EXCERPT: Tuesday Night [superhero, sci-fi, mm]
Title: Tuesday Night
Author: Harper Kingsley
Frame set: Kanon-verse
Pairing: Sunfire/Teen Steel
Characters: Tony Randolph (Teen Steel), Seth Payne (Sunfire), Layla Rogers (Queen Midnight), Danica Steele (Powergirl), Evan Lee (the Flame Burst), Carrie Bok (Solar), Nathan Bok (Pulsar)
Genre: superhero, sci-fi, mm
Summary: In an alternate universe where “Pulse of the City” never happened, the Teen Demis get on with the mission. Which includes joining a bunch of other teams and tackling an alien threat that’s targeting the multiverse.
Seth drew in a deep breath as the bus rumbled to a stop in a grocery store parking lot. The other two buses in their group had already separated to their own target locations, and he knew there was another twelve buses loaded with superheroes out there, though he didn’t know where. Command hadn’t wanted anyone on the ground to know the full troop locations and plans because there was a real risk that any one of them could be infected. They were all considered expendable.
“All right, haul your asses off the bus and make way on foot to your target locations. Maintain radio silence and good luck,” Kid Nitro said, pulling the lever that opened the doors. He didn’t wait for a response, zipping down the steps and away in a blur that quickly disappeared. He had his own mission to perform, as did they.
Seth shuffled off the bus and met up with the other Teen Demis. Their group would stick together, though after the ansible went down they were supposed to separate into pairs–Seth had already claimed Tony as his partner.
Other groups had already gathered their gear and were trooping off. Seth saw Captain Ferocious from the Young Bloods starting his guys moving off at a trot, Pyremaker missing from their team. Like the psionics, the pyrokinetics were being kept in reserve. If the situation got bad, the order was for the pyros to torch everything in the city, including their own teammates.
Seth wasn’t too concerned for himself, but Queen Midnight was the only other flame resistant member of the Teen Demis. Everyone else would go up like a roman candle, and anyone trying to fly away would be shot down by air support.
Command was not risking any Zarplaxian drones escaping. They all knew what was at stake here. They all knew their own people would put them down for the greater good. It was sobering, but there was no room for failure.
“All right, guys, let’s get moving,” Powergirl said, her voice echoing eerily through her helm. “We’ve got about a million drones between us and our objective.”
It felt vaguely disrespectful to think of them as drones, but there needed to be some disassociation. Otherwise there was a real concern that one of them might hesitate at the wrong moment, caught up in the realization that they were killing people–mothers and fathers, young children with their whole lives spread out before them–and not saving the world.
It was unfortunate, but the citizens of Star City had already been written off by the CMPF and the World Council. What were the lives of a few million when compared to all of humanity? It sucked, but they were all marked expendable, and it was something that needed to be remembered when they confronted a bunch of “drones.”
Seth glanced at the rookies. It was impossible to read expressions with their helms on, but he figured they had to be scared. It sucked that their first All Call involved an apocalypse scenario, but that was the luck of the draw. He hoped they survived.
“Let’s go,” Powergirl said, not even bothering to try for a cheery pep talk. She sounded grimly determined and her shoulders were square as she set off across the parking lot.
They followed after her. They had twelve miles to go and they were making them on foot, their Command assigned packs bulging with gear.
Their mission was to reach the Alcott building and lay the charges for the experimental ELF bomb. The satellite dish on the roof was supposed to boost the signal somehow, though Seth hadn’t understood the specifics.
All he knew was they were laying the charges, and if things went well, all unshielded humans–drone or not–would be knocked unconscious for up to 26-hours. It would cause some kind of biological system reboot.
The whole thing felt really sci-fi to him, but considering they were fighting aliens he was willing to accept the idea as long as it worked. He just hoped the transmitters they’d been given really would shield them from the blast. It would suck to get knocked out by their own tech.
“Keep an eye out for flyers,” Powergirl warned.
