"Ha! Caught it! He controls the cyborgs through a way, way high frequency." Halberd stepped out of the back hallway, as Sokalov turned, eyes narrowing.
Halberd grinned. "Cyborgs? Go to your barracks. Now!" The verbal order backed up with a high mental command.
The two cyborgs turned and walked out the door.
Frost could feel the mental echo, dim, too high to really get . . . She reached for it. As high as she could, and reached mentally for Sokalov. Threw power at his barriers and found no way in.
Damn, damn, damn!
Sokalov spun from Halberd to Frost. "Mentalists! Both of you! Trained mentalists! Foreign mentalists!"
He pounced, hands going for her neck.
Halberd hit him from the back, kicking the backs of his knees. He landed on his butt, scrambled to his feet, and backed up to the wall, staring from one to the other . . . mental pressure built.
Halberd stepped closer and dropped her voice. "Frost? He said the gate was opening. We have to stop it, and you have the best slice. Get there as fast as you can and slice up the beacon. Do whatever you have to, to break it."
"Halberd! I can't leave you here with him!"
"Oh yes you can. After all, I have to advance sometime."
"Halberd!" Frost backed away as Sokalov frowned and increased the pressure.
"You vill go nowhere."
Stupid fool lurched toward her, shoving past Halberd. Never underestimate a witch just because she's young!
Halberd jumped and got an arm around his neck, jerked him back . . . "Go!"
Frost cursed, and went. "Nexus, I need an aircar, fast, and this is an emergency, please override the speed controls."
"Frost Witch! Mentalist Sokalov has gotten loose and is attacking Halberd Arrowdaut . . . He says he knows how to tame her!"
"Poor fool is going to regret it if he rapes her!" Frost leaped into the aircar and it zipped off with more than usual speed. "Where's Mirk? I'm not sure I can handle von Cratz alone."
"He has been summoned to join von Cratz."
There were dancing light above the scorched patch where he's destroyed the gate.
Mirk stared at the ground. I wonder how deeply buried their beacon is? I could try punching holes . . .
"Zo, zoon you will see the true might of the Drei. Not just this pathetic little scouting mission. We vill take all the cities, and put you soft slaves to proper verk making goods for the Drei while ve plan vurther conquests." Von Cratz turned to watch the lights.
Damn. I'll have to deal with him first. Not to mention his two pet goons and the dozen guards stationed to protect the gate.
Then he caught Frost's mental voice.
:: Mirk! Time to start the war. Halberd is fighting Sokalov and you need to deal with von Cratz while I destroy the beacon. ::
Right. Just the two of us. No. Problem.
Mirk looked around at the bulldozed piles of rubbish from the demolished camp. Stepped and pulled a metal bar out. Too short, bent at both ends . . . actually it might work for fighting an over-sized cyborg . . . another bar, this one straighter and longer. He hefted it, left handed. Too heavy, but about a long as the swords he'd used all his life.
Shields, mental and energy, to start.
Something in his stance, or perhaps the crude weapons alerted von Cratz's guards.
As the one to the left started to turn, he brought the long bar down on his head. The cyborg dropped.
Weak skull, with that plate in it.
He absorbed the wash of energy as a laser hit his shield. A right handed lunge. The bent bar couldn't pierce, but it could crush the second guard's trachea. Mirk stepped back from a furious swing from von Cratz.
He faced the big cyborg. "So. Looks like the opportunity for a peaceful resolution has ended. I won't allow you to open that gate again."
"Zo. You haf fooled me all along. I believed you ver a coward." von Cratz grinned. "But now, vinally I haf a proper fight."
Mirk grinned back. "No. Finally, I get to kill you."
Not a word from the Nexus.
Haven't fenced in years. Hope I haven't lost it . . . He settled mentally into his center, even as he danced away from von Cratz's roundhouse swing and leaped to bring the short bar down across the laser. Almost dodged the return backhand, rode it and managed to stay on his feet.
Lunge with the straight bar. Von Cratz grabbed it with his cyber hand. Mirk struck with the short, bent bar. Between the bars of the mechanical forearm. Twist and jerk. Held on as he was thrown, the bar ripping out the wires . . .
He rolled, kept rolling as von Crantz thumped toward him, all the guards trailing, spreading out to circle them. He got to his feet.
Out of the corner of his eye an aircar stopping, Frost ducking low and making for the gate site.
Mirk fended off blows, backing to keep out of reach . . . and draw as many cyborgs as possible away from the gate.
"That was disgusting! And it hurt!" Halberd drew her foot back and kicked the flacid body on the floor. Tripped over her pants, still trapping one foot. Swiped sweat, tears and snot from her face with an angry gesture.
"And slimy. It's disgusting!" She found her ripped panties and wiped her crotch. "And I'm bleeding!"
She got her pants back on and limped out the door. Threw the power she'd saved up form learning the channel into that high frequency mental communication. "Go to your barracks! Now! All cyborgs go to your barracks!" She broadcast it as far as she could.
"Nexus. I need an aircar. Can you observe the cyborgs? Are they obeying? How near to them do I need to be for them to get my orders?"
"They all appear to be moving toward the army camp. Halberd Arrowdaut, do you require medical help?"
"Not yet. I'm mostly just bruised from the fighting part of that mess." She swiped her sleeve across her face. "I still need to deal with the cyborgs, and I probably won't be able to order von Cratz around."
Frost darted from trash heap to trash heap. Trying to watch for cyborgs, trying to not watch the deadly fight beyond them. Two cyborgs were hanging back. watching the fight, but still bracketing the lights dancing above the scorched ground.
Physical shield. Pouring off me, all pouring down my arm and extending like a blade. Long, thin.
She stabbed the ground. And the world exploded.