“What in the fucking hell is that?”
Owen followed the direction of Gale’s pointing hand, squinting to see through the wind, and his jaw dropped. Years spent as a Hero, dealing with Supers of every manner, had exposed him to many a strange situation. He’d seen the rules of reality twisted, if not outright defied, in more manners than he could have imagined back when he started.
He had not, however, previously come across a twenty story tall bunny rabbit, standing on its hind legs, wearing a suit of medieval armor and breathing fire on the cluster of robots trying to attack it. As a few tried to run from the flames, it… well… hopped forward, smashing them, along with a large chunk of the street, into oblivion. Owen took some comfort in knowing that it was apparently on their side, or at least that it hated robots.
“Please tell me that’s some Hero I somehow missed in my research of Brewster,” Owen said.
“Pretty sure I’d remember someone like that,” Gale replied. “By the looks of it, the smart money is either on shifter, summoner, or tech genius creation.”
“That shift would take hours, if not days, to get in and out of. Tech genius maybe, but we’ve been on watch for that sort of stuff, so I can’t believe we’d miss it. As for summoner, I don’t know of any who can pull in something that big. Plus, combat bunny? Who…” Owen’s words trailed off as he remembered the night that he and the team sat around sharing embarrassing stories. Hexcellent had told them about her childhood bunny, but said she couldn’t call him anymore. Granted, she hadn’t described him as able to step over buildings, yet Owen’s gut still screamed that the coincidence was just a little too much.
“Gale, Can you sweep the area and get me coordinates on the big robot near my team? I need a few minutes here.”
“Are you going to fight the rabbit? Because even for you, that’s a pretty big one,” Gale pointed out.
“I really hope not,” Owen said. “But I may have just found one of my team. I need to check on her. And, if things go well, I might even get us a helping paw.”
“Boooooooooo,” Gale jeered. “Fine, but I’m giving you the quick drop, and I’m coming back as soon as I find our target.”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Owen barely got the words out before a blast of wind sent him hurdling forward, ripping through the air before slamming to the ground fifty feet in front of the massive rabbit. It’s ears twitched and it turned to face him, those beady black eyes gazing down at the sudden new arrival. They weren’t natural looking, more like they’d been based on someone’s toy stuffed rabbit than one with actual eyes. It had the dual impact of being disturbing and reassuring, as Owen felt like his hunch might be on the money.
“Hopcules, I hope?” Owen cupped his hands and yelled, in case the ears were just for show.
The rabbit, only watching him before, turned further, giving him its full attention. Slowly, the creature leaned forward, getting a bit closer. Owen could actually feel the hot breath from its pink nose, despite the distance between them. If this really was a summon, then it was incredible. To create something this big, this capable of independent action, put whoever made it among the top one percent of all known summoners. Even better, if it was still standing, then its creator had to be alive.
“I’m a friend of Hexcellent’s,” Owen yelled. Talking to a rabbit was a bit odd, though given its size and armor perhaps it shouldn’t have been. “I wanted to make sure she was safe.”
Hopcules peered at him warily. Owen had no idea how much it knew about Hexcellent or her life, he just had to hope that as long as she trusted him, it would be enough for the bunny. Moving in closer, the nose sniffed him twice. Evidently, this satisfied some unknown test, and it held up it’s right paw, uncurling its fingers, which Owen was certain real rabbits didn’t have, to reveal the battered, but breathing, form of Hexcellent.
On instinct, Owen took a step forward, and immediately the paw closed. He started to protest, then thought better of it. What was he going to do that the rabbit wasn’t already doing? Owen wasn’t a healer; he couldn’t fix up her wounds. And he’d have to protect her from the robots flooding the city while she was unconscious. Confident as Owen was in his abilities, even he could concede that a giant fire-breathing monster who knew only loyalty might be better suited to the task.
“I’m going to come back with a healer,” Owen yelled. He didn’t know if Hopcules understood what a healer was, or if the rabbit even had a grasp of the English language, but so far it had been going well. Besides, he didn’t have a lot of other options. “Someone to make Hexcellent better. Keep her safe until then.”
Hopcules snorted, and Owen had to wonder if an imaginary bunny had just been annoyed with him for trying to tell it to do what it already planned. That thought alone made him really want a beer, but as Hopcules pulled back up to a standing position, turning to the new robots that had begun to pour into the area, Owen also felt a sense of relief. One member of his team, at least, was safe.
“Dispatch, this is Titan. We’ve got a giant summon shaped like a rabbit that’s probably hitting a few people’s radars. Let them know it’s a friendly, and anyone who attacks it without cause will personally answer to me when this is over. If you can get me a healer to the location, we might be able to start using it as a more precise resource.”
“A healer? Is the rabbit injured?” If Dispatch felt at all odd asking such a question, it didn’t come through. Much as Owen wanted to chalk it up to her usual demeanor, the truth of the matter was that this probably didn’t even register on her weirdness scale. After all, she was in the ear of every Hero across the country. There was no telling what manner of crazy shit she’d witnessed.
“The rabbit is fine, its summoner is in bad shape though. All it’s doing right now is keeping her safe. Once she’s conscious again, she can give some proper orders.”
“Titan, please repeat. Did you just say that the summoner who called forth that thing is unconscious?” This time, he did hear the shock in her voice, and it only took a minute to realize why. Usually, summons disappeared when their creators went down. They were, after all, manifestations of their creator’s thoughts. When the thoughts ended, so did the summons. At least, that’s how it generally went. Every Super was different, after all.
“Confirmed, summoner is out, and the rabbit remains,” Owen told her. “So, maybe double time on that healer.”
“Resources are tight, but I’ll see what I can do,” Dispatch assured him. “Also, Gale has requested a direct connection to your comm.”
“I accept,” Owen said, and seconds later Gale’s voice came blasting in his ear.
“Titan! Jump as high as you can right now. I’m en route, but there’s no time to waste landing. I found the big bot and your team, which are in the exact same place. We’ve got maybe a minute or two before they’re in deep, and I can’t fight one of those on my own. They need our help, now.”
Without pause, Owen pushed off so hard that the ground buckled under his power as he went flying upward. Nearby, he could see Hopcules smashing apart every robot that came near it. Personally, Owen had always thought dogs to be the best of all pets.
But he was beginning to see the appeal of rabbits.