Home > Firefight (Reckoners #2)(3)

Firefight (Reckoners #2)(3)
Brandon Sanderson

In fact, they had killed Megan. She’d recovered. Mostly. I felt at the gun in my holster. It had been one of hers.

“I’m getting into position with the troops,” Abraham said.

“David? Any sign of Sourcefield?” Tia asked.

“No,” I said, looking down the deserted street. Empty of people, lit by a few lonely lanterns, the city almost felt like it had back in Steelheart’s days. Desolate and dark. Where was Sourcefield?

She can teleport through walls, I thought. What would I do in her case? We had the tensors, which let us tunnel through basically anything we wanted. What would I do now if I had those?

The answer to that was obvious. I’d go down.

She was underneath me.


“SHE’S gone into the understreets!” I said, pulling out one of my two remaining water balloons. “She’s going to come up nearby, try to surprise me.”

Even as I said it, lightning moved across the street, and a glowing figure materialized up through the ground.

I hurled my Kool-Aid balloon, then ran.

I heard it burst, then heard Sourcefield swear. For a moment, no energy blasts tried to fry me, so I assumed that I’d hit her.

“I’m going to destroy you, little man!” Sourcefield yelled after me. “I’ll rip you apart like a piece of tissue paper in a hurricane!”

“Wow,” I said, reaching an intersection and taking cover by an old mailbox.

“What?” Tia asked.

“That was a really good metaphor.”

I glanced back at Sourcefield. She strode down the street, alight with electricity. Lines of it flew from her to the ground, to nearby poles, and to the walls of the buildings as she approached. Such power. Was this what Edmund—the kindly Epic who powered Newcago for us—would be like if he weren’t constantly gifting his abilities away?

“I refuse to believe,” the woman shouted, “that you killed Steelheart!”

Mitosis said the same thing, I thought. He’d been another Epic who had come to Newcago recently. They couldn’t accept that one of their most powerful—an Epic that even others like Sourcefield had feared—had been killed by common men.

She looked magnificent, all in black with a fluttering cape, electricity leaping from her in sparks and flashes. Unfortunately, I didn’t need her magnificent. I needed her angry. Some members of Enforcement crept out of a building nearby, carrying assault rifles on their backs and Kool-Aid balloons in their hands. I motioned them toward an alley. They nodded and pulled back to wait.

It was time for me to taunt an Epic.

“I didn’t kill only Steelheart!” I shouted at her. “I’ve killed dozens of Epics. I’ll kill you too!”

An energy blast hit my mailbox. I dove for cover behind a building, and another blast hit the ground only inches from where I crouched. As I brushed the ground with my arm, a shock ran up it, jolting me. I cursed, putting my back to the wall, and shook my hand. Then I peeked around the side of the building. Sourcefield was running for me.

Great! Also, terrifying.

I sprinted for a doorway across the street. Sourcefield tore around the corner just as I entered the building.

Inside, a path had been cleared through what had once been some kind of car showroom. I ran straight across it, and Sourcefield followed, teleporting past the front wall at speed.

I dashed through room after room, following the pattern we’d set out earlier.

Right, duck into that room.

Left down a hallway.

Right again.

We’d used another of Prof’s powers—the one he disguised as technology called the tensors—to drill doorways. Sourcefield followed on my tail, passing through walls in flashes of light. I never stayed in her sight long enough for her to get off a good shot. This was perfect. She …

… she slowed down.

I stopped beside the door out the back of the building. Sourcefield had stopped following. She stood at the end of a long hallway leading to my door, electricity zipping from her to the steel walls.

“Tia, you see this?” I whispered.

“Yeah. Looks like something spooked her.”

I took a deep breath. It was far less than ideal, but … “Abraham,” I whispered, “bring the troops in. Full-out attack.”

“Agreed,” Prof said.

The Enforcement troops who had been lying in wait stormed in the front of the car dealership. Others came down the steps from above; I heard their tromping footfalls. Sourcefield glanced back as a pair of soldiers entered the hallway in full gear, with helms and futuristic armor. The fact that they lobbed bright orange water balloons slightly spoiled the coolness of the effect.

Sourcefield laid a hand on the wall beside her, then transformed into electricity and melded into the steel, disappearing. The balloons broke uselessly on the floor of the corridor.

Sourcefield emerged back into the hallway and released bursts of energy down the corridor. I squeezed my eyes shut as the shots blasted the two soldiers, but I heard their cries.

“This is the best the infamous Reckoners can do?” Sourcefield shouted as more soldiers came in, throwing water balloons from all directions. I forced myself to watch, pulling out my handgun, as Sourcefield dropped through the floor.

She came up behind a group of soldiers in the middle of the corridor. The men screamed as the electricity took them. I gritted my teeth. If they lived, Prof would be able to heal them under the guise of using “Reckoner technology.”

“The balloons aren’t working,” Tia said.

“They are,” I hissed, watching as one hit Sourcefield. Her powers wavered. I took a shot, as did three Enforcement gunmen who had set up opposite me on the far end of the corridor.

All four bullets hit; all four were caught in her energy field and destroyed. The balloons were working, just not well enough.

“All units on the southern side of the corridor,” Abraham’s voice said, “pull back. Immediately.”

I ducked out the door as a sudden barrage of bullets shook the building. Abraham, who had set up behind the Enforcement sharpshooters at the far end of the corridor, was unloading with his XM380 gravatonic minigun.

I grabbed my mobile and patched into Abraham’s video feed. I could see it from his perspective, gun flashing in the dark, bullet after bullet ricocheting down the steel corridor, throwing sparks. Any that reached Sourcefield still got trapped or deflected by her electric field. A group of men and women behind Abraham lobbed balloon after balloon. Above, soldiers pulled back a trapdoor in the ceiling and dumped a bucket of Kool-Aid.

Sourcefield jumped away, dodging it. Step by step, she retreated from that splashing liquid. She was afraid of the stuff, but it wasn’t working completely. An Epic’s weakness was supposed to negate their powers totally, and this wasn’t doing so.

I was pretty sure I knew why.

Sourcefield unleashed a barrage of energy blasts toward Abraham and the others. Abraham cursed and went down, but his protective field—gifted to him by Prof under the guise of a jacket with a technological forcefield—protected him and sheltered the people behind him. I heard groans through the feed, though I couldn’t see anything. I flipped it off.

“You are nothing!” Sourcefield shouted.

I strapped the mobile to my arm and stepped back into the hallway in time to see her send a wave of electricity up through the ceiling toward those above. Screams.

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