Luckily for the girls, the Snow Queen had run towards the alleyway on the other side of the mall and had missed their parked van.
As the girls came around the corner they spotted the woman leaning against the wall, panting heavily.
“Stop this,” shouted Ulla as she moved forward. “We can do this easily.”
“Never!” Coughed the Snow Queen.
“You’re coming with us,” replied Mara. “Please come quietly.”
“No!” Screamed Snow Queen as pressed a button on her belt. “My bots are going to take this town over!” She screamed as she raised her gauntlet.
“Those hunks of junk?” Laughed Mesmera.
“Don’t call them that!” Screamed the Snow Queen. “You’ll respect me and my creations! They’ll make sure of it!”
“I don’t respect toasters!” Laughed Alicia.
“You will when they all explode in eight hours!” Smirked Snow Queen as a manic giggle slipping out of her lips. “I’ve hidden them all over the city! This whole place is going to be a smoking crater by morning!”
“Where are they?” Shouted Ulla, her body language becoming more serious as clenched her fists.
“I’m not telling! Deal with it yourself!” Chuckled the woman, the confidence returning to her voice. “And if you get rid of me, you won’t be able to disarm them! So you have to let me go!”
“Relays I’m guessing,” nodded Mara. “But I can handle them.”
“Good,” replied Ulla as she stepped forward.
“Stop!” Shouted Snow Queen as an icicle started to form on her gauntlet. “One wrong move and I shoot!” She added as she waved her arm around, almost like she was trying to decide who to aim at. Suddenly a revving noise filled the alleyway as a bright light illuminated the Snow Queen from behind. Alicia squinted as the light hit her in the eyes. She tried to work out the source of the light, but it was far too bright to look at.
“What?” Shouted Snow Queen as she spun around.
“Well, well, well,” echoed a familiar voice. “It seems someone picked the wrong night to be causing trouble.”
Alicia watched as a figure stepped out of the light. “Hitomi?”
Hitomi smirked as she stared a hole through the Snow Queen. “You’ve made a big mistake doing this tonight.” She said as her bike’s headlight turned off.
Hitomi walked towards the Snow Queen. Each step radiated cockiness. In fact, Alicia had never seen Hitomi looking this confident. “What makes you think you can tell me what to do!” Shouted the Snow Queen.
“If Ulla is Ruby City’s, Santa Claus. That makes me Krampus. And Christmas Eve is the one night of the year where I’m allowed out. So I wander around with my big stick and beat some respect into all the naughty children. And you seem like a good place to start.” Continued Hitomi as her smile grew wider.
“What do you think you can do? I’ll freeze you where you stand!” Shouted the Snow Queen as she aimed at Hitomi.
“You’ve not heard about me, have you?” Chuckled Hitomi as she opened her jacket and revealed her system. “I’m not the sister who asks politely, I’m the sister who talks with my fists.”
In one flowing movement, Hitomi pulled a silver version of the CCC drive out of her pocket and pressed the red button on the top. “Turbo Charger!” Shouted a computerized voice as Hitomi attached it to her system.
“Hitomi! No!” Screamed Alicia. However, before she could run, Sharon gripped her shoulder firmly.
“Don’t worry kid, the doc got me fixed up.” Nodded Hitomi. “Full speed!” She yelled as she flipped the switch on her system.
The alleyway was instantly illuminated with a bright light as Hitomi’s armor formed around her. Snow Queen backed into the wall with a look of shock on her face.
Once her armor formed, Hitomi ducked down and pointed towards Snow Queen. “Let’s get you up to speed with how things are around here.”
Suddenly, a fleet of drones descended from the sky, rapidly firing ice balls as they did. One of these balls hit Hitomi in the helmet, knocking her backward.
Mara fired her chain at the drones, doing her best to take as many out of them as she could. Ulla grabbed Alicia and Sharon, putting herself between them and the barrage of ice.
In the resulting chaos, Snow Queen started to sprint out of the alleyway. She ran past Hitomi and out onto the street. “She’s getting away!” Shouted Ulla as Mara guided one of the drones into the others, causing them all to crash into the floor.