Queen Midnight had her Gauss rifle ready in her hands. “On it.”
From the briefing they knew Star City had nearly a hundred thousand metahumans of varying ability levels. After Behemoth’s rampage most of the active alphas had been wiped out, but things were still dangerous. Some flying kid strapped to a bomb could still ruin the plan.
Seth kept near Tony and tried not to think of the last time he’d walked these streets. Sure, it had happened on the other side of town, but he didn’t think he’d ever forget the screaming agony as his leg splintered in the grip of one meaty hand, his hip dislocating with a squelching-pop.
“God, I hate this city,” he muttered.
Tony bumped his shoulder, his helm still facing forward as he watched the road ahead. “We got this. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve got you.”
It was dumb to feel so relieved, considering what they were headed into, but having Tony close soothed him. It was hard to be afraid when Tony was nearby.
He remained watchful and wary as they followed Powergirl’s lead. Tony watched the left while he had the right, and between the two of them they guarded the rear from attack. The newbies were kept toward the middle of the group where they could be kept somewhat protected.
There was something eerie about walking down the empty streets of a once bustling metropolis. It might have been more soothing to know the people were all dead, at least then there wouldn’t have to be so much wondering about where they were, what they were doing.
Millions of people didn’t just disappear. Not when they were being controlled by an alien hive-mind.
“I’ve got movement in the high rise on our nine,” Tony said, voice low even with their secured coms. “Window on the fourteenth floor.”
“I see it,” Queen Midnight said. “There were reports of unaltered humans hiding out. Might be one of them.”
“We can’t risk it. WarSong, you’re up,” Powergirl said. “Take out the target with a minimum of fuss and meet us on the corner of that peach building. I’m marking it on your map. Follow the carat.”
“Yessir.” WarSong drifted to the edge of the group and into the shadow of the building. Their watcher wouldn’t be able to see her from the angle of the building.
The Teen Demis moved on, Queen Midnight’s shadows a near invisible pressure against their body armor. She’d be able to block a few armor piercing rounds, enough that they’d have a chance to prepare for incoming.
“Did she call me sir?” Powergirl asked.
“Yessir,” Seth said and there was a brief chuckle in response. They were all wound tight, waiting for a mass of mind-controlled zombies to fall on them.
“I’m too old for this shit,” Powergirl said. “Stay frosty, people. Hive-mind means if that was a hostile then they already know we’re here.”
They made their way to the peach colored building, which turned out to be more orangeish when they got closed. Seth kept an eye on his side, tensed to see catch any motion.
He hoped it was an unaltered civilian that had been watching them. Then wondered what kind of monster he had to be that he was wishing WarSong was killing some poor regular shmoe. They just couldn’t risk their op being busted–all witnesses needed to be handled, quietly and surgically.
Seth pushed any guilt away and focused on the Now. He’d have time for guilt and self-recriminations later, when the world wasn’t invaded by a hostile alien force.
He kept alert, eyes scanning his section. Tony was a spot of warm presence on his left, a green-for-friendly blob on the map located in the corner of his helm’s HUD.
He pushed away everything but the mission and firmly gripped his gauss rifle, ready to fire at any sign of hostiles. He was ready.
* * *
He was sweating into his jock. Every time there was a hint of serious danger, his balls decided to sweat until he was a drippy mess between the legs. Moisture wicking underwear kept him from swimming in his own fear, but he could tell the material lining his cup had worn thin. It was a minor irritation, but he had to force himself not to be distracted.
Getting his team killed because he had sweaty balls would not go over well with Overwatch. Plus the guilt would probably send him right over the edge.
Tony kept his eyes sharp and ignored the discomfort in his pants. “She’s taking a while,” he said.
They’d been waiting near to fifteen slow crawling minutes. WarSong should have been in and out in less than ten. Even spread out under the overhang with parked cars to hopefully conceal them, they were dangerously exposed. The longer they spent in one place the more vulnerable they were to detection.
