Lords of Chaos, Part Nine: Parkside Devastation

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(August 7th)

The park exploded into motion. Lucky and Scourge reacted instantly, the former diving forwards into a roll as the latter peppered the ground around him with bullets. In the same instant, Timebender blurred towards Malleus Kane. “Get the amulet!” She shouted to the others as she prepared to make good on her command.

But as fast as Timebender was, Kane’s reactions were first-class. A shield of energy sprang up around him, blocking her route. Undaunted, she raced around him, slamming forwards at a hundred points to test his defenses. At the same time, Jhim drew his laser as he crouched over Zuki, protecting her as he sent a volley of laserblasts towards the sorcerer. All were absorbed harmlessly by his shield, and Kane laughed. He was quite proud of that laugh – unlike many of his fellows, he’d never had to waste hours practicing it. “Nice try, Sayleen. But you’ll find my Shield of Hel to be more than a match for simple lasers.”

“I have a name, you know.” Jhim groused as he pulled Zuki to cover and tried to shake her awake. “This is exactly why I used to cover my antenna.”

Ignoring his complaints, Kane risked a glance around the battlefield. To one side, Bloodline was exercising his power, retreating to cover as he pulled on the blood within Stormfront’s body. Torn between her own desires, Kane’s unspoken commands, and the betrayal of her flesh, Stormfront was collapsing towards the ground in a confused mass. Kane gestured to her, and his companions nodded – Warzone took flight, his repulsion field zooming him towards Bloodline to remove the impediment and return their asset to the field. A moment later, he banked hard as a massive clump of dirt sailed through the air towards him, and Powerblock laughed gleefully, lifting another. “Come and get it, you metal freak!”

“Dammit, Joe, don’t taunt him!” Across the way, Strategos snapped at her teammate as she raced for the dam. “Throw two at a time, cut off his flight paths!” Kane spent a moment worrying before noting that Clockwork was already there, and put it out of his mind. Neither of the two had any combat-applicable powers, and their respective equipment and computational abilities would clearly leave Clockwork with the advantage. Besides, he had his own problems to deal with – Handyman had moved on from lasers to grenades, and the ground around Kane was becoming unstable.

With a gesture and several muttered phrases, Kane sent himself rocketing into the air, grinning as Timebender’s motion stopped abruptly. He looked down at her. “Didn’t expect that, did you? You should have – flight is a simple spell that most sorcerers can learn from a dozen sources. All that it requires is a minor drain, and a few incantations to the Lords of Dissolution, and even the least competent mage can soon –” He broke off in frustration as explosions rocked his shield – the sudden drain on his energy as it compensated for the damage threw him completely off his stride, and he reached to the belt of his armor for a wand of red crystal as he turned to look at Handyman. The alien hero, having seemingly found a covered place to hide his companion, was now advancing as he held what appeared to be a small rocket launcher in his hands. As Kane watched a dark grey rocket soared out of it, rising towards him, presumably a mirror for the one that had already struck. With an irritated gesture, Kane flicked his wand in its direction, and the rocket lost momentum midflight. It fell downwards, and Handyman was forced to dive to one side as the grass around him erupted. “Now, really. Don’t interrupt. As I was saying… damn it, where was I?”

“Lords of Dissolution.” Powerblock supplied helpfully. Kane looked to his right in surprise to see the massive superhero hanging from Warzone’s leg as the villain twisted and bucked through the sky. Powerblock was trying to pound on Warzone, who was simultaneously deflecting his attacks and trying to keep a straight trajectory. Kane smirked.

“Need help?”

“Against a pup like this? Not likely.” Twisting to block another strike, Warzone slipped into a complex loop-de-loop. Powerblock finally lost his grip, crashing through the air to slam into the base of the bridge, where Clockwork and Strategos were involved in a cover-based gun battle, both using their own energy pistols to try and deal a serious blow to the other. His impact splintered the concrete, sending fragments flying everywhere. Taking advantage of the momentary confusion, Clockwork sent off a frighteningly accurate burst that caught Strategos in the shoulder and sent her collapsing into the water. He smiled up at his compatriot and gave him a thumbs-up.

“Beautiful.” Kane smiled grimly, glancing around the battlefield again as he reinforced his shields against yet another attack by Handyman. Scourge and Ladd appeared to be involved in a wrestling match, good enough, and Timebender was…

Where was she?

Spinning to get a better view, Kane cursed as Handyman rocketed into the air towards him. “What in the name of…where were you hiding that jetpack??” He roared at his foe, spinning to avoid the limpet mines that Handyman threw through the air at him.

“Oh, I keep things around.” Handyman smiled. “But that’s not what I would ask if I were you.”

“I don’t care what you would ask, Sayleen!” Kane gathered a roaring torrent of power, sending it arcing through his wand. The sheer force of it caused the wand to shatter to fragments in his hand, but it struck Handyman dead-on and sent him careening out of the sky.

Which was the exact moment that Timebender slammed into his shields… from above. Totally unprepared, Kane failed to reinforce them, just for a moment, and they faltered. A moment was enough. Timebender snatched the Amulet of Kalkoon from his left hand, delivered several punches to his face for good measure, and fell through the base of his shield in the half-second that it took him to focus on her. Diving through the air beneath her, a white-suited man caught her as she fell. The amulet, she let drop.

As it shattered on the ground, Clockwork staggered, his legs going numb. A moment later, he dove to one side as a man dove through the air towards him and a woman charged from the treeline. He took cover as they formed up on the bridge.

Mistral deposited Timebender safely between La Brea and Blindsight, looking around. Stormfront was coming around, and Bloodline released his control over her with a quiet sigh. “Heard you guys needed some help, and it looks like we were right. Milwaukee Defense Crew – let’s kick ass!”

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