Banter Latte

⎇001JW In Nadir Pentad of Guardians: Transposition #2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Justice Wing In Nadir: Transposition

Landing in his full grey tunic and uniform with the pink v-overlay, pink mask on his face, the man landed with arms spread wide. “I dare, Kitsune!” He moved into a fluid spelldance, protective fields spreading out to protect the civilians – he’d quietly warded them before, so Jetgirl knew these new ‘wards’ were just theatrics. “Last of my Order from a World that never was! Red Point of the Pentad of Guardians! Founding Excelsior and exemplar of life! I am the Heart and the Healing! I! Am! Hearth!

“…oh God don’t do the catchphrase,” Jet muttered. “There are people here.”


The alternate universe the Sentinubal has tagged ⎇001JW first saw parahumanity emerge decades before. These new super heroes and villains, epitomized by the group called Justice Wing, quickly captured the public’s imagination and love, and for years they managed to only grow in popularity. After the wholesale destruction of the Apocalypse Agenda, where one of the founding members betrayed Justice Wing and devastation struck every continent on Earth, that popularity melted away. Now, the unenhanced prosahumans and non-super parahumans have put far more pressure on Justice Wing and other heroes, with no sign of that pressure letting up. This is Justice Wing In Nadir.
For years, the Pentad of Guardians were a mainstay of Empire City and the Excelsiors. Now, years after their greatest battle, the four remaining members have long since scattered. However, when Dorian Hwan — aka the bright burning Hearth — accompanied Keira Holt — aka Jetgirl — to Oghapogue, New Mexico for a trade show, the pair ended up being confronted by a Renegade Kitsune with a mechanical army of clockclick warriors called Kit O’Six-Tails. Before Hearth and Jetgirl could strike back, however, Oghapogue’s own super heroes arrived — the high flying Transposition Troopers Turbine Triumph, a team of color coded warriors empowered by the Transposition Matrix and inspired by a heroic example. And, to Jetgirl’s stunned surprise, the heroic example they followed was Jetgirl herself.

Transposition

Part Two


Oghapogue, New Mexico

Turbine Yellow threw herself up into the air, spinning and summoning a hand-cannon in a burst of yellow. “Yellow Turbine Tornado!” she shouted, firing a swirling yellow beam from the cannon, wiping out three Clockclicks. “Pat! Mare’s in trouble!”

“Not for long!” Turbine Blue shouted. “Blue Turbine Whirlocannon!” His power weapon formed as he ran forward, using pure brute strength to bowl over six clockclicks while firing blue spinning energy blades at two more, dusting them before they could strike Turbine Pink.

“Thanks, Pat!” Turbine Pink shouted, kicking up into the sky. “Pink Turbine Turbofans!” Twin pink tessenjutsu war fans appeared and spread in her hands, and she swept down with one as she landed, creating a wind gust that knocked two clockclicks over while she slashed lengthwise with the other, slashing a third and dusting it.

“There’s too many of them!” Turbine Black shouted.

“Stay focused, guys!” Turbine Red shouted, throwing her hand up and summoning a curved blade. “Red Turbine Techsword!”

Off to the side, Keira snorted. “Turbofans? Those aren’t — the word ‘turbofan’ has a meaning and that isn’t it.” Keira watched the sensor readings – the power readings didn’t look good. “And those guys’re in trouble.” She slid her glasses off, pulling out and unfolding a yellow, blue and white visor which she slid on in its place. Since they were cloaked, no one saw her do it, and it had the same minor obfuscation spell all the Pentad’s masks had, concealing her identity. She wasn’t suited up – at least not actively – but in that moment Keira Holt was gone, and Jetgirl was in her place.

“Jet?” Dorian pressed. “I need an answer.”

"Yeah, well — I’m afraid those guys have priority. C’mon — magic up and suit up–"

"It can’t wait, Jet. I need to know where your head is and if you’re capable of doing this before we get involved. And you’re right — they’re in trouble and they don’t have a lot of time, so let’s stop sparring. Where did Jetgirl go?"

Jet stared at Dorian, then turned away and sighed. “Come on, Dor. Who needs Jetgirl any more? What’s the point? After… after everything…” She took a deep breath. “My issues aren’t important right now. Those guys are in trouble, Dorian. Suit up.”

