- Descendants L.A. #1 – Debut pt.1
- Descendants L.A. #2 – Debut pt.2
- Descendants L.A. #3 – Debut pt.3
- Descendants L.A. #4 – Above the Line pt. 1
- Descendants L.A. #5 – Above the Line pt. 2
- Descendants L.A. #6 – Above the Line pt. 3
- Descendants L.A. #7 – Ensemble (Part 1)
- Descendants L.A. #8 – Ensemble (Part 2)
- Descendants L.A. #9 – Ensemble (Part 3)
- Descendants L.A. #10 – Ensemble (Part 4)
- Descendants L.A. #11 – Ensemble (Part 5)
- Descendants L.A. #12 – Gala Event (Part 1)
- Descendants L.A. Annual #1 – Gala Event (Part 2)
Ray and Felix came out of the latter’s room to find Icthiani already standing in front of the sofa. Due to her reticence toward anything that hinted at acclimation, all of her clothes not from Faerie were picked out by Lydia, which explained why she was dressed in capris and a lemon yellow tank top with a manically grinning cartoon penguin on the front.
Nothing her expression, Felix swiftly deduced the current reason for her frustrations. Reaching past her, he picked up the remote. She flinched at his sudden proximity and a growl started low in her throat before she fought it down. When he gave her a questioning look, she sniffed and turned her attention back to the television.
Icthiani acting strange wasn’t a new thing for him and Felix shrugged it off. “In the future, you answer by touching here,” He held the remote up so she could see him manipulating the remote, “And slide your finger here. Then tap twice.”
When he did so, the television came on, but showed only the logo of Dynamic Innovations and Investments International, A metallic gold ‘D’ and ‘I’ separated by a three-dimensional and translucent blue ‘3’. It was the default ‘audio only’ placeholder that came with D3I equipment such as the phone attachment Raymond Fayth Sr. used with his palmtop to relay missions to his son’s team.
“Talk to us, Mr. F.” Said Felix.
“I would apologize for stacking another mission on you in such a short period of time, but I don’t have any pull with terrorists these days.” MR. Fayth said as a greeting.
“And I take it from what you just said that this isn’t another Faerie creature.” Ray deduced.
“I wish. Ten minutes ago an armored personnel carrier rolled up to the Hollister and Hyde Bank and Trust and two dozen armed and armored men stormed the place and ejected the customers and staff. The police rolled SWAT and powered armor, but the bad guys came armed for a fight; heavy guns, laser guided rockets and pulse weaponry.”
“Sounds like a lot of money to spend on a bank robbery.” Ray said.
“We’ve got no idea what they want.” Mr. Fayth replied, “But the LAPD is pinned down and the next step is the coast guard or…”
“Us.” Felix filled in.
“Exactly. D3I thinks you can take them safely and garner publicity points.”
“And keep police and soldiers from getting killed.” Ray said quickly. “We’re on it, dad. I’ll call Lyds and Josh to meet us there. Wish us luck, dad.” He took the remote from Felix and broke the connection even as his father was still saying goodbye.
Felix frowned to match the look that was forming on Ray’s face as he headed for his room to suit up. “What’s wrong?”
Ray sighed and paused in the hall. “I just wish dad and the sponsors would take this seriously. People’s lives are at stake and instead of that, the first thing on their minds is PR. You me and Lyds have talked about this, Felix: we can’t think about things that way. You remember that article about that prelate, Firebug: the second we start showboating, or playing for popularity, we’ll make mistakes and we could die. And we could take a lot of other people with us.”
“Well we aren’t.” Felix assured his best friend, the young man that was in all things other than blood, his brother. “You dad’s a special case; he’s an agent, that what he does, what he thinks about. And the Sponsors, they’re corporate to the bone; They’re only interested in the money they make. But they are not us. They’re not the ones doing the work, Ray. Don’t worry about the guys paying the bills, just worry about us, okay?”
A quick glance over Felix’s shoulder, where Icthiani stood, arms folded with a perturbed look on her face, reminded Ray that in some cases, he was indeed worried about them. But he nodded all the same and clapped Felix on the shoulder. You’re right. Suit up and let’s roll.”
“Nothing to it , fearless leader. Hey, without Lyds around to fly you, are you gonna ride with me, or roll one of my girls yourself?”
“Riding by myself. You drive insane when you’re on a bike.”
Felix made a rude sound, but knew it was true, so he didn’t protest too much. “Fine, which one? Can you take the kind of heavy fire these guys have?”
“No idea, but I don’t want to find out.”
“Then you’re on Sally B, she’s got the best armor. I’ll take Gertie in less-lethal mode and see if we can’t give them some of what they’ve been giving the cops.”
Ray nodded. “Sounds good. I’ll see you in the garage.”
He hurried toward his room and Felix turned to do that same, spying Icthiani still standing in the living room. “Hey, ‘Ani, we don’t have a lot of time, get suited up.”
