After the Expo.
Pendragon waited until Mitchell had left the room, and headed into an empty hallway, before dropping his armor's holographic cloak.
”Glad you liked it, Nick.”
Mitchell responded in kind, a small smile playing across his face.
”It’s not just armor, either. I’ve got some big plans for the Atlas Particle.”
"I can imagine,"
Pendragon replied. "Not every day you discover a new fundamental part of the universe. I'm just surprised you didn't name it after yourself."
”Never thought of that. The Stervos Particle.”
He paused for a moment, as if seriously contemplating the idea before shaking his head.
”Even for me, that’s too vain. Christ.”
Nicolas laughed. He was about to respond, crack another joke, when the Terminus
alerted him to something. Most of the time, when it bothered him, he ignored it. But this... this looked like it might be it.
In truth, Pendragon wasn't sure if he was ready.
The armor projected a holographic screen from its hand, showing the carnage unfolding at the nation's capital, at that very moment.
"Mitch. How fast could you get to DC from here?"
Stervos furrowed his brow. He looked to Nicolas for a moment, about to say something with levity before the expression on the man’s face brought concern.
”I don’t know, honestly. Never tested the flight capabilities of the suit, especially coast to coast. I’d say... what, 30 minutes to an hour, tops. The thrusters are more short-term than long distance, but if I resize, I could probably decrease the time even further. Why?”
Nicolas turned the projecting towards Stervos, silently.
"That's impressive, but I don't think we have that kind of time. This guy looks. Strong. More people could be dead by the time we get there, or worse."
He considered the problem for a moment, before speaking.
"I think I have an idea. You might not like it, but... I might be able to aug your suit with my tech. Not permanently, but... enough that you would be able to match my speed."
After pausing for a moment, Stervos sighed. He opened the briefcase held in his right hand before placing the display case with the ASAPS inside, resizing it to its original proportions and opening the glass to Nicolas.
”I don’t have much of a choice, do I? Let’s do it.”
Nodding, Pendragon reached out, and placed the Terminus'
hand on the ASAP suit's chest. The self-replicating assemblers flowed out from its fingertips, and into the inner workings of Stervos' masterpiece.
In truth, Nicolas wasn't entirely certain himself of what the outcome would be. Nothing damaging to it- he had that much control over the Terminus,
but as far as directing the changes they made, all he could really focus on was speed.
Mitchell watched the display with bated breath, crossing his arms and holding a closed fist to his mouth as the machines did their work.
”Hope this doesn’t kill me.”
When the transformation was complete, the ASAP looked.... different. Not totally different, the extra armor plating Mitch had added was still present. The arms, however, had seemingly been optimized for physical combat, like grappling. Though Nicolas hadn't done it himself, he could see the rationale. The ASAP's energy beams would likely be ineffectual against a meta that was trading blows that shook the earth. However, he could be restrained with the beefed-up arms that the ASAP now possessed.
The most relevant change, of course, was the wings. They weren't really wings, of course, they were a next-generation propulsion pack, which would let Stervos fly at hypersonic speeds on the same level as the Terminus.
"Well. I think it looks neat."
”Yep, definitely fuckin’ one-upping me, Nick.”
Mitchell said with a dejected sadness, entering the back of the suit and booting up its internal mainframe.
”Right. Let’s get this show on the road.”
Pendragon nodded, not having enough time to worry about Mitchell's feelings. They headed for the roof, and Nicolas directed the Terminus
to switch to a speed-focused mode as well.
Without another word, they took off.
In-flight, Nicolas accessed the ASAP's internal comms. They were moving at far too fast a speed for normal communication.
"Mitch. Here's the plan. I'll hit him with a blast from my particle cannon, put him off balance. Once he's distracted, you slap one of your shrinking disks on him, and deal with him at that size."
From within the ASAPS Suit, Mitchell nodded despite Nicolas having no idea he did so.
”Understood. I’ll shrink down once the deed is done and keep the pressure on him, though I’m warning you that he’ll have... certain increased properties. Are you sure you wanna go through with that?”
Pendragon nodded marginally. "You can reverse it, right? We just need to keep him off-balance for as long as we can, so the Terminus can analyze him, and produce an appropriate countermeasure."
After another few seconds of blistering speed, the clouds rushing past faster than the eye can see. Then, the armor informed him the duo were approaching the Washington Monument, where the battle was taking place.
Rocketing towards Cyrolus, Pendragon extended his right arm, and waited until he was a mere few feet from the monarch. When he was close enough, Nicolas fired, a beam of energy aimed directly at the dictator's face. It wouldn't kill him, but it would briefly blind and disorient him, allowing Atom to strike.
Meanwhile, the ASAPS was busy charging its AP Disks— 4 for each top arm, totaling 8 over the entire suit. To be completely honest, Mitchell was incredibly iffy about shrinking the man— if the resize was successful, Stervos would have to deal with him directly.
The top-left mechanical arm, regardless of whether Nicolas’ stun landed, fired off a disk towards Cyrolus.