Maddy charged through a hail of heavy weapons fire that would have shredded her to pieces were she not several stories tall. The enemy mech realized too late that it hadn't stopped her and tried to raise a new set of weapons, only for Maddy to deliver a front kick to the chest of the robot, knocking it onto its back with a thunderous crash.
"Never expected to use those old Taekwondo lessons like this," Maddy mused aloud, catching her breath after the dash and attack. There was an appreciative amount of cheering from the crowds that hadn't been escorted to safety by the police as the robot struggled to get up. Maddy sighed in relief at the thought of the fight being over so soon, only for the robot to twist and then fire off what had to be rockets mounted on the arms that propelled it back to a standing position.
"Well that figures..."
Maddy ducked to the side at the sound of rushing fuel, narrowly dodging a burst of flame before coming around and getting right in the robot's face, gripping the flame-shooting arm and twisting it downwards away from them. She wasn't sure how flame-resistant she was at this size and frankly she did not want to experiment on that front.
"You can't fight the music, man!" came a muffled voice from inside the metal machine's innards, somehow audible over the intensely loud KISS track blaring from the speakers. "Rock and roll's gonna save our soul!" Powering on through, Maddy took a gamble and squeezed her fist around the arm firing the flames. Surprisingly, it gave easily in her grip, the crunching metal drowning out the pilot's squeal of protest as the flames sputtered out.
"Dude you're gonna break it!" the pilot whined as Maddy braced herself against the chest, wrapping both her arms around it.
"What...do you think...I'm...DOING!?!"
Feeling the robot lift from the earth, she called on every last bit of strength she had to lift the machine right over her head. Maddy felt her muscles burning up as the robot flailed in the air helplessly, the rockets firing off in a desperate bid to escape. Hoisting the robot onto her shoulder, she deftly pulled the rocket pack off one of the limbs with a tug, the rivets snapping and flying off like shrapnel.
"You didn't even weld these on?" Maddy commented in spite of herself, tossing aside the defunct rocket pack and moving to yank one off the other leg. "I wasn't thinking this would be professional by any means, but that's just lazy metalworking."
"Screw you, you giant bimbo!" Maybe it was her imagination, but Maddy was sure the pilot had made the music even louder. Slightly miffed at this point, she decided it was time to call it a day. Mustering her strength again, she lifted the robot off her shoulder and dropped it onto the ground with a thunderous crash. Making sure to step on one of the legs with enough force to disable it, Maddy bent over and lifted the chassis up to a sitting position. There was a whirring sound as the last working arm moved to aim a cannon at her, only for Maddy to grab the arm and direct it at the machine's head, turning away briefly to avoid the blast. The close-range shot knocked the robot's crudely designed metal head clean off and thoroughly wrecked the arm cannon in turn, letting Maddy peer down the neck hole at the pilot of the mech, the color drained from his tattooed face as he fiddled helplessly with the controls.
"Statistically speaking, I really don't like your odds at this point," Maddy said matter-of-factly overhead of her very tiny enemy. There was a rather impressive stunned silence before the pilot gave a half-hearted squeak as a response, then stiffly reached over and finally switched off the loud rock music.
"I'm...sorry I called you a bimbo...ma'am," the pilot mumbled as he unlatched himself from the pilot's seat with trembling hands before giving a frightened yelp as Maddy grabbed him and lifted him out of the pilot seat like an action figure.
"That's alright, when I figure out a name I'll let you know what you can use instead," Maddy said almost too casually, dropping him at the feet of a couple of police officers who quickly cuffed and dragged him off. Taking a deep breath, Maddy closed her eyes and concentrated, feeling her body shift sizes once again. When she opened them again she was just below eye level with the other people swarming around, and although she had no way of knowing, she was sure that she was at her old, perfect height once more. Relief washed over her as Maddy braced herself on one of the police cars.
"Thanks again for your help, miss," one of the senior policeman announced as he approached her. "I'd hate to see what would have happened if you didn't show up when you did." Maddy gave a weak smile and a nod in response, prompting a concerned look from the nearby officers. "You're not hurt are you ma'am?"
"No sir, just...a little tired," Maddy sighed. "Guess being that big takes a lot of energy. I don't have to stay and give a statement do I?"
