“Sir!” ‘Course I’ll protect her, what kind of a fireteam leader do you think I am?
Such thoughts ran through the back of Callie’s mind. Its front was nearly full to the brim; Charter was a blur of motion to track multiple points on the battlefield at once, her eyes and mind only functioning by innate overclocking and years of practice. One particular sight, of course, was more worrying than the rest… “Enemy fleet under Arm effect, sir - looks like phasing or regen, possibly carrier-centred. Redirected attacks aren’t landing.”
With the realisation that sinking their warships was fruitless, new orders had come up; the group had to find and team up with a Belgian Arms Master with a negation ability. While his name was not given, command had already put them through the comms. Can’t just stop attacking, though - they’ll know something’s up. “Alright,”
Callie said, glancing back at Nil, “plan’s changed, going now - target the bridge from above. Ready bombardment!”“Right away,”
Nil responded while creating more copies for the attack, trying to cover as many as possible under the foliage. The enemy carriers were hard to even see at this distance but wouldn’t be a problem if Caroline was going to create a portal.
Meanwhile, Henri was still checking the city for people trapped under the rubble.“Sgt. Janssens to Search and Rescue base. Sector F3 Clear. Moving on foot to Sector F4”
, he messaged and was about to continue his journey, when he got contacted through his comm. “Sgt. Janssens here.”“Private Lidmann - hope you heard from command, Sergeant.” Still don’t like that I can’t use my actual rank… “If you can get a clear fall from high ground where I can see you, I’ll launch you at the target and catch you when you reach the apex.”“Roger that, Private,”
Henri replied. “Can you see sector F4 from where you are, or should I search for another spot?”
A twitch of Charter. “Sector F4, confirmed…”
Callie’s eye caught something - a red-orange glint from… Oh, yeah, ha. That’s an Arm. “Have ‘ya! Get on top of something, Sergeant - ready when you are!”
She allowed herself a smirk. Through a tree’s branches. Damn, I’m good.Now…
Charter back to the ships. Aircraft carrier isolated; bridge identified. A glance to Nil and a hand raised. “Hold!” And focus.
Space bridged. At once, Nil’s staves were only a few dozen metres from the carrier’s command centre - and directly above them.
In an instant they flew into the portal and on top of the command tower, pushing air as they bolted to their target, leaving behind a mess of leaves and dirt that had been blown by the air.
Twenty or maybe a bit more were the first to hit, practically demolishing the upper superstructure that once was the carrier’s conning tower, soon after about a dozen followed, this time aimed at the deck and airplanes preparing to take-off.
From a top view the ship was now barely recognisable.
Henri didn’t witness much of it, focused as he was on reaching the roof of the tallest building he found. He caught some breath after reaching the top and then signalled again. “All right, I am in position,”
He said, waving his arm “You should be able to see me waving. What’s the next step?”
Callie’s eye was on Charter even as she loosed the connection with Charter, relief suffusing her as the tug of draining energy dissipated. “Sighted. Get edgewise and ready to jump, Sergeant!” ‘Course, some things are more fun as a grunt… “I’ll portal underneath you - only unsheath when you’re through, then stop once that blasted sky orb’s gone!”“Roger that.”
Henri said in confirmation. Then he took a running position, ready to take the leap. Just in case, he pulled his pistol. “Ready to go!”
Another moment gone; Callie removed her eye from her Arm, seeking Nil. “Once more before we reposition - another barrage, pick your targets.”
She let out a huff of breath, then shook herself. Focus, Caroline. Just one after another after another now. All of them need to be right. No time for tiredness.
Charter back to Henri - then to the artificial sun, still blazing in the sky, beam scorching the beach and turning sand to glass up to the barrier. Callie forced herself not to squint against the brightness, her mind already working to evaluate the geometry. Beam keeps strafing like that and… Opening in the pattern - there. “Now!”
Now the trickier part - she’d only know where to put the portal on Henri’s end after
he jumped. Still, Callie drew the energy, readying herself to direct it. She could hardly stop now.
As he heard the signal, Henri ran toward the edge and jumped. He seriously hoped the teleporter knew what she was doing and he didn’t just end up a pancake.
Next thing Henri knew, he was falling up, or that’s the feeling he could express. He could feel the heat of the light blinding his eyes. Quickly, as planned, he activated Leonidas.“Fighting in Shade!”
he shouted, activating Leonidas’s negation bubble. The light and heat around him dissipated. It seemed the plan had worked.
Not that Callie was anything more than subliminally aware. Just got to give her a whole bunch of shots… You aren’t answering us that easily! “Ready!”
She raised her fist again, looked through Charter, chose a new site - Behind them, hit them in the rear.
Portal opened. Fist closed.
Once again blue projectiles fell upon the Chinese fleet, destroying decks and conning towers of destroyers, cruisers and even hitting the central carrier again, just to ensure it properly looked like a rough patch of gravel, plus a spectacular flame on top.
This time, Callie allowed a smile - and not just for herself. “Nicely done!” Now, we move!
But Henri couldn’t celebrate just yet, because the gravity began to pull him again. Quickly he unsheathed Leonidas, hoping it wasn’t too late to be pulled back.“Comeoncomeoncomeoncomeon!”“Alright, getting clear. Dismiss Arm!” Long jump takes too much time - damn it, won’t be able to shake a lock if they have it. Well!
Cursing under her breath, Callie instead focused her power towards her back-up: a secondary hill she’d identified when she first claimed this cover, a click away beneath the same minor ridge. The other end? Just behind Nil, where the underbrush wasn’t. Callie hoped that barrelling directly towards her would be a good enough indication.
The unsuspecting Nil stood confused for a second, slowly looking at Callie dashing out of the blue. Too slow, Callie decided it was faster to tackle Nil, pushing her off her feet and into the portal they were soon on the other side, one of them visibly dazed by the whole manoeuvre.“Sorry!” Am I really - yes, I - no time for that! Sever flow, now where’s… Oh, God.
Henri, as viewed through Charter, was falling. Not entirely slowly either. She could try directing the portal back to them up again, launch him to dissipate the momentum, but that act could easily give away their position…
The smart move would be to do so in midair.
Callie was not thinking about the smart move.
Another sudden change in vision, and Henri found himself back on the ground. The fall on it was painful, but at least Henri would be alive to feel it. He pulled deep breaths, as he looked around, trying to determine where he had been brought into. Some sort of bush, seemingly to break his fall… And beside it, two women - one in combat fatigues, the other fully covered with a dress popping from under the military uniform.“Welcome to our little fireteam, Sergeant - sorry about the bumpy ride.”“No problem,”
Henri assured, as he rose up and dusted himself off. “Not the toughest I’ve faced so far, and probably in the future.”
Although Henri wasn’t really fond of Arms Masters, something even he admitted was hypocritical, at least this one had proven herself trustworthy.“Onto the next step, I guess.”