As soon as he heard it, Jack knew that the boom echoing through the arena had come from the zeppelin. He knew with equal certainty that the scream that followed a moment later had been Celeste’s. He had to get out there and find her, but there were a whole lot of Nazis between him and the arena’s exit.
The cessation of Celeste’s scream was like the flag-drop that started the race. Suddenly, the arena was alive with motion and conflict. Trotsky, the panther-girl, Scrumtumbler, and the Amazon all dashed in different directions while the Nazis fled for reinforcements or readied their rifles.
Bullets picked through the dust-clogged air, kicking up small sprays of sand by Jack’s feet. A crackling arc of blue energy connected Scrumtumbler’s stun rifle with the chest of one of the troopers, and the Nazi went down in a convulsive heap. Trotsky hurled a wheelbarrow-sized chunk of granite up into the stands as easily as a child might fling a ball. The boulder exploded on impact, casting hunks of whirling rock into the stomachs, shoulders, and heads of the nearby Nazis.
Jack wasted no time dashing past Scrumtumbler’s drilling machine, up through the rubble of the broken arena wall and into the stands. There he came upon a very startled-looking trooper, and he slashed down onto the wrist of his enemy. His ironwood stick cracked against bone, and the trooper let out an agonized yelp as his machinegun clattered to the ground.
A bullet slammed into the rock wall next to Jack’s head, forcing him to dive for cover before a full volley sliced through the air above him. He reached for the fallen machinegun just in time to see a black boot come down on top of it. He looked up into the barrel of a Nazi officer’s luger.
At that moment, the Amazon bounded up the rocky slope to join the fray. She slammed her stick against the officer’s head hard enough to spin him off his feet. Jack knew she had just saved his life, but there was still plenty of battle left for him to repay this debt.
Grabbing the fallen machinegun Jack fired blindly over the boulders and then risked a quick glance. The Nazis were regrouping. They had one team behind the stadium wall on the far side peppering the rocks around him to keep him pinned down while another team circled around the upper stands. Once the flanking team was in place, Jack would have no cover.