Daniel ‘Danny’ Dannington was the kind of person you thought only existed in comic books, tv-shows and movies. He was a weasel-like, short man, barely a head taller than his daughter. His muddy blond hair had been combed back with way too much product. His small, watery blue eyes were bloodshot and ringed with black circles. He wore a pair of faded old jeans and a matching jeans jacket he had buttoned up to his throat.
The worst part, however, was his ability to always mess up everything he put his mind to; to come up with one get-rich-quick scheme after the other, which always ended with him deeper in debt; his tendency to blame others for his failure (specifically, his ex-wife and their daughter, Aimi).
Basil truly disliked the man. But he knew that Aimi still loved him, for whatever reason; so he would be the first person Brennus was going to save in his career. Not exactly the most glamorous debut, but what can you do?
His ravenbot had found him moving towards one of the abandoned shipyards at the north end of the harbor. Should have thought of that. It’s pretty much the perfect place to hide from cops or heroes – if you can deal with the odd Spiteborn or two, he thought. And, apparently, the Snow Queen was capable of that. Or at least believed herself to be so.
Getting to the place was not hard, not when he could jump from rooftop to rooftop (taking care to always land on the edges, so he would not break through again). He set his robots to fly into the shipyard and take positions and waited on the roof (again, at the edge of the roof). Settling down as much as his armor would allow him, he watched what was going on inside the warehouse.
* * *
A lot of people were already there, awaiting Danny. The ravenbots picked six men up, as well as a rather heavy woman in thick clothing and way too much make-up. Facial recognition identified her as Pamela O’Brian, a known drug dealer.
Danny exchanged a few words with her, but unfortunately, he was not able to listen in – the ravenbots did not yet have long-range microphones. He had concentrated on giving them good visual equipment instead.
Whatever they talked about, it did not seem pleasant for either of them. Pamela turned away from Danny, looking just as disgusted as most people who had to deal with him.
Several minutes passed. Just as Brennus started getting seriously bored, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. What looked like a mass of snow moved through the streets and toward the shipyard. Formed like an elongated egg lying on its side, it moved at a solid speed of 60 miles per hour. It reached the entrance within seconds, blowing the door wide open.
The people inside were all jumped up in surprise. They watched in fear as the snow blew away, vanishing into nothingness. Behind was left a powerfully built woman, almost masculine in appearance. She wore a snow white skin-tight suit. It was not as revealing as was usual, since it was quite thick. Still, it did not hide her rock hard muscles. Alright. Power Armor or no Power Armor, avoid close combat, he thought.
He watched as the large woman walked towards O’Brian and Dannington. She did not seem to care that there were six big guys with guns with them. Though, since she was at least a head taller than the next tallest of them, she probably did not feel intimidated at all. A mask shaped like a far more beautiful and feminine woman covered her face, extending into a helmet that covered the rest of her head. Yet he could picture just the kind of facial expression she wore. Something about the self-assured way she walked just made it easy to picture.
The Snow Queen, O’Brian and Danny talked about something. While he could not hear them, it was easy to see that Danny was standing alone and the other two were none too pleased with him. Brennus had to act, before someone got the bright idea to kill him.
Thankfully, the glass from the top windows was long gone, so he could enter without making any sound. He climbed down the wall with all four limbs. When he touched ground, he went down flat, to avoid being spotted.
He assessed the situation, trying to decide how to best deal with his enemies. He need not have bothered, because just at that moment, the main entrance to the warehouse was blown up by what seemed to be a blue and gold fireball.
* * *
The Snow Queen and everyone else turned around to look towards the explosion. Brennus did not bother, since his ravens were giving him a clear view of it. And the slender shape that dropped in through one of the windows opposite of him was far more interesting.
Using the low-light function of his helmet, he was able to get a good view of the intruder. She was a girl with a very nice body, wearing a skin-tight spandex suit bearing a skull-in-a-moon emblem with a gemstone at its center, right between her breasts; a pair of flat boots, gloves and a belt with a gemstone on its buckle. Over that, she wore a cape with a cowl. He could barely make out her jaw and lips under it. In her right hand, she carried a twisted wooden staff topped by what looked like a crystal prism. On her belt she had a curved dagger and a full pouch.
He watched as she snuck towards the supervillainess and the others, moving a bit around to get behind them. Danny and O’Brien had dropped to the ground immediately, but the Snow Queen had summoned a wall of her snow and thrown it towards the door, blocking all vision in both directions. The six armed men were standing ready to open fire.
Brennus crawled towards the scene, just as the girl entered the light in the center of the warehouse. Now Her cape and cowl turned out to be a deep green colour. The bodysuit was pure black, while the gloves, boots and belt matched the colour of the cape. The staff seemed to be made of actual wood and the prism was coloured red like blood, much like the gemstone on her belt and emblem. As she came within a meter of the men with the guns, she reached into her pouch and pulled a hand full of a crimson powder out of it. Raising her hand to her mouth, she blew the powder towards them. It spread out in a far wider and farther reaching arc than should have been possible, covering the armed men as well as Danny and O’Brian. The two on the ground immediately relaxed, just as the six men dropped slowly onto the ground. It looked like they fell asleep.
The Snow Queen heard them lie down on the ground and turned around, bringing a wave of snow with her that would have slammed right into the girl if she had not immediately jumped to the left – and far farther than a normal human should have been able to. He noticed a pair of blood-red gemstones on her boots, one over each ankle. They seemed to glow with a soft light. The jump had moved her so the Snow Queen was in between her and him.