“We need to find her and other robots!” Shouted Mara. “I can disarm them if I can work out what frequency she is using to control them.”
“I’ll get you close!” Shouted Hitomi as she climbed back onto her bike. “Get on doc!”
“Okay!” Shouted Mara as she sprinted over to Hitomi.
“Mesmera, climb on my back,” nodded Ulla.
“Your back?” Blinked Sharon. “What?”
“We’re downtown, I have the advantage,” smiled Ulla. A small slot on her armor opened and Ulla quickly reached in a produced a ticket. She held it up to the sky, and then, in one flowing movement, she pulled her system open and quickly swapped the old ticket with the new one. She then slammed the system shut.
“Incoming on platform one,” echoed a robotic voice as a wave of energy flowed through the alley, causing Ulla’s armor to shift and morph. “Maglev form!” Added the voice as Ulla’s suit let out a bright flash.
When the light faded Ulla looked totally different. Her suit was bright white and featured more rounded edges. Her boots were significantly chunkier and she was hovering a few feet off the ground. “Get on!” Shouted Ulla, “we’re going to use the light rail tracks.”
“Right!” Replied Sharon as she quickly jumped onto Ulla’s back. The second Sharon got comfortable, Ulla sped off across the street and jumped up onto the train tracks.
“Right behind you!” Shouted Kitty as she started to run. However, when she reached the end of the alleyway she spun around and looked at Alicia.
“You won’t be able to keep up,” she shouted.
“I can run!” Replied Alicia.
“I can help!” Smiled Kitty as she tapped on her computer. Suddenly a strange hovering craft fell out of the sky and landed in front of Alicia. She would have said it looked sleek and futuristic if not for the hot pink color scheme.
“What?” Gasped Alicia.
“Sky skimmer!” Shouted Kitty as she vanished around the corner. Alicia took a deep breath and jumped onto the craft, looking over its buttons as she did.
“It can’t be much different from a normal bike, right?” She mumbled as she twisted the handlebars. The craft shot forward, accelerating way faster than anything Alicia had ever ridden.
Alicia screamed as she skidded around the corner, narrowly missing several bins. “What the hell?” She shouted as she looked over the buttons, trying to work out how to pilot this strange craft.
There was a screen between the handlebars, but she couldn’t understand the things written on it. It was all in a language she hadn’t seen before. Alicia looked between the screen and the road, trying to keep the others in sight while also trying to find something that could alleviate her confusion.
She could see her Mom and Ulla riding along the light rail tracks, while Mara and Hitomi skidded around street furniture on Hitomi’s motorcycle.
Alicia’s craft was somehow faster than both Ulla and Hitomi’s bike, so she quickly gained ground. However, just as she got within a few feet of the bike, Hitomi made a sudden left turn.
Alicia panicked and tried to turn the handlebars, however, she couldn’t turn fast enough. The bike started to drift, sending her careening towards a wall.
Alicia yanked on the handlebars as hard as she could, looking for any way to stop herself. “Oh crap!” She screamed, only for her bracelets to glow.
“Untrained pilot detected, translation and auto-pilot engaged,” chirped a voice from the computer. Alicia looked at the computer, only to see that the display was now in English.
Before she could react, she felt a jolt as her body started to twist. Alicia subconsciously closed her eyes and braced, presuming that she had crashed. However, she didn’t feel any pain, in fact, it felt like she was flying. Alicia opened her eyes and looked around and realized that her bike was traveling up the wall.
“The hell?!” Shouted Alicia. “Wrong way!” She added as she quickly pulled on the handlebars.
“Handlebars overrode. Thoughtform input is active. Follow mode active,” replied the computer as the bike started to dash across the rooftops.
“Up the wall?” Shouted Sharon as she watched the bike fly up the side of a building.
“Sky Skimmer,” replied Ulla as she skated along the rail lines, the Maglev boots keeping her a few feet in the air at all times. “Kitty’s planet is fond of them apparently.”
“I’ve never seen her use it,” replied Sharon.
“She prefers to teleport. Apparently, the blinking around is something only she likes to do,” said Ulla as the vents on the back of her suit fired out a jet of steam. “We’re catching up on her!” She added as she looked down at the street.