From the Story Arc: Battle Stations!

Previous Story in the Arc: Waiting Game by Waitron9000 (Saturday, April 08, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Hungry Like The Wolf by Victoria Victrix (Sunday, April 09, 2006)

(posted Saturday, April 08, 2006)

It hurt, it physically hurt, to see the front door of CCCP HQ blown in. Bella's felt as if her heart and lungs were in a vice. She could not imagine how Saviour would have reacted...

...scratch that. She could. There would have been rivers of blood by now. Space Nazis turned into little red smears on the concrete. It didn't bear thinking about.

From Bella's vantage point from inside the dumpster that Saviour had accurately reported had a peephole rusted out of one corner that gave a great view of the front door, Bella made her assessment.

The entire street was clear of any civilians; once the explosions had started, and not stopped, they must have escaped inside their homes and businesses. The only moving figures were right in front of the ruined base entrance; a pair of Council Mech-men, scanning the area for any threats. Inside the door itself, Bella could make out what were the beginnings of fortifications. The Council were preparing for seige. But what was in there was all robotic. Oh good.

She got on the comm. "All teams, report in."

The first to respond was Kid Crisis. "Tram team, in place, go on your mark." Second, hardly surprising, Moj. "All internal teams on station, go on third mark." Infurno called in after that. "Fire in place, go when ready." Booster Max sounded cool and collected. "Skyway ready." Astra should have been the one to respond on the Galaxy team, but instead, it was Kyne, her Kheldian symbiote. Bella knew the slight differences in tone, even when Astra was in human form. "::GC all systems go, ready on your mark.::" "Sewer team ready and waiting," said Vickie. And last of all, "IP, my lady," said Polite Boggart. "Give us the word."

She took a long, deep breath. OK. This one is for all the marbles. "Tram, IP, GC, Sky and Sewer, Go, go, go!"

"Commander, we have incoming! Heroes, heroes everywhere!" A young Penumbra rifleman shouted, pointing towards the King's Row skyline behind him. A small swarm of figures was heading straight toward the blockade; flying and charging from the nearest buildings. The senior officer turned around to face the attackers and lead his men in the defense of their station...and what he saw caused something inside of him to tighten and twist.

Not only heroes. Heroes backed by the forces of Longbow, recognizable in their red-and-white uniforms, and by SWAT teams sliding their armored vehicles in sideways with the stench of burning rubber and the screeching of brakes to form an impromptu fortification of their own between the Council forces and the rest of King's Row.

"Mein leben! F-fire! All hands, fire!"

"Stand aside, fool." An Equinox Parasite, one of the vampiric legion they had been promised, suddenly materialized out of nowhere and shoved him back with a taloned hand. "Prepare to defend yourselves! No prisoners, no surrender."

Sister Hecate was blind to the "real" world, although her vision in the spirit world was as keen as any hawk's. She had to save her mystical energy though; every bit of it would be needed soon...

Which was why she perched on the shoulder of Righteous Might, the hugely muscular warrior, a monk of some religious order she was not familiar with. But she sensed his goodness, and felt his fierce determination to protect her. She would need that, and he would need what she could do for him. She sensed the darkness, the pure evil, of the vampires rising in front of her. It must be dusk. She sharpened her senses just as she felt Might's massive hands encircle her waist and put her down behind him. Bullets were already striking the pavement all around them, rockets whizzing close enough so that she could feel the exhaust plumes. Quickly, she reached into the spirit realm to shroud her team in the protection of the mystical shadows.

Kid Crisis ducked as a Council soldier lashed out with a vicious backhand, trying to knock him out. He curled up in close to the man, and then sprang up with an undercut, pushing off the ground with his legs and extending fully into the blow. The soldier's head snapped back, sending him sprawling into an overturned truck.

John quickly looked around for where he could be the most useful, now that the main threat to him was taken care of. Jason was engaged with a Warcry, beating it with one of its own appendages; he'd be fine for now. Ratt was ablaze with his own fires, his stone mallet making short work of a squad of Mech-men. Electrikeet's Speak'n'Spell shrieked, shredding into a pair of War Wolves that had strayed too close.

The assault was going well...but there were so many of the Council.

That was when the reinforcements arrived. SWAT teams waded into the fray, squads of four picking a non-powered target and concentrating on him until he was down, changing position and moving on to the next. KC paused long enough that a non-armored and vaguely familiar commander could get his attention.

"Sorry we got here late," the cop said, looking as if he must have been running for five miles. "We had to come in through the tunnels in the Hollows that hooked up through the Skyway sewer system. But we're here. You guys saved my son; it's only right we return the favor."

The name badge said: "Wincott."

