20 minutes ago.
“On your left! Your left!” Elliot screamed into the communicator but he might as well have been screaming at the TV for all the good it did. He flinched away as the blow came, the cameras on the suit instantly going down and the young man forced to follow the news cameras that kept their distance.
“Gold come in!” He could hear breathing on the other line but received no response. “Dad come in!”
He waited for what felt like an eternity but still received no response just shallow breathing. On the TV the reporters kept their difference, the only thing visible through the dust and debris of the shattered building was the silhouette of the giantess looming over it.
Elliot swallowed. A million thoughts were running through his head though he knew the decision had already been made for him. He shut his eyes and mumbled a prayer for both his father and himself, hoping someone up there was paying attention, while he dashed for his father’s newest creation.
He really wished he had been paying more attention the night before. No doubt his father would have happily gone into every detail about the armor at length should he have only asked. As such he had no idea what the thing was capable of. He could only hope that putting it on wasn’t going to put them all into even further danger.
“Alright seems like the normal set up, nothing to be scared of,” he said aloud mostly to get past the thought of the armor spontaneously combusting or launching its entire arsenal off at random. He picked up the helm expecting, naively, that he could simply put it on his head. His dad, at some point, must have decided that that was far too pedestrian.
The moment it was lifted its eyes lit up as if it was waking from a slumber. Elliot laughed nervously guessing that it must have been touch activated. That laugh turned into a very manly shriek of terror as the helmet seemed to melt into blue and gold muck within the palm of his hand. While this was worth several evenings’ worth of nightmare fuel it only grew worse as the muck climbed up his arm like some sentient blob and then, to his horror, latched onto his face.
Before he could work himself into a full panic however the muck solidified and reformed over his face into something less terrifying, and after taking a moment to make sure he hadn’t soiled himself, Elliot could appreciate the craftsmanship of his father’s work.
While he would have vastly preferred the helmet from the old days in terms of technological capabilities it was night and day. There was a reason they needed someone to monitor the situation back at the base the suits just weren’t built to handle all that information. Not only did this design manage to equal the monitoring set up it did so without being a task to handle. If his eye lingered on a display it would enlarge and go into further detail, and the layout adjusted to his preferences without a command or prompt. It seemed to adapt to him naturally which he found equal parts both creepy and amazing. On another day he would be happy to experiment for hours with it, alas time was not on his side.
With no small degree of fear he noticed an ‘armor up’ icon in his peripheral vision. Wishing for no more night terrors he shut his eyes and let the suit do the work for him. Upon feeling nothing Elliot opened his eyes half expecting the armor to wait until he was looking before lunging after him.
Perhaps only the helmet needed to delve into the realm of horror to get working, or perhaps the suit just worked faster, but he at once realized an advantage in the new design. Suiting up used to take several minutes, not only in preparation, but application. With some of the older models it was a two person job at minimum. This was practically instantaneous! More so it barely felt like he was wearing anything. On first glance the armor looked to weigh several hundred pounds like the other models. Make no mistake while the armors certainly pulled their weight, so to speak, depending on the model it could be a workout just to get the thing to move. Wearing all this gear now felt as if he rolled out of bed in just his boxers.
After he saved his father’s life he really needed to ask him how that worked.
“Alright now to get this thing moving,” he said though suddenly realizing just how to do that was not immediately apparent. ‘Okay this should be fairly simple, don’t want to get in a fight and have to go through a lengthy start sequence. Hey what’s this one,’ was his final thought before he was sent rocketing through the ceiling.
That might have been a rather humiliating end to his return to super-heroics but it seemed the suit felt that plowing through steel, stone, and mortar about as troubling and plowing through Styrofoam. He hit open air without as much as a bruise and looked down at the Elliot shaped hole in the roof below with disbelief.
“Plenty of time to feel awe later,” he said chastising himself. He scanned the skyline and for a brief moment enjoyed being exposed to clear blue skies before finding his target. Even from this distance the chaos was readily apparent. The news crews had lost track of his father, and he was still only getting static. His dad might be…no stupid thought, one not worth thinking about.
Given everything else he’d seen so far flight speed wasn’t surprising. Still he was hurtling over downtown high-rises in less than a minute of flight time. He didn’t spare too much time looking at the devastation. Elliot was already pissed and knew fighting angry wasn’t the smart play. Mutatio might be an amateur but he was an amateur with very deadly toys. It wasn’t long before the main weapon in his arsenal came into view.
Seeing her on TV didn’t do her justice and a part of him, a very cowardly part, screamed at him to fly as fast and as far as he could in the opposite direction. People just weren’t meant to be that big! Just the sight was unnerving.
Fear though was just as dangerous as anger. It was fine to feel it but he couldn’t let it control him or, fancy new suit or not, he might wind up a stain on the ground. It was then he felt his comm crackle to life and a surge of hope well within him.
A grin threatened to split Elliot’s face, “I hope you’re not giving up already after the trouble I’m going through!”
“Elliot?” His dad sounded terrible and Elliot could feel the anger and bile rise up in his throat. He was just an old man who liked to play with his toys, he had done so much for this city, given up so much, shouldn’t just be able to retire in peace without this kind of shit happening?
