- Issue #73 – Give Thanks
- Issue #74 – Bit Part Bad Guys
- Issue #75 – Kaiju for Christmas
- Issue #76 – Silicon Soul, Adamantine Will
- Issue #77 – Date Night
- Issue #78 – Delved Too Deep (Une Mascarade Brisée Part 1)
- Issue #79 – Tome of Secrets (Une Mascarade Brisée Part 2)
- Descendants Special #7 – The Curtain Rises
- Issue #80 – Bitter Work
- Issue #81 – Kin, Speed and Ducks
- Issue #82 – What To Do With Your Downtime
- Issue #83 – Avalon Rises
- Issue #84 – Darkness Falling
- Descendants Annual #7 – First Frost
Issue #76 – Silicon Soul, Adamantine Will
Silicon Soul, Adamantine Will (Part 4)
Being outnumbered by dozens of unskilled fighters didn’t concern Adamantine. She was strong enough and fast enough that she would have no problem incapacitating every one of them while fighting off the Legion of One and her design ancestor.
But the people bearing down on her weren’t normal attackers; they were the very citizens she’d been commissioned to protect. None of them deserved to be on the wrong end of the six hundred and thirty-eight painful methods she had of taking a combatant out of a fight in a less-lethal manner. ‘Less lethal’ being an additional concern: no incapacitating technique was one hundred percent non-lethal and that wasn’t something she could take a chance on with innocent victims of nefarious control.
She only paused a few seconds to ponder the best course of action; not enough time for a human opponent to take advantage, but plenty of time for Leo to rush her.
The older model mechanoid sent a knife-hand strike toward a spot just to the right of her spine. Adamantine twisted away and trapped his arm under her own, rotating with his momentum to turn the grab into a throw that sent the lightly built machine sailing into the wall of a bikeshare station.
Leo rolled with his fall and came up leaping at her with a flurry of expert strikes and feints that put her on the defensive. Built for infiltration rather than the rigors of police work, Leo was faster than his successor and his rapid-fire barrage pushed her back toward the crowd.
Hands grabbed at Adamantine’s sides and arms. She shook them off only to find more to replace them as the controlled citizens hemmed her on three sides and Leo pressed her back from the remaining one.
Seeking an opening, Adamantine stepped into a punch from Leo, rolling her shoulder to mitigate the blow. Strain warnings told her that her shoulder bearings wouldn’t be able to take another hit like that, so she immediately seized the opportunity to simply shove the lighter mechanoid.
Leo stumbled back a foot, but the moment it took him to regain his balance was enough for Adamantine to enact her gambit. With no quarter being given by Leo and too many citizens around her, she chose to change the situation rather than fight back. She bent her legs, tensioned the tungsten ligaments in them, and threw herself in a forward flip over Leo’s head.
She landed on one hand and, in a move that would have shattered a human’s arm and dislocated her shoulder, whipped her legs around to plant them in Leo’s back, knocking him into the mob, who blindly grabbed at him before realizing her wasn’t the robot they were looking for.
Leo wasn’t alone, she remembered. On instinct, she raised an arm to block the blow she expected Legion to send her way. But instead of a steel baton aimed at her head, she was greeted by the impact of something heavy striking the ground behind her, followed by the sound of steel striking hardened plastic.
“I remember you.” a male voice said, followed by a punch landing shallowly.
Adamantine maneuvered around and her recognition software instantly told her that the Whitecoat had arrived to render aid. She also spotted Legion, having turned aside Whitecoat’s punch, teleporting to attack him from the side. She stepped in on the prelate’s left side and delivered a well-timed arm sweep that intercepted Legion’s baton-wielding arm, knocking the weapon from his hand. Glowering Legion teleported again and was gone for the moment.
“Thanks.” They both said at the same time.
Whitecoat did a double take “’Thanks’? That doesn’t sound very… robot-y.”
“I’m designed to interact with the public. Monotone and completely proper English are Uncanny Valley triggers.”
“And no attitude about me being a freelance prelate instead of on the payroll?”
Adamantine watched Leo roughly shove himself free of the scrum of brainwashed people. “I don’t think that would be a worthwhile use of our time, do you?” Surveying the mob, Whitecoat shook his head. “What about the other prelates?”
“There’s a good chance me plus one are all you’re going to get. Alarms and emergency calls are going on all over the city.”
Leo charged, along with some of the brainwashed citizens that followed his lead.
“I know.” Adamantine said, slipping into a defensive stance. “Someone worked hard to divert all city and civilian responders from this event.”
