Issue #26: Ace Agenda

This entry is part 2 of 14 in the series The Descendants Vol 3: A Bright, Bright Summer

Part 3

The assailant looked to be in his early twenties, with a sculpted jaw and close cut, brown hair. He wore a black vest with a flame motif closed over a navy turtleneck and fitted, black jeans. Fingerless gloves with the same flame designs as his vest and matching low boots completed the outfit. His steel blue eyes looked right past Cyn to Kay.

“You’re not capturing anyone tonight, tough guy.” Said Cyn, keeping herself between him and Kay. She couldn’t become Facsimile or show off any of her abilities in front of Kay, but she could definitely still put up a fight. The only thing that worried her was the fact that the man in front of her didn’t seem the least bit phased by falling two stories through the glass roof of the skywalk. “Now tell me what you want with my friend.”

Slowly and deliberately, the man settled into a horse stance. “I am now engaging the primary expected contact.” He said in disturbing monotone. Then he paused. “Danger: unexpected variable detected. Psionic theta emissions detected in target.”

Cyn spared a glance back at Kay, who was had dumped the entire contents of her purse on the table and was going through it like mad. As far as she knew, only she, Warrick and Juniper knew about Kay’s powers. So how did this stranger figure it out so quickly?

“Compensating.” The man suddenly snapped out of his fugue and lashed out at Cyn with a lightning fast kick.

Startled, she fell backward dodging and only just managed to roll aside as her assailant stomped where her rib cage would have been. The tile floor cracked. “Shit!” Cyn kipped up and threw a punch of her own.

The stranger blocked with his forearm. Contact sent a wave of pain through Cyn’s arm as if she’d punched something far more solid than bone. Seeing his advantage, he knocked her next punch away, and then dropped down to sweep her legs, sending her to the ground again.

“Okay, I get it.” Cyn groaned, pulling her knees up to her chest and rocking back on her shoulder blades. “Not a normal human.” With all the force she could muster, she kicked out and upward, catching him in the chin and sending him down.

They both came up at the same time and this time, Cyn managed to dodge a few punches before connecting with a knee to the groan. Her opponent didn’t flinch as he slapped her away from him.

“Okay, that usually works.” She noted. “You must special to take one to the boys and not feel it. Kay, why aren’t you running?”

“No, wait, I can help.” Said Kay, still rummaging among the contents of her purse.

“Ooo… kay.” Cyn clinched her teeth and took another staggering blow to the chest. “But make it—“ She reached behind her, grabbed a chair and dislocated both shoulders to swing it all the way over her head in a single motion to slam into her foe. “Quick!” She gaped in surprise as the man merely tossed the bent and broken chair aside. For a split second, Cyn thought she saw a flash of metal beneath his skin, but it was gone as quickly as she saw it.

“Yeah, you’re tough.” She conceded. “But I can do this all day, buddy. How long can you last?”

“My operational life is forty-nine hours between five hour recharges.” The attacker said. “Query: why do you insist on making observations of me while engaged?”

Cyn snarled, grabbing a fork from a nearby table and thrusting it at him.

“Got it!” Kay crowed, holding aloft a wafer of clay about the size of a quarter.

The intended kidnapper raise a hand to block, but Cyn put as much force as she could muster into the blow, driving the implement through the hand and into the mass of circuits and servos beneath. A new circuit formed.

It wasn’t an especially big jolt. It was barely enough to cause a minor burn in most people, but Cyn’s biology reacted very badly to electricity from any outside source, no matter how small. The impulse ran through her entire body, wracking her with spasms.

It only took Leo a second to recognize what had happened and capitalize on it. He grabbed the convulsing girl and threw her across the skywalk. Pulling the fork out of his stricken hand, he gave it a visual once over. “Initializing repairs.” He noted before advancing on Kay.

Kay watched Cyn writhing amid the tables with wide-eyed horror before presenting the clay wafer before her like a holy symbol. “Back off, buddy, or you’ll be sorry.” She declared. She looked at Cyn again. “In fact, prepare to be sorry for what you did to my friend!” With that, she snapped the wafer in two.

Leo paused to take some measurements. “Target’s offensive action has had no effect.” He concluded.

“Oh, it’s coming!” Kay nodded confidently. “Any second now.” She said half heartedly looking at the broken talisman.

