56

Ares surveyed the camps from the air as he flew down to the command tent. He had pretty much come direct from the funeral, only stopping to change, Uriel, who took slightly longer to get ready, would be along in the next half hour or so.

The air wasn’t just full of arriving heroes, but also buzzing with transport helicopters. The military might be hands off when it came to super villains, but an invasion was something entirely different. Military personnel dwarfed the group of two hundred or so heroes.

In the days between Koi finding the dome and the funeral, the military had turned this empty bit of desert into a tent city. The dome had been surrounded by a truly obscene amount of firepower. Even now more trucks full of soldiers and supplies were arriving. He even saw a battalion of the new autonomous robotic soldiers.

“Aren’t the ARS suppose to be still in the prototype phase?” He asked entering the command tent. It was a flurry of activity inside, in the center of it all was a four-star general.

“They are, might as well test them here. Are you sure this is an invasion, we have no activity?” The general answered.

“That dome looks a lot like what happens when two heroes with a certain power use it close to each other. Since only one person in this reality has that power, whoever is in there isn’t from around here.” Ares answered.

“We tried shooting the damn thing for six hours last night, and I don’t think it did a damn thing, nothing has come out, and we can’t get in. I assume we’re going to need some exotic powers correct?”

“No, only two people I know who might be able to get in are missing or dead,” Ares answered.

“How dead, and how missing?”

“Prysim disappeared Gaslight; it was one of her last actions. We don’t have the time to find her even if she wants us to find her. As for the other I just came from her funeral.”

The general paused for a minute before replying. “I’m sorry for your loss, what do you recommend.”

“Whoever’s in there can’t stay there forever, and since the dome has stopped growing, we can assume it’s at its max. If anyone comes out shoot them, this is an invasion, and we don’t put up with that shit.”

“How do we deal with the beachhead?”

“The barrier will be destabilized the more people move through it, so when they start pouring out, we start pouring ammunition in.”

“Sounds simple enough, what are you going to be doing?”

“Dealing with the targets you can’t shoot.”

The general wasn’t offended by that insinuation; some powers just weren’t affected by conventional or unconventional weaponry. Not that the military couldn’t deal with those people, but they were going to be distracted.

Pleasantries dealt with they got down to actually planning their deployment and strategies. The military of course already had several plans for similar scenarios that just needed adapting to the specifics of the situation. Ares started deploying various heroes through the military ranks.

Koi he noticed had requested a point on the front line, he grudgingly granted that one. Cinder, however, wanted to be deployed next to her, that Ares was forced to deny. Both Cinder and Shatter we assigned to the rear, although both were heroes possessing powers ranked high enough to allow them here, they were still too young.

Uriel finished setting up her equipment at some point, and tactical information started coming in. She estimated almost twenty thousand individuals were inside the dome, which was a worrying number.

“That dome could fit twice that many people if they weren’t planning on staying a long time,” The general said.

“They aren’t, trust me you do not want to spend any more time than strictly necessary in that thing. More likely they have robotic troops taking up the rest of the room or something to that effect.”

“Are you sure we can’t find this Gaslight? I would like just to throw some missiles at them.”

“Even if we found her she wouldn’t be able to do much more than getting herself and a few people with her in. That would be pointless everything inside the dome is controlled, she could only protect herself.”

“Well damn, is there anything else to do?”

“Not that I see, I guess it’s time to hurry up and wait.”

“My favorite part,” the general said.

The two of them sat across the table occasionally getting reports of various tasks being completed, or more troops arriving. Uriel got more accurate numbers placing the enemies human troops at nineteen thousand eight hundred and twenty.

“Sir,” a voice said, it was in that tone of someone who didn’t want to talk but was forced to. “We’re getting reports from intelligence about a possible alien craft.”

“Shit,” the general growled, “we don’t have time for this.”

“We might, Alecia made arrangements to make sure their arrival wasn’t hostile,” Ares said calming the general.

“Are they still in place after what happened?”

“If we’re lucky this first contact will go from peaceful to outright allies, I’ll task Uriel with contacting them directly.” He didn’t mention that Alecia had given them a translator and significant information to make such contact easy.

“Sir, we have contacts moving.” Gunfire rang out from the direction of the dome.

“Looks like they noticed too,” Ares said. “General, I’ll be directing the heroes from the air.”

“Stay alive out there, my son is a fan of yours.” They didn’t have time for anything else, as the amount of gunfire increased.

Ares took to the sky to get a good look, as predicted it wasn’t humans coming out of the dome. His comm had already designated the things spider tanks, and scans indicated that they were unmanned.

They were also apparently tough as hell, ignoring most of the gunfire. One got a leg blown off by a rocket and was able to compensate. Ares drew his sword even thought he wouldn’t be joining the battle on the ground, but it felt good to hold it.

“Stay alive everyone, and remember this is a war. They are trying to kill us, and we’re trying to kill them.”

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