“Oh, come on!” Brennus shouted at the top of his lungs, as he stood atop a rooftop, watching the monster tear into a McDonald’s restaurant.
Polymnia winced at the volume. She so needed to come up with some kind of protection that didn’t cripple her hearing. <I know it’s disgusting, but->
Gloom Glimmer just looked green and ready to puke.
“That is not what I mean! This. Is. My. First. KAIJU. Could I not have gotten, I do not know, a lightning throwing dinosaur? Or a cyborg dinosaur? Or a chainsaw swinging ape? Or a chainsaw-swinging, lightning-throwing dino-ape?!” He looked incredulously at… the thing. “Instead I get to find out exactly how high you can pile shit!? Is this a joke!?”
Now Gloom Glimmer giggled. “Oh, I guess this is the so-called ‘nerd-rage’, right?” She still looked like she was about to throw up, though.
She couldn’t blame her – the stench was awful. Worse than anything she’d ever smelled before.
The three of them had been dispatched as a team – working under the assumption that, between Gloom Glimmer and the two of them, they should be able to handle it while the others split up into teams to hunt for Hastur – and any other victims of hers.
Now they were looking at twenty meters of brown sludge with two arms made of infected organs and muscles wound around crooked bones, smashing the restaurant open (fortunately, it had been evacuated in time). There were wounds and pustules all over the muscles and… other organs, pulsing and oozing more excrement. No head was visible, instead it looked like there was a particularly… productive opening at its top, covering the figure in wave upon wave of excrement.
“So, what do we do?” asked Gloom Glimmer after a moment, as her sick expression vanished. Acting on a hunch, Polymnia moved over to her, and the stench vanished. Slight changes in the sound around her told her that something was moving the air strangely. Low-level aerokinesis, most probably.
“We blow it up, of course! I will build a bomb, you deliver it, the thing is gone and we go after Hastur,” Brennus explained calmly. Too calmly – he’d just switched from outraged nerd to his usual calm self, like flipping a switch.
He was now looking at several cars that had been crushed by the monster. “And I have everything I need for a good bomb there.”
Polymnia grinned in anticipation. Haven’t built a big bomb before. Quite the oversight, really.
* * *
Irene had cleaned off six destroyed cars, removing their engine blocks and gathering them in one spot. Then she flew off to distract the monster – someone had slapped it with the code name ‘BigShit’, according to Sarah, and Polymnia was going to hunt them down, later on, and make them listen to her brown note – while the two of them worked on something to blow it up with. BigShit had killed seventeen people within ten seconds of appearing, apparently out of nowhere, and starting its rampage. Considering what little they knew about Hastur’s power, they’d designated the poor soul as dead already, and so they were to simply put it down.
The fact that twenty meters of super-strong excrement and whatever hid inside was rather difficult to contain also played a part in that.
Polymnia prayed quietly to God that whoever had been Hastur’s victim truly was lost, and they didn’t end up killing an innocent they could have saved.
No way to heterodyne here, now, especially considering how… worked up Brennus was. And she definitely wasn’t. Curious how easily it set him off. I took him for a calmer person. But then again, he’s totally calm now.
Not that it mattered whether or not they were heterodyned.
Bombs were easy.
Made easier by the fact that contemporary cars were completely electrical, and supplied them with all the parts they needed to work with. Though with Gloom Glimmer gone, the stench was back and worse – there were pools of sludge nearby she very pointedly ignored.
<Electromagnetic Thermo-Bomb?> she asked as she surveyed their material and their tools, distracting herself from the smell. She could already hear the beginning of a melody.
“Aye. You do the core – it’s closest to your speciality – and I do the shell?” Brennus replied, now calm again.
<Sure.> She had her spider-limbs bend backwards to let her work freely, and they started taking the wreckage apart. <What is your speciality, anyway? I’d guess it’s electromagnetism, or something close to that?> she asked matter-of-factly, or at least tried to. She heard Sarah take a surprised breath – the higher-ups really wanted to know – and she was curious, too.
After a few seconds of quietly working while Gloom Glimmer used a freeze-beam and geokinesis to slow BigShit down, she started to think he wouldn’t answer, or else he hadn’t noticed the question. She was just about to repeat it, when he replied: “I haven’t really found a definite focus yet, but it might be modular systems – everything I have created so far either has multiple settings or is easily adapted for multiple uses.”
She breathed in, surprised that he gave it up so easily. Then again, it probably didn’t make much of a difference for him.
