The advantage flicked back and forth between the two pairs as they fought out in the open. After a while, they began to settle into a fixed pattern. Jordan balanced out the teams but couldn't get close enough to use her power. Nobody could get close to her either. Like Carl, she had quickly tightened her grip on her gun and while Mark's fire prevented her from advancing forward she was fast enough to dodge it. Even at top speed, Carl couldn't run past the walls of flame that burned only temporarily. All he could get in was quick hits and pot shots. Nobody could move, nobody could do much of anything, and it seemed like the winner would be decided by exhaustion.
"Veronica, I don't think I can keep this up," Mark called over. He was riding a panic-driven fluke for all it was worth. The wave could flatten at any second.
"Don't think, just do," Veronica ordered. Upon finally accepting that she couldn't disarm them she tried to lift them. Danny had flown like a breeze. She'd hoped his smaller, teenaged counterparts would be the same. The DRA, however, was smart. They tensed their bodies, straightened their spines. It made them heavy and adrenaline only got Veronica so far. She could lift them barely a few centimetres before being forced to drop them.
Out of nowhere came a short and sudden yell. The yell was clearly one of distress. It was the sound of someone that was obviously in pain and wasn't in a position to hold it in. Mark and Veronica instantly recognised the voice and tried their hardest not to panic. They couldn't afford to be distracted by anything, not even for a second.
"Stay here. I'll check that out." Veronica shouted and raced towards the clothes shop.
"No, Veronica, wait." He reached out to grab her, to stop her from leaving, but she was out of his reach almost as soon as he could react. The DRA paused just as confused as him. It was only momentary. They had to snatch the advantage while it was undefended. "Oh dear."
Veronica threw the doors open without a care in the world. She felt no need to be sneaky or subtle. She wanted Danny to know she was there. That was at least one upside to nearly dying, all inhibitions had gone right out of the window.
"Oh hi, Danny. Nice gun." she smiled. She scanned the room in search of Aidan. He stood hunchbacked on the other side of the room from Danny, holding his shoulder and fighting back whimpers. "Come on dude. We both know you're going to be fine in a few minutes".
"It still hurts you bitch" he cried. Danny quickly collected his thoughts. One down, only two more to go. He fired without even bothering to aim, accidentally shot much higher than intended. Veronica ducked and threw up her right hand, instinct forcing her to attempt batting the threat away. Moments passed without event. She was sure she should have been hit already. Except she hadn't been, she was perfectly fine. Slowly but surely she raised her head, keeping her arm perfectly still, and saw the bullet frozen just inches from her face.
"Oh shit," she whispered. She wanted to shout it, she wanted to let out an entire shock filled monologue. Nothing more than two words would come out. She was unable to take her eyes off the floating hunk of metal. Everybody stayed glued to the spot, even Danny.
"C-can you move it" stuttered Aidan. Veronica shook her head. She had no idea what she could do and didn't want to try anything lest it start the bullet moving again. All she could do was stand there mere seconds from disaster.
All alone Mark was forced to duck and dive. Veronica might not have been able to disarm them but she at least forced them to focus on not losing grip, slowing them down even if only slightly. Without her, the pair seemed much more willing to move around. Pushing one back was easy. Two less so.
Jordan, realising her gun was essentially useless without adequate training, decided to do what she did best. If she could sneak up behind him, something Carl seemed to be managing with ease, she could end the fight with nothing more than a tap.
"Distract him," she whispered in Carl's ear.
"Isn't that all I ever do," he asked, not even trying to hide his voice. Jordan ignored his comments and Carl came to the conclusion that disobedience would do nothing to help them. He sprinted to Mark's side, causing the man to turn and take his eyes away from Jordan. Carl quickly engaged him in hand to hand combat before he could be burned. Mark wondered if he could have burnt him if he tried. At least he would have given the time to wonder anything at all. With each attempted hit and punch he blocked with the but of his gun making sure neither of them could safely break free. Carl wished he could just throw him to the ground and be done with it. Stupid distraction plans, never let him do anything of worth. Jordan crept around, careful not to make a noise. Mark could feel someone coming up close and well-honed paranoia caused him to spin. He sparked without really thinking about it and the shock of the sudden move made Jordan drop her gun. Before she had a chance to register it Mark seized the opportunity and swooped it up. It was uncalculated, almost reflexive. Within seconds the gun sat comfortably in his hands as he played the role of a man much more confident with weapons than himself.
"Ha, who's got the gun now. That's right, Mark's got the gun." Mark frantically boasted. Jordan instantly raised her hands. She wasn't going to risk dying of Danny's weird revenge fantasy.
"Dude you barely know how to use that thing." Carl reminded him presuming and praying that Mark wasn't an experienced shooter.
"Neither do you" he pointed out. He attempted to his hide the unsure quiver in his voice and hoped to God his assumptions were right. He presumed by the fact they'd failed to hit anything that they weren't a trained fighting force. They were attempting to be something they were not, though what he wasn't sure. Carl shrugged dismissively and raised his gun for the final time. They'd wasted enough time already. As his finger twitched above the trigger his eyes drifted over to Jordan. She stood there, hands in the air, shaking her head. Without words, he knew what she was saying.
Leave it. We're done here.
He lowered the barrel and followed Jordan's led. With slow and deliberate movements he placed the rifle safely on the floor and raised his hands high above his head.
"All right, dude. Let's stay calm. Let's reasonable about this." Carl bargained.
"Oh, I'm calm, very calm. Now, why don't we just-" Before Mark could explain the next cause of action a yelp and a thud came from nearby. He flicked his vision between the two disarmed teens and the clothes shop where the noise had come from. The DRA was no longer a threat and his team, his only friends, were so much more important. Still, part of him didn't trust them not to do something stupid if left alone. For the first time in years, he was going to attempt multi-tasking.
"Alright, detour. Move along." Mark ordered. He prodded the pair with his newly acquired (though not particularly useful) AK-47. They moved with very little resistance.
Aidan just about managed to break out of his trance not long after the bullet was stopped. Danny, however, had not. Seeing a second chance to take him down Aidan slowly and silently edged his way across the room ignoring the dull, slowly fading pain in his shoulder and the risk of getting shot again. Suddenly, with an ultimate roar he lunged forwards and knocked the unaware Danny to the ground. He wrestled the gun free and stumbled to his feet. He pointed the barrel down at the shocked man to make sure he wouldn't get back up.
The door banged against the wall leaving a large dent as Mark kicked his way in. The addition of yet another noise that she wasn't ready for caused Veronica to finally lose her focus which she had been hanging onto by the skin of her teeth. She ducked down as the bullet speed across the room, ricocheted off of several metal clothing racks, and finally shattered the glass door behind Mark's back. They severely hoped the council wasn't inclined to fine them for the damage.
"Nice of you to join us." Commented Aidan. Without moving his head he allowed his eyes to drift to Carl and Jordan, now milling around aimlessly in the doorway. "You got them? How?"
"Oh yeah, turns out I didn't need you after all. Paranoia makes an excellent trigger." Mark shrugged. He calmly walked over to Danny who lay panting speechless on the ground. With barely a speck of emotion, he joined Aidan in pointing his gun at his face. To some two might have felt like overkill. To them, it felt like insurance.
"You're under arrest" Both men announced.
"I've always wanted to say that," Mark added with childlike glee.