Bliss is It
INTERSTATE 84 SOUTH
JUST OUTSIDE BLISS, IDAHO
“All right, Nops,” Nat’s voice over the radio was deadly serious. “Bliss is the last compound we need you to hit, and time is of the essence here. This is the closest enclave to Twin Falls that we’ve found, and it’s likely that nearly everyone you meet is going to be a puppet and very hard to break. That said, don’t kill ’em unless you absolutely have to. Distract, confound, disable. Don’t count on being able to convert them. If y’all pull this off, you’re preventing an entire backup regiment from getting to Rooster and Wastey. Good luck.”
The lights of Bliss, Idaho shone in the distance as the party bus sped toward it.
Alex was going slow with the bus, cautious. Giving them some time to see what all was around them. Giving them time to make a plan. “So…doubt I will be able to be as ah…generous as I have been with past shows. You guys think I should just go full security? Might be better to just wait it out.” He muttered. He had a feeling in the pit of his gut about this one. A bad feeling.
Lights Show is a bit surprised when he hears Nat’s voice, but is also super happy too, and a big 😀 appears on the dome of his helmet in neon rainbow colors.
“Nat, bae, we got this. Like. Wow. WE SO GOT THIS.” He did a little spin, then moonwalked back to his console, “Hearts and kisses, butwegotthis.” And he’s totes not trying to convince himself of this more than trying to convince eir. Of course not!
Instead of thinking about it, he starts up his own brand of LET’S RIDE INTO THIS PLACE IN STYLE (AND STUFF) music, to set off the, um, set right.
“I know you got it, E. You all do. I’m so psyched to be on this team with all of you, and it’s just killin’ me that I can’t be there. All y’all best survive for victory makeouts. That’s an order.””WHOO!”
“That’s not actually an order,” Emi cut in on the radio. “The makeouts. Surviving is an order. Not the makeouts.””awwwwwww”
“It’sanorder,” Nat whispered. “Damselfly out.””WHOO!”
Pandora was stretching again, making sure she was loose enough to pull off whatever moves would be necessary. Even though Nat and Emi could not see her response, the mute woman flashed a nervous smile and a thumbs up to both present members of Neon Ops before placing her headphones over her ears once more and tuning her MP3 in to catch Elliot’s signal. Her pale-white eyes instantly shifted color to a bright golden hue.
As the bus approached the town, Alex took note of several flashes of color appearing in the distance… blue and red. Police. A blockade. The cops had blocked both sides of the road, and several well-armed troopers stood by the cars.
Alex turned the bus on very slow autopilot before jumping from his seat, hopping up and down taking in deep breaths, getting his adrenaline pumping. He went over to his teammates. “Alright guys we got this. Just a little blockade.” He gave them high fives as he jumped around peering back at it. “Nothing we can’t handle.” They could tell in his voice he was nervous. “We got this. We got his. Ok. Hands in.” He gave a marker to Vin so she could write on his hand as they huddled up. “Stop at the barricade, or go over it? Thoughts?”
Go over them, Pandora writes on the back of Alex’s hand with a small smile. Set us up as close to the center of the compound as possible so that we can have as big of an impact as possible. Turn this bus into a fucking musical fortress in the middle of their town.
Lights Show chewed on his lip, a loading wheel popping up on his helmet as he thought about it. “Hmm… Fortress? I… I uh think I can do fortress. I got some ideas? I mean, for songs. Not like. Viable plan ideas.” He lets out a nervous laugh, music a bit quieter as he muses on things. After he shrugs (and an emoji shrugs on his helmet), the music turns back up again, leading their epic charge.
“Over it is.” Alex gives off as confident a grin as he can given the circumstances, rushing over to the wheel. “Hold on to your lunch and plug in! It’s gonna be a rocky ride!” He pushed the pedal to the floor hard, making sure they would reach top speed by the time they reached the barricade and he grabbed the wheel to pull them up and over at the exact last second, hoping with his eyes shut that it would be enough!
