Joe decided to put Lee on hold with a click, and took Larry’s call.
“Rocket?” Larry’s voice came over the suit’s internal speakers. “I don’t know what half this stuff does, and I can’t turn off the translator, but this suit’s got amazing weapons. You want me to hit him again?”
The Nexus struggled to pull its legs out of the pile. It wasn’t going easily. He barely seemed to move one piece of concrete when another fell back into the hole he’d created.
Plus, something about the giant’s balance seemed off.
“Follow my lead,” Joe said, and hung up.
Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 9
The Nexus didn’t even seem to notice the noise.
A rainbow of colors swirled around the Rhino costume as it blurred toward them, changing it from gray, lumpy armor with a horn to sleek, bronze armor with a metallic sheen.
It still had a Rhino theme, but it was bigger, and had a long bronze horn with a sharp spike on the end.
The bronze armor stopped, and voice came from it. It sounded almost like Larry’s, but not quite, and it didn’t speak in English.
“Je suis le Bronze Rhino!” Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 8
Pressing the buttons on his palm, Joe made the suit turn upright and hover. As the Nexus flew toward him, barely slowing down and raising his arm, Joe wondered how good an idea this would be.
Bright shifting colors raced toward him, and passed to his right, quickly followed by the Nexus himself.
Joe turned in place in the air. It had seemed difficult the first time he’d tried it, but after more than thirty years in the Rocket suit, he barely thought as he did it.
The Nexus turned toward him, turning upright in the air and pointing the bracer at him.
Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 7
With the press of a button on his gauntlet’s palm, Joe shot into the air. The giant followed him, not directly on his tail, but not in any danger of losing him.
Was the Nexus playing with him?
The creature could have opened up on him, but hadn’t yet. Of course, they hadn’t been in the air for long. They were only about as high as the highway. It seemed strangely empty, all gray concrete that ended abruptly in the air only a few hundred feet away.
In Nexus’ situation, Joe would already have fired. Whatever that bracer did, it seemed to have an area effect. That would take care of whatever problems it might have with moving while aiming.
Joe didn’t expect it to have many. If it was an Abominator AI, it was probably as accurate as it was on the ground.
Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 6
Trying not to let fear affect him, Joe said, “It’s not a trick. I don’t have any more to trick you with than you already see.”
The creature stepped toward him, and Joe decided against stepping back. They were more likely to attack if you showed fear. He’d learned that at least from the Abominators’ attachment to hierarchy.
If you acted like you were above them, they might attempt to throw you down, but they’d at least have to consider the possibility that you outranked them. If you were lucky, they’d submit out of ingrained habit.
The giant covered the forty foot distance in all too few steps. He stopped only ten feet away, forcing Joe to look up.
Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 5
“Rocket,” the man said, “I am here for your execution.”
Joe landed in the lot, facing the giant. As he looked up, he wished he’d brought heavier weaponry. He had a bad feeling he wouldn’t be bringing this guy down with a solid punch, or even the now weaponized sonics.
He took a breath. Maybe he’d get lucky. For now he’d try to talk the giant into surrender, or at least into leaving.
“How about we postpone the execution for a little while? I’ve got a few questions I’d like to ask you, and maybe you’ve got a few questions you’d like to ask me.”
The giant raised his arm, the one with the black bracer, and said, “No, you will die now.”
Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 4
“Heroes League,” he said. He’d left it set to “Rocket voice.” There couldn’t be any doubt who’d answered.
The person on the other end gasped. “Excuse me? Sir? I’m Officer Smythe of the Grand Lake police force, and there’s a man flying through downtown. He’s been asking for the Heroes League, and Captain Schwarz told me to call you.”
Joe frowned. “Is there something wrong with the flying man? Should I be worried?”
Officer Smythe paused. “I… I don’t know, sir, but he’s big. Maybe twelve feet tall, and he doesn’t look happy.”
“Do you have any idea who he is? I know a lot of flying people these days.”
Smythe gave a short laugh. “No. I’ve never seen this guy.”
Joe had the feeling that Smythe was a rookie. Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 3
An SUV came soon after that. All black with tinted windows, it was obviously used for carrying people who didn’t care to be seen. To the Rocket suit’s senses, it was also obviously armored, meaning it was just as obviously used by people who expected to be shot at.
We all got in–Rachel, Travis, Sean, Vaughn, Izzy, Jaclyn and I.
Izzy leaned against the wall in the back. When Travis turned back from the second row, and asked how she was doing, she barely opened her eyes, but said, “Fine. I’m tired, but there’s nothing wrong with me.”
Then her eyes shut, and she fell asleep.
Continue reading Glory: Part 6
That was interesting, and not necessarily good. It wasn’t necessarily bad. It didn’t automatically mean Sean was planning to take out his fear and anxiety about his sister on me.
It didn’t mean he wasn’t either.
Vaughn saw him as Sean got closer. “Hey, he’s coming back–”
And then Sean was there, landing on the sidewalk with exactly the force required to stop, and not a bit more or less. I’d come to envy that. Sure, I’d worked out a landing command that did the same thing, but it wasn’t flexible. I needed to do manual landings a lot, and when I did, it was all too easy to drop a foot, or have to run a few steps before I could fully stop.
Despite the control he’d shown when landing, Sean slumped when he hit the ground.
Continue reading Glory: Part 5
I took the call, and Kayla’s voice came over the comm. “Rocket, Night Cat wanted me to tell you,” she said, and my stomach felt very tight, “that we won. We survived. She’ll call you herself in a little while. We saw you popping in on our channel and thought you might want to know.”
I let out a breath that I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. “Everyone’s okay, then?”
Kayla’s breath caught. “No. It was terrifying. Sydney’s in this clinic Night Cat knows about, and she’s hurt. She’s not the only one, but she got it the worst. They’re talking about moving her to the hospital.”
I thought about Haley. Having her friend get hurt while she was leading the team would be awful. I knew I shouldn’t assume that she’d been leading, but it had sounded like she was in charge.
Then I realized something else. I’d have to tell Sean what had happened to Sydney. I knew now, and this wasn’t the kind of thing you hid. Continue reading Glory: Part 4