Paradox – Chapter 32

“What the hell are you doing?” screamed Bill Grayson at his sister as she raised the ice wall.

As Solid Copy collapsed at the base of her semi-transparent, ten-foot high wall, Amanda Grayson lowered her arms. The ice wall cracked and crumbled to the ground, some falling on the moaning and still prone Solid Copy. Valkyrie could create ice in seconds, but it would take a few hours until it melted away.

“Don’t worry, the boy’s alive,” assured the wind to Alaina as she looked around, “but we need to hurry if we are going to catch Justice.”

“Michael?” she asked looking around before realizing why Justice did not stop to arrest her.

“Justice is chasing Michael down as we speak and will catch him very soon, but we have another problem to deal with first.”

The belly gun of the Osprey, operated remotely by the V-22 crew, rotated underneath the aircraft to face Valkyrie. The electric motor of the chain gun spun the barrels around at a dizzying rate, the high-pitch motor buzzing in the air before fire and hundreds of full metal jacketed bullets erupted from the muzzle. Tracer fire illuminated the path of destruction as the magnesium rounds ignited in the air as they left the barrel.

Before the gunner could correct the trajectory and walk the point of impact to the intended targets, another ice wall jutted out from the ground, tearing open the concrete driveway and what was left of the front lawn. The bullets ripped into the ice, some penetrating all the way through, before Valkyrie could strengthen the barrier.

“Get to the woods,” yelled Valkyrie looking back to her brother with her arms stretched out, blast of frozen power reinforcing her ice shield. “I can’t hold them off for very long.”

“Alaina, hurry,” Bill said waving to his daughter as he retreated back to the front of the house. “You have to run!”

Archangel glanced over Maze’s car to watch as the Osprey continue to rain down lead at her aunt’s ice shield. Streaks of red tracer and copper rounds continued to impact Valkryie’s barrier, blasting chunks of ice all around them..

“Maze, we have to do something. They’ll kill her!” she screamed in the direction she last heard the Enhanced hiding.

Maze decloaked himself as he approached Alaina. “You have to trust me, girl, or the JTF will continue until her protection crumbles.”

A scream from her aunt made Alaina crane her neck behind the large, infamous outlaw standing next to her to see what happened.

“That’s just the first one to get through, Archangel. You must shoot the aircraft down.”

“My dad was right. You are out of your mind,” Alaina screamed as she whipped her head around to try to look at Michael’s protector. “My friends are on that Osprey and agents with families. Only someone like Justice would survive it!”

Another scream from her aunt followed by her father shouting his sister’s name broke Alaina’s stare and reluctance to use her power.

“Ah, dammit,” the red-headed elementalist swore.

“The left engine, my dear,” Maze said without hesitating, “just below the rotor. Hit it with everything you have. That should buy us enough time to get away.”

Maze left out the part that he watched Archangel destroy the Osprey a dozen times or witnessed Valkyrie’s death a dozen more before he found this weak spot. If they were lucky, most of the crew would walk away with minor injuries.

As she extended arms, Alaina, reached down to pull in all the electrical energy from the moist Michigan air as well as all the electricity her body could produce. Her Enhanced blood eagerly reached out to touch the power again as it soaked up charged electrons. Maze stepped away as Alaina’s skin glowed with blue and white energy. Like an athlete passing a basketball, Alaina hurled her arms and body forward, the lighting followed before streaking away towards the hovering Osprey.

As the nose of the aircraft turned to face the front of the house and began the landing procedures in the field across the street from the Grayson home, the pilots saw a blinding light of energy approaching. A bolt of lightning ripped across the cockpit, tearing a large gash in the metal airframe, as the main blast struck the left engine nacelle sending ripples of electrical energy across the metal skin. The aircraft, protected from normal lightning strikes, could not resist Archangel’s power. Inside the hum of the generators ceased and the interior plummeted into darkness as the electricity overload the circuits. Sparks shot out from short circuits before the left propeller started to wobble and the entire aircraft sharply banked left.

The VTOL aircraft darkened as the externals lights turned off and the Gatling gun stopped shooting at her family. Alaina gasped from exhaustion but also in anticipation as the Osprey with her friends inside banked sharply left and the nose dipped. The aircraft death-spiraled down before the underside of the cockpit impacted the ground. The left wing bent up before snapping off the main fuselage and the entire aircraft flipped over. The right nacelle broke off the wing and impaled itself in the loose dirt. Smoke poured out of the wreckage all across the field as small fires ignited on the charred brush.

‘Let’s go, Archangel,” Maze said not looking towards the wreckage. He followed the path Justice and Solid Cope created before the latter crashed into Valkyrie’s ice barrier. “The suffering of your friends will be for nothing if Justice drags Michael back to prison.”

Alaina started to follow, but glanced at her father and aunt. Valkyrie was bleeding from several bullet holes to her shoulder. Her father cradled his sister carefully in his lap as his cauterized the wounds with his fire. His eyes filled with tears as he looked at his daughter.

“You would made me so proud in The Old Guard, Alaina,” he said looking back down at Amanda. “ You have to go before more JTF come. I won’t help them find you or Michael but I don’t think I can protect Amanda this time.”

“I know, daddy,” Alaina said as tears dripped off her cheek, “you only did what you thought was best. Let me do the same.”

“Go, Archangel. Bring back the heroes.”