With a fluid motion, she pointed the prism of her staff at her enemy and a red-and-blue sphere of crackling energy shot out towards the Snow Queen. The latter, however, brought up her left hand and a shield of snow moved up from where it manifested on her back. The sphere struck it and the shield exploded in a shower of white that immediately vanished. She always manifests that snow from her back. And it only moves if she moves her arms and always in a way that fits the movement of her arms. Good to know.
Moving her right arm in a jab towards the cloaked figure, the Snow Queen shot a stream of snow towards her. This time she hit, but the gemstone on the girl’s chest flashed red and the snow was diverted to the right. However, it did nothing to divert the second stream that followed the jab of the Queen’s left hand. It smashed right into the girl’s chest, throwing her back. But while she was thrown back she brought her left hand up and threw a fist full of the crimson powder. It flew towards the Snow Queen and encased her face, but she did not fall. Her mask must be airtight as well. But I can use this, Brennus thought and stood up, running towards the two.
The girl had been thrown back and to the ground. The snow had moved up to cover her face and enter her nose and mouth. She was trashing wildly, flailing around trying to claw the snow off her face, to no avail. Her staff had been thrown several meters away.
The Snow Queen herself was holding her left arm outstretched towards her enemy in the form of a grasping claw, while her other hand waved the last of the red powder away from her face.
Brennus moved fast, capitalizing on her distraction and her position with her back to him. Her costume might have been insulated, but even if his batons did not shock her into submission, the impact still had to hurt. So he pulled them out and, when he was in range, just before she might have noticed him coming in from behind, he jumped towards her and rammed both batons into the small of her back.
The read-out in his helmet told him that no electricity had been discharged into her. But he could hear her scream as the force of his jab threw her forward, over her quarry and several meters towards the wall.
The snow on the girl disappeared and she slumped down, taking deep, ragged breaths.
Brennus vaulted over her and towards the rising Snow Queen. The blows should have snapped her spine, but he had guessed right – she was either heavily armored under that suit or had a superhuman physique. Probably both.
Before she could launch another attack, he flat out rammed his shoulder into her, carrying her into the wall. The impact punched the air out of her lungs and made cracks in the wall.
Knowing that the far more experienced supervillain could probably turn the tables on him in short order, he pressed the attack. One benefit of using a strength-enhancing suit was that he did not need to take a swing to put power behind a jab or punch. He abused this often overseen fact to bring his batons to full use, wailing on her and making sure that she did not get a chance to swing her arms towards him.
That was the theory. He did not manage to completely bind her movements and she made a jab at him. However, he was able to divert the punch to the left and the torrent of snow, far stronger than anything she had thrown at the girl, shot past him. He jabbed forward again, intent on ramming his right baton into her throat. But she pulled her right arm back and the snow that had shot past him hit him in the back, throwing him into the Snow Queen. She put her thick arms around him and, with a strained motion, threw him away from her.
However, she did not get a chance to catch her breath, as the cloaked girl had managed to stand up and retrieve her staff, from which another red-and-blue sphere shot at her. But the Snow Queen reacted too quickly, bringing up another shield of snow. The cloaked girl swayed on her feet, still dizzy from her near-suffocation. Brennus himself had just gotten up, having been unprepared for the assault the Snow Queen had pulled off.
Their enemy capitalized on their distraction. Making two sweeping motions, she threw a curving torrent of snow at each of them. The snow curved behind them and, before either could move, hit them in the back.
The girl’s gemstone flashed again, diverting the attack, but Brennus was hit in the back. The torrent pushed him across the warehouse and into the girl, whose protective shield again did not work. Huh. It probably needs to recharge after each time it diverts an attack. Personally, I would have installed several stones, he thought, just before he hit the girl.
They both fell to the ground, she with a pained grunt. He managed to catch his fall before he could crush her under the weight of his armor.
Turning his head, he saw a new torrent of snow, this one bigger than any one before, flowing up and then down towards them – just as another slender figure dropped down from the window behind the Snow Queen. The villain did not notice the figure as she took what looked like a baseball bat to the Snow Queen’s head.
The bat shattered with a crunching sound and the villain swayed. Brennus could hear the sound of her helmet cracking as the snow above him vanished into nothingness. She needs to concentrate to maintain the existence of the snow. Disturb her concentration and the snow vanishes immediately.
Anyway, he could see a lucky chance when it presented itself. Pushing himself up, he sprinted towards the Snow Queen, ramming her head on. The figure that had saved him and the cloaked girl cartwheeled away as he threw their enemy into the wall – again. This time, he did not use his batons (which he had lost), but rather used his fists to hit every weak spot he could reach.
After what seemed to be minutes, but were, according to the clock in his helmet, only seconds, the Snow Queen finally went down. He stopped his assault and she dropped to the ground. His sensors told him that her breathing and heart rate had slowed to those of an unconscious person.
Exhausted, he staggered back, turning towards their saviour. The figure turned out to be a very well-built girl in black leather pants and a leather top that revealed her belly and left her arms bare. She wore black boots with high heels and equally black gloves, as well as a black scarf wound around her head, hiding her hair, and another scarf, this one yellow, around the lower half of her face. The only thing showing were her purple eyes.
With the moves she had showed off, her improbably sculpted physique and those unnatural eyes, he felt pretty sure that she was, at least, a mid-level Adonis-type metahuman.
She winked at him, then turned towards the cloaked girl, who was just now trying to stand up. Well, being rammed by a guy in power armor pushed by a torrent of snow tends to hurt a lot, he thought.
The scarfed girl bent down and helped her up, then both of them turned towards him.