57

The things were tough as hell, with eight legs supporting an oval like body. Attachments to the bodies varied, some that were holding back had large cannons, the midrange ones had mini-guns, and the close range ones came with a variety of weapons. The weapons varied from swords to bludgeons and even a few chainsaws.

The type of weapon didn’t matter too much to Koi. She wasn’t bulletproof enough to risk the mini guns, didn’t want to know what the cannons would do to her, and the close range weapons could probably all take her head off.

Whatever their outer plating was, it was sturdy enough to withstand small arms fire, large arms fire, and as fairing well against the large stationary guns. However, the joints still proved weak and thus made targets. Once three to four legs were cut off they were rendered stationary.

Koi found herself unable to punch holes in them, or do more than rudimentary damage to their joints. Until she got her hands on one of their bludgeoning weapons that is. The bludgeons were shaped rather like a baseball bat and proved harder than the plating of the spider tanks.

It was oddly cathartic to beat the ever living hell out of these metallic monsters. They might be her superiors in toughness and lethality, but she had them in speed. By no means was she pushing them back, but at the same time they weren’t pushing her back having reached a stalemate on this little part of the battlefield.

Others were both doing better and worse up and down the line. She could hear frequent requests for reinforcements, and Ares’ calm voice redistributing people along the lines. For some reason, Cinder had been sent to the medical tents.

It got oddly repetitive, clearly the spider tanks did not come equipped with learning capabilities and weren’t remote piloted. If Alecia was here, she might have explained why, but for some reason she still hadn’t made an appearance.

After several hours Koi started developing a theory of her own, they didn’t need one. The enemy seemed to have an inexhaustible number of the damn things. Uriel had reported that the number inside the dome didn’t seem to be decreasing, so it was possible there was an open portal inside of it. There could be a factory on the other side just spitting the bloody things out.

Koi could keep it up for another couple of hours still, but despite not having lost many heroes over half of them had pulled back to rest. Shatter had even been allowed his turn on the front lines, hitting the enemy with all the subtly of an eighteen wheeler.

“Koi it’s time to pull back, get some rest.”

“Not yet Sir, I have a couple more hours in me.”

“I know, but I don’t want you to collapse on the field. Get some rest and we’ll send you back out.”

Koi wanted to object further, but just the offer of resting made her more aware of just how fatigued her body was. She didn’t look too bad since any injury would have been catastrophic she had tried to avoid everything. Still there were tears in her suit from shrapnel and the sort.

Pulling back she found herself replaced by a guy in a blue suit lightning dancing between his hands, she was about to say that lightning wouldn’t work when the man who clearly already knew that threw a ball of plasma at one of the spider tanks. It didn’t do much in the way of visible damage, but it did cause the thing to stop moving, having fried the innards.

As she passed the front lines, she found the soldiers that had been backing her up were similarly replaced. One of them offered a shoulder for her to lean on she would have objected if it hadn’t been quite so helpful.


The gunfire sounded louder as she struggled to consciousness. Even closer was the sound of someone shouting orders, and of people cursing as they roused themselves from their cots. A pack containing some jelly liquid that proclaimed to have all the nutrients for continued survival was pressed into her hand.

“Sorry,” the soldier who gave it to her said. “We wanted to let you sleep as long as possible, so there isn’t time for a proper meal.”

“I get it, what’s changed?”

“We’ve had to fall back; the disabled spider tanks were providing too much cover. We have the men to cover the gaps evenly, but.”

“I’ll have to cover a bigger area, I get it. Casualties?”

“Twenty heroes, and about four hundred infantry.”

“Shit.”

“Yeah.”

“The dome?”

“Unchanged, there have been four attempts to break through, but they were unsuccessful.”

“Double shit.” Koi stuck her comm in her ear and started receiving chatter. There was a lot of it, but not anything she didn’t know. “How long till I’m expected back out there?”

“Five minutes.”

“Well fuck, where’s the shitter?”

“Outside to the left.”

Koi thanked him and headed off. She tried to consume some of the gel foodstuffs since neither eat, or drink seemed appropriate for something of its consistency. It was somehow more awful than she was expecting. Like slightly more dense dried jello flavored as some nondescript berry.

She almost spat the stuff out in disgust and threw away the pack, but common sense told her she would need the energy. So she choked back the rest of it, almost wishing for Alecia’s unflavored version. What she wanted was more of Keanan’s hot chocolate, but he was probably busy punching spider tanks in the face or something.

The bathroom was surprisingly nice and clean, sure it had probably only been built in the last three days, but it was well trafficked. Finding an empty stall with toilet paper wasn’t difficult. Her comm chirped with a global message from Ares before she could sit down, however. “All heroes be advised the enemy has deployed powered individuals to the field. Engage with lethal force.”

“Shit.”

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