Great Girl provided powered restraints for Deadzone- though it was unclear if they could limit a negation power. Either way, the physical handcuffs would be sufficient unless Deadzone had another power she was keeping in reserve for some reason. Either way, Great Girl would be able to handle her while I made my way towards the portal, Midnight riding along on my shoulder.
I arrived in time to see Calculator holding some sort of device, waiting around the corner from where I’d seen glimpses of the portal. “What’s the plan?” I asked.
“I toss this through,” Calculator said. “Then you try to seal it with your Alter Portal ability.”
“I haven’t worked on a permanent portal,” I admitted.
“It is my understanding that most portals don’t maintain their status automatically. In addition, this will serve as a disruptor,” Calculator held up the device. “If we overload the systems we should at least not have to worry about more troops pouring through.”
“Let’s do it,” I said.
A figure zoomed past us. “Doorway’s clear. And blurry,” Shockwave reported.
Calculator nodded, and we stepped forward. The portal really was blurry. He pressed a button on the device and tossed it through. I almost thought it would act like a grenade, but I felt a pulse of power from it. Tech powers, specifically, and little more than that.
“Midnight. Even split on Alter Portal to shrink this thing,” I said.
I felt his acknowledgement as we worked together, gathering and spending mana continuously. The portal wobbled, the image behind distorting even further as we wrestled with it. Vaguely humanoid figures appeared, but before they could do anything the portal twisted shut like a bag with its drawstrings pulled tight. The power of its closing shook me on my feet, but I felt a wave of mana fill Midnight and I. Interestingly, that didn’t just happen with the ‘loose’ portals Doctor Doomsday spewed around us.
“What’s going to stop them from opening the portal again?” I asked.
“Hopefully, a large swarm of supers descending upon their location,” Calculator said. “We established contact with agents in Yew-Kay, and they should be looking for the massive signals that was putting out on every conceivable wavelength. It should penetrate the shielding of most underground lairs. It also acts as an EMP, so that should hopefully damage their portal technology.”
“Turlough?” I heard a familiar voice. It had been almost a year, but I saw Rordan standing there. “You dress funny now,” the man grinned.
I snorted. “Quiet, you. I am vastly more powerful than I used to be.” I grinned as I let a little bit of electricity dance between my fingers.
Rordan laughed. “We were worried, you know. All of us.”
I folded my arms and held my head high. “I don’t know why you should have been. A chance to go somewhere else was exactly the thing I wanted.”
“But you weren’t particularly strong…” Rordan said.
I sighed, “No. I wasn’t.” I frowned as I looked to him. “What… what happened to the tower?”
“Most recently… those weird fellows seemed to find some fun in destroying it. But before that Master Uvithar and the rest had left. They weren’t really clear on why.”
I pursed my lips. If Rordan didn’t know where they went, I doubted anyone else in Mossley would. He was a frequent supplier of magical reagents to the tower, after all. “What’s been happening here?”
“That’s a very big question, even before these strange individuals came from an unknown plane.” He looked around, “What are you going to do with those soldiers?”
A good question. I asked Calculator, and then translated for him. “We’re going to take them back to the other world. At least the ones with powers. Magic. The rest we can leave to be dealt with by your local laws, if you wish. Though you won’t be able to interrogate them without Translation magic.”
“You’re going back?” Rordan asked.
I nodded. “I only came here by accident, actually. It was the easiest stop on my way through.”
“Good,” Rordan said. “I’m glad to hear you’ve found a home you wish to return to.”
“I have some fond memories of Mossley but…”
He held up a hand, “We understand. We’ll miss our local scoundrels. In truth, we just wanted a proper goodbye. We only found out you were alive some time later, through Master Uvithar.”
“I didn’t exactly have time to leave a note.”
“You probably didn’t think about it, either.”
Well, yeah. There was a portal right there. How could I not go through it?
To get back to Earth, Midnight and I needed to save up more mana. The burst of mana from the closed portal was nice, but it was still going to be an hour or two before we could cast Gate.
I saw so many familiar faces throughout the day. But not quite as many as I might have hoped. Now that the occupation was undone, Mossley sent riders to nearby towns and cities. Calculator was fairly certain the portal wouldn’t be opening up soon, and at some point this world had to take care of itself. It wasn’t that it was incapable- it was simply that the location and timing had been poor. If Master Uvithar and the others had been around, they likely could have handled a few supers, and even soldiers with guns. Though some of that was predicated on understanding how guns worked.
Either way, there would be people who could handle things. After all, everyone had a class. And while not everyone engaged in combat, there were enough people in this world who did. After all, while I had been told the world was peaceful… I now knew that wasn’t entirely true. Even before the connection to Earth. Maybe it was to protect me, so I didn’t run off into any conflicts that I couldn’t handle, or maybe people simply didn’t want to think about it. Either way, my friends and I could solve the problems in front of our eyes- but it would be quite rude to think that we were the only solution available. We were just the one that had been here at the right time.
