Portal – Chapter 40

“Get out of here before she comes back. All we did is piss her off,” the agent warned. He could breathe now but the vines were still wrapped around his lower extremities. He was not going anywhere soon.

“No way,” Michael said as he continued to cut. “You wouldn’t leave me behind.”

The agent remained silent, ashamed to tell Michael the truth. If the roles were reversed, the mundane agents would leave him behind, it was standard protocol and not common knowledge among the Enhanced agents.

The earth thumped.

“What the hell was that?” asked the agent trying to turn around and look up the embankment as dirt particles rolled down the side. They felt the thump again, noticing everything was vibrating in the area.

“Hopefully backup,” Michael said giving the agent his knife. “Keep cutting and I’ll go check it out. Hopefully, HQ has dropped in reinforcement. I’ll direct them here.”

“Affirmative, recruit,” said the agent, trying to lighten the mood with a mock salute. In fact, he was terrified inside and the only thing between him and death was a raw Enhanced recruit. He did not even know the callsign of this recruit but it was not Justice. Another thump.

Michael climbed the embankment, praying to himself to see another team of Harris armored agents looking for Team Four. Instead, he saw a giant monster through the trees,  the E-Specs called them rock golems, walking in his direction. He was several tons of anger, courtesy of the Earth Elementalist they had shot. He glanced down at the agents in the ditch. They would be dead within seconds if that monster reached them. He had lure it away.

“Hey!” Michael yelled as he dashed between the tree away from the agents. “Hey, you crazy bitch. I’m over here!”

The monster hit the edge of the grove and stopped as a voice echoed through the grove, his voice. The JTF Enhanced had commanded that armored insect to shoot her. She wanted him to scream as her pet squashed him. The rock head rotated left and right trying to locate him.  As Michael emerged from the grove just east of the golem, less than 100 feet away, the golem smashed it’s rock fists together and charged him.

Michael was proud of his success of getting the golem’s attention but now he had a new problem, tons of angry rock bearing down on him. He tried to sprint but the uneven ground made it hard to move quickly and the golem was simply faster. It swiped it’s giant paw at Michael, tossing him in the air . Michael hit the ground and flipped over twice before landing on his back.

The golem snorted as it slowed down and stomped forward. Michael shook his head from the force of the landing and looked up. The monster was over him now, ready to end everything.

“You could have loved me, pretty pet,” said the golem in a strange, deep voice. The Earth Elementalist was talking through her creation. “I would have set you free.”

“I’m not your pet, lady,” Michael yelled angrily. He was tired of the crazy woman’s nickname for him. “I’m not some animal for you to control.”

The golem laughed. “You are so blind you can’t even see the leash around your neck. You are a JTF dog, a disgrace to our kind. It is merciful that I destroy you. Goodbye, pretty pet.”

Michael looked up at his murderer and waited for the end. As the giant’s leg came down, a blur flew over his head and slammed into the beast. With a powerful punch, Justice knocked the golem back a few feet. The monster retaliated with a punch of it’s own. The two titans slugged it out a few times before the golem fell backwards.

“Well, get up and get to work, Larson,” Justice yelled. “I’m not fighting this damn thing for my health.”

“What the hell do you want me to do?” Michael replied thankful to be alive but annoyed that it was Justice that did it. “That thing will kick my ass, again.”

“It’s a golem, genius, not an automaton. There is an Earth Elementalist around here somewhere controlling it. He has to maintain line-of-sight.” Justice turned to look at the golem standing back up. “Go find him.”

“Actually, it’s a she,” Michael answered quickly.

“Well, then, go find her and take her out while grumpy and I rumble.” Justice turned to the golem as the two resumed their fist fight. He was not using his super speed for some reason.

Michael started looking around for the woman, trusting Justice was right about her keeping line-of-sight on her creation. He spotted her near the treeline to the west of the meadow, trying to blend in. She had ditched her ripped leather jacket and was only wearing the jumpsuit.

As he started to run towards her, a fissure opened up underneath and exploded. For the second time, Michael found himself flying and subsequently crashing. He quickly jumped up as the recognizable sound of the ground opening up warned him she was trying to do it again. The ground exploded several more times but Michael was now keenly aware of the signs she was using her power. As he heard the sound again, he dodge to the right but was blind-sided by a rock formation that jetted from the ground. Michael felt a sharp crack on his head then he hit the ground again. She was using every opportunity to prevent him from reaching her.

He must have hit that rock harder than he realized. He was hearing a voice in his head roaring, screaming at him. It was almost overpowering, each word an earthquake trembling in his mind.

Get up, it said, berating Michael. Stop thinking like a mundane.

Michael stood, still wobbly from the face-first impact. He scanned the treeline to find  the  Elementalist again. She was powerful, capable of controlling her golem and attacking him at the same time. Up close, she would be extremely dangerous, the earth itself was her weapon. He was crazy for trying to attack her.

For a moment, the world looked strikingly different, locations no longer mattered. Everywhere was connected to everywhere else. He could see how his portals worked. They followed the obvious fourth axis, the most direct path from one point to another in three dimensions, like folding a piece of paper to connect two dots rather than draw a line between them. Why had he not seen this before? It made more sense.

Michael realized that his limited knowledge of physics was holding him back. He could see the world in a unique way and only he could exploit it. There was something he was very good at. He punched as hard as he could, anger and frustration fueling the energy behind it.  A few inches before his arm was fully extended, a portal opened up.

Her creation would have destroyed the pretty pet if not for the traitor’s son. That bastard   Justice jumped in front of her golem and saved him. They were still battling out, neither able to overcome the other, when her pet spotted her. She created fissures and rock walls to slow him down, giving her time to make another servant to finish the job. When he stood up again after hitting the rock wall, he looked different. For a moment, his eyes…

Mother Nature was confused when grey particles appeared in front of her face. They quickly formed a flat surface that seemed to peel away the world itself to reveal a hole in space. That hole was filled with Michael’s fist as he punched through and hit her squarely under the left eye, breaking her nose and snapping her head violently backwards. She blacked out before she hit the ground.

Michael pulled his fist back through the portal and turned around. When he had hit the Elementalist, he heard a large roar and the sound of a rock slide behind him. The area was now covered in a hazy dust as the rock monster was reduced to a pile of rubble. Justice was pushing the rocks off himself when Michael arrived.

“Damn thing jumped on top of me and then crumbled. You get the Elementalist?” he asked.

“Yeah, she’s over there. I think I knocked her out.” Michael said, not sure exactly what he did. He had never used his power in anger like that before.

“You hit a woman?” Justice teased, looking at Michael’s fist and noticing blood splatter. He must have really punch her hard to cause an injury like that to an Enhanced at her category. Maybe the E-specs missed something and he was part Tank.

“When you create a giant monster to step on me, you kind of deserve it,” Michael retorted. “What are you doing here? I thought you were on the south side.”

“You still can’t tell the difference between the real,” Solid Copy said as he body began to reform into the familiar Chinese Enhanced, “and the best. Sorry, I’m late. I was chasing a sniper when I got a call from HQ that Four was missing. I didn’t realize Lady Justice sent you too.”

“She didn’t,” Michael stuttered. “Hurry, they’re over here…”

If Solid Copy-Justice was powerful enough to take on a rock golem, Michael did not want to think about how he pissed off the real one.