The cultist troopers brought their weapons to bear and started firing! Bullets, slugs, and buckshot glanced off the armored exterior of the party van until nearly the last moment, and several of the troopers dove out of the way as the van barely cleared the cop cars, knocking the lights clean off of one of them.
Pandora stuck her head out of the passenger-side window as they go over the barricade and spat on top of one of the cultist’s head, making a face at the rest of them so as to rile them up a little. She then settled back into the passenger’s seat and put her legs up on the dashboard as she chuckled silently as the adrenaline pumping through her veins helped her to relax a little more.
OH shiiiiiiiiii was that gunfire? Lights Show rapidly switched the beat to one of the songs he’d been practicing for Pandora, hoping that he did it in time.
<Music: https://youtu.be/dSFrHi7z_ag Maor Levi – Reflect>
Alex opened his eyes just in time to hit the ground running, swerving the hover-bus this way and that, keeping damage to a minimum as much as possible. “Going to be reaching the compound any minute now, we probably need to take out those gunmen first!” Alex shouted over the roar of the bus and the fire and the music blasting.
Mercifully, Nat had anticipated this problem, making sure that everyone was fitted with a comm device that mimicked the one ey had implanted against eir jaw—the Neon Ops agents could all hear each other perfectly well, even over the loudest din.
Well. Except Vin. Nobody could hear her.
As the party bus caromed off the road on the other side of the blockade, the troopers who’d dived for their lives stood up and fumbled for their weapons while those on the sides kept firing, having little effect on the armored bus, which careened off the exit into town.
Route 30, the road cutting through the town itself, seemed clear enough going in, and mostly deserted… but Alex spotted people darting into buildings, barely managing to get out of sight. Nat had said to keep an eye out for the Bliss Community Church as a possible base. Said church had been renovated a few years before and was therefore the most modern and spacious building in town.
Alex saw the structure almost immediately, looming overhead and silhouetted by bright moonlight.
Alex brought the van into a skid, parking it right infront of the entrance with a horrible groan as it tilted juuuuuuust enough to not tip over, before slamming against the ground. He had taken all the handicapped parking. “Like a glove!” Alex shouted before popping the door open and jumping out. Seemed like they had some time before the police got to them. “Best we incapacitate these goons first.” He added, Alex’s arms and fists growing thick branch muscles and tough bark skin, he slammed them quickly into the concrete in search for dirt.
Dirt was easy to find; the pavement of the parking lot was only a few inches deep, with dry packed earth below. It wasn’t easy to get through, but Alex was plenty strong enough.
A high-caliber bullet smacked the pavement from a steep angle. Someone was in the church tower with a rifle.
Pandora spun in her chair before sprinting outside, her eyes a solid shade of grey as dust flew up from the ground in front of her from where the bullet had collided. With a grin, she moved directly into the path of where the sniper had aimed and pointed to her heart with a wide smile. Come on, buddy. Shoot me right here. I dare you.
Power-slide complete! Lights Show unplugged his helmet and sprinted outside–
He gave out an undignified yelp and jumped at the sound of the bullet, glancing quickly between Alex and Vin to make sure they were okay! And he patted himself down. He was good. All epic leather motorcycle suit and shiny helmet. Phew!
Thankfully, he got that music going again, same song, figuring that, um, a barrier might be a good idea vs bullets and stuff. Maybe.
Alex was already on it, unflinching when faced with close bullet fire he called out “Vin! Cover my back from the watchtower!” Meanwhile the earth rumbled as a thick wall of heavy trees began forcing their way out of the ground, surrounding them and the bus from the oncoming police force and providing plenty of cover for both sides to use. It’d take a moment to complete though, he needed his team to keep him safe during the process.
A shot rang out again, and a bullet pierced Vin’s hand and chest, passing directly through her with what would normally have been a painful and debilitating wound. Instead, her flesh closed up behind the bullet’s path, and there were a few seconds of silence… and then a sniper rifle hit the ground, dropped from far above.
Alex’s shield started to rise just as a half a dozen armed cultists poured from the doors to the church, shouting. They fired wildly, some of them dropping to the ground after shooting Vin.
