A Change of Pace – Chapter 54

“What the hell?” Daisy exclaimed as the lights died.

Instinctually she stooped into a crouch and started to move. If this was an attack, and the enemy had eyes on them, then she didn’t want to be in the same place when bullets or something worse started flying everywhere.

All around her screens that had been following the battling students winked out. The devices monitoring the vitals of the injured students went from their constant beep…beep to utter silence. Daisy had been in a lot of situations over her career, but this was one of the most frightening. It was one thing for her to be in the shit, but these kids weren’t ready for that, or committed to it at this point in their lives.

Daisy felt the fear of a teacher wanting to protect her students.

Overall, her students did a hell of a lot better than some of the DVA employees. All the Heroes remained calm and collected, but some of the DVA personnel started screaming. The clattering of someone running into something and smashing it to the floor met Daisy’s ears just as the power brought the arena back to life.

The HCP’s primary power source was the city power grid. It was the easiest way to power the massive complex, and it was already set up when the HCP was constructed. But this was a place designed by Heroes for future Heroes, and no one was stupid enough to put all of their eggs in one basket. An independent power plant served as the HCP’s alternative power source, and was capable of running the entire complex by itself indefinitely. The reason it wasn’t the primary source was cost.

As the power kicked back on, and all the systems started to reboot, all the instructors’ eyes were on their charges. It had only been dark for a couple of seconds, but they all knew just how much damage could happen in that amount of time.

“Get ready to move, Doc,” a gust of wind announced Criag’s run to the opposite side of the room. “Tell me where to go Daisy.”

“Come on…come on,” she grumbled beneath her breath as the computers booted up agonizingly slow. “Ok we’re back online…shit!”

“Craig, Sector 7, Jackson, Goodman, Schultz, and Shaw are all down,” Daisy called out the casualties as she watched Goodman fall ten feet straight onto her back. “Schultz isn’t looking too good,” she zoomed in and saw a lot of blood.”

“Hold on, Doc,” Craig was grinning, but Daisy saw the worry in his eyes as he braced Sanderson’s head with his hand and forearm.

The HCP’s lead healer would heal any whiplash that he received during the high speed run, but if they could avoid wasting the time and energy expense then they would. In a blurr Sanderson and Craig both disappeared, leaving the HCP’s healers leaderless and confused. Thankfully, one of the white-uniformed seniors stepped in and took command immediately.

“I want an update on every person in a bed,” Daisy ordered. “Especially Flynn.” The healers were already moving. They knew what they needed to do.

With the students taken care of, Daisy turned her attention to the rest of the people in the room. DVA employees were taking care of their coworkers who’d panicked. Only one guy and really freaked out, and he’d knocked over some medical supplies as he made a run for the door. Other than that they were all good. The Heroes were another story. Physically they were fine, but all of their faces were tight with anticipation. All of them had their head cocked slightly to the side, in a pose she knew a lot of people used when they were listening to Dispatch.

“On your feet Protectorate!” KaBoom was the first to act when whatever brief they were getting wrapped up. “Let’s move out.”

KaBoom gathered the troops while Mr. Morningstar talked quickly with John. “…terribly sorry…will have you over soon…” Daisy only caught fragments of the goodbye while she split her attention between them and the computer screens in front of her.

“Galavant what’s…?” she treid to get info as the rookie Hero jogged past her.

“Cities gone to shit, can’t talk,” the density manipulator didn’t stop to chat, but the few tidbits of information did make Daisy nervous about what was happening in her new city.

“I will accompany you,” Hunter announced as he jogged behind the rest of the Protectorate members. “I may be able to help.”

“And a big name Hero like you might be able to get shit settled before anyone gets any ideas. Between you and Morningstar we can probably end a lot of this without bloodshed…” the lift closed in front of the Heroes and the conversation cut off.

“John what the hell is going on?” Daisy asked, her tone tense. “Craig, Sector 12, Skylar just got a mouthful of the side of a building.”

“Focus on the students,” John replied.