From within his signature coat, Whitecoat produced handful of ball bearings, which he threw into the path of the charge. Leo’s gyroscopic balance kept him from falling when most of the others did, but it still broke his momentum enough that Adamantine was able to break her stance and slam the mechanoid with a straight punch that sent him to the ground.
“So what are they even after?” asked Whitecoat as he tripped a middle aged man in a suit to the ground and swiftly hogtied him with zip cuffs.
Adamantine dropped a knee on Leo, pinning him to the ground. “Me. That’s why I have to get away from her before those being controlled are hurt.”
“You won’t escape.” said Leo. “The only way to ensure citizen safety is surrender.” The false skin on his fingertips slid back to reveal metal claws on his right hand, which he used to grab Adamantine’s own arm. A jolt of electricity surged through them and into her.
The current wasn’t enough to do real damage, but Adamantine involuntarily spasmed as her actuators seized up. This shifted her weight enough that Leo was able to rock onto his shoulders and pitch her off. He then rolled in the opposite direction and tried to regain his feet.
Before he could, however, his sensors reported a rapidly approaching object and he twisted to intercept a roundhouse kick from Whitecoat, catching the offending leg and twisting it sharply enough to throw the prelate to the ground.
That threat out of the way, he once more rose to his full height and reconfigured his arm into the bola launcher he used earlier.
Something struck him in the shoulder, a bubbling mass of rapidly expanding foam beginning to spread and cover the joint.
Another shot hit the barrel of his bola launcher, rapidly covering it over.
Leo wasted several seconds trying to analyze the foam, seconds in which Whitecoat managed to kip up and Adamantine closed with him. He jerked away from a haymaker from the former, but the latter slammed the heel of her palm into his ribs, denting his ribcage and knocking him back.
“That’s your ‘plus one’?” Adamantine asked, tracing the trajectory of the foam rounds back to a young woman in green armor crouching atop the bikeshare station.
“That’d be her, yeah.” said Whitecoat.
Focusing on Leo had caused the two to ignore the mind-controlled citizens. Two men with press passes clipped to their lapels rushed Adamantine, and while she moved to avoid them, an old woman threw the string of her purse around the robotic officer’s neck and yanked with all her weight, pulling her to the ground.
Whitecoat waded in, stepping over the old woman who had fallen over when Adamantine finally went down and grabbing the two dull-eyed reporters by their collars. With strength to match Adamantine’s own, he lifted both off the ground and thrust them into the path of three more people running up behind, bowling them all over.
“Remember that plan of you getting out of here?” He asked.
Reaching up, Adamantine snapped the purse string. “Yes. What about you?”
“Friend in need.” he said. “Get over to Renaissance: she can watch your back in case Legion comes back.”
Before Adamantine could respond, a tall, broad man who might have been someone’s bodyguard when not having his mind toyed with hurled himself at her back, getting her in an arm-bar around her neck. Instead of trying to force him off and risking doing permanent damage to him, she dropped her hand to her hip where a panel opened to reveal a stungun. Taking hold of it, she quickly applied it to her attacker’s forearm.
His grip loosened with the shock and Adamantine as able to slip free of the hold. When she turned to defend herself from his follow-up, she found herself looking into a confused expression.
“I—what’s going on.” the man asked, looking around. “Where’s Mr. Brown?”
Adamantine shook her head at him. “There’s an emergency. You need to get away from here right now.” Finally getting a good look at the situation, the man had little choice but to agree. He turned and fled before the advancing wave of humanity.
Once he was clear, Adamantine took her own advice, crossing the open ground between her and the bikeshare station in a series of huge leaps. She landed in a crouch beside the green clad heroine and looked over her head to see the crowd clumsily trying to turn and follow.
The woman in green, Renaissance, was loading a cartridge into her gauntlet when Adamantine landed. “Please tell me you know what’s going on here.”
Adamantine shook her head and stood up again, noting that she was of a height with Renaissance. “Not completely. The mechanoid, teleporter and whoever is controlling the crowd are here to capture me, but I don’t know who hired them or why.”
Renaissance stared out over the dozens of people trying to climb over one another to reach the station they were perched on, her goggled eyes scanning for one person in particular down there. The only one she recognized, however, was Whitecoat, who, becoming overwhelmed by civilians, was retreating toward the station as well. From other quarters, those police who were present at the start and who avoided becoming controlled, were forming up in pseudo-riot squads, trying to take down the affected one at the time with tasers, OC spray and beanbag rounds.
“That’s a lot of people.”
