[Inspired by the following BITS entries; Gregory Gallagher, Brooklyn, N.Y.: "WEAPONS LAD - can design ingenious new weapons without a workshop." . . . Gordon Thomas, Pilot Mountain, N.C.: "GEOGRAPHY GIRL - she has the unique talent of being able to exist in several different areas at one time!"]
BITS of Legion Business
Juna concentrated, shutting out the sounds of her teammates, who were still receiving the reports of the attack on Zuun Colony. The spatial coordinates were just numbers spinning into intricate patterns in her head, and she felt herself stretching thinner and thinner as her body reached out for the distant colony. Finally, she gasped and opened her eyes, her vision superimposing ghostly images of her teammates turning towards her, and the flat plain of the domed spaceport, now overrun with the animalistic intruders. The sounds of screaming and weapons-fire drowned out the concerned questions of her teammates, and she reached out with an arm to seize the nearest arm, shouting over the sounds of explosions that her teammates could not hear, "We have to go NOW!"
Not entirely sure whose arm she had grabbed, she let herself fly free from Legion Headquarters, pulling someone along with her, like a rubber band suddenly released. In an instant she snapped into full presence at the Colony, startled out of her post-transport disorientation to see her teammate Armory dropping to one knee, trying not to lose his lunch.
The creatures continued to advance, and she shook her head clear and shouted out, "I'll try and protect the civilians, can you hold them back and give me some room to open a gate?" The young Earther rose to his foot, silvery armor shimmering into existence around him, while a mace and large shield of similar material appeared in his hands. "Right on." He said grimly and charged into the nearest mass of fur and muscle with a shout.
"Legionnaires!" one of the civilians cried out as she space-stepped across a hundred yards to stand in front of the huddled crowd. "It's Geography Girl!" a younger alien child cried out, excited by her presence, and apparently having completely forgotten about the chaotic situation. Juna winced at the reminder of the goofy names they had chosen back in the day, and quickly turned to see that the combination of gunfire and Armory's slashing blade were keeping only some of the creatures at bay. Others circled the spaceport patrons, currently hiding in a luggage storage circle, occasionally dashing forward menacingly, only to retreat as weapons-fire concentrated in their direction. Looking interspatially, she could see yet more of the creatures moving through the ceilings, and knew that they would seen drop into the middle of the area. She could also see other groups of civilians clustered throughout the spaceport, but all of them had managed to get behind security doors, leaving this one group the only exposed and vulnerable targets for the monstrous invaders.
"Everyone needs to hold still, right now. Talk, move your arms, whatever, but DO NOT TAKE A SINGLE STEP!" Juna reached out to the spatial confines of the luggage carousel and squeezed, unnecessarily holding her breath in as she imagined pulling the surrounding space in around herself like a billowing cloak. She felt like she had become infinitely thin, a slender reed of grass, with each of the people surrounding her brushing up against her, identical stalks, all tightly packed together. It felt claustrophobic, and she feared that someone would involuntarily move and end up outside of the pocket of null-space she had created. She drew a breath, "They can't reach us now. We are outside of the space they are moving through, but if anyone takes a single step, they'll step outside of this safe spot and be in the same place as the monsters." She looked at the alien child who had recognized her, and saw the child grip tightly onto her parent, "I'm not moving!" the child asserted firmly.
The creatures had moved closer now, and she could see them reaching out, trying to claw at the people they could still clearly see and hear, but no longer quite reach, no matter how they tried. One leapt at the crowd, but simply passed through the space they had so recently occupied without managing to make contact. Satisfied that her spatial fold would keep them out, she looked past them to see that her teammate Armory was being overwhelmed. It was a strain, maintaining the pocket of null-space and doing anything else, but she risked it, distorting space around Armory so that his mace, which at some point had changed into a flailing length of chain with a weighted tip, lashed out further than it's length should have allowed, and causing a few of the creatures attacks to either overshoot or somehow not reach as far as the creatures arm should have allowed. Such stalling tactics where all she was capable of, and she heard Armory's out-of-breath voice over her Flight Ring, "Thanks. It's getting pretty hairy out here."
"I've had time to get my bearings," she replied out loud, so that both the civilians around her and her teammate could hear her. "We're leaving in ten seconds."
"Right on," Armory quipped, and began a fighting retreat away from her position, shifting to a purely defensive stance, flinging the chain he'd been wielding to entangle one charging creature, while flinging thousands of tiny metal spheres in all directions, causing the animalistic creatures to begin stumbling and falling on the now treacherous surface.
Juna explained to her wards, "I am going to bring us all to Legion Headquarters, but it's going to take a few seconds, please be patient." and it may not work, because I've never tried to bring more than one other person with me, but don't panic! she thought dourly. She returned to watching Armory's antics. He had quickly taken to the air and flown to her position, and was even now flinging out nets and throwing weapons of a half-dozen different types, distracting and confusing the monsters that had been circling her position. Recognizing that their attention was turned, she let go of the folded space and began to open up a wormhole to Legion Headquarters. None of the creatures immediately noticed, and as she felt her body stretching into infinity once again, she cried out, "Now!"
She saw Armory hurl himself through the air straight at her, his metal armor dissolving in midair, and a half-dozen creatures turned as one, realizing too late that they original prey was once again vulnerable. Once she felt Armory slam into her, she allowed herself to fall backwards, pulling herself and the surrounding civilians backwards towards Legion Headquarters, releasing her foothold on Zuun with relief.
* * *
She woke up seven hours later in a medical bed, to see Armory sleeping in a chair next to her bed with an alien child in his lap. "She's awake, she's awake!" the child cried out, startling her impromptu cushion into a groggy state of semi-awareness.
Juna smiled to hear what sometimes seemed like the only two words he knew, "Right on."
* * *
[I found some of the character ideas from the old BITS column to be inspiring. I decided to go with 'Geography Girl' and 'Weapons Lad' (who currently go by the names of Fold and Armory). Geography Girl was supposed to have the ability to be in multiple places at once, but I expanded that to include the ability to fold space and perceive things interspatially (essentially the same as Telescopic, Microscopic and X-Ray vision). Weapons Lad was supposed to have the ability to create any weapon, which, I'm gonna assume, the creator meant to include lasers and stuff, but I went with a more medieval interpretation of 'weapon.' He can create shields, armor, swords, bows, bolas, caltrops, etc. Some of the stuff he creates, like a thousand steel billiards, aren't generally seen as 'weapons,' but hey, he's found a way to use them as weapons, so more power to him! Juna Peteli is of East Indian ethnicity, but isn't from Earth, being from a colony world. 'Armory' doesn't have a name yet, but I've decided that he's Italian, and really, really laid-back.]