Season Notes: violence, magical coercion, references to suicide, cliffhanger
Quick slammed eir sword into the ground, knocking over the surrounding monsters and leaving an opening for Speed to take a running attack at ‘Captain Poniard,’ another one of Mourningdagger’s lieutenants. Using the overturned cars that littered the roadway to help conceal her approach she got within ten feet of Poniard before being seen. Close enough Poniard didn’t have time to muster an attack before Salem hit.
She bounced off, of course. Getting through the shields the Poniard wore was a trick and a half. But Mobb followed up her attack with a full-auto burst that knocked Poniard back on their ass.
Poniard laughed. “Foolish mortals! You will never defeat me.” They flipped back up onto their feet and waved their hands. Another ring of monsters appeared around them. “I, Captain Poniard, have led the conquest of a dozen worlds. You are a temporary annoyance.”
Unlike the greys the team usually saw, these new monsters looked like bright pink ostriches with weasel heads.
“Oh fuck,” Mobb muttered.”
Quick giggled. “Oh my god. Ostriches? Seriously?”
One of them darted in toward Quick, lashing out with one wickedly clawed foot. “Fuck!” Its reach was nearly as long as Quick’s greatsword.
“Very seriously,” Mobb said. “Regular ostriches can kill lions. These things?”
“Alright, I’m starting to see the problem.”
The Ostrich-weasels were smart, too. Instead of all mobbing Quick, most of them ignored eir verbal aggros. Two flanked em, one on each side, the rest darted away, dashing for the human refugees Blade and Astaroth were trying to get out of range.
Mobb cursed again. “I can’t get a lock on them. They’re moving too fast and jagging all over the place.”
“I’ll get the fuckers,” Salem said, “Keep them off Sword and keep fucking ‘Poniard’ occupied.”
“Never thought I’d say this, but I wish we were fighting that bastard again.”
Six weeks, six attacks. They were coming to know their enemies.
‘That bastard’ had become their term for the first lieutenant they’d faced. Unlike Poniard, he never bragged, never gave a name, and never backed down. He always had a new trick up his sleeve and, as he’d demonstrated in their first battle, would fight to the death unless Mourningdagger called him off.
But he seemed to prefer pinpoint attacks and deceptive tactics. Their first battle with him had resulted in under a dozen deaths, only one damaged building. Partly because he preferred to make his appearances in large parks, partly because he was just as happy to scare humans away as to attack them.
Today, Poniard had appeared in a burst of fire in a major intersection. The battlefield was littered with overturned cars and bodies the team tried not to look at too closely. Several of the surrounding buildings were on fire though none had collapsed. (Yet.)
Prince Mourningdagger hadn’t managed to break the shield over his fortress, but that didn’t stop em from sending attacks into other cities across the country. The team had figured out that when a large enough area was cleared of humans, Mourningdagger’s minions were able to establish some kind of beachhead. That was what had allowed em to create eir fortress. It was only the shield the team had set around the fortress that kept Mourningdagger from bringing eir full power into the world. Since the first battle, Mourningdagger had stayed at the fortress, letting two of eir lieutenants lead the attacks. There had been three lieutenants with Mourningdagger in that first attack, but no one knew what the third one was up to. The team hoped she was trapped in the fortress with Mourningdagger and not making some kind of sneaky trouble elsewhere in the world.
The one bright spot of the whole disaster was FEMA, which had mobilized impossibly well, especially against later attacks. The FEMA director had become a national hero and was able to push congress to divert a billion dollars from the military budget to his department. Which, after all, was desperately needed.
Especially after battles with Poniard.
Blade had stepped out of the fighting a moment to pull a burner phone. (His uniform came with an unlimited supply.) Pulling up Twitter, he skimmed the reactions to the alert he’d sent out on arrival. Acknowledgments by police, local media — FEMA was on the ground again. There! “Speed, family trapped on the fourth floor of that building on the northwest corner.”
Another reply loaded, and he stopped, blinked. Nearly cheered. “We got locals on the ground. Help for refugees in the basement of 405 1st Street. Local self-defense orgs holding the stairs.”
Astaroth growled. “Can we trust them?”
“To hold? Don’t know them, can’t say. Knew another chapter of this group.”
Blade tucked the phone away and took off at a jog for 405 1st street. “You know Redneck Revolt?”
“No,” Astaroth yelled, his sound blast slamming three greys into a wall.
“Their patron saint is John Brown.”
“I don’t care who the hell they are,” Mobb said, her words interspersed with the chatter of gunfire. “As long as they hold that damn base, Poniard can’t take their beachhead.”
“Right,” Astaroth said, “And as soon as Poniard realizes they’re there, all hell will break loose.
“Speed, Heals, get to ‘Harpers Ferry.’ Let them know what’s coming down on them. Guns, cover them. Sword, you and I need to distract Poniard.”
Mobb watched Blade make his way down the two blocks to 1st Street. Salem, of course, reached the hideout almost immediately but waited outside for Blade to catch up. Mobb didn’t have much liking for ‘self defense’ forces (aka militias). The best of them were weekend warriors and the worst heavily armed nutcases. But she’d take help from the devil himself against Mourningdagger.
So she kept the monsters off of Blade and kept an eye on Astaroth and Quick. The pink monsters were trouble. “Frontman, Pinkies on your six.” Astaroth whirled around and shouted, knocking the monsters down, and Quick raced in with a series of low slashing attacks that diced the monsters up. Then they were back on Poniard.
With the pinks down, Mobb thought Poniard was almost out of monsters, so… “Ignore Poniard, take out the monsters. When the monsters are gone, they’ll pull out.”
“That bastard will fight to the death, but we know Poniard won’t. With the monsters gone, they’re on their own. They’ll pull out.”
“Won’t they pull in more fucking monsters?” Salem asked.
“I don’t think so,” Mobb shot a burst at a group of greys trying to sneak up (badly) on Salem. “Since we sealed the fortress, we’ve never seen an attack with more than 30 of the damn things. Either they can’t bring more than that in, or… or something…”
“We’ll try it,” Astaroth said. “Everyone on the monsters except Sword — Sword, you keep Poniard busy.
“Speed, if our friends are armed up, see if a few of them want to come topside for target practice. If they do, cover them.”
If Mobb was right, they had a plan — not just for today, but for every time they faced Poniard. Thank fucking God.
Bonus: it was a plan that didn’t ask her to do anything more complicated than find cover and shoot stuff. Which she did, happily.
Mighty Hero Force Epsilon (S1 E5)