“No extra beans,” Kayla said. “Got it.”
She looked down at the gun. It had two grips. The trigger and guard were on the back one. the front grip had a line of buttons on the side. Above them, it said, “Extra,” followed by “Beans,” “Cheese,” “Chunky Salsa,” “Green Sauce,” “Red Sauce,” and “Shell.”
Thinking back to English composition class from last semester, she wondered what Chekov would do if he saw a burrito gun hanging on the wall in Act 1 of a play.
Probably kill himself, she imagined.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 13
“Where?” Haley asked. She wasn’t whispering.
“Above the forest. Right in the middle. It’s kind of close to the forest entrance to HQ.”
Haley’s eyes dipped toward the instrument panel. “The AI sees it, and it thinks it’s going to move…”
On the screen, the League jet exited the water, covered in panes of darkness, aiming toward the forest. The white beam, painfully bright even on the screen, aimed off to the side of where HQ’s scanner had identified it as an anomaly.
Above the forest, a silvery shape flickered, resolving into the aliens rectangular landing craft with a long burn down the craft’s side, and a blackened hole three quarters from the back. Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 9
Then the man appeared. Wearing a black helmet with a transparent faceplate, the alien commander had thick features, somewhere between handsome and Neanderthal. Kayla wouldn’t have looked twice at him on the street.
Then he opened his mouth. His teeth were like a wolf’s—all points, ready to rip and tear.
She thought about how much it would suck to be his dentist, choking down a giggle while reprimanding herself in her head. What was she, ten?
The newscaster’s voice said, “The alien ship hovering over New York City broadcast this message moments ago.”
In a scratchy voice with an unidentifiable accent, the commander said, “You will give us the alien devices. They are not yours, and will only cause you trouble. Give them to us, and we will tell no one. Keep them from us, and we will burn your cities to the ground.”
His nostrils flared and he sniffed in a movement that reminded Kayla of Travis and Haley.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 8
“One more thing,” Haley said. “The armor Chris made for you back when we fought the Cabal is still here, right?”
Kayla said, “Yes,” hoping her voice didn’t sound like she was thinking what she was actually thinking–that this was getting worse and worse.
Haley glanced toward the hangar where they’d kept it, and said, “If it sounds like they’re coming down here put it on. It might make the difference between living or dying.”
“But I was awful in it. I was useless. I don’t like fighting. I’m fine helping you coordinate, but I don’t train all the time like you do.”
Kayla put her hands in her lap, suddenly aware that they were shaking.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 7
Gerald snorted. “Bet we could get in.”
Kayla felt her jaw drop. “I don’t think that would be—“
“I know. I know!” Gerald shook his head. “Even if they helped it wouldn’t be worth it. I saw what they did to people in the end. We’re all better off dead than that. I was speaking hypothetically. I saw the fight with the robots on the news. Nick’s been working with his grandfather’s mono-molecular blade tech. Chances are he’s got a prototype lying around.”
Marcus smiled, and leaned forward at the table. “He made a jackknife. I came down here once when he showed me. That wasn’t the best part though. The best part was when he forgot it was on and it cut through the table. He grabbed it before it went through the floor.”
Haley shook her head. “At least he didn’t cut his fingers off.”
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 5
Kayla watched as two men in powered armor stepped through the sewer tunnel entrance Sydney and Camille had used.
Both suits were gray with bulky chests, and wide, stubby legs. The chests and legs opened in the front. Chris stepped out first. Dressed in what could best be described as a black flight suit, Chris stood a little over six feet tall.
She knew he’d been shorter than that when she’d last seen him.
He helped his grandfather out of his armor, or tried to. After he had one leg out, Gerald Cannon said, “You can let go, I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 4
“The ship?” Kayla glanced across the room toward the big, metal doors to the hangar.
“Might be,” Haley said, and sighed. “There’s a lot of stuff in the base, and I don’t know what a quarter of it is. The Rocket would know. Oh… Could you ask the jet to check out the ship?”
Kayla said, “Ok,” and began to move her mouse pointer toward the jet’s icon.
She only made it halfway when the jet’s square started blinking, and a message appeared.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 3
Kayla blanked for a moment, wondering why Chris would ever bring his grandfather into it, and why he’d think his grandfather would be able to help. She barely remembered Chris from high school. She’d seen him with Nick, and in the robotics team’s yearbook picture.
She’d only noticed him when he helped Nick make her mobile armor.
She knew the real names of everyone who’d been in the original Heroes League now, and Chris wasn’t related to any of them.
She texted back, “Your grandfather?”
It took at little time before he texted back. “I know he was a supervillain, but he wants to help now.”
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 2
Kayla sat in a chair in front of a computer screen inside one of the most famous secret bases in the world, and tried to stay awake.
It had sounded more fun when Cassie pitched it to her last summer. Cassie had been grinning the whole time. “We need someone back in the base to do research or call for help or whatever. You need money for college. This way you’ll be able to help, but you won’t have to be in danger, and we’ll be able to hang out all the time like we did before.”
“Before” as in before Cassie got her father’s superpowers, turned cape, and revived the Heroes League.
It was also “before” (though Cassie didn’t know it then) as in before the Nine targeted Cassie, forcing her to relocate to Washington D.C.
Continue reading The Battle of Grand Lake: Part 1
I’d noticed clouds forming since the fight started, and as I was about to press Theo on exactly how bad he felt, lightning erupted in front of the building.
Travis had told the glass cannons (mobile artillery, if you wanted to be formal) to help us, and now they were. I’d have taken help earlier, but Daniel was in the group, and he’d probably been responsible for the timing. That meant that this was probably the best possible moment, whatever I might think.
Thanks to my observation bots, I had three different perspectives available. All of them showed essentially the same scene.
As our group dived behind the old factory to get out of the machine race soldiers’ line of fire, the remaining robots split into two groups, some of them heading for the building that we’d started at, and the rest spreading out as they aimed for our building. No matter what direction we turned toward we’d be in some robot’s sights.
At least that’s the way it would have gone. Continue reading Stardock: Part 15