Helaron 14 Helaron's Saga 14: Shown Up
I was preparing to run as CYBR thundered past me, made the first couple of jumps easily, punched a giant axeblade out of her way, and ignited her heel rockets to simply fly above the other obstacles. In my day we didn't have any of this fancy android stuff. Show-off. I sheathed my swords and waited.
A few minutes and several sounds of crashing things and tearing metal later, she returned. "There's a camera system but no assessment equipment in here. There's a small storage locker at the end where I assume cyborgs go to after they complete the course. There's a hallway at the end but I think it just goes back to storage."
"Well," Polaron commented, "that's an anti-climax."
"Shall we move on?" the Count asked.
We moved on. I was getting too used to fighting one villain, too confined to one style. The Count would have put an assessment room at the end of the course. But not everybody was the Count. I wouldn't have made that assumption as a kid. Hell, I
Helaron 13 Helaron's Saga 13: Platformer
The room was enormous. It must have been soundproof before CYBR caved the door in, because there had been no hint of the roar of machine noise inside. It was about five stories high, the door opening into thin air about halfway up. Various platforms were suspended about the place at apparently random heights from chains in the ceiling. Something must have detected our presence, because new machines were powering up. Giant axes swung from the ceiling in several places and flamethrowers shot routine short bursts of flame, making it quite difficult to see anything. Squinting, I was pretty sure that the distant floor was a spike pit.
"What the hell," Midnight muttered. "Seriously. What is the point of this? What purpose does it serve?"
CYBR added, "I think it's a "
"Training course for military cyborgs, yes, I know, but it's ridiculous! It serves no purpose! Everything in here could be tested in smaller, more economic ways! The platform setup i
Helaron 12 Helaron's Saga 12: We Valiant Few
Polaron nodded distantly.
"Are you ok?" I asked.
"Yeah. Just wiped out."
"No," he lied, setting his jaw.
"Do you think they'll be okay?"
"The abductees? Probably. The Count was fine."
"Yeah, but he said himself that this guy wasn't after him. What if he hurt the others? To steal their powers or whatever?"
"Uh... Polaron, I don't think..." What was I supposed to say? 'He wouldn't have hurt your sister'? I had no basis for that claim, and he knew it. "You haven't faced situations like this much, have you?"
He shrugged. "Veldron captures one of us occasionally, but I don't think he's ever tried to kill us. I just don't know about this new guy."
I nodded, remembering that Polaron had never even been shot. I was disabling armed soldiers at his age. I guess standards had dropped. "Well, the Squad faces things like this all the time. And we get through them. So don't worry."
Just then, the door crashed inward. I looked back at the sle
Helaron 11 Helaron's Saga 11: Rest Stop
I'm getting too old for this shit.
There was a time when that tingle in my spine would've caused me to immediately leap out of the room with a shout of warning to my teammates. Even if that didn't work, the minute the door started to slam shut would've given me plenty of time to slip out, blades drawn, and face whatever may come in the hallway or escape the deathtrap I would assume to be in the room. But I was getting stiff and sloppy. I was over the other side of the cyborg storage room when the door slammed shut.
It was impossible to hear anything through the door. I glanced about; the cyborgs storage room that we'd been inspecting doubled as a holding cell, apparently. Clockwork (injured), Polaron (inexperienced and exhausted) and I (slow and cocky) had become trapped.
"Well," Clockwork said, "I suppose we know how the Count got caught. What now?"
"Don't work in teams much, do you?" I snatched the radio off his belt there was no doubt tha
Helaron 10 Helaron's Saga 10: Old Enemies
"Just to confirm, could anybody hear sound from behind that door earlier?" CYBR asked.
CYBR's two kicks were aimed at the warped wall where one would expect the door hinges to join. The door collapsed under the assault. It struck me that the android must be extremely heavy. Clockwork headed for the doorway; there was a blur of motion, a cry...