Pandora patted the spots where she had been shot with some form of shock as she seemed perfectly okay. She gave her two compatriots a thumbs-up to show that she was okay and moved to make herself a more appealing target for the goons to shoot at, moving as best she could to take shots to non-vital limbs so as to mitigate damage on her opponents. She did not want them to kill themselves, after all.
“Ignore the slattern!” Someone shouted. “She turns our bullets against us. Shoot the abomination and the robot!”
The gunfire shifted, aiming more toward Lights Show and Alex.
Slattern!? Pandora thinks to herself incredulously. I do not even know what that MEANS and I know that it is insulting! Whoever said that, you are the first on my nad-kicking jamboree! With that, Vin books it into the crowd. They may not be able to attack her, but she could certainly knock their weapons away.
As Pandora waded into battle, the cultists didn’t quite know what to do. This woman was charging them, attacking them, and they couldn’t hit back? Pandora was able to disarm several of them before some were able to get by, shoving her but not striking to get past her blockade.
After the reached a certain height, Alex began curving the trees, making them thinner, faster, going for the group behind Vin, flanking the back of the bus. The leafy flora tips began slapping them around their faces, making it extremely difficult to aim properly. He let out a grunt in pain though, as a bullet grazed his hip. “No your an A-BOB-NATION!” One of the tendrils shook a goon around angrily till he dropped his gun.
With the sound of impact, Pandora danced her way back through the crowd of goons and blew three short whistles to signal a change in song as she moved to Alex’s side to protect him from any more stray bullets.
Duuuuuude they totes thought he was a robot?! That was cool. A neon thumbs up appeared on the dome screen on his helmet, and he did a little spin, keeping himself as well shielded as he could while still playing.
And of course, since they were changing their attention, it was time to switch songs!
Lights Show was quickly surrounded with rainbow pulsing light, small cloud of sonic bursts around him like a shield as he spun the song for Pandora.
As Lights Show beatmatched the song transition, bringing the trance backbeat into a halftime dubstep rhythm, the brainwashed troops fell back. A barely-audible shout came from behind Alex’s shield, and the troops near the periphery fell back further. Some stayed to try to fight or recover their weapons, but it was clear that they were losing ground.
Alex, being satisfied with his tree wall, shook his arms out of the ground, pointing at the fleeing troops. “Time to go on the offensive! Let’s round them up and cuff them up for the time being.” And with that he sprinted after the baddies trying to regain their weapons, kicking them away and clocking one in the face so hard he spun. Then Alex grabbed his arm behind his back and a heavy wood covering locked it there as he let the bad guy fall to the ground. “Were doing good team let’s keep it up!” He cheered, then pursuing the other troops with much vigor.
Clink. Clink. Two grenades sailed over the tree wall and bounced off of the asphalt.
“Shit! Get behind the bus!” Alex grabbed his captive and dived on top of him, hoping his body would at least somewhat protect the innocent.
On the playlist’s transition, Pandora lost her reflective immunity as her eyes changed hue; a swirl of rainbow replacing the simple grey. Lifting her hands, colorful light began to swirl above her palms as she turned towards a charging assailant and, twirling to the side to avoid a second attack from her flank, let loose a barrage of frozen energy towards her original target’s legs before turning to another cultists and blasting him against the tree wall with a beam of purest force.
Wait was that a– oh no, worse. It was two. Lights Show stared up for a moment. It felt like a million moments, but they were grenades. And then he acted, keeping the beat, but swinging his arms, launching into full dance. A concussive arc hit the first grenade, launching it back towards the building, and then a second– okay, that one missed, but no one was looking.
The third (technically) concussive arc hit the second grenade, flinging it back as well.
Appropriately, there was a big red exclamation mark on his helmet at the moment. He was only screaming internally, though.
