Rematch: Part 21

Daniel nodded, “That’s what I was thinking too. It has to be them. The only question is whether someone hired them to do it or whether they’re doing it on their own. If no one’s hiring them, that’s worse.”

Yoselin turned around, “And why do you think that?”

I knew why, but he answered first, “Because if they did it themselves, they’ll care what happened, and I’m not sure we’re ready to go up against the Dominators. If the Nine hired them, the Nine might care, but they’ll have to hire the Dominators for them to care. We’ve gone up against the Nine successfully a couple of times now. We might be able to do it again.” Continue reading Rematch: Part 21

Rematch: Part 20

Free for some value of free—which in this case meant not fighting someone that could potentially kill me with a punch or, more likely, kill Kid Biohack.

I took a moment to orient myself. There’s no point in getting out only to fly into the path of a Mack truck. I’d come out on the side of the arena where I thought I would, a side with no obvious doors or windows except, of course, for the hole my bots blew in what would have otherwise passed for a wall. Continue reading Rematch: Part 20

Rematch: Part 19

The first time I’d ever fought him, I aimed the sonics directly at his ear, keeping them at a level designed to cause pain, but not trying to hurt him. I’d been trying to distract him from a couple of guys in a mini-van who were shooting video and got too close.

It had distracted him but hadn’t hurt him much.

This time I was going for more than a distraction. Kid Biohack wasn’t fighting rationally. He might die if he came back into the fight. If it was better to maim than to kill, I felt sure I could justify destroying the Grey Giant’s hearing and sense of balance if it kept Kid Biohack alive. Besides, if the Grey Giant’s weird, transforming grey goo body was anything like Marcus’, weird, transforming grey goo body, he’d fix himself turning back.

If destroying his sense of balance didn’t work, well, I still had killbots. Continue reading Rematch: Part 19

Rematch: Part 18

In a low voice, I asked, “You know this guy?”

Not even looking at me, he said, “You remember Shield? He was my cousin.”

Despite the name,  Shield didn’t carry a shield. The idea was that he was everyone’s shield. He’d died in a fight with the Grey Giant when I was starting high school. Kid Biohack would have been starting college. I didn’t know how old Shield had been, but I had the feeling that he’d been just starting his career.

I opened my mouth to say I was sorry and maybe find a way to tactfully remind him that we were here to delay the Grey Giant, not kill him. I didn’t get the chance. Kid Biohack ran straight toward the Grey Giant, hitting his leg and knocking it out from under him. Continue reading Rematch: Part 18

Rematch: Part 17

My evasive maneuvers put me over lines of machines and mech parts and materials—steel for frames, plates of armor, boxes full of bolts. It reminded me of the secret factory that Chris inherited, and it didn’t surprise me at all. When he and Larry looked over my pseudo-frog suit, he’d told me everything.

After Armory stopped being a superhero, he’d gone to Man-machine for advice on how to make powered armor as a business and they’d stayed friends after that. Well, at least until Armory stiffed him on an object I called The Ball that he made for a group of supervillains called The Maniacs. Continue reading Rematch: Part 17

Rematch: Part 16

I asked the first question that came to mind, “Aren’t you supposed to be in a prison somewhere? You got caught by the Defenders six years ago and with as many deaths as you have on your record, I have a hard time believing they’d ever let you out again.”

The Grey Giant frowned down at me, reminding me of just how much bigger he was, “Not my fault! I didn’t try to kill any of them. They didn’t have to get close to me. Heroes that fragile should know better.” Continue reading Rematch: Part 16

Rematch: Part 15

Glass and plastic broke on the machines at the nearest work areas. Some of the people who had been running stopped to turn around to look at the suit, recognizing the sound of a recorded bullfrog. Taking advantage of the moment, I activated the music playlist I’d put together last night.

I started with Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World,” also known by its first line, “Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog.” At this, more people stopped to stare at me, throwing their hands over their ears before they began to run again. Continue reading Rematch: Part 15

Rematch: Part 14

Once I grabbed my luggage, we took the elevator downstairs and checked out of the hotel, talking and joking around like we’d known each other all of our lives. In the case of Cassie and Daniel, that was true, but over the last couple of days, we’d gotten to know Yoselin (or at least her persona) well enough to fake it.

She did add a certain energy to the group, laughing loudly, accompanying most of what she said with wide gestures. Plus, Cassie, who despite what she told everyone, spoke fluent Spanish or close enough that she could keep up with Yoselin, something that had to help with our cover. Continue reading Rematch: Part 14

Rematch: Part 13

All the same, it’s easy to say you went to bed, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll sleep once you get there. It gets harder to sleep when you know you’ve got something big planned the next day. That’s especially true if you know you could get hurt, that your friends could get hurt, and if one of your friends is a telepath with who you’ve had a low-level telepathic connection since childhood—at least when you’re in range—you might sense his anxiety too.

I don’t think either of us noticed it at first, but twenty minutes after pulling the sheets up, I found myself staring at the ceiling, which thanks to the mirrors on the ceiling, gave me a dark reflection of myself staring up at myself. Lit only by the stars and moon outside my windows, I could see only a little more than shadows, but it was enough for me to recognize my face. Continue reading Rematch: Part 13

Rematch: Part 12

“Well, I got charger for the brick, but for the tablet,” and there I paused, knowing that if I said what I saw we were going to have to trust her with even more, “I got ‘god killer.’ I don’t know what sense if any, that makes to you.”

Over my implant, Cassie said, I hope she’s worth the risk. Because if she isn’t trustworthy, that thing might be going to Cuba.

Shaking her head and then looking me in the eyes, Yoselin said, “No. Except now my implant is warning me that if I repeat what you said, I’m risking reprogramming by the Dominators.”

Laughing, she said, “It threatens me a lot. It’s like carrying the worst parts of home along.” Continue reading Rematch: Part 12

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