He bit back his anger and used it to give him focus. Elliot had to admit he was out of practice, at his current job if he lost his temper he might just lose a client or a paycheck. Here he could quite easily lose his life. So he fell back on old habits. When the emotions get to great whether that be from fear, pain, anger, or even excitement, turn it all into a joke.
“No, no, no…one second.”
Whatever plans the doctor had had he apparently wasn’t ready for reinforcements to arrive so soon. He scrambled to get his giant facing the right direction but wasn’t remotely prepared for how fast Elliot was moving; though to be fair neither was Elliot.
He had intended to stop just short of the giant’s face for both dramatics and that it would allow him to assess the situation while taking attention off his father. Completely mistiming his current velocity however he instead slammed right against the poor giantess’ forehead. The force snapped her head back and sent her colossal body careening toward the ground. Whoops…
Like with the whole ceiling incident he was more or less unharmed. Unlike the ceiling the giant could say the same and quickly rose to her knees. Elliot could only be thankful that none of the scattered police forces were caught behind her. That definitely wouldn’t have been very heroic. Ignorant of his screw up, the remaining forces gave a raucous cheer and quite sensibly began to gather the injured and make their escape.
“When we’re on the clock call me Dynamo,” he said in bombastic fashion and couldn’t help but strike a pose. As cheesy as it was it guaranteed Mutatio’s focus was on him and only him. The good doctor kept claiming not to want to hurt anyone and limit the damage but having watched the news reports Elliot could describe Mutatio’s efforts as piss poor at best.
It took Mutatio a moment before recognition kicked in. “The sidekick.”
“Hey it’s ‘the partner’ alright. The S-word is very offensive and derogatory term.”
Mutatio having dealt with the far more serious member of the family seemed to need a moment to reboot. “Ah the new look had me puzzled but the infantile humor is definitely more familiar.”
“It’s a trademark.” Dynamo said with a hint of pride
As he battled exasperation Mutatio violently flinched back as Dynamo’s fist impacted of his shield. The doctor stared wide eyed as he had only looked away for a moment. Energy flexed and sparked from the point of the young hero’s fist and Mutatio had to order Lindsey to jump back before the entire shield collapsed in on itself.
The doctor panted suddenly regarding the new comer as a much bigger threat than he initially anticipated. “Feigning buffoonery coupled with brutal tactics. I think I have your measure now.”
“Smaller words doc, it’s still early.”
“We need not do this you know…”
“Save it, I’m kicking your ass, I’m kicking her ass, I’m saving this city, and then I’m going back to bed. Got it?” He said ticking off each item like he was remembering which groceries to buy.
“Well then I suppose there’s no reasoning with some people. Lindsey be a dear,” Mutatio of course didn’t need to say a word but Elliot got the sense that the doctor was irritated. The young hero expected the giant-err Lindsey, to roar, bellow, or perhaps stomp around your typical monster movie stuff. Instead she pulled a gun the size of a bus on him and, in what was becoming a pattern today, Elliot was at a loss for words.
The gun erupted with a canon like retort and Elliot threw his body away from where she was aiming. The dramatic action wasn’t necessary. There’s a very good reason guns are poor weapons against something as small as a fly. The shot missed him by a mile though Elliot realized with horror it wouldn’t miss everything.
The bullet impacted against a building three blocks down and the gouge it tore through the structure resembled what may have happened should it have been hit by a wrecking ball. That was out of the evacuation zone. He could hear the cries over the new casts, distressingly one actually went off air. His urgency to end this quickly shot up another couple levels.
He rose up but stopped suddenly as ‘Lindsey’ lowered her weapon. “This whole endeavor is pointless for the both of us.”
“I’d say the families of the people who died today may say different,” just how many where there now?
“And how many more will there be?” Mutatio asked anticipating Elliot’s thoughts. The doctor raised his hands in a placating gesture. “You have the advantage now, I don’t deny that. You will very likely win and perhaps in short order, but how much damage will result?”
The area was evacuated, but just the damage caused by the giant’s flailing had been enough to perhaps permanently damage the weaker structures. How much more would it take to put her down? There was always taking out Mutatio directly but the man was weary, cautious, and had one hell of a defense. Perhaps if Elliot knew what the armor was capable of but he had already had a couple instances of underestimating it. Next time he might not be so lucky.
“All I wish to do is depart, not the desired outcome you’re looking for at this point granted. But isn’t it preferable to all this?”
It was tempting but wouldn’t salvage the situation. Did anyone have the slightest idea what was waiting for them out there. Devson almost certainly did, but he was gone, and played things so tight to his chest any potential answers either waited out there or with Mutatio.
“How about you surrender your friend there has a seat, you tell us just what is going on, and then maybe we’ll give you a comfy cell to spend the rest of your life in.”
“I did try to be reasonable,” he said though his actions immediately turned to barbarity. Lindsey took aim at a familiar damaged building the one where his father still lay prone.
Elliot may have been fast but he was as of yet not faster than a speeding bullet. The gun belched off three shots in rapid succession each leaving jagged gouges in the base of the building. The foundations had already been shaken by her direct assault and her very presence created tremors that did its standing no favors.
