Finest Hour, Part Ten: One By One

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(November 15th)

As Danger Ace cartwheeled over Charon, kicking one of Warzone's missiles off-course and leaving it to careen into a wall, she shook her head at her massive enemy. “I don't understand you, Warzone.” She said, ducking under the knife he swept through the air, then sidestepping as Charon careened forwards. He sidestepped easily, bringing his fists around to slam into Charon's back – the superhero stumbled, but spun around with ease. “You just broke out of jail, and what do you do? Come right back for more.”

“I could say the same for you.” Warzone pointed out, firing a volley of darts down the corridor as he stepped backwards. Clockwork, using Warzone as cover, stepped around and raised his staff towards Danger Ace, and she barely dove to one side as a crackling bolt of electricity flew down the corridor. Warzone, his back now to Danger Ace, raised his arms and let of a blast of flame at the Witch Doctor, who dove for cover behind a collapsed wall. “You have narrowly escaped death on several occasions, yet here you are, wasting your time on actions that will only get you more enemies. At least I have a practical goal at the end of my exertions. What do you have?”

“Oh, nice.” The Witch Doctor grumbled, crouching behind his cover. “Make us out to be the dumb ones.”

“Why are you even here?” Clockwork snorted. “You're nothing but a pain in everyone's sides.” Warzone lifted him, tossing him towards the ceiling as Charon swung at him, and he dropped next to Danger Ace, catching her with his staff as she spun to face him. “And compared to Danger Ace… well, if they are successful, what do you have to look forwards to? A return to those pathetic little games that you used to lose?”

“I happened to enjoy those games.” The Witch Doctor shook his head, assembling a device from the fragments on his vest. “In all of my life, I only made two mistakes. The first was when I partnered with Spencer Ecchs, and the second was when I let my resentment overcome me and listened to you.”

Clockwork laughed, running towards the Witch Doctor. He leapt over the rubble in a suprising feat of agility, staff spinning. The Witch Doctor dove forwards, rolling across the ruined hall as Warzone turned. Two missiles scattered through the air towards him, and as he tried to scramble to his feet, eyes widening, Charon stepped into them with a quiet grunt.

The explosion picked up the Witch Doctor and threw him off his feet, sending him crashing into the wall. Charon stumbled, swallowed once, and looked towards Warzone. “sorrydangerace.” He mumbled, collapsing forwards.

“No.” Danger Ace swore quietly, looking to Warzone, who shook his head in response.

“Noble. Foolish, but noble.” He allowed. “He was the much more powerful fighter – while you, Jason, are so much chaff in a true battle.”

“What a waste of a sacrifice.” Clockwork agreed, rising from behind his rubble.

“You might be surprised.” The Witch Doctor turned his hands outwards, snapping his device together – a metal staff with a green jewel on the end. “You know, it's been a while since I've demonstrated my specialty. Perhaps you've forgotten.”

Warzone laughed, raising his arms again. “Your little power suits? Meaningless.” He fired two more missiles forwards, towards the now-open Witch Doctor. Behind him, Danger Ace raced forwards, far too slowly.

And Charon stood and batted the missiles out of the air.

The Witch Doctor shook his head. “Not power suits.” He said. “Technomagic. Specializing in zombies.”

Behind them, in a groan of debris, Dragonfly staggered to his feet, helmet crushed and head staring blankly. Auger rose smoothly, eyes closed and breathing the steady breath of the unconscious. From down the corridor, Ultiminions began to rise, their zombie parts re-energizing under the might of the Witch Doctor's spell. He continued smoothly, as his new army began to charge forwards. “I only had enough juice for one burst. I was hoping to save this for when we fought Ecchs, but… so be it.”

“Oh dear.” Clockwork muttered, electricity lashing out to send Charon crashing to the ground. The dead super immediately stood again, and he bit his lip. “Why didn't you do something like this when you were with us?” He complained, diving under a pair of shattered Ultiminions and smashing them to pieces.

“I never had an army to work with.” The Witch Doctor shrugged. “And you gave all of our magic to Malleus Kaine.”

Behind him, Warzone slammed his fist through Dragonfly's chest. His former ally's power armor promptly exploded, sending him stumbling backwards, his arm sparking and spasming as its gears broke and twisted. “Any ideas?” He said, as he kicked out to keep Danger Ace back. He spun to slam his helmet into Charon's head – the zombie grabbed at him with his one good hand, pulling him forwards.

“One.” Clockwork said with a faint smile. “It's a nice trick, but this is traditional zombification.” He raised his staff, firing out across the hall. Four Ultiminions caught the discharge, collapsing to the ground, and as they did he leapt over their heads. Engrossed in his minions, the Witch Doctor turned a moment too slowly, and Clockwork's foot caught him in the side of the head. As he fell, his staff sparking, the zombies fell with him.

Clockwork shook his head. “Nice excuse, but there was clearly a better reason not to have used a power like that – it leaves you vunerable. Emergenices only, hm?” He turned, and his face paled.

“Oh no.” Was all that he managed to say before Danger Ace's fist met his nose at full force.

Clockwork dropped like a marionette whose strings had been cut, and Danger Ace turned back to Warzone. “Impressive.” The last Oligarch muttered. “If you'd kept Eclipse with you, you might even have won.”

“We'd have lost the narrative engine.” Danger Ace stepped forwards, watching Warzone carefully. His Yocanu battlesuit was dented and damaged, the right arm now hanging limp at his side, sparks arcing out of a broken circuit. “And we sort of expected Kaine to be right behind you.”

“As did we.” Warzone admitted. “He must have run into… difficulties.” He raised his arms. “You, of course, realize that I am more than capable of defeating you alone.”

“I doubt that very much.” Danger Ace felt her leg giving way beneath her, and forced herself to stand still. “But you can try.”

Warzone chuckled. “One last blow, then. Winner takes all.”

He charged forwards, picking up speed. Danger Ace snatched up her knives, running down the hall towards him. At the last moment, both shifted their angles – Warzone dove low, left arm coming up and firing a storm of bullets, while Danger Ace leapt through the air, twisting to throw her knives down towards him. Both champions hit the ground hard, sliding down the hallway.

Warzone hit the wall hard, helmet bouncing from his head. He stared up at the ceiling, feeling his suit dying under him. “Huh.” He said faintly. “I guess I was wrong about you…”

“Yeah.” Danger Ace forced herself to her knees, looking back at Warzone as his energy gave out and his head fell limply back to the ground. She looked around at the battlefied, hand clutching her side. “But maybe not wrong enough.” She stepped forwards, then stumbled and fell. “Sorry, Hazard, Eclipse.” She whispered, leaning against the wall and looking around at the unconscious and dead heroes and villains surrounding her. “Hold on a bit longer. Just need to catch my breath…”

She closed her eyes, lying back against the wall.

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