“Heroes League,” he said. He’d left it set to “Rocket voice.” There couldn’t be any doubt who’d answered.

The person on the other end gasped. “Excuse me? Sir? I’m Officer Smythe of the Grand Lake police force, and there’s a man flying through downtown. He’s been asking for the Heroes League, and Captain Schwarz told me to call you.”

Joe frowned. “Is there something wrong with the flying man? Should I be worried?”

Officer Smythe paused. “I… I don’t know, sir, but he’s big. Maybe twelve feet tall, and he doesn’t look happy.”

“Do you have any idea who he is? I know a lot of flying people these days.”

Smythe gave a short laugh. “No. I’ve never seen this guy.”

Joe had the feeling that Smythe was a rookie. (more…)

The League jet still dripped water even though they’d stepped out of it two hours ago. It stood inside a huge room made of gray concrete. A car that resembled a black 1965 Corvette had been parked next to two motorcycles, one normal, and the other red, white, and blue.

Metal shelving ran across the walls, holding tools and spare parts.

Joe stood in the hangar, still wearing the Rocket suit. He’d expected to be done by now, but he had to admit that he probably shouldn’t have. They’d packed the League jet practically to the top of the cargo bay.

It was like moving, but only if your house had been stocked with alien artifacts created for the purpose of destroying alien civilizations and bending what was left to your will.

A man in bulky, gray armor exited the jet’s cargo bay. Even if Joe hadn’t known his name, the horn extending from the mask hinted at his codename.

Joe could have called him “Rhino,” but opted with, “Hey Larry, is that what I think it is?”

(more…)

I stood over the chair. Silver with a padded seat, and black, leather straps for the arms and head, it looked like a futuristic electric chair out of a 1950′s science fiction novel.

Amid the tools, tables, computers, 3-d printers, fabrication machines, and half finished inventions, it stood out because the guts weren’t visible. It didn’t have wires hanging out, and it didn’t currently have any burn marks.

To the degree that anything that looked like an electric chair could look elegant, it did look elegant.

(more…)

She fired anyway, but the burrito missed, hitting the hill in an explosion of chunky salsa that coated the area around the blast.

A spattering hit the two stuck to the hill above her and they screamed, trying to wipe it off their clothes.

A ladle sized splash hit the one leaping toward her as it was still in the air. His eyes widened and his faced tensed, but Kayla barely noticed.

Beams of white light hit the creature, causing it to tumble in the air. When its hand hit her, she expected to die, but it barely hurt at all. She’d heard stories where the bad wounds, the truly terminal wounds were surprisingly easy to take, but when she looked down at her chest where the hand hit, she didn’t see any blood.

(more…)

The burrito hit it in the middle of the chest, sticking there. The burrito dripped cheese, beans, and a glowing green sauce across the creature’s body.

The alien looked down, staring at the mess, sniffing once.

Then the burrito exploded, spreading the contents in all directions–except strangely enough, toward Kayla. (more…)

She pushed the button.

All the voices disappeared into static along with the displays in the helmet and every light in the armor. As of that moment, she was alone in front of the exit to HQ, and not standing either.

She didn’t know what the suit did to help her stay balanced, but whatever it was, it had to be electrical because moments after the lights faded she fell over backwards.

Taking stock of the situation, she stared upward. Stars peeked through the leaves and branches, visible in the dusk.

(more…)

“Grandpa,” Chris said, “your pacemaker?”

Kayla could imagine Cannon shaking his head as he replied. “Between the distance and my armor, the pacemaker should be fine.”

“No,” Chris said, “this doesn’t sound like a good idea. I can take it in, and get out. I don’t have any missiles left and low on power, so I’m not going to get into fights. I’ll run.”

C talked over everyone. “Good so far, but I think we’re going to need everybody we’ve got left. I’d say send in the ship, both Man-machines, get their attention, and place the device. It doesn’t matter which of you does it. Get everyone in the jet, and then set the device off. The jet will survive that, right?”

Not waiting for anyone else, Cannon said, “It will. I tried hitting it with the anti-electronics effect back in the 70’s. The shields absorbed it. I’m not even sure they knew they were hit.” (more…)

Cannon’s voice was a little distorted as it came through the speakers. “Give me a second. I think I’m passing some rock.”

He paused. “Are you all still there?”

Almost everyone said, “Yes.”

“It shouldn’t be hard now that you’re here,” Cannon said.

Kayla guessed he meant C.
(more…)

“No extra beans,” Kayla said. “Got it.”

She looked down at the gun. It had two grips. The trigger and guard were on the back one. the front grip had a line of buttons on the side. Above them, it said, “Extra,” followed by “Beans,” “Cheese,” “Chunky Salsa,” “Green Sauce,” “Red Sauce,” and “Shell.”

Thinking back to English composition class from last semester, she wondered what Chekov would do if he saw a burrito gun hanging on the wall in Act 1 of a play.

Probably kill himself, she imagined.

(more…)

As he said it, the other set of power armor opened. The man pushed his way out as the pieces separated.

Then, as pieces flew across the carpet, the man came to his feet. Almost immediately, the hands and feet changed to claws, and his teeth grew into fangs.

He turned toward the other alien, and his jaw dropped a little. He gave a choked laugh. His blue jumpsuit was tighter around the chest, and loose around the waist and hips.

The male alien said something to the larger female. She replied with one word in an unknown language and a snarl.

Kayla would have bet anything that the mercenary had just cursed.

(more…)