Descendants: LA #14 – Fiends and Falsehood Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 13 in the series Descendants: LA Volume 2
The robot seemed to decide that the agonized, almost inhuman screams coming from Felix’s position meant he was out of the fight and turned to face Icthiani. The PSM barrels were red-hot and wouldn’t hold up to any more continuous fire, so it paused to switch to more conventional weapons.
That was it’s mistake.
The sorceress held aloft a blood stained dagger, screaming foreign syllables. Before the machine could draw a targeting bead, she threw the obsidian weapon with all her might.
A thrown dagger didn’t even register as a threat to the robot’s sensors, but as it flew through the air, tumbling end over end, the blood along its blade began to shimmer with otherworldly colors and spit sparks that soon became whirling tongues of flame or spirals of lightning. And all the while, it accelerated to a fantastic speed.
Instead of hitting like a rock, it struck home in the robot’s upper body, just below the sensor array in what in a human would be a shoulder like a rail gun round. The shoulder joint disintegrated in an explosion of red sparks, leaving the arm it was attached to to tumble useless to the ground. Arcs of lighting raced along the machine’s sensors and for a moment, overwhelmed the sensor array.
With smoke billowing out of its wound, the robot reel and fired blindly with a nest of machine guns that would have went into the police lines if a wall of green energy didn’t spring up to shield the public servants.
The rest of Descendants LA had arrived.
Lydia, the Green Boarder swept in riding her trademark telekinetic surfboard, her arms outstretched to keep wall in place. Not far behind came Ray and Loshuia; Rebound and Zephyrus. The former unsheathed his sword and performed a Flying Raven technique that manifested in a cyclone that slammed into the robot and drove it backward into the crate it had made, neatly putting the police out of its line of fire.
As soon as she saw this, Lydia dropped her wall and all three rushed forward. Icthiani dropped down, directly into Rebound’s path, forcing him to skid to a stop.
She looked at him impassively, rage burning in her eyes as it always did when she made use of her sangrelogos. “Teen Machine is down.” She said calmly and clearly, like she was telling him the she’d finished filling out some insurance forms. “He is screaming.”
Ray scanned the plaza in disbelief before answering. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust her, but Felix was the best armored of all of them and the robot hadn’t looked all that tough. Then again, there was a rumbled underfoot that suggested the robot hadn’t been undone by its fall.
Worry for his best friend made him feel suddenly cold inside. “Get him back home. I’ll have Glass get the infirmary ready.”
He’d been worried Icthiani would argue like she did when asked almost anything. It came almost as a shock when she let out a low growl that didn’t sound all that angry, and flew off to retrieve Felix. Ray watched her go and wished he could do more. But right now the robot was still a threat and someone had to shut it down permanently.
Felix wasn’t really aware of much of anything but how much pain he was in. The world had faded to muffled noises and gray shapes in the swirling darkness. The searing electrical feeling shooting up his arm and all through his brain made it hard to even think, but he made the effort anyway.
It hadn’t been the PSM that hit him he concluded. The hot plasmatic bursts would have cauterized the point of impact, killed the relevant nerve endings and he’d been feeling cold instead. If not that,t hen it was shrapnel, probably heated by the PSM. It had cracked the interface between his biological nerves and the electronic ones, crossing wires and causing feedback his brain was reading as the worst pain in existence.
He could ease some of it by ejecting his damaged prosthetic. Or he could have if he could get his body to work. It seemed that the pain left him paralyzed.
Through the mire of confused sensations around him, something came closer. Much closer. Something grabbed his chest plate and pulled him up into what he supposed was a sitting position. Then he was being supported in that position and words were being said in his ear, words he couldn’t understand. A moment later, he felt like he was being lifted, something gripping him across the shoulder and something else at the knees.
Was the robot finishing him off? Then who had been talking to him?
He didn’t get much time to think before even more chaos entered his world. Everything went red and an electrical jolt that had nothing to do with his damaged circuits washed over him.
Ramona burst from the elevators and ran flat out for the infirmary. Her hair glittered as she passed under the overhead lights; about a fifth of her hairs had stopped reverting back to normal after ‘glassing’ episodes, even with the latest formulation of her medication.
For once, this was the farthest thing on her mind. In the months since she joined the team, they’d never had an emergency arrival in the infirmary. There had been cuts and bruises, a broken middle finger once. The worst had been a bullet in Loshuia’s shoulder, but once Felix got the slug out, daoine biology took care of all the healing.
Felix. That was the other reason for her panic. Felix was the one that knew anything more than first aid. Everyone needed to know the basics, but Felix was a certified EMT and knew how to keep a person alive until they reached the hospital. Ramona normally played nurse: getting him his supplies, cleaning the wounds, and applying dressings.
Now it was their doctor that was injured and Ramona was the one needed to save him.
An angry crackling, like bacon dropped into a frying pan from a height, came from ahead of her, inside the infirmary itself. Everyone by now knew the sound of Icthiani teleporting, and Ramona hoped she hadn’t damaged anything. Before that noise had stopped, Felix’s hoarse, desperate screams rebounded off the wall and out into the hall.