“When I shocked a man, he seemed to come out of it.” said Adamantine.
Whitecoat vaulted onto the roof, landing between the two just as Renaissance asked, “That’s good to know, but how do we taze fifty people at a time?”
“Why are we tazing fifty people?” asked the new arrival.
“The mind control can be broken that way.” Adamantine said, “In theory, at least.”
Renaissance looked between the robot and her beau’s mentor, recalling all of the specs she’d heard about the former and all of Warrick’s raving about the cool tech wielded by the latter. For the first times since the fiasco began, she thought of the entire issue not as a personal crisis, but as a problem or puzzle to be solved.
Namely, she saw it as a problem of delivering a non-lethal shock across a wide area. She had a considerable arsenal on hand, and she hoped…
“This might be a bad time to asked,” she started, focusing on the Whitecoat’s electrostatic gauntlets that allowed him to scale walls, “But how much do the two of you know about electrical engineering?”
Infinity didn’t even have to check to see where in their tower the Athertons lived; the smashed balcony doors and shredded curtains blowing around the gaping hole told the tale.
Flying in through said hole, he found the bedroom in shambles: holes stabbed into the walls and floor, the bed torn apart and covered in down and stuffing from both mattress and comforter. An antique dresser was smashed to kindling and the door out to the hall hadn’t survived much better.
The long hallway outside the bedroom was in similar disarray. Infinity took note of more holes punched into the walls, but his observations were derailed by sounds coming from the living room at the very end of the hall. He crept forward, not wanting to make his presence known to the intruder lest he endanger the Athertons.
That seemed to be a moot point as the noises abruptly stopped—as if the person making them had heard him. Now time was more important than stealth. The mayor’s official hero took to the air and flew toward the living room.
He was met by a fireplace poker being swung forcefully for his cranium. Cast iron or not, it wasn’t a mach for the invincible skull of infinity and ended up rebounding right out of Deb Atherton’s hands to tumble to the floor. The nine iron, wielded by Brent against the hero’s midsection ended up bent so badly as to be unusable.
Infinity didn’t even flinch once he saw who it was that attacked him. “Mr. And Mrs. Atherton. What happened here? Are either of you hurt?”
Horror at what he’d just done to his eight hundred dollar nine iron was replaced in Brent by relief when he realized who it was he and his wife just tried to ambush. “Thank god, it’s you! We thought he’d come back for us!”
Deb slumped back against the back of their leather love seat. “He manhandled us! Threw us around like… like toys!”
All around them, Infinity spied evidence of the intruder’s earlier presence: more holes in the floors and walls, a broken glass coffee table and the large, semi-circular sofa had been flipped over. Through the broken door leading into the dining room, he saw a gaping hole ripped in the wall.
Brent noticed where the prelate was looking and shivered. “Our safe. He ripped it right out of the wall and took it with him!”
Suddenly realizing that he’d been primed for a fight that wasn’t coming, Infinity calmed down. “Do you know who he was?”
“I remember seeing him on television once… yeas ago. Maybe you fought him?” Brent said.
“He had these metal…” Deb tried to mime ‘chains’ in the air with her hands, “They moved—that’s what tore everything up.” Suddenly it dawn on her. “The TV! I know who it was, it was that man from Mayfield.”
Metal. Mayfield. Controlling something that punched holes in the wall. Infinity took another look at the devastation visited on the room. “Not Alloy. He’s a prelate.”
“Not now that he’s wrecking and robbing our home, he isn’t!” insisted Brent, trying to unbend his golf club. “And especially not after he’s attacked more of New York’s social elite.”
“That’s right,” Deb chimed in. “He said he wasn’t done yet. He mentioned our friend Amelia Boche.”
Infinity paused to consider that name. Amelia Boche, CEO of the Dodd Material Corporation and chair of the Foundation for a Successful American Landscape, one of the think tanks that wasn’t just important to Mayor Raymond, but her entire party statewide. Letting her get robbed was not an option.
“Are you sure you’re both alright?” He barely gave them time to nod before taking to the air. “I’ll call in the NYPD to take your statements. I need to get ahead of this madman.”
Manriki, his myriad chains concealed beneath a long coat, was standing by a hotdog stand near the Park entrance, halfway through a footlong with onions and mustard when he saw Infinity fly out of the Athertons’ apartment tower at high speed.
He smiled, took a napkin, and sauntered off, retrieving his palmtop with his free hand.
“Yeah, just as planned.” He said when Wright picked up. “Raymond’s deus ex machina is off chasing his tail.”
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