Chapter 42: Reinforcements

Energia: Titans of Verità
Table of Contents (For Catching Up)

“Hey Ironchase!” Tommy’s voice echoed in her helmet through the communication’s radio. “Are you dead?”

“No.” She groaned in response. “Feels like it, though.”

He laughed, reached down, and grabbed her arm. His hand wrapped around hers like a father holding a baby’s hand. He pulled her up to her feet with such strength that she could swear he was going to rip the limb out.

“I don’t-“

“-need your help?” he finished with a toxic amount of sarcasm. “Noted. Next time, I’ll just sit back and relax while a giant alien monkey thing turns you into paste.” I didn’t need to see his face to know he was rolling his eyes. “Can you stuff your ego for a few minutes and just accept the help?”

Anna was ready to argue. But when the Ragno reeled its head back in their direction and let out an ear-splitting roar, the words died in her throat.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Tommy said, a hint of panic in his voice.

“Yup.” Anna’s voice came in a squeak. Luckily for her, she was too busy being terrified to be embarrassed. “Move!”

The two bolted in opposite directions as the Ragno brought an angry fist down on where they stood. Tommy’s massive E-Suit didn’t move nearly as quickly or as far as Anna’s did, so he barely avoided the blow. But he didn’t retreat any further; instead, he wrapped his tree-like arms around the Ragno’s, planted his feet, and pulled.

“What are you doing?!” Anna shouted.

“I’m- going- to- throw it!” Tommy said between grunts of effort.

“Are you stupid?! It-“

She could have shouted many things at him. ‘It has other arms!’ or ‘It’s too big for that!’ were the two most forefront in her mind. Part of her wanted to say ‘It’s not going to just wait for you!’

But she didn’t get the chance to. Because the monster expressed all three of those thoughts at once.

Unsurprisingly, the Ragno didn’t so much as budge at Tommy’s attempts to lift it. Instead, it simply reached down and wrapped a hand around him; as big as Tommy’s armor was, the monster was still well over three times his size. Then, with an effortless air, it lifted him up into the air and threw him down into the ground. It seemed a casual motion, but the impact had enough force to completely shatter the asphalt beneath him.

Anna could hear the wind escaping his lungs over the radio. Then, in a pained voice, he said, “Yup. Bad idea. Seeing that now.”

“Oh, you think?! Maybe you can give it a handshake next! Sit it down for a cup of coffee!”

“Not helping!”

The Ragno bellowed as it raised both fists up in the air. Anna swallowed another snappy insult and raised her rifle instead. She put a shot into its arm, just beneath the shoulder, hoping to destroy its heart. But the bullet didn’t pierce far enough, just barely piercing its thick hide. All she managed to accomplish was getting its attention back.

“That’s better!” Tommy said as he crawled out of the ground.

If I survive this, I’ll kill him. Anna thought as she rolled away from a boulder-sized fist. She took another quick shot in response, but the shot was off even with the E-Suit’s guidance, barely slicing its shoulder. When it reached out to grab her, she leapt back and unloaded another three bullets. These made their marks, one in each shoulder and one in the stomach. Its fur became wet with blood, but it showed no sign of stopping.

There was a loud crack, then the monster fell to one knee. Tommy leapt upwards, the hydraulics in his suit’s legs hissing loudly with the effort, and brought his fist down on the beast’s head like a gavel. Its body flopped forward, its chin slamming into the ground. When he landed, he planted his heel into the base of its skull, driving it further into the stone.

“See?” he panted. “Easy!”

“Yeah, if you wanted to make it mad!” Anna shouted.

“Pretty sure you already-” he cut off as the monster started pulling itself free. “For the love of- die already!”

He brought his fist down again, cracking into the back of the Ragno’s skull with a thunderous crack. The monster’s head buckled, but only for a moment. Then, with a deafening roar, it ripped itself free and shot to its feet with surprising speed. It spun around with its arms outstretched like the blades of a blender, slapping Tommy away and missing Anna by a hair.

When the monster became still again, it leveled its gaze at Anna. Its eyes had become as red as blood, its fury mounting higher than ever. It didn’t spare a glance for Tommy, who lay sprawled out on the other side of the yard on his back. Instead, it let out yet another roar and charged directly at her.

Anna’s mind raced for an idea. She couldn’t dodge it forever, she’d learned that lesson the hard way. But she couldn’t stand and fight, either. With her shields down, one mistake would be the end of her.

Quickly, she constructed a plan. It was reckless, stupid even. But it was all she could think to do.

Heart racing, sweat pouring down her face in rivers despite the efforts of her suits air conditioner, she planted her feet and took aim. One shot through the roof of its mouth. That’s all I need. One chance. One shot. One kill.

The Ragno bore down on her, jaw hanging open and saliva falling like rain as it continued to scream. One massive step at a time, it grew closer. In less than a minute, it came within striking distance of her. But it didn’t swing. It intended to run her down like a one-bull stampede.

Wait for it…

It was only ten yards away now. Three more steps, maybe even two, and it would be on her.

Wait for it…

Tommy managed to recover. Sparks flew from the gaps between metal plates, a clear sign that his shields were failing. He stumbled after the monster, but he was far too slow to catch up.

Wait for it… NOW!!

She aimed up, allowing the suit’s targeting systems to handle the effort. The monster raised a foot to take one final step, which would crush Anna as easily as a twig. In the instant before it fell, she pulled the trigger.

The round pierced one massive fang, creating a web of cracks in its surface. It didn’t go all the way through.

What happened next all came in a blur. Anna felt her feet leave the ground and her body twist as she was suddenly thrown aside. A wave of heat briefly washed over her, raising her suit’s temperature alarms. There was a sound like a knife cutting air and water evaporating on a hot grill. The Ragno howled in pure agony, clutching its ankle. Smoke rose between its thick fingers.

And there she was. Standing on the beast’s head, her body as dark as a shadow. In one hand, she carried a rectangular sword that glowed orange, bright and hot. Anna recognized her immediately.

Hinata, the Shinobi, gave her an indiscernible look. “Well,” her voice, calm and cold, came over the radio, “aren’t you just a magnet for trouble?”


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