Vaughn shrugged. “It’s not like the Russians know it’s us. That’s the whole point of using the fake suit, right? Plus, even if they did, it’s not like the Russians are exactly friendly to the Turk… um… Turkmens? Turkmeni? Last I heard, the Russians weren’t saying anything nice about them at all. They’re not going to be sharing information. So no biggie.”
Amy shook her head. “Maybe, but you’ve got to think bigger. This isn’t just espionage. This is politics. If we had something their rulers wanted, I could easily see them telling us that they’ll tell the world that we were there.”
Cassie let out a breath. “Exactly. That’s exactly the sort of thing I’m worried about.” Continue reading Go Time: Part 10
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
“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
The League jet still dripped water even though they’d stepped out of it two hours ago. It stood inside a huge room made of gray concrete. A car that resembled a black 1965 Corvette had been parked next to two motorcycles, one normal, and the other red, white, and blue.
Metal shelving ran across the walls, holding tools and spare parts.
Joe stood in the hangar, still wearing the Rocket suit. He’d expected to be done by now, but he had to admit that he probably shouldn’t have. They’d packed the League jet practically to the top of the cargo bay.
It was like moving, but only if your house had been stocked with alien artifacts created for the purpose of destroying alien civilizations and bending what was left to your will.
A man in bulky, gray armor exited the jet’s cargo bay. Even if Joe hadn’t known his name, the horn extending from the mask hinted at his codename.
Joe could have called him “Rhino,” but opted with, “Hey Larry, is that what I think it is?”
Continue reading When It’s Over: Part 2
“Wow,” I said, “you’re early.”
Mindstryke shook his head. “Not really. I told you the latest we’d be here was ten, and some of us happened to finish up earlier than expected.”
He was right. Now that he’d mentioned it, I remembered him saying that. I also remembered a couple other things he’d said.
“We’re still waiting on part of the current League, and one member of the board.”
I was about to ask him who that was when the words, “Entered: Accelerando, C. Retinal scan confirmed,” appeared on the bottom of my screen.
Shortly after that one of the tunnel doors swung open, and Jaclyn walked through with her grandfather. She wore her purple costume—not really more than a jumpsuit, but she didn’t need it for protection. The hard part was creating a fabric that could handle hitting the speed of sound. Continue reading Spin: Part 6
By the time our food came, anyone who had wanted an autograph had one. There weren’t that many people in the restaurant after all.
A fair number of them pointed phones in our direction. It didn’t make me feel better. It’d be really annoying if one of us accidentally used a real name. We’d probably see it all over the internet in hours.
Daniel’s voice popped into my head. It gets worse. One of them already called a television station, and they’re sending out a reporter.
What? It was all I could do not to say it out loud. Why didn’t you say something?
It’s no big deal, Daniel said. The nearest TV station is half an hour from here. Our food should be here sooner.
Hoping that no one thought to bribe the cooks, I looked over the room again, and didn’t see anything unusual. Continue reading Spin: Part 5
The seat must have been designed assuming that the Frog suit would have a load of missiles on board when it blew up because it shot him far into the air. He found himself far on the other side of the hangar as the Frog suit exploded.
Because it was behind him, he didn’t see the explosion directly. The afternoon became brighter, giving a reddish-white tinge to the hotels, sidewalks, and palm trees. Black smoke followed—along with flying debris.
Larry felt something small hit the back of the ejection seat, but managed to keep control of the seat’s flight. He redirected the seat lower, and flew down toward the hangar, landing in front of it.
He gave a passing glance to the earth elemental’s body as he got out of the chair. It covered the runway in a pile of smoking rubble—dirt, rocks, and gravel. Its head and limbs were still intact even though its body had lost its shape. That bothered Larry, and he stopped to make sure that it wasn’t moving. After a moment, he was satisfied, and he stepped toward the hangar.
He couldn’t see much inside. It was dark, and the black smoke made it appear even darker. Continue reading Enter the Larry: Part 22
A thud came from over the radio, followed by the sound of rushing wind.
Through the haze of the explosions’ smoke, the elemental’s tentacles swung upward. They’d hit something in the air. Larry had a good guess as to what.
“Hey, are you okay?”
Alexis’ said, “Give me a second.”
He gasped for breath, then seemed to catch it. A series of popping noises followed, and the earth elemental turned toward the jungle, standing and flailing its arms at something it couldn’t seem to catch.
Alexis said, “Your companions, they can escape now!” A strong wind blew in the background.
He had a point. Larry turned back toward the hangar. This wasn’t a good place for them to be. They didn’t have armor. They shouldn’t be in the middle of all this, and a hangar wasn’t the place to hide. The creature could crush it without thinking. Continue reading Enter the Larry: Part 21