..and both grenades struck the wooden shield, bouncing back. Lights Show caught them both with another pair of arcs, and they bounced again. This time he’d get them over the top. This time–
Kneeing another thug hard in the side of the head to force him into the ground whilst her beam cycled harmlessly through its gamma form, Pandora’s eyes go wide as she sees the grenades being juggled between Lights Show and the wooden barricade. Beginning to sign something before realizing it would likely be lost in the chaos around them, she scrambled up one of the trees and, using a beam of concentrated water, used the combined blast and her own weight to try and move the trunk out of the way partially.
The grenades both exploded in midair, shrapnel pelting the bus, LS’s armor, and the tree behind which Vin was hiding. Nobody seemed to be too badly injured from the detonation, though the cultists were scrambling even more frantically, some of whom were bleeding from small shrapnel cuts. The smoke from the grenades mixed with the already increasingly-hazy night air as there was a brief lull in the action.
Alex jumped up from atop the cultist. “That was freaking awesome!” He shouted at LS and Pandora, beaming, before jumping right back into the action. He clotheslined another baddie right in the neck and downwards so they hit the ground hard, roots immobilizing any and every goon he took down as he waded through the enemy lines.
Oh no. Oh NO NO NO NO. His ears were ringing. He could hear the EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and that was terrible because that meant bad things and he tries switching into the next song but what he’s playing is slightly off key.
Using the blast of the grenade to catapult her backwards a bit, Pandora slammed her feet straight into the face of a cultist. Springboarding off of this goon with a flip, the woman made a pair of finger guns and pointed them at the center mass of another goon. With a pair of BANGS that could barely be heard over the cacophony, she fired a stream of force bullets straight into this individual before landing. Stuck on the opposite side of the barrier from her compatriots, Pandora ran horizontal as she twirled and dove above and below strikes aimed her way, firing shots into the crowd with concussive shots of her own as she worked her way back around and into the fortress.
The yellowish lamps in the parking lot bathed the thickening fog covering the area in light, creating a haze that was getting harder and harder to see through. Luckily, this worked in Pandora’s favor: the brainwashed troopers couldn’t see her to hit her, and she heard bullets thunking against the wood all around her as she ran.
Alex was undeterred by the fog, growing two massive wooden plows on his arms and running through the enemy ranks like a football player, shouting out his position for his friends. ((Tag))
The screech of his ears was still there, but Pandora was running around, and now he was running out of cover into the fog, and he may have just panic switched songs. But, like, it fit. Right?
Lights Show dove out from behind the tree wall, tucking and rolling. He came up in a sprint, flinging a sonic wave at the closest person right as the drop hit.
Not only did Vin’s eyes change to shadowy-purple, but soon she had vanished from sight completely as the dancer dove into a shadow. Moving slowly from one pool of darkness to another, Pandora soon leapt straight out of a goon’s shadow who was sneaking up behind Lights Show and swiftly plants her foot straight into his groin. She pats her companion on the shoulder three times to let it know it was her and that she had his back before diving into the darkness under a nearby tree.
There seemed to be… fewer soldiers. Had they gotten through all of them? And was that a burning smell in the air? Was something on fire? It didn’t look like there was the light of a fire anywhere nearby. Odd.
Lights Show sniffs, nose wrinkling. Did he singe some hairs in that explosion? He patted himself down, breathing a sigh of relief when he felt his helmet was still in place. Okay, good– WHAT ABOUT THE TREE WALL?!?!?! He whipped around, trying to keep the beat and multitask and HOLY SHIT was this more difficult than he realized it would be.
“Let go, little sinners.” A woman’s voice, somehow audible over all the music and violence. “There is more for you in heaven and earth.”
Pandora steps out of the shadow of a goon she had just taken down, eyes scanning the dark surrounding them as she tried to work out where the voice was coming from. Her muscles screamed with exhaustion, her powers draining her each second they were being used, but there was so much adrenaline pumping through her veins that she hardly even noticed. That would be something she would worry about later when everything had passed.
“I was like you in so many ways,” the voice said. Where was it coming from? Was that a dark shape moving in the suddenly-smoggy air above the tree shield? “Letting go, giving myself to her… it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Alex busted through the smog to stand next to his friends once again. He didn’t pay mind to the figure above yet. “Hey, guys, you all good? Nobody hurt? Just throw an OK Pan.” He was bleeding from a cut on his leg, torn right through the pants. But other than that and his hip he was fine.
