Enter the Larry: Part 10

Larry hit Rook with enough force that he felt it inside the armor. It wasn’t concussion-inducing force, or even particularly painful, but solid. He grabbed for a good hold on Rook’s armor, but missed the wings. The Frog suit’s claws scraped all the way down Rook’s sides, and for a second Larry thought he felt the armor give, but then it ripped out of the suit’s grip.

He fell, and hit the ground. It wasn’t a big deal.

The suit could easily take a forty foot drop. It was made for it. The hind legs hit first, absorbing the hit. The front legs followed, doing the same while all the legs adjusted position to balance. Larry hit a button, sending the suit after the glowing red dot that indicated Rook.

The suit twisted and turned quickly enough that Larry couldn’t remember if the suit was designed to prevent the user from turning so quickly he blacked out. If not, he thought, that would be something to add.

Rook hadn’t hit the ground, but he didn’t seem to be in good shape. As Larry turned, he seemed to pull out of a dive, but when he came around, aiming in Larry’s direction, he didn’t seem to be able to fly straight. The display inside Larry’s helmet showed a white line indicating where Rook’s heading would take him. The longer Rook flew in one direction, the more curved the line became.

Not that Larry stayed in one spot to observe. He set the Frog suit to close, and close quickly. As Rook’s line adjusted to point at Larry instead of just to his side, and as the suit’s guns fired, the Frog suit hopped twice.

By the second hop, he was nearly underneath Rook’s suit.

He could have jumped again, but he decided to give the crowd a good finish.

Leaning back, he fired the tongue gun. What appeared to be a giant black ball of spit shot out of the Frog’s mouth, engulfing Rook’s chest, and hardening.

Rook stopped firing as his beak dipped downward, following the line that now led from his body to the mouth of the Frog suit.

Larry didn’t wait. Grabbing the line in his hands as Rook passed over him, braced himself, and made a long, low jump.

The line tightened substantially while he was still in the air, pulling him backwards. He hit the ground, and landed on his back, sending showers of sparks as he was dragged across the concrete.

He didn’t even have time to mutter a curse before Rook slammed into the ground behind him.

Larry pulled himself up, and ran. The suit turned step into a ten foot leap. He reached Rook as Rook pulled himself into a sitting position.

The bird beak had bent a little off center. One of the wings had been twisted in a way that reminded Larry of a clothes hanger more than anything else.

Rook seemed to become more aware then, pulling up one arm, and firing the gun hanging under it.

The bullets hit the Frog suit’s legs. Larry hit Rook’s helmet with one of the Frog’s clawed fists, knocking him on his back.

Bullets sprayed everywhere. Larry ignored them, reaching down toward Rook’s chest armor, aiming for jagged rip where the Frog’s claws had made it through earlier.

“I surrender! Stop! I surrender!”

Larry stopped. He stood up and stepped back. “You got it.”

Over the loudspeakers, the announcer said, “It appears that Rook has surrendered. We’ve received confirmation from the referee. The Frog will continue to the next part of the tournament. Rook will not. Let’s give a big hand to the winner.”

He barely needed to say it. The crowd was already cheering.

Two members of the security team appeared along with a golf cart with a red cross painted on it.

One of the security guards helped Rook to his feet.

“Frog,” Rook said.

“Yeah?”

“You’ll lose next time.”

Larry watched as one of the security guards helped Rook to sit on the cart. “I’ll be waiting for that.”

The crowd continued to cheer even as the golf cart carried Rook away.

He went back to his suite by the same dark corridor he’d taken to the fight. He could have had the arena’s doctors check him over. He could have gone to one of the arena’s bars. Instead when one of the arena’s tuxedoed employees said, “Once the doctors check you over, I can take you around the luxury box suites. There are always people who want to meet the winners.”

Larry had shaken his head even though the guy couldn’t see it. “Nah. I gotta check the armor for problems. Just let me know when my next bout is, okay?”

He spent the next two hours in the suite’s workshop replacing damaged panels, and checking for hairline cracks. Lim was out, so he turned on the television for some noise, listening to the fights as they occurred.

Alexis won his match, fighting in what the announcer called the “July 26 Armor.” Larry wondered if he should ask what the name meant.

When he’d done all he could for the suit, Larry called Cheryl and asked when they could talk.

“I’m free for a little while. Let’s take a walk outside. Meet me near the front of the arena?”

“Sure,” he said.

He barely had the chance to hang up the phone when someone started knocking on the door. He left the workshop, and went into the main suite. Looking through the peephole in the door, he saw a tall, white haired man wearing a blue suit.

Worse, he recognized the man. It was Gerald Cannon—Man-machine himself.

22 thoughts on “Enter the Larry: Part 10”

  1. Hah! So Grandpa Rocket and Larry knew who Man Machine was. Looks like it wasn’t unfair that Cannon knew the Rocket’s identity (I’m referring to earlier in the series when he got caught).

  2. Heh. Nice. The plot thickens.

    FYI – I found the first sentence of the fourth paragraph a tad hard to parse. It’s not grammatically incorrect, but there’re a lot of clauses in there vying for attention.

    Hg

  3. I thought that Cannon had made it pretty clear that they’d both known who the other was for a long time when he spoke to Nick. I really need to go back and re-read those chapters.

  4. Oops… Man Machine can’t be happy his suit is called a frog! But maybe he’s just there to welcome Larry to the dark side. And is that a power suit or a real power suit!

    Incidently, I was fine with 1st sentence of 4th paragraph but the following passage… is probably even grammatically a problem – maybe a comma and no new paragraph?
    —-
    Instead when one of the arena’s tuxedoed employees said, “Once the doctors check you over, I can take you around the luxury box suites. There are always people who want to meet the winners.”

