Disclaimer: I do not own Static Shock or The Incredibles
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Incredibles Assemble!
Francis dashed out into the street and started sprinting against the flow of traffic. There were crowds of people moving up the street, some looking over their shoulders in fear. Police officers were out in force, trying to direct the stampede in a safe direction and keeping them out of traffic's way. Every few minutes a police cruiser or ambulance would go flying past the crowd with their sirens blaring and lights flashing.
In the distance, there was smoke rising into the air. An explosion went off and some of the fleeing people screamed, ducked, then continued running on.
Francis looked back over his shoulder at Frieda's house and considered going back to tell her she should evacuate as well but then thought better of it. The Incredibles had engaged the robot, which meant it was staying in one place for the moment. Francis had to get there and help however he could.
He stepped to the side to try and get his thoughts together. He wanted to help, but running in half-cocked wasn't going to help anyone. He needed to be smart about this. First things first, he needed his suit.
Francis cut across the street and through an alley, breaking away from the congestion. He kept a spare suit in his locker at school.
Bob lifted an SUV off the ground and with a roar of rage threw it at the robot. The car smashed against its metal skin and broke into pieces. Shards of shrapnel rained down around the behemoth as it swiveled its menacing green eye away from Helen and Dash and back to Bob.
Good. Bob wanted its attention away from his family. Whatever that light is, it had hurt Helen. She was still down, face scrunched up in pain as Dash kneeled beside her.
In incapacitating Helen, the robot had also shown its biggest threat. That light. If Bob could avoid that light and find the robot's weakness, then he could beat this thing.
Only problem was there didn't seem to be a weakness.
The metal the robot was made of was strong, it didn't dent or even scratch no matter what Bob threw at it. It reminded him of Syndrome's omnidroids, which meant that only the robot could damage itself.
The robot focused it eye on Bob and flashed its light, but he was rolling out of the way and taking cover behind a row of parked cars before it had even blinked. The robot pursued him, smashing through the metal, glass, and rubber as though it were wading through water.
Bob scanned the street for new ammo and spotted an abandoned motorcycle lying on its side. He had an idea.
Bob ran for the bike, staying low to the ground and dodging the robot's attacks. He got to the motorcycle and turned the engine on. The motor purred to life in his hands and Bob tore a small hole in the fuel canister before spinning and throwing it at the monster.
The motorcycle exploded on impact and the robot teetered on its feet. When the smoke cleared, there were scorch marks on the robot's front, but the green light was intact and the robot continued marching towards Bob.
Gritting his teeth, Bob looked around for a new plan of attack but found nothing. The robot raised one of its arms and Bob braced for impact.
The punch sent him through the window of a video store. He smashed through the display shelves before rolling into the back wall. A crack raced up the wall and bits of plaster fell on Bob as he struggled back to his feet.
There were shouts from outside and Bob felt his heart drop. Dash's voice. He charged to the front of the store as fast as he could.
Dash had raced at the robot the moment his father had been batted aside. He ran around the robot in circles, hoping to confuse it before backing up and running at the monster at full speed.
Dash was fast, but not faster than the speed of light.
The green light hit him and he felt a pain go through him, starting from the inside and spreading to his extremities. Dash gasped and then yelped in pain. Then suddenly, his legs began to slow down and he tripped over a piece of scrap metal lying in the road.
Dash fell and rolled head over heels, finally coming to a rest at the robot's feet. It extended one clawed hand and picked Dash up. He wanted to struggle and get away, but his body wouldn't cooperate with him. The pain had melted away into numbness.
Bob burst through the broken store window and roared as he tackled the robot like a linebacker.
Dash was dropped and he lay limply in the road, trying to will his legs to move.
Bob's attention went to his son after he had sent the robot crashing to the pavement, which allowed the robot to wrap Bob in one if its claws.
It had Bob by the leg and as it stood, Bob was flipped upside down. He tried to reach up to grab the claw to pry it open, but the robot slammed him into the ground. It left a Bob-sized crater in the ground. Then the robot lifted Bob and smashed him into the ground again. And again.