“I’m ready. But are you? If we don’t need a Jetgirl–”

“I’m still me. I can help them. If necessary, I can save them. So I’m going to.”

“I know.” Dorian’s voice was still soft, but now it was also completely serious. “But those six heroes clearly do still need a Jetgirl. You can inspire them, or you can crush them.” He stepped back. “Choose carefully.”

Violet Turbine Bombardier slashed at Gruck with an energized purple saber. “Shooting star saber!” she shouted, causing an explosion of purple light before whirling around. The sword folded back into a missile launcher. “Stratojet Striker!” she shouted, firing a purple missile which consumed the heavy clockclick in an explosion of purple fire. Energies collected around her weapon as she lifted it high, and space seemed to warp into a golden sky with jets sweeping overhead. “Air Support Assault!” she shouted, and a huge number of explosions consumed the barrel-automaton. “That’s it for you, Grunk!”

The smoke cleared… and Grunk stood, unharmed, laughing. “That’s what you think, Trooper! Heterodyne power!” With his shout, a black and grey vortex of energy seemed to surround the heavy clockclick even as blasts surged out, knocking Troopers aside.

“What?” Violet Turbine Bombardier sounded shocked as she stumbled back. “Stratojet striker!” she shouted again, firing another missile.

Grunk swung one stubby bronze arm, knocking the missile aside. It flew out and hit a large rock that was by a tree overlooking the park’s small pond. Tree and rock exploded, leaving behind a smoldering crater with an oversized black disk with silver cogs surrounding it.

“Aha!” Kit O’Six-Tails shouted. “At last! The Silver Spoke Cog!”

“No!” Turbine Blue shouted.

“Grunk has heterodyne power, too?!” Turbine Pink shouted. “How do we fight against that?

“We can’t give up!” Turbine Red shouted. “Everyone! Get that cog!”

"You heard the Trooper!" Kit O’Six-Tails shouted to the clockclicks. "Get that cog!"

That’s our cue,” Dorian said. “Embrace the absurdity, Jet. And try to keep in the spirit of things. We’re not in Empire City, after all.” He rose up into the air, the cloak dropping even as spinning pink circles of protection surrounded him and he seemed to burst into a halo of bright flowing pink butterflies.”

“What?” Kat O’Six-Tails shrieked. “Who would dare–”

Landing in his full grey tunic and uniform with the pink v-overlay, pink mask on his face, the man landed with arms spread wide. “I dare, Kitsune!” He moved into a fluid spelldance, protective fields spreading out to protect the civilians – he’d quietly warded them before, so Jetgirl knew these new ‘wards’ were just theatrics. “Last of my Order from a World that never was! Red Point of the Pentad of Guardians! Founding Excelsior and exemplar of life! I am the Heart and the Healing! I! Am! Hearth!

“…oh God don’t do the catchphrase,” Jet muttered. “There are people here.”

“I don’t believe it,” Turbine Black said.

“It’s Hearth!” Turbine Yellow shouted.

“Jetgirl’s sidekick!” Turbine Blue shouted.

“Sidekick?” Hearth asked, arching an eyebrow, his mask shifting to accommodate the expression.

Despite herself, Jet snickered. “Okay,” she murmured. “I’m glad I was here for that.”

“Hearth? Oh yes, I’ve heard of you,” Kit O’Six-Tails said gleefully. “The legendary Hearth of the Pentad of Guardians… the pacifist!” She swung her whip around, then snapped it at Hearth.

Hearth deflected it off a ward, smiling that absurdly handsome smile as he shaped the magic flowing through him like waves of heat off the tarmac. “I hardly need to resort to violence to foil your plans, my evil but intriguingly lovely friend!” As Hearth spoke, the pink waves of energy shimmered out and flowed around the Silver Spoke Cog. He rose into the air, the pink magic burning more intensely. “Pink crystal barrier!”

The waves shimmered and solidified into a nearly transparent pink crystal covering the cog.

“What– no!” Kit O’Six-Tails shouted, snapping her whip against the crystal three times, six sparks flaring off the crystal with each hit, but no other damage being done.

“Your power is not inconsiderable,” Hearth said. “But you’ll find nothing neither you nor your metal meddlers can do will penetrate that crystal! Consider the lesson being taught, my dear, and withdraw while you can!”