At the same time, the song in her head continued to build up as she worked on the core, becoming more and more complicated. She loved listening to all the music her power made. Others did, too. After all, her schematics had turned her into an international superstar.
She’d only ever composed one song that was not also a schematic for some invention – even an aborted one – and no one but her had ever heard that one.
As the song grew more complex, her awareness of her surroundings faded, slowly. Her mind now wholly focused on her work, she kept assembling the core of the bomb. It really wasn’t hard, though she had to jump through a few loops to work it into her usual approach.
She finished it and turned to look at Brennus’ work – he’d assembled a kind of missile, only without any propulsion she could make out. Instead, its tip looked more like a drill than a normal missile tip, and there were exhausts further down the body of the missile, all pointing away from the tip.
“Complete?” he asked. She nodded, handing him the heavy core. He turned around and built it into the missile’s midsection – not the tip, as usual. “Can you assemble a B4CC13 battery, or an equivalent, out of the remaining parts? I already made one,” he continued.
<How is it supposed to work?> she asked as she went to work on the battery. It was even easier than the core, so her thoughts mostly focused on the question of how he managed to assemble both the missile and one of the batteries on time, when she’d just done the core. Even if the core was the most complicated part of the whole thing.
“We stick this into that thing, it drills itself inside and detonates once it reaches its core,” he explained while working on the core, connecting it to one of the batteries.
<How will it know when it has reached the core?>
“We can make an educated guess as to its rough position inside… that,” he explained, pointing at the huge monstrosity currently being baked by Gloom Glimmer. “My ravens will fly around it and serve as reference points for the built-in positioning system, so the missile knows when it has reached its destination. Nice and simple.”
She nodded. It was a nice solution.
<I so need my own raven robots. They’re way handy.> She handed him the battery.
He snorted as he put it in. “They are. The correct term, though, is ‘ravenbots’. Also, you can crib my technology, but you can not crib my style. Find your own animal to mimic.”
“Well, you do specialize in sonics…”
<I guess so… but they’re kind of icky. And not colourful enough.>
He looked at her long hair that was constantly shiftings its colour. “I guess you are a colourful person. Maybe parrots?”
She thought it over. <Yeah, that works. I’ll see t->
An explosion cut her off, shaking the very earth beneath them for a moment. Polymnia staggered, as did Brennus, and he started to curse as there was apparently some damage to the missile.
Sarah replied: <Unkown. Tartsche, Tyche, Spellgun and Hecate engaged rampaging victim of Hastur, then our videofeeds cut off and there was an explosion.>
She turned to Brennus to pass on the information, but he just spoke, while still working on the missile: “Tyche reported in. The enemy was a powerful geokinetic, and he ‘detonated’, so to speak, when one of Spellgun’s shots penetrated a kind of core it had. She is unharmed, as are Tartsche and Hecate – except the latter got her costume ruined, again,” he grumbled for a moment, apparently annoyed more than he was concerned. “But Spellgun broke his leg.”
<Enemy down, Hecate, Tartsche and Tyche unharmed, Spellgun down but non-critical. Outstep will provide extraction,> replied Sarah, and Polymnia remembered that they’d allowed Brennus and his team to patch into their com-system.
Stepping up to stand next to Brennus again, she helped him put the finishing touches to the missile. <How come Tyche reported to you first? I thought you were all in our network.>
“It was down for some reason. She grabbed one of my ravenbots and reported through it.”
<What could knock out our communications?> That might become a major problem.
“I do not know, though it is possible that it was simply an effect of the detonation of this geokinetic. Ah, done.” He closed the body of the missile up. It was as long as they were tall, and looked more like a massive spear than a missile.
Thinking about it, she decided that it was a spear, more than a missile.
<So, how do we get it into that thing?>
“Gloom Glimmer, can you come over here quickly? Without undue risk to civilians?” he spoke into his com-system.
<Gimme a second, will you?> She was tying BigShit down with strands of billowing green energy that… made it look even more stomach-turning. <There, big boy, stay down.>
With a flash of light, she appeared next to them. “So, what do w-“
There was a flash of light, an sound like air being explosively displaced. Polymnia whirled around to see a girl in a yellow sweater and blue jeans, her head hidden by a deep hood.
Next to her stood a… a woman, naked, hairless, her skin black as ink, her body ridiculously elongated and with way, way too many joints on her limbs and torso. Also, her breasts were perfect replicas of her head, one of them locked into an expression of soundless screaming, the other soundless laughing.