Leo lashed out with a simple nerve strike, causing Kay to lose consciousness and fall forward into his arms.

He locked his still under repair hand around her waist and looked up to the mall roof. His uninjured hand came up and the middle and ring fingers folded down to reveal a recess behind the knuckles. A bolt, trailing a thin line was fired to top of the roof. Leo ascended, carrying Kay.

***

Cyn hunched painfully against the table that her landing had overturned. A thin wreath of black smoke rose around her as her body absorbed the abandoned food court fare that had broken her fall. Rage tinted her vision as she forced herself to stand against the pain of her powers reknitting broken bone.

A quick look around revealed that she was alone on the skywalk with no one to witness her transformation. At the moment, she probably wouldn’t have cared if there was. Without another thought, Cyn became Facsimile and lifted off through the shattered glass roof.

The kidnapper had obviously made good use of the few minutes she’d been stunned, for he was nowhere in sight. Facsimile chided herself; he was nowhere in human sight. As easily as a normal person could raise a pair of binoculars, Cyn restructured her eyes. The world seemed to curl up at the edges as hawk vision suddenly made her farsighted in the extreme.

Like an enormous, golden bird of prey, she scanned her domain and found what she was looking for some fifteen blocks distant. “I’m not letting you hurt her.” She snarled, winging toward her quarry.

***

“Primary contact has given chase.” Leo noted, glancing back behind him. “Intercept in four city blocks. Estimated time to target: .259 miles.”

“Good work Leo.” Brother Wright’s voice spoke to Leo. “Did she contact anyone?”

“No communications were detected.” Leo replied as he continued his leaping from roof to roof. “Though there was a single, ultra-high frequency tone just prior to capture of Kameya Greycloud. The tone did not last long enough to even register on most bands.”

“Keep an eye out nonetheless.”

“Error: unfamiliar syntax. What is meant by ‘keep and eye out’?”

“Be on your guard.” Brother sighed. “Watch out for other Descendants.”

“I will comply.” Leo closed his com and came to a full stop. He could leap the thirty to forty feet that separated most buildings easily thanks to his advanced design. But now he had come to Burton Boulevard; an eight lane thoroughfare that separated the Northern commercial district from the northern residential areas. Moreover, the apartment towers and related buildings on the other side were too tall for him to gain their roofs with a simple bound in any event.

“Stop right there!” Facsimile fell from on high, her hands shaped into deadly talons to rend her foe.

Leo dropped to a knee and rolled under the blow with surprising dexterity considering he was still carrying Kay. “I cannot comply.” He answered, turning the shoulder Kay was draped over toward Facsimile to dissuade her from trying her feat again. He backed toward the other side of the roof.

“Drop her.” Facsimile said, landing on the side of the roof adjacent to the boulevard.

On Leo’s shoulder, Kay started to stir, having recovered from the android’s nerve strikes. “Wassat?” she slurred.

Leo visually gauged the distance to the other side of the boulevard, the height of the nearest building there, and a dozen other factors most humans wouldn’t be able to comprehend in a combat situation in the space of a second. “Do not move.” He ordered Kay. “My calculation assumes dead weight.” With that, he charged Facsimile.

Kay’s feeble scream, combined with the celerity of the charge left Facsimile with no option but to dodge to the side and try to rake Leo was he went past. He offered no resistance as he claws tore four gashes in his vest and the flesh beneath. There was no blood, only the glint of dark metal. Any surprise Cyn felt at this was completely overshadowed by seeing Leo jump.

Putting all of his speed forward, Leo hit the edge of the wall and vaulted off. He was instantly flooded by stress warnings from his legs and feet. He ignored them, focusing the whole of his processing power to making the proper aerodynamic postures to compensate for the decidedly non-aerodynamic elements of Kay and the huge wound swiftly being closed in his side.

At the apogee of his leap, he extended his free hand and once more fired his grapple bolt. The bolt flew to the maximum length of its wire, which was just enough to catch the railing of a tenth story apartment. Leo shifted both his and the now fully awake Kay’s weight to one side, pulling the line taunt and swinging them out wide away from the building.

The robotic kidnapper landed on his feet on a balcony further down the street, his landing causing the floor there to crumble beneath him. He rocked with it to stabilize himself and get his bearings.

