The stealth suit took most of it, but hitting the wooden floor with my back still hurt. Worse, he'd grabbed both my arms, making it impossible take a swing at him.
I could still point the sonic weapons on my forearms at him though. Straining to aim, I brought my fingers down on the palm pad and pressed.
Grandpa's design did a wonderful job of narrowcasting the sound. I could feel the speakers grow warm under my arms, but I heard nothing more than a high pitched whine.
Future Knight's faceplate shattered without breaking, still in one piece, but so full of cracks that it was completely opaque.
It didn't stay unbroken for long.
Haley yanked him off me, grabbing his left arm with her right. He let go of me and swung wildly at her, but never connected. I saw a flash of black and white as she punched through the face mask.
He went limp.
Lowering him to the floor, her dull, black claws adjusted, turning into hands, milky white nails becoming shorter and pinker.
I pulled myself up.
Just then, Jaclyn stepped through the front door carrying Red Bolt's unconscious body.
"Where's everyone else?" I asked.
"I don't know." She dropped Red Bolt next to Future Knight. "Call downstairs. They might still be putting on costumes."
"I had no idea it would so easy," she said. "One punch and he's down."
She looked toward where Red Bolt lay, then looked up. Then paused. "Do you think he's okay?"
"He's still breathing," I said, "and I don't see any blood."
"Too bad we don't have anyone who'd know," she said. "So, are you going to be safe with 'Mirrorman' while I bring Red Bolt downstairs?"
"As safe as we are anywhere," I said.
The rest of the team arrived shortly after that. Minutes later we were all back in HQ. Jaclyn and Daniel had laid Future Knight and Red Bolt face up on the carpet. Daniel stood between them. The rest of us sat down at the main table.
Except for Haley and I, everyone else was still in costume.
Haley sat next to me. "Are you okay?"
"I'm great," I said. "The suit took most of it when he jumped me, and you got him off me before he punched me. How about you?"
"Me?" She gave a half smile. "I'm good."
But it was only a half smile.
"Good," Travis said, "you're great. I've never heard of the guy, but the armor looks tough. Good idea to go for the faceplate, Haley."
"That was Nick's idea. He broke it. I just punched through."
"Well, there's lots to be said for teamwork too," he said. "Which reminds me, good job Jaclyn."
"It's nice to be included," she said in an amused tone that (to my ear) hinted that she'd only barely been included.
That may have just been my imagination. At any rate, Travis didn't seem to notice it. He turned to Daniel and said, "Hey Danny-boy, what've we got?"
"Nothing good," Daniel said, "They know who Nick is and they've got ideas about Vaughn and Cassie. Plus they're not the only ones out here. There's a team after Nick. I get the impression that they're a bunch of nobodies, but Vengeance is here and he's after Vaughn."
"Holy shit," Vaughn said. "He's going to kill me over a mail box?"
Almost at the same time, Cassie said, "That doesn't make any sense."
"It doesn't have to," Daniel said, "the guy's crazy."
Marcus looked up from his sketchpad, "I heard he collects ears."
"I don't think that's true," I said.
Travis said, "Daniel, did they tell anybody where they were going before they came here?"
"No." Daniel turned away from the bodies, giving Travis his full attention.
"Great. Then just wipe their memories of the day. One problem solved."
"I can't do that. That's not right."
Hey folks, I'm going to be on vacation for the next week. I'll continue to update because I've got all of this written already, but if something happens, you can go to my website and pick up where you left off.
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Bio: Jim Zoetewey grew up in Holland, Michigan, near where L Frank Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz and other books in that series. Admittedly, Baum moved away more than sixty years before Jim was even born, but it's still kind of cool. Jim didn't attain his goal of never leaving school, but did prolong his stay as long as possible. He majored in religion and sociology at Hope College, gaining enough credits to obtain minors in ancient civilizations and creative writing—had he thought to submit applications to the relevant departments. He attended Western Theological Seminary for two years. He followed that up by getting a masters degree in sociology at Western Michigan University. Once out of school, he took up the most logical occupation for someone with his educational background: web developer and technical support. Simultaneously, he finished all but three credits of a masters in Information Systems, a degree that's actually relevant to his field. He's still not done. In the meantime, he's been writing stories about superheroes and posting them online at http://legionofnothing.com. He's still not sure whether that was a good idea, but continues to do it anyway. He's also not sure why he's writing this in the third person, but he's never seen an author bio written in first person and doesn't want to rock the boat.