The mute superheroine flashes a thumbs-up to her partner and then points up into the air towards the woman with the same motion. Muscles tensed, body still as plans flashed through Pandora’s head. Their adversary could fly, that much was clear. In order to stand the best chance at success, therefore, they would have to get her onto the ground and pummel her to a pulp before she pulled out of range. That would probably be up to Lights Show and her as she knew that Alex was best on the ground. The smell, however, concerned her. It was that of an open flame. Could she use fire? Was that another ability of hers? No way to tell at the moment. Best to assume yes and avoid giving her more kindling to pump herself up.
Pandora turned to Alex and then pointed to the trees before drawing a slice across her throat. Cut them down for now. Trust me on this one. I think I have an idea. She then looked to Lights Show, pointed to the woman above as if she were drawing back the string on a bow, and blew three whistles on two fingers to signal a change in song.
“Ah… I…” Lights Show saw the signal, and he had no clue what song she could possibly be referring to. He really didn’t have enough time to study them all (no, partying time was not time he should have been studying, shush). And now…
“Do you trust me?” He gave her a weak look, which was thankfully hidden by the shiny black dome of his helmet. “I… I really hope this works.”
And he started playing another song.
“Defiance,” the voice said. “You don’t take this seriously. Very well.”
Multiple dark shapes moved in the smoke, above and behind them.
“You got it love!” Alex saluted and shoved his hands in the ground, his trees bending down backwards, flat on the ground. He jumped up onto one of the flattened flora, looking back and up at the shapes trying to make sense of things.
A silent chuckle ran through Vin’s body as this new song came on, her eyes shifting to that multi-colored rainbow hue from earlier as she pointed two finger guns up into the sky. Bright and colorful energy swirled up her arms and gathered in her fingertips as she closed one eye to focus on the targets in the air in front of her. This was going to be epic.
Still audible over the music, the woman kept speaking. “Once you are subdued, hollowed out, free, you will understand as I came to understand. I no longer obsess over the gadfly I failed to kill. It will be hollowed out too.”
Cultists poured from the smoke in a unified wave, weapons raised.
“Oh no, that’s Smokescreen!” The alert exclamation flashed on his helmet again, replaced by the image of a light bulb turning on. “HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR A MOMENT!” And he kept up the obnoxious music, crouching down to try to make sonic waves around them. He was shaking, he was sweating way too much in his leather suit (yeah, his bad for choosing black leather, oops), and he was sure he was missing a beat now and then on the song, but, he HAD to get that smoke away from them.
Vin stood stoic despite being the closest to the smoke in front of her, taking a deep breath and holding it in as she continued to charge her attack with her one open eye still focused on those in front of her. Come on lungs, don’t fail me now. I cannot move or else this thing will not fire…
“Yes. Hello, Lights Show. It’s good to see you again. I look forward to you becoming part of the family. The gadfly is already defeated, did you know? Shadow Mask’s legs are broken. The gadfly is immobilized. The Oathkeeper is on the brink of surrender. You have lost. Give up now.”
CODEX UNLOCKED: Smokescreen
Once a stoic Legionnaire with a troubled past, Smokescreen was a versatile hero with the ability to create hundreds of kinds of specialized gas with uses ranging from deadly neurotoxin to healing. Sadly, when she was caught by the Lure of the Damselfly, the Legion found themselves having to hunt her down to retrieve their black ops agent from certain death. She was last seen unconscious over the shoulder of Callister Rayne, and is assumed to have been captured by Anathema.
“DON’T YOU DARE TALK ABOUT MY FRIENDS LIKE THAT!” Lights Show kept crouched, teeth gritted, pulses of sheer beat swirling the smoke away in slow wafts. That wasn’t going to be enough. He knew it wasn’t going to be enough. And if what she was saying…
Elliot closed his eyes, concentrating. He’d never tried this outside his bedroom before, but… Now or never.
