91.2 \ 283

The Aquarii below began to weave their workings into the airspace, and the government control hovers stuttered in their forward progress. The viewing group then relayed the signal to Chrysanthe, Vanessa, and Yleon. With the focus of adventure turned serious, the three gave each other their unifying signal with their fists punched out.

A klaxon sounded, and they lunged forward to touch the orb, their giant forms netting into it and disappearing. They throughported in high above the compound in midair. Falling together for a split moment, they quickly telesighted their landings far below, inside of the giant array of people laying on the ground. They each executed their moves to jump to earth.

Torrents of impenetrable illusions clouded the aircraft in the distance, causing them to do very little except rotate in place. Each kid stuck their landing and looked around. After this moment to gain their bearings, each ran toward an air filtration silo, one of those they’d previewed on maps. These were the things to break into.

Not a body moved inside the fence. The Aquarii sustained their energetic protection, though it was understood that this could only work for so long.

The cookie cutter on the forearm of the meka, when applied, was designed to create an easy opening in the shell of the air filtering assembly. That was so they could deposit their payload. As long as what they had could get in, it didn’t matter what got out. Heart pounding, one thing before the other. Hole punched. Release canisters and break wind.

These fumes actually smelled of roses. They were supposed to be pleasant to inhale, because they carried a teeny, tiny protector that could always destroy the Affliction. It could lay dormant, but the counterphage knew exactly how to attack that bug, and turn it into something that could attack that bug, until that bug couldn’t make half a move. The long-running experiments that produced the Hirylien Affliction wouldn’t be making it ten steps from an open container, or to the next container in quite the same condition. Experiments would go bad they day they tried to move them forward. From then on, it was a haunted lab. Nothing they were running could work right in there anymore.

That’s all the kids needed to do. A canister at each hip for the general vicinity, a canister on one forearm and an aiming fan turbine mounted on the other. Aim that cloud in with the fan, give the distribution systems a nice saturation with the contents, and get right out.

The scent of roses wafted over the people laying on the ground holding hands. The sky above was beautiful, except or especially where it was being painted thick with illusions designed for the eye within the miasma. The protesters were cushioned in calmness by waves of natural sound that shredded a little with electricity. They hung tight and kept their cool.

The mekasuit team had enough time. After gassing up the place, Chrysanthe executed her exit first, initiating the suit’s motion direction to send herself to exactly the touchpoint they’d entered from in the air, and she disappeared. Yleon followed after they watched her go, and his jump was clean.

Vanessa turned to look at this lab, and the people beyond, and the threats they were holding at bay. She felt the suffering of generations that had created this moment. Clenching her meksuit’s fist, she looked at the building, thinking about crushing part of it in. Then she looked at the protesters, laying down with arms linked before an approaching frontline; some of them were looking up and back, watching her. She thought about what was inside the building and shook her fist out with a shudder. Then Vanessa made her jump, up and out.

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