I grabbed the handle, and the door opened even as something in the back of my head suggested that he’d have expected us to run out the back.
Unwilling to randomly spray whatever was out there with the guitar’s laser, I aimed a wide angle sonic blast out the door with the speakers on both arms. Set at a frequency that generally set electronics to vibrate, the sonics had the potential to be devastating—provided we were facing rook-shaped robots.
If there were people out there, the best I could hope for was nuking their iPhone.
I stepped out the door with both speakers still blasting away, Courtney following me out.
The good news? The sonics were working great. They were the only things on the stealth suit that matched their counterparts on the regular Rocket suit, so they ought to.
The better news? There had been rook robots waiting for us out the back. Seven of them lay on the sidewalk, smoking, and randomly shooting out sparks.
The bad news? Cars include a lot of electronics these days, and an awful lot of them were stopped to wait for lights to change.
A newer Honda had been waiting for the light, almost directly in the path of the sonics.
The car’s lights were off, and from the darkness inside the car, I guessed the dashboard lights weren’t on either.
The driver held an iPhone in his left hand, and brought up his right hand to click on it.
No light came from the phone either.
Courtney didn’t seem to notice it at all as she said, “What do we do?”
She’d pulled the costume’s mask out of the collar. All black, the mask made me think more of bank robbers than a superhero, but at least she’d thought to put it on.
“I—” I began, and I’d been about to say, “I don’t know?” Unfortunately, I didn’t have time.
Rook tore through the van, ripping the upper door (or under normal circumstances, the right door) off its hinges, and threw it to the side.
The door smashed into a gas pump, which despite what movies would have led me to expect, did not instantly explode.
“Nice one with the robots,” he said. “I’ve never seen sonics used like that before.”
Okay, so I guess I’d never done that on camera. Great. I’d shown a little known aspect of sonics to someone who’d plan for it in the future.
I turned around, facing him, and slid my gloved fingers down the neck of the guitar, never touching any button for more than an a moment. Unlike your average Guitar Hero controller, which had five buttons, my guitar had twenty-four.
Light and sound at wildly inconsistent frequencies burst from the guitar’s speakers and the many lights I’d built into it.
I’d always intended to use it this way, designing it in with the assumption that my opponent wouldn’t have time to adjust to the one attack before I’d switched to the next.
Like a lot of ideas, using it in reality wasn’t an unqualified success.
Sure, it seemed to work at first. Constantly changing colors and sounds washed over Rook, and he swore, stumbling, presumably because he couldn’t see or hear much of anything.
Except then he unfurled his wings and shot into the air. Unfortunately, overwhelming a person with light and noise only worked if you could keep the noise and light aimed at them.
I had no more chance of keeping the guitar’s weapons aimed at his eyes than I did matching Haley’s reflexes.
Worse, I could have used Haley’s reflexes.
Rook aimed himself at me, all claws outstretched, roaring toward me before I could get out of the way.
Not that I didn’t try. I bent forward, just about ready to jump to the left.
His right claw hit my right shoulder, digging through the outer layer before it could harden enough prevent it—or possibly despite that it had hardened as much as it could.
The claw dug into the jacket’s gel layer, stopped by the jacket’s bottom layer hardening along with the stealth suit shirt under that.
I could feel the pressure, not pain, but I felt sure he’d be able to go all the way through with a little more work.
The guitar’s head, the spot where its main laser exited, bumped against the top of one of Rook’s legs.
I didn’t have time to consider the consequences. I pushed the button that turned it on.