The Perfect Plan, Part One: Fortifications

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(September 18th)

“Good god, it's like a fortress in there.” Mayfly commented, peeking over the rooftop's ledge. Her costume had, after several attempts, been re-tinted brown to fit with her original design aesthetic, although she still complained occasionally about the sharper, four-pronged wings. There was a brief clicking noise as she shifted the optics on her visor, studying the building across the street. “I make sixty Ultiminions between the west and north faces. Ash?”

“Fifty-two between south and east.” Ash replied over the comm. “Nightshade is present on the roof. I have not sighted Phil.

“Heavy duty. Any other defenses?” Timebender, crouching on street level next to Lucky and Handyman, watched the Ultiminions patrolling streetside.

“Definite energy readings from the third floor, but I can't get a better view.” Mayfly replied.

“One moment.” Across the way, a potted plant on a balcony shifted its leaves. “I see them. Laser turrets, mobile automated platforms. Fairly easy to fool, but active.” The ninja considered. “Estimate eight per facing. They will be able to redeploy if we focus on one side, but not immediately.”

“Meaning they'll come down the stairs.” Handyman said thoughtfully. Ecchs' mobile laser platforms, essentially walking tripod with weapons and friend-or-foe systems built into their block-like tops, were a relatively new innovation, but one that he'd already gotten used to. “Can you scan the sewers, Mayfly?”

“Sh'yeah, right.” Mayfly snorted. “Too much interference from concrete, embedded power lines, piping. Maybe if there was a transmitter planted down there broadcasting to me, but the suit's scanners aren't that good.” Before anyone else could respond, she added, “And no, I can't get a good read of the building past a foot or so. Too much interference.”

“Damn.” Timebender frowned, biting her lip. “Alright, team, we're going in blind. Ash, draw off the Ultiminions. Mayfly, see if you can't get Nightshade away from the building, then race back – she doesn't have much enhanced speed. We'll punch through the main doors.” She smiled, taking one more look over the building. “Let's do this.”

“Underway.” As Ash spoke, the rear of the building was suddenly awash in blurs of movement, as pine cone grenades and leaf shurikins rippled through the air, followed in moments by throwing knives and chains as the Ultiminions counterattacked. The battle was silent save for the clatter of metal on wood, as the two ninja forces clashed.

A moment later, Mayfly launched from the building, her wings flickering to life from their projectors as she rocketed across the street. Guided laser turrents swiveled to follow her, filling the air with light, as she twisted and wove to avoid letting them draw an accurate bead. Seeing her coming, Nightshade grinned and cracked her knuckles – a moment later, the two collided with a tremendous shockwave and catapulted off the building. Mayfly tried to bank up, only to have her opponent grab her leg, and the two spun two blocks before slamming into the pavement.

But there was no time for concern. A moment after Mayfly had taken off, the other Champions were racing across the street, Timebender a blur of motion as she ran ahead, forced a window open, dashed through two hallways and opened the front door from the inside just as Handyman and Lucky reached her. Lucky gasped as the street behind them filled with laser blasts. “What took you so long?”

“Had to take down the barricade.” Timebender shrugged as she spoke in a quick staccato, pointing to the several tables and desks that had been piled in front of the door. “I'll check the west hall.” She zipped off as Lucky nodded.

“I'll head straight. Jhim, you've got the east?”

Handyman shrugged. “Sure, sounds good.” He took off at a jog, and Lucky moved forwards. Several moments later, he heard a crackle from his comm, and Handyman's voice came over it. “Crap, found Phil! Gah!”

Lucky winced, and started to shift direction. As he did, Timebender raced over to him. “Found the track. Come on!”

“But Jhim…” Lucky said plaintively.

“Is more than able to handle it get over here!” Timebender yelled. Grabbing Lucky's arm, she shifted them both, racing down the corridor. “We really don't have time for this, you know! There are Ultiminions moving back inside, and those turrents will be downstairs any minute! We need to stop Ecchs now!”

“Okay, yes.” Lucky nodded. “But he's spread out right now! Wouldn't it have been easier to focus on one aspect at a time?”

“They're all in range of each other.” Timebender argued. “Focus on one, and we get surrounded and cut off. This is one of the slickest organizational setups he's ever pulled… crap!”

Letting go of Lucky for a moment, she dove for cover as a quartet of turrets appeared around the corner, opening fire as one. Lucky pulled out several of Handyman's grenades, rolling them forwards as he dove behind a fire door. A moment later, the corridor shook from the force of the explosion, and he looked around in time to see shrapnel and robot bits raining down across the way. “I love having him back. Have I mentioned that?” He laughed.

“No time!” Timebender grabbed him again and resumed running.

“Okay, seriously. While you are timebending, we literally have time.” Lucky pointed out, racing alongside her.

“Not the point.” Timebender replied. Turning a last corner, the two found themselves facing a heavily-fortified doorway, with a dozen laser turrents on guard and six Ultiminions crouching at the ready. Lucky winced.

“Oh, man…” He said. “Charge straight through?”

“Believe it.” Timebender closed her eyes, focusing. “We'll be in normal time after we punch through the door. Close it.”

“Of course.” Lucky saluted. Rolling her eyes, Timebender took his hand and launched into motion, pushing time around them to the best of her ability. The turrets began to track them, too slowly. The Ultiminions leapt into their path, only to be sidestepped. Laser blasts arced around them, dangerously close to hitting even with speed and luck on their side.

And then they were at the door, and Timebender slammed through it with her full strength. Time snapped back into normal speed as Lucky grabbed the doors and slammed them shut.

“I don't know, I really like the teal.” Standing in front of a nervous-looking man in a suit, Doctor Ecchs studied a pair of cloth swaths thoughtfully. Beside him, Ada Byron considered the comment, as Ecchs glanced over at the interruption. “Oh, it's you two. Well, as long as you're here, what do you think?” He gestured, and the third man held the two cloths up cautiously.

“I think that you should make an appointment to pick wedding colors, like a normal person.” Timebender growled.

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