A Whole New World, Part Eight: Battle Of Wits

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(February 4th)

“Shivarex. God bloody damn it.” Blastwave muttered as she roared through the air. Beside her, jetpack firmly attached, Moonbeam nodded once.

“Well, Dudeman did warn us that something was going on before Doctor Ecchs took over communications.” She pointed out. “Look, it’s going to be okay. They’ll be here any minute. Might even beat us there.”

“They might. He’s got to be ready for that, he’s freaking Rex Mundi.” Blastwave answered viciously. A moment later, she winced. “Sorry, Danielle. It’s just…”

“Amber’s in trouble.” Moonbeam finished for her. “Don’t worry. I underst…”

She broke off suddenly, and tumbled from the sky. Blastwave started to twist to catch her, before stiffening and collapsing as well. The two heroes slammed to the pavement several stories below with a pair of sickening thuds. Above them, Psiborg shimmered into existence as his psifield fell, considering the pair. “Simple.” He said consideringly. After his master’s warning, he had expected more.

Struck by a sudden concern, he sharpened his mind, casting it out. With supreme effort, he felt something shimmer on the edge of his sense. “Or perhaps not.” He admitted out loud, shifting his telekinetic field.

“Crap.” Moonbeam said as she and Blastwave appeared suddenly a block away. On the pavement, their illusory bodies vanished instantly. “I thought that’d hold him for a couple seconds.” She said to Blastwave, as the two heroes split into a dozen copies and soared off in every direction. Psiborg hesitated for a few moments, isolating the two true copies, then spun through the air towards them. “I’ll hold him off. Get to the Champions.”

“Like hell!” Blastwave yelled. Her copies twisted in the air, diving towards Psiborg. Flame piled out of each, splattering harmlessly against the robot’s psychic shields. “We can take him.”

“No. We can’t!” Moonbeam yelled as Psiborg struck. “Wave, get out of there!” As she spoke, a punishing wall of force slammed the air around Psiborg. Buffeted by punishing force, Blastwave cried out once as her body was flung into a wall. A moment later, she began to collapse again… then winked out of existence as Psiborg released he was fighting another illusory copy and resumed his approach. “I can slow him down, Wave!” Moonbeam yelled. “But frankly, covering us both is harder than just covering me. Get. Out!”

That is not her decision to make.” After another moment of focus, Psiborg slammed his telekinetic power into Moonbeam. The hero tumbled out of control for a moment, collapsing to a rooftop, and all of the illusions faded to reveal Blastwave advancing at high speed towards Malefico. The robot began to give pursuit, pushing his powers to their limit to catch up with his other target, but found that Blastwave kept pulling ahead. His smooth metallic brow furrowed for a moment in an approximation of confusion, and then he thought to close his eyes and focus once again.

Intriguing.” He commented. Opening his eyes, he found that he was still hovering over the building that Moonbeam had fallen to. His psychic powers could faintly sense her, but he could not pinpoint her. “Rex Mundi indicated that you had some psychic training, Agent Moonbeam, but I was not aware that your powers could alter my perceptions to this degree.

“Most people aren’t. I generally stick with visual illusions, since they work the best.” Moonbeam’s voice echoed across the rooftops. “But my powers are magical. They work on perception in general, not just the senses.”

I see that. Tricking me into thinking I was giving chase while I remained in place was ingenious. I can see why you need to die.” Psiborg admitted.

“Don’t count me out yet, Psiborg.” Moonbeam answered. “You’re under arrest.”

Humourous.” Psiborg answered. He considered his surroundings, sending out random blasts of psychic energy that tore apart rooftops and etched cracks into the street below. “Perhaps you would like to read my rights to me?” He added.

“Sure, why not? You have the right to remain…” Moonbeam began. Psiborg tuned her out, knowing her trick. The more false images and sounds she could fill the air with, the more easily she could hide her true self. Therefore, if he could isolate her illusions and ignore them…

As he worked, he spoke softly. “You have no plan, do you? You just seek to delay me. You have no attack that can harm me, and attempting to wear my defenses down would only expose your location.

Moonbeam broke off. “These powers don’t do much for attack, and I can’t actually escape without getting out of range of your powers. I’m strictly support.”

Then I fail to see your goal… ah.” Psiborg nodded in understanding. “Mayfly uses Atlantean technology, something in short supply. If Blastwave can reach her, and return with her, she can defeat me with ease – as she did last time.” He said the last grudgingly. “She caught me off-guard before. It would not be so easy a second time. Even if she could return here, which she cannot.

“We’ll see about that.” Moonbeam answered. Her selves scattered across the rooftops, hiding behind covers, climbing down fire escapes, or rocketing into the sky. Psiborg watched them impassively for exactly four seconds, and then struck. A lance of pure force slammed through one of the copies climbing down the fire escape. It staggered, stumbled towards the wall, and then collapsed as he brought his full force to bear. The fire escape groaned and buckled, crumbling inwards into a tight steel ball.

Psiborg watched impassively as the other copies faded out. He sent out his mind, searching for any sign of Moonbeam, then flew down to the tangled metal remains of the fire escape. He studied it closely, noting the thin streams of blood now trickling out from inside it.

Finally, he let himself smile, very slightly. “One of us will.” He said.

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