A block away and ten stories down was a service center for Hermes Package Services, a national delivery chain. “Target location sighted.” He stated.

“Oh god… oh god…” Kay wheezed. “What that hell is wrong with you, man? Kidnapping me is one thing, but that… that… what is wrong with you?!”

Leo looked over at her red, exhausted face and stared blankly. “Diagnostics show that I have taken twelve percent damage to my outer skin covering in the abdominal area and my legs have suffered five percent structural stress damage from performing beyond specifications I will be fully repaired in two minutes, seventeen seconds. Why do you ask?”

“What the—I mean mental—wait, you’re a robot!” Kay was torn between still being very upset and excitement over seeing a humanoid robot like those she’d only read about as concept designs in magazines up close and personal.

“I am an android.” Leo confirmed.

“Good.” Facsimile said, tearing toward them, claws out. “That way, I don’t have to feel bad for what I’m about the do to you.”

Leo looked down at the delivery store, then back at Facsimile. He made a fist of his free hand and fired the grapple bolt. It missed Facsimile by a large margin – until Leo snapped his wrist, bringing the sharp hook of the grapple bolt slicing across her body. She screamed in rage and screamed louder when another wrist movement wrapped the line around her left wing and flipped her over, causing her to plummet.

“Leave her alone!” Kay said, wriggling around in Leo’s grasp and driving an elbow into his side. It only hurt her.

“Your part will soon be over.” Said Leo, jumping from the balcony. He landed on the street and nimbly dodged several cars before running full tilt for the delivery store. Behind him, he heard Facsimile scream in rage and take off after him again. He reached into his vest and extracted a black tube as long as his hand and as wide as his wrist. Turning a corner, he twisted the top of the tube and made a beeline straight for the loading dock behind the store.

“Watch out, C—Facsimile, he’s got a bomb!” Kay screamed.

Two workers on the dock heard her and looked up. On reached into his jumpsuit.

“Conveying message:” Leo said as he charged forward. He identified and looked directly at the nearest security camera. “Hello, Simon.” With that, he threw the explosive at the first bay door. The dock worker had only just pulled his gun when the explosion knocked him off his feet.

“Holy shit, you just killed that guy!” Kay hyperventilated. “Oh my god, you’re going to kill me too!”

Leo ran on, jumping up onto the dock. “His vital signs remain stable.” He remarked, as he dashed into the blasted open door. Inside was a package warehouse—at least partly so. The other part was taken up by two heavy cargo transports of the type Aces High stole from Tome.

Consulting previously stored schematics, Leo identified a weak spot and threw another bomb at the floor beneath a pallet of boxes. The floor collapsed amid a hail of flaming packaging peanuts.

“You think you can hide from me in here?” Facsimile roared as she burst through the flaming entryway and into the warehouse. “I’m not going to stop until I get—what the hell are those?” She looked pointedly at the carriers.

By now, alarms were going off in the warehouse. From a door at the far side, four men with pistols and HPS jackets stormed in, weapons trained on the intruders.

“And why are the delivery men packing heat?” Facsimile flared her wings. “Cute. A trap.”

Leo suddenly sneered and in an oddly stilted voice said. “Yes, but not entirely for you.” With Kay still in hand, he turned and leapt down the hole he’d blasted in the floor.

Facsimile dismissed the oddness of her opponent and started after him, ignoring the pistol shots that rang out around her. “Son of a bitch, I’m going to—“She dropped through the hole and found herself in a lab.

Several banks of computers with holographic displays were arranged in the center of the room. One had been unfortunate enough to be beneath the falling debris from Leo’s explosion. The room was full of scientists and heavily armed and armored guards. But what got her attention were the six empty stasis cells lined up against the back wall.

The guards, having previously held Leo at the center of attention, suddenly trained everything they had on her. “Her!” One of the scientists screamed, running for one of the consoles. “Priority Alpha security breech!” Before Anyone could react, he keyed in a code and two hatches opened in the floor on either side of the cells. Two cages rose from them, each containing an inugami.

“I repeat:” The scientist shouted, “Priority Alpha breech! A descendant has breeched this facility!”

Leo let Kay drop from his shoulder and opened his com. “Primary mission objective: accomplished.” He reported.

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Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter.

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