Enter the Larry: Part 22

The seat must have been designed assuming that the Frog suit would have a load of missiles on board when it blew up because it shot him far into the air. He found himself far on the other side of the hangar as the Frog suit exploded.

Because it was behind him, he didn’t see the explosion directly. The afternoon became brighter, giving a reddish-white tinge to the hotels, sidewalks, and palm trees. Black smoke followed—along with flying debris.

Larry felt something small hit the back of the ejection seat, but managed to keep control of the seat’s flight. He redirected the seat lower, and flew down toward the hangar, landing in front of it.

He gave a passing glance to the earth elemental’s body as he got out of the chair. It covered the runway in a pile of smoking rubble—dirt, rocks, and gravel. Its head and limbs were still intact even though its body had lost its shape. That bothered Larry, and he stopped to make sure that it wasn’t moving. After a moment, he was satisfied, and he stepped toward the hangar.

He couldn’t see much inside. It was dark, and the black smoke made it appear even darker.

His ability to see in the dark lost with the Frog suit, Larry called inside. “Are you guys okay in there?”

“Never better,” Lim shouted. Cheryl laughed.

“I think it’s down. Let’s get out of here before Armory comes back.”

“Are you sure about that?” Cheryl asked. “I thought I saw it twitch.”

Larry glanced back toward the body. It wasn’t moving.

“Pretty sure,” he said.

Cheryl stood up. Larry could make out her shape in the dark. She’d been sheltering behind the pressure washer—understandably. Rocks littered the hangar’s floor.

The sound of jets came from above, and then Alexis landed, his armor showing scrapes and dents from the fight.

Alexis opened up the helmet. “Good job, my friend. I didn’t have the right sort of weapons along to finish it off. I’d prepared for the arena, but not war.”

Larry shrugged. “I got lucky. I knew I wasn’t really here for the games.”

Alexis opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by a clattering that reminded Larry of the sound made by pouring a bag of rocks onto the ground.

Both of them turned toward the noise.

The elemental’s head was changing, reshaping the gravel into a humanoid shape. From behind, Larry heard Lim’s voice say, “Down!”

Larry dove as a stream of pressurized water hit the elemental, scattering gravel. At the same time Lim’s gun made a strange, highly-pitched shriek while Alexis’ airguns made thumping noises.

Larry had protected his eyes with his arms, so he didn’t see what happened, but the head shattered. Bits of rock and gravel flew everywhere.

When he pulled his arm away, the head was nothing more than rubble, but the creature’s tentacles still had a defined shape. “Tell you what guys, you want to take this to the beach?”

* * *

The Heroes League’s jet appeared about the same time they stepped foot on the sand. It slowed, coming to a stop in the air, and then descended toward the beach.

Alexis nodded toward Larry, “And now I can go. I’ll contact you about the other matter when I’m ready. Give my regards to the Rocket.”

“Good luck,” Larry said.

Alexis waved as his suit propelled him into the air, and flew across the water, carrying one of the security guards’ suits.

Lim sighed. “So now I’ve got to report that Cuba’s got Armory’s tech. No one at the Bureau’s going to like that.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much,” Larry said. “Armory probably didn’t put his best stuff into suits for security guards. I figure Alexis got just enough to keep his bosses out of his hair. Betcha Alexis could have duplicated that suit in a couple months without reverse engineering. He’s a damn good engineer.”

Lim gave him a sidelong glance. “Are you willing to say that on the record? Because if you were, that would mean I’m not responsible for letting a hostile power get away with tech that furthers their powered armor research.”

“Sure,” Larry said, “no big deal.”

Streamlined and silver, the jet lowered to the ground in front of them. A door opened in its side, and they climbed in.

Joe sat at the controls in full Rocket armor—one of the classic suits—golden with an “R” on the chest. His wife Romy, in her white Ghostwoman costume, sat next to him, manning the weapons console.

“Quickly, please,” she said. “The Dixieland Defenders unit is evacuating the island, and we’d like to be gone before they show up.”

“Evacuating?” Larry asked while adjusting his chair and pulling his seatbelt on.

“Geoforce sensed that something’s setting up an earthquake.” The Rocket said it absently while pressing the buttons that shut the hatch, and raised the jet’s altitude.

“Damn,” Larry muttered. “The earth elemental isn’t dead yet? I thought we got that thing three different times.”

The Rocket laughed. In a warmer tone, he said, “Well, that’s magic for you.”

Lim paused, seatbelt in hand, and stared at the Rocket, and then got back to his seatbelt.

Larry knew the stare. He’d felt like that himself the first time he’d met the Rocket, and probably a few more times even years later.

Cheryl finished buckling her seatbelt. “Excuse me, sir, but why don’t you want to wait for the Dixieland Defenders?”

The League jet whipped around, and gathered speed, gaining more altitude, and heading for the mainland.

“Oh,” the Rocket said, “after a few years you know how these things are going to go. The island’s full of criminals, so there’ll be a fight. Geoforce will have to use her powers to keep the island from sinking before the civilians get off, but in the end, it’ll work out. So if we get away now, we can skip all of it.

