I sit upright, looking up at the machine. It is ploughing into the ground with Sam is hovering where it used to be.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened and I am a genius.
It occurs to me that while the machine’s builder might have created it to counter the League, it probably didn’t prepare for the Lantern. At least, not properly.
Samuel’s power is a psionic field powered by willpower. It allows for nigh invulnerability, superstrength, enhanced speed, flight, increased senses and reflexes. Not to mention telekinesis and near immunity to mind control.
Of course we haven’t had a chance to test his immunity to mind control against a hostile force yet and Sam is struggling to master his telekinesis beyond the basic tossing things about.
“Take out the optic ball Lantern,” I shout at Sam.
“Destroy the disco ball head,” replies Sam, “Got it.”
He zooms at the machine and grabs the optic ball. He pulls at it as the machine tries to get up. It is firing its lasers at Sam, but his psionic field is protecting him.
He finally yanks it out after a moment of pulling. He squeezes, crushing it with his superstrength. The machine rises as Sam floats up and tosses the wrecked optic ball aside.
It fires another set of four missiles at Sam. Sam gets three with this telekinesis, but the fourth keeps on going. Until I take it out with my lasers that is.
Sam grins and uses his telekinesis to rip out the lasers mounted into the shoulders. All four come out.
At this point the machine appears to have realised the tide has turned. It fires sixteen micro missiles at Sam and me.
We fly away from them as they explode into a total of almost two hundred mini micro missiles.
We both end up spending a few minutes taking them out. By the time we’re done, the machine has escaped.
“Damn it,” curses Sam.
“We both know who sent it,” I whisper to him as I land next to him.
“Yeah,” replies Sam before glancing at the crowd, “But they don’t need to know about that.”
“Agreed,” I answer.
“Someone attempting to collect the bounty sounds like the official story right,” says Sam in unusually serious voice
“That about sums it up,” I reply in the same serious tone.
Sam grins at me and I grin at him even though he can’t see it.
“What about the others?” I inquire.
“I took them back to one of the entrances and Narszara took them in and I gave them medical attention. When Storm Knight was back on his feet, he helped me bring them back to there while Bulk got out of his armour and brought them inside.”
“I bet Storm Knight wanted to continue the fight.”
“He did want another round, but I convinced him getting the others to safety was more important.”
We share a laugh before going to speak with the gathered press and police.
“Okay,” I say as we’re all gathered around the table in the meeting room back at base, “Let’s go over what we know so far.”
All of the new League of Heroes plus the old Bolt and Bulk are there. They came once they heard about the Machine on the news.
“Should have called us,” grumbles Charlie’s grandfather, Gregory.
“We all know that when Vistorix showed up, we stopped him,” I start, ignoring Gregory, “What we don’t know is what he was doing. I believe he was sent on a mission by our foe. That’s when our foe took interest in us and began to take action to stop us. Two days later, two supers and almost a score of robbers show up nearby with serious firepower. Not enough to raise an overt amount of suspicion, but too much that they could have only been given their guns. Our foe wanted us to get killed there and maybe scare the rest of us away. We succeed extremely well in the encounter and got on the good side of both the public and the local police. Another thing, Laura hasn’t been able to discover either Vistorix’s mission or the source of guns. I believe I know why after today, but I’ll say that later. Next Narszara showed up, which put a monkey wrench into our foe’s plans to deal with us. We then receive a tip off about the location of the weapons warehouse. Too dangerous for the police, but close enough for us and not the Defenders to respond. We also knew it was probably a trap, but couldn’t afford not to investigate. It was also at dark when the majority of the rest of us would busy at home and unable to respond quickly when trouble arose. But here is the main part of the trap. Shade told me that Vengeance was informed that Charlie and Stefan were behind the weapons. Only Shade realised they were being set up. The rest of them came and tried to kill Charlie, Stefan and anyone who got in the way. The Machine’s creator knew that we would defend Charlie and Stefan and hoped that some of us would die and the League would get bad press. Instead we took them down, all of us survived, got respect and didn’t have any major political fallouts. Now we’re stronger than ever despite our foe’s efforts so they put bounties on our heads. It used American dollars rather than pounds so it would seem like it merely some supporter of Vengeance who did it or one of the many supervillains who sees us as a threat. Now it has taken direct action against us today by building the Machine and sending it after us. It was created to counter the League and only Sam or Narszara could have beaten it. Here is some footage.”
I stop talking and replay some of today’s footage about the machine’s lasers. I hope Kennet and Gregory spot what I’ve noticed due their past experience
“£%*@,” curses Gregory.
“It can’t be,” mutters Kennet.
“What is it?” demands Skyler as I pause the footage.
“That was Sektain laser tech,” explains Kennet, “Alien tech. Very few have alien tech and even fewer have Sektain stuff.”
“And the Sektain are one of the two most powerful superpowers in the galaxy,” growls Gregory,
“They are also greatest threat to sentient life that we currently know of. Anything to do with them has to be taken with deadly seriousness.”