Stepping In It - N.M.A.O.A. pt 2

The first wave released two humanoid robots. There were physical specs given about power and torque or something, but it was a lot of words in an order that Niko didn’t find all that interesting. What he did find interesting was that the bots were to fight simultaneously. It wasn’t like an old kung fu movie where bad guys literally stood around waiting for their turn to get their asses handed to them. So the robots first move was to attempt to flank.

The field as it were was long, almost as if it were four football fields, 2 lined end to end, 2 side by side. No trees. In the “end zone” areas were four giant stadium-style light fixtures. The bots didn’t lumber, they moved fluidly, and most importantly, they were training tools designed by Tony Stark.

Gwen's eyes got bigger when she saw the bot. They traveled up and up and up to the mechanical face. They looked so much smaller from a distance. She silently congratulated herself for opting for a full mask so Niko couldn’t get smug by seeing Gwen’s jaw drop.

As the first robot towered over the teen and raised its arm at her. “Surrender peacefully and you will not be harmed.” The robot said in a mechanical voice, the hand glowing as it charged up to blast Gwen.

“THAT’S NOT PEACEFUL AT ALL!” Gwen said her voice several octaves higher than normal while firing webbing randomly at the bot.

She opened an eye to reveal she had covered the robot is a variety of different types of webbing. More importantly, its face and blasting hand. “Score!” Gwen cheered leaping up and down.

“The level assessed. Moderate force approved.” The robot responded tearing at the webbing.

Gwen quailed.

Niko popped in his ear buds as the second bot came up on the opposite side, taking aim at Erik. HELEN seemed to know what she was doing.

The laces were tangled, because of course they were. He carefully stuck a hand in and grabbed a hold of one lace, stringing it out slowly. Normally he would have no trouble with these delicate operations, after all, he'd had 18 years of practice, okay maybe just 12 because he was really into Velcro Sketchers for a while, but he found with the stress of the situation and the distraction of Gwen fighting the robot he was having difficulty. Every few seconds the sounds would pull him away from everything and although finally the end of the lace emerged from the pile, in letting it fall away he saw that in his hand he had already created a frayed head, aglets crushed and lace torn. He sighed, looked around briefly at the action nervously, and put the lace off to the side in defeat as he again tried to focus on the remaining pile.

“Reset!” Niko called, seeing Erik put aside a lace. A new robot flew from the facility to the field making the count 3 against one. “Do not forget to defend the DemiGod”.

“I didn’t even GET that far!” Gwen stated said bouncing in place to loosen up. “Okay … you got this … you got this … you got spider skills. What do they have? Guns? Computers? Armor? Yea you got this …” Gwen confirmed she should never be her own hype man.

“Sorry!” Erik called out, then quieter, “Sorry, sorry, shit.” As he turned his head round to see one of the robots coming straight for him. A flashback the earlier fight caused him to duck his head in protection.

“I’d watch out.” Niko warned, stifling a chuckle. As Gwen readied herself, she might notice that two of the robots were focused on her, one on either side, but there was a third that seemed to materialize and land right in front of Erik. The bot which had previously been hit with webbing this time raised a weapon mounted inside its shoulder, while the other shot what looked like pulsating beams of light from its palm. The light, if hit by it, would be a photon blast - a light one, but it would sting like a bitch, as Erik was about to find out. As he ducked, the third robot blasted him straight in the chest.

Gwen was having trouble keeping up and she lept and jumped from bot to bot to get their attention but failed miserably. One swatted at her sending her skipping along the ground like a stone. “Ow … ow … ow …” She sqeaked with each bounce.

Erik tensed up as the blast hit his chest and the next lace he was working on was summarily ripped in two. He curled up but heard Gwen skidding on the ground and looked over. “Shit, shit, shit” He held the pile of laces tight to his chest and got up to his feet, trying to run over and toward Gwen, shouldering past one of the bots. “Gwen are you okay?” he shouted over to her along the way.

“Reset!” Niko called, and a fourth bot joined the group. Same as the last, it came on fast with a series of photon blasts. “Those shoes are not tying themselves Foster Thorson!”

“Sorry! My bad!” Gwen wobbled up to her feet. “That was totally on me. I’m good.” She said wiping off dirt and grass from her costume.

As Gwen steadied herself, Erik came to a stop a few feet from her, now between the robots and her. He flicked his head back and forth between her and robots twice, before heading closer to Gwen. He gives a worried look toward the marks on her suit, “You can stand behind me, I can take the hits.”

Gwen bristled a bit. Not so much that Erik though she needed a break but that he didn't think she could stop them from hitting him!

“I …” Gwen started catching the fist of robot. She had to dig her heels to not skid back. She forces the arm down with a and spun bring a leg up and down in an ax kick messily separating the robot arm from it body.

“... GOT …” She continued swinging the arm with all her might at another robot and sent it’s head flying off, the arm breaking up into pieces. Gwen lept, bouncing off Eriks shoulders and into the air. Using her webbing and momentum to jerk the shooting arms of two robot to fire on each other instead of Erik.

“... THIS!” She huffed. “Worry about the laces.” Gwen said puffing up a bit.

When he first made his way over to help Gwen, all he could think of was keeping someone safe, but while he couldn’t see her face, he felt her anger...or was it just that he had insulted her somehow. Honestly he wasn’t some kind of mindreader and the mask wasn’t helping him figure out how he had messed up. But she had insisted that he worry about the laces, and for the moment seemed like she was in control of the situation.

As Gwen took out two of the robots, the one armed one she had forgotten got up and raised a hand and fired, hitting the young Spider dead center in the back, splaying her to the ground.

“Get I get a drink of water?" Gwen groaned face first in the ground.

Niko put a fist to his mouth, half cringing, half suppressing a laugh. “When you get attacked, I don’t think calling ‘Time Out’ works, Kvedjvesa.”

Going onto one knee he exhaled and tried to steady the world around him. ‘Just like at home, you’re at home in the fields and it’s all okay, just focus and no one gets hurt,’ The sound of metal chunking gave him a small boost of confidence in her plan. Slowly he strung out a lace from the pile, ‘careful, focus, careful’. He slowed his breathing and looped it through the first set of holes. ‘One and two and one and-’ the thud caused his head to snap up, she was down again. He gritted his teeth and debated in his mind going over to her again, he could help her get up, he could maybe smash a robot or take a shot for her.

But he had a job, she wanted him to focus on the laces, and there's only going to be more robots if he kept messing up. A pained expression on his face he looked back down to his shoes. One and two and one and two and one and two and now the other, one and two and one and two and one and two and…..done. His hands lifted gently as the knot fell to the sides of the shoes. He raised his head again with a small smile and looked over to see how Gwen had fared in the meantime.

Niko stopped the stopwatch on his phone. And with the tap of a few more buttons, the robots powered down. “Well— that— went. Good practice.” He offered an encouraging thumbs up. “I’ll handle clean up.” He blinked out of sight, returning with two water bottles.

“Suuuuuure … if you say so.” Spider Gwen said sitting up rubbing her chest. “Ugh. That smarts …”

“Your pride?” Niko asked, handing her and Erik each a bottle.

Erik carefully takes his water and takes a small sip, not at all tired given his near complete lack of participation in regards to combat. He felt at his chest where he had been hit, but did not seem to be feeling the pain that Gwen was experiencing.

Maybe this leadership thing wasn't so hard.

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