“I’m retired,” he said, reaching out and giving his wife’s hand a squeeze. “The young folks can handle this one.”

14 thoughts on “Enter the Larry: Part 22”

  1. The great island sinking of (whenever this is supposed to be). I heard about that one. Somehow, a cow on the island was struck by just the right combination of energies to be transformed and gain sentience. It road to safety on the huge waves caused by the sinking of the artificial island, taking the name “Cow-abunga” as its superhero name as it fought for udder and complete justice.

    And despite the South not generally being a location for superhero antics, we see there are Dixieland Defenders who probably had to stay on guard in Florida a lot, with Cuba and the struggle over Central and South America in the Cold War.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if they had to coordinate with the CIA and the United Fruit Company from time to time.

    That, or they probably weren’t thought much of. The South doesn’t have as high of population centers as other well-known superhero settings.

  2. good story. i like this small one offs to get to know some of the side guys. but i need to go back and read the last part to see where Nick is now.

  3. “Evacuating?” Larry asked while pulling adjusting his chair and pulling his seatbelt on.

    Shouldn’t this be adjusting his chair?

  4. Very nice ending to this story, Jim. I love the small, human aspects.

    One tiny stylistic note:

    “Streamlined, and silver, the jet lowered to the ground in front of them.”

    I would drop the comma after ‘streamlined’. Your usage is not incorrect, but I find that it interrupts the flow of the phrase, especially with the alliteration.

    Hg

  5. I really liked Alexis. It would be nice to hear of him and know if he survived the raid for the smuggled Abominator tech and, you know, the fall of the communist bloc and all that other crap in the late eighties onwards.

  6. Started reading the great island sinking comment, and was thinking, this sounds like something psycho gecko would be writing over at… wait. it IS PG. (gecko, im stalking you!)

    Just caught up after a two week archive binge! woo.

    Hey Jim, with the laser guitar, am I the only one thinking Aqua Bats Super Show?

    1. Alex: Good to see you caught up. PG has been reading Legion of Nothing for a while–though I’m not sure how he found out about it.

      As for the laser guitar… Well, I certainly wasn’t intentional. Due to lack of cable, I’ve never seen the Aqua Bats Super Show, but other people may well have been thinking about it a lot.

  7. Jeff/Hg: Thanks for the corrections. I’ve changed things.

    Amaral: It’s not impossible that Alexis might show up again.

    Actually, one thing that may or may not happen is a (novel sized) storyline in which we end up switching between the old League and the new on a chapter by chapter basis. The story of what happens on the trip to recover the Abominator tech is a good candidate for one of the original League chapters. That material may be covered in another way though, so no promises.

    Hg: Thanks for the compliment regarding the character interaction. I want to do more of that than I actually often include in stories.

    Rain: Basically, the key thing to know about where Nick is right now, is that it’s the second semester, post the raid on Rook’s base, post Rachel’s trip to Infinity City, and definitely after Jeremy (Nick’s roommate) and Courtney’s blocks getting put in.

    Roger: Practicality is probably a lifesaver in the Rocket’s profession…

    PG: I’m thinking that the Dixieland Defenders probably get a mixture of hard jobs and lack of respect. They’d definitely be the first line of defense against anything coming from Cuba during the Cold War, and probably still to some degree now. Plus, even though Texas has its own Defenders subteam, they probably officially cover that area (which does not cause any tension at all).

    I’m sure they’re probably involved in border issues too (not an easy job), but that probably still doesn’t stop comedians from making them the go to group for any joke about supers that needs a redneck.

    Oh… And does it need to be said that they probably dislike Alexis (a Cuban superhero who they’ve probably fought) immensely?

  8. I have been here a few years, a good bit before I was at Worm. This is where I got my start at writing my own things as people here were the first to want me to write.

    I believe I found it from TVtropes. I was searching for superhero stuff to read about. Then one day I was looking for something else to read too, and figured I would check out some stories Jim links to. One of them was Worm.

    Blame Jim for me finding it. You heard me. BLAME!!

  9. Jim, it’s on netflix as well. My boys love it, and my wife is a huge aquabats fan, so we watched it all. Imagine if the people behind the adam west batman series, and the monkees tv show got together to make a superhero show….

    One of the characters has a “laser powered guitar” but it looks more like a proton pack in operation. Their pilot from ’99 had several people using them, but for regular use, you have them beat timewise (i actually had to look up the pilot, because i was wondering if a member of the band was a reader of yours and stole the idea, heh. )

  10. I know there was Macross 7 in which guitars were used to control the giant robots. They fought aliens that drained the life from people with the power of J-Rock.

    Hey, I just said I know it exists. I’ve never actually seen the thing.

  11. Never seen it? And yet as I riffled through your closet I found all 36 episodes on vhs tapes, neatly labeled and sorted with a 1 to 10 rating system marked for each episode? Oh yeah, and you really should store the magazines in a climate controlled space. Some of the older ones are worth some money.

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