    Larry had shaken his head even though the guy couldn’t see it. “Nah. I gotta check the armor for problems. Just let me know when my next bout is, okay?”
    ——-

  5. “Grabbing the line in his hands as Rook passed over him, braced himself, and made a long, low jump.”
    Conflict between past and present tense verbs. Grabbing is present tense, braced and made are past tense.

    “The suit turned step into a ten foot leap.”

    Should “a” be after the word “turned”? Or perhaps “The suit turned steps into ten foot leaps”?

    I really enjoy reading your work here, Jim. Always loved Superman, Spider Man, the Martian Mahunter, etc. Really like how you take it all and place the heroes and villains into such a realistic setting, rather than being explained purely as “a wizard did it”, or “because the plot doesn’t work unless this is possible”.

  6. King G/Notto/Hg: I’ll look into the typos and phrasing and figure out how to revise that. Thanks.

    King G: Thanks. I try to make things feel realistic. To be honest, when I notice that I have a choice between making a character do what I feel like they ought to do vs. fitting them into a plot I intended, I take the most natural choice for the character and make the story be about the results of the character’s most natural choice.

    Notto: The idea of welcoming Larry to the dark side amuses me–possibly just because I smile at the idea of a jedi named Larry.

    Luke/Eli: Yep. In the Rivalry arc, it’s mentioned that Joe and Cannon knew each other identities and agreed to keep them quiet so long as they left each other’s families alone.

    Rain/Hg: I’ve been waiting to pull Man-machine into this for a while, and I’m simultaneously amused and annoyed that it took 10 posts before he in any way appeared.

  7. I find it interesting that Larry recognized the distinctive work of “Armory” in the mechs, but didn’t connect it to Man-Machine, meaning Cannon has (at least) two different signature styles.

  8. Now we know where Rook got the black slime from. “It’s not slime, shadowman. It’s mucus!”

    If you want to talk funny Jedi names, there was one named Bates. A writer or something kept getting fed up that his editor always renamed his jedi characters with “Master” ahead of their name, so he named one Jedi character Bates. That wound up being one of the times he had a different editor, so that brick joke didn’t fall until many years later.

    July 26th Armor was most likely a reference to the 26th of July Movement in which a ragtag group of 82 revolutionaries landed and started to go to town on the Cuban dictator. Except their party was accidentally split, their guide turned on them, they had no supplies, and they were welcomed by the air force.

    With only 12 men left, they took a stand in the Sierra Maestra mountains to fight the Cuban army. One of their number even took a few shots and continued to give first aid to other men and the leader of the group was declared killed by the dictator.

    But Fidel Castro was not dead and Che Guevara survived his wounds.

    Even with all that’s happened afterwards, you have to admit that’s a pretty cool story. “This summer, coming to a theater near you it’s…The Expendables En Espanol!”

    1. I don’t thing I’ve ever read any “extended universe” Star Wars books. Did Bates eventually become a master in someone else’s book?

      With regards to July 26–yep. That’s it. I read up on Cuban history to find things that a patriotic Cuban might name their armor after. Honestly, I’m not completely satisfied with that name, but I’m going to pretend it’s just a bad translation, and that it sounds better in Spanish.

  9. “Grabbing the line in his hands as Rook passed over him, [he?] braced himself, and made a long, low jump.

    He hit the ground, and landed on his back, sending [out? up?] showers of sparks as he was dragged across the concrete.

    The suit turned [each?] step into a ten foot leap. He reached Rook as Rook [he?] pulled himself into a sitting position.”

  10. Aargh, sorry for the double post! I really can’t wait to see how Man-Machine was back in the day, but I have a feeling something might happen to Cheryl during Larry’s delay…

  11. Damn if I know, Bill.

    Jim, you could rename it the M-26-7. I think that was what they had on the flag for the movement and it works as an armor name too.

    I think Bates might have been in a comic book. I know the Extended Universe had other things like Leia briefly being a Jedi, Luke having kids who were Jedi with a secret Force sensitive assassin trained by Emperor Palpatine, who they have to fight later when it turns out he did transfer his mind to a clone of himself on another planetl. And Luke’s daughter having a relationship with another Jedi about Luke’s age. There’s a LOT of extended universe.

    The Tales From… compilations weren’t bad, though. Mos Eisley Cantina, Jabba’s Palace, and Bounty Hunters were all involved with the events of the movie and expand on the stories of various people you see in the movie but don’t get a lot of interaction with.

  12. Charles: No problem with the double post, and thanks for the corrections.

    Bill: No idea what’s with that. I’ve seen it happen to other people too.

    Psycho Gecko: Not a bad idea. I may rename it.

    I did hear about Emperor Palpatine cloning himself and about Mara Jade (if I got that name right). I’ve no idea how I did though. I didn’t actually read the books. The rest? I had no idea. Something to look at one of these days.

  13. “The suited twisted and turned quickly enough that Larry couldn’t remember if the suit was designed to prevent the user from turning so quickly he blacked out.”

    Should be “The suit”, I believe?

  14. Seemingly not a good post for typos… I believe there’s also an extra “when” in the sentence “Instead when one of the arena’s tuxedoed employees said” because otherwise that becomes an incomplete thought (there’s no follow up after what the employee said).
    I find it AWESOME that you’d planned on having Man-Machine show up. Another example of “just when you think things can’t get more awkward, oh hi”.

  15. Typo:
    The suit turned step into a ten foot leap.
    Should be:
    The suit turned each step into a ten foot leap.

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