“I can fucking multitask, John,” she snapped back. “Tell me what is going on.”

Daisy knew it couldn’t be good if the entire Protectorate was getting called to duty, which also meant that Topher was going to stumble into what was happening. She wanted to know that her boyfriend was safe, or at least that they weren’t fighting some Manhattan level or higher threat out there.

“The power outage we experience was city-wide,” John folded under the pressure. “Our secondary source activated as designed, but the rest of the city isn’t as well equipped as us. Gangs are striking, people are looting, and civil society is crumbling for the most part. First responders are having trouble communicating to each other and the public, and the pandemonium is going to cost lives if it goes on for too much longer.

“Thanks,” Daisy replied, wrapping her mind around the situation outside the HCP walls. “That wasn’t so hard was it.” She didn’t look but she could feel the dean’s disapproving scowl.

“Focus on the students. There are only a few left, so the final will soon be completed. If they require more assistance when that is completed I will contact Dispatch and see what we can do.”

“Thanks,” Daisy repeated, but this time she meant it.

“You’re welcome,” john’s gaze passed over the screens around her. “What’s the situation with Natalia, Anika, and Rebecca?” he asked.

“We still have them on lock down. Flynn’s still pretty fucked up, but as far as we can tell Anika didn’t do anything. Flynn just tried to bite off more than he could chew.”

“Understood. Have Robin lift the barriers once Craig gets the injured back here. The balls will compensate for what happened to them, so they will still be scored properly.” John gave Daisy a comforting squeeze of the shoulder and then headed over to the healers.

Daisy tracked the blur that was Craig until he’d returned all of the students. Sanderson focused on healing Schultz and Goodman, who had some nasty brain trauma for her fall, and then Craig picked them up and returned the to the waiting room. Sanderson was the last pick up before they were back on schedule.

<The blackout is still going to play hell with the evaluation,> Daisy groaned, knowing that she’d be one of the ones reviewing the data. <But random variables are part of the game. Better to see them now than when this shit is for real.>

“Robin, please drop the barriers in Sector 2,” Daisy asked the powerful Super sitting not too far away from her, and watching another batch of screens.

“Sure,” she replied, and the golden, shimmering barriers flickered and died.

Daisy watched the game resume, but found she couldn’t get into it as much as before. It was hard for her to watch people pretend when the real thing was going on just above her head. <Don’t get me wrong I love this gig,> she reminded herself of her good fortune, but it was still hard when she was purposefully kept from doing what she was great at.

Days like today were a reminder that although she was getting herself together there was still one thing that was eluding her. Being a certified Hero again was a year away at a minimum. She couldn’t help but the helplessness of that reality.

 

***

 

“Robbery in progress at East Church and South Magnolia,” Hunter listened to the calls on the police frequency with one ear and dispatch on the other.

“Mr. Morningstar, Hunter, and Galavant deploy to the robbery on East Church and South Magnolia,” Dispatch’s voice was calm and professional just like always. “A review of social media and reports of first responder on the scene indicates there are approximately a dozen members of the Fist have taken over thirty hostages. One Super is confirmed on site, the gang member known as Dragon.”

“I bet he breathes fire,” Galavant joked, as the black DVA SUV flew through the confusion of a powerless Orlando.

“Correct, Galavant,” Dispatch didn’t register the joke, or didn’t think it was funny. “Dragon is a limited pyrokinetic. He can only blow fire from his mouth. No other enhanced Super qualities are in his file.”

“Psychological assessment?” Mr. Morningstar inquired.

“He should be susceptible to your power, Mr. Morningstar,” Dispatch replied with what Hunter could have sworn was a hint of smugness. Or maybe that was his own imagination. It was always good to know going into a fight that your power can take down your opponent.

“We’re two minutes out. What’s the plan,” Galavant was behind the wheel, and he’d clearly taken some offensive driving courses since joining the team.

Hunter never worried about driving. He didn’t use a car more than a handful of times a year. It just didn’t make sense for a teleporter. Plus, his wife liked to be chauffeured if they were going to take antiquated forms of transportation.

