In Kinesis's outstretched hand, an orb appeared, made of the same distorting darkness as the stuff that covered the ground.
Instead of being a single ring, this structure was infinitely more complex, comprised of countless rings within rings interlocking together, moving to create what looked like the illusion of spheres moving within the sphere.
It was a structure that reminded Aldrich of a hypersphere, the four dimensional representation of a sphere.
The rings of darkness in the ground stretched upwards, growing thin. They started to flicker with more intensity, rippling the space around them even more to the point where the ground was just a mess of stretched out colors and blurred details.
'Volantis, analysis,' said Aldrich, trying to focus on the sphere. However, in his red tinted U.I., the sphere looked like a blur, like a glitched out mess that did not belong.
'Error: unreadable,' said Volantis, defaulting to a programmed response as he lacked the capacity to describe it. 'It is impossible to discern that...thing. It does not belong to this world, nor the world of Elduin, nor this entire reality, I fear.'
'Then I'll have to treat it as an attack'. Aldrich reacted quickly, as did Valera.
In synchronized union, Valera threw her shield. Her shield throw skill now had an upgraded variant called [Ballista Shield] that dramatically increased the speed and damage of any thrown shield on top of giving it an armor sundering effect.
With that, any shield she threw was going to be comparable to an explosive missile.
Aldrich assisted her, pointing at Kinesis with an accusing finger. He cast a newly learned spell: [Anti-Life Beam]. A coiled beam comprised of two intertwining strands of black and purple shot out with a deep wail.
The beam had extremely high firepower, dealing massive disintegrating damage over time and constantly applying a chance to roll for an instant kill with the chances of that roll increasing the longer a unit was affected with disintegration and the lower their health.
It also had the neat ability to disrupt channeling abilities, so it was a two for one in this situation to not just hurt Kinesis, but stop whatever mystery box, or rather sphere in this case, she was planning on unleashing.
A wall construct appeared in front of Kinesis, completely blocking her out. Valera's shield crashed into it, gouging out a crater, but did not go all the way through. Aldrich's beam rapidly started to drill through the wall, but not fast enough.
The fact that Kinesis created a wall was concerning. It meant that whatever she was doing did not require line of sight or a clear path to Aldrich.
'Channeled attack,' said Aldrich. 'Let's deal with it our usual way. Splitting up. Valera, you attack in melee range. I'll provide support and try to angle around for blindspot strikes.'
Valera, using [Bloodburst] on her feet, rapidly accelerated to Kinesis by basically propelling herself with an explosion. She could do that in game as well, and it let her move faster at the cost of precision, sort of like a sloppy dash.
At the end of it, there was a brief delay where she had to orient herself before she did anything.
She shoulder bashed into the wall, smashing it apart and revealing Kinesis. The shield dislodged from the shattered wall, and Valera grabbed it and slammed it down on Kinesis's astronaut helm in one fluid motion.
Aldrich saw that Valera was making improvements in the real world. She could accurately aim her [Bloodburst] and even chain it fluidly into attacks. He realized further that these movements were familiar.
They were Stella's movements, copied almost perfectly from Stella knowing how to manuever around using her explosions. Valera was learning from her sparring with Stella.
Kinesis did not have enough time to react with another construct, especially not at this range. The shield smashed into Kinesis's helm and sent her catapulting to the ground where she bounced off the construct fortified ground and ponged off the fortified ceiling.
This repeated several times with Kinesis smashing through drones, mechanical repair stations, and fridges until she stopped, regaining her balance several dozens of meters away. A crack was on her helm, though not deep enough to show the mysterious face - a face nobody had ever seen - underneath.
The hypersphere was still floating in the air, where Kinesis was. It seemed to be growing, the movement of the spheres within becoming faster and faster. In reaction, the rings of darkness littering the floor started to sway back and forth in strange dance to the sphere's call.
Background noises - the hum of drone repair stations and fridges, the buzz of still active drones - all of that faded into an eerie silence.
Valera stepped back and aimed her shield at the sphere, taking a proactive stance to deal with it. "Burn!"
The burnmaw opened up and unleashed a torrent of black outlined hellfire, but when the flames subsided, it showed that the sphere was still there, utterly unharmed.
Aldrich looked around again at the walls and ceilings to see if Valera's blow had broken Kinesis's concentration.
Not the case.
The walls were still thickly padded with defensive constructs. But doing this, creating a cage the size of an entire mansion floor and making sure it was fortified enough to withstand escape attempts from not just Aldrich, but Valera - someone who had at the minimum power comparable to an A+ rank Augmenter, should have been insanely taxing.
And, Aldrich realized, it was. There was a reason why Kinesis did not attack using any constructs. She could not, or, even if she could, could not do so with any real efficacy. It was like she was a current of electricity, 90% of her charge diverted to the cage, 10% to anything else.
It seemed that Kinesis was fully willing to severely nerf herself, using up all her power to reinforce the cage, to keep Aldrich contained.
"I apologize," said Kinesis, standing up again. "But you must rest now."
'She can't defend herself,' said Aldrich. 'Break the channel by dealing with her.'
Valera was upon Kinesis again, this time with her limbs covered in a glowing purple hexagonal mesh from Aldrich supporting her with [Death Surge], dramatically enhancing her already impressive strength.
She palmed Kinesis's helm and smashed her into the shadow filled ground with an explosive impact. Kinesis reacted by covering herself in a layer of construct armor, but nerfed as she was, it was all she could do to protect herself.
"Undo this attack!" roared Valera as she raised Kinesis up and then smashed her head back into the ground again.
Kinesis was silent.
"Fine. Then I will kill you." Valera slammed Kinesis down again, and this time a shattering sound filled the air.
Valera raised Kinesis up in the air by the top of her helm. The helmet around the face area, which should have exposed the S-class hero's face. An enigmatic face that nobody had ever gotten to witness before.
Kinesis, the mystery S-ranker who obtained a meteoric rise to the highest hero rank in just a single year. One of the very few heroes in this day and age that kept their hero life and private life completely separate.
Rejected any corporate sponsors. Had no need for fans. Only operated in secrecy. Had no recorded residence, no base of operations, no team members. No origin or history.
What kind of face would belong to that many enigmas?
"Wha-?" began Valera, confused.
Aldrich shared Valera's reaction.
There was no face behind Kinesis's helmet. There was just a mass of cloudy golden-brown speckled with a fog of cosmic blue and purple speckled with little glints like stars. It looked like, Aldrich, realized, a nebula.
The cosmic fog leaked out of the shattered helmet, distorting space wherever it touched. That included Valera's arm.
"Argh!" Valera dropped Kinesis reflexively. She looked at her arm. It was twisted and mangled, distorted spatially. Not just that, but it looked greyed out, sapped of color. The grey seemed to start spreading up her arm, and in reaction, Valera without hesitation gripped the affected arm by the shoulder and ripped it off.
She regrew a new one, blood sputtering from her bared shoulder joint reforming into a full limb.
"Ahh." Kinesis put a hand over broken helm. "I am losing more of myself again. But it is over."
"Silence. You will die now." Valera, more careful to keep distance this time, raised her shield in the air, ready to smash Kinesis's head again.
Aldrich looked back at the sphere. It had disappeared. But in the next instant, darkness expanded out from it. The darkness on the floor expanded in reaction too, as if to eagerly reach out and meet its kindred shadows.
The darkness engulfed everyone and everything in the room.