Not seeing anything appear yet, I directed one of the spybots to fly ahead of us and sent Cassie a memory of the last few seconds along with directions for how to see the spybot’s video.
She sent back the words, “If everyone on the team had implants, it would be so much easier.”
Then she spoke over the comm, “Ronin, remember when Rook captured me? If I get the chance, I’m going for him.”
Speaking without inflection, Tara’s high pitched voice seemed lower than it was, “I know.” Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 21
I felt her queasiness as her words echoed in my head. “No, I don’t remember you ever saying, ‘Hey Cassie, the True have your face.’ I think I’d have remembered that.”
“We just found out. I thought we passed it on. With everything going on, I really don’t remember. It’s not just you though. They also based them on Emmy, the receptionist, and also Stephanie. She was at Stapledon.”
Stepping over to the body and staring down at it, Cassie held up her hand as if waving my comment away even as my implant reminded me that I had passed it on. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 20
Part of me wondered if telling the truth would help. In this case, that would be something like, “You know what? I didn’t see it coming. I’ve been instructed by aliens in how to make myself and my armor extend outside our reality, stopping your weapon from going through it like it didn’t exist.”
For one thing, that speech would have gone way too long. Beyond that, I couldn’t help but wonder if his fascination with Grandpa, and by extension myself, was a kind of competitive thing. He might stop caring if he knew I hadn’t out-thought him.
Also, he might figure out a way to tweak his tech so that it worked. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 17
For the crowbot, it turned out that even that brief contact could take it down. The beam didn’t cut the wing off, but it cut through far enough that the wing broke because of the stress that flying through the air put on it.
If it had been further down the wing, maybe it could have kept on flying, but it broke off near the body. The crowbot flipped over a few time and then disappeared into the trees below.
As it disappeared, I turned off the laser beam, knowing that running it sucked power and might start fires. I’d turn it on when I had another good shot—assuming that the I was able to. It felt like whatever I’d done to hit Jared had sucked the power out of me. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 16
There are moments where you have to make a decision about what you’re going to do. Some of them will be hard. Others might be easy. This one? This was a repeat.
When we’d attacked Rook’s base, he’d attempted to shoot a nuclear missile at the League jet—which Haley happened to be flying. Then I’d shot his hand with an explosive bullet or maybe many bullets. At a distance of couple years, I didn’t know anymore.
In that moment I did know I didn’t want Haley and the others to be attacked by things that I knew could cut through their armor. I didn’t have a well thought out reason to do what I did—something like, “Taking out Rook will stop the attack by demoralizing his henchmen.” Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 15
Telling Rook whether he was fighting Chris or myself might give him an advantage. I opted to preserve anonymity.
Turning on the helmet’s speaker, I said, “The Nine don’t have any business here. Unless you want to fight, I’d suggest going home. The Heroes’ League is here and if you remember the last times you faced us, you’ll remember they didn’t go well.”
That came out a bit more aggressive than I normally went for—especially when you considered that I was facing Rook, four of his best evil bird impersonators and a host of rocket-fueled crowbots. At the same time, it sounded like something Grandpa might have said. It was nice to think some part of him might be here now—if only because I’d chosen to simulate his voice. Continue reading Mere Anarchy: Part 14
Larry hit Rook with enough force that he felt it inside the armor. It wasn’t concussion-inducing force, or even particularly painful, but solid. He grabbed for a good hold on Rook’s armor, but missed the wings. The Frog suit’s claws scraped all the way down Rook’s sides, and for a second Larry thought he felt the armor give, but then it ripped out of the suit’s grip.
He fell, and hit the ground. It wasn’t a big deal.
The suit could easily take a forty foot drop. It was made for it. The hind legs hit first, absorbing the hit. The front legs followed, doing the same while all the legs adjusted position to balance. Larry hit a button, sending the suit after the glowing red dot that indicated Rook.
The suit twisted and turned quickly enough that Larry couldn’t remember if the suit was designed to prevent the user from turning so quickly he blacked out. If not, he thought, that would be something to add. Continue reading Enter the Larry: Part 10
Ten minutes later, the crowd started screaming.
The announcer shouted, “The Murdilator wins! The paramedics are taking Electroman out of the arena, and in five minutes you’ll be able to see the next round—Rook versus Frog! That’s right, the up and coming Rook versus a brand new opponent in powered armor. All that, in just FIVE minutes. Get your drinks and snacks now because you won’t want to miss a second of it.”
Larry took a breath, realizing that he actually felt nervous. And how crazy was that? It was just a fight. How many of those had there been in the last few years? This time his opponent would at least be human, and a kid at that. He’d seen worse.
No denying though, that Rook probably hated him, and wouldn’t hesitate to kill him. Continue reading Enter the Larry: Part 9
“You didn’t have to do that!” The kid shouted, and tried to brush the tears from his eyes, but mostly succeeded in smearing whatever she’d sprayed on him.
By that time, Larry was within reach—just a couple steps down.
The kid muttered something, and as he pulled one hand away from his face, Larry saw that the kid had made a fist.
It wasn’t much of a punch. He swung wildly, missing by more than a foot.
Cheryl stepped backwards, moving unsteadily up the stairs, away from the punch. The high heels and mini-skirt didn’t do her any favors.
Larry grabbed the kid’s forearm from behind as the kid recovered from his swing, and then grabbed the kid’s bicep with his left hand.
“Relax, kid.” Continue reading Enter the Larry: Part 6
“Rook?” Larry tried to remember if he’d ever heard the name before. “What, does he have some kind of chess theme?”
Alexis shook his head. “I don’t think so. He has wings.”
Larry frowned. “What’s a rook look like anyway?”
“His armor is black. It seems very like a crow. I do not think we have rooks in Cuba.”
Larry gave an grunt in reply, and looked back toward his suite. Could Lim be done debugging the room yet? He doubted it, and he doubted that the Feds would understand why he was friends with Alexis at all. Most of them wouldn’t have the clearance to read the reports they’d need to find out either.
“You want to go somewhere? Talk, maybe?” Continue reading Enter the Larry: Part 5