“Hunter scout ahead,” Mr. Morningstar instructed. “Get me a visual, and if possible get inside and evacuate the prisoner, but only if you can do it without being seen. I’d rather talk them down than risk someone shooting because they get spooked. Galavant you’ll be with me. We’ll walk up and negotiate.” Hunter liked the way the old Hero said “negotiate”.

“Yes, sir” Hunter replied as they rounded the corner. He got a visual of the exterior of the building and picked a spot out of the way.

He teleported out of the air conditioned SUV, and onto the street. Police were starting to arrive and set up a perimeter, but his sudden appearance had a few of them spooked. “Dispath could you relay to the local police that there are three Heroes on site. I’d rather not get shot before I even get inside.”

“Already done, Hunter. They should be standing down.”

Hunter heard indistinguishable jabbering over a walkie, and the policemen quickly pointed their weapons in another direction. Hunter gave them a nod before taking a quick peak around the column he was hiding behind. The quick peak was all he needed to get a complete visual of the interior.

The bank, which was on the first floor of a larger building, had ten foot high glass window. The windows gave a perfect view of the entire lobby, and a good look down a hallway towards the back. That was where Hunter wanted to go. It was out of the way of the main body of civilians, all of which were standing in front of the windows as human shields, and away from where the criminals were centered.

Another quick teleport and Hunter was inside, but he wasn’t along. The hallway leading toward the rear of the bank just happened to contain the restrooms, and there was an armed man emerging from the men’s room just as Hunter appeared. The gang member froze in surprise; a reaction that hadn’t existed in Hunter for decades. If you hesitated you died.

While the man’s eyes were still going wide in surprise, Hunter attacked. His left fist shot forward in a jab, catching the armed man in the nose. It wasn’t enough to knock the man out, but it was enough the break his nose and stun him. The man stumbled back into the bathroom, and Hunter pursued him. Hunter dropped his left hand onto the muzzle of the assault rifle, keeping it pointed down and away from himself, while he brought his right fist into the man’s temple with a vicious right cross. The man crumpled in unconsciousness, but before he hit the ground Hunter teleported them both out into the rear of the police perimeter.

“One hostile down,” Hunter announced over his coms, as two police officers jumped on the unconscious gang member.

“Report,” Mr. Morningstar and Galavant were heading toward the front of the bank, the armored density manipulator walking in front of the much more vulnerable advanced mind.

“Slight complication on ingress,” Hunter was embarrassed that he’d almost blown the operation. But they were doing this on the fly, and that meant there were going to be unanticipated consequences. They needed to adapt. “They won’t notice he’s gone for a few more minutes, so work your magic.”

Hunter left Mr. Morningstar to grumble as he teleported back into the bank’s bathroom. There was no one there to greet him this time, so he quietly exited the tiled room at a low crouch.

The bank lobby was big and open. Cubicles were scattered around the rear of the room, which allowed Hunter to sneak into a good position, but then it opened up into the empty space. He’d have to cross over thirty feet of open space to get to the hostages and their armed guards. He was good but not that good, and teleporting all over the place was a sure way to get hostages shot.

“Sniper’s in position?” he whispered.

“Roger that, Hunter. Mr. Morningstar is engaging the subject,” Hunter peered around the edge of a cubicles gray, felt wall and watched the Protectorate leader and Galavant knock politely on the glass door.

“Heroes boss…Heroes!” the way they reacted told Hunter a lot about the criminals.

These weren’t bank robbers, or even professional gunmen. The way they acted was like a bunch of unorganized petty thieves. Nearly every weapon turned away from the hostages they were guarding and towards the door, and a lot stepped out from behind the protection those human shields offered. That was a critical mistake, and Hunter wasn’t the only one who noticed.

He saw it all happen in slow motion. The armed gang member heard his friend call out that Heroes were at the door. The man, who couldn’t have been more than twenty years old, turned his rifle away from his charges and towards the door. His body followed the muzzle of his weapon, and so did his eyes; which took his attention off the prisoners.