“All right!” Turbine Black shouted. “We’re back in the game!”

“Good work, Hearth!” Turbine Red shouted. “Quick, team – let’s take down that heavy clockclick!”

“I have a better idea!” Grunk shouted, turning, two of the barrels orienting towards the Troopers and firing a thick black mist, spraying the six heroes down with a sticky, black sludge. Jetgirl’s visor sensors went nuts as the glop radiated all across the quasiflux spectrum.

“Aigh!” Turbine Black shouted, his suit sparking. “What’s happening?”

“That slimy sludge is clogging up the vector intakes!” Violet Turbine Bombardier shouted. “The turbines are getting jammed!”

“Aw! Not enough for you?” Grunk shouted, orienting the two other barrels. Tendrils sprang out of them, wrapping around the six gummed-up Troopers. “Try this! on for size!” Dark energy surged down the tendrils, causing the six Troopers’ suits to spark and detonate with power, the six writhing in pain.

“No!” Hearth shouted, shaping a wave of magic towards the group.

The wave splayed off before reaching the Troopers, dissipating without any effect. “What?” Hearth looked shocked.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Kit O’Six-Tails purred. “Did you think you were the only spellcaster here? You may have sealed off the Silver Spoke Cog, but you can’t protect the Troopers through my ward. At least, not unless you go on the attack. But you don’t do that, do you?!” She giggled. “I told you all before. I am not unprepared… for anything!

Keira made a face, still watching readings and activating more sensors. "’I am not unprepared for anything?’" she murmured to herself. "Good God, just say ‘I’m prepared for anything’ like a sane person."

“Don’t worry about us,” Turbine Red shouted. “Protect the Silver Spoke Cog! If the Kitsune get it, it’s all over for the city!”

“We don’t matter!” Turbine Blue shouted. “You have to protect the civilians!”

“So, what are you going to do now, Hearth?” Kit O’Six-Tails purred. She looked positively delighted. “Do you violate your sacred principles and break your oath? Or perhaps you’ll just let the Turbine Troopers be destroyed by Grunk! Or will you see reason and give me the Silver Spoke Cog? Time is running out, Guardian!”

“Yes, it is,” Hearth said. He lifted his chin. “Time is running out. Embrace absurdity. Please.”

Kit O’Six-Tails paused. She stared at Hearth. “What… what did you say?”

Jetgirl shook her head. Embrace absurdity. Keep in the spirit of things. They weren’t in Empire City any more. All right. Fine. Jet set her jaw. Fine. Hearth wanted her to put on a show? She was gonna put on a God. Damned. Show. She reached up, touching the side of her visor. “Sky-eye,” she murmured. “Set to deploy loadout four.”

“Checklist initiated,” Sky-eye wrote across the top of Jet’s visor.

Kit O’Six-Tails shook her head. "Whatever! I don’t think that was one of the options, Guardian!"

“Abort checklist,” Jet murmured. “Deploy for impact in ten, and auto-trigger suit polarity gamma on next silent tap.” She watched the display scroll. She then raised her voice. “Oh yes it’s an option!” she shouted, stepping out of the cloak-spell. To Kit O’Six-Tails and everyone else, it would look like she appeared in a burst of light.

“What?!” Grunk grunted.

“Another one?” Kit O’Six-Tails shouted. “Haven’t you learned better?”

“Wait a moment,” Turbine Red said, almost in a whisper.

“That hair,” Turbine Blue said.

“That visor,” Turbine Black said.

“It can’t be,” Turbine Pink said, almost breathlessly.

“Hearth tried to teach you a lesson,” Jet yelled out, striding confidently even as she watched the timer count down. She had no time to practice, so she had to get this right the first time, and that meant careful timing. “It looks like you’re going to need some extra tutoring!”

“And who do you think is going to teach me, blondie?” Kit O’Six-Tails shouted back, laughing. “Some random Best Buy employee in Oakleys?”

“Not quite!” Jet shouted back. 6… 5… 4…

Showtime.

Jet slid into the first several moves of Tae Kwon Do Taegeuk Form 5. “The Jet-Propelled Girl!” she shouted, shifting her left arm out of the form to smoothly tap her visor trigger. “Toggle turbine!”

