“Tag,” Bartok says, dropping down from overhead and tapping me, then spinning away again.
A few feet away she sort of blurs into the wall. That’s a new one. I extend my field a little bit farther around me – up instead of out – and Laces tucks his legs up not quite fast enough. I shoot him. Whatever camouflaging thing they’ve added shorts out just before his suit goes dark, and he plummets, giving me a few seconds grace to grab him before he can hit the floor and gain traction. I tap him in the center of the forehead.
Then I run like hell before his suit comes back online.
He swoops up into the air again, looking down every couple of feet as he makes it up to starting height. Then he waves at us and flies straight for me.
It’s a fake out. It has to be. I just tagged him.
I shove out with all my TK at once – messy, it sparks a little – and he goes spinning off sideways, surprised, managing to pull himself out of his dive just before he touches the floor. Ha. He’s not used to my style yet. I step out of the way of a foam dart. Stop gloating, Travis, and get behind cover.
I dash behind something or other. I think some sort of giant beanbag. I remember these from gymnastics, all triangular and smushy, so we didn’t break our necks – I give it a poke – just a little bit of give and that squeak of plastic. Yep, give ’em a drab coat all you want. You can always tell where they’re from. Hunch notices me, and I duck around another corner, out of line of sight. Or, at least, I can’t see anybody. And I can hear Hunch going the other way.
I mean, I usually like a precog on my side, but he always strikes out when he’s up against Bartok or Laces. I’m thinking it’s a combination of Air Force mind whammy and whatever sort of power dampeners they manage to build into the suits. Less than normal, looks like, but then again, they can fly. Fair trade, probably. Also, someone’s crawling inside the tube next to me.
I pop my head in for a look.
Sass puts her finger to her lips and grins.
Okay, here’s someone I can team up with. Wait, isn’t it against the rules that –
She’s hovering six inches above the bottom of the tube. How the hell does she fly all scrunched into a ball like that? She slowly stretches out, so she’s floating on her stomach, and motions for me to catch her. I pin her there, nod my head towards her elbow, which she tucks into her side. Suddenly, half as much effort to hold her up.
I really kind of hate textbook telekinesis sometimes.
I have no idea what she’s planning, but she seems to be concentrating really hard on forming some sort of ball of – I know it’s not fire, it doesn’t even usually look like fire but – some sort of ball of fire. She gets ready to toss it out of the tube. The opposite end from me, thankfully.
“Sharp left, three feet after it exits,” she whispers to me.
I comply. I kind of wonder whether she’s aiming for Stranglehold. I’m pretty sure I heard him get tagged just after I stepped in here.
The fireball explodes. It doesn’t look much like fire anymore once it does, all dissipating dust and different colored streaks of light. Red, mostly, because it collides with one of Boomerang’s boomerangs, sending it into yaw right back into his stomach. He collapses with a grunt. Quiet.
Not quiet enough to stop Stranglehold from smacking him on the back of the head, screaming, “you’re it,” and streaking back up to the ceiling.
“Should I be worried?” I ask her. “Am I next?”
She shrugs mysteriously, and flies past me with a gentle push. I push back a little, and she does a barrel roll to correct her flight path.
Boomerang is aiming at Hunch and missing repeatedly. Hunch is just standing there, out in the open, ducking out of the way each time he launches a new stick. Boomerang is getting faster and more frustrated, and Hunch just keeps grinning at him. He can be such an asshole.
He winks at me as I step out of the tube.
Boomerang launches a larger than average sparkly red projectile made of solidified extranormal energy directly at me, and I reach out to divert its path. And shiver.
It’s not that I can’t get a grip on it. There’s lots of powers that aren’t quite physical enough, or at least not on our plane, that I can’t touch. It’s that it feels like absolutely nothing as it slips through my field. I can see it, I fucking know it’s there, but it’s just – not. I shove, anyway, not trusting my own aim when I can’t even sense it, but just sending a shockwave at it. Nothing. Looks like Boomerang has a null secondary. Arsenal pulls me away at the last second.
He’s panting and grinning like he’s having the time of his life. Oh to be young and carefree – I could wish my class acted like that when I set up games for them. To date, the longest they’ve spent was eight minutes, and that was on capture the flag. Three against three capture the flag is very boring.
Arsenal manifests a potato cannon. I’m not joking. It’s a huge, over-the-shoulder style, PVC pipe monstrosity, and he points it up in the air, aiming it in rapid sequence at two of the flying figures.
The cool thing about his power is that he can effectively create an automatic potato cannon. One with unlimited ammo. (Well, not unlimited, but Eli knows better than to go at this until he passes out. I hope.)
It looks like Bartok and Stranglehold. They dodge potatoes left and right, well aware they’re been driven right into Boomerang’s sights. Bartok tries to spin away, and I yank her back into the path of the potatoes. She’s right on the edge of my field, so it’s not a hard yank, but she has to curl away from a potato as she does, right into Stranglehold – who’s it now, bitches?
Boomerang glances between them, like he’s not sure who to tag. Aw, come on, dude, you know how gauche it is to tag the person who just tagged you? Bartok. Pick Bartok. With a smirk, he heads for her, and I cheer a little. Arsenal elbows me to keep quiet. I set up a bounce field instead, keeping his potatoes spinning in the right direction to continue forcing the fliers down.
Boomerang throws a few of his sticks at her, and she knocks them away with – what is that, a staff? It is. It’s a tiny extendable metal staff. And she actually knocks them away with it. How is that fair? It can get knocked away by something purely physical, but not my TK? And not even physical physical, like, that thing fold up in a pocket and probably doesn’t even weigh ten grams. That staff had fucking better be enhanced.
Stranglehold seems to be incredibly amused by this, and has started using his force field to deflect potatoes at both of them. Neither of them take the time to shoot him glares. Arsenal stops shooting potatoes at him, though.
“What,” I say, “getting tired?”
“You have no sense of fair play,” Arsenal tells me. “Hunch is going to call time any minute.”
“Guess that means he wins,” I say, “he’s been tagged, what, twice?”
“I’ve only been tagged once,” Arsenal informs me, beaming.