By that point Bob's vision was getting blurry. He groaned and tried once more to reach the claw but the robot raised Bob once more, prepared to slam him into the ground again.
A streak of flame crashed into the robot and sent it flailing to the ground. Bob was dropped and lay on his side, gasping for air. When he looked up, Francis was standing in front of him.
He was facing the robot and even beneath the mask Bob had never seen Francis so furious. And he would know, he'd been the cause of Francis' anger one too many times. Bob sat up. "Francis?"
Francis turned to Bob and the fury was replaced with worry and…fear? Francis looked at the ground, back to the robot, then back to Bob.
Bob could only nod. He got to his feet and winced at how sore he was. Maybe he was getting too old for this Superhero thing. "There's nothing to be sorry for."
Francis looked surprised but Bob stopped him by gesturing at the robot, which was getting back up. "Let's focus on this right now."
Francis nodded and fell into line beside Bob. "Got a plan?"
Francis smirked. "But you always say to go into battle with a plan in place."
"I also say be ready to improvise." Bob rumbled. "Let's improvise."
The robot turned to face them. After all that fighting and the robot had still only sustained light damage to its surface.
"Avoid the laser." Bob advised.
Francis nodded and took a deep calming breath. Showtime.
Bob and Francis both moved at the same time, and suddenly it seemed as though Francis was back in the Hangar at the Sanctum, practicing his teamwork drills. Bob went right, Francis went left, they split the robot's attention and both attacked the robot's leg joints. Bob's massive strength combined with Francis' heat did seem to have some impact. The robot's step stuttered and halted before grinding back into life. They had damaged something at least.
The robot brought its claw down in a hammering blow and Francis just managed to duck out of the way. His shoulder protested at the movement and he swore loudly. Going into a fight injured was not a good idea.
Bob wrenched a street light out of the ground and used it like a baseball bat, cracking the steel pole against the robot's chest, hoping to crack the light.
No such luck. The light flashed at Bob and he jumped aside.
Francis summoned flames into both of his hands and then thrust the jet stream of fire at the robot. The flames licked and leaped around the robot, its metallic skin burning red for a moment before the robot lifted one giant foot and tried to stomp Francis into the ground. He rolled aside but the robot caught him with a backswing of one if its huge clawed hands and Francis went flying down the street.
Shards of glass and gravel bit into his skin as Francis skid along the ground. He planted one foot and turned his tumble into a controlled roll, coming to a stop in a crouch facing the robot. His eyes flashed red.
Bob had engaged the robot again, but nothing either of them threw at the robot seemed to have any impact. The fight had already destroyed this portion of the city and if they let the robot continue its rampage, more damage would be caused and more people would be hurt. Francis glanced at Dash and Helen lying motionlessly on the fringe of the battlefield. They couldn't let that happen.
Francis got to his feet just as Bob was smacked with one of the claws and was sent sprawling. Francis ran to help Bob up and then they both dodged away from the green light.
"You guys need some help?"
Francis looked up and Virgil zoomed into view, a grim smile on his face. From an aerial viewpoint he could see the devastation caused by the fight better than anyone and even cracking a customary joke wasn't enough to lighten the tension that hung thick in the air.
"Static!" Francis grinned. He was honestly delighted to see some backup.
Bob glanced at Virgil and then darted forward to meet the robot, which was advancing towards the heroes as they stood in the road.
Virgil landed beside Francis. "What's the situation?"
"Big-ass robot tearing up Dakota."
"Thanks. That was helpful."
Francis nodded towards the robot. "We can't pierce it. Don't know what it's made of but it's tough. That green light will mess you up. It hit Helen and Dash with it, they're down."
Virgil's eyes widened and he looked around for his friends, finding them out of harm's way but injured. He jumped back onto his disc. "I saw a police barricade down the street. They're giving us some room to fight, but the paramedics can't get any closer. I'll fly them over there and be back."
Francis nodded. "Be fast."
Virgil gathered Helen and Dash together. Helen was awake, her face pale with pain. "Virgil, what's going on?" She gasped through gritted teeth.
"Francis and Bob are fighting the robot. I'm going to get you and Dash somewhere safe." Virgil explained quickly. He created a sphere of electricity around the two Supers and lifted them into the air.
