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.
I didn’t have time to dwell on that, though, because the Grey Giant had turned around to swat at me with his arms. They were longer than I’d realized because he almost connected. I gave the rockets more fuel as I whipped around to aim myself in his direction, feeling the g-forces on my body.
Then I activated the suit’s laser, creating a blinding light show. Again, it wasn’t frog-themed, but I’d at least made it mostly green. I’d come up with the technology ages ago and used it in my (missed, at least by me) guitar.
The Grey Giant tried to block the light with his left arm and kicked at me as I flew low past his legs, heading for the back of the room. Once past, I turned off the flashing lights and landed next to the dumpsters and the shattered concrete chunks from the holes I’d made to get me into the room.
Holding up my arms and stoping the music, I said, “I can leave any time I want. You’ve got no reason not to talk with me. It’s the only way you’ve got to keep me here and have a chance to take me out.”
Using my implant, I thought at Cassie and Yoselin, How are you all doing?
Yoselin’s voice echoed in my mind, We’re about to kidnap Armory. Your friend, Daniel, is putting him and the others to sleep.
What she said, Cassie added. Are you okay?
I was about to reply, but another voice pushed into my head.
I MUST PROTEST THIS MISUSE OF MY POTENTIAL! HEAR ME OUT! AM I NOT A WEAPON OF EXCEPTIONAL POWER? THEN WHY WAS I NOT—
Sorry, Cassie said, he’s been getting antsy. Anyway, you?
I’m having a rematch with the Grey Giant. Kid Biohack’s coming. Don’t have time to talk.
Shit! Tell us if you need help. We’ll be there. Out. Cassie cut the connection.
The Grey Giant came to a stop about twenty feet away from me, frowning and looking down at me, “Alright, let’s talk then. What do you want to talk about?”
What did I want to talk about? All I knew was that a conversation would give them more time with less risk than a fight would, “Nothing in particular, but I am curious as to how you got out of prison and went to work for Armory. Is there some kind of supervillain job site online? Do you just use Craigslist?”
He gave a sigh with a rumble that reminded me of a semi-truck, “I have people. Sure, you can call them agents or whatever, but they find me jobs like this one. They get a finder’s fee based on the job.”
Nodding inside the suit even though I know he couldn’t see it, I said, “That sounds expensive. Did your agents get you out of prison too?”
He shrugged, “Kinda, yeah. Syndicate L broke me out. One of my agents made the deal and paid my fees.”
Narrowing his eyes, he said, “The question thing goes both ways. What are you doing here? I know you’re not a rival. Those guys don’t talk until afterward. They just send in the mechs. So who sent you in? I’m figuring government or maybe a superhero on account of how you aren’t going for the jugular.”
So, now I needed to come up with a lie that would work for at least ten minutes, “A superhero. We’re kind of pissed that Armory’s making things for the world’s supervillains. I’m here to blow up his stuff.”
He began to grin, the expression going slowly wider. It wasn’t a look that made me feel good. When it reached its full, toothy width, he said, “No shit? You wouldn’t by any chance be the Rocket? Kind of a giveaway when you’re flying around like that. I saw a video of the last frog guy. I don’t know who that guy was, but he didn’t fly.”
I hadn’t expected the Grey Giant to be dumb, but on the other hand, I hadn’t expected him to be that observant either. Still, it wasn’t as if hiding that I was the Rocket was a mission requirement. The Feds would be more than happy if we put the Heroes’ League’s name on this.
At the same time, I wasn’t going to confirm it, “I guess you’re just going to have to wonder about that. If you know anything about superheroes, you know that we’re not into telling people that kind of thing. For all you know, I’m just a guy who admires the frog’s power and place in the ecosystem.”
He laughed, “Sure, kid. Be that way.”
My implant let me know I had a message from Kid Biohack. It showed a blur of white-painted cinderblock walls and his view of a rapidly descending stairway along with the words, “Almost there.”
And then he was.
Kid Biohack ran out of the stairway, his silver suit a blur as he ran down the full length of the room with a stride that covered more than thirty feet at once. He passed the Grey Giant before the giant even noticed him and turned around to stand next to me, only then seeming to notice who he was facing.
Though a mask hid most of his face, I could see as his eyes narrowed and he bared his teeth, “You!”
Kid Biohack, I remembered, came from a big family of superheroes. The chance that he’d lost a family member or friend to the Grey Giant was better than most.