Her powersuit polarized, both deploying down and enveloping her arms and hands while discharging an energy wave that reduced Jet’s polo shirt, white slacks, shoes and socks to fiery ash, leaving her in her sleek blue and silver base suit. It was a pretty bright flash, too — maybe not as showy as some ‘transposition matrix,’ but it would do.

Jetgirl threw her arms out straight to either side right as the countdown hit zero. “Original model! Up to speed!

A broad ring of metal slammed down on the ground surrounding Jet, having been fired off by the Sky-Eye Overwatch. Gyroscopic wheels with extension arms rose and spun around her surprisingly fast, locking broad gauntlets over her arms and oversized turbojet boots over her legs while a burst-capacitor powered a temporary blue forcefield. Pauldrons and a cuirass locked over her shoulders, chest and back while a high tech belt snapped around her waist, even as the suit primed, making it glisten almost like metal. Her hair was swept high into a top-ponytail and the suit slid up and connected to her visor, prepping the rapid-deploy helmet if needed, even as a white scarf deployed out and fluttered behind her. With a metallic thrum, the ring’s magnetic catapult launched her straight up, turbojets firing as she spun in the air and boosted straight down into a high impact three point stance. JG-235L4 Launch appeared across Jet’s heads-up display.

Despite herself, Jetgirl smiled. Okay. Absurdity could be fun. Which was good, because Hearth had set the precedent and Jetgirl had to follow it.

“Another Trooper?!” Kit O’Six-Tails demanded.

“We only wish,” Violet Turbine Bombardier said, almost in awe.

“Savior of Oasis from a World that never was!” Jetgirl shouted, rising and pointing. “Blue Point of the Pentad of Guardians! Founding Excelsior and exemplar of speed! I am the Intellect and the Will! I! Am! Jetgirl! And I guarantee you’re not prepared for me!

“We’ll just see about that!” Kit O’Six-Tails screamed, whirling her whip once more, creating another series of sparks and cracks. At least a dozen fresh clockclick warriors shimmered into existence around the kitsune. “Destroy her!”

Jetgirl grinned, her visor auto-targeting the newcomers. She kicked up into a whirl, one bootjet firing for lift, the other for spin, her arm-turboblasters rapid-fire peppering the new clockclicks into dust. She killed jets, moving into a perfect tuck and then seemingly diving straight for the ground. Half a meter from impact her gauntlet turbines fired, pogoing her up over another group of clockclicks and letting her do a forward roll, slamming onto the ground with a full detonation while the shockwave dusted the rest. “What else’ve you got, Charlie Foxtrot?” she shouted with an almost savage smile. “Or didn’t you prepare for someone who would attack?”

“You tell me, flygirl!” Kit swung her whip again, more sparks flaring. “Clockclicks deploy! All of you!”

With a wave of shimmering shadow, dozens of the automata hazed into view, dropping to the ground in formation. The kitsune kept spinning and cracking her whip, bringing down more and more of the mechanical warriors. In what seemed like moments the park was filled with an army of the metal monsters, all advancing on Hearth and Jetgirl with an ominous hum.

“…oh man do I wish I’d brought the perimeter posts,” Jetgirl muttered, looking around. The readings showed dozens more appearing on all sides, all entirely too strong for Jetgirl’s liking.

“Oh no!” Turbine Pink said.

“If we could just get free!” Turbine Blue muttered, pulling at the tendril that still held him.

“Hush, you!” Grunk yelled, sending another dark energy surge down into the Troopers. “I’m gonna enjoy watching this!”

Hearth wove his fingers through the air, deploying more wards around the park’s edges. “I’ll try to keep them contained here. We can’t let them rampage through the city!” He looked at Jetgirl. “How do we play this, Jet?”

Jetgirl narrowed her eyes. “Backstop,” she snapped. “And keep that cog sealed!”

“Done.” Hearth threw up a circular protective ward, this one at a forty-five degree angle to the ground. Jetgirl launched into a flip, then detonated her turbojets right as her boots hit the ward, the combination of which blasted her into the sky and away, her suit’s G-force compensator redlining in the process. The clockclicks ran forward, but by the time the massed platoons of copper and pewter reached herlaunch point the hero was long gone.

“Hah!” Grunk laughed. “Look at your hero, Troopers! She’s running away!”