And one more… a tall African-American man, his head missing, his chest burst open, the ribs spread open to reveal several twisted half-human, half-feline faces, snarling at the world. Also, she noticed, his… manhood… was abnormally engorged, and hard, to the point where it reached up to his… neck.
Before she could react, before Gloom Glimmer could react, before any of the attackers could do a thing, Brennus whirled around, throwing one of his batons at the girl – Hastur – and another at the twisted man.
The man flashed away, appearing again next to Brennus, while the other baton was blocked by the woman with too many joints, making her twitch for a moment – too little, considering the charge those things had to carry.
Folding her suit’s limbs forward, she tried to attack with sonics, but she was too slow. Gloom Glimmer struck at Hastur with a blast of billowing green energy, but it dispersed upon contact just as Brennus plunged his humming blade into the chest of the man.
The monster did not care, grabbing him with one monstrously deformed hand – it looked more like a toothless maw – and flashing back to Hastur, then vanishing again in another flash along with the two women.
<Oh God, no.>
Gloom Glimmer screamed in outrage.
* * *
They reappeared in a brightly lit room. Panthera Avis dropped him onto blood-soaked rich carpet, in front of the feet of Hastur.
“Hello cutie,” she chirped brightly, squatting on her heels in front of him.
His thoughts, however, were analyzing the situation. Panthera Avis, high-speed line-of-sight teleportation, enhanced strength and reaction speed. The other one’s faces resemble Netsense, shares senses with anyone she has touched in the last half-hour.
No information on the girl in front of him, apart from a sight-based control power. Obviously one that transformed you into a monster. Which was why he had immediately turned off his external cameras, and was right now working solely through thermal vision.
“Hello, Miss…?” he said, raising his head from where he lay on his belly in front of her, as if looking at her directly. Her heat signature seemed to be absolutely fine, and her body-type betrayed no obvious mutation, nor even an exceptional physique.
“I don’t really like to use my old name anymore. Just call me Hastur, I guess,” she replied in that chirpy, too-happy voice. “And you are Brennus. Nice to meet you.”
“The pleasure is mine, Hastur. Though I would have preferred a more polite invitation – or any kind of invitation, really,” he replied. The longer they talked, the better for him to plan his next move. As far as he could tell, there were only three of her monsters around – Panthera Avis, Netsense and a naked, normal-looking woman – who was bleeding through her every pore, torrents of blood running down her body and staining the carpet, crawling over the floor. Her face matched up with that of one of the salesgirls that had been exposed to Hastur earlier. A Mary Smith. Unknown factor. No idea whether or not the transformation bestows powers upon its victims or not.
Or maybe they just manifest due to the extreme stress of the transformation, if they have the potential. Either way, you’re screwed, mate.
“This is interesting. What’re you two – or are you three? – planning?” asked Hastur, her elbows on her knees, with her chin on her hands.
Brennus froze. “You… can read my mind?” Just like that? None of Amy’s defences worked?
“Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I must say, it’s quite rude to hide your face from me like that. And you’re not even really looking at me,” she replied in the voice of a petulant child.
“I think it is necessary, seeing how your power apparently works on anyone who sees your face,” he said in response, staying as calm as he could – made easier by his mask and voice distortion.
“Oh, now don’t be shy, I’m sure you’ll love me at first si-“
He surged forward, tackling her to the ground. She was so light.
One hand cleanched into a fist and a blade slid out of the upper side of his wrist. He stabbed at her throat.
Before even Panthera Avis could react, his blade plunged into her throat and up into her brain. She tensed up, then slumped, going limp and motionless.
Her heart stopped, along with all brain activity.
Suddenly feeling sick, Brennus hesitated – and was promptly kicked by Mary, throwing him across the room and so hard into a wall, it cracked. Panthera Avis flashed in next to him and grabbed his arms with his two maw-like hands, holding him down on his knees.
And Hastur squirmed on the ground as her blood flowed back into the closing wound. Within the blink of an eye, she was whole and alive again, and rose to her feet.
“That’s no-o-ot gonna work, cutie!” she chirped, then broke out into giggles. “You can’t hurt me, not really, no-o-one can, nu-uh, no chance, not really!”
She took a step towards him. “Now, dear Mary, please rip off that stupid helmet, will you? It’s a crime, hiding such a cute face!”