Mike hit the ground hard and bounced to a stop. Before he had his bearings, he returned to his feet, using his corona to sense the ground. As his eyes blinked away the afterimage of the grenade explosion, he realized only one of them was seeing anything. His left eye only saw a dim hazy red. Feedback from his teleotic sense proved the external structure of his eye to be intact. The shockwave from the blast must have damaged something inside.
Bullets struck him from multiple directions, pelting his hardened body aggressively enough that he hunched over in a reflex to protect his vital areas. Enemy coronas battered at him, freed from his control when he had taken the grenade to his face. Mike took a moment more to probe at his eye, not willing to concede to a future of eye patches quite so soon.
The rear of his eye had a protrusion folded over into the interior, like a flower growing from the rear of the orb. Detached retina. Mike gently pushed it back into place and welded flesh together with the teleotic talent. He blinked twice to verify he could see to some extent and set to work once more.
Not a moment too soon. Another grenade streaked through the air towards him. Mike swatted it away with his kinetic talent and threw his corona out all around him, flowing upwise and back down to squeeze the central region of each enemy corona about him. Bodies rained down, twisted and squished into pulp unrecognizable as human. His sense found the sources of the three streams of gunfire and terminated the lives there with brutal finality.
Mike glanced down at himself, noted his clothing had been torn to rags that barely clung to him, and levitated upward to get a better view of the battlefield. Lead fell from him as he rose. His flesh, though bulletproof, didn't have a 'man of steel' consistency. It bent and flexed and felt exactly like normal human skin, the chemical bonds that made it up simply did not break when they otherwise should have. That let the bullets drive in, dimple his flesh as they spent their momentum, then fall free or not as their resting spot dictated.
His immediate surroundings showed no more sign of conflict. Freshly mangled corpses littered the grassy green of the cemetery. In the distance, smoke rose from the downed helicopter. He shot towards it.
Cody knelt above a figure in a flight uniform while Smith and Jess faced outward as lookouts, exactly as he had taught them. Everything looked good so far. Mike cast his gaze about, then felt with his corona. Finding nothing else of note, he landed beside Smith. "Where are the rest of them?"
"I don't know, Ski. I went after the helicopter and pulled out the survivors. Cody has been giving medical aid ever since. The others engaged some enemies . . . I think that direction." Smith pointed northward through the line of cars in the Pentagon parking lot towards the glint of water. "I thought you were dead when the explosions started."
"They had me doubting my survival for a moment, too," Mike said. "Keep up what you're doing now. Find cover as soon as you stabilize the wounded. If I'm not back in, say, fifteen minutes, get these guys to a hospital."
"Be careful, Ski."
"You too, Smith. You're in charge of these two, in case you hadn't figured it out."
"Right. Just take care of our people."
Mike shot north, not bothering to respond. As he flew past the parking lot, he saw evidence of the battle that had passed through. Cars had been overturned, light poles collapsed, and the occasional corpse peppered the asphalt. None of the deceased so far had been anyone he knew. The pockets of damage existed amidst islands of normalcy, like the steps of a giant, pointing straight towards the body of water ahead, what looked like a bay.
There, above the water, forms spun about each other in what to outsiders would appear to be a firefly dance with no contact. Kinetics didn't need to come into range of physical contact to do their killing. They did it at a distance, dancing in and out of corona range in a struggle to displace their opponents. Or, if they were like him, they used the hidden dimensions to dominate.
Mike destroyed two enemies the moment he came into range, sending forms tumbling into the water. Spencer, Tracy, and Joe continued their fight, seemingly unaware of his entrance. Joe and Spencer fought like beasts, throwing every ounce of power at their disposal against four opponents stronger than them, while Tracy dove towards the water time and again with manic intensity, only to be forced away every time, sent spinning away through the air until she could reassert her kinetic power.
Below, in the water, two forms thrashed just beneath the surface.
Anger burning hot, Mike fell into the midst of the four opponents from above, his corona descending downwise at the same time to totally eclipse the power of their enemies. They fell with shouts carrying just as much heat as he felt, and he ended their lives with white-hot hatred, tossing their inanimate bodies towards the shore as he came to a stop above the water. Tracy flashed past him to hit the water in a dive, blaring a meme blast as she hit. The two struggling forms beneath the surface went limp. When Tracy rose once more, she brought one of them with her.
Woodrow hung limp and wet from Tracy's arms.