Hunter saw the look in the hostage’s eyes before he started to move. It was desperation, fear, and courage all rolled into the need to take action. The man was fit, his hair buzzed short, and the way he moved told Hunter he had some training; probably ex-military or police. The man thought he was being a hero instead of letting the Heroes do their job. It might have been brave, but it was also stupid. And it ruined what Mr. Morningstar and Galavant were trying to do.

The man collided with the armed gang member carrying them both to the ground. The man punched the gang member in the face, and wrestled the gun away from him. It didn’t do him much good when the five other nearby armed assailants turned their guns on him.

“Snipers take the shot!” Hunter hissed, already moving.

“Hunter, wai…” he ignored Dispatch. There wasn’t any time to wait.

A short teleport took him to the armed hostage’s side. With one hand he grabbed the man by the collar of his shirt, and with the other he released the small stun grenade he’d grabbed from one of his many pouches. The SNAP of rifle rounds breaking through glass and finding targets reached his ears as the grenade fell and he teleported away. They appeared behind the police line, and out of danger.

The man looked around wild-eyed and pointing his gun, but Hunter didn’t stay to talk him down. That was a job for the nearby cops. Hunter teleported back into the mayhem that was erupting inside the bank.

The first thing he noticed was that it was hot. <Fire,> Hunter’s eyes searched for Dragon. He found the Super bleeding from a bullet wound to the shoulder, and quickly retreating from a mace wielding Galavant. Despite the hundreds of pounds of dense armor the rookie moved with a deadly grace as he chased the criminal Super. Hunter focused his attention on a much more pressing matter, the remaining armed gang members.

There were still four left after the snipers took their shots, and all of them were focusing on Hunter. The Hero didn’t mind that, it took their attention away from the civilians. The stung grenade helped. Hunter was already on top of the first guy before his blurred vision cleared. The punch to the throat sent him toppling to the ground. Hunter kicked the weapon as far away as possible before he moved onto the second one.

They were starting to get their senses back now. Hunter had to bat aside a rifle swinging in his direction, and get in close. He brought his foot around the back of the guy’s leg, tripping him, and taking them both down to the ground. He sent two quick jabs into the man’s solar plexus, and smashed his nose with his mask when they hit the ground. The guy was momentarily stunned, but still in the fight. Hunter didn’t have time to sit around because the other two had enough of their wits back to track him. He easily overcame the issue by teleporting. The two remaining gang members were lucky they didn’t shoot their prone friend when Hunter disappeared so quickly, and reappeared behind one of the men.

Hunter saw the other man panic, and knew where this was going. This was where the groups amateur abilities really showed themselves. The other man was scared, but his body choosing the fight over the flight response and acted instinctually. He turned his gun towards Hunter, ignoring the surprised look in the other gang member’s eyes, and opened fire.

Hunter was already moving, and grabbed a hold of the other man in time to take cover behind him. Bullets tore into the man in front of Hunter as the gang member held down the trigger and roared defiantly. It probably looked impressive to anyone on the outside looking in, but it was a stupid move. The guy was going to run out of ammo soon, and he wasn’t running for cover.

Hunter ended the problem quickly and effectively. He grabbed his bullet-ridden man’s rifle, still clutched in his lifeless hand, pointed it at the shooter, and pulled the trigger. It was a short burst, only three rounds, but those rounds pummeled his chest and sent him falling backwards. The final few rounds from the slain gang member’s rifle smashed into the ceiling as he kept his finger on the trigger as he collapsed.

Hunter’s eyes swept the lobby as he threw the limp body he was holding to the ground. “Clear.” He announced after determining that there was no threats left. Less than ten seconds later police swarmed the building.

“Holy shit!” a patrolman gulped as he surveyed the carnage.

“We’re lucky,” Hunter pointed at the huddling hostages. A stray bullet had caught a woman in the leg, but paramedics were already stopping the bleeding and loading her up.

