“We can’t just leave her!” Peter shouted.
“Peter, if we try and save her, the world will end!” Eun snarled.
His gaze faltered beneath his green-glowing battle-helmet. “But…but…”
Eun nodded at Dee, who was spearing a saucer with her barbed foreleg. “You let her go, and everything we’ve done will be for nothing.”
Then Kora’s voice thundered through their minds. But curiously enough, she wasn’t addressing Peter or Eun. [Ho, Krul’Dar! Ho, Wodec! Orgoth’s balls, you’ve brought Indashi warriors!] Her exclamation was filled with joy.
Peter reached out. [Kora, are you—]
[Worry not, for I am in worthy company.]
[Aye, she is.] This from a wise, older man. [I also possess magic fungus. We can turn these hell-fiends back into humans.]
“See?” Eun prodded, “they’ve got it handled. Focus on Dissona.”
A data-monocle slid down over his right eye, feeding his brain a stream of imagery: Kora on a raptor, sword cocked out to her right. Barbarian riders ripping through bug-creatures, throwing crumpled mushrooms at their insectile corpses.
“Okay,” Peter muttered. His blaze-filled eyes settled back on Dissona.
Eun blew a frustrated sigh. “Anything I can do? I feel like a third wheel here.”
At that moment, Bitefighter’s hologram (he’d been sitting lotus-style on the dashboard’s display grid, upturned hands resting on his knees) leapt to his feet and waved frantically. Peter lasered in on his little buddy.
“What is it, Bitey?”
Bitefighter held his bent-armed fists close by his sides, approximating the grips of a two-handed machine gun. He turned slowly in place, hands jiggling as he mimed gunfire.
Peter’s brow furrowed in puzzlement. “A support gunner? Like on the Millenium Falcon?”
BF gave him a cheesy grin.
“But there isn’t a gunner’s pod,” Eun protested. “How am I supposed to—” Suddenly, her seat lurched and clunked. Servos whirred beneath its frame.
“Whoa!” Her hands shot out to either side. “Whoa! What the hell is—”
Bitefighter held up his little whiteboard: Hands by your sides, please!
Eun hugged both arms to her chest. Her eyes widened as her seat underwent a series of Transformer-worthy folds. A few seconds later, her chair extended through the bottom of the car, into a circuitry-threaded dome made of beta-amyloid glass.
Peter glanced down at her. “You okay?” he called.
“Yeah!” she called back. “I’m good!”
Visual confirmation came a moment later, through holographic imagery that appeared next to Bitefighter. Eun was staring at the camera from inside her gunner’s pod, holding the grips of a sci-fi laser cannon. Much like Peter, glowing tendrils had snaked across her head, linking her neurology to the cannon’s sensors. “Let’s do this!”
Sixty saucers crested the horizon, engaging Dee with DARPA’s latest and greatest. At the same time, forty aircraft made a run at the Bite Mobile. Peter dropped the car into a steep, aft-leaning roll. Exploding missiles dotted his wake, marking his exhaust trail with blooming fireballs.
Eun fired back. Due to the cannon being a psychedelic extension of her intent and desire, her ordnance was nonlethal in nature. The rounds were long-running streams of quantum magic, illumining the seams of ANOS’s saucers. Pilots ejected against their will—a line of cursing aviators drifted gently down on their just-opened chutes.
Peter saw them through his rearview cam. “You got five of them, Eun! Way to go!”
“Get close to Dee. Then we’ll talk.”
“Working on it.” Peter flicked some switches, working three banks of side-mounted thrusters. “We’re staying even, but we’re not gaining.”
“Keep trying.” Eun’s pod swiveled and shot. “An opportunity’s bound to present its—”
Up ahead, Dissona exhaled pitch-black fire. A trio of saucers withered and shrunk, then burst into a mess of chemical flames.
“She’s growing stronger by the second.” Eun hissed.
“I know.” Peter released a stream of chaff, diverting a salvo of saucer-fired missiles. “I’ve opened the throttle as much as I can, but—”
Before he could finish, Dissona vanished.