"Ugh." Rubbing his head, Clockwork adjusted the way he knelt on the floor to take weight off his injured leg and glared at the man whom I was holding in a headlock. "You... you know that you can't actually knock somebody out by hitting them on the head, right? I mean, not reliably. It can work but it's hard to predict the time or damage. A more likely result is concussion."
"Yeah, see, that's why experienced fighters use headlocks," I added, jiggling my elbow around the man's neck for emphasis. "Hitting them just makes them angry in the short term, and is dangerous in the long term. It
Helaron 9 Helaron's Saga 9: A Simple Door
It shouldn't be hard to open a simple fucking door.
The logistic problems were rather more complicated than one would expect, however. We weren't sure how long Forcinor's shield would be down after Polaron's blast but it would probably only be a couple of seconds, and it was risky for CYBR to stand too close to him. Yet she was the only one strong enough to kick a steel door in. She insisted that she had shielding for that sort of thing, but Polaron reasoned that her mechanic was Veldron, and Polaron knew from experience that careful timing and positioning could overcome Veldron's robots. That was puzzling; judging by the way she protected and followed him, I had assumed that CYBR was Midnight's robot, probably a guard. But maybe Veldron had built her to keep an eye out for him. I wasn't really familiar with Veldron's work.
In the end, Clockwork asked if anyone had a spare battery. Midnight wordlessly took a metal cylinder out of the handle of h
Helaron 8 Helaron's Saga 8: Cyborgs
I like fighting robots. It's a little trickier to work out where their vulnerable spots are, but once you have, you can "kill" them without guilt. But the things that lurched at us from both sides of the corridor... I did not like those.
They were cyborgs, I suppose. Metal and plastic met flesh in a disconcerting construct. They were quadrupedal and about nine feet tall, balancing on spindly steel insect legs. They looked like a cyberpunk nightmarish depiction of centaurs, their ridiculous spidery bodies topped with torsos containing extremely long arms and disconcertingly humanlike hands. Their heads were (to my relief) covered with huge metal helmets. There were six of them coming from either end of the corridor.
Before they got anywhere near us, Polaron took off, flying down the tunnel back the way we came. I ran after him. The others, I noticed, didn't, instead turning to run toward the six coming from the other end of the corridor.
Helaron 7 Helaron's Saga 7: Origins
I remember my first lair infiltration.
It wasn't a lair, as such. It was more a den. I was sixteen then, and my unusual talents were only just beginning to manifest; I'd been coming home from a nice party when I'd felt the prickle of danger. The normal thing to do would be to clutch my bag tighter and hurry along, but that's when I heard a frightened scream. What could I do?
They were lurking out the back of an abandoned building. I didn't know that they were drug dealers then. I just knew that they were four men who were clearly smoking something, and they were manhandling a woman.
I didn't kill any of them. I just broke arms and noses, mostly. A knee, I think. I offered to walk the terrified woman home, but she just wanted to get away from me. Upon reflection I can understand that it must have been pretty scary. I called emergency services for the scumbags, but got out of there before I had to answer any inconvenient questions.
I didn't turn myself
Helaron 6 Helaron's Saga 6: Booby Trap
Polaron was next.
He ducked around everybody else, leapt into the air, and flew for it. A couple of us cried out, but there was no way we were following him.
No beeping. No fire.
One by one, we moved along the corridor, ready to run at any moment.
"Lights," Midnight noted absently. "Good to know."
Next there would be a fork. I knew this before we got there. Not because of prescience, but because of experience. I automatically turned right as Midnight turned left.
"I think left is the fastest way to find our targets," Midnight said.
I shook my head. My spine was tingling. "Superpower. The significant stuff is right."
Midnight raised an eyebrow. "How reliable is your sense? I believe it's been fooled before."
"And what are you basing your estimation on? I do this for a living, you know."
"Against the Count, mostly. The Count favours right-heavy dungeons. There's no reason to believe that this man does the same."
"Why don't we just split up?" Clockwor