“Yes we are.” Mr. Morningstar approached rubbing his chest and wincing. “What happened Hunter?” the older Hero was pissed.

Hunter didn’t blame the man. They were supposed to talk down the criminals and get the hostages out once they surrendered. Now they had a dozen dead bodies and one injured hostage.

“It went sideways,” Hunter explained what happened, and Dispatch filled in any bits that he missed.

The Hero accepted that Hunter did what needed to be done, but he was still bitter. He’d taken a bullet to the chest from Dragon when all the shooting started.

“He got away,” Galavant answered when Hunter radioed the rookie to check his status. “Set fire to the entire back hallway and stole a car. Cops are in pursuit, but it’s mayhem out there right now.” Firemen were running into the building as Galavant explained.

“Good work, Galavant,” apparently the rookie had shielded the veteran from additional shots when everything went to shit. “Regroup at the SUV and we’ll head to the next call.”

“You’re leaving?” a police sergeant overseeing the extraction of the hostages asked.

“The whole city is getting hit like this with the power down,” Hunter explained. “We needed to be six different places at once right now, and even then it won’t be enough.” The police sergeant nodded his understanding. They were stretched thin too. “But do me a favor,” Hunter pointed at the two surviving gang member he’d incapacitated. “Get them fixed up and into an interrogation room. I want to talk to them when I get back.”

 

***

 

“That was weird,” Natalia stated in her heavily accented English.

Anika and Becca silently agreed. They would have voiced their opinions, but they were still paralyzed. They’d been sitting this way, behind the golden barriers, for quite a while now; and it was getting old.

Just as the thought passed through their minds the barriers shimmered and collapsed. Boring turned to fear in a nanosecond. They were completely vulnerable, and the temporary pause on the final was now lifted.

Natalia smiled, but hesitated. Anika knew why. Natalia’s power to paralyze people with her stare was good, but she was sorely lacking in powers that could actually do damage. She was great when facing people with human level durability, but both Anika and Becca were stronger than the average person. There was no way Natalia would be able to take down Anika, and Becca could take a lot of pounding on before her speedster physique failed.

“I guess I’ll just grab your balls and leave you for someone else to finish off,” Natalia shrugged and walked casually towards them.

“About fuckin’ time,” a voice called out from a shadowy space just beyond where the golden barriers had been. “I almost went off to pound someone else’s ass.”

Natalia spun toward the voice, but it was too late. The lightning bolt sizzled out of the shadows and detonated ten feet from the stuck up bitch. Hitting Natalia with a bolt would have killed her, and that would have gotten Anna Fletcher kicked out of the HCP and put in jail. Despite how much she disliked the Russian chick, Anna wasn’t about the throw away all of her hard work. Still, a lightning bolt hitting close to someone was more than enough to take them out.

Natalia didn’t even scream as her body seized up, and she was thrown away from her frozen targets. The air smelled of ozone and burned fabric as Anna walked over to the fallen freshmen and grabbed her ball out of the air. Despite the electrical discharge, the floating silver sphere was still working fine.

Thankfully, with Natalia out of the picture her power was staring to wear off. Slowly but surely Becca felt the tingles of sensation return to her extremities. She wanted to jump for joy, but stayed motionless. Judging by the way the tingling sensation was creeping along her body it was going to be a few minutes before she was back to her usual bubble self. Those were a few minutes that she and Anika didn’t have.

“What do you say, Kemps?” Anna placed the ball on the ground beside her and rotated her shoulders. “How about a rematch?”

Becca knew what was coming, and she couldn’t look away or close her eyes without the volatile electrokinetic knowing what was happening. Anna casually set herself up directly in front of Anika, took a deep breath, and fired a sustained bolt directly into her chest.

<NO!> Becca mentally yelled loud enough that any advanced mind would hear her, but Anika couldn’t hear over the pain coursing through her body.

<Come on body; for the love of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; MOVE!” she strained against her paralysis, feeling the tingling crawl farther up her legs and arms.