"...well, technically yes, but most of the time the hero flies off before we can catch them," the officer said, sounding surprised that she mentioned it. "You don't look up to it though, so if you want to make a break for it I'll look the other way." Maddy shot the officer an appreciative look as she jogged towards the side street closest to her, insulated from the crowded city by the police cars. Stopping when the sirens finally dimmed, she stopped to catch her breath, leaning against a car parked in the side-street as she checked the names to find out where she was.
"Wonder how I'll get back dressed like this," Maddy mumbled to herself.
"You could call and ask for a ride," a voice from the car announced.
Maddy gave a yelp and backed away from the car before she recognized both the car and the driver.
"Come on, let's get you home," Terra Vespa said with a slight smile as she started the car, switching on the lights to reveal herself in suitably dramatic fashion. Eternally grateful, Maddy darted to the other door and hopped inside before the car took off down the road.
"I think I would have collapsed if I had to walk back the long way," Maddy mused, feeling herself already drifting as the scenery zoomed along outside.
"Glad I followed you and managed to get home to the car in time, then," Terra replied. "You'll have to tell me all about your robot fight when you get back."
"Yeah..." Maddy said weakly, remembering what she had done before stumbling onto that hostage situation. "Terra...I'm sorry I..." she began, feeling the tears already beginning to leak out, but stopped short when Terra placed her hand on her shoulder.
"It's okay Maddy," Terra said apologetically. "I'm sorry I pushed you into doing that, I didn't know that it was so serious for you. I just...wanted to help, is all."
"I appreciate it, really," Maddy said, still trying not to cry. "I just...sometimes I can't stop seeing that in my head...feeling it..."
Terra nodded solemnly. "I...heard about what happened. I can't imagine what that's like for you."
"It's rough...yeah," Maddy said, looking up into Terra's eyes and feeling a swell of hope, the same sort of feeling she gripped onto to use her powers. "But...I think for the first time..."
"It's getting better?"
"Yeah..." Maddy said sleepily, squeezing Terra's hand for comfort as her eyelids drooped slightly. "It's getting better..."
"Miss Durante has made things difficult for us."
"I'm well aware of that, Mr. Yeng," David McGregor said coolly to the holographic projections over his desk. "But this is a problem that you've created, nonetheless. And that shortsightedness has left you compromised."
"It was one rogue agent, how has that compromised-"
"Calm yourself, Ms. Shen, please," McGregor said smoothly, pouring himself a helping of expensive liquor. "I hold no ill will against you, but the fact of the matter is, the Hounds have compromised you. I cannot guarantee that she was the only member of Silver River to fall under their hand. That's problematic."
"So what do you suggest?"
"Liquidation, of course." McGregor swirled his glass casually, taking a swig as the Silver River leaders all shouted at once over him over the suggestion. "Not that your input matters of course, since the liquidation has already gone into effect."
"WHAT?!?" the leaders chorused.
"By the time they connect Durante to the Hounds, Silver River will cease to exist," McGregor explained calmly. "Safest way to ensure our arrangement goes unnoticed. We'll shuffle your group around to useful areas of course. I for one would love to get in on that little science project Briley Patton is up to, but we'll need to vet you to be sure none of you have given your loyalty to the Hounds."
"We have not!"
"Good to hear," McGregor responded cheerily. "But we'll make sure that's correct. If your loyalty is so easily bought and sold that you would run to a band of crackpot terrorists, then frankly you wouldn't be worth the risk." There was a moment of silence as McGregor calmly took another sip of his drink, before speaking again. "You'll be contacted with your next set of instructions shortly. Take care, loves!" McGregor pressed a button on his desk to dispel the holograms, his expression souring slightly.
"Awful year," he remarked to himself before pressing another button on his desk.
"Would you like a different brand, sir?" the automated voice of his AI secretary piped in.
"Not yet, MAY," McGregor mused, taking another sip. "Do me a favor though and send out the order, I want Silver River's liquidation done within the day."
"Very good sir. Would you like specifications on leadership transference?"
McGregor mused over the area where the leaders of the Silver River Institute once were. "Full liquidation, please. They're not valuable enough for us to keep around. Once that is done..."
Setting down his glass, McGregor picked up a folder on his desk and leafed it open. Inside was a blurred photograph and a few articles clipped from newspapers, all discussing an alien super-heroine from Pacific Point alongside printed orders from higher up on his next task.
"...let's see what Darrow Industries wants to do with this Voyager character, shall we?"