He focused the bass down, like jets beneath his feet, coming from his palms, determined that he was gonna soar up there and uppercut that traitor!
Alex pointed a finger at the cultist battalion behind them and shouted “fire!” The wall of trees that was flattened all rose up at the same time at high speed, like a tidal wave, and crashed towards the enemy, blowing a massive amount of the gas away from them.
With the command, Vin finally let loose her attack as a flurry of rainbow-blasts rocketed out from her fingers towards her enemies. Each one shaped like a cat for some odd reason, the barrage of concussive missiles would explode into shining fireworks as they struck their targets. Even those who tried to flee were not entirely safe as the trail of this barrage followed the path of the single, rainbow-colored eye Pandora had kept open as she continued to hold her breath.
At first Elliot was worried he wasn’t going to get off the ground, and he was just going to look like this sad little idiot in an anime pose on the ground but– oh shoot. He wasn’t on the ground anymore!!!! He wobbled at first, panicking, and the beat skipped for a moment, but then he stabilized himself enough and pushed the bass even harder, shooting straight for Smokescreen.
The smog parted before him in a ring, pushed away by the pressure waves wreathing Lights Show. For one moment, they cleared completely around his opponent, her amethyst-tinted eyes wide with shock. They almost seemed to hang there for a moment, but then Lights Show slammed into her and they both plummeted to the ground, his fall broken by hers. Elliot heard and felt Smokescreen’s bones buckle under him as the shock of their impact with the ground jarred him.
As the last of her missiles collided with their targets or exploded, Vin jumped backwards into the clearing of air made by Lights Show’s takeoff. She took a couple deep breaths before managing to blow three whistles again, coughing a little afterwards as she let her body rest by Alex’s side for a few moments.
Alex held her gently as she let the coughs out, wondering slightly why he wasn’t getting affected by it to bad. He patted her shoulder and then got in a back to back position, scanning the area for more enemies…and Lightshow.
“Ah…” Smokescreen managed to gasp, blood trickling from her mouth and nose. “I can’t… feel. Pity. If I don’t … counteract it… this—this haze. Will end us all. It has been… good to serve.”
Despite her exhaustion and shortness of breath, Pandora blew out three whistles once more even as her legs shook with overuse. Her entire body was threatening to keel over.
Lights Show could feel his skin itching, and that couldn’t be good at all– he could hear Pandora coughing too. And then it dawned on him. First thing first: new experiment in songs:
Second, he ripped off his helmet– immediately his eyes started to water, and breathing felt like sandpaper, but it was easier to appeal to a person when you could see faces and stuff. Or something. He grabbed her face, staring down at her, and pleaded.
“Look, I know you didn’t want to hurt Nat back there. It was just a lot of stuff gone wrong. Come on. You don’t have to do this.”
As the new song struck, crackling black energy shot through Pandora’s headset as her eyes turned a shade of pitch black. With a groan of pain, she collapsed to the ground and the energy rocketed into the air before clouds started to billow up above. The mute clenched her teeth with concentration as she tried to control the discordant song as rain began to fall and a great gust of wind began to sweep through the area. Lightning crackled and struck the top of the church’s steeple close-by as Vin grabbed her headphones and threw them off. The song was not coming from them this time, however, and so the power continued to build stronger and stronger as a tooth actually cracked from how hard she clenched her jaw.
“Ha… beautiful…” tears shone at the edges of Smokescreen’s eyes. “God, I can’t remember… the last time… I… I…”
Her breath hitched for a moment, and the amethyst light flickered in her eyes. “Oh God,” she murmured. “I … what have I done… what have I done!”
Alex grabbed Vin. “Hey! Hang in there!” His eyes were starting to water from the gas. There were the effects. He managed to lift the larger than him woman in his arms with ease. “We need to get out of here. Lightshow! We can’t stay here!” He put up an arm to brace himself from the wind, moving against it, hoping it’d blow the gas behind them, he went as fast as his failing and wounded legs would allow. He winced. He wasn’t going to make it at this rate. Not with the two of them.