But it wasn’t enough. This wasn’t something Becca could power through with sheer determination. It wasn’t something she could outrun. She had to sit there and watch Anna pump tens of thousands of volts of electricity into her girlfriend.

Anika took the first few seconds of the blast silently, but then her own paralysis began to wear off. She screamed as pain wracked her whole body. It was horrible to watch. Becca could literally see the paralysis crawling down her body because when Anika’s body became her own again it seized and shuddered from the electrical current it was suddenly assaulted with.

Anna executed her attack with quiet, dispassionate concentration. She didn’t revel in bringing pain to Anika, and Becca knew that deep down. They were all just trying to be Heroes. In the moment, the speedster still hated her guts.

After fifteen seconds of sustained blasting the bolt dissipated. Anna stepped back, breathing hard, and Anika slumped to the ground groaning. Becca’s girlfriend wasn’t out of the fight yet, but she was hurt.

<Come on legs. Gosh darn it go…go…go,> Becca was almost there. She could feel the tingling in the middle of her feet.

Anna stalked forward and snatched Anika’s ball from where it hovered just above the fallen woman’s body. Anika struggled to rise, but Anna put her foot in the middle of the stronger woman’s back and pushed her down onto the ground. Normally a car parked on top of Anika wouldn’t have been able to do that, but Becca saw her girlfriend crumbled under the weak push.

<Ani,> Becca held her position, but wasn’t about to stop the wetness in her eyes from leaking out.

<Becca,> the voice in Becca’s mind was faint and weak, but it was her Ani’s. <Ru…run.>

Becca knew why her girlfriend was telling her to take off. While stronger than the average human, Becca was nothing compared to Anika. All it would take was one blast from Anna and Becca would be finished. Anika wanted Becca to get as many points as possible, so she could climb the rankings, and make it into sophomore year. Whether Anika had come right out and said it or not, that was the plan they’d followed since the start of the final.

It was not a plan that Becca agreed with. It was a plan that had turned her against her friends. It was a plan that had led her to attack people weaker than her in order to gather balls and points by taking them out. It was a plan that made Becca feel like a coward. And now that she was faced with a more powerful opponent Anika wanted her to run.

<Sorry, Ani,> Becca was sure her girlfriend could feel the determination building. <No can do.>

Becca took a deep breath and activated her power.

She still couldn’t run since half her feet were still paralyzed, but she spent the remaining time she had developing a plan. Fifteen seconds turned into fifteen minutes, as Becca applied all the knowledge she’d learned from her coaches during the previous semester. She assessed her environment and looked for items she could use to her advantage. She developed a plan with those items in mind and then applied it to what she knew about Anna’s power. She nitpicked her own plan; discarding some parts, altering other, and tossing somethings all together.

She watched how Anna approached, taking note of the other woman’s body as she moved. The electrokinetic might be haughty and confident, but with time slowed to a crawl Becca began to see things she normally wouldn’t. Anna was favoring one leg more than the other, and there was a slight wince behind her triumphant smile. Anna was hurt from previous battles, so Becca used that information to alter her plan even more.

When she allowed time to resume its normal flow, just as the tingling left her body, Becca knew exactly what she was going to do.

“Any last…” Anna didn’t even get to finish her statement before Becca sprang into action.

The blue-haired speedster vaulted backwards, doing half a dozen super-speed backflips to a pile of debris nearby. Anna growled as fired several short electric bolts after her, but they all missed. Becca couldn’t move faster than the bolts, but she was moving faster than Anna’s mind could aim and fire.

Becca took cover behind the debris pile, shuddering as her enhanced speedster physique shrugged off the static electricity flying everywhere. She poked her head out quickly to judge Anna’s position, and nearly received a bolt to the face for her trouble. She pulled back and executed the first step of her plan. Becca scooped up pieces of debris, and like a machine gun she launched the manmade projectiles at Anna.

“What the shit!” Anna took a piece of stone in her injured knee faster than a professional major league baseball pitcher. She went down on one knee, roaring in pain and frustration.

