And he didn’t just remind me of Mr. Beacham, this was Mr. Beacham—with 100% more beatnik.
I adjusted the picture, scrolling away from the monkey on the balcony and back toward Mr. Beacham, and his hangers on.
Having recognized him, I knew who the woman with him was—Mr. Beacham’s girlfriend. She’d visited the school once. Was she with him because she thought he was Evil Beatnik, was Evil Beatnik controlling her, or did she somehow like Evil Beatnik? Had they… uh… I put the thought out of my mind, but it opened up a lot of relationship questions.
Could Haley and I survive something like that? I liked to think we would, but you never knew. Worse, the deeper we got into this whole superheroism thing, the better chance we had to find out.
So I put that thought out of my mind too.
Continue reading Under 30: Part 20
Evil Beatnik walked in. I’d never seen him in that body, but I knew it instantly. He wore a black beret, black jeans, and a black turtleneck. Scruffy hair on his chin (and above his upper lip) hinted that he must be growing a goatee.
Oh, and he wore a silver ring on his right hand.
Except for pictures from the late 60’s and the 70’s, he’d always looked like that—even if he did possess different people each time.
I wondered who he was. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. Continue reading Under 30: Part 19
With Dixie Supergirl’s hearing, I hadn’t dared to turn on the roachbot’s rocket. I’d decided to wait until I thought it had a good chance to get away without being heard. That meant hanging on to her utility belt until she got back to their lair.
That makes it sound so much more dramatic, and ominous than it actually was.
Continue reading Under 30: Part 18
Dixie didn’t stay to talk after that. She dived over the ledge, flew down two floors to rescue Destruction Boy, and left through the hole on the third floor.
As her feet left the ledge, I activated the roachbots I’d released earlier. They had a chance to catch her.
Jaclyn appeared out of the stairwell, and leaned over the edge of the walkway, watching them go.
Continue reading Under 30: Part 17
I couldn’t have explained it in so many words then, but saving Sean wouldn’t be simple.
I had a little bit of a head start because I was below him, and most of his metal defenses had been facing Dixie Supergirl. So I wouldn’t have to avoid much if I kept on flying upward, and a little to the left—where his back had been.
The big problem would come when I caught him.
The second he stopped falling, he’d get hit in the head by a chunk of steel reinforced concrete, or a ten foot section of railing.
Continue reading Under 30: Part 16
I barely saw him leave—just a blur of green and white. Jody followed, running away so quickly he might as well have teleported.
Out of the corner of my eye, Jaclyn appeared in the air, arcing upward, and landing at the edge of a third floor cell as I flew in. We both skidded to a stop on the floor, ripping the brown carpet.
Dayton stood on the walkway, past the shattered remains of the wooden door and its frame. He began to turn his head back toward us, probably noticing the noise, but even as he did, his eyes widened, and he began to pull himself over the metal railing.
I couldn’t see if he made it because fire filled my vision except for a string of errors from the suit’s readouts, all of which could be summarized by the phrase, “It’s getting too hot.” Continue reading Under 30: Part 15
I sent everybody a red, and a message. Then I ran back to the lab, and started to put on the Rocket suit.
I’d spent a lot of time fixing and modifying the Rocket suit that summer, but I hadn’t spent much time figuring out how to get it on faster. You know how the armor comes from all directions and attaches itself in the Iron Man movies? I needed that.
The portable briefcase version wouldn’t have hurt either. Continue reading Under 30: Part 14
Sunday night, Marcus and I placed roachbots around the city, and sat back to wait for something exciting to happen.
It didn’t. We went home around two the in morning, having discovered that people really did sneak in after the beach officially closed to drink. They also got discovered by rangers, and then ticketed and fined by the police.
It seemed distinctly less fun than the stories I’d heard.
Continue reading Under 30: Part 13
The sole good point about Sean calling to gloat was that I could at least be sure that he didn’t expect me to call back. Lucas, I felt fairly sure, did.
Clicking on the icon that distorted my voice to match how the Rocket sounded in person, I set the voice mail program to dial. I felt sure Lucas would catch that this was an official call—which was good considering he’d probably inherited his grandfather’s resistance to mental tampering.
Daniel had put in our version of the Block on each Justice Fist member back when we all fought Prime and the Cabal’s private army. He’d told me to assume Lucas didn’t have one.
Continue reading Under 30: Part 12
I wore the full Rocket armor. Pulling the stealth suit out of my closet at home would have been faster, but according to Grandpa and the reports, Dixie Superman had been tough. Flying into a fight with Dixie Supergirl in less than full gear sounded stupid.
And how much did I want to bet that more of her group was in the crowd?
After running to HQ, plus five minutes worth of pulling the armor on, and a twenty second flight to Grand Lake State Park (with Marcus gliding behind me, shifted into the form of a pair of wings), we were too late.
Not completely too late because she wasn’t gone, but it would have been better if we’d all arrived and attacked simultaneously.
Continue reading Under 30: Part 11