwhile, behind them, Casey was still throwing balls into the air, slamming them one after another towards the car that Handyman was crouching behind. Handyman attempted to squeeze off a quick laser blast, only to have to instantly duck back down as a blazing-fast curveball nearly took his hat off. “Timebender, if you could take action now, it would be great…”

“Right there!” In a blur of motion, Timebender sped around Casey, ducking under a swung bat and grabbing his head from behind. As he twisted to strike her, she easily sidestepped him, keeping her grip. “Let's see how the Doc built you…”

“Uh-oh.” Watching the fight, Ecchs shook his head. “Nightshade! She's going after the circuits! Stopping her would be a good idea now!”

“I am going to tear his head off and stuff it down…” Nightshade, swinging furiously at Lucky, finally noticed Ecchs' increasingly frantic waving, and followed his gaze. “Aw, hell.”

“Knew it. You've got circuitry running this guy. Which means that if I just slow down his reactions…” Timebender hopped off Casey's head, glancing behind her. “Yep, that should hold him until a reboot. Hey, Casey! You couldn't hit a homerun if the stadium was four feet across!”

Casey spun to face her, and she calmly stepped to one side. A moment later, the air cracked as a baseball soared through the spot that she had been standing in. There was a loud thunk.

“Ow! Sunova… yikes!” Nightshade dove for the ground as the second baseball blasted over her head. “Doc, call him off!”

“Casey! Recalibrate your systems!”

“Rebooting…” The zombie went still, and Timebender grinned. “Handyman! Now!”

“Right!” Stepping out from the car, Handyman dashed forwards, reaching into his jumpsuit and coming out with a pair of dull grey limpet mines. As Timebender darted forwards to help Lucky keep Nightshade away, he slapped them onto Casey's back, spun, and ran back towards the car.

“Nononono! Get those off! Nightshade! Phil, stop playing with that suit and… ohno…”

With a deafening roar, Casey exploded. Pieces of dried flesh rained down across the street, and everyone paused in their war to watch the ruins. Ecchs' shouts turned into a faint whimper, and he stared at the remains of his creation sorrowfully.

“Well… crap. Malefico, retreat!” His jet boots kicked into gear with a second, much smaller roar, and he blasted into the air. Phil, giving up on trying to lash Mayfly out of the sky, twisted and raced across the ground. Nightshade staggered to her feet, glaring at her opponents, then sighed.

“Damn. Well, it was nice while it lasted.” Shrugging, she turned and strolled away. “Catch you around, losers.”

The Champions gathered around the remains of Casey. Mayfly grinned. “Now that was a plan.”

Timebender nodded, smiling. “I think we've got our groove back, folks.”

“Casey's lost his, though.” Lucky poked at an unidentifiable muscle. “Along with his nerves. And his…”

“Joke's done now, Lucky.”


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