“I doesn’t take me long.” She said sharply and followed him into his room.
Felix noticed her standing there, but didn’t have time to argue, so he sat down in the chair that connected to his ‘arming cabinet’ and hit the switch. The wall panel behind him slid aside, allowing a tangled nest of components to slide out and around him.
First came the torso band, the base of the armor, which closed around his abdomen just under his pectorals. It was covered with connection points for the Teen Machine armor and its variants.
Next, devices came out and detached the mechanical portions of his arms and legs. Both of his legs ended at the knee, but one arm ended at the elbow while the other was missing from the shoulder down. For symmetry’s sake and ease of designing for Teen Machine, the latter was fitted with an articulated ‘core’ prosthetic that simulated an upper arm.
Icthiani had been staring the entire time, but now, she same closer.
Felix expected the usual question, especially since she’d come close to asking it already, And he almost let it spill out right there, as he was wont to do when confronted with That Question. About the man who stalked his mother and eventually decided that the movie she was making was taking her away from him. About the first bomb, that took both his legs and an arm, and the second that blew up the ambulance that came for him and took his other arm.
But Icthiani’s mind didn’t work like most people’s and so her question was far different. She leaned close to him, studying him like a child with a new toy set before her. She was close enough that he could see the brown of her eyes, hidden beneath the red scrawl of her sangrelogos. “Why are they all named after women?”
“Huh?” His view of her was temporarily blocked as the system lowered the front piece of his armor over his head to fasten to the torso band. The back piece was also put in place, along with the power core between the shoulder blades.
The thigh plated being lowered forced her to step back. “Your ‘motorcycles’. Matilda, Sally, Gertie, Lizzie, these are all women’s names, yes? Who were they? Relatives? Lovers?”
Felix snorted as the system attacked his default Teen Machine arms and legs. “Not hardly. See, we just tend to name stuff we build after women. Don’t know why, but we do. And all my bikes have names of other famous things that were built… except Matilda, she was built before I knew just how much D3I was going to let me spend. She’s just named after a song… I think. I really just liked the name.”
The daoine nodded and stepped back further so he could get up from the chair. She even handed him his helmet from the bookshelf it was sitting on.
“Um, ‘Ani, we’ve really got to go. Don’t you think you should change?”
The only answer he got was a bored expression as she raised a hand and gestured. Static crackled around her and miniature red lightening bolts began to race up and down her body. Seconds passed and the clothes Lydia picked out for her faded, replaced by the Lady Demon costume, its hood concealing her face.
Felix was glad he’d put his helmet on just then, otherwise, he might never have hidden the blush that came from the handful of seconds during the transition in which Icthiani was clad in neither set of clothes. “Um… cool. So let’s go down. You know, to the garage. To meet Ray. Yeah, let’s go do that now.”
The gunmen were dug in around the main entrance of the bank. They set up ceramic and Kevlar barricades on the steps to form three very effective machine gun nests. The two men with rocket launchers were set up in the back of the APC with its loading ramp raised to make yet another bulletproof shield. Three teams of two were stationed in the offices with pulse weaponry, sniping any police unit that dared enter the plaza in front of the bank. And all the while, a half dozen of their compatriots were in the vault, emptying the safe deposit boxes.
Their plan was flawless. It would take time to mobilize the national guard, and by that time, they would be long gone. The best the LAPD could do was lob tear gas at them and every man there had a mask to protect him.
Unfortunately for them, their plans didn’t take Descendants: LA into account.
Powerful engines rumbled as the gathering crowd and then the line of police and FBI agents gave way to a pair of motorcycles. One was heavy and enclosed with a green tinted shell over the rider and heavy duty tires. The leg wells that the sides were overly large and had what appeared to be air intakes.
The other was lighter and open. Its leg well was also expanded so as to be fitted with a pulse cannon on each side and on either side of the front wheel was mounted a mufti-barreled gun. There appeared to be missile pods mounted behind the heavily armored rider. The whole thing was hunter green with ‘TM’ tinted on the windscreen.
Both bikes rolled out onto the plaza and shrugged off the initial hits from the pulse rifles.
Astride Galloping Gertie, which was nothing less than a two wheeled gunboat, Felix nodded to Ray. “Take the lead, dude.” he said into his com. He couldn’t see Ray’s answering nod, but the bike he was in, Sally B, roared like a lioness and burst forward.
Felix fell into line behind him as all three machine gun nests opened up on them. They were spitting armor piercing, super high velocity rounds, but the Sally B wasn’t named after a Flying Fortress for nothing. Its armor and standing field generator laughed the projectiles off like the gunmen were flicking rubber bands instead.
“They’re going to notice that’s not working and switch to rockets in a second.” Ray warned. “Target one of the machine guns and take him down. Lady D, can you do the same? I don’t know if your teleport will set off those explosives and I don’t want to risk it.”
“It would solve the problem of the men with rockets.” She observed.