Ramona’s shoes skidded on the floor and she had to grab the infirmary door to stop herself to go inside.
Before her, Icthiani loomed over one of the two beds. By whatever inhuman strength daoine seemed to keep in reserve, she had Felix and all several hundred pounds of armor and armament in her arms, bridal style. Her head was down, the peaked front obscuring her face, but her bent neck gave her stance a funerary air.
At the sound of Ramona’s arrival, she looked up, red-on-red eyes examining her. After a split second of gauging the situation, she dropped Felix on the bed without ceremony, his weight making both bed and floor creak. Icthiani swept backward smoothly, as if she was still floating in midair, leaving space for Ramona to work and not an inch more.
“He is in intense pain.” She remarked with a growl.
“I can see that.” Ramona said, trying not to look frazzled as she moved to grab Felix’s homemade triage cart. “What happened?”
“I didn’t see.” said Icthiani. “The machine fired on him with a weapon I’ve never seen. He evaded. Made it to cover. The cover did not hold and he began to scream.” Her gave lingered on the young man on the bed. She hesitated, then strode forward and began to fumble with his helmet.
The cart lacked Felix’s usual polish when it came to devices because he was forever installing the latest and greatest technology and eventually decided that redesigning the case was a waste of time. Ramona wrestled it out of it’s charging station and rolled it over to the opposite side of the bed. The on-board computer booted as soon as it was near the bed.
While she waited for the initial scan to run, Ramona watch Icthiani strip off Felix’s helmet. The daoine seemed impervious to his screams and panicked flailing at what he probably thought was an attack. When she got the helmet off, she started disassembling the armor. It was odd to watch, considering how ‘Ani had a disdain for all technology that wasn’t the television or the coffeemaker.
The scan finished and to Ramona’s confusion, an animated version of Felix wearing a lab coat, stethoscope, and the head mounted mirror ubiquitous to all cartoon doctors, walked onto the screen. “Welcome to the Park 3000 All-In-One Emergency Medical Diagnostic System.” It said in Felix’s voice.
“Normally, you wouldn’t be seeing this, but my scan says I’m the one in trouble this time, and since I’m kinda the team doc, I coded this little guy in so you wouldn’t panic. Not panicking? Good. If Ray’s there, he’s probably calling me immature, meaning this is working just as planned.”
Ramona started when she realized that Icthiani had come around to watch as well, seeming to appear directly beside her.
Onscreen, cartoon Felix continued. “First of all, good news! I’m not in danger of dying, it just hurts like hell. Something’s damage my neural interface in my arm right here.” He held out his arm and the scene zoomed in to show a realistic diagram of his prosthetic.
“I’m not so much hurt as broken. First thing you need to do is eject my current prosthetic. In the third cabinet from the door, there’s a red metal tool box. Inside, there’s a tool that looks like this.” An appropriate image appeared, showing something that looked like a bottle opener with fangs. “You need to put the prongs here and here,” Red circles indicated the slots in the prosthetic, “And lever it forward. Be sure to catch that arm, especially if it’s a gun!”
Ramona started to move, but Icthiani was already in motion. She retrieved the box and the tool but then seemed to thing better of using it herself and practically forced it into Ramona’s hand.
Both the elf princess and the cartoon cyborg waited in silence while Ramona did the dirty work of ejecting the rocket launcher arm and heaving the heavy thing onto the empty bed. That left the capped end of Felix’s arm exposed, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
Something hot had blistered the metal cap on its way to punching right through it an inch from the edge. All that was showing of it where it plunged in was a tail of warped and melted metal, probably from where the PSMs smashed through the reinforced pillars.
“How am I going to get that out?” Ramona asked, making a face as she realized just how terrible it was.
“First,” A rough voice escaped Felix. Both women looked to see that he was starting to regain his faculties, “You’re gonna have to drug me out of my mind.”
“Thank god, you’re back in your right mind!” Ramona said. “I thought I was going to have to do this alone!”
Felix’s eyes rolled in his head. The pain was less, but that didn’t mean it was nothing. “Yeah, you’re gonna have to. I’m real sorry.”
“It’s gonna hurt way, way more, the thing you’ve gotta do next. These caps weren’t meant to be replaced. I was out for two days when they put ’em in. and you’re really, really not supposed to get melted building in them.”
Ramona shook her head. “I’m not a doctor or a techie. I can’t do this. We have to get you to a real hospital—this isn’t something we can do here.”
Felix swallowed against the pain’s assault. “’Mona, I… I wish I could but you don’t know how much this is gonna hurt. Look, I made the cartoon, and the instructions. There’s even equipment in the lab.” He squeezed his eyes shut. “Ray says be prepared for anything and wouldn’t ya know it?”
Trying to calm herself, Ramona brushed hair out of her eyes. “I’ll, I mean…”
“Morphine’s in the medicine chest, under M.” Felix said simply. “I’m gonna owe ya’ ‘Mona.”