Enemy fire was coming in from all sides; the Council defenders were pinned down, and being thinned out slowly and surely. "Pick your shots! We need to conserve ammunition, men!" The Archon in charge of the Galaxy City gate chanced standing up to fire a grenade over his chosen cover, a now-empty ammo crate they had brought with them. The grenade struck true, detonating under one of the SWAT vans that had encircled their position. There was a satisfying crunch when it landed, torn in half by the force of the explosion. He fell back down, settling his back against the crate as bullets skirted the top of it.

Unfortunately for him, the Council-issued helmets and visors didn't have superb visibility, especially when looking up. The Archon Adjutant had a scarce moment to wonder what the gleam on his periphery was, when he was suddenly plastered to the street by three Kheldian blasts; two brilliant blue-white, one a purple and black miasma of dark energy.

::Nice shootin' Tex!:: Kyne whooped. ::Don't get--::

"Don't get cocky, yeah yeah yeah, I know," Aedan grumbled, setting himself up on JJ's next chosen target. Below them, Blue Velocity homed in on a vamp this time. The darn things were starting to spring up, now that it was dark.

JJ took the target. Aedan and Astra followed his lead. Their wordless link allowed for a flawless simultaneous barrage.

Below them, Doc Danger waded into the fray, happily punching Council heads. "Damn if it doesn't sound like El Kabong every time they do that," he muttered to himself as he decked yet another Nebula.

Briget had gone through almost literal hell to get here. The rush across the Rogue Islands to get to Pocket D, then convincing the doorkeepers to let her out on the hero side...she couldn't bring her Peace Bow into the Islands, but her raccoon familiar had sensed her need of it, and no more had she taken her place beside her brother Rory, than she felt the nudge on her hand and looked down to see the funny masked face and the little hands holding up bow and quiver. She smiled through her fears. Bella would surely approve. The Peace Bow could not kill...

She strapped on the quiver and caught Rory's eye as she strung the bow. He gave her a wink. "Tha's my lass," the mystic said, flexing his fingers. "Now we gi' 'em wha's comin' to 'em, aye?" Off to the side, Savina was finishing a prayer, rising up from his knees.

"It is time."

Together, they launched a concentrated rain of fire of arrows and magical energies, as Red Savina showed the enemy what the Sword of the Lord could do, Santorini gathered the attention of as many as he could by pounding their heads with stony fists, and Nightrayne poured purple-black barrages of Warshade energies on their heads.

As Bella watched, the Space Nazis at the front door suddenly went from "business as usual" to "oh sh*t." Frantic voices babbled over their comms.

"Roof team!" she ordered. "Go, go, go!"

There were a few fires smoldering on the roof.

Good, thought one of the Penumbra Elite assigned to ward off any helicopters that passed too close by. Cuts down on visibility. It'd taken them some time to actually set down and get in through the entrance; the martial artist had put up a fight before they finally pulverized him. As ordered. That one would not be checking out of a hospital. Ever.

The soldier chuckled at his own wit, kicking a chunk of ashen concrete a few feet. Then he noticed; there was a growing shadow all around him. What the hell... He looked up, only to find the sky blotted out by the rusted undercarriage of a '57 Chevy. Aw, ****.

High above, Sister Shuma and Shyft, preeminent gravitrons both, went to work wiping the CCCP HQ's roof clean of any Council unwise enough to try and fight. It wasn't very hard work.

With the roof clear, Infurno, followed by her sister Tigerbright, little Terra, the Kheldian Felix, SnoQiti, and the rest of Kitty of Heroes, bounded up into place. "Let's light 'em up!" crowed the tawny, furred fireball, bursting into flames with a snap of her fingers. Bestla grinned ferally and said nothing, but followed Infurno's example of setting the world on fire. Feliz Cortez, Hawk's Scream and Agent Dva positioned themselves outside the circle of flames, waiting for the opposition to show up.

Which, of course, a moment later, it did.

"Command to Moj! Back door, front door, go, go, go!" Bella yelled; this would be the last time she used the comm for anything but talking to her team. As Council soldiers fell from the sky like a rain of ugly, she rushed the front door followed closely by Battler. She stopped only when she physically ran into one of the Mech-men, closed her eyes, gathered her energy and--

--with a silent explosion of light that was the byproduct of the effect, she blasted them all with an EMP.

The Mech-men wavered, stunned, and Russian Battler laid into them with fists and rage. Council soldiers, no longer bolstered by their robotic companions, fired wildly at the oncoming team. Blasts of flame from Madame Molotov and arcs of electricity from Krasniy Oktyabr dispatched several, clearing the "door" for the moment.

From somewhere outside her immediate attention Bella heard Vickie's voice from her comm speaker. "Command, this is sewer team....we've run into some roadblocks..."