“Oh Grunk,” Hearth said, shaking his head with a smile even as he reinforced his defenses on the cog, the crowd, and himself. “Jetgirl doesn’t run.” His smile turned almost wicked. “She strafes.

“What?!” Grunk demanded.

With a shuddering boom Jetgirl broke Mach one over the park, flying back over and sending a hail of turbopulses and burst-shots down into the massed machines. The remaining civilians were kept safe by Hearth’s wards even as the blue-clad woman tore through the sky, detonations and explosions dusting dozens of clockclicks in her wake. Kit O’Six-Tails screamed and dove for cover even as Jetgirl swept up high into a wingover, then dropped straight down into a full impact detonation landing, pulse-waves obliterating the remaining Clockclicks into dust. They’d gone from a mechanical army to nothing in less than ten seconds.

Damn it, she had slowed down.

“…what are you?” Grunk sputtered.

“Angry,” Jetgirl said, standing back up and smiling. “Wanna lay odds your ooze isn’t enough to clog my intakes?” The materials analysis that her suit’s sensors had been running completed and scrolled along the left side of the visor display. “Spoiler alert? It’s not.

“Enough!” Kit O’Six-Tails leapt out from behind the gazebo where she’d been hiding from the strafing run – ironically hiding behind one of Hearth’s protective wards. With a whip-crack, Kit O’Six-Tails’s whip entwined around Jetgirl’s scarf. “Say hello to Isadora Duncan!” the Kitsune shrieked, yanking the whip back hard–

The whip and scarf went taut. For a long moment, there was silence. Somewhere, a dog barked.

Jetgirl slowly turned her head to look at Kit O’Six-Tails.

The Kitsune pulled harder on the whip. “…that’s… supposed to work,” she muttered.

“Okay. Kit? Three things,” Jetgirl said. “First off? That joke was in extremely poor taste. A woman died.

“…that’s fair,” the Kitsune said, still pulling fruitlessly.

“Secondly? The scarf is attached to my suit’s pauldrons, not wrapped around my neck, because I’m not an idiot.”

“I can fully understand that,” Kit said.

“And thirdly?” Jetgirl thumbed a hidden control in her gauntlet. “It’s not just a scarf.” So saying, she triggered the tasers connected to the scarf’s mesh, sending eighty thousand volts straight down the whip and into the kitsune. Spasming, Kit O’Six-Tails dropped forward onto her face, the fur on those six tails poofing out dramatically.

“…I want one of those…” Turbine Yellow murmured.

“Really?” Grunk snarled. “Try mine on for size!” He sent another surge of dark energy into the Troopers.

“Let them go!” Jetgirl shouted. “It’s just us now – you can’t win.” As she spoke, she triggered deeper scans on the tendrils that had the Troopers bound. Those quasiflux spectrum emissions made it hard for the system to analyze the heavy clockclick’s tendrils – she needed time… the system analyzing mass, density, tensile strength… all estimates that needed narrowing before she dared try and free the Troopers.

“And you can’t save your Trooper friends! Better go back to the ski slopes, Jetgirl, or I’ll destroy them all!”

“That’s what you– wait.” Jetgirl stared at Grunk. “Ski slopes? Seriously?” She pointed at the Troopers. “There are five other people wearing this uniform! Why do I get all the skiing jokes?” She watched the readings… still too much margin for error, damn it….

“Be fair,” Hearth said. “Your hair adds to the whole ‘chalet lifestyle’ vibe. And your powersuit’s… shinier.

“Hearth? What have we discussed about side conversations during super-battles?” Jetgirl’s voice was sharp – theater, same as Hearth’s lightshow. Hearth had picked up on Jetgirl’s attempts to stall the heavy clockclick. The jokes about Jetgirl’s uniform looking like a ski suit outfit dated back to the first months the Pentad had launched. Out of practice or not, Jetgirl and Hearth slipped back into the patter as naturally as breathing. And that gave Jetgirl the chance to expand her sensor sweep to get the information she needed.

“Oh! It’s the boots! Your boots are just huge turbo-jet… things – so they look like ski boots had a love child with a vacuum cleaner!”

