Mandy left me, and I stopped caring. I didn't answer the phone, I quit my 'cover' job. I ignored a ping from Dreamland.
I suppose I should thank her, in a weird way, because if I had answered the ping I would have been sent out with Fatboy and White Dragon and The Illustrated Man, and I'd be dead now. Instead I unplugged the phone and lay in my bed and sulked until someone knocked on the door.
It was McLeary. "Where have you been? Get dressed, we're going to the Presidio. I'm driving, I'll brief you on the way."
I didn't care enough to argue. When he told me what had happened to B Team, I started to get angry. Not just angry at Micro, angry at the world. Angry at being a Cape. Angry at Mandy for leaving me now, and not some time in the future.
We got to the south end of the bridge and everything was a mess. We squealed to a stop at the police barricade across Presidio Parkway and I climbed out.
Rapture was there, in the white suit. Rapture glows. There's not a religious bone in her body, but she plays the part it for all it's worth. "Nice of you to join us."
I just looked at the bridge. It was… blurry. "What the hell?"
"Grey goo. There's just enough of the bridge left to keep it standing. He's right in the middle. I don't know how he's keeping it from going runaway, but as soon as he takes his foot off the brake that mess will eat San Francisco."
"What does he want?" They always want something, and it's never something anyone can actually give them, and you'd think they'd know that. The Speaker wanted to be the only show on television. We tried to compromise: offered him an hour on cable every Sunday. We shouldn't even have gone that far. Panix wanted money. They want money at least half the time. The Game Player just wanted to 'play the game' and didn't care who got hurt.
"Who cares? Somewhere in there is what's left of B Team."
Much as I hate to admit it, Rapture is stronger. Rapture has telekinesis. Rapture can fly. "You have a plan?"
"I'll handle the grey goo; you take out Micro."
McLeary piped in. "D1 wants him alive."
Rapture was icy. "We don't care." She leapt into the air, and I walked towards the edge of the churning blur that was the Golden Gate bridge. I could see him: Micro, standing atop a double-decker tour bus window-deep in the goo.
I can yell pretty loud. "Time to give up now, Micro."
"You think you're putting me in jail, Fleet?"
Rapture, hanging above us like some strange cathedral's neon cross, shouted, "It's gone too far for that, Micro."
I grimaced. Wrong thing to say. But she started to do her thing: the goo started to lift from the bridge as if sucked away by a vacuum, stretched away from the superstructure in pseudopods, pulled apart into streams and filaments, and then began to converge into a ball, high in the air, near Rapture. She does it with her mind, somehow. There aren't a lot of telekinetes; Rapture is the strongest. We're all just glad she didn't go bad.
He still had control — some control, anyhow — over the baitball of nanomachines. It bubbled, it spat. It lunged at her.
The Golden Gate Bridge is nearly three thousand yards across. When it was clear enough, I ran at Micro, fast. The deck, under my feet, felt as if it had been sandblasted within an inch of its life as I went supersonic. Three figures lifted from the pavement ahead of me.
Fatboy, White Dragon, and The Illustrated Man. Corpses, animated by nanotech. If they still had their powers, Fatboy would be a real threat…
They launched themselves at me, fists swinging like hammers. That answers that. Strong, fast, but otherwise, just big dumb zombies. "This is going to take a minute!"
Rapture didn't answer: she was concentrating on fighting the baitball. How it was pushing itself closer to her I have no idea. Micro must have re-programmed the nanomachines to use the air around them as reaction mass for a hurriedly-configured thruster. But while the roiling ball strained to reach her, it was shrinking. Not shrinking: compressing. Rapture was squeezing them.
Putting down the zombies of B Team hurt. But not physically. By the time I was done, my anger had drained away from me. I wasn't angry at Mandy anymore, or Dreamland, or anyone. I wasn't even angry at Micro, somehow.
Micro, who had climbed down from the half-converted tour bus and was looking in vain for an escape route; his nanomachines had eaten all the vehicles but his virtually impregnable (and apparently goo-proof) MicroMobile. I closed the rest of the distance before he could reach it, and forced him to the ground. The gadget guys, they never fight back once their tech has been neutralized. What would be the point?
Above us, Rapture had squeezed the baitball into a glowing point-mass brighter than the sun. When she let go of it with her mind, it exploded into a cloud of harmless ash that floated away on the wind. She floated down over me and Micro, landed. "Time to finish it."
"It's over." The SFPD had sent an armored car in behind me, it had managed to negotiate the broken bridge surface to reach us, and it was now disgorging cops in riot gear.
"He killed B Team. He killed White Dragon."
"And he's going to pay for it."
She was a statue as I handed Micro off to the cops. I could see her working it through in her head, making a decision. "Fine."
McLeary was the last out of the armored car. He gave Micro a hard look before turning to Rapture, and to me. "Congratulations. The two of you are now 'B Team'."