Rain poured from the billowing storm up above as black energy continued to crackle through Pandora, her headphones dragging across the ground behind her and Alex as she opened her mouth in completely silent screams. Lighting struck the steeple again and then struck the ground close to its entrance, the strikes becoming more and more common as the wind continued to gust.
Elliot let his head drop, forehead resting against hers. His eyes were stinging and he kept blinking, but he couldn’t tell if it was the smoke or something else. Dammit, he had something in his eye. That was the story he was– there wasn’t time for this.
“Hey. Hey, you can still fix this, okay? Just… stop the smoke. Please. Then we can get out of here together. Whatdya say?”
“Your… your friend blew the smoke away,” she choked. “It’s already inside you. But—”
She coughed out a thick white vapor, and Lights Show inhaled it before he could react. Suddenly his airways felt clear, his lungs stopped burning. He felt… almost refreshed.
“I can’t move…” Smokescreen whispered hoarsely. “…them… here… hurry…”
Alex was holding Vin tight. Looking her in the eyes. “I’m here for you love. Stay in there. I’m here.” He was already making his way to Lightshow. He would drag all three of them out of here if he had to. Even though he wouldn’t make it. They were in this together. “We need to leave before the smoke comes back!” He shouted over the storm to no avail, clutching Vin tightly. “The music…you’re hurting her!”
Vin “Pandora” Peter’s eyes focused upon Alex’s, pain clear in them despite how pitch-black they were as thin tears of blood leaked from their edges. If she would just pass out, this discordant power would finally come to an end. The song would not let her fade though, it kept her going and going as that black energy ripped at her. She reached a hand up to Alex’s cheek and gave him a pained smile. Hey, at least she had something nice to look at…
Lightning struck more fiercely, thunder booming in time to the beat as dirt was thrown up into the air around them all. Dust was moving at such speed that it could slice the skin thinly as rain came down like a hail of bullets. This song was not getting any better. It was getting worse.
“…them to me…!” Smokescreen was visibly struggling to stay conscious, reaching out her one movable arm toward Alex and Vin.
“Come on…stay with my Vin. Focus on my voice. Uh.” God damn it. There was desperation in his voice. He needed to do…something. Something fast. He began humming. “Twinkle twinkle…” He didn’t know the words. His fist clenched, water distorting his vision. Warm. He shook his head, continuing the song, pushing forward at any cost.
Huh. That was… weird and good. Okay, cool. Now– Elliot glanced up. Oh. Alex was carrying Vin away. And– OH SHIT THAT IS A BIG STORM. Lightning struck mere yards away as if in agreement.
All color dropped from Elliot’s face as his eyes widened as he immediately stopped the song, switching to one Vin had actually prepped with him.
<Music: https://youtu.be/c33DbNoVtAU >
Worried, but determined not to fuck this up any worse, Elliot reached down, wrapping his arms around Smokescreen as best as he could. He struggled to stand, straining, then used a little bass to help him get up. Wow that was a– whoa, off balance, gotta sway a bit, then he was firmer on his feet, and charging after Alex and Vin.
Smokescreen cried out in pain as Elliot lifted her, broken limbs dangling at angles they really shouldn’t.
“HEY COME BACK WECANFIXTHISOMGYOURUNTOOFAST!”
The black energy around Vin’s body fades away as the discordant song died. Her eyes cleared, a bright-blue shade shining through the darkness as the growing pain in her body began to lessen. A gentle breeze wrapped around her and Alex, the man’s wounded leg beginning to knit itself together even as the blackened scorches that colored Pandora’s veins remained. Continuing to look up at Alex, she reached a weak hand up to his eyes and brushed a tear away. She only had seconds of consciousness left in her.
Alex stopped at the end of the storm, the end of the song, and the end of Vins pain. He sniffled a bit, squeezing her to him, but with the end of his momentum…he let the poison take hold. No more adrenaline to keep him going. He fell to his knees, turning his head at the approaching Lights Show. He couldn’t really understand what he was saying, but at this point he wasn’t sure it mattered. His eyes were growing heavy.
