The creature in front of us hissed, and even over the sound coming from its lipless maw and the sparking, short circuiting lights overhead, I could still hear Chris muttering to herself, "Yeah, the armies we would've run into if we had gone the way you didn't want to go."
We had our backs to the hallway we had come through, and between us and any other means of escape stood the Xenomorph. I backed towards the hallway, even knowing that running from that spiny, ebon-shelled thing would be pointless in the short term. However, it was about the only plan I could think of, and even a few seconds might buy us enough time to come up with something better.
It hissed again as I moved, and I stopped dead in my tracks. As I stoood there unmoving, Chris a step ahead of me now, the alien seemed to just remain where it was, watching us. I couldn't even begin to conceive what could be going through its mind now, or why it wasn't attacking us right away.
I leaned forward as slow as I could, and whispered to Chris, "Hey, Batman fought these things a time or two, did he happen to equip your shared personality with any tips, or gadgets to take them out?"
"I don't think I read those issues," she whispered while shaking her head. "And I don't think I'm from that particular continuity."
"All the Batgirls in the multiverse I could've ended up with..." My thought went unfinished, as the monster grew tired of watching us, and reared back on its haunches. It thrust forward and leapt into the air, straight for the tiny portal we had backed into.
When it reached the apogee of its arc, with its arms outstretched towards us, and mouth wide and screaming a howl unheard of on this world, at least by any real creature, I pulled back awaiting my immenent demise.
It never came, at least not this time. I heard several discharges not unlike the weapons used by the Stormtroopers, but I saw the creature hit by little, yellow bolts of light. They punctured the hard outer shell of the creature and it let out a howl even more inhuman than before.
When the alien was hit, blood spattered the walls and began hissing away through whatever material it encountered. Chris whirled around and covered up the two of us with her cape, but that provided even less resistance than the sheet rock and studs of the walls. She let out a yelp and tore off the cape, throwing the length of fabric to the carpet, where the acidic blood of the creature continued to eat through the cape and through the carpet, and downwards.
It fell to the ground, screaming and writing around on the ground, thrashing at nothing, hoping to grab whatever had attacked it.
Chris' cape laid upon the ground with its yellow-coloured side up, and with the holes burned into it, looked like an oversized piece of Swiss cheese laying there.
Several more shots of light came out from a hall perpendicular to ours, on the left wall of the open area, and hit the alien in its head, more blood spattering out, but away from us, and pooling on the floor before it too ate into the ground beneath.
I crept forward, avoiding the claws of the alien, that had gone from thrashing around to just twitching as it gave its last breath, laying there.
A woman dressed all in black leather came out of the hallway holding some sort of handheld weapon that glowed from the energy it had been discharging. She tossed back her long black hair, and even through the physical changes and the changed, accented voice the spell had wrought upon her, I had no trouble recognising the her.
"Andrea!" I shouted and rushed over to her, forgetting all about the monster that had just tried to claw my throat out.
"Actually, the name is Aeryn," she replied, regarding me with caution as I came over to her. Her weapon remained at the ready, but not pointed towards me.
I opened my mouth to again try and explain to another person what had happened, but stopped, not having the strength, patience or time to go through it yet again. "Right, sorry. My mistake. Close enough."
"I've been trying to find my way out of here for awhile now, but I keep running into those frelling things." I had to fight back a smile hearing her use the familiar, made up curse word from Farscape. "Do you know how to get out of here? Or what's going on? Where am I?"
With little time, I gave Andrea a quick story about all these people being drawn here from far reaching places to fight. Not entirely a lie, and so I cribbed a little from Marvel's original crossover Secret Wars, but she didn't know that, and it did the trick. I added the Beyonder to my mental list of personas who could fix this, but I didn't have high hopes finding some guy who would dress up in a jump suit with curly black hair. But you just never know.
"I know a number of ways off this level, but if there's more Xenomorphs, it might be difficult. We can always go back the way we came, since that's a straight shot back to the door we came through, barring the things using the airducts or whatever so should still be clear."
She gave a nod and moved past us, pointing her weapon down the hallway behind us. "This looks good, let's move."
"Wait, I can't leave. I need to get several floors up. I'm looking for someone who might be able to, um, send everyone home, but I need to get upstairs to look through some records to see if I someone is here."
The woman who was now Aeryn Sun whipped around and pointed her weapon at my head, a position I was becoming all too familiar with, and I was finding out I did not care for it.
"You're not telling me the truth. You better start, or I'll make your head a memory."
I stared down the small, short barrel, or what passed for one on an energy weapon, and took a deep breath, releasing it into a shout. "Andrea!!"
The gun moved forward, and then I saw a wave pass over her eyes, and she blinked. The gun quivered in her hands, and lowered a little. "Marty?"
I breathed a sigh of relief and gave Andy the Cliff Notes version. She took it rather well, and even found it cool.
"I've been wandering these halls being all badass? And with a real pulse pistol? How awesome is that? Wait, if you fix this, can I keep the gun? I mean, c'mon! Bolts of yellow death!"
"Calm down, o bloodthirsty one. I don't even know if this can be fixed yet. We need to get upstairs, like I said. I want to search the hotel registry, and see if there's anyone I know here who may have dressed up as a Phoenix."
Andy smiled, and at last lowered the weapon, putting it in a holster at her hip. "Have I got some good news for you. Before this whole mess started, I was over at a panel in the Hilton. On my way out to come down into the maze here, I saw a Phoenix in the lobby, getting lots of photos taken."
I grabbed her and gave her a big hug. She stood there completely straight and didn't even return it or say a word more than a grunt of surprise.
"This is the best news I've had all day. By now, she's probably long gone from the Hilton, but at least we know there's one here. Somewhere. That means this little hunt isn't entirely pointless. She might not be able to do anything, but it's worth the shot."
I felt so relieved at that moment. I just leaned back against the wall and slid down to the floor. The carrot being dangled in front of me had become a steaming pot of coffee, and I could feel the heat eminating from it, just out of reach.
Andrea leaned against the wall next to me, shifting her weight to one leg, and her arm on the wall. The breather was nice for us all, and even though the sooner we got this done, the better, we needed that break, to calm and plan. None of us knew when next we'd be able to just sit and decompress. For the time being, nothing was trying to kill any of us, and we took it for what it was.
My new companion looked over at my old one, who was standing over where her cape had landed, and looking down at it. Chris just stood and was murmuring, "My cape. It's ruined."
Andy gestured over to her. "So, Marty, whose the Batwoman you found? Another friend of yours changed by this spell?"
I collected my thoughts and scratched at my cheek. "Batgirl, not Batwoman. And yeah, she is. Funny you should ask, that's an intersting story, actually."