Finest Hour, Part Eight: Enemies Clash

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(November 8th)

Danger Ace flipped away from a powerful energy beam, glancing around the corridor as she fell back. “You're out of your element, Warzone.” She said, sizing up her opponent. Warzone's massive battle suit, usually powerfully agile, was significantly limited in the indoor corridors.

“Not enough to make a difference.” Warzone said, rockets triggering to launch across the corridor at his enemy. She leapfrogged over him, pulling out a slim metal knife and scratching it uselessly across his armor. “I've traded punches with Dudeman, little girl.”

“You don't get to say that to me. I'm over forty, and you're not even old enough to be my father.” Danger Ace grumbled. She spun, releasing a cloud of tiny metal slivers at Warzone. In response, his left arm came up, projecting an energy field that send them clattering to the floor. “I've been in the business thirty years, and… funny story, I've traded punches with Dudeman too.” She slid under an explosive rocket, kicking up at Warzone with her steel-toed boots. The force of the kick knocked him momentarily off-balance, and his laser sliced a hole in the wall as he recovered his footing. “You, on the other hand, are getting slow. Old man.”

Glancing over at the battle, Auger smiled faintly, studying her opponent. She ducked right, punching in a single, sharp motion, only to have Clockwork move in a perfect mirror to her. A moment later, his staff spun around to strike at the back of her head, and she ducked a moment before it struck. “You're outmatched, Clockwork.” She said. “You predict possibilities. I see the future.”

“Yes, but I'm so very classy about it.” Clockwork chuckled, spinning his staff between his hands to ward off a kick before hopping over Auger's attempt to trip him. “You broadcast your moves so broadly, anyone could predict them.” He shifted his grip, stabbing his staff forwards like a spear, and Auger backstepped to evade him. “You're the one fighting well outside her weight category.”

A short distance away, the Witch Doctor crouched behind cover, laying down a field of energy fire as Kaniessa dove for cover again. His former vice-president slashed out with her metal fingernails, carving a section of wall aside and propping it in front of her. “This is absolutely intolerable!” The Witch Doctor shouted as he fired. “You're supposed to be on my side, Kaniessa!”

“Oh, please.” Kaniessa sneered, throwing the wall forwards and charging behind it. The Witch Doctor sprinted for safety, narrowing avoiding being crushed, as she ran towards him. “What have you ever given me, Jason? I joined Diabolico for one reason and one reason alone – to get revenge on Spencer Ecchs for thinking he could control me. You never delivered.” She slashed outwards, tearing the collar of Jason's suit as he ducked backwards. “And you recruited me to the Oligarchs, then ran away and left me to rot in prison!”

“Well…” The Witch Doctor hesitated, raising his pistol. “It certainly sounds bad when you phrase it that way, but that's not exactly the case.” Kaniessa snarled and slashed at him again, and he danced backwards, firing to keep her off-balance. “Besides, by fighting here, you're only making it easier for Spencer to defeat the victors.”

“So I should change sides.” Kaniessa said flatly.

“Absolutely.” The Witch Doctor nodded firmly.

“Sure, Jason.” Kaniessa raised her hand, nails glittering. “Let's shake on it.”

An engine roared above them as Dragonfly raced past, Charon in hot pursuit. “My god, you're annoying!” Dragonfly yelled back at the large bruiser. He raised his gauntlets, unleashing a full swarm of missiles into the ground in front of Charon. The massive superhero simply jumped, bouncing off the ceiling as he avoided the pit that Dragonfly had created, and plowed downwards, catching his enemy by the leg and swinging him through a wall. Dragonfly came crashing down in the rubble but sprang to his feet, snapping out claws of glittering emerald light. “Why is it that no matter what I do, you people try to stop me? In the middle of a freaking supervillain's lair, here you are!”

“dontcare.” Charon mumbled, charging forwards. “yourenotimportant.”

“Not…!” Dragonfly bit the word off, raising both of his arms. “We'll just see about that, you overgrown imbecile!” He slashed forwards towards Charon, his claw digging into the black-clad hero's arm. Charon simply reached past him, ignoring the blood flowing down his pale skin, and grabbed Dragonfly's arm in a meaty hand.

“styx died. mayfly died.” The words were soft but distinct. “and you're still here.”

Dragonfly, eyes wideneing, started to raise his other hand, as Charon's fist came up. A moment later, Charon smashed his hand into Dragonfly's armor, letting go of his arm at the same moment. The villain flew backwards, smashing through three walls as his wings shattered and broke. Charon charged after him, fists clenched. “we're done with you.” He said, bringing his fists around again.

The trail of destruction passed by the Witch Doctor, as he continued to backpedal away from Kaniessa's attacks. He raised his gun, only to have it slashed in half right in front of him. “Alright, I can see that you're upset.” He said uncertainly. “But really, we were such a good team.”

“You were a useless slug!” Kaniessa roared, her hands tearing at the air in front of him as she gave pursuit. “Arrogant. Overbearing. So blind to everything that mattered!” She spat as she gave pursuit, and Jason winced.

“That's not entirely fair.” He muttered. “I was fighting Rex Mundi.”

“You were defeated by his minions! Repeatedly!” Kaniessa said. “All of your life, all that you have ever done is charged blindly forwards to defeat, and I followed you. Over and over again, I wasted my time following you. Not this time.”

“No, not this time.” Jason sighed in agreement, stepping to one side as Kaniessa lunged forwards. For a fraction of a second she was already twisting to strike at him… and then she stepped over the edge of the holes Dragonfly had blasted earlier. Her eyes widened, and with a scream of fury she fell out of the corridor.

Jason looked down after her. “She'll probably be fine.” He said to no one in particular. “Mostly.”

As Kaniessa fell, Warzone made a move to fly after her, only to find his path blocked by Danger Ace. “We're still dancing, buddy.” She said, leaping up and kicking him in the helmet. In response, he flipped through the air, kicking out to catch her in the side. The two opponents sprawled to the ground, flipping back to their feet and spinning to face each other. Warzone fired another missile from his shoulder-mounted launcher, which Danger Ace easily sidestepped. “Not that easy.” She laughed.

The missile carried on its path, as Clockwork and Auger danced around each other. Abruptly, Clockwork struck forwards, and Auger smirked as she sidestepped him. “You're not even trying…” She started, then her eyes went wide and she dove to one side as the missile passed overhead, missing her by a fraction of an inch. As she started to roll to her feet, Clockwork kicked out, catching her on the side of the head, and brought his staff around as she stumbled to slam it across her back.

“I don't even have to.” He said to her unconscious form, spinning to find his next target. He rushed across to Warzone, who landed next to him. “It always ends up just the two of us, doesn't it?” He laughed.

“Simpler that way, I suppose.” Warzone said, looking across as the Witch Doctor and Charon arrived to flank Danger Ace. “Three against two.”

“Easy odds.” Clockwork said, looking across at the heroes. “Bring it on.”

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