Paradox – Chapter 41

The drone slipped sideways to the left, hovered, and moved back to the right. It was patient and did not rush the attack even though it had range and mobility over the target in front of it.

Scimitar knew the JTF engineers programmed the drone to mimic Archangel’s flying style from training footage of her battles with the other recruits and the mundane agents. She was calculating and decisive in her actions so the drone would be too. The drone started to move right again when Scimitar shifted his balance, but before he could put both feet back on the ground, a bolt of lightning erupted from the wall, struck the drone and clipped his shoulder before he could dodge out-of-the-way. Scimitar went airborne, the wind knocked out of him when he hit the asphalt twenty feet away and tumbled across the street.

“Stupid,” Scimitar yelled angry at himself. Alaina did the same move to Justice during one of the training matches with the same results, but Justice immediately jumped up and speed charged behind cover before the next bolt hurled at him. Scimitar did not have super speed and the drone was closing in with nowhere to hide. He knew that he could not avoid the next blast which would likely end the training session with him “dead” and embarrassed in front of all the guests.

The drone hovered just short and above the prone Scimitar. As the next bolt charged, the air sizzling as the generators spun up, Scimitar changed his arms into long metal spikes. He punched down as hard as possible, his spiked arms splitting the asphalt like an arrow shot in a haystack. A thin shield spread out like wings hiding him from the drones view.

The bolt struck Scimitar’s metal arms, the white-hot electricity flowing down the shafts harmlessly into the ground. The drone flew backwards, the computer logic confused by the lack of damage to the target. Scimitar stood up with a large grin as his shield reformed into arms..

“Didn’t expect me to ground myself, did you?” Khaleel said confidently and adding a laugh. “Let’s see what you have now when you can’t electrocute someone.”

The sound of crumpling sheet metal erupted behind Scimitar. He turned around to see Rumbler, a tank the team recently captured in Cincinnati and currently awaiting transport to Leavenworth.

“Hi there,” Scimitar said smiling. “I wondered when you’d show up.”

Rumbler did not say anything as the sound of the capacitor firing again filled the facility. Scimitar instinctively rolled to the right as the bolt of light gouged the asphalt. Rumbler dove out-of-the-way when the bolt neared him.

“Don’t like electricity either, big boy? C’mon, let’s get this show started.” Scimitar flattened the left pole into a shield.

Rumbler charged as Scimitar braced for impact. Just before Rumbler impacted, Scimitar jumped up, putting his knees on the back of the shield. Rumbler crashed head first into the shield and sent Scimitar airborne again.

This time, Khaleel did not tumble mid-air as he rotated his body 180 degrees and faced the rapidly approaching drone. The drone’s programming realized the danger and tried to gain altitude, but it was too slow. Scimitar’s right arm formed a hook as he wrapped it around the flying drone.

“Now I have you, sharmuta,” Scimitar cursed in his native Arabic to the drone’s sensors. He knew the machine would not respond or have any idea who he was talking to, but it felt good to say it anyways.

The drone tried to spin but the extra weight taxed the engines struggling to keep man and machine in the air. When the drone realized it could not shake the extra weight, it leveled again as the capacitor charged.

Scimitar glanced at the ground where Rumbler waited for him to fall and then looked up at the directional control for the lightning. He reached up with left arm, changing to clamp and locking himself on it. His right arm shifted to a large two-prong fork as metal from his arms bridged over his chest.

The bolt stuck the drone as the bridge pieces merged. The lightning roared down the metal arm and across the bridge. Scimitar strained his neck back as the heat assaulted the skin on his face. The electricity continued down his right arm pointed at Rumbler. The bolt struck the unaware tank in the chest sending him hurtling across the EUT. At Archangel’s power rating, few Enhanced could continue the fight. Rumbler was not one of them.

Scimitar did not wait to see if the tank reemerged. His right arm formed in a giant sledgehammer and he swung it at the drone. The first swing knocked the left side engine off the body, sending it screaming into the wall before exploding. The drone lost altitude and crashed but Scimitar wrapped himself in his steel egg before impacting the ground. He emerged from his protective shell wielding the sledgehammer and shattered the smoking drone into pieces with a single blow.

The “Cease Fire” buzzer sounded and the lights in the facility illuminated. Scimitar smiled as his arms shifted back to his flesh and bone arms. He did not hear the door to the observation booth fly ope or see the walking fury rapidly approaching.

“What the hell was that?” screamed Trauma.’

Scimitar put his hands up. “What? This was a demo for the Marines to see what we can do. Pretty cool, huh?”

“Bullshit,” Traum responded, her face glowing redder. “You are training to fight Archangel and Michael.”

Scimitar looked back as Rumbler shifted from a stocky, brown-haired Caucasian body to the more familiar Chinese Enhanced. He stood up slowly and favored his right arm but did not appear to be hurt too badly, nothing a trip to see Preacher could not fix.

“I should have known you were involved in all this, Wei,” Trauma said without hiding her sharp-tongue.

“Have I done something to offend you, Trauma?” Solid Copy asked confused while trying to move his limbs. “I am sorry.”

Trauma looked at Solid Copy and Scimitar. “Whenever the Director needs someone for some bullshit work, you always get involved. Why can’t you use that brain of yours and see what they are doing to us?”

“I am doing my duty,” Solid Copy said in the same calm voice as he always used. As Wei tried to dust himself off, the pain became intense and he stopped. “One of the provisions of my entry visa in to the United States is I obey and follow the orders of the JTF. And if I’m going to find my sister and return my family’s honor, I need to stay in this country.”

Trauma shook her head and tossed up her hands. “Yeah, whatever. If you want to be Thorton’s guinea pig, be my guest. But you.” Trauma poked at her boyfriend. “You are out of your damn mind if you think you can take down Alaina and Michael together.”

“You saw what I can do,” Scimitar said pointing to the hole in the concrete. “If I’m grounded, her lightning can’t hurt me. She’s exposed while flying so she has to come down or our armed drones will shoot her down.”

“And do you think that piece of shit Rumbler is anywhere near the power of that … thing inside Michael? If Vengeance comes out, he’ll tear you apart without batting an eye.”

“I wanted to use Justice,” Solid Copy said still slowly rubbing his shoulder, “but Scott has been absent for several days and my replication powers are not indefinite. I had to use our second option, something I did not enjoy if you must know.”

“Listen to yourselves! Alaina was…is our friend. She trained with us. She is one of us and Michael has no control over his powers.”

Scimitar clenched his muscles, his eye squinting and his teeth grinding tightly in his mouth. He leaned forward. “You need to remember which team we…”

“Excellent work,” shouted Director Thorton as he walked in the EUT surrounded by JTF staff and Marines. “Using the drone’s power against the tank was brilliant.”

Scimitar stepped away from Trauma, his anger and frustration pushed aside to fake a smile for the upper brass. “Thank you, sir. I’m glad you and these good men could see our progress in taking down two dangerous fugitives.”

“Indeed you have, Scimitar,” Thorton said putting his arm around Khaleel. Scimitar looked back but Trauma just frowned before walking away with Solid Copy. She would make sure the medics treated him well. “I just got a call from Secretary Lehrer. He’s working with Harris Industries on a new project and they think you’ll be a great candidate.”

Author’s Note: The next new chapter will be in two weeks.