Besides, we weren’t even getting paid. Were we?
“Depends on what happens with the Grey Gunners,” Calculator answered my question. “We’ll find out when we get back. No point in trying to message ahead if it makes us take another two hours to get back.”
I nodded. In addition to that, Calculator was the one least likely to freak out when a Sending popped up in his head, and he was here.
As the time passed by, I kept thinking about something. Maybe if I… no, too risky. But what if…? No, I shook my head. It was an agonizing time, but ultimately I came to the final conclusion… there was no way to zap all of the townsfolk before using Gate. I wasn’t confident in maintaining both Mage’s Reach and Gate at the same time, and nor of casting the latter while running away. So I wouldn’t be able to give them a proper sendoff. This time, at least.
Hopefully, I could come back. Gate should work in both directions, after all. It might be slightly more difficult so if not possible immediately, a little more training and proficiency should be sufficient. It wouldn’t be so bad to visit this place sometimes.
Though I wasn’t sure New Bay would be happy about me opening more portals, even temporarily. They had far too many sources of trouble as it was.
The townsfolk came to watch us leave. My last sight of them stuck with me, as the way they looked at me had changed. And probably not just because I had a suit on or was a little bit taller.
Midnight and I worked together to cast Gate once more. It was becoming almost familiar now. Not quite as smooth as most other spells, but I was confident we had at least the same thirty seconds or so of before.
All of us poured through the portal- prisoners in tow. Some of the gunners without powers were going to be dealt with locally, but the supers all came with us. I did warn people about the possibility that the soldiers would awaken class powers… and of course the locals of Mossley weren’t worried about little babies who just discovered their abilities. It was the guns that had been a danger, and now they were simply disarmed humans.
The Gate open up to my living room, and as people filed through and spread out, Midnight and I were the last two. We stepped through the portal, looked back to make sure it was safe to close, and let it fade away. Standing behind the portal were about a dozen agents from Extra- along with some others from the Power Brigade.
Of particular note was Malaliel, the angelic woman who had been so nice when I first arrived. Though she didn’t look particularly happy right now. She had a glare that softened slightly as I waved, then returned to its hardness as her eyes swept over the captured supers.
“We’ll take them from here, if you don’t mind,” she said.
Calculator nodded. “If you would give me time to make some reports…”
“Of course,” Malaliel said. “But I’d like to get started right away.” Calculator agreed, and she approached the mercenaries. “Mercenaries of the Grey Gunners. You all stand accused of extradimensional crimes, including illegal military action, theft, as well as other crimes. You have the right to remain silent. Bear witness that I shall know if you lie. But also consider that you don’t want the burden of your crimes to rest solely on your heads.”
I don’t know how they felt about it, but I was sweating profusely with none of her focus being on me. I almost felt pity for them. But also they shot up my childhood home for fun and hurt people I cared about. And probably more.
People began to filter out of my apartment a bit at a time. It really wasn’t meant to hold so many- though if it had been set up differently it was capable of accommodating individuals who were quite large.
I looked down at the furniture. “Mind helping me move this back in place, Great Girl?”
“Geez, you’d think that super strength would be used for something other than helping people move stuff sometimes,” she said with a clear sarcastic tone. “But I suppose I can help.”
“You’re still the strongest friend I have in terms of regular strength,” I pointed out. “And also you’re still here.” Ceira poked her head out of the kitchen. “And you too?” I tilted my head.
“… I wanted to wait for you guys to come back.”
“Here we are,” I grinned. “All in one piece.”
“Is that blood on your neck?” she asked.
“It might be,” I shrugged.
Shockwave had left, though I wasn’t certain if it was before or after the talk of moving furniture. Izzy was still around, though she was mostly useful for putting end tables back in place. And by back in place, I meant in some place because I honestly didn’t know how things had been set up. The apartment came pre-furnished, and I didn’t really have friends over a lot. Senan and Rasmus helped as well, moving a few armchairs about. Midnight supervised, given his lack of size and appropriate limbs.
After we finished I suddenly felt very tired. People trickled off. Midnight went back to his apartment across the hall. Most everyone else went home- Senan likely eager to see his family for the first time in months. Ceira was the only one who wouldn’t be going back to her apartment, but she was escorted off by Power Brigade members. We’d deal with the longer term issues due to her being targeted by Doctor Doomsday later.
I fell into my bed. Even doing my best to replicate it with Shelter, I had missed some details. I planned to engrain those into my mind for the future, just in case. But that would have to come later, when I was conscious.