Unfortunately, it was also an idea that I had to use quickly instead of thinking through the implications.
The last time I’d pointed the guitar’s explosive end at a guy in powered armor, it had nearly killed him. Only Alex’s ability to heal had kept the man from bleeding out.
Alex wasn’t anywhere around here. I definitely wasn’t going to have time to fly to California to pick him up.
I spun around as Rook came within range. We were four hundred feet above the ground by then.
Cars and buildings created lines of light on the ground, the nearest streets clogged with vehicles.
I aimed the guitar’s body at Rook, clicked the spot on my glove that fired off the guitar’s explosive filled end.
If the neck hadn’t been broken, I would have activated it by smacking it against the ground, pulling it back up, and pointing at the target. I’d allowed for a back up activation route through the glove/helmet. It worked, but wasn’t nearly as cool.
The end separated from the main body in a blast of fire. I could feel the heat on my hands as the body fell apart.
The (now wedge-shaped) missile streaked across the distance, surrounded by fire, and exploding right in front of Rook—if things worked correctly. I’d tried to give Rook extra space.
The idea was to damage the armor, not kill him.
Rook saw it before it exploded, and tried to dodge. That was par for the course.
Flaming guitars aren’t subtle weapons.
He didn’t dodge quickly enough though. A blast of flame that my helmet mostly blocked out covered the upper half of Rook’s body. He’d managed to get one wing partly in the way, but that wasn’t enough.
When my helmet readjusted to the darkness, chunks of the metal (I assumed) wing were missing. Plus the blast had knocked him backward, and he struggled to stay in the air.
OK, that was an extremely charitable way to put. More accurately?
He hit the roof of Grand Lake Marina Supplies building. It was inevitable. We hadn’t done any appreciable property damage yet.
I began to descend. I doubted Rook was down. I wouldn’t be down in either version of the Rocket suit. If you’ve got any sense, you design powered armor to handle a fall—especially if you know you’ll be flying.
On the other hand, I wanted to make sure Courtney was still alive.
Even if Rook wasn’t down, we still might be able to get away. Anyway, going up against Rook in the stealth suit minus the guitar wasn’t the smartest idea.
I pointed myself toward the gas station, swooped down, pulled myself into an upright position, and landed.
Courtney stood next to the concrete pillar with Haley and Travis, both of them in costume. I didn’t see the Wolfmobile, but they had tipped the van upright.
The cars in the intersection were moving a little.
“Is he down?” Travis asked.
“For now,” I said. “I saw him hit the next building over, but I don’t know for sure.”
I pointed my finger toward where he’d fallen.
Travis glanced over there. “Why don’t you know for sure? That’s not something you can leave to chance. I thought I’d help Storm King, but we can’t leave Rook. We’ve got to make sure he’s not going to get up.”
“Night Wolf,” Haley said, sounding irritated.
“He’s out of my league without the full suit,” I said. “Plus, he trashed my guitar. We need to get out of here.”
Courtney stepped away from the pillar. “I’m for going. I’m useless in a fight.”
“Not completely,” I began, but Travis held up his hand, and I stopped.
Haley turned toward the fan store next to the Lakeside Lounge, and I expected to see Rook flying toward us from there somehow–even though it was on the other side of the street.
Courtney looked toward the fan store, and then quickly over toward the Lakeside Lounge. “Do you hear engines?”
My immediate response would have been, “Which engines?” Even if they were moving, cars were backed up as far as I could see.
Vaughn flew out from behind the Lounge, and he wasn’t alone. Three more people in armor like Rook’s followed him.
He turned, flying over the road, and pointing a hand backwards.
Lightning hit the first one, doing no damage that I could see.
Rook’s people replied with automatic weapons fire.