"Francis? I thought he was…" Helen muttered but then shook her head. "Never mind. I'm glad he's here. What about Lucius?"
"He's on his way." Virgil assured her. "I just move faster."
He spotted the ambulances and police cruisers lined up at the barricade. There was a flurry of activity with officers running around, their walkie-talkies calling out orders every few seconds. Television reporters were trying to get past the barricade, their cameras and microphones jutting out in every direction.
Virgil floated down and hailed a paramedic. "Hey, they're hurt! We need help!"
A female paramedic hurried to help, signaling to her colleague to get a stretcher. "What happened?"
Virgil shook his head. "I'm not sure. Something about a light. It must be internal."
She nodded and then bent over Dash, a hand on his pulse. "It's steady." She checked his breathing. "Respiratory's normal." She looked over her shoulder. "Do you have those stretchers yet?"
"Here." A younger male paramedic slid one out of the back of the nearest ambulance and ran it over to them. "Help me get him up Jean."
Jean and the other paramedic lifted Dash gently onto the stretcher and strapped him down. A fireman and another paramedic appeared with another stretcher for Helen and began helping her onto it.
Virgil stayed long enough to see the pair loaded onto an ambulance before taking off again. He needed to get back to the fight.
Francis created a sword made of flames and tried to stab the green light as Bob distracted the robot. While the sword wasn't actually sharp in any way, Francis could concentrate the highest heat of the flame to the tip and he hoped that would have some effect.
No such luck. The robot turned to Francis and casually swatted him like a fly. Francis crashed into a brick wall and crumpled to the ground. His vision went black for a moment before he shook his head and got back to his unsteady feet.
"You okay?" Virgil landed beside him.
"Good enough." Francis nodded grimly. "Any ideas? We could use one."
Virgil surveyed the situation at a glance, just like he'd been taught. The robot seemed impervious. But everything had a weakness. If only he could find it.
Virgil narrowed his eyes as the robot turned, tracking Bob as he continued to dodge and deflect its blows, and he got a good look at the monster for the first time. He took in the green light, the compact design, the spinning and smashing claws, and his eyes widened. "Holy shit!"
Francis looked at him. "What?"
"I know this robot!"
"Huh?" Francis looked back and forth between the robot and Virgil. "How?"
"I designed it! Or, I helped anyway." Virgil jabbed a finger at the robot. "That thing was the final project for my senior mentors."
"Are you telling me this is a science project gone bad?" Francis asked, disbelief visible on his face.
Virgil frowned. "Maybe. Specs and Trapped talked about building a model, but I didn't think it would be on this scale."
Francis nodded. "Okay, then talk to me. What's that thing made of? Can we beat it?"
Virgil pointed at the green light. "That is our biggest problem. That's its primary weapon. It's supposed to track electrical signatures. In some of the theoretical designs we came up with a neural disrupter. It would target certain parts of the brain and shut them down, temporarily."
Francis stared blankly at Virgil for a few seconds. "What would that do to someone?"
Virgil shook his head. "I'm not sure exactly, it was only a theory. For example, if the laser were aimed at a Super it could shut down the Super part of the brain and take away their powers."
"I don't think that's an example. I think that's what's happening." Francis said slowly. He looked at the robot. "That thing is hunting Supers." He continued when he saw Virgil's confused look. "Think about it. It was tearing apart the city for no reason, like it was looking for something. Now that we're fighting it, it's completely stopped trying to move on. It's ignoring normal humans. It wants to fight us. It wants to hit us with that laser and take us out. Once it had hit Helen and Dash it ignored them."
Virgil nodded. "I think you're right."
There was a crash as Bob was on the receiving end of yet another crushing blow. He bounced across the pavement and landed in front of the two teens. They helped him up.
"Virgil knows about the robot." Francis said quickly.
"What? How?" Bob asked.
The robot was advancing slowly towards them.
"Long story." Virgil started to explain.
Bob cut him off. "Never mind. Do you know how to get under that armor?"
