Larry exhaled. “I can’t say I’m surprised. Joe told me not to take the Rhino suit.”
Agent Lim looked up to meet Larry’s eyes at the sound of Joe’s name.
“Yeah? Did Joe tell you anything else?”
“Not really. He just explained about the jurisdiction issue, and how you guys wouldn’t mind if I blew the whole place up.”
Lim gave an uncomfortable laugh. “I don’t recommend it,but it might make things easier. Metafight Games was incorporated in the Seychelles. The company’s owners are US citizens, and the island’s only a little outside territorial waters. I don’t have any jurisdiction there, but the island doesn’t have a government so it’s hard to say who would. Legally, I’m not allowed to give you directions, but if you did kidnap the leadership or Armory, I wouldn’t complain—not that I’m directing you in any way.”
Larry snorted. “Working under the standard deal, then?”
Lim said, “You’ve got it. We can’t tell you what to do, but if you happen to let us know what you’ll be doing, we’ll do what we can to benefit.”
Over the the PA system, a man’s voice said, “We’re about to take off. Everyone please take your seats.”
“You’re there?” Lim pointed toward Larry’s seat. “We might as well go over things.”
“Yep,” Larry sat down.
Lim sat next to him. “If you don’t have the Rhino suit, what armor did you take?”
Larry tore his eyes away from the window, and turned toward Lim. “Some old armor of Man-Machine’s. You know how when he’s losing, he ejects and gets away. Most of the time, he’s set the armor to explode but this time it didn’t work.”
Agent Lim nodded, “Was that the first time? Because no one’s ever caught Man-machine, and I’ve seen his armor explode dozens of times on TV… uh… as a kid.”
“Not the first time. Nah, Joe and I always pick up his stuff when we’ve got the chance. Man-machine’s a genius at reverse engineering technology from pictures or seeing it work. He’s not the most original guy, but he usually improves the design somehow. We take apart his stuff to keep up.”
Larry smiled. “My first ever suit was one of his. I found it when I was a kid, fixed it up, and started tooling around Grand Lake until the Rocket showed up—which was a mess because he thought I was Man-machine at first.”
Lim laughed. “What then, did you fight?”
“Almost,” Larry shook his head at the memory. “Except then the real Man-machine showed up and wanted his armor back. We fought him, and after that he started blowing up his suits.”
For a second Lim stared out into space, and then he said, “When I was a kid, I lived and breathed the Rocket. You actually worked with him. Makes me think I was in the wrong place.”
Larry shrugged his shoulders. “Wouldn’t worry about it. For me, it seems like I just started working with the guy, and then he retires. So where are you from?”
“Newark, New Jersey originally. I’m living in D.C. now.”
“No kidding? You’d have been near New York City. Plenty of supers around there. Some of the first.”
The jet’s engines became louder, and the plane began to taxi down the runway. Within minutes, the plane took off, giving Larry a view of the city, and then shortly, the ocean.
Lim said, “I wasn’t as interested in New York’s heroes. Anyway, here’s our cover. You’re entering the contest with armor you fixed up, and I’m a representative of a wealthy businessman from Japan who got you the money. We’re also the people who bought you the jet.”
Larry turned away from the window. “Yeah? That’s pretty good. All the Japanese supers seem to have mechs—even the ones with powers.”
Lim nodded. “I’ve read their files. We’ve had a few visit with their prime minister. Let’s go over a few more details. You’re going to have to remember them without hesitating.”
They went over them for the next half hour. Then the pilot came over the PA saying, “We’ll be landing soon. Please put on your seat belts if they’re not on.
Looking out the window, Larry saw the island. It wasn’t large. Half of it seemed to be taken up by an enormous domed amphitheater, and the buildings that surrounded it—hotels, Larry guessed.
The rest appeared to be covered with greenery (palm trees)—except that a runway ran through the middle of it. The plane began to angle toward the runway.
The pilot’s voice said, “We’ll be landing in less than 5 minutes.”
The plane began to descend.
“Just for the record,” Larry said, “if we’re met by a midget shouting ‘De plane, de plane!’, I’m flying home right now.”