“Lumbering” wasn’t quite the word to use though.
It looked slow and clumsy, but it moved. Within seconds it had gotten past the piles of concrete on the street and caught up to us. It swiped at a line of Jennys with its arm, knocking some of them over, hitting others hard enough that Jenny discorporated them, probably just to stop the pain.
A few more Jennys appeared to replace the ones that were gone, but not as many as there had been. I noticed that none of the new ones had copies of my guitar and all of them seemed tired.
Alex turned to try to attack it, but the thing swung a huge metal fist at him and he flew across the street. He hit the front of a dry cleaner’s shop and lay still.
Pointing the sonics at it, I aimed for the head, hoping that the mech’s faceplate would shatter.
The mech stepped toward me.
I gave the rocketpack some fuel and shot upward.
It raised an arm at me, and, I noticed that just like the people in power armor, it also had a gun under its arm.
It didn’t get to fire it though.
All the Jennys nearby showered the mech in flame — which struck me as a great idea. If enough of them did it for long enough, it would probably overheat and maybe burn out.
I could hope.
Like many hopes, this one died quickly.
The Jennys all disappeared but three, and all three of them looked dead tired.
I turned on the speakers and shouted, “Follow Portal. I’ll take care of this.”
I just had to figure out how.
On the bright side — the single, solitary bright side — Brooke and Carlos had actually made it to the corner.
I had an idea.
I pulled out a grappling device and pointed it at the mech’s leg. The blunt head of the device shot forward, pulling a line behind it.
I dove toward the mech, circling it once, twice.
Once I pulled the line tight and tripped the thing, all those years of watching “The Empire Strikes Back” were going to pay off.
Except… I tried to pull the line tight by flying after Brooke and Carlos toward the corner. In theory, if I managed to get the mech on its back, it would have a hard time getting up due to its less than human range of motion.
It wasn’t bad theory, and may even have been true, but I never got to find out.
The ropes tightened, but I didn’t yank its feet out from under it. Apparently it was too heavy for that. It reached down with its metal hand and snapped the line.
I shot past Brooke, Carlos and several houses before angling upwards and then flipping myself over so that I could fly back towards it.
Dodging the telephone and electrical lines for a second time, I weaved randomly in all directions, hopefully making it hard for him to target me. As I closed with it, I fired off sonics on each arm. It hadn’t done much good last time, but this time I wasn’t trying to shatter the faceplate. I set the sonics on one arm to try to make the mech ring like a bell. I set the other to try frequencies that generally trashed electronics.
Something had to work.
I saw a flash of light silhouette the person inside the mech’s head. The reflective surface of the faceplate didn’t allow me to see details, but it was nice to know I’d done some damage.
Whatever I’d hurt didn’t stop it from jumping sideways as I began to turn away from it.
It punched me in the chest.
The stealth suit tightened, becoming as hard as metal for an instant, stopping the hit from turning my insides to jelly.
It made it completely impossible to stay on course though. I flew sideways over the strip mall and over the next street before I got control. Once I did, I flipped over and flew back towards the mech as it began to follow Brooke and Carlos across the street.
All three Jennys ran after it, but not very quickly. They ran fifty feet behind it and they weren’t gaining.
Alex ran after the mech too — maybe ten feet behind it, but he wasn’t gaining either. He’d healed himself from whatever injuries he’d taken, so damage wasn’t the problem. He had to have a reason.
He pulled something out of a pouch on his belt and threw it like a baseball. It wobbled and stretched as it flew, hitting the mech on the top of the right shoulder, popping, and coating the upper part of the mech’s arm and torso.
I’d seen the Defenders use goo grenades on TV. The dark liquid inside hardened when exposed to air. Most villains couldn’t break it and the ones that could thought twice because it bonded to skin.
It wasn’t a bad idea, but it still didn’t take the mech down.
The liquid hardened instantly. The mech tried to reach out toward Carlos, but couldn’t. It stopped running and attempted to straighten the arm. I could hear the whine of the motors as it worked. Then the solid layer of goo shattered around the shoulder joint.
If any of it had gotten inside, it would cause problems later, but if I did what I’d decided to do, there wouldn’t be a later.
Still, Alex had accomplished one thing. It had been closing on Brooke and Carlos when he’d thrown the goo grenade. Now they’d got a head start. I could just see them running as I landed behind the mech and whipped the guitar off my back.
Turning up the loudspeakers to maximum possible volume, I shouted, “Hey!”
The sonics were the only part of the stealth suit that matched the regular Rocket suit’s specs.
To the right of me on the side of the road, the back window of an old Cadillac cracked and shattered.
The mech turned toward me, raising its arm to strike.
I leaped upwards, aiming the guitar’s bottom end at the mech’s chest.
I pressed the buttons that started the self-destruct sequence and saw the bottom of the guitar explode, firing the shaped charge.
I’d fired it too close for the charge to explode a distance away from the target like it normally would.
That was intentional.
The charge flew forward, hitting the mech, and exploding in that instant. At least that’s what I assumed happened.
It shot out of the bottom of the guitar quickly and the explosion was too bright for me to catch details.