"What is going on?"
Aunt Sylvia hung over Anna's shoulder as she scanned the various video and audio feeds inside of the storage room. Anna hit a few keystrokes and shook her head.
"Too much stuff," she said, and then she hit one of the channels. "Arsenal. Just lost all the feeds on Metro Tower except Bonesaw's. She's fighting Hex. They need support."
Sumerset's viewport showed a perspective through his armor; the immense steam-powered extension of Man-of-War's armor lumbered in front of him, swinging a maced ball directly down at the camera.
"Working on it," Sumerset said, his voice a low grunt. "Wait, Mulligan's audio feed is out?"
"Yeah. I didn't quite catch it--sounded like something exploded, and--"
"Fuck. Has Sovereign showed up yet?"
"Don't know, Skull's feed was the last one to go out, I saw something slam down, but--"
"Send anyone you can to Metro Tower. I'll be on my way once I nail this twerp," Sumerset said.
Bonesaw landed somewhere in the gutted remains of Metro Tower's upper floors; the hole that she had been falling through continued several dozen of stories down. Somewhere below her, she could see Hex's bleeding form laid out on the edge of one of the holes; beneath that, she could see what looked like a struggle between four separate powers.
"Bonesaw," Anna's voice hummed in her ear. "Sending a crew your way. Lost feed on everyone; what's their status?"
"Skull got thrown off the roof," Bonesaw said. "And I see the son of a bitch who did it. Scourge. He's fighting Sovereign, along with the rest of them."
"Okay. Stay down until we send backup," Anna said. "No way you can--"
"No. He killed her. I'm going to--," Bonesaw began, right before another voice cut her off.
"Shut up and stay still."
Instantly, Bonesaw's body went rigid; the voice seemed to slice right through her skull and seize her by the cerebellum.
"Bonesaw?" Anna said. "Bonesaw, what's going--"
"Now, listen very carefully," Phillip Darden said, stepping out from the floor underneath Bonesaw. "I want you to answer a few questions."
"Paladin," Anna's voice said. "Metro Tower needs support--"
"Busy," Paladin growled. A brilliant arc of light flashed across his arms as Gearbox brought the extended energy blades down; Paladin blocked it with a makeshift shield, but the force of her blow sent him stumbling back.
"Philip's got Bonesaw," Anna said.
"Who?" Paladin asked, just as Gearbox turned one arm into an immense piston. It shot forward, forcing him down to one knee; stone cracked beneath him.
"A fuckhead," she said. "He's got mind control powers. He's asking her about us--about what we're doing, who we are. She's going to give us away--"
Gearbox's piston hit again; Paladin's shield started to waver and splinter. He shuddered beneath the impact, grinding his teeth. "Can't help," he said. "Get Mulligan."
"His feed is dead--"
The shield instantly collapsed and speared forward into a set of prongs. They caught Gearbox around the throat and pinched tight; each tip continued to extend, carrying her into the air. The tips hit the third story balcony of an apartment, pinning her and leaving her dangling.
Paladin forced the pincers closed and squeezed down on Gearbox's throat.
"Last location," he said.
Gearbox choked. Anna's voice wavered. "Paladin, Skull needs--"
"Tell me his last location."
"Three blocks south of you."
Paladin released the metal prong; Gearbox fell and hit the ground hard. Before she so much as stand, Paladin charged forward and delivered a bone-cracking blow to her jaw.
She went down and didn't get back up. Paladin turned and started running to the south.
Somewhere in the bowels of Metro Tower, Sovereign struggled against the combined might of an enhanced Tech-Head and Rockstar.
The ground lobby had been shattered; the floor was cracked, with piping and insulation exposed. Rockstar's sonic blasts left Sovereign disoriented, while Tech-Head's immense crab-like form sprang through the air and smashed him to the ground.
Sovereign struggled to squeeze his hands around Tech-Head's pincer-like legs. Metal creaked beneath his fingers; dents and divuts formed in solid steel.
Scourge descended from above, his red hand narrowed into a single needle-like point. He fell atop of Sovereign as he struggled and brought the needle-tip down, plunging it straight into the cape's eye.
The Hand of Goron snapped.
Sovereign's eyes pulsed a brilliant crimson; a streak of red light lashed out and swarmed across Scourge's torso, arching him up and off the ground. When Scourge landed several yards away, his chest was smoking.
Sovereign pulled Tech-Head's legs off of him and used his grip on them to yank the massive machine into the air. Then he started to spin, sweeping Tech-Head in ever-widening circles. When Rockstar flew close for another sonic blast, Sovereign hurled Tech-Head straight at him--and the two masks collided, crashing through another wall.
With the Hand of Goron broken, Sovereign perceived Scourge as the esser threat, and flew after Tech-Head and Rockstar. Shortly after he disappeared--the distant, thunderous sound of battle following in his wake--Scourge picked himself up with a groan.
His arm now ended near the elbow joint in a nub; the Hand of Goron had been reduced to a hunk of metal on the floor. But the needle that had struck Sovereign in the eye was still intact--only chipped. Scourge limped toward it, pushing through the pain.
When he plucked it up, he raised the needle to his own eye--and smiled at what he found.
A drop of Sovereign's blood had been collected at the tip.