From the Past: Part 4

I spent far too much of my time preventing my cat from taking a nap on my laptop while writing this.

As in on the keyboard. While I’m typing. What’s up with that?

When faced with people whose skin repels bullets or who shoot lasers out of their eyes, cops don’t have a lot of options. From what I understand, standard policy is to stall them until someone with a chance of dealing with them arrives.

Officer Van Kley was doing her best. I could hear her talking again. I wondered whether anyone would arrive before Man-machine got bored.

“I’m going in,” I said.

Haley said, “With me.”

“Right,” I said. “Can you fight?”

From what I remembered, her grandfather, Night Wolf, had the ability to hide, could climb walls and had inhumanly good senses, but an enhanced sense of smell (no matter how good) seemed pretty useless at the moment.

“Yes, I can fight,” she said.

I looked up the wall to find her glaring down at me. Her eyes were slit like a cat’s and glowed slightly.

“Sorry,” I said.

From the parking lot, Man-machine’s voice said, “Time’s up.”

A red beam hit the nearest police car, melting the right side window and starting the front seat on fire. The two policemen crouched behind it ran to the next car.

“We better get in there,” I said and engaged the rockets, shooting across the parking lot toward him at full thrust.

I crossed the parking lot in seconds, readied myself to punch him, and missed. I’d misjudged how close I had to be and passed him about two feet to the left. I didn’t even try to blast him with the sonic weapons on my arms. I was too busy climbing to avoid the former factory on the other side of the parking lot.

That factory used to make bikes. Now it’s a store called “Lavender West.” They sell clothes and hippie paraphernalia. There’s a skate park on the fourth floor.

I’m told (though I’ve never had any reason to check) that they also sell bongs.

If I’d turned a little slower, I could have smashed into the building and found out. As it was I missed the wall by inches, flying directly in front of a third and then a fourth floor window. I could have reached out and shaken the hands of the people crowding to see the fight.

Of course, moving at 286 mph, I would have ripped their hands right off.

Once above the building, I gave myself a little spin, rotating so that I was facing the parking lot, and dove. I had a plan this time.

Grandpa used to tell a lot of stories about fighting Man-machine. Nearly half of them ended with Grandpa finding a way to smash the transparent faceplate. Sometimes he’d punch Man-machine unconscious. Sometimes he’d smash the glass without breaking it, leaving it in one piece but impossible to see through.

I was going to fire the sonic weapons directly into the faceplate. All I had to do was get close enough.

Three-quarters of the way down, I realized that Man-machine had turned to face me. Then I saw flash of red and felt heat on my chest.

Systems reported the damage as medium—suit integrity intact but heavy damage to that spot. I’d better not get hit there again.

The blast distracted me from my intended approach. I leveled off fifteen feet above the ground and some twenty feet away from Man-machine, beginning a tight circle that I hoped would put me on a near collision course with him.

It did.

He barely had chance to turn and had no chance to turn the cannon. I fired a sonic blast directly into the faceplate and then I was past him.

I managed to turn more quickly this time, not even leaving the parking lot. I didn’t know what I was going to do next, but I did want to see what damage I’d done.

Tactically that wasn’t such a great move and I probably would have gotten shot a second time except that Haley chose that moment to enter the fight.

By “enter the fight” I mean that she threw a Prius at him.

At least I assumed it was Haley. I never saw her do it, but cars don’t generally launch themselves into the air.

It knocked him over, but not out. He pushed the car off with one hand and stood up, shouting into the darkness.

Disappointingly, the sonics didn’t appear to have hurt his faceplate at all.

“Why of all the cowardly things…” He began, but couldn’t seem to finish the thought.

Beginning again, he said, “It’ll take more than that—“

I didn’t allow him time to finish. I gave the rockets fuel and flew toward him, arms outstretched. Once over his head, I dipped, pulling my forearms up in front of my helmet and using them to smash into the side of the laser cannon.

It broke off from the mount point on his shoulder with a satisfying crack.

The momentum took us both downward and I scraped across the parking lot, stopping a row of cars away from him.

I pulled myself up. He lay there, unmoving.

The Man-machine of my grandfather’s stories would have been on me by now, trying to crush the life out of me. His armor had always been stronger than Grandpa’s and in straight hand-to-hand combat, that’s what counts.

“Are you okay?” I edged a step closer to him. It could be a trick.

I could hear labored breathing over his speakers before he spoke.

“Damn…” He said. “Damn you.”

9 thoughts on “From the Past: Part 4”

  1. Jim,

    1. Cats have to be the center of attention. If you are typing, you are paying too much attention to the keyboard; therefore, the cat must recline upon the keyboard thereby fulfilling his need to be the center of attention.

    2. This has a subject missing in one of the clauses.

    When faced with people whose skin repels bullets or [who] shoot lasers out of their eyes, cops don’t have a lot of options.

    3. I feel sorry for the old villain. Am I supposed to?

    4. Another great installment.

    ~Cindy

  2. Added the “who.”

    As for feeling sorry for Man-machine… Feel free. I think it’s more interesting to have villains that you can feel more emotions for than “I hate him/her.”

    As for cats, I find it amusing how an animal with a reputation for being standoffish can be as needy as cats sometimes are.

  3. It’s weird that he wanted to fight the new Rocket so bad. Maybe he’s just looking for a little bit of the old days?

  4. Keyboard Cat – hahaha.
    I have a keyboard bird, damn thing could have its own twitter account except its favourite keys appear to be backspace and F11/12. As it gets older (about 2.5 months now) it kits the keys with more ferocity too.

    Slowly catching up, enjoying the story, and particularly liked this chapter.

  5. Thanks. In looking back on this, it’s nice to find that I can read it without wanting to edit it (much).

    Glad you’re reading in any case.

    Out of curiosity, what sort of bird?

  6. By “enter the fight” I mean that she threw a Prius at him.

    This is where I make the spit-take noise. I was not expecting that level of strength from the descendant of somebody who sounds like a Timber Wolf type- Wolverine at best.

    It’s fun to be surprised, though. 😀

  7. Well cool… If nothing else it was at least supposed to be funny. You’ll find a few spots where powers in use turn out not to have described beforehand.

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