Issue #76 – Silicon Soul, Adamantine Will

This entry is part 4 of 14 in the series The Descendants Vol 7: The New World
Silicon Soul, Adamantine Will (Part 6)
Once he came out of it, it felt like a dream.
That was a cliché way of putting it, but a worse one would have been to call it a nightmare. But it hadn’t felt like a nightmare at all, just an inconsequential dream.
The memory and logic surrounding it were fuzzy to begin with and rapidly deteriorating. Warrick just remembered it being really important to grab the robot for… reasons… and joining in with a faceless mass of people to do just that. He was lucid enough to know it didn’t make sense, but not enough to find reason to fight it.
Then, like his alarm clock (or much more likely these days, his obnoxious suitemate’s alarm clock) went off, he found himself dumped out of the dream and into a world where he was on the ground, soaking wet, and with half the muscles in his body dancing a jitterbug—and he didn’t even know what a jitterbug was.
What he did know was that something bad had happened. He wasn’t the only one on the ground and in pain, and he could hear the sounds of fighting from several quarters.
Had the robot done something? That didn’t seem likely as incapacitating random citizens would be a bad PR move for Mayor Raymond.
Where was Tink? Looking around revealed that she wasn’t with him. That could have been good or bad. On the one hand, she might have escaped whatever it was that hit him and was involved in the fighting. On the other, they could have been separated and she was still trapped in that weird dream. Either way, he couldn’t stay out of it.
Fighting his way through the residual convulsions, he reached for his belt buckle while at the same time looking around at the people around him. They were in as bad or worse shape than him, some of them starting to go into fits of screaming panic as OC spray that they’d only reacted to on the biological level finally got noticed by their conscious minds. No one was paying attention to him.
With a word, he activated the D-icon at his belt. Unlike everyone else, his ‘stored’ costume wasn’t something iconic to Alloy because a full suit of armor was too much for the simple version of the spell. Instead, the D-icon swapped his street clothes for a snug-fitting, long-sleeved black turtleneck with a stenciled-on ‘A’ for Alloy symbol, A set of thin gloves with steel studs of the knuckles, gunmetal gray track pants, soft tabi boots, a ninja-style hood, and a chain made of metal of his own concoction around his waist as a belt. There were slits in the upper arms of the shirt, so when he summoned Isp and Osp, they didn’t need to tear their way through.
Thus garbed, he forced himself up onto his hands and knees so he could see over all the dazed and confused citizens.
What he saw was the familiar form of the Legion of One, looming over someone on the ground. Mostly familiar, at least—Legion, walking shirtless scene that he usually was, was wearing a shirt. January in New York had claimed another waxed-chested victim.
Warrick didn’t bother trying to hear what was being said, mentally directing Isp to take Legion by surprise. “I might not know what’s going on, but I know you’re probably on the wrong side of it.”
Legion teleported almost before Isp had him off his feet. He reappeared five feet to the right of his last location and facing the opposite direction. A grim look cross his features as he saw who it was that attacked him. “Alloy? Where the hell did you come from?” A moment of observation: how Alloy was still shaking from the taser shock, gave him the answer, which cause him to bust out laughing. “Avatar got you? Talk about a missed opportunity.”
“Oh shut up.” Alloy sent both Isp and Osp lashing toward the villain, who easily teleported away from their attacks. The attack bought him time to get a better lay of the land-in particular, Whitecoat still locked in battle with Leo.
“I see your little robot buddy here, Legion. What’s the game? Aces High come here to steal something and Avatar and some Tome goons screwed it up for you?”
The person Legion had been menacing when he came to stood, revealing herself to be the robot, Adamantine. “Avatar is working with him. According to a report just filed by Infinity, so is the former Enforcer Manriki. Their aim is to steal me.”
Alloy couldn’t happen to glance her way. “You? But they’ve already got—”
“He is two generations out of date compared to me.” Adamantine said, guessing where he was going with that. “I represent a leap in software and engineering that they want to steal.”
“Yeah, well that’s not going to happen. Now where’s …?” It suddenly occurred to him that he didn’t know if Tink was Tink or Renaissance at the moment.
