Goodbye

The moving images on the auditorium's giant screens moved back and fourth, each dot representing a hero or an enemy. Together, they told a grim tale. Waiting in the increasingly silent room, Rebekah was torn between staying here in safety, trusting in more experienced heroes, and the desire to go and do what she could, however big or small that might be.

Then that guy stood up. She couldn't even have said what he looked like or even the words he used, but his declaration jolted her out of her indecision. He rushed for the door, and she went for the windows. The city below was shrouded in clouds of the aliens' dark smoke, but there were enough gaps for her to get a view of the ground. She pressed her face had against the cold glass and in a flash, she was gone, and landed on the ground.

A storm of noise, sights and smell assaulted her in an instant. Broken concrete was piled all over the street as more large grey building towered above. Sirens, explosions, creams from everywhere even though she couldn't see anyone else around, and that stink! The smog was crushing with its intensity, and seemed like a weight on all of her limbs. What had seemed awful when represented by crisp coloured dots on screens was terrifyingly real in person.

Something moved, further up the street, followed by a boom as another blast rocked the block. A huge, four-legged walker had just taken another big chunk out of an office block, and the upper floors looked almost ready to collapse in on themselves. And the thing kept on moving towards her.

What was there left to do? When she had jumped out of Hero High, she hadn't taken the time to get any of her gear, not even her super costume. Here she was with no weapons but the rocks at her feet, not protective clothing, nothing to communicate with other heroes. Just her and her wits against this gigantic, regenerating, laser-spewing monster of a machine with nobody else around to help.

Bring it on.

After all, what was being a hero all about? It was helping how you can, and making a difference wherever you saw a need. It wasn't always easy, and it wasn't meant to be. Sometimes you just had to try and see where it took you without knowing how everything was going to end.

The thing had seen her, and was coming on faster now. She focussed on a section of the road and the ground underneath, a cube of material about two metres to a side, and began to shrink it. Tar seal tore along the boundaries of her power as it contracted, until, just as the walker arrived, she was left with an ice-cube sized miniature sitting in the bottom of a pit right as the thing's foot came down.

The walker's foot plunged into her trap, and it staggered for a moment as it righted itself, and that was all she needed. The tiny cube grew again, rushing back to its original size. As it grew, it crushed the walker's leg against the edge of the hole, holding it in place. The giant strained to pull its horrible tentacle-like foot up, but Rebekah did not relent, expanding more and more of the dirt and concrete around the leg. It strained upward and as another foot came forward to strike at the pile, it over balanced and collapsed forward.

With two legs now tangled and the other out behind it, the walker fell from on high, Its big, troop-carrying capsule gaining speed as it hurtled towards the ground where Rebekah was standing until it seemed like it would shatter like a watermelon when it hit the pavement.

All that remained for Rebekah was getting out of the way. She wheeled around, scanning for a safe spot to teleport to. It wasn't easy for her to get a good view with all of the dust the walker had kicked up and its rapidly-growing shadow. She almost had locked onto a spot that might be far enough away when the walker, seeing its own incoming destruction, vented all of its stored up smog. The entire block was enveloped in such a dense cloud that all sight became impossible. It was choking, smothering, all-enveloping. It drove Rebekah to her knees, which hit the pavement mere instants before the walker's capsule.

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