That was the only projectile that got through as a latticework of interlocking energy appeared in front of Anna. Becca had seen this before, but not this complicated. Anna could form an electrical net that could stopped ranged attacks like the pieces of debris Becca was throwing, but Becca was counting on this. It was a good defense, but it wasn’t perfect.

Becca picked up the pace throwing multiple pieces of rubble a second. The debris hit the electric field and broke apart, but it didn’t completely stop. The field was tight enough that it could keep out anything that would hurt Anna, but a layer of dust made it through with every strike.

Soon Anna was coughing as a shroud of dust enveloped her. Becca threw on last projectile and ran from it. The world slowed as Becca pumped her legs. She needed to gain a lot of speed in not a lot of time, to get this next part to work.

<I just hope I have enough traction,> Becca prayed as her foot left the flat road and onto the side of a building.

She got a couple of step running along the side of the building before she felt herself begin to slip. <Crapola,> she panicked, altering her trajectory.

The plan was to come in from the side and body check Anna, grab her sphere, grab Anika, and take off. That didn’t seem like it was going to work now. The cloud of dust wasn’t going to last that much longer, and Becca just didn’t have the angle to get it all done. So she prioritized.

Becca’s next few steps took her back onto the flat ground. She barely caught herself from falling, which cost he precious time, but she kept on moving. She cut around the edge of the electric barrier, feeling a whole new tingle from the raw power Anna was creating. A split-second later she was past it, and with a little finesse she was able to grab Anna’s ball right out from above her.

<I need to thank mom for forcing me to do gymnastics as a child,> the maneuver ended in her going a cartwheel.

It slowed her down even more, and gave Anna a chance to react. Becca felt the attack before she saw it. This time it wasn’t forked lightning bolts that came flying at Becca, but an undulating wave of electricity. It moved slower than a direct bolt did, but that was still a lot faster than Becca.

<That’s new,> Becca did the first thing she thought of and hit the ground.

The electric wave passed over her, but still sent a shock through her. Thankfully, she was already sliding along the road on her side; and her uniform was holding up to the scraping. She smelled something burning, but she ignored it in order to stay focus on Anna. The electrokinetic was turned toward Becca, the dust was clear, and she was lining up another shot.

Becca’s carefully crafted plan was worthless. She hadn’t been fast enough to run along the building. She wasn’t able to get the right angle to take out Anna, and wasn’t fast enough to recover from the shock that the unpredicted wave had sent through her. Most importantly she wasn’t fast enough to save her girlfriend.

There wasn’t anything nearby that Becca could use as an improvised weapon, which meant there was no last stand. She was just going to get roasted like a stuffed piggy.

<Unless,> Becca had one thing she could use. <I just hope I still get credit.> She resigned herself to her fate.

While steeling herself to take the full charge of a lightning bolt, Becca aimed and threw the ball she’d stolen from Anna. The metallic ball soared through the air, passing the much faster moving lightning bolt. The bolt hit Becca dead center, and sent her tumbling farther down the road. Anna’s face was half formed in a triumphant grin when her own ball smashed into her face.

The high powered toss broke the electrokinetic’s nose, jaw, and cheekbones; but she didn’t feel a thing. She was unconscious before she hit the floor. Becca was also out cold from the electrical attack. The only one left conscious was Anika, and she had more in common with burned toast than a Super at the moment.

Coach McMillian showed up a few minutes later, a haggard look on his face. “Congrats, Ms. Kemps. You are the last one standing; standing being a relative term.” Anika was prone on the ground barely conscious.

“Owwwwww,” was the only word the once powerful woman was able to form.

“Don’t sweat it,” he patted her on the back, eliciting another groan. “We’ll have you fixed up in a jiffy.”

The close combat coach left Anika to transport the other unconscious and injured women to the healers before returning to her. Battleball was officially over, and after the beating many of the students had taken, they weren’t looking forward to doing it again anytime soon.

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