His answer came in the form of a trio of pock noises from behind Legion, who made an outraged grunt before teleporting. Beyond where he was standing, Renaissance kipped up from the street, showing no sign of having been shocked. “Right here.”
Alloy breathed a sigh of relief. “God I’m glad to see you.”
“No time for that.” Adamantine cut them off. “We have to capture Legion, Avatar and the mechanoid.”
Alloy started to argue, but then nodded, more to Renaissance than Adamantine. “Right. It’s four against three in our favor now instead of forty against three in theirs. If there’s anything Ace’s High hates, it’s a fair fight. They’re going to bug out, which means Legion is going to ‘port them away.”
“So we need to keep him from getting to Avatar or Leo.” Renaissance nodded back to him. “You and me help The Whitecoat with Leo while Adamantine gets Avatar?”
“That sounds like a plan.” Adamantine agreed.
Whitecoat hated to admit it. He really, really hated to admit it, but Leo had been right: even with his nanites flushing lactic acid out of his system faster than normal, improving the efficiency of his lungs, and all of the other things they did that he didn’t even understand, but which granted him superhuman endurance… he was starting to get tired.
It was simply a matter of speed. Leo was too fast. Just because Whitecoat could match him didn’t mean it didn’t cost him to do so. Punch, slash, kick, block, counter, slash, stab—the robot had figured out his fighting style within minutes and the only thing that kept it from landing a hit on Whitecoat was just how much there was about him that wasn’t public knowledge.
The robot already knew his coat was bulletproof, but not that it was due to magnetized plating in the lining instead of traditional body armor, so it tried slashing and stabbing him at first. It then made the same mistake stabbing into his undershirt—which was now made of ballistic cloth courtesy of the Descendants. And it was still learning about all of his nanite abilities.
After another flurry of attacks, Whitecoat managed to land a solid straight punch that knocked the light mechanoid away. He took a closed stance, presenting his shoulder to the machine and making the smallest possible target. “Had enough?”
Leo slipped into an aggressive stance. He had just opened his mouth to speak when a gold-tinged tentacle took him in the chest, hurling him back into a parcel pick-up kiosk.
“Nope, but he’s about to.” Alloy announced as Osp set him and Tink down next to his mentor.
“Glad to see you back in action, kid.” Whitecoat said, straining to keep the fatigue out of his voice.
Alloy inclined his head to him. “Glad to be back sir. The name of the game right now is to keep Legion away from this guy and their third partner.”
“There’s a third guy?”
“The one that did the mind control deal.”
“Ah.” Whitecoat made an effort to shrug the tension out of his shoulders. “So where’s Legion?”
“Right here.” The man in question appeared, mid-roundhouse, to kick the off-guard Whitecoat in the mid-section. Broken bits of polyurethane foam flecked off from his back whenever he moved his arm, the remnants of the rounds Renaissance fired into his back. “Had to get my baton back to break up that goo. And also, this.”
He teleported again, appearing behind Whitecoat and swinging for his head. The baton exploded into a harmless cloud of rust flakes. In his shock, Legion couldn’t dodge the snap kick Whitecoat delivered to his side.
“Didn’t expect my protege the metalbender to be here today, did ya?” Whitecoat asked.
Legion teleported back three feet to avoid Isp and Osp, plus more polyurethane foam pellets from Renaissance. His eyes darted to Leo, who was busy extricating himself from the kiosk. “Screw this, I’m calling an audible.”
Renaissance caught the look and called out, “He’s going for Leo!”
While neither Alloy nor Whitecoat reacted in time, Isp and Osp did. When Legion appeared, he had to ‘port out instantly to avoid being slammed by Osp, whose leading edge split open into an X-shaped ram. He appeared again, in a crouch and grabbed the mechanoid’s arm. Just as he teleported, Isp slashed in with a deadly-sharp blade, severing the robot’s arm at the shoulder.
A loud curse from down the street told the three heroes that Legion didn’t realize he was only holding a severed robot arm until he arrived at his destination.
Alloy’s attention, however, fell to Leo. “Let’s take you out of the equation.” Raising one hand, he took control of the metal from the kiosk, entombing the robot in a metal cocoon without disturbing the places where the kiosk had been bolted to the ground.
“One down.” Whitecoat said. “And I’ll make sure he doesn’t dig himself out.”
“One to go.” said Renaissance. “Let’s go back Adamantine up.”
