I will join Hive’s attack. There’s an assumption I need to verify.
Bruce couldn’t use the same system that he’d given to Hector. It was a near perfect man-machine interface but its… invasive nature did long term damage to the body. Short usage could be healed, of course, but that wasn’t a given. Hector might be able to make new bodies but Bruce was stuck with just the one. Well, barring a few contingencies but they weren’t a given either. Instead, he relied on a less advanced but still sophisticated set of software that interpreted specific muscle movements as commands.
A twitch of his cheek disabled the hologram. Rather than a simple, if somewhat blurry, Citadel uniform in white he wore something very similar to Hectors’ armor. There were additional bulges in the chestplate, especially around the shoulders, the bracers and gloves were shaped a little differently and the helmet was a little larger. Still, it would take a keen eye to spot the difference.
He left the police station through the front door and took a running start before lifting off gently. His student was actually more skilled with the flight system, or perhaps simply a bit more reckless. Again, Hector could simply make more bodies if he lost one to excess G-force or an abrupt shift in direction. Bruce was careful to join one of the various streams of Hectors that still rose from points across the city. They were growing thinner.
He didn’t think Hive was at the limit for number of bodies. His habit of keeping the original sequestered meant that judging his power’s intensity was difficult but Bruce’s estimates put it higher than this. Much higher. There were fewer streams of Hectors than when Intervention Prime arrived in the city. Bruce arrived at the cloud over the hospital.
He dipped lower, into the range of Skinthief’s stolen kill aura.
Still alive, visually similar to Hive. He matched movement patterns as best he could, followed a batch of duplicates further down. The enemy showed on thermal first, a bright white on a field of pale orange. The Hives raised their arms and he mirrored the motion. Bruce twitched right, avoiding the field of fire from the Hive just behind him. The enemy lost an arm, chunks of the building around it vanishing as well. An ally fell, missing a section from its lower back.
The arm was visibly regrowing. Three allies burst into flame and fell. One left, he followed it as it rose again. Interesting but not conclusive. Alone this time, he dove straight towards another section of the building. The enemy was likely… yes, there.
The enemy gesture and his forcefields flared bright, diverting the heat. Energy levels not a problem, the Great Bell’s connection device functioned perfectly. The allies had between ten minutes and an hour of charge, depending on usage. He was not limited. A half blink of his right eye activated the point lasers, focused on the enemy’s eyes.
The enemy’s heat signature grew brighter, limited to the head. It was almost a halo, the photokinetic Lodge member’s skillset. Deactivated lasers, switched to sliver-guns. Magnetically accelerated needles hurtled out, too quick to dodge. The enemy rocked back then stood upright. Posture was altered, confused. Cumulative Strong type powersets sufficient to prevent damage but no forcefield. The metal of his shot would have spread, deformed and covered the enemies eyes, blinded.
He dodged left, let allies take over this fight, avoiding their fire. Enemy vanished behind him as he sought another. One approached, flying. Visual effect distinctive, angular wings of dark green light, covered in black runic script. Sliver-guns to the eyes, renewing as enemy blinked to clear the metal. Drop five feet to avoid burst of heat.
Another enemy, also flying. No wings. Stood on golden platform, two unknown powers, consistent with general Lodge set. Sliver-guns, both enemies kept in rotation. They coordinated, pursued and attempted to force him closer to building. Third enemy keeping distance, acting as spotter. Consistent with Hive’s training. Three enemies in sliver-gun rotation, nearing capacity, another would allow blinking to clear eyes.
Fourth enemy approaching, no visible source of flight. Correction, tension in clothing suggests object-oriented telekinesis, unknown source. Goo gun used. First and Second still in pursuit, maneuvered to avoid. The fourth’s skin greying, eaten in by the short-lived, self organizing and replicating devices that made up the goo. Fourth’s motion arrested, flailing. Flailing slowing, grey receding. Goo overcome by regeneration. Enemy had not thought to use pyrokinesis.
Sliver-gun rotation abandoned, enemies’ vision allowed to return. Undivided attention of four enemies, no allies in immediate area. Still alive, further evidence of correct assumption. One and Two gestured, shields strained but still within capacity. Third attempted to close while Fourth withdrew, providing oversight. Similar strategy but well coordinated, within Hive’s normal capacity.
High intensity sonics activated, better than usual effect. Enhanced auditory capacity. Rose to escape approaching enemy. Enemy formed pairs, One and Two, Three and Four, touching. Signs of distress slowed then stopped, focus returned. Still alive. Final test of assumption. Hologram reactivated, own face displayed, helmet effectively invisible.
Bruce Richards fell from the sky, dead.