This marks a special occasion! We are now more than halfway to the goal, at over 26k of my 50k goal.
Tilda tried to fly out of the way as missiles bolted towards her. And realized only too late that submarines couldn't fly. Two missiles hit her squarely, blasting her right into, and through, the door she had been trying to open. Her impromptu rocket-powered flight ended in a pile of crates filled with rotting rolls of fabric. A plume of dust filled the warehouse.
The Verbesserte screeched and circled the warehouse. Tilda stood up, shaking. Still alive. Whatever else this form did, it felt like it was protecting her against the blast waves a little better. With the warehouse in the way, it was hard for her to detect the Verbesserte on sonar, but its screeching was helping quite a bit.
“Come and get me you son of a bitch!” Tilda screamed. The Verbesserte seemed to hear. The roof blasted inwards as the monster took it off with a well-placed missile hit, putting a hole large enough for it to fly through. Debris cascaded down around Tilda. She stepped aside as an I-beam slammed into the floor where she had been standing. She could see every piece falling, perfectly, exactly where they were in space. It was amazing.
The Verbesserte followed the debris in, like a ghost in Tilda's vision. She could see it perfectly with her sonar, but to her sight it was just empty space, flickering and distorting slightly as it flew through the falling shrapnel. It landed heavily, slamming into the floor with enough force to crack the poured concrete. Tilda wondered if it even felt pain anymore.
The monster launched itself at her, fang-filled maw first. Tilda knew she didn't have the timing right for this new for to dodge, so she braced herself and met it head on, punching it as it reached her. She felt one of its fangs crack with the force. The Verbesserte stumbled back, screeching in pain or confusion or both.
Tilda grabbed one of its wings and pulled. Once, years ago, she had taken a few martial arts classes. She still knew how to do a few things. She used her leverage and a fair bit of superhuman strength to throw the monster over her head and into a pile of old crates. There was an eruption of dust as it slammed into and through them.
The monster got to its feet screaming in rage, flickering back into visibility. Whatever else she had done, that last throw must have done some kind of damage to its stealth systems. Tilda smiled. The poor thing seemed upset for some reason.
“I've got you now,” Tilda said. Something lit up in her display. A crosshairs fixed itself over the Verbesserte. Something was locking on to the monster. She willed whatever it was to fire. Ports opened on her forearms, in those big gauntlets. Two small missiles – no, torpedoes – launched out of each, curving through the air to hit the Verbesserte.
The explosion from Tilda's weapons was just as powerful as what the Verbesserte had been throwing at her. The black panels of armor cracked and shattered. The monster stumbled out of the broken crates, the spilled fabric bursting into thick smoke and heavy flames. It crashed into a wall, screeching and confused, then focused again on Tilda.
Tilda readied herself for another charge. It didn't disappoint, almost blindly careening towards her like an out-of-control train. She stepped to the side like a matador to let it go past, where it went head-first into a wall. The blast must have nearly blinded its sonar. It couldn't fly, see, or fight. The only thing left was to finish it off.
It picked itself up again, orgone energy leaking through the rents in its armor, and came at Tilda one last time. Tilda took a deep breath. She needed to end this in one hit. She jumped as it came at her and kicked, heel-first. The propeller spun as her foot slammed into the Verbesserte's head. She almost heart the crack as its skull split open. It fell back, energized orgone steaming from the new wound.
Arma ran inside. Tilda waved for her to stay back. Bluish bolts of orgone radiated out from the monster, sparking into every available surface. The armor seemed to peel and melt away and then, as if some final safety failed, there was an explosion of blue and red flame. A woman was left among the flames, her face covered in blood. It was over.
“Excellent!” Arma said, happily. “That's one less Verbesserte, and one step closer to our goal. And I told you the U-boat form would be fine.”
“Yeah,” Tilda agreed, smiling. “It's better than I thought. It's got a lot of power behind it.”
“What we should do now is go out and celebrate. You managed to beat this monster before it could cause more than a handful of casualties. That's impressive work. You even showed a bit more skill in this fight. A little more work and even I wouldn't know how to beat you!”
“What have you done?!” Someone yelled. Tilda looked up. There, at the edge of the broken warehouse roof and looking inside, was Pax.
“I killed the monster for you,” Tilda said, bragging. She motioned to the dead woman. “They return to human form after you finish them off. It was a pretty good fight. Maybe next time you'll actually show up in time to help fight the monster instead of just getting in the way.”
“You're the monster!” Pax jumped down. “I could have saved that woman! If I had converted the deadly orgone radiation powering the monster that was controlling her, I would-”
“You would have killed her,” Arma said, folding her arms, annoyed. “You obviously know a little about orgone science, but only enough to make yourself dangerous to yourself and others. You should leave this to the professionals.”