Things were starting to turn against them and Josiah Colt didn’t need to hear it on the comm to know that. It was time to cut and run. And god help Wright if he mouthed off about ‘failure’; it wasn’t Colt’s fault the prelates figured out how to break his control—he hadn’t even known that was possible.
A few cautious steps back to make sure Alloy and Renaissance didn’t notice him as they passed by on the way to intervene in the robot’s fight with some New York hero he’d never heard of, and Colt turned on his heel to just walk away from the whole mess.
“Josiah Colt, you are under arrest.”
Colt actually rolled his eyes. From lady cop from Brooklyn by the sound of it. She’d probably spent way too much time doing obscure research if she knew both what he looked like and to know why his presence explained the crowd’s behavior. He almost pitied her.
“Look officer, you have no…” The words died in his mouth as he turned and saw that the ‘lady cop’ was the ‘robot lady cop’–the same one he was being paid to deliver. “Oh. Oh, it’s you. You’re worth a lot of money, M7-Adamantine.”
Adamantine was holding her back-up pistol; one of four concealed on her person, as she approached him. “The mechanoid and Legion of One are being neutralized as we speak, Colt. You can’t effect me with your powers and you can’t defeat me in a fight. Come quietly: you don’t have anymore pawns to protect you.”
Reaching up, Colt scratched his beard thoughtfully, looking on the edge of laughter. “I-I’m sorry. Did you say I don’t have anymore pawns?” A cruel smirk crossed his face. “Show her boys!”
From out of an alley in the direction he started toward earlier, two uniformed NYPD officers emerged. Each had their service pistol drawn and in unison, pulled back their weapons’ slides, ejecting the first round.
“NYPD standard operating procedure: first round in your weapon is a taser round; the other seven in the box are lethal.” Colt explained. “Now, you’re made of metal and I know nothing about machines, so…”
The two entranced officers each pointed their gun at the other’s head.
“Get the picture?” Colt asked. “Now: let’s see you drop your weapon and come with me.”
Adamantine stared at him.
“Don’t try and stall.” The two officers slowly tightened their fingers around the triggers. “Drop your weapon and come with me.”
Cold eyes still locked onto Colt, Adamantine complied, tossing his pistol aside.
“Good.” said Colt, then slowly started to walk backward toward the alley and the two officers. “Now just know that my power works at nearly the speed of light. If you look like you’re going to attack me, I have them pull the trigger.”
“I understand.” Adamantine said flatly. “Get on with it.”
Colt laughed, stepping around the two cops to put them between himself and Adamantine as extra insurance.
Adamantine continued forward at the same pace as Colt and the two officers retreated. “Mentalist powers, according to State of New York law legally makes anything done by people under your control your responsibility.” she said out of the blue. Colt ignored her. “This matters because you’re treating me like a prelate when in reality, I’m an officer of the New York City Police Department.”
“And why does that matter?” Colt asked, starting to move back faster just in case something dangerous was in store.
His vision was blocked by the two officers. He didn’t see her motion until two robotic hands had already twisted the guns out of the two men’s hands and they were each falling away as the robotic officer pushed them aside. With a deft move, she had both weapons trained on Colt.
“Because you just pointed a gun are an officer’s head.” Adamantine explained, “Which authorizes me to use lethal force.”
“Whoa.” Colt said, raising his hands, but continuing to walk awy backward. “This escalated quickly.”
Adamantine dogged him every step of the way, “Stop right there or I will shoot.”
By then, Colt had reached the other end of the alley, where he dd stop. “Alright, you win. I’ll come peacefully.”
But Adamantine wasn’t listening to him, she was watching; watching for the telltale blur that preceded Legion’s arrival. She spotted what she was looking for and pulled the trigger.
The gunshot echoed in the alley, followed by a cry of surprise and pain. “Ah! Shit!” Legion had barely appeared before he found himself with a bullet in the arm. It wasn’t just a glancing wound either: it nicked an artery, causing blood to spurt from the wound. He teleported away immediately to seek first aid.
Colt turned just in time to see his escape plan disappear. He didn’t turn back in time to see Adamantine pouncing to tackle him.
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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. You can also purchase his books from all major platforms from the bookstore
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  1. “…disassembled the mage of what looked like a dog…”
    I’m pretty sure ‘mage’ isn’t the correct word but no idea what is.

