Telling Rook whether he was fighting Chris or myself might give him an advantage. I opted to preserve anonymity.
Turning on the helmet’s speaker, I said, “The Nine don’t have any business here. Unless you want to fight, I’d suggest going home. The Heroes’ League is here and if you remember the last times you faced us, you’ll remember they didn’t go well.”
That came out a bit more aggressive than I normally went for—especially when you considered that I was facing Rook, four of his best evil bird impersonators and a host of rocket-fueled crowbots. At the same time, it sounded like something Grandpa might have said. It was nice to think some part of him might be here now—if only because I’d chosen to simulate his voice. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 14
It should have had a backup controller in the mouthguard. They’d taken the rest of Grandpa’s design. Sure, the mouthguard took a little bit to learn to use, didn’t give you the precision of hand controls, made the helmet design more complicated, and theoretically, all you needed to control the suit’s major functions was one hand, but what if you needed both hands for something complicated while flying?
Some things required triple redundancy and controlling what direction you were flying was one of them. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 13
At about the same time, Jared did slow down, the purple glow still surrounding him. As he dropped backward, the undamaged rocket on his back became louder leaving a wider trail of flame and exhaust.
On a gut level, I didn’t think that a rocket of that size should be able to do keep him moving forward even as fast as he was going—which was still faster than the rest of them. The Abominator artifact had to be behind it. If it was made to fight the Cosmic Ghosts, it had to be slightly out of phase with reality and judging from its speed, it was manipulating time to a limited degree as well. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 12
If in the middle of a fight for your life, an unknown presence offers you the power to survive, the pragmatic choice might be to say yes now and deal with the consequences later. The cautious and maybe wisest choice might be to say no and concentrate on surviving because some favors come at too high a price.
As for myself, I pushed the rockets as much as I could to give myself more time and thought back, “Who are you?” Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 11
“Not okay, how?” Haley asked?
“I’ve got fifteen Protection Force people following me. They can’t keep up, but I think one of them might have an Abominator weapon and I think he might catch me.”
Kayla’s voice came over the comm. “Should I have your repair pods cover you?”
I thought about it. “Yes, but don’t start firing yet.”
Haley sighed. “Don’t make her wait too long.” Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 10
If we’d been spinning faster, maybe he’d have hit the guy on my arm and then been clipped by the guy hanging onto my legs from behind.
That’s not what happened, but even as we lurched sideways, the suit continued to spin. The guy hanging onto my right arm didn’t let go, but I heard him shouting at the guy who’d tried to punch me and ended up punching him. I could hear muffled noise through his helmet even though I couldn’t make out the words.
The puncher, meanwhile, had bounced off us and was trying to stabilize himself upright in the air and trying not to send himself flying in some random direction. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 9
Assuming the Nine at least influenced Protection Force, Rook might have been involved in preparing them. He’d have gone over available footage and police reports of fights I’d been in and possibly even information from Stapledon about my abilities. Even assuming that Stapledon was perfectly secure, I knew that our exhibition fights had made it online.
That and every battle we’d ever had in public. Cell phones and surveillance cameras made keeping secrets harder. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 8
Two bullets hit me before I began my first mid-air Rocket suit integration. The first glanced off my arm, not doing much. The second would have gone through my heart if my armor hadn’t been in the way. Three years ago, it would have killed me. In the meantime, I’d replaced the original material with a substance that had origins in alien tech and repaired itself.
Judging from the strength of the hit and the damage the HUD reported, I decided that the bullet had to be armor-piercing.
It didn’t go through my armor, pushing me backward, ricocheting downward toward the forest. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 7
“Whoa,” I held my hands up in the air, raising them slowly, palms forward. “There’s something that you’ll want to know before firing on us. You’re currently being watched by more than 100,000 people on multiple different streaming services—”
Kayla interrupted me. “One million people.”
A quick look at the bottom of my HUD confirmed she was right. I continued, watching them as I talked. “—actually one million people. Anyway, you don’t want to attack us in front of that many people, do you? I’m pretty sure security guards aren’t allowed to use deadly force unless we’re attacking you or someone else.” Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 6
On the bottom of my HUD, a bar running across the bottom showed the number of people viewing climbing—thousands already. Then the number jumped by a factor of ten. It had been shared by a super known as Kid Biohack. I wondered if it was him or a staffer, but I didn’t have time to find out.
My floating pods signaled that they were near. That would be nice. People knew the stealth suit by now, but not as well as they knew the Rocket suit. If I could talk to Protection Force in a version of the Rocket suit that called up memories of the legacy of the Heroes’ League, that would help. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 5