“Hearth? What have we discussed?” Jetgirl watched the materials analysis – the substances weren’t easily identifiable, but density was coming through and the suit’s sensory was watching tiny movements as Grunk pulled the tendrils tight and the Troopers struggled against them… cross-analyzing with the analysis of that ooze…

“We’re not supposed to have side conversations during super-battles,” Hearth said, glumly.

“And what are we doing?” High above, the Sky-Eye overwatch had started projecting epsilon particles down to the scene. Almost no terrestrial gear could detect epsilon particles – if that meant quasiflux spectrum emissions wouldn’t interfere with them, she could get a read as those particles passed through the tendrils…

“We’re having a side conversation during a super battle,” Hearth said, like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar. Jetgirl didn’t remember him being such a ham, but they were out of practice.

“I’m sorry, am I bothering you?” Grunk shouted. “We’re doing something here!”

The visor flashed green and a completed spec list scrolled past Jetgirl’s vision. “No bother at all,” Jetgirl said with a grin. “Hey Troopers! Can those suits of yours stand up to a sustained nine hundred and fifteen kph windshear?”

“Wh– yes!” Violet Turbine Bombardier shouted back.

“Good to know! Guess what!” Jetgirl pointed her right gauntlet at the captive troopers. The gauntlet seemed to split open, four broad panels opening up like the petals of a flower, before they began to rotate around her wrist. “Grunk’s gunk can’t!

“What?!” Grunk demanded.

With a fthumn, the spinning vanes created a pressure conduit, an energy flow around it setting the conduit’s walls and turning the interior into a deployable wind tunnel that punched straight through Kit O’Six-Tails’s ward and windblasted Troopers and tendrils alike. She saw the six Troopers lean forward, bracing against the sudden hammer-blast of wind tearing all around them, even as Grunk’s tendrils and the ooze clogging the Troopers’ intakes began being blown apart. Each bit of Grunk’s stuff dusted into smoke as they were scoured off the Troopers or shredded off the tendrils. Jetgirl was blasted backward, of course, but Hearth had already created a barrier ward that held her in place, the pink magic sliding down her arm to help brace her max gauntlet blast, which was also braced by her powersuit’s arm locking into rigidity while the conduit kept blasting.

Grunk screamed in anger and pain as his tendrils burst into fragments and wisped away into dust, the shockwave knocking the heavy clockclick off his feet.

With a whump, the conduit collapsed, the spinning vanes on Jet’s right gauntlet slowly grinding to a halt even as three spent fuel capsules popped out of the gauntlet’s inner modules with a hiss of steam. The magical bracing faded as well, and Jetgirl stood up straight. “See what happens when you take time to do the math?” she asked.

“I’ll see you destroyed!” Grunk shouted, springing to his feet. “Heterodyne power!” Dark energy began to spin around him again.

Jetgirl aimed her left turbojet gauntlet at Grunk. “Sky-Eye, L G sonic cannon mode, set to factor four.” The gauntlet began rotating, fins and vents sliding open and closed as it reconfigured.

“Rragh!” Grunk shouted, sweeping forward to slam into Jetgirl.

“Fire,” Jetgirl said, and with a massive wave of bass the sonic cannon fired a blast of sound so intense and at such high pressure it was practically solid, slamming Grunk back and making him tumble helplessly along the ground. The cannon shot finished, the deep thrum dying down. “Man, I forgot how much I loved this thing’s sound. All ‘Bou-ROOOOOOM!’”

“Everyone all right?” Turbine Red asked, having gotten to her feet.

Behind her, Turbine Yellow’s gauntlet sparked three times, then began to hum with power. “Oh yeah! Online and feelin’ fine!”

“Allow me to add to that feeling,” Hearth said with a smile, dramatically spellweaving, motes of burning pink fire swirling around him as he channeled the healing power into a fiery pink wave of warmth. It flooded over the Troopers, soaking into them and causing energies to pulse all around them. “Pink! Healing! Escalation!” Hearth shouted as he finished the spell.

“Whoa – that’s amazing!” Turbine Blue said, looking at his hand. “I feel great!”

“Points for the pink energy!” Turbine Pink answered, laughing. "You can never have too much!"

Hearth settled back to the ground. He turned, noticing that Jetgirl was staring at him even as she slid new fuel capsules off her belt and locked them into her right gauntlet turbine. “What?” he asked.

“That was a Sailor Moon attack.” Jetgirl said, closing the gauntlet back up.

