Season Notes: violence, magical coercion and related self harm, references to suicide, cliffhanger
“I think it’s my turn to ask,” he said, without looking away from the stove. In spite of his injured hand, his getting up and cooking breakfast for everyone had quickly become a thing. That morning, Blade and Salem were on security, so it was Mobb, Quickmoon, and Astaroth gathered in the kitchen. As he set plates of eggs and toast down in front of them, he asked, “Why are you here?”
“Because you made food,” Quickmoon replied.
“So if I stop making breakfast, you will pack up and move to another hideout? If I’d known that, I never would have started cooking in the first place.”
All three turned to stare at him. “What?”
That last was Mobb.
He took his own plate and leaned against the corner, not even glancing at the bloodstain they hadn’t been able to get off the wall. “I found you. If I found you, others can. If I found you, Mourningdagger can. None of us want that. Why haven’t you begun relocating?”
The three heroes looked at each other in shock. He looked at them in dawning horror.
With a curse, he flung his plate, splatting eggs all over the kitchen, and stalked out of the room.
“We are so screwed,” Astaroth muttered.
The team had already, before he showed up, known their current headquarters had to be temporary. That they would need someplace to turn into a real headquarters where they wouldn’t need to worry about the dead owners’ heirs showing up to claim it or (hopefully?) the owners themselves. Salem had been keeping an eye out for word on them, and they were still on the ‘missing’ list. They might have survived.
But while it would be great if they had survived, it wouldn’t change the team’s problem.
His question didn’t change anything except the timeline. Which went from ‘soon’ to ‘immediately.’
Unfortunately, they didn’t have any more ideas about where they could move to.
Astaroth was almost relieved when his wrist lit up Thursday morning, two days after he’d rubbed their faces in the need to move.
In under a minute, the full team was assembled in the living room. They transformed as they arrived and were ready to go… but they had no idea where.
“There’s nothing on the news,” Salem said.
Mobb, scrolling her phone, “Nothing in the chat from my reserve group. Don’t know if there would be.”
Blade had pulled out his laptop, “Even Twitter has nothing. What in the world?”
He hovered in the doorway, watching them.
“How can we stop them if we don’t know where they are? There has to be something we can do!”
They all stopped and stared at him. “What?”
He smirked. “If I am here, I can’t be leading the attack. So it’s Poinard.”
“And? Is this supposed to help, or are you just being a pain in the ass?”
“Oh, both. I think I like both.”
“Would it work?” Blade asked.
He shrugged. “Teleporting is not one of my skills, but it should.”
“Can you fuckers please talk sense?” Salem demanded.
“We don’t know where,” Quickmoon said, “But we know who. Use that to direct us.”
“Do it.” Astaroth held his hands out, and the others circled around and grabbed wrists.
As they shimmered out of existence, they heard slow clapping, and Mobb had a clear view of his mocking grin.
They shimmered into existence again on the edge of a manmade lake. Captain Poinard hovered above the lake with a handful of the grey monsters. All of them had giant bags of powder they were dumping into the lake.
“Oh fuck,” Mobb hissed. “It’s a reservoir. They’re poisoning the water.”
On the far side of the lake, a handful of cars were parked, their owners nowhere to be seen.
“Mobb, try to take them. Salem? You have an objection to blasphemy?”
“What does that mean? Does everyone have to turn into Blade?!”
Mobb started shooting at Poinard, drawing her attention.
“See if you can run on water. If Mobb hits them, you’ll need to catch those bags.”
Salem took off, calling over her shoulder, “Not everyone is Christian, you know! How was I supposed to…”
Mobb hit one of the monsters, who tumbled out of the air. Salem stopped talking to focus on running. She caught the monster in one hand and its bag in the other, hauling both back to shore.
Astaroth caught the bag while Quickmoon dispatched the monster. Peering inside, he saw a glittery purple powder. “Heals, take a look at this.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Blade said. He reached his hand in and brushed a finger across the powder. “Ouch!” He yanked his hand back and shook it. “It… bites.”
“A bunch of it already got in the lake.”
“Yeah.” Blade’s HUD scrolled an analysis of the powder. Short version: It was very bad stuff. “I think it’ll poison the whole lake. And if Mobb’s right and it’s a reservoir… Well, the water treatment plants might filter it out, but they’re meant for known problems.”
“That assumes the water treatment plant is actually doing its job.” Astaroth had family that lived in Flint. Add that way police had constantly hassled him for ‘walking while Black’ and his cynicism about anything government was a legend in the team. Though at that point even he was starting to trust FEMA.
Blad began digging into his pockets and pouches. According to his HUD, he needed to combine three…
He was slammed from behind by one of the pink ostiches.
“Frontman, Sword, keep them the hell off us!” Mobb yelled, trying to sight on Poinard again.
Quickmoon stepped between Mobb and another grey, eir greatsword beginning its whirling dance.
Blade crouched down behind Astaroth, who shouted, taking down a handful of greys as they shimmered into existence.
On the lake, Salem took a running leap and grabbed for one of the grey monster’s bags. She couldn’t get high enough and came down hard. The greys dropped their bags of poison to chase after her.
Finding her feet, Salem backtracked to grab one of the bags before it hit the lake, but the other plunged into the water and sank.
Captain Poinard laughed, dumped out the remainder of her bag, and shimmered away.
Back on shore, the pinks were getting past Astaroth and Quickmoon. Mobb dropped her rifle and instinctively reached for her sidearm. It appeared in her hand, a semiauto pistol, and she started taking down the pinks that slipped past Quick’s guard.
Behind the defense Quick, Astaroth and Mobb provided, Blade was doing bathtub chemistry on the shore of the lake. He muttered to himself as he worked, trusting his teammates to protect him while he combined magic powders and healing potions and other impossible things. When he was finished, he had what looked like a glowing ball, so bright it hurt to look at. “Speed!” he called, “Take this. It needs to be dropped into the center of the lake.”
“The center?” Salem asked, racing in to grab the ball. “It isn’t a fucking circle, you know. How the hell am I supposed to know where the center is!”
But she dashed back out onto the lake. The grey monsters were waiting for her. Having been unable to catch her, they tried to get in her way. Mobb grabbed up her rifle and shot one of them out of the way. Salem leaped over the other, landing at a run.
“Now!” Blade called, and Salem spiked the ball into the lake.
The water closed over the ball, and it exploded, spears of light shooting up into the air, turning the water of the lake golden. A giant wave spread out from the center of the lake. Salem raced ahead of it, barely making it to shore before the wall of water.
Salem scooped up Blade and Astaroth, Quickmoon and Mobb started running behind her. Luckily, the wave slowed down when it reached the shore, and they were able to get out of reach.
The pinks were not so lucky. The wave knocked them off their feet and caught them up, tumbling them across the ground. Blade caught a glimpse of them shimmering away before the wave could draw them fully back into the lake.
Then the waters subsided. The gold faded. Five minutes later, there was no sign that the lake had ever been disturbed. No soaked or downed trees, no puddles or pools along the shore. No fish flopping above the waterline.
Just a quiet lake, shining in the afternoon sun.
“Well,” Mobb finally said. “I’m ready to go home now.”
No one disagreed.
Of course, at ‘home,’ they still had other problems waiting.
Mighty Hero Force Epsilon S1, E1
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