Tony shifted in his crouch, trying to give his crotch some room to breathe. The sweat was making him itch and he gritted his teeth at the sensation. It was like fire ants infesting his balls, little nips that were getting worse and worse. Sweat trickled down the side of his face.
“I feel uncomfortable saying this,” Seth sounded strained, “but I feel like there’s ants in my pants. My, uh, my balls feel like they’re getting, uh. It’s very uncomfortable.”
“You too?” Queen Midnight breathed. “Oh shit, I think we’ve been made.”
With her pronouncement, it suddenly felt as though someone had literally set Tony’s crotch on fire. With a propane torch.
His knees hit the pavement and he hunched over the agony in his groin. It was not just his balls anymore, but his dick and deep up into his pelvis. His nerves were screaming out and there was nothing he could do to stop the pain.
Tears flooded his eyes and he gritted his teeth hard enough to hear his molars grate together. He hunched over himself, his armor keeping him from clutching his tormented genitals.
“Fu-fuck,” he groaned.
Dimly he heard shouts and crashes, but it wasn’t until the pain cut out that he knew the world around him still existed. Strangely distorted with bright splashes of color and sound that echoed through his skull, but still there.
He was grabbed by the shoulders and pulled away in time to watch a mid-sized car cartwheel through the spot where he’d been kneeling. He blinked at the strangeness of everything and let himself be pulled along in a stumbling run, Seth’s hand gripping his hand hard enough that he could feel it through his gloves. It was an anchor keeping him from slipping away.
Tony followed Seth, counting on him to lead him to safety. He was too out of it to trust himself.
It was a whirl of alleyways and long stretches of street, of using cars and buildings for cover as they fled as fast as they could on foot. Tony could feel his heart thudding in his chest and his panting breaths made his helm hot and moist inside. All he knew was that they were running from the enemy and he was glad the sharp pain had stopped, though his dick and balls still ached, though it was a dull echo.
Finally Seth seemed to think they’d thrown off pursuit. He shoved Tony into a narrow alley between two brick buildings and pulled him down into an exterior stairwell.
Tony panted for breath, resting his head against Seth’s back. He tried to say something, but the words wouldn’t come. His brain felt scrambled and words were too hard to get out.
“I think we’re good.” Seth peered down the alley toward the street, his back a tense line. “We might be good.”
Tony shuddered and breathed and wanted to take his helm off except that probably wasn’t a good idea. though at the moment he couldn’t have said why it would be bad, he was just trusting his training.
“Are you all right?” Seth turned around, his hands holding Tony’s shoulders. He sounded concerned, though it was impossible to read his expression through the blank smoothness of his helm. “Tony? Teen Steel, respond!”
It was the snap of command that had Tony stiffening. His mouth opened and moved, though it took several tries to get sensible words out. “I… I’m all right.”
Seth’s sigh of relief seemed weirdly close, intimate, through the coms. “Thank God, I don’t think I could handle any of this alone.”
“Where’s…” Tony cleared his throat. “Where’s the team?”
“I don’t know. We scattered in different directions. We have to figure they’ve all been compromised. We’re alone. Mission parameters have changed.”
Command had figured something like this could happen. Until the threat was taken out and the All Clear was sounded, they would be a two-man group and they weren’t to trust anyone, not even their own teammates.
“Shit,” Tony muttered. He was glad he wasn’t alone, but it was going to be touch completing the mission with just the two of them. Tough, but not impossible.
“We can do this,” Seth said.
“Yeah.” Tony tried to keep the doubt out of his voice, knowing they didn’t have any other choice. The Earth was at risk and duty didn’t stop just because the team had been split up and his balls still hurt. “We can do this.”
Seth gripped his shoulders tight and leaned forward to clunk their helms together softly. “We can do this. We’ll stay here about half an hour and rest up, then we’ll fulfill our secondary objective. We got this.”
“Yeah.” Tony wanted to believe. “We got this.”
* * *
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