Lords of Chaos, Part 10: Beatdown

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(August 10th)


Nadia sat at Karen’s table, her hands methodically kneading a napkin as she watched the television. A news helicopter had made it to the park, dodging gale-force winds and bolts of lightning, and was now recording the fight. A reporter spoke breathlessly into the camera. “The battle is raging over the North Avenue Dam, where the Milwaukee Victors AND Defense Crew, along with Grovedale’s Patchwork Champions and a pair of what look like Sayleen superhumans, are involved in a raging battle against Malleus Kaine, along with three unknown opponents. Three of the eleven heroes – Strategos, Bloodline, and one of the Sayleen – seem to be down for the count, but the other eight are… my god, it looks like Lucky Lad is wrestling with his identical twin! Get a close-up of that!”

Nadia chewed her lip as she watched the battle, her vision intent on the sky. “Where are you, Don…” She muttered under her breath.

“Right here.” The voice spoke from the doorway. Nadia froze in shock, turning her head slowly to see Dragonfly stepping through the open door, a slight smile on his face as he looked around. “Nice place Strategos has. Surprised they left you alone here.” He looked past her to the television. “I don’t have long, I’m afraid. I’m just here to make sure you guys didn’t have a backup plan.”

Nadia stood from the table. “Sure we have a backup plan. You’re looking at her.” She followed Dragonfly’s glance for a moment, then looked back to him. “That’s Scourge, isn’t it?”

Don couldn’t quite meet her gaze, although his smile never slipped. “Yeah. He’s a real terror – I don’t think they really need me down there at all.”

“What have you gotten yourself into this time, Don?” Nadia couldn’t keep the sorrow out of her voice. “Those people helped to start a world war, they’re hiring actual psychopathic killers… that’s your crew, now?”

“I’m playing on a different level, now.” Dragonfly took a step forwards, and one hand rose, the barrel of a blaster deploying from above his wrist, pointing in a line towards Nadia’s head. “You should have quit when I beat you.”

“You beat me?” Nadia said innocently, trying to ignore the pounding in her chest. She took a very small step forwards. “You’ll have to refresh my memory. I don’t remember you beating me.”

“Really.” Dragonfly took a step forwards of his own. “I suppose your suit just melted into the air, then?”

“Oh, that.” Nadia shrugged. “You didn’t beat me, back then. You came at me with superior weapons and technology, and I held you off. I won.”

“You…” Don’s jaw dropped. “Your suit is gone! Your power is gone! How can that… how can you… are you serious?!”

“I’m still a Champion.” Nadia said. “I still have my job, my friends, and quite frankly the knowledge that I haven’t contributed directly to the deaths of thousands of people. You have… what, again?”

“I have the power to kill you right now.” Don snarled, taking another step towards Nadia threateningly.

“Right, you have a big, nasty power suit. So go ahead.” Nadia dropped her hands into her pockets. “Show me how manly it is to kill an unarmed woman using a suit of power armor.”

Don’s fist cracked across her skull, sending her collapsing to the ground. “You still think I won’t do it? You think you can talk me down?”

Nadia coughed, reaching up to wipe blood from the corner of her mouth with a fist as she rose. “I think I overestimated you back then, Don. I think you’re working yourself up to killing me, yeah. I think there’s not likely to be anything I can do to stop you, is there?” She glared at him. “You’ve got the power, Don. Happy?”

With a growl of exasperation, Dragonfly knocked Nadia back to the ground. “Nothing scares you, does it?” He loomed over her, grinding his teeth. “How the hell do you do this to me, Nadia? You’re about to die, and you… you don’t even care. All you care about is using your last words to try and make me look stupid!” He delivered a kick to her chest that sent her crashing into the far wall, leaving a spiderweb of cracks, and grabbed her head as he pulled her up. “You have no friends here! You have no weapons! Why aren’t you scared?!”

Nadia’s hand reached up slowly, and Dragonfly grabbed it roughly with his. She blinked back tears. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. You’re nothing.” Abruptly, she closed her fist as hard as she could. “And I’m not unarmed.”

The canister that she had slipped out of her pocket cracked in her grasp, pressed between her hand and Dragonfly’s metal gloves. He let out a roar of pain and staggered backwards as Jhim’s hand-crafted EMP detonator, left with Nadia specifically in case Dragonfly attacked, momentarily sent his systems haywire, his jetpack blasting him up into the ceiling as Nadia threw herself backwards. She came up again with a laser pistol in one hand and another small canister in the other, as Don crashed back to the ground, directly in the path of her second toss.

Purplish gas sprayed out of the canister, directly into Don’s face as he gasped with pain from his heavy landing. His vision blurred, and he began to cough, as Nadia raced forwards. Covering her mouth with one hand, she sprayed another dose of gas directly into his exposed mouth and nose, and everything went dark.

Stepping back, Nadia took a heavy, ragged breath. Reaching down, she rubbed the spots where she had been hit, thankful that Jhim had left her with body armor capable of taking Dragonfly’s hits. Glaring down at him, she shook her head, then winced. “Jackass.”

She glanced over to the television, where the battle continued to rage, and then back to Dragonfly, lying unconscious on the floor. She considered his relative size to her.

She smiled.

Less than two minutes later, a green-clad power-suit roared out of Karen’s window and towards the park.


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