Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 04

This entry is part 25 of 27 in the series Current

You know,” Facsimile began, alighting on a convertible lying on its side, “I usually mock the bad guys who bring robots or guns to a super-fight in Mayfield… but I guess we’re not in Mayfield, so I’ll let it slip this time.” She smirked, “Oh wait—you just straight up planned to attack the team with a metal-bender in a giant robot. I have zero sympathy for what’s about to happen to you.”

Osp lowered Alloy to the pavement just in front of where she was standing. He craned his neck to look the mecha up and down. “Fax?”

Yeah?”

There’s gonna be a problem with that.”

The speakers mounted to the machine crackled. “What?” Hydraulics hissed as Junker pivoted and brought its excavator claw to bear. There was a boom and suddenly the claw rocketed forward, trailing a chain behind it.

The car Facsimile was standing on melted under her feet, the metal its body was composed of whipping up and around Alloy like a wave to form a quarter dome just in time to intercept the claw with a resounding clang. Facsimile barely caught herself from falling, beating her wings to keep her balance, then had to duck as the claw, having bounced off the barrier, flew overhead.

With a series of heavy clacks and groans, the chain began retracting, pulling the claw back to the mecha’s body.

Is everything alright?” Occult asked, lowering herself and her passengers to the ground. “I would have thought you would have melted that thing before it got close.”

Whatever that thing’s made of it’s not normal,” replied Alloy, forming part of the former car into a sword and heavy shield. “I can sense it—titanium, aluminum, iron—but my powers slide right off it. Last time I ran into metal like this it was…”

Before he could finish, the group leapt apart, the crimson beam of a plasma lance burning a molten line in the pavement where they previously stood. This was answered by a blue beam from above as Zero unleashed a torrent of psycho-kinetic energy on the mechanical titan.

It never hit, however, breaking in a crackling spray at least two feet from Junker, cracking the pavement and denting nearby vehicles.

The voice from the speaker roared in frustration. “You’re in the way!” The Junker snatched up the bed of a mangled pickup truck with its claw and hurled it up through the stream of incoming energy, causing Zero to break off her attack to dodge.

A powerful wind kicked up, slowing the arching descent of the debris and causing it to land safely in an empty patch of street. Releasing the wind, Sirocco looked up at Junker. “Any idea who this is?” He asked.

We were kind of hoping you knew,” Facsimile admitted. “So he’s not a local?”

We don’t really have local super villains,” replied Sirocco, “Just the occasional group that gets their hands on military grade weapons.”

And that’s not this guy?!” Facsimile demanded, doing a loop in the air to avoid the plasma lance.

Alloy landed back on the street courtesy of the twins, sword and shield at the ready. “Definitely not this guy. This isn’t military tech—it’s magic.”

Junker stomped forward, surprisingly light on its feet for its size, and swung down with its pneumatic hammer, aiming for Alloy. The armored hero responded by planting the shield, a trio of spikes extending from the lower edge to bite into the ground with the twins bracing.

A deafening clang resounded and the street cracked around where the shield had been planted.

Sirocco gestured and a new cyclone kicked up, whirling debris and broken pavement into an accretion disc of flotsam. “You’re saying this is a magic robot? We’re fighting a magic robot?” He thrust his hands forward, driving the disc into the joint of the shoulder supporting the multi-weapon arm.

A shower of sparks erupted as the makeshift saw of high-speed debris cut slowly but surely through the frame, wires and hoses. Within seconds, the arm gave out a groan and fell to the ground in a heap.

Pulling his shield free, Alloy nodded. “Not for long if you keep that up. Nicely done.”

Thank you. Believe it or not, I mostly use it to grind materials while sculpting.”

It doesn’t look like it’s going to be that easy,” Occult interrupted. She pointed to where the mangled heap that was the severed arm was starting to glow a faint green, wires and hoses snaking out toward the stump they’d been attached to.

Zero swooped down from above. “Don’t worry, I’ve got it!” She swept her hands toward the arm, sending fingers of rapidly-forming frost along its length, locking in place.

A snarl came from Junker’s speakers. “You don’t get it. None of you do. None of you understand! You have no clue about anything! Like do you think I call myself the junker because I need custom parts?!” The mecha punched its remaining limb skyward and a burst of green light rolled out from it like a luminous fog. A half dozen nearby vehicles and other pieces of machinery including a hydrant and the ruptured trailer took up the glow, rising into the air.

