"Alpha Sentinels, Deploy!"
He breathes in through his nose, slowly, and his expanding chest pulls his posture a little higher. He's still got a bruised rib from all the artillery shells yesterday, but he refuses to let it take his attention away from the job. People are in trouble, and his ribs will heal. He stands at attention, ready to face this new threat. Allison shoots him a look. He knows what she is thinking- that he's trying too hard again- but he flashes her a half-smile and slips on a pair of sunglasses. She's not impressed. The rest of the team assembles- flying, floating, teleporting, and oozing into formation, and the Alpha Sentinels are briefed on the mission: something big and dangerous is rampaging through downtown Khazan. His team leader Miss March details the situation: Two Sentinel street operatives- Variant and Foil- arrived on the scene first, and issued a priority alert. The enemy is a giant creature destroying buildings in a populated area. The mission is simple: rescue the civilians, contain the monster. Nobody says 'come back alive,' but it's there in Allison's eyes. He takes off his sunglasses so she can see his own eyes. They both know the risks. So had his parents. He's in the air before he even crosses the threshold- his skin fading to the familiar silver sheen that earned him his code name. He streaks across the sky, passing the Bravo Sentinels at Holliday Ave and finding Variant and Foil tearing across Monument Avenue toward him. The monster looms behind them- some kind of centipede dragon- it is raising its body- preparing to crash down on top of them. Spectrum appears beside the motorcycle, but he's not prepared to teleport both of them away so quickly. Will levels himself until his flight is parallel to the street, and puts on speed. His fist meets the surface of the creature with enough force to shatter nearby windows, and the momentum of the beast's charge is halted long enough for Spectrum to remove the two street level heroes. Will prays they'll be ok- Variant and Foil were Stormriders with his parents in the 70s, which makes them family. He slams his fists into it again, grimacing in pain as he remembers what it is like to hit something as tough as he is. He drops to street level, hoping to confuse it, but the beast anticipates the action and rolls its body on top of him.
"Careful Will, it almost… Oh God! Will? You ok? Spectrum, pull him out of there."
He grits his teeth as the beast's massive tonnage presses his body through asphalt and reinforced concrete, and into the bedrock. He tries to ignore his ribs. He is pinned, face down. He tries to get his arms under him, but the weight of the beast causes him to sink even lower into the granite. Something searing grabs his wrist and yanks him free. Will finds himself in the grip of Spectrum: The Electromagnetic Man. There is a horrifying emptiness- the beast and the bedrock shrink to nothing- the whole world falls away into a dizzying infinity as he's carried across time and space- his own superpowered body fighting to retain its invulnerable shape. The teleport is rough on both of them, but he is no longer beneath the creature, which is a net gain. He grins at his teammate.
Unlocking the Power
Berserker: standard (rank 1)
Miss March opens fire behind them, hot shells cascading across the pavement as she sweeps in low circles. Sage's enchanted ice spears tear across the thing's hide, and as the monster rises up to deal with this new threat. Its underbelly exposed, Will and Spectrum slam into the thing again, as a duo, knocking it onto its back. His team leader calls for options. While she's listening, he buries his fists into the place where Sage's spell had managed to crack the beast's carapace. He needs to get it to focus on him, but he's just not doing enough damage. The surface of his body begins to change... it is still metallic, but his skin is becoming smoother now, shinier, moving from the flat albedo of carbon steel to a brilliant platinum luster. His shimmering fist connects again, and this time he finds himself elbow deep in fractured chitin. He panics slightly as he tries to pull free- focusing his power makes him immeasurably stronger, but also makes him a good deal heavier. This, in turn, makes midair maneuverability a bit more difficult. It's at the forefront of his mind as he watches the monster coil- his arm wedged into fractured dermal plating- and in a moment born of desperation he connects with his other fist, radiant and glowing. The impact shatters the exoskeletal armor that had pinned him in place, and he is free again. Divesting himself of the extra power, his skin returns to its normal brushed metallic tones. He's managed to severely damage a portion of the beast's outer shell, but he still has yet to draw its attention. Instead, it is focusing on Spectrum.
The Comeback Kid
Regeneration: superior (rank 2)
His ribs are screaming at him to stop, but he's not going to stop. He's going to slay the dragon, because that's what heroes do. He focuses his power again- his body will heal. He redoubles his effort, slamming into the beast with determination born of an earnest desire to protect his teammate. The beast ignores his attack, shrugging off blows that can level buildings in an effort to get to Spencer Truman- the Electromagnetic Man. Spectrum's got its attention now, for better or worse, and it descends, hideous jaws slamming shut around the hero's body. The monster draws back, and Spectrum stands, incorporeal and unharmed. Miss March gives the command and Lord Greenwood drops the empty office building he's been holding. The rubble forms a crude barricade. Will takes a position opposite Spectrum, and the two move in for a pincer attack. Miss March wants the thing to follow her, down Lombard to Holiday Avenue, where backup is waiting. The creature continues to focus on Spectrum. The Alpha Sentinels team leader, Miss March, places herself directly between the two of them. A rocket to the creature's face helps get her point across. She bolts forward and upward, just over its head, narrowly avoiding giant mandibles, and the chase is on. The KPD Floating Point units have long since redirected traffic away from the immediate area. Lombard Street is an empty corridor as she lays a path of destruction for the monster to follow. Will frowns. She's wearing the most advanced power-armor the SLJ have ever developed, but even that has its limits. He leaps after her, a silver bullet across the brilliant blue Khazan sky.
Touch the Sky
Flight: superior (rank 2)
"Will! I need more speed!"
He reaches the creature, but the goal is not to stop it. The strategy is to lure it toward the Bravo Sentinels. He surges forward, past its bulging eyes and giant mandibles, and grabs her by the ankles, pushing as hard as he can. The beast is five yards behind them. He tucks his head and surges forward. Six yards. Ten. The street beneath them is a blur. He feels Miss March try to pull up, and raises his head. A wall. He has no other choice- they can't stop. He grabs her armor and rolls himself in front of her. The reflection of her rockets on his skin is almost blinding. Together they punch into the fortified barrier. His ribs don't hurt anymore. He can't feel his legs. Somehow, his com is still working. He hears the report from Allison- some kind of arcane anarchists had summoned the beast. She and Sage took care of them. He groans as he pulls himself from the bedrock. Irene- Miss March- pulls herself out of the barrier and turns to look at him. He catches her eye, and flashes her an ear-to-ear grin.
"Looks like we made quite an impression."
Emotion Control: standard (rank 1)
The SLJ medics are on site, but he refuses treatment, at least until after the press conference. This is the part he doesn’t enjoy, but of all the things the Alpha Sentinels are, the symbol is the most important part. Miss March's armor can be destroyed, Spectrum can flicker and Brainchild can bleed, but William Fairweather, aka Steel Will, the Shining Sentinel can never be seen injured. He stands over Irene's shoulder as she addresses the reporters- it is SLJ policy not to publicly announce the perpetrators, but the press-release is worded to strongly imply that there will be no future threat from that particular quarter. Variant and Foil are mentioned- valiant heroes, both in stable condition. The cameras focus on Will. He smiles. Khazan smiles with him.