Avalanche – Snippet 51
They didn’t have time to rest; the Wolves were almost upon them. Instead of standing and waiting for the Wolves, John and Sera charged at them. With John’s enhancements and Sera’s wing beats, they moved almost too fast for the eye to track effectively; the Wolves faltered, for a moment, trying to figure out how to attack the couple. John and Sera split from each other, then crossed paths at the last moment, attacking towards the opposite side. John rushed forward, letting the battle-sense guide him; his first cut split a Wolf from shoulder to hip, sending sprays of sparks and ruined parts clattering across the docks. The second Wolf he faced snapped at his head; he dodged under the flashing metallic jaws easily, swinging his sword, in an easy two handed strike horizontally, lopping off the front paws of the Wolf and part of its underside. It struggled uselessly, scraping against the concrete as it tried to push itself forward with its hind legs.
John ignored that Wolf for the moment; it wasn’t a threat for now. He kicked off the ground hard, his fires bursting from his lower legs and feet and propelling him into the air. A half second later alloy claws raked the ground where he had been standing, carving deep furrows in the concrete. He turned in the air and thrust his right arm out in one motion; a lance of fire burst from his palm, striking the offending third Wolf square in the forehead. The beam of fire burned through the Wolf’s head and body in a flash, splashing against the concrete behind and beneath it. Something inside of the Wolf detonated, sending flames and an acrid cloud of black smoke outward. The fourth and fifth wolves leapt for him at the same time, trying to pin him in the air. John felt the attack coming, even though they were attacking from his blind spots on either side. Without a flourish, he spun in place, bringing his sword up first in a rising cut from his right hip to his left shoulder, then back down again from his right shoulder to his left hip. The two cuts separated the Wolves’ heads from their shoulders in an instant; John moved forward a few feet just in time, as the Wolves’ decapitated chassis slammed into each other midair before crashing into the ground. The final amputee Wolf was still crawling towards the center of the docks, single-minded in its purpose. He hovered for a moment, then unleashed his fires, letting them flow from his sword point and his arms; the flames washed around the final Wolf, completely engulfing it. Slowly, he amped up the intensity, turning the mechanical horror to molten and smoking slag. That’ll do it.
As he landed, he glanced at Sera; there were pieces of Wolf scattered all about her, and no sign of a whole one.Â It looked as if she had duplicated the wild spinning she had performed among the Thulian troopers, simply turning and moving too fast to be tracked and letting her fire sword cut through whatever had gotten in her way. The Wolves, however advanced their programming, didn’t have the same self-preservation that the troopers had; their entire purpose was to attack, and they had been seemingly happy to oblige Sera by running right for her.
I think we have somehow learned to “tune” our fire so it is at the precise temperature to be most effective, Sera said in his mind, sounding just a little puzzled.Â Otherwise…this seems much easier than last time.
Like the man said, “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.” We’ve still got quite a few of these bastards to deal with.
Sera was already at his side again, fire sword at the ready, as their battle-sense showed a barrage of energy grenades about to be launched at the defensive emplacements.
Sera placed her hand atop John’s shoulder and concentrated; immediately he felt energy flooding into him. He took a deep breath, visualizing what he wanted to do, forming it to what was going to happen, changing that Possibility into a Reality. Energy blasts flashed all around the pair; they knew that they would have warning if any were really going to threaten them. The Thulians were still shaken, first from the couple’s opening assault, and then the ease with which they dispatched the Robowolves.
For this instant, they both ignored what was going on around them, staring deeply into each others’ glowing, golden eyes.Â Eyes that were mirror images of how Sera’s had looked, beforeâ€¦.
Then their eyes snapped up to concentrate on the thrown grenades, sailing high over their heads. John’s arms shot upwards, his sword dissipating into a gigantic cloud of fire that raced to meet the grenades. As soon as the wall of fire met the grenades, they each detonated, forming perfect spheres of blue-white destructive energy, like novas forming and disappearing in a nebula of fire.
Just as quickly, John shut the fires off, leaving no evidence that they had ever been there. The Thulians had halted their advance, both groups now orienting to face John and Sera exclusively. Finally gettin’ the message that we’re the ones to worry ’bout, huh, fellas?
This is a good thing.Â But as you said to me, “Do not get cocky.”
Let’s wrap up this bunch; I got a feelin’ that this isn’t gonna be over quite yet.
A new voice sounded in his air.Â Not Vickie: young, and male.Â “Ural Smasher this is Angel Flight, do you copy?”
For one startled moment, he thought this might be–Siblings?Â Sera’s…well, would you call them “relatives?”Â But then he remembered, from the assault in New Mexico; “Angel Flight” had been the designation of the Navy Blue Angels.Â No longer amusing the crowds at air shows, they and the Thunderbirds were now a bona fide elite strike force.Â And it seemed, were partnered with him and Sera.
“Go Angel Flight,” he replied, keeping a wary eye, and the battle-sense, on the Thulians, who it seemed had not yet made up their mind about their next move.
“We are in position to offer Danger-Close Fire on a strafing run on your signal.Â Danger-Close Fire will commence fifteen seconds from your go.”
“Roger that, we’ll update targets for you. Key in on the southern side of the docks; that’ll be the likely target zone. Stay frosty.”
“Southern docks.Â Copy that.Â Out.”
Sera turned her head slightly and smiled at him, her eyes going to blue, briefly, before turning to the shining gold that meant they were in sync and their powers were at full.Â “Always.”
Both of them leaned out of the way as an energy blast split the air between them. A beat later, both of them were charging at the two groups of trooper armor; John at the one on the right, Sera at the one on the left. Energy blasts ripped apart fissures in the dock around the couple, sending steaming chunks of concrete into the air. John put an extra burst of speed on, his enhancements already keyed up; at the last second before he would have hit the trooper formation, he juked to the right, hard. With his left hand, he sent an explosive blast of concentrated plasma at the leftmost edge of the troopers; it struck the ground–and also the lower legs of three troopers–before erupting in a booming explosion. Then John was among the troopers, slashing with his sword or blasting with fire.
John felt as if he could have closed his eyes, and been in no more danger than he already was. He knew where the attacks were coming from; if there was a juncture where he would be overwhelmed, he sidestepped it, went around or above, did something unexpected to break up the pattern.Â To his left, he sensed Sera weaving her own deadly dance of fire and sword and spear, just as sure in her movements as he was, and just as inescapable.Â It was wonderful; it was terrible.Â It was awe-full, in the ancient sense of the word.Â He was reminded of his moment of weakness, facing the Thulians alone at the academy in the woods; wielding all of that power, alone, with no moderating force…he understood why Op 4’s and 5’s were often clinically insane, in one way or another. More than ever, he was glad that he had Sera with him.