Chapter 116

                “Evacuation at eighty percent.” Dispatch’s reports were helpful, but it was visibly obvious that the mech wasn’t clear yet. Colorful costumes could be seen leaping from the holes in its body, some breaking into flight, while others vanished in mid-air or landed heavily to the ground. Hexcellent stood on her rabbit’s shoulder, dodging the occasional blast as they all fled, waiting for the cue to strike. The distraction team had done a great job, the damage to the surrounding area was almost minimal, and the smaller robots were being picked off or contained by the other Heroes. It was hard to call anything in a day like this a win, but knowing how much worse things could have been, Hexcellent felt proud about what they’d accomplished.

                That pride was all the more magnified knowing that she’d been able to help. It was almost over; it had only been a taste of the life in the first place. Just one last course to go, and she was determined to enjoy it. While Hexcellent didn’t lick her lips in anticipation, it took effort. Part of her wanted to be sad at the ending in sight, at wondering when she would ever be able to summon her oldest friend again, but she pushed those thoughts away. There would be a lifetime of worry and mourning for lost chances when the day was won. Until then, she still had a job to do. For at least the next few minutes, she was a Hero. She was damn sure going to act like it.

                 “Evacuation at ninety-two percent,” Dispatch said.

                “The last of them should be out in the next thirty seconds,” Jeremiah reported from within the beast. “As soon as they’re clear, you need to take this thing apart. I’m not sure if the central system has a way to tell if it’s being tracked, but at this point, we’d be idiots to assume otherwise. We have to scrap this tin can and then book it to the signal source before it has a chance to run.”

                “We’ve got teleporters on stand-by to get us close, and I’m ready to haul the team if it’s a place they’ve never been,” Gale told him.

                “Evacuation complete, save for Aether and Jeremiah,” Dispatch announced. “Also, Modus Operandi is confirming that the signal has been traced to a location approximately thirty miles northeast of Brewster.”

                “Then that means we are out of here!” Jeremiah exclaimed. Seconds later, Hexcellent saw he and Aether drop from the middle of the mech’s base, lasers passing through them ineffectually as they headed toward the ground.

                “Hexcellent, you are clear for full-engagement,” Dispatch said. “There are zero known civilians in the area, so please emphasize expediency over caution.”

                “Dispatch, that was an order you really didn’t have to bother giving her,” Titan chuckled. “But good luck, Hexcellent. Everyone will be down here helping out, so tear it apart.”

                “We’ll do our best.” She stared at the mech, fending off so many other Heroes that it didn’t even time to worry about the giant rabbit standing on the sidelines. Maybe it thought they’d been scared away by almost getting shot in the head. Well, they had been scared, but it sure as shit wasn’t away.

                “Round two, mother fucker.” Hopcules barreled forward, and as it did the costumed warriors parted to let it pass, already waiting for the impending charge. The newly grown claws hit first, stabbing into the mech’s armored torso with some difficulty. It was a sturdy bastard; Hexcellent had to admit that much, but all the holes Eli disintegrated had weakened the structural integrity by a fair bit. Hopcules jerked upward and managed to shred through a chunk of the torso, exposing the gears and circuitry within.

                An arm came whirling around, ready to try and put a hole in the mech’s attacker, but this time she and Hopcules were ready for it. Twisting his head, Hopcules opened his mouth wide and bit down on the metal appendage with his mighty buck teeth. Before it could struggle free, the smell of melting metal lit the air as Hopcules finally was able to put his fire breath to use. Half of the arm clattered to the concrete, torn off by the combination of heat and strong jaws.

                The mech tried to retreat, but Hopcules wasn’t having any of that. Using the claws embedded in its torso, the giant rabbit lifted the mech upward, until it was horizontal in the sky. Its arms whipped about, trying to line up a shot, while the remaining legs kicked futilely about. Still, Hexcellent waited to give the order. If she wanted this to work, they had to wait for the perfect moment.

                For a long, beautiful instant, the mech hung there, suspended by Hopcules’s powerful arms. Then, at last, she saw it start to slide down the rabbit’s claws at the same time she felt his shoulders begin to shake. The mech was turning up its weight again, trying to make them let go. She almost felt sorry for the mechanical monster, if only it had worked in a few wrestling games instead of all RTS, it might have seen what she was going for.

                “Time for the Back-Breaker, bitch-bot!” Hexcellent yelled, and on cue Hopcules slammed the mech downward. Not to the ground, where it would have been cracked and dented but perhaps still survived, but directly on top of the rabbit’s planted knee, where an armored spike happened to be pointing up to the sky. The mech came slamming down with one clawed paw on either side of the knee, pushing with all their might. If it had still been lighter, it might have endured, however, turning up the weight of its body cut both ways.

                The mech cracked in half, its weakened torso unable to withstand the combination of weight and muscle, splitting it down the center of its chest. As soon as it’s pieces hit the ground, the other Heroes were ready, smashing through the remains or turning them to scraps from afar with ranged powers. No one was taking any chances of this thing getting back up. Hopcules even stomped on the remaining legs, turning them into little more than gleaming silver shards.

                “You know, there are a lot of things I don’t like about this job. Moments like this are not among them,” Jeremiah commented.

                “No shit. I need a cigarette after watching that,” Aether added.

                “You did good, Hexcellent,” Titan told her. “A hell of a job. Now we’ve got to go make the most of what you did and finish things off. Are you going to be okay on your own from here?”

                Hexcellent stood atop her giant rabbit summon and looked down of the smoldering wreckage of a monster that she’d bested, yet who hours ago had seemed completely unstoppable.

                “I’ll be fine, Titan. I just killed a giant robot; right now I am outright fan-fucking-tastic.”

                From her perch so high up, it was hard to make out Titan as he grouped up with the others, but Hexcellent was almost positive she caught sight of a smile on his face just before his voice came through the comms.

                “You’re damn right you are.”