Bounding through the doorway and into hall, Larry kept control of the suit, stopping from sliding across the concrete floor. The Frog suit’s claws left scratches, but Larry doubted that anyone would care.
Assuming he survived and got away, the worst the arena’s management could do would be refusing to return his room deposit.
He accelerated and the Frog suit moved, lifting a few feet into the air with every leap. Larry kept it at a steady pace, expecting to face the security team at any time.
They didn’t appear.
He met up with Alexis a few hallways down. Alexis wore his armor—red, white and blue. It could have passed for a odd version of the Rocket suit except that most of the chest was red with a single white star. Blue and white stripes alternated to the right of the red section.
Alexis said, “I expected them to be chasing you by now.”
“Me too. I guess they must be planning an ambush.”
“And how is the Cuban revolution’s newest armor designer?”
“Alive, last I saw him. Kind of angry though.”
Alexis nodded, his blue and white helmet moving. “He gave that impression when our people talked to him.”
“Yeah? Well what do you think? Direct to the plane, or should we try to be tricky?”
“Try the unexpected.”
“Thought you might say that. Let’s try going up.”
Alexis laughed. “That will surprise them. Over there?”
He pointed toward a spot on the ceiling twenty feet away.
As Larry said, “Sure,” Alexis aimed his arms at the spot, and two deep thumping noises came from his armor. Almost at the same time his arms jerked and a section of the ceiling fell into the hall.
In two long strides, Alexis closed the distance, and jumped through the hole. Larry followed, landing just behind him.
They were in the arena, not too far from where Larry had entered for his fight. It looked different though.
Except for the people lining up in the aisles and walking down the stairs, the stands were empty. Red emergency lights flashed near the exits.
A voice over the arena’s sound system was saying, “Please move carefully toward the exits. This is not a drill. There is some kind of disturbance on the lower level of the arena. It’s our hope that it will be resolved quickly so that the games can—“
Another voice in the background said, “Look!”
“What? Oh. Two people seem to have entered the arena through a hole in the floor—”
Larry said, “Across the arena, and then out.”
“A good enough plan. Security is likely downstairs.”
Larry stepped forward. “Let’s go.”
They went, crossing the arena more quickly than they would have if they’d used the halls. They reached the far end of the arena.
Larry jumped off the main floor, and into the stands. Alexis jumped at almost the same time, landing next to him.
Larry noticed the nearest exit, a stairway that led down to the main hall where all the people and food vendors would be. He turned to Alexis. “Can you think of any way out that won’t lead us through the crowd?”
“Yes,” Alexis said. “But only if we break through to the outer wall, and follow that back to our rooms.”
“And in order to do that,” Larry said, “we’d have to push through the crowds here anyway. Plus everyone’s got to be watching that way back.”
“Exactly,” Alexis began, but the sound of a crash interrupted him. It came from the arena. Larry twisted around to look.
Several figures stood in the middle of the arena. They’d just climbed out of a hole, an even larger one than Alexis had made.
The suit’s HUD labeled several of them “Unknown Powered Armor,” but labeled one of them “Armory.” Larry zoomed in on that one. The armor was right. He recognized the armor.
Worse, he recognized the sooty mark on the front of the armor. That was where he’d hit with a mini-missile. That wasn’t good news. He hoped the mark meant that he’d done an enormous amount of hard to see damage. Otherwise it meant the mini-missile had done minimal damage, and the missiles he still had weren’t going to do much.
“Let’s try the stairs,” he said.
They went down the stairs five or six steps at a time, reaching the hall seconds later.
It wasn’t empty. People walked down the hall, all of them seeming to come from deeper inside the arena.
They backed up as they saw the Frog suit and Alexis’ armor. Larry decided he didn’t have time to hesitate, and ran for the door that lead to the suites—the hallway for people, not mechs. It was the same color as the wall, but he knew where it was now.
He smashed it in.
Behind him came the noise of heavy boots hitting the the stairway. He wondered how close Armory was.