Down in its crater, the robot was trying to right itself after landing on it’s head. The flattened design of its sensor mount protected it from most damage, but the puck shaped device still ended up partially hammered into the hollow between its shoulders and the cylinder on its back kept it form rolling backward to regain its feet.
The three members off Descendants: LA rushed to the edge to see what was going on.
“Anyone know what that thing on his back is?” Ray asked.
“Technology isn’t my usual area of expertise, but maybe it’s a power source of some kind?” Loshuia suggested and readied his sword. “I can split it in half from here.”
A bar of green force blocked him from swinging. “Whoa there, Zephyrus.” Lydia said, “We don’t know what kind of power source it is… if it is one. You’ve seen enough movies to know these kinds of things tend to explode.”
“Then what do we do? It won’t stay trapped forever?”
Ray was leaning further out over the edge, stomping a few times to store up some energy. “It’s connected by clamps. I say we disconnect it, disable the robot if that doesn’t do the trick, and let the authorities figure out what to do with it.”
The others nodded. “Lead the way.” Loshuia said, pointing off into the hole with his sword.
“Kind of refreshing, isn’t it?” Ray asked.
“What’s that?”
“Most of our fights end with Lady D doing magic and sending the thing back where it came from. We don’t usually get to just straight up break stuff.” With that, he leapt over the edge, free-falling three stories to the robot’s back.
He handed on both feet and absorbed the kinetic energy. A moment later, he unleashed it in an overhead blow with both fists that snapped one arm of the largest set of clamps. The cylinder rolled sideways in its confines, sending a shower of dust down on him.
Up close, he could see the twists of rebar poking out of what remained of the concrete still attached to it. There were steel spars too, but all of them were melted and warped.
“Not a factory option then.” he said to himself, “I know what this is, I’m just not looking right…”
A burst of tightly concentrated wind hissed through the air and there arose a terrible rending sound as it tore through the large clamp on the other side. One of Loshuia’s Flying Raven techniques, the first form of the wind talon.
The cylinder heaved again and tipped forward as the robot renewed its efforts to right itself. Ray had to leap clear or be crushed between it and the wall.
Loshuia and Lydia arrived moments later, riding a circular telekinetic lift to the ground. The moment they were down, Lydia redirected her attentions to the smaller, less well made clamps, forcing planes of force between them and the cylinder before wrenching them in violent directions.
Bolts strained, joints popped, and the weight of the cylinder itself did the rest. With one last, almost mournful sound, it came free, teetered once on the dirt floor, then fell off to the side with a mighty, hollow crash. The aftermath was accompanied with noises form inside, many small, hard things rattling around in there.
At last, Ray knew what he was looking at.
The ‘top’ of the cylinder, which had become the bottom after the robot’s fall, was now facing him. A steel door, fitted with a complex mechanism that linked to what looked like a titanic ship’s wheel, now lay exposed to him.
“It’s a vault!” He shouted. “They couldn’t figure out how to open it in the bank, so they decided to steal the whole thing.”
Before the others could remark on this, there was a second crash. Without the vault weighing it down or restricting its movement, the robot finally rolled so that it was right side up.
It didn’t bother trying to get to its feet, it just opened its chest cavity to reveal the still-hot PSM’s. Nor did it bother to spin them up: it just opened fire, ignoring the damage that maneuver did to its chassis. Each shot caused the inside of the robot’s interior of heat up more and more until it had become a roiling furnace of white heat.
Ray had seen that type of thing before, mostly in games and movies, but the results were usually the same. “Cover!” He screamed and dove toward his friends.
Lydia had seen those same movies and didn’t need to be told twice to put a wall of telekinetic force between them and the machine.
Ten seconds of sustained PSM fire later, the robot’s hydraulics and power cells couldn’t take the heat any longer. A series of building explosions rocked the machine, tearing it apart form the inside and sending the pieces spraying out in all directions at deadly speeds.
The shield held, though Lydia looked worse for it when she finally lowered it, allowing the others to see the devastation of molten metal and burning composites.
“Was that the ‘self destruct mechanism’ TM thinks all evil lairs and robots come equipped with?”
Lydia swayed a little on her feet and frowned at the scene. “No, I think it overheated itself shooting at us.”
Looking about, it was easy to see that neither they, nor anything around them had taken a single hit. “TM’s right then: they are terrible shots.”
“It wasn’t aiming at us.” Ray said, walking back to where he was before the shooting started. It put the front of the vault back in view.
The steel door had melted under the sustained PSM fire and was forming a steaming puddle in the dirt. A few burning papers fluttered around inside the gaping maw. And in their light, he could see boxes, dozens of metal boxes, most broken open from the violence done to the vault. Safety deposit boxes.
And on some of the burning papers, he saw a familiar logo: the one belonging to D3I.
To Be Continued…
Series Navigation<< Descendants: LA #13 – Fiends and Falsehood Part 1Descendants: LA #15 – Fiends and Falsehood Part 3 >>

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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