“What? No no. It was a spell of healing, generated by the pure life essence of… sakura… and… bubblegum.”

“’Moon healing escalation.’ It’s a Sailor Moon attack, Hearth." Jetgirl grinned. "You are so busted!

Hearth fidgeted. “I couldn’t think of a good phrase. I thought you only watched Gundam!

“I’m an anime fan who never misses Pride. Trust me. I’ve seen Sailor Moon!

“Enough!” Grunk shouted, managing to struggle to his feet. “I won’t give up! I will destroy you all!”

Hearth lifted his chin, looking down his nose at Grunk. “Jetgirl? I do believe it’s time you and the Turbine Troopers finish this!”

“Hot dude’s right!” Turbine Red shouted. “Come on, gang! Let’s put them together!” So saying, she summoned her Red Turbine Techsword and threw it into the air. The others did the same with their own weapons, the fans and cannons, bows and sword merging into a giant, somewhat ridiculous weapon – it looked like Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Crossbow.

The Turbine Troopers seemed to like it, though. “Turbine Thundercannon!” they shouted in unison, striking a pose where they all positioned around the gun, their energy flowing between them, through their arms and gauntlets, and straight into the weapon.

“Stratojet final volley!” Violet Turbine Bombardier shouted, her weapon reconfiguring again.

Jetgirl walked next to the Troopers. “Sky-eye?” she said, coldly. “Lock minimissiles.” Jet’s pauldrons opened and two box-shaped missile launchers extended, each with five small blue tipped missiles poking out.

“Fire!” the Troopers shouted. Their Turbine Thundercannon fired a rainbow of all their colors in an attach beam, which merged with a wave of purple energy from Violet Turbine Bombardier’s Stratojet striker.

Jetgirl hadn’t had time to program the ten minimissiles to fire in rapid sequence and then swirl around the Troopers’ energy wave like some kind of air show, but after everything else she was hardly surprised that they did anyway.

Grunk screamed once more as the energy and missiles slammed into him. The Troopers and Jetgirl all spun on their heels, facing away from the heavy clockclick as he stumbled behind them, fell over, and exploded into a disproportionately large fireball.

“Excellent!” Hearth said, joining them. “And nice turnaway, Jetgirl!”

“Yeah, as it turns out? I’ve seen at least one action movie in my life.” Jetgirl was laughing, despite herself. And feeling a few aches and pains. Damn, she needed to recalibrate her suit’s gyros. And defensive matrix. And airfoils. And it could use waxing.

“Still,” Hearth said with that damnable smile of his. “We need to work on your phrasing. ‘Sky-eye lock minimissiles?’”

“Sorry! Next time I’ll shout ‘Star Gentle Uterus.’” Jetgirl laughed, looking at the Troopers. “Is everyone okay? You guys are great!”

“I can’t believe you’re really here,” Turbine Black said. “This is… like… the best day of my life!”

“It was a good day,” Violet Turbine Bombardier said, turning to look at the damage in the park. “But a hard one. We’re not prepared for the Renegade Kitsunes’ use of heterodyne power.”

“Still, we did save the Silver Spoke Cog,” Turbine Pink said. “That counts for something, right?”

“Yeah,” Turbine Black said, walking over to where Kit O’Six-Tails was still lying face down. “And we finally caught one of the kitsunes!” He reached down to shake her. “Wha– wait… this… these are just rags and papier mache!”

“What?” Turbine Red spun to look. “No no no no no – we finally caught one–”

“Guess again, Red Trooper!” Kit O’Six-Tails shouted, leaping to the top of the gazebo. “You forgot to keep one eye on me, silly Troopers! Ta ta for now – but here! Have this lovely parting gift! Ultimate ClockerKing grow!” She snapped her whip, the six sparks flaring again.

With a rumble, Grunk – suddenly reconstituted – swelled and expanded to twenty stories in height or more. “I’m back!” he roared, his voice echoing through the city. His weapons bristled in the sunlight, and even his voice was loud enough to make the windows in nearby buildings shake.

"…oh dear," Hearth said. "I knew I’d forgotten to mention something."

Series Navigation« ⎇001JW In Nadir Pentad of Guardians: Transposition #1
Liked it? Take a second to support Eric Burns-White on Patreon!
Exit mobile version