Seeing Alex fade terrified Pandora, her eyes shooting open with sudden adrenaline. There was no more energy left in her body, the storm had seen to that, but she still focused intently upon the song that was echoing through the air as she begged it to help her. With her last remaining strength, she leaned up and kissed Alex, breathing a healing wind into his lungs to clear away the effects of the gas before her eyes turned that blank shade of white she had when there was no music and passed out.
Finally, Elliot dropped to his knees and powerslid over to them, right in time to see Pandora pass out and PANIC A LITTLE MORE. Yes, internally, he was screeching. Externally, he was doing things. Like gently putting Smokescreen down next to Vin, and hoping it wasn’t too late.
“Friends,” Smokescreen murmured, a white mist coming from her mouth, nose, hands, eyes, even skin. As they breathed it in, the burning in the air went away, their lungs felt clearer. “I betrayed you. I betrayed myself. Please… tell the Damselfly…
I’m s .. s o
Her head lolled, and she was still.
Alex was dazed by the kiss, his eyes du for a few moments before finally snapping back into it. “Vin. Vin!” He shook her gently. “No! Don’t go!” He didn’t know about the white gas, and so he just looked at Lightshow desperately, red eyed. Helpless as tears streamed down his face.
“Hey, dude, breathe deep and shotgun that shit to her.”
Alex looked confused for a moment, but finally he caught on. He moved as quick as he could, breathing in as much as he could before desperately breathing it into Vins lungs. He didn’t care if it was some kind of trap. Didn’t stop to consider it as a possibility. Nothing else mattered.
“Neon Ops, come in,” a familiar voice came in over their comms. “Anathema has been apprehended. We’re alive over here. Is… are you guys okay?”
For a moment, Lights Show looked really excited to hear Nat on the com, and he pressed his own earpiece to ring in. “Hey, Nat, it’s Lights. We have Smokescreen–” He glanced down, and realized there was a dead woman in his arms.
He promptly fainted.
As the mist was breathed into Vin’s lungs, her eyelids fluttered a little bit and she opened them for a second. There was a moment of shock that she was waking up to a kiss, but soon realized that it was with Alex and thus was completely cool with it. The burns across her body healed slowly as dead nerves began to rewire themselves. It was… It was actually quite painful, really.
She made a small sound and then turned her eyes slightly to see the limp woman on the ground beside Lights Show who seemed to have collapsed. Breaking the kiss suddenly, Vin slapped Alex’s shoulder and pointed to her with some desperation before pointing to her eyes. There was still a tiny bit of blue in them as Elliot’s song drew to its conclusion.
Alex looked at the corpse, and back at Vin with a shameful, somber look before shaking his head. He clicked his earpiece. “We’re all safe Nat…only. Only one casualty.” His voice was breaking a bit as he called it in, his eyes still wet. “Not one of us…but.” He shook his head trying to think up how to word it.
The mute superhero immediately understood what Alex meant when he shook his head, some tears springing to her eyes as well. She may not have known this woman, but it still hurt to see someone they tried to save pass away. With whatever remaining strength she had, she wrapped her arms around Alex to give him all of the support she could muster before falling into another bout of unconsciousness; this time from sheer exhaustion rather than pain.
“Hang tight, gang,” Nat said, “a crew’s on their way. Good work, and um. Thank you. For staying alive. See you soon, kids. Love you.”
“Smokescreen is dead.” Alex said bluntly, after mustering his courage. “They said…that they were sorry.” He gripped Vin in his arms. Unsure how he felt about it. Conflicted.
“…oh.” There was a long silence on the other end of the connection. “Thank you. D-damselfly out.”
Alex moved Vin and Lightshow to the grass, making them comfortable until transport arrived. He looked at Smokescreens body. She could have killed them. His fist tightened, his lips forming a scowl, but it softened. “But she didn’t.” He let out a long sigh, letting his muscles relax. He lifted her up delicately, laying her a good distance away. He made her look respectable. “Thank you. I’m sorry you didn’t realize before. You had the potential for good. Everyone does.” He said quietly, before folding her arms over her stomach. It was time he got back to his friends.