“I don’t imagine that will last long,” Mutatio added unhelpfully.
“This isn’t over,” Elliot scowled but knew any action now would have to wait.
“Then I imagine I’ll be seeing you on the outside, hopefully that will be enough to-”
Dynamo didn’t stay to here yet another reason why Mutatio was right in his fanaticism instead he bolted toward the now collapsing building through the hole Lindsey had made earlier.
“Children today, well my dear we’ve failed in one regard but still must press on. We are on a schedule after all.”
Nicholas had not been idle since his son’s arrival though the progress he made was minimal. Through mostly sheer force of will, and stubbornness only bolstered by age the old man managed to make it to his feet. That was until the impacts once again shook the building. It didn’t take a genius to know Elliot and the good doctor were having a tussle outside, but even he was surprised just how much indirect damage they could do. He was about to make the call to Elliot try to lure Mutatio and his slave to somewhere more sparsely populated and preferably with as few buildings as possible.
The act was put on hold when, what he could only describe as explosions, rocked the building and knocked him off his feet.
Thoughts of aiding Dynamo, once again, took a back seat to survival. Heavy debris fell from the level above and the old hero was once again had to be concerned about being crushed like an ant. The suit could do a lot but being buried under a few hundred tons of rubble would probably be too much for it. Getting to his feet would take too long. Nicholas tried to activate his jets only to hear something akin engine failure.
The old man laughed.
How many times had he had to rescue some old fool from certain death in his youth? He darkly thought of the times he was too late and prayed Elliot would arrive if only for the boy’s sake. He looked up. His view of the outside now blocked as the roof began to collapse in on itself. Another man would have waxed poetic about the blessing of seeing the real sun and real sky once before he died. Nicholas was more concerned about seeing someone break Mutatio’s jaw. The old man shut his eyes having accepted that you don’t always get what you want in this world, and was at peace believing Elliot would do what he couldn’t.
As the fourth floor rudely joined the third and rushed toward second the oncoming rubble roared like a freight train. As such whatever Dynamo said, as he thrust through it all, was lost on the older man. Just as well a torrent of “shit shit shit” wasn’t the most heroic of things to say.
There would be no miraculous last second flights through the rubble this day though. It took everything for Elliot to outrace the building’s collapse the most he could do was dive atop the gold armor and take the hit himself. By the time he realized this just might be a stupendously bad idea the fourth, third, second and first floors came to meet him.
About a half hour later, once it was clear that Mutatio’s departure with his giant was genuine, the area flooded with first responders, medical personal, press, it was pure chaos. So much so that even a civilian like Amy Brandt could enter the area relatively unnoticed. The damage done to the city had been worse than any incident in years. Even the bad old days would have struggled to produce a singular incident such as this.
There were so many hurt just from the incidental damage from the giantess that Deacon knew he had no choice but to help. Amy didn’t have his strengths as a physician so she fell back to what she knew could do. Finding Nicholas was just a matter of following the trail of destruction.
Along the parade route it wasn’t pretty. Crushed floats, cars, and other things that she was happy to say she did not witness. But that was with the giantess just moving through the streets. This was an actual assault.
Apex tower had literal gouges torn from it. Smoke wafted from a floor that looked utterly demolished. The streets surrounding the building where impassable, jagged chunks of asphalt and streets looking on the verge of collapse. Still in better shape than some of the buildings some of which were little more than rubble.
She had tried calling Elliot and had gotten static. He should have been watching out for his father back at their place. Elliot may not have wanted to the family business any longer, but he knew the rules as much as any of them. He wouldn’t have shirked that duty. He wouldn’t have let his father go it entirely alone.
There was active work in digging out one of the buildings and an uncomfortable feeling rose in her chest. The area was supposed to have been evacuated so who was in there? A stupid question she realized. Who else it would be? But there was the niggling question of would it be a rescue mission, or would this be a salvage mission?
She wanted to ignore the thought but it was impossible. The situation wasn’t over, the skies were blue, and there were giants at the gates. If Elliot and Nicholas were dead…
There was an incessant vibration in her pocket that snapped it from her thoughts. She pulled it from her pocket and was both surprised and overjoyed to see it was Elliot calling her.
“Oh good I have a signal, also you’re okay, so bonus.”
“Where are you?”
“Downtown,” he said casually.
“Downtown where?! You don’t get to be glib after today!”
“Downtown under a couple tons of rubble, Dad’s here too if you’re wondering.” There was a pleasant, if haggard, ‘hello Amy’ on the other end. Her eyes immediately went to the building the emergency services were trying to dig themselves out of.
“We’re fine, we’re fine, you big worrywart, I do need a favor though.”
“I need you to look after dad, he’s not seriously injured but he is hurt. Also I’ll need someone acting as my eyes and ears.”
“Wait you’re not…”
At that very instant a blue and gold hand punched through the rubble causing the on the crews jump back and then give a defiant cheer. A cheer that grew louder as Dynamo not only emerged, but pulled a damaged, but very much alive, Gold alongside him.
“I’m going outside and I’m bringing Mutatio back, no matter what’s out there.”