They snuck up to the manager’s office, evading detection mostly due to the fact that there weren’t that many people around in the first place, and Brennus knew where anyone was at anytime, provided they did not enter one of the rooms without surveillance (but there were still cameras watching over the entrances of those rooms). Also, luckily, no staff member had the time to leave the business area, and the manager was tied up as well with helping out in the kitchen.
The office itself had not been locked, but Brennus still made sure to check the door over for any security that was not wired into the general security system the building used. But he found nothing, and thus they entered the room.
It was really plain, especially compared to the building it was in, white paint, red carpet, a simple desk with two computers underneath and two monitors on top, as well as two bookshelves along the left and right side of the room.
After scanning for surveillance equipment beyond what he had already disabled, Brennus walked over to the desk and turned one computer on, one of his ravens (he currently had three on his shoulders) hopping down onto the desk. <This is the one. Give me a minute.>
The girls took position to the left and right of the door, just in case someone barged in, while he went to work. Though he did not make the mistake of sitting down in his power armor again. He had ruined three chairs already with that move, and they were supposed to get in and out without leaving any traces.
A minute later, he was done.
<Damn. They are trying to buy something big. As in, they have been saving up their profits and gathering all resources they could. Two hundred million dollars already, and it seems that is still not enough!>
The girls just looked at him with their mouths open. Hecate was the first to respond: <What could they want to buy that costs that much!?>
Brennus shook his head. <Not important now. I have copied the contents of the computer. We can analyze – INCOMING!>
He jumped over the desk and towards the girls the moment the blur appeared in his ravens’ field of vision, smashing through the door – the two ravens from his shoulders cawed like real animals and flew down to the desk – and allowing the two of them to exit the room, just as the window into the office exploded inwards and a black shade landed on the floor, then leapt towards them with an animalistic shout.
Enhanced strength to make those kinds of leaps possible, most probably enhanced durability to deal with the impacts.
Having landed in a crouch outside the room, Brennus braced himself against the floor and kicked backwards with both feet, his armor enhancing the strength of his kick, speeding it up – but the charging blur evaded, hitting the door frame to redirect its movement, angling itself so it flew towards Tyche – who was in the middle of falling face-first to the floor, having stumbled on the door sill just in time to fall so it only clipped her right arm instead of possibly breaking her back or her neck.
Enhanced senses, enhanced speed.
Hecate reacted faster than he would have expected – or maybe it was just a reflex – and blasted the attacker out of the air with one of her red-and-blue spherical blasts.
Being still tapped into the surveillance system, as well as having his ravens still in the room, Brennus got a snapshot of his enemy – a strange panther-man with flowing fur. Literally flowing fur, as if there were a river of black hair-water flowing down his body.
Panthera Rex. Well, so much for our luck.
Panthera Rex rolled with the blast, using his hands to push himself up so hard he turned into a blur again, his feet slamming into the ceiling from which he catapulted himself towards Tyche, his claw-tipped hands thrown forward towards the prone Tyche.
Enhanced striking effect on the hands, capable of ripping or punching through steel, as well as circumventing most Exemplar and Paragon Tier defensive powers.
He had read about the Black Panthers, and done an in-depth analysis after last week’s crime spree. This guy had stood out.
<Don’t let him hit you.>
His hands still on the ground, he arrested his kick’s momentum, which would have carried him back into the manager’s office, by pushing his fingers into the floor, then pivoted around, kicking Panthera Rex’s arms aside.
The villain missed wide, spinning away from the three of them – and since Hecate had barely moved in the split-seconds this had all happened, right back into her crosshairs. Capitalizing on it, she blasted him down the hallway even as he was thrown around like a rag doll… only to land on his feet in a comfortable crouch, as if he were just playing around, looking at them with yellow cat-eyes.
The three of them stood up, watching him warily. He was seven meters away, which was not much considering the speed he had moved at before.
<That’s him, right? Panther T-Rex?> asked Tyche, her speech over the subvocal system distorted due to her labored breathing.
Hecate answered, this time without sounding annoyed. <Panthera Rex, current leader of the Black Panther’s Eastcoast Division. B-to-A-Class supervillain, way above our pay grade.>
“Tststs, you’re just children,” the villain said. “Don’t you know you’re not supposed to break into other peoples’ homes?”
<Brennus, Tyche, I need to charge my staff up, so keep him talking,> ordered Hecate.
“How did you know we were here? I cut off all lines of communication,” Brennus said as he slowly, carefully drew his stun batons.
Panthera chuckles. “One of the books in there is actually a contrivance. Enchanted, so it doesn’t show up on sweeps for technological surveillance.
<Hecate, please tell me you can make some doo-hickey that scans for those?> asked Tyche.
<I’ll get right to it, provided we survive tonight.>
“Well, regardless of that, I should probably take you down already,” continued Panthera Rex, moving into a more aggressive crouching position.
<What were his powers again, Mr Exposition?>
<Power spread. Damage 6, Manipulation 3, Movement 4, Perception 2, Physique 6 and Protection 4.>
Tyche chuckled under her breath. <Wow, that was short… wait, I remember most of those from the briefing, but what’s the Manipulation 3 stand for?>
Their opponent didn’t give Brennus or Hecate time to answer as he charged forward, low to the ground like a flowing, bodyless shadow.
“Evade!” shouted Brennus as he jumped up, his right hand sticking to the ceiling, his right foot to the wall, holding him up. Tyche made a cartwheel back into the office, and Hecate…
Hecate just stood there, as if rooted to the spot.
Panthera Rex was less than a meter away from her, his hands stretched forward, his claws ready to tear into her chest as he angled his charge upward.
Brennus threw his baton. He did not have the time to make a proper throw, but his power armor compensated, and the baton flew as if thrown by an Olympic thrower.
It struck Panthera in the neck, the electricity discharging itself immediately as it made contact. That, coupled with the force of the throw, and the fact that it hit at just the right angle, slammed the supervillain into the ground, arresting his charge, and also dislodging a black throwing knife that had impaled Hecate’s shadow.
Manipulation 3, capable of binding living beings to a spot by impaling their shadows.
Hecate cartwheeled backwards, despite having a clear shot, to bring some distance between them at the same time as Panthera pushed himself back with his hands, then threw himself forward and after her, his clawed feet digging into the carpet for traction – but he was stopped once more when Brennus dropped down in front of him, swinging his second baton in as wide an arc as he could in the hallway, forcing the villain to abort his attack to avoid electrocution, throwing his upper body back and to the side.
Panthera Rex used his backspin to kick Brennus in the gut, with enough force to throw him back and force Hecate to retreat further backwards instead of aiming her attack; then, as he pulled his leg back in, he kicked himself off the wall and into the office, going after Tyche.
She can not take him alone, thought Brennus, catching his fall with a roll and charging forward as he pulled his stun gun out and readied his new grappling hook system. It might make all the difference.
This guy is just playing with us, and he is still kicking us around.