As he said it, the other set of power armor opened. The man pushed his way out as the pieces separated.
Then, as pieces flew across the carpet, the man came to his feet. Almost immediately, the hands and feet changed to claws, and his teeth grew into fangs.
He turned toward the other alien, and his jaw dropped a little. He gave a choked laugh. His blue jumpsuit was tighter around the chest, and loose around the waist and hips.
The male alien said something to the larger female. She replied with one word in an unknown language and a snarl.
Kayla would have bet anything that the mercenary had just cursed.
C laughed, and muttered, “I’ve heard that word before.”
At that, both aliens turned toward them, closing the distance in jumps that Kayla guessed would end with her throat getting ripped out.
She aimed the rifle, and pulled the trigger. A voice said, “ERROR: No Reversals,” and the trigger clicked.
It didn’t matter. C smacked the female alien into the wall with his cane just as her feet left the ground. Then he turned, blurring as he hit the male alien, using his cane to drive the alien into the carpet.
The carpet didn’t do much to cushion the blow—the alien didn’t move after that.
Kayla found herself breathing heavily, barely able to say anything when C said, “Kayla, why don’t you step around the corner, and open the second bin to the left?”
Still out of breath, she managed to reply, “Sure.”
Then she went and got the manacles. It didn’t take long. They were in bin to the left of the hangar door just like he’d said. They were heavier than they looked, however. She carried two sets back anyway.
As she attached the manacles to the male alien’s legs, she asked, “Where did you get these?”
C turned his head toward her. Somehow, his hat had stayed on. “Joe, the first Rocket, designed them. We needed adjustable manacles that could hold something strong whether it was human or gorilla.”
Kayla put the final manacle in place. “Gorilla?”
C sighed. “That’s right. I said gorilla. At times in the 1950’s, it seemed like you could barely get out the door in the morning without running into an evil, intelligent gorilla.”
Kayla’s eyes widened as she stood up and walked over to the female who was on the ground near C.
She shook her head, and pulled out the first manacle. “The 50’s and 60’s were really weird.”
C nodded. “I agree with you. You had supervillains pulling crazy robberies all over every time you turned around and then you had the Civil Rights movement and issues that mattered on the other. It was all we could do to pay attention to the nuts with the strange plans for world domination while also fighting the terrifying people like Dixie Superman who were willing to let the South burn if it meant they didn’t have to treat us as equals.”
He shook his head. “That was a long time ago, and we don’t have time for it now. I’m going to go check on the Abominator storage rooms a second. While I’m doing it, you might want to grab a different weapon. Not an Abominator weapon, but a different weapon.
“I’ve got nothing against women, and the little while that I was a woman after I got hit by the gun wasn’t all bad. Unfortunately, it was months before any of us turned fully male again, and for part of the time we were changing back, we were both. That was awkward in ways that I’m not even going to try to explain. So please, get another gun.”
Kayla imagined that she might have shot him if she’d been a little less careful when she’d been firing. Then she imagined explaining how it happened to Marcus and Jaclyn, and worse, their grandmother.
Her face was burning.
C smiled. “Relax, you didn’t hit me, and it wouldn’t have been the end of the world of you did. Don’t worry about it, but do get another gun.”
She finished up with the prisoners, and ran to the lab. Nick kept the weapons he’d checked over in the lab. She hoped she wouldn’t confuse the weapons he’d fixed with the ones that needed fixing.
When she walked through the door, she realized it was a lost cause. She’d brought out all the working particle accelerator rifles, and they’d taken them along. She only saw one weapon that wasn’t in the “Need to Be Fixed” pile.
It was shaped like a burrito.
She stared at it. Then she picked it up, and checked its battery levels. It was fully charged.
She didn’t have a choice. She walked quickly out to the computer table. She’d at least be able to do some good there.
C was waiting for her. She assumed that he’d checked what he needed to.
Then he noticed the gun, and laughed. “That was all you could find?”
She frowned. “It’s the only thing that I know works.”
He nodded. “Well, for indoor use then, I recommend the ‘extra cheesy’ setting, but stay away from ‘extra beans.’”