Occult, now would be a good time for a counterspell,” Facsimile declared as Zero began sending out bolts of blue to try to knock the components out of the air.

If I knew what this spell was, I would. It’s nothing I recognize,” said Occult, Just break everything before it gets to the main body!” Miming drawing a bow, she caused one made of pure light to come into being. “Shine Heaven’s Arrow!” The shot she let loose struck the trailer, shattering the green glow and causing it to crash to the ground.

Other items continued on, however, breaking down and re-configuring as they came. Three new arms, one replacing the original with two others attaching themselves to the machine’s back adorned Junker in short order. A long pipe trailed from one and into the ground, tearing through the street as the robot moved.

It purpose was revealed when a gout of water erupted from the two back-mounted arms, slamming into Alloy and Occult with the force of a fire hose, sending them tumbling.

An enraged snarl came from the speakers. “Just stay out of my way! This doesn’t involve you!”

Kind of hard to believe,” Facsimile shot back, flying to evade as the jet of water tracked after her, the immense pressure crashing through storefront windows in her wake. “You just happen to show up here right when we’re visiting?”

The geyser of water shut off only for Junker to swipe with his excavator arm from the opposite direction as she flew too close, swatting her out of the air and through the soft top of a nearby convertible.

Junker let out an exasperated groan. “If you weren’t here to stop me, then why were you ‘visiting’ CPS in the first place?!”

Zero paused mid-air, energy gathered in her palms and a confused look visible even under her hood. “We aren’t at DRW, not CPS. Descendants Rights Worldwide?”

What the hell even is that? I came for the CPS.”

Rising from the broken ditch with water streaming from every seam in his armor, Alloy formed up a new shield out of a nearby car’s rear axle. “No, we were at the DRW Detroit branch.” He tilted his head. “Wait… CPS? Isn’t that Child Protective Services?”

Sirocco made an affirmative sound. “Right. They’re downstairs neighbors in our building.”

A low, furious growl crackled in the Junker’s speakers. “They’re also government know-nothings putting their noses where they don’t belong. A boy needs his father. And it’s nobody’s business how that boy’s disciplined.”

Those words threw a cold silence over the field of battle. While debris still settled and flames crackled, all banter stopped. It only lasted a moment before the door flew off the soft-top, propelled by Facsimile’s foot. All of the Descendants’ attention snapped to her as she boiled out of the car with an expression like a thunderstorm about to spawn a tornado.

Her wings we gone, mass redistributed to her calves and thighs as muscle. Three claws of gold-colored orihalcite extended from the middle knuckles of her right arm.

Shouldn’t be surprised,” she shouted, though somehow the words were flat and menacing despite that. “All this smashed shit? Using magic just to screw up the lives of everyone around you when you could have done literally everything else? We should have known you weren’t a super villain; just another big man-baby who can’t solve a problem without hitting it.”

Junker roared at this. “Who told you you could talk to me like that?” He raised the excavator arm and the couplings connecting it to the main arm disengaged, primed to fire. “Besides? Isn’t that the same thing you ‘heroes’ do?” With that, he launched the excavator, sending the heavy metal claw toward her.

It missed cleanly as Facsimile’s enhanced legs sent her into a mighty leap that carried her onto the connecting cable and charging up it.

Both water cannon arms tracked in on her and caught her in the crossfire, slamming her across the street and into a small plaza where she struck the bronze statue of a tire with wings, leaving a massive dent.

More beams of energy from Occult and Zero struck the mecha in retribution, rocking it back on its feet and nearly toppling it if not for its water cannons swinging around and firing at the ground, becoming a makeshift jet pack that kept the war machine on its feet.

In the comms, Facsimile groaned. “I hate this guy so much. Thinks he’s so big with his magic… huh.” A sly smile crossed her face. “Hey Alloy? I got an idea…” She quickly relayed it while extracting herself from the dented statue.

Alloy surveyed the scene and jogged over to Sirocco, waving a hand to get his attention. The other man inclined his head, half his attention still on Junker.

He’s not adding or repairing while he’s fighting,” He observed.

Sirocco nodded. “I noticed, but at the same time, anytime we get a breather, he gets on too. And being in that armor means he doesn’t have to pull back as often.”