"In the designs the robot was made out of trinium. It has a melting point of 3425.3 degrees farenheit." Virgil looked at Francis. "If you can get that high, we can melt the trinium and then Bob," Virgil nodded at the Parr patriarch, "you can pierce it with something. That should stop it."
Bob noticed Francis's wide-eyed stare. "Can you get that high?"
"I dunno." Francis hesitated. "I've never tried."
"Don't hold back." Bob clapped a hand onto the pyro's shoulder. "You can do it."
Francis nodded and then turned to face the robot.
Virgil and Bob ran out of the way. "We're going to want to be as far back as possible." Virgil shouted as they ran. "Things are about to get pretty warm."
Bob stopped and pulled a tall lamppost out of the ground. He slung it over his shoulder and waited for his shot.
Francis let out a deep breath and reached deep inside to that warm place within. He could almost see the flames inside his chest, roiling and wild and desperate to get out. He'd spent most of his life trying to keep those flames contained within himself. Controlling fire isn't like controlling ice or water or anything else. Fire, once unleashed, has a mind of its own. It can destroy and it can hurt. But it has never hurt Francis. So now he was going to put his trust into something that he's never let free in its entirety and trust that it won't hurt him or anyone else.
Francis closed his eyes, took one more breath, even as he felt the street rattle under the giant step of the robot as it drew within a claw's reach of him. His eyes flashed open and they were a bright, crimson red.
He threw his hands out and a white-hot jet of flames erupted from him, directly into the heart of the robot. The metal monster teetered but did not fall. Francis continued to pour on the heat, steadily rising the temperature of the flames higher and higher. The air around him shimmered. The tar on the street around him began to bubble. Shattered shards of glass on the ground or in window frames dripped into a clear liquid and began to boil.
Virgil threw up an arm in front of his face at the extreme heat that rolled towards them. Eventually he was forced to construct a force field of electricity around Bob and himself to keep the heat at bay.
And still Francis let loose more and more fire. The heat inside of him seemed to sing in his veins, and a grin crept across his face. So this was freedom. This was what his powers could do.
Slowly, the robot's metal exterior began to drip like watercolors on paper. The point where Francis was concentrating his attack began to boil and bubble and then the metal gave way, exposing the robot's insides.
Bob didn't hesitate. He reared back and threw the lamppost like a javelin and it pierced the robot through the chest. It punched out its back, leaving the robot skewered. The green light blinked and then died.
Francis stopped abruptly, the flames dying as quickly as the robot. He fell to his knees and gasped for air.
Virgil didn't let the shield down for several minutes because of the heat and frowned in concern when the temperature didn't fade.
That was the scene Lucius arrived to when he finally appeared at the battlefield. Francis on the ground, with a half-melted, half-impaled robot in front of him, and Virgil and Bob trapped in an electric bubble a few hundred yards away. The air was hot, and metals on the ground were still boiling. "Whoa, looks like I missed something."
Lucius stayed well back of the heat's epicenter so that he could draw water from the air. He collected as much as he could and then threw a sheet of ice all along the street to cool things down. There was a hiss of steam and the heat melted the ice as quickly as it was laid down, but it cooled things off enough for Virgil to let his shield down.
Virgil and Lucius ran over to Francis to see if he was okay. He was still kneeling in the road. Francis turned his head as they approached and grinned through the grime and sweat on his face. "I'm stuck to the street."
His hands and knees were stuck in the tar where it had congealed. Virgil snorted and then laughed. "Hang on." He zapped Francis free and then helped the other teen to his feet. Lucius quickly, and anxiously, checked them both for injuries. All of them wore relieved smiles.
Bob inspected the robot, noting with satisfaction that it was indeed no longer a threat. His face darkened. They weren't done here yet. They had to find whoever had unleashed this robot on Dakota, and make sure they were punished for it. And if Dash or Helen were badly hurt…Bob clenched his fists at the thought. They were going to pay.
I kinda just want to laugh at how long it's been since I last updated. Apologies to one and all. But I think I have a decent excuse. I spent the summer in England, with a very shoddy internet connection, enjoying the Olympics. It was awesome. Any way, there's only one chapter left in this monster of a story and that should be up soon-ish. Let me know what you guys think, if anyone is still reading this.