  2. is ‘ “You familiar with politics up here? The Witched Witch?”’ meant to read ‘Wicked Witch?’

  3. typos:
     like her entire wardrobe as more expensive than most of her staff’s yearly salaries
    Should be “…wardrobe, was…”

     the mage of what 

    because it isn’t, You Honor

    You Honor, M7-Adamantine’s

    and gain but sociological understanding and empathy

    are you prepared to carry out your assignment.

    digitization of buzzing

    I’m know what you expect from me
    “I’m”->”I” OR “know”->”aware of”

    since t’s manipulating

    thanks in part of Her Honor,

    we’ve been other this


  4. “In fact, you’ll have all the Tong soldiers you’ll, courtesy of ‘Johnny Qin’.”
    Missing a word there, possibly ‘need’ or ‘want’. Or if this is meant as a funny tautology, then ‘have’ or just write open the ‘you will’ at the end.

  5. “tenure was mayor” -> “Was” should be “as”

    Interested to see where this goes.

  6. I thought that after the first time Warrick was mind controlled by thunderhead, that the descendants decide to get some psi blocker things that would protect them from mind attacks like this, I deistically remember Kareem training them to use them to use these

    • Avatar’s power doesn’t work like mind control. He doesn’t attack you on the astral, he just hijacks your nervous system.

  7. typos:
    shouting to ask here
    Should be “so shouting to ask her”

    was, at best described
    Should be “was best described”

    and finding and answer to it
    Should be “and finding an answer to it”

    With her powerful, multitasking-oriented software kicked in, taking in everything unfolding before her and breaking each element down for analysis.
    “taking”->”she took” and “breaking”->”broke”
    It’s a sentence fragment the way it is now.

    and yet at not reacting

  8. But I thought he could only control one person at a time? Because isn’t that the only reason that they saved those kids from when he was an enforcer because if he could have controlled a mob of people wouldn’t he just have made Ian and Alexis kill each other instead? You have me confused man.

    • He controlled a group in ‘Beyond Good and Medieval’. If you go back to The Kin, you’ll see that 1) he needs skin-to-skin contact and 2) he can’t control Noah (for reasons that have been lost due to me not following up with them).

  9. “…getting her in an arm-bar around her neck.”
    An arm bar is a fairly specific type of grip (google image search should clarify), and I don’t think it’s really what’s meant here.

  10. Every machine was kung fu fighting
    Those ‘bots were fast as lightning

  11. Typo watch:

    hemmed her on three sides
    Should be “hemmed her in on three sides”

    Glowering Legion
    Shlould be “Glowering, Legion”

    and who avoided becoming controlled, were forming 
    Should be “and who had avoided becoming controlled were forming”

    a bad time to asked

  12. Why doesn’t Alloy know what’s going on? Avatar’s power doesn’t take over your mind.

    • Getting tazed out of it resets the short term memory. Next chapter shows Warrick’s POV on this.

  13. “Reality? The reality is that you are and android; I am—”

    I laughed so incredibly hard at this; thank you.

    • *bow* live to serve, citizen.

      I actually tweeted Linkara for permission to homage it, but got no reply. That’s why Whitecoat doesn’t complete the punch :p

      • That is genius. I doff my hat to you.

        I had to go get it and put it on first, of course, but the thought is the important thing.

  14. Damn. Maybe Adamantine might go off the rails. That was, very, calculated.

    • They’re certainly more to her than just this story 😉

      • Cool to see her acting in accordance with her regulations…but not necessarily in line with people’s expectations. Nice to see that Colt is still too arrogant to take his opponents’ measure.

  15. From lady cop from

    You can’t effect me

    tossing his pistol aside.

    a gun are an officer’s

    to walk awy

    where he dd stop

    • Typo stuff:
      and was involved in the fighting

      and she was still trapped
      “was still”->”could still be”

      studs of the knuckles

      Alloy couldn’t happen to glance her way
      I’m not sure what this is meant to say precisely; maybe that he couldn’t AFFORD to look her way?

  16. Typo watch 6:
    note on dialogue: I’m fairly certain that the correct format for “said/spoke/whatevered” sentences is “Alloy is a good guy,” Captain Obvious said.
    Comma instead of period at the end of the part in quotation marks, unless it is actually the end of the entire sentence, not just the sentence the character is speaking. So it could end with a period thusly: “Alloy,” Captain Obvious said, “is a good guy.”

    some or merely confused

    where her limo parked
    where her limo was parked

    would want her too

     then the Mayor looked,

    reported from News Provider 8 

    she knew hm best 

    what the word you used ‘freelancers’,
    ->what was the word you used, ‘freelancers’

    And excellent point. Your Honor,

    were picked up or even heard about during this hole
    “were”->”we” “hole”->”whole”

    Fallgaze go
    “Fellgaze got”

     only a fine mesh
    ->only by a fine mesh

  17. Looking at this a second time, I can’t help thinking that attempting to occupy Faerie is going to blow up in Tome’s face, at least partially. Not that I doubt their ability to get anything useful from the effort; I think they will. But trying to lock down or contain magic is a tall order.

    Should be fun to watch :).

    • It reads like the start of a horror movies, doesn’t it?

      • A little bit, yeah. Maybe some sort of sci-fi thing that ends with the monster eating everyone’s faces while they waste entire truckloads of bullets on it’s impervious hide/empty air where it used to be. I mean, I just feel like anyone who sat in on the meeting before this and said, “yeah, we’re ready,” is pretty much asking the universe to do its worst and prove them wrong.

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