Season Notes: violence, magical coercion, references to suicide, cliffhanger
Prince Mourningdagger and eir three lieutenants hovered over the fortress that had just appeared in the middle of the city.
Watching them were the five who had just transformed. Later, they would struggle to come to terms with the power that had invaded them and the destruction of their homes. But the power filling them shoved their confusion aside and let them focus on what needed to be done.
“What are your names?” Mobb demanded.
“Astaroth. I suspect I’m the frontman,” he said, giving his glowing look a once over.
“Quickmoon,” ey tested the heft of the magic sword as ey spoke. “I’ve got a greatsword. And I think I know how to use it! I guess that makes me defense?”
“If you say so. Mobb, and it looks like I’m still the fucking grunt.”
“Blades. I’m fairly well supplied. I think the grunt would call me the REMF.
“Salem. I got speed. For whatever damn good it does. Anyone got a bloody plan? Cause I’m guessing running isn’t an option anymore.”
“Was it ever?”
“If we’re sentai,” Quickmoon said, “we’re supposed to work together. Where can we meet up?”
“I’m at 5th and Overhall; the Guard is mobilizing here. We should coordinate with them.”
“No.” Astaroth wasn’t going to get bogged down in discussion with government… people. And how could they coordinate when they had no idea what was going on? “We go straight in. Meet at the fortress. Clear civilians and take down bad guys as we go.”
“Don’t keep me waiting, assholes.”
Quickmoon took a moment to tell eir family to barricade the door. Mobb grabbed a radio off one of the soldiers who saw her transform. Then they were all moving. Four mostly straight lines drawn across the city. And one crazy zig-zag.
Salem did indeed have speed, a lot of it. She focused on pulling people out of the danger zone, bringing them back to the park she had collapsed at a few moments and an eternity ago. It would take the others a while to reach the end, so she didn’t need to rush.
Astaroth strode straight down the middle of the street. Boldness against bullies was an old habit, and the ability to slam them into walls with a shout just made it better.
A greatsword is meant for defense; Quickmoon was right about that — defense against a group attack. So ey decided it was time to tank. As ey moved toward the fortress, ey used ‘verbal aggros’ against every one of the monsters ey saw. They rushed in, getting in each other’s way as they attacked em and the reach of the greatsword kept them off of em. It spun and flashed in eir hands, drawing oddly colored blood that rained off the blade as ey led them back toward the fortress and away from the many survivors.
“Any other gamers here?” Ey called with a laugh.
“1v1 me, bitch.”
“Well, I’m gonna need some DPS pretty soon. Maybe some support heals. Going full Jenkins has never been an ambition of mine.”
“What the hell are you two talking about?” A burst of gunfire came through as Mobb spoke.
“Our tank with the flashy sword set themself up as bait and needs someone to be the ambusher,” Blade translated. “I’ve got potions, but I don’t think AoE is on the menu.”
“Someone stop them!”
“My six is clear,” Blade continued, “but I’ve only got a sidearm, and the area ahead is full of hostiles. This may turn into a massive FUBAR.”
“Now you’re speaking my fucking language!”
“I do recognize the word ‘hostiles,'” Astaroth put in, pushing on the word ‘hostiles’ to swat another monster. “Does jargon-man need an assist?”
“I think I can go around.”
In an odd way, they got to know their powers and each other while fighting their way to the fortress. It worked, somehow.
They reached the fortress at about the same time, the five of them and a few dozen monsters who hadn’t yet figured out how to get past Quickmoon’s sword.
“Okay, what now?”
“Do you feel that?”
“I think so…”
“Can you pull it off, Quick?”
They had no idea how they knew what to do, then or later. But they all knew it. In a move that no one else should try, ever, Quick pulled eir sword back into high guard, then twisted and slammed the point into the ground. It stuck there like the sword in the stone. The ripple it created knocked the monsters off their feet for yards around.
Quickmoon took a knee next to the sword. All around the fortress, the others did the same: planting their hands on the ground and pulling, pulling up. As they pulled, a blue shimmer rose out of the ground. Pulling still, pulling against the whole weight of the Earth, standing, straining, lifting, raising, one last effort, hands flung over heads, up and out. The world froze as that shimmer spread up and over the fortress and Prince Mourningdagger, locking them away from the city.
Everyone — including Our Heroes — stared in shock. Then Mourningdagger flew down and smashed into the shield. Right in front of Astaroth. The whole city shook, but the shield held.
“I am Prince Mourningdagger, ruler of the ten legions and conqueror of–”
“Yeah, I heard the speech.” Astaroth’s words weren’t a weapon now, but they were somehow heard by everyone in the city. “You’re the biggest bully on the block, and you’re going to beat us up until we give you all our lunch money.”
Salem burst out laughing. “You tell ’em!”
Mourningdagger glared at Astaroth. “Who gave you this power!”
Astaroth blinked. “You don’t know? I mean, shouldn’t it be your ancient enemy you’ve been battling against for eons but isn’t willing to face you directly?”
Mourningdagger roared and slammed into the shield.
“Um, team? A little help here?” Quickmoon called.
The monsters Quickmoon’s power had knocked over had found their feet. Eir sword was in eir hands again, but they were circling em. Now that ey wasn’t on the move, they had managed to pull together to coordinate attacks that were getting harder for em to fend off.
“On my way!” Salem replied, from nearly halfway around the fortress. She took off, moving fast enough she was nothing but a blur. But no matter how fast she went, her HUD not only let her see clearly but kept updating and mapping out routes for her. “Heals, incoming!” she yelled only a breath before she reached Blade’s position and grabbed him up in an over-the-shoulder carry. “Damn, I think I love this gig.”
Moments later, she bowled right through the monsters to deposit Blade next to Quickmoon. She dodged around and jumped over Quickmoon’s swing before the fighter even knew she was there. Then Salem was dashing on toward Mobb’s position.
Astaroth grinned at Mourningdagger. “Excuse me, we have some cleanup to do.” Then turned and walked away.
“This is not the last you have seen of me!” the invader shouted.
“Of course not.”
They finished clearing out the monsters, then did what they could to help the survivors. Blade and Salem especially were a godsend to many people across the city. Thankfully, the government hadn’t sat on its ass for once — FEMA was called out the same time as the National Guard. They had their act together, too.
No matter how magical the team was, there definitely came a point where quantity counted.
So after discretely checking on their families, they left the city. They need to figure out how to turn their powers off and decide what next.
They picked a nearby state park, and Salem zipped them over one at a time to avoid being followed or spied on.
In a movie, one of them would have wanted out, would have been afraid, or said ‘not my job’ or something. But all of them, even Salem, were in from the first moment. “I ran away because I couldn’t do anything else,” she said later, “Once I could fight, I didn’t need to run. Away.”
Un-transforming was surprisingly easy. Finding a place to use a team headquarters and safe house was… more difficult. But they managed it. Eventually.
Mighty Hero Force Epsilon S1, E1
Mighty Hero Force Epsilon (S1 E3)