Styx’s vision swam as he slowly dragged himself back to the waking world. The first thing he felt was the dull throb of pain all around him; the raw sensory input made him activate his power on reflex. As the sclera of his eyes turned pitch he was suddenly able to see clearly in his dark and dusty surroundings.
He was looking up into the face of Vigor, his face an odd mix of relief and concern. They were in what looked like a living room; almost every surface liberally coated with dust and pieces of drywall.
The second thing Styx noticed was that his helmet was gone and that he had his head against Vigor’s lap. The standard grey mask from the DVA the only thing protecting his identity.
“You with me, kid?”, Vigor said in a surprisingly gentle voice, the dark skin visible from his cowl freckled lightly with grey dust.
Styx made to answer, but quickly found the action more than he could handle. The first non-shallow breath he’d taken in had jostled something inside his chest. Bringing all the pain he’d been feeling in the back of his mind immediately to the foreground.
‘Ah Christ, I think I can feel some of my bones poking through my skin…’, Styx thought as his mind rapidly cleared due to the fresh wave of agony, quickly trying to compartmentalize the damage.
His right forearm and left leg were at least heavily fractured, while the rest of his limbs simply felt like they had been twisted badly. His ribs were comparatively mild in terms of pain, but were still most likely cracked in several places considering how much it hurt to breath.
Styx tried to ignore the fact that he could feel a wetness in certain parts of his suit where blood had pooled.
The anger that suddenly came over him must have looked just as surprising as it had felt, because Vigor immediately went to placate him. “Whoa there, buddy, you’re not in critical condition; but you should probably just rela-”
Styx blocked him out, grabbed the darkness of the room, the shadows outside, breathed life into them and made them move.
He dimly realized that a lot of the anger was pointed at himself, as the darkness around them warped and solidified to encase both him and his savior in a globe.
The building they were in was unstable. Best that they were outside where he could keep them shielded rather than hunkered down in a structure that he suspected could collapse at any moment.
If he’d had his guard up then maybe he could’ve intercepted or stopped the attack. Why hadn’t he been on alert and scanning the shadows for unusual movements? Angela wouldn’t hav-
He immediately snuffed out that train of thought as he lifted the globe out of the living room and down the hall towards what he guessed was the hole their impact had made. The light pouring through the opening had made it a beacon when he’d gone over the shadows around them.
Vigor looked upset, but wasn’t protesting. Just had his arms folded as the makeshift platform formed moved them. He did, however, step forward and hand Styx his helmet back.
Pushing past the pain, anger, and shame; Styx gave the older Hero a grateful look before grabbing the helmet with his good arm and clumsily fastening it back on.
He staggered to his feet as they were lifted from shadow to shadow, the ones not actively shielding them swirling around like a cyclone. They finally made it through the hole in the wall and back to the outside world.
Gadreel was getting pretty sick of her perpetual shock right about now.
First it had been Styx being shot at while she and Obsidian Wraith were air-lifting some rubble from the upper floors. The staccato of gunfire made her drop the concrete she’d been hefting around. But she didn’t even notice the shattering impact that came from below.
Vigor shielding her teammate from all the shots had been a brief, if strained, relief as soon as she’d caught site of them. Which was quickly shattered as the duo were lifted by some unseen force and flung into a half collapsed building.
Spectrum’s response thereafter had been about as tame as anyone could expect.
He’d spun around and toward the source of the shooting with a snarl on his usually smiling lips, an unstable orange orb appearing in his hand.
The sphere of energy seemed to pulse erratically and was about the size of a human head. Spectrum extended an arm and let it fly–streaking toward the slightly open window in less than a second.
The impact and subsequent explosion of force had been devastating, but surprisingly contained. Leaving a hole in the building that looked big enough for a truck to drive through.
For a few seconds it was impossible to see anything through the dust cloud that was left behind.
All the Heroes around had tensed and were ready for some form of retaliation, save for the reports and Corpies that were still fleeing the area. But eventually some Hero in a green and blue suit, that Gadreel could barely remember was called “Rebound”, stepped forward and waved at the cloud; dispersing it quickly.
What stood in its place was rather anticlimactic.
A rather shaggy looking man in a brown trench coat was kneeling in what was left of the room Spectrum had blasted, gasping for breath with both his arms outstretched as the air in front of him shimmered.
With almost contemptuous ease, Spectrum blasted forth a small sphere of crackling yellow energy. The globe went straight through whatever protection the Super had put up, smacking into and shocking the already exhausted man. He went down with a jittery gasp and so did his shield.
Rebound gestured again and the man began to float up from his position before gently gliding down to the construction zone; his longish black hair and coat fluttering in the brisk wind.
As soon as the man landed five different Heroes surrounded him, though only one was actually touching the downed criminal. A rather short Hero in a silver suit had a hand wrapped tightly around the back of his neck.
Gadreel didn’t get to see anymore of the altercation, as Obsidian Wraith had begun pulling her roughly toward the hole Vigor and Styx had made.
“Stop rubbernecking, Gadreel; we’ve got a team member to rescue!”, the older Heroine shouted as they rocketed forward.
Gadreel had shaken off her shock quickly and was flying under her own power now. Heading straight toward the hole and praying that her friend was okay.
Only to dash back with a yelp of surprise as a vortex of shadow blades poured from the hole in the building.
So numerous were the blades that she could barely get a glimpse at what they were centered around; a platform that supported a rather wary looking Vigor and Styx.
Vigor seemed no the worse for wear, save for some blood stains and rips in his costume, while Styx looked like he could barely stand up straight.
The platform was slowly lowered to ground level as the vortex of shadows twisted into a odd swirling dome.
“Sh- Styx, drop your shield! We got the shooter!”, Gadreel stumbled a little with her teammate’s name as she shouted over the commotion around them and the quickly approaching sound of sirens.
<I’d recommend against doing that. Several Heroes have already reported that the Super apprehended has no firearms on him. The real shooter most likely fled using as of yet unknown means and left there colleague behind.>
Gadreel nearly yelped in surprise, again, as the voice of Dispatch came through her earpiece. She’d nearly forgotten about the mysterious and disembodied passenger she carried with her.
<Though it is advised that Styx stop using his power, if what Vigor said about the extent of his injuries is true, and let another Hero handle shielding until a healing Super is teleported in.
…Defensive Dugout is on her way.>, Dispatch informed them as a Hero in a gray and sparkling suit jogged over, an uncharacteristic pause present in her usually confident tones.
The way the earth underfoot was “flowing” up and around her in a personal field was a pretty clear indication of why she’d been assigned the task.
Styx seemed to hesitate for a second, but quickly succumbed under the combined glare from both Vigor and Obsidian Wraith.
The shadows around them stopped swirling and spinning, snapping back to their origins. And was quickly replaced by the concrete beneath their feet becoming liquid-like and constantly flowing around both Vigor and Styx in a perfect dome.
The material turned see-through and glittery, letting Gadreel wave at her peer, smiling with relief. Vigor had laid Styx onto his back and appeared to be chewing him out rather thoroughly. Apparently Defensive Dugout’s power blocked sound as well as physical attacks.
Nevertheless, with some visible effort, Styx lifted his non-crooked arm and gave Gadreel a slow wave back.
This made Gadreel smile even wider as the gloomy street was lit up with various police car lights and one DVA van made its way down the street.
‘Momma was right; The Life is never dull.’