Echoes Long Forgotten, Part 13: Getting The Drop

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(October 9th)

Mayfly flew through the air towards the new construction site on Ninth and Wellesley, muttering imprecations under her breath. Timebender had caught her halfway to the shower herself, and having to suit back up seemed like a serious indignity at the moment.

She sighed softly, peering ahead. That was what she had signed up for. With the setting sun at her back, she could at least get a clear view of the site. As she did, she considered what Moonbeam had told them. “As near as we can tell, individual tendrils have expanded to several hundred metres in length, and spread through the sewer and subway systems. Tony's main body is gradually moving out of the harbour. We're going to try and shock him back under control, but we need to beat those tendrils back first, or it won't have any effect. They're pretty simplistic – hit them hard, and they'll start retreating. Then, just follow them.” It seemed like simple enough advice, but if there was one thing that she'd learned, it was that simple tended not to stay that way in this business.

As she got closer to the site in question, she grimaced as her thought was proven correct. Before the Antihero invasion, the block had been a twenty-floor office tower, and once the rubble had been cleared away, crews had set efficiently to work, with all of the advantages that the SEA could bring to bear. The result was a mostly-finished skeleton with a handful of retaining walls in place… and a massive yellowish-brown tendril coiling around the entire structure like a deranged anaconda, its tip twitching as it squeezed. For the moment, the steel girders were holding, but Mayfly could only guess at how strong Tony was right now.

“Super-strength, don't fail me now.” Taking a deep breath, Mayfly banked and climbed, gaining altitude until she was well above the tower. Shifting direction, she dove like a hawk, arms extended, feeling the full power of her suit as she dropped like a stone. In moments, she was hurtling at Tony's extended appendage, and she slammed into the behemoth tentacle with the full force of her strength and gravity's help. The impact stunned her for a moment, sending her catapulting into the air, but she recovered in time to see the tendril's tip retreating in confusion. Spinning in midair, she spun after it, dodging to one side as it twitched its tip at her, only to dent a girder and continue its retreat when she retaliated with a series of punches to its exterior. She keyed her comm as the creature retreated down another floor before slamming out at her again. “Okay, this isn't so bad. I think I've got it retreating.”

“Great. We're stuck in here, so keep your cool.” Timebender's voice was strained, but casual, and Mayfly nodded. So it was a workout, but she wasn't worried.

“Not a problem. I'll get back to you once Tony's safely ensewered.” She frowned thoughtfully, delivering a pair of kicks that caused the tendril to drop two more floors towards safety before it attempted to rally. “Resewered? I don't know, what would you say?”

“I would say keep the channel clear. Moonbeam out.” The curt reply was delivered with finality, and Mayfly sighed.

“Understood.” Letting the line go silent, she rededicated her efforts to beating down the encroaching tendril, which had attempted to take advantage of the distraction to spread up and attack. Ducking under a clumsy whip-like blow, she resumed her pummelings and counted to herself as the floors dropped down.

“Poor fellow. You can't help going crazy, can you?” She sighed heavily, delivering another blow. “But I have to beat you up anyway. Life kind of sucks that way. Well, don't worry, you're going to be just fine.”

As she spoke, she felt a brush of air at her back. Instinct, more than any conscious action, triggered her wings and jets, launching upwards around a support beam and into the structure of the building, as the area where she had been fighting a moment exploded into flames. With a faint whimpering screech, the tendril dove downwards into the base of the building, and Mayfly looped around a girder to look for the source of the explosion. “What the hell was that? I had it under control, you didn't need to go blasting out like that!” She paused, her helmet deploying filters to compensate for the sunlight in her eyes. There was no one there. “Hello?”

A flicker of movement caught her attention, and she glanced to one side in time to see the second rocket streaking towards the building. With a surprised cry, she boosted again, crashing through a half-built wall as the second explosion tore through the outer girders. “Uh, guys? Some maniac's out there shooting at me!”

“I don't think I qualify as a maniac.” The voice that come over Mayfly's comm was not one of the people that should have responded. Mayfly's eyes widened in shock as he continued. “And your communications are cut off. It's just you and me, Nadia.”

Nadia glanced out from her cover, swallowing heavily. “Hello, Don. Didn't expect to run into you quite this quickly.”

“You always underestimated my resolve.” Dragonfly's voice was smug.

“Yeah, sure. Not your intelligence, apparantly.” Nadia tried to keep her voice light, looking around the room. Mostly unfinished, there were still a few toolboxes left from what she assumed was a hasty evacuation as Tony approached. “You realize that this is the worst place in the world for you to have shown up.”

“Oh, I think differently. This is going to be a very special night.” Dragonfly laughed darkly. “And when I destroy you, and show the world how capable I am, this will only be the beginning. All it takes is dealing with you.” He laughed again, and a third rocket exploded into the building. “We'll just have to see which of us is right.”

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