Then we take it out of the equation,” said Alloy. “Can you give us a smoke screen with your powers?”

Not sure if that helps, but absolutely. What’s the plan?”

Alloy told him. Sirocco smiled.

I’m learning so much about how superheroes to things. Thinking out of the box – not so different from artists.” With that, he thrust his cupped hands out low before him. Pulverized asphalt, torn vehicle upholstery and scrap metal began to swirl before he raised and separated his arms, causing all the debris to lift into a dense, blinding cylinder around Junker.

***

Inside the cockpit of the Junker mecha, it was hot, humid and dark, illuminated only by the glow of control panels, monitors, and the circlet crowning the pilot’s head. It suffused the air with green light that obscured its nature as a monkey wrench hammered into a ring.

Bill Trembley was red faced not just from rage, but the heat. Sweat rolled off his brow and down his neck as he frantically followed the impulses from the circlet, a second instinct that told him what to press, swipe pull or toggle to command the Junker and its ever-shifting form.

He grabbed the can of Lion’s Roar and threw it back. Only a trickle of the bitter energy drink came out and he threw it to the floor to join a clanking cacophony of other empty cans. There wasn’t time to find another in the cooler off to the side of his seat as suddenly all his monitors showed nothing but a cloud of swirling darkness.

With a wordless growl, he started firing water in all directions, trying to clear the air. It did little and he started to back up, reaching out with magic to try and find new, more helpful components from the ruins on the street.

Poor baby,” a mocking, female voice came out of the cockpit walls, resounding hollowly from the thin metal. “You don’t like it when you can’t pound on a problem until it stops, do you?”

He recognized that voice even with the added metallic reverb. It was the disrespectful gold one that tested him earlier. Reaching down, he grabbed his Plan B for in case the Junker failed to get the point across from the holster mounted next to the cooler. Ironically, the semi-automatic with a hacked print lock had cost him more than the magical ebook that contained the instructions for the ‘helm of artifice control’ that let him build and command the Junker.

Shut your mouth!” He roared, letting fly with a barrage of lead into the walls. Sparks flew, metal punctured, but from his assailant, there was only laughter.

That’s not going to work either,” she song-songed. Then one of the monitors shorted and was popped out of its mounting. Bill fired into the resultant cavity, striking some sort of golden ooze, which retreated, only to knock out another monitor.

Then one of the control panels started sparking, the ooze welling up from the seams and pushing it out as well.

Bill’s hands flew to his temples, touching the circlet. Immediately, a green glow formed around the monitors and the panels, forcing them back in place and starting repairs. “Stop it!” He shouted into the dank compartment. “Why’re you keeping me away from my boy?!”

Because you don’t deserve him,” the voice snapped coldly. “’discipline’ plus CPS equals beating on him, yeah? Or maybe worse?”

It’s how a boy learns,” Bill shot back instantly, only to be rewarded with more controls and monitors shorting out.

Yeah. How they learn to hit their own kids. How to come up with new, more interesting ways to hurt them to feel like they’re in control. How they learn to think something’s wrong with them.” Each sentence was punctuated by a monitor not just popping out but imploding as a golden mass crushed it.

You don’t know a damn thing!” Bill fired into the golden blob to no effect until the magazine ran out. “My dad did the same for me and—“

And you ended up getting your kids rightly taken away and then hatched a revenge plan that likely would have ended in the National Guard putting a hole in you with a ship’s cannon if you didn’t blunder into superheroes first! You’re a failure. Your dad was a failure. Let’s hope your kid’ll be better with you out of his life!”

With a roar, Bill threw down his gun and punched the nearest blob of gold.

His fist stuck in.

And besides that, you’re a goddamn idiot,” Facsimile finished. The vent behind the pilot’s seat was torn out while the man raged. A pair of golden hands emerged from it and took hold of the circlet.

Bill scrambled, grasping that the crown with his free hand. “No! You can’t. Y—let got! None of this works it you—“

He was no where near strong enough to fight off the super heroine. The crown slipped off and the light within winked out—as did all the remaining lights in the cockpit.

Who’s the idiot now,” He said as the superstructure of the Junker gave an ominous groan. “Now we’re both going to die.”

Without the magic to sustain it, the mecha began to collapse.

To Be Continued…

Series Navigation<< Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 03Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 05 >>

About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter. You can also purchase his books from all major platforms from the bookstore
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