HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 268

Frederica focused on the plant life around her and the grass beneath the Enforcers’ feet erupted into vines that twined up and ensnared them. She stepped forward and glanced back over her shoulder.

“You guys get out here,” she said. “I’ll hold them as long as I can.”

“Screw that,” Melody said. “I told you already, I’m not going anywhere.”

“And we’re family,” Kay said, gesturing to Ozzie, “so that goes double for us.”

“Right,” Ozzie said. “Even if this was your idea.”

One of the Enforcers broke free of the grass and continued advancing. Frederica released the other one so she could concentrate on blocking any more projectiles.

“On the bright side, at least now I’ll have company on the prison planet,” Ozzie said. “Safety in numbers and all that.”

Frederica kicked into super-speed and rushed over to the Enforcers, searching in vain for some weakness their armor. She went back to the others and returned to normal speed only seconds after she’d left. She switched to intangibility and tried to phase inside the ship but the energy shield around it pushed her back.

“I think we might actually have to fight our way out,” she said.

“Confession: I’ve never actually thrown a punch before,” Melody said.

“I fought a dragon once,” Frederica said. “I think we can handle two aliens.”

“They’re just doing their jobs, though,” Melody said. “Feels wrong to hurt them, even if they are assholes.”

“Trust me, they’re not going to share your hesitation,” Ozzie replied. “We—”

A tremor shot through the ground. Trees shook and birds took flight en masse. Behind Frederica, the air rippled and the ship materialized. It was about two meters high and a dozen long, with a curved, off-white hull that vaguely resembled a beetle’s shell. Engines hummed to life at the rear and the ship rose into the air.

“Is this bad?” Melody asked. “This seems bad.”