From her new vantage point Presidio really began to notice just how much their adversary had stacked the deck against them. The idea rankled her significantly, but she fought not to lose her composure, instead continuing to consider her options and any viable strategies. Of course, something was strange about the whole situation itself, something she couldn’t put her finger on. The feeling was only accentuated when Dart shot into motion, but the action didn’t frame it such that she could put all the pieces together seamlessly.
While her thoughts roiled about in a barely ordered storm she kept on, creating a new set of constructs. As she did something brought 4Sight’s earlier communication back into the foreground of her mind. She activated her comms with the gentle pressure of a shield, the action barely conscious.
“4Sight, you said one of the hostages just...extricated themselves and went into an alley? That doesn’t...” her voice trailed off, but the rest of the statement was clear enough.
’That doesn’t make sense.’
Something about this wasn’t right. Her thoughts began to order themselves as she reconsidered things in a new light. Meanwhile her shields had begun to create what appeared to be five largely translucent oblong rectangular cubes. The reality however was different, as they were actually several jointed constructs neatly folded in on themselves. Within were what appeared to be gears, pistons, and other mechanical apparatus. Elsewhere in her vicinity, Presidio had extended numerous tiny forcefields, all thin and brittle, but incredibly maneuverable. They remained at random intervals, but all within 4 or 5 feet of the edge of her current range. They were arranged so that their presence didn’t actually reveal the outer bounds of her range, staggered as irregularly as she could manage. They were a sort of early warning system and they had taken residence around the entirety of her power’s outer perimeter from every angle, within reason. Fortunately they were translucent so they didn’t really block her vision at all, which was good. As she complexified her array of tools and countermeasures a thought popped into her head and she again activated her comms. Mere seconds had passed.
“4Sight disregard that. Can you scout ahead between and on the faces of buildings near my current position? I don’t want to be ambushed like some of the hostages were. If it’s not too much effort, check inside some of the nearby buildings, with a focus on stairwells if possible.”
Deciding to really start taking risks, Presidio didn’t wait for his response, but instead began gradually picking up speed, controlling her breathing closely as she did. The arrangements of shields she had created followed her as if anchored in place around her person. Independent of that movement, the oblong cubes positioned themselves at different intervals around her, two below her, one to her right, and another above her. Then his response came.
"You are clear. No one and nothing in the stairwells, and the building faces don't have enough wire to trap you"
“Copy that. I’m going to try to close the distance; maybe remove her height advantage.” Her words were a bit breathy as she responded, her course changing as she headed directly for the right corner of the roof.
“Out of sight for a moment,” she managed as her heart swelled in her chest, her stomach leaped into her throat and she propelled herself in a jump more powerful than her body normally would have been capable of. For a moment there was only the rush of air and the elation of weightlessness, then she started falling.
In a moment of fear wrought clarity she acted and the constructs around her shifted into motion. First the shields near the edge of her range struck the building to her left, giving her a very clear image of its features as they deformed, shattered, or rebounded off of its surfaces. Second, the set of larger shields anchored to her person pulled inwards even as their hidden portions rotated outwards, increasing their diameter till they met, sealing her from the outside world in a near perfect sphere. Finally, third the five oblong cubes slammed inwards, impacting her spherical protections and engaging in earnest. Mechanisms extended out and latched or fit into grooves in the outer membranes of her shields before immediately unfolding into three jointed limbs, which ended in what appeared to be four digits.
The arms, in unfolding, extended outwards and before she had even been falling for more than two seconds, found purchase on the surface of the building. She held her arms out to either side of herself in the moment before, preparing herself for the jerk that arresting her momentum would cause. It came, but she only shifted slightly, her power allowing her to largely anchor herself in the center of her array of constructs while it moved.
Then she began climbing, but at a speed that would not have been humanly possible. She reoriented her body carefully as she did so, essentially laying on her back so she could see above and to the side of her better. The action caused her stomach to flip slightly, but she took a deep breath and held it a moment before releasing the tension. By all accounts her construct was holding together just fine. It helped greatly that the only weight it was bearing was her own. Reorienting again with a hissing breath she changed the construct’s motion slightly, moving forwards as well as up now.
As she adjusted to the strange mode of transit and acclimated to the capabilities of her construct, Presidio found her stride once more. Soon she would reach the edge of her building and have to jump to reach the next one. It was a harrowing thought, even though she knew she’d succeed barring outside interference.
Her eyes narrowed and she returned to her earlier train of thought. While she was still reevaluating all the information, she now knew one thing for sure.
This incident was not as it seemed.
Intrusion, an outside force, another thinker.
Exactly’s eyes narrowed even as he took in the additional information about their powers and then a moment later the call he’d been keeping open abruptly ended. Glancing down as he lowered his phone, he blinked a moment before he broke into a sprint, keeping the villains in range, his largely undetectable duplicates staying out of sight even as they kept eyes and ears on the two.
Internally he considered getting closer and creating one they could perceive just so he could render them insensate, but he cast aside the notion immediately, knowing it was far too risky now that there were no witnesses. That meant that the two were even less beholden to the rules than they had been before, plus there was the man’s power to consider. He didn’t know the precise mechanisms for it, but he suspected that if he didn’t take the man out of the equation immediately with his first action, that it would almost instantly become a losing battle.
He didn’t like losing. Of course, it was less about the failure and much more about the consequences that such might entail in this instance.
Thinking quickly as he ran, making sure he remained safely out of sight, but still well within range, Exactly waited precious moments while he rebooted his phone. When it was restarted he made the call, using his speed dial for Penelope’s burner phone, a device to which only he had the number.
’C’mon, pick up,’ he silently urged. Using this number, she’d know immediately that something was up, especially considering he’d made a point of keeping track of her schedule on any given day. It was good for work and for their less legal dealings, as it were.
She needed to know that something bigger was going on.