“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 Dissona, who was swatting a saucer out of the sky. “You let Dee go, and everything we’ve done will be for nothing.”
Before he could reply, Kora’s voice thundered through their minds. Curiously enough, she wasn’t addressing Peter or Eun. [Ho, Krul’Dar! Ho, Wodec! Orgoth’s balls, you’ve brought Indashi with you!] Her last 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 restore these hell-fiends to their proper forms.]
“See?” Eun prodded, “they’ve got it handled, Peter. Focus on Dissona.”
A data-monocle slid down over his right eye, feeding his brain a stream of imagery: Kora on a velociraptor, sword cocked out to the side. 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 positioned 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 whiteboard: Hands by your sides, please!
Eun hugged her arms to her chest. Her eyes widened and her lips parted 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 into the camera from inside her gunner’s pod, holding the grips of a sci-fi laser cannon. Glowing tendrils snaked across her head, forming into a battle helmet that linked her neurology directly to the cannon. “Let’s do this!”
Sixty saucers crested the horizon, engaging Dissona with DARPA’s latest and greatest pew pew pew. At the same time, forty aircraft screamed toward the Bite Mobile. Peter dropped the car into a steep, aft-leaning dive. Exploding missiles dotted its wake, marking their 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. She was shooting long blasts of pixelated light; the rounds dispersed into long-running streams of quantum magic, illumining the seams of ANOS’s saucers. Pilots ejected against their will—a long line of cursing aviators drifted gently down on their just-opened chutes.
Peter looked at 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 reached out and flicked a couple of 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, 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 said.
“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