211 Falling Shadows
"Alright, so these two nodes on the surface level, can you point them out to me on the map?" Zoey asked the holographic woman.
A moment later, her interface blinked with new information, and her map showed her two points of interest on the surface. Zoey could see that the place where the Asurai clan was gathering up there was somewhere between the two points, making it a good staging point.
"Thanks… Do you have a name?" Zoey asked.
The woman tilted her head for a moment before replying. "You can call us, Echo."
Zoey nodded, then said, "Ok Echo, we need to get moving if we are going to get this done in time. Did you get all the info you could from that terminal?"
"Yes, all of the data has been stored in your database." Echo replied.
"Then let's get out of here."
Zoey and Max left the room, going back through the tunnel that they had entered from, and after readying themselves, they stepped back out onto the landing that connected the three bridges. Zoey half expected to be swarmed by androids the moment they exited, but her Moon Web she had used to hold them back had been surprisingly effective! All three entrances were clogged by a huge pile of androids, all stuck together by the Moon Webs.
The androids saw them, and hundreds of red eyes shone in the dim light as they struggled to free themselves from the trap and eliminate the organics before them. Zoey ignored the eerie feeling she got from the sight, and looked for a way out of this place. The three entrances were completely clogged by androids, so all they could do was climb up the sides of the shaft to get to the surface. It would not be easy, and it would be very dangerous, but it was the only way out for them.
Just as Zoey was about to tell Max her plan, there was a loud BANG, and suddenly the landing beneath them shuddered! The entire thing became unstable, rocking enough to throw Max and Zoey off balance. Zoey looked around for the source of what had just happened, she saw to her surprise that the androids had been the culprits!
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Since they were trapped in the Moon Web traps, Zoey had not considered them a threat, but the androids had proven more dangerous than she anticipated. Since they could not get to the organics, the androids had collectively started to destroy the structure of the three bridges, trying to collapse them and the landing Max and Zoey were on into the dark shaft below. The androids were working together like a hive-mind, like ants fulfilling the wishes of their queen.
Seeing that was the case, Zoey knew that they did not have much time to get off the landing before it collapsed. She turned to Max and was about to grab him to jump up onto the wall, when with another sudden BANG, the floor dropped out from beneath them. Zoey immediately tried to reach out and grab Max, but he was already falling, just out of her reach!
With the sound of shrieking metal, the three bridges and the landing, along with Max, Zoey, and hundreds of androids, all plummeted into the dark shaft below.
The instant they started falling, Zoey's mind was sent into overdrive as adrenaline flooded her system and her Dark Star Vision activated unconsciously. Time seemed to slow for her as she watched Max tumble through the air below her as they fell, her mind racing as she worked on a way to save him and herself.
Before Zoey could even put any of her thoughts into action however, a large shadowy shape suddenly swooped past her! Her eyes went wide with happy surprise as she saw a transformed Viridi dive below her and pick Max from the air with a gentle maneuver that left him clinging on her back. Viridi then deftly moved her large draconic shape and matched her falling speed and angle with Zoey, lining up perfectly so Zoey could easily grab onto her back and slide into place behind Max.
With her two passengers secured in just a few seconds, Viridi tucked her wings and increased her dive speed, cutting down through the shaft like a silent arrow. Zoey glanced behind them to see the chaos that was unfolding above, with the large bridge structure smashing into the sides of the shaft as it fell, creating even more falling debris, not to mention the hundreds of androids falling just behind them.
Even if Viridi wanted to, they would be hard-pressed to survive trying to fly back up to the top through the mess descending behind them. The safest option was to go down through the bottom of the shaft, then fly back up to the upper layer with Viridi's help.
That said, they still had a lot of shaft to fall through before they were out, and some of the androids falling behind them were actually gaining on them! They had a smaller profile than Viridi had, so less wind resistance allowed them to fall faster, and their glowing red eyes could be seen shining at the falling trio as they drew closer to their organic targets.
Zoey saw all this, and sighed internally as she prepared to fight them off. Nothing on this flying city came easy!