“You don’t mean that.” Ray wasn’t so sure of that, but he hoped it came across as an admonishment.
“Of course not.” She said so flatly that it made him even less sure. “I am just being a ‘pain in the ass’.”
“… What?” If Felix or Lydia said it, he wouldn’t have batted an eye. But they would have said it with a laugh or some humor in their voice. Icthiani was so focused on her spell and keeping her sangrelogos in check that all her voice betrayed was the leading edges of the storm of anger that accompanied using her powers.
Felix chuckled nervously. “The stuff she comes up with, huh?”
Up ahead, there was a flash of red in the middle of one of the gunners’ nests. A sphere of red lightning expanded rapidly from its center, arcing into the men and their gear. They screamed as the voltage went through them and dropped onto the steps, twitching. Within the lightning cage, Icthiani appeared. Her arrival overlapped the big gun and under the forces at work, it melted to white-hot slag around her.
This didn’t go unnoticed in the other two nests. While the main gunners continued to poor lead on the bikes, their spotters grabbed up submachine guns the fend off the attack from the rear.
Icthiani sneered with open disdain beneath her hood and drew one of her obsidian daggers. Her sangrelogos made its presence known in her mind as a pressing and violent hunger. The dagger was honed beyond normal understanding of sharpness. She felt no pain as she drew it in a perfect, practiced line from the root of her right palm to the tip of her middle finger.
Where ruby blood welled, the red script of her sangrelogos swarmed tightly, using it for sustenance, converting it to energy. The line of blood became a line of crimson light.
Magic required ritual, energy and material components. This made it a slow process for those not born with a natural talent, requiring mnemonics and bulky components to overcome its limitations, especially in combat. But demons had a natural magic they could access through the blood of their hosts. To this end, they took hosts and bonded to them.
But the daoine of Soder had learned to turn this against their former oppressors long ago. They bound demons to themselves, leaving the demon in their control instead of the other way around. The demons had blood magic. But the Soder had sangrelogos and to power their techniques, they paid in blood.
She flicked her hand at the first man to take aim at her and the light uncoiled like an impossibly long whip. It caught him at the chest and lifted him off his feet to crash down hard upon the steps. Turing gracefully on her heels, she brought her arm down and the vitalius lash came down with it, directly onto the shoulder of the next man. It separated with a sick pop and he collapsed with a grunt, his gun useless in his numb fingers.
By then, Felix and Ray were halfway across the plaza and accelerating. Suddenly, the heads up display in Felix’s helmet burst into a symphony of panicked colors. “Crap. Rebound, you’re laser painted. Rockets incoming.” Ray didn’t have to be told twice. Both bikes peeled off in opposite directions, hoping to shake the targeting from the men in the APC.
Felix turned back toward the bank in short order however; the only armor on Gertie was forward and backward facing, thanks to all of the weapon mounting. The best defense for him was a good offense. The mufti-barreled guns on the front span up and started belching gel rounds.
Gel rounds were a riot police variant of the standard beanbag with the bonus that they remained aerodynamic until they struck a solid surface, meaning that they had better range and stopping power. Felix’s also came in a special ‘recipe’ that dissolved into a syrupy mess on impact, intended to gum up weapons and equipment.
They didn’t help him then. While the green stains painted the raised ramp, the men inside remained largely unscathed. After a moment of readjustment, the one aiming for him launched his rocket.
A wall of green intercepted it halfway to its target. The rocket didn’t even have time to arm, breaking into a scattering of junk parts that pattered down on the plaza.
Felix blew out a sigh of relief. “Excellent timing!”
Above the plaza, a familiar surfboard, made entirely of psychokinetic energy swooped down. Lydia in her Green Boarder guise was riding far on the back, whooping with joy at her quick save. In front of her was Josh as Zephyrus, going through the motions of one of his Flying Raven techniques.
With the wind of their passage, not even Lydia heard the name of this one, but the result was a powerful gust that reflected off the ground before pounding the undercarriage of the APC. The forces behind it tipped the heavily armored vehicle over, sending it crashing down on its side and throwing the men inside around like toys.
“We are the coolest team ever.” Felix marveled.
“Not until we’ve wrapped this up entirely.” Ray reminded him. “Can you take the snipers?”
“Good. Lady D and I can mop up the gunners’ nests. Boarder, Zephyrus, if you don’t mind making sure the rocket guys are down for the count?” They didn’t. Good. We’ll meet up at the doors and go in together. TM, where are the jets, again?”
“Red toggle under the orientation screen. Press and hold it until the screen shows the trajectory you want, then pull it.”
“Anytime. I just hope they get this on tape.” He pulled Gertie to a dead stop and flipped a toggle of his own. Heavy metal tripod legs extended from both wheel wells, stabilizing against the ground. Felix flipped on the targeting screen in his head’s up display and armed his missile pods. In short order, his counter-sniper program had locked on to the snipers in the offices above.