“You just want to conquer the world and make people your slaves!” Pax shouted. “You've already warped Krieg's mind! You're just using her!” He pulled out that water cannon, taking aim at Arma. Tilda jumped, catching the blast of water on her chest. It wasn't nearly as bad as that first hit she had taken from it. Then she remembered – submarines handled the water a lot more easily than a jet fighter.
“Leave her alone!” Tilda yelled. “She may be an evil alien, but she's my evil alien!” The water jet turned off.
“You'll thank me once she's gone. I don't know if she's using some kind of bribery or threat or if she's just controlling your mind, but the reptilians have never tried to help us!” He put the water cannon away and took a large crystal, the size and shape of a screwdriver, from under his cape. A copper coil was wrapped around it tightly, with large copper beads at the end.
“The only thing we're doing is protecting people,” Tilda said. “If you can't see that, then you're just deluding yourself.”
“And racist!” Arma put in.
“It doesn't count as racism if you're from an entirely different world,” Tilda muttered. “I'm pretty sure it would be speciesism or planetism or something.”
“It's not racist!” Pax shouted defiantly “They've literally been trying to control mankind for thousands of years!” He squeezed the wrapped crystal in his hand, and a blade of pure orgone forged itself from the tip, just like his armor had forged itself.
“If you want to get her, you have to go through me,” Tilda said. Though really, part of her wasn't sure why she was being so protective of the alien. She had only met her a few days ago. And she had admitted that her people had basically be controlling mankind. Still, it felt like the right thing to do.
“Then I'll try not to hurt you.” Pax jumped, his cape billowing. A wind smelling like ozone and energy surrounded him as he made that impossible leap, soaring all the way across the warehouse at Tilda. She raised her arms in self-defense, that blade biting deeply into the thick gauntlets. She gasped in sudden pain as the edge of the blade got all the way to her flesh, leaving a shallow cut on both arms.
“Damnit!” Tilda hopped back. He was serious, and the armor wasn't going to take another attack like that. It was good at stopping blast waves, but that sword had just cut right through it. She wasn't going to be able to just sit there and take it.
“Stand down and I won't hurt you!” Pax said again. Tilda growled. That uneasy, draining feeling was still coming from Pax, and it was only getting worse by the moment. Pax's eye seemed to glow brighter as she felt worse.
“He's draining your enhanced orgone!” Arma yelled. “You have to end this quickly!”
“End it quickly? I can do that.” Tilda stepped back, spinning the dial on Krieg. The armor glowed with a humming white light, just like Arma did when she changed shape. The armor changed back to free-floating energized orgone for a moment before snapping into the familiar shape of that first form she had asssumed, the bright-red flying armor.
Pax swung his blade as she transformed. She blocked his sword with her own arm blades, the edges meeting in a bright shower of sparks. Unlike the armor of the previous form, though, the blades held up to the strain. The two were forced apart as bolts of lightning exploded from the weapons.
“Stop protecting her!” Pax shouted, as he readied himself for another attack. Tilda clicked her heels together and rose up into the air, engines roaring loudly.
“Stop trying to kill her!” Tilda retorted. She gained some altitude, then swung down in a dive, letting Pax block her and letting her engines carry both of them through the debris of broken boxes to the other side of the warehouse. They slammed into the wall and stopped.
Tilda could feel him draining her with the proximity. She flew up and away in a loop. The distance helped. She backed off slightly, keeping near the roof.
“Arma, you get out of here while I keep him busy,” Tilda said. The reptilian nodded and ran. Pax glanced up at Tilda and then ran for the retreating alien. “Oh no you don't.” She swooped down to shoulder-slam Pax. The man was much heavier, but speed did count for something. He was knocked off his feet, landing in a roll and standing up in an instant.
“Don't do this. I'm trying to save the future of humanity!” Pax swung at Tilda. Tilda blocked it again, but she wasn't able to block it as well as the first time. Pax's sword nicked the edge of her blade, cutting into it. He was growing in power, and hers was fading away.
“So am I,” Tilda muttered. She twisted her arm, trying to knock his blade away, and swung for him with her other arm blade. The blade scraped along his right side, opening a long but shallow cut. Pax cried out in pain and back off.
“I don't want to hurt you,” Pax said. He stepped back, lowering his sword. “I'm not doing this to hurt people. I just want to save everyone.”
“Yeah, well, then don't threaten the person who is teaching me how to use this thing.” Tilda took a few steps back herself and took a breath. It felt like the fight was over. Not that either of them really wanted to fight. Well, not that Pax wanted to fight anyway. She felt like she wanted to punch him in the face every time she looked at him. But she could keep it under control.